She is slight and blond. All smiles and heart-shaped sunglasses. Popping into my living room at 6:30 am, she never stops. We visit about this and that and I smile each time she utters a word that ends in “r”, as she pronounces it “r-ee”. “I am four-ee!”, she proudly announces.She loves the story I read to her about Big Al, and she patiently glues on fish scales as we create this sweet fish from a paper plate. The tent we created from a sheet and chairs is full of pillows, my battery-operated candles, coloring book and crayons, and her tea set. Her little hands help spread the jelly on our pb&j sandwiches we make for our picnic. Her humor surprises me. My husband brings home pictures of the hail that pelted the parking lot of his business. Her reply is, “Henny Penny said, ‘The sky is falling, the sky is falling!’” The two of us color, and pretend to drink tea, and play with my knickknacks. Nap time arrives, and I chuckle as I listen to her whistle each time she breathes out, as she quietly snores her way through her nap. My heart melts when she gives me a spontaneous hug and plans for her next visit. It amazes me what she knows already. And as she proudly washes her hands all by herself, I know it won’t be long until she’s all grown up, and we will miss the tiny little piece of sunshine that we are blessed to spend our time with.
enjoying breakfast with my husband
sipping coffee on the porch
soaking in the warm weather
listening to the chirping of the birds
completing a list of “to-do’s”
taking a walk
taking a nap
eating out at lunch, at a leisurely pace
sampling too many
This weekend our family saw the new rendition of “Beauty and the Beast”. Of course we enjoyed the show, including the singing, the animation, and the live action vs. the cartoon. Riding the trolley back to our hotel after the movie, we all talked about what we enjoyed. Our daughter summed it up best, “I liked that the lesson in the movie is that beauty is from the inside, not the outside.” Sometimes when we watch this age-old French story, we forget about the message. In life, we forget about the message, too. We spend so much time coloring the gray out of our hair, buying the most slimming outfits, worrying about lines on our faces, and putting in countless hours at the gym. What do you suppose would happen if we all spent as many hours working on our insides? What if we practiced being kind in front of the mirror so much, that kindness just came out of our mouths, even when we were agitated? What if we let go of as much money on being thoughtful as we did on those new shoes? What if we flexed those smile muscles so that anyone would feel welcomed, no matter where they were? What if we loved everyone, even the unlovely, the gruff, or those who seemed to have no redeeming qualities at all?
Leave it to our children to just tell it like it is. It really IS simple, isn’t it?
Today, we are heading for a weekend getaway to Kansas City. I love the city where I grew up, and it’s a short jaunt to a weekend escape.
Of course, we have visited this lovely city many times, and each time we have a few places we just can’t miss.
- Cupinis’s – This small Italian restaurant first caught our attention on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives”. Homemade does make a difference and they do it up right. Homemade pasta and sauces melt in your mouth. We won’t leave empty-handed. Usually, we grab a couple of jars of their homemade marinara to use at home.
- Alamo Drafthouse – We love this downtown theater! Dinner is served as you watch the movie of your choice. The menu is great, and their bottomless bowl of buttered popcorn is to die for. We especially enjoy the unique pre-movie entertainment, which always has something to do with the main attraction. Not too far from our hotel, it’s a fun walk or a quick ride on the free trolley that runs downtown.
- Succotash – Tucked away in an old building not far from Children’s Mercy, this breakfast joint is just a short walk from our hotel. We try to arrive by 8am to beat the crowd. Their homemade juices and flavorful coffee are alone worth the visit. Their breakfast creations are truly unique and also warranted a visit from Guy Fieri.
- The Legends – This outdoor outlet mall in north Kansas City houses all our favorite stores. The back of our car fills with bags of goodies we just can’t pass up. An extra advantage are the steps we rack up as we walk around, which is a good thing since we will head to…
- Q39 – Located on 39th Street, this newly opened restaurant delights the tastebuds with their urban take on barbecue. My husband and I both agree we’ve never had better smoked meats. Ever. Especially tasty are their onion straws with barbecue aioli sauce and their twists on coleslaw and potato salad. My mouth is watering just remembering my last visit!
Today I went to the hairstylist. That adds up to at least two hours of my life and quite a bit of my money that I’ll never see again. However, that silver streak running down my part and hitting me in the eye each morning when I look in the mirror was getting on my nerves. Not only do I cover my gray, I highlight to give my hair color “depth”. It’s exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy visiting with my hair stylist and catching up. She really is a hair guru; unafraid when I bring her a picture, expecting a miracle. And she usually delivers.
I’ve discovered that there is enough time while my hair is processing to get my nails done. With gel polish. What an amazing invention! I can actually keep polish on my nails for three weeks. It’s a great excuse to get my husband to wash the dishes…wouldn’t want to ruin my nails.
Today, at the end of my appointment, my hairdresser was straightening my hair. A wad of hair fell on my lap. “Is this normal?” I asked, feeling panic beginning to rise in my chest. “Yes”, she calmly replied, “I thinned your hair and just haven’t combed it out yet.” Relief!
I have to say, as she poofed my hair with a final layer of hairspray, she did it again. I felt like a million bucks. I guess that means that whatever my total was today, it was a bargain!
I keep a journal…a paper one. It holds my writing and my memories. Inside you might find sweet cards from my husband, ticket stubs from a date night, or photos of my creations. Some pages are full of lists; things I love or things I wish to explore. It’s where I work out my frustrations and record my best moments.
This particular journal was purchased at World Market, one of my favorite places to shop. Inside are quotes to inspire and the funky design caught my eye.
While many of my colleagues and friends prefer digital watches, calendars, or notes, my greatest pleasure is using a new pen on paper. The bent pages, crossed-out words, doodling, and paper-clipped treasures bring me comfort.
This journal is my secret place to record the happenings of my quiet life. When I have a few moments, I might go to the shelf that holds my past journals, each very different, and I flip through the pages. Remembering.
I will retire at the end of this year. My job opening came out today through email, and my retirement is one step closer to becoming reality. It seems surreal that I’m old enough to retire. I still remember my first year of teaching. I knew very little, but I wanted to teach more than anything. The little school where I began my career became a second home to me. Teaching was more like my hobby…I couldn’t wait for the next day, for Christmas break to end, for the open house that would signal summer break was over and school was about to begin. I loved each and every one of my students, and I made a difference. A few years into my career, I earned my master’s. A lover of learning, I traveled to wonderful professional development opportunities and read every book I could find on the art of teaching. Ten years ago, I left the classroom to work with students as a part of our Title I program. And the last eight years, I’ve worked with students and teachers as an instructional coach.
Where did all the years go?
I am looking forward to a new chapter in life, and I can’t wait to see where this new path will take me, hopefully at a much slower pace! And yet, I can’t help but be a little sad, too, to leave a career full of wonderful memories.