Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Slice of Life Challenge: Navagating Change

Slice of Life Tuesday Challenge: Change 

To say that this has been a year of change would be an understatement. In this past year (not even considering COVID or distance learning), my life has looked radically different than in past years. Some major events included (but are not necessarily listed in order of importance):

  • I moved out and rented a house. 
  • I adjusted to longer periods of time on my own, without my children.
  • I went through a divorce.
  • I legally changed my last name.
  • I started dating again.
  • I rescued two older cats, who now live with me.
  • I bought a house.
Looking back, it seems like every time I started getting a little bit comfortable with a new normal, some big change occurred. Some changes were positive and welcome. Yet, many changes were incredibly painful. I constantly felt paralyzed with fear and overcome with intense emotion. I wanted everything to be perfect, something so unattainable, even in the best of times. I wanted to hide any perceived weakness. Fellow readers, my life has felt really messy for most of this last year. All tangled in knots.

A few days ago I was journaling and suddenly realized that navagating change has been my constant this year. I reread some of my writing from this year with curiosity. It turns out that I learned a lot about myself. It turns out that I am stronger than I thought.  

Without a doubt, I will continue to navigate change this year. May I continue to learn from it and embrace it in the most positive way possible. 



Looking to connect with a positive, supportive online community? 
Consider sharing a slice of your life with Two Writing Teachers
All writers are welcome!

Friday, May 8, 2020

#sosmagic: Generous Gifts

I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us.#sosmagic


#sosmagic: Generous Gifts

In the midst of a divorce last fall, I moved out. Suddenly, I found myself in a new neighborhood, in an empty rental house without a whole lot of furniture or household items. I felt lost in every way possible. 

I had begun a new journey. It was a journey that was was one of the most terrifying and painful things that I had ever experienced but necessary.

Friends, family, and colleagues helped make this transition more bearable and gifted me with all kinds of unexpected blessings. Beyond listening to me and providing a constant emotional support system, I received all kinds of gifts including a house full of furniture, hand -made quilts, house plants, baking pans, silverware, glassware, sheet sets, bicycles, a vaccuum cleaner, tools, and even a gently used lawn mower and snow blower. I was so humbled by all that people shared with me.

Now there is not a room in my house where I am not surrounded by the reminder that people went out of their way to help me when I needed it the most. Evidence of love and support is scattered throughout my house. 

The rocking chair, braided rug, floor lamp, and plant were all items given to me.

I will forever be deeply touched at all of these gestures of love.

Yesterday, as I was thinking about Ruth's invitation to consider the magic of words, I realized that many of my favorite words are connected with generosity. As I played around with lists of words in my notebook, I came up with the following Haiku, a bit of a tribute to some lovely words and for my appreciation for all who shared such amazing gifts with me:

Generosity -/ 
gifts shared. Meaningful gestures./
Community love.   

Thursday, April 30, 2020

#sosmagic: Unexpected Supervision

I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us.#sosmagic



#sosmagic: Unexpected Supervision 

"Can I ask you a favor?" 

I stopped mid-walk, startled by a request from a stranger. I was on my way to meet my neighbor, Dave, for an early evening walk. 

"Sure," I cautiously replied. A middle aged man with two children walked towards me. The man and older child were walking their bicycles. The youngest child stood next to a bike resting on the sidewalk.

"My daughter's breaks somehow jammed. She cannot ride anymore. I gotta get this bike home so I can fix it." He explained.

"That's too bad," I responded.

"I need to get her bike back home, so I need to go back home and grab my van. Can you watch her for a few moments?" He barely waited for my response. Instead, he hopped on his bike, the other child following him. A small girl, donned in a unicorn bike helmet and brown cowboy boots faced me. Part of her ponytail was dyed purple. 

"Wait. What's her name?" I asked.

"V."

"My name is Trina." She looked up at me and smiled a toothless grin. 

"She's a good kid and will be no problem." The man left on his bike. The other child trailed after him. 

"Wait - I'll wait with her on my neighbor's porch." I pointed to Dave's porch ahead of us. 

What just happened? I thought. Although I live in a relatively safe community and a tight-knit neighborhood, it's 2020. I couldn't believe that a man that I had never met before was leaving me with his young child. I had never seen this child before. How did I agree to this? When did I agree to this? Why wouldn't he have just left the bike and walked home with her? What if he didn't come back? Doesn't he realize that we're in the middle of a pandemic? Did he somehow know that I was a teacher? Do I just look that trusting? 

Since I wanted to make sure this child and I were in highly visible space, V. and I waited on the plastic lawn chairs on my neighbor Dave's porch. First I pointed out the mourning dove's nest; next, I showed her where Dave and I found a fallen egg on his sidewalk. While we waited I told V. the few knock-knock jokes I knew. After I asked her how old she was, V. volunteered all kinds of information - where she attended school, her teacher's name, what grade she was in, and where she lived (including her street name and address). 

Dear readers, although I found it bizarre that I found myself supervising this strange child, V. was an absolute joy to talk with. It was the best part of my day.

One snippet of our conversation went something like this:

V: It's almost my birthday!
Me: That's great! When is it?
V: At the end of May. I'm going to be 7 years old.
Me: Oh. That's exciting! 7 is big stuff.
V: Uh huh. 7 will be so great. After that comes 8 and then 9. Then 10! You can do anything when you are 10!
Me: 10 is pretty great. Double digits.
V.: No more kid stuff. Maybe I can even get an iPhone. 
Me: Yeah, I guess you are pretty old when you are 10. How will you celebrate your birthday?
V.: I don't know. Cupcakes. With frosting. And cake. With lots of ice cream.

Soon after the birthday chat, V.'s dad appeared in his mini van. 

"Thanks for watching V.!" The side door of the mini van opened, and V. scurried to her dad's van. 

"Bye! Take care of the baby birds!" V. yelled as the van door closed.

The black mini van drove off. 

I hope he doesn't leave his daughter with random strangers often. It was an unsettling thought. 

Bewildered yet a bit delighted, I knocked on Dave's door and we began our previously scheduled walk. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

#sosmagic: Grotto Gifts

I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us.#sosmagic

#sosmagic: Grotto Gifts 

"You're getting a bit too close," D. gently reminds me and outstretches his long arm to make half of a "T". I raise mine to do the same. He is right. I veered too close to him. Again. We aren't six feet away from each other anymore. Even though we're walking outside, even though both of us have been homebound for weeks, even though we have not been around many other people except for the occasional trip to the grocery store donning face masks, we do not have enough distance between us. I move over on the trail, hiking on the unpaved part. D. moves beyond the other edge of the path. 

After over a month, I am still not used to social distancing.

My neighbor and friend, D., lives alone. When my children are at their dad's house, I am solo, too. For days at a time, D. is often the only person I talk to, face-to-face (through a safe distance, of course).  

"Check out that perfect tree hole." D. points to a stunning tree hollow. I gaze at the tree cavity. Suddently, a bit of yellow catches my eye.


"D.! See that in the grotto?"

One of my favorite local trails includes a series of long-ago neglected, abandoned grottos. The grotto ahead hosts a surprise: a small piece of art made from natural objects. It's a collage of forest treasure, including a collection of handwritten uplifting words. 

D. and I stand in awe. He hangs back while I explore the grotto art first. 



"I love this so much," I gush, "Look at all of the words on the sticks. Hope. Breathe. Comfort. Calm. I adore how these words are incorporated with beauty of nature."



I stand back while D. explores.

There are a few paper words scattered on the group, perhaps disturbed from the day's breeze.

The word hope is printed on the piece of paper I pick up with my glove.


D. picks up the piece of paper with the word peace written on it. 

"Should we take the words from this spot?" I inquire. Suddenly, I look around to see if anyone else is nearby. Yet, we are alone. 

"Well, I could use some peace, " D. responds.
"I can always use more hope." I share.

"Perhaps whoever created this envisioned that people would be delighted and honored in finding these words?" I suggest, captivated with the thought that others are comforted like I am in discovering found words. 

D. nodds. 
I place the small yellow paper in my coat pocket.

We continue to walk, six feet between us, on our path.  

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 31/31: Walking Habits

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 31/31: 
Walking Habits

Since the Covid-19 epidemic began, I've been trying to adapt to all kinds of things: digital learning/teaching, social distancing, and making peace with all of the cancellations. At times it has been a bit jarring and overwhelming. 

However, there hasn't been a day that I have not gone for at least one walk, especially during my lunch hour. Although I often walked before or after school, I didn't walk during my lunch break. Now it's one of my favorite times of the day. I get a break from my computer. I get some time outdoors. I get to spend time either in solitude or chatting with my neighbor/friend, Dave. 

On today's lunchtime walk, I ran into one of my administrators running during her lunch break. In addition, I saw two families out for a walk. My neighbor, Rae, was out on her lunch break and walking with her friend. It makes me happy to see so many people outside.

Generally, I feel better after I walk. I feel less overwhelmed and often less cranky. I'm not sure why I didn't do it when I was physically at school.

Walking during my lunch break is something I want to continue after this pandemic is over. 



Lunch time stroll relieves/
anxiety, tension. Now/
welcome habit change. 



Looking to connect with a positive, supportive online community? 
Consider sharing a slice of yourlife with Two Writing Teachers
All writers are welcome!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 30/31: Sidewalk Poetry

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 30/31: 
Sidewalk Poetry

On Wednesday the month of March ends and April begins, ushering in National Poetry Month

This April, in the midst of the social distancing Covid-19 Epidemic, I need to celebrate poetry and do better in sharing how it has impacted me.

On a walk yesterday afternoon, my friend/neighbor, Dave, and I walked past this piece of sidewalk poetry: 
"I call myself poet...
comfortably, happily.
My life is filled with writing...
articles, essays, fiction, history.
But poetry is what delights me,
sustains me, is my strongest need.
As long as I write,
the rest of my life falls into place."
I was stunned. Dave and I were walking in my old neighborhood. I must have walked over that sidewalk poem so many times, but Sunday was the first time that I actually took the time to read it.

Indeed, "my life is filled with writing...but poetry is what delights me, sustains me, is my strongest need..." 

I adore this sidewalk poem. 

After reading this piece and reflecting on it, I cannot help but wonder what I can do to better help celebrate poetry this April, both at home and in my distance-learning classroom.

Fellow readers, I would love your ideas. What will you do to celebrate National Poetry Month this April? 



Looking to connect with a positive, supportive online community? 
Consider sharing a slice of your life with Two Writing Teachers
All writers are welcome!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 29/31: Signs of Growth

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 29/31: 
Signs of Growth 

From darkness, despair,/
and mess of barren season:/
fresh growth emerges. 




Spring reminds me that somehow growth and beauty prevail after long, difficult seasons of dormancy. 



Looking to connect with a positive, supportive online community? 
Consider sharing a slice of yourlife with Two Writing Teachers
All writers are welcome!

Slice of Life Challenge: Navagating Change

Slice of Life Tuesday Challenge: Change  To say that this has been a year of change would be an understatement. In this past year (not even ...