Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It's a fifth Tuesday!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 
It's time to revisit my one little word for 2014!  I committed in January that every month with a 5th Tuesday would be a time to revisit and reflect on my OLW for the year.

Savor - a call to slow down,
A decision to experience, to be present, to
Value a moment
Of life that will never
Return again.

Writing is an act of savoring moments and experiences.  Taking photographs is an opportunity to focus on a moment.  While my writing and my photography are definitely works-in-progress, the memories of moments I've savored this year are pure perfection.  I thank my OLW for calling me to slow down, to experience, to be present for precious moments.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Celebrating Rain!

 Join us each Saturday 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!

Celebrating rain?
Maybe that means after 17 years of living in the Northwest, 
I've finally turned into a soggy creature who actually likes the rain 
(ask me about that again in February)!  

  I celebrate that rain makes possible our lush Northwest environment.
 I celebrate that I didn't have to water this week.
I celebrate that our new driveway drains quickly.
I celebrate these pictures of raindrops on my plants.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Embracing Fall with the Academy of American Poets

"...the season begins moving 
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us, ..."
-Edward Hirsch

Laura Purdie Salas is hosting Poetry Friday this week. Bookspeak! is one of my favorite books, and I'm looking forward to exploring her new poetry collection for teachers, What's Inside? Poems to Explore the Park. Head over to Laura's blog for this week's round-up of poetry love.

My thoughts turned to fall, my favorite season, with its official arrival on Monday.  This week's newsletter from the Academy of American Poets included a selection of fall poems. I glanced down the list to discover an old favorite, "After Apple Picking", by Robert Frost. Even though I've never picked apples, I've always loved these lines from the poem:

"...And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in..."

I continued to glance at the featured list of poems and discovered "Fall" by Edward Hirsch who taught at the University of Houston and lived on our block more than 25 years ago.  His lines capture the arrival of autumn beautifully:

                                                                        "... It
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet,
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us,
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets. ..."
I captured this leaf-carpeted pathway Saturday.
Picture at the same spot (six days later). 
You can read more autumn poems and access two additional pages of fall poems from The Academy of American Poets by clicking next at the bottom of the page.  If you're looking for a poem to suit a particular occasion or theme, use this link to access thousands of poems in a variety of ways.  The most popular links for the Academy of American Poets site are listed at the bottom of the page.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Loving Book People!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 
This past week I participated in my first post-retirement volunteer event.  I joined new and old friends for the Friends of the Library book sale.  I'm a repeat customer who always promised that when I retired, I would show up to help.  On Wednesday evening the carts came rolling out into the library as volunteers filled the tables with books for a mini book sale.  I worked a bit more on Thursday and Saturday, and had fun packing things back up on Monday morning.  As I wandered the tables straightening the stacks, I would find something I needed wanted.  Since I already have more books that I can stow on my bookshelves, I tried to focus instead on the people.  I loved seeing neighbors, former students, parents of former students, the winner of our school-wide spelling bee from two years ago, and meeting another newly retired teacher who lives in our community.

But my favorite customer was a young man who quickly discovered many
favorite books stashed in boxes under the tables right at his eye level.  

As his pile grew, I watched him struggle to pick up the stack of books, and I giggled when he just lay on top of the stack that had grown too large for him to carry.  When his mom told him he could have three books - he quickly leafed through the stack in search of his favorites.

His last expression seems to say it all.
"How can I choose only THREE from
all these wonderful books I selected?"
Hooray for book sales and all the people
who love books, especially this little guy!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The discipline of pausing helps us find the joy

 Join us each Saturday 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!

Sometimes we hurt because people we love are hurting.  If you're not a Poetry Friday regular, be sure to stop by The Poem Farm for Amy's healing poem, "Someone."  Even when life is difficult and those we love are in pain, Ruth reminds us that celebration saves and rescues us.  The discipline of pausing to celebrate allows me to discover joy each week, even during the hard weeks.

1.   My sister Velma, the family genealogist, figured out the identity of Aunt Fanny.
Aunt Fanny was Frances Wilson, sister to Mary Ann Wilson, my great grandmother.

2.  Lance and I attended our first Friday afternoon concert at the symphony.
The music was magnificent even though we may have been
the youngest people in attendance!

3.  I volunteered at the Friends of the Library book sale.
I enjoyed seeing former students and good friends while I worked at the book sale.  
I was lucky to be there when Josh, my student from last year, received
a tablet as grand prize for participating in the summer reading program.
A big shout-out to teen librarian, Carrie Bowman, who visited my students in June,
shared great reads for summer, and encouraged them to participate in the summer program.  

Josh receives the grand prize from KCLS librarian, Linda Ernst.

           4.  My roses are blooming as fall color arrives. 
Blessings to you as we kiss summer goodbye and embrace festive fall!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Poetry Friday: What I Learned From My Mother by Julie Kasdorf

If you haven't checked out Carol's Summer Serenity Gallery, be sure to stop by for a lingering taste of summer.  This was a wonderfully creative endeavor by Carol.  All I did was submit my poem "Stones" with a photo, and Carol did the rest.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's healing poem "Someone" comes at a especially appropriate time for me.  This has been a difficult week for family and close friends.  I am saddened that in our highly mobile world where many of us live far from family and friends that I can't reach out to physically hug them.  I am grateful that we can speak by phone and hopeful that they will feel through my spoken and written words the love that I feel for them.   

Today I share a favorite poem "What I Learned From My Mother" by Julia Kasdorf.  And since I can't be there in person to provide a chocolate cake and a hug to those I love who are suffering, I offer my love and prayers that "... Someone who's farther along the uphill path..." can provide the solace they seek. 

Amy at Poetry Farm is hosting Poetry Friday this week.  Be sure to share her site with students and parents.  I love that Amy records her poems and speaks directly to the students in her posts.  Head over for this week's round-up of poetry love at The Poem Farm.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wondering about Rachel, Jessica, and Dear Aunt Fanny!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 
I love books!  Gently used books, new books, old books, all bring a smile to my face.  Inscriptions inside used books often make me wonder about the previous owners. 

Summersaults was a gift from Mommy to Rachel for her 9th birthday in July 2002.  When I purchased this book (out of print) from an Amazon 3rd party seller, I was trying to round out my collection of seasonal poetry books by Douglas Florian.  I received Winter Eyes from the same book seller and it was also inscribed to Rachel, a Christmas gift in 2002 from Mom.  Rachel celebrated her 21st birthday this summer.  I wish Summersaults and Winter Eyes were still on Rachel's bookshelves, but I'm happy to give them a home with Autumnblings and Handsprings where they will never feel lonely.  

The Mystery of the Missing Red Mitten is autographed by Steven Kellogg.  If you've ever had a book autographed by Steven Kellogg, you know that he includes a sketch along with the autograph.  It was probably a gift to Jessica for Christmas because there is a picture of Jessica with her last name and Dec. 1994 inscribed above the picture.  I'm guessing that Jessica was about two in the picture, so that would make her about twenty-two today, very close in age to Rachel.   In the photo, Jessica is posed in front of a schoolroom backdrop, seated at a desk wearing jeans and a short-sleeved turquoise top.   Her chubby hands are placed on top of a book.  Her smile indicates that books are definitely part of her world.  I'm not sure where I found this book, probably at a used book sale or Half-Price Books.  When I checked for it on Amazon, I discovered Kellogg has an oversized, re-imagined, color edition of this book, published in 2002 as The Missing Mitten Mystery.  I prefer the small, 6 inch square, original, black and white edition.  I love the way that the only other color included in the book is red.  I'm sad that  the mystery is revealed to the observant child on the cover of the new edition.  I'm requesting this new edition from the library, but I know Jessica's book will remain my favorite.

The Robe, published in 1947 by Houghton Mifflin, almost ended up in the library book sale.  The front page of the book has this inscription in elegant cursive handwriting:
             To -
                   My Dear Aunt Fanny 

I actually put it in the give-to-the-library stack recently, but I came to my senses and retrieved it.  Palmyra was my grandmother's sister.  Aunt Pal and Aunt Becky lived in Pueblo, Colorado and I remember several visits they made to visit my grandmother in Oklahoma.  By the time I knew them, Aunt Pal suffered from a debilitating illness that left her without speech, but her sister, Rebecca, cared for Pal the rest of her life.  I've heard stories about the lives these two sisters lived as working women at a time when few women in our family worked outside the home.  Aunt Becky's husband was killed and she never remarried, but Aunt Pal was married several times.  After Aunt Pal's death, Aunt Becky came to live on our street, next door to my grandmother.  I was given this book when Aunt Becky died.  I wonder if it was returned to Palmyra when Dear Aunt Fanny died.  I wish these women had kept journals because there's so much I would like to know about them.  For now, Palmyra's gift to her Dear Aunt Fanny is safe on my bookshelf. 

If the books on our shelves could talk, what would they tell us about their previous lives?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bring on the Confetti!

 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.  I finished Georgia's Bones by Jen Bryant.
Someone recommended it in August on Picture Book 10 for 10.
I requested it from the library, and now I have to buy my own copy.
The exquisite illustrations by Bethanne Anderson will remind you of Georgia's gorgeous art.
2.  I finished Brown Girl Dreaming
"...How can I explain to anyone that stories
are like air to me,
I breathe them in and let them out
over and over again..."
I love these words and I love this book.
Thank you Jacqueline Woodson!

3.  I found this favorite bookmark which had been lost in one of my books.
Read Like A Child 
Revisit innocence and
replenish yourself
with flights of fancy
You bring the milk
I'll bring the cookies 

 4.  Anne picked me up for moon watching on Wednesday evening.  
Alexa joined me for "moon watch" on Thursday night.

The pics don't do justice to the beauty we observed, but they recall the splendor of
two evenings spent with dear friends.

5.  My daughter and son-in-law are coming back to the Northwest!
He accepted a job (that doesn't begin until July).
I've known this for awhile, but couldn't share it at first
and just realized that I'd never celebrated it with my blogger friends.
Every day is a celebration as I remember that they will be here in June!

Poetry Friday: Immersed in Verse by Allan Wolf

"We are all born with a little bit of poetry inside us."
- Alan Wolf

Alan Wolf's book, Immersed in Verse has a wonderful subtitle, An Informative, Slightly Irreverent & Totally Tremendous Guide to Living the Poet's Life.   This is an interesting book to share with students who are po-folk (people who really like poetry), and to spark interest in the no-po (a non-poetry person) in your classroom (even if that no-po is you).  I recommend this book for intermediate and middle school classrooms.  I hope your library has a copy. If not, go ahead and ask the librarian to purchase it.  Your poetry section deserves to have this book on the shelf.  
This delightful book engages both students and teachers in the world of poetry.
  • Check out Poetry & You (pgs. 9-11) to understand Wolf's three essential elements of a poet's life:  bloom, boom, and secret rooms.
  • Take A Guided Tour on pgs. 14-19 to discover a diverse buffet of verse and to connect waffles to poems. 
  • Don't miss The Nine Habits of Highly Successful Poets (pgs. 22-25).  My favorite is Habit #2: Don't be a naked fashion designer.  Balance your writing of poetry with other poetry experiences.
  • Utilize Anatomy of a Poem (pgs. 41- 43) to guide students in writing a "Where I'm From" poem.  This is my go-to lesson plan for "Where I'm From" poems. 
  • Learn about Poetic Devices with specific examples of each on pgs. 33-40 of Your Poetry Toolbox. 
  • Explore many different kinds of poems and prompts in the Always Something to Write About section (pgs.  66-89). 
  • Add "Ta Da!" to your poetry efforts by learning ways to present and share your work in the final section. 
Another book by Allan Wolf, The Blood-Hungry Spleen and Other Poems About Our Parts, was a favorite in my sixth grade classroom.  I've requested New Found Land which tells the story of Lewis and Clark in poetic form.  Do you have a favorite book of poems by Allan Wolf?
I'm thrilled to join this community of poetry lovers each Friday!  Head over to Renee LaTulippe's site, No Water River, for this week's roundup.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Serendipitous Discovery!

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

I'm a distinguished procrastinator!  When I can't stand looking at one more file that needs to be purged (I retired this past June), I stroll over to my computer and meander.

This past week on SOL Tuesday, I stopped by Adrienne's blog, books and bassetts.  I was intrigued by her numbers - 26 years of teaching and 6 years since she's been in the classroom.  I wondered if she had been in a coaching position that had been eliminated.  I looked at a few posts, checked out her About tab, and then meandered through many other posts.

It didn't take me long to make several connections with this fellow blogger:
1.  I share a Northwest connection with Adrienne! She's in Portland, and I'm in the Seattle area.
2.  I share a love of books with Adrienne.  She blogs about books all the time.   She's a librarian whose position was eliminated. :(
3.  I share a love of poetry with Adrienne.  Check out her Poetry Comes Alive post with tons of links for online poetry resources.
4.  And then I hit paydirt!  Adrienne reviewed a book that I had been searching for on her July 1, Canada Day post.  I discovered this book last year and used it in my narrative writing unit.  I checked it out more than once, but I couldn't remember the title or the author when I wanted to share it with Carrie Gelson.  I knew it was a Canadian author so I described the book to Carrie in response to one of her posts, but it didn't ring a bell.  I squealed with delight when I saw the cover of the book I Know Here on Adrienne's blog, and I quickly requested From There to Here (which I haven't read yet.)

So the next time you yearn to meander blogs, give in.  You never know what connections and discoveries await you in the blogosphere.  Thanks, Adrienne, for leading me to the book I was trying to remember!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pictures, Doors, a Date, & a Post!

 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.  I received this picture from my daughter, one of my favorite murals for the Family Reading Partnership (for more photos see my post Talk.Sing.Read.Play).  I saw this mural while visiting my daughter in Ithaca, but we didn't have time to stop for a photo.  She promised me she'd capture this Rosemary Wells illustration, and fullfilled the promise!
2.  I closed one door and opened another door.  On one of my trips to my former school, I spotted this sign in the hall near my old room Melissa's room.  I failed to take it down when I packed up in July.

Coleen, my friend who loves to throw parties, asked me last spring when I wanted my retirement party.  I suggested we do it on the first day of school.  People have asked all summer if I was enjoying retirement, but it didn't begin for me until August when I didn't head back to the classroom and the first day of school when Coleen hosted friends at Ramona's Retirement Revelry.

Guests completed a pop quiz,  
matched food items to book titles, 

and each friend was required to write an assignment for me on a chalkboard.  
Jennifer took photos of each guest with her assignment for retirement.
I haven't seen these yet, but I'm anxious to get started on my homework.    

4.  I joined hubby for a Friday afternoon date at the art museum.  He took off a bit early, and I met him downtown.  Here are pics of two favorites from the exhibit, Modernism in the Pacific Northwest. 
The Seventh Day - Kenneth Callahan
Woodpeckers - Morris Graves
5.  I discovered Heather's blog and this post Taking in the Good while meandering the blogosphere. According to her post and the book Hardwiring Happiness, "once you start looking for things that make you feel positive, you’ll find them everywhere."  And that's what we do on Celebrate This Week every Saturday.  Thanks, Ruth, for helping us find the celebrations every week!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Poetry Friday: A Lucky Thing by Alice Schertle

"Poetry speaks to the heart and to the mind.
A cherished poem is a gift that we may carry with us all our lives."
 - Alice Schertle

If you're not familiar with Alice Schertle's poetry, it's a lucky thing that you stopped by today.  Alice studied with Myra Cohn Livingston at the University of California.  I own this book (explaining the genre sticker P for Poetry and the word Behnke written on the book).  It's out of print, but I hope you'll be able to request a copy from your library.  It is exquisitely illustrated by Wendell Minor.   Watch for the symbol related to writing that he tucks into each painting.

  • In "Right Here," the poet (a young girl) begins with this phrase:  "Right here on this clean white page..." She speaks of scattering words, digging deep, and building to raise the the roof ending with the phrase, "Write here." 
  • Schertle captures the experience of observing an animal in "Poem about Rabbit," "A pink-eyed poem, ... A quiet poem ... coming close enough to touch, ..."
  • In the final poem "Writing Past Midnight" the poet writes in a barn where "...stanzas are stacked to the ceiling," and "a small gray verse runs squeaking down one of the rafters."  
These poems will encourage the writers in your classroom to carefully observe the world around them as they search for writing ideas.  It's a great book to share in writer's workshop.

I'm thrilled to join this community of poetry lovers each Friday!  Head over to Poetry Friday Roundup with Laura at Author Amok to get your weekly taste of poetry.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

End-of-Summer Book Club, 8/27

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 
Our end-of-summer book club on Wednesday was a small group.   We think many of you were out of town or on the lake enjoying the last week of summer before school starts.  As I left the house for our two hour meeting, my husband asked me, "Do you have a book to read?"  Indeed, I did!  I had two boxes of books and one sack to share.   Plus, even if no one showed up, Ms. Bowman (KCLS librarian) and I love to share our reading lives with each other.  Our own Island Books bookstore supported the evening by providing free ARCs (advance reader copies)
for any students who dropped by.  

We brought in the KCLS rocking chair, a couch, and some chairs to create a cozy space in the meeting room.  Ms. Bowman had a table for her recommended books,
I had a table for my book choices, and we had a table for the free books.
And we had cookies and cookie bars for everyone
(with enough leftovers for IMS teachers on Thursday).  

Our evening began with Ms. Bowman and me sharing our books with each other.
We were joined by two incoming sixth grade students, Olivia and Liliana.
Each of them brought a book they had recently read.
We spent the next hour talking and sharing books.  
Olivia shared The Key and The Flame.
Liliana shared Half Brother.
I love adding to my WTR (want to read) list when I chat with fellow book lovers.
Near the end of the evening Callum arrived for a
quick book share and some cookie bars.  
Callum shows off his ARC of Badger Knight.
Although our numbers may have been few, our book love was mighty.
Anytime a few people gather to talk books, there is much book love!  
Sharing book love in the town center!
We  hope to hold this book sharing event several times a year.
We'll announce future meetings at IMS, through KCLS (King County Library System),
and on the blog, Sweet Summer Reads.