Monday, February 28, 2011

CHEMO: Day One

Mike wanted a normal day so I was in school all day. My chest was squeezed tight and I yawned like I was exhausted. But lessons commenced and education happened. In one class, we are finishing the reading of a novel and getting ready for the test. In the other, it was notes about Transcendentalism. Walden, anyone?

Mike drove himself to the oncology department where they ushered him into the private room. "If you get there early, you get that private room," he said. Throughout this adventure, Mike has always opted for either the first appointment of the day or the last.

He said it went well. Shortly after 11, he left, ran a few errands, got some lunch and drove home. There he worked on the footstool that will match that chair. He went to the YMCA for his swim and then came back home to cook dinner.

He brought out the rotisserie, rubbed up a chicken and placed it inside. A quick call to his mother and we had company for dinner.

Now it's time to settle in the the night. He says he's tired. I know that I am.

So, Day One is past. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tyranny of the Calendar Part II

During the summer of 2009, because we had friends and family around, I could go off by myself once in a while, to take a break from illness.

One of those breaks took me to our local cinema. I like going to the movies and I really like going to the Blue Hair Special showings: early, early, with oldsters in attendance. Sometimes we get a deal on admission. Always we get to sit back in an uncrowded theater. When the announcement plays asking us to 'silence your cell phones,' there's a chuckle as most of us, if we HAVE cell phones, don't have them with us.

So, sitting in the cool darkness, I watched Zombieland.

Yes, I did.

Look, it's a funny movie. It may lean away from the best of taste but it's a ZOMBIE MOVIE. You know, the undead. They roam around and eat the living. They dine with relish, not the pickle variety. Once you buy into the premise, this film is witty and has lots of sight gags. I laughed out loud all the way through it.

So, those of you who assume this writer has some taste: my taste has many facets. Also, let's be honest. No much funny was going on at home and a good laugh was cleansing. I could just let myself go for 2 hours.

While I drove home, thinking of how much I had enjoyed this movie, I wondered if it really WAS that funny or did I need it to be that funny. So, I dragged my son Zach with me to see it the next day. I'm not sure of his take. He DID tell me that now I must see Sean of the Dead, kind of a bookend piece, to get the entire Zombie experience.

(I have watched Sean of the Dead. I stayed after school one day and watched it in my room When I turned on my lights afterward, to my amazement, there were about 8 kids sitting there who had heard the movie and had dropped by.)

Now the movie is on our cable, so we've watched it again (and again and again) I'm in quoting mode when it comes to Zombieland.

The only sad part of going to the movies that summer was the previews. They want to tempt you with the upcoming features. I remember that after the preview, the screen would flash with "Coming Christmas 2009" and I registered that Mike would not get to see it.

Yes, I know. When you're facing death, a movie preview tease seems pretty inconsequential. But, let me tell you, there are lots of places where we are reminded of something that will happen in the future, with a date. All good for planning. A bit sad when you think you are looking at the end.

So, although calendars help me stay organized, they can be tyrants when it hurts to look too far into the future.

So, let me tell you that today was a good day. We went to church, praised God with some great music, and learned about Jonathon and David and their bond of friendship. We were reminded that there is power in affirmation. As is always the case, we had a lot to talk about on the drive home.

This afternoon, some friends drove down from up north. We had a good time, went out for dinner and now they are on their way home.

This evening, Mike and I will probably watch the beginning of the Academy Awards. That cute boy from Zombieland is up for Best Actor but it will go to Colin Firth, who mesmerized us in The King's Speech.

Tonight, we will try to get a good night's sleep.

Tomorrow, bright and early, I'll be up. I want to go for a long walk before school. Then, I"ll be back in my classroom. Because of the snow day last Friday, the kiddies will get an extra day for their essays. They will be thrilled.

Mike will drive out the the hospital and begin his treatment. They are really good at respecting limited time so his 8 AM appointment will be at 8 AM.

Dear friends, you can pray specifically for us tomorrow. We'll keep you posted.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Tyranny of the Calendar

Before the start of every school year, I drive to the office supply store for my most important purchase: a large desktop (that’s a literal desktop) calendar/blotter, each sheet printed with one month. The DAY squares are 3” x 3”. This becomes my Lesson Plan Book, School Activity Sheet and Personal Organizer. Since I prepare for and teach, 2 different courses, I draw horizontal slash marks across the 5 weekday boxes and then fill in what I plan to cover in each class, page numbers, assignments, supplementary material, and etc. This helps me visualize where I need to go; as a veteran teacher, I’m better at planning how long certain lessons will take so although I can scribble or erase, I rarely need to do that. I also write in appointments, in and out of school. Nothing too pressing – dentist, hair, that sort of thing. Sometimes “Call (parent name)” with a phone number. In the margins, I jot notes like a student name and class period: somebody needs a make-up assignment and I can run it to him during my preparation period. This kind of visual record helps me stay on track. It frees me to go ahead, teach my classes and manage my life, uncluttered. The clutter appears on that calendar. When it’s time to tear off a month, the page is usually filled with scribbles, arrows, phone numbers, and coffee cup circles. The ritual removal usually reveals up a new, fresh, clean month. Not this time, however. When February becomes March, 2011, much is already filled in. Spring Break happens at the end of March and with it, a l-o-n-g vacation. It’s better to cover more difficult lessons before that break. Also, as I’m pacing for the end of the semester, I want to land in the 1920’s in my chronological study of American Literature. By April 1, we will be at the end of that decade, with our study of The Great Gatsby. The grading period ends March 11. I had planned for my English 11 scholars to spend two full weeks on Of Mice and Men. That snow day last Friday messed with that plan. I’ll have to see if I can tweak the lessons or just move them into the next term. It won’t matter to anybody but me. When the weather closes the schools, then it’s time to be flexible. “Flexibility is your friend,” I tell all student teachers. And I try to practice what I preach. When I took a leave of absence in spring 2009, I found it useful to replicate that desk blotter at home. We had many appointments, meetings, and so forth to keep on track. I found a smaller version of that one I use at school. It had begun with January 2009 so there were, I was led to believe, enough months left for what we would need. I smiled at the end of December when I went back into the office supply store to purchase one for 2010. And again 2011. Mike has filled in many squares with HIS stuff, including a few malingering court appearances, lunch dates, birthdays, and doctor’s appointments. Last week, we crossed off the final legal obligation. Also, a rather large dispute with the IDEM concluded itself. Nice and tidy, our lives. That snow day on Friday, 2/25, was a special gift from God to me. Mike had an appointment with his doctor and as I was supposed to be in school as “Bolingers go to work,” he would be seeing his oncologist and then reporting back to me at 3:00. Except it snowed. Quite a bit. Over ice. And the wise men closed the schools. So I got to attend the meeting after all. Mike has developed quite the relationship with Dr. Moore -- oh wait, it’s Annette -- over the last two years. There’s a routine –- vitals, oxygen level, questions, from the nurse – that they danced through effortlessly. Then, Dr. Moore joined us. During the next minutes, I sat apart as the doctor and her friend discussed his case. There was hand holding, hugs, pats, and tears. So here it is. She agrees with the Indianapolis doctor, that Mike’s cancer has returned. It remains microscopic and so cannot be detected on a scan, but it IS the cause of the pressure on his binary tract. Unlike the doctor who did the ERCP (“This is what we expect”), Mike’s oncologist was sincerely saddened. “We are so sorry. We were so pleased that you were in remission.” So Mike said, straight away, “Well, what do we do?” And Dr. Moore began her laborious lesson on treatment. We have choices. That includes doing nothing. However, “It’s so much more effective to go after this while it’s small. It’s much harder when it has grown.” Mike said that he made up his mind right away. We will begin treatment –- chemo –- next week. He will drive to the oncology center for his 8:00 AM appointment. He will laze back in a soft leather chair and for 3 hours, a sweet-faced nurse will send poison into his body. This poison will target fast-dividing cells, like cancer cells. It will also damage healthy cells. We talked about this, about side effects, about medicines that will help, about the length of treatment. Mike’s regime is ‘Day 1, Day 8, and then off a week.’ Then we begin again. Right now, we will covet your prayers as we start down this new path. We are anxious, nervous, scared, hopeful -- all sorts of mixed up emotions. God has shown Himself as our loving father. We rest in His arms. We don’t many ask questions. We are trusting Him. And, we’ll keep you posted, our friends.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

That Essay

So, here's the challenge.

My American Literature students, love them as I might, have honed some bad habits: so much of their education has involved 'worksheets,' that they've learned how to scan scan scan to find the answers answers answers.

I know how this works: sometimes I get pulled into tutoring and when the student pulls out the worksheet, he needs to fill in those blanks. He can do this by scanning the text, usually for something in bold print, and copying a nibble of information onto the paper. Sometimes, he has to convert it into a complete sentence; sometimes he doesn't. But the job gets done by a quick, out- of-context, scan.

There are reasons that education has devolved into Worksheet Filling Out. I'll discuss that elsewhere.

However, when it comes to literature, the quick scan does not work. Students need to (gulp) actually READ the entire selection and then digest the material from its context. It's a skill that I sometimes must teach from square one, even with juniors in high school.

An effective way for me to do that is to require students to write about what they have read. Scanners lack the context meat to write a coherent essay. I can tell them that; often they have to discover it through tries that fail. In my American Literature class, we've had several opportunities to make this discovery.

We now come to the end of our study of The Scarlet Letter, by Nathanial Hawthorne. I may be a fading breed: I insist that we plod through this wonderful, difficult piece of fiction. My students, by now comfortable with their teacher, moan a bit but they rally, most of them, by the end of the novel. I tell them that The Scarlet Letter (by Nathanial Hawthorne) is the Mount McKinley of literature. I tell them that they've given their brain synapses a workout.

And from the start of our study, I tell them that they will be writing an essay, with a three-point thesis, using this novel as source. THIS will be a first for many of them, even those who have just finished our junior-level, college-prep. composition class. So, I don't leave them floundering. We begin discussing good, manageable essay topics from the first day. We continue to discuss the essay during the three-week study. I remind them of the essay, its due date, and how they could start roughing it out early. I given them examples of the cover page; I show them how I want them to cite from the novel. I give them the rubric that I will use when I read their essays.

And today, 2/22, when they take the test over The Scarlet Letter (by Nathanial Hawthorne), they will have no other homework for American Literature, except to write that essay.

No matter, some will procrastinate until next Sunday, then puke out something and try to get it into shape to turn it in.

(Ok, all you former high school students: you smile. You say to yourself, "I always procrastinated." You may even pat your procrastinating student fondly on the head. There are some common reasons why folks procrastinate. It all culminates the same way: a rush rush job, not one's best work ---- no it ISN'T --- and then a cringe as one turns it in)

And some will recognize, on Monday morning, that they cannot GET it into shape by 3rd period. So they'll unearth their tried and true, perfectly acceptable (to them) reasons to turn it in late.

THIS instructor takes a hard, cold, inflexible stand on late work: when they've had three weeks, plus one week of uncluttered time to get it done. So,this is the dialogue we have when they approach the subject:

ME: Your essay is due 2/28 when the tardy bell rings.

“How much are you taking off if I turn it in the next day?”

ME: All.

“I have it right here on my flash. Can I print it out?”

ME: Yes. Go find a printer and get a tardy pass. (not excused, no matter what your pass says)

“My printer ran out of ink.”

"We had no paper at home."

ME: Find out before 2/28.

ME: Find out before Monday 2/28.

“I couldn’t figure out how to double space.”

ME: Figure it out before Monday 2/28.

“I couldn’t get page numbers on the pages.”

ME: Figure it out before Monday 2/28.

“I couldn’t figure out how to single space the cover sheet.”

ME: Figure it out before Monday 2/28.

“I couldn’t figure out how to change the font/point.”

ME: Figure it out before Monday 2/28.

"How many quotes/cites do we need?"

ME; Grrrrrr.

"What if I fill in the blank with some ommision/commision that doesn't sync with requirements."

ME: Grrrrr.

"No, I mean, how much will you take off if I......"

ME: I have NO idea. This should make you very uncomfortable.

Essays are due 2/28. We'll see.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Classroom Flash

I love my job. Really. Almost every day when I drive to school, I’m singing. When I climb out of my car and walk inside, I’m singing. When I unlock my door, greet the early birds and turn on my lights, I’m singing. When I walk through the halls, wading among a mob of teenagers, I’m singing.

Not out loud, of course. Then they’d KNOW I’m a bit crazy.

There really are few things better than to love what you do with your professional life. That is my lot and I know that I’m fortunate.

I’ve been at it since 1973, with two short breaks for childbirth. Although I hold a license to teach whatever they call ‘secondary school,’ I’m mostly in the classroom with 17-year-olds. And for those of you who have some teenagers around the house, you might wonder how a teacher can put up with them.

As I always tell friends who actually ask, my students are good for me. They understand that when they are NOT good, they get to go and chat with someone down the hall who is paid to handle them when they are less than grand. And, I can attest, that when teenagers are at their best, they are bright and funny. I rarely go a day without laughing out loud. I rarely go a week without learning something new from them.

When I took time off in 2009, I thought that I might not go back. And, although teaching consumes much of my conscious attention and my subconscious awareness, I was surprised at how quickly that school house and its denizens faded from the front burner.

For all sorts of reasons, not the least of which was the leading of God, I went back to my classroom in January 2010. Since then, I’m with my third set of 150 kids, students that have burrowed into my heart.

Teaching isn’t for everybody but I can attest that if you’re suited for it, it’s a fantastic career path. Notwithstanding all the ruckus these days in state legislatures, most of my peers find that what we do everyday gives us satisfaction beyond explanation.

And the largest source of that comes from our students. So let me say, that I love them. Really, I do.

In that context, here’s why my job is challenging and frustrating.

Right now, I have two classes of American Literature, my favorite subject. It is, by the way, not a given that teachers will get to teach those subjects in which they have the most proficiency. But it is my privilege and joy to spend my day infusing their heads with what I know.

It’s an arm wrestle, sometimes, getting them to work. By the time they come to me, many high school students have honed skills that let them short cut and short circuit the lesson of the day. I try to stay ahead of them and on my toes so that they’ll figure it out that the work must get done. By them.

So, in these classes with some of the brightest kids in the school, I began the semester by discussing how they should write when they write about literature.

“When you write about a work of literature, you always include the name of the work and the name of the author in your answer, “ I said. In fact, I said, “Always always always.” And, not only did I SAY it. I wrote it on the overhead projector. I handed them a paper on which the same information was written. On that paper, ‘ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS’ was in capital letters, bolded, plus I had hand-written in an arrow, pointing at those three dark words.

You, who may not be in a literature class right now, might ask, “Really? Always?” And we could chat about it. I’m sure that there are occasions where this information would not be necessary. But it’s never wrong to include it and many times, it’s wrong NOT to include it.

So for my juniors, it’s ALWAYS. In fact, it’s ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS.

The very next day, they were to write a short answer in response to a short story that most of them had read. Most of them were eager to write about this story. Most had opinions that they wanted to express. So, how many of them included the name of the author and the title of the story?

30 out of 60. Really? Really. Why? Who cares. It was obvious that quite a few had not registered the very important instruction.

So, I gave them 25/50 points. Ouch. An F. Sometimes pain is the only thing that works.
There was a deep rumble as I passed back the quizzes. “50%?” “Wow, that’s harsh.” “I can’t believe it.” And “Well, that’s ONE mistake you only make once.”

Were that this were true. Within a week, they got another chance to write about literature. This time, 20 of 60 students left out the author and title of work. This time, it was 10/20 points and a trip to the teacher’s desk.

Just in case. Perhaps they were hard of hearing? Vision impaired? Asleep? No no and no. They ‘forgot.’ But this time, the burn should do it, yes?

Well, not yet. The third incidence cut it down to 7 of 60. ANOTHER trip to the teacher’s desk and a one-on-one tutoring session. At this point, each nodded that he/she understood.

We shall see. They have an essay due next week.

Singing here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Grandest of Chairs

Mike says that this is the most challenging project he has undertaken.

IVY stands guard. Those sunbeams can be brutal.


Cushion were created by Brookshire Custon Upholstry, who create custom car interiors. Mike chose a faux leather that can fool most folks. And anyway, we are brutal on leather chairs. SOMEONE keeps forgetting about the pocket knife in the rear pocket.

The cushions have zippers and welting. Gorgeous.
Mike's friend, Jay Moody, machined the pivot pins (the seat adjusts to three positions) from solid brass.

More details.

Finally. Finished. We moved it into the living room for our final small group meeting. Millie Brown had the first official 'sit.'

Then, me.

Now, the chair is at the lake. Soon, we'll be a-sittin' a lot.

Shaker Style Wall Cabinet

While waiting for the chair cushions, Mike decided to build matching Shaker-style Wall Cabinets. This time, although the wood grain is, as usual, gorgeous, he chose to paint.

He has it in his head that this blue and this green will fit nicely in the cottage. Those ARE the exact colors of the stripes on the famous 'sleeping couch.'

We're used to some paint on the kitchen counter.
It's a bit cold out in the workshop these days.
Paint dries faster and smoother in
temperate locales.

Minus the doors, they begin to take shape.

And, ready to the walls in Winona Lake.

New Footies

If there’s anything good about a trip to the hospital, it’s the footies. Along with the name band, they usually hand you a set of specialty socks: these have friction grids on the soles so the chance of a patient slipping (and suing) is decreased. The footies also keep the tootsies warm in chilly examining rooms. (They also have warmed blankets for the rest of your body.)

Mike has been feeling ill, wrong, fatigued for the last several weeks. As this coincided with our local blizzard and sub-zero temps, plus the everybody-has-it virus that has swept the country, we tried various home remedies and explanations.

Until he started to turn yellow. Actually, on Mike, it was more of an attractive tan but still, coupled with other symptoms, it was time to visit the doctor. Blood work confirmed that his bilirubin level was rising: his liver was working hard to get toxins out of his body and the toxins were winning.

They suspected a clogged common bile duct. They explained that the only way to know for sure was to conduct an ERCP, get ready – endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatopography.

Google away.

So, we drove down to University Hospital early Friday morning to meet Dr. Fogel, who “does this all day, every day.”We hit the road early, 6:30, which would get us there before 8 AM.

The trip to Indy, early in the morning, is nice and straight. The sun was just starting to break through as we got to Westfield, 10 minutes ahead of plan. So, I decided to take a pit stop and turned off US 31, onto an E/W road.

This was a 4 lane, headed to and away from a large school complex. I was in the left lane, wanting to turn L; I would have to wait until the heavy traffic on the other side had cleared.

Except, in the left-facing lane, a large yellow school bus stopped to give me room to turn. It looked like there was no traffic behind her but I hesitated. The driver flashed her lights -- a little wave to me -- and a sure signal. So I inched in front of her, looked in the right lane next to her, and whipped into the convenience store parking lot.

I thought that this was a poor place for a U-turn. So, it seems, does the State of Indiana. As I parked, I heard a ‘whoot,’ and saw blue lights in my rear view.

Officer S. Newlin-Haus, badge OL94, asked me to stay in my car. He wanted my registration and license. He mentioned that there is a No-U-Turn sign posted.

So, although I DID mention that I was a teacher taking my husband to the hospital (work it), Officer S. Newlin-Haus gave me a citation. Ok, later with that.

We got the hospital, checked in, and soon were in the examining room, with the new footies.
And here, we get serious.

The doctor explained that he was going to look for blockage. He would then insert a stent, either metal (size of baby finger) or plastic (smaller) to open the blockage. At that point, Mike’s body would begin to move the biliruben out of his body and his symtoms -- the yellowness, the itching, the nausea -- would be relieved.

Although they don’t administer general anesthesia, they DO really really snow the patient. The doctor explained that he would be back to talk to me as Mike would be too groggy.

ERCP takes about 45 minutes. Two or three nurses popped in to tell me how well Mike had done. Then, they wheeled him in, fully asleep, a pleasing sight as he has had fitful nights for about 3 weeks. Then the doctor.

“This is what we expect with Mike’s diagnosis. We usually see it much sooner. I’m about 95% positive that the tumor has come back. I mean, why would anything inside the liver be pressing on the duct now?”

He also based his assessment on some prior testing; his opinion seem to contradict what we believe to be true, that a suspicious spot on Mike’s liver has been there since birth. I know we had it biopsied and when I mentioned that to Dr. Vogel, he seemed surprised.

(Doctors must know that patients’ families are hyper sensitive to facial expressions and tones of voice.)

I asked if he saw any tumor. He said that no, he hadn’t. “But I’m like a mouse in your house’s ductwork. I see inside the duct. I can’t see what’s outside.”

Doctors and their similes! Such good word pictures.

ERCP is one of several palliative procedures available to binary cancer patients to relieve symptoms. So, Mike’s symptoms should be gone by the beginning of the new week. As soon as they open on Monday, we will call out to the oncology center and schedule an appointment with Mike’s doctor.

This is where we are now. We know that so many of you pray for us regularly. After resting and coming to an understanding, we want to bring you into this continued journey with us.

We will keep you posted here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Former Columnist Finds Her Voice

Long time friends may remember this:

A while back, I authored a self-syndicated newspaper column. It began as an overly long letter-to-the-editor to our local newspaper. There was some education issues about which I wished to opine. (By the way, I was using that expression waaaaay before Bill O’Reilly.)

The editor called and asked me to come by. I did.

“Do you think you could do this every week?” he asked, waving my copy at me. He had marked up the copy and THAT discussion would come later.

I said that I did not know but would be willing to give it a go. And a go is what I gave. Newspaper columns have been my favorite reading material and I found that even in first draft, I would bring mine in within the 600 – 800 word range.

At the beginning, I had about 10 ideas that I could spout off about. Then, a few more topics came up, like the time I sat in on a parent conference and realized how much simpler and quicker it might have gone if all parties had prepared. (I don’t believe that teacher preparation covers parent conferences.)

And then, as a part of my brain wrapped itself around the concept of WEEKLY, I began to cull ideas from newspapers, magazines, television, movies, my classroom, and just about everywhere. I developed my personal writing method.

My most useful prewriting tool was a small spiral notebook with pockets. I could carry it anywhere and scribble whenever an idea arose. I could clip out snips of stories and tuck them into the pockets for later retrieval and idea jotting.

After a while, my brain was always on in one small place, looking for and developing ideas for my columns. I found that my writing method was to jot out a rough outline in long hand and then type up these major points and fill them in.

I had a deadline, always in the mix. And I knew that most of my newspapers, understanding that I was an English teacher, would take what I sent them and print it without editing. I knew that some readers would be subconsciously looking for English teacher mistakes and that made me even more careful with my proofreading.

I also learned that an important part of my process was to time myself so I had at least 24 hours from the time I thought I was finished until that deadline. I learned that if I put my article away, somewhere out of sight and mostly out of mind, I could make a final read and either find mistakes or correct areas of weak organization.

In school, we try to teach ‘The Writing Process.’ What I found is that you have to write quite a bit to discover what works for you.

This worked for me.

Now, we all know that God doesn’t waste anything.

I had thought that my 10 year column-writing career was, first of all, a nice challenge for me. Just enough stress to be interesting. I also saw that by writing regularly, I was growing as a writer. I could see my speed, my use of strong verbs, my organization and my thought processes all improving. I also drew the opinions of my peers, my students, local politicians – sometimes in agreement; much of the time, they took issue.

And, most importantly, my regular writing helped me become a much better teacher of writing. Frankly, I’m most interested in being a good teacher.

Fast forward to the spring of 2009. The stress of Mike’s diagnosis sent us spiraling. Our heads whirled. Our hearts ached. The doctor said. The tests showed. The results predicted.

The rattling around inside my head worked to keep me confused and unsettled.

I definitely was an unsafe driver.

Then, a friend suggested that I start a blog. We were fielding so many phone calls every day, seeking updates. We have numerous, concerned friends who wanted to join us by praying for us. Few of these intrusions were meant to upset us but they became untenable.

My friend explained that I could direct callers to our blog and there I could post up-to-date, accurate information. What a great idea.

So, in May of 2009, we began our blog,, where you are right now. Over the last months, readers have traveled with us. It remains very satisfying and a great way to update with our friends.

But what I discovered mostly is that those 10 years of weekly writing had trained my rather scattered brain to organize thoughts into coherent communication. I could go from flustered to fluid by drawing on honed skills.

Isn’t that just like God?

So, right now, as we enjoy our life, we have nothing medical to report. Mike’s newest chair just met its cushions. Pictures will follow soon. It’s awesome.

And me? I’m back in my classroom. Actually, God made it clear in the fall of 2009 that I should return to teaching. While home, cancer was a boulder that we lugged around. When I went back to KHS, I had to divide my attention into 150 parts; cancer became a pebble. It’s still there but it’s lost some weight.

One of the ways that God has gifted me: I am a strong compartmentalizer. I can place concerns in their cubicles and deal with each individually. So right now, SCHOOL and those 150 kids fill up many cubbies.

So, much of what I’ve been drafting has to do with school. I may resurrect that newspaper column after all.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Miss Them

(Check out the cap on Noah. He's a styler!)

See them soon!

Friday, February 4, 2011


While waiting for the finish to cure, for the paint to dry, for the chicken to stop spinning in the rotisserie,

Mike continues to make other music.

He loves The Blues. He loves Ragtime. He loves him a little Classical.

And last night, what was that I heard? Walk, don't run.

All within a stormy, winter week.