A friend shared with me that her kindergarten son came home talking about “the test” he had to take that day. He described how they had to color in the little circle by the answer. He said his teacher said they would have another one the next day. He said, “I didn’t like it. I don’t want to do it again.”

Later, my friend was talking about her son again. She said, “He’s been so whiny lately, and I just don’t know why.”

I looked at her and started, “Maybe…

And she joined in, “…it’s the test.”

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Chicken Gizzards

As I drove past a gas station with a mini-mart, the sign caught my eye. “Chicken gizzards,” it advertised. Those words took me decades back in time. I was a newlywed again, in the tiny kitchen of the single-wide trailer we lived in, across the highway from the Air Force base where my new husband worked repairing aircraft radios on the flight line. I stood at the kitchen counter, dredging chicken gizzards in flour as the shortening melted and heated up in the iron skillet for frying them. A plate lined with paper towels was at the ready to soak up the extra grease as they came out of the skillet. The long box of Reynolds Wrap was right nearby. I would pull off square sheets to wrap the gizzards once they cooled some, making neat little packets to put in the lunch box my hubby carried to work every day, which I handed to him early each morning with pride… and a kiss.

I smiled at the memories, but melancholy overwhelmed me, too. I felt loneliness grip my heart as my eyes teared up, my chin quivered, and I choked up. This month will mark the sixteenth anniversary of my dear one’s death. Grief still has the power to sneak up on me in odd moments. This time, after a few minutes, it lifted. I saw that face, smiling at me. The face of the one who kissed me back, and thanked me for making the lunch he loved. Who told me again how the guys in the shop would say, “Anderson, you’ve got it too good.”

And how he replied, every time, “Don’t I know it!”

Posted in home and family, memories, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A Funny Little Celebration

On “Crazy Hair Day” this week, I streaked my hair with electric blue. The celebration? The kids loved it, and I was the recipient of a lot of smiles. Even the staff had smiles for me (except for the ones who had stories of woe about “temporary” hair color that turned out to be almost permanent). After school, I had a PD session. People seemed uncertain whether to smile or smirk, until I smiled and said, “Crazy Hair Day.” Then they smiled.

At home, I took a picture with my phone and sent it to my family and a few friends. I collected more smiles from the responses…
My daughter: Omg…hahaha that’s perfect!
My son: Lol nice
My sister: I’ve always wanted to have blue hair…who would have ever thought you would
instead of me!!
My brother: Wow
Friend: You look like some rockstar in a girlband! Well played!

I think that last comment (from my friend who is also a teacher) was my favorite…other than the looks of surprise from some of the kids at school. Doing something just a little out of the ordinary (translate: out of your comfort zone) can lead to unexpected happy moments…and a funny little celebration!

Blue Hair

So, let me know what you think.

P.S. Not to worry, it washed right out!

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Come Back for a Minute

As my friend and I left the cafeteria after our breakfast duty and headed for our classroom, we took the shortcut outside. She was a few steps ahead of me, so when I said, “Oh, look,” the building was blocking her view. “Come back here for a minute, look up at that tree,” I said, pointing. The slender branches of the tree reached high, barely green with buds still tightly closed, awaiting a few more days of warm weather to pry them open. On the uppermost branch, sat a lone cardinal, scarlet plumage brilliant against the clear blue sky. Once our attention was turned toward it, we could hear its whistles and trills greeting the sunny morning. What a serene moment for the start of the day.

Posted in animals, school | 7 Comments

Another Week to Celebrate

Last Saturday, I wrote about the shopping trip I was looking forward to with my daughter…for her wedding dress. And she did say “Yes to the dress!” When I went back to school Monday after Spring Break, it was so much fun to pull my phone out over and over to show off the pictures. I wrote about finding her dress here. It was a wonderful time I will always cherish.

Now, here are a few other moments to celebrate from this week:

My director said “Yes”- funds are available. I will be registering for AllWrite this year! I have hoped to go every summer for several years now, but there has always been some conflict with the date or other reasons that kept me from going. But this summer, I will be there! Yay!

I watched some sessions from the EdCollab Gathering(although I didn’t participate live, since I was busy watching my daughter try on wedding dresses, as I mentioned before!). I tried out an idea in a lesson with sixth graders this week, and it went over very well. These particular sixth graders are tough cookies, too. (The workshop is Re-energizing Struggling Learners and the idea,”Fun with Multiple Meaning words:Riddle Creation” came from Mollie Cura (starting at about minute 9:30 in the video). Try it, you’ll like it.

It is difficult, but you still can’t help being happy for a colleague you love who gets a chance to move away from your school when it is a move that would be so great for her and her family. That was Thursday’s celebration. This teacher was new to our school this year, but we share a classroom. All year, her 35+ minute commute has been a constant struggle, with a 1 year-old and a 5 year-old to get up and ready in the mornings to arrive at school by 7:30 (we run on an early schedule for elementary) and she has been hoping to find an opening in the district where she lives and where her son is a student, with a 5-10 minute drive, no freeway. She got the call for an interview Thursday! She is so thrilled, and so I felt happy for her, too.

Yesterday after school, I drove over to my second sister’s to meet her and go out for dinner. Not a special occasion, just an ordinary sister get-together- we do it often, going out to eat, taking in a movie or a little shopping, or staying in for a movie night at home. Am I blessed to have two sister who are friends, or what? (My other sister lives a little farther away, so we get together a little less often, but I still enjoy times together with her, too. She was in on last week’s shopping extravaganza.) Last night, my sister and I went to a Mexican restaurant. The real highlight, of course, is all the talk. But running a close second was the dessert we had- sopapillas, the real ones, puffy and light. They were sprinkled with powdered sugar and accompanied with a sweet buttery sauce- oh, so good. And brought a memory celebration to the table for me, as I recalled having that very treat years ago with my husband when we lived in New Mexico. I had never heard of sopapillas, but quickly came to love the puffy triangles. Yum- pure heaven to bite off a corner and drizzle honey inside and then savor the sweetness!

So there are some celebration moments from this week- enough to make the first days back to school after break go well!

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She Said Yes to the Dress

After we lost track of how many dresses she had tried on, the consultant said she was going to bring her one more. She put it on, and started talking like maybe it was the one. “Do you like it better than the jellyfish?” her maid of honor asked. (That was what we called the one other dress that had seemed to be a real contender earlier in the day at another shop.)

“Maybe,” she said. She added a veil, necklace, earrings, bracelet, and even some white satin shoes. Then she said, “Yes, this is it.” It was so low key, we weren’t sure, although she was smiling. We were expecting tears.

“Are you ready?’ the consultant asked. We knew what she meant, because several times we had heard an announcement, “The future Mrs. *** has found her dress.”

She nodded yes. We heard them announce her name. Still no tears.

Then they brought her a bell, told her to close her eyes, and think of her wedding day. Then she would make a wish and ring the bell. She closed her eyes. What she wished is her own secret. When she opened her eyes, the tears fell.

I was teary-eyed, too, as I hugged her and told her what a beautiful bride she is going to be.

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For quite a while, I have visited the Celebrate This Week link up at RuthAyresWrites to read, but I haven’t actually linked up myself. Today is my first time. There is always something to celebrate, but today I have something big to celebrate!

This afternoon, I am going with my daughter, her bridesmaids, and my sister to a bridal salon where my daughter will be trying on dresses, searching for the perfect wedding dress! She and my sister spent a lot time watching a lot of episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress,” and always planned a road trip to one of the shops featured on the show. The dream is reality, except that we are going to a local store for her to try on dresses instead of taking a road trip. Still I am sure our personal “Say Yes to the Dress” will be more exciting than any episode on TV. I don’t anticipate there will be any “bridezilla” drama, though- just a happy, happy day!

Posted in celebrations, home and family | 7 Comments