Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ribbon-dancing Whales

"Look darling, it says here that Haro Straight
is 900 feet deep in places."
We were reading the signs at Lime Kiln state park
that we had read hundreds of time before
but it didn't stop us from the excitement
of reading them again.
Terry strolled over and read the sign again.
We milled around in the early morning with
a few other orca fans around the viewing area waiting.
The only thing that teaches you more patience
than waiting for the whales is probably the
Department of Motor Vehicles.
We watched as the other couple hiked over to the point
at the little lighthouse and contemplated
going over there.
"I'm going down to the rocks now." I said.
I clambered carefully down the jagged,
slippery boulders and found my favorite spot under the
viewing platform. I pulled my jacket around
my neck against the chill and sat on my little backpack.
I could hear voices as more people arrived
and picked out Terry's voice as
they swapped whale stories.
The pitch of all their voices went up and
I strained to see the orcas.
I picked out a fin and waited.
And waited and waited and waited.
The large male was some distance out
but at last I could pick out the females coming
closer and closer and closer.
My heart started pounding and I made sure I
was sitting securely, lest I topple
over in my excitement and fall in.
My eyes widened as the lead female rose at my feet.
I exclaimed my orca greeting and watched.
Staring down into the dark water I watched
as she began to rotate at my feet.
Long strands of green kelp wrapped around her
shiny white tummy in a shocking contrast.
Her long, sleek black back was so inviting
and I longed to jump in and pet her.
Twirling and swirling and showing off.
That's how they are!
My beauty was followed by four more darling whales.
Swirling and twirling and showing off.
Because, that's how they are!
Ribbon-dancing whales.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cougars Snack on the Meatiest Ones

"See that moss hanging down honey?"
I starred at the trees engulfing either side
of the damp trail.
"That's the kind I want to grow at home
but it looks exactly what we have at home
only it drapes down like that."
I stopped and turned around to look
at my husband.
As usual his expression was blank
because he hadn't heard a word I said.
Nothing new there.
So I continued my slow pace down the winding trail
and admired the moss hanging down from the trees.
I admired the thick moss covering the downed logs
all along the sides of the trail
with their baby hemlocks
and huckleberry bushes popping out occasionally.
I admired the moss under my feet and
wondered if the person who invented olive green
shag carpeting had hiked through the
Olympic National Park rainforest.
"Oh look Terry, there's a trail going
down to the creek. Let's go down there."
I started down the steep deer trail,
careful not to fall or twist an ankle.
Half walking and half sliding and clinging
to a wimpy tree branch, I landed on the
flat, muddy ground and looked at the tiny
brook that I needed to leap over to
get to the pebbly beach. I backed up, ran,
and leaped to the other side and then
turned around to watch Terry.
He annoyingly took one big step to
come up next to me.
"Pretty." He said.
We walked a dozen feet to a nice big mossy log
and sat down side by side
and listened to the sounds of the swirling water
and birds singing.
It was early afternoon and the sun played through
the trees along the under-forest and dirt
and pebbles and finally sand.
I looked at the sand beneath my feet
and noticed all the deer prints.
My hand slid over to Terry's thigh
and I thought maybe a kiss would be nice.
Just as I was gathering steam for
some romance he answered me.
"Not that one. That's a cougar track."
I dimly remembered the handwritten sign
that I had seen taped to the front of the
sign in desk at Kalaloch Lodge that said
"Cougar sighted 6/8."
I stared down at the print that looked exactly
like it was made by the paws of Troy's cat Cloudy.
Only about a hundred times bigger.
I got up abruptly and said,
"Let's go."
I was so grateful for Terry.
I knew for certain that
cougars snack on the meatiest ones.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mombie Like Zombie

I was looking at some old pictures
of Troy going to prom the other day.
Gorgeous girls in evening gowns
that I'd know since they were in
kindergarten with him.
I looked over at Troy and Teddy
shooting zombies on the TV
and shook my head.
Sure we all like The Walking Dead
and don't want zombies to take over the world.
But really, where are the girls?
Once a year I nag Troy about it
only to get the same answer.
"They're too expensive and complicated mom."
I looked back down at the photograph of the
beautiful girl.
Silky hair, shining eyes, big smile.
That's when it hit me.
I want grandchildren.
I looked over at Teddy and said,
"How 'bout you Teddy?
I'd like you to marry someday
cause I won't always be here."
He glanced over at me for a split second and said,
"When you die can we reanimate you as a Mombie?"

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Poem for my Best Friend

I Love You

I love you when you're up-
I love you when you're down,
I love you when you're cranky-
and no one else is 'round.
I love you when you're happy-
I love you when you're sad,
I love you all the time-
'Cause you're the
best friend I ever had.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ten Ways to Spell Beautiful

I looked down at the paper and smiled.
Yes, I do spell words incorrectly some of the time.
But, I love to read and write,
so most of the time I do okay spelling.
The best thing about teaching,
is learning.
Learning where things go right for the kids
and where they go wrong.
Today I had them repeat EAU
over and over and over again.
You need it to spell
What was beautiful today?
The sun shining on the snowy fir trees out the classroom window was
The sight of a coffeemaker in the classroom was
The cheeseburgers on the student trays looked
The rosy cheeks on the kids after recess looked
The smile on the face of the girl that spelled bottom right was
The boy that got excited to take out the recycling instead of spelling was
Listening to the children read Reader's Theater was buitful.
The two little girls walking arm in arm to the bus stop

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Last First Day of School Picture

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
The camera batteries looked good.
I took out Troy's little School Days Book that
I had bought when he started kindergarten.
It bulged with thirteen years of report cards
tucked neatly into the pouches along with class pictures,
scout certificates, sport pictures, choir programs
and other miscellaneous stuff I'd slid inside.
As I leafed through the pages,
I paused at his first grade picture.
He was wearing a tiny sport coat and tie
and his eyes were seriously bug-eyed.
I remembered when he came home with his first grade picture.
His eyes were closed.
Two weeks later we got a picture retake notice
and went into the bathroom so he could look in the mirror
and practice keeping his eyes open.
He opened them so wide that he looked like he'd seen a ghost.
We laughed and laughed.
As he went out the door to the school bus with his dad,
I called out to him, "Don't forget to keep your eyes open!"
He turned and opened his eyes as wide as they could go
and yelled back, "Like this mommy?!"
He knew I would laugh and was rewarded appropriately.
As I look at his little School Days Book,
I always turn to that page.
His first grade picture
with that frozen startled expression.
I can still hear little his voice.
"Like this mommy?!"

Monday, February 4, 2013

My First Webinar Presentation

Sweat popped out on my forehead
as I looked at my computer screen.
Panic began to rise within me.
I was looking at trailers
and other farming equipment,
NOT library supplies.
Beth's voice sounded far away as she said,
"You typed it in wrong, try again."
I told myself to breath and
I started over in the search engine
and the Demco Library supplies website
came up and I was flooded with relief.
At least if I fail at librarianship I know
that THE OTHER Demco has great tractors!
I only like technology when it works.
I was so eager to try to present during
our webinar class that it didn't occur to me
that I could make a complete fool of myself.
That's a bit odd since I seem so good at it.
Online classes are a new animal to me
and one I'm not always fond of.
I like real people, but at least with this
Saturday morning collection development class,
I get to go to school in my jammies
and swill hot coffee.
Our instructor is in Chicago and we have classmates
in Saudi Arabia, China and Turkey that join
our local ranks in the pursuit of librarian degrees.
I concentrated on the substitute job I had Friday
and the posters on the wall of the Dewey Decimal system.
I had memorized Demco from the posters
and ordered a set on my lunch break
to prepare for spring quarter.
My search came back to me and I carefully
followed the links of products to the one I wanted to share.
With relief I stared at photographic posters
of the Dewey Decimal system with call numbers.
My instructor said, "Good job Gretchen. "Next week
everyone will get to take a turn as webinar presenter."
Our webinar class allows us to share anything
on a screen globally. From websites to texts to power points.
It is called Information Literacy.
And it takes PRACTICE.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What I Carry in my Substitute Teaching Bag

1 Aspirin
2 Smiles
3 Pencils, highlighters, Sharpies
4 Patience
5 Name tags
6 Kindness & sugar-free candy and gum
7 Clipboard
8 Vigilance
9 Sub Feedback Forms
10 A bag of two dozen one inch long pencil stubs
that I have collected from third grade boys.
Third grade is the year the door closes
on Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
It is the year that another door opens,
of endless possibilities.
When I get a full time job,
I'm taking my stubs to John the Jeweler
and having them gold-plated
into a necklace.
I will wear it every time I go to work
to remind me.
Remind me of the endless possibilities.

I feel like I'm forgetting something.
Oh yeah-my whip!
What else do you think I need?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Teen Boys Cooking

I felt like a popsicle as the sun set.
I got up and tipped over all my bird baths
and emptied milk gallon water drips
in preparation for the twenty degree night.
Working late really stunk since I only
had a half hour of daylight before my birds
left my bird sanctuary and went to roost.
As I entered the warm house,
wonderful odors wafted across the kitchen
and tickled tantalizingly up my nose.
Teddy and his friend Krystian
were sitting at the dining room table
and I walked over and peered at their food.
They had made rice, heated a frozen pizza with
a side of pizza bites, along with
sauteed hotdogs. These were sliced at an angle
and coated with a secret sauce and spices.
Way past my boil and shove in a bun capabilities.
"That smells so good. May I try some?" I said.
Teddy mumbled through a mouthful of pizza that I could.
I tried their odd medley
and went to type my homework in the living room.
Snug in my mama bear recliner with my feet up,
I cranked out my bibliographies
and got ready to go downstairs.
The dining room door burst open with
Troy and freezing air and he said
to his brother, "Dude. You have to try these."
He came over to me dangling a cookie.
"Want one mom? They are cinnamon roll cookies."
I thought of the lard I'd packed on over Christmas
and told him, "No thanks."
I changed my mind and raised my hand and he dropped one in.
It was THE TASTIEST COOKIE I had ever had in my entire life.
I begged for one more and he shook his head no.
I contemplated tackling him for the clear plastic
Safeway cookie container but he is now twice my size.
"I'll give you a dollar for another cookie." I said.
He looked in my wallet and told me all I had was a five.
"Take it! Take it!"
The cookie melted in my mouth
with all the flavor in the world.

1/16/2012 The Walking Man and Other Indignities on the Bike Trail

After blasting down the bike trail a quarter mile,
I was winded and stepped to the side to
catch my breath.
I heard soft falls next to me
and watched the tall man walk past.
As I rested I visualized myself roaring past
him at my top speed.
It just didn't work out for me.
My blazing fast top speed jogging
is so slow,
that not only did I not roar past him,
I could not catch up to him.
Of course he had legs as long as Gulliver
and a stride a mile wide.
Every morning after that I waited for
The Walking Man to get
a really good head start past my house to
avoid the humiliation of getting
passed up while jogging by a walker.
Tough on the ego that was.
Not as bad as the new mother
pushing a stroller whizzing by me.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

1/13/13 Spear Fishing With Laundry Packets

Sweat dripped down the collar of my thin
shirt, making it cling to my back.
I could hear rustling in the vines
draped eloquently over the small creek.
God knows what kind of snakes
lived in the dense Amazon jungle.
It seemed like a green, moving tunnel
as I navigated my rough dugout canoe
along the slow water.
I could hear the small waterfall
before I could see it.
As I rounded the tight bend
I could see it.
The water spilling twenty feet
in a thin yet rigorous fashion.
My delight at the beauty
turned to excitement as
I peered over the edge of my craft
down into the swirling water.
I clasped my spear
into my calloused hand
and sat motionless.
The small blue fish circled
through the swirling mass
and I let loose a mighty jab.
The small fish was speared dead on.
I moved my spear and it's guts
spread blue through the water.
The water stopped.
I looked up.
I needed to close the lid on
my washing machine
to advance to the agitation cycle.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

1/9/13 CBS, or Cold Butt Syndrome

So last week I called Brenny and told her
I had CBS.
She said, "Oh, I love The Big Bang Theory!"
I didn't know what that was but I said,
"No, no, no. I have Cold Butt Syndrome."
She said, "Me too and I have CFS also."
"You got a job at Central Forwarding System?!
I worked there in '77!"
"No, no, no." She said.
"I have Cold Feet Syndrome."
I told her a girl from high school said she had CNS.
"Do you think she has Cold Nose Syndrome?" I asked.
"Maybe she meant Cold knees Syndrome
and can't spell."
I guess we'll never know.