Saturday, March 25, 2017

25 of 31: Happy to Be

This slice was inspired by a post that I read yesterday.

Happy to visit his family farm's sprawling fields of cut corn stalks,
unshaven stubble poking out.
Happy to escape the city and wander through the purple henbit,
another beautiful reminder that spring's about.

Happy to amble along a forgotten train line
now invisible beneath the chat.
Happy to wander his childhood playground
of barns, fields, fences and the occasional animal track.

Happy to don sunglasses to keep from squinting under the bright, bright sun,
Happy to hold his hand as he recounts escapades of his younger years quite fun.

Happy to understand a childhood and life so different from my own
Happy to learn of the wonders of the woods so seldom known.

What makes you happy?

Friday, March 24, 2017

24 of 31: Bend with a Friend

She climbed into my car and it was nonstop chatter the entire 20 minute drive catching up on her kids and their various states of health, her husband, my family, our jobs, and how we had spent our glorious week off. Halfway there I shrugged out of my jacket at a stoplight because it turned out to be too warm to need it. It was definitely a sunglasses and t-shirt type of day.

We exited the car and strolled across the parking lot towards my yoga studio, which was running a "Bend with a Friend" promotion. As she signed in, I slipped off my shoes. Dani, one of my favorite instructors, introduced herself to my friend and asked if she practiced yoga before and if she had any injuries or problem areas. 

Dani continued peppering Susan with questions and tidbits of information about the class as she walked us into the studio. There were three yogis already on their mats stretching like cats in the bright morning sun shining through the plate glass windows. After grabbing all necessary props, Susan and I rolled out our mats next to each other in the back corner of the space.

When we walked in, I was mid-story, so I very quietly leaned over to whisper the epic conclusion and Susan just shook her head sharing in my disgust. I didn't want to disturb my fellow yogis so I kept our conversation brief.

Finally, Dani began class and we started focusing on our breathing. We set our intentions for the class and I silently acknowledged my good fortune and good friend sitting on the mat next to me. I slipped back into a meditative state focusing on my breath and occasionally pushing out the thoughts about lunch and my to-do list and whether or not Susan wanted to go shopping. I managed to always return to count my breaths in order to still my mind.

Seventy-five minutes melted away as we stretched and breathed and balanced and moved in and out of various poses. I love yoga. And there couldn't have been a better way to spend the last official morning of my spring break than to bend with a friend. 

My advice to you: bend with a friend at any and every opportunity. It is good for the heart, mind, body, and soul.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

23 of 31: The Not So Fast Drive-Thru

"What would you like for lunch?" I asked.

"Well I like McDonalds," she replied without looking up from her coloring book. Her brand new Mr. Sketch cherry scented marker in hand as she carefully filled in the lines of her coloring book.

"Well are you a cheeseburger or chicken nugget kind of a girl?" I responded marveling at her concentration.

"Chicken nugget. But do you think I'm an apple slice or fry kind of girl?" a smile tugged at her lips.

"That's a tough one. Let me think."

"Oh, I'll give you a hint. I love mashed potatoes," and she paused her coloring to consider me as I pondered.

I rubbed my chin for dramatic effect and then exclaimed, "French fries it is!"

With that settled, I left my friend Laurie's 7-year-old daughter, Adie, with my mom and retrieved my car keys and purse.

I could not tell you the last time I was at McDonalds, but I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of line. I pulled right up and politely ordered a happy meal. Now, you are asked if you want that for a girl or boy. I wondered when that started. I certainly didn't remember that from when I was a kid, but alas, that was a long time ago.

The first window opened and I reached out my hand with crumpled bills and thanked the attendant.

Slowly, I pulled up to the second window and waited less than two minutes. A friendly young man smiled as he opened the window and passed me a Hi-C in the smallest of cups. Then he handed me a bag and wished me a nice day.

I pulled away thinking that this happy meal was, in fact, going to make one little girl very happy.

Six minutes later, I pulled into my garage and walked in feeling a bit like Santa sneaking down the chimney. Adie still colored and when she saw me, she commented on how fast I was. I made a silly joke about the virtues of fast food.

And then we looked in the bag. I found a small bag of hot french fries that even I have to admit smelled tempting. I found the tiny Barbie doll gift. I found napkins, ketchup, and barbeque sauce. What I did not find were the chicken nuggets.

I knew it was too good to be true. I picked up my purse and grumbled that I would be right back. Clearly, I'm so out of practice at a drive-thru window that I had forgotten the cardinal rule of checking the bag before pulling out of the parking lot. So, back to McDonald's I drove.

Again, fate smiled down on me about the same time the sun peaked its bashful head out for the first time all day. I pulled right up to the ordering station, explained my unfortunate situation, and was directed to pull straight up to the second window.

The same smiling young man opened the window though I noted he didn't make quite the level of eye-contact as he did our first encounter just minutes before. He quickly handed me a small bag and gave me the same have a nice day line. I smiled in reply and pulled away.

It wasn't until I was down the street a bit that it occurred to me that a, "Sorry about that," would have gone a long way to assuage my annoyance at having to make a return trip.

I could have grumbled or demanded my money back, but honestly that didn't even occur to me. My only thought was getting the chicken nuggets home so that Adie could enjoy them with her french fries.

After all, I've made mistakes. I've certainly messed up. And that's life. Sometimes the order is right the first time and sometimes, we have to circle back and revisit the window a second time.

Ultimately, I had the pleasure of watching Adie munch her chicken nuggets after making sure she counted them to ensure accuracy. It was worth both trips.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

22 of 31: Brave

Brave is telling your family the truth even when they don't want to hear it.
Brave is wearing a two piece swimsuit.
Brave is going to nursing school while raising two young children.
Brave is standing up for your beliefs and convictions and faith.
Brave is doing more than just complaining.
Brave is taking action.
Brave is putting your voice out there.
Brave is dancing even when people are watching.
Brave is singing because you love to.
Brave is writing and letting others read it.
Brave is caring for an aging parent.
Brave is traveling abroad and seeing the world.
Brave is committing to someone and keeping that commitment.
Brave is loving after heartbreak.
Brave is giving second chances.
Brave is taking second chances.
Be Brave.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

21 of 31: Spring Cleaning on Spring Break...What???

I've put off cleaning and decluttering my small home office for far too long. Stacks of books spill over the edges of the two book shelves outlined in dust. You can no longer tell the color of the desk due to the therapeutic coloring books, gel pens, markers, old CDs, mail, bills, taxes forms, thank you cards, desk dictionary, pen caddy and desk organizer, framed photos, printer, computer, and stapler covering its surface entirely. Who even listens to CDs anymore?

The casualties of my dirty office lay on the floor shrouded in dust bunnies with their six stiff legs pointed toward the ceiling frozen in their salute. I mentally add calling Linda the Bug Lady to my spring break to-do list.

Black framed degrees hang smartly on the grey wall reminding me that I should have the intelligence and wherewithal to keep this space tidy. My floating book shelves no longer look like they are floating since there are books stacked up the wall underneath them resembling more of a leaning tower of books than the uber-cool wall decor they should.

The purge begins. I shred at least a year's worth of old bills, credit card applications, and standardized test data. Only in a teacher's home office will you find binders of old data, meeting notes, and handouts from workshops and faculty meetings long past. Some circa 2003. I empty the shredder 8 times filling two huge plastic bags with tiny bits of paper. I certainly could make some guinea pigs or hamsters happy playing in all this shredded paper. At least I have single stream recycling.

Next, I attack the book shelves. I grab the teacher totes I've collected from various conferences and begin filling them with books that will find a new home in my classroom, books I want to offer to my curriculum coordinator, and books that will be donated to Goodwill in hopes of finding a home where they do more than collect dust. At last, I slip on my dusting glove and begin swiping the black shelves until the last dust mote is removed. I once again have floating book shelves giving the room a rather stylish look.

I turn to confront my desk. The desk I no longer use. I suck in a deep breath and hop to it. Before I know it another hour and a half has ticked by and I am beginning to see signs of progress. Just a bit more shuffling, stacking, pitching, and wiping and I can see the faux blond wood grain smile its greeting.

Now vacuuming and then wiping the wooden floor with my microfiber dust cloth. I still am grossed out by the amount of dirt I get up AFTER I vacuum. I look at the clock and realize that I have been at this for nearly 5 hours and the room is only 9' x 9'. Thank goodness I don't have a huge sprawling office!

The very last touch is wiping down the wall next to the fish tank to erase some drip marks and then dusting the baseboards. I thought about draining and cleaning the fish tank for like a split second, but quickly moved that to the summer break to-do list.  What's nine more weeks?

Deep sigh of satisfaction as I look around this small room and realize that I wish I would have taken a before and after picture to prove just how productive I've been!

Okay, now on to the bathroom.  Grrrr!!!

Monday, March 20, 2017

20 of 31: I Did It Again

I did it again.

I overate. 

It's so hard to just put down the fork. 

Even though I shared my entree. Even though I only consumed one fish taco. Even though I refused dessert and drank mostly water (okay, okay, I had a few sips of each of the four beers in my sister's beer flight). Even though I left two untouched jalepeno poppers on the plate (I lost track of how many I actually popped). I still sit here with the waistband of my sweatpants rolled down so that my extended stomach can protrude in peace. My eyelids are heavy no doubt from an overdose of MSG. I'm fighting the food coma with every ounce of energy I can muster, but I fear I'm losing.

Ugh. I do not feel well. I feel like I should walk around the block, but my fingers walking over this keyboard will have to suffice.

I did put down the fork

It was just too late.

I did it again.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

19 of 31: My Life In Numbers

I was inspired to write this post about my life in numbers after reading a fellow slicer's post doing the same. I really enjoyed the format!

1 is the exact number of traffic tickets I've received. I might add that it was for running a stoplight (I still maintain it was yellow) and not for speeding - I've received 0 speeding tickets in the 24 years I've been driving. I am crossing my fingers that this does not tempt the fates!

2 is the number of school districts in which I have taught middle school and 7th grade English. One with 20,553 students and the other with just over 4,454 students.

3 is the total number of cars that I have owned in my lifetime. My car is over 10 years old and has over 161,000 miles and still goes zoom zoom.

4 is the number of sweetgum trees planted in my yard. I've written about these in an earlier post, but they still taunt me with their 100s of prickly gumballs littering my yard.

5 is the number of books currently in my "to read" pile on my night stand.

6 is the number of siblings I have. 1 older sister, 2 younger sisters, and 3 big brothers, who happily tortured me as a kid and sometimes still do.

7 is the number of years that I have been a proud home owner...cutting the yard and picking up gumballs!

8 is the number of beautiful and talented and funny nieces and nephews whom I adore and love to spoil!

9 is the age I was when my father passed away from a sudden heart attack. He was only 47, and I used to think that was old. I have since adjusted my attitude about age properly and realize he was incredibly young when he died.

10 is the number of episodes of Sneaky Pete that I watched consecutively today on Amazon Prime. It was the perfect lazy Sunday to kick off my spring break!