Posts Tagged With: children

Hey Miss Landers, Do You Know What Day It Is Today?


Yesterday, during 3rd period, my students were talking about their “half birthdays.”  I was taking attendance and getting the Smartboard ready to go over a story that I had written in Spanish for the students to practice “su rutina cotidiana.” (Their daily routine using reflexive verbs.)

Anyhoo, one of the students looks at me and asks me when my birthday is and I tell them.  “Miss Landers, I’m going to make you cupcakes tomorrow and bring them to class because tomorrow is your half birthday!”

Isn’t that sweet? I honestly didn’t expect anything to happen but do you know what?  Not only did they bring me fancy cupcakes but even brought me wrapped gifts!  Yippee!  Isn’t that something?

 You know, I used to wish I could be a mother and have lots and lots of babies.  But, life handed me a different set of cards and motherhood was not to be for me.  But I’m not sad.  Oh no!  You see, instead of one baby I get the joy of having many each and every day and each and every school year. 

Why, I must have taught well over one thousand children by now.   They spoil me so much. 🙂  I”m a lucky lady, if I do say so myself.

Categories: Hey Miss Landers! | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Florida- A Poem



She stood, in silence, listening to voices in the ground, 

Of tiny crabs, those shells that walk,

Surrounded by the ocean’s sound,

The edge of Earth where Dolphins talk.


The clouds reclined on airy thrones,

That drift along and stay awhile,

Relax their shapes, remain unknown,

with puffy cheeks that gently smile.


Above the tide some seagulls glide,

To drink the comfort, warmest sun,

While children on their kneeboards slide,

And girl, with waves and sand are one.




Note:  This poem was written as part of an imitation exercise in my poetry class in 1998.  I’ve recently discovered old poems and writings that I would like to share with you.  I am not a poet by nature so this was something new for me.  I have to say, it was fun to revisit the memories of my Summer in the New Mexican High Desert-writing poems, going to Taos to see a Pow Wow in July, experiencing the Zuni Pueblo, and spending the fourth of July in Las Vegas, New Mexico- the first bilingual celebration I had ever witnessed.  I was so proud to be an American Latina that day.  I have very special memories of 1998.

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Miss Landers, Why are you crying? (All Saints’ Day and Ft. Hood)

As I wrote in a previous post, I teach 7th grade Spanish.  Today we celebrated All Saints’ Day Chapel at school.  Here the names of family, friends, and co-workers are remembered and honored.  It was a beautiful service; with a feeling of warmth rather than somber gloom in the air.  Wonderful.  Some of my 7th grade girls are in the middle school choir and came to me about a month ago to let me know how nervous they were about singing For the Beauty of the Earth.  They knew that I was a singer just like them and had sung the song years before in school.  They really just wanted moral support.  They were soooo cute just standing there with me in the Grille (the cafeteria) clucking like nervous little chickens.  One student thrust the sheet music in my face and we worked on site reading so she could harmonize properly.  It was fun to work with them.  And today, during their performance, I was so proud of my girls and how gorgeous their singing sounded.  They weren’t little girls standing on the risers in front of the entire school anymore.  They sounded like angels. Truly it brought tears to my eyes and I kept having to wipe my eyes because I was afraid that my make-up was running down my face.  After the service I told them they really moved me, we hugged and laughed and off I went to teach and they to learn.  Later that afternoon at the gym I looked up at the tv and saw the shooting at Ft. Hood.  And I started to cry.  What happened?  Why?  All my happy childhood memories of living on base at Ft. Ord in California came rushing forward.  Somebody has lost a child, a friend, and a lover.  Such a juxtaposition of tears.  First happy and then sad.

My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of all the soldiers.

Categories: Hey Miss Landers! | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Safari: from the Arabic “safara”- a journey (Part 7 of 7 of Said the Lion to the Hippo)

africa sunset

Dawn brought with it a new day and with that a fresh chance for more adventures.  Where can our two little friends go now after such delectable funness found around every corner? Why, our kindly King knew very well. You see, he, Marcus, had a plan.

-One must always have a map with which to set out or one will get lost along the way.  And it’s unbecoming of a Lion to lose his way, he thought thoughtfully. 

Marcus walked over to the tree by the river and found Kathy curled up by the water sleeping and gently nudged her awake with his paw. -Good morning “you.” Wake up.  It’s time to go.

-Huh? Oh, Good morning “you,” replied Kathy from beneath her curls.  Where are we going?  I like it here so much and I don’t want to leave. 

-It’s time.   We have a long journey ahead of us and we need to get going.

-Can I say goodbye to Farasi?
-Farasi has gone Kathy.  I said goodbye to him for the both of us.
-Oh, she said with a tear in her eye.  Such a sensitive little Hippolina. -I understand.

-Come now.  The boat is waiting for us just over there.
-What boat?
-The boat to my kingdom.  It’s right over there.
-I’ve never been to your kingdom. Is it anything like Kenya?
-Well, no, but it is a very magical and green place.  I think you will like it very much.  The sun always shines there and the water is always blue.

Kathy grins at the prospect of another new adventure with her serious and purposeful Lion friend. Always a plan. One must always have one, she giggled to herself.  Into the boat they climbed and driven by the currents of the river they journey to another land and another time.  As they grew nearer to their destination, Marcus turned to Kathy and whispered -You cannot see where you are going.  It is a secret where the King lives and no one can know.  Please close your eyes.  And close them she did.  As Kathy felt the boat docking, Marcus led her to the place where a huge door was opened. 

-You can open your eyes now Kathy.
-Ahhhh…what a beautiful place.  It’s so bright and clean and shiny.  Do you clean all the time?
-Ah…no…I’m the King silly goose.  The servants do that. There’s Brian over there.  He’s in charge of the polishing of all things in the castle.
-A busy man I’m sure, commented our wide eyed Hippo girl.
-Come here.  I want to show you a special place.  Follow me.

And with that Marcus turned toward the stairs and Kathy followed without saying a word.  Suddenly, he was gone!

-There he was in front of me, and now he’s gone, said a perplexed and frightened Kathy.
-Kathy…I’m right here, whispered Marcus seemingly sticking his head out from the wall.

-Ahhh! screamed Kathy.  -Marcus!  Where’s the rest of you?
-I’m in here.  Come on and stop screaming.  Everyone will hear you silly goose.

The room, you see, was filled with magic and no others but the King could enter this place.  Until now.  The space was much like an upside down letter “U” or a horseshoe with a window in the middle that opened out to nowhere.  On either side were small doors, too small for a hippo to do anything but poke in her head.  Above were pictures and colors and lights and all sorts of things swirling about.

-What would you like to dream Kathy?  In here, it can all come true.  I learned to do magic in this room as a cub.  Say what you like and it can happen.

-Oh my. What a child you must have been.  What a special place this is.  Can you conjure up flamingos?
-Yes of course.  How many would you like?
-Can you make thousands fly by the window in a sea of pink?
-Of course.  Stand back.  Uno, due, tres, e cuatroooo! Poof!

A thousand flamingos go flying by the window in a sea of pink!  Amazing!

-Do something else!  Do something else Marcus!, squealed a delighted Kathy to her smart new friend. 

-OK…watch…..Roma, Siena, Firenze!!!! Poof!

Chocolate pastries and pies and cakes and cookies and  candies of every imaginable size, shape, and color filled the room!  Our two little friends looked at each other and laughed and laughed.  And then…they ate and ate…Kathy ate more because, after all, she is a Potomus.


Dedication:  For Marc E. Parker

He gave me a gift.  An incredible gift.  He gave me a glimpse of the world through God’s eye.  And I thought…yes.  I see. This is the way it was intended.

During our friendship we would be very silly and pretend that I was Karen Blixen and Marcus was Denys George Finch Hatton. I will always treasure how much we quoted this film to each other.  
We met because of our mutual passion for the film Out of Africa.   Our friendship lasted two years until life took us down different paths.  He was a dear person and a good man.

Categories: Short Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cinnamon Spices (Part 6 of 7 of Said the Lion to the Hippo)

Walking through the crowds of animals in search of food for the never ending appetite of one singing Hippo named Kathy; our two friends are stopped by a new admirer of Kathy’s; a mysterious and old Gazelle.

-Young lady that was quite some singing you did there a few
moments ago.

-Why thank you, sir. Forgive me, have we met?

-No. Permit me to introduce myself.  I am Farasi.

-Farasi.  I am Marcus. And I believe you now know Kathy.

-Marcus, a King, I believe.  And Kathy.  It is my pleasure to know you both.  I am visiting here for only a day or so and must go back to my home.  I would like to invite you both to a dinner I am hosting in my private tent just beyond the trees to the left of the river. Would you like to be my special guests?
-Why yes Farasi. We would be delighted, answered Marcus.
-Yes sir, thank you, agreed a smiling Kathy.

A short while later Marcus and Kathy arrived at the tent of Farasi.  Such exotic sights to see….Red, gold, and silver silk furnishings and the finest and most elegant silver table settings.  The smell of cinnamon spice and heat filled the air. Smoke floated through the air from the male guests sucking on hookahs in one corner. Ladies to the right dressed in a most elegant yellow, laughed and giggled telling tales to one another.  The tent itself seemed to breathe and take a life of its own as the music from a band of chimps played to the beat of their own imaginings.

-Kathy, Marcus.  Welcome.  Come in, come in, cried Farasi. -Please sit down and eat with us.

Dinner was Hummus, Falafels, Tagine, and Cous-Cous followed by Mint Tea and dates and nuts. 

As the band played Kathy began to feel the rhythms tug at her soul strings. The drummers, sensing a kindred in their midst, nodded to Kathy and invited her to dance.  And dance she did.  Without a word.  Without looking to anyone but the drummers she stood, arms outstretched, back straight, curls flowing, and moved to the center of the room to dance.  Slowly at first and then moving her hips to follow the pounding of the drums Kathy began to call others to dance with her.  As she moved about the circle, Kathy pointed her half-hoofed hand to faces filled with surprise and joy and brought them to her with a smile and a giggle.  And before long the whole room was dancing; Marcus, Farasi; everyone in the style of their fathers and their fathers before them.

The evening ended under the stars of a dark blue African night with the smoke from a hundred hookahs, the scent of cinnamon spice in the air, and the dance of a thousand hooves- and one Lion named Marcus.  The sounds of freedom and of laughter and forgetting.

And the story continues to cook…

Categories: Short Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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