Am I Getting Old?

Day 8

Oh, my goodness! I’m 0-2! This is my second loss to the tile floor this week. I don’t remember the last time there was broken glass in my house, but this week two slices of my life have included red liquid and broken glass! (First post here)

This morning I woke up and had an idea to enjoy a pedicure. I got my Epsom salts and hot water ready in the plastic wash tub. I brought along an emery board, nail polish and clippers. Oh, well, I thought, since I don’t have nail polish remover I no doubt can scrap off the old stuff because it’s got to be from last summer, or I’ll just go over it with a fresh coat.

I sat down at the tub. The water was still a little too hot, so I was tiptoeing in. It didn’t take long for my feet to get accustomed to the temperature, so I settled in and began to enjoy the soak. I reached for my tea latte, which my husband had brought me to enjoy while I pampered myself.

However, there was a different plan for my morning. When I reached for my tea, my elbow swept the fingernail polish off the table and onto the tile floor.

I didn’t know where to start, so I took a picture!

This was the first time in my life that I broke a bottle of fingernail polish. And, oh, yes, I remembered I didn’t have nail polish remover, so after I sent a text to my neighbor to see if she had some, I tried to mop up the globs with tissues.

This is looking grisly.

I also poured and scrubbed with a half bottle of White Spirit, which may be a British kind of turpentine.  You needed a lot of elbow grease with that stuff and it mostly wasn’t coming off.

One of my first thoughts was of Maureen, who had a couple of posts this week, where she toyed with the idea of getting old because of a couple of things that happened to her. (Here and here) My follow up thought: “Am I getting old?” Or is it this tile floor that seems to have been hiding for eight years, and now is opening up a can of whoop-ass!

My neighbor responded to my earlier text and the nail polish remover definitely did its magic. I cleaned up the spill and got ready with a few minutes to spare before my first class at 7:45.

Chopped Salad

Day 7
I neglected to take a photo of the ingredients this morning, but here is an old one showing some of the herbs we have available. (27 cents a bunch)

My word for 2021 is gratitude. This year I’m practicing! I’m on the lookout for things to be grateful for, especially those things that I will miss when I move back to the U.S. Today it is the salads I make.

Soak, wash, drain, chop, chop, dice, grate, grate, squeeze out extra water. Add each ingredient to my largest bowl. Slip my hands into the bowl and gently toss to mix together.

Cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, a slew of greens–this time, mint leaves, arugula, parsley, cilantro, and  purslane. My goal is always to have at least ten different items in the mix.

Then I put it in a plastic tub with an airtight lid, add several layers of paper toweling on top of the salad, turn the tub upside-down and store it in the refrigerator. If I change the papers and keep the salad as dry as possible, it will last for a week of salads for our family of two.

I will never think of a salad as lettuce and tomatoes again. Now salad is this colorful conglomeration with so many delicious flavors and delightful textures.


Nighttime Thoughts

Day 6

On Friday, Terje wrote about her dream of puffins and a conversation she had with her brain during the night. She wrote about it here on “Midnight Slice.” Terje had been inspired by Erika Victor and her post “In the Middle of the Night.”

Also on Friday, Kim Johnson wrote about her dream where she adopted a lioness. It includes an It’s a Small World-type ride. Read about it here at “Save the Lions!

Since I read these three nighttime slices yesterday, I find myself again inspired by this community for my next post today. I guess I was inspired for my sleep, as well, because I had one of those nights, a three-pee night as Erika called it.

Then at 4:37 a.m. I was lying awake already when the Fajar call to prayer began, which is shorter than the afternoon prayer calls, which I captured a portion of today around noon.

I usually sleep through it, since my Christian prayer life is much less devout than my Muslim brothers’ and sisters’.

A few minutes later I heard part 2 of the morning call from one of the mosques–perhaps it’s a repeat of something like “hurry to the prayer” or “prayer is better than sleep.” Maybe a sleepyhead, thrown in too (but I doubt that last one). I’m not sure because, of course, it is all in Arabic.

Anyway, if I’m awake with the call to prayer, there is about a 50/50 chance I’ll go back to sleep. Today my lists won the day, and I started the day early.

I keep a pad of paper and a pencil on my nightstand. After the call to prayer and the fact that I had been lying awake quite a while, I wrote a few more things on the second page of my pad of paper. It’s dark as mud in my room because we have black poster board in the windows, so I have to remember where on the paper I’ve written throughout the night. Sometimes folds in the paper help me with placement.

When I started writing “important” things like iron and clean, I tried to have a conversation with my brain, like Terje did yesterday.

Me: OK, time for sleeping another hour or two.

Brain: You should write “Clean the refrigerator.”

Me: Are you kidding? If I don’t do that job for the rest of my life, all will be well. Let me go to sleep.

Brain: OK. Here is one for your list. You need to change your blog settings so Glenda doesn’t have to stay in moderation jail every day.

Me: Yes, I know. OK. I will write that one.

Brain: But maybe you will need to try another theme.

Me: Now, go back to sleep. It’s Saturday. The first thing on my calendar is 11:00 a.m.

Brain: But what about that student who has missed two sociology classes? You need to email him right?

Me: Yes, I was supposed to do that.

Brain: Ah, Keith’s alarm is going off. It’s almost 5:30, go ahead and get up now.

Me: OK, already!

Part 2 of my nighttime list making


Rogan Josh

Day 5

My husband brought home two jars of sauce, a gift from a friend who thought we’d like them. They look like small jars of spaghetti sauce, only these are Indian-style masalas. One was called Rogan Josh.

I said, excitedly, “Didn’t he sing ‘You Raise Me Up‘?”

“No, that’s Josh Groban.”

“Well, I’m sure I know a Josh Rogan. Or maybe it’s Seth Rogen I’m thinking of.”

So I went online to look. Sure enough, Josh Rogin is a Global Opinions columnist for The Washington Post, and also kind of named after an Indian masala.

The jars went into our pantry. Then the other night when I was trying to finish dinner I went into the pantry to look for a can of mushrooms for our pizza. Sadly, when I went behind the jar to grab a can, (which ended up being bean sprouts instead of mushrooms), I knocked that Rogan Josh jar of sauce onto the floor. Smashed the bottom right off.

Oh, my, what a mess! Broken glass is one thing to clean up. Thick red sauce is another. Together, they are a disaster! How do you even go about cleaning up that mess?

I picked up the biggest piece of jar left with some sauce inside. I poured it in the toilet, while tracking the sauce down the hall. Then I swept up what was left and got the broom all covered with red sauce. I took the broom to the shower, tracking more sticky sauce down the hall and realized I quite possibly left glass chunks in the shower as well. Then I got the mop and a bucket of water. I pushed the small broken glass around the tiles a bit, but picked them up with my rubber flip flops when I stepped on them.

I got the vacuum cleaner out next and tried vacuuming up the wet glass particles. But who knows if I got them all. When my husband got home, I warned him not to go barefooted for a while.

In the meantime, while I cleaned, I noticed the Rogan Josh smelled really good, and I wondered if I would ever buy another jar of that sauce to try it.

I never found mushrooms, and I did not put those beansprouts on my pizza either.

Countdown Day

Day 4






Today is Countdown Day in places that date things in a way that makes sense–from smallest unit to largest–day, month, year. 4/3/21. A special day you’ve never heard of, I would imagine.

Theoretically and head-knowledge-wise, I can see it makes total sense to write the date like this. However, I grew up with month, day, year dates in the U.S., and so for decades I didn’t know there was another way to write the date. Nine times out of ten, automaticity ensures I still manage to write the date with the month first, even though I’m living in a country where the day comes first in the date.

I didn’t know it was Countdown Day until I saw it in a chat in one of my many–count them (I just did)–six Zoom meetings today!

This came from a teacher from Down Under. Actually, I’ve learned since living in Bahrain that most of the world writes the date with the day first.

Imagine how confused I get when I have students write their birthdays on a candle for our birthday bulletin board. I see 7/5 or 5/7 and inevitably I have to ask, “Is your birthday in May or July?” The student does a double take between the candle and me and wonders why I don’t know my months. I love it when the day is anywhere between 13-31. Only then can I be confident I know for sure what month we are talking about.

Throw in the use of Google Sheets, where the default date format is from the U.S.–month, day, year–and our school reports can really get confusing.

The good thing about doing dates in both ways, though, is that we can “celebrate” Countdown Day twice this year. Once today and once on April 3rd in the U.S. Or is that, 3/4/21? Oh, dear!

Anyway, in honor of the Mars landing, let’s celebrate twice in 2021.

A chance for another Countdown Day anywhere in the world won’t come for another hundred years.




100 Things I’m Grateful For

Day 3

Today, I’m grateful for…

  1. my home
  2. my husband
  3. the joy I have when he comes home
  4. my daughters
  5. my sons-in-law
  6. the future
  7. Bahrain
  8. vaccines
  9. clean water
  10. wearing flip flops every day for a year
  11. surviving the last year
  12. gifts of the heart
  13. the healthy pizza I had for dinner
  14. Al Raja School
  15. good neighbors
  16. books to read
  17. more people forced to deal with the reality of white supremacy than the previous year
  18. being in a new civil rights chapter
  19. notebooks to jot in
  20. peace
  21. love
  22. joy
  23. patience
  24. kindness
  25. goodness
  26. gentleness
  27. faithfulness
  28. self-control
  29. and those who live in the fruit of the Spirit
  30. fancy car horns that make me smile
  31. calendars
  32. friends to drink tea with
  33. friends to write poetry with
  34. friends to blog with
  35. children’s laughter
  36. board games
  37. a cushy chair at my dining room table
  38. being able to teach part time and a variety of experiences this year
  39. retirement coming
  40. cookies
  41. ginger molasses cookies
  42. chocolate chip cookies
  43. chocolate crinkle cookies
  44. soft pumpkin cookies with cream cheese icing
  45. oatmeal raisin cookies
  46. Lent and how when it’s over I’ll eat cookies again
  47. Jesus
  48. Christians who act like Jesus
  49. rainbows
  50. crocheting
  51. creating
  52. call to prayer
  53. letters in the mail
  54. a clean page
  55. new earbuds
  56. smiling
  57. the paintings  around my apartment–
  58. the tropical flower my daughter painted in high school
  59. the Bahrain map
  60. the souq
  61. Rachel Maddow
  62. Kamala Harris
  63. Joe Biden
  64. wool, cotton and linen yarn
  65. my avocado sapling
  66. all my houseplants
  67. avocados
  68. sourdough
  69. kiwi
  70. navel oranges from Egypt
  71. Fuji apples
  72. karak tea
  73. electricity
  74. clean power
  75. reducing
  76. using up leftovers
  77. students who keep learning
  78. students who bring joy to teaching (Fran McCrackin’s sweet student yesterday)
  79. wind (Kevin’s poem “That Wind of Gust and Din” reminded me how I love a good wind storm)
  80. winds that don’t do damage
  81. Trevor Noah
  82. Hagar seeing the God who sees her
  83. Bartimaeus seeing more than the people around him
  84. my sisters and brothers
  85. my pressure cooker
  86. losing 30 pounds this year
  87. someday buying new clothes
  88. someday going to a party
  89. Special Olympics
  90. spelling bees
  91. mops to clean up spills
  92. the memory foam pad on my bed
  93. hard drives to share files and not have to upload for hours at a time
  94. fast Internet when I have it
  95. hearing so many different languages when I walk in my neighborhood
  96. tissues
  97. Fitbit
  98. church that can still meet online
  99. a future and a hope
  100. my home

Spelling Bee

#SOL21 Day 2

Today is day 2 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge, and I had left my computer ready to relax on the couch. I was going to sew faces on some of my bees–spelling bees, which will decorate the certificates for our students. Of course, what else is there to do on yet another evening at home?

As I sat down though, fortunately I remembered to come back and write this post.

We are conducting a virtual spelling bee for any students who want to participate. We had 52 sign up by Sunday’s deadline. Then today we had them come to a scheduled preliminary placement test on Google Forms. Just a multiple-choice spelling test that should help us determine which of three groups to put them in. Surprisingly we only had 28 of them who completed the preliminary round. Hmmm….I’m not sure why. Maybe we will hear from some tomorrow. I don’t know what we’ll do.

We will have three different levels of the final spelling competitions on Zoom, based on the student’s score on the preliminary. We will give them some time to study words now. Then we are thinking of three rounds–

  • Round 1–they each write the same word in the chat to the host (judge).
  • Round 2–we’ll say the same word and everyone will write it on a whiteboard. On the count of three, they will turn it around and show the judges.
  • Round 3 would be a traditional spelling bee where each child left in the competition gets a different word and spells it orally.

There will be double eliminations, so everyone can make one free mistake.

Sadly, we have to think of how to do this in a way that will discourage cheating.

I wonder if anyone has any ideas for pulling this off! Please feel free to offer any advice on any part of this, as obviously we are building this plane in the air.

(Oh, my goodness–as I wrote that last line I did a quick search and other people, of course, have already been building that plane.) Now, I’ll go watch some Zoom spelling bee videos, and then I’ll get back to finishing the faces on my bees.

Crocheted bees on a tray in various stages of being completed, along with some pins and needles and thread..

Right Now

March 1, 2021

Right now, I am: 

  • sitting at my dining room table “desk”
  • taking notes about ideas to write 31 posts this month
  • cataloguing Terje’s engaging ideas
  • getting inspired
  • coming to write my 1 March post
  • giving myself permission to believe I can do Slice of Life again
  • breaking for a piece of chewing gum because that hummus I just made had way too much garlic
  • smiling that I just received notification an hour early that a student joined my Zoom class
  • feeling the weight of too many one year covid-versaries this week
  • noticing my “desk” looks the same as 2020 except on opposite sides of the table
  • photographing my table
  • sending it to myself in email
  • inserting the photo into this post
  • listening to the doves and pigeons outside my windows
  • grateful I can hear, see, taste, smell and touch
  • anticipating great reading and writing this month through SOL
  • interrupting my writing to take some hummus to my neighbor
  • checking my email to see if I have a response about when to send the spelling bee information to the 53 students who signed up
  • needing clarification about something else Bee-related, so will wait on that
  • hoping for a brighter 2021
  • breathing deeply and prayerfully
  • seeing the dirty dishes from making the hummus
  • washing the dishes
  • settling back to finish this post
  • hearing the timer go off telling me it’s time to make a pot of tea for my hubby’s meeting
  • pressing “publish,” excited it’s March!