Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Slice of Life: It's February 28th!

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

I wish I were one of those slicers who looked to March with elation and excitement.  There's a little of that, but there's also a lot of fear and trepidation.  Can I actually do this again?  (This is my sixth year to participate.)  One thing I know for sure is that without the inspiration I receive from fellow slicers, I couldn't do it.   When I'm stumped for something to write about, I stop and read a few slices.  And before long, a topic for my own writing emerges.  It always works!

I have several concerns.  I'm no longer teaching, so I feel that I have to search a bit harder for small moments to share.  I find myself writing over and over about the same things - books, book clubs, grandsons (that's a new one since June and January, but it does pop up with ever increasing regularity), newspaper articles, and emerging spring.  I wish I could report that I'm one of those slicers who plans ahead, sees March coming (it does always follow February), and has written several slices ahead of time.  But that's not me.  And one thing I've learned to do is to embrace who I am!  

So sometimes, I'll be racing the clock, trying to beat the 9 o'clock deadline that comes far too quickly for those of us who live on the west coast.   And sometimes I'll be scanning slices in search of inspiration for my own slice.  Sometimes, I'll post a slice that isn't my best work.  But you'll find me slicing away, every day of the month, and occasionally something emerges that is my best work. And I'm grateful for this community that trudges along with me through the muddy mess of my less than best writing so that I can uncover the occasional glimmer of writing that sings.  Because my writing life is here - in the moments I share, in the reflections and poetry I pen, and in the challenges and celebrations of my ordinary life.  

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Celebrate This Week: Book Club Retreat and Visual Treats!

                             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 an annual event that brings joy, laughter, friendship, and of course, books into my life.  Our book club has an overnight getaway each year at a friend's family cabin.  It's right on the water, so we enjoy a ferry ride, shopping in the small town, walking along the water, eating yummy food, pitching books for our new year of reading together, watching movies, and plenty of time to chat.  This pic was taken shortly after midnight when I realized that three of our group would be leaving around six this morning.  We had a baker's dozen in attendance, with several regular members who were unable to join us this year (you were missed)!
                     Here's our book club crew who made it to
                      the retreat, minus one who headed to bed
                        before we remembered to take the pic!
 Afternoon sun on the water!
Delicious appetizers after a walk on the beach!
Neighbor's yard sign!
 Favorite quote discovered this week.
Grandson Jack at 3.5 weeks!
Grandson Teddy at 8 months!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Slice of Life: Best Laid Plans Preempted!

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

Books, Brownies, and Beyond, our after school book club, finally met after missing two weeks of meetings.  My new grandson's birth caused the cancellation of our last meeting in January.  And the next Tuesday was a snow day for our school district.  

So we were excited to meet last week on Valentine's Day to celebrate the conclusion of our Mock Newbery.  We had a free book for each member of the book club.  Our local independent bookstore, Island Books, generously provides ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) for us.  The three students who selected The Girl Who Drank the Moon as winner for our Mock Newbery were invited to the table of free books first.  Then we continued through each member present, beginning with those who had read the most books and continuing through the list until each student participant got to choose a free book.  As a group, we read sixty-six books for our Mock Newbery event which started near the end of October and continued until the announcement of the
Newbery award in January.  

I planned for our Valentine's Day meeting to be a celebration of book love.  I distributed reader heart maps to each student and asked them to create their own celebration on the heart map.  It could be authors, favorite books, favorite genres or places to read, why they love book club.  The creation was up to them.  I planned to take photos of their heart maps for this post, but something else took precedence over the creation of the heart maps.  I ended up with only three completed heart maps, but hopefully may have more to post after our mid-winter break.

As I looked around the room, I was thrilled to see that most of the students were diving into their books, unable to resist the lure of a new book calling out to them.  So while the creation of our reader heart maps may have taken a back seat, I celebrate the readers who couldn't wait to begin reading their new books.  

And when we return from mid-winter break, we'll begin book discussions for the five titles selected for
African American History Month:
Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper 
Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson 
The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall
Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Celebrate This Week: Babies and Links I Love

                            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 loved the video my daughter-in-law, Stefi,  shared of Teddy at story time wearing this sticker:  "Read 1000 books before kindergarten."  The video disappeared after 24 hours (one of those Instagram specials).  But Stefi sent me these pics of Teddy at story time.  (Blogger refuses to make this paragraph blue and I surrender!)

I love that Teddy (at seven months) is already well on the way to that goal of reading 1000 books before kindergarten.  Check out his rapt attention at story time and the way he's holding that board book!  

And this week, Teddy went to an indoor play space and Stefi sent me this fun pic of this happy boy!

I'm loving the time I get to spend with our new grandson, Jack (and his mom and dad).  Here he is at two weeks old on Tuesday.  
 And on Friday, Grandpa joined us for a stroll at Juanita Beach (a rare blue sky and sunshine day), and then back home with time for Grandpa's stories and some snuggle time with Grandma.  

Yesterday I shared "Sacrament" by Donna Wahlert for Poetry Friday.  I love these words from her poem, "You leave your handprint on my soul."  These are precious days I get to spend with Jack.  I'm counting down until the end of April when Teddy will visit again and these cousins will meet for the first time!

I'm continuing to share links I've found and loved during the week.
Have a wonderful week!

Poetry Friday: Grandma Love!

Head over to Jone McCulloch's blog, Check It Out,
for this week's round-up of poetic goodness.  
Thanks, Jone, for hosting this week!

 Jone's post, The Poetry Love Edition, gives us a place to share the poetry love.  This week, I'm celebrating the love that arrived in June of last year when I became a grandmother to Teddy and then again in January when I became Jack's grandmother.  I'm sharing Donna Wahlert's poem "Sacrament" from June Cotner's poetry collection, Mothers and Daughters, that captures this new stage of my life and
two new loves who have captured my heart. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Slice of Life: Read by Numbers

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

It all started with a simple search for Things to Do by Elaine Magliaro. I had just read Linda Baie's review of this new book, so I headed to our library site to request the book.  

But I soon found myself with more books on my holds shelf. You see when I entered Things to Do as the title search, I ended up with 44 pages of things to do and 1,096 items.  I am easily distracted, but no, I did not look at all 44 pages.  However, I did allow myself to peruse the first page of 25 titles.  And that's how I ended up with three additional titles on my holds list:
  • 100 Things to Do In Seattle Before You Die (which is ready for me to pick up) 
  • Sixty Things to Do When You Turn Sixty (in transit)
  • 50 Fantastic Things to Do With Babies (also in transit)

So, I'll have some books to amuse me while I wait for Elaine's book to show up.  I'm hold #5 on 15 copies, but they are all currently "in process" (library speak for new books that are waiting in a long line to get processed and become available for check out).  But no worries, I'll have 100, 60, and 50 things to do while I wait.   I wonder how many things to do are in Elaine's book!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Celebrate This Week: Things I Simply Must Share!

                             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! 

This week I'm celebrating links and connections found through the wonders of technology.  Mostly I'm celebrating and collecting them for myself, so that I can come back and find them later.  But I'm hopeful that they might be interesting to you also.  
  • Linda Baie's review of Elaine Magliaro's new book, Things to Do -  I had an entire fall bulletin board that I put up each year with Elaine's poems and acrostics.  So I was excited to read Linda's review of this new book and immediately requested it from the library. 
  • NYT article "Mirrors for My Daughter's Bookshelf" by Sara Ackerman - You'll want to read the entire article, but here's the nugget that I love:  
    • "The education professor Rudine Sims Bishop uses the metaphor of windows, sliding glass doors and mirrors to illustrate why diverse literature is so important.  Books can be windows into worlds previously unknown to the reader; they open like sliding glass doors to allow the reader inside.  But books can also be mirror.s When books reflect back to us our own experiences, when scenes and sentences strike us as so true they are anchors mooring us to the text, it tells readers their lives and experiences are valued. When children do not see themselves in books, the message is just as clear."
  • Gretchen Rubin's Podcast 103 - I love to listen to podcasts while driving to baby Jack's house.  In this podcast, Gretchen mentions their #happier2017 instagram project.  She says that research shows that we all have a negativity bias which means that we pay more attention to negative things, we are often attracted by negative things, and we remember them better.  She mentioned how the instagram project fought the negativity bias by having her be on the lookout for "What's making me happier?"  I found myself nodding in agreement and immediately thought of our Celebrate This Week group.  This has been a tremendous happiness boost in my life as I find myself looking for things to celebrate each week.   And just like Gretchen mentioned, seeing other people's moments of happiness or in our case, celebrations, becomes another happiness boost.  Thanks, Ruth, for this weekly place of celebration!  
  • Boy Joy!  Jack reached his one week old mark on Tuesday. 
I took this pic while he snuggled in my arms!

      And Teddy is now 33 weeks old. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Poetry Friday: Inspiration for a New Year!

for this week's round-up of poetic goodness.  
Thanks, Katie, for hosting this week!

I love this exciting array of poetry goodness and it all arrived via snail mail in my mailbox!  This is my first time to participate in the New Year Post Card Exchange sponsored by Jone McCulloch.  It's been such fun to see the artful design of fellow poetry friends.  

Come stroll with me through their inspiring words.

The image of watermelon seemed an unusual choice for January.  But when I flipped the card over to find this haiku from Laura P. Salas, the image was deliciously perfect.  

I bite the sweetness
of juicy January
The new year begins.

The next card that arrived was from Penny Parker Klostermann.   She grew up right beside Elephant Mountain, in fact she saw it every day of her childhood.  This special image was accompanied by these words.  I love the three strong words in the final line.  

elephant mountain
rests in the snowy forest
silent, stone, statue
-Penny Parker Klostermann

Mary Lee Hahn's poem arrived next with an exquisite photo of an iris caught in a sunbeam.  

January dream
spicy scent of iris
ice storm rages
-Mary Lee Hahn

Then I received Jone's single snowy leaf with these words:

first morning
all our resolutions
on a leaf

Next I received a packet of Pomelo poem treats from Sylvia Vardell.  It included two poetry cards from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (which I recently gifted to my niece who teaches fourth grade), a Got Poetry? sticker, and a sticky note pad for TGI Poetry Friday.  Here's the poem that was included to celebrate Jan. 29, National Puzzle Day.

100 Pieces
by Kristy Dempsey

Piece by piece,
bit by bit, 
try them all
to find a fit.

First the edges,
then between, 
filling in
a puzzling scene.

The last poetic goodness to grace my mailbox came from Joy Acey who I met at Poetry Camp in Bellingham last fall.  It turns out that she has a son who lives in our area.  Her note included a poem, a heart, and a Poetry Speaks calendar page with these words from Donald Hall:  "Sound was my doorway into poems, . . . I say you read poems with your mouth, not with your ears, and they taste good."  If you've ever had the privilege of meeting Joy, you'll read these lilting words with her trademark personality in mind.

You are the song,
    the music.
Your notes trill
high and low.
Your poetry 
makes me dance
every where I go.
-Joy Acey

Thank you, poetry friends, for sharing your poems and images.  your poems are a perfect doorway to wend our way into 2017! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Slice of Life: #MustReadin2017

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

I started this blog post sometime near the end of January, and then I found myself at the hospital with a new grandson on the horizon and my sticky notes with book titles scribbled on them at home.  I managed to retrieve my sticky notes, but the last time I went by the house, I hurriedly emptied my bag of things I didn't need for one more night with baby boy and his parents.  And wouldn't you know?  Those sticky notes were left at home.  It started snowing on Sunday night, so I didn't go home as planned yesterday.  So this is my best shot at finishing this post without my sticky notes.   

I'm weighing in with a list for Carrie Gelson's #MustReadin2017.  I love the way Carrie describes this list:  "A list to lure you back to a reading path you have set for yourself."   I've watched so many of my blogger friends participate.  And wondered if I really need one more "thing to do," but reading over their lists inspired me to take the plunge and join them this year.  Hopefully, I'm not too late . . . 

1.  The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill - It won the Newbery, my book club loved it, and I just finished my book for my adult book club.  So it's next on the list!

#s 2 - 5 are books from the March Book Madness Middle Grade New Classics list.  I love this list and out of sixteen titles, there are only four that I haven't read.  So these titles come right after #1 in order of priority:
2.  Booked by Kwame Alexander 
3.  El Deafo by Cece Bell
4.  A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielson
5.  Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

#s 6 - 12 are not in any particular order:
6.  Gertie's Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley and Jillian Tamaki - 
When I heard Gertie compared to Ramona Quimby, I knew this book belonged on my must read list. 

7.  When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin - This is a title that I considered when I was selecting titles for our Mock Newbery 2017.  And I read and loved so many dog stories in 2016!

8.  Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne La Fleur - When I fell in love with this cover, Lori at Island Books gave me the ARC.  My daughter read it first and highly recommended it  to me.  And I just saw that the sequel, Threads of Blue (also a beautiful cover in blue), comes out September 12th.

9.  Flying Lessons & Other Stories by Ellen Oh - I rarely read short stories, so this is a good stretch for me.  I think I will enjoy sharing stories from this book at our after school book club. 

10.  The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon - Daughter Sara is currently reading this, but I picked up her copy at the hospital and read a bit.  I can't wait to get back to it.  

11.  Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes -  I heard Nikki Grimes present at Poetry Camp this past fall.  She autographed my copy of Words with Wings.  Novels-in-verse are a favorite genre.  This novel uses the Japanese poetic form of tanka, a form similar to haiku that uses syllable counts and is five lines long.

12.  The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner -  I can't believe I still haven't read this book.  The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z, also by Kate Messner, is one of my all-time favorite books.  

And that's it - my dozen titles for #must read in 2017.   I look forward to the accountability piece that joining this group (if they will still let me in at this late date) will provide for me.  And now, I'm off to take advantage of some precious reading time before my new grandson, Jack, wakes up.  

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Celebrate This Week: Grandson's Arrival!

                            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! 

Last Sunday evening, we knew grandson was making
an earlier than expected entrance.  
Monday around noon, I met Sara and Will at the hospital.  
And on Tuesday morning, Jack Wyrill Passey arrived!  
If you read my Slice of Life post this past week, then you
already know my news.  But I'm continuing to celebrate! 

I've enjoyed hanging out with the new parents and assisting in the middle of the night when Jack decides he has plans other than sleeping (when the rest of us would rather sleep).  What a delight it has been to be part of these first few days after Jack's arrival.   And just being here makes me remember how my mom helped me when my two were born.  Such precious memories!  

Here are a few pics from the past few days: