Inspiration on a Grey Day

It's truly foul outside. The roads are filled with slushy wet stuff that supposed to freeze tonight. The sky is somewhere between white and grey. In 30 minutes, I have an appointment for a regular physical where the doctor is going to sign me up for a colonoscopy — family history and over 40. I can't tell you how excited I am to flush out my intestines and then get probed. I'm trying to tell myself that it's a cleansing and that's what all the rich girls do, but my brain ain't buying it.

So, what's one to do when the sky is grey and a colonoscopy is looming? Look for inspiration!

1. I'm going learn how to cook winter roots!


2. I'm going to be inspired by someone who made a difference in the world. I'll donate money to a good cause.


3. I'll admire a nice home by artists and decide to take some prints to the art shop for framing. Which will prompt me to take the family to a museum this weekend. 


4. I'll stop giving Jonah a hard time about getting a 72% on a math test. (He got all the answers right, but he lost points for doing all the computations in his head.) Who cares? Let's go skiing and skating and eat treats at little cafés. Let's make silly jokes about TV shows and take the time to photograph green eyes and little toes.

5. Two miles at the gym, lunch with friends, the 1,000 word goal, wine with friends on Friday nights, a fluffy memoir, and a date night with the husband.

The recipe for a content life is so simple, and on sunny days, it comes very naturally. It's on these grey days that I sometimes need to remind myself how to do it.


10 thoughts on “Inspiration on a Grey Day

  1. He got all the answers right, but he lost points for doing all the computations in his head.
    That is so wrong. I know they do that, it’s just…wrong. It’s driven by the state tests and NCLB. To transform an A into a C for that punishes him for being good at math and male (therefore, not as compliant as a girl–not that there aren’t girls who wouldn’t also fall into this trap.)
    It’s also wrong to punish him for doing calculations quickly and efficiently without using a pen.
    Keep an eye on the requirements for placement into honors math in your high school. He can do the math, but now he has to learn the game of coloring within the lines, lest his GPA stand in his way.

  2. Thanks for all the positivity and good thoughts on this winter day. I needed that- got the winter blues BAD here in Chicago.

  3. He’s in the high math class already, but we’ve been told that if hecontinues to domath problems in his head, they’ll demote him. Even though he got a perfect score on the state math test two years in a row. If that happens, we’ll immediately put him in a private school.

  4. “It’s also wrong to punish him for doing calculations quickly and efficiently without using a pen.”
    It is wrong to punish him for doing calculations quickly in his head. But, what they should be doing is giving him hard enough calculations so that he can’t do them in his head. Otherwise, they can’t be sure that he’s learned how to do the problem in a way that generalizes.
    It’s difficult to design a test that can’t be gamed (depends a lot on what math they’re doing). And, depending on the kind of work they’re doing, the intermediate steps might or might not be necessary to show mastery of the information.
    I’m not giving J’s school credit for this deep reasoning, from what Laura has said before — it’s probably more plausible that they’re just making him check boxes and don’t like rebellious kids who refuse to check boxes.
    But, if my kids’ school required them to show their work, and they weren’t, I’d think about why. But, of course, that’s my schools, not yours.

  5. “Otherwise, they can’t be sure that he’s learned how to do the problem in a way that generalizes.”
    Oldest daughter doesn’t like to show work either. School hasn’t mentioned it, but I like to see her do it for things like borrowing and carrying for the reasons bj mentions–she needs to be able to “show the work” so that when she does bigger problems, she won’t get lost in the computation. C has also just started doing bar models in her Singapore Math, which she dislikes, but I think it will be very good for her to be able to automatically turn word problems into diagrams.
    On the other hand, certain popular math curricula are infamous for asking children to explain or show work for simple-minded problems that shouldn’t require explanation.

  6. Jonah isn’t showing his work, because he’s lazy and absent minded. It also just comes so easily to him that he can’t understand why he needs to write it down. Actually, we’re siding w/the teacher on this one. He has to give the teacher whatever she wants, no matter how silly.

  7. My son will turn himself inside out for extra credit. Offer him a free two points, he’s a happy camper. On the other hand, turn an A into a C because you didn’t “show your work,” and I could see him developing a bad attitude.
    They’re threatening him with the equivalent of life in prison, when a little bit of honey might be much more effective. Most middle schoolers aren’t thinking of their high school math track. Parents are, but in this case, we’re just an authority. Threatening him with an inappropriate placement won’t change his behavior today, because the time frame’s much too long.

  8. We just had before-school drama because my daughter realized at the last minute that the assignment due today needed to be in blue or black ink, and she had used pencil. I suggested she run it through the copier (our printer is a copier) but she said it didn’t look quite right. After she left, my husband mumbled about not understanding why it has to be in blue or black ink. (We’ve learned not to bring up our frustrations with stupid criteria like these in front of S because it just stresses her more.)

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