All posts by onathought

A slice of grape bubblegum memories

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teacher


I took H to the doctor and it happened to be an office in the same building as my very own pediatrician from decades ago. (Decades!)

There’s a pharmacy at the entrance of this medical building, and I remember when I went to the doctor as a child, my mom would let me stop at the pharmacy and get a pack of grape bubblegum. It was the kind with juice in the center.  Do they even make that anymore? I can see the rounded rectangle package, and how each rounded square of gum was wrapped. If I concentrate, I can remember the taste of that gum, and the surprising squirt of grape liquid!

Childhood feels like it must have been a different lifetime, where grape bubblegum was the specialist of treats. This thought, standing in front of the pharmacy invades the back of my mind: How many lifetimes have I had? Childhood, middle school, adolescence, the college years, beginning teacher, mom of babies, mom of little kids, mom of preteens and teenagers…

H says, “Maybe I should get a treat now, just like you used to!”

I almost say, “No! We gotta go!” But, come on.

As we look at the treats, I tell the young clerk about my grape bubblegum memories, and she smiles and seems to actually remember that kind of gum. Their current gum selection is boring though, so we buy tic tacs and a bag of skittles to share.

I don’t think H will always remember that pharmacy like I always remember it. We’ve only been to this doctor twice, it’s not our regular office. I’m not sure skittles and tic tacs are really that memorable.

I don’t know what makes a memory stick. But, I want to always remember driving him to his appointment, and laughing together. I want to remember how I got him with a funny trick, and how we both cracked up at how unusually gullible he was. I want to remember how he was worried a car was going to start pulling away from the curb, so he said “Careful! He’s going to turn on us!” and I said, “After all these years?”

I don’t know what makes a memory stick. But, I want to remember the ease of chatting as we got back in the car, and how H’s 13-year-old self generously poured skittles into my hand.

I just wish I knew what makes a memory stick.


A slice of intentionality

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teacher


Intentionality: A List


          drink it all

          ignore the mess

          just do the damn dishes

          before 10:00

         pen on the page

A slice of Writing

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teacher

I took a writing class in the fall, and I wrote and wrote and wrote. I wrote stories, papers, responses, and reflections, and then I wrote responses and reflections about other people’s writing.

It was a lot of writing.

That class was over in December. A while ago I wrote myself a message. I thought I wrote a question, but I forgot the question mark. Or, maybe I forgot the exclamation point.

Remains to be seen.

So here’s a slice of a toe dip. It’s my fingers wondering if I can do it again. A question without the mark, or maybe an exclamation.

Will I ever write again?

Will I ever write again!

Will I ever write again (?) (!) 

A slice of bedtime

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers


A slice of bedtime

He is already asleep,
with his thumb gently holding his place
in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

(I’ve been waiting for this,
one of my kids to choose night reading
and bonus points for Harry Potter!)

I turn off his light,
put the book on his nightstand
pull his glasses off

I step over legos,
move a treasure chest and a pair of socks
carve a little path to close the door

It’s quiet before 10:00,
and not much tops that thumb in that book
but I didn’t get to say goodnight



My Grandpa’s Unfinished Sailboat: A Slice of Life

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

My Grandpa’s Unfinished Sailboat

I made the kids stop at the lake before we drove home. I just wanted to see the water.
But then we also saw sailboats.

And the kids positioned themselves on rocks.
So I took a picture, and I looked at the boats

And I thought of my Grandpa’s unfinished sailboat, sitting in his garage.
My Grandpa died in August.
And I thought of my mom and dad, cleaning out my Grandpa’s house.

When we got home, I noticed my mom had listed my Grandpa’s unfinished sailboat.
It’s an ad for a sailboat, but I think it’s poetry.

Mirror Dinghy 2-Person Sailboat
This is a British sailboat kit that my father began making
It is almost finished – just needs sanding and wood finish (or paint)
It has been stored in my Dad’s garage for several years
The seams still look excellent
We have all the pieces –
main boat,

He and mom were planning on doing sailing –
mom took swimming lessons so she could go sailing –
then she got sick


28 years

28 years ago

28 years ago
we met on a Thursday
on the third floor
in theatre

Back then
you had big glasses
big hair…you were
a bit of a dork

Back then
I had flippy hair
(scrunchy on my wrist)
not as cool as I imagined

We did
acting exercises
first word – last word– subject
oh – and monologues

We laughed
the way everyone
laughs together
in theatre

should be so lucky
to make friends 

We flirted
the way teenagers 
flirt together – 
a crush

By May
we were in love
a first kiss
in the greenroom

28 years ago
we met on a Thursday
on the third floor 
in theatre

The Skin of Our Teeth
Our first play, I’m in front with the flippy hair. Mr. Thought is in the back with the suit and tie.


From my chair, at my desk at 6:00 a.m. (A Slice of Life)

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers


From my chair, at my desk at 6:00 a.m.

From my chair, at my desk at 6:00 a.m., I see
coffee, almost done
water bottle, waiting
a stack of books
a stack of bills
so many post-it notes
flair pens in
and out of their organizer
paper clips
a new pack of Sharpies
a mini typewriter pencil sharpener
a glasses cleaner cloth
notes my 9-year old left himself with
lego and pokemon passwords
notes I left myself:
“Pen on the page”
“Stop Googling”

From my chair, at my desk at 6:00 a.m., I see
my floor,
(even though I try not to look)
bags packed for school
the dog’s tiger toy
the tiger’s stuffing in bits all over
the dog’s giant rope, frayed
a bin of printer paper
a stack of books
an extra bag

From my chair, at my desk at 6:00 a.m., I see
the dark hallway
the vacuum around the corner
the lit kitchen
where I know the empty lunchboxes wait
and maybe another drop of coffee

Are you allowed to slice twice? A Slice of Apple

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers


My backpack is torn, well-used, broken-in. I should buy a new one, but this one still works, so why spend the money?

“Clean out backpack” was on my list to do this morning, and since I’ve been working all summer I didn’t think it would be a big deal. I’ve been using my backpack a lot. I feel like I just cleaned it out a month ago.

That must have been when I put an apple in there for a mid-PD snack.

That apple died in my backpack. It was a terrible death, as evidenced by the disgusting paper towel I pulled from the bottom.

“I guess I can throw my bag in the wash tonight.” I comforted myself.

And then I pulled out my Coaching Institute notebook. The notebook that I use all the time. The notes help me frame so many things in my work: Purpose, inspiration,  feedback, balanced literacy, coaching in… The TCRWP Coaching Institute was the best Professional Development I’ve ever had!

My notes are mostly gone now – soaked away by dying apple juice.


This better not be an indication of how my coaching year will go.

This better just be an indication that I need to buy a new backpack. And maybe a lunchbox. And maybe it’s time to go back to Teacher’s College for another Institute.

A Slice of Coaching: Year 3 Begins

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

In-service starts today.

I miss my classroom.

Facebook memories kept popping up all August, and even though so many memories are of times when I wrote about how tiring and stressful it is to set up a classroom, they still make me miss it.


I miss organizing my library, touching every book.

I miss putting up bulletin boards, even though it usually means calling for a tall teacher friend to help.

I miss walking over to the teacher next door and helping them with their desk set-up, moving combinations until it’s just right.

I miss the multiple runs to Target to buy more adhesive label pockets.

I miss putting all the new school supplies in the cabinet.

Post-its. I miss gathering all of my post-its into the big bin and pulling some out to stay at my desk.

Sharpies. I miss those new packs of sharpies.

My mom sometimes makes fun of me, “You became a teacher for the supply closet!” she says.

And, I do like the supply closet. I like fresh back-to-school pencils and notebooks. I like perforating and laminating and cutting. (It’s not why I’m a teacher, but it is part of the job — a part I often enjoy)

I like classroom set-up because it’s fun and satisfying work and because it’s part of the rhythm of anticipating the real joy of the classroom: The students. Every label I make, every book I shelve, is part of the ritual. I know that soon the students will be choosing books from those labeled shelves, adding work to those bulletin boards, needing a sharpie, and jotting thoughts on those post-its.

Last week, a few teachers let me help them in their rooms.  I printed out some vinyl letters for them, helped them with a few odds and ends, perforated some math manipulatives, that sort of thing: Preparation!

I took a set of math manipulatives home with me to break apart. As I sat, doing the satisfying work, listening to the clicking of the pieces, I wondered, “Why is this so great? What is wrong with me that I am so happy to be sitting here clicking these pieces apart? Too bad there aren’t more new teachers who need me to do this job!”

IMG_3816 3.JPG

What’s so great? It’s no small thing to be trusted to put up a bulletin board, to take supplies home to organize. It’s no small thing to lay a hand in preparing for students.

I miss preparing things for my own classes of students,  printing out my class lists, and running my hand down the page — wondering who my amazing children will be!

As an Instructional Coach,  I don’t get my very own class of kids. I do get to share our kids though, and I can’t wait to see those kids fill the hallways next week. It’s year 3 for me in this role,  which means I’ve had the chance to get to know our children for 2 years. There’s something about watching familiar faces enter their new classrooms. There’s something about watching the new kindergarteners come in and find their teachers.

This week at in-service, I won’t be printing out my class list, but I will be reconnecting with my teachers. Maybe someone will have some math manipulatives for me to click apart, a box to unpack, library books to put on a shelf, class lists to print out. A coach can only dream…

Maybe I’ll print out a list of the amazing teachers I get to work with — the ones I’ve worked with deeply, the ones I am looking forward to working with more, and the ones I will meet today.