“T’was the night after the market
And all through the house
Not a person was sleeping
All because of a mouse…”
I’ll explain in a minute, but first –
I’m super-excited to announce that the Geode Program has been selected by the Watertown Cultural Council as part of the Massachusetts Cultural Council to be funded in 2022, in partnership with the Watertown Boys & Girls Club.
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Watertown Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
All thanks to Henri, the mouse. And Dr. Roberta Rosenberg. Let me explain.
I was at the Watertown Arts Market, along with about 70 other artists all hawking our wares, when Dr. Roberta Rosenberg stopped by my table, as she was making the rounds to all the artists, passing out brochures about the Watertown Cultural Council, encouraging new applicants. But, what could I do, I thought.
After the market, we packed up and loaded out all our boxes, picked up a pizza pie from Frank Pepe’s as promised, just as the skies started to cloud up. We were lucky to fit in the market that Saturday August 21st, sandwiched right between Tropical Storms Fred (Thursday, August 19th) and Henri’s landfall predicted for Sunday morning, August 22nd).
After pizza, as I flumped into the corner of the couch, what to my surprised eye did I see, but a mouse scrambling up the other side of the couch! I leapt straight up in the air, and then a chase ensued, me chasing the mouse around the couch, under the couch, around the living room, and finally into the kitchen, where we surmised he’d taken up hiding in the back of the refrigerator. Ew.
So we called our neighbor from two doors down, who came over, and told us we needed to get some mousetraps. And that mice really love peanut butter. So, while Susan and John dashed out to Home Depot, I stayed in the kitchen, keeping watch on the refrigerator, like some giant furless cat, to make sure the mouse didn’t come out and disappear.
We baited the trap with peanut butter and set it behind the refrigerator and went to bed, where I would spend the rest of the night not sleeping, waiting and worrying about where the mouse was. And so I had plenty of time to think, asking myself again, “What could I do?”
Certainly at work there are plenty of discussions about STEM and how to reach kids early, and then it came to me: Geodes & Journals. Geodes are the perfect gateway to introduce kids to minerals and rocks and geology, the first science, and all the other sciences and engineering. Journals are the perfect tool to give kids the chance to express themselves in a judgment-free environment, to find their voice, and develop coping skills.
Geodes and journals serve as the perfect metaphor. Crystals form in the empty space within volcanic rocks, and journals provide the blank space to fill with words, thoughts, ideas, and emotions. When we crack open a geode, it reveals what no one has ever seen before. Crystals form as elements in solution precipitate out and organize into a crystalline structure. And what will be written in the journals has never been said by anyone before in just the same way.
The next morning, I checked the trap and saw the mouse-shaped silhouette through the gray translucent trap, in exquisite detail, I could even make out his slender little fingers. It seemed we were not so different. I could feel his fear and anguish, so mad at himself for not being able to resist the peanut butter.
Meanwhile Tropical Storm Henri was just about to make landfall, with the first bands of heavy rain predicted to start hitting Boston, so it was the perfect time to head out and release our mouse, who we also nicknamed Henri, to an undisclosed location in nature, back to where he came from. We suspect he hitchhiked home with us from the market, in one of the boxes. And then we set out for another cup of coffee from Kohi in Brighton, just as the heaviest sheets of rain started coming down.
All thanks to someone asking a question, and my giving it some thought, with a little help from a mouse. I often talk about how things balance on the edge of a feather, which could fall either way, to do or not do, and sometimes all it takes is a little nudge. The slightest of encouragement can make all the difference. Now I’m looking forward to getting to share a couple of my favorite things – rocks and writing – with some lucky kids in Watertown!
In the spirit of the season, I thought I’d share a few more of my favorite things from the past year.
Here’s the perfect stocking stuffer, every house should have some of these mousetraps on hand, and peanut butter, just in case!
LL Bean nailed it this year with the wearable sherpa fleece throw. I ordered one as soon as I saw it, luckily, as they’re now on backorder, so you’ll be lucky to get one by next Christmas if you order now! It comes in cream and mouse-gray.
I’ve finally found a paper towel holder that mostly delivers on its promise on one-handed single sheet tears, the OXO Good Grips Steady Paper Towel Holder:
For entertainment – here are the best finds on Netflix:
Jane The Virgin. Five seasons, twenty episodes each, for a total of 100 shows, with each one taking more twists and turns than the last. Turns the classic telenovela style on its head.
Stop and Go. A rollercoaster sisters road trip in the early days of the pandemic. Well done!
Hector and the Pursuit of Happiness. A therapist’s travel adventure.
My Octopus Teacher. A story of an unusual friendship.
For your reading pleasure, here is a bunch of my old blogs on the topic of STEM & Diversity:
Bentley STEM Event - Challenge Yourself: http://www.gainline.com/2015/01/
Business & Baseball Part 1: http://www.gainline.com/2015/08/business-baseball-conversation-with.html
The Diversity Question Part 2: http://www.gainline.com/2015/08/business-baseball-part-2-diversity.html
HUBWeek 2015 Retrospective – STEM: http://www.gainline.com/2016/09/
Need something to look forward to? Especially since 2021 turned out to be sort of a repeat of 2020, as the saying goes, “second verse, a little bit louder, and a little bit worse.”
Mark Your Calendars:
March 19 & 20, 2022 – Book Re-Launch for The Happy Clam.
There will be book talks and book giveaways - watch for more details here.
Read more about the book here on Good Reads and see who else is reading it now:
Don’t forget to go back to the July 2020 blog for the book’s soundtrack!
A couple of songs for the season:
Don’t Tell Me You Don’t Like Christmas, by the Careless Sons
And recalling the miracle at Russo’s a few years back:
Still so sad that Russo’s closed this past year!
And we lost Betty White on the very last day!
Farewell 2021! Welcome 2022!
Lastly, stay safe, stay well, everyone. We thought things were getting better this summer, but then along came Delta, and then Omicron right after Thanksgiving.
Stay well and use multiple lines of defense: get vaccinated, get boosted, upgrade your cloth mask to an N95, avoid large crowds, and test before gathering. Outdoors is much better than indoors.
If you do get sick: consider ramping up Vitamins C & D to boost your immune system, sleeping on your stomach, taking Tylenol for aches/fever, and monitoring blood oxygen levels with a pulse oximeter, especially if elderly or have any underlying health conditions.
I can’t tell anyone what to do, but I can tell you that you’d be missed if you were gone. It’s all up to you. We’re all in this together.
Cheers to 2022!
© 2022 Rosemary A. Schmidt
Rose Schmidt is the author of The Happy Clam (Gainline Press, 2020), and Go Forward, Support! The Rugby of Life (Gainline Press, 2004). The views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not reflect the views of any other agency or organization. Use of individual quotes with proper citation and attribution, within the limits of fair use, is permitted. If you would like to request permission to use or reprint any of the content on the site, please contact me. Twitter: Rosebud@GainlineRS