A Day In The Life


They’re Here
March 31, 2008, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Nature

My nieces gave me tulip and daffodil bulbs for Christmas.  I posted a picture from the carton of tulipa Mickey Mouse in a January post.   These flowers are so beautiful.  I could hardly wait for them to poke their heads through the earth and burst into bloom. 

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It is raining (again) in Arkansas. I took these pictures around six this evening during a slight lull in the downpour.

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Aren’t these magnificent flowers?   They haven’t fully opened yet, but it looks as though they will have ruffled edges.  I wanted to get some closer shots, but it was too wet and muddy for kneeling or laying down for that perfect close up.

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I’ll take more pictures when the blooms have opened a bit more.  What a perfect gift from two wonderful nieces!!

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Words To Live By
March 30, 2008, 7:54 pm
Filed under: Fun Monday

Robin at Pensieve has asked us to share some of our favorite inspirational quotes for this Fun Monday challenge.   What a wonderful idea!  I am a quote-aholic.  There is a very fat file folder full of quotes in my top desk drawer.  There is a menagerie of index cards taped to the wall near my desk at school with inspirational words that I refer to throughout my day.  Two of my favorites are “Attitude is everything” and “Never complain about what you permit.”  Excellent jewels of wisdom for a teacher!  Here are some more of my favorites.

“He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me…”  Psalm 23: 3-4a

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”   Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.”   Plato

“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.  Yet we are the movers and shakers of the world forever it seems.”  Arthur O’Shaughnessy

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Whoever you are, there is some young person who thinks you are perfect.  There is some work that will never be done if you don’t do it.  There is someone who would miss you if you were gone.  There is a place that you alone can fill.”   Jacob M. Braude

“Art teaches nothing ,except the significance of life.”  Henry Miller

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.  Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited.  Imagination encircles the world.”  Albert Einstein

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and for the world remains and is immortal.”  Albert Pike

“You are in charge of your feelings, beliefs and actions.  And you teach others how to behave toward you.  While you cannot change other people, you can influence them through your own behaviors and actions.  By being a living role model of what you want to receive from others, you create more of what you want in life.”  Eric Allenbaugh

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40: 29-31

“Awake, awake, my soul and sing!  The time for praise has come.  The silence of the night has passed; a new day has begun.  Let music never die in me!  Forever let my spirit sing!  Wherever emptiness is found, let there be joy and glorious sound.  Let music never die in me!  Forever let my spirit sing!  Let all our voices join as one to praise the Giver of the song.  Awake! Awake!  Let music live!”  Joseph M. Martin



Now I Know My ABC’s
March 23, 2008, 8:48 am
Filed under: Fun Monday

Our hostess for this Fun Monday challenge is the one and only Swampy .  Swampy wants us to compile an ABC list and she left the subject area of our list up to us.  Being the Songbird that I am, I decided to make a list of Disney song titles.  I’ll tell you right up front that my list isn’t complete.  If you can fill in the blanks, list the song title and movie in your comment!

A—A Whole New World from Aladdin
B—Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo from Cinderella
C—Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmations
D—Digga Digga Dog from 102 Dalmations
E—Ev’rybody Wants To Be A Cat from The Aristocats
F—Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins
G—Give A Little Whistle from Pinnochio
H—Heigh Ho! from Snow White
I—I’ve Got No Strings from Pinnochio
J—Just Around the Riverbend from Pocohantas
K—Kiss the Girl from The Little Mermaid
L—Let’s Go Fly A Kite from Mary Poppins
M—Mickey Mouse March from The Mickey Mouse Club
N—Never Smile At A Crocodile from Peter Pan
O—Once Upon A Dream from Sleeping Beauty
P—Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid
Q—???
R—Reflection from Mulan
S—Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins
T—Two Worlds from Tarzan
U—Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid
V—???
W—Whistle While You Work from Snow White
X—???
Y—You Can Fly! You Can Fly! from Peter Pan
Z—Zip-a-dee-doo-dah from Song of the South

Now dust off your broom and fly on over to Swampy’s Place for more ABC lists!!



Flower Power
March 20, 2008, 8:19 pm
Filed under: Nature, Seasons

It is certainly a good thing that spring flowers are so hardy. We had two snowfalls in the first full week of March and this week brought torrential rains and flooding. Never mind Mother Nature. The flowers and shrubs are beautiful so let’s take a tour of my yard.

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As the second snowfall melted away, bunches of purple crocus appeared.

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The delicate blue of vinca decorates a shady spot underneath the trees in my backyard.

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Tiny, dwarf tulips add spark to a bed of daffodils.

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The forsythia begins to blossom decorating bare branches with drops of gold.

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Spritely little windflowers (anemone) dot the ground around my bird feeders.

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Pink hyacinth add a heady scent to the spring garden.

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Blue hyacinth are surrounded by daffodils and naturalized grape hyacinth.



I’m Not Green
March 16, 2008, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Fun Monday, Jasper

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Hello! I’m not green, but I’m here to wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day just the same. I am mighty cute and that counts for something, doesn’t it?  Songbird is busy writing lesson plans so she asked me to handle this Fun Monday St. Patrick’s Day post hosted by Nikki.

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Special words are the theme today; words that are goofy and crazy and only have meaning to the family members who use them.   Songbird’s sister was terrified of storms when she was a little sprite.  Any time a dark cloud drifted up and thunder rumbled, little sister would say, “Is a nortado (tornado) coming?”  As a child, Songbird’s brother had problems pronouncing ‘oil’.  He made it a three syllable word:  oh-wee-uhl.  Songbird used to babysit a little girl who would squeal with delight and shout “Lookie, lookie, a sqervuhl (squirrel)!” 

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Nikki also asked for green beer stories.  Neither Songbird nor I have ever had green beer.   In fact, I ‘ve never had beer of any color.  And that’s a radio antenna sticking up behind my head in case you’re wondering.  We were listening to the Razorback game while sitting on the back porch. 

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Okay, well that’s all for today. I’m off to hunt shamrocks. (I’m really hunting lizards, but I wanted to stick with the St. Patrick’s Day theme.)  See ya!  Jasper



In loco parentis
March 12, 2008, 9:56 pm
Filed under: My Life

Years ago, I think I had been teaching three or four years when this happened, I got permission to take my choir and band students  to a musical production of Cinderella.   I was teaching at a very small, rural school so I was the entire music faculty.  Most of the kids who were in band were also in choir so there was a total of around 40 students on the trip.  I had two or three parents along as chaperones and the musical took place in a city that is 85 miles or so from the school. 

The musical was very good.  The kids really enjoyed it.  Everything was going great.  Our plan was to stop by one of the malls to eat lunch and do a little shopping before heading home.  I had divided the kids into groups and assigned a parent to supervise each group as they spread out in the mall.  I also had a group of students with me.  My group wanted to eat first and shop later so we headed to a fast food restaurant and proceeded to chow down. 

I had just finished throwing away my lunch trash and some of the kids in my group had wandered over to the first store we planned to visit when suddenly I heard my name being announced over the mall loudspeaker.  The amplified voice asked me to report to the security office at Sears.  My group of students scurried to my side like a flock of chicks and we all proceeded to the far end of the mall where Sears was located.  As we quick-stepped along, other groups of my students and their chaperones honed in on our position as though we were emitting radar signals.  By the time we reached Sears, all groups were accounted for except one. 

A hundred different scenarios were running through my mind as I made my way toward Sears, but none of my imaginings were preparation for what actually awaited me at the security office.  I guess I was naive and idealistic.  My thoughts were entirely focused on the safety of my students.  I was terrified that one of them had been attacked or abducted.  What actually had happened was two of my students had been caught shoplifting.  The chaperone assigned to the two girls was frantic, but she did have the rest of her group rounded up and sitting outside the security office.  Two very stern, but polite, security guards met me outside the office and escorted me to a room where my two female students were seated.  Their faces were tear streaked and neither of them could look me in the eye.  The police had been called.  The guards took me to another room where they told me they had observed both girls stuffing their pockets with costume jewelry.  The guards watched the girls walk out of the store at which point they were apprehended.  They were being taken to the juvenile detention facility across town.

I had worked in retail before changing careers and becoming a teacher.  I knew the shoplifting drill from the opposite side of the fence.  In this instance, it was a whole new ballgame for me primarily because of this dreaded Latin phrase: in loco parentis.  For those of you who need an English translation in loco parentis means “in the place of a parent.”  I was responsible for the two thieving girls.

We had been in the mall for about an hour and half of that time was spent in Sears and we weren’t shopping.  The remainder of my students were understandably furious that their field trip had been cut short.  We all loaded up on the bus and drove across town to the juvenile detention facility.  I went inside to see what needed to be done while everyone else stayed on the bus and sweltered in the late spring heat. 

I’ll tell you right now, the juvenile detention facility scared the dickens out of me.  There were bars, reinforced glass and doors that clanged shut behind me.  And the officer who came out to speak to me after I’d waited alone for over an hour…..ok, remember those horrible movies from the 70’s where two beautiful, shapely Yankee girls were traveling through the South and they got stopped for speeding or running a stop sign or something innocuous like that in Clodhopper County, Georgia?  Come on, you remember those movie plots, right?  The beautiful Yankee girls ended up in prison on trumped up charges and the prison matron was a large, unattractive, masculine woman?  Ok, that celluloid prison matron was alive and well in the juvenile detention facility.  She came out and spewed forth in loco parentis and told me I would have to stay at the facility until the parents of the two girls came and picked them up.  I knew the parents of these girls and that knowledge had me resigned to spending the night on the metal bench in the holding room.  I was not a happy camper.

This event occurred in pre-cell phone days so I had to use a grimy pay phone to call the school administrators and, yes I admit, I called my parents.  That ‘prison matron’ had me shaking in my boots.  After about three hours of phone calls and anxious waiting, it was decided that the girls could be released to my custody.  I had to sign a mountain of paperwork including a document that stated that the girls would not be out of my sight until I had handed them over to their parents.  That same document provided that if the girls did not meet their appointed court date, I could be held responsible. 

The trip home was not pleasant.  The atmosphere on the bus was rife with anger and tension.  When we stopped for a restroom break, I actually went into the bathroom and watched those girls pee.  Believe it or not, when we got back to the school, I had to wait almost thirty minutes for the parents of those two girls to arrive.  The bus driver was kind enough to wait with me; all the other students had parents waiting for them when we got back.

My legal involvement was, thankfully, finished when I handed the girls over to their parents.  I did live in fear until their court date was past.  Both girls dropped out of school before graduating and both of them continued getting into trouble with the law.  It has been quite a few years since I heard anything about either of them.  Hopefully they have changed their lives and are moving in a more positive direction.  As for me, everytime I take a trip to the city where this story took place, I remember how I felt sitting in that juvenile detention facility.  And to this day, I keep a wary eye out for that imposing juvenile officer. 



The Tea Set
March 10, 2008, 9:05 pm
Filed under: My Life

Almost fifty years ago Mom gave birth to her first child…..me. Mom was a bit of a tomboy and was never into frills, ruffles, tea parties, pink and other stereotypical accouterments once associated with little girls. Mom was amazed and somewhat shocked that her daughter absolutely loved all the trappings and finery of little girldom.

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I would have dressed like this every single day if only Mom had let me. In fact, Mom recalls having some major battles trying to get me into shorts or pants. Let’s face it, I simply came into the world with an innate sense of style.  Even my pajamas had ruffles. 

When I was three years old, I began telling anyone who would listen that I wanted Santa to bring me a tea set.  I craved a beautiful tea set so I could throw fabulous tea parties for all my dolls.  And I requested furniture for entertaining purposes.  Santa Claus heard my pleas and for my third Christmas I received a lovely tea set adorned with pink roses plus a table and chairs.

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Notice Mom and Dad’s influence with the little red wagon. It was very handy for lugging all my dolls around.   Amazing that I can recall the name of every doll in this picture while I still have trouble with some of my third grade students’ names.  See that happy face?  I was so excited about the tea set and about Christmas in general I suspect. 

Almost forty-seven years later I still have my tea set.  It wasn’t a toy that sat on a shelf either.  I really used it, but I also took great care with it because it was such a wonderful thing to call my own. 

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I can remember playing restaurant with my brother and sister when they were old enough for me to trust them with my precious tea set. I would cut pictures of food out of magazines and serve it up out of my closet kitchen while brother and sister took turns being the waiter and customer. I even made menus for my chic bedroom bistro.

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It was always a huge thrill when Mom let me serve Kool-aid, lemonade or even water from my tea pot. Then, when the tea party was over, I got to stand on the step ladder and carefully wash my dishes in the real kitchen sink. Such a shame that I no longer feel the same giddy joy when it comes to washing dishes.

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The tea set originally had a service for six, but even with the best of care a few mishaps occurred over the years. I no longer have the sugar bowl and I lost quite a bit of the silverware. Two of my tea cups have the handles broken off, but I still have all the serving pieces and all six of the dinner plates, tea cups and saucers. 

I was disappointed that neither of my nieces were very interested in playing with my tea set.  Are tea sets simply a thing of the past or am I just the only oddball girly girl in my family? 

Someday when my nieces have graduated college with advanced degrees, they will fall in love with handsome princes and have daughters of their own.  And if the fairy tale plays out like their dear old aunt imagines, the tea set will once again be cherished by a little girl who adores pink roses, ruffles and serving tea.