Laughing in the Rain #SOL

The rain came down heavy. I could do nothing but squint my eyes, pedal harder, and laugh. “Now you’ll have something to write about in your journal tomorrow,” Tim joked. Oh, but sooo true. These are the stolen moments that make for a perfect slice of life– Getting caught in a summer downpour on a bike ride back from Dairy Queen.

It was a light dinner of chicken drumsticks on the grill, corn, and salad. You know what always comes after light dinners…ice cream! I sheepishly suggested it, “I would go on a bike ride to Dairy Queen later.” Tim never, I mean never, turns down ice cream.

We got on our bikes around 8:00. The sky looked dark, but the weather app said the rain wasn’t coming until 9:30ish. We left the Jeep and Subaru in the driveway with top off and sunroof open. “Should we pull the cars in the garage?” Tim questioned. “Nah,” I replied.

The bike ride downtown was pretty uneventful. The skies looks ominous, but we trusted the weather app. At one point we almost turned back to have ice cream at home, but decided to risk it.

DQ was abuzz with people. A softball team, kids and parents, people everywhere. We sat low to the ground on two parking blocks, the concrete stop at the head of a parking space, because every seat was taken. We enjoyed our ice cream (Thin Mint Blizzard for Tim, Hot Fudge Sundae with nuts for me) and people watched.

We felt the first drop of rain when we were no more than a block into our 25 block bike ride home. By the time we reached 7th Street, it was a downpour. I stayed to the right riding under trees hanging over the street for a bit of reprieve from the rain. We couldn’t help but laugh at ourselves. We took a risk for ice cream. Was it worth it? You bet!

Trees #SOL21

Inspired by Janeen Pizzo, I gave a go to my own Pantoum poem.

The tress, they stand through it all
A new fresh start every year
Shaking off the winter gloom
Green emerges, new life

A new fresh start every year
Blazing summer heat drips from your leaves
Green emerges, new life
A place for solitude and rest

Blazing summer heat drips from your leaves
Changing right before our eyes
A place for solitude and rest
You shed your coat of many colors

Changing right before our eyes
A skeleton of what you once were, strong and mighty
You shed your coat of many colors
The trees, they stand through it all

My Kind of People #SOL21

I do it every time. Driving past, I peer into the driver’s side as they pass. A parked car, I look around for evidence. Checking to see if they follow suit with my expectation. And usually, the answer is yes. If you own a Subaru, you are my kind of people.

I’ve never been much of a car person. In fact, cars actually annoy me more than they interest me. Loud, obnoxious cars: noise pollution. Racy, shiny sports cars: waste of money. Big, overpowering trucks: highway bullies. And don’t get me started on cars or trucks that blow black, poisonous smoke. My main objective with a car–take me where I need to go safely and cost effectively.

And that’s where my Subaru fits in. I currently own my second Subaru Outback. My first one was a used, white 1999 that served me well for many years. Running errands, transporting toddlers, then preschoolers around, taking the dog for a hike. But, eventually our family needed a car with three rows of seats to accommodate friends and trips. When I traded my first Subaru in, I knew it would not be my last.

Fast forward a decade, and I now have my next Subaru Outback. The kids were older, and they were driving themselves. We were ready to be done with the larger, family vehicle. As we began looking for our next car, I knew I wanted another Outback. The rates were so good, we decided to purchase a brand new one; the first new car I’ve ever had.

Here’s where my experiment begins. I have found that most other Subaru drivers I encounter have many of the same characteristics. We are earth loving, enjoy being active, kind, thoughtful souls, creative people, and usually dog owning. Recently, my predictions have been correct.

  • I was leaving a weekend yoga class and chatting with a fellow yogi. As we left the studio, I saw her head towards a Subaru Outback. Check: enjoy being active
  • Running in a nearby neighborhood, I spotted two Subaru Outbacks parked in the driveway. Next to them were raised garden beds. Check: earth loving
  • Recently, I was listening to a livestream Indigo Girls concert, and Emily told a story about a drummer she met while getting her Subaru worked on. Check: creative people

To all my fellow Subaru owners…you’re my kind of people 💚💙

A recent mailing from Subaru. This could have been me 25 years ago, but my body’s a little too old for this type of camping now.
I write along with the Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday for the Slice of Life Challenge.

So, What’s Next? #SOL21

31 days later, and I’m still here writing! This is my 2nd year participating in the Slice of Life challenge. I must say, it is even more rewarding this year, than last year. I knew what to expect, what it was going to take, and even employed some new strategies to help me be successful. I am proud of myself, not only for growing as a writer this month, but also for learning new things from fellow slicers, and become an all around better human.

So, what’s next you ask?

Keep writing! Since November of 2019, I’ve made a commitment to writing. I’ve written almost everyday. I rise early at 5 am, have my quiet time followed by my writing time. A cup of coffee with each one. This is my favorite time of the day. I will continue this practice. It starts my day off right and sets me up for success.

Visit Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday Slicing isn’t over! Last year, I sporadically participated in the Tuesday challenge. This year, I want to keep the momentum going.

Revision work I hope to improve my revision process on my slices. One strategy I employed at the beginning of the challenge was to write my slice the day before, let it simmer in my mind throughout the day, and then revise and publish it the next morning. This practice led to better writing. My goal will be to flesh out my first draft of my Tuesday slice on Monday morning, continue to think about it, rework words, add ideas, and be ready to publish on Tuesday.

Revisit the March challenge My reading and commenting on the SOL challenge barely touched the surface of the exemplary writing that was posted this month. I hope to go back to many of the days and read more pieces and comment to others.

Encourage others to write with me I shared this challenge with my staff this year. No one joined me, but I planted the seed. I hope to provide opportunities for us to write together and ways that we can share our writing with each other.

Feedback Giving and receiving feedback is such an important part of this challenge. I know I would eagerly check my comments throughout the day to see who read my post and what they thought of it. That reminds me of our students. When they write, they need feedback! And the sooner the better. I have a goal to provide quicker feedback with students, and for that feedback to contain a lot of positives.

In the last 31 days, I’ve become a better writer, a better teacher of writing, and a better human. It’s #whyiwrite. Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for organizing this challenge! I’ll see you on Tuesdays!

A Piece of Living History

I turned on the old player and inserted the CD. It was New Year’s Eve, we were staying in, and I needed some good cooking music. I pushed play. The sound took me back. 1980s. Summer vacations at my grandparents…

After a long day at the beach, everyone was taking their turn to shower and get ready for an evening out to dinner. My granddad and grandmom would visit the beach for lunch, but would head back to their condo for naps, so they were already ready for the evening.

Grandad sat at the black electric organ in his dark dress pants and light collared shirt. He chose a beat to start the music from the many buttons and lights on the his beloved machine. Then his fingers danced up and down the keyboard. His feet jumped in rhythm on the petals below. His body swayed to the tempo. The music filling every space of the modest condo.

We filtered in one by one to find a seat in the living room for our private concert. Grandmom bopped around doing odd chores, wine cooler in hand, whistling along with the music. She eventually sat in her swivel chair to enjoy the sound to its fullest. Grandad would take requests of old familiar tunes. Girl From Ipanema was my dad’s go to, while I held out for I Just Can’t Smile Without You. After several songs, Grandad would turn the power off, and we would head out to a local restaurant for our seafood dinner.

…As the CD continued to play, I found myself so grateful that my grandparents took the time to record my Grandad’s organ playing. It is a living piece of our family history. Since December 31st is my Grandad’s birthday, it is only fitting that I make this my annual New Year’s Eve playlist. Happy Birthday Grandad!

My Grandad played at many parties and events in his retirement. He loved organ playing!

Time to Reflect #sol20

I have contemplated joining the Slice of Life writing challenge for several years now. I admire my friend, Leigh Anne, who writes everyday and participates in SOL in March and on Tuesdays. I often follow the #teachwrite hashtag and the twitter chat that happens monthly. This year I have been writing everyday since November 1st, so I felt like I was prepared to jump in and tackle the challenge. My goal in this challenge was to become a better writer, teacher, and all around human. Let’s see how I did with those goals–

Goal: I will become a better writer. The act of writing helps you become a better writer. Yes, instruction is important, but putting the pencil to paper or fingers to the keyboard and just writing is so valuable. Volume matters in writing. By writing every single day, I improved my craft. I was on the look out for ideas. Once you get in the habit of writing everyday, you become an idea collector. Little things happen, and I would think, “That’s a post.” As I read a variety of posts from others, I began to notice things others were doing that I could borrow. I was reading like a writer. I noticed what introductions grabbed me as a reader, and I tried to emulate those. I learned I am a better writer in the morning when my brain is fresh and uncluttered. I learned that I miss my notebook since I’ve been doing most of my writing on a computer. Yes, I became a better writer.

Goal: I will become a better teacher. I learned a lot about feedback through this challenge. How to receive it and how to give it. From Day 1, I started improving my writing based on feedback from others. All the feedback I received was positive, and through the affirmations, I knew what was working and did more of that. Specific feedback moved me forward as a writer. Others telling me lines they liked helped me craft more lines that were rich and meaningful. As I gave feedback, I tried to share places in the writing that moved me, whether it was word choice, or the overall structure, or the rhythm. I know I will use these tips for giving feedback to my writers. Yes, I became a better teacher.

Goal: I will become a better person. This was something I didn’t expect. How being a writer can change the person I am becoming. I am more thoughtful. I am more observant. I am more caring. This writing community truly cares for it’s members. The support I felt through others reading my writing and commenting has been a bright spot in each day this month. I have grown as a person each time I struggle with a post and hit publish. I have done the hard work. I have shared my writing for the first time ever. This writing space has given me the chance to be bold with my words. Yes, I became a better person.

Thank you Slice of Life 2020! I will always remember this as the month I became a writer. I hope to continue slicing with you all on Tuesdays!