Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I don't stand a chance

I'm so weak.
It's sitting there
on the ottoman I love, tempting me;
smooth, cool touch against my bare foot.

I can't.
It called me
from the shelf I passed, stopping me;
scent of ink and paper reaching my nose.

I mustn't.
It landed squarely
in the cart I pushed, knowing me;
promise of new words whispering in my ear.

I lean in.
It's mocking me
in my line of sight; knowing me;
colorful spine out, drawing my eye.

I wait.
It waits too
for the goal I set,  inviting me;
intentions slipping from my mind.

I don't stand a chance.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012



You may have noticed that I haven't sliced for a while.

I could tell you that my ongoing spy fantasy has become a reality and I've been off saving the world from evil-genius types lurking in far-flung corners of the world. Actually, that's sort of true--maybe (there were a lot of spy stories on my summer book stack).

I could tell you that I've become addicted to Words with Friends and cannot tear myself away from my phone in case someone plays and it's my turn and I don't know it. Actually, that one's not quite accurate. I do find myself constantly checking to see if it's my turn when I play...but I only play occasionally.

I could tell you that I fell into the big chest freezer in the basement while bending over the edge as far as I could to see if we were really and truly out of ice cream again. Actually, this one could really happen, so I better not kid around. And maybe I'd better find a basement-ice-cream-check buddy just in case.

I could tell you that Husband, Oldest, Middle, Youngest and I have been on a fabulous family vacation to an exotic location. Actually, this is one I'd love to come true, but since it would require us to do things like get up off the sofa, I just don't see it happening.

I could tell you I've been busy doing things like reorganizing every cupboard and closet in the house or landscaping the yard or remodeling the kitchen. Actually, those are things I wish I'd do. But somehow, none of that happened....sort of like me keeping up with slicing....

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

As requested--the answers

Last night, I sliced about some good ideas gone bad, with some help from Oldest, Middle, and Youngest. Several commenters got into the spirit, trying to guess which ideas (spectacular in concept; perhaps lacking in execution) were mine, and which belonged to the kids.

Well, here are the requested answers. Below are the ideas from yesterday's slice, followed by the genius who must take credit for each.

Throwing sister's favorite doll out the upstairs bedroom window...mostly because sister really, really thought the doll was alive. Well, until it got thrown out the window.
Um, yeah...that was me.

Riding a tricycle down a very tall, very steep hill. Actually, that part turned out ok. It's the part at the bottom that gets a little rough.
This would be Youngest (don't worry, he's fine).

Playing bongos with a group of friends on the steps of the Staten Island Museum (apparently security guards do not approve).
Oldest sheepishly owned up...this happened on a school trip just last week. 

Helping mom by giving your sister a haircut. A few days before she was going to be in a wedding.
Believe it or not, me again.

Rallying the team by leading a cheer on the bus...("Give me a __")...and then realizing that you have misspelled the name of your school.
Surprising entry from Middle. How embarrassing.

Teaching chickens to fly (they can't--at least not further than you can throw them).
Sigh....me again. But you have to know that they really looked like they wanted to try.

Allowing your brother and his friend to talk you into anything requiring a ladder, a zip line, and tree across the yard with a mat strapped to it.
And Youngest. Again. He wishes he could say that this is the only thing he's been talked into by Oldest.

And there you have it. Good ideas...that just didn't work out.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Good ideas gone bad

Ever have an idea that seemed inspired? One that you just couldn't wait to try?
Me too. So have Oldest, Middle, and Youngest.
And sometimes--maybe more often than we'd like to admit--those ideas go bad.
Here are just a few of ours. Think you know whose is whose? Maybe for some, but I bet you'd be surprised by at least a few!

Throwing sister's favorite doll out the upstairs bedroom window...mostly because sister really, really thought the doll was alive. Well, until it got thrown out the window.

Riding a tricycle down a very tall, very steep hill. Actually, that part turned out ok. It's the part at the bottom that gets a little rough.

Playing bongos with a group of friends on the steps of the Staten Island Museum (apparently security guards do not approve).

Helping mom by giving your sister a haircut. A few days before she was going to be in a wedding.

Rallying the team by leading a cheer on the bus...("Give me a __")...and then realizing that you have misspelled the name of your school.

Teaching chickens to fly (they can't--at least not further than you can throw them).

Allowing your brother and his friend to talk you into anything requiring a ladder, a zip line, and tree across the yard with a mat strapped to it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I am from books

I am from stories read from books and
told around big tables
filled with too many arms and legs and not enough chairs,
but plenty of laps.
I am from books stacked on bricks and boards
behind the chair by the fireplace and stashed
in a small green suitcase.
I am from books carried on trips,
and into trees,
making anywhere I went seem like home and home
feel like a place far, far away.
I am from book lovers
who bought, borrowed, and shared favorites,
never thinking that a story was beyond
the reach of my eager eyes.
I am from fingers running gently and reverently
over new covers,
of inhaling the scent of pages opened for the first time
or the 2nd, the 10th, the 100th time.
I am from poems of childhood remembered
and wonders found in the pages
of yellow-bordered magazines
on the table by grandpa's chair.
I am from books and stories and magazines and newspapers,
surrounded by words and worlds,
filling me up
but never so full
that there wasn't room for more.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

You mean you can catch it?

I think that it's entirely possible that Husband and I have succumbed to some sort of infectious...something. I blame Oldest, Middle, and Youngest. Two teens and a pre-teen.

For the most part, The Three are easy-going, polite, and even-keeled. In fact, they are a lot of fun. But they are also victims. They have been unable to completely escape the grasp of hormones and random moodiness and the occasional bout of surly almost-but-not-quite-over-the-line bad attitude. Thankfully it's not frequent or even even common.

But I'm afraid it might be catching.

I came home to find Husband in a funk. He couldn't quite put his finger on why, but he was definitely not himself. He was quiet and almost withdrawn. He couldn't make a decision and wasn't really interested in being cajoled out of whatever state he was in.

And now I find myself sitting here, sighing. Not quiet, relaxed sighing. Nope; the over the top, I-can't-believe-I-have-so-much-to-do, why-me kind of sighs. You know the one. Especially if you have a teenaged daughter.

So Husband and I find ourselves pondering what on earth is happening to us. The Three did not come with a manual, and up to this point, we feel that our on the job training has gone fairly well, with only a few bumps along the way. But no one told us that the moods and feelings and angst of adolescence might be catching.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Writing Group Part 1: The BONS are coming!

I'm part of a writing group started by Ruth Ayres.
There are 5 us; we call ourselves the BONS.

We met and bonded and continue to meet and bond and write.
BONS stands for what we write; Bits Of Nothing or Something.

Today after school I checked the clock every 3 minutes during a meeting.
Writing group is tonight; he BONS are coming to my house!

I hurried through errands and rushed home to start cooking.
I hope I have everything I need; the BONS like to eat!

Windows open, door too--quick sweep to hide the dust bunnies.
I know I don't have to; the BONS always promise to not to look.

The colorful plates and bowls come out; stacked and ready for dinner and dessert.
The BONS love to pick their favorite color; or argue over who got there first.

Dinner is ready, and I settle into the rocking chair by the window to watch.
I'm ready; how much longer until the BONS get here?

To see part 2, look below to read Tammy's slice; she'll tell you how to find part 3.
The BONS think they are really clever; what do you think?

Writing Group Part 2: Please Bring the Pie!
(a secret slice from a non-public blog)
The night before I read the message. Bring what you want; we will eat whatever you bring. Taco Salad is the main dish.
Well, I knew already I was going to take the girls pie. Later in the morning I checked my phone. Message...from Mary Helen.
Maybe you would stop and pick me up a pie.
Well, that was like we had ESP. For sure I was going to get pie no matter what. 
One my way to our meeting place in Goshen, I stopped by the Essenhaus in Middlebury and went up to the counter and ordered 5 red raspberry cream pie. The lady said, "5?"
I said, "yes. I'm meeting my friends and we will eat one and I wil give them one to take home to share with their families."
"How nice," she said.
After our delicious supper and laughs about Ruth's son and tears following Mary Helen's story, we had our pie. Tam and I were making mmmm--mmmm sounds as we were eating each bite. The moaning continued until each slice was devoured. We then went into the sitting room to write. If you have read Ruth's blog slices from the sofa, then you know where we sat.
My hope is that these friends, who actually think I'm funny (that's why I buy them treats...unlike my daughters!) will think of the fun we had at our BONS meeting tomorrow as they are eating a slice of that pie. 

Now...on to the living room and the giggles to continue...go to Tam's slice at http://clayfragments.blogspot.com/2012/03/writing-group-part-3-slicers.html  to continue.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cried her eyes out and loved every minute

This morning I had duty in the hallway where the 3rd graders hang their coats and backpacks. I love this duty. I hand out hellos and hugs and high fives and reminders about folders and backpacks and not taking too long in the bathroom.
But mostly, I like it because I get to talk to the kids. One of my favorite things is to watch them unpacking their library books and talk to them about what they are reading--and maybe making a suggestion or two (or more).

This morning, N walked up, planted herself directly in front of me and informed me that she had read both Chasing Vermeer and The Caulder Game by Blue Balliett as I had suggested after spotting The Wright Three in her pile a few weeks ago. Without pausing she told me she was also reading The Tale of Despereaux. I immediately asked if she had already read The Adventure of Edward Tulane. 

She leaned in and confided, "oh yes, and I cried my eyes out. That book just got to me."
"I know what you mean," I replied. "Kate DiCamillo knows what she's doing when she writes a story!"
N nodded, "I think it's the love that's in it. It's all there and even though he makes it home in the end, I still cried and cried and cried. But it's a great book and it's because of the love that's there."
We talked a few minutes more--kindred spirits indeed. N wondered if our buddy Kate was working on anything new that we'd just have to read (yes, have to...a necessity).

So tonight I got on Kate DiCamillo's website and clicked around. N is the kind of girl who knows I'll be on duty again tomorrow and will come wanting to know if I have anything new to share with her. The best thing I found, though, was a list of tips for writers that Kate has on her website. It made me think of N, and somehow, I have an easy time imagining her growing up to be the kind of writer whose books make young readers cry their eyes out and come back for more.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Blank box

When I logged on to slice tonight, I stared at the empty post box. It started back. The blinking cursor seemed to dismiss one thought after another, "nope, not that, or that, or that. Nope, not that, or that, or that..."

There were a few not-so-great things about today, but there were also quite a few pretty great things. I just do not want to write any of them down. I'm not feeling down or frustrated or worried about not having a slice-worthy topic. I just feel like letting the events of the day be what they were, when they were. I want to just let them be. So that's what I'm going to do.

Tonight I realized that sometimes, even if you're trying to live a writerly life, it's ok not to document or list or capture. Sometimes we can replay the slices of our days or the lists of our lives just in our heads--and not write down a single word of it. 

So my writerly choice tonight is to stick with the blank box and the dismissive cursor. Yep, I'm good with that.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Last night

Last night
I heard from the basement
darts thunking solidly against the dartboard and occasionally the wall
Rock Band on the TV
squeals of delight and groans of despair
voices teasing, challenging, giggling, laughing
good-natured arguments over prowess or knowledge
low rumbles from the boys and high-pitched retorts from the girls
sugar-fueld fun and the energy of youth
brothers, sister, friends, cousins--boys and girls together
staying just a little longer
last night

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The life of an almost spy

Sometimes I feel like an almost spy. Or maybe like that nosy neighbor who was always watching the neighborhood from her window on the tv show Bewitched. It's just that I really like sitting near a window or on the porch when I'm reading or writing, and I often spend a lot of the time looking out. I like to look out.

The thing that (probably) saves me from being a busybody is that I don't keep track of who comes and goes when and I don't really care. I'm pretty sure this is the sole reason I have not yet been recruited by the CIA or FBI for an undercover assignment.

Sometimes seeing what's going on in the neighborhood can get a little dicey. Like today, when I saw the man diagonally across the street cleaning out flowerbeds and doing other work around the outside of his family's house. I was sitting in a comfy chair reading a book just for the fun of it. I kept looking up from time to time, thinking that he was making me look bad. I worried that if Husband saw it, he'd want me to put down my book and do yard work instead. Then I decided that maybe Neighbor was making Husband look bad--after all, maybe Neighbor's wife was off somewhere reading too. So I kept reading. Their flowerbeds are cleared and ready for spring. Ours are still littered plant remains from fall.

Their kids were out playing in their yard, a perfect picture of a family Saturday. Mine kids were...somewhere. I think Youngest was down the street. Middle when across to another neighbor's house to hang out, and I know she was playing volleyball in that yard for a while. And Oldest? Well, his bike was parked by the walk leading up to the porch, so he had been somewhere at some point. Told you I'm bad at keeping track.

And then there are the exercisers. Almost every time I look out, someone is walking or jogging or riding a bike or playing ball or doing something to get into or stay in shape. Every time I see them out there I feel a little twist in my gut and a little voice in my head reminds me for the umpteenth time that I set a goal of exercising almost every day. Wanna know how often it happens? I'm not telling (I am good at keeping secrets), but let's just say I've come to view the sight of the physically fit among the hazards of sitting near a window or on the porch in a neighborhood on a quiet street with wide sidewalks.

Despite the potential danger of being made to feel like I ought to be out exercising or doing yard work or making my kids play in our own yard, I know I won't give up watching. These are risks I am willing to endure in my life as an almost spy.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm going to waste it

I have a book that I waited a long time to buy and that I just cracked open this afternoon.
My team is playing in the tournament and it's only halftime.
Husband brought home my buddies Ben and Jerry for a (probably brief) visit.
Only 1 of  3 kids has something going tonight, and it includes a ride home.
My grand plan included all this, along with high hopes for an inspired slice.
I've been looking forward to this evening all day.

And I can barely stay awake to enjoy it. It seems a shame to waste it, and yet...

I had to force my eyes open to check the score.
It took me 15 minutes to gather the strength to open my laptop and write a sleepy slice.
I'm debating the the odds that my ice cream will be eaten by someone other than me if I try to convince that someone to get it out of the freezer.
My book is by the other sofa...in another room....the distance is just too great, and the book will have to wait.

So I'm not going to fight it. It seems that tomorrow, however, is looking pretty good.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Own Brand of Bracketology

For the first time in years, I filled out a bracket for the NCAA basketball tournament. I stayed up last night, picking teams carefully, but without help. Youngest is our sports fan and is full of advice, but he was in bed. Husband was busy. Middle has no idea when it comes to basketball, and Oldest doesn't really follow it.

I'm just stubborn enough that I didn't want to ask them...and besides, I have a mildly competitive streak (stop laughing!) that makes me want to be able to wave my bracket in front of those who think they can pick better than I. Not in an "in your face!" way--more a "told you I could do it" way. Or maybe a self-satisfied smirk. I haven't decided for sure yet.

I do watch a lot of college basketball--mostly Big Ten (Boiler Up!). Unfortunately, the last time I filled out a bracket or followed basketball season close enough from beginning to end to really know what I was doing when picking teams was before Oldest was born. He's 16.  Still, I stand by my picks. I'd tell you my strategy for picking, but if it turns out that I'm on to something with it, then you'd know.  So I'm not telling, just in case.

I also can't tell you who I picked. I'm not stupid. You don't jinx yourself by doing dumb stuff like that. Of course, I know I have made some mistakes. First, I filled out the bracket in pencil (I know--sure sign of insecurity). Even worse, I forgot the bracket at home today, so I missed out on getting to compare my luck  skill calling the wins against those of my colleagues.

It's been so long since I've done this that no one would believe I wasn't sitting here, glued to the tv, the March Madness app open on my phone, filling in the bracket as final scores pop up.  But I didn't. And you know what? So far, I'm doing...wait (whew! Almost blew it again--I really am out of practice!)...I can't tell you how well I'm doing, and I can't tell you who I have picked in the rest of the night's games.

But I am smiling, and will admit to laughing a bit at Youngest (not real proud of that, but he started it).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waking up

I love how our little neighborhood--just one street with a cul-de-sac at the end--wakes up during the first warm days of spring. Windows and doors peek open, then shut, then open again, testing the strength of the sun and wind. It's sort of like when I wake Oldest, Middle, and Youngest in the morning--their eyes open, close against the surprise of the light, and then open again, maybe not quite as far.

Up and down the street, people head outdoors. We sit on our porches, go for walks, and our kids ride bikes or skateboards up and down the street or play ball in and across yards. We smile and wave like we've forgotten we had neighbors; all winter long we hurry from car to house with our heads down. Some of the more optimistic even begin a little yard work. Husband will groan when I tell him that the man across the street had out the gas cans for his lawnmower this afternoon. 

With windows open or from my spot on the porch, I can hear birdsong--the chirps and whistles drowned out every once in a while by the low rumbling of a motorcycle. The voices of kids calling to each other and laughing carry on the breeze and I don't recognize all the voices yet. Some sound older since the last warmish days of fall and a couple are new to the neighborhood. 

With the neighborhood waking around me, I settle a little lower into my chair at the end of the porch. The sun is warm and the breeze light. It's early yet and there will be more cold days before spring comes for real...but for now, I plan to close my eyes and soak up the feeling of the wide-awake spring that's on its way.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

spring sun

Spring sun is friendly, but shy and skittish.
It is bright and cheery and calls you to come out,
but to catch its warmth, you must sit
very still
in a quiet, sheltered spot.

The slightest breeze scatters the heat
before it can sink into your skin,
but if you lie down on a bench
stretched out
it sneaks up from behind.

Monday, March 12, 2012


The past several days have been full--I attended a national conference along with over 20 people who work as administrators or teacher leaders in our district. Husband is one of them. He's the principal at an elementary near mine, and served on a panel at the conference. But that's not the real story.

Guess what?

Husband's school won an award! A big one--his building is one of 4 in the nation named a School of Promise by the Milken Foundation. They had no advance warning and no hints this was going to happen,  so it was pretty dramatic. I had a feeling this was going to happen, and not just because I am married to an amazing man who happens to be an amazing administrator. I knew it because the work begin done at that school is impressive. When they announced the name of the school (the first one announced--yee haw!), I jumped to my feet along with the rest of the group from our district, screaming and cheering and clapping. But a small part of me wanted to holler, "I told you so!"

This is huge (I should think of a more impressive word, because this is really, really big). I am so proud of him and his leadership team and the rest of the staff at his school. They don't have an easy road, and have not always had the best press. They have worked hard to turn things around for the kids at their school and it feels so good to see them get recognized for it.

I am simply and profoundly proud of him.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Different Kind of Snag

Last year was the first time I participated in the SOLSC; in fact, I'd only sliced a few times before taking it on with the encouragement of  after being somewhat bullied by a good friend who shall remain anonymous but may or may not have the same first name as I do. Mid month, I hit a snag. Or maybe a lull. It was just a stretch when it seemed hard to open up the computer and post something--anything.

Well, this year the snag has been different.

Between full days of conference sessions and evenings with the group from our school district and the fact that I was 3 time zones away in a hotel where connecting to wi fi was tricky...well, it was a snag. My posts the last few days have been short and almost frantically picked out on my phone while my eyes struggled to read the stuff I was typing. My iPhone also thinks it's a better speller than I am (and that may be true), so I also probably need to apologize for some iffy spelling. I couldn't even add the slice button to my posts.

But all that didn't bother me too much. What really got to me was that it was pretty impossible for me to comment much at all. I hated that. I felt guilty. And besides, I missed everyone.

So I am reminding myself that in the days leading up to this trip I did try to comment on several slices a day, and over the next few days, I hope to be back to commenting on lots of your slices daily. I'm not going to worry over this snag, and am going to feel good about still managing a slice a day, even if it's not exactly how I wanted to do it. Sometimes committing to writing (or anything else) means that you do what you can during times you can't do it all, and that you keep going even when you hit a snag.

Almost forgot

Hollywood Walk of Fame Grauman's Chinese Theater Dancing in the open air mall Hard Rock Cafe...live band Almost forgot to slice!

Friday, March 9, 2012


Three hours time difference from home. Two hours difference from the airport. One hour time change tomorrow. Zero chance I'll know what time it is where. Zero times I've been here before. One opportunity to see a new place. Two days of conference learning. Three at home I can't wait to see.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A first

This is a first for me. I'm posting from my phone...it's also the first time I've ever posted on a bus. Yep, a bus. A short bus on the toll road headed for the airport. I've also never tried to comment from my phone, or read posts that way-the print is too small and I can't scroll fast enough. I have to admit that while it's convenient, I don't much like posting this way. I'm used to my fingers making what's in my head appear in print in a much smoother, more natural-feeling way. Maybe tomorrow I'll be back in my blog post comfort zone!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One crossed off the list!

Today Husband left for a conference 3 time zones away. Tomorrow, I leave for the same conference. It's busy here.
I still have to hem pants (hate it, don't really sew, but they are too long...or my shoes are too short; either way, it has to be done).
I still need to make the lists and schedules for Sister, who is staying here with Oldest, Youngest, and Middle.
I still need to unload the dishwasher so the rest of the dirty dishes can go in.
I still need to pack (yikes!).
I still need to do some work for school tomorrow--yes, really.
I still need to push those 2 baskets of unfolded laundry to a spot where I can't see them.
I still need to finish commenting on posts...but maybe I can do that at the airport. Or on the long drive to the airport (don't worry--I'm not driving).
I still need to post my slice--wait! Finally--something I can cross of this growing list!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, I was teaching a reading group in a 3rd grade classroom. I got to pick the book, and chose Horrible Harry in Room 2B by Suzy Kline. None of the 3 kids in the group had ever heard of Horrible Harry.

"You're kidding, right?" I asked. "You've got to be kidding. How can you be in 3rd grade and not know him? Well, I have to tell you, you are going to love him--especially you P. This guy is right up your alley! And Suzy Kline wrote a whole bunch of them. I really think you are gonna love this, and if you do, I have some more at home that I'll bring for you to borrow."

We read, we talked, and they went off to read more on their own. I also got to be there the day they finished the book. "You were right--that Harry is one mean dude! But kinda nice sometimes...well, sort of. He's really funny to--that stuff he does!" P. exclaimed. The others nodded. Y. tentatively  handed the book to me. "Can you find the other ones? The home ones?" she asked. The boys chimed in. "Yeah! Bring 'em all!"

"Sure," replied, trying not to smirk. "But you know I'll probably forget, so you'd better write me a a note." As I left their room that day, P. handed me a sticky note. It read, "I NEED those Horrible Harry books!"

Yes, I got them the books. Today Y. approached me in the hallway. "Do you think you can find any more of those books? I'm all done with the other ones.".  When I got home, I asked Youngest (aka my apprentice book pusher) for help. I described these 3rd graders, who have to work so hard in reading and who have fallen in love with Horrible Harry. He grinned, "hey, the way you describe them, they are kinda like the characters! You have a Song Lee, a Harry, and a Doug!" Then he headed for the bookshelf.

Monday, March 5, 2012

empty carton

I just polished off the rest of the container of Ben and Jerry's Americone Dream. Last night I started my way through it and was a little embarrassed to notice how much seemed to slip away without any real effort. I stuffed what was left deep into the freezer to save for another time.

Tonight was another time. I didn't even pretend to argue with myself--beeline for kitchen, fumble in the drawer for a spoon (any size, doesn't really matter), reach and grab in the freezer, plop down in a chair.

It didn't last long. Now the empty carton is sitting there, looking at me. I think it's wondering if I dare check out its friend...the container of Phish Food Husband bought for himself. The one that was not nearly as light as mine after our treat last night. Not on of my favorite flavors...but still.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

surreal brain exercise?

Tonight while settled on the sofa working, I decided to open up Pandora so I could at least listen to something classical while I worked. That's when the surreal experience started.

As my fingers tapped keys, the sound of classical piano emerged from my computer, as if the words I was typing were being converted into the music of masters. Fingers composing words, and yet...music comes out. I could almost feel my brain churning through this mismatch of sensory experience--fingers on keys, the touch not quite matching up with the auditory input looking for somewhere to land inside my head.

By now, the language center in my brain started a bizarre tailspin. I continued typing sentences, but my thoughts were pulled toward the sensory circus going on in another part of my head, creating a sort of schizophrenic sense of talking simultaneously in two voices. But not out loud--nope, I was definitely not talking to myself!

Weird, I know. But kind of fun, right? So now I'm slicing and have switched Pandora over to something else for the fun of it. Yep, this post was composed to the tap of fingers on the keyboard and the sounds of Sweet Home Alabama.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Consider the Source

Last night Oldest and Middle participated in the regional round of the state music contest for jazz groups. Oldest plays bass with the high school jazz band and Middle plays violin with the newly-formed jazz strings at our middle school. Both also play with our orchestras, and the music department in our district is state-level good. They are pretty amazing and regularly win awards.

But that's not what I'm excited about.

The contest last night was pretty far away, so Husband, Youngest and I didn't go (don't worry--high school Oldest and middle-school Middle didn't mind. I prefer to think of it as teen independence and not the fact that they don't want their parents following them everywhere).  The middle school group got home a couple hours before the high school group, so Middle was in bed by the time Oldest got back.

"How'd it go?" I asked. He told me they had done really well, with top marks from the judges.  I mentioned that his sister had told me she noticed he had come to the auditorium when the middle school group performed. I knew that Middle had 3 solos...and that she said she had been nervous and wasn't sure they were that great.

"Yeah--and you know what? They were good. Really good, like probably either the best ones there or one of the best, and they were way better than most of the other middle schools."

"Really?" I replied, "that's awesome! How did the solos go for Middle?"

"Um, pretty good. Actually....she was the best one. Hers were stronger than the others." He went on a bit about both groups, but I don't remember his exact words after that.

Oldest said complimentary things about Middle. He said she was the best. And he meant it. Consider the source--Oldest, Middle, and Youngest are generally nice to each other and they really do get along well, but I don't often (ok, so it's more like rarely) hear them talk about each other this way.

The awards are great and I'm proud of the kids from our school. But what I'm going to remember is that little bit of conversation--the part I'm really proud of.

Friday, March 2, 2012


The wind
           is gusting and blowing
with more               and more power, and
        I can hear the rocking chairs where
 I sit              to slice            in the summer and where I like
to     sip coffee and read     getting knocked over and         I think
                  I saw the porch light
     reflect off a tumbling                      trash can and am wondering if
it is ours         and where it will be
                                                   by morning and what is that crashing against
the porch railing and           I bet it's the neighbor's trash can       but which one
              will be almost
impossible to tell                  because things are blowing and tossing and banging
                  like a toddler in full on tantrum mode            and it just
won't stop.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I'm in

Here is what I sent to a few friends earlier this week: 

Guess what? The Slice of Life Slicing Challenge on the Two Writing Teachers site starts Thursday.
Are you in?
C’mon, some of you did it last year….and me too.
If I can, you can.
No, I definitely do NOT have time this year. Not even a little bit.
And yes, I did totally drop the ball on my once a week slicing and posting (on my prof blog) once school got going.
But guess what?
I’m going to try anyway.
And I think you should too.

At least some of them are in. 
I may also have convinced a couple newbies to at least check it out.
Last year I sliced all 31 days.
I used to slice once a week and post professionally once a week.
Then I didn't. For a long, long time.
And after a while, it seemed like I couldn't.
Now I'm starting again, and things at home and at work are busier than they've ever been.
And you know what?
I'm in. 
It's nuts, but I'm in.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

We're not done yet

On Valentines' Day, if I'm lucky, Husband gets me the good chocolates from the shop in town. He did, and I had chocolate and coffee for breakfast. I plan to eat more before bed; it sort of bookends the day. Of course, as I enjoy that last bit before going to sleep, I'll also be looking forward to tomorrow.

You see, Valentines' Day has been a sort of two-day affair for us for the last 20 years. We got married the day after Valentine's Day--a Saturday that year--and so, for the past 20 years, we have had a back-to-back, two-day holiday of sorts.

I like it, and so does he. We like that while everyone else winds down from the high of Valentines' Day and celebrating love with someone, we just keep celebrating. Tonight, I'll go to sleep knowing that in the morning, I'll get another dose of waking up on a special day, and that my morning routine will take longer because of extra kisses and a hug each time we pass each other while getting ready. I know that during the day I'll get another round of sweet text messages--and that I'll be sending some as well. There may even be presents.

And there will for sure be another whole day of making sure we let each other know how 20 years ago, we created something even more special than a two-day holiday.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

rockin' out

I danced in my kitchen today. Not the silly, happy little dance you do when you try a new recipe and it works or the swaying, hugging slow dance you do when Husband gets home.
Nope. Full-on shakin' stuff rockin' out.

I blame stress. And the sunshine that peeked at us today. Oh, and the playlist that Oldest made me last year for my birthday. I knew the past several days had been stressful and the fact that my shoulders were touching my earlobes was probably a bad sign, but I was dealing with it.
Then I pushed play on my iPod while cleaning the kitchen.

I think I was halfway through Play Guitar, singing along with John Cougar Mellencamp, when I realized that I was getting very little cleaning done, but I was playing a mean air guitar. By the time Bon Jovi and I were done belting out You Give Love a Bad Name, I was a little out of breath (yeah, yeah, yeah--should've made exercise a New Year's Resolution). By the time I got done lamenting along with Cake that there "ain't no rest for the wicked...", I realized that my shoulders were relaxing and that I felt better than I had in...well, a long time.

So, when the next song came on, I let go. Don't judge me. And yes, I know that Oldest has a strange sense of what to put on a playlist he made for his mother. But when Sir Mix a Lot started with Baby Got Back, I held nothing back.
And I gotta say...I feel pretty good.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sweet Vindication!

I feel vindicated, affirmed, freed from shame; supported in submitting to 2 of my favorite vices.  Proven by experts, proclaimed in a public forum, these objects of my desire have been declared sought after, beneficial, and useful.

Sweet science! Recognized experts, in the name of science, have revealed the dark, aromatic, earthy, slightly sweet, heaven-scented, soul-strengthening powers of coffee and dark chocolate real, proven, no longer debated. Not a figment of my far-reaching imagination! Not the wishful thinking of a desperate woman! Not the irrational rationalization of an addict! Science. The day of my vindication has arrived, waiting for me on pages 116 and 122 in the most recent edition of Reader's Digest.

Dr. Sanjiv Chopra says "Coffee is truly a lifesaving miracle drug." No kidding. I am fairly certain a large mug of hot dark java has saved me on occasions too numerous to count. Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum's section suggests I "kick off [my] day with [dark] chocolate". Like I haven't been doing that for years.

The day of my rebirth is here--no longer needing to feel shame, limit my consumption, or label myself a junkie, I can openly rename myself a model of healthy living. Sweet vindication is mine!