In Celebration of ERP!

Greetings from a basement out here in the middle of middle of Minnesota. I hope this missive finds you and yours feeling hearty and hale, and enjoying the heck out of your Saturday evening.

Currently, Audrey and the girls are out shopping with her mom, George is sleeping upstairs, and I’m watching the 90s era Liam Neeson flick, Rob Roy. I’d never seen this one before, but Pluto has it streaming for free (with ad breaks of course). This is pre-Taken Neeson, but he’s still very much taking names. And Tim Roth is the vilest of villains.

It was a great day in which we got to further celebrate Evelyn’s birthday. Her actual birthday fell earlier in the week, but today was her party. She had a few friends over, and they did some sledding (while they could stand the cold), played a card game, a round of Mafia, had some snacks and cake, and wrapped up with one of my favorite childhood games, spoons.

Last week, Audrey shared a picture from Evelyn’s first year. We’re all standing beneath the sign for The Loveless Cafe in Nashville, a baby Evelyn held between us. She was so tiny, so new, and there was so much I didn’t know.

It’s hard to believe how quickly the years have passed.

Now she’s grown into this awesome young lady who loves acting and musical theater, reading all sorts of books, listening to The Beatles, and spending time with her friends. One of my favorite parts of the day is getting home from work and hearing about her day, what she learned, what she experienced, what she liked, and what she didn’t. She’s beginning to figure out the kind of person she wants to be, and that’s pretty damn cool to watch.

The day started with a trip out to a co-workers house. I’d told him about my automotive troubles, and he told me he found a hack that would allow him to fix the car at no cost. He pulled the steering lock actuator from under the dash, and then we drilled a hole through the housing as well as the tab which slides up and down to activate the steering lock. Then he put a bolt through the hole to prevent the tab from moving up. He zip tied the actuator back under the dash, and when we fired up the car, it started. I tried locking & unlocking the car then starting it back up, and though the steering lock couldn’t physically activate, the signal was still going through the fob. After a little trial and error, we pulled the fuse for the steering lock, and then everything seemed to working. When I got home, I turned the car off and then back on just to make sure it would keep firing up. Success. I’m hoping with this hack the Nissan keeps running for at least another year or two.

Got into quite a few classrooms on Friday, and saw some cool learning going on. In one room, students began by generating a couple of questions for the book they were reading, then shared those questions first with a partner, and then with the rest of the class. Next, the teacher went over formatting for letters, then tasked the students with writing a letter from either the perspective of the protagonist to his family/friends or the perspective of a family member/friend to the protagonist. Before turning them loose on the assignment, she gave them some partnered brainstorming time. Quite the launch of the lesson in the span of ten minutes.

Another week went by and I didn’t make a dent toward my writing goals at all. Chalk it up to One Act practices running late. By the time I’d get home and eat dinner, it would already be getting on toward 9:00, and then once I’d get myself set up for work the next day, it was time to go to bed. Unfortunately we didn’t advance to the section finals, so there’s just one week of One Act remaining, and I can hopefully get back on track and start plugging away at the middle grade novel once again. We have three practices to refine the production just a little bit more before performing for our family, friends, and community on Friday evening.

Reading-wise, I’m still plugging away on R.R. Virdi’s doorstop novel, The First Binding, but I did finish listening to Holly Black’s The Queen of Nothing. At work, I dove back into The Shift to Student-Centered Learning by Catlin Tucker and Katie Novak, and Comprehension: The Skill, Will, and Thrill of Reading by Fisher and Frey.

I haven’t been listening to as many podcasts as of late, though I did catch the first two episodes of Emily Hanford’s Sold a Story. It’s a fascinating exploration as to why so many kids in our country struggle to read (spoiler: for decades they haven’t been taught to read).

We have church in the morning, and then I plan to watch the Niners take on the Eagles tomorrow afternoon, and that’s going to be quite a game. I’m looking forward to a win and then a Niners-Bengals Super Bowl.

Temperatures are supposed to continue plummeting the first half of the week, so we’ll just have to hunker down and stay cozy.

It’s getting late, so I best close for now. As always thanks kindly for reading. Take care of yourselves and each other.



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