Of Math and Tigers, with Side of Pirate Pants

The end of the school year is my favorite place for dreaming, because I can lift my eyes unto the hills of a new dawn &#8212 a brighter day &#8212 a September when we shall all be made new in the shining reflection of the one remaining piece of printer paper that has not been turned into a drawing of a dragon.

I have already shared with certain members of the homeschooled population in this household that we will be continuing (or, uh, reinstating) the study of certain subjects over the summertime. We haven’t really done that in previous years; I vaguely felt that we should try to keep summertime life as “normal” as possible since we’re already weird because of homeschooling. But, like Amy, I am now leaning towards keeping things somewhat fresh over the summer.

This is made somewhat easier by the fact that summertime in Texas isn’t exactly an outdoor paradise, except possibly between the hours of 6:00 and 7:00 AM. If I’d had my act more together, I’d have been more deliberate in taking off a few weeks in the springtime.

I’m making it sound like we’ve had our noses to the grindstone, but then this morning my five-year-old marched out to the nice dog-walking neighbor man wearing pajama pants with pirate pants on his head and talked about Lord knows what (probably dragons) for several minutes. And I thought “this is it. This is the day someone calls the authorities on me.”


My older, non-dragon son is competing in a state mathematics competition this weekend, so we’ll be road-tripping up to Fort Worth on Friday for the big event. We didn’t really do anything specific to prepare for the district-level competition at which he won first place, but I’ve been trying to coach him for this event, albeit haphazardly. I don’t want him to be disadvantaged due to his mother’s disorganization. On the other hand, I’ve been winging some of this with random assignments for him on Khan Academy to supplement his other math. Functions? Yeah, I got this, son. Except &#8212 they added more things to that topic, I think, because I do not remember learning some of this stuff. I know it’s an experience every parent has to go through &#8212 encountering math that you forgot how to do. I just didn’t realize it would come so soon.

Anyway, all I really want is for him to feel good about how he does at the competition. And for him to not talk about Super Mario Bros. the entire way from Houston to Fort Worth.


I think a lot about parental investment in children’s activities, and where the line is that separates “I want to live out my own missed opportunities through my kids” from “If I am good at something, I should share that with my children so they have the option to specialize in that if they want to do so.” And also about opportunity cost. My daughter recently opted not to try out for a particular theater program we thought she’d be really good at, because she felt like she was already busy enough. I was a bit disappointed at first, but she showed a lot of maturity by making that decision.


Last week, we brought our A-game to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. We have previously brought our Z-game, behavior-wise, so that was a refreshing change. The kids have been taking art lessons ALL AT THE SAME TIME WONDER OF WONDERS at the museum school, so I chose last week to visit the Age of Impressionism exhibit while the kids were in class. I enjoyed the exhibit and I also noticed it wasn’t too big to be cruised through quickly with a five-year-old in tow, so I decided I’d attempt to take the children on the spur of the moment.

It helped that I treated them to lunch at the museum cafe beforehand, of course.

But I still wasn’t expecting much, since they’d already been doing Art Things for an hour and a half at that point. Still, we didn’t have to pay extra for tickets (thanks to our family membership) and I didn’t have much to lose other than possibly being profiled if the behavior was particularly…spectacular.

To my utter astonishment, the aforementioned five-year-old took my hand and walked me through the exhibit as though he were the docent. It helped that there were lots of animals in the pictures. Sort of a zoo/impressionism vibe at times. I’ve had this experience with him at the “dinosaur museum” before but that’s due to the many, many hours of dinosaur-based computer time looking at educational library books about dinosaurs. Here, we were in Paul World, which is sort of like outer space but also like Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. And the best part was that a tiger lurked in one of the rooms:

Jean-Leon Gerome, Tiger on the Watch. Image courtesy of Wikipainting

Jean-Leon Gerome, Tiger on the Watch. Image courtesy of Wikipainting


WAIT YOU GUYS MUTUAL OF OMAHA’S WILD KINGDOM IS A THING AGAIN! There are webisodes! I thought I was ironically showing my age! THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.

Seven Quick Takes: Vote for My Kid Edition

— 1 —

Behold the Math Ninjas:

wpid-20140127_151518.jpg

My son and his friends just submitted their entry for the Mathcounts Math Video Challenge. It’s a five-minute explanation of a probability problem that somehow blossomed into an adventure story of ninjas (filmed in the freezing rain at Houston’s Japanese Garden), pizza, sneaking past the librarian, and a last-minute double-cross. You can vote for them, if you’d like, once every 24 hours.

The top four video teams will go to the national competition in Orlando this Spring.

I’m working on a post about Mathcounts and homeschooling and all the things I learned this first year (by doing dumb things), but for now – well, I’m the Math Ninja’s Mother, and I approve this message. (We’d appreciate your votes, in other words.)

— 2 —

My older son loves to read history books and recently finished Lee and Grant, which my mom had passed along to him recently. Because I’m a history teacher by trade, I was able to converse with him for at least four minutes about what he’d read before fending off my own college-amnesia-based despair with a suggestion that he check out James Thurber’s “If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appamatox.”

I provided him with my faded copy of The Thurber Carnival, which my mom gave me when I was about his age. She doesn’t remember even giving me the book, and all I really remember of my first read-through was that I found it completely baffling as to why anyone would think this was worth reading. But later I came back to it and now it’s one of my favorite books.

It’s such a joy when your children are old enough that their jokes start to actually be funny and you can laugh together at things you’ve read or…watched on YouTube, fine. My daughter read parts of it, too, and we were all laughing at the fake pet advice columns and other hits from the compilation.

Then I thought about how maybe it wasn’t a great idea to give my impressionable children a book of stories like The Unicorn in the Garden and how I might be warping their ideas about love and marriage and framing one’s spouse, that kind of thing. Fortunately, a box full of saint biographies arrived this week from my mother, so that was probably a good complement to “resign yourself to the mundane and ridiculous” message I think the kids will take away from reading Thurber.

— 3 —

I was at our local Catholic bookstore a couple of weeks ago, and look who I saw!

wpid-20140122_154534.jpg

 WordPress isn’t cooperating with my desire to rotate this photo, so it has the bonus appearance of the green book hovering angelically over the others, but the imporant thing is that my friends Jennifer Fitz and Jared Dees were both there, hanging out in the Catechist section. Congratulations to each of you! Jennifer has a lovely post up at New Evangelizers on how souls and gardens are both works  in progress.

— 4 —

Somewhere on a blog in the past two weeks, I read about the BBC series “Endeavour” on Netflix, and I highly recommend it. But I’m a sucker for anything involving British people in period clothing frowning about murder. This one ups the ante by also including opera music, so I feel like I’m classing up the joint when I watch it instead of my usual USA Network summer programming and other late-night viewing.

— 5 —

This comic from xkcd showing what time it is everywhere in the world at the moment you view the comic is amazing.

— 6 —

It’s about that time of year when I really feel in NEED of Lent, you know?

— 7 —

The latest thing I think is going to revolutionize my entire life is Anki, a thing that makes flashcards. I’ve almost figured out how to operate it, so surely I’m on the way to Better Homeschool Living Through Programmery. (Weirdly, the children were not as excited about this technology.) I read about it in this interview with recent Jeopardy champion Arthur Chu. The deal with Anki is that you tell it how well you know a particular fact presented to you via said flashcard, and then it shows you the flashcard again based on how well you claim to know the answer. You can read more about it here, including the sobering fact that:

The brain’s “use it or lose it” policy applies to everything we learn. If you spend an afternoon memorizing some science terms, and then don’t think about that material for two weeks, you’ll probably have forgotten most of it. In fact, studies show we forget about 75% of material learnt within a 48 hour period. This can seem pretty depressing when you need to learn a lot of information.

Or when you are pushing 40 and squinting back at your college years.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

The Year of Not Messing Around

You know, I’m not sure what it says that I’ve been meaning to write a post with this title since August 2013, but here it is. Because I told the Internet I’d do one post a day this week.

As I stare down the barrel of a Most Significant Birthday this year, I find myself distilled into the personality I’ll be stuck with going forward. And somehow this now involves being a person who calls children “sweetheart” and “honey,” but who is also Not Messing Around with You.

Uh-Uh, I Know You’re Not Talking While I’m Talking to the Class, and I’m Not Messing Around with You.

image

The extreme seriousness of the homeschool day can be taxing.

I mean, it’s convenient, when one can’t quite remember a name, to just go with “honey.” Isn’t it? What do non-Southerners say in this situation?

(At present, we are talking about names of children, but I reserve the right when I am 20 years more significant to employ this tactic with grownups.)

Anyway, this was supposed to be about how this year, the Speed Family Homeschool is Not Messing Around. We are about Seriousness and Focus.

No, really! Why are you looking at me like that? Because it’s February? It’s because it’s February, I just know it. Oh, I read something somewhere recently where the author was like “never ask a homeschooler about February” and I have to say, that’s true. We are February’d to the hilt. But as it is also the start of baseball season, there is no time to think about February; no time to mess around.

And now that I’ve arrived at that declaration, I can’t quite put my finger on what we’re doing that’s so much more serious. We did declare that the office would be converted into the classroom, which meant I moved copious amounts of junk out of the office and put copious amounts of junk into the classroom, but school is still happening mostly in the kitchen.

Seriousness, for me,  is dependent upon outside activities of a mandatory nature. Prevents procrastination, because Tuesdays are for art, CCE, and (now) baseball. Thursdays are for piano, Mathcounts (more on that later), choir, and did I mention baseball? MWF are for seriousness…and baseball.

Seriousness also comes from entering the occasional competition. Not necessarily to win, but to have an external goal and a deadline. Well, I do like contests, which I think I’m supposed to apologize for and add a disclaimer about how I’m not scarring the children’s psyches by signing them up for academic meet. So – disclaimer:

I probably am scarring the children’s psyches, but it has nothing to do with academic meet. It’s probably more to do with the state of the classroom, and the Christmas tree*.

Which we will have fully taken down by Ash Wednesday, because we are SO not messing around.

*It’s a smaller, secondary tree we got in a moment of weakness. It apparently doesn’t need water or attention to thrive. And yet I’m pretty sure it’s not plastic. I’m waiting until I have time to patiently cut it into small, trashcan-sized pieces, so that my neighbors won’t know we still have this Christmas tree sitting around when they walk by our house on trash pickup day. 

Catechesis and Assessment: Volume 2 of My Many Thoughts

I know we’ve moved on as a nation from the Great Religious Education Blogger Symposium, but like Pacino:

So here’s another post in the grand tradition of maybe by the time I’m done writing, I’ll know what I actually think.

Classrooms are not the problem.

It’s not that religious education shouldn’t be like (or at) school, it’s that we are measuring our success like we do everything else. We don’t really understand how to gather kids in a classroom and teach them about Jesus without then testing them about Jesus. Or maybe we don’t like those nasty old tests, so we craft about Jesus.

Testing - Do Not Disturb

*THESE FONTS MEAN BUSINESS.*
Photo credit: taliesin from morguefile.com

I will cop to becoming more and more loosey-goosey about things like tests and homework since I dropped out of the SYSTEM, man, and tuned in to homeschooling. At the same time, I, personally, adore the taking of tests. The scent of a freshly sharpened #2, the countdown of the schoolroom clock — how these little joys of childhood can warm one’s heart when faced with the cold reality of adulthood, and its absence of gold stars. My pulse quickens at the thought of a scan-tron.

But this is mostly not about me.

There are different reasons to assess a child.

First, to determine whether the child has mastered a group of concepts, information, etc., in order to move onto the next stage – or the next chapter.

Second, to evaluate whether you, the educator, have succeeded in conveying to said child the concepts, information, etc.

Third, to (educare means to draw out, not to shove the brain full of facts, okay, that is not education, man, expand your horizons, okay) help the child recognize what he knows and how he can build upon said knowledge.

Fourth, to make sure we don’t get in trouble for passing the kid on to the next grade/sacrament/quiz round, because we need to make sure we at least taught the kid this much.

And then there’s the long-range goal of catechesis, which is: getting the kid to Heaven.

Carpool to that other shore
Photo credit: Seemann from morguefile.com

But no pressure!

Religious Education that “Sticks”

“Total non-retention has kept my education from being a burden to me.”

– Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being

Whenever I get one of those Teaching Company catalogs, I dream of an alternate reality in which I learn ALL the things! There’s no limit to what I could know, if I just spent enough time watching DVDs! Then I wonder, “did I already learn all of this in college, but just forgot?” and despair.

It seems to me that the danger of assuming we’re doing a great job with religious ed. because the kids’ scores on the ACRE test were up three points from last year is that the kids might not remember any of the answers on the multiple-choice section six months from now. At the same time, without any sort of assessment, there lurks the spectre of FELT BANNERS, which have apparently become the go-to symbol for namby-pamby catechesis. (I’m kind of tempted to develop a super-rigorous theological curriculum based entirely on felt, just to redeem this humble fabric.)

It’s the biggest challenge for the Group 3 Kids – those who are only there for the bare minimum of classes in order to receive First Communion/Confirmation. They’re the most likely to do poorly on whatever assessment they’re given, because there’s no reinforcement at home of what we’re talking about in class. And their attendance is usually compulsory, due to the need to make sure they understand what the sacraments even are before they receive them. (Which is why one of the questions we’ve asked before in pre-First Communion interviews was “Is Jesus God?”)

So we make those kids come to classes, so as to be sure they’re as prepared as possible to receive the Sacrament. But if they do poorly on the quizzes, then we…

That’s all the time we have for now! Tune in next time when we collaboratively figure out the answer to that question!

Changing the Paradigm of Inside-the-Box Thinking re: Assessment-Based Measurement of Catechetical Learners

It is possible to teach children about Jesus in such a way that they actually grow in faith, and to assess how well you have done so without the assessment getting in the way of the teaching. I truly believe this. Whether I succeed at doing so – well, my mom had this friend who wanted her headstone to read “SHE MEANT WELL” and that’s about what I aim for.

I think you can do this and still have review games and the occasional quiz. The key is to approach catechesis as (gulp) relationship, maybe? And I might have some ideas about how to do that, I think? And a vague intention of writing more about this? Because Jennifer says we all have to post every day this week and last time I  only made it through one post before I dropped out.

On Catechesis, Volume 1 of My Many Thoughts

So far, all I’ve been able to do in the big discussion-o-rama of Catechesis is follow Christian LeBlanc around Patheos, clicking “like” under all of his comments. Here is a semi-coherent catalogue of my first round of thoughts on the matter. (I hate it that I have to be a person who doesn’t figure out what she actually thinks until she’s processed it out loud, but perhaps writing this down will be better than just frowning at screens.)

Disclaimer: I’m not the greatest teacher who ever held chalk. But I consider myself reasonably non-terrible, and I have experience as a teacher in various environments. And as a catechist in various types of parishes.

I remember asking a question of a our professor in one of my Education classes – something along the lines of whether the method being discussed was a good fit for gifted kids. The professor smirked and said “those kids? You could train dogs to sit in front of the classroom and supervise them, and they’d still be successful.” At the time, I was ticked off. Now, as an avid user of hyperbole myself, I get what he was saying. (I don’t agree, but I get it.)

As a teacher, I’d go to district professional development workshops at the really really nice middle school on the north side of town, the one where the parents pooled together resources to build a patio with a grill off the faculty lounge so that there could be…actually, I still can’t figure out why there needed to be a grill outside the faculty lounge. But there was.

Anyway, we’d go hear these sessions about parental involvement and how to guide kids in creating a really great Living History project, how to draw up an appropriate rubric, how to manage parental participation in these projects so that the work was genuinely the children’s and not the parents’, that kind of thing. Good stuff, really, because that IS a problem at some schools.

Then we’d go back to our school, where the kids were basically…their own parents. Not a big problem with PTO infighting when you can only get four parents/grandparents from the entire school to attend a meeting. The strategies that worked great in a nice middle-class school with a supportive principal and volunteers who would make copies for you were not going to cut it.

And yet, both of those were public schools, in the same district, with the same expectations upon teachers as to their students’ performance. We’d talk about What Teachers Should Do as though these were the same environments and the same kids.

At my school, with my students, I learned that sometimes your goal for a student isn’t going to be getting into college; it’s going to be staying out of juvie. And that, if you helped accomplish that, you could maybe feel good about how you had helped that student.

It’s hard to silence the voice that says “how could you lower your standards so much?! If you aren’t going to believe in these kids, who is?!” But setting a more achievable goal doesn’t necessarily mean you’re dumbing things down or abandoning your standards; it just means that you aren’t kicking yourself at the end of the year because your students aren’t getting the red-carpet treatment from college recruiters.


Can we stop acting like the problems with religious education are Parents and Kids? Because these are not the correct demographics.

We have parents who talk to their children about what you did at R.E. around the dinner table that night after lighting the Advent wreath and saying the blessing.

We have parents who try to get to Mass once or twice a month and who tell their kids to behave themselves at R.E. or else, I don’t want to get a call from the teacher, but don’t pray with their children (or, at least, near their children.)

And we have parents who don’t come to Mass except for at Christmas/Easter if Grandma’s in town, but who for whatever reason still want their children to receive First Communion. (And sometimes Confirmation, but I think this happens more frequently with First Communion.) We will see those kids in second grade, and then again in eighth grade (or whenever Confirmation is administered).

With Group 1, pretty much any approach you try is going to be successful. Whole-family catechesis, grouped-by-age catechesis, potluck-and-guest-speakers catechesis, whatever. Which is great!

With Group 2, grouped-by-age catechesis gets the kids up to the Church, and offering programs for the parents as well can be a great way of empowering parents to act as the primary catechists.

With Group 3 – the people who are only there because they want their child (or grandchild) to receive that Sacrament at the end of the year – now we should eliminate the one thing that’s getting their kids in the door at all? Keep in mind that some (not all) of these parents will actively and deliberately undermine what the kids are taught in class.

I sometimes think that with Group 3, we should be dancing in the streets if we see that family at Mass once in the next 52 weeks. And if those children were in my Sacrament Prep class, you can bet I’d going to go all Crazy Church Lady because I really would be so happy to see them. Would I be happier if the parents came every Sunday and then had their marriage convalidated and then got Confirmed, finally, because they dropped out of the program as teenagers, and then were on fire with the Holy Spirit and brought five more families back to Church and were enthusiastic, raise-the-roof disciples?

Well, yeah. But I’m not going to brand our year together a failure if that doesn’t happen.

Teaching/Catechesis/Evangelizing/Disciple-izing/Whatever-word-we’re-using is about sowing seeds and the long, long view. With some of the places I’ve taught, if I start thinking about where those kids are now, I get really down. But I also don’t know where those kids will be in ten years, when they have children of their own. Maybe, for my CCE kiddos, having had a non-terrible teacher will be enough to make them think about giving Church a try again.

(Gosh, this is dark. Maybe I should just let Christian speak for me.)

So I guess that’s where I am coming from when I see a great deal of this Catechesis Reconsidered talk as piling on, as saying “gosh, let’s ditch all this dumb stuff we’ve been doing that clearly hasn’t worked whatsoever! What wasted years these have been! What were those DREs thinking! Down with crafts!”

I would hate for a new catechist, one who took pity on the DRE and finally signed up to volunteer, to internalize this discussion as “you know how sometimes you worry that what you’re doing is all a big waste of time? It is.”

Here are some other random thoughts I have, upon which I may or may not expand in a later post because it’s been a battle for the ages just to get myself to stop not-blogging again:

  • Textbooks are almost always boring, and religion textbooks are almost always the worst of all. Yes, I, condemner of blanket statements about catechesis, have just made a blanket statement about catechesis.
  • Textbooks are the thing that allows you to feel reasonably secure that the teacher isn’t going to go completely off the rails (whether we’re talking about religious education or regular old education), because the textbook has the correct information. Therefore, we use textbooks.
  • I cannot conceive of a reason to assign grades or homework in a CCE/PSR/CCD class. Okay, we need to know that Little Johnny understands what the Eucharist is before First Communion, but we can figure that out without a metric. “Johnny has a 57 in Faith Knowledge and a 62 in Piety. Please work with him at home.”
  • In theory, I believe that if a child presents himself for a discussion with Fr. Pastor about Confirmation and clearly indicates an understanding of and desire to receive the Sacrament, the child should not have to do anything else but show up and receive the Sacrament.
  • In reality, I know that if we started applying that approach, Fr. Pastor would be besieged with calls from angry parents asking why Ambrose gets to be confirmed next weekend but Julius has to go on a retreat and four service projects and two semesters of classes.
  • And/or, you’d have parents coaching Julius-es to say the right things to get a dispensation for just going ahead and being Confirmed.
  • And/or, the retreats and service projects and semesters are worthwhile and purposeful, but the requirement thereof often undermines the kids’ receptiveness to seeing any value in attending them.
  • So I basically have no clue what should be done about Confirmation prep, and I understand why we do it the way we do. I’m sure glad I took the time to type that out.
  • Kids really like – or, at least, don’t mind – being in class if they are actually learning something, and they really like reading the Bible if it’s presented to them in a way such that they understand what it’s saying.
  • When reading the Bible in class with the kids, you need to have a plan for what to do when Penelope reads ahead to, say, the story of Onan.

I just went around and re-read all of the posts in the Carnival of Catechesis Reconsidered, and now I have decided I misrepresented what some folks have been saying, but my head hurts and I need to mop. So I’m going to click “publish,” take an Excedrin, and reserve the right to completely change my mind.

7 Quick Takes: Where’d the blog go?

SO. It’s been a bit quiet around here. Where have I been?

1. I decided early this summer that I needed to cut back on voluntary Internet commitments, since my web design work requires me to spend a good chunk of most days online. Online, or at least in front of a screen. I figured the kids needed to see me spending less time staring at a screen and more time being a human. And while I could explain to them the difference between “frivolous screen time” and “work screen time,” I’m not sure it makes much difference when the result is “please wait 15 minutes to ask me about multiplying fractions and move on to a different subject if you can’t figure it out, because I need to finish this one thing.”

2. I’m slowly clawing my way out from underneath a pile of work-related commitments, fearing that I am making nobody happy and everyone impatient with me because various constant changes in our family’s schedule, etc., have made it more difficult for me to do the things I said I’d do. I’m starting to feel human again but it’s been several weeks since I felt like I could take a break from working to do something non-productive, non-mom, non-house, and just relax for a bit. Which is dumb, because then I’m overtired and stressed and not effective at anything I’m doing, but there you have it.

3. We have had a lot going on; my husband has transitioned to a new job that he enjoys quite a bit and that I think will be a good fit for him, but will also put him perhaps a bit more in the public eye. Not, like, cameos in the Avengers movies, just – you know. I have an unusual name. If Googled, I worry that my online reputation as “wacky juggler of messes and mayhem” might reflect poorly on him. It could be argued that posting this on the Internet might also be problematic, but – well, whatevers.

4. So then I have switched into “observer mode” on almost all social media, not commenting, not Tweeting, not Facebooking, except checking those things when I need a quick break. It’s funny how it’s totally not rejuvenating in any way to check in on what everyone else is thinking. Because the thing is: everyone, at least everyone I imagine on the Internet, has extremely strong opinions about every aspect of my life. They just haven’t told me to my face, because they don’t know that I think (insert stance on controversial issue) or that I do (insert innocuous activity reflective of my tastes) or that I watch (insert every stupid police procedural or spy show on television, because it is good late-night company while working). But they’re expressing those opinions, all the time, on the computerwebs.

I’m not any better. I go around thinking I’m some ball of even-temperedness and light, and then someone tweets about watching Love Actually again and I feel it surging through me, the overwhelming desire to respond “oh, I just can’t stand that movie. UGH.” 

5. Also, when you go a long time without posting anything on, say, your blog, you start to worry that you need to post something that would be worth people’s wait, the two people still reading said blog. That can be stressful.

6. You know, like – you can’t even come up with a total of seven takes.

7. So, I’m going to try something even more dumb, which is to turn off comments and just write when I feel like it, and try not to care what people might think of me and whatever choices I’m making. That sounds ominous. Right? Really, I just mean that I want to be able to sort out my thoughts about things like:

  • being a working mom and owning a business
  • interacting with people as a business owner versus as a mom versus as a general human
  • being open to having more kids but it just hasn’t really worked out that way
  • being Catholic, like so super-Catholic, y’all
  • intrigue behind the scenes at the Vatican JUST KIDDING REALLY if I never read another speculative piece about what the Pope is signaling and where the world is going it will be too soon
  • ranking the top police procedurals and spy shows from the past five years
  • not my kids, because they’re getting old enough that I don’t think it’s right for me to be trotting out their lives onto the Internet, frankly

UGH see what I mean?! Every single statement on that list could make someone feel really super-offended, like my choices are a comment on their values. I need to stop trying to anticipate every possible reaction to what I might write and just…write stuff.

OR, and I don’t mean this as goodbye-cruel-world, but maybe I should just shut it down for a while and focus on writing, not blogging CRAP I JUST OFFENDED BLOGGERS THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT I JUST MEANT FOR ME NOT FOR YOU. YOU’RE TERRIFIC.