Friday, October 9, 2015

Poetry Friday: A Friend Just Like That

It's Poetry Friday.  This week Laura Purdie Salas hosts at Writing the World for Kids.  Stop by her blog for today's parade of wondrous words.  

This was the first week of The Global Read Aloud (#gra15).  We are joining the conversation around the work of Amy Krouse Rosenthal (#graAMY).  I decided I would jump back into Poetry Friday with a poem about this week's book: Chopsticks.  I thought it might be fun to try to write a poem related to the book we read each week across the event.  This week we enjoyed the story of two friends who like to be together and, of course, want what is best for the other.  I'm grateful to have friends just like that.     

A Friend Just Like That
There's nothing quite like
a friend that is true,
she'll stand beside you
and do what you do.

A friend for adventures
or to lend a good ear,
a friend to help you
when life's not so clear.

A friend who will laugh
or just sit down for a chat,
who likes what you do;
a friend just like that.

A friend who enjoys
your crazy schemes.
A friend to encourage you
to follow your dreams.

Though life sometimes moves you
to places anew.
Though distance may separate,
she'll still think of you.

You'll discover new joys.
New places you'll see.
When you sit down together,
you'll share them with glee.

Joining a friend
after being apart,
puts a smile on your face
and a song in your heart.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2015

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday Wisdom

I collect quotes on Pinterest.  Sometimes I just like to scroll through them for inspiration.  In an effort to live these words of wisdom I've decided to share a quote a week in #WednesdayWisdom.  What words are you living by today?  Join me!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Slice of Life: When Life Gives You Weeds, Grab a Wheelbarrow

This evening I grabbed my wheelbarrow and headed to the flowerbeds.  To say I had been putting off weeding my flowerbeds would likely be a bit of an understatement.  The mosquitoes had made it nearly impossible to spend too long outside without layers of clothing.  The thistles, grasses, and other unwelcome offenders had started to take over everywhere I looked.  I had to stop avoiding the inevitable.  With that in mind, I put on some long pants, grabbed my gloves, and headed to get the wheelbarrow.

Where to start?  That was the question.  Should I start in the front where most people actually see our beds or go to the back so my view from the patio was pleasing?  The task ahead seemed overwhelming.  I really just wanted to go inside, grab a class of lemon water, and sit on my couch.   That's when I remembered advice from one of the secretaries I had the pleasure of working with years ago:  "Just start with a wheelbarrow.  Fill it one time each day."  I started that day filling one wheelbarrow, emptying it, and decided I could handle a second trip.  The next day, I grabbed the wheelbarrow again and slowly I completed the job.

As I worked I was reminded that I should consider this type of thinking more in my life.  When I have a task that just seems too overwhelming I retreat.  I don't know where to start -- so I don't start at all.  Whether it is a blogpost, a letter to a friend, organizing family photos, researching our family line, that stack of professional reading, a longer writing project, the clothes pile on my dresser, the mail tower on the counter, or my basement, I just choose to ignore it.  Maybe instead of ignoring these hard tasks I should just bring a wheelbarrow --- figuratively of course.  (Well, literally to the basement.)

If I would just figure out the way to manage the task by taking small steps, I'd get more done.  Thirty minutes of writing would be a start.  Ten minutes each day with a mail pile would surely zap it.  Tackling one section of that overwhelming writing project each morning would get it under control.  Taking fifteen minutes to put clothes away and straighten up our room would keep it looking great.  Yes, that one wheelbarrow full of weeds every once in awhile would help me get started removing the weeds of my life so I could enjoy the flowers.

Today I am joining the Slice of Life Challenge hosted at Two Writing Teachers.  Stop by today's link up and join the conversation.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Slice of Life: Cucumbers Anyone?

Slowly walking toward the garden I began to assess its progress.  I hadn't been to the garden since returning from vacation.  The weeds standing tall between the plants were a sure sign I needed to fight the mosquitoes and get busy.  Everything looked like it needed a bit of care.  I wandered around to see how the plants were doing.  While the peppers and tomatoes seemed to need a bit of work, it appeared all of this rain had been perfect for cucumbers and zucchini as they were already ready to be picked.  Their vines were reaching far away from their original resting spot.

Walking over to the cucumber plants, I paused to take a look.  The plants were intertwined and quite healthy.  It wasn't long until I discovered three cucumbers more than ready to be picked.  Pulling the cucumbers I brought them into the house.  I looked at them for a minute to decide what I should do with them.  That's when I remembered my grandma used to keep cucumbers and onions in vinegar when I was a kid.  Though at that time I could do without the onions, I could eat my weight in cucumbers.  The more I thought about her cucumbers; the more I knew I just had to see if I could put together this tasty snack as my grandma had years ago.

Grabbing my iPad I searched Pinterest for a recipe.  This didn't seem to yield a recipe I thought would work so I headed over to do a quick Google search.  Finally I found a recipe that looked close: cucumber, onion, white vinegar, water, sugar and dill.  Of course, checking my cupboard I realized I only had cider vinegar.  I didn't feel like running into town to go to the store so cider vinegar would have to do.  Cutting the cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes, I placed them into the bowl.  Then combining the other ingredients I mixed them all together.  I cut the sugar considerably as I couldn't imagine Grandma adding that much sugar to her cucumbers and onions.

Placing them in the refrigerator I waited a bit to give them a taste.  Finally I opened the container to give them a try.  Delicious!  Not too far off of Grandma's recipe.

If I want more cucumbers, I guess I need to get busy and go out to tackle those weeds!

If you have a favorite recipe for cucumbers and onions, I'd love to hear about it.  

Today I am joining the Slice of Life Challenge hosted at Two Writing Teachers.  Stop by today's link up and join the conversation.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

Poetry Friday: Winding Roads

As a child I spent a week each summer with my grandparents.  My grandma kept us busy with picnics and adventure.  Today as we motorcycled the winding hills we passed one of our favorite destinations.  The memory brought today's original poem.

Driving winding roads,
through cool forests
we once walked
side by side.
Nothing much has changed;
the trees still
stand tall watching,
their long branches
hiding treasures to be discovered,
cars still line the parking lot
where people gather,
unpack picnics: 
bologna sandwiches
with homemade mayonnaise sweet,
macaroni salad,
iced bottles of Coca-Cola,
watermelon cut with care into cubes
just right for small hands.
Years have come and gone but,
the paths we walked
still call.
The laughter 
still sings in my ear.
Though it's been years
I feel you walking beside me
as I meander past
the places we once walked

Cathy L. Mere 2015 

It's Poetry Friday!  Stop by Google + ( where Kimberley Moran hosts today's parade of wondrous words.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Last week's make for the #CLMOOC took me way out of my comfort zone.  As soon as the word "game" was mentioned I felt the dread creep up much as it did when I was in high school and the words "five paragraph essay" were tossed into the air.  It's like a cement wall just stopped me right where I stood.  I don't know why games no longer bring me comfort.  As a child, I spent hours playing games with my grandparents.  There was nothing like a game of Old Maid, Aggravation, Spoons, or Rummy to bring some excitement to the day.

Now, games just make my head spin.  I get that they're important, but they seem to take time I really don't have.  On top of that, they make me think of "coding" for some reason.  Coding is another aspect of learning, I've shied away from lately.  This week the #CLMOOC asked:
"For this Make Cycle, we invite you to use game design to analyze, remediate, and reflect on complex systems."
All week I stressed over this make and had really planned to just give up.  However, I had committed to this event so I needed to stay with it.  Yesterday I wrote a post about your "CORE apps."  These are apps you know you will use often in your classroom.  It doesn't mean they're the only apps you use, but if you were helping someone get started what would be your core?  I wrote the post in hopes of hearing about the CORE apps educators were using, but blogs often have little feedback.  So - because I'm desperate to not drop the ball here....and there is something I want to know - I decided to play a little tag.

I hope you'll play along.  Let's play T-APP Tag.  I've already started the game on Twitter, but there's no reason you can't start another game.  Let's see how this will go and what I can learn from it.

The rules:
1)  When you are tagged you need to read through the other posts on the board.
2)  Find one tool/app/site you'd like to try.
3)  Add a post it.  The post it should say something like "I'd like to try _____.  A few of my core apps are:  ______, _______, ______.   Then share 3-5 core apps on the Padlet board.
4)  Then you need to tag three new people to play on your favorite social media site.  (I'm starting to play on Twitter, but I see no reason the game has to stay there.)

For six weeks I am joining the CLMOOC.  MOOCs are massive online learning communities.  This one is offered by the Educator Innovator and powered by individuals from the The National Writing Project.  It focuses on making and creating meaning through six weeks of collaborative make cycles.  There is a focus for each week, a space to link up, and then ways to connect with others who are part of the project. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Poetry Friday / CLMOOC: Ocean Remedy

Today I am going to combine two events:  Poetry Friday and CLMOOC.  This week's CLMOOC challenge is to Re(MEDIA)te something. 
"For this Make Cycle, we invite you to consider how the media we compose within (like print, sound, still and moving image, or objects) influence how we communicate and interpret.  In this Make Cycle, we will mediate and re-mediate and reflect on how the affordances of different media impact our choices, processes, and meanings."  CLMOOC
The point, as I understand it, is to consider how the different ways we choose media to present an idea can impact the understanding our audience walks away with after reading or viewing our composition.  

Today I'm going to play with this idea in four steps.  How does each shape your understanding?  Which compositions allow you, the reader, to take more liberties and bring your own understandings to the meaning displayed and which push you more toward the message I hope to convey?  Which compositions speak to you?  

Composition I:  Digital Image

Composition II:  Video 

Made on my iPhone with Magisto.  The app allows for theme and song choice which
was important in creating a mood.  You can insert video and image, but I haven't found
a way to choose the order they will appear. 

Composition III:  Poem (Poetry Friday Composition)
Made on my iPhone with Phonto.
Photo allows you to easily take an image and add text.

Composition IV:  Poetry Remix Using Haiku Deck 

Ocean Remedy - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

It's Poetry Friday!  Stop by Mainely Write  as Donna hosts today's parade of wondrous words.