Tuesday, April 20, 2021

#sol21 Against the Odds

It's been a long year
Confinement, isolation, remoteness,
Even as the landscape greens,
Even as the trees burst with color,
Even as the beans flower
Against the odds,
Inside my window.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

#sol21 Muddy Puddles

A picture would save words here, but I was too mesmerized to get one.

"Watch this," he said proudly as he ran full speed towards the edge of the yard, laughing and waving his arms.  I watched proudly, but not sure where the run was ending or what was happening, but sure the excitement was high on this unseasonably warm afternoon. 

 "Ahhhhh," he crooned as he landed, slip and slide style in a brown, mud puddle that had already seen many, many landings that afternoon. "It's a mud pit for pigs," he added proudly. "I made it myself," he offered emerging covered in mud after writhing in the soft, gooey pit for just a minute and preparing to do the run all over again. "This is so fun," he smiled, covered with mud.  

I smiled, grateful for parents who realize the power of creative backyard play, muddy puddles,  and soapy water.  

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Two Vowels Did NOT Go For a Walk

I recently heard a teacher say, "When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking." I stifled my sigh, I think; but, not my sadness that this old teacher tale was still being offered as a way to approach unfamiliar words. 

So, I did a quick Google search and found the myth was all over the internet! I wanted to cry!


There are many studies that disprove this myth.  Incredibly, it's only about 36-42% of vowel teams in common words that follow that "rule" depending on which collection of common or frequently found words you use.

A few vowel teams do follow that pattern most of the time: ay (way), ee (green), oa (coat), oi (coin) and oy (boy).

The rest of the teams that do not follow the old tale! 

The vowel team ea can say e its name as in eat, its sound as in bread, or the long sound of a as in great. 
The vowel team oo can say oo as in cool or oo as in good.
The vowel team ew can make the sound in few or in sew.
The vowel team ey can make the sound in money or in they.
The ie team can say thief or lie.
The au team can  make the sound in fault or in laugh.
The ou team can say pouch, boulder, couple, should, or cougar. 
The ei team can say receive, forfeit, or vein
The ai team can say rain, plaid, aisle. or said.

This does not mean we do not teach vowel teams; rather, it means we teach the strategic patterns such as, ai is usually in the middle of a word and ay usually is at the end!  Perhaps I need to make tee shirts that say two vowels did not go for a walk! 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Hard Memories

It was a picture that "popped into" my feed as "you have memories;" yet, it churned up a whole pile of memories, some hard! 

That fall, I was exhausted trying to balance the challenges of cuddling two brand-new miracles, in two different cities and supporting their parents, navigating new-parenthood. 

My mother was still living at home, with heaps of support, and a palliative care plan.  There were more bad days than better days.

It had been just a few months since my decades-long-marriage ended abruptly sending me into an era of living in my car, juggling decisions, and visioning a cloudy future. 

It had been months of talking to no one, other than my therapist, and doing nothing, other than driving from one site needing-wanting my time and energy to another.

There had been many days when I did not eat (other than energy bars and coffees from Mobile on the Run) as I fueled my car before heading to school.

Then, after a long illness, after years of waiting to join my dad, my mother died. 

In the days that followed, I cleaned and organized the contents of her condo taking a few pictures to share with nieces and nephews so they could  take and make their own memories.    

To be honest, I think I my emotions vacillated between empty and relieved as I tried to capture photo images, late at night.  Facing a cloudy future, I took nothing, not even that family tree with roots in the 1800s.  

Yet, this morning, as I stared at photo on my phone, I saw, for the first time, the light on the picture.  
Clearly, there was a message in that memory: Even in the hardest of times, there is light if you stop to notice it.  

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

sol21 Concrete Messages


 Not far from my window
Fresh messages appeared,
As if I needed to be reminded
To smile,
To notice sunshine,
To be kind,
To eat ice cream.
In all honesty,
Holidays can be hard
Trying to celebrate life
Remembering loss,
Still trying to navigate
Vaccines, masks, new variants. 
Many others stopped,
Noticing, thinking, smiling.
In all honesty,
I needed all those messages,
Well, not to eat ice cream!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

#sol22 March 31 The Challenge

Thank you Two Writing Teachers
For creating this wonderful community
And for hosting this massive SOL Challenge. 

"You should keep writing every day," she said casually, as if she was noting I should take a shower every day because it was good for others!  

"It's a lot of pressure," I volunteered, "every year I wonder if I can possibly add this to my list and consider not dong the SOL. Then, every year I marvel when I do it. . It is a reminder that the more you write the easier it is to write."

At the finish line of this year's marathon, I am thinking about all the routines of life, commuting, cleaning, cooking, laundry, exercising and eating healthy.  All of them are easier when you just do them every day and keep your momentum going.

Yet, that is the challenge, to keep your eye and mind focused on what is important. To keep yourself from the distractions of reality TV, the last chapter, and a gooey snack. 

It's a challenge every year, but I plan to return on Tuesdays while I wait for next March.

Thank you to all who stopped by
Taking a moment to read, reflect,
Shared a kind word,
It is true that comments fuel

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

#sol21 March 30 Spring Break


This month, I am noticing and reflecting,
Writing daily as part of the Two Writing Teachers' Challenge

Spring Break Reflections: Through the Years

Spring Break circa 1961 Windows were open and the sounds of neighborhood kids waffled into to the bedroom where I was holed up with itchy, scratchy, chicken pox. 

Spring Break circa 1970 Protests and passionate discussions along with gunfire in Ohio closed college campuses as I yearned to be on a college campus. 

Spring Break circa 1985 Spring Break was cancelled due to the debacle of cleaning up asbestos during the Winter Break!  

Spring Break circa 1990 My children were back at school, so I cleaned, raked, and (shh,...relaxed) as they had been off the earlier. I was exhausted, though, after trying to manage their different break! 

Spring Break circa 1999  "Baseball every single day of this vacation?" I asked in disbelief of the schedule in front of me. 

Spring Break circa 2006 We hiked for hours through the still soggy woods in incredible spring sunshine that filled our hearts and souls with hope and light in spite of sadness.  At the top of the mountain, we saw sat in awe of nature.

Spring Break circa 2010 Spring break was cancelled because of too many snow days.  Those who were lucky enough to have nonrefundable tickets went away, the rest of us were stuck in school. 

Spring Break circa 2012 We made cupcakes and had tea parties with tiny china tea cups. Then we did arts and crafts til' we crashed, the girls and I both! We never left the house. 

Spring Break circa 2020 We never left home as the fear of the rapidly spreading virus consumed our thoughts and movements.

Spring Break circa 2021 Older and wiser, I reflect that this is not a big get away week for me and I realize it is really only students and teachers who get a Spring Break.  Thus, I feel a bit guilty complaining that totally online classes do not take a break!  Sigh, but shhh..I am....

Monday, March 29, 2021

#sol21 March 29 Great British Bump Off

Before we started,
I needed to find the link
Buried in a sea of texts and emails. 
"Was I supposed to download something?"
"Do we have to bake something?"
Others began roll playing right away.
It seemed as if they had done this before!
I scanned the directions,
Tried to understand my character,
Made a cup of tea.

Oops, timed out of Zoom.
Resend, restart,
Change my screen name
Introduce ourselves, 
I became Cia Batta, 
Self-centered opera singer.

One donned a hat,
No other costumes,
No sets, no props,
No cake, no rolls,
A virtual, for sure
 Baking competition
Murder investigation.

A socially distanced family celebration,
Aunties, uncles,
Cousins, second cousins,
A birthday from afar
2020-2021 style. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

#sol 21 March 28 Perspective

Thank you to the Team at Two Writing Teachers
For hosting this writing challenge.

I squeezed out the last drops of Trader Joe's shower gel,
Lingering in the steam with my thoughts.
I used the curling brush, taming frizzy ends
Adding smoother to my locks,
I picked an outfit, carefully, 
Layering a matched sweater
I selected earrings, 
Used blush, mascara,
Hoping I looked 
As excited as I felt. 

Today is a special day,
From my perspective.
Filled with hope and potential,
Hugs and visits,
It's Vaccination Day!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

#sol21 March 27 His Story


This month, I am writing daily
Two Writing Teachers' SOL Challenge

We see each other, 
Almost daily from afar,
People of a certain age,
Donning ear pods, windbreakers,
Walking as if our lives depended on it,
While so many others run by,
Just before sunrise.

I've long wondered
About his story.
Where does he live?
Is he walking before he spends
Too many hours watching television?
Is he walking to manage stress?
Is he walking to keep off pounds?
Is he walking to keep up with grandchildren?
Is his wife still asleep?
Does his wife relish the break when he walks?
Is he recovering from a heart attack?
Is he a former runner with a knee injury?
Clearly, I've written his story
In my mind.

I've long wondered
If he wonders about
My story?