The big red bows and twinkling lights whisper of the joys or impending doom of the season.
We hope you are looking forward to the holidays or at least have a plan of escape.
That is where we come in.
Our book, The End of Wishing Our Days Away, is free on Smashwords through December 31st. Coupon code: RA38P
Talk about a gift that won’t bust your holiday budget. And it is eco-friendly to boot.
CJ and Tammy
The Kitty scurried over the meadow, the wind at her tail, the sun on her Kitty whiskers gleaming. When the dark crept, so did she with the serpents of the grass and her tiny beetle friends. The hoo, hoo, hoo – hoot owl paralyzed her nightly.
The Piggy waddled through the forest, sniffing at tree roots and lying under the ferns to rest in the heat of the day. When the shadows descended, he whispered his oinks into the damp forest floor and got bits of earth stuck in his snout.
The Kitty and the Piggy trolled their domains foraging and crying for many months, perhaps years. No one knows. The sun rose as did the moon. The winds blew and abated. The rains poured and they were sad and sick, hiding in their burrows made of leaves and twigs.
The Kitty came to the edge of the meadow and she marveled at the wall of trees and green, leafy plants. Some had berries. Others had none. She sniffed the air and raised her gaze to the tree tops. Then she peered into the gloom, squinting. She licked her self clean, napped and returned to the meadow.
The Piggy came to the edge of the forest and the sun glared angrily. The wind carried not the susurrations of gentle avian melodies, but a wild lament that sent him darting back into the forest. He found one of his many fern groves and lied down his weary self.
Many moons passed before the Kitty or the Piggy reached the ends of their world’s once more. The Kitty stood peering, her tail raised high. The Piggy suspiciously surveyed, scuffing the earth, marking his territory.
A mockingbird screamed and dove from a nearby perch. Just before a hasty retreat into the forest, Piggy’s eye caught the mocking bird’s target. Terror failed to turn his attentions from this strange and beautiful creature. A discarded pine cone came hurdling through the branches and bounced off Piggy’s back. He let out a wailing squeal and leapt into the meadow. He shot Squirrely a baleful look. The mocking bird returned to its perch.
Kitty and Piggy saw each other and they were shy for a long spell. What followed was a joyful squall of licking and sniffing – oinking and meowing! Mocking bird and Squirrely were happy witnesses.
Do you think this story is fact or fiction? Please share in comments.
CJ was bringing the last of my boxes to the car. Days of packing and finalizing paired with my already compromised physical state had worn me down.
It was not the exit I’d planned with CJ and I running off into the sunset with fireworks shooting off the tops of our heads and streamers flowing from our backsides.
I felt empty and a bit dead inside.
Hyperbole? Perhaps. Poignant memories make better stories.
I was hugging “Marco.” He and I had been working together for the past two years, I as a literacy coach and he as a second grade teacher. My role in the school was to improve literacy instruction by working alongside teachers as a coach.
Marco was my prize pupil. Eager and green, he soaked up anything I said and applied it in his classroom. In addition, he was a self-starter and brought new ideas to the table. We were a professional match made in heaven.
Many afternoons, I would look up to find him standing in my office doorway with questions about one teaching approach or another. His students were the beneficiaries of an explosion of ideas paired with motivation. They were learning and loved coming to school.
Several other teachers and staff in the building were moving and shaking. What on earth, pray tell, could be the problem?
Relationship on Hold
Sometimes it takes a big event for the thickest of us to make a move. Call me fearful, stubborn, driven, or whatever. I had spent the first ten years of my teaching career proving myself.
As long as I looked good when I stepped into the school building or meeting, I was ok. Together. Sure my pants fit a bit snugly and eventually I needed a larger size. Ok, my husband and I were barely affectionate despite a great love. The world needs good teachers, great teachers, and I was going to be the best there ever was.
The importance of a more proficient model is invaluable in learning. I watch you, emulate your actions, and I move closer to proficient. So why was it not clicking that CJ had done it and, by golly, so could I? Beliefs place a great stranglehold upon you when left unchecked. And my beliefs were not rational, perhaps even delusional.
Some of the irrational beliefs I held were:
There are more from where those came, but given that the theme of this blog is Fun I will spare you the downward spiral.
More than Surviving
Even after seven years of running my own tutoring business, I realize that many of the rational beliefs I held in teaching still ring true today.
I see my life as a grand experiment. Where will I be in five years? I don’t know. While I can bet it will have something to do with my strengths and interests, I cannot say exactly what that might look like.
My eyes are wide open.
And you, Jolly one? What limiting beliefs, if any, have you?
There are hundreds of human universals. Surely, listed among them is dialogue with our good friends, the squirrels. How I wish I had the time to read the entire list, but I am trying to compose a post. And to our Australian and Antarctic friends: Not having squirrels is no longer an acceptable excuse. We have Skype, don’t we?
Of course, there is want and then there is art. Tammy and I are seasoned squirrel whisperers who are prepared to share our experience with the general public. We sincerely want everyone, including our furry friends, to have an ideal encounter.
Knowing the Situation
The finest conversation will, undoubtedly, occur when one joins the squirrel in it’s natural environs. Thankfully, this is the outdoors in general whether it be the ancient and pristine forest or the city sidewalk. These little devils are ultra-adaptable.
Occasions arise, however, that require elevated cleverness and tact. Driving and indoor activities present multiple obstacles of which we’ll examine in due time. But these ought not to be deterrents in stopping to offer a kind word to our arboreal friends.
In a large city like Houston, aside from birds, they are the only conspicuous wild life and how fortunate we are that they are diurnal.
When one is out of doors and a squirrel presents herself, it is wise to choose between coming to a halt at a respectful distance or continuing on one’s path. The exception being when a squirrel desires to cross a road. In that case, one ought to come to a halt, smile broadly, and allow her to cross.
If she is content on her chosen side of the road, then we can proceed with discourse. Our method has proven results:
Now, let us briefly examine situations that pose the greatest challenges and barriers to our rapport with the squirrels. When you are indoors and Squirrely is outdoors, don’t let her languish in the weeds of your patio! Greet her from your desk or from the luncheon table. She will hear you despite the barrier and love you for your efforts.
Similarly, when you are driving at a leisurely tempo or stopped and Squirrely presents herself, roll the window down for crying out loud and say hello. It is the least you can do. If you have time, which you occasionally ought to, pull over so you can have a proper chat. She feels safe when you are in the car and parked.
If you follow these simple suggestions, Squirrely will recommend you to all her friends and babies. And her babies are invariably beyond what we call precious. If there be any duties at all in our varied and busy lives, they must include harmony with the squirrels.
So why are the cafes and sidewalks of America’s 4th largest city nearly deserted on the most beautiful day in 4 months?
Could it be a giant swarm of locusts have invaded the city? Has the security alert been raised to orange?
No and no. It is Sunday afternoon.
It appears Friday Football Frenzy and College Game Day Saturday were mere aperitif for the main dish: NFL Sunday.
Take Your Seats
Curbside or valet parking will cost you, so we choose to park in the shopping plaza adjacent to the pretentious City Centre, forgo their parking fees, and enjoy the mile or so stroll to our favorite cafe in this little corner of the city. Each of us carries an identical book.
Instead of wondering if the nearly deserted sidewalks are indeed a result of the game, we press our noses to the window of an overpriced restaurant and peer in. The TV screen that takes up an entire wall assures us that the Texans are playing.
We continue on our way.
Just as we suspected, there are no lines and plenty of outdoor tables at our place. The most difficult decision of the afternoon is upon us. Which of the four flavors of iced tea shall we try first?
Table for Three
After a few sips and subsequent raves about the day, we open the volumes that lay before us.
This guy is something. He just goes off in the woods and tends to his beans.
Yeah, turn to page 13. Listen to this.
The incessant anxiety and strain of some is a well nigh Incurable form of disease. We are made to exaggerate the importance of what work we do…so thoroughly and sincerely are we compelled to live, reverencing our life, and denying the possibility of change.*
Oh tittles! And what of this on page 67?
…for a man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.*
The back and forth continues for longer than an hour but shorter than a day.
At some point, I notice an increase of foot traffic. The solemn faces of passersby dressed in red, white, and blue shirts with the bull logo declare the outcome of the game.
Time for another tea, dear? CJ stands and holds out his hand. I pass him my cup, lean way back in my chair, and look at the sky.
And you, Jolly one? What is your perfect day?
* from Walden, Henry David Thoreau