Where to next?

sign-places-travel-information-52526.jpegAs I write my final post for the #SOL18, I wonder “Where to next?” The picture represents many places I’d like to go next, but it is merely a selection from the Free Photo Library offered by WordPress. Which, by the way, THANK YOU WORD PRESS, for providing the pics because many nights they were my writing inspiration.

I’ve learned that although I am a good gatherer of writing ideas, I still shared the “blank stare” at the “blinking cursor” that many Slicers also identified. The words didn’t come easy many nights. When they did, I found myself reading & rereading, writing & rewriting. It took a long time many nights, which aided in my procrastination of grading, laundry, dishes, and the other noxious life requirements.

However, I’ve also learned that I really do enjoy writing. I want to share my thoughts or simply think things out on my own. Whether people commented or not, I delighted in seeing my ideas take shape. Of course, this is my hope for my students as well. I hope to use this SOL experience as a springboard for them to jump in as well. After all, they are WAY more motivated to sit in front of the computer!

So, as I sign off for now, I’d like to THANK ALL THE SLICERS who provided wonderful opportunities (& feedback) for me to learn, laugh, and collect more ideas or understanding of our profession and humankind. Lastly, THANK YOU TO THE LADIES WHO STARTED ALL OF THIS SLICING! What a unique and supportive environment you have created to inspire us all to keep writing! I have appreciated the platform and your organization to keep it going. I’m still not sure which way to go now, but I have so many more arrows on my post. All I have to do is pick one!

A Toast


Cheers to a month long of something new!

Cheers to writing by me and commenting on you!!

Cheers to typing my thoughts and my quirks!

Cheers to learning how this Slice of Life thing works!!

Cheers to starting a blog and finding the time!

Cheers to reading fellow teachers’ writings–how sublime!!





Be The Water

We all have friends that come into our lives after being gone awhile. This particular friend of mine went through a most tumultuous time, I cannot even imagine. Part of her healing involved rethinking how she manages stress, grief, and the “uncontrollables” of life. Through her newly established independence, she tried things she hadn’t tried before such as Tai Chi. Through this “meditation in motion”, her instructor wrote down the three words above to help her zoom-in: Be The Water.

While I have not participated in Tai Chi, this friend passed on her message learned. I use it quite often actually. Today, as I struggled with student loan options, paperwork piles, laundry piles, worries about the travels of my teenagers, needing to get exercise, and the impending conclusion of Spring Break, I walked. (Be the Water.)

I grabbed my youngest and said, “Let’s go to the valley!” Of course, his eyes lit up as he raced to get a sweatshirt and his scooter. We live atop the valley, so it is about a half mile around our road to get down the steep path into the valley. The temperature was not exactly where I’d prefer it, but taking this walk will be at least an hour of good exercise and clearing the mind. I grabbed a windbreaker as an added layer and off we went, hoping it wasn’t too cold or going to rain some more. (Be the Water.)

We spot the river over the cliff as we meandered around our street. The river runs rampant now after last night’s rain and final melting of stubborn ice patches. We spied a tree and it’s roots just standing upright in the middle like it’s own abandoned island. We hope it will still be there when the river recedes so we can explore and pretend later. As we near the halfway point of the slope down, my son takes off on his scooter. “Weeeee…” is all I hear. I say a little prayer that he doesn’t wipe out at the end. (Be the Water.)

First, we go over the bridge to watch the water rush underneath. Then, we wind around the path to our rock-skipping spot which is completely deluged with water hopping up and over the boulders that we once stood on. Next, we stroll over another bridge to see the river run like raging bulls, taking out pieces of the bank along the way. Finally, we come to the part by the nature center. The bend curves around like a mother scooping up her child. Quiet. Calm. (Be the water.)

Be the water. In times of turmoil, embrace the flow, roll right under the bridge, then up and over the obstacles. Take some pieces with you if needed. Those pieces may become part of you but keep moving forward. At some point, things will slow. Perhaps a loyal friend will wrap you up just when you need it. Nourish all that’s around you while you’re there. Then, join the flow once again. Be the water.


Basket of Misfits


Blah. There it is. The basket of misfit socks belching forth someone’s attempt to slay the behemoth. It glares at me daily, begging for attention. Just a simple match is all they want. However, in this day and age, kids will wear them mismatched. Therefore, some will get worn. I used to pay the kids 25 cents per match. Their price went up, and I had to let it go. So, they sit, waiting for the next person to dig and select like the magic claw game.

WAIT! Could it be?

A match.

Do you see it?


Miracles do happen…

one misfit at a time.

Inquisition of a 10-Year-Old

I took my son to his 10-year old “Well Check”/physical today. Our old pediatrician has retired since the last visit but I had met the “new guy” when another child got sick earlier this school year. After waiting a good length of time, he finally entered the room with a pleasant smile surrounded by a robust lumberjack-type mustache and beard.

He kindly welcomed us to his office and introduced himself to my son. Then, he fired away some questions I hadn’t heard before…throughout the 19 years I had been coming to this practice with the now grown teenagers. (Several times, I had to catch my jaw from dropping  but as an educator… I was glad he was asking…or shall I say fishing?)

His questions went like this:

Doc: Is there a gun in the house?

Son: No

Doc: If you went to a party and someone was playing around with a gun, what would you do?

Son: Leave the party and tell an adult.

Doc: Do you have a good friend?

Son: Yes

Doc: What’s his name?

Son: Kevin

Doc: Do you have a good relationship with your mother?

Son: Yes (How was he supposed to answer? I was right there. Do kids actually say NO?)

Doc: Do you eat fruits, vegetables, meats, milk, and breads?

Son: Yes…but not many vegetables.

Doc: Do you Mom limit his screen time- TV, devices, phone?

Me: Uh…yes (He caught me off guard. I was dumbfounded, I think from the get-go.)

Doc: Does anyone ask to see your private parts?

Son: No

Doc: Do you know why I am allowed to check them?

Son: Because you’re a doctor and can check to see if things are wrong

Doc: Actually, No. I can check to see if you are developing according to schedule because YOUR MOTHER IS IN THE ROOM ALSO.

Phew. Was that it? While I was a bit in awe of the inquisition that took place, I was also proud of my son and the doctor. Then, I wondered, as educators, will we have to do such screenings in the future? All of his questions were GOOD QUESTIONS, invasive- I thought- but good! I’m not so sure why I am shocked…or even writing about it. After all, we want kids to know we are watching them and caring for them and challenging them to handle such difficult situations with confidence and reassurance. I like that he created an open dialogue about touch subjects that many parents do not have with their kids. It’s amazing all the things that have changed in a matter of 10 years since the teenagers went in for their appointments.

Now, it was my son’s turn:

Inquisition of a Mother following the inquisition of a 10-year old… To Be Continued…



img_20180303_232037339.jpgMe- ow. More ME than -ow. I simply enjoy lounging around the house. It doesn’t have to be Saturday or Sunday. Really…any day, every day, all day. Life as a cat in this household is good!

Typically, I perch by the window and watch those lovely feathery things grab something from the green grass outside. Occasionally, I have been startled by an odd one bumping into the window. OW! Thankfully, he usually gets up and flies away. Good thing, too, because I can hardly stand to see anything suffer. Even the occasional “squeaky toy” that zings by me. My owners squeal and howl when I bat the little squeaker around. He’s so fast and yet squishy as I gently cradle him between my jaws. That’s when my owners really go crazy. So, I drop him. It’s really all very confusing. The big man owner then ruins my fun by taking my toy outside in a box. The box comes back in but not my toy. So sad. So confusing. Me- OW.

Today, I stretch out across the carpet and absorb the warm glowing rays. Some owners are home. While I’m not sure why (something about brakes and springs), I am glad to have the company. One boy owner usually plays this thing with his paws while he is  stretched out on his bed. So, I can stroll up on his belly if I need a scratch behind the ears. When I need a full body massage, I sprawl out in front of the bigger boy. He is a bit mischievous. So, while I enjoy the rubdown, I have to be on alert with my retractable claws. Then, there is the Mom owner who types on this keyboard. If I saunter by, she usually starts to whistle at me. I sing back, “Meow. Me-me-ow.” My favorite thing is when she is sitting on the couch. I can count on her scratching by my tail as I knead her sweatshirt. Purr-purr.

Yes, life is good.


I spent Palm Sunday at the Bowling Alley


As most Roman Catholics filled the churches this morning to begin the holiest week of the year, I drove my son to a scholarship bowling tournament. There were only 10 lanes in this little alley hidden among someone’s long lost farmland. Instead of seeing a crucifix and a host of saints on the wall, I was taken aback by the mural of creepy dwarfs and Metallica’s “Wherever I May Roam” blaring from the speakers at 9:00 AM.

My son is not a great bowler. However, he signed up with hopes to have the “game of his life” and earn some money for college. (Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t his day.)  Upon check-in, he spied his coach and some other familiar faces from around the league during high school season. I, on the other hand, found a freshly brewed pot of coffee with Styrofoam cups alongside the usual accessories. One cup was labeled “50¢“. (Ha! My lucky day?!) So, I deposited  $1.00 and poured myself a fresh cup. Then, I sat down and began to read more of Nuts To You by Lynne Rae Perkins.  (Glad I still had public library books-to-return in my van from closing my room up for Spring Break this past Friday.) Meanwhile, Rolling Stone’s “Painted Black” commences. It was not exactly my preferred music genre, especially on a Sunday morning, but the uniqueness of the moment began to draw me in.

The bowling began. I watched as Queen’s “Fat Bottom” played overhead, reminding me of our high school band famously belting out this tune during the warm Friday night’s this past Fall. My daydreaming was halted by the thunderous explosion of pins and clapping. Despite the boys being in competition with one another and under some stress of wanting to earn some money, they were giving high-fives and fist bumping. Not sure if it was the smell/caffeine provided by the coffee, the hypnotic sounds of 70’s Classic Rock, or the small blessing of seeing teenagers truly enjoying each other’s fellowship, but I found myself misty-eyed and sniffling in the middle of the countryside bowling alley. “Get it together, Mom,” I self-talked.

I try not to take things for granted, looking for little slices of goodness each day. Here it was. While I recognize The Ten Commandments and my obligation to go to Mass each week, something is to be said for taking it all in…

being truly present…

each and every day.

I welcome anyone who could share a scripture verse that captures this moment or moments like the one above. In all the chaos and challenge in our daily lives, it is wonderful to discover the goodness (some of us call him Jesus) within each human being. He might have been sitting next to me today or fist bumping the kids. I’ve often thought the title for a good book would be Jesus Wears a Leather Jacket  to celebrate all those unexpected moments of regular daily happenings when grace looks us right in the eye.

(Gotta go… I found a 5:30 PM Mass!)



Why didn’t I post on Day 22?

Excuse #1

I got busy. It all started at 5:30 AM even, as it was my turn to supervise 6 AM lifting for our high school volleyball team. I dread the waking up but appreciate it once I am up. It’s still dark then. However, the air is crisp as the stars wink one last time. Following lifting, I headed right to school to get a jump on things postponed from Wednesday’s surprise “snow day”. Not only did I have to rearrange some lessons, there were 105 bookmarks to print for our assembly that afternoon where I was to announce and award winners from our “40 Reader Challenge”. Finally, “The Final Day Before Spring Break” commenced like swimmers off the starting block. Just like that, I was off! Deep in the water, I felt like I was drowning but heard Dory’s tune “just keep swimming” in my head. I went non-stop from 9:00 AM -4:15 PM. (Kids are dismissed at 3:45 PM, but I had “car duty”. And wouldn’t you know, parents were NOT in a hurry to come get them THAT day- wary of the week off they would now have to manage. I guess.)

Excuse #2

I went out. Upon finishing “car duty”, several teacher friends from the first floor (I work on the second floor) invited me to share a soda with them at the local establishment.  Yet, I thought about those “piles” snickering at me along with the mess created by the cramming in of extra stuff that was postponed by the unexpected “snow day”. My sign came when the principal walked by and whispered, “You need to go. Tomorrow is another day.” So, I went. Two kindergarten teachers, a first grade teacher, the speech therapist, our ELL teacher and I ate, drank, and engaged in some merry conversation that was long overdue.

Excuse #3

I fell asleep. Even though the sun was just waving good-bye, the stars on the opposite horizon were once again winking at me. I truly had lived this day to it’s fullest and cherished every moment. (Well, maybe not when Johnny reported that another cuss word had been written on the bathroom stall, but for the most part, I felt amazed with how the day had evolved.) Once home, I parked myself on the couch to listen to my sons tell me about the events of their day. The youngest one even asked what I was going to blog about tonight. At one point, I heard him say, “Mom…are you really going to sleep at 9:30?” Literally, THE END.



Ugh. Hmm. So… Sigh.

5:30 AM phone call. Snow Day. Ode to eggs and pancakes. Strolling through “The Mart”.


Ugh. (My lips purse while a deep guttural sound emerges from the back of my throat.) What to write about?! I had all day to just write something while the sun was up. Now, it’s gone, and so is my ambition. I’ve surrendered to sit at the laptop. What, oh what, shall I type?

Hmmm. (My fingers strum the keyboard.) The boys just walk in from baseball workouts. They laugh because the cat is perched next to my laptop which sets atop a card table. Of course, I was asking her in a Mom’s-lost-it, high pitched voice, “What should I write about, Miss Kitty?” Actually, I have been wanting to write about the cat, but the television turns on to a basketball game- blaring it’s buzzers, whistles, and squeaky shoes. Curses. Diverted again!

So….(My right knee bounces feverishly as the shot clock counts down, but not because I’m watching the game.) Come on, just write girl! Keep those fingers moving. I must admit that since I’ve started blogging, I’ve been looking up more words in the dictionary and thesaurus. Yay, me! I wonder- if the kids had more opportunities in class to blog on the computer, would they be compelled to “look things up”? Build vocabulary in a more purposeful, meaningful way? Juices are flowing!

Sigh. (My shoulders shrug while nodding my head.) Maybe this is how my kids feel when asked to write. Look how long I’ve perseverated on what to write! Thought-provoking or  breaking-through? Just keep those fingers moving. Where’s the finish line?

Huh! Look at that! I rambled while I wrote.

Not sure what it all means.

Will decipher later.

Let it percolate, steep, brew…rest.