Saturday, August 28, 2021

Blue Mind, Concert Style

About 3 weeks ago we went to the Jimmy Buffett concert in Northern Virginia. My husband and his buddy have a long history of Jimmy Buffett concerts, so by marriage, of course, I too am a Parrothead, longing for Margaritaville.

Not only was it amazing to be back at a concert after the long sequester of Covid (and possibly before the next Delta-induced sequester), but it was wonderful to be soaking up the sweet sounds of familiar songs in the outdoor arena. During several of Jimmy's songs, he had a bounty of #bluemind scenes of as the backdrop on the Jumbotron.With a slight wind in the arena, breeze in my hair, and tropical tunes in my ears, I seriously had a blue mind moment with all of these pictures. A serious sense of peace. 

I compiled just a few of the photos from the concert here, to share the wealth of that #BlueMindMoment.

Video created at from photos from the August 7, 2021 Jimmy Buffett Concert in Northern Virginia.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Welcome Back to School

School starts for me (by way of teacher meetingsI) today. Official school for our students starts next week, but first day photos on Facebook show me that schools have started back in action almost up to a month ago in some areas.

This year, school starts with some trepidation. Remote learning, hybrid school, and the pandemic the last 18 months have sent all of us spinning a bit. Variants are on the rise after we've all tasted the sweet elixir of freedom in June--it's leaving my colleagues and I wondering what the future holds. Mask? Zoom? Quarantines? Covid cases? Or are we all back to normal? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, let's all take a deep breath, muster our strength and stamina, pray for good wifi if we need it, and hope for the best for a good school year ahead, connecting with our students. In the last 18 months, students and teachers have learned to be flexible, to pivot when needed, and to be creative problem solvers. We can do this. May the rejuvenation of the summer stay with you, and may you always be a good trouble shooter with a good sense of humor. Stay healthy, stay strong, and have a great school year ahead! Cheers!

Image created at using my

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Rainy Days

Lyrics from an old Karen Carpenter song are melodically meandering in my brain: 🎶"Rainy days and Mondays always get me down."🎶 I’ve always enjoyed that tune—truthfully more for the sweet sounds of Karen Carpenter versus the lyrics. But, when one of your last days of summer freedom (insert another pop culture icon: Mel Gibson from "Dances with Wolves”), the rainy day initially got me down. Sitting outside on a bench in the sun to read for awhile or a last ditch pool day soaking up the sun were my main agenda. Sadly, there’s no sun to be had, no idyllic day.

Being out and about fairly early after dropping off my son at sports, I found myself pondering what to do with this now-rainy-day. Clearly not Plan A. 

So Plan B started with getting my hot green tea (“with honey and 10 ice cubes, please”--much to my husband's chagrin) at the local mom & pop coffee shop.  Then, assessing the rain, I decided to sit outside under the awning of my coffee shop and watch it rain. In doing so, I get my #NatureFix of being outside (which is really more street-and-parking-lot-view rather than a green one, but still a refreshingly cool breeze and some nature sights in the vista of the my view). I also got the #BlueMind aspect in the rain of this rainy day--gazing out at the forming puddles, the steady sight and sound of it coming down, and the mist hitting me as the wind shifted. 

Being outdoors (especially when indoors and delta variants and Covid are all a creeping concern) was therapeutic. Time was mine. Rain was fine. Perfect way to be present to read, think, observe, and literally soak it in.

Not to shabby, all in all, and not too far from my original game plan. I’ll take it. Better yet, I’ll embrace it.

Image from my camera from where I sat.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Cycling Spots, Part Deux

My last post got my biking juices spinning and searching for more. 

Not far from Belgium's "Cycling Through the Trees Path" is "Cycling Through Water" in Bokrijk, Limberg, Belgium. Passing through the water on a path built below the water's surface, you can get more than a bird's eye view. It's more of a water level's view where you can put yourself right in the middle of the watery habitat.

Odds are if you are inspired by either of these 2 biking paths in Belgium, you may be itching for more. This Fast Company find might be just for you: "These 15 Mind-Blowing Bike Projects Will Make You Hate Your Regular Bike Lane." These global bike sites are the pictures of modern architecture and engineering.

For some a little closer (perhaps) to home (if you live in the US), here is a short video of the 10 best car-free bike paths in the United States. Some might be near you.

Rail-trails are my favorite, as previously mentioned, as I like the defined, smooth terrain. To find a rail-trail near you, check out the Rails-To-Trail Conservancy.

Makes me want to go pump up my tires, check the chains, and head out for a bike ride. May it inspire you to go jump out and take a spin yourself.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Biking In the Tree Tops

I love a good bike path. And I'll admit, I'm not talking "dirt trail bike path." I'm talking smooth and paved and navigationally easy. That's the way I roll...quite literally.

Ever have that desire to be at the tip and top of the trees? Might take a little to get to, but you have that opportunity on the "Cycling Through the Trees" path in Limberg, Belgium along its cirular path taking you to the tops of the trees. It may take a suitcase and a plane to get there, but you don't have to pack your bike--you can rent one there.

To learn more about what it's like to bike at canopy level, check out Fast Company's article "This Treetop Bike Path Takes Uou 30 Feet Up Into the Canopy of a Forest" or go to Limberg's tourism site "Cycling Through the Trees in Bosland."

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Running the Waves Inside the River of Grass

Vacations are for expanding your horizons and trying out new experiences. The activities and events stick with us. And, it is through these adventures that we all grow. Not to mention, I keep finding my mind heading back there--especially the closer school keeps coming!

It might also have something to do with the fact that #BlueMind has been heavily on my mind this summer!

One of our new experiences on our Outer Banks vacation in July was taking a wave runner tour on the waters of the Curritick Sound, seeing Duck and Corolla from the water side. It was more than just "driving to drive." It was an hour and a half game of "follow the leader" outside the partitioned areas to really see some of the surroundings and learn a bit of history along the way. 

Now, out of full disclosure, I'll start by saying this. I do a lot of things well. Driving a wave runner is NOT one of them. I tried, I really did, and it didn't go well. I over-compensated with my steering. I was riding far too cautious to keep up with the group. Mostly, I couldn't get past the fear factor of impending doom and possible death. Luckily everyone else in my family are bigger adrenaline junkies than I am, so I could switch places with my teenage son and let him take over. That just left me holding on and getting to take in the scenery, fully enjoying the wind in my hair and the water spray on my face. A definite win-win for everyone!

So driving in and between the grass beds, past old abandoned duck blinds (where only the birds have taken up residency), past old hunting clubs, and even seeing Corolla's Curritick Beach Lighthouse in the distance, we got a chance to change our perspective. We saw the Sound from the inside out versus from the barrier islands looking in. We got to be one with the water, running those waves. We got to see from a vantage point we would have missed. We got to breathe it all in and experience life in a new way. We got to see this bird sanctuary from the bird's eye view, flying on the water, riding the waves, and running in the space between the grass. 

No wonder that #BlueMind vision is still riding my heart. 

Photos of our trip compiled in the PicCollage app, Travel quote created at

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Blue Marble Project

When I was a kid, I had this jar of marbles. One of those really old fashioned jars with a wire-closing lids that lock in place. I have no idea where I got it (maybe my grandparents). Playing marbles wasn't really "a thing" when I was a kid in the '70s, as that was more the generation prior to me (or even prior to that one). I don't really remember what it's purpose was, other than decoration and fascination. Back before technology, looking at cool marbles on a summer day and sorting it, and pondering them as currency or whatever was just the thing to do.

Having run across this concept of Wallace J. Nichol's "blue marble" (which started in 2009), it reminded me of my marble jar. I'm definitely going to have to dig around my childhood bedroom to see if I can find that marble jar. Maybe in a box somewhere, or maybe it's just plain in the land of the lost (like so many of our childhood "things."). Maybe it once was part of my classroom "stuff" when I was a "marble jar" teacher, rewarding collective good behavior. Bottom line, I haven't a clue where it could be now.

But, it's got me thinking. Did I have any blue marble in there? Law of averages says yes.

But the bigger question is: What is the Blue Marble Project? The blue marble at arm's length represents the view of our blue planet Earth from space. Here's Wallace J. Nichol's to tell you all about it:

Still curious and want to learn more? Check out these resources. Maybe it'll encourage you to get a bundle of blues and start sharing it forward as a li'l random act of blue kindness to spread 'round the world. When we care about something, that's when we want to protect it!

Image found at, video from

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

EdTech Resources for News Literacy

Words have always fascinated me. In fact, back in the pre-Internet era, one of my most used high school graduation gifts and favorite books was a hard cover Roget's Thesaurus. I still have it, though is where I tend to go more often these days than to my bookshelf. 

Words have meaning and importance. Our lexicon has meaning, and we are always adding new words as ones come to fashion. Many, as of late, stem from the onslaught of political discord, partisanship, divisiveness, 24-7 news....all of which show us the need for news literacy. For example:
  • Fake news--Added to the OED in 2019, yet even though it gained traction during the 2016 election season, it strikingly it's been around since 1890. 

A whole lot of other words fall in the category of synonyms for "fake news" and further point the finger to the need of news literacy. None of them are new, but their definitions are distinctive:

Misinformation (noun): "incorrect or misleading information"

Disinformation (noun): "false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth"

Propaganda (noun): "ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause"

Conspiracy theory (noun):" a theory asserting that a secret of great importance is being kept from the public"

Gaslight (verb): "to attempt to make (someone) believe that he or she is going insane (as by subjecting that person to a series of experiences that have no rational explanation)"

Of course there are more and we could go on.

So yes, I am a lover of linguistics and the precision of language, but this is not just a semantic conversation nor is it a political conversation. It's all part of news literacy. As teachers, it is our duty to help our students develop the critical thinking skills necessary to discern between fact & fiction, and muddle through all the uncertainties & confusion to help them (and us) get to the truth by way of research and verification.

Luckily there are some great online resources out there which I was lucky enough to acquire in one of my toe-dips into "school stuff" this summer at a one-day workshop at school led by one of my colleagues. She shared some amazing resources on how to navigate the crazy world of news literacy in today's world. These are definitely worth checking out!

A smattering of specific lessons:

Good fact checking websites:

Along my own pursuit of information in the mis- & dis-information field, I ran across the fact that there's an International Fact Checking Day. The irony was not lost on me that this is annually on April 2nd, right after April Fool's Day. There are some great resources there on their website too.

News Literacy is vital for all citizens of all ages. The more our youth is presented with information on social media and more, the more important it is. It's about focusing our critical thinking skills. It is NOT a partisan activity but rather a pursuit for the truth in the middle of a lot of messages. By being news literate, we can navigate the noise and land on the news. Possibly one of our most important duties yet and a form of activism that we cannot overlook!

Fake news definition image from this OED tweet:, All other images created at