Slice of Life #5- Snow Day Slow Day

Happy snow day!!!  Last night we got the call that today school would be closed due to the impending storm.  And it certainly was a storm!  The snow began to fall around 7am and didn’t stop until close to 7pm.  Over the course of the day we received almost 9 inches of snow, light and fluffy.  The flakes alternated between large and fluffy and light and heavy all day long.  As a result, my yard looks just gorgeous.  The bird feeders were packed all day (I spotted a new species!  A yellow-bellied sapsucker!), the dogs enjoyed playtime in the snow, and the people spent some time relaxing.

I love snow days because all of my to-do lists and schedules disappear.  I tend to be more productive on snow days and I think it’s because I have more time to relax.  Today I baked cookies, did a bit of grading, played outside, helped shovel the driveway, and read two books.  No snow day is complete unless I take advantage of the extra reading time.

My first book today was Aisha Saeed’s upcoming Written in the Stars, which will be released on March 24th.  I admit that I judged this book by its beautiful cover, but I also assumed it was just another YA romance.  I could not have been more wrong.  Naila’s conservative immigrant parents are furious when they discover that she has been seeing a boy behind their back.  But their reaction?  Suffice it to say that the family vacation to Pakistan comes with ulterior motives.  I read this in one sitting and had tears in my eyes during more than one chapter. It’s a harrowing story that left me angry, upset, and with the feeling that I need to do something.

I highly recommend Written in the Stars for high school classrooms.  Upon finishing it I immediately thought of pairing it with Patricia McCormick’s Sold, another stunning look at women’s issues across the world.  Books can open our eyes and Written in the Stars certainly does so.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see this on some award lists later in the year.  A powerful story that will inspire you to appreciate the freedom many of us have while becoming more aware of those who don’t have that freedom.

How did you spend your snow day?  Did you read any good books?

Slice of Life #4- Tension Tamer

This has been one of those weeks.

Honestly, it’s been one of those months.  Just one of those months.  Everything keeps piling up and piling on, with no end in sight.

What I would like to do is go here:

40688_514538933499_7105275_nThat is Roatan, Honduras, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

But I can’t go to Roatan.  And it’s about to start snowing here.  And I am working for the next 10 days straight.

So instead of going to the beach I am drinking tea.

I’ve never been a tea drinker.  You see, I am a soda drinker- Pepsi, to be exact. But I have not had a glass of soda since Fat Tuesday, since I decided to give it up for Lent.  At first I tried replacing my soda intake with water and it worked a bit.  But water is boring!  So one night, when I could not sleep, I brewed a cup of Tension Tamer tea.  Needless to say, I was quickly hooked.  It was light and full of flavor; more importantly, it helped me relax and fall asleep.

So now I have a new routine.  A few nights each week I steep a cup of tea while I am getting ready for bed.  I’ve added Sleepytime tea to the mix, in a variety of flavors, and I am enjoying it.  It’s a relaxing and pleasant ritual each night and I think drinking tea helps me feel more relaxed and fall asleep faster.

Today has been especially stressful. As a result, I am steeping my cup of Tension Tamer tea while I write this. Soon I will press publish and I will sink into bed, cup in hand.  Hopefully, I will wake up less stressed out.

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Slice of Life #3- Doing a Happy Dance

Sometimes you just need to do a happy dance, or at least smile as you watch someone else do a happy dance.

I dare you to watch the video linked above and not smile.  Today was just a little stressful but when the video was shared on my Twitter timeline I somehow ended up clicking on it.  I enjoy the song so that probably explains why I took a chance on it.  Now?  I think I’ve watched it ten times in a row and I’m still smiling!

The video’s creator pulled together this mash-up of movie characters dancing, set it to the music, and it just works perfectly!

So excuse me while I continue to blast the song and smile while trying to identify all of the movies included.  I know I saw Center Stage, one of my guilty pleasure movies (we used to watch it on repeat in college for some strange reason)!  I also saw Hairspray, Risky Business, Mamma Mia (another guilty pleasure.  I can not turn that movie off if I stumble upon it on HBO), Footloose, West Side Story, Hitch, The Breakfast Club, Madagascar, and Coyote Ugly.  

No matter how stressed you might be, how annoyed you might be, how cold you might be- shut up and smile, ok?

Slice of Life #2- Here Comes the Sun

This has been a winter full of strange weather.  Yesterday around 11am it started snowing.  I was teaching my SAT prep class and assumed that the snow was starting later in the day.  Apparently the snow had different ideas.

Then, before class ended, the snow turned to slush.  By mid-afternoon my weather app told me there were ice pellets falling from the clouds.  I confirmed this when I took the dogs out to play in the backyard. Ice pellets are not fun, y’all.

By yesterday evening the district had determined that a delayed opening would be necessary due to the icy roads.  So we went to bed with plans to get up and shovel in the morning, in the hopes that this would lessen the amount of black ice we would end up dealing with.

At 6:30am this morning, when we ventured outside,  it was cold.  The ground was icy and the snow was heavy.  I’ll spare you the details, but shoveling was not fun.  I wasn’t looking forward to another icy, slushy, snowy day so I found my warmest sweater, threw on a scarf, and headed off o work.

At work my classroom is in the basement, so I only get glimpses of the outside world.  Imagine my surprise when I left the building at 3:30pm and discovered the sun was out!  And it was warm!  In fact, I didn’t even need my coat!  Ok, maybe that’s because I was wearing a heavy wool sweater, but still!

Thanks to the sun’s warm rays I was able to walk the dogs at the park today, which we haven’t been able to do in a few days.  The dogs followed some deer trails, I listened to the birds singing in the sun-dappled trees, and we all enjoyed the fresh air.  What a difference the sun makes!  Plus, the sun sticks around longer now that we have entered March.  It’s almost spring!

A little while ago I checked the weather app and was dismayed to see it’s going to be slushy and icy tomorrow.  And Thursday we may get the biggest snowstorm of the year.

But you know what?  The sun was out today.  And it was almost warm.  We are getting there!  Soon enough we’ll all be complaining about the heat and humidity; for now, we can enjoy the weather as it comes.

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Slice of Life #1- It’s Raining Birds!

I’ve been feeding the neighborhood birds since the New Year started and it’s been fabulous. My e-bird tells me I’ve identified 25 different species at my feeders! (I love citizen science!)

But today I had my coolest sighting.

I was watching my feeders for a few minutes when something suddenly dropped from the sky into the snow, landing with a thump. At first I thought it was one of resident hawks landing with an early dinner. Then I saw what looked like a mohawk on its head.

I was on the phone at the time and I threw the phone down, yelling to my mother “I have to call you back! A weird bird just fell out of the sky!”

The bird was clearly a duck, but not a duck that belonged in my yard. I belong to a few birding groups on Facebook and knew that there had been a spate of sea birds getting lost inland recently. The snow and frozen waterways make it hard to find food. I also knew some of those ducks and birds can’t take off unless they are in water. So I went outside to check on the duck ( after snapping a few photos from the window).

Thankfully, the duck flew off when I got within about 25 feet. I ran back in and uploaded my photos to Facebook. As I waited I used my Merlin bird app to try and identify the species but seeing as the duck was very out of place in my yard it didn’t work. Thank goodness for birding groups on Facebook!

 

Meet the common merganser duck. She’s female and was definitely lost. Even though she flew off I did walk the block to make sure she was safe. No sign of her so I’m hoping she made it to the creek down the street; it eventually feeds into the lake in the county park across the street.

Definitely an awesome yard bird but a bit sad, too. It turns out lots of sea birds and ducks are literally falling out of the sky in the midAtlantic. Their rivers and lakes are frozen and they are looking for food. So keep your eyes open and look a little closer at the world around you. The birds that surround us might need help this winter.

 

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Weekly Diigo Posts (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Weekly Diigo Posts (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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