Lunch with the bigger kids

Today I got to school in time to see the first/second graders going into the cafeteria. The plan had been to arrive after they were already inside the cafeteria, but there has been some changes made in the way the kids gain entrance to the cafeteria so everything was behind schedule.

This probably came about after a week’s visit from downtown administration to see how things were working on the campus. Three teachers on special assignment were kept busy last week writing notes on their clipboards as they followed the students from playground to cafeteria. One of the teachers complained to me about how badly the kids were behaving and yet I thought they were doing better than usual. She wrote down my comments, too!

Today, only five students were allowed to enter at one time, rather than the line snaking from outside to inside. It does keep the disruptions down, but it eats up huge amounts of time when the kids aren’t in a continuous line, moving forward.

I could tell that the cafeteria manager was nervous about getting the cafeteria cleaned for the next group of students, the third/fourth grade. This was the group with whom I planned to eat lunch. Of course, again, all the kids wanted to sit with me, at the table I had selected. This created a bit of a bottleneck because one of the administrators made the kids move to their respective places. I felt so bad because I was happy to see these students (they were my first set of first graders to whom I read books), and they wanted so badly to see me and tell me things about what is going on in their lives. Many of them will be moving at the end of the school year and will go to different schools next year.

I handed out 10 boxes of crayons, 20 pencils, numerous erasers, stickers, and 75 coloring pages to this group. I had nothing left to give the fifth/sixth graders when they arrived at the cafeteria for lunch. Fortunately, the oldest group wasn’t made to come in five at a time so they actually had plenty of time to eat lunch.

I sat with the class I had helped with a writing project and for whom I had arranged the guest speakers. They were happy to see me, and one of the girls who always goes out of her way to say hello to me, sat across from me and chatted about how much the class had improved since the first of the year. I dug around and found a special sticker for her in my “bag of tricks.” This will be the last time I see them as next year they will all go on to middle school.

As I went back through the office to check out, there stood one of the third graders with her mother. I had not seen her at lunch (she too always makes the point to come say hello to me) and I realized her mother was turning in a doctor’s note for her absence. I gave the little girl a big hug and dug around my bag and found one more sticker to give her.

The girl’s mother was in conversation with the school secretary about seeing the teacher and completing a contract. The little girl is too ill to finish the school year and will need to do the remainder of her work at home. She has strep throat and impetigo. Let me remind you, I gave this little girl a big hug when I first saw her. Pray for me.

The last week of school for me

After looking at my calendar for this week, and realizing I had a lot already planned, I decided to back out of a trip with The Ladies Who Lunch to go get blackberries and blueberries at our favorite grower who starts selling from their packing shed today. There may be another trip in June, before the season ends, or perhaps Terry and I can drive to the small town where the berry farm is located, have lunch, and get a few crates of berries.

Instead of a fun trip with my friends, I did a few loads of laundry, sent cards to ill friends, and attempted more yard work before noon. Since I don’t get to have lunch with my friends, Terry and I are planning lunch out before we run a bunch of errands this afternoon. Thank God for air conditioned cars.

The yard work didn’t get too far as the heat is bearing down (101 today), everything I pruned was so dusty and it all seemed to fall on my head when it came down, and the trash containers filled to the brim with my prunings. That’s always my best excuse to quit and come inside–the containers are full.

This is the last week I will be going to Columbia. The school district actually has two more weeks of classes after this, but the chaplains have told all the stories and will hand out certificates and celebrate the end of the year with the munchkins this week. We also have an early morning meeting on Thursday to turn in all of our books and miscellaneous paperwork and say goodbye until late August.

I’ve left Friday open this week so I can do laundry, and maybe more yard work. On Saturday I am going to one of the local library branches to partake in a recording event that ties in with the California State Library. It is a community storytelling project where two people at a time will have a conversation that reveal generational shifts and perspectives on a topic. I chose agriculture as my topic since Fresno has fed and clothed the world and I have seen so much change in how the crops are grown since I was a small child growing up on a cotton farm. The conversation will be with a local newspaper writer who covers the agricultural industry and what he currently sees in the field. Next Monday I should be able to fill you in on how it turned out and may even have a link where you can go have a listen.

Speaking of links, here is one to an article about what I do as a school chaplain that was published by Presbyterian Today.

Recapping the doctor’s appointment

That doctor’s appointment on Thursday went late–the doctor and I sat and talked until 8:15. She is the best doctor in the world, and a good friend. She shared some of her poetry with me and she drew on her new presentation board that has been installed in the examination room. The board has these electronic screens of all the body parts. She explained how my kidneys worked, how my heart could change as I age, and then showed me what a gouty toe looks like underneath the skin. She makes it all seem simple.

While sitting in the waiting room, I heard other patients speaking a foreign language that I did not recognize. I found out, in talking to Dr. Jones, that these ladies had come from Dubai for her to diagnose the mother’s ailment. I had overheard one of the women telling another waiting patient that Dr. Jones is the best doctor anywhere and can figure out things that no other doctor can. It’s true. It’s why none of us mind waiting for hours to see her. She spends hours with her patients. She is also the director of ethics for the hospital where she practices. A family from Idaho had called on her to help them dispute the care a family member was receiving in the hospital. This is who she is.

A few years ago, Dr. Jones was diagnosed with an ailment that is usually only found in an autopsy. The patient goes from being healthy to being dead very quickly. A blood test for an insurance policy found a tracer that no one recognized. That started a battery of tests, including a kidney biopsy which determined the problem. I was actually in the office the day she got the results. I prayed over her and prayed every day afterwards. She was hospitalized for almost a year. There was celebration and jubilation on the day she returned to her practice. I still give thanks for her good health. It is indeed a miracle, and she knows it. She says, almost each time I see her, “I keep learning what NOT to say to my patients after hearing these terrible things from my doctors.” She often says she would like to have herself for a doctor!

The gout thing I had a month or so ago was the reason I had this appointment. The podiatrist I saw said I should see Dr. Jones and have her look into my uric acid levels. The podiatrist knows Dr. Jones very well and knows her diagnostic ability so felt that was the best route for me. I had to return Friday for the blood work. The kidney, heart, and toe drawings that Dr. Jones did all tied together into what could be happening in my body.

“From all indications, you are very healthy, and we have to keep you that way.”

My kind of doctor.


I’m sitting in the doctor’s waiting room at 5:30, waiting to see the doctor I’ve told you about who can easily take 2+ hours for an appointment. I know there are at least two patients ahead of me. It’s going to be a late evening. 

Earlier this week I replaced my hanging cosmetics bag that I use when traveling. I had this one since 1990. 

It’s seen a lot of miles, and I would say I got my $19 worth. It has begun to fall apart, but it was hard to find something I like to replace it. 

Then I saw this Vera Bradley bag where I had bought my larger storytelling bag. 

The new one is a bit smaller but it will do, and I’m hopeful it will last me for the rest of my travels in this lifetime. 

Our weather is finally warm and the winds have stopped blowing. I worked in the yard this morning before heading to school to read the last book of the year. So many of the first graders wanted to sit by me at lunch that they got in trouble for sitting at the wrong table. I just stir up chaos!  Wish more adults would show up and eat lunch with these munchkins. 

It’s been a long day, and tomorrow I have no plans. I will just be at home, doing tasks I have put off for awhile. One would think, being retired, I could accomplish more, but no, I procrastinate. 

That’s a wrap

The past week was busy. It’s now Sunday afternoon, and I’ve completed all my obligations until Monday when I start all over again. While I’m doing all the laundry I let pile up during the week, I can sit here and write a post telling you about the week.

It started with a trip to Terry’s ophthalmologist to check that retina weld that was done almost two years ago. He is doing so well that the ophthalmologist is turning him lose. No more appointments where I have to drive him because of dilating his eyes.

I was able to find the fourth box for the teacher appreciation gifts and literally wrap up that project and deliver the gifts. You may remember that I had ordered a peacock plate for each of them.

It goes with a story I tell that has a peacock in it. The idea behind the story is that we are each special with a purpose. All four first grade teachers are leaving at the end of the school year. I am so sad to lose them.

Friday, after my dental checkup, was Ladies Who Lunch. We met in an old part of town for soul food. Fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, collard greens, meatloaf, fried cabbage, sweet tea. We were all in a food coma afterwards!

On Saturday about 40 people met up in the hills at the Greek Monastery for a lesson in Greek Orthodox icons and a vegan lunch prepared by the sisters of the Monastery. Terry and I had been there about 3 years ago. The sisters have been busy expanding their buildings. This is the front porch of the chapel they built in the cemetery.

Today, Mother’s Day, I did coffee fellowship after church.

Because I spent the past couple of days baking, the laundry was neglected, so now that this project is done, I can do laundry and make plans for the next week. It promises to be a busy one.

Blame it on the zinc lozenges

While my throat had its tickle, I sucked on zinc lozenges. Lots of zinc lozenges. It was about the only thing that kept me functioning for a few weeks since I had to be doing a lot of things that required me to talk. The more I talked, the more my throat tickled. The more my throat tickled, the more I coughed. The zinc helped so I sucked on them.

For the past week or so, I have had absolutely no appetite and everything tastes weird. No matter the food, it tastes sweet, and if it is a sweet food, then the sweetness is enough to make me gag. Terry mentioned this to the doctor while he had his physical yesterday. Our doctor loves to talk, and I’ve mentioned how appointments with her can last for hours. Such was the case with Terry yesterday. Four hours at the doctor’s office. I was part of the discussion. The doctor said the taste thing is caused by all those zinc lozenges. They changed the chemistry in my mouth.

I’m not too sure how long it will be before my taste buds repair themselves. It’s been over a week since I sucked on a zinc lozenge. I was able to eat a few bites of dinner last night and a tiny piece of toast this morning without gagging. Not eating probably explains why I can sit on the couch and fall asleep so quickly.

Back and front

This morning I enjoyed our shady backyard while doing some yard work. 

The GE repairman came but couldn’t find anything wrong with the washing machine. He ran it through a few cycles, and nothing leaked or showed signs of having ever leaked. He didn’t charge us. I love GE appliances and their servicemen. 

It is a delicious warm afternoon so I’ve moved out on the front porch while waiting for the mailman and just generally killing time.