Wednesday, January 31, 2018

#DWHabit . How I Procrasitinate

As I've said before, I sit down with my writer's notebook every week or two, date the pages and write a prompt at the top. That way, when I sit down to write each MORNING, I have a prompt to get me writing immediately. I change it up once in a while. For example, yesterday I used Jen's word of the day for my writing.

I laughed when I opened my notebook a few minutes ago and prepared to write--in the AFTERNOON, after the gentle nudge to share what we've written today.

This is what I found.

Procrastination. I've been great at it today.

First, I read instead of writing this morning. Not a bad thing. I promised I would write after I read a while. But instead, I messaged some friends about a weekend wedding reception we've all been invited to. And that led to a conversation about my brother-in-law who has been in the hospital. All of which is important, but procrastination just the same.

I went back to reading when I was done. It's a John Grisham book entitled The Whistler, by the way. A perfect quick, easy read for procrastinating. I did manage to get up and throw some laundry in.

At about 11:00am, I finally got dressed (Oh. The life of the retired), and then met a former student for lunch. Lunch was awesome. We ate and chatted for about an hour and a half! There's nothing better than checking in with my kids.

When I got home I sat and visited with my husband for a bit before he went to work. We talked about important things like what to fix for supper. I watched a little NCIS and played a couple of Facebook games. Then I saw the check-in post.  OOPS! I still hadn't written! I thought maybe I would write about lunch today until I opened my notebook. And then I knew, just knew, I had to write about how I procrastinated today.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

#SOL18 . #DWHabit . Cranky

I should be
when my phone rings shortly after 6:00am

I should be 
and pull the covers over my head 

I should be
about not crossing things off my to-do list

I should be
because I stayed up way too late on a school night

But I'm not.

My clothes are ready.
My attitude's ready.

And I get to sub in Art, which is fun and

Added bonus. I don't have to go in 'til
So there is plenty of time for an
extra cup of coffee and
Snuggles with Chloe.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Celebrate: The Graduates (and a few of the Almost Graduates)


It could have been a lot harder to adjust to this if not for one special group of people.

My former students.

At times these past few months, I've felt a little lost. What to do with myself? I'm finding projects, purging closets, filling time. But about once a month, I'll get a text or a Facebook message from one of "my kids" and it seems to right my world again.

It started right away in August (which was a great time to hear from someone)

We had a great conversation about The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and our school district.

My first visit back to school was to see a student who just needed to talk to me again. For a while, I went back every couple of weeks just to visit with her and make sure she was OK. Now that I'm subbing, I see her more frequently, but she is handling her issues and doesn't need me as much as she did. And that's a good thing :)

A text I received the other day began with "Hey Mom". One of my speech kids--and I was school mom to him--was just checking with me about a book we read in College Prep Lit. Another former student wanted to quote it in a paper he was writing and couldn't remember the name of the book (It was Night by Elie Weisel).

Last week a favorite student tagged me in her Facebook post because she decided to use a One Little Word this year. She and I are going to have lunch next week. I can't wait to catch up on her world.

And, of course, there are my kids still at the high school

  • A, who squeals with delight every time she realizes I'm subbing in one of her classes
  • L, who pretends he hates it, but just followed me on Instagram
  • B and R who give me the best hugs whenever I'm in school
  • K, C, and J who asked if I would still write letters of recommendation for them, even though I'm retired
  • And all my formers who are still writing. They send me links or share them on Facebook. I love that they keep their blogs up.
A special shout-out to my colleagues who ask for me to be their sub when they have to be gone.

I'm learning to APPRECIATE this time in my life. I think I'm going to refer to them as my Rock Star Years.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Not My Room Anymore

Going back to school and subbing this winter has been good for me. Truth be told, I get a little bored once in a while, and getting back in the classroom is fun (and a lot less work than teaching full time). I love seeing my kids again and meeting some new ones. I get to see all my friends and catch up on all the school gossip.

But I miss my room.

The physical space is there, but the life I knew in it is gone. When it was mine, you knew when you walked in that reading and writing were important in that room. You knew by peeking in that students and their voice were valued. There was life in that room. Pods of kids were always about living, breathing, and learning.

There are no signs pointing the way to Oz or threatening with flying monkeys.
There are no speech folders cluttering the counters waiting to be put away.

There are no books lining the walls, ready to be grabbed to prove a point or entice a new reader. There are no books in the chalk tray waiting to be remembered.
There are no books in the basket resting until a new reader finds it.

There are no books.

It's a Spanish room now and I'm sure learning still happens. It just doesn't seem to have the vibrancy it once did. Or maybe, it's just my memories overshadow the reality.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Chloe Writes: Winter Sucks

Let me just tell you.  This. Winter. Sucks.

For a while after the lake, it was really nice and we could still go for walks and play out in the backyard. I love to run in the backyard, and chase that dang squirrel that lives in the tree and if I could just catch that cat that likes to hang out under the deck...


Then it got cold. Really, really cold and my paws hurt when I have to go out and take care of business. Even when the cousins came for Christmas we couldn't stay outside very long, and, trust me, we wanted to! But even though it's too cold outside, Mom and Dad play fun games with me inside.

But this last week has been the worst one ever.


How can that be?

Now, no one plays with me. They just lay there, wrapped in their blankets, moaning like babies. Dad wouldn't even let me up to lay in the chair with him! Mom did though. I thought if I cuddled her for a little while she would feel better (dog cuddles make everything better). Then maybe we could play. But Mom wouldn't even throw the ball. Like how hard is it to throw the dumb ball?


So, all I've done for the last week is lay around. I keep trying to get them up, but it hasn't worked very well. Finally, yesterday, there was some activity around here. I think they might be getting better! Mom chased me up the steps a couple of times and Dad let me come up in his chair.

But it's still too cold to play outside :(

Monday, January 15, 2018


Today's word is perfect.


I cruised through the first 10 days of January, writing daily in my notebook AND writing a blog post. Sometimes they were the same thing. Other times, they were very different. But the important thing was, I was writing again.

I had promised myself a little reward at the end of the month if I succeeded in writing every day (a new notebook!).

And then the flu hit.

I scribbled a few lines in my notebook last Wednesday, just enough to say I wrote. I skipped the blog post. Thursday I was so sick I didn't even shower, let alone write. The following days are a blur. Bed to couch. Aching. Feverish. Cough and sore throat. And to top it off, my husband had all this at the same time.  I knew he was really sick when he didn't go into work last week (he always goes to work!), nor did he run the snow blower when it snowed on Thursday (almost as shocking as not going into work).

We made it through on canned chicken noodle soup a couple of days and easy to throw together meals in electric fry pan. Toast and hard boiled eggs became gourmet meals.

Throughout this, it was simply too hard to write. A pounding head and burning eyes do not lend themselves to writing of any kind. I had to give myself permission to not write. I couldn't worry about it. I couldn't worry if others thought I was quitting again. I just had to sink into my blanket cocoon and take care of myself.

But today seems better. The fatigue is still there, but it's manageable. Our appetites are normal again and hubby just headed up to work. Slowly life will get back to normal.

And today I can write again.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

#SOL18 Summer Sunday in the Midst of Winter

School Sundays. Wake up

  • Coffee
  • Grading
  • Planning
  • More Grading
  • More Planning
  • Bed
  • No fun

I love Summer Sundays because they are relaxed and easy. Some are pajama days and lazy. Doing nothing but reading and enjoying the nice weather.  Others may find us golfing or going somewhere fun. Most find us gathering together in the late afternoon for friends, cool drinks, watching sunset and supper of some kind. 

Since I've retired, Sundays have been easy, but kind of boring. There's not much to do around here in the winter. But this past Sunday, Greg and I headed to a sports bar in the area where two friends were playing music during the afternoon. It was perfect. 

First of all, we love the music our friends play. I call it "Mom's Night At the Stereo" music. I can sing the words to every song. They make me happy. We also get to visit with the guys between sets and that too is nice. We talk about other friends, what's happening in the statehouse and music. There was another old friend there that we don't see very often and a visit with him is always a treat. He filled us in on happenings in his life since we last saw him and enjoyed the music with us.

Later we headed home to Red Lobster leftovers and a night watching the Golden Globes. The day was spent relaxing and enjoying friends. A Summer Sunday in the midst of winter.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Word of the Day: Ignore

I'm really enjoying subbing this winter. It keeps me in the loop at school and in touch with kids. I've also met some new kids that have quickly become favorites. Some of these new kids don't really know me and they don't know how I deal with things. But they are learning. And I'm learning to ignore certain behaviors.

I know that many teachers in our high school are battling cell phones. But it's not a fight I'm going to engage in.  I didn't when I was working full time and I'm really not going to now.  I have found that asking students to put them away or turn them face down when I'm teaching is/was enough. Kids get it if I say I need their undivided attention for a few minutes. When I taught, I did have a basket they could put them in if they thought they would be tempted. Some did for awhile but most handled the cell situation appropriately.

And quite frankly, there are bigger battles to fight.


A few in first hour today finished their assignment early. And one thing I know about teaching sophomore boys is that free time--any amount of free time--is too much for some.

I know that after today there are a couple of them who think I have super powers because even as I was writing notes for the teacher I could see one of them throw something across the room. Not a behavior I'm going to ignore.

I chuckled.

And then told him to go pick up and throw away whatever it was he threw. He did pick it up, but said it was for his pencil and stuck it in his pocket. I went back to writing my note. It flew again and so did something else.

Time for the teacher evil eye.

Both boys involved looked at each other, looked at me, picked up the pieces and threw them away.

It didn't ignore their behavior, but I didn't overreact either.

Battle won.


The American Lit class is full of great kids, most of whom I've had before. But there is a Payne in the butt. He's a bad boy wanna be. There is no reasoning with him because he's too cool to listen to the teacher. He thinks he's funny, but really, he's just rude and unaccepting.  I can't change his outlook or his behavior--especially in the sporadic days I see him. With him, I have to ignore all but the most disruptive behaviors.

I hate that. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

A Place Called Home

I have loved this house since we sat on the dining room floor in the waning light sunlight of a summer day and it whispered to us.

"Welcome Home."

Wrapping it walls around me like a cozy blanket on a cold winter's morning, it loves me as much as I love it. Every creak is familiar. I can walk through the rooms in the dark and never trip. The doors stick, the steps are too narrow, there's still some walls with 60's paneling, but I love it.

It's showing it's age now in the wrinkles in the walls and the grime that's going to take a lot of elbow grease to clean off the cupboards. But these walls hold lots of memories. Memories that make me laugh and smile, and yes, they also make me cry.

If these walls could talk they would share with you our excitement at owning our own home and the boys reminding us that now we could get a dog. It would tell you about the nights the boys snuck up the stairs and the fights we had as a family.

If these walls could talk, they would tell you about teaching the boys to cook and they'd probably share my dad's secret recipe for french toast. They'd laugh as the told stories about family Christmas's with 37 people in the house.

They'd tell you all about Friday nights with friends and their kids and singing and dancing in the dining room.

If these walls could talk they'd sniffle a little as they describe how lonesome it can be now with only the two of us and Chloe here and share the excitement of new Christmas memories with the grandkids.

If these walls could talk, they'd say,

"Welcome Home"

Saturday, January 6, 2018


While I love the holidays, I also love January when life returns to normal.




I've spent the week returning my house to its pre-holiday normal. I've switched a few things around, changed out pictures in the frames, and sucked up a few cobwebs (Really. Shouldn't spiders die in the winter?).

And I've been writing. Nothing major, just notes in my notebook that have turned into blog posts every day.

It feels good.

Friday, January 5, 2018

January Goals

Every year my January goal is to eat less and move more, because, let's face it, the previous two months are killer on being healthy. By January, I need to remind myself to get back to sensible living. Also, it's cold here---really cold. So daily walks outside are not possible. At least not for me!

The eating less/healthy part is easier to get back into. The cookies are gone (thanks to the grandkids), the candy is almost gone. I did hide a few pieces or it would be gone too. But a piece of chocolate a day is mentally healthy, so I'm OK with there being some around. There are now greens and vegetables and fruit in the fridge. My husband is on board with finding some healthy recipes, so we're good there.

It's the moving more that is my downfall in the winter. Being retired means I can sit in my chair with a blanket drinking coffee as long as I want in the morning.  Before I know it, it's 11:00am and I still haven't gotten dressed or moved at all except to get another cup of coffee. 

My plan for moving is getting outside with Chloe for fifteen minutes every day (well, once we don't have dangerous windchills) and playing. We'll walk if it's warm enough. We'll run up and down the stairs if not. I brought our old Wii downstairs and am going to hook it up to our TV. I can get back on the Wii fit program--yoga, running, golf and bowling will get me out of my chair.

My last goal is to WRITE. It's the one thing I felt missing from my life when I retired. I don't know why I quit writing-- I didn't quit breathing just because I retired. Writing is something I have always done. It's part of me. But I just quit--or as Terje says, I paused.  I like that better.

I paused.

But I'm back writing now. Even if it's just a list in my notebook. I'm writing. And I'm going to do it every day.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018: A Year to Appreciate

I started a list this morning of the things I am looking forward to in the coming year:

  • Traveling: I don't know where we'll go, but I know we will start planning some trips soon
  • The Eagles concert in March. Although we've seen them before, this is a group I could see a million times.
  • Lake time, of course (Only 100 more days until we can open the cabin)
  • I don't have to worry about snow/cold days anymore!
  • Which means I don't have to worry about making up snow and cold days anymore!
  • A midwinter trip somewhere

And then I realized that what I'm really looking forward to is the 

that being retired brings me. I now have the freedom to:
  • sleep in or get up early
  • work or not work
  • read all day or be productive
  • scrapbook or write
  • travel or enjoy my home
  • clean my house or close my eyes
I'm loving this life of no schedules--the ability to take off on vacation or a shopping day in the middle of the week is awesome. I love choosing when and if and how much I work. Subbing in our little district is great because no matter what classroom I am in, I feel at home because those are still my kids. 

I guess you could say I have eased into retirement well. I'm learning to APPRECIATE this new time in my life.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

I Quit. And Then I Started Again.


I retired.

I quit writing.

Actually, I quit writing before I retired. I'd think about blog posts. I'd try to get started. But that inner critic kept telling me that others had written it before, my thoughts weren't relevant, I had nothing to add to the conversation. And when I did retire in May, it was easy to tell myself that no one would want to read the thoughts of a teacher no longer in the classroom.

I'm not sure what is motivating me now, but I know I've spent the last couple of months preparing to start again.

  • I've started a Pinterest board for Blogging and Journaling.
  • I've dabbled a couple of times
  • I've pulled out a new notebook
  • I've scheduled my writing time in my calendar
  • I've removed blank pages from my notebook
Yes. You read that last one correctly. I removed blank pages. Well, maybe remove isn't the right word. You know how we all hate the blank page? Well, I dated a week's worth of pages and wrote a writing prompt on them. That way when I sit down to write in the morning, the page isn't blank and I have a prompt to start from. 

I've found that I tend to list things at first, but when I sit down to really write, I have plenty to say. This post started from a list of all the reasons I wanted to start my blog up again:
  • I need to write again
  • I think about blog posts all the time--why don't I write them?
  • It makes me feel good to write
  • I need to write to sort things out
  • I miss it
  • I miss connecting with my blogging friends
  • "Write like it matters and it will." Libba Bray
What I really forgot when I quit was my very first blog post, written on another site, was that I wanted a place for me to write, and Coffee With Chloe is that place.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

One Little Word

Each year I wait, and each year it happens. A word comes along that I know will guide me through the coming year. And, usually, it comes through a phrase that I use as a mantra throughout the year.

2013: Nothing Without JOY
2014: Live ALOHA
2015: Life is about BALANCE
2016: Concentrate the mind on the present MOMENT

I was playing around with words throughout December. Created a Pinterest board. Read quotes I had earlier pinned. No word, no phrase really jumped out at me.

But I was patient.

For a while, I thought my word would be enjoy. But the word never really settled in my soul. I want to enjoy my life now, the people in it, the fun things we are doing. But still, it seemed a little frivolous.

But I was patient and kept looking.

And then this meme came across my Facebook timeline:

And one word jumped out at me:  APPRECIATE

And, as always, I looked up the word:

To recognize worth, to understand situations, to enjoy, give thanks, to acknowledge, to be grateful...

These were things I wanted to bring to my life in 2018.

Oh. And I did find a quote

Monday, January 1, 2018

OLW2017: A Reflection

By last January, I knew that I was headed for retirement. And while I was excited and fairly ready for it, I also wondered who I would be if not Mrs. Day. What would I do? How would I fill my days? I used my One Little Word for 2017,  DISCOVER, as a way to figure out the next chapter of my life.

At times, I didn't think I was really discovering much of anything, but when I sat down to think about it, there were a few discoveries along the way:

  • Love comes back to you when you put it out in the world.
  • Remembering is fun, but appreciating the moment is important and gives me more memories to look back on.
  • There is life beyond teaching, although I am a teacher at heart.
  • Sunday nights are a lovely time to watch movies, read a book or doze in the chair under a cozy blanket.
  • Tuesday at 11:00am is a great time to go grocery shopping!
  • There are books I haven't read in this great place called a library. They let me take home books for free (as long as I bring them back)
  • Summer lasts through September. And September is a beautiful time at the lake.
  • It's easier to keep your house clean when you don't work every day.
  • I have hoarder tendencies.
  • There is JOY in getting rid of clutter.
  • Subbing is a great way to see my friends, do what I love, and not have homework every night.
  • My friends at school still value my advice. 
  • It's great to feel like a rock start when I walk into school and see students.
  • Traveling at times other than June, July and August is possible.
And now, as we head into 2018, I'm ready to start appreciating this time of my life....

3/17 I'm So Lucky

  I'm so lucky to have a birthday on St. Patrick's Day☘️ Everyone likes to celebrate my birthday (even if they don't like green ...