Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hunting Party

The day of the 8th annual Post Hunt dawned hot and sunny this morning, but I was ready. I had not only my trusty partner Treat, but my mom had actually flown in from Minnesota and Josh had taken the bus from Hershey. What a dream team! At 10:45 we swung by my favorite sandwich place and headed downtown. 

It was close to 90 at noon, but for the most part, as we made our way through the streets of DC, we were able to find shade when we needed it, there was a breeze, and the puzzles were solvable. As I hoped, we all brought something to the game without which we wouldn't have been as successful, Josh visual, Treat analytical, Mom knowledgeable, and I had a friend to compare notes with when we really got stuck. 

One of the sweetest moments of the day for me came as we sat in the shade on the steps of the the Wilson Building across the street from Freedom Plaza. From there we were able to hear and solve one of the puzzles while eating our lunch.

Although the impossibly convoluted end game eluded us, it was still a really fun day, and before we boarded the metro to go home, I made everyone promise we would do it again next year.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Scared Vegan

While we were waiting for Josh's bus to arrive this afternoon, Heidi decided to re-watch Forks Over Knives. She's seen it several times; in fact it's the reason she decided to go vegan in the first place, so compelling was its evidence and testimony in support of a plant-based diet. And yet, as committed as she is-- Heidi has been vegan for four years now-- there are times when she is sorely tempted and even times when she chooses to eat food with animal products.

Maybe it was the homemade ice cream my mom and I were making or something else entirely, but today she felt like a little reinforcement was in order. She was about halfway through the film when the text arrived that Josh was at Union Station, so off we went to fetch him. On the way home, Heidi was turned in her seat, chatting excitedly and catching up on the last three weeks since he left us to go home for the summer. "And right now? I'm watching Forks Over Knives," she told him.

"Why?" he asked. "Haven't you seen it?"

"I just felt like I needed a little refresher," she explained. "There's a lot of amazing stuff about how all these really sick people were cured just by changing their diet. AND a lot of stuff about how bad meat and dairy are for you over time."

"Ah," Josh nodded, "you just needed to be re-horrified."

Friday, May 29, 2015

Profiles in Teaching

Once again, the end of the year finds my students interviewing one and another and writing journalism-style profiles using the simple structure of a lead anecdote that describes the subject in action, a description of how and when they started (past), what they are doing now (present), and what they hope to achieve (future). The whole piece is about 500 words and ends with a quote from the subject. "Give your person the last word," is how I explain it to my students.

Despite many models, this is a hard assignment for them. Evaluating and synthesizing the information gained in interviews with their classmates and at least two others is very challenging for your average 11 or 12 year old. Still, they forge through, mostly because they want to do right by their peers and so they are motivated to write the best piece they can.

Of course, I am available to assist them, and I willingly do so by stepping in to model on-the-spot follow-up interviews to glean the information and quotes they need to craft their articles. I'm also a whiz at providing just the right secondary source quote to move the profile forward, and should someone be stuck for a transition? Why, I am only to happy to offer a suggestion.

Such was the case today when a student approached me with her dilemma. "Can I say, Anthony isn't all that great in soccer because he didn't even make the school team," she asked. "Or is that too much of an opinion?" She frowned. "It's important information, but I'm not sure how it fits."

I was happy she recognized the importance of journalistic objectivity. "Why don't you write something like, Despite working hard and practicing daily, Anthony has had some disappointments when it comes to soccer...?" I suggested.

"Wow!" she said. "That's not bad! I guess you do know what you're doing with this writing stuff!"

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Meat and Three

There was a time when one of the best meals you could get eating out was at Morrison's Cafeteria. The food was not fancy, but it was darn good, and a bargain, too, something like 5 dollars for a meat and three sides.

Morrison's was gone before the turn of the century, but my writing group is coming over tonight, and as I was planning the meal I wanted something simple and delicious. After a while I hit upon this menu: Fried Chicken, Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Warm Country Ham Dressing, Corn on the Cob, and Butter Lettuce with Homemade Buttermilk Dressing.

I hope it lives up to good ol' Morrisons!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Beware, Trees!

Didn't I feel vindicated this morning listening to a piece on NPR about the benefits of analog writing over digital. One study they cited in particular was especially interesting. They split a college class in half and gave each group the same lecture, one set took notes by hand while the other typed theirs. Then they gave each group a test. The hand note takers did much better, despite the fact that the transcribers had more thorough notes. It seems that in the act of hand writing one must synthesize and evaluate the information rather than simply record it.

What about those fancy iPads all the students have?  Well, maybe they can use them to take a picture of their notes, in case they get lost!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


"You are soooo cursed!" I overheard one of my homeroom students mutter to another this morning.

"Hey, now!" I interjected, "Why would you say that?"

"It's a game," the first student explained, but there was definitely some sheepishness in her tone that hinted at more than a simple little amusement. Perhaps reading my facial expression, she quickly added, "Everyone is playing it!"

"Tell me about this game," I invited her, and she was only too happy to do so. In fact the whole class crowded around my desk while she demonstrated.

"It's called Charlie," she started. "You draw a cross on the paper, like this," she continued, dividing a sheet of loose-leaf into quadrants with a green marker. "Then you write YES NO NO YES in the boxes. Next you need two pencils-- wait! Do you have two pencils I can borrow?"

I sighed and produced them. "Why should today be any different? You guys never have pencils!" I chided as I handed them over.

"Then you balance them in the middle," she said and leaned over my desk, placing one pencil along the x-axis of her YES-NO chart, and attempting to balance the other one on top of it along the y-axis.

"When the end touches the paper like that it means that side is heavier," I told her as she struggled; it was a teachable moment. "Scootch it the other way." She did and soon the pencils formed a cross.

"Now you say, Charlie, Charlie are you here? But I'm not going to say it! The top pencil will spin to YES and you'll be cursed!"

I looked at the half-circle of kids surrounding my desk. They were definitely engaged. "Well, I'm going to say it," I said, and I did. The group pushed closer, 20 eyes fixed on a number 2 pencil. Nothing happened.

"Wait for it," someone whispered. I leaned my head on my hand, my elbow next to the sheet of paper and scanned their faces again. Their expressions ranged from scared to interested to amused. Without moving, I blew gently on the pencil, it spun slowly toward the YES.


They all jumped back. Several chairs clattered and fell in the students' haste to get away from Charlie. The group recovered quickly. "She blew on it!" one of them assured the others.

I laughed. "I'm sorry!" I said. "I couldn't resist. It's so silly! People are just telling you stories to scare you. I don't want you to be frightened!"

Some kids laughed, too, but others were uncertain. "You didn't say it right," the first girl told me.

"Well at least I'm not cursed then," I replied.

I had almost forgotten the whole thing when a little while later one of those kids approached me in English class. "Can I borrow a pencil?" he asked.

"There's a couple right there," I said, pointing to my desk. "You can have one of those."

He hesitated. "Um, can I borrow a different pencil?" He looked at me meaningfully. "Those are Charlie's."

Monday, May 25, 2015

Labor Days Weekend

This year, our garden is better than ever (there's even watermelon and a corn corner!), and a big portion of the credit goes to Treat, who put in 9 hours over the last three days. His contribution allowed us to get everything in.

Now comes the waitin (and the waterin and the weedin, of course).

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Peel and Eat

Many years ago, I lived with my brother and sister at the beach. Back then we never had a shortage of house guests– we were at an age when neither we nor our visitors cared about formal sleeping arrangements, so all summer long people came to stay with us at the beach. I'm not sure how beer-boiled shrimp with plenty of Old Bay, french fries, and salad became our standard meal for company, but it did, and in the days before farmed shrimp, we could stop into the seafood market and get all the fresh, local shrimp we wanted for not that much money. Some lettuce, tomato, cucumber, a few potatoes, and a couple of six packs of beer turned that seafood into a feast.

I remembered those days yesterday when, after several hours of gardening in perfect weather beneath a gorgeous blue sky, I wanted an equally perfect holiday meal to kick off the summer. When my grocer had fresh Carolina shrimp at the seafood counter, I knew I had found my menu.

It could only have been better had my brother and sister and several random friends been crowded around that same teak dining table we had at the beach with me, peeling shrimp, dipping fries in cocktail sauce, and swigging beer, too.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Early to Bed

After a very busy week, even an interesting episode of Who Do You Think You Are? couldn't keep me from nodding off in front of the TV before nine last night. "Get up!" Heidi poked me. "It's obviously your bed time."

"But, but, it's Friday!" I protested.

"You're already sleeping," she pointed out, and I had to admit she was right.

Still, when I climbed the stairs to our darkened room I saw that the last light of day had not yet drained from the western sky, and I felt like the little girl I was almost 50 years ago. Even then it just seemed wrong to go to bed before the sun set.

But that was my last thought before I faded, which the day did, too, just a little after me. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Go Boom

Oh dear! Was that my ankle that twisted on the hill this afternoon sending me tumbling down the asphalt path in front of several colleagues and students?

'Fraid so-- and although my pink cheeks have faded, I've got the ripped pants and skinned knee to prove it. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Second Chances

And now the expedited retake ball is in my court.

Paradoxically, although I am an inveterate opponent of these high-stake tests, I still want all my students to pass. Today was our day, sixth grade reading, and before the last student's final click the results started rolling in. By 1:30, with 85% of the scores reported, most of my students had passed as expected, but there were six kids who were eligible to try again another day.

With direct access only to the names and scores of those students, I worried about a few who weren't on the list at all yet, and so each time I refreshed the remediation spreadsheet and they did not appear, I felt a wave of relief.

Until it occurred to me that perhaps their scores were too low to make that cut.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Anonymous Patron

The email was brief: I have a basket for you. It was also perplexing, arriving as it did from the front office secretary in the middle of first period. I resolved to resolve it later and promptly forgot as I continued teaching my class. A little while later, when she called me with a message for a student, the secretary asked if I had received the email. "Yes," I answered, "I'll be down at lunch to get it."

The basket was small: natural wicker and about the size of a tissue box, wrapped in cellophane with crinkly shreds and tissue paper in the bottom. An envelope lay within and an index card was taped to the outside: Ms. S. "English teacher" Please make sure she gets this. 

"Where did this come from?" I asked. 
She shrugged. "It was on my desk when I got here this morning." 
Baffled, I carried it back to my room.

This was a complete mystery: when I examined the parcel more closely, I saw that the clear plastic wrap was already broken. Something made me hesitate to reach inside, but eventually I did.

It contained two things: a gift card for 25 dollars at a local restaurant and a voucher for free dance lessons at Arthur Murray– two private, 2 group, and 2 practice party passes. Retail value? 337 dollars, but with a groupon, it cost 53 bucks.

Hmmm:  Who thinks I could use dancing lessons?

No: idea!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May I Take a Message, Please?

Our state has introduced a new twist into high-stakes testing this year. "Expedited retakes" for students in grades 3-8 are meant to relieve the stress of testing by letting kids and families know that any student who scores just a bit below the proficiency level can be quickly remediated and given a second crack at passing, with parent permission, of course.

Since this is the first year of the practice, the logistics of implementing it are necessarily trial and error. For example, today was the first test; students took a reading assessment from 9-12 this morning. In this day and age of online testing, the results were available right after lunch, and it fell to the counselor to inform the students who hadn't passed and get permission as soon as possible from their parents for remediation and a retake.

She used her phone to call and ask for kids to come to her office from their last period class so she could speak to each privately, but after the second student returned to class, everyone knew what the calls were for, and so each time the phone rang they held their collective breath, waiting to see who the teacher would send to the office next.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Test Prep

"Thursday!!" he exclaimed when I reminded the class today that their state reading test was coming up.

I nodded.

"Well!" he continued in dismay. "Middle school sure is a lot different than elementary school."

"How?" I asked.

"Where are all the pep talks?!?"

I looked at the zip lock baggie of bright red latex bracelets on my desk. They had appeared in my mailbox over the weekend with no directions. Dream it, Believe it, Reach it, they said in bold white letters, followed by a little tiny pencil that read, On the test.

"Oh, they're coming," I told him. "They're coming."

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Spidey Sense

"Do you have any dirt?" a student asked me the other morning.

"As it happens, I do," I answered him. "Why do you ask?"

"That plant over there on the window has crazy roots," he told me. "Can we pleeeeease plant it?"

I knew what he was talking about. Last spring my friend Mary gave me a little vase full of spider plant babies. "Just put it on your window sill," she said, "and transplant it later." I followed her directions and in June, I took my little fledgling plant home and put out on the deck. What an awesome summer it had! The lush, flourishing spider plant I brought back in August was amazing, and it wasn't long before it was flowering and producing tiny offspring of its own. I rooted and planted the first brood (hence the potting soil in my cabinet), and it was the second round of descendants that were basking in the sunlight in a tall glass of water as we spoke.

"Sure," I said, "but I don't have a pot right now. How about if I get one over the weekend, and you help me plant it on Monday?"

He smiled and literally clapped his hands.

"Do you want take it home when we're through?" I asked.

"Can I?" he said.

"I don't see why not," I said. "Ask your parents if it's okay."

He walked away quite pleased, but a few minutes later he was back. "There's just one more thing," he said quite gravely. "You're going to have to teach me how to take care of it. I've never had a plant before."

"I will," I told him. "I will."

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pour Timing

Wouldn't ya know that the minute I was ready to start the grill for dinner this evening we were hit with a heavy rain. Not to worry, though, I just moved the barbecue to the breezeway and continued from there, ducking in and out of the storm to check the coals.

A little while later, veggies and steak sizzled, rain drops slapped the pavement, and a cool wet breeze tempered the warm moist air; the world smelled like dirt and everything growing was so green, green, green.

Hello, Summer. It's good to see you again.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday

It's hard to believe that it's been eight years since the Nintendo Wii was all the rage. Back then, people were camping out overnight in parking lots based on the rumor that a shipment might arrive the next day, and consoles were selling on eBay for double the retail price. We felt lucky to get ours when we did, and our older nephews got quite a bit of playing time on it.

We invested in a bunch of games and accessories, too, including the balance board for "Wii Fit." That nifty little platform could sense your motion and give you a little fitness check as well. For a while we were skiing and hula hooping, bowling and playing tennis all the time. It wasn't quite the virtual gym it promised, but it was fun.

Our Wii hadn't been powered on for almost two years yesterday when I decided that maybe a little rhythm boxing would be better than slumping tiredly in the chair. The batteries on the balance board were corroded, though, and it became quite the little maintenance and repair project to get the system up and running. But I did it, and it was nice to see my old Mii after so long. She looked like she was having a good time, too, as we boxed and bowled 30 minutes away.

And it was indeed waaay better than sitting in the chair.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Today, for Spirit Week, was Throwback Thursday. Students were invited to dress as any past persona of themselves or from some earlier decade. 7:30 a.m. found three sixth graders at my classroom door.

"Can you guess what I am?" one of them asked.

I looked at her Rapunzel t-shirt and denim skirt, and scratched my head. "Um, the 90s?" I guessed.

"No!" I'm my kindergarten self! I loved Rapunzel then!"

"Oh," I said. "Well, then, that's a great outfit!"

"How about me?" one of her friends asked. She was wearing a hair band tied in a bow, leggings, and a long cardigan.

"Easy!" I answered. "You're the 80s."

Her face fell. Her friend tried to help me out. "Look at her hair... she's the 60s," she shrugged, "or 50s."

Not so much, I thought to myself, but who am I to judge?

"What about me?" the third girl inquired, sweeping her arm dramatically down her buttoned wool jacket, pleated skirt, black stockings, and sensible shoes, then giving me a sharp little salute from the brim of her fedora.

"The... 30s or 40s?" I said.

"Perhaps this will help," she said briskly and pulled out a black umbrella and opened it over her head.

"Mmmm," I stalled.

"I'm Mary Poppins!" she cried officiously, and now that she said so, I could totally see it.

"So you're the..."

"60s!" she told me.

"But," I said, "Mary Poppins–"

"Came out in the 60s," she finished. "I should know. It's one of my favorite movies."

"But the story takes place in the early 1900s, I think," I said.

She waved her hand. It was clear to everyone that I was not good at this. Fortunately, the bell rang right then.

"You all look great!" I said, shooing them out the door. "Have a fun day!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

That's the Spirit

It's spirit week at school, and so each day has a theme that students are encouraged to dress for. Monday was Pajama Day, Tuesday Twin Day, and today was Character Day, when kids could come dressed as their favorite person from a book, movie, TV, etc. Participation, especially in sixth grade, is always a bit spotty– mostly because people forget, as I confess I do often. Like today, when one of the girls in my homeroom came in dressed in pink, wearing a small knapsack and carrying a chicken hand puppet.

"Put your backpack in your locker before the bell," I advised her.

"I need it," she told me. "I'm Dora the Explorer."

I took a closer look. I couldn't see it, but who am I to criticize someone's creative vision? "What's with the chicken?" I asked, for clarification.

"It's Perrito," she answered. "I don't have a dog puppet."

"If you say so," I replied, "but remember, Dora is very well-behaved and always respectful. Right?" I raised an eyebrow at her.

"Noooo," she said, with a hint of a sneer.

"I think she's Ghetto Dora!" another student explained.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


We read an article in class today that happened to cite a guy named MacDonald. That's all it took for one of the kids to become completely obsessed– he sang and hummed Old MacDonald Had a Farm for the rest of the class period. Despite many requests from me and the other students for him to Stop! Please stop! he just couldn't get rid of the ear bug.

Towards the end of class, he did quiet down a little, although his fingers were drumming at quite a pace on the table as he read.

"Are you okay?" I asked, looking meaningfully at his busy little digits.

"Oh yeah," he shrugged, "that's just Old MacDonald, the Remix."

Monday, May 11, 2015

Glows and Grows

Oh how satisfying it is when former students return from high school to tell you how much they appreciated your class!

And then write cuss words on your whiteboard because they think it's so hilariously naughty.

Surely they will have better things to do soon.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


When the handle broke off the top of my grill last fall, I worked around it on the few occasions that I cooked out once the weather turned cold. But it soon became clear that the big, fire-proof gloves I have were simply too clumsy to use indefinitely.

Upon that realization, the first thing I did was search for a new top on eBay. I thought I was being clever, although the thought of that domed piece of steel heading for a landfill did give me pause. Not to worry, though, because it was impossible to find what I wanted out there in the internets... Maybe other folks have less of a compunction than I, or maybe those are just some long-lasting grills.

Next I researched some local welders, convinced that they might reattach that errant handle with a wee drop of soldering, but the job seemed to small for me to bother them with once I got a sense of their mighty pricing.

I'm not sure when it occurred to me that a drill, a couple of screws and some wing nuts would solve my problem, but when it did? I made that repair myself in under 15 minutes for a dollar.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Empty Nest

Could it be that an entire year of college has passed and Josh has returned to Hershey for the summer?

It seems so.

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Thousand Words

"Ugh!" I said when I saw the screen saver one of my students had chosen for his iPad. "What is that?"

"It's cool!" He told me as we looked at a super close-up of a sneering, very pierced and very, very tatooed individual.

I shrugged. It's not my business what the kids put on their devices as long as it's not inappropriate for school. I know my taste and their taste may be quite different, and that's okay, so I try not to judge. This time, I slipped.

"You don't like it?" he asked rhetorically, for it was pretty clear to both of us that I did not.

"I'd just like to see something a little more wholesome for you," I told him honestly. He's a kid that's had some trouble this year– super smart, but tough home life, and he doesn't always make good choices, and he has been defiant and oppositional at times.

He frowned. "What does that mean?" But before I could say, his face brightened. "Wholesome? W-H-O-L-E-S-O-M-E?" he asked. I nodded. "I've seen that word! I know it's good, but I'm not sure how."

"Look it up," I suggested. "You have your iPad."

He did so eagerly, and then scanned the Google definition: good, ethical, moral, clean, virtuous, pure, innocent... Then he clicked on Images at the top of the same search screen and quickly scrolled through, selecting one, screen-shotting it, and replacing the wallpaper on his iPad in under 30 seconds with a picture of the penguins from Happy Feet.

"How's this?" he asked.

I gave him a thumbs up. "I like it."

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Times Have Changed

I was talking with a colleague at lunch today about her daughter who is a 4th grader at a nearby elementary school. Some boys have been picking on the little girl, one of them since kindergarten. My friend has the ears of the teacher, the counselor, and the principal, which is a perk of being a longtime resident, a well-thought-of teacher, and an extrovert.

There are a few other social issues with her daughter as well, these involving a mean girl and a best friend who has never been in the same class. "I told them that I want some changes for next year," she said today, and I know she does; certainly every parent wants their children to be happy, especially at school, but as an educator my thoughts turned to the practical considerations of parent requests and parent demands.

In trying to reconcile the personal and the professional, our conversation made me think back to when I was in elementary student. In those days in our town we found out who our teachers were on a day in late August when the classes were published in the local newspaper. I remember that my mom was always glad when my best friends were not in my classes.

I wondered if it was the times or the situation that was different, and I asked my friend. "I get the bullying thing, but did your mom ever ask the school to change any of your classes so you would be with your friends?"

She was silent. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Good to Know

There's a teacher on our team this year who moved from 6th grade to 7th five years ago, and after a one year stint in 6th again, next year she's going back to 7th. She brings a fresh perspective to our team meetings, for she has worked elsewhere in the building with other colleagues and older kids.

For example, today we spent a big chunk of time grappling with the case of a boy who tells his parents he is desperately unhappy at school, which is why he is not doing his homework, yet at school, he appears to be fine.

Fine with the exception of tearing up any time he is confronted about being ill-prepared for class. That is unusual for most of our students. "Oh," our colleague shrugged, "he's probably just advanced. Seventh grade boys cry way more than most sixth graders. But by the time they get to eighth grade?" She shrugged again. "They never shed a tear."

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Good Betty Beth

April 15 happens to be the birthday of one of Heidi's closest friends. These days, Beth lives with her husband and two daughters on the campus of a private boarding school not far from Princeton, and we see them when we can. Years ago, Heidi started calling her "Betty," and the nickname lives on, but only for Heidi and those of us who know Beth through her.

Beth has a thing about giraffes, and so when we saw a birthday card with a giant, goofy one on the front along with the caption Do I wish you a happy birthday? the purchase was a no brainer, especially when we opened it up to read You bet giraffe I do! So a few days before tax day, Heidi signed the card for both of us, addressed it, and dropped it in the mail.

I was teaching my class about a week later when the secretary knocked on the door. "I just received a strange message for you," she reported. "A woman named Betty at some school in New Jersey received a birthday card from you, but she says it's not for her." I frowned in confusion. "She says it was addressed 'To my friend Betty' but she doesn't know you, and it's not her birthday. She said it was a cute card, though!" I thanked her and went back to the lesson, and was in the middle of giving instructions when it occurred to me what had happened. I mentioned the mix-up to Heidi a little later and after a laugh, we both promptly forgot it.

Until today, that is, when we got this email:

Good morning,Tracey and Heidi,

A few weeks ago a birthday card arrived at our school, signed by you and addressed to "My Friend Betty" followed by the school address. The woman in our Tech Department, also named Betty, received the card, but didn't know either of you so she sent it my way....

I am not sure I know you either and there is no other Betty at our school, so here I am contacting you....

Did you intend for this to go to someone else, perhaps...??? Just trying to solve the mystery....I loved the card by the way, but my birthday was in January....

And so I replied to her message with the true identity of the intended recipient, and a request that she pass the card along, which she promised she would. I can't wait to hear from our Betty when she finally gets it!

Monday, May 4, 2015


So my fitness app has me thinking... what if every day really were like today?

This day, the weather was nearly perfect, but I was busy at school and barely got to enjoy it. My phone tells me I broke even, but I don't think so. If I had a do-over, I'd definitely make some adjustments.

When I was in high school we read Zorba the Greek, and for some reason Kazantzakis struck a chord with our group of 17-year-old girls. More than one of my friends chose a quotation from the book as their yearbook caption. His words have stayed with me, too.

While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it do we suddenly realize - sometimes with astonishment - how happy we had been.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Generally Speaking

Today was easily the busiest day of the year, so far: It started with a walk to the farmers market and then on to the garden center. Once home, we ate a quick lunch and were off to the garden to remove a winter's growth of weeds. Fortunately we had Josh with us, because 2 1/2 hours later we had 14 contracter bags full, and that guy wheeled them all to the curb. Back home again, we put winter things in the attic, I repaired the lid to my grill, we potted 36 tomato seedlings and planted a few pots of marigolds and sunflowers, just in time to cook dinner.

I recently started using a fitness app that tracks activity and logs food and exercise. There are definitely good days and meh days, and one of the features I like best is a little note at the end of each one that tells you how it would be "if every day were like this one."

Today I don't need it, because if every day were like today?

I'd be exhausted!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Lesson Not Learned?


Perhaps that was me, rushing out to see the first big summer movie on its opening weekend. It turns out, vacation is still a little too far away for me to sit back, relax, suspend my disbelief, and enjoy the show, because "over-eager" pretty much describes the movie also. The Avengers opens with a battle and ratchets up from there. It all seemed a little forced to me.

Fortunately? If the previews are any indication, then it's going to be a good movie summer! Tomorrowland, Terminator, Jurassic Park, Ant-Man, and a reboot of The Fantastic Four will all be playing on the big screen in the next few months.

Can I wait?



Friday, May 1, 2015

Where They'll Be

When we were talking about President Kennedy's assassination yesterday, I compared his death to the attacks on September 11, 2001. "Everyone in America will remember where they were the day the Twin Towers fell for the rest of their lives," I pointed out to the class.

They seemed to take my word for it; I guess they had to since not one of them was born yet on that day.

Later I wondered what unifying moment awaits their generation, and I hoped that instead of



or destruction,

it might actually be something