Thursday, October 31, 2013

like a bulldog hugging a hound

If there was any reason to be a writer and to not be a writer it is because of people like this in places like these who say to you, I can't believe this is happening to me. I just can't believe it.

For me it is the crucial fight or flight, keep it together or crumble, because this guy can't imagine that anything he's been doing in his life would be something to write about, but what he's been doing has been important to his family, his community and his employer.

So important there will be a book filled with some of the things he has said and illustrated by the people who have come to depend on him.

Not just because he comes in and does his job everyday with a smile on his face. It would be enough if you saw the property he maintained, that if he is not doing this he is doing that and if you want an interview he says, Just come get me, but even for that he won't sit.

He'll stand and talk to you.

And you'll find out why people want to document and keep Mr. Rogers' view on things because you'll see it and hear it and you'll know how important this is.

More to come, but first I must sit down and write an article on the who and why in five hundred words of doing the best I can.

Today I am grateful to be part of something which honors this man.


 Clay County, AL  Acrylic by Bethanne Hill
Meridian Museum of Art 2003 Best of Show

Today I am grateful for perspective.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Sometimes I think practicing patience for all those things yet unseen, for how we think it should be, is a way of denying what is right in front of us, for how perfect this moment is. If ever there was a reason to carry a camera it would be as a reminder there was no need for patience.

Unless, of course, you need food from these, says Joachim de Posada.

Today I am grateful for now, for how it teaches me.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

pleasantly benign

photographed by student

Did you know that time stops at the event horizon of something falling into a black hole?

No. I did not know that.

Well, it's true.

Huh. I was just eating a bowl of stew and well, thank you. That's exactly what I needed to know.

Where does all that information go?


Hawking says it's lost.




Well, I guess I'll get back to my stew now. Bye.


The phone rings.


Time does not stop at the event horizon of something falling into a black hole.

I think I am going to start using "event horizon" in everyday conversation.

It just appears to stop because of light.

How do you use this information in your life?

I don't know.

You're reading Hawking's book because of that woman.

Yes. I don't understand anything about black holes.

Makes sense.

Today I am grateful for these friends in my life.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Today I am grateful to know we can still be together and be alone. Sometimes my silence was the best gift I could give you and exactly what you needed in that moment.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Today I am grateful for the teachers of this world.

Friday, October 25, 2013

embracing mediocrity

Darling, people just adore mediocrity, she says in that slow deep South, sit on the porch and prolong the syllables till the sun does down when you wonder if she's talking to you or she just learned a new word and likes to listen to herself use it to put people down.

I wonder how many times I've been mediocre in my life and if I spent however many remaining years I had left I could come up with the exact number and, if so, if the counting could be the one thing I was not mediocre at.

Today I am grateful to understand I can always improve and maybe today I can be a better human and who knows about the next and goodgosh a whole year from now and wow, we could have potential we have yet to unwrap.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

who we go to for the solution

He had a beautiful problem last week. A stampede of sorts, a mob of third, fourth and fifth graders who were demanding their book, the one they earned through reading and math and attendance. These kids, they were requesting their principal by name. 

Where's Mr. Kelley? I want my book.

He has given out over five hundred just this year.

These are the problem solvers of our world. They stand at a front door and greet our children into what they consider is their building which is housing their teachers who are teaching their students.

None of these people went into teaching and administration to make millions of dollars, though if you listen to their philosophies they sound like they come from the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. And if you think about it then it doesn't take you long to understand this is the most important company we have in this country.

I would obviously crumble under such responsibility, but these people, they show up early, stay late, lead with a decisiveness that makes you wonder, Can you seriously be that sure of yourself?

The answer is yes. Yes, they can and they are and they have to be because each one of these people understands the weight of the world they are carrying.

Back in the day getting called into the principal's office was not necessarily a good thing, but now it seems seeing the principal may mean you're getting a pat on the back or a free book.

This month is National Principal Month so if you, like me, didn't realize that until now then you still have a week to go shake the hands of those people who are leading, building, directing, creating, supporting, I can't imagine when they would ever sleep, a future within our children.

Today I am grateful for those that lead because they care, and, as a result, come up with beautiful problems to have.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013




This morning seems as good as any to remember that day last week when it was one in the afternoon and you stopped by a place because you knew you were supposed to stop there and this was as good a time as any.

And you knew when you first heard the word multi-task it was time for long term care insurance because your brain is programmed to focus on one particular thing until it not longer exists.

So you had forgotten to eat.

That place where you stopped offered you a peanut butter sandwich and a seat and a conversation and thus a distraction from that one thing which had taken over your brain.

And you never knew a peanut butter sandwich could taste so great.

Today I am grateful for those spaces and people and lovely little moments in this world which offer us exactly what we didn't even know we needed. That day it was as simple as a peanut butter sandwich.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

those that do

It was always the case in other jobs that I would jump into a position, tear it apart, bring all those preconceived notions of I knew best. Part belief, part hoping you believed and that would make it so.

This one is different.

Here I am surrounded by people who make my own obsessions look like casual hobbies. This is where I am to tell you what those people are doing, and let me tell you, I've only had a week on this job and well, we're going to take this one slow because of all the ways we can complain about our educational system I think it is important to note there are some truly remarkable people doing highly creative work.

If what you were thinking is our children are not test scores then welcome to the boat.
For some teachers, administrators and parents that ship sailed a long time ago.

Today I am grateful for these people. I mean, seriously. You'll see.

Monday, October 21, 2013

klosterman's twenty-three

The boy sleeps on a couch in a hall outside of a classroom, and I want to tell him and I do tell him, There is light at the end of this tunnel. The world has become cliches of this is a marathon, Push, because that's as good as I have in this moment but something about it feels like, For what?

Today I am grateful for the questions we must ask of ourselves but not of each other.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013



First things first, a quick what did you learn.

She made me consider my own need to be acknowledged, recognized, accepted into a world where one person says, Good morning, and the other answers in turn like, you know, how we were taught, how we were supposed to, how even if it's not, the saying so meant we didn't give up.

Once I accepted that my need may not be her's we found a common ground, the big camera with the huge lens which she could use to do her own work.

Student Photograph

Today I am grateful for common ground and for the time I have this morning to consider what that was.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


1. Girl invited to place where people meet.
2. Girl welcomed by handshakes and smiles and introductions of the world can be just this sweet.
3. People teach girl.
4. Together people and girl dance.
5. Girl goes home but not before getting hugs from the people she just met.
6. Girl wakes up next morning and considers how fortunate she is.
7. Girl says thank you.

I am so grateful for a repetitive theme.

Monday, October 14, 2013

out there

Here now is possibility of something more than we could have ever even known to dream. Contrary to those who surely know best, I am still betting on those things yet unseen.

Today I am especially grateful for my parents.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Jess wrote a new song. She calls it Kids Can Change the World. I wonder when and how children figure out the world may not be okay the way it is and I mean to ask her but then she begins talking about back handsprings.

Today I am grateful for rocking chairs on front porches where music is the background noise and you, you precious nine year old child, you kept offering your seat to those you thought might need it.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


There's this woman named Sandra Scott who thumps and pumps a stand up bass like well, you'd have to see it. She sings this song called Rock of Ages and her voice pounds and sounds like I think you'd just have to hear it. What I love about what she does is how it sure it feels, how confident it seems and I am so grateful she may be there tonight because I know that song, how she performs it, is exactly what I need.

Today I am grateful for reason, for how others, through their talents, give us exactly what we need.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Today I am grateful clarity will come.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

name calling

When I first suggested to John that he could be, may be, possibly consider himself a nerd he was all, What? I drive an Indian motorcycle and listen to hard rock at three digit decibels. 

So I was all, Um. Okay there, friend, but you know as well as I do that without the nerds of the world there would be no motorcycles or the ability to damage our hearing through tiny speakers we put in our ears.

Plus, John, you're the IT guy. We need you to be our nerd because I'm not scared of spiders or frogs or things that go bump in the night but cords? Layers and knots and laying on the floor and climbing up the wall and no, no, no, please, get the cords away from me.

I asked him, Are we being microwaved right now?

Nothing too harmful. He laughed.

Funny, John. Real funny.

The thing is that when John says something I believe him because he knows about three digit decibels and any radiation surrounding us in this room. He is the guy we turn to when we need to tell someone, This thingamajig does not work even when I shake it and throw it up against the wall. John studies it and understands it and the all important makes it work. 


He is the guy we go to for answers so, of course, we would ask him, What is the big deal about having C Spire Fiber in our area?

And that's when he writes us a dissertation which could be turned into a feature film on the subject.

Because John is passionate about our children's education and community and how a fiber network could connect and expand the abilities of a people. This guy knows and he's the one we turn to when we have questions about technology in our schools and our county. And let me tell you, I met him and stood in this room with him and knew I was okay because John told me I was okay and John knows.

John knows technology, and John says this is important.

Don't tell John I said so, but I think he is the most exquisite of nerds because he is using his brilliance for our children.

That's why I told C Spire to please come by filling out this form.

Today I am grateful for those in our world who specialize and care and are willing to answer our questions so we can be led into a bigger, better and brighter future. with. our. kids. (insert as many exclamation points as you need right there)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

volunteer, plarn hats

It is an irrefutable fact that putting yourself out there always gives you something back. A purely selfish act is making yourself available to others. You could pretend that you're such a giver but no, I know you go because of what you get back.

It's a direct deposit of immediate gratification in the who you meet and what that means to who you dream you can be. And I swear I didn't read this in Newsweek. I didn't find out by watching TV. I simply heard a rumor and pretended I was some kind of investigative reporter.

Then they trapped me.

So what I'm saying is don't volunteer because these women will get you hooked on feeling good about yourself and what you can do in this world. You'll keep going back because you're selfish and chasing the endorphins released as a result of what you witnessed around you. From what I hear there is no treatment. You are trapped.

Today I am grateful for these crazy, wonderful, beautiful women I meet.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


The assignment is a selfie but it can't be a photo of one's physical self which doesn't make any sense to anyone in the room. Written on the chalkboard is the phrase, We see the world not as it is, but as we are, a quote attributed to Anais Nin and the Talmud. A quote I only once heard and forever after remembered in order to keep both my self and my child in check. We may watch more closely what we say when we find what we say says more about us than anyone else. A quick self examination has never been a bad thing.


The class of twenty high school students nod because they understand after my fumbling explanation or they just want me to shut up. Either way the next week we have some students bring in the assignment, the first of which is a guy's brother holding one of those super cool Star Wars' flying whatevers that I'm sure my baby brother once had.

It's great. He nailed it, and together he, the class and I are all studying the photograph on the large screen. We're talking about thirds and lighting and depth of field and detail and what are you telling us about yourself through this photograph?

That's when another student shouts, Nerd.

I'm all, Yeah. Wish I could be because there was that one time when someone called me that and I've never neglected to remember them on a Christmas list and who doesn't want to be a nerd.

The correct answer is obviously every high school student in this class because that's when the very smart and attentive and thank God she's there teacher says, Hey. No name calling.

I don't live under a rock but I also no longer live in a house with a high school student though I will say I do think Slater embraced a certain nerdiness within himself and those conversations I miss most on that back porch involved me asking him about physics something or another. It's just I had to ask the class and the teacher, Is nerd bad?

There are more than a few nods and some giggling in the room when the guy who actually took on the assignment says, Oh that's just my brother. My brother likes that kinda stuff.

Oh please, I say. Star Wars rules. Listen to some Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, people. Those guys are the bomb. Plus, who in here has a cell phone?

Everyone in the room laughs and raises their hands.

You realize you give all your money to the nerds, right? Those high tech shoes which make you jump higher and run faster, those people who made you believe that, all nerds and there's nothing bad about that.

I know I'm only saying how I see it but I am grateful for passionate intelligence when humans explore the most detailed aspects of this world and as a result invent more and better and Go, Nerds.

Monday, October 7, 2013


For some of us the world became front porch small in the grey of a rain and that was one of the nicest places we ever found ourselves simply sitting and listening and loving alone.

Today I am grateful for yesterday.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I've been tasked with attempting to explain something I don't truly understand, one gigabyte per second uploading and downloading via a fiber. What I do know is that rural living is peaceful and beautiful and if the weather is good I can have reasonable internet between two and ten in the morning. Here the word reasonable means I can access the internet which is great since normally I can't. I don't complain, don't call them and fuss because when I signed the two year contract they were my only option. They still are. I accept my fate, knew even then what it was.

But now.
Last Thursday in fact I got a call from a guy who said the world could be wide open. A Mississippi based company called C Spire was looking for a Mississippi town to install their fiber. Similar to what Google did in places like Chattanooga and Kansas City, the potential for what our minds could not even imagine was being offered but we had to act fast and in droves and there are not that many of us and how can we make sure everyone hears and understands.

By October 20th we need as many people as possible in our town, our county, to show interest by filling out a form here. But why? ohgoodgosh. From my research thus far we're talking game changer for a place which needs new industry and jobs and a way to challenge a company who lacks in service and affordable pricing because they have a monopoly. What my son, in his high speed access, tech heavy, 3D printing, university town said is, Mom, if y'all don't get it. I hope we do.

Oh baby, you know we need this more than you.

Today I am grateful for potential so great my mind can only fathom the smallest of steps to what it could be.

Friday, October 4, 2013

ground rules

No, Dug. I don't need a dead rat on the doorstep. I'm not all that familiar with feng shui but I'm saying not so much. And no, we can't sew our bodies together so that we'll walk as one being and never part. There are some rules, Dug. We all need them because no matter our intentions, how loving or giving or needy or what we think is right for us, we have to remember there are others.

Today I am grateful to understand I live in a world where we can respect limits because we respect each other.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

when a friend redecorates a room

What I dream for her is a place where she feels safe and light streams and colors soothe and lines lead to smiles. I want fun and funky where she can laugh without needing anyone else around. Feet propped, two pillows just right, reading by a lamp it took her at least a year to find. I want her to remember her value is so much more than the things around her but the things around her assure her she is loved. And she's not alone because all she ever has to do is pick up a phone.

Today I am grateful to see a friend smile again, to hear a laugh I have not heard in years.
And that was the best thing I could have ever brought back from the ocean.