Saturday, August 30, 2008

Flat out like a Lizard Leapin'

Hey! You have to look very carefully at this picture to see the HUGE tree that fell on our favorite shelter house at the lake during a huge storm we had on Thursday night. It was just way too pretty to spend an afternoon after school cooped up in a shop, so I headed to my friend's house. She came out to the car. "Aren't you going to the shop?" I called her close and whispered in her ear: "Lake. Taco Salads. Sasha." She kinda smiled and decided that, yeah, that sounded just fine. We grabbed her little old Shih tszu (how do you spell that?) Sasha AKA Joan Rivers (see photo), and we were off!

Imagine our shock to discover this old tree had pulverized one corner of the building. We decided to go to a different one, just in case the building wasn't finished with its fall! Taco Bell never disappoints if a person wants to dedicate the 800, yeah 800~ calories to a Taco Salad. We sacrificed. We splurged. We laughed, and we both fought a few little sad thoughts as little Sasha's arthritis keeps her from charging about the place as she used to. What a little jewel that doggie is to my friend. Sasha is a special little dog, as all little pets who become people seem to be. The wonderful owner of the grocery in town saves little pieces of deli meat and gives them to my friend wrapped in brown paper and snipped just right for an old dog's delicate palate. He remarked to me one day when I said that Sasha wanted to come down to my house and bring my friend for supper; "I hope that dog lives forever." Don't we all.

Friday was one of those TGIF days at school. The rise of concern over Internet use has our school installing new checks,filters, and what not to keep kids off websites they don't need. This filter blocks a few sites that aren't on that list, including anything that even mentions the name YOUtube... haha.. So yeah, Oatmeal and Whimsy is banned. A huge, kind of ominous sign appeared when I decided to check it yesterday. "CENSORED. BANNED website. CONTAINS 'objectionable phrases.'" It kind of took me by shock. I must say I didn't feel very American, very ah... simpatico with the new filter. So it went most of the day with sites dedicated to the Jewish nation during the holocaust (banned for content showing corpses in pits of black and white)--- for classes reading NIGHT by Wiesel, my favorite Grammar interactive practice site (foolishly dubbed Grammar Gaming Online).... and thus, I heeded the after-school need for trees, birds, lakeside lapping noises, and a little chat with my dear friend.... I'm not saying the rules are wrong... just sad... I hate the need for control over the human spirit. Words, synonyms, even our past histories of atrocities.. they are a part of our collective soul. As much as we'd like to shelter ourselves from the evils available on the Internet and in the world, we cannot do that any more... Because they have permeated the culture, we have to gently allow them into our spirits and into the spirits of youth --- and oh, so much.... we have to instill alongside that, a spirit that acknowledged the ugly but believes in the good... a soul that joins Anne Frank in saying, "In spite of everything people are really good at heart." That's not to say I don't believe in filters on school Internets. I do understand. I just felt kinda like a Bolshevik revolutionist to see my simple-like Oatmeal and Whimsy banned.... due to a Youtube of the Cactus Cuties singing the Star Spangled Banner.... and a white cockatoo dancing to the Backstreet Boys...

I will let you guys go.. I used to do YouTube Saturdays... I think I just did -----one without all that technology, moving picture baggage! haha..

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sassy Spray. . .

Okay, so now I get a tip worth having... now when my "baby" is nearing his 30's in a few years... (gosh, does that ever make me feel old!)... But I teach with the most wonderful faculty anywhere. Today two young ones were in my room after school, and they were comparing notes about having "three's" in the house.. Ah.. I started to say that "Yesterday I remember my son ...." and then I remembered it wasn't really yesterday in this time warp, only in mine. But one mommy shared the merits of this new product on the "market" called Sassy Spray. When a little one decides to be sassy with no luck in other avenues at all.... Sassy Spray evidently does the trick. The recipe seems to be a mix of water and Listerine, which isn't at all lethal... and I was informed that a few times of Sassy Spray in the little pink rosebud mouth did the trick. Seems the only thing needed now to stop the sass is to pull out the Sassy Spray available in travel sizes as well... One look, and the spray isn't even needed...

I began to think about all the uses for such a product in my own life. While I haven't been accused lately of being sassy, I have been called a lot of other things. I'm looking into the possiblity of a "Grumpy Goo" or even a Whiney Wipe..??? Pouty Paste sounds like a winner, and also a much needed Lazy Lotion... The only trouble is, I'd have to do my own dosage, and that might get a bit off center.

I recall my mother's version of Sassy Spray. It was called FLY-SWATTER. No cute names. No spritzy little whiff in the kisser... just the sting of net around metal (I'm old.. She didn't use a plastic one!) on my bare legs.. I could run faster then, but then so could she. I recall using such motivators as stickers, destruction of toys, and time outs. But my son was never sassy, was he? Funny how that great memory fades a bit in time. We used the bar of soap rubbed on the clenched teeth a time or two... I am sure I didn't deserve it since I don't remember what I did!

My only remembrance of this time includes the idea that Gramma was "sanctuary." All I had to do was make it to her, to the phone, or remember enough detail, and my SWAT protector hit the tarmack and brought out the defense I required. My son used my mom AND my dad in a similar fashion.

I realize, ALAS! There is no version of this spray available for the classroom student. But maybe one will materialize in the near future.

Have a great Labor Day weekend. Hope you are your loved ones are safe from the storms.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A clever little award from Becky

Thanks, Becky K. at Hospitality Lane....for this cute VISA BFF (Blogging Friends Forever) award! Your new look on the blog is inspirational, classy, and sassy... Just what we all adore. I love reading all your entries!
Okay, so I never ever pick anyone for an award, but this one seems to really require it. I'm going with the blogs that I have read for the longest. So, these dear blogs have become a loving routine.. and one new.... and one in another part of the country.
In England, the first blog I ever read:
Alison's BrocanteHome: You have cheered me up and touched my heart. Your lovely "scrumptiousness" pervades everything you do. Although you are not new, you remain ever new. I never know what I'll see when I touch base with you!
Second chronologically speaking was Posy, also in England. I'll never forget your feet in front of the fireplace shot! Ahhh... relax with this lovely blog.
Third comes Cindy from My Romantic Home: Oh, to have her talent and her eye.... what a true beauty her home has become. I never fail to check her blog daily.
Cindy led me to one of my all-time favorites, too... Tracey, at Notes from a Cottage Industry. I have developed so much passion for details, for feathering my nest and preparing little graphic/papery surprises through the years, but never with such a champion as you!
And fifth, the newest blogger I always read is my dear Lisa at Cranberry Flats. I am lucky enough to have been her teacher in high school and her friend for the rest of our lives. Her blog is rather new, but she has totally mastered the touch of photos and sassy chatter mixed with real depth and heart. I love you, Lisa.
There... Your rules are to award this VISA to five blogs. One needs to be a new blog from across the world, but I didn't quite do it that way since my two oldest bloggy loves are my overseas ladies. And these are by no means all I read! I love so many of you to pieces. To all the others, and there are so many... I adore your blogs, too... If I had my way, I'd blog all day! haha... Reading about your lives is very inspirational, calming, and cozy...

This 'n That....

First, let me thank Tina from Garden Goose for this wonderful blog award. It means so much coming from her. I adore her blog. I was trying to convey to my non-blogging friends just how in touch we have become with each other. I rely on all of you to inspire, console, laugh, and ooh and aah with me on all the other blogs, as well as this one. It is just plain fun to know that all over the world people are keeping the faith and doing many of the right things. You sure get none of this news on CNN or FOXNEWS or local papers. Gloom and doom. I know my mood is better because of all of you. Okay, now for ten blogs to bestow this award? Well, uh... I look at so many that I just cannot possibly narrow it down to ten. I am sorry. If you are in my sidebar, you are one of my choices for sure, and many new ones every day I haven't added yet.

Here's a couple of shots of my mom's kitchen valance and cappuccino tiers I bought her as a surprise. She had the same lacy tiers for many moons, so I thought it would be fun to put these up while she was asleep. I loved them immediately because they were dark and primitive and yet flouncy.
And, ta-da! My version of the black bean salsa recipe I got from my dear friend this weekend at her scrap booking party.
You need a dishpan size bowl.... HUGE... You'll see why!

Salsa Recipe

Drain and rinse:

2 cans black beans

1 can black eyed peas


1 can yellow corn

1 can white shoe peg corn

1 can sliced black olives

1 can green chilies

Chop as finely as you wish:

1 red onion

1 green pepper

2 ribs celery

1 bunch scallions

3-5 firm red tomatoes. I used 5 Romas

1 tbsp. minced garlic

2 seedless jalapeno peppers . I left these out

1/2 to 1 bottle Italian salad dressing. I used light with no sugar added.

Mix all and chill. Gets better and better. I had some plain, some standing in open refrigerator, and some with cottage cheese... Uh.... just as with the awards, I cannot choose a winner! haha... It's delish, and I believe really healthy.?????

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I couldn't wait... I've jumped the gun...

Well, I know we have at least one week before September, but I just couldn't wait. I bought this glorious cat and pumpkin with birthday money at Randolph Mercantile, THE most beautiful store for this kind of stuff.... and I was trying to wait.. Honestly I was doing a fair job. Then I went to a

scrapbooking party at a dear friend's house, and she.. uh.. she hadn't waited. Her wreaths were autumnal; her statues in the hall were rather pilgrimmy, her floral decor had shifted to the beautiful tones of my favorite time of the year... She said her husband told her she was a bit premature, but I decided... hey, I'll join her and we won't be too early, we'll be progressive. After all, if it's in the stores, it's fair game??? The painting above this vignette is a Will Moses print I bought for my mother, and the doll is going to get a mask if I can find one that size.... at least a treat bucket! The lamp is one my parents bought at an auction together, and by day it's a deep cranberry red At night with the lights off and incandescent bulbs inside, it glows a cheerful burnt orange... De---lightful. Stay tuned. More to come.... I tell you this. Autumn is my fav-o-rite season of them all...... Hugs for a good week.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

They came to me!

Well, all good things come to those who wait, they say. My good things have been my geese at the Park. Imagine my excitement and supreme delight Friday morning when I rounded the corner of Mom's driveway and realized 42 Canadian geese were strolling along through the wheat field right here at home. They were in the mists of that foggy Friday sunlight, and apparently in no big hurry to get their little tails off my road... Which was good since I turned all fumble fingers trying to dig out my camera from my purse. I would have been devastated if they'd flown off too soon. But they positively posed.
Once a very long time ago when I was a little girl who wore headscarves and a red coat, my mother looked out our picture window to the west and spotted a lone Canadian goose. Being a typical city-turned-country girl, my mother was pretty sure she could bag this goose and then cook it for her family a la Grizzly Adams style. She called at me to get a move on, and then she dragged on my coat. She gave my headscarf a huge tug in that kind of strangling knot only children of the fifties now recall. We were off with a huge picnic basket... (presumably to scoop up the goose, I guess). She drove through the questionably solid field and thankfully didn't get stuck. The goose watched her from afar, fluttered away as she stealthily snuck up little by little... It was like something I watched from the car (with strict orders to remain inside) in semi-awe and semi-horror. Even at age four I was rooting for the goose.. (No offense, Mom.) And the lovely animal did win. It finally tired of luring my sweet mother farther and farther from the car. It acted wounded, but when it decided to sail off majestically through the air, Mom realized she'd been had by a goose in the middle of November. I was very young, but still happy to realize we were going home with an empty basket.
One week of school down... only 35 to go... Great kids... but long days. Have a fun Sunday!

Banner Giveaway at Isabella's Closet

Hey, I'm out the door this morning, so I'll try to post later in the day or tongiht. In the meantime, Isabella's closet is hosting a cute fall banner giveaway... Follow the link if you'd like to enter! It's Fall, Ya'll.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


photo from inmagine website

Let it be said, "I LOVE my kids." I am really excited about my classes this year. Although my numbers are a bit higher, and my schedule is atrocious with no break until two... although I am in desperate need of a softer chair or a pillow (even though I should have ample fluff)... I love my kids. So, it is with the highest respect that I relate this dialogue shared only today:

I have a student I'll call Suzette. Lovely girl, torn jeans, eyes rimmed in dark pools of well done tiger eyed color... In fact, when I posed the question today to consider what item each of the kids would grab if they had to leave their house in a hurry, not sure if anything would be there when they returned... as in Katrina, flood, fire, etc... Suzette's choice? Her makeup so she wouldn't look a mess after the disaster was over. Okay..

So she doesn't seem to enjoy reading, didn't truly want to be very quiet. I moved back to sit in her quadrant, and here is our exchange:

Me: Read, sweetie. (ALL MY reads are said quietly, kindly I hope, and firmly.)

S. I hate to read.

Me: Is it hard for you?

S: Nope. I just hate it.

Me: Read

S: I am not comfortable.

Another student: These chairs aren't good on my fat.

S: I am fat too (uh, no. She's not, by the way)

Me: Read.

S: I have love handles.

Me: Read.

S: How to you get rid of love handles?

Me: Do I look like I'm the right person to ask about that? Read.

S: Did you say reading would get rid of love handles?

Me: Well, no. If it did, I'd look like you!

Needless to say, the bell finally rang and our fascinating conversation came to an end. Not sure who learned what. Never am these days.

Have a good week.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dive in.... The Water's Fine!

Here it is... Year 34. Tomorrow school starts. I spent the evening getting the initial overview sheets ready. We give the kids an idea of the units, books, projects, and scope of the work on the first two days (so they can run if they can!) haha..

I have six hours before my first and only break of the day. Then I meditate (or collapse) for an hour and a half and then go home. Not my favorite schedule of all time, but my son thought it sounded fun... Get it all out of the way and then be done. Oh, youth, with your positive attitude.... Gotta try to remember where I put that!
Have a good week. Bet you thought I was gonna write about the Olympics, huh? Aren't they amazing? I am going to miss them when they close it out and take down the Torch. What determination, talent, and strength of body and mind and will. I watched swimming, diving, gymnastics, and races tonight, and I'm totally exhausted.... haha...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reality vs Fiction

When I was a little girl, my parents drove me by this house and I stared lovingly at the whole thing from my window in the back seat. Sometimes I could get my mother to drive by a second time... The picture below doesn't do that area justice. It is a very low valley with crags, rocks, and evidently a winding path of stairs... It is beyond that tree row on the left of the upper picture... It was and still is my house called, "fairyland." I imagined I lived there and actually believed if I did, I could probably develop a friendship with the fairies that no doubt made it their home. It is still beautiful... It still makes me wonder.... fiction... Reality: I couldn't any more get to the bottom of that valley and back up again than fly to the top of the roller coaster roof. That house is a "look at" house, just like the dolls my aunt used to collect were "look at" dolls, rather than the good kind you play with.

While driving along, I spotted an interesting bridge, and although I knew I couldn't drive across, I thought I could get closer and see the other side. Reality: It was a convoluted hunk of metal lying on a pile of debris... No bridge to anywhere.... but I did manage to snap a shot of Queen Anne's lace. This lovely "flower" is actually a weed,they say, but I have picked many huge bouquets of it in my day. I love the look... It's better left on the stem outdoors because it lasts such a short time in a vase of water...

My mind is kind of on stun lately... maybe for the past couple of years, gradually getting worse. I told Lisa in an email that I'm functioning with most of my circuits turned off... I choose to live with my brain in the sleep mode but my daily round on screen saver.... So what you see isn't what you get... I can't remember squat. I have technology issues with my new hardware at school. The kids come Monday. I still don't love living here. My Mom isn't feeling very healthy. My son isn't all that thrilled with his situation. My cat lives elsewhere, and I never see her. . Some of my friends and relatives are stressed to their breaking points... I just feel that I've fizzled out at living and am doing a pretty rotten job of seizing the day, moment... you know.. So, what I'm asking is for you to leave your best self help routine in a comment.. What do you do when you get these feelings? If you don't get them, tell me that, too. I need to know if I'm the Lone Ranger on this one or if it's fairly common... I don't wanna wallow in self pity, but I need to get a grip... Taking time for me... doesn't work. I have no clue what to do with me when I get me.. ha ha... Hugs!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Anniversary. . .

I am convinced there is a vat in Heaven somewhere marked "tears" since the Bible does say the LORD saves all our tears in a bottle... Yeah, what a nice fat bottle he has for me... and I hope it is blue, fancy glass with a huge stopper... and I hope my sweet daddy, who collected bottles and glass and baubles, is taking care of it, too...
This is the post I have to write: the "year without Daddy post." One year ago, August 14th, at one o'clock he slipped away. I want to show you a few of his treasures. He loves showing what he's collected, and he loves meeting new people to share with. Telephone insulators, beautiful bottles, lightning rod balls... anything and everything phone related. He carried a picture of his treasure trove with him until it wore out; and then he whipped out a copy... and wore it out, too... We tucked yet another, newer copy inside his hand to show or look at ... or at least to make us feel better.

I have posted before that my dad loved to work, and I love to work, as well. However, our choice of things to work on is very different. Daddy could do everything from electricity to woodworking to very heavy labor. He could see what something needs in order to be fixed... and then fix it. So when the heavy rains pour in around our windows now, my mother cries. When a tree limb echoes to the ground, she cries... When the world crashes around about, she cries again... because her man could have, would have, and did fix it. I am not my daddy, of course, and I cannot fix anything really.... But I often try. To my pride and joy, I have replaced a fuse in a very confusing box of screw-in fuses..... and I have nailed a few things, swept clean a bit of rubble to create a clearing, and .... I have moved in with Mom. As you know, I gave up my beloved home (which was kind of the breath and soul of my daily round) and am here all the time. Whenever I'm tempted to wish I could do more like Daddy did, I think.. wait .... I am doing what I can.I could go on and on... There is no end to the respect, love, and devotion I have for Daddy. He was 84. He had a bad heart. He'd had a good summer. This is not Heaven, and we lose our family one by one. ... or we go on ourselves. While that concept probably isn't uplifting, it is peaceful and solid and true. But I recently found his favorite telephone jacket in a stack of clean clothes, so I nabbed it for me. It's in a basket almost underneath the far side of my bed. I don't plan to wear it, but I do love to pat it and smile when I'm hanging head-first off the bed, looking for my glasses or my cell phone or my Vicks jar... It's kind of a nice little surprise every time, and I think, "Yeah, keep on doing the little things and there won't be so many big ones." One of his sayings... and another one was this, "It's better than good." Yeah, Daddy, it is. I love you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Last Daze of Summer. . .

Well, although I could have spent the whole day at school getting ready for tomorrow, which is a teacher's workshop, I decided to take my Mom on a final daze trip.... and we went around the world, I think... (since gas is so cheap! haha..) We started off to the northeast to Kemp's Restaurant in Clarence. It serves wonderful, homemade plate lunches with delicious sides. We had roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean salad, pickled beets, homemade bread and butter, and cucumbers and onions. ... and don't forget the house wine of the South, sweet tea!!! Yum...
The restaurant features a gospel night every so often with a packed house. Local nursing homes bring their residents. Tonight was that night, and they were frying seventeen chickens... SEVENTEEN... wow...

This mansion is on the outskirts of Clarence, and I think it is owned by a pharmacist. Looks exciting, but this is actually a zoom picture, so it's closer than I've ever been. I would love to look out the top story... that little turret part.... but oh, it would be hard to clean, huh? I guess if a person has enough money to build a home like that, they have enough to hire a housekeeper.... I would need two! haha...
Then we went over to the West to Matt's Market in Bevier for fresh meat from his wonderful counter. He is such an upbeat young man.... Still happy to hear my phone call with a grocery order. He fills it, brings it out to the car... and as I said before, he calls us "girls." ---- Money can't buy that part of the transaction. I didn't get a picture of his store, but I will. Finally we ended the day driving south to Moberly, and we visited my favorite store,Randolph Mercantile. She has her autumn stuff out, and I got the cutest papier mache cat! Wait until I get her all set up, and I'll show you. Mom shopped in there, too... Sherrie is so sweet, and so are her helpers.. It is worth a drive there if you are anywhere close.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Time for a Garden Tour

Today in the midst of a little rain shower my mother's club and I visited a beautiful garden planted by a man and his wife near my town. This garden is amazingly beautiful with bridges, levels, a little water brook, and so much to look at we didn't get finished. What a gift to be able to coax every blossom to its glory, esecially in such a year as we've had---late, late frost, 29 inches of rain in 30 days.... and many hot, arid spells to swelter and cook the damp roots. This garden bears no witness to the evils of weather, but a testament to the hard work and love of a stone mason and his wife. It was a pleasure to visit. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

My mother was in her element. She is a gardener by nature. When I leave her during the summer, I might as well plan that she'll be outside by the time I get down the road. She takes her walker and gets her little red scooter, drags her flowers and her watering jug and her tools from one bed to another and works a little in the soil. With no farm dog, we have sure fought rabbits this year, and they have enjoyed their pick of geraniums and other bright plants.... but my mother perserveres, and she still plans flowers to plant before fall... My grandmothers were the same, both at their happiest with a smile on their face and sun in the eyes... and a smidge of dirt under their fingernails. Why didn't I develop that? I dunno... An early tale is that I went along behind my mom and pulled the flowers out from her morning planting with the words: "These aren't growing!" I must be too impatient, too adverse to the sun and stooping, too contrary.... too something. But I do respect, love, and admire flowers. I know some who love to eat but hate to cook.... so please forgive me for wanting fresh flowers in a vase but avoiding the labor.... I aplogize to my ancestors... as I pluck a tall surprise lily from my door garden.... Mom's door garden, to be exact.