Thursday, October 29, 2009

Boo! From our house to yours!!!

Golden Harvest welcome... Halloween and autumn wreath through our kitchen and our home... a welcome bit of finery for the fall...
This little miss was a recent surprise from a dear, dear friend (who is reading my blog right now!!!!) Thanks so much!
I love shimmering fruit... pumpkins... and lantern light... My medicine chest in the Necessary Room.... potions, tinctures, herbs, and spells for health and beauty (aka toothpaste, body lotion, and tylenol...) Aw, I like the first description SOOOOO much better, don't you?
So, get yourselves ready to be tricked and treated by the many fairies, goblins, witches and tiny ghosts who come to your door. May your day be filled with the wonders and magic and none of the spooky stuff of Halloween. Hugs!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

One day long ago in my college English class, my professor, Cal Huenneman, remarked that any time he saw weather like that day, he had the immediate rush of the lines of a poem, October's Bright Blue Weather, by Helen Hunt Jackson. Then, in typical college professor style, he quoted the poem from memory, his head thrown back and his eyes shut... smiling. I was a junior then, in 1974.... and I'd never heard the poem, the phrase, .... never felt the rush of a poem through my heart as I looked at something. Now I often get those rushes although I teach high school so I refrain from the quote thing... (eyes would roll SO bad we'd probably need the 911 Opthamologist)... But here goes...

Mom and took a drive from New Cambria north to Kirksville through the countryside... Our eyes were blessed.... O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather;
When loud the bumblebee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,

And goldenrod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When gentians roll their fingers tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;
When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;
When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;
When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;
When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October's bright blue weather.
O sun and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October's bright blue weather
Helen Hunt Jackson

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Tater's Tale

Okay, so I never know.... as I drive to school in whatever type of weather we're having... What kind of day will it be? After 34 and a half years... it's still one of those wait and see type of jobs. I mean... Perhaps I'll be met with energetic students who pursue a problem, looking for the source of a water leak on the interior wall of a bottom floor classroom... and discovering the cooling system is leaking from upstairs....

Or maybe... It will just be business as usual.... A well-done Spanish vocab poster or some great charts for an investigative unit... Today, it was neither. My classroom was dark. One of my junior boys had burned his eyes with a welder the night before, had suffered immeasurably overnight, been to the emergency room, but was still there at school to get his attendance points... This is a good kid; I'll call him Brian... He's a bit mouthy, a little arrogant, kind of a redneck... but a great person. He's a volunteer fireman, a wheeler dealer in scrap iron, a veritable fount of instant jokes and amusements. Until today. Today he was silent, scared, and in pain. I, being Mother Hen incarnate, told the child he could sit in a dark room somewhere, go to my car and get my sunglasses, call his welding teacher... go home.. Whatever it might take to feel better.

Oh, no... Brian had gleaned the Old-Timer's remedy near and dear to his heart. He'd been informed that cutting a potato in half and putting them to his eyes would draw out the pain and the burn and the heat. So 20 minutes into class, he requested to go see Rowella, the school cook, and get that "tater." How could I deny him? "Yeah, go!" I softly agreed. And he was off... I didn't realize my accomplice student had also slipped off with him. Timmy is that shadow kind of guy who never asks permission to do things that he "instinctively knows" I'd approve of... He went along to guide Brian through the stairways and halls... Yeah.. I was knee deep in computer problems, glitches with templates on Resume writing... mini differences of opinions on just who inhabits which house on the left, and authoritative direction of which fact is the ultimate jewel to nail a future hypothetical job in my Practical English class..

20 minutes later, my principal comes in and swoops down beside me. "Do you have any idea where Brian might be?" he booms..

Do you guys have any idea how much I wanted to NOT utter the next sentence that had to come out of my lips? "Uh, yeah. He asked to go to the cafeteria and get a... a.... a potato to..... a....aaaa.... cover his eyes!"

And then what? I mumbled something about a school nurse maybe? A hall pass? Well, no... I'd gotten a bit excited and forgot to write that... and then where? I thought maybe Brian had gone to sit in that previously mentioned dark room??? But no real clue... Clueless teacher... Great... Uh... Dunno... The principal stormed out... I believe he had been the victim of a memo from the elementary about a blinded loudmouth in search of a potato..??? Then Dave informs me that Timmy had gone as well... I looked around and quickly head-counted the 19 other busy souls... yep... two down... I quickly hall passed Dave to rescue Timmy (and me)... but alas! Too late for Timmy, but just in time for Dave to catch it as well... The principal soon ushers in all three sheepish boys in front of their "Bo-Peep, Fast Asleep, Little boy blue asleep in the hay...who looks after the Lane" or however that goes English teacher... We got the message then and there.... that all students were to stay in the room or go home...

Yes, sir. I understand. Of course, I did. I totally got it. I'm not a fool or a novice teacher. I understand how irritated, and rightfully so, this would make an administrator... Also how later when some girl mysteriously, from a cell phone she isn't allowed to have, texted her dad to bring in a potato for Brian... (THANK YOU, Lord, not in my class)... and he did, ----how that would really go over just about as well.. Not as well as when Brian cut that hard-won tater in half, duct taped the pieces to his eyes, and was led around the halls between lunch and Vo-tech(you guessed it.... by Timmy!!!!)... Uh, yeah...

The day before State Tournament saw high spirits and much drama in our little school... and not all of it was pre-game jitters...

Paula Deen says she would get off her death bed for a tater... I see.. I really do... Go, Wildcats... and bless poor Brian's little eyes... I love that kid.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Final Four!! Here we come!!

Yoo Hoo!!! Our little school has made the final four softball tournament in the state of Missouri.. Hallelujah and Jumpin' Jehosaphat!!! We are pumped, I tell you. I won't get to go to the game in person, but I'll be boosting this team of young darlings on in spirit. They will play Friday (we are out of school in their honor, thank you very much!)... in St. Joseph, MO. A few years ago we won this Championship, and this year feels right. We are 21 and 1. Wow... They are an amazing group of young people and make me proud to be their teacher... Please wish them well with no injuries and a great game for all... They are making a lifetime memory.. The whole town's going, and our church is taking a senior citizen bus!!!! I am sad to think I'm too old for that one! haha.. Not really, but it just isn't possible... Hugs and have a great weekend...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wrong Side of the Bed... yeah, right... More prophecies from my Grandmother.....

It all started early on this bright blue October morning. I have a somewhat new mattress topper that I adore sleeping on -------except for one major pain! The thing slips and slides all over the bed throughout the night. I hate to wake up and find myself on a downhill slant, so I often go to the other side of the bed and give it a huge yank... This morning early before dawn, I actually got out of bed on the North side... a big no, no, evidently... For the day was never to be redeemed after that. First, I must have inadvertently set every alarm on my phone. The two that go off to drag me out of bed and hurry me along on weekdays... they went off in all their strident glory. ------ Then a miscellaneous one was active, so I again found the phone and disabled the angry bird who threatened my peace....and finally I heard my weekend alarm playing "Carry On, My Wayward Son" by Kansas... way too early... So I got up...
Mom asked me to fix the steaksfor lunch, so I decided to lightly salt and pepper them before browning and then adding a can of cream of mushroom soup for a slow bake in the oven... Yeah... LIGHTLY pepper!!!!
My mind was elsewhere. I turned on the stove to brown my meat. I opened the largest hole on this pepper box and gave it a masterful shake over the pan of steaks. About a cup of pepper cascaded out. So ......I washed the steaks and re-salted and re-peppered them... I stuck one in the skillet... OMIGOLLYGEEWHIZ!!! Wet steak. Screaming hot oil. It exploded down the stove and all over the floor and my little bare foot!!!! (Eeeeek! I'm okay, just lightly scalded...) I cleaned oil, and mopped with soap, vinegar, and some kind of miracle cleaner from QVC (no miracle, imagine that?) and soaked my foot in ice water... I silently cursed my menu.... I continued with the day, the thoughts of my gramma echoing in my heart and mind. Gramma always said that when you mess up and break or do stupid things, the curse comes in threes... This was only two. I was in a grumpy mood the rest of the day, thinking I was such a dummy and wondering what would be number three?????

( from Duh! blog)
Number 3 was happening while I thought about it... Down the four stairs to my room, my candle (which, yes, I had left unattended, as well)... was burning a hole in my new fireplace mantel from my son... The candle glass exploded, and it was a runny, waxy, charred spot... Great.
At least then, after a prayer of gratitude that I didn't burn down the house, I breathed a sigh of relief... and I decided to finish cleaning on the closet I had started Friday.....

Bam! I found and executed two spiders, one brown, and one black. They crawled from the box of lace and doo dads I have been saving for a school project.... This is the year for spiders, I have heard... Well, I think these two would beg to differ... My question is this: Have I started on the second cycle of three? Or is a spider a different kind of thing??? Or maybe the pepper/burn incident was actually all one big mess...???? Who knows... But I do know grades are due tomorrow, and I have to quit procrastinating and get busy... Have a great week!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

All Hallow's Tale

Halloween Party
Welcome to the Halloween Kingdom of a very special witchie woman... She has been waiting patiently through all the seasons of the year, stirring slowly.... slowly.... her little cauldron filled with special goodness... and a touch of spider eggs, toad venom, and wildflower root... (just for spice)...
During the day... she plods along happily (or not) to and fro her normal routines... She masquerades as a teacher, a mother, a daughter... but inside she is truly magical, surrounded by creatures from the forest, creatures she has healed ( a la the enchanted woman in Thomasina), and creatures who are naturally wounded and drawn to her special, soothing touch... Oh, yes... the woman is a veritable Power in her own lifetime!

Friends sample her charms, and they come away thirsting for more. She lights candles on the weekends, and the heady aromas move through the enchanted cottage where she lives in her heart... For you see, she is captive in a home not her own... a place where she lives in the flesh, but not in the spirit...

Occasionally, she produces special brews and potions for her family, who eat these delicacies unawares, thinking they are pots of simmering stews or strawberry jams. Good news! All who sample her delights are also blessed with some of the true magic of home cooking.... LOVE.

So for now, she curls up with a good book, a glass of icy brook water, and her dreams.... but just wait until the witching hour draws near, and see what awaits inside her magical velvet bag!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Drive Throughs...

It's official. We are a drive-thru nation. Mom and I did a drive-thru today we'd never done. We went through a flu shot clinic, staying 100 percent in the car. Came home in the rain with headaches... So much for health on the go! haha...


It's over for another season. For some reason, I'm such a huge fan of Hell's Kitchen. I don't usually enjoy watching a grown man throw one temper tantrum after another while he tries to teach a bunch of young people, but I just love watching this show from start to finish... every season. I love how he weeds through the chefs and becomes more and more kind toward them at the end. I love seeing how pressure can make or break a person, and how they adapt and improvise and overcome adversity. I don't enjoy the contant beeps, which would be the sponsor/censors way of saying a lot of people have trouble expressing displeasure without a lot of bad language!!! But all in all, this show is one of my favorites. Alas, it is over for another year... The two chefs stood behind the frosted doors, and one opened a new life as head chef at Whistler, British Columbia... wow...

Think this executive chef better get some sleep and get ready to open those foggy doors to my classroom of students. Now, if I don't call them "donkeys" as Gordon Ramsay does... it would be MUCH better!!! hahaha....

Monday, October 12, 2009


I slipped home a bit early today. I so hope I'm not getting it, BUT I sure felt crummy. I thought a little early pampering might stave it off... Most of my kids are back, but their little eyes look like baby kittens that are really sick... Mine feel that way, too... I have gone through three giant boxes of Puffs at school. I need a scholarship for tissues!! haha..
You should see the beautiful posters some of my kiddos did while they were out... With time on their hands, they were quite creative... I'll try to snap some shots tomorrow if I venture forth.
Hugs for you... and hot water bottles for me!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Freeze Out...


The Golf Course Tree (above)
Columbia (above)
We had frost and freezing temps this weekend.... following some really rainy mornings.... I just love this kind of weather... I know. I get a lot of flack for that! Here are a couple of shots of my morning drive and the trees along the way... The big one is at the golf course, and we all claim it as the most beautiful tree ever in the fall. It used to be perfectly symmetrical, but the ice storm in '02 did some damage to it...
I'm getting ready to snuggle in and watch some telly... Wonder how many will make it to school tomorrow? Our girls won District Softball Champs today... Yahoo! Go Wildcats!

Monday, October 5, 2009

They flu the coop!

Okay, so they weren't kidding when they said the flu bug was going to be huge this year! In my tiny high school (population less than 125 students), over 50 were out this morning, and they were dropping like flies! They had temps, or the acting nurse wouldn't have let them go home. I say acting because our actual nurse was out sick!!! And about four or five teachers. My classes were so small, and it was difficult to think what to do with them because we didn't want to just sit, didn't want to do something that the other half would miss... I think a few of my girls came who were very ill because they were in an important softball game tonight and didn't want to miss it... So, they will get sicker in the cold night air... and more will follow. It's crazy. So far, fingers crossed, I feel fine. Flu shot for Mom on Thursday, I think. I may or may not get one. I dunno... Is it H1N1? I dunno... Who can you believe on that? Anyway, it was quite a day, and I'm glad it's over! (They're all like that any more for some odd reason. That's not the way I like to live!)
*** UPDATE: Many of the cases have been confirmed as the swine flu, or H1N1. Oh, dear. I kind of wish we'd cancel school until the flurry dies down, but I guess that's not what the World Health Organization is recommending. I hate to use my days when I'm not sick and then have zero days left when and if I do get it... So, unless I'm sick, I guess I'll go. I called the doctor, and he thought the school should cancel since they had such a high percentage outbreak. I dunno....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Kiss and Tell....

Can you see the kiss of frost on these leaves? In the glimmer of a fall morning, ---- spectacular!
Time, you ticking villain... No harvest for this barn!

Right in the middle of a field... this well-kept beauty marks the days... She can see somebody new down the road....

Today's new beauty... This is my cousin's home-to-be. What rapid changes in the past two weeks.... from the shot below.
I think it's exciting and quite spiritual to watch the rise and fall of homes and barns. Something about construction/destruction.... I think about the decisions to build, tend, and finally detach and the way these have changed the face of our world. My own home is tucked into a three cornered patch of property behind a row of trees. During the years I lived there, my dad kept a little patch of trees cut in the front of my house... (presumably to let me see the highway, but I think I know better!) I believe the little tree clearing was instigated by my mother so she could see whether I was home or not when she went by! haha... I base my premise on the amount of grumbling I hear from her half of the car when we can't determine the wherabouts of my son and if/who he had visiting... It's a hoot. My mother and many of my friends belong to the school of ask and listen... I, however, was evidently nurtured on the "don't ask, don't tell" kind of system... I put myself on the "BWANA" system (need to know basis). I feel happier in my own little fog without any undue pressure to determine anything about anybody... that is, until I'm in a deep conversation with one of my best friends or my mom--- then I feel quite "stoopid!" haha...
I'm in the mood for a big slow-cooker of vegetable soup for Sunday dinner... Doesn't that sound heavenly? The temperature hovered at 52/53 degrees today, and the clouds layered over the land in that downy gray-blue fluff that makes a pot of soup sound like a feast... I'm in for the day... All in, in fact!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Honestly, it's fall!

In autumn... my soul flies away from the rest of me, and I feel free... Looking at fall advertisements, trying new recipes, cozying the house with blankets, lighting my candles, and sitting in front of a little fireplace... I sense a difference in the clouds, a brightness in the air, just a simplicity of seasonal change... I believe it's good to say good-bye to one season and to embrace the next, especially in the autumn and in the spring.. The winter and summer sort of get here before their official days, but with the autumnal and vernal times of year... the date precedes the actual event...

So, it's time to put my money where my words are, so to speak. When Cielo of The House in the Roses invited us, called us out really, to celebrate fall.... I thought I needed to step up and do that... I created a snuggly cocoon of pillows and soft quilts, lit my fireplace and a vanilla creme brulee candle.... I brewed a cup of almond tea and found some wonderful music..... and later I'll watch a couple of movies... My school dismissed at noon, so I came to Mom's, had lunch, and took a nap... The night is mine!!! Outdoors, the clouds skuttle over a nearly full moon, and the wind fiercely rattles the side of the house... It's time for a fall dance, to be sure... Check out Cielo's post, and join her (and me in spirit) in this celebration!!!