Monday, February 26, 2018

Hello again

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to be allowed (expected, even!) to go to Take Your Parents to School Day. There weren't a ton of parents there, as I expected, since one's parents are absolutely the most uncool things possible if you're in Middle School. For some reason, though, Daphne is not completely embarrassed by us yet, and so, I got to go to Art class and English with my 6th grader. I'll take it as long as I can get it.
A little over a week since the shooting in Parkland, and I admit I was spooked being in a school. I looked around the Art room, one of the few classrooms with windows, and wondered where we would shelter if the unimaginable occurred. Or, was there maybe a door at the end of the hall we could just run out? I forgot to look before the bell rang, and then it was too late. 
After Art we went to English, where I was greeted by Daphne's amazing teacher who told me, not for the first time, that she LOVES my kid. I believe her. She loves all of her students She calls them "mine." I have to admit, I got a little choked up, and thanked her for loving my kid. There are no windows in the English classroom. No closets. No escape routes. Just a locked door. And a teacher who loves her kids.
I spent a lot of time working in public schools. I was a tutor at in inner city school in Dallas. Two actually. Neither of which had any security to speak of. I subbed at several different schools, from K-12, in a suburb of Dallas, and I also taught Special Ed and worked as a Speech Pathologist in the same district. I loved my kids, too.
I know from that experience that teachers do more than teach. They also counsel, referee, nurse, discipline, motivate, and sometimes even feed their students. I had to call child protective services more than once. I was stalked briefly by a scary father who suspected I was the one who called CPS.  I had to attend meetings and help decide the plans for students with Special Needs. I had to break up fights. I had to console kids who were crying over bullies or bad grades or troubles at home. On top of all that, I had to plan and teach and grade and report. It's a big job.
When the dismissal bell rang after English on Friday, I went into the locker area with Daphne to get her stuff, and then through the halls to the exit. It was crowded, and loud and chaotic. A lot of the kids were taller than me, so it was hard to see down the hall. And I thought about a shooter. If there had been a shooter at the other end of the hall with a semi-automatic rapid fire assault style weapon, it wouldn't have mattered one bit if I was an armed teacher, adept or not. There were probably 200 kids between me and the end of the hall. The odds of shooting an innocent kid would have been overwhelming in a normal situation, much less in chaos and panic.
Arming teachers is not the answer. They have enough on their plates. More guns are not the answer. I don't know what the answer is, but it's not those things. We have an opportunity here, and clearly a desire to do something. But we don't have the leadership. If I was in charge, I would immediately set up a task force to study the problem scientifically and come up with rational, reasonable options. I would not cross my arms and pout at Governors who dare to question me. I would not bow to the whims of lobbying organizations. Complicated problems deserve thoughtful open-minded discussion. That seems like such a no-brainer. Sadly, that will not likely happen in a political climate such as this.
I think I am going to get back to blogging. I'm hoping it will not all be political in nature, but I do need an outlet at times like this. Parkland is heavy on my mind and heart. It didn't have to happen and I'm struggling with that. I can't imagine how those kids are going to feel going back into that school later this week.
Anyway, hello again, blog. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe I'll post some pictures of puppies or something.  

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Full Circle

When I was in 5th grade, I joined one of those Columbia House record clubs, where you send in a penny and you get 10 records, and then you just have to buy three more "at regular price" before you can then "cancel at any time."  Turns out, those record clubs were kind of a scam. Live and learn.

On the plus side, that is how I ended up with the Eagles' Hotel California record.

I can't remember all of the records I got for that penny, or how I chose them.  I have a feeling I asked my Uncle Danny for advice about what to choose, because he was a cool teenage drummer at the time.  The ones I remember clearly - because they are brilliant - are Hotel California, ELO's Out of the Blue, and Crosby Stills and Nash's CSN record - the one with "Just a Song Before I Go," where they're sitting in the boat on the cover.  

This was the time when I really started developing my own opinions about music, and my own personal preferences.  I started listening to FM radio, critically.  Before that, I just listened to stuff my parents had around, like the Sound of Music soundtrack and Elvis' Blue Hawaii, or whatever they played at the pool or the roller skating rink in the late 1970s (disco and KISS).

Hotel California had a huge effect on me.  I listened to it over and over, and stared at the album cover for hours.  I feel bad for kids today who don't get to experience the joy of the album cover.  I'm glad vinyl is making a comeback, although it's clearly more for people like me than for kids, most of whom are happy with their soul-less MP3 technology.

Daphne is starting to develop her own taste in music, although it is, whether we meant it to be or not, strongly influenced by Kevin and me.  At least it is for now.  She is a classic rock and alternative kid, through and through.  She has no tolerance for today's pop music. I try to tell her to be more open's not ALL terrible.  I have to admit I like a little Justin Timberlake now and then.  (I am right there with her on Taylor Swift, though.  Call me a snob, but just no).  But she is all about bands like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, the Kinks, and so forth, including of course, the Eagles.

She recently said something to me about how it's not fair that she will never be able to go see all the bands she likes because most of them aren't bands anymore (and a lot of them, sadly, aren't ALIVE anymore), so when I saw that there were still some tickets left for the Don Henley show at Wolf Trap last night, I decided to take her.  School night or no school night.

We went with her best friend, Abby, and Abby's mom.  We packed a picnic, and got there super early to get good seats on the lawn.  And then, it stormed. While we were waiting on line to get in.  Fortunately, Abby's mom had four ponchos (!) and we didn't get nearly as wet as everyone who wasn't prepared.  And then, the skies cleared.

And we had our picnic.

And we watched the show.

My "classic" phone does not take good pictures from far away, but you get the idea.

It was greatness from start (Seven Bridges Road) to finish (Desperado), and Daphne could hardly stop smiling.  Just before the encore, it started to rain again.  We took cover under a bridge, but, being the experienced concert-goer that I am, I noticed that the security guards had let their guard down a little, so I grabbed Daphne's hand and we moved into the aisle under the part of the venue that is covered, getting us much closer to the action for the encore.  I could tell Daphne was hesitant to be a rule-breaker, but when the first notes of Life in the Fast Lane started, she forgot to care about the rules.  So much so, that she even DANCED.  Daphne doesn't dance. Ever.

The next song, ironically, was All She Wants to do is Dance, and at that point it was clear what was coming next.  Daphne was giddy, and I almost cried, standing there with my happy little girl, singing all the words to Hotel California with a few thousand other people including Don Henley.

Today, she and Abby wore their concert t-shirts to school, just like my friends and I used to do.

Full circle.

Eventually, Daphne will branch out and discover her own music. Or maybe she will stay on her current path.  I'm just happy to be part of it.  

Thursday, September 01, 2016


Just knowing it is September today has done wonders for my mental state.  Nothing can suck the life out of a person more than August.  But it's NOT August anymore.  It's September.  And that means running and knitting and pumpkin spiced lattes and apple pie and all kinds of goodness. So let's do this.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cookies and Beer and other Stuff

Our last snowfall of the season happened a couple of weeks ago.  It was the perfect snow.  Really pretty, but not deep enough to have to shovel, and the kids still went to school.  

I have still been in a big funk about Donald Trump, plantar fasciitis, and now our local school board (who elected these people??!!).  But trying really hard to have perspective and focus on the positive. I'm doing my part by voting and wearing my stupid boot and sending emails to the school board, so I feel good about those things, even if they don't seem to have much impact.

There have been some things lately that have gone well.

The girls had a really fun cookie booth at a local brewery, which beat the heck out of standing out in front of the Giant in the cold.  The bartender/brewer came up with beer and cookie pairings, the girls sold a ton of cookies, and I got to eat the best barbeque I've had in a long time.

Meanwhile, Kev brewed his own beer here at home, which should be ready iin a week or two.

Girls on the Run has started, and Daphne seems to be enjoying it.  The 5K is May 15, and I am hoping to be ready if my feet are better by then.  Did I mention how much I hate not being able to run?  I hate it.  Especially now that the weather is nice.  I know it would improve my state of mind.

Cookie season is winding down, and now all that's left to do is collect the last bit of money, choose an activity to spend it on, and deliver cookies to our Gift of Caring donation recipient, Special Love.  The girls had a goal of getting 250 boxes donated for them, and ended up selling 270, which is awesome.  These cookies will be distributed to families affected by pediatric cancer.  The girls really worked hard telling people about Special Love and asking for donations, and the community really responded well.  So that's a good thing.  Focus on the good things.

Plus, one day last week, Daphne gave me this medal.  Kev got one, too.

So, I guess not everything is doom and gloom.

In fact, next week, I get to go see my family, see my childhood best friend who I haven't seen in over 30 years, and meet a cousin I never knew I had until about a month ago.  Good times.  Focus on the good.

Tales from Indiana coming soon.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday Blues

Today, I have the blues.  It has been a rough few weeks, and as much as I have been trying to focus on the positive, I'm having a hard time.  I must be really naive, but I never in a million years thought there were so many people in this country who could support the asinine and sometimes scary ideas of a clearly terrible human being.  Donald Trump is a bad human being.  Bottom line.  He has no redeeming qualities that I can find.  He is not presidential in the least. He is a bully.  He is childish.  He is an embarrassment.  I feel embarrassed to be American in a way that I have never felt before.  It's all making my stomach hurt and making me want to burrow into the couch under a really big blanket until someone makes it all go away.  All I can do is vote, I guess.  But I just feel so sad and disappointed in people and concerned about the state of things.

I used to be able to run when I felt bad like this, and it would make me feel a million times better, but I'm still injured and now I have to wear this stupid boot at night for at least three weeks, and after that, I still might not be able to run.  So that's got me down, too.  

I know, I know.  Things could always be so SO much worse.  But I'm allowed to take a day off from being everyone's cheerleader now and then.  

Over the weekend, we took a couple of days off from everything but fun.  We went down to Shenandoah to stay in a cabin and go snow tubing.  One of the most fun things I have done in a long time.  It was great to be off the grid with my nice little family.

Now that we're back, I am up to my eyeballs in Cookie Season.  I can kind of do it in my sleep at this's my 5th year!  But it still takes time and energy and coordination, which is hard to manage when you're burrowed into the couch under a really big blanket.

At least it's distraction from politics.

OK...enough of this.  One more hour before Daphne gets home from school and I should use it wisely.  

Happier things coming soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Feet Don't Fail Me Now

Rehab has officially begun.  I visited a very nice local podiatrist this morning, who gave me an encouraging diagnosis, and hope that I will run again.  Stretching, ice, and a month of anti-inflammatory medication, and then we re-assess.  I am going to dutifully follow all of his instructions, and hope that I'll get the green light at the end of February to ease back in.  Fingers crossed.

Daphne wants to do this:

It's an obstacle 5K with an ice cream theme on June 25.  So, that's my goal.  Sounds messy, but you only live once I guess.  It gives me a goal and it gives Daphne a reason to be excited about running.  Not sure what Kev will think of this.  

But first, I have to fix my feet. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Snowtopia

We knew it was coming, so there was much preparation and some panic.  I managed to get all the groceries and essentials taken care of by Thursday, so on Friday morning, when most people were either hunkering down and doing their last Milk/Bread/TP/Marshmallow runs, we decided to go get snowshoes.  Slim pickins at Dick's Sporting Goods, but we managed to find three adequate pairs of snowshoes and we were ready for Winter Storm Jonas.

The snow started Friday afternoon, and Daphne was excited to make her first real snowball of the year.  
Over the next 36 hours, we went from this:

To this:

But 32+ inches of snow cannot stop Team Holt.



Sledding!  Um, well, ATTEMPTED sledding.

Most people are very complainy about all the snow, but I don't mind it, really.  The four hours of shoveling wasn't the most fun thing ever.

Bu we managed.  We got the driveway done on Monday, and so we had what Kev called the Driveway to Nowhere until the plow finally came yesterday.  I drove a car last night for the first time since last Friday.  Can't say I've missed driving a car all that much.  But I have to admit I didn't like the trapped feeling, and I was starting to worry about missing my podiatrist appointment, which is tomorrow.  

Daphne got to spend the last several days doing all the things kids dream of.  Missing school, hanging out with friends, making snow caves, snow balls, snow dragons, eating snow cones, and so forth.  And drinking enough hot chocolate for a lifetime.  School is cancelled for the rest of the week, so we have three more days to make the most of things, plus the weekend, which I hope involves more snowshoeing, and perhaps a Pictionary rematch (I was ROBBED!).

So, I'm not going to call it Snowpocolypse or Snowzilla or Snowmageddon or whatever they are calling it this year.  I'm just going to try to have as much fun as possible.  This doesn't happen every day.

But maybe a snowblower for Christmas next year?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Last week, the lice letter came home from school.  So far, so good at our house, but precautions have been taken and Daphne has been reminded more than once about the evil that lice brought into our home last summer.  I can't go through that again.  Pony tails and rosemary shampoo until we're sure the classroom is clear.  Problem is, you can never REALLY be sure, because the parents don't always tell.  Parents. TELL. PLEASE. It is your civic duty.

On a happier note, we are supposed to get big big snow this weekend, so we will finally get to try out this:

YAY!  I have been waiting and waiting for big snow and finally it's coming.  I can't wait.  My favorite is when there is so much snow that cars can't go down our street and it's really really quiet.  It's almost never quiet. A rare treat.  

Here is a picture of a loon because all week I have been thinking about Maine.  

I can't wait to get back there.  The thing is, now I have this stupid plantar fasciitis and I have to take time off from running and I hate it. But the only way I'm going to make it to Maine is if I take care of this now, so I'm going to a podiatrist next week to see what's up.  In a million years, I never would have believed I'd be going to a podiatrist for a sports injury.  Me!  A SPORTS injury!  That's so weird.  You just never know where life will take you I guess.

Right now, life is going to take me into the kitchen for a snack.  And then, maybe to the couch for a nap.  It's that kind of afternoon.  Very nappy.  Pictures of snow dragons coming soon!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Magical Meatballs in the Mail and Maine Half Marathons

There was this one time, a few years ago, when I was procrastinating on the Internet at meatball-making time.  And, since it's important to let the Facebook know your every move, I posted this:  

Well, these meatballs aren't going to make themselves.

And then, I got off the internet and made the meatballs.  Only I found out later that what I actually posted was this:

Well, these meatballs are going to make themselves.

And thus began a long-running joke between me and my good Texas friends Anne and Jimmy about self-making meatballs.

And today, via the magic of the Touchnote app (you should check it out!), I received a postcard (pictured above) featuring a photo of my magical meatballs, which Anne snagged off Facebook when it turned up in her Facebook Memories.  Sometimes, Facebook is good.  I love getting real mail!

There is talk that my same friend Anne and our friend Emily are going to do the Maine Coast Half Marathon next year or the year after so I can do one before I turn 50.  This is a BIG goal, but one that I think is do-able, especially if I have the motivation of running with Anne and Emily in my favorite state in the US.  This race is really close to Kennebunkport, which is where I had the best lunch I have ever eaten, ever.  So I am totally in.  

(It was a lobster roll)

Meanwhile, at our house, the January purging of stuff has begun. Here is our donation pile so far:

The only think I am really sad about giving away is Daphne's little kid drum set, which was an awesome gift from Uncle Jeff.  The good news is that even though she has outgrown it, it paved the way to her playing the REAL drums, which is awesome.  Hoping it paves some other little kid's way, next.

Today, I went through shoes and t-shirts.  I didn't take "before" pics, but these are the "after"s, and you'll have to trust me that things are much improved:


I think the kitchen cabinets are next. 

Time to go start thinking about dinner.  I wish I had some meatballs that would make themselves.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

These are the Things I Could Do Without

In 2016, could we just please move on from:

1. Donald Trump
2. Man buns
3. Um...

That's pretty much it.  No more Donald Trump or man buns.  The world will be an infinitely better place.

On second thought:
3. Cilantro.