A Ditch of a Day*

Another glorious day, perfect for a bike ride! It had been a great ride until . . . I was on the last uphill grade. I had just made a turn and was pedaling hard and slow. A car came up behind me. I moved over but my wheel slipped off the edge of the blacktop. The lip of the road was too high for me to whip my bike back onto the pavement. I had no choice but to continue down into the ditch. I applied my brakes, trying to slow down. Life began moving in slow motion.

I took my foot off the pedal, reaching for the ground. It was too far down. Slowly the bike began to fall to the right with me still on it. The grass created a soft landing. There I was laying on the ground with the bike on top of me. My first thought was I’m so glad there’s no one around to see me. My next thought was how am I going to get up? Mentally I did a pain check of my body. Mostly okay, except for my right foot. It hurt, but it wasn’t OMG! pain.

Slowly I pulled my legs away from the bike, pushing the bike away with one leg. I was at an awkward angle, getting up was not a graceful move. Once I was up, I looked over my bike. Nothing was at an odd angle, so I began the task of pushing it out of the ditch.

A black SUV stopped next to me. The window rolled down and the driver asked, “Are you okay? I saw you go down, so I turned around to check on you.” I assured her I thought I was okay. She moved on. I knew something wasn’t right with my foot, but I figured I could make it home. Home was only about a half mile away and most of it was downhill.

Once home I hobbled into the house to explain what happened. “Do we need to get you checked out? my husband inquired. A cold pack was applied and my foot was elevated.

“Let’s wait and see what happens today. If it doesn’t feel better in the morning, we will go to urgent care,” was my response.

Urgent care opened at 9:00, we were there at 9:02. An x-ray revealed that my third metatarsal was broken. The orders were to stay off my foot completely until I could see the specialist. Crutches are not as easy or fun as I once thought they might be. The rest of the weekend found me perched on the couch.

Monday morning dawned bright and I had hopes that someone would call from a doctor’s office. No one did. I contacted Urgent Care and they gave me the number of the office for my referral. Long story, shortened . . . I have a lovely new boot to wear for the next six weeks.

Good thing gray is a good color for me.

Good thing gray is a good color for me.

*title suggested by my friend Raegan ­čÖé Thanks Raegan!

Mail and Email to Celebrate

A quote on Linda Baie’s blog, Teacher Dance, really spoke to me today. “There are exactly as many celebration in life as we choose to celebrate.” Robert Brault. I think Ruth understands this and lives this daily. She allows us to live it too. Thank you Ruth, celebrations are joyful.

This week email had me doing a happy dance. The first came from my office. It announced that I will have the opportunity to learn from Laura Robb for two days this summer. Ten of us will be working with her from her book, Unlocking Complex Text (which comes out June 2) and another book related to vocabulary that won’t be out in time for our meeting. The publisher is sending us galley proofs to use during the training, then we will get it when it is published. How cool is that?

The other email was from Kim, of Learning Tour Writing Stop. She has made reservations to fly into Springfield so we can have a road trip to Warsaw, Indiana for the All Write conference. She will then get to spend a few days hanging out with me after the conference before flying back to California. I don’t want to wish my life away, but I can’t wait until she comes and we get to hang out/learn in Indiana.

Then the snail mail brought me two packages this week. Through the March Slice of Life writing challenge, I won a book of my choice from both Stenhouse and Heinemann. This week they both arrived. I now have several professional books to read during this summer.

Life is sweet*, but reflecting on the celebrations each week just brings it home.

*my one little word for this year

Bad News Turns to Good News

A few weeks ago my husband and I decided to replace our kitchen sink and faucet. This sink was ten years old, it was chipped and scratched, the faucet was wobbly (tightening did not help). Plus a little updating was due. After talking with the salesman at the store, we purchased a black composite granite sink and a new faucet.

Now we need someone to install our new items. Unfortunately the plumber is busy and we will need to wait three weeks. We are patient, so we wait.

The day dawned for the new sink installation. I am in St. Louis to deliver my father-in-law to the airport when my phone rings. I hear, “The sink doesn’t fit into our opening.” While my husband is relaying this message, I am trying to navigate the correct lane entering the airport and understand what this means. My husband continues, “However, the plumber can grind off the clips and make it fit.” That’s good news, I think, but then it gets even better. “He won’t be able to finish the installation until Friday.”

This conversation occurred on a Tuesday. There is no running water in the kitchen for at least three days? Hmmm, how will this work? I guess we will have to eat out for the next few days. If I hadn’t been driving, I’d have done a happy dance.

Yes, it was a bit inconvenient not to have running water in the kitchen available 24/7, but a few steps away there was a bathroom. I could still make coffee in the morning, I just stepped outside to pour the final drops in the yard.

Friday came and the new sink was installed. I tried to convince the plumber and my husband that the caulking would need at least forty-eight hours to cure. It only required four hours (according to the plumber, but I was willing to wait and make sure it was totally dried). ­čśŽ

I am back preparing dinner. However, another issue has cropped up with the new faucet. The previous faucet’s lever was in the center. The new faucet’s lever is on the right. I am left handed. I must retrain myself on how to turn on the water. (And another first world problem surfaced.)

Now my husband wants to redo the finish on our kitchen cabinets. I’m thinking that cooking is not an option during this period. ­čÖé

The new sink and faucet installed!

The new sink and faucet installed!

Celebration Time

All conditions were perfect. The temperature was not cold, nor was it hot, just perfect. The wind was nonexistent. The day had no demands on my time. I had no excuse not to take my bike out for the first time this year. As I pedaled away from the house, I worried if my body would be up to the challenge. Thank goodness for lower gears to help me climb the inclines. I eagerly surveyed the landscape, looking to see what had changed in the last few months. I noticed a house for sale, but not much else had changed. There was one corner that I had to check out. This photo is from last April. A few weeks later, the fence disappeared. Then the house was taken apart and it too disappeared. I wondered if the daffodils would reappear or had they been bulldozed away?

These poor blossoms looked like they were in jail, looking for a way to escape.

These poor blossoms looked like they were in jail, looking for a way to escape.

I got my answer.

No more chain link to hold these flowers back.

No more chain link to hold these flowers back.

Mindlessly pedaling down a connecting road, something moved into my right peripheral view. Before I could even pause to grab my camera, a deer bounded gracefully over the barbed wire fence, hooves clattered on the blacktop road, and she disappeared into the woods to my left. The sighting was so brief, but it created a movie in my mind that I replay.

Hopefully, conditions will be perfect again and I will pedal on. Perhaps my deer will pause and allow me to take a photo of her.

First World Problems Continue

Previously I wrote about a few issues that are considered first world problems. I share a few more today.

Ouch! Sharp stabbing pain pierces my back. I reach behind me, readjust the pillow, lean back, and ouch! again stabbing pain. Repeat previous procedure several more times. Thoroughly frustrated I pull the offending pillow out from behind me. I┬ábegin the search for that minuscule needle sharp feather. Aha! I found you! The offending feather is plucked from the pillow. The rest of the feathers get a fluffing before the pillow is positioned behind my back. I am concerned that by removing the errant feather, I will eventually have no feathers inside. I have tried poking the feather back, (while most of it is inside the pillow) but it just doesn’t work.

Half off all jeans the sign proclaimed. Good, I need a new pair, so the purchase is made. They are a darker blue than I’ve had before, so they are washed before wearning. I wear the new pair, love the new pair! What’s that? My light colored leather seat is turning blue. I return to the store with my tale of blue leather that is not supposed to be blue. Soak them in salt water the manager of the store advises me. Jeans are soaked in salt water for twenty-four hours. The leather is still turning blue. Sadly the jeans are returned. Now I have a black pair of jeans. I wonder, will my leather turn black?

We have two cars, one is keyless. Keyless is a lovely feature because you don’t have to get a key out to open doors or even start the car. You just need to be near the car and the doors unlock automatically. The problem arises when you have been driving the keyless car,┬áthose features become automatic actions. So why is the door not unlocking? Oh, that’s right, this car uses a key. I search through my purse to find the key so that I can get in. How annoying!

Once inside (whatever car) there is the issue of syncing your phone to the bluetooth system. I always forget until someone calls while I am driving and I discover that my phone is not the current phone on the bluetooth system. Why can’t the car manufacturers figure out how to make the system recognize the phone that is in the car?

So what first world problems have you had to deal with lately? By the way, my chair has been sinking as I’ve been typing.

Finding the Celebration

Each Saturday, Ruth asks us to take a moment to stop and reflect on the week. What┬ádo I have to┬ácelebrate? I begin the day thinking I have nothing to celebrate this week. I’m not going to post this Saturday.┬áThen I read celebrations and my mind starts to spin. Yes, there are celebrations I can share from my week.

1. A walk around the yard leads to discovering the new growth that was not there a week ago. Hostas have sprouted, the hydrangea is breaking through, and the peach tree now has baby leaves. I know the blossoms will soon follow.


My asparagus! There are thirteen shoots , more pop through every day. Maybe next year we will have enough to eat.

My asparagus! There are thirteen shoots , more pop through every day. Maybe next year we will have enough to eat.


2. Time to spend creating a gift for a friend.

Used an idea from Pinterest to create this necklace.

Used an idea from Pinterest to create this necklace.

3. A friendly face who wants me to step outside.

Someone is tapping on the window.

Someone is tapping on the window.

4. Sunshine and warm temperatures to allow me to sit on the patio to read and capture pictures of friends who sing to me.

The birds sing loud and strong, echoing through the yards.

The birds sing loud and strong, echoing through the yards.

5. On Wednesday, my husband uttered some of my favorite words, “Do you want to go get pizza and a salad?”

Just when I think there is nothing to celebrate, I discover I was mistaken. There are so many moments to celebrate, I just need to look.


How to Create a Sunroom

The sun shines brightly, but the air bites me when I step outside. My inner cat seeks the spot of sunshine to savor to warmth.

If only I could step out onto the patio in a glass encased room. I imagine the rays of sun captured by the glass, warming me through to my bones as I sit and read. But there is no such room at my house. Sigh . . . Perhaps I can simulate this room that I desire.

I assess my needs, they are few:

  • comfortable seating
  • glass surrounding me on all sides
  • glass above my head
  • sunshine

There is full sun on the driveway. Check. My car has a sunroof, sun above. Check. Glass on all sides, windows all around. Check. Leather seats that recline, very comfortable. Check. All requirements are met if I back the car out of my garage and sit in the driveway.

The first few moments are a little cool. Quickly the sun gets to work, warming the air and me. Internally, I am purring with delight as I read and soak up the warmth of the sun’s rays. Eventually I have to crack the door open, as it is too warm. Only a few minutes later, I can close the door and resume my basking in the sunshine. Now this is the way to spend an afternoon in my portable sun room.

Celebrating Mother Nature

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

This week Mother Nature has been moving back into our world. The sun spent more days shining than hiding. It is amazing what a little warmth can do for plants. Trees are beginning to cast aside their browns and grays for shades of green. Each day the world grows slightly more colorful. It is a season to celebrate the renewal of life!

These images will celebrate for me this week, rather than my words.

Look in the center, do you see the image of a phoenix rising?

Look in the center, do you see the image of a phoenix rising?


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The view opposite of the rainbow.

The view opposite of the rainbow.



Happy New Year!

A sigh of relief, I made it through another March challenge. Each year I wonder, will I be able to find something to write about e-v-e-r-y day? How can I find a topic that is new? Is this interesting? Will anyone come to read? How long can I keep doing this?

I looked back over my posts from this month and I discovered a few things. I return to familiar writing territories,┬ásuch as: food (breakfast, Rueben, Ham Salad, pizza), shopping experiences (books, Sam’s), very trivial things (emails, 1st world problems, my space at conference, scarves). Mostly my format is narrative, but occasionally I create a poem with book titles, inspired by nature, or attempting a rhyme. Most posts contain a picture or two. My camera or phone is a form of a notebook, preserving a moment to put into words.

I’ve been inspired by so many of you and your stories. I never know if I will need a tissue to wipe a tear or pick myself off the floor from laughing. “Writing is data with a soul,” says Brene Brown. How true this is! We have created a lot of data this month.

Thank you for every comment. Your words mean the world to me. Comments are the sweet frosting on top of the cake.

I feel like a year of blogging ends at the end of March. April brings a new year of writing. Every year there are new writers to follow. It’s a new beginning. If I can do thirty-one days, I can do four a month. You can too! So Happy New Year to blogging the slices of our lives. Elsie will continue to write and read. Will you?