Banana Slugs, Graduation, and Why I’m Not Blogging Today

Really, I’m not. I wrote this a few days ago and scheduled it, knowing I’d be a little busy on my usual blogging day…

…watching my youngest son graduate from college.


I know, he’s changed a little since then. But it still feels like that.

Casey’s graduating from UC Santa Cruz, home of the Fighting Banana Slugs. Yup.

There are some pretty wild college mascots out there.I’ve heard of the Pomona Sage Hens (cheer: CHIRP!), and who could forget The Evergreen State College Geoducks? (For those of you non-northwesterner, a geoduck is a large, tasty clam–pronounced, for some reason, “gooeyduck.”)

(orig. image courtesy

(orig. image courtesy

In honor of college graduates worldwide…what’s the weirdest mascot you know of? Please share!

Dumbledore to the Rescue!

It’s Grad Season.

Forgive me if I don’t get all choked up at the sound of Pomp & Circumstance. I am truly happy for everyone who has recently gone through or is about to go through this hallowed ceremony. For you it MEANS SOMETHING. For me, well…as a former teacher, let’s just say, including my own and those of family, I’ve probably sat through at least 35 graduation ceremonies in my time.

That’s at least 35 graduation speeches. Actually, more like 135, since every grad ceremony I’ve ever attended included AT LEAST three speeches.

So when my husband and I prepared to attend our older son’s graduation from college last weekend, I was looking forward to feeling proud, I was looking forward to having our far-flung family back together, and I was looking forward to the hugs and the post-grad dinner.

I was NOT looking forward to the speeches. This is what I expected:

"You're special. But you're not THAT special."
“You’re special. But you’re not THAT special.” (courtesty Pinterest,
Instead, this is what we got: Dean Bruce Tiffany, of the U.C. Santa Barbara College of Creative Studies (bless its creative little heart), dressed up as Dumbledore to give his speech.

"A few words, if I may..."

Having grabbed our attention, Dean Tiffany/Dumbledore then proceeded to give a speech saying the opposite of most grad speeches. Instead of “You are part of the blah blah blah generation, and your mandate is thus to blah blah blah,” he told our son and his classmates how none of them had ever existed before and never would again. Each was, indeed, special. And because it was a guy who dared to wear a wizard hat saying it–I believed him. This was the effect:

(courtesty Pinterest,

(courtesty Pinterest,

See, “quirky” is just another word for “individual.” As in, You ARE one. There has never been, and will never be, another You. I see you. I respect you. You ROCK.

And that got me thinking. What can I do in my life to “quirk up” something humdrum and make someone feel special as a result? My husband used to make “flower arrangements” out of pieces of fruit when our boys were little. My bakery colleague Diana makes people cards with their own faces cartooned. My other colleague Ty likes to make baguettes that look like sea snakes.

What about you? What do you do to “quirk up” boring old routines for people in your life? Share! I love hearing from y’all!