Slice of Life2

My shift in the Children’s Garden at Longwood was just ending. Despite the fact that there had been a steady drizzle throughout the morning, I decided to keep my plans to explore the just-beginning-to-bloom tulips. Besides, by now the drizzle had slowed to some intermittent drops. There is something special about a flower garden after it rains – the colors are more vibrant, the fragrances heightened, and a lingering raindrop kissing a petal can offer just the right photo opportunity.

There are tulips in several places throughout Longwood, but yesterday I chose to wander in the Idea Garden. The tulips there are laid out in a rainbow of squares, bringing to mind a patchwork quilt. Some of the tulips were in full bloom, some just opening, while others were closed tightly for a few more days. I marveled at the well-planned blooming schedule that would provide optimal viewing to guests over several weeks.

Since my plan for April is to post poetry, and since today is International Haiku Poetry Day, I offer this observation:


 A quilt of colors

Purple, pink, red, and yellow,

Welcoming the sun.

Posted in Poems, Slices | 14 Comments

The In-Between

Slice of Life2I love seasonal changes. They remind me that life is constantly changing and that change and growth are a necessary part of moving forward. I especially love those in-between times, those times when two seasons co-exist, one melting into the other. I wrote about summer moving into fall last October, and the other day I was equally mesmerized by winter giving in to spring. We’ve had some crazy weather lately, warm temperatures in the middle of February that forced the daffodils out way too early, then a significant snowfall in March. Last week a chilly wind was blowing, but spring was just about ready to make an appearance.


The In-Between


white bud-clusters

peek from green jackets

feel the chill



pink blossoms

eager to greet the world

stay sheltered from the wind



one brave tulip

joins the drooping daffodils

beckons more to follow



then a day of sun

and a gray-green world

bursts forth in color


Posted in Slices | 12 Comments

Banana Mania

Slice of Life2  The Inspiration: I sit at my computer, hoping for an idea. What have I noticed recently that could become a slice of life on this first Tuesday after the March challenge? My mind wanders through events of the past few days and I think about the Crayola crayon that is being retired – Dandelion, I believe. Then I remember that Amy at The Poem Farm is doing a project where she pulls a crayon at random each day and creates a poem from it. Bingo! I’ll try it.

The Process: Since I don’t have a box of 64 Crayola crayons handy, I pull up a list of the colors, choose a random number, and count down. I land on Banana Mania. I like the name, but what shade of yellow is that exactly? I soon discover that it really isn’t a shade I normally associate with a banana – more of a tan or beige with yellow undertones. I’m not inspired, so I decide instead to brainstorm thoughts and ideas associated with Banana Mania. I come up with monkeys, rainforest animals, nutritional value, how to eat a banana, the banana tree at Longwood, taste, and various recipes that use bananas. Is there something in there I can use?

The Product:

Banana Mania

Bananas in my smoothies

Bananas in my bread,

Bananas on my waffles,

Bananas fill my head!

The Reflection: I will be the first to admit that this is not a wonderful poem, and although I tried to come up with a second stanza, it just didn’t work for me without feeling forced. But it reminded me that this experience plays out every day in classrooms. As we offer strategies to our students, it is important to remember that what works for one may not work for another.  It is a reminder to see each writer as an individual and help them find what works or inspires them. It’s OK to hit a dead end. It happens to writers all the time.

I think I’ll go eat a banana now.

Posted in Slices | 13 Comments

Thank You

Slice of Life2

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thanks to the co-authors of              Two Writing Teachers for creating this  supportive community.

Thirty-one days ago I started this challenge by creating an acrostic poem. So today, I offer another acrostic poem to sum up the month. There were days when I scoured through my notebook, read some posts for inspiration, and wondered as I sat down to write just what would happen. But magically something always appeared, as I knew it would. So, to all of you who sliced along with me, read, commented, and offered just the right nudge, and especially to Beth, Betsy, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey – this one’s for you.


Thanks, Two Writing Teachers, for

Hosting this special month of writing

And sharing. So many ideas,

Never feeling at a loss for words,

Knowing I could find support from fellow slicers.


You have created a community

Of writers and an ever-growing,

Unending web of friends.


See you on Tuesdays!

Posted in Slices | 18 Comments

A Spine Poem

Slice of Life2

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thanks to the co-authors of              Two Writing Teachers for creating this  supportive community.

Today I decided to try a spine poem. I remember creating one before and know that sometimes it is not as easy as it may seem. At least not for me. Should there be a message? A theme? Since we’re getting to the end of the month long Slice of Life Challenge, I’ve been starting to do some reflecting on what the month has meant and what I have learned.

Hmmm…Maybe that could be my theme.

To me, Slice of Life is about finding the stories in our lives, falling in love with those ordinary gifts that come with day to day living, becoming more confident as writers, creating, and risk-taking.

Now for the books. Can I create that message with book titles ?

I looked around my office and noticed a few stacks of picture books, a TBR pile, and my bookcase of mostly professional books. The Newkirk book jumped out at me right away, then I found some more titles that seemed to work, rearranged, added, discarded, rearranged again, and finally came up with this (please read from the top down).

Spine Poetry

Hey world, here I am!

A happy dreamer

With aimless love.

Minds made for stories

Open a world of possible

Day by day

P.S. Happy Dreamer is a new book by Peter Reynolds that celebrates the unconventional, sometimes-messy-but-always-creative dreamer in all of us.

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

AYPI? (And Your Point Is?)

Slice of Life2

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thanks to the co-authors of              Two Writing Teachers for creating this  supportive community.

The other day I was watching a news program and learned that a congressman (maybe a senator) left this message on something he was supposed to read: TLDNR (Too Long Did Not Read), and I started thinking about acronyms. Granted, I have used acronyms for years. Back in the 60’s when I was a teenager, SWAK was a popular sendoff in a letter to that special someone. And who can deny BYOB, RSVP, FAQ, and FIY?  When I started sending text messages I specifically avoided using acronyms for words that I could easily type out (it just didn’t seem right). I realize that if you are limited to the number of characters you use, some acronyms may come in handy, but it was years before I figured out what EOM meant at the end of an email message line. Some frequently used acronyms I have deciphered, like LOL and BTW, but sometimes it takes me longer to figure out what is being said than if the person sending the message would just type it out.

I got curious and of course turned to Google and found a site that lists the 500 (yes, 500) most commonly used acronyms. Here are a few of my favorites in no particular order:

CMIIW (Correct Me If I’m Wrong) – No problem there. If I can’t figure it out I will assume you are right. Looks like a Roman numeral to me.

DUCT (Did You See That?) – Seeing this in a text or email would conjure up rolls of duct tape for me.

FOCL (Falling Off a Chair Laughing) – I think there are more acronyms devoted to various degrees of laughing than anything else, many of which involve various parts of the body falling off or on. Really? I also found ROTFLOLWTIME How long would it take someone to figure out that is Rolling On The Floor Laughing Out Loud With Tears In My Eyes?

G2GTAP  (Got To Go Take A Pee) – Just TMI

GR8 or THX – With just a few more letters you have the word!

HAHA – This one was disturbing. It means Having A Heart Attack. If someone sent me this I would assume they were laughing, and that probably is what is means sarcastically, but why take the chance?

PDS (Please Don’t Shoot) – Again, I get the sarcasm , but all I could envision was someone texting the person mugging them!

Just something that I hope brings a smile today, FWIW.

Posted in Slices | 10 Comments

Backyard Musings

Slice of Life2

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thanks to the co-authors of              Two Writing Teachers for creating this  supportive community.

I am not a great gardener or birder, but one of the best decisions I ever made was to keep a gardening journal. It helps me remember what I planted (and where), what worked or didn’t work, what birds are visiting. Today’s post is just a collection of thoughts I had yesterday as I walked through the backyard. The journal excerpts may help explain some of my thinking.


I walk the perimeter of the garden and notice. What is starting to show signs of life? What has survived the cruel March snow? What might change? I think and wonder…about some of the rebalancing that occurred last summer, about nature taking its course, about color and beauty and joy.

I’m confident that the peony bushes will once again burst forth this May in an abundance of pink and white blossoms.  5/17/16 – The peonies are bursting!

I worry that the house sparrows will take over the white bluebird house.  5/11/16 – Everything I have read indicates that house sparrows should not be allowed to live with blue birds or tree swallows as they are predators, but I feel conflicted. Might be best to let nature take its course.

I’m confident that the pink and purple tulips will bloom and join the yellow daffodils with the droopy heads.

I worry that the winterberry is lost. 5/6/16 – …I trekked out to Briar Rose for hanging baskets, geraniums, container plants. Best find of the day – winterberry!

I’m confident that the cardinals and chickadees and woodpeckers and finches will find places to nest and sing.

I worry that the bluebirds will not return. 5/19/16 – I peeked into the fancy house again today. I think the bluebird in there may be dead, but I know I must leave it alone.

I’m confident that there will be mulch to spread and weeds to pull and blue hydrangea blossoms to snip.

I worry that the tree swallows will not visit.

I’m confident that there will be surprises and celebrations and births and deaths, and I’m confident that the cycle of life will continue. 6/15/16 – The eggs in the bluebird house by the hydrangeas are gone, but the nest is still there. A bluebird was sitting on the box this morning, and a new bluebird nest has been started in the fancy house. Spotted the tree swallow this morning sitting on top of his box. They were swooping yesterday. Balance is being restored.


Posted in Slices | 12 Comments