Since the Christmas break, I’ve been spending most of my weekly tutoring time helping Ted with algebra and geometry.  Ted is 17 and has failed a number of classes, so he’s working on them in the Success School, as well as working at a job.

Ted told me he intends to study hard to achieve his high school diploma.  The classroom teacher told me Ted likes working with me and he feels like he’s finally “getting it.”  Today, he scored 100 percent on a chapter test, making this a very good day for Ted.

. . . And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why teachers teach.

A Fox news reporter told us last night that three offenders escaped from a California prison.  According to the reporter, they used power tools to access a drop point, then tied bedsheets together and repelled their way down.  I assume the repelling force kept them from hitting the side of the building as they rapelled to the ground.

Today, another teacher was using the closet-size room in which I usually tutor students, so I was put in the former “shop” classroom.  It’s a large room with a bare concrete floor, a high ceiling that includes ceiling-mounted electrical outlets for power tools, and a few amenities such as a desk, a table, and large plants under some of the windows.

It addition to other activities, the room is apparently used as a storage space, as evidenced by two dozen computer towers, extra folded tables, and a rolling rack filled with folding chairs.  Some of the more unusual items in the room included an antique large-screen classroom TV; an also-antique set of bound World Book encyclopedias; and scattered pieces of exercise equipment (a Nordictrack-type thing, a treadmill, a recumbent bike, and a yoga mat).

Even more unusual were the two gas grills and the washer/dryer–complete with detergent and the original energy use sticker.  You never know when you’ll want to fire up the grill and/or do your laundry between classes!

Treadmill and gas grills

Treadmill and gas grills


Washer and dryer

Washer and dryer–with energy sticker!

As a bona fide grammar nerd, I regularly read the “Grammarly” blog.  This week’s blog had some entertaining sentences, one of which was:

“The man the professor the student has studies Rome.”

This sentence conveys that the student has a male professor who studies ancient Rome.  The embedded information in the center of the sentence is grammatically correct, but confusing.  Given the fact that this is a grammar blog, I couldn’t help groaning at a reader’s comment that asked, “Haven’t you heard about comas?”

What makes English grammar fun?  The fact that the following sentence makes sense!

“All the faith he had had had had no effect on the outcome of his life.”

What do you give to a man who has everything?  An M&Ms sculpture, of course!  This was a birthday gift to Ted from Jeff’s family.



It’s only two inches of snow, but that’s enough to finally try out the new snowblower I got last year.  Good news:  it works!

From a TV ad:  “I used to hate being called ‘Grandma.’  Now I love it.  Especially when it comes from my grandkids.”

Question:  Who else would have called her “Grandma”?

The heroine of the book I’m reading inherited a sapphire and diamond necklace with a “big, round, deep blue sapphire in the center” and (get this!) “two other smaller, but equally huge, diamond-surrounded sapphires flanking it on each side.”  Well, are the flanking sapphires smaller than the center stone, or are they equally huge?  They can’t be both.  And where else would they “flank” the center stone except on each side?  Nonsensical stuff like this drives me crazy!



We just got home from walking in the falling snow.  It’s 20 degrees, but not windy, so it was a good, invigorating walk.  The forecast is for 3-4 inches of snow in the next 12 hours.  Maybe I’ll finally get to use my new snowblower!  ⛄


The forecast was right:  it’s cold!  But it’s sunny, and not windy, so we decided to walk outside instead of on the treadmill.  As the saying goes, “There is no bad weather; only bad clothing.”  We put on the good clothing (base layer, heavy socks, down jackets, etc.) and headed out.  It wasn’t bad at all, and we felt refreshed and invigorated when we got home–much more than we would have on our treadmill walks.  It was strange not to see any other walkers, runners, or bikers, and only a few cars.  That surely gives us bragging rights for today.

After 60+ degrees on Thursday, the cold front has arrived and the next few days will be very cold.  We had a cozy evening with a fire in the fireplace while we worked on a 1000-piece puzzle.  125 pieces connected; 875 to go.


I was invited to attend the City of St. Charles School Board meeting tonight to be recognized for my volunteer service at the Success H.S.  I’m always uncomfortable with public recognition, but I’m glad I accepted the invitation.  When I was at the school Tuesday, the teachers asked me if I would be at the meeting, and they were very happy when I said “yes.”  It made me think that if I’d said “no,” I would have disappointed them in their desire to thank me.

Five other people from two schools were also recognized and it was enjoyable to hear the stories from the principals describing the wonderful things they had done.  I still don’t feel I deserve recognition for doing something I’m enjoying so much, but it’s always nice to be thanked.  Best of all, as a result of the story about one of the other honorees, I went home with a wonderful idea for a way that Ted and I can do some meaningful charitable work through the school district.

For Christmas, Thom and Katie gave each of us (Ted and me and the other three kids) tea towels they bought in New Zealand on their honeymoon.  I decided to hang mine on a wall where I can enjoy it, rather than putting it out of sight in the dishtowel drawer.  A dowel, a coat of stain, two coats of varnish, and a seam across the top edge of the towel, then voilà!–a wall hanging from New Zealand!  Thanks, Thom and Katie!


Tonight, both The Daily Show and The Nightly Show spoofed a prisoner in “Ma-‘nit-o-woc” County in WI.  Ah, that would be ” ‘Man-i-to-woc” County.  One of my big pet peeves is the version of English used in broadcasting.  Maybe those money-making networks could hire an underling to call the county court house for the purpose of checking the pronunciations of unfamiliar place names.

P.S.  When reporting on the St. Louis area, newly hired newscasters should verify ” ‘Flor-is-sant” before going on air and saying “Flor-‘iss-ant.”

For some time, the drywall tape on the garage ceiling has been coming loose.  In October, we hired a contractor to re-tape the ceiling to improve the trashy look of the garage.  That, of course, led to re-painting the garage ceiling and walls, which we just painted circa 1980.  (I’d be lying if I said it seems like yesterday.)  To complete the fresh, new look, we bought new blinds for the windows.

The garage windows are six feet tall, and the window tops are eight feet from the floor.  The six-foot long blinds we bought came with whopping 20-inch wands to open and close them.


We have our bikes in front of the windows, and I couldn’t reach the wands, so it was Home Depot to the rescue.  I bought two 42-inch dowels, some cup hooks, and a mini can of glossy white paint, then headed for the basement.


Now the paint is dry, the dowels are hung, and I can adjust the blinds whenever I want to.  It doesn’t take much to make me happy.  Does anyone need a 20-inch wand?IMG_20160111_142943



We had our first snowfall of the season yesterday–about two inches.  It was the fifth latest measurable snowfall on record for the area.  Unbelievably, a snowplow cleared our street when it had an inch of slush on it!  An hour later, all the neighborhood driveways were clear due to melting.  I guess the plowing overtime is too good to resist!  The down side:  I still haven’t had a chance to use the new snowblower I got last winter.

A few months ago, Thom suggested that I write a travel blog.  I haven’t journaled or kept a diary since I was in seventh grade, so I told Thom he was very funny and that wouldn’t be happening.  In spite of my best efforts, Thom’s suggestion stayed in my mind.  I enjoy reading Jeff’s blog, and it makes me feel more connected with what’s happening in his life.  Sometimes it even makes me want to contribute something from my own life in response.

I asked Jeff for some help in getting started, and (as always) he was very generous in sharing his computer expertise with me.  So here I go–living on the edge and trying something new.  I’m started.

Ship photo 1 Diane