Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Those Bungals

sit at 9-4-1 atop the AFC North, but they have two of their hardest games left: home vs. Denver and on the road vs. Pittsburgh.

This is almost the exact same situation they were in back in 2006.  They sat at 8-6.  They had to win just one of their final two games: in Denver and at home vs. Pittsburgh.

They blew the game in Denver, thanks to turnovers and a missed PAT and then a batched onside kick.  Then at home against Pittsburgh they forced a key turnover on their own goal line.  Then they drove all the way down the field to set up for a chip shot field goal, which Shane Graham missed.  In OT Big Ben threw a TD pass on the first play and there went the playoffs.

This season the Bengals likely have to win one of their final games to make the playoffs.  They blew a golden opportunity to seal up the division two weeks ago when their defense forgot to show up in the fourth quarter, giving up 21 points in a 21-42 lopsided loss at home.  After winning 12 straight home games, they now have lost 2 in a row at home.

Last week they throttled Cleveland 30-0, their fourth straight road win.

So here they face Denver and Petyon Manning, whom they are 0-8 against.  They have never beaten Manning.

Worse yet, they have to face them in prime time, where Andy Dalton is 2-6.

However, I don't know if I can see them losing three straight at home.

Despite Dalton's miserable performances on prime time, they have a few things going for them.  First, they have committed to Jeremy Hill as their primary runner.  This has given their offense a much needed identity.  Second, AJ Green, despite having a quiet week in Cleveland, is on a roll, coming off a 200 plus yard performance against the Steelers.  Third, outside of their wretched fourth quarter against the Steelers (where they gave up a 95 yard touchdown pass and two rushing touchdowns), the defense has really come on - throttling the Saints, Titans, Texans, and Browns.

While I don't expect them to throttled the Broncos, who have one of the best offenses in the game, I sure hope they can keep the Bengals in the game.  If they can do that, Hue Jackson, Cincy's offensive coordinator, will hopefully grind it out with Hill - to the tune of about 25 carries, while also giving 15 carries to Gio Bernard while tossing him 5-10 other passes and hitting AJ Green on a few big plays.  Maybe they will be able to find a few creative plays for Mohammad Sanu to break the game open.

Then they will have to win in Pittsburgh, where they did two years ago to also make the playoffs.

If they finish 11-4-1 they will certainly win the division.  If they finish 10-5-1, they will likely be a wild card and have to play again in Pittsburgh or Indy.

The good news: this is the Bengals fourth straight winning season.

The bad news: they haven't won a playoff game since 1991.

The good news: they have a core of young talented players, several of whom are receiving from injuries (Tyler Eifert, tight end; Vontaze Burfict, linebacker; and Geno Atkins, defensive tackle, who is still working his way back from a blown out knee suffered in the middle of last season).

The bad news: they have missed on some value picks (Marqus Hunt, defensive end, second round; Devon Still, defensive tackle, second round; Dontay Moch, defensive end, third round; Dre Kirkpatrick, corner, first round (though there is a bit of hope with him); and Jermaine Gresham, tight end, first round).

The good news: they have hit on a large number of mid round picks (Mohammad Sanu, WR, third round; George Ilokoa, fifth round; Marvin Jones, WR, fifth round, Geno Atkins, DT, fourth round).

The bad news: they have struck out on numerous mid round picks, especially lately.

The good news: the Bengals have great depth.  This year we have two first round picks at corner (Dre Kirkpatrick and Darquez Dennard) who have rarely seen the field because of all the talent they have assembled.  This is a great sign as for years in the late '80's through the '90's, a first round pick for the Bengals was guaranteed a starting spot on the team.

The bad news: they are not big spenders in free agency.  I don't expect them to waste tens of millions of dollars; however, they could find a few gems if they were just willing to pay for them.  How hard would it be to spend a little more to bring in some legit linebacker talent?  They didn't want to splurge on backups, so they let a solid swing tackle in Anthony Collins leave for Tampa Bay (where he isn't living up to expectations) and they sing Marshall Newhouse on the cheap.  Then when they lose starting right tackle, Andre Smith, they plug in Newhouse, who is so terrible, they have to sign Eric Winston off the scrap heap to try and make up for Newhouse.  They could just have spent a little more and retained Collins.

The good news: their running backs.  Jeremy Hill is a perfect combination of Rudi Johnson and Corey Dillon while Gio Bernard is a modern version of James Brooks.  Hill can lug it 25 times for 100 yards while Bernard can chip in 15 carries and haul in 5 passes per game for around 100 yards.  These two compliment the Bengals excellent stable of receivers quite well.

The bad news: the sudden lack of pass rush.  Last year the Bengals had 40 plus sacks.  This year, they haven't broken 20.  It will help when Atkins returns to his all universe form, Burfict can play a full season, and replacement for Michael Johnson can be found (so far Marqus Hunt has failed in that regard).

The good news: Andy Dalton has been great at times, such as when he carved up the Panthers and Saints.

The bad news: Andy Dalton has been wretched at times, such as when he had a horrid 2.2 passer rating vs the Browns and failed to do anything against the Colts.

The verdict: hopefully, the Bengals can win one of their final two games to make the playoffs.  That would be a great accomplishment, but I don't see them winning that elusive playoff game, at least until their defense returns to the top ten.

How Cool is This?

I can't wait for the day when webpages and info graphics will all be interactive like this.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Today's Reads, Views, and Links

22 Pictures that Prove 2014 is the Future

#5 is one of my favorites.

#9 is pretty amazing too.  I wonder how long it will be until we have a terabyte flash drive or iPhone.

#16 and #17 give me hope for helping those who have given so much for our country and deserve to have their lives returned to as normal as possible.

#22 is pretty amazing too.


This is a link every English geek will love.

My favorite, which isn't on this list, is from a Li Young Lee poem: "Everything is punished by your absence."

Although this one from the list is pretty spectacular.

“She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”
—J. D. Salinger, “A Girl I Knew”


A great blog post, The Courage of Creativity.  This reminds me of what a lot of my students struggle with when writing their themes.


And we say this generation of kids is nuts


I could watch/listen to Gary Vaynerchuk all day.  I don't always like what he says, but you can't deny the guy is a maverick who tells it like it is (well, like he thinks it is).  I like to think that I teach a bit like Gary V.

Here he offers 7 Times He Went Against the Grain.

Here are the embeds of my favorite parts --

Here is his response to "I have a great idea, but . . ." In great Gary V style he offers his take on that


And on the question, "Is it better to be a big fish in a little pond or a little fish in a big pond?" Here is Gary V's take.


3 Ways to Create More Teacher Time

I love this.

And if you're too lazy to click on the link, here they are

1.  Reorganize school schedules to prioritize learning for students and teachers.

Love this.  Why?  Several reasons.

First, I like how it states "prioritize learning for students and teachers."

If you're a teacher and you're not learning anymore, you suck and you should be terminated.  Period.

Second, and I just learned this from our lead negotiator last week on our way back from TIES.  Guess what month has the most student to teacher contact days?

I guessed February (we never get a break in February).


May.  What sense does that make?

All the state tests are done.  Furthermore, all the spring activities are kicking in so we might have the most student to teacher contact days but that is the month that students miss the most school!  And it's not even close.

School should be reorganized to either go all year round, or school should start at the beginning of August and end the first week of May.

2.  Promote teacher-driven learning communities.

I'm blessed to work in a district where this is a reality.  We have common prep in place which allows for other teachers to share best practices to other teachers.  We also have a large technology training session on MLK where many of the presenters (dare I say a majority?) are teachers from around the area.

3.  Rethink classroom structure and needs.

Interesting.  This isn't for all classes (at least that's my take), but for those that can pull this off, it's effective.

Here is how I try to tackle this.  I try and flip my classroom, not just in the typical homework in class and lecture/classwork at home.  I do a lot of that, but I mean "flip" as in "flip" the teacher and student role.

I try to do that by giving students (most commonly my College Comp 2 classes) the chance to teach the class.  And these turn out amazingly well.

I also try to give students - again usually in College Comp 2 - work time to design their lessons.  This week I have given students time to meet with another faculty member to help them craft and design their lessons, which they will begin presenting this Wednesday.

Often that mean I had no kids in class.  They were off working on their lesson plan.  To some that looks like non-teaching.  I disagree.  I think that is what we need to do more of.  Now, that has to come with a grain of salt. I can't turn my Lit and Lang 9R class loose like that or I'd never see some of them again, but that doesn't mean I can't put them in charge of teaching small sections to the rest of the class. I know several of our teachers who do this already, and it's very effective.


I sure could have used this last week when I was prepping for my two presentations at TIES: 9 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Presentations and Speeches.

Now what would our lectures be like in class if we truly took these suggestions to heart?

Our principal said something interesting in common prep last week.  Without calling this teacher out - or even indicating who it was - he said that in his last round of observations he noticed that a teacher was giving a lecture, not because it was warranted or that it was effective, but this teacher was just giving the lecture because he or she wasn't prepared.

You see lecturing on something you know like the back of your hand is something that can make up for not preparing for class.  And I'm not going to say that I am not guilty of this.

But when Mr. Zutz said that, a lightbulb went off.

I felt guilty because I never realized I had been doing this (I was).  But it also drove home a great point for me - this is how many of my teachers got through their careers.

And that sucks.

Take two examples - American history and grammar.  Two subjects that are near and dear to my heart.

However, we teach them in the most unengaging and boring ways imaginable.  We lecture on and on and on and then we reinforce what we want them to know with worksheets.

Well, that sucks.  It suck badly.

Don't believe me.

Try this - stop a kid in our school or in the mall or wherever and ask them these questions -

Who fought in the American Civil War?

What is a gerund?

Who were the Axis powers in World War II?

What is a compound sentence?

I could go on, but I don't need to.

The results will prove my point, which is this - we teach those history and grammar - two of my favorite subjects - in the most mind-numbing ways. No wonder we have generations of kids who know nothing about our own history and the English language!


Take this Baby Boomers and Gen Xers!


I don't know how this alligator will ever show it's face in social circles again after this smack-down!

That is almost as awesome as this old one


One of my all-time favorite digital essays.  This drives home one point: the lengths parents will go to for their children.

I wish all kids could have just one experience like this.  What would the world be like if we all - not just teachers and parents - but everyone - went out of our way to make one kid have a Christmas (or a birthday or a Fourth of July) memory like this?

ERRRRRR . . . How to Kill Learner Curiosity in 12 Easy Steps.


And how cool is this? A young boy creates his own prosthetic limb. From Legos!!! Amazing!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

My current Dip

Last year I was fortunate enough to be invited to TIES by our district.  It was one of the best professional development activities I've ever been involved in.

What I loved most about it was that I realized there are a lot of other crazy, technology loving, think differently others out there.  As soon as I walked into the first morning session featuring the day's keynote speaker, Marc Prensky, whose classic "Engage Me or Enrage Me" is a staple of my College Comp class, I the first thing I thought was "these are my people."  I felt right at home.

So when we were heading for home the following day, after attending a session by one of my favorite people in education, George Courus, I began asking our technology coordinator about being invited back next year.

"The way to ensure that you can go back to TIES is to present a session there next year," he said.

With that, I began devising the session I was going to present.  I got so fired up that I submitted two proposals.  Luckily, they were both accepted.

While this was wonderful - after all when it comes to education, there is nothing I love more than engaging with students via social media and using it to build a platform to enhance my classes - I soon realized I had to actually get down to doing the heavy lifting of designing the presentations.

That led me to do a lot of research over the summer.  I three books to use as the base for my presentations -

Gary Vaynerchuk's Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook! which I actually bought while I was at the TIES session last year.

Michael Hyatt's Platform.

And Don Tapscott's Grown Up Digital.

Then I did a little more research on how to best present my slideshows and discovered Carmine Gallo's excellent Talk Like TED.

And so I began to put the slideshows together, taking bits and pieces from various slideshows and Keynotes and presentations and notes I had kept over the past few years.

Then I soon realized I was in a dip (you College Comp students take note here): it wasn't turning out like I wanted it to.  I knew I was committed to trying to put together a spectacular presentation, so there was no way I was going to quit. 

As you College Compers know, having read Seth Godin's The Dip, I only had one choice: lean into the dip.

And that's why I'm at home today. I took a personal day to roll my sleeves up (actually I'm wearing t-shirt) and get to work.  The harder I work, the sooner I'll be out of this dip.  

So I chucked everything that I had been working on and started from scratch, so far it's flowing amazingly well.  I'm engaged and it doesn't even feel like work at all.  Sir Ken Robinson (remember The Element, which we read first quarter?) would say I'm in my element.  I would agree.  But that doesn't mean it's not work.  It doesn't mean that I'm out of the dip yet.  

Hopefully, by the time I am back in school tomorrow, I'll be out of this dip . . . and looking for the next one.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Cash Knows What's Up

On Saturday night we were following Mom in the Highlander.  She was dropping it off to have a remote starter put in it.

As we followed along, Kenz and Cash began bantering.

Kenz was made at Cash for something he said.  Cash has been pushing the boundaries awhile of what we consider acceptable language.  He has been using the word "ass" quite a bit now. (Personally, I blame his Grandmother, Gail, for that, but that's just me  -  kidding Gail.  Just kidding).

He thought it was quite funny when we could go over to the Kawanis' Park in TRF, which KoKo told us some of her classmates nicknamed "Acid" Part because - supposedly - whoever designed it must have been on acid (oh, teenagers).  One day when we was feeling a bit rebellious he said, "I'm going to kick your ass!"

When I scolded him (again, blaming his Grandmother for this - ha ha- just kidding Gail), he smiled and promised never to do it again (Oh, I know that one.  I was the master of that one when I was his age.  My mom and grandmother would let me get away with murder as long as I promised to never do it again. Suckers!).

Sure enough, about two minutes later, he said, "I'm going to kick your assssss-" and then I glared at him and he smirked and finished with "asssssid Park!  See Dad, I didn't say 'ass.'  I said, 'I'm going to kick your Acid Park!'"

Oh he thought he was smart then.

Well, back to the other night.  As Kenz and Cash argued, Cash let something slip.

Then I heard Kenz instruct him, "Now, Cash," she said. "There are two kinds of asses.  There is the bad kind that you always say.  Then there is the good kind like "Acid Park."

And though I couldn't see him smirking in the back, I bet he was when he said, "There is a good ass, like 'Dad is bad ass!'"

Now I was smirking.  He is right though.  Cash knows what is up indeed: Dad is bad ass!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day 2014 at LHS

Ever since Mr. Zutz took over as principal at LHS, he has made it a point to make our Veteran's Day ceremonies meaningful.

I feel that before Mr. Zutz took over, the ceremony was just an obligation.  For a decade prior to Mr. Zutz, I can recall a few of the speakers we've had, but I can't recall one thing the previous two principals said.  Nothing. Totally unremarkable.

And our Veteran's Day ceremony should be anything but that.

And for six years now, they have been remarkable.

This year was no exception.

This video, which we watched shortly into the ceremony, drives that point home -

Then Mr. Zutz shared this story - as he does every Veteran's Day, (his second year at LHS he actually took all the desks out of my room to use to demonstrate the power of this story with local veterans actually carrying in the desks).  And best of all, it's legit!

Then our guest speaker, Mr. Stone, gave an amazing speech on the value of our veterans.

Finally, we watched a video similar to this one.

And dammit if I wasn't wiping the tears from my eyes.

Then - just by serendipity - my College Comp 2 ended up watching this incredible TED Talk by Dean Kamen, about his efforts to provide prosthetic limbs for our injured vets.

I love this coach's explanation of the importance of the Star Spangled Banner and what he players should be thankful for while it's playing.

And finally, one of the most remarkable - and touching - stories of the brotherhood and bravery of our troops.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Today's Reads, Views, & Links

Thanks to the @entreleadership podcast, I came across the author Carmine Gallo, and his new book Talk Like TED.

I bought this in part because if I'm a better public speaker, my classes will be better.  Plus, I bought it with my two presentations at this year's TIES conference in Minneapolis in mind.

Gallo watched over 500 TED Talks to analyze what makes the most successful so successful.

Just a few early takeaways: the power of story.  

First,  it always pays to tell stories.  The power of story telling is the #1 factor in a successful public talk.  Regardless of how complex the data is that you have to present, it always comes down to connecting the data to a story.

This is one reason I'm a supporter of the use of narrative over the thesis-support format.  

The trick, though, is to not overuse stories.  If you just tell stories, they obviously start to lose their effect.

Second, rehears and rehears and rehears.  When you're struggling to find your spot or to get the words out, the audience will struggle with you and you've lost them.  

Third, mix it up.  No one ever is excited to watch a pre-made slideshow.  Those suck.  Period.  

They can't be optimal for your audience.  The one thing my students tell me over and over again about the classes they dislike: the Powerpoints are boring because they're just the notes typed up and put up on the SMARTboard.

Likewise, since everyone has gone through hundreds of Powerpoints, sometimes it's an effective approach to go back to basics during a presentation. Use the white board or use paper to illustrate your idea.  Even those these aren't "new," they're still fresh and engaging because they aren't used very often anymore.


I'm not sold on the last two ways the author has to improve student writing, but her first one: Student talks, teacher writes, has proven effective for me.

I use this when we craft effective introductions.  I'll ask the class to come up with dialogue to begin a rite of passage.  While they give examples, I type them up and project them on the SMARTboard.  Then I'll ask them to come up with a snapshot lead for the same essay.  And so on.

From there we will craft a rough draft of an essay together.  For the most part, I stay silent and just type.


Just read the first three paragraphs of this article (How One Teacher Changed for the Good of Her Students) and tell me you don't want to read the rest!

Four years ago, I realized that I needed to take responsibility for the damage I had done to students who came into my room loving (or at least liking) school and left diminished in some ways. Those kids who loved math until my long-winded lectures about process left them confused and bitter. Those kids that loved to read until my strict book report guidelines and reading logs devoured their curiosity for great stories. 
I had to take responsibility for what I had done. There was no one else to blame. Just as important, I had to make sure that my future students would leave our classroom still loving school, with passionate curiosity, not afraid to try something new.
How do we make children hate school so much? I now teach 5th grade, and by the time they reach me, certain subjects have already landed on their top 10 list of most dreadful things to do. Math tends to top the chart, but social studies usually is close behind, and some even hate reading (but may read many books outside of school). Most students confess a love of recess, art, music, and sometimes even science. PE is always a crowd favorite as well. But math and social studies, yikes.

Sometimes we have to change for our students. After all, the students in front of us today are not the same as they were 10 years ago.  Thus, we have to approach our teaching differently.
What is good for teachers is not always what is good for our current students.
This is one reason I embraced the use of cell phones and social media in my classes.
The counter argument to this is, "yeah, it's fine to engage and entertain the students now.  But what about when they get to college and the professor just lectures all the time."
Well, I have a couple ways to counter this -
1.  Just because they suck, doesn't mean we have to suck.  I mean what happens if our elementary school teachers took that approach?  "You're teachers in high school are just going to lecture, so first graders, you better get used to it, so sit still and here is a 25 minute lecture on reading."  That's stupid.
2.  We have to engage students now so that they better master the skills they need to be college and career ready (and this is something we don't do at LHS very well at all).  When students have been engaged and mastered the skills to be college and career ready and head off to college, maybe they will be more mature and ready to handle their college chemistry class where they are lumped in with 450 students and lectured to for three hours a week.  But even colleges are learning that this isn't an effective way to instruct students.  That's one reason two thirds of all college chemistry grades are Ds or below.
3.  And colleges, I would argue, need to actually teach their professors how to teach rather than just do research.  Why else are up to 70% of all college students leaving without degrees?  
4.  When I was part of the RRVWP with several English professors from UND, they were very cognizant of crafting engaging lessons. In fact, that was how we spent much of our time over the four weeks we met: studying best practices of engaging methods to teach students how to write.

Here is a great article from one of my favorite authors, Steven Johnson, 4 Critical Mistakes All Inventors Make.
My favorite two - failing to anticipate the response of the market.
Johnson's example is of one man's quest to ship ice to tropical environments.  He jus assumed people in warm areas would naturally realize the benefits of ice.  And be willing to pay for it.
However, the audiences didn't know what they were missing, because they weren't really missing it.  So the Frederic Tudor had to create the market first before there was any demand. In other words, he had to make his audience want ice.  No easy feat.
This happens with products all the time though.  No one realized they wanted digital music on their phones until Steve Jobs showed us how cool it would be.
Another example where this failed was Tivo.  Without a doubt Tivo is one of the best DVRs in the business.  However, their marketing campaign didn't resonate at all with their audience.  Thus, Tivo, despite being the superior product in the market, has never made a profit.
Creating a device that changes the world, but for completely different reasons than they themselves imagined.
There are several examples here -
Twitter.  This initially was simply a way for users to post their thoughts on line and share them with others all in 140 characters.  When Twitter came out the concept of hashtags to organize commentary didn't exist.  That was something not really intended. In fact, the inventors of Twitter decided to go ahead and put Twitter on line even though they knew that it would be used for completely different reasons than they intended.
They didn't know it would help market products, allow teachers to teach more effective, enable people to "live tweet" events, and even bring down governments (such as happened with the Arab Spring rebellion).
When Thomas Edison created the phonograph, he purportedly concocted a list of ten things it could be used for.  The first? The one he thought would be most successful? To record the last will and testament of the dying.  Cheerful, right?  The last thing on this list was the one that made all the difference: to record and play music.
Another (far more tragic) example was an inventor who was horrified when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank.  He worked to find a way to send sound waves through water to detect ice bergs. This would go on to become sonar.  That - over the years - would be used to detect the sex of babies and to spot potential health hazards of fetuses (sonograms).  The inventor couldn't have foreseen that the Chinese - under their one child policy - would use ultrasounds to detect the gender of their infants and then - tragically - use that knowledge in deciding to abort the female fetuses.
The brilliance of a master craftsman

鳴子系こけし/こけしの岡仁 from dmp on Vimeo.

There are just some things 3D printers won't be able to replace.

Here is another example of a craftsman

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Kenzie vs. the Monkey Bars

During the middle of my second block class last Thursday I received a call from the nurse at Challenger.  This is never good.

"Kurt," Mrs. Jone, the nurse said, "Kenzie fell off the monkey bars on the playground.  She says her arms hurts. It's swollen and turning green."

And with that I was off to Challenger.

Two things were running through my mind: First, I had to get Kenzie to the emergency room.  Second, did I have her insurance card?

While waiting at the round about, I flipped through my wallet: no insurance cards.

So I quick dialed my wife's phone.  And wouldn't you know it, she didn't answer.

Not that she was ignoring me, I had forgotten that she had to go look at a property for her insurance company, and she was in a dead spot for cell phone reception.

Without thinking much about it, I rattled off a message: "Honey, I'm taking Kenzie to the emergency room. I don't have her insurance card. Call me back."

I figured that would suffice and focused on picking up Kenzie.

(Side note - I didn't think at all about the shock my poor wife would endure when she heard my actual message!  I somehow thought she would automatically know that she fell off the monkey bars and that  was why I was rushing her to the ER)

What I love about Challenger is that I know so many of my colleagues out there that I feel like they are always looking out for us, so as soon as I walked through the doors all the secretaries smiled and said, "Daddy's here Kenzie."

I walked into the nurse's office and saw poor Kenz with her jacket still on, an ice bag on top of her forearm and the wood chips still clinging to her coat from when she tumbled off the monkey bars.

I scooped her up and carried her to my car while the nurse brought her back pack.

And we were off to the new Sanford hospital to the ER.

It didn't take long for the doctor to see us and order some X rays.

At first everything seemed fine.  I breathed a sigh of relief that it her wrist was just bruised.  However, when we were brought back for a second round of X-rays and she had to rotate her wrist, I knew something was wrong.  That's when Kenz began to howl in pain.  That's when I knew we had a break.

So we returned to the ER room to wait while the nurse fetched a splint.

To take her mind off of her pain and panic, we played I-Spy.  Then when I got tired of that, I tried to peak into her ears and nostril with the ear, nose, and throat inspector device that all doctor rooms have (you know those one that has a long cylinder and with an arrow type top pointing out.  The doctor always puts a plastic cone on the end and it lights up so he or she can examine you).  But Kenz was having none of it.

"Dad," she said. "You can't touch that stuff!"

"Why not?" I said. "There's no one else in here.  I just want to see what's up your nose. Come on!"

By this time I had already taken it off the wall and was trying to take a peek at Kenzie.

"Dad," she said inching away from me.  "You're not a doctor!"

"True," I said, waiting for her to settle down, "but I play one on TV."

She was not impressed.

I had to put the device away.

Nor would she let me check her blood pressure or test her reflexes with the little hammer I found in one of the drawers.

Poor Kenz was about mortified when I began snooping around.


"Well, if they're going to leave me in here this long, I'm going to look around. I always wanted to do this when I was in your spot when I was young.  I just was too scared."

Finally, the nurse came back and put Kenzie's wrist in a splint.

I knew it was going to be fine, for as soon as the splint was tightened, Kenzie's pain went away.

Disaster was averted.  And just in the nick of time too as Halloween was the following day.

As we were about to leave, Kenz seemed sad.

"What's wrong, babe?"

"Dad, I hurt my right arm," she said.  "That means I can't write or draw."

My girl!!! I thought and gave her a hug.

Ha ha.  What a sweetheart.  Then I had to tell her about Casey, when he was in first or second grade, tried to convince Kristie that he had an allergy to paper and couldn't write anything.

And here was Kenze all bummed out that she couldn't write in kindergarten.  At least for a few weeks.

And now today, she visited Dr. Ballard and he and his nurse, Mary, took excellent care of her and got her a blue cast.  She should have it off in three weeks.

Now we just have to get a Prowler paw to go on there and find a silver sharpie so her classmates' can sign their names!