Saturday, September 12, 2009

Yard Work Pain

On Facebook I made a comment about my hurt shoulder. On a side note I am back to using Facebook with limitations. And yes, I spend entirely too much time on Facebook, trying to be humorous, friendly, and on rare occasion, witty, the latter which I must admit is not my forte. Setting all that aside, I made a comment there, on Facebook, about my sling. My sling, not to be mistaken by a slingshot by any means, which is a device to hurl things in the air; a sling on the contrary is used to keep your arm or other appendages in place, in my case my shoulder.

If you have been keeping up with me lately, you know my yard requires an upkeep appointment every Saturday. And to do such upkeep I have had some obstacles. First the yard, in the summer somehow ballooned to the size of a football field. Then the bushes all mushroomed as well. Next a pumpkin plant attempted a take over which was swiftly abutted by a timely hacking. Finally, to my dismay, my self-propelled mower, called it quits. So I had the ingenious idea to use the weedwacker to do the back yard.

I say ingenious though it would be the perfect idea for a much younger person, on this occasion it really was not for me. Frankly, I thought I was being cautious enough by dividing the yard into three sections, but finding it relatively easy proceeded to over exert my self with the ensuing result: a sprained shoulder. This first incident was dealt with, with ice, ibuprofen, and rest. After a couple of days, I was better. But for the last two weeks, I've mowed the yard with self propelled mowers, relying on the mercy of my friends. The mowing went well until I decided to prune back the trees in my back yard. I can remember it now, those two, or could it have been three rather large nobby scrawny branches? The point being that they were thick for my shears and I had to struggle turning every which way to be able to finally make them surrender. They made me pay the price.

So I hurt my shoulder. At first it was bad but I tried the same method mentioned above but when I had to go to work after the long weekend, that is when trouble began. Driving back and forth to work, began to take its toll. The turns which were meaningless before, now required preplanning, such as turning on the signal light with my right hand and then overextending my right hand over the steering wheel. This can be rather tricky if you have traffic behind you. To make a long story short, just driving home was a challenge, and going to sleep impossible. So I went to the doctor on Thursday night after driving home from work when the pain made the visit unavoidable. I left with a sling, and a bag full of medicines.

To be continued.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where were you on September 11th?

At midnight on the eleventh of September, I had just arrived in Orlando from Chicago, after seeing my brand new granddaughter, who was only eleven days old. I went to school, a little tired from all the travel and late arrival. Since I had been out I focused on school, my lesson plan, and organizing the classroom. The last thing on my mind was the news. My first period students came in and they settled into class. Then my principal came on the intercom and made a vague statement about the tragedy taking place but gave no details. I assumed she referred to a student who had been in an auto accident the week before, and perhaps had gotten worse.

Then second period arrived and the kids came in with all sorts of alarming stories. That a plane had crashed into the Twin Tower. That the Towers were on fire. I thought they were pulling my leg. They urged me to turn on the news. So I did. I stood there in disbelief. It couldn't be true. Who would do such a horrendous thing? Then to our utter shock, another plane flew into the next tower right there and then as we were watching. Then there was talk that one had crashed into the Pentagon. Before we knew it, people were jumping down to their death. That's where I said we needed to pause. What we were seeing was unreal, and the children were starting to get nervous, jittery, and on the verge of tears. Actually crying softly. I reminded them that if they had any faith, to call on it then. Some did, and prayed quietly.

I spoke to them about all sorts of things, had them write their observations and get it out of their system. Though I seemed calm on the outside I was starting to get frightened. Then an email came in from one of the pastors at Northland citing Psalm 91. It was medicine to my soul. It seemed like the longest hour. Then it was time to go. And they left, and I had a planning period. I went to the front office, and there was a huge amount of parents gathered clamoring for their children and all through the day, we heard rumors of air transportation being paralyzed, that Disney had also been a target, and our classes were interrupted by parents picking up their kids.

I vaguely remember speaking to my son Juan Daniel who was at Apopka High School. Thank God he was okay. I can't remember if I was able to talk to my daughters. But I knew Ana was with her little baby, and Rose was working, I think. I knew they were safe. But if planes could be used as missiles, safety was ephemeral, and quickly fading. It was a blur. I remember thinking that just hours before, I had been on an airplane flying home. It sent chills down my spine.

But we are all destined to sometime leave this earth. We think we will last forever and that is not the case. I have my faith placed on my Savior Jesus Christ and what he did for me on the cross. So I guess I am ready to go, when he calls me home. I just wish, we don't have to go violently. That everyone have the opportunity to live a clean and significant life. Unfortunately sinful people (all of us)can make stupid, cruel choices that not only hurt themselves but others. This wasn't an act of God, but a plan carried out by misguided wicked people. They will have to stand before the Almighty God and respond for their choices. I think they are in for a big surprise. This story is not over until we step over into eternity, and see like Paul Harvey, used to say, "the end of the story."

Monday, September 07, 2009

Elusive Swallowtail Butterfly


After trying to take a picture of this Swallowtail butterfly, I gave up, but I did put a camera in my apron pocket and proceeded to weed my periwinkle. What do you think was my surprise when I looked up and there it was, fluttering right in front of me? Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Isn't that just like life?

Whenever I chase butterflies, I invariably remember that 60's song by Bob Lind. If you want to hear it click here.

Elusive Butterfly

(Bob Lind)

You might wake up some mornin'
To the sound of something moving past your window in the wind
And if you're quick enough to rise
You'll catch a fleeting glimpse of someone's fading shadow
Out on the new horizon
You may see the floating motion of a distant pair of wings
And if the sleep has left your ears
You might hear footsteps running through an open meadow

Don't be concerned, it will not harm you
It's only me pursuing somethin' I'm not sure of
Across my dreams with nets of wonder
I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love

You might have heard my footsteps
Echo softly in the distance through the canyons of your mind
I might have even called your name
As I ran searching after something to believe in
You might have seen me runnin'
Through the long-abandoned ruins of the dreams you left behind
If you remember something there
That glided past you followed close by heavy breathin'

Don't be concerned, it will not harm you
It's only me pursuing somethin' I'm not sure of
Across my dreams with nets of wonder
I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love

[Instrumental Interlude]

Across my dreams with nets of wonder
I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love

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Little treasures


Today was a day for discovering little treasures in my back yard. First the secluded squash, a solitary bee, a lady bug, and a delicate plant that had been hidden in the undergrowth. Fun discoveries.
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Growing Impatient

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I had about had it, with my squash plant that is. The flowers are beautiful and all, and I grant you fascinating, but if all that plant was going to give me were flowers that hardly lasted a day, well, that wasn't enough. To make matters worse, the plant was taking over my back yard. It was crossing a path and the other day, in order to be able to mow the yard I had to hack it back with a machete. Today, I decided I had had enough of my unruly unproductive plant. I was bending down to find some dirt to fill a hole just behind that area I wanted to tidy up when what did I see to my utter surprise and delight. A squash, una calabaza!!! The most beautiful perfectly round dark green, I must say sap green calabaza. To think I was about to put it away!! See it for yourself.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Ms. Vazquez's Wish List

Adopt a Classroom. I just updated my Adopt a Classroom profile, and did it take forever!! I could only use 250 words, so it was edit, cut, edit, cut again and again. Anyway, if you are going to dream, I say, "Let's dream big." So here is my latest list. If you can help, my goodness, would my kids appreciate it!

Classroom Description

Teaching High School ESL/ELL (English Language Learners) students is very rewarding and they love real life experiences and relevant topics. Touching Spirit Bear is a young adult novel about a misguided juvenile delinquent who has life changing experiences while banished to a solitary island in Alaska. The book is terrific and my students really enjoyed it. I teach my students to prepare PowerPoint Presentations on Alaskan weather, transportation, Circle Justice, totem poles, and the juvenile justice system. Unfortunately, many students lack USB or pin drives which are necessary when using computers. It would also be a dream to have a class set of laptops for my classes to use. No one said we can not dream big!! We need your donations to buy pin drives, a class set of computers which of course would be used over and over again for research, media presentations, and word processing, art materials and funds for the field trip. Last year,I was able to take my students to Moss Park for the nature walk and they were still talking about it this year. Some of the topics this novel covers are social issues such as bullying and physical abuse, love of nature, reading comprehension, and many literary techniques. Your help is needed and will be greatly appreciated as together we prepare these students to be successful in our community. Thank you! To make a donation just click here.