Thursday, March 30, 2017

SOLSC 30/31: A Look Back!

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


Looking back at a month of writing
leads to a fun realization of who I am.

5 posts about Books, Brownies, & Beyond

5 posts of original poetry

5 posts mentioning grandsons

4 bending the rule, breaking my promise posts

4 Celebration posts

4 Poetry Friday posts (with one more to come)

2 party posts (one virtual and one real)

2 posts focused on quotes 

2 book posts (A Night Divided & Baseball Genius)

2 Parking Garage Blues posts

1 meditation on slicer badges (Plantsers unite!)

1 book spine poem (and another coming tomorrow)

1 slice about connections (Spiritual Journey First Thursday)

1 slice about my husband (the human antenna)

1 high school memory slice

1 slice to welcome spring

(And yes, I know these numbers do not add up to 30
because some slices fit in more than one category.) 

So who am I?

I'm a book loving, poetry embracing, 
grandma hugging, rule breaking, celebrator of life!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

SOLSC 29/31: The Good, The Bad, and The Delicious!

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


Books, Brownies, & Beyond, our after school book club meets every Tuesday afternoon.  We have students from 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in our book club.  We have a mixture of boys and girls.  We started the year with 20+ students.  Seven months in, we still have 12-15 readers who enjoy sharing book love every week.  
  • First the good - We've been participating in the middle grade novel tournament for March Book Madness.  Tuesday was the final day to cast votes in the middle grade championship bracket.  By the time you read this post, we'll know this year's winner.  These pictures show the choices made by our book club members in the championship round.
March Book Madness Winner - A Night Divided!
(Oh, how we are hoping that the result 
from the national MBM is the same.)
9 votes for A Night Divided!
Update:  Books Brownies and Beyond 
nailed this year's tournament,
A Night Divided won!
4 votes for Pax!

  • Now the bad - Some of our favorite titles lost out in the middle grade brackets!  
  • Which we managed to turn around to the good - We decided to follow the path of our winners in addition to the national MBM winners.  These pictures show the results of Books, Brownies and Beyond's championship round. 
Our winner - The War that Saved my Life!
8 votes for The War that Saved my Life
 5 votes for Echo.

  • The delicious - Anna made homemade M&M cookies for this week's treat.
  • The bad - We didn't take a picture.
  • The good - Everyone enjoyed Anna's cookies and some people even got seconds!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

SOLSC 28/31: I Keep My Promise Today!

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


Keep your promise!  Don't look at the daily response page on TWT.  Stay away from the reading list on blogger.  And above all, do not open your email.  You know Elsie's post for today is there calling you to take a quick look and luring you down the slippery slope.  It could be about food or travel or one of her posts that combine poetry with photos.  I repeat, keep your promise today to post before reading and commenting.  

And so I insert a photo taken earlier in the month.   How remarkable is it that this page on writing is the focus of my Susan Branch calendar page for March?

Here are some favorite quotes from the March page:
  • There's the all time favorite William Wordsworth quote, first introduced to me by my colleague, Alice.  "Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." 
  • "There are places I'll remember all my life."   Isn't that the best line ever to lead into a slice?
  • "Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love; it will not lead you astray."  - Rumi
  • "Write like you talk - that's your true voice."  - Susan Branch
  •  And three powerful effects from the act of writing . . . "Regular writing lifts self-esteem, helps achieve goals, and relieves stress."  -Susan Branch 
    And because I'm not sure that I'll get back to writing about writing in the remaining three days of this month, I'm including a couple of additional quotes I love from the article,  "Carry a Journal Everywhere You Go" by the poet, Susan Wooldridge.  I found this article in the free resource The Writer's Guide to Poetry.  The two quotes I'm sharing book end Susan's article, one opens it and the other closes it.  Once you read these quotes, I'm sure you'll want to download The Writer's Guide to Poetry (see link above) and read the entire article.
    • "Carry a journal everywhere you go.  Next to your bed, inside your bed, in your car, wherever you find yourself, keep a journal and pen within reach.  Para siempre. Always."
    •  "Carry a journal everywhere you go. Not just when you travel. Forget your summer in Venice. Forget about catching up. Start with now. Take notes. Listen for the hum. The glimmer. An impulse. Forget the outside world. Catch emerging words and begin to guide them into form, or not. Write into discovery. An act of love. Enjoy."
    I'm happy to report that I kept my promise today!  I ate my vegetables (wrote my post) and now I'm off to enjoy dessert (reading posts and leaving comments).  Tomorrow I may be back to eating dessert first!

    Monday, March 27, 2017

    SOLSC 27/31: Broke my Promise, Again!

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


    I made a hard-to-keep promise to myself at the beginning of the month. I told myself that I wouldn't comment on anyone else's blog post until I had written and published my post for the day.  I've gotten into a bad habit of writing in the wee hours of the morning, then commenting a bit, and then taking a nap (because I'm retired and I can).  

    But this morning when I woke at 5:00, I said to myself,  "You can use that calendar post that's been lurking all month and then you can still grab an hour of sleep before your alarm goes off at 6:30." 
    So what happened to that quick post, and why am I typing instead of sleeping at 5:38?  

    Well . . . I checked my email and there was Elsie's tantalizing title, Reaping Rewards.  So I quickly read that slice and commented.  Then I opened to my blogger page and noticed b's post from yesterday, with the enticing title, Pieces, and a telltale photo.  B is such a storyteller and I'm so weak, so I clicked and commented.  And then I refreshed my reading list from blogger and there was a paperback cover reveal for Leaving Gee's Bend from my friend, Irene Latham.  And so once more, I gave in to the lure of the post, clicked, read, and commented.  

    So here I am at 5:46 frantically finishing this post (different from the one I had planned) and hoping to grab a quick nap before I head to an early morning babysitting commitment for a friend.  I've decided that next year I won't make any silly promises to myself during March. Because as we all know, promises are made to be broken . . . but broken promises do provide writing possibilities.    

    Sunday, March 26, 2017

    SOLSC 26/31: God's Handwriting!

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

    I love calendars, I love quotes, and I love pictures of beautiful scenes in nature.  So of course my favorite calendars feature quotes and beautiful pictures.  This past Sunday my daughter accused me of holding spring at arm's length because my snowman collection was still out.  So I whisked those snowmen into their storage boxes on Tuesday, the first day of spring, and spent the rest of the week welcoming spring properly by snapping pics of beautiful blossoms!

    Yellow forsythia with a bench for contemplation!
    Who can resist a touch of pink?
      My new desktop background pic!

    And here's a favorite calendar quote from several years ago to pair with the pictures, perfect for this Sabbath celebration of color.  It's why my car should carry a warning sticker:  "Caution - this car stops for springtime."  

    "Never lose an opportunity to see anything that is beautiful.  It is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament."  
                                                                 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Saturday, March 25, 2017

    SOLSC 25/31: Celebrate This Week!

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


                                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 love joining Ruth Ayres and friends each weekend to celebrate!  
    This week I'm celebrating:

    1.  Blue skies and sunshine - Sunday was beautiful and every other day of the week included at least some sunshine.
    It was a delight each and every day!
    Saturday's blue sky while strolling with Jack

    2.  Son Blake's quick visit to meet his new nephew, Jack!

     3.  Teddy stars in his own video that features him searching for a book,
    finding one, and then dragging it across the room to read it,
     savor its pages, and share this look of total book joy!  

    4.  Teddy turned 9 months old
    on Wednesday!

     5.  Grandpa traditions are already well established
    at our house.  Today's visit (our first official time 
    to babysit Jack) included three favorite routines:
    a stroll outside (Grandpa plucked this camellia for Jack),
    piano time with Grandpa, and the upstairs tour.  
     Jack and Grandpa are already great buds.

    6.  I admit that we are besotted with our new role as grandparents.
    But, we enjoyed time Saturday morning at Seattle Art Museum with good friend Ryan to view two current exhibits - 
    Jacob Lawrence's  The Migration Series and 
    Seeing Nature:  Landscape Masterworks
    from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection.

    Friday, March 24, 2017

    SOLSC 24/31 & Poetry Friday: Dilemma Solved!

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

    Head over to Catherine's blog, 
    Reading to the Corefor this week's
    round-up of poetic goodness.  
    Thanks, Catherine, for hosting this week!



    How to solve a common dilemma . . . 

    Too Many Stickies

    One Minute till Bedtime
    I finished this morning
    but it was due
    yesterday.

    I had a simple plan.
    Mark favorite poems
    with a colorful sticky
    and copy my favorites.

    It wasn’t long before
    I knew
    I certainly
    was in trouble.

    Within these pages
    I met friends
    and filled the book
    with stickies.

    “Our Kittens”
    by Amy
    and “A Hard Rain”
    by Greg.

    And silly Jon Scieszka’s
    “All At Once.”
    A “Stuffed Animal Collection
    by Eileen Spinelli.

    Liz’s “This is the Hour”
    and Lee’s “Sleepy” song
    seem destined to
    rock one to sleep.

    And some I want to memorize,
    Dennis Lee’s “Bigger Than Big,”
    Joan’s “Tuck a Poem in Your Head,”
    and Juanita’s  skimming “Canoe.”

    It’s clear today
    I’ll return this book
    and head to the
    bookstore instead.

    -Ramona Behnke

    Poems referenced:
    "Our Kittens" by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater p. 22
    "A Hard Rain" by Greg Pincus p. 37
    "All At Once" by Jon Scieszka p.32
    "Stuffed Animal Collection" by Eileen Spinelli p. 7
    "This is the Hour by Liz Brownlee p. 65
    "Sleepy" by Lee Bennett Hopkins p. 66
    "Bigger Than Big" by Dennis Lee p. 50
    "Tuck a Poem in Your Head" by Joan Bransfield Graham p. 106
    "Canoe" by Juanita Havill p. 145

    And there are more poems to love on every page of One Minute till Bedtime!

    Thursday, March 23, 2017

    SOLSC 23/31: Not on Facebook!

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

    A group of women in our church congregation gathered yesterday for a birthday party!  The honoree, our women's organization, Relief Society, just hit its 175th year!  We shared laughter, food, quotes from past leaders of our organization, and gifts of service with each other.  Laurie set the scene for our evening together, Heidi prepared the crockpot pork, Justin and Seth provided child care, and all contributed food for the beautiful Mexican salads and luscious desserts we  enjoyed.  

    We left our tables for fun in the gym where we donned mustaches and headbands, all in the spirit of fun.  When our donkey piƱata was decapitated by the second strong young woman (these gals are serious exercisers) to take a swing at it, Laurie shook its contents on the floor. The scramble was not for the candy, but for the gifts of service written on slips of paper.  They ranged from a gardening lesson to a vocal lesson to an evening of babysitting to mending and sewing projects to a meditation session to lunch at a local restaurant and many gifts of home baked food items.  I scored with good friend Anne's homemade dinner rolls!  Everyone pitched in at the end of the evening for clean up duty.  And I kept my promise to not post any of the pictures I took on Facebook!   
    Just one of many luscious desserts!  





    The serious shot!
    And the goofy shot!

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    SOLSC 22/31: A Tale of Two Sweet Boys

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


    Alarm set for 5:15,
    I wake at 4:45.
    Sleep eludes me.
    I grab my phone for
    early morning slice wanderings.

    I hear the shower downstairs
    and so I head down
    to make the requested
    chocolate chip pancakes
    for grown son's breakfast
    before our early morning airport run.

    Son answers
    call from wife on east coast
    who reports rough night 
    with Teddy (teething time).
    Her middle of the night
    query in Teddy's voice, 
    "Where's my Dad?"
    And her answer, 
    "He's the sucker 
    who would hold 
    you all night."

    I love seeing my son's joy 
    each time he's FaceTimed
    with Teddy and wife.
    This new role, him as Dad,
    delights my mother heart!

    And this morning
    both of us watch
    a sweet boy wrapped
    in hooded towel
    (nine month birthday today)
    who escapes his towel
    to crawl naked,
    joyfully exploring his environment
    without the encumbrance of clothes.

    I spy the wet curls 
    my son has described. 
    Teddy examines shadows
    across the room.
    and then sits in striped shadow
    to babble with Dad.
    We bid goodbye to
    sweet boy and his mama.

    Such a pleasure
    to be part of son’s
    quick west coast visit
    to meet new nephew, Jack!

    Quick breakfast,
    a couple of pics,
    and sweet boy,
    and his mama
    and daddy
    head to the airport.