Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday 55

*The first one is new this year but I am including the 55s from previous years as well.

The Magdalene

I wandered
tormented, unclean, unwelcome.
He drove away my darkness,
restored me to a community.
I followed him,
served him gratefully.
Now I follow at a distance
witnessing his torment 
as darkness falls on him,
while the others turn away.

I watch where his body is laid.
So I may offer
my final loving act of service.

The Arimathean

 I followed him secretly
since I was on the council which opposed him.
At His trial
I would not condemn him
though the others did.
What I could not do while He lived
I dared after He died.
I boldly asked Pilate
for the body,
prepared it for burial,
laid Him in my own tomb.    

The Governor

I found no fault
in the one brought before me.
My wife warned me.
Herod returned him to me.
I offered to release him
but the crowd demanded the murderer instead.
Lacking strength of conviction,
I yielded to the mob.
Water washed my hands
but could not cleanse my conscience
of an innocent man's blood.

The Disciple

I left my business and my home to follow him.
I sat at his feet,
swore my allegiance,
said I'd die with him.
drew my weapon in his defense.
When my test came
I cowered in the darkness,
denied we ever met,
and knew my love was nothing
as his poured out for faithless me.

The Cyrene

I came to Jerusalem for the Passover.
I heard the commotion,
saw the condemned paraded in the street.
One was barely alive.
I turned away until...
the Roman yanked me from the crowd,
laid the beam on my shoulders.
Only when I met the bloodied man's eyes
did I realize he endures the judgment
I deserve.

The Thief

Merciless sun blisters my skin as the crowd's unrelenting curses assault my ears.
The weight of my own guilt,
the pain of dislocated joints and bound limbs bear down so heavily
I can barely breathe.
I dangle between present agony and hopeless eternity until He tells me,
"Today you will be in Paradise with Me."

The Guard

I'm glad to follow my orders well.
It's like taking out the trash to rid the earth of the scum we execute here.
Today is different.
One never begged for mercy, never fought us.
He spoke mercy on us all.
For the first time I feel guilt.
I fall to my knees, confess His deity.

The Mother

We had to travel when my time was so near.
When the king was killing the little boys we had to flee for our lives.
I was panicked when we lost him in the city.
But nothing has pierced my heart
like watching the spikes enter his flesh
and the sword plunge into his side.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Slice of Lime-Disorder in the Library

As one who runs two elementary school libraries with 22,000 books between them I spend a lot of time shelving books.  I don't mind.  I like the library to look neat.  It's more inviting that way.  Shelves such as this one are not what anyone wants to search through.  At the beginning of the year I discuss with all my students how to help keep the shelves neat.  An important way is to use a shelf marker to hold the spot a book came from while a student looks at a book to decide whether or not to check it out.  If they don't want it they slide it back in where the marker is and move on.  It's a good system...if it's used. I also tell them if the books tip over they can use the book ends to give the books a hug to help them stand up again.  Certain popular shelves like this one containing the "how to draw" books often wind up looking ransacked because too many kids crowd into it at once and just start grabbing books.

Over the course of a day I have many requests from students to help them find particular books.  I am happy to help.  That's my job.  It's why I am here.  I am sometimes astonished that the same kid can ask me every time where the same thing is and can't remember from week to week.  It's not as if I go moving around the entire library for kicks and giggles just to confuse them.  I even have signs labeling the walls and shelves as to locations of certain genres.  But I roll with it.  They are kids.  Kids need things repeated.  However, when I take someone by the hand to show where the graphic novels are located and I walk into this kind of disarray after a day of books on the floor and ill-behaved classes....well, let's just say I begin to teeter on the knife edge between gentle library lady and cranky library lady.

I'm not fond of the above scenes but at least all the books are still on the shelves and, in the first shot, sort of in order.  When I see books on the floor like this I get a wee bit testy.  Pick them up and lay them flat on a shelf.  Earlier this week I made one class stop what they were doing and come take a look at a particular aisle because  well over a dozen books were laying all over the floor and people were walking around them and ON them and Mrs.!  Furthermore if you were in that aisle you better fess up now and get yourself back in there to pick a book up off the floor. NOW!  You have been coming here all year and you darned well know better than that.

My darlings, I want you all to learn a love of books.  I want you to enjoy your time in the library, what little of it you have (and admittedly, it is not your fault the administration only allows each class 20 minutes).  I want to make it a safe and happy place of learning.  For the love of books, I want you to pick up the books and use the shelf markers.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Waxed Paper

Each morning we sat on your couch as quietly as we could
because you would not tolerate anything else.
We had eaten and dressed and packed our own lunches
as our mother got ready for work.
We came through your back door, through your dining room,
to find our seats on the sofa,
witnesses to the intimacies of your family morning.

You padded softly in slippers and robe
while your husband sipped coffee
and your daughter threw fits
about the color shirt you chose for her,
having to brush her teeth,
that she hated peanut butter and jelly.

I remember the way you wrapped their sandwiches in waxed paper,
sandwich in the center of the sheet,
ends brought up and
three times folded over
before gently smoothing it flat,
folding the edges like Christmas paper on a box.
I remember you handing the bagged lunch to your husband
and how the two of you shared a kiss each morning.
I remember the gentleness you showed them
and the glares and harsh words my brother and I received
if we giggled or dared to quarrel on your couch.
I remember wishing for Mom and Dad
to be together in the same house
and kissing in the morning.

Our life was not a neat little packet wrapped up
and held in a brown bag,
but we had waxed paper too.
It may not have been used every morning
but on special occasions
Mom would roll out the pie crusts between the translucent sheets
three perfect delicate crusts
given to crumbling easily,
a family recipe
passed through three imperfect generations,
the one thing which elicited praise
from my father.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Plumber is Cracked

Remember this post when I showed the demolition of my bathroom and said it would look that way and worse for some time to come?  Yeah, that was the beginning of January.  It's now April and still not done.  I'm getting a wee tad desperate here.  I think the project is beginning to affect Mr. Lime's brain though.  Allow me to share.

I mentioned on Facebook a couple nights ago that I thought he may be spending too much time alone with pipes because I overheard him speaking to fixtures and pipes saying, "Come on, baby!  Oh yeah!  You're a dream come true!"  I thought if I dabbed some pipe dope behind my ears it may elicit some passionate encouragement directed at me.

We selected a shower, vanity, toilet, and tile and Mr. Lime has installed the shower.  Since the medicine cabinet just came in he said we needed to go get a light fixture and I wanted to get some paint chips to coordinate with a tile sample.  On the way to the store he complained the vanity being made in China, as were many other bathroom components.  I held up the porcelain tile square remaking that it had been made in USA.  I thought about it a moment and added that I thought porcelain may have been invented in China. 

Mr. Lime huffed, "The Chinese invented EVERYTHING....well...except for Velcro.  The aliens gave us that."

I asked, "Stonehenge, crop circles, and Velcro, huh?  All the works of extraterrestrials?"

He responded, "Definitely."

There ya have it, folks.  I thought my sanity was at stake in this whole process but it's clear his cheese has already slipped off his cracker.

I thought better of asking if Bigfoot worked in carpentry and the Loch Ness Monster was in HVAC.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Da Count-Friday 55


The dinosaurs have died.
The first written record appears.
Rome falls.
The New World is discovered.
The colonies win independence.
Production lines begin.
The sun begins to set on the British Empire.
Nuclear bombs are used in war.
A man walks on the moon.
It's the end of an era,
G-man is passing the torch.


It's been quite a while since I have regularly participated in Friday 55, in which players write a story or poem in 55 words.  Any regular reader here though knows I contributed most weeks for a long time.  Once upon a time, before G-man hosted the Friday 55, Susie was the host.  About seven years ago she passed that responsibility to G-man, who has been the host with the most from coast to coast all this time.  He has decided it is time to pass the torch on to some new hosts.

I want to take this week to thank G-man for being a great host.  He wrote some hilarious 55s over the years and not a few poignant ones.  He consistently turned out something fun to read and graciously visited every single participant each week.  He cultivated a creative corner of the blogosphere that meant a lot to me.  Although I wrote poetry for years before I blogged I kept it very private, believing I had no real skill.  When Susie, began Friday 55 I started in the original intent which was to create a complete story in 55 words.  I eventually found I liked a more poetic form for many of my compositions.  When G-man began hosting he built the audience quickly and I gained a lot of positive feedback which encouraged me to believe I wasn't a terrible poet.  Though I have no delusions of literary genius it has been fun to find a place to share my works where they are enjoyed.  I gained confidence in my writing even as I explored different concepts.  Thanks again, G-man for the years of fun.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

You Call Yourself an Educator?

This is the part where I have a wee rant.  Please secure all loose belongings.  Keep your extremities inside the car and remain seated throughout the ride.

Those of you who have been with me for at least a couple of years should recall that Calypso's senior year was spent dealing with her serious illness which took 11 months to diagnose.  We watched her go from a bright, bubbly girl to one who needed a nap after a shower and who had difficulty following the thread of conversation.  It was a terrifying, exhausting year.  It was a year when she literally missed half the school year due to her illness and yet she managed to graduate on time.  Most of her teachers were understanding, supportive, and tried to be flexible with due dates for assignments and such.  One went out of his way to make life more difficult than it already was by disregarding doctor's orders, losing assignments Calypso turned in so she'd have to do them twice, and being a generally arrogant and inflexible asshole. 

Calypso graduated in spite of his efforts to find a way to flunk her.  No I am not exaggerating.  He was just that sadistic.  I spent a notable time mopping tears of frustration and fear shed by my daughter due to this asshole's inclination to kick someone when she is down.  The only reason I did not take major action then was due to my own exhaustion.  I needed all my energy to go into getting my child well and keeping things running around here (since there was also a major health crisis with Mr. Lime that year as well).  I had nothing left over for crusades against jackassery.

My girl went on to complete a physically demanding internship after her senior year because we finally had a diagnosis and an effective treatment to which she responded well.  Since that time she has moved home as she prepares for the next steps in her journey.  To that end she has been working to save money for school.  She recently picked up a second job at a fast food place. 

Now imagine my reaction when she came home last night and told me the same teacher who tormented her through her senior year came through the line, recognized her, and made the comment, "Yeah, I remember you.  Not surprised you're working in fast food."  Calypso saw the fire in my eyes and made me promise not to go after him because she'd fight her own battles.  She didn't make me promise not to vent my rage here (after a week of rage inducing bullshit in other areas, which were I to post about them here, may get me fired).  Here then allow me to give voice to my opinion of this pathetic waste of teaching credentials.

Dear Sir,

Do the students of this school district a favor right now.  Turn in your certificate to teach.  You have no business being in front of a class or interacting with students in any way.  You discredit the profession with every breath you take and damn near every word you speak.  You are a small man with no higher brain function and less moral development.  The only way you know how to feel better about yourself is to attempt to make others feel small.  

Your job as a teacher is to educate your students.  No, I don't think that means to coddle them but it sure as hell does not mean you tear them to shreds for no reason other than to strengthen your own ego. You have the opportunity to be one who not only educates a student's mind but who inspires a student's spirit. Instead you see the chance to poke at weakness and expose it, not for the sake of improvement but to erode what little strength exists.  You are nothing but a bully.

I know I should feel pity for you that something in your life has damaged you to the extent that you perpetrate that abuse upon your students but you've chosen to target my child.  I tend to lose my sense of compassion when you cross that line. When you bare your teeth to my child you awaken the mother bear.  How dare you.!  If my daughter were still in a vulnerable place in her life I'd show you what it means to be ripped to shreds.  

To her credit she has grown in maturity and in strength.  She knows your words are nothing but a fart in the wind, a foul stench which soon enough clears and cannot do any real damage.  She knows you have no power over her and that your opinion is meaningless.  She gives an honest day's work for an honest day's pay, which is more than can be said of you because no teacher who would say that to a student has any integrity to speak of. She demonstrated how far she has come when she responded to your attempt to belittle her by saying she is proud of earning her diploma in spite of your efforts to keep it from her.  She knows she is working there now in order to finance her further education and an honest job allowing her to do so is not beneath her.

It is admittedly more because of her growth as a person who recognizes her own value and the impotence of your attempted insult than any character I may possess that I chose to honor her request not to go after you. The next time you see her you owe her your gratitude.

Ever so sincerely,
Calypso's mother

Monday, March 17, 2014

11 Questions

It's been forever since I did a meme and Suldog had one posted so for lack of other ideas I am stealing it.  Of course he posted this weeks ago and I am just not getting around to it so we can see how timely I am about this all the way around? First I am to ask the 11 questions he poses then offer up 11 questions for others to voluntarily answer.

1 - Have you ever voluntarily put anything up your nose aside from drugs?
Anyone who won't admit to having put a finger up there at some point during his or her life is a liar.

2 - Is it still there?
(Looks shocked as if just caught in the act)  No! Of course not!

3 - How many real teeth (that is, not store bought) do you have in your mouth?
(If you have them anywhere else, please elucidate.)

4 - If you could take any two things on the planet and staple them together, what would they be?
The superintendent of my school district to the assistant superintendent.

5 - Do you think plants can hear you think?

6 - How many rocks are in your house?
The ones in bowls on my counter or the ones in my head too?

7 - If I asked you to shove a toy surprise up my ass and call me Crackerjack, would you compare and contrast Napoleon's march on Moscow with Ritchie Blackmore's guitar solo on Highway Star?
I'd besmirch the wombat scissors with durian fruit because the metaphysics of Looney Tunes tesselates post-colonial Africa.

8 - Why are you still reading this?
It keeps me from picking my nose.

9 - Do you think it's going to get better?
Good Lord, I hope so!

10 - Why is a kumquat not entirely unlike a porcupine?
Neither makes a good alternative fuel source.

11 - When do you think the world will end?
I'm not sure but I wonder about sequels.

And now for something completely different, my 11 questions for anyone who cares to answer in the comments or at their own place.

1. What is your quest?
2. Which plagues do you feel are most fitting for public school administrators who believe said schools don't need well-stocked libraries maintained by qualified professionals?
3. It is said a friend helps you move, but a good friend helps you move a body.  How good a friend are you?
4. What is the worst thing you have ever eaten?
5. Can you explain string theory in 50 words or fewer?
6. What have you done to prepare for the impending zombie apocalypse?
7. Which do you feel the platypus is better proof of, intelligent design or divine sense of humor? (or perhaps clean out the workshop night...Crimony, I've got this bit leftover from the ducks, a spare beaver tail, all this extra fur, and egg laying apparatus too...why not, together they go.  Oh Myself!  This poor thing is ridiculous looking, all the butch animals are going to want to punch it and stuff it in a locker at lunch.  I'd better give it some venom or something....)
8. Who exactly does Joan Rivers think she is fooling by having so much plastic surgery she can't blink her ow eyes any more?
9. How many times must the cannonballs fly before they're forever banned?
10.  Who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong?
11. Why can't fools just fall in love rather than being elected to public office?