Spring. . .

Long before I moved to Houston–back when I was still at Harding, I recall a native Houstonian saying there is nothing like spring in Houston. I didn’t quite believe her. We were in Searcy–and spring on the Harding campus is truly a sight to behold–grass so green it hurts your eyes to look at it, dogwoods in creamiest white and frilliest pink, cool, fresh nights, warm days, beauty as far as the eye can see–not to mention the one-of-a-kind Harding swing.

So REALLY. . . what could be pretty in Houston, Texas??? Megalopolis of crime and traffic and smog. How dare she?

Alas, she was right. . .and the traffic and crime and smog as well as unchecked urban sprawl are all still here–but so is spring–and spring in and of itself is wonderful enough to even make Houston seem like the greatest place on earth.

We had a jumpstart to spring in January (when the wisteria began to bud). . .then another teaser early in February (when the tulip trees began to bloom). Both were followed by extreme cold weather that made wisteria and tulip tree alike rue the climate in which they had been planted. But now it’s the real deal. . .there will still be some chilly weather with which to contend. It is, after all, only the eve of March. But since March officially starts tomorrow, it’s not so obscene to enjoy the lovely weather. In February it’s just wishful thinking, but in March it’s full-flown reality.

One of my favorite scriptures of all time is the covenant God made with Noah after he and his family made it out of the ark.

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8:22

I am not a person who enjoys change–I don’t think the large majority of the human race does–but seeing as how our lives are full of changes we don’t like, don’t choose, and don’t want, I find it an incredibly loving act that God set in motion the change of the seasons. Change that we enjoy–that we look forward to–that we need.

So–it’s spring time in Houston. There are no dogwoods here–grass will enjoy some green before the unbearable heat of summer arrives–but one thing Houston does that puts Searcy to shame is azaleas. . .I’ve never seen anything like how they grow here–great big bushes of azaleas–azaleas that make you weep at their beauty.

Yep, it’s spring. Stock up on the Clarinex, and the Kleenex, and enjoy the smell of fresh cut grass as everyone takes to their yards to soak up the weather. “And while you’re out enjoying the sunshine, give a little thought as to just who’s sending it down to you.” (from the movie Pollyanna).

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“J-O-Y, J-O-Y, this is what it means. . .”

Despite the popularity of Monday as the worst part of the week. . .I choose Sunday evening. That’s right–Sunday evening is my least favorite part of the week–but only during the school year. During summer vacation I love it. There is no overhanging event of going back to work in the morning–or things left undone that you intended to accomplish but didn’t quite tackle. Monday hangs afresh over the horizon, and you can just go at it again tomorrow.

But during the school year, all those things that didn’t get done have to wait until Saturday. And lately on Saturday, I’ve had a rather lengthy nap after sleeping in. . .and another nap on Sunday afternoon. . .the week with all of it’s “to do” list wears me down to the nub. I have been even more tired this year despite the greatest of efforts to eat better and drink lots of water and lots less diet Coke. . .I still end up just tuckered out. . .and I spend Sunday evening not looking forward to any of it.

So there’s the rub–and the whine. Time to get over it for another week–or atleast until next Sunday night which is the first night of Spring Break–a little taste of summer. . .then only 8 school weeks until REAL summer and atleast 9 weeks of enjoyable Sunday evenings. I will work on my attitude before then–but I know for sure I’ve got that to look forward to. . .plus spring is here which leads to all sorts of radical behavior at my house.

This morning a guy named Bob Miranda was talking about why we serve God and how we serve God and that it is to ALWAYS be with an attitude of joy. . .so I’ve decided that first thing at school tomorrow I am going to make myself several JOY posters. . .I have some huge letters at school that I can trace on to any fun, pretty paper I choose. . .and so I plan to place the word “Joy” in several strategic places in my classroom. I would prefer to actually make some huge scripture posters. . .but the Texas Education Agency would most definitely frown upon that. My 6th grade kids can think I’m a kook–I don’t care–it definitely won’t do any of us any harm–and it will MOST definitely do me some good.

A load of whites with one red shirt OR Friendly pats on the sunburn of life.

Didn’t realize I hadn’t written since Monday–I’ve been enjoying other’s writings, and it’s been a great big ‘ole busy week–not home until 7:00 last night. . .5:30 tonight. So there is no concensus to my thoughts–here’s the mix. . .

My day practically began by me having to take a 6’4″ (I’m not even kidding) 8th grader who had pushed a 6’0″ 8th grader and sent him sprawling spred eagle across the floor in front of the office. (This in a building with two pregnant teachers and one woman on chemo and radiation for cancer. They never stop to consider the consequences.) I was just a deperate teacher who needed to potty (trying to drink more water, you see), and had to go to two different ones (both occupied) before I headed to the one in the office. . .I hauled them both into the a.p. the bigger one stating that entire time that he was “just playing.” (“Playing” is a HUGE past time and band-aid for all misbehaviors in Jr. High.) After I wrote the immediate referral up, I read it to Rojilio. At first he said that he DIDN’T push Rogerell, that he tripped and fell into Rogerell. I said, “I thought you were just playing.” Then he took umbrage to the fact that I stated he had “pushed Rogerell with both hands” and said, “I only pushed him with one hand, Miss.” To which I replied, “I thought you just tripped and fell into him.” No need to quibble however, the video camera (one of 25 in our building) caught it all. *SIGH* Too many thoughts on the sad state of affairs that our building alone is in need of 25 cameras and will try to remember that we DEFINITELY need christians in public schools–but I will admit that during our required-by-law moment of silence, I asked God to keep me and my family (3 of us are in those public schools) safe. This all took place in the five minutes between classes, so I had a room full of kids with no teachers–more unthinkable consequences. . .

The rest of the day was good–random act of kindess for the a.p. office staff and our discipline management class teacher–bought them all a round of $.99 large Sonic soft drinks before 11:00 for having to deal with the Rojilios and Rogerells of the world on a daily basis–in particular due to my observation of their behavior on this day. Then classes that have settled into the nice phase of the year–we’ve been together long enough for them to get my jokes and know when I mean business, but we aren’t quite sick of each other yet.

Then after school tutorials and Wal-Mart and home and dinner and baths.

We have a maid come once every two weeks (this took a LOT of convincing for Tony–but is necessary if we are to not catch a disease from our showers alone). She hadn’t done the greatest of jobs this time, so I had to call her. I felt like I’d shot a puppy. Then, AFTER I’d complained about the grease left on the stove and the strings on the carpet and the grunge by the front door, it dawns on me that I forgot to leave her money on the table. Apologies for that to Alma over the phone. . .do I need to get any more supplies I ask? Yes–she enumerates them for me–see you in two weeks. At which point I go into the kitchen to hang up the phone–and Tony hands me a note and says, “Alma left this for you.” On it is a list of the supplies that she needs and the fact that I didn’t pay her. Did he not SEE the aqua blue note under his elbow? Did he not HEAR the phone call? I just swallow any possible retorts along with some crow.

Thad is having a friend for a sleepover tomorrow night–the first such event in our home. . .not even Victoria has had a sleepover friend before. Thad came home CONVINCED that Dayne needed to spend the night–and since Dayne’s mommy is also Victoria’s librarian at school, then we sealed the deal and Dayne is coming over tomorrow night. We’ll see if he makes it all the way to bed time. Thad, being one of the sweetest boys on the face of the planet, graciously said, “Why of toyse you can, Victoya.” when she asked if she could sleep on his floor tomorrow night so she could be part of the sleepover too. I found this especially poignant since the reverse would most definitely NOT have happened.

So, Victoria and I will try to work on our scrapbooks some–so much to drag out into my mostly clean home, but it will give her an “event” as well–besides sleeping on a pallet on Thad’s floor.

Well, that feels much better now–not feeling so uptight and high strung. And if you made it to the end of this, you are a true friend indeed.

“Guilty pleasures. . .”

Here’s my list for today alone. . .

*Homemade corn chowder–homemade by me that is

*Hugging my children until they pretended their eyes popped out (with sound effects, “Bloop, bloop”)

*Watching “Auntiques Road Show” as I unloaded the dishes

*Actually using my new yoga mat and book since I gave up my yoga classes (this is hard to do with a 4 1/2 yr. old boy creating new yoga moves and a 7 1/2 yr. old perfectionist who cried when she couldn’t do “cobra” the way I did it)

*Taking a very long very hot shower that almost depleted the water heater–which didn’t matter since no one else cared to bathe at 9:30 p.m.

*Reading Sarah’s blog

*Reading some of Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach

*REALLY cold ice water way too late at night

Any that you would like to add?

That’s the way the cookie crumbles. . .

Tonight we served our time at the Girl Scout Cookie store. Now, it’s cold in Houston, Texas tonight, folks, and it was incredibly cold outside of the Kroger at Hwy. 6 and West Rd. Misty, windy, cold. And our cookie store was from 6:00-8:00, so it was dark too. But the girls loved it. They loved playing and being out late and accosting the unsuspecting Kroger customers with their cuteness. Our whole family was there–Thad even tried to drum up some business for his sister.

Now we are home–thawing–the kids are up late (for them), and seeing as how none of us had dinner before we went, we are eating Wendy’s burgers and fries way past time for adequate digestion. There’s a fire in the fire place, Olympics on channel 2, and I have two movies in my purse for Tony and me to watch once the kids are in bed. We will be tired when it’s time to get to class in the morning, but the evening’s contentment–happy family in a happy home full of dinner that I didn’t have to cook OR clean up after–is well worth it.

Time to go see who is winning the down hill ski races.

First of all. . .

I have two blogs in my brain tonight–but neither go with the other. . .so here’s the first.

I wrote to my friend Sarah earlier today to tell her of my impending pedicure after school. I have a co-teacher who likes me. She likes me so well that she bought me a pedicure for Christmas. I was ready to go today, so I made my appointment last night. Now I’ve only had ONE professional pedicure in my life time, and that was when Victoria was just a few months old–another Christmas present. Seeing as how I had never before had a pedicure, lots of friends told me about the sheer luxury I was about to encounter–especially the leg massage. I was very concerned about making a good impression on the pedicurist, so I shaved my legs during my shower that morning in order for them to be silky smooth.

Big mistake.

No one informed me, during all of their exhaultations, that some lady would be rubbing my freshly shorn legs with peppermint exfoliating scrub. I just about came out of the vibrating massage chair. . .but being a newby to pedicures figured that would be bad form. So I sat there and took it–and wasted a perfectly good massage.

With that 7 year old memory still VERY fresh in my brain, I proceeded to live by Sarah’s grandmother’s axiom, “If only one of us can be happy, it may as well be me.”
My legs were day old stubbley this afternoon as I left for my pedicure. (Maxine, by the way, would never have had a pedicure with stubbley legs.) The little Vietnamese lady would just have to deal with it. . .I was QUITE sure she’d seen worse than me.

Well, the ENTIRE time she was giving me the pedicure–she was speaking to another gal who was giving me a manicure (I sprung for that) in Vietnamese. I imagined they were discussing either my very hairy legs or my incredibly scaly feet. Those imaginings were fueled not once, but twice, by the pedicurist commenting on my arm hair (my brother used to refer to me as the Hairy Beast) and my eyebrows (which, by the way, Maxine told me on more than one occasion that she was intensely jealous of –or, now that I come to think about it, maybe she commented on my “gorgeous eyebrows” in order to draw my attention to how bushy they are.) Below are the conversations I had with my most recent pedicurist. . .

“You have lot arm hairs. You want me wax your arms?”

“No ma’am.”

“Very hairy.”

“Yes ma’am. I just have lots of hair. I have lots of hair on my head to.” (I REALLY do.)

“Hair on head good. Hair on body, not so good.”

Five minutes later. . .

“You want me wax your eyebrows?”

“No ma’am. I’m fine with those too.”

Some head shaking as she used a scrubbing stone on my heels.

Now either she was just trying to sell her talents in the waxing department, or she was trying to usher me into a much needed state of hairless existence–one which I am most unwilling to keep up seeing as how it doesn’t bother my husband. . .and I’m not a big fan of pain.

So I was completely paranoid the entire time about my stubbley legs–and laughing at what a big kick Tony would get out of her comments regarding my arms and eyebrows. This time the massage wasn’t totally wasted–and I have some lovely red toenails to boot. But next time in addition to stubbley legs, I’m going to have to take a tougher skin too. (And not just on my feet.)

Why didn’t I say that?

I enjoy a good quote–a good song lyric–any way of putting words together that brings a laugh or a thought or a brainstorm. Earlier this week I ran across some of my favorites that I had sent to friends. I sent them again–to the same friends. Some things bear repeating. My favorite of the bunch is. . .

“If you can’t be a good example — then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”

-Catherine-

I find this particularly amusing for the sheer fact that I am quite sure I serve as both to the same person; namely my daughter. Her “good example” and her “horrible warning” all rolled into one convenient Mommy. When she was in kindergarten she made a “good Mommy” award for me. Now, Victoria makes me things all of the time, but this particular award still hangs on the wall next to the calendar–not because I deserved it, but because in her new phase of writing skills she accidentally wrote “God Momey.” I do not in any way shape or form equate myself to God–on the contrary. But it remains where I can see it daily because I find it to be a constant reminder that that is precisely the type of Momey I should strive to be–one that looks like God.

I don’t often fit the bill of “God Momey”–and that is another reason I love the quote from Catherine. On more than one occasion in my life I have wondered exactly WHY I have been saddled with certain people as family members, work peers, acquaintances, students. My first realization of this was with someone I have a lot of contact with. I wondered and pondered why God would have brought such a person into my life. Then I realized–this is an example of the type of person I DON’T want to be, but have the potential to become. My very own “horrible warning.” Almost every person I would classify as a “horrible warning” has mannerisms, habits, quirks painfully close to my very own. So they serve as reminders of how I DON’T want to be. I love them–because I have to–because I need to–because God wants me to. And I learn from their example. And I am thankful for God bringing them into my life.

On my better days I hope I serve as Victoria’s “good example.” On my worse days I’ll have to settle for also serving as her “horrible warning.”

The rest of the quotes–for those of you who need a laugh (and who doesn’t)–are listed below. Enjoy, and feel free to share your own favorites. . .

“I refuse to think of them as chin hairs. I think of them as stray eyebrows.”

-Janette Barber-

“Old age ain’t no place for sissies.”

-Bette Davis-

“Every time I close the door on reality, it comes in through the windows.”

-Jennifer Unlimited-

“I try to take one day at a time — but sometimes several days attack me at once.”

-Jennifer Unlimited-