Christmas in two weeks My Christmas tree is dying This doesn't bode well
Christmas in two weeks My Christmas tree is dying This doesn't bode well
A Slice of the Eye-roll
She rolls her eyes – just a flick upwards. She’s so mad.
Grabs the paper from me. She’s so mad.
Get’s in the elevator. She’s so mad.
It looks like she is going to stand facing the corner, but she turns around and I laugh and tell her “I thought you were so mad you were going to go stand in the corner.”
It’s always worth a try at a little joke.
She laughs, but quickly. Like a groan. She’s so mad.
She says, “You didn’t ask me if I wanted to go.”
I say, “You’re right.”
She’s so mad.
But the elevator keeps going on its short trip.
We’re there, we walk in and she starts filling out paperwork. She’s so mad.
Jams the pen to the paper, scribbles notes.
Rolls her eyes like a teenager, yes.
But also tantrums like a very quiet toddler.
Then a service dog walks by. He’s adorable, decides to nap.
She takes a break from being mad. Because, dog.
“I know what I’ll do whenever you are really mad at me!” I say. “I’ll just bring a puppy with me! Or flash a picture of a dog. Then I know you’ll smile.”
She rolls her eyes again, but this time with the smile still on her face.
This eye roll is friendlier, it has humor.
Thanksgiving I made sweet potatoes with maple syrup, brown sugar and earth balance What a good name. Earth Balance. I made stuffing or is it dressing? It lives in a pan not a bird. Thank goodness. I am thankful for my family duh my friends of course The blue sky, the sunshine I'm lucky -- not a Turkey. Thank goodness. A vegan Thanksgiving requires a certain wall in your brain so you can remain thankful hopeful celebratory instead of sad I apologize to past Turkeys I've eaten, years ago. I hold the millions of murdered turkeys in the light I'm human humane Thank goodness. I don't judge my friends, my family for their tradition, their habit, or their tastes But I have to tell you even though I know you don't want to hear it I've met turkeys they are intelligent unique voiced social beings with affection and geography skills so... I looked up who used to live where I live #originalpeople I live on the land of the Haudenosauneega Confederacy Susquehannock I don't know much about them yet aside from longhouses So I guess today Thanksgiving is even more complicated than I thought (Just like everything, I guess) Much to honor and hold in the light Much to be thankful for Much to mourn Much to celebrate
I’m trying to attach a pokemon to the sleave of my third-grade son’s shirt. This should be an easy task, and I’m struggling more than I care to admit.
I’m sure it’s because I’m trying to do it with a piece of ribbon and 2 safety pins. It’s all I could find when I was searching for solutions in my craft closet. My mom would probably whip out a needle and some embroidery floss and go to town. There’s simply no comparison between my mom’s arts, crafts and patience, and mine. Also, she has tools and knows where to find them!
My childhood Halloweens were full of handmade costumes – some sewn, some put together with what we had around the house, and always fun and creative. You would think I would have a little more Halloween craftiness. Instead, I encourage kids to be something they can buy in the store, or easily put together.
It’s times like these, when the pokemon keeps tipping over, that I realize my own kids deserve to have my mom, and then I realize that they do and that she’s only 20 minutes away. However, I’m sure my mom wouldn’t appreciate a late night visit to solve this Halloween craft dilemma. So, I take a deep breath and retry my ribbon and safety pin strategy. I hope that tomorrow the pin doesn’t come out, poke him, or otherwise self-destruct.
Finally finished with that, I turn to my 6th-grade son. “Can you make me the headset to go with my costume?” I ask.
And, he does.
He goes upstairs, collects tools (from his toolbox, of course) and gets to work.
Tomorrow morning before school, my daughter will help my youngest spray paint his hair for his costume parade, just like she helped him with crazy-hair day today.
Thank goodness I have these kids of mine, thank goodness they have each other. Thank goodness the craftiness and patience didn’t disappear — it just skipped a generation!
I really had to pee, but I knew I’d be home soon so I didn’t run into my friend’s house when I dropped her off.
“Is this going to be a problem?” I asked myself as I drove home. I had been gone for 2 days, so sometimes it’s hard to run right in and go straight for the bathroom. But, my kids are older now, and I knew they’d understand.
I pulled into the garage, grabbed my bags as quickly as I could, and wondered why the dog wasn’t at the window wagging his tail.
As soon as I walked in the house, I noticed something was wrong. The lights were low, the dog didn’t greet me at the door – he was harnessed and held.
Then the music started, and the kids began their Harry Potter performance.
It was a very intricate performance.
It depicted all 7 books.
There were letters floating in the fireplace, fake smoke, wands, a broom, Quidditch, a Hogwarts Express Trolly stocked with actual candy, and even Voldemort. There were individual candles crafted with tubes, hot glue, and paint. There was even a Deathly Hallows garland strung on the fireplace. A Deathly Hallows garland!
I watched the whole thing. I clapped, I hugged. I admired the hard work.
And then, I ran to the bathroom.
The other day, I came across a facebook memory:
This memory should make me think, “Thank goodness I’m not in the classroom this year, getting interrupted by the phone.” It should make me think about all the stressful things about being a classroom teacher.
But for some reason, it made me write a little note and stick it next to my desk:
I think I wanted to collect a little reminder for myself, a little data.
There’s so much joy around me, so many welcoming teachers and students. Yet, I still miss my corner of 6th grade. I miss my classroom: The room where I close the door and take care of my class; The place where we work hard, and we laugh, and we read and we write and we talk and we learn and we play. It’s a place where I always belong.
This school year, I’m collecting joy. I am documenting the times I am able to #findthejoy during the day. It isn’t hard work because I work in elementary schools. I challenge you to work with students and teachers and not find joy. It’s everywhere!
But maybe I need to keep collecting my little post-it note reminders about things I’m missing too. There’s something comforting about missing my classroom. It’s a good reminder to me that my teaching heart is going strong.
I’ve helped everyone start their homework, and I’ve taken the dog out. He tricked me though and didn’t pee. He just ominously stared into the darkness behind my house. I think he knows just how to freak me out.
Or, he knows something I don’t know about the forest back there.
My house is quiet now. The sophomore is doing her Art History homework, the third-grader is reading a Captain Underpants book. The 6th grader finished his reading (Good Dog) so I think he’s doing scratch or very quiet youtube. It’s quiet though, so instead of checking on him, I write. (I should teach a parenting class, no?)
Did I mention that my house is quiet now?
The dog can sense the quiet so he does his little growl-bark. Again.
“We’ve been through this, Finn.” I tell him.
“If you are lying, I’m going to be mad.” I say as I get up and put my shoes on, open the door and take him out.
He sniffs around. Again. I have to shine the flashlight because if I don’t, that’s when he will find a toad, chase a toad, try to eat a toad, and (hopefully) spit out a toad. I just don’t want to end my night by prying a toad out of my dog’s jaws. Please.
Finn slowly starts towards the back of the house again, and I wonder if maybe this is my small moment of the day; the dog sniffs, the dog barks, the dog is a liar and doesn’t have to pee. “Wow,” I think, “my life is super exciting!” A new thought creeps in though. I hope my story doesn’t get too exciting, too scary, too interesting. I don’t need a skunk, or a bear or an intruder.
“What if I can’t even finish writing my slice because I get attacked out here while my kids are inside doing their homework?” (I knew I didn’t like homework)
This thought is interrupted by Finn finally finding a spot to do his business.
Inside, it’s still quiet, but now it’s bedtime. Wish me luck.
I'm slicing I'm writing I'm soon-to-be-sleeping I'm slicing I'm writing I'm just-want-to-be-starting
Today, I told a group of 5th graders that in March, I slice every day. In the back of my head, a little alarm went off.
“You haven’t sliced in over 2 months!” I shouted at myself.
So now, I slice. I write.
I wonder how many slices of life I’ve lost forever because I didn’t write them down!
I'll slice again Maybe next Tuesday I'll slice again Maybe with Substance I'll slice again Maybe with story I'll slice again Maybe next Tuesday
This summer, I have accidentally overscheduled my kids. They are very busy until August. Our mantra has been to find the summer moments to enjoy.
So, I promised the kids an evening at a nearby State Park. There’s a nice little beach there, and picnic tables. Find the summer moments to enjoy.
“I’ll pick you up from camp with our picnic packed,” I promised the boys, as they dutifully got ready for camp.
My daughter and I ran some errands. We bought some food, sand toys and a cheap giant unicorn float that, inflated, would never fit in our car. After rushing around to buy supplies, pack a cooler, take the dog out, and shove everything into the car including an electric battery pump for the giant unicorn float, we were off to get the boys and drive the 20 minutes to the park.
I love the drive to this park, up a mountain, down a mountain, around a windy forest road, sunshine filtering through the trees, kids bickering in the backseat. . . Find the summer moments to enjoy.
Once there we had to find a picnic table, or a spot on the beach. We had the age old debate, swim or eat dinner first? Find the summer moments to enjoy. We decided that we should definitely swim first.
That’s when we realized we had left the bag of bathing suits at home.
As Mr. Thought prepared to go home to get the bathing suits, we prepared to blow up the giant unicorns with our big battery pack.
“It’s going to take us awhile to blow this up anyway, so it’s not too bad to have to wait 45 minutes to get our bathing suits,” we told ourselves, and the kids took the giant unicorn over to a grassy area to inflate. I enjoyed my beach chair, my feet in the sand… Find the summer moments to enjoy.
And then the kids started walking towards me, heads hung, battery pack to L’s side,
giant unicorn drooping off H’s shoulder.
The battery had died, with only the head inflated.
So, we spent the next half an hour blowing up a giant unicorn. We took turns, almost blacked out a few times, but kept going. I was wondering if this summer evening was ruined. “I’m so sorry I forgot the bathing suits and now the battery died!” I kept telling the kids. But they didn’t say anything.
They were wading in the water, finding and taking pictures of salamanders, fish, and even a turtle. They befriended a pair of brothers and dug a trench in the sand. They were busy finding the summer moments to enjoy.
So, I sat back and took a deep breath (and blew some more air into the giant unicorn).
Soon enough, Mr. Thought came back, the unicorn was ready to float and everyone had their dinner. The kids swam and floated, and got every blanket and towel full of sand. As the sun set, we forced them out of the water, shook off as much sand as we could, cleaned up our spot, deflated the giant unicorn, shoved things back in the trunk, and hopped back in the car. I wouldn’t say it was the perfect evening in the park, but we found some summer moments to enjoy.
I don’t spend enough time at the library. Today I have just about an hour while the kids are at their camps, so I decided to go to my local library.
I walked in, paid the fine for my overdue Guys and Dolls DVD (which the kids didn’t even watch yet… so we’ll have to take that out again. . . ) and then stopped and looked. I could go straight into the bright and cheery children’s section, or up the stairs to the adult section. I only paused for a moment, but it was a tough decision. Whenever we do venture to the library, it is always to the children’s section, and I often yearn for the quiet of the adult library. But, I want to write and all of my current works in progress are children’s books. I imagined myself with a stack of mentor texts and editing inspiration. But the quiet lure of the upstairs library won.
Upstairs, I was faced with another choice. To the left was the young adult section. That’s where my 6th-grade teacher heart wanted to go. But, all my kids are at camp, and I’m an adult so I turned right.
I used to work in a library. It was a quiet job, shelving books. I thought about those days as I walked through a few of the bookshelves, looking for the right table. When I was 15, working as a page, I longed to read the books I was shelving. Sometimes I’d sneak a few minutes behind a shelf and read a chapter or two. My biggest dream though was to check out patrons’ books at the circulation desk. Now they have scanners and self check-out computers so I will never get the satisfaction of putting the library card and checkout card in the machine and hearing that “ch-chunk.”
But, at least I can sit in the library, and listen to the quiet, the sound of my laptop keys as I type, and the intermittent sounds of people picking up books, flipping pages to decide if that will be their next read. I can open my works in progress and wonder if one day I’ll have a book on one of those shelves. I can risk a little hope that one day a young library page is shelving my book and decides to sneak behind the stacks to read a few pages.
My thoughts on books, education and life.
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