05 April 2020

Spring Breakin'

It's Spring Break...well, for the kids anyway. For us administrators, we are on the clock Monday - Thursday this week. I hope to extend my 3-day weekend, but we'll see how things go this week.


When schools closed due to concerns over COVID-19, we had a parent call one of our schools to ask why the bus didn't show up that morning. In spite of the phone calls and emails home to say that schools would be closed, in spite of the coverage in the news of the governor's statement, the parent didn't get the message. I suppose there is no such thing as overcommunication, whether it's Spring Break or Armageddon.

This year, I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

04 April 2020

The Eternal Question

For the most part, I am not a fan of dinner. Oh, I like dinner menus...but I am hard-wired to be an early to rise, early to bed type person. I find that if I eat a meal after 3 or 4 in the afternoon, I don't sleep well. It throws off my whole rhythm unless I plan to be up late or don't have to be anywhere the next day. Breakfast is my jam. And as much as I love the traditional fare—scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, etc.—I am also quite content with pasta, a burger, or stuff most people prefer later in the day. Typically, I don't eat a "full" breakfast, but when I do, I find that I don't need to eat the rest of the day. A small salad at lunch is plenty...and that's it.


I do, however, love to cook. I started cooking in middle school when my amom was in and out of the hospital quite a bit with her chronic illness. My adad was a smart man with many talents, but cooking was not one of them. The man burned water once (he set a pan to boil water...and then forgot about it). To be a teen is to always be hungry. So if I wanted to eat, I needed to make it happen myself. And I've been at it ever since. I won't claim that I'm a great cook...but I know the basics of getting around a kitchen. It's something that is serving me well during this period of self-isolation.

I've lived alone for a long time. Cooking for one is challenging...so I don't do that. When I find a recipe I like, I make the whole batch. Then, I split it up into servings and freeze what I don't want to consume right away. It's not unusual to find my freezer stashed with breakfast burritos, twice-baked potatoes, casseroles, and ready-to-bake cookie dough. I've learned a lot of tricks along the way.

At the moment, I seem to be craving comfort foods. I made French Onion Chicken Lasagna Roll-ups, and green chile chicken enchiladas. I have chili con carne. My pantry is stocked with flour and sugar and coffee. The freezer has sausage and bacon and hamburger. It's nice each day to just pull out one thing to thaw and bake as a home-cooked meal. Since we're under a stay-at-home order for another month, I am finding myself looking back through my recipes to think about what I'd like to make for the next round of items...although it is the time of year when I am trying to finish out whatever is in the freezer. Summer is coming, along with its bounty, and there needs to be room for cherries and blueberries and peppers. Summer is coming.

This year, I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

03 April 2020

The I Is Silent

I have blogged before about my absolute hatred of the word team, but today's tweet (full list here) is yet another reminder:

A few weeks after this tweet, I wrote

Which brings me to my current thinking about the word "team" as it applies to the educational workplace. As I've mentioned here before, I find its use somewhat offensive. I'm a person—not a thing—I don't want to be referred to as a collective noun. More importantly is the association of the word "team" with "competition." Education is not a game. We are not out to beat anybody and run up the score. We are here to do the best we can for each child. Meanwhile, "team" implies that there is a "captain" who gets to do as they please while the rest of the group works to satisfy his/her goals—rather than goals in common for student ends. Education is about collaborative action on behalf of a student. A collaborative effort means that everyone's voice is important and each person brings value to the discussion. In a team, one person's voice will always be important and the rest only have value inasmuch as they agree with that person and or can do the specific work s/he wants.

And I have to say that I have not changed my mind in the intervening years. This word grates on my nerves more than any other. I have noticed that I hear it most often from the men in my orbit to reinforce their bro culture. I keep tally marks at meetings of how often my humanity is erased...how the word only adds to the sense of being owned and used.

Until recently, I thought that maybe I was the only one who didn't like the word. As it turns out, I am not.


In addition to this tweet I saw last year, I discovered that the wife of one of my co-workers is also not a fan and finds it incredibly demeaning. While it is not specifically referred to in Kate Manne's Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, the word is noticeably absent and she does write about how these sorts of terms can be misogynistic. (My book is at the office...but I will try to remember to get it the next time I stop by.)

I know that stomping out this term isn't a battle I'm going to win. There are plenty of people for whom it's not an issue. But I hope that more and more, we continue to be mindful of our language and its impact on others...that we look at it to see who it benefits...and remember that we are people-first.

02 April 2020

Memory Lane

The building I work in is next door to an elementary school. One of the playgrounds is right next to my window. I love seeing and hearing the kids out there playing every day. Rain, snow, or shine, there is always something happening.

Some activities I see engender a sense of nostalgia
Oh, how I loved it in elementary PE when we got to play with the parachute. The colours and the rush of air...getting to do something that was not just different from other sessions, but something that you'd never get to do at home or while over at a friend's house. And, it didn't really matter if you were "good" at it, like when people picked teams for kickball or something. If there was a parachute class at a local gym, I would totally sign up for that now.

I will miss seeing this activity this spring. School isn't canceled for the year here just yet. I think chances are very slim that we will see students again this year, which makes playing with a parachute just a memory for me again.

This year, I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

01 April 2020

April. Come She Will.

My project this year, although 2020 already feels like it's been several years long, was to get back into blogging by selecting a tweet each day that I'd posted in a previous year to showcase this year. That way, I'd have a constant supply of prompts and a regular reminder to get back in the habit of writing. The On This Day bot sends me a link each day that shows me all of the tweets from today's date in previous years. Here is April 1.

So far, I've made it. I have a post for each day...and only had to cheat once. I was so exhausted from a work day that I completely forgot about posting, so I did so the next morning and made the date of the post the previous day. Sometimes, I am really having to stretch to find anything to post and other days there are too many tweets to choose from. Such is the ebb and flow of life, I suppose. Not every day can be exciting (even across the years) and not every piece of excitement ends up on a Twitter timeline. But at this odd point in our history when self-isolation is a way of life, I am so very grateful for the online relationships that I've built over the years. And while some people have come and go on my timeline, there is still joy in all of the long-term connections that have been built. We're still here.

Easter may still be a few days away, but there's no reason why we can have a treat tonight.


A simple concoction of coconut, almond extract, and egg white...dipped in chocolate and sliced almonds and topped with chocolate eggs. Something that will definitely help you #FattenTheCurve.

April will not be an easy month, if things play out the way they are shaping up to be. But I am trying to look forward to long sunny days, flowers and the scent of freshly mowed grass, and whatever comes next. Join me there, won't you?

31 March 2020

The Magic Is You


It's quite the mass experiment happening right now with emergency remote learning. I am inspired by some of what I see posted on Twitter—teachers who are making the best they can out of a suboptimal situation for both themselves and students. I see some striking a balance between content, personal connection with students, and options for learning. And I know of some teachers who are struggling. A few haven't developed the tech skills necessary to navigate a fully online environment. Others are so married to their perception of school that they can't see learning happening any other way. But the ones who seem to be most averse to engaging at all are the ones who never developed positive relationships with students while they had the face-to-face option. The ones screaming the loudest about a lack of equity now in terms of access to learning were always the quietest ones before. It's not really about equity for them. It's just a convenient excuse to do nothing for everyone and claim that is equity.

So, when I saw this tweet from a previous year on this date (full list here), it made me think about this disconnect in our current context. If we've made an effort to build relationships with our students...if we've made the focus of our work together on learning (and not teaching)...then it will all be okay. We'll all come out the other side of this pandemic just fine. The magic doesn't come from the year you were born on whether or not you have a Chromebook at your house. There are all kinds of ways to communicate and connect and learn...even without the Internet. Families are going to figure that out in the coming weeks and months. They are going to expect different things of us when they finally return their children to our care and classrooms. I hope that we can learn enough of what we need from this experience, too.

30 March 2020

Faking It Isn't Making It

We are all navigating this global twist of Fate the best that we can. I hope that wherever you are, you are letting yourself feel moments of strength...and letting yourself fall apart. I hope you're giving yourself grace when you just need to stare out the window for half an hour, as well as a pat on the back when you accomplish something (even if it's just brushing your teeth).


This tweet might be from four years ago (full list of tweets from this date here), but it would have suited me to a T today. I went through the motions related to work. I attended meetings online. I organized my calendar for the week. I handled some administrivia, returned phone calls, and tracked some email tasks. I might have solved a problem here or there. But I have to admit that my heart wasn't really in it. I am struggling with all the busy work we are all creating for ourselves. I don't understand why we're so hopelessly committed to making things work like normal when things just aren't normal. So, I will keep plugging along and hope that I can fake it until I make it back to full-strength motivation.

29 March 2020

Then, Now, Next

My Sunday wasn't bad. I made the drive up to my work place at 6:30 in the morning so I could swap out a few things. After telecommuting for nearly two weeks, I needed a few supplies and also wanted to drop some things off. The office is closed for another week (at least) and I know we have a "stay at home" order from the governor. But an hour when I was the only one in the entire building was just as good as isolating at home. I then picked up my grocery order. And then I met a friend for a walk. We distanced as much as we could...but we each live alone and after a week by ourselves, it was nice to connect and chat and decompress.

It was nice, but it was so very different from this date last year. On this date (full list of tweets) it was the day before Spring Break. It had been an exhausting month...again, for different reasons from this one. I decided to start the break a little early by taking the Friday off. I remember that it was a beautiful day. The sun was out and the temperature was comfortable. I spent the morning at home, and then walked to our little town's downtown area.


In the fall, this region has a studio tour called ARTrails. It's always a lot of fun and over the years, I have picked up a lot of great pieces. Last year on this date, they brought all of the artists together for a show. This was great for them, as during the studio tour, none of the artists get to see each other's work. I find a lot of personal inspiration in seeing the creative efforts of others, even the art I don't like. It's a big deal to believe in yourself enough to put your visuals and creative communications out into the world. I have such respect and admiration of them all.

And then I went to lunch and a movie. There is only one theatre in town and it's part of a hotel and bar. They show second run films. You can sit on sold sofas and order a burger and beverage and chill out. It's a fabulous way to spend some time. And while I wasn't super-impressed with the film I saw that day, I enjoyed having the theatre to myself...and a cold beer with my lunch.

The Olympic Club Theatre

I keep reminding myself that these good times will come again. They will look different, I know. We are learning to see the world and ourselves in new ways. The old normal will seem so distant and quaint through our new lenses. I am very curious about what is next.

28 March 2020

Nothing Lasts Forever

In yesterday's post, I shared a tweet about something that was giving me comfort. But a year ago, I asked for advice (full list of tweets from this date):


Last year was very...challenging. This year has been...and continues to be...but in different ways. I have found over the last couple of years that I am made of much stronger stuff than I would ever have thought of. I can't claim that I am particular graceful or any more skilled now than I was a year ago, just a bit more confident. And maybe the answer to my question from a year ago is simply "time." Just experience it and realize that it won't be permanent.

27 March 2020

Episodes of Comfort

Last year, around this time, I discovered the most delightful series: Corner Gas. Not the animated version that's around now...but the original series that started up in 2004.

Last year, it was included with Amazon Prime and was free (and without ads!). I spent most of my Spring Break holiday watching it...and laughing my ass off. I even got a few co-workers hooked. And after it left Prime, I ended buying the first season, although I suspect I will end up getting all of them over time. The episodes are all so familiar and comforting at this point that they are one of my favourite things to have on when I drift off to sleep.

I've seen the movie and the animated series, too. I like them all, but recommend starting at the very beginning. I tell people to try one episode. If you like it, you'll like the whole thing. The characters are who they are from the very beginning and the structure of the writing and episodes remains the same across the years. This is not to say that it's dull. I find it to be very smart. But I know that people have different tastes when it comes to comedy. So, try one and see for yourself. And couldn't we all use a reason to smile these days?


This year, I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

26 March 2020

Washing the Greys Away

This is best I can do for a tweet from today's date:

I am almost 10 years older now. I can tell you that that one grey hair in my eyebrow has several friends now. I jokingly refer to them by the name of one of my co-workers, as they multiplied after he was hired. But at the time the first few started appearing, I hadn't realized they were a sign of more than just age. The fact that they all showed in one brow was a sign of thyroid issues. I've addressed those, but the hairs remain. Fortunately, I know a talented esthetician who shapes and dyes them for me so everything matches and blends together.

I started going grey, in terms of the hair on my head, when I was 20. This was more a function of being autoimmune (I have RA) than stress. It was many more years before I felt the urge to dye my hair. Most recently, I've been going a bit more red (see image at right for my current choice). Red has always suited me, but this particular shade is a bit bolder, and I often get compliments from both people I know, as well as strangers, on it. At Thanksgiving, I woman I'd never met came up and hugged me because she felt like red heads had to stick together.

Someday, I won't colour it anymore. I'm not sure when that will be. I just know that I'm not ready to be grey yet. I'm sure it will be another transition...and a relief to not have so much upkeep and maintenance. Right now, though, it feels like my secret power can be applied and refreshed for a few dollars a month. It takes away the grey in more ways than one.

25 March 2020

Little Things Mean a Lot

Before I moved a couple of years ago, I rented a house from a lawyer who owned and lived in the house next door. She ended up starting her own practice, after many years of working for others. She was even able to pull a paralegal up and out with her. The landlady had both inherited money and made a good salary. She was very smart, and yet she had a husband who was a mess. He was quite content to live off of her money. I'm sure he must have had some charms, but from where I sat, I didn't see that he had much to offer her in terms of supporting her as a person or the goals she had in mind.

One day, she stopped by to collect the rent check and wanted to ask a question. She said that she didn't know very many women, like us, who had professional careers. She told me that she was struggling to find balance in her life...and that she thought I had it all together. How did I manage it all?

I assured her that I don't have my act together more than anyone else—I'm making it up as I go along, too. I said that when I start to feel overwhelmed, my favourite thing to do is this:


It's nothing big. It's just a moment. But to go sit at a counter and be anonymous...where no one expects anything from her other than she pay the check and tip well...brings it all back to center. I told her that she didn't have to do this exact thing, but she needed to identify the small thing that would help her the same way. She seemed to like this.

Right now, I could use that little thing. It would be reassuring in these times where it feels like nearly everything is outside my control. Instead, I will put on coffee to brew and refill my cup and maybe even my sense of self.

This year, I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

24 March 2020

Aesthetically Pleasing

Don Norman has stated that Pleasant things work better. And while he was referring to objects, I believe that this philosophy could be applied to other relationships as well. But I will use today's tweet from this date to reflect on physical stuff.

I don't wear these glasses very often—I only need them when my contacts are out—but they are gorgeous. I found them on Etsy as NOS (New Old Stock). This means that since they were first manufactured in the 1950s, they were never used until I had lenses added six years ago. I love having a bit of the past and being able to appreciate it now.

In the back of that photo are a few other of my favourite things...from the miniature chair and ottoman, to a desk lamp with mosaic polka dot tiles, a red Swingline stapler (I was in the cube farm), gold paperclips, and my former calendar/notebook.

Over the years, my personal style has evolved. In my 20s, when I first had money to spend, I was far more focused on acquiring stuff then thinking about what sort of stuff was important. In my 30s, I started figuring out that part. And in my 40s, I let go of a lot of stuff that I had acquired over the years and made an effort to just have things in my house that have a place and purpose...and are pleasant. I am ever vigilant about keeping things pared down to just the ones that make me happiest. I am appreciating that all the more as I am limited to home over the next couple of weeks.

23 March 2020

Hello, Newman...er, Monday


While I am not quite at the level of the comic character, Garfield, in my low opinion of Mondays, I have to admit that some are more challenging than others. Maybe it's just when Mondays fall on March 23 (full list of tweets from this date here)?

Today wasn't too terrible...even for the start of the workweek. But I admit that I am not as productive as usual right now. My head is full of too many "What ifs..." and even more "Why aren't we's..."

This evening, the governor issued a 2-week stay-at-home order...and I feel very relieved about that. I know it is not enough to stop the spread of the virus worldwide, but it will help so many people that I know and love. It's a start. And if others follow similarly, maybe it will make the larger impact we need.

I will sometimes start my musings with "If someone died and made me Queen..." I think my biggest wish tonight in my imaginary kingdom is simply that work stops for two weeks. For two weeks, I think we should allow families everywhere to just focus on what they need to be safe and healthy. After that, we can start getting back to business. For now, I wish we could just take the time to mentally adjust to this whole new situation. Reading, writing, and arithmetic will still be there in 14 days. Maybe that will be a Monday that won't suck.

22 March 2020

See also: Compound W and Travel Toothpaste


You may be wondering if I learned this particular lesson the hard way and ended up gluing my lips together. In fact, I did not...but I often needed to double-check the item in my hand. I have to admit that I was awful close to sticky lips more than once.

This year, I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

Not a lot to choose from today!

21 March 2020

Out of Office

I started telecommuting on Wednesday, much to my relief. Only two in my office (out of eight people) made this choice. To me, this is all the more reason not to be there. Comments I've heard include statements like "I won't live in fear." and "The flu kills more people." feel both shortsighted and selfish. I heard people this week bragging about how the parking lot at Home Depot was full with everyone who wanted to get a jump on yard work while the weather was nice, as well as the full aisles at Costco and Walmart. I have tried to physically (let alone socially) distance myself from them as much as I can. I understand that they don't care if they get sick. I can't understand that they don't care if others do by their actions.


To be sure, I am not out on a very long holiday (like the statement in the tweet from this date)...and I am checking email regularly during work hours. I haven't added an out-of-office message. I figure that most people aren't expecting me to be sitting at my desk when for the most part, no one is sitting at theirs for now.

I am keeping busy...for now. The reality is that if school is out until the end of April, I can probably string things along. I am just moving all my summer work up into this time slot. But, if school ends up being canceled for the year (which I suspect is a strong possibility), then I do not have enough to keep me going for six months. And maybe that's okay.

My mind keeps returning to two major themes.

First of all, on a work-related level, this is an opportunity to make something new. I don't know when there will be enough energy for that, however. Right now, nearly every conversation I am hearing is about how to maintain the status quo during a situation in which is going to have long-lasting impacts across all areas of life. It's not tenable to say we're just going to carry on like usual. But the PTB have to get to that place in their minds, too. I don't know when that will happen. When it does and we start to move in that direction, it's possible that my job and how I earn my paycheck will look very different than during these few weeks. I might not like what is on the other side of this, but being in this mindset at least lets me look for opportunity vs. letting something just happen to me.

And, second of all, on a personal and social level, everything is going to experience a hard reset. Families are going to learn to be together in ways they haven't had to be. Neighbours and businesses will interact differently. When kids come back to our buildings some day, parents may have some very different expectations for us. Maybe after experiencing distance learning, unschooling, or whatever happens in the next six months (or year), they will not be content with kids experiencing school in the same way parents did at those ages.

I was telling someone recently that the biggest lesson I've learned in this life is that instead of spending energy on trying to hold everything together, sometimes you just have to let it all fall apart. Because then it is revealed which things were worth holding onto in the first place. And you can take those pieces and create a new future with them.

If others haven't learned that lesson, they soon will in the coming weeks and months. I also wonder how many out of office messages I will be seeing in the coming year that seem as out of date as the one I saw four years ago. How many will be set before people become sick, are laid off, or even pass on? The bottom line is that we're not out of office...we're journeying to a very different world.

20 March 2020

No Pants, No Problem

When I started my most recent job, I was asked to get an administrator credential, which I agreed to do...and then did. To be sure, I have never wanted to be a principal. But I am called in occasionally to pinch hit. And the tweet from this date is one from a time when I was doing just that:


It's very hard to be five. If you've forgotten how hard it is, consider yourself very fortunate.

Now, imagine that you're five years old, your pants are too big...and it's recess. You want to run around and play, but your pants keep falling down. This is a very serious problem. And the way you solve it when you're five is you just to take your pants off so you can keep playing with your friend.

Makes perfect sense, right?

Except some pesky adults don't quite see it that way. So, this little dude was issued a discipline referral and as principal du jour, I got to talk to him. I asked him to explain what happened on the playground, which he did. I asked him, "Do you know why we need to wear pants on the playground?" He had a very quizzical look on his face. He shook his head at me. "No," he said seriously.

I could hardly keep a straight face after that.

So, we determined that he didn't have another pair of pants at home, but he did have a belt and would try to remember to use it the next day.

And then I got to call his mom and tell her all about this conversation.

I love these little slices of life that happen when I am in buildings. They are unique and irreplaceable.

But I still don't want to be a principal.

19 March 2020

Two Funnies for the Price of One Blog Post

I had a hard time deciding which tweet to share today (full list here), so I picked two. Both made me laugh.

The first one is from a restaurant where I was engaging in my favourite hobby: Eavesdropping. I was fortunate enough to have the kitchen table—a tiny booth across from the kitchen where you can drink and dine and watch (and hear) all of the action. Two people were prepping dinners when I overheard their conversation.


I have to say that I hadn't ever looked that way at that sort of advice...but I have from that point forward. What if what makes someone happy isn't healthy?

Speaking of, here is selection #2:


I have to admit that the handbasket is a much more appealing option. I'd be happy to hop in that one any time.

18 March 2020

This Guy


I miss this dude. I don't think he's dead, mind you, we've just lost touch.

When I worked in an elementary school, I had a great time working for him. He was smart, truly enjoyed being around kids and teachers, and had a fabulous sense of humour. He lived his life out loud, which meant that he tended to overshare sometimes. But overall, it was an utter delight to pull up to the parking lot each day and walk in the building. I have never worked in another school that made me feel that way.

Since school is currently canceled for the foreseeable future, I have to say that this tweet makes me feel nostalgic for simpler times.

This year, I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

17 March 2020

A Sense of Belonging

Two years ago, the ASCD Annual Conference was in Boston. It was the last ASCD event that I have attended. I have always loved them, in part from the learning and sharing, but also because of the friendships and personal connections that were made. I really enjoyed being a temporary part of the press corps—and in the golden days, the company comm shop always took good care of us. It was an opportunity to feel part of something. Last year, I didn't attend for the first time in several years. It was just too hard of a year last year and I couldn't find the energy to engage. This year, I really wanted to go, but it would not have mattered as the conference was canceled due to the virus.


I was really looking forward to going to Boston. As the tweet selected from today's date references, it was a new adventure. But I have to admit that I wasn't particularly impressed. It is not a place I would choose to go back to or recommend to others to visit. Maybe I just missed on seeing any of the things that make it special for others. I was super-happy to get to come home.

It's always interesting to discover places that seem to "fit" and ones that don't. It's nothing that can be adequately described or put into words. It's that weird sense we all have about things—including people or situations that are safe or unsafe.

I was a finalist for a job in Boston last summer. I was very interested in the job and it would have been an amazing opportunity. But I have to admit that I didn't fight very hard for it because of my initial experience in that city. I don't have any regrets. I know where I belong.

16 March 2020

Invisible, Not Invincible


These are odd times, to be sure. On one hand, I can see in the news and on Twitter that there is a terrible contagion spreading around the world. I can see that whole countries are closed. I can see that there is suffering and death.

But here...

Life is mostly normal. Sure, schools are closed, along with many businesses, but my work place is not. I don't mind going in—I have plenty of space and an office door that closes. I do mind that our building is not closed to the public and all day yesterday we had a steady stream of parents who wanted to pick up or drop off paperwork from the desk outside my office. I don't mind helping as we figure out efforts to provide access to food for our kids who need the most and shaping the messaging that will go out to families about different updates. I do mind that a meeting for 34 administrators was held in a room that could not accommodate physical distancing.

I am not better than or more important than any other person. But I am also no more expendable. I can see that we have a very small window of opportunity to take some drastic measures in order to help our healthcare system have a chance against all of this. I don't know why others think that it's just business as usual. And it's giving me heartburn all over again (full list of today's tweets here).

Stay safe. Stay home, my friends.

15 March 2020

Pardon Me, Boy


I. Love. Amtrak.

There. I said it. I admit that my passion for the train is not as deep as for Excel. I consider the train to be more like my side piece.

I will write about the train again later this year, I am sure, when we get closer to Thanksgiving. I know that some people don't like being on the train. They find it claustrophobic and yes, it is not the way to go if you're in a hurry. But I love being able to sit for hours and look out the window. I especially like the Coast Starlight, as it winds its way between Seattle and Los Angeles. I have to admit that the Washington part of the journey is not so scenic, as referenced above, but I love the southern part of Oregon as you move through the snowy mountains where no roads go. And California has so many different regions, from desert to farm to sloughs to cities. It's a great place to people watch and connect. And I always sleep so very well.

One of the things I like best about where I live now is that there are several train lines that pass through, including Amtrak. I love hearing the train horns and other associated sounds. I find them very comforting...even the 3 am wake-up call.

This year, I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

14 March 2020

So Meta

Many years ago (Amazon claims I bought a copy in 1998), I read Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonders. In doing so, I fell in love with the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

And on this date six years ago, I was finally able to visit it.


It is a wondrous place, indeed. The space is really a museum about museums and provokes conversation about who gets to be an expert and when we should believe them. I understand that that doesn't sound very sexy, but you just have to trust me that it's magical to experience. Mice on toast...decaying dice...portraits of dogs that were launched into space...sculptures of string games. What makes something museum-worthy? Are the detailed descriptions next to the exhibits true...or not? Are the exhibits even real? It's all up for grabs.

I wish that I had found someone to go along with me, because it is really the sort of thing you want to talk about both during and after the experience. Someday, I hope to go back and immerse myself once more in the whole thing. It is the one place I recommend to people when they say they are going to Los Angeles. So, if you find yourself there, make an effort to take a look. You will not be disappointed.

13 March 2020

Extra Long, Extra Ordinary


I don't know about you, but this week felt like it lasted as long as two weeks. And today? It felt extra long. I can't tell you what motivated me to tweet this sentiment back in 2009 (full list of tweets from today's date here). I don't remember why the day was so exhausting or what made it feel like forever.

I can tell you that today has everything to do with COVID 19. We live in a state that is the epicenter of the infection in the US. Our governor has announced that we are closing our schools starting next week and going through April 24. And while I am convinced that this is the right thing to do, it is a lot to take in. I don't quite know how to process a six-week stoppage to a school year due to an unseen enemy. I admit that I am also unclear as to why I am required to keep going to work when others are not. Maybe over time that will change. I hope that it doesn't take a heartbreaking event to engender a different path forward.

For now, I am home...watching and waiting to see what the next long long long day will bring.

12 March 2020

Screw Your Courage

This tweet is only a year old (full list of tweets from this date here), but feels like something I would have said today.

Last year, I watched my district fall completely apart, bit by bit. In 30 years in education, it was—by far—the worst thing I have ever experienced. Just when you thought we'd hit bottom, there would be some new hole in the floor. I did, indeed, steel magnolia the shit out of it all and survived the school year.

Only to get to this one.

Some things are better...some things are most definitely not.

Let's add in living in Washington State while a global pandemic is in the making. Everything looks normal. People are going to work and school. Businesses and restaurants are open. Spring flowers are gorgeous. But something feels off. Today, I watched the governor close schools in nearby counties for six weeks. State testing is canceled for the year. I do not know anyone who is sick, and yet I know that eventually, many people I know will be ill...and I probably will be, too. Some will be hospitalized...and a few will die. But right now, you'd never know it by the looks of things.

I suspect our district will close, too. Maybe not in the next few couple of days, but I would guess that by the end of next week, the path forward will be clear. I may well be wrong, but I would not be surprised for smaller districts to watch these big dogs for a week while they figure out the basics. How do you feed kids? Do your 12-month employees have to show up to the office...or are they allowed to telecommute...or is the district reduced to just "essential" staff? What happens to those processes and timelines that are currently open? Do we cancel meetings...or just postpone them?

It's all new territory, and I'm oh so tired of having to be brave after the past 18 months. Lady MacBeth might have advised me to screw my courage to the sticking point, but right now, I just feel like saying "Screw it."

11 March 2020

The Girls

In my quest to post every day this year using a tweet from a previous year on this date (full list), I don't think I've talked about The Girls. No, not the ones in my bra. These SFW versions:


These are my girls. The tabby is Lucy Sparkles. She's four years old and is quite the bundle of joy. She is friendly and fearless...loves to snuggle under a blanket and tear up paper grocery bags. The grey tuxedo cat is Audrey P. She is more reserved, but fiercely devoted...and 8 years old, still wants to use my fingers as a binky while she drifts off to sleep.

Both cats are from a local rescue organization. I got Audrey as a kitten...Lucy was about 6 months old (already pregnant and abandoned). They are named after classic movie actresses: Audrey for her Hepburn-like white gloves, and Lucy for Lucille Ball for being so full of life and making me laugh. Audrey is not quite as elegant as her name, which is why I call her Audrey P. The "p" is for "punk."

The girls are my rocks. They give me a reason to get up in the morning, a place to relieve my stress, and a million reasons to smile. I hope that you have friends like them, too.

10 March 2020

Business in the Front...and Back

Only time for a quick post this evening. I've been out of the office for the past two days for a conference (yes, we're still having them O_o) and tomorrow is shaping up to be a real barn-burner. So, without further ado, here is my pick of the litter (full list here) for this date:


For the record, the answer to this question is "No."

The 2011 ASCD Annual Conference was the first time I made a handout on a business card, but was definitely not the last. In a time before smartphones were popular (and cameras on phones as good as they are today)...and before Dropbox or other services...a business card was a super-efficient way to put not only my contact information, but a link and qr code to a site where other goodies awaited participants. A stack of business cards is also much easier to carry to a conference than a ream of paper, and there are always extras to hand out while you're at the event (or afterward).

Today, I suspect that most people would just take a picture of my contact information on a presentation slide, but I will always prefer the old-fashioned tools. It's nice to hand someone an actual memento.

09 March 2020

One Bourbon. One Scotch. One Beer.

I am a late-comer to whisk(e)y appreciation. I have never been a big drinker, even in my youth. I have had times where vodka was my thing (lemon drops, cosmos...), then red wine (gimme that Boneshaker Zinfandel). I've enjoyed rum and gin, on occasion. I am known for my knock-you-naked margaritas and am not opposed to a shot of Patron now and then. But as I'm aging, I am finding that bourbon is very much my jam.

I am still a novice. Whiskey is a bigger, broader world than just American style bourbon. Whether you prefer Scotch, Canadian Rye, Irish Whiskey, or something from Japan...there is a lot to learn and understand. I am most appreciative of places like Stack 571 that have nearly 100 types of whiskey to choose from. Last year, I got an opportunity to stretch my palate a bit further:


One of the local restaurants had an amazing dinner of several courses, each paired with a different whiskey. If you're reading this and wondering who can drink that much and still stand up afterward, I need to tell you that each one was a quarter shot. So, even with an extra pour at the end, we're looking at two shots over the course of a couple of hours. I am sure that there were others who chose to sample more heavily at the bar afterwards, but I was quite happy to imbibe responsibly.

The whole thing was really fun. The dinner was limited to 20 people and the food was amazing. The whiskeys were organized from light and grassy to dark and peaty. I definitely have middle-of-the-road type of preferences.

I turned 50 two months ago. I thought for a long time about how I wanted to mark the date. I didn't want a trip. I thought about renting the local theatre space and having movies and food and friends. But in the end, I decided I wanted cake and bourbon. I had three different cakes from various bakeries, and seven different bourbons. One of my friends hosted and we set up three different areas (one pictured below). Just add flowers and friends and a good time was had by all.

There is another Whiskey of the World Dinner later this month. And yes, I bought another ticket, even though it will be a Thursday night...which will make Friday a very long day. But nearly all of the samples will be brand new to me and I am looking forward to learning a bit more about this world I am late to. But better late than never, right?

This year, I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

08 March 2020

Are Women People? 2020 Edition

I'm starting today's post not with a tweet from this date in a previous year, per usual, but with one I saw about a month ago:


To be sure, the tweet references a book by suffragist Alice Duer Miller that was serialized in the New York Times newspaper (hence the headline above). There has been 100 years since white women got the right to vote in US, and while I am sure that this was who Miller had in mind when asking her question, looking at it now, I think we could still ask the same question...and add beyond her original intention. Are black women people? Are trans women people? Are queer women people?

Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes to every other variation and intersectionality. Yes, they are women. Yes, they are people.

But living in an era where the Equal Rights Amendment remains unratified...where wages are stagnant...where laws focus on what a woman can or cannot do with her body...I am not sure everyone agrees that we are human.

Today's is International Women's Day. Here is the tweet I selected:


I always find it interesting that we celebrate women on a Sunday. Being international, not everyone is experiencing the "spring forward" time change, of course...but it always feels like one more way we get cheated. It's not a big thing, of course, in the grand scheme of it all. It's just a metaphor for everything that happens the other 365 days in this leap year.

I raise my glass, nonetheless, to every woman. May we finally be seen as people in our lifetime.