I’m Sorry, I Can’t Borrow You My Book ~SOL 2018


A book came to mind that I needed at the moment. It was one I’d devoured and scribbled tracks of my thinking in the margins and throughout it’s pages. I’d memorized where quotes were and knew exactly what chapter to go to upon my need of the words for a place in my paper.

My books are organized, by author, genre, publishing dates even. No other item in my house has an organizational system like my books. I need to know where they are at a given moment for whatever purpose I might need them for.

But, this book?

Was Gone.

I’d searched the location that it should have been in. I ran downstairs to check my other shelves in my bedroom, my stack on my night stand, and then the pile by my chair in the living room.

No Where.

“Think, brain, think, did you have it at school?” I quizzed my forgetful, menopausal mind.

“No, this is not a ‘school’ type book,” it replied.

And, then – I remembered.

I’d borrowed it to someone. I couldn’t remember who and I couldn’t remember when, but I remembered the offering.

And, now, it’s gone.

I don’t know if it will ever come back. And, ordering a new one would not ever be the same. Somewhat distraught and befuddled besides, I try to tell myself it’s okay.

“But what if they don’t even read it and the book is sitting somewhere lost, or worse, what if it gets sold in a garage sale or brought to a thrift store. My own words are in there!” I argue with myself again.

Arge. Will I ever learn?

From now on, this day forward, I need to let others know the name of the book I’m thinking they need to read and have them find it themselves.

But, that seems so selfish. I have so many books. What am I going to do with all these books? I want others to read good books!

Be selfish.

It’s okay.

Do it for your books.

I’m participating in twowritingteachers March 2018 Slice of Life Challenge of writing a blog post every day for the month of March. I’ve already missed a day, so I’m out of the contest for prizes, but no worries. I’m just going to keep plugging along. 🙂

To check out other writers, visit here.


Pet Peeves: Password Problems ~SOL 2018


“Are you kidding me?” I cry at the screen that has alerted me that I am now locked out of my grad school site “for security purposes” as my password was incorrect five times in a row.  Seeking articles on the university library site came to an immediate halt when suddenly, my password was necessary to access an article.

“What’s wrong over there?” my husband asks from the other room.

I explain to him the source of my trauma.

“Whose going to want to get into my account anyway? Who are they protecting it from?” I ask.

“They are protecting it from yourself,” he says, as he watches TV without a flinch.

From myself?

I ususally brush off his smart— comments when my distress becomes his playground for words. But this time is different.

All day I’ve worked on transcribing interviews, analyzing data, searching for articles and writing up sections of an article. I’d not even taken a break for a walk on this 30 degree day in Minnesota.


I shut my laptop and grab my notebook to write this down.

“These things don’t just happen,” I hear a voice in my head.

(I had another paragraph drafted to explain the learning here, but I deleted it as I think the lesson is obvious. And, I’m too lazy to revise it today.)

Shari 🙂

I’m participating in twowritingteachers March 2018 Slice of Life Challenge of writing a blog post every day for the month of March. I’ve already missed a day, so I’m out of the contest for prizes, but no worries. I’m just going to keep plugging along. 🙂

To check out other writers, visit here.



An Awareness Tool ~ SOL #2 ~ 2018

My Quick Diary of the Day

“I can’t think of anything to write,” is a continuous phrase I not only hear from students, but it also happens to myself if I’m honest. (However, the opposite is the case more often as I have so many things I want to write about that I have issues choosing.) When we know we have to produce writing every day, activating our awareness is pretty important and sometimes we need tools to help us develop a lens of what to look for.

I was introduced to Lynda Barry a few years ago by Austin Kleon on Twitter. In her book, Syllabus, she teaches her students how to create a Quick Diary page each day to keep track the happenings of the day. While I don’t do this every day, I probably do it once a week or when I just want to get something in my notebook for that day. I revised Lynda’s format a little – because its my notebook and I can do whatever I want in there. I’m pretty adamant about that.

unnamedLynda Barry's Quick Diary


So, I chose a nugget from yesterday’s Quick Diary entry to do a quick narrative for today.

In a sketch.

Because you can tell a narrative in a little sketch – and possibly tell the story better.

(And quicker – do you see a theme here?)

my problem with peanut butter Reeses eggs

My sugar problems are also a theme in my notebooks.

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.


What Really Matters ~ SOL #1 ~ 2018


I cried on the way to work today.

My commute is about 35 miles in the barren prairie of northwestern Minnesota. I’m lucky if I pass five cars some days. It makes for lots of pondering time or just singing along to the radio.

This particular morning, the radio station DJ’s were collecting donations for the Children’s Miracle Network. For one hour only, our local grocery stores would MATCH our donation!

I kept driving, eyes on the road.

Then, a mother came on and told the story of her twin daughters who were born way too early and the heart wrenching journey of one of the twin’s struggle for life. The Children’s Miracle Network had paid for the machines that kept this baby alive.

One expects these stories to end happily. This one did not and her precious baby died in her arms. This brave mother believed her purpose in life was now to help the remaining twin to know of the strength and love her dying sister brought to all of them.

Sobbing, I had to pull over on the road and dig for a Kleenex.

While sitting there, stopped on a path that resembled what Antarctica must look like, I broke down. I have never known the kind of pain a parent goes through at the loss of a child, or the worry of a childhood illness that could take their life. My own four children are grown and healthy, never even a broken bone.

Such a pillowed life I’ve led.

I reached for my phone to call in my donation. They even said my name on the radio.

My issues did not seem so big today: a laptop that quit working (I got a loaner) , my pants seem to be getting smaller (put on a dress instead), and our dog ran away just before we had to leave for work (found her at the neighbors looking in their patio door).

Some days we need a story to wake us up to what really matters.

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.



A Between Seasons Funk~SOL#18~2017


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.


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.

Remembering Amy~SOL#13~2017


“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?”


“How old was she?”


“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.


(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.



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.




Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 5.17.00 PM.png

“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.


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.