Last Slice

I don’t plan to post again for a while – I’m ready for a break – so I thought I’d end this challenge by writing down a few goals for myself to refer back to and possibly check my progress against when I return.

I need to read more books. I read today that the average American only reads one book per year. I used to read many books per year, but nowadays although I’m probably reading more than ever, I read fewer and fewer actual books. Instead, it is online articles, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Over time, my attention span from all of this online content seems to have changed (not for the better), and I struggle to become absorbed in deeper reading. Moving forward, my goal is to read at least one book per month.

I need to spend less time on my phone. I guess the first step is admitting that it is an issue, and I admit that I am addicted to checking Twitter, text messages, email, and (to a lesser extent) Facebook on my phone. My phone addiction is almost like smoking cigarettes. I have even noticed pain in my thumbs recently from pushing on the phone screen. I want to reduce my phone use and am considering trying to go phone free for at least one day per week.

I need to avoid eating gluten. I adore bread. It is by far the hardest food for me to avoid eating, but I have been eating significantly less wheat products this week and have noticed less pain in my elbow tendons and joints. My goal is to eliminate gluten completely from my diet.

I need to control my emotions better with my students. I have some challenging students this year and have recently found myself becoming very frustrated with behaviors that constantly distract from my teaching and from the other students’ ability to learn. I need to work harder to let things go and not give in to frustration and anger.

I need to find more ways to connect and spend quality time with my son. Lately, I have been enjoying reading aloud to him every night, but I want to find more things that we can do together during the weekends. He is into woodwork, gadgets, building things, spending time in the woods. None of these things have really been interests of mine in the past, but I want to spend more time with him.

I need to learn more about cooking and need to do it more frequently. I have been very resistant and close-minded towards cooking, but I want to change that.

Until the next slice…



Reluctant ‘Hoos Fan

My wife and I have lived in Charlottesville for five years now, but I am a Maryland native and grew up going to ACC games at the old Cole Field House and pulling for the Terps. As a result, rooting for UVA basketball is not exactly a natural fit for me. However, in spite of myself, little by little I have developed a begrudging respect for the UVA basketball team.

These days, I have a friends and acquaintances on the coaching staff, have taught the children of several of the coaches, and have a kid whom I coached in high school who is a freshman on the team. Through my positive experiences with people inside the program, what started as respect has turned into admiration and even a reluctant fandom.

Tonight, I’m watching UVA play play Purdue in the Elite Eight and willing them to win and move on the Final Four. Wahoowa!


Right now, I’m enjoying being alone and recharging while sitting in my favorite arm chair with college basketball on the tv on in the background.

Before that, I washed dishes and cleaned up the kitchen.

Before that, I enjoyed a bowl of French vanilla ice cream.

Before that, I had my last parent conference of a long (but largely positive) day of parent conferences.

Before that, I enjoyed spending time with a close friend and colleague.

Before that, I treated myself to a rare, unhealthy lunch!

Before that, I raved about how proud I am of a dear student of mine to her mother.

Before that, I accidentally spilled coffee all over a desk and the keyboard of the computer I am typing this post on during a parent conference.

Before that, I had my first conference of a long day of parent conferences.

Before that, I brewed coffee for my wife and myself and made breakfast for my two children.

It was a full day, and I am tired.


This morning I rushed into the kitchen (running late as usual) for a second cup of coffee on my way to work. In my pocket, my Spotify iPhone app blared Gillian Welch’s “Time (The Revelator),” and I sang along with Dave Rawlings’ delicate harmony part as I dumped some cream into my mug and stirred.

Hmmm, I thought to myself. That’s a harmonic line I never noticed in this song before.

Hearing the far away sound again (and this time realizing it was not coming from the music), I paused the song on my phone.

“Meooow! Meeeeooooow!” a cat wailed plaintively from some distant part of the house.

Thrasher. What has that crazy cat got himself into now? I thought to myself. Where are you, you silly orange animal?

I hurried in the direction of the meowing  and quickly identified the source. It was coming from behind the garage door. When I opened the door, Thrasher, our irrepressibly curious and naughty tomcat, shot out between my legs.

Chuckling to myself, I hustled out to my car – already looking forward to telling my wife and kids abut Thrasher’s morning misadventure that night at dinner.


Dad, You’re So Embarrassing!

“This morning I heard ‘Impossible Trivia’ on the radio when I was in (my brother’s) room,” My six-year-old daughter blurted out during family dinner tonight.

My wife and I glanced at each with quizzical, slightly bemused looks.

“The question was what is the number one way that dads embarrass daughters?” my daughter continued. “I knew what all the answers would be. And people called in and guessed all the answers I had.”

“What were the answers?” my wife asked with a smirk.

“How would you know any answers to that question?” I asked incredulously.

“I guessed tooting in front of my friends, walking around with no shirt on, wearing your underwear, and growing a ponytail,” my daughter sang out. “But I knew what the answer was. And I was right. It was wearing no shirt in front of my friends!” she said.






My wife and I are in the midst of a tough decision about whether to make a major change for next year and for the foreseeable future. Part of what is making the decision difficult for me is that I’m pretty content with my life right now – things are good overall. We now are fortunate to have an opportunity to potentially improve on “good.” However, I’m scared of what we might lose if we do so.

It reminds me of the Bob Dylan lines from his song “Silvio.”

I can tell you fancy; I can tell you plain. You give something up for everything you gain…

Good Day

It was a good day, and it has been a pleasant, routine evening. My wife made delicious tacos for dinner (gluten free by my request), my daughter and I practiced “Greensleeves” on violin (it is in 6/8 time which is so strange to my modern ear), I listened to her practice her reading (all of a sudden she seems to be able to decode almost any word!), and I read The Hobbit aloud to my son before he went to bed. Now I am almost ready to start my new sleep hygiene rituals – starting with going screen free as soon as I finish this post. Until tomorrow…