Sunday, October 31, 2010

Unfulfilled Promises or....

It is an absolutely beautiful morning.  It is the kind of morning that holds such promise.  A day for. . .

Pumpkin waffles for breakfast.  Nope, I didn't pick up the pumpkin yesterday.

A little gardening, maybe?   Nope, I didn't make it by the nursery for my flats of pansies.

Putting together a pot of warm spicy chili to enjoy while waiting on Trick or Treaters.    Nope, couldn't make up my mind between white or red -- didn't  shop for that either. 

Today is not a complete loss.  I have a chicken roasting in the oven, a stack of books waiting to be opened, Willie curled up next to me, Roger sitting across from me and leaves calling to be raked.

Oh, I also have a bowl of treats waiting for tonight's costume parade.

It is a beautiful day!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Special Visit

 I had the chance, this past week, to spend three days with my mentor,  my hero, my biggest fan, my Daddy.   It was not a visit I had planned.  I traveled to Louisiana to be with him while he was undergoing  medical tests.   We had this picture taken just before we got in the car to head to the hospital (can you believe he is 93).  I felt it was very important to have this picture taken.  We were both nervous, but neither would admit it.  We both knew the outcome, but neither would talk of it.  By the end of the day Daddy had been diagnosed with cancer.  Daddy was physically exhausted; I was emotionally exhausted.  We were both overwhelmed.

The thing about life threatening illnesses is one person tells a lot of stories;  the other  does a lot  of listening.  I was fortunate to be on the receiving end of wonderful stories from my  Daddy's past.  Many of the stories I have heard many times, but they took on new significance this time.

No one really knows how this story will end.  I do know I will visit this wonderful man (yes, I have always felt this way about my Dad) as often as he will allow.  I will listen and record as many stories as he is up to sharing.  His past is my history.  I will champion his fight.  I will respect and honor any decision he makes.  And I will be blessed.

This story is about my Daddy and me; however,  I cannot leave it without saying I have a stepmother who loves him and is a blessing to me. I also have  a step-sister I would happily call Sis.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kindergarten Ready

I have eight delightful four year olds, this year, who keep me on my toes.  Every morning to start our day we gather around for circle time.  We say the Pledge of Allegiance, sing a song or two, and on Mondays, I introduce our letter for the week.  This morning I was having a little difficulty getting everyone to settle down.  There was a constant barrage of questions.  "When can we go outside?"  "I'm hungry, when is snack?"  "Miss Bonnie, I need to go the bathroom. "Are those brownies for us?" ......(you get my point).

I finally gave up and ask everyone to go sit in their chairs, and I pulled my chair up to the table.  I ask the children if their Mommies and Daddies worked?  They all started talking at once, telling me what their parents did.  Once I quietened them down, I ask, "What do you think is Miss Bonnie's job?"  Most of them just looked at me.  One little girl look at me and giggled, "Silly Miss Bonnie,  your don't have a job."  Of course this started everyone giggling.  Not quite the reaction I was hoping for.

I explained to them they will be going to Kindergarten next year, and my job is to get them ready.  " We have  a lot of work to do together.  We need to know our letters, our numbers, we need to be able to cut on a line, and most importantly we need to be able to (pause)  listen and follow directions".  They pretty much stared at me.   Going around the table, I ask each child, "Do you want to go to Kindergarten next year?" The first five answer with an enthusiastic "Yes, Ma'am".   I touched the hand of the next child, "C., do you want to go to Kindergarten next year?"  He stopped fidgeting, looked me straight in the eye and whispered, "I don't know, I need to think about that."

You know?  I would almost do this for free!  Almost!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Supper Treat

Yesterday was "apple" day at Whole Foods.  I literally grazed through the store.  The first thing I was handed when I walked in was a  little cup of chopped baked apples, cranberries and nuts.  It was delicious!  I picked up the recipe, looked at it, folded it up, put it in my bag and started shopping.

Here is my version:

Stuffed Apples

2 apples of choice (I used Fugi)
Butter (a little over a tblsp)
A good heaping cup of fresh  cranberries
8 dates , pitted and chopped
Juice of a blood orange
Zest from the blood orange
1/4 tsp. cardamom
2 tblsp. honey (I used a creamed honey with cinnamon from a local beekeeper)
a handful of shelled walnuts, chopped coarsely

Cut tops off of apples, and set aside.  Take out core, and hollow out apples leaving about 1/4 of an inch around sides and bottom.

In a large pan, melt butter.  Add whole cranberries, dates, juice and zest of the blood orange, cardamom, and honey.  Cook until cranberries have popped and liquid has thickened.  Stir in walnuts.
Spoon mixture into apple cavities, dividing equally.  Place apple tops on stuffing.  Place stuffed apples in a deep baking dish.  Pour water around apples (bout 1/4 " deep).  Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 400 preheated oven for about 30 minutes.  Remove foil, pour out water and continue baking for 15 minutes. They  should be brown, but not collapsing.

Bon Appetit!

(My picture was taken before I baked the apples.   I was not for certain if the fugi apples would hold up.  They were beautiful and yummy.  They were not as rich or as sweet as I thought they would be.  You can add more butter and substitute brown sugar in place of the honey, for a sweeter richer version.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


It was a beautiful morning to go to The Pumpkin Patch with my children.  Everyone had a great time!  Usually I have several children following behind me.  This year I had difficulty getting many of them to smile for a picture.  I suspect they knew their Moms and Dads held the real power.

I always enjoy walking around watching and helping the children make the perfect pumpkin selection.  Some will look for the biggest.  Some want a smooth pumpkin.  Others are looking for a long stem.  Then, there are the children who let their Moms make the decision.  I always try to take a picture of them holding their treasure.

This morning while waiting for everyone to arrive, I had one little boy run up to me to give me a hug.  I noticed he brought along a toy.   I ask him, "M... what did you bring with you?"  His face lit up as he gave me a fabulous smile, "Miss Bonnie, I brought my measuring tape.  I'm going to measure my pumpkin."  You guessed it, he was going to be looking for a big one.  After the instructions were given about where we could pick and how many (one), I noticed my little boy stand up and raise his measuring tape above his head. No one was looking his way.   I ask everyone to look at me, "If you want to measure your pumpkin, M... brought his measuring tape."  There was such pride on his face.

You ask why I teach?  I just gave you my answer.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Book Group

Tonight is Book Group.  I have to say, I am really excited.  It is one thing I truly look forward to, and I have missed it so much.  This will be our fourth year together.

I had talked with a couple of friends several times about starting a group, but, like all things, life kept getting in the way.  I finally decided there was not going to be a perfect time.  I called up my two friends, added another and set a date to organize.   We decided on a meeting time, what we wanted to read, how many members we wanted and how we wanted to choose our material.  I didn't want it to be Bonnie's Book Group, so I ask each of them to invite up to three women.  I made only two request:  I wanted members who would really read the book selections and no self-help books (I was a psychology major.  They are only good until the next great one comes out.)  We were well on our way!

We are a mixed group.  Several of us are teachers (only two at the same school), active and retired.  We have an attorney, an actress who also writes, a jewelry designer, a photographer and a computer consultant.  Everyone brings a unique insight  to the table.

Our first  meeting of the "reading year" is taken up with putting together a list of books to read during our reading season, and signing up to host.  I had to miss the September meeting (my favorite) because I was busy moving into the new school building.   I will have a great evening chatting with this great group of women about our book, The Glass Castle".  I actually read it three years ago, so I read her newest book, Half Broke Horses.    Reviewing the list, I am anxious to see who nominated each book.

Book Belles 2010-11 Book List:

October - The Glass Castle or Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls (memoir)
November - Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (historical fiction)
December - The Nimrod Flipout, by Etgar Keret (humor, short stories)
January - Wives of Henry Oades, by Johana Moran (fiction)
February - Doomsday, Connie Willis (science fiction)
March - Woman in White, Wilkie Collins (classic)
April - Issac Newton, John Gleick (biography)
May - Stoner, John Williams (fiction)
June - Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese (international fiction)

A couple of these books would never have even appeared  on my radar.  They will probably end up being my  favorites.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bon Appetit

One of my favorite things about teaching is having a child come back to visit.   It is such a treat!

A couple of weeks ago one of my sweet girls, from last year, came to visit me. We had the best conversation.  We talked about her summer, her teacher (a good friend of mine), and what she likes best about her new school.  At the end of our visit I ask what she and her  Mother  were going to do on her day out of school.  Her Mother said they were going to go get something to eat.  I replied, " Bon Appetit!"

My little friend looked up at me with a shy little smile.   I ask her if she had told her Momma about our Bon Appetit; she shook her head.  I explained at snack time, after saying the blessing, I  say "Bon Appetit".  It is my way of saying you can eat now.   It doesn't take long before the children begin saying it with me.  The Mom had a slight look of confusion, but I didn't really think much about it.  I am not for sure when I started saying "Bon Appetit in the classroom, but I have parents tell me their children say it at the dinner table for years after they leave me.  I was a bit surprised S. had not repeated it at home.

Later, before starting dinner, I logged onto my computer to check my email.  I immediately saw I had a note from the Mother who had visited earlier.   After reading her email I understood her earlier expression.

She explained at dinner, after saying the blessing, S. would say, "one cuppa tea".  The Mom ask her why she said "one cuppa tea" after the blessing.  She replied, "because Miss Bonnie says it everyday".   She continued to write that she didn't understand "one cuppa tea",  but thought it must be an English saying; once she heard me say "Bon Appetit" she understood.

I always hope my children will take what I teach and make it their own;  my  sweet girl did just that. time you eat...may your meal be blessed and "one cuppa tea"

Monday, October 4, 2010

This Thing Called Blogging

I've been writing my blog maybe five months now.   I'm still not always sure why I continue.    I started, thinking I had all this great advice to pass on.   I've made it through fifty five years fairly successful and unscathed without knowing a lot about anything.  Thus my heading, "Living Life By the Seat of My Pants".   Looking at it now, that seems a little presumptuous.

I stated at the very beginning I am not a writer.   I will never pretend to be.    I am a conversationalist (I hope that is a word); I love to tell stories, but, I do not have the patience to spend the time editing for perfect grammar and structure.  I spend enough time just making sure I didn't leave out a word or two.  And, thank  goodness for spell check.   I  am a preschool teacher.  I am  more concerned with the alphabet, holding a pencil correctly, saying , "I'm finished" in place of "I'm  done" (a pet peeve of mine), trying to get everyone home without anymore bruises than they brought to school,  and most importantly, introducing a lifelong love of learning .   Split infinitives no longer concern me a great deal.  I don't like hanging prepositions, but I'm a Southerner; they  will slip by me.  I pretty much write as I speak.  

I'm not sure where this adventure called blogging will take me,  but I will continue to ramble, unedited, about Living Life.  While everything I do is pretty much "by the seat of my pants", I've changed my heading to simply "Living Life".  And, yes, it is a much blessed life.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I know the Autumn equinox occurs around September 22; for me, October ushers her in. The temperatures finally start going down, and Mother Nature dons her most beautiful and organic colors before shedding her clothes for a winter's nap.

Hydrangeas are one of my favorite plants. I will find any excuse to add to my collection; each one has a special meaning. I have an Oakleaf that anchors one corner reminding me of my introduction to gardening. I planted an Everlasting the weekend Heather and Kyle became engaged, and the Bridal Wreath the week after their wedding. (My hope is one day I can give them cuttings for their own garden.) I have three, given to me by students. They are actually florist hydrangeas. Most are discarded once the blooms die; being pretty much fearless in the garden, I planted them. I found it takes three years for them to rebloom. The plants stay fairly small, but they give the really heavy dense mopheads. I planted Red Ladies because I love the color red. I have lace-caps, mopheads and varigated.

I anxiously await the first blooms. Most hydrangeas bloom on old wood, and I am never completely confident I clip the old blooms at the best time for a good blooming season. You see, even though I love the blues, pinks, greens and whites of the spring blooms, the antique and transparent greens, bluegreens and deep purples are my favorites. They are the jewels that perfectly set off the scarlet reds of the maples and the deep oranges and yellows of the oaks.

I've been told I have a talent for putting together unusual color combinations. I say just look out your window. There are no mistakes out there. Autumn gives us the most fabulous and inspiring palette of the year -- free of charge.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Time Passes

I do not do very well with change. I like to say I am flexible; I'm not really. I like routine. I like status quo. I suppose you could say I'm not very progressive.

A couple of weekends ago while out and about running errands I passed "our" video store and saw the "going out of business" sign. A wave a sadness washed over me. We no longer rent a lot of movies, so I suppose in some small way I have to take some responsibility for their demise. Although I suspect "Movies on Demand" (I think we have that; I can't figure it out though. We tried to order a movie once. We watched the first 30 minutes, or so, and it cut off. We got our bill and discovered we were charged three times for that movie. They were very apologetic and gave us a month upgrade with more movie channels for us not to watch.)  and Netflixs have a lot to do with it.

I wonder who will help me find that old obscure movie I've been thinking about lately.... You know... it had some actress Clayburn or know, yes, Jill Clayburgh. It starts out with her jogging with her husband through... Manhattan, maybe? He stops and tells her he is having an affair...he leaves, she kicks him out I can't remember. . .anyway she becomes involved with an Artist, Alan Bates (whew!  I don't know where I pulled that bit of information from) maybe? It came out sometime around '78 or '79 maybe. I think sometime between "The Goodbye Girl" and "Apocalypse Now" I think it was up for several awards. Yes, that's it ..."An Unmarried Woman". I don't think that is the conversation I will be having with Netflixs.

I would guess Netflixs is computerized. I can hear the conversation going something like this. Please state the genre' of movie you are wanting. Please speak clearly into the phone. If you want an adventure movie say "adventure movie". Drama...Did you say comedy? Please say yes or no. No.... What did you say? I said DRAMA... I'm sorry I don't understand you. Please speak clearly into the phone. I SAID DRA.A.MA.A...I'm sorry let's try this another way. For an adventure movie please press "1" now. For a comedy movie please press "2" now.......Geez! I'm sorry I can't understand you. Please hold for a customer service representative (meaning a live person).

Oh please, say it isn't so? I've been outsourced!

Maybe I should just hit that DVD sale!

I will miss you Premier. Thank you for remembering all those old movies when all I could offer were snippets of information. Thank you for letting me bring my puppy in with me and making a fuss over him. Thank you for always reminding me my movies were due back even if there was an ice or snow storm. Thank you for making me feel safe when it was just me and that really weird guy over on the action aisle in the store. Thank you for being a part of our community. I'm sad to see you go. Good Luck!

(I humbly apologize for all the grammatical mistakes; sometimes you just have to tell the story.)