* Sharing my world, 1 bug at a time

Cee has terrific blogging challenges and one of my faves is her Share Your World challenge.  If you don’t follow her site, you’re missing out on amazing photography and lots of connections with other bloggers.

Here are this week’s questions:

Do you ever sit on a park bench for more than ten minutes?  I don’t sit still outside at all.  My body is bug fodder.  Mosquitoes find me instantly.  I was bitten a few weeks ago while walking into the house with one hand exposed!  And you would not believe the number of mosquitoes that attacked me in southern Florida while I glistened with repellent.  I’ve had Lyme disease from two tick bites when I fell (only briefly) into the junipers next to our driveway; I was on crutches but got no sympathy from those critters.  I have never picked blackberries without a multitude of chigger bites, even with bug spray soaking my waist.

mosquitoe-

When you lose electricity in a storm, do you light the candles, turn on the flashlight or use your cell phone for light?  We haven’t had a major power outage for a few years but I have stocked up on LED lanterns.  Candles are pretty but useless for finding matching clothes.  And our flashlights barely flicker, probably because the batteries and bulbs are 20 years old.  I would rather use my phone for games.

Would you rather be given $10,000 for your own use or $100,000 to give anonymously to strangers?  Hmm.  I’d like to get out of debt- and my dearest teaching widower and I do our best to be generous.  The question reminds me of past prayers to win the lottery, which wasn’t in God’s plans.  We have been blessed in MANY ways and I hope we would do His will in either scenario.  My widower says maybe I have too many toys.  Come on!!  Is that even possible?  In this era of digital goodies?

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.  My dearest teaching widower, who works day and night on his training and research, is my inspiration.  I may be in here reading or playing and he’s in the sunroom, pacing, writing, and leaving piles of eraser shavings on the floor.  He’s an amazing guy, funny and faithful.  Always there for me, with his wise and gentle ways.  I adore him!

* The Wonder of Procrastination

What, me procrastinate???  On the Wonder League mission, of all things???  I blame some part of my brain that simply cannot measure or draw a straight line.  OK, here’s the deal: The Wonder League has a cool programming mission using the robot, Dash.  I’m good with programming.  I’m good with the fascinating mission.  But you have to create a mat, a 5 x 8 grid.  And since my student works from a fixed position in a special chair, I had to create a sturdy platform to hold that mat.  Hence my procrastination.

I did make a foam platform but I thought it was supposed to be 5 x 7 (click on the link to take a look).  I am not sure how that happened, because I triple-checked the dimensions.  Ha!  I also thought it would be safer to make the platform larger, so it became 7 x 7.   Oh dear!  I had bought shower curtains and miles of black tape to create the mat; to my chagrin (thankfully before I started fastening the plastic mat together), I discovered that it was to be 5 x 8.   I spent a couple of weeks re-cutting and re-gluing the foam platform, making several key errors which required MORE glue and Contac paper.

After the platform debacle, I was loathe to start the mat.  My dearest widower assured me I don’t have Alzheimer’s and that he would help me measure it.  I cried a few tears about my visual-spatial glitches but with my teaching widower’s faithful help, it’s all finished!  Woohoo!

 

Yeah, that’s the robot Cue, not Dash.  Cue the Cleverbot is AWESOME!  But let HIM try to make a mat….

* Looking down

Bad Things have been happening outside.  I am losing the battle.

First, the deer continue to use our yard as a feeding and parking station.  They leave raisins to mark their path up the driveway.

deer poop

You might wonder why the driveway looks so, um, marbled.  (Trust me, this is relevant.)  It’s because my dearest widower asked the pressure washer guys to remove the mulch stains.  Remember I tossed hundreds of pounds of mulch into our “natural area?”  Well, it might have improved the appearance of that natural area for a day or so, but it also triggered a vole invasion.  What’s not to love in soft, moist mulch?

mulch

So, the voles.  They have ruined one-third of our front yard, as of today.  Tomorrow- one half?  Everyday, there are new raised tunnels and piles of soil.  I bought these pellets that supposedly irritate their sinuses, but I feel too discouraged to use the stuff.  Plus, I have an aversion to watering (see below), which is necessary to activate the pellets.  Voles are quite admirable diggers, I have to admit.  You wouldn’t believe the amount of soil they’ve rumbled through.

As if voles weren’t bad enough, AT&T has been supposedly laying a new cable in the back yard.  All I can see is spray paint, wires, and more tunnels.  Perhaps AT&T hires voles.  I have a work crew ready and willing in the front yard, if need be.

The beautiful meadow sage, which is deer resistant, has not withstood the heat and relative drought.  Yes, I should have watered them, but the bloody mosquitoes attack me through my shirt and hair as soon as I step outside.

Vance, the Venus Flytrap, has given up the ghost.  I did accidentally spray him with insect repellent as I was venturing out, so that didn’t help.  The bug spray didn’t help me either, for that matter.

Overall, I’d say I’m a bit discouraged in my attempts to fashion a lawn.  No one else on our street has voles (I’ve looked).  Other folks sit outside in chairs without mosquito netting and clouds of repellent.  At least the deer are equal opportunity invaders.  Go deer!  Please.

* Sharing my world

I always look forward to Cee’s Share Your World blogging challenge.  Sadly, I’ve been an erratic blogger for a while….  OK, I will put that behind me and wordpress on!

I want to learn more about… so many things!  I love information of all sorts, which is why I am enjoying the Skelgill detective series so much.  It’s also why I love teaching; the field of research keeps expanding and instruction becomes integrally tied to what we know about neuroscience.

On a vacation, what you would require in any place that you sleep?  No roaches!  We spent a week at a beach resort years ago and as we were getting ready for bed, I saw this GIGANTIC roach on the wall above the bed.  My dearest widower mounted an energetic but futile attack.  (Did you know they can flip upside down and hang onto ledges like acrobats?)  My widower assured me it was gone for good but I whined, “What if it comes back and gets on my face?”  Once I had settled down, we fell asleep.  I awoke to a gentle touch of something crawling across my lips!  As it moved up my forehead, I shrieked and jumped up and down on the bed, trying to knock it off me.  My dearest widower quickly mounted a renewed assault and the bloody roach was smashed.  I can still feel it on my lips.  Such trauma!

What is your greatest extravagance?  Oh, that’s easy!  Yesterday I ate an entire giant Caramello bar in less than 5 minutes.  Yum!

What inspired you this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.   I teach a medically fragile student who endures more than any of us could possibly imagine.  (I do plan to share a LOT more about him pretty soon.)  This kiddo is courageous, determined, and gifted.  He can hardly speak, can’t use his limbs, and has multiple disorders.  I am inspired by his incredible effort, his empathy for others, and his wild sense of humor.  I am blessed to teach this youngster!

Hard hat day

His family enjoyed a Hard Hat Day as we worked on “construction” at Camp Wonderopolis!

* Ten Things of Thankful

Today I am grateful for endings and for new beginnings.  I am a bit subdued, feeling like an 18 wheeler got the best of me.  But thanks to Josie for her faithfulness in keeping this blogging challenge GOING!

One.   This migraine headache is finally relinquishing its hold.  I spent yesterday huddled in the darkness as my dearest widower brought me ibuprofen and Tylenol.  Yet another side effect from yet another statin drug.  Coming to an end, right?

 Two.  The necessary roofing repair, with its pounding and ladders and men of integrity, is also coming to an end.  I’ll miss the way they hung around….

roofer 2

Three.  We are finally tackling some overdue home repairs and cleaning.  The roof rot (above) was a serendipitous discovery after pressure washing the house.  See?  My pressure to get the pressure cleaning was a good thing!  I should remind my dearest widower.

Four.  The clutter in this house is coming to an end.  Baby steps.  No, tweener steps.

Five.   Our hot and humid summer is gradually coming to an end.  Temps dropped to the 80s this week (just for a day or two) and many trees are cutting their losses, with yellowing leaves gulping for water.

Six.  The new school year starts tomorrow!  My dearest teaching widower calls it the Great Everson Giveaway.  I wonder why he’s never as excited as I am.

Seven.  More awesome professional development classes start soon!  My dearest teaching widower asks me if this is what other “retirees” do.

Eight.  The fawns that have been parked on our hill are following mom to sample treats in other folks’ yards.  I know they will be back.  This evening.

Nine.  My dearest widower is shopping for clothes right now!  On his own!  Maybe this is the start of something new.  Maybe he’s an imposter.  He doesn’t think a shirt should cost more than $12.  Yes, it’s been that long since he ventured into a mall.  If I didn’t have such a headache,  I would have accompanied him to immortalize the expedition with photos.  Is this the end of online shopping?  Nope.

Ten.  I will copy The Wakefield Doctrine and leave this one for the special day when I don’t have a headache.  Whee!

 

 

* 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