Tokens of My Father #SOL 22/31 ~ 2021

My dad and I

There are moments where the grief I carry deep within me from the loss of my father is so overwhelming that every planned intention for that period of time must come to a complete halt.

These moments do not always occur when an image reminds me of him – like sitting in my car at the drive through window at the bank and admiring the bricks he lay with his hands.

They do not always occur when something prompts me to think of a memory, like the barking dogs that trigger the story of my dad in his slippers, in the middle of the night, on the three wheeler, riding over to the neighbors to do something about the neighbor dog, Cupcake.

It happens when I’m startled by how many days he’s been gone and I’ve realized that I’ve lost track.

It happens when I’m shaken at the observation that I’ve not written or talked with him in awhile.

It happens when I’m plagued by the fear that world will forget he was here.

He’s fading away I cry, farther and farther away from our view, like Jack in the Titanic floating away in the dark. Rose calling his name until her voice tires and all that is left is silence. And, she is alone for the rest of her life.

Yet . . . she lives on.

But, she carries with her a silent gift – a precious jewel – she wears it hidden, as a token of their love.

I keep forgetting, allowing my days to fill with meaningless fluffery. Forgetting that I promised to keep his memory alive. The documenting of his life, his influence, his legacy.

Perhaps, I’m just hearing now, that this task is not meant to be mine, but to ask for others to share their own tokens of his memory. To put them somewhere safe so all those who blessed to know him can remember him dearly, and keep his memory alive.

It began a year after he left us, the Tokens of My Father seed was planted. It slowing beginning to sprout, was dormant over the winter months, and with spring, my wish is for warm light from others to help nurture it’s growth. I can’t continue alone.

I am a good starter. Not so good at finishing.

Which in this case, I don’t intend for it to ever be done.

This token of stories to hold him near.

Reasons to Bake #SOL 21/31 ~ 2021

There are many reasons to bake something.

You might have a hankering for a little sweetness. Or, perhaps the kids are coming for dinner. Maybe baking is something that you can actually admit to being skilled at – and if you’ve got something you know how to do, you don’t want to lose it, so to stay sharp, you keep up the practice. The challenge of baking that perfect dessert or sweets and perfecting a dish is an act I never grow tired of.

But, if I’m honest, I bake mainly for one person.

My husband.

Looking back in my notebooks over the years, there are common threads that always surface in the month of March. Snow melts and yard debris emerges, reminders of tasks undone from the fall. The snowmobile must be stored away, along with snowshoes and ice fishing gear. The lakes remain with layers of ice, but unsafe to trek onto for fishing or journeying across to the cabin. Hunting seasons pause. Fishing opener still two months out. Months of laps in the pool take a toll on my husbands shoulders and he drags into the house worn down from the extra hours in the long weeks of work.

He becomes little edgy. Quiet. Less giddy-up-ed-ness in his skipp-i-dee-do-da. Even Ella steers clear some days.

“If you could have anything, any kind of baked good, dessert or treat, what would it be?” I ask him.

“Geez,” appearing surprised at this question, “I don’t know, what are my choices? I need some perimeters.” He lights up just a bit, yet seems overwhelmed by the possibilities.

“There are none. Anything!” I respond.

He ponders for a bit and and after rambling some options, he decides.

“I would have to say apple-cherry pie. But, that’s kind of a lot of work,” he says Eeyore-like.

I was afraid he’d say pie. He’s right. Pie crust is temperamental and I’ve still forgotten to purchase a new rolling pin cover, so I’d have to use a cut up sock. There will be sticking problems rolling out the dough. I can do it. It’s just my own willingness to wrestle with this today is at a two on a scale of one to ten.

How can I make this pie without the uncertainty of the crust turning out or frustrations of a sticky rolling pin?

I decided to just press the crust into the pie pan with my hands. Perhaps I should have greased the pan, I don’t know. And, once the cherries and apple filling were added, just a topping for Dutch apple pie crumbles was added rather than rolling out a top crust. We’ll see what happens. It’s practice for my uncertainty muscles.

Appearances can be deceiving, so the true test of pulling this off will come at the actual tasting.

Oh my, it’s World Poetry Day today, so now I must shape this into a poem.

The days of Mid-March wear on us
like a ship voyaging the ocean
through weather of fraught
rations dwindling 
cold, damp and weak. . .

But, sun peeks through
the thick heavy clouds
land appears 
in the distance

We'll make it through
by holding one beautiful
memory in our minds' eye
an image, a scent, a pleasure
a loved one, a dream
or a place of warmth 

What is it for you, hon?

Could you make me
an apple cherry pie?

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.

Spring Rituals

I must hurry with this post. My computer is alerting me to a shut down for updates in approximately ten minutes. I’ll make this quick.

On this first day of Spring, I have a few rituals to celebrate the coming of warmth and light.

  1. Attempt to sleep out in the camper. Yes, I did. It was pretty nippy at 36 degrees last night, but I bundled up and I survived.
  2. Go out and buy some flowers for myself. The lady asked, do you want a card? I said no, they’re for me. She said, awe, those are the best kind of flowers. Yes, yes, they are.
  3. A walk outside to breathe in fresh smells. I almost didn’t – the wind ferocious – but my friend called and we walked and talked. The best kind of walk.
  4. Clean a room. Just one. Don’t get crazy. The rest of them aren’t going anywhere.

That is all. I don’t want to go about setting too high of expectations for myself. There are many spring days ahead.

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.

Finding A Way Out of Darkness #SOL 19/31 ~ 2021

Directions for Light

Find an old notebook
any will do
composition notebooks
more forgiving
than fancy sketchbooks

listen to music
Helen Jane Long
and piano is lovely
or David Nevue

dip a brush in some color
sweep it across 
the width of the page
extra water
brings some light
to the darkness

let it dry
blow on it if you must

draw some letters
start with the alphabet
do it again
and again 
if you like
you don't have to
if you don't want to

write one sentence
with letters you like
any sentence will do
whatever comes to mind

doodle some flowers
colored daisies are nice
use a marker 
instead of a brush
any color is fine

there
now you've made 
a pretty picture
all ready
for the first day
of spring

and there will be
light

i promise

Shari Daniels draft


I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.

I’m also participating in Poetry Friday this week. If you’d like to immerse yourself in poetry in this weekend, Linda at Teacherdance is hosting the party. Stop by and read some poetry or add your own!

For One Who Is Exhausted ~ #SOL 18/31~ 2021

The well is dry. For not lack of topics, wonders, stories or thoughts, but for the sole purpose of the fingers who resist the keyboard tonight. They are tired.

There are no breaks this semester. Spring break cancelled to prevent students from traveling. A few study days sprinkled here and there. But, that’s what they end up being. Days of study. 

I’ve lightened our loads. Checked in on my students. How are you holding up? I ask. 

Barely, they reply.

Teacher and student both yearn for new sights, for long nap-pish days, sun soaking into our skin.

But, carry onward we will. And, I’ll gift them a poem from John O’ Donahue.

But, it’s me who needs it more.

A Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laboursome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have travelled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of colour
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

~John O’ Donahue from his book To Bless The Space Between Us ~ A Book of Blessings

If you need the healing of O’ Donahue’s Irish voice, have a listen to his conversation here.

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.

I Am From ~ #SOL 17/31 ~ 2021

The Killian Homeplace in Lanesborough, County Longford, in the heart of Ireland – shared with permission from Joan Gallagher, of whom we share Great, Great Grandparents Luke and Anne Furey Killian. My Great Grandfather, Thomas Killian was born in this house..

It’s a special day to celebrate my Irish roots, my heritage, my ancestors and where I come from. . . my maiden name of Killian.

I am from the land of green hills, sharp rocks and waters crashing amongst the coasts, damp breezes and mist that bring about the wild cherry.

I am from houses made of stone, laid by hand, brick by brick, stone by stone. This shelter, a home where families are born, raised and let go, but always welcomed upon return.

I am from music. Guitars, pianos, accordions and harmonicas. And voices that harmonize and know each others’ tunes. Melodies sung in joy and celebration as well as in sorrow that takes us to the heavens. Wherever the Irish are – music you will hear.

I am from storytelling. Through voice or the pen, called to preserve and share stories of the day and yesteryear. Tales of wisdom and ancient lore, keepers of the flame. 

I am from the lure of the drink. Guinness and rum, whisky and Bailey’s.  Precursor for embellishments of the Irish lore, or a salve for the pain. Best friend or worst enemy. I’ll leave the liquid stars alone.

I am from Hail Marys and Our Fathers, commandments and confessions, Ash Wednesday and fish on Fridays, prayers that kept the children from perishing and mothers from distressing. 

I am from big hearts filled with love, embracing and laughing and gathering and families and aunts and uncles and cousins. 

I am from a blessing of what we know as Irish.

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.

Letting Go of Old Bones #SOL 16/31 ~ 2021

Ella with her old bone.

On our walk this morning, Ella decided to pick up an old bone from the yard and haul it along with her. 

About a third of the way, she set it down, and carried on without it. She attended to the scents in the air, splashed in water by the ditch and appeared to be lighter in her step. 

I was thinking she would eye that bone on the way back home and pick it up again.

Only she didn’t.

I wish I could do the same.

Note to Self: Let go of old bones.

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.

Read the Directions First ~ #SOL 15/31 2021

My new Narwhal Fountain Pen

A new fountain pen arrived via UPS the other day. It’s a Narwhal pen that has a piston to draw the ink into the barrel rather than a cartridge. I thought this would mean less ink fills as the entire barrel of the pen fills with ink rather than just a small cartridge. It’s a beautiful pen with a marble design, lightweight and summer-like.

Well, it’s a different kind of apparatus than the cartridge-type fountain pens and I think I may have broken it right from the get-go.

The directions said to twist the end-cap counterclockwise until you feel resistance.

The problem was, I didn’t read the directions until after I had twisted it beyond resistance and I heard a small click. I can’t get it back together now.

My disappointment in my ability to read directions first as precautionary measures as opposed to after-thoughts can not be understated. 

I should have immediately taken the whole set-up directly to my husband to have him figure things out. He attends to these kinds of details and reminds me that I struggle with potato chip bags.

Nothing is safe.

I will have to send it back to the company and confess my error. I could not find any other people online that have had this problem. Perhaps I am either the first, or others won’t admit to this act of careless ignorance. 

I imagine how this conversation with go between the two men (I’m picturing men) that will have to fix this pen.

“Where is this woman from?” Pen-fixer #1 will say to Pen-fixer #2 as they speak about the situation.

“Northern Minnesota,” Pen-fixer #2 will reply. 

“Oh – – way up in the sticks, eh?” (he’ll add the “eh” as a joke believing we all add “eh” to our sentences here.) I’m not surprised. I’m sure she’s probably only used those cheap BIC Z4 Roller glide pens before.” He’ll roll his eyes to the other guy.

They’ll laugh at this. “Har – har – har!”

“Ya – probably never even seen a pen like this before. It’s way outta her league. She should have taken it straight to her husband. My guess is, he’s a hunter and has guns. If he knows how to clean a gun, he could have operated this for her.”

They’re not wrong.

Except for the “eh” and the “ya”.

Anyway, I’ll risk the conversation they’ll have about me and wrap it up and send it back today. 

I believe I’ve also some some damage to my back with the rollerball I used the other night. I’d spent about 15 minutes trying to roll out some knots and kinks in my back. Afterwards, I checked on the internet to see what other rollerball exercises I could do for my back. 

The first post that came up was one describing inappropriate moves of what NOT to do or you could really cause some damage.

So . . . those were the moves I had just finished doing.

I am in some pain today and walk like an 90 year old lady.

I’m seeing a pattern here.

Note to self: If you don’t know what you are doing, read the directions first.

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.

“If It Looks Too Healthy, I’ll Pass” ~ #SOL 14/31 2021

Breakfast Cookies ~ Recipe from wife~mama~foodie

“What are you making over there?” my husband asks as he saunters into the kitchen as bowls and cupboard doors are clanking and clanging.

“Breakfast cookies. They are healthy ones. You won’t like ‘em,” I reply.

“Now. . . you don’t need to stereotype me like that,” he kids, “What’s in ‘em?”

“Oatmeal, oat flour, flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkins seeds, bananas and dried cranberries.”

He scrunches up his face and hunches his shoulders like Richard Nixon.

“Well, there’s the dough. You can taste a bit if you want.”

“Nah. . . I think I’ll wait till they’re done.”

“You mean until they’re gone?”

“Yeah, that sounds better.”

He leaves the kitchen and saunters back to his chair to continue being a golf spectator.

Note to Self: Here’s the recipe for healthy breakfast cookies. 🙂

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.