Saturday, August 1, 2015

Empty When You're Gone

All of my sibs do really cool stuff.  One of them has a pager and has to go to the hospital to fix critical equipment to SAVE PEOPLE'S LIVES.  One of them is evaluating the effectiveness of educational programs in Bangalore this summer.  Another one is working on ten year strategic plan for city-wide art.  Another one created and runs an apparel company.  The newest one makes records.

Doesn't teaching sixth grade seem kind of, I don't know, MUNDANE, compared to these professions?

Anyway, I've been pretending to know some things about music.  Here's a little behind the scenes look at his latest.  I hear ragtime is making a huge comeback.

Friday, July 31, 2015

TAL Challenge: This Is It

TAL has been pretty hard, actually.  Tough, but fair.  I'm kind of glad it's over, to tell you the truth.  In honor of the last day, I'm doing three times I've said THIS IS actually IT.

Act One: Labor and Delivery

When I was waiting for the kids to be born, I'd wonder about every little twinge.  Was it happening? Would the contractions continue?  Could the children possibly arrive?

Finally, when I was hooked up to pitocin and circling the nurses' station, occasionally leaning against the wall for support and breathing heavily, it occurred to me that I wasn't leaving until it was all over.  This was it.

Act Two: The First Day

My first day of teaching was a total trip.  I had been dreaming about becoming a real live teacher for ten years. Standing in front of those thirty 8th graders was a dream come true for me, even when I actually tripped over the overhead projector cord and fell to the floor.

The second day was cool, too.  And all the days, except the ones on which I had to hide under my desk and cry because teaching can be really flipping hard.

Act Three: The Romance

After hanging out for a couple of weeks, I knew I would like to marry Dan.  Dan's the best.  He's funny, smart, and he gets me.  He's also devastatingly handsome.  Would WOULDN'T want a partner like Dan?  Even in a silicone ring?

Thank goodness he also wanted to marry me.  "I caught my limit," he used to say.  So cute.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

TAL Challenge: OLD

Act One: The Joke

The kids learned an obscene gesture from some neighborhood hooligans.  I calmly explained the underlying meaning of the gesture and told them why we should never, ever do it again.

Shef kept cracking up.  "Shef," I said, "it's not funny."

"Mom," Shef said, "it IS funny.  You just don't know because you're not a kid."

Act Two: The Reunion

At a lacrosse game, I ran into a teacher I worked with when I first started my career, 16 years ago.  We both have eleven year-olds now.

"You look exactly the same," I said, enthusiastically.

"Yep," he said. And then nothing. I, apparently, do not look exactly the same.

Act Three: The Ring

Turns out Dan wants to upgrade his titanium wedding band to silicone.  He broke the news to me last night after considering it for a YEAR.

Here's the story: it turns out the fact that he can't get his ring off his finger ever is really freaking him out.  Also, Jimmy Fallon nearly lost his finger due to a ring-related accident.  This has been compounding Dan's wedding band stress.

So, he's looking into non-metal alternatives to the traditional ring.  I suggested a tattoo, but this was met with only tepid enthusiasm.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


We got this done in the knick of time, we did.  Phew.

Just back from another Camp work weekend.  I made so many mistakes. This is something that happens sometimes.  Sometimes, you're unstoppable and everything is done quickly, efficiently, and basically perfectly.  Other times, you just keep screwing up.

"You're just trying to delay your own departure," Alli consoled.

I think that must have been true.  I had no kids and no dog.  All I had to do was jobs I've done a million times before.  Except those times, I mostly did them better.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

TAL Challenge: Compliments

Act One: Girls' Night

Arrived late and flustered for dinner and movie with some awesome women on Thursday.  "Hey," said Dana, sternly. "Yes, there was traffic.  But there are two things really working for you tonight."

"What?" I said.

"First," Dana said, "your hair looks amazing."

I laughed.

"Second," she continued, "I can't see any psoriasis."


Act Two: The Hair

This tween had a vision for his new haircut.  "I want that thing," he said.  I was pretty sure it was the thing pictured above.  I googled, "trendy boy haircuts" just to be sure.  Turns out, this is among the first hits.

Doesn't he look fantastic?

Photo credit goes to Pronto here.   Nice photo, Pronto!

Act Three: The Sitting Dog

Headed out for a walk with KK yesterday, and we passed a very well-behaved dog.  I'm always quick to compliment well-behaved dogs.  I too would like for people to notice if my dog is ever well-behaved.

"Just walk right by," said the woman, who was holding her dog in a sit while we passed with Simon, KK's lab.  "I'm really training him."

"You're doing an excellent job!" I said, admiringly.  

I'd like to think that touched her.  Like, maybe it warmed her heart?

Friday, July 24, 2015

TAL: Will You Accept This Rose?

Act One: Proposal

Once upon a time when we were 23 and 27 (I was 23, just to be clear), Dan and I walked to the park, and there was a ring.

My answer was, "Of course, yes."

Act Two: Springfield

The first teaching job I was secured was in a tiny place called Springfield, Minnesota.  I drove the two-ish hours to the interview and did some good chatting about my teaching philosophy.  Later, the principal called me and offered me the job.

I took it.  I drove back down to Springfield with my mom and looked at apartments.  I felt a little pit in my stomach.  I think there was a grocery store.

The next day I got a call for an interview in a large suburban district in my hometown, which is a town bigger than 2,000 people.  I took the interview and called the Springfield people back to tell them I was so sorry.

Act Three: Make It A Great Day Or Not

At breakfast at Camp, they do a little reading about the theme for the day - honesty, patience, or another core value - and then the reader says, "Make it a great day or not -"

Everyone else answers, "The choice is yours!"

It's like a good day is a rose you could accept from the Bachelorette.

I get the idea, but sometimes things happen that are beyond our control, right?  I mean, how about "Make it a great day or not - sometimes you have a say in the matter!"

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


I'm loving it.  It totally does communicate a spirit of adventure.  It's much like the adventure I just had in the bathroom.  You know you're the summer stay-at-home mother of two boys when you find yourself yelling, "Hey!  Who peed on the wall again?!"

It's magical over here.  Hands down.