Category Archives: Family

#sol20 March 14 A slice of a moment

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

We forced the kids to go on a long walk with us today
There was complaining
There was whining
There was fighting
And then there was this moment that two siblings walked together and chatted
I mean, they were chatting about Instagram
But, they were chatting
I mean, it only lasted a moment and then
There was fighting
There was whining
There was complaining
Tomorrow we will force them on another long walk
And we will hope for more moments, less
fighting, whining, complaining
Little by little, we will shift the balance
This is our social distancing plan
This is our homeschool plan

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#sol20 March 12 A slice of 123 Not It!

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

 

“1,2,3 Not it!” H just yelled this in the kitchen.

Before that, Mr. Thought said “Now there’s a bunch of leaves we need to sweep up.

Before that, the sliding glass doors suddenly opened from the deck, we could hear the wind rush through the trees.

Or rather, we could hear the trees as the wind rushed through.

Before that, I looked outside to see all three of my children chatting on the deck, the dog sunning himself, eyes closed.

The smoothies were loud to make, and they used a lot of the frozen fruit that I had just bought at Trader Joes to keep just in case we can’t leave the house for weeks.

Before that, I came back from the store to the smell of vegan chocolate chip cookies, and the sound of kids fighting over who has the best chocolate chip recipe.

H said, “E didn’t even use a recipe.”

E said, “Last time I didn’t use a recipe they were mommy’s most favorite chocolate chip cookies ever.”

He wasn’t wrong. Those were some good cookies.

Before that, I ran to the store for some last-chance items.

“I’m not panic buying, per se,” I told the nice lady at the checkout. “Just getting somethings just in case…”

Luckily she didn’t question the logic of that statement.

I mean, we were out of apples, so I needed those. But I’m not sure I needed Ghost Pepper chips.

We talked a bit about toilet paper, because what the heck is going on with the toilet paper?

“Well, it’s annoying for someone like me,” the woman said. “I’m just almost out of toilet paper. So, I have to ration.”

Before that, I was at target. As I was getting some paper towels, I noticed that the toilet paper aisle was empty. I overheard the target worker telling a customer that there would be a toilet paper delivery tomorrow morning at 8:00.”

“Well, I’m not crazy enough to come back here!” She said. “I was crazy enough to come today. I just actually needed some things!”

Yea. I’m not planning on any more errands either.

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#sol20 March 10 A Slice of Stories in the Woods

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

The woods are full of stories. (And Mr. Thought’s Dad jokes, but I”ll spare you most of those…)

We started at the bottom.

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and walked up to the top of a waterfall.

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I wish I had pictures of Finnegan, the dog who is afraid of all grates, learning how to walk up the metal grated steps. He got the hang of it, spreading his paws out for each step he took. Since we had to walk up like 600 steps, I was glad he figured it out. He was on a mission to make sure we all made it up safely.

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Once at the top, we had to figure out how to get back down to our van. We headed down a rocky path, seemingly alone.

When we passed this heart on a cliff, Mr. Thought wondered if maybe they were left from a proposal. I spent the next few minutes just thinking the story of the heart on a cliff.

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The rocks made way for a dirt path, and then a fork in the road. We wondered why the path on the left – the one that was clear and flat was closed, forcing us to go on the rugged root-filled path to the right.

“That sign looks like it’s been there for decades!” we said.

I let my imagination run a bit, thinking that down the left path was some sort of fairy circle, or maybe a Stephen King novel. So intriguing, but it’s a story I wanted to know, but also not so much. We hurried down to the right.

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Down that path a bit, we found a dragon. She was kind and definitely up for the photoshoot my daughter wanted. I don’t understand how a tree grows like that!

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A few times, the kids wondered if we were going in the right direction. The path seemed clear, but it wasn’t blazed. We kept hearing the water to our right though, and we were going down! Even a novice hiker like myself can do that much.

A bear watched us from a distance, just to keep up with the theme of our Spring Break 

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Finally, we saw cars and the visitor’s center below. We cheered. “Sucess!”

But Mr. Thought wasn’t done with this Dad jokes…

“We aren’t out of the woods yet!” He said.

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#sol20 March 9 A Slice of Mountain Mystery

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

The scene: A cabin nestled in the mountains, hours past sunset.

The facts: It was dark, it was late. We had enjoyed dinner on the screened-in deck and enjoyed the mystery of the noise we heard somewhere below the deck,  in the dark forest.  A few of us had spent some time looking into the woods to try to see what was making the noise. The kids were convinced it was a bear. I said, “It’s probably a rabbit. Stop worrying.”

There was one thing we had left in the van: Mr. Thought’s BiPAP machine.

Also, the dog had to pee.

Mr. Thought and I decide that we should go outside together. We had read the binder about the cabin — be watchful for wildlife!

We walk out with the dog and are about to walk up to open the sliding side doors when we see something in front of the van.

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We back back into the house before Finn notices, and we tell the kids to be quiet. We turn off all of the lights in the kitchen and look out the window.

“What is that?” we ask each other as we stare out the window.

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“It’s a bear.”

“Look,” I say. “It’s furry.”

The kids go berserk.  I mean, there is the crowding of the window, the loud shushing of others, the crying.

“How are we going to get your sleep stuff?”
“How will Finn pee?”
“Don’t go out there. You can’t go out there.”
“Call Animal Control!”

H says, “No. That’s just a rock! Look at the pictures we took before our walk!”

So we look at the pictures. But there only seems to be the wooden slab. No big rock.

Plus, it is furry. And breathing. And is that an eye? It is so hard to see out the window!

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Should we beep the van to make it move? But then we won’t know where it goes. Should we shine a flashlight at it? Is it sleeping? Should we knock on the window?

“Wait,” one of the kids says. Is this because I didn’t pick up my apple core?

Earlier, on our walk, we had put the apple core on the ground in front of our van – meaning to pick it up on the way back inside. But then we had forgotten.

Oops.

“Is it a rock?” Someone asks. “Or a bear?”

I text my parents.

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Mr. Thought devises a plan. He’ll go out the side porch to secure a door that is out there. This way, he can get a closer look – with screen door protection. I’ll stand by the window to get his thumbs down (It’s a bear) or thumbs up (It’s a rock!) and then we will know for sure.

The children do not like this plan. They can only think of bear attacks and death.

“Daddy. If you go out there and get killed by a bear, I’m going to be so mad at you!”

At some point, one of them googles what to do when you face a bear. They start reading us directions like “speak calmly, back away, do not run…”

We tell the kids to chill. Or maybe we yell at them to chill. I’m not saying it is our finest parenting moment. “Sit on the couch and let us figure this out, or go upstairs! We are the grown-ups!”

Then H remembers he has binoculars and runs upstairs to look from the window up there. The other kids follow.

“It’s a rock!” the kids shout, “It’s definitely a rock.”

But when L comes down and looks out the kitchen window again, she is unconvinced again.

We can see fur, and breathing, and is that an eye?

There’s only one way to find out. L sets her phone on the windowsill to capture the drama on video. Mr. Thought goes to the side porch. I watch as he slowly walks to the door that leads to the front.

Thumbs up.

It’s a rock.

A spotlight turns on from our movement, and it becomes obvious.

H says, “I told you! It’s a rock!”

Mr. Thought goes to get his stuff, I text my parents, they laugh.

We are so relieved – not only is it not a bear but now we have a story to go with the time our cat was missing right at the same time we had a mysterious large critter roaming our bedroom. . .

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#sol20 March 5 A Slice of Apology

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

 

Twice this week I have gotten a coffee in the afternoon, not finished it, put it in the fridge and heated it up in the morning. Then I can pretend I was actually up early enough to stop for coffee.

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This morning I remembered I had an almost full Dunkin in the fridge, and I was so excited.

Then my husband said, “Oh! Just like Nanny!”

Oh. Yep. Just like Nanny.

It used to drive me crazy. My mother-in-law kept old coffee in the pot in the fridge, or sometimes on top of the fridge. She would offer us yesterday’s coffee, and we’d inwardly roll our eyes and decline.  She’d say, “Are you sure? I can micro it.” But instead, we’d go run and grab a fresh coffee.

She’s gone now. But I think I owe her an apology.

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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 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

 

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

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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,
mast,
sail,
rudder,
oars,
oarlocks…
instructions.
$500 

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

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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

(Everyone
should be so lucky
to make friends 
backstage)

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.

 

A Comic Slice: Mommy Starts School

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

 

Well, it made me a little late… but I was once again inspired by Beth Moore‘s comic slices… and since I just came back from TCRWP’s Graphic Novel Institute, I had to take that inspiration and give it a try. 

Hareem Atif Khan, one of the amazing teachers at the institute said this wonderful thing about me, that nobody has ever said before… that I make my own process visible as a public learner, that I take risks. Screen Shot 2019-05-08 at 12.39.42 AM.png

I don’t know if her compliments are true, but I’m going to try to make them true. (Thanks, Austin Kleon for these words!)

So, I’m making my first comic slice visible.

Listen, it’s not great. It’s not really even good! But, it’s ok.  My desk is full of eraser clumps. My hands have pencil rubbings all over them. There are a million things I’d revise if it weren’t 12:37 a.m.

One day, maybe I’ll post a comic without a preface. Today is not that day. The first steps out of your comfort zone are weird, right?

Here’s my first Comic Slice: Mommy Starts School. 

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