Wednesday, April 30, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 32


Don't underestimate the value of nice.

There honestly is no substitute for genuine, heartfelt, nice.

You all know someone who's like that. Just nice. Not because he has to be. Not because someone told her to be. Not because he's trying to get something from you or the world. Just because she really is, well, nice.

Such a simple, quaint seems silly to even mention it. But it's so true.

It has to be real, though. If it's not real, even a toddler can sense it. And it falls terribly flat. Might even grate on you. It might even piss you off. And that's not good.

Genuine, heartfelt nice.

Really. Be on the lookout for it.

And try it yourself.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 31

In Sickness and in Health

Bob didn't have brain surgery today, but he did have surgery on his shoulder. It went well, and he's likely to have a pretty quick and complete recovery. He had his other shoulder done five years ago, before we started dating, and that one was a lot more serious. This one just needed some "cleaning out" to get rid of some pain that has been increasing over the last few months.

Fairly simple surgery. Good results.

And a good opportunity for me to just slow down a little. And take care of him.

And, in the frantic pace of the last few weeks of the semester, remember what's really important.

I'm really fortunate.

Monday, April 28, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 30

Nerd Alert

These came in the mail today.

This is one that will be "recommended" on all my syllabi next semester. Am hoping that students who want to improve their writing will use it.

This one's just for fun, as it looked interesting.

Since I teach Middle Childhood, and a lot of those students will teach elementary school, I like to get resources that I can share with them, so that's what this is for.

No time to read any of them right now...but I get giddy when I think about having the time in a few weeks to delve into them.

Yup. I'm a nerd.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 29

Damn Good

Bob is having surgery on his shoulder on Tuesday, so I said I'd do more of the cooking this week -- he usually does most of it -- and I started tonight. I made this, and it was yum-meeee! Yes, it's a Cooking Light recipe (April 2014), as I'm a creature of habit. Here's the recipe if you're so inspired. It's easy and tastes like it takes a lot more time than it does -- it's one of their "Dinner Tonight" recipes, which only take about 30 minutes.

Shrimp-Mango Stir-Fry with Rice Noodles

5 ounces uncooked rice noodles
3 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup sliced yellow onion
1 cup sliced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 cup cubed peeled ripe mango
1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves

1. Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain.
2. Combine 3 tablespoons water and next 4 ingredients (through cornstarch) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Set aside.
3. Combine red pepper, black pepper, and shrimp in a medium bowl; toss to coat.
4. Heat a wok or a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shrimp mixture; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are almost done, turning once. Remove shrimp mixture from pan. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, bell pepper, and ginger; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return shrimp mixture and juice mixture to pan. Add mango; cook 1 minute or until liquid thickens slightly and shrimp are done. Sprinkle with basil. Serve over noodles.

Serves 4 (we divided it into 3 servings: 2 for us at dinner tonight, and 1 for my lunch tomorrow :)
Calories 275
Fat 4.7g
Protein 13g
Carbohydrate 45g
Fiber 2g
Cholesterol 107mg
Iron 1mg
Sodium 369mg
Calcium 82mg

Oh, and I also made this salad, another Cooking Light recipe, recommended as a side dish for the shrimp stir-fry (it was great, too).

Shaved Cucumber and Red Onion Salad

Combine 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and a dash of salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a wisk. Add 2 cups thinly sliced English cucumber and 1 cup very thinly sliced red onion; toss to coat.

Serves 4
Calories 53
Fat 3.5g
Sodium 32 mg

Happy eating!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 28

Weekend Haiku

I love Saturdays.
Slept in. Ran five miles. Ate lunch.
Napped. Dinner. Movie.

100 Days Project -- Day 27

The Importance of Being Seen

I wanted to see this when it was in the movie theater. Didn't get around to it.
Bought the book to read. Didn't get around to it.
But over a few days this week, I finally watched it on Netflix (gotta love Netflix).

So glad I finally got around to seeing it.

Amazing. So many great themes. So thought-provoking.

And so's about being seen, truly seen...and known...and loved.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 24

It's What's for Breakfast

I love breakfast. And right now, this is what I'm making each morning. It's from the April issue of Cooking Light, and it's dee-lish.


2/3 cup fresh orange juice (I throw the pulp in there, too)
1/2 cup prepared quick-cooking oats (I use old-fashioned)
1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Green yogurt
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 large banana, sliced and frozen
1 cup ice cubes

Combine first 7 ingredients in a blender; pulse to combine. Add ice; process until smooth.

Serves 2
Calories 228
Fat 3.9g
Protein 8g
Carbohydrate 43g
Fiber 4g
Cholesterol 4mg
Iron 1mg
Sodium 24mg
Calcium 66mg

Monday, April 21, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 23


College students put in a lot of hours. During the semester, they are very likely to have very few days when they aren't doing some kind of school work -- reading, writing, gathering materials for reading and writing, and reading and writing some more.

This is a given, yes? And the majority of our students at Fresno State also work at least part-time AND many of them already have families.

That means they don't get a lot of down time while they're students.

This is kind of a bummer, but it's for a good cause, right? And there's an end in sight...when they graduate, though they'll still be busy, if they get the decent careers they're aiming for, they'll get time off. Actual days where they don't have to do their "career work" OR school work.

While they're in college, though, perhaps because they have to work so much, and get so little time off...they think their professors should also be working on the weekends and over vacations.

But what they don't seem to realize is that

this is my career.

I'm in it for 20+ years.

And I'm still working well into the evening on many weekdays. And more often than not, put in time on weekends and vacations, too. Yes, I know I have summers off, but you should see the list of things at work that I need to catch up on over summer.

Something's wrong here.

I believe I'm overdue to graduate.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 22


Bob and I were in SaveMart this afternoon, picking up some things to cook for a very casual Easter dinner -- Happy Easter, by the way!

This is the same SaveMart I've been shopping in since 2008. I started shopping there while I was renting a room from Katie, the year I returned to Fresno State after taking a leave of absence for a year to be a roving reporter in Colorado. But I digress....

The point I'm trying to make is that I've been shopping at this SaveMart every week for quite a few years. And after all these years, who did I finally run into?

Jenny Cain! Well, it's not Cain now, but that's what it was when we looked like this, back in the late 80s and early!

Needless to say, she doesn't look like this any more, nor do I. We exchanged phone numbers so maybe I'll post an updated pic soon. But ya gotta admit, we were something, yes?

This was back in the BUMCO days. Good times.

How on earth did we afford all that hairspray?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 21


We ate at one of our favorite local restaurants tonight, Pismo's. We usually eat at the bar, as the wait for tables is super long, and the bartenders always treat us well. Tonight, as we were eating, a dad had to bring his preschooler by us a few times on his way to the lobby, as the little guy was having some pretty loud temper tantrums. It wasn't overwhelming, as it's loud in there anyway, but our bartender noticed it, and mentioned to us in passing, "I think I want kids, and then I see that, and have doubts." She was kidding, but it reminded me of this commercial from Europe, which of course, I pulled up to show her.

Gotta love European commercials.

Friday, April 18, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 20


Dad's been gone 4 1/2 years now, and still, every once in awhile, I come across an old photo that I didn't realize I had.

Like this one.

Dad and Wimp at Rhino's.

So thankful we had him as long as we did. So aware of his influence in my life, still, every day.

Kinda fun to think that, maybe, he and Wimp get together every day up there, at 4:00, to have a cold one.

Just like they used to at Rhino's.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 18

Read to Me

In the three years we've been together, there have been a handful of times that Bob and I have spent a significant amount of time together in his truck. For instance, there have been multiple trips to Oregon, once for trailer-camping, and too-many-times-to-count for house hunting -- and buying -- in Bend. And last summer, we went to Montana for Caty and Andy's wedding in Glacier National Park.

We've spent HOURS in the truck together.

And it's actually quite nice. We spend time talking, viewing great American scenery, sometimes listening to music, and of course, sleeping. Well, I sleep. Bob drives. We're at the tail-end of a trip right now. It's my Spring Break, and we drove up to Bend to check on the house and spend time with friends, and are now taking our time getting back home by way of one night in Reno and one night in Bridgeport. On this trip, I spent a lot of our truck-time grading exams and catching up on work email.

But there's also been time to read to Bob while he's driving.

We're almost to the end of the Kindle version of this, which we started on our last trip to Bend, I think. It's been so interesting reading about the circumstances and historical events leading up to Kennedy's assassination. Today, just about 20 miles out of Bridgeport, we made it through the assassination itself, and Bob had a difficult time understanding me through my sobs. Powerful stuff.

When we went to Montana last summer, Caty's brother's partner told us about this book:

We bought it before we left Glacier National Park, and read it on the way home. And I'm SO glad we didn't read it while still in the park. I would have had to stay in the truck the entire time. With a loaded rifle at the ready. It was terrifying.It's the true story of two deadly grizzly attacks that occurred in Glacier in the summer of 1967...on the same night. Chilling.

The first book I read to Bob in the truck was another exciting one that I'd read silently to myself years ago.

I was certain Bob would really like it, and was right. He was mesmerized, as I was.

And so began our tradition of reading great books aloud together while traveling.

Looking forward to reading the rest of "Killing Kennedy" tomorrow. I hope we have enough miles left.

100 Days Project -- Day 17

Middle Childhood Flix Fix

I teach child development, which covers birth through adolescence. Typically, people who teach child development specialize in a specific age range. For me, that is early childhood because I came to the field through being a preschool teacher, and most of my research has been in preschool classrooms. I love 3- to 5-year-olds because they can be amazingly verbal; completely illogical one moment, and more logical than most adults the next; and you don't have to guess what they're thinking or's all out there, plain as day.

School-aged kids, though, they're another ball 'o wax. And about three years ago, I began teaching an upper division course on middle childhood, which spans 6- to 12-years-old. I don't have as much experience here, though when I first began teaching preschool, I was also a substitute teacher for an after-school program at the Ventura YMCA where I mostly worked with kindergarteners and 1st graders. And in my last year in the doctoral program at UT, I supervised undergraduates as they did field experience in K-3rd grade classrooms in three elementary schools. I don't have as many firsthand experiences to draw from, though, so I've found that since I started teaching the course, in addition to reading whatever I can find about school-aged kids, I also tend to be drawn to movies with children that age in them.

I even use some of them in class. For instance, my students watch the movie "Billy Elliot" and write a paper in which they analyze 11-year-old Billy's life for middle childhood developmental concepts.

Great movie (here's a trailer if you're not familiar), and I'll be reading this semester's batch of papers soon.

Though I wouldn't use it for the same type of paper, "Stand by Me" definitely has good middle childhood themes in it.

When I get around to using some clips from it, the "cool factor" is evident, as I'm able to tell my students that my high school principal's brother co-wrote the screenplay and was nominated for an Oscar for it. True story. Great flick, as you'll see in this trailer. (And many of my students watch "The Big Bang Theory," so they'll likely get a kick out of the fact that Wil Wheaton is there on the left.)

I'm not sure why this movie wasn't more popular in the U.S., but it's another great one with a school-aged child as the main character: "Millions." The trailer will give you a little taste.

I absolutely love that Damian, the main character, has an incredibly vivid imagination. He is not only obsessed with learning all he can about all of the Catholic saints, but imagines that he has conversations with them...including female saints that smoke like truckers.

And I found this one just a few weeks ago, a film from Japan called "I Wish."

The main character is one of two brothers whose parents have recently split, and he lives with his mom and grandparents, while his little brother lives with his dad in another city. He longs to bring their family back together, and hears from a schoolmate that, if you make a wish at the exact moment that two new super-trains pass each other going opposite directions, it will come true. He enlists the help of his brother and their friends to make this happen, and it's hilarious and heart-warming all at the same time.

One of my current students is from Japan, and she had not heard of the movie, and I recommended it (see trailer here). She watched it (loved it, too), and said that the two boys in it are actually brothers, and are very popular in Japan. When I get around to using clips -- or even the entire movie when I get tired of "Billy Elliot" -- that will work for "cool factor."

Always helps to have that.

Monday, April 14, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 16

Double Take

This is our house. Our house. I'm a part of the "our." I have a house. We have a house. Seriously.

Of course, someone else is living in it currently, as it's in Bend, and we still live in Fresno. But this is our house.

See? We even have this tree at our house.

This is us at our house. (When we first bought it.)

This is our friends, Paige and Erich, at our house. (When we first bought it.)

These are some Quaking Aspen we bought today to plant in the backyard at our house.

And this is another tree -- an Austrian Pine -- for our house.
We have a house. Seriously.

I don't know if you can tell...but I never expected to be part of an "our house."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 15

Lot Food

Paige and Erich introduced us to "The Lot" last night...a food-truck-court and tap house in Bend. It wasn't snowing, like in this picture, but it's open in winter, too. It's a "pod" of food trucks, outside, parked around this area for dining that is you're eating outside...but not.

Super cool. Only in the right ways. Here's a news story about it. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

100 Days Project - Day 14

Good News / Bad News

The good news is that we're in Bend for a few days, and are staying with some of our favorite people on the planet -- Paige and Erich.
The bad news? I forgot to ask for their wireless key before they went to bed, so am tapping this out on the iPhone again.
'Nuf said.

Friday, April 11, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 13


Finally...time off.
It's called Spring Break, but is it?
Hmmm...break?...or catch up?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 12

The Helicopters Have Landed

You'd think that a college professor would not have to deal with the parents of her students.

You'd be wrong.

Though it happens infrequently, I do have parents step into my office now and then, on behalf of their "child." My first experience with a parent was just a couple years into my career here at Fresno State, and I dealt with a mom when her daughter plagiarized in my class. Well, actually in two different classes in successive semesters. Unbeknownst to me, this parent was also a fairly large donor to our college. Didn't change my treatment of her daughter's offense; she failed the class and had to retake to graduate. But my guess is that Mom thought it should have.

My latest brush with a parent began last week. I received an email from a parent, asking for an advising appointment for her and her daughter, who will be returning to Fresno State in the Fall. Daughter took some time off beginning in 2006. Age? Clearly not fresh out of high school. Daughter was cc'd, but the email was clearly in Mom's voice. I hit "reply all," but started "Hi, (insert student's name here)," and described our advising policy (students have to attend a Group Advising session before seeking individual advising). I "spoke" as though I was speaking to the daughter, and didn't mention the mom. But Mom replied, with more questions, again cc'ing daughter. I "replied all" again, but this time, put daughter's name in the "To" window and Mom's name was cc'd. Mom replied again to let me know they'd be at the next Group Advising session. Daughter wasn't cc'd this time.

They attended. We had about 50 students, and it was easy to pick them out in the back, as none of the other students looked like they were sitting with their mom. Mom's probably younger than me, quite fit and attractive...but clearly not a peer. They didn't introduce themselves, but after the session, I received another email. From Mom. Letting me know they'd be coming in for my drop-in advising hours the next day.

They did, and when they walked in, the student came in first and introduced herself. Before Mom had a chance to introduce herself, I turned to her and said, "And you're the mom." And yes, I'm afraid it sounded like you think it did...a bit snarky. I honestly didn't mean it to, but we're at a point in the semester where I don't have as much patience as I'd like, and I did not mask my true thoughts very well. The 'ole frontal lobe doesn't regulate as well as it should by the 11th week of the semester, I'm afraid.

Of course, Mom was the tiniest bit shaken, but daughter actually recovered quite well, and said, "Yes, this is my mom, (insert Mom's name here), and she's here just as a second pair of ears." After shaking Mom's hand and inviting her to sit, I looked her in the eyes, and more politely this time, said, "I hope you don't mind, but I'll be talking to (insert student's name here) as we meet." Mom said something like, "Well, yes, of course," and it was clearly implied that she wouldn't want me to think she'd have it any other way.

So, I talked to the daughter. Mom tried to interject a few times, with comments and questions, and I answered her questions, but looked at the daughter while doing so. I believe I saw the daughter grow more visibly confident as this occurred. She had no trouble asking pertinent and thoughtful questions, and responded calmly and insightfully to my questions.

Mom was polite, but looked pained at times. I could tell she wanted to interject, but to both their credit, her daughter was pretty unwavering in addressing me, too.

By the end of the meeting, I had looked at Mom a bit while talking, and all was quite comfortable.

Of course, I could be wrong, but I think all three of us grew through that meeting. I learned that it really is ok to set boundaries with parents. I appreciate that parents care about the quality of their child's education, but when push comes to shove, that young adult student is the only one responsible for how well -- or not -- she does, and I need her to know, right from the beginning, that SHE is responsible -- not Mom.

I think daughter learned that not only can she really speak for herself, but I'm going to listen. And listen with respect, while holding her accountable.

I think Mom might have learned some things, too. About me. About her daughter. And hopefully, about herself.

Above all, I hope she learned she's raised a competent daughter, because I think she has. And I'm gonna do my best to make them prove it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

100 Days Project - Day 11

Note to Self:
Self, when using your laptop, don't hit "download now" unless you're CERTAIN the supposed upgrade is actually what it says it is.

Trying to tap out a blog entry on your iPhone is not very efficient.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 10

A Little Boost

You might already know Kid President. If you don't, you've been missing out, and this is your chance to start catching up. Click here for his Pep Talk. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, April 7, 2014

100 Days Project - Day 9

Dear Student

One of my current students sent me an email recently, apologizing for having submitted an assignment a few minutes late; I require that assignments be submitted electronically, as I can give feedback much more efficiently that way (and have far fewer calluses on my hands, as a result). In the message, she also shared some things that are going on for her personally -- not making excuses or asking for special treatment, but simply letting me know that her performance currently is not as she'd like it to be.

I responded to her message in a way similar to how I've responded to others like it, and this is what I wrote:

Hi, (insert student's name here) ~

I truly appreciate your note, and please don't worry about the "late" essay. I typically accept submissions on-time when they're just a few minutes late, as I realize technical difficulties happen.

I'm sorry that you are having personal difficulties, and I do hope you are finding the support you need to resolve them. Please know that the Health Center on campus provided psychological support to students when they are overly stressed or in crisis, and if you care to look into that, you can go to this website (insert web address here) or you can call (insert number here).

I realize that sometimes it is difficult to convey, but I really do respect and appreciate each of my students as whole people. I know, (insert student's name here), that you and all other students are much more than your academic performance in my class. Yes, I have high standards for my students because I want you to make the most of your college education, and I feel our field is very important -- I know each and every one of you can make important and powerful differences in the lives of children and families with whom you'll work. But I also realize that you have your own lives, and balancing your personal needs with your academic studies and progression to your degree can be very difficult at times. I was in and out of college for 8 years before earning my BS in Child Development. I changed majors four times, and in many of my classes in community college, I did just the bare minimum required to pass. I was fortunate enough to have some professors during that time that saw my potential, and planted seeds of confidence and passion that sprouted much later. I've tried to let each of them know, but I also realize that much of what happens here, while you're in college, won't be evident to you until much later. And I do not think less of any of my students who don't seem to be "getting it" now. You, though, I can tell, are committed to doing your best each day. Your health and well-being have to be taken into consideration, and I'm completely confident that you're gaining what you're supposed to be gaining from being here. Right now.

Thank you for your note, and I hope today is better ~

And I really meant it.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 8

Sunday Top 10

My "Top 10 List" of the best things about today...

10. Picking up a beautiful orange flower at the supermarket this morning.
9. There was no alarm to wake us up.
8. Homemade breakfast, courtesy of Bob (pancakes and sausage!).
7. Reading a couple sections of "The New York Times."
6. Peet's coffee from Eddie's Bakery.
5. Taking a long nap in my basket.
4. The scent of BBQ smoke on Bob's shirt as I hugged him this evening. (The shish-kabob from The Meat Market was pretty good, too.)
3. Watching the season premiere of "Game of Thrones" on the HUGE tv I gave Bob for an engagement present.
2. Watching videos of my nieces sent to me by sis-in-law, Cathy (Emma doing over 100 consecutive bounces on the pogo stick Bob and I got her for Christmas, and Alyssa and Abbey hitting softballs that Bill pitched them).
1. Ending the day the same way it started...with Bob.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 7

Watched this today. So good. The best kind of movie -- funny, both heart-wrenching and -warming, and deeply insightful about the human condition.

My favorite line?

"Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right, then it's not yet the end."

Friday, April 4, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 6

Friday night. We go out to dinner on Friday nights, and sometimes I see my students when we're out. Tonight, we went to The Yard House, and when we walked in to the very crowded waiting area, there was one of my current students, sitting with her boyfriend, waiting for a table. I immediately knew she was my student...but I couldn't remember her name, and I wasn't sure which of my three classes she's in.

Now, when I see a student out in public, especially if it's a student I don't know very well, I try to let her (most of my students are women) take the lead in making a connection. I figure that the last person some people want to see when they're out trying to have a good time is that professor that makes them do a lot of work. Tonight, though, this student smiled comfortably and enthusiastically when she saw me, so I smiled and returned her greeting. I immediately got embarrassed because I didn't know her name, and it was easy in all the noise and commotion of putting our names on the waiting list to turn away and avoid introducing her to Bob. We went to the bar to get a drink while we waited, and every now and then, I felt bad that I hadn't talked to her more because she was so friendly.

Then we got seated...and, yes, after we'd gotten settled and ordered, I turned, and there she was. Sitting right behind us. It wasn't awkward, though, as it's really loud in there, and she was engaged in conversation with her beau. They finished before we did, and I had my chance to introduce her to Bob as they walked by us to leave. She volunteered her name, very graciously, and it was quite comfortable. Nice. It felt good to have a student recognize me AND seem genuinely comfortable chatting with me for a moment in public.

About 6 or 7 years ago, I had a very different experience running into a student in public. My friend, Denise, and I went to an Aerosmith and Lenny Kravitz concert at The Save Mart Center. Lenny played first, and during the break before Aerosmith came out, we headed out to the lobby area to use the restrooms. As we walked, I spotted one of my current students walking toward us through the crowd. It was only a couple weeks into the new semester, and she was in a lower division GE course I was teaching. And, though I couldn't remember her first name, she stood out to me immediately because I remembered that her last name was Reid. She was the first student I ever had with my last name, same Scottish spelling and all. As usual, though, I nonchalantly looked away, trying to find a happy medium between not-being-rude-but-giving-her-room-to-not-have-to-chat-it-up-with-her-professor at a concert, of all places. When she was about 5 yards away from us, she suddenly stopped in her tracks, looked me straight in the face, and in a drunken slur, body teetering back and forth, pointed and yelled, "Hey! Hey! You're in my class!" Of course, I started laughing, and as she got closer and continued to try to figure out who I was, I finally said, "Well, actually, I'm your professor." She stopped dead again, and as the young man at her side held her steady, she stared deep into my eyes, struggling to focus and figure out who the hell I was. As the realization dawned, her posture weakened a bit, and she just said, "Oh...yah." Her friend, who was clearly quite sober, apologized profusely, explaining that she wasn't usually like that. Of course, I told him not to worry about it while she teetered there, still dazed-and-confused, and we then went our separate ways.

She had a difficult time looking me in the eye the rest of the semester.

So, yah, sometimes I run into my students out in public. And I try to give them some space.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 5

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
It's Thursday.
I'm tired.
This'll have to do.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

100 Days Project - Day 4


These hearts are from the place where Bob first told me he loved me.

And these hearts are from the city where he worked Sunday evenings through Saturday evenings for the first year that we dated.

I bought these in the town where I brought Bob for his surprise birthday trip the first year we dated.

I found these in a shop by the beach, just down the way from one of our favorite little breakfast restaurants.

And I got these at a street fair in the little beach town where Bob brought me to celebrate my 45th birthday.

Gotta love hearts.
Gotta love Bob.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

100 Days Project - Day 3

The Lisa Project

The statistics are staggering. In 2013, there were more than 2,100 substantiated reports of child abuse in Fresno County. That is an average of 6 substantiated cases every day.
That is an astounding number. But it becomes much more real, and much more meaningful, when you hear the true stories of these children, as they would tell them.

Michelle and I went to the opening of "The Lisa Project" this evening. This is a multi-media interactive exhibit on child abuse that First 5 of Fresno County, along with 11 community partners, has brought to Fresno for the month of April. The narrator of the self-guided audio tour is Lisa, and she begins by sharing a real 911 call she made at the age of 6 when her stepfather was severely beating her mom and her two younger siblings. She pauses in the telling of her own story, though, to let other children -- each in a separate room throughout the exhibit -- tell their personal stories. Children from toddlers to teens, living in poverty and in plenty, suffering physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of the people who are supposed to keep them safe.

The stories are pretty hard to hear, and are made more real by the children's voices and the artifacts of their lives. A filthy kitchen where a child sleeps in the corner. A bathroom where a sheer shower curtain is all that separates an adolescent girl from her predator father.

As powerful as all of it was, I found I was most moved in the very last room when Lisa concluded her story. At the end of all of these very dark rooms and heart-wrenching stories, her real story gives the visitor hope. And motivation to help prevent child abuse.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and if you have a chance to go to The Lisa Project, you'll realize just how important our voices are.