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Showing posts from March, 2021

Slice of Life: The Hits 31 of 31

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Every year when it is time to decide about Slice of Life, I start by telling myself I'm not going to do it. Of course, it isn't long until I start to look back over old posts and realize all that would have gotten lost had I not participated. Across the years I've learned that out of 31 days of writing, usually a few pieces bubble to the top. Some bubble up because of the sweet memory. Some because of the writing. Some just because. Here we are at the end of 31 days so I thought I'd share a few of my favorites from the month: 1. Slice 22 Writing Inspiration: This post was fun to write as I really enjoy discovering books about writing. If I wrote as much as I like to read books about writing, well...ha! What I loved most about this post was the comments left by others. I appreciated all the other book possibilities that were shared! 2. Slice 3: Nostalgia with Touch of Modern:  This was a fun slice to write. I mean, how many people have purchased a clock radio lately?

Slice of Life: Library Surprise 30 of 31

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"Oh. Cathy, I've got something for you," the library director said in the middle of our monthly trustee meeting. Uh oh, I thought to myself. He's probably about to bring me tips for writing meeting notes. This was my third month as secretary and I was still getting the hang of it. My notes were likely a little rough. The director left the room abruptly and returned to place a white envelop on my table. The envelope was taped; I struggled to open it and listen. I had no idea what might be in it. I figured it was something related to the board or the training I had just completed the previous weekend. Opening the envelope, I felt my heart take a bit of a leap. Inside was a letter from my colleagues. They were making a donation to the library in honor of my retirement. I was caught in a mix between tears, amazement and laughter. This was a clever little move they had made. I didn't have any idea they knew much about my work as a library trustee, but at some point I m

Slice of Life: Unappreciated 29 of 31

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This morning, I walked into the front room to sit in my usual spot by the windows with coffee in hand. The room felt a little chilly so I reached for the throw blanket which was just sitting there, folded, and waiting patiently for its next use. It occurred to me, at this moment, throw blankets are completely under-appreciated, yet I can't imagine life without them. In our house, you'll find one in the front room, three in the living room, and one on most of the beds. This made me start to think about the items in my life that are completely under-appreciated.  Under-appreciated Items Throw Blankets (see above): especially the really soft kind! Herb Scissors: Do you have these? If not, you need to go find them right now. They're divine. End Tables : My coffee is resting perfectly on one right now.  Watering Can: Seriously! Without the watering can I'd have to drag our ginormous hose all around our yard! Toothbrush Stand: What if you toothbrush just had to sit in your

Slice of Life: 21 Hopes for 21 28 of 31

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12:01 a.m. January 1st, 2021. Go ahead. Think about that time for a minute. Didn't you have a smidge of hope that 2021 was going to be better than 2020? It had to be, right?!  Let's go back to January. I know you remember it. We were coming off a holiday in which many of us weren't with our families for the first in our memories. Pressure was mounting to get kids back into the physical building of school full-time. The United States was nearing 20,000,000 cases of COVID and death numbers were beginning to show they would easily hit 400,000. There was a presidential transition to be completed. At the time, none of us were living the life to which we were accustomed.  Despite all of this, I was full of hope at 12:01 a.m. on January 1st, 2021.  It was a few days later that I heard a podcast by Gretchen Rubin, Happier , in which she and her sister reveal their 21 for 21 . As I listened to their lists of all they hoped to do and learn, I smiled. At the time, I just wanted to get

Slice of Life: Little Wins 27 of 31

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Coffee. Glorious coffee. Dad and I used to go out for coffee periodically. We would sit in crowded coffee shops on Saturday mornings, enjoying a delightful cup of goodness. Since COVID we haven't been able to do that. Though we live two miles apart, we have spent the last year visiting on Zoom and saying hello at the door during food exchanges. With three teachers in our house, we didn't want to take a chance of bringing COVID to my dad so coffee became one of the many things we have missed. We were pretty excited to head out this week for our return to a coffee shop. I think somehow we both expected the coffee shop had never changed, but the pandemic changed it too. There were no tables out. No crowds sitting and chatting. Instead, we waited in a socially distanced line marked off by the shop to order. We were not able to sit inside, but were lucky to score a table in front of the shop (which would have been my preference anyway).  This coffee shop does not have a drive-thru s

Slice of Life: Dreaming of the Road 26 of 31

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After writing yesterday about different types of road trippers ( What Kind of Road Tripper Are You? [Slice of Life] and Make It Memorable [Poetry Friday[), I really want to travel. As many reminded me in the comments yesterday, different types of travel require different levels of planning. I may be more of the explorer/wanderer type, but that doesn't go without some planning. I usually prepare by reading a lot before I hit the road. I want to know my options. For today's post, I decided to do a little dreaming in lists. Longingly, I notice the books on my shelf:   DK Eyewitness Travel Guide USA  (mine is a 2004 version, but they now have 2020) Road Trip USA Family Vacations in the National Parks 50 States 5000 Ideas The United States of Craft Beer   Seeing people begin to travel again, I really want to jump in my car and go. However, I'm not quite ready to travel. For me, COVID is going to have to be a bit more under control before I travel for pleasure. For now, I'm

Poetry Friday: Make It Memorable

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It's Poetry Friday!  Today I thought it might be interesting to try to write a poem companion to my Slice of Life post: What Kind of Road Tripper Are You?   Today's roundup is hosted by Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living .  Stop by to enjoy some poetry and/or leave a link.  Make It Memorable  Maybe you're a mapper: months in advance planning with precision, path decided, stops prepared, places arranged. Perhaps you're a chiller: place predetermined, savoring slow mornings, days lazing by the water, the goal - rest and relaxation. Maybe you're an explorer: wandering, willing to follow  wherever the road may take you, wondering what awaits, ready for adventure. No matter your preference you will find pleasure in the journey.  Pack your suitcase, find your road, make it memorable.  © Cathy L. Mere, 2021 

Slice of Life: What Kind of Road Tripper Are You? 25 of 31

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Today's inspiration comes from Bitsy Parks: Little Bits of Starlight . I stopped by her page yesterday and read a few slices. She had written one about taking road trips that particularly caught my attention. In the post Bitsy confides:  "We’re horrible at planning ahead.  We arrive at destinations and find out that one child has no shoes packed.  Or no shirts.  We don’t think twice about reserving hotel rooms while on the road when we know our timing.  We are often calling around a day or two ahead of leaving searching for dog boarding.  And it's not uncommon for us to switch up routes midway through the trip.  We aren't proud of this, in fact we're a little embarrassed by it."  I tried to comment, but for some reason this particular post would not allow me so I decided to write this slice instead. I hope you don't mind, Bitsy --- and thanks for the inspiration. Also, stop by and read her post - as well as her other posts - as they're delightful. It

Slice of Life: Babies Have a Mind of Their Own 24 of 31

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This morning I checked my phone; no text from my daughter saying, "It worked." She assured me she would send me a text if her plan was a success. I took a second look. Nope, no text. My watch tells me we walked 18,790 steps yesterday - roughly 8.2 miles. Apparently that wasn't the secret. My daughter is due with her first baby on Monday, March 29th. In my mind, first babies never arrive on time and each day this is looking more and more like it might be the case for her. It's not that my daughter hasn't put a lot of effort into an early delivery. I think I have heard every crazy tale of ways to work toward an early delivery: red raspberry leaf tea, curb walking, bouncing on an exercise ball, incline walking. Yep, my daughter has quite a list. Let her stay in there until she is ready, I suggest. It's what is best. Besides, I chuckle to myself, it seems she may have a mind of her own like her mother. Life. It always brings it back. Ha! Enjoy this time, these are

Slice of Life: COVID by the Numbers 23 of 31

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It's the 23rd of the month. Since March of last year I have recorded the coronavirus numbers for our state, the country and the world on a digital record every month on this date. I'm not sure why I started to do it, but I did. It's been a year; today I found myself wondering how much longer I would continue this practice. Believe me, a year ago I had no idea that I would sit on my couch in one year and still record the numbers. I had no idea the numbers would grow to be this large. I had no idea of all that would go on in a year. There are a lot of things I didn't know a year ago.  Yesterday Ohio hit one million cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began officially last March. Who knew a year ago that we would have so many cases?  A year and a lifetime ago.  In Ohio, the governor took a swift approach of action when he cancelled the Arnold Classic (a large weightlifting event that has been held in Ohio for years) and sent students home into remote learning. It would

Slice of Life: Writing Inspiration 22 of 31

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  It's day 22 of the Slice of Life Challenge. How are you doing? I'm still hanging in there. My biggest challenge seems to be trying to break the two space habit after a period. I know, it's past time. The struggle is real.  Each year when I participate in the challenge I have three main goals: To write every day (I have done this enough to know that at the end of the month there are stories written that would have been lost --- even if they aren't quite as polished as I might like.) To find mentor posts with interesting craft moves, structures, and/or topics To read a book about writing to try to work toward some improvements and provide some inspiration along the way This year, I purchased A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld. At the beginning of the month, I started the challenge be rereading some favorite books about writing, but I decided I wanted to read something new. After reading several posts around the topic of writing books, I selected thi

Slice of Life: Lessons from Grandma 21 of 31

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Straightening up the house, I came across a gift bag with some tissue paper. Pulling the tissue paper out, I began to straighten and fold it in hopes of using it again. "My grandma would be so proud," I thought to myself as I finished the task.  My grandma, a small child during the depression, learned to be frugal by necessity. She would talk often about how hard those times were for her family. Her father passed away in 1922 leaving her mother with three small children and one on the way. By the time the depression hit, her family was already working to make ends meet. Grandma would often talk of visiting her grandparents in that time. They would give her a big thick cut of bologna. When she'd tell the story, I would find myself wanting some bologna.  Each year, I stayed with my grandparents twice. We would stay for a week in the summer and for a good stretch over Christmas break. As I grew older, I marveled at the way the depression had stayed with my grandma. It shaped

Slice of Life: From My Couch 20 of 31

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"How are you doing?"my brother inquired as he and my niece called to check in on my retirement life. "It's a little different," I conceded, "but life isn't bad from the couch." They both laughed. "You know. I put my feed up and grab my coffee to watch the sunrise out the front window. I spend some time with the local newspaper and a bit of reading. I get up to get something done and then return...to my couch. I write for a bit, get up to do something, and then return...to my couch." I quipped enjoying the repetitive refrain of my couch quip.  Seriously, the first week of retirement has been energizing. I have set a no rules rule for my first week. No counting calories, no recording exercise, no requirements to get anything done. I've been doing what I want all week - and a lot of it has been from my couch. (Okay, I can't stop.) I'm sure this will change, but for the first time I feel like I own time. If I see something I want

Poetry Friday: New Beginnings

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New Beginnings  spring knocks at the door.  earth turns the knob, pushing winter aside.  sunshine plays longer each day.  brown gives way to green. standing in the doorway  i see them both.  the green of spring entices me:  the opportunity of tomorrows, the hope of all that is to be. the new season enters. a new dream, a new wish. i welcome the possibility. it's time. It's Poetry Friday.  Today's roundup is hosted by Linda Baie at Teacher Dance .  Stop by to enjoy some poetry and/or leave a link.   

Slice of Life: Who knew? True Confessions of a Twitter Addict 19 of 31

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This morning, I popped on Twitter to quickly check tweets as I made my cup of coffee. A notice waited in my mentions: Twelve years. A lot has happened in those twelve years. My kids have graduated high school and college. One new grandbaby has been born and another arrives any day. I've had three different teaching positions. There's been three different presidents and a pandemic.  Twelve years is obviously a long time ( My Twitter Addiction Beginnings ). In the Twitter world, I've had three accounts in that time and made countless connections. In honor of this anniversary, here are 12 ways Twitter has impacted my life: A life-line to professional development Taught me to amplify the voices of others  The way I find out about all the latest picture books (and so much of my reading life)  Pushed me to blogging (because in the beginning days of Twitter you only had 140 characters) Extended my "classroom hallway" out into the world and made so many connections Slice

Slice of Life: It Isn't Just the Pot Roast 18 of 31

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Maybe it's genetics. Maybe it's years of living together. Whatever the cause, there are some strange coincidences in our family. When the kids were living at home, for example, it wasn't uncommon for us to get ready to go somewhere only to discover, as we assembled in the foyer to leave, we each were wearing the same color. This continued even after the kids moved out; we would get together for something and find we were matching. Gathering for a holiday - same colors. It's great for photos, but the kids often aren't fans.  The coincidences don't stop there. Additionally, we often reach for our phones at the same time to call one another. We also have to be careful when selecting glasses that we don't pick out the same pair. The struggle is real.  Today these strange coincidences took a new turn. I was in the kitchen getting dinner in the crockpot so it could cook for the day when my phone started to buzz. Looking down, I saw that my daughter was trying to c

Slice of Life: Celebrations 17 of 31

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I don't know how you write about big life decisions. I don't know how you talk about crossing bridges or walking through a new door. There are just those times in life you know your decisions are going to come with big changes; going to college, getting married, buying a house, having children, changing jobs, moving to new cities, are all big steps that are sure to change things. I don't really know how to write about my decision to retire. All I can say right now is that it was complex.  There is one thing I know for sure: I'm going to miss the people whom I worked beside each day. You know the kind of people I am talking about: the ones that make you laugh, the ones that help you when things get tricky, the ones that make look forward to Mondays. I don't really know how to write about all of those things right now, but I do want to share the celebration they crafted. On Monday when I walked into the office, my space was quite beautifully redecorated: balloons sat

Slice of Life: The Ordinary 16 of 31

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Coffee before the day begins, the newspaper delivered to your drive, the breeze across the patio: the ordinary. If the last year has taught us anything, it is the power of the ordinary. Family birthday celebrations, dining out with friends, a trip to the grocery: the ordinary. While we search for joy, the big moment that makes us smile, we are often surprised to find these moments in the ordinary.  What's your ordinary? An Ordinary Pause crocus appear seemingly overnight as winter  makes its final dance the birds  seemingly understand as they build  their nests for the days ahead i sit at the window seemingly distracted coffee in hand noting the promise of tomorrow Need More Inspiration Poems of the Ordinary at Transactions with Beauty The Ordinary Man at All Poetry Make the Ordinary Come Alive at Jag Gym Blog It's March and I'm diving back into the  March Slice of Life Challenge !  Buckle in!  This will be my 8th year joining the community (though I must confess to a tw

Slice of Life: Meal Service Anyone? 15 of 31

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The pandemic certainly has us doing things we didn't foresee. Who knew we would be willing to sit out on our patios at temperatures below 50 degrees? Who could have predicted we would purchase fire pits and/or outdoor gas heaters to help heat our patios? Who knew we would be bartering for toilet paper and cleaning supplies? Who would have predicted we would be out of the gym and in our living rooms following workout routines on Instagram? Yep, there have certainly been some surprises. For me, one of the biggest surprises came in ordering a meal service. I blame my mom. In October, she started with ordering meals and gushed about it all the time. "I don't even have to decide what to make," she bragged. "All my ingredients are shipped right to my door," she boasted. I shook my head as I listened to her stories of meal prep. Since I had mastered the art of the click list, cooking was going okay.  Of course, months of cooking at home was growing boring. Chicken,

Slice of Life: We Didn't Know 14 of 31

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Today I stopped by Read. Reflect. Teach. to read the post What I Didn't Know which inspired today's post. Thank you for the inspiration.  It was good to get back out. We went at a time that wouldn't be crowded. Vaccines complete, it seemed that we could go celebrate a birthday. It had been a year since we had been out. A year since we had all gathered. It's not every day someone turns 70something. It seemed the time to go out. A year ago was the last time we all got together. We cooked dinner at our house, but we had just been told schools would close by the governor; just a short time we were told. We were just hearing the virus was in the United States. We were just learning that there was concern about its spread. I remember having my dad over at the time and the entire family being extremely careful. It was obvious there was more going on than we realized.  We didn't know our world would be turned upside down. At the time, we didn't know that would be the

Slice of Life: Every Day's a Saturday 13 of 31

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slow sips of coffee. sun rising, pink with promise. time infinite, and full of possiblility. a turn of the newspaper, some time for a book; pick up the pen, open the journal and jot. what will the day bring? clear calendar. productivity now a choice, yet such potential endless possibility, beginning today: schedules not required, scenery may change, prospects abound. Every day's a Saturday. It's March and I'm diving back into the  March Slice of Life Challenge !  Buckle in!  This will be my 8th year joining the community (though I must confess to a two year break).  Yep, some of the writing will be messy.  Honestly, most of it will be messy.  Thanks for stopping by.  I'm excited to dive back into the madness.  Thanks to  Two Writing Teachers  for hosting.  

Slice of Life: Rewind 12 of 31

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This morning, I woke up feeling uncertain. The day ahead was certain to be different than my typical day. I felt I was making the right decision, but I knew the day would have its hard parts. At 7:17 a text appeared on my phone; "Wishing you a fantastic last day!" it read.   REWIND August, 1989.  With baby carrier in my hand and a bag full of supplies, I walked to the door trying to balance it all and worrying about my first day. My sweet baby was just over six weeks old and resting comfortably in the carrier. Even at six weeks hold, she wasn't a lightweight. Of course, my heart was a little heavy too. Though I was excited to get back to students and the profession I loved, I knew these next weeks were going to be an adjustment. I also knew this was the right decision for me. Still, it wasn't easy as I knocked on the door. The door opened and a bright smiling face appeared. Little did I know this would be the smile that would greet me for twelve more years. The door o