Last Saturday, after a leisurely morning allowed for a colossal cup of tea along side a well-plated brunch, with a phone call first from my mother and then my daughter, I took to town with a list of errands. Today was the day to do what I never get to, like swinging by the jeweler’s to have my diamond cleaned and inspected, or sifting through the writer magazines at Barnes & Nobles to make notes on upcoming contests and submission deadlines. You know the kinds of things you do when life seems to be riding a straight line. But driving between Healthy Living and the next on my list I had a NPR moment… when your errands are put on hold or cancelled all together because you are captive in your car, essentially trapped by story.
09 May 2013 21 Comments
Seems like a lifetime ago when Nine Cent Girl was born… The fiery hues of autumn had just subsided into a monochromatic black and white across my Vermont landscape, fickle sunlight and arctic air drove me indoors; it was during this introspective time of the seasonal circle that my blog became a trusty beacon, illuminating my direction through what dark days lay ahead as well as brightening the unforeseen surprises dropped along my path.
11 Apr 2013 20 Comments
In late March–early April, Spring remains subtle in northern Vermont. Snow still covers the higher ground, while in the valley only the smallest of flowers break through the hard frozen earth. Sunny days might drive the temperature into the 40′s but nighttime sends it back below freezing. This pattern makes most of us stir crazy, but for the maple sugar maker this is a formula for success. Steam rising from sugar shacks once the boiling begins becomes the sign that Spring has indeed arrived and the sugar makers have no control over these fast and furious few weeks; once the nighttime stays too warm the sap slows and eventually stops. This labor intensive process can occupy a whole extended family and their neighbors, all coming together to gather the gallons of sap, boil it down and bottle the syrup.
04 Apr 2013 14 Comments
Last week a group of us met for a mid-week dinner celebration in a lively local Tex-Mex restaurant. We were mostly colleagues who see each other daily, nodding a quick hello as we pass through the high school halls, but here, with the platters of chips and bowls of salsa to share and a spouse or two sprinkled between, we laughed over miss-steps and shared our stories. We remembered why we are friends while the revelry fed our spirits; back at school the next day our passing in the halls slowed a bit to allow for an extended greeting. Our table of 10 was adjacent to a table for 7, where a family was seated, mom and dad and their five children, ranging from pre-teen to teen. After getting settled and menu options discussed each member of this family pulled out an electronic device; several had iPads, others gaming devices, parents too studied their smart phones. No one at that table spoke. Even when their food came they kept to their solitary pursuits. The contrast between our experiences was visible and startling for while we all left our isolation and found community, this group did something quite opposite and gained what I wondered? What role does technology have in our lives, our families, our relationships, or our workplaces? Is there a compelling reason to embrace being plugged in over an equally compelling reason to not be?
28 Mar 2013 12 Comments
Novels and plays populate my mind, rolling by in a continuous cycle, thanks to my being a literature teacher… All these words marinate, year after year as I teach the same texts, yet are born anew while I share them with my students. Through the years I have come to appreciate how these well-told tales sustain me and feed my passions and lead me to question life’s tribulations. As my students face these texts for the first time it only deepens my experience of them.
21 Mar 2013 8 Comments
Just recently this Nine Cent Girl was feeling down on her luck… You know the why me? why now? kind of stuff… Murky, sticky, and just plain yucky stay in your pj’s kind of mood. Luckily I have one person in my life who never lets me wallow for too long; as I lamented my unfortunate state she listened through the tears, the eternal why me? why now? loop, and then reminded me of one indisputable truth, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall…” Hard to deny that ancient idiom, still, I struggled over how to stand under what felt insurmountable. Thankfully, by the weekend’s end, I had a plan: a three step plan (clearly I’m still on a numbers kick). Nothing miraculous, but a plan that made a shift.
14 Mar 2013 25 Comments
I am sort of a numbers nut. Not OCD, but I love the simplicity and significance of numbers; I love, okay, am slightly obsessed, with numerology. As far as a favorite, I’ve always fancied #5. Besides the fact that my whole birth-date is divisible by 5, I can remember clear as day feeling brilliant when I memorized the 5 x’s multiplication table… So, when I stumbled on to this site, “5 Things to Do Today” where every post centers around 5, I thought, yes, YES, this is a site to guest blog on! After a few false starts I found my topic: Kids. Grown ones.