All posts by onathought

#sol21 March 23 Rules are Rules

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by

I was working after school when the neighbor texted to make sure I knew that one of my kids had started a fire pit — in the driveway.

This is confusing because we don’t have a fire pit in the driveway.

In my mind, I was remembering the science experiment about 5 years ago, where our driveway looked like a scene from a miniature dystopian book.

September 2016

So when I went outside, I was surprised it was an actual fire pit. In the middle of the driveway. Being fueled, of course by old firewood and hand sanitizer.

It was actually quite cute.

“Oh my.” I said. I was pretty calm, even though my 8th grader knows better.

I reminded him of the rules about fire. Namely that you don’t make one without permission and that the only fire pit you use is the actual fire pit in our backyard.

“It’s a really great fire!” the kindergarten neighbor from up the street said.

Our next door neighbor kids came back out for a quick fire check, bringing along some fire starters in case they were needed. One of them sat in a camp chair even though it was her dinner time. I have a feeling if I had started singing some campfire songs, we could have started something… But they were called in and it was time to get rid of the fire.

I told my boys that it was a well made, very cute fire – but still… It had to go out.

“Ahhhhh…. But first!” I said. “Do you know what month it is?” I looked right at my 14 year old, who has done the classroom slice of life challenge before. I raised my eyebrows a few times.

“Oh no!” he said, and he tried to stop me from taking a picture.

“No, no, no, no…” he said with a squinty look.

“Your only saving grace is that I can slice about this.” I said.

He looked at me with puppy dog eyes.

But, rules are rules. Some parents discipline with restrictions, groundings, and other assorted forms of punishment.

I just write it down.

“You’re going to take a picture of this little fire?” my kindergarten neighbor asked me.

“Yep!” I said, “and then I’m going to write a story about it and publish it! It will be famous!”

“But it’s just a little fire!” he said, surprised.

A little fire, a little slice, I guess. If you build a mini fire pit in the driveway without parent permission in March? I’m going to write about it.

So, I hope that serves as a fair warning to the next person who wants to build a fire pit in my driveway.

So to speak.

#sol21 March 22 A driver . . . and A simple request!

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by

Hey everyone –

My daughter can drive now.
Like all by herself.
On the roads
YOU drive on

I think you know where this is going.

She was a baby who stretched her arms with her elbows bent
She wore sleepers and sleep sacks and slept in my arms for most of her babyhood
She was a toddler who called grapes “erdeps” and loved mud puddles
She watched Elmo over and over and changed her clothes 5 times a day in preschool –
always with a turn in the snow white dress

This was just yesterday, friends
And tomorrow she will be off to college

Metaphorically tomorrow –
Geez – I have more time than that.

So I have a request
For
every
other
driver

That. Means. YOU.

It’s simple really.

Get off the road if you can
I mean do you really need to drive?
And if you must drive, do it safely
Obviously don’t drink or text or try to put your mascara on
Be safe and kind or stay home.

Thank you.

#sol21 March 21 A Sunday Procrastinator

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by!

I will always be a Sunday procrastinator.
This means all the things you think it might mean.
It means I procrastinate until Sunday.
It means I procrastinate on Sunday.

Side Quests are my thing, but so is closing my eyes to feel the sun on my face
and pouring myself another glass of seltzer water over ice
and breathing in the quiet of the chilly house while the kids play outside
and staring at my open notebooks with plans started

I will always be a Sunday procrastinator.
My house does not get cleaned on a Sunday.
My closet does not get organized on a Sunday.
This is not because I don’t want to do these chores.

I mean, I don’t – I don’t want to do the chores
but, I still plan that they will get done
but, then it’s Sunday and the sun is shining
but, then it’s Sunday late afternoon and the house is quiet

I will always be a Sunday procrastinator.
This means all the things you think it might mean.
It means I procrastinate until Sunday.
It means I procrastinate on Sunday.

#sol21 March 20 Starbucks Drive-Thru

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by!

I totally know better, but I still ordered mobile app Starbucks for drive-thru. It was just E and me in the van, but we wanted others to enjoy the coffee treat too. I texted to see if they wanted some, but didn’t hear back. . .

L and I have wanted to try some of their new oat milk iced lattes, and she had her driver’s test today. I thought I could bring her home a latte that would either be a “Congratulations!” or an”It’s okay! Better luck next time!” latte. I ordered hers without ice in case she wasn’t home yet. I’m considerate like that.

Then Mr. Thought texted to say they had gotten Dunkin.

There was nothing to do about it though, so E and I waited in the drive-thru line for over a half an hour. It’s just funny when you know better but you don’t do better, you know?

“Let’s just remember,” I said –

“Never to go to Starbucks on a Saturday?” E finished.

The thing about being in a line for so long is that you have a lot of time to chat, and to think.

I thought about how I should try to grab a spot and just walk in. But grabbing a spot with the traffic in that parking lot seemed worse than waiting in the line that curved around the building. So instead, we waited.

I wanted to know if L had passed her test. But I knew she’d want to tell me in person. So I just waited.

Finally we were just a few cars away from the window. At the speaker the barista informed me I couldn’t have it without ice because “for that drink, the ice makes the drink.” I maybe should have canceled her drink, since she got her Dunkin, but it was too complicated.

At last we were at the window and our drinks were on the way!

And then I knew why I had to go through the drive-thru today. It was because of the sign that makes me laugh. When I look at it, I think it is saying “Can drive! Can drive! Can drive!” Like a motivational cheer for those in the drive-thru. Last time I was at that window I tried, unsuccessfully to tell the barista why I was laughing.

It’s A CAN DRIVE. Like to collect cans.

This time I was able to tell E why I was laughing. I was also able to hope that it was a sign that L did indeed pass her driving test.

Can drive! Can drive! Can drive!

And now, friends, she can! 🙂

#sol21 March 19 I miss the good ol’ days

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by!

I miss the good ol’ days

I miss barbies
on the floor with Keely
where we built whole villages and had entire dramas play out for hours

I miss Kings Quest
on the old IBM with the joystick
and listening to Madonna tapes over and over until all lyrics were memorized

I miss drama class
at the Art Center with Margie
who walked up the steps from the snack machine with me before we took our acting exercises very seriously

I miss long walks
in the neighborhood with Rachel
when walking was the only way to have freedom and we would talk and laugh

I miss college lunch dates
at the Hub with Sara
where we piled salad, sprouts and ranch into plastic containers and chose a roll with care

I miss Must See TV
on the couch with Greg
and all the characters- from Friends to ER – that we had to check in with each week

I miss teaching
in the 6th grade hall with the Wolves
because once a Wolf, always a Wolf and if you were ever a Wolf, previously known as a Wolverine, you know what I mean without this verse of poetry

I miss late night get togethers
in my living room with Kris and Mardi
who would sneak over after my kids fell asleep, and patiently stay if I had to nurse a baby back to sleep

I miss traveling
to New York with Kris and Mardi and Krista
and the growing traditions of dinner and walking and the constant search for a perfect piece of pizza for Kris

I miss staycations
that were really vacations with Sara’s family
when the kids piled up to watch movies or play games and the grown ups talked and Jason made the drinks

I miss backyard fun
which was actually inside at Kathleen’s
when we gathered together to enjoy fine wine and also BBQ chips but best of all, each others’ company

I miss the good ol’ days
which I get are also happening right now
while I reflect on the good ol’ days from before


#sol21 March 18 You’re so Vain

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by

Sometimes I like to write with a mentor text closeby… This one came to me when I thought about how the friends and enemies of writers have an interesting thing to think about every time they read . . .

With apologies to Carly Simon… please sing this slice in your head – or out loud if you so choose. (Click for a reminder)

You’re so Vain

Such a witch

You walked into our life like you were taking a bow with a wink
Your dress strategically dipped below to appeal
Your nails they were pink
You had one eye in the mirror, as you watched yourself cartwheel
And all the friends dreamed that they’d be your partner
They’d be your partner and

You’re so vain
You probably think this slice is about you

You’re so vain (you’re so vain)
I bet you think this slice is about you
Don’t you don’t you?

You had me several months ago when I was quieting my hunches
Well you said that life was really grand and you would never pull any punches
But you lied you stole you lied some more
even to those you loved
I had some dreams they were clouds in my Dunkin’ clouds in my Dunkin’ and
You’re so vain

You probably think this slice is about you
You’re so vain (you’re so vain)

I bet you think this slice is about you
Don’t you don’t you don’t you?

I had some dreams they were clouds in my Dunkin’ clouds in my Dunkin’ and
You’re so vain
You probably think this slice is about you
You’re so vain (you’re so vain)
I bet you think this slice is about you
Don’t you don’t you?

Well I hear you went and cut your hair
And your life is going well
Soon you’ll forget about the damage, the despair
you caused to those in your spell

Well you’re where you should be all the time
And when you’re not, you’re an underworld spy
Or the wife of an old friend wife of an old friend and

You’re so vain
You probably think this slice is about you
You’re so vain (so vain)
I bet you think this slice is about you
Don’t you don’t you don’t you?

You’re so vain
You probably think this slice is about you
You’re so vain
Probably think this slice is about you
You’re so vain

#sol21 March 17 Sunny Hope

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by

There was so much daylight savings time change it’s still sunny hope
when I sat down to write before 7:00
in between pickups and drop-offs and more pickups
I even thought – – this is funny, really…
I even thought “maybe I’ll also read a chapter of one of those books from that tall tall stack on the table.”
The dog curled up at my feet
I sipped hot cocoa while I read other people’s stories and left comments
I started a few slices of my own
you know the kind of writing?
write, delete, write, delete
15 minutes before I had to leave, my eyes started to droop
I set my timer
and promptly fell asleep

Now it’s dark, no sunny hope
but I wrote.

#sol21 March 16 From my Chair I see

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by

From my chair
I see the same things I see every day.
I work from this chair
I write from this chair
I eat lunch at this chair
I help kids at this chair
Sometimes I just spin on this chair trying to figure out what to do next

From my chair
I can see out the window
It’s dark, but I know
My Christmas lights are off the porch now.
They are shoved in the garage instead.

From my chair
I see
a protractor
a bag of shapes
a birthday card from December
earrings hanging in case I forget to put them on
okay – also this is where I often take them off
a pile of math materials
why are there so many binders and books for one math class?
my trackpad, plus a wireless mouse, and a new wired gaming mouse
because my computer is often used by children for Minecraft
and nobody puts their stuff back

From my chair
I see
a pile of note paper
dice left out from math today
more pens than I want to admit
work waiting for me
and the window –
the night closing in out there
it’s dark but the sky is hazy and brighter than it means to be I think

#sol21 March 14 Quiet Laundry

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.

I was stopped at a light on a hill on the way to my parents house. The sky is blue today, the sun is bright, the wind is cold and noisey.

I watched as a one of those extra large playground balls rolled down the street toward me. It was weathered and pink and bumpy. I wondered if had been a bright red last spring. I wondered if it would roll into my car, and what the plan was if that happened. Would I need to get out of my car to move it? Would it pop? Could I just push it the mile to my folks’ house? It was too big to fit under the car . . .

I watched it as it skimmed my front bumper, and rolled down past the car behind me. Cars started turning down the road, blocking my view.

“I’ll never know what happens to that ball, or where it came from.” I thought as I continued to my parents’ house with my laundry.

Our washer is broken and the repair place says they can come next week. So until we get it fixed, we bring baskets and bags of laundry to my parents’ house. I don’t care how old you are, if you carry a basket or bag of laundry from your car to your parents basement, you’re basically 19. Even if one of those baskets is your 11 year old’s laundry.

An afternoon of laundry at my parents’ house felt like quiet respite. Maybe I shouldn’t get my washer fixed . . .

My dad made sure I got the settings on the washer correct, since last time I accidentally put the detergent in the spot for bleach.

My mom darned my torn sock. It’s a special sock, Mardi’s sock. I gave her donut socks last year, and after she died, I was given a pair back. These socks are holy to me, but I really don’t want them holey. (You can’t blame me for writing that. Seriously. It had to be said.)

Yea. My mom darned my sock, my dad made me tea, my laundry churned around in the basement. It was quiet. Maybe I shouldn’t get my washer fixed.

I packed up and drove home.

When I stopped at the light on the hill, I started looking out for that weathered playground ball. There is a creek and a park at the bottom of the hill, and I really hoped I’d see it there.

I mean, doesn’t a weathered playground ball deserve to retire on the water? I can imagine it floating around in the sun, playing with the ducks and enjoying the sounds of children at the playground.

But, I didn’t see it anywhere. Not in the street, not in the park, not in a lucky child’s hand.

“I’ll never know what happened to that ball, or where it came from.” I thought as I drove home, wondering about the metaphor of laundry, darning, quiet tea and a lonely lost weathered toy on a windy day.

“I’ll never know.”