Stepping out of the car
Walking into school
I am greeted by
A joyous symphony!
After weeks of cold
The air is warming up
I am greeted by
Welcome warmer days!
Snow has mostly melted
Grass is visible at last
I am greeted by
Tiny buds appearing
Ready for growth
Spring is coming soon!
This slice is probably a repeat. That’s OK, I guess, since the event that inspires it is repeated way too many times for me, even if it only happens twice a year. Have you guessed? It’s the time change. The story comes from my fifth grade teacher, one of those “characters” who pass through your life occasionally and create unique, funny memories. Her favorite saying was “for crying out loud in a bucket” which was elicited by anything she didn’t happen to like very much, such as students misbehaving or ideas that didn’t make sense according to her standards. Another justification for the repeat telling of the story is the need to practice this particular writing craft…delivering a punchline. It’s not that easy, whether it’s in telling a joke, or writing one down. Mrs. A. told the story so well, with just the right tone of voice to convey her own outrage at the notion that we could really manipulate time.
There once was a very tall Indian who had a problem. It went on for a very long time, and it really aggravated him. His blanket was too short. Every night, when he went to sleep in his tepee, his feet would stick out of the end of it. Finally, he came up with a solution. He cut a foot off the top of the blanket and sewed it to the bottom!
I suppose if Mrs. A. were here today, she would find a way to tell the story without reference to any particular ethnic group. That part is just a sign of the times. She loved everybody. Her jokes were never meant to hurt or offend anyone. Often she would be the object of her jokes herself.
Good luck reclaiming your “lost” hour, everyone!
I’ve been reading the “Be Inspired” notes each day. Always good ideas! Today I am trying it out…but I’m just using the title Things Right Now, leaving out the 10 because I am not really sure how many I will end up with. Another slicer had 5, so I think it’s the writing, not the number, that is important…
1. I slept in LATE this morning. I only woke up when the phone rang and my mother said, “I never dreamed you’d still be sleeping.”
2. My daughter, home from college for Spring Break, slept later than I did. We went out for “brunch” but it was so late we both ended up with lunch. I paid with a gift card I got from my “Secret Valentine” at school.
3. We went to visit my mom after lunch. My daughter’s car was parked there (long story involving several hundred dollars of repairs on my car…). It had been stranded there during all of our snow this winter, but it was finally thawed out. She had to take it to get the tires aired up, though.
4. I went to the grocery to do my mom’s weekly shopping. This is new…don’t know yet if it will be temporary, or a new normal.
5. I lightened the mood of #4 by shopping for some fun stuff. Bought things to fill Easter “bags” for my daughter and her boyfriend. What college students don’t love a stash of candy to take back to the dorm? Are your kids ever too old to sometimes treat as kids? I found an adorable bunny for each of them, too. And I found a couple of bright colored spring sweaters for my daughter.
6. I was surprised my mom wanted me to put the groceries away, too. But as I was putting cans in the pantry, she started arranging fruit in the basket she keeps on the kitchen counter. She had a pot of spaghetti sauce for tomorrow’s dinner simmering, too. She says it smells like a particularly good batch. She has never made this sauce from a strict recipe, so it is ever so slightly different every time. Always delicious, but as she says, sometimes especially so.
7. Stopped by Jimmy John’s on the way home for sandwiches for supper. Just had to get a pickle, too. My daughter just doesn’t “get” it, though. She likes sweet pickles.
8. I’ve been reading and commenting, finding lots of inspiration for slices the rest of this month. It is amazing the way we can continue to find ideas week after week, year after year. It is amazing how much writing comes to mean, how much it is a necessary part of life.
9. Listening to “The Closer” on television while I type- one of my favorite shows. My cat keeps rubbing my arm. I know he is just moments away from rubbing on the side of the laptop screen, something he always does when I use the laptop. We have argued over it many times! I guess he just wants to be like Pooh Hodges, The Cat Who Writes, and have his own blog! (yep, he’s at it now.)
10. The book on my coffee table has caught my eye. It is Kate DiCamillo’s Newberry winning Flora and Ulysses- the signed copy my good friend made her husband stand in line to get for me (only one copy per customer allowed at the book signing). It is calling out to me for a second reading. It probably will win me over, if I can tear myself away from reading and commenting on slices before bedtime- has to be earlier tonight, because I don’t have time for sleeping in again tomorrow. Looking forward to Sunday morning at church!
Hey! I made it to 10!
Her Fluffiness (aka Chloe the cat) and the Court Jester (aka Taff the cat) have been quite confused lately. They have become accustomed to the long disappearances of their princess. Lately, though, they have been left alone a lot. The princess’ mother (they don’t recognize her as queen, more like servant) has been away in other kingdoms (helping family members who need her right now). She drops by just for a few minutes- at least she cleans the litter box, sets out plenty of fresh water, and keeps the food dishes filled with kibbles. Her Fluffiness hides until her can of chicken and gravy is served. She doesn’t care if any humans besides her girl are around or not. The Court Jester comes running, though, and gets in every cuddle he can. He craves human companionship and demands a lap to sit on and someone to pet him.
Neither the feline royalty nor the joker suspects it yet, but they will be in seventh heaven tonight. The princess is coming home for a week. They will get in a lot of snuggle time as the princess sleeps in every day. However, they may not get all the attention they hope for. A boyfriend person will be around to whisk her away. She will be out visiting the local princesses (aka other friends home on break). She will be out and about depleting the royal treasury with her shopping sprees.
Her Fluffiness and the Court Jester appreciate whatever time they get and love the confidences shared, though, just like the princess’ mother will. Even if they occasionally rub each other the wrong way as they navigate the changing relationship. The love is always there.
Older installments of the saga:
My Daughter’s Cat
Her Fluffiness Has Been Happy Again
Her Fluffiness Will Be Happy Tonight
The Princess Packs Up
We are six days into the challenge now, so I thought maybe it was time to try some poetry. I started out with these lines:
Thinking of this
Thinking of that
Moving to that
Not finishing either
Then I thought maybe I would try some form of poetry I hadn’t done before. So I got online at the Poetry Foundation and decided to try Ottava rima. Here is how it turned out:
No focus- thinking of this, then of that,
So many thoughts crowding into my mind.
Starting to do this, dropping it for that
And not finishing any task, I find.
Worry over this, worry over that-
Heartaches, fears, and frustrations- all combined
Refocus- think clearly, be productive-
Stop worrying, stay calm- trust God and LIVE.
Now I am wondering if I should try to finish the original format so I can see which I like best. What do you think?
Five kids sit at desks scattered across the room, glumly attacking piles of work. Not a one looked the least bit happy. Angry would be a better description. Or bored. Or indifferent. Various infractions of the school rules landed them here for the day. They look tough.
Then, just outside the room, a cat appears on the window ledge. First one student, then another, and another notice the cat. How they change! Smiles break out. They are totally engaged, watching the cat’s every movement. They look tender. They are children again, with endless curiosity and capacity to care.
It didn’t take much to bring about a change. We teachers should remember that and look for the little spark that will bring a lesson to life.
This took place in our school’s “Guided Learning Center.” My daily duty is to relieve the staff member who oversees it for lunch break.
P.S. I don’t make the rules.
In the mornings, on my way to school, I pass this university. In the center of the main building is a large glass and steel structure in the shape of the globe. It seems so appropriate that the whole world should be at the heart of education. It reminds me to hold the world in my heart.
I remember the feelings of curiosity and excitement of learning about other countries, cultures, and customs as a child. My real introduction to the world, to geopgraphy and culture was not in school, but in church. I learned about the people, landmarks, and food of other countries from the stories of missionaries and the work they were doing around the world. I tried phrases from other languages, tasted new foods, tried on different clothes, and heard about how people lived around the world. I began to love people in places I had never been and to hope that one day I could travel to those places and meet people there. I wanted to learn another language to communicate with them and understand their lives. When I studied geography and history at school, I had a lot of background knowledge and was ready to learn more. When we began Spanish lessons in third grade, I was enchanted and continued studying the language all the way through school, into college.
I have had opportunities to travel to and even lived in other countries. I have studied together with and worked with people from other cultures. I have enjoyed having people from many other nations visit in my home. When I hear news from around the world, I can picture where other countries are on the globe. I enjoy music from all around the globe. I have experienced the brain fatigue of spending extended time trying to communicate in another language and the exhiliration of communicating at a deeper level with someone in another language. I have been in situations that were unfamiliar and a little scary in other countries, and I have had many lovely and enjoyable experiences in other countries. I believe all of this has expanded my personal world. I still am curious about the world and get excited learning about it.
So I ask, is the world in your heart? With all my heart, I hope so!