What I Call Life

What I call life has been slightly overwhelming lately.  Nothing bad, just a little on the crazy side in the busy department.

I helped with my favorite five-year-old’s birthday party.


Fifth grade designed reading t-shirts, which I then had to produce (print and iron on decals). Click to enlarge.









There was the sick day (cold / sinus / throat ick).  At least I had my own furry hot water bottle.


The PTO put on their annual haunted house.


Also, the usual detritus of modern life: vet visit, meeting with retirement planner, baby shower, women’s group meeting, CPR training, and parent / teacher conference day.

To conclude: as a first grader, in line at the checkout desk, said àpropos of nothing, “Why aren’t there cinnamon rolls around here?”


Letters from Camp

Day 360

My sister-in-law picked up my fourteen-year-old niece from camp today.  Her counselor gave a beautiful speech on how she said such profound things that blew her away in her small group and then gave her the wisdom award.

To which Hannah replied, “Mom! I shot a gun!”


Day 358

[Sorry for the less than stellar pictures – overhead lighting and cell phone camera.]

Today I finally finished warping my loom.  It was a journey in weaving vocabulary.

First you sley the reed (this phrase always makes me think of killing something).


Then I threaded the heddles and beamed the warp (this phrase always makes me think of the Starship Enterprise).

I think I didn’t do too badly for the first time ever – I ended up with (only) three crossed warps in the shed (this sounds like some weird farm thing).


I marked the whole thing down as a learning exercise and plan to re-warp it with the following changes:

  1. Finer warp – the blue yarn is too thick.
  2. Longer warp chains – the two feet recommended by the book is way to short to work with easily.
  3. More warp chains of fewer wraps, making it easier to keep the threads from crossing and to beam the warp more evenly.

I figure it should take me half as long the second time around.  Onward.

Road Trip

Day 330


I love road trips.  I like to drive and I even like driving by myself.  So heading out into the sunrise at twenty after six this morning was a good thing.  Eight hours later I was ready to be finished, however.  This was all because of the Neighboring State.  The Neighboring State that went on and on and on, full of orange construction barrels and scenery just like home.  And more construction barrels.  And more soybean fields. And more construction barrels. 

Eventually, however, Lake Erie came into sight.  To me this signaled a change of scene, the real beginning of a new place, and the start of adventure.  Just east of Buffalo I spotted the first Tim’s sign I’d seen in a year, followed by an overpass with yarn bombing on its fence.  Things were definitely looking up. 

Now I’m settled in for the night in the Genesee Valley, I’ve found a local coffee and panini shop just across the parking lot from my hotel for supper, and I’ve got a date with my Kindle and an early bedtime.

Alice on Her Way

Day 303

This morning was the annual fifth grade breakfast.  It’s almost like a graduation, but each student doesn’t get a diploma; it’s more of a group sendoff to middle school.  I give out certificates to my library helpers for the year and the classroom teachers give out other awards.

Alice, my most devoted library helper, has health issues and must stay inside for recess.  Because of this she has been extraordinarily faithful in helping with first grade classes and library tasks during that time.

Alice loves the library and library work so much that her teacher likes to say she’s my “Mini-Me.”

Intelligent, mature, well-behaved, willing to work, yet still a bit of a kid inside:  Alice is that rare student that comes along only once every few years that you wish you could teach for her entire school career, guide into college, and befriend as an adult as well.  Today I got to publicly thank her for her devotion to the library and coincidentally express birthday wishes at the same time.

I’ll miss her.


The Library Card

Day 277

“Ever since we had arrived in the United States, my classmates kept asking me about magic carpets.  ‘They don’t exist’ I always said.  I was wrong.  Magic carpets do exist.  But they are called library cards.”

-Firoozeh Dumas, Laughing Without an Accent


This weekend I did something I haven’t done in a while.  I sat down to read a book.  Not for work.  Not in bits and pieces over a month.  Just a library book.  Just for me.


Absolutely Normal Chaos

Day 271

    • Vicki was out today
    • I told a fifth grader to stop hopping like a kangaroo
  • Our fourth grade ADHD swearer/spitter/harasser was nonstop LOUD
  • A third grader is angry at me because she put off getting a biography for three weeks and wound up with Sam Adams
  • The student I’m supposed to walk down the stairs to lunch (depth perception issues) insisted on waiting for her invisible friend to catch up with us
        • Our second-grader-going-on-three-year-old threw a real-for-sure tantrum in the library complete with stomping feet and crying
        • Two first graders managed to actually leave the building en route from speech to the library
        • And to top it all off the kindergarteners locked me out of my office

Seriously, if this was normal chaos, I’d have run screaming from the building, gotten in my car, and headed for Canada by now.

Running Out of Time

Day 121

I need some elves to help with the Christmas knitting.  No way was I going shopping.  I can buy online, but free time to knit is more precious than those insane crowded sales.

The book:

This is a great thrill ride for those preteens for whom The Hunger Games is a little too mature and violent.  Jessie lives in an experimental site that she believes to be a mid-nineteenth century American village.  When disease strikes and she learns the truth she must escape and bring help to the rest of the village while negotiating the modern world she has never encountered.  A nonstop pace, high suspense, and a complex ending make this one  a winner.