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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sneaking up on dirt

Things are going down fast here. I didn't realize how pathetically fragile I had become until this morning. My morning ritual this time of year (our life here is divided into two seasons--when the cows come home, and when the cows go abroad. The location of the cows dictates the fly population, and we all know that flies drive my life) is to walk around the house focusing on the favorite fly roosts and picking them off one by one. They like corners this time of year. I either suck them up in the Shark, swat them, or just pinch them using a tissue. Today I spied one disinctly contrasting with the white bathroom floor tile. I grabbed the swatter (or what's left of it--I'm not gentle) and bashed the sucker. He crumbled on the floor. Not a fly, afterall, but a clod of dirt. No satisfaction at all. I stood looking at the dust. A simple case of mistaken identity. There will be other flies. I'll move on from this...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"We Interrupt This Blogging Hiatus..."

Look what Paco and Mugsy brought me from Logan!!! I nearly cried it was so beautiful. Still working on my paper. Please send illegal drugs and stiff beverages.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rip Van Winkle

I'm going underground for a month to write a major paper as the culminating experience for a graduate program I've been involved in for some time. If you see me on the street and I don't respond, consider it "focused" and not rude. I've trimmed my life down to teaching, sleeping, eating and squirreling myself away in my loft. Wish me well. Not dead. Not sick. Just freezing my life for a month. I leave the fate of the country and world in your hands until my return.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What I Read

I, like many of you, would read around the clock. My record is 15 books going at one time. Currently I have a teetering stack on my nightstand, and if I were to take stock might discover that I've bested my own record. I also read blogs--not 400 and something like my friend Mary does, but I have found about 7 (other than family) that I enjoy and a few craft ones and a couple of cooking ones. It's fun to go to people's blogs and click to see what they follow. Here's one that I serendipitously ran across--a young pediatric resident who is extremely compassionate and a heck of a good writer.

I like her. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years Ago, Today...As If It Were Yesterday...

American history pivotted nine years ago today on a beautiful September morning. Like other monumental moments we all have have our answers to "Where were you when...?" I was actually in the World Trade Center on Saturday, September 8, 2001, with my sister-in-law, Marilyn, and two German guests of hers. We had dropped by to visit my favorite Ben & Jerry's in the lower level where I had taken many friends and visitors. I was also at the former World Trade Center site three days after that unthinkable event took place. We were in the city for a pre-planned event. Of course, then we were only able to get within a couple of blocks, but we could see the endless train of trucks driving nonstop in and out of the great gaping hole with load after load after load of debris bound for New Jersey where it would be sifted and sifted again. The sidewalks were all greasy with a thick layer of fine black dust which permeated every window well and shop awning of the former businesses which had been humming with activity just a few short days ago but which now sat boarded and still. And the smell. Nothing could have prepared me for that. We were part of a soundless ghostly procession that shuffled along the street in silent homage while policemen barricaded us from impeding the somber endless work that followed the destruction.
On September 11th, I remember receiving information about the bombing piecemeal. We had no way of getting information into the school except through phone calls. For some miraculous reason Paco had not gone into the city that day (his office was in midtown--perhaps 40 blocks from the World Trade Center), so he became my source. I had to go next door to tell the other librarian who immediately paled and left the school. Her husband's office was across the street from the World Trade Center, and she was afraid he was stuck in a subway which turned out to be true. Another teacher's sister should have been at work in the Twin Towers. She too hurried out to check on her. All day parents came silently and ushered their kidss out, but we could still say nothing and had to act our way through that long long sober day pretending life was normal. That night I glued myself to the TV. We must have received 30 phone calls asking about Paco's status. It's a foggy memory now--most of the other events of that day. But I do remember one poignant moment at the end of the day when I went to lock the front door out of habit. My hand hovered and paused at the absurdity of thinking locks equaled safety.
We struggled through all that. I distracted my tiny students for the next couple of days--making small memorial ribbons to pin to all the library mascot animals and stuffed book characters--talking about good safe things like our parents' love for us, pets--we talked a lot about pets and friends and smells of home and favorite foods.
What I will never forget: the dozens and dozens and dozen of missing person posters plastered all over the the subway station posts under Time Square; someone's touching account of driving past train stations at the end of the day and seeing all the cars still there which would normally have been gone; the personal feature articles in the New York Times for months to follow paying tribute to the victims one by one; a gloomy rainy day we traveled to our church for a memorial service which I think came from Salt Lake; our local firemen standing in the intersections for several weeks collecting donations in buckets; Mayor Guliani soliciting the world to come back to New York by attending Broadway plays: "You can even get tickets to The Producers!"; terror each and every day for months thereafter as Paco took the train back and forth to work; the bomb threat and subsequent closing of the Trenton Station one measly train after the one we were on on September 15th; anthrax discovery in our neighborhood post office and no mail there for months until that was straightened out; the kindnesses and sensitivity that prevailed during that whole experience; the very first time I viewed the new skyline with the gaping hole;
Just pausing today to remember and send out a prayer to all those who hurt especially today.

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Martha Stewart/Renaissance Man Rocking Husband

I arrived home at 11:30 last night after 16 hours of school, Back-to-School Night, and knitting. Our entire island was covered in 24 pint bottles of crabapple butter and syrup Paco had picked from our tree and spent the day conjuring into bottles. He's the bomb! On toast for breakfast it was FAHBULOUS!!! Then today he added pickled beets and dilly beans all from our garden to the pantry. Now he's in the kitchen making his famous French boule (peasant bread). Had you arrived here this morning around 11 you would have SWORN that we were prepping for an HGTV shoot! Paco was dressed stunningly in his flannel denim-collared-be-still-my-heart Deseret Industries (I KNOW!) shirt boiling and skinning beats. I was sharing the other half of the kitchen island cutting out birthday banners to sew for the day. We were doing it all to the strains of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and it was ever so homey--the smell of vinegar and garlic wafting through, the snip snip of scissors. Sometimes we're just too good to be true--but usually not for very long.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Closer Look at Now and Then

Paco tooled off to the local farmer's market this morning armed with jars of his homemade crabapple jelly. This evening he's down at a neighbor's hoping to trade some more jelly for garlic. Oh how times have changed. Stroll with me down memory lane.
Work Attire of Choice Now

What He Wore Back in the Day!

Well-dressed Feet 2010

In the Not-So-Distant Past

A Day's Work Now

Ye Old Ball and Chain of YesterYear

Office Mates Now

Former Co-workers Then

"All Aboard!" Now

"Welcome Aboard the New Jersey Transit bound for New York Penn Station with stops in Hamilton Station, Princeton Junction, New Brunswick, Edison, Rahway, Metuchen..." Then

Daily Commute Now


Perk #1 2010

Perk #2 2010

Perks Long Since Passed--Black Tie Dinners of Yore (ahhh...)

Company Holiday Parties 2010....

nada, zilch, zippo...

Holiday Parties of the Past (sniff, sniff...)

A Place Where Work Will Never Be Done Now

A Place Where It Was Never Done Then

And so it goes. If I've learned ONE thing in life it is that EVERYTHING has a tradeoff--you give up certain things and gain others with every decision. Hopefully we all adapt and make peace with our choices. Don't ask me where I'D rather changes. But all in all, life here at Provident Heritage Farm hums--and so do we.

Friday, September 3, 2010

7th Grade Teacher Compliments For the First Week of School

"Hey, I like how your nose nestles so succinctly under your eyes."
"You have just enough voice to pretty much fill up this room."
"Great job of sitting in your seat calmy 5% of the time!"
"I like your choice of pencil."
"All your hairs are attached so securely to your head."
"Great job of tying your shoelaces!"
"You washed your face!"
"I like your shiny braces."
"Neato job of opening and closing your mouth!"
"Nice kneecaps!"
"Rad sneakers! Where can you buy such a thing???"
"Cool haircut. You do it yourself?"
"Good job of showing up so frugally without even a pencil."
"Wow! Nice use of hands attached to your arms!"
"You walk upright at least as well as 95% of other homo sapiens!"
"You do a seventh grader imitation with aplomb!"
"Commendable shuffling! Did you take lessons this summer?"
"Hey! You've been practicing your gum chewing! Nice..."

And so it goes. I AM going to practice my compliments, however. You too?

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley