Dare to Care

create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

08/Aug/2017
by Denise Krebs
11 Comments

A Day in the Kitchen

I have so much I could have done today–write a Slice of Life post, write an #EdublogsClub post, finish Shift This by Joy Kirr (I’m close), or work on school work (that’s a whole other to-do list).

Instead, I did what I’m good at and what I love. I stayed in the kitchen. (Am I an expert? My husband thinks so.)

I made Spanish rice, chicken fajitas, black beans and salsa and all the fixings. I baked tahini chocolate chip cookies for dessert. (That is a magical little recipe, by the way.) I even cleaned out the Tupperware cupboard.

Each Tuesday evening this summer, we host our pastor and his son who are home while the rest of their family is in the U.S. We have them over for dinner with dessert. Then we send the leftovers home with them for the next day. They are always so appreciative, and I love cooking for anyone with a good appetite.

Today Keith was giving the tour of the buffet line. “We’re having Mexican rice bowls. It’s like at Chipotle’s–you just put whatever you want into your bowl,” he said.

Minus the E. coli, I thought to myselfthough I didn’t want to say it aloud.

After dinner and the dishes, I sat down to write this post. Since today’s Capture Your 365 theme was “Relaxing,” I took this picture–one of the first times I relaxed today.

Relaxing. #cy365 #t365project#jjaproject

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01/Aug/2017
by Denise Krebs
Comments Off on A Wondrous Hidden Mud Puddle

A Wondrous Hidden Mud Puddle

I wrote the post below today for Teachers Write, but I thought I would share it here because it’s a slice of my life, though 20 years ago. I was thinking of Arizona a lot today because I baked a lemon meringue pie and because the weather is really hot and steamy here in Bahrain, a little like Arizona during the monsoon season. When I saw today’s prompt, this wondrous mud puddle came to mind.

A wondrous puddle is hidden in the Bermuda grass most of the year. Who would have thought there was magic in that small bald patch of yard? The patch near the naval orange tree where the grass can’t grow has the approximate diameter of a large kiddy pool, but the comparison ends there. There is nothing tame about this piece of earth when the rains come.

Unfortunately, Mom never let them flood it with the hose. Otherwise they could have enjoyed mud baths all summer long, mud baths that were simultaneously exhilarating and restful. Mud baths that put grit in their teeth, long-lasting cakes under their fingernails, and the smell of magic in their nostrils. Instead, these girls were forced to pray for rain.

On this day, monsoon winds come. Dust is in the air. Finally, raindrops the size of 50-cent pieces splotch the deck around the pool and back porch. And, yes, the drops are even noticeable in the sticky caliche soil near the orange tree. The girls watch from the French door windows, willing the drops to keep falling. Please not another false rain alert is their unspoken prayer. So often the muddy drops end as a vain attempt to wash the dirt out of the sky, a tease of petrichor they can feel and smell even in the house. More often than not, in Phoenix, the summer rains stop not only before they wash the dust out of the air, but well before they fully wet sidewalks or muddy the hopeful spot in the yard.

This time, though, it’s different. The magic is working. Not just pitter patter. These drops are thunk thunk thunking on the roof, ping ping pinging on the tin cover of the A/C unit in the yard, and quietly invading the dry soil around the orange tree. It is a real monsoon rain. Finally. The season came late this year, but today rain will win the battle to uncover the wondrous mud puddle.

18/Jul/2017
by Denise Krebs
8 Comments

Slice of Life – Interviewing My “Expert”

Yesterday I was considering doing some research about how to make a Mars Curiosity model for my Teachers Write Monday assignment. The assignment, by Sarah Albee, was to do nonfiction research, particularly to talk to an expert. However, I am spending my writing time this summer working on a children’s fiction story. Plus, since I’m hanging out at home with my husband after his eye surgery, he became my “expert.”

My Mr. Fix-it husband would know what kind of motor I needed and how to make the Mars model. I wanted it to be made of cardboard for a shout out of sorts to making, to Caine Monroe, Nirvan Mullick, and the subsequent Cardboard Challenge and Imagination Foundation.

Keith suggested I would need a base to hold the motor. He said you’d want to make a base out of plastic or something.

I argued. “It doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m not really making it. No one who reads it is going to know if it’s really feasible,” I said.

He acted like he didn’t hear me.

He found a rubber band car on YouTube. After watching the first minute, he said, “OK, here’s what Bailey needs to do. Make the base with straws and toothpicks, like in the video. You can use the bottle caps for wheels. This will be strong enough to hold the motor from the broken RC car he’s going to find abandoned at the thrift shop.”

“OK, maybe,” I said when I woke up this morning.

It was also after the part last night, when I snatched my Chromebook from him and gave the I-said-I’m-not-really-going-to-make-it-!-don’t-you-get-that-? speech.

So here’s a short scene from my story after my “expert” interview:

“Hey, Bailey, look what I found at work today!” Dad came bolting into the kitchen through the back door, the wooden-framed screen door bouncing behind him. Bailey was sitting at the round yellow Formica table–what Bailey used to call “our sunshine table”–munching Oreos dipped in milk. “Some gals ordered smoothies for lunch and they came with these jumbo straws. Perfect, right?” He held up two shiny straws, one peachy cream color and one lavender.

“Perfect?” Bailey said. “Dad, the Curiosity is like white, gray and black. How can these be perfect?”

“Oh, but look how strong they are. You can’t even bend ‘em. They must be close to a half inch in diameter. And heck, we can spray paint them black.”

“Black would be good. Won’t we need more?”

“I asked the women to save more for us. They said they order a few times a week. I had never even noticed them until I saw them in the garbage today. You know, after we watched that YouTube video yesterday.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think that was going to work,” Bailey was still suspicious about it.

“Let’s give ‘er a try after supper. What do you think? And, hey, why are you eating Oreos now?”

11/Jul/2017
by Denise Krebs
4 Comments

My Husband

My husband talks a lot and makes me laugh. Here are some snippets from our Friday afternoon.

While I started the car in the stifling ground level garage, Keith carried the hefty, plastic shopping bag overflowing with garbage toward the dumpster. When he came back to the car, he noticed I had opened my sunglasses case and had it sitting on the center console, ready to grab when we pulled out of the dark garage. He started in, “Now, what am I going to do? You know that’s my job. Are you taking my sunglasses job? Now, I guess I’ll just have to do my other side car driving tasks.” I began driving through the cramped garage. “Watch out…Don’t hit that wall…Careful, there’s a car…Ooh, that was close.”

“OK, wise guy, you can keep your job.” When I got to the door of the garage, I handed him my regular eyeglasses and waited for him to pass me the sunglasses. I put them on and pulled into the narrow alleyway, into the 110-degree heat. (It feels like 113, so the humidity isn’t that bad today.) “So, which mall should we go to?” I asked my husband, who is exponentially more opinionated than I about such things.

“Let’s go to the little fancy mall in the Seef district,” my husband said, “It won’t be so crowded on the weekend.” I turned the car toward the mall of our Friday afternoon walk.

As we rode along, I said, “OK, I have some advice I could give you about church today, if you are interested. About prayer.”

“Yeah, go ahead.”

“Well, when all the pastors and elders were in front praying for individuals, you were the only one I could hear.”

“Oh, no, did I leave my mic on?”

“No, the mic wasn’t on. I think you just need to work on your whisper.”

“Ah, I was projecting! I learned that in seminary.”

“Yeah,” I laughed, “but you shouldn’t broadcast the person’s prayer request. ‘God, help this sister get over her drug addiction.’ Just kidding. I didn’t really hear that.”

“You maybe just heard my voice above all the others because you are so in love.” I could sense him staring and batting his eyes.

“Oh, yes, that’s it.”

Lots more side car driving, “50…50…50…the speed limit is 50!” And later, “I would have gotten off at this exit.” That sort of thing until we arrived at the upscale mall.

“Oh, look, Denise. This place was named after us!” It was a chocolate fountain restaurant called Dip N Dip. We had to stop for a selfie:

At this point, I remembered my little writer’s notebook I was planning to carry this month for Teachers Write. I said, “Hey, I need to write down some of those things you’ve been saying that made me laugh today, but I’ve already forgotten on the way here. Maybe I’ll write about you today, funny guy. Can you remind me what made me laugh today?”

“Just write everything I say. You can actually record it. Keep the audio going all day long. That way when I die you can listen and laugh anytime, or cry maybe.”

“Oh, never mind!”

We took a lovely walk around this high-end mall. High-end, yes: For instance, I walked into one small shop with an “up-to-90%-off” sign in the window. I was curious. The first thing I saw on the rack was a long, single-knit teal dress with some embroidery through the middle. It looked like a prom dress. BD1780 was the original price, and the marked down price was BD178 (What? Almost $500!)

“Thank you,” I said, as someone came up to see if they could help me. “I just wanted to take a quick look.” I slipped out after looking at only one price tag. This place was out of my price range, even with 90% off.

When I told Keith about it, he said, “We’ll come back when it’s 99% off.”

It’s a good thing I don’t need a prom dress.

     *      *      *      *     *

On the way home, we enjoyed listening to music on a playlist that Keith created.

It has Beatles, Kansas, and lots of his other favorites–pop, rock and roll, and gospel. I’m not really big on music, but one day, I did say, “How about Gordon Lightfoot and Simon and Garfunkel?” My old time favorites. The next time we went in the car, he had a new playlist including some of my favorites.

Today, when “Rainy Day Lovers” came on, I asked him if he even likes Gordon Lightfoot.

“He’s OK,” he said. We talked about rainy days and loving.

     *      *      *      *     *

When we came back, I baked chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookies to bring to a dinner tonight.

Keith exercised and then came into the kitchen to drink water. Afterwards, he dug into the dish drainer looking for his coffee pots for tomorrow morning. “I’ve never seen anyone who can stack dishes like you. You are super talented in that area! No one else can stack like you, Denise!” He began putting some dishes away. He finally made it down to one of his coffee pots. (I think he has a half dozen). He shook the water out of the pot and gave me some advice, “You know, for dishes to dry, it’s best not to use the super burial method of stacking.”

     *      *      *      *     *

It’s a work day for him tomorrow, so he was ready for bed before me. “Good night,” I said. I wanted to stay up and finish this blog post before I went to bed. “I love you.”

“Yeah, that’s what she says now.”

“Thanks for making me laugh.”

“Yes, I am a Dad joke.”

That you are, but I wouldn’t want you any other way.

“Rainy day lovers don’t hide love inside, they just pass it on.”

27/Jun/2017
by Denise Krebs
2 Comments

Summer’s Here

Well, I haven’t written since the 9th of May. In April, I had determined I would keep up writing on Tuesdays with the Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life challenge. My commitment lasted a few weeks.

Today I’m back. No promises for the future of my Tuesdays, but the summer looks hopeful. This is my first summer since I moved overseas that I won’t be going back to the U.S. for most of the summer. We took our trip home in May for my daughter’s wedding, so I’ll be in Bahrain for the whole hot summer.

I’m actually looking forward to the time to:

    1. Read Bible stories and pray more than I watch political news
    2. Participate in Teachers Write – I’ll join a community of teachers who write together this summer. Starts on 10 July.
    3. Read! I have a pile of more than a dozen elementary, young adult and professional books to read.
    4. School work! It will be my first summer in years that I like take time to really reflect on last year and then do what I need to do in order to make next year great.
    5. De-clutter one cupboard or drawer each day. (Where did I get this list? I’m afraid I don’t know.)
    6. Walk 10,000 steps on as many days a week as I can–at least 4 a week.
    7. Cook and bake more than I get to during the school year.

What do you have planned for the summer?

I checked out library books for the summer! Looking forward to some reading and writing time.

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