The joys of grandparenting: French Quarter Days to Remember Monday, Feb 29 2016 

We’ve taken our kids and our grandkid to New  Orleans for family outings as long as we’ve had kids and a grandkid.  Last weekend, while the big kids ran the Rock n Roll Marathon in our queen city, Honey and Papa babysat the little one.  From the French Quarter to City Park, from early morning until early afternoon, we cheered the runners and spoiled the granddaughter to the point of weariness.

Of course, weary in those terms really isn’t weary.  It’s what grandparents do as long as God blesses them with health and vitality.

Long live family-filled


Traditions: Beignets and cafe au lait along the race way!

Crescent City memories, and long live grand-parenting!


Spring Fever: The Educator’s Definition Wednesday, Feb 24 2016 

Another by-product of writing with (for?) students . . .


Spring Fever, Teachers’ Version

Imagine how the term spring fever has different meanings to people in different vocations.  For example, farmers or professional baseball players likely believe spring fever is a desirable affliction, for their livelihoods are rooted in the excitement of spring.  But for many other vocations, spring fever has a much more distracting influence that’s anything but exciting.  Consider, for example, those who teach school.  For a teacher, spring fever is a disabling condition of the spirit that longs for the end of the tiresome school year and the exhilarating release of summer that follows May.

The disabling condition of spring fever is not so much physical as it is mental.  In fact, the physical vitality of the victim may actually prosper in the moderating weather, the lengthening days, and the green rebirth of nature.  But not so the mind!  The mind is crippled, debilitated, and tortured as the prisoner of his classroom looks outside the window to behold blooming Dogwoods and greening grass.  As much as he longs to throw down his lecture notes and marking pen and escape to the fragrant outdoors where his heart yearns, he is captive to the school bell’s hourly signal to file one class in and another one class out, the seven-period ebb and flow of disaffection.  The torture is exacerbated by the calendar’s short promise of June, the proverbial light of summer at the end of the school year’s nine-month long tunnel, the time countable now by weeks rather than months.

The earliest symptom of spring fever for the typical school teacher is a grumpy disposition that typically manifests itself at the end of the Mardi Gras break.  Those two day holidays in February or early March give way to resentment at having to return to work, furthermore prompting a longing for freedom from the school-day grind.  Students returning to school from the break should be aware that their teachers, especially on that first Wednesday, will be short-tempered and ill-humored.   Furthermore, additional symptoms will follow that early onset of grumpiness.

The next symptom of spring fever, teary eyes and a scratchy throat, usually shows up around mid-March during the height of the pollen and hay fever season.  This is the only spring fever symptom that has traits of physical illness, since it’s certainly related to the air-borne allergens that evoke sneezing and snorting.  But the allergy-related symptoms which weaken the bodily constitution also work to deflate the school-weary teacher’s spirit so that heightened lethargy, also known as don’t-give-a-damn-itis, intensifies.  Students find that teachers thus-afflicted will give fewer homework assignments and less demanding assignments in general, all because the teachers’ lethargy feeds the teachers’ growing disdain for having to do school work, which includes grading tests and papers.  (This spring fever symptom is students’ favorite!)

The final symptom of spring fever, giddiness, begins to show up in early May.  The teacher, now counting days rather than weeks till the end, is seized daily by fits of gleeful ecstasy, a sensation much like the endorphin high runners experience after a vigorous 5K race.  Sure, the runner feels tired, but the delightful prospect of the last day of school is so palpable that accomplishment overwhelms the numbing effect of weariness, not to mention the near-looming prospect of prolonged rest and recuperation.

Gratefully, for as much spring fever is debilitating and long-suffering during its course, it’s never fatal.  Over time, in fact, veteran educators accept, even embrace, its onset.  Considering other professions, which don’t offer prolonged summer seasons of daze off, teachers understand that this seasonal malaise is part of the rhythm of their work, one which must (and can be!) endured to get to the prize at the end of the school year.  For then comes healing by way of the three best reasons to teach—June, July, and August!

Spring is Springing Saturday, Feb 20 2016 


The grill’s the deal.

Hie we hence away to the patio this mellow Friday afternoon!

Mid to upper seventies in mid-February doth portend spring.

Our fare was potato wedges and grilled chicken breasts; sweet peppers, green and red; and sliced onions.

So we dwell, outdoors . . . at least until the next front spoils our faux-printemps.  But this time of year, we’re one weekend closer to the real spring deal.

An Evening Out, On the Tantalizing Verge of Spring . . . Tuesday, Feb 16 2016 

A balmy late-winter afternoon fueled the longing for spring.  We worked out (in shorts and t-shirts), ate out (on the patio), and stayed out till almost dark on the front porch, visiting with the neighbors for the first time in months since winter set in post-holidays with its grim and frosty determination.

We long for the warmth and rebirth of spring.  We long for days of chilling and grilling and patio dwelling.  Today was the big pre-spring tease!

Can we turn the days of the calendar a little faster to get there?


Ash Wednesday: A Reflection Wednesday, Feb 10 2016 

This is another creation that comes from writing along with students.  Cool!

Forty Days of Lent:
A Prayerful Meditation for Ash Wednesda

From the ashes of our failure and fall,
O Father, we thank you for Your
Righteous and redeeming
Truth, as we run to cleanse our sinful wounds in the healing fount of
Your precious blood: blood that flowedash wednesday

Down a sacred brow on a cross of shame to
Your wand’ring children’s
Soul-damning sin.

O, Father of compassion, whose mercy
Finds us in the recesses of our souls’ darkest night,

Let grace abound, while
E’er we repent with contrite hearts. Let us praise your
Name and worship Your
Truth in these forty days of Lent. . .

 And forevermore!



Trivial Rewards of the Profession: Mardi Gras Monday! Monday, Feb 8 2016 

Nineteen long years have passed since I had a paid day off for Lundi Gras (Fat Monday, the eve of Fat Tuesday).   We  celebrated the upcoming holiday on our last day of school  Friday with some good humor and Cajun music.


The Friday before the long Mardi Gras weekend called for a Cajun-musical change-of-pace as we contemplated four “daze” off.

So far this Lundi Gras, I’ve drunk coffee with an unrushed, weekend-ish leisure; run an errand into town; and alternated watching CNN and ESPN (May the chronicle reflect that today is also the day-after the Broncos smothered Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50).  I’ve got some chores and piddling scheduled for the rest of the morning, and we’ll run off on a shopping jaunt this afternoon when Sarah’s home.   The varied and stress-free pace of life is sweet.

As a retiree-become-rehiree, this pace pleases me immensely and affirms the decision I made last July to keep the career-engine running, but at a more moderate pace.

And to think that one more blissful day of Mardi Gras holiday has yet come come, that day followed by a shortened three-day work week to fast-forward to the next weekend, blessed already by the weatherman’s prognostication of mild temps and fair skies: forebodings of spring.


What manner of dog art thou? Tuesday, Feb 2 2016 

I’ll tell you what manner of dog thou art, Marley: a spoiled dog, one rotten to the marrow and blessed beyond measure.

See how ye the worthless one shreddeth a stick of rotten wood, making crumbled mess on the patio for Papa to clean up?


Mess not, fret not: Marley’s cooler than his Papa.

Yet thou hast no care.  Life is rich for puppy dogs!  Yay, better than  masters, who in the view of puppy dogs truly art not masters.  More like servants.

Mess up?

Fret not!  Papa hath means whereby to clean up.

Bark up?

Papa better wake up to let Marley out!

Beg up?

Papa better give Marley what Marley wants, lest Marley pees on Papa’s Basil plant!

Yay, o dog, thou art blessed among creatures, and rottenest of all.