One could go on and on forever talking about anything, but I'll just touch on it here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Walking in the No Snow, Buying Books, and Writing

Still no snow, but I went out in it anyway and got too hot in my coat and bought another book for myself and bought a book for my husband and came home and started editing my unfinished novel even though I should have hopped in the shower for how hot and sweaty I was.

Vacation has been good for my novel. I've gotten new ideas. I've gotten rid of old ideas. I've made notes of the ideas from my husband, who had a bunch of good ones late at night, when we should have been sleeping but he was mourning the loss of his fictional friends since he had finished reading another great book. Of course, his new great ideas are for an entirely different book, not my current novel. If I can be 'reading' several books at once I can be writing them too. Yes? Well, maybe the whole point of my husband brainstorming all his ideas was just to get me back to writing.

So I finally took a shower and here I am back at the computer with new ideas for my novel, sharing other ideas with my blog readers, and itching to pick up the new book I bought and start reading.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

What is Christmas with No Snow?

Not every Christmas comes wrapped in a white blanket, so I don't know why it doesn't seem very Christmassy today even without the cold decorations. We've got the fire (real flames, fake wood), brightly lit tree, stockings hanging with care (except now they are on the floor, but still fat with candy). Wrapping paper is strewn about; we're smiling over the gifts. But I'd really love to go walking in my new coat, and crunch snow with my boots.

Yes, it's true, our families have come and gone. It does feel a little empty around here, even in a room full of boxes and bows. It's kind of odd, growing up, getting married, extending the family. Christmas isn't contained any more, but it overflows. That's joyful, but new.

No, it isn't the lack of snow, or the many "Christmases" with multiple family members; it's the grown-up bit. I didn't think about Santa even once last night, as my head hit the pillow. And this morning, I didn't get out of bed until 8:00! I loved opening presents and watching my husband open his. I loved saying Merry Christmas! and calling and messaging my parents, sister, and niece. But I miss the sugar plums, the reindeer, the chimney. I miss "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," and Mom reading "A Few Bars in the Key of G." I miss sledding with my sister, even when she would leave me behind at the top of the hill. I miss sitting on Santa's lap, even though it was scary because I was terribly shy. I miss school programs with costumes and songs.

Hang on; this wasn't supposed to be a melancholy Christmas. And it isn't, really. Just a meditative one. The spirit of Christmas, the magic, still swirls in my head. Soon, my husband will take out his guitar and we'll sing carols. And I have a nice stack of Christmas stories to read. And we'll take a walk, I'm sure; and I'll wear my new coat. And I'll imagine the snow under my feet.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree?

Where can you enjoy the unique melodies of a dulcimer, a 12-string guitar, and a crowd of adults playing beer pong? Let's not forget four pregnant women, a round of Rock Band, and a Tom Jones wannabe at the karaoke machine. Welcome to the office Christmas party.

Disco ball spinning, drink glasses clinking, shoes slip-sliding on the slick, sleek floor–one corner Christmas music, the other Madonna's "Like a Virgin."

How many will show up for work in the morning? Did I mention the decadent desserts? I, for one, will have a sweet-tooth hangover.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Childhood Allergies

Boy, six, sitting down at the table to work:

"I think I'm allergic to teachers."

Me: No way, really?

"I always get itchy!"

Scratch, scratch

Thursday, December 8, 2011

6-Year-Old Minds

Ten o'clock and five first graders come in red and cold from recess, noses running. One or two of the girls usually arrive first and announce that they are first and then proceed to tell each boy that he is not first, (because the boys might say they are first even when they clearly are not). Then we have our little chat about how it doesn't matter who is first, and then I start going over the new letter and sound and new words for the week. We read the words on the cards and then each student in turn uses the words in sentences. The girls ALWAYS have someone going to the store, and finally I have said, can't we stop going to the store with our sentences? (For example if the word is 'said' a girl might say: "He said I am going to the store.") The boys, nearly always, have sharks, dinosaurs, or monsters in their sentences. I don't usually have to prompt them much. After we review, we practice sounding out words smoothly, looking at ways to blend and chuck words together. Then we get to read a story.

Yesterday, scene:

I notice that the book has a picture of a caterpillar on the cover and the word metamorphosis. This excites me, and I get ready to listen to them tell me what I assume they know about caterpillars and then show them this really cool new word. I ask the group, what happens to caterpillars? One of the boys, who usually gets the giggles but is not laughing at the moment, raises his hand and tells me—very matter-of-factly—"They get squashed." I start laughing before I even think about it. They do? I ask. I hope they don't get squashed! 

Then the boy and his giggle buddy start laughing and banging their fists on the table and saying, "Squash!" I try to regain composure and turn to the little girl next to me who, trying to collect her words and forgetting the word cocoon, finally spits out: "It changes into a butterfly." Okay, I say, that sounds better than getting squashed.

We then proceed to try and read chapter one about a caterpillar named Tim, and as we are reading I can't help thinking that I hope Tim doesn't get squashed in the story. Well, as we are reading along (I read the words in fine print and the kids read the big, bold words), one girl comments: "He's fat!" 
"I am NOT!" shouts one of the boys. Then I calmly explain to him that she was talking about the caterpillar, who is indeed fat and getting fatter by the minute.