* Long Story, Short

Long Story, Short spells d-o-o-m for my bogging posts.  This is one area where blogging and reality coincide.  I have three versions of any story (or any thought, for that matter):  one for my dearest teaching widower (his preference being 10 words or less), one that struggles to include no more than 4 tangential topics, and the Real Deal, an unscripted, spider-webbing marathon.  The latter version is best shared with family, who are forced to love you, or good friends, who then take a turn with their own Long Story, Short.

Don’t get me wrong.  Some folks can actually tell a Long Story, Short.  Our son and his wife both fall into that rare category.  I’m so glad they are forced to love me.  When I started blogging, my posts were typically 1,000+ words, paralleling my conversational “skills.”  The only people who read them were spammers, but in my naivete, I thought they were similarly challenged folks who enjoyed reading my blog.  When i clicked on their links, I ended up in boat manufacturing and cosmetics, with nary a story to be found.

The key to my success as a blogger?

No, I’m not using a picky definition of ‘success.’

* Cees’ Oddball Challenge

OK, I should “win” Cee’s blogging challenge because I’m already an oddball, even without a photograph.  Or you could say I am a divergent thinker with ADD.  Or you could say I have a split personality.  I mean, how on earth did this photo happen?  Seriously, folks, I did not photoshop it or alter it in any way.  My dearest widower will confirm that he took the photo as I kept saying, “Push the button!  Push the button!”  Of course, iPhone buttons can’t be pushed, so perhaps that explains it.  After watching 2 episodes of “People of Earth,” I might consider this my alien abduction experience.  It reminds me of the old double exposure days of film-in-a camera.  Yikes.

me 1.JPG

Wait, wait, wait!  I do remember what happened!  Wow.  It’s all so clear now.  We were trying to film a fourth of July family video for one of my students.   The four of us were playing a board game and I pulled out my camera, not really asking anyone if we could make a quick video.  I set the camera on video, handed the phone to my teaching widower, and as he fumbled with it, I admit my voice got higher and louder as I said, “Push the button!  Push the button!”  (As a former Brit, I was thinking, “Push the bloody button!”)  He said something odd about pans and I snatched the phone back.  It was on Pano setting and he did push the bloody button after all.  The photo above is me, thinking, “Push the bloody button!”  And yes, we did get a video made after we stopped laughing hysterically at pans and Pano[rama].

* Clutter: another lesson in belief

“I am not a hoarder!  In fact, I am quite organized.”  I can see your eyebrows rising in disbelief.  Yeah, we have an uncontrolled junk room, tons of closets stuffed to the brim, and every drawer and shelf in the house is packed.  But that clutter is not hanging over my head, as of a day ago.  My dearest friend, who shared her “A-student” story, has inspired me to ignore the whispers of “clutterer.”  Those shelves and shelves of teaching supplies?  Their days are numbered.  Today I filled up 2 bags of clothes for the thrift shop.  Whee!

In the past, in a far away land, my cleaning binge radar was firmly fixed on my dearest teaching widower’s clutter.  In fact, my own stacks seemed to disappear as I grunted and glared at his piles of paper, pounds of erasers shavings (he writes by HAND), and random books, paper clips, dead staples, and wine-stained napkins.  My displaced clutter-righteousness had no bounds, kinda like my own messes.  Poor guy.  But NO MORE!

junk 2

 

The New Me does not need to focus on my dearest widower’s writing detritus.  I don’t need to accomplish a clutter-free environment today or tomorrow or within a month.  I don’t feel intimidated by what needs to be done.  I want to do a little every day.  How obvious, you say.  It’s not rocket science.  But until I heard the A-Student story, I was crushed under the weight of clutter.

With my confident belief and God’s grace, along with a dearest friend to whom I can be accountable, the era of clutter in this house is over.  I am so excited!  In fact, this will be my “before” photo:

junk 3

* Syllable talk

I just completed a reading evaluation of a home-schooled student who has all the skills he needs except one: recognizing/identifying syllable rules.  As students move into upper elementary grades, rules for syllabication become increasingly vital.  This kiddo is now reading to learn, not learning to read.  He may use context effectively but still stumbles over unfamiliar words with multiple syllables.  If this student were dyslexic, he’d be crippled without an early introduction to syllable types.

I have found that most folks are not passionate about syllables.  My family groans when I start a lunchtime conversation about open or closed syllables.  But what about this?  I paid a middle school student to learn syllable types one summer and he gained a couple of years’ growth in reading.  AND he was no longer a behavior problem at school.  My dearest teaching widower is resigned to the reality that we sometimes pay students to learn.  But since finances are a topic I avoid like the plague, money and syllable rules are off the table for lunchtime conversations.  Hey, anyone want to talk about the schwa?

schwa happens.jpg

Get your schwa shirt at Wilson Language- a terrific site for reading teachers.

* TToT

How little time I take to be thankful!  I’m better than I used to be, but this Ten Things of Thankful blogging challenge is good for my soul and spirit.  Here we go:

  1.  The kiddos are here, 8 of them tonight, playing on various devices and eating endlessly.  I’m grateful for their humor (“I’m just teasing, Aunt Katharine”), their enjoyment of one another, and all the Beatles’ songs we’ve heard tonight.  One niece has perfect pitch, which is truly amazing to a tone-deaf person like myself.
  2.  We are far over the year’s average of rainfall, which keeps all the plants growing so deer can snack on the yard.
  3.  The rain also brings mold, so we are FINALLY getting our house pressure washed.   The mold must be worse than I thought, because my dearest teaching widower suggested the washing.  That leads me to #4:
  4.  I call it The Dead Man Theory, as my dearest widower could step over a dead man on the kitchen floor and not notice.  The good news is that he has never once been critical of my multiple stacks of paperwork.  I have not been as generous towards his debris.
  5.  I’ve been given some awesome chocolate this week.  Ooh, pure pleasure.
  6.  We had a fabulous women’s event last night at church.  Designer desserts, candles flickering, a jazz trio humming.  Wow.
  7.  I still have more chocolate to eat!!
  8.  My foot is healing well.  It could have gone south, but that compression boot and tons of prayer did the trick.
  9.   I’ve run out of things so…
  10.  I saved the best for last.  Tomorrow is Father’s Day and I am married to the best father I’ve ever met.  He is gentle, patient, wise, and unselfish.  Wait!  Another one!
  11.  Speaking of patient, my dearest widower stopped the car so I could take a photo of a most beautiful sunset.  Sadly, my iPhone doesn’t capture the gorgeous colors, but who gets tired of admiring sunsets?                                                                                                           sunset.JPG

* Another winner from Josie Two Shoes

If you appreciate wisdom with brevity, check out Josie Two Shoes‘ latest post: Shake It Off.  Josie is following Zoe at Uncharted for the Six Sentence Stories‘ blogging challenge.   I might try my hand at those sentences, but I can hear my dearest blogging widower saying, “Katharine, have you finished that other online course?”

Be adventurous and click those two little links.  You won’t be disappointed!

Anne Frank

Anne Frank:  “I can shake off everything as I write, my worries disappear, my courage is reborn.”  You can purchase this treasure from the Literary Fox on Etsy.

What a life quote from such a brave young woman.  G-d help us remember what happened to millions during those years.

* TToT again!

It’s bad news, good news this week.

#1.  Bad news: After a loooong week, I have been working on paperwork most of the day and my eyes are swimming.  Good news:  I finished a lot of it!

#2.  Bad news:  I lost October 2016.  I mean I lost my lesson plans for a student.  I have the digital version but no notes.  Good news:  I found October!  It was just incorrectly stapled.  More good news:  I threw away some clutter in the hunting process.

#3.  Bad news:  I have not been able to wean my foot from the compression boot.  Good news:  I said, “Whatever!” and tossed the heavy thing aside.  More good news: My foot has been fine all day.

#4.  Bad news:  I did waste a little time playing Mahjong today.   Good news:  I beat an expert level that had defied me for weeks.  Yes, the game was taunting me.

#5.  Bad news:  I did not get much accomplished with my online classes today.  Good news:  Tomorrow is another day.

#6.  Bad news:  My dearest teaching widower had to work all day, too.  Good news:  I was able to help him on a project without getting snappy.  Oh, right, I never get snappy.

#7.  Bad news:  I lied in #6.  Good news:  I only lied about never getting snappy.  I really did help him without getting snappy TODAY.  And I am running out of news, folks.

#8.  Bad news:  There is no sequel to the sequel of The Dying and the Dead.  Good news:  Sequel #1 was great and featured a brave young boy.

#9.  Bad news:  I may not finish the Color Your World blogging challenge.  Good news:  I can try again next year.  More good news:  I have a whole year to take more colorful photos!

#10:  Bad news:  I have nothing else to add.  Good news:  I did not gripe about the clutter in the house, the laundry that needs to be washed, or the pile of mulch in our driveway that needs to be spread somewhere, anywhere.  More good news:  I am reading a cool detective thriller called The Murderer’s Son by Joy Ellis.  A terrific read about a guy who thinks he is a serial killer.  Is he?  I don’t know yet but it will be fun to find out.  Mama was the Blonde Butcher.  Oh dear, what a legacy.

Have a great week, dear readers!

The Murderer's Son

* The Breaking Light

I hate romances.  Within a couple of pages of reading The Breaking Light, my romance detector was buzzing with alarm.  On the other hand, the book is also science fiction.  What a dilemma.  I kept reading and couldn’t stop.  After all, didn’t I fall in love with my dearest teaching widower at first sight, when we were teenagers?  That’s exactly what happens to the characters who star in this romantic sci fi adventure written by Heather Hansen.  Arden lives in the underbelly of a dark world, a city without sunlight.  Its inhabitants die from vitamin D deficiency.  She is a member of a gang whose reputation for brutality is well known.  Dade lives in the sun, the scion of a powerful ruler of the exclusive Towers, whose residents are determined to stay at the top.  The tipping point occurs when Dade’s father brokers a marriage for his son, who has just fallen in love with Arden.  The Breaking Light explores their Romeo-and-Juliet type of romance, where the stakes are equally high.

Breaking Light

The setting of this book is fascinating.  It’s a terraformed planet which was mined to supply the Old Planet, but no longer has any contact with that forgotten world.  The atmosphere is literally and figuratively toxic.  The author creates a believable city of intricate levels, built upon the foundation of old mines.  She also creates a futuristic technology of phasers, hovercraft, and synthetic skins.  The doomed inhabitants are kept prisoner by implants and “govies” who kill and torture without a qualm.

Heather Hansen skillfully explores the corrosion of lives, of both those who live in the sun and those destined to perish without it.  Arden and Dade are threatened on all sides, they kiss a lot, and I kept reading!  The book is a terrific read BUT the sequel won’t be available until next December.  I wonder if I could send Heather some chocolate or other bribe to speed up the process.

Definitely a 5-star read, with many twists and turns, lots of thrills and heartache, and above all, sacrificial love.

 

* TToT and A-Z: the letter D

In case you’re wondering what that odd title means, this is my Ten Things of Thankful post and I am using the letter D from the A-Z blogging challenge (yes, I have skipped C temporarily).  Be sure to check out Josie Two Shoes’ post and links to others who have posted their own Ten Things!

  1. Delightful, deer-proof flowers, waiting to replace the not-so-deer-proof stubs.sage
  2. Dearest teaching widower shoveling a place to plant the new flowers!                                      shoveling.JPG
  3. Dirt all ready!                                                                                                                                            dirt.JPG
  4. aDorable sage meadow that smells pungent and hopefully unattractive to Deer.
  5. Detritus from our neighbor’s huge sweetgum tree.  Love the tree but can live without the pods!                                                                                          detritus
  6. Don’t Break the Ice Game, perfect for Fun Friday with a special student!   Don't break the Ice
  7. Doodads in my hair for Wacky Hair Day at school this week!                                                         wacky hair day 1
  8. Delicious and nutritious snacks- yum!                                                                                               nuts 
  9. Disney movie that satisfied all the kiddos at our movie night: G Force.  And finally,
  10. DUH!  My son had to help me with Algebra 2.  Thank goodness for a math-savvy family!

* Sharing my world

Cee’s weekly Share Your World challenge comes courtesy of Ribbonr.com this week.  So glad I don’t have to think of these every week!  Here are the fun questions.

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?  Stay married and faithful.  I don’t take any credit for this.  When my dearest teaching widower met me, I was a total basket case.  I suffered from severe depression and anxiety, not to mention serious character flaws.  Instead of social skills, I had social anxiety and the mouth of a sailor. Without my husband’s tender love and the grace of God, we would not be together.

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?  I have been reading lawyer and criminal thrillers for the past year.  I have a bunch to review!  I also love science fiction, but that genre seems more difficult to write; I often ditch a book after a few chapters.

How often do you people watch?  Not so much.  I guess it goes back to my social weaknesses.  I bird watch, tree watch, flower watch. cloud watch, and deer watch (grrrr).

What have you only recently formed an opinion about?  Algebra!  I’m sharpening my skills as I prepare to teach middle school next year.  I’m much better than I thought, which is a relief (and which isn’t saying toooo much).  However, knowing a subject is not the same as teaching it.  I really need more tools in my math repertoire.  I’m taking an excellent online course to help in that arena:  Teaching Mathematics With Technology.  It’s not too late to join!

Friday Institute