Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Something done automatically, without much self-awareness” is one definition of autopilot. 

I enter into the autopilot stage when my mind is occupied by a variety of thoughts. Some of those thoughts may involve tasks to complete, groceries to purchase, routes to plan to get home, etc. My mind is multi-tasking as my body switches to autopilot mode which allows me to accomplish those tasks. All this is said to explain my actions yesterday.

Gray painted the sky. The wind whipped and tugged on any loose bit of clothing or hair exposed. Temperatures did not invite one to linger outside. I pulled into the parking lot of the educational supply store, noting that only one other car was there. Surprise registered in my mind since school was still in session, I didn’t expect that anyone would be there. I knew exactly what I needed to purchase and where it was located. Quick in, quick out.

Still only two cars in the parking lot. I moved quickly to the car to escape the frigid wind. My thumb hit the unlock button twice. The car responded with its usual “beep, beep.” I pulled the handle of the door. The door swung open, I’m preparing to step in, but this interior was brown. My car’s interior is black. Confusion clouded my vision as my brain sorted out this information that did not compute. The next message sent to my brain said, “This is not your car! Abort!” Quickly I shut the car door.

Autopilot turned off. Realization set in. Both cars were white and similar in shape and size. (Side note: I am car blind, I don’t see differences in many cars. Much to my husband’s dismay.) I looked around, but there was no one around. Oops! I hustled to my own car and slipped out of the parking lot before the owner of the other car appeared.

Autopilot can be useful, but in parking lots it could cause me some problems. Guess I’ll have to turn it off in the future.

Small Celebrations of the Everyday

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

What have I witnessed or created that deserves celebration this week? Hmmm, not much has happened. My life was pretty quiet. Each day looked a lot like the previous day.

I would get up, make coffee, sip it while watching the Today Show and enjoy the sunrise colors crawling up the sky. Eventually I made my way back to the bedroom to shower and dress for the day. Warm fleece, stretchy knit pants, cushy socks, and slippers were the uniform of the day, every day. Next stop, my office. Flip on the computer, reread the notes from the previous day and begin clacking the keys to plan for the working days coming up. Watch the world outside my window. Oh look, the chihuahua has escaped and running free with a buddy! Hmmm, FedEx is delivering a box across the street. Wonder what they ordered? Breaks from the computer involve wandering into the kitchen for lunch, or perhaps a snack. Soon it’s time to turn off the computer and turn my attention to dinner. After dinner, I read on the computer, listen to what’s on the TV, chat with my husband while being warmed by the fireplace. Soon it’s time for bed and the day is over.

  • I celebrate the ordinary-ness of these days. No frantic rushing about, no panicking that time has run out for preparing my PD days. Each day settles into a comfortable rhythm.
  • I celebrate that I have warm, comfy clothing to wear when it is cold.
  • I celebrate my home that is warm when temperatures dip low and it is cool when the sun shines a bit too long.
  • I celebrate that I have enough to eat and it is not an arduous task to find food or prepare it.
  • I celebrate that when I lay my head down to sleep, I can rest. Evil is not sitting outside my door.
Same flowers but the pink turned into purple as the days went by.

Same flowers but the pink turned into purple as the days went by.

Remember the flowers from last week? As they aged, their color changed. It was like having two different sets of flowers. Flowers are always  a celebration.

Today, it is the small things I am celebrating.

Don’t Change!

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Why do the words new, improved, easier on WordPress strike fear in my heart? Could it be that after five years of blogging, I am more or less comfortable with the mechanics of posting? This journey of writing and posting has been one of trial and error. Might I add more errors than trials?

A couple of weeks ago, I opened up my WordPress to write a post and nothing looked the same on my dashboard. I clicked here and there trying to find my comfortable page to write my post. It was not happening. So I set about learning this new look. Typing words was not an issue, but inserting a photo was a disaster. I could not even locate my file of photos! I wanted to save my work, but the “save draft” button was not active. Click here, click there, still not active. Panic is starting to set in. I’m thinking my blogging career is at an end. I step away to clear my head.

A little later, I return. No grand plan has emerged. I looked to google to offer some help for my situation, but somehow my search words don’t yield the answer to my problem. Hmmmm . . .  I am stumped as I stare at the screen with unfamiliar language. I decide to start again, so back to my original page. What if I open up WP Admin? Maybe that is my way to find the dashboard I’m used to using. Oh look, there’s an option for add a post and it will show all posts. Click . . . it worked! Things look normal! I’m back to my comfortable dashboard where I know what to do. :-)

There’s still a banner at the top of my drafting page that says: There’s now an easier way to create on WordPress.com! Switch to the improved posting experienceI’m just not brave enough to try it, yet.


Savoring Celebrations

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

Reflect on the week and celebrate moments to savor. By writing them down, they linger a moment longer in your heart.

Thinking back across my week:

  • I can appreciate the mild temperatures at this point of January. Last year the weather was brutal. One storm after another kept us housebound. While there is still a small mound of snow hugging the curb, it is quickly disappearing. By tonight, it will be a memory. I know the pleasant temperatures will be replaced by cold in a few days, I choose to celebrate the sunshine and fresh air.
  • This week I spent a day with the K-2 teachers and another day with 3-5 teachers. I celebrate the engagement of the teachers and their quest to make their teaching minutes effective.
  • How could you not celebrate bringing a bit of spring into the house?
My husband brings spring home after a visit to Sam's.

My husband brings spring home after a visit to Sam’s.

Find those bits of life to celebrate. Life is a celebration!

Tastes to Tempt

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

You would think traveling back and forth across the country would allow us to explore a variety of cuisines. Unfortunately, we always seem to be in the same place, at the same time, with limited options for variety in dining pleasures. We prefer to by-pass the usual chain restaurants. We can eat that at home, if we wanted to, which we don’t.

So Yelp has become my friend when we are on the road. A few years ago we discovered a fabulous hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant in San Diego. We have learned not to judge a place by its exterior, but rather by the words of reviewers.

Gallup, New Mexico seems to be our stopping point for some meal no matter if we are traveling west or east. For years we have resigned ourselves to Cracker Barrel, (sigh) until Yelp told me about a burger spot. My eyes lit up when I found a place called 505 Burgers with an abundance of good reviews. I LOVE a great burger! I was not disappointed! It took a few tries to locate this place stuck in a strip shopping center.

Not much to look at, but what a treat inside!

Not much to look at, but what a treat inside!

The list of burgers was long and tempting, but finally we each decided on one. (The menu is either burgers or wings.) When the waitress brought our plates I had to push the fries aside to uncover my burger. The burgers were great and the fries incredible!


Before eating

Before eating

After eating my fill

After eating my fill, and I ate a lot, there was still a serving for two left on the plate.

I know we will be stopping here again. I just hope we don’t travel on a Saturday, they close at 5:00.

As we head east, we need a lunch spot and here we are in Gallup once again. What does Yelp recommend? The West End Donut and Deli. photo 1 (24)I must say, I agree! The six inch sandwich is more like ten to twelve inches. They are not fancy, but it hits the right spot when you are tired of fried and more fried food. One day I suppose I should try a donut.

photo 2 (25)


Snow Days Celebration

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

Two weeks ago, I looked at my calendar of work days and felt a sense of panic. Would I have enough time to prepare for the work ahead? Maybe, but there will be little else in my life until I was prepared. I set  goals and deadlines for myself as the days slipped away.

Diligence paid off for my first school assignment. By Tuesday, all materials were in order for the next two and a half days. However, I would need to spend long hours in the evening to complete my work for the second assignment. Then Mother Nature stepped in to give me breathing space.

Tuesday evening, a light coating of ice covered the roadways creating hazardous conditions. Wednesday there was no school for any district near me. Quickly, I took advantage of that gift of time.

Daylight on Thursday revealed a couple of inches of snow fell in the wee morning hours. This snow had not been on any weather man’s radar. Total surprise! Yet again, a gift of a day to work.

Friday loomed. I dreaded going to school. The teachers would be unhappy because they had to redo sub plans since they had not been there for two days. I resolved to make the best of it as I went to bed.

Around 3 a.m. I was awake. The schools closed were scrolling by on the TV screen (yes, the TV was on – don’t judge me :-) ). Was that my school’s name I just saw? I got up and checked the iPad, yes it was! A huge sigh of relief escaped as I returned to bed.

I’m still working, but I celebrate that I am no longer panicked about being prepared for the school presentation coming up. I know the work will be finished and the weather forecast looks clear for the next week. Now I just have to reschedule the days I missed. Thank you Mother Nature for the beauty of your snow and the gift of time.

A Tasty Bite

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Would you eat here?


If not, you would never know the one-of-a-kind experience you are missing. This Quonset hut restaurant has been in existence in Springfield since 1909. In 1909 it was housed in another location but it has been in a Quonset hut since 1949. In 1985, the restaurant moved to this location.

What’s so special about Casper’s you wonder? It is a no frills kind of diner and they are known for chili. Actually, the only thing I’ve ever eaten here is Frito Pie. A plate of Fritos as the base, covered in a unique chili, topped with cheddar cheese. When it is delivered to your table, you are warned the plate is hot. Brave souls can add raw onions on top of the cheese. The chili is creamy and like no other chili I’ve ever tasted. This treat must be savored because we only get it once a year.


While you are waiting for your order, you are entertained by all of the bric-a-brac that adorns the curved walls. It is like a 60’s explosion from Berkeley, CA and it all landed in this hut. This is a time warp of memorabilia.



Let me know if you are in my neighborhood, I will be more than happy to let you experience Casper’s.


Here’s Casper’s today. Looks pretty much the same as the photo at the top.