Author Archives: arjeha

Possibilities

When I was teaching I found that many of my students were a bit hesitant to attempt writing poetry. As one who felt the same way as a student I understood their fear, but I wanted them to see that they can do it. One of the first forms I introduced them to was the pantoum. Since this was a simple format and they liked the fact that it looked like they wrote more lines than they had to, all my students were successful.

I hadn’t thought about this in years but somehow trying to come up with a topic for today this popped into my head. This is not very polished since I just wrote it so that I could have something to publish for today.

So, here is my pantoum.

Possibilities

A star filled night

No clouds to hinder the view.

Temperatures drop as the night progresses.

Come morning frost blankets the ground.

No clouds to hinder the view.

I feel one with the universe.

Come morning frost blankets the ground.

What will the day hold?

I feel one with the universe.

There is nothing holding me back.

What will the day hold?

Where will my journey begin?

There is nothing holding me back.

I can feel the power within.

Where will my journey begin?

Experiences just waiting to happen.

I can feel the power within.

Come evening what will I have accomplished?

Experiences just waiting to happen.

Will I have explored all that the day holds?

Come evening what will I have accomplished?

Temperatures drop as the night progresses.

Will I have explored all that the day holds?

A star filled night.

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I Won’t Go

“I am telling you that I will not step into that. I don’t care what you say. I know what happens every time I am put in that thing.”

They think they are being smart telling me we’re going out to look at the pretty Fall foliage. Maybe they will look at the changing leaves but all I ever see is the back of the car seat or maybe the back of their heads. Not at all an exciting view.

Let me go back and explain how this started and what I am talking about. One day last week after going out to the mailbox for the mail, my houseman came in, looked at me and said, “Oh look. You received an invitation. How nice.” Then he showed me the card that came. I saw my name there, a truly distinguished name at that, but I didn’t care. I am not going to accept.

Now, just so you know, I never accept invitations . I don’t want to go anywhere. I have no need to leave the house. My staff takes care of all of my wants. Why else do you think I let them live here with me?

Back to the present. My servant is saying, “They can’t wait to see you. You know they always make such a big fuss over you every time you go. Dr. Sara loves when you come to visit.”

Well, I am lovable. That’s the truth. And who wouldn’t be happy to see me? I do deserve adulation. No, that doesn’t change my mind.

Dr Sara loves seeing me. Really? Then why does she scratch my head and fawn over me and then proceed to probe, prod, and stick me. I ask you, is that the sign of someone who is happy to see you? The indignity of it all.

Wait! What are you doing? Put me down. I told you I am not going in that thing.

Stop. Don’t you dare close gate. Help. I am a prisoner. I demand you put this thing down immediately and let me out. Oh no. There is the car. I am doomed. Poor me.

Well, if they think I am going to sit here quietly and take this they had better think again. I know it’s a 40 minute ride. My voice is strong. Time to make my displeasure known.

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40 And Counting

On Sunday Kathy and I celebrity 40th wedding anniversary. Forty years since we walked down the aisle as man and wife.

Looking at our wedding album we were thinking about all of the people in the pictures who are no longer with us. We miss them, but remember good times with them.

As with all married couples we have had our happy times as well as our sad times. We have weathered whatever came out way.

The one thing that was constant throughout those 40 years was that on our anniversary we always went out to eat. This year we did not. We talked about it but with Covid cases on the rise in PA we decided against it.

The question then became what will we have for dinner here at home? The answer was found when we went grocery shopping last week. Back in the meat section we saw a 2 pound boneless pork tenderloin. Suddenly I had an idea for our anniversary dinner.

I have a recipe for a pork tenderloin made in the crock pot. I knew I had all of the ingredients at home – soy sauce, red cooking wine, dry onion soup mix, and minced garlic.

The perfect side dish was a pan of roasted vegetables. We had potatoes, turnips, yellow squash, zucchini, red onion, and broccoli. Mixed with spices, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar , then popped into the oven to roast it complimented the pork beautifully.

Of course, since it was a celebratory dinner we had to have a glass of wine with dinner. A bottle of Vidal Blanc from our favorite winery, Armstrong Valley, was just the ticket. And no, we did not polish off the bottle. We had one glass each.

The only thing I did not think about was something special for dessert. I had made a pan of M & M blondies the other day so they along with a cup of coffee were dessert.

Although we did not go out for dinner this year, we still celebrated. And, we now have some good leftovers.

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Let’s Celebrate

It is a kind of gloomy day here today, so let’s celebrate.

It is gray and cloudy, so let’s celebrate.

The sun will not shine through today, so let’s celebrate.

Some much needed rain is in the forecast, so let’s celebrate.

There is no place I need to go today, except for a haircut later, so let’s celebrate.

There are no pressing matter today, except to post, so let’s celebrate.

Open the cupboard and there it is, so let’s celebrate.

Fill the container and get what I need; let’s celebrate.

Filter in place, coffee measured, water in place, so let’s celebrate.

If I can’t wait a single cup is faster, so let’s celebrate.

In three minutes it will be ready to be enjoyed, so let’s celebrate.

Happy National Coffee Day! LET’S CELEBRATE!

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Autumn

A cup of hot chocolate or tea enjoyed while sitting

Under a cozy throw or quilt.

Trees sporting colorful leaves. Leaves that get caught up and carried by the wind

Unrivaled in their grace as they dance toward the ground.

Meanwhile, birds continue their southern migration

Northbound once again when Spring arrives.

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An Unexpected Turn of Events

I was counting the months until until my term as president of the Dauphin County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (DCPASR) ended. I was sworn in back in November of 2018 with my term running for two years, January 2019 -December 2020.

That means that I only need to prepare for two more monthly meetings, October and November. We don’t typically hold a meeting in December. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy being president. I have a great Board who support me and jump in to do whatever I ask of them. I don’t mind planning general membership meetings and getting guest speakers for our group. That being said I am ready to pass on the gavel to out president elect.

Then this pandemic hit. All in-person meetings were canceled. Zoom meetings became the standard. I admit it is difficult to get some seniors willing to try this newfangled way of communicating.

This morning we had a Region meeting via zoom. Dauphin is part of region IV. Our executive director joined our zoom meeting today. He had some news to share with us.

He is making a recommendation to the Board of Directors that all leaders stay in place until July 1, 2021. Because chapters can’t meet in person to elect and install new leadership he feels it is best to keep things as they are in order to keep things running more smoothly.

What? Does that mean I can’t pass things on in November? I am in this position for another six months until July 1, 2021? Well, this is not what I was expecting as I counted down the remaining days of my term.

I don’t mind doing it, but I need to let my board know of this development and see if they are OK with me staying on for six more months. Luckily we have a board meeting scheduled for tomorrow. I will see what they have to say.

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Recipe Makes Me Feel Old

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On Sunday I was hungry for a Jewish Apple cake, so I made one. It turned out well so naturally I took a picture and posted it to Facebook. This did not make me feel old.

I had quite a few likes and several comments. This did not make me feel old.

One of my friends said he was looking for a recipe for a Jewish apple cake and he asked me to please send him a copy. This did not make me feel old.

Of course I got the recipe together and sent it to him along with my notes that aren’t part of the recipe. This did not make me feel old.

Yesterday at breakfast Kathy and I were talking and I told her about my friend wanting the recipe and me sending it to him. This did not make me feel old.

We talked about the recipe and where I got it. Getting a bit uncomfortable here.

I got it from a friend and neighbor. I would visit her and her mother Sunday evenings and she sometimes had a cake to share. I got this cake recipe from her. Getting more uncomfortable.

I knew her long before I met Kathy. I have the recipe that long! Oh my!

Kathy and I will be married 40 years next month. I have had that recipe and have been making this cake for at least 45 years. I feel old all because of a Jewish apple cake!

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Blue and White

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One was planned and one was not.

Planned is expected; unplanned a surprise

One came where it should and one did not.

Watching one grow while not knowing the other was there.

One was light and one was not.

Two of the same yet so different.

Both bring joy.

Both bring smiles.

Glad both made it here.

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Last year we planted some morning glory seeds.  End of the season they must have reseeded themselves.  This year they are back’

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Have no idea where this came from.  Found a vine growing up through one of our shrubs.  Didn’t pull it.  Got this surprise.

 

 

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Dining Out

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Since March, dining out for Kathy and me consisted of Chinese or Italian take out.  I simply called in our order, went to the restaurant when the food was ready, stood at the outside pick up window or went inside, paid, and picked up our order, took it home, and ate. My contact time with anyone in the restaurant was usually less than a minute.

On other occasions when we felt like really dining out we would go to Burger King, place our order, pay at the window, and pick up our food.  To make it a true dining out experience I would then pull the under a tree in their parking lot.  We rolled down the windows, sat in the car, and enjoyed our meal.

Last Thursday that changed.  I had to go to the PASR office in Mechanicsburg to pick up an award I am giving to one of our members.  We also had a few other things to do.  When we were done I was hungry.  There is a Mexican restaurant in Harrisburg that we like so we decided to go there.

We had options.  We could call for take out.  However, the food would be cold too we got home and I really didn’t relish eating Mexican in the car.  We could sit at one of their outside tables but that didn’t appeal to me.  Or we could not for indoor dining.  We sat in the car and discussed the options.  We thought we would take our chances and go for indoor dining.

Donning our masks we went inside.  It wasn’t late so the restaurant wasn’t crowded.  The host, wearing a mask, took us to a booth.  Some booths were “Xed” out so they wouldn’t be used.

Our waiter, wearing a madk, brought us our chips and salsa and then took our order.  When the waiter left we removed it masks and dug into the chips and salsa.

When our food was ready, a server, wearing a mask, brought it out and placed it in front of us.  We ate.  Their food is always good but that day it tasted exceptionally delicious.

After finishing our meal, we put our masks back on, paid our bill, and left.

It really felt good finally having a meal out.

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Going On A Hunt

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Before I get to the topic of this post I feel I need to set some groundwork first.  Let’s go back 40 plus years.  I was just hired as a reading specialist for grades five through eight at Upper Dauphin.  It was my second, and last, teaching job since I stayed there until I retired 38 years later.

I was not the only one hired that year.  Others also came on board.  One was a sixth grade teacher who would leave the following year after she got married.  The other was a seventh/eighth grade reading teacher who would move to the sixth grade position the following year.  This woman stayed until she retired many years later.

I don’t want to single this woman out so I will give her an assumed name – Dolores.  Oh, wait.  That is her name.  Anyway, you all know how friendships are formed.  Some are temporary and some last a lifetime.

Dolores’s room was the first room you would pass on the way down the hall.  Mine was the last room.  Because of this most mornings I would stop in her room on my way down to mine.  In fact, most of the sixth grade teachers would stop in her room for a chat.

No mater how busy Dolores was she would never ask us to leave because she had things to do.  Dolores taught social studies as well as one section of reading.  If my memory serves me correctly she is the one who first brought Kathy in to speak to the students about quilts since there were two stories about quilts in the reading series that was used at the time.

Our friendship grew over the years and when she decided to retire I knew I wanted to do something special for her.  I talked it over with Kathy and she agreed to make a special quilt, in this case a wall hanging, for Dolores that would commemorate some special times in her life.

Last week I was talking with Dolores and she asked me to refresh her memory on the significance of some of the blocks in the quilt.  This sent me and Kathy on a search of our brains trying to remember what the blocks were and what significance they had.  Luckily Dolores sent us a picture of the quilt to help us.

So, here goes.  Many of these pictures are blurry because I cropped them to highlight an individual block.  Sorry about the quality.

Starting with the center block we had to include a schoolhouse.  Because Dolores had three children Kathy fussy cut two boys and a girl from some fabric and put them in the windows of the building.  She also quilted their names in the block.

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Twelve blocks surround this center.  The first is a wedding ring block.  This signifies Dolores’s long marriage to Dennis.

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Then we have a school bus.  Kathy just fussy cut this and included it.  After all, Dolores is a teacher.

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Everyone knows that teachers get apples from their students.  So, naturally, Kathy designed an apple block.

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Because Dolores lived and taught in Alaska it was only fitting that a bear paw block be included.

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Because she has four grandchildren, a grandmother’s flower garden was a must.  If I remember correctly, Kathy included each grandchild’s name on a flower.

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Because Canada was one of the units Dolores taught in social studies, Kathy included a maple leaf.

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This next pattern we haven’t figured out yet.

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I mentioned that there were two quilt stories in the reading series.  One pattern that was mentioned was the road to Oklahoma.

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Books are a part of every teacher’s classroom.

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Here is another design we are still working on.

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Because we worked at Upper Dauphin, Kathy designed a UDA block.

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The last block is a turkey track block.  This was also mentioned in the reading book.

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Put all together, this is what the wall hanging looks like.

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As an added memory, Kathy quilted the names of all of the teachers who were in the building at the time Dolores retired around the border.

Dolores, if you are reading this just know that we will eventually find information on the two blocks and get it to you.

As I said earlier, some friendships last a lifetime.  I am blessed that this one is still going strong.

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