Yum, Yum

My sister and I eat out together fairly often. We both like Mexican restaurants, but there is one food served there that we do not agree on. She finds it tasteless. She can’t stand the texture or the color. If it comes with a dinner she orders, she asks for it on the side. Because I love it! Can you guess what it is? Guacamole!! Actually, I really like avocado however it is served.

At one restaurant we like, they serve a chicken soup with pieces of avocado that is so delicious! Of course my sister never has tried it. She will not even try guacamole with chips. A restaurant near my house has a lunch special- avocado enchiladas. It is so yummy! I had it for lunch today. My sister did not. She likes seafood enchiladas. Yuck.

I ate avocado a lot when we lived in Peru. It was called palta. It was part of the salad at a favorite restaurant, Pardo’s, which served “pollo a al brasa” (rotisserie chicken)and other Peruvian specialties (such as anticuchos- a kebab made with beef heart). The salad had beets, avocado, carrots and green beans with a special dressing.

At home in Lima, our empleada made an egg and avocado salad that was so great for a sandwich to pack for lunch. Now sometimes for a lunch to take to school, I will pack avocado slices and tortillas. Simple and good! It is beyond my sister’s imagination.

Is there a food you love that someone close to you hates?

Posted in home and family, memories, SOLSC March 2015 | 8 Comments

Early Spring Day

Wind whips through the air and
Tree branches laden with buds

Posted in SOLSC March 2015 | 8 Comments

Life Goes On

So much that we treasure
Can be gone in an instant

We are stronger than we know
We can rebuild, keep on

We can endure loss
If we hold on to hope

In the midst of tragedy
God is with us
Our community surrounds us
Life goes on

Seeing so much loss in so many places, near and far, as I watched the news… an outbreak of crime in my city, tornadoes causing devastation, loss of so many lives on the plane crashed into the mountains… I pray the survivors will more than survive.

Posted in reflections, SOLSC March 2015 | 6 Comments

My Cat

My cat sits at the window
Feet tucked under,
Tail wrapped snugly
around his body,
Ears perked up.

Calmly he listens
to birds chirping

I watch and wait,
expecting he will

But no,
he stretches upward,
turns and walks over
to me

Sits beside me,
feet tucked under,
tail tapping me
as he purrs

Posted in animals, SOLSC March 2015 | 7 Comments

The Jobs I Have Had

What jobs have you had through the years? Here are mine:

My first job was babysitting. I was well qualified, being the oldest of four and frequently called on to help out with my siblings. So on my first paid babysitting jobs, of course I was paid well. I got a whopping fifty cents an hour!

I moved up on the pay scale in high school. During my junior high school years (whoever heard of middle school back then?), I learned American Sign Language at my church. By high school, I had enough practice to get jobs as an interpreter for the deaf. I made an unbelievable $15 an hour. I mostly was an interpreter for college classes. What a great experience! The most eye-opening assignment was to interpret for a union meeting. My hands shook to try and convey the rough language. Thankfully, the person I was signing for quickly told me to leave out the bad words!

I had a job as a secretary for the Community Service Agency for the Deaf. It was a salary position- $6,000 a year. A lot of the phone calls I answered involved using the TTY, a phone on which deaf people could type. Spelling was not always a strength of the person calling, so it could take a lot of detective work to figure out some messages. My boss grew up as the hearing child of deaf parents. I learned a lot from his unique perspective of both the hearing and deaf worlds.

In college I worked in several professor’s offices through the work study program. I had to use the ditto machine- you typed the notes, syllabus, or whatever on a double sheet that had purple on the back of the top sheet. Then you pulled it off and attached the sheet to the drum of the machine and used a handle to spin it around and spit out the copies. Purple hands were a common result of that job. One semester I worked in the admissions office. They had an amazing new typewriter, the selectric (computers were not yet heard of in homes and offices). You could program in a form letter, and it would start typing, then pause for you to type in the part that was different, like the name of the person the letter was going to.

I worked in three schools before I got my teaching license. In Valdosta, Georgia, I was an aide in a Title I program, teaching phonics and doing comprehension assessments with kids who answered questions like “Where do pork chops come from?” with one word- “Uptown.” I was a substitute teacher for the Indiana School for the Deaf. I missed a day or two of working before someone explained to me that the person who made the calls for subs was deaf. He would state the job available, then put his kid on the phone to see if you said yes or no. I was living at home, and my parents had been hanging up on the calls. I was an aide in the DODDS elementary school at Yokota Air Force Base in Japan. I worked a split shift- 2 hours in the morning, home for lunch, then 2 hours in the afternoon.

I had one restaurant job. I think that is the hardest job I had! I was the main food prep person- not cook, just food prep. Cutting and plating cakes and pies, washing and wrapping potatoes to be baked, washing heads of lettuce, banging them on the counter to loosen the core and pull it out, chopping the lettuce for salads, peeling and chopping the other ingredients, and making the “fresh-brewed” tea which was really made from powder. On occasion, I had to run the dishwasher, too.

For many years, my main jobs were wife and mom (first as foster mom, then adoptive mom). I did a lot of volunteer work during those years. I was a tutor in school programs and community adult education programs, and I taught English as a Second Language to adults in church and community programs. I was the coordinator of the ESL programs in two churches, one with more than twenty-five classes.

I started my current teaching career as a full-time sub in my first year with the district. I taught in more than 40 schools, K-12. I wonder how I did it! Now I am in my 14th year as an ESL teacher. I was in the district office, ready to sign a contract for another position, when someone came in and said, “Wait, the ESL Director wants to speak to you again.” I had interviewed for ESL, but there were no openings. Then someone had resigned unexpectedly. I got my dream job!!

Posted in memories, SOLSC March 2015, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Heard in the Lunchline

Pat, pat. She touched my arm to get my attention. She isn’t my student (I have 3rd-6th graders, not K), but she knows I’m a teacher. She sees me each morning at breakfast (my daily duty). “Guess what? I’m going to the skating place on Spring Break.”

“Wow, that sounds like fun!” I say. It is easy to be enthusiastic about that- I used to be at the skating rink every Saturday night in my elementary school days.

Pat, pat. The next student in line wants some attention, too. “Guess what? I’m going to the jumping place on Spring Break.”

“Oh, that will be fun.” I know my daughter really loved jumping on trampolines, so I could easily picture that. Glad I could genuinely be enthusiastic.

Pat, pat. The first kindergartner wanted attention again. “Guess what? I am going to the skating and the jumping place.” After the briefest pause she added, “And Chuck E. Cheese.”

I guess she wanted to make sure she wouldn’t be outdone this time… maybe I was too enthusiastic.

(By the way, I happened to be at lunch with K because we combined all three lunches today. It was a snow make-up day on what was supposed to be the first day of Spring Break. Less than half our students were at school toady. It sure was a quiet day! We had a program this afternoon by “Arts in Learning” featuring “Mundo Beat” that took us on a musical journey through salsa, cha-cha-cha, cumbia, and merengue. A fun send-off to Spring Break!)

Posted in school, SOLSC March 2015 | 4 Comments

Let Your Sadness Dwell in Your Heart

Recent experiences of loss and reading expressions of grief from some other writers this month had me thinking of a poem I wrote in a slice some time ago, “Let Your Sadness Rise,” which you can read by clicking here. Today I wrote another poem on the same theme.

The sadness for
all those I have lost
with such finality
to death
dwells in my heart

Yet at times
that sadness
preys on my mind-
I think about
how it used to be
when they were here
and I long to
go back to that time
instead of
being in the now

If the sadness
stays on my mind
rather than
in my heart
the gentle melancholy
turns to
dark and dismal

But when the sadness
dwells in my heart
the joy dwells there, too-
joy of remembering
joy of the years
joy of all they
added to my life

And when the sadness
dwells in my heart
peace and purpose
dwell there, too
and I see the beauty
of each present moment
and know I belong here
in the now

Posted in memories, poems, SOLSC March 2015, Uncategorized | 14 Comments