Me, spilling out all my thoughts, inner and outer, on just about anything! Lots of poetry, short stories from past experiences, anecdotes about teaching elementary school, music, relationships....garage sale type thing...Something For Everyone!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Guest Writer - Cliff Perry

For Red Dirt Girl who, at times, finds the struggle with Bipolar Disorder quite difficult. She writes very interesting and challenging poetry. Her succinct and carefully chosen words never reflect simply a surface level of meaning, but permeate several layers.
This poem was written by a friend and a former blogger who, at the time, was thought to have Bipolar Disorder too. Whether he has or hasn't is of no consequence; he seems to be able to express what he felt like at the time this was written and what some others may have experienced too.

No Junction

My mind is like a train, rather-
two trains of thought.
One is anxious for its destination,
Two, is definitely not.

One is blocked by backed-up traffic
Owing to Two's careless ways;
undecided, uncompleted
changing tracks, never stays.

One strides forward always trying,
to perfect his concentration.
Hopes held high of getting through
Two, often leads to frustration.

And just 'cause Two has feeble plans:
follows where his looking leads him-
seldom bothered by importance
only when his ego needs him.

To clarify the situation
of why they can't, content to live;
When One has reason to his action -
and Two, by only 'loco' motive.

I suppose that there must be
a rail on the track that's bent
causing Two to do his damage
havoc stir; success prevent.

One chugs on full of steam
complete his task his only goal
but the pressure's surely dropping!
Two, throws a single piece of coal.

Now why has Two the upper-hand?
It seems unfair to have control
When One is certainly deserving -
I hope that I will One day know.

copyright 2004
Cliff Perry

Mother of Invention, wishing everyone who struggles with something, the power to soldier on with all their strength.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tagged For This One!

David tagged me for this: Name 6 to 8 ways you’ve changed or stayed the same over the last half of your life.

Well, I'm 53 so that takes me back to age 26 1/2. These are in NO ORDER! Just typed as they flew into my mind!

Ways I've changed:

1. I've come to know, love and appreciate my husband more. Every day I see something in him that shows he is truly a selfless man who cares for me deeply.

2. I've developed my musical ability by learning to play guitar for teaching, joining 2 community choirs, writing and recording 2 songs.

3. I've come to love cats and have had 6 of them.

4. I am no longer able to do many physical activities due to health concerns but have accepted that and do what I can. (I used to ski and walk a lot.)

5. I've come to learn through experience that some people are not who they profess to be; they are not going to be friends forever and they may hurt my feelings. I have concluded that these quirky people are the common denominator and that overall, I've had very good relationships with most people. There are just going to be some weird ones along the way. I've learned to be a bit wary and not quite so trusting, yet my first response is to believe in them.

6. I developed into a pretty good teacher and have my career behind me now. Kids remember and come up to me years later in my town and tell me that I was their favourite teacher or that they loved music because of me. They also ask me if I still have cats!

7. I see numerous doctors now for all my health issues. I see that the reality is that my life will be shorter than most people's so I live more in the moment.

8. I have come to believe that I've had a bit of a sheltered life. I haven't had to deal with much hardship. No divorces. No deaths. (Both my husband's and my parents are still alive and all in their upper 80's) No huge money or career problems. Apart from my health problems, I have been quite blessed.

Ways I've stayed the same:

1. Still love working with kids.

2. Still have trouble managing my diabetes and I've never lost my craving for all the the food that I can't have.

3. Still love spending time in the outdoors canoeing and swimming in the summer at the log cabins.

4. Still love listening to all kinds of music except opera and country! Still love going to a musical or concert!

5. Still love older houses and antiques.

6. Still love spending time with neat people and keep in good touch with my many friends.

7. My style of dress is the same; long skirts/dresses, boots, and funky clunky jewellery!

8. I am still quite lively and animated, and have the same sense of humour! I have the same smile and big blue eyes! I maintain my positive attitude more or less.

9. I'm still married to the same great guy and have been for 26 1/2 years!

10. I'm still not an avid reader.

11. I am still not a risk-taker and don't take on many new things.

I could probably think of all kinds of things for both! Share some of yours if you want! I'm not tagging anyone.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Poetry Friday: Cookies!

Mona's daughter gave us the word this week and she's writing her own story so check it out!
I did some "Cookie" writing and singing with Gr. 1's and 2's last year and here's what we came up with:
Cookies in the mornin'
Cookies in the evenin'
Cookies at suppertime
I just love my cookies
I think they're mighty fine!
(This is sung to the famous tune of "Sugar in the mornin'...." but they can make up their own tunes and the rest of the class has to echo what has just been sung. Good music skill to observe!)
This next one can be used as a clapping game or you can get out the skipping ropes!
You can make up a simple tune to this using basic guitar chords like D, G,A, C and F. Perhaps some kids could make their own tunes to these words. This works well in Gr. 2/3. I'd also hand out some rhythm instruments and teach them the Beat of the song (the underlying pulse) and then I'd show them how the Rhythm (tapping to each syllable of a word)was different from the Beat.
Cookies in the bakery,
Cookies in the store,
Cookies on the cookie sheets.
Bake me some more!
Mix it up, crack an egg,
Add a cup of butter,
Drop a glob or roll them out
And use a cookie cutter.
Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip,
Oatmeal, Macaroon,
These are all my favourites
So make me some soon!
Naturally, you start by brainstorming ideas and then progress to printing out lines on huge chart paper. You colour code rhyming words and mark the beat with accent marks above the parts of words. The kids would practise this every day until they know it, before you start making up clapping games and using instruments. It's a great multi-purpose lesson which integrates many skills; reading, writing, spelling, language (syllables) singing, elements of music, movement, participation and group/partner skills.
Wow! This is all bringing it back to me what I've done for the past 27 years!
Mother of Invention, missing teaching music just a little bit!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Pony Man Is Here!

(Click on to enlarge) I'm on the front!

My sister and I could see him way down the street. He was coming our way! Nothing could be so exciting to a 4 year-old and a six-year-old! We were anxiously waiting and watching as this old man ambled through the neighbourhood of Applewood Acres.

Maybe they had distributed fliers a few days beforehand because all the kids were cleaned up with hair neatly combed or braided. In my mind's eye I see a very poor, unkempt, gray-haired elderly man come up our driveway with his pony and camera. He was thin as a rail.
My sister , being older, recalls him in more detail in a recent e-mail:

"Thanks for the horse picture. Do you remember when that old man came down Greening Ave? The old man didn't have too many teeth and the horse (pony) looked as if it was on its last legs but we were so thrilled to see it come down the road that we risked getting on the thing. That guy probably made a bit of money that day and we can only hope he put some of it towards some dental care. Life was so much simpler then for kids like us in Applewood Acres when something like that was a big event. I feel sorry for the kids today."

I totally agree. We were satisfied, no, truly excited about having our picture taken on a pony. It must have made a deep impression because many of us have such fond memories of that day. There must be a whole lot of Applewood kids who have that same picture in a box somewhere.

Mother of Invention, taking it out of the box, just for you!

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

School Spirit

How much school spirit did you have during your high school years?

I'm thinking about this because I just received a notice of our Reunion this May. Of course, that necessitated a look at all my old yearbooks after finding them in the attic.

I know in the States, big Marching Bands are huge as we've read about Steve's daughter in,Bullet Holes In The Mailbox, and in his daughter's blog, Water Baby. In Canada, back in the early 70's, Cheerleading and Band were still popular.

Well, it amazes me that I could ever do splits because I sure can't even come close now! It was a great activity to be in and was the perfect outlet for my enthusiasm. After practising almost every day, it also served as great exercise to lower my blood sugar. (Sorry for all the white space but I can't figure out how to get rid of it!) I became diabetic in Gr. 9 and my doctor suggested I join a sport. My older sister was a cheerleader and loved it so I thought I'd give it a try. I had to practise a lot to get good enough to even risk showing judges what I could do. It was a real surprise that I was given a chance to participate in this exciting team sport.

(I stuck the pic of Sally Field in here because so many people back then, told me I looked a bit like her. I can sort of see it in this pose....but not much today! She's still looks the same to me as she did in Gidget, which we all watched in Gr. 7!)

I loved singing in the choir and tried to play the trombone in our Band. The choir probably was the only activity similar to any I do as an adult. My enthusiasm for any group to which I belong, still abounds today.

So were you in any activities you really liked? Did they help you in any activity you do as an adult? What do kids do today in school?

Mother of Invention, hoping no one asks me to do the splits at the reunion! HA!


Friday, February 16, 2007

Poetry Friday.."Heart"

Well, I poured out my heart in a poem for Valentine's Day but I'll do a quick Cinquain format. This is a 5 line poem following this pattern:

Line 1: one word naming the subject

Line 2: two words which describe it (adjectives)

Line 3: three "ing" words describing its action

Line 4: a phrase with any idea about it

Line 5: repeat line 1

strong vital
contracting pumping circulating
the rhythm of life
This type of poem was a great way to teach adjectives and verbs. We brainstormed lists of words they could use to describe the topic and its action. Of course, you would have kids print this on a heart shape or whatever shape that related to the subject. I've done many about snow on snowflakes!
Try one!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Valentine!

Can you remember how excited you were in the younger grades to get to school on Valentine's Day? You spent so much time carefully printing out a card to each person in your class (even the boys!) and you could hardly wait till it was time to deliver these to the mailbags decorated in paper lace doilies and red construction paper hearts. You actually counted how many you got and then sorted them out into piles of similar designs. Then, if you were lucky, the teacher handed out some of those small red cinnamon heart candies!

In what grade was giving valentines no longer cool? Did we get them from our siblings and parents? Then, there was that dread you felt in High School wondering if that dippy boy who was always looking at you in Gr. 10 geography would actually give you a yucky card! It was in inevitably the mushiest card at the stores! Ick!

I'll make him Brownies and cook a favourite chicken dinner. I baked Valentine's Cookies a la Mr.Pillsbury to give to his Massage College students. Maybe he'll give me a massage today. No big presents. My husband and I always do funny cards, although I did write this for him today.....

On this there can be no debate,
My husband is certainly great,
He works hard at his job
He's never a slob,
And for me, he's the ideal mate!
He's patient, generous and kind,
Athletic and brilliant of mind,
He runs, bikes, and skis,
Treats backs, necks, and knees,
He's the best friend that I'll ever find.
Understands when my body's not good,
He acts like a good husband should,
"In sickness and in health",
Not concerned about wealth,
He'd do anything for me that he could.
To Dave:
In your own way you show that you care,
You're the strongest link in this pair,
You're a constant force,
On the steadiest course,
And I know that you'll always be there.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Have A Hairy Day!

My "Hair Piece" for Hair Day over at Mona's is here. NOT WORKING!! I give up! It's June 13th, 2006.

New Blogger didn't want to publish it today!! I hate when it says: "Your opening tag doesn't match the closing tag"! I have NO idea what that means or how to fix it! Sometimes it will publish if I publish a new little test post, and then I just go back and delete the test...but not today!
Quickie: Hair
soft, curly,
frizzy, straight
problem hair,
just can't wait
long, short,
thick, thin,
whatever I do
I just can win!
blunt, bob,
pixie, perm
anxiously sitting,
I always squirm!
Mother of Invention, going to make that dreaded appointment!


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

We Were Tougher Kids!

The picture with the two YOUNG 17 year-old girls on either side of the Snowbear is me (left) and my good friend in my front yard. We were supposed to be studying Gr. 12 Chemistry but we just had to play!Today is the most beautiful, crisp, bright, sunny, snow-covered day we've had so far this winter ........and we kept all the kids indoors all day due to the -27 C temperature. What a crime!

The fact that kids these days don't dress properly for this weather might have been an additional factor! Grade 7's and 8's think it's uncool to wear boots, hats, scarves, or mitts, so if we did have outdoor recess, they'd just be hanging around the doors trying to sneak inside.

Why, I remember some of my fondest memories of childhood were of days just like this! We bundled up in everything imaginable and went out for hours with all the neighbourhood kids. We'd build amazing snow forts from the high piles of snow the snowplows left in an old hydro field. Kids of every age were divided into teams and made the snowball ammunition behind their trench of defense. After a fresh snowfall, we'd all gather in this field and one of the oldest kids would trudge through the snow to lay down the track needed for **fox and the hare game. Of course, there were plenty of snow angels made while you gazed up at the tall pines and heard the owls hooting. Then, as darkness fell, we'd all hear our parents call us in for a meal!!
The streetlights had come on and this too, was our signal.

Several scenes of winter activities are literally FROZEN in my mind! (Oh yeah, and I'm pretty sure I walked at least 2 miles to school too!!) And I'd be out there right now making up yet another game in the snow if I could.But no one can come out and play! Guess, I'll just hang out, drink hot chocolate, and watch Curly, Larry, and Moe!!

Mother of Invention, in my warm, sunny, and cosy computer room!

** The name of this game escapes me...the track is a circle with different pathways leading into the centre from the outside circular track. Anyone remember? Fox and Goose?

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Howlin' Huskies!

ice blue eyes
pointed and perky
coal-tipped ears
thick fur
black and white
fluffy curved tails
adorable puppies
born leaders
driven to hard work
natural runners
can not bark
they howl their presence
curl in the snow
adapted to cold
won't make friends
with just anyone -
you must earn this privilege
My Gr. 3's and I wrote this poem when after reading a story about a husky, we jotted down quick facts mentioned in the selection. Then, we all arranged them in an order we liked, starting with appearance. Finally, we added some extra words to refine it. Voila - a mini lesson on Husky Facts in succinct point form which was pleasing to the eye and ear!
I've been dogsledding for a morning once and it was so cool! These dogs are truly born to run. And the puppies? Just as adorable as these pictures!

Mother of Invention, honouring those Howling Huskies today!

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

I Caved!

Mooky, relaxing on the futon! She just lets it all hang out!

Socks, on my sweater, showing off her long, feminine legs. She always poses elegantly!

Our summer bedroom on the top floor is my favourite room! Huge trees nearby offer shade and with the many windows all open, the cooling summer breezes drift in and right through. A pleasant place to catch a nap! It has a balcony off it where you can sip coffee and just relax, watch storms, write, talk on the phone or just think.
I moved on over to New Blogger, albeit very reluctantly. I've noticed some weird changes!

First of all, why is my regular e-mail up at the top right when I thought I had to get a Google Account? I clicked, "Create an Account"! I thought they'd make me a new one.

Secondly, none of you who were commenting have names! You are all Anonymous now! How did that happen? Maybe new comments will have names.

I'm not sure I'll use any of the new features on this, not for awhile anyway! Maybe picture uploading and links will be faster and successful more often! I'm going to try...

It worked!

Okay...trying a link...Annelisa...thanks again for your work getting the video together and the whole package onto You Tube! We've had 1072 hits!

Mother of Invention, at the mercy of new Blogger!