Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Revisiting my OLW - Savoring a Book

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 

I have a book club with two dear friends who have second homes in Arizona and Canada. They are frequently out of town when our book club meets, so we created a virtual book club.  When I learned that my daughter and her husband play games with some of his siblings (he's #5 of 8 children) via google chat, I decided that this would be the perfect way to meet and chat for our book club meetings.  We select a book, report in when we've finished it, and then select a time for our book club meetings.  My daughter joined us for our first chat to show us how to do it.  None of us is proficient in the world of technology, but we've managed to giggle our way through our glitches.  It's an adventure each time we get together!

Renae is a voracious reader and always the first one to report back that she's finished the book.  It takes Coleen and me a little longer.   She was halfway finished, and I had a cross country flight last week so Coleen contacted Renae with our idea to meet and chat on Wednesday or Friday this week.  Oops, that won't work.  Renae is heading out of town for a wedding and camping along the way.  Next week, Coleen is helping her daughter and son-in-law move to Michigan for medical school.  Coleen tossed out August 11th as a possibility, but I have a friend who offered four dates that she could see me while she's visiting Seattle, and that's the only day I was available.  So now we're looking at Aug. 12th or 14th.  I hope I can still remember the book by then.

Since I lost my focus for my OLW in 2013, I committed here to revisit my OLW, savor, every 5th Tuesday during 2014.  When I'm reading a book quickly (a rare occasion for me), I find myself intentionally slowing down as I near the end of the book.  I like to have plenty of time to make predictions and think about how the book will end.  I'm reluctant to say goodbye to the characters and want to savor the remaining moments I have with them.  So today I'm writing my SOL on Monday (another rare event), doing laundry, commenting on the last two chapters I've read in my professional book club, and maybe even taking a walk before I reward myself with time to savor the last 33 pages with Nao and Ruth.  Isn't it interesting that I'm rewarding myself today with time to savor the ending by prolonging the time until I finish A Tale for the Time Being?  I can't wait to discuss this novel with my friends on google chat.  Please share the books you've been savoring this summer in the comments.  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Posting from New York

                                   So excited to join Saturday Celebrations with Ruth Ayres! 
                      It is fun to live my week thinking about what I will celebrate on Saturday.
Discover. Play. Build.
A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

I'm visiting my daughter in New York.  
Every moment spent together is cause for celebration!  
Here are a baker's dozen:

1.  A shopping trip to Wegman's

2.  An early morning walk to Cascadilla Falls

Went again on Saturday and these delightful rock sculptures were gone!

3.  Mother daughter mani-pedis

4.  Spotting these signs in yards
Link at bottom of sign:  www.familyreading.org

5.  Lunch at Moosewood Cafe 

6.  Introduction to "The Good Wife" (one of her favorite TV series)

7.  An afternoon walk to a local art fair

8.  Dinner in the park with friends

9.  Outdoor concert on the quad

10.  Gorgeous views from Cornell campus

11.  An active day exceeding 16,000 steps!

12.  Beginning Saturday with another early morning walk

13.   Taking photos of this fairy village on our walk
(I saw it on my Oct. visit, but didn't have my phone with me.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Surprise Visitors on the Lane

Today I join my fellow bloggers in 
 "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life  
sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.

It's an overcast afternoon.  I turn right onto the lane and spy two deer standing at the entrance to our neighbor's home.  I stop the car, put it in park, turn off the engine, open the door, and grab my phone hoping to capture this moment.  By the time I complete those movements, the deer have stepped off the pavement into the forested green of our neighbor's property.  I snap several pictures, but the deer don't seem to be moving any further.  I step quietly out of the car into the beautifully wooded area on my neighbor's property.  I take many photos, but all I can see is a patch of brown.  I'm afraid that moving closer will startle mother and child.  Then I remember the zoom feature that I can access using the touch screen.  The brown blur comes into focus and four eyes are watching me.  Are they as surprised by my presence as I am by theirs?

We continue to watch each other until the mother becomes bored and wanders a few steps away.  The child is frozen in place, and the mother continues to keep a steady eye on me.  Eventually the young one moves to join the mother.  They continue to watch me as I follow them a bit.  Finally they kick their heels, flick their tails, and disappear into the woods.

I sign with satisfaction, treasuring the chat with a friend in the church parking lot and the lovely visit I made to a friend's home after church.  These moments with friends brought me home from church much later than usual to discover these Sunday afternoon visitors.  Last week I enjoyed a gorgeous sunset on a Sunday evening walk, this week deer visitors drop by, next Sunday I'll be in New York.  I wonder what I'll discover to savor and share from my daughter's home.

See that brown patch at the end of the drive?
I crop the view just for you.
"Stay very still and watch the human."

"What is that human doing?"
Mom's starting to get bored.
"Hey mom, you told me to play statues."
"Wait, I'm coming too!"
"That's right.  Always be watchful."
"Let's go this way."
"C'mon on.  Stay with me."
"That's better!"
"It's time to head back into the woods."

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Celebrating Mid-Summer Meanderings

                                   So excited to join Saturday Celebrations with Ruth Ayres! 
                      It is fun to live my week thinking about what I will celebrate on Saturday.
Discover. Play. Build.
A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

I'm loving that the pace of my life has finally ramped down to summer slow.  It's taken until this week for this to happen.  I am still waking up on school time, but find that if I read a bit and go back to sleep, I can stay in bed until almost 8.  Such an indulgence!


I'm enjoying time to wander around Twittersville a bit.  This week Twitter led me to this web site - http://debbieohi.com/read with many great ideas for encouraging summer reading.  I couldn't resist printing this poster and framing it.

I'm discovering wonderful connections.  While reading the Choice Literacy newsletter, I read "The Rolling Pin:  Looking into Things" by Shirl McPhillps.  I noticed at the end of the article, that she co-authored the book  A Note Slipped Under the Door.  I've dipped into this book before, but never had the time to actually read it.  I retrieved it from my bookshelf.


I'm working on my book stack for NY.  When I visit my daughter, I plan to work on some curriculum for our extended core classes.  I have three short units to write:  Poetry, Literature Circles, and Slice of Life.  Guess which one I'll be working on in NY?
I'm participating in an online book study of Linda Rief's new book, Read Write Teach, with several blogging friends.  I'm loving the book, the learning, and the discussions.  Even though I'm a bit behind schedule, I know that the conversation on our google doc is there waiting for me each time I finish a chapter.

I'm walking and taking pictures.  After catching a beautiful sunset, I jumped in the car and drove madly to Slater Park (my favorite savoring spot), hoping to catch a bit of the sunset there.  Eureka, I caught it!
I'm updating the Sweet Summer Reads blog for my students.  I added five new posts this week.  I'm hoping that some of them are stopping by, even though they are not leaving comments.

I'm breaking my resolution to not buy any more educational books (dumbest resolution I ever made)!  I purchased Celebrating Writers by Ruth Ayres and Christi Overman and added two more books to my want-to-buy list this week - The Writing Thief:  Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing by Ruth Culham and Poem Central:  Word Journeys with Readers and Writers (Shirl McPhillips newest book).  Now that I'm retired, I'm hoping to finally have more time to read.  All these books I'm purchasing are free, thanks to a very generous gift card to Island Books (our local indie bookstore).  My friends know how to put a smile on my face!

I'm wandering more.  The clerk in the Hallmark store kept wanting to help me, not understanding that I was reveling in a chance to merely meander.  Look what I found!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sunday Night Serendipity

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 
We deliberately postponed our evening walk until after 8 p.m.  The sky was cloudy, and I was afraid it might rain.  Even though a little rain never hurt anyone, it's usually reason enough for me to postpone any planned activity.  Sure enough just as we passed the elementary school, a few drops began falling.   My husband said, "Walk faster.  We just need to walk out from under this cloud!"  He was right and after walking another block, the raindrops disappeared.

It was an unusually muggy evening.  Since I grew up in Oklahoma and spent eleven years in Texas before moving to the Pacific Northwest, I am well acquainted with humidity.   That doesn't mean that I like it when it makes an infrequent appearance on our coast.  I informed my husband that I would not be joining him for his new, extended walk.  He's recently added another leg to our three mile walk at the halfway point that involves an uphill climb to a park, a loop through the park, and then a walk back downhill before picking up the final mile and a half toward home.   He persuaded my daughter and son-in-law to join him for the new expanded walk, but I've yet to take the bait.  I did walk a bit further than our usual downtown turn before telling him goodbye.

I found myself winding my way through a path lined with sculptures when I encountered a former student, her mom, and her dog.  We chatted for a few moments about her summer activities and upcoming move to 9th grade before I continued my walk homeward.  After I passed the downtown district, I bumped into another friend and her two dogs.  We chatted a bit also, and I worried that my husband might catch up with me if I kept stopping to talk.

In both conversations we chatted about the muggy evening, and I was dripping with sweat even before I approached the "hill of destiny."  That's our nickname for the hill that we climb just as we leave the downtown residential district.  Usually I have to stop at least once, but on this evening, my desire to get home propelled me up the hill with no pauses to catch my breath.  I was worried about the darkening sky and the continuing possibility of rain.
As I summited the hill of destiny, I glanced 
to my left. This had all been behind me until now.
This is usually where I take a shortcut through the 
elementary school grounds to avoid another hill.
However the lure of this rainbow and more views
of the sunset enticed me to attack yet another hill.
I paused to look to my left as I passed each block.  
Definitely worth pausing!  
One more block revealed this lovely sky.   
Almost there!
  The view from the top of the park as a few big
raindrops plopped down.   I didn't mind!
And this farewell shot as I headed for home.
The raindrops disappeared quickly just as
they had at the beginning of our walk.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lunch on the deck, book club on the lake, and a parade!

                                  So excited to join Saturday Celebrations with Ruth Ayres! 
                      It is fun to live my week thinking about what I will celebrate on Saturday.
Discover. Play. Build.
A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

 1.  A favorite summer activity  -
lunch on the deck with a good book!
2.  Every July our book club gathers for dinner and 
discussion at a friend's home with this lovely view
of Mount Rainier.  It was the perfect setting for 
this year's book -  The Boys in the Boat.
3.  The Island Celebration parade was loads of fun 
with these two cuties who danced to the music 
and collected much candy.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hello, Goodbye, Hello!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 

If you live far away from family like we do, then you understand the excitement of this past week when we made three trips to the airport to greet my sister-in-law and her husband, my daughter, and my son-in-law (actually daughter made this trip alone).  We enjoyed a delightful few days together!  On Saturday sister-in-law and husband departed on an Alaskan cruise, on Monday son-in-law left for UT and his summer internship, and on Tuesday morning I dropped my daughter at the airport for her return trip to NY.

Consolation prizes for these three goodbyes are three upcoming hellos:  

Sunday evening I walked by the pocket park to show my friend Jan the location of last week's dinner party.  The young couple that I met the previous week was there.  They live near the park, but told me that they have not seen any geese and goslings stopping by for dinner in the past week.  I reminded them of our Island Celebration this upcoming weekend. Maybe I'll see them there.    

Our mother-daughter goodbye at the airport this morning was eased by the knowledge that I'll be seeing her in two weeks and two days.  I'm making this visit to help speed the slow summer that she is spending separated from her husband while he completes an internship.    It's a measure of my love for her that I am leaving the bliss of summer in the Pacific NW to partake of her NY summer humidity.  I'm sure I'll be heading for the library while she's at work.

On Saturday, I might be saying hello to two new friends (and their parents).  My daughter's friends from Ithaca recently relocated to the Seattle area, and we met them and their delightful daughters on Sunday afternoon.  I'm hoping they'll join us for our Island Celebration parade on Saturday.  I love a parade, but it's even more fun when it's shared with young friends!
These two darlings (enjoying a book with my
son-in-law) are the perfect age for a parade!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Saturday Already?

                                               So excited to join Saturday Celebrations with Ruth Ayres! 
                      It is fun to live my week thinking about what I will celebrate on Saturday.

Discover. Play. Build.
A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

A wonderful holiday week filled with much to celebrate:

1.  The arrival of company from KS, NY, and UT...
2.  Lunch on the deck for 6...

3.  Great walks at Seward Park, Greenlake, 
Luther Burbank Park, 
and Snoqualmie Falls...

4.  Tuesday's SOL prompts daughter to share her gosling pic from NY...

5.  Playing games, cooking together, and sharing laughter...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Dinner Party Observed!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
         to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 
                       Two Writing Teachers.
I swing by on my way to the grocery store.  Too early, no sunset yet.  Dusk comes late this time of year in the Pacific Northwest.  Oh well, maybe I won't take any more pictures this month.  I stop at the grocery store, pick up a few items, and return home.

Less than fifteen minutes later, I notice the sun has disappeared, and the evening sky is an interesting shade of blue.  I hop back in the car and wind my way north.  When I pull into the small parking lot and notice another car, I think, "Oh darn, someone else is here."  I like savoring my time here as a solitary visitor.   As I peek over the sidewalk and begin walking toward the water, I catch a glimpse of fluff.  Looks like someone is here with a dog, hopefully a friendly one!  

As I continue  the short walk to the waterfront, I see several downy heads . . . four, to be exact, watched over by two large parental units.   I keep my distance knowing that they can be rather protective with their young ones.  It seems to be feeding time, but I wonder what they're consuming!  I continue to snap pictures from different vantage points, trying not to be too noticeable or annoying to the protectors of these young lives.  Eventually, I realize that this dinner party includes 12 attendees with an additional six family members joining the young ones and their parents for the evening repast.  They seem undeterred by planes, boats, and passing skiers.  Suddenly everyone, as if heeding a silent signal, heads for the water.  I follow them and continue snapping pictures.  That's when I notice a young couple seated on a bench near the water.  We visit a bit, share pictures, and relish the time we had observing this picnic on the beach.