Colorful, Cozy, Comfy Clothes

It started out innocently enough. One day my friend and I went out to lunch and I fell in love with her outfit. A few weeks later, we met up for a glass of wine, and I loved this second outfit even more. A picnic in the park a month later? I had to get some of these clothes. They are known as Lularoe.

They came on the scene a few years ago, but exploded like colorful fireworks in the last couple of years. And colorful is indeed the word! Think vibrant, wild, explosive oranges, reds, purples, yellows in patterns that made your head spin. A special hallmark of these clothes is the cacophonous mismatching of pieces with discordant patterns and colors. An example of this on a very slight scale is a blue and yellow striped top with a bright pink and purple polka dot skirt. The idea is to have fun, be unique, feel confident and strut your style with confidence.  And this idea grabbed me hook, line and sinker.

Like any new company, Lularoe is facing some growing pains, but as a consumer, I could care less about those issues. What I do care about is the quality of the clothes, the consultants’ service, and how I have indeed become an obsessed consumer. The clothes are sold during live internet sessions, for which I’ve begun to passionately scour the web when I’m in the mood for a live “party,” as some sessions are called. Once part of a party, I find it VERY difficult to stay “dry” as in, not making a purchase.  Thus is the lure of Lularoe.

Fixation aside, I really do love these clothes. I love their whimsy, their comfort, and the ability they give me to create my own unique style. I also love my main party consultant who is as real and comfy as an old shoe, and keeps us all in stitches with her charmingly self-deprecating style.

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End of Semester Grumble

Yep – it’s almost here. The end of the semester and the time when students go into blitz-mode and professors want to head for the hills.

This semester has brought some particularly irritating issues to my teaching forefront and now I’m going to tell you about them.

Following Directions

What I really mean is not following directions. I understand that it’s different strokes for different folks in terms of learning styles. However, I am amazed at how some students appear to completely ignore assignment guidelines, which most students seem to follow quite well. It is fascinating to see what the errant students concoct, but since mine is not a creative writing class, their submissions are definitely off the mark. I tell them to reread the guidelines, then come back and tell me what how to fix the error.  I then give them a chance to redo the assignment for partial credit. Phew – more work for me, good teachable learning moment for them.

Ignoring Format Rules

Mine is a business writing course. One of the key premises in business these days is: You are what you write. This means not just excellent grammar skills, but producing professional looking messages, too. Why this, you may ask? Simply put – most communication in business is based in text: email, text messaging, letters, etc. So, when a student produces a formal letter for an assignment that is anything but formal looking – despite in-class instruction and readily-available examples – I want to scream! No teachable learning moments for these folks.

Forgetting Capitalization Rules

This drives me absolutely crazy! Some students refuse to use proper capitalization and it makes their work grade school caliber.  Texting is a big culprit behind those students who insist on using lower case letters for everything (even their teacher’s name)! At least these folks are consistent, but infuriating since the practice keeps up despite repeated teaching moment discussions. On the other hand, there are those students who use caps (and not) willy-nilly such as an address where the street name is capped but the word “street” is not.

By now I’m sure you are wishing that summer vacation would hurry itself along so I can put all my teachable moments aside and find another mission in my lecturing life.

 

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The Deliciousness of Earthy, Early Spring

It’s spring, or at least it’s supposed to be, and yesterday presented the first hint that spring might be on her way. I grabbed by rake, pruning sheers, wheelbarrow, and set about to clear the way for my just-this-past-fall-planted red tulips to easily emerge from under layers of leaves. While I worked, the sweet smell of fresh, newly-defrosted earth intoxicated me, as did the sweet symphony of spring birds newly returned from winter refuges.

These early spring days bring-to-mind two of my favorite poems from grade school days, poems that evoke all that is spring in a few simple words and images. Here they are and I hope they delight you as much as they do me each spring.

The Red Wheelbarrow
By William Carlos Williams  wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And my second one is…

[in Just]
by E.E. Cummings

single-balloon-mdin Just-
spring         when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles      far      and wee

and eddieandbill com
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer

old balloonman whistles
far       and      wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s
spring
and

the

goat-footed

balloonMan      whistles
far
and
wee

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A Boy on the Bridge

Boy on the Bridge

Winter, cold; snow and ice
Coating roads, sidewalks
Morning rush hour
Cars speeding across the bridge
A boy, standing
On the wrong side
Near the edge
He looked at me
His brown eyes wide, whites showing.
I never saw eyes that wide
Wrong, this is all wrong.
This boy on the bridge
His eyes, pleading. I couldn’t stop,
I couldn’t.
911, 911, I called,
We’ll send out a car, she said.
A car.
But he’s just a boy, on the wrong side of the bridge. He’s on the edge.
Car, we’ll send one, don’t worry. Words designed to placate me.
Later I called …
The boy on the bridge …
We sent a car, no one was there. There was no boy.
There had been a boy on the bridge.
And four days later they found his body,
Under the bridge, in the water.
All because no one did their job.
And I shall remain forever haunted
By those wide brown eyes
That called to me
And I didn’t answer

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The Caper of the Coveted Octopus

IMG_0506Several posts ago I introduced our precious puppy-mill Mama, Finja. She has succeeded in quickly and permanently wrapping herself around our hearts. Just one of the myriad reasons for this is “her baby.” She came to us with her very own toy octopus which she carried around with her everywhere, its tentacles hanging out of her mouth. She became quite possessive over “her baby,” and I got to thinking that she must think it is indeed one of her babies from the litter she had after being bred at the unthinkable age of six months.

Well, as “sibling” rivalry will be, Finja’s “sister” Rosie decided she wanted a piece of the octopus pie – quite literally – and so she made it a mission to eviscerate it. This I discovered yesterday when I found great billows of white stuffing all over the living room and the remnants of one toy “squeaker.” And then I discovered the pathetic, deflated remains of octopus number one. (Hint)

Today I went to our nearby Country Max just to get two new octopuses – is it octopi?? What if they didn’t have two? I wondered anxiously. I was overjoyed to find two – and only two – octopi in the entire store.

When I got home, dogs being the wildly intelligent and sensitive creatures they are, my pack began circling and jumping on me with excitement. Their eyes bulged when they saw what I was removing from the packaging. Rosie lunged at her octopus while Finja took the more delicate, sniff-sniff approach, gently taking the new, pink and white stuffed creature into her mouth.

Now we are a household of three octopi, one semi-deceased and two new and sweet-smelling. The question is, how long will the other two stay new-ish and sweet smelling?

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The Little Standardbred Who Did

Buzzhy TeethHe is blind. He is wary, scared of anything that does not revolve in his orbit. This goes for simple things like a lazy ride in the park, or even hand-grazing in what is for him, another galaxy.

The blindness, though it seemed to erupt like a volcano, actually came on slowly. There was the constant tripping, the sudden predilection for spooking, the reluctance to ride into our normal and cherished places. Then, one day, he ran into a wall hard and fast, and it was clear that he could not see.

He has now adjusted, thanks to the patient and devoted care of our Barn Mom.  But there are changes. I can no longer just walk up and start petting him. When I groom him, I have to keep a hand on him as I move from one part of his body to another. We have to show him where his grain and hay are.  And I remain anxious that I won’t give him the cues he needs to stay on course and be confident.

But Buzzy is still Buzzy, and I am still me, and together we have 17 years of priceless memories:

  • Riding through the woods on snow-sparkling winter days
  • Riding on trails draped in maroons, oranges, yellows and greens – leaves lush with that musky smell reserved for fall days
  • Riding in shows where we brought up the rear, but had oodles of fun doing it.
  • And trying to canter, only to find out his canter was as lovely as that of any breed.

I thank you, Buzzy, for being the bright shining gem in the cherished memories of my life.

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About A Puppy Mill Boston Terrier

She often gazes off into space and she needs to be carried outside to do her business – back in, too. She startles easily so I do everything slow and easy when I am around her. She barks and growls, but only out of fear. She is in fact, gentle as a lamb. She is 1-year old. She had a litter somewhere between 6 and 8 months of age. She came with a skin infection. She is beautiful. She is mine. She is a rescued puppy-mill girl.

Fortunately, my new little Boston Terrier girl joined my existing pack, which is a big plus for puppy mill dogs. Mine have all embraced her – even my somewhat cantankerous older girl – and they seem intent on “showing her the ropes.”  She is getting it. Here a week and not a single mistake! In fact, she has a very clear, albeit unique, method of communication – she paces back and forth in a small area with no apparent purpose until I have an aha moment, scoop her up, and sure enough – instant poop and pee, outside, of course.

Puppy mill dogs are different from other dogs because their lives are limited to small, wire cages where they eat, sleep, poop and pee. They get little, if any, attention, and they are bred, machine-like, so the breeders can get as much out of them, and make as much money, as possible. I am sad to say that many of these breeders are Amish, who have a different view on the role of animals in life.

I was “lucky,” if luck is the word. My Finja was taken off the assembly line because of the skin infection, that still plagues her. I am also lucky, because unlike many puppy mill dogs who lack human contact of substance, my Finny is the first to snuggle against me whenever I sit. My third lucky is that Finny came to me from a skilled and exceptionally loving foster Mom who worked wonders in the short 6 weeks Finny was with her. But still, there is much work to be done, requiring patience, consistency, and oodles of love and affection. All I know is, I am lucky for all this precious creature is about to teach me.

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