Unleashing a Monster

Posted April 17, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Laughter, Life

Tags: , , , ,

Without thinking, I unleashed a monster. The living, breathing creature I unexpectedly let loose is my husband, Tom. Usually, he’s a calm, good-humored, loving man. The only thing that can make him lose complete control is the knowledge there’s a chipmunk in our yard.

Just as we were about to sit down to eat breakfast, I mentioned there was a chipmunk outside our kitchen window, and it looked like the critter was making a nest in our rock wall. Wrong thing to say. Before Tom even had a sip of coffee, he bolted out the door. I watched him come around the garage and quietly sneak up on the chipmunk. He was watching – oh so carefully – exactly where that rodent was building his nest.

The chipmunk disappeared. Tom returned to the kitchen, but not for long. When the critter showed itself again, gathering bits of grass to add to the nest, Tom vanished like a puff of smoke. I sat down to eat breakfast by myself while he and the chipmunk played hide-and-seek.

When my husband finally came into the house, he was ranting. “That thing is ruining our grass! It’s going to have babies and they’ll be running around causing …”

“Mass destruction?” was my comment.

“You bet, and I’m going to do something about it.”

I knew for the rest of the day Tom would be stalking, poking, prodding, and searching for the chipmunk. Traps, cages, and gross smelling stuff would be used to deter the critter.

I hung my head in remorse. With a few simple words, I had unleashed the monster inside my husband.

The Chipmunk Hunter is back at it!

Simple books for the overzealous chipmunk hunter and the child within:

Baby Chipmunks by Bobbie Kalman (Crabtree Publishing Company, 2010)

Chipmunks (Animals Underground) by Emily Sebastian (Powerkids Pr, 2011)

Chipmunk’s Hole by Dee Phillips (Bearport Publishing, 2012)

Teaching the Wild Things

Posted April 13, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Life

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday afternoon was worthless. A group of sixth graders was outside the library door, practicing a skit for their class. It was like a scene from Where the Wild Things Are. The wild rumpus began as soon as their teacher left to help another group. I stepped into the hall and said, “Be still!” I reminded them there were others around them working and to use their inside voices. The quiet lasted a total of 45 seconds before the rumpus gained steam again. To say the least, they were annoying me.

I was ready to roar my terrible roar, but instead, I used my teacher self-control and let it go. That’s when I picked up a book another teacher had given me to read. I know I should have been processing new library books, but at the time, 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny:  Life Lessons from Teaching written by Phillip Done looked like a much better choice. The very first line mentioned two of my favorite children’s books. With that, I was hooked.

The book pushed my calm down, enjoy, and laugh buttons. My foul mood dissipated as I read one funny passage after another. The book is about what students and teachers do and say. It’s a compilation of all the wacky and unexpected things that happen in the daily life of a school teacher.

So if you’ve ever heard these phrases from your students, “What did I do?” and “It’s not fair,” or if you’ve ever found yourself repeating, “Keep your hands to yourself” and “Eyes and ears open,” this book is for you. It will tickle your funny bone and warm your heart. It will make you realize how worthwhile your teaching career is – even on those occasional bad days.

“Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.” ~Haim G. Ginott

Hug a teacher today!

The Pat-down

Posted April 10, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Life

Tags: , , , ,

When I was young, my father once referred to my chest as two golf balls on an ironing board. After childbirth, my look changed. The two golf balls morphed into something much larger. For many women, the opposite happens, but I’m never one to follow the crowd. There are some woman who would love my look (and some men who would love to look), but I consider my chest annoying. Why, you ask? It’s called the security pat-down at airports.

Long ago I learned to wear simple travel clothing and leave off the belts and jewelry until after going through security. No problem. Security was a breeze. Then came the installation of the body scanner at airports. Suddenly my minimizer bra was screaming for attention. My last two trips to the airport provided some early morning excitement – the pat-down. I was given a choice of a private pat-down or one in full view of the public. I’m all for safety in numbers so I took the full view of the public choice. (Everyone is too busy trying to get themselves through security to care about anyone else.) In Chicago, the TSA’s hands immediately went to my chest. A quick feel and that was it. When I left Boston, my bra really wanted to show off. I was not only given a full upper body pat-down which included underarms, chest, back and waist, but my hands were swabbed to check for explosive residue. Whoo-wee! What do they see in that body scan that makes them think I’m hiding something? Hey, nothing more can fit into that minimizer!

I’ve determined it’s the wire in the bra that prompts the pat-downs. I have two choices. On my next trip I wear no bra at all (God forbid!), or I find one that has no suspicious wiring in it. Embrace me, sports bra!

Hoppy Days!

Posted April 6, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Avatar Friday

Tags: , , , , ,

“All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!” ~Lucy Van Pelt
In Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz.

I hope your basket is filled with love and chocolates. Hoppy Easter!

To Hull and Back

Posted April 3, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Life

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Last week I went to Hull, and I must say, I had a Hull of a good time! My husband and I took the Harbor Express Ferry from Boston to Hull, MA to visit my good friend, MaryBeth.

Boston Harbor Express

My mother and MaryBeth’s mother grew up together. They went to the same grade school and the same high school. Our fathers were friends in school, and her father was best man in my mother and father’s wedding. Even though our lives have taken us to different places, our parents planted the seeds of our friendship when we were young, and it has continued to blossom over the years.

MaryBeth and her husband, John, have a beautiful home on Hull Bay with views of downtown Boston. The two have worked meticulously to create a warm and inviting environment. We arrived in the late afternoon for an overnight stay. MaryBeth settled us into what they call The Nautilus Room. Comfy luxury enveloped us. The room was perfectly appointed with views of the bay. Sail away, sail away, sail away!

We then took a tour of the house to see the changes since our last visit. Their home has an eclectic combination of accessories and furniture, and the architectural details are amazing.

Extra cubby in our room

Nautical details

MaryBeth has a flair for decorating. She even added nautical rope molding in the bathroom! She admits she loves to hunt for just the right items to enhance the look of the rooms.

From May through October, they open their home as a bed and breakfast – Drop Anchor Inn. There are three charming rooms from which to choose. The care and attention to detail in the rooms and common areas are evident.



After the tour, we joined MaryBeth and John in the country kitchen that includes a hearth area where the two of them relax, read, and watch television.

The heart of the home

We were offered a glass of wine while MaryBeth checked on preparations for dinner and finished filling a plate with a variety of cheeses, crackers, and grapes. We then moved to the living room where a cheery fire crackled in the fireplace.


Soft music, tasty hors d’oeuvres, the warmth of the fire, and conversation with good friends primed us for a delicious, gourmet dinner prepared by our hosts. In the oversized dining room, MaryBeth had set a cozy table next to a window, overlooking the bay.


Even though the day was overcast and dreary, we were treated to an unexpected sunset. For the rest of the evening, we ate, talked, and enjoyed one another’s company.

If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, Drop Anchor Inn is the place to go. Besides the lovely themed rooms and inviting common areas, there is also an enormous wrap-around porch with tables and chairs at which you can relax and enjoy the beautiful gardens and fantastic views. In the morning the dining room is set up for breakfast. There is coffee, tea, juice, cereal, pastries, breads, and a hot dish. Drop Anchor Inn is a delightful place, overflowing with ambiance. MaryBeth and John are gracious hosts who will make you feel at home. What more could you ask for?

That’s why I went to Hull and back. You should too!

Packing Up

Posted March 30, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Avatar Friday


On the road again!

A Dork Visits the Library

Posted March 27, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Libraries

Tags: , , , , , , ,

When I told a teacher friend of mine I was going to the Boston Public Library while I was on spring break, she kiddingly called me a dork. Okay, I’m a dork, but I love to visit libraries. Metropolitan cities are known for their culture, art, and history. Boston exudes all of these — just look at the Boston Public Library.

It has an inviting entry.

Look at these doors!

It has sculptures.

It has paintings and murals.

It has amazing architectural details — and people!


It has a courtyard to relax, read, and enjoy a bite to eat in a quiet spot.

It has books – lots of books, including 1.2 million rare books and documents. It also has the Bates reading room.

New York Public Library has lions. Boston Public Library has lions, too!

I also visited The Margaret and H.A. Rey Children’s Room. It wasn’t as impressive as the rest of the library, but it was filled with books.

No matter what — the day was bright and brisk. The MBTA, better known as the T, was manageable. The library was awesome, and this dork is glad she went!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 982 other followers

%d bloggers like this: