Except Today – The Last Day of the Challenge #SOL21 Day 31/31

How do you do it? How do you find a story to write about every day for the month of March?

I get this question from family and friends often during the Slice of Life Story Challenge and my usual response is that I try to be aware of the little things as they are happening in my day. Sometimes it’s a funny little moment or a time when I had a strong emotion that day. Being conscious of these small moments, I tell them, the story almost writes itself. Sure, I explain, there are are times when I would need to look at the list of ideas I keep on my phone or journal. But rarely am I at a loss for subject matter to write about in March.

Except today – the last day of the challenge!

For thirty days I was a strong writer. I captured little slices about the Easter bunny, my sewer woes, a mouse in my car, and writing in bed while admiring the view. I was inspired to write about a coat I left on the rack in Italy, the acrobats trimming my tree, and even an orchid blossom. There was always something to write about!

Except today – the last day of the challenge!

I know it happens to the best of us. I tell that to students all the time. Read your story idea notes, look at a few books in your library, talk to your friends, but above all just get that pen moving and keep it moving even if you just write: I have nothing to write about!

Even today – the last day of the challenge!

PS: It has truly been a joy to write for these 31 days of March in this challenge. I’ve grown as a writer due to the many members of this wonderful writing community. And the greatest joy is I have gained a few new writing friends to learn from. I will see you all on Tuesdays! In the meantime I will need to unblock this writing brain because April is National Poetry Month and for the second year in a row I will attempt to pen a poem every day.

Throughout the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge with the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers. Each day I will post a draft of a story detailing a small snippet from my life. This will be my sixth year participating, and each year I marvel at all the small moments I would have missed in my life if not for this challenge. I am grateful to Stacey Shubitz, Betsy Hubbard, Beth Moore, Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, Melanie Meehan, and Amy Ellerman for hosting this wonderful event!

Oh, The Lies We Tell #SOL21 Day 30/31

The phone lit up with a notification of an incoming FaceTime call at 7pm on Sunday night. It was from my daughter and she was on the couch with her two sons sitting on either side of her. I had barely said hello when the boys started in with the questions.

Bebe, is the Easter bunny hiding eggs at your house or our house on Easter morning?

Oh my house. He knows your cousins Maddie and Grant will be here so he wanted to make one stop.

Do you have a bunny in your yard too?

They spied a bunny running through their yard the other night and started chasing it in hopes with squeals of delight hoping to catch the Easter bunny.

Oh yes, I have three bunnies in my yard.

How do you know which one is the Easter bunny?

Well, I don’t think the Easter bunny lives here.

Where does he live?

Hmmm.. I am not sure. Maybe you could write to him and ask.

How would he get the letter?

You could put it in your mailbox.

How will it get to the bunny?

I am certain the mailman knows where to deliver it.

Does the mailman know where the Easter bunny lives?

Yes, of course he does.

The subject was finally changed, and we eventually hung up the phone. When I got off the phone I said to my daughter

Well that was one big series of lies wasn’t it?

Since then I’ve been informed…

Throughout the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge with the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers. Each day I will post a draft of a story detailing a small snippet from my life. This will be my sixth year participating, and each year I marvel at all the small moments I would have missed in my life if not for this challenge. I am grateful to Stacey Shubitz, Betsy Hubbard, Beth Moore, Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, Melanie Meehan, and Amy Ellerman for hosting this wonderful event!

My Birthday Girl #SOL21 Day 29/31

It just doesn’t seem possible that my first grandchild celebrates her fifth birthday today. And yet here she is ready for kindergarten and beyond.

She’s my lover of dance and glitter and all things pink and purple. The one who could dance and sing along to Hamilton and The Greatest Showman all afternoon long if allowed. She’s also the girl who will play in the mud, roll over logs looking for bugs and salamanders, as long as she doesn’t have to touch them!

She adores her brother, tolerates her dog, and loves to help her mama and papa with chores and baking. Her laugh is silly and sweet, and her smile stretches across her beautiful face.

She is courageous and willing to try new things and rarely says I can’t. She loves to ride her new bike, and slide down slides. Hide and seek is her favorite game even though she picks the same spot every time!

She now knows how to play card games, her fingers long and mature enough to hold a few in her hands, and wants to stay up late with the adults to play a game or two. She can reach the second shelf from the top in my library and insists on picking out books on her own.

She’s sometimes moody, sometimes bold, she’s my sassy little, now big girl. Happy fifth birthday Maddie!

The birthday girl with her cupcake glasses!

Throughout the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge with the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers. Each day I will post a draft of a story detailing a small snippet from my life. This will be my sixth year participating, and each year I marvel at all the small moments I would have missed in my life if not for this challenge. I am grateful to Stacey Shubitz, Betsy Hubbard, Beth Moore, Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, Melanie Meehan, and Amy Ellerman for hosting this wonderful event!

Just Being #SOL21 Day 28/31

Yesterday was the perfect day for just being.

I sat in my favorite yellow rocking chair while the sun was beating down on the front porch. I listened intently as the birds chirped and the dogs barked, and even the occasional put-put-puttering of a few early fishermen out for their maiden voyage. I peeled away my sweater to enjoy the warmth of a surprise of Massachusetts March afternoon while I rocked and rocked away. It was a perfect day for just being.

I sipped a glass of iced coffee made just right. Brought out my journal and my favorite colored pencils and pens and wrote and colored and doodled away the time. I found the perfect card to cheer up a friend and took my time writing my most sincere words to tell her I care. And I rocked some more in my favorite yellow chair. Yes, it was a perfect day for being.

I read a few pages in my book, jotting notes and quotes that I don’t want to forget. I chuckled as a few photos of my grandkids came through on my phone. I hummed a tune as I eyed my first blooms just poking out of the leaves nearby all as I rocked the afternoon away in my favorite yellow chair. Indeed it was the perfect day for just being.

Throughout the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge with the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers. Each day I will post a draft of a story detailing a small snippet from my life. This will be my sixth year participating, and each year I marvel at all the small moments I would have missed in my life if not for this challenge. I am grateful to Stacey Shubitz, Betsy Hubbard, Beth Moore, Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, Melanie Meehan, and Amy Ellerman for hosting this wonderful event!

Closer to Normal #SOL21 Day 27/31

The winds blew change last night.

Yesterday’s weather in New England was a strange but lovely 70 degrees with humidity much like Miami. Today our high will once again be closer to normal with a drier 50 degrees.

Yesterday I visited the UPS store and stood outside enmasked while one customer finished her transaction. Today I visit a local site and get the first of my vaccines making me closer to normal with social distancing.

But how closer to normal do I want to get?

The pandemic has certainly brought a whirlwind of changes, some I might just want to hang on to. I’ve grown accustomed to less shopping. I can make due without constant trips to the store to buy stuff I might not need. I’ve missed the hugs and smiles of family and friends. This is a precious gift that I learned I do not ever want to take for granted. I appreciate my walks in the woods at midday. The fresh air and new surroundings brings me joy and renewed energy. And I’ve discovered that my faith is strong, but being in a community makes it stronger and needs to be cherished.

There will be so much rejoicing when we can be back to normal. But I prefer to make a new normal where I question the need for more stuff, appreciate every hug and smile, enjoy more short walks, and cherish the people in my community of faith.

The winds of change are blowing indeed and life will be closer to normal for sure. But maybe, just maybe, a new normal will be found for us all.

Throughout the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge with the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers. Each day I will post a draft of a story detailing a small snippet from my life. This will be my sixth year participating, and each year I marvel at all the small moments I would have missed in my life if not for this challenge. I am grateful to Stacey Shubitz, Betsy Hubbard, Beth Moore, Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, Melanie Meehan, and Amy Ellerman for hosting this wonderful event!

Goose vs Duck #SOL21 Day 26/31

Goose vs. Duck

They got their brave shoes on

for the first time this year

wobbling out of the water

white and black necks

stretching over the steps

to peer across the green expanse

only to be greeted by my

shoos, claps, and shouts of GO AWAY!

Five minutes later

waddling across the sands

bobbing brown and green heads

as they make their way

towards a green lunch

they stare and look

I rise and greet

with pictures and words of

Oh how sweet!

Now shouldn’t someone cry foul – or fowl?

Throughout the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge with the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers. Each day I will post a draft of a story detailing a small snippet from my life. This will be my sixth year participating, and each year I marvel at all the small moments I would have missed in my life if not for this challenge. I am grateful to Stacey Shubitz, Betsy Hubbard, Beth Moore, Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, Melanie Meehan, and Amy Ellerman for hosting this wonderful event!

Small Moment Accident #SOL21 Day 25/31

My hands were full as I headed down to the basement study to meet up with my online writing student. On top of my laptop I balanced a bin filled with flair pens, a container of colored pencils, my wireless mouse, and some paper. Today’s lesson was about getting ideas for writing and I was rushing to get set up in time

As I turned to close the door behind me I lost my balance. The markers slid off the slippery laptop and tumbled down the stairs. The mouse hit each step and toppled across the floor, with the battery rolling across the tile. The colored pencils flopped over and landed upside down a few stairs below me.

As I stood at the top of the stairs and looked down at the colorful mess I laughed. Lucy Calkins would be proud! Unlike lesson one of the grade one small moment writing unit, I did not stage this fall of the markers onto the floor as a model for the perfect small moment story. This fall of tools was an true accident! The only problem was I hadn’t recorded it for my student. It was an accident, really it was. And as you see here on today’s post, I’m making it work as a slice of a story!

Throughout the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge with the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers. Each day I will post a draft of a story detailing a small snippet from my life. This will be my sixth year participating, and each year I marvel at all the small moments I would have missed in my life if not for this challenge. I am grateful to Stacey Shubitz, Betsy Hubbard, Beth Moore, Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, Melanie Meehan, and Amy Ellerman for hosting this wonderful event!

The Jacket I Left Behind #SOL21 Day 24/31

One of the MANY things I love about the March Slice of Life Challenge is reading other slicer’s posts and gaining a memory or idea for a post of your own. That happened to me a few days ago after reading Kara’s post about a cherished possession she now owns, thanks to her wise Aunt Polly telling her “if you love it, buy it.” I wish I had an Aunt Polly when I was in Italy ten years ago.

We were walking around the streets of Florence and enjoying a hot July day when I saw the sign for a small leather shop. I can still recall the little stairs leading to the underground shop and the distinctive aroma of the leather all around me. I had barely stepped foot into the store when the very handsome Italian shopkeeper said to me,

Here, try this on. This jacket will fit you perfectly.

One thing you have to realize is that I am 5 foot 10 inches tall with very long arms. Jackets never fit me right unless they are sized tall. Most jacket sleeves never reach my wrists. Except this one!

My husband looked at me with this jacket on and smiled a satisfied smile, complimenting me on how nice the color was. I too thought the tones were beautiful. The outside was subtle lime green and the interior was a barely there lilac. And it was reversible. Both colors were THE shades to buy in Florence that year, and a combination that would probably not be found in the United States. I was in love with everything about it, the colors, the soft texture, and especially the fit. I looked at the tag and thought that it wasn’t THAT bad of a price.

But then my cheap and practical side kicked in.

When would I wear this? Out to recess?

What if I get caught in the rain? I’d ruin it in one downpour.

How can we afford this jacket? We just finished paying for college… and this trip.

I recall the shopkeeper teasing me and suggesting I would never find a coat like this back home on the racks at TJMaxx. Yes those were his words to me, TJMaxx! Somehow he knew that was my go to shopping destination. He was the ultimate charmer I know, but I am the ultimate frugal shopper. I took the jacket off, placed it back on the rack and thanked the owner. He reminded me that the store would be open until 8pm if I changed my mind.

As you may have guessed by now, I never returned. But I have had buyers remorse since leaving Florence. I oftentimes dream of returning to that shop to be once again wooed by the owner. I dream of the buttery soft leather jacket being placed onto my arms and wrapping myself up in its luxurious softness.

And yet again I would probably say: When would I wear this?

Throughout the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge with the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers. Each day I will post a draft of a story detailing a small snippet from my life. This will be my sixth year participating, and each year I marvel at all the small moments I would have missed in my life if not for this challenge. I am grateful to Stacey Shubitz, Betsy Hubbard, Beth Moore, Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, Melanie Meehan, and Amy Ellerman for hosting this wonderful event!

The Gift That Keeps on Giving #SOL21 Day 23/31

On the occasion of my sixtieth birthday a friend gifted me with a beautiful orchid. It was breathtaking in its full-bloom glory. I had never had an orchid plant prior to this but had heard stories of its temperamental nature. My expectations for keeping it alive were low, and my hopes of getting it to bloom again were slim to none.

The plant lived in a two foot tall cylindrical glass vase. I am not sure what looked more fragile, the plant or the glass container. And to top it all off sitting at the base of the elegant container were blue glass beads, giving you the illusion the plant was floating in water. Again beautiful but with four grandchildren visiting often I grew anxious over someone crashing into the glass and getting hurt. So I began moving the plant here and there every time the kids were expected to visit.

After a few months the buds died back and the plant began to look a little sad with yellowing leaves. I thought maybe the sun was burning the leaves in the glass vase so I made the decision to remove the plant from the vase. I was happy to discover the plant was in its own plastic container and easy to remove. It was then that I noticed these weird growths popping out the base of the plant. I surmised they were the start of new stems for the flowers. For months now those long tendrils have curled and bent their way up along make shift stakes. I read about the need for the stalks to stay upright so I used small hair clips to hold them to the sticks.

For about a month now I’ve been waiting and watching for these buds to open. Finally, today a flower surprised me again with this lovely bloom. I had forgotten the unusual color combination that was revealed in the flower. I moved the plant to a prime location where I can admire the plant in all its glory. But this is only the beginning because there are several more buds right behind this bloom awaiting their final glory too!

Fortunately for me it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Throughout the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge with the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers. Each day I will post a draft of a story detailing a small snippet from my life. This will be my sixth year participating, and each year I marvel at all the small moments I would have missed in my life if not for this challenge. I am grateful to Stacey Shubitz, Betsy Hubbard, Beth Moore, Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, Melanie Meehan, and Amy Ellerman for hosting this wonderful event!