Prior, Previously, Before

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

PLOP! Something liquid and white lands on the page of the booklet I am holding. Ewww! But all were thankful that the paper caught the dropping and no body was splattered.

Prior to the plop, we had been admiring the art booths along the street. We had just stopped to chat about the wines sampled so far.

Previously, my friends and I had been sampling wines from ten different local wineries.

Earlier, we were traveling down the road to attend the art and wine festival. Of course there were several stops along the way. First stop was Sonic for strawberry water. Next stop was lunch at a Thai restaurant. Then on to the art and winefest!

Before noon, we gathered at my house, loaded up the car, and took off for a destination  to the east. The retiree did not know where we were going or what we were doing.

Weeks before, I verified that my retiring friend would be available on a particular  Saturday/Sunday in May.

Months prior to our date, my friend and I plotted to whisk a retiring friend away to celebrate her retirement at the 36th Art Fair and Winefest in Washington, Missouri.



Celebrating Friends

celebrate new

Saturdays are usually set aside to reflect on celebrations from the past week. For the month of March, those celebrations are also a slice of my life.

Ruth Ayres deserves the top spot of celebration today. I celebrate Ruth and the way she strings words together to touch hearts, but also to encourage writers. It was her urging that finally pushed me into creating a blog and begin writing slices. I was not a writer just to write. I only wrote because I had to complete an assignment, a form, to communicate

Every lady here is a friend because I blog.

Every lady here is a friend because I blog.

with someone. Crafting words to preserve small moments of my life was not even on my horizon. I am so sorry I didn’t know the joy of writing when my son was young. So many stories lost. Ruth introduced me to a new world and filled it with friends from around the globe. Thank you Ruth!

Don’t you just love impromptu gatherings? As I sat reading slices yesterday, my phone photo (9)dinged there was a text. Yes, I can make it, I responded. So 4:30 found me enjoying the company of my friends who were celebrating the beginning hours of spring break. Sometimes you just need to step out of the routine of the ordinary and celebrate the moments of spontaneity.

BFFs, munchies, wine makes for a happy hour!

BFFs, munchies, wine makes for a happy hour!

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

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



Birthday Celebrations Abound!

celebrate new

It’s been a week of birthday celebrations!

On Wednesday, my mother celebrated her 85th birthday! But she was not the only one celebrating. One year ago, my great-nephew, sweet Asher, came into the world to share his special day with his great-grandmother. They were able to celebrate their shared

Two birthdays on one day. Happy 85th mom and 1st Asher!

Two birthdays on one day. Happy 85th mom and 1st Asher!

birthday at my brother’s home, but today I get to celebrate with them at Chuck E Cheese. I can’t say I celebrate the location, but I know I will enjoy the company. Celebrating two birthdays of special people on one day!

My friend, Tiffany,  had a birthday in January, but circumstances prevented the annual girlfriend celebration of her birthday until this week. The stars aligned and we were able to meet up for a delicious burger and shake dinner in a new restaurant.

I arrived first (after spending fifteen minutes looking for a parking place 😦 ). I could barely get in the door, it was so packed. This did not bode well for our plans. Forty-five minutes to an hour was the wait time. The girl at the desk asked if that was all right. She was surprised by my answer, I told her no that wasn’t all right (I was hungry!). I spied three seats at the counter bar, could I take those? Yes, they were available. My friends arrived and we began the celebration.

This restaurant serves interesting burgers. My burger was called Jamaican Me Crazy (jerk seasoning, ghost pepper jack cheese, jalapeno date mayo). Tiffany went with Hippie Jen (spinach lemon quinoa patties as buns, filled with cucumber, avocado, onion, basil, and hummus). Janet opted for the Ugly Cheeseburger (a typical burger with white cheddar cheese). Not only are they known for the burgers, but shakes also. These shakes are made with frozen custard from a local stand. Yum, yum, and more yum! Several times during our meal the bartender would plop down a sample of the the shakes he was making. Wise choice is seating! This will be a birthday celebration to savor!

One final celebration (although not birthday related) .  . . I finally got to see Wicked! I loved the show!

What a week filled with celebrations! I hope your week was filled with celebrations too.




A Most Magnificent Friend

Sometimes you doubt yourself. Sometimes you just need a little confirmation that you are on the right track. Sometimes you think too long inside your head and you wonder, “Does this make sense? Is this information useful?”

I was there, doubting, wondering, needing confirmation. S.O.S in the form of a text went out to my friend: “I could use some feedback on my presentation. Could we meet soon?” Thankfully she was able to make time to meet the next day at a Panera Bread after school.

We talked through the presentation, tweaked a few slides, discussed the handout. She approved. My thinking was confirmed and a sigh of relief settled over me.

On the way out, she casually asked if I had the book, The Most Magnificent Thing. I reminded her I had not yet had a chance to see it, but wanted to find it. She reached into her car and handed me the book. “This is for you, because you are always there to help me when I call.”

What a magnificent friend she is! That’s what friends do, they are there for support in the good times and tough times. They can also surprise you with a most magnificent book. Thank you my most magnificent friend!

magnif thing

Reasons to Celebrate

This week I was away from home. I spent four days modeling writing lessons in grades 3-5 and one day meeting with K-5 teachers on their plan period. It was an exhausting week! I celebrate that I survived and have completed all my days contracted in this school.

This is an inner city school. If you have never worked in an inner city school it would be impossible to comprehend how difficult life can be for these teachers and students. I celebrate the determination that these teachers have to return to their classes day after day. I don’t know if I could have spent my career in this situation. I am so thankful for the districts that I did work in.

Returning home was a reason to celebrate, but to make it even better, I was able to meet up with my friends to enjoy a coffee and lots of conversation. They heard my tale of woe and I listened to the stories of their life. It was a time to refuel the soul. That’s what friends do.

Today, the breeze is warm. The grill will be uncovered (for a short time) to give me char-grilled burgers and veggies tonight. I celebrate the tastes of summer. Tomorrow will be another story, so I will savor the flavors of this day.

Noticing celebrations makes my weekend happy.

Celebrating Birthdays and More

Once again it is time to reflect on the moments of celebration from the past seven days. Today I am prepared as I’ve started jotting quick notes in a notebook. I must confess, I am not an intentional writer in a notebook. Hopefully this practice will help me to remember and notice more celebrations.

First: My father-in-law turned 84 on Monday. That in itself is a celebration, but the day before produced a celebration of its own. On Sunday my husband, Mike, was driving up to be with his father for his birthday. As he was moving down the interstate, he noticed a car with windows open (it was chilly out), so this alerted him to pay attention. Mike thought this was the driver’s way to wake himself up. He kept watching as the car moved from side to side. Finally the car veered off into the median and the jolt woke the driver who was able to control the car and bring it to a stop. Mike stopped to check and see if the man was okay. He was, but he was badly shaken by the near miss of an accident. He was a soldier headed back to Ft. Leonard Wood. I celebrate that no one was injured and that Mike was able to check on the soldier.

Second: The 84th birthday celebration was a success. The father and son spent a enjoyable day together which involved a movie, Thai food, and ice cream.

Third: I also celebrated a friend’s birthday this week. Dinner out with the girls to toast friendship and birthdays.

Fourth: The weather gets a shout out from me, because it did not interfere with my working this week. Although it was cold, there was no snow or ice to make driving hazardous.

Fifth: I celebrate my OLW (sweet). All of a sudden this word is present in conversations I’ve had this week. That has made me stop and jot notes related to its usage. It will be interesting see where and when this word pops up this year.

I’m looking forward to discovering more celebrations next week. Are you?


Another Week of Celebrations

Have you noticed all the celebrations that seem to pop up in your day? Moments that would be mentally acknowledged with a smile in your mind, now become a small hug to yourself as you revisit them again and share with the world what you celebrated this week. Here is how I celebrated this week:

Monday: I met up with my girlfriends to share a burger and beverage. There is a fine dining restaurant (entrees are $30 and that does not include salad) that has its bar in the basement and they serve great burgers for cheap during their happy hour. The first time I visited this place was on my birthday this year. That’s when I knew I’d be returning with my best buds. Of course it was a celebration just to be with my friends, but there was an added bonus. On this night the bar was implementing a new menu of burgers and they were only . . . are you ready? . . . an unbelievable price . . . $1.00! Yes, you read that right! One measly dollar for a rather large burger, any burger on their menu. I jumped on the one with blue cheese (my favorite!). The burgers came plain but there was a fixings bar set up so you could dress it any way you wanted. Let me say YUM!

Tuesday: A kindergarten teacher sent me a request for a poem that I had used with them. She could not find her copy, could I please send this to her. Poem sent. Moments later a new email appeared in my inbox.


Sometimes you just need to read this.

Wednesday: I spent the morning with a fifth grade teacher and got to model Kylene Beers’s strategy of Tea Party using Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds. If you don’t know Tea Party, check it out here. The fifth graders loved it! As they read their strips, they were to figure out who the characters were and what seems to be the problem. None of the strips had any of the characters named on them but they did have clues. Who do you think might be a “bad kitty,” or a “husky fish with a healthy appetite.”

Side note to the name of this strategy. A seventh grade teacher mentioned that the name of this strategy did not set well with her kids, so they renamed it Strip Tease. Yup, middle school and high school could definitely get behind an activity with that name. 🙂

The rest of the day was spent with  teachers of grades 4-8 exploring close reading and the first writing standard. The good news is I was prepared to discuss all the standards, so most of my work for January is ready! Celebrate that! because January is going to be a crazy month for me. (Praying there are no snow days!)

Thursday: I had the opportunity to watch the musical “Cats” put on by the high school kids of my school district I retired from. As I perused the cast list, I discovered one of my former Reading Recovery students was Mr. Mistoffelees. What a fabulous job these kids did! It makes you proud to see how they have grown from first grade.

Friday: I went to a new food truck lot where I had a taste of England. It was a pasty (pass-tee), a meat and potato handheld pie. It was tasty and I know I will return to this truck, but maybe on a little warmer day. However, I also celebrate that my friend was able to attend a conference on this day and hear Georgia Heard speak. I know I will also get to learn from Georgia Heard through my friend. So I celebrate the new thinking in nonfiction writing that will be coming my way.

Saturday: The day is young, I wonder, what celebrations lie in store for me today?

What have you celebrated this week?