Sunday, August 21, 2011

A summer vacation...

I remember now that I have a blog. That I like to write. That I fill these spaces with random thoughts and millings. My only excuse is summer vacation, where all my best intentions were vacationing as well. Real life starts again tomorrow, friends, and so will the blog.

P.S. I'm buying a new camera and a learning to manipulate the blog. Hopefully, this year will be about nothing but improvements.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A random fact...

I love breakfast food. I love it for breakfast and for other times of the day. Breakfast for dinner is delicious. Breakfast for lunch a treat. For this reason, I like to frequent places where you can breakfast all day. I'm not talking about the greasehound chains either. I'm talking about local places, unique and lovely.

One of my favorite breakfast places anywhere is in New York on 27th and Lexington called Penelope's. If wall color says anything about a place, then the robin's egg blue there calls out, come in and rest...I've been waiting. The counter is white tile on dark wood. There are jars empty and others full of treats to eat and treats to take. They make the most delicious granola, hearty and ready for home. The menu is delightfully simple and I am always tempted to try a little of everything, while ordering the same thing everytime: french toast diagonally cut from french bread and battered with a hint of vanilla and a scuff of cinnamon, fresh seasonal fruit, homemade yogurt. The food, the feeling, the egg blue walls are something I look forward to on every visit.

One of my favorite places to eat in this city is the Park Cafe across from Liberty. They have lovely yellow edged windows and an eclectic smattering of art. Currently, the have a variety of music tour posters on display. Not the mainstream ones either. I feel like you have to be sort of schooled to know who the bands are. When I visit I usually, always, order the field goal with french toast: scrambled eggs with ham, park potatoes, thick sliced battered bread dusted with powdered sugar and sweet enough to eat without syrup, the park through yellow frames. Heaven. Simply heaven.

P.S. All breakfast foods being equal, I will always choose french toast.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ordering Chagall...

I have this love of strange paintings. Strange colors, random combinations, a yellow square in the middle of a dark canvas that is supposed to be a window. Three colors on a slate. No rhyme or reason. Just color, bravery, madness.

There are few artists that fill all these needs. Rothko. Klee. But nobody beats Chagall. His paintings are like dreams, haunting and fluid, swirling with color, screaming and silent. Strange, and also, beautiful.

There are two huge Chagall murals hanging in the front windows of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. They hang behind the glass as tempting as the opera itself. They are covered during the day, but the late afternoon light is perfect for viewing.

I have wanted a Chagall print for a long time, but haven't bought one. There isn't a good reason, laziness, fear, apprehension in letting a part of my real self out, but today I ordered a Chagall. I can't wait for its strange colored love on my wall.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

One more for day four...

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

...Mary Oliver...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

And for 3rd...

      O sweet spontaneous
      earth how often have

      fingers of
      purient philosophers pinched

      , thee
      has the naughty thumb
      of science prodded

      beauty , how
      oftn have religions taken
      thee upon their scraggy knees
      squeezing and

      buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

      to the incomparable
      couch of death thy

      thou answerest

      them only with


      e.e. cummings

Friday, April 8, 2011

A poem for the second day...

Yellow Bowl

If light pours like water
into the kitchen where I sway
with my tired children,

if the rug beneath us
is woven with tough flowers,
and the yellow bowl on the table

rests with the sweet heft
of fruit, the sun-warmed plums,
if my body curves over the babies,

and if i am singing,
then loneliness has lost its shape,
and this quiet is only quiet.

...Rachel Contreni Flynn...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I feel like I should say...

It is National Poetry month and I feel like I should say something, or write something, or be something because I am a poet and this is a time for poets. I have been out of the habit of writing poetry. There are perhaps a million excuses for why. Regardless of the reasons, it is, by all measurable means, a tragedy. Not to the world or to the readers, but only myself. Poetry has always been, for me, an anchor; it has been too long since I felt its calm. So, I am redeeming by putting a little poetry up everyday for the rest of the month. Somedays I'll even put two, so by the end there will be thirty poems here. Thirty anchors. Thirty points of calm, even if the words aren't all mine.

One thing I can remember...

Driving to your house in the winter
your house iced blue
and the snow to your door
two feet thick.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

This is just to say...

I love nicknames. They are so personal and endearing. If I have given you one, it means I love you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A little life music...

I'd like to think I have a life filled with music. My ipod is a constant companion. I hum to myself. I sing. I play the guitar a little and pretend I am Gillian Welch or Patty Griffin. I play the piano and think I missed my chance at true greatness. I listen for life's underpinings, for the melody of things, for the songs running underneath. Sometimes in the stillness I can hear the earth humming and I can hear the song of sparrows in their black fall and flight.

I listen to a variety of music and I guess I have, what you could call, exacting tastes. I tend prefer girl voices. I always prefer acoustic. I like songs heavy on guitar, piano, and discorded melodies. Poetic lyrics, a certain amount of angst, a certain amount of hope, a message that means something to me will be played more often than others.

There are a few songs I listen to at least once a day. I have listened to them hundreds of times, which means I have literally spent hours listening to the same song. I never grow tired of them. It makes me think they mean something or they say something I want to say, but can't. Either way they make me happy and that is about all someone should ask for.

P.S. If you want to try a few, some of my daily staples are:

Wait by Alexi Murdock
Falling Slowly and Low Rising by The Swell Season (If you don't know this band, you should)!
Mother of God by Patty Griffin
How Will He Find Me by Deb Talan

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A happy reunion...

My grandpa died last Thursday. It has been a sad time. We were always close. I spent a few weeks every summer with him and my grandma. There were visits throughout the year as well. From him I inherited my dry sense of humor, my love of things growing, my tendency to collect and keep things beyond their usefulness, my real laugh. He called me, his sweet girl.

Since my dad died, I have felt even closer to him. He has been, more than before, the father figure in my life. Talking to him was almost like talking to my dad and though our conversations were different, I didn't always tell him everything, I could hear my dad's voice through him. I could hear what my dad would say as if I was actually talking to him. It made losing my dad more tolerable. Now, I will miss those conversations.

My grandpa's death is easier to understand than my dad's. He was eighty-seven, which by most standards is a good, long life. He made it a good life: doing many things, going many places, being many things to many different people. He was ready to go. A few weeks ago he told me, I've been away at school, now it almost time to go home.

I am also comforted by the fact that his death was also a happy reunion. He was reunited with my dad, my Uncle Val (who died a few years before my dad), my Aunt Pauline (who they lost as a baby), his parents, and many others. It too must have been a time of tears, just a different sort. It too must be a time of reflection and memories. I cannot be sad about that.

Happy homecoming, Grandpa.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A lesson from the single life...

I don't usually begrudge the fact I'm in my thirties and single. This is largely due to the fact that I feel like my life is full and beautiful. I have many talents. I've been given many gifts. I am industrious and hard working. I learned long ago the quiet joy found in being alone. I also learned to be alone. I am generous. I am honest. I know myself and I like keeping company with myself. I have wonderful family and many friends.

The above self realizations make my life fulfilling, even if it isn't exactly what I planned for it to be. I do still want to be married and to have babies of my own, but I am also content to know that they will come in their own time, in their own way.

The above self realizations have also made me picky in choosing a partner. Maybe because I have found contentment in my life as it is, I am not rushing towards a life that isn't just as satisfying or beautiful. In other words, I am looking for an asset, not a liability. I am looking for a partner, not a piranha. I am looking for an equal, not perfect, but at least equitable. I will settle for nothing less.

This resolve was reinforced on Saturday night when I attended the party of a friend. I knew almost no one there, except for the girls throwing the party. So, I was fortunate enough to spend the time talking to them and watching everything else going on. What I observed was a room full of beautiful, educated, articulate, successful women with degrees and professions and self awareness trying to make conversation with sub-par and very awkward men. Two of them couldn't stop talking about Star Wars. One of them made up some persona about being a make up artist. (In Utah, really)? The others stood awkwardly silent unless asked a question. From the conversations I heard none of them had valid or valuable professions or interesting lives. In fact, beyond their membership in the church, there was not a single attractive thing about any of them.

If this resonates as bitterness, I promise it isn't. If it sounds trite and contrived, it isn't that either. It was just an evening of observations that reconfirmed my resolve to find an asset and not settle for anything less. Because, dear hearts, do you really want to spend eternity, or even a lifetime, with a doldrum?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Quotes from Kindergarten...

Today, while coloring, the following conversation occurred...

Kindergartener: Miss B, today we will go to church after my mom comes home from work.
Me: Why are you going to church today?
K: I don't see a boy.
Me: A boy? What boy?
K: I don't know his name. He is up on the wall.
Me: You mean Jesus?
K: No, I don't think that's the one.
Me: Are you going to see a man who is hanging on the wall?
K: Yep, that's it.
Me: Okay, well the man hanging on the wall is Jesus.
K: No.
Me: Yes.
K: Really? Do you know him or what?

Do I know him? That is a question best saved for another post.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Vomit and pink eye and lice, oh my...

I consider it a real low point in my teaching day when I have to deal with bodily fluids of one kind or another. Working with five year olds, one realizes that a few boogers and messes and germs are in the mix. Kids have a fondness for the inside of their noses. Some even have a fondness for the inside of other kids' noses, but that is a story best left for another day.

So, even though this isn't the first day of kindergarten cooties, it is, so far, the worst. It all started with a little girl puking all over her desk. This makes her third puking incident in the last week. All at school. All disgusting. Her dad seemed annoyed that he had to come get her again. She was crying because she didn't want to leave school, but I have a strict throw up policy. If you do it, you're out. It seems simple enough.

Fast forward to rotations where my assistant notices lice rampantly crawling around another little girl's hair. As a result, I spent my lunch hour checking the rest of the kids for the white horror. They used to have people to check for you, but now they consider it a health hazard. So, like so many other things, it falls to the teacher to do the checking. Fortunately, the rest of them were bug free.

After my short five minute drink a Dr. Pepper sit in the staff room break, I returned to my room and a little boy with swollen, red, and oozing eyes. His parents were unavailable and so he spent the afternoon quarantined at the thinking desk with a cold rag on his eyes.

The day ended on a low note where a kid, who only comes to my class for the last 45 minutes of the day, actually wiped his snotty nose on my arm as he was filing pass. Not my shirt mind you. My arm. I was so disgusted and furious that I had to quarantine myself at the thinking desk. There, I actually had the thought that pink eye would be better than someone else's snot on your arm.

I am with Alexander on this one. It was terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Here's to hoping tomorrow will be a better one and that no one will be sick!

P.S. On the bright side, I finished ESL endorsement class number two, I saw my ESL crush and forced myself to flirt just a little, and I made brownies just because it is Wednesday.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Congratulations are in order...

Today one of my kids drew a picture of me. This happens often enough that I have come to appreciate looking like an alien with an oversized head and enormous misshapen eyes. What made this drawing really memorable was the conversation that followed. I should have named this post quotes for kindergarten, but I thought it was little more noteworthy.

Natalie: Miss B, I drew this picture of you.
Me: Oh, let me see. I look lovely. Who is with me in the picture?
N: This is you. (Pointing to the drawing with long hair). This is your husband. (Pointing to the slightly taller figure).
Me: That's nice, but I don't have a husband, sweet girl.
N: CONGRATULATIONS!!! You got married today!

She announced the marriage to the whole class and told all the kids to be nice to me because it was my wedding day. Hilarious and adorable. This is life with five year olds.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Resolutions for keeping...

In my constant effort to learn from past mistakes and become the kind of woman I can be proud to be, I have made the following resolutions to work on this month. A little list, really. Perfectly reasonable.

1. I WILL NOT leave the house without mascara. If I can stand to put nothing else on my face, I will do this.

2. I will eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day. Consequently, buying such things makes your shopping cart a rainbow--a simple joy.

3. I will stop listening to mindless and malicious gossip. Any gossip really. It is created and shared by woman with narrow thinking and naked insecurities.

4. I will play and sing at least one song a day. Radio, guitar, piano. The instrument matters less than the voice.

5. I will forgive myself for not being perfect.

Now I really must put on mascara.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quotes from Kindergaten...

Me: C_____, come and get papers for your table, please.
Kindergartener: Miss B, my name is not C_____ anymore. I change it.
Me: Really? What is your new name?
K: Night Wolf.
Me: Night Wolf?
K: Yep. Night Wolf.
Me: Ok, buddy. I mean, Night Wolf.

When he said he had changed his name, he meant it. He wrote Nit Wof (remember phonetics people) on the top of all his papers today. He also wrote it in permanent marker on his math workbook. I guess the name is here to stay.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A few ruffles, please...

I have a thing for ruffles. Maybe it is just a girl thing or a classic romance novel thing or a this makes me feel really pretty thing, but I definitely have a thing for ruffles. Given my recent down drift, I have made a firm resolve to look for the bright spots in the days. (Even on those days where the sun is completely hidden by this hideous, suffocating gray haze). I've found if I am looking the bright spots, they are easier to see.

Today's spot came in the form of ruffles. I have been working on a ruffled scarf and today it reached its finish. I put it on in a bunch of different ways. All I can say is that there were plenty of ruffles and every one was delightful.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hi. How are you?

It has been a long time. Friends. I am sorry. I haven't had the time or will to write. Mostly time. Also will. It has, though, been too long. Hi. How are you?

Time is a vaccuum, dears. I think someone famous said that once or maybe it is just wishful thinking on my part. That someone, anyone, would impart such useful knowledge and that we, busy running about our lives, would actually listen. Stop to hear. Start to breathe. Slowly. Slowly. Slowly...

I have been in the vaccuum. My life consumed with running. Not actual running, mind you. (I never do such things). More with the feeling of running. Running from one place to another. Running from one kid to another. Running to school. Running to lunch. Running to make copies. Running to class. Running to the bathroom. Running to meetings. Running home to run out again. Running. Running. Running. I haven't been listening or breathing, mostly because I feel like I don't have time, but also because I feel like I can't slow down. I can't stop. I can't rest. I am so tired. More than that, I have been thinking about the fact I am so tired.

I came to this conclusion.

In all my running...there is little of me. All my obligations have been filled and refilled. My best has been done at every corner. But I haven't been reading enough. I haven't been writing enough. I haven't been painting or knitting or thinking enough. So, even though I am doing my best. I'm not my best.

So, this little post is an apology to myself more than anyone. Slow down, dear heart. Go home. Read. Write. Paint. Knit. Listen. Breathe in. Slowly. Slowly. Slowly...