Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Reluctant Observer

*NOTE: Since some folks read one or the other of my BLOGS I'm repeating this post I also put on my AOL blog: Confessions of a Madman: Insights into Living and Coping with ADHD.


Although today is the official beginning of summer she is already well established. The rhythms of summer ebb and flow across the land like tides of the distant ocean. The lilac blooms of May have long ago burst onto the landscape with their vibrant colors, spreading the message of rebirth with a virulent fragrance and then withered into brown, lifeless stalks. Lush and lanky, our ferns blanket the foundation of our home in an undulating emerald sea. Bob across the way can be seen twice a week dissecting his lawn with his new “Snapper,” carefully slicing diagonal swaths across his grassland domain. A family of sparrows that set up house in the vent above our front entrance have already raised and given wings to their first hatch. A few weeks ago the ravenous chicks were hustled out of the nest and prodded to the edge of the roof for flying lessons. They would perch on the edge, clinging desperately with their tiny feet, peer over the edge then scurry back to the safety of the nest. Like a carefully orchestrated ballet adult and chick worked their way across the shingled roof as the chicks built up their pluck to take that first flight. Now they flutter, and flit confidently across the yard visiting our feeders with regularity. School’s been out for a few weeks freeing the neighborhood brood to run through the streets and alleys with reckless abandon as if they are being chased by the demons of the schoolhouse and are wont to leave them far behind. Just last night, as a cool breeze brought relief from a hazy, humid day, I could hear the laughter and shouts of children echoing throughout the neighborhood.

Summer comes and I stretch out a hesitant hand in welcome. For this season it is as if I am reluctant observer of this most anticipated of seasons. As if inspecting a curiosity behind the barriers of a zoo or observatory I watch the season unfold from the solitude of my table, surrounded by the necessities of writing. I am held captive by the dastardly dissertation, mother of all papers, bane of my existence. With coffee cup and water glass at hand I am forging ahead while summer rolls into town. I shall not relent, shall not surrender to the wanton desire to wander the tree-lined streets letting the wind and whim of a careless mind guide me. I must take the advice of our fearless leader and “stay the course.” Keep my feet upon the path of PhD and complete the journey.

I cannot express adequately my gratitude to all who visited my AOL journal after my last depressing entry and offered words of encouragement. Your efforts did not go unnoticed. Those who offered good vibes and prayers must have been working overtime because it worked! A week or so after that entry I was contacted by the university where I am getting my doctorate and was offered a non-tenure teaching position. It is only for three years, but they have the option to ditch me after a year if I’m not up to snuff. So I have employment, health care, and won’t have to move… at least not right away. The university is about 90 miles away so I’ll drive up on a Monday or Tuesday and return home Thursday. I just can’t drive back and forth every day with all the teaching, office hours, and extra assignments I need to do. It really is a great opportunity, as I’ll get to teach graduate courses and get some experience as a program coordinator. HOWEVER, they really, really, REALLY want me to complete the dissertation before fall. So far I have written two chapters and am working on chapter 3 (have about 17 pages done). Therefore, I again thank all who have remained loyal to my journal and apologize profusely for not being able to dive into J-land and return the favor. It’s too easy to get lost in all the wonderful lives and writings of the many folks I’ve met here. I’ll try to pop in from time to time but must remain focused. It was truly an unexpected joy and blessing to read so many encouraging and kind words in the comment section after my last entry. You are just the BEST!

But now it’s back at it.

Be well. Laugh often. Play hard.

“May your life
be crowded with
unexpected joys"

-h. jackson brown jr.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Onto the Kennedy Center


Thursday dawned bright, and cold, and wintry with the snow from Monday still clinging to trees, rooftops, and heaped in the shady spots where the sun never looks all winter long. After breakfasting on granola, raisons, and walnuts we stocked up on provisions and headed out into the dazzling morning sunshine.

Our first stop was the Washington D.C. Convention Center so I could check my email and we could wander the exhibit hall for freebies that many of the companies use to entice folks to their booths. This was scheduled to be a brief stop as we were both eager to head back down to the ellipse and check out some of the memorials. However, I ran into several people I knew from workshops and presentations and of course it took far longer than anticipated to peruse the exhibit hall and mine all the freebies we could.

Thinking it best to fortify ourselves with a bit of lunch before wandering the National Mall area we stopped at a little shop I knew of that had excellent pizza at a reasonable price. It wasn’t until we were heading south on 14th Street that the wisdom of hauling two gaudy handle bags (a free give away), all over downtown D.C. filled with conference goodies was not the wisest of ideas. So we consolidated, donated, and disposed of heavy catalogues we didn’t realize had been stuffed in our sacks, and continued on our way.


Although it was now after one and we were still hoping to walk to the Kennedy center before darkness fell (yes were quite silly) we decided to stop for a “quick look” at the National Archives. Once inside the building and gazing at the overwhelming amount of possibilities I realized that place could swallow me whole and keep me satiated in information for months. We did our best to cruise through it and still pause for gleaming some information. Fortunately it was an off day and it was very quiet. There was no line as we strode right up to the Declaration of Independence and gazed down at the entombed document. It was a very solemn atmosphere in that grand, marble rotunda.


After reentering the realm of sunshine, traffic, and tourists we crossed Constitution Ave and meandered through the National Sculpture Garden and happened upon the ice rink. There were a number of couples gliding effortlessly across the ice as well as several children frolicking about, their shouts of joy echoing through the Sculpture Gardens. Although I wanted to visit the National Air and Space Museum time was limited and instead we decided to spend some time in the National Museum of African Art. It was such a relaxing, relief to sit by the gorgeous fountain and let the soothing, hypnotic sound of water refill our energy reservoir before bracing ourselves for the trek to the Kennedy Center.

Then first sign that our plan to walk over to the Kennedy Center was in trouble was when we asked the guard at the National Museum of African Art what direction we needed to head in order to walk to the Kennedy Center. After nearly choking on a swig of coffee she did a double-take, “What did you say?” she spluttered. After listening to our explanation again she just shook her head, “Honey, that aint no place to try and walk to from here. It’s way too far, especially in this cold weather.” Instead she gave us instructions to the nearest Metro subway station and assured us that one of the workers at the ticket booths would help us.

Undaunted we thanked her and headed out into the cold and turned toward where we thought the Kennedy Center must be. However, between how heavy my backpack was, how sore our blistered feet were, and how unwieldy our handle bag was the realization hit that it was time to reevaluate this brave but misguided plan. Besides, we really had no idea where the hell we were going. Instead we backtracked to the nearest Metro, got some help from several people and soon were rolling along on the underground headed for Foggy Bottom Station and the free shuttle to the Kennedy Center. We arrived so early that there was ample time to tour the facilities at our leisure, devour our meager provisions, and watch the patrons stroll by garbed in mink coats, 3-piece Gucci suits, and enough jewelry to pay off the mortgage for our home. Not all the patrons were so dressed up. There were some who had on jeans or like us just a comfortable and warm pair of pants and simple sweater.


The concert was fantastic! Hearing the National Symphony play Christmas music was like hearing these favorite tunes for the first time. The Conductor was humorous and entertaining as he paused the music to interact with children in the audience and did a few bits with Santa, who by the way had the most incredible baritone voice that boomed out across the hall. We left with a candy cane in hand and the words of Silent Night still fresh on our tongue.

Good fortune was with us as another NAEYC Conference attendee noticed my gaudy handle bag and offered to share a cab back to the hotel and then she and her husband invited us to join them for a late night dining experience. The midnight hour was expiring before our cab dropped us off at our humble digs at the Super 8, but it was another memorable day in D.C. that would live with us for a lifetime.

As always thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Next time I hope to wrap up our visit to D.C. and share our journey south into Virginia and onto the historic grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Until then be well, achieve excellence, and take care of each other… it’s the fabric of society.




“Curiosity is on of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.”
-Samuel Johnson

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Holocaust Museum


During our last visit to Washington D.C., also for a NAEYC conference, my love took our two youngest children to the newly dedicated Holocaust Museum while I attended workshops all day. It was such a moving experience that this visit I wanted to make the stopover and my love was willing to return and further investigate the museum. This time our children were at home allowing us to investigate the confines of museums and art galleries unhindered by cries of “Can we go now?” or “What’s next?” Although my love insisted that both children were quite cooperative and our daughter especially enjoys a casual pace when exploring museums and galleries taking time to read many of the displays and fine print posters.

Despite December being the off season for tourists visiting the D.C. area I took no chances and went online to secure some tickets for touring the Holocaust Museum on Tuesday. Sunshine and a mottled blue sky met us as we exited our hotel room and headed out for the day’s adventure. After a stop at Mc D’s for coffee and a breakfast biscuit we made our way to the convention center and then on toward the oblisque and Capital Mall area where we hoped to locate the Holocaust Museum with ease. With camera in hand we passed building after building rich with Roman and Early American design. Despite wanting to “blend in” and not look like a tourist I had to stop several times to photograph some interesting buildings. If I lived in the area I’m sure I’d be doing a more thorough study of many downtown D.C, buildings. There was barely a street corner that didn’t have an old church or Greco-Roman columns stretching skyward creating an inviting, majestic entry into a bank, church, or government building.

My heart leapt as we turned a corner and caught sight of the granite face of the Washington Monument slicing through the morning sky. Several times I had to stop and gaze up at the obelisque as it rose surrounded by the snowy grounds as people from all walks of lives rushed passed me. With only one detour to get reoriented we found our way to Holocaust Museum and made our way past the guards and metal detectors. With tickets and guidebooks in hand we decided to visit the exhibit called “Daniel’s Story” first. This exhibit gave us a view of the Holocaust from a child’s standpoint. As I watched the transformation of this child’s life from his simple home in Poland to the ghetto’s of Warsaw and eventually the barbed wired horrors of a concentration camp, I could see why this display freaked out my then fourteen year old son when he visited it with my love.

All in all we spent over four hours pouring through the display information, watching the videos, walking past countless movie, photographic, and written records of unthinkable atrocities that were conducted in the name of national security, purity of race, and world dominance. Over and over again I asked myself “How could this have been allowed to happen? Why was there no public and political outcry?” But of course we al know that despite the pledge to never let this atrocity happen again it has and continues to occur throughout the world. It was a quiet and somber atmosphere as even the children felt the impact of this place.


Getting out into the sunshine and splendor of our nation’s capital lightened our spirits considerably. I made my love stop several times to photograph me with the majestic Washington Monument climbing the late afternoon sky in the background. Daylight doesn’t last long in these short December days so we reluctantly made our way back up 14th Avenue, caught New York Ave and headed back to our hotel room before night descended altogether. Even as strolled the downtown streets I couldn’t help marveling at the varied architecture of the city. Truly I could wander those streets for weeks studying the history of the buildings alone… never mind their content!

Eventually we found our way past the row houses, several twinkling with holiday décor, and then on past the neighborhood McDonalds and the corner liquor and grocery store. Soon we were snug inside our hotel room, releasing tired toes from cramped quarters and feasting on canned turkey sandwiches and canned mandarin oranges with walnuts and raisons for dessert. What more can one ask for after a long day immersed in the images and stories of concentration camps of Nazi Germany and then the winding trek back home. Despite our best efforts to remain conscious for the late evening news and weather report, local news comes on at 9 & 10 p.m. at home, we were soon slumped over and snoring through all the latest in murders, fires, bank robberies, and scandals… seems like the fare for news be it MN or DC. It mattered not to our exhausted minds and bodies what the news told… we were lost in our own dreams and nightmares. I seem to remember dreaming that night of being caught in the snare of Nazi Germany, and ever being chased toward one horror or another. Fortunate for me, I was able to waken from MY nightmare.


Next, a tale of visiting the Kennedy Center and our foolish notion of being able to walk there from our hotel. That must wait for another day. Until then thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. Be well. Achieve excellence. Take care of each other… the alternative must never be lived again.

“Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.”
-Buddah

Monday, December 12, 2005



I have recently returned from presenting at the NAEYC Conference in Washington DC. During the next few posts I'll share a little of my trip with you dear reader. Hope you enjoy.

Our journey began early Monday morning as the city stretched and shivered in the -9 F subzero temps of a Minnesota morning. My love and I had been up late the night before putting the finishing touches on packing and preparing the feline clan for our extended absence. Now it was time to head out to the airport as the hour neared 6:30. We left our vehicles at our daughter & son-in-law's flight training business adjacent to the main terminal. After a flawless check in and making it safely through airport security, armed guards of ANY kind make me very jittery, we were soon soaring over the stark, whitewashed landscape of western MN and heading for our nation's capital!

Upon disembarking the plane in DC we were welcomed by snow and chill wintry air that turns the nose red and cheeks rosy. What a stark contrast from last year’s NAEYC conference in sunny, warm Anaheim, CA. Today we arrived on a gloomy overcast December day just as snow began filtering through a grey D.C. sky. By the time we hailed a cab snow was swirling around us. As our cab pulled into the Super 8 Motel at 501 New York Ave the grass was white with Washington D.C’s first snowfall.

Once settling into our room and getting our bearings my love and I hit the pavement to explore the neighborhood. Our main destination on this snowy Monday afternoon was to locate the D.C. Convention Center where my workshops would be. Despite his laid-back, lackluster attitude the desk clerk at the Super 8 expressed concern and caution when we inquired how far it was to the convention center. “Oh very far, VERY FAR!" he assured us in a thick Hindu accent. “It is a mile or more, 10 blocks maybe. I call you a cab?” We thanked him but indicated we felt capable of walking the ten blocks. As if speaking to a child he pointed out the frosted window. “It is... s n o w i n g... (he said this rather slowly as if perhaps we didn’t understand the implication of this) VERY cold.” He mimed shivering and pointed to the phone again, “I call you a cab.” It was more of a statement than a question but again we refused and insisted that in MN folks are used to much worse. Actually when we left our dear home early that morning it was -9 F and the 27 degree weather of D.C. was a welcome warming trend.

Thus we departed the Super 8 leaving the desk clerk shaking his head and wondering what he would do with our many belongings once we were discovered frozen stiff in a snowbank the next morning. After crossing a bridge that spanned numerous tracks for both passenger and freight trains we strolled past several blocks of brightly painted row-houses, many with gates and fences as well as metal bars and gridwork ornamenting the ground floor windows. Soon our winter coats were soaked from the wet snowfall and my love’s hair glistened with a white layer of snow. It was a straight shot down New York Avenue to the convention center, and we covered the twelve blocks in about twenty minutes. We resisted the temptation to venture further into the confines of D.C’s downtown as night was descending, the snow continued to accumulate, and we feared getting totally tuned around and still wandering the city at midnight seeking refuge.



After catching a cup-o-java at the friendly neighborhood McDonalds we were safe and snug in our hotel room, shaking the snow from hat and hair as our jackets were laid out by the heat register to dry and be readied for tomorrow’s adventure.

As always thanks for stopping by and sharing a treasured comment. Come on by anytime, I'll leave a light on and set another spot at the table. Take care, achieve excellence, and take care of each other.

Thursday, December 01, 2005










ANGER AND THE BRAIN

This is one of those deja-vu moments because in the last twenty minutes I have read two very captivating posts about anger. I urge and encourage you to please vist these blogs yourself to add your insight, it's valuable.

This first post is by Carley and is the first in a very intriguing series. Here's the link.

http://ellipsissuddenlycarly.blogspot.com/2005/11/after-exodusa-five-part-series-on_28.html

The second post is by a new j-land member whose journal is worthy of a read. Although the title is in Spanish this entry is in English. Please stop by and give him a read. This is a briefer post but very thought provoking.

http://journals.aol.com/lowatel/QuenosPasaPuertoRicoYoSe/#Entry190

So here is my take on anger relating to the research I have been doing on ADHD and the brain. I find the more knowledge I have of how the brain functions the more likely I can control events in my own life. NOT always... but sometimes.

Anger is often an emotion that walks hand-in-hand with ADHD... especially adolescents diagnosed with ADHD. I tend to agree with the theory that anger is a secondary emotion whose fire is fed by other emotions such as jealousy, envy, resentment, a sense of abandonment, a sense of betrayal.

Emotions are triggered in part by two small almond shaped glands, called the amygdala, that are seated at the base of the brain where all sensory input begins. The role of the amygdala is to constantly ask the question "Am I safe?" As sensory input enters the brain this gland scans the electrical impulses asking "Am I safe?" If the answer is "Yes, this experience poses no harm to me." Then the higher brain functions are allowed to kick in. But when danger is sensed, physical or emotional, the brain goes into a stress alert, the frontal cortex (higher reasoning, and thought processing) shuts down and the reptilian brain, much older and more instinctual takes over. A system under constant stress begins to creat stress hormones that cause a heightened sense of alert thus the FIGHT, FRIGHT, OR FLIGHT reaction. Research suggests that the longer these stress hormones remain, the more toxic they are to the brain, the more likely an emotion such as jealousy, regret, resentment, betrayal can turn to anger and rage.

When caught in the throes of anger the frontal cortex shows little neural activity… reasoning, time management, ability to objectively compare facts and even the ability to store and recall vital information becomes impaired. Hmm... I've been there. So damn pissed I lost track of time, reason, facts... and did things I'd later regret. The key is to recognize the triggers for anger and make every attempt to calm the amygdala and convince it that you are safe, the threat can be managed. How? Breathe deep and slow. Triggering the release of endorphins that quell the amygdala and shut down the release of stress hormones. Movement can activate motor memories and trigger neural activity in the frontal cortex. So... a little love making might work, take a run, walk briskly, etc... And "self talk"... talk the situation through, out loud if necessary as it will trigger further activity in frontal lobes and the language center.

Easier said than done though eh? Nuff said. Sorry bout the technical lingo, but this is a look at anger from the neuro science side of things…at least my take on it.

Be well. Acieve excellence. Take care of each other.


"Leave Everything a little better than you found it."
H. Jackson Brown Jr, Life's Little Instruction Book

Saturday, November 26, 2005




Early Friday morning; as the Thanksgiving revelers dreamt of leftovers and the pre-dawn shoppers lined up in parking lots all across town, we had our first significant snowfall of the winter season. Sometime around 3 AM a heavy band of snow moved in to sugar coat the trees and transform this drab brown landscape into a winter wonderland. By the time employees threw open the doors of shopping kingdoms all across the area eager shoppers shook off their layer of snow and rushed inside like the bitter chill on a January winter’s day.

I awoke Friday morning to the familiar sounds of winter… snowblowers casting long white trails into the grey winter sky… shovels scraping across icy sidewalks… and children playing in the first snowfall of the season. There is something magical about that first snowfall; the way it transforms the landscape, how clean and stark the city appears, and the memories of past winters that come rushing back. As I gazed out my window two men were laboring to propel sleds filled with giggling children gleefully urging their steeds on, “Come on daddy, hurry up!” Despite faces red from cold and exertion the men smiled and forged ahead, laughter trailing behind them. Perhaps they were counting their blessing at getting the better end of the bargain... while wives battled the mayhem at local shopping inane asylums.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, gathered around a table laden with more food than a group twice our size could consume. The turkey, sliced and dissected, steamed on the platter hemmed in on one side by a bowl heaped with garlic mashed potatoes and a plate laden with sweet potato balls on the other. Way on the other end of the table a multicolored container of stuffing kept company with a wooden salad bowl filled with a variety of vegetables. A trail of gluttony ran all along the edge of the table and it seemed there was always something being moved along this happy trail… there was a basket of crescent rolls, a plate of lefse being chased by the butter and sugar bowl, and all the bowls and platters that ran endlessly along this track until someone begged for a cessation of eating opportunities.

It was my daughter the dancer, environmentalist, and social activist who spoke her conscience. “This seems almost criminal when we think of all the folks along the path of Katrina and Rita who have no home never mind money for a feast like this.” This elicited all sorts of comments and discussions. I remember my parents warning me that there were children starving in Korea whenever I left food on my plate (some things don’t change do they?). My son in-law mentioned that there are plenty of agencies, public and private, striving to help those affected by the hurricanes. Discussion ensued that covered the state of the nation, the disasters visited humanity over the past year, and how helpless individual members of a society can feel when faced with the overwhelming needs of society.

It is amazing how a conversation like this can affect one’s appetite. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we had done the damage to the feast before this conversation ensued. Yet still there lingered a sense of gluttony and the desire to accomplish some sort of positive deed to assuage the woes of the world. We sat for awhile letting the conversation wander away from the tender topic of human need. Suddenly my eldest daughter piped up and said, “How about Jimmy Johnson? Is he still living across the street?”

Jim “Jimmy” Johnson was from Appleton, Wisconsin and had moved to our fair city after returning from World War II. He bought a home in our neighborhood with money from the Veteran’s Administration and settled in with his beautiful bride Elizabeth, “Lizzy” Peterson. After several miscarriages Lizzy finally gave birth to a son, Peter John Johnson (I hear he never used his middle name). Lizzy quit her job teaching to raise her son while Jimmy got a promotion at the local Case Tractor and Farm Machinery factory. In 1982 Lizzy was diagnosed with breast cancer and died before year’s end. Peter lived in Omaha and visited often but never married. In 1993, at the tender age of forty-one, Peter died of heart failure.

Jimmy remained in the neighborhood, becoming a handyman after retiring in the late 90’s. He’d been over to our place a few times to lay some carpeting, put in a doorframe and door for my son’s room, and paint some trim around the house. But for the last few years we’ve seen less and less of ol’ Jimmy Johnson from Appleton, Wisconsin. It seemed we all had the same idea but no one wanted to deliver on it. It’s so easy to neglect those nearest to us while stressing over the needs of folks hundreds or thousands of miles away whose faces and plights have been brought front and center by the media. After lamenting that we should have invited Jimmy over for Thanksgiving we debated bringing a plate of food over to Jimmy. There were a number of reasons why we shouldn’t… his pride, his diet, his health, we weren’t even sure if he was around… but in the end fixing him a plate seemed like the right thing to do.

No one wanted to be the lone stranger delivering a plate of leftovers so we all decided to head over. It must have looked a bit silly, all six of us standing on Jimmy crumbling steps with a Tupperware container in my wife’s hands. There was a light in the living room and Jimmy came to the door dressed in his finest. He had recently returned from a feast at the local senior citizen’s center and he graciously invited us in. I don’t think that living room had seen so much company for years as we occupied every chair, couch cushion, and even a spot on the threadbare, beige, shag… I really didn’t mind as it made me feel right at home after all those years as a preschool teacher. We didn’t stay long really, and it was a bit awkward at first as we stared and filled the void with “umms” and “Well…” But my love is a master of conversation and soon Jimmy was showing us old family photographs and reliving Thanksgiving Day’s “on the Front.”

We left promising to visit again and Jimmy’s eyes seemed a bit moist as he thanked us again for the plate of leftovers. Something so simple yet so difficult. We didn’t solve world peace, ease the hunger pangs of the millions in our country alone, or even reach the thousnads in our own town. The pain and suffering of humanity rolled on and we didn’t do anything grand or heroic. So why did I feel lighter and walk with a jaunty air as we traversed the short distance back to our home? Sometimes all the problems and catastrophes of the world can seem so overwhelming that I just want to pull the covers over my head and surrender. But then there are moments when I manage to step away from my own sphere of self-interest and problems to realize that sometimes all I can do is bring a little joy, light a little candle in the life of someone so near I can touch them… if I just reach out. It may not change the world, but it can change one world. One world, one life at a time, sometimes it’s enough.

Thanks for stopping by, it makes the place feel like home to have your presence warming these cyberwalls. Be well… achieve excellence… keep in touch. Take care of each other, it can change a life… or two.

“Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.”-“H. Jackson Brown Jr. "Life’s Little Instruction Book”

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Grading Day

This morning the wind blew in and stirred up the sky. It stirred in the sunshine, the white bloated clouds, and the sunlit ginger clouds driven across the dawn. Then the wind reached down and scooped up some dust and dirt and swept up piles of leaves abandoned by trees too cold and weary to maintain their attire. With cold and bitter gusts the gales stirred and stirred until the heavens grew grey and bleary. Now that the sunshine has been masked and cold northern air has been ushered in by November’s gales the temperature had dipped ten degrees since sunrise.

Perfect day to remain indoors sequestered with a smoking stack of papers awaiting my all-powerful grading pen to sweep across them and pronounce judgment. Oh how I hate and despise grading… the allotment of merit upon a piece of work wrought by another. It’s not that I can’t determine if the content of most match my objectives… it’s just the uncommunicative merit of assigning points to a piece of work. Clearly some students have spent considerable time, thought, and effort at assembling information and communicating their concepts through the vehicle I have framed using certain criteria.

What I note as unfortunate is the inability to move beyond the barrier of the grade to have a constructive discussion regarding the content, the student’s efforts, and my questions regarding the paper or project. Yet with over one-hundred and twenty students such a monumental effort is beyond my comprehension. So I rustle through the pages, mining the tomes for meaning and alignment to my objectives. How accurate a measure is this of “learning” and the acquiring of new knowledge or the assimilation of information into one’s knowledge base? In my esteemed opinion one hindrance to providing a quality educational experience at ANY level is the ratio of students to teacher.

Well back at it eh? The end of the semester looms near and the students who share my class are hungry for feedback and knowledge of “the grade.”

By the by… I’ve been so encompassed with schoolwork, coursework, dissertation stuff I’ve been unable to muster the energy and time to alert all those folks who have been readers of my AOL journal. If any of you have the means please feel free to pass the word along that I’ve set up shop here? Much obliged.

Until next time… be well… achieve excellence… keep in touch. Take care of each other; it’s worth the grade.