Quick! Duck!

Running into his workroom at the lab, she said, “Honey, quick, where’s my camera? There’s a duck out here I’ve never seen before.”

He didn’t even look up from his microscope. “Hmmm, probably a Hooded Merganser.”

She said: “It’s red-headed and looks like it has a Mohawk hair-do.”

Female Hooded Merganser

Still without glancing away from his microscope, he said, “It’s a female.”

She grabbed her camera and ran back outside. Her mad dash to the waterside startled the duck.

Female Hooded Merganser

She didn’t mean to scare the lady, but isn’t sorry she did.

Female Hooded Merganser

After the wing flapping show the little lady settled back into the water and swam quickly away.

After capturing her photos She went back into the lab where He was still peering into the microscope.   “The duck put on quite a show for me.  I got  some great pictures.”

He said, “Nice.”

Sigh. She really does know better than to try to talk to him when He’s working.  Would you get excited about the duck, please?!



Need sleep.

Been feeling icky since Wednesday night and it just keeps getting worse.

Before Amoeba left for church he told me to stay in bed.  I can’t reach my computer from there, but don’t worry.  I will get back in bed as soon as I hear the garage door open.

Amoeba also poked ibuprophen in me this morning and made me wash it down with ice water even though I have the chills.  I was rolled up tight like a fat little sausage in its casing and Amoeba straightened the blankets and pulled my arms out of the covers.  Meany.

His hands were wonderfully cool and I loved them on my face and neck.  Isn’t that funny since I’m freezing?

I just want to be well.

Leaving On a Jet Plane

Actually, he packed up and left already.  No, scratch that — I — packed his bags and then he left.  I helped him leave me.  Worse, he went to Hawaii and I and here I sit in the cold and the dank, and the gray.

I think the weather is really getting to me.  I can’t seem to find any cheerful.  I don’t have much motivation, either.  Yesterday I read two novels.  TWO.  They were both pretty good.  Book reviews to follow, of course.

If you are somewhere there is sun, would you bundle a bit of it up and mail it to me?  I don’t need much — a half a gallon, maybe.  I’ll let it out of the box really slow and savor every glimmer.


What He Didn’t Say

She was chattering.  He offered an occasional monosyllabic grunt response. She said, “You don’t seem to be enjoying this conversation much.”

He said, “I’m trying to think.”

She said, “What’s that supposed to mean?  Is that some kind of code for “shut up”?  If you want me to shut up you can just say so, you know.  I won’t take offense.  I know how to be quiet.  I can shut up.  I don’t have to talk all the time.  I can be as quiet as a mouse.  Is that what you want?  Is it?”

He leaned forward, covered his face with his hands, and shook his head.

“I can be so quiet you’d never even know I’m here and all you have to do is say so.  Really.  You just say the word and I’ll shut up.  No problem.  Really, I won’t mind at all.”

He began to rock.

She patted him on the shoulder.  “You seem upset.  Is it because you’re trying to think? If you need me to be quiet I would be happy to do that for you.  All you have to do is say so, honey.  Do you want to say so?  Do you?  You can tell me.  Just tell me and I’ll shut right up.”

He made a funny choking noise, which she interpreted as laughter.  She kissed him on the cheek, took his dirty dishes, and started to leave the room.  She said, “You adore me and you know it.”

He said, “Yes.”

She said, “But somedays you’re tempted to do it with a real door.”

He said, “Well ….”

She turned and gave him that look.  “Well — ?”

Looking at her innocently, He offered his customary monosyllabic grunt response.

Prejudice: Hide It or Expose It?

Below you will find my response to Kay’s post on prejudice:  Mark Twain’s “N-Word”.  You might what to visit Kay’s blog to read the post and comments so you will have context for my “speech”.


I have taught with the original text (Tom Sawyer) in my 5th grade classroom — ten year olds — in a racially diverse community. I told them BEFORE we opened the book and started reading that it had language that would be very hard for us to understand.

I explained that some of the words just weren’t used any more, but there were a few words in the book that would shock them and make them angry.  We needed to talk about how we are going to handle that before we started reading.

The book was not used in conjunction with the reading program, it was used in our equal rights and equalities studies.  We talked about how people get smarter and grow and evolve.  I asked the kids to describe things they were afraid of as babies that they are no longer afraid of now.

As we read the book we discussed it, scene by scene.  We discussed our emotions in reaction to what we read, but we also discussed the character’s emotions in reaction to what they heard.

We talked about the fact that Jim and Tom were friends and Jim wasn’t offended by the use of the N word and in fact used it to describe himself.  Then we talked about naming in general.  Such as: Why is it okay for one person to call you “honey” but not another? Why can you say, “I am an idiot” but get ticked off when someone else says it?  Even 10 year olds were bright enough to figure out the difference in intent — why the word was used.

My personal opinion is that if one wants kids to learn one should teach them; not hide everything disreputable from them until they are 18 years old and then hope that — without instruction or guidance — they make optimal choices.

And while I would never introduce sexually explicit material into the classroom, I wouldn’t fail to address it if a child brought it into the classroom (and believe me, in the upper grades they do). In fact every school I worked in had a specific policy of gathering and talking to  — educating — everyone involved in the incident, including the parents of the children.

Ignoring hatred, prejudice and exploitation will not eradicate them.  Exposing them for the shameful, petty, and degrading things they are have reduced prejudice and its resulting violence, and I have seen the changes in school campuses that prove this.