Thursday, March 31, 2011
I always look forward to writing group. The monthly meet-up challenges me to keep writing-to keep working at the craft of being a writer. Sometimes I think my writing isn't quite real, or road tested at least, until someone else has read it. I'm not always happy with what I bring, but there's always a part of the whole that I like. It can be as small as one well-chosen word, or just a sentence. That's okay though, there's always the next meet-up.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I have made exactly one cake in my life. That one cake was for the Cake Booth at the annual spring fair held at my high school. It wasn't a self-less act of kindness-it was a necessity of sorts. A cake for the cake booth meant extra credit in my Alg. 3/Trig. class. Sister Rita Dolerine was not only my math teacher; she was also in charge of the cake booth at the spring fair. What a simple equation: 1 cake=a better grade.
It was a sad cake, a lopsided ugly duckling that stood out like a sore thumb among so many other better-looking creations. Back then I couldn't have told you why it came out the way it did, but now I'm thinking it had something to do with my lack of patience with directions. Too bad I wasn't as self-aware in high school.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I was waiting at a stoplight this afternoon, watching the cars go by, when I noticed an older man-probably somewhere in his 60s-making his way across the street. He moved with purpose, taking long strides with head held high as he looked forward. But then, in the middle of the crosswalk, he took a stutter-step and came to a stop. He bent down to pick something up off the ground, some kind of coin I assumed. He took a closer look at the side facing him, smiled a put it in his pocket before continuing on his way with a small smile on his face. It was then I knew what he had found...heads up...good luck.
I thought about that little moment during my short commute home-how something so small and insignificant can brighten the day. And then my little moment arrived. I stepped out of the car and found a rubber band on the sidewalk. It was just a rubber band-no big deal. I took a second look and noticed it had fallen to the ground in the shape of a heart. It was my turn to smile.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Yeah, the cursor can be intimidating, but only if you look ahead of it for too long.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
While out for a jog later in the day I noticed two birds, one a bright red cardinal, the other a small sparrow. They were perched side by side on a telephone wire. Their heads were turned toward one another, and so it looked as though they were exchanging a few words. In my mind I imagined the conversation two birds might have, surely on this day any small talk would have had to include that sporadic dusting of snow that greeted us all in the morning.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
A month ago she was a seemingly healthy woman. Two weeks ago she was diagnosed with cancer. The first chemo treatment came on Thursday. Those in the know said her hair would fall out within two weeks. She took the reins--first there was the head shaving, next was a wig purchase. Myself and two other friends came along for moral support. Surprisingly, there were fewer tears shed than I would have thought. The wig shop works with a lot of cancer patients so there was a steady stream of woman coming and going. There was also a great deal of support between strangers.
Shortly after my group's arrival another lady came in, visibly upset. Her hair had started coming out in clumps the day before--the only thing she could do was have a friend cut the rest off. She was unsure of the wig she had chosen. We became her support group, as did others in the shop.
I can't say it was an ideal way to spend a Saturday afternoon, but it was nice to be there for a friend in need.
By the way, her wig looks fabulous.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Maryland Day weekend meant fun, frivolity and time outside with college friends. We would spend that day on the lawn of the old State House looking out on the glistening waters of the St. Marys River considering those who first arrived on the land we lived on at the time.
Okay, really, we just drank a lot of beer in the name of statehood. Yeah, it was another reason to gather and enjoy the company of friends. But it was historical, so it wasn't really like another night at the local pub.
Tonight I actually posted a status on Facebook, it said, "Happy Maryland Day to all my fellow Marylanders!"
Within ten minutes I had heard from three college friends. One is living in Belize, one in Washington State, and one in Annapolis. For all of us, living so far apart from the others, it was an instantaneous step back in time--one we all took together in the same moment. The responses made me smile. In that moment I felt like we were all sitting on that bluff above the St. Marys River together with an Old Milwaukee in our hand cheering on the setting sun.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
This cat is a creature of habit, as I'm sure most are. He likes his first dinner at about 5:00. Dinner number one is followed by a little time outside to patrol the area for mice, small birds and cats that may be thinking about trespassing into his territory. He knows dinner number two comes after he returns from his nightly rounds. Well, he thinks it comes upon his return--really, I feed him half of his dinner portion when I get home from work, whatever time that may be, and the rest about 9:00. He spends most of the evening coming and going hoping his return will remind me it's time for dinner time number two.
He probably thinks my lateness has completely messed up this evening's ritual. Actually, he'll be happy when that second meal comes sooner than he figured on.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I worry for the delicate, daffodils that brighten my backyard beds and feel as though I should knit up a quick scarf, in a pastel color of course, to help them fight the chill that's coming.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
So many excuses. Tonight that ended. I got home from work later than I wanted and needed to make dinner. There was a friend, someone who's been going through a rough patch, who needed checking in on. By 6:15 I could see my brain formulating the excuse of the evening. And then I realized I'm in charge here! Without another thought I turned my heels and walked upstairs to change my clothes. With shoes laced tight I marched out the door and put one front in front of the other and got moving. My legs were pumping, my arms were swinging and I was smiling. My love/like/hate relationship with running was off and, well, running.
Monday, March 21, 2011
This year I decided to give it a shot on my own. So tonight I sat down with my stack of unorganized tax documents and wound my way through the process with the help of an online tax program. Seventy minutes later I was finished. Now I have nothing to do but wait to see my refund appear in my bank account.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
The Z-Pack didn't quite have the punch needed to fight my sinus infection. Even though I woke up last Wednesday feeling better in some ways I was feeling worse in others. My head hurt, but not in the headache kind of way. The back of my head was swollen and tender to the touch. I waited for the antibiotics to do their thing. Friday morning brought no relief so I decided it was time to take a trip to the doctor's office.
A look in my ears got a comment of "yikes, your ears are a mess!" My throat was red and my lymph nodes were swollen. I was running a slight fever. It was time for a new, super antibiotic.
A weekend away became a weekend at home. I took it easy, I slept, and I took it easy some more. Sunday morning came with a feeling of restlessness. The sun was shining and I wanted to be out soaking up a few of those rays. It took a bit of doing, but I was able to wrestle my bike out of the closet for the first ride of the year. My ten-mile jaunt started in Arlington and continued over the Potomac to Georgetown for a ride along the C & O Canal. It was an excellent way to break the monotony of my self-induced weekend at home.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
And then the moon appeared in the eastern sky. It wasn't just any moon--it was a super moon. It was a big, orange celestial sight-- one that added a nice exclamation mark to my hilltop view.
Friday, March 18, 2011
As sixth graders there are far more clues that they have difficulty with. Today's stumper was "______ and Stimpy." I was surprised. I understand they may not get "what happens to a record in the sun," as they have never owned a record and only know the word warp in connection to characters that warp in novels. But I expected them to know about cartoons. After all, they know everything about The Simpsons. It wasn't until tonight that I realized that Ren and Stimpy was on and off the air before they were born. Sure the Simpsons originated before Ren and Stimpy, but it's still in production today.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Yellow is certainly one of the first colors of spring around here. Pretty soon the grass will shed the dull brown of winter in exchange for the deep, dark green of summer. Pink and red azaleas will bloom, as will dogwoods and cherry blossoms. And of course there will be tulips.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
This time tomorrow I'll be in the thick of basketball, rooting for teams I've never seen play before and looking forward to seeing my name at the top of the group standings. Let the games begin!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I woke up about midnight but with five hours before the alarm was to go off I downed another shot and rolled over. Certainly all the sleep and such was sure to bring a change in health. But it didn't--I woke up at 4:35AM to a pounding headache and a sore throat. I closed my eyes and considered the possibility of calling in for a sub for the day. The thought of what I would need to do to make that happen overwhelmed me and I fell back asleep until the alarm awoke me forty minutes later.
A warm shower cleared my head a bit as did nasal spray, Advil and DayQuil. I packed up my honey, lemon and tea bags and headed out to face the day. I survived, but boy am I happy to be back under my quilt on the couch.
Monday, March 14, 2011
I managed to power through most of the workday. At least I made it through all my classes. Fortunately, everyone was tired today as a result of Daylight Savings Time. We muddled along and got through the work at hand as best we could. As my last class walked out the door one student asked if I'd be in tomorrow. I told her my plan was to go home early and get some rest. She patted me on the arm and wished me well.
Here's hoping my plan works and that I'm back up to speed tomorrow.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Wrong. I feel tired, and oh so very sore. Fortunately I do know that time heals all wounds. I'm just hoping I heal quickly; after all I'm due for another kettle bell workout tomorrow.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Hair Dresser: "Are your kids good looking? I mean of course you think so, but what do other people say?"
Gray-haired Client: "Not really. My son was probably the best looking but he's not now, he's fat."
Me thinking: "What...the...hell?!"
Friday, March 11, 2011
Today I read about the passing of Ulysses S. Grant V, the great grandson of the president of the same name. I showed the write-up to the Social Studies teacher on my team and we both remarked on how amazing it was that someone so close to the history of so long ago lived in our lifetime.
My grandmother was born in 1903. I find it fascinating to think that she was alive at the same time as someone like Harriet Tubman who died in 1913. She was 17 when women were granted the right to vote. The times she lived in seem so far removed from me until I think of her place along that timeline in history.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
"I went to my senior prom in a car just like that." I offered.
"And now it's in the Smithsonian," my sister replied. "I'd say that makes you old."
I guess so, but it's nice to know we were driving around in a "classic" car...even if we didn't know it at the time.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Our class discussion started off with my insights on student procrastination techniques. In the end we came up with a list of three top procrastination strategies. It was easy to see that students use bathroom/water breaks as their go to way to put off class work. It's a solid technique--one that I employed often during my two hour British Literature class in college. My students easily identified with this strategy, even smiling and nodding as we talked about it.
Then there was the general staring out into space. This is a tricky one for teachers, because when a student is asked if they're actually working they can quickly respond with a safe answer; "I'm thinking." Yeah, they smiled and nodded on that one as well.
And then I innocently surveyed the group. "What else do you do to procrastinate?" I asked.
A few hands shot up.
"We break our pencil points on purpose."
Wow, they say you learn something every day and boy did I.
Monday, March 7, 2011
There's much to see on a walk about the neighborhood.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
I had a 90-mile drive to deal with first. Even though the rain can be soothing from behind the sheers that hang in my living room, it is anything but that when barreling down I-95 at seventy miles per hour. The worst part was the surprise sprays that come from cars as they pass by. Today those sprays felt more like driving through a waterfall, often reducing visibility to nil until the wiper blade could catch up and clear the windshield.
It was good to get home.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
During intermission we gathered in the cafeteria for refreshments and I recalled the very spot where I slipped and fell on a red cube of Jell-O. The tables looked pretty much the same, in fact it was easy to think back and see myself sitting with friends at the usual table.
The play was much bigger than any musical that was put on during my four years of high school. The two-story set, complete with sliding elevator doors, was much more technical than any set put together way back when.
I'm not sure why it took me so long to go back, but it was a nice visit.
Friday, March 4, 2011
It was a tough start but thankfully, that was not a sign of things to come. The day went smoothly. Yes, there was a somewhat contentious conversation with one parent but I believe we parted ways feeling satisfied with the end result.
The workday may have had a shaky start but in the end the day was a successful one--that's always a good thing.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Intrigued with the scene, we strolled over to the back door to unlock the deadbolt. With all that sun out there surely the forsythia had started to bloom. I wanted to be sure to get a picture of the tiny yellow blooms. We both thought a walk around the patio to take in the sun would be a good idea. Besides, I couldn't continue to watch as the squirrels pilfered from the bird feeder.
I opened the door. The skies may have been a warm blue, but the temperature was nothing but cold. My cat barely even stuck his nose out the back door before he backed up and turned toward the warmth of the window seat. I tightened up my sweater and headed for another cup of coffee.
Too cold-- if the forsythia were out they would have to wait until the morning temperature rose above 30 degrees to be photographed.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I started taking note of the changes that signify spring quite some time ago...on the dreaded, daily bus ride to middle school. Richard and Steve were unlike any boys I'd ever met. They were loud, obnoxious and fond of inappropriate hand gestures. They were bullies. They never targeted me, but I had my problems with some other bullies at school so I knew it might be just a matter of time before they turned their attention my way.
I decided it was best to "lay low" on the bus and keep to myself. And so each morning I quietly slid in next to the window and adjusted my body to the lowest position possible, turning my gaze away from the chaos of the bus towards the quiet of the outside.
Over the course of the year I became well acquainted with how the landscape changed along with the seasons. The first red buds on the trees not only meant spring was coming-- they also meant the end of the school year was nearing as well. Hello spring. Goodbye Richard, Steve and other bullies.
I love the coming of spring, but it's hard to look at the red buds abounding without thinking of those painful days in middle school.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
The area designated for International Arrivals at Dulles Airport was a happy place yesterday. Yes, there was a small amount of restlessness in the air, but that was only because the group who stood around the perimeter of the arrival doors was tired of waiting.
A blonde-haired woman leaned against the sign she held to welcome Libyan evacuees. And then the door opened to reveal the evacuees. In an instant her arms were outstretched and ready to embrace a part of the group she was waiting for.
Young girls and boys squealed in delight as they ran toward fathers, mothers, grandparents and cousins. Young couples embraced. Smiles abounded.
It was all good.