A few slice haiku

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

Oh, man – almost March.
Better start writing again
Daily habits – ugh.

Hope writing becomes
My procrastination win
Slice and allow mess

Laundry? Add blog post
Dishes? Lunches to pack? Write!
Kids? Work? Sleep? Slice – duh.

Oh, man – almost March.
Get me out of this slump now.
Allow writing please.

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I’m noticing, A Slice

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

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Tonight, we went to see Kinky Boots. We felt a little guilty putting off our homework until later tonight, but Mary Ehrenworth told us to go out and have fun, so it was like a direction, right?

The theater was beautiful, and the seats were great! There’s nothing like the feeling of a show about to start: the crowd gathers, the excitment mounts, we take turns going to the restroom.

As my friend and I walked into the bathroom, we laughed along with a few others. Like an unpopular amusement park ride, the maze of rope to enter was empty in the uncrowded bathroom. We rushed through it, feeling silly as we twisted and turned around the long maze. On the way out of the bathroom, I laughed again and shook my head because the next few people to come in just walked around the rope.

They walked around the rope. I bet those people would be good at lateral thinking puzzles.

Celebrating A Good Start

celebrate-image So happy to Celebrate with Ruth Ayres this weekend! What are you celebrating

 

I’m celebrating learning today because I’m at Teachers College’s Coaching of Reading Institute. I always know I’m going to learn so much when I get the chance to come here. I am never disappointed.

I am especially celebrating good starts. There’s so much power in a good start.

This morning started with a new notebook, and a session with a title that made me want to shout, “Amen!”

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We started with a few minutes of a Ted Talk, and then the amazing Katy Wishow took us through the Essentials of a Learning Community. These are things we know students need in our Reader’s Workshop. . . but they are true for our own teacher communities too:

  1. Embracing Risk (which means, embracing failure too!)
    Ask for help, be vulnerable
  2. A Shared Spotlight
    Build up your team, turn your spotlight to others
  3. Team Mentality
    Everyone gets what they need
  4. Joy and Celebration
    We celebrate with kids, how can we build this with teachers? 

When you start a day about coaching with a session about how we need communities to learn and grow, about how we need joy and celebration… that’s a good start to the day. That’s a great start to a Coaching Institute. That’s something to celebrate.

Thanks for the great start, TCRWP!

A slice of a Second

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

I sit and  look around. I’m still in slow motion, heart racing. I see a woman. She doesn’t seem to have noticed that anything happened. A car drives by, its driver oblivious. My hands are shaking slightly and I pull over, hazards on.

I take a deep breath in, allow my eyes to close for a moment, breathe out.

Before this,

I lived in a slow motion moment. I drove down the street, watchful but relaxed. Listening to Hamilton, almost home. Suddenly, a van cut across the street directly in front of me. (They made the word suddenly specifically for situations like this, I think.) 

I slammed the brake and watched as my car still got closer to the van as the van continued across the street. I braced for impact, eyes squinted. I hoped I wouldn’t hit the van too hard, I pressed the brake. The van kept going, I kept going. Shouldn’t brakes work faster than this? My hands gripped the steering wheel, and I wondered if maybe I would just scrape the back of the van. 

And then it was over. The van went on its merry way, and I watched as cars passed all around me, unconcerned. 

Now safely pulled over, I call Mr. Thought.

“I’m okay,” I start, because I am.

Poetry Friday: This is not my morning

This is not my morning

This is not my morning
Wrong
My calendar was wrong
So I'm starting the day
Where I thought it would end

Late
My sockless son refused 
To leave on time

Rushed
In the car I
Grabbed bags and
Jumped out of the car
Seconds passed
Before I noticed my coffee cup tipped --
Coffee spilling out
A skinny stream
But still a stream

This is not my morning. 
Wrong
Late
Rushed
And the coffee in some hidden car crevice

Music
Doesn't help
The only magic of iPhone shuffle + bluetooth
Is the skip skip skip skip skip skip skip skip
Joni Mitchell won't work
Skip
No, U2
Skip
Tori Amos
Skip Skip Skip Skip 
Try Tori again
Precious Things?
Skip 
Iggy Azalea? Loreena McKennitt? Adele? Eminem? Ed Sheeran?
Skip Skip Skip Skip Skip Skip Skip Skip 

This is not my morning 
Almost there - still in my funk
Maybe a little Hamilton 
Will get my spirits up

"I'm Hercules Mulligan
When you knock me (or my coffee) down
I get 
the ****
back up again." 

There you go. 

This is not my morning. 
wrong
late
rushed
but ready.

Thanks Poetry Friday Roundup here

A slice of December

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

 

a lot of people are coughing around here
and the dog has some sort of weird dry skin 
vet says it isn't mites

it's December so
you know -

my second grader got short of breath
his inhaler, expired
I called the doctor 

it's December so
you know -

I wasn't going to eat sugar this month
trader joe's had dark chocolate orange candy
seltzer water counts as water, right?

it's December so
you know -

just a few more holiday errands to run
Santa must be exhausted this time of year
does he know about amazon prime?

it's December so
you know.

 

Celebrating Every Moment

celebrate-image So happy to Celebrate with Ruth Ayres this weekend! What are you celebrating?

 

I was walking downtown doing a little Christmas shopping, and there were actual snowflakes dancing in the air. A pop-up flea market was setting up, and they had Christmas music playing in the square, wreaths hanging on wooden racks, handmade mittens, and there seemed to be an abundance of people walking their puppies! I had a few bags in my hand, which always makes me think of a movie where a happy person goes shopping. I stopped for a vegan peppermint mocha on my way to my car, and drove to the bookstore to continue my shopping.

I wish I could tell you that I went to the quaint independent bookstore around the corner, but we don’t have that here. (Locals! Don’t throw rocks at me yet! There’s a wonderful used bookstore in town, but it has never had the selection I am looking for for kids’ books…) So instead, I browsed Barnes and Noble, and a bookstore is a bookstore, so I always love that.  Then I took a few minutes to check out my selections on amazon… seeing where amazon could save me 20% or more. I put half of my books back on the shelves, and into my amazon cart.

That’s probably where my holiday cheer started to wane a bit. . . scrunched over on the floor of Barnes and Noble, scanning my books on my phone to do a price check.  And then, of course, I had to get in line.

“In a loooooonnnnnngggggg line at store” I texted Mr. Thought.  Man, my pile of books was getting heavy.

The woman in front of me turned around and said, “I found two cards that I love! Right here in this line.”

I smiled at her, “That’s lucky!” Then I joked,  “And here I am just feeling annoyed to be wasting time in this slow line!”

“Oh, Honey,” she started, “I didn’t even think I was going to make it to the holidays! I’ve been in and out of hospitals all year. When you don’t know if you are going to wake up the next day, you learn to live like each day is your last.”

I listened as my line buddy told me about  her late husband’s motto of living each moment like it’s your last. She told me that her heart problems have been horrible, but that the hardest thing has been to change her personality.

“You can’t be type A all of the time! I used to want things to be perfect. Well, you know what? Not everything is going to be all neat and tidy.”

She told me to relax and enjoy.

At first I was laughing a little in my head. It’s a great lesson, but I’m not what you would call a classic Type A.

“I’m trying,” I explained. “Three kids at home right now probably driving my husband crazy while I’m Christmas Shopping!”

“How lucky that you have a husband at home with the kids. It’s so great how we are really moving towards a true partnership with parenting. We didn’t have that when I had my kids.”

“For sure,” I started. “Of course, I’m still usually the one who cleans the bathroom!”

“It probably starts to bother you way before it would bother him!” She said knowingly.

And then it was her turn to buy her books.

“Merry Christmas!” She called as she walked away.

“Merry Christmas!” I smiled.

Some people don’t like advice from strangers. They get huffy if a grandmotherly woman stops to tell them how much she misses “those days.” Not me! Bring on the stories and inspiration. I mean, if I’m in line at a bookstore and I can collect slices of life from people around me? That’s something to truly celebrate! 

A Slice of being known

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

I probably didn’t know all the way back in 5th grade that Sara would become so important to me. I sat down next to her on the bus, or so the old story goes… and she didn’t know what to do with me. I might have even been wearing my neon tie-dye stirrup pants… with or without the matching t-shirt. (I mean at that point, does it even matter if you have a matching t-shirt?) Our friendship has obviously strengthened from that point… and also, leggings ARE back in style…

We stayed at her house after Thanksgiving, because of course she opened her doors for us when we had to go to the area for a doctor’s appointment for E. As we were leaving, she handed us the a large box — with strict instructions for me to open it on December 1. I knew it must have something to do with my December birthday, so I rolled my eyes at her and said her name in that way that means, “I can’t believe you are so nice, it’s already too much.”

December 1 rolled around, and the kids were quick to remind me that I had a job to do: Open that box!

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I’d publish her note here, if it was at all reasonable to do so, because she’s a beautiful friend, a beautiful writer, and a beautiful person. (So, of course I cried.)

And then I turned over my little day 1 circle (“You are kind”) and opened my day 1 present: Harry Potter magnetic page clips. Only a true friend would somehow know me so well.. and each day it has been so fun to turn my circle and open my gift. A travel mug, a notepad, swedish fish, fun binder clips…and lovely affirmations. It’s nice to be known.

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This morning I was running late (no big surprise here) and the boys were begging me to open Sara’s gift.

“I have to pack my lunch,” I explained. “We will open it after school.”

But, they begged, pleaded, and carried the board and the gift over to the counter.

“Fine. But, I’m doing this instead of having a lunch today!” I told them with a little loving snarl in my voice.

And then I turned over the circle. “You put others before yourself.”

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And then we all laughed as I said, “See? Sara knows it!”

It’s nice to be known.

 

Celebrating a little kindness

celebrate-image So happy to Celebrate with Ruth Ayres this weekend! What are you celebrating?

 

It is colder than you thought in the breeze of Georgetown. It’s harder to concentrate on finding a breakfast spot, while children talk to you, whine to you, ignore you. So wind whips your hair, sun blinds you, and you look at your phone trying to find a spot where everyone can eat something.

“This isn’t a democracy,” your husband says. And then also, “I just want to get some eggs.”

“Let’s just go where we went yesterday!” your 14 year old says, eyebrows up.

“The same place? We have to walk all the way there?” her brother complains.

“No,” you explain. “It’s the same restaurant — different location.”

“If we go there, I just won’t eat anything,” your youngest quips.

“Let’s just find someplace to eat!” Someone complains. “Is it breakfast or lunch?”

You walk up streets, turn on streets, turn back down streets. Your husband asks Siri for a vegetarian restaurant suggestion, and looking at the brunch menu that pops up, you ask him, “Do we want to pay $39 each?”

You finally find something that looks promising, follow directions down near the water, only to realize that it is just a bakery — no seating.  You need to sit and get warm… with a cup of coffee in your hands.

“My legs hurt!” The complaints are getting louder. “Can we just find somewhere to eat?”

“Let’s just go where we went yesterday!” your daughter says. Again. You look at your youngest who didn’t really enjoy his breakfast yesterday. “What if you get something totally different today — and apple juice?”

He agrees, and you walk back down the street, only to find the restaurant packed. A sign at the steps reads “Upstairs closed for now” and all five of you look and hope that somewhere there will be a seat. But, there isn’t. The manager asks you how many in your party.

“Five,” you sigh.

“Five. Yea… we don’t have room for five. . . Actually you can go upstairs. I’ll take care of you myself.”

He most likely thinks you are insane as you say, “Thank you so much! This has saved us!” A little dramatic for breakfast, or even brunch. But, it’s true.  You walk up the steps. You pick a table. Everyone sits down, their faces visibly relax into smiles instead of frowns.

“Something to celebrate for sure!” you say to your family. Then you order an almond milk latte, and take a picture to celebrate the little things like a nice manager, a beautiful day, and a much needed coffee.

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This Le Pain Quotidien just feels different than yesterday. Yesterday you sat at the communal table stuffed in beside so many other people. Your waiters were rushed — and there was that one who stole your favorite speculoos spread without asking and took it to another table. “Excuse me!” you called to him, and he came back so rushed and annoyed. “We weren’t actually done with that.” He ran off, practically rolling his eyes and came back with the hazelnut spread, and ran away again.  “Excuse me!” you called again, “This wasn’t the one we needed.”

“Which one would you like?” he asked, lips pursed.

“The cookie butter one.”

“The speculoos?” he grimaced at you before dashing off to get it.

Ahhh, memories. Today’s location is so different. The manager brings you the speculoos and tells you it’s his favorite too. “I love it on a croissant,” he explains. “I know better than to get between a customer and their speculoos! I’ve almost had my fingers cut off for that before!”  (You wonder if he was watching you in the other restaurant yesterday. . .)

Then, at the end of your brunch, the manager brings you a bag. “Here. I wanted you to try this. It’s a croissant and some speculoos — for later. Once you try it on a croissant, you’ll never go back!”

Celebration! It’s not about the croissant, or the speculoos — even though… yum. It’s not even about the coffee —  even though the warmth of that latte is something to celebrate.

Celebration! It’s about kindness: Opening the second floor so a family can have brunch, smiling when a mom asks for some speculoos, walking up and down the steps to bring a family food and water, refills, the check, and a croissant with a little container of speculoos to go.

 

A slice of not nice

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

I’m not always nice.
I think maybe I used to be nicer.

There’s this lady down the street
She has a “Love everyone” sign in her yard
But she was so mean to my baby last year.
and when I see her around, I yell at her
in my head
“Love everyone? What about a little kid trying to make his way in this world?”
But on my face, I smile.
Yesterday I saw her running by me in the park
and I’m waiting for my reward since
I did not stick out my foot
and trip her.

I’m not always nice.
I think maybe I used to be nicer.

I went on a walk with my puppy
who pulls and tugs, tail wagging to greet
every
person
he
sees
and when a young college student grimaced and hid in her boyfriend’s arms,
I raised my eyebrows and said,
“He’s just a baby”
In a sarcastic, condescending tone –
Even though I totally get why she was worried

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Yikes! It’s the cutest thing ever! 

I’m not always nice.
I think maybe I used to be nicer.