Monday, January 31, 2011

Ginger Dog

Hi Everyone! Yesterday I bought some of those "toning" shoes for walking. Bill said, "You are going to fall." Ha ha ha! I hope he's wrong! Anyway, I grabbed my iPod, my phone, and my camera and ventured out into the neighborhood. Guess who I met? Ginger. Her frustrated owner said, "Oh, she's looking for a new home." She didn't mean it but Ginger is evidently "high maintenance" and keeps her busy human friend even more busy! There isn't much to take pictures of this winter. The weather is supposed to turn VERY cold and just now the icebergs in the lawn are almost gone. Oh well. I remain ever hopeful for SNOW DAYS.

Funny Face. Isn't she darling?

Licking her lips!

Nice to meet ya! See ya!

So many twigs! Can you think of something I could make out of twigs?

This morning I read from The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle. Good stuff. I popped over to Sharon Lovejoy's blog and discovered two authors I hadn't heard of. Delight! I ordered a few of their works FREE for my Kindle. Well, a few books cost a dollar or two. Sharon's post about a lighthouse was a sweet little "good morning" and now I miss the sea. Oh well. Off to school. Guess what our unit question is? What does LOVE have to do with LIFE? We are going to read Romeo and Juliet (honors) and West Side Story (regular) and I can't wait to guide them in our exploration of family love, community love, altruistic love, romantic love, FRIENDSHIP. Which reminds me . . . thank you for YOUR friendship. Bye bye January! HELLO LOVE month!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Beautiful Day!

"Exuberance is beauty." ~William Blake

"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy." ~Anne Frank

Hello warm friends! Guess what? They are selling dishes at the grocery store again. I must say, it makes me feel very happy about my grocery store. Some of the shoppers live in gigantic fancy houses and this store does cater to the "fancy" but when I see dishes for sale and big cozy chairs for sale . . . well, I like that kind of spunk on their part because I don't think the snazzy shoppers buy furniture and dishes at this particular location. I shall take myself to the market today and I might buy a dish. I will buy something hearty for dinner, a few offerings from the bakery, and I'll see if there are any new fruits. I'm taking my big camera because there are so many colors at the local grocery!

I took a zillion photos yesterday for a slide show I'm making for a school event. Snap! Snap! Snap! Most people flirt with a camera. Well, maybe just middle school kids flirt with cameras.

I spent my morning doodling in a paperback Bible, eating eggs, talking to first son on the phone, speaking with my sun dwelling parents on the phone, changing the sheets on our bed, hanging a wash load out on the line. I saw birds perching tenuously on twiggy branches, dining at my bird feeders. I'm still in my pajamas so if I'm going to do anything else today, I'd better spring into action.
Oh, it's another dividend day!
Sending love and joy your way, my friends!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Smile and Go About Your Own Work

"No matter who says what, you should accept it with a smile and do your own work. " ~Mother Teresa
I guess I have been thinking about school, school, school. This is a meeting week, meetings every day during my planning time, and it feels way too spin-y. I get tired of listening to what people say (not the kids, the "grown ups") and I wish I could find a quiet pocket to huddle and shake my head a bit so ideas and concerns could fall into place. I like Mother Teresa's words, don't you? I keep trying to arrange the papers on my desk so I can see my way clear and recognize what's done and what is crying out to GET DONE. Then the kids come in, in a cloud of middle school angst and bounce. Yesterday, my challenging class was so full of buzz that I quite felt like one nurse in a crowd of one hundred sick people. Most likely today will be quieter, that's the rhythm. I think I may eat my lunch alone today, door locked, the hum of quiet, and a savoring of twenty five short minutes of peace. Sound like a good idea?

"It is sad to grow old, but nice to ripen." ~Brigitte Bardot
One of the students asked me if I gossiped when I was in eighth grade. Yes. I was very much a busy body. They complain about all the "drama" generated at school. Ugh. I'm so glad that grown ups can put all that crazy talk aside and seek peace. But, can they? I hear plenty of crazy talk from the adults, too. Oh, I'm starting to feel the urge for a brownie.

Okay, so go about my work. I can do that.
Remember, I have ripened and that means I'm juicy, bright, and ready.
Smile a lot. Okay.

And don't talk so much, Pom Pom.

Time to read and journal.
Thank you for stopping in and reading to the end. Have a few of those hugs and kisses at the top of the page please!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dividend Day

Hello. I begin with this boat. My uncle who died last month, was building it in the garage of his island home. Now he is sailing in heaven with my aunt who died just a short time (within weeks) before he did. One day, when we stopped in to see him, he showed me the boat. I asked, "Who is going to go with you when you take it out in the Sound? "A good sailor," was his reply. He did not finish his boat. It is still in the garage, like a ship in a bottle. It provided Uncle Don with many dividend days. I'll finish with some talk of "dividend days" but I found another delicious portion of verse this morning:
to see clearly
by Maya Stein
I am no magic trick, no doer of miracles, no water walker.
I am no architect of glory, no layer-on of hands, no angel wing.
I am no weaver of gold, no mythmaker, no parachute artist.
I am no halo of stillness in a downpour.
I am no treasure chest, no hero, no thunderbolt wielder.
I am no rabbit foot or lottery number.
I am no combination lock, no mystery ingredient, no optical illusion.
But here is a handful of sunflowers from the florist's sidewalk jungle.
Here is a blanket to spread on the grass for an afternoon.
Here is a song on the radio that calls for dancing.
Here is a chocolate bar I share with you.
Here is a road sign, a notebook, photographs of those I have loved.
Here is a slice of bright blue sky, a hummingbird
thrashing her wings around an apricot tree.
To see clearly
is enough.

I was browsing in my Stillmeadow Daybook by Gladys Taber and while reading the chapter titled, January, I came upon these words:
"Now and then in January we get what I call a dividend day. The sun is clear and warm and the sky soft as lake water. The tree trunks seem to glow in the light, and a hundred misty colors appear in the swamp. The birds are very gay, they seem to fly with a lighter wing somehow, and the dogs sit by the well-house and dream quite as if it were spring. Squirrels whip around in the maples, always so busy and so important. I think a squirrel would make a good bank president, he saves, he is thrifty, and he feels important, and he must have a very sound head on him. The Quiet Garden on such a day is lucid with sun, and looks as if we might even eat there. I toy with the idea, but Jill says firmly, the benches will be cold as glaciers. And I realize they will. "
We've had some "dividend days" here. The sun is bright and it smells like spring. I think my uncle had the sweet dividend days he needed. I think of a favorite quote:
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It doesn't matter that my uncle did not finish his boat, board it, and sail it out into the Puget Sound, because what kept him pottering in the garage was his love for the vast and endless sea.
I wish you light and a dividend day.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Annotating The Wind in the Willows

When we have a favorite book, a story that stirs us, why not buy an extra copy and love it with pens and pencils?
I started annotating long ago when I became very good friends with my Bible. When I went back to school as a grown up, I found that annotating helped my own reading comprehension.
One day, I decided to annotate one of my all time favorites, Harriet the Spy. I found that annotating (marking up the text) makes me happy.
I found this copy of The Wind in the Willows at a real messy used book store. This morning, coffee and writing utensils at the ready, I jollied up some of my favorite passages.

I've had fun adding my own embellishments to this dear, soothing story of friendship and comfort. I had forgotten that Toad dresses up as a washer woman to escape his confinement. I shall color his dress next.

Hop on over to fraise lachrymose and read all the Wind in the Willows posts. A big hug and a shout out to Mags who thought of this and organized it all.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Honey Home

Wooo hooooo! He's home! Bill and Jeff traveled over twenty-four hours from India and now they are home all safe and sound. What a special time they had there, sharing with school staff at several locations where big-hearted people give their lives away. Those sweet Indians are gift givers - always sending something home. This table runner is a little shiny for my folksy tables but I love it anyway with the tiny golden hearts trimming the edge.

There are little bits of Christmas still hanging around this house. Baby trees and red baubles. Slowly, they are making their way into the Christmas boxes in the basement. Not the trees! They shall be nurtured along and then planted. I have to figure that out, how to do it and all.

A flower fairy sent me some DELICIOUS tea from England. She said, "It's strong!" It is! I love the taste and I've been tipping many tea cups full of this lovely golden brown brew!

I've been grading papers - it's an endless job. I take little breaks and do the only thing I really know how to do with the crochet hook - granny squares. I am perusing the how to books and waiting for the light to dawn. I need a tutor.

It's gray outside and the cover of night is fast approaching. I'm going to putt down to the burrito shop and buy dinner. Now that Bill's home, I won't sleep with piles of books, fall asleep with the light on, and wake up feeling all alone. Yahoo! We had a holiday today in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Tomorrow it's back to the salt mines. Just kidding. I'm feeling rested and ready to greet my students again.
Thank you for reading, for visiting, for your interest. Really. Thank you very, very much.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Come to the River

Hello! This is the first day of Mags blog event. If you love The Wind in the Willows, hop on over to Fraise Lachrymose and say hello to me there. I'm a guest blogger today.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dancing Summer Fairies and Red Love

Hello! Before I dash off to an early morning meeting at school, I share with you this joyful image of our two oldest grandchildren. Look at that glee! I've posted this before and look at it often. Doesn't it make you want to dance?

I'm finally taking down my Christmas. I left it long this year because I just wasn't ready. I can't get enough red.

I bought another Valentine goody at the grocery store.

One of my Italian friends, Flavia, sent me this tiny angel for Christmas. Isn't she darling? I had a rough day in the classroom yesterday. I've told you about this group before. They are so unmotivated, so wild. It makes me jittery and tired. So today, I'm going to think about the angels in the corners. I'm going to purpose to take the high road because I long ago decided to walk the narrow road.
Thank you so much for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mole and Flowers

It snowed and snowed on Sunday and Jeff cleared the driveway. Most of the day, I perched in bed, all warm and snug, reading The Wind in the Willows. A blog event is coming your way, all themed W in the W, so we can all look forward to that! Mags is planning it with links and variety, but I can't stop thinking about my woodsy friends until then.

We interrupt this post to give flowers to blog readers. January is very crisp and pretty, but one does long for blooms, doesn't one?

Soon it will be February, time to plant sweet peas, and when President's Day rolls around here in America, we'll plant. Mid February is the time to put your hopeful round seeds deep in the earth.

Right now, we could buy a coleus and admire her gusty foliage. Isn't this one a beauty? I think I took this picture at a grocery store north of Seattle last summer.

Now back to Mole. He's so true and honest. While hiking through the woods, he smells his home and his heart feels a big tug. He stops and calls for Ratty. This made me think of all the moles in our yard when I was a kid. My dad did not like moles. We would have mole visits and they would leave big earthy piles dotted across our big lawn. I must say, moles are SMART. Even when Mole is cruising around in the river, he really is an earthy house sort of creature. Like us!

I like his nose and the way he tips it up.

I've just met Badger again. He's very sweet. He allows visitors to stay the night. He has a warm kitchen with shiny benches and comfy settles arranged by the fire. He listens when guests wish to tell their stories.

And Toad REALLY is funny! He's so impulsive, so excitable. I was so sad when the caravan crashed. The axle ruined, in great need of repair. I really want a gypsy wagon/caravan for my grands to play in but we may just have to pretend.

I wish there were more Moles, Rats, and Badgers in the world. Don't you? I wish there weren't so many distractions and such adherence to clocks and lists and appointments. Who knows? Someone may knock on your door today and need a visit, a cup of tea, a listening ear. They may take up your entire morning or your afternoon.

Maybe if we sweep, dust, scrub, arrange, love our houses, then the sweet hospitable invitation will waft through the air and a weary traveler my find their way to our doorstep.
"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."
Hebrews 13:2

Friday, January 7, 2011

Teacher Corner

Hello! Here's a photo of the Pom Pom teacher corner. I was going to wait until I had tidied it up a bit more, but that may be weeks from now. Betty said she would have a glass top on her desk and I DO have one! I have some pretty photos to put under the glass but for now great quotes are under all the clutter. You can see my bags all about. Baby wipes on the corner. I recently brought in some rosemary and lemon balm. The kids like to rub the leaves and sniff. I have daffodils on the table near the door, too. It's still VERY hot. Yesterday we took a walk around the school so we could get some fresh air. Praying for a heating duct miracle.

Then as I browsed through some of my saved images, I found a few favorites I thought you may like to look at. Maybe you should stop in at Snap's Bakery and buy yourself a scone.

I realize I go on an on when it comes to my favorites, but isn't Jane Dyer a gorgeous painter/artist? The yellow apron. The rich blue blouse. The glasses. The kerchief. Who doesn't adore a painting featuring a horse?

Many of you love Brambly Hedge. Yes, out in the cold of winter there just has to be cozy little tree trunk dwellings like this one. Don't you agree?

Do you order seeds from seed catalogs? I'm going to request a few seed catalogs today. My zinnias were glorious one year and I think it may have been the good seeds. It's such a fine time to plan our gardens. Jody at Gumbo Lily posted a photo of a breathtaking sunset on the prairie. So, even though we look out at sticks and twigs right now, January is a very lovely winter girl. She smells nice and clean.

Susan Branch (you know, another one of my very favorites!) draws and paints the prettiest little blessings. Is your tea kettle going to sing today?

Yesterday after school I met two of my former students at the coffee shop. They are seniors! Going off to college in less than a year! Yikes! It was fun to listen to their stories. As I ordered my coffee, I spotted this happy red mug. I had to buy it and get a jump start on Valentine's Day. Oh, how I love HEART day!

I raise my cup to you today. Here's to few moments of pure comfort and encouragement. One quiet still moment goes a long way.