Twosday Slice

Tuesday, 2/22/2022

I know, everyone is “celebrating” this once in a lifetime palindrome of a day. And I like palindromes, so much so I was fascinated with one of the characters in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, who spoke in palindromes. The character, one of the daughters in the story (her name escapes me-it’s been years since I’ve read it), renames Emily Dickinson no snikcidy lime, one of my favorite poets.

I found myself trying to make sense of today’s oddity. I like oddities. We tend to find each other frequently and sometimes, people find me, odd. Never mind them. It doesn’t bother me. Usually.

I had to walk back into the house twice this morning for forgotten items. My watch, oh grand teller of time. And my H20.

At work, we started day one of a two day testing session, the bane of my existence. No matter how far removed you are from the classroom, you still manage to get suckered in for testing.

During lunch, I messaged my husband and suggested we do something to celebrate. Maybe a dessert. Maybe something out of the ordinary for a weekday with the kids, but what, I wasn’t sure.

Later, I got a message. My husband and my nineteen year old suggested we go out for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Dos Salsas, where two different salsas accompany your chips before your meal. To top it off, it’s also National Margarita Day. Margarita is my signature color and if I were to choose a middle name (my parents didn’t give me one), it would be Margarita. Why the heck not, I’ll have a margarita today, three days before the weekend officially starts.

No one complained about the choice of restaurant. We didn’t argue about the possibility of sharing oversized meals and this time I ordered what I wanted without thinking twice about adding a margarita. I didn’t balk at a shared dessert of fried ice cream-we rarely order dessert. The kids didn’t fight over the last bite of it either. We all got along and genuinely enjoyed our meal together.

And that’s the point. Being together. This felt like the first normal restaurant meal we’ve had in two years. We’ve been back, but someone always stayed home, and usually for pandemic reasons. I know we’re not “back to normal” yet, if that’s even a possibility, but it felt like we were all back today. 2/22/22. Two years (mostly) later. Two long, hard, bitter years.

Do we always do this? No. Have our dinners always turned out this way B.C.-Before Covid? No. But it sure did feel good to have my family back for a few hours. It’s giving me hope that we’re at a place where we can move forward and take all the things that got thrown at all of us and actually process them. For us adults, we had to put on our business as usual attire for the sake of our kids. But I think it’s important for them to know that it was far from business as usual.

I think today is a perfect day to use as a turning point. We can fully come out of where we have been and reflect on everything we’ve learned. We can share our gratitude about how it wasn’t worse even though it got rough. We can show how much we’ve changed and how much we’ve stayed the same.

Dos Salsas is still there. Mom still likes a good margarita. It’s okay not to split a meal, but totally okay to order dessert. Celebrate odd days such as these because they only come around once in a lifetime.

We only come around once in a lifetime.

Mi Crafty Corazón

Mi Corazón quebrado

I broke my heart this morning. Not on purpose. I grabbed my phone and charger in a rush to get out of the house on time because, you know, always running late. The cord yanked it off the ledge and plopped it straight to the floor. Broke in three pieces, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and… I threw my phone into my bag, picked up the pieces, and put them back on the window ledge. I didn’t even think twice about it. Had this occurred last month, I might have cried. I would’ve overthought the implications. It broke into thirds. The petals of a flower fell off. The thorns on the vine were fine. But what awful thing awaits, the day after St. Valentine’s Day? My literary brain overanalyzes everything.

That might have been the case before I even made it. The heart. But once I decided to grit my teeth and sign up for an online craft retreat over Zoom (despite how I HATE online meetings now), I paid my money and waited for my package and February 5th. One of my favorite bloggers and artists, Kathy Cano Murillo, known as the Crafty Chica, hosted a mini-retreat to create five Mexican-inspired crafts. She’s in Arizona, I’m in Texas. Zoom is the closest I can get to participating.

Work in progress

She sent supplies for all of the crafts, one being a clay heart. We rolled, sculpted, trimmed, and shaped while asking questions and learning about techniques for using terra cotta colored air dry clay. It got messy and I loved it. While it wasn’t (isn’t) an artist quality piece, everything stayed intact. If all else fails, she suggested gluing pieces back in case they break or fall off during the drying process.

I was proud of myself. Everything dried well. I planned to paint it this weekend, to get the gist of it. My preferred medium is the written word. I stepped out of my comfort zone while comfortably crafting in my home where no one could see what I created. Advanced crafters and artists attended. My art skills sit at around those of third graders. Not a joke.

The point was to play and learn something new. I repeated this to myself multiple times. I knew many of the pieces wouldn’t turn out well and I breathed in and accepted that-not an easy feat. Kathy mentioned how sometimes you get “the first batch of cookies” when you make something new. As you keep practicing, it gets better. My daughter snagged the leftover hunk of clay, so I only had one shot. I wouldn’t have enough to make another.

Little Intentions Pillow

The day continued with sewing a heart pillow with a pocket on the back featuring her new fabric. I have hand-sewn before, but this was my first time for a blanket stitch. It took three sets of turquoise colored thread before I finished. Somehow I managed to tangle the thread useless and thought I’d have to patch up the final stitches in a completely different color. I haven’t completed the final step: writing an intention on a slip of paper and tucking it into the pocket to save for next year.

Tin Matchbox Shrines

The matchbox tins seemed easy until I tried to “emboss” a simple shape onto the back of a piece of a Bud Light can. With the right tool, it might have been easier. I managed. Painting on wood earrings seemed easy. The flaming heart didn’t look at all like a flame. I attempted to create my own pattern at the top and wound up with what resembled blotchy Texas bluebonnets. I didn’t put the earrings together; I doubt I’ll wear them.

Mini Journal

We ended the afternoon with a mini-journal. This was the easiest of the projects since I’ve been making and teaching kids how to make their own journals for years. I didn’t expect an online retreat to be so enjoyable. Fortunately, I wasn’t required to leave my camera on, but we still experienced those group meeting glitches from the early online meeting days: microphones on, talking to the boss during the break, pinning the speaker, co-hosting… Overall, I’d do it all again.

My heart broke, but it’s more of a burnt cookie I’ll toss into the garbage. I kept the template and I have ideas on small pieces I’ll try making and painting. I ordered two tubs of the air dry clay. It arrived yesterday, on Valentine’s Day. Just in time to replace my broken heart.

I Got the Mystery Ticket!

No, I don’t have one, but I sure did hear Charlie Bucket singing about his golden ticket as soon as my son surprised me with a chocolate bar when I came home. A chocolate bar is always good, but one with a mystery ticket…

a popular social media influencer by the name of MrBeast launched chocolate bar products recently. Four of the said bars were procured by a young man-child, Mr. Garza, in a world-wide mission to win a non-Willy Wonka mystery ticket, but certainly inspired by Mr. Wonka’s Golden Ticket (original concept by Roald Dahl). 21st century mystery tickets are not wrapped around a chocolate bar and tucked inside of a wrapper, but accessed via QR code. Enter the special code and “spin to win” a chance for one of these fabulous prizes: Visit for more details

I’ll take chocolate any time. My son fills me in on possibilities, “1,000,000 in prizes and offers,” one being to compete in a video to win the chocolate factory. A Tesla, earbuds, a Beast Burger. I tap into my inner twelve year old and think of the possibilities. If I won the chocolate factory, I’d manufacture book shaped chocolate, educators get it free any time. And it wouldn’t be one of those BOGO deals we get during teacher appreciation week either. If I win the Tesla…heck, I’d be happy with a free burger.

I turn the chocolate bar and look at the little corner that instructs me to peel the label concealing the code, which will be entered onto a website with algorithmic robots controling my million dollar destiny. Or that with the value of a burger. Most likely the value of the chocolate bar. I still haven’t “played” the game. I’m wondering if the code is a distraction and there really is a golden ticket wrapped around the bar inside of the wrapper. It certainly isn’t too late for dessert.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022