Swirling :SOL18

swirling

     Until I come home
     and see this

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And recall my one little word…
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300 Posts: #SOL18

Today, and every Tuesday,  I join the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers.  Won’t you join us?

300 posts

Today I celebrate the writing of 300 posts!

I began my blogging journey on January 5, 2014 after reading other bloggers write what they called “slices.”  I decided to try my hand at writing one myself even though I didn’t really know what the word meant, I just wanted to be a teacher who wrote.  Over the years I’ve discovered this manner of learning by diving in has its pluses and minuses,  but I will NEVER regret jumping in to this beloved community of writers.

Each week this tribe shows me to write with my heart and my soul, to take risks and to be vulnerable.  This writing community reminds me that writing is work, work that takes time, energy and focus, and sometimes chocolate too!  Finally, this community reminds me of the importance of being part of a group of writers that support each other through the sharing of comments and resources.

This week I celebrate the writing of 300 posts – but what I am really celebrating is being part of a wonderful group of like minded people that accept my writing – and me – each and every Tuesday!

Thank you Two Writing Teachers Community!

Summer Calendar #SOL

It’s Tuesday and I am joining the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers today.  Check it out!

 

Summer is on the horizon with only twelve days of school remaining in the 2017-2018 school year.  As of writing this post my summer plans include a short vacation with the kids, leading  a few PD opportunities, participating in the learning at #cyberpd, and of course some summer reading.  Yes, learning is typically at the top of my agenda, but I also realize that I need some time to read fun books, relax, exercise, and catch up with friends. Unfortunately for the last few summers I have found my balance of fun and professional reading has been unbalanced, the catching up with friends has not happened as often as I’d like, and plans for fun quickly go by the wayside.  The days of summer fly by and suddenly it’s late August and my dreams for summer fun fade.  So this year I am taking a page from the book:  It’s All About the Books by Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan.  Clare and Tammy suggest giving our students a calendar to block out their summer activities and add where and what they can read. My idea is to take that calendar idea and adapt it to plan out my summer.

After printing out a blank calendar, I’d start with my number one priority, putting in my family vacation and days to play with the grandbabies.  I’d add my summer reading goals on the side margins, making sure that the professional and personal books are balanced appropriately.  I’d make note of a few days to do something fun with friends, and even a day or two here and there for something fun for myself.  Finally, I’d leave a few day intentionally blank so that I can get lost in a great read!

As I think about the possibilities that this calendar idea holds for me and my summer wellness, I grow excited.  I want to print out that calendar and get started right away.  I see the possibilities for balance within reach using this tool.  Sharing this post publicly means I now have to follow through with making this a reality so I guess the second entry on this calendar will be Tuesday SOL check-ins to share my progress!

Stay tuned.

Memorial Day Traditions #SOL18

It’s Tuesday and I’m writing along with the community over at Two Writing Teachers.  Feel free to join in the writing fun.

Memorial Day Traditions

When I was a little girl, Memorial Day was spent driving around the city of Worcester placing cemetery baskets on the graves of my relatives.  Many of these people died long before I was born so this tradition, while important to my mother and my aunt, held little meaning to me.  As I grow older I find myself repeating these traditions despite the unpleasant memories they may stir.  Old traditions are indeed hard to break and this is one of those traditions that nags at me and at times drags me down.

This year was no different.  I had put off visiting his stone all weekend long.  I filled my days with yard work, and grand babies, and everything fun.  But suddenly it was 3pm on Monday and I had some time.  Time to run to the local nursery and pick out a few flowers to plant.  I convinced myself this time would be different and that I could go alone and be fine with planting in his memory.  I shopped around and found his favorite, portulaca, the funny spiny succulent plant that blooms no matter what and are typically loaded with bright colors and happiness.  I placed the plants into the trunk and drove to the cemetery.

Once there I saw a familiar figure in the distance.  As I drove closer I realized that it was my sister and brother in law. How strange that of all times to go and then to see family walking near his stone.  I got out of the car and my sister immediately wrapped her arms around me, embracing long and hard.  We cried for a few minutes and then walked the hill holding hands and chatting.  She had just stopped on her way home from her weekend of camping and still smelled of fires and all things outdoors.  I loved the aroma, bringing me back to Memorial Day camp outs long ago with our kids in tow.  Once at the stone I looked down and immediately spotted a four leaf clover.  How strange to come across a lucky sign here.

After my sister left I thought about the serendipitous gifts I had just experienced: my sister and the clover.  I realized that this was all meant to be and that some traditions are meant to bring comfort like this day did.   I am not saying it is easy to visit the grave of your spouse, but when you come across loving family and pick up a four leaf clover of good luck, you realize that some things are best repeated.  I picked up my garden tools, snipped off a few sprigs of mint planted last Memorial Day and went home to make his favored drink – a mojito.  Cheers Dave. And here’s to tradition!

New Shoes, Old Shoes

It’s Tuesday and I’m joining the wonderful writing community over at Two Writing Teachers today.  Take a peek and consider joining in!

New Shoes, Old Shoes:

or Letting Go of the Old to Make Way for the New

Clip! Clop! Clip! Clop! Clop! Clop! Clop!

That was the sound of my shoes as I walked down the stairs dressed for work last week.  The sound was odd and I had to immediately sit down to investigate the clopping noise only to find that the straps on my favorite summer sandals had detached from the sole.  I was devastated.  I loved those shoes and I couldn’t think about summer without my go to pair of wedges.  They are my summer staples!  I made the quick decision to wear them to work anyway and headed out the door.

For the entire day I obsessed over the deteriorating condition of my foot wear.  Each time  I sat down I glanced at the worsening effects of my decision to keep the shoes on my feet.  I wondered if I could glue the soles back together using my handy glue gun.  Maybe I could make it through the summer with that quick fix.  I am not one to toss away items at the first sign of wear, rather I pride myself on making every attempt to fix things – a hold over from having depression era parents I guess.  But as I investigated the make-up of the footwear I realized that glue would be very temporary and not hold at all.  Once home I took off my wedges and made the big decision to throw them in the trash.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to retrieve those precious shoes from the barrel, especially after spending an hour searching online to replace them with the exact same pair of shoes.  A frustrating shoe shopping trip on Friday night had me thinking about not letting go.  I was desperately searching to find the same shoes and of course that style was no longer available five years later!  I just couldn’t see beyond those shoes.  My eyes remained closed to any new possibility for my feet!

I started to wonder if I am this way with teaching?  Am I afraid to throw out old habits and ways, fearing they will not be as comfortable? Am I open to trying out new styles or ways of looking at things? Do I hang on tight to my way of doing things?  Can I find a happy medium and incorporate some of the old with the new or should I start fresh?  My reflection revealed that sometimes new things are difficult for me, but when I can take  time to read and reflect my attitude of change changes.

Next year brings about many shifts to my role and my responsibilities.  I know this new position will be difficult and require me to embrace change and not fear the new.

blue nails
                     Not my “real” sandals                                     Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

I will definitely need to be open to trying out alternative ways of learning and growing, and even be ready to trying out new thoughts and methods on the spot.  I am ready for the challenge!

And who knows,  by then I might even be sporting a new, stylish, and comfortable pair of sandals too!

Words Matter: Keep Your Smile #SOL18

Today is Tuesday and it’s time to share my slice of life story with the community at Two Writing Teachers.  Check it out and consider joining in the writing fun!

Words matter: Keep Your Smile

Last Friday as I was driving to work I noticed my gas tank was reading nearly empty so I decided to head into my neighborhood gas station to fill up.  I was feeling a little rushed, wanting to get to school early so I could finish up a few projects in the quiet of the day before the teachers and students arrived.  I didn’t want to take the time to stop now but thought it better to stop now than late Friday afternoon when I simply wanted to get home. I quickly rolled down the window and gave the attendant my credit card.  I heard the whoosh of the gas filling my tank and I decided to take the time to check my to do list on my phone. Soon thereafter I heard that familiar ‘click’ signaling my gas tank was full.

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The attendant returned to my car window and politely said “keep your smile” as he handed me my receipt.  I was stunned with these words – “keep your smile.” The words rolled off the tongue so easily yet I don’t think I had ever heard the phrase said quite like the attendant had that Friday morning.

I thought about those words as I drove to work and as I walked into the building.   How would I “keep my smile” today?  I had much to do but those words just continued to pop up in my mind.  Everywhere I went and all that I completed that long Friday came back to the words “keep your smile.”  My attitude of smiling all day was definitely impacted by the words of the gas attendant earlier that morning.  The phrase uttered to me changed my day, put a bounce in my step and allowed me to accomplish all I had on my to do list – and with a smile. I was struck by the power of a stranger’s words said to me at a gas station, of all places.

I was left thinking about my words and how they can impact the students and teachers I work with. It was a quick reminder that everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life – simply by saying the right words at the right time.  How powerful is that: words do matter. 

How have words changed your day? What were those words?

I’m Taking a Vacation From My Problems

It’s Tuesday and I’m sharing my writing with the folks at Two Writing Teachers, a community of writers who foster writing as a way of life.  Won’t you join in on the fun?

I’m Taking a Vacation From My Problems

“I like your shirt.”

I had to look down to see which t-shirt I threw on before running out to the garden shop last Saturday in hopes of arranging my mulch delivery.

 

“Thanks!”

I replied with a chuckle.  The gentleman was commenting on my shirt which read: “I’m taking a vacation from my problems,” a line from our family favorite movie, What About Bob.  img_0321.jpgWe had the t-shirts made years ago for a family sailing trip and wearing it again made me smile as I recollected that fun trip.

Mulch order placed and daylight burning, I ran home to get to work cleaning out the beds of fall leaf litter and fallen branches.  I couldn’t help but think about my shirt’s message. Gardening was certainly one way I take a vacation from my problems.  In the garden my mind is allowed to wander and wonder.  I truly can vacation here in the dirt, away from all those problems that press down on me on a regular basis.

My wonderings took me to thinking about other people’s “vacations.”  I recalled a conversation I had with a student on the day we returned from April break.  I knew that this child was having some difficult times at home and that she had probably not done much on those days off.  I decided to share with her that I loved spending my vacation at home in my jammies reading.  She responded by commenting that she hates school vacations because she isn’t in school.  She loves coming to school everyday because when on vacation she is not with her friends and her teachers.  I froze in my spot in that hall processing this conversation while she happily hopped off to class, happy to be back in her routine and with the people she loved to be with.

As I dug through the dirt I thought back to that interaction.  Her vacation was not what we typically think vacation should be.  Was school her vacation, the place where she comes to get away from her problems?  The thought caught me off guard. I paused in my task and wondered how many other children view school as their vacation place away from the stresses of home life.  I sat glued to my spot for a few moments pondering this sobering thought.

I was left feeling so torn.  Should I feel comforted in the fact that school provides a vacation from some children’s problems for six hours each day, or should I feel sad by this fact? I don’t have an answer to this question but I have further resolve to reach out and allow my greetings at the door each morning to continue to provide a smile and perhaps give them a brief vacation from their problems.