Friday, March 30, 2012

My Rearview Mirror - #31

The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at their blog,
Two Writing Teachers. - finale!  See you on Tuesdays!

         It’s been such a month, everyone.  Thank you for all your comments of support.   I value the community, and cannot thank you both enough, Ruth and Stacey, for the chance to experience this wonderful group.  For those who want to know, my husband is now in a safe and kind place for dementia residents.  They call it home for the residents, and that is of comfort to me.  He’s had his first night and day there and is okay, more settled.  It’s been another tough week, but I am more comforted now knowing he will be cared for so lovingly.

         I mostly go east when I drive home, so I often look in my rearview mirror, at the mountains and sometimes at sunsets.  Yesterday when driving home, it struck me that this is a reflection of sorts, to look back, using the rearview mirror as my metaphor. I added a little silliness at the end; it's tricky to get this girl to stay still enough to peek into the mirror!

Here we go, leaving home!

A long drive, on the flat of Denver, highway.

See the mountains in the distance-my great view!

Not exactly my rearview, she's the future!

My rearview of this month:

roll·er coast·er – according to Merriam-Webster online

--an elevated railway (as in an amusement park) constructed with sharp curves and steep inclines on which cars roll

--something resembling a roller coaster; especially : behavior, events, or experiences characterized by sudden and extreme changes roller coaster

It’s been a roller coaster ride
with warmth of others at my side-
the highs of writing memories true
the lows of experiencing adieu
words of joy and words of sorrow
I don’t know what might happen tomorrow
yet I know that I choose living
and will continue to go on giving
to others who mean so much to me
regardless of how life turns out to be.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Meet Renée LaTulippe - A Wonderful Plan for Poetry Month-#30

The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at their blog,
Two Writing Teachers. - next to last time!  See you on Tuesdays!

It's Poetry Friday!  Get Over To Heidi's blog, My Juicy Little Universe, and jump into poetry!  Time for Poetry Month!

      Two more days and it’s time! It’s Poetry Month. I know you know this, but just wanted to say it again, and hopefully you heard the squeal in my words. The March Slice of Life challenge has been awesome and I will miss the community, and I hope many will continue blogging, right into April, perhaps writing poetry, and maybe linking to some beautiful sites that are all about poetry. My post today introduces one of those sites with a plan for poet visitors on Mondays, Fridays and an occasional Wednesday. 

       I met Renée LaTulippe and found her kidlit website, No Water River, the picture book and poetry place, when I began reading the writers who linked to the meme group, Poetry Friday. I do love poetry and this became one fabulous day during the week that I could just sink into it and read all the ideas about poetry and poems from others who love poetry too. 

       When I went to Renée’s website a few weeks ago, I found her wonderful poem Pen and Pencil—A Composed Love Story. Among certain other ‘themed’ poetry, I collect poems about writing, so this was a wonderful surprise when I found it.

                        With Renée’s permission, here is the poem:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Always Looking, and Always Finding Those Little Moments of Joy-#29

The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at their blog,

          I have had a challenging eleven days.  I have hope and I look for the rainbow, but I admit it hasn’t been easy.  I know that there are others of you who are in the midst of your own life challenges, some perhaps little, some life changing.  I just thought it would be nice to share one more thing I do when the going is tough.  In addition to gathering all the support I can find, and finding positive things in my life as often as possible, I read quotes.  They make me think in new ways.  Rather than miring myself in a deep, blue funk (is that an old, old saying?) I read quotes.  I have one of those flip things that are something like ‘one a day’ quotes that someone gave me a long time ago, and of course I can go online.  There are only two more days in the challenge, and weary though we are, everyone wants to find that final bit of strength to carry through.  Ruth and Stacey have given a quote for inspiration nearly every day, like this recent one:  “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow. ” ― Mary Anne Radmacher

            Here are the quotes I found that speak to me right now.  I begin with part of the poem Thumbprint, by Eve Merriam in which she says “And out of my blood and my brain/I make my own interior weather,/my own sun and rain.”

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Apple Slice! - # 28

  Slice Number 28 with Stacey and Ruth at the Two Writing Teachers March SOLC    
Three more times in the challenge!

       While I have an audience of some count (as The Great Gilly Hopkins said, actually about books, in the book by Katherine Paterson), I want to say a bit about apples, yes that tasty Malus domestica.  Did you know they were in the rose family? Lovely!
       I am convinced that apples keep me healthy.  I eat at least one apple every day for lunch, sliced with peanut butter spread on them and on four Ritz crackers.  I know, I know, it might be boring, but it keeps me filled for all the rest of the day, and I just love APPLES.  I love Granny Smiths, Pink Ladies (a favorite), Cameos, McIntosh and Fuji’s.   They are a prime source of vitamin C, have no fat, no cholesterol and little sodium.  They are a good source of fiber.  And they taste great. 

Braeburns, this time         
           There are many stories about apples, traced all the way back to the Three Golden Apples used by Hippo Menes (given to him by Aphrodite) to win the heart of Atalanta.  And of course there is the story of Adam and Eve. 
          But you’ll have to discover more history yourself.  This is about eating apples.  At school, I eat with friends or at my computer, but at home I eat with the squirrels.  I have several who visit my back yard by the park and I feed them peanuts and the core of my apple plus one sliced apple every day I’m home.  They sometimes wait if they know I’ve been home, and they know that if I work in the yard for a bit before lunch.  Then, around lunchtime, I see them lurking around, waiting.    I fix my lunch, and that for the squirrels, with peanuts thrown in too. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Scary Afternoon - Wildfire! #27

  Slice Number 27 with Stacey and Ruth at the Two Writing Teachers March SOLC  

What a month it has been!  

My husband is now in a mental health behavioral center.  The goal is to stabilize his mental and physical health so that we can find a place for him that will be a happier place, most probably a nursing home.  It has been quite a time this past week, and I'm not ready to process all I have done exactly.  There are lists upon lists.  Finally a bed opened for him and he was moved from the ER to this center, a difficult move, but he is calm and progressing a little each day.  The head of the center just looks at me and says, "Linda, one day at a time, remember?"  I am doing that, but so much more. My son flew back to town and we spent (with daughter and son-in-law plus daughter-in-law by phone) time talking, planning, then making some priorities.  I am grateful for my children and who they are as adults, and am grateful and blessed they are coming with me on this journey.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Letter For Today - #26

        This is my 26th slice with Stacey and Ruth at the Two Writing Teachers March SOLC  

Go over to visit Jen and Kellee at It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA at teach mentor texts.                                                           

                                                        Sunday night, 3/25/2012

Dear Readers,

I managed to finish one book this week, and have made a number of connections with it that are awesome.  First of all, I realized as I thought about the book I’m sharing today that Tuesday I wrote a post about the importance of students and teachers writing letters to each other several times a week.  Second, in that post I talked about the communication that happens when we write, publish, and comment back and forth with each other, something like letters.  And finally, among the many well wishes I received this week from others, some wrote letters, and from their writing showed me something about the person who wrote.  As they communicated via ‘slow’ mail, so will I too, to thank them. 
I love telling you I read an amazing book this week, one that moved plot in such interesting ways, perhaps because it was written in letters, and also because the two main characters, becoming pen pals, were each given a voice by a different writer.  Meena, an immigrant young woman who lives in NYC with her family, is from India and the writer who creates her story is Neela Vaswani.  River, so named because his mother loves the Cumberland River, is a young man living in rural Kentucky.  Silas House creates his story.  The book is Same Sun Here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I Am Thankful - #25

The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers blog,

Thank you so much, Ruth and Stacey!

I am thankful

flowers sat on my desk,
notes filled my mailbox
 beautiful words arrived on voice mail
and on the blog
people traveled to my house:
my son, my daughter, my brother,
my sisters-in-law, my friends, my colleagues
fixing, hugging, calling, touching,
kissing, laughing, eating, talking,
crying, sighing, remembering.

Every day a challenge,
but every day brings love

and joy
and knowing
I am not alone.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Had To Tell About This Book - More Ways To Tell Your Story -#24

The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at their blog,

Seven Days To Go!

This past Thursday and Friday parent-student-teacher conferences were held at school.  Those of us who are not core teachers had some time to do some planning and meet informally if we wished.  As explained before, students at my school study individual units and are supported in their studies by their core teachers.  An additional component is that we have a group of teachers whose job is to take the students on individual field trips that focus on the unit topic.  My colleague who writes the blog Prose Cents is one of those teachers.  The experiential trips may involve small groups that have similar unit topics, but sometimes only one student can also go on a trip.  These teachers are amazing and creative and energetic, dedicated to their work with students, finding resources all over the city to help students learn about their topics ‘in the field’.  Trips might be interviews with experts, trips to local museums, airports, restaurants, and businesses.  The list of possibilities is endless.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Trying To Put All The Best Words In The Best Order # 23

 The March Slice of Life Challenge at the Two Writing Teachers blog - Thanks Stacey and Ruth.  Poetry Friday Is at A Year of Reading - Thanks Mary Lee for hosting.

          As I said when I first talked about this project here, I'm working on a series of poems at different stages in a life, saying goodbye each time.  I hope to put them together in a book with pictures of my grandchildren (10 ½, almost 3, 7 months) at the particular stage I am describing in the poem.  Much of this involves my observations through the ten years of my grandson's life, and now of the younger grandgirls--all growing and changing so fast.  I love telling stories through poetry, and I have long collected poems of goodbye, so this is my way to combine both passions.  Someday I hope to put it all together in a book for my grandchildren.  As we often say, it’s nice to have a goal and an audience to write for.

Real feedback is welcome.  I appreciate it.  Here is number two:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Teaching Connection - This is number 22

The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at their blog,

               I am so grateful and appreciative to all of the community for your comments to me in these recent two days.  Thank you for your concern, your kindness and the sharing of the parts of your lives that have touched some parts of mine.  
              As I have read and re-read comments, I connected to something in the classroom that I did when I taught that has similarities to my post.  I felt a need to TELL my story, to gather support as well as advice.  When I taught, my students wrote a letter to me three times a week.  These were called letter journals, and were private between each student and me.  Three days a week I sat after school and answered each one.  The purpose was for the student to share how their lives (school and otherwise) were going, what was working, what was not, who was a good friend, who was bugging them, what they wished would happen, what they wanted from me for support, and so on.  Any topic was okay.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Spine Poems - Exploring Our Books for Meaning - #21

     The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at their blog,

Travis Jonker, at 100 Scope Notes,  continues his quest for book spine poems which he'll share during April - poetry month.  Check out the blog and see what you can create.  Here's mine!

Beware!  If you want to do it with your class, be prepared to have books all over the place, fun but messy.

It's the first day of spring, so my poem reflects the joy that it brings!

The Post Most Challenging - # 20

     The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at their blog,

      This is a most challenging post.  I feel I need to tell, but it isn’t easy.  I want those of you who have become my blogging friends to know why I never write about my husband of forty-seven years. 
Since 2008 we’ve lived with a disease called Parkinson’s.  Except for a new medicine regime, it didn’t affect our lives very much.  We read, we studied; we found a good doctor and joined a support group.  My husband was retired so we didn’t have to worry about work complications.  We did as much traveling as possible, like taking our grandson on wonderful trips, appropriate to his age.  Some of you might remember that I wrote last summer about our trip to Sanibel Island.  As my husband swam several times a week, and we both walked for exercise, and that helped his health.  I was given the chance to move out of the classroom and become a literacy coach part time.  Life seemed fine. 
       But it wasn’t really.  I’ve become a Caregiver.  And I’ve slowly lost parts of my husband as the days pass by.   

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's Monday What I'm Reading-Mostly Slices of Life! - #19

Reading Wrap-Up is my 19th slice with Stacey and Ruth at the Two Writing Teachers March SOLC  

You can hook up with this kitlit meme: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA at teach mentor textsthanks to Jen and Kellee!  Please visit to find out what others are reading!

  It's Monday! What are you Reading? is another meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys, a variety of reviews to find even more books for your TBR list. 

Reading Wrap-Up is my 19th slice with Stacey and Ruth at the Two Writing Teachers March SOLC  

You can hook up with this kitlit meme: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA at teach mentor textsthanks to Jen and Kellee!  Please visit to find out what others are reading!

  It's Monday! What are you Reading? is another meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys, a variety of reviews to find even more books for your TBR list. 

What I’ve read this week:

Here is just a snippet of my reading this week, no published books, but lots of beautiful writing!  It’s a privilege to be a reader on this journey in March.  Thanks to everyone.

warm spring winds drift in
What is it within that expects the list to be checked off one by one like little tin soldiers in a line simply because it exists, has been written, decided?

One piece of evidence I have of growth as a writer is that I’ve developed some systems to sustain my writing. 
“Oh, do come right in, come into my house!/ We’ll have a great time,” Said fox to the grouse.
Just as we got around the corner the front wheel came off and started down down the road, going down the oncoming lane.  Usually this is no problem but that Saturday morning there were five cars on the street. 

“Undecor”- wish I could make it come out in those squiggly letters, it was much more eye-catching that way. It made me think of the messy house waiting for all the Saturday chores, plus countless chores ignored throughout these days of reading, commenting, slicing to get done.

I wonder if they are truly aware that their neighbors are suffering, hungry and crying out for help. Yet, no one seems to really be hearing them.
What a scary day. We don't have any details about what happened. We do know that it was a precautionary lock down requested by the sheriff and that no one was in real danger. PHEW! Never a dull moment. 
Down by the harbour area we were lured into Murphy’s Pub by strains of traditional Irish music played by a duo aptly named ‘Shenanigans’ They lured us like the legendary sirens.  
Adoro a mi papi.  Es simpático, responsable, chistoso y cariñoso (a su manera).
At this time of year where I live, the snow shovels, ice scrapers and down coats are still in use. On Easter, it is usually freezing, even snowy and little girls wear sweaters with their spring dresses at church.
the river slows
to a lazy roll
the storm passed
lays dormant

Slice 18 - Keeping Busy

       The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at their blog, Two Writing Teachers.

          In the Newbery medal winning book Moon Over Manifest Clare Vanderpool writes:  “Memories were like sunshine.  They warmed you up and left a pleasant glow, but you couldn’t hold them.”  I want to hold the last week’s memories, but know they will fade, like the sunshine no longer warms us when the clouds arrive and the temperature drops.

Vacuum- check
Duster - check
paper towels – check
spray cleaner – check
powdered cleanser – check

       And from the musical, Flower Drum Song, the words by Rodgers and Hammerstein flow:

Sunday, sweet Sunday,
With nothing to do,
Lazy and lovely,
My one day with you.

      Obviously, from the list above, you know that the song doesn’t quite work for me today.  My son, daughter-in-law and grandson, who moved to another state last year, have been here for a week, grandson Carter’s spring break.  We lived close to them for many years before this move and still miss them.  They left early this morning, and so, despite the song, I’m still not sure I can have a lazy Sunday.  I need to keep busy so I won’t miss them so much. 
     When I’m sad, I find exercise helps.  Later today in this warm weather undoubtedly we will go for a walk, but cleaning helps, too.  There is something good and distracting when tackling a task and then finishing it. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Poetry Madness Poem - Slice 17

    The March Slice of Life Challenge is with Ruth and Stacey at the Two Writing Teachers blog 

As I wrote earlier this week, I participated with 63 other Poets on the internet in a kind of Ode to the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, where we wrote children's poems for Ed DeCaria's Madness! 2012 (Kids' Poetry. Under Pressure.)

Visit the webpage. Look at the results of the pairings, and read all the wonderful poems that were written.  We were each given a word as a prompt, where we had to write a maximum of 8 lines that included the word at least once.  My word was paternity. I've been reading about more the emphasis being made on non-fiction writing so immediately thought I would write a non-fiction poem, hence the work about penguins (a favorite paternal story).
 I competed against a published writer extraordinaire named Donna Martin and lost by just a few votes.  I am rather proud that the day's voting was back and forth with our poems’ votes, and thought both were good.  The interesting part that sometimes happened with the pairings is that unbeknownst to each other, some, like Donna and me, wrote poems that were quite similar in content; ours were both about animals and the way they behave.  What serendipity!

Here is my poem, and here is the link to Donna’s.  Her word was prowl.

Paternity Patience 
The emperor penguin does not ignore

His given chore,  of perilous paternity.

He stands and waits.  He waits and stands.

It seems for all eternity.

While the momma empress swims for need

And gobbles feed, expressing her maternity.

She glides and dives; she dives and glides.

It appears with taciturnity.

 Keep watching.  The next 16 pairings happen soon!

photo credit: Martha de Jong-Lantink via photopin cc