100 posts!

//cdn.tagul.com/tagul.min.jsToday is day 11 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. Thank you Two Writing Teachers for guiding me to live that writerly life.


My 100th post!  

Today I am celebrating my 100th post on this blog.  I thought it would be cool to celebrate by creating a word cloud.  I placed the content of each of my 99 previous posts into a word cloud via Tagul and was surprised by results.  
My thoughts:

  • I predicted my most popular word would have been writing
  • Happy to see Read was my most popular
  • I love knowing that student, think, and learn were in the top 20 most popular words
  • Would like to see joy and love appear more prominently

This all leaves me with some thoughts on where to focus my next 100 posts! I am certainly thinking I need to sprinkle my one little word, JOY, more often into my posts.

Thank you for sharing and urging me on!

Lakefront Majesty

Today is day 10 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.  I am grateful to the Two Writing Teachers community for the opportunity this challenge has given to me and so many other writers! 

Lakefront Majesty
I had just walked into the living room when I saw him… majestic and bold, white tail and long wings. “Look quick! The eagle!” I shouted to my daughter.  We ran closer to the window to watch him fly and then land on a rock in the middle of the lake. We picked up the binoculars to watch him closer. We had seen him fly by yesterday but it was a brief sighting and not long enough to allow us to get the camera out. Today he decided to land on a nearby rock, close enough to take a few pictures. 

We put dinner on hold to watch and view in awe.

Then it happened. Another eagle joins in from out of nowhere. We stood in amazement watching the two eagles circling the blue sky. They both soar gracefully flashing their white tail feathers. One of the birds drift higher and eventually turns away from the lake and out of sight. The remaining eagle circles low, and heads towards us. He flaps slowly and gracefully, closer and closer to our home. The eagle suddenly turns and glides straight toward the window, seemingly looking in, as if to say hello before he swoops one last time over the trees, disappearing around the corner and over the trees, leaving a lasting impression of peace and majesty.

Memories in a Pen

Today is day 9 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.  This is the second year I have participated in the challenge.  I am most appreciative of this blogging community that supports so many of us writers!

Memories in a Pen

“Do you have a pen I can borrow?”
I dug through my pocketbook and reached down to the bottom to find two pens.  One standard black pen and the other from a hotel in Switzerland.  I hand my colleague the basic black pen because I couldn’t part with the other pen, or should I say I didn’t want to let go of that pen.

A flood of memories surfaced.  The pen was taken from the Hotel Du Port Ouchy visited during a once in a lifetime family trip a few years ago.  This hotel was located in the city of Lausanne on the shores of Lake Geneva. It was a beautiful city filled with museums and wonderful restaurants, influenced by the nearby french culture. It was here that we enjoyed a large portion of mussels served over a bed of the best french fries I had ever eaten.  This was the city that we toured the Olympic Museum and discovered the rich history of the games.  This was also the city where we sat  lakeside for hours and enjoyed the view of the mountains that we had just scaled. 

I came back to reality, and to my meeting.  I was temporarily transported to that far off place for a few minutes and returned smiling and ready to attend to my task at hand.  Funny how an object such as a pen can take you away and bring a touch of happiness – if only for a few minutes.   

Snow Fleas and Curiosity

Today is day 8 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.  I am grateful for this space to share my slice of life, AND for the community that supports living the writerly life!

Snow Fleas and Curiosity

“Hey guys!  Hold on! Look here!  See all these black dots in the snow?  Touch one with your pole and watch what happens.” 

“Wow! They moved. I thought it was dirt. What are they?”

“They’re snow fleas.” 

“What?  Snow fleas?”

“Where did they come from? How do they stay alive?

“I’m not sure but let’s google it when we get home.”

Image from: flickr.com/photos/robbie1/8517934578

My adult children were intrigued to watch and question the new found creature in the snow.   We had just  begun a snowshoe trip when I noticed these tiny little creatures hopping in the snowbank.  The creatures peaked my kids interest and they began asking all sorts of questions. This is no surprise to me because as parents, my husband and I always valued learning and wondering.  More importantly we weren’t afraid to say that “we don’t have an answer, but let’s look to see if we can find out more.”  

When the children were little we fostered this curiosity anytime we explored the outdoors through camping trips or hiking excursions. Oftentimes I would bringing along a guide book as a resource.  Sometimes we would be brave and ask questions of the ranger or other guide near by – much to the chagrin of our children I might add!  We visited museums and reveled in Sunday adventures to new places nearby.  Asking questions and wondering was part of who we were as a family, and it was what we all loved to do!

Hearing this conversation from my “30-something” children made my heart sing. Curiosity and questioning is still alive and valued. We did our job, the values were instilled.  It gives me hope because I want the same value instilled in my grandchildren.  Looks like they are in good hands after hearing this conversation.

By the way kids, we never took the time to google the snow flea information. Maybe just being curious and asking questions is good enough.  We don’t always have to have or know all the answers!  

But in case you do want to know: read here to learn more about snow fleas

Note:  They aren’t really fleas, they just jump like fleas!


Today is day 7 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.  I am grateful to the coordinators for pushing me to write each and every day  – helping me to live that writerly life.


Slicing each day in March has been a wonderful way to live the writerly life. I have certainly improved in my personal writing but more importantly I have grown as a teacher of writing. Slicing each day has also forced helped me to develop other skills that I didn’t give much thought to, especially the actual skills needed to successfully blog.

I have discovered how to
  • Draft a post
  • Schedule a post – such a time saver!
  • Add a hyperlink
  • Use the quotes to indent text
  • Wrap text – see below

Lessons I learned the hard way
  • Put a title on your post – or else your first line will of your post will be your url
  • Layout can be tricky – Blogger doesn’t let me play with pictures and text in any creative manner
  • Keep the look of your post simple – again my creative side and blogger don’t always get along

Questions I still have
  • Is there a way to schedule a link to appear on the Two Writing Teachers site?
  • How can my blog post automatically feed into Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? (Since writing this I rediscovered how to make this work!)

Who would have thought that writing each day would help me grow in these life skills? Learning is messy isn’t it!

Weather or Whether

Today is day 6 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.  I am enjoying the challenge of writing and posting each day and stretching myself as a writer.  It is great to have a community to support this writing life style.

Footnote:  This poem is a little play on words.  My neighbor posts an official weather report on Twitter each hour, which I enjoy reading.  This past Saturday was cold and wintery and when I read his weather report I looked out the window and couldn’t help but make up my own observations of what I thought the weather meant to me. 

A Perfect Saturday

Today is day 5 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.  I am ever grateful to this community for the opportunities to write and to connect with other writers. 

A list poem capturing a perfect Saturday

A Perfect Saturday

Slipping into my bathrobe

Paying some bills

Reading some mail

Showering at 9am

Picking up a friend

Entering a cafe

Sipping some coffee

Eating delicious quiche

Listening to live music

Bumping into my sister

Sipping more coffee

Stopping at an art studio

Shopping for groceries together

Heading into a warm home

Watering my plants

Reading a few slices

Attending mass in honor of a friend

Gathering for soup and sandwiches

Walking home

Crawling into bed

Reading a good book

Drifting off to sleep 

We All Need Time and Friends

Today is day 4 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. This is the second year I have decided to participate.  I am grateful for the people in this writing community who guide me along my writing journey.

We All Need Time and Friends

Have you ever tackled a project that was so new and big you didn’t know where to start?  
Instead you thought, waited, thought some more… then avoided the project because it was so big you really couldn’t get your arms around it. You don’t want to use the word procrastinate because you really wanted the job to be done. It tears at you and hangs heavy each time you see the materials laying in the boxes waiting and taking up precious space…

That is what happened to me recently with a leveled library book project I was embarking on. The books were to be organized in a new way.  I knew the end goal but the path there was fuzzy, uncharted, and unknown.  Each time that I walked into my office and saw the books in piles, and not in students hands, I wanted to cry.  The project / problem weighed heavy and at times I felt helpless.  I began to wonder what was slowing me down.  I finally realized that in order for me to get this project complete I needed two things: First I needed to put aside a big chunk of time that I could dedicate to tackling the work.  It wasn’t a piecemeal kind of project.  Second, I needed a sounding board, someone that I could talk through an idea and would listen to potential problems and solutions.  

Once I put those pieces into place, I was able to move forward and reach success.

Interesting…aren’t those the pieces we put in place for our students when we are introducing new strategies?  Don’t we all need time and a friend to learn and grow?

Trivia Bee

Today is day 3 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.  

Trivia Bee
Last night a group of colleagues and I competed in a trivia bee to benefit our local educational foundation.  We were really looking forward to this event because last year we came in second place, and might I add it was a VERY CLOSE second place, losing in a tie breaker.  When the date for this year’s challenge was announced, we all knew that we had to have at it again, and this time with our goal was to win first place.   We tasted victory and we wanted desperately to go for the gold this year!

We donned our school shirts and arrived at the school ready to carry the trophy home. The night was a nail biter with our correct answers gaining large points. All night long we managed to stay in the third place spot.  We were annoyed with ourselves when a few times we waffled between two answers and chose the wrong answer causing us to seemingly fall further behind. Finally it was time for the final question.  We were tied for third place with a question regarding an OPEC country.  We were stumped and took a guess and bid 10 points.  We soon found out we had the wrong answer!  But then it was time to announce the winners.  We were delighted to hear that only one team had chosen the correct answer so we felt there was still hope.  The announcer began to call the team names and scores starting with the lowest.  He finally got to the final two.  We made it again!  Would it be us?  Would we be the winners this year?  We were on pins and needles waiting. Finally the word came through: “And the second place goes to team Elementary. We cheered! We screamed!  Second place again! Hooray! We were thrilled to be beat by only one team… team High School! 

We immediately started playing the “if only” game:  If only we had chosen that answer for question number two. If only we listened more carefully to that song, or that person. If only we hadn’t bid 10 points on the final question. But in the end, we had a fun night bonding as a team and feeling good about ourselves.  When we arrived at school our names were announced with a hoop and holler, extolling our efforts to once again take second place.  Our staff spoke encouraging words and cheered us on, excited that we did so well.  Our friends made us feel like first place winners and that really was all that mattered.  

My Neighborhood Grocery Store

Today is day 2 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.  This is my second year participating in the challenge.  So much to learn.  So little time!

My Neighborhood Grocery Store

My one little word for this year is joy.  I promised myself I would write one post a month centered on joy but I never thought I would be writing about finding joy in the grocery store. 

Moving to the lake last year had its obvious perks, but I never really thought one of those perks would be the convenience of a grocery store two minutes from my home.  Being able to quickly run out for that forgotten ingredient, or to pick up a few extra things when company unexpectedly stops in is priceless, much like the MasterCard ad!  But what brings me joy at this grocery store is that I can call it my own.  I say that because I believe the people who work there care about me.  When they ask me how I am doing today they say it in a way that makes me KNOW they mean it.  When they ask me if I found everything I was looking for I feel very comfortable telling them no, and they would respond in a jiff with how can I help you. And to top it all off I am always asked if I need help carrying things to my car! What service. 

The icing on the cake, however, came last week when I went to the store to pick up a few items.  The store is currently running a promotion with these little tickets that you glue on to boards in hopes of winning prizes, BIG prizes like free groceries for a year or a cruise to some warm climate.  The more money you spend at the grocery store, the more tickets you receive.  I do not play these games, but my daughter does, so I simply hand the tickets over to her to play, knowing full well she will share the prize package with her mother!  On this day the bagging clerk whispered to me that she had a surprise in her bag, given to her by the desk manager and she chose me to give it to!  She tucked the bag in with my purchases and wished me luck. I walked out of the store excited to see what was in the bag.  Low and behold it was a bag of tickets and boards already filled with tickets. I couldn’t wait to get home to show my daughter the stash! I dreamed of sailing on ocean liners to an exotic place, or buying a slew of lobsters for a summer party! I drove home and shared the gift with my daughter.  We excitedly sorted through the piles of stickers and licked and glued and in the end we got closer to our dreams, but didn’t fulfill any dreams.  The joy and the giggles we received from the surprise in the bag was simple but delightful. It was a pure joy!

I love my grocery store.  The kindness and generosity of the staff makes me want to only shop there.  Shopping at this grocery store certainly brings me joy!