Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Littlest Owl

This week, the book fair is set up at our school. The kids have been super excited to go shopping for books. They each got to fill out a wish list and bring money and buy (somewhat over-priced) Scholastic books, posters and school supplies.

We have a family in our school with lots of kids. Several of them walk to school each morning and stretch from Kindergarten to 4th grade, the youngest brother is still in preschool. They eat free lunch and breakfast, they get free food from our district backpack program. This is not a family with a lot of money. Especially not for things like book fairs.

Today, I went to visit my mailbox and inside there was a little owl eraser with a note. My principal had written, "Charity wanted you to have this." When I realized who the little eraser was from, my heart completely melted.

The youngest girl of the family is in 1st grade. She had only a handful of pennies to spend at the book fair. She spent her only fifty cents to buy me an owl eraser.  I cannot even think about this sweet gesture without crying. Today, I am going to buy her any book she wants from the book fair.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Saying Goodbye.

When my dad called at 4:00 a.m. Monday morning to tell me that my grandpa had passed away during the night, I had actually already prepared myself to hear those words. Of course you can never truly be ready to let someone go, but he had been in the hospital for several days and I had a feeling that he might not go home.

When I visited grandpa Bob last week, the first visit was over an hour. It was a good visit. He wasn't feeling well, his stomach was hurting, but the conversation was good. We talked about all sorts of funny things.

We talked about when he was in the army and he go to go to New York City and he went to the Radio City Music Hall to see the rockettes.

He actually told me three jokes. (But for some reason, I can only remember two of them right now).

In church, a preacher said, 'Now who here has enemies? And every one raised there hand except for one grouchy old man. The preacher asked again, raise your hand if you have enemies in this world? Again, everyone but the old man raised his hand. So the preacher called him out, "You mean to tell me that you don't have any enemies?" The old man replied, " Nope. I've out lived them all."

In Tennessee, a hillbilly died and his family was sitting on the front row of church. The preacher was standing up at the podium talking about the "Wonderful, loving, kind, generous good father who they were laying to rest that day." The mom looked over at her oldest son and said, "Go up there and look in the casket, and make sure it is your daddy in there."

He was the grandpa I have the most memories spending time with. He always let us kids sit on his lap and 'drive' down the old Missouri dirt roads. He always took us out in the spring, to pick the beautiful daffodils, peonies and little purple wild flowers for grandma. We would bring them home in a big handful and she would put them in a vase of water like they were the prettiest bouquet she had ever seen.

He would always take us fishing in the summer. We would take a rod, with a bobber and drop it over the edge of a bridge on an old country road and fish for tiny perch and goggle eye. If they were big enough, or if we caught a stringer full, we would take them home and grandma Pat would fry them up. He even bought some old cane fishing poles--those were much harder to use.

Grandpa loved going to the flea markets and finding treasures. He bought me the coolest old type writer that had its own special suitcase. He would buy horseshoes for my cousin Stevie. He would buy books, toys, all sorts of things.

For Easter one year, Grandpa Bob brought me 3 baby chicks. I raised them as babies until they were full grown. Eventually, two of them got eaten either by a hawk or a coyote, but the little fuzzy yellow one grew into a beautiful, white, egg-laying hen that I called Jean.

When Grandma and Grandpa lived out on the farm, my cousins and I would sleep on a big pallet on the floor, play in the hay loft, jumping onto an old mattress down below. We would go exploring in the outfields, and we would climb the big mimosa trees in the front yard.

When they moved to town, we would stay sleep on the divan, ride bikes in the alley, and play on an old tire swing (in the shape of an elephant) in the yard. One time, the tornado sirens started going off and my brother and I were at Grandpa's house all alone. He made us go down to the basement. It was scary.

When I was in college, I injured my back and I could hardly walk. It was grandpa Bob who drove down from Carthage to pick me up and take me to the doctor. He was there for me when I really needed someone.

My grandpa Bob was one of the sweetest, kindest grandpas ever. While I was visiting him he told me how proud he was of me.  He even bragged to the nurses about my award. When he mentioned that I had 'grow-ed up to be pretty' the nurse responded, "Yes, she is just gorgeous." When the nurse walked out he said "Now, I haven't ever used the word gorgeous because I didn't want you to get a big head, but now that nurse said it, I only say you are pretty."

My grandpa Bob loved little children, and animals. He had a cat named Clancy and oh gosh when I was little they had a little dog named Tippy (You can read about Tippy+Grandpa+Peanut butter easter egg here). 

Monday I was driving and that song by Dave Mathews called Satellite came on the radio, and it made me really sad.  I started thinking about how my grandpa  had retired just as my grandma got really really sick. He spent his first months of retirement caring for her. And then she died. And he was alone. And now he was with her again.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Gah! Has it really been almost a month since I posted anything?!

My school work has been consuming every single day. Most days I get to school between 6:50-7:05. Sometimes I have a bus duty that starts at 7:05 and some days I have breakfast duty at 7:30 so if I can get there a half hour early, it really helps me--I have lots to set up and clean and organize and the extra time in the morning helps. A bunch of teachers have started working out with some short DVDs after school. This is so nice because I can get my workout done by 4:00! But that also means I am not working in my room from 3-4 like I did last year. I need to get motivated to stay and work in my room after working out, otherwise I will never feel caught up.

This year, I have really cut back my involvement in extracurriculars. Aside from a few social things here and there, I am not responsible for teaching or organizing lots of extra things. I feel so much less stressed and overwhelmed because I actually have more free time. Actually, I look back at all the  things I used to do and I wonder how I did not have more melt downs!

One of the main reasons I haven't been blogging is because my D5000 was stolen a few weeks ago. I am so mad at myself and the jerk who took it. I have been too depressed to blog--even though I've got plenty of iphone photos I could share.

My camera was stolen very late at night on Labor Day. The week that followed was one of the worst weeks I can remember. Nothing was going right that week. You can see my shoes that got destroyed by a black paint spill on Wednesday.

And I was trying to prepare a screen for a cool screen print and I just couldn't get the emulsion to work--even after 5 tries. On Friday, I was super excited for my Nelliepalooza retreat--but freakishly on my way I was caught in a scary storm. With high winds over 80 MPH, I had to pull over behind someone's house and then I had to use my best stunt car driving skills to dodge downed power lines and trees in the road. I even drove through the ditch to get to the campground.

When I arrived, the power was out! It stayed out all night, which meant that we were 'crafting' in the dark. The camp's water pump runs on electricity so I was worried we would have to cancel. Everyone was so nice---even though it was a very bad end to a very bad week. Saturday, the sun came up, the power was back on and it the horrible awful, no good week was over.