Showing posts from 2018

Looking at the Heart

As always, my writing mentors speak to me just when I need to hear them. Scrolling through Facebook, I came upon Leigh Anne's post  (notice I stole her title) reflecting on Ruth's post .  There was a tweet included with Leigh Anne's and those words went straight to my heart because like Leigh Anne, I felt I had been focusing on behaviors instead of hearts. I'm long-term subbing for a friend's maternity leave. She's a special ed teacher. An amazing one. She's a regular ed teacher also. An amazing one. Kids love her. And many of the students she works with have behavior issues. And there are regular teenagers who have their own issues. In the stress of starting in her classroom, in the hurriedness of catching up, in finding my "teaching every day" mojo, I forgot to look at the hearts. I let behaviors get to me. I thought back to a conversation I had with a friend one day about a certain student. I told her how I was having a diffi

#WOD . Hidden

hidden in the fog of my early morning brain WORDS WAIT to tumble to my fingerprints and spill on to the page 10 Things I'd Rather Do Than Write 1. Play Facebook games 2. Take a bath 3. Read my book 4. Take the polish off my toenails 5. Eat ice cream 6. Make phone calls 7. Check my snapchat and instagram 8. Doze in my chair 9. twiddle my thumbs 10. Prepare for classes tomorrow And now I've shared some writing today.

#sol18 A Fish Tale

Grandma!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need help!!!!!!!!!! I caught a fish!!!!!!! Max is one of our youngest grandkids and he is fishing crazy. Give him a pole when he comes to the lake and he is set for the day. Where is it? What did you do with it? It's on the dock. My friends are watching it. Well, let me throw some clothes on...  it's 8:30 on Saturday morning. I'm lounging and drinking coffee.  My friends are so helpful. Tony, you should get some friends like mine. Tony is his big brother and has barely opened his eyes. I follow him out the door and up the road to the dock. Mind you, he jumped on his bike and raced up the road. I walk as fast as I can. The neighbors are laughing as I walk down the road. They heard him yelling all the way to the cabin. I hand him an old towel and tell him to hold the fish with the towel and take the hook out of its mouth. He's pretty proud when he puts that fish in the bucket. I stay and watch for quite a while. 3 boys. 1 fi

#Celebratelu Things That Make Me Smile This Summer

Holy Cow. I let summer fun get in the way of writing for a while. But I'm not going to apologize for that. We've been busy having fun! Chloe was not letting us leave without her We took a little road trip to Bayfield, Wisconsin in mid-June and it was wonderful. What a beautiful area on Lake Superior. We stayed at a great little mom and pop motel right on the lake. It's probably the cleanest, friendliest place we've ever stayed. I would go back in heartbeat. One of our favorite places on this trip was Tom's Burned Down Cafe.  Talk about making the best of a bad situation. This guy buys a restaurant and gets ready to open. The place burns down the night before with the insurance check on his desk. He puts a tarp up and opens anyway. Never did rebuild, just keeps it like this.  Chloe was more than welcome and they even had water for dogs! We also went to a Jackson Brown concert with our youngest son (a huge fan). Such an amazing night. The stor

#sol18 . Road Trip

Make a list. Edit the list. Cross things off the list. Lose the list. Make a new list. Heading out on a road trip. No specific plans, just a destination in mind. Motel reservation made. Load the car. Make room for Chloe (she loves road trips) Too many clothes--not leaving any. Sunglasses? Check. Water bottle filled? Check. Snack box filled? Check. Mail stopped? Check. Blog post written? Check! See you next week!


It's been such a lovely week at the lake. The weather, for the most part, has been lovely. Chloe and I have been able to be outside, playing and taking lots of walks. If I'm not playing with Chloe, then I can sit outside, read and stare at the lake. There have been afternoon naps, golf with friends, lunch with friends, dinner with friends. You're getting the theme here, right? My husband got back to the lake yesterday and got to join in the fun. While being alone is nice sometimes, I'm glad he's back. Things are just more fun with him around. After a busy week at work, he's more than ready for some lake fun. I'm looking forward to heading home for a few days though. I've got some friends to check in with back there!

#sol18 A Perfect Summer Day

"The kids want to swim. Care if we come out?" It definitely wasn't a lake day. Strong winds, dirty lake water. Ugh. But we really wanted to see them. I sent the video and said, "How about we come to you?" The girls jumped out of the car to greet us when we arrived. Or maybe they were just excited to see Chloe--because Chloe was sure excited to see them! Then the youngest boys came running. H had a secret that he told me, but not Grandpa because he wanted to surprise Grandpa. He learned to ride his bike without training wheels! The saying "smile a mile wide" was no exaggeration as he rode down the sidewalk showing off for us. Every so often, for the rest of the afternoon, he'd come up and say, "I'm going to ride around the block." And off he'd go. Still smiling. The older boys appeared and we got hugs from them too. They'd been in the tents set up in the backyard. Camping had been the plan, but the winds and possi

The Art Of Doing Nothing

Ruth's son, Sam, inspired my post this morning. If you haven't read Ruth's post about Sam's summer to do list, you should hop on over and read it. Here at the lake, we all do have chores to do and jobs to go home to, but while here, most of us have mastered the art of doing nothing. And it's a beautiful place to do nothing. After Sam's explanation, I thought I'd make my own list. Taking Chloe on a long walk along the lakeshore is always a great way for me to do nothing. Especially when I let Chloe take the lead. She loves when I just let her go where she wants and sniff everything in her path. I do have to pay attention to her a little bit, though. She's been known to almost pull me off my feet when she gets a whiff of some critter and wants to go off hunting. Reading is also a great way to relax. My problem is when I read outside I sometimes just put my book down and stare at the lake. There is nothing more relaxing than watching the


Finally. Summer arrived. Really arrived. High 90's for days in a row. And, a windy, rainstorm last night. But here I am. Drinking my coffee. Reading my book. Watching the waves. NOT complaining about the heat or lake flies Because last month at this time there was still snow and ice hanging around. Also. I don't have to go back to school today and finish up. Retired teachers don't have to go to school after Memorial Day. I don't have to cook or clean or anything else I don't want to do because I am at the lake.

Finally Celebrating Summer

Who's going to complain about lake flies and heat? NOT ME. Literally a month ago, northern Iowa still had snow on the ground. Ice out at the lake was not official until April 30th. I wasn't sure we'd ever open the cabin. A bit dramatic, I know. But it just seemed like winter and April lasted forever. But here we are. The first official week of summer. I finished subbing Friday at 12:35pm. I don't have to go back to finish up Tuesday. I'm going to stay at the cabin and just enjoy. I'm pretty sure Stephen King put out his new book just for me this summer. And the weatherman certainly heard me wishing for summer temps. Of course, he may have taken it a little too far. I'm not sure we needed 95 degrees quite so soon...

#sol18 The End Again

Well, I'm almost done. Friday is the last day of school and the last day of my long-term sub. I'll walk out the door with the students for summer vacation. Some things were fairly easy. Some were harder than expected. There are things that I wish I had done differently. I would have changed the book in the Modern Lit class from Gatsby to something I was more familiar with. I regret kids didn't have a good experience with the book. For a while, it wasn't for sure I would finish the year, so sticking with the plan was the way to go. But this group wasn't really meant for Gatsby. I know that because I taught most of them before. Even with a whole class novel, you have to think about the composition of the class. While most of my classes were high school classes I taught before, there were two classes of eighth graders that I finished the year with. I would have set my deadlines with the 8th graders. There was some taking advantage of the sub for a little bit and

Friday Tired

I forgot about being Friday tired. Teaching all week. Grading papers. Working with students. A little lesson planning. I forgot about being Friday tired. But whoa! Right now, sitting in the last class of the day (who are remarkably quiet and busy) I am having to work to keep my eyes open. I graded a couple of quizzes, but, right now,  I can't face the rest of the assignments that need a grade. They are going to have to wait. Wait until tomorrow morning when I will wake up at whatever time I want. Wait until after I've had several cups of really good coffee. Wait until I've had a little lake time to breathe. They certainly aren't going anywhere and I know I can get them graded in a short time when I am not Friday tired.

Shower Thoughts

The best ideas come to me in the shower. And today, I even remembered it after the shower! "What am I going to do with the 8th graders?" "What am I going to do with the 8th graders?" "What am I going to do with the 8th graders?" This last week, those words just kept running through my head. Once they finished this writing assignment, what would they do? There would be another week of school left! And then as I was washing my hair, it hit me--or maybe I rubbed it in-- The fun writing activities I used to do in Creative Writing!  I'll set up stations with directions and give them choices to write about. Better than a movie. Better than sitting and doing nothing. We can make this work.

#sol18 Walking with Grandpa

I see the girls first. Twirling, Skipping, Walking backward. They make me smile with their simple joy. And then I notice who they are walking to school with. It has to be Grandpa and his old black lab. They are walking slowly, and you can tell, Grandpa is listening intently to the animated conversations he's being gifted with this morning. I think how lucky they all are, to have these special moments in the morning. The girls will head into school and start their day having been listened to, loved and appreciated. Grandpa and the lab will head home with smiles and Gramps will chuckle several times throughout the day thinking about the conversation as they walked. They too will have been listened to, loved and appreciated. Isn't that a lovely way to start your day? And me? I start my school day with a smile too and an appreciation for the little things.

Just Like Riding a Bike

I don't know what or why. But I'm doing an emergency long-term sub position at my old high school. A call yesterday to sub today. And then the "Are you open? Can you do the rest of the week? Maybe the rest of the year?" I know I will sub tomorrow, but I really don't know about the rest of the year. Yet. I will because I know it's an emergency. I will because the classes are mostly the ones I left a year ago. I got this. And I can figure out the rest. It's amazing how you can step back into the classroom so quickly. I handled eighth graders by introducing myself (that was strange) and going around and talking to them all individually while they worked on a speech. If I'm going to work with them, I've got to make connections quickly. The upperclassmen next door laughed when they heard me with the eighth graders--especially the boys. And they really thought it was strange to hear me introduce myself. "You're a legend, Mrs. Day. How

Celebrating All the Little Things That Make Me Happy

1. IT. IS. FINALLY. SPRING! 2. Next weekend we will open our lake trailer. Not going to lie. April was a long winter. When I should have been packing lake boxes, planting flowers and enjoying the nice weather, I was, instead, shoveling snow and wrapping in blankets for warmth. 3. Spring Flowers. I finally went this week and bought some. Created a couple of pots to put on the deck. It's not warm enough yet to plant them in the ground. But we're getting there. 4. Chloe and I have been walking again and checking out signs of spring in the neighborhood. Tulips are up. Snow crocuses are blooming. Birds are everywhere looking for food. And I think we've seen the last of the "snirt" 5. Awesome fun finds at the Dollar Tree. You have to love a store where everything is literally a dollar. 6. Subbing has been fun this week. I love making new connections with kids I didn't have in class while I taught. I also love that as soon as I walk in the door kids are a

#sol18 All The Plans for a Spring Day

I try not to complain, but spring has been slow in coming this year. Finally, the last couple of days showed promise. Sunshine and warmth visited and melted the last piles of snow from last week's blizzard. After school yesterday was marvelous. The grocery store and Shopko finally had their greenhouses up, waiting for the flowers to arrive. Chloe and I walked when I got home and the snow crocuses were up at the neighbor's. After our walk, we hit the deck even though it wasn't really ready for us. So today we have spring chore plans: Wash the deck Bring the outdoor rug up Chairs are good. Bring at least a couple out Maybe at least a little table (for wine) Buy some flowers and plant some pots A little raking A little planning of yard areas Check out the chairs with a nap in the sun Read my book Check out the table height for wine. Sip a glass. Enjoy

Celebrating Little Songs of Joy

Scrolling through Facebook this morning as I always do with my first cup of coffee. It seems today my feed is full of the music of students and former students and it has started my day with a smile and a happy heart. I can't share the first with you (but oh I wish I could).  D is a former speech kid who now is attending college and majoring in musical theatre, I think. He's part of a jazz singers group that had a concert last night and thanks to his mom posting videos, this morning I started my day with D singing Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. It's one of my favorite standards, sung by one of my favorite young men. I also listened to a group of sisters that attend our schools. The oldest, Addie, has been a student of mine since she was an 8th grader. Simply. I love her. She makes me smile and be happy. She is such a wonderful young woman. Yesterday I told her how much I enjoyed all the videos her family has been posting of The Sopha Sisters . The girls are

#sol18 . I Am A Collector of Words

Today's Writing Quote: To write means more than putting pretty words on a page; the act of writing is to share a part of your soul with the world. I am a collector of quotes. Of words. Other people's words. I save them everywhere my notebooks, random slips of paper, Pinterest. Truth be told, I have four different boards on Pinterest where I save words that touch my soul. I have poetic words, quotes, book quotes and writing quotes. My love of other people's words began in ninth grade when my social studies teacher started class every day with a quote. We wrote the quote in our notebook, along with the author. The notebook was graded quarterly. If we were absent, it was our responsibility to get the quote we missed from a friend. I don't remember him writing the quote on the board so it would be easier to write down. I just remember him standing in the door frame, arms crossed, saying the quote in whole once, in phrases once, and then again in whole. No re

Celebrating Survivors

Today's writing quote: The Universe is not made of atoms. It's made of tiny stories. I subbed three days at our alternative high school this week. Most of these students I've had before when they were in "regular" school. It didn't work for them.  They all have stories. He Was abused for 5 years By. His. Mom. (I don't understand how moms can do that.) But he survived. His scars don't show, but they do have names. BD OCD ADHD Bipolar He Handles life with snark and suspicion. He has a right to be angry To hate the woman But he is a survivor He's starting a new life with new people and determination. She Wandered off her path and Ran with a bad crowd She was an angry ass she says Even though her family Was behind her and Tried to pull her Back to the path. She Counts sober days While most around her Count down to graduation She'll make that milestone too. She Tells me Every. Day. Is. Hard. Somet


LIfe has been good for this old retired teacher--although I don't feel old and I've been subbing a lot, so sometimes I don't feel retired. Wait! Yes, I do. There's no bag of grading and planning coming home with me every day :)  This week's celebrations were easy to find and you'll probably hear more about them in the weeks to come. 1. A former student and speech kid texted me the other day and invited me to a reception in which she will be receiving a Congressional Merit Award. I had no idea what this award was but told her I'd be honored. This is a student who has kept in touch with me throughout the school year. She filled me in on speech happenings, even thanking me at the end of the season for my part in her speech career. I haven't seen her to ask about this award, but if it's this , I'm incredibly honored that she asked me to attend. 2, Twice in the last couple of weeks I've been asked to sub in classrooms because the ki

#sol18 . Daydreaming of My Favorite Place

Today's Writing Quote: There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; Sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.                                                                       ~~E Hemingway~~ I love any space by water.  I find myself most at peace,  most relaxed,  more me,  when water is part of my view. The sound of the waves The fresh smell, Warm breezes, and Campfire conversations I love our little trailer with sagging floorboards and  grandkid stained carpet I don't need perfect here. Today as I sit wrapped in a blanket waiting for snowfall and freezing temps I dream Warm temps Gentle breezes Summer

This Is How It Starts

"Don't be afraid to write crap because crap makes great fertilizer." ~~ Jessica Brody And, this is the point in my writing year where I find it hard to continue. After I staggered to the end of the March slicing challenge my brain says, "No More. I have nothing left to blog about." I didn't write yesterday. I almost didn't write today. The procrastinating starts easily enough. "I'm just going to skip today." One day doesn't matter. But then tomorrow comes. I'll write later after I ____________________ (fill in the blank) Only later never comes. And before you know it, a week, a month passed. And you haven't written a word. So, that's why I'm writing now. Publishing now. Crap though it is. I need to start filling up notebook pages again. Crap though they are. Because somewhere in the lines I wrote today will be the beginnings of a poem or a slice of life. Someday I'll look back and be glad that I t

{solsc} 31/31 #sol18 . So Long. Farewell.

So here we are. 31 Days of Slicing is over. For some, they won't post again until next March. And that's OK. Keep writing. Others will continue to slice and post on Tuesdays. And that's good. Keep writing. Some won't post anywhere, but they will write. I love that. Keep writing. Writing is important no matter when and where you do it.  Keep writing. I've been writing most every day since January and now it's a habit. A good habit. So tonight, inpreparation for April, I've found some new writing prompts to add to my writer's notebook pages (I HATE a blank notebook page when I sit down to write.)  In my daily writing habit, I've discovered a few things: I write better and more consistently when I write in the morning. I have a morning brain and I know that. I need to schedule the time and just write. I write better when I have a plan or a prompt. So tonight, inpreparation for April, I've found some

{solsc} 30/31 #sol18 . Hello There (A list)

Hello There... I am   not feeling very well, so I'm going to try this list style of post I keep   writing ideas on my Pinterest board, in my notebook and on my computer but they all took too much thought today. I wish I could   write blog posts ahead of time every day. But I can't. I love   these kind of posts when I'm having trouble being prolific I dance   my fingers around on the keyboard, hoping they will work some magic...they didn't. I sing   the Writer's Block Blues the end of every March.  I think    what I want to write tomorrow to say goodbye to this slicing challenge I really   want to write something fun and playful OR reflective about the month I need   to get my notebook ready for the month of April. I might be done slicing every day, but I am NOT done writing every day. I should   find some new prompts to help me write next week and put them on the pages of the my notebook. I can   take my notebook with me

{solsc} 29/31 #sol18 Laughable

 My Stupid sign is flashing today and here is what I'm finding laughable... Pouty Students: There are always those students who think if they pout and give you the silent treatment it will hurt your feelings.  It doesn't it. Some days, it makes my time in the classroom better. Then, for good measure, they throw in not doing the work that has been assigned. By now I should be crying in my pillow. Then. Let's talk about the kids who haven't done any work for three days. Today. Day 4. Your assignment is due. These guys want to know why four notecards aren't enough. How about the kids sharing a computer and pretending to work. Or the kid who spent nine minutes in the bathroom. Why do I find this laughable? Because they've been given every chance, every reminder. Because it will come back to haunt them. Because I love saying, "I told you so."

{solsc} 28/31 #sol18 Nothing is Truly Lost

I couldn't find it. Three times I went into the basement where I knew I had put it after Christmas. I went upstairs and looked in the Christmas decorations "just in case". I took a flashlight and did the CSI thing. I double checked the cupboard. I just couldn't find it. Throughout the search, my husband kept asking helpful questions like Are you sure it's not upstairs? Yes! I know it is somewhere in the basement. Would you have gotten rid of it? Never! It's Dad's pan. And I use it for lots of things! Why didn't you leave it in the cupboard?  It's. Too. Big. And takes up way too much room. Have you checked the basement again? Yes. All of this was because he was cooking. Roast, potatoes, carrots in the oven. And he wanted the BIG pan.   I used it at Christmas when the kids were home. When everyone left, I took it to downstairs. WHERE DID I PUT IT? He walked down the stairs, into the main room, walked over to the she

{solsc} 26/31 #sol18 Fran

"Hey Neighbor. Fran here. Fran L....... Just wanted to know if you wanted some T N T?" I had to stop and think. T N T? Dynamite?  No... I laughed the first time I got that call and had to ask what he meant. Trout and Tomatoes. Duh! Of course! Fran was a fixture in our neighborhood. He gave away so many tomatoes I wondered if he and his wife Pat ever had enough for themselves. At his funeral last week the stories were all the same. Fran took them trout fishing, guaranteeing they would catch fish. Fran bringing tomatoes and other vegetables from his garden to share. We often shared back with Fran and Pat. Polish sausage we brought back from Wisconsin. BBQ ribs from our smoker. But every time my husband took something over to them, be brought something back. Because as Fran explained, "We're Norwegian. If you give us something, we have to give you something back." Greg and I and our neighbors said goodbye to Fran this week. Our summer will be a

{solsc} 25/31 #sol18 Thought on Teenagers

In my 61 years on earth, I've learned one thing well in the last couple of years. Don't argue politics on Facebook. My son posted something last night that I agree with and I wanted to respond. But I didn't. Because of not arguing politics on Facebook. This, however, is my blog. Great social change often starts with the young. Civil Rights. Segregation. The Viet Nam War. Rock and Roll, for heaven's sake. They have a passion for the things they believe in. They don't understand why you can't just change things that don't work. They aren't cynical yet and don't fall for the "we've always done it that way" line of BS. I taught teenagers for 28 years. Some of the most passionate, educated, insightful people I've ever met walked through my classroom doors. And they often educated me. I talked with them about important things in their lives and listened to their answers (how many keyboard warriors have talked to a teenager since

{solsc} 24/31 #sol18 . Celebrating The Storm That Wasn't and other silly things

WINTER STORM WATCH All week they've been preparing us. Lots of wet heavy snow was heading our way. Rumors of 10 inches of the stuff are being whispered. WINTER STORM WARNING Yesterday we were upgraded to a warning from 7:00pm until about 10:00am on Saturday. 4-8 inches of snow. Then 6-10 inches. Forecasters did say this was a narrow swath of heavy snow. Around this area would be significantly less.  WINTER STORM WARNING By the 6:00pm news and weather, the timing had changed and so had our forecast. The storm was moving west and south of us and now our warning started at 10:00pm and would last until noon on Saturday.  The good news? Totals were expected to be in the 3-6 inch range. I go to bed. My weather app says snow will start at 10:47pm WINTER STORM WARNING I woke up a little before 7:00am, fully expecting a "winter wonderland" when I put Chloe out.  Nothing. And I mean nothing. Everything looks exactly as it did

{solsc} 23/31 #sol18 . Silly Subbing Snippet

There's always a little silliness at the beginning of class when I sub in my own high school. This is one of those silly little moments, but it made me laugh out loud. D is one of my former speech kids. He's loud, silly and likes to procrastinate working in class.  M is the sister of a favorite student., but I don't know her well yet. They've been chatting and giggling in their table group for about ten minutes. Over Clemintines :) D: Can I go to my locker? Me: No. Because you haven't done squat yet. M: D. Do a squat! D: Huh? M: She said you hadn't done squat. Do a squat. Do 2! D does a squat. Looks at me while I am laughing. D: Well? Me: Go!  (How could I say no?)

{solsc} 22/31 #sol18 What Goes Around

I was not just a teacher of writers in my previous life, I was also a teacher of readers. And long before it was a buzzword, I believed in student choice, especially when it came to the independent books they were reading. I was lucky as a kid because no one told me what I could and couldn't read. No one told me what genre to read, or that something was too easy or too hard for me.  I just read. And when I taught, whether it was 7th grade or 12th grade, I trusted students to read what they wanted, what they needed at the time. I book talked all the time, so students had some ideas and they could always ask for ideas. They usually got a stack of four or five books to choose from, based on what I knew about them. Anyway. Flash forward to this morning. A friend on Facebook was looking for additional copies of a book she wanted her middle school kids to read. She's looked everywhere and was not having any luck. A former neighbor and friend of hers and a former studen

{solsc} 21/31 #sol18 8th Grade Boys

While I began my career teaching seventh and eighth graders, I ended teaching high schoolers. Mostly juniors and seniors. Trust me. They grow up in the years between middle school and graduation. But there are lots of things I forgot about middle school-- eighth-grade boys in particular. I notice them yesterday when I subbed for a teacher who taught both middle school and high school students. The difference in sizes! In one class I had a student who was at least six foot. Standing next to him most of the class period was a boy the same age who would be stretching to hit five foot. They are loud.  Enough said. But so are high school boys. The seventh-grade boys who followed them, however, were not so loud. They touch everything. Even each other. They are always punching and poking each other. They get into each other's things. They touch everything!!!! They don't think they have to listen to you. But like a naughty puppy, if you speak sternly (don't yell), they s

{solsc} 20/31 #sol18 Rain-Washed Clouds

It must be the day for writing Paint Chip Poetry. I often used this activity when I taught Creative Writing. Today Margaret Simon shared her poetry and how she uses this activity in her classroom. If you are feeling adventurous, give it a try. I found my paint chip on Pinterest! Waking early Rain washed gray clouds  Create a windy blue light to the day Drinking coffee Drizzle falls teasing the tulips up from the ground Writing Poetry As storm clouds gather and  Rain brings spring to the world