Saturday, May 26, 2007

There's a Song in My Heart...

Another week of craziness... too much to do... too many emotions whirling inside at once... This was the year I said 'good-bye' to my kiddos...after having them for two years. I simply hate it. It's very close to sending your own child out the door to live with another family. The bonds that are built during the last two years are deep... and lasting. When you are with a child for 8 hours...for 320 days... you know them....all the way down to their toes. Their facial expressions, their nuances, their moods, their challenges, their strengths.... you know them. And they know you. Your challenges. Your strengths. Your nuances. Your moods. They know you.
This is the letter I enclosed with their final report card....

"Dear Parents,
My goodness...where has our time gone? As I wrap up the school year with report cards, taking down the room, and putting things to rest of the last two years, I find myself shaking my head, pausing for a minute and thinking....'Where has our time gone?" This time of year is always sad for me ... it's hard to let my class go after being together for almost two years. This time, however, it is even harder. This class of boys and girls is nothing short of absolutely amazing... and I am going to truly miss each and every one of them.
I can tell you in all sincerity that I believe that I have the very best group of boys and girls in the world! I remember 'Meet the Teacher' night almost two years ago. I passed out a little 'fun dip' card as I welcomed each of your children to room 26 and to 1st grade. We quickly established an incredible bond and 'community' in our room, and that foundation has carried us through the last two years very, very well. These children have an incredible ability to feel compassion and love for each one of their classmates. They all get along with each other...I never have had to keep two students apart because they couldn't work together... this class works together beautifully!
Not only do they work together, their compassion goes beyond that. These kiddos truly care for and look out for each other. They support each other with kind words, hugs and pats when someone is blue, laughs and teamwork both in the classroom and out (such as at recess) and they take care of each other...working together for the betterment of our entire school family. This quality that your child has is mature beyond their tender years and one which will serve them so very well through out their lives. You should be very proud of your child. They have each been a vital, important part of our community.
This class also has quite a reputation here at ****** Elementary. I have received compliments from every single one of our special area teachers about how wonderful your children are, how much they enjoy seeing them, how great they are! These children are complimented when they walk on campus, when another teacher visits our classroom, when Mrs. R visits and especially when they have had a substitute teacher come in. I am always asked to call the sub back in her notes, as she has thoroughly enjoyed being their teacher for the day and would love the opportunity to come back! That is because of your wonderful child!
During the last two years, I have been extremely conscientious of what my roll has been in your child's life. I have tried my very best to nurture a sense of positive self-esteem, a knowledge of academics and the traits of good character in your child. I have taken this responsibility very seriously with the goal of doing right by your child and by you. I hope that I have met your expectations along the way.
Your kindness and generosity today with my I-pod Nano gift left me in tears and humbleness. Oh my!! I am overwhelmed that the kiddos and you pulled this off, and please know that I am just loving listening to my stylin' nano (even as I type!) and I will always remember my fantastic classroom kiddos and family for their kindness and support as I get jiggy to my tunes!!
I want to thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be your child's teacher these past two years. I am truly honored to have been able to spend these years with your child, to get to know you, my families, and to be a part of your family life. You have all treated me with nothing less than graciousness and kindness and I want you to know how much, how truly much, I have enjoyed getting to know you, work with you and have you as part of our community. You all have a place in my heart and I wish you and your family a very wonderful summer! "

There are wonderful people whom I work with who coordinated this 'thank you' gift for me...and I am humbled and basically at a lost that this was done for me. Grateful beyond words. Touched at a level never before. And once again... amazed... at my wonderful kiddos.

Never underestimate children....
they will surpass you every time...

Friday, May 18, 2007

twinkle toes

another long week...
too much to do....too much, too much... beyond tired...beyond...
try totally trashed....

but today we had a luau for our kiddos as a 'good bye' party...
one of my teammates hosted it...
she did an AWESOME job! it was quite the party...and tons of smiles everywhere!

her adorable little baby joined in the fun...and was ticklin' his tootsies in one of the play pool games...

i snapped this shot of his toes, and it just makes me smile when i look at it... what a cutie bug...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It's Not Easy Being Green......


You are a very calm and contemplative person. Others are drawn to your peaceful, nurturing nature.

Find out your color at!

....but apparently that's what I am. Visited Miss Meg at her little cottage and ended up taking a 'color test'. Who knew??

Well, actually, I did know. I'm sort of known as 'ma earth' around my neck of the woods. I love the green of trees, the forest, praying mantis, new shoots, spring, buds, early tomatoes, baby leaves, margaritas.... So being 'green' suits me fine.

What color are you?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Oh dear!

What have we here???'s a lovely sentimental card hand made by my ever creative and oh! so whimsical friend, Chickenbells!!

This side beholds ever cotish, Alice! The highlighted sentiment has Alice exclaiming

"Oh, dear! I'm certain! I must have change" did Alice know??

On the flip side - yes! double sided! - finds her exclaiming

"...and to be a Queen! at last! she cried"

Oh yes, Alice! It IS good to be queen!

"Oh, how glad I am to get here! And what is this on my head?"

It was a gold crown.

But wait! There's more!

...they were still falling, like a parachute filled with wind, they floated downward...
The worst thing was their fear....
ah, yes... that four letter word ...fear
A tender, handmade and handwritten note from my dear friend.... with flair, style and love just waiting to be released upon opening!

All of these wonderful gifts were my dear friend's treat to her blog visitors... I was so HONORED to have been drawn! I am very intrigued by her use of old book pages, marker, paper and trinkets! What lovely artwork and I am honored to be a proud owner of her touch...

Thank you so much, Miss S!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Me? A Bag Lady?? You betcha!

I saw these last week, but I was too engrossed with my purchase, that I decided at the last minute to pass on them. So I ran back yesterday to pick myself up a couple of the new Trader Joe's reuseable shopping bags....

is this too jiggy??

for shopping??!!

Oh my, no! Meet my new school bag! I think it's just kicky enough to work for the summer and kick things up a bit! And at a buck, ninety-nine.... that's right... $1.99!!! How could I go wrong???

Just one more reason why I love trading with Joe.

Grief, Grace and Gratitude

Mother's Day, 1992

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

I love you.

I headed out to the cemetary early this morning. It's a simple and beautiful one. My mother's ashes are interred in a marble block that has benches around it... trees around...quail running through the outskirts. I placed the two tulips into the flower holders of both Mom and my grandmother and grandfather. Then wept.

As I was alone in my memories and tears, I heard a sound to my left. A father and son were clutching to each other..sobbing into the other one's shoulder in front of a crypt several yards away. I turned my face to give them privacy to their grief...and returned to mine. Strangers bound by a common bond... loss.

I can not tell you what made me turn around to look behind me...I only know that I did. A woman, probably in her late thirties or so was walking straight towards my way. She wore jeans, biker boots, a 'Harley-Davidson' tank shirt and a sleeveless denim shirt. Her short, thick hands whispered of a life lived hard. When she saw me turn, she said 'hi'...I managed a drippy 'hi'...thinking she was visiting one of the graves just behind me...which are mostly of children who have passed from this world. Instead, she said something to me...I can not remember what, but I found myself apologizing to her...saying 'I was sorry'... she came up behind me and put her hand on my shoulder and asked if I had lost someone. I told her my mom...and she asked where her plaque was. I pointed to it. She said not to apologize..that crying rids the body of poisons. She said, "I've lost my father...but not my mother. I'm afraid to loose her. Is it hard? Is it harder to loose your mother?" I told her it was the hardest. I asked who she was visiting. She told me twice before I understood what she was saying...her father was buried somewhere else. I wondered why she was here then. She said she was here with a friend 'over there'. I didn't see anyone.

She sat down beside me and began to tell me how she had been estranged from her mother until three years ago. That she now had come to know her mother for the woman that she is and that she had so much admiration and respect for her, and her tears began to fall. I asked where her mother lived and she said 'Apache Junction'. Then she asked me "Should I see her today?" I nodded, then said that if she couldn't see her, at least give her a call today. I could tell that there was a story behind her asking me this on Mother's Day...but it was not for me to pry. We sat there on the marble arm draped around a shoulder... two strangers, yet...two women.... one here for the other.

"I'm Carol." I said as I held out my hand. "Hi Carol. I'm Vonnie."

She shared that she had been divorced and how 'freeing' it was for her...that if a man doesn't treat you the right way, it's time to pack up your toys and go home. She also said that God will send a man into my life if that is what His plan is may be at the restrooms at the state fair, but if that is His plan, then it will happen. (um..I wasn't wondering this...but she kindly offered this advice.) I laughed that I guess I better start going to the fair then... it was a nice relief to the somberness of the moment.

She said she had better get going..that her friend would be wondering where she was. But before she left, she took a picture with her cell phone of the statue on the top of the crypt. It's a white sculpture of Mary holding her son's body in her lap after he was taken down from the cross. She said it's called 'the pieta' and that the original one created by DaVinci is in Italy...where she wants to go. She wished me a happy Mother's Day, gave me a hug, and then turned....running off the way she had come. I turned back towards my mother's crypt...paused.. then turned back to see Vonnie one more time.

She was gone.

I sat for a while thinking about the visit from this woman. The words of comfort that she had brought. The fact that she seemed to appear out of no where, and just as silently, disappear. A simple exchange between two strangers but for a brief moment in time.

Maybe not all angels wear white robes and haloes... riding on feathered, white wings... I thought.

Maybe .. just maybe...some ride on Harley's...

Friday, May 11, 2007

T.G.I.F. !!!

Thank gawd it's Friday...

It's been one of those crazy, over-worked weeks...the kind that are just insane. I went to bed last Sunday night wishing the week was already over, and I don't like feeling like that. The end of the school year just cranks up to super-high gear and it makes it hard to just enjoy the moments that I have left with my kiddos. I was at school last night for 'curriculum night' and I helped my dear friend with the book fair - families come to the library and buy's such a fun night, but being gone from home for 13 1/2 hours is a bit tough. My daughter even mentioned how much I had been gone this week...and she loves being home alone!! My goal was to make it to today...upright! This morning was 'field day'.... 2 hours outside rotating through an assortment of p.e. activities. I tend to dread it...I'm exhausted from the week's activities already...but the kiddos love it and once you get going, it's not so bad...'cept for the dust, dirt and heat. That's why the 'otter pop' station is such a popular one!!

As we were getting lined up for lunch, a call from the office asked if I would pick something up that was there for me. So I sauntered on up after taking my kiddos to lunch...and a box awaited my opening. With tears, and the help from some friends of mine, I opened the box which beheld a beautiful bouquet of spring tulips (and love) ...from my daughter and son. There were so many, that I was able to make another bouquet for my bedroom and share a few with my daughter with her own mini-bouquet! I just love them, and think that they are so pretty!

My daughter's comment about being gone so much really hung with me...and so today, I decided to treat M and myself to something that I haven't done in over a year... a pedicure! I was in such need of this! So I picked dear M up after work and we drove to a little place nearby for some much needed pampering.... voila'! A patriotic pedicure! My favorite OPI red - 'I'm not really a waitress' red, dotted with white blossoms and topped with blue crystals! It was the gal's idea, and I was too trashed to even consider not doing it... a massage chair, a hot tub for my tootsies, and a pedicure ... lordy, I just about slid off that vibrating seat and crumbled right into the pedicure tub! Man, doesn't that just make you feel so much better?? M's are even cuter!!
A quick trip to the market to pick up some steaks, a couple ears of white corn and a loaf of chibatta bread had us then heading towards home. What a lovely four-letter word!! H O M E ! I lit the charcoal grill then headed up to shower off the field day from this morning. A fresh pair of lounging p.j.'s, a glass of shiraz and a steak and corn dinner...and I feel like a new woman!! I'm going to indulge in another glass of '2-buck chuck', open some devine chocolate truffles from one of my kiddos for 'teacher appreciation' week, and then crawl into my sweet, soft, comfortable bed....
for a month....
oh, how I wish!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

For Just a Day....

As the days have passed of late, the topic of
'mother' has been on a lot of minds. In my class, my students wrote out the recipe of their favorite dish that their moms make.... ingredients and directions! I typed each recipe up, printed them and bound them into recipe books for the moms...complete with each child's picture and a dedication page. They are priceless! They also are giving their moms beautfiul clay vases that they made in art. I'm sure these will be treasures which their moms will love for a long, long time.

Of course, every sort of media is reminding even the most forgetful that Mother's Day is coming up! We are given all sorts of hints and suggestions as to what to give our mothers to let her know how special she is and how much we love her. Flowers, dinner, electronics, clothes, purses, perfume.... tokens of forever love and deep appreciation.

Sometimes relationships with mothers aren't always flowers and butterflies and flute solos drifting on spring breezes. Often, the relationship one has with one's mother can be challenging, hurtful, frustrating... and confusing. Most are a combination of the good and the bad, the up and the down, the easy and difficult. As with any relationship, those we have with our mothers ride waves. I know mine did.

I say 'did', because my mom died 3 1/2 years ago.

My mom had been sick for about 5 years before she died. She endured countless doctor visits, many, many, many medical tests and procedures, several surgeries, so many medications, dialysis, nursing homes, heart attack, several ambulance rides to the hospital and on.... and on.... I can't tell you how many times I watched her life end, only to be brought back by modern medicine. I did many things to help her be as comfortable and reassured as I could during those years. But often, I felt like I hadn't done enough...not because she made me feel that way, but because I felt so damn helpless to make her damn helpless...

As her birthday is also this month, I think about her even more so during this time. I keep her picture in a very pretty flowered frame right by my desk at school. I look at it often....and think...

...if I only had one more day with Mom, I would...
...put aside the plans I made for Saturday and take her for ice cream and a ride her up for no other reason than to tell her that I loved her over with some flowers from Trader Joe's and surprise her
...forgive her more for the times that I felt that she didn't live up to my expectations of how she should treat me
...have my picture taken with her her a Martha Stewart magazine and take it over to her
...offer to rub her hurting feet with some pretty-smelling lotion her a pretty gown and wrap it up in with a blue bow and watch her open it
...sit beside her on the bed, hold her hand in mine and tell her 'thank you' for taking such good care of me
...have my children spend a few more minutes of their 'precious' time either visiting her or calling her on the phone for just a few minutes, to let her know that she was important in their lives
...make a big bowl of gazpacho for her and deliver it with a hug
...have more patience with her
...and more understanding for her
...sit with her and just listen

....if I only had just one more day with Mom...

For those who will be spending time this weekend with your moms, enjoy her to the fullest! For those whose mother has passed on, I send you a hug and peace for your heart. And for those who are a mom, themselves, may your Mother's Day be full of love and good times!
Happy Mother's Day, ladies!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Ornamental Orbs

The weather is just glorious and it has been a very nice weekend, indeedy! Wonderful son came over yesterday and worked very heartily in the yard fixing sprinkler heads and other water issues. I hosted my friend, Miss K of Simplicity Wins, for a yum-yum dinner of salmon grilled on cedar plank, spring salad with cranberries, red and yellow pearl tomatoes, feta cheese and cranberries, rosemary bread with herbed olive oil for dipping, white sangria and cheesecake drizzled with macerated strawberries. A very nice time, indeedy.

Today, ya-ya N and I headed up to a place in Cave Creek that has just a bunch of junk! Well, it's called 'The Town Dump'. I have to say, I was disappointed. I expected to find antique treasures galore, knick-knacks of all sorts and things for a steal of a price that I just simply can't live without!! Well, it didn't work that way. At all. BUT, I did gather these two glass balls for my yard adornment. I have to laugh because my friend, Miss Sadie, has several similar balls hanging in her yard and when N and I went up to visit her, we asked her where she got them...thinking that there was some mystical, secluded, oh-so-unique shop that she would stear us to. 'Target!' was her reply. So much for mystical! Well, today, said dump had a basket of these globes...and I just had to have a couple! So I chose a crackled spring-green one and a sterling purple one. I also visited my friendly Ace Hardware store and found the perfect hardware for hanging them! The gentlemen were so helpful there! Maybe because they know how to work with balls.... just a guess.....

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Light of Day

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous
talented and fabulous?"
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God!
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
- Marianne Williamson