The Landscaper’s Wife

After 15 years of marriage this year, I’ve compiled a list of phrases I’ve been honored enough to hear over and over from my husband, a small business owner of over 25 years…check out his site so I can continue hearing them in my sleep. Environmental Landcare Maryland

10. The rain just won’t stop.

9.  We need rain so badly.

8. The flowers are all confused.

7. The yard could use some weeding. (Uh, isn’t that YOUR job?)

6. Who left the hose on?

5. I’ve got a truck broken down on the side of 97 N.

4. It’s just my busy season.

3. The last thing on everybody’s list is to pay their landscape bill.

2. The last thing on everybody’s list is to pay their landscape bill.

1. The last thing on everybody’s list is to pay their landscape bill.

Lucky me.

Where It’s At-The Privilege of Living Where I Live

blueangels2018The East Coast is where it’s at.  Maryland. Annapolis. Even sweeter.

Growing up on the water, my two sons are the LUCKIEST DUCKIEST kids alive.

Growing up with friends who have boats? Priceless! They have NO IDEA HOW GOOD THEY HAVE IT.

Fab Facts:

  •  A big chunk of the Bay came from space. “An asteroid or huge chunk of ice slammed into Earth about 35 million years ago,” reported the Washington Post, “sending tsunamis as far as the Blue Ridge Mountains and leaving a 56-mile-wide hole at the mouth of what is now the bay.”
  • The scientific name for the blue crab is Callinectes Sapidus, which means “beautiful swimmer that is savory.”
  • Blue crabs will eat almost anything, including each other!  The older crabs often eat the younger ones…which is what I tell my kids will happen to them if they don’t just chillax at times.


  • Plant a Tree!Trees help to clean the soil by absorbing harmful nutrients.  Trees also help prevent erosion, keeping harmful sediments and nutrients out of the Bay.HOW? Environmental Landcare-Small Business

Just a little shameless self promotion above 😉

Cell Phone Stores

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Why is it that every Verizon Store I go to there are 5 people sitting, 6 wandering, and 11 staring blankly at random cell phone crap for sale on the walls- for 54 minutes- and only TWO employees on site?

Also, my son and I were luckily able to witness a 25-year-old male with manpris on and mudsluggers CLIPPING HIS TOENAILS while we were  waiting. By the time Samantha, our “Service Tech”, got to us I’d completely forgotten where I was and ordered a Chicken Caesar Salad.

#goingonminute41 #isthereselfservice#whysocomplicated #noclipzone #isthisguyforeal

Mr. Nobody


Day 8. Middle School

Dear Friends of Room 19: See that 10 foot chain of paperclips that “nobody ” fashioned, stretched across those 4 desk legs? Executed during undercover ops as I apparently blindly navigated your free learning playground? Yeeeeaaaaa…if you could pass on this message to “nobody” for me- UNCLIP each paperclip and return to teacher desk…. or “nobody” goes out to recess. #buhbye

Day 16. Middle School

Uh oh, looks like Nobody was in the room again eating Takis Fuegos and stuffing his trash in desks. Along with Notme’s Sour Patch Kids and Jolly Ranchers scattered throughout the floor, be sure look where you step. #notyourmaidla-chureca-garbage-dump-XL

That Notme and Nobody sure are rude, messing up your areas, defiling desks, snapping brand new pencils from Teacher’s desk with one deft maneuver.



Hey! I guess you can place the blame on those two guys for no more full size pencils


with actual erasers being handed out. Yup, I know you are enamored of the golf pencils I procured from the English Department head. No, seriously, keep it. Nope, doesn’t look like I have an eraser, so just feel free to cross any mistakes out. It’s a small (!) gift from me to you so that you are always prepared. Seriously! Keep it! All you, Buddy.

Word in the bathrooms is that Nobody made the decision to take ALL of the marker tops off (yea, all 79 of them!) and leave the markers out to dry, rendering them useless for creative classroom tasks. But, don’t worry,  Notme was thoughtful enough to crack most of those wonderfully waxy generic crayons in to teeny bits so everyone will have something to work with when the time does

Lucky you guys!

😉 Your Teacher

The Power of the Basketball

brown basketball on grey floor

Today I planned for the first time to take my students out to the basketball court to chill out for the last 20 minutes of class. They have been testing all week and were barely holding on to the wee bit of sanity they had left.  A colleague down the hall keeps this marvelous ball under his desk. I now know why.

I slid into the room with the ball.  The bell was due to buzz in 1 minutes. Three male students basically bum rush me as I enter:


Me: Uh. Jeez. I know it’s warm today, are your brains fried? Also, please move away from me, you are in my personal space.

Me: Girls, please grab your warm up and have a seat, and take that comb out of your hair.

The bell buzzes (sounds weird, but it’s a buzzer we refer to as the bell-old school, right?)


Me: I’ll let you know once you have completed the warm up.

Them: Tell us now and we’ll do our warm up .

Me: Wow. This isn’t a democracy here people.

I walk slowly around the room. Which, is for once, silent. All eyes are on the orange sphere tucked under my right elbow, snug against my moist (another word middle schoolers hate) armpit. I realized what this sphere of influence could do under my realm. At last. Complete and total control…or promise of.

Sphere of Influence: a country or area (31 physically -not necessarily mentally- occupied desks)  in which another country ( ME! ) has power to affect developments although it has no formal authority (ME! Again! The last 2 weeks have proven how the level of respect for most “formal” authoritative figures within these hallowed walls has slid quite low by now, trust me) I need all the help I can get.

I slowly reveal our daily agenda for the day on the SMARTBOARD.



The questions and insinuations are already flying across rows. Shut up, Eliot! YOU know you’ll ruin it.

You shut the shuck up!

Me: Gee, sure does sound like that basketball court out there will be empty after all, I sigh heavily, regrettably.







Spelning Sissues

Yesterday we spoke briefly about the structure of a story and how plot is important to dissect.  I’m going to read a short story to you and as I’m reading, you are to fill in the Parts of a Story Organizer you have on your desk.

I perch precariously on the desk with 4 different leg lengths. Not a great idea. I stand and begin.

“Maybelle was a short haired chihuahua that was found wandering my neighborhood at dinnertime on Wednesday.  Sara was the one who noticed her right…..”

I hear the shuffling of slippers before I see them standing directly between me and the rest of the class.

Um, can I help you?  (and why are you wearing slippers to school, again?)


She hands me an index card, folded 4 times over to make a teeny tiny square (THIS BETTER BE GOOD, I scream in my head and thank Wellbutrin)

I open the now warm, faintly damp, missal.


It is SO darn refreshing how honest kids these days are.

(The answer is NEITHER)

Our Community

Dear Trailer 4A,

Time to make that important connection between your real world and our classroom.  Yes, we are actually heading to our community Food & Clothing Bank to help sort donations.

Yes, CONNECTION, people. It means “a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else”.  Let’s brainstorm a list of CONNECTIONS we could make between this trip and our recent classroom lessons on Giving Back: Our Community.

1. My Earrings – Um, well, yes, a connection of some sort, but not quite the connection we’re mining for today.

2. My Dealer- Next.

I see we could use some modeling here: An appropriate connection would be GIVING BACK=PERSONAL SATISFACTION or COMMUNITY SERVICE=RESPONSIBILITY

3. Community Service+ My Dealer= Probation!?

Ohhhh-kaaaayyyyy….  Gotcha. Not a convo that’s going to happen today…

Isn’t it spelled volun-TEAR?  No.









Out of Context

A certain middle school teacher (no names will be used to protect the mortified)  was free of any size, type, smell, sound or threat of children for approximately 48 minutes this past Saturday morning.

Due to the record breaking attendance and heat that blessed our community for Friday evening’s “Hula Hoops for Houses” , the dedicated educator literally tripped into bed at 1:09 a.m. (those tiny little brown flip flops that blend into her wood floors will be THE DEATH OF HER) dirty sweat streaks staining her shirt, left back portion of hair seems to be sticking directly out to the left as if sprayed thoroughly with hair spray.

She arose the following morning at roughly 7:22 and blindly pulled back on those comfy, knee-length, school-appropriate light blue shorts from the “Hula Hoops for Houses” event and added some type of t-shirt (of which she still can not identify it’s original owner-likely a college roommate).

She felt haphazardly through the top of her nightstand drawer (filled with Starbursts-can’t figure out why her name is basically embroidered  on her dentist’s chair-complete with a pink whale, natch) for her glasses (horrendously nearsighted) and set out to conquer the Kroger’s Food Store before attending the “not quite mandatory but highly suggested attendance” Middle School Car Wash to raise money for the 8th grade graduation field trip. She sure would love for someone to raise money for her while washing cars.

She attempted to back out of her driveway and was forced to stab the brake, as there seemed to be a gang of 13 year old girls cruising past her driveway, seemingly oblivious to the rather clunky black stay-wag waiting to exit the pebbles.

Ladies, if you didn’t text and bike, you’d probably get to where you are going much more quickly. No, she wouldn’t like to say hello to Jackson and Max on their I-phones, thanks. No, she doesn’t  have her grade book up on her home computer….She’d just like to exit the premises.

Teacher will try to remember to tell  husband about that terribly rude red check engine light that has returned on her dashboard. Her air conditioning blows out tepid, moist, gently harvested dead- mosquito-air partnered with  those obnoxious long pine needles whose origin also remain a mystery.

Mmmmm. Nothing quite like concerning amounts of bright purple bird excrement so thoughtfully adorned on her driver side window.  The entire back portion of back door also so magnanimously enhanced complete with a crust on the door handle.

She sits idling next to a really really really good looking blonde family (triple take out of peripheral  to make sure it’s not ex boyfriend Matt from college) who pulled up next to her at the stoplight (which she’s missed going through TWICE due to a slow garbage truck convoy) in their shining, white, brand-spankin-new mile high Range Rover.

That’s not actually a USED baby diaper, folks, she actually grabbed it to help soak up some of the Capri Sun Splashfest that occurred between last Thursday and this morning.  So, yea, there’s LOTS of uses for baby diapers, mm-hm.

Finally through the intersection only to stop for the EXACT SAME GROUP OF THE 8th GRADE PINK LADIES THAT JUST DELAYED HER from leaving her hood to once again, take. their. time- all on adorable beach cruisers, no helmets (huh?) crossing the crosswalk on their way to apparently, somewhere close to where she herself was heading.

Teacher wonders why this particular parking lot always smells like freshly dunked onion rings and steak sammies. Seagulls aggressively bombard what seems to be an entire loaf of  cinnamon balls two spaces over. Quickly, quickly!!!  She sees the gaggle of bikers heading straight for her, and quickly calculates out the side of her eyes that there are 2 additions to the Pink Ladies, ugh. Jackson and Max. Woooonnnddderfulll. Quick, go, go. Ignore hoots. Assume (hope) they aren’t coming from the bikers and directed at her.

Nine aisles later, paper plates, terribly expensive reader-eye-glasses (can’t ever have enough, she’s turned into her parents, reading glasses stuck in every crevice and side-table drawers) plastic cups, frozen pizza, toilet paper, and that large box of Immodium if you don’t mind-wow, that , WHOOPSIE DAISY, slip-a-rooney, basically just did the splits! OUCHI! What the heck, people, “CLEAN UP IN AISLE 8, HERB!” reference Mr. Mom. Someone may want to clean up this slushy-grape-like substance that has developed on the floor here.groceryfail

She heard them before she saw them. As if in slow-motion, the Pink Ladies and Kenickie,  Doody by his side, turn the corner toward the ice-cream aisle in which teacher almost bit it. A stand-off occurs. The Pink Ladies and the Boys halt as if they are confused-very, very confused. Hmmm…Just HOW do they know her? WHERE do they know her from? She SEEMS familiar.  For a moment, the teacher thought, I just may keep on rolling past them, as they clearly are having trouble connecting the dots.

Not a chance. Ms. Wise? AHHH YEEAA!!! She quickly acknowledges the gaggle with a “Hey, guys, how’s it going?” and keeps on rolling. Silence. Deadly Silent. She feels the fear rise up in her throat. Something is wrong. Something is VERY wrong. Silent middle schoolers represent some type of T.R.O.U.B.L.E  Keeeep rolling, she thinks.  “Ms. Wise, something is on the back of  your pants.”

Oh, Jesus, keep rolling. Duck into the corner by the pretend seafood, take a quick, again, mandatory screening of my teacher shorts from yesterday. There, in the condensation-covered refrigerator door  leading to a sea-world reflection, she makes out a rather large spot of, well, she’s not quite sure what the hay it is or where it came from. Yikes. Wait for it…

DISGUSTING. Somehow Teacher not only managed to plop her hiney right down onto

First Aid Kit

Actual Size of Band Aid

some type of brownish-gray substance the night before, she also seems to have been the chosen one, for one, extremely large, dirty USED BAND AID was hanging off the back of her shorts. Holy grossness. Bile. Chills. She tore that offensive tape off and flung it down, where it landed on her flip flop- kicky-kick, ugh. She has to touch it again, as the meat man seems to be eyeing her. He wonders if she wasn’t going to dispose of the large bandage in the proper receptacle. As if.Rizzo then turns the corner, giggling (more like bowling over in laughter), as the gang witnessed all of what teacher just went through.

Pretty Awesome. Pretty, pretty awesome.

“Ladies! Hey, if this is the worse thing that happens to me in the Krogers, that’s ok by me. Ya’ll just wait, for you too, one day, will not have a CLUE what’s been goin’ on BEHIND YOU, but you’ll feel okey dokey with it because you’ll be IN YOUR 40’s, and hopefully an inspiration to someone- and it’ll be ALL GOOD . I’ve found if I  just keep on looking FORWARD it’s much more rewarding. ”

That, ladies and gentleman, is ALL that occurred that day in the Krogers. Nobody and nothin is  gonna break her stride-

Now. Beat it. She’ll see ya at the car wash.

What’s in YOUR pencil case?


Hemingway’s secret to great writing ? Use a pencil.

A single pencil is said to hold enough graphite to draw a line 35 miles long, or write 45,000 words. If that’s true, Ernest Hemingway could have written The Old Man And The Sea(27,000 words) in a single stroke—and for all we know, he did. “If you write with a pencil you get three different sights at it to see if the reader is getting what you want him to,” Hemingway wrote in a 1935 Esquire article, “First when you read it over; then when it is typed you get another chance to improve it, and again in the proof. Writing it first in pencil gives you one-third more chance to improve it. That is .333 which is a damned good average for a hitter.”

Dear Future Hemingways,

I once took a writing class where the teacher told us to write about WHATEVER WE WANTED, it had to be one page long, and no other instruction was given. Wow. Whhhaaaaa? Where do I begin with this type of assignment? I then recalled another course I took that introduced the book, The Dot. In this amazing little nugget of inspiration, a student claims she has absolutely no, ability, no ideas, no nuthin’- when it comes to her talent (this happened to be her art class). The student gives up before she even begins. Her first and only mark on her paper for a good 8 minutes was a simple, dark, dot. She then used that dot as her starting point. And, boy, did she turn that dot into something wonderful. Where will YOUR dot lead you, today?


Again, your pencils should ALREADY have been sharpened, people. Ugh. I dislike the pencil sharpener. A lot. So much so that it wouldn’t be beyond me to snap that dang thing right off that sheet rock of a wall and violently fling it to the ground out back on the corroding, concrete-like playground entry way at 7: 13 a.m., daringly close to a janitor’s office (do not, I repeat, do not mess with a janitor- that’s for another entry). And then plant it back in the classroom as if I never even touched it. Sorry, folks, looks like no pencil sharpener today. Borrow a pencil. Or pen. Or highlighter. Or crayon, come on people,use your brain power. FIND SOMETHING TO WRITE WITH (at this point i just should  have left that offensive piece of metal alone). Ugh.

Pencil Sharpner.jpg

“Dear Math, Please stop asking me to find your X. He’s not coming back.”

So, this is happening…Sweet Jesus, give me the strength to find out just how many more gallons of lemonade Maggie sold than Jackson. And if I just cannot seem to flawlessly execute such a lesson in front of 17 Friends with ants in their pants, and perhaps an administrator or observer or 2, forgive me.

For, Lord, you’ll remember the younger, easily frustrated and excitable, Mrs. Wise of days gone by. Hours of crying and quitting, furrowed angry eyebrows, lost in every math class from 9th grade and beyond. Heck, throw in one summer school class, with about 36 other younger, extremely frustrated and excitable high school students and, well, you get the picture (I mean, jeez, you ARE the Lord, of course you get the picture, no disrespect intended ). I want a better math experience for these Friends. I want a better math experience for me. I’m trying, Lord, won’t you help me? So, now that I have officially procrastinated for 46 plus, minutes, lead me, gracious Jesus, to the shining algorithm, that will lead me and 17 Friends to Math Testing Glory.MathAssessment