Playground Uprising

ON …Randy Pausch: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Have you heard of Randy Pausch? Regardless of your answer stop reading NOW and go to:

Glad you are back … more upstanding and hopeful than but an hour ago.

“The brick walls are there to stop the people that don’t want it badly enough … they are there to stop the other people.” An inclusive person by nature, I love Dr. Pausch’s version of other, as if the margins and the constitutions just might not apply to us. Perhaps we are more and meant for bigger – perhaps the graduate school rejections and fruit instead of chips in the lunch bag were all preparing us for something just a bit smarter: a belief in revision. A timely sentiment as the semester, well on its way, has me questioning my daily leave from of a block builder and magazine eater as I trot up 95 to teach my second family of approximately one-hundred, 20 year olds – soon to be transformative teachers and I pray they will set forth on the Pausch path… and as you await their arrival, their push for change – enjoy your families and your life and in Dr. Pausch’s words “keep having fun.”

** Here is the link to the Wall Street Journal article (the one my dear husband brought home to me) that first brought me in:

** And this is Dr. Pausch’s webpage:


The Day I Turned Uncool
September 26, 2007, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Education, Friends, getting old, uncool, work


Each semester, during my Language and Literacy course, we devote one day to a Book Club celebration – anything for an excuse to bring coffee cake. In preparation for the festivities we select a book of interests. In past semesters we have enjoyed the likes of The Memory Keepers Daughter and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nigh-Time, to name a few. Well last semester my class decided they wanted to read The Day I Turned Uncool: Confessions of a Reluctant Grown-Up, about a teacher who stumbles upon the part of his life’s timeline where he finds lawnmowers more enthralling than a night out at the local pub. Hmmm … my class ranges in age from 19-23 and I have yet to spy a wrinkle or a bottle of prune juice in the bunch. I on the other hand am beginning to wonder if the more expensive facial cream (that would be the one with wrinkle guard) is perhaps worth the extra cash and recently found myself touting the merits of sensible shoes to a far more fashionable colleague. This mounting granny chest of evidence points to the fact that my uncool calendar just might have flipped a wee bit earlier than anticipated and to confirm my growing proclivity for the outdated – I just opened my tape player (as if that doesn’t say it all) to find a treasured collection of Christmas songs sung by the everly famous uncool Kenny G. Care for V8?

Hillary Country
September 18, 2007, 12:57 am
Filed under: Children, Family, politics

Hillary Country. It’s what the sign said as we rode slowly past Iowan cornfields on our way to the 30th annual Harkin Steak Fry. A gentle gathering of a record 12,000 people, come together in an open field in support of voice, whether it be Hillary, Obama, Richardson, Dodd, Biden or Edwards. They showed up and amidst a quarrelsome inducing commentary of a Republican husband brought forth by duress and a sister in law who marks fifteen hours days of political service more often by the vibration of a cell phone than a good nights sleep, the ring of democracy was clear. And the T-shirts, and the buttons, and the free beer reminded me of our greatest privilege as Americans – the right to vote. So show up come the primaries and vote your heart, whatever your bearings may be, and take your children, for soon enough they will drop their Sponge Bob sippy cup to take up the torch to lead.

Can I eat Boogers?
September 12, 2007, 1:13 pm
Filed under: Children, Family, parenting, Uncategorized

Did I mention that we are now back to “sleeping” in our house. For those folks that don’t have children this may seem like an insignificant feat, but for the rest of us – we know to have children go to sleep and stay asleep is akin to winning the Virginia Lottery. So, several nights ago I was alarmed when a wee voice took up hollering down the spiral staircase, “mommy I need you.” My first reaction was to scream “go back to bed before I throw you out on the streets” but with this urge suppressed I managed a, “honey what do you need?” Which was met by this inquisition: “CAN I EAT BOOGERS?” As if this was an innocent question under deep contemplation. But I knew better – having been privy to other similar conversations like “can I eat a dime?” and “can I flush a roll of toilet paper down the toilet?” These questions were actually not questions at all but undercover confessions to crimes already committed. So, I responded, “I would highly discourage it but for those friends that have already eaten boogers I think they will be just fine but perhaps they may want to refrain for doing it again in the future.” To which dad helpfully chimed in, “Son that is totally disgusting man.” So in an effort to squelch parental anxieties Mac shared – “You know the dime I ate mom – it came out in the toilet – this will too –so don’t worry.” And the evening concluded with mom and dad looking at each other – relieved he did not chose to eat a matchbox car.

Welcome Writers
September 5, 2007, 3:46 pm
Filed under: Life, writing

door.jpgWelcome writers…

I am glad that you are here. I am glad that your presence has reminded me of the importance of daily practice. Of getting it down, now matter its level of simplicity, so that I and we are lurched into a world where we look – more closely –at our everyday.

In my looking I find myself craving the peculiar and unpredictable – hoping that just maybe Mac will say that one thing – inappropriate at its core – that I can trap in my memory and then share with you. And with the hoping – that delightful expecting – I have come to appreciate that which might make others frown (simply watch accusatory relatives) and get lost in the process of now.

By the way – did I mention …..hmmmmm … will save for tomorrow.

Until then …blessings.

September 4, 2007, 1:27 pm
Filed under: Children, diet, parenthood, parenting, Uncategorized


Mamma does not eat meat. I stopped when I was young – after a long stint of gamboling with my friends the sheep, the cows, and the goats on my buddy’s farm. The change occurred abruptly, the day I opened my friend’s refrigerator (in desperate search of a popsicle) only to find a freezer full of neatly stacked white paper packages adorned in marker with the names: Bluebell, Fred, and Doris. Now it is true, earlier that week I had wondered where they might have ventured off to and why they had excluded me on their jaunt, but never did I think that they had embarked on a one way trip with a meat cleaver. And so I stopped eating meat that day – almost 17 years ago. Mac, however, has just started to become aware of my dietary preferences and with this awareness is an accompanied insistence of plausible explanations. The one that I recently offered went something like this: “The thought of eating animals makes mommy sad and I know that the land is happier when we use it to grow crops, BUT daddy and granddad eat meat and that is just fine. You have to make a decision that works for you.” And so armed with this information Mac has decided that he “does not eat creatures of the sea” though he does not appear to have an issue with slaughter houses. I suppose his logical reasonings are still unraveling as evident by last week’s questions: “So mom who died for this chocolate chip cookie and by the way where does chicken come from?” Ok, so we have declined to contact the gifted programs as of yet. Did I mention he is a hell of an athlete.