Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Son Is Appealing to the Slicing Community

On this last night of the challenge, my oldest son--the one who first read my "iPoetry" last night--has asked me to throw out an appeal to the slicing community. Before I explain, can I just make an observation?

If slicing had not become such a huge part of my life over the past month, he would not be asking.
If I had not come to see myself more as a writer over the past month, I would not have shared my new writing habit with my family.
If my family had not come to see me as someone who writes daily and to become interested in my writing, my son would never have asked me to do this.

So for all that, thank you. Now back to the appeal.

Oldest wants money to replace a broken xBox game--so that he can rejoin his online community. Just now he followed me to the sofa and stared at me thoughtfully as I opened the computer to write my slice.
"How much would you pay me if I do your iPod poem idea only made it really, really challenging?"


"Like, if I did say, a 2 page ballad using only song titles. How much would that be worth? Would you pay me?"

"Are you kidding? Pay you? And a ballad? I mean, a ballad has certain rules--like the rhythms and rhyme and stuff. And it has to tell a story. What about a multi-stanza poem instead--one that tells a story (oh my gosh, he's sucking me in already....can you feel the pull of a desperate adolescent?). A ballad--too hard. The rules are you can only use song title on your own iPod. No other words."

"No, no...I mean a real challenge. I can do it."

We debate for a few minutes, going back and forth about whether he could go add a bunch of stuff to his iPod before starting and could he include his Pandora favorites, which are technically on his iPod. I have to admit that part of me wants to say yes simply because this is a kid who generally resists writing and will tell you he's not good at it--but don't believe him. He actually can write well, especially in the sarcastic humor genre (are you surprised?).

"I don't know....."  I look to my computer screen.

"Ask them," he says, gesturing to my computer.

So, slicers, here it is.
Should I, as a parent and teacher, be willing to pay my son if he does indeed produce a multi-stanza poem or a ballad composed entirely of titles from his iPod playlist (he's leaning over my shoulder, whispering to you, "yes, you should.....")? Oh, and he wants to remind you that he has provided me with material more than once this month (see previous posts).

And know that he's only asking because this challenge has caused not just me, but my family to see me as a writer, and to value this community. We all see this as part of our lives it or not, you've become part of us.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Let the Music Move You

I am sitting (alone!) in our local coffee shop, mocha at my side (hey, it's the week before spring break), computer on my lap, plugged into my iPod (currently Jason Mraz I'm Yours).  For me, this is definitely a treat, and I am enjoying every minute.

The iPod has inspired me--I got to wondering if there was a poem or two hiding among the titles on my playlists. when the idea first occurred to me, I thought it would be a quick little exercise. I whipped out my small notebook and pencil and started scrolling through my playlists....and now, 4 scribbled pages later, I'm thinking that there's more material here than I realized. So what you get is some random playing with this idea. My rule was that I could use only complete song titles (there has to be some element of challenge!). Enjoy!

Broken sorrow,
Livin' on the edge, cryin';
Dream on--back in the saddle;
I will survive, I won't back down;
Make it mine if it kills me.
I have found a home.
The name of the game--
The winner takes it all.

(Cool--this is working! And it is SO fun!)

   The Long and Winding Road
More than a feeling--sweet emotion.
Sitting on top of the world learning to fly;
Free fallin' eight days a week.
Come together lucky, that's the way I like it.
If you don't know me by now,
what it takes--more more more
time, love and luck.
Simply complicated,
knowing me, knowing you.
I have found me a home.

(Wow--you have got to try this! Seriously!)

  Life in the Fast Lane
Bank of bad habits--
Ain't no rest for the wicked
for cryin' out loud.
Girls just wanna have fun,
rocking all the way--
anything goes.
That's the way I like it.

(That's all for now, but I've gotta say that I have more--this is only the tip of the iceberg. Go check your iPod--what poetry is waiting for you?)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Two for the Effort of One

"I love deadlines. I love the whoosing sound they make as they fly by."
                                                               --Douglas Adams

I love this quote--but I also really hate missing deadlines. I have posted once a week on on my professional blog ( Teaching with Joy and Purpose )since starting it this past summer, which was my goal. Only the past 2 weeks I've been late. Last week, I didn't post until Monday--the start of a new school week. This week....well, until just a few minutes ago, I hadn't posted for last week yet. WHOOSH!

Tonight while I was trying to come up with a slice (can't quit now--so close to the end!), I got a text from a friend. She was suggesting that I add a link on this blog to my professional blog. I wasn't sure at first, but then realized that maybe, just this once, I could get two for the effort of one.

So here goes...if you want to see what I was thinking about in my professional life tonight, you'll have to check out my post. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Don't Judge Me

I've decided that maybe it's time to share a little about what I've learned about me during my first SOL Challenge. Don't judge me.

First, I'm chicken to do a lot of things alone. So I go after my friends--not approaching them as someone in need of hand-holding or in the interest of strength in numbers. Oh no...I go in as the friend excited by a new opportunity for personal or professional growth, as one who would love to encourage others to experience it too. Sorry Mr. A. and Jade.....yep, you've been a bit manipulated by my hesitation to try something that felt scary to me. But hey, we're all happy we did it, right?? And we did grow, right??

I also have learned that I do have a bit of a competitive streak. Actually, what I've learned is that I may be really, really stubborn (to those of you who know me and are laughing right now, I'm sticking out my tongue at you!). When I started the challenge, I knew I'd at least try to slice every day. What I found surprised me a bit. If you look at the comments I left for Mr. A. early on, they often include the words "beat you!" and "beat you again!" (Sorry again Mr. A., I didn't know that was in me). Of course, with the later and later posting, he is beating me almost every day...and I won't pretend that doesn't sting a little. But now my stubborn nature has grown so strong that there is no way I will not post every. single. day.  I even posted while sicker than I ever remember being and was prepared to leave my house tonight in search of wireless internet access if my husband was unable to fix ours. I will not miss a day.

I have learned that I am a comment junkie. I love comments. I covet them. Keep 'em coming.

I found that I am not too ashamed to force my children into providing me with material. When I hit that mid-month slump (don't pretend you don't know what I mean--I've read your slices), I turned to them and shared my little writing adventure. Not to be a good role model. Not to become more comfortable putting my writing out there. Nope, it was purely in hopes that they would come up with ideas to keep me going. They did not disappoint me. After all, I hold not only the power of grounding, but also the knowledge of where the cookies are hidden.

On a related note, my children are now comment junkies too--they keep track of comments on any slice than mentions them.

This challenge has made me much stronger as a writer. But on some level it may have corrupted me a little too. Don't judge me. You all had a part in it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I am a woman with secrets. Not the kind of secrets that get you locked up somewhere or disowned, but things that no one knows. I'm not sure why I'm telling now, and I'm pretty sure I shouldn't because it will ruin my chances of achieving a childhood dream. Actually, I'm still holding on to a tiny bit of hope that it could happen...but this is likely to destroy any chance I have to become a spy or an undercover FBI agent.

But here they are--my secrets laid bare.

I eat cookies for breakfast sometimes. Actually, I do it a lot. Not on school days--too many people in our kitchen on those days. Unless I don't eat until I get to school. I have secret cookies there (some of you know that from an earlier post). But on weekends and vacations...  I can get the cookies out without anyone hearing. It helps that I make coffee every morning. The sound of running water covers the sound of my sin, and once I'm settled on the sofa, my book hides the pile of cookies from prying eyes.

When the toothpaste is new, I squeeze in the middle. Maybe that's not a problem in your world, but I am basically a rule-follower and also a person who hates it when people squeeze the middle of the tube. But when it's new....I can't resist. I pick up that big, fat tube and squeeze a big blob onto my toothbrush. Then I lay the toothbrush down, replace the lid on the toothpaste, and carefully squeeze up from the bottom so that all evidence of my little indulgence is erased.

I am afraid to light the gas grill. Oh, I do it. But it scares me. It did when the starter worked and it does even more now that we usually have to use a match to light it. Every time I stand there in front of the grill, ready to light it, I cannot help but think that this is the time that it's going to blow. I imagine a huge fire-ball and a blazing inferno. Even worse is that I still think this even when my son goes out to light the grill...and I let him do it anyway.

And the ice cream (deep breath--I cannot believe I am about to reveal one of my deepest, darkest secrets). Once I ate a whole half gallon of ice cream by myself. In a day and a half. It was after the kids were in bed and Husband was in the basement playing video games, so no one was witness to my shame. Even I cannot believe the lengths I went to in order to make sure no one found out. I made a quick trip to the store the next day, smuggled a new container of ice cream into the house and quickly ate just one bowl of it so that everyone would think I had only had a normal amount. After that first time, it was so easy to do it again--yes, I have done this more than once.

I like to think that having secrets give me a mysterious air--that something unnameable that people sense when they meet me. That feeling that there is more to me than meets the eye. Only now you know. Just don't tell the CIA or FBI. I would make a great spy.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Falling Again and Again

"When am I going to get a slice?"
Husband just walked into the room where I sit on the sofa (see the picture on the left!), just opening my computer to write my slice for today. He's only passing through with an armload of laundry, but he's right. He deserves a slice.

There are so many wonderful, amazing things I could say about Husband. After all, I fell for him once years ago and have been falling over and over ever since. There are a lot of reasons why, but here are the ones that come to mind tonight:

He does laundry...a lot of laundry.
He parks outside year round so I can park in the garage and never have to scrape my windows.
He doesn't care that I wear flannel pajamas with crazy patterns to bed all winter long.
When someone gives him dark chocolate, he gives it to me.
His eyes are the color of cinnamon.
He giggles and chuckles and laughs till he can't catch his breath when he sees or hears or reads something funny--it makes me laugh too.
He holds my hand in the car.
After I started blogging, he got me a Macbook Air for my birthday/anniversary present (yes, I'm using it now and it's almost as awesome as he is).
He's smart...really, really, really smart.
When he hugs me, it's always the most comfortable I've ever been.
He teaches our kids to have fun and to do things like plan trips so you see stuff like the world's largest catsup bottle and what day new comics come out (Wednesdays).
He reads my posts and tells me he likes them.
He is the most handsome man I know.
He stopped by my school on Valentines' Day and, in front of my first graders, asked me to be his Valentine...they told me to say yes. I did.

How could I not fall for him again and again and again?

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Next Book

Tonight I find myself with a familiar, frustrating, but somewhat welcome dilemma. I have finished the book I was reading. It's time to pick the next one.

It's agonizing, but I love it. I read a lot (sort of like people breath a lot). There have been times when I've finished a book and have stalked from room to room like an addict in desperate need of a fix and can't find anything to read that I haven't read before or that I'm ready to read again. I mutter incoherently, pull books from shelves, shove them back, and whine and snap at anyone who is unfortunate enough to come between me and a bookshelf. For me, that's truly hitting rock bottom. It isn't pretty and I'm not proud of it. It's just the way it is.

Thanks to my sister in law, I have occasional access to shelves and shelves of stock for a library book sale in her town. They have a tremendous amount of stock and a huge selection. They sell all the books for 50 cents per pound. For $5, I can buy 10 pounds of books, some well-loved and some brand new. Do you know what 10 pounds of books is? Heaven. I have 2 stacks of books that I have not read yet from my last trip to the book sale.

My mother and sisters and I trade books. I have a stack in my kitchen and another in my bedroom--more that I haven't read yet. My children got books for Christmas (of course) and for birthdays and because if we are near a bookstore on the weekend we go in. They have started piles they think I should read. My friends borrow my books and loan me theirs and I have a bag with some of their must-reads waiting.

As a voracious reader, an addict in need of her next hit, I am empowered by the possibilities and promise of so much unread material within easy reach. Yet I find myself bewildered and struck powerless by an overwhelming inability to choose. To choose one. The one. The next book.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just Right

We've been reading a lot of fairy tales and folk tales in my room lately--because they're fun and there are so many that are so well done, but mostly because kids love them. It seems like winter has been going on and on and on, and we needed to do something just because we enjoy it. I want my little readers to know that sometimes readers immerse themselves in something that may not push their thinking deeper or teach them something. Readers often indulge themselves simply for the fun of it. So that's what we've been doing.

And while reading Galdone's version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I may have let it slip that I am in possession of a recipe....for baked porridge. And maybe I let it be quietly known that the creator of said recipe was one Mama Bear.

Imagine the awe, the joy, the hopeful anticipation as one little hand tentatively reached up. "Can you make it?" a little voice asked. There was a collective intake of breath as they waited for my reply.
"Well," I said, "maybe I could."

Then I got sick. For a week. When I came back to school, we continued reading fairy tales. No mention of the porridge until yesterday. "Hey," said J., "weren't you going to make us baked porridge like Mama Bear?"
"You can go to the store on your way home," added A., "and get what you need and then get that recipe and just make it and bring it to us tomorrow."
All those little faces looking at me and nodding and smiling. I'm pretty sure they knew I'd do it.

When the kids got to school this morning, they were greeted with warm scent of cinnamon and this:

We settled in and read Brett's version of the story, then enjoyed the still piping-hot baked porridge. And it was just right.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Pressure Is Just Too Much

Last night:
"You know, I've sliced about your brother--twice. And now your what've you got for me? I gotta have something every day and you're up. It's your turn to provide some inspiration." I looked across the room at my youngest.
He looked up from his book. "Do I have to have something now? It's almost bedtime."
"No," I replied, "but you better start thinking. This challenge doesn't end til the end of March."

Talk about pressure! My youngest is the type of kid that will take this sort of thing seriously, and he hasn't disappointed me yet. Right now (yep, this very minute) he's eating a snack and thinking. From time to time he calls out from the kitchen.

"What have I accomplished?" (thoughtful silence) "Well, I won 87 consecutive basketball games on Wii but then I lost."

"You could write that I really like these--these are really good (the new Cinnamon Burst Cheerios--they really are delicious)"

"Just don't worry...I'll come up with something before bed."

"I didn't really do anything out of the ordinary today."

Now he's sitting beside me:
"Mom--you really just typed all that?"

"Really? This is what you've come up with?"

And it is...this is all we've got tonight. I guess the pressure was just too much this time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Same Girl, So Changed.

Last night, my husband and I watched as our daughter was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. A friend, there for his son, was sitting in front of us. As our daughter's name was called and she walked across the stage, he turned, his eyes wide with disbelief.
"Boy, she's really grown up. A lot!"

I looked back to the stage and was struck again by what I've noticed from a distance several times over the past couple of months. She has grown up. A lot.

Her eyes are not so far from being able to look straight into mine.
Her legs, once so short and pudgy, are long, lean, and well-muscled.
Her body is softly curved and her shape is no longer that of a little girl.
Her interests lean more toward friends and causes and not so much dolls and toys.

But her eyes are still warm brown and full of life.
Her legs still carry her up on her toes, her walk full of bounce.
Her body still stretches slowly in the morning and leans into me for hugs in the evening.
Her interests still lie with things that bring joy and laughter, and her heart still feels for others.

The same girl, so changed, and yet the same.

Monday, March 21, 2011


If you ever need a little love, to feel important, or that what do you really matters, I know what to do. It sounds a little extreme. First, become a first grade teacher--wait! Don't stop reading...really.

Ok, so become a first grade teacher (stay with me here). Spend over 100 days with your kids, reading and writing and exploring and doing math; some of it will be fun, and some of it will be...well, a challenge. Then get sick--don't worry, with a room full of 6 and 7 year olds coughing on you and handing you damp bits of things all day, that part won't be hard.

Stay home sick for 4 days plus the weekend. Yes, I know the sub plans are killer and the room will likely be a mite messy when you return. Do it anyway. Then come back to school on Monday morning. Stand in your doorway as the kids enter the building. Brace yourself.

They will see you from down the hall. Their eyes will light up and they'll begin to walk faster--not fast enough to get in trouble for running, but fast. As they reach the door, they'll fling themselves at you, wrap their arms around you and hold on for dear life. "You came back!" they'll exclaim, "you're here!" One after another, it happens.

If that doesn't make you feel loved or needed or that what you do is important, then you just aren't trying.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I love popcorn. A lot. I love buttery, salty popcorn and caramel corn. I love cheese popcorn and am also fond of kettle corn. My current favorite is a white cheddar popcorn that my husband once special ordered when the store was out. Most any kind of popcorn will do, though I prefer kinds that come by their color and flavor naturally.

Once in a while, I'll come across an unexpected flavor that I find appealing--like the marshmallow kind my grocery used to carry. It was hot and buttery and sweet and slightly sticky and surprisingly delicious. They quit carrying it soon after I was hooked.

I could eat popcorn almost every day--and I often come close to that, especially in the winter. It's difficult for me to watch a sports event or movie without eating it. When I read, I often have my blue popcorn bowl nestled against me and I eat piece after piece while turning page after page. I just finished eating a giant bowl of popcorn--I needed inspiration for writing, and my go-to snack didn't disappoint.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sounds on a Quiet Saturday

Saturdays are not generally quiet here, but today was. It was a much-needed change from the usual pace. If you listened closely in our house this afternoon, you could hear...

the rhythmic churning of the washing machine from behind the laundry room door,
basketball games, one after the other, playing softly on tv,
the pages of books turning,
birdsong from the tangled branches of the shrub outside the window,
the deep breathing of someone napping,
soft tapping on computer keys,
the muffled rumble of cars passing by but not stopping.

Friday, March 18, 2011

What to slice?

What to slice tonight?
I seem to have hit a block.
I read other slices and saw clever lists,
and lovely poems,
and fun anecdotes.

What to slice tonight?
I cannot make up my mind.
I noticed things like the sunshine on the floor,
and a huge gray squirrel,
and three big black crows.

What to slice tonight?
I have to decide soon.
I thought it would come to me,
and be easier,
and it's not.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The saga ends?

Yesterday my oldest asked, "does it feel to you like gravity has somehow gotten lots stronger the past couple days?"
I mumbled some sort of agreement from my prone position on the sofa opposite him. For the past few days, we've been suffering from what we've decided to call the horrible plague. Gravity did indeed feel stronger, as we struggled yesterday to lift even our heads from our pillows.

But today gravity seems to have loosened its grip. While certainly not well, we are upright. That's a start.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My mother is reading my slices

Last night I found out my mother is reading my slices (hi Mom).

She and Dad called on their way home from a trip to find out how we've been doing (thanks Mom) because she read the slices about the plague that has brought us to our knees around here.

It got me to thinking about my other slices--is there anything in them I wouldn't want my mother to read? Nope (don't worry Mom, you raised me to know better). I was surprised to learn she was reading them and glad to know she's enjoying them.

Hopefully the plague will end soon and I can slice about something else so Mom doesn't lose interest. For now though, this is a short post--my mom told me to get lost of rest ('nite Mom).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Germ-ridden Pit of Misery

News from the germ-ridden pit of misery (we used to call it our home):

My husband went back to work this afternoon after almost 4 days under the influence of this ghastly virus. Oldest, youngest and I spent the day curled up among blankets and pillows, each moaning softly in our own quiet corners. Middle still won't come near any of us. Smart girl.

Coughs, fevers, aches and dizziness....check.
Fluids, ifuprofen, cough meds and tissues....check.

"That was really horrible," my husband said. "I haven't been that sick in years."
"uuuggghhhmmmmmmfffff," I replied.
"Yep," he agreed. "horrible."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Slicing Sick

Short slice tonight:

My husband has been sick for 3 or 4 days. Stay in bed for real sick. High fever sick. Coughing and aching and chills sick.
Our youngest was sent home from school with a fever this afternoon. Our oldest came home and went to bed with a fever.
That left our middle and me. She had a swim meet. I should have known something was wrong when I was so cold in a pool area where everyone else was sweating.
By the time we got home, I too had fallen among the pathetic, miserable sick at my house. It's some sort of horrid plague. 
Our middle is avoiding us all.

Stay away. Wash your hands after reading this.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


It may be time to admit that something's up with my eyes again. I've worn glasses or contacts since I was a kid and am very nearsighted. I have had some other issues that have resulted in floaters that act like bugs on a windshield through which I must look at everything--though all but a couple are so small I don't notice them most of the time.

But over the past week and a half, it has gotten harder and harder to deny that I may have to call my eye doctor again. The first clue was squinting a little harder to see the scores of the basketball games on the tv. During the day, I found myself blinking hard to try to clear the slight fog that had descended. Then I realized that I was moving my glasses up and down my nose to make the print clear enough to read while propped in bed at night. But the clincher? Well, over the past few days, when I sit down with my laptop to read posts and slice...well, I have had to enlarge the print to keep the letters sharp enough to read them easily. Actually, I sometimes have to enlarge it a couple times. Making the print that big sort of takes away the coolness factor of my very cool little Mac Air. And the floaters? I am noticing them more and more. Especially that big one--it's right in my way when I read.

I told myself that I was reading too much--yeah, right! I always read a lot. My next bit of denial was that this laptop is small, so maybe that's the problem. And it couldn't possibly be an age related thing. Not going there. Then I told myself I was just tired--and that could be it, right? I've been working hard and doing a most of my reading and slicing and commenting later in the evening, so that could be it. And then that perception was shattered when I sat down this morning, coffee in hand, ready for a relaxing morning of writing my slice and reading other's bits and pieces. To my chagrin, the first move I made as I started reading was to move my fingers across the trackpad, enlarging the print until the letters became sharper and stopped waving at me.

So maybe it's time to make that call to the eye doctor. Or maybe it isn't me at all. Maybe it's the light in here....

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Getting from here to there and back

Our family spent between 4 and 5 hours in the car together today. Luckily, as mom, I get shotgun for life. Since the kids are older, the backseat has gotten a little crowded. We're home again now, and everyone has staggered off to bed, but I've been thinking about how car trips in our family are almost always sort of fun. Not that we don't have a bit of sibling tension from time to time, or parental pleas for just a few minutes of quiet, but for the most part, we travel quite well together.

We almost always listen to podcasts from NPR. We're all addicted to the Sunday Puzzle and to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (we love a good quiz!). Usually it starts with mom and dad calling out answers, but from time to time, one of the kids will get one first....ok, maybe more than once in a while. We like listening to see if someone will win Carl Kasell's voice on his/her home answering machine and we love hearing famous--or sort of famous--people play "Not My Job". Today the NPR podcasts finished pretty quickly and the backseat crew turned their attention to dad's iPad, each trying to claim the high score on Angry Birds (am I the only one who has never played that game?).

On the way home, podcasts over and iPad out of power, we listened to music. We've got pretty eclectic tastes, and tonight was all about staying awake for the long drive home in the dark. A little Meatloaf, some Pink Floyd, and classics like Hot Rod Lincoln and Cover of the Rolling Stone. The kids know Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and Foghat's "Slow Ride" and "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz. Yeah, our playlists are a little....varied? We've also been known to blast a little Bohemian Rhapsody from time to time. Whatever it takes to get from here to there and back again.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Sounds of Tournament Time

They are calling me--the sounds of tournament time;
fist-pumping chants,
the thud of pebbled leather hitting hardwood,
sharp whistles halting play,
the squeak of rubber-soled shoes,
the swish of the net as a ball drops dead-center,
bands blaring fight songs,
the metallic twang of the ball bouncing off the rim,
grunts as bodies collide in the paint,
the backdrop of on-screen commentary,
roars from crowds in the stands echoing against shouts from the couch;
music to my Indiana ears.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reasons No and Reasons Yes

I wasn't sure what to slice tonight, but my 15 year old son just provided me with some great material. He wanted to play Xbox. My devious side just couldn't resist putting him through a little parental torture. It might be good for him and I knew it would be fun for me.

"Give me some reasons I, as a parent, should say no," I told him.
"Seriously?" he said, looking incredulous, "why would I do that?"
"Well, you'll get to give an equal number of reasons why I should say yes." I waited with a half smile and met his eyes expectantly.
"Ok," he replied as he rubbed his hands over his head. "Um..."

Here's his list of reasons I should say no:
I played yesterday and wasn't supposed to (true--and he knew enough to list that first).
It's a school night.
I put my cup and hot plate on the new table with no placemat.
I play a lot of Xbox.
I didn't stop by your school today when I got off the bus.

Here's the list for why I should say yes:
My friends are on and want me to play.
My grades are pretty good.
I'm a good kid overall (he really, really is--and he's a good sport)
On the radio there was a study that says that, I'm not kidding, video games are good for reaction times and problem solving.
No matter how much I drive you crazy, you love me?

"How about that?" he asked. "And you should know this is painful."
I grinned. "Ok, I get a kiss on the cheek and you can go."
He laughed, "I don't know--is it worth it?"
Ok, so I deserved that; he is my son after all. He ambled over, kissed my cheek and bolted for the basement.

And my slice got written!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

They Are Here Somewhere

They are all here somewhere;
I can see the evidence.
Backpacks--one in the basket, two beside it.
Coats are on hooks and shoes are scattered about the entryway.

The kitchen says that someone has been here;
counters with tell-tale crumbs.
Chairs not quite pushed back under the table.
Dishes that started the journey to the dishwasher and didn't quite make it.

In the family room, there are books;
a few lying face-down, open.
A blanket sliding from the couch to the floor.
TV remotes stuck in the crevice created by someone sitting in the recliner.

The bathroom mirror is steamy;
damp towels on the floor.
The drawer where the comb resides is ajar.
Toothpaste tube with cap mostly on lies next to wet toothbrushes.

Yes, they are here somewhere;
or were recently.
But now the house is growing quieter.
I find myself wandering aimlessly, wondering how they got by me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I had something really good typed here. It was almost done. Really. I mistyped something, so I hit the delete button. Only 5 times--one for each letter I wanted to erase. Really.

And then my computer, the one I used to love and will likely love again (but not tonight) took over. Or became possessed. Really. It kept deleting. Letter by letter, word by word, line by line, I watched in horror as the whole post disappeared. The whole thing. Gone. Really.

I did not hold down the key longer than I meant to and I did not have my hand resting on the trackpad. Really. I tried using the cursor to click in what was left but it didn't work. I tried the undo button but nothing undid. In a few short seconds it was gone. Nothing could bring it back. Really.

So now I am frustrated. I do not want to try to remember what I had written and retype it. The shock of the loss of my words, carefully chosen and viciously taken away, is too raw. Really. It's too soon. And I think I need some time away from my computer to rethink our relationship. To decide if it can be saved. Really.

Monday, March 7, 2011

You Gotta Cut Off His Legs

Some needed background:
My grade level team sends home a book or 2 each month with every one of our students. In December, we sent The Gingerbread Man
Today I read another version of that story.

What happened next:
"Mrs. M.! You gave us that book only another one and on the back is a recipe and you can make a real gingerbread man. Only you hafta watch out 'cause they are made to run. So you gotta cut off the legs before you put him in the oven!"
The other kids nodded, wide-eyed and completely serious.

And that, my friends, is why teaching first grade it the best job ever.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Warm Fragrance of a Cold Morning

The memory of last night's spicy chili hung in the air this morning, but was soon replaced with the warm scent of cinnamon and the deep, earthy aroma of dark coffee. The sunlight is streaming in through the south-facing windows of the dining room, promising spring despite the snow-covered ground, and I've chosen my spot on the sofa so that I can easily glance up to see it.

Yesterday's hint of spring rain gave way to more snow showers, bringing on the need for comforting foods that not only warm your hands and belly, but also fill the air with smells reserved for cozy times on cold days. For now I'm enjoying the warm fragrance of a cold morning as I patiently wait by the windows for the fresh scent of spring.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


falling on the roof;
an umbrella of sound
soaking into my dreams.

A few years ago, woke in the night to the sound of a heavy, soaking rain falling on the roof over my head. These lines came to me just as they are here and stuck with me as I rolled over and drifted into a relaxed sleep. Early this morning, I woke to the sound of rain and it entered my mind again, so I thought I'd share it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I crochet. I blog.

I crochet. Not really. But I do. My grandmother taught me when I was very young, and I remember sitting on her lap, watching her do it. Then I'd slip to the floor and face her to watch more. Grandma was right handed, and I am left handed. I watched her carefully and then copied her, just doing what she was doing, but in mirror image.

I only remember a couple of stitches, and I only make things that are squares or rectangles. And small. And only use one color so I don't have to switch to new colors. I am particularly fond of making scarves because they fit all my criteria and because I get cold easily and can make scarves that match my clothes and my moods.

Blogging is sort of like that for me. My friend taught me, and I watched her closely, mirroring her moves. I slipped over to my own blog and copied her process in my own space. She is experienced and comfortable with this genre, and I am slow coming to it.

I only know how to do simple things, like add a picture. And link to a friend's blog. And write the things that are important to me so I don't have to worry about pleasing others. I am particularly fond of writing short pieces on random things that catch my attention. I blog because it is short and simple and that fits my favorite criteria for writing and because I can write things that match my style and fit my moods.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Laundry Love

I think that my laundry is breeding;
I don't know why,
but it's not something that I'm needing.

It covers the bed, the couch, the floor;
I'm not sure how,
but each day there is more, more and more.

Maybe it's all the spinning about;
I don't care what,
but it's bringing the laundry love out.

Whatever it is or how it's done;
I don't wanna know,
but this must be how laundry has fun.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Secret Cookies

"Would you buy some Girl Scout Cookies?" Dangerous words, spoken by a pixie whose long hair, dimples, and relentless smile disguised the cunning saleswoman inside. She slipped into my classroom during writing workshop and slid over next to the student with whom I was conferring, catching me unaware and unprepared.

I hesitated. "Well....", I replied (sounding unconvincing even to my own ears), "I already bought some--twice. I really just can't buy more". She kept on smiling, seeing that my hand was already twitching, moving toward the pen just out of reach.  My first graders froze, pencils hovering in midair; they know how I feel about cookies. As my fingers curled around the pen, I could hear the boy sitting next to me take a breath and hold it.

"Maybe just one box more," I said, "but you can't tell--not anyone--that I'm buying more cookies." In unison, the devious Girl Scout and a room full of 6 and 7 year olds nodded. I went on. "It's secret--secret cookies. After all, I probably need to have some secret cookies somewhere, right? You just can never, ever tell my kids."

My students started grinning; they know my children, who are older than they are and have hero status in our room. "We won't!", they assured me, "we promise we will never tell. Buy the secret cookies!"

I picked the lemon ones. They are bright yellow. They are deliciously light. They make me think of spring.

Don't tell.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I've been looking for something for 4 days. For 4 days, I've been searching for my voice. Not my metaphorical actual voice. I find myself left with rusty bits and pieces. A gravelly whisper punctuated by random squeaks. At times I suddenly find myself with nothing at all, the trail of my words suddenly disappearing into an unseen mist.

People trying to converse with me lean closer. "What's that?", they ask apologetically. I can tell they hate asking again--partially because they care about my well-being, but mostly because listening to me is like trying to follow a cell phone conversation with a bad connection. Some give up and I'm left feeling as if I've experienced a dropped call.

Yes, I am exhausted from the effort necessary to get through the days like this. Yes, I've had something warm to drink and something cold to drink. I've tried cough drops and extra rest and just ignoring the problem. I've gargled and have spent long stretches resting my sad remnants of a voice. All to no avail.

There is nothing left to try, no magic bullet. I'm left wondering when my voice will ever return. Or if it will. And if it does, will I recognize it? After all, it's been gone so long that I've become accustomed to the less polished, less audible, but infinitely more interesting one I have now.