Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I'm back...I hope.

Where does the time go?  I mean really.

I said to myself, "Take a break, then get right back to it."

Then, "When summer break gets here, you'll have time to write."

After relenting to teaching summer school, "When summer school is over, I'm doing what I WANT to do!"

We had a beach vacation planned for the beginning of July so, "I'm going to write at the beach!  It will be great to capture those slices!"

Now, I promise you that I am not crazy, but this is a pattern of someone who is not too observant of their own reality.  (In case you hadn't noticed that on your own.)

Continuing with the story, we got back from vacation.  "Ok, this week is the week.  I'm going to get something posted.  I have a million slices that I want to write."

Then, "Next weekend, I'll write and get going so I have something to post on Tuesday."

After that, "School supplies are out!!  I have to get back to writing!  How can I be accountable if I'm not being accountable!!"

I did not plant my computer on my lap and write.  I did not drag out my favorite pens and notebook and get into a new habit.  I did not jot my many noticings and thoughts about the everyday moments I was living on shopping lists and scraps of paper.

I did think about it and guilt myself silly.  It really is silly, the guilt and ridiculous feelings with which we shame ourselves.

And here I find myself.  Today is the day.  I am writing despite my to-do list and frenzied life pace.

The school year is going strong.  It's been my busiest start to a year that I can remember.  It's wonderful and awful at the same time.  I just knew that getting back into the groove of school would get me back to writing, right?  Not so much.

So what finally got my fingers going on this keyboard?  Well, a very strong desire is one thing.  Also, my family has been sick with this nasty stomach bug.  There are many little slices that I could torture you with, but no one wants to read gruesome tales of woe from a mother who does laundry incessantly and uses lysol spray for an air freshener and body spray.  It is sufficient to say that I've been cleaning quite a lot.

Anyway, I'm back...for this week anyway. :)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Grammy Does Her Nails #SOL

Rarely do I do one thing at a time.

Recently, I read a post or an article or something about "single-tasking" and slowing down and giving attention to just one thing.  This is something I am considering and thinking about at length.  It deserves attention because I know that the intent behind the advice of the article was true and right.  However...

While painting my nails this morning, I was also brushing my teeth.  Well, not at the exact same time, but the one event, teeth-brushing, came immediately after the previous event, nail-painting.  As soon as one cap could be screwed on, the cap of the other was being screwed off.

After I completed brushing my teeth, I needed chapstick, the final step in my daily bathroom routine.  Of course, I messed up the polish on my left ring finger.  The polish was wrinkled and holey.  As I walked into the bedroom, I dabbed my nail to my tongue and tried to repair the damage.

"What are you doing?" my husband questions from across the room.

"Oh, trying to do ten things at once, and I messed up my nail polish," I said.

He replied with a cursory, "You always do that," under his breath.  We made eye contact and smiled, knowing he was right.

His smart-mouth catapulted me back to my Grammy's kitchen.  She always painted her nails at the table.  Avon reds and pinks were staple colors, filling her top right dresser drawer where she kept the bottles.

One day, she was finishing up her nails, replacing the screw-on applicator top as she had done hundreds of times.  I watched thinking about the hot pink she never used and wishing I could paint my nails with it.

"Here, Honey.  We'll do yours after lunch," she said as she handed me the bottle to put back in the drawer.  I loved the sounds the bottles made as the drawer was pulled out, clinking together like wind chimes.

As I came back into the kitchen, I saw Grammy touch her right index finger to her tongue.  Then she brushed against her wet nail with her other index finger.

"What are you doing, Grammy?" I asked, thinking the action would mess up her freshly painted nails.

"Oh, I was stirring this pot and bumped my nail with the spoon handle.  If you lick it real quick, you can fix it...most of the time.  I always do that.  There's never time to let them dry."  She showed me, flashing the perfectly polished pale pink nail down to my eye level.  It looked fine to me.

Later, after Grandpa had come home for lunch, napped in his chair, and left again, we did my nails at the table.  All Grammy's attention was on me.  I sat there, still as a statue, fingers splayed wide, grinning from ear to ear.  As Grammy twisted the top of the polish closed once again, she said, "Sit still, Honey, until it dries."  I did just as she said until I was dismissed to go play.  There was no need to rush, nothing pressing to do...just sit still, watching paint dry.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Am I that weird?

Today, while picking up and cleaning off the various surfaces in the house before dinner, my little middle says, "What in the world is this?!?"  He holds up a plastic zippered baggie containing the blonde locks from the baby's first haircut.  That big event had happened last night.

"Mom, why???" The little middle is aghast at the idea of this keepsake. I take the baggie from him and put it with the little pile that goes to the basement.

I explain that I have a lock of each boy's hair from the first cut. They are in the boys' baby books. "I have your little blonde curls too," I smile at him.

"What?!? That's so weird, Mom...And kind of creepy," grimacing, he's having none of it.

My seven year old is convinced that I'm a lunatic for keeping their first curls. I am operating on the idea that moms keep these moments in pictures and DNA in envelopes. Am I that weird?

Friday, March 31, 2017

We did it! 31/31 #SOL17

We did it!

I am happy to say that I actually did it!  The video that Stacey sent today gave me even more motivation to continue writing and posting.  Turning something negative, a real bummer deal, into something to celebrate takes guts and gusto.  I'm so glad she had this vision for the Slice of Life challenge.  I am also pretty inspired by the Seinfeld reference, because I LOVE Seinfeld!  I am pledging now to try my very, very best to post on Tuesdays.  If you want to check out the video, check it out here.  Thanks to the Two Writing Teachers blog for hosting and inspiring and coordinating!

So, because I earned it, and because I have misered (not a real word) away my Valentine chocolates, I plan to enjoy three of them tonight.  Be jealous of my splurge, you of no chocolates!

I hope to catch you here again soon, commenting.  I live for comments (obviously, not chocolate since I forgot where I hid it, safely away from the boys, after Valentine's Day).  Seriously though, thanks to all who take the time to comment.  It means a lot to this ol' girl.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Nighttime routines 30/31 #SOL17

Tonight got me to thinking about our nighttime routine.  It's taken for granted around here.  

As soon as I asked, "Do you want to go take a bath?", the baby quickly toddled away toward the stairs.  After some cute and fast advertising, I tried (and failed) to auction off the opportunity to bathe the little guy.  There was no response, not even eye contact, from the males populating the living room.

So, he and I went up the stairs to start the process.  He was smiling and squealing and slobbering down his chin, completely overjoyed by the good times about to be had.  I reach into the tub to turn on the faucet, and instantaneously, the baby gives a holler and tries to scale the side of the tub to get in the liquid fun.  There's water flying and elation floats up from the baby, around the room like bubbles.

Afterward, I wrap him in a towel, carry him to his room, and lay him on the changing table.  Following our normal protocol, we talk about the wall decorations, "Giraffes have a long neck.  Zebras have black and whites stripes.  Hippopotamus swims in the water."  We get him diapered and encased in footie jammies.  He's in his element, and really, so am I.

We sit on the floor, look through the books and choose The Little Blue Truck, just as every night.  We read, point, moo, beep.  We turn pages, right then left, then back again.  He yawns and jabbers and yawns again while still paging through the book.

Finally, I say, "Ready for bed?"  He looks at me with a "not really" expression, but I lift him to his bed anyway.  He grabs his pacifier and blanket and looks back to me for his book.  Once he has all his favorite things, he's ready to dream.

I turn off the light, say, "Good night," and close the door.  As I walk back downstairs to the rest of my boys, I realize just what simple happiness I get to experience with this new little one.  I know from raising my other boys that these moments are short lived.  One day soon, he won't need me to give him a bath or dress him with jammies or read his books.  

I take these moments for granted, but after tonight, I hope to do that a little less. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fun times, in a hurry 29/31 #SOL17

Well, the day moved right along, and before I knew it, the day was over.

The faculty had MAP testing protocol, administration, and security training.  It was not fun, but a box to check, as are other things that we have to do in education.  There was candy offered and consumed.  We made the best of it.

At the end of the meeting, after everyone had left, my principal came over to the table where I was working.  She informed me that she had just become aware of some money (and it's a pretty fun amount) that needs to be spent before the 31st.  That's two days for those of you who aren't math people.

So, tonight, I have online carts full of books with lists of titles yet to be found.  It is fun, it is exciting, it is my dream spending spree!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Book clubs and attendance issues 28/31 #SOL17

In recent nights, I've read a couple of posts about book clubs.  They had read the book, David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.  If this interests you, go read one example here.

These posts reminded me of a time when I tried to start up a book club with girls at school.  Many of the ladies at school are readers.  Currently, as in the past, we talk books while at lunch, while waiting for the bathroom, while roaming the gym on morning duty.  We read everything, all genres.  We recommend and review, it's a wandering book club...well, maybe more like book talks.  With these experiences, it only made sense to get us all together to talk books without the distractions of work.

I sent out a feeler email and had about a dozen interested participants.  It was exciting to be orchestrating this morale boosting, team builder activity!  We met after school one day to talk about plans and, of course, books.  Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed was chosen as our first book because there was high interest and a movie was in the making (indicating that we would all need to go see it together = book club bonus).  We had a month to read and would meet at my house on a Friday night in October.

There was some teaser talking during school as we spent our time together.  As the night approached, some scrambled to finish (or at least start and learn the characters names), a couple of ladies found the date had been filled with another commitment, and the rest just kind of avoided me.

On the night of the big book club meeting, only my friend Andrea, the school librarian showed up.  We drank cosmopolitans and talked all about and around that book.  It was wonderful, even if it was not well attended.  We had a fabulous time and left with high spirits about the next month's book.

The next month was better attended with four coming to book club, but many more reading the book and just talking at school.  And on it went with the second month having the highest attendance.  By month six, it was my turn to host again.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett was our selection, and I had LOVED it!  I couldn't wait for everyone to get there.  At least 8 were reading it and in high hopes of attending.  For this most anticipated occasion, I had made chocolate pie and some sweet tea.

Once again, Andrea was the only one to show, sporting a bottle of sweet tea vodka (if you have never heard of this, you must find it immediately).  We stood at my island countertop, never leaving the kitchen, in deep discussions about this wonderful work.

My husband, who was supposed to take the boys anywhere and do something, came home a bit earlier than planned.  As he came in the door after the boys, he said, "Well, I was afraid we would interupt something, but have instead discovered this book club ruse is more like the Ande and Emily club without kids."  We all had a good laugh about that true and telling comment.

That was the end of the book club.  We did go out to the movies a few times after its concluding meeting, but the organized meeting for discussing books was over.  We still talk books all the time, but coordinating time together outside of school is just not happening.