THE UPSIDE

February 17, 2020

My husband tried to shear a sheep. Only once. He claims, “It looked like the sheep went through the blender.” This Spring, our sheep will be sheared by a professional; it’s an entertaining event.

The shearer hoists the ewe on her bottom so she’s vertical and rendered helpless, then removes her wool in minutes.  A great shearer can keep the fleece whole and takes pride in her craft.

If I ever dare to...

January 28, 2020

The New Year arrives devoid of December’s color, clutter, and chaos. The holidays are over. Life is quieter. Muted. Barren. What is to come?

That split second between 2019 and 2020 was merely a change in year, marked only by a new number. And yet, what is to come—this wintertime of hibernation— is a uniquely beautiful privilege. A sabbatical.

Fields lay dormant. Trees stripped naked, their stark art...

December 24, 2019

In Kindergarten we learned to politely raise our hands to ask a question. We couldn’t yell out every thought, swear at other students, call each other names, shout “Shut Up!” or intimidate one another on the playground.

"Kinder" actually means children in German, but maybe it's also a good reminder to be kinder.  I wonder if we could try being kinder and listening and learning for greater understan...

September 29, 2019

I have an UPside-Down Bucket List.

It’s everything I avoid. No, it’s not merely a “To-Do” or a “Honey-Do” list. This UPside-down Bucket List demands a learning curve or stepping out of my comfort zone. I put off each item on the list when I need to put on my big girl panties and just do it.

So what’s on my list? You’ll probably laugh. Everything from learning to fold fitted sheets to comprehending t...

July 15, 2019

There’s no UPside to anxiety. No matter the age, anxiety robs us from joy. And for children it’s an UPhill battle with little to be gained and a childhood to be lost.  

Lily is an amazing fifth grader. She’s a middle child in a delightfully caring, smart, and musically talented family. I started teaching Lily in elementary school because she was ready to take on musical theatre roles and wanted coa...

May 24, 2019

A song at my daughter's college graduation made me cry. It's no surprise that I would be emotional as my firstborn, Christine, walked the lawn at the University of Virginia to receive her diploma. But the song that triggered my tears wasn't the one you might expect.

It wasn’t Promenade from Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, the piece I processed the aisle to at my wedding twenty-five years be...

April 30, 2019

This February, I lived in a retirement community—though thirty years younger than my fellow neighbors. As mom’s post-hip replacement caretaker, I bunked with her for ten days. It was a little like living in a dorm for senior citizens. Lobby. Elevator. Dining hall. Mail boxes with keys. I have to admit that in the past, this place made me uncomfortable. But since I had to live there, I had plenty o...

April 18, 2019

One of my students so impressed the judges at her college vocal audition,  the voice professors immediately announced acceptance into their school of music. She laughed in disbelief. “No, I’m serious,” was her enthusiastic confirmation. But two months later when she opened the file, it said DENIED ADMITTANCE. This talented senior was devastated, heartbroken, and scared. I was angry, frustrated, an...

March 16, 2019

I LOVE to watch the sheep shearer with the ewes. EWE might too! You can watch our ewe-tube on the you tube link below!

WHY shear pregnant ewes in February when their lambs are due in April? What’s the UPSIDE of removing warm woolen winter coats in February when snow could fall again before lambing?  It’s not “sheerly” obvious, but there’s an UPSIDE to haircuts in the cold. 

  1. The ewe is less...

March 1, 2019

I’m notoriously vocal at basketball games whether in person or at home decked out in UVA orange and blue.  If watching long distance, I text my daughter Christine who sends Snapchats from her half-court student seats in John Paul Jones Arena.

But for this March Madness ACC Tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina, we were together in The Room Where it Happens cheering on our favorite team.

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