I am trying to convince myself that we have turned a corner. It is now light when we arise at 6 a.m. I am no longer turning on lamps until after 5:30 p.m. It is my hope that the gloom of winter has passed. Today is bright and sunny, but still cold. The heater continues to run all day. I heard it come on numerous times last night. Frost every morning. But, and this is what I’m holding out for, high 60s and low 70s promised by next weekend.
There hasn’t been any rain for a few days so we are drying out. The big puffy clouds roll across the sky, but no precipitation has come from them here in the valley. The local mountains, however, got snow on Friday. It can snow until July in the hills for all I care, as long as the sun shines here. I am done, done, done with winter, and especially cold weather.
Today I wore my brightly colored giraffe jacket to church and received numerous compliments. I mentioned to one friend that I had worn it to brighten and cheer my mood.
“Oh, dear you are always so cheerful,” she replied.
“Not of late. Sad, depressed, glum. Those are the words describing me.”
She tsk tsk’ed and moved on to talk to someone else, probably someone a little more cheerful. Warm, sunny days will do so much to help lighten my mood. I’m counting on it.
Much of my time this week was spent setting up guest speakers for the sixth grade class at Columbia. I’ve been working with this class since last fall, and had just talked with the teacher about involving the students in a local competitive writing project when he mentioned that he would sure like to have more guest speakers. Did I have any ideas? So that’s how it all started. Yes, I had a few ideas. I have friends I can call on that would be willing to speak to a group of inner city kids.
This is a sort of payback for all the guest speakers I had during my 21-year teaching career. Then I was fortunate to have a partner who ran the “speaker’s bureau” for our department. She did the heavy lifting–calling, pleading, setting dates and times. Our department secretary did the followup calls and mailed the thank you notes that the students wrote. I merely prepped the students, welcomed the guest, and oversaw the letter writing afterwards. Easy stuff compared to the work to set up these speakers.
Facebook messages, texts, and emails flew around all week as I was the go-between for teacher and speakers. I’m still waiting for one more response and we are all set. The first speaker will arrive at 8 on Tuesday morning. He will talk about what it takes to get to college and be successful.
Included in these negotiations was the one I had with the principal about “swag” to give the speakers as a token of our appreciation. Turns out, the school really doesn’t have anything with its name on it. They are working on that. She offered tee shirts with the school logo. Okay, that will work. I’m packaging the shirt with some swag from the Police department and candied nuts from Fresno State University.
It poured rain all night. I could hear it lashing against the bedroom window. This storm is a bit colder than the previous ones. Maybe we’ll get more snow, less run-off. It’s the run-off that causes the flooding in our local foothill communities. However, the large amounts of water cause problems on the flat valley floor, too. Not only flooding, but causing trees to come down. The ground is soaked beyond capacity. We have now had over the normal amount of rainfall for an entire year. More rain is in the forecast.
It was raining at 5:15 when I first awoke. I could have gotten up had there been any need, but it’s a holiday, it’s raining, I’ve been up early and busy the last few days, so snuggling back under the covers and falling back to sleep seemed the best thing to do. We finally got up at 7:30 and I’ve started doing laundry. Laundry never takes a holiday.
I’ve not been to Columbia on a Tuesday, to check in with the older students, for two weeks. The cafeteria manager informed me they have been asking for me. My bag is packed with pencils, stickers, and books to hand out to various classes and kids tomorrow. I will eat lunch with the third graders who beg me every week to eat with them, but I have to leave to read to the first graders, my primary responsibility as school chaplain.
I’ve cleared my calendar for the next two weeks to be at Columbia on Tuesdays. Not only for the older kids, but because I have become friends with the librarian and she informs me that she hosts a parent coffee time each Tuesday morning and would like me to come. I would like that, too. There will be no sleeping late on those mornings, though, as her meet and greet starts at 8:30. It’s a good thing I’m retired.
I must make an addendum: Terry tells me this storm is very warm, a pineapple express storm blowing in from the Hawaiian islands. Then why do I feel cold?
Another storm has blown in from the pacific bringing wind and rain. I’m staying home today, doing laundry, baking some brownies, and reading, while staying dry. Tomorrow will be soon enough to run errands in the rain.
My two days at Columbia were filled to the brim this week. The first graders loved their book, Chrysanthemum. We practiced saying the word numerous times as it appeared often in the story as the name of the main character. Some of the kids just couldn’t make it come out correctly.
I handed out dozens of stickers and puzzle pages to the older kids in the cafeteria and on the playground. The library was the recipient of a stack of picture books my grandchildren have outgrown. The principal even got a book, The Principal from theBlack Lagoon. It will make some of her miscreants smile. There is a big need for smiles around that school.
I met with the school psychologist and discussed a myriad of issues. She and I are on the same page. Now if we could just get the district to see things like we do. More staff. More space. Less yelling. Calmer cafeteria.
As I was leaving the first grade wing yesterday, one of the teachers slipped this note to me.
It made me cry.
I threw away the disreputable pants that had frayed beyond any kind of help. The reason was because I broke down and bought some new lounge wear at a shop in an upscale shopping center here in town.
I shop at the Whole Foods in this center on a weekly basis, but I rarely venture forth to the other shops. It is my favorite shopping center, but since I rarely shop any where, I just don’t wander in and out of the stores on any kind of regular basis. Monday I had a legitimate reason to spend time doing just that.
Terry and I had lunch at Jack’s Urban Eats that day, using a gift card from the teachers at Columbia. Afterwards Terry had to go pick up his mother from her senior citizen’s center and deposit her at home. I contented myself with walking along the shopping center sidewalks while waiting for him to return. This is an outdoor shopping center dating back to 1956. The shops have always been on the high end of fashionable.
I stopped in one elite store I’ve been reading about for a couple of years. There I found a new bag for my chaplain days. The new one is on the left, the old one on the right.
Next stop was Soma where I have previously bought my loungewear for around the house. I found a couple of items on the clearance rack.
My policy is to get rid of the old when something new comes in so that’s the reason for discarding the frayed pants. I also need to toss an old shirt or jacket but haven’t figured which one looks the worst. As for the old bag, I’m keeping it for the time-being as it’s still in good shape and can still be used on days I don’t have prizes and props to take to school. I wanted a bigger bag for those times I have lots to carry, like today.
It was fun going in and out of stores but I did spend more money than is normal for me to do.
Here is the table for after-church fellowship.
I guess it was a success. All the food was eaten and everyone sat and talked with one another. That’s what I had hoped for.
Yesterday I started my weekend of food prep. I signed up for coffee fellowship for this particular Sunday because it’s close to Valentine’s Day and I can use that as my theme for the food I will serve to the congregants after church services.
There will be coffee, of course, and a pink colored beverage made with cherry/apple juice, 7-Up and sparkling water.
On Friday I made 7 layer bars but with white chips and dried cranberries rather than chocolate chips and raisins. Then I made a pan of brownies. Before I ended my day, I picked up two roasted chickens at the grocery store and a couple loaves of French bread.
This morning started with making a big bowl of chicken salad made with those chickens, green onion, celery, almonds, and more dried cranberries. Using those loaves of bread, I cut heart shaped pieces of bread and constructed three dozen little sandwiches. Doing that created a whole bunch of leftover bread so I cut it up into small pieces and put it in a bowl of cream, sugar, cinnamon, and eggs to soak over night. Tomorrow morning I’ll bake it into bread pudding with caramel sauce.
I have red and white paper products, heart-shaped truffles, and those little conversation hearts. Another lady is bringing chocolate-dipped strawberries. I think it will make for a festive coffee and conversation time.