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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Literacy Night Buzz

I'm currently sitting in my computer lab at school. It is literacy night and the lab is open but I am happy to report the lab is dead. Now, don't get me wrong, I love technology, but it makes me happy to see kids more interested in the author, the book swaps and fun family activities. I've seen a few students here and there but it has mostly been quiet aside from the buzz in the hallway as families cycle through the book fair and giveaway tables. I love working in this community. It is always amazing to me how many families, even the ones you wouldn't expect, show up to these events.
As I sit here, all I hear is happiness. The occasional people running into each other and laughing hysterically. The more frequent, kids excited squeaking voices yelling to their moms to " COME ON!" I hear dads chuckling as they are dragged from room to room.
So when I go to school tomorrow and hear, "I didn't see you last night!" I will have a quick, "well I heard you," as my comeback.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

I went to Pennsylvania this past weekend for a workshop, which I will blog about in depth sometime in November for Two Writing Teachers. It was an amazing trip, made even better when I sat down with Lindsay Barrett George, Lucy Staugler and Lori Nichols (new friends)! We decided to go to dinner at a place called The Halfway House. It had a worn but cozy interior and we sat down. Moments later we were greeted by Suzie, our waitress.

"How ya doin' tonight? Did you see the specials? Here's the board, I'll leave it right here." Okay, so this might not seem odd, but she propped the specials board up on the table next to us, where people were in the middle of eating. However, they didn't seem to mind one bit.

We continued our conversation and took a look at the specials. We also found out that Suzie is not a fan of the clam chowder and that it was at the bottom of the barrel, so "stay away from that one."
It continued on. She relayed that it is a dangerous time of year to be on the roads because everyone is looking at the beautiful colors and she often finds that she is in the wrong lane.

Then we wanted our picture taken, with Suzie. Which meant that Vera's assistance was needed, another waitress in the restaurant. Vera came over, holding Lucy's phone backwards, squinting, looking it all over, "Well, what do I do with this?" Suzie gave her step-by-step directions on how to hold the camera phone. Vera followed along and began to take a picture of Suzie, Lindsay and Lucy. However, Lori and I were not in the picture.
Suzie said, "Uh, Vera, they want everybody in there!"
To which Vera said, "Well I got three of you!"

Vera, eventually, did get us all in the picture. However, it was after practically sitting in the lap of the person next to us. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Starters with No Finish

Did you ever have a half dozen starters to a slice but nothing afterward? Here are my starters, maybe you can use one:

  1. Sometimes I wonder...(Why did we buy a 16 foot top beam for the swing set, OY).
  2. And now I wait...(Wrote an article, waiting for the editor to reply, but my editor is about to have twins, OY).
  3. Where is this all going? (We have a pile the size of a small planet that needs to be removed from my driveway, NOW! OY).
  4. When is that going to happen? (We need a new roof, but my husband is handy and is determined we will do it ourselves. Money saver yes, time saver, OY)!
  5. Are you having trouble hearing me because it looks like you just did the opposite of what I said. (Yeah, it's summer and yeah, my kids are getting the best of me, and the worst of me, OY).
  6. Let's plan a trip to...(We are planning a mystery trip for my kids, should be fun, I hope they love it. Someday I will have to tell you the story of the mystery trip my parents took my sister and I on, pretty epic...right Lori? Pretty sure she just said, OY).

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


While I was at ALL WRITE!!! this past week, a conference in Warsaw, IN, I had a conversation with Donalyn Miller about starting a grown-up book club. It made me gulp a little at the thought of trying to find a book Donalyn Miller hasn't read already and the fact that I can't remember the last grown-up novel I read. Sad, I know. I constantly read blogs, articles and professional text with a middle grade or YA novel thrown in for good measure now and then. But a grown-up novel, well, it's been a while.
Then I had a conversation with Jen Serravallo about the book club idea and she loved my hashtag, #GULP, which stands for Grown-Up Literary People. She was interested too.
What now I thought. Am I really going to start a book club? Can I handle it? Well, summer is probably the best time to try it out and maybe if I get myself on a role with some nice novels I'll find that I really enjoy them again.
What is a recent novel you have read that might be a good book to start with? My friend Robin recommended The Light Between Oceans by Stedman. I know nothing about it, but it has great reviews, so that is a start. I'm taking nominations and members, so let me know!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sick of the Sick

I feel like many of my posts the last few months have had to do with illness, heck, more than a few. Now it's my husband. At the beginning of the year it felt like I was never at school a full week because my children were taking turns being sick. Then the past few months I've been hit with illness on three occasions. It just seems to be making the rounds. Now it is my husband. When one of us is sick the daily duties of life get turned on their head.

Sick of the sick
the stuffy noses
the fevers
the stomach aches
the body aches
the head aches
the achy aches
life just aches

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Slice

A slice
of time
a note
a rhyme
the passage
my message
of words
like vine

I listen
I learn
but turn
and yearn
for breaks
and wakes
of waves
to churn

In night
I ask
you're swift
you pass
me by
my eye
a shine
like brass

A wish
I blew
from me
to you
the seed
it flows
on breeze
of blue

Wondering what to write about, I just started typing words and a poem started to form. Then I began to get a little more intentional and revise a bit. It is still just a rough poem, but I was thinking in rhyme this evening and it just flowed. As I go back and reread it I wonder what it all means. What is my message? What am I trying to say? What can the waves teach me? Who is passing me and why am I blowing wishes their way? One begins to wonder when there is no rhyme or reason for a poem and yet there it is. What does it say about me?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Terrors of the Night

My son is nine going on ten. He has night terrors and tonight by far was the worst of them. It is like watching your most precious piece of china burst into a million pieces. Falling in every direction chaos ensues and you are helpless. There is no where to walk, you might cut your foot. The broom is on the other side of the room and you can't reach it. You become anxious wondering when you will be able to move again because you are paralyzed by shards. There is no moving from the moment. There is only chaos. Until light breaks in and you see a path. You walk it to find a clearing and all is right again, as though the china never broke. As though the moment never happened. And you begin to wonder, did it?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day Six

I've been sick
day six today
a lot has been done
images made
writing completed
reading underway
with more to do
while the house falls apart
I walk through the piles
no one at fault
just life happening around me
energy bursts
then ceases
I guess I'll go back to sipping my Sprite.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Refluent--Flowing Back

"And in haste the refluent ocean / Fled away from the shore and left the line of the sand-beach / Covered with waifs of the tide…." — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline, 1847 

Refluent is the word of the day. I couldn't possibly put this word to use in a more effective way than Longfellow, but I will try. 

Words has flown
around my page
from pen 
from key
from me
to you
from my mind's eye
to my marked notebook
they have flowed
in the receding waves
of my heart
to the refluent winds
of my soul. 

Happy March 31st, the final day of SOSLC 2015. 

Monday, March 30, 2015


Bed cannot come
fast enough
tiring muscles
cry for rest
rubbed eyes
close spontaneously
sleep wanders
and I begin to chase her.

Can you tell I am tired this evening? My eyes will not stay open, which makes reading or doing anything at all for that matter impossible. Here's to sleep. May it come quickly.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

What I Saw Today

A sunrise
A game of hide and seek
A proposal
A ring
A Yes
A kiss
Friends (Katherine, Brian, Emily and Kim)
Georgia Heard!
People writing
People listening
A friendly tech guy
A river
A statue
A fountain
People watchers
Long hallways
Smiles and

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Busy Day

Today was a busy day. My daughter turned eight. We had a birthday party at the bowling alley. It was great fun. I have been preparing for a presentation tomorrow at MRA (Michigan Reading Association). I started reading a professional book, The Reading Strategies Book by Jen Serravallo. It is and will be amazing. I touched base with the book I have been reading, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. It's been a busy but fulfilling day. I look forward to tomorrow and hopefully I will see a robin, the first robin of spring, for me.

Friday, March 27, 2015

This Girl

A little curl of hair
at the nape of your neck
spaghetti crusted cheeks
and a sauced up head
a little toothy grin
revealing pearly whites
you cheese them all up
then flash, you smile bright.

You clap and sing and dance
with your little toddled legs
One step, two step 
our fingers interlace
I lift you like a hero
spinning round and round
I'll never let you go
may you never touch the ground.

My youngest is turning eight tomorrow. Need I say more. I was thinking tonight about what a spunky toddler she was, she's still spunky, but we forget some of those years when our kids were toddling around. Life is so different now.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Today is that day. I look around the house and you can tell it has been a busy week. Report Cards, meetings, preparing for a presentation, working on an article for publication, it's been heavy. But as these things come and go it gets lighter and then heavy again. We all have days, weeks, years like this.

Today's not the day
to right all the wrongs
to fix all the leaks
to sift through all the boxes
to sweep all the dirt
to unfill the glasses
and wipe all the tears
today's not that day
it's not been for years.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Morning Drive

I was in the car on the way to work today when I saw old leaf litter blowing around in the wind. It was still a bit dark and the rain made things glisten a bit. I thought, for a second, I saw a butterfly, but it was just a leaf. This has happened to me before. Once I thought I saw a toad crossing the road on a wet leafy day, but it was just a leaf. I thought, oooo, this would make a great haiku, so I worked at it. I worked at it. I didn't like it and I still don't like any of it, but the final result is kind of humorous to me.

5   leaves are in disguise
7   as like fliterring butterflies
5   leafy wings of spring

7   drifts of colorless litter

7    a caterpillars canvas

5    stealthy littered wings

5    leaves are in disguise
7    like flittering butterflies
5    stealthy littered wings

5    flutter from the sky
7    a beautiful butterfly
5    nope, it's just a leaf

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Story of a Different Shape

I'm over halfway through Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. I've been able to do a lot of reading while my kids play at the park. I love sitting in the car outside the little neighborhood school down the road while my kids play and I read. Win win! Normally I am a slow to start reader who goes fast through the rest of a book. I think a lot of people are like this. But this book is different. I am reading it really slow. I am soaking it up. Marinating in the words. I'm taking my time. Reading each verse as though it were the only verse in the story, but connecting them as I go. There are so many parts that I love and on Thursday I get to share some of those parts with some third graders. A class at my school recently read a Time For Kids magazine that talked about the book and I believe had a short interview with Woodson. One of their questions was, "How can you write a whole book in verse?" I thought this was a good question and one I would love to talk to students about, however, my kindergartners aren't quite ready to talk about a book of this breadth. We'll see how the third graders do. I am excited to share portions of this story with them and talk about how verse can tell a beautiful story. It may be shaped a little differently, but a story definitely emerges.  

On another note, my sister recently began writing on Tuesday's for SOL. She is an amazing writer and it would be minutes well spent if you have time to spare to go read her post today. It is a beauty. Click here

Monday, March 23, 2015

Random Thoughts

Random thoughts that have entered my mind today:

  1. OH NO, report cards are due Thursday.
  2. I cant' keep my eyes open.
  3. When grandma was hungry she used to say, "My bellybutton is eating a hole through to my backbone." I was hungry at the time. 
  4. Jurassic Park had a cool soundtrack, I remember listening to it multiple times in high school. 
  5. I hope no one ever sees me in these pink sweat pants.
  6. It's still too cold for sandals and dresses. :(
  7. I have a meeting tomorrow at 6 pm, ugh. 
  8. I want some fruit salad. It would taste like summer in my mouth.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Science Kind of Day

We worked (and we are still working I should say) on my son's solar panel science project today. Lucky for us it was a beautiful day outside and a great one for doing a project.
We measured the volts of three different light bulbs and the sun to compare which would put out the most voltage. Not surprisingly the sun won out! Elliot's hypothesis was that the sun would create the most voltage because it's the biggest thing ever. I thought that was cute.

Here are some photos of the fun! Oh, and the beautiful sun too. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

One Single Story

We are all made
of many stories
but not all of them
are told.
Only some are public
and even some are sold.
What we believe
is often bought
and we are left,
but don't wonder.
We sit with that one story
and assume we know the other.

I wrote this almost immediately after watching a remarkable story told by Chimamanda Adichie. She beautifully explains that often we only know one story and that is dangerous. If we only know one story of our neighbor or that person from Mexico or that Nigerian we are making a dangerous mistake. We are all made of many stories and many are not told. It is our responsibility to seek out the story ourselves and lest not leave ourselves to assume, to judge, or to be told by someone else who is only aware of one story.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Untitled (Ironically)

on a cracked concrete step
I look at the
depressed flat grass
that doesn't even resemble itself,
Just recently revealed,
spokes of green are beginning to peek.
My eyes close
I imagine the smell of green
the warmth of yellow
and the beauty of pinks and oranges
glowing and reflecting on
the lake that is calling me.
Likely still glazed in a layer of ice
ducks walk on the shifting plates
fish move a little more quickly
as warmth over takes the frozen water.
I wonder about the sand.
Is it blowing?
Has it molded to the shape of the wind?
Would my footprints disrupt this dance?
I wonder, miles from this place of solitude,
my paradise.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Literacy Night

It's a down to the wire kind of night tonight. We had literacy night this evening at my school. It was great. We had students up in front of parents and families reading stories they had written. We also had a well known author Ruth McNally-Barshaw attend and show us some of her doodling expertise. She is the author of the Ellie McDoodle Books and a fun lady as you can imagine. There were book walks (kind of like a cake walk), a notebook making station and the school was filled to the brim with student writing samples. They covered lockers, walls and tables for parents to read and look through. Everyone was smiling. Everyone was happy (well, except for one crying baby). Everyone was present. I love watching the small community I work in come together for events like this. Everyone who can come, comes. They flood in the door and participate for their kids and their kids are better for it. It is the kind of community that cares deeply about its children and that shows over and over again as I continue to witness events like this and the support that accompanies them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

That Post

It's March eighteenth. A hard day for me to write. I don't know why. Maybe I'm tired. Maybe I'm a little beat down after a long several difficult weeks at school. Maybe it's none of those things and I'm just void of any significant thoughts. This challenge can be tough at times and tonight it is tough for me. Everyone has these days and I think everyone writes at least one slice about not having anything to write about. That is today for me. I hope it will be the only day I have like this. I hope I will notice more tomorrow. I know I passed many slices along my day today, but I wasn't looking, my eyes weren't open enough.

sun squinting
my eyes sealed
tears reserved
no feelings revealed
I sit and ponder
nothing settled
no words to whisper
no flower pettalled

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Seeking the Story...Part Three

On March 17, 2012 I wrote a slice for the SOLSC called Seeking the Story. On March 18, 2012 I wrote part two; a part I did not know would come. 
Today I am writing part three.

It is March 17th. It has been twenty-five years. Twenty-five. I can't believe it. Twenty-five years ago today I was twelve and scared. I was bottled up. I was letting go of the thought of feelings, but not letting them go. I was holding them, letting them settle in my heart. They have become permanent fixtures, attaching themselves to ventricles and arteries. Sitting in a little hole of sadness. One of many little holes I will accumulate as I grow-up. 

Twenty-five years ago today my grandmother passed away. It was peaceful. There were a lot of family members gathered together. We waited as we listened to her breathe, knowing it wouldn't be long. My mom would wet a wash cloth and wipe my grandmother's lips to moisten them, they had become dry and she seemed to know this might offer her some comfort. I imagined her thanking my mom, but there was no voice left. Just breath. I often wonder if she was able to still have thoughts, hear us, think about the fact that she was in her last moments. I wonder what that must be like. 

I wasn't in the room when she took that final breath. I think she planned it that way. Waited for me to go to the gift shop with my sister. Waited for my innocent young self to leave so I wouldn't have to witness her leaving. Waited until I was holding something I would attach to her memory. A pink lily hair clip that was laying on a velvet covered table. It was in my hand when my mom came to tell us. I've never worn it, so instead of hair it holds memories. 

That memory traveled with me for a long time. I even wrote a paper about that day, tied to another significant day in my life and how memories can flood our senses so wildly, it almost feels like we are back in that moment. I am leaving photos of that paper below. If you read the links above to my other slices you will understand the significance of including it here. No pressure to read it, just here if you'd like. And a picture of the pink hair clip. :)


Below is a snapshot of the front page of the article I reference in the other slices, 
in case you were curious. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Inch Worm

I'm the only one, or so I think, who will be slicing about an inch worm this evening.

I was outside just as the sun was beginning to go down. It wasn't quite dark but it wasn't quite light either. Sun was streaming just over my air conditioning unit. No, I did not start my air conditioner yet, but it was 68 degrees where I live and that was heaven here in Michigan. But alas, it will only be 40 degrees tomorrow.

So there I am watching the sun go down as something catches my eye. A little shadow. A little curl. I look and for the first time in a long time I see an inch worm. It made a little curl of smile turn up on my face. I love noticing little bits of nature.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Whole Pie of Slices

There were many slices that arose while I was at the park with my kids today. It was our first visit this year and the sun was beaming, along with my smiling children. When we entered there were a few families, but not many. It was time for one family to leave and the little boy wasn't having it. I remember those struggles, still have them at times. Another family was telling their toddler to slow down and he ended up on his nose in a scream as the parents rushed to him. Just a scratch. Another family was munching on some McDonald's. There were bruises made here and there, polka dotted jackets and a boy trying to balance his stuffed animals on the swings. He would have it and then off they'd fall as soon as he pushed them. I heard, "Will you play with me?" I listened to turn taking and whines as some had "long" ten second waits in the line at the slide as families began pouring in. Kids of all sizes and a few adults took a whirl on the tire swing. It was joyful mostly aside from the squeals of sorrow little ones felt when it was time to go home. I had a game plan for mine.
"Hey, it's time to go!"
"Awww, really?"
"Yeah, let's take a walk on the path and then get a shamrock shake!"
While we walked there were blobs of snow and slush on the path. Luckily our feet were prepared. We saw ducks walking on the still frozen river and walked to the lookout to see all the water that was already flowing. It's amazing to see how things transform as the season changes. It also made me look at my children with a bit of a pause. They are so much bigger than the last time we took this walk so many months ago.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Why Does it Always Happen at 2 AM?

"AAAaaaahhhh! Mom!"
"I'm up, I'm up! What's wrong?"

And then, there is the sound. You know what sound I'm talking about. The dreaded sound of your child getting sick. UGH!

I grab the trash can from her room, but I am too late. Double ugh.

This means:

Run some water
Child goes in the tub
I clean the bedding
The bed
Prep the bathroom
Make up a new bed
Clean, clean, sanitize, sanitize
Wash my hands about fifteen times
Pray I don't get it too

Why must these things always happen at 2 in the morning?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fast and Furious

I was driving home from dinner out with my kids when I saw my slice. A man who is homeless walking down the street. I've seen him before. There are many where we live. This is not new. It is sad. I saw him and instantly I was hit with a poem. Driving in the car is possibly the worst place to be hit with a poem when you can't pull over and voice it on your phone or write it in your notebook. Normally when a poem hits me like this I pull over and do one or the other. But, alas, this one was swirling and I just had to keep repeating it in my head, over and over. My kids tried to get my attention, they were playing with their new slime from Michael's Craft Store (I know, in the car, I must be crazy). I was shushing them LIKE CRAZY, trying to keep the words. I kept most of them, but some drifted, as he was, drifting.

Tattered rags
upon my head
I don't know
what others said
about me when
I was what I was
a blue collar worker
now a peddler
a walker
a person
I'm a person
but I beg for my bread.

I wanted to emphasize that he is a person. He may not feel like one. Others may not see him as one. He may feel like a walker, a zombie in this place that is so delusional to those who are homeless. A place that doesn't always take care of its people. A place that turns their eyes and thinks it will never be them. No one is born and hopes to be homeless. It happens. It is not a choice. No one would choose that life.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Am Not (I Am)

I have the day off tomorrow. Nothing could be sweeter after a week of conferences and craziness going on in my classroom right now. I was thinking today after reading a few slices about how I define myself, and realized, I don't. And, I'm okay with that.

This piece was inspired by, I-Here-Now, and Robin Sheldon, thanks for taking me in this direction.

I am not:





I am:




with a heartbeat.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sunshine Streaming

I had to laugh last night when I saw this meme on Facebook.
I can't upload the video, but hopefully you can view it via the link above. When you get to the meme, click on it and the video will play.

I thought of it again this afternoon as I saw sunlight streaming in my classroom window. I have conferences again this evening pretty late so I haven't been able to go enjoy the sunlight yet, but I plan on watching a spectacular sunset on my way home.

Here is the view from my classroom window. For now this is as good as it gets, and frankly, I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Finding the Right Keys

Last night I was tired. I had a long night of conferences, I was hungry and spent. I commented on a few slices and then sat. My husband had fallen asleep on the couch, I was sitting in the dark and feeling like I might end up the same way if I didn't do something soon. Dishes? Nah. Laundry? Nah. Reading? Maybe later. Writing? Hmm, tempting, but not sure I could put thoughts down. Then I decided I should play a little piano. Just a little. There is one song I learned about two years ago. It was a time I was trying to figure a lot of things out and I was determined to learn one of my favorite songs. Falling Slowly, by The Swell Season (AKA: Glen Hansord and Marketa Irglova). This song was featured in the movie, ONCE, which if you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend it.
Back in the winter of 2013 I had my husband print off the sheet music and got to work. It took me several, several weeks to learn the song. I went measure by measure. See, I can read music and I was once a great trumpet player and learned to play piano in high school, but that doesn't make me a pianist. But I worked anyway. Slowly learning the song. I have yet to play the song perfectly without a single mistake. One day, maybe. But I think it's okay. I just love playing it.
I sat down last night and found the keys. Trying to pluck the right ones and failing at times. This is life. Some parts are pretty and some just sound down right off, but if we keep practicing, maybe one day we can get it right.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Conference Night

Ah, spring is in the air which also means it is conference week. I went outside for a few minutes this afternoon just to enjoy the fresh sunshine air that was around my head. I loved it. Kind of recharged my batteries a bit before taking on these conferences. As much as I enjoy talking to parents about their child it can be hard at times too. Being honest about struggles doesn't feel good for me or the parents. It's not that they are hearing it for the first time, but I think each time it stings a little. I am lucky to have two children that have not struggled, as of yet, in school. They have a love of learning and do their best. However, the road is not easy for everyone and I try to put myself in their shoes when talking and tread carefully.
Wish me luck that things go well. They usually do and my parents are kind and sweet this year. Not every year is like that. I can't wait to try and catch another glimmer of sun before I'm finished, but I will likely be going home in the dark tonight.