Sunday, March 31, 2019

Out Like an Angry Lion

What is it they say about March, "in like a lion and out like a lamb?"

The winds gusted today and yesterday's warm temperatures in the high 60s have chilled to the 30s.  Wait, and what is it I see on my always dependable Accuweather app?  "Snow starting in 108 minutes?" I didn't see that coming.

If it does decide to snow I'm afraid I'll have to sleep through it.  Yesterday's cough and cold have ante'd up to a full-blown ear infection.  So, I'm now wrapped up under a down comforter with my electric mattress pad cranked up in hopes of getting the chills out of my body.

Snow?  Ear infections?  Aches and chills?  It sounds to me like a lion is roaring somewhere.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Low Key Saturday

I'm sure there are throngs of people out and about in the DC area today.  With the pinks, purples, and yellows of spring popping up everywhere the outdoors certainly seem to be calling.  No doubt a mass of slow-moving tourists have gathered in the area of the Tidal Basin in search of the perfect shot of the bursting cherry blossoms.  They are close to peak bloom so the crowds are surely close to peak capacity.

I was out early this morning for a pancake breakfast with a friend at the local diner.  After breakfast, I headed to the Giant and picked up everything I needed to prepare a big pot of chicken soup.  I considered the possibility of getting my bike out and heading downtown but with a cold rattling through my chest and a cough that won't quit I knew there was nothing to do but stay inside and take it easy.

I'm hoping the blossoms will wait for me.  Hopefully, the crowd downtown appreciated that bit of extra space my absence created.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Cupcakes Anyone?

Today marks the end of the third quarter.  Even if it wasn't clearly defined on the school calendar I would have figured it out with all the emails I got yesterday asking about extra credit.  The smart ass side of me wants to respond by saying, "Yes!  There is extra credit!  Please bake me 50 perfect red velvet cupcakes and have them on my desk by 8:00AM tomorrow.  If you can rise to that challenge I will gladly raise your grade 2 percentage points."

I don't respond in that way (although I'd really like to), instead, I find myself trying to explain to each student that there were many opportunities to improve their grade throughout the quarter.  Apparently, when those opportunities came up they figured the end of the quarter was very far off and, obviously, they would pull it together soon.  Whaddaya know, before they could say wait, what the quarter was coming to a close.

Some may learn from their errors in procrastination this quarter.  Others may take a few more years or decades to figure it out.  In a way, those kids that are asking for extra credit do have on admirable quality- they really do want to do well in school.  I'll take kind of attitude any day of the week.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Chemo Thursday

It's chemo Thursday up here in Bel Air.  No worries, readers, my sister and I have been spending chemo time together for over a year now and we know how to bring the fun to the infusion center.  Some may want to make the sad face for chemo, but I think "Yay, chemo!  Get in there and do your work!"

We spend our time creating new Spotify lists, watching old excerpts from SNL, and pretend-buying houses on Zillow.  There's also time to review the hits of the 70s and 80s, reminiscing about bands like Bread, Blondie, and Wild Cherry.

Even better, we get to do this while we munch on Nutter Butter and Oreo cookies and sip on water and Ginger Ale.  And it's all free!  If we're really hungry the fabulous hospital volunteers are more than happy to bring us a sandwich.

Sister Jeen is comfortable in a hospital lounge chair, complete with a warm blanket across her lap and a handmade scarf around her neck.  My chair isn't as comfortable, but since I'm not the patient I think that's just fine.  I have a view of the bright blue skies outside and time to catch up on a little bit of schoolwork.

Two hours later we're out.  Another infusion in the books.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Attention Deserved

I pulled up to the light and sized up the young women standing in the median with a sign in her hand.  It read "Military family.  Single mom.  Anything helps."  Her blue backpack rested at the end of the median while she stared straight ahead into the line of traffic. 

Her golden brown hair was pulled back in a tight bun.  Honestly, if it weren't for the sadness and pain showing in her face she could have been mistaken for a mom heading to the gym after work.  Her outfit may have said exercise class, but her face, wrinkled and red from the sun painted a picture of desperation.

It's easy to look away from someone in trouble.  It's easy to turn up the music, pretend to look for something in the console, or even file your nails.  What's hard, what's really hard is to look them in the eye and see them...really see them.

As I sat watching I wondered about the path she had taken to this point.  What happened?  Where does she go each evening?  How hard was it that first day when she took a marker and a piece of cardboard to tell her story?  How hard was it to step onto that median?

Seeing her- really taking the time to see her made me sad and grateful at the same time.  Even so, I'm glad I took the time to look because she deserves that.  The next time I'm heading taking a left on Glebe Rd. I'll be sure to have a little something to help her out.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

DC Springtime

Scratchy throat,
itchy nose,
a sneezeasneezeasneeze,
bless you.

Cherry blossoms frenzy,
the pot hole brigade,
and rainy days.
Lots of rainy days.

Spring break plans,
yellow daffodils,
tulip trees,
and baby bunnies.

Dogwoods in bloom,
happy birds,
relieved squirrels,
purple crocus popping everywhere.


Monday, March 25, 2019

Slow Start

Spring chill hovers.  Wrapped up in my blanket I roll over and squeeze in the warmth trying my best to ignore the alarm.  Five AM is too early on a Monday.  It's early the rest of the week too, but it hurts just a little more at the beginning of the work week.

Without an ounce of pep in my step, I shuffle to the bathroom willing the warm water to loosen up my body and my brain.  It works a little, but I know the coffee in the kitchen is what I really need to get myself going.

My hand wraps around a warm mug of french roast as I settle onto the floor and stretch out the muscles in my back and neck.  The coffee begins to swirl in the recesses of my sleepy brain, offering a gentle push toward the business of the day.

With body stretched and my brain switching on I open my laptop to check on email, review the day's lesson feeling almost ready to go while thinking of the warmth I had under that gray comforter upstairs.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Livin' in the Wild, Wild West of Ocean City

One of the highlights of the family summer vacation to the beach was always a trip to a local western theme park.  Frontier Town, outside of Ocean City, Maryland catered to families with younger children who wanted to get a glimpse at life in the wild west.

Western shows were big in the late 1960s.  If one wasn't a fan of the Barkley family on Big Valley they could always catch up with the Cartwrights on Bonanza or the fine people of Dodge City on Gunsmoke. I was partial to the Barkley's of Stockton, CA.  Barbara Stanwyck was a no-nonsense kind of matriarch and young Lee Majors was handsome even to 7-year-old me. 

Frontier Town offered a live glimpse into the wild west I knew from television.  A few times a day there was a staged gunfight on the wide dirt road that welcomed visitors to the town.  After watching the sheriff take care of the bad guys on the main drag we would grab a stagecoach ride in anticipation of being stopped and robbed by a trio of thieves in the woods.  Later on in the day, we'd be sure to get on the open air train just so we could once again be frightened by a pack of robbers in search of cash.

Year after year we'd visit this frontier getaway and year after year the show never changed.  The odd thing is none of us seemed to care.  Even today, when I drive by the new and improved Frontier Town RV Resort and Campground I can't help but smile as I think of all the robberies we survived and all the fun we had out west.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Hello Saturday! Let's Shop!

Nothing says a weekend with my sister like a day at the local outlets doing some shopping.  We started the day by fortifying ourselves with a big breakfast at our favorite local restaurant.  While waiting on a text from my niece letting us know she was awake and ready to go, we fit in some pregame shopping in Old Town.

By about noon the younger generation was ready to go.  My niece piled into the back seat of the car with a cup of coffee and a handful of bacon to fuel her, and off we went.

The Gap, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor had everything we thought we needed and more!  By 4:00 pm we were walking slowly back to the car, our arms weighed down by a whole bunch of purchases.

The rest of the afternoon was spent mostly in the reclining position with pizza, salad, dessert, and basketball brackets.

A lovely day indeed.

Friday, March 22, 2019


The March Writing Challenge, part 1 of the 100-day writing challenge, offers me a nice glimpse into the lives of my students.  I hear a bit about sports activities, new babies, annoying siblings, and assorted pets.  Twenty-two days into March I keep seeing the same idea over and over in my students' writing.  They are tired.  They are sleeping through alarms.  They are scrambling to get ready in less than 7 minutes just to get a little more sleep.  The rate at which they write about their exhaustion is really quite alarming.

I feel for them.  For the first time in a while, I worked an entire 5-day work week.  There was no early-release schedule, no 2-hour delay schedule, nor were there any pre-scheduled doctor's appointments.  Monday seems like a month ago and with Spring Break still 3 weeks away it's hard to imagine how we're all going to look come April 12.

We'll make it though, I have no doubt. Hopefully, we'll return on April 22 feeling rested and ready to finish the last 8 weeks of school with a new store of energy.

This Friday I am hopeful, but just like my students, I am also dang tired.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Best Words Ever

Words put together in all kinds of ways can make people feel all kinds of things.  The best words I have ever received came at 3:36 pm this afternoon in the form of a text from my sister.

"No cancer!!! My response to treatment was graded as excellent! Yay!!"

Words don't string together much better than that.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Cheers to the Season!

If you were looking for me on a Friday afternoon in 1982 or 1983 you would have found me in the tv room of my dorm at St. Marys College of Maryland.  There I would be, sitting in the pea green vinyl chairs with friends and a gin and tonic in hand.  Three o'clock was General Hospital time and back then we were caught up with Luke and Laura's relationship.

There was a whole lot of gin consumed at St. Marys.  In fact, I think I even stopped drinking gin for a bit shortly after graduation, proving sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.

These days I usually only meet up with a nice gin and tonic during the summer.  The fizzy tonic, the distinct taste of gin and a freshly squeezed lime are hard to pass up on a sun-filled day. 

Today wasn't all that warm or spring-like, but when I realized that spring would be arriving right around dinner time I figured a celebratory cocktail was in order.  After work, I cruised into the local Safeway and picked up a fresh bottle of tonic along with a small lime and headed home for my own personal treat.  With chicken tenders cooking up in the cast iron skillet I mixed up the first G&T of the year.

The first sip was...delightful, as was every sip after.  Cheers to springtime!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Book Club

Tonight was book club night.  Even though I don't always make it to the end of every book that is chosen I've been trying to make it to most of our get-togethers.  This evening found only four of us around the table but there was still much to be discussed.  Can a writer use too many similes?  Must we read 10 pages of detail about the killing of a goat?  How much vivid should the writing be when describing a child who is vomiting in the back seat of a car?  And must that detail go on for pages and pages?

Sing, Unburied,  Sing was a grim read filled with a little too much throw-up talk and although some of the similes left a mark on some group members- "He matched the sky, which hung low, a silver colander full to leak"- others were not as impressed. So readers, if you're looking for something big on feeling and big on descriptive details and figurative language this may be the read for you.

Me?  I heard enough to put this one back on the shelf for another time.  I'm not up for a bleak read right now, but who knows?  I might be just what I need on another day.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Rediscovering the Produce Section

Something happens in winter.  My diet, which has never been strong in the vegetable eating area, starts to include more and more bread, potatoes, and foods from the chip world and less and less of the green leafy stuff.  By this time of year, it's easy to say my body has ingested nary a vegetable unless it was in the form of tomato on my pizza.

I'm not proud, but with only myself to cook for I don't feel like I have to make a good impression on anyone.

And then the flowers started blooming reminding me of the vegetables that would grow in my grandmother's garden.  There were tomatoes, corn, zucchini, squash, and cucumbers.  My grandmother and I would pull bright orange carrots from the earth.  My cousins, brothers and I would run screaming through the trellises that held the pole beans.  There were vegetables everywhere and my granny new just how to cook them.  My favorite was yellow squash cooked just right with salt and pepper.  When it was too hot to cook there were cukes pickled with onions served chilled.

Maybe it was the amount of bread I ate over this past Irish weekend, who knows.  Something pushed me into the grocery store this afternoon.  I filled my basket with a green salad mix, cucumbers, red onions, and cherry tomatoes.  Once I was home I turned to the always ready to go internet in search of a quick salad dressing and got to chopping up those fresh veggies.  No finger slicing tonight!

Twenty minutes later I feasted on a lovely, fresh salad topped with a piece of salmon and a lemon basil vinaigrette.  Yum, yum, yum. 

To be completely honest, I munched on a large portion of pita chips when I walked in the door because bad habits are hard to break.  Nonetheless, the salad reminded me just how good vegetation can be.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Blue Skies, Warm Sun, Pretty Feet

The bright blue skies were a little misleading today.  Yes, the sun was warm on my face as I strolled toward my car but the breeze chilled my toes as they made their first appearance in flip flops this year.

If it wasn't for the pain in my Achilles tendon I may have sprinted to my car, just to make sure that no one saw those toes that were in desperate need of a springtime spruce up.

Fortunately, the local salon wasn't too crowded at 11:30 this morning.  So, I didn't have to wait to slide into a massage chair with a warm foot bath.  My nail tech took one look at my dry heels and suggested I go for the spa pedicure.  Yea, she was definitely trying to upsell me but since it would be the first pedicure I've had in about 4 months I figured my feet deserved a little extra care.

An hour later I had about 50 pages of my book read and a pair of feet that didn't need to hide from the public.  The next stop was REI.  It seemed like a good day to shop for a new pair of sandals.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Dinner is Served

With a full night's sleep and a short to-do list, I set off to the grocery store to pick up the last few needed items for an Irish-themed stew I was going to put together.

A malfunctioning debit card meant a short obstacle, but by 12:30 I was home and browning up the corned beef in my cast iron skillet.  Onions were chopped, my finger was sliced, but no worries readers- I was back in the kitchen in no time.  With added concentration, I cut up the red potatoes and then turned to Google to find out the best way to cut up butternut squash.  The directions were all I needed to get me back into the kitchen with my knife carefully in hand. 

Before long the beef, along with onions thyme, garlic beef broth, and a splash of Guinness, were in the crockpot leaving me with approximately six hours to wait.

Since there was a bevy of free time to be had I pulled out a trusted cookbook and made a loaf of Irish Soda Bread.

Six hours later I am hungry and ready to dive into a bowl of the stew I've been smelling all day long.  I'll slice a nice piece of bread, slather on some butter and most surely make some sort of yummy sound.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Hello Weekend!

Aaahhh, Friday afternoon.  At about 3:30 pm I  limped out of school, wondering if I was suffering from tendonitis, fasciitis, or a bone spur while looking forward to putting my feet up and watching a little ACC basketball.  A stop at Giant meant mustering up just enough energy to do some grocery shopping.  By the time I pushed open my front door I could only think of putting up my feet and sipping on a cold drink.

My plans were busted by the water that was running from my freezer door, down the front of the refrigerator door and pooling on the kitchen floor under Alice's cat food bowls.


It was not what I needed today, not at all.

In a flurry of activity, I dropped the groceries, paying careful attention to the dozen eggs I just bought and started throwing towels on the running water in hopes of stopping it all from flowing onto my new dining room floors.  A peek in the freezer showed a stack of ice cubes stuck on the ice maker and a tray of water overflowing.

I'm not much of a fix-it kind of gal, but it didn't take me too long to work the problem.

And so, thirty minutes later I sit here with feet up, wet towels in the wash, and a cold drink by my side feeling quite happy that the weekend has arrived.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Ra Ra for WaWa

I busted out of work early today and drove 80 miles north to my hometown.  This type of trip isn't an everyday occurrence, but I wanted to be there to see my niece play in her first college lacrosse game.

Sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s made for a nice afternoon on the bleachers.  It was a little windy but my group came prepared with extra blankets to protect us all from cold aluminum seating and wind gusts.

The home team played well and won with a score of 21 to 11, leaving no doubt who was the better team on the field.

The last whistle came at about 7:30 so I said quick goodbyes and headed to the car.

Before heading home to DC I needed to make one more stop.  I needed to get my WaWa fix.

If there are any WaWa fans out there, you know what I mean.  The rest of you?  I bet you haven't been lucky enough to find yourself under the red neon lights of a great WaWa.

Gas is cheap there.  Bathrooms are clean and the sandwiches?  Well, they're damn good. 

A perfect afternoon was topped off with an easy ride south-no traffic to speak of- and a WaWa sandwich tucked in my fridge ready to go in my lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Baltimore 1969

Joe Flacco, the former quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, said his goodbyes to the city today.  I'm sad to see him go but realize it's time for a change with the team.

I always liked Flacco, but he doesn't come even close to my first sports crush in Baltimore.  My first crush was named Brooks- yes, Brooks Robinson.

The late 60s were big years for Baltimore baseball and my family was big on baseball.  Elrod Hendricks, Dave McNally, Paul Blair, Jim Palmer, Frank Robinson, and Boog Powell were familiar names to me in 3rd grade.  It was Brooks and Boog that gave me the trouble back then. 

The trouble was I couldn't figure out which name to use for the kitten that would be coming home with me courtesy of my third-grade teacher.  The decision weighed heavily on my mind. To this day I can picture myself walking up Pinnter Rd. toward Ridgely Junior High wrestling with the decision.  Would it be Boog?  Would it be Brooks?  It was too much to decide!

So, I didn't choose either.  Thankfully, there was one other media star I was familiar with at the time and his name was one the whole family could agree with.  The tiny gray kitten I hugged all the way home from school would be called Morris.

Years later, I had the opportunity to talk with Boog Powell at an Orioles game.  We chatted for a few minutes and I told him all about the names I considered back in 1969.

"They always name their kids Brooks, and their dogs Boog," he laughed.

Perhaps he was relieved to hear the name I settled on.  If I run into him again, I'll be sure to let him know about my brother's dog- a beagle- named Brooks.  I think Boog would like that.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Beauty Sleep

Years ago, my friend Robin was that one in the group who was never ready to go to sleep.  If a bunch of us friends were together, she'd be the one I'd blame for my 3 or 4 hours of sleep.

"I need sleep!" I'd cry.

"Sleep?" she would question.  "You'll sleep when you're dead."

Oh, the minds of twenty-somethings.

Fast forward 35 years and the two of us are chatting on the phone about our early bedtimes.

"I was in bed at 9:00 on Friday night," I confessed.

"I was right there with you honey," she laughed.

I reminded her of her sleep mantra of years past.

"Yea, I guess we better change that to...," she hesitated.

"You'll sleep when you're in your fifties!" I finished.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Money Monday

Today's task was a check-up at the dentist.  I left work a little early to get to the other side of Arlington for my appointment.  I like my dentist, I really do, but it seems like every time I step foot in her office I walk out in need of a crown.  Ching-cha-ching

As usual, the hygienist started with x-rays and followed that with a vigorous teeth cleaning.  It wasn't until the cleaning was finished that she told me the regular dentist was out today.  I'd be seeing a stand-in.

And just like that, the money signs disappeared from my head. Certainly, no stand-in dentist is going to find a reason to charge me more.  Even if she did see something, for sure she'd want to wait for my real dentist to see it in another 6 months, right?

Wrong.  The next thing I knew we were all looking at a picture of my bottom left molar.  The hygienist and dentist, of course, referred to the tooth by its given number but I didn't pay attention.  I was too busy looking at the tiny crack in the tooth.  I knew what that meant.

Ching-cha-ching, I'll be back in two weeks to get fitted for my crown.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

On A Whim

On a whim, I decided to text an old friend to see if she wanted to come along with me for a little trip to Ikea.  This friend and I used to spend a bunch of time together when we were in our 20s and early 30s.  Recently, it's been harder to connect.  Jobs, kids, and life in general make the spur of the moment idea a difficult one to follow through on.

 I waited awhile for a reply and then started gathering my things to leave.  The sound of an incoming text took me a little by surprise.

"I feel like I am playing hooky.  Could you pick me up...  what time...  I'm so excited..."

Twenty minutes later we were in the car and on our way.

We spent our afternoon much like we would have 20 years ago-wandering aimlessly, looking around, and talking the entire time.  Instinctually, we stop at just about the same items.  Making note of backsplash in an Ikea kitchen.  Noting how the rooms have no papers, magazines, or empty glass cluttering up the view like the rooms in our own houses.

Once we had strolled our way through Ikea we headed for home but made time to stop in for lunch at a favorite Mexican restaurant.

I was home by about 4:00 this afternoon, happy with my new dining room chairs and even happier to reconnect with a good friend.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Ease on Down the Road

While planning my activities for next week I was sure to keep in mind the beginning of Daylight Saving Time at 2:00AM tomorrow.  Yes, we'll all be happy to see the sun still shining at 7 o'clock tomorrow night. However, I think that happiness will fade for my students when they make their way to school on Monday morning in darkness.

I expect that I won't be the only one dragging a bit come Monday morning.  My antidote is to plan a very lowkey lesson.  There will be some writing and some reading for sure, but it won't be anything too taxing.  We're going to ease ourselves into this time change.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Spring Hopes

The afternoon came along with a last shot of snow.  Walking to my car from work I was greeted by large, wet snowflakes.  They were the kind that spun through the air and melted on the pavement causing no real headaches to those traveling but gave us all something to talk about.

By Sunday it's supposed to be 70 degrees, so I suppose spring is officially on its way.  A patch of yellow crocuses has sprouted beneath the magnolia tree outside my door. So, I'm hopeful that all these signs of spring mean the winter cold I've been carrying around for the past two weeks will slowly fade away, just like the snowflakes melting into the warm pavement.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Hunting Feline, Happy Human

The recent cold snap means one thing around here- mice.  They've pretty much left my house alone this winter but it seems the last blast of cold may have stirred up a bit of mus musculus mischief.
Not that I've seen any mice per se, but I have seen an uptick of feline kitchen curiosity.

It's never surprising to see Alice, cat number 2,  staring into the unknown in the kitchen.  She has always spent time casting a gaze under the stove from her perch on the counter.  (Not much cat discipline going on around here.)  However, that kind of gazing is mostly for crickets.  Yes, Alice loves to feast on a nice Acheta domesticus.  They must be quite filling though because I often find little legs abandoned on the kitchen floor.

Edgar, cat number 1, prefers to wait for food to be served.  He doesn't waste time staring into the nothingness under the stove. So, when I stumbled in for the first cup of coffee the other morning I was surprised to see 4 very intent cat eyes peering under the refrigerator.  Both cats were in pounce position, they stood still like a heron waiting to pierce its dinner, leaving me quite sure that there's a mouse in the house.

It's nice to know these pets of mine have my back.  Sure, that's not the way they see it.  For them, it's an instinct- an instinct I'm happy exists.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Secret Writer

My sister-in-law recently had her first writing piece published in an online magazine.  The story itself, one about a childhood sexual assault, was not an easy read as far as subject matter goes.  The writing, the way she wove the story together all while choosing the most precise words possible, was fabulous.

And then at the end of the article was the little blurb that describes the author.  It begins with her name and ends with the phrase, "is a writer from Kingston, NY."

The idea of referring to myself as a writer is something I've never quite considered. Okay, that's a lie.  I've dreamt of being a writer for at least 40 of my 56 years, but I've never had the courage to define myself by that label.  Years ago, I shared my secret desire to be a writer with a close friend.  She didn't give it a second thought.  Instead, she replied, "Writer, huh?  Well, I guess you best get writing."

 I do write.  For the last 12 years, I've been meeting with my wonderful writing group 8-10 times a year.  Together we've composed and read a helluva lot of writing.  I'm not proud of everything I've brought to the group, but I'm proud when I think of all the writing I've done.

Seeing my sister-in-law's name in the same sentence as the word "writer" was exciting, and maybe it gave me a little courage to consider whispering that very term when describing myself.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Lucky Me

Tonight my belly is full of pancakes.  Kathy, a good buddy of mine, and I have been eating pancakes together on Mardi Gras Tuesday for over ten years now.  We started out meeting up at a local diner-because sometimes you need an adult beverage with your Tuesday night pancakes, right? When that diner closed we found a variety of other places to enjoy pancakes, wine, and friendship. 

Recently, we've found it to be just as fun to hang out in the kitchen for a homemade pancake dinner.  Tonight Kathy and I hung out at her kitchen counter just like we have on many an occasion.  We toasted with a cocktail. We chatted while pancakes were flipped and while they were eaten.

After dinner, the King Cake came out and I was handed the knife to cut the first piece.  Whaddya know...there was the baby, ready to bring me luck and prosperity throughout the coming year.

Friendship, pancakes and a little bit of luck.  That's what I call a good Tuesday night.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Aunt Mary

I can't really look at the date March 4 without thinking of my great aunt, Mary Grace Bryan.  She was born in 1900 and died in 1984.  As a kid I always thought it was cool that she was born in 1900- it just made it that much easier to figure out how old she was each year.

This morning I stared at the date, March 4, 2019, and thought, Wow, Aunt Mary would be 119 years old.

And then, in the midst of the chaos of a 6th grade homeroom, I took a minute to think of her.  I thought about the warm Cream of Wheat she would make for us, the best tuna salad ever that came out of her kitchen and the Kool cigarettes she used to smoke.

Finally, I thought of the last words she ever spoke..."I love you."

I smiled and than returned my thoughts to the group of 15 students before me.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Mission Complete

It's been quite some time since I've been home for three days in a row.  I must say, it has been a fabulous long weekend filled with productivity.

Before I went to bed last night I created a list of five more things I hoped to accomplish before the end of the weekend.  I'm happy to report that laundry, shopping and grading are done.  I have filed all the papers that have been overtaking my dining room and kitchen.  

The weather outside is wet, but the temperature isn't cold enough to offer me any hope of missing time from school tomorrow.  So tonight, as darkness falls I'll feel grateful for the gift of extra time at home this weekend and take that feeling into a new work week.

Oh yea, the last item on my list was to write for my blog.  So I guess it's time to mark that off my now completed list.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

It's a Sheet Show

There are two things that will awake my cats from a deep slumber.  First, and somewhat obviously, is the sound of myself in the kitchen.  It doesn't matter if they are hungry or not- if it's close to eating time or not.  If I'm in the kitchen they come padding in assuming I'm whipping up another can of flaked tuna, cheese, and chicken.

That makes sense to me.  What doesn't make sense is the speed with which both felines can appear out of thin air when I'm upstairs, far away from their cat perches, changing my sheets.

Saturday is the usual laundry day.  So Saturday afternoon or evening I am usually fluffing up some fresh, clean smelling sheets as I ready them for placement on my bed.  Without fail, I have two assistants getting in the way as I try my best to smooth out the fitted and flat sheet.  Suddenly, the place that we use for sleep is the best carnival attraction in town. 

It takes a few tries to get the fitted sheet in place.  Before all is done I have to carefully extract a gray ball of fur who is determined to kill the sheet monster.  The battle begins again as soon as the flat sheet settles into place.  By then there may be a black fur soldier ready to take on the big sheet monster.

Eventually, the comforter and pillows are put back in place.  I walk downstairs with two cats on my tail who will, no doubt, be ready for battle again next weekend.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Free To Do What I Want

In what has to be one of the biggest surprises of the year my school district closed today, leaving me with an entire day of freedom.  Freedom to do whatever I wanted.  I was free to get out of bed whenever I wanted, free to drink a second cup of coffee with my feet propped up in my lady lounge chair and free to move through the day at a more desirable pace.

There were lots of complaints from parents all around the county, but not one from this "in the weeds" teacher. 

Without a thought, I settled myself and my computer into the lounge chair with a cup of coffee by my side and got to work grading all that work that I couldn't seem to get to all week.  Every essay, every homework assignment finally had a grade.  I checked in to see if students had turned in missing assignments and made the necessary corrections in my grade book.  There was a quick break for some avocado toast and a second cup of coffee, but then I was right back to work.  By eleven o'clock I was, for the first time in quite a while, all caught up...and yet, there was still most of the day waiting for me to do whatever I wanted.