Pause: It’s National Book Lover’s Day!

Inspired by my friend (and longtime Slice of Life participant), Erika Victor, I have been following along with Kim Haynes Johnson’s Dictionary for a Better World Word Plan.

The Plan is a series of prompts for the months of August and September which — each day — takes a word from the book to look at, as well as a day of national significance.  Most of these days are fun things to commemorate.  I am bummed that I missed National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, but that’s what I get for only checking in with the Plan now and again.

Today is National Book Lover’s Day, and the word for the day is “Pause” (on pages 70 and 71 of the book).

National Book Lover’s Day

first edition of Walden by Thoreau

I love that National Book Lover’s Day is on August 9th each year, because that is also the day (in 1854) that my favourite book of all time — Walden, by Henry David Thoreau — was published for the first time.  (The first edition is pictured at left).  Walden literally saved my life and continues to enrich it, through the friends and Thoreauvian family I have met as a result.

Never read it? Pro tip: Read the first chapter (“Economy”) last. The first chapter was mostly meant to be delivered as a lecture, and without the human delivery can be a bit of a hard slog. Go straight to “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For.”

My favourite edition? Hands-down, it’s Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition, by Jeffrey S. Cramer.  And if you order it from the link above, you will not only support the work of the Walden Woods Project — including their annual professional development week for teachers, Approaching Walden — but you can ask Jeff Cramer to personalize/autograph it for you!  What’s not to love?


As I sit here at my writing desk with the window open, I cannot help but smile at the sound of the rain.  The rowan and birch trees just beyond the glass seem grateful for the water pouring down.

The last few weeks have been unbearably hot and humid, and we are all pausing to breathe a sigh of relief at the long-awaited break in the weather.  Even Gracie, our rescue German Shepherd from an arid corner of northwestern Texas, was doing a bit of a happy dance as she went out to do her business a few minutes ago.

It’s good to have this reminder to pause and reflect at the workings of the natural world around us.  I’m sure Henry David Thoreau would approve.

This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Challenge

You can view other writers’ contributions via the comments here.

Still there?

It has been a couple of months since I have posted on this blog.  It’s not for lack of ideas — oh, no!  I have ideas coming out my ears! — but a lack of quality “butt in chair” time.  So as I sit here, with a welcome drizzle happening outside, please indulge me in a little catching up:

First of all, I was back in the classroom, substituting, at least once a week throughout the month of June, and — although I was quite concerned about the amount of COVID-19 in our area — was pleased to be there.

I have found one particular place that I would like to make my “main school” for the coming year, and I’m excited about that.  I’ve received my paperwork for 2022-2023, and will fill it out in the next week.  So hard to believe that my first year substitute-teaching was 1999-2000!

June went fast, but had a lot of joy.  A student I began tutoring as a 12-year-old in grade seven, when her anxiety was debilitating to the point that she could not walk into the school building, received her high school diploma on June 23.

I was so excited for her and her family, and so very proud.  She is the strongest kid I have ever worked with, and I have been tutoring since 1993.  I attended the graduation, took lots of pictures, and only cried a little bit. 😉

The day after M’s graduation, our household welcomed a gorgeous, three-year-old, German Shepherd / Alsatian named Gracie.  Gracie is originally from north-west Texas, and transported here through the cooperative efforts of three rescues.

We love her to bits (well, the cats are slowly coming around), and although we have a lot to learn about each other, it is going really well.  I intend to start a blog for (by?) Gracie soon.  She’s amazing.

Health-wise, the treatment regimen for my autoimmune disease was tweaked in June.  I will be receiving my IV every six weeks instead of eight, as I was finding the effects of the medication were wearing off early.  Hopefully that will do the trick!  I have plans to complete my 30th (and likely final) season of tour-guiding this summer and fall, and I need to keep the symptoms at bay.  I want to still be on top of my game when I hang up my mic for good.

July was just as wonderful, and jam-packed full.  The first twelve days need a post all on their own.  I will try to get that written up and posted in the next couple of days.

How have you been the last couple of months?