It’s not summer yet (A Slice)

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

 

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It’s not summer yet
but we had a campfire
and I willed myself to enjoy
and ignore the imperfection of
dirty dishes
dead leaves
un-mowed grass
grumpy, tired children
my to do list
It’s not summer yet
but we had a campfire
with vegan marshmallows
and sweet chocolate
crackling logs –
that perfect smokey smell

It’s not summer yet
but we had a campfire

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Oh, my E. A bedtime snapshot

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

Oh, my E.

E is finishing second grade, and almost every night he is up later than his older brother and sister. While I tuck them in, he is in his room with legos or a book.  This week he is listening to Endling: The Last. (Great book, please read!)

When I walk into his room to tell him it’s time for bed, and he tells me he’s almost done with the chapter. “2 minutes!”

Of course, I let him finish his chapter. This is a week spot for me.

Time to clean your room. I'm reading. Ok.
Time for bed. I'm reading. Ok.
We aren't buying anything at the store. How about this book? Ok.

Once his chapter is over, he choses a Calm app sleep meditation, and we snuggle in. Some nights he falls asleep in just a few minutes, and other nights, we have a little chat.

Last night he had a few things to say:

“Mommy, if you are measuring something and it is exactly half, do you say the number before or after?”

. . . Nothing like a little rounding conversation with your 8 year old, at 9:45 at night. . . 

“Mommy? You might actually still be alive when I’m 60! You will be like 90, and 60 is actually kind of old. I mean, 80 is when people really start to get old. And wrinkly.”

. . . 

“Mommy? I wish it were my birthday.”

. . .

“You know how some people say Halloween is their favorite because they like the costumes? That’s not true. They like the candy. Halloween is my favorite because of the candy, I have to admit it.”

. . .

“What does relish mean?”

. . . I think I might be falling asleep at this point, but I manage a definition. . . 

“I relish relish!”

. . .

And moments later, he’s asleep.

Oh, my E.

 

 

 

From my chair, I see (A slice)

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

From my chair, I see

A beautiful piano, rarely played
Pictures of kids, and by kids
One slipper, all alone  — oh, there’s the other one
Two socks, discarded
My backpack, still packed
A dog, with his bone
A bright old lamp, with a new shade
Beyond the door, the house is asleep
But here at my new-to-me desk, already messy
I am awake
Zoom in
My desk with my laptop, my summer calendar, seltzer water, laptop case,
candle, pens, and of course
a container of tiny tree trunks

 

A slice of Speaking Up

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

Lately, I’m trying to chew a lot of gum. It helps to keep me from snacking too much, sure. But, it also helps to keep me from talking too much. (Sometimes.)

I used to bring apples to meetings, I’d eat the apple if someone was saying something that upset me. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and it also probably kept me from getting a letter in my file. It did not always keep me from talking though.

I had a sign on my computer to start this year. It said “Just Breathe/Be the last to speak.” As a coach, I need to be especially mindful of my listening skills. In the middle of the year, some of the words had peeled off. It said “Just Breathe/Speak” for awhile. Then it said “Just Speak.” Finally, it said “Speak.” I don’t know if this is a message, or just a funny coincidence.

When do I listen? When do I speak? I listen to understand, and I’m all for a little cognitive dissonance to push my learning…. And sometimes there isn’t enough gum in the world, enough apples in my lunchbag, or the right message on my computer to stop me from speaking.

Today at an Instructional Coaching conference, I did a lot of listening and learning, and I also found myself speaking up. I’m doing some reflective data work (I like saying “reflective data work” instead of just telling the truth, “I’m trying to tally in my head the kinds of conversations that made me speak up…”)

I spoke up when I felt that some of my core beliefs weren’t even on the table at a conversation. When other people could have but didn’t factor in choice, inclusion, trust, listening, authenticity, or teacher efficacy, I couldn’t help but bring the idea to the discussion. I think this might just be hard wired in my personality.

I”ll keep bringing my gum and apples — but I’m also going to keep speaking up.

On the Deck, Just E and Me: A slice of life

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

I’m on the deck, just E and me. Our dinner was rushed, and I notice that the chair pillow is indeed wet from the rain a few days ago. It had just needed time to soak into my pants.

But still, I sit there, just taking a minute before clearing the table. I’m just taking a minute.

I look at E’s 8-year old foot, scooched under his butt as he eats a few chips. The bottoms of his toes are barely visible, and the bottom of his foot has a perfect wrinkle.

“This is what I notice?” I think. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I notice, what I’m thinking behind what I’m thinking, what I want to remember.

Yes. This is what I notice. I want to remember this foot, scrunched and wrinkled. I want to remember this foot, bare on a finally hot spring evening.

I get up to clear the table and E asks me, “Why do you look kinda sad, momma?”

“I’m not sad.” I say.

And later I will wonder if I should have taken that teachable moment to talk about being contemplative.

Or, maybe I should have just taken another minute on the deck, just E and me.

 

It’s Tuesday #inspired

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

It’s Tuesday, it’s quiet in my house, and my computer is charged.

So I search for inspiration…

My 11 year old shared his Tuesday Slice of Life Google Doc with me today. #inspired

It’s snowing in April, I’ve seen hail-like ice fall on the spring flowers today, and my feet are freezing. #inspired

My dog is taking a break from his cone, and he keeps jumping off the couch every time he hears the kittens running around upstairs.  #inspired

I spent time writing in kindergarten this morning, We looked at mystery pictures and 5 year olds tapped their fingers on their chin and said, “Hmmm…I’m going to have to really think about that.” #inspired

I couldn’t ask for more inspiration today, but I don’t know what to write.

Still, I write. Because it’s Tuesday, it’s quiet in the house, and my computer is charged.

Dear Past, Dear Future

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I’m celebrating with Ruth Ayres today! 

 

Dear Past Me,

One day the preschool boy who loves science will absolutely perfect the vegan oatmeal raisin cookie. He will make these while you write (ok, and fall asleep) on the couch, before he makes chocolate chip cookies with his younger brother.

You will still have many messes to clean up in the kitchen, but everyone knows that oatmeal raisin cookies make cleaning up easier.

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Dear Future Me,

There was at least one Sunday where you fell asleep on the couch. Your 11 year old made you vegan cookies, and the dog slept next to you. You decided not to care about the shoes all over, and the dirty dishes that multiply by the minute. Your 8 year old watched Pokemon, and you reminded yourself that it was Sunday (translation: chill out).

There might have been glitter on the kitchen floor, slime supplies piled on the counter and a cone on the dog’s head. . . but there were also cookies, a puppy, and naps.

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With Gratitude and Celebration,

Current Me.

Slice of Life Cup of Sunshine, Cup of Joy.

 

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

It’s raining, of course.

I step out of my car to get my bags, and realize I need to zip my raincoat. So, I put my coffee cup down on the booster seat. I zip up, grab my bags and start walking into school. I turn back  to my car as soon as I realize that I’ve left my coffee, and I know before I get there that it must have fallen and spilled.

Not only did it fall and spill, it actually emptied. I bring the cup into school anyway, so that I can make tea, and I think about how happy I am that this rainy bad morning is a Tuesday. “At least I have a slice,” I think. I look down at my cup and see that I have actually spilled my cup of sunshine on a rainy day. How poetic. 

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Later my allergies will still be acting up, and I’ll notice a rip in my scarf. I’ll wonder if I should write an “Unfortunately/fortunately” poem, and then quickly realize that form needs some “fortunately” to balance it out. No pressure on this cup of tea, or the people I work with this afternoon, but I’m banking on them being that balance.

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#sol18 March 31 Keep On

Slice of LIfe  celebrate-image 

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! I’m also celebrating with Ruth Ayres today! 

March is a celebration of writing for me. Now that it’s over, I need to find a way to keep it still.

I’m in the Wegman’s line (yes, again). The cashier asks me, “Do you want this double bagged?”

“No thanks. Thanks for asking though.”

“Do you want one of your teas left out?”

“No thanks. Thanks for asking though.”

And then she seems to ask, “$39.85?”

I really want to say “No thanks. Thanks for asking though.”

As I walk away, I laugh to myself at this little mini slice of life. It’s the last day of March, so I’m thinking hard about slices and how to hold on to all of this noticing and writing.

Walking to the parking lot, I almost get hit by a car because I assumed they were stopped for me. . Then as I walked down the sidewalk to grab a coffee a young man swung in front of me. I hoped my trajectory was obvious, but he spun around and pulled the door open with a flourish. Only, it was the door to the hair salon.  As I passed him by he looked embarrassed and said, “Well, I guess you aren’t going there.” I opened the coffee shop door wondering if my hair looked like I definitely needed to go to the salon.

I’m already sad about all the slices I’ll miss after today. I’ll try to write slices weekly, but we all know how that goes. I’ll try to jot notes on my phone, but I mostly I won’t. History says I’ll still notices slices. Once you slice every day, it’s hard to stop noticing. But, will I write them? Will I write?

Walking into the shop to grab my coffee, I notice all the people at tables, with open computers. I’m so jealous of what looks to be focused writing. For all I know, they are probably studying and annoyed to not be somewhere else, but still. It is cozy there, with the smell of coffee, the soft chattering of friends, and the clicking of keys.

I hope I can take this habit of writing and tweak it just a little. I have other writing projects I want to finish, some I still need to start. Some have been revised, some need to be revised. I have query letters to write, and I have to figure out who to send them to. If I’m jealous of people sitting in front of open computers on a Saturday afternoon, I think that means I need to write more, not less.  I’ll write. I have to write.

 

#sol18 March 30 Just a couple slices

Slice of LIfe   

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

The woman at the Dollar Spot at Target was on her phone, talking about the price of the bag of Easter Eggs. I wasn’t really paying attention until she said. “Wait. Are you talking plastic eggs or real eggs? Oh. I was talking plastic eggs.”

And I had to jot it down on my phone notes, because that’s a slice of life.

I picked the shortest line at Wegmans to buy my handful of items. The woman in front of me was all rung up, but then I noticed she was patting down her purse, her pockets, her purse again. I was slowly starting to pay attention as she said, ” I must have left my card at Target. Can you suspend that sale?” As the cashier put on her flashing light and called a manager over to help, I looked at the total. $9.76. I wondered if I should just pay her bill to speed things up.

Instead, I jotted it down on my phone notes, because that’s a slice of life.

At home, L and I hung out with the kittens until, be still my beating heart, she asked me if I wanted to go downstairs and do some bullet journal sketches with her. Soon the dining room table was full of markers and pens. We sketched banners and stick people, and cactus planters. Because, why not? It’s fun even though her sketches are so much better than mine!

I didn’t get my phone out, so I just repeated the phrase in my head. “Want to go down and do some bullet journal sketching with me?” because that’s a slice of life.