A Between Seasons Funk~SOL#18~2017

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Well, I’m here again.

Not just here writing another Slice of Life (after four days of neglect), but here. . . at this mental state:

A Funk.

I’ve been here so many times before. I wrote about it last year in the 2016 SOL Challenge. And I’ve written about it here and here.

What can I say? I am a student of my own state of despair.

I’ve followed all of the prescribed remedies.

Yoga. CHECK.

A walk outside. CHECK. I even was able to convince by daughter, Gracie, who was home with the puppy, to walk with me.

Writing. CHECK. Filling a good 6 pages in my notebook, I still could not get to the bottom of my angst. I did get some good writing material though.

Shower. CHECK. I even shaved my legs, washed my hair and put on Aveda Rosemary Mint body lotion. Oh, it’s so heavenly.

Clean something. CHECK. I washed every dish that piled up in the sink from over the week. The dishwasher broke down. My husband and I pinky swore we would wash every dish that each of us used. That lasted about a week. I think we need a new dishwasher.

Take a nap. CHECK. This was the easiest remedy.

Connect with people. I went on Twitter and tweeted a storm about the tcrwp Saturday Reunion in NYC connecting with many teacher-writer-reader-people. I sat with my husband and watched a tv show about Wisconsin. I chatted with Gracie and puppy motherhood.

I know that when I am in this place of funkiness that something new is about to be born. This is God’s way to trying to get my attention to notice it. To be honest, I’ve been walking around in survival mode this month. . . automatic pilot.

He knows we are more than this.

We need these wake up calls.

I will pull out on the other side of this and I’ll make sure to write about what is unveiled. Certainly, there is something to look forward to after the fog clears. A calming meditation from by beautiful niece, Micara, might help me get there.

For now, I think I’ll put on my pj’s and read my new books by Abigail Thomas, recommendations from Elisabeth Ellingson, a dear writer-teacher-thinker-lady-friend.

But, only after I publish this blog post and put my laptop down for the night.

CHECK.

Shari 🙂

I’m participating in twowritingteachers March Challenge of posting a blog post every day for the month of March.  I have not been consistent, but I’m not copping out and throwing in the towel. To check out other writers, visit here.

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Remembering Amy~SOL#13~2017

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“What’s wrong, hon?” my husband asks, glancing over at my somber face.

“She died,” is all I can say.

“Who died?”

“An author I love.”

“Aww. . . who was it?”

“Amy Krouse Rosenthal. I have most of her books. She was an amazing human being.”

“How’d she die?”

“Cancer.”

“How old was she?”

“51.”

“Oh my. . . you’re 51.”

“Yes, I’m 51.”

I’ve been reading Amy’s books to my 3rd graders over the last few days after I told them she was dying of cancer. They love every one of them. Spoon.  Exclamation Point. Little Pea. The OK Book. Cookies: Bite Sized Life Lessons and so on. They recognized how her messages are similar. We all have special gifts and we need to use them. We need to discover what our gifts are. It’s okay to be different. We are all OK.

Tomorrow I have to tell them that she passed away.  And, I’m sure I will shed a few tears. They’ve seen me do this frequently so it won’t be a shock to them. Usually it’s when I’m reading a book to them.  Or just words.

Like it will be tomorrow.

(The words above are from the last page of Amy’s book Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Not Exactly a Memior.)

Shari 😦

Puppy Duties Cause Writing Pause~ SOL#12~2017

All my daughter, Gracie, wanted for her birthday was a puppy.  She’s 24, a nurse and lives in an apartment.

“How is she going to take care of a puppy?” my husband asked.

“I don’t know,” was my response, “She’s an adult. I’m sure she can figure it out.”

I didn’t really think I’d find one and that would be the end of this idea.

Sitting down with my laptop two days before her birthday (yes, I procrastinate everything), I decided to just do a little search.  In the span of five minutes, I’d found one within two hours from our home. I texted my 25 year old son to see if he could go check it out.

“Why does Gracie need a puppy?” he asked.

“Because she wants one,” I replied in my Mother Voice.

“Geez,” he grumbled.

That same night, he bought the puppy, had to refrain from also buying the lone yellow lab left by himself, and we now had a secret to keep.

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(How did my kids turn into such dog lovers?)

Her birthday was not for two days, so I had secret puppy duties.

I didn’t sleep.  I cleaned up messes. I was on constant watch.  We snuggled. We took naps.

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No writing happened.

“I sure hope you are doing the right thing,” my skeptic husband kept shaking his head.

“Well, if she wasn’t supposed to have a puppy, it all would not have unfolded so easily,” I told him.

This, I believe.  I somehow felt Gracie’s angels nudging me to do this work and honestly, there was not a glitch in the system.  No canaries in the mineshaft.  Not a bump in the road. That’s gotta mean something, right?

“Whaddaya gonna do if she can’t take care of it?” he asked.

“I’m not going to worry about that,” but really, I was anxious.

Two days later, Gracie’s birthday arrived.  Puppy went in a box and we told Gracie it was just a box of liquor from Happy Harry’s.  She’s 24 remember. . .

She was a little surprised.

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“Well, it looks like you were right again,” admitted my husband. “I think she’s a keeper.”

“I think I had a little help,” I confessed.

(Those pesky angels.)

So, I’m out of the running for prizes on the SOL challenge for this year. That’s ok, I’ve been here before. The little breather was worth it and I’ve got some new writing material.

Life is good.

Shari 🙂

I’m participating in twowritingteachers March Challenge of posting a blog post every day for the month of March.  To check out other writers, visit here.

 

Honey, I Do Really Need You ~ SOL # 8~2017

“Honey, did you look at my tire?” I questioned my husband last night.

“Yup. Fixed it,” he mumbled, as he was trying to watch a hockey game and do some research on his tablet.

“What? What did you do?”

“I fixed it,” he repeated.

“Well, I mean, did you just air it up, was there a hole in it or did you replace it with my spare? What?”

“Don’t worry, hon.  It’s fixed.”

“Well, I need to know if I need to keep airing it up or if I should get my tire replaced.”

“It will be fine.  It’s as good as new.”

My husband likes to play this game.  Sometimes I don’t think he wants me to know his secrets.   This way, too, I can maintain an image of my husband as the “man who can fix anything and I don’t know how he does it.” For perhaps, if I know what he did exactly, I could repeat it and fix it myself, or worse yet, have someone else do it.

Yup. That has to be it.

Men do like to save a damsel in distress.  It’s good for their egos.

It wasn’t always this way.

I am a pretty self-sufficient woman.  I was raised on a farm.  Farm girls drive dump trucks at 13 years old. . . tractors. . . combines.  I’ve built an outside jungle gym, laid tile and installed a sump pump. I have my own Harley (well. . . if he’s going to have one).

It really isn’t my fault.

My mother was German. And Polish.  My dad was Irish. There was nothing she could not do.

For Pete’s Sake.

This independence in a wife might be something a husband brags about from time to time. But, deep down, if I really were to dig, I wonder how much damage I’ve done.

My husband has confessed before that really, he didn’t think that I needed him.

“Oh honey,” I’d reply, “Of course, I do!” in my don’t-be-silly voice.

“For what?” he’d probe, seriously.

“Well, um, I need you to change those yard light bulbs when they burn out.  There is no way I could ever do that!”

That really was not what he was looking for in a list of things I needed him for.

In my attempts to do all and be all, whether trying to pad my own ego or prove my worth, I’m pretty sure that I’ve squelched some of the “saving” that a husband sometimes needs to do in order to feel his own self-worth.  I don’t regret my efforts, but. . . I do regret not giving my husband more opportunities to feel like he was needed more.

So, I’ve softened a bit.

There is a sweet space in between being an independent, self-sufficient woman and honey-I-need-you- 24/7.

Finding the essence of this place has been a difficult journey for me.

But, I’m learning.

Now excuse me, my husband needs me.  He’s burning hamburgers. . .

Shari 🙂

I’m participating in twowritingteachers March Challenge of posting a blog post every day for the month of March.  To check out other writers, visit here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Appetizers Today ~ SOL #7~2017

There is not entree today, so I leave you with a few appetizers to nibble on.

NWEA Testing

My third graders took the NWEA Math test today. We talked about how a test is something you work hard on because it shows how much you have learned, blah, blah, blah.  My kids worked hard and I was so proud of them.  Many of them grew since they took this test last fall; some a lot, some a little.  A few of them stayed the same and one went down point.

While you tell those that grew they should be proud of themselves and they worked hard, it’s difficult to find the right words to console students who do not show growth on this test.  I know they have learned a lot in math this year.  But, this test did not show it.

How do you convince a 9 year old of that?

“Can we find out which ones we got wrong?” a boy asks.

“No,” I tell him, “We only get the score.”

“Well, that’s dumb,” he says.

“Yup,” I reply.

Feeling Slackerish

On Tuesday nights right after school, I travel an hour away to my graduate classes. (I’m almost on year 3 of my Ph. D. in Teaching and Learning.) Today, the wind blew a steady 20-30 mph. all day with gusts up to 45 mph. It was insane. I am a chicken to drive on windy days as just a dusting of snow causes white outs on prairie roads.  So, I hemmed and hawed about whether I should go or not. And then . . . my tire was flat in the parking lot at the end of my school day.  How is that for the universe speaking to you?

No, HE said.

Stay home.

So, I did.

Face-timing classes is okay – but it’s not the same. 😦

Have We Changed Much?

In our Historical Foundations of Education class tonight, we watched the movie In The White Man’s Image.  So many questions sit uneasily with me after reflecting on the history of our country and how white man has treated those who are not the “Ideal American”.

Native Americans, African Americans, Irish Catholics, Asians, Mexicans, Muslims ~

What really is the “Ideal American”?

What would our country be like today if we’d have treated every human being with respect and attempted to accept and understand their culture?

Just because the first “settlers” that came over to America from Europe were white, what caused them to believe that everyone should be like them?  Where were their hearts?

In all these years, I’d love to believe we’ve progressed.

But, with angst in my heart, I’m afraid we just keep repeating history.

Shari

I’m participating in twowritingteachers March Challenge of posting a blog post every day for the month of March.  To check out other writers, visit here.

 

 

 

 

Eavesdropping Snippet

As we walked out to the bus today, I walked alongside two of my third grade boys who were having a conversation.  I don’t think either one realized I was listening.

“My bus driver smokes. When she talks on the loud speaker, her voice is as raspy as a train. It’s like the bus shakes.”

“Really?” said the other boy.  They chuckle.

“Yeah. And she’s so crabby. She’s always crabby. We call her Debbie Downer.” He laughs. “The funny thing is. . . her name really is Debbie! It’s like she was born to be a Debbie Downer!”

I finally acknowledge that I am listening.

“Maybe what you need to do is say something nice to her. That might make her happy,” I suggest.

“Nah. She can’t hear. She’s like 900 years old.”

Nine year olds. What a clear description of the bus driver.

I think I’ll tuck it away for a story one day.

Shari

I’m participating in twowritingteachers March Challenge of posting a blog post every day for the month of March.  To check out other writers, visit here.

Saying Goodbye To Another Notebook ~ SOL #5 ~2017

Another notebook is nearly full. My goal is to fill a notebook a month. Yes, there are notebooks that adorn my shelves and fill baskets everywhere. What am I to do? I have a lot to say.

Mixed feelings stir inside me when the ending of a notebook is near. Melancholy. A sadness that the journey with this notebook is over, yet excitement to begin with a new one. I grieve for a while as the old notebook is set aside and eventually stored in a basket or on a shelf.

It must be hard for the notebook to understand.

Seriously? You have no idea.

Excuse me? I reply to the voice.

You carry me around with you everywhere for a solid month or more.  I give you my pages and they accept everything your pen scribbles into me. I never whine or complain. So patient, I am. Waiting and waiting for your words.  Oh so grateful when your hand finally reaches for my spine in the mornings. Everything I give — you complete me and then. . . I’m set aside. . . like a one night stand.

Oh, Dear Notebook of Mine,

That is not how it is.  I treasure you! My heart fills with anguish the closer I get to the last of your pages, knowing that soon – I have to let you go – and begin again.

It doesn’t feel that way to me.  I see all those other notebooks tucked away in baskets and stacked on your shelves.  Forgotten – for years.  In a day or two, that will be me.

Oh, Dear Notebook of Mine,

You are correct.  I’m so sorry.  But – I do visit you from time to time, rereading your pages, reliving the joys we spent together.

That’s not enough.  I am meaningless sitting in a basket.  I want to be used.

But, that is not true, Dear Notebook. It could not be further from the truth.  You contain pieces of me that no human in this world has.  You hold my history – the stories of me.  I give you ALL of me.

Well. . . .

You are my safest place, Dear Notebook.  I trust you to hold these tender stories and keep them safe.  Forever, if need be.  You have such a responsibility – all the gems I’ve given you – a treasure box you are.  And just like treasures that are sometimes buried or lost at sea for millions of years, so must you.

Millions of years? I don’t have that much time.

But, you must.  It is an honor to be a notebook and house history.  One day, I will be gone, but you will still be here, carrying all that I was, you help me to live on – for my children and grandchildren. You are that carrier, the link, the sweet nectar of my humanness.  Tending to these stories is a privilege bestowed to you.

I’m sorry . . . I guess I didn’t realize.

It’s quite alright, Dear Notebook, you are young and want to be the center of attention for a little while longer.  I understand.  Once you are with the other notebooks, you will become wise.  You will learn of your importance.

Okay. I will try to understand.  And, be more patient.  I will.  I promise.

You, Dear Notebook, are the Keeper of the Flame for this short period of my life – January 22nd to March 5th of 2017.  Only YOU alone holds this part of me.  You need to guard it with your life.

Yes, I will.  I am honored to be this protector of your history.  But. . . when will you come back and visit me? I don’t know any of those other notebooks, even.

I may – I may not. Even so – be willing to live on.  The other notebooks are your friends.

Yes, yes. . . I must. . . I will.  Thank you.  Thank you so much for giving me your heart – your soul. For trusting me.  I understand now.  Good bye, dear friend. . . until we meet again.

Good bye, dear friend as well.  And, thank you, for waiting for me each day and greeting me with your open arms.

I love you.

And, I love you.

Well geez.

Here I sit. . . in tears. . . saying good by to a notebook.  Did I just say, “I love you?”.  . to my notebook?

Good heavens.  What has become of me.

I am grateful I am home alone today.

Shari 🙂

Mysteriously, this song came on my Pandora station as I finished this post:

I love it when my angels do that. 🙂

I’m participating in twowritingteachers March Challenge of posting a blog post every day for the month of March.  To check out other writers, visit here.

 

Saturday Morning Headlines ~SOL 2017

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The Awakening

I awoke this morning wondering what planet I was on – a week of sleepless nights had finally caught up to me and at last . . . a good solid rest.  Already, I’m whispering gratitudes.

Searching for my slippers, the wind is roaring and the sun piercing through the window already, Sandy (our lab), senses I am finally up and follows me around, waiting for me to notice her.  She wants her breakfast.

Feeding of Sandy

Her water dish has still gone untouched.  For three days now.  It’s just an ice cream pail and I’m wondering if my husband used it to mix water and Pine Sol in that last time he had to scrub up one of Sandy’s messes. I don’t smell a Pine Sol scent in there, yet perhaps a dog can smell the residue. Where would she be getting her water for the last three days?

Then I realize that the bathroom door is always open.

I give her a fresh dish of water.

The World News

While the coffee brews, the checking of the news takes place.

Let’s see. . .

Trump is now accusing Obama of a Nixon/Watergate plot to wiretap the Trump Tower. Says The Washington Post.  There is no evidence.

PaaLeeeeeZe.

Seven tweets in a row – another middle of the night rant, conjuring up new bait for the people to chase after so we forget about his real issues.

If I had a penny for all the times he does this, my little piggy could go to market more often. (That’s such a good line.  I just had to use it, Brittany, before I forgot about it.) 🙂

He even poked a jab at The Terminator again for his bad ratings on The Apprentice.

Honestly. (eye ball roll)

Checking Emails

Switching to my emails – there are plenty of new Slice of Life posts to read this morning and I’m excited.  I adore this community and the writing lives of teachers are so real and at home with me.

Bernice taunts me, “You can’t go there now!  Later!”

I quick head over to Facebook.

Just for a minute.

Facebook Stories

A high school friend is moving to England for a few months and wants to take her sewing machine (she is a mean quilter). Another friend tells her the power/current is different in Europe and it might not work there. They encourage her to buy an adapter or just buy a new machine when she gets to England.

Well. . . isn’t that the strangest thing. Whoda thought we’d have to consider electricity when traveling the world? I need to get out more. I know nothing.

More posts about calling my senators to veto bills.  Geez, I should do that.

And, oh my heavens, can you believe there are major cities in the world that are actually making plans to BAN cars within their cities? It’s an effort to reduce carbon emissions and make more room for pedestrians and bicyclists. No US cities are on the list (I don’t think there will be for at least 4 years) but New York is trying to make way for more pedestrians and bike riders on their streets.  It’s a start, I guess. But, my, how far the rest of the world is ahead of us.

Twitter Tweets

Moving on to Twitter, I check to see if Trump’s tweets are real.

They are. (eye ball roll again adding a head shake and lip pursing like my mother)

I come across words of Parker Palmer that make me chuckle.  Sandy jumps. He restates the words of John Stuewart:

“The presidency is supposed to age the president, not the public.”

Thank you for your truth, Mr. Parker Palmer.

I screen shot those words for a later reference.

Skittish About Snapchat

Oh Snapchat, my eldest son is in a bar somewhere with two girls singing, “Any Man of Mine”. I’m grateful that’s all he sends me.

My grandson, Greyson, is in his high chair feeding their dog, Jax, his Cheerios.

My heart smiles.

My only Snapchat friends are my four children (aged 21-27) so I know what’s going on.But, I don’t want to know EVERYTHING that’s going on. So, I’ve warned them that I can see them.  They need to block me if there is inappropriate stuff.  I have enough to worry about. Bar  brawls and swearing put me over the edge.

Off Into The World

The phone is put away and my coffee topped off.

Time to write and head out into this beautiful world and look for more stories that need to be told.

Laundry, cleaning, and homework will have to wait.

I’m in Storycatcher Mode.

Shari 🙂

I’m participating in twowritingteachers March Challenge of posting a blog post every day for the month of March.  To check out other writers, visit here.

 

Shaped By The Authors I Love~SOL 2017

I was contemplating the multiple ways in which we tell a story. My notebook is overflowing with writing fodder, but much of it is internal dialogue, collected words and wonderings.  Shaping snippets into story is an art and I really intend to focus more effort on exploring the countless way a story can be told.

I grabbed a couple of books off of my shelf to guide me.  Storycatcher, by Christina Baldwin and The Art of Memior, by Marie Carr jump out to my hands first. Opening to pages scribbled with the chicken tracks of my thinking, both books remind me that our stories are interpretations of our own events.

“Yeah, yeah, I know that,” I babble .  “I’m looking for structure here.”

My mind darted back to last summer when I took an online writing course from Jen Louden. I sought many structures for the story I had drafted.  Amy Krouse Rosenthal, one of my mentor writers and favorite authors popped into my head.  A post was penned about her here. Don’t go here now.  Do it later. You must read to the end of this story first.

“Perhaps I just need to look back at my own dang notes to see what I’ve already pondered,” I scold myself.

So, I did.

“Good stuff here,” I congratulated myself.

My dog, Sandy whined to go outside, so I crankily got up to let her out, and before I sat down to write, I picked up my phone and checked the world’s news.

The first news report on my phone was an article titled, “You May Want to Marry My Husband,” reported by the New York Times.

Okay ~ this is odd.  This first story is not about Donald Trump? It must be good. So, I figured I’d better read it. Besides, it’s by the one and only Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

Oh, how I love her.  Go figure.

You can read it here: “You May Want to Marry My Husband” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. And, you must.  Because you will not understand anymore of this post if you do not. Do it now.

After I wipe up this puddle of tears, I will study how she did this.

But for now, my post/story ends here today.

I have more important things to do.

Shari 😦

I’m participating in twowritingteachers March Challenge of posting a blog post every day for the month of March.  To check out other writers, visit here.