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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A Last Slice

Today has been long. It was a full day of individual meets with students, one after the other. Then I had the last handful of conferences after. It was just one day, but there were not enough breaks today, and I felt it. When I finished, I stood up and could feel the tension just double down. You know, when you finally feel like you can relax, but your body is so conditioned to sitting up ready to go that it almost seizes up with more hostility. 

I texted Shawn and said, "I cannot adult anymore today. I'm ordering Dominoes."

So now, on my last night of slicing, I'm waiting for a slice to come my way. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Bird Chatter

After dinner, I went outside with Cassie to throw the ball around. There was a gentle rain that wasn't the least bit annoying. It was just a perfect kind of rain to be underneath. Fresh smelling, soft drops, with large spaces in between. Not enough to even make your hand wet or your nose drip. But just enough to be noticed and heard. 

The birds seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the gentle drops. There was so much chatter and singing it was hard not to search and scan the trees trying to locate the conversations. I felt a bit surrounded, but it was a joyful sound, so I didn't mind. 

The playtime ended, and I went back inside. Cassie stood at the door. 

"Come on, Cass, time to come in."

She stands, staring at me. 

"Cassie, come on. Come inside."

Slight whimper. Stomps one foot and stands there staring at me. 

Eventually, she came along, but not happily. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

A Conference Night Slice

It's one of several conference nights I've had over the past two weeks. One more night to go later this week, and I should be finished. In the fall, I remember conferences going pretty quickly. Everyone had finally fallen into somewhat of a rhythm and knew how to navigate the remote learning environment. I had communicated so much with families up to that point that talking again felt redundant. To top it off, they were all being done on Google Meet. Again, something that was more comfortable at that point but still a bit unusual 

This time has been different. I know these families so well. Better than I've ever known a class of students. That is saying a lot. There are some families I've had multiple years, but this year, the connection I have to my families is so much deeper. I'm in their home every day. They've heard me sing, watched me dance, listened to me teach. I've heard them try and watched them help. It's not perfect, but we have all made it better along the way. 

I love these kids and their families. These conferences have been tough but good. I'm looking forward to being finished and getting to relax these tight shoulders—just a few more days and then a break. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021


You woke up early, ready to open gifts. 

You squealed with joy after each gift.

I sipped my coffee--snapping pictures. 

You wanted a castle cake.

You sent me example photos.

I did my best--snapping pictures. 

You lit the candles. 

You smiled.

I sang along--snapping pictures. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Time for a Change

It started over a year ago—no haircuts for anyone. Then the time came when haircuts seemed okay. At that point, our son Elliot's hair was pretty long. Longer than it ever had been. It was at a point where he felt like he wanted to see how far he could go with it and how long he could stand it. 
He lasted a really long time. 
Then last week, he said, "What do you think of a man-bun?"
I was thrilled with the idea. We started talking about possible styles that might work. 
He experimented and came to a decision to keep the top long and the rest super short. It would be much more comfortable, but he could keep growing out the top if he wanted to. A man-bun could be achieved too—worth a try.
Below are his before photo and several after photos. He loves it. I love it. We all love it!

This one is my favorite. He looks so surprised. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Window Watching

I sat on my couch with the curtains pushed back and watched out the window for a moment today. There were no cars. No one was walking. The rain had stopped. All seemed a bit quiet. 

Looking around, I could see the grass is starting to green up. I love that fresh grass green. Such a hopeful color. A renewed color. A robin was quietly still. It didn't seem to have any plans. I wondered, is it waiting for something? Waiting for a tell-tale vibration from below, or is it just enjoying the peace? A moment later, a squirrel ran through, and I started to wonder if it was looking for a hidden stash of nuts buried from fall. It seemed to zig-zag through the yard erratically. Is that worry...Nah, just normal manic squirrel behavior.  I could hear a dog bark in the distance, but it didn't seem to disrupt the intent of the squirrel or the stillness of the bird—each of them there, each of them competing for something different. Or so I think. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

My Sweet-tart

Look at this sweet-as-pie cutie! 

This dog has been a life changer and a life saver. We have had her almost a full year. She’s much bigger than predicted. She definitely sheds more than expected. And, this Cassie-girl goes crazy wild like clockwork every night and loves us so well. 

She is like a weighted blanket when you need her and a therapy pillow when you want to rest. 

I’m so thankful we have her during this crazy out of balance time in all our lives. Cassie brings routine, joy, mischief, and snuggles. We all take turns needing her and she was here for me today. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Sitcom Shut-Down

When life gets crazy, I find that sitcoms become one of the only ways I seem to be able to escape. When the pandemic first hit, I spent every night watching an episode of Seinfeld just to force myself to turn myself off and relax. 
Well, the pandemic is still raging, and life seems to just keep getting crazy. I am finding myself wholely out of balance, and I need a way to shut down. Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been filling the balance void with some laughter. I can't help but think about nothing when I watch it. I laugh ridiculously, and it relaxes me better than tea and a cozy blanket--I usually watch with tea and a cozy blanket. 
If you haven't seen Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it's kind of like The Office meets a police precinct. It has quirky characters and is completely binge-worthy. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021


This week my son is taking driver's training courses. It's just for the week and is basically a recap of what he did about a year ago. We've been doing lots of practicing the past several months. Night driving, day driving, rain, snow, ice, highway, back roads, you name it, we've done it. Well, I should say, we've almost done all the things you can name. There is one thing we haven't practiced, and that is parallel parking. 

We were planning to go practice this past weekend, and time got away from all of us. We did, however, manage to pick up some cones. This way, we can turn any parking lot into an ideal practice zone. 

When I learned to parallel park, whatever my instructor taught me really stuck. I've always been a confident parallel parker. I know that not everyone is. I'm hoping to pass along the confidence. It's a good skill and an important one to do well. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Outside Chair

Tonight it was so sunny I pulled my infinity chair out from the garage. 

I had been sitting on the back step letting the sun settle onto my skin. My face was so warmed by it I started to think some stress was melting away. It was time for the chair. 

Dragging it out, I got it to the back patio. Success! A little wipe, and it was ready for me to sink right in. I sat down, reclined my feet up, and just let that sun do its job. For a moment, I felt really relaxed, warmed, and grateful for a quiet moment to just be in the sun. I am truly looking forward to more days like this in my near future. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Poetry Ponderings


Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.

~Mary Oliver, "Wild Geese," from Wild Geese, 2004

Today is World Poetry Day. I spent some time today listening to the audio of Mary Oliver reading selected poems. At Blackwater Pond, the CD, was released in 2011, but today was the first day I listened to the selected works. The poem I shared a selection from is one of my favorites of Mary Oliver's poems. I kind of feel like I say that about several of her poems, so maybe I don't actually have a favorite. However, at this time, in this space within my life, her words continue to be words that reflect the way I see the world. That is why, I think, I've always felt so connected to her poetry. It is the reason I one day decided to write a poem as an adult. The way she describes her observations, the ordinary of life, but in a way that makes it feel extraordinary because, really, every breath taken is extraordinary. 

What is it about a pebble and a drop of rain? 

Is it that they exist? 

Is it that we can touch them? 

Is it that they would be here whether we were or not? 

Or is it the way the sun sends a sparkle?

Or how minerals compress and transform?

Or when we are there, how we witness their presence?

These are just poetry ponderings. 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Mac and Cheese

For as long as I can remember, I have loved cooking. One of my favorite things to make when I was a young teen was pasta with a homemade cheese sauce and sauteed zucchini. I would make it all the time. Something was amazing about making that white sauce. Fat and flour, adding in the milk to make the smoothest sauce, cheese, voila! 

I was reminded of that favorite meal tonight. See, as an adult for some time now, I've toggled back and forth between eating exclusively vegetarian or vegan. I went the vegan route again in 2018 and have been strictly meat and dairy-free, with the occasional egg and seafood thrown in for good measure. However, this makes macaroni and cheese a challenge. There are many great vegan cheese options out there now, but I still have struggled to find the best cheese sauce recipe that isn't cheese until tonight. 

A while back, I found a frozen mac and cheese that I had not seen before. It was Chao Mac and Cheese. I tried it and loved it. It had a great texture for a frozen mac, and the cheese flavor was yummy. Of course, after finding it once, I never found it again. Then, I discovered that Chao Shreds were a thing, so I figured someone had come up with a recipe using these shreds. Sure enough, this morning, I found this blog, The Vegan Hippie. The recipe followed the same method as my old favorite—standard white sauce with typical replacements and Chao shreds as the cheese option. I got to work. Made my roux, almond milk added slowly, lots of whisking, shreds melted in, and a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast. It was the best mac and cheese I've made in the past several years that is non-dairy. I'm so excited to have an indulgent option when I want something creamy and savory for a side or for a whole meal! 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Ready for a Reset

Shaping the pillow, I place it against the armrest. I've grabbed a bubly, and it's grapefruit-flavored--one of my favorites. I'm in my comfy clothes. My legs are curled up. For the first time today, my shoulders are relaxed. Friday night has come, and I am ready for it. On my couch, surrounded by my family, writing a slice at the end of a challenging week. I am relieved and looking forward to a weekend to reset. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Nature's Magic

As a little girl I found nature to be magical. Lady slipper flowers, the pattern of a fern, lines within a rock, and even floating algae seemed to perplex my mind and grab my attention. I would often watch out my window as birds gathered in the yard or flew through the trees. There were many times I would sit quietly in the grass and attempt to catch a bird. It turns out running toward a bird is a poor strategy if you are trying to capture it with your bare hands. Well, at least that was my experience.

A few nights ago I was outside taking pictures. My backyard in 2021 is very different from my childhood backyard, but I often get those same magical feelings. Whether it's from the snowdrops, our pine tree, the occasional woodpecker, or the frequent deer, there seems to be magic in how nature makes me feel.

While continuing to photograph and wander, I stepped into what looked like skeletal remains of our milkweed garden. We have a lot of milkweed and when it dies each season, it dries into ash colored stalks. The seed pods dry and crack, releasing seeds into the wind. 

One stalk in particular caught my eye. I took several photos to try and capture exactly what I was seeing, and the way I was seeing the dried out stalk. 

It was a bird. A bird in flight. It made the desolate area seem a little more alive. Soon, it will be teaming with buzzing, blooms, and butterflies. 


Wednesday, March 17, 2021


I called my mom tonight to chat. The conversation started out as it does now, checking in on everyone, talking about the latest. Then there was a mention of routines, and my mom started to tell me about something I hadn't heard before. 

"So, I was watching tv the other day, and on the show, they were talking about when they brush their teeth. One of the hosts says they brush their teeth first thing in the morning. It led to this whole conversation about how you are actually supposed to do this first. I remember always being told to brush after meals. No one ever said first thing. I guess it's because so much bacteria builds up, and it's better for you. So, when do you brush your teeth?"

I responded with my entire morning routine—every little detail and step, including dog snuggles and coffee quite time. I told my mom I always brush my teeth once I'm in "get ready" mode, which is a totally different mode of my morning. I like to start out slow. 

We continued. My mom then told me her entire morning routine and said she had decided to change when she brushes her teeth, doing it first thing after she wakes up. She said there's something about it, that effervescence of the mint or something. It just wakes her up, and she loves the change to her routine. 

I may consider it. Routines are tough to change, but this does seem like a very doable change. We'll see. 

When do you brush your teeth?

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Cut Short

My youngest and I went on a walk with Cassie tonight. As we started down the driveway I could hear shuffling behind us. 


The stocky and sturdy dog that thinks it wants to be friends with Cassie was in our driveway. Jane sprung into action.

"Chubs! Hiiiii Chubs. How are you doing? Were you waiting for us?"

I quickly got Cassie down the driveway and out of "Chubs" reach. I should clarify, we've given the dog the name Chubs. It's a term of endearment. 

Jane ran to catch up as Chubs walked away, satisfied with the belly rubs. 

"And how was Chubs tonight?"

"Happy as always. Okay, so down to the circle and back?" Jane was pleading. 

"NO, we are going all the way to the school and back."

"OH MY GOSH. I'm too tired and my legs hurt."

"I need a good walk tonight and you do too."

As we continued walking, laughing, and talking, we were only halfway to the school when I noticed two dogs running around in a neighbors yard just ahead. I didn't recognize the dogs and I could assume they had an invisible fence, but I wasn't in the mood. Cassie had finally settled into the walk and this was going to derail it for sure. 

Pausing, Jane and I exchanged glances.

"Okay, that's it. We're turning around."


"Go find Chubs."

Monday, March 15, 2021


Tonight my son and I stopped putting off taking photos for the orthodontist. We both kept forgetting to get things submitted for his virtual appointment. I blame fatigue. We are all so tired lately. 

But tonight was the night. We had never gotten all the way to the photo portion of the virtual appointment, but I knew there were photos. He needed good lighting and some spoons. 

Okay, so here is where things got real. It starts with a simple profile picture: regular toothy smile, relaxed jaw, easy peasy. Then, left bite--use the spoon to pull your cheek back, revealing all your teeth. Sure, no problem. We sailed through that one. We even made it through the right bite. As we began the roof of the mouth photo, a bit of a chuckle emerged. I knew we needed to act fast. 

See--my son has the ability to make me laugh. I mean, like, ridiculous laughter. He barely even needs to work at it, and at times even he is surprised by my response. 

We had two photos to go. The bottom teeth with open mouth, and the last one was a two spooner. It was over before we got to it. I started laughing. Like insane laughing that didn't even sound like laughing.

 At one point, Elliot said, "What even was that sound?" 

Which, of course, made me laugh harder. Did I mention we are in the bathroom because--good lighting--so I can see myself laughing, which also makes me laugh harder. So counterproductive. 

Eventually, we got through the photos with lots of deep breaths and pretend serious faces. That self-service appointment was exhausting. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

A Surprise

Not wanting to break the streak of purposeful outdoor time every day, I took a walk in my backyard tonight. It wasn't a walk that got my heart rate up, but it was good for my soul. 

I started out the door at dusk. Cassie was on my heels, of course. I tossed a toy once in a while to get her going while I snuck out the back gate. It was quiet. I could hear some crackling in my neighbors burn barrel and the snap of twigs under my boots. Otherwise, there was only silence. 

When I hit the edge of the woods, I heard a woosh above, followed by a screech. Several screeching calls followed as a red-tailed hawk circled above the treetops. I stood and watched. I think my presence had upset the hawk, and it was making its frustration clear. 

I wondered what other surprises might be out and about. Reminding myself it was getting darker, I walked just far enough to see if the snowdrops were still blooming and then headed back to the house. A simple stroll, a little surprise, but mostly just the fresh air I needed.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Searching for Snowdrops: Take Two 🎬

in mid-conversation

"Someone said they saw some the other day, so you better get out there."

It's been almost a week since I went on a search. Today had been a busy day, but I finally got around to grabbing my phone and heading out to the backyard. Poor Cassie ran out and grabbed a ball, hoping, looking, waiting to see if we were going to play. 

"You're going to be disappointed. Maybe later, Cassafrass."

Heading through the back gate, the crunch of the leaves broke the silence of the evening air. The sun in a perfect position cascading its rays through the groggy trees. It is a beautiful evening here, and I was able to enjoy all of its presents. 

One of the many, many photos I snapped. 

Shawn getting some snaps with his camera. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

You're Muted

Today I was planning to take my class on a field trip through our school building. A handful of students are coming back to in-person learning in different classrooms, and it had been a while since I had ventured out with the class live. It seemed like a good day to do take a walk. 

I thought I would get students started on a color, cut, glue activity to work on while I walked around and talked to different people. I also wanted to show students where their grown-ups could pick up the little libraries to keep at home. 

We started our morning meeting singing, dancing, and whipping through our routines. Then I said, "It's time!" I could see all the excitement in their faces. I opened up the meeting on my phone and pinned it to my computer screen presentation so the kids would have a big view of our adventure. 

When I opened the meet on my phone, I made sure to turn down my volume to avoid the inevitable echo. When all seemed set and ready, I jumped out of my chair and started toward the door. 

I narrated the entire trip. 

Oh, look, here is a first-grade classroom. 

Hi Mr. Luna! Wave to my class!

There's Mrs. Hisler, everyone! Mrs. Hisler, say hello to my class. 

She waves and says hello. 

I then made my way to our curriculum director/lit coach to get a wave from her and the counselor. I had full conversations with each of them, introducing the kids and talking about reading month. My enthusiasm was at a high level!

Walking back to the classroom, I let everyone know we would settle back in to wrap up our meeting.

As I came around to my desk, once again, I was met with a grid of faces. However, they looked less than thrilled. 

And then it hit me--

Kinders, was I muted that whole time?

Nods of sad faces. 

I am so sorry. 

My head dropped. 

Deep breath. 

So, how about we try this again on Wednesday and now that I made that mistake, I won't make it again! 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

What Day Was That?


"Hi, I'm here to get Jane."

A moment later, the school counselor emerged with the sign-out sheet and we made our way to the car. 

"UGH, I don't want to go to the dentist."

My arms embraced the slumped shoulders to encourage and remind, "It's going to be fine."

We pulled around to the high school. Elliot walked out; the office had him watching for me. We did a quick switch, and he took over the wheel. 

After a few bits of small talk, I noticed I had a missed call and voicemail. I went to see the transcript and accidentally played it on the speaker. 

"Hi Betsy, this is....from....dentistry...just calling to remind you of Elliot and Jane's appointment tomorrow."



No, no, no. That can't be right. 

I go to my calendar. Yep, March 12. 

I go to the text verification I confirmed just two days ago. Yep, March 12. 

Yet, I took the afternoon off today, March 11. 

I was planning not to forget appointments on Thursday--I kept mentally reminding myself. 

Let's just say at this point, the kids were both thrilled, and I was less than thrilled. Next came the scramble to adjust my schedule to make it possible to leave early tomorrow. Hopefully, the secretaries don't think I'm crazy when I say the kids are leaving for a dentist appointment for the second day in a row. 

At this point, I just have to laugh and say, yep, this fits the week. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021


I had a moment today. It was too much at once, and I couldn't hold back my tears. I am all for a good cry, but I prefer to determine when and where. I rarely have actual control over this when I find myself overwhelmed like I am right now. 
I was talking to someone, and they said the right thing at the right time, and I found myself venting and crying. This isn't someone who has seen me cry before. This isn't someone that knows me that well. It was okay, but again, not what I would have planned. 
When our conversation was over, I thanked her. I needed that and didn't even know it. I didn't really feel better, but in a way, I did. The day did not get better, but as it unfolded, I found I was a bit grateful that I had let that out, so new challenges weren't just also building up on top of everything else. 
I really wish life was a bit less dramatic sometimes, but I've lived through enough drama to know that isn't always possible. I'm looking forward to reading some slices tonight and looking for some first-year slicers. That's my goal this evening. To feel like being part of this is some fuel that will get me through the difficulties that come along each day. Knowing I am part of something that inspires others to push themselves in this challenge is awesome, so I'm going to focus on that and finish my night relaxed and ready for tomorrow. 

*I took my walk with Cassie as soon as I got home. She was a little less crazy tonight. Leash training continues. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021


My steps are heavy. It's later than usual, and we require a walk before the day completely evaporates. Cassie,  our pup, seems even more curious and delighted by the darkness. 

We walk into shadows carved around the light posts. The crunch of leaves beneath her feet the loudest sound, only matched by the laughter of a teenage boy and his always silly dad.

Space stretches between us as the puppy pulls, and I go with it, forcing stops every few steps to redirect and try again. 

As we reach the turnaround, we are in near-complete darkness. Retracing our steps home, I hand off the leash and noticing come into focus. The street lamp's light spreads back into view. I become curious about what is illuminated. A final patch of snow, remnants of a season transitioning. A boy and his dog, both growing up. 

Monday, March 8, 2021

Will You Be My Friend?

LEAVES--You will be my friend!

CARS--You will be my friend!

ROCKS--You will be my friend!

Similar to the Peter Brown book, with the same title, this is what I imagine Cassie, my dog saying when we are on a walk. Shawn and I took her down the road and back again today. We are still trying to get her back on track with leash training after all the cold weather. Today a couple of cars went by and she still just lunges right at them. It's like she's begging for interaction. 

As the walk continued, we noticed what appeared to be the shadow of a dog up ahead. Shawn tried to block Cassie's view. The neighbor's dog, a VERY stocky bulldog, was quietly watching from afar. I think it began to feel like it was a good idea to come closer. Watching out of the corner of our eyes, Shawn and I quickened our pace, trying to get past before Cassie noticed the canine. It was futile, Cassie saw the potential friend and we tried to get her to disengage. Unsure of how either dog would respond, we held our breath as the sniffing ensued. It was okay for about ten seconds and then Cassie took it too far. The bulldog quickly backed away. Cassie was interested in play, the bulldog was not, it was okay, thankfully. 

We continued on, thankful we all walked away unscathed. The funny thing was the bulldog started running toward us again after we got a good distance away. I say running with hesitation, that dog was so boxy with those little tiny legs under itself it was more of a shuffle. I chuckled to myself a bit imagining it saying, "Come back! You will be my friend!" 

Cassie had moved on since getting to the driveway, she now had treats on the mind. Friendship would have to wait.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Looking for Snowdrops


So, for some odd reason, when I went to view this post on my phone, the video is not showing. 
Therefore, I'll share the link on some text here in case you find this to be true for you when you visit. 

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Walking Along

It was a sweet 48 degrees here today, and the sun was shining bright. So bright, actually. I have yet to find my sunglasses in the past several weeks. I've needed them more than once. 
I ended up spending my time outside with this sweetheart on a walk anyway. Sunglasses or not, I was getting fresh air today. 
We walked down our street to the elementary school at the end of the road. They put in a new track/pick-up lane behind the school, making a perfect spot to pick up my pace to a slight jog. 
I haven't run in years now. I remember how invigorating it was to run. Winter running was my favorite. It's one thing that has gotten away from me, but I know someday I'll get back to it. Today was just a little sampling. My real hope is to turn my sweet Cassie girl here into my running partner. She's still a bit unpredictable at times on the leash, but one day, maybe she'll be ready to take on the part. 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Backyard Chase

Hanging my coat,
I hesitate.
Her eyes big,
she sits--stares--begs.
I leave my coat and walk to the door,
shoes still on.
A signal.
Excitement unravels from tail to nose.
Sliding the door,
she jumps through,
her portal to freedom.
Suddenly freezing to look back
as if to say
You coming?
as if to answer
She's coming!
I step down, quickening my pace
like a set to a race.
We are off.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Night Sky Fantasia

I am trying to get myself outside at least a little bit every day. Other than walking to and from my car, I didn't get enough outdoor air today. I decided this evening I would at least stroll down the driveway. I started out the door wearing my robe and slippers, it was dark, so I wasn't too worried. The air hit me with a crispness that felt delicious—an apple in fall kind of delicious, but crisp like winter. I lingered there for a moment. Looking up, I discovered it was a cloudless night. We have great sky views above us, so I decided to watch for a bit. 

As I came to understand this was a slice-worthy moment, I wondered how I might be able to capture the images. I knew it wouldn't photograph well, and then it hit me, Star Walk 2! One of my favorite apps that I often forget I have. 

So, here is a fantasia-fied version of what I was enjoying this evening. I like to call it that because it feels like the stars and constellations splash right out of the sky. Maybe it will bring you a moment of peace the way it did for me. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Escalators and Sunshine

Today in remote kindergarten, we read books packed with lots of sight words and a couple of new concept words--up, down. When I asked students what goes up and down, here is what I heard: rollercoasters, bumpy wagons, water splashing, and hills. 

I asked individual students, "Do you know what an escalator is?" A few did. Some had memories of them; others had not experienced an escalator. As I asked about the next big word in our book, elevators, surprisingly, some students had never been on one before. I told them someday, they would likely get to ride an elevator and experience the power of pushing the buttons—every kid's dream. 

As I wrapped up my small groups and individual meets today of guided reading and strategy lessons, I decided I had to get myself outside. I once again joined the kindergarteners at recess to play and run around a little bit. The sun was absolutely brilliant, and I was reminded of something else goes up and down--or at least it seems like it. *The sun! 

I'm looking forward to the sun going down tonight and my head hitting the pillow. 

*Fact: The sun never actually goes up or down. It is the earth's rotation around the sun that gives us the illusion of the sun's movement. We use words like sunrise and sunset to describe these transitions within the day. For my fellow fact-checkers out there, you will appreciate this. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021



A multi-meaning word. 
As a kid, a word we feared. It was silly for me to fear it, but I did. 
"Betsy, you are so lucky your parents don't believe in grounding you," as my best neighbor friend hauled her bike to the garage wall. Grounded from her bike, two weeks. This punished me too. So, yeah, I was afraid of the word. 

A word of hope and sensibility. A pure possibility seems available when someone is grounded. So settled and unfurrowed. So wise and ready. Unshakable. 

What I needed to do today. The kind of grounding I needed to seek because my awareness of reality was shaken. My heart beat in my head. Doors clashed like lightning. The sting behind my eyes slowed down sound and motion. I needed to get outside. I needed the actual ground to feel grounded, settled, aware. 

I pushed the lightning doors into the glass iced light. The brightness only distracted by the screams. Screams of recess, five and six-year-olds chasing and racing. I stopped to chat with one or two, slowly making my way to the woods behind the building. Ice patches everywhere; I feared falling. I wanted no attention. I wanted solace. I wanted to touch the dirt. 
I walked.
Some of my steps the first, some of them the second. Patches of frozen decay poked from below while bits of new life were already surfacing. 
Something new can always come from something gone. 
I walked. 
I smelled. 
I breathed. 
I blinked. 
Hands in my pockets then out, I knelt to find a stick. Something to take with me, to keep with me, to ground me even when I can't come to the woods. 

The whistle blew—time to head back. Back to my room, with my stick in hand. 


Monday, March 1, 2021

Will I Remember to Look?

Every March, a lot of things happen. I won't list them because there's really only one thing I'm thinking about at this moment. It is a particular bird that begins popping into view. In years past, I have spent days and days looking, waiting for this elusive creature to sneak into my line of sight. It is one of those sure signs of spring I await each year. It is the robin. I'm not sure why robins have such a hold on me, but they do. There have been times I've been so excited to finally see a robin that I nearly stopped my car in traffic. Not a good consequence of having an obsession with seeing this bird. 

So here we are, 2021. I'm thinking, it's never going to happen. I won't see this bird until April. I'll be lucky if I see one at all. Now, I don't mean to be pessimistic. I truly think this train of thought I found myself cycling through the other day was a self-protective kind of unproductive drain of sorts. I felt a bit concerned. Like so many other things that have been unpredicted and out of my control, I wouldn't see a robin this year. That I'd be too busy. Or, maybe I would see one after seeing many, maybe even without realizing it. That maybe this would be the year I didn't try because so much will be on my mind that I'd miss this--oh so important--transitional image that I count on each year. (Can you hear me whining here?)

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Sitting at my desk, my eyes became distracted by movement near the window. I wasn't intending on looking, but I couldn't help it. Like a little hello, there it was. A beautiful, bouncy robin playing in a puddle outside my window. Digging in and down, looking around for something to grab in its beak. I was immediately just washed over with this sense of relief and joy. 

It was so many things. 

I was happy to see the robin; I was happy to not have to look for one. This was--my one. I could check that off and not worry that my busy mind would miss something. And even though it has no actual impact on my ability to move forward, it would somehow allow me to move forward a bit more.