1st grade has already fried my brain; also, i’m in a hot tub

Lots going on the past few weeks, y’all.

The kid was sick. I was sick.
We started collectively preparing for the summer to end and the new school year to commence.
My mom took the kiddo and me on a last-minute weekend trip to Bartlesville, OK, where we visited Woolaroc, went antiquing (I bought my first piece of Frankoma Pottery!), and ate too much pizza.

We drove (very carefully) through a buffalo herd, and this lovely lady was gracious enough to pose for me.

“Woolaroc” is a syllabic abbreviation for “WOOds LAkes ROCks,” and it’s a museum and wildlife preserve. It was established back in the 1920s as a retreat location by Frank Phillips of Conoco-Phillips fame.

Entrance to Woolaroc Museum

It was all incredibly fascinating and also concerning from a “hey, this is a whole bunch of cultural appropriation here.” That topic is an entire series of blogposts unto itself, if not a book.

at Woolaroc’s 1800s-style “mountain man” camp
My first piece of Frankoma Pottery, a toothpick holder in Aztec Prairie Green.

In the meantime, as of this evening our “summer” will officially come to a close. The 6yo starts 1st grade tomorrow, and of course I am far antsier about this than she is — at least externally. We attended Meet-the-Teacher last week, an event during which we actually did not meet the teacher, because there isn’t one. The school found out the day before that the teacher who was supposed to be meetable at MTT was not, in fact, coming back to teach this year.


Instead, they’ve hired back a teach who retired from their school and will stick with the kiddo’s 1st grade class as a substitute until they can hire a fulltime 1st grade teacher. Naturally, we are not exactly thrilled about this. But it could be worse. They could’ve hired a sub without a teaching degree or a teacher with emergency certification. That would not be how I want my kid to start her school career. (Yeah, I know kindergarten is how the school career starts over here, but my German brain still wants 1st grade to be the line of demarcation. It is what it is.)

Also, I’m trying not to let anxiety get the best of me regarding all of this. I know that 6yo will be fine in the long run. But she does *not* like transitions. And this one just got a few extra hurdles dropped into it. I find myself in the eternal inner parental conundrum of HOW DO I BEST HELP MY KID NAVIGATE THIS.

It’s going to be FINE.

And, as my therapist reminded me a few weeks ago, FINE means “F***ed Up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.” So yeah, everything’s GREAT.



In other news, fellow author Bernard Schaffer has invited me to contribute to a new blog he’s starting with Tony Healey and Jack Soren: Hot Tub Crime Machine. I’m not a crime fiction writer, but I *have* dipped my toes in the water of crafting my own whodunit. Also, the Hot Tub blog is covering all sorts of mystery and thriller shenanigans as well, and I do have quite a few of those elements in my noveling arsenal.

I have sent my first post to Bernard and am currently awaiting feedback. I’ll holler here when it leaps into the hot tub. I think this is gonna be fun.

For now, there’s a 6yo calling for me to join her in playing My Little Pony, so I must away. TTFN!

nothing is too high for her reach