Tuesday, December 29, 2015

#TwinTuesday Favorites of 2015

Four Favorites from a year of #TwinTuesdays.  I love the #TwinTuesday collaboration with KC a lot.  And I'm amazed at our tenacity with this project.  Hoorah!

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Fun

Well I for one have very much enjoyed skimming through 2015 on alittleleeway. Come to find out, I've had a pretty good year. Some ups and some downs, but overall I've managed to eke out quite a bit of fun and jollity.  I wasn't too crazy about my photography this year, so that's something to work on in 2016.  

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Lights

We are up early on Christmas morn.  Mom woke up at 3 am to start stuffing the bird.  Then there were potatoes to peel.  I got up around 6 and Little Sister brought me coffee.  Dad's sitting upright, sound asleep next to me on the couch as I blog.  #1 Son is reading. Husbandman should wake up soon.  Mom has a recipe for him to make called Christmas Morning French Toast.  Then we'll drive Dad to mass. Later Big Sister and Big Brother will arrive for old school merriment. But right now it's quiet and the tree is shiny.  It's a good morning for wishing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

#TwinTuesday Better Late Than Never

#TwinTuesday brings us a Raggedy Ann and a winter boot.  Though we're late with #TwinTuesday, KC and I wanted to give you all the gift of #TwinTuesday anyway.  We love everybody who checks out #TwinTuesday every week.  There aren't a lot of you, but you're all important to us.

We are having fun times in the Southland. All is well.  The stockings are hung with care.  The gifts are all wrapped. I'm eating haystacks. The family is loving and sweet. I have the ingredients for a hot wine punch.  I'm trying to figure out when I want the hot wine punch.  It has to be the perfect time. I'm thinking 4:30 this afternoon?

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Ride

I'm on the road, my friends.  I'm on the road.  I've got my boot and my one shoe.  I've got my scooter. I've got my audio book.  WooHOO!
I hope my mom and dad have the stockings hung with care.  I don't think that's asking too much.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Birth of a New Expression

A few days ago I made up a new expression.  Whenever something is fabulous, I can say, "Fruity Pebbles!"  Here are some helpful examples:

  • I'm on vacation. Fruity Pebbles!
  • That IU game was totally fruity pebbles!
  • I know we're starting before the crack of dawn, but let's have a fruity pebbles road trip!

We're having a conundrum though because Husbandman believes that the expression should be used differently.  In the spirit of the actual cereal, he believes we should use the expression Fruity Pebbles when we THINK something is going to be awesome, but it ends up being kind of godawful  Example:

You're in a good mood because you're walking into a party you've been looking forward to.  The music is good.  Catered food.  Open bar.  But after a couple of minutes you realize you can't stand anybody there and you think to yourself, "I guess this party is fruity pebbles."

I find Husbandman's idea intriguing.  I'm not going to lie.  Can you help us out by weighing in on this if you get a chance?  I want to start using the expression in its best form ASAP. And I'm sure you do as well.  I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: 13 Words

Lemony Snicket and Maira Kalman have a new book out called 13 Words.  The trailer for this book is fun.  You should watch it if you want.  The Thirdlanders wanted to watch it several times in a row.  I asked them to write their opinions of the trailer.  I wanted to know if the short film worked to make them want to read the book.  Most said they were very much wanting to read the book because of the ad's humor and the style of the artwork.  For me, anything with Maira Kalman's name on it is a must get.  So I was sold before I even watched it.  Thanks, Judith, for sending this film our way.

Thursday Creativity Share:  A little film about a book about 13 words.  Such PANACHE!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Well it was a prime kind of #twinTuesday with appointments with the orthopedists and news of 
Subchondral fractures heretofore undetected. And suggestions that the boot should be worn for another 30 days or so. It feels like I'm floating  out into the Milky Way in search of the aurora borealis.
Our magnet healthy green pairing acts as a beacon, bringing us back to the land of the everyday.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: The Cheese Ball

Check out this creative cheese ball that looks like a hedge hog.  Come to find out, there are some awesome cheese ball creators out there.   Have you ever created a cheese ball?  I for one have not yet created a cheese ball. If I do create a cheese ball this holiday season, I will probably copy cat this cheese ball right here.

You can get this cute little hedgehog cheese ball at our local super sized super market. One of the Thirdlanders and her mom (Good friend Kathala) sent this picture to me because of course I'm going to appreciate the hedgehog cheese ball.

Thursday Creativity Share:  Amazing cheese balls at our local chain store market.  Two thumbs way up.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Commas

I reviewed six uses for the comma today and I told the Thirdlanders to write me a letter on their iPads.  This letter could be imaginative, but it must have all six types of commas somewhere within.  As they brought up the iPads for a quick edit, I would make suggestions to the letter like:  "Instead of Dear Dr. H., why not write something like 'Dear Wonderful Dr. H.?' and "You need a comma after an interjection somewhere in here.  Why not try something like, 'Oh, I forgot to tell you how much I'm enjoying being in your class?'" I said about 80 comments like this.  The Thirdlanders never laughed. Rather they seriously revised to add compliments galore.  I found it harder and harder to give them proofreading tips because the letters were so darned adorable.  One kid wrote, "Hashtag Best Teacher Ever." His letter had lots of spelling and comma errors, but who am I to judge?


We have some support for Planned Parenthood and some beautiful celery this week.  This unexpected combo really gets me geared up to cultivate authenticity and creativity today.  I'm going to try to be extra nice to the Thirdlanders today.  Yesterday I was a wee bit on the cranky side.  I'll just look at this #TwinTuesday whenever I'm feeling out of sorts today and I'll get back on track.  You can do the same thing if you want to. 

Monday, December 07, 2015

The MRI?

You know what I hate? I hate when you break your ankle in 2 places and it seems to be healing kind of and then you go to your doctor after six weeks and he says, "hmmmm.....well, let me know if you want to get an MRI soon."  Okay, hold the phone.  First off, Why would I WANT an MRI?  And secondly, how would I know if it would be appropriate to have an MRI? Sure everyone knows I'm really good at diagnosing medical problems, but how am I supposed to know what to do where this MRI request is concerned?

If I really think about it, I'm probably going to have to request an MRI. Evidence #1: My pal at work today said, "You're not getting better.  You're getting worse. Look at how you're walking."  Evidence #2:  I'm still in quite a bit of pain in the region of the ankle.  Man alive.  This ankle thing is putting me in a wicked bad mood. I wonder if I'll ever be well again.  Bottom line.  I'm feeling somewhat frustrated.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

The Gifts

Take away from this week's reading of Gifts of Imperfection.  Cultivate authenticity.  Share a new creation.  Stay vulnerable.  Choose to show up and be real.  Be honest.  Let my true self be seen.  Don't shrink.  Don't puff up.  Stand on sacred ground.  Get deliberate about cultivating authenticity and get inspired.  I'm inspired by this quote I got in my other self helpful book by Jack Gilbert, "We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of the world."

So I've done my reading and it's time for me to get to some writing.  But first I'm showing up for the NYT cross word puzzle with Husbandman.  Husbandman's heading out to Arizona for a few days so I want to have some time with him this morning.  After that, writing.  But here's the thing.  How on earth am I going to get my school work done for the week if I plan on meeting my proposal deadline of 6 o clock tonight AND go  see an independent film this evening?  I've got to accept my gladness today, even though the ruthless furnace of the working world is burning into my brain like a welder's torch.  I can do this.  Don't shrink.  Don't puff up.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

The Machines

Do you ever use simple machines to solve real world problems?  I use a wedge (knife) to cut lemons for my smoothies. And I might use the wheel and axle of my scooter again soon because my ankle still freaking hurts.  I frequently use pulleys when I volunteer at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center and have to move the tranquilized tigers into the wheelbarrow (lever) in order to get them over to the health clinic when they need x rays. But I don't use screws too often.  There are flat head screws and pan head screws.  There are even round head screws.  And yet it's as if they live in a whole separate world, a world totally foreign to me. Simple machines.  Do I appreciate them enough?  It's something I'm thinking about today.  

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Rascals

We had a guest teacher yesterday morning because of my two dental appointments.  Okay, I also went out to lunch with 20 Something and Beau D.  But mostly I was out of school because of my TWO dental-related appointments.  Well come to find out, the guest teacher wasn't too confident about teaching Thirdlanders and the Thirdlanders took every advantage of this opportunity to be the little rascals only they can be.  I am slightly annoyed, but mostly I'm annoyed with the guest teacher who totally disregarded my lesson plans that took me a long time to write.  Still, the Thirdlanders and I are going to be having a conversation about doing the right thing today when we meet together at morning meeting. I'm going to tell the Thirdlanders that while I admire their spunky independence, it can be overdone. Time to rein it in and get back on track.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015


Egg, and Book about living a wholehearted life.  It all seems so unexpected.  As I blog right now, I'm sitting here with 20Something and drinking a green smoothie.  I have some dental work to deal with now, so off I go.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Greens

I joined the green smoothie challenge last week and I'm happy to report that I have had a green smoothie every day since Tuesday.  I almost messed up one day and was already having a glass of wine after sunset when Beau Diddley and 20 Something helped me hop back on the challenge train.  20 Something said, "You can have an off day, but you can't have a day off."  So, with the help of the young, I took a wine break and created and consumed yet another green smoothie.  After that day, I decided to always start the day with the green smoothie, rather than putting the smoothie challenge off for later.

We had a beautiful week here in the heartland. The weather was dismal, but we got outside, learned about our IU campus and our Brown County and we saw movies and created a veritable feast and made t-shirts.  We saw #1 play some music at a crowded and noisy pub.  We had the best week ever and I do like to brag so I'll tell you that the crossroads of America didn't disappoint our visitors from all over the country, hither thither and yon. They all want to move here and are looking into buying some midwestern real estate.  We miss them a lot already so we can't wait for the relocations.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Kind of neat.  Salamander and a dryer sheet.  KC and I both had the same red salamander and we didn't even know it.  That's the stuff of cheer.  Happy #TwinTuesday my friends.

P.S.  1/3 of the relies arrived last night.  We'll pick up the other 2/3 (66.66666%) later this evening.  And then the games really begin.  They've actually already begun to some extent.  Truth be told.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Brags

1.  Last year Mitzker and I collaborated on a cool project with the Thirdlanders.  We read and researched articles from Time For Kids News Magazine. Mitz is heading to LRA next week to talk about this project.  I decided not to go because I need to work on the book proposal (see reference to personal sacrifice in earlier post).  I met with Mitz yesterday evening for some food and drink and she went over her power point with me.  It really was an amazing project and Mitz has presented it brilliantly.  I'm feeling proud that literacy researchers from hither thither and yon will get to hear about the awesome Thirdlanders of yore. Our respondent even wrote that the work was "stunning."  So I guess I've got some bragging rights to share with one and all.

2. As November wears away, it's getting harder to find stuff of note to brag about.  Once the family arrives, they can help me think of great things about me for the final week of the challenge.  Get ready for greatness, Family!   Husbandman could do better in the department of Continually Complimenting, truth be told. But let's get real people. As I've been putzing around with revisions the last few days, he's been doing a million errands to get ready for our company.  We're all going to have   to cut him some slack.  I am officially double bragging today.  Not only did I collaborate on a cool project, I ended up collaborating on my life with the one and only Husbandman.  SCORE!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Revisions

This bragging challenge is really a challenge at times.  Most days, it's fun and funny to sound so obnoxious, but other times, I feel somewhat repulsed by my own self.

But soldier on we must.  We have 8 more days of November and this is the November bragging challenge and no one ever said it was going to be for the faint of heart.

So... what to brag?  What to brag?

I'm not doing anything amazing right now, per se, BUT I am getting down a few ideas for the revision of chapter 2.  And even though I don't have a book contract and may never have a book contract, I did have a phone call with the editor on Monday and I have been working on this proposal for her for 3 years and I'm really sick of it, but I've never given up on it and though I do procrastinate, I also do end up getting some revisions done and not too many people in their right mind would keep working on something like this, but I made a commitment to myself to finish the proposal and I'm honoring that commitment even though it's meant a great deal of personal sacrifice so when you think about it, my perseverance could be considered impressive if looked at in the right light.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The First Snow

Mom and Bro make a pie.  Foto Credit:  Faitho
It's the day of the first snow.  Hoorah!

Today I'm in the house.  I'm supposed to be writing another revision of Chapter 2 for my writing proposal, but come to find out I've got my priorities straight.

I'm looking at the snow and eating pistachios.  I think I might even take a nap.

I know.  You're all thinking about how amazing I am with the procrastination skills, but  I doubt anyone really knows how phenomenal I am at avoidance and fritterance.  Sorry if you think you do know, but you don't. There are no words.

I'm happy to be on break.  Everyone's coming in this week and I'm very pleased to tell you that we're going to have a newcomer in our midst.  20 Something is bringing home Beau-Diddly.  He's going to love it here.  We're planning on buying a few new board games to keep the crew enchanted over this chilly week in America's heartland. I'll probably win most of the games, but of course I'll be charming about it.  That's just how I roll.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Heffernan Fold

We use a lot of big paper in Room 200.  When Thirdlanders turn their papers in to the basket, I ask them to fold the papers in fourths.  There's this one Thirdlander who just mangles the paper in a unique kind of squashing-rolling technique.  Yesterday I said to him, "Look, let's go over folding in fourths again.  I invented this useful tool when I was 22.  It's called the Heffernan Fold.  You fold the paper once in half and then in half again, making sure the corners are lined up as well as can be expected.  Voila.  Never forget the Heffernan Fold.  It's going to serve you well in so many sundry circumstances, for the rest of your life."  The Thirdlander smiled, but to be quite honest, I sensed he wasn't even really attending to the demonstration.  His eyes kept wandering around and his visage revealed a rushed mien.

I guess I did the best I could, but once again, I'm left with the eternal query of all amazing teachers everywhere, "Why can't I reach these kids?"

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


This #twinTuesday focuses on composition.  Brilliantly, I might add. Notice the blackbird dish and colorful cloth in the background?  Avocado and wrench.  In a land all their own.

Today's going to be a tough one, but as usual I'm up to the challenge.  Life throws me an avocado.  I catch that avocado and smash it back full on into Life's face, using a handy wrench. No surprise there.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Turkeys

I have a pretty good idea for the hand turkeys this year.  Not sure I can pull it off though.

Wait a minute.  Is this not the bragging challenge of 2015?  Let's regroup.

I have the best idea ever for the hand turkeys this year.  It's going to blow your freaking mind.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: The New James Bond Movie

Biggest Bragging Rights go to us this week.  Husbandman and I decided to stick it to the man and head to a movie on a Thursday afternoon at 4:45.  Who does that?  Come to find out, we do. We had the whole theater to ourselves so we talked during the show as much as we wanted.  Spectre is a creative film with some good blow ups and fun gadgets.  If you want to stick it to the man, you should see it on a week day afternoon instead of doing all the lesson planning and paper grading that you should do if you want to feel confident about your work situation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Brochure of one of the best state parks in the continental United States.  Four year old dental appointment reminder card that I was smart enough to keep in my car for just this occasion. This is the stuff of our lives people.  Undeniably the most trenchant pairing to date.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Finders Keepers: Independent Movie Review

Here we go.  A fascinating film review for your reading pleasure.  Finders Keepers is a documentary we saw last night.  I do like to brag, so I'm going to tell you that if you're smart like me you'll go see this film if you want to.
Lw:  Husbandman, please give us a scintillating synopsis.
Hm:  Guy loses a leg in a tragic plane crash. His life deteriorates.  He puts the leg along with his other belongings in a storage space.  When he falls behind on payments for the storage facility, a fast talking wannabe entrepreneur buys the contents of the storage space in auction.  He acquires the leg.  A legal battle ensues leading to redemption and unexpected heartache.
Lw:  Wasn't it gross when we saw the leg with the hideous toenails?
Hm:  Yes it was.
Lw:  Fist of 5?
Hm:  A solid 4.
Lw:  I'll give it a 5.  It's a truly great documentary about the ins and outs of limb ownership.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

The Wonder

Tonight I'll be seeing Stevie Wonder.  I have tickets to the concert.  I'll be there with Husbandman and #1 Son.  Sorry to tell you that the concert is sold out so you probably won't be able to see Stevie Wonder with us.  Unless you were smart like we were and got tickets earlier.

There you go.  Some bragging about seeing Stevie Wonder to get your weekend started.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: Project Runway Finale

Tonight's the Project Runway FINALE. I have loved this season.  I want either Kelly or Ashley or maybe Edwin to win.  I'm so knowledgeable about fashion.  That's why I get this show.  Most people don't really understand what's going on.  But because I have a natural sense of style, I understand the subtle nuances of this creativity fest that I call Project Runway.  Everybody's been talking about my fashion forward runway ready boot.  Not everyone can pull off the boot, but I make it work.

Thursday Creativity Share:  Project Runway Finale.  A great show for great people.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

The Bragging Challenge

We've had some requests for details about the Bragging Blogging Challenge.  Or as I like to sometimes call it, "BraggersUnite2015."

So here's all there is to it.  Every time you blog in November, you have to brag about something. Bragging's gotten a bad rap of late and it's time to take back the BRAG and use it for our own purposes.

Time for the Midweek Brag.

Firstly, I'm super pleased with myself for working for a school system that organizes a day of talks around race and gender equity issues.  I really enjoyed sitting with friends talking about race and gender and white privilege.  I'm the kind of cool cat who can get into this kind of chat.  That's just how I roll.

And here's another thing that's awesome for and about me.  Mitzker is taking me out to dinner at Tallent for my birthday this very night.  Come to find out, I ate at Tallent with the fam on Saturday night. Everyone knows Tallent is one of the best restaurants in the continental United States.  I'm so great for eating at Tallent.

Lastly, I forgot to tell you about this because I've been stuck in a humdrum humility rut for a few weeks, but I recently ran the New York Marathon and came in 3rd in my age group. Running the marathon was a completely enjoyable couple of hours for me.  The city looked great and so many people lined the course, holding signs of support for me.  I love NY and come to find out, NY loves me.  Why wouldn't they?

So, do you see how the bragging is obviously going to be the best way to blog us through November???  Hop on the BRAGBLOGChallenge.  Shake off that humble bumble suit you've been wearing and let your BRAG FLAG FLY!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015


So we've got some framed art and a sort of energy bar thing.  When you look at it, you think, "Wow, I really did not expect that at all."  Right?

There's been some talk about bragging our way through November via the Brag Blog Challenge of 2015.  Here's some braggadocio coming your way, in the form of a bulleted list.
  • I gave birth to a truly amazing person 25 years ago, this very day. She actually CAME OUT OF MY BODY!
  • I have a son (#1) who just blew away a large crowd of peeps at his senior recital.  He was just outstanding.
  • Today I tweeted more than anyone else at the Professional Development Presentation at the High School. I spent the entire 2 hours listening to Tyrone Howard tweeting like there's no tomorrow.
So, obviously, I'm the best.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

The Foliage

The foliage puts me in such a good mood.  Sure the autumnal colors peaked last week, but there are still some pleasant trees hither thither and yon.

We packed up a picnic and sat near Ogle Lake yesterday.  20 Something was with us.  #1 was in a rehearsal, so we didn't see him until dinner time.

Today we had lunch out at the Scenic View.  Again, #1 Son wasn't with us, but we will see him tonight.  AT THE RECITAL!!!!

This recital is bringing back memories of childhood recitals of yore.  Frankly, I was a nervous wreck during these recitals of yore Why does my one child have to be in the performing business?  I can't handle it.  And why did my other child have to move far away?  Everyone knows I hate that.

We really love having the four of us in the same space at the same time, not performing, but just sitting about idly.   Why wouldn't we?

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Disconnect

It's the day of the Fall Party.  We call them Fall Parties now, rather than Halloween Parties because some people don't like Halloween for some reason.  But that's no big deal.

If there's a big deal to be found, it is this.  I'm not really prepared for the fall party and I'm pretty sure the Thirdlanders have high expectations, or what some might call delusions, about what's going to happen.  To prepare them for the low key party I'm planning, I told them, "You'll dress up in your costume.  You'll eat some food.  You'll make a Frankenstein craft that I found off Pinterest.  And you'll play a game where you make a paper jack-o-lantern.  Then you'll clean up and go home."

That's when the questions started.  Questions like, "Can we wrap ourselves up in toilet paper like mummies?"  and "Will we all have a pile of candy for the Monster Bingo game?"

Did I mention toilet paper mummies or monster bingo?  No, I did not. When you teach The Thirdlanders, you get accustomed to the disconnect between their ideas and the harsh reality that's staring all of us right in the face.  It's not fun to be the disappointer of small children, but someone has to do it. I guess that's why they pay me the big bucks.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share: Quinn Sternberg

Photo Credit:  Rebecca Cambridge

#1 Son has his senior recital coming up on Sunday night from 8:30 to 9:30 at Ford Hall. Come on over and listen if you feel like it.  I asked #1 Son if any of his pieces were his favorite but he texted back that all the songs will be "timeless classics."  That sounds like a win win.

Thursday Creativity Share.  Our wonderful son.  Playing his jazzy jazz.  Popping with Pride

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Comments

I emailed my mom yesterday and in that email I told her about #TwinTuesday.  She wrote back, "I know about 'Twin Tuesday'..... the pairing of two completely irrelevant objects every Tuesday.  Never stop this.  It makes me think I'm not the only crazy in the family!"

So there you have it.  A ringing endorsement of #TwinTuesday from a favorite reader. We carry on.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Ungulate and Jar.  I've learned that an ungulate is a mammal with hooves.  I thought it had something to do with the stomachs, but come to find out I was wrong.  #TwinTuesday is a day for celebration my friends.  Just think about this cow and this cumin jar if anyone gets on your nerves today.  And you will get through it.  The Cow and The Cumin Seed Jar.  Don't stop believing.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Daughter

Did you know that 20 Something is coming home on Friday?  She's coming to see #1 perform in his senior recital.

(#1's Senior Recital details here).  Please come if you can stay up until 8:30 pm. For me, that's a stretch, but you know my motto.  Support, don't thwart.

Besides my glee about the recital and the return of 20, I'm happy about a few pertinent things right now.

  •     I'm wearing a beautiful new scarf.
  •     I am mostly organized for the upcoming week.
  •     I have a new red ruck sack.  
  •     The fall leaves are shining out in all their glory right now.
  •      Husbandman just brought over my second cup of coffee.
  •      I'm about to put on my air cast boot, which keeps my ankle secure and protected throughout the day.  

More stuff will probably bring me happiness later.  It's Move It Along Monday.  Let's get a move on, People.

The Astronauts

 From a Lynda Barry book, I've used the idea to have the Thirdlanders draw self portraits on occasion.  Draw yourself as Batman, a monst...