Concert

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March SOLC- Day 26

Saturday night we attended our daughter’s University of Maine Singers concert. I started to write about the event in prose but it quickly shifted to a poem. It’s funny how that happens sometimes.

Concert

The audience settled into their seats
materials shifting and sighing
muffled seat springs creaking
Then silence descended
an expectant hush
the singers strode onto the stage
filling the risers
poised
still
Until…
the conductor raised his hands…
Breathe
then
dropped
them
and those voices, those glorious voices,
intertwined in thunderous beauty,
lifted and soared
filling the hall
spilling out into the frosty night
My heart swelled with the notes
as I watched my daughter
singing in the midst of that choir
and I was so glad,
so fiercely glad,
that she has this:
this music
this community
this gift of song

Molly Hogan (c) 2017

Here’s A rehearsal clip from the University of Maine Singers. Click if you’d like to enjoy an informal “taste” of their singing.

The Joys of Aging

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March SOLC–Day 26

Have you ever noticed that sometimes an unintended word pops out of your mouth? I’m not talking the four-letter variety either. Or the common mistake of calling one of your children by their brother’s or sister’s name…or the dog’s for that matter. I’m talking about this lovely phenomenon that seems to happen to me with some regularity these days. That moment when you say a word that is not at all what’s intended…and makes no sense. It worries me some. It would worry me more if my husband weren’t doing it, too. Since he is, I’m just tacking it up to one of the joys of the aging process.

Yesterday, we spent the whole day together visiting our kids in Orono, Maine. Throughout the day we laughed at a few mis-said words. Mostly, we just help each other out and supply the correct word. Sometimes it’s a bit more humorous. After one such moment, I’d said, “This aging stuff is gonna be great! Before too long, we’re going to be babbling together like idiots. Hopefully we’ll still at least  be able to understand each other!”

After our daughter’s concert that night, we returned to our hotel room to settle down for the night. I was first in bed, enjoying the luxury of a well-heated room. (note: At home, old, old house+Maine winter+ poor insulation+kids in college=low, low thermostat setting=Brrrr!) 

Ahhhhh…It’s so nice and warm in here. Ohhhh… maybe I can take my socks off. 

Beep.

Beep.

Beep.

What? Oh, no! My warm and cozy thoughts scattered and an icy finger of dread skittered down my spine. I glanced up quickly, knowing what I would see. Dreading it. Yes, there he was. Just as I thought. Kurt was standing over at the thermostat, his trigger finger on the down button. (He prefers to sleep in a temperature that’s a bit more… Arctic.)

Beep.

He hit the button again and the fan engines revved up ominously. A stream of cool air wafted through the room almost instantaneously. I shivered before it even reached me.

“NO!” I wailed, “I was just thinking how nice it was to be warm. I was even going to take my socks off!”

“Not your socks!” he teased.

“Yes! And there aren’t any extra blankets either,” I whined.

“Did you check the closet?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said plaintively, adding a dramatic shiver for effect.

“How about the drawer?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want me to call down and get you one?” he asked. ” I’ll even sprinkle the blanket on you when it gets here.”

Sprinkle the blanket?

We both burst out laughing.

Sprinkle??

Yup. It’s gonna be fun!

 

 

A Slice of Texting with Pizza on Top

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SOLC–Day 25

I can’t imagine how it was to send kids off to college and into their adult lives in the days before technology. I love the instant check-ins and links that technology offers. When my son started college, Facebook was still relatively popular in his age group. I became a full-out Facebook stalker. Each night I’d check his page. Had he made a friend? Ohhhh!  Look!  Two new friends–they look so nice!  I laughed at myself but I kept on doing it. I found it reassuring (thankfully!) and it eased the sting of his absence. I’d watch to see what else he was posting about and we texted back and forth frequently.

These days, my son has graduated and is far less apt to respond promptly, so our text messages have a lag time of …a couple of days… or even a week. We tend, instead, to talk on the phone during his long work commute. On the other hand, I message and text almost daily with my college-age daughters. We have ongoing conversations and quick “I miss you” or “I love you” messages and check-in’s (“How was your day?”).

This week, knowing we were coming up to see her concert, my daughter sent a message:

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Hmmm….. I wonder what’s coming next. 

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After laughing at the hot cross bun request (we’re all addicts of the amazing hot cross buns that are produced at a local bakery), I responded.

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I paused here, uncertain how to respond. I had assumed that she wanted pizza when we were visiting.  How foolish of me! I’m clearly not in tune with the tech. advances of pizza ordering in college. In my day…well, never  mind. We continued our conversation.

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I had to laugh aloud here — and read the comment to my husband. We both chuckled.

“Are you going to do it?” he asked.

“I don’t know….”

I wasn’t sure how to respond…so I delayed and merely agreed with her remark about her responsibility, wondering how she’d adapt her plea next.

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Her response arrived quickly:

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After laughing again at her dramatic exaggeration, I did what any self-respecting teacher would do –at least one who didn’t feel like saying “No” and who really needed to focus on getting report card comments written–I threw my husband under the bus.

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A Snarky Slice

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hMarch SOLC–Day 24
A huge thank you to  Anna, Beth, Betsy, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
twowritingteachers.org

It’s been a week.

At the end of a long day earlier this week, I told a student she needed to clean up under her desk. She suffers from materials mismanagement at the best of times, but on this particular day, it looked like her desk had exploded. Or maybe vomited. At any rate, she had managed to avoid the task once already, and I was not happy about the continuing mess and she was not happy about cleaning it up.

Grudgingly, she started picking up. A pencil here. A scrap of paper there. She stopped to chat to a classmate. I redirected her and stooped down to pick up a few things.

“I’ll help out,” I said. “Why don’t we start with the pencils and pens?”

“You know,” she pronounced with a snap, turning to look at me, “I hate to break it to you. But learning isn’t fun!”

I deposited a handful of pencils in her pencil bag. “Well,” I replied, “I’m sorry you feel that way.  But even if you don’t think it’s fun, having a good attitude can make it more fun.” (Not my most brilliant comment.)

“No!” she said, not missing a beat.  “That’s not true! You’re lying. You’re a liar.”

(I guess she didn’t think it was a great comment either.)

It’s been a week.

Holding on and Riding out the Storm

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March SOLC–Day 23

They say a picture paints a thousand words. I snapped this one during one of our recent blizzards, and I hope it counts for at least a few, because right now it’s about all I can come up with.  I can totally relate to this poor cardinal, buffeted by the winds and clinging to a branch with its wee feet. With report cards this week, a school concert tonight, parent-teacher conferences and MEA testing next week, and the ongoing SOL challenge, I, too, am just holding on and trying to ride out the storm!

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An Old Photo and a Pithy Comment

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March SOLC–Day 22
A huge thank you to  Anna, Beth, Betsy, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
twowritingteachers.org

Amy Warntz inspiration has struck again! Her recent post about a treasured photo reminded me of an incident that happened at my house, not too long ago. The girls were home on break. My youngest daughter was looking through a stack of old photos that she’d discovered somewhere. “Oh, look!” she exclaimed, holding up the picture for her sister to see.

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Then she continued, “This one’s perfect! Dad’s still talking…”She paused and laughed, “… and Mom’s reachin’ for the wine!”

I’m not sure if this translates well without knowing us, but it still makes me laugh.

 

Weekend Share

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March SOLC–Day 21
A huge thank you to  Anna, Beth, Betsy, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
twowritingteachers.org

On most Monday mornings, we have a Weekend Share greeting in our fourth grade classroom. During this greeting, as its name suggests, each student shares one thing he/she did over the weekend. We went around the circle yesterday, greeting each other and sharing. It was the usual assortment of weekend activities: birthday parties, skiing, time playing video games, play dates, etc.

Then we got to D. Brushing back his trademark long bangs, he said, “I went to see Beauty and the Beast.” There was a buzz of excitement and a few “I did, too” comments. D. paused, waiting for the tumult to subside, and then announced dramatically, “And I cried…I cried a lot.” The classroom echoed with a chorus of empathetic comments from both males and females.

“I know! It was so sad!”

“I cried, too!”

After the comments died down,  D. said, “I know it doesn’t sound manly, but when you feel it… you’ve just got to let it out.” He paused for a long moment, then continued. “I felt for the beast, I really did. He’s a great guy.”

D. has a well-developed sense of humor and does love a bit of drama: his delivery was impeccable. But underlying it  was sincerity about his experience at the movies. Beauty and the Beast has been at the center of some controversy, but apparently it does at least one thing right. It can move a fourth grade boy enough that he shares the story of his tears with his classmates.