Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cure for the Pompous... Busted by a teenager.

If ever there lived a cure for the pompous, it dwells inside a small-town high school.  I never fail to get a big laugh from my students' perceptions of others.  Sometimes they are dead on, right on the money.  They are able to nail a fraud on the spot.  One time a long time ago I had a student (who now teaches in the same system) who called a grade school teacher out when I wanted to assign faculty contacts.  She insisted she was not going to be the student/faculty liason for a certain Mrs. XXXX...  Mrs. XXXX was known to be a woman who was kind, quiet...  not mean.  I asked this young girl why she chose not to work with the famous Mrs. XXXX.  "Because you all think she is so sweet.  Well, she is all icing, and there is not one drop of cake underneath!"  was her reply.  Sadly, that was true.  Poor Mrs. XXXX lived a life being the kindest she could be and not hurting a soul, but it was all skin deep.  Inside it seemed she was tired, a little angry, and very deprived.  Busted by a teenager.

I have seen girls spot a fake bag, nail a heavy layer of makeup over blemishes, sniff out a batch of expensive perfume squirted over old body odor...  you know the rest...  school kids can usually see to the core, and amazingly if not actually advisably, they will blurt out their observation "in front of God and everybody," as my grandma used to say.  Busted by a teenager.

Keen perception aside, sometimes my students are ignorant about something.  Sometimes I have had a guest from the state department come in and decide to "eruditely" educate in the Socratic manner...  Uh, what?  My kids usually pull no punches and come out smelling like --  not roses, but toeses...  After the guest leaves with her perception of the level of knowlege of my young people, I hear the students say defiantly, "Boy, she was so ignorant!"  haha..  To be smart to a young person, I think it best to appear to be learning right with them or to  actually remember what it was like to NOT know what they are learning...  It is a turn off to be so smarty pants that they feel bad about themselves.  Kids won't do that unless it is to their benefit.

Teenagers are able to determine when a teacher is faking it...  No snow jobs with them.  We might as well give them a lab day or a free day as give them some kind of unrelated, obscure research.  For one, they can find anything on the internet, bless its soul.  For two, they just know.  Why mess with that?  Busted by a teenager..

A lot of truth lives inside the fairy tale legend of "The Emperor's New Clothes."  People do notice.  Some people do lie to get in "good" with the boss.  And a kid rarely plays that game.  Should they?  Possibly.  Definitely they should be kinder, less blurt-y. Definitely they will learn in their later years that they do not know it all (hopefully they will learn this.) But you have to know where you stand in this world.  I would prefer to be loved.  I also would prefer to know if I am not...  (in time to avert getting stabbed in the back.)  Just saying.

LOLcat pictures are my new love.  I collect them on my iPad and send my son five a day sometime late a night...  Then we laugh about them.  IDK...  I'm getting lax in my old days because they're cute. The spelling doesn't bother me a bit.  Hey, I've had worse turned in for a grade....and they are kitties, after all.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chicken soup for the soul.... (Did I think of that title? It might just catch on!)

Thought yesterday was a nice moment to make Mom a batch of chicken/turkey noodle soup.  I had frozen the stock from a turkey I baked.   We had a couple chicken breasts...  And a lovely bag of frozen "homemade" noodles...  Add in a carrot,  two ribs  of celery, a goodly amount of water and ground black pepper....   Yum!  One must always have chicken soup when they are ill...  

A dear coworker texted me to say so many kids are out today.  It's flu season in Missouri...  I don't have the flu---  yet.  I don't want to give it to Mama either...  Our table was simple, but pretty, even just for us.  I'm into that.  We found these goblets, and Mom thinks we could use them for just us two!  Yippee!  ...

Monday, January 21, 2013


I called in today and am recuperating in front of Mom's cozy heater...  Later I hope to feel like finishing the major project of fluffing up my bed with freshly washed linens (and my best friend down comforter, which I dried with tennis balls yesterday so it would be cozy and fluffy...  The dryer filter looked like I had captured a small bird!).  And the laundry folding...  That seems enough of a goal for a sick day.

I read one time a little saying, "I would  gladly spend my days traveling if I had another life to live at home."  So true.  I am a homebody if ever there was one.  During the seventeen day Christmas vacation, I went to the grocery store for two hours.....And to a birthday soirĂ©e one afternoon....  That's it.   Happy as a clam about it, too.

Have a lovely Monday...  Make your world sparkle this week...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A stroll through ebay...

Come with me...  Right now all these goodies are ready for us to tuck into our Valentine home decorating!  Ebay shopping is a fun way to cozy in this wintry, grey day...  I didn't purchase anything... Yet.  But I love so many of these.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Winter comforts...

Today was just a perfect day to go out and about with Mom.  She had a hair appointment first, and then we drove to her favorite restaurant, The Crossroads.  We are back home, fire in the heater, laundry spinning, and thoughts of our drive through Amish country and the week upcoming in our minds.

I have several plans on my list...  Yeah, for today...  Now?  Just cozy daydreams and a few hours of escape into a different realm...  Books, blogs, naps, coffee, and reverie!  Just a perfectly comforting Saturday.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wintry Forecast for Sunshine and Blue Skies Ahead....

Welcome to the winter white days of the depths of January in Missouri.  It's that special time of the year when soups taste the best, warm blankets seem like long-lost buddies, and the jarring ring of the alarm clock awakens us at what-must-be-midnight-because-it's-pitchblack-out-there...  I love it.  I had the brief twinge of hoping for early spring this morning when I cleared the deep frost off my car window and shivered into my old Taurus for another grey ride to school.

Spring sounds promising because it will bring the end of an era with me...  I have decided to retire this year.  It isn't one hundred percent official, and I haven't filed the papers.  I imagine some scenarios could change my mind, and I'm half excited, one quarter sad, and one-quarter thrilled...  I have been blessed by so many good students, parents, coworkers...  and the most fabulous family and friend support system imaginable.  I always think of the phrase, "It takes a village..." when my son comes over and digs my car out to get me to school...

Oh, I have a lot of plans and dreams available for after retirement...  I think it will be delightful to totally rearrange and clean, to create a space for a delicious business at Mom's, and to create an online store...  and to finally write something big, something either for my own soul or something to sell...

Change doesn't come easily to this girl, so it isn't surprising I have wrestled with this decision for nearly five years...  My friend told me she decided to retire a few years ago because "it just came to her she should."  I think that happened to me...  Sometimes a few nasty experiences make us stronger and we want to fight and claw our way in deep to prove we can...  At times such as these I believe it is smart to "get while the gettin's good," as my dear Gramma used to say.

The first time I retired was 12 years ago...  At that time I took my retirement papers, filled them out, and waited until I got ticked off to drop them in the mail.  Again, filled-out papers sit in my desk drawer, but I'm not waiting to be ticked off...  (If that were true, they'd be winging their way to Jefferson City as we speak!) I'm waiting to see if I can "make it" to the end of school...  Some days, I think no...  but I hope to be able to.  Health issues are a big part of the decision....  and there is, of course, a wicked witch in my fairy tale, as my dear friend Cielo has in her life...
I want to take better care of my mother.  She is so good to me.  I'm dreaming of going into business with my son in some form (although that is all very sketchy and mostly my dream, so I will definitely see what he's dreaming first!  hahaha....)

I am here at my desk with some beautiful plans to teach my dearest favorite classics and novels one last time.  Maybe I shouldn't dwell on the last time part, huh?

Have a cozy winter...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fancy a cuppa?

No dehydration for this home!  After the holidays we have been playing with our new coffee and espresso maker, a gift from my dear friend, and the Keurig brewer from Mom a couple years ago...  When I have guests, usually one loves coffee, and the others want hot tea...  So we set up beverage stations...  I love to wake up to a pot of coffee if I'm staying home and just one cup if I'm off to school.   The tea tins were all over the kitchen, so I dedicated this awesome wooden suitcase, a stationery keeper from Victoria Papers...  It helps to love tea and have a friend with a tea shoppe...  Come see us!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Tonight after school my son is coming over for a movie night.  He bought my mother a few movies and some rather cool looking pre-popped Orville R. popcorn.  I'm trying out the new microwave sweet potato chip maker...  and it sounds like fun.

We have much to be grateful for...  Morning coffee and an extra 20 minutes in bed, a Freshman class who has knocked themselves out to create a killer banner...  and a host of other sparkly gems in the crown of today....

The weekend cometh, and we are hosting the last of our Christmas parties.  The decorations are all stowed away, but the gifts are waiting!  And Mom wants pie...  Imagine that!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

First Day...

Time to enjoy the fruits of the earlier labor.  With a clean home, we have been rearranging the kitchen to take good advantage of the counter space...  I'm sipping a cup of Holiday Cocoa...  And ready for some snoozing, perchance to dream!  Have a wonderful week...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Caught... Trapped... Nowhere to run!

Totes, lovely plastic or Rubbermaid ones, are a pricey commodity.  During the other seasons I do a little tote shuffle.  The spring things go out...  They store in the summer boxes...  The summer stores in Halloween and autumn....  Which neatly goes into Christmas...  Which....   Uh.  Yeah.  I'm caught.  No big holiday until Easter.  So I have to grab a box...  Scribble on it...  And oh, honey, our decorations are a jumble...

But they are all put away.  My son packed, carried, stowed, and toted.  The incredible post holiday blues, empty bare home, and impending end to vacation...   They have converged like the perfect storm to my Andrea Dorea...  He fixed the road, and he tried my car...  Drat!  No excuses at all!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

 Brrrr!   Today is a good day to cozy down one final day of vacation.  To those of you who get cabin fever, I know it seems impossible, but my car hasn't been opened or moved since December 23....  For an hour long grocery trip...  How long would it be until I wanted to get out?  I have never found out...  Not Monday, actually.  How I long to putter at home, lost in the possibilities of scrubbing, cooking, snoozing, rearranging.   But....  I will love seeing my coworkers and students, too...  I have lots of plans...  Too many, my kids will say.   First, we write thank you letters!  Everyone has to write five.  Truly, that is a dying art!  I have fancy paper, and I ask them to deliver or mail them.  I've been told it was a good thing....  And I've had a few say it wasn't on the State Test, so why teach it.   That State Test with its numbered objectives....  Bah!  Don't get me started.  Have a blessed, twinkly Sunday.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Sugarplums banished... A new beginning awaits..

Away ...  All traces of Christmas are slipping quickly into boxes and totes --- except the pretty tree.  It waits until January 6th, Twelfth Night.  Vividly white snow and icicles sparkle outside through my daddy's insulators, and vegetable soup simmers deliciously in the kitchen.  One day remains until all we have is one regular weekend.  Semester 2 waits at the door, and a morning email announces a new student to arrive in our classes on Monday.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day Three of Operation Sparkle...

Well, on the second day...  More of a twinkle actually...  Today?  I have been taking down the kitchen Christmas, arguing with discussing with Mom the merits of keeping some older decorations too homely to use, too full of memories to toss....  They live on the bottom of totes.   Yep.  Today was more of a glimmer actually...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Eve

Mom and I had a quiet New Year's Eve.  We did set the table with some pretty cardinal plates.  We made salad and Swiss Quiche....  We Lit a pretty candle and enjoyed the ambience.....   I Have spent the New Year in many ways....  I can safely say this one was very sweet, and I had a wonderful companion!  (Not to downplay the Millenium one spent arguing with a policeman....  And with someone very dear, as well.  @@@@@.....  And wonderful ones with my son and his friends who tried to make noise at midnight....  Quietly wonderful ones in my memory forever....And dear, dear friends in their homes....).  Wherever it is, the year has begun and I'd love to hear your plans.

Table for 4?

Welcome to our New Year table!  We're having two kinds of shrimp, ( popcorn and "naked," as Mom calls it, ---actually grilled...).  We've flown in croissants from Paris to bake in our new oven, and we have green beans, roasted Irish and sweet potatoes, and asparagus. Freshly dressed greens garnished with sweet baby tomatoes, red peppers, and crunchy sunflower seeds wait in those gorgeous white Pfaltzgraff  bowls.

You can expect a little banter, some teasing, and a whole lot of love.  No reservations required!  Oh, and the snowman lights up and sparkles! :-)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

S.P.A.R.K.L.E... Sparkle, Gayla... Sparkle..

 Legend has it Shirley Temple's mother always pulled our little darling aside and whispered, "Sparkle, Shirley, Sparkle" as she tap danced her way into America and my mother's heart...  so it is with a nod to my dear Mother and to Shirley that I attempt to master the art of sparkle-ing this year, this brand new, snowy white night...
 I was born with glitter in my veins.  Sadly, my life doesn't always rarely shows it.  I blame only myself, and according to all the self help books, we aren't supposed to blame ourselves and dwell on the past.  Truth is...  I am afraid to sparkle.
 It's the pessimism that erodes me in the day to day world. I think it would be a pity to sparkle, to truly glow and then---  and then--- something bad might happen.  Something awful might befall me or worse, someone I love.  Then wouldn't I feel stupid for sparkling ten minutes before a tragedy like that?  I have analyzed it.  I do feel that way.  So I have to get around that fear of losing someone, something...  I have to go ahead and sparkle...  I believe the stars will twinkle one nanosecond before they go out....  twinkle and be gone.  I love that...  Be that star, I am telling myself.
 Money...  I have almost none..  I think it would be easier to sparkle with money because then I could be dashingly generous....  But generosity is truly measures by gifts of another color.  It is measured with patience, and true generosity comes from the soul...  I can have that.
 I AM happy inside...  I really am.  Sometimes people think I'm melancholy, a general old Eeyore of a person...  but I'm actually a chippy little bird that likes to feather and putter and be happy....  Believe it or not.
 And spirit does live within me.  God has given me so many blessings.  Can people see them glow from the inside out?  I hope so.  I dedicate this year to making it more translucent, more radiant from within...  Even as I write this, I cringe..  I fear something bad will make me eat those words..  I have developed some kind of breaking down in light of the news and of just living and caring for these many years....  I want not to care...  but that is impossible.  I so care..  so lately I have wanted not to know...
 I have come to the patent conclusion that all people do care, but they do not wish to listen to complaints...  On and on...  or even for a moment...  and the world is too much with us with its lamenting cries and complaints and whines and moans and screeching out of control that we haven't been given our just dues of joy, health, money, romance, respect...  you name it...  Yet---  Sparkle requires an honest answer.  We cannot lie and say we are happy when we are not.  We have to do better than that.  That is like pouring glitter on an open wound...  We have to be honest and then move on to focus on a bright ray of refracted light.
 Calm...  with a little flutter of activity..  Diamonds, glitter, icy water-- they all sparkle more when they are moving a little...  the light bends and refracts and sends off an array of rainbow lights...  I need activities of the mind, spirit, body, and heart...  that is a prerequisite for sparkling.
 I have to believe it is valuable to take the time to shine.  I am worth it because all of you deserve to be around someone who has taken the care to tend to herself....  You can tell when a kitty feels happy and good...  She lies down and gives herself a little once over with her sandpaper tongue, and she smooths her fur...  and she purrs...  and she naps in the only ray of sun there is...  My word for the year could have been nap...  but that isn't really a good goal...  is it????  If you guys say the word, I might consider changing my word!
 I hope to be able to recite this at the end of 2013 and note that I have done my best to make it come true...  I am enough.  I am not the Me I could have been if....  I am not the best mom, best teacher, best friend, best anything..   I am not my dad, who was, although not perfect, definitely more...  but I am all that I am..  enough.
 Dearest Audrey...  wisdom from my girl...  She truly sparkled...  With a character like Holly Go-lightly to her credit, how could she smolder?  She had to sparkle...
 That means to arise, shine and sparkle...  to school...  to clean at home...  to work...  and to play...  My friends tell me that means to sleep more...  I wish I could sparkle without sleep, but I think when someone does that, they may really be on fire and incinerating instead of sparkling..  Just saying...  That sounds dangerous.

 I have a lot of goals this year, dreams really...  I think I may retire.  I am not sure, but I feel more like it than ever in my life.  Retirement better not be boring..  My friends assure me it is anything but...  I wish for something fun to fill my life so I can fill up and fill other's lives with fun, too...
 My dreams never have deadlines.  I believe it is time to honestly allow some of those old dreams to take a long nap...  and to get some new ones that might just happen...
 What is that for people?  For me it is fixing a meal for my family, writing a good post for a blog or a nice long letter to a friend...  creating something from paper, lace, and ephemera...  reading, laughing, talking, playing games like Scrabble and Spinner...  and Sparkle..  (It's not really a game, but wouldn't it be fun if it were?)
 I looked up diamonds and sparkling in a scientific way, and it produced such a wonderful explanation.  It seems a diamond is a substance hard enough to truly refract light in rainbow, dancing hues...  That is a tough calling for a country pearl like me...  But it sounds fun to try.
 Do you guys think sparkling will require me to get new shoes?  I don't really like new shoes, as mine will attest...  Two or three years old and don't I know they look it...  I could put a big star on the strap....  Nah...  better find something new.
 One precious life.  Over at a blink of an eye...  It is time I lived it while I can.  I love God, and I know with all my heart he loves me...  I just don't always live like it.  Need I say more about the Ultimate Source of Light?

So here on this last tiny minute of the old year, I set this post to flash onto my horizon at exactly midnight..  And dear, dear Bloggers...  I thank all of you who have helped me by sparkling in your own worlds.  You daily inspire me, and encourage me, and give me confidence in the good of this world, in its effervescence and triumphs...  in its sparkle.