Monday, April 30, 2018

Poetry Month: The Last Poem 30 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day.  


I wonder if poets
wrestle with the last poem
they place in a collection.

Do they struggle
to find the perfect
arrangement of words?

Do they lose sleep
trying to create rhythms
of sounds for readers?

Do they hope
to find the perfect end
to make readers sigh?

I wonder if poets realize
the last poem
is a new beginning.


© Cathy L. Mere, 2018




Sunday, April 29, 2018

Poetry Month: Sunday Mornings 29 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 


Sunday Mornings

Sunday mornings:

a cup of coffee,
a bit of creamer,
quiet contemplation,

early writing,
time for reading,
much relaxing,

a bit of breakfast,
a bite of toast,
brunch.

no racing,
no hurry,
no rushing,

quiet,
peaceful,
still,

Sunday mornings.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Poetry Month: Perfect Start 28 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 



Friday, April 27, 2018

Poetry Month: Cherry Blossoms 27 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

Today I tried a nonet.  Glenda, at Evolving English Teacher, shared a nonet about tulips.  I thought I'd give it a try in writing about the cherry blossoms on our weeping cherry tree.  



Thursday, April 26, 2018

Poetry Month: Awakened 26 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 




Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Poetry Month: The Reason for Silence 25 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

often i choose
quiet
the weight of words
heavy
the necessity of finding the right one
essential
the nuances which complicate meaning
unending
no one word quite right
cacophonous
no set of words encompassing
significance
often i choose
quiet

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Poetry Month: The Truth 24 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

The truth
isn't painted by word artists
twisting
reaching
creating a story
from a small nugget.

The truth
isn't found by journalists
searching
molding
discovering a crumb
trying to make it dessert.

The truth
isn't heard from politicians
declaring
proclaiming
their version of a story
tainted by money.

The truth
in today's world is often
silenced
hidden
colored by glasses
we don't know we wear.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

Poetry Month: A Day for Sunglasses 23 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 


The sun
warms the blacktop,
awakens the tulip,
radiates through windows,
reflects off glass,
shimmers on water,
shines its brilliant light,
a day for sunglasses.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Poetry Month: No Longer 22 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

sitting across the booth
talking life,
grandpa looks up from his coffee,
"there will be a time
when you feel you no longer
fit into this world."

i thought the fast pace
of technology,
automation,
information,
would someday make me feel
far behind.

i thought it would be
the forward revolution,
evolution
of our planet,
which would become too quick,
would push me aside.

i never thought it would be
the backward turning of the clock.
the step back to inequality.
the lines drawn at borders.
the words divisive.
the lack of empathy.

i look at the calendar to check,
yes, 2018.
but the words on my computer,
the voices on my television,
the rumblings of the people,
seem of long ago.

have we learned nothing
in our time on this planet?
the shocking stories of history
still a part of our todays.
the earth spins around and around,
in counterclockwise motion.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Poetry Month: Late Arrival 21 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

anticipating your stay,
i've been waiting.

watching out the window,
looking for you.

standing at the door,
hoping it won't be long.

staring down the road,
knowing it must be soon.

but you were nowhere,
i'd given up.

hanging my head,
i quit watching.

days passed.
weeks, months.

when i quit looking,
i found you.

there you were.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018




Friday, April 20, 2018

Poetry Month: It's Your Dream 20 of 30


For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

It's also Friday.  Today I'm joining the Poetry Friday community as they celebrate poetry.  Today Robyn Hood Black is hosting at Life on the Deckle Edge.  Stop by and join the celebration.  

Mary Lee is writing a golden shovel each day.  She has me a bit fascinated by the form.  Every once in awhile I decide to give it a try.  Today's golden shovel poem is written from a quote by Rick Warren.  


 try to remember
 not just the why but the how 
 of dreams that seem too far
the first step belongs to you
it may take everything you have
but your time will come

just a dream it is not 
just 
 start to figure out how 
 as the end is not so far
the first step belongs to you 
give it all you have 
your dream is too important not to
 find a way to make it go


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Poetry Month: Unwelcome Guest 19 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Poetry Month: Firmly Planted 18 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

Since reading Sakura's Cherry Blossoms, I've been in the mood to try a tanka.  I had forgotten what a challenge it was to write in this form.  I think I need some practice.  








Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Poetry Month: Earth-Sky 17 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

It's Tuesday and time for a little Slice of Life.  Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for hosting this community.  Join the conversation here

Earth-Sky

Sky reflects in the water
still sitting from days of rain:
the dark blue of sky,
the gray of approaching night,
subtle hints of orange
painted on nature's watery canvas.

The trees look at themselves
in nature's mirror,
wishing they were dressed
in leaves of green
instead of the brown
of winter unrelenting.

The clouds dance
seizing the opportunity
to own earth and sky.
A mallard swims peacefully
blending the lines
of sunset's masterpiece.

The crescent moon rises
wishing for its opportunity
to play in the water,
to waltz in its reflection,
to shine on land
while lighting up the dark night.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018






Monday, April 16, 2018

Poetry Month: Grapple with Graupel 16 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

Today's poem comes from a little conversation.

"It is April, right?" I moaned as I came into the building from outside.  "I don't even know what to call what it is doing outside.  It looks like little tiny snow pellets out there.  It isn't hail.  It isn't sleet.  It isn't snow." 

"Maybe it's brickle," my friend quipped. 

"Brickle?  What's that?" I asked.

"What it is doing outside," she chuckled.  "It's a bit like snow."

It was true.  What I had seen was a bit like snow, but it wasn't those giant beautiful flakes we've come to know.  However, it wasn't as hard as hail which seems to be much more like an ice ball.  

I had to find out what it was called.  Some back and forth with my friend this evening, and a bit of internet sleuthing, turned up graupel.  I think it describes today's precipitation perfectly.  (See below for some more fun snow info.)  

Grapple with Graupel
What do we say when
winter and spring
play tug of war and
we are left
at the mercy of
Mother Nature?

What do we call
the mix of precipitation
we experience
in the in-between?
Is it snow?
Is it ice?

When it isn't
snow or hail or ice or rain,
what do we call it?
What is the name for
a snowball falling
from the sky?

What is the name
of this small
fluffy ball of white;
bigger than a raindrop,
smaller than hail,
yet perfectly round?

What do we call
the in-between
of rain and snow?
I'll just pause
to let you
graupel with that.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018


A Few Interesting Links
How Is Sleet, Why Is Hail and WTF Is Graupel
Inuit Words for Snow (there's like a hundred!)
Merriam-Webster:  Graupel (with a word of the day recording)
Washington Post: There Really are 50 Eskimo Words for Snow 



Sunday, April 15, 2018

Poetry Month: Begin with a Step 15 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day.   

Today we're halfway there!!! 



the world will tell you 
 that you don't
have
what it takes to
do what needs to be done, that you don't see 
all that can get in the way of your dreams, the
challenge is to fight to keep the dream whole
 to not be afraid of the staircase
that seems so far from where you stand, the world is not just,
 but if you do whatever it might take 
you will find a way to make the 
 impossible, possible, but first 
 you begin with just one step

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Poetry Month: Spring Waltz 14 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 




daffodils dancing,
reaching for sunlight's bright hand.
wondrous spring waltz.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018

Friday, April 13, 2018

Poetry Month: Dear Black Pants, A Sonnet 13 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

It's also Friday.  Today I'm joining the Poetry Friday community as they celebrate poetry.  Today Robyn Hood Black is hosting at Life on the Deckle Edge.  Stop by and join the celebration.  

Today I decided to have a little fun.  Where would I be without black pants?  

Dear Black Pants

Each day into my closet I do reach,
For a pair of black pants ready to wear.
I do ignore the constant inner speech.
It's reprimand, I can no longer bear.

Black pants you do make my life a dream
With the great ease you bring to each new day.
You make each morning easy it does seem.
I love you more than blue or beige or gray.

With you black pants, any shirt I may choose.
Everything looks just fine with you, pants dear.
No matter my choice, I just cannot lose.
You make my early mornings free of fear.

But I must move past you, please do see.
Please know, dear pants, it isn't you, it's me.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Poetry Month: No Poem 12 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 


Today
there
is
no
poem
waiting.

Just
silence.

I
look
to
the
stars.

Nothing.

I
listen
for
the
words.

No
sound.

I
wait
patiently
for
the
poem.

Nothing
comes.

I
reach
for
the
keys.

No
words.

Just
a
blank
page
staring.

Maybe
tomorrow.


©  Cathy L. Mere, 2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Poetry Month: My Crusader 11 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

This month, I've been following Mary Lee Hahn's challenge to write a golden shovel poem each day from a student selected quote.  I've been so fascinated by the process.  I've never tried to write a golden shovel poem, though I have started to see them here and there since Nikki Grimes published One Last Word.  Last night, I came home from the gym prepared to write a humorous golden shovel of my continuous battle with an exercise routine, but this is where it ended.  Today's golden shovel first attempt is inspired by a quote from Glenda, the Good Witch, from the Wizard of Oz.  It's a favorite.  Thanks, Mary Lee, for the push gentle nudge to try something new.  

it's not just you
who wonders always
how you missed the chances you've had, 
but you are not one to let the
 world have power
over you, instead, you say this is my
moment to make a difference, you hold dear
to what matters most to you 
though the world is not just.
you reach beyond chances you've had
to all that can be, to
find the way forward. you learn
along the way, and it
takes time - great time - for
change, but you always begin by taking the first step yourself.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Poetry Month: City Pond 10 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

It's Tuesday and time for a little Slice of Life.  Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for hosting this community.  Join the conversation here

Yesterday as I headed home for the day, I noticed the egret was back at the city pond.  I pulled over to take a closer look, only to realize there wasn't just one egret; instead, I counted ten egrets surrounding the small pond.  As I tried to get a picture without scaring them away, I took a look around the pond at the activity all around.  The blue heron, noticing my approach, glided from where he had been resting, to the other side of the pond.  I noted the cormorant had returned to the area with a few friends.  As always, the geese were everywhere.  How does this small pond support so much activity?



One pond hosts
the white egret
poised near the shore
positioned for a catch.

A gaggle of geese
floating on rippled water
passing the time
before evening.

In its shadows,
the blue heron
tall and majestic
stands, cautiously observing.

A gulp of cormorants
misplaced,
soars and rests,
soars and rests.

Though apartments and houses
surround it,
paradise is found,
in one city pond.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

Poetry Month: Urban Paradise 9 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 


They say our ancestors
floated on ponds,
swam in rushing rivers,
nested near lakes.

Some friends
still miss that peace,
the quiet calm of waters deep,
resting in whispering grasslands.

Me, I'm happy here
in my blacktop ocean.
The warmth of the sun
radiating from asphalt fields.

No more foraging
the nearby farmlands
for golden grains
or berries plump and ripe.

I've found my paradise:
vast black landscapes,
the clamoring of crowds,
and the occasional scrap discarded.

I'll raise my family here
in the land of abundance
where opportunity surrounds
and tomorrow brings possibility.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018






Sunday, April 8, 2018

Poetry Month: Tomorrow's Treasure 8 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

This morning, I read an article Holly Meuller posted called, "Why You Should Surround Yourself With More Books Than You'll Ever Have Time To Read."  It reminded me of the post I wrote during the Slice of Life Challenge titled, "Books I Haven't Read."  I decided there surely had to be a poem here somewhere so I thought I'd give it a try.  Let's face it, we all have books we haven't read resting on our shelves and hiding on our eReaders.

Tomorrow's Treasure

Resting
on the shelf.
Peppered
between books
lucky enough
to have been
chosen.

Waiting
in the eReader.
Purchased
from recommendation,
in weakness.
Hoping to be
next.

Calling
to me
from its humble
space.
"Pick me."
"I'm your next
read."

Whispering
the answers
it holds,
the secrets
of characters,
the endless
possibility.

Tantalizing
treasure,
Priceless promise.
Purchased book, unread.
Anticipated.
Tomorrow's book
selected.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018




Saturday, April 7, 2018

Poetry Month: Snow Again 7 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 
















Checked my calendar, this early morn,
And April it did say.  
I looked outside once again.
There really was no way.

"Snow again," I cried aloud,
And shook my weary head.
White, it covered all the earth,
It should be green instead.

April showers, they do say,
As flowers start to pop.
Seems these days, snow's all we see.
It just won't even stop.

The calendar, it doesn't lie,
Yes, April is the date.
So, please, tell Mother Nature,
Spring's running much too late.

I can't imagine this can last,
It surely has to end.
Oh, Dear Spring, please take a stand.
Spring, if not now, then when?

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018

Friday, April 6, 2018

Poetry Month: The Beauty Between 6 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 

It's also Friday.  Today I'm joining the Poetry Friday community as they celebrate poetry.  Today Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is hosting at the Poetry Farm.  Stop by and join the celebration.  

Obsessed with beginnings and endings,
we celebrate new houses,
newborn babies,
new job opportunities,
new discoveries.

We lament over endings:
the final page of a book,
the close of a day,
the conclusion of a vacation,
an end to life's journey.

We find ourselves with mixed emotions
at the line between an end
and a new beginning.
Graduation. Retirement.
Leaving one home to start anew in another.

Beginnings and endings matter,
but the sweet spot
is in the middle.
The middle is where
the magic is made.

It's not yes or no,
right or wrong,
left or right,
black or white,
but the gray in between.

Middles matter:
the center of an Oreo cookie,
the inside of a Reese's cup,
the coach's words at halftime,
the dash between.

The answers you seek,
The moments to keep,
The dreams you create,
The life you make,
Happen in the middle.  

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Poetry Month: Evening Parade 5 of 30


For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day. 


Deer saunter
in open fields
stopping to drink
from temporary ponds
reflecting the orange sunset.
The trees
still too bare
to hide them,
as they meander,
step after step,
lingering,
in fields
at dusk.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Poetry Month: An eReader's Life 4 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day.  

You never know where the ideas are going to come from each day.  It was a stop by Carol's blog today that helped shape this poem.  If you haven't been to Carol's Corner, she's writing a poem each day about "a reader's life."  Yesterday she wrote a mask poem (thank you, Amy LV) about a book, "I am a Book".  It made me think of my eReader.  Where would I be without out it?  I decided I would try a mask poem as well....from the eReader's point of view.  


An eReader's Life
The books on the shelf
are jealous of me.

I go everywhere with her:
school,
coffee shops,
airport terminals.

I'm books amplifed:
fiction,
informational text,
self-improvement,
children's literature,
poetry,
even magazines.

I'm her virtual
on the go
personal library.
I don't take space
in a crowded room.
I don't need to be weeded.
Though I do
feel better organized.

I fit nicely
in any piece of luggage,
her bookbag,
her purse.
She pulls me out
to share with friends.

I can be read in the daylight
or enjoyed at night.
She can highlight my pages,
or note thoughts as she goes.
She can discover new words
in the touch of her finger.

Nothing stops me,
            until
                 my
                    power
                          fades.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018



Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Poetry Month: The Heavenly 70s 3 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day.  

Today is also the first Tuesday since the March Slice of Life Challenge.  It seems only fitting that I try a "story poem" today.  Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for hosting this community.  Join the conversation here.  

There's always so much to learn during April's poetry celebrations.  If you haven't stopped by The Poem Farm to see what Amy is up to this year, you really need to click over for a visit.  This year, Amy is writing about one subject using a different technique each day.  On day one she shared a list poem and on day two a story poem.

For Easter, I decided I wanted to make my Grandma's fruit salad.  I called my mom for the details on the recipe.  When I placed the fruit salad on the table my daughter commented, "That salad is retro 70's."  That made me laugh....I guess I'm a little retro myself.  I thought this would make a great poem.  At first, I thought it was surely a list poem....then I thought maybe it was a story poem.  Today I'm going to try it both ways.

Retro 70s
a list poem

What's retro 70s?
Grandma's heavenly fruit salad
and so much more:

late night hide and seek,
neighborhood kickball,
teeter-totters.

Saturday morning cartoons,
phones with cords,
8 track tapes.

Easy Bake Ovens,
Chrissy dolls,
Atari.

No seat belts,
bike helmets,
or sunblock.

Retro 70s.
Was there a better time
to be a kid?

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018


Grandma's Fruit Salad
              story poem 

I watch Grandma work.
She drains mandarin oranges
and a can of pineapples.
She grabs a glass,
pours the juice in for me.

Reaching into the cupboard,
she adds
miniature marshmallows
of many colors.
She gives me a handful.

Mixing her sauce,
she stirs it all around.
The oranges, pineapples, marshmallows
blend together.
She passes a spoonful to me.

Standing beside her
in her kitchen
full of love,
I take a bite and smile.
It's perfect.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018





Monday, April 2, 2018

Poetry Month: Morning Surprise 2 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day.  

Today...snow found me.  Again!!!!  I probably should have called this poem MOURNING Surprise because all of this snow has me crying.  


Morning Suprise
Yesterday the grass was green.
Today I woke to white.
The moon's light reflected snow.
It was a dreadful sight.

In January, I do love the flakes
as they flutter from the sky.
In April, when I see them fall,
I think I might just cry.

The snow rests on the branches.
It covers all the ground.
Flowers should be what I see
each time I look around.

Instead the white surrounds me,
the temperatures are cold.
They say that spring is coming,
but I'm doubting what I'm told.

It's time for birds and tulips;
much warmer weather too.
I can't believe it's not yet spring.
Yes, Snow, I'm over you.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Poetry Month: Poetry is Coming 1 of 30


For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, not to plan the writing, but instead to wait to see what poetry finds me each day.  Here we go....


Poetry is Coming
Shhhh!
I hear poetry
tiptoeing
on light feet,
hiding 
around the corner.

Shhhh!
I hear poetry
whispering
in the spring wind,
rustling
through treetops.  

Shhhh!
I hear poetry
playing
by the creek,
wading
on the water's edge.  

Shhhh! 
I hear poetry
waiting
to surprise us,
waiting
to be heard.  

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Slice of Life: Once in a Blue Moon 31 of 31

Say it isn't so?!  This is the last day.  We made it.  Every day in March I have been writing with the Slice of Life community. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.  Thank you to EVERY ONE OF YOU that have taken the time to read and comment.  

You know the saying, "Once in a blue moon....". It turns out that isn't quite as unlikely as it might seem.

Whether it was in a tweet, whether it was on the news, whether it was in something I read, I cannot say but, at some point, I remember reading that Saturday morning was our last chance to see the blue moon.

This morning as I sat on my couch and watched the sky turn from black to blue, I grabbed my cup of coffee and looked out the sliding glass door to see the full blue moon hanging from the sky.  It appeared to pause to rest on the branches in our backyard illuminating light all around.

This morning was the final opportunity to view the last blue moon.  The good news is that I was up to see it.  I had to chuckle; I feel there is always the last some-kind-of moon.  I'm sure it is a bit of good luck to have managed to view it this morning.  If, however, you missed viewing the last blue moon, all is not lost.  The next blue moon is in 2020, and on Halloween night.  That should be one worth catching for sure.

If you're like me, all of this moon talk makes you curious.  A blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month.  It isn't blue.  It isn't sad.  It doesn't look any different than a typical full moon, but two full moons in a month is a rarity.  If you're a teacher, you might pause to ponder this for a bit or start to book a vacation for Halloween 2020.  Nope, I don't think that will work in October.

There have been other "last moons" I have seen of late.  How about the super blue blood moon in January?  That was the first one since 1866.  That does make you pay attention a bit.  I tried to see that one.  It's supposed to be larger than a normal full moon and supposed to have a few red sunbeams across it.  I tried to view that one, but it didn't happen.  I either was in the wrong place at the wrong time or the sky wasn't cooperating.  No worries, though it was the first time since 1866, it appears the super blood moon will return January 31, 2037.

How about August 2017's total solar eclipse which sent people all across the United States for the best possible view?  Interestingly, it's the moon that stars in this event by blocking the sun in a game of hide-and-seek.  If you missed it, again no worries, the next one will be April 8, 2024.  Mark your calendars.

If you're really into mooning over the moon. (Okay that was bad.)  You can always celebrate by tracking down a good view of a supermoon.  This is when the moon is closest to the earth.  You could also celebrate each month if you want to consider the names given to monthly moons long ago.  I'm personally ready for the strawberry moon.

Truthfully, I really do get a bit fascinated when the weather forecasters start to crow about the next "can't miss" moon.  I don't know nearly what I need to know about the sky so it usually sends me to the internet to learn a little more.  Each "last chance" to see a moon sparks my curiosity a bit.  This handy celestial calendar might come in handy.  It looks like April 16th will bring a new moon.  I'll try not to miss it.




Friday, March 30, 2018

Slice of Life: Chasing Poetry 30 of 31

For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.

Today I continue to gear up for 30 days of poetry in April...and it's getting hard to contain my excitement.  Today I gathered my favorite poetry books for young writers and began planning the month ahead.  Today I'm getting ready for the chasing of poetry by cross-posting with the Poetry Friday Community. Heidi Mordhorst is hoping today's link up at my juicy little universe.  Click on over and chase a little poetry.  



Chasing Poetry

Chasing poetry
always proves unsuccessful.

I've tried
racing after it
day after day,
in darkness and dawn,
in the cold of winter
and the promise of spring.

I've searched
all the places it might be:
near lakes and on mountaintops,
under rocks and in trees,
in the blue of the ocean
and the star-kissed sky.

Chasing poetry
always proves unsuccessful.
Poetry comes
in the stillness.

It arrives
in the silence of the night
as the stars grow bright
in the blackening sky,
the winds whispering
through the trees.

It arrives
in the moment
an unexpected surprise
gently taps your heart,
trying to grab
your attention.

Chasing poetry
always proves unsuccessful.
You must wait
quietly.
for it
to find you.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Slice of Life: Like Her 29 of 31

For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.

Today is my mom's birthday.  I thought I'd start the celebration here.  Happy birthday, Mom.  

Growing up,
I always wanted
to be like her.

Fixer:
listener,
calmer,
realist;
able to narrow
a problem to its essence.

Learner:
reader,
problem-solver,
contemplator,
always moving
toward a distant direction.

Organizer:
maintaining order,
coordinating schedules,
getting things done,
wearing multiple hats
with the greatest of ease.

Cheerleader:
supporter,
joy finder,
advocate,
always helping others
to be their best.

Balance artist:
motherhood,
career,
life specialist,
knowing how to be
where she needed to be.

Even now,
I just want
to be like her.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018




Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Slice of Life: The Problem with Routine 28 of 31

For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.


Today wasn’t a great day at the gym.  I suppose the problem started at the end of the day as someone asked a question that made me wonder a bit myself so I had to work to learn more.  It wasn't a part of my plan for the end of the day, but I couldn't let it go.  When I finally left school, I really didn't want to go to the gym.  I could've easily justified skipping out.  However, I give myself way too much freedom to cancel my workout.  The fact that I was late wasn't going to be enough.

With a full evening still ahead, I tromped into the gym glad I made it but, wishing I was somewhere else.  The day had been long, I was tired, and there still was a lot to do before I could call the day done.  I needed to prepare two meals when I got home and put the polish back on my house when I finally got home, so I decided I'd need to modify my routine a bit.  I needed to be out of the gym by 6:30 if I stood any chance to accomplish my to-do list, and I was already late.  It made sense to make a few adjustments to the schedule.

Deciding I should concentrate on the part of the workout which seemed most important, I planned to dedicate the time to the elliptical and the treadmill.   As soon as I got on the elliptical I felt more tired than usual.  I cranked up the beat to my music, tried to distract myself with subtitles on the televisions, and worked to just focus on the speed I was working, but it wasn't going well.  I managed to finish that part of my workout without too much of a problem, but moving to the treadmill was a different story.

For me doing any part of my workout for twenty minutes keeps me from dying of boredom.  I work to improve the distance on the treadmill at the end of that twenty minutes.  My routine has been to walk three minutes and then run three minutes, walk three minutes and run three minutes, and repeat for the time.  To be done in a timely fashion, I had skipped the bicycle and gone straight to the treadmill.  I don't know if this was the change that got me, but as soon as I went into my first three minutes of running I knew it just wasn't going to work today.

I decided that for today it made sense adjust the running to two-minute intervals.  I wasn't happy with myself, but I reminded myself I almost didn't even make it to the gym.  As I continued my twenty minutes, I felt I had made the right decision to adjust my time.  For whatever reason, today the workout was exactly that:  a WORK out.

Adjusting the time was the right decision for today, but it made me think about how often I finish a workout knowing I really could have done more.  As I reflected some more, I began to think there were days that I came in and the elliptical was a breeze, the bike practically a rest, and the treadmill minutes not a problem, but I never changed this routine.  If I was willing to adjust on a hard day, shouldn't I be adjusting to do more on an easy day?  Shouldn't I be upping the challenge of the workout on the days where it was possible?  I'd become a creature of habit, forgetting about the real purpose behind my time at the gym.

As teachers, it is easy to get caught up in our routines.  These routines are essential to day-to-day practice, help students to know their part in learning, and provide opportunities for next steps in learning.  However, if we aren't careful we can get caught up in our routines and forget the urgency in learning.  We can forget to adjust when things get hard or push a little more when the learning is going well.

As weeks go by at the gym, I really should be upping my expectations of myself.  Yes, there will be days that will be hard like this one, but if I'm just going through the motions then I'm forgetting the purpose.  The same is true in my work, I want to remember to ask myself if I am pushing hard enough toward opportunities for growth.




Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Slice of Life: Dinner Out? Again? 27 of 31

For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.

Before I left, I placed the pork roast in the crockpot on low as planned.  We've been a bit bad lately about going out to eat so this week I was armed with a plan for cooking dinner every night.  It's the deciding I find frustrating.  Sunday I had taken the time to carefully plan each meal for the week, went to the grocery store to buy ingredients, and had everything ready to go.  All through the day, I smiled to myself knowing dinner was not going to be an obstacle tonight.

Midday, I get a group text from my son who is on spring break, "I see there is a roast in the crockpot are we taking that out to dinner with us tonight."

"I won't fall," I coach myself.  My daughter and husband both laugh at the text.

"Noone has to talk me into going out," I quipped in response.

"It is Monday," my son added.

In the last few weeks, we've gone out nearly every Monday.  It's a terrible habit, but by the time we all arrive home from teaching, coaching, and meetings, it always seems the easy way out.  I'd carefully planned my menu for the week on Sunday.  I had meals planned every day except Thursday.  Since we were all off on Friday, Thursday seemed a good day to go out.  All day I reminded myself dinner was in the crockpot ready for us.  All day I reminded myself of my vow to fix dinner each night.

It was nearly six o'clock when I arrived home from the first day back from my spring break.  It had been a good day, but a very busy one.  The week after a break always seems the busiest.  Walking into the kitchen, I lifted the lid on the crockpot, shredded the pork for sandwiches, and gave it a taste.  Delicious!  About that time, my son walked downstairs, "Ready to go out?", he inquired with a grin in his voice.  Twenty-somethings are pot-stirrers.

My husband, resting in his chair, looks up to see where this will go.  I know he doesn't care either way.  He's also on spring break and is kind of a go with the flow guy.

I look at the roast in the crockpot and know I haven't figured out what sides I will fix.  My mind races to determine the sides.  French fries in the air fryer will be a bit of work.  Rice doesn't sound quite right.  We had potatoes yesterday.  No one will fall for a pasta salad.  The decisions seem too much for 6:00 at night so I fall again.  "I can just shred this for tomorrow," I reply.  I grab a container and put the pork in the refrigerator.

Dinner out again.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Slice of Life: Spring Promise 26 of 31

For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.

It's almost April so I'm finding myself in the mood for poetry.  Honestly, I love poetry always, but it seems in April I don't have to search for poetry, it finds me.  Today in our coaches' meeting I thought I'd share a bit of poetry love with everyone.  We began the meeting by looking at Eileen Spinelli's Poem of the Month for December 2017.  As we discussed poems as mentor texts, I challenged the group to use this mentor to consider a poem about spring.  It seemed fitting since we were just returning from a "spring" break that felt more like winter.  Here's to hoping spring - and poetry - surround us soon.

Here's my attempt.  Thanks for the inspiration, Eileen.  (I didn't quite get that amazing ending she found.)


Spring Promise
So many signs of promise:
the wind pushing
the cold away,
the robin perched watching,
the green speckled fields,
the clear blue 
of sky calling.
Darkness waning,
daylight swelling,
the hope of each day
renewed.
Warmth surrounding,
color sprouting,
life abounding.
As we each rejoice
in a new beginning.


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Slice of Life: A New Do for You 25 of 31

For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.

This morning, I put a blanket over my backseat and loaded our dog, Trudy, into the car.  She wagged her tail excitedly.  You'd think by now she'd know that if I am putting her in my car, she's off to the vet.  Either she loves the vet, or she still thinks we are headed off on some amazing adventure.  Today is no adventure, today it's time for a spring haircut and a shot update.

Trudy is a Tibetan Terrier with wild hair.  This is how we know she has always been meant to be part of our family; it's the hair.  She fits right in around here as there isn't a person in this house that doesn't have some wild hair.  In the warmer months, we keep Trudy's fur very short, but in the winter we let it grow out to keep her warm.  As the cold months drag on, she begins to look like she's gained massive amounts of weight as her fur curls and points in every direction.  Brushing her doesn't change anything.  (Another sign she fits right into this family.)  By the end of winter, she more than needs a haircut.

Dropping Trudy off, the groomer comes over to check her out.  She laughs, "We're going to have to shave her all the way down."  She assesses her thick fur, her face, her tail.

"We like to let her fur grow across the winter.  Maybe it's not the best idea, but it does make for great before and after pictures," I quip.

"She'll be great," the groomer adds seeming to notice Trudy's calm ways.  Everyone who works with Trudy comments on her pleasant disposition.

Hours pass and eventually the groomer calls to let us know Trudy is ready.  Upon arrival, Trudy is excited to get back in the car, but she doesn't seem a bit excited about her new look.  She seems a bit uncomfortable in her new skin and, believe me, new skin is exactly the right phrase as she is shaved nearly down to it.  She looks like she lost twenty pounds.  The groomer has even taken the fur on her face and ears all the way down.  Trudy won't hardly maintain eye contact with us.  Having lost her warm winter blanket on another cold day, she seems to be having a hard time adjusting to the cold.  At least this groomer hasn't added insult to injury by trying to add some pretty bows.  Trudy never likes that.

When Trudy arrives back home, she immediately goes to the living room, curls up, and looks at us disapprovingly.  This is our routine every spring.  It will likely be a few days before she is happy about this new haircut.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Slice of Life: Today They March 24 of 31


For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.

When we started drills for active shooters, I really don't know. In my mind, it seems we've been doing them for quite some time. It was always hard to sit with six-year-olds, knowing the reason we were practicing, and trying to tell them something that would calm their fears. They worried about fire drills and tornado drills, but it always struck me how wrong it was they had to worry about this.  As a child, I remember how I worried about tornado drills, but these students sitting silently around me were dealing with so much more.

The year of Sandy Hook had to be the hardest. We had a drill shortly after the shooting, and I still remember looking into the sweet faces of my students who were, at the time, the exact same age as the children I'd seen on the television screen: victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. I remember calming the anxiety of the children who worry in any drill, looking at them knowing I would do anything to keep them safe, and trying to keep my calm teacher face while thinking that my students were the same age as those who so tragically had just lost their lives.

Since then, as a teacher, I’ve been through more intensive trainings for defense, flight, and even triage. It breaks my heart every. single. time. No six year old - or sixteen year old - should have to wonder if they are safe in schools. The answers are surely complex, but I know we could move toward some common sense first steps. I don't believe those are more guns, metal detectors, or armed guards.  Those children that sat with me that day, are now in sixth grade, I believe. I only hope they, along with children and families everywhere, never have to walk the path that these families, who know tragedy far too well, are now walking.

They’re all our kids.


Today They March
Today they march
   For commonsense laws,
   For change,
   For their lives.

Today they march
   To do what adults could not:
   End the tragedy,
   Stop the violence.

Today they march:
   To raise their voice,
   To change their future,
   To save lives.

No more hiding in corners.
   No more practicing for the unacceptable.
   No more loss of life.
   No more!

Today they march.
    Young warriors of words.
    Shouting.
    Making a difference.

Today they march
   For their friends
   No longer able
   To raise their voices.

Today they march
    For commonsense laws
    For change
    For their lives.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018




Friday, March 23, 2018

Slice of Life: Robin Knows 23 of 31


For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.

Today I continue to gear up for 30 days of poetry in April. I'm cross-posting with the Poetry Friday Community. Laura Purdie Salas is hosting the gathering today at Writing the World for Kids.


Robin
perches on the branch
singing
her song.
The ground below
a mix:
winter white,
brown,
emerging green.

The air
around
still chilled.
The sun
fights
to rise above.
The sky
bluest of blues,
beginning
to show
promise.

Robin
knowingly
watches
from her branch.
Looking for
signs.
Waiting for
spring.


© Cathy L. Mere, 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Slice of Life: Spring Break Snow 22 of 31

For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.


Bzzzzz.  Bzzzzz.  Bzzzzz.

My husband's phone vibrates waking me from sleep.  Reaching up toward my watch that is charging, I touch the side to display the time.  It's 5:22 in the morning and his phone is ringing.  That can only mean one thing:  snow day.

Bzzzzz.  
Bzzzzz.
Closed.
For today.
Snow. 
Hazardous
Road conditions.

Nothing about that is unusual, snow days are pretty common in our rural area, except that it is March and it is my spring break.  Oh, the irony.

First day of spring,
Covered in white.
Temperatures dive.
Flakes fall.  
Ground covered.
White winter wonderland
Surrounds.

I try to go back to sleep, but I'm awake.  I creep into the living room and turn on the news.  The school closing list continues to grow and the forecast is for more snow.  It looks like we'll be getting 2-4 inches of snow before it is over.

Spring break
Snow?!


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Slice of Life: Queen of the Games 21 of 31

For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.


Gathered around the table, Grandma starts to laugh.  She has one of those laughs that makes everyone start to chuckle even if they have no idea what's so funny.  It isn't long until her laugh turns to a snort as she finishes shuffling her cards around in her hand and reachers them toward my cousin.  My cousin looks quizically at the cards, trying to find the best one to choose.  She starts to reach toward one side and weighs my grandma's reaction, reaches toward the other side and weighs Grandma's reaction, and then chooses a card toward the middle.  Grandma rolls her eyes and continues to snicker.

This was Old Maid with Grandma.  We played every time we went to visit, spending hours gathered around the kitchen table sliding the Old Lady from one person to another.  Grandma enjoyed playing games.  As kids, we spent two weeks with Grandma each year, one during the summer and the other at Christmas.  Every time we stayed, we spent countless hours playing games and laughing.  We played Aggravation, Parcheesi, Spoons, Kings on the Corner, Boggle, Scrabble, Crazy Eights, Thirty-One, Twenty-One and, of course, Old Maid.

Days had an enjoyable predictable routine at Grandma's.  You'd wake just after the sun for breakfast at 7 a.m., lunch at 11:30, and dinner at 5:00.  In the summer, every day had some kind of adventure.  We'd walk through parks, visit lakes, and climb hills.  Every day Grandma would fill her picnic basket with lunch surprises and into the car we would pile.   When we arrived home it was dinner and then games.  The days were filled with love as Grandma worked her magic.

Today is Grandma's birthday.  It's been awhile since we gathered around the table for games and laughter, but I think of her often and smile at the wonderful gift she was to me.  I can still hear her laugh.  There are a million memories she tucked in my heart, but one of my favorites is my grandma, queen of the games.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Slice of Life: Still Spunky 20 of 31

For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.


It's early morning and I creep around the house trying not to wake anyone.  Trudy, our dog, is up moving around and notices my entrance into the foyer.  Excitedly she begins to jump like she's a puppy again.  She's a Tibetan Terrier mix and rather average sized, but as she jumps her hind legs nearly reach my knees.  I have to laugh.  Some days it's all she can do to get up to go outside, but this morning she's raring to go.  As I open to the garage, Trudy races around me nearly knocking me off my feet.  She's moving faster than she can handle and slides on the smooth concrete as she descends the steps into the garage.

Trudy was my father-in-law's dog.  We've had her for probably close to six years now.  Everyone asks how old she is, and we aren't really sure.  My father-in-law got her at a shelter.   Before my father-in-law got Trudy she had just recovered from a hip surgery that was a result of previous abuse.  She was lucky the shelter had worked so hard to get her back on her feet and find the perfect owner for her.  My father-in-law was certainly that.  It's hard to know how old she was when he got her, but we'd guess somewhere between 3 and 5 years old.  He had her for at least six years before we got her.  Our best guess is she is around fourteen years old, but that's likely a young estimate.

She certainly doesn't have the energy she once had.  My father-in-law lived in a small space.  I remember he'd bring Trudy inside and she'd run around their space like she was a horse at the races.  She'd run circles around the perimeter of their living room until she had to be dizzy.  Whenever he'd return from being gone, she'd hunch down on her front paws and then jump excitedly over and over.  She'd race around and around to let him know how happy she was to see him.  Of course, most often she was by his side.  She loved to ride in his truck and accompany him everywhere he went.

There are still moments where she comes into the house like she's her old self --- or should I say, young self.  She'll sprint into the house, circle all the rooms and then finish by racing around our coffee table in the living room.  She'll do this over and over and over again.  It's times like these, we just all sit and laugh at her antics.

While we still see these bursts of energy from her that make us laugh, she's also showing a lot of signs of getting older.  Most of the time she moves at a slow pace.  Getting up on all four of her feet can take her a bit of time.  We've placed more rugs on our hardwood floor so she can move around with greater ease.

She's most definitely the smartest dog we've ever had.  She can out-maneuver us like nobody's business.  We live in the country so we used to take her outside with us while we were working in the yard.  We didn't keep her on a leash when she was out on our property, but she quickly learned to notice when we weren't paying attention.  She'd sneak to the back of our property, ease around a line of evergreens, and then she'd be off running.  She plays every family member to get outside even if she was just out.  When my mom comes to visit, look out.  She has my mom's number and manages to charm treats and food from her all day long.

Trudy certainly shows signs of her age.  In addition to her challenges getting up on her feet, she can't hear us call her and her vision has become another challenge she battles.  Though she's getting older, she still manages a bit of jumping, some racing about, and the ocassional mad dash.  These bursts of youth make me laugh.  Trudy certainly adds a little energy to this house.



Monday, March 19, 2018

Slice of Life: Slow Mornings 19 of 31

For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.


No alarm.
No rushing.
No schedule.

A cup of coffee.
A book.
A computer.

Refrigerator rumbles,
Fish tank trickles,
Silence surrounds.

Sky shifts,
Morning dawns,
Birds awaken.

A little reading.
A bit of writing.
A lot of slowing.

No racing.
No hurrying.
No leaving.

The gift of
Slow mornings.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018






Sunday, March 18, 2018

Slice of Life: Books I Haven't Read 18 of 31

For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.


It's spring break!!!  I had big plans to go to Arizona, but those didn't work out as I had hoped so I'll be sitting at home all week in the gray cold of March in Ohio.  I'd like to say I will get my closet cleaned or finally empty that junk drawer in the kitchen or maybe match that bag of socks (or throw them out), but I'll do none of those things.  I'm looking forward to slow mornings, a little writing, and catching up on books I haven't read.  I'm not just talking about books in the world I haven't read; I'm talking about books I OWN and haven't read.

We're all friends here.  It's time to gather round and share the true confessions of our lives.  I'm sure I am not the only one who owns books they haven't read yet.  Yep, my shelves have a few titles peppered in that still need my attention.  There are books I've received as gifts, books shared by friends, and books I may have purchased impulsively as I wandered a bookstore here or there.  I might have a few professional books still calling my name, a few deals and steals I couldn't resist, and some fiction titles that went to the beach, but didn't make it out of the bag.

I honestly don't know how it happens, I buy a book ready to read it and then another book pushes its way into my life.  I've gotten to the point when a friend mentions a title which seems a little too familiar, I open my Kindle app to see if it may have been a book I purchased but then didn't get to read.  I'm thinking in addition to offering new titles to me, my Kindle should start to pop books up to the front that might need a little more of time.

If you're like me, and I know many of you are, you have some books in your world you've owned but, still, haven't read.  I know I need to break this cycle so I'm starting to recognize the warning signs, maybe this will help you too.

If you have a stack of books you own but haven't read, you might want to beware of:

  1. Book Friends:  You know the ones.  These are the friends that you have loved every book they have ever recommended.  When you are with them, you begin by adding their titles to Goodreads, but before you know it you have moved to Amazon™ and are pressing the 1-Click purchase button.
  2. Bookstores:  What is it about the "you can buy it now" thing that gets me every. single. time.  Yes, those bookstore walks are dangerous with their beautiful covers facing out calling your name as you walk by.  The shelves sprinkled with your favorite authors, genres, and enticing new possibilities will get you every time.
  3. Amazon™:  Yes, I'm a digital reader, and Amazon™ owns me.  You know what I mean, book friends.  You click over to Amazon™ to purchase a quick birthday gift for a friend and there you find books popping up on the screen calling to you.  Amazon™ knows you so well that they are careful to find just the book you might need next and at the perfect price.  
  4. Twitter:  Yes, just like a candy addict shouldn't walk into a candy store, readers with the problem of owning too many books, should beware.  Twitter is full of readers who love to gush about the latest must-reads.  It's easy to ignore a title the first time, but subliminally as it comes back over and over, your drawn into the spell.  Before you know it,  you are off clicking to purchase that book.  
  5. Book Lists:  Be wary of book lists.  You know you've stopped by the top ten lists of books to make your heart stop, books to make you laugh, books you must read before summer begins.  You know you've clicked into the New York Times™ Best Sellers, New Releases, or Top Amazon™ Reads.   You also know it's rare to get out of those lists without a purchase.  So, reader, beware of the book list.  
It's spring break.  I'm going to try to get a few of these books I own, but haven't read, moved from the "to-be-read" stack to the "read" category.  I'm hoping to finally finish The Bookshop on the Corner:  A Novel recommended by a dangerous book friend probably two years ago, waiting to be read.  I'm in writing mode right now, so I'm also hoping to read Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers purchased upon its release and waiting patiently in Notability for me to stop by.  I also plan to continue to read On Writing Well, a book given as a gift two years ago, as this challenge continues.

This spring break I'm going to tackle the books I own, but haven't read, stack.  Of course, the real challenge will be spending a week at home without falling into a trap that pushes me to purchase another book.  I know they will be lurking everywhere in the days to come....so wish me luck.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Slice of Life: Boxed Rice for Lunch 17 of 31

For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.

The group returned from lunch to complete our work together.  Teachers, some with half-eaten lunch in hand, found a seat at their tables and arranged their spaces for the afternoon.  I walked around the room chatting with the group as they settled.  Walking over to a table I overheard, "My energy is fading.  My stomach knows it is lunchtime."

"You didn't eat?" I inquired as we were just returning from an hour lunch break, a rare gift in the teaching profession.


"I had to run over to school for a bit," the teacher confessed, "and didn't have time to grab some lunch."

We still had over three good hours of work left, and I wanted to help.  "There are some vending machines in the back of the building if the chocolate on your table isn't going to cut it," I quipped.

Then I remembered I had a microwave bowl of packaged dried rice with me.  "I also have some rice if you'd like to eat it.  It's dried rice prepackaged in a bowl for the microwave.  It's cheese flavored," I added trying to entice her.

The group around her started to laugh.  "You really have boxed rice with you right now?" they questioned.

"Almost always," I replied.  "I never know where I'm going to be, and often can't carry a cold lunch with me all day without a lot of extra work so I carry boxed rice.  It's quick and I can almost always find a microwave."

I couldn't sell her on the rice, but it did make me chuckle about the lunches I eat these days.  I spend most of my day traveling from school to school in our district meeting with teachers and literacy coaches.  My days stay pretty packed so finding time to eat lunch can be a challenge.

Having been a teacher all of my life, lunch isn't really high priority on my list.  I'm used to hardly having time to eat because of needing time to prepare a lesson, arrange materials, clean something up, meet with a colleague or answer emails.  It's teacher life.  We've all packed a peanut butter sandwich so we can eat as we set up a lesson.  We've all eaten a salad running around our classroom.  Cheese and crackers, carrot sticks, or granola bars work too.

Now as I travel from building to building on a pretty packed schedule, I've come to rely on three foods:  almonds, Clif™bars, and a little microwaveable rice.  I'm living for sure.




Poetry Month: The Last Poem 30 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, n...