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Archive for February, 2012

Gratitude redux

I fell off the gratitude wagon. Sort of.

I continued to write what I was grateful for on the whiteboard at school every day, but I stopped posting it here.

Then I watched Shawn Achor give a TED Talk about happiness and learned that seven days of a gratitude journal isn’t going to cut it. I need to carry on for at least 21 days to feel any of its effects.

So, let’s try this again.

Monday: I am grateful for snow days.
Tuesday: I am grateful for John. I can’t imagine sharing my life with anyone else.
Wednesday: I am grateful that one of my former students invited me to hear her compete today at the regional Poetry Out Loud competition where she was the runner-up. Her performance was spectacular.

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Yesterday was a snow day. I love them more as a teacher than I did as a student. I read “Pie” by Sarah Weeks and would have made a buttermilk pie, but I was out of buttermilk. Then I finished up “The Cupcake Queen” by Heather Hepler. I did make cupcakes – Valentine’s Day cupcakes to be specific. Mostly, it was a quiet, lazy day. Just what a snow day should be.

When John got home, we had to head out in that same snow to fix the stock tank. It froze on Sunday. We knew this because there was no water in the house. Apparently, the pilot light that keeps the propane heater fired so the pipes don’t freeze, had gone out. John shut the water to the tank off, and water returned to the house, but we didn’t have the parts to fix the tank that watered the horses.

The horses got moved to a lot with water, John bought a new fitting in town, and that meant we had an evening of plumbing in store.

While we worked by flashlight, we could hear from the depths of the woods to the south, the soft calls of a barred owl. You can learn more about them (and hear audio clips of their calls) at the Missouri Department of Conservation web site.

Perhaps this was the same owl haunting our yard.

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Dog beds

The red dog sleeps on my side of the bed. When she decided that she wanted to sleep with the people, she sensed John’s lack of support for the idea. At first, she’d jump up so lightly you could hardly tell when her feet hit the bed. Then she’d curl up into the tiniest and tightest of knots.

Now she’s not so discreet. Now she lands solidly in the bed. She circles three times then slams her body into my ribcage, sliding down my belly so we’re snuggled in tight. If I move, she repeats the process and this way we both slowly migrate onto what John argues is more than our share of the bed.

It’s gotten worse than that. It used to be when we left for work, the pups would be snoozing on their dog beds in the living room, Ruby with a sock freshly plucked from the dirty laundry, tucked under her chin like a tiny pillow. After work we started finding socks in the middle of the bed. Now, she’s curled up in bed, usually on my pillow before we even leave, while the black dog, who even in her younger years was not agile enough to jump up onto the bed, takes pole position on the sofa.

Cesar Millan would not be impressed.

But it was Ruby who alerted me to trouble Sunday night. From a dead sleep, her head shot up, ears pricked. I heard the roosters in the pen near the porch begin to chatter. It wasn’t a “sky is falling” kind of squawk, more of an “ahem, but we have a bit of a problem out here.”

I crawled out of bed and turned on the yard light expecting to see a four-legged, furry body scurry off. Instead, nothing.

Back in bed, the roosters once again politely suggested there was still a bit of an issue outside. I got out of bed again (notice, the red dog didn’t budge), this time armed with a flashlight. Again, there was no furry, four-legged creature to scare off. I arced the light over the pen to see the silhouette of a huge owl. He heaved himself off the securely lidded pen and conceded a spot on top of the clothesline just a few yards away.

The roosters quieted and I returned to bed where Ruby had to circle again for a fierce body slam to my ribs.

My glimpse of that huge owl is one of the things I like about living in the country. Those unexpected moments that sometimes come in the middle of the night.

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