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Wednesday, June 26, 2013


“There’s no such thing as an ordinary cat” is what the fortune cookie said.  I’m not a cat lover, nor a cat hater; I’m neutral when it comes to them.  They’re cute, and amusing, and people seem to be fascinated with them if the pictures and videos posted on Facebook are any indication. 
When I looked out the front window this morning I saw “Kitty” standing on the deck, his head and one paw extended through the slats drinking water from the small fountain we have there. “Kitty” is the neighbors’ cat but spends a lot of time in our yard and on our deck.  Sometimes he leaves us a dead mouse, sometimes he just sits and watches the birds.  We’ve caught him sitting on the rail looking in the screen door, and at times lying in front of the door.  I don’t know what kind of cat Kitty is, nor what his name really is. He is a beautiful black and white cat with large round green eyes.  His coat is shiny and his eyes have intelligence to them that I never knew a cat could have.  When we speak to him he looks right at us and blinks as if considering an answer.  There are two other black cats belonging to different neighbors who also frequent our yard, one is smaller than Kitty and is scraggly and scrappy looking with squinty eyes that runs away when we get near.  The other one is between the other two in size and general appearance.  It doesn’t have as friendly an aspect as Kitty, yet isn’t scruffy or scrappy looking like the other one, nor is it as timid as the latter or as friendly as the former.  I think the presence of all three cats is keeping the squirrels away as we haven’t seen as many since we noticed the cats hanging around.  We’re not sure what the big attraction is for the cats in our yard but they aren’t hurting anything and don’t seem to fight with each other so we don’t mind them.  I think the fortune cookie was right, not one of the cats in my yard is ordinary. Each one is extraordinary in its own way and has a personality of its own.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Lunch Lady Heart

As my 13th school year ends I am elated at the prospect of some free time during the summer (one of the perks of being a 10 month employee!).  Since I began this illustrious career in an elementary school and moved to the high school only 3 years ago I am still serving some of the same students from my early days.  Even if I don’t remember all of their names, I recognize the faces.  Some of them haven’t changed much, just a lot taller and with less of the baby look about them.  Underneath all their teenage bravado they’re just kids who want to eat when they’re in my line.  Sometimes they remember me and ask how I’m doing which I find very sweet.  My colleagues and I are noticing how increasingly when we are out at local stores and restaurants the roles are reversed and these same children we serve food to are serving us, and they recognize us.  Not only do they know who we each are, (perhaps not by name), but they seem genuinely happy to see us!  So we are not just the faceless people slapping food on a tray and collecting their money, we are part of their school life. One recent day as I was setting up my station some of the students were standing nearby.  One girl who was absentmindedly watching us expressed to me how we did a lot of work just to serve them lunch.  Wow! Knowing that at least some of the students have respect for us, and are seemingly glad to see us makes my lunch lady heart smile.  A nice note on which to begin my summer.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Remembering Dad

My Dad fixed radios and cars, mowed over Mom's flowers in the yard,

 Worked long hours every day, didn't have a lot to say,

 He was there and he was calm, in times of stress he was a balm,

 We miss him so every day and honor him on Father's Day


Dad was the one who mowed the lawn once the old push mower was replaced with a motorized version.  I only ever remember my mother using the old non-motorized one, and only remember Dad with either the gas or electric powered models.  My mother loved to plant flowers around the yard, and worked hard to keep the weeds at bay, (unlike me who grows a bumper crop of weeds along with flowers every summer).  There was one particular spot on the side of the house by the kitchen window where she always wanted a pussy willow.  I’m not sure how many times one was planted there, and was just starting to take root and grow when we’d hear “crunch!”, followed by the lawn mower’s sudden silence and some curse words.  Dad ran over the pussy willow—again.  I’m not sure why he kept forgetting it was there, I suppose he was just wrapped up in whatever thoughts he had while cutting the grass.  We were probably lucky he didn’t run over one of us four kids—surely there was some temptation there at some point!  It sort of became a family joke; after all, he also ran over the little pine trees we planted after bringing them home from school on Arbor Day—one of them actually survived and grew taller than the house.  I’m not sure if it’s still there as I haven’t driven past the old place in a couple years.

Dad was an avid chess player and reader of paperback books.  He spent a lot of time reading mysteries by Agatha Christie and westerns by Louis Lamoure.  He’d play a game of chess against anyone willing to play, and although he passed away when my oldest daughter was rather young, he taught her at the age of 5 to play chess.  I never had an interest in chess, I preferred (and still do) playing games that involve words.  Cribbage was another game he enjoyed and I have to say I did try to learn it a number of times but strategy and math are not my thing.

He was a quiet presence, and I recall as a small child running around excitedly when he came home from work.   After dinner he’d read me a fairy tale, my favorite being “The Brementown Musicians”, and play “Patty Cake” or “Slap Hands”, which was an invented game where he’d put his hands out palms up and I had to try to pull my hands away before he clapped his together.  Silly, but it kept me entertained and probably improved my reflexes!

I’m so glad I have such happy, vivid memories of my father.  He was part of “the greatest generation” as Tom Brokaw put it, and I think he was right.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Crushing & Events

I've been a little lazy with writing these past few weeks, as I'm sure you can tell if you visit this blog with any regularity.  In fact, I've only turned the computer on a couple times in the past month or so.  I wish I could say I was doing something important or amazing or that I'd been traveling but alas, I cannot.  We've had several events to attend, Hillary had 2 dances to go to, Memorial Day weekend flew by, we had my niece's confirmation, and a graduation party to attend.  Aside from that it's been work, house things, reading, and a Candy Crush obsession stealing my writing time away.  Most of those things I just mentioned are inevitable parts of having family and friends and obligations.  Candy Crush, however, is a glorious time waster, replacing Angry Birds as claiming my down time.  I don't know what it is about lining up three or more colorful candies in a row to score points and get to the next level that fascinates me so, but there you have it.  I'm crushing on crushing.  My daughter started it, and now my husband is obsessed as well.  It's a sickness.  Picture this: Sunday evening, three adults in the living room, two on the couch, one in a recliner, the TV tuned to a classical music station.  Pachebel's "Canon in D" is playing softly in the background and nobody is looking at anyone else, nor are they exchanging words.  Each is looking at a small device in their hand, occasional exclamations of defeat and triumph escaping each one.  Even now, as I sit here writing this I see those rows of brightly colored candy in my mind's eye and wonder if I'll ever get off level 29 where I've been stuck for about 3 months now.  I can't remember what I did to waste time when I didn't have an electronic device.  Perhaps that pile of puzzle books collecting dust over there in the corner offers an answer to that question............

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Something Amusing (I hope!)

Here is another offering from my writing group exercises, I thought it was cute and it was well recieved by my fellow writers.  I chose "Henry the 8th" because it was the first song I thought of and seemed to lend itself to the prompt.  I hope you find it amusing!

Prompt: Start a scene with song lyrics and see where the words take you.

                                        Non-talkers Anonymous
          “I’m Henry the 8th I am, Henry the 8th I am I am.  I got married to the widow next door, she’s been married 7 times before; and every one was a Henry, she wouldn’t have a Willie or a Sam. I’m her 8th old man called Henry, Henry the 8th I am.”  The words echoed off the putty colored walls in the church basement meeting room as Henry took his seat.  The leader thanked Henry and the group welcomed him, taking in his tall thin frame, mousy brown shoulder length hair and goatee. “Now, who has something to share?” Steve, the moderator, prompted. A few moments passed before the thin dark haired woman to his left raised her hand.   Standing, Maria began, “The hills are alive with the sound of music, with songs they have sung for a thousand years…..”  Seeing another hand raised, Maria stopped and the short balding Mr. Peebles spoke up.  “We’ve got a gorilla for sale…”  “Ok,” Steve stopped Mr. Peebles when, without warning, Bruce interrupted with a raspy “Born in the USA, I was born in the USA!”  Everyone looked at each other for a few moments and Steve said, “I’m glad you’re all feeling more comfortable this week.  Does anyone else have anything to tell us?”  The round plastic clock on the wall behind Steve ticked a few beats and a light flickered overhead when Lee lifted his tall frame from his chair and tipped his ten gallon hat proclaiming, “I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died and gave that right to me…”  Suddenly catching the spirit of the conversation, the big boned, gray haired Ethel piped up with, “God bless America, land that I love,” in her rich contralto voice.  There was a momentary silence before Jon, in skin tight jeans and red flannel shirt piped in with “I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride, I’m a cowboy and I’m wanted dead or alive,” prompting Taylor, the pretty blonde sitting next to him who was glaring at him to say, “We are never ever ever getting back together.”  At this point Steve stood and said, “Ok, I think that’s enough for this week.  You’re all making wonderful progress with speaking in a group, keep up the good work, and next time let’s try using our own words instead of song lyrics to communicate.”