A New Idea

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that it has been a reflection of my emotional life for the past dozen or so years. I started it on the advice of a very good therapist who I was seeing to help me process the depression that I felt when my three children grew up and moved out.

Over the years, this blog has helped me to express my feelings about moving into the “Empty Nest” years and learning to accept myself as something other than Momma.

If you’ve been reading my words for a while, you’ll know that I’m now a very happy grandmother, and that my grandchildren have more than filled the hole that was created by the absence of my kids.

I’ve written about politics (grrrrr), teaching, aging, friendships and life in general.

But now we’re caught in the horrors of 2020. No more visiting, no more vacations or travel or dinners out. Now my world has closed in around me.

It can be more than a little difficult to cope.

But luckily for me, there is always food to keep me sane! I love to eat. Therefore, I love to cook.

So I had an idea.

I am thinking that I’d like to start a new blog. A cooking blog. But not one of those pretentious, sous vide, balsamic reduction, adorable presentation blogs.

Instead, I want to write a blog for people who think that they ‘can’t cook’. You know, people who are intimidated by roasting a chicken. Or making a salad.

I know those people are out there, because some of them are my friends and relations! I want to convince them that anyone…..anyone…..can cook well enough to eat happily at home.

If I do that….will you follow me? Will you come along on my new journey to bring sanity, humor and fun into the average American kitchen?

I hope so. I am excited to try this out.

I do need a catchy name for this new site, so please weigh in if you have an idea. Maybe something along the lines of “Oh yes you CAN make dinner.” Or “Demystifying Dinner”. I don’t know. I trust you guys to be more creative.



A woman of words


When I teach my fifth grade students about poetry, I always start with a lovely poem about writing.

“Take a pen in your uncertain fingers”, it reads, “and trust that all the world is a bright blue butterfly, and words the net to hold it.”

I love that idea, the thought of holding all the world within my words.

Maybe that’s why I don’t seem to be able to stop thinking in words.  I try to be “mindful”, to simply relax and rest and be.  I try to turn off my thoughts, my words, my judgments.  I sit in a quiet place, I breathe in deeply.

I look at the warm evening sky, this first lovely evening of spring.  I sit in a quiet place.   I try not to think, to simply look, to observe, to be a part of the moment.

But I can’t stop the words from flowing. “I look at the feeder, at the remains of the suet that I put out last night.  I see the clumps of seeds and fat, piled and spilled across the deck, a reminder of the orgy of feeding that must go on all day, when I am not here. I scan the trees.  No birds.  Did they hear me come out?  Are they afraid?”

I sit, I am still.  I breathe.  “A swoop of wings, a flutter near my ear.  A chick-a-dee, of course!  That bold little bird, he won’t let me scare him away from his dinner!”

It makes me smile to see him, perching on the tip of pine branch just above me.  Cocking his head from side to side.  He calls out, “Chirrup!”

“As soon as his call fades, a flurry of wings and twitching tails, all flowing over the roof of the house and into the pines above my deck.  I pick out each one, watching them as they line up on the branches.  A pair of slate gray juncos, like proper little nuns, waiting their turns to eat.  A nut hatch, his long sharp beak stabbing one bit of suet after another off the railing.  A gentle phoebe, hopping along the deck and finding scattered seeds.”

A tiny flash of brilliance catches my eye, and the words increase in speed. “A goldfinch!  Wearing his bright spring coat, wanting to be brave enough to land, but flying instead from the rooftop to the branch and back again!  Finally, he gets his courage up, and flings himself onto the feeder.  Looking nearly panicked, he gulps down a few quick bites, seems to cast a wary eye my way, then shoots straight up into the sky.”

I laugh to myself.  I wonder why I don’t just grab a camera.

I guess its because, for me, nothing in life seems real until I have tried to capture it in the net of my words.

Writing just to write

Oh, oh.

This is about to become one of those incredibly self-serving and self-conscious posts about blogging.


I hate those.

But I’m in a weird place!  I need advice/comfort/support/head slaps/eye rolls/”get over your bad selfs”/hugs.  I started this blog way back when because I was really, truly depressed about the emptying of my nest.

I was picturing this:

Wicked cute babies.

Wicked cute babies.

When in reality, my children looked like this:

My sweet occupiers.

Whoah. They grew up. A lot.

I was a very sad out-of-work Mommy.  So I poured my heart out into “Post Departum Depression” (get it??) and I cried and I mourned and I grieved.  And I found some wonderful kindred souls and some very smart and talented writers.  And slowly, slowly, I grew out of my sadness and my depression.

I grew to the point where I began to appreciate the pleasures of the post-baby phase of life.  And I began to write for the pleasure of writing.  I no longer needed the therapy, I no longer needed the outlet. But I kept on writing.

Why, you ask? Why did I continue to write, even when the therapy was no longer needed? Well, first of all, WordPress has these horribly addicting things called “Freshly Pressed” and “stats”.  You start to look at them.  Like every day.  Or maybe 43 times a day.  You notice those rare and exhilarating days when you have been “Freshly Pressed” or when a famous educational blogger like Diane Ravitch has shared your post. You become entranced as your stats go from 30 daily reads to 3,000 daily reads.  You start to feel moderately famous. You grab your laptop and frantically search for a topic.  You write because you want to be read!

I know that these little blips of success are fleeting. I know that I am not actually on my way to that Pulitzer Prize.  Still, I keep writing.

I write because every time I start to think, “Who the hell do I think I am, expecting people to read my drivel?”, I run into a smart, thoughtful, wonderful friend who tells me that she reads my words and that “they touch my heart”.  Gulp!  Talk about a boost of adrenaline and a boost to the ego! I write because the people I value find something meaningful in my words.

I have discovered that blogging has opened my world. I have blogging friends now in Scotland, England, California, Connecticut, Maine.  I have blogging friends who share my ideas, and friends whose ideas are totally foreign to me.  I have exchanged thoughtful comments about parenting, teaching, marriage, dog training, gun laws, the Arab Spring, Gaza and Israel, local foods and herbal medicine.

I learn something every time I check my reader.

But here is my dilemma.

I no longer feel that “Post Departum Depression”.   I no longer mourn over my empty nest.  Truth to tell, I am gearing up to be (hopefully) a grandmother one day in the not-too-distant future.

So.  Do I end this blog, and start another? Do I change the name of the site? Or do I honor the time in my life that helped me to find my writer’s voice, and keep the site and name as I grow into my “Nonni” years?

I’d love it if you would weigh in on this, everyone.  What should I do?

I can see every side of the issue, and I am not sure what to do.

Let me leave you with this. The image of my beloved babies, as they celebrated together at Kate’s wedding.

My favorite photo of all time. Truly.

My favorite photo of all time. Truly.

What’s your advice?


When I was 21…..

I haven’t written here for a while.  So much has been swirling around in my heart that I wasn’t sure where to begin.  I’ve started a few posts, but quickly realized that each one fell short of what I was hoping to say.  So I waited, and fretted a bit, wondering when I would finally find the idea that could serve as an anchor for my thoughts.

I knew it would finally come, and it did.

I just read posts by two of my favorite bloggers; Elyse at Fifty Four and a Half and Darla at She’s a Mainiac.  Turns out that Elyse inspired Darla by asking “What were your thoughts at 21 about having kids?” And both asked the rest of us to write about the same question.

So here I am.

Oh, my, what were my thoughts about motherhood?  Can I even remember being 21?

The past few weeks for me have been a confluence of poignant synchronicities.  I have been constantly looking both backward and ahead, weighing and measuring the changes and the consistencies.

I am teary and fragile.  I am poised between what was and what I can’t yet see.

And I have been thinking so much about my own dreams at the tender age of twenty one.

I’m the oldest daughter in a family of six children. The first time that I felt the pull of maternal yearning, I was thirteen years old, holding my sweet sleeping baby brother on my lap. I remember the smell of his sweaty baby hair, the look of the long lashes on his soft cheek. I wanted a baby, a baby of my very own.

That's me in the flowered poncho.  The baby brother is the adorable little curly haired guy to my right.  Weren't we cute?

That’s me in the flowered poncho. The baby brother is the adorable little curly haired guy to my right. Weren’t we cute?

I fell in love with my husband at seventeen.  I knew that I wanted his babies as soon as I knew that I wanted him.  By twenty one, I was planning both my wedding and my family. I wanted to rock and hold and sing and soothe. I wanted to nurture and love.  I was ready.

Paul and I got married at twenty-two (!), but we had grad school ahead of us. My Mommy dreams were put on the shelf, growing stronger with every passing month.  Finally, at the age of 27, with my Master’s Degree in hand and my first job underway, I was truly ready for motherhood.

But maybe I wanted it too much, because it didn’t happen.  Not in a month, not in six.  Not in a year.  The pain and the shame are hard to describe.  I had dreams of desperately climbing a cliff, hanging by my fingernails, pulling myself up onto a ledge where I was met by a crowd of mothers and nursing babies.  I raged, I mourned, I prayed. And finally, after a lot of medical intervention, I did it.  Eight weeks shy of my thirtieth birthday, I became a mother.

I know it sounds like the sappiest of cliches.  But I finally became the woman that I had dreamed of being, ever since that moment when I looked at my sleeping baby brother and felt my heart turn over. I had my very own baby to love.

And not so long after that,  I had her brothers. Life was exactly what I wanted it to be.

Then, when my oldest child was nine years old, and her brothers were one and three, I started a job in the school where I work now.  I took the job reluctantly, feeling that the forty five minute commute was just too much to handle. But I was young, I was idealistic. I loved the children at school almost as much as I loved the children at home.  I believed with my whole heart in everything that I was doing in both places. I threw my whole heart and soul into our school, and into raising my three children.

And somehow, although I didn’t truly feel it happening, twenty years have gone flying by.  My baby boy is the one who is twenty one now. He is about to graduate from college, ending another phase of his life and of mine.  That fact has me looking back, but also looking forward. How did my little baby grow so suddenly into this strong young man? What will he do with the life that stretches out before him?

What will I do with mine, now that I am the mother of three adults?

Our school district has an annual celebration for everyone who has been working here for twenty years. A twentieth anniversary party for everyone who has managed to hang on for so long. I have attended many of these celebrations in the past.

To my absolute shock, I am one of those “Twenty year” people this year. They’re giving me a chair. The other night there was a wonderful dinner, a funny and touching “roast”, a great celebration.  I loved it all.

But I can’t really grasp the fact that I have been at this job, doing that grueling commute, for twenty years! How did that happen?

Now I am fifty eight years old.  I still love my students and love the time I spend with them.  I still feel lucky to have the job that I do.

But I no longer believe in most of what we do in public school. I no longer feel quite as excited and proud and idealistic about my job. I no longer teach in a way that I think is best for my kids.   Now I prepare for the tests and I give the tests and I score the rubrics, because that’s what they tell me to do.  Now I try to sneak in moments of joy and creativity in my classroom, hoping that they will go unnoticed.

Now I am an older teacher, riding out my last few years.  And I love and admire my young colleagues, who bring so much energy and joy to our school.

And here is the synchronicity:  One of those young colleagues is that baby girl who made my dreams come true.  Now she is a smart, confident, beautiful woman.  A teacher like her Mom.

When I sat on the stage during my “Chair Ceremony”, I looked out at the room full of my fellow teachers.  I listened to my colleagues as they talked about my past, and I looked at my daughter, sitting in the crowd, representing the future.

What did I think about when I was twenty one? I can’t remember it all, but I know that I wanted my children, desperately and deeply.  I know that I wanted a job that let me grow and learn.  I guess I wanted exactly what I have.

Now the question is this: What do I want for the last phase of my life? What do I want my after 60 adventures to be?

Comment here or write a post to answer this question, OK? I am certainly looking for some inspiration.

Jeez, technology scares me.

I am 57 years old.

That’s getting up there, you know?

I remember when new technology meant that TV had more than three channels.  The cool kids were able to watch those awesome UHF channels!  Wow……

I remember when new technology meant 8 Track tapes.

Please stop laughing. I am not kidding.

I am old.

So very, very old.

I’ve done my best, though, to stay up to date and in the know.  I have a laptop (thank you school!) and I know how to use it (thank you, professional development program!)

I use Facebook. (How else can I track my kids’ every move?)

I have used Skype.  (OK, it was 5 years ago, but still….)

I have a Twitter account. (Well, I got it when Twitter was new and I was curious. It doesn’t really work without a smart phone, so……..)

And….as you know doubt know by now…..I have a BLOG!!  On WORDPRESS!  This no doubt makes me so tech savvy that I am just about ready to get myself an IT job.

At school, I am considered to be one of the more technologically adept teachers. I use Google Drive, Wikis, Educreations, Evernote, iBooks, Collaborize Classroom and Glogster.

I rock.

The thing about technology, though, is that no matter what you learn, no matter what you master, you will continuously be reminded that you are, at heart, an idiot.

Case in point:

As a very hip, up to date, cutting edge technology user, I follow a lot of blogs these days.  One of them is written by a guy named Alexey, at Inside My Glitching Mind.  This blog features incredible photos of all manner of interesting things from around the world.  One of the cool features is a collection of photos of fences.  Fences from all over the world.

What an intriguing idea!

I happen to have two very interesting fence photos myself!  Both were taken in Newport, Rhode Island, along the famous Cliff Walk.  We were on the outside (poor people) side of the fences, looking in at the glamorous (rich people) side.

“I like these photos”, I though to myself. “I will send them on to Alexey!”


In order for my photos to be used on his blog, they have to be a certain size.  Um.   OK?  I looked at my photos on iPhoto, but couldn’t figure out how to change the size.  I asked my friend, the IT person at school, and she sent me the directions.

I was SO proud of myself when I made my photos nice and small!  Yay!!  I couldn’t wait to see MY pictures on that great site!  I wrote a nice email to Alexey and hit “send”.

Very quickly, I got a reply.  “You forgot to attach your photos”, it said.    Hehehe……

I attached and resent.

Another quick reply. “Your pics are too small. They need to be 680 pixels to fit the blog theme.”

Oh, right.


I prepared to give up.

“You could upload them to your blog”, came the ever patient Alexey’s reply, “And I can get them from there.”

So, here they are.  What do you think?

God only knows if they have enough pixels in them.

This kind of shows the greed, and bad grammar, of the very rich.

This kind of shows the greed, and bad grammar, of the very rich.

This shows a lovely, welcoming gazebo, just beyond the "Keep out" fence.

This shows a lovely, welcoming gazebo, just beyond the “Keep out” fence.

Rose Colored Glasses

A friend of mine mentioned the other day that she had been reading my blog.  (I am always surprised when people tell me that they are reading my words. Shocked, but happy! I like it!)  She said that she was enjoying reading my posts, but that they made her feel bad because, “It sounds so great! You are such a great mom. You guys always had fun together. My life with my kids isn’t that happy all the time.”

WHOAH.  What?  Did I really write that way?

So I went back and read a whole bunch of my old posts, and guess what? She was right!  It was all sunshine, puppies, beach days and laughter.  What the heck?

This blog was begun on the advice of a therapist. She was helping me to overcome my grief and depression after my kids moved out. She suggested that I write a series of letters and little stories to my kids.  That I tell them how I was feeling, and therefore allow myself to move on.  I thought that was what I had been doing all this time, but my look back has made me wonder.

If I was really trying to let go, and trying to feel happier about my empty nest, why did I focus so much on the best of times?  Why did I only remember the great days? Wouldn’t that make it that much harder to move on?

If I wanted to feel better about not seeing Kate every day, shouldn’t I have recalled some of the, shall we say,  “less pleasant” times together? Like perhaps the entire year when she was about 3 or 4 and had one ear infection after another, and I couldn’t get her to gain an ounce of weight? Or the time, maybe, when I locked my keys in my car, had to walk 6 miles home in the rain with baby Kate in the stroller, then use a fireman’s ladder to climb in a window because the house keys were also locked in the car?

Why didn’t I write about the time we went camping, and 13 year old Kate was so argumentative that I blew up.  I hauled off and kicked a little kettle grill sitting on the ground. It was pretty stupid, because the grill was full of charcoal, weighed about 30 pounds and smashed the living hell out of my sneaker clad foot. But it was better than kicking her little butt, which is what I really wanted to do.   Why didn’t I write about that?

Why didn’t I write about the time when my little Matt refused to get dressed for daycare one morning? Paul had already gone to take Kate to the school bus, and I had to get my boys out the door in a hurry or be late for work myself. I had already dressed Matt twice, but he took off his clothes again as soon as I turned away. Finally I told him, “You have two minutes to get dressed, or I am taking you to school as naked as the day you were born.”  Sure enough, out the door I marched, with a naked screaming four year old under my arm.  In November.  He got dressed in the driveway.

Why did I always make Tim sound so charming, so funny and sweet?  As if he wasn’t a real live boy!? Why did I do that, if I was sad about missing him?

I could have written about the times when Tim would argue back at us about everything we had to say.  Or about the time when 3 year old Tim had a tantrum so long and so intense that I wrapped him in my arms and just held on.  I used a holding technique that I had learned when teaching autistic children, wrapping him so tightly that he couldn’t move his arms, legs or head (Ever been head butted by an out of control kid? So not fun!).  It worked, I guess.  Of course, I hurt my shoulder,  and Tim developed claustrophobia, but the tantrum ended, so what can I say?

Why have I left out all of the tough parts about mothering those three kids?

I guess because for me, the only way to let go is to tell myself that the job is done.  To convince myself that no one could have done it better.  I need my rose colored glasses to let me believe that it really was that great.

Otherwise, I might look back at all of my failures, faults and big mistakes, and I might decide that I need another chance to do it all again, only so much better this time.

These are my rose colored glasses, and I am keeping them on.  For the sake of my now grown kids, I am keeping them firmly on!

Just remember as you read my lovely memories, that someday I might turn around and write about the time when all three kids were throwing up and I was crying and gagging as Paul mopped up and I did the eighth load of laundry of the night.  I just might!

Lady Parts

Before I jump into this post with both big feet (note that I am allowed to label my feet), I want to offer an apology and a thanks to so many of my blogging friends.  Thank-you, thank-you for the fantastic song suggestions for my photo montage for the class, and I apologize for seeming to ignore you all for a week.   Unfortunately, just as I was about to put the finishing touches on the slideshow (including the songs “Walking on Sunshine” and “I Hope You Dance”), my brand spankin new MacBook Pro gave a gasp, froze up, and died on the spot. No slideshow for the last day, no pictures of the play, nothing.  I’m in the process of gathering up the photos from various backup locations and classroom parents so that I can give it another try! So thank-you.  And I’ve missed you!

Now to the purpose of today’s rant.  This reaction has been bubbling around in my head since I first heard about the outrageous reaction by the Michigan House of Representatives to Rep. Lisa Brown, who dared to utter the accurate name for her, ahem, “lady parts”.  Before I share my own disdain, though, I want to encourage you to read a more thoughtful and eloquent post by a wonderful writer named Trina Bartlett, who blogs at “Just So You Know.” Her latest post is called “Five Words I’d like to Ban From Any Political Discussion”.  You really have to read it!

As for me, here is what struck me when I read about how “outraged” the Michigan House Leadership was to hear this word.

I remember becoming a Mother back in 1986.  I read all the right books before my baby was born, of course, because I was determined to get it right! I was absolutely, positively going to be sure that MY baby was raised without a single neurotic hang up.  This meant that I always listened to her when she argued, (“I know, honey, but Oreos are NOT ok for breakfast.”), I always explained my reasons when I denied her requests (“I can’t let you ride on the top of the car because that would be dangerous.”), and I always talked about her body in the anatomically correct terms.

This last one was a very big deal to my generation of parents!  We had grown up thinking of ourselves with some shame, referring to our parts as “pee-pee” and “birdie” and “private parts” and “lady parts” and “man parts”. It was confusing and ridiculous! Going to the bathroom was referred to only numerically, never accurately, and don’t even get me started on how much I hated referring to my “friend” every month.   My generation had no intention of using those vague, embarrassing, inaccurate words with OUR kids.  Nope.  We said “vagina” and “penis” and “poop”. If you’ve got ’em, you can name ’em.

Rep. Brown was born in 1967, so I am going to assume that her Mom and Dad were just as enlightened as I was, and that she grew up knowing the names and functions of her body parts.  Given that I am 56 years old, I am going to assume that most of the Michigan Legislature is about my age or younger.  Meaning, of course, that most of them already have HEARD the word “vagina”, and weren’t really falling into a swoon when Ms. Brown said it in her speech.  If they really, truly were shocked senseless, and really, truly couldn’t tolerate the sound of the word, I want to see the little blackboard on the House floor where they have to sign out for the restroom by writing their initials followed by a “#1” or “#2” so that the leadership will know how long they’ll be gone.



It’s elemental

I have just come back from two blessed and glorious days in Newport, Rhode Island. We stayed at a very nice hotel, ate at lovely little restaurants, walked through countless clever and adorable shops.  And none of that was what reached into my soul or touched my heart.

Newport is famous for its opulent and outrageous mansions, of course.  We ventured along the “cliff walk”, where chain link fences separated us from the .01%.  We gazed like indentured servants at cold stone estates that to me resembled sand castles without the charm.  I felt no desire to either come any closer or to join that set of elite residents.  What must it be like, we wondered, to live in a place where nature is so filled with glory, yet to struggle each and every day to keep that glory to yourself, and to keep out your fellow man?  One particular stretch of fencing along the “cliff walk” was marked every six feet with the following sign, which made me feel simultaneously ashamed and filled with mirth.  I mean, seriously?

Are they warning us about the dog, or calling us a "dog"?  Who knows!

Were they warning us that they owned a “bad dog” or referring to those of us among the riffraff as “bad dogs”?  Who knows!!

What did fill me with joy and peace, though, was the time that we spent simply sitting and gazing out to sea.  Newport has absolutely glorious, wild beaches, where a person of limited means can relax on a bench or a craggy rock or a stretch of broken shale and watch the waves roll in.

When I can see the endless view of water that is the Atlantic Ocean, I am immediately at peace.  When I can sit in perfect silence and listen to the whisper and call of the waves as they roll in one after another, I am filled with calm.

And when I can stand chest deep in the ocean, and lift my earth bound feet to float above the anchoring soil, I am a part of something as elemental as the universe.  And I don’t know why this is true for me, when I know that the same is not true for everyone that I love.

For me, to stand surrounded by the feel and smell and sound and taste of the ocean is to be back in touch with whatever it is that gives animation to my being.  For me, if there is a god, he lives deep in the sea.

I wonder if some people, people like me, feel a tide in our blood. I wonder if my heart and my brain are made of a salty, briny water that makes me one with the gulls and the seastars and the mermaid tales from days gone by.

All I know is this: I don’t yearn for a mansion, or a fence or a castle to keep me safe.  What I yearn for is a place where I could lay my head down every night and still hear and smell and feel the constant murmuring movement of the sea.

Figuring it out



I’m truly enjoying my new adventures in blogland.  (oops, I think I’m supposed to say “blogosphere”, but that sounds sort of pretentious.  Is it pretentious?)  I have found unexpected support at times when it has been needed. I have found laughter when my spirits were low, allies when I have felt alone, great ideas when I have found myself in a rut.  And let’s not forget the great recipes…..!

I love the feeling of belonging that I get when I refer to myself as a “blogger” or when I casually mention, in a conversation with friends or family, “a fellow blogger wrote….”  It feels so good to belong to a group of people who you admire, doesn’t it?  Hooray for me; I have cool friends!

But I find that I am worrying quite a bit about the etiquette of the whole thing. I want to get it right!  I want to follow the rules and be a good girl. (Are they really rules?  Should I say “expectations” instead, like I do in my classroom?)  I am a woman; we generally aim to please.  I am the oldest girl in a family of six children; we definitely aim to please.  And I’m a teacher; I can’t help trying to do everything the right way. I can’t help hoping that everyone will like me and no one will ever be offended by anything I say, do or write.  So I want to be a popular blogger. Not “popular” as in “my stats are going up”!  I mean “popular” as in, “She seems nice.” (Um…am I allowed to refer to my “stats”, or is that vulgar?)

I don’t know how to behave out here.  For example, after I had been writing for several months, I suddenly started to accumulate some “followers”.  This was wildly exciting for me, of course, and I immediately clicked on everyone and “followed” them back. I also “followed” everyone who made a comment on any of my posts. So much fun!!  But…..after a while I realized that my ‘in box’ was always full of enticing new posts and I wasn’t doing any of my slightly less pleasant chores (like correcting math papers or grocery shopping). What would a nice, well behaved blogger do about such a situation?  I mean, do you ignore new posts, do you “unfollow” (will the blogger be told that I did that? Oh, man, that would be horrible!!!) How do you manage this?

And what do you do about commenting back to people?  I am very chatty; I tend to comment constantly!  Is that OK? I find myself wondering if other bloggers are happy to see my name out there, or if people think, “Oh, jeez. Here she goes again……”  And how long are comments supposed to be?  And are they always supposed to include a compliment, or will people realize that since I follow them and reply constantly to every single thing they post, it’s pretty obvious that I admire the way they write?  Do I seem too eager, or too pushy?

There are millions of little etiquette issues like this! Am I expected to put in more photos? Am I allowed to mention personal information that would let people know where I live? Am I allowed to ask my new blogging friends where they live, or is that prying? Does it sound insincere when I reply to every comment on my posts with “Thanks for commenting!”, even though I really do mean it from the bottom of my heart?  Gah!! I’m giving myself a migraine……


This whole situation is reminding me a lot of my students. (I know. Everything in my life makes me think about school. What can I say?) 

It has reminded me of how hard it is for many kids to figure out the unwritten rules of classroom social life.  Rules that some kids, like some bloggers, seem to infer and internalize without effort.  Rules about when to make a joke and when to stay silent, where to sit at meeting without seeming either aggressive or pitiful, when to share and when to keep what is yours.  There are a million invisible and unspoken requirements for “popularity”, and some children never fully grasp them, no matter how hard they try. There are facial expressions to master, shoe brands to memorize, games and jokes and songs and books. There are even trendy words that change from month to month. How often should you raise your hand in class without seeming too eager to be the teacher’s pet?  What is the exactly perfect timing to make a funny comment during a lesson without making the teacher mad?

It’s all very confusing and potentially overwhelming.  Fitting in, pleasing the crowd and learning how to be accepted.  These are the skills and struggles that often define the lives of children and adolescents in school. These are the little things that are tripping me up as I venture into the world of internet writing.

I will try to follow the advice that I give to my students.  I will try to be observant.  I will try to always be kind.  I’ll think before I speak (or post). And if I know I have done all that, I’ll try my hardest to stop worrying and just relax and enjoy the ride.  

Happy blogging, everyone! I’d share my snack with you guys any time.