March 31

#SOL22 #31

The end of any lengthy exercise requires a reflection, right? I am a first-year “slicer,” and have these observations:

  • This daily routine was so liberating! I often find blogging a laborious task because of my tendency to get too down in the weeds, everything requiring evidence and citations. But, this is not (necessarily) academic writing, but rather sharing “whatever” happens in my day/life at a moment in time. Some posts took only a few minutes to formulate, others longer, and there was no “right” or “wrong.”
  • A few themes popped up multiple times, which is a message to myself that they are important to me, and I need to honor them.
  • I greatly appreciate having glimpses into your lives and learning from you! Some posts made me laugh, others brought tears. I found additional books to add to my already-lengthy list. I “stole” some new structures.

Until next time!

March 28

#SOL22 #28

Borrowing from others, trying out the 5-4-3-2-1 format!


  • My faith
  • My comfortable lifestyle
  • My four children
  • My four grandchildren
  • My students


  • Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Peas


  • Finished listening to yet another audiobook
  • Made sauce from the horseradish growing in my garden
  • Sent an email related to my position as HOA board president



March 27

#SOL22 #27

As my eyes drifted around the circle of women, I was flabbergasted to realize I was one of only two wearing cute footwear with a heel. The rest were adorned in lovely clothing paired with flats, many of them utilitarian as opposed to attractive. Now, I am a total fan of comfortable shoes, and am most often found in my sneakers or Birkenstocks. Nonetheless, I imagine that many of these women are wearing their sensible shoes because they feel wearing heels will lead to an embarrassing turned ankle or tumble.

As I observed this scene, it renewed my commitment to keeping physically fit. As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass, balance, and mobility. But, it’s not a foregone conclusion. With consistent effort, we can immensely slow down the process and retain a lot of our youthfulness.

I’m off to yoga followed by kettlebells. I plan to be dancing in my high heels at 99.


March 26

#SOL22 #26

A short news article floated across my feed today, stating that “Oregon [where I live] has more than 120,000 miles of polluted or ‘impaired’ rivers and streams — the most nationwide.” This information is part of a recent report by the Environmental Integrity Project, which expressed dismay about our failures, “Long After Goal to Make All U.S. Waters ‘Fishable and Swimmable’ by 1983, 50% of Assessed River and Stream Miles Are Impaired by Pollution.”

In all honesty, I was surprised Oregon was so high on the list, because it is a state filled with people who love to spend time outdoors; hiking, biking, camping, paddle boarding… in other words, people who seem to appreciate and respect nature. As I dug deeper into the report, I discovered:

“Oregon has the most overall miles of rivers and streams categorized as impaired for any use (122,800 miles), followed by California (83,361 impaired miles), and Michigan (54,687 impaired miles). Changing water temperatures are responsible for impairing three quarters of Oregon’s river and stream miles, because many streams have become too warm to provide a healthy habitat for cold water fish or other aquatic life. Stream temperatures can increase when flow rates are reduced by the diversion of waters for irrigation or when agricultural and urban runoff reduce water depth by filling streambeds with sediment. Other causes include the removal of trees and vegetation that help to shade and cool streams. Reversing the loss of forest and vegetative buffers and protecting streams from runoff may become even more important if climate change, which brought such extreme heat to Oregon last summer, continues to drive hotter weather.”

I found it fascinating that they did not blame the increasing water temperatures on the catchall “climate change,” but rather on our agricultural practices and disregard for nature in our urbanization practices. I am living in that reality, and a party to the problem. I moved into a brand new home two years ago which backs onto a protected wetland, which I’m excited about. But… did the developer really pay attention (or care) about making sure nature was respected in how they excavated, built, chopped down trees, etc. in the process. Absolutely not.

I’m pleased to be counterbalancing these destructive moves with my slowly evolving permaculture gardens in the back yard, but it is not enough. In all honesty, I don’t have any good answers to resolve this growing disconnect between what Mother Earth needs and what the humans who inhabit the planet think they “deserve.”

March 25

#SOL22 #25

Several days ago, I wrote about rooting for underdog St Peter’s in the NCAA basketball tournament. Ranked #15, they toppled #2 seed Kentucky. A day or two later, they won against #7 Murray State to enter the Sweet 16.

This evening, they played against #3 seed Purdue, and won! This is the first time in NCAA history that a team of such low ranking has won a spot in the Elite Eight. As I was perched on the edge of my seat, I intentionally sought to understand the attributes this team has that have led them to perform so well.

  1. They are not at all intimidated by the fact they are playing against teams that are considered “better” than they are. They keep their cool, play their game. Even the 7’4″ center they faced today did not unnerve them.
  2. They work as a team. Always. No drama, no hot dogging, just steady teamwork. They have each other’s backs, anticipate the next move, move into position to be of the most help.
  3. Their coach is totally unflappable. Also no drama, no shouting, no belittling his team members. (I categorically reject the idea that yelling at and berating players is an effective “building” behavior.)

I need to take a page from their playbook in my own coaching and team endeavors.

P.S. I’m already getting my pom poms ready to cheer them to victory in their next game, the day after tomorrow.

March 24

#SOL22 #24

I just finished evaluating seven history fair documentary projects created by middle school students. I am constantly challenged in my quest to perfect the art of Ron Berger’s model of “kind, specific, helpful” feedback. These young students have been challenged to create a project which argues a thesis. They work within the National History Day framework to conduct research, develop an argument, and assemble their analysis into a persuasive form, in this case a documentary video. They are also required to create an annotated bibliography of their sources.

This is tough work, demanding well-developed higher-order thinking skills to be able to sift through numerous sources, make sense of them, and synthesize that bombardment of information into a coherent narrative. And then combine evidence in the form of visual elements (photographic images, newspaper clippings, maps, political cartoons, etc.) with an audio narration, and oftentimes a layer of background music.

So, when the “experienced adult” part of me wants to pull my hair out with the inaccuracies, omissions, or incomplete thinking, I need to take a step back and put myself in their 12- or 13-year-old shoes and simply say, “my hat’s off to you for a job well done.”

March 23

#SOL22 #23

I have recently been working on the second “lasagna layered” garden in my backyard. Bit by bit (or maybe in a few large steps), I have been converting much of the grass into permaculture fruit tree “guilds.” In this area of Oregon, so many things grow well, so I am slowly developing an intertwined system anchored with fruit trees and surrounded by other edible plants that help deter pests and balance the soil. Berries, onions, garlic, horseradish, rhubarb, borage, herbs, to start.

I am a neophyte, have little idea of what I’m doing, yet know with observation, research, and asking many questions, I will prevail!

March 22

#SOL22 #22

I’ve just returned from a magnificently invigorating couple of hours. I attended a workshop on “improvisational leadership,” in which we played a series of improv games and created scenes and talked about how “yes, and…” applies to leadership.

I fully appreciate how theatrical improv can be a teaching tool across disciplines, and was happy to be reminded of some fundamental concepts.

I was even more thrilled to have the opportunity to get into character on the spot, to be cast as an “angry plumber,” and to let my imagination run amok with it. To shout at the audience about how their hygiene habits make my job difficult. And how my therapist is helping me with anger issues. And exaggeratedly taking deep breaths to “re-compose” myself.

So often, I feel cast as “teacher,” “wife,” “mother,” “responsible person,” all worthy roles, yet this unexpected side is what nourishes my soul in ways that rejuvenate me like none other.