Thursday, March 26, 2015

Not The Post I Expected Write When The Day Began

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There are great moments of life that poked up here and there during the events of this afternoon, but the fact that it took me four tries to get the beginning of this sentence in the correct word order with English grammar and spelling tells me that I should not attempt to formulate anything deeper than the basics.

My daughter fell off the monkey bars at school today. (Another kid, heading the opposite direction, put their hand where she was expecting to put hers.) She caught her fall with her wrist. There was a sub in my room all afternoon while I was at the ER. There is a bright green cast on my daughter's wrist for the next three weeks (including our Spring Break in Paris).

Thankfully she is not in pain.
Thankfully we have medical care available.
Thankfully the much needed cleaning of her tonight was successful and the double bagged cast stayed dry.
Thankfully I remembered to post a slice.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

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This picture is a slice of many lives. This is such a typical sight in Beirut. I think an entire novel could be made out of the imagined lives that take place in each apartment. What can you dream up?

IMG_2458 (1)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

It’s Friday!

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Here in Beirut it is Friday! No, I am not reading my calendar wrong and no, the time difference hasn’t grown exponentially. There is no school tomorrow, therefore it feels like Friday.

The even bigger news is that the holiday tomorrow is a religious holiday recognized by both Christians and Muslims. Yes, it is the ONE thing that is agreed upon by all here in Lebanon. What is the special day? Feast of the Annunciation

For those of you that are still wondering what I am talking about ‘annunciation’ means ‘announcement’. Tomorrow is March 25th, nine months before December 25th. Has the light bulb lit? Tomorrow is the day tradition says the angel Gabriel told Mary she was going to have a baby. Jesus.

The fact that it falls on a Wednesday, the middle of the week more than a week before Spring Break is a wonderful mini-break as we try and hold on for Spring Break itself. I have been looking forward to this week and its two ‘Fridays’ for some time.

Even my daughter declared it to be Friday this morning. For her that means that tomorrow morning, after practicing piano, she gets to use the iPad time she has used by being ready on time so far this week. She came to this conclusion herself and I agreed. Today is Friday after all.

Monday, March 23, 2015

What I Love To Do

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This is really about passion, but putting passion in the title made it seem like something it isn’t.

Last night, as I was letting my husband head out to play Ultimate Frisbee, which I enjoy playing as well, I had a revelation.

It’s about passion.

I enjoy Ultimate Frisbee, but I am not going to rearrange life to make it happen. If I end up playing I enjoy it, but I wouldn’t say it is one of my favorite things in the world.

For my husband this is another story. Ultimate Frisbee is his favorite sport. He LOVES to play. He love to teach others to play. He enjoys both encouraging others and a really challenging game. He like the physicality, the strategy, and the disc tossing aspects. Ultimate Frisbee is a passion for him.

For me, it is handbells. My husband enjoys playing, when the opportunity arises. He is even really good, but he isn’t going to rearrange his life to make it happen.

For me, on the other hand, I will do just about anything to get to play handbells. They are my passion. Fortunately I figure out a way to play a few times a year. One day we will own a set ourselves and then I will be able to play even more. (Just the thought is terribly exciting – proof that it’s my passion.)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A day of tiny slices

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Today I am in need of inspiration. A day of rest didn't seem to stimulate my brain with something that feels worth writing about. So instead of a focused moment, here is my day - made up of many moments.

I got to sleep in this morning, though I heard my daughter whispering to have Daddy get up. I appreciated that they tip toed out. I got to lie there a bit longer, and those moments were treasured.

Our usual pancake breakfast thanks to the other two members of my family. We are out of whole wheat flour and can't find it anywhere right now so they tasted a bit different, but were still appreciated. She is working on cutting hers herself, and mostly succeeding.

The last person to bed has the responsibility of turning on the hot water heater (we don't have enough power to run it with very many other things) so that in the morning there are hot showers available. That didn't happen last night. I had no responsibilities for the service this morning so I waited before taking my shower. The little one had opted to go with Daddy so I could really push the envelope. It bought me a mostly warmish shower. The very brisk walk to church to try and arrive before the service started warmed me up.

After worship and fellowship we ended up back home. Once the monkey was having her rest time I worked on catching up on the Iditarod and fell asleep in the process.
My daughter emerged ready to read me a book and show off her hand stand skills she had been practicing. We then worked on cleaning her room. Daddy had been in the process of making pizza since we had gotten home, which we all enjoyed for dinner.

He then left to play Ultimate and I got to have the conversation about why we don't pour our milk down the sink and then say we have finished it. Fun times. Through tears she told me she didn't like that I said she couldn't have a sweet. I calmly tried to explain that it was her actions that made that decision - a concept not quite firmly grasped in her 5 1/2 year old brain. She also, through tears, claimed that she didn't know [that there would be consequences]. I happened to know this was the second time she had done this. I asked her what Daddy had said last time. "To never do it again!" was the reply, through sniffles. "But I didn't know that you knew!" (This is where a poker face is really important in this mommy gig.)

Bed time routine including her thanking God for moving to new places, amongst her many things she is thankful for. I am thankful that she likes adventures too!
As I tucked her in she asked for it to be tighter, she really like the blanket to feel like snugly cocoon. As I was wedging her arms in as tightly as I could she stopped me and pointed out that she wouldn't be able to read without her arms. At least we don't pretend that she goes straight to sleep.

After working on some details for Spring Break, that still seems far off, but I know will be here soon I wrack my brain to think of a moment to slice about and come up empty. Now that I have written it out there are moments, but only tiny ones. A day of tiny slices.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Isn't It Great Being A Mom?

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We were out late last night, at a dinner party. (Well, let me define 'late'. For me it is anything past ten. We got home at midnight.) It was a lovely evening with delicious food and delightful company, but I knew this morning wasn't going to be joyful. In fact, I was thankful it was Saturday morning because generally I get to sleep in on Saturday and my husband gets the luxury on Sunday.

Way too early there was a little one by my side, waking me up, as her clock now said she could leave her room.

Ugh! I thought as she gently kissed my cheek.
"Happy Mother's Day!" she said softly.

Now here is the dilemma. She chose me this morning because it is Mothers' Day (at least in most of the Arab world) and therefore the day should be spent with me. In my mind, since it's Mothers' Day, I should get to sleep in!

We spent the next couple of hours snuggling and playing games. Once Daddy was up we began our regular Saturday routines - I plan menus for the week and make the shopping list and then they head out to collect what I have requested via the list. As they stopped by, dropping off water from the 'Water Shop' before heading to the produce stand and the 'Nut Shop' with a final visit to Mr. Joseph, the 'Cheese Guy', I was given the option of going out to brunch upon their return.

I need to insert that my husband thinks it is ridiculous and/or unfair that I get two Mother's Days and he gets only one. I am quick to point out that I did not request this 'extra' one in March and would be fine with the one in May. (This one is too close to my birthday and I like my 'special days' spread out.) This being said, the culture here is HUGE on Mothers' Day. She brought home a card she made for me in her class and presented me with a rose from her after-school care. The flower shops are spilling onto the streets in anticipation of all the flowers that will be presented today. Everyone talks about it. Really, this is the Mothers' Day that is more real to her than a day, many Sundays from now when my husband and I will wish our moms "Happy Mothers' Day' when we talk to them on Skype.

Hey, if you can't beat them, join them. I got up early, but at least I am about to go to brunch!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Back to Books

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There is always about a week and a half in March in which I find it very difficult to get any books read. It isn’t that I am not reading. In fact, I am usually glued to some words at every opportunity, but they are blog posts, Tweets, and news articles as I attempt to follow the Iditarod from across the globe.

This year was no different.

I also incorporate the race into my lessons for a couple of weeks. Students who have no idea about the climate or culture of Alaska, let alone anything about dog mushing become enthralled right along with me. We use our research and map skills. This year climate change was my entrance point during our geology unit as the restart had to move to Fairbanks due to lack of snow in Anchorage. (Only the second time in the race’s 43 running.)

I assigned each child a few mushers to research and cheer for. The students get really into it, elated when their team(s) are doing well and crest fallen when someone has to withdraw from the race.

This year, Brent Sass’ disqualification was a fascinating story. I was rooting for him, therefore this next statement may sounds off. Brent’s handling of his DQ was an excellent lesson in taking responsibility for one’s actions. This is was my emphasis as we looked at the situation.

Stories of overcoming hardship can always be found during the race. None more so than Lance’s this year, probably his last.

After three years of second place finishes I was really hoping for this to be Aliy’s year. Her positive spirit and love of her team are so fun to watch. Unfortunately it wasn’t to happen.

So now that Dallas has a third win, Seaveys placing 1st and 2nd and the next 29 teams have finished I am thinking about reading a book. Yes, there are still 36 teams on the trail, and I will follow the race through until the Red Lantern comes down, but it is time to open a book as well – til next March.