Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 31 SOL reflection

This second year of slicing has been more challenging for me. I've been trying to figure out why. Of course things happened every day that distracted me, but that can't be the reason I found it more difficult.

I enjoyed reading all the amazing posts. I wanted to comment on many more posts than I did. SOL authors were from all around this world. From the first day to the very last day the SOL writers made me think. I have been overwhelmed with the variety of posts. I have grown with this group of writers.

Thank you all for this experience, SOL 2014.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

SOL Day #30 Owl Prowl from bed

Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. The goal is to write a daily post during the month. This is my second year to participate. www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.

Last night I awoke when my husband came to bed and we both heard the noise. We listened to hear it again. The second call was farther away and the pattern was different. My husband told me about earlier in the day when he was behind the garage and heard an owl hoot. He tried to call to it. I smiled to myself. I don't think he has ever done that before. I am the one always calling to the owls, they answer me, too. I'm a country girl, he has always been a city boy (small, small city).

We listened to both owls calling in the night. It was a cool experience. I wanted to remember the difference in the patterns of the calls. The closer owl hooted a quick who, who, then 3 slower, longer  whooo, whooo. The owl in the distance hooted 3 who, who, who, and then a longer one.  I wondered why the patterns of hooting varied. We both fell asleep listening to the owls.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SOL Day 26 I've missed several days

Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. The goal is to write a daily post during the month. This is my second year to participate. www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.
My time has been absconded. Where it went, I can't say. I only know I haven't posted since March 20. I can offer some excuses: busy at my official work, working to clean the barn on a warm day, working at my second (or 3rd) job for my husband, new on-line class started, laundry, house cleaning, taking husband to the ER and waiting for a room in the hospital, going to the primary care doctor, ordering medicines, and life gets in the way of my writing.

I've continued to read several posts and even comment in them. But I could not gather the energy to complete a post. More excuses: I'm a procrastinator, I'm not a writer, my posts aren't interesting, or knowledgable, or worthy. I saw similar excuses on others' posts. But I enjoy reading every one. 

Writing a post is about connecting with others, especially those in the same profession. It is reading another person's idea and applying it to my life. It is broadening my perspective. It is remembering my experiences. It is learning and growing and changing, all of which I have positive desires to accomplish.

Thank you all for letting me be involved in this challenge.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Slice of Life Day 20

Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. The goal is to write a daily post during the month. This is my second year to participate.
To celebrate the arrival of spring, my dog and I walked to the woods. I needed gloves because my fingers get cold and boots because the ground is muddy. I grabbed my camera, put a collar on my dog, slipped a leash in my pocked for good measure and we were off. We excitedly walked trails made by wildlife. I stopped to tie the purple plastic ribbon around trees at the edge of my land to signify "No Hunting". I think a couple of ribbons had been shot off the trees. They were still knotted but separated by rough edges. One was particularly difficult to reach so it took me a bit longer than I expected. When I turned around to make sure my dog was with me, she was gone. I listened for the jingling noise the tag on her collar makes, nothing. I started calling her name, nothing. I began walking, stopped to listen one more time and heard water splashing. I headed through the brush toward the pond and behold, there she was. She was enjoying her dunk in the water, spinning around, getting a drink and even sitting in the water. I found a clear spot so she could see me and she came to meet me. Could I count this as her second bath in as many days?

Ellie enjoying the first day of Spring, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Slice of Life Day 19 Bathing the dog

I gave my Golden Retriever a bath today. She has a mind of her own, I had to use a leash to get her upstairs to the shortest tub. She readily lifts one leg to step inside the tub, then the second leg. I had to help with the hind legs. She is very cautious. Once she feels the warm water, she is calm. I wash her face and ears with a cloth. She raises her left leg for me to wash under, then the right one. She loves rinsing off. I use a towel to dry her off before I let her step out of the tub on another towel. As soon as she is out of the tub, she shakes off the extra water. I get a third towel and finish drying her long coat. She grooms herself for awhile. In a couple of hours, her coat is dry enough to comb out. It changes her look from curly to straight. As soon as she goes outside, she drops and rolls in the grass to get rid of the clean scent. It won't last long.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Slice of Life Day 18 A little birdie

Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. The goal is to write a daily post during the month. This is my second year to participate. 

Yesterday, around noon, the weather appeared spring-like. 
A group of teachers took a short walk in search of common birds.
Soon we found this colorful guy.
He would not move from his perch, even when we walked under the high branch.

Teachers were able to locate and identify several common birds.
Mourning dove, robin, sparrow, red-winged blackbird and crow were spotted.
Hopefully the teachers will return to their classrooms, searching
for birds common to their schoolyards.

Monday, March 17, 2014

SOL Day #17 Birding for Common Core

Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by The goal is to write a daily post during the month. This is my second year to participate. 

Today a co-worker and I shared a presentation with forty educators. We discussed how teachers could use field guides to teach students the specific details required in reading informational text. Over the past year we created and used an activity with 3rd and 4th graders. Part of the activity was done in the classroom and the follow up was completed outside. Students were excited about their learning and anxious to extend it beyond the classroom. Today teachers displayed similar excitement.  We expect several educators to apply what they learned today by teaching their students how to use field guides and taking them outside in nature.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

SOL Day #16

Yesterday we enjoyed the warm sunshine by sitting outdoors.
Today a blizzard kept us sitting indoors, making me a procrastinator.
Should I prepare for a snow day tomorrow?
Or should I practice my scheduled presentation one more time?

I can surely watch one movie and still have time to practice.
I also need to affix labels to 40 folders.
But I think I'll fix dinner first.
Maybe I need to check the weather forecast once more.

Has the cold front already passed?
I can't forget to print the mailing labels for those "Save the Date" cards.
They must be mailed tomorrow.
Some things can't be postponed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SOL Day 12

Windy day, too windy for a prescribed burn
Sunny day, perfect for drying out the puddles
Working day, time to create folder labels
Preparation for science literacy

After work walk, feed and hug the Retriever
Evening, scheduled time for dinner with family
Night time phone sister regarding travel plans
Write post number 12 for Slice of Life Challenge

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

SOL Day 11

I took off work today so I could make the 3 hour trip with my husband to the eye doctor. He had a good checkup. Then we had lunch with our son and his fiancĂ©. I left with 50 "Save the Date" cards to mail out to family and friends (wedding is in Oct). We took the country road and got home early enough to go outside with my dog (a neighbor took her out at lunch). The weather was warm and sunny. I took my iPad outside to purchase airline tickets for my sisters and me.  In May, we plan to attend a memorial service for our Aunt. By then it was time to start dinner. The beautiful day was nearing its end.

Monday, March 10, 2014

SOL Day # 10 Celebrating Birthdays

Yesterday we had a family get-together to celebrate several March birthdays. Even though I was exhausted from traveling, I was excited to visit with everyone, all 38 in attendance. We had a buffet with chicken, pork, salad, fruit, pie, and cupcakes, all quite delicious.

For one sister-in-law, it was her first venture out since her knee replacement surgery 3 weeks ago. Two grand nephews turned 2 years old on March 5 and 9, one nephew would be 23 on the 10th and his dad will be 70 on the 16th.

A niece and I sat with several of the young children to create with play dough. All three of the two year olds used plastic knives and learned to cut long strips. The 4 year old girl made flowers and decorated a Christmas tree. The 5 year old boy created a wall of bricks. The six year old, walked around the table without taking part. The newest baby slept as we took turns holding him. Great Grandpa watched over the group and shared in the story telling.

That isn't the end of March birthdays, we will have another party to celebrate those near the end of the month.  And then we will set a date for April.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

SOL Day # 9 a wedding reception

Friday my sister and her family spent the night at my house. Saturday, two sisters with their husbands and one daughter and I left early to drive 4 hours so we could attend the wedding reception of our cousin's son. They were married at a small church on Friday.

The fog was heavy, but we arrived safely and had the afternoon to shop and explore the city. The venue was in the historic downtown section of the city. We had visited this city several times before but never ventured downtown. We were pleasantly surprised. We found lots of quaint shops amidst bars and restaurants. We plan to return this summer.

The reception was suited to fit the newly married couple. The music spanned decades. The couple met in college, several years ago. They became friends, even best friends. And life quickly passed until they were in their 30's. The two families became one. You could see happiness just looking at the couple. They beamed and we were witness to their love. It seemed very special.

Friday, March 7, 2014

SOL #7

I was a bit frantic today because my sister was planning to spend the night with me. That wasn't the problem. The problem was the lady who cleans my house texted me she was sick and would not be able to work today. She didn't work last week either. Wow, I thought. I had been working the past 2 nights on getting things ready. However I was counting on her to do the last minute things such as dust and vacuum. I started early this morning, worked during lunch and got things looking pretty good. It was a good thing I had worked the past 2 evenings. I hate that I'm ok with things not being put in their place until I have company. Then I want everything put away in its place. I think it might be related to procrastination. The last minute I can clean house like a raging wildfire. If that happened every night for an hour, I would have a clean house. Maybe I'll try.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

SOL # 6 Tracks in the snow and an erasure poem

This morning my dog and I went outside to help my husband unload his truck. Everything is still snow and ice covered but my dog wanted to explore. She took off with her nose to the snow. I heard the sound of crunching snow under her paws as she sprinted toward the woods. Nothing I could do except follow her. I was glad I had put on a heavy, hooded sweatshirt and gloves. I could not believe all the perfect sets of tracks I saw on our path. I recognized those made by a rabbit, the neighbor's cat and my dog. Other tiny tracks made me wonder what made them. I wished for my phone to take pictures. Alas, I only have my memory. One set of patterned tracks made an X in the snow. I wondered what made the animal turn around and cross back over the path. I could see another set of tracks, dragging something behind, a tail? I saw various sets of tracks that I had not seen so close to our buildings. Tracks I could not see on the ground. Lots of activity was happening without my knowledge. The only way to discover the activity would be to explore at night. If I move stealthily, I might see some critters and learn about their habitual activity.

Snow and ice covered
Sound of crunching snow
Perfect sets of tracks
Tiny tracks
Patterned tracks made an X 
Tracks dragging something behind
Lots of activity
At night
Move stealthily
Habitual activity

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Missives from Missouri: Slice of Life

Missives from Missouri: Slice of Life:

Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by All participants aim to write a post every day for the month of March. 

SOL #5 
In the world today, everyone seems to be connected, plugged in, sharing information and following a circle of acquaintances. However, one of my cousins (E) could not connect with another cousin (L). In an email to my sisters and me, E said she tried the last phone number she had. A recording said the voice mail box has not been set up, she couldn't leave a message. I replied back that I was driving through a small community where a second-cousin (D) lives, maybe I could visit and get updated contact information. After work and on my way home, I stopped and had a nice visit with (D). He called someone, then let me speak with her. She told me L would not answer his phone, but she would give him my number. I figured that was the best I could do and gave her my cell number. Now I'm waiting to hear from L. I suppose we aren't all as connected as portrayed by the advertisements. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

SOL # 3 My father-in-law

I finally figured out how to add the symbol for SOL. Next I need to figure out how to link to Twitter. I will work on that.

My father-in-law

He is a devoted family man, and yet at age 89, is the only one remaining in his immediate family of 6. He is a wealth of history. I try to collect details of his life and the world as it was when he grew up. I hope I can give you a glimpse of how different things were.

He graduated high school and left home at the young age of 16. He spend one summer working for the Civilian Conservation Corps. He lied about his age so he could join the Merchant Marines. He traveled the world, went to radar school and hitchhiking home for holidays. One time he made it home from the Gulf Coast almost faster than the average person could drive it.

He went to California with a buddy and took odd jobs to survive. He left their car sitting by the highway because it quit working and hitchhiked home. In later years, he visited the same restaurant he once had worked in, just to check on things.

He came home and established a taxi service in the rural area. He usually charged 25 cents per mile, but for one elderly lady who made weekly visits to her family. He charged her 75 cents to make a round trip of 8 miles.

He was industrious, always looking for a way to survive. He worked for a company who supplied pinball machines and records for local businesses who had a juke box.  He became quite good at repairing mechanical things. To support his family he started working for a company, driving an 18 wheeler. He was only home on weekends and then the family would pile in the old car and drive somewhere. To this day, he can recall highway numbers and sights you will see as you travel along the road.

He finally bought his Pop's lumber business and stayed home to raise his 4 children. The 3 boys helped him in the family business. All still work there today along with 3 grandsons. Although he has retired, he often makes a trip to the post office to collect the mail for them. The children check on him daily, taking him something for lunch or out to eat.

The family celebrates everyone's birthdays and holidays together. A huge party is being planned to celebrate his 90th birthday later this year.

He is a complex man, dichotomous and a mystery to me.

Just before I married his eldest son, we traveled to market. Six people riding three hours in a car. He lights up a cigar. I loved the smell and hated the smoke.

He read medical books and helped care for his wife. She had diabetes and required lots of medicine. He was always adjusting it according to what he had read.

Every Christmas, he made sure he gave all his children similar gifts or at least spent a similar amount.

Never has he make a difference in any of his children. His sense of fairness is always at the forefront.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


This past week my husband and I celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary. We don't know what happened to all those years. It seems they just slipped away. We have lots of memories and photos to help us remember. Unusual things trigger memories too. It might be a song, a call from an old friend, or even a new fad. I think it is odd that we don't remember the same things and suppose that is because of the differences in our focus.  But I digress, my intention was to write about our anniversary.

We've commented to each other about friends who ended a marriage, saying they often traded their current problem for a new set of problems. We have been lucky that our problems have not been immense. No marriage is perfect and sometimes ending a marriage can be the best result. For us, working together seems to help sustain our close relationship. We both view marriage as a give and take relationship and neither one expects to be "in charge".

We both have changed a lot in those 42 years and some things about us have remained the same. In the early years we worked together on building small storage barns to supplement our income. He would complete the construction and I would help by painting the finished building. Together we have taken lessons to learn disco dancing, play acoustic guitar, modern square dance, create stained glass objects, and some I can't recall.

He has worked at his family business for 50 years. I have worked there when I have had time, while going to college and still on many Saturdays. We still work together competing the monthly billing for the family business.

We have had individual interests too. He worked on cars, took courses to learn how to paint a car, design heat & air units for houses and design and oversee the building of those houses. His interest still involves cars. He has quite a collection of cars and parts. Together we attend car shows and swap meets. We travel to lots of interesting places.

Over the years, I have worked at several different jobs. I've taken lots of classes, artistic and with an end in mind. I attended college after we married and earned Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees in education. I'm still taking classes and learning new things in my current job.

Within a few years, we will retire. Our plans include more traveling. Hopefully, the difference will be that we won't need to hurry back to work. I hope I can find something to fulfill my days with work. :)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

SOL # 1 Thoughts on Writing

Last year I participated in writing a Slice of Life story for every day in March. It was a tough challenge, but allowed me to believe for that month that I was a writer. I wrote pieces about memories of growing up, my family and my work. I occasionally wrote a poem. I surprised myself.

After the challenge ended, I had mixed feelings about participating again. Recently, I read one post by Donalyn Miller in which she says, "If you write, you are a writer."  You can read her post here:

Wow, that says to me, I must participate in the SOL for this year.  I can once again say, "I am a writer." I'm hoping the habit of writing continues more consistently this year. I hope I can complete some of my ideas for picture books.

Another part of Donalyn's post says a writer makes others care about the writing. In the past, I have written from my heart, so it meant something to me. Now I must try to view each piece of writing to see if the writing stirs emotions in others. I like thinking about how others perceive my writing. Sometimes that keeps me from posting until the piece makes sense. It reminds me of teaching writing in elementary school, because students were taught to write for a particular audience. I also remember while working on a dissertation, one advisor kept asking the question, "So what?" She was trying to encourage me to think about reactions from those outside my world.

Another helpful tip from Donalyn was "ALL writers struggle". I hope, with daily practice, my writing improves.

Here goes, my first post for SOL14.

#SOL 2018 Day 31 Thank you, slicers.