Keep Writing

Keep Writing
Slice of Life

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Glass Half Full

Challenges seem insurmountable.
Solutions keep hope alive.
Challenges take our minds hostage.
Solutions free our thoughts.
Challenges summon fear.
Solutions sweep away anxiety.
Challenges interrupt sleep.
Solutions appear in slumbering dreams.
Challenges call self doubt to slowly creep in.
Solutions cheer on  inner strength.
Challenges seem insurmountable.
Solutions keep hope alive.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Seed packets, seed soil,  and trays are arranged on a table in the foyer. 70 degrees, no light, just right for the beginnings of a flower. Today, I will begin to plant. dianthus, snapdragons, black-eyed susans, columbine,  and more. Wet the soil, pack it into the trays, and scatter seed. Some stay on top of the soil (because they are so tiny) and others get a dusting spread over the top. Cover the trays and wait.

Wait for that first sign of life poking through the rich dark soil. Little cream and green colored stems will push their way through so they may unfurl their leaves and reach for the sun. Then ever so carefully, do not over or under water and expose to sun and artificial light 7-14 hours per day and wait.

Wait for the leaves to double and quadruple. Wait for the roots to full the container. Once root bound, tiny buds will appear. Place outside in shelter and wait.

Wait for the budded flowers to harden off. Give them plenty of protection from the wind but make sure they don't get too hot. Keep them covered at night and wait.

Wait for the last frost of the spring to pass. Then plant those flowers. Plant them around the house, in flower beds, in containers and window boxes. Plant them in green bags that hang from the trees and in whiskey barrels on the dock and by the mailbox. Plant them along paths that meander to the water. Plant until there are no more and wait.

Wait for the spectacular bloom when summer has arrived.

Friday, March 14, 2014


I like to present to audiences. I always have. At first it is a bit of an adrenaline rush but later it just feels good to share some success with others. I have presented an assortment of educational topics over the years to an assortment of audiences. Teachers have been my primary audience but parents, employees of an accounting company, the general public, and college students have also been in attendance. And yes, I guess I have an audience of children each day too.

In the past fifteen years my topic has most often been technology. I love gadgets and learning how to make them work for me. The problem solving is often what hooks me and then the joy of putting the solved problem into action keeps me interested. Technology is forever changing which keeps it fresh and my interest piqued.

Yesterday I shared my digital portfolio work with teachers. I shared how my first graders are saving their daily work and assessments  using video, audio, screen casts, and photos. I shared how they and I upload that work to Evernote. I shared how parents, teachers, students, and I benefit from this working digital portfolio.

Each individual in the room is in a different place. Their grade levels vary as do the subjects they teach. Their technology comfort level is unique.  Each gleaned something different from what I shared. Some tried Educreations and Explain Everything for the first time. Others opened an Evernote account and played with it. Still others just listened and watched.

My goal as a presenter is not to have everyone walk away with the same knowledge and skill. My goal is to pique interest and have people leave thinking. Thinking about how they might try one thing differently. Thinking about how they can mix it up for kids when they return to their teaching. Thinking about change, any change at all.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Unfriendly Visitors

They drop in unannounced at least once each month and sometimes more often. They storm right in and make their presence known immediately. They never ask if I have time. They don't really seem to care what is on my schedule for the day, where I have to go, or who I may need to see.
For the most part I try to ignore them. I keep doing what is expected and just put up with their outrageous, unruly behaviors. I try to focus and not complain. I try to pretend they are not bothering me. I must be a pretty good actress for many people have no idea how impaired I am.
Today they played a cruel joke on me. The first one arrived just after lunch and the second at the end of the work day. They attacked me from two directions, front and back. You see as I was getting into my trunk to retrieve a scraper. The lid to the trunk fell and struck me in the back of the head. Instant pain...I wanted to cry but I didn't. Yes a migraine behind my right eye after lunch and a bump on my crown from the lid of the trunk at the end of the day. I don't have an Oscar performance left in me. I hurt all over.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pending Snow

We await yet another snowstorm. I no longer am excited, as I was in December. Instead I am hoping it will not be as is predicted (6-12 inches). Funny how just a few months and many snowstorms later it now takes on a nuisance status as opposed to excitement.

This has been a long winter for many living in the northern part of our country and even those living in the south. Cabin fever has set in and all I seem to think about is planting flowers, taking long walks, and paddling up the river.

Noontime school cancellations scroll across the bottom of my television. The weather man has not changed his mind. Cold hit my face as I let the dog out. Here comes another storm...6-12 inches or more...starting Wednesday not leaving until mid-day Thursday.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Gift

Do you have a bucket list? You know, a list of things you want to do, places you want to go, people you want to see before your life ends. I think many of us have this type of list sitting somewhere on our brains. The list shrinks and grows and takes twists and turns, getting revised as we move along with our lives.

My husband and I share some common bucket list items and for sure some individual items. Travel and golf are two that we share. We want to head to many places we have seen by photo and read about (Ireland, Hawaii, New Zealand). We also want to play golf on some of the world's best golf courses. We are not great golfers with low handicaps. We just have appreciation for well designed courses. It does not matter what we shoot, we just love the challenge, beauty, and craftsmanship of course well planned.

The months of December and January were difficult for my husband. He had many job related challenges that felt unfair, insurmountable, and overwhelming. He muddled through doing his best to put on a happy face, meet the challenges head on, and he made some major decisions that were not easy. As a family we supported him, encouraged him, and cheered him on for his bravery. In the midst of this chaos, he received an email from our son and son-in-law. It was a welcome letter from Pebble Beach which informed him he was to have a night's stay, a car, and a round of golf on of the finest golf courses in the world.

My husband was speechless. I don't think he could understand immediately what had happened. Our children, grown men, had given him a gift on his bucket list. First there was disbelief, then concern they were spending too much money on him (he never thinks he is worthy of lavish gifts), and finally acceptance and gratitude.

Yesterday he played his round. He called to tell me, after the first nine, it was the hardest course he has ever played and he was loving every minute of it. His voice was light and cheery void of the pressures December and January had placed upon him. He sounded like himself again.

Thank you son and son-in-law. You have given your dad his inner child back. Playing at Pebble Beach is like a trip to Disney for a young child. You have reminded him that life is more than just work, it is about play as well. The joy of the game, the beauty of the surroundings, and the love of a family is making him whole again so he can move on. Thank you for giving him an item on his bucket list a little early.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Self promotion
Reduced communication
Perceptions acted upon without evidence

These are just some of the ingredients in a toxic workplace. It makes one drag themselves to work grudgingly. It causes one flee at the end of the day. It feels hostile, unwelcoming, and just wrong.

Leaders who cannot lead create toxicity. They give permission to a few to wreck havoc by inaction or over zealous reaction. So often, the leader appears oblivious that a few are playing them. They participate in the game and even more turmoil bubbles up.

Self promotion
Reduced communication
Perceptions acted upon without evidence

It is Monday.