Monday, February 11, 2013

Positively Inspiring!

     ~By Emily Cline

Recently, NPR shared a story about a middle school principal in Far Rockaway Queens that is making a difference. He came there as principal there last year when the school had an "F" rating, as in it was failing. Badly. No one wanted to go to school: 50- 60 students were absent every day, 22 teachers had quit, the entire front office left, and hundreds of children had been suspended. Hundreds.
MS 53 Principal Shawn Rux
Photo by David Kestenbaum/NPR
The Principal, Mr. Shawn Rux, started an incentive system. Come to school and you get tickets. The tickets add up to win prizes.  He started a currency system called "Rux Bux" with which students could win things like school supplies, special lunches, an XBox, even a personal shopping spree with Mr. Rux.

It's working: attendance is up -- over 90% -- and the school has climbed from an "F" to a "C" already -- even though they were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy: some of the children's homes were destroyed. Mr. Rux was personally effected -- his car was ruined, the first floor of his home flooded.

Doodlebugheart wanted to help, so we decided to send a little care package: last week we sent 10 Basic 'Bug Craft Boxes.  We are inspired by Mr. Rux and the positive, constructive effect he is having on those children's lives, on the entire community -- especially in this time when lockdowns, firearms, and violence are so tragically prevalent in our schools. We're wondering what we can do as a community. If more of us could send encouragement and support to Mr. Rux, the staff, and students, what would it look like? What would you send?

MS 53
c/o Principal Shawn Rux
1045 Nameoke Street
Far Rockaway, NY  11691

(By the way, you can hear David Kestenbaum's full story by going to and click on "Listen to the Story".)

***What's next?***

Join us in Larchmont ~ Saturday, March 2, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. for ourmonthly crafting date.We can make & fill travel journals, experiment with a Gelli plate, and as always, if you have your own craft, bring it. 

Suggested contribution of $10 at the door for supplies, though if it's your first time, please be our guest!
To RSVP and get more information, email:

Thursday, February 7, 2013


by Deborah

It does not smell like flowers.
My puppy is now 8 months old and we absolutely adore her.  She couldn't be sweeter, just an affectionate, charismatic bundle of energetic puppy.  I have a bed for her in my office and she loves it when I get on the computer and she can curl up beside me, snug in her plush brown bed.  It is just as picturesque as one could ask: me hard at work, tapping away the keyboard; my faithful companion lying contentedly at my feet.
A nearly silent little poof of air escapes from her vicinity and within seconds my office is filled with an invisible but potentially lethal noxious gas.  My eyes water, I gasp for air, I wave my hand frantically in front of my face to dispel the odor.
She farts.
A lot.
It is the quiet, toxic type that just ekes out, no loud raucous warnings to accompany it.  Just a little puff of air and then it's like being in a chemical warfare zone.  The smell is offensive enough, but her innocent attitude is even more grating, the slightly offended look of "What?!?" she gives me after each little sneak attack.
So now we have a War of the "Pfffts".  I sit armed with my super-sized can of heavy-duty Glade air-freshener at the ready, she lays beside me armed with her bazooka of a butt.  She "Pfffts" and I grab my can and "Pfffffffft" right back, trying to meet her noxious cloud with my own "odor-fighter technology."
She "Pffffts" and I "Pffft".  And again...and again...and again.
The result?  It smells like a slightly sour, rotting Clear Spring in my office.  But it's tolerable.  I will not be gassed out of my own domain.  I will win this War of the "Pfffts"!  (Shouted triumphantly, with can of airfresher raised, on my rearing warhorse.) But I am pretty sure I will have post-traumatic smell syndrome after all this, so if I suddenly spray you in the face with air freshener every time you utter the letter "F", please understand.  I don't mean to.  It's the curse of being a veteran of the Fart (PFFFFT!) Wars.
The cloud in my office looks nothing like this. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Reboot, please...

by Tracey Clem

 Today is one of those days when I very desperately need to go back to bed and start the day over. I usually feel like that when my Boys and I have had a particularly contentious morning. But today it is all me. Like if I can't get this day on track I might hurt myself. Not "hurt myself" like cause myself some kind of intentional bodily harm. More "hurt myself" like falling down the stairs. Or getting my arm caught in the washing machine. Or inadvertently chopping a finger off with a butter knife while making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Just like my brain is completely out to lunch and disconnected from my body. Chances are that is not going to end well.

I was supposed to write this article over the weekend, which sadly didn't get know how life can get out of hand sometimes. No problem...the boys are in school this morning for a whopping 2.5 hours - I can crank it out while they're gone. So I sit down at my desk this morning to work on some art to include in the riveting article I was going to write about my new (*awesome*) Gelli plate.

But absolutely nothing worked.

The paint would dry on the plate before I could get paper down. The prints would come up all splotchy. The colors I mixed would be muddy. Not "good-grungy-muddy-with-hints-of-brilliant" muddy. More "I-dropped-this-paper-in-the-mud-then-used-it-to-wipe-my-shoes-on" muddy. Just ugly. Sometimes I would get paint on the plate and then put paper on it without having done anything to the paint - which means nothing happens. I could have just painted on the paper and saved a step. Once I printed a layer on a piece of paper, and then when I went to put the next layer on it, I printed it on the wrong side of the paper. So I stood up from my desk and decided a change of perspective would help. I gave myself a good mental shake, squeezed paint on the Gelli plate, started spreading it around...and promptly whisked the entire paint covered plate off of my desk and onto the floor and my favorite jeans.


So I just stopped. I cleaned up the mess, put the (*cursed*) Gelli plate away, threw my jeans in the wash, and sat down to write before I "hurt myself".

Most of the time, crafting, gluing, painting, playing is my happy place. The time where I breathe, pray, play and get my day settled and on track. And then every once in awhile it veers completely off-track and I need to just stop - and for the sake of personal safety and my favorite jeans - pour myself another cup of coffee, and go read a magazine or something.