Nobody Bought the Farm

farm1“I like what you’re doing to the place,” I say to the man working at the farm stand. I’m getting a couple of onions and putting in my order for B Grade tomatoes. It’s what I do. Forage, trade, find, and pick food, and then preserve it. I ate the tomatoes I grew so I have nothing to can for the winter. I don’t like the tin-can taste of the stuff from the store.

I’ve been coming to this particular farm since I moved to Rhode Island two decades ago. I look around at the decorations. There were no decorations when I started coming here for the local fresh food. Just a shackish outbuilding with a simple old-school butcher shop and produce stand where the farmer sold pies he made that morning, made sandwiches to order, and cut you a nice steak for dinner if you weren’t a vegetarian like me.

I snap a quick picture of the artfully arranged bins of local in-season fruits and vegetables. There are now shelves of maple syrup, maple sugar, local honey, and little gift-baskety type things. This place is emerging as a New England boutique roadside farm stand. It has all the nuances of a shop that would attract locavores, GMO haters, store avoiders and foodies. There used to be time for a conversation when I came in. Now, I often have to wait in line.

It makes me smile, to be honest. I like waiting in line because someone who deserves success has a lot of business in front of him.

“Thanks,” he says. “But in ten years, places like this won’t be here. Everyone will shop in billion dollar businesses.
“I disagree,” I reply. “I think there’s a market for this, and it’s growing. I’ve been coming here forever. Back when shopping for boxed and frozen food in the grocery store was what cool people did. People laughed at the way I got my food. But now everybody will come here because it looks so beautiful…you have such a selection. Farms are cool these days. A lot of people don’t want to shop at the billion-dollar industries where food tastes bad.”
I’m not trying to make him feel better about his hard work. I’m simply stating a fact. Food freaks like me who used to live on the periphery are nearly mainstream. I’ve just come from another farm. There were lines out the door for both.
“Well,” he says, “I hope you’re right, but let’s look at this town. When I moved here, there were four Mom & Pop pharmacies. Now, there are other none. They don’t make it illegal, but they make it so difficult that you can’t pay. You have to be networked in. You have to get your discount. Otherwise you can’t keep pace with the prices. Stores are the same. Nobody who’s not a billion-dollar industry can do this. Just look around…”
Pause.  His voice trails off.
What he says is the truth. I can’t argue. We’ve built small businesses. I’ve lived this. Between building and fire codes that change a smidgen but cost a ton for no understandable increase in safety, tax regulations that reward big business outsourcing  production to underpaid labor elsewhere while ignoring local places with eight or ten employees, and new health insurance regulations, it’s really tough out there.
Some of today's fresh offerings

Some of today’s fresh offerings

It’s tough to be the little guy, even if you have a product the community loves, the best team in the world, and a business that makes the world a better place. He’s right. I can’t argue. There are no more Mom & Pop drug stores in town.

I’ve got nothing to reply, because who wants to say, “You’re right. It’s tough to hang on to the chin-up bar, but I hope we both do,” so I nod, take the onions, and say I’ll return Wednesday for the tomatoes.
I really love going to the farm. I’m secretly glad the tomatoes aren’t ready, because I get to go back when it’s slower and have another conversation, not only about produce, but about Yankee ingenuity and life.

I Endorse You. That Makes You Great

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 7.21.01 AM“You need to attend to your LinkedIn.” My brother reviewed it for me. He sees lots of resumes. It was okay for my first career, but it needed to be freshened up and updated for the 21st century. It was stodgy, like a historian wrote it. Because I teach history. And I wrote it. I’m not a real historian with a Ph.D–I’d abandoned that journey. I was too broke to finish and wanted to try out teaching for a bit. I stayed.

I’m not resentful. I love my classroom. It may have been an honor to teach at the college level but I turned it down. I turned down my one shot at greatness–a chance to adjunct at the local college where I achieved my only full graduate degree–the one I didn’t abandon by the wayside after analyzing “The Law of Diminishing Returns,” as one beloved professor put it.

“You want to teach a couple of sections of Western Civ?” asked my department chair, the Jazz Guy. How cool is that, a career teaching Colonial America and…jazz? Getting work to pay for your music addiction. Nice gig indeed.

Western Civ’s the one class that all undergrads in history must take.They dump it off on adjunct professors. I didn’t think I should teach it…I never took Western Civ. Rochester didn’t require it, and I wasn’t interested. I took obscure things no one cares about except six or seven Russian historians who all look like they pulled the hairs straight out of their head. Find a Russian historian…you’ll notice their hair sticks out. It’s because they pulled it for years trying to get to the end of lengthy Russian novels, sets of bureaucratic documents, and things written in Church Slavonic. It’s partially why I write like I do. Why I needed to attend to my LinkedIn.

“I appreciate that vote of confidence, but it wouldn’t be fair to the students. I never even took Western Civ. Not my area. Maybe there’s something else you need me to do, like ‘Intro to Soviet Purges,’ or ‘Soviet Economics–How to Achieve Excellence in a System that Sucks?'” I had to be honest.

“What do you mean, you never took Western Civ? It’s a requirement for admissions.” He looked incredulous. I stumped a scholar.

“I don’t know–you let me in. And besides, I’m done. Too late for you to do anything about it. I’d rather study dead Russian peasants than dead Greeks and Romans.”

“Maybe I counted all that as European history or something…hmmmm…” he scratched his head and walked away to buy more jazz.

That was the end of my career at the college level, so it’s not on my LinkedIn. But now I have my hands in a lot of pots–teaching, EdTech, writing, business… It’s important to keep up to date on profiles, online resumes, and all that stuff–I teach that to my students. Every once in a while I review all my stuff online and see if I would impress myself if I didn’t know me. Are all the profiles grammatically correct? Are they succinct? That’s my challenge. My friend calls me Madame Tolstoy.

When I view my profiles, I see that there are little stamps of endorsement…crowdsourced votes of confidence from people who know me–and some who do not but obeyed the  suggestion to click and tell me I’m awesome.

In return, I endorse others…a little electronic quid pro quo. I wonder if my click helps people at all…if I carry enough weight that someone says, “Wow, she endorsed him. MUST HIRE HIM NOW!” I like endorsing people, but when the “would you like to endorse so and so for such and such” pops up unsolicited, I feel like the unwitting watcher of a pharmaceutical commercial that’s supposed to make me go ask my doctor for a drug. “Viagra? Yeah, I saw that commercial.” I feel steered and compelled.

“Does Dr. So and So know about emergency medicine?”  I suppose so, he’s been a doctor for a really long time and lots of people aren’t dead because of him. But do I know about emergency medicine? Should anyone care about my opinion? I suppose…I’ve waited for hours at the ER with broken body parts… And I’ve watched ER…

“Does So and So know about creating world peace?” Well, there isn’t any peace in the world, but does is that her fault? 

“Does So and So know about semi-conducting analytics and applications of large data to marketing breakfast cereal?” Who the hell knows? There are only two people in the UNIVERSE who can verify that statement. Why are you asking me to endorse that?

I only endorse if someone’s my field or a field I’m qualified to understand. That means I think you’re great.  And for those who clicked on me, gave me the K+ thumbs up, “like,” and little kitty cat stamps with the smiles, thank you, too. I tried to make my profile shorter and respect my readers.  And thanks to your thumbs up, today, I’m feeling pretty great myself.


Don’t Sell Jesus in a Soup Kitchen

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 7.47.12 AMMy parents worked for the church. Dad left banking and my parents started soup kitchens, writing grants, working with people, and trying to solve problems for those society left behind.  We moved. Since I couldn’t stay behind on my own, I went with my parents to a small mill town in Connecticut. I helped do the work of the Lord as best a seven-year old can.

I attended parochial school in the small village. The school had thirty-five people per grade. I was the new girl. One of the ways the school kept the door open was by selling things. Everything. If it wasn’t nailed down, we sold it. We sold wrapping paper. We sold cards. We sold enough candy to bring the down wrath of Jamie Oliver on the entire region and make insulin manufacturers smile. We sold Jesus stamps. We had raffles and events. I’m pretty shocked we didn’t have poker tournaments and shoot craps. God likes poker tournaments and craps. They raise a lot of money. Any money funnelled into the church makes God happy. They say God was particularly upset about the construction of casinos in Eastern Connecticut because they were competition for the church bingo empire.

But my parents were starting soup kitchens, working with those down on their luck. They were working with the types of people who didn’t buy Jesus stamps.

Every fundraiser, I’d bring my fliers and try to sell stuff until an adult worker caught me and told me not to worry about selling magazines. I’d ask Angela, who always walked around in curlers, and Ike, who swallowed strychnine so I couldn’t really understand him but he always talked to me so I liked him a lot. I’d ask the lady for whom I wrote letters. Her brother was in prison and she couldn’t write. Turned out she didn’t have a brother. There went a sale. Nobody ever said yes. Not the street people, the mentally ill, the single mother, or the veterans coming into the soup kitchen for simple meal. They didn’t buy Jesus stamps or magazines.

I couldn’t sell anything. Not a magazine, not a chocolate bar, not a sticker with the face of the Lord. Who wouldn’t want the Lord to stick to things? I didn’t understand.

I got in trouble at school.

It seemed everyone did their part to sell for the Lord. Everyone but me. I sold nothing. Every day, the results of the fundraiser would be announced. Jessica always sold the most. Jessica’s parents worked for offices where annoyed colleagues were morally compelled to buy stuff from each others’ kids so they didn’t look cheap. Soup kitchen clients had bigger fish to fry–or maybe they didn’t. It’s why they came to the kitchen.

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 7.51.40 AMThe nuns told me to try harder. I tried harder. The Lord, you know, helps people selling for Jesus if they just have faith.  But he never helped me. I lacked faith.  I got “the look” and I didn’t get any prizes. I didn’t even get the little pom-pom creature with the googly eyes and sticker feet that everyone who sold one thing got. I was the only one who didn’t have a googly-eyed pom-pom. I cried.

Finally, Mom went in and talked to the principal. I never got in trouble again. I got a googly-eyed pom-pom for trying. But I knew, in my heart, I didn’t do my part to help The Lord. In fact, I probably swung the doors to his school shut just a little bit quicker or worse yet, I opened it a crack for the Devil, who could easily influence those who didn’t have Jesus stamps.

From those days forward, I knew I could not sell. I couldn’t market or endure fundraisers. The band sausage and cheese fundraisers in high school stabbed my soul like a knife.  I shook with fear. In the early days of our business, marketing campaigns gave me anxiety attacks. The mere mention of handing out fliers or putting them on cars brought panic, cold sweats, and the fight or flight response. I fought with my husband over this. I shook when cold calling people at my first job. Even though I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt there was no person on the other end of the phone about to reject my Jesus stamps, the negative image of sales and entrepreneurship had been imprinted on my soul.

The truth is, we are all salesmen. Dan Pink proves this in his book “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others.” He proves that we spend most of our time in this new digital economy convincing, marketing, and selling ourselves and our products. Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 7.54.47 AMTalking to people. Building relationships. Showing our awesomeness. Sharing products and things we love. That I could always do. Unless you labeled it “sales.” Sales gets a bad rap. Because of this, we often sell ourselves short as salespeople.

The world is changing. One of my biggest missions as an educator is to teach my students to choose and market themselves, because all the performance in the world does nothing for them if the world doesn’t see them shine. Thankfully, I won’t have to teach them to sell Jesus stamps or sausage and cheese, but to sell themselves. That is their own most precious commodity–and the gift they bring to the universe.

[images: “The Salesman,”, and]

I’ve Lost My Mind. The Tile Will Find It

The TileAll my really smart friends were posting about the Tile. When my really smart friends post, discuss or tweet the same thing, it gets my attention. One of the best ways to be successful in life is to pay attention to the smart folks–it’s carried me this far.

But what was this mystery object–the “Tile?” It looked like little white luggage tag or a piece of bubble gum the package forgot. What’s cool about that? Another couple of people posted. I took a second look. I clicked the link.

It’s a little square that…(gasp)…finds stuff you lose. If Jesus Christ went to Silicon Valley and started iterating solutions that could save my life, he would have made this.

Here is my morning routine:

I get up at 4AM. I write for two hours. Somewhere ten minutes after the last possible minute, I realize I can’t teach in my pajamas. Having just enough time to change, create some bad-hair-day styles, grab a cup of coffee, reach for my keys and bag, I rush out the door.

My keys….

I lose them constantly. Several times a week. I came up with a solution to this. Put them in the same place “every day.” Sadly, though, as I am tackled by boy and dog on my way in the door, “same” doesn’t have the consistency you’d expect when you look up its meaning. Maybe I put them in the “same-ish” place, so I check the top three places. No luck. I run one more lap, checking. I’m late. Every second ticking on the clock is a second I have to make up on the road. Now, I’m not just being a mindless disaster, I’m being a bad citizen. I’m about to speed. If I lose a minute or two more, I’ll be a bad employee–I’ll be late.

So I make the call… I go into the bedroom. My husband is fast asleep. Not for long. I tiptoe, but when I tiptoe, two things happen. I trip over something I forgot to pick up, then I smash my hip on the side of the bed sneaking around–there is a spare key in my nightstand. Bash. Now, he is awake. I snatch the key, trying to keep up the shattered illusion of silence. I sprint out the door.

Bad citizen. Bad employee. Bad wife. After school, I find my keys on the dresser where I remember I left them. I could’ve saved a whole ton of stress.

I clicked on the video for “The Tile” and watched an actor just like me–maybe it is me, and I lost my mind as well–looking for all her stuff. Keys, computer, bike…Tile had it covered.

“What if you lose your phone?” said my very smart friend. She knows me too well. Tile had that covered, too. You can log in with a friend’s phone. It gives “hot/cold” signals until you find what’s missing. Heck, I may just put tiles on some of Declan’s toys and use this as a game.

Thinking differently requires me to come up with solutions for problems that don’t plague the average person. I carry a notebook to scribble ideas so I won’t forget them. I can do the actual writing later on and relax. Now that I’m not afraid of losing my stuff or my mind, I will rest a bit easier. Maybe even relax and enjoy another cup of coffee in the morning.

A normal person would say, “Why don’t you just get organized?” I do try. But once in a while–okay, a lot–keys get lost in the mix. In working with visionaries that provide solutions in the EdTech space for over a year now, I’ve come to appreciate entrepreneurs who envision solutions to my problems before I even know I have them. This situation’s a bit different. I knew I needed something, but short of drugs, never expected a solution. Bravo!  You can check out Tile here.

If this works for me, I’m going to recommend Nick and Mike–the Tile Guys–bring this out of Techland into schools. I’ll tie Tiles to my kids’ backpacks, notebooks, pencils…heck, I’ll even safety-pin them to the shirt of the occasional freshman or two who never seems to be able to find my class when he’s supposed to. Thanks, Nick and Mike.  Every time I find my keys or my students, I’ll think of you.



Breaking Up the Band

guitar tabWe were playing guitar, last night. My husband is a classically trained guitarist. I’m an untrained disaster. It’s a perfect combination. Sort of like The Monkees, who I loved growing up. One musician and a cute front man. I’m the cute front man. I can strum, play my three country-folk music chords, and if I see a chord I don’t like, I skip it…

“Oh, that’s a B-minor-seventh-diminished-trampled-tenth,” he’ll say. “Simple.” If a chord sounds too much like math, it’s out. There’s a reason I don’t teach math.

Actually, music is a great way of disguising math. I learned this when I was flunking out of music school. I’d lock myself in a practice room, which reminded me like a cross between an old phone booth and a padded room–with my borrowed clarinet–I wasn’t even good enough to own my own–and I’d play the same scales and arpeggios–wrong generally–over and over and over, changing key, adding one sharp here, one flat there–never really being able to solidly read the music, just listening and memorizing as I went. Eventually, I started feeling like I was in calculus class. And I left.

But not before they kicked me out.

I always loved guitar. It gave me creativity. I didn’t need to have great skill or read music. Half the famous pop musicians don’t. I can write songs. Simple ones that make fun of things. When Coach wouldn’t play me–I usually played left-bench or left-out, I wrote “The Benchwarmer’s Blues.” I wrote diddies about people annoying me, things that were wrong, social injustice. It felt good. I used to play a lot, but life got in the way. I wasn’t going to be famous anyway–YouTube hadn’t been invented.

I remember the first time I played with my now husband.

“It’s not written like that,” he said. We were playing John Denver. I love John Denver. I have all his records.

“Oh, I don’t care.” I strummed loudly and sang.

“Can’t you see that rest?” said Rusty, a little more emphatically.

“Yes. There’s no rest on the record.” I had three versions.


“Music is joy! You are sucking away my joy!” I stomped away as only an artist can do. Except I am not an artist. I’m really pretty bad. Rusty is classically trained. He’s so good, in fact, that he got a scholarship to Prestigious Music School, except that no one in guidance told him about it, even knowing that he was signing Army papers before the “surprise reveal” at high school graduation.

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 6.20.32 AMI picture him as one of my students, standing there, dumbfounded, knowing he would have had that choice–a full music scholarship to an amazing place. Maybe he would have chosen the Army, maybe not–but that choice was taken away due adults who didn’t have that vision for him. I picture him standing at graduation with a sinking feeling, knowing music scholarship was dead because his military papers had all been signed. Knowing that the adults in his life made judgments about him and never envisioned him reaching the stars.

I try never to be one of those adults when I teach. Education is about vision. It’s about knowing the full range of possibilities that each student has in front of him or her, and giving the skill set and mentorship to make that happen. It is individual. It’s not standard. Lately, standardization is taking over, giving me less time to be the visionary. Seems it’s more about testing, goals, and benchmarks than looking at that kid and saying, “Hey, you got a music scholarship. Go. Be great!”

When I get discouraged, I think of Rusty. I look at the student in front of me, and I say, “What’s your plan?” And we tweak that idea, adding on hefty layers of time-based action plan to the pile until it’s quite a lot of work, and the students says, “Wow. I never thought I could be that!” You can. That’s the entire point of education, not whether they passed tests or I got a great score on my teacher evaluation rubric. It’s creating vision. Relationships. Continuing the mentoring even after graduation, because that’s when the lessons ACTUALLY set in. “Do…great…things.” Don’t reach for the stars–own them.

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 6.23.52 AMLast night we sat down and played some Creed and Ozzy. It was fun.

“You can’t play that like that–see, only two strums.”

“Where do you see that?” I said

“It’s right there.”

“Oh, I don’t care. I can’t read it anyway. I have it on my iTunes.”

Deja vous.

In case you’re wondering about the end of the story, Rusty turned out okay–visionary even. After an amazing military experience, he went on to be quite the entrepreneur, transforming fitness in the region, with Maybe they should have offered him a business scholarship instead. Turns out, he wouldn’t have needed it. He needed a vision, and to reach for–and own the stars. He’s done both. And if you asked him, he’d say it wasn’t school that prepared him–it was life and hard work, and having the best people around him, people who also had vision and the desire to own the stars. That’s the entire secret.

I’ll remind my students before graduation.

But today, I’m going to skip some chords and sing loudly, even if it doesn’t say that in the score.

[images: and]

Building Bridges Instead of Burning Them–EdTechRI

Shawn and HeatherI was teaching a unit that was boring. But it’s in the curriculum so I had no choice. I tried to chug it down and get on to something better. I gave the test. They bombed.  I don’t even like tests–In a few years, I bet we won’t even need tests–they’ll wear a Yankee Hat that will suck out their collective knowledge and send me a report.  I won’t even have to teach them because there will be an app for that too. Oh, how much money the tax payer will save!

All these apps are very cool–it’s what I’m trying to do–get these things into the classroom.  But sometimes looking around at the old and the new in classrooms makes me wonder if I’ll ever get to the Yankee Hat stage.

Yesterday, all that faded into the background. I was in the middle of an event designed to change the world. An event filled with rock stars, creating rock star vision. It was the EdTechRI Shark Tank Smackdown. Actually, I think there was a better name than that, but it was really the culmination of a year or so of work where we sat down and got key players together at the table to discuss the issues faced by educators and entrepreneurs system-wide. The bottom line, educators and entrepreneurs need a constant dialogue. By opening the lines of communication, we solve problems and get those solutions where they need to be most–to the teachers and the students who need them.

Last night’s event was beautiful. It was sponsored by the Highlander Institute, which brings blended learning (teachers using tech and traditional methods) and EdTech accelerator Socratic Labs, (they help ed tech startups develop so they can be successful) and housed at the very classy Rhode Island Foundation, which supports pretty much every good mission in the state.

photoThis event was special for me. When I started my tech journey approximately one year ago, simply by making a few Learnist boards and beginning to use them in my classroom, I never imagined it would end in my involvement with Learnist, EdTechRI, and the EdUnderground–in getting to work with some of the world’s best and brightest in the field of teaching and educational technology–in seeing both sides come together.

It seemed there was a disconnect–education on one side, and entrepreneurs on the other. School systems didn’t always get the best technology, and entrepreneurs certainly wanted to build it, but they sometimes lacked access to the feedback they needed from the classroom end. Teachers would say, “Oh, you’re a vendor.” Vendors sell stuff. Entrepreneurs and visionaries create stuff. Totally different. We don’t have vendors. We have visionaries creating critical solutions with cutting-edge technology.

In getting the sides together, Rhode Island is solving problems in education.  Some of the best platforms in the world need one or two simple tweaks to rock the education world. Teachers give that feedback. I’ve seen this first hand. It’s magic.  By getting the educators and the entrepreneurs together, we eliminate about seven layers of bureaucracy. We have the tough conversations we need to have about our commitment to engaging students and making education real–and better. By involving visionaries, creating bridges and partnerships with the best and brightest the teaching and technology worlds have to offer, everyone wins.

I looked around the room, and saw the picture.  My friend Heather Gilchrist, who mentors startups and has personally yanked me off a cliff on my own entrepreneurial journey. Shawn Rubin, who, though he doesn’t know it yet, is pretty much the face of EdTech in Rhode Island and will be on the forefront of this momentum nationally. My EdUnderground friends and antagonists. A room full of startups and entrepreneurs in various stages of development pitching their creations to smiling teachers and educational leaders, all  tweeting feedback on the board. A food spread that reminded me of classy seminars when I was in Corporate America. People laughing and having a good time. Business cards exchanging, entrepreneurs and teachers lighting up when they found the right match to discuss needs and solutions, and in general magic in the air.

And I got to come along for the ride.

To be continued…


Pulling Weeds

Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 5.47.58 AMI’m pulling weeds in the garden and planting new flowers.  The garden is full. It’s huge. Truth be told, it could have been a little bigger–I’d have filled it. A million things poke through the soil–some in rows, more in random places where I stuffed them when I ran out of room–overzealousness. I can’t wait for things to grow–I plant more daily.

I am installing marigolds along the fence, one by one, a million of them–the best defense against rabbits, I’m told. I dig holes, and stuff flowers in holes. Dig more, shove more in the ground. A line is forming.  Shovel and flower hovering, next flower ready… Two leaves rise up from the back of the hole.

“Hey!” they say, “What’s the big idea?”

“Sorry. Just planting the marigolds. Didn’t mean to disturb.”

“Well, watch yourself! You just planted here last week. I’m trying to grow. Do you MIND?”

“True,” I tell the zinnia seedling, and pat the dirt back around her.  “I forgot. I’ll try to remember.” I stuff the marigold row an inch forward and leave the zinnia be.

Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 5.48.31 AMI get so excited watching new life pop up and grow, that I don’t wait for things to take root. I plant on top of plants, I accidentally rip things up, mistake things for weeds…never really knowing if the first plant was growing the way it should.  Sort of reminds me of school.

We have all these measures, initiatives, and changes–some are necessary, but others  never really get a chance to take root, because there’s always another thing to plant, hole to dig, things to disturb. Sometimes, we just need to wait–if we do, beautiful seedlings will emerge. If we encourage them, remain steadfast and patient, and allow them to be nurtured by the sun, they will flower. It is magic.

In management and business, it takes time to assess the effectiveness of change. There are mathematical equations for this. I’ve worked for corporations that made major change upon major change, putting the organization in chaos, never really knowing which initiative drove business. In education, it often feels the same way. Sometimes we demand effectiveness immediately–it’s important. We behave as if there’s a pedagogical magic wand putting us back at the top of the mountain for all the world to see. “If we just do this…we’ll be number one. In every category. Again.” That causes chaos. It pulls the zinnias out by the roots. They never get their chance to flower.

Change takes time. Assessing change requires patience. Growth cannot be rushed. It’s science. Nature. Cyclical. To expect anything other than what is truth in nature to be true in education would be absurd.

Wait for the growth.

Wait for the growth.

Sorry, little zinnia. Thank you for the reminder. I won’t disturb you with a big flashy marigold just because it has a big orange swirly flower right now. Honestly, marigolds smell terrible. They’re a bit ostentatious. I’ll wait for you to bloom–it’ll be spectacular. Even if it does take a little bit longer.



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