Celebrate Now

celebrate newLast summer, my husband and I seized the opportunity to take a river cruise through the Netherlands and Belgium with my father-in-law and his girlfriend. Visions of windmills, tulips, and other spring blossoms danced in our minds for eight long months. Finally the day arrived and we were off on an adventure.

For the last two weeks, we have been discovering the beauty of the Netherlands and Belgium in the springtime. Our timing was perfect! The tulips in the fields were blooming to create swaths of color. These flowers are only allowed to bloom for four days. Then the heads are cut so the bulb receives all the nutrients.

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This type of adventure is what I dreamed of in my retirement. I celebrate the point in my life where I am able to sample what the world has to offer in all seasons. For thirty-two years my vacations were dictated by the school calendar. Now, I am free to explore new lands in seasons beyond summer. I wonder what’s next.

Travelogue (part 1)

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

The last two weeks are now just a distant memory, but as I revisit the photos, I remember.

I remember leaving home in the late afternoon, one flight to Atlanta (only 1.5 hours), but the next flight is 8.5 hours to Amsterdam. Sleep does not come during the night hours. I discover the noise cancelling headphone’s batteries are dead.😦

Weary bodies exit the plane rolling the luggage along to find our way through immigration, then to locate the person who provides transportation to the riverboat. Soon we load our belonging and bodies into a van and the adventure begins.

Greeted warmly on the dock, we learn that lunch is still being served in the lounge and a walking tour of Amsterdam leaves in thirty minutes. Exhausted as we are, we will not miss either opportunity.

The guide takes us into Amsterdam where we learn about the architecture of the buildings. We see the first coffee shop. (Side note: coffee is not the product people go to the “coffee shop” for.)IMG_2092

We stroll the streets along the canals getting our first glimpse of tulips. Bicycles are everywhere! These bikes are old, rusty and many had flat tires. Many are probably discarded as the owner didn’t bother to return for them.

I remember the body beginning to protest the lack of sleep as we finished the final moments of this walking tour. Gratefully the bus is waiting to take us back to the ship.

I remember how good the shower felt and the call of the bed as we prepared for the first briefing of the schedule and dinner. I looked around the crowded room, wondering who would be new friends by the end of the trip.

After dinner, the body said, “Enough is enough, put me to bed.” So I did. Of course, during the night the body said, “Get up, you’ve been asleep long enough.” I rolled over and said, “Let me sleep.”


Buildings along the canals, on the canal boat, and tulips

The next morning there was another walking tour plus a canal cruise. This time we visited another part of Amsterdam. We were also given the opportunity to sample herring. I respectfully declined (as did most of the other members of our tour group). Back to the boat for lunch and an afternoon on your own.

We passed by the Anne Frank house, unfortunately we were not able to enter. The line circled the block.

We passed by the Anne Frank house, unfortunately we were not able to enter. The line circled the block.





We have been to Amsterdam many times, so this time we opted to rest up during the afternoon. We knew busy days were ahead of us. I remember the relief of sinking back into the bed during the afternoon.

During the night the riverboat glides away from Amsterdam to begin the journey . . . (to be continued next week):-)

Celebrate Learning

celebrate newThis week, the gusting winds pushed me every time I stepped outside. I watched the trees in the yard shake, bend, but yet remain intact, no broken limbs. The howling winds and gray skies make me want to hibernate just a bit longer, even though I am surrounded by the pop of color blooming. The cold I caught two weeks ago, still hung on zapping my energy level. I’m ready to shake it off (as Taylor Swift says). If only the winds could blow it away! But this is not the day for wallowing in misery, this is the day to reflect on the week to find the blatant or hidden celebrations.

I celebrate the school I’ve been working with for the last two years. This week we had our final meeting days. Last year our focus was on reading. We spent this year developing writer’s workshop in the K-4 classrooms. A few weeks ago, I was able to observe every class for the entire writing workshop period. The teachers work at developing writer’s workshop, and they are noticing changes in their students. Is it perfect in every class? Not yet, but their willingness to try is something to celebrate.

This school promotes learning. Several grades are having a change in their staff. The new teachers were invited to our final meeting to get a glimpse of the work we have been doing. I was able to give the teachers some professional books to read over the summer. They want to know and learn best practices. Their quest for information is something to celebrate.

Since these were my last days in a school, I declare I am starting my summer break.:-) (This is the joy of retirement.) I do have a few professional development days popping up. I am so looking forward to Ruth coming to work with me and my fellow trainers in my town. Then of course, there is the All Write conference in June, too. I celebrate the anticipation of those days of learning.

Spring Settles In

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.








As I was driving out of my subdivision this week, I was surprised to notice peonies had already popped up. This made me start looking more closely at the changes taking place. All of a sudden I began to think in alliterative pairs. A seed of a poem began to take root in my mind. I grabbed my camera and took another wander around the neighborhood to capture more moments of spring. (Side note: the dandelions are not from my yard.:-) )

Once home I spent some time creating the collages with the app LiveCollage+. After the collages were set up,  I opened the app VanillaPen to add the words. Thus, the mostly alliterative poem was created. Spring has settled in. Unfortunately that means allergy sufferers are miserable. We are about to enter the green dusting phase. Are you?

My First Celebration of April

celebrate newSpring brings celebration of life to our world. Sunny days are easy to celebrate, but the rainy days are to be celebrated too. Plants celebrate every drop that nurtures them. New life surrounds me outside.

I celebrate a month of writing. Every single day, I shared a slice of my world. When I look back, I find that I brought readers into my eating world. Food showed up a lot. I do enjoy good food. I’ve been told I’m a food snob, I prefer to think I have standards for whatever I eat.:-)

I didn’t stray too far from home, but when I did, I took the reader along. We went to a conference at Lake of the Ozarks, to Kansas City for an auto show, and to the Botanical Gardens of St. Louis for an orchid show. But most of the slices gave the reader a peek at the everyday moments of life at home. Writing every day is a challenge.

I also celebrate the cold that invaded my body is on its way out. I rarely get sick. This week of lethargy makes me celebrate the good health that I have most of the time.

Finally, a poem to celebrate spring!IMG_2022

Celebration of Spring!
The sun shines brighter,
Birds chirp a happy tune,
Breezes caress, 
Winter’s slumber ends
As plants awake.
Welcome back Spring!



It Ends – Day 31

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Since I began this month by revisiting my March 1 posts, I thought I’d bookend this month by reviewing my March 31 posts.

  • 2011 Ship Under Attack!: I was on a river cruise in the Netherlands during the end of that month. There were many people suffering from bronchitis. Fortunately, my husband and I were not afflicted.
  • 2012 Summing Up: This was the year that I had a very full calendar of work days, but yet I managed to fit the writing in every day. It was really one of the first times I actually admitted to myself that I am a writer. Why is that so hard for me to express and truly believe?
  • 2013 Is It Just the End or a New Beginning #31: I reflected on what I noticed in my writing and how reading others affected my life.
  • 2014: At Sam’s: Here was another slice of life, no reflection because this final day was on a Monday, therefore, I knew I needed a post for the following day. I saved my reflection of the month for Tuesday.  Good thinking, right?:-)
  • 2015 Reverso Poem: I ended last year with a poem using Marilyn Singer’s incredible style of a poem that can be read from top down and then with changes in punctuation flipping the lines so the last line is now the first, and it still makes sense.
  • 2016: It Ends – Day 31:The final posting is a look back at the last five years of final postings.
What did I notice?
  • As I scrolled through the daily posts I noticed that I only had five posts without some kind of a picture. I love including photos!
  • I used poetry seven times in my slices.
  • I drafted a letter that will never be sent.
  • The shortest post (59 words) has the most pictures (27 pictures put into collages).
  • I played with using the color of the print to bring meaning to certain posts.
  • My wordiest post (539 words) came from two arrogant orchids. Figures, right?
  • I was amazed by the number of comments I received. It was such a delight to get up in the morning and find that comments were written after I’d gone to bed. Coffee and comments became my morning routine.

I’ve loved reading so many new blogs! I hope that you will consider stopping back by to read another slice of life from elsie who tries writing on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and every day of March.

Numbers and Trivia

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

This month, Alan Wright posted a slice titled, The Synergy of Words and Numbers. I found his list an interesting assortment of personal trivia. Which led me to wondering what kinds of trivia with numbers are to be found in my life. Alan stated, “Words and numbers are both wonderful things…”

So in no particular order, here are some numbers and trivial bits of information I’ve collected over the past few days related to my life:

I taught in only 3 schools over the course of 33 years.

I have taken 9 ocean cruises (the first being in 2003), 2 river cruises, and 1 barge cruise.

I had 2 cats (sisters) for 18 years.

I attended 6 schools during my K-12 education years.

I completed my undergraduate work at 1 college in 3.5 years.

I have owned 5 homes with my husband of 38 years.

Together we have owned 43 cars. (We’ve always had 2 cars, sometimes 3.)

5 of the cars were Chrysler minivans.

I have been on 4 different continents.

I have lived in 6 different states.

I have been to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night 2 times.

I had 1 permanent back tooth pulled due to a massive cavity when I was 10.

I have held 8 different jobs since I began working at age 16.

I had 2 basset hounds.

I have been to Amsterdam 4 times.

I have 25 books by Steve Jenkins on my bookshelf.

I have had 3 laptops.

I have seen Les Misérables on stage 6 times.

There are 3,616 photos and 45 videos on my iPad.

I have 2 bikes.

I have played over 10,000 rounds of Draw Something with 1 person.

I have been to the national Reading Recovery conference 7 times

I live 1,500 miles away from my son, daughter-in-law, and 2 granddaughters.

I have visited 36 foreign countries, so far. (I’m not finished traveling.)

I have 120 tulip bulbs popping up in my garden where I plant tomatoes.

I have 19 Chris Van Allsburg books.

This month I have written 8,631 words and included 147 pictures (many were combined into a collage) in my daily slices.

3 bookcases in my office room are filled with books: picture books, chapter books poetry book, professional books. I hesitate to count them.

What numbers and trivia are present in your life?