Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Thinking About Change #SOL

I have been thinking about change. It has been a part of my work life for about three years now, and it will not stop for a while. So when Ethical ELA's VerseLove inspired me to write a list poem, I thought about all of the ways change is around us, what we say about change, and the various connotations and denotations of change. I love a good list poem.

True or False?

Change is good.

I can change the world.

A change in the weather is coming.

I can buy something with the loose change in my pocket.

It’s time for a change.

A change of clothes is handy.

I changed my name when I married.

Climate change is real.

I have change for a 20.

I love the change in the color of autumn leaves.

I am willing to change.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Almost Is Okay #SOLC #SOL24

Another Reflective Pause invitation from James Crews using the words "No matter" from Ross Gay's poem Sorrow Is Not My Name.

It's Okay

No matter the break in my slice streak. 
No matter the things I should have done.
There is not much time together. 
Acceptance comes because
this past weekend brought blue and gray yarn, 
thousands of knits and purls away from warm hugs,
bonsai seeds to nurture, and 
and a bright bouquet of Lego wildflowers.
Side by side we chose each other -
Mother and Son.
The time spent on creating
roots and strands that will endure.
Every glance a reminder of
you and us.

I missed the last two days of slicing. I've worked hard this month not to miss a day, but once my son came home for the weekend, everything else just fell from my mind. I would remember at the end of the day, but I just did not have it in me to write. I am okay with that. 


Thursday, March 28, 2024

Which Is My True Kryptonite? #SOLC #SOL24

Thank you, Vivian Chen, for my inspiration.  I had a long day, and I almost did not slice.  

Lately, my kryptonite is a night out with my people for an event at the local vineyard.

It all started in October when I attended a wine and cupcake pairing with my husband. Cake and wine?  I am so down for that.  

A month later, we returned with your close friends for a wine and charcuterie board pairing. We talked, laughed, and lingered for as long as we could before returning to reality. 

Yikes!  In December, they had a wine and Christmas cookie pairing event.  I attended that with my gal pals.

My gal pals loved it so much we went back in February for a wine and book pairing.  That, of course, was my favorite.  Unfortunately, there is no picture for that one. How can that be? I purchased Kristin Hannah's The Women at that event.

And just yesterday we returned to actually make our own Easter charcuterie boards.  It was so delicious that my husband and friends devoured it when I got home.  

One might think that the common denominator, my kryptonite, is wine or food, but truly it is being with my people, my tribe.  We are all trying to navigate our empty nest lives and could easily be consumed by work and sorrow. This lovely vineyard, which is nestled in a quiet neighborhood, gives us a refuge for a few hours to talk and have fun while learning and tasting. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Deliberations Continue #SOLC #SOL24

While in the school lobby heading into the auditorium, a colleague stopped me to say, "This is what I miss.  Teachers excited about teaching."

I most certainly was excited. My class was getting ready for their mock trial about Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart."

The prosecution and defense were readying themselves on the stage, and the jury was seated with their clipboards.

The students were excited, too, and I have to say their teamwork and effort was amazing this year.  As we were walking, I could hear their chatter about wanting to "win" and how nervous they were.  The jury had their evidence charts copied and ready. When I entered, they were poised to start.

By the end of the period I had tears in my eyes. Why? Because...

  • the evidence they chose to prove their points was stellar
  • the explanations and connections back to their thesis were superb
  • their presentations were professional
  • the jury members were busy taking notes
  • the jury talked about the merits of both cases
  • the jury could not decide because "both sides were so good"
  • the prosecution and defense were eager for a decision and left school with hope that they might prevail 
The excitement was real, and I was so proud.  I do wonder, though, do they realize that this proves that they are indeed writers? And darn good ones!

Deliberations will continue tomorrow.  This might be our first hung jury, and that would be just perfect.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Frozen Reverie #SOLC #SOL24

I am currently reading The Wonder of Small Things: Poems of Peace and Renewal edited by James Crews.  After the first ten poems, there is a Reflective Pause and an Invitation for Writing and Reflection.  The first was to focus on a plant or animal that draws your attention and describe it in detail.  

I was immediately reminded of a cold rainy last week when I walked under our crabapple tree in the front yard.  I was in awe and felt wrapped in its embrace.

Frozen Reverie

I walked under your branches, 
looked up and was entranced.
Every single inch 
of your gnarled branches
was wrapped in a crystal crust.

I swear time stopped
and the earth hushed.

You twinkled, 
lighting up your dome,
protecting me from 
the gray sky above, 
a haven for a peaceful pause.

I froze in place
and nothing moved.

I wanted to stay
under your friendly canopy
offering a surprising warmth
amidst a frigid drizzle,
a respite from work.

I snapped back to reality
and stepped back into the world.

I wish I took a picture while under the tree.  I should have known I would have written about it.


Monday, March 25, 2024

It Has Been Too Long #SOLC #SOL24

My evenings are always busy, and I find that I spend any spare time trying to check off as many to dos on my list as I can.

Today was different.  

I had a department meeting after school and then rushed out to get to my physical therapy appointment.  

I arrived home a bit hungry, so I decided to eat dinner right away before my tutoring session tonight. I sat down and started to think about all of the things I should get done before heading to the library:  correcting, slicing, logging food, cleaning the kitchen, etc. I could have accomplished all of that.

But, I did not.

Instead, I grabbed my book, went upstairs, and climbed under my warm fleece sheets. For the next hour, I read without stopping.  I did not pick up my phone to look at the text that came in while I read. I did not open Tik Tok.  I did not look at Facebook. I did not close my eyes to take a quick nap.

I simply got lost in the story. I sighed. I smiled. My heart beat a little faster at times.  A few tears of happiness gathered around my eyes.  I did not stop until I was done.

I closed the book and felt content.  Not because the story had a happy ending, but because, for the first time in a really long time, I did my most favorite thing since childhood before bed. I felt like I had been reunited with a long lost friend. 

I need to remember this hour and ensure that I make focused time for my relationship with books. 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Words Matter #SOLC #SOL24

I am feeling some words today, and it has me thinking about the denotations and connotations of those words.

See, my daughter is on her way to spend part of her spring break with my parents in Florida.  The spring semester is usually a hard one for me because we do not get to see Ashley for a long stretch of time.  

Since starting college, she has spent her spring break with her friend's family in Florida.  This year, their spring break was pushed a week later, and the parents did not book their stay for the same week.  That meant the girls would be staying with my parents for the week.

My first thought was I am so jealous of them, but as I thought more on the word, I realized that it had a negative connotation to it.  It did not sit right with me.  I looked it up, and I was right.  According to Merriam Webster, it means hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy and advantage.  Yikes!  I am not hostile about it.  My parents are not my rivals.

I decided to look up envious.  I like to work on word continuums with my students and look at the strength of words and the connotations associated with them.  I felt sure I would find a fitting word.  Merriam Webster defines envy as painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.  This was a bit closer, but I am not resentful or in pain per se.   

I went to the thesaurus to see if I could find another word. I found possessive, intolerant, resentful, anxious, skeptical, begrudging, covetous.  Nothing fit, and they just made me feel worse.

Then, I thought I am not naming this feeling correctly.  I know that words matter, and I certainly did not want to say something to Ashley or my parents that would make them feel bad about this time they were about to spend together.  I know that I tend to think about words too much, but it was not worth the risk. 

I also knew that I might find peace and gratitude if I could acknowledge my true feelings. I went back to the dictionary to do some more searching.  I looked up longing and then landed on yearning.  Yearning means a tender or urgent longing.  Tender felt right.  Urgent fit, too.  

It has been a while since I have spent time with Ashley.  However, I will see her in three weeks when I fly out for her sorority's Mother's Weekend.  I am excited, and since it is so close, it feels more urgent. I will have my time with her just like my parent's will have this next week with her - we will all get to make memories with her. 

Now, instead of focusing on the fact that I am not there with them, I am grateful that she will have some quality time with her grandparents.  

Words matter, not only to those they are spoken to, but also to the one who is thinking about speaking them. I feel better acknowledging the correct feeling and not making my loved ones feel bad.   

Saturday, March 23, 2024

My Safe Place #SOLC #SOL24

My friend, Marilyn Miner, introduced me to the poetry of James Crews and his "The Weekly Pause" newsletter.  Each week he sends out a poem, some thoughts, and an invitation to write and reflect. His poems always open my heart, and they allow me to think of my life and the world around me with gratitude.  

I was feeling like a cheater and a stealer this morning because I have had a tough time coming up with my own ideas for this month's Slice of Life daily challenge. I usually go directly to commenting, looking for some idea to inspire me.

Today, I decided to read Crews' email first, and sure enough it opened my heart and mind. Poetry speaks to me and tells me I am not alone. It certainly makes feel heard without speaking, and it inspires me to create.

Yesterday, he sent out a poem titled "Safe Space" and the following invitation:  What touches that "bundle of tinder" that is your heart these days? What offers you a sense of safety and comfort when so little in life does?  

My Safe Space

Well, I will tell you -
up until I found it,
I let everything sit in this body,
bubbling until 
patience was lost,
tears were released, 
and anger took over, 
usually resulting in 
punishing myself.

Somehow, I was summoned

to open a notebook.
A blank page 
became a new day,
a fresh look,
a depository for my soul, 
generating serenity and healing.

Without judgement,
I wrote of myself,
shared my fears,
and unleashed the bubbling
in my belly,
so that I could walk 
this life with an open heart.

The pages wait to be filled
or read again, a reminder
of who I was and where I came from,
who I am and my passions, 
and who I long to be 
and the possibilities that await me.

It holds me tenderly
and opens only
for me.
A page may come loose, 
at times, but only 
with my permission.


Friday, March 22, 2024

4 things, 4 feet, 4 minutes #SOLC #SOL24

Thank you, Tammy, for inspiring me today.  Prompt:  Look around and choose 4 things within 4 ft. of you and 4 minutes to write about them.

My pink gallon water bottle to keep me hydrated and to help my body function properly.

Two plush puffins watch me write and work.

My red Vera Bradley school bag waits for me to grab some papers to correct.

My orange journal covered in monarch butterflies I started to record my journey to better health.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Moved by the Wind #SOLSC #SOL24

Moved by the Wind

As I sat at my desk,
I heard the house creaking,
the awning banging, 
and the wind pushing 
at the windows.

It is a pressing force,
an insistent force,
an intimidating force 
of nature.

As I drove up the hill,
I saw the leaves dancing,
the pine branches waving, 
and a sculpture welcoming
spectators passing by.

It is a twirling force,
an inviting force,
a beautiful force
of nature.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

It's Spring? #SOLSC #SOL24

It is spring, but...

When I got out of my car this morning, graupel (new word for me) was falling from the sky.

Upon entering the house after school, I bolted under my fleece sheets to take the chill away. Unfortunately, that squashed all of my ambition for the rest of the night. It took every ounce of ambition to slice to get me out of bed.

I am currently shivering in a chair wearing my hooded blanket writing this slice. I just could not let this glorious first day of spring slip by without commemorating it with a slice.

A picture of my hooded blanket from Amazon just in case anyone wants one for spring.


Thinking About Change #SOL

I have been thinking about change. It has been a part of my work life for about three years now, and it will not stop for a while. So when E...