I couldn’t believe my luck! Delectable delights waiting to be devoured and I was the only one there. Look at all the maple seeds (they are also called samaras or kids call them helicopters – but I call them delicious!) just laying around.

I must admit, I wasn’t paying much attention to my surroundings because I was starving. I was here last week checking out this location and no one was around. Imagine my shock when a robin attacked me, immediately followed by a small blackish bird. They flew right at me and pecked my head! What was that all about? Quickly I dove for cover.

The hostas were perfect for hiding. I waited for a bit then cautiously crept out to continue my feast. Have you ever tried these seeds? They are the best in the spring!

Just as I settled back in for my feast, the birds were back interrupting my meal. I would have gladly shared my seeds, but they weren’t having it. They kept flying right into me so I had to hide out under the arborvitae tree.

Cautiously I crept out to continue my dinner, but I wasn’t safe for long.

Thank goodness for the safety in the hostas! Do you see that robin sitting on the fence. It was just waiting for me to creep out of my hiding place.

Eventually I gave up trying to have a peaceful meal. I climbed up the fence and was strolling along the top when the #%$@! bird came charging. I scurried across the top of that fence and hid in a dense viburnum bush. Maybe later I will go back and snack on a few seeds. Want to join me?

Find more stories, or write one of your own to share.

Surprise Visitor

You weren’t invited, but you decided to “pop in” to check out the neighborhood. You didn’t think anyone spotted you, but you were wrong. I saw you through the kitchen window.

You sat up, looked around, then climbed the nearest tree. Conveniently, you found a shelf. It was perfect for a rest and to observe the world below.

Soon you became bored and disappeared in the foliage. Will you be back?

Can you spot the squirrel?

We have lived in our house sixteen years and I think this is only the second time we have had a squirrel in our backyard. It was quite a surprise to see it and watch it from the kitchen window.

Don’t you have a story to share?

Not This Year

Hello friends! This is a short post just to let you know that I won’t be blogging every day in March as part of the month long writing challenge.

In 2011 I participated in my first March Challenge and continued to write almost every Tuesday and every March. I have made dear friends through blogging. I will continue to read slices this month, but I won’t be writing any beyond today. I am taking a break. (Yes, I know I started this break months ago.) ūüôā

Have a great month of blogging!


Water Everywhere

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

I go to the closet, take the weather forecast into account, and what I’m doing for the day before I pick out my clothes for the day. I don’t spend a lot of time considering what might happen to my clothes through the day. My hope is there won’t ever be a malfunction with my wardrobe.

Yesterday, I knew I would be spending half a day in a meeting. I knew I would be going for a pedicure after the meeting. I knew I would have dinner out with friends after the pedicure. So the clothing of the day had to be comfortable and able to be worn in all three situations. I opted for a knit pair of capris rather than denim and a light-weight knit tunic top. Wise decision . . .

Dinner was over, dishes had been removed from the table, and everyone was sitting around chatting when all of a sudden the table lurched and water glasses came flying towards me. Fortunately, I was on the end and able to jump up quickly when I realized what had just happened. A waterfall cascaded down the side of the table! My right side was soaked from my waist to my knees! My right sandal was water logged as water dripped off my foot. However, as I stood there trying to soak up water from my clothes, I realized that you couldn’t see how wet I was. The knits did not change color. Unless you touched me, you wouldn’t know half of my body was dripping wet.

At that moment, I was grateful for the decisions made earlier in the day. You just never know how your day will go.

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!


Summer Celebration

celebrate newSummer is that magical space of time to allow teachers to refresh and refuel their minds and bodies for the new school year. I wonder, how does summer feel to other professions? Other professions are allowed to take vacations at will. They are not tied to a school calendar, so they can travel when it is not peak vacation season. I’ve somewhat joined that group. I can plan my vacation during the school year, sometimes. It’s a joy to be able to do that, but summer still has an aura of it’s own.

Ruth created her list for the summer, which inspired me to create my summer list.

This summer I will:

  • Attend All-Write Conference where I will learn from experts, but also reconnect with blogging friends (which is the best part of All-Write).
  • Enjoy a summer tent theater production at our local university.
  • Meet with superintendent and principal of a new school to set up a calendar for next year.
  • Fly first class (using airline miles) to California to babysit my youngest granddaughter for about two weeks.
  • welcome my husband to join us for the second week of babysitting.
  • Perhaps visit with my California blogging friends (Kim, Julieanne, Dayna, are you going to be around in July?)
  • Spend time on the patio reading.
  • Visit farmer’s markets to find produce I don’t grow.
  • Savor the taste of home-grown tomatoes on a BLT.
  • Devour all the fruits of the summer: blackberries, peaches, pluots, watermelon, honeydew, strawberries.
  • Get a head start on the year by planning several of them in advance.
  • Learn from Laura Robb for two days.
  • Attempt to organize my piles of notebooks and papers.
  • Try some new recipes found on Pinterest.
  • Enjoy my days!

Summer will be a mix of lazy days, busy days, and working days. What does your summer look like?

Celebrating Passion

celebrate new

As I am driving home from the Write to Learn conference, thoughts ricochet through my brain like a pinball on speed. I’ve just spent the last three days listening to speakers who are passionate literacy learners. Jennifer Richards Jacobson spent an entire day sharing her passion¬†for writing workshop. What can I say about Taylor Mali’s passion? For an hour I listened as he read and recited poetry that speaks to the heart, particularly the heart of a teacher. A standing ovation completed his sharing. Inferring and metacognition were points of passion from Tanny McGregor. John Schumacher (Mr. Schu) exuded passion for books, libraries, apps/websites, but most of all for Kate DiCamillo, I hope every person who attended one of his three sessions, walked away with fire in their hearts for books. If they didn’t, they should not be allowed in schools near children.

Ron Clark was the keynote Saturday morning. Passion does not aptly describe, perhaps fervor or zeal fit this educator. As he moved about the ballroom, jumping on chairs, stepping onto table tops. he relayed his stories of the good, bad, ugly, but also joy of being a teacher. One story told, led to another story, then another until two hours passed. Passion for teaching has taken this man on a journey from North Carolina to Harlem in New York to developing his own academy in Atlanta, Georgia. His life is an example of what can happen when you live your passion.

One of my last sessions sent my brain into overdrive. Six word stories have always intrigued me. This took it to another level. Don Goble presented¬†Six-Word Story, Six Unique Shots: Enhancing Writing Through Multimedia. He has created a free book that can be¬†downloaded on iTunes. High school students created 18-30 second videos for their six word stories. Here is a link to several. Let me recommend you viewing Told one lie, trust was broken. Be prepared to be in awe. I was. But this isn’t just for high school. Click here to find a six word story video from a student from Kristin Ziemke’s first grade class. Scroll down until you see PT 6 word story: This Is School. If you have watched these videos, you will know why my brain was on fire as I drove home. I want to try creating this six word story, but I don’t have the video skill knowledge, yet. (Bonnie, I need you!) Stay tuned one day there may be a six word video celebration.

Passion drives us to heights we can’t even imagine. I celebrate passion for learning!


Wonder Lights

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

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

Think about the name of an event called Garden Glow. Doesn’t it sound like a magical place? It is.

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The St. Louis Botanical Gardens create glowing grounds with lights that slide, glitter, and pulse to the beat of music drifting in the air. It casts a spell on the wanderers as they follow the path.

Light drips through the trees as cars pull into the parking lot of the gardens. Once inside you are drawn to the glowing lights in fountains and garden pools. The lights change colors right before your eyes.

It is a one way path that leads you through one amazing exhibit of color and light to the next. “Ooh!” ¬†“Aah!” “Look here, look up!” These are the sounds filling the air as you meander down the path.

This year no one shivered or moved at a quick pace to keep warm. The mild temperatures allowed you to linger in each display.

As you leave the glow of the lights remain in your memory. Watching the lines of people waiting to enter, you smile because you know what is waiting for them.

A tunnel of miniature lights ends this magical walk.

A tunnel of miniature lights ends this magical walk.


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

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

Musicals put a smile on my face and get my feet tapping. I confess, I LOVE musicals. My mother had soundtracks for Oklahoma!, Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, and many more. Those were the tunes playing whenever chores were being completed. I could sing along to each and every tune. It was many years later that I actually saw the stage performance of these shows.

My love of musicals continued as I sat rapt with attention to Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. My personal favorite has been Les Miserables, but that may change in February.

Wicked is coming to our city! Growing up, The Wizard of Oz was a must see movie¬†event. My siblings and I sat glued to the television. We ate dinner off TV trays (a rare event) so we wouldn’t miss a single second. This movie was magic! So you can imagine my excitement when Wicked came out. However, I was never in a place where it was playing. (Isn’t that just so sad?)

When the performing arts center announced their new line up of shows this year, my heart skipped a beat. Wicked was listed for February! However, tickets were not on sale, yet.

Sunday’s paper announced tickets would go on sale at 7:00 a.m. Friday.¬†I would be there, waiting in line to get some great seats. All this changed when I happened to check my email today. Because I am a subscriber to the newspaper, I could go on-line to get tickets today! My heart skipped a beat! Here was the chance to avoid rising in the dark, shivering¬†in line¬†on a frosty morning with a multitude of strangers.

Quickly my fingers flew to the web site. I entered the password and now the choice had to be made. What day, what time, where to sit? The web site had a counting down clock, I only have three minutes to complete this portion. My heart is racing, my fingers tap, tapping out the information as quickly as possible. Hit the send button. What? The message states, “your email does not match.” Quickly retyping, clock is ticking. Submit.

You have purchased your tickets. Relief! So in February, I will be singing along to Defying Gravity, Popular, and many more. Can’t wait!

Another Tree Tale

Last week’s final sentence, “The backyard has more mottled shade than before, but hopefully the next wild wind that blows in our direction will slip between the branches and leave the limbs intact.” My hopes were crushed and blown away.

Saturday morning, the sun turned the thermostat to high. Slowly we strolled through the farmer’s market, collecting the ingredients for our dinner, Southwestern chopped salad. The plans called for keeping cool in the movie theater, so we were discussing where should we go for lunch before the movie. As we chatted, the room grew darker and darker. A quick look outside surprised us with a gray sky. The forecast did not include rain.

As we gathered items on the patio, the wind began to blow. The trees began to sway. The wind became more angry. It was a bully pushing the limbs back and forth. Every leaf hung on for dear life, some lost the battle and went whirling away.

We retreated to the house to watch and wait. Would the thinning be enough to withstand the power of the wind? Unfortunately the answer came when the limb came crashing to the ground. By the time the storm moved on we had broken limbs dangling, on the ground, and behind the fence.

This was the largest limb that fell.

This was the largest limb that fell.

The sun boldly appeared as we squished through the grass to assess the damage. Immediately the chopping tools were brought out. Basket after basket was filled with chopped branches.

Ten baskets were filled and brought to the recycling center.

Ten baskets were filled and brought to the recycling center.






“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” was certainly true this day. Did we even dream that we’d be chopping limbs? No way!

We did make it to the movie, a much later showing than originally planned. And yes, the

Another before and after of this poor beaten tree.

Another before and after of this poor beaten tree.

Southwest chopped salad was delicious.