SOLC Day 31!
We all tally points by completing this writing journey. The stories connected our lives and hearts creating memories and friendships. The month provided a platform where there was an intersection of similar experiences, cyber reaches of support and shared ideas which planted ideas to help us reach and grow.
I am now experiencing life in terms of the integral slices each day brings. My thoughts are scribing these stories as I go along. How can such a challenge change how one thinks in such a relatively short period of time?
Thank you to all for the companionship along the way.
Friday, March 30, 2012
So close to the end of the challenge, the finish line is in sight. Despite that, I was almost convinced that the words in my head just wouldn't shake out onto the paper tonight. Thank you to diana1litcoach for introducing me to the site www.tagxedo.com with her clever posts. I played a little at that site (and will revisit it soon!). As I thought of which words to add, I realized that what was in my head was family, the visit we will have tomorrow and the decisions that will be shared. Those were at the forefront of my well-used mind on a Friday evening. As lingering thoughts of my day at school started to evaporate back into the work week and my focus became family and the visit we will have, I found some words!
Thursday, March 29, 2012
SOLC Day 29 of 31
Early on in the challenge I blogged about the special friendship that two friends and I have shared for many years. At that time I told how one of the friends had very recently passed away. It is still hard not to think that I will again walk into a room and she will be there or dial her number and hear her voice.
Tonight her husband invited my friend and I and our husbands over for dinner. He said he wanted my friend and I to go through his wife's jewelry and see if there was anything we would like. His two daughter in laws had already taken remembrances and he wanted us to have some pieces that we might enjoy. We had shared a love for jewelry and had often shared the stories if the gifts of jewelry that we had received for special occasions through the years.
After dinner, our husbands went into the living room while we were offered bags to go through in the kitchen. We soon realized the value in the jewelry was the memories they held. With heavy hearts we opened little box after little box. We sighed as we shared stories of a a piece that she had worn to her son's wedding, another that she had bought when we were all on vacation, and others that we could recall when she had received them and the outfits she wore them with.
I feel I have come home with little pieces of her life that I can wear and treasure...someday. Now it is bittersweet and wearing them will make me sad. I will reflect back to them often until one day I can smile when I put them on. It is not the monetary value of these items that is valuable but the friendship and memories that they represent.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
SOLC Day 28 of 31
It was one of those days. I realized it even more when I got home and could feel the knotted ropes on either side of my neck and fatigue weighting me to the floor. When I left for school this morning, I had the resolve that I would go to my aquafit class this evening. But now I was not as sure. My husband was not coming home for dinner and though I had a dozen things on my mental to do list, there really was not a concrete reason not to go.
I like this fitness class but I just had to get there. An external force pushed and pulled at me to get on my bathing suit, grab my gym bag and get out the door and into the car. I drove to the gym. As I stepped into the pool the warm water welcomed me with a soothing “ah”. The class goes at a brisk pace with the instructor pushing encouragingly. I found energy that I didn’t know I still had. I worked hard and the knots loosened. Some of the stresses of the day washed off and were left behind. I found some renewal. I’m tired but soothed. It was a good choice I made with the force that pushed.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
SOLC Day 27 of 31
I have been the wedding coordinator at my church for many years. My job is to meet with a bride and herhusband-to-be or maybe her mother. I meet with them several months ahead of their wedding to go over the logistics to be considered in terms of the church. I give them thoughts about where the flowers should go, we discuss the order the bridesmaids and groomsmen would enter the church, and where various family members might sit. Among other things! At one meeting with a bride and her mother, the bride interjected, as she threw her mother a glance, “I have a question to ask Sue. Mom, I already know what you think.” She proceeded to tell me that she had this pet, this very special pet, that she would like to be in her wedding. In the pause that was probably two seconds, my mind conjured the thought that it was probably a dog and was pondering whether we could stretch the rules and make that happen. I snapped back to when she announced, “It’s my ferret.” I’m not sure, but I’ve often reflected that my eyebrows probably hit my hairline in surprise. She quickly added, “Oh, but it’s a very special pet and I’ve already bought him a tux.” Spontaneously, but I’m not sure from where, I responded, “I bet your ferret won’t know that it is your special day. Why don’t you have your photographer come to your house ahead of time and take pictures of you and your ferret in his tux?” She told me she thought that was a good idea. I heard the exhale of relief come from her mother.
Through the years I have collected, (though unfortunately did not write down),
many funny wedding stories. This is among the best. I still chuckle at the visual of a ferret walking down the center aisle of a 175 year old church with the bride!
Sunday, March 25, 2012
SOLC Day 26 of 31
As I did some Spring yard clean up (where did all those leaves come from?), I kept noticing little patches of blue. Sometimes they were clustered in the garden, scattered at the edge of the park or forming patches of blue in the lawn. I've always been intrigued by these delicate forget-me-nots. It made me think of the special little events clustered or by themselves that we experience in life that should not be forgotten.
A loyal friend
A happy time
A baby's soft breath
A loving embrace
The first time you were called grandma
A supportive listener
A loving husband of many years
Your children's wedding days
The warmth of a crackling fire
A meal shared with the extended family
A special birthday
A spontaneous smile aimed in your direction
SOLC Day 25 of 31
As I woke up early this morning, I laid in bed realizing I was composing an I Wonder list. It seems this heightened awareness of writing possibilities, sparked by this challenge, has entered even my wakening thoughts!
I wonder if I post early- would that increase the number of comments on my post.
I wonder if I can find time today to leave more comments on others' slices.
I wonder If I can slide out of bed yet not wake up my husband. He's a CPA and during this season he is working at least 16 hours a day. I'd hate to steal any minutes of sleep that he can catch. But I do want to capture these musings.
I wonder if I can sit through church today without getting upset. It's been so hard to glance at the pew where my close friend Jean always sat in church. It's been seven weeks since she passed away but my feelings are still raw.
I wonder if I will be disciplined enough to exercise today or at least take a long walk.
I wonder if my son and daughter in law will actually move back to our city. The prospects look favorable but I'm finding it's hard to be patient.
I wonder if I should write a to-do list for the day so I can visually check off the items, to feel accomplishment.
Coming back to these thoughts a few hours later, it sounds like my early morning thoughts leaned toward the negative. Is it the lack of sun today? I wasn't aware of that this morning.
I wonder if I should go pick a big bouquet of the daffodils that have made a sunny patch in my garden.
I wonder if today would be a good day to do some crafty projects pushing in my mind.
I wonder if the mundane can wait and I should go visit my grandchildren.
I wonder if I should bake cookies for some friends.
I wonder if I should stop now and post this slice. The day is dreary but I'll be back later!
Saturday, March 24, 2012
SOLC Day 24 of 31
I don't know if it is the early spring or if our house has some tiny holes where they can sneak in, but I feel like we have been invaded by black ants! Normally unable to hurt any living thing, in the case of these ants I am brutal. I guess it has become a cause to banish them once and for all. Despite any tactic I have tried, they seem to be winning. If anyone has tried something that has gotten rid of them, I would love to hear. I would rather not spray pesticides, but am ready to try anything else!
This is a first try at a poem. I actually am laughing at myself for putting any energy into writing about these ants that are becoming my nemesis!
They’re black, they scurry,
Seeming to be in a hurry.
Parading black feet,
Looking for any sweet treat.
Traveling the kitchen,
Certainly on a mission.
This is my sweet home,
Not a place for you to roam.
I’ve set out eight traps,
Filled with some poisonous sap.
I squish you on sight,
Shiver a little from fright.
March as an army,
Seem oh so very smarmy.
Look here I’m bigger,
A good plan I will figure.
I will find a way,
Oh no, you won’t want to stay!
Friday, March 23, 2012
SOLC Day 23 of 31
I have indulged in having a pedicure every couple of months for the past several years because I rationalized that toes well taken care of were healthy toes. Plus I liked the way they looked, even if no one saw them because it wasn't the right season for parading groomed feet. I always carefully select the polish color, usually settling on the same darkish red. A few weeks ago I decided to be wild and crazy when picking my polish color. I figured it was months until open-toe shoe weather, why not? So I picked a shade of blue-green-grayish. How very daring of me.
Fast forward the warm weather of an early Spring. My sandals were calling me and I answered. During the first day I wore them, my eyes wandered toward my feet, cringing at the where-did-it-come-from color. As I headed to bed that night, at a much too late hour, I thought, oh certainly I can quickly change the color. I reached for the bottle of nail polish remover. About a quarter inch of the liquid remained in the bottle which I soaked up with the one remaining cotton pad. I started scrubbing at the odd polish. It was on very securely, not wanting to leave. In desperation I grabbed tissues as the next best scrubbing pad. Finally the polish was removed enough to add the traditional reddish color. As I started applying the polish, I realized how spoiled I am. It was like I was 13 again getting a pedicure from a friend. The polish smeared, the surrounding skin covered. I dabbed a Q-Tip the best I could, attempting to reveal the nails.
I did wear my sandals the next day with the embarrassed toes. I couldn't wait until my next appointment to get them fixed, to bring them back to normal. On my way home I stopped at one of those shops that fix toes quickly and coughed up the additional money. It was worth it. Again my toes are happy.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
SOLC Day 22 of 31
My son did his undergraduate college work 800 miles from home, his graduate work 300 miles from home. He and his wife then moved to the other coast, living and working in two different cities there. About three years ago they got jobs at a University about 1100 miles from us and bought a lovely home.
Though we have missed them so much that sometimes it hurts, we have celebrated and supported the dreams they have followed. Their accomplishments have made us proud. A parent wants to see their children happy in their choices and they have made good ones. We cherish our two visits a year with them, one at their home and one at ours. During these times we share our lives and try to make up for lost time over a few days. We certainly would have welcomed more opportunities for visits but travel costs are high.
Over the last several months they have been exploring job opportunities at universities in cities all over the country. Interviews have taken place and the cities visited. My heart lightened a few months ago when I heard that they had applied and an interview had been offered at the University in our town! I hardly dared to run the film in my head of the holidays, dinners, and family events that would be shared if we were again in the same city.
The interview here went well, both parties were enamored with each other. Again I kept the film in its canister. Tonight we got a call from our son saying that a job for both him and my daughter in law had been offered! The University in our city and one in a city about 10 hours away are now the contenders for their new home and opportunities. The film came out of the canister and after a few moments of trying to be neutral, I let my excitement shout through the phone!
Their decision will probably have to be made within a week, if not sooner. We would support whatever decision they make, knowing that they had given it careful thought, weighing all considerations to find the right balance. However, tonight I am sitting here on a cautious cloud with my fingers and toes crossed.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
SOLC Day 21 of 31
I'm not sure where this "poem" in the form that it is in came from! I was playing with words and reflecting on our school's book room that I take great pride in. Though the room's collection is primarily for teacher selections to use with their students, I love seeing individual students from all grades come and browse the shelves for books they want to add to their book boxes! It's even better when they bring them back and share what they've read and make recommendations for new titles I should purchase.
Room for books
Books on shelves
Browsing left and then to the right
Right books to read
Read for pleasure
Pleasure in the words
Words to remember
Remember for life
Life that is enriched
Enriched by the books
Books from the room
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
SOLC Day 20 of 31
The book club that I am a member of met tonight for its monthly gathering. On my half hour drive home, I was reflecting on how the evening was like a little get away and at the same time I was mentally doing my pre-writing for my slice.
I haven't ever done a list for my daily reflection, tonight seemed to be the right time.
Eight reasons I loved my book club tonight (one for each member who was there):
1. We shared a book by a local author about the upstate NY Finger Lakes wine region.
2. Wine from our region, and discussed in the book, was sampled.
3. Delicious cheeses, Brie, specialty pizzas, grapes and two delectable desserts were enjoyed.
4. A lively discussion that sparked with enthusiasm filled the evening.
5. Laughter was shared that shook the day's challenges away.
6. The warmth of the group of women made our unseasonal Spring turn to instant summer.
7. The popping of suggested book titles for more reading filled the air.
8. We left with final reminders for the promise of next month's time for sharing the pleasures of an evening spent with friends.
Monday, March 19, 2012
SOLC Day 19 of 31
I have the pleasure of working with two very capable groups of fifth grade readers in book clubs twice a week which adds some balance to the remedial groups that I also work with. With the input of the members of each book club, the number of pages they will read before the next time we meet is decided. I often remind them to pace their reading through the week, to not wait until the night before to do their reading. I suggest that they won't like the reading as much if they wait until the night before and it will add stress to themselves and their families.
I am a member of an adult book club that I love. I am the newest member and was delighted to be asked to join. When we gather monthly, not only do we discuss that month's book, but share events of our life AND great "appetizers" that serve as the evening's meal. Tomorrow night (22 hours from now) is when my book club will meet. I have not finished this month's book. In fact, I am not quite half way through. I meant to finish earlier in the month but there was another book I wanted to read first. So I did. I have have been dutifully writing my daily slices (19 days and counting!) and reading slices and reading slices and commenting on slices and commenting on slices. Where did the month go? So here I am the night before, stressing about how much book reading I can fit in this evening and maybe after school tomorrow afternoon so that I can have some reasonable contribution to tomorrow night's discussion. The words that I have repeated to my students echo in my ears. I think I should have taken better notice of my advice. I promise I will next month...
Sunday, March 18, 2012
SOLC 18 of 31
I have been blessed with a close relationship with my granddaughter for the 15 years of her life. We have shared sleepovers, cuddles, parks, books, movies and craft projects. My arms and life had circled her so closely that, though thrilled with the prospect, it was hard to imagine letting an unknown little person into that circle. Two and a half years ago my grandmother love got to embrace her brother. It took not even a blink to love this new little guy with my total being from the first moment I saw him. We have started to build our own special memories too. That sweet hug and kiss greeting, "grandma let's read", "push me more" (on the swing)...He has my heart. Now we're eagerly looking forward to another little boy; they're going to have a little brother join their family in July. Though this new little grandson-to-be is already in my heart, his looks, expressions and hugs are yet to be known. While at a family gathering today, I couldn't help but look wistfully at my daughter's growing belly. Who is this little guy who's kicking around? His room that he will be sharing with his brother is being perfectly and thoughtfully readied. New little clothes are folded and in his drawers. His parents are keeping his name a secret until he arrives, despite our many clever guesses. Though unknown by name and visible person right now, what is known that memories and love will grow with him. How blessed I am to have an opportunity to welcome another grandchild into my life! I can hardly wait.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
SOLC Day 17 of 31
Though we have all been talking about the unseasonable weather, I felt like Rip Van Winkle when I went outside today. Did I sleep through March and April? Surely it must now be May. The sun was delightfully warm even with short sleeves which I never wear in March. I had a list of errands that could take most of the afternoon but the outside beckoned. In case I went back to sleep, I didn't want to wake up and have missed this sparkling day. I remember that I was excited last year when we had one nice day in April where I could cut back my non-stop rose bushes which gave them a head start on a good growing season. As I went to prune them today, they already had little red shoots starting to protrude. I pretended they weren't there and shaped them up.
As I raked the leaves away that had appeared since fall's last raking, I kept discovering little green shoots reaching for the early but soothing warmth. It was like they took a deep breath of the Spring air much as I had. Crocuses in bloom, daffodils stretching up, and offspring of my perennial friends greeted me. There was the wonderful aroma of fresh soil that usually doesn't waft until much later. This day may have just been a tease but it was the therapy that I didn't know I longed for. It gave promises of new beginnings, the resurgence of new life.
Friday, March 16, 2012
SOLC Day 16 0f 31
After finishing the dinner dishes, I decided to make a cup of tea that I would sip as I got inspiration for tonight's slice. I set the water boiling and perused my cupboard for the bag, sachet, or loose tea that would become my beverage. Do you know how you look at something every day for a long time until one day you actually see it? That happened with the shelf that held my tea. Inspired by other slicer's lists, I wondered how many choices I actually had. I debated whether to quickly shut the cupboard door, confess to being a tea collecting addict, make a poem with their labels or simply a list of the flavors that await. It's embarrassing, but at least you can't see my face. So here goes: Tropical Orange, Tropical Green, Paris and Annapolis Treasures (I think I'm longing for a trip), Decaf Black and Birthday Tea; Rooibos Chai, both loose leaves and sachet, Decaf Hot Cinnamon and also Herbal Hot Cinnamon, Decaf Chai Black, Peppermint Herbal, Royal Wedding Tea and Earl Grey Supreme. Orange Spice Herb and a canister of random tea bags which I didn't count. To sample for the future there are small bags of loose Raspberry, Lemon Herbal and Chocolate Mint teas!
How did I acquire so many choices? One thing for sure, there's enough tea for all. Want to come for a cuppa?
Thursday, March 15, 2012
SOLC Day 15 of 31
This is a slice about a boy who last year was in our noontime Kindergarten Wrap Around program (This is a time either before or after their half-day Kindergarten session where students eat lunch and then have extra immersion into early literacy activities.) D, appeared very serious, his lips almost never spreading into a smile. He held his body very rigid, arms to his side. His eyes would dart left then right rather than turning his head. His sweat pants were stretched to well above his waist, making them seem extra short. D did not seem to relate to either adults or fellow students. It was rare that he could be encouraged to even say hello, never accompanied by a spontaneous smile. He would often kick other students under the table, rarely showing any emotion other than a piercing stare. We worried about his lack of emotion and unusual stance.
I had only seen D in passing this school year. He had been a Reading Recovery student and I had heard he was making progress. Upon completion of Reading Recovery, it was decided that he might benefit from additional AIS support. I had a picture in my mind of last year's D. I had myself prepared that in the small group he would be working, I would take it slowly, making him comfortable, a smile the goal. Was I pleasantly surprised! Ten minutes into the getting-to-know you stage of day one, I saw a big smile on D's face AND enormous giggles! I helped him select new books for his book box. He cheerfully selected a book saying, "This one's good for me!" as he skipped, SKIPPED, back to his growing pile of just right books. I got chills! This was not the D of last year.
We have now worked together for a week. Our half hours together have been blessed with many giggles, excited expressions, and skipping in and out of my room. (And some good reading too!) He has grown in the last year, he is a delight to work with. D is no longer the five year old but a six year old who I have good reason to believe will continue to grow both academically and socially!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
SOLC Day 13 of 31
It occurred to me that although I am not physically running to school each morning, since I live about 20 miles away, I am however virtually running all the way there. As I get into the car, I’m thinking to myself, OK, my school and lunch bags are in the car, tea mug is in the holder, not on the roof of my car. Keys in hand, yeah I found them easily this morning, I insert them into the ignition and as I’m backing out the driveway my mind starts racing...and I’m off. Yes, I took my pills, I have my water bottle. I hope I put the meat in the refrigerator to defrost. Hmm...what should I make with it. I need to see a second grade teacher about her new student. Check with Peter (my principal) about the memo that should be sent to the curriculum director. Touch base with the school psychologist about an upcoming CSE. Return a call to a teacher in another district about a new student...
I take a quick look around, smile at the sun that’s trying to be warm through my car’s windows, give a quick glance at the cars on either side of me. I catch my breath.
Gather the materials for my Kindergarten group. Check with teachers about the new students to be added to our K-Wrap around program. Yikes! Superintendent’s Conference Day is Friday, do I have everything ready? I have a 1:30 meeting, guess I'd better eat lunch at my desk today. My report cards need to be run before Thursday...
Phew, I’m here. That was quite a 35 minute run.
Now the race begins.
Monday, March 12, 2012
SOLC Day 12 of 31
I came across the quote by Anna Quindlen: Ideas are like pizza dough made to be tossed around. Since I made homemade pizza and its dough last night, it set me thinking about this statement and I decided it was very true!
You can stretch your ideas one way then another depending on how adventurous you are feeling. The higher you toss them the larger the ideas become, round and round in your head and on the paper. Shape it round or square or a custom shape. Change it by tossing it from person to person. Shape it according to purpose: small for a personal pan, sheet pizza for a crowd. Small for a slice, larger for an essay. It can be made thin or thick, depending on the day or your mood. When you're an expert pizza maker, or willing to take a risk, you can twirl it through the air with great abandon.
Once your ideas have been tossed around, time to add the toppings: the details, the finessed phrases, the humor, the emphasis, targeting your audience. All are awaiting a gastronomical treat.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
SOLC Day 11 of 31
Traditions are so comforting and the events connected to them eagerly anticipated. Nine years ago a friend from school invited a dining room table full of co-workers for dinner on a Saturday night. The twist to this invite was that her husband was going to do all the preparing, cooking and clean up. Many around the table were at that time either single, still immersed in the dating scene, newly married, or with little babies. I, being the eldest member of the group was well beyond all those stages (That statement makes me feel even older!)
Anticipation for this night has always been heightened by the tight security of the awaiting menu for the weeks leading up the awaited Saturday evening. Despite promised bribes, it is kept a mystery until we walk through the door. We have never been disappointed!
Last night we celebrated the ninth year of this March event. We shared hello hugs and greetings and swiftly glided to the refrigerator where our menu, complete with pictures, was posted.
The meal was one that could rival any four-star restaurant. An enormous seafood paella was placed on the table to our open mouths of awe. Chunks of lobster, shrimp, scallops and chorizo lay atop a bed of perfectly seasoned rice. Peas sprinkled over the top added the finishing touch. At the risk of being rude, I quickly went to get my phone to take a picture of this masterpiece because I knew I'd want to write a slice about it. It was even more delicious than it looked, if that was possible.
Of course there was an amazing dessert to end the meal. Individual lemon creme de brûlées, glazed with a torch, we're topped with fresh raspberries, blackberries and strawberries marinated in a liquor.
This elegant meal was certainly the centerpiece to this evening. Not found on restaurant menus, but at my friend's home, was the opportunity to share our lives. As the meal was being prepared, her young sons were trying to hide from us showing off their youthful exuberance. They weren't a part of this family the first few years that we gathered.
After the hush of our initial eating, the stories about school, family adventures and the history we shared began, accompanied by contagious laughter. I guess you might say that this sharing became the aperitif to the meal. No one moved from their seat at the table not wanting to miss any of the memories being created. Together we started to wistfully look forward to year ten "Ladies Night Out" in 2013!
I am feeling so content this morning as I reflect on the carefully planned and executed meal, enhanced by friendships and shared stories wrapped in tradition.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
SOLC Day 10 of 31
Many Saturday mornings I am ready to go the gym. At least, I have mentally prepared myself the night before so my resolve is in place. Often my daughter gives me a gentle push toward a certain class that we go to together through texts and calls. This morning I knew she wasn't going so it was almost license to just not go. Who would know?
As I laid in bed and later started moving through morning routines my mind kept tugging in two directions. I didn't know which would win.
I have lots to do today.
Errands can probably be fit in one hour later.
I should probably shower first.
And then go sweat and be on a mat?
I'm kind of tired.
They say exercise actually wakes you up.
Heather isn't going.
I really don't need a partner to do body flow.
It's snowing outside.
The forecast is for sun a little later.
I feel like I look foolish in that class.
So who's looking at me anyway?
I better feed the cat.
Oh, he's already been fed.
I should vacuum first.
Where are my yoga pants and shirt?
Right on the shelf, ready to go.
I should have started earlier, I'm running late.
In the car.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
SOLC Day 7 of 31
As I reach for my own pills, I often glance at the bottle containing the pills for my cat, Hemingway. "Oh please, don't grab his bottle" is my mantra. He has thyroid issues, among others, that have caused him to go from our soft overly fluffy cat to one that is very bony, (however still lovable). Among the vet prescribed treatments is to give him one quarter of one of these little pills twice a week to stimulate his appetite to help him gain some weight, or at least to help him not to lose any more.
On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the days he gets his tiny portion of pill, the choruses of his meows are insistent whenever we walk into the kitchen. As his dish is refilled, he is satisfied for just a few minutes as he eagerly laps up the food each time. His beckoning eyes focus on the can of food on the counter. He also sashays figure eights around our legs reminding us of his need. (As if we need a reminder!)
I wonder, what if I accidentally took a WHOLE one of his pills? Would I beg or scream for food all day? Would I frantically open and close the cupboard doors, pushing aside cans, boxes and bags searching for food? (sometimes I do that without THE pill) Would I run to the neighbor's house begging for dinner? Would I speed to the grocery store, racing up and down the aisles, madly filling my cart? Would I eat until I burst?
Who knows how it would effect me. It's just a little pill. But oh how it might change my day!