Wednesday, July 29, 2015


This morning, I caught this spectacular sunrise as I sipped my coffee preparing my head and heart for a new day!  I couldn't help but feel the promise of perfectly reflected sunrise on a still lake. 

This evening, I caught this most spectacular sunset from my porch as I sipped my tea reflecting on the day!  I couldn't help but reflect on my own growing family as the lyrics of Sunrise, Sunset  danced in my head.   

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday
When they were small?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

Sunday, July 26, 2015

#sol15 15 Bubbles and Books

"Someone's trash is someone's treasure," they say, and "someone's closet clearing finds are someone's treats," I say!  So it was at this weekend's garage sale where we transported, dispersed, and used our advertising, marketing, merchandising and socializing skills to "recycle" family "clutter."

To be honest, it's a lot of work to haul, price, display, and schmooze with customers.  No matter how "low" we priced things, people wanted to "bargain" less and less and less again!  To be honest, it's also a bit "sad" to relive the memories so many of the items we sold evoked!"  There was Grandma's Correlle ware and her 60's glassware as well as old sewing machines, tools, pots and pans. Each was part of our family's story. Yet, I hope that in the days to come, I will remember sitting on the stoop watching Bubble Girl and Book Boy!

Bubble Girl was wandering through the piles when she found a used bubble wand and asked us what it was.  We spent a long time showing her the intricacies of bubble making and entertaining her with blowing and catching bubbles encouraging her mother to "shop" for $15 worth of merchandise!  As they pulled away from the curb, Bubble Girl's smiled brightly and waved. "Thank you for making my day," she seemed to say.

It was late in the day, nearing closing time, when Book Boy started reading some children's books strategically placed near the sidewalk while his parents shopped.  At 10 cents a book, his mom told him to pick out 5 books; however, you know the reading teacher in me was ignited by the sight of a child reading....and so you know that he left with a BAG full of all the books I thought he might like.  As they pulled away from the curb, Book Boy was already engrossed in his stack.  He never looked up but I know HE made MY day!

21st-Century PD: Retention, Reflection, and Redistribution of Knowledge | Edutopia

21st-Century PD: Retention, Reflection, and Redistribution of Knowledge | Edutopia

Reposting: Thanks Facebook for reminding me that my words are timeless


I have been participating in a Teachers Write"virtual" writing group.  I wanted to increase my own writing and maybe "finish" one of the many stories that are churning in my head; however, I also wanted to "practice what I preach" and conduct a little "action research" about writing.  One thing I have observed is that poetry is a means to express what we think.  Sometimes, poems emerge as we are trying to write about other things!  

With Sadness,
I remember sharing, laughing, living,
Clueless as to what was ahead.
I remember tears, angst, pain,
From life-changing words,
I remember saying good-bye,
Wondering what lay ahead.

With Joy,
 I remember gatherings,
Too many people, too few plates,
Too much food, too much laughter,
I remember pop-ins that lasted for hours,
Drop-ins just in time for dinner,
I remember having so much to do,
Lives filled with activity and anticipation.

With Hope
I remember people are capable
Of loving more than once,
Of endless caring,
Of forgiveness,
  I remember that what lies ahead,
Is potential for peace and happiness,
I remember we can and do change our course,
Many times within each life.
"With a new day comes new strength 
and new thoughts." (E. Roosevelt)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Check out @edutopia's Tweet:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

#sol15 A Slice of Blue and a Slice of Gray

In days to come
A tiny miracle 
Will be wrapped 
In slices of blue and gray.  
Pieced, stitched and filled
With love

In days to come, 
I'might share Owen,
Cuddled in a rocker,
His sweaty head
Nestled in my neck
I might even make him
A handkerchief for school
Stitched and filled 
With love.  


This is another reposting - thanks to Facebook's On This Day Feature...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Through clean windows I see!

Through clean windows I see!

I take to heart Gibran's words,
"Your children are sons and daughters of the universe
yearning for their own paths."
Choices, decisions, theirs, not ours.

I did come on strong about education,
to fulfill dreams you cannot yet imagine,
I did come on strong about the Golden Rule,
the need for God, prayer, thanksgiving in life,
the value of patience, towards self and others,
the power of love, laughter,
the strength of friends, on this journey,
the benefits of a career you enjoy, at least most days,
the need for persistence, through the hard parts,
of family, with all its ups and downs.
of finding joy in each day,

My children have found diverse paths including:
Engineering, teaching, inventing,
Leading, researching, coaching,
Dishwasher and car repairing, sewing,
And, alas, a professional window washer!

Yes, as the sun streams through my window this morning,
I am glad that I did not determine paths for my children,
I didn't even know I would treasure this,
Yet, Gillian Strickland's famous line (morphed)
jumps into my head:

Grateful am I,
Through clean windows I see -
I have a child
who washes windows for me!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

#celebratelu15 Promises of Hope

This has been one of the hardest and longest weeks ever, filled with sadness and punctuated with anxiety; yet, interspersed in the darkness, there are glimmers of light and promises of hope!
  • Her caregiver found out that my mother loves California rolls (and wasabi), so she tamed my cantankerous mom with some!  She sure didn't have to do that!  
  • Common Core curriculum writing can be challenging; yet, our team crafted some pretty incredible frameworks this week.
  • Bolts of beautiful fabric always makes me smile. It was hard to choose when there is so much beauty in such a small place, but I did!
  • Clouds, somehow outsmarting the setting sun created some magnificent sunsets, the kind that take your breath away.
  • A double rainbow (I did not capture it because I was driving) appeared in the sky after a nasty storm the other day, reminding me of God's promise and miracles on the horizon.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sharing Edutopia: status of those CCS

Check out @edutopia's Tweet:

This is an interesting perspective embracing the CCS and their goal is deeper thinking.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Responding to MY reading: Choice during independent reading time?

I had time to read and reflect on a Jennifer Serravallo's article on Independent Reading on Independence Day!'s-a-teacher-to-do-

"I want to create conditions where students are at their peak level of engagement," Serravallo notes citing her own research suggests kids are not so good at monitoring their own comprehension! Thus, 
" students’ choosing toward books that are “just right” (96% or higher accuracy, with fluency and comprehension) or “easy” with a rare exception for a book that’s a bit more of a stretch, in which I’m willing to provide extra support."

Yes, all of us steeped in Balanced Literacy would agree. We comprehend and enjoy books we can read!  Yes, all of us who work with young, reluctant, or struggling readers agree......Yet, I've also been rereading The Book Whisperer and am reminded that "Kids will read if we give them the books, the time, and the enthusiastic encouragement to do so....To keep our students reading, we have to let them. (Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child)

SOMETIMES, kids are going to read "above their heads" and will struggle with comprehension because they are interested in the topic or because they just want to do so!
SOMETIMES, kids need/want to read "easy-peasy" books just for the fun of it.
SOMETIMES, kids spend an entire year reading Nancy Drew, Captain Underpants or The Babysitter Club.
SOMETIMES, kids read within their schema and sometimes they build schema by reading in foreign-to-them-territory!
SOMETIMES, kids will find magic, interest, and enjoyment in a text that is "just right" and will have maximum comprehension......

I guess I vote for SOME choice during independent reading time.  You shouldn't spend the WHOLE year reading above/below/outside of your head; but you shouldn't always have to read from the stack that is "your" level!  In addition, if you are "restricted" to a specific stack/box of books, you might just spend all your energy yearning for what you do not have and forget to enjoy what you have! I'm pretty sure that Serravallo would support some choice as well as some recommendations!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

#sol2015 Patiently Waiting

I remember the day I "came down" with them. It was late summer and I was excited about my upcoming birthday (remember those days?) and returning to school (I loved a new notebook even then).

I was changing from my grimy "play" shirt to a cleaner "go-pick-up-daddy" shirt when my mother said, "What is that all over your back?" I suspect she felt my forehead before acknowledging, "You are burning up!" I suspect she wondered about the impact on my then baby brother and on the kids I had been swimming with earlier in the day.  I suspect she knew I would be better in 10 days but my siblings would likely fall victims in due time isolating us all for the duration.  I am guessing she never wondered if they would lie low awaiting a moment to return to me in their "adult" format!

I was totally stressed on the afternoon, many years later, when they, who had been waiting patiently for decades on my nerve endings returned with a vengeance.  Thanks to adds in magazines and on TV I was pretty sure what was happening when I showed up in "urgent care."  I left with a prescription for an "antiviral," an urging to avoid babies, and a promise that I would be fine in 3 days time.  The nurse practitioner assured me I had a "very mild case" and even suggested that her meds would help my stress!

In less than 24 hours, the stressors in my life were still pressing on my heart and staring me in the face; however, the itchiness and burgeoning line of spots was gone as quickly as they had arrived. The pain, however, continued to come in waves, some strong enough to take your breath away like those giant waves that sweep away sand castles at high tide.

I know now, that the Pox, lies patiently waiting in each of us who had the opportunity to "experience" it during our youth.  It waits for just the right moment when our bodies and our minds are distracted and then it comes roaring back.  It's course is shortened to hours, thanks to available meds; however, it often mirrors the "pain" and "hard-times" of life in its waves of pain.  

I suspect my primary care would have suggested a "shingles shot" at my annual physical - the one I cancelled first last July, then last October, then last December, then last March, then last May when stressors required me to be elsewhere!  I suspect she will suggest a "shingles shot" when I get there, hopefully in the next few days!

I guess there are messages in this week's "SOL." 1) Don't skip that annual/biannual physical; 2) Get your vaccinations; 3) Meds can take take down viruses in a matter of hours; 4) Stress can make you sick!

Friday, July 3, 2015

#Celebrate2015 The Watermelon Wedge

I had not planned to write a celebration post this week; however, the watermelon wedge got to me. Let me explain.

As I plowed through the Stop and Shop aisles on a hot afternoon, it caught my eye.  It was just a small wedge of seedless watermelon nestled among a pile of pre-splintered-to-make-sure-you-got-a sweet-one watermelon pieces.  Yet it "called to me" and so I popped it into my hand basket. 

It sat quietly on the shelf in the fridge for a few days until Fourth of July Eve, when it "called to me" again.

As I was savoring setting sun, the memories flooded back as if a "dam" had been opened. We always had some for her birthday and she would retell the story, of her mother as well as her own love for watermelon.  We often went to the Falls to celebrate with wet towels, sunburned noses, blueberries, and watermelon.  I'm sure we had cake; but I don't really remember it.  Instead, I remember the watermelon.  

She's been gone a long time; yet, she is still a model for who I would like to as a mother, grandmother and mother-in-law,  I can still see her whipping up frittatas or a "bit" of pasta for hungry grandchildren.  

Her enjoyment of life, was enormous.  I am sure everyone smiled when Kitty showed up at the Friendly Club each week.

Perhaps, her most important power was to knit us together, as a family. As I knit a few more rows on my own project, she will be with me.

So on the Fourth of July, her birthday, I celebrate my "other mother" who somehow, reaches through cyberspace and the clouds to empower a slice of watermelon to "talk to me."  Thanks Kitty, I needed the "call."  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

5 Minute Microwave Playdough

Reposting from last year on this date

This is a repost from last July 1

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

During the toughest of times, just breathe

I was folding laundry late in the day when the clear sound of something awry,"THWAP," urged me to check it out.  "I bet its that screen door," I thought as I went to investigate, my arms laden with laundry.   Yet the screen door was shut, so I continued with chores until during one trip up and down the stairs, I realized that my husband was holding a shovel and staring at what appeared to be a small, gray-deader-than-a-doorknob bird on our patio! "He must have flown into the house," my husband said quietly, "but he is not dead!!  I looked closely, through the screen and indeed he was breathing. slowly. I must admit I found myself thinking of my father who loved to watch the birds tease the squirrels from his kitchen window.

Assuming nature would take her course, we ate dinner and did a few more chores before checking on our guest, who was was still lying there, breathing slowly but regularly.  I must admit I found myself remembering those long summer evenings, not so long ago, watching my father lying on his side breathing slowly and wondering if each one would be his last.

In the morning, the first thing we both checked was Birdie who amazingly had survived the perils of the night and was sitting up!  "He must have had the wind knocked out of his sails," my husband muttered, "but I'm guessing he'll be breakfast for the cats if he sits there long!"  We watched him slowly hop short distances and occasionally attempt to flutter his wings.  We left slid water through the screen door and left bread crumbs nearby.  He seemed unconcerned with our presence and phone-photos.  He appeared rather consumed with his recovery as he hopped around the patio, slowly but surely defying nature. We watched him, from afar, and cheered his progress still wondering how he would ever defy the forces of nature stacked against him.  Yet in due time, he quietly flapped his wings, slowly, and like a tiny 747, without looking back, he flew away. I smiled and celebrated his miraculous recovery. I must admit I found myself thinking of my father's perseverance through adversity, even when others had "thrown in the shovel" as I watched him fly into the woods. I wonder if the Central Message is this: During the really tough days, just breathe?