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Showing posts from March, 2013

Beginnings: Slice of Life 31 of 31

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This post is part of   Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013   31 of 31 It is hard to believe that we've been writing for 31 days.  We made it!  Today is the final day for the Slice of Life March Challenge .  I've been amazed that so many people have participated.  I've enjoyed stopping by blog after blog and reading the small stories in people's lives.  I've realized that the small stories are really the big stories.  Life is full of small moments that are quite significant.  The threads of this challenge weave together to form a quilt of story. Life is full of endings, but it seems endings are quite often new beginnings.  As I sat in church this morning listening to the Easter story I was once again reminded of how endings are often new beginnings.  Jesus died on the cross and most thought that was the end of the story, but then on third day when he rose from the dead there was a new beginning.  When

On the Road Again. Slice 30 of 31

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This post is part of   Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013   30 of 31 All of my music fits in my hand.  Who would've guessed?  That little device kept me singing from South Carolina to Ohio. La la la. #25wordstory Many of you asked about the songs on my iPod.  It is an eclectic collection spanning many of the musical phases of my life....and the music my kids have sent my way.  I like to listen to a wide range of music. Today I traveled home from South Carolina.  I'm not the best at sitting still so driving these long distances can be a bit of a challenge.  My iPod kept me singing for miles and miles.  The musical Rent kicked off the trip. When I entered the country music highway I switched to genre:  country.  Garth, the Dixie Chicks, SheDaisy, Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney were among the most played.  Of course, you have to sing to a little Loretta as you travel through Kentucky.  Then I switched to my &q

Our Gamin' Grammy: Slice of Life 29 of 31

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This post is part of   Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013   29 of 31 Today is Poetry Friday.  Mary Lee is hosting at A Year of Reading .  Stop by to enjoy the poems.  Two days until National Poetry Month begins!!!   Today is my mom's birthday.   I'm lucky to have one of those amazing moms who is always there when you need her.  I should be writing a sweet sappy poem for her birthday, but instead I'm listening to her and my daughter play a game of hand and foot.  So I decided to write this fun "rhyme-y" poem instead.  Happy birthday, Mom. Our Gamin' Grammy She's getting the cards, when you walk in the door. She's ready to play, when your feet hit her floor. She'll deal the cards, make sure everyone's in. If you don't join the fun, is a really big sin. She shouts if she loses, and will dance if she wins. Her game manners need work, I'm not sure where

Have You Wondered? Slice of Life 28 of 31

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This post is part of   Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013   28 of 31 Recently I read this post, A Pocketful of Questions , at Box of Chocolate 's blog (isn't that a great name!) written in a question format.  I thought it was interesting so I added it to my mentor text board on Pinterest .  I decided today to give it a try.  Thanks, Stephanie.   As I travel I often ask myself, why do I live in a place where the land is flat?  Why do I only see sky when I look across our horizon?  Why do I spend my summers looking at corn and beans lined neatly in the fields?  Why do I wake to the sounds of coyote roaming the night?  Why do I spend June evenings looking from our patio out into the prairie-like land watching for the hummingbird and hoping for a heron?  Why do I sit by our french doors with a warm cup of coffee and stare endlessly at the white snow blanketing the grass long since asleep during the endless months

The Road Winds: Slice of Life Challenge 27 of 31

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This post is part of   Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013   27 of 31 The Road Winds The road winds      over the river,             bridging communities,                     where coal trucks wait           to deliver black rock to warm our homes,      down the country music highway,           through small towns                once sustained by mining. The road weaves      through the mountains,           where snow cloaks the ground,                where earth meets sky,           as white clouds rest atop,      making it hard to determine where they begin and end,      where jagged rocks           stand strong. The road meanders      past market stands           now closed for winter,                beside rushing streams           where clear water       rolls over rocks, toward fresh grass      finally a subtle shade of green,           where the rhododendron            

Forest Has a Song & So Does Amy LV: Slice 26 of 31

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Today I'm sending happy thoughts to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater  ( @amylvpoemfarm ) as her new book, Forest Has a Song:  Poems is released!  Today is the day it steps out into the world!  I have ordered my copy and can't wait for it to arrive. If you haven't visited Amy's blog, The Poem Farm , you'll want to stop by.  The first time I came across Amy's blog was when she was writing a poem a day for a year.  Yes, for 365 days she wrote poems.  At the time I was trying to post a picture each day and couldn't keep up with that.  I had no idea how she came up with a poem every day, but she did.  I was in awe of her perseverance --- and in awe of her poetry. I've continued to follow Amy's poetry on her blog.  At The Poem Farm , Amy not only shares her poetry, but often the thinking behind her poems.  She often adds photographs and audio recordings of her poetry as well.  As a teacher, I find there are so many resources available on her site.  One of my

Bears, Oh My! Slice of Life Challenge 25 of 31

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This post is part of   Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013   25 of 31 It's Memory Monday so here's a little story about our trip out west. It's spring break and I'm sitting on my couch looking at a backyard blanketed in snow.  At least it's a pretty snow with white fluffy flakes piled in layers on the trees and covering the still brown ground.  All of this snow is making me want to take vacation someplace warm.  We've been fortunate to take some great vacations with our kids, but the best was the year we traveled out west.   It was hot July when we packed our van with our three kids and all we would need for several weeks of travel.  The sun sizzled as we put the final items into the van and closed the doors.  We were traveling from Ohio to Washington state, then through Oregon, down to California, over to Arizona, and home.  To cut down on the cost we planned to rotate between camping and

Me in Numbers: Slice of Life 24 of 31

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This post is part of   Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013   24 of 31   Thanks, Carol , for this " me by the numbers idea ."  It saved me tonight as my other slices "I tried on" (thanks, Christy) weren't working out.   Me in Numbers 2 the number of brothers I have 3 the number of children I have 531 the address of the house I grew up in 3 the number of houses I've lived in  4 the number of school buildings I've taught in  24 the number of students in my class this year 7 the number of educators in our family 33 the number of states I have visited (I think) 4 the number of countries I've visited 11 the number of countries I'd like to visit  3 the number of cups of coffee I drink in the morning 13 the number of live musicals I've seen  3,578 songs on my iPod 10 teams still survive on my March Madness bracket (soon to be 12) 2013 the year o

American Idiot: Slice 23 of 31

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This post is part of   Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013   23 of 31   Greenday's American Idiot musical was playing last night at the Palace Theater in Columbus.  At the last minute we decided to purchase two tickets to see it.  We did something we don't normally do, we purchased seats on the floor.  We were midway back in the theater which seats about 2,500.  It was a new experience to actually be able to see the facial expressions of the actors in the show. The story is about three friends who part ways to pursue their dreams, but life doesn't always turn out as we plan.  Each struggles with his own obstacles along the way. The three stories weave together simply and the play seems more about the music than the story.  Most songs featured in the performance are from Green Day's American Idiot album.  If you like the music of Green Day, you'll enjoy the way the songs are put together to tell

One Wish: Slice of Life 22 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013   22 of 31 Poetry Friday hosted by Greg Pincus at Gotta Book .   Stop by! One Wish One star shoots across the night sky. It's bright light a contrast to the darkness that surrounds it. Below I watch it race across the sky, drawing a line on the ebony canvas. I make a wish. One I have been saving for this very moment. But can one star, dancing in the darkness, grant the wishes of the many below who stand watching it's final flare across the night sky? © Cathy L. Mere

Extremely Short Stories: Slice of Life 21 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013   21 of 31 If you're on Twitter, you may have noticed Kevin, @dogtrax , share his 25 word stories ( #25wordstory ).  I find these stories fascinating.  They provide just enough information to give you a taste of the story, and leave you with much to wonder.  I thought I'd give a few a try. Yesterdays I walk into the kitchen in my new white Keds now brown from the creek, I look away.  She glances at my shoes --- then laughs. We walk into our new home.  The foyer takes my breath away.  As I wander from room to room I can't believe we'll live here. Driving onto campus a wave of freedom rises within me.  Turning the corner, large buildings surround me.  For the first time, I'm on my own. For years she took care of our children while we were at school.  She fed them, played with them, and loved them.  A true blessing! She sits down behind the wheel; hardly belie

Spring, Where Are You? Slice of Life 20 of 31

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Spring, Where Are You? The calendar says  today is the day  you arrive. Yet, when I step outside a cold wind blows. The grass is brown  and the sky is the same gray it has been  for months. But the calendar says you should be here. I've seen you peeking about, in the green leaves  of the tulip  waking from its  winter sleep, in the buds waiting on the tips of the dogwood's long fingers, in the purple blooms of the crocus daring to be among the early arrivals. The calendar tells me it is time for winter to say goodbye and for you, dear Spring, to make your entrance. © Cathy L. Mere Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013   20 of 31

Mere Madness: Slice of Life 19 of 31

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When the calendar turns to March some people think of warmer temperatures.  Some smile at the thought of spring's arrival.  Some ready their kites for the March winds.  At our house none of these things are the topic of conversation because at our house the only gust of excitement is March Madness.     In March we talk basketball, basketball, basketball.  My husband and son have been talking about it for weeks.  I knew things had gotten out of control when our oldest daughter, Cortney, called last night for bracket advice.  What has happened to our family? Now it's important to know I hardly watch basketball.  Yes, I sit in the living room during games and sometimes - only sometimes - I can tell you who is playing.  I'm likely to notice all the crazy gear fans are wearing.  I'm likely to notice the coach yell at the referee.  I'm likely to notice a player trash talking another player, but the actual game I'm usually oblivious to.  This evening I head

Remember Dial-Up? Slice of Life 18 of 31

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It's day five without internet so I am having to compose my post from my phone.  Unfortunately, we live too far from town for real internet.  As the Time Warner rep joked, "The hunting must be good where you live." Ouch!  We're left to rely on a Verizon Mifi which, though it is the best thing we've had, is slow and inconsistent.  We constantly are kicked off, have to wait, or need to reload pages (yes, that uses data).   Additionally, with four people using the allotted GBs, we run out often.  I was feeling sorry for myself for having to write this post from my phone as I don't have time this evening to run out for internet, but then I remembered DIAL-UP.  Oh, dial-up.  Remember the beep beep beep as it connected.  The torturous wait time to load a page.  The enormous amount of time required to download a picture. Since it is "Memory Monday" for me, I thought I'd share a few things I am glad we have updated. 1.  The rotary phone with a cor

Everyone's a Cinderella: Slice of Life 17 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013   17 of 31 Today I woke my daughter up early so we could go into the city to look for a prom dress.  Though prom is nearly six weeks away, she assures me she is running out of time to get a dress.  It wasn't long until we were in the car and our way.  I was looking forward to the fun of dress shopping, but I'd be telling a lie if I said I was hoping to go to a lot of different stores.  I was hoping for early success. As we enter the first shop, dresses fill the racks inside.  There are prom dresses, dinner dresses, party dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and dresses for the bride neatly organized from the front to the back of the store.  There are amethyst dresses, teal dresses, coral dresses, plain dresses, beaded dresses, short dresses, long dresses, ball gowns and dresses of all shapes and sizes.  Salespeople hustle about as the crowds of shoppers enter and begin to fill their

The Challenge: Slice of Life 16 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013   16 of 31 As we cross the halfway point of the challenge I find myself considering how my purpose in this challenge has evolved. Last year I joined the Slice of Life Challenge to get into the habit of writing.  Surely after 31 days of making myself produce writing I'd have a writing habit.  I jumped into the event with some apprehension.  Would I be able to write every day?  Would I be able to produce pieces I was willing to throw out into the world with such a short period of time to work on them?  Would I have anything to say? Yes, there were days when I felt the pull of panic begin to run through my body as I struggled to find something to write about, but I learned a few tricks for getting something down.  In a pinch I could write a list, collect some ideas, or dig back into time to find a story.  There were some days where it was hard to push the publish button, but I ke

The Quilt: Slice of Life Challenge 15 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013  15 of 31 Also joining the Poetry Friday round-up at Check It Out .  Stop by to read the beautiful biographical poem about Martin Luther King and much more.   Today is my sister-in-law, Lisa's birthday.  She's the quilter in the family so I wrote this for her.  Stop by her blog, Shreds of My Mind , to see some of her work .  Happy birthday, Lisa. The Quilt The quilter Patiently Stitches. Joining fabric, Shaping The story. Each piece Unique. Assorted colors. Diverse patterns. Together More beautiful. Each scrap Collected from A smaller story. Marks a memory. Stronger when Stitched together. Alone They would be lost, But with the deliberate hand Of the quilter, They warm The world. © Cathy L. Mere

You Can't Lose: Slice of Life 14 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013  15 of 31 It seems games have changed since I was a child.  When I was a kid there was always a loser.  You didn't want to be the one tagged.  You didn't want to be the last one with a card.  You didn't want to be the one who had the least amount of points in a game.  Apparently things have changed.  Sunday my five year old niece came to spend some time with me.  We went for a walk, played a few games, and had a few laughs. When she taught me how to play Mr. Wolf, I learned that you ask Mr. Wolf what time is dinner.  He tells you and you take that many steps toward him.  Then, at some point, he yells, "Dinner time." Players then have to run and try to not get tagged.  E and I were playing and chasing and having fun when I joked, "I hope I don't get tagged." E paused, turned to look at me, and said, "Aunt Cathy, it's fun to get tagged."

Happy 70th Birthday, Dad: Slice of Life 13 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013  13 of 31 I know Dad will be thrilled to see his 80s look. Today is my dad's 70th birthday. To celebrate  I created a little Smilebox for him.  Happy birthday, Dad! This free picture slideshow personalized with Smilebox

Crazy Days: Slice of Life 12 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013  12 of 31 Today was one of those crazy days at school.  You know the kind; the ones where you laugh to yourself about being held accountable for learning when so many other things go on in a day.  Today we had a fire drill, a lockdown drill, and a musical assembly.  Now that does seem like a lot of interruption, but on the bright side it is all in one day.....and, of course, the musical was terrific.  Our fifth graders are so talented. For me, days with our schedule out of whack are hard.  Our routine has a lot to do with the climate in our classroom, the work that will get accomplished, and the general management.  Thankfully, this year my group of students is very flexible.  They handle change of routine very well, and despite the interruptions we got quite a bit of learning accomplished.  Yes, my class rocks! On days like these I sometimes pause to think of the little things that

Banana Splits: Slice of Life 11 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013  11 of 31 Memory Monday   It's funny how sometimes someone will say something and you'll suddenly remember something you had nearly forgotten.  This was the case the other day when my sister-in-law started to talk about bananas and chocolate.  As soon as she mentioned it I was reminded of the frozen bananas we used to get at the Dairy Queen. You see, one of my mom's favorite treats was ice-cream.  I'm not sure if she loved it as much as she loved the memory of her grandfather taking her out for ice-cream, but either way I won.  Every once in awhile my mom would look at me and say, "Let's go get some ice-cream."  I, for one, didn't have to think twice.  We'd jump in our car, drive out of our small town, and into the next one. The next town had a Dairy Queen full of many sweet delights.  Here you could get frozen bananas, dilly bars, milkshakes a

Morning Songs: Slice of Life 10 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013  10 of 31 Morning Songs The birds flit from tree to tree singing songs of spring, a chorus of joy filling the crisp morning air, bob white  cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep le le leeeeeee. The bluejays play chase, their feathers a bright contrast to the brown of the grass the trees the fields. The robin soars from maple to oak, glad it is finally warm and that cold days will soon be behind us, its orange breast easily visible in the leafless trees. The red-winged blackbirds gather in a large patch of water calling to them from the sky, the temporary pond left from the snow that had blanketed the earth just days ago. The mallard and his mate seem to be fooled by this temporary home they have all to themselves, with its patches of tall grass still brittle from the cold days of winter. I sit on my patio for the first time in months, h

What's Luck? Slice of Life Challenge 9 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013  9 of 31 What's luck?  I've never considered myself lucky.  Yes, I'm blessed with a life for which I'm truly thankful.  Yes, there are many ways I've been fortunate to have good things happen, but I wouldn't consider any of that luck. My grandma was lucky.  When I was a kid I used to go to Bingo with her on Monday nights.  I couldn't play, but I was allowed to hang out with her.  Grandma would buy me a pop - not just any pop - a coca-cola in a small glass bottle.  I'd keep her company while she stamped away on her Bingo card.  She seemed to always win.  I heard her yell Bingo on many a night. My brother seems to have her luck gene.  He stumbles into the craziest lucky situations.  If he were to walk into a casino, he'd likely walk out a winner.  I've tried a few lottery cards, but usually don't win --- unless my brother buys the cards for

The Writer: Slice of Life 8 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013  8 of 31 Poetry Friday is hosted by Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe .  Stop by to follow links to more poetry.   The Writer The writer remembers people who shaped her life moments from long ago lessons learned along the way. The writer collects artifacts of her world leaving a trail to help her to find meaning. The writer listens capturing  snippets of conversation at a nearby table the gentle sound of the night the bird chorus at sunrise. The writer watches studying the moon resting on the tree's long arms the heron waiting to pounce the rain bouncing off pavement. The writer reads noting lines that take her breath away words that jump from the page phrases of language.  The writer takes in the world all the stories all the sounds all the words and breathes new life in the ordinary. The

Biscotti: Slice of Life Challenge 7 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks  Stacey  and  Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice2013  7 of 31 When we sat down at the table at my grandparent's house, my grandpa always said, "If there is something you do not like, take a spoonful to try.  You might find out you like it, or over time you might learn to like it."  As a kid I wasn't sold on this advice, but as an adult I've seen some of its advantages.  It's a good idea in theory, but there are a lot of foods I didn't need to learn to like to eat.  I didn't need to learn to like sour cream.  I didn't need to learn to like bleu cheese.  I didn't need to learn to like coffee. So when my sister-in-law, Lisa , came into our house one day with biscotti, I was a little skeptical.  I'd seen biscotti on the counters of Starbucks.  I'd seen biscotti in large glass containers at bakeries.  I'd seen it in a lot of places, but I really had no desire to try it.  It looked dry.  It

Did You See Her? Slice of Life Challenge 6 of 31

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Slice of Life Challenge   Thanks Stacey and Ruth :   Two Writing Teachers #slice 2013   5 of 31  Oops!  6 of 31 (Thanks, Mom) For days there is a rumor of her arrival.  "Snow is coming," say the people.  "Will she be here?" the royals wonder.  There was a rumbling she could change her mind.  Still everyone prepares for her impending visit as they rush about to get all that is needed. Finally the day of the Royal Ball arrives:  the food is prepared, the glasses shine, the tables are arranged, and the carpeted dance floor is ready.  Raising their instruments the band begins to play and guests promenade into the ballroom.  Rain makes an early entrance to the party.  Ice is noticed talking with Temperature.  Wind blew in quickly and got the attention of the crowd.  Still, where was Snow?  Was she coming?  The crowd whispered among themselves wondering if she would make an appearance. Snow had a reputation for being unpredictable.  She did what she wanted.