Tiny Inspiration

I’m fascinated by things that should not be. These tiny little anomalies jump out at me from time to time. Most are so small that some people just walk on by. Some are so common that they become invisible.

Here are three that I have me thinking.

There is a huge boulder in front of a school. If you look closely there is a small plant growing. There isn’t any real dirt, just a crack in the rock. This plant shouldn’t be growing in this location. My guess is someone never told this plant that it wasn’t possible to grow, it shouldn’t be possible for it to be doing what it is. The plant just took root and grew.

How many times have you been told no or it just isn’t possible. Next time remember my little friend. Almost anything is possible.

There is this steel thing in a sidewalk. It is packed with dirt and grim and I can’t really figure out what it is. Once the weather turns somewhat nice all this green starts to grow within a field of concrete and steel. It shouldn’t support life yet these things thrive.

This little guy lives near a curb. Somehow it has survived people stepping on it and the occasional car running it over.

I’m pretty sure each of these represent every person who reads this post.

I wonder… is there someone in our classrooms, buildings or districts that is the little plant that no one is noticing? Find that plant.

The Power of Smell

Certain things smell bad but pull you deep into a memory.

Sometimes it is a tiny smell that lasts a microsecond but transport you through time. Sometimes it is a big smell that wraps everyone up but only you know its deep secret.

I was walking down the street and was wrapped in this big smell that was somewhat foul but familiar. It was awful yet I had to pause to drink it in.

This construction site was emitting a deep machine, dirty oil and diesel exhaust mixed just so as if trying to create a cologne of a long lost relic. If bottled it might bear the name like LST 1184 or Ode of Remembrance.

This stink was exact smell of deep within an old ship.

The inside was cramped, we slept four high. I was lucky enough that our bunk was right against a bulkhead, others only had inches from the next group of four.

The stink of dirty grease didn’t always penetrate within the berth but it was an undertone. You could scrub but it was still there.

When they fired up all the Hogs you could smell the exhaust. In the tank deck your eyes would sting with the smoke. I sometimes wondered how many months this was taking off my life, breathing it hurt.

Outside wasn’t much better. Inside this little windtunnel was cold on some days and others blistering hot.

I have described living on ship was like sleeping in your classroom every night. Then you wake to begin work like that groundhogs day movie. And your whole classroom of kids never leave. And it lasts six months. All of you in one small space.

That construction smell transported me to another life I used to live. While many of the days were not great, time makes me cherish them a little more.

Tiny Snapshots – Last Day of Break

My son is part of the middle school band so every single thing he encounters turns into some type of percussion instrument. We were waiting for our food so he was clanging the fork against the knife. It. Drives. Me. Nuts!

He absent mindedly uses his knuckles to bang out a beat. Some days he might change it up and use his palms. Other times he is in his room with sticks and a practice pad. I wonder how much of this helps him in the classroom and for concerts.

Sometimes it is better to just not say anything at all. This also kinda drives me nuts. Aidan believes eating with his hands makes the food taste better. (I’m seeing a pattern here… what can he do to drive me nuts…)

He sometimes (always) eats his salad with his hands. We coach (and yell) but it does little good. I have caught him shoving fistfulls of spinach into his mouth when he thinks no one is watching. Somedays I think it is because he hates it and this is just a faster way to get it over with. There is a HUGE upside to this, he is eating things that are not just meat!

It is all about the little wins.

We visited a national park today. We had to travel through a metal detector and little did we know they also have a radiation sensor somewhere nearby. Someone or something set it off so we all had to hold tight while they took a secondary scan of the area. I have never had this happen before but the whole area was dead silent, it was pretty interesting.

Side note… they allowed a woman to carry a foldable saw in the museum. It was in her camera bag. She said it was to cut limbs when she was out on her photo shoots. I was skeptical. They pulled it out and the security personnel laughed a little and told her it was OK.

It was a huge menacing blade, how is that OK?

Bob Ross Positive Energy Drink. Aidan was pumped but that faded after the first sip. What is it with Bob Ross that middle school kids love?

Four little snapshots of the day. Four tiny little moments that are just a memory now. Four little times in my life I don’t want to forget. There are times when the kids were younger that I couldn’t wait until they were older so they could/ we could (FILL IN THE BLANK). Maybe it is age but I am trying to savor every minute.

(Kids… if you ever read this know that I did try. There are times when I get stressed or express my thoughts with passion (you might call it yelling) but I do loved these days.)

5 Years of shots.

When Aidan was young and springtime hit it was the worst. His face would swell and he had a hard time breathing. There were times when he would eat an apple and would complain his throat would feel itchy, a sign of a reaction coming on.

There was at least once when he had pneumonia due to how hard it was for him to just breathe. Weeks upon weeks he had to stay in from recess because the pollen was too thick in the air.

He was on three daily medication, it was the pits.

We took him to an allergist to find out what what going on. Aidan was allergic to everything outside and dogs. We had a dog. A shedding dog.

It was shortly after we got the report when we started shots. In the beginning it was three shots a week. I think that went on for maybe a year. After school we would drive to get shots, wait for 30 minutes to make sure there wasn’t a reaction and then make our way home. It made for a very long day.

That first spring was a world of difference. On a nice day we could actually drive with the windows down. Every recess Aidan was outside. Worth every penny to have him enjoying life again.

As time went on we dropped to just twice a week shots, once a week, to once every few weeks.

After five long years we are finally done!

Five years ago I made him a promise, once we are finished he could order anything on the menu at Andy’s. He could even order two or three if he wanted. Tonight he ordered a large Oreo shake. I am so thankful we have hit this milestone, now on to the next challenge.


Where is my office? I could give you my street address, a ten digit grid or GPS location but that isn’t as accurate as gazing.myself.notebook. Just what3words and you can pinpoint any location on earth.

I had first heard about what3words on a TWiT podcast and thought it was odd. How in the world could three random words be more accurate than using GPS? I use to read maps and knew using the grid squares was the most accurate way to find anything on earth.

This three word location is so good that the emergency services in the UK are using it.

So what is this madness?

The creators created a three meter by three meter grid for the whole earth. They assign three random words to each square. These words create a unique address making it simple and quick to find. Check out their site here.

Just think about this idea for a minute. If you had a student or two approach you with this idea what would you say? Would we encourage them to go deep or shut them down? I fear I would have shut them down because it would have sounded absurd.

I was shocked at how important this idea is. How is it that 75% of the earth has addressing problems? I had no idea until today.

It kinda looks like a huge snake.

Sammi wanted to go see a movie with her friends so Aidan and I found something else to watch. It was supposed to be raining when we got out but, shocker, the weather reporting was wrong. Sometimes I call them weather guessers as it sometimes seems as if they just guess at what could happen.

The weather was overcast but warmish. Nearby there was a sculpture park that was on the kid’s spring break list. As we started to drive the kids told me the list was partially fake, they just added stuff to make me happy and stop asking about the list. I get it but was still a bit shocked they did that.

If you look in the center of the screen you can see this sliver object snake through the woods. This is the only thing my son wanted to see. It conquered him years ago and he wanted to settle the score.

I can’t recall what these things are but they are huge. Maybe two years ago Aidan was playing on these and slipped. It was one of those times when you are not sure if he was hurt or really hurt. Thankfully it was only a scrape and bruise. Today Aidan was going conquer them all and I had no idea what the heck he was talking about as we walked closer.

Changing your perspective changes everything. I’m pretty sure there is a deeper lesson here somewhere. When you put your eye to these things they turn into one continuous silver snake.

For the next few, what seemed like forever, minutes he hopped from one to the next. I was pretty sure he would be ok but some of me was a tad worried he might slip again.

I think on some days I would have told him we didn’t have time, you will get hurt, etc. Today I shut my mouth and told him to go for it. I think I need to do that more often. Fiveish minutes to navigate these things is really no time at all. I’m pretty sure I have wasted five minutes today on some social media or other. Today I let him invest five minutes in himself.

My goal for the rest of the week is to say yes more. (and Aidan if you are reading this it does not mean Fortnite…)

First weekday of break.

Today we checked off three things on the list. One I really wanted to do and two were something the kids wanted to do.

Years ago I lost the taste for meat which means we don’t eat a lot of it at home. My son is part dinosaur which means he could eat meat, and only meat, for every meal. When he turned 13 his grandparents gave him a charcoal grill so he could grill all the meat he wants.

Today he put that grill together so he could start cooking tomorrow. His goal is to figure out how to grill a steak medium. He is looking to create a somewhat bloody steak. I’m thinking one reason is Mom would be appalled.

The one thing I wanted to do this break was to check out the newly renovated soldiers memorial. There were a few things I saw today that really stuck out to me and made an impact.

There was this lighter and a medal, neither created by the military. I found it impressive that people were so moved to create these for those who had served. I would imagine the military has some rules against this now, they are very fond of rules. What would we create today to thank those who are serving? Maybe one of those coins?

I would assume this is a part of our local history that we have long since forgotten. There were more anti-German posters in the room and it just left me wondering how much more I don’t know. I am also positive we have replaced German with another group here in St. Louis today. Do we never learn? This had me rather frustrated and unsure how to help.

There was a tiny little pick me up when I rounded the corner to find this poster, I just love it. This comes from Belleau Wood in WWI where the Marines earned the title of Devil Dog. The Marines have this bark used for motivation, and false motivation, while doing pretty much everything a Marine will do. The bark unnerved the Germans so much they nicknamed us Devil Dogs as we sounded like hounds of hell. I will sometimes recreated that same historic bark for the kids just for fun. To be clear, my fun not theirs. Pretty sure it is embarrassing them.

We ended the day at Sugarfire, a BBQ restaurant that was on the kids short list of places they wanted to go during break.

Dinner with a senator.

Our family had a dinner with a senator last night. This wasn’t some big fundraiser or public event, it was our family and the senator.

He flew into Chicago and then hopped a Southwest flight to St. Louis. Not familiar with how Southwest boarding worked he was nearly the last on the plane leaving him at the very back of the plane.

Once on the ground everyone quickly stood to exit the jet as fast as possible, or so they thought. The pilot asked everyone to sit as they had two police officers boarding the plane. I’m positive the whole place fell silent as they looked out the window to see multiple vehicles with their lights flashing. I have been on countless jets and have never seen anything like that. The pilot asked the senator to come forward as his security detail waited to escort him to the hotel.

In St. Louis we have a pretty big St. Patrick’s day parade. When the weather is nice the attendance tops 250,000. The parade lasts maybe two to two and a half hours, so many floats and groups participate. They always have a special guest from Ireland, this year it was Aidan Davitt.

Here is the Senator Aidan Davitt with my son Aidan Davitt. To be more specific Senator Aidan Joseph Daivtt with Aidan Joseph Davitt.

While I am not 100% the exact blood connection, I’m thinking he is our second cousin.

We all had a great time talking about family, a little politics and sharing stories.

The restaurant sent two of these to our table. Sometimes it is nice to travel with a senator.

I think my Aidan had a great time although maybe his favorite time of the night came at the very end.

Everywhere in the city Senator Davitt went he had a security team with him. My Aidan got to ride around after dinner in the car. He sat in the front and played with the sirens as they speed through the city streets. I stood outside the restaurant hearing the sounds pop up here and there with a smile on my face, I knew Aidan was having the time of this life.

Ernie – Never Give Up

While I might not be able to relate to the long distances Ernie is running I can understand his why.

I could not embed this video so check it out here on the CBS site.

Ernie talks of the gray lady, LST 325, and this epic journey he is on is to help preserve her. This was the type of ship he was on during WWII and it was a part of his soul.

There is only one left. Only one out of over 1,000. A tiny bit of history this Navy man wants so desperately to perverve.

I can understand. Something about living on a ship seeps into your soul.

I love the idea of this, so dedicated to something you give your all.

Parades + Memories

There are brothers of blood and then there are those that are forged out of something entirely different.

Parades always bring me back to another life. While you may see kids, dancers and high school bands I see into the past like some kind of timer traveler. I remember marching on Coronado Island in 1990 or it could have been 1991. We were to march no matter what but it just so happened that a huge team of horses were to our front. Just think of what the road might look like. I avoid every single obstacle block after block, our captain did not. It was hard not to laugh as he was marking time right in a large pile.

This parade reminded me of Crow today. We had this cassette tape of old Irish drinking songs that we listened to maybe a thousand times while driving around. The music and all these people claiming to be Irish had my head swirling.

So many adventures. We were sent to Hokkaido for cold weather training, which was miserable. There isn’t anything worse than the cold, you go between miserable and frozen day after day. All of us were sent to do home visits with the locals. Somehow Crow was able to bridge the language barrier and carry on a conversation. For some reason I remember this scene, it was about football.

We had so many adventures. We stumbled upon this cave on base in Japan. There were signed stating the area was off limits but, as you can see, we really didn’t pay any attention to that. We viewed those signs as an invitation to make this our own spot where we spent many nights.

Pretty sure they were looking down in this deep hole in the cave floor which Crow happened to fall into one night. You know… caves get dark. A dozen or so staples in his head and he was ready to go!

We had need seen each other in maybe 20 years but it was like no time had passed.

It is funny how certain things can trigger a flood of past memories.

I sometimes think I should practice mindfulness, to stay in the here and now. Sometimes I love taking these journeys way into the past and reliving some of the best days. While not every day was sunshine and rainbows those days, I am forever grateful for Crow.