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, 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,

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Letting Go


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!


Many of you have gotten to know my dad over the years, as he has inspired many, many stories and slices. Last week, I wrote about holding on. This week, I write about letting go. 

My dad left us on Wednesday. I am working on putting together a cohesive set of memories about him for the service we will have on Friday, and part of it will wrap around the wisdom we have all gained from his life and his way of living.

The end of my dad's life wasn’t the one he envisioned full of trips, retirement homes, and grandchildren's college graduations. Thirteen years ago, our dad had a terrible accident and my brother Charlie was there to help him live.  Last Wednesday, it was Charlie who held Dad and told him to let go, he would never be forgotten and our paths will all cross again.  In those thirteen years, we have had the gift of more time with our father. In those thirteen years, his past faded and his future blurred, but Dad always, always, was up for an adventure, was up for the moment. Dad’s moments became what he knew and he always loved them--the game to watch, the concert to attend, the fish to catch, the cards to collect.

"How was your day, Dad?" we would ask him.

"I had a great day," he always answered.

He meant it, too. His moments mattered, because that's what he had, but that’s what we all have, and that could be Dad’s most important lesson. The wisdom I need to always keep. Moments matter. The moments of right here, right now.



Rest in peace, Dad. 




Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Slice of Life: Holding On


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!

On Sunday night, I met up with my writing group on our Google Hangout. (Do you capitalize those two words? I always debate that...) Toward the end of our meeting, I admitted that I have been the absentee slicer for the last few weeks. 

"We've noticed," one of them said.

"We miss you," another added.

"Honestly," I said, "what I'd write would probably be sadder than anyone would want to read."

"Try us," someone else says.

 "And, my blog is tricky. It's not about personal stuff. It's about educational stuff."

"Write on your personal blog," one of my writing partners said. 

I nod and sigh.

"By the end of the day, I'm beat," I want to say. "I'm just not up for getting back into work mode."

Because, from the time I walk into the door these days, I'm in full work mode. Not books. Not computers. Not reading. Not writing. 

I'm taking care of my dad.

But tonight, I'm on my personal blog, and I'm writing. And I don't think it's too depressing. (Maybe just a little...)

One of the most helpful posts that I read throughout my dad's sickness reminded me of the difference between the words have to and get to. I get to live with my dad as he is in the late stages of prostate cancer. I get to feed him. I get to help him walk. I get to brush his teeth, comb his hair, tuck him into bed... I get to love him through this inevitable part of his life. 

Caring for someone when they need help doing everything is hard and exhausting, but it is also intimate and full of moments to hold on to, cherishing and remembering. 

Tonight, I will hold on to the image of my brother inviting my dad to hug him, to put his arms around him and hold on. I will hold on to the image of the two of them wrapped in an embrace, my brother's strong arms around Dad's frail body. 

I will hold on.












Becaue, from the time I walk in the door

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Slice #29 of 31- The Struggles of What to Wear...

For the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by the community of writers at Two Writing Teachers. Many of my slices are at my personal blog, Just Write, Melanie, but ones that deal specifically with education appear at Two Reflective Teachers. All are welcome to join the slicing party by reading and commenting. People write amazing posts.




Having some interesting parenting moments tonight...you'd think that I'd be safe in Ann Arbor far away from daughters 2, 3, and 4. Nope. Not so much. Just as we got on to the elevator at the hotel, sharing the elevator with another family, my phone rang. It was Julia, my second daughter. 

"Mom," Julia said. "Did you bring your black boots?"

In the elevator, I looked down at my feet. "Yep, Jules," I said. "I'm wearing them."

Everyone in the elevator looked at me. And laughed. I'm sure that she meant to say hi and how are you...formalities can be so overrated.

Once we got into the hotel room, Julia facetimed Larkin. I sat on the other bed listening to the two of them debate what Julia will wear tonight when her friends take her out for a birthday dinner. 

"Hi Larkin," Julia said through the computer. "I'm mad at Clare, so I need you to help me figure out what to wear."

"Thanks," said Larkin. "Good to know where I stand."

Apparently, Clare, my third daughter, claimed and was wearing my other pair of boots that everyone likes to wear. Poor Julia. She did not make an early enough claim on boots to wear for her night on the town. 

Somehow I'm certain that Julia will look good when it's time to go out. Never a dull moment with four girls, even from far away.

Happy Slicing,


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Slice #28 of 31- Celebrating and Missing a Friend

For the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by the community of writers at Two Writing Teachers. Many of my slices are at my personal blog, Just Write, Melanie, but ones that deal specifically with education appear at Two Reflective Teachers. All are welcome to join the slicing party by reading and commenting. People write amazing posts.



March 27. That was yesterday. 
Sometimes slices are written the day before. 
Yesterday was my friend's birthday. 

While she was always there for me when she was here, 
my friend has been right by my side since September,
 helping me write a book.

Reminding me of her laugh.
Of her generosity.
Of her love for a good time.
Of her capacity to make everyone feel like her best friend.

How did she do that?

She's brought me together with people I didn't know before and now I love.
She's reconnected me with people who I have missed, and now cherish. 
She's reminded me that the impact we make while we are here, because my book 

celebrates
her laugh
her listening
her generosity
her love for bringing people together
her acceptance of everyone.

I miss her.
I miss my friend 
Who would--no should-- be fifty-two

And a day.




Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Slice #24 of 31- Do They Know?

For the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by the community of writers at Two Writing Teachers. Many of my slices are at my personal blog, Just Write, Melanie, but ones that deal specifically with education appear at Two Reflective Teachers. All are welcome to join the slicing party by reading and commenting. People write amazing posts.




Over the weekend, my husband and my second daughter, Julia, trekked down to Virginia for a soccer tournament. As is his tendency, Garth provided me with a lot of information via a stream of texts about Julia and the games. While I normally could live with fewer updates, I was happy to read all of his messages this weekend, since this tournaments is a major college recruiting event. We are completely out of our element with all of this, trying to figure it out--collaborate to create the right texts, help her concoct the right emails, get her ready to play her best soccer...

The scene? Hundreds of ultimately athletic girls kicking, running, trapping, looking full of swag and confidence on acres of turf fields as coaches walk around. Are all those girls really that confident, or are they wondering and worrying too?

"Can you tell who the coaches are?" I texted.

"The ones with clipboards and hats," Garth texted. "And their hats make it clear."

Do those coaches know that one-fourth of my soul is running around on that field? 

Do they know?

Happy Slicing,



Sunday, March 22, 2015

Slice #22 of 31- Struggles With a Snowblower

For the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by the community of writers at Two Writing Teachers. Many of my slices are at my personal blog, Just Write, Melanie, but ones that deal specifically with education appear at Two Reflective Teachers. All are welcome to join the slicing party by reading and commenting. People write amazing posts.



Is it bad to admit that I have had a personal goal to NOT learn how to use the snowblower? I mow the lawn, my husband makes lunches, but I'm been pretty happy with the snowday routine of Garth plowing the driveway and me making him coffee. Sometimes, even an omelette. 

Last night, it snowed. And Garth is in Virginia at a soccer tournament with D2. (Daughter #2). He said that snowblowing isn't too tough. I could do it. (He needs to spend a little time reading Peter Johnston or Carol Dweck so that he understands growth mindset. You don't tell someone who is facing a new and daunting task that it will be easy.)

So, this morning, with Garth on the phone, I headed on to try to start the snowblower. 

"Just prime it a few times, shift it to the choke setting, and pull the rope," he said. "It'll start right up.




Is this the right time to admit that I didn't know where the rope was, mistook the primer cord for the starting code, pulled it, and broke it? Maybe I'll have him find that out when he reads the post...

So, I held the broken primer cord together and was able to get the thing started. Proudly, I headed up the driveway. It sort of reminded me of a blank sheet of paper. All mine to make my mark on...

Then, I got into some trouble. See, Garth sent me this text AFTER I came in from the driveway:



Key question in this exchange: did you start in the middle? Nope, I didn't. I think that I might know what having a learning disability could feel like because I am that bad at mechanical things and  So, when I got to about this point, I started to have trouble:


Anywhere I went, I was blowing snow back on to the parts of the driveway I'd already completed. Again, the writing parallel: plan first so you have a sense of what's going to come next. Otherwise, you're going to have a bit of a mess that you can't easily fix.

I went over some of the parts I had already done since I covered them with more snow, reminding myself of the revising process. As the machine roared in front of me, I debated. "How perfect does this driveway really need to be?" See the center strip of snow in the picture below? Is that one worth going after? It would mean more work on the parts around it. Isn't this SO like writing???



The picture that I took of my cup of coffee didn't come out well because it is a black mug, but I found the words on-line:


"Not snowblowing," I thought to myself!

As it turned out, the sun has helped my less than perfect job on the driveway.


 Now, what to do about that broken part? All secrets stay on the blog...



Happy Slicing!


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Slice #21 of 31- Celebrating a Friday Night of Slippers and Solitude

For the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by the community of writers at Two Writing Teachers. Many of my slices are at my personal blog, Just Write, Melanie, but ones that deal specifically with education appear at Two Reflective Teachers. All are welcome to join the slicing party by reading and commenting. People write amazing posts.



I'm sure that there was a time when I would have complained about being home alone on a Friday night. 

I probably would have preferred heels or stylish boots over these:


I'm sure that I would have rather had a bartender serve me up a cocktail instead of helping myself:




And I might have wanted human company instead of my best dog ever, Sonny.





I'm not sure that there was ever a dessert that came close to Hazed and Confused, though.






Is it terrible that I am celebrating my husband and daughter being away at a soccer tournament, another daughter out at a party, another one away with a friend, and Larkin (the oldest who slices with us) away at college?

I'm answering that question for myself. 
Nope.

Happy Slicing,





Thursday, March 19, 2015

Slice #19 of 31- Seventeen Years Ago We Welcomed Julia

For the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by the community of writers at Two Writing Teachers. Many of my slices are at my personal blog, Just Write, Melanie, but ones that deal specifically with education appear at Two Reflective Teachers. All are welcome to join the slicing party by reading and commenting. People write amazing posts.




Seventeen years ago, at exactly this time, we welcomed Julia Lynn into the world. Last year during the Challenge, I wrote a tribute to Julia. This year, I am compiling some of my favorite Julie stories:

  • As a 3 year-old, the pronoun "I" did not exist. My older daughter worked hard to correct this habit, but "me" lasted a long, long time. 
  • As a teenager, Julia has crazy hiccups. She says they are beyond her control, but she tends to have her loudest hiccups when her opponents are shooting free throws. 
  • In second grade, we went to the American Girl store. Just as we went to enter the dining room, Julia, who had reassured me that she felt fine, turned to face me and threw up all over me. We didn't have lunch. We went to the Gap and bought new outfits. 
  • Last week, she was asked to the prom by a very cute boy who had his very cute friends spell out PROM? on their chests and stand in front of her wearing Speedos. The pictures are priceless. 
  • In eighth grade, she achieved the "Summit Report Card" of all A+'s and 1's for effort and conduct.
  • She played a beautiful Gretl in the Sound of Music when she was seven. Really. We all cried in the last scene when she sat on the Captain's shoulders.
  • Her soccer team tied an important game this past year. I wasn't there, but my husband agreed with Julia's analysis that the one goal the opponent scored was because of Julia's defensive mistake. She shut herself in her room when she got home and came downstairs the next morning. 
  • Until sixth grade, she refused to wear any pants with buttons or snaps. 
  • When Julia was fifteen, we experienced lice in our house. She has a LOT of hair on her head. Some of our most bonding moments that November was sitting and watching Gray's Anatomy on her computer while I combed her hair with a SUPER fine tooth comb. We had to do this four times on separate occasions before we were convinced that her hair was bug-free. Note to self: people are really nice when you are combing their VERY long hair with a fine tooth comb. 
  • Every Christmas, I ask Julia what gift to buy for anyone in our house. She always knows.
Seventeen years, and I have many more stories. 

I love that girl.

Happy Slicing,



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Slice #17 of 31- My Mother's Boombox...It's Tough to Change!

Slice #17 of 31- My Mother's Boombox...It's Tough to Change!

For the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by the community of writers at Two Writing Teachers. Many of my slices are at my personal blog, Just Write, Melanie, but ones that deal specifically with education appear at Two Reflective Teachers. All are welcome to join the slicing party by reading and commenting. People write amazing posts.





We have all tried to explain different ways of playing music in the kitchen to my mother. We have gotten her the Pandora app. We have put music on her phone. We have hooked her up to a Bluetooth speaker system. However, in a moment of panic and frustration, when her music wouldn't play, she went and bought herself a boombox yesterday. 




"What is that?" my twelve year-old asked.
"Does it have a tape cassette deck, as well?" I asked.
My daughters missed the reference since they don't remember tapes, but my mother understood my teasing.
"I just want my CDs. They're comfortable, and I know how to use them," she said. "They work."

I understand her discomfort and I appreciate her resolution. I know many teachers who experience the frustration and incompetent feelings in their classrooms. We have so many new initiatives in our schools. New curriculum. New technology. New assessments.

As I think about my mother and the connection between her boombox and education, here are some parallels:
  • she is intelligent (one of the smartest people I know, actually).
  • she is motivated (she really wanted to listen to music).
  • she has time (I'm never sure of how exactly she spends her days).
  • she understands the purpose of the new technology.
But despite all that, she chose to give up, and go back to her old way. Hmmm.
My mother's boombox, as it sits on that counter, is a great reminder to me of how hard change can be. 

So now, the motivation falls back on the teachers--my daughters, my husband, and I would definitely prefer playlists over opera and musical CDs, not to mention the fact that I don't like extra stuff on the counters. What new approach will we try to re-engage our learner? Stay tuned... (ha, ha!)

Happy Slicing,

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Slice #14 of 31- We Have to Get There Early... Really?


This month, I have committed to writing every day through the community at Two Writing Teachers. All are welcome to the March Slice of Life Challenge! It's not too late to join in with comments-- or just read... 





Whenever my husband fly together, we debate the time to arrive at the airport. He likes to get there early. If he is through security and sitting outside the gate with 90 minutes to spare, he's a happy guy. Me? I'd rather have the adrenalin rush that comes with rushing to the back of the line. (Okay, that's an exaggeration, but I tend to cut my airport arrival time pretty close.) When I travel with Garth, I now know to bring a good book and buy myself an airport coffee.

Last night, we had our daughter's basketball semi-final game in a neighboring town.

"We have to leave early," Garth said.

"Just give me a time," I answered.

We left way earlier than I would have if left to my own decision making. He convinced me that the ticket line would be long.

"But we pre-purchased tickets," I said.

"We're bringing a kid who still needs a ticket."

"Plus, we want good seats," My youngest daughter piped in.

I tried not to roll my eyes, and I got into the driver's seat, ready to go. Garth is a better navigator, so I usually do the driving. As a light turned green, the car in front of us didn't go right away.

"Give him a toot," Garth said, before counting to three.

"No," I answered.

He laughed at himself and rubbed his hands together. "I'm a little antsy."

We got to the game in plenty of time. Parking was easy, the ticket line was short, and we had plenty of choices for seats. (I didn't say I told you so...) Pre-basketball games aren't like airports; there's no good coffee and it's a lousy reading environment. However, there are a lot of people to catch up with, and I ended up with a lot of time to see and talk to friends. All good, since some of them I won't see much until next year's basketball season--after last night's game, basketball season is over for the Farmington girls.

Happy Slicing,




Friday, March 13, 2015

Slice #13 of 31- An Alarm Went Off...


This month, I have committed to writing every day through the community at Two Writing Teachers. All are welcome to the March Slice of Life Challenge! It's not too late to join in with comments-- or just read... 




It took a while to get to bed last night. You know the type--there were a few projects to finish from school. Someone needed to go over a homework assignment. One of the dogs wouldn't come in. Someone else wanted to talk about a social issue at school.

I was pretty happy to turn out the light. Even happier to close my eyes and find my comfortable position...but...(you knew that was coming!)

Somewhere, an alarm went off. I waited. Maybe it would stop. It didn't. Maybe my husband would get out of bed and go in search of the alarm. He didn't. Maybe Julia would leave her homework and go in search of the alarm. She didn't. She just called out to ask what that noise was.

Finally, I got out of bed. I pressed my ear against one bedroom door, but the alarm was not coming from there. The next room? Nope. Begrudgingly, I headed downstairs and realized that the alarm was coming from the emergency call system that my mother had brought home from my grandmother's house. Since my grandmother no longer lives alone, she does not need the monitor.


I began to press buttons, but the thing would not shut off. Clicked the switches, but it wouldn't stop beeping. How do you turn these things off? And, what does it mean that the alarm is going off? Are there emergency vehicles on their way to my grandmother's house in New York? Uh-oh.

I'm going to admit something now. Instead of throwing the thing out in the snow, which I thought about, and instead of seeing if I could muffle it in a garage corner, I brought it upstairs and stood next to Garth until he opened his eyes.

"I can't get this thing to stop," I said.

Groggily, he sat up and turned the machine over. In less than a second, he clicked a lever in the back of it, and the thing silenced. Ahhh.



Why are mechanical things so difficult for me?

Happy Slicing!





Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Slice #12 of 31-"Make Sure You Die Before You Get Old."

This month, I have committed to writing every day through the community at Two Writing Teachers. All are welcome to the March Slice of Life Challenge! It's not too late to join in with comments-- or just read... 




Over the weekend, Clare, Cecily, and I headed to Katonah to visit my grandmother. She turned 95 on January 7th. Up until her birthday, she was doing pretty well. She went to lunch, read the paper, kept up with friends, insisted on decent food, kept track of her bills...She had absolutely no interest in leaving her house that she's lived in for 65 years, despite some pressures from all of us. We are her nearest relatives and we are 75 miles away. When something goes wrong, that's a long ride. Something happened on her birthday, and she is no longer making much sense or functioning independently at all.

We knew that Nana either needed to leave her house or have full-time help. Enter Elizabeth. God bless Elizabeth. I love this picture with Nana and Elizabeth side by side, the picture of my grandfather on the shelf, and Cecily photo-bombing in the background. So many stories captured in this picture...





 My grandmother has never been easy, and even without many of her faculties, she's not easy. She says memorable things, though. Clare stayed upstairs with her for a little bit, and Nana, in a brief moment of clarity said, "Clare, I have something important to say."

"What's that, Nana?"

"Make sure you die before you get old."

When Clare shared Nana's words, they stopped me in my tracks. What does that mean? How old is old? How do we know when we're old? I am inspired to keep, at least the parts of my being that I control, not old. I'm working on a credo of sorts. Clare may turn the line into a song.

Happy Slicing,

Slice #11 of 31: Thank You to My Girls

This month, I have committed to writing every day through the community at Two Writing Teachers. All are welcome to the March Slice of Life Challenge! It's not too late to join in with comments-- or just read... 




Yesterday, Dana wrote a post that was a tribute to her mother, remembering how her mother was always there, being proud of her. She inspired me to find the moments and celebrate them when my daughters make me proud. Today was easy.

Reflecting on the day, I had some wonderful moments, some truly wonderful moments, but the best part of the day was coming home from a meeting I had after hours. Many of you know that we live with my parents. My father is not well and our living situation works for the time being--that's another story... My husband was also out tonight, taking one of our daughters to soccer practice, so my younger girls, who are 15 and 12, were home with my parents.

"Help LC," I said before I left. (LC is my mother).

Clare rolled her eyes at me. "Yes, Mom," she said.

Cecily kissed me. "Don't worry, Mom," she said. "We're fine and of course we'll help."

When I got home, just my mom was in the kitchen. Doc goes to bed early and the girls were upstairs doing homework.

"The girls were incredible," she said. "Clare cleaned up the kitchen and Cecily put Doc to bed pretty much all by herself."

We have debated and struggled with whether Cecily does too much for my father. She's twelve, and she is a rock-star care giver. Honestly, it's beyond our control. She gets him to do exercises, plays solitaire with him (is it still solitaire when you play with a partner?), reminds him to brush his teeth, and yes, she cues him for what needs to happen when he showers.

"Cecily even watched Jeopardy with Doc," LC said.

"That's actually a pretty good show," she piped in, coming into the kitchen to say hello.

I hugged her, thanking her for the peace she gives me to be able to go to an evening forum and telling her how proud I am of her. Then, I went up and hugged Clare, too.

"I am so proud of the kind human being you are," I said.

Sometimes those girls really do reach in and grab my heart.


Happy slicing and celebrating the moments that make us proud!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Slice #10 of 31: The Perils of a Group Gift

This month, I have committed to writing every day through the community at Two Writing Teachers. All are welcome to the March Slice of Life Challenge! It's not too late to join in with comments-- or just read... 




At times, I think I've got this parenting thing down, and then something happens that humbles me. Leaves me scratching my head. Inspires me to ask for advice.

One of my daughters and all of her friends decided to order rings for each other to celebrate birthdays and friendship. Monogrammed rings (aka unreturnable...). Somehow, I was the nominated mother to fund the purchase (6 friends times $59.99). Initially, not completely understanding the plot, I protested the use of my credit card, so another parent got the nod to purchase half of them. Unbeknownst to me, the company ran a sale, the other parent bought three of them for about $40 each. Now that they are back at full price, I am on deck to front the money for the other three.

Now, as the plot thickens and the story goes, there is friction over what everyone should pay, since these are supposed to be group gifts to each other. Do they pay the total cost of the 6 rings divided by 6, or does one group pay less since some were purchased at a sale price?

At the risk of sounding like money doesn't matter, I have offered to cover the difference in the prices for the three rings, but my daughter remains furious with especially one of her friends. All six girls are weighing in on different sides of the issue, entangling and complicating, and siphoning the joy out of a celebratory gift of friendship.

Somewhere in this drama, a short story lurks, with a plot that focuses on the beautiful monogrammed rings that sit at the bottom of six separate jewelry boxes. I hope that a different story is able to overcome this impostor.  I'd welcome any advice that could lead to a happy ending.

Happy Slicing!



Monday, March 9, 2015

Slice #9 of 31- It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This month, I have committed to writing every day through the community at Two Writing Teachers. All are welcome to the March Slice of Life Challenge! It's not too late to join in or comment or just read... Many of my posts will be at my personal blog, Just Write, Melanie, but the posts that relate explicitly to learning will be on both blogs. 


Over the weekend, I read The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart. It definitely hooked me with an extremely high stakes plot. Mark, the 12 year-old main character, has cancer and runs away just before he is supposed to start a treatment. He has set a personal goal to climb Mount Rainier, and even with a raging storm, continues with his quest. Dan Gemeinhart has some wonderful passages about life, and the social issues around whether to tell the truth or keep a secret pulsates the entire book. An upper elementary book club would have some intense discussions about the morality/immorality of lying!

All that being said, with a 12 year-old main character, this book is classified as middle grade fiction. I would not want any of my 8 year-olds to read it. There are some violent scenes, some terrifying scenes, and some really emotional scenes, as the book deals with death, cancer, gangs, bullying, and intense hospital scenes. It's a book that you might want to alert parents about if you're passing it along to strong readers in your elementary classroom.

Happy Reading and Slicing,