Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Passing the test

Thin gray clouds scattered the light of the dawning sun as we gathered on the Mediterranean beach.  It was summer, but the heat of the day was hours away.  I felt awkward, the only child in a class of teenagers and adults clad in swimsuits and flippers, masks and snorkels.

Our instructions were to swim out into the sea to view a sunken vessel, sightsee a bit, then return to the beach.  We plunged into the water and started our PADI skindiving final test.

The pool at the military base where we practiced in the evenings felt like a bath, water heated all day by the sun.  The sea was colder; I felt the chill seep into my bones as I made my way towards the wreckage, swimming a little harder in hopes of warming up my muscles.

Then I felt the seaweed.  Long, slimy tendrils wrapped around my short nine-year-old legs.  I could kick and wriggle free, only to meet up with another patch in a few strokes.  The effort was exhausting.  I was falling far behind the other swimmers, accompanied only by an instructor.  Unable to swim consistently, my body succumbed to the cold, teeth chattering behind blue lips.

The instructor turned me around, and we headed back to shore.  I had swum far enough out to pass the swimming test (or so they said).  Having mastered the written test, I had earned my PADI skindiving license.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Tuesday slice: Thoughts on the Autumn equinox

by Chris Margocs

To sprout, one must realize
That you cannot be attached to form
Form will change, must change
For the seed to sprout, grow, bear fruit

Letting go of form is only terrifying
If one forgets that we always return to the seed
Whether the fruit ripens and is eaten,
or spoils on the ground
The seed remains, can be interred
once more in the dark womb of Our Mother
To sprout and grow once more towards the sun.

We are safe, always, in Our Mother's lap.

SoulCollage© card by Chris Margocs.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Six years

The fifth graders arrived at the library door at the same time as the kindergarten class.  For the second week in a row, the elder students would accompany the five year olds into the Book Nook for a read-aloud, then on to the Everybody Fiction shelves to help wield shelf markers correctly and scan their books for checkout.

Welcoming these big and little bodies into the Book Nook, I took a moment to acknowledge this act of service by the fifth grade.  I also informed the kindergarteners that when I was a brand new librarian, those fifth graders were in kindergarten.  Looking up at the big kids in the back, I told them that we had grown up together, students and librarian, learning so much along the way.

They applauded, and my heart swelled.  

May year six be the best year yet.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tuesday Slice: What do you do?

What do you do when life gets messy?
When tasks go unfinished, and work days run late?
Clean underwear runs low, and gifts go unbought,
When appliances break, and exhaustion sets in?

Things that don't help:
Zoning out on bubbleshooter online games
Retail therapy beyond one's means
Bingeing on carbs
Falling asleep on the couch
Complaining for an hour

Things that do help:
A soak in the tub with Epsom salts
A healthy meal
Drinking lots of water
Buying a reminder to breathe from a talented friend

Standing barefoot in the grass under an old oak tree, glass of wine in hand, breathing in the gusting breezes while gazing up at the full moon in Pisces.

There.  That helps.  Just...breathe.

Text and pictures by Christine Margocs, ©2018. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tuesday Slice: I can't be exhausted already...can I?

I awaken, bleary-eyed, fully aware that I am in need of another hour of sleep.  Stumbling to the kitchen, I manage to make a small pot of coffee and empty the dishwasher without breaking anything.  As the coffee brews, I make my way to the study to meditate.  I choose a two-minute session, worried that anything longer will have me sleeping in my desk chair.

It is the fourth day of school for our students, and the first day they will come to the library for orientation and checkout.  Fourteen classes of kindergarteners through third graders, with fifth and fourth helping our youngest learn how to wield a shelf marker and computer scanner.  Tomorrow there will be eighteen classes, then thirteen, then a final fifteen.

I need to be awake and energetic, so I can be warm and welcoming for my students' first visit of the year.  So why do I feel exhausted (besides just the obvious lack of sleep)?  As I head back to the kitchen to get my coffee (sweet nectar of the gods!), I pass the wall calendar.  A quick glance reminds me that I have been at work a solid three weeks already.  Weeks filled with professional development sessions, meetings, and collaboration.  Days filled with cataloging, distributing teacher materials, scheduling, answering emails, problem-solving, planning, straightening out library furniture, making ID badges.  Ten- and eleven-hour workdays--and all before we've seen a single student for checkout.

I am excited to finally see classes today...and I'll be equally excited to see my pillow tonight.  Until then, may the caffeine work its magic.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Revisiting my OLW

This is my One Little Word for 2018. 
Enough as an affirmation:  I am enough.
Enough as boundary setting:  That is enough of that; no more.
Enough as gratitude:  I have enough.

But as this school year quickly approaches, my enough has turned into too much, too many, too little.

Too many restless nights.
Too much to do in eight hours.
Too little energy to give my family at home.
Too many emails requiring answers.
Too much time spent in meetings.
Too little quiet moments.
Too many piles of work left undone.
Too much time spent at school.
Too little exercise and nutritious food.

Enough of the too much, too many, too little, I said.  
So off I went to bed

To get enough sleep, and exercise, and good food
To hope for enough time to get work done
And enough energy when I get home, to smile and hug the ones I love.

Home is where my enough resides.
"Home", a SoulCollage card
created by Christine Margocs, August 2018.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Judy's post

There were nine drafts sitting in my blog post queue.  Nine ideas for writing; surely one would suffice, since my Muse was not whispering to me...

During this past Slice of Life Challenge in March, Judy wrote about her experience in 4-H. I was only vaguely familiar with the homemaking and agricultural aspects of 4-H; Girl Scouting was my group activity from second grade through my freshman year of high school.

It was the 4-H pledge that Judy posted that caught my eye:

"I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world."

I didn't know what the four H's were until I read that post.
Head, for clear thinking.
Heart, for loyalty to loved ones and worthy causes.
Hands, for service to others.
Health, for balance and the energy to accomplish the tasks our head and heart dictate, so that our hands do not falter.

All for the purpose of bettering ourselves for the benefit of the world near and far; the 4-H pledge is a good reminder of what is important and needs to be taken care of as we head back to our classrooms, libraries, and offices.  Here's wishing all of us a focused, purposeful, productive, and healthy 2018-2019 school year!