childhood: ever changing but always the same

Certain things seem timeless.  Almost iconic, really.  Hula Hoops.  Matchbox cars.  Kickball, dodgeball, and flashlight tag.  We’ve enjoyed these for decades (although “enjoyed” might be an exaggeration for some when it comes to dodgeball), and I’m sure they’ll be around for years to come.

But when it comes to conflict?  Well, there are some universal similarities there, too.

Continue reading

in a perfect world

My kids go back to school tomorrow.  We met their teachers last week – people who’ve spent their summer strengthening their skills for a new group of students, or researching material for a new grade level.  Incredibly hard working folks, one and all, and I’ve stumbled across a post that sums up my feelings perfectly.

“I imagine the day when teachers step into the spotlight to become part of the elitist group that comes with being a celebrity.  When teachers are the rich and famous.  When teachers are the ones who own summer and winter houses.  When teachers sail in luxurious yachts bringing back experiences and knowledge to enhance understanding in their classroom.  I dream of the day when sports cards aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.  When every kid wants their teacher’s “Teacher Cards”.  When a teacher’s rookie card is worth more than a tanker ship filled to the gills with crude oil.”

I Imagine A Day | All In A Dad’s Work

Sunday Snapshot: cardboard dreams


I can smell those crayons like it was yesterday.

Did you ever play in boxes as a kid?  That might be a strange question for some people, but my fellow military kids know exactly what I’m taking about.  Every move brought a new wonderland of unpacked boxes, a treasure trove for fort building and creative play.

So naturally one of the first things I did when I found myself with a giant empty box was to plop T-man down in it for an afternoon of fun, and the eternal joy of childhood went on.

T-man was delighted to find a fort sized just right for him.  Bright colors clasped in his pudgy hands, he was free to scribble away to his heart’s content.

And life was good.

lessons from sleep away camp

I only recall one weekend of sleep away camp with the Girl Scouts from my childhood.  I’ve got very fuzzy memories of eating with tin utensils, a canvas tent on a platform, and the fireside talent show that involved my quartet performing Kenny Rogers’ Coward Of The County.  Yep.

Which meant I was in for a steep learning curve when T-man and Bear went to sleep away camp for the first time in July.  I didn’t have a lot of personal experience from the child’s perspective and precisely zero from the parent’s, yet somehow we muddled through.

Here are a few of the things I learned that week.

Continue reading

SoCS – the hidden error

It’s an English major tic.  Or maybe just a grammar fiend obsession.  The whole your/you’re thing is like nails on a chalkboard to me, but whining about this has been done to death (Why? WHY can’t people just learn the difference and then DO IT RIGHT??) so I’m attacking this week’s Stream of Consciousness post from a fresh perspective.

Let’s write using the words your, you’re, and yore (I know, right?) as many times as humanly possible.  And just for funsies, one of them will be misspelled.  See if you can spot it.grammar corrector

Oh, the good old days of yore, when you could tie your horse to the post and be certain it would still be there after you’d knocked back a few shots of whiskey.  When your buddy would never go after your girl because, you know, loyalty and such.

I’m not sure exactly how far back one has to go to reach the days of yore, but for now?  Let’s just say the best advice these days is to keep your hand on your wallet when you’re traveling.  Sad, but true.

One of the unique things about the University of Virginia was the Honor Code.  It was the pledge we all took upon entering the school, committing to following an honorable code of conduct: essentially not to lie, cheat, or steal.  The first thing that came to mind was academics, as in don’t cheat on you’re papers and tests, but I think more students may have found trouble in the real world application.  For example, writing a bad check or using a fake ID?  Both technically honor violations, but the Honor System only has a single sanction – expulsion.  Whether you’re at risk for actually getting kicked out of school for those?  Well, that’s another story.

On every single assignment and exam you had to write your pledge on the front cover: “On my honor as a student, I have neither given nor received aid on this assignment/exam.”  If you turned in your exam without it then you received an F.  No pressure there.

But, much like those horses in the Wild West, it also meant you could leave your bike sitting in the rack without buying a combination lock and sure enough, it would be waiting for you when you’re ready to head back to the dorm.

Not for nothing, because I’m pretty sure I had the you’re/your thing hammered out in high school, but it’s not like that kind of thing would have flown in a paper for UVA.  As a matter of fact, I can’t quite imagine a professor’s reaction to your paper if you turned it in with a grammatical error like that on it.

You might as well light the Lawn on fire and scream “TJ sucks!” at the top of your lungs.

See?  Just as unthinkable.

SoCS 2

Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays are super fun and open to everyone.  Pop over and give her blog a visit.

Forever Family: BrightSide’s side

Goody, goody – an interview!!

I’ve really come to love these.  The kids surprised me with their willingness to give thoughtful answers to anything I threw at them, and they’re already asking when their next interview will be.  (Click to read their first ones: Bear and T-man.)  It was refreshing to sit one-on-one with them and fully focus on their perspectives.

Now BrightSide’s bravely faced the tape recorder (well, Voice Memo app), too.

Continue reading

and BrightSide chimes in

At long last I’ve had a chance to interview the man, the myth, the legend himself…BrightSide. (Occasionally and affectionately referred to as BS, but only because he’s got a good sense of humor.)

After hearing from Bear and T-man, it was great to have a chance to sit with BrightSide and hear his perspective on things.  We had to do it on the sideline of T-man’s soccer practice ‘cuz, well, life, but I’m grateful that we had the time together.

Join Forever Family tomorrow to check out my fella’s point of view.


whistles, zinc oxide, and aloe galore

Summer break is swiftly coming to an end for our school district.  The last vacations have been taken, the last hot dogs and hamburgers grilled.  Meet the Teacher is upon us, and the kids are deciding how to spend their last utterly free weekend.

What else does this mean?  Hundreds of community pool lifeguards are heaving a sigh of relief as they climb off their stands and turn in their whistles.  Zinc oxide sales will drop precipitously until next Memorial Day, but on the positive side clothing sales will rise.

Lifeguarding.  It’s the teen’s summer dream job.  Or is it?

Continue reading