Captured!

Captured! By comma commotion. In the calm of the calamity. The pale green, of the painted door, leading to a balcony. Those doors, they must only swing inward. 

Accented plants, in metal hangers, gracing the doorway. Perfectly placed in position. A quiet, quaint, spectacular space, outside, and above, to simply, stylishly, step into and onto. A gray, cloudy day, perfect for a crisp, clear, captured photo. Can all the words, detailed, descriptive, possibly dovetail the desires of the day? Doubt it. So tired, exhausted, head throbbing. The photo brings comfort and relief. The shutter was shot while climbing aboard an ancient, restored whaling ship from years yonder. Walking the single wooden landing so high up, to cross onto the ship, waiting momentarily, while others, shakily made their way back, to the high, wooden, three stories of platform, in the air, leading to three stairways of decent. The 90 days of summer was spent reading the 150 year old tale of Moby Dick by Hermann Melville. Now finding myself, at this very moment, live in the story itself. Awesome! So cool! Amazing! Outstanding! Ahoy there! What was it really like to be aboard a whaling ship? Moments by moment? To eat, sleep, pass the time??? To be man against a gigantic beast on a flowing blanket of the sea, in only a tiny boat, with a so sharp spear in hand??? Wow, does it make one wonder. So much to absorb, as I climb back down, and glance at the view, of the painted green, pale door.

Simple

Re-purposed Bells

This photo was taken a year ago when I had found ten bells hanging from a colorful, metal, bowl of fruit wind chime. I think I paid about $5 at a Restore for it. Though I didn’t like the bowl of fruit, I liked the sound of the bells. In coming across a pair of pliers, I had decided to separate the bells and hang them with yarn, from a birch branch above the mantel for the holidays. The above photo was the end result. I delighted in how something so simple and inexpensive could be used for an eye catching centerpiece.

I try to keep that mantel simple. I’ve gone from having wooden candlesticks, to kerosene lanterns, to twinkling lights, to family Christmas cards, to antique books, to hand painted angels, to a ceramic church that plays music. I end up filling the space, then wanting to take it all down and quiet the space, just let it be still, and restful to the eyes.

I cannot seem to achieve that same simple, fun in the moment, bring in nature and repurpose something look this year. It’s a busy space currently. It has the birch log again with the bells, but this time layered with a white thin branch, a branch of red berries, and a wooly sheep climbing to the top, surrounded by “stargazer” lighting. It’s bright. Too bright.

What do you do with your space above your mantel? Do you prefer decorations? Lights? Reflections, or collections? I’d love to hear about it, and include pictures!

Getting Closer

With the summer winding down and the school year getting closer I find myself trying to accomplish the last things on my list with urgency. There are four items remaining: Call my brother to take the 1950’s fridge out of my garage that he wants, Sign up to do a flea market, start a bathroom remodel, visit colleges with my daughter. Where did the summer go? Well the last item, to visit colleges, is the one I am focusing on for this week. Today actually. We leave in an hour for a 6 hour ride to Virginia. I am anxious about driving such a distance. I have provisions, a magazine to read, a book to finish, a word search, even some good movies (i.e. “To Kill a Mockingbird” and some Stephen Kings). It’s just me, my mom and my daughter. I’m hoping it’s a smooth, quick ride. My daughter seems hesitant too. She has been talking about visiting the colleges all summer. Is this how it is for everybody? How do we not get stuck in our emotions over this giant decision, and the ambivalence, and nerves? I’m hoping the ride back, in a few days, will give us some really good points to reflect on and talk about, along with some positive feelings of accomplishment.

Cool, gray summer day.

It has been a cool, gray summer day.

With a still mood leading the way.

My frame of mind is monochrome.

as moments drift quietly by.

So many things I want to do,

but the spirit lays unremarkable too.

Perhaps a bit of green,

will change this quiet scene.

Mint leaves, hot tea, a movie to pass the time,

Emerald in the ring, It is the male grasshopper’s turn to sing.

How to connect gray to green and wrap up this thing???

Grow with grace.

Be grateful for the pace.

A tour of my hometown.

When summer comes, with the warm days, and splendid free time, the inspirations absorb so many of the moments. Maybe I can watercolor a picture, or fill another garden box, or comb through a box of old pictures, or schedule lunch with this friend I haven’t seen in years…. The ideas become endless. Does this secretly happen to all teachers? Well one of the big ideas that struck me week 2 of 10, after returning from a vacation my week 1 of 10 was to create and offer an historic and literature tour of my hometown. Is it possible I could put it together by week 5 of 10? My town has an historic area of houses grouped together around a hill where there are monuments, an old cemetery, and a private elementary school (which I attended for three miserable years of junior high). At the far end of the hill, across a quiet street, stands the towns historical homestead and society. (They only do walking tours with the summer campers.) Down the hill, across our somewhat busy main street, is a suffragette’s old home which had been sold to a developer last summer. I had purchased the one book written about her, Lillian Devereux Blake by Grace Farrell , and joined Facebook forces to quickly save the histical and significant structure from demolition. Thankfully the architecture was saved, however now it sits vacant and desolate looking. The tour would pass another monument and would come to an end where we started, at the town library. We have one very famous author from our town. His books have become movies, making it easy to weave this information into the tour. I have thought about how I can market it, what I can charge, when I could offer the tours. Or, do I stay uncommitted and carefree? I think it would be fun to give it a try. (Soliciting advice if you have any.)

Lillian Devereux Blake’s home saved from demolitian.

Perspectives

Perhaps one day he’ll see a different perspective.

How does one teach perspective?

Is it easier to teach perspective to an adult, or a child, or a teenager?

How does one teach perspective?

Especially when the person no longer attends school,

in hopes that one of the Teachers might cover it in a literature class, or history, or

maybe even perhaps an SEL pop up that the school adopted for a year.

How does one teach perspective?

To an adult, who is very argumentative?

To a teenager who says everything you say “is wrong”.

How do I stay calm, not get caught up in the argument, be a role model for

perspective taking?

I will keep this short. It is the end of a very long day. I hope.

The real question I am currently, this minute,

this slice of my day, dealing with, with an adult AND a teenager,

is…

How does one teach, or emulate, perspective?

Did you know Dr. Seuss graduated from Dartmouth?

“Oh the Places you’ll Go….” With graduation fevor in the air, I was researching inspirational quotes that could get stamped on simple brown journals to give as graduation gifts to the students I’ve worked with this past year. Amidst the shopping on ESTY for stamps, I came across the interesting tidbit that Dr. Seuss graduated from Dartmouth in 1925. Almost 100 years ago! And, they named the “Geisel School of Medicine” there after Dr. Seuss. “Their generosity to Dartmouth renders the Geisel family the most significant philanthropist in Dartmouth’s history”, stated the Boston Globe on April 5, 2012. Why do the goodbyes to the retirees and graduates seem so much more harder this year? I don’t usually shed tears as the excitement for summer over rules. This year seems different in so many ways. Perhaps because all the moments of the past year, that we went through with one another, can’t quite be explained in words. The feelings took over. The emotions. We ALL were shaken to the core of our survival. Dr. Seuss was also a child during World War 1, which shaped his patriotism to our country. (Source: https://www.earlymoments.com/seuss/the-life-and-times-of-dr-seuss/) How will our students, who were children during Covid, shape their future? Might they too leave huge donations to a medical school? Or might they write a book and not find a publisher after 27 times, only to give up on the 26th time? Might they have lost a parent, or grandparent, to Covid, and have less of a navigation system ahead? We as their Teachers really are so much more to our students. I know we take it for granted during frustrating, stressful moments. If we all just take a breath before this school year ends…. (Breathe in here) and know we were here for them… (Breathe out here) then perhaps we can get some control over these emotions. Maybe the tears won’t spill out in thinking of it all. Oh the places we will go….

To Book or Not To Book, That is the question.

My summer always includes a book by Elin Hildebrand. I have a collection of her books that I display on my fireplace mantel at the start of the season, along with an old copy of Moby Dick (by Herman Melville) and Summer Sisters (by Judy Bloom) and This is The House (by Debroah Hill) that I picked up straight from the author who was selling a huge stack of them one summer in Cape Cod. Her copies had many mistakes, but the story was so good I didn’t care. In fact I liked reading it in the raw, it seemed more authentic. Off to the side of the mantel on the shelf, is “Moonlight Harvest: Haunted Cranberry Bogs of Cape Cod and Plymouth County” (by Edward Lodi). Oh my! The books of summer and Cape Cod! When summer comes I fall in love with Cape Cod all over again. It’s a place I will bring the family to for 2-3 nights to kick off the hot, long days of the season. We typically stay at a motel near Falmouth Center, where there are two pools, breakfast buffet, within walking distance to town and all the shops and ice cream. The kids are all teens now and appreciate the familiarity and conveinence of everything, which is why I am so torn to try something different. Hildebran often references a little island in her stories, off Nantucket, known as “Tuckernuck”. The island is historic, rugged, isolated. I would need to take a boat to Nantucket with the family, then from Nantucket to Tuckernuck, with bedding and food in tow, as the island rental suggests. For two nights, in an historic seafarers house, with stories told by the person who owns it, we could be experiencing the island’s timelessness, and surrounding nature, fully. It sits on a beach, where one can gather beautiful shells and colored stones. The cost for two nights is just a little under a full week’s vacation. For me, I would be living in one of Elin Hildebran’s novels. For my kids, I’m not sure what they would feel about it. “It sounds a little suspicious”, was my youngest daughter’s reply when I shared the possibility. They would have no electronics for a day, just pure CapeCod lure and a sandy beach. What would you do?

Albina

“I met a girl named Albie today. She asked me to take her home. Gosh. ” And the next day in the diary…. “Albie asked me to take her home again today.” My grandpa had only two entries in his journal when I found the tattered black book. These were them. Albie was my grandma. I know little about her, except that she had a sweet tooth and liked making fudge. I have her “secret recipe” in my belongings. I have another recipe that is scrawled out as “Albie’s cheesecake”. I also have a quilt with puffs all over it that she made for me, as well as a Ragedy Ann and Andy doll. My favorite color is white. I find it soothing. Albina means “white”. Perhaps that is another reason why it is my favorite color. Albina. I find it to be a very old fashioned name of a lady who lived a tough life, had love, liked sweets, and was crafty.

Missed the writing

It is refreshing to be back. Back to writing and posting. I completed the March challenge and stepped away for a bit but here I am, back, wanting to slink into the mode. I passed a hill of daffodils this morning. A hill full of them! I couldn’t pull over to take a picture because I thought I was late for a meeting. No meeting. But I found the Slice of Life is back instead. The sun is shining. The day is new. What mood are you in this bright AM?

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