Tuesday, February 27, 2018

#sol18 Getting Ready

"Write as if you are talking to someone. It works. Don't put on any fancy phrases or accents or things you wouldn't say in real life."
                                                   ~~~Maeve Binchy~~~

I need these words this morning. I was going to save them for Thursday (You know what Thursday is? Right?) But I need them today.

I've been getting myself ready for the Slice of Life Challenge this week. And for some reason, I thought I needed some fancy way of writing about it this morning. I tried some poetry (I can't force poetry). I tried being inspirational (That sounded really fake). I looked through my notebook trying to find something to slice about.

And then I found the quote.

And she's right. So. Here's what I've been doing to get ready:

I've read through some old blog posts, especially the ones I write on March 1st. I think introductions are important and I like to introduce Chloe and me on that day so people know who were are. I'm struggling a bit this year with just the right style, but I've got some notes written in my notebook so something will come to me.

I've also marked some pages in my notebook for entries that I could turn into blog posts. I've been writing pretty consistently since January and I think these pages of writing are going to come in handy about the middle of the month when my inspiration takes a break.

My Pinterest board (Blogging and Journaling) is packed with things I could write about and a few writing quotes that I've found to inspire me as I write through the month. I also have a folder on my desktop with ideas, so I should be good, but I'm going to add some more things in the next couple of days, mostly to keep me fired up to write.

An idea stolen from another blogger, I've set up my blog pages and they are ready to go--now I just have to fill them with words.

And. I think I'm ready for this writing journey. My seventh eighth one.

Will you join me?

Saturday, February 24, 2018


I love teenagers.

I said this to a class I was subbing in yesterday and a few kids thought I was being sarcastic. I'm not sure some of them ever really believed me, but those who know me know it's true.

I love their passions. Whether it's our Girls'Basketball team heading to the state tournament for the fourth time in five years (GO CADETS!) or my speech kiddos heading to districts today or victims of a tragedy rallying the country in a battle cry of #NeverAgain, teenagers charge into the world daring you to stop them. 

I think our world is in great hands.

I'll be back subbing all next week for Roomie, who is now teaching English 9. It will be a crazy week full of interruptions as our basketball team plays in the tournament. Seriously. It'll be nuts. The schedule will change, depending on whether they win or lose on Tuesday. Some kids will be here, some will be gone. Mentally, they'll all be gone :)

But, I've got this. They're just excited kids, who will have more important things going on in their life for a while. But we'll get the work done with a little patience and understanding--and probably a little friendly sarcasm.


Our school district has a therapy dog name Howie (He has his own Twitter page if you want to check him out ). And Howie hugs are the second best way in the world to start your day (Chloe hugs, of course, are first). Howie is a black Goldendoodle and he loves his job.  I'm "Bad Grandma" because I don't always make him follow rules, but his antics always make me laugh.  It is amazing how many high school kids track him down in the morning for that morning love. When they see him walking around the school there are many shouts of "Hi, Howie". Believe it or not, he's a pretty calming presence for the kids. It's pretty great to see some of the tough guys melt and smile when Howie brings his ball to them and wants to play.

Other celebrations:

  • Only two more letters of recommendation to write. Scholarships are due on Thursday!
  • Even though we will get more snow this weekend, next week brings a warm-up!  Melting snow and ice!
  • Hallmark movies. Sometimes in the midst of the chaos in this world, I love the simplicity and happiness of these movies.
  • My plants seem to be coming out of their winter doldrums and I saved a tulip plant from Walmart's Valentine's Day clearance last week. It's looking pretty good now.
  • Free HBO weekends. We were able to record quite a few good movies last weekend, so when it starts snowing today, we will be able to snuggle in and watch them while it storms outside.
And what are you celebrating this week?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Too Close to Home

February 22, 2018

And today.

A week after Parkland.

A day after CNN's town hall about gun control (you can listen to it HERE)

In a small town twenty miles from my home. A town I lived and worked in for a couple of years.
The community school is closed today as school and police officials investigate credible threats of violence that were shared with officials Wednesday night.

This is a town of 900 or so people.
Everyone knows everyone. And within 20 miles in all directions, there are connections to that town.

And no longer can anyone think "It couldn't happen here."

February 23, 2018

And today.

It happened again. This time a larger city two and a half hours to the east, but a place many in this area travel to. Police are investigating credible threats of violence at the high school. They closed all schools in the district. And parents are having to explain to six-year-olds why they aren't having school.

And adults are trolling students and saying terrible things to them. Accusing them of being actors. How in the world can you attack kids who have experienced their friends dying next to them?

And people are worried about them being rude to Senator Rubio and the NRA lady. I say it's about time someone got rude with them. 

Kids are afraid of dying.

Kids ARE dying.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

#sol18 Sofa Time

It's funny how slices come about. Today's inspiration was from Jennifer Laffin and her #DWHabit Word of the Day SOFA.

SOFA. I laughed when I saw Jennifer's word of the day this morning. How in the world do you write about a sofa? It's just a piece of furniture and ours only gets used when company comes.

And then I looked at Choe on the love seat.

What do you mean it never gets used???? This is my favorite spot in the house! I can look out an see what's going on across the street. And that stupid cat that keeps coming over. How do you think I know when to bark and scare it away?

It is her favorite spot in the morning. She moves from watching out the window to this

Hey! It's hard work guarding the whole neighborhood!

She also thinks the sofa is hers--both ends--and she's not very happy on the few occasions I decide to lay on the couch. She trots right over and sits in front of me and stares.

It's my spot!

She can fit on the other end of the couch when I lay there, but usually pouts and heads back to the love seat.

Proof!  My pillow and my spot.  And you and dad have recliners and I don't sit in them! Besides, I love that pillow.

And the battle continues.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Lost in Writing

Lost in writing
Normal routine takes a 
Back seat
To finding just the right phrase
Just the right word

Lost in the words 
and the phrases
for an audience and a 
I respect and appreciate

Strike throughs
and deleting
Rereading and

Lost in the feeling.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Celebrate the Little Things

Some weeks the world happens and it's hard to find things to celebrate, but those are the weeks we have to dig deeper and work hard to share the JOY. 

This is one of those weeks.

However!  Here are things I am celebrating this week.

A lazy day of wander shopping last weekend. You know those days. You don't really need anything, but you wander the stores and pick up little bargains. It's a treat for us since we're 60+ miles from a mall or large shopping area.  We make a day of it and end with someplace good to eat.
This time I bought myself TWO new notebooks: One with prompts and one with a great quote, soft writing paper, and it just felt like it should be mine.

The notebooks were my gift to myself because I have been writing almost every day since the beginning of the year (I forgive myself for the week or so I had the flu). That was the point of the notebook with prompts. It's been so much easier to write when I open up my notebook and there is a prompt for me to think about.  But I've been doing the prompts myself in my current notebook.

It was finally nice enough a couple of days this week to walk Chloe. She enjoyed it as much as I did. Even though we are getting a little snow this morning, the days are getting longer, the sun is feeling warmer and I know that spring is on the way.

Greg and I have also been trying new recipes each week. This one for smothered pork chops in the crock pot that we tried last night was really good. As always, we have a few things we'd do differently when we make it the next time (and we will make it again), but it's been fun changing up our menu a little bit.

I've spent most of the week appreciating the little things in my life that make me happy

  • the plants in my window
  • the white lights I light up in the kitchen
  • Chloe's antics that make us laugh
  • my son's reaction to his daughter getting her first Valentine flowers from a boy :)
  • writing
So, although it's been a tough week, it's also been full of little things to celebrate and appreciate.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Making Me Happy

I work a lot on making my life calm and peaceful. I bring things into my life that make me happy and try to expel the negative.  I've felt a little adrift this week, so I sat down this morning and made a couple of lists

Five Things To Do More Often

1. Send more real cards and letters. 

And include copies of those old pictures.  When I send them they not only make the recipient happy, they make me happy too.  I love imagining their face when they find something besides a bill in the mail and their smile when they see the pictures.  

2. Turn my white lights on more often.

Decorated for Christmas.

I bought this set up last fall. I change out the decorations, pumpkins, Christmas ornaments, snowmen, hearts.  I'm working on St. Patrick's Day next. But the lights. They are cozy and comforting. They shine a light in the darkness.


Current Read
Although I've been reading more lately, it's still too easy to grab my computer to check social media, play a few games, lose myself. Besides the library, I've got a great TBR pile. Time to tackle it!

4. Plant more flowers. In the yard. In the house. On the deck. Everywhere.

5. Walk Chloe

After we walked yesterday, I thought to myself how much both of us enjoyed the time outside.  Chloe sniffs everything and anything, running from tree to tree. She can't wait untilwe get to the park and she gets to run. I swear she smiles. So, as the weather warms, we need to walk more. It's good for us.

I started a list of things I should do less often, but it seemed rather negative and I only want happy thought today.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#sol18 You Know That Feeling...

You know that feeling you get some time on Monday?

"I don't have anything to slice about!"

I looked at my notebook page for today, saw the Slice of Life prompt, and had no ideas.
Nada. Zip. Nothing.
And now that I've retired, I don't even have classroom antics to write about.

Those old doubts started creeping in.

"Who wants to read about my life?"

And then I looked at the new notebooks I bought on Saturday during an impromptu shopping trip with Greg.

"I write about these! Who doesn't like new notebook stories?"

I made notes about the day and was ready to write.
Tweet from a teacher at my school

I started reading other slices this morning like I always do. Reading what other people write gives me a little morning motivation. I read Michelle's post about her morning attendance taking and got caught up in her question of the day about cookies!  And I thought about Danny, our custodian who brings warm cookies once a month. That would make a great slice!

Then I started reading through other entries in my notebook. I write every day, I just don't turn everything into a blog post. There are plenty of ideas there just waiting for me to choose them!

And, then, there's my writing quote for the day:

I guess I did. Surprise myself, that is.

SOLSC 18 is coming up quick! This is a reminder post (mostly for me) that writing is everywhere. And the more I write, the more ideas I find.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Celebrate: Life in Rural Area

There was a tragic, fatal car accident in our area this week. Five brothers and sisters were driving to school. The girls were killed, the boys injured. I didn't know them and they aren't from my hometown. Obviously, this is not what I celebrate.

It is the aftermath.

Around here, you drive an hour to a mall, so neighbors help neighbors.  Sometimes, even when you don't know them. And you never know who is related to who. You never know who counts who as "friendamily". And you never know who is going to step up and have your back.

It is the aftermath.

And it's always the gestures of teenagers that make me cry and give me hope for the future.

Because life goes on, even when you think it won't. There was a basketball game played the other night. And the fans and team of the opposing team showed up in the school colors of the school the girls attended. In fact, the boys varsity basketball team wore warm-up shirts that read "Mabel-Canton Strong".

But it's what they did before the game started that brings tears to my eyes and hope to my heart.

In case you don't want to watch the video or read the article, the boys took off the warm-up shirts and presented them to the Mabel-Canton team.  Such a simple gesture. But it's a "we've got your back moment". It's a "there's more to life than basketball" and "we understand" moment. 

In this day and age of Tide Pod challenges and government officials behaving in ways that make me cringe, it's nice to have this small moment bring hope for the future. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

#sol18 Retired Morning

Stretching slowly, I squint to see what time it is. Although, by the light in the room, it's shortly after 7:00am. One of the joys of retirement is sleeping 'til I wake up.

"Time to get up!" my body says, so I head downstairs to start my day.

In the kitchen, Chloe greets me as she stretches and yawns her way out of her kennel. She wags her fluffy butt for her morning hug and I put her outside for a few minutes while I make the coffee.

The floor chills my feet and I wish I had slippers handy. Or at least a pair of socks.

Chloe gets a treat when she comes in and I pour my first cup of coffee before heading to the living room. I don't turn up the heat, but instead,  grab my blanket to wrap myself in while I enjoy this first cup.

I open my computer to check Facebook, although I don't know why. Not much has been posted overnight. Then Twitter. Email next. Then a bit of news online.

Today is Tuesday, so there are slices to brighten my morning. I read and comment for a while and they remind me--
It's time to write.

Today's writing quote: "Start writing, no matter what. The water does not start flowing until the faucet is turned on."  Louis L'Amour

It's wonderful and one of the best I've ever read. If I was still teaching I'd use it as a mentor text.

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Little Late to Celebrate? Nope!

So many Celebrations in the last couple of weeks. We've been visiting friends and family on the weekends, so I haven't been getting my celebration posts written.  But today I am going to get this done!

*** Last weekend we visited Greg's sister in Wisconsin. We went out to eat and saw other family. Spent Saturday driving up to  Green Bay, which is only a short drive, but a few little shops along the way slowed us down a bit.  Title Town in Green Bay is built around the Packer Stadium and a really cool place to visit if you are in the area.  

The thing I really appreciate about this is that with close family ("You're not just family, you're my friend," is what my sister-in-law said), is that we can also just say, let's just go back and hang out at the house.  There's no need to always be doing something or entertaining.  And so, we headed home after a late lunch and did just that.

*** I subbed a couple of times this week. Once in Art and once for English. I love both areas, so it makes for a couple of nice days. I appreciate seeing kids, visiting with friends, and the fact that I have no school work to do when I get home!

***Took a former student to lunch on Wednesday. These little moments, one on one are so precious to me. This is a student I miss a lot. And to catch up on her life and all the goings on was awesome.

*** This past weekend we drove over to the lake and went to the wedding reception of a friend's son. It was a great time visiting with friends, dancing, and just having fun with people we haven't seen in a few months. Lake time can't come soon enough. We stayed at a friend's home and we so appreciated how they went out of their way to make us comfortable and feel at home. I won't go into details, but they really did go above and beyond.

So those are my celebrations for the last couple of weeks. Better late than never! Right?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Good-bye January. Hello February

My goals for January were simple:
Eat Healthy
Move More
Write Every Day 

So, two out of three ain't bad. Right?

Eating healthy has really proven the easiest to accomplish. We've found several new recipes that we both like.  This Sweet Pineapple Chili Chicken was a particular favorite. And, the best part is, it's a Crock-Pot recipe, so it's perfect for days I sub.

I've been eating lots of vegetables and even Greg is learning to enjoy them. He seldom makes a vegetable when he cooks--meat and potatoes make a meal.

The flu hit on the 9th and that really affected the other two goals.  Being sick and the fatigue that followed, plus some REALLY cold weather, meant that my goal to move more didn't really happen. I tried. But ....

Write Every Day was accomplished if I don't count the week and a half I was sick. I didn't always publish a blog post (but to be fair, that wasn't my goal), but I did write in my notebook every day, so I'm checking that off as a win.

I'll keep the three January goals as we head into February, but I'd like to add a new one.

Practice Love and Kindness

I don't have a plan for this. I'll play it by ear. But I want to be more intentional about this.  

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 ...