Summing Up

The final day of March and I made it! It feels good to be able to say that. Let me savor those words a moment . . . I. MADE. IT!

As the month began I had worries. What would I write about? Could I do it every day? My work calender was facing me and it was far too busy for my liking. How would I find the time to read and comment? I knew how important comments had been to me last year. I wanted to continue to support the writers whose words I had grown to love through the year. I wanted to meet new people through their words of their daily life. This was going to be a jam packed month.

I wrote. I completed 31 days of writing. Mostly my writing was a moment of my day. Such as . . .

  • It may have been a moment as I shopped for food (often unsuccessfully finding the item on the quest) or fixing some part of a meal.
  • Several of the moments came because I was sitting in my car observing the world around me.
  •  Schools I worked in gave me something to write about.
  • I noticed the process of completing tasks and the process reminded me of the process of writing.
  •  Creatures of nature crept into my writing. Some were welcomed, but others were looked upon with abhorrence.
  • A milestone in my blogging career was observed.
  • Poetry crept into my blog. I tried a variety of forms.
  • Photographs aided my words and showed the world I live and walk in each day.
  • Plus I wrote on your blogs. My words are the words I would say to you if we were sitting somewhere sharing a beverage or perhaps a meal.

I read my friends from year round slicing and I discovered more amazing writers. You let me into your lives. You related joyous moments of celebration. You shared incredible stories of bravery and perseverance. You wrote of sadness and heartbreak. My mind was filled with your stories of your life, you affected me with the words you chose to share. I feel honored to count each and everyone of you as a friend. I also read the words you left for me. Those words of encouragement spurred me on to create another post for another day. Thank you!

Through all this reading and writing I had to continue my work. Too many lost hours were spent in the car, not being able to read. I traveled 2,519 miles this month. I have not been home for more than three days consecutively during the last three weeks. Today, I get to put my suitcase up for the next ten days. I will savor my time home. My plan is to sit on the patio and enter the world of Wonder. I need some time to breathe.

The joy this challenge brings to my life can’t be described by me. I have grown as a writer and thinker because of you. I can work with teachers and be authentic when I talk about the challenges of writing every day. I bring your voices to the teachers who don’t understand that to teach writing you have to write.

These are my final words . . . until Tuesday. See you there! :-)

Squeezing a Poem

Have you ever seen the poetry book Lemonade and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word by Bob Raczka?

Inside the front cover it says, “Play with your words! Part anagram, part rebus, part riddle – this brand new poetic form turns word puzzles into poetry. Using only the letters from a single word, each of the of poems in this collection capture a scene from daily life and present a puzzle to solve.”

Here is an example: flowers

we

slow

for

free

wows

I love these poems! They speak so eloquently with so few letters as choices to create an image with the words.

It is so much harder than it looks. I thought, I will anagram the word and have words to choose from to create my own. Not so simple, because I can use a letter as many times as I need it. So now I have to look at my letters and think about words in a different way. On this final Poetry Friday of the SOLC, I offer  my attempts to squeeze a poem from a single word.

Comments

Some notes

come to

ME!

And one more try:

writers

is it

trite

wit

i

write?

it is.

Phone Call

Last night my son called. He lives in California, 3,000 miles away from me. To the world, he’s a grown man. To me he’s still my little boy.  Sunday is the day he usually calls me and we chat about life in general. It fills my need to hear his voice and know that everything is right in his world. He didn’t call this week. Sometimes that happens. I wait . . .

His special ring began to play on my phone sitting beside me. I smile as I answer the phone. We talk a few minutes. I tell him that his uncle’s house has sold. He is surprised that it has sold so quickly.

Then the words that changed my evening of a pleasant chat to one of fear and dread came through the phone, “I’ve got something to tell you.” Fear grabs my heart, my stomach lurches as I brace myself for whatever, because the tone was not one of good news. “Allie’s purse was stolen yesterday from her desk.” He goes on to explain everything that was in her purse.

The only key to the truck she was driving, her social security card, all bank cards, keys to the house and his car. Fortunately she had her phone in her pocket. He had to leave work to go pick up the daughter from school, then come to get  Allie. Once home, they began the task of calling credit card companies and banks. Someone had to be called to make a key for the truck ($400). A new deadbolt was installed on the front door. There is fear that whoever took the purse will come to their home and steal their car. Unfortunately they do not have a garage.

Allie went to the bank and was told that someone tried to withdraw $5,000 from her account. They do not have that kind of money. Fortunately the teller asked for identification. The person did not have any. The teller asked security questions. The person failed. She was denied access to the account (thank goodness!)

He feels violated. He feels angry that someone has caused their lives to be turned upside down. He is frustrated that they have had to bear expenses that were not in the budget. He is grateful that no one is hurt. He knows that things can be replaced.

No matter how old your child is, you want their world to be perfect. It makes me sick to think of what they have been through these past two days. I wish I could make it all better.

Back to School

For the last two days I’ve been back to the school that I wrote about at the first of the month. I’ve been back modeling writing lessons in each teacher’s class. It surprises me how quickly these students accept me. I walk past them in the hall and they greet me by name (I have a name tag on), they stop to give me a hug, they ask,  “Are you coming back to our class today?” with a hint of wistfulness in their voice. When I tell them not today, there is a look of disappointment in their eyes. Sometimes there is a look of disappointment in the teacher’s eyes too.

Today I will meet with the teachers on their plan period. The time will go by too fast. I have too much to tell them, it overwhelms me. I was supposed to do a full day of PD on April 6. I would have the teachers for six hours. I had plans to develop an understanding of the structure of writer’s workshop. They would explore the language of six traits. And maybe we could touch on mentor texts. They need to understand these things and how it relates to teaching writing. They need to understand teaching writing is not a formula. They need to understand . . .  but the day has been cancelled. The district has different plans for the teachers. The decision for the PD has been taken out of the building leader’s hands. I will be going back in May to work with the teachers on their plan period for one day. They will not be ready to teach writing in a workshop next year. I am disappointed.

They will try to get funds to bring me back next year. They want me to come back earlier. I want to go back. My work is not finished in this school. I want to make a difference.

Changing Cars

“You need new tires,” my husband announced. “So we need to decide are we keeping your car, or are we getting something else? I don’t want to spend the money for the tires if we are trading it in.”

This was a question I knew was coming my way, but trying to avoid making a decision. I like my car. It has been with me for about five years (the longest amount of time I’ve ever been able to hang on to a car). I hate, hate shopping for cars. My husband loves cars. He is perpetually mentally shopping for a car to meet all needs. I don’t even want to think about it.

“If we are keeping it, I don’t want you to drive it when you go out of town. It’s getting too many miles and the tires are not safe,” he continued as I sat there thinking and weighing my options. “You can take the other car, but you can drive the convertible when you are home.”

I finally respond, “The thing is, I can’t do this, drive one car for trips/work and another for leisure when I am home. I like my “stuff” in my car. I need my “stuff” whether I am home or on the road. I can drive the other car if you want me too, but I need my stuff.”

He understood and spent the afternoon  transferring  my “stuff” to the other car.  I drove the other car, now my car. I must get used to it. I miss certain features of my previous car. I could see the range of miles and the temperature with a glance. The net in the trunk is in just the right location and size. I will miss the whole aspect of the convertible.

There are a few things that are perks on the new car. It is a keyless entry and start. I don’t have to dig around in my purse for the key. The seat has more ways to adjust the bottom and back, so I can get it in the just right position. Plus it has a memory feature so if someone else drives it and moves it out of my position, I can get it back with the touch of a button. It has a backup camera that shows in the rear view mirror. I need that! I can see out the back window (convertible windows just don’t give a wide view).

There are a few things I still have to figure out. But I suppose I will adjust. It’s just not my car, yet.

Pansies Speak Again

Last fall, I was incredibly busy working in schools, so my life wasn’t too interesting (translate that to not much to write about). The pansies that had been planted in our yard spoke up and took over the slice of  life for that Tuesday. They have demanded some time to let everyone know how they are doing. Therefore, without further ado, I will turn this post over to them.

If you click on the link above you will see how pretty we were in the fall. Thankfully, winter was fairly mild this year. We were only covered up with snow twice and neither was too heavy, nor did the snow hang around too long. When the cold weather hits we tend to wither up a bit, but don’t think we won’t survive, we are survivors. We don’t look our best here, what is that crazy woman doing taking our picture? This is not our best side.

Wait, we need some sunshine to look our best!

See what a little sunshine and mild temperatures can do for a flower’s complexion.

Okay, we look a little better. Sunshine does a blossom good.

This neighborhood is a happening place! We’ve been keeping our eye on the action. The house at the corner transplanted two trees from the front of their house to the backyard. At least it will give us something to look at. It was pretty boring before.

What’s that rumbling up the road? A moving van? There isn’t even a for sale sign in the yard. For two days these people have been hauling furniture out of the house. Wonder what’s going on over there? We never see anyone at that house anymore.

Oh, there goes Lauren pulling her daughter Hazel in the wagon. They haven’t been out walking in a while. Wait a minute! Lauren’s pregnant! What?!

Here comes Dan, he thinks we are pretty. Where’s the wind to toss our pretty little heads around, “Oh Dan, look over here.”  He just drove past us, didn’t even look. What are all those boxes in his truck? Can you see the pictures on the sides? Oh look, it’s new patio furniture.

Ahhh, that sunshine feels so good! We are in our glory, don’t you agree?

,

The gangs all here and looking good!

The wind has picked up a bit and that let’s us get a better view of our cousins who were planted across the driveway. Whoa, get a load of that tree! Why do they get the pretty tree and we just get a maple? Life is not fair!

Hey cousins, don't we look good?

They may have  pretty pink blossoms overhead, but we have people walking in the yard to get a closer look at us. The nice lady said we were gorgeous!  She didn’t even noticed the pansies below the tree. So there!

Now you are up-to-date with the happenings in the neighborhood. So we will just stay in our spot and look pretty. It’s so easy to do when you are beautiful. You agree we are beautiful, right?

What Was That?

Thursday afternoon found me tooling along the highway headed for home. I settled in for the four hour drive.  I had to be extra alert during the first forty-five minutes due to the rain. It would be light and misty requiring the intermittent wipers to a downpour then back to misting. Of course there was traffic causing all kinds of wet spraying every part of the car. Ahead I could see a break in the clouds. Was that blue sky peeking out from puffy white balls of floating cotton? Yes! I drove out of the rain and all the bugs from my windshield were magically wiped away.

Traffic has lightened up considerably. There are a few cars in my rear view mirror and a big truck hauling something ahead of me. I begin to relax and take note of the landscape around me. Three days ago the trees were bare, today there is a greenish haze beginning to form. The redbud trees’ fuchsia blossoms stand out against the browns of the trees surrounding it. The fields have turned emerald . . . pow! thunk! crack! An explosion of sound interrupts my thoughts. What was that? Then I see it. Something has hit my windshield and oh my! This is not a little chip. I know a new windshield is in my future.

This is the view of the damage from inside the car. Fortunately it was not in my line of vision all the way home.

I look around (as well as you can at 68 mph) to see where, what happened. My eyes rest on the truck ahead of me. Did he throw a rock up with his tires? Did something come loose from the big metal box-like thing he was carrying? What should I do? Who’s going to pay for a new windshield? All of these questions race through my mind as I keep this truck in view.

I called my husband to report the news. “Should I get this truck’s license?” I ask.

“If you can I suppose that would be good. But how would we ever prove that he did it?” he replies. “I will call insurance and see what we need to do.” He hangs up.

Cautiously, I get closer to the truck. I cannot see a license anywhere. This truck is speeding up, soon he is going way faster than I want to to. So I watch, as  he drives away, leaving my damaged car behind. I am grateful that it didn’t hit my roof and tear it (it’s a convertible). I reach out to touch the inside of the windshield. I expect to feel a fracture, but it is smooth as can be.

Soon I am back into rain. This is hard pelting rain. I worry as I turn on the wipers. Will the glass begin to crumble? Fortunately it doesn’t. I make it home. My husband cannot get over the size of the damage. He is sure it was not caused by a rock. We have an appointment to have the windshield replaced at eight Friday morning. (Shucks, no sleeping in for me.) The windshield guy says it was probably some kind of metal piece that came off the truck. I wonder about that, will his wheel fall off someday and he wonders “How did that happen?”

Just in case you were wondering,  the fields had turned emerald green. I think they were not yet finished celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

Here you get an outside view and something to compare it to in size.

Phoetree

If you take photography + poetry + trees  you get phoetree.

In winter, trees reveal their secrets.

No leafy foliage to hide behind,

The beauty of their shape is exposed.

Some trees have secrets of life hidden in their limbs

Some limbs take a wrong turn

Invaders have taken over

Mysterious nodules exposed

Mother Nature pushes

Until limbs can bear no more

Limbs reach out

Strong enough to hold you close

Setting sun savors the landscape

Perverse Pleasure

I have to admit it, I am a little bit evil. There are times I indulge in perverse pleasure. Let me explain.

Have you ever bought something at a Staples store with a credit card? After you swipe the card and you are ready to put it away the clerk says, “May I see the card?” My usual response is to flash it and say, “Can you see it now?” The startled look on the cashier’s face makes me laugh as I hand it to him/her. I don’t know why, but I get  a smidgen of pleasure in that instant of confusion.

On Sundays, I go to get groceries. There is not a lot of traffic on one particular road but there is a stoplight. I am on the less traveled road and the stoplight must have a sensor to let the busier road know someone is waiting to turn left. I look left, I look right, I wonder will the light turn and you have to stop? Often there is no traffic and no one is inconvenienced by the stoplight. But this week was different. Someone had to stop in both directions. I’m afraid I have to admit, there was a bit of a smirk on my face as I made my left turn. That’s perverse pleasure.