Mail, Now and Later

Sitting at my desk, I have a view down my street. I hear it before I see it.  Rrrrrummmmble, silence, rrrrrummmmble, silence, the mail truck begins its journey up my street. It has six stops  before my mailbox.

It’s a quick trip to get the mail at the end of the driveway, I don’t grab a jacket. I try to time my arrival with the mail truck’s arrival. Then I will hustle back to the warmth of the house as I thumb through the envelopes, catalogs, and magazines.

Two mailboxes away, the truck does a spin around and heads back to a mailbox she has visited already. I stand at the end of the driveway, waiting, getting chilled by the wind. She fumbles around at the previous mailbox. I get colder. Finally, rrrrrummmmble, silence, rrrrrummmmble, silence, she gets to me.

I reach out for the mail she is handing me. “Wait, I have a package too,” she says. I wait. She confirms our house number, flip, flip, flip through one box. Flip, flip, flip through two more boxes. I’m getting colder. She can’t find the package. She looks back toward the Amazon boxes. “It won’t be from Amazon,” I tell her. “It could be drugs or a book.” I watch her flip through bags similar to our mail delivered prescriptions and a Thrift book wrapped package. I tell her to check those. She tells me they aren’t ours. “Sorry,” she says, then rrrrrummmmble, silence. She is off to the next box. I’m really cold and a bit aggravated.

An hour later, I’m still working at my desk. Rrrrrummmmble, silence, the mail truck is scooting back up our street and stops at our mailbox. I watch to see what goes into the mailbox. Two prescription bags and one book! I wait until she drives away before heading out to retrieve our mail.

I appreciate that she finally found our items and came back instead of waiting until tomorrow. This was not our regular mail person, so I will not judge her too harshly and I did get my book. (The Deadliest Creature in the World by Brenda Guiberson)


Anticipating Book Arrival

Hints were dropped about  secret writing for a book. The news that leaked out intrigued me. Authors I love were listed. I still didn’t understand what or how this book would work. Multiple authors and writing prompts? Finally, an announcement, this book would be published and ready for the world in March. Sight unseen, no clue what it really was about, I took a leap of faith.  I pre-ordered the book on September 7.

For months, I have waited impatiently. I went to NCTE and missed the chance to get an ARC of this book. Finally an email – 


So all day, I sat at my desk working, but listening for the UPS truck to rumble up my street. I hear an engine,  it is stopping in front of my house!

Eagerly, I meet him at the door. Mr. UPS does not know how long I have waited for this book.

Do you know what book this is? Here it is without the book jacket.

And here it is with the jacket.

I have been a fan of Colby Sharp ever since I saw his YouTube video Mr. Sharp Loves Reading. His passion for books and turning kids on to books is amazing. I can’t wait to read this book and share it with teachers.

Good News/Bad News at Doctor Appointment

I was supposed to visit the doctor for my annual physical in February, but the doctor was going to be out of town during my date. It was rescheduled for yesterday. Last Friday I had to have blood taken for my appointment. It was a challenge to get to the lab when it opened at 7:00 (joining the throng of others there), blood taken, grab some breakfast (a fasting lab so no eating before), and drive 30 minutes to arrive by 8:15. I made it happen.

Good news started when I got to my appointment. There was no co-pay since this was an annual. That surprised me because I have always paid in the past. I figure they will send me a bill later.

I was there fifteen minutes before my appointment, just like they asked me to be. The receptionist said, “Don’t sit down, I think she is coming to get you.” I have never gotten in early! Apparently the 10:20 appointment was late, so I got her spot.

More good news when the doctor came in and said my blood work looked good. I was feeling pretty good until she said, “But I have some bad news.” My stomach dropped with those words. “It seems that the lab didn’t do the screening for your cholesterol. I need you to do another fasting and come back for them to draw blood again.” Oh well, I guess that’s not the worst news ever.

Then she said, “And you will need to do a Pap test next year.” I thought she did one last year and I would have two years off. It seems that I didn’t do one last year, so I will be due for another next year. Ugh!

All in all, it was a good visit. I was out in no time because I got in early. Now I’m thinking that to reward myself for doing the blood again I might have to try out a newly opened restaurant, First Watch, after they draw blood. So I guess that news wasn’t as bad as I first thought.

Teaching Writing or Writers?

To some, writing workshop is a frightening leap off a cliff into unknown waters. It takes a lot of faith making that transition from teaching writing to teaching writers.

Some teachers are happy with their status quo. They do the same kind of writing year after year. Everyone writes the same story. In October it might be the voice of a pumpkin. In November it will inevitably be the turkey begging to be saved, and December could be a wish list to Santa. Pencil to paper, that’s writing , right? Students learn about punctuation, sentence formation, capitalization, and spacing, That’s writing, right? That is not my definition of writing.

When I go to a school and work with the teachers on writing, I want them to teach the writers in the room, not writing. I try to help them understand the difference.

Last week, I completed my second year in a school. Our focus was writing workshop. I asked the teachers to jump into the pool of teaching writers instead writing. Some started paddling, but lost stamina and reverted back to teaching writing just like before, but they are thinking about how to do it differently next year. Some were treading water, barely keeping their head above the waterline, but they stayed afloat. Next year, they will be stronger.

One teacher said, “I thought I knew how to teach writing. I thought I was pretty good. I was wrong. I didn’t know how. Now I know my kids as writers.”

“I used to hate to teach writing. Now, this is my favorite thing to teach in my day. I feel like I am actually teaching my kids how to write, ” said another teacher.

These comments fill my heart with joy.  It’s been a good year and I look forward to another year with these teachers.

Every Day

Sometimes I step away from the old tried and true recipes and try new foods for dinner. Chickpea and cauliflower curry was one adventure that we will have again. But there are some things that never change at dinnertime.

At the top, ingredients for the dish at the bottom.

Every day I make my husband a salad for dinner:

  • It begins with lettuce, It might be : red leaf or green leaf or romaine or arugula or spinach, but never iceberg.
  • Now the add-ons: shredded carrots, radish, celery, red pepper, olives (sometimes black, sometimes green), green onion,  avocado, feta, last of all, roasted sunflower seeds, but never tomatoes.
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar dress the salad, but never bottled dressing.

Every day this salad is prepared. Occasionally I will have one too. If I don’t have salad, I have a small bowl of fresh fruit. The bowl might be filled with: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, watermelon, honeydew, pineapple, or peaches from my backyard tree. Or perhaps a combination of two of the fruits. Every day salad for one and fruit for another are part of our dinner.

What do you have every day?

Once There Was . . .

Once there was a new house with a lush green carpet in the backyard.

Soft blades tickled bare feet.

As the years passed,  trees grew and grew.

Shadow fingers caressed the green carpet.

However that carpet longed for the sun not the shade.

Over time, many blades gave up the fight.

New seedlings sprouted, but they too, yearned for sunshine.

Bare patches appeared, lush no longer.

Shadows won this battle.

A man worked all winter to extend the landscape bed.

The withered sparse grass removed.

A mountain of rock arrived to erase the bare patches.

Shadows claim victory over the grass,.

Only time will tell who is the victor:  man or shadows.



No Chips?!

I am a rule follower (most of the time). I know that these rules are in place for good reasons. So when I am handed a sheet labeled  Oral Surgery Post-Operative Instructions, I will read it. Of course the assistant went over a few pertinent details before I left, but she knew I might have questions later. Hence the need for the printed instructions.

I spent the afternoon biting on gauze and not eating much. When my stomach started to grumble that it had not seen any food since before the extraction, I thought I should check my printed list of do’s and don’t’s.

Do eat soft food, such as gelatin, soup, well-cooked vegetables, and ground meat. That sentence sent me to the fridge to grab a peach-mango applesauce and a cup of tapioca. I have the soup category covered. I actually like my vegetables well-cooked. My husband hates soft broccoli, but I prefer it soft. So no problem there. We don’t eat a lot of ground meat, so I’ll have to think about that one.

Do not suck on a straw for at least five days. I prefer to drink with a straw. I hate the way ice bonds together, then splashes in your face when you tip the glass to drink. I don’t like it, but I will do it.

I read on, Do not eat hard, crunchy foods like chips, raw carrots, or popcorn for six weeks. What!? Are you kidding me? No crunchy food for SIX weeks? Now I’m not sure I will be able to follow this rule. I can see a couple of weeks, but SIX? I will just have to wait and see how my gums heals.

The one statement that made me laugh was Do not use illegal drugs while you are taking the narcotic medication. I guess they have to say it, but duh!

So here is what my lunch will be for the next couple of weeks:

Good thing I LOVE mac ‘n cheese!