Tuesday, September 30, 2014


The first spring my husband and I were married we planted a garden.  I continued to garden when our children were little and I was a stay at home mom.  When I returned to college to get my teaching certificate and even in my first several years of teaching we planted a garden and harvested beans, tomatoes and corn.  Ironically, the year we decided that the busy fall season of education and canning our produce just didn't work for us, I was laid off.   That year I could have easily preserved anything we’d grown.  By then our former garden was now reseeded to grass.
In past years several friends have offered us their excess tomatoes.  Some years I decline, but this year our friend Ron offered, and after refusing them, I changed my mind.  When we picked up the crate of tomatoes he had kindly included freshly picked eggplant, peppers and a red cabbage. 
I spent Monday night in the kitchen.  I reminded myself of how happy I’d be to have a shelf full of wonderful tomatoes.  I trudged off to bed far later than my usual ten p.m., glad I was able to finish the task in one night.  The tomatoes are now sitting pretty on a shelf in the basement.
The rest of the week was busy, with several meetings, an unplanned dinner out of town, and only one home cooked meal all week. Saturday, as I began cleaning I told my husband it must be fall; because I was sure we had a dead mouse.  We felt silly as we walked around the kitchen sniffing but he agreed it must be true.  The putrid smell couldn't be ignored.  We pulled out the stove and other than the shock of the filthy side of the stove -- nothing!  With the side of the stove now clean and the stove back in place Wayne headed off to the golf course. I wondered how difficult it would be to pull out the built in dishwasher, and did I really need to wait until he returned to do it? 

I continued to clean the kitchen; I moved the neglected cabbage still on the cupboard, thankfully before I pulled out the dishwasher.  Next year ALL produce will go in the fridge.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A New Year

At the end of the last school year I was told my pre-kindergarten class had been eliminated and I would be moving to third grade at another school.  That change did not happen.  I’m still in my same room and I’m back at the same Pre-Primary grade I’ve been in for the past four years. 
Even without the changes I’d been expecting this year started out crazy.  A new principal, late arriving and ever changing class lists, a new student on day two and another new one on day three, all made for a chaotic month.  I spent four days in August in math training and another two screening late registering families.  I also had hand surgery and catered a meal for my husband’s boss.  I’m now in week four of school and I need a vacation!
Last year’s class was the most challenging group I’ve ever had.  Several retired teachers assured me that a really tough class is always followed by the best group ever.  They were right.  While this group has academic challenges including two cognitively impaired children and a child who doesn’t speak, I’m relieved to say this class hasn’t stolen, there has been no destruction school property and we are missing the drama of two oppositional defiant children playing off each other, the class and the teacher.
As I watch last year’s group travel down the hall I just smile and thank God they’re heading for the classroom down the hall.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Raisin Bread

I was raised in a family of 5 children on a small farm.  Most Saturday mornings my dad would go to the local grain elevator.  Even as an adult I’m not sure what he did there.  Possibly he checked the prices on commodities, discussed farmer topics with other farmers; I do know he often bought supplies for our farm, and he purchased random grocery items my mother requested from town.  As children we occasionally went along but usually our Saturday mornings were spent cleaning the house in anticipation of Sunday.  On Sunday we went to church, Sunday school and had a huge lunchtime meal, we called “dinner.” 
Sunday breakfast often included the raisin bread my dad would have bought at the local store.  He loved the cinnamon and raisin loaf, he would man the toaster as the kids one by one would emerge from the bedrooms dressed in our finest and ready for church.  I now realize that he provided a breakfast that was quick, rather tidy to eat and did not require cooking or clean up on a busy morning.
In the cloud of grief that surrounded my sister’s death I found myself buying raisin bread, a treat I’d largely ignored in my own household.  In the seventeen years since her passing I’ve occasionally purchased the treat but not as frequently as I did during those sad days. 
The last in Friday in August, I scheduled my mammogram.  Yes, on my last day of vacation, before a busy holiday weekend I had an 8:00 appointment for my screening.  Since my sister’s passing at age 40 from breast cancer, my yearly exam is never postponed or ignored.  My planning time is different this year, so is my lunch break.  All week I’ve tried to respond to Tuesday’s call from the test result desk. 
The times I’m free to call they are “away from their desk, or on a call with another patient.”  I’ve had meetings after school, and they were gone for the day before I was home.  I was becoming increasingly impatient.  On Thursday I returned home late from my third day of school to find a letter from the hospital, asking me to schedule an ultrasound mammogram.  My new exam is scheduled for today, I’m trying to remember I’ve been through this before and it wasn’t cancer.  I’ve even had a biopsy, that wasn’t cancer either.  My head knows that, my stomach doesn’t

Since Friday night I’ve consumed a whole loaf of raisin bread.