Neuroplasticity, (and other foreign languages).

swedish-flag-2432445_1920I’m trying to learn Swedish.  My son-in-law, the family Swede, says that such a project is not terribly practical since only an impressive minority of people on the planet speak his native tongue. 

Since when is the grandmother of the most precious one-year-old in the universe expected to be practical??  So, Duolingo gives me updates on how I’m doing.  Currently, it says I’m around 34% fluent in Swedish.

Clearly, they define “fluency” differently than I do.  For example, if I wanted to say something like, “your dinosaur has a funny nose”, I would be woefully lost for words.

And Duolingo doesn’t teach you any expletives, which probably a good thing when you’re a 58-year-old trying to learn a new language…. Continue reading “Neuroplasticity, (and other foreign languages).”


Just do it!

I can only imagine how many trips to the bank the folks who came up with that Nike slogan have made.  That, and their very recognizable “swoosh” mark, created by Carolyn Davidson, then a graphic design student at Portland State U.  Phil Knight, the company’s co-founder, wanted a design to convey speed and motion.  With this in mind, Mr. Knight chose this representation of Nike’s wing. And, of course, with Nike being the Greek goddess of victory, that must have seemed appropriate to the branding department. 

I also think their phrase “Just Do It” is brilliant.  I see plenty of young competitors in my school nurse’s office with minor bump and bruises due to their budding athletic experience.  I have to remind myself that at this stage, these kids are on the steep end of the learning curve when it comes to sore muscles and growling coaches.  For most of them, it’s a matter of ice, NSAIDs, maybe a little taping, no whining allowed, back to class. Continue reading “Just do it!”

Why Ants Stay Busy, a poem

A poem by my wonderful bloggish friend (you’ll love this one!)—

Why Ants Stay Busy, by Oneta Hayes

Ant Father: “‘Mountain must move’ Big Man said today.”

Ant Mother: “Did he mean us?  The place we stay.”

Ant Father: “He said this mountain is in his way –

And off he went to get the spray.”


Down the hole scurried Ant Father and Mother

Taking with them every sister and brother

They shouted warning to one another

“Go lower, slide, hide, take cover.”


The fury was great, soft dirt did blow

The mountain they build was rendered low

The mud came rolling in a mighty flow

Only a tiny light continued to glow.


“Now it’s all over,” they said with a grin

“Everybody get to work, let’s do it again.”

They scurried and hurried and made such a din.

They loved their life’s work – annoying men!

By Oneta Hayes at Sweet Aroma

OH, the wisdom of humor!!  But here’s the thing.  Ever notice how, when you get rid of one ant hill, others pop up?  I mean, it’s not a one-time deal, slaying ants.  Ants just keep doing what they do, building ant hills, because that’s how they’re wired. 

In other words, that’s what they are created to do.  It doesn’t matter how many times they get sprayed or squished.  They keep working together to build, because it has to be built.  Period. 

They make me look like such a whiner.  Certainly, there are B-I-G boots stomping around: illness, depression, financial concerns, relational disappointments, and the list goes on.  One or two knockdowns and I might be ready to throw in the towel. 

But in reality, that’s not the way God created me.  Nope, not by a longshot.  He has made me (and is re-making me) to build, (a) regardless of who steps on me, and (b) in community with other builders.  Both are important factors for success.

I like how King Solomon puts it:

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…

Of course, the New Testament version reads more like this:

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

hiking-shoes-3057428_1920Which means the size of the boot doesn’t matter.  I’ll just continue my life’s work—annoying Satan.

Ecclesiastes 9:10; Philippians 4:13  Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Just For the Record

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Bob will confirm that I’m not very proficient at keep track of things.  To parody the old phrase, he says that I have “places for things, and everything in their places.”  Same with finances, and although I’ve improved immensely over the years, I do still generally pray prior to any attempt at balancing my checkbook.  (It rattles Bob’s cage a bit if I do anything with his. I just don’t tell him about it until after the fact; it prevents anxiety.)

All this makes it even more incredible that I’m in nursing since we have to keep track of EVERYTHING, like when someone sneezes, and what color it was. 

Okay, right, that was gross without warning, (so is nursing), and mild hyperbole, (depending).  But you get my drift.  I tell people that there is mass deforestation when I return to work as a school nurse in the late summer with all the required record-keeping and paper work that transpires.  At least now with computers and email, some of that can be mitigated, but even so, documentation in some form continues. 

Continue reading “Just For the Record”


Roger, Wilco

plane-607224_1920This past summer Bob and I enjoyed visiting my parents in their beautiful Midwest retirement community—it’s like a college campus for the over-60 crowd.  They’re incredible!  Interestingly, we were also roaming around the California Redwood Forest just few weeks prior to that, and in my mind, there is a striking resemblance between the two in more ways than one, if you get my drift.

Now a retired engineer, Dad is a United States Navy veteran who worked as a mechanic on airplanes, and his stories keep me spellbound.  While we were visiting, a neighbor stopped in.  Mr. B is a 90+-year-old U.S.A.F. bomber pilot vet from World War II.  (Triple exclamation marks…!!!) Continue reading “Roger, Wilco”


Where’s the broom and dust pan?

wood 2I think I used to somewhat deceive myself that once my three children flew the coup, my house would be a more organized residence.

 What a joke.

 The reality I have had to face a long time ago (and Bob has patiently and lovingly embraced this with my other idiosyncrasies) is that I am a “messy girl”.  Now, add our big, black dog to that mix, and my fur-covered carpet and floors just underscore that truth.


By contrast, everywhere my folks go, improves.  Amazingly.  They are both from the builder generation, and are themselves two of the most disciplined and selfless people you could hope to find.  Continue reading “Where’s the broom and dust pan?”


Just in case you haven’t heard…


Dismissal time! Woo-hoo! (…but until then…)

IMG_20150103_172451138As a school nurse, (like everyone else working with kids), there are Mondays, and then there are Mondaze.  But through it all, I can always count on this—the dismissal bell. 

Here is an email response I had from my husband from his office back in 2011:

“The titles of your last two emails are telling: ‘Great Weekend’ followed by ‘Crazy Morning’.   My imagination is racing: blood dripping from the walls, a contagion that turns students into zombies (all marching lock-step toward your office), sewage backing up from the toilet in your office, a Fed Ex truck out front and a driver in the front office announcing loudly, ‘Paperwork for Dawn Jones…Where do you want all these boxes?’”

And that’s on a good Monday.

Makes it just a wee bit easier to see what the Continue reading “Dismissal time! Woo-hoo! (…but until then…)”