Wednesday, September 30, 2009


During the school year, I take note of clever things my students say.  The standard here is imprecise...but if I laugh out loud, I write the remark down.  This month didn't offer a great volume of funny remarks, though to be fair the first notable comment, by student H, set the bar incredibly high.  It may very well be my absolute favorite of all time:

"I like my law-making slow and incomplete."

A few days later, student B offered a comment in response to the news that Rachel Clinton (an accused Salem witch) was charged with making beer disappear from kegs.  Said B, "I don't think that was witchcraft."

On the basis of these two remarks, I'd say that we're off to a fine start.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Caught in the Act

It's not as if I didn't have my suspicions, of course.  But on Saturday evening, while I was in the room, Tiger boldly engaged in his criminal violation of the flowers.  I watched in stony, judgmental silence.  I made pictures of the offending act.  I made noises about a potential prosecution.

He didn't care.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Most days when I come downstairs in the morning, I am greeted by a floral display that has been substantially re-arranged.  Often, there are flowers lying outside the vase.  The cats, of course, are no where to be found.  And if confronted they will employ a "what me?" look that would fool Antonin Scalia into affirming their plea of innocence and immediately commuting their sentence to time served.

Mark Twain once wrote that "A cat is more intelligent than people believe, and can be taught any crime."  My cats seem to be pre-wired felons.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Of Veggies and Willpower

There is a story from my childhood about me and brussels sprouts.  My mother made them for supper one night; I was 5 or 6 years old.  When I saw them on my plate I was less than entranced.  In fact, I refused to try even a bite of the dreaded (and dreadful smelling) vegetable.  My mother induced me to give them a bite with the bright exclamation that , "they look like mini-cabbages."  But I didn't like cabbage either and so I was unpersuaded.  A few hours later, I was allowed to leave the table.  No sprouts had left my plate.

I was a strong-willed child.

As an adult, I learned to make an amazing silken cheese sauce.  I came to really enjoy brussels sprouts when they were served in cheese sauce.  A few years back, right around Thanksgiving, there was an NPR interview with Mollie Katzen, an amazing vegetarian cook whose cookbooks I enjoy.  She talked about making roasted brussels sprouts.  It sounded quite promising.  I've been roasting sprouts ever since.

It's easy to do and oh-so-yummy.   The details:

1 pound of brussels sprouts, washed and halved or quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt to taste

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and then cover the foil with the olive oil.  Place the sprouts cut-side-down on the foil.  Place the sheet of sprouts on the center rack in the oven.  Roast for 10 minutes.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and re-shuffle the sprouts, so that more of the sprout surface will touch the hot oil.  Don't worry if a few leaves come loose.  Just let 'em be.  Place the pan back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

Remove and leave on the pan; they will roast a few more minutes from the residual heat.  Add some salt to taste and serve.  They are tasty hot but can also be served at room temperature.

My parents will note with satisfaction that my 9 year old turns his nose up at the idea of such fare.  He won't even look at them on the table, not even when I brightly announce that "they look like mini cabbages." 

Whatever.  That leaves more for me.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


On Sunday afternoon, JT enjoyed the company of  his buddy B.  Like the other boy B, JT and this B have been classmates and playmates since they were 3 years old.   JT can no longer remember a time before my ex de-camped from family life.  But by the same token, he doesn't remember a time when he didn't see B at school.  There's a lot of comfort in that kind of friendship.

And on Sunday, there was a whole lot of humor of the 9 year old boy variety.  It was a glorious late summer day with bright sun and clear skies.  We three ate an early supper together and then hit the park in the last hour before sunset.  I spent a day getting chores done while laughing boys provided some background noise.  If there is a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, I don't know what that would be.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Date Night

This fall, JT and I made plans to celebrate the start of the school year and mark the end of the summer.  We decided that we'd go out to supper together.  He'd pick the restaurant and together we'd review the best parts of our summer.  As we started to contemplate our evening together, JT took to calling it our "date night," and, with a nod to Dr. Freud, so will I.

My companion brought charm and hunger to the table.  We talked about the start of the school year (the teacher he was scared of is strict.....but not mean at all, he reports; art and gym are still his favorite subjects but science is pretty cool). We talked about our best memories of the summer (that bike ride in Cape Cod is a guaranteed do-over for next summer).  He made me laugh and smile.  But mostly he made me feel incredibly blessed to be his mama.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Life As I Occasionally Know It

The other day, I strolled through the kitchen and was brought up short when I saw this on the counter:
My life is so glamorous.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Real LIfe Conversations with JT: Mix-Up edition

The backstory: Every once in a while, especially when he expresses a preference vastly different from my own, I shake my head and gravely announce to JT, "I brought the wrong baby home from the hospital."

Yesterday, as JT and I entered my classroom to grab up my school bag at the end of the day, another teacher's class (I call it the all-boy freshman lineup) was leaving the room.  One kid looked at JT and then looked at me and said, with a hint of incredulity, "He looks just like you."

Before I could say anything, JT nodded sagely and then announced, "It seems you didn't bring home the wrong baby."

Apparently not.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Boy and His Sticks

It is a well-documented fact that my son loves nothing more than a game involving the outdoors and sticks.  He has an entire collection of sticks in the front yard and I know better than to remove even a single one.  Because he will know.  And there will be hell to pay.

Last week, as a result of some impressive windy storms, a large branch was knocked out of the backyard tree.  When I asked JT to help me carry the branch to the curb for the town to collect, he was only too eager to oblige.

And so it was that he became the master and conqueror of the biggest stick ever. 

The neighbors are understandably wary.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Survey Says

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Census Bureau sent me a a household survey, part of their work to prepare for next year's national census.  Like any useful survey, the collection of demographic information was a part of the project.

Demographics are always difficult for me.  I know my age and gender, my ethnicity and level of eduction.  These are the easy questions.  But then comes the question of my marital status.  And now all my baggage is unpacked.

It's not just the unwelcome reminder of how much my life has changed.   I'm always better off if I live in the moment rather than reflecting on how I liked my old life; how much I enjoyed the security of being part of a partnership.   That life is gone now and dwelling on the past doesn't change things.  In the meantime, I've got some survey questions begging my attention.  I'm not divorced, because of course, I was never married.  But I have an ex, and dealing with that feels a lot like what I imagine feeling divorced feels like.  I am a single, though in my mind that raises images of a life I certainly don't live.  There is no category for someone like me.  So I chose an inadequate answer and move on.

But the effects linger.  I struggle with finding what I've come to think of as an elusive but magical place: the sweet spot where I can be satisfied with the person I have become; with the life I now lead.  A place where I can appreciate and understand the past for what it was and look to the future for its prospects.  Mostly, I just try to live in the here and now.  I avoid painful reflections about who I once was.  I don't think about the future.  I know that my life is more than the sum total of my successes and failures.  But when questions arise, confusion about my past, the uncertainty of my present and the empty palette of my future combine to make the present an uncomfortable place.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Household Happiness: Renovated Bulletin Board

Last month, I wrote about a bunch of cleaning projects completed while JT was away.  One of the cleaning projects was a bit more than cleaning, it was to re-claim the bulletin board that hangs in the tiny hallway that connects the living room and the kitchen.

The bulletin board had been a thorn in my side for the last 4 years.  Located directly across from the basement door, the tiny hallway where it hangs is well-traveled.  So countless times each week I would walk by it and think, "I should really do something about this.".  It wasn't just the chaotic mess on the board (though that should be enough), it was the color.  The board was rimmed in a lovely rich red and it looked terrific in my last house.

Of course, I haven't lived in that house for four years (ahem!) and it's never fit in with the kitchen in my current home.

While JT was away, I set out to fix things up.  First, the collection of must-haves pinned to the board was slimmed.   Then I set off for the local fabric store, to find some fabric that matches the hallway to cover the board.  Three yards of calico fabric later (a pattern happily called linsey-woolsey), the bulletin board now matches the kitchen.

Now, instead of shaking my head at the mess on the wall, I smile every time I walk by.  Which makes it a daily source of household happiness.

Monday, September 14, 2009

This Week in Cookies

Most weekends, I get out the cookie sheets and make homemade baked goods for the week's lunch box enjoyment.  On occasion, I place some of the fresh-baked goodness in the freezer for the weekends when things are too busy for baking.  In this way, we always have homemade cookies on hand at Sassafras House.This past weekend I made two batches of cookies.  I made JT's favorite, chocolate chip  cookies (some had walnuts because I like them that way) and I also made some molasses spice cookies, using this recipe from Simply Recipes.

The molasses spice recipe calls for big cookies, but I make mine smaller, taking care to dip each ball of dough into white sugar.  This helps to hold the sticky dough together and makes for a tasty cake-like cookie. 

Later this month, I'll be teaching my U.S. History students about the Sugar Act, which occasions an explanation of the popularity of molasses in the American colonies.  Molasses is still available, but in modern life we don't use it nearly as often as it was used 200 years ago.  So that day, the students will get a molasses spice cookie, a taste of the past to spice up their very modern lives.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Soccer Boy

A few years back, JT played a season of soccer.  It was of the small-kid variety and the children followed the ball around the field like a little pack.  It was no-goalie soccer and zillions of goals were scored, though no final score was tallied.

Though he loved running up and down the field, he didn't love the fact that he didn't know the score.  He's a child of my family and wants to WIN, thank you very much.

Soccer with 9 and 10 year olds does keep score.  And I am pleased to report that the first game delivered a victorious outcome, as JT's team won the match 5 - 3.  The boys played in a light rain but they didn't seem to care about that.  JT was a tenacious defender and though he didn't play goalie, he was very happy to deliver the long kick from the back field.

I was given dispensation to cheer, which I did.  Loudly.  I love to watch him play; to catch the flash of his smile on the field when things go well.  That's a good thing as I expect I have hours and hours of game-time in my future.

A note on Blogger issues: Though I have solved the font and typeface issues, Blogger and I continue to struggle over photo placement.  The good news: I can upload them.  The bad is that once they appear in the post I have little control over placement.  This makes me all sort of cranky and it affects the appearance of my posts.......I'm working on it, I promise.  And in this case, working on it means more than swearing a blue streak.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Soccer Mama: Report #1

Today brought the start of soccer season. Just after 8 am we headed over to the field for the first game of the year.  Nearly every kid in central Jersey must be playing in our league as there were at least 10 fields ready for play.  Everywhere you looked there were kids in soccer jerseys and shin guards.

Though I can be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by 8 am on the weekdays, on a Saturday that hour felt painfully early to be firing on all my cognitive cylinders.  So I carried along a large mug of coffee to serve as a motivator.

And thus it was that I found myself incredibly grateful to use the facilities on the left, which offered far more comfort and privacy then the facilities on the right.  In this manner, I have preserved the small amount of dignity that remains in my life.

Game update and more photos tomorrow.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Appetite for Destruction

On a regular basis, JT offers to destroy things for me.  Leftover food?  He'd like to throw it to the street.  Old clothing?  He'll happily shred it up for me.  He doesn't actually confine his destructive desires to old items; he'd willingly destroy anything I'd let him take on.

And there's the rub.  I rarely permit tiny acts of destruction, let alone wholescale carnage.

But I have a pair of sandals that have simply worn out.  I wore them to school this week and discovered just how worn they were.....worn beyond repair because of a split in the sole.  They had to be thrown out.  So I handed the offending items over to JT.  Finally, some destruction that he could really sink his teeth into.

His first act was to make a secret compartment in my heel.  Handy for all of my spy needs, he explained.

Warning: now that my sandals have been re-purposed, the CIA can look for my application in the mail.  I'm totally pre-qualified.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Live Blogging the Health Care Address

Regular readers (hi Mom!) will recall that last fall I took to live-blogging the presidential debates.  The election put an end to that brand of fun.  But as I started thinking about President Obama's address to Congress, I thought it might be fun to live-blog the madness.

Our helpful assistant blogger is my 9 year old son.  And before you doubt his credentials, I want you to think about the behavior of the Republicans in Congress.

In comparison, the kid looks incredibly serious and well-qualified.

I'll start by disclosing my bias:  I want universal, single-payer healthcare.  I am completely aware that is not going to happen in this round of reforms, if ever.  I'll settle for a public option plan to compete with private insurers; some sort of serious effort to control costs; and a real commitment to real universal coverage: insurance for every person in this nation.

And yes, I know that's probably unrealistic.   The sins of the national news media not withstanding, the Obama Administration handled August badly.  I want the president to get Congress back on track and provide some leadership on the issue, explaining to the nation why we must reform our health care system and offering some serious proposals to help make it happen.

The first issue:  whose coverage to view?  I'm going with MSNBC because I like Brian Williams, David Gregory and Rachel Maddow.  But if they let Keith Olberman talk........I'm gone.  He's a monstrosity.

7:58 pm
Just saw John Boehner.  I hope to hell that he keeps up with his insurance premiums because that kind of suntan has skin cancer written all over it.

8:00 pm
MSNBC is letting Olberman serve as our narrator.  I'm off to CNN.  Wolf Blizter.  Gah.  JT just explained to the cats: we don't like this guy either but he's better than that other dude.  Michelle Obama wearing sleeves tonight.

8:04 pm
CNN opting to show the Clinton speech from 1992...teleprompter trouble that year.  And no reform that year either....coincidence?

8:12 pm
The man of the hour turns up.  JT's only question: Will he shake his wife's hand?  Wife looks pissed off that he didn't shake her hand.  Uh oh.

Caught sight of Senator Tim Johnson from SD who knows his way around the healthcare system as a result of a recent serious illness.  Interesting to hear what he and his staff have to say about reform.

8:18 pm
The economy blah blah blah getting better blah blah blah still need to help folks looking for jobs blah blah blah.

JT:  I thought this was supposed to be about healthcare.

Exactly.  Let's get to it, Mr. President.

Props to Representative John Dingell and an Obama vow to be the last president to propose healthcare reform.  Starting strong.

8:21 pm
Obama: "we are the only advanced democracy who allows such hardship for its citizens."  Amen.

8:23 pm
JT: "Insurance companies let people die?  That's bad."  From the mouths of babes.

8:27 pm
Congress is getting strokes so far...."you've worked hard."  Okay, but I want some heads to roll.....and Obama just said, "The time for bickering is over....we must show the American people that we will do what we were sent here to do."   That's more like it.

The plan:
1.  Security and stability for those who have insurance.
2.  Insurance for those who need it.
3.  Cost control.

I'm in.  Tell me more.

8:32 pm
Insurance marketplace exchange idea is interesting, I guess.  But it's not really going to solve our problems and he knows it.  We need more than a marketplace.  Plus....4 years?  Dude, that's not soon enough.

8:35 pm
He's gonna require everyone to get care with a hardship waiver for low income folks and small businesses.....okay, but I'm not convinced that will do the trick and it's costly.  Massachusetts has been bleeding cash to make that happen.

8:37 pm
And now he takes on the myths......first up death panels.  He's talking to you Sarah Palin; says "It's a lie.  Plain and simple."  Congress cheers.

Says no coverage for folks who are here illegally.  I don't approve, because I am compassionate that way. 

And a member of Congress just yelled back at the president.  Did he call him a liar? Nancy Pelosi is not amused. My 9 year old is shocked.

Update: Yes, Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina did call the president a liar. 

8:40 pm
He's pointing out that the big 5 insurance companies need more competition and must be held accountable.  That sort of language makes the GOP happy.  And for now, I'll live with it.  Because he just said that he wants a public option to be in the marketplace.

Yes.  By God, yes.

8:50 pm
Obama promises to protect Medicare.  GOP sits on their hands.

8:53 pm
He notes that defensive medicine contributes to rising costs; mentions malpractice reform but doesn't commit.

Obama says the costs of reform will be less than the tax cuts for the rich passed by the last Administration.  Looking at you, George W.  Ouch.

8:55 pm
Obama says his door is open for those with new ideas.  But he won't stand by and endure those who misrepresent the plan; those who want to get in the way of reform.  Says, "Know this: I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than improve it."  Says he will call out the deceivers...strong language.

I hope to hell that he means it.

8:58 pm
Closing with Teddy Kennedy, calling health care "a moral issue" about "social justice" and "the character of our country."  Says Teddy was driven by "something more" "a passion born of his own experience" and Kennedy's concern about those who didn't have health care, a feeling that isn't partisan.  I'm sold.

The final words were emotional: "we did not come here to fear the future.  We can meet history's test."

It was an impressive appeal to take some action for the common good.  Let's hope that we can rise to the challenge.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Bigger and Bigger

Today is the first day of classes in the Upper School; JT started class last Wednesday.  As is my custom, I made his picture on the first day of school.

As this photo makes abundantly clear, I am no longer the mama of a little boy.  He's not quite taller than me, but that's only a matter of time.  He started the 4th grade last week and that means that next year he'll be in middle school.  Middle school will certainly mean I no longer have a little boy.

I can't quite wrap my mind around such a development.  I'll be thinking of this today as I look at my classroom full of 11th and 12th graders.  The parents of those students are staring down the face of sending their children to college in a year or two.  That is the goal, after all; the target to which we all aspire.

And yet.  I'll bet those parents still see a 4th grader in the face of their sons and daughters.  I'll bet they can instantly recall the days when that little bundle could be held against the hip with just one arm.

And here they are in my classroom; young men and women who are nearly adults.  They are smart and craving independence; they are eager for the challenges that lie ahead.  But for all of that, they are still some mama's baby. And I will remember that as I am in class with them this year. 

Monday, September 07, 2009

All Baseball, All the Time

One of the best parts of living with a 9 year old is that he has the attention span to pay attention to sports.  So we can watch a game together and he follows the ebb and flow of the play, instead of bouncing on the sofa next to me.  Last week, we watched a great deal of the Little League world series and JT's interest in baseball trading cards has been renewed. 

When he spends his allowance on a pack of cards, it provides a good deal of satisfaction.  He sorts the payers by position, by batting average, by league, and whatever other category he can identify.  He studies the cards, admiring the players and reviewing where they have played in their careers.

Then he calls his grandpa and they chat about All Things Baseball.  The Cardinals are ahead by more than a few games as we head into fall and that's a recipe for his grandfather's satisfaction, a topic of shared enjoyment between the generations.  It's nice to watch my boy digest the details of a game that's been the background of much of my life.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Off and On

When I make a supper that is primarily composed of food I've grown in my garden, I think of it as eating off the grid.  Wednesday night's supper is an excellent example.

I made cucumber and tomato salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.  The cukes and the 'maters were from my garden.  I served it with a zucchini stuffed with couscous, feta, onion, and fresh basil.  The zucchini, onion, and basil were grown in my backyard.

This is as close to off the grid as I can get.  I was feeling quite smug about it and then JT joined me at the table.  He took the smallest try-me bite miniscule that it couldn't be seen by the naked eye.  Then he rolled his eyes, clutched his belly, and otherwise indicated how much this meal would make him hurl.  Perhaps it might be fatal, and then how would I feel?

So he sat down to a supper of corporate chicken.  He was most delighted, of course.  And it's as on-the-grid as any food can be.


Friday, September 04, 2009


For some time, the transition between summer vacation and the end or start of the school year has been difficult for me.   There are several reasons for this, but one will suffice as an illustration. 

Three years ago, as she did every morning, my partner walked out of the house, headed to work.  But normal ended that Friday afternoon, on the last day of classes in the Upper School, when she phoned me to announce that she'd found some place else to live.  It was a crushing, numbing event.  JT and I blundered through the next week as I gave final exams and he finished kindergarten.  And then, on his first day of summer vacation, when he was 6 years old, his Mommy finally came back to his home and announced that she would no longer be living with him.  That was one hell of a summer.

That fall, the return to school was unexpectedly difficult.  As I unpacked the pictures I kept on my bulletin board in my classroom, I kept finding photos of a family and a life that no longer existed.  When JT was asked to draw a picture of his family to share with his first grade classmates, the task found him anxious and angry.  We muddled through that year of change together and felt more able to cope the next year.  But that year, JT broke his leg just before the second grade got started.

We are understandably wary of the transitions to and from school. 

Earlier this week, as JT played in the front yard and I sat in the rocker on the porch and read, we watched a neighbor walk down the street to meet someone coming home from the local train station.  When his other Mommy lived with us and walked home from the train each evening, JT used to meet her at the corner.  He loved that part of his day.  And then, of course, it suddenly stopped.

He never mentioned it again.  And it was more than three years ago, so I wasn't sure if he even remembered it.  But as the neighbors walked by the other day, chatting about their days as families do, JT saw something familiar.  He walked up on the porch, looked at me, and said, "I remember when I did that."

Before I could say anything,  his eyes filled with tears and he said, "I wish I still did that."  I gave him a hug and told him what I always say when these moments occur.  "I am so sorry, honey."  I've been saying that for three years and it never seems like enough.

We've made plans to have some extra fun this weekend.  We know that the next month will sometimes catch us unawares and so we will walk through it a little wary of the changes, sometimes slightly overwhelmed by events.    JT knows that we can successfully negotiate our way back to a familiar routine and find some happiness at the end of the process.  I know it as well.

Together, we can do most anything.  This fall, I plan to remember that very important detail.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Problem Solved

The new version of Blogger has been driving me batty since it launched a few weeks ago.  I do my writing for my blog in a Word document, often taking time to edit the slop I plan to share with the Internet (hard to believe, I know).  When I'm ready to put stuff on-line, I transfer the text from the document over to Blogger.

For more than three years, this has been a most satisfactory method.  Then some  smarty-pants techie at Blogger did some updates and it all went to hell.  Or so I thought.  Turns out there had also been an update to Microsoft Word such that when I did my cut-and-paste routine, it transferred some html coding information that messed with Blogger's mojo.  The upshot was that my blog font was screwy, spacing was a disaster, Blogger would often suggest that I had made a fatal! error!.  And I was cranky.

Then I discovered that other places where I do the cut-and-paste dance (e-mail; a teaching program called Moodle; who knew what else?) were also screwed up.

More crankiness.

In passing yesterday, I mentioned my troubles to the tech guy at my school.  And it was literally in passing...we were both busy and I mentioned it when P walked past me.  Within 20 minutes, he had diagnosed and fixed the problem.  The solution, for now, is to do my writing in TextEdit, a program that is already on my computer (an Apple MacBook).  It's a solution worth sharing, and so I am doing so.

I have to confess that I already had great fondness for P, the tech guy at my school.  He's funny and quick-witted, two traits I always enjoy in a person.  He always takes my problems seriously, even when they are lame, self-induced wounds (and it's none of your business how much that happens)  And he always fixes stuff for me. 

And now I have yet another reason to be nice to him.  Thanks, P.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

In Praise of Community

School begins today.  As always, I start the year by thinking a bit about the numbers involved.  This is my eighth year teaching history and political science at my school.  JT begins the fourth grade today; it's his seventh year at the school.  And it will be my fourth year as a single parent, an idea that once seemed unbelievable to me.  But there is it, the reality of my life.  And that's one of the reasons that our school is so incredibly important to me.  On a purely practical level, the fact that we come to school together every day, that our days off and our vacations are completely synchronized, is an epically huge blessing for me.  I don't have to think about coordinating my arrival or departure from work in terms of my child's schedule because we are on the same schedule.  That we're on the same schedule would probably be enough to make my life as a single mama easier.  But it's not just convenience that binds me to my school. 

Independent of my job, which I dearly love, there is the benefit of a school which acts as a partner in the task of raising my child.  The people at the school know my son because they've watched him grow up.  There is the classroom teacher who recognizes his laugh when he's around the corner.  There is the gym teacher who knows how much JT adores a good game of chaos kickball.  The librarians who know just what book he will love.  The art teachers who encourage his boundless imagination and creativity with a piece of paper and some colored pencils and the choir teacher who lets me know what a well-mannered son I have.  I could go on and on.  On this campus my boy is surrounded with the familiar faces of people who know his heart and soul and love him for it.

It's not something I take lightly.

The sum total of the arrangement is that though I am a parent on my own, I feel less alone.  In my school, I have found a real community.  And I don't throw that word around lightly.   At school, JT spends his days with adults who want him to succeed on his terms, who sustain his curiosity and give him the support he needs to face new tasks.  He is willing to challenge himself because his safety net is sound.  In the school community, there are adults who wish for JT what his mama wishes for him: that he will grow up to be strong and capable, with an imagination that will support him for the next steps of his journey, wherever that may be.

It's easy to take such an arrangement for granted and sometimes I do.  But as a new school year begins, it seems fitting to stop and express my gratitude for my school, a place that lets me do what I love secure in the knowledge that my son can do the same.  We are not alone in this place we now call home.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

September 1st: Hostas

The hostas by the garage suffer when the sun gets too hot.  Hostas prefer some shade and at high summer these don't get much.  Come August, they can look a little wilted.  This month they've also had to contend with some slugs and that has also contributed to their tired, weathered appearance.
Last week I placed some sand around the edges of the bed (that should help to curb the hungry slugs....they don't like sand).  And then Mother Nature eased their pain with several days of cooler temperatures followed by even cooler rains.

That combination has proven refreshing for my hostas, who look forward to some cooler days in the month ahead.  As a bonus, they've got a new dahlia to brighten the end of summer.  I like the old-fashioned look of dahlias but don't always have success with them.  This one looks to be a real keeper.