Monday, June 22, 2015

Push It Around and Fry It Up

Tonight while making soft crabs I remembered the directions my grandmother gave me over 15 years ago.  I had asked her for some expert advice on their preparation while visiting with her back in the late 1990s.

Like many good foods the directions she gave were simple; pat the crab dry and then dip it into some egg, push it around in a little flour with salt and pepper, and then fry it up until it's ready to eat.

This evening, I did just what Granny said.  Once the crab was done I placed it on a potato roll with a slice of tomato...just like we used to.  I savored the first bite, closed my eyes for a minute and pictured my grandmother's kitchen- one that was always full of good food smells.

I'll never step foot in that kitchen again, but tonight- for a minute or two- I felt like I was there again.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Another Time

Stepping into Fat Harold's Beach Club was more like stepping back in time-back in time to the 40s, 50s, or 60s.  You see, Fat Harold's is a dance club.  It's a dance club that specializes in teaching the Carolina Shag- the state dance of North and South Carolina.  Any child of the 80s may remember a teen movie of the very same name.  

Harold's isn't all that fancy inside.  The lighting is dim, perhaps to keep the patrons from getting a closer look at the worn pile carpet.  The bar is set off to the left side of the room leaving most of the area of the establishment free for a large wooded dance floor and a dj booth.   Tuesday night the place offers free shag lessons to anyone who wants them, so tonight when my group walked in to check out the local scene we were greeted by a full dance floor.  Two instructors stood in the front mic'd up so all could hear the dance steps being counted out.  

I wasn't there to learn.  Simply stated- I don't have much rhythm. Counting and stepping at the same time would not be something in my wheelhouse.  I watched as 50 or so others practiced the eight-step dance.  The teaching was slow going.  Eventually break-time arrived and the real dancers took over.  The four or five couples that took the floor were a little older, about 60 or so. Couples danced together- in step and in time.  They glided across the dance floor like they were gliding in from another era.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Smells Like A Sale

There were a lot of billboards to read on my drive from Alexandria to Myrtle Beach this afternoon. Only one made me laugh out loud though.  The memorable sign was advertising a cologne and perfume outlet in a neighboring town.  It's catch phrase?

Perfume City!
Eau de selection!
Eau de prices!

It wasn't enough to make me stop in for shopping but I smile every time I think about it.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Letter of Complaint

Dear Spring,
The sun is shining today.  Thanks for that. The skies?  Yes, they are bright and blue. A nice detail. From my seat on the couch I can see the red buds on the trees and birds flying about. Really, it looks just grand!  Bright blue skies, birds singing, trees budding- one might assume it's a beautiful, warm spring day.  But it's not. Sure, it's beautiful and it's spring, but the only warmth I feel is the air blowing out of the living room heater. The current temperature of 49F is about 11 degrees below the normal average for this time of year.  It's a shame because I'm ready and impatiently waiting for warmer weather.  I am not enjoying what you have going on here.  How about a little hot air to go with all that other stuff?

Hey Spring!  I'm heading south in search of flip flop weather for a few days. I hope you get your act together by the time I get back.

Cold Feet

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Clean Slate

Spring Break started with a little cleaning.  It wasn't exactly what I had intended to do, but once I found the wood floor cleaner underneath the sink, one thing led to another.  First there were the dining room floors.  I moved the table to the side and got the mop moving.  Afterward I started in on the living room.  With a heave-ho I moved the furniture and kept on mopping.

Tonight I'm enjoying the soft scent of orange with my feet propped up on my dust-free coffee table. My laundry is done and I am ready to fully enjoy a week off.  Fortunately I'm heading south for a few days so I won't have to watch the dust start to accumulate again.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring Break Pre-Party

Today was the last day of school for the third quarter.  It was also the Friday before a 10-day spring break.  Putting those two together pretty much equals chaos in sixth grade.  Nobody wants to do much.  Behavior can be challenging as both students and teachers count down the hours and minutes until a much needed break.

Lucky for me we started the party just a tad early.  At 9:00 am 81 sixth graders, and their teachers, marched out of school and headed to the bowling alley on a nearby military base.  We spent a little over three hours knocking down pins in hopes of securing a spare or strike.  The snack bar was open and the French fries were flying out of the fryer at the same rate of the soda spilling out of the fountain.  

Soda for miles.  French fries galore.  All you can eat pizza.  Oh, and bowling- does it get any better than that?  

In 6th grade-not really, unless you consider the entertainment value of watching your seemingly old, uncool teachers bowl.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I've Got the Roadhouse Blues

The seasonal change from winter to spring is often the first time I take a good look at the pedicure situation going on with my feet.  I glanced down yesterday and it was not pretty.  Staring back at me were my raggedy toenails, with a few stubborn splotches of orange nail polish.

Orange?  Yup, unfortunately that means those toes had not seen the inside of a nail salon since baseball season when they were given a new look for an Orioles game.

What can I say?  It's embarrassing.  In fact, it was so embarrassing that I didn't even feel right about showing my feet to the gals at my usual nail place.  I shuffled into a nearby salon that I don't usually go to feeling sorry for whoever would be dealing with the mess that was my feet.  

Luckily, I was the only client in the establishment.  If my feet were the worst my nail tech had seen in awhile she didn't let on. I do appreciate that.  I made sure to tip her well.

An hour later I strolled out the door, proudly displaying my feet, with a nice shade of Roadhouse Blues sparkling in the late afternoon sun.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Feathers Flying

Waiting for the chicken to finish up on the grill I was surprised to see a lone black and gray feather floating through the evening sky.  I smiled as it brought back memories of a similar lone feather in one of my favorite movies, Forrest Gump.  Just as I took a moment to think about where it could have come from I was greeted with another feather, and then another, and another, and suddenly feathers were everywhere.

I was flummoxed. My head bobbed back and forth, up and down, and all around, looking for clues.

Above me, perched on the branch of a large oak tree I spotted the source.  A hawk was busy poking, pulling and tearing at something.  He was digging into something very tasty and as he did the feathers were flying.  

My stomach did a little turn, I grabbed the tongs and took my own dinner off the grill and headed inside.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Go Team

One thing I noticed at last night's basketball game was a certain clientele in the crowd.  The game was played at a local university so one might assume the crowd was young in age.  That was not the case.  Everywhere I looked I noticed groups of older women together- some as old as my very own 79 year-old mother.  Throughout the game snapshots of these groups of ladies would flash on the Jumbotron.  Each and every time their enthusiasm for the game was on full display from their smiles to their Maryland-inspired attire.

At the end of the game Mom and I made our way to the bathroom.  While waiting for my mom to finish up I overheard one of the silver-haired gals laugh.  

"Trying to maneuver through these crowds- I feel like I'm back on the court!"

No doubt my mother was not the only former student athlete second-guessing a few calls last night.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Out and About on a Monday Night

I ventured out with my mom tonight.  As crazy as it seems for me to go out on a school night I couldn't really say no to Mom.  She called me on Saturday all excited about the Women's NCAA basketball tournament.  The Maryland team would be playing a mere 15 miles from my house against the undefeated Princeton Tigers.

My mom was really pumped for her big night of college basketball.  In fact, when I sent a picture to my sister she quickly noted that Mom had a smile on her face.  Yes, she was thrilled to be there.

I was thrilled to take her.

The game?  A good one- the Lady Terps won pretty easily by a score of 85 - 70.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Best

Two fabulous things happened today.  First of all, I met my friend Kathy for brunch.  A Sunday brunch meeting may not seem all that special to the average reader. Now what if I told you it was the first time I'd seen Kathy outside of her house since her cancer diagnosis last September?  Yes, that sweetens the story a bit.  My friend still isn't feeling all that great but recognizes the importance of getting out in the sunshine to build up her own strength. Building up that strength should make her upcoming surgery a little easier to recover from.

So, the second fabulous thing had to be the new restaurant we checked out.  The City Kitchen occupies a place that used to belong to an old, smoky pizza place/bar.  The dark interior is gone, replaced with a new, hip look of steel and painted block making it impossible to find even the smallest hint of what used to occupy the same space.  The menu was filled with many of my favorites including crab cakes and a lengthy beer selection.  For brunch I settled on salmon with a few red potatoes and green beans.  As far as drinks go I went with a delicious Bloody Mary in a bacon-rimmed glass.  

I left with a warm heart and a happy stomach.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Rare Find

I headed out around noon this afternoon to purchase a replacement handle for my bathroom faucet.  I came home with a new grill.  Yup, it was that kind of day.  Truth be told, I had been checking out grills online earlier in the morning.  After deciding it was a purchase that would have to wait I got myself together and headed to Home Depot in search of that needed handle.  

As I pulled up I noticed the grills- all standing at attention in the bright sun.  Walking by I slowed a bit to do a little daydreaming and there it was- the scratch and dent grill. Originally priced at $199 it was reduced to a mere $99.  Was it too good to be true?  

A fabulous employee by the name of RJ helped me take a closer look.  There was a small dent in the hood, a missing knob and a broken grill plate.  The dent was no big deal and the knob and grill plate were easy fixes.  Within 15 minutes that silver cooking machine was in my car and on its way to a new home.

This first day of spring was perfect grilling weather so tonight I got out the tongs and threw a steak on my new purchase.  It cooked to medium rare perfection and made for one pretty picture on my plate smothered in onions and mushrooms with a serving of spinach on the side.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Getting in a Little Practice

Monday, the start of this workweek, seems like a month ago.  It's not that it was a terribly bad week at work, but these days before Spring Break seem to squeeze every second out of every minute of the 24-hour day.  This teacher is tired and ready for a change of pace.

The joys of a weeklong spring break are a still seven days away; so tonight it's all about small rewards.  Tonight, in my house, there will be pizza, beer, wings and basketball.  Bedtime will come early and all morning alarms will be shut down.  The next two days will be sort of a "Spring Break Drill."

After all, practice makes perfect.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Few Good Things

There were a few good things about the workshop I attended today.  To begin with, I got to learn all about creating books using the program iBook Author.  Widget was the word of the day- I learned all about a few different ones and how they can make my own iBook come alive.  I also ran into a former colleague, one that I really like but never see, and was able to catch up with her life.  After the workshop was over our little group walked down the street and went out to lunch- just like many business people do every day.  Most days I eat while working at my desk.  Having food brought to me and talking with colleagues, all while eating an endless supply of chips and salsa, was a treat. And if all that wasn’t enough, I was back home about two hours earlier than usual.  Thanks to the gift of time I was able to join my cat on the couch for an afternoon nap without feeling too guilty.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Close Call

The poor science teacher was on the receiving end of a student's upset stomach yesterday.  Getting thrown up on kind of comes with the job of teaching.  I was quickly baptized into the profession when a student tossed it on my shoes after a long, hot field day.  That was 22 years ago- at the end of my first year on the job.  Thankfully, it has never happened again.

Yesterday, I noted that Emma didn't look so good and asked her if she was feeling okay.

"I'm just really tired," she yawned.

 I feel bad for my science teacher friend, but I'm happy that little Emma held it together for my class.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Feet

Nothing says "Summer is coming sometime soon" like a new pair of sandals.  My new Chaco Hipthong Ecotread sandals arrived today.  I have to say, the last pair of Chacos I had were my very favorite.  In fact, I wore them almost every day last summer.  As the start of the school year grew closer last August I worried, simply because I couldn't imagine putting anything else on my feet.

Good times they were.  Those sandals I wore last summer already had a good four years of wear on them.  Believe me, I could easily slip right back into them come June 20th and keep them there until the sad bells of the start of school ring again.  Then again, with their somewhat ragged look it's probably best to start breaking in a new pair.

I started the break-in process tonight.  It took a little coaxing but eventually I wormed my pale, dry feet into place.  My ragged, in-need-of-a-new-pedicure, toes wiggled a bit to find their place on the new treads.

It's going to take some time, but by June shoes and feet will be happy soles.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lighten Up

Two weeks later I'm finally adjusting to Daylight Savings Time.   I enjoy the longer daylight hours at the end of my workday.  However the same can not be said for the darkness that greats me each day as I trudge up the walk to my car with only the light of moon, and a few streetlights, to guide the path.  On Friday I could see that usual black sky had been replaced with a hint of blue.

The sun made its majestic rise at 7:18 this morning.  By this time next month that same sun will come up at 6:31.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Schedule

I like to start the day by sleeping late and relaxing with the paper and a big cup of coffee.  I enjoyed both this morning.  Don't worry- neither kept me from getting to everything else I wanted to get done.  By 2:00 pm my third load of laundry was in and I was working on the fifth small stack of papers that I needed to grade.  I watched as my cat had his own kind of Sunday- one spent lounging in the sun on the window seat that overlooks the back yard.  From my perch at the dining room table I had my own view of what was happening out back.  I watched as the season's first chipmunk scurried around the brick patio from one hole to another.  Birds swooped in to the feeder and squirrels busied themselves in the ways that squirrels do.  I was startled to see a gigantic black crow dive by in flight before lifting himself up to soar back up into the sky.

I considered waking up the cat so he could enjoy all of his favorite sights in the backyard.  In the end I let him sleep away the afternoon.  After all, he can watch pretty much the same show tomorrow or any other day.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Easy as Fudge

I had plans to visit with a sick friend this afternoon.  She's dealing with a pretty serious illness and has spent the last six months either at the doctor or on her couch.  I like to check in every two weeks by spending a little time at her house.  It allows me to catch up on her treatment plan and do what I can to lift her spirits a bit.

Whenever I stop in I like to bring a small treat.  So far I've made crab soup, apple tarts, spaghetti pie and chocolate chip cookies.  Today I decided to try something new- fudge.  I've never made fudge, but once I finished with the quick recipe using sweetened condensed milk, semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts I understood where the phrase "easy as fudge" comes from.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Listen...There Are Stories to Be Heard

There's a lot I could say about my big night out in the nation's capital tonight.  I could talk about my first solo Uber experience and how easy it was to get myself from my home in Alexandria to a meet-up with good friends in DC.

I could write about walking into bars that I drank in 25 years ago to find that the music hadn't changed that much but the crowds had thinned.

I could admit that I poked some fun at one older woman I she was rather chatty for my taste.  The way I rolled my eyes at a friend when this same woman went on about this and that.

But then I sat in the back seat with the same women, who I didn't know all that well- the one my group offered a ride home to.  When we settled in the back seat and really started to talk- the way you talk when the noise of the bar and music has disappeared- I found out that she had recently lost her husband.  The night out that brought us all together was a meet up of people interested in the same thing- weather.  This woman, who told me about how her "couple friends" stopped talking to her for the most part after her husband died, had a wonderful night out.  She recalled how her grandparents loved weather.  That love of meteorology trickled down to her.  As our car whipped around Lafayette Park with the White House in the background we chatted about her life now- as a widow- and how her husband would have approved of her own big night out with new friends.

I felt a little guilty at first.  But then I sat back and listened to her talk some more...happy to hear her life story.

We all have a story to tell.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thoughts of Yellow

A few years ago my kind-hearted neighbor, Lou Ann, passed away.  She was older, about 78 or so, but very active.  We used to talk about her daffodils, the rose bushes she was never quite satisfied with and the stray cat that she had taken in.  

Her sudden passing was sad.  The fact that her funeral was the third one I'd been to in a short amount of time made it a tough one to swallow. 

A few weeks after the funeral I noticed another neighbor planting some small shrubs in a common green space between his door and Lou Ann's.

"These will have bright yellow blooms every spring." he remarked.  "They're for Lou Ann."

I thought again of the thick patch of daffodils outside of her door.  

"She'd like that." I responded.  "That’s a nice way to remember her."

Today as I made my way down the walk to my door I noticed those little yellow blooms starting to poke their way out.  I stopped for a moment to take a closer look and to think about Lou Ann.

I smiled- the daffodils outside of her old house should be blooming pretty soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Freedom of Pre-Adolescence

The first warm days of the year have brought out a whole new crop of pre-teens ready to hang-out around town.  I noticed a group of three young men just this afternoon as they gathered around a plastic globe of free cheese samples at the grocery store.  They definitely scarfed down more than the average shopper but didn't stay so long as to call out the store management.

I remember those early days of freedom.  To be able to go wherever your feet would take you without a parent was certainly a sign of growing up.  The three boys I spied this afternoon are lucky to live in an area that offers a bevy of shopping and free tastes.  When I was their age the nearest place of commerce was a 7-11 about a mile from my house.

During the summer months my neighbor, Suzanne, and I would make a daily trek to "the Sev" for a cold drink and a treat.  I always went for a Dr. Pepper and a Slim Jim.

At the age of 12 it didn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Just the Three of Us

I had a small group of two show up for homework club today.  A few of the regulars were missing due to illness, and I guess the rest of the Tuesday gang opted for a chance to see some of the county wrestling meet.  That left me with two quiet girls.

The three of us worked independently throughout the hour, with draining afternoon energy refueled thanks to some cookies I baked last night.  At three-thirty we celebrated the work we finished- everything from science paragraphs to creating flashcards for two upcoming tests- with another cookie and smiles all around.

Monday, March 9, 2015


I was back in the dentist chair today.  After a two-part root canal it was time to see my regular dentist to get fitted for a permanent crown.  This afternoon I had molds made of my teeth and bite-not fun, but not terrible either.  Dr. G. started with the bottom mold and then moved on to drilling and shaving my tooth.  Fortunately, there was plenty of Novocain in place so even though the sound of the drill hurt my ears my teeth felt nothing. Once the tooth was shaved down to size a mold was made of my upper teeth.  Again, not exactly pleasant.

I have to confess, I'm not sure what to think of my dentist.  She's a new member of my personal medical team, who I found after my wonderful, former dentist retired.  It seems like since I started going to see her about 2 years ago, my dental costs have risen.  There's been a lot of chatter on the Internet about the different ways that dentists may be ripping off their patients.  So every time my new dentist suggests anything, like say, root canal, I'm a tad suspicious.  Okay, anytime anyone suggests anything that I need that costs a lot of money I'm suspicious.

One hour and $500 later (after insurance coverage) I left her office with my new temporary crown wondering what other perils could possible come up in my mouth.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Looking Up

It's 57 degrees and sunny on this first day of Daylight Savings Time.  My snowstorm winter break has come to an end.  I've already set my early alarm for tomorrow and used the extra evening daylight to take a quick walk around the neighborhood.

Boy, is what's left of the snow ugly.  A mere 3 days ago I was living inside of a snow globe.  From my perch on the couch I watched as the flakes flipped and fluttered through the air.  In no time at all the greenish-brown earth was covered in a clean white blanket of snow.  Today that white blanket looks like it has been chewed up and spit out in chunks and scraps by an angry pack of something.

Fortunately the sky above was clear and bright.  Tree limbs stretched up trying their best to be a part of all that beautiful blue had to offer.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Good Morning

After two days of snowstorm eating habits I decided it was time to get my diet back on track.  The spinach that has been sitting in my refrigerator untouched since Wednesday's morning omelet was back into rotation.  I beat one egg, mixed in some liquid egg whites and poured it on top of the spinach that was already in the pan.  Before tilting it out onto my plate I added some tomatoes, ham and a sprinkle of feta cheese.

The first bite was delicious.  So was the last.  My brain might have missed the blueberry pancakes I made the last two mornings, but the rest of my body was happy to see things were getting back to normal.

Friday, March 6, 2015

I Have Plenty of Fun, Thank You

So, I'm an introvert.  I'm fine with that.  After years of wondering why I dislike all those activities that extroverts love I figured out it was because I wasn't one of them.  Many of my friends are extroverts and that's a-okay because we play well together.  You see I don't have anything against extroverts, really there are days I wish I could be more like them.  That being said I must add that sometimes those outgoing types really should think before they speak.

Or in this case write...

While reading over a Rick Steves travel guide today I was shocked, and rather annoyed, to see the following:  "Connecting with people carbonates your experience.  Extroverts have more fun."


Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know what he was trying to say.  When visiting another place be sure to get in there and really know the people.  Spend time talking to others, blah, blah, blah.  I get that and have no problem with that.  But really to say that extroverts have more fun?  Was that necessary?

Years ago I was drinking my way through Bourbon St. during Mardi Gras.  My extroverted friend and I were hanging out in a bar listening to a band when they suggested she get on stage and play tambourine with them.  Of course she jumped right on stage and played along.  I had a great deal of fun watching and cheering her on during her French Quarter debut.

The one part that wasn't fun about that entire weekend in New Orleans was what came after my friend left the stage.  That's because it was then that she pretty much forced me, with tambourine thrust in my hand, up on stage.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


It was a quiet day here in Alexandria.  Snow twirled from the sky all day long, providing us with some nice sound insulation.  The usual noises of cars and door slams were absent, replaced by the occasional scrape of snow shovels in search of pavement. 

It was a good day for lingering over a cup of coffee while considering how I would spend the day. By the time I started moving I realized I was in hour three of the Today Show- meaning if I didn't move off the couch soon I might never do so.  I switched off the TV and opted for music instead.  

A few months ago I took my turntable out of storage and brought it downstairs.  I've been reminiscing with my old LPs ever since.  Today I found Tapestry by Carole King.  Tapestry was an album I listened to over and over again back in the day.  Singing along as I cleaned up the kitchen today I could picture myself at the age 11 or so listening to each and every word as I read the lyrics on the album's cover.  

Back then it took me awhile to memorize all the lyrics.  Yes, it's been quite a number of years since I was 11, but the words hadn't left me.  Carole and I had a solid performance today- it was like neither one of us had aged at all.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I Knew There'd Be Days Like These

It wasn't a great day.  The Internet connection was spotty and the 12 year-olds were acting very much like 12 year-olds.  

No worries, we all survived.  Tomorrow is another day and, in case you haven't heard, the DC area is bracing for a big snowstorm.

The idea of a day spent watching snow glide through the sky is just what this frazzled teacher needs.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


My great aunt, Mary Grace Bryan, was born on March 4, 1900.  She never married but was a mother figure to many a child.  My father's father died when he was about 10.  Aunt Mary moved in with her sister Bessie to help her manage the father-less family.  As far as I can remember they lived together from that moment on- until my grandmother was moved to a nursing home to live out the final days of her life.

My first memories of Aunt Mary involve an apartment that she shared with her sister.  I remember spending the night there as a young child of six or seven but don't recall much else.  The only other memory I have of that apartment is hearing that my grandmother had suffered a stroke one night.  My young mind, unable to process what all that meant, was afraid.  I feared that a toy I left out caused my grandmother to fall and suffer the stroke.  

After the stroke Mary and Bessie moved in with my family. The role of caregiver had switched to the younger generation. They had their own place on the lower level of our split-level house.  Aunt Mary had a bedroom of her own down the hall from me but she never slept there.  She preferred to sleep on a pullout sofa a few feet from her sister's in-house hospital bed.  

Aunt Mary took care of us when my parents went out.  She used phrases like "stop that rough housing."  She made the best tuna salad I've ever had and ate Special K for breakfast every day.  Aunt Mary taught me how to make hot tea with milk and sugar.  She also made us Cream of Wheat on chilly winter mornings.  To this day I can't make that grainy little breakfast food without picturing her standing over a stove on a cold winter morning slowly stirring as the food came to a boil.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Another Nice Surprise

A month ago I was moaning about the post-Christmas poverty I was feeling.  Medical bills arrived out of nowhere and then there were the new brakes my mechanic said I needed.  

Don't worry; I'm good at living on less.  I've been doing it for most of my life.  Back in high school my best friend gave me a copy of Judith Viorst's, Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday.  She wrote me a note inside the front cover telling me how I reminded her a bit of Alexander.

Last week I was able to work out some of those medical bills with my insurance company, and then on Saturday I found a check for almost $200 in my stack of unopened mail.  Suddenly, things were looking up.

Today another pleasant surprise came my way.  It seems my mother, who has a whole bunch of air miles to spend, would like to go to England and Scotland this summer.  She's turning 80 in June and is up for a big treat for herself AND her two daughters.

Watch out we come!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Enjoying the Moment

With all kinds of frozen precipitation falling all day long it's easy to wonder if winter will ever come to an end.  My attempt to clean the ice that is crusted on my car ended in failure this afternoon, as I found it too treacherous to traverse the iced-over sidewalk.

There are many crying enough on social media.  But you know what?  I don't really mind.  And no, it's not because I'm a teacher and I like snow days.  Really what I like is a change in season.  I like looking around at this time of year hoping to spot the first signs of what's to come.

Just yesterday I spotted a gathering of yellow crocuses sprouting in a patch of soil and grass that wasn't covered in snow.  Today they are encased in ice, reminding me of Snow White who slumbered in her own glass case waiting for a charming prince to rescue her.  I'm not sure who will rescue us all from this winter, but I do know spring will arrive when it's ready.  It always does.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Mail Call

I'm sure a few of you out there have had the experience of finding money you forgot about in an old jacket or purse.  You would probably agree that no matter what the amount, finding that little treasure would most likely bring a smile to your face.

Today I finally tackled the stack of mail that's been taking over my kitchen counter.  I scanned the contents of each envelope quickly to determine if the contents were of any importance.  A piece of mail from my mortgage company caught my attention as soon as I noticed the phrase CHECK ENCLOSED.



Imagine finding $196 in your pocket.

I've been smiling all day.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Night Lights

The smell of smoke arrived at my nose at just about the same time the distant roar of sirens hit my ears.  Within moments the aroma of smoke was so strong that I ran to the back window to make sure the fire wasn't in my backyard or even in my very own house.

I don't like the gawker types but before long my curiosity got the best of me so I slip on my black clogs, grabbed my coat, and headed out the door.   Red and blue lights lit up the horizon, illuminating the smoke-filled sky.  My senses led me down the street to an intersection filled with fire equipment in every direction.  Even from my vantage point at the top of the stairs it was hard to tell exactly where the fire was.  No matter where I looked there was some sort of emergency vehicle.  An equally interested neighbor filled me in.  The house in question was just up the hill.

"Best not to get any closer," he suggested.  "There's no need for us to muck up the works."

I agreed.

So now as I sit on my cozy little couch with the smell of smoke in the air I'm thankful that all is good here in my house.  I also hope and pray that those neighbors down the way will be okay.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Waiting Around

Sitting in the small waiting room at Sears Auto reminded me a great deal of sitting in a hospital waiting.  I tried distracting myself with games on my phone but my mind kept racing back to what was happening in that area that I couldn't see.

Before too long a tall gentleman walked slowly down the hall in my direction.  His expression was void of any real expression.  It was hard to tell if the news was good or bad.

"Ms. Brown," he began.  "How long have you been worried about your brakes?"

The news wasn't too bad.  He led me back to the service area and let me take one last look at my rusted rear rotors and worn brake pads.

Ninety minutes later I was out the door- a little lighter in the wallet, but confident my car was fixed up and ready to hit the road again.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Communication from the Front Lines

Dear _________,

_______________was asked to leave class today.  Not only did he make monkey noises when returning from the fire drill he also called another student a name while they were they were working together. 
The students are currently working on a collaborative project.  _______ has had difficulty with this project.  He is unable to work with his partner without making inappropriate comments or engaging in other attention-seeking behavior.  Today while working he was burping loudly, and eating earwax from his ear in attempt to gross out others at his table.
I would appreciate any suggestions you might have for ways to get ________ to act more appropriately in class.

One thing about teaching-  two days are rarely alike.  Here's hoping that tomorrow is a better day.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bake and They Will Come

Tonight I've got a batch of brownies baking away in my oven.  It was two weeks ago that I promised a group of 6th graders I would bring them some brownies if they showed up to my next homework club.  We were scheduled for last Tuesday but the treat of a late winter snow kept everyone home from school that day.

This afternoon I wandered across the hall to check out who came to homework club this afternoon.  I asked if any of the 7 present were planning on coming tomorrow when I would be hosting again.  Two or three hands went up while the other four students averted their eyes and hung their heads down.

"Wait!" one girl called out.  "Aren't you making us brownies?"

I responded with a nod of my head and before I could get the word yes out those hanging heads perked up. All hands were up and I could see that my little plan had worked.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Talkin' About the Weather

How cold is it?  Right now, according to Accuweather, the temperature in my fair city is 13F.  The wind-chill temperature is at 3F.  Yup, that's damn cold.

Earlier today my niece's boyfriend, Dan, made reference to the cold temperature in his location on social media.  It was a ghastly 28F in Savannah, GA this afternoon.  Certainly with temperatures like that no college student of the south could be expected to leave the comfort of his or her dorm room. At least that's what Dan thought.

My mother quickly shot back.  It was 15F in Bel Air, where she lives.

The final shot across the bow came from my niece, Megan, who is busy freezing her butt off north of Pittsburgh.  Her response came IN ALL CAPS- IT'S NEGATIVE 15 HERE.

Megan wins.  Game. Set. Match.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Say Aaahhh--Part II

Root wasn't too bad.  As promised my endodontist had all kinds of great bedside manner. He was able to talk me through the procedure and shoot my mouth up with anesthesia without so much as a wiggle from me.  While I waited for my mouth to get nice and numb his assistant offered me a glass of water and a fresh supply of People magazines.  Once Dr. Chun got to work he quickly scraped out what needed scraping all while making sure I wasn't feeling any pain at all.  The slightest wince on my part was answered by another hit of numbness from the good doctor.

An hour later my tooth was free of any diseased pulp and I was up to date on the latest entertainment news.  I'll check back next week.  There may be more drilling, but at least I know if there is it's no big deal.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Meeting Vivian

The snow day that so many teachers, and yes students too, have been hoping for finally arrived today thanks to a beautiful overnight snowfall.  Snow days mean a relaxing morning followed by a little bit of snow clearing and then an afternoon of catch-up activities.  On this afternoon I decided to catch up on a few videos I've wanted to watch.  First on the list was a documentary of found street photographer, Vivian Maeir.  

Wow is the first word that comes to mind.  First of all, I found her photographs to be stunning.  While I'm no expert on the art of photography I do know that I was intrigued with the work.  I'd like to see more.

Then came the pieced together story of this Nanny/Street Photographer's life.  It seemed to be a sad life- one without many real connections, other than the ones she made through the lens of her camera. Perhaps it wasn't the happiest of documentaries, but it's definitely worth a watch. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Time Travel With Mr. Bill

Watching last night's 40th anniversary show for Saturday Night Live was a little like watching my own life.  Not because I'm that funny or anything, it's just that I've been watching the show from pretty much the beginning.

Back in 1975 when the show started I was an awkward teen.  My much cooler friend, Pat, lived up the hill from me.  She was the one who first tuned me into the Not Ready for Primetime Players.  We sat in her bedroom one Saturday night watching the crazy sketch show on her little black and white TV.

The original cast from 1975 will always be the real SNL for me.  My favorites were always Jane and Gilda.  I missed most of the early 80s when I was away at school, but apparently I didn't miss too much.  I tuned in here and there during the 90s and sporadically in the 2000s.  Nowadays I watch when I can but find my need for sleep keeps me from catching the live broadcast, but I try to tune in for at least the first 30 minutes.

Seeing everyone come together last night for one big love fest was great not only for the collection of talent.  A few hours of feeling younger was a nice bonus.