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This Week

This week, I let a kindergarten kid play with my iPhone to coax him into the tutoring classroom.  I set up a plan for dealing with this ongoing issue and consulted with his mama.  She’s a tough one to get to know, his mama, but I try.
This week, I promised two little boys I would pick them up on Friday and take them to my house.
This week, on a crazy afternoon, a granny asked me for alcohol and I thought.  I wish!I could use a swig.  But that's not what she meant.  She was looking for rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to take care of an injured kid.  A few months ago, we were awkward because we didn't know each other but now the awkwardness is gone and I can’t help but hug her every time I see her. I love that granny. 
This week, I dropped off a little girl and shook hands with her father.  His hand was dry, he had a tattoo on his neck and he's just fresh from jail.  He asked how his daughter was doing in class and they both basked in the rain of praise.
This week, a …
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Gingerbread Party

Notes From the Road

Stuart* just returned home from a month long business trip. These are clips of Facebook entries and emails home, pieced together to recreate his big adventure.

     Calling home while on safari in South Africa. Mongolia It is 3AM here in Mongolia and we just checked in at the hotel in Erdenet. So, if my calculations are correct, it took me 45 hours of travel to get here from the time I left the house. The last six hours were a fairly torturous car ride up into the mountains. I wouldn't hesitate to say that the very best stretch of road that we were on was equivalent to the very worst road that you can think of in PA. There ain't no sleeping in the car while riding here! Most of the ride was fairly teeth rattling. I was correct that, as soon as we left the capital city, I lost cell phone coverage and we never passed through another town. We did stop at a little outpost to pick up drinks and a snack. I will call it an outpost, rather than a rest area for several reasons. First, it …

Until Death...

Kindred spirits, Anne would call them.  Two who complete each other, two who are better...best together,  soul mates one cannot imagine apart.  I can count the kindred marriages I know on a couple of fingers and after last week, that count is down by one.

"You look so happy," Dave says as Stuart and I stand awkward and wordless before him.  I bend down to wrap my arms around him and wonder, Where is the good in this?  Where? A week before we bumped into Dave and his wife, Deb, down at the Famous Brands.  Deb glowed with good health and good news and for the remainder of the day we basked in the unexpected good fortune of meeting these old friends.  And now there is Dave minus Deb.  How can this be?
"It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live."  Mark Twain's Own Autobiography
"You look so happy." We do not look happy but somehow this remark makes sense because Dave has loved with …

Autotape Tours

When I was a kid and my siblings were in the thick of learning safe driving skills, one of them rolled the van. The van with the automatic transmission and the windows. Our only vehicle. We all payed for that error in the form of the replacement vehicle. A navy blue stick-shift cargo van that had windows only in the places where it is customary for a cargo van to have windows. My dad had it customized; he added in a few rows of seats in the cargo space and pronounced it fit for our annual family vacation. The eleven of us loaded up and headed to Gettysburg. Mom and Dad enjoyed the view; the little ones wrestled in the middle seats and we teenagers in the back griped for a good share of the trip. The griping appropriately reached its climax on the Gettysburg Battlefield. Mom and Dad, long on enthusiasm for history and short on wisdom for vacationing with a carload of teenagers took us...in our nearly windowless van...on an autotape tour of the battlefield. With time (twenty ye…

Cold Spring

There is illness in the house, a hacking cough deep in the chest, a general lethargy. Six of us are inflicted. One is healthy. One has a weird rash. It's nerve wracking but there is some humor mixed in as well. These chuckling scenes played out in quick succession and begged to be recorded in pixels. I broke out the camera to dwell on the joy, minimize the pain.

One coughs and the healthy one cowers. Let's hope he stays healthy, he's on a plane in the morning.
Synchronized coughing on the sofa designated for the plague. This needs a skull and crossbones. Sign on a bedroom door. It should really hang on the front door. And this. Whatever this is. We're going through rolls and rolls of the stuff. Ah, well. March in the Northeast is made for colds and misery. Who are we to escape unscathed?

Mail

John put pencil to PSAT this fall. He blacked in bubbles concerning interests and majors. He scrawled address and now the owls come. They drop beakfuls of college literature into our mailbox. John outgrew watching for the owls a long while back. He was happy to leave that to Claire and Faith and Charlie. Most of our mail is his these days so again he watches. Charlie and Faith and Claire are not happy with his meddling.



John has a routine. Count the envelopes. Slit them open. Separate response cards from letters. Read the letters. Return letters to envelopes. Drop by websites of interest for a visit. Share gleanings from the daily dozen with me. "Mom, Bill Watterson went to Kenyon... Mom, I kind of like the University of Rochester. I can design my own major. There are no specified requirements." For a boy who thinks, lives outside the box, this has appeal. "Maybe I'll major in English or Mathematics. Maybe both."

We're in the midst of a sh…