I finished writing a book this week. I wanted to stop and chuck it many times over the past year. But I didn’t. I thought about Octavia Butler instead:
Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent.
Persistence, she said, was her most important talent. Sticking with it.
So I just kept going and eventually found my way to the end.
You know what I’m going to do next week? Start writing another book.
Persistence tied to a positive obsession can take you to some interesting places. Continue Reading
Yesterday, I finished my first year as a dance Dad. I have one week off before I trade my dance Dad chauffeur hat for my camp counselor t-shirt. I will relish this calm logistical calendar week.
But summer will also bring the nagging parental worries of how much to nudge them to read or practice and how much to just let them take a break. How much of that school year momentum should we keep? There will be no flash cards. I’m not a complete zealot. But should there be some time set aside to read? Or work on math or Spanish?
Summer or not, there is always so much to do and the kids remain so bad at most of it. Where does a parent draw the line? How do you know where to help, when to help, what to handle for them, what to tell them doesn’t matter and they don’t have to worry about?
I guess I have a whole summer to try to figure it out. Continue Reading
It’s the end of vacation week here. Vacation for the kids, at least. Michelle and I still had to work. And while the girls spent time in New Jersey and Rhode Island, there were also days at the end of the week where they were at home. By themselves. With nothing planned.
Like some days of summer vacation Dad camp, they were able to practice an important skill: the ability to be alone. To entertain themselves. Or at least get comfortable with boredom.
It’s a critical part of life. Those who lack the ability to sit with their own thoughts are often miserable and prone to addiction and overstimulation.
If I’m honest, sometimes this is harder on me than it is on them. If they are home and the house gets too quiet, what do I do? I go check on them. Encourage them to do something. Tell them to go outside.
They need to be comfortable being bored and I need to be comfortable with bored kids.
I often complain about the kids in this blog, in a humorous way, but still usually some chiding complaint. I thought I should at least offer a positive story once in awhile. Just not too often. Don’t want them to get inflated egos.
Cecilia didn’t do well on a test (sorry, can’t call them tests anymore – check-in) earlier this year. To be fair, given the email we received from the teacher, many kids did not do well (which might make me think about the teaching methods…). I digress.
Cecilia latched onto this group failure as her life preserver. Sorry, not going to work, in school or life. You will make mistakes. Nobody is perfect and we all make our fair share of mistakes. Even Dad bloggers. Maybe one or two a year.
However, if you do not take responsibility for the mistake and do your best to correct it, then you are committing a second mistake. You can probably picture me telling her this. Or you probably have given your own kids similar advice. Take responsibility. Do the right thing, even though you may feel embarrassed by your previous actions. Don’t compound the error.
You also probably walked away wondering if any of that sank into their teenage brain.
Well, last Wednesday, I received an unexpected text that Cecilia was staying after school for extra help to prepare for a te-, eh, check-in the next day. She listened! She didn’t compound the error! She still rolled her eyes when I picked her up, but I’m sure she was smiling on the inside. Continue Reading
New England is know for many different foods: clam chowder, lobster rolls, baked beans, cream pie, but maybe not anadama bread. I grew up, and still live here, and I had never heard about, or tasted, this regional lost classic.
Anadama bread deserves a wider audience. While it resembles an Irish brown bread on the surface, the similarities stop there. Anadama bread’s defining characteristics are the use of molasses and cornmeal, household staples in the region at the start of the 20th century. Those two ingredients, combined with melted butter in the dough, give the finished bread a wonderful mix of sweet and nutty flavors with a sturdy, yet fluffy interior. Continue Reading
This simple, no knead bread, made with semolina and coated in sesame seeds, is almost as Italian as pizza. This semolina Italian bread is very easy and forgiving to make and works well as breakfast toast or in a dinner bread basket. I make at least one loaf of this bread for my father-in-law each time he visits. Continue Reading
Is a Billy bookcase or Ikea’s Knada bread mix easier to put together? Which tastes better?
If you’re going to Ikea just for the flat-packed furniture, and bypassing the food, you’re missing out on half the experience. One dollar ice cream, cinnamon rolls, lox, meatballs, free drinks. A stop at the Ikea cafe is the cherry on top of the Swedish shopping spree.
But could you bring a little bit of that bistro goodness home and bake it up in your own oven? Continue Reading