what did you

Just rewatched the finale of Season 1 of Severance. It’s been over two years. Come on!

It’s the pizza with the hole.

A pizza with the middle eaten out, leaving only the crust.

Podcast mp3s

I bought my daughter a VERY cheap mp3 player for Christmas. Some of the button controls are very anti-intuitive but it mostly works fine. The battery goes and goes.

I got it because she likes listening to music and we wanted her to do that but, obviously, are mindful of screens. We hope that the kids use screens with purpose but if it doesn’t feel like a losing battle.

Anyway, found which lets me download the mp3 from her favourite podcast so she can listen on her little player.


MacBook Air with Chinese characters on a white sticker

maybe today
walk away
from anything
without a heart

It’s easy to be busy. I’m always busy. There’s always something else I could be doing. Teaching is great for that. You’re never really done. And so, this week I’ve been trying to not always be the wrong kind of busy. The kind that involves staring at a screen. To be the other kind of busy, the one that involves spending more time with students and colleagues. More heart.

nothing happens next
this is it! and this is it !
and this is it too!

We read A Stone For Sascha by Aaron Becker in class yesterday and talked about time and how things change. Again, I tried to step back and give the kids time to speak. I still find that hard, feeling the need to fill the spaces. A beautiful, wordless book all told. His Journey trilogy is still some of my favourite picture books.

These words are from the comic of two monks that I have had rattling around inside my head for the longest time. And talking about time has brought it back, again.

Music is Rosie Thomas - These Friends of Mine

we hear, but
don’t, can’t absorb
you’re ready
when you’re ready

Stupid challenge. Been thinking a lot about realising things. Then realising these are things you’ve read, been told, were first thought long ago. But it didn’t matter. You’re ready, when you’re ready.

a few
lines each day
condensing thoughts
packaging them
releasing them
letting go

We talked as a family of doing a challenge. The kids said they would do a lap around our compound but that’s changed to just going outside after school. Lyra’s is to read everyday. I’m going to write a poem.

Vegyn - A Dream Goes On Forever

Spotify Link


Teaching Isn’t Rocket Science

Teaching Isn’t Rocket Science but It Is Surely Harder (Ryan Fuller)

When I solved engineering problems, I had to use my brain. When I solve teaching problems, I use my entire being—everything I have.

Yeah, I cut the end of that quote. Let’s not go there.

I think it does a good job of starting to get to what can make teaching ‘tricky’. Where ‘tricky’ means all-consuming.

One of my go-to thoughts is that it’s often just the volume of things you have to do and the accompanying stress of trying to do all of them, often simultaneously. If I just had one thing to do, to teach this one lesson I’d be fine, I could give that my focus.

But it’s not just one thing.
And yes, I should probably write things down.
And I have an ongoing, developing, evolving list somewhere in my head of things that need doing.
And important varies moment to moment.
And tasks vary from the simple to the complex.
And sometimes, I’m a frog in pan of water as starts to bubble.
And boil. And more heat is added and added…
And sometimes I’m right there, present.
And sometimes I’m a million miles away.
And it’s just a job?
And what of my own family?

Elise and the Time Loop - Chapter Three

My first thought was obviously not that I was caught in a time loop. The box I’d found was magical. That when I touched it I would become trapped on this particular Monday for 3 weeks. That I would need to find a….

Sorry, sorry, sorry! I’m going too fast again!

My first thought was, not surprisingly, that I must have brought it home. I definitely took it because Yang Laoshi always checks we take it. There was no other way to explain it. Just then Mum and Dad, followed by Yumo, walked into the lounge. After getting him up they were moving on to trying to get him to put his clothes on. First Mum was going to say something about hurrying up.

“Come on Yumo, you need to hurry now we’re going to be late for school,” she said softly.

Just like that I thought.

Yumo looked like he was just trying to sleep on the sofa now. Then Dad joined in, I could see that he was starting to sound annoyed now, as usual. He was going to say something about no screen time any second now…

“Yumo if you don’t start getting dressed then you can’t have screen time tonight!” he said a moment later.”

“Bingo!” Slipped out of my mouth before I realised it. They all turned to look at me.

“Yes Elise?” Dad said.

“Um nothing, Dad,” I replied but as I said it I began to wonder how I knew what he was going to say. Did my parents just always say the same things to Yumo and I? That had to be it. People must do the same things all the time, right? Like some kind of time loop.

By now Yumo was dressed and we were brushing out teeth, just like everyday. Yumo was asking me a question about our favourite teddy bears. “Elise do you think my doggy is faster or your Doggy” he asked me with his toothbrush sticking out of his mouth. Which is the exact same question he asked me yesterday. He always asking me the same things, over and over and over, so I didn’t really think about it.

Dad was shouting from the front door, “Yumo, Elise, can we please go now?” I put my yellow folder into my bag, I didn’t know what else do with it! We put on our shoes and took the lift down to the car. Little did I know we were off to what was perhaps the weirdest day of school ever! (Even weirder than the time the teachers didn’t talk all day! But I’ll tell you that story later.)

Elise and the Time Loop - Chapter Two

Chapter Two

“Elise! Time to get up!” my Dad shouted as he turned the light on. I didn’t reply but put the pillow over my head and scrunched my eyes shut. As you can guess, I’m not a morning person but my Dad is always up early. I just can’t do it! I don’t understand why anyone would choose to. Beds in the morning are soooooo comfy.

Why was getting up so hard? Everyday felt the same sometimes and everyday Dad would would say the same thing,

“Well, you should’ve gone to bed earlier then… But no, you decided to stay up reading. Blah blah blah.” It’s not just me though. My brother is worse than me, everyday he’s so slow getting up and getting dressed.

As I led in bed I could hear Dad trying to be patient about trying to get Yumo up. It wouldn’t last long. Mum had put my clothes on the bed and then gone to the kitchen to get our snacks ready for school. Finally, I got up and then started getting dressed. Dad was starting to sound annoyed because Yumo was still in bed.

As I was finishing, Mum suddenly came into my room.

“Elise, don’t forget to take your Chinese folder with your homework, it’s on the table,” she said.

I stopped, what was she talking about, “That’s yesterday Mum!” I told her.

“No, it’s today,” she said firmly and walked off to help Dad persuade Yumo to get up.

What was she talking about? My Chinese homework needed to be in on Monday, which was yesterday. I’d done it and given it to Yang Laoshi, my Chinese teacher. We didn’t need to give it in on Tuesday. I thought about saying something but decided not too. Mum had already made her mind up and I didn’t want to argue with her about it.

I walked out to the lounge and then saw it. My folder. Bright and yellow and it was sitting on the table.

Why was it there?

Chapter Three

Elise and the Time Loop - Chapter 1

(Work in progress.)

Elise reads this chapter - This was a one and done.

“42” I shouted out. Mr Bruna looked annoyed and then surprised. “Pardon Elise?” he said. “12 + 30 is 42. The ones don’t change and you add 3 tens,” I replied calmly. “Ummm, right, that’s good Elise, but… I didn’t ask the question yet, so how do you know the answer?” he said. I said nothing, realizing my mistake. I’d need to correct that tomorrow. Luckily, Jim had started fighting with Claire and Mr Bruna got distracted. I’d got away with it, this time!

My name is Elise. I’m 8 years old and I live in Chongqing, China with my Mum, Dad and my little brother Yumo. I like the usual stuff, reading, riding my bike and not doing my homework. So far, so normal, right? Well that all changed yesterday, I mean today. Yesterday is today. I guess tomorrow will be yesterday too…

Sorry, sorry, sorry. Ok, let me explain. As much as I can anyway. It’s still a bit weird for me to think about.

After school yesterday, the day before today, I had gone outside to read. It let’s me get away from my brother, for a bit. He’s just so noisy sometimes. I was sat on the bench under a tree reading Catman, my favorite book, when I started hearing this buzzing noise. I searched around a bit until I found the bush the noise was coming from. Under the bush was a small black box. It was the box that was buzzing.

As I stared at the buzzing box nestled under the bush, I felt a mix of excitement and nervousness. Should I have picked up the box? Probably not, but I couldn’t resist. I know Mum and Dad would have said I shouldn’t, of course. But they weren’t here! If I did it again? Would I do the same thing? It’s a good question. I don’t know! If I didn’t open it I wouldn’t have met Sam and I wouldn’t have got to go to…

Sorry, sorry, sorry. I keep getting distracted. That information will come later. I promise!

So I opened the box. I want to say there were flashing lights or fireworks or maybe an Infinity Stone or maybe some smoke but there wasn’t. Maybe there was a little electric shock, the static that you get when you touch something sometimes. Maybe there wasn’t. As I looked closely inside the box, there was a small dent in the bottom like something used to be inside it. The buzzing had stopped too. I thought it was old and might be cool for storing some of my stuff so I took it with me when I went home.

When I got home, I put the box next to my bed. After that, the rest of the evening was normal but I kept thinking about the box. As I fell asleep that night, I couldn’t help wondering if something was different.

Chapter Two

6.22km 20kg Ruck 66:48.

Feeling my knee a little today so took it easier than normal. To avoid comparisons to my normal pace I walked to school and back. I always feel the need to be faster than last time!

Music selection: Paul Oakenfold’s 1999 Rojam Essential Mix

MC Conrad, acclaimed drum’n’bass vocalist, dies aged 52 | Music | The Guardian

Now listening to Progression Sessions 1.

In ​The Second Mountain​, David Brooks shares a poignant observation from a friend. “I don’t really know of many happy marriages,” the friend said. “I know a lot of marriages where parents love their kids.”
You must love—that’s how they’ll know that they are loved.

The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Kids - The Daily Dad

You want it all? LOL

I watched this video by Mark Manson about quitting alcohol 500 days ago and talking about the less obvious benefits of not drinking. How he likes doing less, not feeling the need to be busy and enjoying being bored. And, while I don’t really drink a lot anyway and so have no plans to quit alcohol completely it did make me think.

It made me think about something I’ve thought about a lot. About the roles I have and the things that I consider important to me and the choices I will have to make as a result. That I want to be a good father and husband, I want to be there for my family. I want to be a good teacher, though this one is difficult because in some ways it’s a time and energy swallowing black hole. I want to get enough exercise for my physical and emotional well-being. I want to get enough sleep and to eat relatively healthily. I want to try and find time for myself sometimes since I’m with young children almost 24-7, 3-60-5. There’s things I think I should be doing too - mostly socialising. And, obviously, the problem is that you can’t and that’s hard sometimes.

Or at least, it was more so. After watching the video, I’ve been trying to embrace myself and not feeling like I need to apologise - not out loud of course! - for that. I’ve been trying to enjoy being with the kids and with Lyra, and I always do but sometimes you feel like it’s a burden. Of trying to step away from my devices more or at least to use them more purposefully, I started writing a story and we’ve been recording something for our ‘Podcast’ every day for a week or so, it’s on Spotify at the moment, I know, I know but it’s a start!

but it seems ludicrous to even consider carrying a dedicated device just for audio

but it seems ludicrous to even consider carrying a dedicated device just for audio, and with music streaming, people expect their portable audio player to have always-available networking.

He’s not wrong, my dedicated audio device, a Sony NW-A55 is a little ludicrous. Carrying another device that has a propriety adapter, uses USB A that I need an adapter for and that does nothing my iPhone can’t do. It can do Bluetooth for connecting to my speaker, which is cool, but it can’t stream and can’t access the internet like a lot of the newer audio players.

But the lack of features is why I did buy it. Those lack of features are the features I was looking for. That’s why I like it. I want to pick up my phone less and I struggle to. Take out my phone to choose a song and end up clicking elsewhere. I am, forever, the weakest link.

The bonus is that it forces me to be much more mindful of what I listen to. I am forced to listen to full albums more - I can’t workout how to make playlists - and I am grateful for that!

I think for those of us of a certain age who remember when these dance tracks came out, the orchestral element is perfect. This show from Auckland is awesome.

SYNTHONY - World Premiere - Full Length Show - YouTube

‘Seagull Boy’, nine, wins European screeching competition

It’s a really good impression!

Advice for Teachers, Policymakers, and Donors | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

I only read the advice for teachers but I liked the three suggestions. Even if I struggle with the speaking out part.

“It’s possible to have strong, lasting regrets about a life choice while ferociously loving — and caring for — the fruit of that decision.”

Being patient with your own kids immediately before and immediately after work, which is also kids, is really hard.

A version of this appeared in a message to a friend. The message has been edited for “clarity”.

What Are You Actually Teaching Them? - The Daily Dad

And of course, you didn’t mean to. But that doesn’t really matter. It’s what they hear that matters. It’s what they see that matters. How easily we end up sending the exact opposite message that we intend!