Tag Archives: Humor

Phone Poems

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2 – Phone poems
6 – Seemed quite easy when I began.
2 – Not now.

3 – Now I’m stuck,
7 – Words won’t come in correctly numbered phrases.
6 – I’ll keep trying, won’t give up.

6 – One, two, three, four, need more….
8 – Five, six, seven, eight; this slice’ll be late!
6 – Phone poems are fun now that
2 – I’m done!

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The Paradox

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Things I Dislike

  1. Cleaning the bathroom-With boys, so needed!
  2. Cleaning the pets’ bathrooms-the litter box, the backyard, the fishtank…
  3. Cooking after a long day at work-Let’s face it; I’m just plain tired.
  4. Making cake when I’m on a diet- Sabotage 101
  5. Dieting-Weight Watchers, Whole30, counting calories, grapefruit, you get the idea.
  6. Cleaning the house before a vacation-Why do I do this?  Do you? My mother trained me well.
  7. Flossing my teeth daily-The dentist’s bi-annual reminders finally guilted me into doing this.
  8. Prepping for professional development-When I used to just attend PD, I never thought much about the prep that went into the presentation; now I know the truth…so many hours to plan and plan and plan, then so many more hours to check and recheck and double check to make sure everything is perfectly set.
  9. Washing my hair-This seems such a time sucker!
  10. Organizing my desk-Who has time for this?? It is just a mess again in five minutes flat!

Things I Like

  1. A clean bathroom-There is nothing so wonderful as a sparkly, clean-smelling bathroom.  The fixtures don’t even have one water spot!
  2. The aroma-free air after cleaning the pets’ bathrooms-Couldn’t I train the pets to do this job?
  3. The “Thanks, Mom” I hear after my family finishes the evening meal-And often, the “That was good!”
  4. Shining eyes in the candlelight as we sing Happy Birthday to you-What are a few extra calories anyway?
  5. Fitting into my clothes and feeling good about the way I look-The way is long and hard, especially at my age!
  6. Coming home from a vacation to a clean house-Besides, I would be totally embarrassed if the Fire Department or a robber came in when I was gone!
  7. Being cavity free every six months!-This was a hard one for me because I have naturally great teeth.  I am happy I have this healthy habit.  My kids now floss daily, too.
  8. Finishing a PD and knowing I did my very best-There always are glitches, though.  I have learned it is OK not to be perfect.
  9. Clean, fresh-smelling hair-I love it when my husband says, “Your hair smells good!”
  10. An organized desk-This is so amazingly hard for me.  I never seem to have enough time, but I am trying to get better at this.

The Paradox

You can see my paradox:  The things I love take the effort of the things I do not.

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The N0-Snow-Day Day

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The no-snow day day

The No-Snow-Day Day

The snowflakes swirl and laugh and play.

While inside, here I sit.

The snowflakes run along the wind

And wave up to the sky.

And all the while, I’m stuck  inside,

inside hard at work.

Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic

Have no appeal to me.

It is outside I want to be

To run and laugh and play.

 

The snowflakes tire and sit to rest

Upon the cold, white ground.

The snowflakes seem to wait for me

To don my woolen mitts.

Here inside I have to stay,

The teacher reads a book.

“What do you think about this book?”

She asks me after while.

 

How can I tell her what I think?

How can I let her know?

I’d rather be outside right now

And playing in the snow!

 

 

Saturday Slice

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Oh, down I sit on Saturday
I want to write my slice.
Alas, what will I say?

The clock strikes five.
I sit to write.
Alas, the words don’t jive!

The clock strikes six.
I sit to write.
Alas, I’m in a fix.

The clock strikes seven.
What should I write?
Alas, some words from heav’n?

The clock strikes eight.
What can I write?
Alas, what is my fate?

The clock strikes nine.
I sigh to write!
Alas, my heart repines.

The clock strikes ten.
Again, again, again.
Alas, how dry my pen.

The clock strikes ten and one.
Have I my daily slice?
I do! I do!
It’s ten and two.
Alas, this poem was fun!

The Vase

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Ring.  

The bell above the door jingled.  They stepped over the threshold and into the shop.

“Get whatever you like,” Walter said cheerily.  “I’m good for it.”  He wanted to give her a special gift for her birthday, and he knew she loved flowers.

A smile lit up Hazel’s face.  Her eyes sparkled as they flitted from flower to flower before resting momentarily on an apricot mum.  This is it. So full and beautiful.  Her hand reached out and her fingers gently grasped the stem as she gently pulled the chosen flower from the bucket.  Continuing, appraising flower after flower, she considered the size, color, shape, and texture of each. The bouquet in her arms grew.

Shyly, she turned to Walter.  He nodded.  Years of marriage made words, at times, unnecessary.

Relief flooded over Hazel’s features.  Then, turning back to the task at hand, she joyfully pulled flower after flower from their buckets and added them to her bouquet-mums, roses, fern, daisies.  The bouquet was glorious.  It’s perfect!  It will set-off the vase perfectly. The vase was beloved because it reminded her of her wedded, far away daughter.

“Get a few more if you want,” Walter said as he looked over at her sunshiny smile.

“No.  It’s perfect.”

Walter and Hazel stepped toward the counter and handed the bouquet over the counter to the middle-aged sales lady.  She took the flowers and began to ring up each flower, chattering all the while.  “That will be $42.83,” she announced finally.

Walter’s eyes grew as big as saucers, and his mouth dropped open.  Hazel turned, eyes wide,  and looked up at Walter.  Without uttering a word, Walter opened his wallet again, pulled out two more twenty dollar bills.  He handed it to the outstretched hand of the clerk.

“Here is your change:  $7. 17,” she said as she handed it to Walter.  Then, wrapping the blooms carefully in white butcher paper, she put them gingerly in a brown paper bag.  “I know you’ll enjoy these for years!  They are beautiful. Isn’t it wonderful how lifelike these flowers are?  Nothing like the plastic ones we used to have,” she added, holding the bag across the counter.

Hazel reached out and grabbed the handles on the bag.  “Thank you.” Then, he and Walter turned and walked out the door.  Walter took the doorknob and pulled the door closed with a click.  Jingle! The bell echoed after them.

Years afterwards, the vase stood prominently on the table in the foyer of my grandparents’ house.  The flowers were as glorious and proud as they were on the day they were purchased.  The story was told and retold so many times that it went down in the annals of family lore.  Sadly, a few years ago, the handle broke off the vase; I haven’t had the heart to throw it away.  (Happily, the vase came to live at my house when my grandparents passed away.)  I still hear my Popa’s rich voice retelling the story and the merry laughter that always accompanied it. I still see the twinkle in my Popa’s eye as he speaks.  I still feel love surrounding me like a warm shawl on a chilly evening every time I see…the vase.

 

I’m an Addict

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I’m an addict.

“To what?”  you ask.

The Great British Baking Show.

About a year or so ago, I watched season one of this baking show on Netflix, but that was all there was.  The other day, my husband commented that he found it again.  Netflix brought back Season 1, and added Seasons 2 & 3.  Hooray!

Honestly, I have been chain-watching the first  half of season 2. I had to hit the pause button on the remote just to be able to think about this slice.  Can you believe I can’t even write with this show in the background?  Usually, I can sit and write and tune out the t.v. if I need to, but not with this show.  I want to learn how the bakers are conquering each new challenge.  What is working and what is not.  I just put my computer back away…

There are many reasons why I’m addicted.  One thing I really like is that the people are amateurs. Not professional chefs.  Just ordinary teachers or builders or grandmothers who love baking. People who bake for their families and friends and co-workers. They get to come prepared on the weekend (a show real people with jobs can participate in) with a “signature recipe” that meets the criteria of the week.  They can demonstrate  their ability with a recipe that they know and love.

Next, there is a technical challenge.  Usually Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry gives them a recipe with  minimal directions.  What do they know?  Do they know this or that technique?  Can they manage their time? What do they know?  They know a lot, and I have learned a lot.  Did you know that English Muffins are made on a griddle?  Did you know that most (it seems) British folk aren’t intimately acquainted with angel food cake?  Did you know that adding fruit to yeast dough can slow down the rising time?  Hmmm…me either.

Last, there is a final challenge.  It is “show stopper.”  It has to be a recipe in the theme that is over the top.  The bakers are so talented and creative.  Have you ever seen a cookie tower made to look like a Swiss lodge?  Or, a Jenga tower of shortbreads?  It’s just plain fun to watch.

In addition to the interesting things I am learning about baking, I also am learning a bit about how Americans view things differently than the British.

  1. British folk don’t seem to ascribe of the American motto of Go Big or Go Home.  Comments by the judges to participants like “Your cake is too big!” make me wonder about myself.  It looked the right size to me.
  2. The judges seem to like everything to be uniform.  “Make 24  bar cookies (that isn’t that British baking term for bar cookies, and it sounded much fancier…but I can’t remember it right now) that are perfectly uniform for this challenge.”  What American cares if the yummy bar cookies are perfectly the same size?  Just give me the biggest one!  What American doesn’t say it is better to be unique?
  3. British bakers seems genuinely interesting in baking for the fun of it.  For the joy of winning the title of  Star Baker, even just for one episode.  The grand prize is a golden spatula, not a new house or a million dollars or a new food truck.  What American would sign up for a show just to show they can do it?
  4. The British bakers have even been caught helping each other in the last stressful minutes of a challenge!  Who would have thought that possible?

I love to bake, but I have learned that baking leads to eating and eating leads to bigger  jeans and more time needed at the gym so I, sadly, have given up most baking.  I think I’m going to change that.  I want to do more than just watch people having fun baking. I want to bake. I’m sure even my “failures” will not go to waste.  (My children already have said they would be quite willing to help dispose of the “cast aways.”” So in my retirement years, I want to adopt a British philosophy.  A British philosophy of baking.  Small is O.K.  Make it beautiful and uniform.  Bake for fun.  Bake it yummy.  Bake to earn the reward from my family and friends of Star Baker!

Hi.  My name is Barbara, and I’m addicted to The Great British Baking Show.

And I’m Off…

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My eyes flew open and darted toward the window.  Yea!  The sun is shining.  Energy seemed to pulse through my body.  How can being on Spring Break make me feel so different than just yesterday? Oh, well, I’m just going to enjoy it.  Seven twenty-eight.  Definitely late for me. What should I do today?  In my mind, I start making a mental list:

  1. Maybe go to yoga in the morning.
  2. Eat a yummy breakfast in my pajamas.
  3. Write my slice and post before 11:51 P.M. Eastern Standard Time.
  4. Declutter for at least 30 minutes-and actually have time to check it off the list.
  5. Go to Good Friday Service at noon instead of 7:00 P.M.

My feet hit the floor, and I’m off.  It’s going to be a great day!

P.S.  I’m already done with #2 and #3, and have added something else to my list:

  1.  Take pictures of the sun through the icy trees.  (I added some photos below.  Yes, I know they are off the topic of my post.  Hopefully, you’ll enjoy them anyway.)  

I hope your day will be be as wonderful as I think mine will be.  

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Peeking Sun

Icy Limbs

Peeking Sun

Sun After the Storm

Peeking Sun

Treee in Sunshine

Peeking Sun

Scary Adventure

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Did you visit this blog based on the title?  Well, it was meant to be salt for your literary appetite, but I hope no one thinks I invited you on false pretenses.  If you feel that way after you read this slice, just know that I honestly didn’t mean to do it.  And, I’m sorry.


It all started when I was a little girl and visited my grandparents.  (They loved me dearly, and I loved them, but I don’t think they understood how their words scarred my little-girl soul.)  “Have you gained five pounds?” they questioned when we would come to visit whenever Dad was stationed close enough.

I just didn’t answer.  Had I gained five pounds?  I don’t really know.  I didn’t think about my weight before these questions started.  

Then, the shopping for school clothes added to my shame.  “Where are the chubby girl sizes?” Mom asked the clerk.  I wish I were dead, I thought as my face turned a bright red.  It is so humiliating!  (Just so you know, my mom is about my best friend on the planet, and she didn’t think this was any big deal.  After all, if I couldn’t fit in the regular sizes, what was I supposed to wear?)

The final blow came in third grade. I remember it as clearly as if I was standing on the playground right now. These words, “Hey, Fatty!” cut me to the quick, seared in my mind. It is true.  I’m FAT!  How I hated myself!  From that day on, I started thinking of myself as FAT.  

After that fateful day and for so many days that followed, the image in the mirror

was hated.  Because of that self-loathing, all through high school, college, and beyond, I have been on an eternal battle with the scale-The Battle of the Bulge.   I was on the Grapefruit Diet, the Eggshell Diet, the Orange Diet, and whatever other crazy diet was out there.  A little success, but, in the end, failures.

In an effort to be healthier, I started going to Weight Watchers off and on from the time I was a senior in high school until now.  I lost 120 pounds!  Unfortunately, it has been the same 30-40 pounds over and over and over!  I lost the weight, kept it off for 3-5 years, and then snap!  You know, that something inside me said, “I am sick of weighing and measuring my food and never having the good stuff!”  Inevitably, that  30 or 40 pounds would slowly creep back on.  My inner self would be very cruel to me and say, “I knew you would gain it all back.  You can’t do anything right.  You are so fat!  What a terrible person,”  and so on.  My inner self was so much meaner to me than I would ever be to another person.  

Well, all that background is to get us to the scary adventure.  I made up my mind:  No more Weight Watchers!  This being stated, I think Weight Watchers is a great lifestyle that has helped many people, me included, over the years.   But from now on, I want to eat like a thin person.  You know, moderation, just a bite of this or a taste of that.  Healthy eating, but balance eating.  Unfortunately, sugar is my downfall; it’s like I’m addicted to it or something.  I haven’t been able to figure out a way to break that addition.  So, I was in a quandary.  Do I “diet”?  No way.  I’m done with that vicious cycle.  On the other hand, I’m not that happy with tight-fitting clothes.  What should I do to fit in my clothes again?  Of course, I joined another gym.  Not the same one I’ve been a member of for five years, because I was sick of the elliptical machine.  The same thing day after day so I joined a gym with free yoga classes, free spinning, and free Zumba!  Yea!  Variety.  On the flip side, if you have ever had to try to get rid of those extra pesky pounds, you know that going to the gym is not enough!  Boo!  Should I just accept  myself a little heavier?  But I don’t like how I feel when my clothes don’t fit, and I feel fat.  What should I do?

Well, low and behold, a friend of mine, about the same age, who also has a challenge with weight, started on a new-fangled way of eating.  What!  She already lost 10 pounds!  Hmm. I know what you think, a FAD.  I’m not sure.  I investigated the website. I bought the book. I am read the book. It is basic foods, no sugar, no dairy, no artificial anything for 30 days.  Thirty days, that isn’t forever.  What do I have to lose?  Maybe I should give it a try.  This book promises miracles will happen, of course. Don’t they all?  It promises, after 30 days, that a reset will happen in your body, including a sugar reset.  Well, now you know what the scary adventure is, don’t you?  I decided to give it 30 days, just 30 days.  Today is the end of Day 1.  Surprisingly, I feel very satisfied and no cravings.  Well, Day One is not Day 30, so only time will tell.  I’m scared, but hopeful, as I start on this next adventure to better health and freedom(?).  

I’ll let you know if I make it or not.

A Vacuum, a Mouse, and a Boy

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It’s funny to me to think how long-forgotten memories slog out from my mind like a Creature from the Black Lagoon, emerging from murky waters.  Today,  a conversation-the retelling of a surprised teacher who screamed long and loud when an equally surprised mouse discovered he unintentionally had wandered out of the protection of cover into a big, scary classroom- became a key, unlocking a sequestered, cobwebby memory.  A memory of a vacuum, a mouse, and a boy…

Bong. Bong. Bong.  “Seven o’clock already,” I thought as I rinsed the suds from the boy sitting in three inches of water in the “duck bathroom” tub. “There’s still so much to do.”

“Time to get out,” I said cheerily to Johnny.  

“Mommy, I want to play boats,” came the reply.  “Vrmmm,”  a plastic motor boat swished through the bubbles.

“O.K.  Just a couple more minutes.”

Knowing I had to run the vacuum in the hall outside the bathroom door, I turned and tripped quickly down the stairs to get it.  Opening the door that led into the garage, my hands grabbed the handle of the old “hundred pound” Kirby and pulled it upward.  Klunk!  It landed on the 80s-style gold and brown linoleum in the foyer.  “Darn,” I said to myself, “I forgot to change the bag.”  Bending down, my fingers grabbed the zipper. Zip!  My fingers reached down to pull out the inner vacuum bag.  Suddenly, a startled, small gray mouse flopped ungracefully on the floor.   

“AAAHH!” I screamed, jumping back.

The tiny creature frantically looked around and, lickety-split, tiny mouse feet raced toward the open door.  Out he scurried, into the blackened garage.  

Bang!  I slammed the door shut.

Pitter-patter.  I turned toward the sound.  Down the steps hurried my butt-naked, dripping-wet son. “What the matter?”

“A mouse!  A mouse jumped out of the vacuum cleaner.”

Running toward me, eyes wide, he jumped up into my arms. I could feel his heart pounding a million times per second.  “I protect you, Mommy!” he promised.     

The Little Engine That Could

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The classic children’s book, The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, has been a favorite of mine through the years.  This book was first published in 1930 and has been a friend to generations of children.  So many times was our family copy read to our 6 children that it is literally falling apart.  It still sits proudly on the bookcase wearing its tattered pages as a badge of honor.  

Not only have my own children learned the lessons of hard work and optimism from the Little Blue Engine, my students have, too.  Sometimes, I read it at the beginning of the year as a way to set the tone for our classroom: we all can try, and when we try, we can learn and get better.  Sometimes, I read it on “Read Across America” Day. I like to pair it with another family favorite, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, by DuBose Heyward.  This classic, published in 1939, also teaches children about being kind and helpful and hardworking.  Even my fifth-grade students sat at my feet and listened to some of “my favorites”-as I explained to them.  

Since The Little Engine That Could is so well-known, I doubt I have to remind you of the famous phrase that the Little Blue Engine kept repeating as he worked and worked and worked to get up the mountain and over to the “good little boys and girls”  who needed the “good things to eat” and “toys to play with.”  I think I can!  I think I can! I think I can!  the unlikely hero repeated.

Well, on one of those early and beautiful days this spring, when the breeze begs you to open the car windows as you putt along, my window was indeed wound down.  I was driving up Pine Street, a steep hill in our neighborhood.  A man on a bicycle caught my eye. Standing up, his foot bore down on the pedal with his full body weight.  Even so, the bike struggled to maintain forward progress.  Adding to his load was a bright yellow, two-wheeled child carrier that trailed along behind the bike.  This dad, huffing and puffing, was giving his little son, a boy of about 3 or 4 years old,  an early spring ride!  The youngster’s tow head, happy smile on his face, peeked over the top of the carrier, and then, to my great surprise, a merry sing-songy voice floated on the breeze, “Think I can!  Think I can!  Think I can…”                                                                                                                                                                                  

  A laugh bubbled out of my mouth.  Apparently, another generation of children is learning the value of hard work and optimism!