Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Put a little bling in it

It's not written in any rule that I have to wear a uniform to school, but I do try to dress casual and comfortable. Who says I can't wear a sparkly blouse to preschool that harkens more to evening wear?

This morning I searched my cram-packed closet because I never have anything to wear. You know how that is. I opened the sliding door from the other end and yanked the first thing. I smiled. I liked it. I hadn't seen it in a year. I've worn this top maybe three times. I have deemed it inappropriate for work and rarely go anyplace fancy-schmancy, so it was relegated to the rear of the closet.

My little charges will ooh and ahh when they see me this morning wearing my deep pink blouse, lightly adorned with clear sequins.

I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and sparkle it up a bit. Open your closet from the back side, write a story that resonates, put a little bling in your own swing. Self-imposed rules are made to be broken.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What a sight to behold

Having spent a week in the tropics, it was difficult to return and adjust to the cooler and wetter spring weather. The days have been gloomy and gray. About a month ago, Bill planted a small red bud tree. It is his baby. I caught him outside sweet talking it, and I swear the next day it bloomed with little pinkish purple buds, then a few days later there were tiny green leaves. Yeah, I really do know how it works, but I like to think a little sweet talk helped.

Across the street from our home is a five acre truck farm. The two gentlemen farmers have lived there all of their lives. They used to open the 4'X8' wooden lids on their in-ground flower boxes, revealing a field of pansies. Then they would work sunrise until sunset planting their fields with tomatoes and other vegetables. We heard car horns constantly as passersby waved at the farmers. 

Now the gentlemen are elderly and frail. We don't see them outside anymore. It is extremely quiet in our neighborhood. Their cousins come to mow the fallow fields. It is a sad sight, a sign of an impending end. That is why we rejoiced so much when the little red bud burst forth with new life.

We took a walk last evening. The cold air penetrated our thin jackets. I was feeling all melancholy about beginnings and endings. Especially ends. It was at a low point as we walked down the block that I received a glimmer of hope.

The tree in a neighbor's yard with its brand new growth made me think of what's to come. I wish I had a lush tree like this in our yard so I could park myself under it and read a book. Our little red bud will provide shade for another family when we are gone. 

These were my depressing thoughts when suddenly, an ominous black cloud  back lit the neighbor's tree. Impossible, because the sun was setting in the farmer's field across the street.  I'm sure there is some meterologic explanation, but to me it was a gift. And so I raised my eyes and said, "Thank You." 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Metamorphisis of me

On Friday, a team of educators. pathologists, specialists came to observe one of my special needs students who will be attending their school in the fall.

After reading a book about caterpillars, I placed several large stuffed (carnival prizes) caterpillars in a pile on the floor and asked the students to guess HOW MANY. Then we counted to make sure there wasn't a hundred or a million, like some thought, but just five.

I asked the kids if they were same or different, and reminded the class to always look for the things that are the same in people and or objects before focusing on differences. My students are really good at this, and I hope they take this skill through life.

We sorted, classified, discussed sizes, longest, shortest, likenesses and differences, and then we had caterpillar races on the 3 ft. long ones. The children sat on the floor and scooted. There was so much cheering and laughter and movement. The visitors expressed alarm when we morphed into butterflies. I put wings on all my students and told them to be careful and fly around the room with out bumping anyone. They did! Kids do live up to our expectations.

As the team left, they told me how impressed they were with me and my program. I have heard that for decades, and from so many "officials." Once I was asked to institute a cultural diversity program, and I objected to one aspect of the new curriculum, having to document every single thing I did. Instead, I invited the developers to come into my class and observe how I incorporate CD in my class room all day, everyday. Someone from the university came to observe me. I handed the woman a copy of my lesson plans for a year, highlighting how I touched on CD. She was so impressed, I was excused from using their program. I have been told by so many that I should be teaching teachers. Maybe? But I made an impact on youngsters over the years, and I parented many parents. I think God put me where I was needed most.

As my 39th school year (my last) winds down, I am feeling mixed emotions. These next nine weeks I will find myself wavering, a tear building in the corner of my eye and swallowing hard when I do all  of the lasts.

All good things must end...and I am looking forward to a new beginning. Like the caterpillar, I will emerge anew.


Friday, April 17, 2015

I have been deprived!

One of life's simple pleasures is sleeping in my own bed. It is even more meaningful today because last night, after an entire month of sacking out elsewhere, I finally had a great night's sleep. Ah, to sink into that memory foam mattress which cradles me and eases all the pressure points and relieves my stress. To depress my down filled pillow with my heavy head... and soundly snooze. It was a delight!

My hubby had a cold last month, so I slept on the couch for a week. I like to fall asleep watching TV, but I don't like to be awakened by shouting and shooting, lamp lights blaring and the cat staring. Wide-eyed, dazed and confused I often woke in the wee hours wondering where I was.

Then we went on 10 day vacation, and we slept in hotel beds that were less than comfy. A week on a cruise ship trying to catch some Zzzzs while way too many kids roamed, made for less than satisfying night's sleep on a hard mattress and lumpy pillow.

Returned from vacation to discover my honey had developed pneumonia, and I had caught his cold. So we hacked in separate rooms for another week.

Last night, the barking, snorting and hacking completely subsided, and I slept so well, except for the dream in which I was running naked up the alley trying to get inside my house and find my clothes. We don't even have an alley! But I was SKINNY in my dream :)

Back when my children were babies, I never got a full night's uninterrupted sleep. Not until they left home. It wasn't their fault. It was my own. I drank a full glass of water each night before I went to bed to insure that I would wake during the night so I could check to see that they were breathing, tucked in, and sleeping comfortably. Only then, could I sleep more soundly.

How did I sleep for so many years on the verge of deep sleep, but never there, always listening for the slightest whimper or cry.
Last night I finally got some recuperative sleep. I'm ready to take on a new day...and put on some clothes!


Monday, April 13, 2015

She's a writer's best friend...

Does the name Linda Formichelli ring a  bell?  Be sure to check out her blog. She is one of the most generous writers. She offers webinars, free e-book downloads, encouragement and useful, practical advice. She shares trade secrets and she motivates readers. Also known as the Renegade Writer, Linda is a writer's best friend. I just signed up for her free site. Morning Motivations are like a kick start to my day. Be sure you sign up for her free gift an e book: Fire Under Your Freelance Ass. It is the encouragement that writer's need to read after the winter doldrums roll into spring.

Another great writer resource is GIGA Alerts. You can sign up for free, or pay a fee for deep results. This site tracks your writing interests and sends you call outs in your selected genres.

Happy writing. It is raining here, which makes me want to write, but unfortunately writing will have to wait, as I must get ready for work.

I saw a cartoon that I can certainly relate to. The biggest lie writers tell: I don't have to write that down. I'll remember it.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cruisers, losers and doozers

    On a whim we booked a last minute vacation. We tried to rent a friend's condo in Florida but it was not available. I made a phone call. There were only two rooms left so we chose the one on the second  floor. We drove to New Orleans to board the Carnival Dream cruise ship, a floating monster of the sea with 5,000 passengers on board...one third of which were children on spring break seeking a good time.

There were many educators and school nurses and office employees also on spring break. It was like living in a germ-filled school with a bunch of snot nosed, hacking, grubby-handed, whiny little preschool kids. Then there were the school-age monsters who ran rampant and unattended up and down the halls in packs, mowing down elders and rapping on doors like Wee Willy Winky, except not in nightgowns, because none of the little buggers slept.

They overflowed the self serve soft ice cream machines, wasted enough food to feed a third world nation, and ran their mitts over every single elevator button for the fun of it. The little darlings raced one another in six GLASS elevators up and down a dozen floors, on display, doing their thing for all to see. Where were their parents? On vacation, by the pool, being entertained, sipping suds and fancy drinks out of carved coconut heads.

One of the employees said he reprimanded a boy who was pressing elevator buttons. Later in the day he saw the kid with his mom and asked, "Is this your son?" She copped an attitude and said, "Yeah, what's it to YOU!"

He replied, "I just wanted to tell you that your son apologized when I talked to him about pressing all the elevator buttons."

She gave him a dirty look and before she could speak, he said, "Please tell his STEP MOM thank you, because someone obviously taught him manners."

PERFECT! There is so little accountability anymore.

Two weeks before we left, hubby had a cold which went into bronchitis. He completed his antibiotics and seemed much better. He was cleared to travel.

The germ capital of the seas led to another upper respiratory infection (or a relapse) on the fourth day. In a closet-size cabin with limited TV channels, I was able to hear half of Judge Judy's admonitions and only a portion of CNNs repeating news, because there was a barking seal in my bed.

We WERE able to kick back on a couple of beaches in the Grand Caymen Island and also in Cozumel, Mexico. The Caribbean Sea is the most awesome turqouise blue water you will ever see. The trade winds and salt water soothed my soul, if only briefly. I left my honey reclining in a beach chair, and I left my footprints in the sand as I strolled for miles.

I drove ALL the way home and right to the doctor, where hubby was diagnosed with pneumonia. This new stronger antibiotic is kicking the heck out of it. Thank God. 

Now the worst news of all, during the last night of constant interrupted sleep I forgot that I hadn't brushed my teeth, so I got up to do so. In the morning I screamed when I saw my toothbrush in its holder.

I had used hubby's by mistake. ARGH! I have a strong immune system from having been exposed to every virus known to kids for all these years. Two liters of Listerine later, I have no more than a slight sore throat. My lymph nodes are doing their work.  

All I can say is, never again on spring break! Oh yeah, that's right...after June 19th, I won't have any more spring breaks. I'm retiring, throwing in the towel, grabbing a beach towel and heading for sand and surf...
                when the rug rats are all back in school.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Making an impression

Spring break is over. It's back to work tomorrow, and I need a vacation from vacation. More about our adventure on tomorrow's post. Today I want to tell you about some people who impressed me.
We drove to New Orleans and spent the night at Quality Inn in Gretna, Louisiana where I met two of the nicest women. 

Carnella Jackson and Michelle Walls are the most personable hostesses in charge of the breakfast bar.  
I've always heard that God puts us where he needs us to be, so we can impact others.   

These women are probably like most of us. Who wouldn't like a better job, one perhaps with more prestige, or a title, and for sure more money?  But let me tell you, they are  hostesses with the mostest!

In life, you are either a morning person, or you are not.
You either like your job, or you do not.

You enjoy people, or people annoy you.

I imagine Carnella and Michelle must have  mixed emotions each Sunday as they prepare breakfast for guests who are ready to leave for a cruise to the Tropics. I'm sure some guests are haughty, some are appreciative, and some are kind, or not.
Carnella and Michelle are so personable, professional and inspirational!

Michelle is a morning person...and probably an afternoon and evening person, too. She greeted guests with exuberance and humor. How nice it was to see a friendly face, to be engaged in conversation and to laugh at her lively antics.
Carnella  was sweet and seemed less of a party person than the "live wire." Once I engaged her in conversation I could tell she is a spiritual person. I shared with her that I had been published in Gloria Gaynor's book, We Will Survive. I told her how Ms. Gaynor, who was once a party animal, says she has turned her life over to Jesus and is a changed person.  

Carnella agreed with me that we must lead our children down a spiritual path. Even if they veer off as they try to find themselves, they usually return to the foundation we lay.

I want to say THANK YOU to two of the most hospitable women in the hospitality industry who made an impression on me.
Please return tomorrow for a recap of our vacation from well... not heaven.