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Showing posts from 2015

Poetry Friday: On the Cusp of Tomorrow

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It's Poetry Friday!  Stop by  A Year of Reading  as Mary Lee hosts today's parade of wondrous words.

Looking Back on 2015: Be Brave

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I'm not much of a New Year Resolution gal.  I've never found making resolutions at the turn of the calendar to be effective for me.  It seemed more like something I had to do, instead of something I truly believed.  The problem wasn't the resolutions, it was my attitude about them.  They seemed routine.  Then a few years ago my friends started talking about their "one little word."  I was intrigued.  It seemed to have so much more purpose: a lens for the year.  I tried to find past words I've chosen and was able to locate my 2014 word:  discover .  In 2012, I chose  thank . Last year, I wanted to step up a bit more.  I decided instead of a word, I'd choose a phrase.  I wanted something that inspired action.  I didn't just want to think about my word; I wanted to live my word.  For this reason, I decided a phrase made more sense and chose:   Be Brave .  I read:  Let's All be Brave .  To keep me inspired, I started a Pinterest board to help to th

Slice of Life: Could Facebook Have Saved a Mom Like Me?

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This morning I decided I would find a picture of my kids with Santa when they were little and make it my Facebook profile page.  I was sure there was an ornament hanging on the Christmas tree with their picture, but for the life of me I couldn't locate it.  Searching from top to bottom and side to side, the picture was nowhere to be found amongst the twinkling lights and pine needle branches.  I decided I'd have to go into my old photos to locate a picture.  That's no easy task, of course.  Where should I begin?  Do I start in the shoeboxes full of pictures I collected over the years as I hurriedly developed film and then threw the photos into a box I was sure I'd scrapbook someday?  Which box is most likely to have a picture from Christmas past? Sorting and using past pictures of my kids is always a challenge.  Their lives in photos are trapped between shoeboxes, old computers, and phones.  They grew up during the transition to digital photography as we moved from

Where Do You Find Poetry?

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So I haven't posted for such a long time because I've been having a bit of a poetry problem; I can't find a poem.  I've looked high and low - no poem.  Perhaps life has been too busy or maybe I just haven't taken the time to pause to find it, but poetry doesn't seem to be finding me these days.  What do you do to inspire poetry? Where Do You Find Poetry? when words do not come, where do you find poetry when it eludes you? what do you do when the silence is too quiet for words? how do you write when the sound of the birds brings no song, when the stream gurgling over it's rocky base can't bring your pen to paper? though you look deep into the night, up into the skies of blue, watch the sun rise in the morning sky; though you search the usual places poetry cannot be found. what do you do when words hide? © Cathy L. Mere, 2015

Poetry Friday: A Friend Just Like That

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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 wha

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!

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

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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

Slice of Life: Cucumbers Anyone?

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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

Poetry Friday: Winding Roads

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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 together. Cathy L. Mere 2015  It's Poetry Friday!  Stop by Google + ( https://plus.google.com/103353747436744986067/posts/1WZ74Qnc3

#CLMOOC: Let's Play T-APP TAG

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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

Poetry Friday / CLMOOC: Ocean Remedy

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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 s

Slice of Life: Pelican Haiku

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This is the best pelican picture I've managed. If you could see how close they come to where I am sitting, you'd know I have more work to do to capture the perfect picture. While on vacation I've become a bit obsessed with pelicans.  Every evening they fly by our balcony in groups.  I don't really see them coming until they are there in lined formation.  They float by one after another as they follow their regular path down the coast.  Each day I've tried to capture a picture of them as they fly close to our balcony, but I'm never fast enough.  The rest of my family thinks I have gone crazy.  The people on the beach completely ignore them as they fly in formation in search of food.  I can't ignore them as I find them absolutely fascinating.  I've done a bit of research and was surprised to find they were quite endangered from the 1950s through the 1970s.  They appear to be thriving now.  I was also surprised to learn they live to nearly 25 years.

CLMOOC Make 1: The Unintroduction

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For the next 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.   I'm a little late to the party.  It's been a busy couple of weeks.  Today I'm squeezing in late to for make cycle 1:  "unintroduce" myself .   When thinking about an unintroduction, in only makes sense to think about an introduction:  the pleasantness, the quick judgement, the basic information shared.  For me, I always find the greatest challenge to remember the name which is always given first and then so much information follows.  I decided to unintroduce myself in a poem.   image created with Pic2Comic The Unintroduction Unravel

Poetry Friday: Who's Been Here?

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The last two weeks I have been working with the Columbus Area Writing Project at The Ohio State University.  I have been sitting in the same classrooms I sat in years ago as an undergraduate and graduate student.  As I look around I can't help but think about all of the amazing professors I had.  During my days wandering the halls I can't help but wonder who has been here?  What great ideas have been formed in these very spaces?  That thinking inspired this short poem with an image from Ramseyer Hall.   It's Poetry Friday!  Stop by Carol's Corner as Carol Wilcox hosts today's parade of wondrous words.

Slice of Life: Grandma's Remedy

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Today as I sat with our writing group, I noticed a plant sitting on the table - an aloe plant.  That plant triggered a few memories of my grandma's healing magic.   When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at my grandma's house.  She had a great location between the park and the pool with the ice cream shop just around the corner.  Paradise!  Not only did she have a great location, but she was a lot of fun.  She was hip and cool for a grandma.  She knew what music was hot.  She stayed up past midnight and slept in until late into the morning.  When I stayed at her house, we'd stay up all night playing cards and watching television. While Grandma was hip and cool and fun, she had some crazy ideas about first aid and health treatments.  According to her, Vick's Vapor Rub was the only treatment for colds.  Seven-Up over crushed ice was the only way to settle a stomach (might be true).  When we would fall and scrape a knee or cut an elbow, we tried to not tell her because we

Poetry Friday: You

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you search for yourself in places near and far in crowded buildings in rooms filled with noise you wander untouched paths  long ago overgrown hoping to find whatever it is that must be missing you look into the eyes of others strangers passing by friends who come and go for approval for answers you  chase dreams yet unnamed in unwelcoming directions  hoping to find  the place where you fit to discover who you are you change direction over and over seeking approval of a society that pays sport figures more than doctors paints reality on television in amplified chaos that has lost sight of what's important you with a heart of gold with eyes still fresh to the world need not look in other places for all that you are you don't belong in a world that changes you you just need to look deep inside yourself to discover the bright light already there perfectly as you are  © Cathy L. Mere, 2015 

Slice of Life: Writing Communities

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Image via Julie Johnson For most of my life, my writing has been for myself.  It was somehow therapeutic to scratch words with a pen onto a piece of paper.  My writing life has certainly ebbed and flowed --- mostly ebbed  --- across the years, but writing for myself was always enough.  I didn't have to worry about criticism.  Didn't have to worry about saying things in the wrong way.  Didn't have to worry about working and reworking my thoughts.  I just put words on a page, closed the book, and walked away. A long series of events over the last ten years has slowly pushed me toward more public writing.  One factor in changing my course has been community.  Writing communities have pushed me to put more thought into my writing, to work toward creating stronger messages, to try writing in new ways, to be a bit braver when it comes to sharing the words on a page.  Today, for example, this post is part of the collaborative work of the Slice of Life community. Every Tuesd

Poetry Friday: Renewal

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Happy Poetry Friday.  It seems the perfect day to celebrate poetry and portrait together.  Each season, Carol Varsalona , creates a gallery of poetry and images for her readers.  The idea of a virtual gallery is interesting to me.  Carol is always thinking of smart ways to collect, collaborate, and curate digitally.  Thankfully, she is also good at reminders.  Here is my offering for her Spring Symphony gallery.  I can't wait to take a walk through the collection. Today's poem was created using PicCollage and Phonto.  I worked with a few picture art apps, but felt spring was just too beautiful to change the images --- Mother Nature paints glorious pictures.  It's Poetry Friday!  Stop by  Jama's Alphabet Soup  for today's parade of wondrous words.

Slice of Life: I'm Tired of Being Cold

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I'm tired of being cold --- and, yes, I wrote this in June! This morning I am sitting on my couch curled up in the corner seat wrapped in a fleece jacket.  Yes, it's June in Ohio, but I'm cold.  I started on the patio because it was warmer outside than inside, but it started to rain so I had to come back into the house. I'm considering disconnecting the air conditioning.  Do you think my family would notice? When you live in Ohio, you are cold from November until late March.  You learn to live with it.  You build fires in the fireplace, drink hot coffee, and make lots of soup.  During these months, I tire of putting on coats, boots, scarves and mittens.  I tire of sweaters and leggings under my dress pants.  I tire of cold winds and icy conditions.  Cold just becomes a way of life.  My car doesn't like the cold either.  It has a warning light when the temperature gets to 37 degrees fahrenheit.  This always makes me laugh as 37 might be considered warm in Jan

Poetry Friday: Summer Snow

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Today was the first day I could really take a minute to sit back and relax.  It was beautiful here so I headed out to spend the day on my patio.  The wind whistled through the trees as the birds sang songs of summer.  The breeze continually carried white fluffy seeds (I think milkweed seeds) through the sky.  I thought I'd try to write a poem to capture the image. Milkweed Seed the milkweed seed floats in warm air. fluffy puffs, cottony white , gliding,      dancing, sailing,      drifting, gently to the ground. covering the grass in summer snow. Cathy L. Mere, 2015 ...or a haiku It's Poetry Friday!  Stop by Buffy's Blog  for today's parade of wondrous words.

Poetry Friday: Bird Watching

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Sometimes I think they come to watch me as they perch high on branches gazing below chattering feverishly to one another in chirps and tweets flying back and forth just above me gliding to a closer tree to get a better look at the human sitting on the patio pecking away with her fingers. © Cathy L. Mere, 2015 It's Poetry Friday!  Stop by  Random Noodling  where Diane hosts today's parade of wondrous words.

Slice of Life: It's a Piece of Cake

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I've never considered myself a baker.  It's just not my thing.  Baking takes time --- and patience.  I'm not really someone who has either of these things --- at least not in the kitchen.  I'd much rather cook than bake.  In office potlucks I hope to be assigned sides instead of dessert.  At family gatherings, I cross my fingers someone will ask for cheese potatoes or broccoli casserole.  I'd rather cook the entire meal than be asked to bring dessert. My sister-in-law is a baker.  She makes glorious cakes that nearly reach the sky.  She makes cookies that are never too brown and always the right height.  I have baker friends who inspire me with their tales of cheesecakes, pies, and biscotti.  Despite all of the experts in my life, I've limited my baking to chocolate chip cookies and cake mix boxes. Recently things have changed.  Maybe it's the fact that I have more time on my hands.  Maybe I've just decided I don't care how it turns out, I'

Poetry Month: Summer Guest 30 of 30

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I thought you weren't coming this year, but today I spotted you, soaring beneath the sky wings outstretched circling above the roof before descending into the chimney. You must be busy in there building your nest, cementing sticks to the brick walls, knowing soon babies will come. This nest will keep you safe through summer. Chimney swift, I will watch you as you sail through the sky at sunset searching for insects: bees, mosquitoes, flies, for your evening snack. I will watch as you glide in the sky above gracefully swooping for hours as the sun crosses from east to west. You are happy to have returned to your summer home. © Cathy L. Mere, 2015 Each year, as spring moves toward summer, our chimney is visited by swifts looking for a summer home.  I'm not a big fan of having birds sharing our home, but it is something I have grown used to in the years since we have moved here.  Our house was built some time ago, and without a metal cover on our

Poetry Month: For the Love of Baseball 28 of 30

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Game day I can still hear Grandma pacing in the kitchen as she washes the plates clean after the last innings of dinner. The Big Red Machine on the radio, Marty and Joe banter sharing the play by play. She listens talking back to the radio. The box blares static between statements, but she still catches every word. My sweet mild mannered grandma who feeds the birds, makes us pancakes, takes us on picnics, and smiles when we slide home from the creek covered in mud, My loving grandma isn't so mild mannered when Johnny Bench isn't moving fast enough, when Pete Rose isn't hitting, when Griffey misses a fly ball. She isn't going to be happy until she hears them say, "and this one belongs to the Reds." © Cathy L. Mere, 2015 This week the Reds honored the 1990 World Championship team and the notorious Nasty Boys with a celebration.  The rain delay probably gave the celebration more coverage than it would have received. As

Poetry Month: Rooted 27 of 30

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The tree stands where it always stood, watching, knowing. It has always been there providing shade, lifting its branches in warm hello. Its solid trunk stands tall helping the tree see what others cannot. The dependable tree waits quietly, listens, comforts. In life's busyness the tree's forgotten, leaves fall, seeds sow. Time passes, days turn to weeks, weeks to years. Finally I step outside where the tree stands tall, ever loyal. The tree awaits, leaves greener than I remember, holding my stories, my comfortable friend. © Cathy L. Mere, 2015 It's April and National Poetry Month.  I'm writing a poem every day to help celebrate!  Thanks to  Margaret Simon ,  Leigh Anne Eck ,  Michelle Haseltine ,  Linda Baie ,  Julieanne Harmatz , and  Kevin Hodgson  for giving the final push.  We are linking using the hashtag #digipoetry.  I have to also thank my everyday poetry mentors  Mary Lee Hahn  &  Amy Ludwig Vanderwater .  They

Poetry Month: Chocolate Crisis 26 of 30

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I looked inside the freezer and on the pantry shelf, for just a piece of chocolate to eat all by myself. There weren't any Reese's, no chocolate anywhere. I looked high and low. Then looked here and there. Just one piece of chocolate is all I want to find. I've searched in all my hiding spots. I'll surely lose my mind. No chocolate behind the coffee pot. None hidden in the drawer. Not tucked beside the books. There has to be some more. There's not a piece to be found. I'm really just so blue. How will I survive without chocolate? What's a girl to do? © Cathy L. Mere, 2015 It's April and National Poetry Month.  I'm writing a poem every day to help celebrate!  Thanks to  Margaret Simon ,  Leigh Anne Eck ,  Michelle Haseltine ,  Linda Baie ,  Julieanne Harmatz , and  Kevin Hodgson  for giving the final push.  We are linking using the hashtag #digipoetry.  I have to also thank my everyday poetry mentors  Mary Lee Hahn  &

Poetry Month: Night Song 24 of 30

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Today our first graders spent some time with poet, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater , discussing poetry.  OH.  MY.  GOODNESS.  During our Skype call Amy shared the different points of view she sometimes uses to write poetry.  She shared the story of the small creature she watched racing in and out of a wall.  She talked about the many ways she could write about that.  One way she shared was by writing AS the creature (or other animal/object/etc.).  She called this a MASK poem .  After our time with her, we talked about the ways we might write our poetry.  I was telling a student about the coyotes I hear each night in the field behind our house.  I decided, after Amy's conversation, to write a poem as the coyote for Poetry Friday.   Image:  Rebecca Richardson (2008) via WikiMedia Commons NIGHT SONG When the sun is replaced by the night sky,      I call. When the moon rises, faintly lighting the earth below,      I call. When the stars look down upon the world gently twink