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Lizard and Snake

Wednesday, 16 May 2018, 19:33 UTC

On my way to water the tomatoes, I spotted a Spiny Lizard sitting on a log in the sun. It did not move. It was watching me warily. I turned to get my camera from the house.

When I returned, as I walked barefoot on the grass, I kicked a flimsy twig, swooshing it out of the way with my toes. I looked down.

This was no twig. It was a small Rat Snake, as surprised at the swooshing as was I. It looked up at me from the grass as warily as was the lizard on the log. And then it slithered into the Turks Cap growing in great profusion at the base of the Pine tree.

I looked over to see if the lizard was still there. It was. It had seen it all.

Time for Transplanting Soon

Tuesday, 15 May 2018, 08:52 UTC

It’s amazing what happens when you push acorns into the dirt — as long as you defend them from squirrels. Check ‘em out: four Monterey Oaks in the foreground and a Lacey Oak photobombing from the back.

It’ll be time for translating, soon, where soon is defined as: after the resume and cover letter are finished and the philosophy of education is written and I rewrite some lesson plans to populate a portfolio.

I Watched a Sparrow

Tuesday, 15 May 2018, 08:38 UTC

In the cool of the morning, as a breeze blew in the back, as the sun peeked over the top of the duplexes on the other side of the alley, as birdsong filled the backyard, I watched a Sparrow. It flew in, gliding between the tree trunks, landing on the leaves beside a long log that forms the boundary between our semi-civilized lawn and the less-civilized butterfly garden.

One hop, two hops, three. It tried to pick up a bundle of ball moss, but the bundle was too big. So the Sparrow moved on.

One hop, two hops, three. It picked at a stick from yesterday’s clean-up, but the stick was too long, making the Sparrow look like a cartoon weightlifter trying to press it above its head. So the Sparrow moved on.

One hop, two hops, three. It grabbed a sprig of St. Augustine that I pulled up yesterday, since it was making an unwelcome advance from the semi-civilized lawn to the less-civilized butterfly garden. And here, the Sparrow succeeded.

The Sparrow flapped its wings furiously and slowly became airborne (although only barely), flying off to some nest in some distant tree back on the other side of the alley.

Without Fail

Sunday, 13 May 2018, 10:42 UTC

Without fail you’ve wanted to know how my sore throat felt. Without fail, you’ve felt the aches and pains and sneezes lurking. Without fail, you’ve asked how things were going, asked when the test results would be in.

Because you’ve always cared to know, and you’ve always held your arms around me.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

A Theory Tested

Saturday, 12 May 2018, 07:01 UTC

“Hey Trudy?” I asked as I walked into the dining room to retrieve my (lost) cup of coffee.

I had this theory, and I wanted to confirm it with my fair and industrious spouse.

My theory was that there’s some kind of energy conservation principle at work in moments of duress — that I turn inward, shutting off the outside world, giving myself strength to focus on the task at hand (say: nausea from chemo, radiation burns, incisions, lack of sleep… the setback and humiliation of failing a certification test). My theory was that somehow my brain knows it’s stressed out and unconsciously chooses to conserve energy. That was my theory. I was curious whether or not it squared with Trudy’s observation.

She didn’t look up from her phone.

I took a sip of lukewarm coffee and continued. “Would you say that I react to the stress of a test like I react to the stress of being sick?”

Her head instantly jerked upwards, and her eyes opened wide. “No!” she said. “You did not react the same as when you were sick!”

We looked at each other.

“You do fine when you’re sick,” she said, “but you were massively stressed out from this test!”

So much for my theory. I guess that for many reasons it’s really fortunate that I passed.

Certification Test Countdown

Friday, 04 May 2018, 08:26 UTC

image src: NASA/JPL/Juno – jupiter blues

Let us, then, be up and doing, with a heart for any fate…

T-2 hours and counting… TODO: shower, eat, drive to the test site. (Take pencils. Take eraser. Take admission ticket. Don’t take anything else.)

…learn to labor…

Right. Let’s do this, shall we?

Own Things

Saturday, 28 Apr 2018, 08:29 UTC

Somewhere in Kentucky there are three kids doing their own things.

My cousin’s kids. The Leader of Cheers. That Lady. The Runner of Races. Doing their own things.

Happy Hour and Sunset (On Mars)

Saturday, 28 Apr 2018, 08:20 UTC

1. Are You Going?

“Are you going to your happy hour,” Debra asked.

I had been sitting in the office after having turned in my monitors and my laptop and my keyboard and my mouse, after having taken my Philodendron down to the car, after having cleaned my desktop and the counter where the Philodendron has been sitting for years. I had been reading my phone, because I got all my check-out activities finished, and I still had an hour and a half to go with, quite literally, nothing left to do.

I looked up at Debra.

“Your happy hour,” she said, “Aren’t you going?”

“Well, it doesn’t start until 4:30,” I said. (It was 3:50.)

“4:00,” she said.

We walked over to her desk and looked at her calendar, because mine was closed up in my turned-in laptop that we sitting on the counter in Derrick’s office. She took a look. Sure enough: 4:00. I was going to be late for my last hurrah. 

Let’s just say that’s par for the course. 

2. B.B.Rover

“David. David. David,” Brett had said a week before. “Say it’s not true.”

I couldn’t say that. He was gracious in expressing his regret. 

“I’ll schedule a happy hour at B.B.Rover,” he said, “and I’ll invite all the folks who love you.”

There was a flattering turnout. Somewhere between a dozen and twenty people: some who came to briefly say good bye, others hung out with me for two and a half hours. They bought me sours and fries. And we talked and laughed and offered cheers and finally said our goodbyes as we walked to our cars, promising to stay in touch.

3. Sunset

image src: NASA/JPL – Sunset in Mars’ Gale Crater


Thursday, 26 Apr 2018, 19:42 UTC

Hi Folks.

Some of you might have heard this, some maybe not. Tomorrow is my last day at the company.

It has been a great six years working here, and all of you have been a big, big part of that. Thank you for the camaraderie, the stimulation, and the friendship. What an incredible place this has been. You guys rock!

Starting Saturday, I will be fully unemployed. This is the kind of I-don’t-know-where-I’m-going-to-land jump that I have explicitly counseled my son not to take! But I have a plan: with any luck, starting in August, I will be a high school Math/Physics teacher. It’s what you call a “big jump”.

It has been a privilege and a joy working with all of you. I hope our paths cross again, every one of you. 


That Giddy Feeling

Tuesday, 24 Apr 2018, 20:15 UTC

Do you remember what if felt like then? As the days got warmer. As the trees got green. As summer was just around the corner.

As school began to wind down. As the smell of cut grass filled the air. As days became long again. Do you remember how your heart wanted to burst with winter finally gone and endless summer awaiting?

So here I am. The grass is green. Spring flowers are in blossom. Even the Pecans and Walnuts have long since pushed out their leaves. And with Friday as my last day of work, a kind of endless summer does indeed await. So where is that giddy feeling? Where is that wanna-burst heart?

Squeezed from both ends. On the one hand, a final project due in a matter of days — something to leave behind, it better be good. And on the other hand, the certification test next week and that minor detail about finding a teaching job — that big next thing that isn’t quite a thing, yet.

I’m telling you, I don’t even smell the cut grass.