About Me

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I taught for several years at a residential school for children with emotional disabilities before staying home after the birth of my second daughter. I returned to teaching, finished my Educational Leadership program in May of 2012, and now work as our district's Writing and Social Studies Coordinator. I have always loved writing and find constant inspiration from my family. Maybe someday, I will get to see my name on the cover of a book!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Slice of LIfe: When the Ski Boot Fits...

On Tuesdays, the community of 
Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Join the incredible community by writing a snippet of life, or even join with just a comment or two. Everyone is welcome!
I have to say that so far, my One Little Word for 2017 has been a good one. Brave was a relatively easy decision for me this year, and it has nudged me to take risks in certain parts of my life, push a little harder in other areas, and even find myself having more fun. 

Over the weekend, we visited my brother in southern Vermont. I had sworn off skiing--my equipment is old, my gear is outdated, and so many of my friends have gotten such serious injuries that it was an easy goodbye for me. However, on Sunday, it was almost 50 degrees at Mount Snow, and there was a TON of snow. 

My youngest daughter is not a huge fan of skiing, so after lunch, she declared that she'd rather work on the puzzle. 

"What size are your boots?" I asked, to everyone's, including my own, surprise. 

I tried them on, and they fit. Not the most comfortable footgear ever, but doable. 

"You're going to ski?" Clare asked. Just a few days earlier, she had suggested that my disinterest in skiing was indicative of my diminishing capacity for fun. Not want I wanted to hear as my fiftieth birthday looms in the less than a year away horizon. 

I ended up taking a few runs, taking over her gear, attire, and lift ticket, and disproving Clare's suggestion that I was no longer as fun as I used to be. 

Standing on top of the mountain, not having skied in several years, I was definitely nervous, but pushed myself to be brave (although there wasn't a lot of choice let in the situation!). We all had fun, even Cecily who was home working on the puzzle. Maybe that's a reward for being brave.

Happy Writing,

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Slice of Life: Weather Revised Our Plans

On Tuesdays, the community of 
Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Join the incredible community by writing a snippet of life, or even join with just a comment or two. Everyone is welcome!

You'd think that with all the technology that's available, I'd do a better job at documenting some of my life, but alas, for the most part, I am left with just words. Last week, weather dictated a lot of my life, and actually it dictated some much needed slowing down. On Thursday, here is what my deck looked like:
We had a well-warranted snow day, made extra fun by good friends who were staying with us while their floors were being refinished. This meant games, cooking, and lots of laughs on a day that mandated slowing down. 

I was scheduled to fly to Virginia to visit one of my daughters on Friday morning, and I was relieved when that flight took off from Bradley--many flights were canceled on both Thursday and Friday. Even though Virginia was chilly, there was plenty of green grass and even an opportunity to take a beautiful hike at the popular Humpback Rocks. One of the best parts of the hike was following Lisa Keeler who I've gotten to know because of this slicing community--that's another whole slice, and one both of us have written about before! Another great part of the hike was enjoying the views with my daughter, Lisa, and her daughter Claire. 

Weather kept revising the game plans, as another storm hit Connecticut on Sunday. My husband called on Saturday to suggest changing my flight from Sunday night to Monday morning. He wins the good thinking prize since my original flight, set to get me home at around midnight, was canceled. I took a 6 am flight out of Charlottesville on Monday morning, planning to make it to work on time since there was a school delay, but that plan was foiled as well. My connecting flight was canceled, too, so I didn't make it home until Monday afternoon. Another personal day was crossed off my tally, but that's okay. We all had more time together on Sunday, and even though six hours was a little longer than I'd normally choose to wait in an airport, I had a good book, a lot to write, and plenty of memories to keep me smiling. 

Happy Writing,

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Slice of Life: Phoebe's last day

On Tuesdays, the community of Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Join the incredible community by writing a snippet of life, or even join with just a comment or two. Everyone is welcome!

Last night, I drove my mother and her dog to the vet. "I know it's the right decision," she said from the back seat where she held Phoebe. It was. I envy dogs the privilege of being able to end life just before it gets too miserable, and Phoebe had reached that point. 

Phoebe came into our lives just after my father fell down the stairs and sustained a traumatic brain injury that changed all of us. She'd been with us for all fourteen years of my father's struggles, and then some. Maybe part of the challenges she always had to be a good dog--and she had plenty, may she rest in peace--were because she lived through such a long struggle that had nothing to do with her except for being the backdrop of her existence. Throughout Phoebe's life, we lived with constant fear and anxiety. Sometimes those feelings were tidal waves--my father did a lot of falling that involved blood and ambulances and emergency rooms, as well as his regular blood checks that were stressful as well. But most of the time the fear and anxiety were undercurrents that waxed and waned below the surface of our daily lives. 

As we drove home, just the two of us, we talked more about my dad than about the dog."It's so hard to remember all the good things," she said. I know exactly what she means. My father was an amazing dad, and it's hard to push aside the more recent and more painful memories of him. Driving home last night on the dark wet roads, we reminded each other of smilier (I made up that word) times. Of his crazy hat collection, his propensity for learning new things, his books and magazine articles, his generous and thoughtful gifts, his passion for practical jokes and for laughing.

Maybe, in some strange way, without Phoebe, it will be easier for us to access the times we'd rather remember.

My OLW for 2017 is brave. It would have been easier for me to write about an interaction with a student yesterday, but being brave means being vulnerable and writing more about what matters. I have plenty of time and space to write about Noah. Today is about Phoebe and Dad.

All good things,

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Slice of Life: A Smoothie Disaster

On Tuesdays, the community of Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Join the incredible community by writing a snippet of life, or even join with just a comment or two. Everyone is welcome!

Last night's twitter chat was inspiring as the community of Two Writing Teachers discussed how we live and teach writerly lives. This morning, I wasn't sure what I was going to write, and then my daughters provided inspiration with the catastrophe of a spilled smoothie. I only wish I had the good sense to take pictures, but you will all have to use my words and your imagination in order to bring this story to life. Let's start by saying that I make smoothies for my high school daughters every morning, and I make them with plenty of blueberries so they are a lovely purple color. 

This morning, we had a welcome 90 minute delay, but it's amazing how extra time can make us all late. Are we the only ones who experience this paradox? 

With the extra time, I collected and started the girls' laundry, a job I usually leave for them. I guess the extra time made me feel generous, and I was stuck with my writing, trying to decide on my slice for the day. 

A little while later, Julia and Clare rushed around the kitchen gathering their lunches, snacks, bags, backpacks--for whatever reason, Julia seemed like she had even more to carry than usual.

"Don't forget your smoothie," I said, sensing that the red solo cup would be left on the counter since the hands were so full. 

I didn't look up again as the two of them headed for the garage, but I did look up when Julia burst through the door a minute later. I didn't see her, as I was in the library, but I did hear her:

"I hate your smoothie," she said. No, she yelled. Her feet pounded up the stairs.

Clare was right behind her through the kitchen door, but she was laughing. 

"Smoothie catastrophe, Mom," she said. "We need some towels."

Clare and I headed to the garage with a roll of paper towels, a garbage bag, and my container of cleaning wipes. I wasn't sure what we were going to find. Drops of purple smoothie led to the garage, becoming less and less like drops and more and more like blobs as I got closer to the car. Splashes of purple smoothie were all over the door and the floor. Fortunately, she hadn't spilled too much on the seat.

Clare and I were just finishing cleaning the mess when Julia reappeared in a new and clean outfit. 

"There's a little more laundry," Julia said. "Sorry."

No problem. I just wanted the time to write my slice! I'd found a good one!

Happy Slicing!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Running errands was more than I expected...

On Tuesdays, the community of Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Join the incredible community by writing a snippet of life, or even join with just a comment or two. Everyone is welcome!

My youngest daughter and I took a trip to the grocery store and CVS this afternoon. She had a list of ingredients for a special dinner she wants to make, and I had a 25% off coupon at CVS. The weather is unseasonably warm, I was home reasonably early, and she had completed her homework--we were feeling happy with life.

We made it through the grocery store--the avocados were a little hard, so Cecily will cook for us tomorrow night--and we headed to CVS. When we arrived, I parked, we got out of the car, and walking in, I saw a shoe on the sidewalk. A man was standing in the middle of a parking space. When I looked down, there was a woman on all fours dripping blood from her nose. One of her stockinged feet was shoeless.

"Do you know her?" I asked the man.

He shook his head. "She just fell," he answered. "She caught a foot on the curb, and she fell right on her nose."

He and I stayed with her, me rubbing her back. Someone from the store called 911, another person called her husband, and Cecily got a chair from inside. Someone brought paper towels and rubber gloves, and we waited with her until help arrived. Joanne was coherent and embarrassed, having been on a special mission to get Valentine's Day cards for her grandchildren. That mission will probably include a trip to the ER to get some stitches.

My father fell down the basement stairs almost 14 years ago and sustained a head injury that changed all of our lives. We all walk so precariously close to unseen edges, and it takes so little time to slip or take a wrong step or misjudge a situation. I know that I am still haunted by my father's accident, but I am also more appreciative moments and grateful for all the joy I have in my life.

Happy Slicing,

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Slice of Life- One Little Word for 2016

On Tuesdays, the community of Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Join the incredible community by writing a snippet of life, or even join with just a comment or two. Everyone is welcome!

This will be the fourth year that I have chosen one little word to be my guide for the year. I have lived with present, kindness, and acknowledge. What is so is that each word has lingered in my life well beyond its designated year. Together, these words serve as anchors to me, especially when life feels stressful and overwhelming.

I have made several lists of possible words for 2016, and I have debated some wordly finalists. I loved Beth Moore's choice of play, and I admired her post and passion about play in education. I will, in fact, sign up for a crusade to have play an integral part of education. I also related to Dana Murphy's choice of joy. I do have great joy in my life, and sometimes, I forget to celebrate all of it. Other serious contenders for 2016 were balance, nurture, remember, and moment, and the winner is wonder.

I have been working hard to bring wonder and curiosity into classrooms, and I want to make sure that I bring wonder to the forefront of my own thinking. I want to linger in the what if's and the possibilities. I want to push a little past what is comfortable and what I know. I'm trusting that wonder will remind me to ask questions and linger with the challenge and enjoyment of growing within the answers.

Happy 2016 to all of you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Yes, We Are All Human!

On Tuesdays, the community of Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Join the incredible community by writing a snippet of life, or even join with just a comment or two. Everyone is welcome!

I don’t get many personal phone calls on my cell phone during the day. Most of my friends know I’m at working, my daughters are also in school, and my husband knows that chances are I’m in a meeting or in a classroom. So, when my oldest daughter Larkin’s name came up as the caller, I answered it right away. Larkin is a sophomore at University of Michigan, and I am getting really excited to see her on Wednesday night! Some of you know Larkin from the March Slice of Life Challenge.

“Mom,” she said. “I think you messed up.”

I rolled my eyes. Good she couldn’t see me. Full disclosure: I was in the middle of writing a report, and Larkin loves drama and is known for embellishment.

“My ticket on Wednesday is from Hartford to Detroit, not Detroit to Hartford.”

I stopped multi-tasking.

“Right,” I said. “Why are you saying that?”

“I just checked my account, Mom,” she said. “My trip is booked from Hartford to Detroit.”

My heart started to pound. I didn’t want her to sense my panic. I just scribbled down her account numbers and password, and I told her I’d get it taken care of.

It’s amazing how quickly priorities can change. That report I was working on was FAR from the forefront of my brain. As I sat on hold with Delta, my mind raced. How much would this cost me? How would I explain that charge to my husband? What if there were no flights left? How impossible would it be to drive to Ann Arbor and turn around and drive back to Hartford? Finally, my new best friend came on to the line. I don’t even know her name, but trust me, she is my new best friend.

“I’ve made a very big, very bad mistake,” I said.

“Because you’re human?” she responded.

I LOVED this lady and all she had said to me were about those three words.

I explained the mistake, and she had Larkin booked on flights within minutes.

“I’m going to waive the $200 penalty for changing flights,” she said. “It’s obvious that this was a mistake.”

Had I just heard her right? Is it possible to hug someone through a phone line? Could she hear the relief and gratitude in my voice?
She apologized as she explained that she would have to charge me the price difference between the fares. “Let me just see what the difference is,” she said.

I prepared myself for a whopper. When she finally told me the difference was $63, I felt like I’d won the lottery.

My mistake could have been such a bigger problem than it was. Thank you to Delta, thank you to the woman whose name I don’t know. We are entering the season where many of us tend to take on too much, tend to have too many lists, tend to say yes too many times. (I’m a little extra frightened that my ticket purchasing debacle was a few weeks ago, before the start of the truly crazy season…)  Maybe this blog post will inspire others to be forgiving of mistakes and helpful in finding solutions, remembering that yes, we are all human.

Happy Writing, and Happy Holiday Season,