Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Today on #TwinTuesday, we have lovely dishcloths and decorative boxes.  What an odd combo!  But, what happened was, I was doing some dishes on Sunday and struck by how nice that dishcloth is.  So, I snapped a pic and sent it to Lee.

Sometimes, one sees nice dishcloths like this in gift shops.  I think from now on I'm going to buy them as gifts.  Someone must have given this one to me, and I've decided I love it.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Horror

Poor Mac felt so wronged last night.  The kid, as you may know, plays the violin like a dream.  Some of the time he likes playing the violin. The rest of the time, I make him play it.  Making him practice is a hard job, and I have to do a puzzle, with it's calming properties, while I do the forcing.

Anyway, last night there were lots of tears and "I hate violins," during the practice negotiation.  Right away, I backed off on my 10-piece quota because I could tell it was going to be an epic battle.  "Five pieces," I said.

"Four," he said.

"No," I said.

And the sobbing.

Finally, he played the five, I read a story, put him to bed.  He knocked on my door thirty minutes later, weeping.  "It's not fair," he said.  "Why do I have to play an instrument and Shef doesn't?"

"That doesn't seem fair, does it," I said, walking him back to his room.  In fact, I've often felt this was my mistake.  I failed to make my oldest child's life suitably miserable.  If I had inflicted the pain of music,  I could more easily coerce the younger.  Since I don't have a reason why Mac has to do it while Shef doesn't, I just rubbed Mac's back and validated his feelings.  "I can hear that you really feel like it's not fair."

He sniffled and nodded.

"Can I tell you a secret, though?  Shef is not that good at playing music. You're much, much better."

Sunday, March 1, 2015


This was not a good week for working on my fiction-writing project.  I spent the week madly prepping for our session at NAIS in Boston, not writing about Frank and Alice and the other characters, whom I will introduce soon.  Luckily, I have other parts already written. This part of the story is back in the pool in Florida, later in this scene that I wrote before.  In this part, Frank tells Alice some things about Norah, Alice's birthmother. Things that Alice isn't quite ready to hear.

Okay. It's #NovelSnip:

Alice’s breath came heavily, her fingers tingling as she loosely gripped the side of the pool.  She kept her eyes focused on the gutter.  “What?” she breathed.

“She sent letters to us, telling us what she was doing and asking about you.”

“She did?”  Lights emanated from the clubhouse, just beyond the deep end where Alice and Frank dangled from the side of the pool.  Alice blinked to orient herself, integrating this new, debilitating information.

“I wrote her back,” Frank continued.

“What did you tell her?”

“Your hobbies, how you were doing in school.”  Alice could feel Frank’s eyes travel her face, but she kept her head down, her breath mingling with the water.  “But like I said,” Frank continued, “we haven’t gotten one now for a couple of years.  So, I think she’s moved on.”

“Okay...” said Alice.

“So you can stop worrying about that.”

“Okay,” Alice repeated.  She dredged breaths from her chest as Frank hoisted himself out of the water above her, planting his knee heavily on the concrete edge and straightening up.  He turned and offered her a hand.  “I got it,” she said, raising her feet to the wall and pushing off on her back.
That's #NovelSnip.  Phew.  I'm at the point now where I feel like I need to map out the whole story.  I might Google about how to do that.  Someone's got to know.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Such a Thin Line

This is crazy - I got confused this morning and thought it was Sunday.  So, I posted #NovelSnip.  Luckily, mm caught my mistake.  I'm taking it down and putting it up tomorrow for the sake of consistency. Geez! The stress of #ConferenceLife really caught me off guard.

We've spent the morning here in Room 2557 rehashing a talk by someone who was named the "most interesting and influential classroom teacher in the country" by the Washington Post.

This dude was, to understate it, slightly full of himself.  "It's not about me," he said, "but, listen to this letter that my student wrote about how I changed her life."  This happened over and over again.  I was incredulous.  Robin researched him later and found some choice quotes like, "Can you even imagine how many times I've been asked to make a movie?" and "Yes, I'm very famous in China."

This guy rubbed me the wrong way, but even in his session, I gleaned some wisdom.  Here it is: Be the person you want your students to be.

You're welcome.  Keep in mind, though, that I am not even the best classroom teacher in my very own school.  You might not want to listen to my advice.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Session Me

Yesterday at work, everyone was really distracted by the hatching of some eaglets.   All day long, all-school emails kept coming about these eagles, which we could watch on a live cam from the DNR. 

"Hey," the first email said.  "My kid is obsessed with eagles, and you can watch the hatching of eaglets on this live cam."

"Uh oh," someone else replied all, "the mom appears to be eating one of the babies."

"No," someone else said, "it's a mammal. The eggs are intact."

Later still, more reply-ALLs:

"The mom moved aside and it appears all the babies are dead."

DEAD EAGLETS, I emailed all of my friends.  DEAD. EAGLETS.

"NO," the next email said, "it's dead pigeons.  The eggs are there, and one is pipped."

Later, someone sent a picture of an adult human "nesting" in the library.  A dude curled up in a shelf.

Here's the moral of the story: Find a bird cam and email large groups of people about it all day. Don't leave a single update out.  That part is critical.  Even if you're not sure what's happening on the bird cam, hypothesize and share with 500 people.  Start right away.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Elected on Friday

Mac's teacher asked him what he would do if he were president, and that's what he said.  I'm seeing housing reform,  a comprehensive immigration overhaul, and immediate action on climate change.  Among other things.

Today, I'm headed to Boston.  I almost always feel a little tweeky before I travel.  I might even think things like, "I don't want to go." and "Why did I sign up for this?"  But then, once I'm settled in my seat on the airplane with snacks and a book, I usually become sublimely happy. With the exception of the one-hour, high-pressure conference talk, this trip is all about awesome times with my teaching pals.  You could even call it a school-sponsored girls' weekend, probably.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Here we are again at #TwinTuesday.  Today's unexpected combo is pin and clip.  Pin and Clip!  It has such a nice ring to it.

In addition to readying #TwinTuesday, I'm busy freaking out about my team's conference talk at NAIS later this week.  I'm headed to Boston tomorrow night.  Am I ready?  I'm not ready.  Will I be ready?  Signs point to Yes.