Girl I Know

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Orange clove mind

mist, boxing gloves

sweaty work-out

power pose

smiles, laughter

protein, eat-clean

mountain dance

tank-top, jeans

pens and Art

Giving hands

Growing heart

to understand

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Goodbye Butterflies

My heart cries tonight at this site.  A construction crew came through this week.  They installed a high pressure pipe irrigation system in place of the old ditch flood system. Tonight when the rain stopped and the sun broke through, I took a walk down the fence line to look it over.  That’s when reality set in.  Every bit of marvelous milkweed is gone. Not a leaf or stick remains.   A 150 year flood irrigation system and wetland ecosystem has been altered forever and I am heart broken.  When the Monarchs return there will be nothing here for them. Nothing… unless there is milkweed growing in the riparian zone closer to the Weber River, three hundred yards away. As for me, I gifted away all the milkweed seed I had harvested.  I am just so sad about this.

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In Which I am Thankful I am Surrounded by Good Witches and Gobblings…

 

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Today I am thankful…

for good witches (not the bad ones found jelly side down in a sand box,

or the frightening warty ones of literary and cinema horror stories,

but good ones…..like Glinda, and Elphaba, and Xan, and teachers

who clap their hands believing in fairies and scatter pixie dust

some flying with wings and gold and rainbows

Some reading Roald Dahl…with or without gloves and square-toed shoes.

Which ones?……good women, with kind thoughts, understanding hearts,

and who have each others backs

*I am thankful too for

gobblers ( ha ha…..not of the turkey kind……but of the children kind

(sometimes hungry, and sometimes not, but more often than not,

birds of a feather, grateful for the snacks I scatter before them)

 

actually…..

I am thankful

my life does not depend on eating some of that turkey feed and…….Seaweed.

It was March, and the Moon was full of milk, like a first time Spring heifer about to calve. It was the week of Dads and Doughnuts, and Read Across America, when on a whim, I bought a package of dried seaweed at Whole Foods. Oh, the Places I go.  This school year, I have a student who loves the stuff, and just for kicks I decided to taste it.  I was dying to know what the draw was. Why did he love the stuff so much.

After one bite, I discovered there is no draw for me.  Zilch. Zero. Nada. No magnetism.  Let’s just say I experienced the Law of Repulsion. Barfo! It smelled and tasted like…goldfish food.  Yes.  I have tasted goldfish food. So along with that bite of seaweed, I think I drank more water in five minutes than I had all day that Saturday…and that was a double Title work-out day, which meant mega hydration.

So,  I sat in Pearl,  carefully chewing, nose plugged so as not to taste the smell. I imagined the green stuff as green eggs n ham.  I was hoping Seuss’s Magic would work on me. Initially, the stuff crackled and mixed with saliva like a thin slice of celophane. Thoughts left Mulberry Street and  meandered toward Sassman and Wetz Lanes , backroads of my rural Texas upbringing. Memories of well-done scrambled eggs filled my brain. I held these heavenly haloed on my tongue.  The scabby skiffs of egg-run residues. I concentrated my tongue, like a spatula scraping a ring around the teflon rim of the frying pan.  The egg pan trimmings were my favorite thing about breakfast as a kid. Better than bacon. Sweeter than juice.  I loved making a  quick collection of crusty protein.  So with a fast greasy finger, I garnered these, as if playing with fire, trying not to get burned on the still-hot pan before mom could catch me and take the turner.

Turn the clock forward forty years. The whole time, at  Whole Foods, while in that awful cud chewing mouthful moment, even the best imagining could NOT make the seaweed taste good.  So, like the creative stack and stockpiler I am, I saved the despicable thing. Rather than toss it to the trash, I took the seaweed to school and stashed it on top of a rolling bookshelf.  Just knowing I had attempted eating the stuff, was worthy of a prize ribbon.  Just possessing some of it, felt just as empowering toward magikal, because I knew it would only be a matter of time before a certain little boy would want it.  There: along-side a plethora of skinny, fine-tip markers, crisp roll of golden tickets, and sundry master copies of just run, or needing to be run Reading Street tests and practice sheets. Yesterday’s custodial pen and pencil pick-ups,  Sleddy the Snowman who is still counting down the days until next Christmas, and Rusty, the recess cowbell, had nothing on the seaweed pack as I would discover.

 

Student: (with a Big Smile, drawing out my name) “Mrs. Rrrrrrr, Can I have a piece of

your seaweed?”

Teacher: ” Did your dad bring a supply to Mrs. Beamann yet?”

Student: “Nooooooo.”

Teacher: “I guess your dad needs to do his homework then.”

Student: “The China people live too far away for them to get it.”

Teacher: ” Your dad doesn’t have to go to China to get seaweed. There is a store in the city, less than an hour from here. And…..the workers don’t live in China either.”

Student:  “I know. My dad has been too busy….(endless excuses)”

Teacher:  “Maybe you should work on your dad instead of working on me.  He needs to do his homework. If you want seaweed, your dad will have to bring it to Mrs. Beaman.”

Student: “Okaaaaaay.” ( Pause.  I am doing homework check-in and attendance, etc.  Student is standing next to me.)

Teacher:  “Do you know how most mornings I am the one checking  in on you, asking  how your morning is going and if you have eaten breakfast?”

Student: (Nods.)

Teacher:  “Well, today, you might need to be asking ME those questions.  I had a really rough start this morning. But the good news is……even though it started out that way, I can still choose to make today a happy day. You know, you can make it happy too. Does that make sense?”

Student:  “Yes.”

Teacher: “Good.”  (Student slinks back unsatisfied to his desk, continues to stall and does not comply with work requests.  Picks up a book called Explorers and reads, rather than working on an Ipad task.)

Teacher: (Lets it go, realizing that INTEREST drives reading……and Reading is good and better than no reading.)

 

(Rewind to approximately 30 minutes earlier)

7:38 am

I notice daylight permeating the peach and mauve-acado  J.C. Penny floral curtains

Sit stark upright, wondering if it is Friday

Nope it WASN’T!!!!  (That was tomorrow’s Snow Day holiday)

Dove into a pile of pillows to retrieve a cell phone

Confirmation!

Discovered to my horror it truly was…..7:39 a.m.

It was a school day

The Benedryl sleeping pill had done the job…..TOO WELL

Knocking me out like a Title prize fighter!

And so, with a head ringing like a  bell

I called for help.

All day long…..

I am grateful for Mrs. S. for opening up my classroom, letting in the children, and for cracking the iPad safe.

I am thankful for Mrs. B.

for sitting with the children until I arrived 20 minutes later

New SPEED RECORD

I am thankful I made it to school ALIVE without incident

and that I slowed to 20 mph in the school zones

Thankful…

even in a fuzzy state of dishevelment, without a morning routine,

without beloved  COFFEE

ambrosia of the gods

without deodorant, oblivious to the sunrise, and without thoughtful morning prayer,

With the biggest Benedryl hangover headache possible

I arrived ALIVE.

 

So thankful for Mrs. B……for B-ing there.

Thankful for students who

are kind and get to work  without too many questions.

Thankful for the Office help and for a shorty-bus shuttle

to the swimming pool so we didn’t have to walk in the snow and rain

the 2×2 blocks to and from the high school pool.

I am thankful for space, and for quiet recovery to go sit in Pearl and to put on

make-up in a belated parking lot ritual

I am thankful for

a prayer of quiet gratitude

I am grateful for no judgement

No one there, aware, and  judging the state of my mind and my physical appearance

in this moment.

I am thankful for imagination

and for my Savior’s  arms around me

as I realize…….everything is okay and is going to be okay.

I also realize…….I have a sleep problem, among other problems

that I wish to overcome

but I am really just very thankful……that I woke up.

Later I see a friend.  She is hanging Art in the kiva. They are the pixelated pictures; a product of the practice of “Seeing” things as they are. I tell my friend what happened.  She listens and cares.  Then she shares some scary personal stories about a family member with sleep problems.  The individual was so out-of-it on pills, that she would wake in the middle of the night in a zombie state and  cook food.  One night she almost burned down the house.  Wow!

I am thankful……that I don’t cook…(ha ha)…(under the influence)

and that the only waking I do (in the night)

is in a hot flash, or

is to go to the bathroom

or to make the cold, hard wood floor walk, to fill my green plastic, bed-side water cup.

I am thankful I can walk… with and without pain.   And I am thankful for water.

I am thankful for school lunch……..cuz I was soooo hungry today.

Not even a Yoohoo snack drink, almonds, and two fist-fulls of Cheeze-its would quell my churning stomach.

I am thankful… (that I don’t have four stomachs like cows do….or otherwise…

I might have had 4 times the hunger)

I am thankful…

for kind lunch ladies who make it my way, right away, and don’t mind customizing

the lucky red tray

without, chips, cake, cookies, and cinnamon rolls, even though all of these things are homemade and delicious.

I am thankful for protein and carb cycling

for baked chicken and homemade rolls,

for green salad, with Ranch dressing and dried blueberries (bugs).

And….I am thankful  I am frequently caught on the knot of lunch room tug-o-war,

being beckoned by my children to eat with them.

 

(12:00 pm, Lunch)

Seaweed Kid:  “Mrs. R., will you sit by me?”

Teacher:  (Slight pause. Whispering heart) (Enthusiastic) “YES.”

Student:  “I get to sit by the BEST teacher ever.”

Teacher: “I’m glad you are feeling happy today.” I sit down and begin eating french fries.

Student: “Mrs. R., You are loved.”  (Student half-hugs me.)

Teacher:  “I’m glad you are feeling good today. You know, I don’t always feel loved.”

Student: “Well, you are!”

Teacher: “Thank you.”  ( I imagine this has something to do with me inviting students to have inside recess in our classroom with Legos, rather than face the chaos of inside recess in the gym.)

I am thankful for

inside recess (at least for today)

for happy, playfully engaged children

and for seeing stormy weather as an opportunity

 

And so…… I host the Lego Club and another edition of

“Robotic Starbucks of the Future” as it is wonderfully imagined by my 4th graders.

I am also thankful

I could rescue two girls from the wrath of a witchy teacher casting dark spells

outside her own territory.  So, I  was Glad to welcome in with a wink, two girls form another class as my own, who had curiously gone rogue from the gym to find safe haven in my classroom.

I am thankful for smiles

from those girls and others who chose to build domino trains and  “gears” into  engineering something future-rama.

I am grateful for many things, not the least of which are my 4th grade gobblings,

one of which covets a nasty  feather-weight seaweed pack, that I keep as a reminder of leveraged power

that is …….the Power

to do good or to reward good on my terms, with Love and Logic,

And so I will end with this….

and promptly make a sandwich made for gobbling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Music & Still Light

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I am

yesterday,

coffee,

Title two-a-day,  life guard,

stiff sore water play

daddy-daughter dance display,

Barnes and Noble, Lego sets

working sons who don’t forget…

coming home

I am

 

I am

Sunday,

scoliosis freeway

coffee, Pearl,

Jesus praise

black molasses scenic ways

Olympic back scratch get-away

meditation mind sway

Dr. Wayne

berry paint

I am…

 

I am music

and still light

 

and so

 

I write

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Musings: Starry Starry Writes

images Um… No!  But I might design some shaped like stars, moons, hearts, and clovers, just for fun.

It’s hard to see the stars while in the city with all the light pollution. Of course, it’s difficult to see stars in the daylight too, but they are there shining. It’s easier to hear stars and talent converse in audio books and electronic sermons. Why, some stars arrive as questions,  from the mouths of babies and Little Princes. Some find place in jingle like bells,  blown in the wind like shells and children’s laughter.  Some break apart and  fall to pieces. Others reappear as matter reorganized,  discovered as planted planets in a distant galaxy.

Star Girl Caloway was not feeling her usual glittery self. She was feeling jilted, and befuddled. Responding to crisis, a trusted neighbor gave Star Girl spiritual advice from what she remembered of the teachings of the Tao. That is, “to embrace the uncertainty.” Dootsie would have rebutted, “Dog poopy!” I have to admit, agoraphobic MaryLou was a strange one to be giving this advice,  but it was good advice.  Ha ha, so here in  lies the irony.  Life is full of paradox to be felt.

As one, more accustomed to driving the open freeway, I wasn’t prepared for the intersection.  I braced myself in time to brake suddenly for the quick changing stoplight. Pearl lurched forward and everything on the front passenger seat spilled on the floor mat. It was during this punctuation I sighed  and realized Jerry Spinelli was writing about Contentment. I tried not to be upset by the unforeseen change of tragic light.  I was glad for quick reflexes and decent brakes, once I realized I had stopped and I was safe.  I only wished I felt more safe and at peace about other uncertainties in Life.

Change and disconnection freaks me out these days. More so since the hysterectomy. Knowing I am in control of very little is also unsettling. Life requires adaptability and self calming.  Ar times I’m not good at this. Sometimes I feel I am hanging by the thread worn sinewy neck of a  rubber chicken adorning my daughter’s red Ford Focus’s rear view mirror. Like the   car, I am making payments for my words and deeds.

I used to feel confident, and  more the Super Hero in training.  Like a gloved Title Champ, not just  a pretender.  Maybe I really did miss my calling to be a  bull rider or Nascar driver, two professions that require risk and rely  on holding on.

I try to get a grip.  I wrap the rawboned leather strap tighter to my strong hand and squeeze with strong quads and abductors as Life pitches and spins. I try to be content and grateful and to look for starry starry blessings, cuz they are there among the shifting range of gears. .  I realize that Contentment personified is not meant to be proud and bold,  as much as it is to be meek, and elusive. It is a quiet introvert.  It is a trusting, shy, knowing child.

Shh. It turns its head, diminishing volume from low to barely audible, like an elf owl hiding in a prickly saguaro trunk, high, and out of reach. Still, I can hear it peep, and as if possessing the echolocation of a fruit bat or pink dolphin, I seek with sonar and climb to claim it.

I go up, up, up a prickly pegboard as if playing Plinko, even at the risk of falling to a cacti impaled death, just to get a look at those soft tiny feathers.  Risky. This is me, sometimes, not always,  but more  Frequently than not.  I am the answer choices to a gallop poll or a school district parent survey designed to improve ratings in spite of the limp.  Ahhhhhhhhh!

So in welcoming the Sabath I sat listening to a favorite Pastor share some thoughts on Contentment.  I settled in, trying not to try, only to hear. This felt Grande peaceful like doubly starred Starbucks mornings do, only better.

So in that Sunday, go-to-church -meeting, just down the aisle and just up the road from mile marker Johnny eat world, I found myself  with my  thoughts and impressions. I half listened and half drew what I was visualizing the Pastor saying. Contentment sounded a lot like Peace. I tried to remember pieces of Peace, like shiny golden stars on foreheads.  Like  a disappearing string of Reeses Pieces, forming an alien trail to the mother ship; like someone making a soft, silent get away from chase. Distance from the  jang, jang, jangling keys and eardrum burst of shooting stars.

I attempted to ascertain when I last felt really at Peace. It did not include  candy or Pizza, but it could have involved a massage with an aroma touch upgrade.

“When do I most feel this way?”  (outside of my psyche and external influence) the voice in my head silently demanded. I do feel it sometimes and it is something Holy. A hymn I used to sing in my LDS tradition called, “Where Can I Turn for Peace?” came to mind. I immediately knew the answer. I feel Peace as I turn to Christ. I imagine turning into His loving arms. I imagined and I prayed.

Then I loosed my pen and drew a container forpouring out and holding in Contentment and Peace. I drew a three-dimensional heart container…my cartoon self’s cartoon heart. I fashioned it sort of like a glass candy jar, or like a heart shaped Ziploc container without a lid. I wanted this creation of my mind, as I want my own heart, to be fully open, fully fe-malleable, shapeable, and open to gifts from God, and for me to be …ha ha…a “Peace Keeper.”

The more I listened to the sermon and read, the more I felt the verses of scripture filling these inner spaces, and the more I realized Contentment is a Gift which comes as a product of Love and Loving. It is a Gift of the Spirit.

Peace comes from growing and exercising Faith in God and in allowing Grace to wash over me like a Son-rise. It comes from turning from Sin. It comes in being Generous and Kind to others. It comes from thoughts of Gratitude. As I attempt these more, I am being more Generous and Kind to others and to my Soul. Being present with believers is sometimes the best thing I can do for my mind, heart and soul.

I finish listening to the Pastor’s wise words. I continue feeling open and humble for some time letting Love endorphins circulate through me. As I join with these believers, some with hands raised up, in singing lovely lyrics, I feel good. One man, who was handing out pens and programs, greeted me by name. I look around and with my eyes and heart I drink in the expressions and emotions of all the singing and lip-sinking people around me. What I see on the faces of the young and old and in-betweens is a sort of serenity, and blissfulness. Joy. I have seen this look on the faces of my students from time to time. I marvel and stand all amazed at God’s Love. I too, can feel it as I remember, “He makes beautiful things. He makes beautiful things from the dust,” and I realize “It is well with my Soul.”

I walk slowly to my car. Pearl is waiting in the distance, through the lovely rain. Passed the churned up, pasty fall leaves and thick mud. Today it is not a dusty day. It is a wet, silt and clay day, and a far cry from last time’s slick, treacherous ice. There is a car stuck in the muck not far from me in the extended parking lot. I can see a big yellow (tow) Toe-truck. Help has arrived. I am reminded of how I am often stuck… and of how exhausting this is, but Hope is rising on the horizon, on this blessed Son-day and all is well in this moment. I’m glad for this.

In less than twenty-four hours my mind starts playing tricks on me and I begin to doubt myself. I try to remember the sermon, but I’m too lazy to dig for my notebook in my athletic over-night bag in the other room, on the floor of my Sister’s guest room. No. I’d rather play with the baby. Instead, I try to visualize Peace as the small one jumps on my lap, giving me a circuit training routine, which isolates my already sore arms.

I remember some of the times and places in which I felt the warmth and healing of Peace and Contentment: in the rhythm of a lap swim, in Nature, hiking up a green, fragrant mountain Heaven-bound, resting silently in a tent, in a meadow spread with wildflowers just for me, watching a lightning storm, listening to rain, waking to the sound of the singing apple tree, meditating, relaxing into so many drives to and from the city in Pearl listening to K-LUV radio, holding my babies, and other’s babies, and my Sister’s baby, feeding them warm milk, watching them sleep, waking from just such a rare sleep (myself), witnessing God painting the sky, praying in the school parking lot amid the bus drop-off, lighting my smile to the smiles and greetings of parents and children who are hugging and waving good bye, teaching something I love and believe in, breathing in email from my missionary, and calls from my college- gone child telling me he’s okay, hearing the confirmation of such in the happy skip in her and his voice, reading lovely books, being read to, and opening to encouragement from cherished friends.

As much as I find evidence of Peace around me, I know it is truly an inside job.  God has placed a spark of His divinity in me, and much like a pacemaker, I have to take care of it. I must keep the hearth light burning.

Peace and Contentment are Sisters to Joy, Generosity, and Gratitude and their parents are God’s Love and Grace. I am a keeper of light. I would do well to be wise. I’m not great at patience or wisdom. I would do well to open the eyes of my heart to them and to all those who would light my days and illuminate my night sky with His holiness, finding Peace and Hope in Him.

 

 

 

 

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a day early

 

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some days come early

premature

surprisingly blessed

unexpected

at the touch of the Master’s hand

the Universe delivers

like a flourish of birds

to your breadcrumb offerings

leaving you dumbstruck

in tears of gratitude

you relinquish the tourniquet wait

the all wrapped up and out of reach

of five dollar daisies in crystal

peel the suffocating cellophane

limited mind set

give in and just receive

as if the tip did not depend on it

just breathe

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Frost bites… Ahhh

Children are one of the greatest joys in Life. I’m Grateful for my friend who teaches Art to our children and for those who make the Arts possible.  I love what the children have created here. Their imagination inspires me toward thinking and creativity. 

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Frost bytes

Inside the lab the children tap home row, but think of Winter

Inside her paper grading mind she sees

A D H  D    A D H D……and know they need to MOVE!

Outside, between the mini-blinds they long to go.

The Snowflakes play and dance and jump

like frosty aphids

Cloud jumpers want to land on children’s chocolate rainbow faces

I close my teacher eyes to tests and schedules

and vow to try to be….. more better

and like my fledglings, just let GO.

And so, I open wide my child eyes

to innocent discovery

to fly

to magic and believing

to making fun the tasty freeeeeeeze

to loving every icy thing

above, below and all around me.

***That day we caught two, three…… or ten bazillion crystals.

Sublime time crystals snagged from space before the bell rang

before we went inside the lines to rows and orders

***Right there and then

outside in real-life child time

I blinked and pinked and peeked

a sea of children trying to climb the sky

***They caught a cache of long-lashed loot

with wet pink wrinkled platted tongues to boot

They worked the work of clomping scattering snow shoes

cocked back, wide gapped, their toothless little mouths

refused to close

Again, again, they hurled a never ending spray of joyous celebration

the happy song, a child’s quest of romping salutation

a freedom called to play  that comes so easily to youth

a slip and slide of slush and shovels from January through February

of winking sloppy snowflake melt on everyone

and ice sickle sword play.

***I gazed and coveted

and so I caught for me a clear blueberry sky

atop the frozen flagpole field of stars on high

I sighed and tasted beauty on my taffy tongue-pull

and savored long and well that sweet sleet drip

*** I scanned to spy a hundred button noses cocked,

tipped confident to trusting, far from Winter’s cutting edge

a hundred open bird chirp mouths intent on feeding

a hundred rosy cheeks all zipped and scarfed, and willing

a hundred homespun, bought, some thrown, without a thought

for soggy shirts and sweaters.

Torn, blown and flying.  Heaped high in coat banks deep and dying.

A wondrous wave of woven woolen mittens burst again, hands raised

all vying for the blessed soft serve.  The sweet friends,

a mess of mewing kittens lapping milk

spilt soft upon the silky white of morning

one     two      three     four….more….the frosty excess

five fingering a Jan Brett mittened recess

upon the tongues of children, snowflakes flying without end,

then just as fast

gone gone to never-lasting

drip

drip

skin

 

and sun-baked

 

Then back for more galore!

 

***It’s days like these

I love to be.

It’s times like these

I don my eagle wings and breath,

immune to fixed, inflexible, and grown up thinks

It’s times like these I thank my God.

I raise my face to Winter Sun and muddy buddy dogs

and set my tongue

to seeking

frost bites

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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