Archives for the month of: May, 2013

I’m a memory catcher,
catching memories with my pen
as they flit in and out, thump their
wings, live for those few moments.

Living, dying, being reborn.

Wings flit gently in the wind,
carry memories with each flutter,
heart connecting with soul–catch them
while I can, and let them go with the ink
from my pen.

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This morning I wanted to post a small something, but I was having technical difficulties and ran out of time.

Yesterday I began spring cleaning and I still want to type up my “A-ha” moment in greater detail in the coming days.

In the meantime, I figured out a work-a-round for sideways photos, which is one of my mini “A-ha’s”. I can’t believe it took me so long! When I take photos with my i Pod Touch and try to use them on my RR blog that I create from my i Pad, they seem to appear sideways. Usually, I decide not to post the photo, unless I really want it as part of the blog. And if I really want to include the photo, then I have to power up my non-Apple laptop, email the photo to myself, save it to the laptop, and post from there.

I actually tried to post a photo this morning and got caught up with other technical glitches and decided against the whole thing.

So, tonight, as I wondered why my pictures turn sideways, my Doodle Buddy app entered my stream of thought; I then remembered that I can choose a photo as the background. I thought to myself: If I select one of the photos that usually appears sideways as a background and save it to my camera roll, when I try to upload it, will it appear right side up. I tried it and voila: success! I was so excited to have discovered a solution to this rather annoying little problem.

The photo I’m sharing here is really nothing special, but it’s one of the items, I found down at the bottom of a small wicker basket that contained old receipts, a movie stub, loose change, other odds and ends, and one of my cameras.

I use to have a bad habit of writing reminders on my hand. I think I may have stopped about a year or so ago. Now I use post-its and tape them to my bag. In this photo is an idea I came up with when I had too many reminders that I didn’t want to write on my hand. I usually jot these things down at work, so I took a few hair rubber bands to work to tape a post-it note to once I had completed my list. I would then wear it around my wrist to be sure I didn’t forget what it was I wanted to do on any given day. And those are the three that I found. I had completely forgot that I had even done that. You just never know what you’re going to come across when you begin Spring cleaning!

The other thing that I came across was an e-book that I purchased after taking a colors personality test online by Carolyn Kalil some years ago. I always like different perspectives and revisiting information. I’ve decided to flip through it again to see how things are aligning at the moment in the direction that I’m headed. It’s not that it’s revealing anything I don’t know, and, of course there are a few things that I don’t agree with. It does, however, affirm a few things that I already know about myself through self-reflection and trial and error.

Here’s the website if anyone is curious or interested. You can take a quick quiz for free, get a short summary of your results, and then decide if you’d like to purchase any of her e-books for more detailed information.

http://www.truecolorscareer.com/quiz.asp

That’s it for now.

Sweet dreams…or good morning…depending on where you are.

: )

20130512-222417.jpg

It was an ordinary day. The air smelled of honey, the bees buzzed to and fro. Clyde walked to the cafe with his book bag in hand. He had been working on his collection of essays, and it was his routine to complete all of his writing at Sandy’s Sunshine Cafe. He needed to hear the pots and pans clinking, the customers voices; he needed all of his thoughts to be focused by the chaotic symphony of the cafe; through all of the noise, he found the gentlest quiet and it was just him and his laptop, sustaining each other.

The following day Clyde woke up to a sun drenched room. He stretched his arms in the air, then rubbed his dog Frederick’s head. Frederick was an Irish Setter. He sat with his head extended, then got up and gave a happy bark to indicate that he was ready for his morning meal.

“Come on, Frederick, let’s get you some breakfast.”

Frederick wagged his tail in approval.

“Frederick, I’m almost done writing my collection of essays! I think today will be the day. Of course, I’ll have to go through and edit, but I may wait a while, give myself some space first, then come back with fresh eyes. I’ll begin a new project, I think.”

Clyde smiled at his companion whose eyes seemed to take in everything he said. He set Frederick’s food bowl down and he began to lap up his kibble.

After Clyde dressed, he combed his wiry hair, took his book bag from his office, and said goodbye to Frederick.

As he approached the cafe, he took in a deep breath. He entered the cafe, placed his order, and found a table in the middle of the room. He heard his name and went to retrieve his order: A double mocha delight with extra whipped cream. His laptop was open, the cursor was blinking, he took a sip of his mocha, placed his hands over the computer to begin typing, but Clyde felt a strange twinge soar through his stomach. He moved his hands from the keyboard. His mind was blank. He opened one of his documents to see if it would help. He read. He readied his hands again, but nothing happened. He felt as though he had forgotten how to write. Words would not come. Thoughts were bungled up. He felt so fine that morning. Frederick had encouraged him with his deep set eyes, with his wagging tale. What was different, he thought. What happened?

Even though he had been steadily working on his collection of essays, deep down he had felt that his writing was diminishing. He couldn’t quite explain it. He was unable to articulate it and it had been haunting him for days. He had been avoiding the thought, trying to bury it, but here it was staring right back at him.

Had he been too caught up in his diminished sense of self as it related to his writing? He wondered to himself if it were quite possible to actually get worst at something that one had been doing for so long, something that was your life blood, that had come as second nature at one time. He didn’t understand. How could you get worst at writing? How was that possible! He felt a combination of being paralyzed and dried up.

He took a few sips of his mocha, he tried to pull himself together, and then he typed: I can’t write. What has happened to my writing. Where have my thoughts gone? He didn’t feel any better, but he was glad to have at least written those words of truth. He knew he needed both a break and to keep at it. He knew that eventually he would find that spark again.

He became aware of the background noise that had been a source of joy. Today, though, the clanking and buzzing voices assaulted him. He felt that he needed to get out of there. He packed up, stuffing his laptop into his book bag with a thrust of defeat.

May 8, 2013

5-8-13

13-13

4-4

8

Right now I’ve allotted myself 15 minutes to get my thoughts out on this page before I must start getting ready. Today is tutoring for about an hour and a half and then off to work.

I wish that I knew more about numerology. I’ve checked books out from the library, but at the time I didn’t have the patience. I once knew a very special person and our paths went their separate ways…but what I had learned from her quite late in our relationship is that she had a good friend that studied numerology and for years she had done her chart and she had also done a reading for every year since her eldest son was born. She said that one day, and that day was approaching, as he meandered his way into adolescence, she was going to sit down with him and go over his numerology charts. I thought that was really special and I was curious and interested. That same year was a stressful year for her. I mentioned that she should have her friend do her chart. She said she didn’t need her chart done to know this was going to be a difficult year.

I like the way numbers look. Years ago my boss got me into the habit of noticing if the dates adding up a certain way. He’s an accountant, after all. Sometimes he’d call it subtraction day and then I started paying attention and we’d ask each other when we noticed some pattern in the date, “Do you know what today is?” It is a nice way of bringing playfulness into the office and of being observant is a unique way.

If I remember right, 8 is a fortuitous number and that’s what today adds up to, at least the way I added.

7 is one of my favorite numbers and I like 13 just as much.

Well, my 15 minutes is up.

1-5

6

Happy day!

When I was a young girl, I was, in a way, my mother’s doll. I was an extension of herself–an extension of all of her hopes and dreams; it wasn’t always easy for many reasons, for the choices she made in life long before I was born and had to live with, for the anger she held inside and acted out on. I think she felt trapped; in many ways, I became the only thing that made her feel free, so all of her time went into me, even if it was haphazard at times.

When I search and search for words…I don’t remember heart-to-hearts, except once in the conveyance of a smile from her being at her most uncomfortable hour awaiting her exit from this world. I remember going to her sickbed at my grandmother’s home, two houses up. She could no longer care for herself; the pain was worsening, life was escaping her.

I had just shaved my legs for the first time ever. I was 13. The other girls were doing it. I showed my older brother; proud I was. He was 33. He yelled at me as if I had committed a crime, trying to stuff my womanhood back down into a black box. It was too much for him to bear seeing his baby sister grow up too fast.

I ran out of the house and up to my grandmother’s house to my mother’s side and told her what I had done and explained about my brother’s reaction.

All I remember is the loving smile that spread upon her face and made it glow, as she lay in bed, reaching her hand out to bring me closer. This moment seemed to make the pain go away. I had never seen her look as radiant and peaceful as in that hour.

It wasn’t until my adult-self had the opportunity to look back. I imagined that she somehow knew her girl would be all right without her mother; that in a way, she was at peace knowing she would not be here to watch her girl blossom into a woman.

That look–the love and tenderness in her eyes–is one of my fondest memories of mother and daughter communicating, not through words, but pure emotion, through the windows of our souls, as she lay on her deathbed.

I cannot be certain of the exact timing, but her cancer did worsen; she had given in to it. I believe she was ready to take leave, to end her pain and suffering.

She had to be taken to the hospital soon after that day. I had seen her in the days after with an unfamiliar and painful look in her eyes, and I don’t think she wanted me to see her–but this other peaceful look, it brought balance and far outshines the pain in my memory.

I remember being in my brother’s room, watching television late at night while he was talking to someone in the other room. When the phone rang, right as I heard my brother pick it up, I knew. She had died.

I know she continues to smile down upon me; and she was right–that look in her eyes, the way I read it now–she knew her girl would be fine.

“Invitation”

“If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!”

From Where the Sidewalk Ends: The Poems and Drawings of Shel Silverstein

A large smiley face carved into the hill, or rather mowed into the hill, began our weekend trip to Palmdale last weekend to celebrate M’s uncle’s 70th birthday. That was a nice way to start the trip. If my eyes didn’t scan at every moment, I might have missed it. I pointed it out to M; he said to show his dad. I had to think fast in Spanish and barely got the word out for face as we passed by, but I did manage to string the words together in time for him to see.

The highway we would be on for a great part of our five hour trip is known for putting people to sleep–or almost. It’s a long stretch on Highway 5 toward Los Angeles. Mostly pale, bare hills on either side of the freeway. My eyes grew heavy. When I closed them momentarily, I feel a tickle in my tummy because of the sensations that my body feels and hears; with my eyes closed, the sensations are heightened, as the van vibrates, the hum of wheels spin me to a jubilant place; the hot breeze blows through, as though touching every follicle on my arms and face. When I open my eyes, I feel a natural drunkenness, and I savor the moment.

I see a small quarry, rocks spilling out into mounds. I’m intrigued by all the different pulleys and hoists. It makes me want to go play in the dirt and roll around in the mounds.

There are many big rig trucks on the road delivering goods and food, gasoline–all the things we use on a daily basis. How easy it is to forget they have a long journey before they reach our tables and cars.

At one point, I begin to doodle small things that I see.

As we get closer to our destination, I try to observe what I see in my limited Spanish and I jot these thoughts down in my notebook:

Mis ojos ven a infinidad y atras
Los pajaritos hacen casitas debajo de el camino.
Hay mucho tierra seca y una vaca solo.
Los caballos son como magico con ojos que
son tan grandes y tienen tanta alma y compasion.
El aire esta caliente; mi voca tan seca. Agua no me refresca.
Quiero tomar y tomar.

(I tried to go back and catch errors, but there are probably others I didn’t catch. I’ll have to come back to this later. A good exercise for practicing and looking up the errors I can identify.)

My eyes see as far as infinity and back.
The little birds make houses underneath the road.
There is a lot of dry dirt and one lone cow.
The horses are like magic with eyes that
are so large, and they have so much soul and compassion.
The air is hot; my mouth so dry. Water does not quench my thirst.
I want to drink and drink.

**

The party had a cowboy theme It was fun. I’ve always wanted a pair of cowgirl boots and happened to find a used pair–not authentic–but cute in an antique store. I also found a pair of jeans and a pink cowgirl hat.

**

Some old fears came up for me last week in my ECE class. I knew we would have a project to do and then we would have to present it. Even though I’ve gone through public speaking and I knew this would be informal–that we would go in two groups, set up around the classroom with our posters, as classmates made their rounds to listen to our presentations in that way, I was still nervous. Would mine be good enough? I had old fears of fleeing and of quitting, but these thoughts quickly dissolved and I focused on the task at hand. I thought a lot about my poster and the activities before I actually started getting down to work.

We were to come up with two activities related to math and literacy for the child that we observed a few weeks back, keeping in mind Howard Gardeners’ Multiple Intelligences and then tailoring the activities to the intelligences that we observed in the child. I wanted to get my presentation over so I went in the first group. It was actually fun and I felt comfortable speaking to groups of three and four and sometimes one at a time with my poster as a point of reference, along with the items I brought for both activities and photos I took that demonstrated how the activity would play out. The teacher also made a visit to each student’s setup; I was pleased when it seemed I had done alright.

I signed up for the summer session of the next ECE course I will take. I know it’s going to be rigorous cramming so much information into a month, but I feel ready.

**

Two tutoring session ago, there was a mini mixup. The student I usually tutor after break was taken by another tutor. She was going on vacation and wanted to tutor her student, but she was tutoring him on the day I usually do, so I ended up tutoring one of her students. Anyway, the student she took was the curious one with lots of questions. As I walked to go get him, there he was with her. The student and I both sort of looked at each other like something was amiss.

When I met with him the following week, he asked me about it and I told him that, yes, I usually tutor him on that day, but that she was going on vacation and that’s why I didn’t tutor him that week.

We got down to reading and he lost a tooth, so he asked me if I believed in the tooth fairy. And I said, “Oh, yes, I sure do.” I asked him if the tooth fairy came and he said there wasn’t anything there in the morning, but that later that afternoon, there was something under his pillow. I smiled and said, “She must have been busy during the night.” Later in our reading session, Santa Claus came up because, by sight, he was having trouble with the word, “Oh.” Then he said those two letters also said “Ho.” And I said, “Yes, like when Santa says, “Ho, Ho, Ho.” I told him that he could remember that Ho and Oh, sound alike and the letters have switched places. When we got to the word “Oh” in reading again, he looked to me and I made the Oh with my mouth without sound, and he got it. So he also asked me if I believe in Santa Claus and I told him I did. He wanted to be sure, so he asked again.

When I was his age, I did believe in the tooth fairy and Santa Claus as very real, and now I believe in the belief to believe–if that makes any sense. As humans, we need to believe in something; and as we journey through life, those beliefs may change, but at the core, I think it’s the same. We need to believe in something greater than ourselves and also in the little things.

My adult self believes in the sprit of all that we need to believe in as children. I was glad to see that he still has that childhood innocence in tact.

One more note that I thought was interesting is that there was another person working in the library with us. She was a reading intervention staff member and had a small group of children. He said that she would give the students books to take home. I try to carry a few books that I can give to the students and I happened to have one that caught his attention. It was a Curious George book. I told him that this was one he could take home if he likes. He seemed happy about it. I told him that it would be great if he read it and brought it next time and told me all about it and what he liked about the story.

He also told me that the staff member sitting behind us yelled at the students sometimes. I am glad to know and acknowledge that, when working with children, one of my virtues is patience and offering a safe place to learn. I’m not super outgoing and have a pretty calm energy and can still be shy, but as a teacher that I happened to meet by chance at a small fair this past weekend said, “It takes all types to be a teacher.” I believe her.

One of the other students is really struggling and I try to think to myself, what can I do?Some of the books that the teacher gives us are too difficult for him. Some are about right, but others are not. When I’m in thrift stores, I usually scan the children’s books for myself and also with M’s God son in mind, as well as the students I tutor. I happened to come across an easy book with the name of this particular struggling student. He tries really hard and he is such a sweet person. I wondered what it would be like for him to read a story about a character with his own name. When I sat with him, we first read a story from the book the teacher gave us to read. Then I told him that I had a book that he might like, that it was on the easier side and that one of the characters had his name. I asked him if he would like to read it and told him that he could keep the book when we were done. He nodded his head yes that he would like to read the book. I had a pack of flash cards with me and brought out the “Ch” card because one of the other character’s names started with that sound.

I was pleasantly surprised. He did well with a few sight words and remembered words that he would often forget after reading them on the previous page. When he finished I told him that he did a good job and he could take the book home to practice. I usually walk the students back to class, which in this case is only two doors away, but he got up and walked in a hurried walk, holding his book, leaving me there, somewhat taken aback. I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I decided that it was a good thing and that he felt good for reading most of the small book by himself.

While I had been waiting in the library for recess to end, I looked at the books to my right and spotted the Shel Silverstein books. I had a best friend in 3rd grade that carried Where the Sidewalk Ends around with her. I never looked inside, but I always remembered the book. My mother tried to surround me with books, but I don’t remember Silverstein’s books. I wanted to check out a copy of A Light in the Attic. Instead while I was browsing in the used bookstore I found my own copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends and many other children’s books and a few books about books.

I’m looking forward to seeing the new movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby and decided to re-read the book yesterday. It was great to read it for pure pleasure. What a gorgeously written book.