Saturday, August 29, 2015

Celebrate This Week!

                            Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.  
 When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build.
  A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

1.  TIME to purge paper!
I'm working on the boxes of paper I brought home from school when I retired a year ago.  I know it's been a year, but this is a tough project for me and I had a busy year -  more working than I had expected and our kitchen remodel (excuses, excuses).  I've tried Kondo's (the life-changing magic of tidying up) question, "Does this spark joy?"  Unfortunately, almost all the papers from my teaching life do just that.  So my daughter insists that I follow up that question with "Will I use this again?"  I'm also trying to ask myself, "Can I access this online?"  That's not an easy question when it comes to my Choice Literacy stuff.  I'm not sure that I'll always be a member, so maybe I need to keep some of those articles after all!
So, I'm celebrating that I've made some time for purging this past week, but in the interest of painting my life as it truly is and celebrating the grit also. . . 
I must admit that it's easy to get bogged down and feel like
I'm drowning in the attempt.  Suggestions, dear friends?

  On to easier topics:

2.  Rain!  
Hopefully it will help with our forest fires.

3.  Gray days!
I know I'll be taking those words back soon,
but for now I'm glad our gray blanket has returned.

4.  Roses! 
I'm not a gardener, but our summer filled with sunshine and almost no rain
has produced gorgeous roses that I've enjoyed bringing inside. 
Here are the same roses on three consecutive days.

5.  A visit from Renae!
She was in the area to work on their place at Kalaloch, but I got lucky and she spent the last night at our place before flying out on Tuesday.  We enjoyed a 
walk and breakfast at Chace's before she dashed off to the airport.  

6.  These words of inspiration for my teacher friends from Lois Lowry!
(Yes, I did find these words while purging paper.)  

"Each of us here today has chosen the way in which we will be a friend to children; the gifts that we will give to them. The way I have chosen is to write stories. For all of us, it is our stories, as we tell them to each other, which explain the complex and tangled patterns that human lives and relationships create. They allow us to forgive ourselves for the messes we make of things; to comfort ourselves in the pain of the things we can't control. And through fiction—through stories—most of all, we remind ourselves that we are not alone in the difficult journeys
we all undertake."

"Down those treacherous bright streets
and the dark paths today's children travel,
they need our companionship, our respect,
our outstretched hands."

- From her speech "Bright Streets and Dark Paths"
Click on the title for a link to Lois Lowry's 
blog and speeches.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Poetry Friday: Going for Peaches, Fredericksburg, Texas

Have you ever purchased a book of poetry because you flipped it open and found a delicious poem?  This happened to me several years ago.  I was shopping the remainders sale at University Books when I discovered Naomi Shihab Nye's "Going for Peaches, Fredericksburg, Texas" in Word of Mouth:  Poems Featured on NPR's All Things Considered.  Perhaps it was the combination of peaches, Texas (I lived in Houston for eleven years, and I've been to Fredericksburg), old people ( I love them, even now that I'm one of them), a favorite poet (Naomi Shihab Nye), and fruit stands by the side of the road, but I had to buy this book so I could own this poem:

"Those with experience look for a special kind.
Red Globe, the skin slips off like a fine silk camisole.
Boy breaks one open with his hands.  Yes, it's good,
my old relatives say, but we'll look around.
They want me to stop at every peach stand
between Stonewall and Fredericksburg,
leave the air conditioner running,
jump out and ask the price. . . "

I've hunted all over the web trying to find this poem somewhere so I could share the entire poem.  Tried to see if Naomi Shihab Nye had shared it on her site (couldn't find one).  Watched a bunch of YouTube videos to see if she had recited it in a presentation.  Went to the publisher's site to try and ask permission to share, but the process is long and lengthy and perhaps even expensive.  To read the rest of the poem, you'll have to request the book from your library or buy the book.  You won't be disappointed!

                                                                             Head over to Poetry for Children
for this week's roundup of poetry love.  
Thanks for hosting, Sylvia!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday SOL: Missed the Sunset!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Betsy, Dana, BethAnna, Kathleen, and Deb
for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

After ten years of having my daughter live out of state, I'm delighted that she now lives just twenty minutes away.  She stopped by Saturday evening with a bag full of Costco goods to share.  The super sized produce, too much for two, is perfect when we split it between our households.  Sara and I settled into comfy chairs, she had her latest quilting project in hand and I had a stack of "new-to-me" picture books.  She mentioned that on the drive over the sun was a gorgeous shade of orange. With a quick comment to Lance that we were in hot pursuit of a sunset, we headed to Slater Park.  

Drat!  We missed the sunset.  But we sat for few minutes on the bench, chatting and enjoying the evening lullaby of water swishing on the beach.  I soaked up the green panorama as we exited the park, knowing that shorter days signal that autumn is knocking at the door. 

We took a quick walk to investigate a splash of pink that I'd spotted on our drive to Slater Park. A perfect summer evening . . . time to chat, the swish of water on shore, soaking up summer's green in the evening twilight . . . topped off by this dessert in pink!  

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Celebrate This Week!

                            Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.  
 When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build.
  A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

1.  Flowers on my walks!

2.  Daughter's housewarming and cooler weather
so we could try out their fire pit! 

3.  A visit with my friend, Sally! 
Love it when friends let me know they're in town.
We were busy chatting and forgot to take a picture.  
We met 29 years ago (yikes!), both of us pregnant with our 2nd children.  

4.  A morning with Sara!
A morning walk (saw "her" heron),
time in the back yard chatting and reading,
lunch, the library, and the quilt store!

5.  Following Blake and Stefi's CA vacation via Instagram!

6.  Some new favorite picture books!  
Still picking up holds from #PB10for10 at the library.

 7. Music in the Park!
Neighbor's band, The Fabulous Roofshakers, entertained us.

8.  Squeezed in a stop by University Bookstore 
while running Friday errands.  
Bookstores - one of my favorite happy places! 

9.  Praying for family and friends:
painful anniversaries, upcoming surgeries,
beginning radiation, continuing radiation, ending radiation, 
school beginnings, broken bones, a premature baby, 
family challenges, walking the path of grief, sicknesses,
dreams deferred, chronic illnesses and death.
I celebrate my faith in the Savior and lift up our shared concerns to Him
 who provides comfort and solace through all of life's challenges.  

10.  Update on last week's blackberry situation, received this email:
"...There is so much going on at the elementary site and the liability for the contractor would be too great.  The site belongs to them at this point, they are responsible for the safety of everyone who goes within the fence, and we can’t take the chance that someone would wander past where they were allowed to be...
Again, I’m really sorry.  I’m sure it is hard to watch
those berries ripen and see them go to waste."
You can say that again.  Not walking by there for now.
I consoled myself by snacking on these berries
on my way to the mailbox yesterday.  Open access!

Have a fabulous week filled with moments to celebrate!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Poetry Friday

I've missed posting for almost two months, but happy to jump in late with a favorite poem by Kristine O'Connell George.  Last week we finally had some cool weather, so my daughter and her husband tried out the fire pit at their housewarming.  I was too stuffed for s'mores, but did manage to roast one marshmallow to perfection.  When I was teaching, late summer was a time of preparation for the new school year. Retirement provides me additional time to savor summer and revel in two more weeks until school starts and summer officially ends.  

Toasting Marshmallows by Kristine O'Connell George

"I am a careful marshmallow toaster,
a patient marshmallow roaster,
turning my stick oh-so-slowly,
taking my time, checking often.
This is art---"
You can read the rest of the poem here.

                                                                  Head over to Reading to the Core
for this week's roundup of poetry love. 
Thanks for hosting, Catherine!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday SOL: Goodbye Book Links

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Betsy, Dana, BethAnna, Kathleen, and Deb
for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

Goodbye, Book Links, my old friend,
It’s time to part with you for good.

You were my link at a time when I was needy, in the 80s,
A teacher turned mom-at-home.  You kept me up-to-date
on a world I missed.  Every issue had colorful sticky notes
peeking out of the pages with topics of articles I loved.
I made copies of articles for my files.  But most of all,
I requested books from the library.  And then I
reveled in staying connected to the world of books
and sharing books with my own children,
their teachers, my friends, other young people,
anyone who would listen.    

I was a confirmed book nerd, and in your pages 
I discovered members of my own tribe – contributors
and authors I gleefully followed in your pages. 

I returned to the classroom, third grade and then
sixth grade, always with you by my side leading me
to new books and authors, articles addressing timely topics,
and entire issues devoted to specific themes.

I was devastated when you merged with Booklist. 
For awhile, my subscription extended to include
Booklist delivered with my Book Links.   Eventually
that perk ended and so did my subscription. 
I still find myself occasionally picking up a recent edition
of Book Links (published quarterly now) at the library,
but mostly I’ve moved on. 
My blogger friends are now my tribe.
They are my community, my peeps
who connect me to the world of books.

Thanks, Book Links, for the part you played at a critical time.
I celebrate the friends I made through your pages, the books
I met through you, your monthly arrival in my mailbox.
I release you, sending your pages to “recycle heaven” knowing
I can access your wealth of knowledge with a few keystrokes,
with gratitude for the friendships gained through your pages. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Celebrate This Week!

                                      Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.  
 When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build.
  A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

I'm celebrating that I did SOMETHING instead of just complaining.  It may not yield any results, but I tried.  No, it's not earth shattering, and it won't change the world.
But I hate to see such a bounteous harvest go to waste.
 Here's a picture to give you a glimpse of the problem:
A building project has fenced off one of my favorite spots for picking blackberries.  That building project is for a new elementary school in our district.  
I wiggled my greedy hand through the chain link in pursuit of a perfect blackberry, and almost got my hand stuck.  Then I stopped a surveyor in the next block
and requested that they open the fence during the day so folks could pick the blackberries.  Then I went one step further and stopped by the district office.
A receptionist sent an email to the project manager.  Will we get to pick the blackberries from behind the fence?  I hope so, but even if we don't,
I celebrate that I did SOMETHING besides complain.  

2.  RAIN!   
It rained on Tuesday and it rained on Friday.
Normally, we don't take pictures of rain in the Northwest, but we've had
such a dry summer.  This is definite cause for celebration!  

It's great to live in the community where I taught so I can visit
 teaching friends to share cookie bars and summer happenings over lunch.

Stefi sent me this picture of Blake holding a
friend's baby during church with this caption:
"Blake is a baby whisperer."

And I got to hold Coleen's granddaughter, Taylor, during church.
She's the cutie that I babysat last Saturday during Rico's wedding. 

I relished Friday's rainy afternoon for getting lost in
The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Bradley, a book that I'm loving!
It reminds me of Good Night, Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian. 
I went looking for the author at KCLS, only to discover that it's 
no longer in their collection.  Sorry, Ms. Gaffney, but I may have to
retrieve my copy from the collection I donated to your classroom.  
 I finished my audio book, Sugar, by Jewell Parker Rhodes.
Wonderful historical fiction!  I picked it up because I loved her book Ninth Ward.
 I started my next audio book, Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.
Now if I could just schedule more car time and a road trip . . . 
Something tells me that this book will make
the trek from car to computer this week!
Read more about our summer gathering of Books, Brownies, and Beyond  
with this lovely group of readers at Sweet Summer Reads!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday SOL: I Need a Business Card!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Betsy, Dana, BethAnna, Kathleen, and Deb
for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

I stand in the lobby of the Seattle library, waiting for the elevator to the parking garage. Out of the corner of my eye, I watch two young ladies with large stacks of books waiting for the elevator too.   I stretch (my OLW for this year), trying to decipher book titles from where I'm standing.  I'm sure these are middle schoolers, and I'm curious about their choices.  Unfortunately, some of the books are turned with titles to the inside.  One of the books falls off the top of a stack.  The mom bends to help out, the daughter opens a book bag, and I lament a lost opportunity to peruse her summer titles.

We step onto the elevator together.  After explaining that I'm a retired teacher who hosts a book club for middle school students, I ask the girls what they've been reading this summer.  We continue chatting while their mom pays for parking.  I inquire about the school they attend. As they walk away, I wish I had shared Sweet Summer Reads (my blog geared to middle school readers) with them.  I even think about running after them to mention it, but it's an underground garage.  No need to frighten them with my over exuberance about books.

When I pull around to the leave the garage, they are coming from the other direction and motion me to go first.  I think about hopping out to tell them about my blog, but don't do it. After all, it is an underground parking garage.  I might startle them, and someone else might come up behind one of us while I'm chatting.

And that's when I decide that it's definitely time to get a card printed with the name of my blog and the blog address.  I'm just not sure what to call myself:  Blogger and Book Lover, Bibliophile and Blogger, Retired Teacher Still Blabbing about Books.  How about it?  Can you help me with a job title to go on my business card?   I refuse to miss another opportunity to share my love of books with the next random book lover I bump into.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Celebrate This Week!

            Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.  
 When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build.
  A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

When I'm stumped about what to celebrate, I peruse my pics. 
Join me for this visual feast of the past week:

Hydrangeas near the library
Summer sky at dusk 
Quote for book lovers at Island Books
Mimosa trees in bloom
A walk with these two to explore two playgrounds-
I'd forgotten how all consuming trucks, planes, and bugs
are to young boys.  
Spied this gorgeous rose while watering a friend's flowers 
This arrangement arrived because I watched a friend's
grandkids (my pleasure) during a wedding  and
these tomatoes were my reward for watering a friend's garden.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tuesday SOL: If you give a baker a zucchini...

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Betsy, Dana, Beth, and Anna
for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday 
                                                      and nurturing our writing lives.

If you give me some zucchini from your garden . . . 
chances are it won't end up on the table as a vegetable for dinner.
I'll start wondering about my mom's chocolate zucchini cake recipe,
so I'll call my sister Kay in California to see if she has the recipe.
When I call back the next day, I learn that Kay doesn't have the recipe, 
and we get sidetracked searching online for a jelly roll pan 
with a lid just the right size for yum yum cake.
Kay mentions that she found a recipe on the internet.  
She emails a copy to me, but never sure about internet recipes,
I turn to my tried and true cookbooks.
In a 1983 church cookbook given to me by Barb, 
I find Leslie's recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake.
I swing by Leslie's to ask about the chocolate chips,
1/2 cup for the cake? and more for the topping? 
She's not home, so I phone and leave a message.  
She calls me back and says 1/2 cup plus a bit more
in the batter with a generous sprinkling on top.
You have to love a cook who loves chocolate!
I wait for the cool of morning to bake the cake.  
I make a mess grating the zucchini and discover
that my baking powder expired in Jan. 2014
which may account for some recent baking failures.
So I head to the grocery store for new baking powder.  
I finally finish assembling the cake, throw it in the oven,
toss the dishes in the sink, and head to the shower.  
A delicious chocolate aroma fills the house!
I cut two slices and pack them in a disposable container 
for my friend Donna that I'm meeting for lunch near the airport.  
I tuck napkins, paper plates, and a  plastic fork in a 
paper sack, a nice treat for later in the day at her hotel.
Too bad I can't add a tall glass of cold milk.  
I dash out the door, typing in the address for her hotel
as I hop into the car.  When I'm several blocks away,
can't remember if I shut the garage door.
So I call my neighbor, Nancy, who isn't home, and 
then Angelique who is home.  She steps onto her deck
and reports that all the garage doors are shut.  Whew!
I arrive at the hotel, reach into the back seat to 
retrieve the treat I packed . . . only to realize that I 
left it on the island.   So I ask Donna if she would like to see
Mercer Island.  We grab lunch at Bennett's and 
swing by the house for cake on the deck, 
complete with that glass of cold milk.
We're running out to time, but we make a quick stop
at Island Books where we convince Laurie to take our picture.
Donna leaves tonight for a 14 day Yukon tour,
her tenth time leading this tour, but the first time 
I've connected with her as she flies through Seattle.  
One of these days I hope to join one of her tours.
Just remember that if you give me a zucchini, 
it's likely that you'll get chocolate cake and a slice of life in return.