Saturday, March 31, 2012

Slice 2012 - 31 of 31 I Did It!

Today ends the Slice 2012 challenge.  When I heard all of my friends joining this worthy effort I didn't jump in.  I was going to watch from afar, support, and admire them for making the commitment.  I watched the first three days and each day caught something from my day I wanted to record or sharing thinking about.  So, on day four I decided to jump but wanted to share what had been floating in my head so I started writing post from Day 1.  I  could fudge my own blogging dates but missed posted at Two Writing Teachers for Days 1-3.  In my mind and if you have followed I've done 31 straight days of posting.

I've tried to capture a slice from my life each day.  I tried to write about the moment and being present in what was currently going on in my life.  I've admired those who wrote tributes to special people, tried fiction - I can't imagine, and were very reflective about previous things in their lives.  I'm crunched for time in life right now.  I teach two classes of K and have a family of three girls.  I found if I kept my post short, I could keep up with my goal to write daily.  I often use my blog as a forum to share books I've found to use with students and professional reading I do.  It's safe to review what others have written.  I found myself becoming a bit more comfortable with sharing personal thinking.  I feel like I've missed sharing some topics I could of chosen along the way.

I have appreciated the comments and feedback with each post.  I found the comments that were personal very encouraging and supportive, thank you.  I found a few comments related to something about my writing that I didn't realize I was doing and was impressed I had qualities of a writer.  I just wrote to write to increase stamina and consistency.  My friend Karen would often favorite one of my pieces on twitter.  What a compliment.  I tried to write in various formats.  I tried to gather information for further writing.  My only regret was not taking the time to comment to others as much as I would of liked to.  I was sometimes barely getting through my busy days or trying to really honor vacation and reduced tech time.  I was glad my dedication pushed me to trying an app and continue each day while away from my laptop.  Thank you to so many people who have enriched my life.  By writing each day I feel like I have honored many things Donald Graves has taught me through his own writing.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Slice 2012 - 30 of 31 Nice Endings

Nice Ending
to a busy week

22 K students
small moments
with such success

Early dinner
local favorite
Easy Street

head diagonally

Jeni's ice cream
new flavors
so yummy

joining a club
a readers club
going to the 
movies club
Hunger Games
with the family
really enjoyed

to plan Girl Scouts
cosmo in hand

This is no attempt at poetry, I think I just like to try and capture slices in a short list.  After teaching third grade for a bit and understanding how hard writing a small moment can be I anticipating discussing this topic today in K a bit challenging.  Boy, did they prove me wrong.  After watching them work and thinking about it their stamina is often just enough for a small moment.  How do we capture that and carry it forward to when they are older and have so many thoughts and much more stamina.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Slice 2012 - 29 of 31 Introducing a special spot

Each day, yesterday and today I took 22 kindergarten students (total 44) outside with the sun shining, the grass is green, and signs of spring are budding around our school.  Our purpose was to go to a special spot.  K students love the idea of going to a special spot.  We went to our bluebird trail.  We have four nesting boxes.  Each class is going to monitor two boxes and we will learn from each other.  I modeled for them how to monitor nesting boxes and answered their questions about bluebirds and house sparrows as we went along.  

When you are bluebird monitoring you have to carefully do these things.

1.  Approach the box from the back.
         -No need to walk in front and have a bird dart out at you.
2.  Knock on the door first. 
         -To announce you are here and let the mother bird fly away.
3.  Unscrew the door, which is a hinged side.
4.  Have a look inside and remove house sparrow nests. 
         -This is to discourage house sparrows from nesting here.  

They had so many thoughtful questions about bluebirds, house sparrows, nesting boxes, and monitoring.  I think this will drive our further observations, writing, reading, and thinking.  I haven't even shown them a picture of a bluebird, read about bluebirds, or other cavity dwelling birds.  

Bluebird monitoring is important because their natural habitat is being reduced and house sparrows are as I described to my students, are not nice - "bully" birds.  House sparrows are non native species to our country which makes discouraging them from increasing in population, okay.  Our goal is to increase the bluebird population.

I love being outside with my students.  I love being engaged with them.  I love watching them think, wonder, and question.  I can't wait to talk more with them tomorrow about bluebird monitoring.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Slice 2012 - 28 of 31 To be honest...

There are various forms of writing and I think since starting this project my slices have been taken from each day directly related to something that is happening in my life.  Just honesty, as I reflect or capture a slice of my life.  As you know I'm back to work and working progress reports.  As life sometimes is and I feel education can be, today I feel the roller coaster is in full motion and I have never been physically on an amusement park roller coaster.  I don't like watching how fast they go.  I don't like the idea of flipping upside down.  I don't like not having control of where I am going or how fast I travel.  I don't like being scared or spooked.  

Today I feel like I have no control.  Completing 44 progress reports with no additional time during my working hours is hard.  Trying to figure out what the Common Core is asking students to do and how that matches to progress reports descriptors is hard mental work.  I'm frustrated a staff meeting is scheduled for tomorrow morning when everyone needs every minute possible to do progress reports.  The agenda isn't relevant to immediate actions needed by anyone.  I tried to suggest moving it a week, that didn't go far.  I'm frustrated my students come to school about 20 alternating days a quarter and together we are suppose to grow and change enough to make narratives interesting to read.  

As I always do, I will get through this.  I am seeing growth and am proud of my students.  I can't wait til next year and I really organize my thinking for instruction with the Common Core.  I don't like muddling.  Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to just read some honest thinking from today.  I wish you a wonderful Thursday.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Slice 2012 - 27 of 31 We did it again!

Could I do it?
Could they do it?
What would reading assessments look like for 22 more students?

Start with a possible worry.
Reading where I was hoping and expecting.
My insides start to bubble with joy.

So absolutely proud.
We are readers.

One student is new.
Speech is needed.
Small steps and help.

One student grown with letter and word knowledge.
Loves a pattern, not 1:1 so much.
Should look at text while reading.
Needs focus and help.

Big picture.
Success again.
Moving each child forward.
Way to go my kinder readers.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Slice 2012 - 26 of 31 Slam Dunk, High Five, Three Pointer

Slam Dunk, High Five, Three Pointer is all how I felt after just an hour into my first day after spring break with my Mon/Wed students who had just been out of school for 13 days.  Are you asking, was she playing basketball with them?  No, I wasn't but I might shout out here The Ohio State Buckeyes, my Alma mater is in the final four.  Just in case you didn't know that tidbit about basketball or my college history.

Today started the fourth quarter and that means I have to complete progress reports for the third quarter.  Last night as I was thinking about starting this daunting task times 44.  I thought I really need to know accurate one on one information about my lowest readers.  In particular, my students who last and first reading assessment wasn't at my benchmark for this point in the year.  As I looked information over this morning that meant I needed to reasses 10 students.  I'm happy to report, all 10 could independently use reading strategies to meet the benchmark.  I can say all 22 students in one class are meeting my expectations or more in reading.

Earlier this year my friend Laura Komos wrote about conferring and seeing big results in her first grade room. She made changes this year with her instructional thinking and is seeing a difference.  I too have made some instructional changes and feel today's observations confirmed something is working for the better.  I've added conferring to my classroom.  I also held off assessing their reading until January.  I wanted to get down many beginning literacy skills and routines first in hopes of implementing guided reading when we could work with more independence and intentions.  I also work with slightly larger groups than I prefer 4-6 so I can meet with them daily.  Don't panic, daily doesn't always work.  I'm also rethinking and trying some new things with the format of a guided reading lesson.  Today it's all successful.  As I said yesterday, I'm taking each day one day at a time as I move from vacation to reality.  Tomorrow is a new group and I hope with wonder I will see the same results.  Thank you my kinder students for working and growing as readers!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Slice 2012 - 25 of 31 Reality

Reality is...
Throwing away old things in fridge
Cleaning inside the fridge
Stocking the fridge from the grocery store

Reality is...
Unpacking vacation clothes
Shifting closet space to hold hot and cool weather clothes

Reality is...
Changing bunny's liter box
Picking up two dogs from a friend
Visiting with my dear friend
Smiling while one dog finds stray tic tac in van

Reality is...
Vacuuming van, getting rid of sand
Wiping down everything inside van
Washing van at car wash

Reality is...
Picking up Cherry Berry mango yogurt with granola
Reading a bit of Wonder
Slicing on my laptop again

Reality is...
Making crockpot dinner for Monday
Thinking about school
Wishing I had more time
Grateful for last week and taking each day one day at a time

Reality is good and overwhelming.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Slice 2012 - 24 of 31 we did it!

We did it! We drove 15.5 hours home in one day. It was long. Traffic was great. Not sure how he drove 12 hours straight. I finished it off. Girls were awesome. Glad to have a day at home tomorrow. A short slice after a long day.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Slice 2012 - 23 of 31 Today I Learned

Manatees teeth are all molars. Manatees lose their front teeth, new molars come up in back and the all move forward to fill missing teeth gap. Only mammal to do this. Manatees have no predators. Manatees go out into Tampa Bay when it's 68 degrees or above. Under 68 degrees they hang out in water next to power plant which is 92 degrees year round. Manatees flipper skeletal structure is like our arm skeletal structure. Manatees are also called sea cows. Cow on land or water eat grass. A manatees eat 10% a day if their body weight. Average weight being 1500 pounds. I love learning new things and revisiting things I may not use daily.

Slice 2012 - 22 of 31 FL wonderings

Why don't I see barns near or in the fields of cows?
How do peanuts grow?
How can the sun shine so much?
How did that house have horses and a zebra in their front yard?
Does the leg color and beak color always match for birds?

What is the speed a dolphin can swim?
I saw them swimming slower than anticipated while kayaking.

How does the design of a kayak paddle effect moving in a kayak? Canoe oars didn't work. I tried to suggest that before leaving shore. I love wondering about new things.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Slice 2012 - 21 of 31 Bottle It Up

This whole trip I keep watching and observing my third grader only to wish I could stop time. Not sure to really stop time but maybe bottle up her energy and natural ability to enjoy everything. The beach today with swimming and shell collecting brought her such happiness. Her kind soul found a nice senior lady in the gulf who chit chatted with her and swam next to her. Life is good for her. Nothing is preventing her from being in the moment. I am richer from observing this and wish we could all be in the moment more.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Slice 2012 - 20 of 31 Seniors

Seniors Gather.
Live musician.
I watch and wonder.
To be 70 or 80 or 90.
They are so happy and having fun.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Slice 2012 - 19 of 31 We saw Winter!

Dolphin Tale has been a favorite movie since it came to the theaters. I love movies based on true stories. My youngest has been on frequently to see Winter the dolphin live via webcam. Today we made a wish of hers come true. To see Winter in person. We drove an hour to Clearwater Marine Aquarium and embraced crowds to see the wonderful work this facility does. It's a small place. I've wondered all day if this new fame will help them make a bigger facility to continue their work with rescue, rehab, release. It's important work. Right now we are watching the movie, bought today, and recognizing where we were today. How fun and thank goodness for vacations.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Slice 2012 - 18 of 31 JUST US

There is a lot to be said for leaving home; daily routines, daily chores, work, activities and friends. A day at the pool - JUST US was good for our souls. Simple interactions with those that make a family were greatly needed. Grateful these last minute plans happened. We did include grandma and grandpa in our day and are richer because of them too.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Slice 2012 - 17 of 31 4:20am

4:20am. Faint light. Rustling about. Could it be? It's him. Ready. To drive. Grateful. Later. Quick stop gas. Quick stop lunch. Quick stop driver switch. Easy drive. Great timing. Inlaws. Pool and Sun. All by 4:20pm.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Slice 2012 - 16 of 31 Slicing on the Go

My plans this month didn't include being on the go for Spring Break and then the planner in me realized I needed to create a plan to keep my Slice of Life writing project moving forward.  I drafted blog entries for each day I will be on the go.  The plan was a title with my general statement without the actual title, the Slice of Life logo copied and pasted, and then a label which completes each entries framework.  I am planning on uploading the blogger app to my Droid phone to enhance my on the go plan.  We will see how this goes.  I can't imagine typing lots using my phone.  I am not going into hiding so using a computer isn't completely ruled out.  It's been a hurried rush to get ready but I think we we've done it, almost.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Slice 2012 - 15 of 31 Leg Hair

Yesterday after school I was sitting on our front stoop with B, my youngest right after school enjoying the gorgeous sunny day we were having.  She was chatting away about various things and I started to rub her leg.  She told me a friend had really dark leg hair, a third grade friend.  I commented on how light her hair is and she looked at my slightly stubbly leg and the light bulb went off.  She got so excited, I could see she was connecting the dots.  She said, "I get it.  If your hair is dark then your leg hair is dark.  My hair is light so my leg hair is light."  It was so sweet, honest, and genuine.  She is thinking and drawing conclusions and I didn't say anything but offer a leg hair sample.

Later that night I began wondering what path she will take in a few years when she wants to get rid of her leg hair.  Will she follow her oldest sister who wanted to shave so badly, didn't ask for help, tried on her own and has a scar over the ankle bone?  In her oldest sister's defense she did ask for to shave and I didn't think it was necessary yet.  We learn all learn a thing or two by trial and error.  Will B follow her next biggest sister who asked and then sat with me on the side of the tub.  I showed her on one leg and watched her do the other leg with patience and soft conversation.  B has this side of her too, especially when she is one on one.  After all of this wondering I really just know I'm in no rush to know how B tackles this step in life. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Slice 2012 - 14 of 31 Reading List

I am excited to have lots of hours of reading time in the next week.  I might of been a bit too excited when I did some purchasing for my Kindle Fire.  Here's what I have gathered -

-The Best of Me
by N. Sparks, I've read all of his books

-Kill Alex Cross
by J. Patterson, I've read all of this series

-Train Like a Mother; How to Get Across Any Finish Line and Not Lose Family, Job or Sanity
by McDowell and Bowen Shea this is pre-ordered and comes out while on break, yea!

-Hunger Games
by S. Collins I need to be in this reading club before the movie comes out.  Two of my girls are excited.

-Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism
by M. Emmerich

-Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
by A. Krouse Rosenthal

-The Book Whisperer
by D. Miller, yes not proud I haven't read this one yet

I also have gathered magazines unread - Natural Health, whole living, real simple, and Family Fun for poolside or beach time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Slice 2012 - 13 of 31 Plan


I am one who likes to plan.  Spring Break is approaching fast and today, three days away our family plans changed.  So, I am trying to accept changed plans and do the preparation needed for the new plan which involves laundry, gathering clothes from the basement determining who fits what, shopping for a bathing suit, flip flops, sunscreen, more laundry and things to do gathering.  Did I mention I like to have time when planning?  Things are busier than I expected.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Slice 2012 - 12 of 31 Kindergarten Slice

Each day I wait to see what I might be able to find to write more about from that day.  Truly a slice, a moment to capture.  Something from the here and now, in the moment of daily living.  Today it comes from my classroom.  I think because I didn't expect so many little things to happen and make it an odd day.

As the students were entering the room today busily doing their morning routine and settling in, one of my boys burst into tears and I couldn't understand what was concerning this small friend.  I finally figured it he wanted to keep his Star Wars library book for more time.  He wasn't finished reading it.  That was an easy fix.  About the same time, one of my little girls was trying to make a morning explore time choice and was very determined to work with blocks and was equally determined to follow the rules about how many friends could be there which put her at a standstill.  Even with coaching her feet were firmly planted and luckily some friends made some changes and her feet could bend.  

We were sharing some work we did over the weekend on Kidblog and I asked a student to share his story because honestly I couldn't pronounce the ninja names and such.  It was all spelled correctly, he is a proficient  reader and I thought it would highlight some strengths and a shift in his work lately.  He really struggled and started crying, worried he couldn't read it.  His head went on my shoulder and a whisper voice with a quivering lip.  Somehow, I made it through this melt down.

At lunch I sent a student to the nurse for a daily routine he does and he threw up in the clinic.  Yea, not in my room but yuck to have any student get sick and go home.

During independent reading, we've had a guiding policy/routine we don't get up unless it's an emergency for the bathroom.  A small friend was trying to wait to use the bathroom, trying to hold it, trying to follow the rule and couldn't wait anymore.  Had an accident and didn't tell me til reading time was over.  How do you balance that with then the child across the room who now has a distraction from reading each day needing a trip to the bathroom.  It's near the end of the time and I say no only to diligently watch and see the student never goes to use the bathroom.

In general; tired eyes, slow clean ups, chatty transitions were my sweet sweet children today.  Maybe it's the time change my third grader is very in-tune with the time it should be.  We had lots of extra time on February 29th making up for the hour lost.  Maybe we chalk it up to a Monday.  Maybe we chalk it up to anticipation for our first field trip on Wed.  Either way, the day is done.  Another will come.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Slice 2012 - 11 of 31 How to Over Come some Bumps

How to over come some bumps.
-Go to bed early!
-Wake up early and enjoy an early morning walk with two dogs.
-Come back and make a scone for breakfast.
-Appreciate the clean kitchen from yesterdays work.
-Make a list of meals for the week.
-Inspect the fridge for grocery needs and make a list.
-Go to the grocery store, early.
-Tackle and revamp 2 daughter's closets.
-Go to lacrosse practice and watch, not play.
-Go for a run, a little bumpy it wasn't as easy as anticipated.
-Drop off recycling and feel good about making a difference.
-In general, keep conversations simple.
-Play Multiplication tic-tac-toe.
-Read a chapter in the Borrowers.
-Head to bed early.

I have been over extending my waking hours and I know how important sleep is.  It's easier to wake up in the morning.  Patience is easier with more sleep.  Patience is a good word to pay attention to as a parent and a teacher.  Sleep helps stamina for busy days ahead.  One more week of school and then spring break, yea.

Friday, March 9, 2012

We Jumped and Landed - SOLS 9

I just finished commenting on 22 Kidblog first blog entries by my kindergarten students!  When I got logged in this evening I wanted to comment in hopes of helping any families figure out phonetic spelling.  I sometimes forget how hard it can be for others to figure this out.  I also wanted to give my students a comment to show them how they would receive feedback from their readers.  

Our first session with Kidblog was a great success!  I had three parent volunteers come in to help us while we posted.  I always have the parents set up the laptops and log us in to the software or website we will be using.  I find this support in getting us where we need to be prevents frustration for myself and my students.  I organized the students into small groups so each adult had 4-5 students to help.  I gave the students a special writing page for writing their story ahead of time.  I wrote the title in a rectangular text box as they would see on page they would post.  I thought if the title was spelled correctly it might be another clue for readers in figuring out phonetic spellings or semi-phonetic spellings.  I had three lines below for the students to draft their blog entry.  I had a friend on twitter share he just started in K and had the students write the ideas first on paper.  This was key in our success.  I think it would be very hard for my students to compose and type at the same time.  Writing and keyboarding are two different students.  We had not really done any typing using the keyboard and I was a bit worried.  No need, they all figured it out.  I ended our session showing them how they could post comments and that was the end of our day.  After seeing a photo on my friend Katie's blog with her students using laptops in various spaces around the room I wondered why I always had them sitting at tables when we work in the library.  Today we were in the room and two groups worked on the carpet which felt just felt better.  I like things spread out and it worked well.

As I was leaving comments from today's entries, I knew blogging was a great thing to start with my students.  One student had already written a new story and posted it.  This same student left a comment on another student's post.  I have another student who comment on two of his friends pieces.  I have a student can read and spell any word.  It's quite interesting but struggles to write any depth beyond a sentence with paper and pencil.  His second entry today was a small paragraph and a story all about a Lego series.  It's all lowercase, with spacing, and correct spelling.  I know his piece wasn't drafted completely using pencil and paper.  I would bet L was able to draft and type as he went.  I wonder why there is such a discrepancy.  I really need to explore my thinking here and fast.  I hope my parents read my letter I wrote last night and join their child this weekend to expand our writing community.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jumping In...SOSL 8

Must dash to bed but I have been writing for over an hour as I composed a newsletter to my families about our journey with during our laptop time tomorrow.  I enjoy writing and explaining things to parents in hopes of helping them understand what we are doing, how to do something, or help with understand learning as it develops.  I've never used before.  I am excited to share and distribute our writing tomorrow beyond our classroom walls.  I am hoping to receive feedback from our families to help us grow as writers.  With my student's slightly wacky attendance plan, I will probably need parents to help students follow any comments they receive.  This is my introductory paragraph,

Dear Families,
I’m very excited to share with you a new digital tool we are using to produce and publish our writing. was explored today during our time with the building laptop computers.   A blog is defined as a website containing the writer’s or a group of writers’ own experiences and observations.  Kidblog was created by teachers with the intent to make blogging safe for elementary and middle school students.  Kidblog allows the teachers to monitor the publishing and commenting within our community. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

So Nice To Notice! SOLS 7

My girls are each three and a half years apart, making my oldest and youngest seven years apart.  Right now I have one in high school, one in middle school, and a third grader.  Needless to say, life can be interesting at any given moment on any given day.  My middle school daughter, A and my third grader B have been very close but I knew this year with them in different schools and with different stages of growing up there would be some bumps in the road.  It's hard to watch each of them figure this out in their own way and I find myself wondering how can we get back to easier days for them to be together.

Tonight I stepped out for a boot camp session at the Y with a personal trainer in a small group.  I'm sure this will be a slice of life at some point.  While I was gone A and B found each other again.  How did I know?  I noticed.  I noticed after showering, they had the same hairstyle.  A wet up-do with one single pony tail holder.  There was a third grade measurement scavenger hunt completed but written in A's handwriting.  There must of been teamwork for that.  B is our first daughter to share a talent in the school talent show and A was watching and coaching a practice session from the couch.  Then B went upstairs to get ready for bed.  I went up to join her to continue reading The Borrowers to find them snuggled together in bed having A read to her The Lightening Thief.  I asked for my read aloud time and I got a small speech on why not with giggles and smiles.  Thank you girls for finding each other and enjoying sisterhood.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Annie update - SOLS 6

I've tried two other post and get part way through and decide I don't like the flow and I let go.  However, I wonder if anyone who is following along had the same wonder I did today.  How is Annie the dog who ate 3 boxes for Girl Scout cookies?  She did have good taste in cookies, two boxes of Tagalongs and one box of Samoa.  She made great choices in our book!  I worried about her in her crate all day but knew the cookies were safe.  I worried if she was sick and having to sit in it.  I was worried she couldn't play with Cooper or do whatever they do all day when there are not Girl Scout cookies in our house.  I worried she would be sick tonight.  I worried about her like one of my own daughters.  The good news is Annie appears to be handling an overdose of Girl Scout cookies pretty well and we are taking steps to help her.  She's drinking lots of water and has successful bathroom breaks.  We delivered a bunch of cookies to school today and some to the neighbors after school.  Mantra - cookies out to keep Annie safe!  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Not one, or two but three! - SOLS 5

It's Girl Scout cookie time.  Yesterday A picked up her order.  She sorted them into nice neat little stacks labeled with post it notes.  Just out of the general path of life on our dining room table.  Our evening went on as normal and so did our morning getting out the door for everyone.  I even had bacon, waffles and strawberries to start their day.  It's lovely Terra Nova testing week for two of the three girls and OGT for my oldest.  Yes, the waffles were homemade but made yesterday in anticipation for today.  I taught all day and at the end of the day got more Girl Scout cookies by picking up B's order.  

As I walked in with more cases of cookies I was greeted by A, in the dining room, with a somewhat gloom face.  I knew instantly what was wrong.  Our dog Annie ate a box of cookies today.  However, I learned quickly not just one or two boxes but THREE boxes of Girl Scout cookies.  She was smart, they came from three different orders. 

We have another dog we rescued this past spring name Cooper.  So, maybe Annie had help but he would not have taken it off the table.  She would in a heartbeat!  She earned crate free days when Cooper came because he didn't need a crate but we have to have everything put up and away.  Where will Annie be tomorrow?  You got it, IN HER CRATE.  We have to save the cookies and deliver them to happy customers.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Sun Will Come Out -SOLS 4

I grew up in a small town of 5,000 in Upstate New York.  In a town where everyone knows your name and there wasn't a movie theater there when I was growing up.  When I was in elementary school our PTO would rent movies and play them in our high school auditorium once in awhile.  This was just fine with me, I knew nothing else.  The closest movie theater was in the next town over.  I discovered movie theaters in seventh grade when my Mom took my friend and I to see Annie.  It was such a treat to go in the evening and do something with just my Mom.  I remember singing Annie songs lots after this adventure, loud and clear for all to hear.  Who couldn't feel better after belting out, "the sun will come out tomorrow...."?  This weekend I revisited Annie while viewing a local production with my husband and two daughters.  We've seen the movie several times at home but seeing it live and in the front row was fantastic.  As I sat watching the girls smile, giggle, full belly laugh and enjoy drama I wonder if either of them will take this path in life.  One is in middle school choir.  One sings every car ride with headsets on at the top of her lungs.  Both love to dance.  I had another wondering about my own movie viewing life.  Was Annie the movie that started my preference for movies when an underdog comes out on top?  It might just might have been.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cranberry Red - SOLS 3

Cranberry Red 
is the perfect shade

It's not too bold 
or shocking
or screaming, 
Hey look at me! 
It's rich and elegant.
It's warm and inviting. 
It's crispy
like the skin of an apple. 

It's the perfect shade
for a 
Winter Formal dress, 
my precious girl.


Why I've Joined - SOLS 2

It's March 2nd or as of March 3rd we are pretending it's March 2nd.  On March 2nd I contemplated joining SOLS with more thoughts.  It was the second day and the whole idea of writing about little tidbits kept creeping into my thinking.  I first mentioned my grandmother as a writer this summer when I shared a poem she wrote, A Tribute.  I mention her leaving a collection of her writing.  Grandma showed me this collection two years ago as we were walking though her home.  She pulled out a clear bag with a stack of notepads and asked me, "Would you like Alleen's sickness diary?"  Alleen is my mother and I replied yes as I watched her pack the stack of notepads away and said in time.

Those notepads came home with me this past summer.  While I was excited to have these, I wasn't anxious to read them.  I left them in the trunk of my minivan for some time.  Then didn't want them to get ruined so I moved them to the inside of the front door.  I just wasn't ready to bring them in the house.  I finally brought them in and started reading them near the end of the summer from the beginning.  I read about half way through and have let them sit in my closet for months.  I just picked them up this week and find at times I can't put them down.  

I've learned these things about writing from my Grandma.  If it's personal and for you, go ahead and use initials for family members.  I'm an M, my sister is C, DS is my Dad because Di is my aunt.  F is my grandfather Fred and she even refers to herself as G for Gerry.  My grandparents owned a lumber yard and suppliers would give notepads to them that was made out of graph paper.  She used those to record her thoughts.  Next to each date she writes the day of the week.  This is a different kind of "container" for her writing.  She was faithful in using the same daily diary every day, year after year.  She really focused on how my mom was doing daily.  A daily record of medical treatments, emotional journey, visits, and a little bit about day to day life.  However, if a day went by she didn't hear from either of my parents she recorded the date and wrote, no news.

This personal narrative is a gift.  I've learned about things I lived but have forgotten.  My parents had incredible strength.  My extended family was so supportive even when I thought some weren't.  If I read carefully there is some wise advice.  I'm interested in continuing my reading even when I know the ending will be tough.  I'm thankful for this gift of writing.  Unless we write down our tidbits, we will lose them with time.   Maybe my grandma was/is trying to give me back something I've lost so I could move on and knew I would want to remember.

Stopped at a Train - SLOS #1

It's March 1st or as of March 3rd we are pretending it's March 1st.  My middle daughter just finished dance class, we dropped off a book at the public library, decided to stop at Jeni's for ice cream while we wait to pick up the oldest daughter from a meeting at work when the flashing red lights are lowering at the train tracks.  We stop for trains all the time in my suburban hub but tonight was different.  I had a flashback to my reading life growing up.  I remembered the Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner.  I then wanted to tell my daughter all about the book, series, and my thoughts as a reader.  She quickly said, "Mom, I read the first one.  You had us read it as a Girl Scout project."  Yes, I did.  We were going to see the play and you all know the book is always better.  She wasn't as interested in my thoughts as a reader even though I tried to tell her more.

I loved the Boxcar Children!  I was so intrigued by the Alden children.  The idea of children living on their own was an quite the adventure in my mind.  How they solved what would be called now little issues in life with independence was something I was drawn to.  They relied on each other and the message of sticking together is an important one for all of us to read about.  They met their grandfather when help was needed for Violet and my own grandparents were a huge part of my daily life growing up.  Of course, the story had a happy ending and I followed them on more adventures.   I left that train stop wondering why I never viewed the trains as boxcars before.  Probably because I see them as an interruption and increasing my travel time in my day to day routines.  I'm grateful for those few minutes.