Day Late

Happy Valentines with MomBert’s artwork.

She credits my sister with the wording.

Birdie is horrified by the team results.


This app gets me!

We had a snow day this week. I had visions of maybe catching up on grading. Olivia Wigglebothum had visions of me entertaining her.


I had just texted MomBert that I was going to go get a kitten so Olivia would chew on it instead of me, when I checked my profanity laden weather app.


I do need a fucking kitten! This app totally gets me.



Hell is — high school English

We’re getting ready to read the play No Exit which means establishing a basic understanding of existentialism.

Hell is— trying to explain existentialism to high school seniors. I’ve never done well with philosophy myself. Life has meaning, but is completely pointless. Well, fuck.

I told them that my clearest memory from Philosophy 101 was a T-shirt my professor wore at least once a week. It had a Groucho Marx quote on it: “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” Good stuff.

They survived a visual demonstration of the Allegory of the Cave so we could totally tackle Sartre and Camus, right?

One Hank Green Crash Course video on existentialism later, and half the class made the finger gun gesture to their heads. Solid start.

Honestly, I was a little concerned that some of them might immediately latch on to ideas within existentialism. I mean, Hank Green is telling them that only they can create meaning in their lives regardless of what authority figures like teachers and parents want them to do. We just want them to graduate, but that idea sounds like a built in excuse to get high and do nothing. Suddenly they’ve discovered their essence; they’re all existentialists!

I had them holster their finger guns and we tried some guided notes to simplify.

1. Existence before essence. You’re born and then you figure it out. Only YOU can determine your essence/passion/purpose/importance in life and prevent forest fires. This basically sounds like 3/4 of today’s high school curriculum. We spend so much time trying to reflect on you-iest version of you. Find your path. Group hug.

2. We are condemned to be free. Sounds good, right?! Unfortunately, it means that we are free to make millions of minute choices-turn left vs right, set your alarm for 6 am instead of 6:01am, have the chicken instead of the fish- and suffer the consequences of all those choices. No matter what it’s your fault, kids. I am their daily dose of sadness. The finger guns were back.

I accidentally demonstrated the third point through a classroom supply mishap. I gave everyone a half sheet of paper and told them they had 5 minutes to draw me a picture of Hell, knowing that their drawings would lead to a discussion of archetypal imagery: flames, devils and pitchforks, oh my.img_4504

They started digging into the perpetually dried up marker box for just the right shades of Hades. It doesn’t matter that our department orders a few boxes of new markers every year, I think they send us dry, uncapped markers with the colors picked over from the start.

Within a few seconds, a cry went up.


And here concludes our intro to existentialism.

3. Life is absurd. The final downer for the day is that “absurd” means pointless and meaningless. All those choices? Whatevs. Draw Hell with red markers or don’t. Same same.

There are no red markers. Enjoy drawing Hell, Sisyphus. Insert maniacal laugh here.

(I can’t even plan shit like this.)

I’ll leave this here just as my high school French teacher would after reading The Stranger.


Dear kids,

I swear to you that as a basic, everyday, human being THIS is the only math you are ever going to use aside from the basics to pay your bills and shit, or maybe to figure out percentages to find out the sales price of leather boots and to figure out a decent tip so you’re not an asshole to the food service industry.

You will use geometry. The end. (Ok, maybe some algebra for some ratios or to solve for x when y is a box of wine but mostly geometry. )

Because someday you will want buy enough paint to cover your walls without making 5 trips to Lowe’s in one day. Or you will want new carpet, or to figure out just how big your yard is or how much paver patio you can afford because, no matter what, it costs 5 million dollars and barely fits two chairs.

Or you might want to sew something.

Like a hat.

A hat that is two basic geometric shapes: a circle and a rectangle. You are definitely going to need the circumference of that circle for this to work out.

Directions sort of: Two sizes are pictured below. I have a giant head (Gma said my mom had to sit in the bathtub a lot after I was born. Ick.) I use the 8 1/2″ circle diameter for myself. People with “normal” heads, whatever that means, seem happy with the 7 3/4″. The formula is the circumference of the circle which you need to know for your rectangular piece. For my size I cut a rectangle that is 27 (the circumference) x 18.” The 18″ gets folded and all seams are sewn to the circle. I like my circle to be a different fabric from, but complimentary to the fabric of the rectangle.hats1

Math, I’m pretty sure it’ll rot your teeth. That might be meth. Both are bad. Don’t do them.


Sultry, serious hat model.

Math will only do things like reveal that your years have added up enough to have reached some irrational point of losing things.

Things I have lost recently:

  • Not weight-see cupcakes
  • Two cupcakes. I found them in the garage.
  • My mind.
  • A big wooden necklace.
  • Just about any tool/utensil/item that I was just using a second ago. I swear I haven’t even moved. How could this be lost?
  • My favorite hat.
  • At least one of the new hats I made to replace my favorite hat. New hat last seen on my head on January 4 after yoga.

Hat last photographed January 4, 2018. Please come back, hat.

I started doing math because I lost my favorite winter hat. It was a burgundy fleece (last photographed hunting for sheds)that I bought on a road trip in New Hampshire. It coordinated with everything, didn’t mess my hair up…much, and could be easily shoved into pockets or purses as needed. It was pure class, at least when your standards of classiness are as low as mine.

One minute, I didn’t need a hat, the next we were having a real winter and my ears were cold. Out of necessity, I crafted.


December 2016

The brown gecko hat gets me knowing nods and “What up’s” from old ladies. Like legit senior citizens. I don’t know what it means, but the hat makes them happy.

True to my project history, I accumulated a ton of supplies-fleece!- last winter and promptly got bored with the whole thing. However the hat crafting urge came back with a vengeance this winter. Everybody who was likely to wear one, got a hat sometimes two.



Bed Surveillance

If you have pets or even small children this will probably make sense.

It’s early morning, preferably a weekend morning, and you’ve found the perfect temperature and snuggly nest in you bed, making waking up a slow process. No alarms here.

As you start waking up, you also become aware that you are not alone. There are other warm lumps tucked in around and on you.

If you are like me, you want to know who is there, but don’t really want to upset the other sleepers. Myself, I want to know how many cats. Is a Two-Cat Morning? The Holy Grail Four-Cat Morning? So I start the laboriously slow process of reaching for my phone on the bed side table with moving the rest of my body. Phone successfully acquired, I try to angle my arm to capture photos of who is there. It’s a challenge.


It’s a Two-Cat Morning. Miles and Birdie are my typical bed companions and have found my butt and the back of my knees; I’m the lump to the right.

Without me in the bed, it’s a Three-Cat Morning. #Caturday


Bird Hot Tub?


With snow coverage and cold winds, the yard has been hoppin’. The feeders are full. I added some nyjer for the finches. I will regret this when I’m pulling thistles in the spring, but right now they are one of my most frequent customers. I also re-stocked all the suet cakes and made a questionable batch of my own which immediately attracted a flock of starlings. Oh, well, they’re hungry too even if they don’t have any manners.


This cardinal knows what up and has been stopping by more than usual with his lady friend. I’m hoping to catch them in the new “hot tub.” Romantic. 😉

It feels counter intuitive to dunk yourself in water when the wind chill is in the negatives, but the birds seems to be in to it. The new heated birdbath is just deep enough to encourage bathing and is certainly helpful in keeping them hydrated. I saw one of the squirrels taking a sip this morning as the water was sending up steam clouds.