Found My Answer

So a couple of days ago I was wondering if I was getting sick or if my allergies were kicking into gear. Well, last night I found my answer. I was sitting in the recliner minding my own business watching the first quarter of the 76ers game, when I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye. NO! IT CAN’T BE!! Well it was – the beginning of an aura similar to the picture below. Now I knew that my allergies were to blame for my scratchy throat and sinus pressure, but just to be sure they provided me with a migraine headache to cap off my evening.

My head was ready to explode. It felt like there was an icepick chipping away at my orbital bone. I popped two Excedrin Migraine pills, covered my eyes with a black towel, relined my chair, and waited for the headache to start. It arrived right on schedule – one hour after the aura began. I finally went up to bed just before midnight – the migraine in tow.

Today I have the migraine hangover – head and neck hurt, but not quite as badly as last night. Unfortunately, staying home was not an option, so I spent the day trying to manage my headache and my mood. You see today was a dress down day for my (usually clad in uniforms) students, the beginning of March Madness, and indoor recess due to the rain – not the best recipe for a calm and peaceful day, but I managed to get through it.

Once that final bell rings, and my hall monitor duty is over, I am looking forward to heading home for a cup of tea, a blanket, and a nap. See you in the morning!

Pleading for Help

Today I stopped what we were working on in ELA to give my 7th-grade students the opportunity to watch the live stream of Ukrainian President Zelensky addressing the United States Congress. I thought it was important that they witness this historic moment. In an effort to keep politics out of any discussion, I muted the commentators as we waited for the address to begin. I explained that depending on what news broadcast you watch, the information could be presented or slanted to a particular view or opinion, and we were not viewing this as a political issue, but as a humanitarian issue.

There were many lines in President Zelensky’s speech that moved me and gave me pause. The situation is so complicated in some ways yet so simple in others. The students made observations with the clarity of 13-year-olds. That is not meant to be condescending, but rather as a wonderment of the beautiful hearts of youth and what happens on the way to adulthood that changes and hardens some hearts.

I printed a copy of the speech because even though I took notes as I watched, there was so much I wanted to return to, to mull over, to reconcile. That is not a one-shot deal. Today I was able to create a blackout poem from the first of four pages of text. Tomorrow, I will try to digest a little more.

I’m proud
From Ukraine

Our beautiful people
Eight years
Resisting
Aggression

Destiny
Being decided
Against our values
Our rights

Live freely
Same dreams
Americans
Understand us now

Remember
December 7, 1941
September the 11th

Our country experience
Right now

Is this too much to ask?

I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge sponsored by twowritingteachers.org

Am I Getting Sick?!?

Uh oh!

My colleague is absent
He thinks he has strep throat
Now my throat is scratchy
Not getting in that boat.

I am feeling chilly
And now my head does ache
Sinuses are yelling
“We’re here,” for goodness sake.

Pop some Sudafed now
I hope it’s allergies
Feeling kind of tired
It has to be the trees.

Have no time for sickness
I think I’ll make some tea
Hope that strep and Covid
Stay far away from me!!

Almost Normal

Tonight was the first book club meeting of the Chapter Chicks for 2022. Eight of the ten members were present, and it was almost like the old days – the days before Covid – 19 put a hold on our in-person meetings. We tentatively made our way back to a few meetings in 2021, but Covid was always looming, and we were all at different comfort levels when it came to meeting in person.

Tonight there was a different feeling tonight – a lightness. There was good food, adult beverages, and laughing – lots and lots of laughing. Life is good!

A Writing Retreat

I am excited to join the Slicer Writing Retreat hosted by Leigh Anne Eck. I am not sure if I have ever participated before, but I think it is what I need right now. This is Leigh Anne’s invitation – “imagine yourself being with other writers in a cabin tucked away in a world of lush green fields surrounded by beautiful flowers blooming under blue skies and perfect temperatures.” I close my eyes and picture this scene, and feel so calm and peaceful.

Writers are asked to bring the following things to the retreat.

Writing Tools – I would bring my current writer’s notebook, which is more than half full, and a beautiful new notebook and pen – a birthday gift just waiting for spring – along with my sketchbook that hasn’t been getting too much attention lately. Of course, two pencil bags would come along. One with Pilot pens, Ticonderoga pencils, Crayola colored pencils, and a sharpener. The other with my favorite brush-tip markers – double-ended for fine and broad markings. I would also bring along a couple of books for inspiration just in case.

Food/Beverage – Tea is my beverage of choice, but I would also need lots and lots of water. I have a lovely collection of flavored teas as well as my loyal companions of Lipton Black, Earl Grey, and Chai that will accompany me on the journey. As far as food goes, I could survive on cheese and cured meats, crackers and pretzel chips, vegetables, and hummus.

Quote – “What lies behind us, and what lies before us are but tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you https://justforamonth.blogspot.com/ for the inspiration today!

I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge sponsored by twowritingteachers.org.

On My Honor

The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.

Juliette Gordon Low

Today is National Girl Scouts Day. On this day in 1912, Juliette Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout troop meeting in Savannah, Georgia.

I have such fond memories of my years as a Girl Scout. I started out as a Brownie back in the 60s; I think it was first grade. Somewhere in one of my many boxes of pictures, there is one of me in that little brown uniform and beanie hat, but most of my memories are of my years as a Junior (skip Cadettes – although I am sure there were many) and Senior scout.

My Junior troop was led by two unconventional leaders, Mrs. Eileen Lehman and Mrs. Maryellen Clark. They gave the girls in their charge some of the best experiences we could have had. There was camping at Camp Laughing Waters, trips to Annapolis, MD, and Washington, DC. We sold cookies (Thin Mints are still my favorite), completed merit badges, made crafts, sang songs, and laughed a lot!!

I remember spending many summers at Rainbow’s End Day Camp. I went every day armed with my lunch and sit-upon. When you got to a certain age there was a sleepover. I can remember wrapping the chicken parts, canned vegetables, and canned potatoes in aluminum foil and placing them on the fire to roast. We took Pillsbury crescent rolls and wrapped them around the edge of a stick and “baked” them over the open fire. Once they were golden brown, off they came and a pad of butter was placed in the warm cocoon, yum! Of course, no sleepover would be complete without S’mores! It took me a few tries before I got to the “just right” golden and gooey marshmallow without setting it on fire!

Being a Girl Scout in high school during the 70s was probably not the “coolest” thing to be. Of course, I was NEVER cool. We stayed in Girl Scouts because of Ms. Trudy Murphy, a career woman who never married, and Mr. Paul Boone, a man who loved scouting and canoeing. We didn’t say we were Girl Scouts, instead, we just told everyone we were on a canoe team (which was technically true). Those two adults helped shape each of us into adults.

Being part of that Senior Scout troop and the Boone’s Bunnies Canoe Team afforded me with experiences I will never forget. I took my first plane ride to Disney World, a five-day canoe/camping trip down the Delaware River, competed in slalom C2 races, and got to meet and be mentored by world-class slalom racers. I stepped out of my comfort zone more than once during those years, and I am glad to have spent them with my two best grade school friends, Terri and Betty Ann.

Brownies Juniors Cadettes

Thank you, Juliette Gordon Low for organizing the Girl Scouts. Thank you to all the adults who volunteer their time and efforts to give girls this wonderful experience. Thank you, Mom & Dad, for finding the money for me to be able to participate in scouting, for being my chauffeur, and for bringing the bullhorn and cheering me on during all those races.

I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge sponsored by twowritingteachers.org.

Life is Good

This has been a LONG week of standardized testing and adjusted schedules, and Friday has been the light at the end of the tunnel. I am embarrassed to say that I have done more than my share of complaining this week about a variety of things, but then I heard “We Didn’t Have Much” by Justin Moore on my way to work. I was surprised to hear it because I usually listen to classical music in the morning, but my husband had used my car and switched stations. It was just what I needed to remind me just how good my life is.

All we had was us
And had a little bitty house and a lotta love
We had it all when we didn’t have much
When we didn’t have much
.”

When I reframe my week in a positive light, I am reminded of just how good my life is. Here are some of the highlights of my week.

  • My grandson N. (4.5) called to see if I could “put my coat on” and come to his house.
  • My grandson P. (8) called to tell me he leveled-up in reading.
  • I finally got fitted for new glasses after my cataract surgery.
  • My husband and I talked to a friend in Ohio who we haven’t spoken with in ages.
  • I had my favorite garlic and clam white pizza last night for dinner and there are a few pieces leftover.

We don’t have any plans for the weekend, so I am going to be making my way through some chores that have been on the back burner for far too long. The weather is not looking too good for Saturday, so it will be a good day to stay at home and appreciate my “itty bitty house and a lotta love” because I have it all!

For the Love of Popcorn

Today is Popcorn Lover’s Day (2nd Thursday of March) not to be confused with National Popcorn Day (January 19) or Business of Popping Corn Day (December 2). Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks. These days we buy large bags of Skinny Pop at the local big box store, but there was a time we would only use our Hot Air Popcorn.

When I was a young girl, popcorn was made in a skillet coated with oil. Once we started hearing the kernels begin to pop against the secure lid, the giggles would invariably erupt. Full-on convulsive laughter would ensue if, once my mom or dad took the lid off, a renegade kernel attempted an escape and flew across the room.

Loving memory of loving popcorn.

Weather is Weathering

Ankle: Psst! Want to know a secret?

Me: What?

Ankle: It is going to rain tomorrow.

Me: Really?!? I haven’t listened to the weather forecast today.

Ankle: Trust me It is going to rain!

Me: Are you sure?

Ankle: Yes, do you need proof??? Here, I will alert your arthritis!

Me: No! Don’t do that! Please!

Ankle: Too late. Now that you can hobble around and alert all of your friends. I just hope for your sake ankle arthritis doesn’t alert knees, hips, and hands!

Me: Why? Why did you have to…..

Sinuses: Psst! Want to know a secret?

Me: Ankle already told me. So no need….

Sinuses: Great! We will join the party!

Me: Ugh!

Hear My Prayer

Women, we are as unique as snowflakes but as strong as Australian Buloke trees. Today, on what is International Women’s Day, I am especially thinking about the women of Ukraine who are fleeing with their children leaving husbands to fight against the Russian invaders or those who are picking up arms and fighting side by side with military members and citizens soldiers. Where are they finding their strength?

Where do you find your strength when you are faced with a daunting situation? The article “7 Strategies That Will Help You Stay Strong During Tough Times” (https://www.creativehealthyfamily.com/how-to-stay-strong-during-tough-times/) offers the following tips.

Accept that some situations are beyond your control

Allow yourself time to grieve and feel all the feelings

Never be afraid to ask for help

Whenever possible, offer help to those in need

Take joy where life offers it

Reframe your negative thoughts

Learn from the past, live in the moment, prepare for the future

As I watch the situation in Ukraine unfold, I am seeing these strategies being put into play by women and girls, old and young. I pray for their continued strength and safety – for the tearful ones leaving the only life they have known in uncertainty, for those grieving the loss of family and friends, for that little girl finding joy in singing “Let it Go” while huddled up in a bomb shelter, and for the Polish women leaving strollers at the train station. Holy Mother, hear my prayers.

Holy Mother – Eric Clapton