Today is our Halloween Party!! Yeah!! Okay, I’m faking the enthusiasm. J Today will be chaotic at best, but we will survive. The children enjoy dressing up and a few pounds of candy never hurt anyone. And I’ll get some great photos.
I’m not dressing up this year as I have in the past. I’m just wearing my jack-o-lantern shirt. I know, I know…I’m no fun anymore. Luckily most of these kids don’t remember what I did last year. And the beauty of kindergarten is that they will think my shirt is just fine.
The real excitement today is that Mrs. Maurer is painting faces! I’ve done it for years and I have to tell you that I’m pretty good at it. I make a point of telling my students that I’ve practiced and practiced so I can do it well. I’ll paint about 60-75 faces today. I’ll paint black cats, skeletons, jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, pumpkins and spiders. The kids love to have their faces painted!! Some have already asked for both cheeks.
Today is my nephew’s birthday! Happy Birthday Trent!! He’d probably like for me to tell you that he actually married my niece, but once you’re in our family you’re ours buddy. We don’t make those distinctions! Hope you have a great day!
My grandpa, John Springer, was born on Halloween. He laughed about it and thought it was great fun to have a holiday birthday. Gary’s grandmother, Florence, died on Halloween. I’ve told the story before of how we took the kids to trick-or-treat and his brother met us in the yard to tell us she had died. Halloween was a sad occasion for many years after that. I worked with a woman at another school site whose brother had also died on Halloween. We don’t think about others mourning while we are celebrating. Holidays are a date on the calendar, but that doesn’t mean they always coincide with our personal lives.
Speaking of calendars, is this the weekend for the time change?? I believe so. I’m sure we’ll get a reminder from someone today if it is.
Okay, off to school...
As I stood by my brother’s hospital bed yesterday I thought about what a strange relationship we have. He is the youngest of my four brothers. I am 59 and he will be 43 in a couple of weeks. I left our home and family to create my own shortly after he was born. In fact my oldest daughter will be 41 in December. John and I are really strangers to each other. Except for a short period in 1980 we haven’t lived in the same town or spent much time together. There aren’t a lot of pictures of the two of us together. We don’t share very many memories. And we don’t have much in common. I find myself thinking about him in the same way that I think of some of my nieces and nephews, or cousins. I love him, but I hardly know him.
So I stood by his bed yesterday and I wanted to be more comforting and understanding and supportive, but I didn’t really know what to say. What comfort and advice do you give to someone you barely know and haven’t seen in a year? I know Mother would be ashamed of us for letting a year pass without a visit. Perhaps we can both make an effort to get to know each other better. She would like that.
Believe it or not, I’m generally one of those “go along”, “don’t rock the boat” people. I hate anger and confrontation, especially if I’m the one who is angry and confrontational. I try not to interfere in anyone else’s life. I don’t offer advice unless it is solicited. I don’t try to change things unless I have a personal stake in the outcome. Perhaps that is why writing suits me so well. I can give advice and be confrontational and try to change things without being in someone’s face and without being too emotional about it. I don’t have to name names. J
However, yesterday I decided to take a stand and say “enough is enough” about something that I felt was becoming a serious threat to my sanity and the well-being of my students. I asked a few key people to pray for me and I felt uplifted and confident as I prepared for the day. I said what I needed to say and did what I needed to do. I was pleased and surprised by the outcome. No one got angry. There wasn’t a confrontation. It was almost as though everyone had been waiting for me to take the next step. A life lesson for me.
I was reminded of another lesson yesterday- life is short. My brother, my youngest brother, had a heart attack yesterday and was rushed by helicopter to OKC. More prayers. He had an angioplasty and is doing well. We will drive up to see him later this morning. But the reality is that he must make some lifestyle changes or this will happen again. There is a good chance that we will lose him, just as we have lost others in our family whose hearts have failed them. Or maybe I should say they failed their hearts- failed to take care of them, failed to pay attention to the warnings they were given. I’m just as guilty as anyone, as my obesity will attest. John’s doctor has already told him that he must lose weight and stop smoking. I must take this seriously as well, and make some changes.
I went to a meeting with some friends last night and we discussed our plans for the holidays. There is decorating to be done around town. There are celebrations to be coordinated. There are projects to be completed. There is work, work, work involved. We talked about some of the things we have done in the past, and some of the things we would love to do in the future. We talked about the reality of having too many plans and too few workers. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons in the sixteen years I’ve sat around tables with these folks. We’ve belonged to several organizations together. We’ve worked and played and planned and worked some more. We’ve been overflowing with enthusiasm and down in the ditch of discouragement, but somehow we’ve managed to “carry on” and accomplish a thing or two.
Friends and family.
Prayer and perseverance.
Those are the lessons for today.
Life is short. Enjoy what you have.
Getting air into our lungs should be a natural thing that we don’t even have to think about. Right? Well, I gave it some serious thought yesterday afternoon when I was struggling to finish mowing a small portion of the lawn before our next storm arrived last night. Last year I had very few problems with seasonal allergies. This year they have plagued me for weeks. I don’t know if the culprit is the abundant ragweed that our weatherman reports on each day, or hidden mold because of the rain, but something is interfering with my breathing and I don’t like it. I also don’t like the coughing, wheezing, and watery eyes! And yes, I AM taking Zyrtec. Without it I wouldn’t even function.
When we first moved here in 1980 I had to take shots in order to breathe. The kids also had to get them and we were miserable together. We went to the clinic and got tested to see if we could avoid the things that were bothering us. There were five or six things on the list that we could avoid. However, when my tests showed I was allergic to at least 40 things growing in the nearby woods and prairies I decided that medication was probably my only hope. We slowly adjusted and of course by the time we were getting better we returned to CA.
When we moved back here in 1991 I was prepared for the adjustments. A year of shots and medication didn’t surprise me. The next year I only required medication in October and March. Now that is the norm for most years. But as I get older I guess I resent the fact that my body still protests living where I am. I love the prairie! Why do I have to be allergic to it? I’ve lived in the desert, and even though I can breathe, it’s not nearly as much fun. Return to CA? No, I’d just be breathing chemicals all day.
One of our students had to have a breathing treatment Friday after just a couple of minutes out on the playground. My heart sympathizes with her and I hope her condition improves as she gets older. I have friends and family members who suffer from allergies and asthma. One is ninety and still has to be careful outside. At least my problems aren’t life-threatening.
So those of you who are breathing in and out without giving it a second thought, be thankful today! Some of us have to have help.
There was a deluge of rain recently at the Maurer Manor and the little fairy house that I created in honor of my great-niece Jocelyn got flooded. So I had to find a much better place for my garden fairies to reside. I looked high and low, but nothing seemed suitable. Then a helpful sulphur butterfly showed me an absolutely magical place to move the little pot and stone path that my fairies had grown to love. The new location is higher, drier, and much, much prettier. It is hidden within the old stalks of the sunflowers and has a garland of morning glories over it. And for added magical protection there is a mushroom!
Jocelyn gets gifts from her fairies, especially if she leaves them something pretty like a pine cone or a special rock. They leave her rings or toys. Well, my fairies must know me very, very well because this morning they left me something delightful! A frog! I wish I had taken my camera with me for my little stroll to the fairy house. I guess I will remember it next time. But the sight of the tiny frog sitting inside the house is something I will not soon forget. I suppose I startled him, or he was late for an appointment, because he quickly hopped away.
Thank you again, Jocelyn, for sharing the magic of garden fairies with Aunt Mary. J
I know the world is sharply divided between dog lovers and cat lovers, so those of you who dress your four-legged friend in jeans and a bandana may want to skip this blog.
I’m suffering this morning from “restless cat syndrome”. I’m not sure what her problem was last night, but Babe, Robert’s twelve-year-old cat, who for some reason still lives with us, went wild and woke us up at midnight and 2am and 2:30… She normally sleeps soundly at the foot of our bed for the entire night. But this morning she ran around the kitchen, turned over the rug, jumped on the counter and knocked over a plastic bowl of candy, and then attacked the pepper shaker on the table. At 3am I finally gave her a can of cat food and some kitty treats, figuring that a full stomach would put her back to sleep. Thankfully it worked for her, but not for me. I’m going to be running on coffee today! Robert, if you are reading this I hope you feel at least a little bit guilty! lol
It’s been a strange week in many ways. Lots of challenges and of course more rain. And now cold. I guess we will adjust, but I’m really not ready for winter. I’m a warm weather person. Cold and wet are not my favorite forecasts. And inside is not my favorite place to be. Perhaps that was Babe’s problem. She heard the howling of the wind and wanted to protest the coming changes.
Babe is a good cat to have around in the winter. If I’m sitting she is usually on my lap, providing a little extra warmth. And she loves blankets so I usually have one of those, too. We’re both good at napping. We both love to eat. Maybe that is why Robert doesn’t take her home.
I guess I will forgive her for this morning’s escapade.
We’ve all had those times when we go a little crazy.
I complained yesterday to our Senator that I had observed an OHP officer driving in traffic while talking on her cell phone. I was told “Troopers sometimes use cell phones for one-to-one secure communications”. My reply was, “why does that make the action any safer?”
Karen told me last night that a school secretary was rude to her and demanded to know why she needed to make a Xerox copy while on their campus instead of in her own office. When Karen pointed out that she was twenty miles from her own office and needed the copy for one of the students, the secretary apologized and said “we’re limiting all of our copies because of budget cuts”. So that means you can be rude?
When a friend’s husband recently got caught cheating on his wife he said it was because “I met her online”. Would your behavior have been different if you had met her at the grocery store?
One of my students hit his classmate the other day and I asked him why he did it. His reply was, “because he cut in front of me in line”. And you suddenly couldn’t speak, so you hit him?
Justification begins at an early age. And we are the ones to blame. After the initial “did you do it?” the next question off our lips is usually “why?”- as if a good enough reason will make it right. Unfortunately it sometimes seems that it does. We don’t punish a child for doing something wrong because we understand why he did it. But often the child only understands “Hey I got out of that with some smooth talking!” It’s a slippery slope because eventually the justification starts being the catalyst for action. “So and so did this, so I’ll…” “I’m the victim here so I can…” “I didn’t get ____, so I deserve___.”
I suppose I’m old fashioned, but I’d like to think that the reason to do most things is because it’s the right thing to do.
Just thinking out loud.
Have a great day!
Gary and I recently watched a report about the flu and it mentioned that many of us older folks are probably immune because we were exposed to a related strain of it when we were children. I’m not sure that I’m quite “old enough” according to the report, but it got me to thinking about the many diseases I survived as a child and the many “home remedies” my mother and grandmother used to cure us.
I don’t know if it was due to poor timing, or lack of money, but I don’t remember getting many vaccines as a child, except the polio ones. We were one of the first groups of our friends to eat the little sugar cubes and I remember going to a temporary clinic set up in an empty building of some sort. I actually knew a child in an iron lung so I was all in favor of that vaccine.
I contracted most of the other childhood diseases- mumps, measles, chicken pox, rubella- and survived, mostly due to the diligent nursing skills of my mother. She was always there with bleach, soup, Vicks, aspirin, Pepto Bismol, and cod liver oil. When I think of some of the things she did it is a wonder we lived through childhood, much less diseases! J
One of mom’s favorite cures for anything respiratory was “the tent”. She boiled Vicks in a pan of water and then set it on a box. We sat around it on the floor while she held a sheet around and over us. I must say she was devoted because she was always inside with us, soothing and talking while our eyes burned and our lungs cleared. I think it now says right on the label that you aren’t supposed to heat Vicks. And of course I went to bed many a night with Vicks slathered on my chest.
Aspirin was the only medicine I ever remember taking for anything. With all the knowledge and warnings we have now I guess I dodged the bullet on this one too. We took it for headaches, colds, fever, aches and pains.
Mom used bleach to clean anything and everything, including us. I stepped on a piece of barbed wire once (while rescuing my brother from the barn roof!!!) and it lodged in my toe. Mom doused it with bleach while Dad pulled it out with the pliers! No ER for us!
I seldom complained of a stomach ache as a child. I knew the cures- either the oily nasty stuff or the pink nasty stuff. “No thanks. I feel fine.”
We are now blessed with more medical advice than anyone can use. We have ads on television. We have the internet. We have special doctors and emergency clinics. We have a dizzying array of medications available. But I’d still like to call my mom when I’m sick. She was a pretty good nurse.