Mental Exhaustion

I’m proud of my daughter. I’m proud of her teachers. I’m proud of her school district.

This was the first week of her traditional public high school functioning virtually. She started strong.

She struggled a bit with geometry.

She downloaded all the apps she needed and kept up with all the work.

But yesterday her dad’s internet proved unreliable then my provider had an outage throughout our entire neighborhood.

Today she got up at 8 a.m. We both started work then, and neither of us finished. I clocked out at 6:15, after problems with the work server all afternoon.

Over dinner, at 7 pm, my daughter mentioned that she was exhausted even though she wasn’t tired.

I explained that was mental exhaustion.

“Now I understand how you feel when you get home from work,” she said.

I mentioned that’s why I watch so much Gordon Ramsay. Mindless.

My HP elitebook arrived today. My daughter got it charged and working and on the internet.

She brought it to be and I downloaded the remote server file for work.

I worked on the new machine for about 3 hours but I kept having issues. It didn’t occur to me that the work server was having problems. So when I saw the message that I had windows updates I restarted.

When I came upstairs, it was still lingering on the screensaver.

I had a stressful week so I hope the computer isn’t broken.

It wasn’t supposed to arrive until sometime between April 7 and 10. So it was 4 days early.

Forward events happening 

I’ve been meaning to post something for a while, even had a list of potential topics (such as my thoughts on medical dramas on television, nothing deep or philosophical). But I didn’t.

I especially thought it on Saturday when my daughter texted me photos from her Girl Scout trip into NewYork City. Between her and my friend Gayle, a chaperone on the trip who updated Instagram regularly, I got an idea what it must be like to see my social media travel posts. And I liked it.

And then I found out that I received a three-credit graduate assistantship from West Chester University for fall which heightens the sense that I really am working towards my master’s.

And with that news, I overlooked the textbook list the professor emailed for our summer class that starts at the end of the month. The class is something about nationalism and democracy in nineteenth century Europe.

Required Textbooks:

1) 19-Century Europe: A Cultural History, Hannu Salmi (978-0-7456-4360-1)

2) Schnitzler’s Century: The Making of Middle-Class Culture 1815-1914, Peter Gay (978-0-3933-2363-4)

3) Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Benedict Anderson (ISBN 978-1-8446-7086-4)

4) Nations and Nationalism, Ernest Gellner (ISBN 978-0-8014-7500-9)

5) Peasants into Frenchmen, Eugen Weber (ISBN 978-0-8047-1013-8)

6)Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe (ISBN 978-0-3854-7454-2)

This gets me ridiculously excited because I base all my concepts of what it means to be French post-nationalism on Weber. I should have this book memorized. Now I have an excuse to buy a copy.

And my ideas of community come from Benedict Anderson. How can they not?

And the lit major in me is glad to see Chinua Achebe on the list…

I am trembling.

And we’re walking

Since my trip to Niagara Falls with the Liberty Bell Wanderers, my family has joined me as official members of that group and the American Volkssporting Association. With their help, I recently finished my initial 10-event book and will now have my own walker number.

I am thrilled with this activity. Volkssporting is non-competitive walking or bike riding, typically for 5k or 10k distances, though sometimes 6k or 15k. The local group that sponsors the walk will have a start location posted on the AVA website. At that location, usually a hotel or a YMCA because of the flexible hours of the facility, there will be a “start” or “walk box.”

In the walk box, there’s a registration form, a start card and a stamp. You fill out the registration form, stamp your book(s), and fill out a start card. Also in the box are directions and envelopes. The envelope allows you to mail your completed start card and payment to the walk administrator (otherwise known as point of contact.)

From there, it’s like a walking tour/scavenger hunt. I usually ask my 11-year-old to read the directions and the map because it’s a good skill for her to practice.

We have recently done North and South Bethlehem, New Hope PA/Lambertville NJ, and Doylestown, PA.

In Bethlehem, we visited the grave of poet HD.


In Doylestown, we hob-knobbed with the history.


Apparently, Doylestown has concrete castles similar to the Edison-inspired concrete house neighborhood in Phillipsburg NJ.

New Hope had lots of artsy views.


Not to mention a mansion that could have belonged to one of my husband’s relatives…


But Lambertville NJ had the most amazing falafel and kufta…

My daughter, who’s struggling to transition from her active elementary school years to a more sedentary middle school life, is outside again and moving so that makes me happy. My husband likes to walk and likes our adventurous day trips. I am so thankful for such a fun family activity.

And unlike bowling, it doesn’t require heavy equipment or ugly shoes.

I vowed never to be a journalist but life disagreed

My first appearance in a daily, 1994

My first appearance in a daily, 1994

In 1994, I hadn’t even declared a major yet. After three years of high school journalism, I had taken a college-level journalism class and had some experience writing features for a local weekly. I accepted a job as a freelance “stringer” for the Newark Star-Ledger. I traveled across Warren County, New Jersey attending municipal and school board meetings. Then I called the editor on the desk and read him my notes.

This was before cell phones and filing by internet. (I’m a dinosaur!)

It was brutal. They always asked questions to which I never knew the answers. They paid well, but the editors often reduced me to tears. One nice editor offered me advice. Call before you leave the site. Make relationships with the people at the meeting and ask for a number where you can reach them. (I also was polite enough to ask how late  could call.)

I hated it. I vowed I never wanted to be a journalist.

Funny, how life changes…

The article in the photograph is the result of my reporting. While it’s not an official byline, it’s my first appearance in a daily newspaper.