Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Real Questions

Mom and I didn't take a Saturday drive last week...  Just too cold and blustery for her.  However, the previous two weeks we did drive through the Amish countryside, stopping at a delightful bakery to sample their delicious breads, candy, and pies. 

Today the temperature is about 32 degrees-- again.  As I read through the blogs of all my friends online, we are an impatient lot.  We beg the weather fairies for some good days.  My mother was nearly in tears last night because Missourians don't have "spring" any more.  For the past several years we have gone from freezing cold to "air conditioner weather overnight...

All this has allowed my students to get just real fidgety...  I have noticed they are restless, eager to throw open a window ANYWAY to experience the day...  Of course, it is just too cold for that, so they get a bit grumpy.  To offset that kind of emotional barrage, I have allowed a good deal of introspective writing lately.  My sophomores have been writing 1200-word psychological autobiographies.   I am anticipating some really fine writing.  I have discovered if I allow students to explore their own lives, their own dreams---  I get something miraculous.  Yesterday in the midst of a lot of quiet keyboarding clicks, a young man exploded.  "I HAVE to ask you a question," he shouted.  I looked a bit startled, as did all my kids.  I was a bit hesitant to ask just what this major query might be....  This young man has been AWOL scholastically for a long, long time...  He has been suspended for attitude, disciplined for his mouth, and brought in by his parent for some faculty collaboration.  I like him, but I have had several good, old-fashioned "run-ins" with him.  He sports a HUGE belt buckle, and an attitude that sometimes matches, sometimes is wonderful, and sometimes....  well, you know..

Back to yesterday.  He had a question, and several students knew what it was.  I really dreaded the next sentence because, believe me, I have been asked some really tough questions throughout my 36 years of teaching...  Here it came.  "I mean.  You don't HAVE to answer if you feel you don't want anyone to know."  I gulped.  What in the world was coming next?  Here he blurted it:  "Well, I just want to know.  International or John Deere?"  The class grew silent.  A lot-- I mean A LOT of eyes looked at me with the weight of their opinions of me in the balance.  That is one serious question to a group of midwestern farm children.  I thought of the little John Deere buddy who comes every Sunday and Thursday with his mommy, my son's lady love.  I thought of my dad, the Internationals he has driven through the years.  I thought of my grandfather and the little International A tractor we drove from the time I was two.  "International."  I ventured. 
The boy with the belt buckle was satisfied.  "I knew I liked you," he announced.  A young girl quickly denied my joy:  "I am not sure I know you, after all," she said in a very disappointed voice.

The next thing I knew another voice raised the question.  "Well, then...  Ford or Chevy?"

I was in for a long day...

Hugs and hopes for warmer weather...  Still then, look for the real questions.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Along the Bunny Trail... and welcome to my Sis to the world of blogging!

 Welcome to my Sis, AKA the cousin from the cowboy snowman post, to the world of Bloggers...  She has a couple of posts with many more to come on her new blog, "From My Country Sunrise."  I know you will love her posts with her many hobbies, animals, and flowers.  I am excited for her!  and for us!
 These are the dishes from my grandmother's cupboard, her Desert Rose Franciscan china.  I always use it at Easter time, and no better day to start than tomorrow for Chicken Enchiladas.
 My mother made the cloth many years ago.  I love all the tiny embroidery stitches that create the soft fruit palette.

 Look who has decided to sit in my Easter wreath...  He can stay for a bit on the dining room table.  I bought him two years ago at Randolph Mercantile...  He is new paper mache.
 Mom's Marie Osmond Easter doll...  I bought her last year for Mom during one January snowstorm...  She is ready to bring in the sunshine...
Today was a wintry mix of snow and sun and a little sleet.  Mom stayed home, and I whipped in to town for some quick groceries, some gasoline, and a little peek at some of the homes along the way.  My cousin came down during the afternoon and evening, and we set up a blog for her...  Now I am cozying in to watch just a little bit of television before dreamland...  Hugs to all!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Chicken

Doing the usual spiffing for Easter and spring.  The temps teased us a few days with balmy weather, but a week of snow and shivers looms in our forecast.  So I make a spring salad anyway...   2 c. roaster chicken or canned white meat chicken.  grapes, Granny Smith green apple, almonds or walnuts or pecans, any variety of raisin or craisin, a tin of sliced water chestnuts, a small, drained can of chunk pineapple....  Enough Miracle Whip to bind it...  or I use mayo with a tsp. lemon to brighten...  I use whatever of those ingredients I have but the green apple is kind of a "must" in my opinion.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Morning Storms...

 Friday is one of those days in our school, and I suspect in most...  It can be a trial or kind of a lay-back day to enjoy...  Today dawned a bit rough...  The sky was an amazing array of purples, pinks, oranges, greens, vivid blues and deep gray, almost black.  My mom got hail about five minutes after I drove through the winds accompanying these clouds.  I knew something was brewing the minute I realized I was photographing something in the air I couldn't see or feel without the lens... 
 So far, the kids are relaxed and busy.  I like to give Friday as a lab day with work due on Monday or Tuesday.  Then kids can get all of it done and enjoy their weekends like everyone else...  Or they can put it off and claim "homework blues" when their parents try to get them to help out at home!  haha..  I know kids..
 Last night we had a lot of fun playing a game called "Imagine If..."  I really enjoy it because my son's little boy loves to play it.  He always picks me for anything remotely sweet, and I eat that up like sugar candy.  The game goes, "Imagine if _____ were a bird, would she be a "dodo, eagle, hummingbird, etc. etc."  The one picked by the majority is the winning answer, and those people move on a chart.  My son's little boy said I would be a hummingbird because I am always singing...  awww...  is anything cuter?  We had a pizza party, and I made Irish potato wedges dredged in melted butter and crushed Stovetop dry mix.  They were really good...
 Enjoy your weekend!
I hope to get some travelin' in with Mama tomorrow, but if the weather looks anything like this, we will probably stay home.

Cooking soothes the soul

 Brown a pound and a half hamburger. Drain.
 Add 2 cans mushroom soup and 1/3 c. water.  Place in sprayed 9 x 13 pan.
 Top with frozen tater tots or hash  rounds.  Cover with 2 c. grated cheese.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Serve to family!

Friday, March 11, 2011

If I lived there...

I have often been homesick in my life...  and often when I have traveled, I have thought, "If I lived there..  I'd be home right now."  There is something so magical about the word, home.  I know it is something that gives a person just a bit of comfort,  no matter where they "hang their hat."  I have felt at home here in my classroom, at Mom's these past four years, in a motel room during a long, extended stay...  at the college dorm...  It is a word that signifies a place to stay and be at peace.  Sometimes home is simply where my family lives. Those we love form a kind of web of comfort and reliability for our hearts and souls in the midst of any kind of turmoil.

This morning's news of Japan's new terror has ripped into so many homes, so many lives.  "Oh, the difference a day makes," Gramma always used to say...  Yesterday the world and this little section of it was much happier as a whole.  Despite the uncertainty and the troubles they might have felt, these Japanese people were secure in something they called home.  They had families, and they had lives untouched by this Tsunami-scaled tragedy.

I always think of the news in a personal way, in the "this could be me or someone I love" scenario. Today is harder because these people are facing such incredible decisions (if they survived at all.)  I breathe a prayer of comfort to the homeless, the bereaved, and the injured.  And I pray for hope and relief to those who search for their families and maybe any sign of home.  I don't want to think about their lives today, but I owe it to the universe to contemplate and pray for mankind --- even when the thoughts are painful and scary.  May their lives find the healing from a God who is unshakable, omnipotent, and omnipresent in any time of loneliness.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Early Morning's Call...

 Special moments usually come in the form of quiet morning welcome...  Today is another Saturday, a day to rest, to visit with Mom and friends, to regroup and look around the house at all the little touches that make it feel like a warm and cozy haven...  My first look at the day...  an old, beautiful kitchen cupboard tucked in beside my bed and filled with antique tea leaf dishes...

these old ironstone place settings will someday make a vintage tablescape, but for now they are simply a plain and comforting setting for my day.

Good morning!  My new little angel from my Sweetie...  Isn't she beautiful?  I plan to use her in an Easter display when I decorate...  Have a lovely Saturday.