Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Bliss List

It's almost the end of 2012 and I'm linking up with the Liv Lane's last Little Bliss List today to express my thanks for some of the people, events and things that brought me a little bliss this past year.

1. My family

From my teen daughter saying, "I love you" every night before bed to the family reunion "Up North" this summer, my family has been the most bliss-giving part of 2012.

Christmas 2012

2. My pets

Once again, the power of pets is established.  It's wonderful to have little fuzzy creatures to give us love and be loved.

Lily, our dog.

3. My decision to write more

Beginning in December, I went to full-time writing!  I have set goals for myself and I'm on my way.  I'll be taking a class at the Loft soon to help me reach my goal of finishing my book proposal, sending it out to agents, and then actually finishing the book:)

4. The Sun

I suffer from pretty severe SAD.  There have been some rough patches, but I am so thankful for sunny winter days.  They bring me a lot of bliss.

5. My new car

After 8 years, I've gotten a new car and it is very fun and cute!  It's a VW Tiguan, which is a mini-SUV.  I've never had a SUV type car and I like it.  My old Passat was dying, very expensively, so it's nice to have a reliable, fun vehicle.  Ahh, bliss.

What are the people, events or things that brought you some bliss this past year?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Day After Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas this year with family!

Grandma, Grandpa, and two of my nephews.

We ate delicious Norwegian (NOT Swedish) meatballs and cookies.

My uncle and cousins.
We opened presents.

We had a good time.

My brother and his family.

But the next morning, we found this . . .

What a mess!

The bags that held the discarded wrapping paper and ribbon were ripped apart, paper spilling out, and bits of plastic everywhere.

Who did such a deed?

The cat.

The cat with the evidence.

I asked him if he had any remorse.

Such attitude when confronted with his crime.

He said, "No."

So, I cleaned up more than I bargained for on the Day After Christmas.  Luckily, the tree is still standing and the memories are still happy.

My husband, daughter, and me.

I hope all of you had a very, Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

What Brings You Joy?

For Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop this week, I chose the prompt:

5) List the top 9 things that bring you joy.

Since I can only list 9 things, I'm sharing the Best of the Best, the Top of the Top things that fill me up with happiness and joy!

1 - My 14 year old daughter!

She brings me joy everyday.  Even when she's being a pain she still makes me smile, laugh, and feel happy that she's mine.

2. My husband.

Some of you are wondering why he wasn't number 1.  Well, I didn't want to have a tie, so he get's the number 2 (practically number 1) spot!  He makes me laugh every day.  And he understands me so well.

Here he is taking his picture with the cat.  Look at the cat's reaction!

3. My Pets.

We have a sneaky cat, goofy dog, and fuzzy bunny.

This is Cheech.

And here's Lily.

I don't have a good photo of Otter, our rabbit.  I better get on that!

4.  Being with Friends and Family.

Here's my friend Sarah on craft day!

This is my sister-in-law and two of my nephews at a family reunion.

5. The North Shore of Lake Superior.

This is Lake Superior, near Duluth on a windy day.

6.  Florida in Winter.

Ahhh, I love sun, palm trees, and water.

7.  Writing and Being an Author.

I'm very lucky to have the time to write.  I write my blog, children's books, and I'm working on my humorous parenting book.  The proposal should be ready to go in the next month.  Yea!

Here I am at the book launch for Muriel's Red Sweater in 2009.  That's my daughter helping out.

8. My Bed.

It's so cozy and warm, especially in winter.  Since my bedroom is the warmest, sunniest place in the house, I spend a lot of time here in the winter months - writing, reading, resting.

9.  People.

I love meeting new people everyday.  My daughter says I can talk to anyone, anywhere.  That's pretty much true.  So, if you see me, say, "hi."  I'll be happy to make a new friend!

What are the top 9 things that give you joy?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Early Morning Pictures of A Teen

My poor daughter.

She's subjected to all manner of indignity.

Including, early morning photo sessions.

My father-in-law is creating a family calendar for Christmas.  He was on a deadline and needed one last photo!

So, I forced my sleepy teen to pose at 6:30 am.

I can't believe you're making me do this.

You can see why this is not a good idea.

Poor kid.

I'm trying.

She suffers.

Are we done now?

Ahh, at last, a keeper.

I hope Grandpa chooses this one for the calendar!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

First Snow - The Starks Are Always Right!

It's snowing outside, and it's gorgeous!

This is the first real snow of the season.

Fans of Game of Thrones will recognize the quote, "Winter's Coming."  They're right, of course.  Winter has arrived.

Outside it's perfect snowball snow because it's wet enough to stick together in a ball.

It also sticks to trees.

My daughter said she loves how it looks on the lilac bushes every year.

These daisy stems now have round snow balls on top!

Here's my husband about to go move his car out of our unplowed driveway.  Good luck, Honey!

Inside it's nice and warm.

Our Christmas tree is up and decorated (as of yesterday!)  My crafty area is in the background.

Of all the presents under the tree, there were NONE for me.  I commented on this grievous fact.  Now there are two.  I think I'm the only wrapper who is actually done wrapping.

These three little balls are very old.  They are made of glass and from my Great-Grandmother who was 100% Norwegian.

Lastly, this handmade sweater ornament is only a few years old.  My mother gave it to me for Christmas.  It sure is darn cute!

I hope all of you are happy and healthy at this festive (and sometimes stressful) time of year.  Enjoy the snow now, while it's new and beautiful.  You might not appreciate it this much come February.

Now, I'm going out to throw some snowballs!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Coffee Date for Mom

Today I'm linking up with Mama Kat's Writers Workshop.  The prompt I chose was:

1.) Friends are on their way to your house for a coffee date . . . what kind of afternoon can they expect with you?

It's Tuesday afternoon and I'm expecting my friend Sarah.  I haven't seen Sarah in awhile so I'm really looking forward to our coffee date.

Sarah and I met through our kid's elementary school and at church.  We became friends when our girls were little.  Now, our oldest girls are freshman in high school!

It's so easy to let a week (or three) slip away without spending time with good friends.  I'm guilty of this.  I don't like it.  I need my Sarah coffee dates!

So, we came up with a plan.

Every Tuesday afternoon is CRAFT DAY!

We meet at one of our houses, generally drink coffee, eat some cookies, and work on our latest craft project.  And we talk and laugh, a lot!

Sarah is crafty.  I am not.

Yet, our Tuesday afternoons inspire me to try new things.

After several Craft Days, I finally finished a scarf I started 4 years ago!  This is thanks to Sarah and her knitting prowess.

Here's Sarah knitting a cowl.

Craft Day at Sarah's house
That darn cowl wasn't working well, so she switched to knitting some very cool arm and hand warmers.  HINT HINT:  I'd like a pair for Christmas!

Now that my scarf is done, I've switched to creating cool, handmade cards.

I love them and think some may even be Etsy worthy.  We'll see about that later.

For now, I'm happy to spend coffee and craft days with my good friend.

Maybe next Tuesday we'll have margaritas (like we did last week).  Super fun!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How To Avoid Being Bullied

I am not a bullying expert.  I'm not a psychologist or researcher.

I'm a mom.  And a Junior High teacher.

I've been thinking about bullying a lot lately because it's been in the press quite a bit.  I've been formulating these ideas for awhile, and I really think there's something important here.  Both of these ideas stem from the same concept, which is "putting out / throwing water on the bully fire" before it has a chance to grow out of control.

Two ways to avoid being bullied:

1. Make fun of yourself first before a potential bully even has a chance.

2. Embrace your "uniqueness" and make it cool.

Here are two examples of what I mean:


I met a woman who had a very dramatic experience in high school.  She had a very bad bladder infection and accidentally wet her pants during lunch.  This kind of incident could be huge fodder for bullies.  She could have been known as "That girl who peed in her pants," for the rest of high school.  But, she purposely came up with a plan.  And it worked!  When she returned to school the next day, kids started teasing her about wetting her pants.  Instead of getting upset or mad, she said, "Yeah, can you believe it!  I wet my pants.  Crazy!"  She was making fun of her own situation.

Why this works:  By taking the initiative to make fun of herself, she doused the bullying flame.  If the person doesn't feel bad (or gets others to believe she don't feel bad), then there's nothing for a bully to tease the person about.  It's not fun to tease someone if they already find the situation goofy or funny.  The bully has no ammunition.


There's a student in my class whose name is Seven.  In our urban junior high there are plenty of unique names, but I've never heard of a name that's a number.  This has high bullying potential.  But Seven "doused the bully fire" before it even got a chance to ignite.  On the first day of school, Seven wore a name tag with the number "7" written in large letters.  Excellent idea!  He embraced his differentness and made it cool.  I've haven't heard a single nasty comment about his name.  The flame was put out.

Why this works:  If a person embraces their own quirks that might have bully potential, then the bully has no power.  What does the bully have to tease about if the person doesn't think it's bad.  Even more so if the person thinks their differentness if cool!  Bullying avoided.

When this doesn't work

These two tactics take quite a bit of self-confidence.  By junior high, especially, many kids are already suffering from low self-esteem, making this type of anti-bullying approach difficult.

What can we do:  

What if we were able to teach our kids these types of strategies early on?  What if we gave them the tools they need to help them avoid being bullied?  I imagine that bullying will always exist.  But, I bet we could really help decrease incidents of bullying if we helped out children early on to learn different techniques to counteract bullying behavior.

I'd love input.  What do you think?  Does this make sense?  Do you think we (parents, teachers, etc.) could help our kids learn how to "put out the bullying fire" before it becomes a problem?

I'm linking up with Just Write over at The Extraordinary Ordinary today!  Go check out some of the other thoughts and ideas from today.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Some Things I Know About Wild Turkeys

Since it's almost Thanksgiving, I thought I'd share some fascinating and informative things I know about WILD TURKEYS.

Wild Turkeys in my backyard during summer.

I've learned most of this information first hand, through careful observation of the flock (or rafter: see below) of wild turkeys that roams around my neighborhood.

So, on to the list.

Some Things I Know About Wild Turkeys

1. Wild Turkeys can fly!  
Domestic, cook-'em-up turkeys, do not fly.  But wild turkeys can and they do.  They don't fly great distances.  For instance, they don't migrate South for the winter.  But, with a burst of effort, they can fly from tree to tree.

2. Wild Turkeys sleep in trees.
In fact, the neighborhood turkeys are in the trees above my house RIGHT NOW!  I took these glorious pictures to prove it to you.  The first time I saw a turkey sleeping in a tree, I thought it was a giant vulture.  Then I saw 12 of them!  Luckily, I quickly figured out they were the friendly turkeys and not a gang of vultures leering down at me.

Wild Turkey in my oak tree.
See those dark blobs?  They're turkeys.  I swear.

Two blobs (aka. wild turkeys) in the tree above my house.
3. Wild Turkeys do indeed "gobble."
They make loud gobble, gobble, gobble sounds.  But they also make noises that sound like little squeaks and squawks.

4. Wild Turkeys are skinnier than Domestic Turkeys.
Wild turkeys are basically shaped like upside down light bulbs.  Skinny at the top and plumper at the bottom.

5. A group of Wild Turkeys is called a Flock or a Rafter.
A group of baby turkeys is called a Brood.  Just as an FYI, a group of crows is called a Murder.

A flock, or rafter, of wild turkeys.
6. Benjamin Franklin wanted our national bird to be the turkey.
In a letter to his daughter, Franklin wrote that the eagle is "a bird of bad moral character."  He continues to write that the turkey is a "much more respectable bird, and withal a true original Native of America."

So there you have it, some fascinating turkey information.  I will continue to monitor the local flock and let you know of any new developments.  For now, I just hope I count the same number of wild turkeys on Friday as I do tonight.

Recommendation:  Don't eat Wild Turkey.  Too skinny.  Buy the plump (free range) turkeys from the store!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Did I Just Say That?

Today I'm sharing some of my Proud Parenting Moments with you, so that you can feel better about your day, your parenting abilities, and basically, your life!

I chose the following writing prompt from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop:

4.) "Write a list of 10 things you have said to your kids that other moms might not say."

Thus, the birth of my list.

10 Proud Parenting Moments

1. "I am the Champion and you are the Loser!"  

(Sung to my 5 year-old daughter after I won a board game.  Bad. Very Bad.)

2. "Do you need a pair of 'freshies'?"

(Embarrassed teen daughter with improvised word for fresh pair of underwear.)

3. "I got a new job at your junior high school!  Won't that be fun?!

(Joke gone wrong.  Daughter burst into tears.)

4. "I can't walk the dog.  I'm all 'boob-a-gie."

(Meaning I had no bra on.)

5. "Do you have any jeans that don't show butt crack when you bend over?"

(Said to young, male sales associate in front of my daughter.)

6. "Because her mom is on crack!"

(Said in response to, "But why does she get to do that?"  Oops.  Bad. Very bad.)

7. "Did you actually shampoo your hair?"

8. "What smells like stinky feet?"

9. "Is that your breath?"


10. "Can I hold your hand?"

(Said basically anytime I'm out walking with my daughter.  Sometimes I don't even ask.  I just grab it.)

Now don't you feel better about your parenting skills?!

I thought so.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What's Wrong with Middle Schoolers Anyway?


And Everything!
Age 14 - at the end of Middle School.

Middle School is a crazy time for kids (and parents!)

I'm the parent of a daughter who recently passed through the "Valley of the Shadow of Middle School," and we both survived.

Thus, I'm now an EXPERT on parenting a middle school daughter.  Right?


Yet, I'm writing a book all about it!

From parenting a middle schooler, and working with middle schoolers every day, I've observed some important insights into the creatures known as middle schoolers.

Middle School Kids . . .

1. Like gum.  They are also generally willing to share their gum with you.

2. Have very strong emotions that reside just below the surface at all times.  One small thing can propel these emotions to the surface with a vengeance.

3. Like Hot Cheetos and Takis.  If you haven't seen the Youtube video made by Minneapolis kids, check it out HERE.

4. Want to pick out their own clothes.  Don't even think about bringing home an outfit for them unless you've cleared it ahead of time.

5. Like money. They want to buy stuff. And the stuff they want is more expensive than in elementary school.  For example: i-pods, i-pads, i-phones, expensive athletic shoes, and anything from Hollister.

And that's just the beginning!

** If you're a parent of a middle schooler, or a former middle schooler, I'd love to hear your insights into parenting kids during these sometimes tricky years!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Maggie Stiefvater in the Heartland

This past week was the Heartland Fall Forum which is an annual trade show and conference for Independent Booksellers in the Upper-Midwest and Great Lakes region of the country.

I attended this event in Minneapolis with my Bookseller, Author, and Reader hats on.

The best part about attending this conference is meeting the many authors and illustrators who are there and getting signed copies of their books.

This year's highlight for me was hearing Maggie Stiefvater speak.  She is funny, down-to-earth, and super-talented! 

Maggie Stiefvater and me.

She talked about the fact that people always ask her two questions:  "Why do you write for young adults?" and "Why do you write fantasy?"

Her answers were smart and humorous.  I loved her story of the horse she and her sister owned as kids. It was a semi-wild, former racehorse that "always ran faster to the left."  She would climb on and hold on for dear life.  She was never certain if she would return in one piece, but it was amazing fun!  This experience, and many others, help her create the worlds and characters of her books, including her new book, The Raven Boys, which looks like an excellent read!

My other favorite part of attending this conference, is going to the trade show and seeing the publisher reps I know and have worked with over the years.

Even though I'm not working at the bookstore now, I was a bookseller and children's book buyer for 3+ years.   Independent booksellers build strong relationships with their publisher reps and depend on them to make good recommendations for their store.

This is one of my favorite reps - Terri Beth from Scholastic.

She's holding one of their best fall novels, The Raven Boys.

Terri Beth is just awesome!

Lastly, here's me with David Geister, illustrator of T is for Twin Cities by Nancy Carlson and Barry McCool.

David Geister and me.

He's a great artist and former Historic Fort Snelling costumed interpreter, as you can see by his outfit.  As a former Minnesota Historical Society employee myself, I always appreciate a fellow history buff!

I had a great time at the trade show and conference.  Now it's time to get started reading all those great books!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Plaid Kilts and Caber Tossing

Today, I'm participating in Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.  The prompt I chose is:

1) What comes to mind when you think of the word "plaid?"

In my mind, plaid = kilts = Scottish clan tartans.

The clans of Scotland have their own tartan (or plaid) that their kilts are made of.

There's MacArthur Clan Tartan,

Donegal Clan,

Robertson Clan,

and many, many more.

We recently saw many different tartans at a Scottish Fling.  The Scottish Fling was a festival that held The 6th Annual World Amateur Highland Heavy Games Championships!  (Did you know there was such a thing?)

There's the 22lb Stone of Strength competition, the 56lb Weight Throw, and my personal favorite - the Caber Toss.

Do you know what a caber is?

It's basically a telephone pole!  It's a long, heavy, wooden pole that very strong men toss through the air.

What the heck?!

Surprisingly, I know a man who tosses cabers.

In college, my husband's friend was practicing for a Caber Toss competition.  This man is huge!  He's around 6'8'' and big.  Really big.

He used to practice with his caber at the park.

Paul, my husband, asked: "Where to you keep your caber?"
Friend: "At the park."
Paul:  "Do you lock it up? Don't you worry someone will steal it?"
Friend:  "Who could possibly steal a caber?"

Right.  No one could steal it.

So back to plaid.

I love a man in a kilt.  Playing the bagpipes, throwing stones, or hefting cabers.  It's just plain cool.

And remember, the only appropriate thing to wear under a kilt is nothing at all.

(Just be careful how you sit!)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Procrastination as an Art Form

I've always known I'm a procrastinator.

- Waiting till Sunday night to do my homework in high school.

- Waiting to start a major paper in college until a day or two before it's due.

- Starting my bookclub book the night before we meet.

Yes, I'm a Major Procrastinator.  I'm so good at procrastinating that I've taken it to the level of an Art Form.

Procrastinating has served me well.  In the above situations, the looming deadlines kick me into high gear and I can rock that homework, paper, or book.  I got very good grades in high school and college.  And I can easily read a book in a day, if that's what I set out to do.

And yet . . .

Being a procrastinator is not always a good thing.  In fact, it's usually quite the opposite.

If I don't have a hard deadline, I take my sweet old time.  This goes for basically everything.

My husband once said, "It's a good thing we have people over sometimes, or our house would never get really clean."

The day before guests come over, I go into a cleaning frenzy (and force my husband and daughter to help), and dang if our house doesn't SHINE!

But, "no guests" = "dust bunnies under the piano."

On a much larger, and more important scale, I now realize how much procrastinating has affected my career as a writer.

I love writing.

I love being a writer.

I love completing a book and sharing it with the world.

So why then do I find it so difficult to write every day?

Why is it so easy for me to find other things to do instead of write?

- Watch The Mentalist on TV.
- Get a coffee and cookie at the bank.
- Walk to the bookstore.
- Walk to the library.
- Watch Law & Order on TV.
- Have lunch with a friend.
- Check Facebook.
- Check Twitter.
- Get more coffee.
- Play solitaire online.

You get the picture.

And all this happens when I'm supposed to be writing.  It's my free time - my writing time - because I'm not at my "regular" job.

Why do I do this?  Why do I have such a problem with procrastination and lack of self-motivation?  Am I just inherently lazy?  Do I secretly not want to succeed?

Or is there a clue in my earlier examples?

Maybe I really do need a deadline to get me moving!

But if I set my own deadlines, is it the same thing?  Will I simply look at them as suggestions, instead of actual hard deadlines?

Well, I'm sick of procrastinating where my writing is concerned.

I have projects started and waiting to take flight!

So, I've set a real deadline for myself.

I will finish my writing project by the end of December or I will have to go back to working five days/week at my "regular" job.

Since I really like having the time to write, I had better use it.  Use it or lose it!

This is my promise to myself.

I will write and write well.  I will stick to my December deadline because there will be consequences if I don't.  I will be proud of what I have accomplished.

My writing is an Art Form too.  And it deserves my attention.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Things Teens Never Say

Today I was inspired by Scary Mommy's post Things Children Never Say.

Since I have a new high school freshman in the house, I decided to write my own list featuring TEENS.


Things Teens Never Say

1.  I'm so glad school starts at 7:30 am.

2.  Could you please chaperone the Homecoming Dance?

3.  I don't want a car for my 16th birthday.  That's way too much!

4.  I don't need a raise in my allowance.  I have enough money already.

5.  I'll clean the cat box right away.

6.  I have so much homework this weekend.  I'll think I'll do it Friday night.

7.  Can I go to bed early?

8.  That rated R movie is too racy for me.

9.  Can you teach me how to dress?

10.  Let me help you with that!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's Homecoming Week, So Why Do I Feel Sad?

My daughter started high school several weeks ago, and it still feels strange to me.

I've only been to her high school once since she started.

•  When she was in elementary school, I was there everyday.  Now there's no real reason to go.

I haven't stopped by to say "hi" to her teachers.

•  Even in junior high, I knew her teachers well.  Now I can't remember all her teachers' names.

I haven't even dropped her off in the morning.

• When she was little, I walked her to school every day.  In junior high, I often drove her to school.  Now she takes the bus every day.  She doesn't need my help getting to school anymore.

This week is Homecoming Week.

Each day has a different theme like Pajama Day or Superhero Day.

Today is Formal Day.  She left for school in a cute dress and flats.

Saturday is the homecoming football game and Homecoming Dance.

She told me she wanted to go to the football game with her friends.

And the dance.


So when did my daughter become old enough to:

1. Get to school on time without my assistance?

2. Not really need me at school at all?

3. Navigate the world of high school all on her own?

4. Plan big social events without my input?

5. Go to a Homecoming Dance?

As a mother of an only child, I have done a lot with my child.  Maybe more than parents who have to split some of their time between children.  Maybe I have done more than I had to or should have some of the time.

I understand the importance of independence.

I mean, really, does anyone want their 30 year-old child living at home?

But, she's not 30.  She's 14.

I'm so proud of her independence and ability to figure out high school!

I guess I'm just a little sad that she doesn't need me as much anymore.

Of course she still needs me.  Our kids always need us.

Just in different ways.

So as she enjoys Homecoming Week, I'm getting used to being the parent of a smart, independent, awesome high school daughter.

It feels pretty good.

(And just a little sad.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Little Bliss List: The Cow & The Sleeping Bag

I'm linking up with Liv Lane's Little Bliss List today.  The idea of The Little Bliss List is to share what gave you bliss over the past week.

This week my daughter and I have been sick (not blissful), but chilling out together reading, watching TV, and just resting has been blissful.

Today I wanted to share some photos of my cat (Cheech) and dog (Lily) from the past week.  They just intrinsically know how to be blissful.  In fact, our cat especially, lives his entire life in the search of bliss.  And he usually finds it!

Cheech having "Cow Time"

Cheech discovered a stuffed cow toy that was in the give-away pile.  He has claimed it as his own and spent a great deal of time having "Cow Cuddle Time" this week.

Kitty Close-Up

Lily, not to be outdone by the cat, found her own cuddle spot - a sleeping bag on the floor.

Lily on her sleeping bag.

Don't they both look so comfortable, so BLISSFUL?

Yes, the life of a pampered dog and cat is a good life indeed.

I wish everyone a blissful weekend full of cuddly cows and soft sleeping bags!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

5 Minutes of Silence

Today I took up the Writer's Workshop challenge to "Listen to the sounds in your house for 5-10 minutes.  Write about what you hear."

It's not very often that I sit quietly and just listen.  Usually when I'm sitting quietly I'm thinking about things to do, or reading, or just about to fall asleep.  Not really listening.

So this morning I did just that.  I really listened.

This is what I heard:

Pages of a book turning.  My daughter is home sick today.  She's curled up in the chair next to me, very quietly reading.

• My dog bouncing down the carpeted steps.  She doesn't walk down, she hops.  "Bounce, bounce, bounce."

• Our rabbit moving around in his cage, settling in for a nap.

Birds outside, although they sound distant because all the windows are closed.  It's cold this morning.

• My breath.  I can hear myself breathing.

• The hum of my computer.

• The refrigerator fan clicking on and buzzing.

• My dog licking her mouth.  It sounds very juicy.

"Lily!" My daughter telling the dog to stop licking.

• A truck on the distant highway.

• A sneeze from my daughter.  One from me too.  We're both sick.

• A single dog bark down the street.

"Whose knife it it really?"  My daughter asks.  We're both reading The Game of Thrones.

• Deep sounds of the Seminary bell ringing high in its bell tower.  It must be 11:00 am, although my computer says 10:55.  Which one is off by 5 minutes?  My computer or the bell?

My five minutes of listening is over.  But even as I write this list, I notice more sounds.  Birds, a car, my dog's sleep-breathing, my typing, more book pages turning, another dog bark in the distance.

Five minutes of silence isn't really silent at all.

Try it.

Just listen.

Friday, September 7, 2012

First Week of High School

Juliana just finished her first week of High School!

And I just finished my first week of being a mom of a high schooler.

To re-cap the week, here are some of Juliana's observations (and some of mine.)

Juliana's "First Week of High School" Observations:

1. "I never got lost (going to my classes)."

2. "School bus radios go up really loud.  Especially when the driver plays Gospel!"

3. "I know over half the people in my American History class."

4.  "School lunch is better in high school than in junior high.  And elementary school lunch is inedible."

5. "There's no dress code other than 'No Hats or Bandanas' and 'No Naughty T-Shirts."

My "First Week as a Mom of a High Schooler" Observations:

1.  "5:45 am is WAAAY too early to get up in the morning for a teen (and a mother!)"

2.  "Juliana seems happy and confident.  She doesn't seem to be worried at all.  I am very relieved."

3. "I'm surprised how much Juliana likes her Orchestra class.  Great!  I hope to hear lots of cello practicing!"

4.  "I hope the homework for her Culinary Arts class includes 'Cooking Dinner for Your Family!'"

5.  "I had worry dreams the night before Juliana started high school.  But now I know it's going to be OK.  She's ready!  And, finally, I feel ready too."

What are your observations about your child's first week of school?