Liebster Blog Award

LIEBSTER
A grateful thank you to Covert Novelist for nominating me for this delightful award. It was a surprise, but a very welcome one. 

The rules of this award:
1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award. Thank you to Covert Novelist!
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 blogs.
5. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
6. Give them 11 questions to answer.

My questions for you are as follows:

1.  Your greatest achievement to date is . . .

marrying my husband. ( I asked and that’s what he said!) It is pretty true; he’s a great guy. Seriously, though, I just won a teacher/leadership award and a nice cash prize, so that’s pretty cool.

2.  Your most amusing moment to date is . . .

getting trapped in my bedroom because I had jammed a bed through the door and it got stuck. I’m pretty independent and had decided to redecorate an move furniture without asking for my then boyfriend’s help. Instead of taking the bed apart, I hefted and pulled and tugged and pushed and get it firmly lodged in the door. Thank goodness I had my cell with me. I called my boyfriend (now husband) and he came over to help me out of the room. I still haven’t lived that one down and it’s been 12 years.

3.  You create time for one special thing for you and it is . . .

reading. I devour books but sometimes life and kids don’t get that I need to read. I hide in the bathroom and lock the door if needed to finish reading a chapter or six.

4.  Your most “scandalous” moment in time was  . . .

Umm, I was a bit of a wild child during the latter years in college so there have been a few scandalous moments. There was a party called “Dressed to get Laid” (yes, it’s as bad as it sounds), and I dressed in a very conservative, yet form fitting dress and then plastered my phone number on my derriere. So maybe not the most scandalous but definitely the most scandalous I am willing to share!

5. If you could go back in time who would you be?

Jane Austen. I’d want to know if Fitzwilliam Darcy was based on a real man. Then I would find that man and see if he was as captivating as his character.

6.  Your most touching and amazing moment to date is . . .

My most touching moment, hmm. One night, my husband came home, put on some slow tunes and we danced in the living room. I always remember that night because my husband does not dance but for that night with me, he did.

7.  Where do you go to unwind?

Home. It doesn’t matter where, I like being home. We also just built our home, so it’s a pretty sweet house.

8.  What do you enjoy most about blogging?

Blogging is a great way to express and connect. I like meeting new people and seeing what they have to say. I enjoy dialogues and finding people who maybe not agree with me but who are willing to discuss and learn.

9.  What is something silly you love about yourself?

Sometimes I have trouble finding English words because I spend much of my day in Spanish. I’ll come home and tell the kids to put the dishes in the garbage can that washes or to throw their clothes away when I mean to put them in their hampers.

10.  Do you work, and if so, is it something you love?

 

I am an ESL teacher and teach grades 6-12. I fell into this job by chance and after 14 years have fallen in love with it. It’s challenging, rewarding and so enjoyable. My students have become like family. Best job ever.

11.  What is one life experience you learned that changed your life?

My first marriage was horrid and the worst experience in my life; however, it did change me. I learned how strong and capable I am, how valuable I am and how I deserve someone who respects me.

 

Thank you for those questions!

Eleven random facts about me:

  1. I speak 3 languages: Spanish, French and English.
  2. I hate flying in airplanes, but I love traveling.
  3. Once, I escaped from a French mortuary. At 2 in the morning no less.
  4. I almost fell out of a train (it was slowing down and we were gathering to get out) until some random dude grabbed me by the rear and pulled me in. I’ve been eternally grateful to random dude for years.
  5. I have had almost all my non-essential organs removed from my body, not because I wanted to, mind you, and since 2005, I’ve had a surgery ever other year for the last 12 years. I’m hoping this year to break the cycle.
  6. I met a stranger, who was an alum of my alma mater, at the base of a mountain in Switzerland. Once he found out where I went to school, he offered me a ride up the mountain. We had hot chocolate in a chalet and drove back down that afternoon.
  7.  I didn’t break my first bone until I was 32. It hurt. Alot.
  8. I was born a red-head and went golden blonde at age 4. By the time I was 16, I was a strawberry blonde until I had my first child. Then I went red until my second child when I become a blonde again. Swear to God. No hair dye involved.
  9. During my sophomore year of high school, I played Stupifying Jones from L’il Abner; I was dressed in high heels, a feather boa and a nightie. I cringe every time I think of it. A sexy nightie on a 16 year old? What were they thinking?
  10. I was catcalled for the first time when I was 11. Not a great memory but memorable for its awfulness.
  11. My celebrity freebie list includes: Mathew MacFayden, Colin Firth, Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner and Sam Heughan. Le sigh.

I would like to nominate the following bloggers. They have unique perspectives on the subjects about which they write and I enjoy reading their blogs. Stop on over and see what they are up to!

https://5bayby14u.wordpress.com/

https://bikeclimbrunswimrunyoga.wordpress.com/

https://unapologeticbookaddict.wordpress.com/

https://atangleofwebs.wordpress.com/

https://edenisebillups.wordpress.com/

https://greendogchronicles.com/

https://www.mumsthewordblog.com/

https://dinamicdynasty.wordpress.com/

https://ubiquitousburrito.wordpress.com/

https://themusingmonkey.wordpress.com/

https://artiche.wordpress.com/

 

My questions for you are as follows:

  1. Out of all the countries you have visited, which one did you like the most?
  2. What is the most extreme thing you have ever done?
  3. If you could take someone with you in your travels, who would it be?
  4. If you could give someone $1 million dollars who would you give it to?
  5. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
  6. Given the choice of anyone living or dead, who would you choose to have dinner with and why?
  7. Give some advice to other bloggers or other blog starters.
  8. What is the most scandalous thing you have ever done?
  9. What is your greatest accomplishment?
  10. If you could do any career in the world, what would you do?
  11. If you could live one day over again, what would it be and why?

 

April Showers

Oh with such joy and some delight

Eager eyes spy snow on a winter’s night

Fat, wet flakes fall to blanket the ground

Turning bushes and cars into snowy mounds

December through March we watch it snow

And wearily, our disenchantment grows

For snow in winter is pure and graceful

But dreaded and awful when it comes in April.

(C) Sara Ackerman 2017

Jesus Horses–an oldie but a goodie

16507913_1602666786417102_9207007303206492050_nRecently, one of my students and I reconnected on Facebook and she messaged me, “I still get a big smile when I remember our talk about Jesus horses. LOL. ” Unfortunately, I have no recollection of that story so I asked my former aide, friend and co-conspirator to figure out what Jesus Horses were. The story goes something like this…

On one of my first field trips with students, we went to my Alma mater for a college visit. It was my hope to inspire my students to think beyond high school to their goals for the future. With pride, I showed them the campus and the dorms. We ate lunch at the cafeteria and ended our tour of the museum, a stately grey-bricked building on the far side of campus, which happened to be hosting an exhibition of dinosaur bones. One of my students, an inquisitive 17 year old, detached herself from the group to ask me a question about the exhibit.

“Ms. Stone,” *Anna asks. “How old are dinosaur bones?”

“Pretty old,” I reply, trying to remember exactly how many bajillion years ago dinosaurs roamed the earth. 

“Were they around when you were born?” she asks.

I level her a frosty stare. “I’m not that old, Anna. They were around a long time before me.”

She’s quiet for a moment as she thinks about what a long time before me could mean. “Were they around when your parents were born?”

“Anna,dinosaurs died off millions of years before you or I walked this earth.”

 “Oh, so they were around when Jesus was alive.”

By this time, my patience has worn thin, and I can’t tell if she truly doesn’t understand or if she is purposefully misunderstanding me to see how far she can push me. Rolling my eyes to the ceiling, I give in. “Yes, Anna. Dinosaurs were around when Jesus was alive. He used to ride them like horses.”

“Jesus horses,” Anna says with a twinkle in her eyes. “I thought so.” And with a small giggle, she runs off in front of me to catch up with her friends.

All I wanted to do was inspire my students to think outside themselves and their view of the world, and all I ended up doing was memorializing Jesus Horses.

Plus, I think I’m probably going to hell.

*Name has been changed

(C) Sara Ackerman 2017

The Soul’s Cry

I hear the music and know the rhythm of each note

From the trilling sixteenths to the stately march of the quarter

The notes beat their primal rhythm inside me.

Allegro, andante, largo, pianissimo

Soft and sweet the notes flow like honeyed memories, dripping Harmony and discord

Light and dark emerging united.

A spike of sound, a swell of emotion-they thrum through my veins and bend my body to its siren song.

Music, the soul’s cry for beauty and love

Life itself.

When was it that I could no longer find myself in your lines and measures?

When did I let myself forget the melody?

(C) Sara Ackerman, 2017

Mom’s Legacy

My back ached and I was exhausted. After almost two days, my husband and I had managed to clean out 50 years of clutter in my parent’s home. One room remained, and I had purposely left it for last.

“You take the kids and go home,” I told my  husband. “I’ll finish up.”

“Are you sure?”

I nodded. “Go. You’ve all worked hard. I won’t be but an hour.”

With the house now empty I walked up the two flights of stairs, past the fading wallpaper, ghost frames etched into the once vibrant paper, and past closed doors and empty rooms that held the faint echo of childish voices raised in laughter and happiness. The door to the tower was open, and the lights were on. I gripped the familiar, worn railing and ascended the curving staircase.

In the latter years of her life, mom hadn’t been able to walk up the stairs to her room. After dad had died, she had even less energy to go to her room and had asked me to help her move everything downstairs so she didn’t have to make the climb.

Yet another promise I hadn’t kept.

I sighed and opened the door at the top of the stairs, the air still stale and close from years of inactivity. Dust motes floated in the fading sunlight which streamed through the round window and for a moment, I could almost smell mom’s lavender perfume. Grief gripped my chest and squeezed, but I pushed it aside. I wasn’t ready to mourn. There was work yet to be done.

Boxes already littered the floor, and I sent a silent thanks to my husband for bringing them up before he left. I was tired and after two days of unearthing forgotten memories, my emotions were frayed and too close to the surface. They were even closer here in my mother’s retreat.

Bolts of fabric, thread, pins, scissors–anything I could donate went in one set of boxes. The rest was designated for the trash. I had not shared my mom’s passion for sewing, despite her numerous attempts to interest me.

“This is boring,” I said. At ten years old, I had no wish to spend my Saturday afternoon in a dusty old attic learning to sew. 

“Quit sulking,” mom said, her blue eyes patient and kind. “It’s a useful skill to have.”

“But we can just go to the store and buy a skirt. Why do I have to make one?”

“Because once you’ve learned, the only limit to what you can do is your imagination. Now, enough stalling Mary Katherine. What’s next?”

I took the scissors and cut the fabric, being careful to follow the dotted lines we had marked on the pink fabric patterned with smiling cat faces.

Mom gathered the fabric and draped it around my waist. The ends didn’t meet.

“It’s too small!” I said. 

“Did you measure twice before you cut?”

She knew I hadn’t. She had watched me cut and had said nothing. “I hate this. I don’t want to do it anymore!”

“Go,” she sighed. “We’ll try again later.”

But later had never come. Mom had brought it up only once more and after I had refused, she didn’t ask me again.

And now it was too late. Mom was gone and I was boxing up her legacy, preparing to trash most of her life’s work.

The sky had darkened without my knowledge and the room cooled from the lack of light. I shook my head to clear the cobwebs and moved around the room, rejuvenated and eager to be done, sorting and packing as I went. Only mom’s sewing table remained. I emptied all drawers but one. It was stuck and took some time to wiggle loose. The sight within knocked the breath from my lungs and I was once again ten years old.

Smiling cat faces on bright pink fabric stared back at me. On the neatly folded pile of cloth, there was a faded note in my mother’s handwriting pinned to the top. “For Mary Katherine–to finish when you are ready.”

The skirt pattern I had failed to complete almost forty years ago was enveloped within the fabric’s folds as was a receipt. She had bought another length, so I could try again.   But I had never returned.

Regrets hung heavy in the small room, and the finality of mom’s death brought me to my knees. Tears leaked down my cheeks and the pain I had refused to acknowledge swelled into a terrible crescendo of loss and grief. I was a little girl again, crying for her mother. But there was no one left to comfort me.

When at last the storm subsided, I got up off the floor and wiped my eyes, lost and a little unsure, but like the remnants of her familiar perfume, mom’s voice returned to whisper in my ear, giving me purpose.  “Enough stalling, Mary Katherine. What’s next?”

I cleared boxes off her cutting table and dug through the donation boxes, looking for pins, a scissors and the measuring tape.

Placing the fabric on the table, my hands ceased shaking and a relaxed calm enfolded me in familiar warmth. I measured, marked and pinned as though my mother’s hands guided mine across the fabric. When I reached for the scissors, I hesitated, closed my eyes, and listened.

Mary Katherine, remember-“

“Measure twice-” I said.

 -and cut once.”

via Daily Prompt: Measure

(C) Sara Ackerman 2017