Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sinks Are Not Just For Washing And Other Thankfuls

I gave myself a week off from the Ten Things of Thankful last weekend, not because there was nothing to be thankful for, because we know there always is, but because I was just plain ol' lazy. So there. I threw my own self under the bus.

Here's this week's list:

1. Fresh, clean sheets on the bed. 

2. Having help putting the fresh, clean sheets on the bed from not one, not two, but three cats. Why not take a five minute process and turn it into twenty minutes of cats under the sheets, cats over the sheets, one under and one over, wrestling with each other, all three between the mattress and the fitted sheet? It's FUN....

3. Dual uses for sinks.

Nora Pearl


4. Seeing my preschoolers outside of preschool. Saturday, as part of my other gig at the photo studio, I was working at a girls' softball league photo shoot. One of my favorite preschoolers was there with his older sister, and the look on his face when he saw me was priceless! 

5. Seeing former preschoolers anywhere and getting hugs. At the same photo shoot, I saw over half a dozen former preschoolers, ranging in age from 5 to 15. I so love watching them grow up!

6. I found a necklace I have been looking for for AGES. It was a single pearl on a gold chain. The pearl came from a pin and earring set my grandpa brought back to my mom from Japan in the 1950s. My mom never really cared for it, but she kept it tucked away in her jewelry box, and when I was in college, she had the pearls from the pin made into some other jewelry. She gave me this necklace and a pair of pearl stud earrings made from the original pin set, and somehow, I've managed to keep track of them ever since. That is, I kept track of them until I let my daughter wear the necklace for something (it's been so long ago I don't even remember what it was. Prom, maybe? Two years ago?!). I was trying to straighten up her room (a futile attempt) and glanced at her dresser and there, in a plastic shoe box with a bunch of bracelets, hair ties, and other jewelry, WAS MY PEARL NECKLACE! I am THRILLED!

7. I also found a t-shirt in my daughter's room that I didn't even realize I was missing until I found it wadded up on the floor. 

8. And a gold bracelet that has been missing since high school days. Every time I would ask for it, she would say something vague about it being in her backpack yet never produced it. I was checking the pockets of purses I was picking up off the floor and putting away, throwing out trash and hoping to find money (I didn't), and inside one of them was the bracelet. You may now see why we have always said she was part raccoon....

9. Really good doughnuts.

10. Sleeping with the windows open. Our window of opportunity (no pun intended) for this is very small. We go from spring to full on, hot, humid summer by the first of June, and it lasts until late September, but while it lasts, open window weather is a delight!

In everything, give thanks.

Ten Things of Thankful

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Memory: A Six Sentence Story

My keys disappeared.
My grocery list's gone.
Where my glasses are, I do not know.

I can't find my phone.
Left my jacket at work.
Oh, where did my memory go?

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "memory"

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Point: A Six Sentence Story

"Tell me," he whispered gently into her ear, his breath hot and laced with whiskey and cigarettes. He stood behind her, holding her close to his hard body, and she closed her eyes, her lips parting for a brief moment before she shook her head almost imperceptibly.

He held her tighter, stroking her hair, and still, she remained silent.

She heard him sigh with disappointment, taking his hand from her hair a moment before she heard the soft click and felt the point of a knife against her throat, barely touching her at first, then becoming more insistent as she stood there, knees shaking, heart pounding.

"Tell me where you hid it, or I'm going to draw a pretty picture on your pretty little neck, from here" - and he touched the knife point to one side of her neck - "to here" - and he lightly touched the knife to the other side of her neck - "and I won't stop until I get an answer."

Her voice sounded far away and foreign to her own ears as she spat back, "Go ahead and kill me; you'll never get your answer that way," and she heard the knife drop to the floor.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "point"

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart

This week, we had hot, humid, windy days (80+ degrees, which is high for early April, low for June, but since it's April, then high) and then freeze warnings, icy cold rain, and even some snow. Wheee, doggies!  Makes me miss living in Ventura, where the weather was so predictable: pleasant, pleasant, rain, mudslides, pleasant, June gloom, warm, warm, warm, Santa Ana winds and wildfires, pleasant, pleasant. 

The silver lining to this cold, wet weather is that the grass is greening and the leaves are popping and the flowers are blooming, and in a month, we're going to be hot and sweaty.

Now on to the thankfuls:

1. We took advantage of one of the hot, sunny days to try a project at preschool that my assistant teacher Melissa found on Pinterest. The kids traced the shadows of zoo animals onto paper for "Z" week. The wind was a problem, as it kept blowing the giraffes over, but all in all, it was a success, especially for the first time we tried it. Here they are, hard at work:

2. A week or so ago, my kids got to use their watercolors to paint these spring flowers. They LOVE to watercolor, and they turned out so well that I hung them out in the hallway:

When I arrived at school Monday morning, I found this note taped to my door from a member of the congregation of the church where our preschool is located:

I'm touched that someone cared enough to post us a note, and I'm leaving it up there FOREVER, or until we take the pictures down!

3. Look at this sammich. Don't you wish you could take a big ol' bite of it right now? Melissa and I went out to lunch this week. We don't get a chance to do that very often, as we both have busy lives once we leave preschool for the day, but when we do, we do it right!

This is the Your Mom sammich from Tropicana,
if you ever find yourself in Joplin. And if
you do, call me and I'll join you here.

4. Homemade pizza.

5. Homemade banana bundt cake.

6. Leftover pizza and bundt cake for breakfast.

(Guess what I made this week....)

7. Umm, I'm thankful he kept his tail dry?

Nora is inside the shower as the water
runs and warms up enough for me to get
in, which is our every day routine.
Lewis has decided to join her but can't
get all the way in, because Nora isn't
budging, knowing the sweet spot to
play with the water yet not get soaked.

8.THIS GUY! This is my children's favorite teacher of all time. He came down with flu-like symptoms and was taking medication, then began having difficulty breathing and was taken to the ER and on to the ICU. He was diagnosed with severe fungal double pneumonia. Long story short, after 27 days in the hospital, nearly all of them in the ICU, he posted a message on Facebook! He's still got a long recovery ahead of him, but GLORY HALLELUJAH, my heart has been bursting with happiness to hear from him! You won't find a student, past or present (along with parents and co-workers), who does not love, respect and admire this man. Extra thanks to his wife for keeping everyone updated with his condition, and continued prayers for Chris, along with his wife and daughter. 

4 years ago, when I helped Chris
move his stuff into the new high school
that was built after the tornado
blew away the original one.

9. The last one counted for two, at least.

10. In spite of the freeze warning, it really is spring!

Give thanks with a grateful heart!

Ten Things of Thankful

Friday, April 12, 2019

Believe It Or Not, We're Still Friends

I grew up in a tract home in the suburbs of Kansas City. The neighborhood was built at the height of the baby boom, and nearly every house was filled with children. It was the kind of neighborhood where kids played outside until the streetlights came on, where moms met every morning for coffee, and where you were never without someone to play with.

Our next door neighbors had built onto their little three bedroom, one bath home by turning the garage into a family room with a bathroom and adding a large, glassed-in porch in the back. They also had a basement. The youngest of their four kids, Cherie, was my best friend. We played together nearly every day, sometimes at our house, sometimes at hers, but most often outside, climbing trees and swinging on my swing set. We rode bikes, played records and danced and sang, walked to and from school together, and were in love with The Monkees. Life was good.

Then one day, Cherie came over, very excited, to tell me her mom was going to have a baby. This pregnancy was a surprise to everyone involved, but instead of being excited like Cherie was, I was mad. And hurt. My mother knew this, and as soon as Cherie went back home, I burst into tears, crying about the unfairness of Cherie getting a baby brother or sister when I wanted one so badly. My mother told me she knew I would feel that way, but I was still not going to become a big sister ever, and I cried harder.

I got over my initial shock, and when the baby was born, I got to hold him, sitting down and supervised by a hovering adult. But Cherie got to help with the baby, and I was jealous. SO jealous! Cherie's mom brought the baby over to our house one summer day and left him  (and Cherie) with us while she ran a quick errand. Cherie and I knelt on the floor, leaning over the baby, who was lying on the floor on a blanket. We were competing with each other to get him to smile and laugh when Cherie accidentally elbowed me in the eye (she had the sharpest elbows ever). My reaction was to punch her in the arm as hard as I could before running out of the room, my mom's voice following me, chastising me for hitting, and about that time, Cherie's mom came back and collected her and the baby. 

All of my jealousy was released with that punch, and long before the black eye faded, I was no longer mad at Cherie for being lucky enough to be a big sister. 

Summer of 1970; I was 9 years old.

The above picture of me, sporting a crocheted headband and a black eye and holding my hamster, was taken in our back yard, obviously not long after Cherie cracked me with her VERY BONY elbow, and was the inspiration for this story, written for Mama's Losing It Writer's Workshop and using the prompt, "Share a childhood photo of yourself and let it inspire a blog post."

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Contest: A Six Sentence Story

She packed his things in an assortment of old suitcases, lined them up neatly on the front porch, and poured herself a cup of coffee, lit a cigarette, and settled into a chair by the window, awaiting his arrival home from the office. 

It wasn't long before she heard his footsteps on the walk, then his curses as he reached the porch. Taking a last drag from her cigarette, she then crushed it into the ashtray and watched as the door was thrown open and, the cursing louder, he stepped across the threshold. Her eyes met his and she slowly exhaled, emptying her lungs of smoke.

"You can't get away with this!" he sputtered, and took a step toward her.

"You can contest it if you wish," she said, running her manicured fingertip around the rim of the coffee cup, "but I have pictures, and my lawyer has the negatives."

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "contest"

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


Some things that have made me go hmmmm....

I delete a lot of pictures like these from the camera roll on my phone. How do I (a) not notice my camera is on and (b) that I took a picture or three or four?

This is a house in the middle of a town. It's a town that is barely hanging on to being a town, and I find it oddly fascinating. The sun was obviously at a bad angle for a picture, but I kind of like the way it turned out. The entire house is covered with vines, and those vines are probably the only thing holding it up. 

I was playing with a Snapchat filter, and I think I want to dye my hair purple. What say you?

How, HOW does a kitten bite a USB charger so hard that it bends? HOW? We THOUGHT we had a kitten, but I'm beginning to think he's a puppy. Bad boy, Lewis!

The other one is no saint. This is Finn, who has tucked himself into the back of the recliner. Not smart, Finn, not smart, but then, he isn't going to be the cat equivalent of a rocket scientist anyway.

Why? Just why? I can't think of any other acceptable option, but apparently SOMEONE has been creative.

So at my job at the photo studio, I was handing a customer a photo order through this window (pictured below, on the left). Just as I passed it through the window, it slipped out of my hands and fell STRAIGHT DOWN THAT CRACK THAT YOU SEE ON THE RIGHT. I have worked here for several years, and I never even NOTICED a crack just past the window. (You can't see it when you stand on the office side of the window, and you hardly see it from the lobby. You CAN see it by standing on tiptoe, sticking your head out the window, and looking down, which I did to get the picture.) On the other side of the window, against the wall, is a large, heavy shelf loaded with pottery and photo albums. I had to get down on my hands and knees with a giant feather duster on a stick (first thing I found) after moving a large, heavy framed photograph on a large, heavy stand and poked around behind the large, heavy shelving unit until I was able to snag the bag with the photos in it and gently ease it out. Good times.

Does anyone else have to remove kittens from the bathtub, the shower, the sink, every time, and I do mean EVERY TIME they turn on the water to use said bathtub or shower or sink? And aren't cats supposed to dislike water? And if so, why do I have three cats (two kittens and a cat) that are fascinated with water, still or moving, and don't mind getting practically soaked? I kid you not, I have to move a kitten out of the way to spit every time I brush my teeth. And you can't turn on the water quietly enough that they won't hear you and come running.

Why, just why (volume 2)?

Hmmmm. Just hmmmm....

Sunday, April 7, 2019

There's A Spring In My Step

We're on the downhill side of the school year, and that last quarter goes by FAST. We're finishing up our alphabet books in pre-k this week, plus we have to squeeze in butterflies and plants and Easter and Mother's Day and graduation in the next six weeks. When you realize I have one class for three mornings a week and the other for only two mornings a week, you might sense the urgency of getting it all squeezed in.

Somehow, though, I managed to write a Six Sentence Story (it's been a LONG time since I made it to that hop!) AND make more bitty bundt cakes. And went to Fayetteville for the reception held for the recipients of Journalism School scholarships. Here's my recipient:

Recipient of the Wanda A. Belzung Scholarship
right here!

And here are the rest of my Ten Things of Thankful:

2. It might, MIGHT finally be spring. Shhh! Don't scare it away!

3. Violets that pop up in the yard at the lake house. They are one of my favorite flowers and remind me of childhood, when we had violets and lilies of the valley that grew in our front flower bed. 

I love how delicate violets are.

4. This amazing sunset:

The pictures don't do it justice.

The pink glow on the water is what
alerted me to this beautiful sight.

5. Prom pictures flooding my Facebook feed. Love looking at the happy faces and seeing the outfits!

6. Open windows and a light breeze.

7. Kittens. Even when they are wreaking havoc.

8. This bad boy still works like a champ. My mom bought it at TG&Y in the early 1970s, and today, I used it to make beef stew.

You don't need bells and whistles with a crockpot.
All you REALLY need is off and on.

9. Thrift stores. If you go in with no expectations, you're more likely to find a treasure.

Anyone in the market for a toaster?
I've got a lead on one (or 15).

10. Preschool artwork. This is probably my favorite piece ever, in 18 years of teaching preschool, made by the happiest kid I think I've ever had in class, and it makes me smile every time I look at it: 

It's a yak. For "Y" week.
A very happy-go-lucky yak.

Be thankful always.

Ten Things of Thankful

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Type: A Six Sentence Story

When I was in high school, Title IX was still a reasonably new thing, and many classes were still segregated by sex, not because it was a rule any longer, because it couldn't be, but because social norms took a long time to catch up with the new regulations: boys took shop and woodworking classes, girls took home ec and learned to sew and cook, and only one or two students were "brave" enough to cross the gender line.

It was spring of my junior year in high school, and I was selecting my classes for my senior year with my guidance counselor, and we got into a bit of a disagreement over one of the classes I chose. I had to take typing, which I had avoided thus far, so I signed up for Personal Typing, but my counselor told me I couldn't take that; it was for boys to learn the keyboard, but GIRLS needed to take a full year of typing, so they could become secretaries some day.

"I will NEVER be a secretary!" I announced, but my counselor wouldn't budge, and into the full year of typing I went, and I tried, I really did, but once we were past learning the keyboard, my typing ability went into a downward spiral, as did my grade, and I was failing, FAILING, every assignment I was given (you may not know this, but it is possible to type negative words per minute when you can't complete an assignment without making multiple mistakes), and the teacher began telling us how we were going to be using carbon paper starting second semester, and that's all I needed to hear.

"Get me OUT of there!" I said to my counselor, and even she had to agree that I wasn't Typing material and would have been better off with the boys in Personal Typing, and she took me out of the class (much to the delight of the teacher, I'm sure) and I got to work as an aide in the library for the rest of the year.

And I'm not sure who had the last laugh, but around 7 years later, I became a legal secretary and was able to type over 100 words per minute after about a year at it, even with heavy use of the backspace....


Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "type"