TToT~The Labor Day Edition

tiny books

I talk a lot about how my work doesn’t define me, that I don’t see it as a big part of who I am.  Still,  as Labor Day comes this year I am thankful for my work for many reasons…

I am thankful for a work schedule that is tied to the seasons, including an allowance for a break in the summer.

I am thankful to work in a place that bent the rules to allow me to work part-time.

And that further trusts my judgement enough to determine when those hours can be best served week to week to help the kids.

I am thankful for co-workers who make me laugh every day

and who never fail to tell me I am appreciated.

I am thankful for the kids who continually touch my heart and help me grow a little more wise.

I am thankful for a job so varied it never grows stale

and which offers me the reminder not to take life too seriously.

I am thankful for a paycheck that allows me to contribute to my family’s well being.

Middle school story of the week:  I am working with a boy who has been struggling with hormonal issues and accompanying bodily responses.  His issue would be helped greatly if he would keep his hands on his desk at all times.  After one particularly stern talking to I escorted him back to class.  We entered the classroom as discretely as possible and each slipped into a seat.  I settled in before realizing that we had arrived in the middle of the teacher’s lecture on Homo Erectus.

Life in a Middle School.  I swear, you can’t make this stuff up.


Items #705 through 714 of my list of One Thousand Gifts

TToT-Ten Things of Thankful


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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wanted to give my children the world.  So, when they were small I read to them stories of many beautiful and exotic places which exist beyond their own backyard.  They took the adventure to heart so completely that the time came when it was no longer enough to just read about other lands, they longed to see them for themselves.


Now that they are older and well-traveled, it is not enough to have seen these far off places, they want to share their adventures.  What unexpected joy for the long ago storyteller to be pulled into the story herself.


May we all travel safely.


For my children, who have always been three of life’s very best tour guides.


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52 Loaves: Peasant Bread

not by bread aloneTo begin my year of bread making I decided to attempt the bread that was featured in William Alexander’s book 52 Loaves.  Across town my baker friend, Michael, was doing the same– despite what the photographic evidence suggests.

My own bread looked so good when it went into the oven.  I followed Alexander’s instructions about pre-heating a baking stone on the lower third of the oven and a cast iron skillet on the shelf beneath it.  I swiftly maneuvered my bread dough onto the hot stone letting out as little of the oven’s heat as possible.  In one smooth movement, I added water to the hot skillet to produce a magnificent steam which engulfed the dough and created a crisp crust. I actually read all the instructions before starting the process, and I never do that.  My preparations went like clockwork; so, I was somewhat taken aback when ET’s head emerged from the oven about an hour later.

et bread

What you may not be able to tell from this photo is how a thin “neck” formed underneath, raising the oblong head in an other-worldly way which only enhanced the ET effect.  At least it tasted good.

Meanwhile, art was being produced in Michael’s oven.  He texted this cookbook worthy photo over while it cooled on his counter.

micheal's bread

I will be trying this same bread again this week hoping for something that looks less like a Steven Spielberg production.

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Big D: Ten Things of Thankful

texas welcome center

I have spent the past few days delivering furniture and apartment supplies for my daughter’s senior year in college.  Her school is in Georgetown, TX right down I-35 a mere ten and a half hour drive.  When you reach the DFW area you must choose either Fort Worth or Dallas because the road splits.  This time I chose Dallas, the Big D.  That is one shiny town.  The sky and surrounding buildings reflected off one tall flashcube of a building after another.  Traffic had me just trying to keep up, so I don’t have a picture of the city, but under the brilliant summer sun it was sparkling like a fine jewel.

Other Big D’s…

Daughters-I got to spend time alone with both of them this weekend.  I sure do like those young women.

Dissent-The trip allowed me plenty of time to catch up on current music.  I heard Girl in a Country Song for the first time and was thrilled that finally young women are speaking out about the way that females are portrayed in songs and music videos.  They are talking specifically about country music, but the same holds true in rap and other genres.  These ladies use wit to make their point clear.

Drive-Ever since we sent our first kid to college, I have logged about a billion miles to or from one campus or another.  You can’t beat driving for quiet, alone time.  It clears the mind and then allows it to fill back up with all sorts of ideas and dreams.

Drivers’ Education Teachers-Based on my observations of drivers in the past few days I have to think that if these are the folks who passed drivers’ training, those teachers are placing their lives in danger on a regular basis so that we might all be a little safer.

Decreasing temperatures-So far this is wishful thinking, but the forecast seems promising.

Deutschland-My son heads there this week for what I believe will be a wonderful adventure.

Darn-well-made-The kitchen-aide mixer makes bread making a cinch.

Delicious-Every day lately has brought another large bowl full of ripe, juicy peaches from our orchard (aka three fruit trees out back).

Delightful Development-The bunnies are now in their awkward pre-teen-like stage.  Their ears are oddly long and broad and their hind feet are humongous.  Soon they’ll experience a growth spurt that equalizes all their parts, but for now they are the sweet dorks of the bunny world.

Diminishing Distances-I love that feeling of anticipation as you get nearer to home and things start looking so familiar.  It is good to be back to my life and my husband.


#694-704 of my One Thousand Gifts

Ten Things  of Thankful

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It was an ordinary summer day as my mom hung the wash out to dry.  The wind whipped the sheets on the clothesline as I rode my tricycle back and forth beneath them.  Mom hummed while she worked, and I filed away a memory.

On another ordinary summer day we were stopped in traffic in Chicago.  It was the early 1970s; Bozo the Clown was a celebrity with preschoolers in the city. My young nephew had the entire car in stitches as he insisted it was Bozo in the car ahead of us silhouetted against the bright sun instead of a man with bushy hair and a ball cap.  In a matter of months we would all learn that this funny little guy had cancer and was in for an uphill battle.  Then we longed for ordinary days.

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary the afternoon I walked into a friend’s apartment.  There on the couch sat a young man with brown eyes and a warm smile.  That smile still warms my heart three decades later.

It was completely routine to have my children playing on the kitchen floor as I made dinner.  There was music and laughter.  There were bills to pay and dishes to wash; baths to take and bedtime stories to tell.  All of it so ordinary.

The thing about ordinary is that it sometimes takes a while to realize how completely extraordinary it truly is.



Posted in Bigger Picture Moment, Folk Journaling, Good old days, Mama Kat | Tagged | 7 Comments