Creation of a List

A few weeks back I received notice from Twitter that I was mentioned in a tweet. Of course, I immediately was curious because I am a wish-I-could understand-Twitter-and-use-it-more-but-I-don’t kind of Twitterer. Terje (Just for a Month) had tossed a challenge my way. Create a list of 100 things I am grateful for. Whew, that’s a lot, but I let the idea simmer in my mind. Then last week Jaana (Jaana’s Writing Blog) created and delivered her list. I knew I had to get started. So here is my list of 100 things I am grateful for:

 

  1. my husband
  2. my son
  3. a daughter-in-law
  4. a granddaughter
  5. a granddaughter waiting to be born
  6. family near and far
  7. friends near
  8. friends from long ago
  9. a comfortable home
  10. a teaching career
  11. connections through blogging
  12. opportunities for learning
  13. Friends of the Library sale
  14. good health
  15. time to savor life
  16. ocean cruises
  17. wandering
  18. pizza
  19. scarves
  20. picture books
  21. a comfortable car to travel in
  22. sunshine
  23. awesome neighbors
  24. road trips
  25. having an office for my “stuff”
  26. professional books
  27. a son who usually calls weekly
  28. grilled cheese
  29. camera in my phone
  30. nieces and nephews
  31. blue cheese
  32. work colleagues
  33. toasty fires
  34. Italian cream cake
  35. visiting family
  36. new recipes to try
  37. Draw Something friends
  38. iPad with photos
  39. key lime pie concretes at Andy’s Frozen Custard in July
  40. biking
  41. Thanksgiving with family
  42. cousins who cook fabulous dinners (yes, that is you Phillip)
  43. eating out
  44. pumpkin food in the fall
  45. mail
  46. bright colors
  47. husband who keeps everything clean
  48. coffee with friends
  49. some time alone (not a lot)
  50. meeting slicers (17 so far)
  51. anything with coconut
  52. a great teacher retirement system
  53. fuzzy lined moccasin slippers
  54. granite counter tops
  55. comfortable patio furniture where I can read and enjoy sunshine
  56. heated seats in cars
  57. internet connection
  58. surprises
  59. discovering nature’s wonder
  60. bead stores
  61. bead stores with a sale
  62. blog comments
  63. Pandora
  64. Christmas celebrations
  65. diet cherry Dr. Pepper
  66. just picked peaches
  67. pedicures
  68. river cruises
  69. hamburgers
  70. freedoms of our country
  71. down pillows
  72. watermelon in summer
  73. computer techs
  74. teachers who want to learn
  75. pasta meals
  76. juicy berries
  77. cups that don’t sweat
  78. taking my mom out for a meal
  79. on-line shopping
  80. ice cream
  81. hot running water
  82. bookstores
  83. cozy comforters
  84. NCIS reruns (love Gibbs)
  85. Instagram
  86. changing seasons
  87. finding bargains
  88. garden tomatoes
  89. crispy bacon
  90. getting into a sun-warmed car on a cold day
  91. dark chocolate
  92. fleece vests
  93. appliances that make life easier
  94. snow days
  95. snow blower
  96. ice makers
  97. fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm when I type
  98. friendly smiles
  99. All Write Conference
  100. a husband who helped me get to 100 items when my brain shut down

gratitude

If you made it all the way to the end, I congratulate you. Now I challenge you to develop your own list. 🙂

Another Day

The day after the ant invasion (last week’s slice), my husband and I were hoping for a calmer day. We would not be meeting up with family, as they all needed to complete some work before we take off for our Catalina adventure. This day would roll out leisurely as we revisited places we had enjoyed previously. The highlight of the day would occur late afternoon. I was meeting up with a fellow slicer, Julieanne, who writes To Read To Write To Be.

Unfortunately, Julieanne  had quite a distance to travel to meet me at the designated shopping center after teaching all day. I didn’t mind waiting because this center has wonderful patio furniture for weary shoppers. I was able to settle into a comfy chair and people watch as I waited for Julieanne.

I pulled out my mini-notebook and began jotting notes of life happening around me. There was a large patch of astroturf, which was a magnet for toddlers, older siblings, parents, and grandparents. The children roamed free in this space surrounded by white adirondack chairs. Adults monitored their children from the comfort of the chairs, as the children discovered the joys of movement and each other. After a short time, they moved on and others came to take their place.

One phone is not enough for this little lady.

One phone is not enough for this little lady.

Humans weren’t the only creatures to watch. Birds stopped by to see if there were any crumbs left behind. A couple of girls began tossing pretzel bits out on the grass. It is amazing how many birds showed up to grab a morsel. The pretzel bit was snatched and they flew just out of reach of other birds to gobble their treasure.

Little beggars for crumbs

Little beggars for crumbs

It looks rather disgusted with me. "Well, aren't you going to feed me?"

It looks rather disgusted with me. “Well, aren’t you going to feed me?”

Soon, Julieanne arrived and we wandered away from my observation post in search of dinner. How quickly the hours passed as we talked of slicing, school, and blogs. Hopefully, we will be able to meet up again. It is such a treat to meet the person behind the words I so enjoy reading.

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I was basking in the joy of my conversations when my husband said, “I have something to show you,” as he handed me his cell phone. “This came from Blake (neighbor across the street) today.”

Slowly it dawned on me what I was seeing. “What happened?” I asked.

tree down

It seems that a freak storm came through with wind blowing out of the north (normally wind comes from the west). A huge portion of the maple tree in our front yard landed on the garage and driveway. Fortunately the neighbors reported that there was no damage to the house, but it did not look good for the tree.

The neighbors swooped in with chainsaws and cleared the broken limb away within a day. From California, we arranged for an arborist assess the damage to the tree. It could not be saved. This was heartbreaking, this tree always had the most beautiful colors in the fall.

I loved the way the colors seemed to slide down the tree. This is from last year.

I loved the way the colors seemed to slide down the tree. This is from last year.

We learned that the red maple is a hybrid and not a particularly strong tree. The limbs grow so densely that the air cannot get through, which causes them to break. We have two more of these trees in our backyard. The only way to ensure this won’t happen is to trim the branches and create open spaces. When the tree company came to remove the tree, they trimmed all our other trees.

The removal of the tree was monitored by all the neighbors, since we were not yet home. It was a sad sight to turn the corner and not have our tree to greet us.

All that was left of the tree.

All that was left of the tree.

This machine removes stumps and roots. All that is left behind is a patch of dirt.

This machine removes stumps and roots. All that is left behind is a patch of dirt.

Tomorrow a new tree is being planted. It is a Pacific Sunset Maple, the arborist promises this one will be strong.

 

Glimpses

Today Kim left. It has been an action packed week of fun, fun, fun. On Saturday, I listed some highlights from each day. There were so many moments worthy of being a true slice, but I don’t have the time or energy to develop them properly. Some of the moments will live deep in my heart as memories to savor. Here are a few more glimpses into my past week.

My one little word this year has been sweet. I have found sweetness in being with friends and family. These people are especially important in difficult times. So it was particularly sweet for Kim to bring me a gift bag with some “sweets” inside.

sweet

The first stop on my tour of St. Louis for Kim was the botanical gardens. The Climatron had a special exhibit with Lego sculptures incorporated into the plants.

These strange critters were mostly made of Legos.

These strange critters were mostly made of Legos.

I took lots of picture of flowers and plants. Perhaps these photos may appear in another post, but here are a few to give you a glimpse into the gardens.

These gates had Chihuly glass. There were other places throughout the gardens with more of this glass.

These gates had Chihuly glass. There were other places throughout the gardens with more of this glass.

 

 

Elizabethan herb quilt garden.

Elizabethan herb quilt garden.

Not everything was plant based in the gardens. We spotted several geckos wandering about.

Not everything was plant based in the gardens. We spotted several geckos wandering about.

The Arch is a must do for any visitor to the city.

Kim snaps a picture of Cardinal stadium from the top of the Arch.

Kim snaps a picture of Cardinal stadium from the top of the Arch.

Dinner with Slicers and Tweeters and others was a wonderful way to cap off the day.

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Christy is all smiles.

 

 

 

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Tam and Ruth, wonder what they are focusing their attention on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ruthRuth inspired and filled hearts with her opening message. I wish it had been filmed and saved on You Tube. It would be a video to view over and over.

My day was spent with Mary Helen, Tammy Shultz, Franki Sibberson, and ColbySharp. Each one nudged me to think in a new way.

After the entertaining dinner with Barry Lane, a group of us sat outside visiting. Eventually we had to move our talk inside, but it was fun to visit with new and old friends.group

Friday came too early, and once again my thinking was pushed by Martha Horn, Kristin Ziemke, and Kelly Gallagher. This evening had a perfect ending. Dinner at a delightful restaurant with very special friends.

Next week, I will share the adventures of map reading. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Anticipation!

It was May 2012, I was in southern California, and I knew a new blogger from the March challenge was somewhere near. I thought about contacting her. I had her email because she had commented on my blog. Do I reach out or do I return home wondering what would have happened if I contacted her? The first week went by, I did not contact her.

During the second week, I clicked send and an email was sent into cyberspace. My heart thumped in my chest when I saw a response in my inbox. Did she want to meet? Yes! She did want to meet me!

We met for lunch, but it wasn’t long enough. We talked for several hours, but still it wasn’t enough. However, it had to do for that first meeting.

The next year we met again. This time we spent the day together. Still it wasn’t enough time.

Then I hatched a plan for her to come back to the Midwest and we could have a road trip to the All Write conference. That might give us enough time together. 🙂

Monday was a waiting game. Waiting for Kim (from Learning Tour Writing Stop) to arrive. She wasn’t due to land until 8:40 p.m., but her flight was early. I was still ten minutes away from the airport when she called to tell me she was here. That was great because we have so much to do. It was a late night of talking, but today our adventure begins.

If you are reading this in the morning, we are on our way to St. Louis for a quick tour. If you are reading this later in the day, we may be on our way to the top of the Arch. Or we could be at the Botanical Gardens. But if you are reading this after dinner, we have eaten an Italian meal on The Hill (click here for info).

Wednesday morning we will head for Warsaw. The next two days will fly by with lots of learning and meeting friends from the slicing world. Before we start back to Missouri we hope to visit the Amish area north of Warsaw. Rumor has it there are garden quilts to view.

The next few days will be fun, fun, fun!

 

 

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

Meeting Slicers

Attending the All Write conference allowed me to learn from professionals I have admired, but that’s not the highlight of those conference days. When I think back on what I remember the most, it has to be meeting those I think of as my friends who write.

I left early Wednesday morning from my father-in-laws home which is just west of St. Louis. I figured it would take me about seven hours. As I drove, my heart would begin to pound from the sheer anticipation of the next two days when I thought about who I would be meeting. The miles flew by and before I knew it I was in Warsaw.

Just after I had checked in, I was hauling my luggage to the room when I noticed someone appeared to be having difficulty with the key in the lock. A hotel staff member helped her out just as I reached the door. She turned, looked at me, and said, “I know you.” Then she disappeared down the hall. My mind raced, I decided that had to be Nanc from Two Years and Finishing Strong. I deposited my stuff in the room then went wandering down the hall to see if I could find her. I didn’t, so I returned to my room for a few minutes. The next time I stepped into the hall, she was there and it was Nanc. We hugged, chatted, and planned to meet to check in at the conference together.

We were about to leave the registration when Nanc spotted Ruth. What an exciting moment for me! Plus Mary Helen (Book Savors) and Deb G. (Delivering Reading Passion) were also there. More hugs all around! This was just the beginning of a perpetual smile on my face.

Mary Helen chauffeured us to the restaurant where the Slicers and Tweeps were gathering. Here is where I need to confess, I am not a particularly outgoing personality. In new situations or with new people, I will sit back and observe, deciding whether or not this is something I want to participate in. I didn’t have to do that last week. I already knew so much about the people that surrounded me. I wanted to know more, so questions were asked and answered. There was no awkward pausing, we were friends getting together for a meal. So much happy chatter surrounded us. At times the noise level reached a school cafeteria din. I kept expecting a reprimand. Fortunately none came. I sat across from Betsy and Robin and discovered they were teammates. Hopefully their friend, Tina will be convinced to join in the slicing world. Ramona was beside me with Nanc next to her. Cathy was at the other end. That was just our table. There were more tables filled with friends from cyberspace.

I tried to relax, I knew I would have two more days with Linda, Christy, Bonnie, Mary Helen, and Ruth. I didn’t know this was my only opportunity to visit with Tam. I am so sad that we only shared a hug with a few words. Next year (I hope there will be a next year) we must talk.

I feel blessed to have had this opportunity to spend time with so many fellow Slicers. I cannot thank Ruth and Mary Helen enough for hanging out with us out-of-towners. This experience was a highlight in my life. I’m sure the people back home are sick of me talking about my new (but really you are not new) friends.

Here are a few group shots. Is that really me with Slicing friends? Yes! Wow! I never would have believed it.

lunch

friends 2

us

Tomorrow I will continue to meet Slicers. Judy and Michelle are meeting me in Branson. I can’t wait!