Cardinal Conversation

Tap, tap

She: Is anyone home? I see red. Heelllooo!

Tap, tap

She: No one answered.  I know someone is home.

 

Come closer! Take a look! Someone is brighter than you!

He: I don’t think it’s safe to be that close. I like it out here.

She: Take a chance, I’ll meet you on the arm of this chair.

He: That’s as far as I’m going!

She: See, there’s nothing to be afraid of here. You need to take a chance and explore the world a little more. Who knows what’s out there waiting to be discovered.

He: You are right, look over there. Is that a bird feeder I spot? Let’s check it out.

They flew away that day, but she continues to tap at various windows. He, however, stays back and has not come closer again.

 

 

 

Can Do

Taking stock of the refrigerator contents, I determine that we will have the creamy spinach enchilada leftovers for dinner, but I need something else to add to the plate. Previously, we’d had steamed broccoli to accompany the enchiladas. There was no broccoli in the fridge, plus I like to change things up on the second go-round of a meal.

A cauliflower was waiting its turn to grace our table in the veggie drawer. Mexican riced cauliflower would be the perfect side for this Mexican inspired meal. Plan made, recipe retrieved, ingredients gathered.

I knew something was not right the second I clamped the can opener onto my can. The clear liquid that oozed over the edge would not be found in a can of black beans. This was a can of garbanzo beans! The labels of the two cans were identical except for the name.

See what I mean? I know I should have looked more carefully, but this time I just reached and grabbed. Won’t happen again.

“I guess you will be having garbanzos added to your salad,” I inform my husband, and I explain why.

“Good!” he replies. “I like garbanzos.”

But the next day, I am flipping through pages of recipes, I discover a Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup recipe that I’ve not yet tried. I don’t remember printing this, but I have all the ingredients needed. Sorry, no more chickpeas on the salad. They are going into the soup.

When did chickpeas and cauliflower become a pair? Since the beginning of the year, we’ve had Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry, Chickpea Cauliflower Chowder, and now this soup. They’ve all been good, but I am a bit surprised at the combination appearing in recipe after recipe. I will have to see what other recipes are out there with these two ingredients.

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup. The soup was supposed to be pureed, but someone in my house doesn’t like food pre-chewed, so no pureeing here.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Sometimes I must leave home in the dark, before the sun thinks about coming out for the day. I may have been grumbling to myself about the early hour as I turned out of my subdivision street.

Something moving caught my attention, just beyond the light provided by the headlights of my car. I slowed down. Is that a dog? If it was a dog, it would be a really big dog, perhaps a Great Dane. But I don’t think we have a Great Dane around us. Maybe it’s a wolf. Do wolves live here? I don’t know. We do have foxes, but this animal was too big for a fox. As these thoughts fire through my mind, my car gets closer.

Oh my, it’s not just one! There are three! Three young deer crossed the road in front of me. I stop the car to watch. They stop to watch the car. We make eye contact. Two run ahead, but one paused to stare me down. I think the look I got was, “What are you doing out here? This is our place!” As soon as the deer sent that eye-message, it scampered off into the dark to join its friends.

Slowly I accelerated while thinking about the encounter. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper was playing on the radio. How appropriate, I thought. Those deer just want to have fun before the world wakes up.

Hello, Bike

Hello, bike. It’s been a while since I’ve visited.

No, it’s not really you. I still like you, but I’ve been busy. Yes, I know that we make time for what we value. Ever since I returned from the river trip to Bordeaux, my energy for our daily meetings evaporated. I had a lot of days in schools scheduled and I needed time to prepare.

Today I woke up and knew we needed to become friends again. I have completed my days in schools. I have time for you every day. My timer is set for thirty minutes of nonstop peddling.

Thankfully I have a distraction in front of me as the rhythm of pedals and hum of wheels spin around and around.

Time on the couch reading flies by. Time working in my office passes quickly. Time on the bike s-l–o–w-s d-o-w-n, did it stop?

 

Don’t look at the timer, just pedal. Pedal faster and faster. Concentrate on the story being told on the TV. Surely, the time is almost over! Sneak a quick peek. Half way!

Another quick peek. Yes! I can do this! Make these last two minutes count!

The barking dog brings the pedals to a stop. I am breathing harder. I am sweaty. I am finished!

The cycle begins again, tomorrow. Yes, bike I will be back.

A Dutch Restaurant?

A new restaurant opened last week.

There is no sign on the building, but there is a clue in the window.

Welcome to Van Gogh’s Eeterie!

Come in, sit down, and have a look around.

The cuisine is not like any other in town. Perhaps you would like a taste of

Dutch dishes:

  • Sweet or savory pannenkoek (Dutch pancake)
  • Broodjes (sandwiches)
  • Stampots (potatoes mashed with additional vegetables)

Not to your taste?  Then try some Indonesian-Dutch cuisine:

  • Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice)
  • Sate Platter (chicken skewers with peanut sauce)
  • Laap pa (fish salad)

Or would you rather sample something from each type of cuisine?

What ever you decide, you will find Van Gogh waiting.

 

 

Noodles or Zoodles?

Noodles
I want them.
I need them.
I love them.
I’ve got to have them.

Noodles, tasty noodles:

Spaghetti,

Fettuccini,

Pappardelli,

Bucatini,

Angel hair.

They say they are carbs,

They say you shouldn’t eat them.

But . . .
I want them.
I need them.
I love them.
I’ve got to have them.

Zoodles to the rescue!

Zucchinis spiralized

Creates a healthier alternative.

Zoodles, tasty zoodles.
I want them.
I need them.
I love them.
I’ve got to have them.
And no guilt attached!

Earrings! by Judith Viorst inspired the format for this poem.

Mail, Now and Later

Sitting at my desk, I have a view down my street. I hear it before I see it.  Rrrrrummmmble, silence, rrrrrummmmble, silence, the mail truck begins its journey up my street. It has six stops  before my mailbox.

It’s a quick trip to get the mail at the end of the driveway, I don’t grab a jacket. I try to time my arrival with the mail truck’s arrival. Then I will hustle back to the warmth of the house as I thumb through the envelopes, catalogs, and magazines.

Two mailboxes away, the truck does a spin around and heads back to a mailbox she has visited already. I stand at the end of the driveway, waiting, getting chilled by the wind. She fumbles around at the previous mailbox. I get colder. Finally, rrrrrummmmble, silence, rrrrrummmmble, silence, she gets to me.

I reach out for the mail she is handing me. “Wait, I have a package too,” she says. I wait. She confirms our house number, flip, flip, flip through one box. Flip, flip, flip through two more boxes. I’m getting colder. She can’t find the package. She looks back toward the Amazon boxes. “It won’t be from Amazon,” I tell her. “It could be drugs or a book.” I watch her flip through bags similar to our mail delivered prescriptions and a Thrift book wrapped package. I tell her to check those. She tells me they aren’t ours. “Sorry,” she says, then rrrrrummmmble, silence. She is off to the next box. I’m really cold and a bit aggravated.

An hour later, I’m still working at my desk. Rrrrrummmmble, silence, the mail truck is scooting back up our street and stops at our mailbox. I watch to see what goes into the mailbox. Two prescription bags and one book! I wait until she drives away before heading out to retrieve our mail.

I appreciate that she finally found our items and came back instead of waiting until tomorrow. This was not our regular mail person, so I will not judge her too harshly and I did get my book. (The Deadliest Creature in the World by Brenda Guiberson)

Anticipating Book Arrival

Hints were dropped about  secret writing for a book. The news that leaked out intrigued me. Authors I love were listed. I still didn’t understand what or how this book would work. Multiple authors and writing prompts? Finally, an announcement, this book would be published and ready for the world in March. Sight unseen, no clue what it really was about, I took a leap of faith.  I pre-ordered the book on September 7.

For months, I have waited impatiently. I went to NCTE and missed the chance to get an ARC of this book. Finally an email – 

 

So all day, I sat at my desk working, but listening for the UPS truck to rumble up my street. I hear an engine,  it is stopping in front of my house!

Eagerly, I meet him at the door. Mr. UPS does not know how long I have waited for this book.

Do you know what book this is? Here it is without the book jacket.

And here it is with the jacket.

I have been a fan of Colby Sharp ever since I saw his YouTube video Mr. Sharp Loves Reading. His passion for books and turning kids on to books is amazing. I can’t wait to read this book and share it with teachers.

Good News/Bad News at Doctor Appointment

I was supposed to visit the doctor for my annual physical in February, but the doctor was going to be out of town during my date. It was rescheduled for yesterday. Last Friday I had to have blood taken for my appointment. It was a challenge to get to the lab when it opened at 7:00 (joining the throng of others there), blood taken, grab some breakfast (a fasting lab so no eating before), and drive 30 minutes to arrive by 8:15. I made it happen.

Good news started when I got to my appointment. There was no co-pay since this was an annual. That surprised me because I have always paid in the past. I figure they will send me a bill later.

I was there fifteen minutes before my appointment, just like they asked me to be. The receptionist said, “Don’t sit down, I think she is coming to get you.” I have never gotten in early! Apparently the 10:20 appointment was late, so I got her spot.

More good news when the doctor came in and said my blood work looked good. I was feeling pretty good until she said, “But I have some bad news.” My stomach dropped with those words. “It seems that the lab didn’t do the screening for your cholesterol. I need you to do another fasting and come back for them to draw blood again.” Oh well, I guess that’s not the worst news ever.

Then she said, “And you will need to do a Pap test next year.” I thought she did one last year and I would have two years off. It seems that I didn’t do one last year, so I will be due for another next year. Ugh!

All in all, it was a good visit. I was out in no time because I got in early. Now I’m thinking that to reward myself for doing the blood again I might have to try out a newly opened restaurant, First Watch, after they draw blood. So I guess that news wasn’t as bad as I first thought.

Teaching Writing or Writers?

To some, writing workshop is a frightening leap off a cliff into unknown waters. It takes a lot of faith making that transition from teaching writing to teaching writers.

Some teachers are happy with their status quo. They do the same kind of writing year after year. Everyone writes the same story. In October it might be the voice of a pumpkin. In November it will inevitably be the turkey begging to be saved, and December could be a wish list to Santa. Pencil to paper, that’s writing , right? Students learn about punctuation, sentence formation, capitalization, and spacing, That’s writing, right? That is not my definition of writing.

When I go to a school and work with the teachers on writing, I want them to teach the writers in the room, not writing. I try to help them understand the difference.

Last week, I completed my second year in a school. Our focus was writing workshop. I asked the teachers to jump into the pool of teaching writers instead writing. Some started paddling, but lost stamina and reverted back to teaching writing just like before, but they are thinking about how to do it differently next year. Some were treading water, barely keeping their head above the waterline, but they stayed afloat. Next year, they will be stronger.

One teacher said, “I thought I knew how to teach writing. I thought I was pretty good. I was wrong. I didn’t know how. Now I know my kids as writers.”

“I used to hate to teach writing. Now, this is my favorite thing to teach in my day. I feel like I am actually teaching my kids how to write, ” said another teacher.

These comments fill my heart with joy.  It’s been a good year and I look forward to another year with these teachers.