Thankful for Trouble

Early Saturday morning, I strolled listlessly through the aisles of Target, carefully checking my written list as I went. In the back of the store, there was a display overflowing with games, many of them familiar from my childhood. I glanced over as I passed. Sorry. Yahtzee. Chutes and Ladders. Wait…Trouble!? Oh. I’d loved Trouble! I picked up the box and looked fondly at that curved plastic center dome peeking through the center of the cardboard. I could still remember the feel of pushing it down and the click-popping sound it made as it rolled the die within. That would be a great game for indoor recess, I thought. I looked around in vain for a price tag. Well, I’ll just ask when I check out, I decided. If it’s less than $10, I’ll buy it.

When I got up front, there was only one cashier working. I settled into line with my few items, already beginning to feel the sharp stress nibbles of unfinished grading and incomplete report cards. Soon, a woman, masked as I was, got into line behind me.

“Wow, only one line open,” she commented, “but at least it’s not too busy.

We commiserated and chatted about this and that–the weird state of the world, how many people weren’t masked, Covid, etc.

“I have cancer,” she commented, “but I really wear my mask to protect others. I do love our governor, but I wish she’d mandate masks.”

I noted the dark circles under her eyes, her pallor and her thin frame. My heart squeezed a bit. Trying to manage a grave illness and navigate this Covid-altered world must be incredibly stressful.

The line moved forward and I started to unload my cart onto the belt.

“Oh, that’s a fun game!” she said, pointing at Trouble.

“I know!” I replied. “I remember loving this game as a kid. I’m a teacher and I thought my students would, too. I’m not sure how much it is though, so I haven’t decided if I’m getting it or not.”

We talked a bit about schools and how they’ve been managing these days, until finally, it was my turn at the register.

“How much is this?” I asked the cashier, holding up the game.

She scanned it. “Thirteen forty-nine.”

I hesitated, remembering my $10 mental limit, designed to stop me from overspending on my classroom.

“Never mind,” I said firmly. “I’m not going to get it.”

She tucked the rejected game under the counter and began to ring up my other purchases. A few minutes later, I paid and gathered up my bags. As I turned to leave, I heard the woman behind me say, “Oh, I’ll take that,” and saw her point to the Trouble game.

Then she turned to me, “Could you wait just a minute?” She quickly slid her card through the machine, then grabbed the game from the cashier and handed it to me.

“I’d like you to have it,” she said, “For your classroom. For the children.”

“Oh,” I stammered, “Wait. What? Oh. You don’t need to do that.”

“I want to,” she smiled, pushing the game into my hands.

I held onto it tightly, stumbling over my words. “But that’s so kind of you! Wow! The kids will love it. Thank you so much! “

“No,” she replied, “Thank you for all you’re doing.”

I thanked her again, and tears burning in my eyes, turned away, deeply touched by the kindess of a stranger.

Fleeting

I heard the geese before I saw them, and the sound drew me across the room to the french doors. I looked into the sky over the pond and spotted them immediately. They flew low, a disorganized cluster, their calls loud and mournful. My mind reached for lines from a favorite poem, pulling up only a few of them.

“Something told the wild geese
it was time to fly.
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.”

As I watched, to my delight, the geese wheeled and turned, and then headed back toward the pond. Feet first, wings spread wide, they touched down in the water with great splashes. About a dozen of them paddled to shore and clambered up onto the snow-covered grass. I leaned against the cool glass, watching them. Every so often one of them would rise up and flap its wings, then settle back down. They ambled about socially. I wondered if they were cold. How long had they been traveling? Where were they bound? I thought idly that I could simply watch them all day long. Their presence soothed me.

I thought about my visit here three or four weeks ago. Then temperatures had been in the high 70s and low 80s and I’d been picking late-blooming flowers in my father’s garden. The geese had visited during that time as well, only a few, but still I’d enjoyed watching them until they flew away, their calls so evocative– Time is passing. Winter is coming.

So much had changed since then.

As I watched from the window, a neighbor from across the pond strode down the lawn, newspaper in hand, gesticulating at the birds.

Oh, no.

I straightened at the door, aware there really wasn’t anything I could do. I was a visitor in this neighborhood and her message was loud and clear. She flapped her arms vigorously and the geese heeded the warning. In a flutter of feathers and scrambling feet, they scrabbled into the pond. Within moments they had taken flight and moved out of sight. So quickly were they all gone, leaving only ripples of disturbance which quickly ebbed as the pond settled back into stillness.

I watched the neighbor trudge back up to her house, wondering what she felt she had accomplished. Sometimes I really don’t understand people. Geese are easier.

I remained by the window for a while, hoping the geese might return. Of course, they didn’t, but soon enough the sun shone through low clouds and lit the remaining foliage, dazzling my eyes. Within moments clouds prevailed again.

But oh, how beautiful the moment was while it lasted.

Something Told the Wild Geese
by Rachel Field

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered,—‘Snow.’
Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned,—‘Frost.’
All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.
Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly,—
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.

What do you remember about watercolor water?

I still remember swishing my brush in the water, and watching the swirls of color leave the bristles in curling ribbons and gradually infuse the water. How the water turned a beautiful shade of blue or purple or maybe red. Sometimes instead of focusing on the paper and my watercolor creation, I’d turn my attention fully to the water. I’d dip my brush into those dented colored ovals and add a bit more of this hue or that, then watch the change. Inevitably, I’d end up with a murky glass of water and no matter what bright color I added next, the end result was…murky water.

I’ve been feeling like my life is a bit that way lately. No matter how much I try to focus on the joyful moments, of which there are many, I can’t change the overall tone. I’ve begun to start my day with a gratitude list, to push myself to stop and really enjoy moments of this blissful autumn weather, to notice and celebrate small successes, etc. But, it’s like adding yellow into that pigment-laden jam jar of watercolor water. The overall tone remains unchanged. Dark.

Then, this morning I read a post in a new-to-me blog that was referenced in Austin Kleon’s newsletter. The blog is called Affirmation Chickens. Kleon’s endorsement and the blog name drew me in. One thing the author included in that post was a section titled “Here’s What I Loved This Week.” I loved that title and the idea and it made me think. What did I love during this past week? As soon as I asked myself that question, I knew the answer.

Here’s What I Loved This Week

Sunday, on yet another gorgeous fall day, Kurt, Lydia and I walked along a trail to the Presumpscot River. Despite the date on the calendar, there were still quite a few amber and russet leaves clinging to the trees. They cast dappled shadows on the tree trunks and the path. Those that had fallen rustled and crunched beneath our feet. We talked idly of this and that, greeted other hikers as we walked, and admired the scenery. Then, as we rounded a corner, off to the side was a split pumpkin, and sitting neatly inside was a little red squirrel.

“Oh My Gosh! Stop! Look!” I said. The squirrel darted away briefly as we came to a sudden stop. It halted by a nearby tree, eying us. “Oh, no!”

“It’ll come back,” Kurt said confidently, and within mere seconds it had done so. It darted right back into the pumpkin and thrust its hands into the pulp. Red squirrels are nothing if not bold! Soon it was gobbling pumpkin to its heart’s content, ignoring the three of us.

“I wonder who put the pumpkin out here.”
“It looks like it’s eating spaghetti!”
“Oh, it’s so cute!”

We stood for several minutes and watched it eating, making all the appropriate admiring comments, laughing as it grabbed and ate more and more pumpkin. It was such a delightful, unexpected moment.

Eventually we moved on toward the rest of the trail and the waterfall. But that moment was something I truly loved about the past week. So many things had to come together for it to happen–the timing of our walk, our choice of destination, the squirrel’s lunch hour, and above all, someone’s decision to share a pumpkin with the wildlife. So often I find myself aghast and stymied by the choices that humans make on a daily basis. There was an inherent generosity to the placement of the pumpkin, and I felt connected to that beneficent donor, whoever it might have been. It was so comforting to know that there are some people out there who are doing random, kind things in the world.

Remembering that moment makes me feel just a bit lighter.

Now, thinking back to that watercolor water jar, I remember another thing I learned long ago. One way to change that dark color is to empty the jam jar and start with fresh water. Then, be careful not to insert too many dark tones. The squirrel moment is a nice bright beginning. I’m hoping to work with it.

When interrupted sleep is a gift…

Something disturbed my slumber. I stirred and heard a layered cacophony– a rich, raucous nighttime noise drifting in through our window, along with the chilly autumn air. What is that? I wondered blearily. Beneath my nest of blankets, I turned toward Kurt, sensing he, too, was awake.

“What’s that?” I murmured.

“Coyotes, I think,” he whispered. “Did you hear the owl, too?”

Oh, I thought, in surprise. I did.

With Kurt’s words, the sounds had shifted in my memory. I had heard the owl, but hadn’t quite realized it. It was like one of those moments when you don’t quite hear what someone says, and you ask,”What?”, and then, right as they answer, you realize you actually did hear their words, but it just took a second for them to come together in your mind. The owl’s call, closer to the house, had floated on the wave of coyote revelry. I knew it was there, or knew something was there, like a flavor or scent I couldn’t quite identify. Altering the whole experience, subtle but significant. Now it all fell into place.

We laid still and listened intently. Captivated. The ruckus didn’t last long. The coyotes carried their revelry further afield or simply quieted. The night slipped back into silence.

Then the owl called again. One long, low “hooooooot.”

Clear and true. A gift or a farewell.

Or perhaps both.

Slowly, contentedly, I closed my eyes and fell back asleep.

Delighting in Dahlias

Recently this image appeared in our town’s Facebook group, along with an open invitation for anyone in town to stop by and gather up some dahlias.

I have to admit, I’ve never considered growing dahlias and don’t know much about them. Classified as tender perennials, they have to be dug up each winter and replanted in the fall. I know myself well enough to avoid that situation! No, thanks! But…free dahlias? Sure!

I took note of the address, jumped in my car and headed out. As I neared, I slowed down, looking carefully for the address. Would I be able to find it?

I needn’t have worried. The wagon of blossoms was like a beacon at the end of the driveway. I pulled over and got out. The blooms were even more glorious in person. I may have audibly oohed and aahed a bit.

I turned to see a woman emerging from behind the house, clippers in hand.

“These are gorgeous,” I said, wandering over. “It’s so kind of you to share them with everyone!”

“Well,” she said, “I just love dahlias. I keep buying them and I don’t want them to go to waste. If I didn’t give them away, I’d have to compost them. I’d hate to do that!”

“Don’t you have to store them inside in the winter?” I asked.

“Oh, yes,” she said. “We have a ridiculously large bathroom that stays pretty cool, so I put them in there.” She looked around at the beds bursting with dahlia blossoms. “I’m not sure if they’re going all fit this year,” she admitted and laughed, “but I just can’t resist them!”

We chatted about gardens, dahlias, managing tender perennials, etc. As we spoke, several more cars pulled over to the side of the road. People were laughing and peering into the wagon, comparing and selecting blossoms. Word was clearly out.

I moved back toward the wagon to choose my flowers and the woman accompanied me. As I gazed at all the choices, I was wowed by the variety and the subtle gradients of color.

“These are stunning!” I said.

She nodded, smiling, and as I selected blossoms, she added a few choices of her own with some commentary.

“Oh, you have to have this one!”

“Take this one, too. It’s one of my favorites! It’s just like a watercolor, isn’t it!?”

Finally, I had a lovely bouquet gathered. After thanking her again, I headed home to organize my flowers.

A short while later, I was definitely rethinking dahlias. Some relationships are clearly worth a little extra effort!

Update: This week’s selection!

Well, s*!t, I blew that!

I’ve been working on my language lately.

No, not that language. My teaching language. I’ve come to realize that language is a powerful teaching tool, and I’ve been working for years on improving how I use this tool in my class. For example, I’ve worked hard to make specific rather than general comments about student work– comments that focus on the skill used rather than on my personal approval . So, instead of saying, “I really love your character”, I might say “Wow! Describing all those small actions really brought your character to life!” I’ve also made concerted, though much less successful efforts, to consistently reduce the rate of my speech.

After attending a four day workshop before school started, I’ve been thinking about language again. Specifically, I’ve been trying to use reinforcing, reminding and redirecting language à la Responsive Classroom. Please note, I’m going to sum up as best as I can, but my words reflect my understanding of these terms and that is still evolving.

Reinforcing language is just what it says. When they see positive things happening, teachers use reinforcing language to help students recognize and build on their successes. So, with an upbeat, encouraging tone, they give specific feedback. Instead of a vague “Great job!”, it’s “Everyone got in line quietly and calmly so we can get out to recess on time.” The idea is to focus on the positives, draw attention to them, and build off those successes.

Reminding language helps students as they get slightly off track or when the teacher anticipates they might. It’s direct, brief and calm. It prompts students to remember for themselves what the expected behavior is and to alter their behavior accordingly. So, instead of a long interjection from me about what they should be doing, I try to make a statement or ask a question and put the onus on them. “Remind me what you should be doing right now.” or “What is our rule about classroom materials?”

Finally, redirecting language is when student behavior has gone farther afield, and they need to hear briefly, specifically and calmly what they need to do. For example, instead of “We’re wasting time. We need to get started.” It’s more like, “Stop. Put your folders on your desk and sit down. Then we’ll start.” This type of language also comes into play when students need some external support with their behavior so they can be safe and move back into more productive behavior.

I find it fascinating to think about how I use language and the impact it has on my classroom and students. Right now, I may be overthinking it a bit, and I’m sure I sound a bit stilted sometimes, but it’s early days. The goal is to use reinforcing language the most, and overall, I feel pretty successful with that. Giving specific feedback has become more natural over time. It definitely helps that our ongoing Reading and Writing PD with Teachers College has had a similar focus. My own goal recently has been keeping reminders brief and to the point. If you read my blog regularly, you probably know: Brevity is not my forté.

Last week, I was thinking about all of this at recess. In between navigating critical ball shortages, four-square fiascos, and friendship squabbles, I was reflecting on how my language work was going.

I need to look back at my workshop notes. I’m doing okay with reinforcing language, and am being specific (most of the time), but what about the reminding language when kids aren’t following expectations? Or is that redirecting language? When does one become the next? Maybe I should look at some of the examples again…

My internal thoughts continued as we lined up to head back to our classroom. As we started moving, I noticed Y and Z tossing a football around in line. This was something we’d clearly discussed earlier in the week.

“Y and Z,” I said, “Remember we don’t throw a ball in line because it’s not safe. Please hold onto it.”

Turning back, I grimaced. Ugh. I was calm and matter of fact. Brief? Not really. I’m also pretty sure I was supposed to prompt them to think of what they needed to do in line to stay safe, not tell them.

Changing my language is tough! I turned back and kept walking. I’ll do better next time.

A blur of movement caught my eye.

Wait? What was that?

No way!

Yes way!

Sure enough, once again, Y and Z were veering in and out of line, tossing the football back and forth, over the heads of a few of their classmates.

I turned around again, thoughts about effective teaching language fresh in my mind. My voice erupted, deep and resonant. Actually, it emerged a bit differently than I had expected. Huh? A little louder (a little?), firm and definitely a bit …well, maybe more than a bit…gruffer. Maybe even rumbly. Actually, it sort of sounded a bit as if a demon had entered my body and taken over.

“Y and Z. HOLD THE BALL!”

They froze. Their eyes widened. They grabbed the ball, held it tight, and scuttled back into line.

Brief? Yes. Direct? Yes. Calm tone? Not so much.

Eep.

I turned around, facing away from them, and had to laugh.

Yikes! Where had that voice come from? Well, I guess the pendulum swung too far the other way that time. I’ll keep working on it.

For now, at least, the ball was firmly in hand, and we made our way back to the classroom with no further incident– of either the football or demon-possession variety. I’ll count that as a win and in the meantime, I’ll keep working on my language.

Impassable?

Our house is filled with books. Despite giving away probably thousands of them over the years, we still have thousands left. We’ve accumulated them from all sorts of places: bookstores, yard sales, library sales, gifts, giveaways. You name it, if there’s a book involved, count us in! We’ve even converted our living room into a sort of library. You know, if you can’t beat them…

So, as a result of this, we often find books we didn’t know that we had. A few weeks ago I was looking for something to read. Why I do this when I have a two foot tall TBR pile on my nightstand is one of the mysteries of the universe. At any rate, I reached into the bookshelf and pulled out a slim volume I didn’t recall seeing before. It was titled “O To Be A Dragon” by Marianne Moore. Where had this come from? Had I picked it up somewhere and never read it?

I opened the front page and saw an inscription:

Margaret Beeghly
(her Dragon)
Marianne Moore
October, 1959

Well, that was unexpected!

Margaret Beeghly was my mother. Known as Midge, she was 17 when Marianne Moore wrote this. I have no idea who gave my mother this book–who took the time to have it inscribed for her. What did the inscription “her dragon” mean anyway? Why was it written to “Margaret” and not to “Midge”? My mother died 40 years ago, but somewhere along the way I had picked up this book and carried it with me. How had I moved it from place to place, house to house without ever noticing it before?

The most amazing thing to me is that this is not an isolated event. I really shouldn’t have been so surprised. Just this past weekend a cousin e-mailed, saying she’d unearthed some old newsletters that my mother had written along with some of her cousins in 1955. My mom, who would have been 13 at the time, apparently authored a column called “Mumble Jumble.” My cousin wanted to confirm my address so she could send copies along to me, and I’m still eagerly waiting for them to arrive.

Last winter, out of the blue, a friend of my mother’s sent me a bundle of letters she’d been saving, along with some pictures of my mother. Most of the letters had been written by my mother shortly before she died, and others were written by my grandmother to this friend shortly after my mother died. It’s the oddest thing to unexpectedly get new windows into someone’s life through the years. To read words that she’d written decades ago. It’s both unsettling and comforting.

Turning back to the book, I opened it to a random page and read this poem:

I May, I Might, I Must

If you will tell me why the fen
appears impassable, I then
will tell you why I think that I
can get across it if I try.

At the time, with the start of yet another unsettled school year dominating my mind, I read this poem as a pretty relevant message with a can-do attitude.That’s how I finished the draft of this post that I wrote on Sunday. But I wasn’t happy with the ending.

This morning I woke up and realized that the heart of what I wanted to write about wasn’t so much the book as it was about the reappearance of so many things relating to my mother over the years, and especially recently. I revised to add the additional information about the newsletter and the letters. That felt better.

Then, as I reread this post and the poem, before publishing, I had a sudden startling thought. This time as I read the poem, my mother was at the forefront of my mind, and it was her voice I heard as I read it. My interpretation shifted dramatically. Maybe there’s a pattern in all of this. It feels a bit far-out, but perhaps the re-emergence of these items through the years isn’t so random after all. Perhaps it’s my mom’s way of crossing what “appears impassable”, of reaching out across “the fen”.

True or not, I find a great deal of comfort in that thought.

Just that one thing

Last Tuesday, I stopped by our school to see how things were going with revamping the modular classrooms for this fall. Last spring we’d been asked to check the space and create a list of items that needed to be repaired, added, removed, etc. It was a fairly extensive list, ranging from minor items to must-haves to wishful thinking. We left for the summer knowing materials (cubbies with storage, book shelves, etc.) had been ordered and should be installed over the summer.

Unfortunately,I found out Tuesday, the long and short of it is that no one really remembered the list (you know–summer break, retiring secretary, travel, oh and that pandemic thing). So, no one had followed up on this spring’s order. ..until this past Monday when they called the furniture company to be told, “Oh. Um. That order. Hold on a sec…….um… Yeah. That order. So. Um. That order is um…Oh, yeah! It’s shipping on Wednesday.”

Hmmmm….

After getting that news, I walked out to see the classroom to check things out. As noted, there are no cubbies. There is no classroom shelving of any kind, and no in-class storage. There is a closet though with plenty of shelves, and there are student desks. The path to the building has been paved and there’s a newly paved learning area outside the backdoor. All bright spots in a panicky sea of “OMG, how am I going to be ready for school on time!?”

I left, hoping for the best, and returned on Friday with a very simple plan. I headed out to my new classroom knowing that I wouldn’t be able to do too much.

I’ll just get my head in the space and get my desk organized. That will be a good start!

As I expected, nothing had changed in the intervening days. Chairs were stacked. Desks were double stacked in the corner. There was a left-over computer monitor on one table and some large mysterious objects that clearly were waiting to be mounted…somewhere.

Ok. Focus. You knew you couldn’t do much. Remember, your goal is just to get your desk organized. Just that one thing. So…Deep breath. Desk.

I looked around.

Where’s my desk?

I looked around again.

Ok. There has to be a desk here somewhere.

I slowly turned, scanning the room.

OMG! Where’s my desk? Where’s my desk? Where’s my desk?

I looked up, down, all over. To be honest, there weren’t many places to look, but I kept trying. Finally, I had to face facts.

There is no desk here.

I took a deep breath and then another. Then I went in search of our fabulous custodian, Nicole. I knew they’d been down one person all summer and were working all out to get the school ready. I tried to keep that in mind. Then I begged a little. Or maybe a lot.

“If you get a chance…”

“As soon as possible…”

“You’d be saving my life…”

Nicole assured me she’d do her best, and I walked back into my classroom, thinking hard.

Ok. So, you can’t organize your desk. But, hey! Look! There’s a file cabinet. You can get your files organized.

So, I pushed aside a big box labeled something along the lines of “Last box. Mish Mash. You’re going to regret this next fall!” and opened up a few smaller boxes labeled “Files.” I placed file by file into the top drawer, slowly regaining my equilibrium.

See. It’s all good. This has to happen, too. You’ll get a desk in the next day or so. (read this in the sing-song tone of a parent talking down a child who is on the brink of losing her s!%t!)

Then, I reached to open the bottom drawer. I pulled. Nothing happened. I pulled again. It didn’t budge.

Now what?!?

I looked closer.

What!?

Running out of the bottom drawer of the file cabinet were two thick electrical cords. They were wedged in the closed drawer and try though I might, I couldn’t get the drawer open.

What was in there, anyway!?

I pushed. I pulled. I maybe swore a little.

None of that worked.

Clearly I wasn’t going to be able to use this file cabinet.

So, I e-mailed Nicole.

After sending the e-mail, I took another deep breath. I looked around the room.
I opened a few boxes and moved them closer to possible future destinations.

Should I just leave and come back next week? Is there any point in being here? Maybe I could get the new schedule printed out…”

Rattle. Rattle. Rattle.

My head popped up.

Click.

The door slowly opened.

Nicole, haloed by backlight, entered the room pushing a large dolly…
clunkclunkclunk.

And there, strapped down on the dolly, like an answer to a prayer, was an upended teacher desk!

(I may have hummed the “Hallelujah Chorus!” under my breath.)

“Oh, my Gosh! A desk! You are the best! Thank you, Nicole! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

I rushed over to help and together we manhandled the desk into the spot I desired. Nicole strapped up the dolly and got ready to leave.

“OMG, Nicole!” I gushed! “Thank you so much! You know what this is like?” The words spilled out of me in a rush. “It’s like when you’re moving to a new house and there are boxes everywhere and everything is in turmoil, but you get your bed put together and made and you know that no matter what, you’re going to be able to go to bed that night. So, everything will be ok. And that’s just how I feel right now. Just like that! ” I ran my hands along the top of the desk, practically dancing around it. “Oh!Thank you soooooo much!”

Nicole laughed and maybe stepped cautiously just a little bit farther away. But I didn’t notice for sure. Because I was already sitting down, pulling boxes closer, and getting ready to get my desk in order.

Everything is going to be all right. Just get your desk organized. Just that one thing.

Looking a bit sterile, but it’s getting there!

The Seven Deadly Sins, Bagel-style

“I just don’t get it,” my husband said, looking completely puzzled. “They’re driving over an hour round trip to get bagels?”

“Well, yeah,” I said, barely refraining from adding, “Duh!”

Kurt shook his head again. He’ll eat the odd bagel and enjoy it, but he really doesn’t understand bagel love. We think he’s missing out. I mean, the man is a bit clueless about carbohydrates. He simply doesn’t get it. It’s sad really.

On this particular morning, Lydia and Sophie, her friend, had headed out on a quick road trip to pick up fresh bagels. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence in our house, as we’re a bit obsessed with bagels. When we’re not eating them, we’re often thinking about them and when and where we might get them next. We have our ear to the rumor mill, listening for tips on great bagel spots. We are not too proud to say that we have a strong emotional attachment to our bagels.

While waiting for the girls to return, I recalled my discussion with Lydia from the day before. It started when I commented to her, “You know, there’s bagel rage, right? “

As we embarked on a lengthy discussion about this, we realized there are actually seven deadly sins of bagels.

First, there’s bagel greed. The wanting of more, moRE, MORE bagels, not to mention the potential for a bit of hoarding.

Then, there’s bagel wrath. As I said, we actually prefer to call this bagel rage. Like when someone takes the last bagel, or they take the toaster right when you were about to use it. It can get a bit dicey at these times! Don’t forget that where there are bagels, there are probably knives. (You thought all those ER bagel visits were from bagel slicing mishaps? Don’t be so sure!) Also, don’t even ask about what happens when we encounter subpar bagels.

Next, there’s bagel envy. You look at the other person’s bagel, and it doesn’t have as big a whole in it, or maybe it simply looks better. Or maybe they got the last everything bagel and only plain ones are left.

Bagel gluttony needs no explanation. Around here, we just call this bagel enjoyment. We don’t stand for bagel shaming in our household!

Bagel sloth can be a problem. It typically occurs after you’ve indulged in too much bagel gluttony. Like maybe you have just eaten the third bagel of the day and you start to feel a little less energetic than ideal. You might even resort to a quick bagel nap. It’s been known to happen.

Bagel pride is when you start showing off how great your bagel looks. Perfectly toasted, chewy perfection. Flaunting can happen and has been known to cause bagel rage.

“Here they are,” Kurt called, interrupting my thoughts.

Finally!

As the girls unloaded the bagels, I was practically drooling. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one of those luscious bagels. Which clearly brings me to the final deadly sin: Bagel lust. It’s pretty self-explanatory, I suppose. It’s a regular phenomenon around here, but we prefer to refer to it as bagel love. We have no idea why it’s considered a deadly sin.

Some people just don’t get bagels.

Trying to keep it light…

I’ve been out and about, enjoying what already feel like the waning days of summer. Here are a few recent small moments captured in photos and poems.

Turtle bathes in lily pad
under summer blues he
kicks his legs a little bit…
instant pond jacuzzi!

©Molly Hogan


a cluster of berries
plumped to picking size
beneath warm summer skies
conceals a big surprise!

©Molly Hogan

one cautious eye
takes in the world
ponders when
or whether
to venture forth

©Molly Hogan