Thursday, September 27, 2012

Trees do not Disappoint...

Those of us who are inveterate, Autumn Tree lovers were holding our collective breath this fall.  Would our beloved trees come out of that dead, dry, dormant phase they entered after a summer of intense heat and arid treatment? Would we see a colorful fall?  I was hoping, of course, but due to the state of it all and the poor crop we have raised, I decided it might not be the fall to remember.  It is unusually special this year.

Sights such as this are not uncommon in mid-Missouri.  We have bits of trees that decided to go pretty...  bits of the same tree remain leafless, and the last part looks completely dead.  Go figure.  And this morning on my way to school, I saw a poor giant Magnolia tree with at least half of the top in blast/bloom.  What confusion among the Flora (and maybe Fauna and Merriweather, too) we are seeing this year!

I bought Mom a little heater, and I gave it to her early.  She gets up way before dawn each day and slips out to her chair.  Sometimes I hear her walker before I make it to bed...  oh, yes...  even on school nights.  She is cold-natured, and this little heater looked amazingly cozy..  It has a little remote control, so I hope she loves it...  I don't dare tell her I have had the window air conditioner on in my room for part of the night...  I love a cold room when I sleep...

Tonight I am meeting some dear friends for a little retired teacher get together.  I am odd man out here because I am not retired at all...  We used to meet, all five of us teachers, when we were teaching every year and have a little back to school soiree....  It will be fun to see everyone.  I'm sure I'll leave feeling quite exhilarated and full of laughter.  (and maybe a tinge of envy to be the only one still trudging in every morning? or relief?  I dunno...  I think envy is winning out this year!)

How are the leaves in your part of the country this year?  I don't know if the Midwest was the only section for weird weather or not...  Have a fun weekend.  It's getting closer!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Every autumn... See you at the pole...

What a beautiful little circle..  A few others, including me, were in a larger "circle" outside this group as we met at the Pole, to thank God for the opportunity to worship freely in this country.  I loved hearing the prayers of the students willing to stand up and accept the blessings straight from God as he wishes to do for all his children.

Our school is a tiny one, and the attendance at this event was a little less than usual, but I know it took only twelve for the lord to do mighty things...  and I count at least a dozen here!

Have a great week....

Friday, September 21, 2012

Magical Concoctions for Autumn's Arrival

So, what kind of festivities do you plan to welcome Sister Autumn into our midst.  I am pleased to report so many of my friends who usually favor Summer have come over to the "dark" side and are ready for fall this year due to our sweltering heat, dry dead foliage...  just a general turnaround from this pattern is what we look for!

I have always been a Fall Girl.  This weekend seems the perfect time to make a favorite soup for Mom, me, and anyone else who cares to drop in...  It would also be perfect to create my grandmothers' favorite Chili Sauce.  I have no idea which grandmother made it first, but I have such fond memories of a kitchen steeped in rich, red tomato chili sauce, tinged with onion and red pepper...  and spices..  It is definitely my most favorite potion.  I made that sauce HERE if you have extra tomatoes...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sunshine on my Shoulder

This is the time of year when I see that old sun rising in my rear view mirror as I head toward school.  It always makes me want to turn around and go back home!  Seriously.

This has been a difficult beginning of school.  I finally feel the call to retire.   I realize the time to have heard that particular call would have been before!  I love my classes and the students this year.  We have done so many fun things already.  Yesterday I sent my English 2 students to good old Google Earth to map the trail from Dawson Creek where Jack London's unhappy gold digger met his doom in "To Build a Fire."  19 English 1 students surprised me with finding a Quilting Site instead of the Preposition online game I thought I had linked them to play...My son explained it as static and dynamic addresses...  I dunno...  They thought it was a hoot.  Me?  Not so much.

I personally think the paper mountain has all but eclipsed nearly every avenue of our lives.  I don't talk to anyone who is in public works who isn't overwhelmed with the amount of documentation required to do our jobs...  people who touch people's lives shouldn't have to note every single thing...  the important parts of education cannot be tied to Common Core standards any more than they could have been tied to GLES standards, CLES standards, or MMAT benchmarks....  or any of the other numbered nonsense we have had to do...  I think many of the improvements and suggestions have been okay for us teachers, but that silly step of telling which number every little objective meets?  It's a bunch of stupid, time-wasting nonsense.  I guess I should really say what I'm feeling, huh?  Yeah.

Our school is making many improvements to the facility, including surveillance cameras, extra vestibule doors, emergency exits....  I hope and pray nothing ever is needed...  All that extra  precaution brings an air of fear to the classroom.  Imperceptible at times, the idea of danger permeates the very core of each student.  My freshmen recently finished reading Du Maurier's "The Birds" about the cold war fear.  I asked them to journal if they felt they were more secure today than the people felt in the 1950's.  Well, to my surprise, they felt much more afraid than I had hoped.  All but one felt it was likely they would be attacked by either terrorists or madmen in their lifetimes..  Can you imagine being 14 years old and thinking you would not live your days in peace?  I was sad.  Very sad.

The 19 students in my composition class just wrote essays for college scholarships.  In these, I read dreams, goals, hopes, needs.  Now, in a historical fiction writing project, their ideas turn to disaster.  I realize most of that mindset is due to drama, television and movie and novel themes they have experienced.  However, not one student plans to write about anything positive...  I have Wall Street Crash Tycoons, bomber pilots from both the American and Japanese sides of the war, privates in D-day, and a couple of holocaust survivors and   victims..  I see a few with Afghanistan and one with good old Titanic...  I can't wait to read these stories because I know my students have a great amount of creativity and joy inside.  Actually, if I were seventeen again, I would probably choose something bizarre and dramatic for my historical fiction as well...

Onward and upward.  Have a lovely week...  It's Thursday, my favorite day of the week...  Time to prepare the house for the weekend tonight, so when I return home on Friday, all I have to do is experience WEEKEND magic...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's All About the Bling.... and bling is my thing!

 I know.  I am a primitive girl at heart.  I really am.  I am in absolute love with Randolph Mercantile and its style.  I have always painted my rooms dark (when I had rooms)...  and I have stocked the homes I live in with primitive crows, pumpkins, with old side boards...  and much to my Daddy's distress, with antiqued, "ugly" wood...  But lately, and I can't quite explain why...

I am in awe of this show.  Donna Decorates Dallas is on HGTV, and while I don't think I would live happily ever after in her spaces, I do love to see the transformation from ordinary into fairy tale snappy...  This show was on last year, and I recorded every episode and watched them twice or more.  There is something about her pep, her hair, her high heels, and her confidence that is inspiring.  She manages to make "snooty" seem kind of generous, if you know what I mean!  She hangs crystals off anything she can find.  She hot glues glam rocks on every surface.  Her telephone will "knock your eye out" as my grandfather used to say.

 Donna's show was cancelled last season.  The network gave the reason that she catered to a specific style that didn't attract as many people outside of Dallas as they wished.  Well, something happened.  I wonder if they got some letters or if they reconsidered...  or if some of Donna's wealthier clients sent some incentive.
 For whatever reason, it is back on the air for another season, and I love it...  Here are some examples of the over the top, fairy tale rooms she creates.  They appeal to my inner princess.  I only know that when I watch several episodes in a row I lay on the jewelry and the glittery tops and sweaters (which, as you know, I am enamored with anyway)....  and I curl my hair!  hahaha....  That's all...  I don't redecorate, paint, hot glue, or hang prisms....  yet...  Oh, wait!  I guess the sixteen prism ornaments from Valerie Par Hill that currently and all year have bejeweled my ceiling to floor lamp are a bit Bling...  I do like to say that...  "Bling is my thing."

Have a fun and blingy week!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

Good morning...

I slip to the windows... Regular time, at six in the morning.  Intense mist, gray swirling fogs...  My world is swathed in delicious moisture as if long, lost lives have again found each other----the earth and the rains and cuddling in sweet harmony this morning.  A day off from school, so newly begun...

31 years ago Labor Day brought me a new baby....  My son will be 31 on Wednesday.  So will I...  Don't we sometimes feel we only began to learn when we started teaching our children just what life includes...

Hot Almond Joy Coffee on the porch with Mom and some Oatmeal bars...  I hear the birds, the sunrise...  and the chocolate chips calling my name.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

1 cake mix yellow ... or try something spicy....
2 c. quick oats
1 1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 pkg. chocolate chips

that's it.   blend all but chips until crumbly.  press half in sprayed 9 x 13 pan.  sprinkle chips.  i could see some almonds or pecans here... or some raisins...  crumble and pat on the other half and bake 20-25 min.

cool...  if you are so inclined, and I wasn't...  drizzle with warm caramel.