Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
We are in the midst of Red Ribbon Week, celebrating and committing to healthy, drug-free lifestyles. Today's theme is "Hats Off to Being Drug-Free", where students are allowed to wear hats to school and during the school day. It's so exciting!
Last night, after he had already been told to go to bed twice, the little middle said, "Mom, I want to make an aluminum foil hat for tomorrow."
"You are supposed to have brushed your teeth and be in bed. We are not talking about hats right now. If you can get up, and get yourself going in the morning, and find that you have time to make a hat, then you can talk to me about it," I answered. "Now, go to bed."
This morning, as I drearily got dressed and drained two cups of coffee, the little middle was busy dressing, brushing, eating, and designing. I trudged down the stairs to a bustling kitchen where the little boys were occupied, one with dry cereal on the counter, the other with aluminum foil on the floor.
The baby was the cause of my sleepiness. He seems to be decreasing my hours of rest at 15 minute increments with today's initial wake up call at 4:37, too early. Now, I find him happily munching on cereal, watching his brother create something shiny. I am jealous of his ability to easily fall back into a slumber, while I lay in bed changing my mind repeatedly about what to wear or what to make for dinner.
The little middle raises up from the floor with his aluminum foil cap on, complete with a camo duct tape connecting to the aluminum foil bill. It's possibly one of the cutest things I've ever seen. He is proud and happy. "Looks good. Are you done?" I ask.
"Aaaaluuuuuminum Foooiiiiiil!" he sings, in reply. Thanks, Weird Al.
On the way to school, with the three youngest boys in tow, the little middle says from the third row, "Mom, do you know the last time we ate at the Chinese food place?"
"Not really," I say back.
He continues, "Well, my fortune said 'Tomorrow your creative juices will be flowing,' and that would have been a Saturday, but today is Tuesday."
"Ok." I mean what do you say back to that?
My boys are random. I am random. I don't know why I continue to be surprised.
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
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
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
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
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
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
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
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.
Monday, March 27, 2017
Tonight, while I was baking a pizza for the family dinner, my little middle (son) was snacking on chips, straight out of the bag and telling me about his day and all the plans he had for the evening. Suddenly, he exclaims, "HOLY COW!! Mom, look at this HUGE chip! It's as big as my head!!!!"
Isn't that great? Isn't that wonderful? Isn't that how childhood should be?
Sunday, March 26, 2017
So, today, I will use this inspiration to carve out my piece.
my boys play and argue and play
my husband talk to the baby in repeated little verses
the TV, turned up WAY too loud (for no one to actually be watching it)
the dog snoring softly behind the couch
toys strewn about the living room
the steam escaping the dishwasher vent
my family, all around
the clean air of my home
chopped cilantro on the cutting board
the citrus detergent of the dishwasher
coffee, I love my coffee
the heat rush out of the vents
the pressure of little hands push against my legs
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Friday, March 24, 2017
Todd and I both need to sign a real estate contract. Fortunately, the real estate agent sent the documents, three of them, through email. According to the directions, simply click on the link within and review, then sign the documents.
I proceed to follow the directions. I click the link. It takes me to a secure site that has me read a consent statement and I click ok. Then to the documents, I open the first one. There is no signature button. It says there has been one party sign.
To make a long, crappy story shorter, I kept circling from the documents to the listing file to the documents to the file. There was nowhere to click to sign there were no signature buttons to push. I am fairly good at computer stuff, and this is completely beyond me. I was frustrated and unhappy that I couldn't figure it out.
So, tomorrow, my slice may be the same, but with it ending in a celebration of signatures!
Thursday, March 23, 2017
"The moonlight's tracing those tree tops across your face
There's a feeling in your eyes the shadows can't erase
The cool wind around us is breezing around us
Following my fingers through your hair
The engine is idling and girl this heat lightning is flashing
Pictures of you and burning them in my head"
Those lyrics inspired these thoughts.
The lightning flashes, blindingly bright, burning the image of an empty landscape in my mind. It's the vacant scene of a play, void of characters and lacking action.
One, one thousand; two, one thousand; three, one thousand; counting the seconds, the miles until the storm, waiting for the thunder. It comes on strong, shaking the room and rattling the glass in the windows.
The initial crack and the following crash and rumble, like company in the dark. I smile at the storm. It's so familiar, just as it was in the past, sitting in a different window, following the same routine. It's a mystery repeated in a different time and a different place.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
- Family Time
- Forced Family Time (for when the former is not working)
- Impromptu camping trips
- Daytime Playlists from Google
- Staying up late
- Staying up late to watch TV
- Drinking coffee until late into the morning
- Sleeping in until 6:30 or 7:00 (this is a BIG deal)
- actually making 3 meals for my family
- Hulu/Netflix binge watching
- Writing during the day (I've only taken advantage of this two times so far this week)
- Extra Time (for _______ fill in the blank with whatever I need)
- Running for sports without feeling rushed
- Night time bonfires
- Cleaning out the garage
- Playing with the dog
- Washing the dog
- Baking cookies
- Reading on Twitter
- Reading on my Kindle
- Time for really talking with my husband
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
It's a rainy day at the campsite. The boys are restless inside, the birds flutter about outside. Everyone trying to wait out the weather, and get on with the plan of the day.
We try to keep our living areas cleaned up and all the food in its proper places, as the raindrops plop and drip on the rooftop. Little House reruns are coming across the antenna, and we enjoy some "old fashioned" TV to pass the time.
The baby naps, on and off, not keeping to his regular schedule. Luckily, he is a happy baby and keeps in good spirits, even when we pack him around on these adventures.
Out the window, neighbor campers pack up quickly as the downpour turns to sprinkles. They know it's a now or never (well, later) if you need to check out today.
Todd and one of the middle boys must be keeping at it in this light rain. They love trout fishing and want to take advantage of every opportunity because we don't get down often. There will be stories to tell when they get back even if there are no fish. The boys love their adventure stories.
The boys stuck inside with me start to invent imaginary contraptions that would allow them to scooter and skateboard in the rain. A plain umbrella remade to "actually be useful". It's its own form of entertainment.
It's spring break and it's raining, and I couldn't be happier to be "stuck" with my boys and Todd in this story.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Our first camping trip is underway.
We're ending the day happy with it's events and excitement. The middle boys fished with their daddy to their hearts' content. The oldest boy finished the new Rick Riordan book, with positive reviews and enthusiasm for the next one. The baby was all over, and he experienced his first scraped knee with little reaction on his part. I chased after the baby and cooked some food.
We had a fire to end our night, but no goodies for s'mores. :( I did bring kettle corn, so we happily settled.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
I am committed to posting each day, but the quality of the posts may be questionable for the next couple of days.
We are currently on the road heading to south Missouri to go camping (my sister says "glamping"). There are fish to catch and walks to take and hot dogs to roast. Knowing that these are memories the boys will carry with them for the rest of their lives warms my heart.
Here's to hoping the WiFi is working at the campground! See you all tomorrow.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Def Leppard blares out of the speakers. I love Anita's music. Riding in the car with her, radio cranked, makes me feel like the cool kid, the coolest kid. She looks over at me and smiles. I soar. "Hey, Em. Wanna get a soda?" she asks like it's nothing, but it's everything. I never get soda, and we never crank the radio in the car. There is usually a baby sleeping.
We jump out at the station in town. She let's me put the coins in the Coke machine without even asking if I want to. She knows I want to. The cold can falls, I retrieve it and hand it to Anita. She hands me more coins and I push them in and select the button for my soda. It clangs down inside the machine, and I wrap my hand around the treasured treat.
We both pop the can tabs and sit on the front bumper to enjoy the fizzy sweetness. We must sit there forever, talking about nothing, but filling the time with conversation.
My aunt, Anita, turns 50 years old tomorrow. I don't know how that's possible because this memory seems like yesterday, and besides a different hair-cut, she hasn't changed a bit. I affectionately called her my video vamp once, I may not have really known what that was. :) I love her to pieces. Happy Birthday, Nita!!
Friday, March 17, 2017
Todd has the three youngest at his mom's and the farm house. He has some property to look at with a friend and a bull dozer guy. Plus, he took his new deer blind up. He looked like a spoiled boy pulling out of the driveway.
My oldest is on a spur of the moment camp out. He has been prepping for this for a week, maybe a couple. They were waiting for the weather to cooperate, which has been very un-cooperative. He and a friend, equipped with much survival gear (and their phones) have pitched a tent on the river.
It is sure to be a memory maker of a night for everyone. But, for me, what am I to do? I long for time to myself, and now that I have it, I have no idea what to do with myself.
It's quiet, but I don't feel like napping. I could go out, but it's the Friday night of spring break and everyone from school just wants to relax (at home). I could catch up on Facebook and then be exceptionally unhappy with myself for wasting all that time. I could read, would be if I was into a book right now.
The dog is barking, finally someone who needs me. I do have to do chores with no boys here to do them. I might watch some TV. The remote is never in my control. It looks like a night of rom-coms or tear jerkers. I haven't enjoyed any chick flicks for quite a while.
Check back with me tomorrow. I'll probably be right here, with nothing to show for my treasured time to myself, just sitting and doing nothing. Oh, the joys of nothing.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
My mom's car was a '96 Grand Prix. It was all I needed, fast, comfortable, and equipped with a 12 CD changer in the trunk. The Jukebox had been installed by my step-brother, the original owner of the car. The car was red.
I was cruising. We had cut it a little close on time because I had chatted with my mom a little too much.
As I made my way south of Macon, Alan Jackson crooned, "Midnight in Montgomery". It brought back memories of summers when I was younger.
Suddenly, the slamming drums and hard synthesized guitars of Muse in "Supermassive Black Hole" blare through the speakers disrupting my reverie and causing some long blinks to reorient myself. "That was abrupt," I think. It's a jazzy tune, and I find myself nodding my head to the beat. I hit repeat a couple of times.
Next up, a classic John Denver tune that I don't know the name of. It was brutal. Then, relief from the vocals of Michael Buble, "It's A Beautiful Day".
It went on like this with music from every genre but rap. As I pulled into the venue of the workshop, I couldn't help but smile. The randomness, the eclectic nature of my mom's music collection, it made me so happy. I talked about it the rest of the day.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
I remember seeing the animated Beauty and the Beast for the first time. We didn't go to the theater. Instead my siblings and I opened the VHS for Christmas (in what I am guessing had to be 1992). Before seeing the movie, I had the audio soundtrack (cassette) playing constantly, flip, play, flip, play. The movie was beautiful. It was all I imagined it would be and more. The characters, so easy to love, had spectacular personality. It was funny, enough to make me giggle lots. It was a little scary when the villagers hunt the beast and in the woods when the wolves are inches away from taking a bite of Belle. My favorite part was the feast, where all the dishes are the servants and chefs and cooks. The whole idea just swept me up, right off my feet. I was completely in love with it all.
This new, live action movie will be grand, I'm sure of it. I am most excited about seeing it with my mom and sisters though.
Around here there are no princess movies. No chick flicks. No love stories. Around here, we have superheroes. All the Marvel comic movies and DC superstar stories. Oh, there might be a little romance here or there, but nothing real, nothing girlie.
I'm ready for some girl time, for a tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
I had best intentions today. Lots of thoughts of slices floated through my head. I was busy, and I should have written them down, but instead I kept working, thinking I would remember. So, instead you get a list. Here are all the things I would have loved to have done today (tonight).
I wanted to write something heart-warming.
I wanted to write something witty and funny.
I wanted to write something descriptive and engaging, but, instead I'm writing this.
I wanted to cook a healthy dinner.
I wanted to eat at the table with my boys.
I wanted to relax with my husband, but, instead we ate toasted cheese, at the counter, while Daddy was at a board meeting.
I wanted to finish picking up the house.
I wanted to finish folding the laundry.
I wanted to finish adding some charts to the writing like a scientist unit, but, instead I read a book to the baby and cuddled with him before his bedtime.
It is a day to be celebrated because, although I may be living in a world of best intentions, I am gratified in the little things.
Monday, March 13, 2017
shakes the windows,
the house like thunder.
is a high pitch whine.
It's rarely shrill,
but can be
comes and goes,
but in the daylight
is constant on
like a heartbeat
to let you know
of my boys
Sunday, March 12, 2017
It starts in the morning, waking, making coffee, thinking about breakfast. Then one of us realizes we have lost an hour in the night. It's now 8:00. Coffee is gulped and granola bars, usually for weekday emergencies, are considered. Panic ensues.
We'll just go to late service instead, it's decided. We eat a real breakfast. I start to brown some pheasant that Todd got last week. I'll put it in the crockpot to cook while we are at church. Relaxing into some chores and piddling around the kitchen. I put the baby down for a nap. It's a weird kind of in between time, but he needs a little something before church.
Todd is on the phone with a friend. They're talking about farm ground and some land that's for sale. What's it worth? How many tillable acres? How much in woods? Where and what size lake is possible? Suddenly, it's 10:00!!
Everyone in the showers! Brush teeth! Comb hair! Shoes! Todd's still downstairs on the phone. He has lost track of time. We rush and run and rant (a little). Then we are loaded in the suburban and headed down the road.
Later, some clocks say 1:30, some say 12:30. Either way, we are eating lunch. The baby needs to get a good afternoon nap to make up for the long blink nap he took earlier.
I don't understand the purpose of daylight savings. It seems antiquated, but I don't know much about it. What I do know is that time change messes with my family and makes my days (for about the next week) weird and wonky and groggy.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Friday, March 10, 2017
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Anyway, as I am writing in my lesson plans about writing How-To books, I got to thinking about how I get ready to write a unit. So, if you are curious, this is how I do it. This is a slice of my life.
First, you need time and space.
Good internet connections are a bonus, but not completely necessary. The other literacy coaches and I have been writing all of our units in Google docs so we can collaborate easily without having to meet to write. It is working quite nicely. We are learning and learning to love it.
The space where I do most of my unit writing is my desk at school. It is stacked and stacked with TBR articles, mentor texts, library books, and various other resources. Oh, hey, there's my calendar too! I have to make some room when it is time to write.
I require many drinks while working. Luckily, I have the bladder of a veteran teacher, so I can down quite a few ounces in a session of unit writing. Today, it's coffee (gone), water (gone), and tea (almost gone).
Next, you need all your resources and writing materials at the ready. I have the writing materials with me at all times, pens and post-its, sometimes highlighters. The resources for a unit seem to follow a bell curve with the peak stack height hitting somewhere in the middle of the unit. Today, I have my If...Then...Curriculum book, mentor texts, and the fabulous new Writing Strategies Book by Jennifer Sarravello. It's wonderful, and I am in high hopes of finding many helpful strategies and prompts to help in this unit. Heaven knows I'll need them!
After you have yourself situated, it is good to get right down to the writing.
Previously, my colleagues and I had collaborated to agree on teaching points. They are the most important part of the unit. They are the learning that will happen. In my experience, deciding the teaching points is the most time consuming part of unit writing, as well. I digress.
When I am writing a unit, I am essentially writing lesson plans. I like to create my mentor pieces, at least sketch them out how I think they might go. Having an idea of the units flow from inquiry to celebration, helps me understand what expectations I might have for the kids at different checkpoints within the unit. Mentor texts are tabbed up and mapped out for lessons. I also like to make mini anchor charts, take a photo of them and stick those in the unit to remind me of the resources I want the kids to have available.
Here a couple of the mini charts. I make them just to remind me of my thinking later, when I am teaching.
Of course, I couldn't write one word, not a meaningful one anyway, without the most important thing...I channel my inner Lucy. (I've met her once. I did not think to get a picture. I am not happy about that.)
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
If I had the athletic ability to perform those ballerina jumps where she gracefully leaps from point A to point B, looking as if celebrating with her body, I would so do that!
Turbo Tax and I have completed our return for the year 2016. We bought and sold tractors, which had me the most nervous this year. The scariest bits of the button pushing is done. All I have left to do is enter a couple of numbers for this state return.
Because of recent increases in tax fraud, they have added some increased security. That's good. One of my closest friends had an issue with someone else filing taxes in her name last year. What a nightmare! I keep thinking I just want to be done with this chore, but I really just want it to be done and done right.
"I need your license number," I call into the living room where my husband is hanging out with the boys. We shuffle around, find his wallet on the counter, input his information. It's so close to completion, the celebrating starting in my brain has spread to my grinning face.
Now, I need my license. I send one of the boys to the suburban to fetch my wallet, and I fish the card out of the tight pocket. "Issue date," the caption indicates what is needed. Hmm, no issue date on my license. I click the help button, and a box pops up. The help box tells me that my permit may not have an issue date or an expiration date, but to just input whatever information is there. Well, that was somewhat helpful.
Skipping the issuance date entry, my fingers hover over the keys, ready to finish this project. "Expiration date," it says. Oh, crap. "Oh, man! I am in serious trouble!!" I yell to anyone listening. No one responds. "Todd, my license is expired!!" still yelling.
He walks into the dining room, his eyes roaming the table covered in paperwork and piles. "What did you say?" he asks with a look like I need to calm down.
"My driver's license expired on my birthday (September 1st). I am in big trouble," I lament, thinking how I just tumbled from the top of the world. Unbelievable! I am such an idiot.
Just as I am commemorating how on top of it I am in life, the threat of a driving test and driving knowledge book test is suddenly looming. I completely failed parallel parking the first time! And that was just between some orange cones, not even real cars!! I am freaking out.
I grab my phone and choose the search engine to see how much of a penalty I'll owe, and what other criteria I'll have to fulfill. There is a monetary penalty of $10. Huh...not bad. If expired by more than six months, the driver must retest for driving knowledge and driving skills.
I start to tick off the months on my fingers. I HAVE FOUR DAYS!!! YAY!!!!
So it becomes a little anti-climatic, but I am glad that there are no tests hanging over my future.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
The day had started off terrifically with a perfect cup of coffee. It didn't seem that this delicious omen would fulfill it's prophecy of greatness to come.
The boys and I had gotten ourselves together and left the house in decent time. The stop at the babysitter's didn't seem to take longer than normal, but at some point in the morning, time had passed us by, and we were now running late.
Practically power sliding into the space at school, we jump out of the Suburban, slamming doors and slinging bags, and head inside. The boys find their way to the cafeteria tables and join their friends, while I head up the steps and down the hallway to my room.
Where are my keys? This bag is ridiculous. Mary Poppins has nothing on me when it comes to bag contents. One day, I hope to win it big in a bag/purse scavenger hunt. Today is not that day and all I'm hunting are the keys to my room.
Finally, after what feels like 10 minutes, and long after I have given up on scrounging and instead started to empty the bag, I find my lanyard with ID and keys attached.
I sit in the chair, huffing and puffing, and think, "This will get better. I think I need more coffee."
Monday, March 6, 2017
As I was cleaning up after dinner, and the boys had come back in from playing football outside, I asked my husband, "When you have nothnig else to do, can you research how to maintain my Kitchenaid mixer? It's making a kind of noise when I run it."
"Let me hear it," he said. So I turned it on for about 15 seconds. "It sounds like the grease needs replaced." He is a very DIY sort of fella, and I am grateful for it.
So, he consulted Youtube before tearing into the mixer. Luckily, the first video showed him exactly what and how needed to be done, confirming his initial guess.
Here is our disassembled mixer. Now that I look at the photo, I am more nervous about the whole project than I was when it was actually happening.
There is only one time that I can remember my husband tearing into a project where he had to pause and call for backup. He was doing some regular maintainence on an Evinrude 75 hp boat engine, and he took of something that he thought was a fuel filter. However, it was not as he thought and a spring went flying across the basement. It was not to be. He had to haul the engine to a marina mechanic to be repaired.
Today's project went just as planned. We replaced this nasty, separated grease with new, creamy gear grease, and the mixer is humming along like brand new.
March is my new grease. I am looking to finish strong this school year. With a daily dose of gratitude for the work that I am blessed to do, I can feel the difference in how my days run.
I've cleaned out the gunk (mostly my own attitude and choices for mindset). Just like the new grease in my mixer, the appreciation for my life's circumstances has my gears running smooth once again.
Sunday, March 5, 2017
My husband went to the farm today. We store our camper there, about 2 hours away. Today, he brought it back with him.
My insides are smiling. The camper setting in the driveway looks like fun. It looks like good times to come, campfires and s'mores. It looks like family time and memories made. It looks like hope and potential and sunshine. Spring is here, and summer is on it's way. I can't wait for all the fun to come.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
I guess with the center of this organization around Jesus and His love for us, I was expecting to be a little more accepting of all the kids and their supporters. I am a competitive person, mind you, but that is not the part of me that caused the dissonance in spectating last night. With this being a church league, having only volunteer coaches and referees, I would expect lots of fun and lots of teaching. Don't misunderstand, there are lots of both, but not to the level I expected.
Here is what I mean. At last night's game, parents were yelling at the referees. Please keep in mind that the players are 9 and 10 year old boys and girls. This occurred throughout the game and focused on points and winning, and I think that is ridiculous. These kids are here to learn, have fun, and play. That is why I signed my son up for this league.
In addition, one player was so caught up in the idea of stealing the ball that he failed to play defense and instead just mauled any player dribbling the ball. Then, when the ref would blow his whistle and try to coach him up on how he was "reaching in", the kid would argue back and even growled with a terrible glare once.
I wanted the coach to take him out of the game, but there were no substitutes. I wanted the coach to reprimand him for his disrespect and bad attitude. I wanted the referees to put him in time out.
Understandably, the parents of the other team were upset about his fouling. He is on my child's team and I was embarrassed by his behavior and disappointed that no one stepped in to help him calm down or coach him in a way as to prevent this kind of behavior in the future.
As I type this, I realize that the referees and coaches are not trained in dealing with kids and their behaviors. I think what made it difficult for me was that it was all pretty much out of my circle of control, and so I was just a spectator. "Hands up defense. Get your hands up on defense, blue," I yelled out a couple of times, trying to get the kids to go back to what they had learned at practice. But, it did no good. The little boy kept reaching and fouling and giving mean looks at players and referees. When kids are your business, it is hard to keep your knowledge and know-how under wraps at times that you are not the adult in charge. Any help from my perspective would have just made things worse at that point anyway.
We lost the game by 14 points, so it wasn't even very close. After the game, I talked to my son about what I had seen from the bleachers, and how that made me feel as a mom. He wanted to make excuses for his teammate and blame the other team for "cheating". I did what I could do with "coaching" words for him. That's about all I can do.
Friday, March 3, 2017
There are many pieces of the day that I could tell you about to illustrate it strangeness. First, I only had four cups worth of coffee in the jar when we always drink a full pot, so I supplemented with decaf. It still tasted good.
Then, my husband took the middle boys for Donuts with Dad Friday, a good thing that just changes my morning schedule a little. No biggie.
As I parked the truck and headed into school, I noticed that bite that the wind brought and wished I'd have grabbed a jacket. When I got into my room, I remembered that my lunch, just a salad, was still in the fridge at home. Oh well, cafeteria pizza for me, I guess.
The big moment was the all-call, "Mrs. Culbertson please call the office. Mrs. Culbertson, if you are in the building, please call the office." I wonder why they didn't just call my room. That's weird, I thought.
I dialed the office and my principal immediately answered, "Please don't hate me, but I'm two certified teachers short. This new sub system still has a couple of kinks. How do you feel about filling a classroom spot today?" Sure, sounds fun.
I was in a kindergarten classroom today with many unique little personalities. My rusty management skills had to be brushed up in an instant. I'm sure that many small moments occurred during the day that I could recount for your amusement, but I was too busy to soak any of them into my memory. Did I mention it was "If I Ran the Zoo" day, when every student is encouraged to bring a stuffed animal? Yeah, not my favorite way to have little people practice self-control.
So, if you are keeping score: I am running on decaf, I have no jacket (and it is my duty day), I didn't bring a lunch, it's stuffed animal day, and I am subbing in a K classroom. I'm not sure I'm winning at today.
I really could have used the caffeine. But, we did Dr. Seuss related activities, which was something new for me because teaching 3rd grade didn't have many of those themed opportunities. We examined the word "yelp" and did a lot of rhyming. I got to read books to kids, got everyone fed, and got them back home to their families. Seems like a success.
So my slice is not a small moment, it is the opposite. It starts with me getting up in the morning and will end with me now sitting in my bed writing my post. I did not live a writerly life today, because I know that there are stories to tell from all this weirdness, but I can't seem to recall them with much detail.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
At the beginning of the semester, I was in a 5th grade class teaching about the kind of reading we will do for nonfiction book clubs. The students were all listening attentively and interacting accordingly. I said, "Ok, let's get started." The kids started talking about how they thought this kind of work was going to go, and orienting themselves to their texts. I got busy jumping in and out of groups, listening to some, jumping in to probe questions and "hmm, interesting" here and there. One boy, that I had not really worked with before, asked me to join his group. I said that I was due somewhere else soon, but would love to know about their progress in the days to come. So, that started our daily visits.
Everyday, Nick drops by on his way out the door while waiting for all the 5th grade car riders to get in line and be ready to leave for the day. He knocks, sticks his head in, asks if I have time to talk. In the beginning, he updated me on the group, their progress, the dynamics of the kids, the books, his questions and ponderings. It was great. Nick loves sports. He plays all of them, currently flag football. I don't know his family, but he tells me about them in little 3-5 minute snippets. Today, he tells me he is going to the Bahamas for spring break! WOW!
This boy brings me a daily reminder that I am doing "something" worthwhile. He makes me feel like my work is important, and that he is glad that I am at school. He isn't the only friendly, conversing kid at my school, but he is the only one who takes time to say something to me each day, and for that, I am grateful.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Something has woken me up, it's hitting the outside of the house. Probably a bit of hail, I think, remembering the forecast for the afternoon that must not have moved as fast as expected. The wind is blowing, sending creaks and pops into the night. It doesn't seem too bad, and I'm so tired...
Thunder, so loud the rumble makes the windows shake. I'm awake again. I pop my right eye open but don't turn to look at the clock because I'm too lazy to move. Downstairs, I hear movement. The boys are moving up to be with the rest of the family. Someone bumps into the closet door, getting settled making a pallet on the floor of our room. I half wonder which boy is in here and half drift off again...
Crack! Both eyes open. That was close. I don't see any lightning. Weird. So tired...
I roll over to find my comfy spot. Are all the boys in my room? The white noise is still playing in Jay's room, crickets and frogs. I shouldn't be staying up to read so much, the thought sails through barely skimming the surface of my mind. It's not really worth it, the reading, because I don't remember the last couple of pages and have to re-read the next night. I'll think about it later...
Was that thunder? I don't really care enough to try and alert more senses to find out...
I am asleep.
This morning I find out, through the radio, that the weather was bad in areas of St. Louis. I pray for those families affected and thankful that we were protected and safe. March is in like a lion.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
My family loves to quote things: shows, movies, songs, books, each other. We can have whole conversations where we reference Seinfeld or Everafter or Napoleon Dynamite. Some of our other favorites are Pride and Prejudice and Are You My Mother? We are quite eclectic in our foundational knowledge of quotable lines. I like to think that we are a fairly clever bunch. However, now that I sit back and examine it, maybe we just can't come up with our own material.