The Dog is a Cash Cow.

Buddy Just Might Pay for the Evil Spawn's College.

Buddy the Dog has done it again.

Another endorsement.

I’ve warned him about letting this go to his head (it’s important he keeps all 4 paws grounded).

He needs to understand that fame and fortune can be flitting.

Just ask Tiger (alright, bad example… he still has plenty of both).

Buddy’s Orange Soda is made by the New Ulm Brewing & Beverage Company in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota… and it wouldn’t kill them to send me a case (or 2). 

I’m just saying.

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Vacation Face.

Summer Vacation 2010 is winding down so it’s time to review (before I begin my 87 hour drive back to dreaded civilization).

As noted in a previous blog, I stink at vacation.  That’s the bad news.Me.  If I Were Happier.

The good news is I’m not the only one (actually that’s more bad news… evidently there’s a lot of Type A weirdo’s running amok at resorts near you).

Even though I’m coming to grips with the idea I might have a problem with too much free time, it doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of good things about vacations.

So here they are:


10.  I’m not at work.  This one’s pretty self explanatory.

9.  Living in a strangers house is both cool and creepy (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ve never stayed in someone else’s house).

8.  No early bedtime.  It’s vacation.  I can stay up as late as I want (which sadly turns out to be right around 10 p.m).

7.  No alarm clocks.  Well, until that last two days… I had to get up early… got things to do (vacations only last so long people… and note to self:  change alarm sound to something besides Jamaican music).

6.  DVD’s to watch.  What else am I going to do at 2:30 in the afternoon when there aren’t meetings to attend?

5.  Unscheduled exercise.  It’s nice when I don’t have to worry about finding 45 minutes before or after work.  Plus, for some odd reason it’s more fun to exercise in a different state (you know I’m right about this one).

4.  Books to read.  Or more truthfully,  1/2 book.  I’m still working on Linchpin (a chapter at a time… it’s good, I just get so sleepy).

3.  Junk food (see #5… if I want more Howie’s Tacos, I just take another walk… it’s not like I don’t have the time).

2.  Golf.  I’ve played more golf in the last 6 days then I have all summer.  Now that I think about it, I’m getting a little sick of golf.

1.  With a doubt, the best thing about vacation is I don’t have to shave! 


The happiness I get from not shaving is indescribable.

This is truly as happy as one man can get. 

Since I will never get to experience the joy of childbirth, I will have to remain content with the grand experience I like to call Vacation Face.

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I Stink at Vacation.


You are either good at it or you are me.I'm the One on the Right.

And as usual, that’s not a good thing.

Because I stink at vacation.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the time away from home (code:  work).

I’m just not good at it.

Vacation is everything I despise.

No structure.  No schedule.  No reason to set the alarm to get up early.  No To Do List where I can scratch off my accomplishments in the order of importance. 

Just day after day of sitting around watching time pass by.

It’s unstructured and exhausting.

On the other side of the spectrum, my wife (Tech Queen), daughter (Evil Spawn), and Buddy the Dog are great at vacation.

They have walks to take, books to read, little towns to explore, naps to take, and movies to watch (in the effort of full-disclosure… Buddy isn’t that great of a reader).

This is also exhausting.

Watching them relaxing and accomplishing nothing.

The best part of vacation for me is the anticipation of going.  After that it’s all downhill.

Once I arrive at the chosen vacation spot, my thoughts turn to when we have to leave.

When should we start packing?

What time should we leave so we beat traffic?

Will we get back early enough so I can mow the yard?

A vacation is almost more exhausting than staying home and being in my normal routine.

Actually, it’s more than exhausting.

It’s a little pathetic now that I think about it.


Question/snide remark from said “Tech Queen” – A little pathetic?

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This picture comes from Gunflint Hills Golf Course in Grand Marias, Minnesota.

The cooler is located on hole #5.

You buy a drink and leave $1.00 in the coffee can (sorry kids… no one to help you make change).

In this day and age, you just don’t see the opportunity for people to be honest.

It’s simple.

And nice.

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Off the Grid.

I’ve been a little lax in my blogging.  The reason… we’re on vacation.

The View From Every Window in Our Cabin.

Well, kind of.

I’m not sure if you can technically call it a vacation when you drive over 19,000 miles with the Evil Spawn and Buddy the Dog in the backseat snoring (if that isn’t bad enough, they both drool while they sleep… and neither one can figure out why the truck seat is wet).

I must admit this obnoxious snoring is better than hearing “Are we there yet?”

To get from our house to the North Shore in Minnesota took approximately 87 hours.

Or at least it seemed like 87 hours (it may have been longer because at one point I passed out).

The trip was so long that I could have sworn we were going in circles.

I kept thinking… I know I’ve seen this “Welcome to Wisconsin” sign at least a dozen times.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is I’ve been able to drop off “The Grid”.

For educators “The Grid” is a triangle.  It goes from your home to school to Wal-mart (feel free to substitute another large mega-billion shopping store of your choice).

It’s a law.  Every teacher and administrator must spend 90% of their time inside their grid (unless school is in session… then it’s 98.5%).

I think there might be some fine print in NCLB that requires us to stay inside this restricted area.

Rumor has it educators who venture outside the “Grid” too often are never heard from again.

It’s the opposite of tenure.

So it’s a fine line between leaving your grid and going insane (and not a little insane… I’m talking Jack Nicholson in The Shining insane).

Because I don’t see the need in chasing the Tech Queen with an ax, we like to go on vacation at least once a year (unfortunately these never take place during school).

This year we headed for the woods.

A cabin in northern Minnesota.

Frighteningly close to my sworn enemies… the Canadians.

People ask me what I have against the good people of Canada.


I just don’t trust them.

Sooner or later they are going to get sick of the cold and storm our borders with the intent of taking Florida just so they can sit on a beach.

Mark my word, it’s coming.

As I sit here and type this blog, I’m within miles of the US-Canadian border (rest easy, I will keep an eye on them and if I can’t chase them back… Buddy the Dog can… unless of course, he’s napping).

So for the next several days I’m officially off “The Grid”.

No ESPN.  No internet.  No email.  No phone calls. No meetings.

No contact with any other human beings (unless it’s on a golf course… and I do apologize for almost hitting you with my drive off #7).

I’m unreachable.

I’m a ghost.

I don’t exist.

At least that’s what I told everyone at school.

Do you think they will believe I pre-wrote this blog and uploaded it before I left?

I guess I’ll never know since I’m not getting their emails.

Or at least I’m not answering them.

It’s good to be off “The Grid”.

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New Ways to Do Old Things.

As educators, I think we have to be open to change. 

Just because we’ve always done something one way… it doesn’t mean there’s not a better way.


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The Future of Education?

I’ve been thinking about writing(?) this blog for several months (ugh…I just realized I’m a procrastinator).

What Does the Near Future Hold?

My thought was to blog about how schools will be different in 10 years.

After numerous attempts, I’ve given up (evidently I’m also a quitter).

I really have no idea how schools are going to change.

But I’m positive they will (but what do I know…).

So as a loyal reader with time to burn (I love summer), what’s your opinion?

How will schools be different in 2020?

Will they be better or worse?

What role will technology, unions, government, teachers, parents, tenure, business, politicians, administrators, NCLB, and everything else play in our schools?

Or am I wrong?

Is it possible schools will look exactly the same?

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Buddy the Dog’s First Endorsement.

I'm Hoping to Get 10% as His Agent.

It was just a matter of time.

Buddy is now endorsing products.

I hope and pray it doesn’t go to his head.

I would hate to see him become an egotistical star who forgets where he came from (…crate in the garage).

He needs to remain grounded (all 4 paws).

Fame is a fickle fickle mistress.

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Medal of Participation.

Softball season is over.

It’s another milestone in my daughter’s life.

Even the Kids Who Can't Make the Final Game Get a Medal.

Each sport she plays seems to come and go so quickly (except soccer… which drags on… and then drags on some more).

I’ve said it before, time (and her childhood) are moving by at a breakneck pace.

And yet, I don’t seem to age.

Maybe it’s good genes.  Maybe it’s dementia.

When her last game ended, she was presented with the traditional Medal of Participation.

If you play… good or bad… you get a generic softball necklace (see picture).

This keepsake will undoubtedly get shoved into her bedroom drawer of abyss.  This means it will never be seen again (until we kick her out of the house and reclaim her room as our new office).

The medals are nice, but they seem so temporary (it’s possible many were lost on the trip home).

This isn’t how my generation was raised.

When I was a kid (the 80’s… or the golden years as I like to call them), winners were given trophies and everyone else got nothing (and they liked it).

Now we have to make sure everyone feels good about themselves.

Wins and losses take a backseat to feelings and self-esteem.

This has always seemed odd to me.  Life used to be simpler.  Twenty years ago you could easily identify who won the game.

Now everyone is treated the same.

Call me crazy, but there was something to be said for one team parading a gigantic trophy (usually plastic) around the field while the 2nd place team stood off to the side and cried their eyes out.

It was simple and straightforward.

If you wanted a trophy, you had to practice.  And work.

Then practice some more.

It was what made America great.

The people who worked the hardest got the biggest rewards.

But things are different now.

I’ve always felt it was wrong to reward kids simply for participating.

I don’t do this often, so pay attention.

I may be changing my mind.


Yesterday, I saw one of my daughter’s teammates at the grocery store (a full 48 hours after their last game and the awarding of the Medals of Participation).

Much to my surprise she was wearing her medal.

And she was very proud of herself.

Really proud.

Not because she was the best player or the team who won the championship (sadly, she wasn’t and they didn’t), but because she played.

She participated.

And she has the medal to prove it.

So maybe… just maybe… I’ve been wrong.  Maybe participating is more important than winning.


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The Strange Behaviors of a Pre-Teen.

We are raising an animal (no not Buddy the Dog… he’s raising us).

The Evil Spawn is entering Step 1 of her teenage internship.

Each new phase of a child’s life is challenging, but this one is bound to be particularly disturbing.

She’s starting to exhibit some odd behaviors.

Like painting her fingernails.  Picking up her room without arguing about it.  And caring what her hair looks like (after not brushing it for 72 consecutive  months).I'm Just So Sleepy.

But by far the strangest behavior is her sleeping habits.

She never wants to go to bed because she’s not tired, but then she doesn’t want to get up because she’s exhausted.

Don’t ask me to explain because I find it very mysterious.

She seems to have a love/hate relationship with sleep. 

For me it’s a challenge to figure out where she’s located each morning (or more likely, late morning).

When I’m tired, I go to sleep (if all goes well) in my bed (I’m not going to lie, it’s usually the highlight of my day).

When she finally gives up and goes to bed, she heads to one of 18 different places (generally, no more than 3 consecutive nights in any one place).

I might find her sleeping in her bedroom, but that’s the exception… not the rule.

More likely I will discover her crashed out on a couch, in the guest room, or on the floor (this is tricky because you don’t want to step on her first thing in the morning… because this seems to anger her).

I asked her why she doesn’t sleep in her bed and she said “I like it… I just don’t like-like it.”


I have a feeling the odd behavior is just beginning.  It’s only going to get worse.

For me.

In about 6 years I will like her creepy unemployed boyfriend.

I just won’t like-like him.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.