When we were on Guemes Island a few weeks ago, we watched a large sailboat come up from the south. Even without binoculars, I could see the sail straining as the wind filled it. The boat tilted slightly and then glided across the water. As it came around the tip of Samish Island, it stopped.… Read More Headwinds, Tailwinds, No Winds: In sailing and cycling, as in life
I have two routes to work. My preferred route is a winding country road cut into the base of a hill. It meanders through farmlands that abut the Snohomish River. When the temperatures drop below freezing or the river threatens to jump its banks, I am forced onto the freeway. The I-5 route is not… Read More 10 Reasons to Navigate Your Life Like Google Maps
Is this The Great Resignation? Or is it just time for us all to be resigned?… Read More Let’s Be Resigned
I spent the last weekend with my daughter. She called it the Ultimate Mother-Daughter, Foodie, Coffee Shop Writing, Shopping, Rodeo Weekend. (We need to work on a catchier title. That’s never going to fit on a bumper sticker). The Adventure Days and Mother-Daughter Dinner Dates of her childhood have evolved into weekends at her home… Read More 282 Miles – Zero Distance
After more than a year of constant virtual meetings, my eyes are shot—bloodshot. For fear I was doing permanent damage, I made an appointment with my ophthalmologist. As part of the exam, he placed some dye in my eyes and shined a bright light directly at them. Suddenly, I could see every blood vessel in… Read More How a trip to the eye doctor helped me see the world less clearly
It has been my experience that Boxers are particularly sensitive dogs. Every time my husband sneezes, for example, Buttercup rushes to his aid. When my daughter is sad, Delta refuses to leave her side. The mere sight of a suitcase throws them into malaise. So, you can imagine how mortified I was when, after just… Read More Boxers, Banjos and Bravery
Rejection doesn’t have to be evidence of failure. It can be a redirection toward a better opportunity. It is one of the most important lessons on the road to publishing. … Read More Rejection = Redirection
Last week, one of my former students asked on Facebook, “What is your signature dish?” I was tempted to write Take Out. It would be funny if it weren’t true. I am going to admit something very vulnerable here. These are my pancakes: This morning, I stood pondering why my husband’s pancakes are always fluffy… Read More You can learn a lot from pancakes.
My daughter went back to college a couple weeks ago after being home for the winter break. I thought that she would be about 24 years old before I would have this feeling that is exploding from my heart. I can’t really put my finger on it exactly. Satisfaction? No, not big enough. Vindication? No,… Read More What every kid needs to learn before you give them tuition or luggage.
My career got off to a rocky start. The ink was still drying on my degree and teaching certificate, as I set out to find my first teaching job. With the optimism of Shirley Temple and the enthusiasm of a Mouseketeer, I combed the job postings. I soon discovered that the widely-advertised science teacher shortage did not apply… Read More Obstacles and Opportunities
This morning I PR’ed (Personal Record) on the Erg, or as I like to call it the “Magical Sliding Instrument of Pain”. I rowed 5881 meters in 30 minutes and my split broke the dreaded 2:30 by just seconds. Now, for all you flat-abbed, bicep-bulging, custom-calved whippersnappers out there chuckling at my sub-sub-sub-lightning speed, keep… Read More The downfalls of multi-tasking – or, as my Daddy would say, “Half-assing”
It’s 4:15 AM and my REM-induced travels are abruptly ended by my clock radio blaring Miranda Lambert. In silence, I get up, get dressed, and brush my teeth. In the workout room, I turn on the fan and put my bike shoes on. I spend 30 minutes on the bike, change shoes and put in… Read More Make a Habit of It
I was staring out the dusty screen door of our canary-yellow, cookie-cutter rambler when I first realized he had superpowers. My bangs glanced off the cheap metal door as I followed his deliberate movements back and forth across the patio. My mother hooked me around the waist, dragging me back as she slammed the glass slider closed, “Come away… Read More The House That Built Me
Last weekend, my best friend and I recruited a few enthusiastic volunteers (our husbands and one of our dear friends) and we pressed 400 pounds of grape must. I have been making wine from kits for about 20 years with pretty solid success. In addition to getting about 30 bottles of delicious vino for my… Read More Of Grapes and Friendship
I have a confession to make. I have a box in my garage that I take out every time I am wondering about whether I am making a difference in this world. It’s not full of trophies. There are no framed awards in the box. Nothing is engraved or embossed. It is a box of… Read More Have You Thanked a Teacher Lately?
It was a spring, Saturday morning in Georgia. My father must have been away on business because, had he been home, I would never have realized my own true power. It was just my stepmom and me. Our blended family was new and more like a salad than soup. Still getting to know each other… Read More Stronger Than I Thought
I’m starting with the really big questions this week, which always seems to coincide with the end of a vacation in which I get a little breathing room to think big thoughts. This particular vacation was riddled with laughter and that, too, breaks up the log jams that clog my thinking. I read a beautiful… Read More Finding the Purpose of (My) Life
I was having coffee with some friends recently when, inevitably, the subject of our dogs came up. Three of us have medium to large dogs and one has a smaller, hypoallergenic one (which is brilliant since I think EVERYONE needs a dog). I mentioned that I grew up with Basset Hounds, but that these have… Read More If you believe you are a Labrador Retriever….
This morning I awoke before my alarm. I rolled onto my right shoulder and felt that familiar ache from the base of my clavicle to my shoulder joint. I knew once I got moving, it would loosen up. I’m at that age where I swear I can pull a muscle while asleep. It’s disconcerting. Of… Read More Evidence of a Well Spent Youth
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to hear Manny Scott, one of the original Freedom Writers, speak. If you ever have the chance, don’t miss it. He is an extraordinary individual who really embodies the power and resilience of the human spirit. At the end of his speech, he said something that was both… Read More You Can Lead a Horse to Water
I was two months into my first year in a new school when I found myself hunched over a lunch table in the staff room praying for an earthquake. Not a big earthquake. Loss of life and limb was not necessary. I didn’t even want property damage. I just wanted everyone to get stuck in… Read More The Truth Will Set You Free
I love school. I love it so much in fact I have spent 42 years of my life in school and another 6 supporting schools so far. Basically, I was 4 the last time a whole year went by and I was not in school. When I was a babysitter, I even used to hold… Read More So Much to Learn, So Little Time
Confession time. I was a science major. There, I said it. It’s out. What a relief! Does that mean I am not also an artist? Well frankly, I sure thought so. In fact, I could make you a chart quantifying my non-artistic characteristics. (My friends are shaking their collective heads right now both in exasperation… Read More Confessions of a Closet Artist