A Writing Slump

It seems like I have been in a writing slump lately. I don’t really know why. There has certainly been enough going on- back to school, wedding plans underway for my daughter, my daughter getting her first job, my great-nephew’s birthday, going to movies and dinner with my sister- lots of good things happening, lots I could write about. Maybe it was the effect of the hot, steamy weather. But we’ve had a few gorgeous days- still warm and sunny, but not so humid- that should wipe out the weather theory. So today I am just going to try to capture some random thoughts. I don’t want another week to go by without writing on Tuesday.

I’m happy to be back at school. Love being with the kids. But it seems exhausting, trying to get back into the routine.

My daughter and one of her bridesmaids went shopping, bought some flowers on clearance, and made bridesmaids bouquets, very pretty, for less than $40!

The bride and groom went to a bakery for cake-tasting and decided on the cake they want.

After her first day of training for her new job, my daughter is excited about her co-workers and job.

I found a cute pair of scissors made to look like the Eiffel Tower to include along with the bridal shower gift. (My daughter dreams of going to Paris someday.)

Simone Biles was so amazing at the Olympics, as well as Michael Phelps. The Olympics always provides so many great stories.

Praying for my friend battling cancer. At her last treatment, she began having a reaction to the drug which so far had the cancer in retreat (for the third time). She wants so badly to be able to finish the course of treatment. She has a couple more cycles to go.

My almost 11 year old nephew talks about the things he prays for. Isn’t that something?!

Trying to get a group of third graders all started on a computer program is trying.

I got four summer dresses, all the same style as one I already had, just different colors, and I have enjoyed the ease of dressing for school.

Last time I got my hair cut, the stylist said I should use “purple shampoo.” I found some to try.

Florence Foster Jenkins was a kind of odd movie. Meryl Streep is a great actress, though.

It was sunny and breezy Sunday. I loved the sunlight filtering through the leaves as they rippled in the wind, and the contrast of blue sky and green trees.

During the hot and humid weather, we had an unexpected thunderstorm right at dismissal one day. Lightning struck on the parking lot as kids and teachers were heading out to the busses. There was a huge boom and inside the lights all went out for a few seconds and then came back on. Kids were screaming. It was scary. Several people closest to it felt it, but no one actually was struck by lightning. It could have been a tragedy. We were spared.

I think I’ll stop by for a bowl of my favorite Mexican chicken and rice soup with avocado on the way home.

So you see, I really do have a lot to write about. Hope the slump is over!

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Simply Celebrating a Nice Day

Blue sky
White clouds
Warm air
Bright sun
Green trees
Light wind

Nice day!

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She Did It!

The big celebration around here this week is for my daughter. Since the beginning of the year, anticipating her college graduation, she began working on her resume, filling in applications, and going to interviews. It wasn’t an easy road. She had to face disappointments and rejections. There were moments of adult-like determination and tenacity and moments of teenage- like dramatics. At one point she even lamented, “I guess I am just going to be homeless all my life!” (This declaration was made in the living room of the home she grew up in, the home she can always come home to- though, of course, it will hopefully be just for visits once she has launched out on her own. Still, it will be here for her no matter what.)

Finally, this week she had her best interview. The one that led to a job offer. A job with decent starting pay, benefits, and opportunities that open the door into turning a job into a career. A job that is in the field she studied for. A job she is excited to start. A job where she will serve others and make a difference. A job to celebrate!

The celebration included dinner…and cheesecake…

The celebration makes the future look bright!

Posted in celebrations, home and family | 4 Comments

Family Birthday Season

August and September is birthday season in our family- more birthdays in these two months than the others, although December comes close. Today was my sister’s turn. We had a birthday dinner with my niece and her husband and two of my great-nephews. Even though it was my sister’s day, the boys stole the show.

Josh just started fifth grade this week. He waxed nostalgic for the good old days of fourth grade and bemoaned his fate of now being a fifth grader. In fourth grade, days flew by. Class would start and when you looked at the clock, it would be 11:00 already, almost lunch time. In fifth grade, you have to stave until the 1:15 lunch time. In fourth grade, his teacher was younger and perkier. His fifth grade teacher is OLD…at least forty! And her husband is ancient, probably in his fifties. Their son just graduated college and is moving to New York, which his teacher just can’t understand- she says Indiana is good enough. Apparently this story is very boring to fifth graders. And to top it off, she keeps calling Josh by the wrong name- Jordan, Jason, Jayden- every J but Josh. Today she said she was going to give him a penny every time she got his name wrong. Josh said when she told him that, he paused just right and with perfect timing, responded “I’ll be rich by the end of the year.” The teacher cracked up. He made a nickel today.

Almost two years old, Jaxson seems to have grown by leaps and bounds since the last time I saw him (just a few weeks ago). His vocabulary is increasing, and his words are more clear- though a lot still require translation by his mama, daddy, big bro, or nana. He has outgrown the smacking sound and kisses thrown out into the air. Now he makes fish lips and demands the real thing. He handed his plate to the waitress when he finished his food and waved goodbye to her when she carried it away. No more sippy cup. He gets a kid-sized cup of water with a straw and with great concentration takes sips and takes the straw out and puts it back over and over.

My sister has been a huge part of their lives since the moment they were born. She cannot imagine being a long-distance grandma. On her birthday and every day, they are her best gifts- well, next to their mama, who still is her baby girl.

Happy Birthday, dear sister!

Posted in celebrations, home and family | 4 Comments

Making Masks

I am trying to be quick- even though I am not usually a quick writer! I am on a lunch break from our first day back to school professional development. I am happy because I am with my “tribe.” Our district ESL staff is presenting this PD for all the ESL teachers in our district. Our theme this year is “Portraits.” This will range from self-portraits to portraits of our students, schools, and district. I was so thrilled that I got to lead our ice-breaker activity and do a writing activity from All-Write based on Ralph Fletcher’s poem “The Good Old Days.”

We spent most of the morning in an activity led by an art therapist. She talked briefly about art therapy, then led us in making masks. We drew a 2-D version after seeing several “mentor masks.” Then we crafted 3-D masks using cardboard, chalk and oil pastels. We had so much fun. I am so impressed with a director who would provide such an innovative approach to our PD. We talked about the many ways the activity could be used with our students. Having experienced it ourselves, we will be so much more likely to do it with our students. We understand the process and know some of the challenges students will face. (Does this sound familiar? Of course, I tied in some of the same ideas with the writing activity. The art therapist had even noticed and referenced the writing we had done!)

Anyway, here are some pictures of my mask:

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The activity was based on art by Kimmy Cantrell.

Posted in school | 9 Comments

Celebrating Anticipation

I’ve been waiting, hoping, wondering when it would show up. As the days of summer break dwindled “like sand in the hourglass,” my thoughts began to turn to the new school year. But I was feeling the ending of summer more than anything. Now, at last, waking up this morning, I had that tingle of anticipation when I thought of the days of preparation this coming week leading up the to the August 1 return of our students.

I will “get my toes wet” Monday with a short training on a new computer program the district has adopted this year and a visit to school just to check out my classroom and see who else is hanging out at school getting ready. Tuesday, I’ll spend the day with my ESL “tribe” at our beginning of the year Professional Development. I am excited about this because I get to share what I learned at All Write this summer! I will lead all my teacher friends in “The Good Old Days” writing activity that Ralph Fletcher led all of us to do in the auditorium at Warsaw. I will urge them to become teachers who write and share how much that one choice has impacted me and my teaching.

On Wednesday through Friday, I will be with my colleagues at Ernie Pyle Elementary School as we meet and plan and become a team. We have many new staff members this year, so these days will be crucial. Friday morning we will attend our District Convocation at the State Fairgrounds. Every teacher, administrator, and staff member in the district will be coming together in this rally for the beginning of the year. And on Wednesday through Friday, we will be spending every minute possible making sure our rooms are set up for a great start to the new year. And sneaking in time to have lunch together and just talk with our friends, our co-workers.

The purpose of it all, of course, is to be ready and excited as students come to the first day of school. Don’t you love that day? Greeting the returning students and hearing the stories of summer…welcoming the new students and assuring them they have come to the best school ever…meeting parents. Kids dressed their best…sharp, new pencils and crayons, new folders and notebooks, and new books. Reading and writing, talking and learning…doing school together.

Happy Back to School, everyone!

Posted in celebrations, school | 10 Comments

Will She Show Up Again?

We writers never know where ideas will pop up. It was just an ordinary day. I was driving home after my annual eye exam. A light turned red, and I stopped. I glanced into my rearview mirror. What a sight! The lady in the SUV behind me had quite a collection wobbling and waving all across her dashboard. Holidays and cartoon characters were well-represented, along with flowers and animals, all activated by the sunshine. There must have been 50 of those solar-powered figurines wiggling and jiggling around. I wondered how the driver kept from being distracted as she was driving around with all that motion right in front of her. I wondered how many other drivers got distracted. I wondered what drove her to collect them all. Did she collect them all herself? Did a child in her family get the first one, and then the whole family started giving her more and more? She looked happy- she had a big smile, and she was bobbing her head. And I thought, she could be a character in a story! I don’t know what the story is yet, but I wonder- Will she show up again?

Solar Daisy

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