Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reflections on 2014

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
― T.S. Eliot


I spent much of my year involved with work activities, I hope to change the focus toward living and savoring each precious moment. I plan to retire sometime during the upcoming year, more likely near the end of 2015. I want to make this last year of work the best ever! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Book tree for Christmas

I

 

I saw this idea for a book Christmas tree on another blog and wanted to make one. I love books, have lots of them so it felt appropriate for me. I usually have a tree in lots of rooms in my home and I thought this looked simple.  It made the sixth one, if I count the all trees, small and undecorated. This year I felt Christmas came way too fast for me. I am a procrastinator so I'm never completely ready early, but time seemed to slip away too quickly. 

I can think of several reasons why each day and week flew past.

1. My work kept me very busy, I travelled 1000 miles the first week of December
2. My husband had dr appointments with 2 new doctors
3. I had a root canal
4. My husband was in the hospital
5. We both had a virus
6. I was deep cleaning the house because company was coming
7. Family members had December birthdays that were celebrated
8. I was having repair work done in the house
9. Shelving was being installed in the barn loft.
10. Both required extra clean up
11. Fall leaves needed blowing, raking & burning one afternoon
12. Did I mention how busy I was with work? 
13. My brother started the celebrating at his house on Dec. 20.

When Christmas Eve arrived I had to buy a few groceries so I could  cook dinner for our guests. Weather was rain mixed with snow and that made it feel like Christmas. Later we opened gifts and watched the highest grossing movie of 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a nice time visiting with our son and his new family. 

Christmas morning I prepared the turkey for roasting and our guests made sticky rolls for a nice breaksfast. At 1:00 pm we took the food to my Father-in-law's house and enjoyed lunch for 33. The first great nephew asked the blessing. After lunch we opened gifts. I bought books for the 8 grand nieces & nephews. I tied bows around the books instead of wrapping them because I wanted the children to see it was a book and not a toy. I worried about them being disappointed in receiving a book, but smiled as I saw one father reading the book to the youngest great nephew, who just turned 1 on December 11. 

Christmas night I cooked dinner for my brother, two of my sisters and their families at my house. We had a nice time visiting, sharing memories and catching up with family stories. 

It finally felt like Christmas, the rush, excitement, non stop cooking, visiting with family, giving and receiving gifts. 



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Last Minute Shopping Ideas

THE 12 LAST MINUTE GIFTS OF NATURE <BR>And Now for a Completely Different Shopping Experience



The ideas expressed in this article would also make great birthday gifts, a special reward day at school, or activities for bad weather days. I have modified the list with classroom full of students as my focus.



Number 1 - a coupon book for time to chose an approved activity is always a fun, unique gift.

Number 2- a techno fast for the day provides a new prospective for the digital natives in the world today.

Number 3 - building a miniature tree house, fort, or nature scape requires cooperation and trial and error, skills.

Number 4 - teachers can create a GOAL bag (get outside and learn) to be used during a classroom hike. Include an air thermometer, hand lenses, notebook and pencil, ruler, camera, bug collection boxes, etc.

Number 5 - planting seeds (sunflower, acorns, etc.) in the classroom can encourage scientific exploration.

Number 6 - instead of purchasing a park pass, you could take students on a virtual park visit or find grants that pay for class field trips.

Number 7 - use an old blanket to make a small tent in the classroom, let students use it for individual reading or writing.

Number 8 -bring in nature items you have collected on a hike such as acorns, galls, insects in a bug box, leaves, sweet gum balls, shed antlers, snake skin, turtle shells, etc. Be sure to collect items from areas that allow collection, most parks do not. Most bird feathers can't be collected because they are protected under federal guidelines.

Number 9 - take students to the library and help them find an appropriate, related book to check out.

Number 10 - read an appropriate chapter book every day during a part of the class time.

Number 11 - write about a place in nature that you love, share with students and have them write about their special places.

Number12 - be present, show your curiosity, your infectious attitude will permeate the group.



I would love to teach classes that encourage students to get outside and learn! Every day!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Second Thoughts

I talked with my husband and son.
I made a list of possibilities, things I've always wanted to do but working full time kept me from doing them. I quickly reached 10 ideas.
I spoke with my supervisor, told him I was planning to retire at the end of this year.
I told a few friends.
I made arrangements for someone to head up an upcoming event.
I started the paperwork for retirement.
I called to tell another person who would be counting on me to continue an assignment.

I discovered I would have to pay for an entire year of insurance to use it in a cafeteria plan.
I don't have that many leave days to cover the cost.
I can't get my work finished by the end of this year.
I'm in the middle of a couple projects and don't want to give up on them.

Then today I visited a school to present a program to 4 elementary classes.
We all had great fun.
Teachers from the other 4 classes asked me to visit their classes.
I'm not ready to stop working, I thought I was.

I suppose I'll backtrack and rethink my decision.
I can do this anytime, it doesn't have to be immediate.
I will plan and get it right.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Life decisions

Things change, while not everyone likes change, I thrive on change. I often find myself winging a presentation, lesson, or talk. I don't stick to the script, it is extremely difficult to teach the same topic three times in a day. In reflection I always look for ways to change and improve my work. After working at my current job 9 years, I think it is time for a change.

Of course the job itself has changed and not in creative ways. It seems to be more restrictive and less flexible. It does not fit any longer. It has been difficult to arrive at that awareness. Working with the changes of losing cherished friends, coworkers, and family members, I realize, I am ready for a change. I need more creativity in my life. I need less restrictive confines. I have made the decision to retire from my current job. Yesterday I began the process of completing the paperwork.

I'm excited about the world of possibilities that await. Now I have to tell my supervisor and the curriculum revision team I am working with. I meet with my supervisor tomorrow. I don't know if I can tell him without a smile on my face! Just a couple weeks ago he told me he would like me to work one more year.

Today I was catching up on blogs I follow and found this link to lovely phrases that bring calm. Reading them seemed to help me know I am doing the right thing.  

http://alwayswellwithin.com/2014/10/12/calm-stress-response/

The other part of this decision is that more of my time is required to manage medicines and doctor appointments with my husband. I want him to slow down. He will if I am free. Together we can figure out how to negotiate the changes in our lives. Maybe I will write, draw, paint, create...

Change is exciting!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I am Grateful for these 100

1. My husband
2. Our son
3. Our daughter-in-law
4. My parents who saved me, adopted me, loved me, & raised me.
5. My in-laws who always treated me like one of their own.
6. My extended family members & in-laws family
7. My work friends 
8. My jobs: 5 years in a shoe factory, 5 years as L.D. Teacher, 9 years as 3rd grade classroom teacher, 6 years as elem counselor. 6 years as high school counselor, 3 years as Junior high principal, 9 years as Conservation Education Consultant.
9. My educational opportunities to graduate with a BS in Elem Ed. MA in Guidance & Counseling & Ed. D in Educational Lesdership.
10. My grandpa who saved bits of my history
11. My grandma who told me bits of my history. 
12. My birth mother who knew she could not care for me
13. My dog, Ellie, who walks in the woods with me.
14. 5 baby kittens who have been so much fun 
15. Our house that is large enough to host guests.
16. Our swimming pool that I so enjoy.
17. Our patio where I can enjoy the outdoors
18. My books that can take me to worlds unknown
19. My farm where I can express nature
20. My talents however small I love to paint, write, sew and create.
21. My ability to cook: dumplings, dressing and pies 
22. The Christmas movies that end happily ever after
23. Bold coffee
24. Pastries
25. Learning a different language using Rosetta Stone
26. Walking 2 miles with Leslie Sansone
27. Instagram because it keeps me connected to family.
28. A good mattress.
29. And a perfect pillow.
30. Cypress trees.
31. Field guides.
32. New carpet.
33. Metal suns.
34. Traveling with my sisters.
35. Traveling to Hawaii to see Volcanoes, desert, rain Forest, 
36. Traveling to Bahamas and touring the fort
37. Traveling to visit relatives who escorted us to Yosemite, LA, and the Pamona Sawp meet
38. New Orleans to see the sights, eat Benignts. Ride Natchez. . .
39. Travel to Biloxi, Panama City Beach, Destin 
40. Teacher Retirement income
41. Leopold Education Project
42. Savings to spend on honeymoon 
43. Krispy Kremes
44. Pistachios
45. Recliners
46. Heels
47. Hair color 
48. Gloves with fingers cut out
49. Fake fur
50. State holidays
51. A boss who does not micromanage!
52. Full moon
53. Blue skies
54. Fish
55. Solitaire
56. Gel nails
57. Pedicures
58. San Juan Mtns. 
59. Cowboy boots
60. Westerns
61. Cowboy hats
62. Sirius radio
63. Money in the bank
64. Sweet potatoes
65. Picture books
66. Maps
67. Dyson vacuums
68. Sunlight
69. Suns of all varieties
70. Chocolate
71. Glasses
72. Neon lights
73. Rainy days 
74. Seafood in Boston
75. Attending a Red Sox Game at Fenway Park
76. Painting classes 
77. Drury inn
78. Zoos
79. 65 Mustang
80. 08 Rubicon Jeep
82. Watercolor pens
83. Coastal living magazine 
85. The Conservationist magazine 
86. NPR
87. I phones
88. On line classes
89. Mums
90. TV
91. Closets
92. Shoes
93. Jeans
94. Denim jackets
95. Hand lotion
96. TP
97. Clear streams
98. Fruit
99. Waffles
100. Deadlines

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Autumn Olive

I was enjoying the glorious fall weather while walking on my farm and took several pictures of the plants. I knew many were invasive, or not native to Missouri. This one appeared to overtake the rest of the plants in the fence row. 
After completing a search on MDC's website I found the following information.

Link to resource about Autumn Olive http://mdc.mo.gov/sites/default/files/resources/2010/08/9674_6620.pdf

I may not be successful ridding this invasive plant from my farm, but I'm going to try. I plan to replace it with native plants that will thrive in its place. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Unusual phenomen


While driving around between meetings and school presentations I sometimes encounter odd occurrences. On Tuesday, that was exactly what  I captured. 

A  flock of large birds caught my attention. I quickly made a decision to park the vehicle and try to get a picture. 

I even shot a quick video that shows typical behavior for flocks of white pelicans. Yes, that's correct! White pelicans in Southeast Missouri, near Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Traveling for Work Slice of Life Tuesday

National Poetry Month begins today, and therefore, so does NaPoWriMo (National poetry Writing Month). And it is Slice of Life Tuesday. Check it out here: http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/write-share-give-sol-time-4/


Traveling for Work

Pack

Plan on clothes for walking, presenting, sightseeing and relaxing

Remember

Bring confirmation for flight, hotel, conference badges, flash drive and worksheet copies

Prepare

Make sure hubby and doggie have enough meds and snacks

Pay bills

Find checkbook, deposit check, write payments, remember passwords to pay online

Vote 

Get absentee ballot notarized and mail

Meet Deadlines

Turn in end of month timesheet, vehicle log and purchasing card statement

Get to the Airport 

Early check-in, print boarding pass, weigh luggage, arrange for pick-up, leave vehicle

Work

Respond to on-line class participants, grade submissions, and communicate

Breathe

Relax, enjoy the flight, see the city, enjoy some seafood, attend conference sessions, present a session

Reflect 

Remember the experience, what was important and how this is useful in work and life


Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 31 SOL reflection

http://twowritingteachers.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/11454297503_e27946e4ff_h.jpg

This second year of slicing has been more challenging for me. I've been trying to figure out why. Of course things happened every day that distracted me, but that can't be the reason I found it more difficult.

I enjoyed reading all the amazing posts. I wanted to comment on many more posts than I did. SOL authors were from all around this world. From the first day to the very last day the SOL writers made me think. I have been overwhelmed with the variety of posts. I have grown with this group of writers.

Thank you all for this experience, SOL 2014.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

SOL Day #30 Owl Prowl from bed


Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. The goal is to write a daily post during the month. This is my second year to participate. www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.



Last night I awoke when my husband came to bed and we both heard the noise. We listened to hear it again. The second call was farther away and the pattern was different. My husband told me about earlier in the day when he was behind the garage and heard an owl hoot. He tried to call to it. I smiled to myself. I don't think he has ever done that before. I am the one always calling to the owls, they answer me, too. I'm a country girl, he has always been a city boy (small, small city).

We listened to both owls calling in the night. It was a cool experience. I wanted to remember the difference in the patterns of the calls. The closer owl hooted a quick who, who, then 3 slower, longer  whooo, whooo. The owl in the distance hooted 3 who, who, who, and then a longer one.  I wondered why the patterns of hooting varied. We both fell asleep listening to the owls.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SOL Day 26 I've missed several days



Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. The goal is to write a daily post during the month. This is my second year to participate. www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.
My time has been absconded. Where it went, I can't say. I only know I haven't posted since March 20. I can offer some excuses: busy at my official work, working to clean the barn on a warm day, working at my second (or 3rd) job for my husband, new on-line class started, laundry, house cleaning, taking husband to the ER and waiting for a room in the hospital, going to the primary care doctor, ordering medicines, and life gets in the way of my writing.

I've continued to read several posts and even comment in them. But I could not gather the energy to complete a post. More excuses: I'm a procrastinator, I'm not a writer, my posts aren't interesting, or knowledgable, or worthy. I saw similar excuses on others' posts. But I enjoy reading every one. 

Writing a post is about connecting with others, especially those in the same profession. It is reading another person's idea and applying it to my life. It is broadening my perspective. It is remembering my experiences. It is learning and growing and changing, all of which I have positive desires to accomplish.

Thank you all for letting me be involved in this challenge.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Slice of Life Day 20

Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. The goal is to write a daily post during the month. This is my second year to participate. www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com
To celebrate the arrival of spring, my dog and I walked to the woods. I needed gloves because my fingers get cold and boots because the ground is muddy. I grabbed my camera, put a collar on my dog, slipped a leash in my pocked for good measure and we were off. We excitedly walked trails made by wildlife. I stopped to tie the purple plastic ribbon around trees at the edge of my land to signify "No Hunting". I think a couple of ribbons had been shot off the trees. They were still knotted but separated by rough edges. One was particularly difficult to reach so it took me a bit longer than I expected. When I turned around to make sure my dog was with me, she was gone. I listened for the jingling noise the tag on her collar makes, nothing. I started calling her name, nothing. I began walking, stopped to listen one more time and heard water splashing. I headed through the brush toward the pond and behold, there she was. She was enjoying her dunk in the water, spinning around, getting a drink and even sitting in the water. I found a clear spot so she could see me and she came to meet me. Could I count this as her second bath in as many days?

Ellie enjoying the first day of Spring, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Slice of Life Day 19 Bathing the dog

I gave my Golden Retriever a bath today. She has a mind of her own, I had to use a leash to get her upstairs to the shortest tub. She readily lifts one leg to step inside the tub, then the second leg. I had to help with the hind legs. She is very cautious. Once she feels the warm water, she is calm. I wash her face and ears with a cloth. She raises her left leg for me to wash under, then the right one. She loves rinsing off. I use a towel to dry her off before I let her step out of the tub on another towel. As soon as she is out of the tub, she shakes off the extra water. I get a third towel and finish drying her long coat. She grooms herself for awhile. In a couple of hours, her coat is dry enough to comb out. It changes her look from curly to straight. As soon as she goes outside, she drops and rolls in the grass to get rid of the clean scent. It won't last long.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Slice of Life Day 18 A little birdie

Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. The goal is to write a daily post during the month. This is my second year to participate. 

Yesterday, around noon, the weather appeared spring-like. 
A group of teachers took a short walk in search of common birds.
Soon we found this colorful guy.
He would not move from his perch, even when we walked under the high branch.

Teachers were able to locate and identify several common birds.
Mourning dove, robin, sparrow, red-winged blackbird and crow were spotted.
Hopefully the teachers will return to their classrooms, searching
for birds common to their schoolyards.

Monday, March 17, 2014

SOL Day #17 Birding for Common Core

Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. The goal is to write a daily post during the month. This is my second year to participate. 
 


Today a co-worker and I shared a presentation with forty educators. We discussed how teachers could use field guides to teach students the specific details required in reading informational text. Over the past year we created and used an activity with 3rd and 4th graders. Part of the activity was done in the classroom and the follow up was completed outside. Students were excited about their learning and anxious to extend it beyond the classroom. Today teachers displayed similar excitement.  We expect several educators to apply what they learned today by teaching their students how to use field guides and taking them outside in nature.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

SOL Day #16

Yesterday we enjoyed the warm sunshine by sitting outdoors.
Today a blizzard kept us sitting indoors, making me a procrastinator.
Should I prepare for a snow day tomorrow?
Or should I practice my scheduled presentation one more time?

I can surely watch one movie and still have time to practice.
I also need to affix labels to 40 folders.
But I think I'll fix dinner first.
Maybe I need to check the weather forecast once more.

Has the cold front already passed?
I can't forget to print the mailing labels for those "Save the Date" cards.
They must be mailed tomorrow.
Some things can't be postponed.






Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SOL Day 12

Windy day, too windy for a prescribed burn
Sunny day, perfect for drying out the puddles
Working day, time to create folder labels
Preparation for science literacy

After work walk, feed and hug the Retriever
Evening, scheduled time for dinner with family
Night time phone sister regarding travel plans
Write post number 12 for Slice of Life Challenge


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

SOL Day 11

I took off work today so I could make the 3 hour trip with my husband to the eye doctor. He had a good checkup. Then we had lunch with our son and his fiancĂ©. I left with 50 "Save the Date" cards to mail out to family and friends (wedding is in Oct). We took the country road and got home early enough to go outside with my dog (a neighbor took her out at lunch). The weather was warm and sunny. I took my iPad outside to purchase airline tickets for my sisters and me.  In May, we plan to attend a memorial service for our Aunt. By then it was time to start dinner. The beautiful day was nearing its end.

Monday, March 10, 2014

SOL Day # 10 Celebrating Birthdays

Yesterday we had a family get-together to celebrate several March birthdays. Even though I was exhausted from traveling, I was excited to visit with everyone, all 38 in attendance. We had a buffet with chicken, pork, salad, fruit, pie, and cupcakes, all quite delicious.

For one sister-in-law, it was her first venture out since her knee replacement surgery 3 weeks ago. Two grand nephews turned 2 years old on March 5 and 9, one nephew would be 23 on the 10th and his dad will be 70 on the 16th.

A niece and I sat with several of the young children to create with play dough. All three of the two year olds used plastic knives and learned to cut long strips. The 4 year old girl made flowers and decorated a Christmas tree. The 5 year old boy created a wall of bricks. The six year old, walked around the table without taking part. The newest baby slept as we took turns holding him. Great Grandpa watched over the group and shared in the story telling.

That isn't the end of March birthdays, we will have another party to celebrate those near the end of the month.  And then we will set a date for April.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

SOL Day # 9 a wedding reception

Friday my sister and her family spent the night at my house. Saturday, two sisters with their husbands and one daughter and I left early to drive 4 hours so we could attend the wedding reception of our cousin's son. They were married at a small church on Friday.

The fog was heavy, but we arrived safely and had the afternoon to shop and explore the city. The venue was in the historic downtown section of the city. We had visited this city several times before but never ventured downtown. We were pleasantly surprised. We found lots of quaint shops amidst bars and restaurants. We plan to return this summer.

The reception was suited to fit the newly married couple. The music spanned decades. The couple met in college, several years ago. They became friends, even best friends. And life quickly passed until they were in their 30's. The two families became one. You could see happiness just looking at the couple. They beamed and we were witness to their love. It seemed very special.

Friday, March 7, 2014

SOL #7

I was a bit frantic today because my sister was planning to spend the night with me. That wasn't the problem. The problem was the lady who cleans my house texted me she was sick and would not be able to work today. She didn't work last week either. Wow, I thought. I had been working the past 2 nights on getting things ready. However I was counting on her to do the last minute things such as dust and vacuum. I started early this morning, worked during lunch and got things looking pretty good. It was a good thing I had worked the past 2 evenings. I hate that I'm ok with things not being put in their place until I have company. Then I want everything put away in its place. I think it might be related to procrastination. The last minute I can clean house like a raging wildfire. If that happened every night for an hour, I would have a clean house. Maybe I'll try.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

SOL # 6 Tracks in the snow and an erasure poem

This morning my dog and I went outside to help my husband unload his truck. Everything is still snow and ice covered but my dog wanted to explore. She took off with her nose to the snow. I heard the sound of crunching snow under her paws as she sprinted toward the woods. Nothing I could do except follow her. I was glad I had put on a heavy, hooded sweatshirt and gloves. I could not believe all the perfect sets of tracks I saw on our path. I recognized those made by a rabbit, the neighbor's cat and my dog. Other tiny tracks made me wonder what made them. I wished for my phone to take pictures. Alas, I only have my memory. One set of patterned tracks made an X in the snow. I wondered what made the animal turn around and cross back over the path. I could see another set of tracks, dragging something behind, a tail? I saw various sets of tracks that I had not seen so close to our buildings. Tracks I could not see on the ground. Lots of activity was happening without my knowledge. The only way to discover the activity would be to explore at night. If I move stealthily, I might see some critters and learn about their habitual activity.

Snow and ice covered
Sound of crunching snow
Perfect sets of tracks
Tiny tracks
Patterned tracks made an X 
Tracks dragging something behind
Lots of activity
At night
Move stealthily
Habitual activity


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Missives from Missouri: Slice of Life

Missives from Missouri: Slice of Life:

Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. All participants aim to write a post every day for the month of March. 

SOL #5 
In the world today, everyone seems to be connected, plugged in, sharing information and following a circle of acquaintances. However, one of my cousins (E) could not connect with another cousin (L). In an email to my sisters and me, E said she tried the last phone number she had. A recording said the voice mail box has not been set up, she couldn't leave a message. I replied back that I was driving through a small community where a second-cousin (D) lives, maybe I could visit and get updated contact information. After work and on my way home, I stopped and had a nice visit with (D). He called someone, then let me speak with her. She told me L would not answer his phone, but she would give him my number. I figured that was the best I could do and gave her my cell number. Now I'm waiting to hear from L. I suppose we aren't all as connected as portrayed by the advertisements. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

SOL # 3 My father-in-law

I finally figured out how to add the symbol for SOL. Next I need to figure out how to link to Twitter. I will work on that.

My father-in-law

He is a devoted family man, and yet at age 89, is the only one remaining in his immediate family of 6. He is a wealth of history. I try to collect details of his life and the world as it was when he grew up. I hope I can give you a glimpse of how different things were.

He graduated high school and left home at the young age of 16. He spend one summer working for the Civilian Conservation Corps. He lied about his age so he could join the Merchant Marines. He traveled the world, went to radar school and hitchhiking home for holidays. One time he made it home from the Gulf Coast almost faster than the average person could drive it.

He went to California with a buddy and took odd jobs to survive. He left their car sitting by the highway because it quit working and hitchhiked home. In later years, he visited the same restaurant he once had worked in, just to check on things.

He came home and established a taxi service in the rural area. He usually charged 25 cents per mile, but for one elderly lady who made weekly visits to her family. He charged her 75 cents to make a round trip of 8 miles.

He was industrious, always looking for a way to survive. He worked for a company who supplied pinball machines and records for local businesses who had a juke box.  He became quite good at repairing mechanical things. To support his family he started working for a company, driving an 18 wheeler. He was only home on weekends and then the family would pile in the old car and drive somewhere. To this day, he can recall highway numbers and sights you will see as you travel along the road.

He finally bought his Pop's lumber business and stayed home to raise his 4 children. The 3 boys helped him in the family business. All still work there today along with 3 grandsons. Although he has retired, he often makes a trip to the post office to collect the mail for them. The children check on him daily, taking him something for lunch or out to eat.

The family celebrates everyone's birthdays and holidays together. A huge party is being planned to celebrate his 90th birthday later this year.

He is a complex man, dichotomous and a mystery to me.

Just before I married his eldest son, we traveled to market. Six people riding three hours in a car. He lights up a cigar. I loved the smell and hated the smoke.

He read medical books and helped care for his wife. She had diabetes and required lots of medicine. He was always adjusting it according to what he had read.

Every Christmas, he made sure he gave all his children similar gifts or at least spent a similar amount.

Never has he make a difference in any of his children. His sense of fairness is always at the forefront.




Sunday, March 2, 2014

Anniversary

This past week my husband and I celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary. We don't know what happened to all those years. It seems they just slipped away. We have lots of memories and photos to help us remember. Unusual things trigger memories too. It might be a song, a call from an old friend, or even a new fad. I think it is odd that we don't remember the same things and suppose that is because of the differences in our focus.  But I digress, my intention was to write about our anniversary.

We've commented to each other about friends who ended a marriage, saying they often traded their current problem for a new set of problems. We have been lucky that our problems have not been immense. No marriage is perfect and sometimes ending a marriage can be the best result. For us, working together seems to help sustain our close relationship. We both view marriage as a give and take relationship and neither one expects to be "in charge".

We both have changed a lot in those 42 years and some things about us have remained the same. In the early years we worked together on building small storage barns to supplement our income. He would complete the construction and I would help by painting the finished building. Together we have taken lessons to learn disco dancing, play acoustic guitar, modern square dance, create stained glass objects, and some I can't recall.

He has worked at his family business for 50 years. I have worked there when I have had time, while going to college and still on many Saturdays. We still work together competing the monthly billing for the family business.

We have had individual interests too. He worked on cars, took courses to learn how to paint a car, design heat & air units for houses and design and oversee the building of those houses. His interest still involves cars. He has quite a collection of cars and parts. Together we attend car shows and swap meets. We travel to lots of interesting places.

Over the years, I have worked at several different jobs. I've taken lots of classes, artistic and with an end in mind. I attended college after we married and earned Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees in education. I'm still taking classes and learning new things in my current job.

Within a few years, we will retire. Our plans include more traveling. Hopefully, the difference will be that we won't need to hurry back to work. I hope I can find something to fulfill my days with work. :)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

SOL # 1 Thoughts on Writing

Last year I participated in writing a Slice of Life story for every day in March. It was a tough challenge, but allowed me to believe for that month that I was a writer. I wrote pieces about memories of growing up, my family and my work. I occasionally wrote a poem. I surprised myself.

After the challenge ended, I had mixed feelings about participating again. Recently, I read one post by Donalyn Miller in which she says, "If you write, you are a writer."  You can read her post here:
http://bookwhisperer.com/2014/02/22/im-a-reader-not-a-writer/

Wow, that says to me, I must participate in the SOL for this year.  I can once again say, "I am a writer." I'm hoping the habit of writing continues more consistently this year. I hope I can complete some of my ideas for picture books.

Another part of Donalyn's post says a writer makes others care about the writing. In the past, I have written from my heart, so it meant something to me. Now I must try to view each piece of writing to see if the writing stirs emotions in others. I like thinking about how others perceive my writing. Sometimes that keeps me from posting until the piece makes sense. It reminds me of teaching writing in elementary school, because students were taught to write for a particular audience. I also remember while working on a dissertation, one advisor kept asking the question, "So what?" She was trying to encourage me to think about reactions from those outside my world.

Another helpful tip from Donalyn was "ALL writers struggle". I hope, with daily practice, my writing improves.

Here goes, my first post for SOL14.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Signs

Today was finally above freezing so I took my dog, Ellie, for a leisurely walk in the woods. We were both looking for signs. Ellie had her nose right on the ground. She carefully inspected every small space around us, while I was scanning a larger area. Ellie never found anything to chase. She marked her territority more than once or simply had to go. I'm not sure Ellie found what she was looking for, but I could tell she enjoyed the time spent searching.

found several objects that drew my interest. Ice was still in the pond and I searched for the boat. It was near the water's edge, I finally saw it sitting under the water. Can you see it?


I was looking for signs indicating the arrival of spring is nearing. I tried to take pictures of samples of spring, budding twigs.


One was from a Sassafras, others were bushes I haven't yet identified. 






Our walk gave me hope that the arrival of spring is indeed near.





Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Missouri Topography

Today I drove through the Ozark foothills through mid Missouri. I was struck by the difference in the topography of Missouri. I snapped the first picture to show the rocky terrain and rolling hills. If you look closely at a Missouri map, you can identify an angular line that shows where the hilly land drastically changes to flat land. The edge of the hills is named Crowley Ridge. We have fault lines near the ridge.



Yesterday I took the second picture as I was driving in the Bootheel region of Missouri. I felt at home, but also noticed how unusual the land looked. From the picture, you see flat land, lots of good farmland, open spaces and a few stands of trees. It is where I grew up. As a child I'd get carsick after we moved about 50 miles west to the more hilly region (Ozark foothills) and would travel back to the Bootheel to visit our grandparents. It would be interesting to have students compare and contrast the variety of topography found in the state of Missouri.


A morning at Pre-school