Some people know me as Mom or Corrina or Mrs. Terry-the-Teacher or Sis. Terry (at church). Little do they know, I'm also a superhero.
I may be married to Mr. Incredible (Steven J. Terry), have two fantastic kids (J & D), but my super powers have been unknown to the world . . . until now.
Super Power #1:
1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Baker
Chocolate chip cookies are one thing I am really good at creating. I pack them in the boys' lunches every day at school. My cookies are like cigarettes in prison. They trade them for store bought treats we don't buy. (They have kids begging to trade daily!) My boys tell people that my recipe is top secret. Little do they know it's just the Toll House recipe with lots and lots of love.
2. Uber Crier
My tear ducts are famous. Those who know me know I cry or "tear up" several times a day. All it takes is a sad song, a Folger's coffee commercial (the one with the son who comes home for Christmas break is a real tear jerker), or feeling spiritual. It's hard to explain to someone that you're crying because you feel GOOD, not just sad. ;o)
Most women have this superpower. Mine didn't manifest itself until I became a mother. I found I could juggle laundry, feed my son, write, talk, cook, and clean all at once! I can get more done before 8:29 A.M. than the President of the United States.
4. Faster than a Speeding Bullet
Another "incredible" power I have to catch things that are falling. This may be due to the stretching ability of my limbs, but it is as if time slows down and I see the object falling clearly. My hands move at lightning speed to catch whatever is falling. This power also extends to my legs when running short distances.
My last, but not least, super power is talking. This power was passed onto me from both my Super Dad and my Super Gran. They could talk to anyone. I have this same curse, I mean gift. I find myself talking to strangers at the store, making life-long friends at the airport (Kylie rocks!) and even volunteering to talk in church. This power has come in handy during awkward situations, but when I'm nervous it's on auto pilot. Embarrassing!
Photo credit: Disney capturing me in my cool costume Corrina L. Terry 2010
The hubby and I had brunch with my ex and his fiancee the other day. My son, J, had been visiting my ex for a week for Christmas. It was "the exchange" where we meet up to drop off or pick up J.
I was a nervous wreck. I ordered the wrong croissant, couldn't vocalize what I wanted to order and looked to my hubby for help. He looked at me like I'd lost my mind, but when I explained to him I was kinda freaking out, he graciously stepped in, ordered for me, and took care of things. He is amazing.
I'd met the fiancee before, but only briefly. Now that they were planning on marrying and she would be a permanent fixture in J's life, I had to do the face-to-face. They were the ones who asked us to meet for lunch, so they felt the same way. (I've been told by a therapist it's a good thing to do this for the kids if you and the ex get along well enough and won't end up in a screaming match.)
His fiancee is darling---fun, happy, smart, well-spoken, educated. He got lucky (again) to find such an incredible woman. She loves J and spoke highly of him. J (sitting there beaming) loved it. I was happy too. Nothing warms a mother's heart more than someone praising her child.
As my hubby and I sat across from them talking and (trying) to eat, I looked at my ex. He's happy---happier than I've seen him in years. That's a good thing for him and for J.
Every once in a while I have an epiphany that manifests itself in an auditory way. It's hard to explain, but looking at my ex I heard a really large door clang shut. It was over, really over, for me. I had no further feelings for him (other than hoping he'll be a good dad when J sees him) and our 12 1/2 year marriage together felt light years away, on another planet even. He was a stranger to me sitting there. I would barely recognize or notice him in a crowd and I was relieved.
I looked at my hubby sitting next to me and felt a warmth in my heart for our marriage and love. The feeling you get when someone you care about hugs you is the feeling I get being married to my hubby. He's good. He's strong. He's happy (most of the time). He's smart. He's brave. He's funny. He's sexy. We have an equal partnership in our marriage that I never had before.
My heart was lighter after hearing that door shut. And it all started with brunch.
After dragging the old sled out of the attic and hauling it down two flights of stairs, Naomi was out of breath. She knew it was all for a good cause though.
"Naomi?" she heard him call weakly.
"Coming Gramps!" Naomi yelled with a happy smile. It was the first real smile she'd had in weeks. This had to work. She prayed it would help him feel better.
Her Gramps had been diagnosed with colon cancer several weeks before. Turns out he'd had symptoms for over a year, but by the time he finally went in, it had spread to his liver and other organs. The doctors gave him weeks to live. And now it was Christmas. Her last Christmas with him. His spirits had been low and he blamed himself for not going into the doctor sooner.
She couldn't imagine life without her Gramps. He and Grandma had babysit her and her older brothers when they were little. He'd taught her to fish, tie her shoes, swim, and ride a bike. He'd never treated her different from her brothers, even if she had been the only girl in the bunch. He'd been the best grandfather a girl could ask for.
Naomi dragged the old sled through the big house, setting it up next to the window in his bedroom. Gramps looked at her like she'd lost her mind. She just smiled at him and sat on the bed next to him.
"This is my present to you Gramps. Merry Christmas!"
She hopped up and opened the curtains to reveal the first heavy snowfall of the December. Big, white flakes of snow fell so thickly through the morning air and across the back lawn that finding the sledding hill was nearly impossible.
"What are you doin' Naomi?" Gramps asked with a puzzled looked between Naomi and the sled.
She looked at the window and pointed towards the sledding hill. "Do you remember the first time you ever went sledding?"
Gramps shifted in the hospital bed, weathered hands loosely gripping the blankets at his chest. He smiled at his grand daughter with pride. "Sure I do. I've told you that story a million times. I nearly busted my neck! My older brothers put me on that sled when I was only four."
Naomi sat back down on the bed. "Tell me again Gramps." Her eyes misted and she smiled as she waited to hear the story once more.
Anytime I need to get into the holiday spirit I just read or watch a version of "A Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens. I love the idea of someone changing for the better, even a crusty old grump like Scrooge.
Thank you, Charles Dickens, for this story of redemption. I love that you remind us there is hope in humanity and for everyone.
Here are some good versions . . .
One of the old school movies. Love it!
Fell in-love with the book in high school.
My mom bought a second-hand copy and handed it to me.
I will always be grateful!
My favorite "captain" and the sexiest Scrooge I've ever seen!
Love the old fashioned pictures here.
This one looked like a photograph, not a painting.
My favorite version of all.
Nobody does sarcastically mean like Bill Murray.
Watched this as a kid.
May you have a very Merry Christmas!
I hope you get a chance to read or watch a version of "A Christmas Carol" this year.
"God bless us, every one!"
Photo credits: Various movie studios and artists. Thank you!!!!
When I started this blog I planned on a bunch of funny posts. As I look back through my blog postings, I realize that a majority of my posts are serious. Yikes. Not what I had planned. I wanted to keep things light, fun, and easy-breezy.
Maybe it's my job. (I'm a 7th grade English & reading teacher at an inner-city school in Vegas.) I have heard more sad stories than I could ever possibly write about. (Or WANT to write about.) I won't go into them here. Let's just say that I call my mom and cry to her several times a week. My husband hears it daily. (Poor guy.)
Maybe it's my life. I'm in my second marriage. Not what I had planned at all. My first husband decided several years ago he wasn't Mormon anymore. That broke my heart more than I can possibly relate here. I was lucky though. My hubby now was in my ward growing up. He is also divorced (another sad story) and we decided to marry and build a life together in the gospel. We're happy, healthy, and working on becoming financially stable. (Divorces will do that to ya.)
Maybe it's me. I've been accused of being too serious. I don't think of myself that way, but I imagine that I probably come off like that. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to laugh though. I don't think I laugh enough. Sure, there are comedians and sitcoms, but I'd like to find more laughter in everyday things. (And not the making-fun-of-someone-laughter. That's done too often.)
My hubby makes me laugh. He says funny things all of the time. (I think he gets most of them from his dad, a Southern Utah boy. Also a funny guy.)
My boys make me laugh. They are 11 and 10 and still silly. Not a day goes by that I don't shake my head and laugh with them over something they say or do. I love it.
My family makes me laugh. Nothing cheers me up more than going to my parents' house and talking with my sisters, brothers, and my parents while the kids run around. We all know how to make each other laugh---whether it's a funny memory we share or something that happened to us recently.
So today, December 1, 2010, I solemnly vow to laugh at least once a day. I will look for funny, silly, things in life, instead of focusing on the sad or negative. I will watch funny movies, tell funny jokes (have you heard the one about the seeing eye dog and the blind man ?) and think of funny things that I've see or experienced. Like my dogs wearing reindeer antlers that light up or the time my son threw a tempter tantrum at the mall when he was two. He flopped down on the mall floor screaming and kicking his feet. I couldn't pick him up so I walked a short distance away angry and embarrassed while people walked by him and stopped and laughed. That made me laugh and the rest is history. Plus I'll use it to embarrass him someday.
So go ahead and laugh. You've got my permission. :o))))))))))))))
His wrinkled, leathery hands grasped the 75-year-old trophy gently. Memories of a humid summer day, blue water, and boys in swimming shorts lined in a row surge in.
Henry swam in the 2nd lane from the left. His friend, Jimmy, was in the lane next to him. Both swam like fish. They spent every waking moment of their summers swimming. None of the other swimmers were even in their league.
Who would win? It wasn't about the trophy. Henry had other first place trophies. It wasn't about beating his friend. Jimmy was a good guy; they had fun competing. He didn't want to annihilate Jimmy, just win.
It was something more. Something inside of Henry wanting to win, to be the best, to do better than he thought possible. He knew he had it inside of him.
With that last thought, the starting pistol went off. Henry dove into the blue.
I am grateful for . . .
1. My patient, loving husband, Steve, who despite my bouts of PMS and OCD he still sees that I'm at "bundle of opportunities."
2. My son, Joshua. I go to sleep every night thanking Heavenly Father for my little guy. He may think I'm not very cool, but I still remember when I changed his poopy diapers!
3. My son, Andrew. When he is happy, his joy is contagious and (I think) he enjoys having a brother and being part of a family, even if it means me as a step mom.
4. My family. The "zany" Hall Clan can't be topped for excitement as well as support. Love you guys!!! The Rhodes' and Terry's have welcomed me into their families unconditionally. Thanks for putting up with me!
5. My friends. From elementary school through high school to college and beyond, I am grateful for friends who loved and supported me through the ups & downs of life. Thank you!!! I hope I've given you as much as you've given me.
6. My testimony. I always took my faith for granted. I never realized how priceless a testimony and belief in God was until someone tried to destroy it. Talk about an eye opener! Suddenly the "things" of life (money, success, a big house) meant nothing to me; my belief in God and in Jesus Christ were most important.
I love music. My mom really deserves all of the credit for my love of music. When I was growing up she rarely watched TV, but played the radio or put stacks of 33 records on the old family stereo. Her favs were Elvis, Kenny Rogers, Simon & Garfunkel, and Englebert Humperdink, to name a few. As a result, I enjoy a wide range of music; from Elvis to country music to classic rock to 80's bands.
As I've rocked through life, I've been able to see some truly amazing bands and performers like . . . U2 (twice), Van Halen (w/Sammy Hagar), Tears for Fears, OMD, Bryan Adams, Thompson Twins, The Cranberries, Air Supply, Howard Jones, Kenny Loggins, Collin Raye (twice), Garth Brooks (was a dream come true), Trisha Yearwood, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban (one of the best concerts ever!), Tim & Faith, Martina McBride, Billy Currington, Trace Adkins, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney (twice), Rascal Flatts, Keith Anderson, Vince Gill, Duran Duran, Billy Idol, and Depeche Mode, just to name a few.
My hubby and I were talking tonight about our Bucket Lists of bands and performers we still want to see. Here's my list:
Def Leppard (I so regret not seeing them in high school!)
Journey (W/Steve Perry but I know it will probably NEVER happen.)
Pat Benatar (Wish I could sing like her!)
Kool & The Gang
Huey Lewis & the News
Kenny Rogers (He comes to Vegas all of the time. I can't believe I haven't gone to see him!)
ABBA (They don't sing together anymore, do they?)
I sincerely hope all of the above performers are still alive and still singing. (I try to keep up on the latest deaths in music, but sometimes I miss one.) Wonder which one I'll cross off my list next?
The following is one of two writing prompts given to all of the students at my middle school today. It was practice for the writing proficiency. I told them it was going to be a grade. (Not lying! For MY students it WILL be a grade.)
I take all proficiency and state standardized tests along with my students. Call me crazy, but I feel like it keeps me young (plus I see what the test or writing prompt is from THEIR point of view.) After reading my essay, YOU get a chance to be a teacher for a day and give me a grade. Tell me what you think!
Topic A: Every day each of us is presented with opportunities to do what is right. Tell about one of the opportunities that you have had to do the right thing. Explain what you did or did not do, what happened, and what you learned from the experiences.
Here's my response:
When I was a junior in high school I had the chance to do what is right, but I’m ashamed to say I didn’t.
My high school, Chaparral, was playing a night football game against our rivals, Valley High School. My friends and I drove in my car to Valley for the game. While in the school parking lot walking towards the bleachers, we noticed a purse on the roof of a car. I walked over to it and looked around. In the distance I could see a group of kids walking into the game.
I went to call out to them, but my friend D---- said to wait because it might have money in it. I gave in to peer pressure and didn't call to the group walking in. One of my friends grabbed the purse and we all ran back to my car.
As we left the parking lot the owner of the purse and her friends must have seen us because suddenly a car peeled out and pulled up behind mine. It honked, brighted its lights, and tried to catch up with us. My friends screamed and yelled for me to gun it.
Instead of tossing the purse out of the window, we drove like maniacs up an down the residential streets around Valley. We finally came to a stop when they ran us off of the road up onto the sidewalk, and I hit three garbage cans, narrowly missing a street light.
Two scary-looking guys jumped out of their car, pounded on my window and yelled and cursed at us. Terrified, I rolled down my window a little and pushed the purse out. While they were going through the purse to see if everything was there (there was only make-up, a house key, and her ID) I backed up out of the garbage cans and we left.
I regret not making a better choice that night. I should have called out to the owner of the purse instead of giving in to my friend. We were lucky we didn't wreck or the guys didn't hurt us. This incident has haunted me for more than twenty-three years and taught me that regardless of what my friends say, I need to do what is right.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Now YOU be the teacher. Did I answer the prompt correctly? Was my essay clear and well-organized? Was the idea a correct response to the questions asked? Was my punctuation, grammar (I'm bad at keeping my verb tenses straight), and spelling correct? How was my writer's voice?
Hope you enjoy being teacher for the day. Now I get to grade 240 student essays! Joy.
I don't know about you guys, but I love Halloween candy. Just the smell of it in my son's trick-or-treat bag makes my mouth water and brings back delightful memories. Dressing up, going out with my parents in the crisp fall air to trick-or-treat, carving pumpkins, and eating caramel apples all remind me of the joy I find in the Halloween holiday.
When I was growing up, my parents let us eat as much of our candy as we wanted (after taking out a handful of their favorites) starting Halloween night. We kept our candy in our plastic pumpkins or pillow cases (it was the 70's) and delighted in the feast.
As a result it would be a guaranteed barf fest in the Hall House each and every year. We had no self-control when it came to candy, well, except for 2 of my siblings. A and T (using abbreviations so that they can maintain some dignity) would SAVE their candy. They would hoard it, eating 1 piece a day and stretch it out for months.
After the initial candy trading, gorging, and barfing was over for me and my other greedy sibs, A and T would offer us some of their candy. The problem was they charged us! I always thought that was an awful, selfish thing to do. I would have shared any of my candy with my siblings, if I'd had any left to share. I vowed never to have a child who would hoard candy. I would teach him otherwise.
Fast-forward 30 years . . .
My son, Joshua, was NOT raised with candy as an incentive to do chores, go potty in the toilet, or any other thing my parents did to get us to finish something we didn't want to do. (I foolishly thought I knew better than my parents.) No, I was going to have a child who would enjoy candy, neither gorge it down and barf, nor sell it to me piece by piece, laughing all the way to the bank.
My plan backfired. My darling, sweet, usually unselfish son Josh was able to attend 2 trunk-or-treats this year. After the first trunk-or-treat, he showed us his stash of candy. I have to admit, it was pretty impressive. When my hubby and I asked for a piece, he refused. We were shocked. I thought maybe he was hoarding it to keep to himself and gorge on later. Nope. (We did get him to share 1 piece with Steve later.)
After the second trunk-or-treat, I had to beg him for a piece of candy. My hubby threatened to sneak in while he was asleep and steal some. Josh hid it. He also announced he had 310 pieces of candy. His stepbrother (who had spent Halloween elsewhere) had nowhere near that much candy. Did Josh share? Nope.
He is slowly eating 1 piece a day and wants to see how long he can make it last. Where did he learn this? Is candy gorging or hoarding genetic? I'm beginning to think it is. Josh sure didn't inherit the gorging from me. Come to think of it, he's never gorged and barfed up his Halloween candy ever. He's always made it last as long as he could. This morning, when I brought up his Halloween candy, he asked me how much money I had. I think I just realized the truth here. When it comes to Halloween candy, he was born to the wrong Hall.
Regardless of how this election turns out, I voted. I am grateful for the opportunity to vote. Scary to think there are countries in the world where women cannot vote. (They are Bhutan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, by the way. There are others where NO ONE votes and the Vatican where only men vote due to the religious reasons.)
I've been thinking this last week about my beliefs and my political leanings. Because of my conservative Republican views I have lost friends and have been dumped from Facebook friends' lists, had a Bush (2004) sign burned in my yard, my cars egged, been yelled at, flipped off, and fists shaken at me because of my bumper stickers. Why? Why has there been so much anger and hatred thrown at me because of my beliefs?
Do they think due to the pressure I'll suddenly change my mind and become liberal? Really? The more grief I get the more I think that "the road less traveled" is the way to go. Do I really want my beliefs in line with the mainstream media and Hollywood?
I've never dropped a friend because of their political point of view. I try (really hard) to understand where my liberal friends are coming from and politely listen to their opinions. I've never dumped anyone from Facebook based on their political rants/view points. (Trust me, I've considered it, but have refrained.)
I've never burned a political sign in someone's yard, ever. I can't imagine what kind of anger or hatred would provoke someone to do so. I have never egged cars with pro-Democrat/liberal stickers on them. (That seems so childish to me, not to mention desperate.)
I don't yell at, flip off, or shake my fists at those who are liberal minded and shout it out with stickers on their cars. Why would I?
Here's a hint why I wouldn't. It's America folks. We're ALLOWED to have opposing points of view and still live in the same country. If someone burns my signs or eggs my cars, they take away a tiny piece of my freedom of speech. Taking away another person's freedom in this country is unconstitutional. It's WRONG.
Ann stared down at the headstone. One night a year, Halloween night, she and the other unhappy spirits came out. It was their one night to visit, to haunt, or to make things right. If she could shed tears she would have. Instead she floated, a misty spirit, over the small grave. Ann tried to rub the dirt and mold off of the headstone, a useless task, her fingers went right through it.
The headstone had fallen over and cracked in half some time ago, but Juliana’s birth and death in 1858 seemed like yesterday, the pain had never subsided. Instead Ann knew she had allowed it to burrow and grow in her heart, thus she had never been able to move on. She had protected that bitterness, holding onto it, even 152 years later.
Ann remembered the difficult birth of baby Juliana, her small hands and feet, her milky brown eyes, and downy baby hair. Juliana had been her first and only child. She had only lived a few days before dying and Ann’s heart had been broken. She had given up living and some weeks later taken her own life, leaving behind her grieving husband, Ezekiel.
Before becoming a mother Ann had never known she would love her baby so much. She’d had no idea of the bond between mother and baby until she’d held little Juliana in her arms. There were so many things Ann regretted, but she now realized that she regretted taking her own life and never trying again, never having another baby. She also regretted leaving Ezekiel alone, as he had never remarried and known the happiness of a family. She had not felt this way until now. Why things had changed, now, this year, she did not know.
A light began to shine on the small, broken headstone. Ann looked up at it, marveling at its whiteness. She felt drawn to it; a desire to follow it up into the night sky. She could see a woman standing in the light, smiling at her. The recognition was instantaneous. It was Juliana---a grown-up Juliana---but her Juliana!
She placed the mirror on the bed and looked into it. Nothing. How she missed her reflection! Looking down at her body she knew she fit in okay. Her clothes came from The Gap; her flats were from Dillard's. She looked like every other college student in town, just a college student who didn't have a reflection.
There were times she regretted giving up her human life. Never growing older had it benefits, but when her younger brother finally passed away 15 years ago at age 87, she was left alone in the world. Her brother had been her friend, her rock, and her last living relative.
Their father died first. She had been only 10 when he'd passed from a heart attack and could barely remember him. Their mother had gone to work to support them, placing much of her brother's raising on her young shoulders. She'd had a time or two when she felt overwhelmed, but for the most part she'd been happy to help her mother raise her little brother. Mother died when she was a late teen, leaving the two siblings without another relative to turn to.
It was 1924 when she was turned. She'd sacrificed herself to save her brother from HIM. She'd pushed her brother away, yelling at him to run, sacrificing herself so that he could survive. At that moment she had thought death was at hand and hadn't realized the monster before her might keep her alive and make her in his image. She still shuddered at the memory.
Over the years she had flowed in and out of her brother's physical life, not wanting to arouse the suspicions of his neighbors or friends. They'd kept in contact mostly through letters and phone calls. Even 15 years after his death she missed him with an ache that hurt her heart.
She picked up the mirror from her bed and hung it back on the wall. It was time to go.
Thinking she heard a strange noise, Ani walked from her bedroom to the back door. She had recently bought the old house. It was in near perfect condition, had character and was close to her job downtown, yet the neighborhood still had a suburban feel.
Her back door was a Dutch door, split in the middle, allowing both the top and bottom halves of the door to open independently. It was made of solid oak and stained a dark brown. Four small window panes in the top half of the door allowed light in and Ani to see out. The back yard was fenced and private; an oasis in the city, but she was always cautious and kept her doors locked.
“Why is that door open?” she muttered to herself as she crossed the family room to close it. Not noticing anything out of place Ani went on with her morning – emptying the dishwasher, fixing a lunch to take to work, and eating breakfast.
Before leaving for work she ran back to her bathroom to brush her teeth and check her outfit one more time. As she walked back through the family room to gather her things and leave, she stopped. The top half of the Dutch door was open again!
“What the . . .?” Ani’s puzzled expression changed to horror as the top half swung shut and locked her in.
Photo courtesy of Willow @ http://magpietales.blogspot.com/ I couldn't help creating a Halloweenish theme with this week's Magpie! I love Halloween and spooky stories. Hope you enjoyed this one. :o)
Steve's Aunt Hannah & Uncle Oral painted this beautiful plate for us as a wedding gift. I LOVE it! It holds the center space in my china hutch and makes me happy every time I see it. Steve and I were lucky enough to be married in the Pine Valley Chapel almost 3 years ago. (His mom was the R.S. President and we got special permission to have our wedding there.)
Every time I walk into the chapel I wonder about the early pioneers to Pine Valley. Who were the people who built this gorgeous little chapel? Who sat in the pews, who lived their lives in this place? What were their hopes and dreams?
I've done a little research on them preparing for this and the previous Pine Valley poem. I found out they sacrificed a great deal to build a life here. They had joy and they had sorrows. I am grateful for them and can't wait to meet them all someday. :o) This poem is dedicated to them.
My friend Tara asked for some Pine Valley poetry. After reading over my Pop's lengthy Pine Valley historical information and reminiscing about weekends spent there (not to mention the awesome wedding Steve and I had in the chapel there), I came up with this one.
Around a bend in the road
lies an emerald valley.
Untouched by the busyness of day-to-day
traffic and smog and tall buildings.
Sheltered by tall mountains,
fed by streams,
Wind breezes gently,
grasses wave in the air.
A white picket fence marks the beginning
of a pioneer community,
Shaped by the men and women who milled
the trees, plowed the land, and built their homes.
The wooden chapel stands as a monument
to their sacrifices, their struggles, their successes,
She placed a dab of cologne on each side of her neck at the pulse points and one on the inside of her right wrist like her mother did. Looking in the mirror at her reflection she rubbed her wrists together and sniffed them. Her small eight-year-old face was a miniature of her mother's, but with her father's eyes.
Watching her mother get ready for an evening out with dad was the highlight of her week. She loved her mom's clothes, shoes, make-up, and the Acqua di Parma perfume she always wore. Mother always let her put some on too.
Oh, she longed to be a grown-up already.
Photo courtesy of Willow @ http://magpietales.blogspot.com/
Time was running out. She glanced at the hourglass again and again, praying for the sands to slow down. It didn’t help. Her hands raced through the motions, not hesitating, not stopping, though she feared they would.
Wracking her brain she worked harder and harder, taking one more glance at the hourglass, thinking, moving, and then glancing again.
The sands sifted down. The upper chamber was empty. Time! Now she would find out if she was still the master at Boggle.
Photo credit: Willow @ magpietales.blogspot.com Magpie #32
When I saw this photo I couldn't help but think, "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives . . ." Ha ha ha! :o) But really, this was a fun writing prompt!
My sisters and brothers and I played long hours of Boggle back in the day. I miss playing that game. I'll have to shop around for one and start the next generation Boggling. Enjoy!
Grabbing an apple from the basket on kitchen table she set aside her Vanity Fair magazine and wondered what to do with the rest of her afternoon. She walked through her house to the bedroom.
The house was clean, dinner was in the Crockpot, the kids were at friends’ houses, and her husband busy working. These quiet, alone moments with nothing to occupy her hands didn’t happen very often. She didn’t want to waste it on Vanity Fair, when she could be reading Austen or Chiaverini or Evanovich. She loved reading---all kinds of books. Which one, oh, which one to read?
She gazed at the stack of library books on her nightstand pondering which one to start with. Taking a bite of the apple, she savored the crisp fruit and made her selection.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (This wasn't my favorite piece of writing I've done, but darn it, I'm going to write no matter what! I appreciate the challenge that Willow gives me with her pictures and I'm not giving up!) Photo credit: Willow @ http://magpietales.blogspot.com/
After another long summer driving their parents crazy,cheering can be heard throughout the U.S. when kids go back to school. Teachers are usually not cheering. We are in a panic.
We have had a blissful student-free summer. For the lucky ones---sleeping in and traveling. The first week back at school we are in a panic to get our rooms ready. A panic to organize lesson plans. (Especially if your school district area changes your mandatory lesson plan format every year.) A panic to have all of the paperwork ready. (You'd be amazed at the amount of paper work teachers do on a day-to-day basis.) A panic to attend all of the mandatory meetings----district, area, school-wide, department, grade-level, etc. It can be as stressful as well, stressful!
That being said, surviving the first day, not to mention the first week, is something to celebrate. (I usually sweat like a pig on the first day and was so nervous getting dressed the first day this year I forgot to put on deodorant---totally gross. Poor kids in my classes. I probably smelled worse than my 7th graders after P.E.)
Well, the first week is over! I'm tired, exhausted, and brain-dead. I called 3 parents to report classroom disruptions their boys were causing, but it was nothing major, and there was only one fight in the lunchroom of my middle school (I missed it--dang it!) and no major craziness occurred in my classroom. (You may recall the "flasher" student who was expelled last year. People at my school still joke that of all of the teachers that had to happen to, it was the nice Mormon teacher. Some joke.)
It was a pretty quiet week. That's got to be a first for me. So either the kids are really good this year (ha ha) or I'm becoming a better teacher. I hope it's a little of both.
She could hear him yelling again. Sitting on her balcony in the cool Southern California fall morning, Jen could hear her famous next door neighbor screaming at the top of his British lungs. Unfortunately the trees and bushes between their properties were not enough to keep out the sound of a loud human voice.
“Geez, again?” she muttered to herself, as shaking her head, she turned her attention back to her morning paper and cereal bowl.
Living next door to a true-blue movie star had seemed exciting at first. Paparazzi were almost always hanging around out on the street. Cars came and went. Jen could only wonder at who was in them and why so many people were necessary for one man, as she never recognized their faces. Once in a while Jen caught glimpses of the famous man, his close-cropped dark hair and fantastic body, sans shirt, standing on the stairs by his back door, talking on his cell phone. The sight of him took her breath away.
Over the months she’d gotten used to the noise on her quiet street in the canyon. She’d lived there for five years, quietly living and writing. Her parents had passed away leaving her a great deal of money, so she’d purchased this house. Her house, while small compared to her neighbors' homes, was sheer heaven to her because she could write in peace. But her sexy neighbor had changed things. The paparazzi, the cars full of people coming and going, had interrupted her once blissful existence.
“What the bloody hell?” she could hear him yell from next door. More curse words could be heard over the canyon breeze and the birds chirping. His English accent gave even curse words propriety. Jen sat up and turned towards his house again.
He stood there at his back door, shouting into the phone and gesturing with his free arm. His eyes caught hers. She froze.
“Crap!” she thought. “I’m busted eavesdropping and watching him,” but she couldn’t move. He sighed, defeated, still holding her eyes. Ending the conversation with a close of his phone, he gave her a sad smile and waved one hand. Jen waved back, smiling a cheerful grin that she hoped masked her embarrassment at getting caught.
“Hey---would you like to come over for some coffee?” he shouted.
Stunned, Jen looked around and behind her. “Me?” she called back, pointing at herself.
“Yes, you,” he chuckled. “I could use a normal person to talk to this morning. You look fairly normal. Are you normal?”
Jen laughed and shook her head at him. “Normal? Me? Not quite, but . . . I’ll be over in a sec.” Intrigued by his request, Jen carried her empty cereal bowl and paper inside and shut her balcony door. “What the heck? What do I have to lose?” she thought.
Grabbing her keys she checked her appearance in the mirror before walking next door.
My trusty laptop is down (dead fan) so I am forced to use my hubby's old one or our ancient dinosaur desktop until my new fan flies in from Hong Kong next month. At the same time I am going back to teaching 7th grade English and reading next week and am exhausted from setting up my classroom. I haven't written and it's driving me crazy!!!
The good news? I watched the movie, "Invictus," with Matt Damon the other night. It's about South Africa and the end of apartheid. In it Nelson Mandela quotes the poem, "Invictus," by William Ernest Henley, who lived from 1849-1903.
The movie was excellent, but it was the poem that caught my eye. (It's the English major in me.) It is an amazing poem made even more inspiring by the fact that Henley wrote this poem while in the hospital after having his leg amputated because of Potts disease. (Tuberculosis of the bone.) This poem inspired a future leader to forgive and to take responsibility for his own destiny and that of his country.
There is a tale still told amongst my siblings and myself. It started as a small incident in the late 1970’s, but over the years has grown into tale of larger than life proportions. It involves my middle brother, AJ, and how he saved us from neighborhood bullies.
To better understand this story, let me give you some background into my family. I am the oldest of 5 kids. The next kid is Terresa, then AJ, then Nikki, and lastly Truman. We grew up in the suburbs of Las Vegas, Nevada, in the 1970’s and 1980’s. My parents bought a large, new home and yard when I was 7. They installed a pool and tennis court/basketball court in the back, ensuring that their children and children’s friends would stick around the house to play. (We did. It was the house everyone migrated to at one time or another.)
The house, situated on a cul-de-sac, was chosen by my parents because of the relative safety of kids being able to play in a cul-de-sac and not get hit by cars. That was back when kids could actually play in the streets in Las Vegas without constant parental supervision. (Our previous house had been on a straight street with 3 entrance/exits to it and lots of traffic.)
There were some ugly older boys who were twins living in a cul-de-sac across from ours. They were in junior high or early high school at the time and they were mean and scary. They cursed and spit and I always sensed a mafia connection with their family, if you know what I mean.
One day they were riding a new scooter they bought/stole around and happened to come into our little circle street. We were bored (as usual) that day and were sitting on a tall block fence next to the house. Looking back it was dangerous and I would probably not let my kids sit on a 6-foot high block wall, but it was the 70’s, and those were different times (no car seats) so we were okay.
Watching them drive by we smiled at each other and thought we could get away with something we’d never dared to before. Along with our next-door neighbor friend, Noelle, we began yelling at them as they rode by.
Keep in mind we were good kids. We never used profanities unless we wanted to get in huge trouble with our parents. But potty words and words like “stupid” and “idiot” were safe. Each time they drove by we’d yell something and hide behind the fence. The twin riding the scooter would whip his head around trying to find us and yell profanities back. We’d laugh and laugh, watching them through the cut out blocks in the concrete brick fence.
After a while it wasn’t enough to yell things at them. We wanted to throw things at them. Rocks weren’t safe; we didn’t want broken windows in anyone’s house or car. Sticks weren’t that available (we’re talking the desert folks, plus it was still a fairly new house and the landscaping wasn’t what it is today). No, my brother AJ had a better idea. Throw dog poop at them.
Yes, AJ was always willing and able to pick up the most disgusting things possible and fling them. He would throw stuff at us or neighbor kids or strangers driving by or even bullies riding their scooter around our cul-de-sac. Over the years AJ has thrown roaches, moths, dog poop, spiders, and anything and everything gross and disgusting at me. Being the middle child and the first boy in our family we were appalled at this new and gross behavior. We didn't know any better. (FYI: He continues to throw things at me to get a rise out of me and it usually works. I love him regardless. Now that I have 2 boys I better understand the male psyche and the need to throw gross things, I love him even more.)
Our dog at the time, Tally, a prolific pooper, had left several tasty treats for AJ to use as ammo. Use them he did. The only one of us not afraid to touch dog poop, he flung that poop like no one had flung poop before. The twins were so angry, but couldn’t get to us (the fence, remember), and we had the pleasure of laughing until we cried. They stopped driving their dumb scooter into our cul-de-sac and actually I don’t remember them ever coming back.
We reminisce about this story when we’re all together and it still makes us laugh. The day AJ helped us humiliate and drive away 2 bullies will go down in our family history as one of the best days ever. My parents still live in the cul-de-sac house and the block wall is still there. Bullies beware!
“Wow! You’ve got some serious rust and corrosion goin’ on here!” The chunky plumber exclaimed.
The two-bedroom, 1,000 square foot basement walkout we rented near East High School in Salt Lake City turned out to be a plumber’s dream and my nightmare. The sump pump, which pushed our dirty water and sewage up the hill to the sewer line in the street above us, had quit working. Also many of the pipes were leaky and needed to be replaced. Luckily we rented. The owners were responsible for paying for this mess, not us. I watched dumbstruck as the plumber pointed out the rest of the problems with the plumbing. It was a post-World War II home, so it was bound to have some small issues I thought, but I had no idea about this mess.
The plumber climbed back out of the small, closet-like room where the sump pump was set up. Where they had found this guy, I don’t know. He seemed honest enough though. He was married (wearing a wedding ring), tall, plump, and big-boned. He had a small town accent. I figured he was from one of the small towns outside of Salt Lake. Being a nosy woman, I asked him.
Turned out he was from Copperton, Utah, out by the Kennecott copper mine. When I asked him why he chose to become a plumber he smiled.
“When I was a kid my brother, friend, and I used to swim in the tailing ponds out near the copper mine. We didn’t know the water was contaminated. Hell, THEY (meaning the copper mine owners) didn’t know what was in that water. One day I lost my sense of taste and smell and it never came back. What better qualifications could a plumber have?”
Made sense to me.
Yes, there is actually a product called Gorilla Snot. The hubby brought it home and the boys went nuts. Here's the proof.
Whoever had the fantastic idea to invent this product and the name of it (which 10-year-old boys find so cool) I want to hug them. I hope they become millionaires. If it helps my guys want to style (and actually comb) their hair, I'm thrilled. So thank you Gorilla Snot inventors. You deserve an award. By the way, we aren't too busy for commercials and work for cheap. ;o)
She found the watering can on the ledge, under a fern. Her grandfather had left it there for her, knowing she would carry on after he was gone. She’d promised him she would. His garden had been his greatest joy. He spent hours watering, wedding, and tending his plants. She spent her youth playing under the trees, creating make-believe castles and fairies, running down the paths, and weaving crowns from his beautiful flowers.
He told her that there was one area of the garden she was never to enter while he was alive. The rough rock walls around it were higher than she could ever dream to see over. The heavy wooden door was kept shut and only opened with a key grandfather kept around his neck. Even with her curious nature she knew grandfather was serious about her staying out until he had died. She had obeyed his wish. Now that he was gone, it was time to discover what was behind the walls and locked door. As she gripped the key in her hand, she anxiously walked towards the locked garden door, wondering what she would find on the other side.
Today I have the writing blahs. I’m tired and unmotivated to be creative. (All I want to do is drink a chocolate milkshake like the one above.)
I have enjoyed reading other people’s blogs and perusing through websites, so I thought I’d share my finds instead of writing something new today. (Besides my sis Terresa tells me it’s good karma to do blog “shout-outs” for other people’s blogs. I need some good karma today.) Here are my shout-outs. :o)
Terresa is one of my (very talented) siblings. She writes like a dream and takes her work very seriously. She’s a great example of a writer, mom, sister, and friend. Plus she always finds the coolest pictures to go with her poems and essays.
Hands down Cheeseboy is the FUNNIEST blogger I have ever read. He reminds me of my younger brother AJ (if AJ ever discovered blogging and wrote down half the stuff he and his four boys do.) Cheeseboy will make you laugh--even if he went to the U of U. (No one’s perfect.) ;o)
I can’t remember who turned me on to Goodreads, but I love it! I can keep track of all of the books I’ve read, make lists of books I’d like to read, compare what I’m reading with others, post and read book reviews and see authors’ pages. Feel free to find me on Goodreads and add me as a friend.
Sam the Cooking Guy. (Sigh.) I may have a teeny, tiny crush on Sam. (Yes, my hubby knows this. It’s a sensitive subject in our home.) I got hooked on his TV show a couple of years ago when I had insomnia (it was on at a weird hour) and then turned to his website for recipes when I couldn’t remember exact ingredients. He makes fairly simple recipes that you would actually eat!
I’ve been using Paperback Swap to trade books for years. Basically you sign up, post the books you want to get rid of, agree to pay postage (printable from your home printer) for a book someone wants, and then mail it. You get a point for every book you mail which you can then redeem for a book you want from someone else. (They will pay the postage to send it to you!) It’s saved me hundreds of dollars and I’ve found obscure books I need to use in a lesson that I can’t find anywhere else (or it’s a heck of a lot cheaper.)
People often ask me questions about my church and my beliefs. I can answer them, but I know people may feel more comfortable reading about it at home alone, instead of me talking their ears off. There are many misconceptions out there about us Mormons and the LDS Church. I have recently found this website the church put out and am grateful for it. There is lots of info and personal stories about other people (probably more normal than me) who are LDS. :o)
I was looking for inspiration to write this summer and my sis Terresa persuaded me to check out Willow’s Magpie Tales. I’m so glad I did. It’s been good practice writing (she takes a picture and posts it once a week) and you get response from other writers. I’ve really enjoyed it.
I’ll stop there for now. I’m always on the look out for good blogs and websites, so if you happen to know of one I might enjoy or the owner wouldn't mind sharing, let me know. Have a great day!