“You want two SONOMAWOOD signs this year? Sure, no problem”


I’m sitting in the pre-pre Sonoma International Film Festival 2018 project meeting when Chey Woerz explains that they would like a second sign in the grass behind SIFF Village, “As a backdrop and photo opportunity.” He explains.


I know I’ve created a monster by always saying yes to the film festival projects, story of my life. But it’s because I love the festival, they treat me well, and movies heal…http://valleytalking.blogs.sonomanews.com/2017/04/09/siff-2017-movies-heal/


Are you feeling it or is it just me and my students and the golf team and the people on my wine tour buses and my wife and my friends and pretty much everyone I interact with on the daily. Times are tough, the pressure is on, the stakes are high and the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be dimming daily with each childish dotard tweet, ignored weather disaster (why is no one talking about the oceans warming up?) and ridiculous patriotic protest (support Sonoma FFA, buy the flag T-shirt today sonomaffa@yahoo.com).


“My advice to you, start drinking heavily.”


Was Bluto right in Animal House? Maybe, maybe not, the problem with medicating is it’s short term, fixes nothing and often compounds the problem. Plus, you wake up and spend your day swimming through plasma. We need you clear in these times of uncertainty, please find a better way to deal.


My real advice to you? Start a ski club.


Yes, I’m serious, and yes I am starting a ski club because well, I love skiing http://valleytalking.blogs.sonomanews.com/2017/01/26/pushing-front-boots-family-ski-trip/ Plus my version of heaven is standing atop KT-22 about to make first tracks in the fresh pow-pow, breathing in clean, crisp mountain air, listening to the unique silence of snow covered surroundings.


The other day I was on hole 2 at the Sonoma Golf Club (I didn’t realize that when my team is playing their match I cannot interact with the players at all and am expected to play 9 holes behind them-noiiiiiiicccccccceeee) Bill Hoban was there shooting photos of the girls and when he was done, we started talking about life.


“I’ve almost done it Bill” I said, ”I now get paid to play golf, to play tennis, to write, to create art, and hopefully help kids figure their shit out. Now if I could only find a way to get paid to ski…” You see where I’m going with this.


Love what you do, do what you love.



Life is hard if you focus on the negative. My student loan debt is not magically disappearing. The $400. I was docked for missing a prep day will not come back no matter how many tantrums I throw. The wine touring Saturdays are not getting any easier. My truck is making a funny noise. Daughter’s college tuition is due and let’s not even talk about my professional reputation…


However I type these words out on my trusty MacBook Pro, given to me by a school district that kinda supports me or at least hasn’t fired me yet. I stare at Brandon’s blue bracelet on my wrist, a constant reminder to keep things in perspective. I am at my kitchen table in my beautiful Craftsman home in lovely Sonoma where I get to dance around the house to Cyprus Hill while making steak dinner with creamed spinach for my awesome 17-year old and my beautiful, tolerant, supportive wife.


“I’m not learning anything, you’re not teaching me anything, this school is a waste of time and you’re a sarcastic jerk.” As an educator in a continuation high school I listen to these comments and react accordingly, not internalizing (much) but also thinking about what I can do better.


Plus I really should work on my sarcastic jerkiness.


Teaching is a Sisyphusian task. We are forever pushing the rock of learning up the hill of knowledge only to have it roll back over us. Two steps forward, one step back. And things are changing pretty dramatically; traditional learning modalities (books) gather dust while students search their screens for answers. Knowing stuff is not the priority, finding stuff is. Surface knowledge is in, deep knowledge is out.


My curriculum is usually full of projects and performance tasks and connecting students to what they are learning but if half the class doesn’t know how to find a common denominator, am I doing my job? Not so much. Regroup, think, and strategize solutions, then work hard to change directions.


America works the same way. We are in charge of where this ship is going, that’s why it’s called democracy. If you are fed up with the NRA controlling gun policy in America speak out and vote accordingly. If you are fed up with a president whose behavior does not agree with yours, speak out and vote accordingly. If you are going through your day lost, sad, and feeling disconnected, speak out and vote accordingly.


The blanket of despair is thick and scratchy and heavy right now but there is a way to get out from under it.


Start a ski club.


















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