Sunday, March 31, 2019

SOL 31/31: Looking Back!

Books are on the top of the heap. 
I have fourteen blog posts referring to my love of books. 

My posts are numbered. 
Apparently I have a fixation with numbers.  I have eleven blog posts that refer to numbers in the titles. 
My favorite? Rome in Three Days!
A favorite numbered post from someone else?
(Halfway through writing this post, I ran out of power. I went downstairs to get my power cord and came back with a cookie and milk. Never underestimate the power of milk and a cookie to power a writer.)
I'm obsessed with being a grandma.
It's my favorite gig. I have ten blog posts that reference this all-time favorite mantle. I have the two best grandsons in the world. Soon to be three since today is daughter's due date. And yes, I finally packed my grandma bag for the hospital.
My favorites? Of course I have two since I have two grandsons.

I slice about slicing.
That's definitely a sentence that requires the context of our community to understand. I write about blogging or how I'm inspired by this community of writers in eight blog posts.
My favorite? Come Meander with Me (and might I add that meander is also one of my favorite words?) 

Poems sneak into my slices.
I have 3 Poetry Friday posts and four other posts that include a poem.
My favorite? Our First Poem, a collaboration with grandson Jack,  combining a love of poetry and springtime

I answer a question with a letter.
Lindy asks me, "What do you blog about?" My short answer, "Mostly about books and being a grandma. 
The long answer? Dear Lindy 

I write a serious post.
Nudged by edifiedlistener, I answer her challenge to write a post about race. I share a book I'm reading, a movie I saw, and a clip from PBS Newshour in From Light and Breezy to Serious and Important.

I borrow my own words.
I reiterate what I said last year on day 31!
"Day 31 has arrived!
 I celebrate
the beautiful writing
of my slicer friends,
the delightful connections
we make as we share our lives,
and the growth we experience
from this month of
writing together
for 31 days!
Oodles of gratitude to the folks at TWT 
who bring us together each year for this
challenging, yet fulfilling month of writing. 
Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday!"

Saturday, March 30, 2019

SOL 30/31: From Light and Breezy to Serious and Important

I wake fifteen minutes before the alarm. I grab my phone and start scrolling through slices. With no definite plans in mind for today's writing, I'm in search of inspiration for a light and breezy slice. Light and breezy fits my weekend mentality of relaxed and easy.

I click on edified listener's slice, "Where I Am." Go ahead and read it. It starts out light and breezy in the Austrian Alps (don't miss the pic at the end), but it doesn't stay there. When I finish the post and revel a bit in the mountain scene, I see these words under Related: SOL #10 A challenge to fellow Slicers to share a story about race. I read that slice earlier in the month. I failed to leave a comment. And that's the moment I know that today's post will not be light and breezy.

And so in answer to Sherri's challenge, I'll share the book I'm currently reading for book club. It's Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. I know that many of you have already read this book, but I shudder to think of how I almost missed reading this difficult, but important book. It was our book club choice for February and since I would be in Italy, I didn't pick up the copy that was already on my bookshelf. Enter our February snowpocalypse event (which I thankfully missed) and the cancellation of February's book club meeting. The discussion was rescheduled for April and suddenly I had time to read it. Because it's March and my reading is mostly confined to slices, I'm reading the book slowly. It's painful, but don't let that keep you away. It makes my heart heavy each time I pick it up, but the characters linger in my mind long after I set it down. It makes my heart sing that there are people like Bryan Stevenson in our world. It makes my heart wonder what I can do to effect change. 

And I'll share a movie that still lingers in my heart, "If Beale Street Could Talk." If you haven't seen it yet, you simply must. 

And I'll share a clip that I saw last week on PBS Newshour. It's Terun Moores's brief but spectacular take on second chances. 

A book and a movie and a television news clip. Make the time to read or watch or listen.

And the comments on Sherri's SOL#10 Challenge are filled with more recommendations from slicer friends. I'll close with Sherri's powerful words: "We have the benefit of community here. Please let's use it to grow ourselves in multiple ways. Talking about race is necessary and critical. We have an opportunity. I wonder how we'll use it."

Friday, March 29, 2019

SOL 29/31: Dear Lindy

Dear Lindy, *

Almost three weeks ago, you asked me, "What do you blog about?"

I've been thinking about your question off and on ever since.

I blog quite a bit about books and book clubs and libraries and bookstores and middle grade books and picture books and the books I plan to read each year (#mustreadin2019). Can you see a theme here?

Three years ago, I shared a FB announcement of first grandchild's gender in a Celebrate This Week post, Yellow, Yellow, Blue! And that kicked off my stint as a grandma blogger. I write about the cute things my grandboys say, I share pictures, I write about sharing books with them, and I share pictures (I know I already mentioned that, but I do share a lot of pictures of my handsome grandboys!).

I write about favorite poets, favorite poems, favorite authors, favorite books, favorite words, my favorite season (autumn) and my next favorite season (spring). 

I share pictures of trees, flowers, skies, grandsons, friends, family, and trips. And sometimes, I even write about those same things.

I write about my One Little Word that I've chosen each year since 2013 - listen, savor, stretch, abide, nourish, and delight. And I write about it multiple times during the year as I try (my OLW for 2019) to remember it as a focus for my year.

I write about my shortcomings. I'm easily distracted. I'm disorganized. I'm a procrastinator. I'm often overwhelmed when it's time to make a decision.

I write about my teaching life. 

I write about my family. 

I write through tears and sadness.

I write about my spiritual journey. Our group originally wrote weekly, but now I join friends for SJFT (Spiritual Journey First Thursday) on the first Thursday of each month.  

I write about the things I love - quilts, cats, chocolate, and naps (to name just a few).  I could go on and on, but just check out the abcedarian poem I wrote about the things that delight me.

I write a bunch about daffodils. And why not? Yellow is one of my favorite colors, spring is my second favorite season, and flowers make me happy. 

I write about celebrations. Our Celebrate This Week group doesn't gather weekly any more, but I still try to round up monthly celebrations in a post at the end of each month. Sometimes I fall behind and celebrate two months at once.

I write about conferences and festivals and book sales. 

I write about gratitude and joy and small pleasures.

I have this wonderful time capsule of my life all because I responded to Two Writing Teachers and an incredible group of students who encouraged me to go public with the slices of my life. (Dear slicer friends,The links are for Lindy, but do read the slice Forever in my Heart if you can spare the time. It's one of those posts that never received a comment.)

As you can see, Lindy, I write about the things that matter to me. 

Love and hugs,

*Lindy is a young lady I've known for most of her life, from the time she was a young toddler hiding out in her mama's skirts, to the time she served as a missionary in the Netherlands, to the accomplished flutist she has become who inspires us each time she plays for our Sunday services.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

SOL 28/31 & Poetry Friday: Our First Poem!

Carol Wilcox at Carol's Corner is hosting
this week's round-up of poetic goodness.
She welcomes spring with Ralph Fletcher's poem, "Daffodils."

It started last Tuesday when we were playing outside. Jack took a deep breath, looked up, and exhaled, "Blue sky!"

On Wednesday, we stepped onto the deck and I pointed out the white blossoms from the neighbor's tree. Thursday morning when he went outside to play with his mom, he shared his and grandma's latest backyard find, "White blossoms!" 

Yesterday, we looked around to see what might be new in our backyard view. And that's when we spied them. I lifted Jack up for a closer look, "Green leaves." Tiny green leaves just beginning to unfurl.

 As we sat at lunch yesterday, with a view to the backyard, we chanted our poem and found the final line.

Blue sky
White blossoms
 Green leaves
Beautiful earth!

- Jack and Grandma
March 2019

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

SOL 27/31: Plane Serendipity

It was the middle of December. I boarded the flight as soon as I could (to be sure I had room to stash my bag in the carry-on space). My daughter and Jack waited. There's nothing easy about sitting on a plane with an almost two-year-old as everyone boards the plane.

Even though I boarded early, I stood in my row waiting for my daughter and grandson to board before sitting down for our 5+ hour flight. And because I was standing up, I was recognized. 

"You were my sixth grade teacher," was the excited comment I heard from a few rows in front of me.

And there was one of my former students, Kylie, headed home for her Christmas break. I was lucky enough to also teach her sibling, Jillian. The sisters are both in college. How is it possible that "my sixth graders" are now college students? Some are even college graduates and my last two groups are juniors and seniors.

I enjoyed chatting with Kylie a bit on the plane as I walked Jack up and down the aisle. I'm used to encountering former students in our small town, but encountering one on a plane in Washington DC? That was a special seasonal gift! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

SOL 26/31: Six Days and Counting!

It's that point in the month
when our heads are filled
 with more ideas than days left.

Keep your writing notebook handy
there are 48 SOL Tuesdays
 until it's March again!

And here's a slice  
that's been ruminating, 
and simmering all month.

I want to address those words
that hook me every time
and lead me to your posts. *


Sixth grade
Book trailers
Middle school

Writer's notebook
Reader's response
Conference notes

Book clubs



Snow days

Picture books
Middle grade books

Quiet time

Titles with alliteration 

* Please forgive me if you've written a post on one of these topics and I've failed to visit and leave a comment. I never make it all the 
way through our lengthy slicer list, but my retired status allows me a bit more time to comment. Here's to five more days of this challenge and then 48 Tuesdays to write and share our writing lives.

Monday, March 25, 2019

SOL 25/31: Messages from Our Devices!

I remember when I used to wait for the credit card electronic pad at the grocery store to flash the word "approved".  (They don't do that anymore.) I would inwardly chuckle at this mechanical affirmation and even savor the word "approved" as if it applied to me. 

I remember the first time I hopped in my car, and my phone flashed a message that it was a seven minute drive to my school. Yikes, how did it know I was headed to school? Turns out, it didn't really KNOW, it just knew about my usual behavior on this day at this time. But it felt a bit creepy!

I recently set up a padlet for favorite slicers (and also for slicers who leave comments, but when I click on your name in the comment, it doesn't connect me to your blog). You know who you are!

During a recent middle of the night slicing and commenting insomnia jag, this comment popped up when I opened Padlet: 
"Hi, bookwoman
Burning the midnight oil, huh?"

And the Padlet conversations continue:
Just this morning:
"Someone's up early."
A bit later, it was:
"Happy Monday."

But my all time favorite Padlet greeting was the one I noticed yesterday:
"Hi, bookwoman
Gentle reminder:
You're beautiful." 

What's the best (or creepiest) message you've every received from an electronic device?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

SOL 24/31: Bunny Business

Once the snowmen are packed away, it's time to bring on the bunnies. I have more than a few bunnies and other assorted springtime creatures to decorate the mantle and bookshelves in the family room. This tradition began years ago when I saw my friend Lynn Corder's extensive bunny collection. She assured me that it was easy since her kids usually got some kind of fluffy stuffed creature each year for Easter. The key was just to hang on to the creatures. And so I did.

And last Friday Jack spent the day meeting Grandma's and Mama's and Uncle Blake's bunnies as we unpacked the bunny box. Last week his favorite was Bun Bun, Uncle Blake's bunny. He also liked the bunny that plays "Easter Parade" when you squeeze the heart she's holding. This week the favorite bunny was Blossom, his mama's much loved purple bunny (although Jack insists it is blue). Blossom went with us to the library on Friday and then I let Jack take her home.

But the best bunny business of the week occurred Friday afternoon as Jack and I headed for the stairs and naptime. 

He was talking about bunnies when I looked at him and said, "Do you want to nap with blue bunny? We could go find her."

"Nooo," was his sad reply.

I looked at him, holding his beloved Lovey by the ears and said, "Lovey is a bunny."

He stopped in his tracks, stared incredulously at me, and replied emphatically, "Lovey is a lovey!"  

And so I stand corrected. There are bunnies and loveys and Grandma should never confuse the two.

And when I told this story to Grandpa, he replied, "Lovey doesn't have much of a body. He's kind of flat."

Of course! And so now I know the truth about loveys and bunnies, straight from the mouths of a two-year-old boy and his 
sixty-something-year-old grandpa.
 Jack and Blossom visit the boy and his bunny at the library!
 Bun Bun is on the back row, far right and Pink Bunny
(who plays Easter Parade) is back row next to Yellow Duck.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

SOL 23/31: Rome in Three Days! Days 2, 3 & 4

Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday - February 10-12, 2019

Our tour guide told us over and over that we would need to come back again . . . that our tour was a "taste" and we would want more. He was so right! Every time I try to write this post, I get lost in my pictures and memories. Come along for a pictorial stroll through my three days in Rome (not in chronological order).

First, some pics of outdoor structures.
 I love ancient arches!
The Colosseum
Started in AD 70, inaugural contest in AD 80
(Don't you love the bird in flight?)

The tour of the Colosseum was over and I was at the tail end of our group. I needed to hustle. But I yearned to linger and watch this den meeting in the shadow of the Colosseum.

The Rome Temple of 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Groundbreaking October 23, 2010
Dedication March 10, 2019

Our tour group was thrilled to attend the open house of the Rome temple before it was dedicated.

The Forum
Fountain of The Four Rivers at Piazza Navona

The Pantheon 
St. Peter's Square, Vatican City

Inside museum pics:
"Whispers" on & ready to roll

Artistry in stone

That's Manuela, our local tour guide in Rome,
pointing to the tapestry of the risen Lord. 

Rome at night: The Spanish Steps
 Tossing coins in Trevi Fountain 
At the end of our second day,
we finally get our first (but not our last) gelato!
Pics snapped from the bus