Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Gratitude #10

Finishing out the June Gratitude Challenge with a second post for this fine Tuesday.  Here's something truly miraculous: the kids and I made it out of the dentist's office with a total of zero cavities. I know for a fact that this was pure dumb luck. I  am indeed grateful.

#TwinTuesday June Gratitude #9

It's #TwinTuesday, and it's chalk full of gratitude, as well.  First, we have the paws of the puppy.  That dog, I'm proud to say, was the absolute star of Puppy Kindergarten last night.  Other puppies were tearing around the place, chewing on other dogs and their owners, screaming their heads off.  Teddy Bridgewater was not.  He understood all of the obedience concepts swiftly.  Some other dog parents looked at me with jealousy in their eyes.  I wanted to tell them, "Hey.  Don't worry about it.  I tried it like you're trying it before with the deserving pound dogs. But this time, I paid for this nugget.  This, my friends, is why you shell out the big bucks for the designer dog with the guaranteed temperament."

Next, we have belongings of each of my sons.  Flip Flop is Shef's.  Car is Mac's. If you've met my sons or read about them before, you know any parent of theirs would be exceedingly grateful.

Third, I have LH who also has a flipflop and matchbox.  This gal rocks it hard core, day in-day out.  Not just anyone can bring it like Dr. H.

Thanks, Peeps and Pup!  And thanks, #TwinTuesday!

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Well, it was a work weekend at Camp.  I did a multitude of interesting jobs, including editing and proofreading, envelope stuffing, data entry, awards checking and preparing, transportation food pack-out, cabin folder prep, and other necessary and fun tasks.  Mac was a super camper, and I hardly saw him except to apply sunscreen and put him to bed.

Plus, I got to see the most amazing Camp Women, an inspiring mother-daughter team who are at the top of their field.

There was no time for #NovelSnip, but there was time for community living at its finest.  I'll get to it later this week on a surprise day, probably!  I need to really dig into it and think about these next pivotal scenes with Norah.  Then, I probably have to go back to the beginning of Norah and add in some other scenes.  She's coming alive bit by bit.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Just the Way You Are

You might not know that I have an incredibly common name.  Like, back in the early 2000s when Blockbuster was still a thing, there were six Kathleen W.'s at my local Blockbuster.  According to the Internet, Kathleen is the 36th most popular name for women in the United States.  W. is the 109th most popular surname for people in the United States.  According to a site called "How Many of Me," there are 475 people with my name in the United States.  I think there are actually way more.  One of them lives really close to me.  I even know the street she lives on because she and I frequent many of the same stores where they look you up by name to give you credits and such.

For sake of name comparison, I searched the names of my June Blogging Challenge Compatriots.  According to the site, there are 205 people who share a name with MM, 39 who share a name with jdoc, and only 8 that share a name with LH.  I think we can agree that my name is the most common.

Very frequently, I get email for other Kathleen W.'s.  Usually, I write the senders back.  Hey, I'll say. I'm not that Kathleen W.  I thought you might like to know!  For a long time, I got emails meant for a Kathleen who was a Yearbook rep in Texas.  I always felt really bad about these because they were from teachers.  These poor teachers, I'd think. Their messages aren't getting to the right person!

Recently, I've started getting emails for a Kathleen W. who is some kind of legal professional.  She's supposed to be on a Board of Directors for a Court Advisory Committee. I get agendas, call-in numbers, PDFs with lots of data, etc.  I've tried numerous times to get off of the mailing list.

"I'm not the right Kathleen," I write.  "I'm a different one who is a teacher in Minnesota!"

And then, I'll continue to get the emails.

Finally, I Replied All.  "I am on your email list in error," I said.  "If you have a Kathleen W. in your group, she is likely not receiving your emails."

I got a response from the Leader.  "I met a Dr. Kathleen W. at a conference who indicated she was willing to serve on the board.  Please let me know if you are that Kathleen W."

"I am not that Kathleen," I replied.  "That one might still be willing to serve on your board!"

I hope she is.  I feel attached to the board and their mission and their call-in numbers.  Come on, Kathleen W.!  Represent!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June Gratitude #8 - #TwinTuesday

#TwinTuesday.  I had to go with a pickle PRODUCT with my postcard because I didn't think I had a pickle.  And then, lo and behold, I found a flipping jar of pickles in my fridge.  Oh well. This pairing still sparks gratitude, the theme for June.

First, I'm grateful for my creative partner, Dr. H.  It goes without saying that I absolutely adore this woman.  Her #TwinTuesday photos are absolutely sublime and unexpected.

Second, I'm grateful for Camp Foley, the boys' cabins at which are depicted on this postcard.  I'm headed there this weekend to work, and the boys are headed there for two weeks in August. It's the best.

Finally, I'm not really grateful for relish because I don't like it that much.  But, I guess I'm glad it's made of pickles.

Monday, June 22, 2015

June Gratitude #7

As you know, Mac's required to read a book per week.  Last week it was a Magic Treehouse about pandas.  I read to him every evening, but he also needs to read to himself each day.

"Not now," he says whenever I tell him it would be a good time to get some pages done.  Other responses include, "After this show," "In a few minutes," and "UGH!"

"Mac," said Dan, supporting my efforts, "you're going to be very sad when you can't use any electronics because you didn't finish your book."

"I'LL READ IT AT MY BEDTIME," he screamed.  And sure enough, there he sat next to his bed with tears in his eyes, aggressively finishing the last seven pages last night at 9:30pm.

It's lucky I'm so committed to his literacy skill development, or else this child would be a master at getting me to give it up.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


I didn't write much this week, but I did write this.  I'm having a hard time getting into a groove, to tell the truth.  I'll keep trying.

Norah perched the laundry basket on her hip as she switched off the utility room light and mounted the stairs.  In her room, her suitcases were lying open and she had carefully folded and placed items in each category of clothing - class, casual, evening, pajamas.  When padded down the hallway toward her bedroom, the basket protruding, she saw Susan surveying the preparations, running her fingertips along the pale pink bedspread. When she heard Norah’s approach, she looked up and half-smiled.

“Getting ready?” she asked.

“Yep!” Norah said brightly.  “I can’t believe it’s already time.”  She felt nervous excitement spread down her sternum as she imagined stepping onto her new campus, so much more ready than she had been for Mount Mary a year ago, and with Peter waiting to show her the ropes.

“Can I sit?” Susan smiled.

“Of course,” Norah replied, trying to keep the suspicion from creeping into her tone.  She placed the laundry basket between the suitcases and knelt before it, folding and depositing clothes into their proper piles as she went.

“So how are you feeling about Appleton?” Susan ventured.

“Um,” Norah began, glancing up to gauge her mother’s endgame.  Susan’s face was open and calm.  “I’m really excited,” she said.  “I feel like it’s the right move.”  She looked into her mother’s eyes and waited for Susan’s next inquiry.
I'm pretty sure poor Susan is just trying to be nice here.  But sometimes she says mean things to Norah, so Norah's right to be a little careful, right?  What will happen when she goes back to college, do you think?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June Gratitude #6

An expression of gratitude from the family of one of my advisees

I'd like to discuss a meat product called Braunschweiger. Teddy's breeder recommends this human-grade "sausage" as a training treat for her dogs.  It seems to work well in that capacity, as Teddy has achieved great success in potty training, sitting, and recall.

My concern about Braunschweiger is that it seems that people actually eat it.  I bought it next to the baloney in the human grocery store.

Braunschweiger's properties include spreadability, play-doh consistency, and cloying odor.  I googled this food and discovered it's also known as liverwurst.  The first ingredient is pork livers.  I located some recipes that feature this product.  You can make Braunschweiger Loaf, Braunschweiger Dip, and Braunschweiger Balls. 


I can't, in good conscience, recommend human consumption of spreadable meat products.  They seem super questionable. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June Gratitude #5

I don't have an original photo for this particular post, but the story I'm about to tell you speaks for itself.  Yesterday, I was yakking away at Mac's swim practice with my pal, Melanie.  Mac, incidentally, was refusing to participate in swimming because of a "sore foot" - not the same foot he broke this spring - and was instead sitting on the side of the pool.  Still, I'm calling it a win because he was AT swim practice. I'm sure he learned about strokes by sitting next to the coach and supervising his friends and limping theatrically.

Anyway, Mel and I were chatting about this incredible book I'm reading called Department of Speculation.  It's so compact and lovely and different that I think I'm going to read it again immediately after I finish it.

All of a sudden, Melanie said, "I'm sorry.  I keep getting distracted by a long black hair that I think might be attached to your face."

"Oh my god," I said, picking frantically at my jaw line. "Sometimes they pop through!"

"I have one on the front of my chin that recurs," she said knowingly.  "I'm sorry to tell you."

"You're a true friend," I told her sincerely, and made a bee line for the locker room to wrest that interloper from it's follicle.

The moral of the story is: Friends don't let friends just hang out at the pool with beard hairs dangling for all to see.  Melanie knows this, and I'm super grateful.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Today for #TwinTuesday, Mr. Noodles and Mr. Continuous Spray have paired up for a nice bistro lunch.  They had a little caprese salad followed by some mussels in white wine sauce.  Maybe a glass of unoaked Chardonnay.  Maybe two!  Why not?  It's summer!

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Dog Story

Major Gratitude Here.  Goldendoodle. #4
You might know how much I've longed for a dog.  I thought I'd be really smart about it and adopt an adult dog that had already been trained by someone else.  In the process, I'd also be giving a worthy dog a home.  Win-win.  Except, no.

My first try at that was the craziest dog in the world, Pronto.  Pronto attacked the children and could not be left alone with them, even after about one thousand dollars worth of training.  It basically was a nightmare.  He went back to the rescue and got adopted by some other sucker kind-hearted individual.

A year later, we got Skip.  Skip is a dream - lap dog, snuggly, loves our children.  The issue with Skip is that he hates other people's children.  He bit three of them in the year that we had him.  It's not practical, as it turns out, to have a dog that bites other people's kids.  Skip went to live with Uncle Kevin, and they love each other a lot.

So, then, in my quest for a dog, I decided we needed to raise a puppy and socialize him from birth with children and other dogs.  And, I thought I'd pick a reputable breeder and have information about the dog's lineage.  And, I thought I'd pick a breed that's known for loving children, rather than terrier mixes that are known for biting them.  The trade-off here is that I'll have to train him, which is why I got him on June 14th.  I will be accessible for full-time training for many weeks.  So I got Teddy.  He's a medium-sized Goldendoodle.  He's ours.

Nothing could possibly go wrong, right?  I've got this.  Just wook at that face!

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Just ripping the band-aid off here.  I took three weeks off from Norah, and I'm just creeping back into her kitchen.  I thought I'd write a scene where she makes out with Peter in her car, but I'm too prudish to write make-out scenes.  So, here's the scene that comes after the mere suggestion of them making out in the car.  As Norah is in college, you might imagine she makes out.  I definitely implied it.
“How serious are you and Peter?” Susan asked suddenly one evening, as Norah stood over the sink.

“What do you mean?” Norah asked, rinsing the remnants of her mother’s meatloaf from another thick white plate.

“I mean,” Susan said, sipping water at the edge of the counter and frowning slightly, “how serious are you about Peter?”

Norah breathed in through her nose and glanced through the window above the sink. The July sun cast a hot glow on the patio.  She wiped a bit of dishwater from her left cheek with the back of her right hand.

“I don’t know,” Norah said.  “I guess serious?” Peter skirted the fringes of Norah’s mind every hour of the day.  She slept with one of his t-shirts, smelling of him, under her pillow.  She knew the number of days until she’d see him again - on the Appleton campus.

Susan exhaled audibly. “Be sure,” she said slowly and pointedly, “to protect your reputation.”
Phew.  I'm so relieved to have that here.  This week, I'm thinking about complicating Susan a little bit.  Maybe a good-bye scene when Norah moves back to school.  We'll see.

Friday, June 12, 2015

It's Been a Week

It's been seven days since school got out.  Things are going okay.  I've only had one work meeting.  I've finished three books and done some house chores.  My youngest child had a birthday.

You know, we're cruising.

Two things that haven't happened: #NovelSnip and #Exercising.  Exercising doesn't really need a hashtag, but I tried it for the sake of parallelism. There's always today and tomorrow for starting those things.  #NovelSnip isn't due until Sunday.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June Gratitude #3

This child is having a birthday.  Do you know what that means?  It means he's seven years old. This is supreme gratitude.  Kid is a day-maker, time after time.

I'm also grateful for this blog, although I'm not treating it very well.  I'm falling down on my regular features, and I haven't been writing nearly enough.  I'm blaming summer transition.

"Don't you want to play tennis?" a friend asked me yesterday.

"I don't want to do anything," I replied, truthfully.

"Just coming down from the school year?" she asked.

"I think so," I smiled.  "If I still feel like this next week, I'll call the therapist."

She laughed.  She was a teacher before, so she knows.

One thing I do want to do is have Mac's birthday party.  That child deserves a party, today and every day.

Monday, June 8, 2015

June Gratitude #2

Do you know the kid in the middle?  It's their Uncle Ben.  That fabulous young man has just graduated from high school, and we were lucky enough to be invited to the party!  Can you even believe it?  He's a big fave of Shef and Mac, who would basically choose hanging out with him over hanging out with most other people.  When Shef was in Pre-K, he kept writing stories about his big brother.

"You didn't tell me you have an older son," his teacher said.

"I don't," I said.

She showed me the stories, and they were all about Ben.  We can't blame Shef for wishing Ben was his brother.  Because he's that cool.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June Gratitude #1

It's supposed to be #NovelSnip, but I need one more week.  I'm doing this crash thing that generally happens at the end of the school year.  I get so tired I can barely speak.  And then I slowly take care of things I haven't taken care of for months.  Today's thing is pressure washing the deck.  Paula was here on Friday, and I gestured apologetically at the dirty deck.

"I have to pressure wash it this weekend," I said.

"Do you have a pressure washer?" Paula asked.

"No," I said.  "I was going to rent one from the hardware store."

"You could do that," she said, "or you could borrow ours.  Bryan is really into it and will give you lots of tips."

So, friends, that's what we did.  We borrowed the washer and got the tips.  Nothing could possibly go wrong.  I'm super grateful that this worked out.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Horizontal Running

Today, I'm headed to learn from the best about the latest and greatest in Writer's Workshop.  I'm chillin' with the lower school teachers, and I hope they're nice to me.

Let's be honest.  They're probably going to be nice to me.

Tonight is graduation, and then tomorrow is internal celebration and picnic.  Teachers unite!

Then, on Saturday, I begin the Decompression Process.  I feel like I started a little bit early this year, as I finished my grades and narrative comments last Friday.  Yes, me.  Yes, early.  I could get used to this.

You might not know that the Decompression Process usually involves some restlessness and even feeling low.  You'd think the whole summer thing would be straight euphoria, but it's more complicated than that. This year, I'm letting it flow and sleeping in.  The sleeping will probably make it all better.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Pay Them With Love

Attention, please: Our eldest has graduated from Lower School.  Here he is pictured with his grandparents.  You might recognize Unabashed on the right.  The kid in the middle is headed my way, and I'm so excited.  

Of course, already, he's negotiating (unsuccessfully) the Family Summer Reading Requirement.  I've been confiscating his phone after bed time. I gave a pep talk about the Responsibilities of the Oldest Child.  

I'm sure Middle School will be great.  Middle School all day and Middle School at night.  Teachers of Yore have done this in the past.  It's my turn at Present.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Today's #TwinTuesday features a Dixon Ticonderoga - a pencil heartily endorsed by me and Mac - and a Fit Bit.  Apparently, Lee has a new FIT BIT CHARGE.  Let's all go look at it.

As soon as I write this post, I'm re-opening the blog. I'm a writer, and this is where I write.  And that's that.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Hiatus #9 - The End of the Road

Two things at an end.  #1: The Hiatus.  I tried to be a blogger on hiatus, and I hate it.  I don't think hiatus is the way to go.  It's bad for my creativity, bad for my writing, bad for my connections with pals.  It's just generally bad.

#2: The Bachelorette.  I might have to go on Hiatus from watching it, in order to replace my other Hiatus. It's so terrible.  I hate it.  I used to love to hate it, and now it's just kind of making me feel bad about myself.

One thing at a beginning:

#3: UnReal.  This is a scripted show about The Bachelor, behind-the-scenes.  I'm 10 minutes in, and I love it.  I feel like it might be a better choice than watching the actual Bachelorette. I'm not on Hiatus from watching UnReal.