Veterinarian Almanac


“I’m the keeper of the light around here.”

Pausing for a moment, I lifted my pen and head, “Huh?” The dog started whimpering and impatiently pulling his way to the exit.

“The light, it’s not going to get dark until 5:44 today and then 5:45 tomorrow. I like to sit at my desk and time the light as it goes away.” She turned toward her computer. “It’s eighteen dollars and fifty cents.” She ripped the credit card receipt from the register, held it to the counter and handed me the pen. “Winter’s almost over.”

“Oh.” I scribbled my name on the receipt and handed it back to Monica, the vet’s assistant. “I’ll be happy if the temperature is ten degrees warmer, but I do like the sunshine today.” The dog began dancing around my legs positioning himself to bolt out the door. I patted his head.

“Yeah, the longer the days get the warmer we will be.” she said. The dog’s mouth is wide and panting. “This weekend it will stay light until 6:55”

“Oh yeah, daylight savings time. I heard it will be in the forties next week.” The dog’s nose is pressed against the glass door spreading a smear of slime.

“Of course it will be warmer next week because it will be light out until 6:55. The sun will be out longer next week.” Monica said as she leaned over the counter to pat Wiley’s head. “Poor baby, he’s shaking.”

I stared blankly at her for a moment that felt way too long. “But we are only changing the clock–” Wiley couldn’t take it anymore. He jumped at the glass door and barked wildly. Monica and I turned to look at him.

“Poor baby,” she said.

“I guess it is time for us to go.” Pushing the door open, Wiley and I stepped out into the light and waved at Monica.

I glanced at my phone 4:44. One hour of light left. I smiled to myself.

The Nest

Slice #3

The nest is half empty.

During second block I noticed my phone flashing. Still teaching, I walk toward my desk. Everyone knows I don’t answer the phone during school. I glance at the familiar picture that popped up. Cary, our oldest, is calling. My heart sank. He above all knows I can’t answer the phone. Still teaching, I begin to wonder if all is okay. He and his wife live 500 ridiculous miles away. Too far.

Still teaching, “Who comes to visit Psyche in the night?” One hand slowly rises. Yes, my go to guy has the answer! I can move the class closer to a writing assignment.

“Great, Eros. Take out your notebooks and explain why Psyche must know what Eros looks like. What are some of the emotions she’s feeing?” The rustling of binders, zipping pencil cases, and soft chatter rises.

He left a text message: call when you get a chance. Ugh…can’t, still teaching.

At lunch I call. They are pregnant! Whew.

One nest filling up.


Slice: Day Two

Most of the afternoon was spent creating word lists and writing letters of recommendation.

My 6th grade students will be writing poems about courage tomorrow so to help them articulate their thoughts I designed a word bank for them. Two lists–one with words that relate to fear and one with words that relate to courage. We have been analyzing Anne Sexton’s poem Courage, so I thought the kids could craft one of their own. Last week we brainstormed fear and the students mainly mentioned spiders, snakes, and scary movies. I wanted them to delve into real life problems like taking risks, fitting in, and speaking their mind. This week I plan to steer them toward personal courage. Hopefully the poems will take on a deeper meaning.

Six of my 8th grade students did not get into the selective schools that they applied for, so they are writing an appeal to their dream high school. Our district is set up so that kids who are high achieving can take a test to get into a magnet school–they must of course have strong grades and high test scores too. These schools are far more attractive than the neighborhood schools. Many of kids do not qualify. It is very competitive. They get so disappointed and then there is a mad rush to appeal. They must send in three letters of recommendation with their appeal.

Fear and Courage…they go hand-in-hand through our daily lives. This blog is my small leap of faith. My courage keeps chipping away at my fears. My fear of writing, speaking my mind, and taking risks.

Have courage my friends and push through another day of the Slice.

And so it begins…

The scariest moment is always before you start. –Stephen King

slice of life

SOLC: Day One
Not only is this the first time I am accepting the Slice of Life Challenge–to write every day during the month of March, but this is my first post as a blogger.
Ok so I have been staring at my computer screen for a half an hour…is this normal? With a pen and a notebook I can fill up a page in no time. But my fingers are hesitant to touch the keys like they are forbidden to do so or something.

One of my 8th grade students sent me an email today with a poem attached that she thought I would appreciate. This is the moment that nerdy teachers live for. A student read a poem that she found on tumblr and thought of her Literacy teacher–I’m on cloud nine. It was one of those poems where you first read it top to bottom then read it from bottom to top. A poem with a double meaning. Some days the kids seem so distant and uninterested especially 8th graders. They have their minds on high school and are so done with Junior High. It is little things like this that make my day. Pretty cool.