Monday, October 24, 2016

Milestone & millstone

Monday, I graduated. From physical therapy. It felt good. And weird.

The good part: Who wouldn't like to know that his surgically repaired leg is functionally comparable to its un-operated on neighbor?

The weird: Any previous graduations that I can recall (all education related) came with a comforting sense of finality; I knew I wouldn't be doing over, say, high school or college. Not so in this case, as a surgery and PT-free future is promised to no one.

Of course, there are both productive and preventive steps I can take to keep myself in working order. That doesn't mean, though, that I'm not staring across a vertiginous chasm of new risk/reward calculus. Anticipating a sportier future after five months of diligent rehab, I miss my former aura of invincibility -- false or not.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Alternative energy

Where I live, against the foothills of the Rockies, it can get windy. Like yesterday. Depending on where you were in these parts, winds might've gusted between 40 and 70 miles per hour. Leaves flew everywhere, and a few branches came down. Colleagues and I stubbornly sat outside for lunch, trying to keep our food containers from blowing onto ourselves or each other.

Then last night, as I settled in by my laptop, preparing to finish some work and thinking of what slice I might write, the power went out.

I sat in the black, listening to my apartment shudder and mentally listing the abundance I so often take for granted. My eyes adjusting, I began to see the moon's pale light bathing everything. My mind adjusted, too. I changed my plans to include reading by headlamp and early bedtime.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Top Five - a #sunchatbloggers production

As superheros go, Batman is mostly a regular guy. (You know, as regular as an orphaned, vengeful, reclusive, monomaniacal billionaire can be.) He just happens to carry a lot of useful stuff. This gives me hope as a teacher, and I consider these five items key components in my teaching utility belt.

Awesome Screenshot extension: Virtual grappling hook for grabbing screenshots. Crop 'em, annotate 'em, make demonstrations make sense.

Power Tools Google sheets add-on: Suite of tools that have potential to work mind control on spreadsheet cells. Lately, I'm a fan of the Data Random Generator. Pair that with a class roster and mix up groups of various sizes with the click of a button. Sometimes students choose with whom to work; other times I group intentionally; and yet other times we're jokers who roll the proverbial dice.

Giphy site: If pictures are worth a thousand words, what's the going rate for moving pictures? This collection of GIFs turns documents (hyper or otherwise) into -- pow! -- fun Saturday morning cartoons, not to mention livening up Google forms, Tweets, or even e-mail.

Classroom Organizer site: For a class library, it's like Uber meets the Batmobile. More flexible and faster than circulating books via loose-leaf scribbles kept on a clipboard.

Diigo extension: When resource listicles fly around the Internet, this social bookmarking site plays Robin -- a worthy sidekick who has my organizing back.

Thanks, #sunchatbloggers, for the encouragement and writing inspiration. Which tools top your list for utility?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper. --T.S. Eliot, from "The Hollow Men"

Monday night, I tuned into Cleveland vs. Boston. The Red Sox have been my team since childhood, though I consider myself a tepid member, at best, of any team-oriented Nation. Nevertheless, October plants in me an urge to get last looks at baseball diamonds before the long winter settles in. So I watched.

I watched the Sox fall behind, inch back, lose ground again. I watched slugger David Ortiz in potentially his last game before retiring, unable to rally his team with anything more than a sacrifice fly. I watched him draw a walk in the bottom of the eight and advance to second on a teammate's base hit. I felt hope flash in this one-run game. Then, I watched Ortiz lifted for a pinch runner who wouldn't advance any further.

Designated hitters like Ortiz are used to doing a lot of watching, I presume. Still, it must feel disconcerting -- near the end of a 20-year career full of game-changing moments -- to have the ninth inning decided outside of one's control. Tactically, the circumstances made sense for Ortiz to leave the game. Emotionally, it was a moment for rueful sighs. Not the end of the world; just the end.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Shot in the arm

Hustling between
mundane Monday errands,
I squeeze in a flu shot.

Time will tell
how protective
its value,
how worth it
not sleeping
on my left side
for one night
to spare
my achy arm
will prove.

with attenuated viruses,
my thoughts conjure
an analogy:

As a vaccine
is to the immune system,
is not literacy
to the mind?