Thursday, April 28, 2011

Recess Duty

It has been said the three best things about being a school teacher are June, July and August.  Some days I couldn’t agree more.  And since the end of school is less than two months away I am counting the days.

If you are employed in a small private school you sometimes have to do more than just teach.  Two of my week days are spent in the classroom teaching children the joys of music.  The other three are spent keeping them from killing each other on the playground during recess.  Not the best assignment of my career, but if it means having a full-time job I will happily put that whistle around my neck.

The 4th, 5th and 6th graders love to play a game I call the, “Kill the Person on the top of the climbing structure” game.  A few kids stand on the top of the “mountain” where they are pelted with balls of every shape and size by the kids on the ground below.  If I wasn’t in charge I would probably enjoy watching the mayhem and maybe even participate.
Not being a mom, I think I let them get away with things that would make someone with a stronger maternal instinct shudder.  Some women have said to me, “Should you let them do that?”  And I reply with, “Oh, is that not safe?  It looks fun.”  Or if a kid comes up to me crying, saying, “He hit me with the ball,” I have absolutely no sympathy for them.  A more sensitive woman would comfort the child and put a stop to the game.  Not me.  I mean, if the point of the game is to hit people with the ball, and you don’t want to get hit by a ball, THEN DON’T PLAY THAT GAME. 

Teaching isn't the only profession that deserves three months off, but as far as I know it's the only one that does.  So I'm sticking with teaching, even if if means recess duty.  Come on Summer...
Question:  What are some of your fun recess memories?

Monday, April 25, 2011

He is Risen!

Happy Day after Easter.  He is still Risen.  He is still Risen Indeed! 

I have a vivid memory of an Easter morning from my childhood.  My mother must have awakened me slightly after making her Easter Bunny delivery to my room.  I rolled over to find a pink bunny in bed with me.  I didn’t find it odd or in my sleepy haze think, “Oh yes, of course, it’s Easter; that’s why there’s a strange pink bunny in bed with me.”  I just knew I loved him so I drew him close, cuddled, snuggled and went back to sleep.  I named him Droopy.
Like most little girls, my sisters and I always got a new outfit for Easter Sunday.  Each year of our lovely ensembles are chronicled in family photographs.  The year of my blue and white cowboy styled hat shall remain one of my favorite fashion faux pas.  (You may have seen me in a Glamour Magazine with a black bar across my face.) 

As a child, Easter was all about collecting eggs and hanging with my cousins; not the resurrection of Jesus.  Thankfully, I grew up and my view of holidays grew as well.  Christmas became more about anticipating the birth of the Messiah than the anticipation of two weeks off from school.  I also learned it truly did feel more blessed to give than to receive.

 Now, Easter is my favorite holiday, even topping a mashed potato and gravy filled Thanksgiving.  Without the resurrection story my faith means nothing.  (“…if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”  I Corinthians 15:14.)

I didn’t grow up in a church that observed Lent, Passover, Maundy Thursday or Good Friday.  In recent years I have participated in these services and it has made the Easter experience even more powerful.  This season I was blessed to take part in a three-night drama of the Passion of Jesus.  After Good Friday’s crucifixion scene, as people were silently leaving the sanctuary, I wanted to holler out, “Don’t worry, Sunday’s comin’!”

So I shall shout it from the rooftops, while wearing my new Easter outfit and hugging Droopy, “He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!!”  Hallelujah!!!

Question:  How did you do celebrate this Easter Sunday/Season?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

May I Come Over and Play?

I love to camp.  When I’m not camping I’m thinking about camping.  If I didn’t need to be clean and presentable to go to work every day I would be a full-time camper.  I have no problem with the dirt and mess, except for that whole needing to earn a living thing. 

Much to the dismay and concern of my family and friends, I have even been known to go camping by myself.  So to keep everyone from worrying about me out there on my own, I’m always on the lookout for fellow campoholics.  Because of this need, I have no problem inviting myself along on someone’s trip. Some folks find this bold or presumptuous; I just think it’s neighborly.

In the spring of 2007, I asked a family if they had any upcoming camping trips where I could tag along.  I ended up joining them over Memorial Day and it has become an annual tradition for us.  The mom has become one of my closest friends because of that first trip.  Now if I hadn’t been brave enough to ask I would be missing out on one of the highlights of my year.
I’ve known other single people that wait around for things to happen.  And so they wait, and they wait.  I, on the other hand, am way too impatient to go that route.  I could keep camping by myself, and that would be fine.  But, it’s more fun having marshmallow gun fights with friends as opposed to shooting at random strangers passing by.  And it’s much better making that last trip down the path to the bathroom before bedtime with the companionship of others instead of opting to hold it in ‘til morning.

I had dinner with my partner in camping crime tonight, and as we discussed our trip, I was giddy inside anticipating the first outing of the season.  I can’t wait for the next five weeks to hurry by so we can be there already!

I'm glad I didn't just sit back and let my camping destiny pass me by.  How sad and lonely would that be?  So being bold and presumptuous worked and has made me a very Happy Camper.  Maybe you should try it...

Question:  Have you missed out on fun in life by waiting for it to come to you?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Don't Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do After a Nap

A friend sent me a text last Friday morning asking if I had filed my taxes yet.  He does this every year.  If he didn’t I would think something was wrong.  He knows I discovered a few years ago how easy it is to file an extension. 

I’m a bit of a procrastinator.  That’s why I’m sitting at my computer at 11:51 p.m. writing this blog post.  I had all evening but Celebrity Apprentice was on and I wanted to see if Gary Busey got fired.  He did. 

However, I was productive this afternoon and read through blogs on writing.  I particularly enjoyed Alexis Grant’s site on memoir writing.  But then I took a nap.  And it’s a good thing I did because I would be pretty tired right now if I hadn’t.  But then again, if I had written my post this afternoon instead of napping I could be sleeping right now.  That probably would have been better.

But there is light on my procrastination horizon because when my friend sent me that text, I was able to proudly answer, “Yepsidoodle, Funny Man!”  There may be hope for me yet.

Question:  Did you file your taxes on time?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Noise by Any Other Name

I was playing Kings in the Corner with my parents the other night.  It’s a fun little tradition we have and that night it was just the three of us.  There is no skill whatsoever involved in this card game.  That evening I won 4 hands, Mom 2 and Daddy one.  It’s on those nights I say the game may involve some skill.  We were having our usual enjoyable time when, after a few hands, I started making a rather obnoxious noise. 

Now those of you who know me well can attest to the fact I have a habit of doing such things unconsciously, and quite innocently I might add.  Had my sisters or any of my friends been there they would have commented on it the first time I uttered the strange string of sounds.  And they most definitely would have put a stop to it had I gone on for too long.

This particular noise was a new one for me and a difficult one to describe.  Normally I would just burst into song because of something someone said.  Or I’d make a brief sound effect mimicking some racket in the room.  But that night it was a strange, throaty chant I kept making over and over again.  I have no earthly idea why, so don’t bother asking.

After I few minutes, I finally became aware of what I was doing.  I looked up at my parents and they were busily planning their Kings in the Corner strategy.  Surely they were hearing this.  Daddy is 93 and needs a hearing aid but for heaven’s sake even he should be able to hear my strange gurgling.  Mother didn’t even glance up.  So of course that challenged me to make the sound even louder and more obnoxiously.  Still there was no reaction.

Finally, when I could take it no longer, I asked why I wasn’t irritating them to the point of kicking me out.  They had no idea what I was talking about.  I then proceeded to make the noise for them.  They began laughing, and my sweet mother said, “Oh honey, we started tuning you out years ago. We don’t even notice things like that anymore.”

Parents are a strange and special breed.  It takes a certain unconditional love, that’s for sure.  Since I never married and had children of my own I often wonder what kind of parent I would have been.  Hopefully I would have been the kind that let my daughter win at silly card games and loved her in spite of any annoying quirks.

Question:  Any habits you have that others may or may not tolerate?

Monday, April 11, 2011

KopiE , edDitting;

This past Saturday held the first sun Portlanders had seen in months.  My neighborhood kids rode their bikes up and down the street; friends walked around Glendoveer Golf Course; families flocked to the park with their picnic baskets and game equipment.  And where was I?  I was indoors the entire day editing a friend’s manuscript.  Surprisingly enough, I enjoyed every minute of it.  Frolicking in the sunshine with friends would have been fun as well, but I gladly accepted the confidence boosting job.

Now here is where my horrendous insecurities come in and start to attack.  If I admit I did some editing then any dangling participle, misplaced comma, split infinitive or redundant redundancy that slips into my blog will, once again, show my inadequacies.  But I have finally arrived at a place in life where I am okay with that.  It has taken quite a while but, Hallelujah, I’m here.

Everyone needs help from time to time.  And when I needed editing assistance, I turned to Grammar Girl.  She was very pleasant and extremely knowledgeable.  Also encouraging me on my journey were the friendly folks at Purdue OWL.  They couldn’t have been nicer.  I just showed up at these websites, ignorance in hand, and clicked away.  All that advice was free and at my fingertips. 

So maybe it took me twice as long to finish the job than a more experienced editor, but I did it.  And I hope for similar opportunities in the future.  Soe; if ewe no enywon out they’re, that needz help with eddittting: half them gave me a kall.

Question: What is your biggest grammar faux pas? 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Growing Pains

I have GOT to get new glasses.  With all the reading and research I’ve been doing lately my eyes just won’t focus anymore.  It may have something to do with the minuscule scratches on the left lens.  I’ve been reading so many blogs with teeny, tiny print that it makes me stop and wonder if my font is too small or if the color scheme doesn’t quite work.  I don’t want to give all you faithful followers, (up to 13 now!!) a headache after reading my posts.

And my neck hurts.  I guess I tilt my head to the right as I read because the muscles on the left side of my neck and shoulders are very unhappy with me right now.  Not to mention my lower back.  I need to remember to sit up straight when I read.  I must be quite the sight sitting here like a near-sighted Quasimodo.

But it’s not just physical growth pains I am experiencing.  This is all still pretty new to me and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed from the onslaught of fresh information.  I am somewhat apprehensive each time I press that publish post button for fear I will be showing how little I know. 

Thankfully I am not alone in this process.  I am so grateful for a friend like Kayla Fioravanti and her willingness to help me figure out the great uses of Twitter, Facebook and Blogs.  And for all her social media friends who have stopped by to encourage me.  It’s a fun little place, this world of writing. 

My other fabulous friends keep me going as well.  They know a whole different side of me being a pain and love me anyway.  They are the best fans ever!

So that’s why I keep placing the arrow on that silly, dreaded publish post button and giving it a go.  No pain no gain, right?

Question:  Any areas in your life where you are experiencing growing pains?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Feel The Love

A couple of weeks ago I caught the “crud” that had been going around.  I found myself alone on a Saturday night with a temperature of 101.  I had been throwing up and was feeling pretty sorry for myself.  My cats seemed to care more about their dirty litter box than the fact I had spent half the night on the bathroom floor next to it.  So I decided to solicit sympathy via Facebook.  People came to my rescue and the outpouring of love and homemade remedies made my little heart smile. 

Living alone can be great for an independent soul such as myself.   But then there are the times you really miss the comfort of another human being.  Interestingly enough though, some of my married friends tell me when they are sick they wish their husbands would take the kids and leave to let them suffer in silence.  Other women say their children don’t get it when mom doesn’t feel well so they aren’t even allowed a sick day to mend. 

I guess it’s one of those “the grass is always greener” kind of moments.  Once I felt better it didn’t bother me to be alone again.  And I’m sure once those moms were back to health the constant commotion and calling of their name was music to their ears. 

So here’s to sending love out wherever, whenever and to whomever it is needed.  And don’t be afraid to ask for it.  You don’t want to miss out on all the chicken soup offers or learning that rubbing Vicks VapoRub on your feet and then sleeping with socks on can make you feel better.  That’s good information but sometimes just a hug would suffice.

Question:  What’s the best “medicine” you’ve received when you were sick?