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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lookin' Good!

I have been making time for myself lately, getting some physical health issues taken care of, writing each day (thank you for getting me going SOL), and making jewelry.
Last night I went to a jewelry making class at a local bead store. I've really wanted to learn how to do wire wrapping, so when they offered classes, I signed up for them all!
I made a sterling silver ring on the first lesson, silver earrings on the second lesson and then a wrapped stone "donut" pendant last night. I was pretty pleased with the finished piece.
It's been relaxing to sit with others and try something new not related to school and chat about things other than school.  I was amazed that at the past meeting 4 out of 7 people there were teachers.  It only came up in passing, and we quickly let go of it.  It didn't seem to be something we wanted to "be" just then.  We were trying out our other "being".  It was kind of like the feeling of wearing a mask, and realizing no one knows who you are, and you're trying out the mask's character...or maybe it's just the opposite.  Perhaps it's getting back to knowing your character, throwing aside the teacher mask for a while. 
Hmmm. I'll have to ponder that for a bit.  Since I'm retiring this year, it's probably more the latter.  I have to get to know me in another way now.
But back in the teacher world again, I still need to finish my report cards and get ready for conferences. So maybe it's a bit "procrastinative" taking time off from late night school chores. I don't care. I'm still going with my mother's philosophy: you are better rested and happy than tired and stressed.  I'm going for the rested and happy.  It looks good on me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Things Are Looking Up

I looked up yesterday afternoon as I got into my car.  Stunning cirrus clouds were wispy over my head.  I grabbed my phone and snapped picture after picture.  I wanted to be sure they would look as good 2D as they did in 3D.
They made me hunger for more clouds.  As I went over the Kennebec River I could see that the clouds from there were also prime candidates for a photo shoot.  However, stopping in traffic wasn't an option, and neither was parking and walking back with this cast on my foot.  So I kept driving, all the while thinking "Rats, I want those clouds".  But as I got off that 4 lane bridge and started for the next narrow bridge to the islands, "what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a big old osprey on a wire quite near."  I had to cross that bridge five times before I could avoid traffic and stop the car on the bridge and get a picture.  As I pulled away after getting the shot, I saw that the car ahead of me was making a u-turn like I did, and the ones that had just come up behind me were driving really slowly and had stopped on the bridge also.  You know you are in Maine when a bird can cause a traffic jam in a town of 500.  But it's justified, he is back a couple of days early from Jamaica.  We're happy to see him.  Now for his lady friend's return!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

UnWinding

My mind
Mumbles
And stumbles
Windywhirling
Weedytumbling
Until
I stand
Closed eyes
Listening
Silenced
You have to be quiet
When the wind talks.

I have now further edited.  Although I wanted the last line to be the one in my previous post, I just didn't like it and it nagged at me until I worked it out.  Sorry, I just had to go back and repost this with the edited poem below.  Now I'll be able to sleep.  Aaah!

My mind
mumbles
and stumbles
windywhirling
weedytumbling
until
I stand
eyes closed
listening
silenced
quiet
when the wind
Talks.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Can't Believe I Wrote the Whole Thing

I remember before we built our house here, we'd come out and stand on the land.  We'd pace off where we wanted our livingroom.  We climbed trees to see what we would be able to see from our windows.  And we would stand together arm in arm listening to the wind out here.  It was the only sound we could hear.
When I listen to the wind, I can imagine that we are the only people out here. It whistles and shushes through the tree tops.  It is my silencer. You have to be quiet when the wind talks.

 OR

I remember before we built our house here, we'd come out and stand on the land.  We'd pace off where we wanted our livingroom.  We climbed trees to see what we would be able to see from our windows.  And we would stand together arm in arm listening to the wind out here.  It was the only sound we could hear, except for the occasional hum of tires crossing the "singing bridge" about a mile down the road.  It would make a low humming sound as you crossed the metal grid, thus the name "singing bridge" to locals.  It could be heard from quite a distance.  But it was not an irritating sound.
They replaced the bridge a couple of years ago with one that is probably a bit safer for motorcyclists and bicyclists.  We live on an island with only one way on.  It's not like you can just take a detour while they build a bridge.  Thus they had to move the old bridge over along with the road to it so they could build a new bridge in the old location.
It was a couple of days before Christmas and my daughter and her husband were coming for the holidays.  The road would be closed to our island from 9 pm to 6 am while they moved the old bridge over and reconnected roads.  I remember her calling to give us updates on their travels.  We didn't want them to miss the curfew and have to stay on the mainland overnight after driving all the way from Tennessee.  At 8:50 we finally got the call that they were on the bridge! They had made it.  They crossed over and shortly after that they closed the bridge to all traffic for the night.  It was a strange feeling being isolated here out on an island with no bridge.
We can't hear the singing bridge anymore.  The new bridge doesn't sing. Pretty soon no one will remember a bridge that sang.

And here is the process I went through to get the two pieces above...
I have been toying with the idea of writing and keeping all my edits on this page, much like a writing journal.  I have little bits of writing everywhere.  So now commences rambling, which is sometimes how I get my best ideas.  Maybe something will jump out at me and say, yeah, write about me.  Remember me today?


I keep my ideas all cramped in my head and write them on scridges before I forget. 
(That was a scridge that I wrote down a while back.)

I collect titles of things I think I would like to write sometime.  Sometimes I hear something that strikes me or I say something and think it would make a nice title.  Then I try to write it quickly somewhere, or I have to repeat it to myself until I get to a pen and paper.  I'll write the rest of it some other day.

My phone has recordings of bits of lyrics to songs I've thought of when I'm in the car and can't write.  Actually that's better since I can get the tune down before I forget.  I can't write music anyway, so when I do try it's just a general up and down line to help me remember until I can get to the computer to record it.

I think my favorite writing to write is poetry.  I love rhyming poems and non-rhyming poems.  I love silly poems and moving poems.  I don't like poems that are too out there: like I don't have a clue what it's about and I can't relate to anything in it.  I don't like harsh.  I don't like crude.  I'm not about poetry that is borderline crude to capture the attention of kids.  I don't think things have to be so "true to life crude".  "True to life crude" is not my life.  Saying "underwear" for a laugh is way too easy...stop laughing!

Oooh, the wind.  I just heard the wind.  I remember before we built our house here, we'd come out and stand on the land.  We'd pace off where we wanted our livingroom.  We climbed trees to see what we would be able to see from our windows.  And we would stand together arm in arm listening to the wind out here.  It was the only sound we could hear, except for the occasional hum of tires crossing the "singing bridge" about a mile down the road.  It would make a low humming sound as you crossed the metal grid, thus the name "singing bridge" to locals.  It could be heard from quite a distance.  But it was not an irritating sound.  They replaced the bridge a couple of years ago...thus the "was"...with one that is probably a bit safer for motorcyclists and bicyclists.  In order to do that, they had to move it over  along with the road to it, so they could build a new bridge.  It was a couple of days before Christmas and my daughter and her husband were coming for the holidays.  The road would be closed to our island from 9 pm to 6 am while they moved the old bridge over and reconnected roads.  I remember her calling to give us updates on their travels.  We didn't want them to miss the curfew and have to stay on the mainland overnight after driving all the way from Tennessee.  At 8:50 we finally got the call that they were on the bridge! They had made it.  They crossed over and shortly after that they closed the bridge to all traffic for the night.  It was a strange feeling being isolated here out on an island with no bridge.
We can't hear the singing bridge anymore.  The new bridge doesn't sing. Pretty soon no one will remember it.
When I listen to the wind, I can imagine that we are the only people out here. It whistles and shushes through the tree tops, and it is my comfort and silencer.

I remember before we built our house here, we'd come out and stand on the land.  We'd pace off where we wanted our livingroom.  We climbed trees to see what we would be able to see from our windows.  And we would stand together arm in arm listening to the wind out here.  It was the only sound we could hear.
When I listen to the wind, I can imagine that we are the only people out here. It whistles and shushes through the tree tops. It is my silencer. You have to be quiet when the wind talks.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Unheard

Anticipating
a sweet morning's meeting with
Yet unheard laughter


I'm experimenting with writing a seriously big thought I have using seriously few words in a traditional haiku. I cannot share with you my meaning. You will have to draw your own meaning from it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

DDD


Sometimes I think I have DDD.  I swear if there are two directions to choose from I do not have a 50/50 chance of choosing the right way.  I remember only being aware of my Directional Deficit Disorder after I got married.  Newly married and in a new town far from our childhood areas, I remember my husband experimenting with new routes to get to our new home. Whenever we went out some where he’d take me home a new way.  I don’t think I quite knew where we lived until we’d been there a few years.

After that I realized that if I took a wrong turn on my way to a new place, that I was doomed to repeat the wrong turn a couple more times.  I’d get to the familiar corner and go, “yes, yes, I’ve seen this corner before, and I turn here,” only to find a couple hundred yards into it, that I’d been duped again by my DDD.  So of course now I’d memorized the wrong turn again for my next trip out.

I’ve been on roads that I’ve never had a problem with before, but in the dark everything looks different and I have to rely on road signs, and suddenly I’m in the Bermuda Triangle of Maine and can’t get out.  I’ve paid quite a bit in tolls before finding my way out of the maze.

Today I did the same thing, even with my map program showing me the route.  I was doing great on my hour and a half trip for the first hour and fifteen minutes.  Lights were with me all the way.  No traffic to speak of.  Beautiful day.  Skipped the Bermuda Triangle.  Ahhh, I was golden…until I got close.  I turned down the road I thought had to be it.  Nope.  Turn around, your map says you went too far.  Here it is.  Nope.  You went  back too far.  Try again.  Finally I’m on the campus of the elementary, middle, high and vo-tech schools.  But somehow I’d gone in the back way, not the way I’d come in last year.  My heart sank when I saw no cars in the parking lot I thought should be full. 

Phew!  Driving past the corner of one of the buildings, I saw what I had anticipated; lots and lots of cars and people, but not the building I was looking for.  I ended up going around the school twice before finding the road that took me up to the gymnasium where I needed to be.  As I parked, I looked around to try to plan my escape later.  Should be easy.  Just go back the way you came.
However when it was time to leave, I noticed the “One Way, Do Not Enter” sign on the driveway I’d used to come in.  Great. 

Okay, time for the 50/50 chance of picking the right way out.  I ended up in back of the elementary school in the delivery area with no exit.  Turn around.  At least now I only had one choice, so I have a 100% chance of getting out onto the road…except once out on the road which way do I go?  Left or right.  I chose right.  It looked right. 

As I bopped along, I got my sinking DDD feeling.  This doesn’t look right.  But this isn’t the way I had originally come  in, so maybe I’m okay.  Buuuuut, nothing is looking familiar yet. Oh, let’s look at our handy dandy map.  Yeah, way off.  I should have gone left when I came out.  Turn around again.  Aaah, yes, I remember those two houses and that business.  I am good to go.  

At an intersection waiting at a red light I realized I had shut my map program off when I put music on.  I looked up to see that the light had changed to green and no one was in front of me anymore.  A very polite person in a very big white truck was behind me not honking.  I hurriedly set out out just as my map came up again, and I saw that I should have turned left at the intersection where I'd just been stopped.

Upon finding a place to turn around again, I noticed that my gas gauge was now threatening a whole car revolt.  You know, between here and the left turn (which is now a right turn from this direction) I had seen a very nice full service station.  I bet if there were no turns between me and it, I could just pull in there and let someone else fill my tank for the few extra cents, while I take a nice deep breath and get my DDD back in control.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Phake Phoebe

Just to clarify and be absolutely correct in my misunderstanding and now total understanding, I again searched out the sounds of a Phoebe and a Chickadee on my computer this morning.  At the sound of the Chickadee the dog got up and looked around with concern.  Glanced at me, and when I told her it was okay, she lay down again at my feet and sighed.
Then I played the Phoebe sound.  The cat came striding through the kitchen, past me and directly to the sliding glass doors.  There he looked out in all directions, ignored my telling him it was okay, and proceeded to sit and watch.  He didn't believe me.
Make no mistake, live birds were used in the making of those audio files.

Earlier this morning, when I stepped out onto the porch I heard the "unmistakable sounds" of Phoebes chatting.  I always feel sad when I hear one call and no one replies!  One bird was fairly close to the house, calling out "phee-bee", and then the fainter return call followed from the opposite direction.

Yup, for nigh onto 60 years that's what I thought I'd been hearing.  Then a stupid stuffed bird educated me.  I was walking through Wilson's Drug Store looking for a souvenir of Maine to send to a school in England we'd been working with.  The Maine state bird, the Eastern Black-capped Chickadee, was on a rack with other birds, and I thought that would be fitting to send.  Each bird had a sound device inside to give its call.  I squeezed.  Out came "phee-bee".  What???  They obviously put the wrong squeaker in it.   My mother told me years ago that a Phoebe says "phee-bee", and she studied birds and would point them out to me.  She made sure I knew what a Grosbeak was.  She had bird books and binoculars.  Chickadees didn't say "phee-bee", Phoebes said "phee-bee".  Chickadees said "chick-a-dee-dee-dee".

And then I got on the Internet.  And that's when I learned that Chickadees do in fact say "phee-bee".  Every once in a while I had heard a rusty "phee-bee" that sounded like someone was squeezing him and I would joke that we had a hoarse Phoebee out here somewhere.  And now come to find out, that's the Phoebe's call.  The broken Phoebee is the real one.  And the beautiful, smooth "phee-bee" call is from the Chickadee.

I cannot believe for all these years I've been confidently announcing the return of our Phoebes, when it's just a Phoebe impersonator who's been around all winter.  I should have asked them to spell it.  Turns out Phoebes are saying "phoe-be".

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Favorite Time of Year

This morning I went out on the front porch and caught the sounds of geese...no, wait...not geese, turkeys!  Funny how I was ready to hear geese and my foggy early morning brain was carrying on watching the dog and hearing what it thought it was supposed to hear down in the Back River.  My brain snapped to attention though when it realized that was not the sound of geese, but of the turkeys.  I have neither seen nor heard from them since fall.  It's exciting to know that they will soon be strutting across the yard again with their brood.  Every time I see them all puffed out, I think how disappointed the Pilgrims must have been with their first turkey.  "Wow, look at the size of that bird!"  And then they deflate.
About an hour later,  just as I was heading out the door for work, I saw under the bird feeder a little red squirrel and a big gray squirrel together eating bird leftovers.  For some reason we don't have squirrels out here, red or gray.  We are in the middle of the woods, but no squirrels (nor rabbits, for that matter).  I've seen one squirrel in the 12 years we've been here.  Now this morning I've seen two...one of each.  It was such a novelty that I hesitated long enough to be just in time for work instead of early.  Of course, as soon as they heard me open the door they scurried away.  I really hated disturbing their mealtime, but I had to get to work.  I'm hoping they remember the fine cuisine and return soon.  They'd better be quick though; the turkeys like that spot, too.
It's such fun hearing and seeing everything come back to life in spring.  It's my favorite time of year.  Shhh...just don't tell autumn.  It thinks it's my favorite time of year.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blue Words

I like my Blue Wordle.  It's intriguing.

I don't know what started this today.  Maybe the Shades of Green the kids did sparked it, along with noticing how the ads relate to the day's topic.  I wondered what would come up if I just manipulated my words on the page.  Of course, just writing green has now altered how the page is perceived. 

The words we use are interpreted by others.  Sometimes the perception has little to do with what you meant.  But that's how it goes.  Hmm. Maybe that's what started this.

Bleu
Indigo
Sapphire
Bluetooth 
Periwinkle
Blue screen 
Blue ribbon
Turning blue
Ol' blue eyes 
Sky blue pink
Deep blue sea
Black and blue
Alice blue gown
Talk a blue streak
Blue skies shining on me
Something borrowed something blue
Don't step on my blue suede shoes
She wore blue velvet
Singing the blues
Blue on blue
Feeling blue
Robin egg
Blueberry
Turquoise
Blue bird
Jet Blue
Navy
Blae

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What Will You Do?

An assembly broke the news.  Well, kind of.  They saw me get flowers.
"Why did you get the flowers?"
"I'm retiring."
"Are you retarding?"
"No, retiring."
"What's that?"
"That means I won't be teaching anymore."
"Why?"
"I've taught for a long time."
"But what will we do tomorrow?  Who will teach us?" one says, tears filling his eyes, lips quivering, scooting up closer to my chair.
"Oh, I'll be here tomorrow.  I'll stay until the end of first grade."
"Will you ever come back?"
"Oh, probably.  I might want to come in and have someone read to me."
"What are you going to do?"
"I'd like to write some books.  You know how I like to write."
"Oh, yeah!" they respond, nodding their heads.
 "But who will teach me?" my heart whispers, tears filling my eyes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Characters Schmaracters

Ridinghood and
Goldilocks
Little Bear and
Fox in Sox

Big Bad Wolf
Frog and Morris
Three Little Pigs,
Toad and Boris,

Dr. Desoto
Green Wilma the Frog
Hedgie, Mole and
Clifford the Dog,

Mr. Popper,
Winnie the Pooh,
Cinderella,
Horton and Who,

Babar, Sal,
Stuart Little,
Pippi Longstocking,
Dr. Doolittle,

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle,
Charlotte and Heidi,
Mary Poppins,
Bean and Ivy

Curious George
and the Man,
Ramona, Beezus,
Peter Pan

Peter Rabbit,
Corduroy,
Lorax, Ferdinand,
Tarzan, Boy,

Ralph S. Mouse,
and Sylvester,
Lilly, Arthur,
and Alexander.

For Strega Nona
And Stellaluna
I found no rhymes
Except Charlie Tuna.

And don't you know 
I really wish
I'd found a rhyme 
For Rainbow Fish

...wait a minute...

Strega Nona,
Spoon and Dish
Stellaluna,
Rainbow Fish!

There I did it;
That was a cinch.
I rhymed my list,
Except for Grinch.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dump Date

It ended up being lunchtime by the time we were ready for Saturday's "dump date".  When our kids were older and could stay at home alone, we'd pack up the recyclables and trash and head off for the transfer station every Saturday morning.  Then we'd drive around and talk and look at houses we'd like to buy someday.  It was our "dump date".  The kids are out on their own now, but we still have Saturday dump dates.

This Saturday, after our stop at the dump, we decided to eat at a place we'd discovered years before but stopped going to because everyone else had discovered it and the food had gotten a little too fru-fru for our tastes.  We had heard from a friend that they had sandwiches there now that had actual meat and bread, so we decided to see if it was true.

My husband went to the counter and ordered Montes. As I sat at our table by the huge windows overlooking the river dam, a rainbow shimmered over the waterfall.
Oh, my!  It was beautiful!  I tried to get a picture, but it disappeared before I could get my iPhone out.

Our sandwiches arrived.  It was a Monte, but different: roast turkey, ham, honey mustard, raspberry jam spread thick and a swirl of real maple syrup all between two pieces of lightly toasted English muffin bread, with fresh blueberries, sliced strawberries and a dusting of powdered sugar on top.
Oh, my!  It was unbelievable!  I managed to get a picture of it before it disappeared like the rainbow!


As we began eating, I glanced out the window in time to see a huge ice floe at the edge of the dam about to go over the falls. Big chunks of ice began to break off and go sliding down the falls, to disappear into the water below.  It must have been like a giant Slushy at the foot of the falls, because nowhere could I see any ice come bobbing up to the surface of the river.
Oh, my! It was like "Good bye, Winter! Nice knowing ya!"  I took a few still shots, and then remembered that I could take video.  So I shot a bit of video before the ice show was over.

video

What a great dump date...dinner AND a movie!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Shades of Green

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox

I'm up fairly early for a Saturday.  Decided to experiment with Smilebox, which is free to teachers.  I've had it for a while and fiddled with it some.  But today I decided to put some pictures together that the children drew on St. Patrick's Day.  We used only shades of green.  If the crayon had the word green on it somewhere or if the word meant green, they could use it. So starting with green markers, they drew a picture of their choice.  And with crayons, they had to fill in every space with green of some sort.  I heard exclamations of "Hey, that's not green, it's blue!"  "It says green-blue on it, so I can use it."  We talked about what two colors are mixed together to get green, and so then yellow crayons were examined. We discovered that there were some green yellows and some yellow greens!
They colored, and read crayons, and discussed.  And here are our beautiful green pictures!
I took pictures of their fun (wasn't really "work" to them!), and read some directions myself, and here it is.  There are page choices where you can write text to go with it.  I'm planning on using it with the kids next, to write a story and put their illustrations in it.  Should make a cute book that we can post on our website, email to parents or print up.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mud Puddles

At late bus duty,  I watch the 5 to 8 year olds, still encumbered by winter jackets. They know the rules.  But it's spring.  Well, springish.  The snowbanks are melting today at a rapid rate, making the playground muddy and puddly.  Getting to the playground is the first obstacle.  There's a slim river snaking its way to the drain between the paved area and the woodchipped playground.   Drawn like ducks, they go on auto-pilot. A moment ago they had all intentions of avoiding puddles.  They were warned before they went out.  They shook their heads - no way were they going to go in water.  Nodding heads showed that they knew what the teacher meant about staying out of the mud.  Running outside, warnings became vague memories. The first boot hit smack in the middle of the river.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Better, Much Better

Today is going to be better.
It's better already.
Sleeping through the night helps.
Having time for peanut butter and orange marmalade on toast for breakfast makes a difference.
The sun is shining.
The icy trees are glistening.
A variety of birds are tweedle-deeing and tweedle-dumming to spice up the morning.
There are still some oatmeal cookies in the cupboard.
My tea supply is sufficient.
Not spilling my coffee all over the front seat of the car is an improvement.
My husband will be home this afternoon when I get there.
Yup, better already.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This to That

In a snit
Regardless of
Right or wrong
Ill humored and
Touchy
And
Temperamental
Edgy all
Day long

Tea and
Oatmeal cookie

Cool
And collected
Laid back
Meditating on another cookie

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Mother's Eyes

I look at her and remember...
 - the day she got a concussion because she was learning to walk and the dog ran over her
 - the night she wore her shiny red shoes to bed because she loved them so much
 - the day she learned where babies come from because she was curious
 - the Christmas she saw all the presents (unwrapped) because she was being helpful
 - the afternoon she got shin guards for soccer because I made her play
 - the day she decided she would never have children because it would just be too painful
 - the night she did the Irish step dance because it was the last recital her grandfather would attend
 - the day she gave me a rock for Mother's Day because I love rocks
 - the day she sang at graduation because she wanted to surprise us
 - the day she showed us the ultrasound because she was having a baby
I look at her and see...
 - what my mother saw.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Solo


I sang a solo at church for the first time in my 60 (yes, I am) years.
I've sung duets and trios and quartets and choir.  And I've sung solo in my car...very loudly.
But never a public solo where if you mess up you can't point to someone else.
I was a fill-in and didn't even know I was doing it until the hour before.
I told my Sunday School student (she's 80 years old and a Special Olympics medal winner) that I was nervous.  She just patted my arm and said, "You'll do fine!"  I thanked her, and said I was afraid that I'd make a mistake.  And she just told me, "It's okay, no one is perfect."  She had made me feel so much better, reminding me that no one is perfect.
As I waited, my mouth was dry, my hands were shaking.  I took deep breaths trying to steady my heart beat.   I stashed my "mouth moistening" piece of Orbit spearmint down by my cheek and gums and walked to the microphone.  I began.  My voice started softly, as I knew that would be safest.  My husband was on the sound board and my sister-in-law was playing piano.  I trusted that they would make sure my voice was heard.   My eyes tried to see the music and the people all at the same time, and that's how I messed up.  One little word, two times!
In the middle of "In the Garden" I started to smile.  I was remembering "It's okay, no one is perfect", but God loves us anyway.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Time

I'm tired today. It is too early. It's about an hour too early. I hate this time change. It takes me about two weeks to get over being too tired with "spring forward". "Fall back" is so much easier to get used to. I think we should always fall back. We would eventually get back to the right timing with the sun. Either that or just leave it alone.
Did you hear that the earthquake just shifted Earth's axis and now we have less time in a day? It's only 1.6 microseconds. But still. I don't have enough time in a day as it is. We're getting older faster too. Will that mean the life expectancy figures will change?
Okay. I'm rambling. This is how I know I'm too tired. I hope I stopped in time.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Family and Friends

Some days you just know will be remembered.
Today was such a day. We planned it way back in December.  Today seven women went to Riverdance together: three mothers and their four grown daughters. My own daughter come up from Pennsylvania to attend.  I had forgotten that her cousins, didn't know she was pregnant!  What a great look on their faces as they realized she was expecting.  If we had only done that, it would have been worth the price of the tickets!
The show was extraordinary!  What energy!  The music was toe tappable, and the dancing...well, I was envious... I have this dumb air cast on, so even if they'd asked me to fill in for someone, I would have to have bowed out.  The singing was so hauntingly beautiful - sweet, clear, soothing and dreamlike.  And the fiddler.  How can you fiddle that nimbly and walk and smile at the same time?  I would have to wear a tiara.  (Wearing a tiara is my solution to not being able to do something very well.  At least I'd look good and maybe no one would notice.)  But not him.  How do people get that good?
After the show, we all had that "I'm not ready for this good feeling to end" feeling, so we got a bite to eat in a nice cozy corner booth at Denny's.  Such easy conversations even though we don't all get together frequently.
Today we were all part of a new relationship amongst the women of our family; today we went from mothers and daughters all with a common bond of family, to women with a common bond of friendship.
Some days you just know will be remembered.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Better Than OK

You never let go.

I carried her
Loved her
Watched her grow
Let her go

Soon she'll have
Her own
And know
You never let go



**************************************
 
 
My thoughts are on this amazing bit of life's wonderfulness.  I am gonna be a grandmother...and it's just really way okay with me!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Any Questions?

 
Before I could make the bed this morning, Purrsee found the warm spot.  There is no indication that he wants to relinquish his claim.  When I came in he opened his eyes but refused to look at me. 
"This is where I'm going to be today.  Any questions?"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Bulbs are Up

Last night as I was blogging, my dog went to the front window and started her low growl. I ignored her, as she likes to protect me from air when my husband's away. I shushed her and kept right on blogging. I didn't even bother to get up and look out the window...it's never anything. She just gets nervous and wants someone to join her in her uneasiness.
Later, after clicking "Publish" I got up from the kitchen chair and headed to the bedroom. As I moved I saw a reflection in the big livingroom window. I moved my arm to see what was reflecting off me, but it didn't move. I went toward the window and looked outside in the dark front yard.
And there they were peeking up out of the snow! My two solar powered lawn lights who haven't seen the sun for months! One was flickering brightly like a big candle flame. And the other was burning steadily but with a more subdued light owing to the fact that it had about a half inch thick snow lampshade over it still. They had gotten enough sunlight through that snow during the day to make a beautiful white mound of light in the yard.
Yes, it is definitely the beginning of the middle of the end of winter.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Presto Chango


I don't know when the switch came for me. I used to like writing with pen and paper best. I'd make edits and arrows and line-throughs galore often with a variety of writing utensils on one piece. I absolutely could not see myself enjoying the writing process with anything but paper and pen.
But now I find that I am much faster on the computer, letting my eyes wander as I talk to myself, sometimes even closing my eyes, while my fingers just translate the thoughts into text on a page. I look down at the computer to see what I’ve said.
Then come the edits! What used to be a painful part of writing, I now find I enjoy.
I think I got over the editing pains when once I wrote a grant requiring that I limit my text to a certain number of characters. I would write what I thought was clear and concise only to find that I was over by x2. What? I can’t say any more? How can I still get my message across yet drop off half of what I’ve written?
A phrase becomes one word, a redundant sentence is tossed. Cut, slash...polish. And there it is sculpted into a trim, minimalized version of its former chubby, overindulgent self. It feels good when you go to the writing gym.

Monday, March 7, 2011

All Wet

It's raining, it's pouring, I wish I coulda been snoring...
I didn't sleep much, but it rained much.
I remember rains as a little girl.
After a rain my mom showed us how we could make all the water running down the driveway join together into one big river by digging canals with a stick.  Then we'd float little stick boats down the river.  It was hours of fun for four kids with a couple of sticks.
My favorite rain happened when I was probably 10ish.  The rain was really coming down.  It was boring and dark inside the house.  I told my mother that I wished we could go out to play.  And then she said the impossible...we could play in the rain.  No mom says that!  She told us that we could go out and play if we wanted to, she'd be ready with towels.
So we went out!  We had a front porch with two pillars at the corners.  And at those two corners were downspouts.  Not downspouts with pipes...just open downspouts on the porch roof that funneled all the water from the front of our four-square farmhouse to the front yard.  The water was just shooting out of them in the downpour.  I remember holding on to a pillar, my two arms outstretched, feet on the edge of the porch, leaning back and getting myself right under that downspout, drenching myself, giggling and delighting in the "terrible thing" that my mom said we could do!
I remember that well, and I hope I've passed it on to my kids.  I want them pass it on to theirs.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Best

I am currently laid up with a neck collar and an air cast on my right foot. Well, not laid up. I'm more "embedded" in them than laid up.  I'm still moving and teaching.
I didn't fall, as it would appear.  And the problems aren't even related.  I just had a couple of vacations recently that allowed me to get to some doctors who were thinking this might provide some entertainment to those around me.
It's pretty entertaining to watch the contortions to put the cast on or take it off.  And once it is off, there will be no bathroom trips until I have compiled a list of other things that need to be done.  It is not worth the hassle of putting it back on.
I look classy when I go out.  Too bad it isn't sandal season.  My toes are out.  I need a plastic bag over that foot to keep it dry.  I have a neutral beige Shaw's grocery bag for everyday, and a nice dark green Cabella's bag for Sunday best.
I feel quite a bit like that woman on the ad where she's riding a bike and parts are falling off it.
As I fight acute crabbiness, I realize that this is small stuff.  Small temporary stuff.  I just need to take care of myself and keep as many of the parts as I can.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Late to Bed, Early to Rise

It's Saturday...I feel a poem coming on...


Late to bed
Early to rise
Makes my head foggy
And droopy my eyes

Go make the coffee
Toast the wheat bread...
Or do I want pie
And ice cream instead?

My mug runneth over
My toast starts to burn
Get the toast out!
When will I learn?

To go to bed early
Although there's no school
You must get your sleep
Or you'll grow up a fool

....I think that's the rule... 
My mom used to repeat
Or was it the one
"Don't run in the street"?

When my eyes clear
And my body can move me
I'll know in a jiffy
Which one would behoove me.

Oh, yeah, words are flowing!
I'm using hard ones
Mixed with some others,
I know words by tons.

My eyes are now open
And I see by my rhyme
That the first rule was it
Sleep required more time!

Friday, March 4, 2011

March of the Happy Feet

Ah, I just thought of something that brought joy to my heart today.  We made penguins.  I love them.  There is something so joyful and wonderful about children's artwork. 
With total trust that they could construct a penguin, I left them on their own to produce these beautiful birds. Children worked together to color the sky mixing any shades of blue they wanted.
I was amazed at how happily they worked.  For a solid hour there were no arguments, no claims of theft, no tears of despair because they didn't know how...just the sounds of cutting, gluing (if that really makes a sound), and discussions of the species of penguin they were making.
We learn over time to lose our confidence in our ability to sing, draw or dance.  Recently I went to a workshop on integrating the arts.  The speaker said that in Afghanistan they had no good answer for the question "Are you a singer?"  It would be like asking them if they were a breather.  Of course they breathe; of course they sing.
Here we learn that we aren't a real singer, artist or dancer, and not only that, perhaps we are bad at it and shouldn't be heard or seen attempting those things.  Such a shame.
But I get to see the art and hear the singing before kids know they shouldn't be doing them.
They aren't very good at it.
They're fantastic!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Reigning Cat and Dog

7:10-7:20 am - Purrsee repeatedly tears upstairs to the loft, does a lap up there, "neows" and then races back down.
7:25 am - Pippi sits patiently by the door waiting for her second trip out in the snow before I leave for work.
7:40 am - I put Pippi in charge of the house as I leave, but I don't think the cat really listens to her at all.  If either of them were to be running the appliances while we were away, it would be the cat.
7:45 am - I pull out of the driveway, with Pippi sitting forlornly in the window watching me go.  The cat is nowhere to be seen.  Plotting, no doubt.
7:50 am - 4:59 pm - I picture everyone napping all day.  I may be wrong.  The cat may have the tv on.
5:00 pm - Purrsee is in the window watching for my return.  When I get inside, the dog greets me with her stuffed lion. The cat greets me with vocals.  "I am hungry neow."  "Feed meeneow."  Now that I think of it, that could just be a distraction, keeping me from noticing that the tv is in fact still warm...
5:01 pm - Entering the kitchen, the dog follows carrying her lion gently in her mouth, and the cat watches from a nearby perch.  I make my rounds, closing all the bottom kitchen cabinet doors.  The cat feels the need to open them to let me know he's in distress from lack of food.  He watches me close them and jumps down threatening to open them again if I don't do something about it "neow".
5:05 pm - Pippi sits by the door anxious to go out.
5:06 pm - Pippi sits by the door anxious to come in.  It's cold out there.  I wouldn't want to have to use an outhouse.
5:10 pm - I open the refrigerator...what's for supper?  Purrsee opens a cabinet...
5:30 pm - Supper is being prepared.  I close a few more cabinet doors.
6:00 pm - Supper is ready. I put out the food for all of us.  The lion is discarded.  The sound of crunching.  No more "neows".
7:00 pm - I have my feet up. A dog lies beside my chair, head resting on a lion.  There's a cat in another chair quietly bathing.
And soon it will be tomorrow.
video

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

True North

Northern Lights are supposed to be out tonight.  I'd love to see them, but as a friend said, "I don't have North at my house."  I think I technically do.  But there's a hill out in back of us and a bunch of trees on it and they are right up close to the house, and they are between us and North.
So, no North. And no Northern Lights for me.  It is crystal clear out tonight, so someone else who has North may have a nice show.
I'm content with my South.  It's nice and dark out here beyond the city lights.  Stars are crisp and twinkly, and there are more than I could even begin to number.
I've always been fascinated by the night sky.  My mom used to say that when she was a child she imagined that God had a big blanket with holes in it and the stars were the lights of heaven on the other side.  She's on that other side now.  I bet the view is even better than the Northern Lights.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Broken Class

Ah, back from vacation yesterday sporting an air cast on my right foot and a neck collar...on my neck.  Nothing spectacularly wrong.  Just old injuries most likely or old age setting in to let me know what my new limitations are going to be.
Two students have broken "write arms" as they return to class.  One is hesitant to come in the room.  Tearily and tentatively a little voice says, "You remember that I broke my wrist, right?"
"Yes, I do," I reply.  "Come on in!  Remember D is back today with a broken arm, and my right arm isn't doing too well either.  We're all broken in here!  And we're all just going to do the best that we can!"
Tears are gone.  And we all do the best that we can that day.

So successful, evidently, was our day that one little girl came in this morning and told me that she prayed last night that she would break her arm, too, so she could have a cast like the other kids!
Oh, dear.  Why don't they pray to be wonderful readers?


What if we could see inside of each child, locate the broken parts and apply the needed casts to them? 
We could have new acronyms.
Instead of an IEP, we'd have an IEC: Individualized Education Cast.  
We'd forget the concern of leaving a child behind with our new NCWC Act: No Child Without a Cast, or  the NCCA Act: No Child Cast Aside.
No child would be without a "supporting cast" of caring adults.
  
And as hurts healed and knowledge knitted, and the cast was cast off in its time, a whole, happy, healthy being would emerge!

Where do we get that x-ray machine?  Where's Superman when you need him?