Tag Archives: #SOL18

Celebrating the signs of Autumn

18 Sep

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All the leaves are green
except for those on the tree
that stands sentinel
at the top of the street.
Its yellowing leaves
are the harbingers of Autumn.

There are other signs.
They appear most mornings,
announcing the change of seasons:
slippered feet on cold floors,
car lights turned on
for my dark drive to work,
jackets, worn to work, but
casually carried home
on warm afternoons.

Back to school
comes long before
Fall really begins
and I long to wear
tights and sweaters
and to feel the chill disappear
as I pull on my hat and gloves.

 

Thank you, Universe!

11 Sep

I may have mentioned my deal with the universe, the one where, if the Universe let me stay in 6th grade, I would go to Outdoor School this year and not grumble about it.

There were many reasons why I didn’t go last year. one of them had to do with compensation. Teachers had to be away from home for three nights, with no financial compensation and I was going to be out-of-pocket for Lucy’s boarding fees. All teachers were given was an additional personal day.

Yesterday, at my union meeting I found out that we are going to be remunerated for those three nights at a rate that made me cheer.

I have several months yet to think up the woodsy name I will put on my wood cookie nametag.

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Look out Outdoor School. Here I come!

Ode to Dandelions

30 Mar

I saw these dandelions (Scientific nameTaraxacum) on a walk. As I said the Latin name, the rhythm of O Tannebaum popped into my head. A new song was born.

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Taraxacum, Taraxacum,
How yellow are thy petals.
Taraxacum, Taraxacum,
How lovely are thy petals.
Your leaves are green and edible
Your roots grow deep – incredible!
Taraxacum, Taraxacum,
How yellow are thy petals.

Taraxacum, Taraxacum,
How yellow are thy petals.
Taraxacum, Taraxacum,
How yellow are thy petals.
You’re often called a noxious weed
Your seeds fly far – that’s guaranteed!
Taraxacum, Taraxacum,
How yellow are thy petals.

Taraxacum, Taraxacum,
How yellow are thy petals.
Taraxacum, Taraxacum,
How yellow are thy petals.
Kids turn you into crowns and chains
Then return home covered in stains!
Taraxacum, Taraxacum,
How yellow are thy petals.

Canine good citizenship

29 Mar

My hands were empty when I arrived home. Lucy was with me, but the poop bag I’d been holding was no longer with me.

Literal and figurative CRAP! I thought. I, who rail against people who don’t pick up after their dogs had left, had left my own pick-uppage behind.

There was nothing else to do. Poor Lucy looked confused as we went out once more, retracing the path we had just taken. Fortunately, the sun was out and there were sniffs to be sniffed and her perplexity was soon replaced by curiosity and interest at each blade of grass.

Before too long, a flash of pink appeared up ahead on the sidewalk.

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Ironic that I dropped it near someone’s trash cans.

With my goal in sight I urged Lucy forward a little more quickly until I picked up the offending bag. At that point, Lucy and I slowed down, enjoying a more leisurely pace as we completed our walk around the neighborhood on this beautifully sunny Spring Break day.

Senior moments

28 Mar

At 53, I was the youngest of the three women who met for lunch yesterday. We meet a couple of times a year for lunch and it is always a fun time for catching up but yesterday’s get together could have been a stanza from Billy Collins’ poem “Forgetfulness”.

“Wait,” I interrupted at one point. “When did they get a divorce?” About 10 years ago apparently. Did I forget that, or did I never know? I have no idea.

The whole meal was punctuated with expressions of forgetfulness.

“It’s on the tip of my tongue.”

“I don’t remember the name…”

“Oh, what’s that word?”

“It just slipped my mind,”

“My mind just went blank. What was I saying?”

What will we have to talk about when we are all in our 80s and 90s? I have no idea.

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Life with Lucy

27 Mar

Lucy's Nose

Lucy is a pretty low maintenance dog.

Although she doesn’t enjoy it, she will let me give her a bath.

She doesn’t enjoy nail trims either, but she will let me clip her toenails. All my other dogs tried to pull their paws out of my hand when I tried to trim their nails. Lucy keeps hers there and likes to eat the clippings. I let her. I figure it is the canine equivalent of biting her nails and it is her reward for cooperating.

The only thing she really hates is getting her ears cleaned.

As soon as I go to the cupboard where the ear cleaner is kept, she starts paying attention. When she sees the container, she tries to hide, so I generally try to act nonchalant, hiding the bottle behind my back. I will do a few other things before sidling up to her, ear cleaner, cotton rounds and hands still behind my back.

As soon as she realizes that I tricked her again, doggone it, she tries to bolt. But, I am a stealthy ear cleaner. I have her literally cornered on the sofa. There is no escape. She bears the indignity on the first ear and I can see the little wheels turning in her brain as I switch to the second. I block her so she can’t escape before she gets the other ear done.

When the ordeal is over she runs away, shaking her head and rubbing her ears on the floor and sofa. At this point I usually offer her a treat, followed by a walk. By the time we get home, I have been forgiven.

Spring Break

26 Mar

Spring Break is
staying up late Sunday night
and waking up
Monday morning
after the dog
whose needs must be met.

Spring Break is
a cup of coffee followed by
a pot of tea
left of the burner
to stay warm all day.

Spring Break is
watching the neighbors
climb into cars,
walk to the bus stop,
going to work
while you stay home.

Spring Break is
joy at the graded papers
left at school
so I can read and knit
and walk the dog
to my own drummer.

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March For Our Lives

25 Mar

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I ordered a shirt one size larger than normal, planning to wear it over my coat, praying that the rain would hold off.

It did, though it was cold and damp. I was glad for my hat and gloves as I waited for the bus that would take me downtown.

I was joined by a teenage boy, then by a senior citizen who was carrying a book entitled On Tyranny. I couldn’t help myself. I asked, “Are you going to the March?” The boy nodded and the senior citizen showed me the quote he had found in the book and typed onto the pages he had rolled up in his hands.

As thrilled as I was to have three generations at the bus stop, the bus had even more march goers. The air was positively humming with excitement and the bus kept filling. The driver asked people to “Move on back” more than once.  We were crossing over the Burnside Bridge when he announced that, because of the March, our bus route would be detoured for a few hours.

“Check to see if things are still detoured before going home,” he encouraged us, and added, “Stay safe and have fun!” The bus erupted into applause.

I met up with my colleagues and we milled about waiting for things to begin. A band, The Unpresidented Brass Band, played as we wandered reading the clever signs people held.

 

Before too long, the student leaders of the Portland March For our Lives got up on top of a truck to get things moving. We started and stopped a few times before we our momentum was sustained. I cheered on the woman who had volunteered to stand beside the single anti-everything protester, keeping him safe by guiding marchers around him, as he stood on the corner spewing all kinds of hatred.

People on the sidewalk cheered as we walked past. Some jumped off the sidewalk and joined the march. Despite the excitement and my joy at seeing so many people out, I had to hold back the tears. As much as I loved the clever, witty signs around me, my favorite signs were the ones made by young children. I loved them, but they broke my heart. Children shouldn’t have to carry signs like these.

We arrived at Pioneer Square, where the rally was to take place, quicker than I expected. But the rally didn’t begin. people were still coming, And coming and coming. The line stretched endlessly in both directions.

As we waited for the march to end and the program to begin, we encountered people we knew and pointing out more clever signage to each other. Near the end, I saw another sign that just about undid me.

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Corn v. Flour

24 Mar

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The first tortilla I ever ate was in Antigua, Guatemala and it was a corn tortilla. I stayed in Guatemala for a month, learning Spanish and ate tortillas almost every day. Each and every one was a corn tortilla.

That first impression has shaped my world view. I always chose corn tortillas over flour, if given the choice. Alas, the choice isn’t always given. If you are a fan of flour tortillas, let me tell you some reason why you should switch to corn.

First, corn tortillas came first. Mesoamericans ate corn tortillas over a thousand years ago. Flour tortillas are an innovation the Spanish devised because they thought corn wasn’t a fit product for humans. Although flour tortillas roll better for burritos, corn tortillas are more authentic.

According to Prevention.com, the online version of Prevention Magazine, corn tortillas are better for you. Made only with corn and water, they have fewer calories,  more fiber, and less salt than flour tortillas. It might surprise you to know that, despite corn’s sweetness, flour tortillas have more sugar.

Spring Break started for me yesterday and one of my gals is to make my own corn tortillas. If it goes well, I might have another slice of tortillas.

 

 

Customer service matters

21 Mar

I set my alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual so I could arrive at the Toyota dealership early enough to get a good spot in line. Although I was fifteen minutes early, I was third in line.

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Once I was in the building, the check in process was quick. John, my service agent, was friendly and efficient.

“I see you are due for an oil change soon, ” he said. “Do you want us to take care of that today?”

“Can you?” I replied. “I already have an oil change appointment next week. Could you cancel that one for me?”

” Of, course!” he responded. “Is the 964 number still the best number to contact you?” he asked, checking my cell phone number. “I sometimes leave a voice message if the repair is large, but will send a text whether or not I leave a voicemail.” Then he got me set up for the shuttle that would take me to work. I was in and out in 20 minutes.

My shuttle driver was a retired teacher – they are everywhere. We had a lot to chat about but mostly talked about how the school district has changed and grown over the last decade.

As promised, I had a text from John a few hours later. Good news! A small leak and it would only cost $60!

The same driver picked me up. She was running late and called me to let me know.  I didn’t mind. It was a beautiful afternoon so I sat at the front of the school in the parent pick-up area. Several staff members joked about my mom running late as they left for home. I basked in the sun, taking off my coat and rolling up my pant legs for a little vitamin D.

Before long my driver arrived and she thanked me for my patience. I laughed. It wasn’t a struggle to sit and enjoy the Spring sunshine.

As she pulled up to the service entrance, she said, “I really enjoyed talking with you.” It had been another nice conversation.

Once again, John was quick and efficient. I joked about the age of my car. He smiled and said, “It is in great shape, though.”

I drove home happy at my experience and relieved that the check engine light was finally out.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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