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unstructured time, or, don’t unplug that TV just yet: a cautionary tale

An entire weekend day with nothing to do.  Most of the schools have let out for the summer, families have packed up for month-long vacations elsewhere, and the temperature outside is in triple digits. We’re inside sucking down the AC (carbon footprint be damned), each of us in a separate corner of the house. Caleb has announced he’s writing a “made-up fiction book” about dragons. Title of forthcoming epic? Dragon …

boys to men

The other day, at the beginning of class, I asked the students to write about a specific passage in the novel we were reading, so the students curled over their desks and the room was silent for a few minutes except for the scratchings of pen on paper. I love that silence – I loved it even as a kid (yes, hello, clearly even at 15 I was destined for …

Monday Listicle: 2011 First Things

We’re in New York for the holidays and the past week has been a blur of visiting, appointments, and last-minute shopping.  I’m exhausted, in part because I’ve been moving at a New Yorker’s pace for the first time in five months and I’m a little out of practice.  My days have been occasionally triple-booked, like the day I had coffee with Squashedmom, did some errands, met another friend for lunch, …

Grace in Small Things #2

Am in need of grace this evening.  It’s been, as they say, one of those days. Although actually if I am really precise, it’s only been one of those days since 3:45, when my children got off the bus and all hell broke loose. But we’ll ignore that explosion for now, other than for me to pose the question: does it make me a bad mother that when my kids …

Too Cool for School, or, NYC Kids See the Sights

A beautiful London evening: soft breeze, gentle sun coming through impossibly fluffy green trees. Every now and then a black cab trundles by on the wrong side of the street and I swear to god Mary Poppins will be twinkling up the sidewalk at any minute. We’re staying in a friend’s apartment—I mean flat—marking time until we go to Abu Dhabi but I forget, almost daily, that we’re going further …