Slice of Life – Update on My Yo-Yo Quilt

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 5 October 2021.

Today I finished another step of my yo-yo quilt. I was inspired to get started on this quilt in August and wrote about my progress here.

Since then I’ve worked on it off-and-on, and I learned so much. I’m not totally satisfied, but I decided to finish anyway. It was my first attempt doing artwork with yo-yos. Each piece has been basted onto the background. Now I just need to more permanently sew down each of the more than 600 yo-yos. (I wonder how long that will take!)

My inspiration is the Bahrain World Trade Center. Click the link or photo below to read an article about the process of the building of this landmark in 2008.

Slice of Life – Whoa, Summer!

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 31 August 2021

Wow, here we are and another summer gone. School started for teachers this week, and I am officially just a volunteer for four more months, when we will leave the country. Though I have spent a few hours at school this week for some meetings, helping with curriculum questions, and searching for books, I am no longer employed. It has been a long and weird transition of leadership due to the pandemic and a whole year of mostly-online learning. Now we are transitioning to mostly in-person learning (knock on wood), and there were some things the new coordinator never saw or needed to do last year. I am glad I was still around to help her sort those out.

Anyway, summer is gone. I looked back at a July post where I wrote many of my goals for the weeks of summer, a summer spent here in Bahrain in the thickness of heat and humidity. Looking back, I can say it was a productive and happy summer. I definitely accomplished a lot on my list, with a few items left to carry over for the fall. However, knowing I didn’t have to return to the full-time grind allowed me to have both a relaxed and fruitful summer.

A poem attempt today, trying a form by Joyce Sidman, used in her book Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold, and described here in this post by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes.

Summer

What does summer know?
Time to bud and blossoms showing
Merrily, merrily, life a-rowing
Calm and meditative glowing

What does summer know?
Wide-eyed wonder, newness flowing
Memory-building ripe for stowing
Almost over — attempt at whoa-ing

After reading the comment by Carol (below), I added this poem to an image I took this summer. In this photo of a common beach scene, fishing boats are anchored, for people are resting safely during the heat of the day. If you look off to the right of this photo, across the Arabian Gulf lies Iran, beyond that…Afghanistan, where many people are not resting safely and peacefully right now. I couldn’t help but read my poem again, noticing the privileged tone and all the missing summer pain of pandemics, hurricanes, and displacement. Praying for those in Afghanistan, Louisiana, and all others who are hurting.

Slice of Life – Disengaging with Fiction

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 10 August 2021

The year was 1992 and my husband was traveling for his job. My children were two and four, and we had been at some friends’ house all day playing with their kids and passing the time. As we were leaving Kevin gave me a book, The Sphere, by Michael Crichton. I have no idea if the book was any good, or if I just needed an adult book and anything would have worked. Perhaps I had mentioned earlier in the day that it had been a long time since I had read a novel, and that is why he gave it to me. Anyway, I brought it home, put the girls to bed, and started reading it. I’m not a super fast reader, but for some reason my brain devoured this science fiction book and I read it until 3:00 a.m., and when I finally turned the last page I went to bed.

Those devouring reading times have come once in a while throughout my life when I have fasted too long from reading. For the past few years of teaching grade 5, my students and I have kept track of our reading. Each year I read 40-60 books. However, the pandemic came and reading became something I neglected. I don’t know why.

However, this month reading is coming back to me, fortunately. I read Clint Smith‘s How the Word is Passed, Winn Collier‘s Holy Curiosity, and yesterday I read most of The Racketeer by John Grisham. It was awful, but mesmerizing. I just had to finish it, kind of like The Sphere all those years ago. It reminded me that I need to find good fiction and start reading again! I need fiction to disengage and relieve stress, stress internalized from the daily news as well as the nonfiction books I’m reading.

Do you have any suggestions for my next adult or young adult fiction book?

Early Birthday Celebrations

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 3 August 2021

Even though it’s a few days before my birthday, I’ve begun to celebrate. Today my friend took me to my favorite coffee shop for my favorite drink–Kaldi chai. It’s their special recipe of milk tea with spices and lots of ginger. So yummy. She said it was a Friendship Day / Birthday tea party.

Our favorite restaurant is Lumee Street Café. This evening Keith and I went for an early birthday dinner.

Here’s the description of what we ordered (from the downloaded menu still on my phone). The pictures were taken after we had dug in and removed a lot of the yummy stuff.

On the lower left:

Couscous Salad with Grilled Chicken Breast – Spiced couscous, peas, long beans, snow peas, raisins, roast peppers, sun-dried tomato, pomegranate, caramelized onion, grilled chicken breast slices

On the lower right:

Cauliflower Koshari – Steamed cauliflower rice, fire-roasted cauliflower, green lentils, chickpeas, gluten-free spaghetti, onion hamsa, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, spicy daqoos sauce (V, GF)

Then dessert of Pralines and Cream from Baskin-Robbins.

In between I read chapters in the novel Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Now I’m relaxing and writing this post on my phone before I turn in early to read more in my book.

 

Fill the Well

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 27 July 2021

Fill the well.
Meditate.
Grace.
Play.
Be.
A human being.
Human doing can wait awhile.
Rest.

I’ve had a couple of busy weeks, and today I am relaxing and taking time to be.

One thing I did to start my day, though, was watch a video from Kate Messner for Teacher’s Write. I’m glad I went back to this Week 2 event and watched the recording because I wasn’t able to join for the live event. Authors Linda Sue Park, Linda Urban, Tracey Baptiste and Jen Vincent joined  Kate Messner to share specific ways to experience that grace and filling the well of our beings after a difficult year.

Slice of Life – Eid Al Adha

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 20 July 2021

It’s Eid Al Adha today, which is one of two of the multi-day Eid holidays in Islam. It’s a commemoration of Ibrahim being willing to sacrifice his son. But a substitutionary animal was provided by God that was used for the sacrifice instead. Today, Muslims will slaughter a lamb or goat and give a third to the poor,  a third to a neighbor or relative, and a third will be for their family dinner.

We don’t celebrate Eid, but we do get to have three days off this week. I’m involved in helping to lead a workshop for storytelling four half-days this week, so I’m busy preparing and attending that. However, this morning we took some delicious time to sit in a coffee shop for a flat white and chai latte and take a walk around the mall.

Slice of Life – Flowers for Butterfly

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 13 July 2021

“Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower…”

Today, I hadn’t considered a slice of life I wanted to share, but then I saw the quote Kathleen wrote on the post and I liked it. I let that be my inspiration. First, I read “The Butterfly” by Hans Christian Andersen–the fairy tale from where the quote came. Butterfly is looking for a spouse among the flowers, but doesn’t find one he wants to settle down with. Finally, he gets pinned down and stuck indoors. Here is a sweet passage about the daisy:

The French call this flower Marguerite and say that it can prophesy. Lovers pluck off the leaves, and as they pluck each leaf they ask a question about their sweethearts, thus: “Does he or she love me? Dearly? Distractedly? Very much? A little? Not at all?” and so on. Each one speaks these words in his own language.
The butterfly came, also, to Marguerite to inquire, but he did not pluck off her leaves; he pressed a kiss on each of them, for he thought there was always more to be done by kindness.

Yesterday I watched an art project video that included grounding oneself in the earth, and I wrote about it here. But I did not take time yesterday to go outside, as it takes quite a few hundred steps to get past the concrete and bricks that surround me. Instead, I just stayed home and did the art project.

Today, however, I did go sit in a garden. I thought I’d look for a companion for Butterfly. There were so many possibilities…

The frangipani, or plumeria, so splendid that it needs two magnificent names to handle its impact. Long-lasting and sweet-smelling like the flower garlands around the necks of celebrants and honorees.

The impatiens are anything but impatient. They hold their hand open wide and welcoming. At the same time, they line the sidewalks like strong little bodybuilders willingly doing the heavy-lifting in this summertime heat.

The intoxicating oleander, beautiful but bitter.

The bougainvillea running all over the yard like a wild party, but they are ready with sharp claws if you take advantage.

The tiny bouquet-within-a-flower of the lantana, a medley of colors. They seem so wholesome, a homespun treasure.

I couldn’t decide either. I just pressed a kiss on each one and left them in peace.