#sol21 March 28 Mindful Meditation Practice

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’m trying to put myself first, or at least as one of many top priorities. You’d think this would be easy work, but alas, it is not. One thing I’m working on is my mindfulness and meditation practice. I am not a natural at this.

Last night while L was out and the boys were busy with a minecraft build, I downloaded a new meditation app to try: A free trial of special mindscapes. You have to listen with earbuds or headphones because it’s 3D sound. I settled into a nook in the couch, put my airpods in and started.

I looked at my clock and realized my newly licensed daughter hadn’t contacted me for over 2 hours. And I had forgotten to give her a curfew even. I don’t know what kind of mom just doesn’t even think to give her 17 year old a time to come home, but I just didn’t. There’s one rule that I did remind her of though – you have to text when you arrive somewhere, and text when you leave somewhere. (Thanks, Mardi for this rule idea.) She hadn’t called or texted since letting me know she had “arrived on the mountain.” It’s a hard rule to remember, I think. But, we can do hard things. Right?

So I paused the meditation after it told me I’d need 20 minutes of distraction free time. I texted L, I called her, I left a message. Mr. Thought did the same. Even though I knew that it was most likely that she had forgotten to text when she left, and her phone was dutifully put away in her bag and she was driving. . . I can jump from mindfulness to full blown worry pretty quickly. (This is why I need the app, friends)

Finally (and by finally I mean less than 10 minutes later) she called to tell me that she was on her way home, and that she hadn’t seen my texts or calls because her phone was dutifully put away in her bag and she was driving.

I started the introduction meditation again, but realized that it would totally freak me out to be jolted out of meditation when she arrived home and the dog started barking. So, I paused it again.

She got home, the boys came upstairs, I sent them all up to get ready for bed.

“I’ll be up soon, after I do this meditation,” I told them. “Please don’t yell for me.” I was feeling pretty desperate for mindfulness.

I settled into another nook of the couch, with my airpods in – noise cancelation on and started the meditation for a third time.

It’s a neat app, but the voice at first sounds a little freaky in a dystopian-robot-mind-control sort of way. So I texted Mr. Thought to warn him not to startle me because it will freak me out. I laughed at myself for not trusting the meditation app, for letting the mindfulness app freak me out, and I started to settle in. I reminded myself I was safe, in my house and had taken care of things that would startle me. I started to relax into the soundscape.

Then I felt a hand on my shoulder.

That’s not a hand I told my brain. It is a cat, here to snuggle.

Then I opened my eyes and it was a hand.

I startled, friends. I may have jumped a bit.

It was E. My 11 year old thought I was sleeping and gently put his hand on my shoulder so that he wouldn’t startle me. But I wasn’t sleeping, and I did startle. Of course he felt terrible, and I told him it was okay, while taking some deep breaths to calm myself down.

I laughed to myself about my attempts at mindfulness and invited him to sit next to me. He snuggled in, I finished my meditation session, and he fell asleep.

I guess that’s why they call it a meditation practice. Because, I for one, still need a lot of practice.

#Sol21 March 27 Saturday

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’ve brought my laptop to the deck. My laptop, my to do list and my dog.
The birds are chirping and there’s just a hint of green – Not really in my backyard that is basically a yard of mud and sticks and moss and trees. But out there, somewhere, there is green.

“Did you notice how suddenly the grass is green?” H asked me this morning. And I looked at the front yard and that is when I noticed.

“I love hearing the birds chirping through the phone” my friends said to me this morning. And I listened and that is when I noticed.

Now I’m sitting on my deck, with my laptop and my dog.
I’m thinking about my to do list. I really have a lot of work to do, no joke.
And I love the work that I have to do, no joke.

But did I mention that the birds are chirping and calling?
Did you know my dog is snoozing in the sun?
I can hear kids playing a few yards away.

This must be how procrastination starts. I feel like I’ve paused time for a moment to examine it – that moment of decision: Work or sit back and listen to the birds, maybe read a book? I still don’t know what I’ll decide. Maybe make a cup of tea. Should I go inside and get my notebook, or to the garage to get my favorite deck chair?

I haven’t even mentioned the laundry that is waiting for me inside.

#sol21 March 26 Mining High School Memories

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 used to re-write all my notes to study for Social Studies tests
Margie and I would sit and eat Pizza Hut pizza in her den and quiz each other
I failed Latin though, basically, in 9th grade – Maybe it was a D.
My teacher paused at my desk and quietly suggested I try Spanish the next year
I loved Spanish

I used to play the piano really fast for recitals
I was up on a stage and I guess I just zoomed through
I loved the way the keys felt, but it was hard to make the time to practice
I quit in eleventh grade and focused on my acting
I loved acting

I used to decorate my bedroom door with intense messages
Animal Rights, Women’s Rights, Quotes and sarcasm too
I was the president of the Animal Rights Club in High School, or maybe co-president
We met in the art teacher’s room and hung signs in the hallway
I loved activism

I used to…
I spoke Spanish
I played the piano
I performed plays
I marched for causes

#sol21 March 25 Mardi – I use Carmex now

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!

Mardi –

I use Carmex now.
I say now – even though I just got it from Target yesterday
I say Target – even though I didn’t go into Target, I just pulled up to the drive up spot so they could load my bags in
I say my bags – even though it was just one bag: Carmex, tea, washer wash
I say Carmex, tea, washer wash – even though there was also a bag of vegan chocolate covered coconut

My point is,
I use Carmex now
and even though I think you used the original and mine is strawberry
well, the pack came with cherry and mint too, but my current open Carmex is strawberry
even though mine might be a little different
every time I use it,
I think of you and your Carmex
and how it seemed like it was always just there, almost unnoticeable, but there
like on your van console
like on your classroom desk
like in your pocket
once I think you dropped it in the parking lot and then found it at the end of the day or the next day or something and I remember asking you if you were sure it was yours?

Memories are weird but
I use Carmex now
because my lips have been so dry
the last time I saw you, I think there was a Carmex on your night stand
I can’t be sure, but I think it was there, almost unnoticeable, but there
next to the glass of water with the straw
and you were thirsty
and I gave you sips of your water
and we said I love you
and you said you were so glad I stopped by
and I was glad to stop by

– Ona

#sol21 March 24 Laundry Confession

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!

Laundry Confession

I swear I organized my closet a few months ago
But things have piled up in there
One good thing about it though –
Now I know which clothes I always wear

I haven’t put my laundry away in weeks
It’s in a pile by my bed, on my floor
One good thing about it though –
I don’t even need to go in my messy closet anymore

My washing machine wasn’t working for awhile
Wouldn’t spin, or drain or clean or bubble
One good thing about it though –
It was just a sock in the bellows causing all the trouble

Now that my washing machine is fixed
I could get caught up with all the laundry
One bad thing about it though –
When it comes to cleaning, I live in a quandary





#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