* CCY Gold Star Award Winners: #22 Guide the Viewer and Flipping Photos — Cee’s Photography

These photos are amazing!  I think you’ll be inspired to take up Cee’s challenges, too!

Welcome to our Gold Star Award and Features for Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge (CCY). These bloggers all deserve a second or third look for their entries to CCY Photo Challenge #22 Guide the Viewer an Flipping Photos. The month’s Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge theme is Compose Yourself Challenge: #23 Black and White: The Basics (open […]

via CCY Gold Star Award Winners: #22 Guide the Viewer and Flipping Photos — Cee’s Photography

* Orphan Black: only 1 season left!

Thank goodness for BBC America!  My dearest widower and I are Orphan Black/After the Black addicts.  Orphan Black is a sci-fi thriller with more twists and turns than a rollercoaster.  If you haven’t yet watched, oooh!  Thrills await!  The good news?  There are now 4 seasons to watch.  The bad news?  Next season is the last one.  Help!  What will we do?

The main actress, Tatiana Maslany (above), plays ALL the clones in this amazing show.

After the Black features the cast discussing their roles and sharing behind-the-scenes details.

This time next year, I am going into mourning.

One question:  Which clone do you like best?

* The Math Diet

In a recent edition of Teaching Children Mathematics, authors Kateri Thunder and Alisha N. Demchak make a strong case for a “Math Diet” to grow healthy mathematical reasoning in kids.  Just as researchers have identified five foundational components of healthy reading reading instruction, the Math Diet is meant to provide students a balanced framework for navigating math through elementary school.

Here are the five components of the Math Diet as described by Thunder and Demchak:

  1. Counting
  2. Subitizing
  3. Conceptual understanding
  4. Strategic Competence
  5. Procedural fluency

I hear someone mumbling that EVERYONE knows counting is a given, and it’s certainly not esoteric.  BUT, there is a lot more to counting than meets the eye.  Many kids are able to process the more abstract features of counting (understanding order irrelevance, for instance), while struggling students never seem to get past using their fingers.  The key to a healthy Math Diet is to start early and start right.

In my experience, it’s hard to “feed” kids this Math Diet once they have acquired a taste for junk food math skills.  And as I’ve noted before, elementary teachers themselves may not have been exposed to healthy Math Diets.  That’s one reason I joined The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:  my personal Math Diet was sketchy.  maths-

* Golf balls and whoppers

golf-881330_960_720Cee’s Share Your World challenge asks what words make me smile.  Today, someone mentioned golf and I burst out laughing.  Years ago, I needed one more PE class for college and ended up with golf.  Never having touched a golf club before, stuck in a group of country club-ettes, I had a serious handicap.  The instructor mostly left me to my own devices while he flirted with the clubettes.  I had no idea what I was doing, but didn’t want to wreck my grade point average.  For our final “exam,” we were required to play an actual game of golf (my first!) and our score would determine the final grade.  I am laughing as I type this.  My husband was not yet a teaching widower, although he could see the writing on the wall.  Being a sweetheart, he agreed to accompany me to a local public golf course.

I started laughing hysterically with my first swing.  I wasn’t even close to the golf ball and nearly wet my pants as I swung repeatedly, chopping up grass and creating muddy pits at the starting line.  My husband gently pointed out the multiple groups of players waiting to start.  I was bent over with laughter and motioned everyone to go ahead. Fellow golf enthusiasts muttered but I could barely swing the club from laughing so hard (it is an exhausting game).  In desperation, I asked my widower where the ball was supposed to go, he pointed, and I threw it hard.  Of course, I laughed hysterically as the ball wimped out on me and I had to throw it again.  And again.  And again.

Throwing the ball left the field intact, but other golfers were a bit out of sorts.  I continued to laugh helplessly, perhaps as much from anxiety as my pitiful performance.  We spent hours sweating and carousing on that field.  I managed to throw my way to the fourth hole (well, my dearest widower ended up reluctantly throwing the ball for me) and I gave up.  I had counted every swing (but not the throws, of course), which numbered close to 400.  I was drenched in sweat, aching, and panicked.  Here’s a little math question:  If I played the whole course with 372 swings per 4 holes, how many swings would I average in all?

My widower found out what a low-average score was and I reported that score to my instructor (120, I think) .  He was incredulous and accused me of lying.  The clubettes giggled, my face was bright red, and I held on to that whopper with as much sincerity as I could manage.  I ended up with a B.

* Drinking from the Carton-Father’s Day.

Read on for more about a funny and tender love between father and son.



Well, it’s Father’s Day here in the United States. Yes, that day when men all over the country have an excuse to eat as much meat as possible, watch sports, and scratch themselves wherever and whenever they feel like it.

Normally a person takes a moment to speak about their father, but I’m not such a normal person, am I?

However, I am a father, so let’s talk about a person that should be talked about today, my boy “B”.

If you think about it, without him, I would just be a man doing all those things I mentioned at the beginning and be considered an uncouth, animal hating, pig. I thank B for giving me a reason and an excuse for all my man behavior. Picking my teeth in public is a way to keep from getting cavities, scratching deep inside my ear and then staring at the results…

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* Caught it!

Nerd in the Brain’s “fishing for ice” experiment was a super cool event during Science Fair Camp!  Seriously, this thin string actually picked up a clump of ice cubes!  And no cheating by touching the ice with our fingers!  We got to explore molecules, solutions, solvents, and more as we played around with CHEAP water and ice.  Thanks, NitB!


* Better than ever!

Camp Wonderopolis 2016 is even better than its previous years, which is quite an accomplishment.  The tracks (categories) are engaging and the activities for each are well-suited for kids with physical and other limitations.  I was a bit concerned that only kids who played sports could get as much from the activities, but happily, that is not the case.  I think we may earn every Wonder Card this summer!  The quizzes are excellent and the Word Spin allows great vocabulary practice.  Don’t miss the fun!  Sign up today!  I am waiting until August for the Olympic track, which will be fun to link to videos of the games in Rio.


Yeah, we got into bloooood!  All kinds of health-related fun!

* To my father

PG 13 content

In the spirit of Lizzi’s Ten Things of Thankful, here are ten special things about my father.  Those of you who know me must wonder how I can find ten good things about that man.  I grew up hating my father and once tried to kill him (long story there).  He was a sadistic alcoholic who sexually, physically, and emotionally abused me until I left home for good.  My father vowed to destroy me and accomplished that early on.  When he died at age 52, I was living as far away from him as I could get.  I smiled at the news and thought I was free.  What a joke.   OK, the good part is coming.


This was not a fun photo op. There weren’t any of those, ever. I remember being pinched hard because I didn’t want to get near him.

The One who became my true father is responsible for this post.  It turned out that God is not at all like my biological father, which was a major shock.  Now I can share 10 things I appreciate about this special man.  Most of these are tainted by savage experiences, but the nuggets of good are still in there.

  1. He was brilliant, especially with chemistry, electronics, and math.  He designed systems to keep chemical pollution out of a local water supply.  My father built our TV, a boat, model airplanes and ships, and equipment for spying on us and our neighbors.
  2. His photographic memory always amazed me and inspired me to practice looking at pages of text and recording them in my mind.
  3. We each had an indomitable will.  Even when I could not say a word, he read the fiery anger in my eyes.  I fought him every day and night, in every way that I could.  My determination and stubbornness have been quite helpful when turned to more positive endeavors.
  4. My father always wanted me to be a teacher, despite his own terrible experiences with the one he threatened to throw through a window.  He was thrilled that I became a teacher and paid me $50 a month to write to him about my teaching experiences.
  5. I could tell that he loved his brothers, although none of them escaped their household unscathed.
  6. My love of exercise probably came from early years of trying to please this man, but it’s a passion which has been really good for me.
  7. My father enjoyed televised sports and I learned a lot about football from being forced to sit next to him during games.  No, he did not tell me anything about the game, but the commentators were helpful.  And now I enjoy sports with much friendlier folks.
  8. I learned to clean and clean and clean from my father.  Yes, it was actually torture, being forced as a young child to clean all night long, but as my dearest widower commented the other day, “It’s great that you do the deep cleaning around here!  Someone has to!”  True enough.  And I enjoy it.
  9. Despite making every “family” photo a nightmare experience, my father seriously loved photography.  He apparently loved nature and especially sunsets and sunrises.  No surprise that I often requested a camera for Christmas.  And now I want to be like Cee!
  10. Before he died during open heart surgery, my father knew he would not make it.  He never apologized for anything, but sent me a letter describing how he was putting things in order (which I received after he had died).  I immediately trashed that letter, but have since realized that he had time to turn away from his evil deeds and reach out to the Father he never had, either.

I look forward to an eternity with this special man, seeing him as he was intended to be and both loving him and being loved, as I always wanted.



* Compose Yourself: Cee’s Tips

I’ve been playing around with a photograph of clouds, trying to examine it with Cee’s eyes.  What a task that is!  In her Compose Yourself Challenge #22, she shares tips on guiding the viewer’s eye where you want it to go.  The scene below took my eyes off the traffic.  Not a good idea, in retrospect.  The clouds appeared so unreal, undulating and heavy.  I thought maybe we were heading for a tornado.

clouds 1.JPG

Although my eye is guided upwards by the light, that traffic is in the way.  Here it is, below, without traffic.  I’m not sure why the color is so different.  I prefer the tones in the one above.

clouds 2

Without the traffic (above), all I really saw was that bright spot at the top right, so I tried again.clouds 3

I still didn’t get what I wanted.  The clouds in the center were the most amazing to see in real life, but there those brighter spots seem to guide my eyes away the curvy lines of clouds.  Hmm.  I’m not sure what to do.  Start over?