Unexpected Event

To all my students,

I would ask you all to be forgiving of me for the next few weeks as a grieve for my father.  I am deeply saddened by his death and am likely to tear up for no clear reason as the waves of grief overtake me from time to time.  If this happens, I may excuse myself to the hallway.  Please just carry on with the work you are doing.

Here are some things you may be curious about:

  1. My dad was totally fit- or at least as fit as you can expect to be at the age of 76.
  2. He was shoveling snow, slipped, hit his head, and had a stroke.
  3. The stroke caused severe bleeding in his brain which caused a midline shift of his brain.
  4. The phrase “midline shift” means that his brain was moved inside of his skull and pushed against the inside of the skull.  This force caused brain death.
  5. I did make it to my dad’s bedside before he died, and I was able to say good bye- I do not think he was able to hear me at that time, but the doctors said they did not know for sure.

As an adult, I have been very close with my dad.  His death, and the subsequent closing of his estate, (emptying his house and property) is also, for me, the loss of the place in the USA that I considered my home.  My mom sold my childhood home about 15 years ago and has since moved into her husband’s home, but my dad had been living in his home since I was in high school.  This was the place that all of the family functions and gatherings would take place.  When I left the USA, I was really scary in that I, for the first time, do not have a home to go back to– there are just a bunch of places where my family lives.

In all of this, I am thankful for my siblings and the support we have been able to give each other.

Anyway, just so you know, I appreciate all of your messages and concern in this very difficult time.  If you want to see a few images of my dad and some of me as a very small child- check out the Instagram feed on the right- there are some real gems in there.



NaNoWriMo is Coming!

It is that time of year again– November is National Novel Writing Month = NaNoWriMo!

I’ve already signed up and made my pledge for this year.  If you are interested in participating this year, and possibly earning some Q2 bonus credit, you need to join my NaNoWriMo classroom.

  1. Go to https://ywp.nanowrimo.org
  2. Create your account
  3. Join my classroom space by entering CLASSROOM CODE: PQERNRMM
  4. Tell us a little about your novel!

You also need to sign a pledge for your goal– you can get one from me in 501I.

Our first lunchtime write-in will be November 2 in 501 I during lunch time.  You can bring your computer and your lunch (packed from home- not the canteen), and join me for some writing time.

No Volcano to Speak of…

While the worry was about getting “trapped” on Bali due to a volcano explosion, that did not happen.

What did happen was some surfing.  I managed 10 surfing session in the seven days of vacation- so that was pretty good.  Here is an image that Mr. Harris got of me on the last day we were there.  He had to photo-stalk me so that he could get this shot.

Proud Mama

I would just like to say how PROUD I am of the IB year 1 class.

You have really blown my mind with the quality of your work in the poetry smack down today.


So.. for the October break, Mr. Harris and I are planning to go to Bali.

Well guess what is happening in Bali right now- There is a volcano that is threatening to erupt!


Should we make bets about if my vacation will be ruined or if I’ll get stuck on the island due to ash and so on?

The Value of Experiences

I strongly encourage you all to have experiences.  This means that you need to be able to plan in advance so that you are not stuck doing your homework on a night.  To drive my point home, here are some highlights from “The Chainsmokers” concert from last week.

Tonight, we lived. #chainsmokers #hcmc #saigon #edm #lovethedance #awesomelife

A post shared by Ciara Johnson (@ciarareneejohnson) on

Flavors of the USA

Every once in a while, living away from home gets a little tough and I start missing the foods that I normally eat there.  Here is a little video about one of those very American flavors: Ranch dressing.

Growing up, I loved putting this on nearly everything: salad, chips, pizza… everything. Here, the ranch dressing that you get is not quuuuuiiiiiite right, but I would have a hard time telling you why.  Maybe it’s not thick enough, maybe it’s not the right balance of flavors, or maybe it has milk from a different animal….

This makes me curious.  Is there a condiment/sauce here in Vietnam that people would believe makes “everything” taste better?  Let me know if you think of one.