Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Joyful Moment, 6.6.13

A joy quickly passing
But bright in its moment
From a love that is lasting
As pure as it is rare

The laughter of a second
That fades in the air
But holds in it stories
Of all that is true and fair

Rampant Thoughts, 12.26.13

Staying up late
Know I ought to go to bed
Too many thoughts
Running rampant in my head

Want to do this
Or do that instead
So many thoughts
Running rampant in my head

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Broken Memory, 12.29.13

Slipped between my fingers
Clattered on the floor

The only memory I held dear
And now no more

I let it go on purpose
Time to move on

But now I feel a change
Now that it is gone

Monday, December 29, 2014

Memories Forgotten, 8.26.13

Would you leave behind the memories
If God gave you that choice?
And lose the only thing you have,
The memory of his voice

Would forgetfulness accomplish
What nothing else could
And might your heart heal
As the ghosts fade from these woods

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Why I Hate Santa

Because a child believing in Santa means parents are lying to their children.

Because when an enlightened child tells an unenlightened child the truth about Santa, the mother of the enlightened child gets an angry phone call from the mother of the unenlightened child.

Because the very premise of Santa is bribing children to behave well.

Because I heard a mother once say that her children had to "believe to receive", thus showing that her children had to perpetuate the lie in order to get gifts from the parents.

Because having Santa turns Christmas into a holiday all about receiving, not a whit about giving.

Because some people say they teach their children about Santa because "they don't want them to miss out on Christmas".

Because I have heard Santa described as "Whenever someone gives to someone else, whenever there is love, that is Santa."  And that disgusts me.

Because twice now, when discussing Jesus, God, and angels, my students have brought up Santa.

And most importantly, because when one of my five-year-olds asked me if Santa was real, I couldn't tell him the truth, because 12 sets of childish, excited ears were listening, and I couldn't make myself break that many hearts (I didn't want 12-24 angry phone calls this afternoon either). Also, because today I told my kids that someday soon I will tell them about Santa, and I have no idea what I'm going to say.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Well, I made it.  Yay me.

I've been thinking about my yearly challenges.  My mom questioned the purpose of them, and with how much I disliked this past month, I'm questioning them as well.  I will finish out this year though, because failure is not an option... at least, any more than I have already failed in all the grand plans I stated at the start of this year.

The 104 friendly letters of 2012 served a purpose: kept me on track with keeping in touch with my friends, one of whom was unable to write me back, so I needed a goal that made me think of writing her frequently, so that was a fine challenge.  365 poems was a little over the top, but was very good for me.  It got me back into poetry writing which has continued (at a slower pace) into this year.  This year's did nothing for me.  The practical one of exercising regularly died the first time I got sick.  The finishing a story ended fairly quickly (right after I wrote a post about how well it was going, actually), and you all know how the blogging one has been going.

I still want to do something though.  I like the challenges I've set.  I like seeing myself rise to meet them.  But I need a goal to the challenge, a reason to do that certain thing, other than seeing if I can actually write that many letters/poems/blog-posts.

Feel free to give me ideas, and thanks for putting up with me.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Winter Weather, 12.21.13

Winter weather
Hated by so many
But so easy to enjoy
Watch it from the windows
And your hands employ

See Christmas lights twinkling
Sing some songs together
Light a crackling fire
Enjoy the winter weather

Friday, November 28, 2014

Untitled, 1.22.14

I’ll write to you
In color we’d forgotten
Bring the thoughts
We set free

I’ll hold you through the night
Like before times
When it was only you
And me

Cause now we’re older
Than we’d ever thought we’d be
And now we see
Further than we thought we’d see

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Feasting

Thanksgiving day is very interesting around here.  It is a mixture of relaxing and crazy.  Our main plan is to sit around, play games, and eat lots of wonderful food. However, in order to have wonderful food to consume, the food must be made.

So the day goes in more short bursts.  We play 20 minutes of Nertz, and then break so I can work on the rolls.  More Nertz, then Justice goes out to check the cows, Pop goes over to our other property to take a walk, we do more dinner prep, then go downstairs to play Dominion.  Every 30 minutes or so we take a break from the game to make more food.

Finally, dinner time arrives. Which means, actually, concerted effort from the whole group to get everything finally on the table.  Since the turkey can't be carved till it's done, and the gravy waits for this point as well, that takes up some time.  It took 15 or more minutes from "food's ready!" to actually being able to eat.

Of course it is all worth it.  We had a roast turkey with stuffing (made by Kimberly), coleslaw (a new recipe, made by Mom), mashed potatoes (work of Ellie and Justice), gravy (Pop's creation), jello with cranberries, celery and nuts (Kimberly and Ellie's handiwork), and rolls (my contribution to the feast).  It is disturbingly easy to overeat at such times.  We always aim to eat early on Thanksgiving so that we have plenty of time between dinner and dessert.

After dinner we did more games, talking, cleaning, and finally the dessert.  We had a pumpkin cheesecake (a surprise that Tracy brought), pumpkin and pecan pies (Mom and I made them yesterday), an apple pie (Ellie was shocked that we hadn't made this yesterday, so she made it after dinner today), and cranberry crunch.  Again, way to easy to over eat.  I think I managed fairly nicely however.

The whole day was very fun.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Our Nation, 12.22.13

How do you cry for a nation
How does one hold in their heart
The sins of a nation
Their nation

The world is falling
Around us
At times dragging us down

But still we must stand
And weep for the nations
Our nation
Worst of all

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Well, Thanksgiving break has begun (woohoo!), and I have a smashing headache (boo!).  (Btw, I'm adding in my own reactions, just so I don't feel so lonely if none of you comment)

Today was mildly crazy.  We had a Thanksgiving "dinner" (at noon), where parents and relatives were invited to come eat with their children.  It was good.  And crazy.  Several of my kids' parents couldn't make it, which was mildly sad, but they didn't seem to mind too much.  I sat with them and we had a good time.

The ibuprofen has kicked in now (Yay! for ibuprofen!).

Tomorrow Ellie and I are heading to the parent's house, after doing lots of errands in Rolla and Salem.  I get to go to the chiropractor, which I am looking forward to.

I have a feeling that there is more planned for this week than I know about.  Kind of sad, since I really need to relax.  Oh well, I'm sure I'll find times to sleep.

Happy Thanksgiving break, folks!

Monday, November 24, 2014

This is the reason we teach them Bible verses....

Today after nap-time, one of the kids asked if they could do the 24-piece puzzles that I have on my shelf.  I hadn't broken these out yet, and since they were all being good and fairly quiet, it seemed a good time.  I figured out who wanted to do them (six of the eight kids still in the classroom), and split them into two groups.  At first one of the groups was having trouble working together, and right as I was about to step in I heard one of the kids in the group say, "Hey guys, 'Be ye kind, one unto another,' Ephesians 4:26."

Now, he was six verses off (Ephesians 4:32, "and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."), but talk about applying what he had learned! I was quite proud of him.  They proceeded to work together well after that, so that made me happy too.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I Hate Diets

I've always had a strong dislike for diets.  My first medical memory was of me in the doctor's office, and Doctor Dorman telling Mom that I should go off dairy to deal with my sinus issues.  Since that time, the only doctors that haven't taken me off of dairy, as well as many other wonderful foods, have been three chiropractors, that I only went to for skeletal adjustments.  As long as I didn't tell them about my other problems (chronic fatigue and hypoglycemia), they didn't mess with my food.

Last year my new chiropractor put me on a new diet.  Mainly no dairy, no sugar, and no gluten, though I was also supposed to avoid corn and the really sweet fruits (pineapple, mangoes, and others).  It was fairly awful.  I lost some weight though, that was nice.

After about a month and a half of doing really, really well, I started cheating a little bit.  Just on the weekends, maybe one special thing.  Then I did it more and more, and by Thanksgiving I pretty much wasn't on the diet any more.  After Christmas I managed to get back on it for the weekdays.  Kind of.  Eventually I gave up all together.

But then, a while after school started and I was feeling tired, headachy, and had gained weight, I decided to put myself back on it.  I managed fairly well for two weeks, then Ellie's birthday came around.  I had to eat the cake I made her, of course.  Then we went over to a friend's house to celebrate her birthday, and dinner had wheat in it, and I ate cookies with milk.  Then we went home and had pie and whipped cream.  Today I didn't even try.  I'll be good tomorrow though....

I do think I notice some difference in how I feel when I eat along the diet I've been prescribed.  Maybe that will help keep me straight.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Untitled, 11.22.14

Only the silence
Could hold this sound
A gentle beauty
All around

Only a heartbreak
Could be this whole
So very certain
So clearly known

Only an ending
Could bring this start
And only this pain
Could heal my heart

Friday, November 21, 2014

Good songs. Trust me.

Ellie and I came home this weekend. It was so nice driving up and seeing the Christmas lights up.  Some of you might be judging us for having Christmas lights up, but it's so homey and relaxed.  We keep them up for a long time too.  I'm always disappointed if they are taken down before March.

Oh!  This post wasn't going to be about Christmas, but why not? Christmas music.  Goodness.  People ask me if I like Christmas music and I always quickly respond "yes".  Then, I hear "Christmas music", and I think "ick".  "Baby It's Cold Outside"?  Kill it with fire.

However, "Mary Did You Know"?  Handel's Messiah? "One Small Child"?  Why confine this wonderful music to less than two months in a year?

Here are some good listens for you.  Enjoy. Even if it is before Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Not Quite Under Control

It is interesting and humbling to see how my attitude and behavior affects my students.  Tuesday I found myself flustered and frustrated.  The more the students misbehaved, the more frustrated I got, and their behavior continued to feed off of my responses. That is probably the main reason why Tuesday was such a long day.

Wednesday I went in determined to use positive reinforcement to encourage better behavior.  I have previously found Wednesdays to be very tiring days, but yesterday was great.  They had similar behavior problems (I had the same amount of students sitting out for part of recess, for example), but by rewarding the good students, I got the classroom back into order more quickly and for longer periods of time.

Today was an average day. I began developing a headache as the day went on, and from the start of school it has been discouraging to see and feel how a day will deteriorate as I feel more and more exhausted and my headache comes more to the fore.  I still used positive reinforcement though, so it never got too crazy today.

Good days or bad, I am constantly seeing things that need so much work.  My class is absolutely horrible while "standing in line" (they don't really qualify as either standing, or being in a line), and it is ridiculous. I need to think of something, and stay consistent with it. The problem is, I will try something for a day or so, it won't work a miracle, so I give up on it.  I don't want to get stuck on a strategy that doesn't work, but I think I need to keep going for more than one day.

Well, tomorrow's a new day, as the saying correctly and rather obviously states.  We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Silent Companions, 12.25.13

Went walking in the evening
To see the new-fallen snow
Found my way among the trees
Winding to and fro

Happened upon the woodland creek
Frozen on its way
Tried to hear its laughing voice
But it had naught to say

I came up to an old oak tree
Stark, still and strong
I could not hear its whispered words
Though I waited long

Continued till I chanced to find
A field, buried white
But nothing would it say to me
As evening turned to night

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Long, long day

Today has been an extremely long and tiring day.  It started at the normal time (6:00 a.m.) but it has been so hard to drag myself out of bed these last two days.  Yesterday my chiropractor told me that I should cut down on the fruits I put in my daily smoothie, so my breakfast wasn't as wonderful as usual.  In fact, is was almost bitter.  I don't think he needed me to cut it down quite as much as I did.

The school day started well enough.  Through Bible time I had their attention fairly well, but made the mistake of doing a short review instead of telling a story.  They behave best at this time of day, and I really didn't need to abridge their good behavior.  The rest of the day I was fighting an uphill battle of talkative children.  They wouldn't sit still, they wouldn't stop talking, and the whole time they smiled as sweetly as can be... unless they were crying on their desks because I took away some recess.

The friend I've been exercising with for the last two weeks sent me a text that she was too exhausted to exercise today, and I was grateful, cause I had been thinking of cancelling as well so I could take a nap.  Sadly, that was not in my near future. I was planning on making a cake for Ellie, so I had to go shopping for the ingredients.

After spending over a half-hour at Walmart (might as well get both Ellie's and my list done while there), I got home to Ellie and her exercise buddy doing painful torture in the living room. No problem, I just took care of the groceries, then started thinking about a shower and a nap.  Checked my phone really quickly and....

Read a text from a friend that I have been wanting to find time to hang out with for a while.  She was bored, hasn't been feeling well, and wanted to know if I was busy.  I was glad that she had contacted me, cause we've been dancing around actually getting together for about two weeks, so I forwent the nap, and drove to pick her up.  We hung out for a while, I took her back home, and  then got back to our house for dinner.

Well, the cake still had to be made.  I've never made a cake before. Interesting experience, not too fun with a hand mixer. I hope that it turned out okay, because pound cake ingredients are rather expensive.

And now, I really, really need to take that shower and a "long nap".  Goodnight.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Winter Storm, 11.30.13

Icy drips of winter
The icicles grow long
Snow is swirling inward
The chilling winds are strong

We huddle by the fire
Trying to stay warm
Safe inside together
Listening to the storm

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Snowy Sunday

Ellie informed me it was snowing this morning about five times.  Each announcement was preceded by an "ugh", "augh" or tone of  voice implying one of those two emotions.

Despite Ellie's attitude on the subject, it continued to snow, and looked absolutely lovely.  Second service at church was cancelled, so we had most of the afternoon and all of the evening to relax at home, which we did.

We spent this time very productively of course.  And I'm only half-way being facetious. She sewed, I knit, while watching things or listening to music.  We also played Lord of the Rings the board-game (and lost) after dinner.

It was a good, snowy day.  It could only have been better if I was at my parents house where I could have done some of my sitting in front of the wood stove, and taken a walk through the snowy woods.  Here, I chose to not take a walk down the slushy road.  Mildly regretting that choice.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Half-way Point and Word Invention

Half-way through, folks. HALFWAY!  Why did you let me do this?  Why didn't someone stop me?  Oh, right, I just said I was going to, didn't give anyone a chance to talk some sense into me.  Oh well, self-torment is good for a person, right?

I find I don't have the inspiration to write much.  My blog-posts are either recountings of my children's amusingness, or a poem.  Or a rant on misuse of the English language, but that was just one.

Oh, and I was going to write another post about the English language.  I guess I could do that now.

Back in high-school, Ellie and I did a course on "English from the Roots Up."  Little did Mom know that she was equipping me to play with the English language.

If you have spent much time talking to me, or have read many of my blog-posts, you may notice that I make up new words on a regular basis (case in point "recountings" and "amusingness" from above). Almost every word that I make up is constructed from roots, prefixes and suffixes, and though some of them sound odd, they are still easy to understand if you have a good understanding of the English language.  Considering the fact that Shakespeare invented over 1700 words, I feel that I fall in good company and I manage to never  feel guilty for my "butchering" of the English language.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Kids, Jesus, Angels, and, sadly, Santa.

At lunch time today one of my boys came up to me and said, "Miss Hall, I have an important question.  Why did Jesus have to die?"

Well, that's a fun one.  I think I answered it pretty well, considering the fact that I was explaining it to a five year old.  It was actually fairly easy, all things considered: we all sin, sin has consequences (death and punishment), Jesus died to take that punishment upon Himself.  So then another child (both, by the way, are my main trouble makers) popped out of his seat to talk about how when he lies God forgives him so he doesn't have to go to "down there" for it.  I then had to explain repenting and trying to do better.

After that the conversation turned more to angels and such, and then one of the kids almost provoked me to an outburst against Santa.  I don't know how I'm going to survive the Christmas season.

He told me that Santa is one of God's guards, and when we ask God for things, He sends Santa to give them to us.  I was amused, but annoyed.  So I.... let the next student ask a question and he asked me what angels look like.

Other questions include: "Will we become angels when we die?" "Do you know the ten commandments?" "Does Satan have ten commandments?"

This was all at lunch time.  Theological discussion peppered the rest of the day.  I love little kids.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Reality, 8.7.13

Slightly disappointed
Not quite what you wished
Sparkled dreams are fading
Into reality's harsh mist

For dreams are often brighter
Than the truth of day
And fantasy paths are smoother
Than our rough twisted way

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Silent Cry, 10.5.13

Do you hold me
In this silence
Is my heartbeat
The only sound?

Is there hope still
For my heartache
Can I still be who I am?

For my heart is breaking
And my life bleeds out to the dust
But through the pain my soul is waking
And maybe that is why I’m here today.

Do you see the tears I’m crying
And do you hear my angry screams
Is that why you stay afar off
Or are you closer than you seem?

For my heart is breaking
And my life bleeds out to the dust
But through the pain my soul is waking
And maybe that is why I’m here today.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Days Off

A lovely thing about the school Ellie and I work at, is that we get off all the official holidays. Today, therefore, was a day off, and it has been wonderful.

I've found that Ellie has a very different idea of days off from me ("Why doesn't that surprise me?"). Sunday she started looking for someone to make plans with.  I was able to hold her off for the morning, but she had someone over to sew and go running in the afternoon.  I however did my best to relax.

Which meant that I did quilling to fill an order for a friend, worked on a Christmas present, helped make lunch and dinner, helped clean the house, graded lots of papers for my kids, and decorated name tag things for my kids as well.  It was a good day.

Despite the fact that I was sedentary all day, I find myself exceedingly tired. Hence the short post.  Good night!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Contractions and Dangled Prepositions

Dangling one's prepositions is a very easy grammatical mistake to make, and one that I am often guilty of making.  Sometimes restructuring your sentence merely to not leave a little word hanging would be ridiculous.  I find, therefore, that I rarely notice dangled prepositions.

Except, there are certain instances wherein I do.  You see, sometimes to get rid of that final preposition, you would have to go through the process of moving your sentence around, and it might come out so garbled as to not make sense.  But other times, one would merely have to drop it off.  And that is where I both notice it, and am annoyed by it.

For example "Where's it at?" is one that I hear quite frequently.  In thinking about this particular ill wording, I discovered something that I find interesting: when I say "Where's it", it sounds odd, or wrong, and I find myself wanting to add "at".  When I say "where is it", it sound clumsy and stumbling to add the same "at".  Which lead me to the conclusion that our ears (or at least mine) are tuned to a lyrical quality in our language that leads us to desire a certain number of syllables in some sentences.

So, if you find yourself dangling a preposition, look for a contraction you use, and uncontract it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Waiting Through Winter, 12.25.13

Outside my window, barren trees
Disturb and stir the air
Slender branches without leaves
Forget that life is fair

Dead grasses waving in the wind
Fill the fields with gold
Their colors undulate constantly
As with the wind they roll

But soon the green of life again
Will find the fields and trees
And soon we’ll hear a chorus of
The grasses and the leaves

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Silly Songs with Children

After nap-time (from about 12:45 to 2:15) many of my children are grouchy, groggy, and unfocused.  I rotate activities for them, coloring, reading books, doing puzzles, cutting out shapes, and drawing.  If all of my children were groggy, this would be the most peaceful time of the day.  Sadly, some of my students either don't sleep, or wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and full of talkativeness.

Sometimes I read to them while they are coloring. I don't do this as often as I should, since I will frequently be working on last minute things, like getting their work into their folders, and their folders into their backpacks.  Sometimes I will tell them stories, and I will often get requests for me to "read us a story about us, Miss Hall."  This is always fun, for all of us, but quickly gets out of hand as they start taking part and going crazy.  Since other classes around us are still doing academics, I can't let them go entirely free.

Three times now I have sung them songs that I remember loving when I was a kid.  Many of the songs have left them in stitches.  The very first time I did it, I had just that week gotten a new student in my class.  Her family had come here from Nigeria, and she wasn't particularly happy to be in my class.  I had only seen her smile once or twice, and had gotten very few words out of her.  However, when I started singing "Alice, Where are You Going?", inserting the children's names in the song, she started chuckling.  When I sang it with her name, she busted up.  She has a lovely laugh.

Just yesterday I sang them Little Bunny Foofoo. Some of my kids kept coloring, singing some of the words with me, but my littlest boy did the motions with me, except that he bonked himself on the head instead of the field mice.  By the third time they made me sing it, two or three students came up next to me to do the motions as well.

Friday, November 7, 2014

And a Preacher is Born

When I said I would use things from my job for several blog posts, I wasn't joking.  My kids are adorably hilarious.

Today, one of my kids took a Bible to recess.  He put it down on the chair next to me though, and went to play legos with another child.  Then, one of the other boys came over, and asked me to read him some.  He had turned to Psalms, so I started reading one.  He lost focus, things got loud, I put the Bible down, and he took off with it.  A few minutes later I saw him pacing back and forth through the gym, the Bible open, giving a very rousing sermon.  I sadly only heard the first few sentences, but it continued for close to five minutes:

"Our Lord!  Savior of the Cross!  He went outside, for the glory!"

He gesticulated pointedly as he spoke. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Memories I Regret

Today I am going to share with you two memories dragged from the dark recesses of my past.  But before I tell them, I want to make something extremely clear: I was very young.  

The first one is the one I am most ashamed of.  I really don't know how old I was, so I can't tell how unforgivable my acts may be in this case.

We had just gotten some gravel delivered to our house for the driveway, and it was sitting in a heap.  I grabbed our cat, D'Artagnion, clambered to the top of the heap, and threw the cat down to the bottom.  I then proceeded to repeat this procedure until the poor feline ran away.

What was I thinking, you ask?  I was thinking that if it got hurt, it would come to me and I could nurse it back to health.  Thinking back on this, I feel that I must have been some sort of psychopath.

The second memory isn't quite so crazy, but shows my deviousness. 

As long as I can remember, Kimberly, my oldest sister, has had nicely kept, long fingernails.  When we were young, Ellie and I disliked them, probably because we were jealous.

So one day when a tickle war ended with me having a 6 inch scratch on my side, I took my opportunity.  I found Mom, showed her the scratch, and told her that Kimberly had scratched me with her long nails while tickling me.  Mom told Kimberly that she would have to cut her nails, which made Kimberly upset.  I still remember the devilish smile I had on my face when Mom insisted. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hear Me, 10.21.14

Would you believe these words if
They were someone else's
Would you finally hear me
If it was someone else's voice
Would these thoughts break through if
Someone else had thought them

But I'm stuck inside
And you won't listen
I'm here inside
And you don't seem to care
I've always been here
So I'm easy to ignore
But you need to listen
To my voice

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What School Children Think of Me

Today I was wearing a narrow brown belt to accessorize my outfit, and I removed it after lunch.  I hadn't given up on it yet though, so I was taking it to recess.  Well, whenever I'm carrying a belt like that, I always think about the alternative use of belts, and apparently my kids think the same way.

"What is the belt for, Miss Hall?  Are you going to wallup us?"
"Do you think I would?" - me
"Yes.  Are you going to?"

I had them all in a row.  If they had been a more squirrelly bunch today, I may have been tempted. :D


Once, after reprimanding a student, she piped up with, "When my mom is mad, she sounds like a teacher."  Ha, thanks.


"Miss Hall, is the other Miss Hall your sister?  I thought you were the mom."


"I think it's amazing that you know my name." - a high-school student
"I'm a teacher, I have my sneaky ways of finding out."
"Are you sure you don't just share a mind with the other Miss Hall?"

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cold Weather

I've noticed that people tend to embrace fall with either a joyous exclamation of "I get to wear my lovely sweaters!" or grumbles of disapproval about the cold.  I'm not quite either, but much closer to the lovely sweater side of the spectrum.  Ellie is on the grumbling side, and it makes for some rather amusing moments.

Saturday was the first day that we have had to scrape the ice off of the windsheild.  As I got into the car, and she got out, I chuckled a "Oh, you have to scrape the ice? Exciting!" She wasn't particularly pleased with me.

There have been days where the heater will be on and I would far rather do without the heat and the noise, but will leave it on for her. At times I think she may be cold blooded.

At night time though, we switch parts. I always seem to freeze at night when she is fine.  My bed is piled high with blankets, whereas she has only added one small lap quilt to her summer covers. 

We have similarly opposed reactions to the end of daylight savings time.  I love the fact that you get to sleep in, and that you can sleep in half an hour, and still wake up half an hour early.  She bemoans the fact we now come home from work in the dark (or will very soon). I suppose this means that I value sleep above sunshine.

This morning was mildly annoying though.  My internal clock has finally switched over to the time we get up for school (6 a.m.), taking three months to do so instead of the usual one week (probably due to the move, and stress of a new job, etc.).  Then, right after I start waking up naturally around 5:50, the time changes.  I woke up at 4:30 this morning, dozed on and off until about 5:20, and then was finally able to sleep until 6, when the alarm went off.  Ugh.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Hopefully you all know me well enough to know I won't be doing NaNoWriMo.  That would be rather silly of me.

But I still like pushing myself to do various crazy things.  As mentioned in my last post, I need to post 35 more blogposts in order to reach my modified New Year's Resolution.  If I don't, I will have failed for the first time in my yearly writing goals (established 2012).

So, one post per day for November?  I'll do my best.  I intend to write up several poems and have them ready for days that I really don't feel like posting.  Is that cheating? Even several of my non-poem posts will probably be written in advance. I tend to write in bursts, sitting down at my computer and typing off two or three.  In fact, I'm not sure if I remember ever writing one post in an evening and not starting (if not completing) another post.  That being said, I have a lot of unpresentable drafts here on my blog.

I'm going to have to talk about something if I'm going to post 30 times this month, so I guess I'll have the enjoyment of telling you some about my job. Since I teach 14 5-year-olds, this could get quite fun (provided I can tell general enough of stories not to breach any privacy laws).

Ah, I'm looking forward to this challenge.  And just a little bit, hating the fact that I'm committing to it by posting this.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

No excuses.

I think I can finally accept the fact that I am not a blogger. I don't know if there is anything I've wanted so much to be able to keep up, tried so often to start again, and failed so predictably at every time. Oh, except in trying to keep my room consistently clean. That has an even worse track record of good intentions and bad outcomes. 

So I don't know how much I'll try to keep this going. Ugh, I don't want to give up on it, but I'm tired of how guilty I feel when I don't post for a while. Especially considering my goal for this year.

Speaking of goals, I've failed all of them.  Monthly exercise regimes, didn't even make it through January.  Writing a lot on my fiction story?  Ha, almost as soon as I wrote a post about how I'd gotten farther in my story than I have ever in any story before, I hit a wall and have gotten no further. I have been writing various random things frequently, but certainly not every day, and you are all aware of how my one blog post a week has been going. I suppose I did modify that last one to be 52 posts for the year, spread or clumped as I saw fit, but somehow I don't see me posting 35 more posts before the end of the year.

Mom warned me from the start not to be disappointed if I failed my rather ambitious goals, but I alas, heeded her not.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Locked, 9.24.14

The words won't come
They're swarming now
Deep inside my soul

A seething pain
A loneliness
That keeps me never whole

I cannot speak
The words inside
I leave them now unsaid

I'm going mad
With all these thoughts
Locked inside my head

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blackberry Picking

Last night Ellie and I took Nathaniel and Edmund out to pick blackberries.  This is the second time we have gone picking with the kids, both times at Edmund’s invitation.

The boys flutter from bush to bush like butterflies, picking one or two berries before moving on.  Once they got to the other side of a big patch, Edmund started calling out “Can you come find us Aunt Chava?  Come find me Aunt Ellie!”  Ellie and I, intent on our picking, turned them down.  Edmund asked why, and Ellie told him that we were concentrating on our picking, since that is the right way to do it.
Both Edmund and Nathaniel then went silent, a rather unusual thing, and Ellie and I chatted for a while before I really noticed the odd silence.
“Boys, are you staying close?”
“Yes, Aunt Chava.  We are concentrating on eating our berries, since that is the right way to do it!” was the smart reply from Edmund.
Nathaniel immediately corrected him, telling Edmund that he wasn’t eating his, he was saving them for a “yummy pie”.
The first time we went out, we also had Jeremiah and Elaine with us.  Elaine, poor girl, is about as tall as the grass that surrounds the blackberry patches, so she would practically swim through the pasture to reach a bush.  Once there, anytime she reached for a berry, she’d find a thorn first, and her hurt and offended “Ow!” was frequently heard.  I commented to Ellie that Elaine was master of the perfect “ow”.
Throughout last night’s picking, any time anyone said ow, Edmund would pipe up, “Was that the perfect ow Chava? [or Ellie, as the case may be]”.  At first we just laughed and said no, but as the picking advanced, we finally explained to him what would qualify as the perfect ow.  He then tried it out several times, so we then explained that the element of true surprise was an integral part of the perfect ow’s makeup.
Very soon after this, Ellie grunted, and then said that she would have just made the perfect ow, but she swallowed it instead.  Nathaniel asked what that meant, and I did my best to explain it.  I love explaining things like this to children.  I told him that it is when you are just about to say something, but you choose not to, and so you swallow it, and it goes back to where your words came from (hey, I can’t be perfectly literal when I explain things, how fun would that be?).  He thought that sounded amusing, so he decided to swallow his next ow, next time he got pricked by a thorn.  Since I didn’t hear him say ow for the rest of the evening, I’m guessing he learned how to swallow his words.
As the evening progressed, Ellie and I decided to switch places with the boys, and have them look for us around the blackberry bushes.  So I told the boys that Ellie had disappeared, they went to find her, stayed with her for a while, then she returned the favor, with a few additions.
“Your Aunt Chava has disappeared!  I bet she went over to the car to drive away without us, you should go find her!”
Edmund and Nathaniel starting talking and making their way to the car to catch me, when Ellie interrupted.
“I’m joking boys.  She’s somewhere in the patch.  She wouldn’t drive off without you.  She isn’t like me, she’s nice.”
“So what are you Aunt Ellie?”
“I’m mean.”
“No you’re not mean, you’re thin.”  (Actual quote from Nathaniel, I kid you not.)
“You’re not mean, you’re nice.” (Smart guy, reword your answer when someone didn’t hear you the first time, makes it easier to understand)
Soon after that we headed back to the car, while discussing a skunk that I had seen earlier in the night.
Speaking of the skunk, the boys started talking aobut what skunks eat, and then went on to what other animals eat similar things.  When they got to giraffe Edmund gave us the amazing news that giraffes can eat leaves, branches, and thorns.
This was a lovely idea to Nathaniel.  “I wish I was a giraffe so that when I am picking blackberries, and a thorn gets in my way I can chew it up!”
Edmund, always very particular responded with, “You want to have a giraffe head but a human body?”
“No, I just want to be a giraffe!”
“With hands?
“No, just a regular giraffe!”
“But you said you wished you were a giraffe so that when you were picking, PICKING, blackberries, you could chew up the thorns.”
Long ago in this conversation Ellie and I were laughing uproariously.  Edmund sounded every bit like an attorney cross examining a witness.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dead Flowers, 12.25.13

Crushed and broken in my hand
Dried leaves crackle
I look in despair
At what I have destroyed
Their colors faded
Nothing compared to their former glory
Green, perhaps?
A dirty grey.
The ferns of an old bunch of roses

The flowers hardly better
Red turned to brown and black
Beautiful in their way
But nothing compared to their former glory

Sunday, May 18, 2014

New job, new home, new craziness

Along with all the other craziness that is happening this summer (a wedding in June and a baby coming in July), I am also starting a new job in August.  And, since this new job is approximately an hour from where I live, I am moving in July.

When I decided to take the Praxis tests (discussed in a previous post) I also decided to find a teaching job in 2014.  My job search went extremely smoothly: I applied at one school, I did one interview, and then two weeks later, I signed the contract.  The fact that this is the private school that Ellie has been working at for the last two years has a good deal to do with the fact that the principal had a high opinion of me before he even saw my resume.

So, starting in August, I will be a kindergarten teacher at Maranatha Baptist Academy, in St. Robert Missouri.  With Ellie and I both there, we decided it would be good for us to rent a place together close to the school.  She has been renting a room at a friend's house these last two years, but the commute was 30 minutes from their house to the school.

The day I signed my contract, Ellie and I went looking at places to rent.  Our first stop was a small cottage owned by a friend of the pastor of Maranatha Baptist.  I fell in love immediately.

Next time I go, I'll try to remember to take a camera and take pictures so I can post them.  It's a very small house, but was remodeled a few years ago and they put in a vaulted ceiling, which really makes it seem bigger inside.  There is a nice wood floor in the kitchen/dining room/living room area, and new carpeting in the two bedrooms.  Ellie and I are planning on setting up bunk-beds in the larger of the two bedrooms, and using the second room as our craft room.  Which I'm excited about. :)

For now we are all focusing on Kimberly's wedding in four weeks, but after that, Ellie and I will be flea-market, antique, and yard-sale shopping.  I'm looking forward to it, though the prospect of setting up a house is rather daunting.  Fortunately for us, parents and siblings all have things to contribute, so we have already started gathering things. :)

Shannondale Craft Camp

These last two years I have been able to go to Shannondale Craft Camp, a weekend full of classes teaching a myriad of skills and crafts.  Last year I told you I'd post about it, which I never did, but this time I actually took pictures, so I'll fire ahead. :)

The first night I took a class called "Garden Art with Vintage Glass".  It was very... crafty, I guess.  No skill really involved, but allowed for some design choices.  Below are what I made, a small birdfeeder, and a planter.  I'm excited about designed a miniature garden to go in the planter.  Might make some fairy furniture to go in the bottom level. 

Ha, so I was going to organize this by order of when I did the classes, but I'm not going to remember.  Here is the necklace I made in the class called "Bronze and Copper Necklace".  I got to design it, then I sanded the pieces of bronze for the swirls, then she softened the wire a bit using fire (which I was happy to not take part in.  But fire bricks (I think that is what their called) are super cool when they get hot).  I then got to shape the pieces and wrap the connections.  Sadly, the connections are a smidgen loose, so it does wobble a bit. :/

Last year I took almost no jewelry classes, and I decided to make up for it this year.  Here is the Tree of Life pendant I made:

From the same lady I did a class on a wire-wrapped pendant.  This is something that I've wanted to learn for a long time.  I don't have the best wire for it here at home, but I have made another one since then: 
On Sunday, I took another class from her (what can I say, her classes just appealed to me).  This class was cool: she laid out all of her materials, gave us some books to look through, and told us to design and make as many earrings as we could in the two-hour time slot.  Ha, that was great fun.  I completed four pairs.  Three of them are with pearls, which I must admit, I love.

Here we see an utensil dragonfly in its natural habitat:

I didn't greatly care for this class. However, I did get to solder the pieces together, and soldering is great fun.  It's called an "Utensil Dragonfly" based on the fact you use a handle from either a knife, fork, or spoon for the body.  Here it is up close:
The class on cold enameling was probably my least favorite.  Maybe I'll give it another go someday.  These pieces will eventually morph into earrings and pendants, but I have no idea when:

This penny-rug is something else I didn't finish while at the weekend, but I did finish it this week.  Jury is still out on my opinion of it:
I also made some wind-chimes.  They have a very lovely chime, and I'm looking forward to finding a more permanent home for them.  Due to the teacher's machine breaking, we had to use hack saws to cut the pipes.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Best Buy of 2013

I have a bit of a compulsive buying habit.  Which if funny, because I also tend to not spend my money at all.  It's usually a case of "No, I can do without new shoes, new clothes, any jewelry, oh, but I'll buy this random thing.  This is a great idea."

Last year journals were the thing to buy.  I believe I bought four.  And one of them I consider my best buy of 2013 (to be honest, I haven't written up everything I bought and then chosen it as the best, but I can't think of anything that tops it at the moment):

It is a small bonded leather journal that fits in my purse.  Since a pen also fits in my purse, it comes to a perfect combination.

I love having something to write things on always handy.  There were often times when I would write poems on backs of stray receipts, but no more!  And anytime I want to write down a grocery list, remember a song or artist that someone is telling me about, or have a drawing contest while waiting for food at a restaurant, I've got the paper handy.

It's pretty adorable too.  Cute and functional.

Scattered Dreams, 1.8.13

Whose dreams are these
Scattered, shattered
On the floor?
How fell they from 
Their rightful place?

Whose hands tore them
From their homes
And shredded them 
With little grace?

Whose dreams are these?
They are crying for
And needing every day

The dreams are gone,
Will not return
For they have passed away

Praxis results

Early March I took the Praxis test for Middle School Mathematics.  The way the Praxis works, once you have a teaching certificate, you can take a Praxis to be certified in other areas.  My degree is in Elementary Education, grades 1-6.  Late last year I decided that I wanted to have certification for math, so I signed up for two tests: Middle School Mathematics, and High School Mathematics.  The first, as I said, was in March, the second will be in June.

I always have some sort of test anxiety, and of course, for a test that costs $130, and that I will only have one chance to pass, my anxiety was particularly unpleasant.  I did not sleep well the night before, waking up every 10-15 minutes between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.

By the time the test started I was tired, slightly grumpy (the proctor decided to wait about a half hour for someone who was supposed to be there, but never showed), and increasingly nervous.  Once the test started, it only got worse.

The test consists of 40 multiple choice questions and 3 construct-answer questions.  Whenever I take a timed test, I work my way through putting stars by any question that I am not absolutely certain that I got the right answer on.  In the first 40, there were three that entirely baffled me (one that I worked through, got an answer for, but it wasn't one of the options, one that I couldn't even think of where to begin solving it, and I don't recall the last one).  I then started on the construct questions.  The first one was fairly simple, I knew exactly what it was asking, and was able to make the graph, the formula, and the explanation for both.  Nervously looking at the clock, I went on to construct question number two.  Part one, easy.... too easy?  Did they seriously just ask me to answer that?  Anyway, I didn't have time to think of a harder answer, so easy it would have to be.  Part two,  didn't make sense at all.  After frantically reading it two or three times, I left sufficient space for it, and went on to part three.  This I understood, and was able to jot down some sort of answer.

I forced myself on to construct question three.  As in the second question, there was one part that wasn't making sense to me.  I put the best answer I could, and went back to question two.  Not happy with either of them, I decided it was time to use my remaining time to go over the entire test, checking through.  I didn't have time to check all of them, so I started with the ones that I had starred.

Guys, what I am about to tell you is something I will probably be ashamed of for the rest of my life.  The first starred question asked me how many more compound numbers than prime numbers there were between two specific numbers.  I had written down all the prime numbers, subtracted them from the compound numbers and come up with a number that wasn't one of my choices.  When I came back to it, I counted up the prime numbers again and found that I had previously miscounted.

I wrote down 10 prime numbers, but had counted them as 12, so when I subtracted them, I got an incorrect answer.

With probably about 15 minutes of the test left, a wave of horror swept over me.  I had no time to check the whole test over, and I just found out that today apparently I could not even count correctly to 10.  I did my best with all the other starred problems, and was able to check over the construct questions one more time, and the first 15 or so of the multiple choice before the time was up.

The rest of the day I was in a bit of a daze.  The only bright spot was finding out that Tess got engaged (yay!).  When anyone (which was basically everyone I saw) asked me how it went, I gave a sickly smile and replied, "not too well."  The best I could say was: at least I finished all the questions.

Often when I said that I didn't do too well, the person would respond with "I'm sure you did just fine", and eventually, Ellie started answering for me with "She passed, she just missed a few points."  I hate not living up to expectations, and I was horribly worried that I wouldn't pass, and everyone would be terribly disappointed.

So fast-forward to today.  I had been expecting an email with my test results, but they hadn't come in yet.  I took matters into my own hands, and looked it up on the ETS website.  I passed, with a score of 191 out of 200 possible.  I am now rather happy, and extremely relieved.  Now I am just waiting for the horror of June 7th.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wedding gifts

I went to my first double wedding last September.  The brides were sisters, two lovely ladies that I had the pleasure of meeting several years ago.

Because I procrastinated, I was only able to put together a gift for them from their registry, kitchen ware of some kind for both of them.  However, I resolved to fix that problem, so I began tossing around ideas of what I could make them. 

During the wedding reception I started writing a poem for each of the couples.  My first idea was to write up their separate poems in some nice calligraphy, and then quill a border around it, taking inspiration from the flowers in their bouquets.  After the poems turned out less than satisfactory, the idea went to the back burner.

And stayed there until Christmas.  Christmas, however, pulled it back to the front when I received (among other things) a book on quilled flowers.  Upon seeing the stunning sunflowers, I had my idea.  I got on Facebook, found pictures of their bouquets, and created quilled pictures accordingly.

Here is Katie's:
(click picture to enlarge)
The prominent flower in both bouquets was a lovely sunflower.  There were also white roses, some greenery, and, in Katie's, hydrangea. 
Here is Abigail's:
(click picture to enlarge)
Her bouquet turned out a little more difficult for me to put on paper.  She did not have hydrangea, and the two other things that stood out in her bouquet was a sprig of eucalyptus, and some shoots of goldenrod.  I really wanted to go with the eucalyptus, but the way it was in the arrangement, I could only picture it coming almost straight out of the picture frame, and this was not something I could manage without rigging something.  Also, I did not have the right green in my paper stash.  So goldenrod it was.
I love goldenrod.  I really do.  But may I never have cause to quill it ever again.  Each "blossom" was created by fringing a 3/16" wide piece of paper.  There are approximately 130 blossoms in this single spring.  Each one has about four "fringes" (or whatever you would call it).  Once each piece was twirled around and glued, I then had to glue each one in place.  A very long process.  And unfortunately, I was never fully satisfied with the end result.  So maybe someday I will give it another go.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Back on Track

To quote a famous author, " 'I've failed sir,' I sobbed, as I made my report, to the chief Yookeroo in the headquarters fort."

It's been 26 days since I last posted, when I was supposed to post once every seven days.  Tsk, tsk.

Therefore I'll make a slight revision to the resolution, and aim for 52 blog posts this year, ideally once a week.  Sound reasonable?

So what have I been up to this month, eh?  I have no intention of telling you everything I've done this month, but  let's start with my hair cut.  If you are friends with me on Facebook, you may have heard that I caught my hair on fire back at the end of January (month ago today, actually).  This required me to get a hair cut, which I did about two weeks later.  Below is a picture of the length of my hair back in June of last year, which is approximately how long it was before the ends burned (I got two inches trimmed off, and they had probably grown back by then).  The second picture is it's current length and cut.  (It occurred to me after uploading the pictures, that the different scales make it very difficult to tell the difference in length.  I got 6"-8" removed.)

The first night when I braided it for bed, my thought was "My braid has been abridged."  Quite sad.  But I'm enjoying the layers. :)

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Faerie Dance, 12.24.13

A Faerie Dance
A faerie fire brightly shone
Far beyond the trees
Their silver voices, laughingly
Came soft upon the breeze

I stood a while listening
And sank beneath their spell
Then found myself quite quickly
Beside their haunted dell

They looked at me in wonder
As much as I at them           
Not understanding they had called
Me to their festive glen

But soon their wonder disappeared
Melting with their laughter
They let me join their merry ring
                   Beside the woodland water                    

I stayed with them for hours
Danced into the night
Even until morning, when
Magic faded in the light

Still I find them, now and then
Dancing through the trees
I can join them, if I will
Our laughter bright and free