home shopping tips from a non-expert

I spent the greater part of Saturday looking at nine homes in the greater Grand Rapids area, and my offer on one of them was accepted the next day. So congratulate me, friends–I’m now in some stage of owning two different homes. Fortunately, I’m not paying mortgage on both! (The closing date for both the one I’m selling and the one I’m buying is October 31–happy Halloween to me.) This has been my second time shopping for a home, so from my limited experience, I would like to offer you some simple tips.

  1. Speak your reactions aloud. Even if it’s something really obvious (“And here’s another closet”), process your observations verbally and externally. This will not only reinforce your memory–which will become important when the houses you’ve seen all start running together in your mind–but it will also help your realtor know what sorts of things you like and dislike, as well as what sorts of things you might not be noticing at all. Which brings me to my next tip…
  2. Know your areas of in-expertise, and let your realtor know. Right from the start on Saturday, I told my realtor, “I’m not good at noticing things like the age of the wiring and the furnace, so I’d appreciate it if you could point those things out to me.” Your realtor is not the stereotypical crooked used car salesman, so admitting your lack of knowledge is not setting you up to be swindled. Your realtor wants to help you find a safe, quality house and be satisfied, so even if he/she is the listing agent of the house you’re looking at (which doesn’t happen that often in my experience–maybe it would in a less-populated area), he/she is acting in your best interest.
  3. Accept that you won’t get everything on your list. I stole this one from my realtor. He said, “You’re going to have a list of about ten things you want in a house, and you’re going to get about six or seven of them.” That made-up (but pretty accurate) statistic sounds like a bummer, but as you look around, you’ll start to realize which of those items are the most important to you. And you may be able to compensate for some items: The house I’m buying doesn’t have a garage, which–because of the lake effect snow I’ve been warned of–was a pretty important item for me. But because of the low price of the house and the nice-sized driveway, I have the money and space to get a carport installed. (I could probably put an actual garage in someday too, but that’s more space for me to fill up with stuff. #hoarder)
  4. Take your time, and get a second opinion. I’m not only a hoarder; I’m a rusher. In life in general, it’s hard for me to slow down and really pay attention. I think a lot of people are like this today, so this is one reason why it’s good to have a realtor to help you notice things you might have otherwise skimmed over. If you’re buying a house alone, I also recommend taking someone along with you–I’ve brought my parents along with me while home shopping. Just make sure you don’t end up with a Say Yes to the Dress scenario. That show used to stress me out because these brides would bring huge crowds of family and friends to their dress fitting sessions, and then they’d have huge crowds of opinions to deal with. And it always seemed like there was at least one naysayer, impossible to satisfy, and at least one person who wanted to control everything. Often the sessions would end in yelling or crying. So, for your sanity, when you go home shopping (or wedding dress shopping, I guess), bring only one or two people whose opinions you trust but who won’t be offended if you disagree and who will let you make the final decision.
  5. Have fun! This goes along with the previous tip: It’s hard to have fun if you’re in a rush. On Saturday, I succeeded pretty well in making myself slow down and have a nice time exploring the homes and the area. It helped that it was a beautiful day–a quintessential First Day of Autumn. But regardless of the weather, take the pressure to find the perfect home off of yourself and enjoy the opportunity to snoop into houses you’d never get to see otherwise. Go ahead, open all the little doors and find out what they lead to. (I do this compulsively–I’m kind of like a child in this regard. This is especially fun in old houses, where you might find an old milk-bottle delivery slot, or at least a laundry chute.) Make jokes about what they’re hiding behind the doors, especially if you’re in a creepy basement. Make up stories about the people who live or have lived in the house. And if you happen to visit a home that’s having an open house, make sure you get some coffee and donuts!
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the journey north, part 2

I decided to go ahead and narrate the second half of my M22 road trip while it’s fresh in my mind. When we left off, I was standing atop Old Baldy Dune in the Arcadia Bluffs Natural Area, having a bit of a spiritual experience. That was my only outdoor adventure of the day, the rest of which was spent mostly eating. In fact, I spent a good portion of this trip eating. But I think I balanced this activity out pretty well with walking. Every day of the trip, I took a long walk if not a full-blown hike.

On the way to my next planned stop, I went into Frankfort, my new favorite town, and stopped at the Crescent Bakery, which I had seen the day before. It’s a popular spot; there was a line out the door when I stopped (granted, it’s a small building). I had a dirty chai (chai tea latte with a shot of espresso–I always feel like I need to explain that) and a cinnamon sugar cake doughnut that was good but not quite up to the standard of Mama’s Crockett’s, which is one of the things I miss most about the Lynchburg area.

Next, I made my first of two stops that day in Glen Arbor. M22 goes right through the center of town, and some of the most popular shopping destinations on the route are here, creating a perfect storm of foot and car traffic. Fortunately, my destination, the M22 Store, has its own parking lot. You can rent kayaks and other outdoorsy equipment here, but I was there to shop the merchandise branded after the famous route. I bought an M22 sticker for my car, which has previously played host to stickers for the Blue Ridge Parkway and Route 12, the road that spans the length of the Outer Banks. I also bought a raglan shirt that I think is supposed to be for men, but I chose it because the M22 logo is small and subtle, meaning that I can probably wear the shirt to work.

The other thing I wanted to do in Glen Arbor was get a piece of cherry pie at Cherry Republic, but I decided to come back for that after lunch, which I planned to eat at the Village Cheese Shanty in Leland. When I arrive in Leland around noon, it was crowded as well; I had to park several blocks away from Fishtown, the Lake Michigan-side historic district that is primarily made up of small, weathered board shanties, such as the aforementioned cheese one. The VCS is small, hot, and crowded, but it’s really good at sandwiches. I ordered the Leelanau (name of the county where Leland is located, as well as Leland’s other lake), which is a roast beef sandwich with veggies and local fromage blanc–a soft, spreadable white cheese with herbs. I enjoyed my sandwich on a bench away from the crowds, from which I could see the lake.

Then I headed back to Glen Arbor, which by this time was so teeming with pedestrians and cars that it was starting to stress me out. I parked along a residential street and then walked to Cherry Republic, which consists of a restaurant, a store, and a “tasting room.” I didn’t want to wait for a slice of pie in the restaurant, which looked busy, so I bought an entire freshly made (still warm) pie in the store. Why not? I carried my cherry pie to the Cottonseed, an upscale (read: expensive) women’s clothing boutique whose front-porch end-of-season clearance section intrigued me. I found a light ivory-and-tan striped dress (with pockets!), basically the perfect summer dress, which I wore to work yesterday in defiance of the rule about wearing white after Labor Day. Next, I went to Leelanau Coffee Roasters and got a chai freeze and carried it down to a little strip of beach where I took yet a few more views of the lake (some lake–I lost track of what I was looking at) for my Instagram followers.

By then, it was mid-afternoon, so I decided to head toward my lodgings for the night. I followed M22 North to the point where it turns around and becomes M22 South. I didn’t stop in Northport, the town on the point, but continued to Sutton’s Bay, where my hotel was. Sutton’s Bay marked the farthest point of my trip; I didn’t follow M22 to its terminus in Traverse City (I decided to save that for another trip). In Sutton’s Bay, I stayed at the cute M22 Inn (another old-style motor lodge) and ordered a pizza from Roman Wheel, which makes the good, greasy pie you expect from a small-town pizzeria. I ate that and a slice of my cherry pie while watching Fear the Walking Dead in my hotel room.

On the last day of my trip, instead of taking Siri’s recommended fastest route back to Grand Rapids, I decided to retrace my route along M22, stopping in places that I had enjoyed to get in one last visit (like Frankfort; this time I walked out on the pier to Frankfort Light, which is a rather forbidding, prison-esque lighthouse) and in places that I didn’t love the first time, to give them another chance (like Glen Arbor, which was much more peaceful when I stopped for a coffee early in the morning on Labor Day). I also stopped in Northport this time just to say I’d been at the tip of the peninsula; their waterfront area is beautiful, and Barb’s Bakery has good cream cheese danishes but doesn’t take credit cards on orders under $10 (but checks are accepted).

I enjoyed this trip immensely, and I can’t wait to go back “up north,” as the phrase goes around here, in the fall to enjoy the beautiful foliage for which the area is famed.

 

I’m in love with a sand dune.

This past holiday weekend, I went on a road trip inspired by an article about Michigan’s scenic highway M22 in this month’s issue of Midwest Living. I want to give you a quick travelogue in case you’d like to follow this same route yourself.

On Friday after work, I made the approximately two-hour drive (with traffic) from Grand Rapids to Manistee, where M22 begins. I immediately went to Manistee’s working Coast Guard lighthouse, where I got some pictures and stuck my feet in the sand for the first of many times over the weekend. Then I crossed the Manistee River (like many of the towns I visited, this one has two bodies of water–in this case, the river and Lake Michigan) to the small but vibrant downtown area. By 7:30, a lot of places had closed already, but I picked up some delicious shrimp tacos at The Fillmore and took them back to my hotel. I stayed in Manistee’s recently remodeled Super 8, which was much nicer than I had expected. (By the way, expect lodging prices along M22 to be jacked up over holiday weekends, as is generally the case in vacation areas.)

I got up early the next morning and went for a short run along the well-lit Riverwalk. After grabbing some free breakfast at the Super 8, checking out, and visiting the lighthouse one more time, I hit the scenic road. My first stop (other than at the very nice EZ Mart in Onekama) was in Frankfort, which turned out to be my favorite town along M22. First, I visited the picturesque Point Betsie lighthouse north of town. I didn’t stay there long because I got drenched by a sudden rain shower that was probably worse on the point, with its wild waves and fog, than it would have been in town. Soaked, I headed into Frankfort to do a little shopping. I bought a sandpiper hoodie at Michigan Rag Co., which specializes in casual wear screen-printed with cute animals, and a pair of fleece-lined leggings at a women’s clothing shop a few doors down. (I wish I could remember the name.) Because I was still wet, I ended up changing into my new clothes at one of Frankfort’s public restrooms. I was highly impressed by the fact that most of the towns along the highway provide free public restrooms near their waterfront areas.

I got back on the road and next stopped in Empire, where I got a sandwich from the Shipwreck Cafe. (All the sandwiches are named after ships that went down in Lake Michigan–I had the Three Brothers, an Italian sub.) Then I hit the Empire Bluffs Trail. Although the views along this hike were breathtaking, I was frustrated and a bit frightened when the trail, which the Midwest Living article had led me to believe was a 1.5-mile loop, did not seem to be looping back around. When my footing got harder to maintain (I was hiking along the side of a dune) and I was no longer seeing other people on the trail, I decided to turn around. I think I still got the full experience, though I’d be interested to go back and see if there’s another trailhead. I next went into Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park (it costs $20 per car for a pass that lasts for a week–kind of high if you’re only planning to be there for a short time, like me) and drove the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, which includes a covered bridge, some beautiful woods, and the Sleeping Bear Dune itself. I didn’t enjoy the dune as much as I might have on another weekend; it was crawling with people, many of whom were ignoring the sign cautioning them against going down the steep slope lest it take them two hours to climb back up. It’s still an amazing sight, though. By the way, if when I say “dune” you’re picturing gentle, rolling hills like at Kitty Hawk, NC, think instead of a massive sand bluff overlooking the lake.

My hotel that night was in Bear Lake, so I had to retrace my steps to get there. Fortunately, nothing along M22 is that far apart. I probably could have stayed in Manistee that night as well, but it was fun to experience the Alpine, a Budget Host Inn that retains the charm of an old-school motor lodge. After checking in and hanging out in my room for a while (the rooms need some updates but are clean and comfortable), I went back into Manistee to do some more clothing shopping at a store I’d seen the night before. Then I went to Onekama for the second time that day (though at first I didn’t realize it was the same town) and had a chicken finger basket and a peanut butter milkshake at Papa J’s, where you can also play putt-putt if you’re not traveling alone. (I enjoyed traveling alone for the most part, but there were a few times, like this, when I would have liked to have a buddy!)

The next morning, I went back to the EZ Mart in Onekama for a breakfast sandwich, and then I went to hike another trail. I am so thankful to the manager of the Alpine for recommending the Arcadia Bluffs trail area; this was not originally on my list of things to do, but it ended up being possibly my favorite experience of the trip. The highlight of this trail system is another dune, Old Baldy. You can either take a short, half-mile walk directly to the dune, or you can take a mile-long scenic hike through the woods, which I did on the way out. (I took the short way back.) Although Old Baldy looked a lot like Sleeping Bear to my untrained eye, I enjoyed the experience so much more because I was the only person standing on the dune–partly because it’s less popular and partly, I’m sure, because it was still relatively early in the morning. I got tears in my eyes from the magnificent curve of the dune, the stunningly clear blue water, and the stillness of everything but the breeze and the gentle lake waves.

Okay, I said this was going to be a “quick travelogue.” I should have known. I’ll pick up with the second half of my journey next week.

back to school

Today was the first day of classes at my new institution. Last time I wrote about the first day of classes, I wrote about being so scatterbrained that I could barely organize my thoughts for a blog post. While I wasn’t exactly a chilled-out guru sitting on a mountaintop in mountain pose with a cup of green tea today, I was considerably more focused and less stressed because now teaching is my entire job, not something I try to fit in around meetings and administrative tasks.

It’s an unusually hot day in western Michigan, and this morning it was raining, so my office has been a little damp all day. But at least it has air conditioning, unlike the room where I taught this afternoon. (There were fans blowing, but only the students who sat in the back of the room got to benefit from those, I realized when I went over to talk to one of them after class.) I like to wear a cardigan while teaching because of the pockets, so there was sweat actually dripping down my back and my legs after about an hour of class. On the positive side, my classroom has windows, and it also has an upright piano, which I doubt we’ll ever use, but it looks cool to have in the background. Actually, maybe I’ll see if any of my students can bang out a rendition of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” on October 31, when we have the Reformation/All Saints Day party that I really did schedule on the syllabus. (It may end up being a Halloween party as well, but I wanted to get a sense of who my students are before I start foisting pagan celebrations upon them.)

All classes here are 90 minutes long, and I was worried about filling that much time on intro day, but I neatly rounded out the first hour by taking attendance and rambling about myself, the syllabus, and the textbooks (I am a champion rambler), and then I had my students write a literacy narrative during the remaining half-hour. I’d read about literacy narratives in composition journals–apparently they are rather passe now–but I had never assigned one myself. My off-the-cuff version of the assignment probably didn’t exactly conform to the standards of the genre, but not only did it use up a good chunk of class time; reading the results also taught me quite a bit about my students as writers and readers (e.g. several of them are Harry Potter fans; some lack confidence about writing, and all of them have decent handwriting)–and my students got a 10-point completion grade. Win, win, win.

Eleven of my twelve students are women, so I promised the token male student I would not single him out in class. All but two are brand new freshmen, though a couple of them have parents who work at the university and/or took pre-term classes, which means they probably know more about this school than I do. Still, they all looked sincere and eager to learn, many of them were taking notes during my course introduction (and I didn’t penalize them for doing so, like Snape did to Harry Potter), and one of them asked approximately ten questions during the syllabus review. She apologized for having so many questions, but I thanked her and told her that others probably had the same questions. The best student feedback I received today, though, probably wasn’t meant for my ears. Before class, I heard one of the students saying to the person next to her, “I’m so excited about this class.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard a student say that about a freshman writing class. I wonder if she still felt the same way after class.

I wrote a brief note on each student’s literacy narrative, and in many of them, I asked the student to talk with me about something–not incorrect grammar or ineffective transitions, but Harry Potter, creative writing, or some other such enjoyable topic. I hope they will come see me, even the ones who are shy about their writing or terrified about starting college. Especially those ones.

I don’t have any classes tomorrow, so I’ll have time to prepare for my Wednesday classes, which I think are in a room with air conditioning. Every time I walk into a class for the first time, I’m nervous that I’ll be met with faces that are judgmental, sarcastic, or completely checked out, and occasionally that happens, but most of my students really want to be in college. I just hope that after sitting through my class on day 1, they want to stay.

celebrate good times

My sister got married on Sunday, so I would like to write a blog post about the profound meaning of celebration. Unfortunately, I am exhausted from the wedding (the early-morning hair appointment, the frequent unbidden weeping throughout the day, the dancing), but also from the drive from western Pennsylvania to my new home in western Michigan the morning after the wedding and the effort since then to carve into the mountain of furniture and boxes that resulted from the condensing of a three-bedroom house into the two-room (plus bathroom) apartment where I am living until my home in Virginia sells and I can buy a new one. And now I’m sure you feel exhausted from reading that grammatically correct but epically long sentence.

So I’m just going to make a couple of observations about celebration and hope they make sense. While I’ll be focusing mainly on the wedding in these remarks, I also want to note that I participated in a celebration of another kind on Friday when one of my online students successfully defended her master’s thesis in a conference call with her committee, of which I was the chair. Witnessing this victory got the weekend off to a celebratory start!

  1. Celebrations can be hard work. Although I was my sister’s maid of honor, I live relatively far away and so did not participate in much of the logistical preparation for the wedding. I know my sister and mom put many hours of work into acquiring decor, putting everything into labeled boxes for the wedding coordinator to set out, and taking care of innumerable other tasks. The result was gorgeous–my sister has great taste, and it showed in both the ceremony and the reception. As I mentioned earlier, the day of the wedding, though joyful, was also hard work–I know the bridesmaids will testify along with me to the difficulty of standing on chunky gravel in thin shoes throughout the ceremony, and I know the groomsmen were sweating in their long sleeves and vests. (I realize that sentence sounds silly, but it’s true! Outdoor weddings are beautiful but no picnic!)
  2. And then there’s the emotional labor. The bride and groom are marking a major life change, so they’re undergoing massive emotional stress (the good kind–eustress) that probably doesn’t really hit them until the honeymoon. But there’s also emotional labor for the others involved. My immediate family members and myself were surprised by how hard we were hit by the realization that Sarah was joining a new family and things would never be quite the same again. That night in the hotel room, which I had shared with Sarah the two previous nights, I kept bursting into tears when I saw something that reminded me of her. It was kind of ridiculous–I had to remind myself that she hadn’t died. There are other sources of emotional stress too: the worry that things aren’t going to go exactly as planned, the sadness of remembering family members who did not live to see the occasion, and the melancholy that many single people experience at weddings, wondering whether they will ever have their own. (I’ll be honest; I felt that a little bit.)

Well, shoot. I didn’t mean for this to be such a depressing post! I guess I was just trying to process why I feel so incredibly drained right now, because I know it’s not just from driving the Ohio Turnpike for hours (although that is rather soul-sucking) and moving boxes around. I am very happy for my sister and her new husband, and for my thesis student, and I’m happy about the new beginnings I’m celebrating in my own life. Celebrations are wonderful; I’m just thankful we don’t have to have them every day!

reasons to move to Lynchburg, VA

Tomorrow I am moving away from Lynchburg, VA (well, technically Forest, but let’s not split hairs), where I have been living for 15 years. I am writing this list partly to convince someone (perhaps you?) to move to the area and buy my lovely three-bedroom, open-floor-plan, single-story house in a quiet, convenient neighborhood (see realtor.com for further details), but mainly as an elegy to my life in this small city, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, that has been so good to me for so many years.

  1. It’s nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’m really bad at geography and topography, but I’m pretty sure Lynchburg is in a valley, which means that it’s sheltered from the harsh cold and snowfall that can occur in the mountains themselves. It also means that just about wherever you look (especially out in Forest, where I know about a nice house for sale!), you can see the blue silhouette of the mountains, especially on a clear morning.
  2. There’s a cliff in the middle of downtown. Officially, it’s called a bluff. I’m sure there are other cities that have this odd geographical feature, but I’ve never been to them. At the top of the bluff is most of downtown; at the bottom is Jefferson Street, some recreational spaces, a railroad track, and the James River. You can enjoy the view by sitting on the deck at Bootleggers eating a delicious burger or by walking a skinny trail along the bluff at Riverside Park.
  3. It has historical sites you haven’t already been to. Lynchburg and the surrounding towns have a number of historical locations that aren’t overrun with tourism. (Appomattox, about a 20-minute drive away, is pretty overrun, but even there you can find some newer attractions, like the Museum of the Confederacy, which is not a glorification of the Lost Cause but a thoughtful, objective presentation of history.) Forest is home to Thomas Jefferson’s second house, Poplar Forest (just down the road from a cute house I know!), and downtown Lynchburg’s Old City Cemetery is full of Civil War and railroad history, plus some beautiful old graves and trees.
  4. Most people seem to enjoy serving their community. I think this is because Christian culture and hipster culture intersect in Lynchburg in a way that you don’t really see elsewhere, except in a few other cities (such as the one I’m about to move to–Grand Rapids, Michigan). Your Facebook news feed will give you lots of suggestions for ways to meet people, have fun, and do good all at once: from food truck fundraisers to racing in the CASA Superhero Run (or actually becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate–they’ll be looking for a new volunteer to replace me!).
  5. Speaking of races, Lynchburg has the most enjoyable one I’ve ever run. The Virginia 10-Miler, which occurs the last weekend of September every year, garners a massive turnout from locals as well as people who love it so much they travel in order to participate. The course is scenic and challenging (you don’t have to run up the bluff, but Lynchburg is hilly in general), and hundreds of volunteers turn out to hand out water and Gatorade and to cheer, making you feel like a celebrity even if you’re the slowest runner on the course. If a 10-mile race sounds like punishment to you, there’s also a four-miler as well as a four-mile walk.

I’ll stop here, though I could go on: Lynchburg has a cool old baseball stadium where the minor-league Hillcats still play, some good coffee and ice cream shops, and a full schedule of various festivals throughout the year (even more if you venture out into the surrounding hills–if you love apple-picking and hoedowns, you’re going to love fall in this area). Whether or not you decide to move here (and buy my house!), Lynchburg is a lovely place to visit. I’ll be visiting as often as I can.

National Day of Unplugging (i.e. hiding in the Forbidden Forest)

This week’s Hufflepuff leadership topic is what to do when you need to get away from people–either because you need to work on stuff or because you’re an introvert and being around people (even though you love them) exhausts you.  When asked how they create alone time and space, my two contacts at Hogwarts* had similar answers.  Muggle studies teacher and Hufflepuff alumna Becky Weasley said, “Well, it helps that I’m married to the Hogwarts gamekeeper.  Charlie and I have our own cabin a little ways away from the castle.  When I have a lot of grading to do, I work on it at home instead of in my office.  But when I really need to get away, I pack a picnic and conveniently get lost in the Forbidden Forest.  Charlie will always come find me eventually.”  Her nephew, Patrick, a seventh-year student and Hufflepuff prefect, said, “I like to be available to the first- and second-years when they have questions about school or are just homesick, but sometimes I have to get my own work done, you know?  So a lot of times, I’ll go next door to the kitchens and ask the house-elves not to tell anyone I’m there.  They usually give me some of whatever they’re cooking.  And in return, I help them clean up.  Or I’ll go visit my Aunt Becky and Uncle Charlie.  They usually feed me too.”  So, common themes seem to be 1) food and 2) hiding (like a badger in a burrow?).

But Muggle/No-Maj society presents an additional challenge that our Hogwarts friends don’t have to face: technology.  You can hide if you want, but if you have a phone, people can still find you.  (Unless you’re in the Forbidden Forest, where I hear that reception is really bad.)  Much ink (which here is a metaphor for digital text) has been spilled over the effects that smartphones have had on the American and European work week.  Now, our bosses, colleagues, and employees can find us anytime.  Some people, like me, avoid using their phones for email, but there’s still texting.  One curious consequence of this constant connectivity is a comparison game over who’s the busiest.  I’ve heard people in my organization brag about how many emails they get over the weekend.  “My boss starts emailing me Sunday night around sundown, and I can’t wait until Monday morning to respond to them [implied: because I’m too important to the company].”  I’m not saying this is any one person’s fault.  What we have not only in my organization but in our society at large is a culture of busyness.  And it’s not healthy.

Some Hufflepuff leaders (okay, I just made an assumption there) at an organization called Reboot have started an annual event called National Day of Unplugging.  I participated last year, and I’ve been looking forward to the 2018 event for months.  It’s simple: From sundown this Friday to sundown this Saturday, you keep your phone and other digital devices off.  (The resemblance to Sabbath is not an accident–Reboot is a Jewish organization.)  Of course, that’s if you want to be extreme (which I do).  Maybe for you, unplugging simply means you don’t check email or Instagram for that 24-hour period.  But in any case, you’re engaging in an act of radical freedom and humility–declaring that the digital world (which is not the whole world) can survive without you for 24 hours.

What does this have to do with leadership?  First, obviously, leaders themselves need a break.  But secondly, unplugging has a trickle-down effect.  When I step away from work for a day, I’m letting my employees and students know that it’s okay for them to do the same.

Will you be participating in the National Day of Unplugging?  Do you have other suggestions on this topic?  Let me know in the comments!

*These characters are both my own creations–see last week’s post.