Day 7: Mental Plans vs. Reality

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Mental Plans for my day:

I had a plan for my Monday. I would get up, leisurely drink my coffee, semi-listen to the Today Show while I posted my slice for the day and begin reading/commenting on other slicers. At one point, I would spend thirty minutes pedaling the bike on the trainer in the garage. Then a shower would be next on my to do list. Partake of an early lunch before heading out spend the afternoon with a third grade team at one of my schools. After school, I would have some more time to read/comment on slices before beginning dinner.

Those were my best laid plans and we all know what comes next, they often go awry.

Reality of my day:

I did drink my coffee leisurely while I semi-listened to the Today Show while posting my slice for the day. Plus I was able to read a few slices, make a few comments. I did get on the bike and begin pedaling, but that is when the day begins to alter.

A phone call from my mother before eight o’clock is never a good thing. “I think I need to go to urgent care. I think I have an abscess and it is hot, oozing, and maybe there’s another place starting,” she tells me.

I did complete the time on the bike and take a shower, but just in case this was not a quick trip, I loaded the car with my materials for the afternoon.

It was 8:50 when we walked in. There were only four others ahead of us in the waiting room. Good sign, I thought. Slowly, people were called back, never to be seen again. I guessed there was another exit. Finally mom is called, it is 9:35.

I continue sitting in the waiting room. The chairs are becoming a hot commodity in short demand. The sounds of the room begin to echo with hacking coughs and endless honking into tissues. I begin to fear for my health. I barely breathe, not wanting to take in the germs that are airborne around me.

I’m watching the clock. I warned mom that if she had not appeared by 11:00, I would call my brother to come pick her up, because I had to leave by 11:00. Finally, 10:45 she reappears with the nurse. She has a prescription that needs to be filled. I’m assessing my time while we make our way to the car. I think I can drop her off at her apartment, take the prescription over to the pharmacy, and still make it to my school by noon. That is what I do.

I spent the afternoon talking about writing and reading with my third grade teachers.

After school, I returned to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription. I delivered the prescription. Mom was concerned the wound is seeping, so I got to examine this gaping hole. I repacked the wound with the packing gauze given to her. Let us be clear, I am not a nurse. I have no idea if I did it right.

I will return this afternoon to check on the wound and the packing. Then we will figure out what to do next.

The reality only resembled my mental plans for a short while yesterday. Once again, I have mental plans for this day, but will they be my reality?




Day 3 “How Did I Not Know That?”

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

“What is your schedule like this week?” asked my 86 year old mother.

I filled her in on the next two weeks of my working schedule but added that I would be busy because I was writing and posting on my blog every day this month. I saw a look of confusion pass across her face.

“Mom, this is the seventh year I’ve done this. I’ve told you about it,” I responded.

“How did I not know that you’ve done this for six years?” she said shaking her head in disbelief.

“Since you don’t have a computer, it didn’t seem relevant. But I know I’ve told you about it.”

“Do any of your friends do this too?”

“Well, actually one person from work does it too. Through writing, I made friends and met some of the people who read my writing. Plus, I read their writing too. Remember Kim from California or Ruth? I knew them first from reading their writing. In fact, I have met quite a few blog friends.”

“What do you write about?”

“Ordinary things, small moments from my day. Like today I wrote a poem about things I see out my window when I sit at my desk.” I know she’s thinking, that doesn’t sound very interesting. I’m thinking I just found my slice for tomorrow.

As I get ready to leave, she is still musing over the fact that I could have been doing something for six years and she had no knowledge of it.

Eighteen Months

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

Eighteen months, is that a short amount of time for you or an endless period of time? Eighteen months is a lifetime for one person who entered the world and my heart eighteen months ago.

Living 1,600 miles away from family does not allow for frequent visits. So when an opportunity to babysit this summer for an extended period of time presented itself, I jumped on it.

I’ve spent the last two weeks marveling the knowledge gained in only eighteen months.

She knows:

  • sparkly beads are essential
  • climbing is an adventure
  • arms will catch and hold you
  • laughter is contagious
  • naps revive
  • water is fun
  • food nourishes
  • conversations include hand gestures (even when no one understands your language)
  • songs are to be sung at the highest volume of your voice
  • no fear in trying new things
  • Grandpa and Grandma will cater to your every whim

I can’t wait to find out more about this little one in the years to come!




Four days after returning from our river cruise, we hopped into the car to drive to California. Family time called us west.

Clara’s grin . . .IMG_2171

wrinkles her nose,

                  puts sparkles in her eyes,

                                               exposes niblet baby teeth.

The world is to be explored and conquered.

She has a zest for discovery.

Maddy is . . .


the best big sister,

an accomplished rider and jumper,

growing up too fast!

Horses are her world!

Before we knew it, it was time to get back in the car to begin the journey home. These memories and photos will have to suffice until we can return. Sigh!

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



Something to Celebrate

celebrate new

Monday my mom calls, “Can you take me to the doctor this week?”

“I’m working Wednesday and Thursday,” I replied. “What’s the matter?” She had not complained of any ailments the last time I talked to her, so I am puzzled about needing to go to the doctor.

“I fell at church. I don’t know what happened. I didn’t trip or slip. I just went down. Jackie (a neighbor) thinks maybe it has to do with an inner ear thing,” she responds.

She calls the doctor and gets an appointment for Tuesday. We go to the appointment. She brings a cane for extra support. The doctor listens. I listen and learn this fall did not happen on Sunday, but on the previous Thursday. What?! Why didn’t you tell me before today? The doctor instructs her to perform a variety of actions. He is not concerned, she has passed the neural systems test. Perhaps she has a bit of  vertigo. Perhaps it could be some fluid in her inner ear. We will monitor her and see if there is improvement within ten days.

This photo was taken on her 85th birthday in February.

This photo was taken on her 85th birthday in February.

I celebrate how quickly she was able to get into her doctor. I celebrate that the doctor is not very concerned. I celebrate that I was able to take my mom to the doctor. I celebrate that I still have my mom and she is only twelve minutes away.

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

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

Phone Calls

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Phone call 1:

Saturday evening, sitting on the couch, reading bits of this and that on the iPad when my cell phone rings. It’s my brother-in-law. I sigh, a deep sigh, I don’t want to answer it. I know he’s going to tell me he won’t be able to come here for Christmas.

Earlier in the week he’d hinted he might be coming. I sent several text messages with food photos to tempt him if only he’d come. The last time we’d spoken he didn’t sound too hopeful.

“Is the Springfield Spa still accepting reservations for Christmas?” were the words I heard when I answered the ring. Immediately my face lit into a huge smile. “Of course,” was my response. He had two conditions that were non-negotiable: 1) we must go out for dinner one night, 2) he will be allowed to fix dinner another night. I didn’t even have to think twice as I accepted his terms.

Christmas holidays just got a little brighter.

Phone call 2:

Monday evening, sitting on the couch chatting with my husband about the girlfriends’ Christmas dinner I’d just returned from when my phone played the ringtone of my son. Eagerly I answered this call since we hadn’t talked the day before. This time he was bursting with good news.

Earlier this fall he’d traveled to Sacramento to take an exam related to his job. This exam is part of extending his certification in his geophysics field. He studied all summer for it. He did not have a good feeling about it after taking the exam. It was hard! However, all the worry was for naught! He had just opened the letter that announced he PASSED! Plus he told us he’d been given a small promotion with his company. The joy in his voice made my heart sing. We are so proud of what he has accomplished!

Two phone calls days apart put JOY into our Christmas holiday. I hope there is joy your Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!

What a Week!

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

How do I pluck a slice of life from the past seven days? It just can’t be done. Busy every moment, people in and out of the house, food prepared, eaten, cleaned up only to repeat again and again. So instead I will share several photo collages of the time spent with those who are nearest and dearest to my heart.


IMG_1631IMG_1630As you can see, the cute factor ran high this past week. But my favorite moments were below.IMG_1609These photo memories will have to hold us until we are able to be together again. Sigh!

Counting Down

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

Last Saturday began the count down

7 days until they arrive: shopping for diapers, wipes, formula, food

6 days until they arrive: finish notes for work in December, so I can enjoy my next week

5 days until they arrive: organize office so it can be a bedroom

4 days until they arrive: survey the house to remove hazards for a crawling 10 month child

3 days until they arrive: clean house

2 days until they arrive: finishing touches on house and yard

1 day until they arrive: final grocery shopping, fix food, what have I forgotten?

The day they arrive: pick up the rental minivan, hug and hug, repeat

My son, his wife, and two daughters will arrive on Saturday to spend the week with us. We truly are thankful to share this holiday together.

Saturday I will get to put my arms around these two. I have not seen them since May. Can't wait!

Saturday I will get to put my arms around these two. I have not seen them since May. Can’t wait!




Can you ever go back to a previous time of your life and savor the experience? This photo sends me spiraling back in time to almost fifty-two years.

I am the fifth person on the front row. I think I was eight.

I am the fifth person on the front row. I think I was eight.

My family lived in a suburb of Chicago, but every summer we would travel from Chicago to Baldwin, Wisconsin. It was a grueling trip, five kids, two adults, no air conditioning. This trip took us all day, but in the end we landed at grandma and grandpa’s house.

Fun times were ready to begin. There were aunts, uncles, and cousins galore. Kids were shipped off to spend time with the cousins. Kids and parents met up once again at church on Sunday. After the service everyone headed to Grandma and Grandpa’s house where a feast was set up on picnic tables in the side yard.

At some point the cousins all had to gather in one place for the group photo on the side yard of grandma and grandpa’s house. Those where the best of times that live on in my memory.

Last fall I returned to Baldwin for the funeral of an aunt. I had my husband drive past my grandparent’s house. Decades ago they left this house (before they died), but it always remained firmly visualized in my mind. The house my eyes viewed, was not the house of my memory. This house was beaten down, there was no life spilling out onto the lawn. Weeds sprouted, screens were torn. It had not been loved in many years.

I think I will hold onto the memory of the home where twenty-nine grandchildren lined up to preserve a moment in time.

Text Messages Bring Smiles

The text tone on my phone is listed as glass. It sings a high pitched “Ding, ding” whenever a text comes in.

Previously, that sound did not raise my heartbeat or send me scurrying to locate my phone. But that’s all changed. Now, anticipation runs high whenever the high pitched ding plays. It could be a picture sent half way across the country bringing my granddaughter into the palm of my hand.

Clara was born January 3. We arrived to meet and greet her January 5. We spent the next four days holding her and savoring every moment with our family in California. Ever since then we have only had photos and videos sent via the phone. I am eternally grateful that we have the technology to bring family closer.


Great grandfather meets his great granddaughter.

Great grandfather meets his great granddaughter.