Tuesday, April 28, 2009

National Poetry Month

Heh...it is the second to the last day of National Poetry Month and I really meant to post some poetry. But I've taken all my poetry books to school and I kept forgetting to bring them home.

Here's a poem:

Enter October

Wrapped in the feather boa of
The Season’s Premier S
October makes her entrance.
But, after the introduction,
She drops the frozen front and
Gleams gold so bright
That wild geese echo the musical applause
Long after the last curtain call
That cuts into November’s icy act.

by Judy Kay Welch
New Era, Oct 1974

Here's another poem:

On A Night of Snow

Cat, if you go outdoors, you must walk in the snow.
You will come back with little white shoes on your feet,
little white shoes of snow that have heels of sleet.
Stay by the fire, my Cat. Lie still, do not go.
See how the flames are leaping and hissing low,
I will bring you a saucer of milk like a marguerite,
so white and so smooth, so spherical and so sweet -
stay with me, Cat. Outdoors the wild winds blow.

Outdoors the wild winds blow, Mistress, and dark is the night,
strange voices cry in the trees, intoning strange lore,
and more than cats move, lit by our eyes green light,
on silent feet where the meadow grasses hang hoar -
Mistress, there are portents abroad of magic and might,
and things that are yet to be done. Open the door!

-- Elizabeth Coatsworth

So, now you must find a poem, or write a poem, to celebrate the waning days of April.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Down the Musical Memory Lane

Cool Guy and I were talking tonight about music and, of course I was saying things like, "You know that one song...those guys you saw every week in Overton Park in Memphis..." because my brain often doesn't work well with specifics like names these days. So I went to the internet because EVERYTHING is there. I don't need to have it on the tip of my tongue anymore since I can just google it all now. But...I digress. And I digressed for about an hour on youtube looking up songs I loved way back in the day. Here's one for instance:

I loved these guys--The Allman Brothers band. Don't you wish your hair was as pretty as Greg's? Don't you wish you could play the guitar like Dicky Betts and Duane Allman?

Here's another one that I can listen to nine gazillion times and never tire of it. Whenever I hear it I have to stop and listen to the whole thing and sing along (if I'm alone). It's just the best harmony ever.

Don't you want to hit play again? And again? Just one of those beautiful, awesome songs that I love to hear.

Also both of them remind me of a time of life when my knees didn't hurt and my hair was as pretty as Greg Allman's. It was a great time of life and I am always astonished that we are this many years removed from it. It is good to have music to be a vivid and instant time travel device.
P.S. The initial song I went looking for was "Heard It In a Love Song" by Marshall Tucker Band, a local group that played free in Overton Park in Memphis the summer of 1973 when Cool Guy was going to Navy A school. It was before the band had a huge hit. Then we got together in February 1974 and listened to them over and over on their new album.
P.P.S. Cool Guy pointed out to me that the second guitarist on the first clip is not Duane Allman. Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident early in their career. I don't know who the other player is, but here is Duane.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Car Lust

Cool Guy rents cars quite often because he travels for work. He's rented enough cars in the last few years that he is at the top of the Preferred Renters list, or whatever they call it, at the company he usually uses. So he never knows what will be awaiting him when he goes in to pick up a car. (And he's like the people on the commercials who just walk right into the garage and the car is waiting there in a space with his name posted over it...) Once he got a Mustang convertible. Once it was a Lincoln Continental. I was with him on that trip and we really felt like a couple of geezers in that land yacht. He always reserves the same model, an Impala, but they just give him what they've got at the time, if one of those isn't available. And they give him an upgrade if they don't have his first choice. So...

Last week he picked up the car to go on a trip and it was a Mercedes C-Class. He came by my school to say good bye. (I had just finished after-school tutoring.) I was dutifully impressed. It had a sunroof, nice leather seats. It was awesome. He laughing said it took him 10minutes to figure out how to turn on the radio. He said it drove like a dream---German engineering. So, off he went for a relatively short journey to a base in a neighboring state for some meetings.

He returned a couple of days later and walked in the door that evening. He strode into the living room and declared:
"I've never been upset with you for not winning the million dollars. But now I am. I want a Mercedes Benz!!" And then he laughed!! This from the person who always bought old used cars because he could rebuild the motors and we wouldn't have car payments. It enabled me to be a stay-home mom for eighteen years.

Really, it's okay about the money---but WOW---would he love one of those cars. So, if you ever get to upgrade to Mercedes...be careful. It'll ruin you.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

That's More Like It

Do you know that on Tuesday night Las Vegas established a new record lowest high temperature for that date? It was very cold--cold enough for several new inches of snow to fall on the highest mountain here, the road over the west mountains to be closed due to snowfall, and even in the neighborhoods of the valley at the foot of those mountains to have snow. Bah. It is April, people.

Yes, yes---two feet of snow closed eastern Wyoming and Colorado. Northern Utah, including halfway down the state got lots of new snow...yeah, yeah. But I am living here in the desert and it is April and we are supposed to be having Spring with its lovely balmy days in the 70's. We will be having the 100's by the end of May and this is our reward time of year.

It has been a very cold winter. We have had incredible winds and very cold weather for almost the whole month of April. I'm ready for some nice weather. Wah.

So, finally today we have some. That's good. It's about time. That is all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Teacher Perks?

A strange thing has been happening the last few weeks at school. A mom is bringing me lunch. This all got started because I drooled over the lunches she regularly brought to her son. She'd cook him these sensational looking soups and enchiladas and tacos and things. It would be freshly made, and she'd be waiting in the foyer as we walked the students up to the cafeteria at 12:10. She and her daughter, a toddler, would go in and give her son the Tupperware container that was full of the delicious looking homemade Mexican food. I'd walk past him to drop off my lunch ticket envelope and I couldn't help but notice the awesome looking lunches. So, I'd make a little joke about wanting her to be my mom, or wouldn't he please share...He'd laugh and she'd smile.

Well, about three weeks ago, I walked the students up the hall, and there is Mama and she walked up to me with the Tupperware bowl. I took it and turned to look for her son, but she gestured and said, with a strong accent, "No--you eat." Just then her boy came up and explained in English for his mother, "She brought it for you today!" OH MY GOODNESS. I was embarrassed. They were so happy to give it to me, so I thanked her and took it.

It was FABULOUSLY delicious. It was empanadas and spanish rice and some vegetables. It was so much that I sat down in the lounge and shared it with another 4th grade teacher (since we all share this student.) We sucked it down like THAT. YUM, YUM, YUM.

So I e-mailed my daughter and had her translate a thank you for me on the double to give to the boy with the plate that afternoon.

Next week, here's mom again with the covered plate! This time it was chiles rellenoes con pollo with spanish rice and some more empanadas. Cool Guy got some of the left-overs because we couldn't eat it all. He agrees: terrific, delicious. Again, yesterday! I get a lunch. I'm so embarrassed.

Today, after school, they stopped by where I do crossing guard duty and the boy asked me, for his mom who was driving, if I liked the lunch. I definitely did, and said that, really, she didn't have to do that, honest. But she smiled and he explained that she loved to do, no problem!

So I told my fellow crossing guard all about what was going on, and he just laughed and told me that with so few perks coming our way as teachers, I should just say Thank you very much, and gobble up the food and thank my lucky stars. So, I guess I will.

It's still embarrassing.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Greetings

Easter is one of my favorite celebrations. Partly because it occurs in Spring, which means Winter is on the way out. As a child this was important because Winter was always so interminable. We often had snow on the ground for Easter...more than once a blizzard raged. But the later occurring Easters (like the year my younger brother was born) was sunny and warm and we'd raked all the old grass off the lawns.

Of course, we always got new dresses. Sometimes they were merely new to us, our sisters having worn them a few years before. But it still counted. I had a hat for several years in a row, too. And since we had so many chickens, we definitely dyed eggs. On Easter morning we got to hunt for these hidden eggs throughout the living room--never outside, because of the snow. And there was some candy, also.

But my favorite part of Easter, even when I was little, was church. It is all centered around the reality of the Resurrection. Christmas is sweet and sentimental. But there is an undercurrent of melancholy. The parents are far from home, they have inadequate accommodations, they have a little fear when the Wise Men and Herod enter into the narrative.

But Easter! It's all about triumph! It's all about Christ turning the horrible circumstance of His trial, His humiliation and His crucifixion upside down and being more powerful than all of it.

He is Risen! Imagine the exhilaration of Mary when she runs off to tell the apostles that what Jesus had been teaching them wasn't allegorical---He really did return to life!

I realize that I've lived my whole life with this as a fact, not just a belief. I've always known with surety that Christ is Lord and He lives and the Resurrection is certain. There are many things I wonder about, some doctrinal concepts I puzzle over. But the Living Christ isn't one of them. I am always grateful for this gift of knowing that life is eternal, and we're just in one phase of our existence here on earth. Hosanna and Hallelujah!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Grandma Land

This afternoon we just returned from visiting our two grandchildren who live in California, and later tonight our grandson will arrive for part of his spring break. He can only stay a couple of days, because he has a soccer game to play on Saturday, but two days will be great! We enjoy all the time we can get when it comes to being the grandparents.

In California we went for a walk, played in the sandbox, were served delicious sand icecream cones, read books, played Go Fish and made some Easter crafts together. Another day we toured the Jelly Belly Factory and went to a terrific planetarium where we saw a dinosaur movie and a movie called the "The Secret of the Cardboard Spaceship" in which we explored the universe in animation. We ate out and we visited the Oakland temple visitor's center, and just completely used up one day. We really had a great old time.

Tomorrow we plan to plant tomatoes, take the little gas-car out to the desert for some off-roading remote-control driving, and of course, swimming in the little pool (since the big pool is a little too chilly yet.) Then on Friday, it's Bunny Bread time! We'll probably go see a cool museum too.

Grandma-time is the best way to spend Spring Break--believe me!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Happy Birthday Joe

Actually, the main birthday celebrated in our family today is for the second brother. He was born 26 years ago and was a Kindergarten class project--sort of. I was pregnant with him during the year of our oldest child's first school experience, and I spent time there each week being the music lady with a friend of mine. As the year progressed, my belly grew bigger, and so the students were excited to have me come and visit at the end of April with the new baby brother. He was very popular and annointed the "cutest one!" He was then, and still today manages to be very, very cute. And very talented and very nice. And very intelligent and very creative.

Which brings us to Joe's birthday. Well, I don't really remember Joe's birthday. It could be today, but without today, April 2, we wouldn't have had Joe...so. Mr. Cool (as I will herein refer to the Birthday Boy) taught himself to read when he was just about four. One of his favorite things to read was the atlas, and any map, anywhere. We had a map of the United States on the wall in his room and it got thoroughly studied. One day, we were introduced to Joe.

Joe was from Shafter, Texas. His grandmother lived in Alpine, Texas. Joe liked the color green, and his mom had died, I think. There were some tragic undertones to Joe's life. But Joe lived with us for a year or more. When we had baths in the evening, I had to also help Joe out of the tub and dry him off. At night, Joe was tucked into bed, too. He had a place to join us on the couch for bedtime reading. He went to the store with us. One night at dinner, Mr. Cool was just fiddling with his soup and not really eating much. I pointed out that we had ice cream for dessert, but that the soup needed to be finished first. Oh, no problem, Joe was going to eat the soup. So, I replied, "Then I'll give Joe the ice cream." He shot right back angrily, "Joe HATES ice cream!"

We moved to another state during the year of Joe. A big moving van pulled up outside of our house, everything boxed up and stashed inside. Then the truck was weighed and we signed the bill. But when it arrived in Idaho after a few days on the road, the new weight was 300 pounds heavier than that which we loaded in California. Mysterious? We looked at one another and Cool Guy just shrugged, "Joe's stuff." Of course.

One day, we just didn't hear about Joe anymore. He was a good friend, and we all enjoyed him while he lived with us. I hope he's having a happy birthday, too. Mr. Cool--you, too!