Arizona

The Dove and I

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Photo by Mindaugas Petrutis

Yesterday morning (before it reached 118 degrees), I washed the outdoor chaise cushions (pelted by bird poop) with eco-friendly soap and the hose.  The bolsters were heavy with water and I carried them to dry against the boulders that were once where our pool now gleams.

Once dry, I placed the cushions back on the loungers.

This morning, I noticed new “gifts” from a bird on one of my freshly cleaned cushions. The mourning dove made eye contact with me from his perch in the tree.

I Googled “how to keep birds out of trees“.

Possible solutions: a scarecrow and shiny objects placed in the branches. Neither one of these would fit my husband’s delicate aesthetics, so I thought some more.

How about cutting the branches off? Oh no. That would not do. We need all the shade we can get around here.

Ooooh! One of those large, fake owls!

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Apparently, this does not work.

More ideas from the Internet: pie tins, old DVDs, mylar balloons. No, no, no.

In the end, I simply moved the chaise from under the tree. Problem solved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health · motivation

Arnold or Annie

 

My husband pours orange juice and tea into a glass full of ice.

“I can’t believe you’re doing that. That looks so gross!” I say.

“It’s called an Arnold Palmer,” he takes a chug.

“Arnold Palmer is ice tea with lemonade,” says his father Ken.

“Oh yeah,” my husband takes another sip.

“You’re drinking an Annie Palmer,” Ken laughs.

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comic · education · school · writers

Word Nerd Undeterred

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Four 4th grade girls stand around, bored. I grab a board game out of the recreation wagon. “Here, play this, it’s super fun!”

They break into teams. Each has a pencil and paper. They shake the word box more violently than necessary.

“FUM!” Yells one girl with glee.

 

“Fum” is not a word!

Yes it is! Fee-Fi-Fo-FUM!

 

Mrs. Wipff, could you look up fum? Is it a word?

I look it up. “Well, according to Wikipedia, it IS a word: Fum is a traditional Catalan Christmas carol.”

The group disbands shortly after that.

Too many words. Kind of boring.

Boggle is the bomb! How can they call it boring? Maybe I’m just a word nerd.

comic · education · Personal Success

Don’t Overestimate the Power of Review

 

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A couple weeks ago, I taught my 5th graders how to diagram sentences. We started out very simple. They liked it, because it was kind of like geometry in English class. Basically, students were to separate the subject from the verb and create dangling shelves for modifiers. After practicing ten sentences, we started our literature study and left diagramming off to the side.

On their vocabulary test today, I decided to be generous and offer extra credit for diagramming a very simple sentence related to our literary study, The Sign of the Beaver. Here are two responses:

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Where’s the other woman?

 

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I’m speechless.

 

Health · Personal Success

The Spoon

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My mother arrived in America in the late 1960s from a small town in rural South Korea. She knew a little English from school, but you can imagine going from the countryside in South Korea to a small apartment building in North Carolina is not exactly a smooth transition.

My sister, brother and I were born in quick succession following her immigration. We quickly grasped the many, many nuances of the English language, especially slang. Mom tried to understand it. But the words and gestures of profanity eluded her.

One day, my siblings and I were doing something that caused her displeasure: eating with our mouths full? Fighting with each other? Getting Bs? I don’t recall. But I do remember her suddenly raising her fist in an incomplete “f*** you” gesture (no middle finger) and yelling, “Fist up!” This created peals of laughter from us and, in her frustration, she gave chase. With a wooden spoon.

The chase was thrilling. Mom and that spoon could sting. But the sight of her in that apron, her face red with anger…it was too much.

As we ran around the house – us kids laughing at the sight of our indignant mother and the epic fail of her attempt to be obscene -she broke into laughter too. Soon, all four of us were in a puddle of giggle tears.

We carried on that day in a lighter state. Life is good. Grades are grades. People are people. Poor is poor. As long as we have each other, we can laugh.