Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sub Notes: Rise from the Ashes

Sometimes on my job I have to talk so much that I forget an even harder skill: listening.

I was walking around the room to make sure these high school children were working. He was done with his work, and he was drawing. Part of my job as his special education teacher was to redirect him to something productive, but there was such intensity about the way he was bent over the page, something told me I needed to ask.

“Beautiful,” I said. “It’s a Phoenix, right?”

He was a tough-looking boy. But here is a secret I learned long ago: high school children don’t dress to reflect who they are, but who they want to become. Tough looking ones often are the most sensitive people who are trying to overcome tough circumstances. He looked up from his desk glowing with quiet pride.

“It’s the tattoo I’m getting,” he told me. “I was in a car accident six months ago. They said I died briefly. But I made it. It’s been hard work, but the phoenix represents how far I’ve come.”

I didn’t do my job that day and tell him to work on something else. Sometimes nature lights her own fires, and all we can do is stand back and marvel at what rises from them.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. ~William Butler Yeats

Thursday, February 14, 2013

And She Loved to the Very Bottom of her Heart

Though he hid it well, my husband was a very jealous man.

And here I was, unable to quit thinking about my first love, a childhood romance. But I had put away childish things for a more practical life, and I was happy.

Except I wasn’t.

So I met my love when my husband wasn’t home—briefly at first, and then more and more until I felt as if we could never truly be apart again. I looked forward to our trysts with an unparalleled giddiness and left feeling flushed and spent and whole.

“You're back,” an old college friend remarked over the phone. Had I been gone? “Yes, for a long time,” she said.

And then, after a phone call, I made the announcement. “I am guest columnist at a newspaper.” I still remember the way his face went red, then white with anger.

I never looked back.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all who love words as I do.

It’s Valentine’s Day. It’s not the day you run away from love. It’s the day you chase it down. ~Cameron in “Modern Family”

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Welcome Warmth

Thanks to the ever-sunny Lisa Ricard Claro of Writing in the Buff for the "Sunshine Award!" I’ve been wiped out by a very nasty cold, and it brightened my entire week. I’ve said before that I think some people have what I call “Writer’s Aura”—where everything the person writes has a warmth and brightness to it. Lisa shines in that way.

First, I am required to answer these questions:

Favorite color: Depends on what it’s for, but the colors on my blog are biggies. Especially warm, sunny coral.
Favorite animal: Love most animals, but this one’s a no-brainer. Dog.
Favorite number: 4.
Favorite drink: These days, tropical flavored iced green teas are way up there. Salada makes one that to me tastes exactly like a spring day feels.
Facebook or Twitter?: Facebook.
Your passions: I’m one of those people who have way too many passions. Some of them are: my children, writing, friends, pets, nature, drawing and painting, and gardening. Had a much longer list, but I cut it down because I sounded like a nerd. Oh, and making nerdy lists.
Giving or getting presents: Have to agree with Lisa’s response: Both!
Favorite day: Saturday.  
Favorite flowers: The traditional gardener’s response is “whatever’s blooming right now.” So that would be the orchid that a dear friend gave me a couple of birthdays ago.

My instructions are to pass this "Sunshine Award" on to two bloggers who cheer me when I visit. So I pick Sioux of Sioux’s Page and Val the Victorian of Unbagging the Cats. Neither one is truly  someone I would categorize so much as “sunshiny”—at least in a Brady Bunch kind of way—because with these bloggers, there will be the occasional sunburn. Which is exactly what makes them both so real and so fun.

Thank you both…and thank you, LisaRicard Claro!!

In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge.~Aristotle

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Improper Poll: Name That Shoe

I admit it. I wear only named shoes. Oh, I don’t mean Monolo Blahnik or Christian Louboutin. I mean I name my shoes. It’s hard not to when they’re that butt-ugly.

I am the proud owner of a genuine pair of Herman Munsters, some Minnie Mouses, and some not-so-glad-iators. My sister obligingly spiced up my slipper-wear by giving me a pair of Neanderthal Mans for Christmas. I recently bought a pair of Wicked Witch of the Easts, but they tricked me by behaving very comfortably at the store and then turning wicked once I brought them home. I almost wish a house would drop on them (as long as my feet aren’t in them at the time).

The reason I love my butt-uglies so much these days is because there really was a time when I wore heels on a daily basis. Now I think of them as evil instruments of torture.
I once read that most women own their age in shoes—one pair for each year. I guess that means my shoes make me young, because I only own a small fraction of my age, mainly because I wear my favorites, the boring-but-comfortable Clark Kents, with almost everything at work. When I get home, I usually change into The Beloveds, a pair of old Reeboks.

Take that, Carrie Bradshaw. Do you own your age in shoes?