I Did It! Thirty Posts in Thirty Days!

Thirty posts in thirty days. I am thankful today for my blog and all of you that read and comment. Now... on to December!

November 29th: Today I Am Thankful for Snow

 The snow has piled up. It has made driving difficult. It has kept people from traveling to places they wanted to go. It has slowed down football playoffs and the start of school.

 I still love snow. I love how it blankets the roses and protects them until spring. I love how it covers the weeds that didn't get pulled as Indian summer turned quickly into a cold autumn. I love how it shimmers in the sunlight with tiny diamonds dancing in the light.

The snow is here for now. It made hiking around the playground today difficult for my students. It caused a few falls as the ice settled in under the snow.

I still love snow. I love how it brings out the child in people of all ages as snowmen are built, a few snowballs are thrown, and people stand and let snowflakes touch their tongues. I love the younger children at school that waddle around at lunchtime in their snowpants knowing in a few minutes they will be flying down the steep hill on the playground once again.

More snow is predicted. The shovels, snow blowers, and plows will be out again. I still love being inside by the fire and watching snowflakes fall on the deck. I love it when the dogs race through the snow, getting buried in a pile before they are done running. I love how the cats leave little pawprints all the way down the driveway.

Yes, I love snow.

November 28th: Today I Am Thankful for Life

  I am always pleased when I stumble upon a new poem or new poet. Eleanor Lerman and I have shared similar experiences. We grew up during the same time. She reminded me today what life does. I too shared that late night pumpkin pie with my dog this week-end.

by Eleanor Lerman

This is what life does. It lets you walk up to 
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a 
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have 
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman 
down beside you at the counter who say, Last night, 
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological 
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old 
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it 
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the 
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you 
were born at a good time. Because you were able 
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And 
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland, 
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel, 
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

November 27th: Today I am Thankful for The Kittens

 These kittens I brought home in June are hardly kittens any more. In fact,Grayson and Junebug are making a trip to the vet Tuesday "to get tutored". ( an old Far Side cartoon line I have always loved.) It has been entertaining to watch them in the snow. It has also been more difficult to catch them for photos because they are so active. Enjoy!

The kittens were interested in the dogs next door, the dogs, Everett chopping wood, and the other cats. As you can see Kit isn't bothered by much. He just loves blending into the snow.

November 26th: Today I Am Thankful for Everything

Today I am thankful for quality time spent with my husband, a nice overnight stay out of town, a safe drive home, cats to greet us, a home that was intact, wood to warm the house, homemade chicken noodle soup, pumpkin pie, Almond Roca, and an early night to bed with a new book to read. Bliss.

Thanksgiving Thoughts From the Blog Archives

Good Grief! What happened to Thanksgiving?
I love harvest decor and the Thanksgiving holiday. When I see cans of Libby pumpkin, canned milk, and little jars of Kraft cheese waiting on display shelves at the grocery store I am taken back to childhood preparations for Thanksgiving. Because of the food associated with Thanksgiving the holiday does still exists in grocery stores.

What happened to the other very large discount one-stop-shopping stores? One day we were tripping over Halloween candy, costumes, and pumpkins with steam coming out of the tops and then out came the Christmas stuff. How did we go from Star Wars costumes to Santas that dance when you walk by? Good grief! I waited too long to shop for Thanksgiving. All I wanted was a table runner that had a fall motif. What I found were candy canes, snowflakes, and things that sing Christmas songs as you walk down the aisle.

When did this happen? I used to love to look at the cute turkeys that could be placed on the table for dinner. I loved the fall colors in napkins and candles. One year I know I found place mats in harvest colors. I found one clearance shelf last week with leaf place mats and finally stumbled on a shelf of turkey paper plates hidden between holiday food and Santa displays. Perhaps the harvest decor was so popular it sold out quickly? Where are the pilgrim candle holders? What about the cornucopias? Grrrr!
Now don't get me wrong. I love Christmas and decorating and all the preparations. Just not the third week of November.

I will return to do some last minute Thanksgiving shopping tomorrow. I will look for a fall bouquet, fresh cranberries, and apple cider. I just hope none of them are already adorned with glittery red and green wrapping. Just give me a brown label, an orange bow, or golden ribbon. Remember Thanksgiving...that holiday some stores keep forgetting. We have much to be thankful for. Gobble, gobble, gobble.

We Gather Together - Thanksgiving Hymn!

Today I am thankful for Thanksgiving songs.


November 23rd: I Am Thankful for Wood

I had never lived in a home with wood heat until I moved into my present home. I have come to love the warmth of wood heat. We have been blessed with donations of free wood. We have been able to use wood from our own property. JEJ has also gone out to cut wood for us to burn. All this wood provides our home with heat. It was 9 degrees when I arrived home today. I loved that the house was 77degrees. Wood heat takes the chill out of your bones, it warms up cold feet, and puts a blush in your cheeks. The animals love to gather around the stove. I sit close by and feel content and a bit sleepy. I can endure frigid temperatures much, much better sitting close to a wood stove, especially when both of ours are warming up the house tonight.

November 22nd: I Am Thankful For Neruda's Words

Here are some of my favorite words:

 You can say anything you want, yessir, but it's the words that sing, they soar and descend . . . I bow to them . . . I love them, I cling to them, I run them down, I bite into them, I melt them down . . . I love words so much . . . The unexpected ones . . . The ones I wait for greedily or stalk until, suddenly, they drop . . . Vowels I love . . . They glitter like colored stones, they leap like silver fish, they are foam, thread, metal, dew . . . I run after certain words . . . They are so beautiful that I want to fit them all into my poem . . . I catch them in midflight, as they buzz past, I trap them, clean them, peel them, I set myself in front of the dish, they have a crystalline texture to me, vibrant, ivory, vegetable, oily, like fruit, like algae, like agates, like olives . . . And I stir them, I shake them, I drink them, I gulp them down, I mash them, I garnish them, I let them go . . . I leave them in my poem like stalactites, like slivers of polished wood, like coals, pickings from a shipwreck, gifts from the waves . . . Everything exists in the word . . . From Memoirs by Pablo Neruda (NY: Penguin, 1974), p. 53.

November 21st:: I Am Thankful for The Psalms

 It is only fitting that I begin the week of Thanksgiving with this psalm:

 Psalm 100 
A Psalm of Thanksgiving
 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

November 20th: I Am Thankful for The Sixth Street Theater

It doesn't matter if I go to a melodrama during the summer months, a musical production in the fall, or a comedy in the spring. Every time I go to a show at the Sixth Street Theater in Wallace, Idaho I am entertained. Recently I attended "Wunnerful! Wunnerful! : The Magic and Memories of the Lawrence Welk Show." Joy Persoon was the writer, director, and accompanist. She wanted to capture the memories she had of Saturday nights during her childhood complete with getting her hair rolled up, her Dad wanting popcorn with butter, and her mom swooning over her favorite stars.
My sister and her husband were brilliant as Guy Hovis and Raina English.

 SVG also got to be a Lennon Sister with her own daughter. My brother-in-law brightened up his smile as Tom Netherton.
 There were gospel songs, old standards, polkas, an accordion player, and a tribute to George M. Cohan. Here are some photos that captured the magic of the evening. I am so thankful I have the pleasure of enjoying all this talent. My nieces look beautiful in the choir or wearing their striking red dresses.

 ....and they look lovely in their old-fashioned dresses also!

November 19th: I Am Thankful for My Supportive Family and Friends

At 6:30 this morning I got online to find out if I had made the score to be considered a National Board Certified Teacher. I was so relieved to see my score of 286 because I knew I only needed 275 to pass. When I applied for the scholarship last year to support my effort,  a question I was asked was about my support system of people during the National Board process. It was not at all difficult to answer that question. JEJ had already agreed to support me by allowing someone else to clean the house, by volunteering to do shopping and even do cooking sometimes. He also understood the time it would take  be successful. He was also there cheering me on. My mom, brother and sister were there unconditionally to encourage me and I knew if I hit a wall, which I did, they would be there as my cheerleaders. They never let me down. I also had so many friends that had more faith in me than I had sometimes. My school staff was also a huge support group. Students heard early and all my sixth grade students were there in the hall to congratulate me as I arrived.  Today it was such a pleasure to say thanks to so many people as I kept pinching myself, still having a hard time allowing the good news to sink in.

November 18th: I Am Thankful for the Sky

I don't know why we have had amazing skies from the summer through the fall. I don't understand cloud formations enough to know why the sky can be filled with such a variety of clouds. What I do know is that I love these photo images of the sky.

November 17th: I Am Thankful for Patience

"I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end." Margaret Thatcher 

A few days ago I received a new laptop computer in the mail. I knew if I didn't replace my "old" one soon everything would explode, implode, burn up, or just fizzle and die. These last few days have taught me patience. I love the smaller and more lightweight model. I love the shiny red color. I have spent lots of time figuring out what needs to be moved, loaded, uploaded, downloaded, put on an external hard drive, stored online, and/or dumped in the trash. I thought decluttering my paper files in August was a task!
Why do I save every document I have ever written on the hard drive? Go figure. 
Patiently I have learned new things about my new model. Patiently I have sorted documents, recipes, photos, and programs. I hope sometime soon to be able to donate my first laptop to my classroom and find everything I need on my new one.

November 16th: I Am Thankful for Shelby

Of course, I can't forget Shelby as our second canine family member. Shelby has such a different personality than Annie. Shelby is our herding red heeler. The only herding she gets to do involves all our cats, but she is happy to perform those duties. I don't know where she wants the cats to be herded to, but it is often comical to watch her. Shelby loves people, her chair in the gazebo, naptime, treats,her Kellogg cousins,and her sister Annie. She is loyal and is always there to protect us and alert us to danger. The only dangers have been skunks, raccoons, and stray cats. We keep trying to tell her the Avista driver, the UPS guy, and our neighbor are our friends. She just wants to be sure.
Shelby loves to go in the car. She would be content to ride around the driveway as long as she is with us. I will never forget the first day we brought her home. She was a round puppy covered with mud. (She was in an outside dog run and it had been raining). She won our hearts that day and we have loved her ever since.

November 15th: Today I Am Thankful For Math

 I have a secret that I have not told too many people in recent years. For a long time I didn't really understand math. I haven't had to teach it much the last fifteen years, so perhaps I got a bit rusty at understanding it also. I can balance my checkbook, I can tell you a discount if it is 50%, and I know the difference between the commutative and associative properties.
This school year I decided to relearn math.  I realized I remembered and knew more than I thought. I also realized that the students I am helping had many misconceptions about math that got in the way of learning. We undid some of those misconceptions together. I also found out that it can be fun. I just finished a math inservice today and feel like I can move into some harder material now. I am thankful that I am slowly overcoming my math phobia and feeling good about numbers! Does this mean algebra might make sense to me?

November 14th: I Am Thankful for Sleep

"Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap. " Barbara Jordan
I am thankful for sleep. I am thankful for the time I have on a week-end to indulge in a nap if I want or need one. There is nothing more comforting than curling up with a dog, a cat, and a warm bed on a Sunday afternoon after attempting to read a book for about two minutes. 
 I am also thankful I no longer experience chronic insomnia. I realize problems of the world can be solved while laying awake at night, but I would rather be rested. Besides, I could never remember what solutions I ever came up after I finally achieved those three hours of sleep on a Sunday night.
I know my week gets off to a much better start when I am well rested. Even though it is a busy one coming up, I know I am ready for the week because I squeezed in that very important sleep today. I didn't even splurge on the cookies and milk first.

November 13: Today I Am Thankful For Libraries

"Libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace and wit, reminders of order, calm and continuity, lakes of mental energy, neither warm nor cold, light nor dark.... In any library in the world, I am at home, unselfconscious, still and absorbed. " ~Germaine Greer

From the time I was six years old and acquired my first library card at the Kellogg Public Library until today I have always been thankful for public libraries. I checked out three books a week every week during my childhood it seems. I don't know if that is exactly accurate, but I read many, many, many books. I have continued with my passion for reading and have also continued with my loyality to the public library. I love to browse the shelves, but now I love even more jumping on the website and requesting books from libaries all over the county. I know what books are available to read, I just don't know when I will get to read them.

Public libraries also provide magazines, newspapers, movies, books on tape, and free information any citizen can carry out the door. I feel like Germaine Greer.... I am at home in the public library.

November 12th: Today I Am Thankful for My Sister

Today I will be spending my day working side by side with my sister on some projects at her house. It is always fun when we have a day we can spend together. It doesn't matter if we are working or playing, it is always a barrel of laughs! I am thankful for my sister because she inspires me with her talents. Her good heart and thoughtful deeds also make me thankful I am her sister. Not only do I get to spend the day with her, but also get to watch her perform in a new show at the 6th St. Theater in Wallace, Idaho this evening. From sunrise to sunset it will be a treat.

November 11th: I Am Thankful for Veterans

This is a follow-up from yesterday's post. The second part of our Veteran's Day assembly yesterday at school was to dedicate the Honor Wall in our cafeteria. Many people have been working on making this Honor Wall possible. It is a long wall that includes all the veterans that attended our school or lived in our community of Inchelium.

I was particularly struck by the number of young men that served in Viet Nam from this small community. The ceremony opened with drumming, then an elder gave a moving talk about what our veterans have sacrificed. Many of the veterans were there in attendance.