Where do we live?

I think we all struggle with figuring out where to live. This struggle occupies most of our waking hours. It consumes so much of our energy.

We are either in the past or the future.

My struggle is figuring out how to live for right now, now is gone in a flash.

Enjoying the ride through town.

Enjoying a meal and a conversation.

Enjoying how the wind smelled with a tiny hint of earth and water.

Today I am pulled into the past as my son asked a ton of questions as we drove around.

I am equally pulled into the Monday after spring break.

I am pulled into the past now. Like most phones, my Pixel creates a sound map. I can scroll back to a recent trip I took and all the songs are there. It is like a snapshot of the past musically laid out.

What is funny is somedays the past memories are all good. Most of the bad just fades.

Maybe that is the lesson, the bad fades.

The bad fades.


Little guy eating a casual lunch. I assume he must be a teenager based upon the mess.

What impressed me was the sidewalk was full of people and the street full of vehicles.

Yet this puppy loving pigeon was so focused.

Was he used to it or was the meal that good?

I wonder

What do they make in the dog kitchen? In my head I see a bunch of dogs standing in front of a huge English cooker all day.
There was this exact pool of water in the same spot last year. 365 days later same water. What gives?
What is it like to climb way up there every day?
Holy cow, what a large drill.
A mash up of two worlds.
It the alley time forgot. Why has this not been paved? Was it ever paved?
I wonder…is this how zombies are made?
Salesforce… I would be less than happy to be a Salesforce employee and see this. Was spending a ton of money on this during massive layoffs a good idea?
These nails are all over randomly places in the sidewalks. Why?
Do people pick and eat this?

Things I smelled today.

What is that always there hotel smell?
All Hilton hotels have a certain smell created by a smell technology company. They seem to turn it off for breakfast but by the time I return tonight it will back to full force.
It smelled bad, like the bad ocean meets the sewer.
Does the whole town make breakfast potatoes in the morning?
Good Sewer Morning!
Down the street to the left is a dumpster. It smells like the basement of the mall I used to work at. All the dumpsters were on the smelly loading dock.
I have been waiting for this sandwich for a year. The smell, and taste, is crazy good.
No caption needed.

Things I Saw Today

Professional? What makes TP professional? I assume making it as thin as possible is the professional thing?
I fixed it! I am not sure this qualifies as coffee.
This disgusting window. Sometimes you need to look beyond what is right in front of you to what is beyond.
You can sneak a peek, there are people deep inside creating the foundation.
Everything is wrapped in plastic. What does all of this look like after two weeks of SXSW?
You see old gum, I see micro particles of precious metals. There are micro bits of gold in all of this gum.

Saw these people practicing.
This bridge has something like 1.5 million bats hanging on below. Did the engineers design for that extra weight!?
Pretty sure this is a secret passage to another world.

Mystery Liquids

I never sit on any seat in any classroom without first checking it, there are always odd liquids in every building. Sometimes it is just spilled water, other times it is better to be left at a mystery.

There is a mystery liquid that has fascinated me for a long time.

A few year back central office was moved into a new building built on what was a grocery store that was built on sinkholes, allegedly.

I am sure some of this is due to hydrostatic pressure but there is always liquid oozing out of the ground year round. I am tempted to get it tested to see what is contained within it. If you look closely you can see it is different colors, almost reminds me of what you might see deep in a cave.

You can see the horizontal lines and the run off.

A little closer, this one looks a little sandy. Some of them are kinda whiteish.

A wee bit closer, you can see the layers of whatever is bubbling out.

It is like a slow dripping faucet, so slow that you really can’t see it but overtime you can tell something is up.

Floor or Ceiling?

I came from a very frustrating meeting, I was not in a good place. I was rushing to get to an after school group that I am helping out with and I was a tad exhausted. Zipped through Starbucks to grab a coffee only to spill 1/3 of it before I got a chance to take a sip.

This tiny spill was my ceiling, I was instantly at my end.

Someone walking by might think this was the floor, not a big deal. Spilled coffee? Who cares!?

Someone recently told me school is like death by 1,000 paper cuts and this coffee issue made me think of that. What we see is no big deal, it is a HUGE deal to others. We don’t see all that is happening behind them, we just see what is right in our face.

We have three HUGE changes coming to elementary staff starting in April. I need to remember this coffee. I don’t know what I will do different yet.

Pictures from a trip.

I had this mashup of thoughts the other day.

I spent many summers with my grandparent’s in Athens, Georgia. I loved traveling by myself on an airplane across the country and other times they would drive all the way to pick me up and then back to their place. Spending nearly four days driving across the country was somewhat magical.

One of my grandpa’s things was taking pictures, not just a few but hundreds each time he pulled it out of the bag. While that might be a slight exaggeration, he really took a lot. I remember this one time my grandparents had just returned from another trip to Europe and Gramps had a ton of pictures converted into slides.

With a ton of slides came the slide show. They invited the neighbors over and we spent a chunk of time one night reliving the trip. The pictures waffled between our Irish family and flowers. I assumed the neighbors were bored out of their minds but maybe that is why there was an open bar. What stands out to me is how much he loved those pictures. I could see it in his eyes that he was reliving those memories and seeing his brothers and sisters again as we flipped though each image.

One other picture memory stands out about Georgia. The times we drove from St. Paul to Athens we stopped at a few outlet malls on the way down. These were not like they are today, these stores were more like lunch tables set up in the back of some factory. My grandmother would buy me a everything from underwear to shoes to Sunday clothes. New outfits meant many pictures.

My kids have occasionally asked me what my dream house would be, my dream house would be living in that small house in Athens. I always felt safe and comfortable there. I miss it.

This second mashup memory was about a class we took just before taking a cruise around the world. We sat on the floor as the lecture droned about some of the communities we were set to visit. One cultural norm was no photographing any person, they believed each picture would remove a little piece of their soul.

These two ideas came together while looking at a picture the other day. I thought of my grandfather, looking at this picture I was reliving a perfect day. It was like a tiny piece of my soul was left in that picture. Those people were almost right, a good photo is really like taking a tiny part of the takers soul and embedding into that fraction of time.

As I looked at this image I remember some advice I have given to my kids. If you can escape this world with just one friend, one friend who know all your best times and the very worst, you will leave richer than you can imagine.

There is a little piece of my soul in this perfect picture.

What is writing anyway?

I think I was in 6th grade when I bought an awesome Casio calculator watch. It took a very long time saving every dime from my three paper routes to afford such a high tech tool, I was in love.

One day another student turned me in, the teacher exploded. His attempt to humiliate me rolled off, I was immune by that point in my life.

His main argument was I needed to memorize all these math facts and know them by heart because I would not always have a calculator to do the work for me. I knew that could not be true, if I could buy a watch that did math, it was impossible to think I would not have access to such things in my adult life.

Fast forward to today, my son has an expensive calculator he is required to have for school. This thing has a big colorful screen and it is programmable. He set it up to compute formulas with one click of a button. Next to that he has a phone which has apps and google. If these two can’t solve the problem, the chromebook probably can. We have more mathematical tools than we know what to do with.

Math today, versus then, is so different. I have to think the access to these tools helped us go deeper into numbers unlike any other time in history.

Think about this, the phone you have in your hand is the worst phone you will ever own. Your next one will be 10x more powerful, the one after will be 100x more powerful than what you are now using.

We are now at the same crossroads as my 6th grade math teacher, will we grow and change with the technology or push back and hold on to what we have always done?

The other day I came across an article about a high school student using an AI, artificial intelligence, to write all his papers for class. Using an AI he was earning As and Bs, a computer was doing most of the work. Instead of spending hours upon hours writing, it is now down to a handful. A few clicks.

So many questions.

What is writing anyway? If the assignment can be completed by an AI and earn high marks, was the assignment worth completing in the first place?

My biggest worry is we will find a way, which will be nearly impossible, to ban such tools. Once they leave our care and enter into the world they will be expected to use these tools. Are we writing to prepare them for the world they are going to live in or the world we grew up in?

Will these tools push education further away from what is actually happening in the real world?

I know… the same phrase will pop out… well research says…

Research is looking backwards in time and trying to make a prediction. Most of the world just keeps moving on, it does not wait. Why are we waiting?

How might we change our teaching based upon what is in the video below? Think what you could do if your first draft only took two minutes to write over 1,000 words?