SOL #17 2018

My daughter and I went to deliver Girl Scout Cookies this morning.  One of our stops was my brother and sister-in-law’s house that’s about 10 minutes from home.  It was just the two of us, which is a rare occasion as I feel like alone-time with any of my children is a rarity.  Whenever it happens though, I find any one of them capitalizes on the moments we have together and chats up a storm.

There we were, driving down the road to get to my brother and sister-in-law’s house, when it all begins.  Technically the youngest of three (her twin brother is 1 minute older), this girl has a sense of humor beyond compare.  Her highly-competitive twin tries desperately to compete with her quick wit, but often delivers an unimpressive and what he quickly discovers is an inferior punch line.  “Mom, my knee-pit itches,” she exclaims without raising an eyebrow.  “Your what itches?” I bellow.  “You know, my knee-pit,” she repeats without an ounce of expression on her face.  “Grace, do you mean the back of your knee?” I inquire to which she replies, “Mom, get real.  I know there’s no word called knee-pit in the dictionary, but really?  That’s what it’s called.”  I scratch my head and think, “She’s onto something.”

Fast forward two minutes.  I take the sharp bend and the song Havana by Camila Cabello comes on the radio.  For any Pop Music lovers out there (I’m not one of them, but tolerate it to appease my children and to have the opportunity for a good belly laugh in this instance), the chorus goes like this …

“Havana, ooh na-na (ay)
Half of my heart is in Havana, ooh-na-na (ay, ay)
He took me back to East Atlanta, na-na-na
Oh, but my heart is in Havana (ay)
There’s somethin’ ’bout his manners (uh huh)
Havana, ooh na-na (uh)”

Grace is a Minion-lover.  When Despicable mean entered the theaters, she could not get enough of those adorable, naive creatures who have a total lack of self control captured Grace’s heart.  Back to the song, Havana …. or should I say, “Banana / Nanna”?

Without cracking a smile, she chimes in with the chorus the following lyrics …

“Banana, ohh na-na (ay)

I want to eat all of the bananas, ooh-na-na (ay, ay)

But they all cost more than a dollar, na-na,na

I want to eat all the bananas

To eat all the bananas

Banana ooh-na-na”

Thanks to Grace, we can all now sing these new catchy lyrics to the song, “Banana” and be grateful for the awesome comedians we all have in our lives.  They certainly make our days brighter.

SOL #16 2018

What motivates you when it comes to writing?  I’m curious to hear from both students and adults.

For me, I think it depends on what I am writing.  With Slice of Life, I’m motivated to have my children (both students and my own children at home) see that I am a writer.  I’ve always loved to write.  When sad, I write.  I write my tears away and the hurt or sorrow that consumes me.  I typically don’t share this type of writing.  It’s just for me-a way to get it out there in a safe way, where I won’t be judged or risk hurting someone else.  When I’m excited-what do I do?  I write!  These “pieces” are not for publication, but may just be a text to my best friend.  When I’m angry, boy to I write.  Anger writing is similar to sadness writing … I reserve this work for no one but me.  I am also motivated by feedback.  When I receive comments through SOL from my peers and students, it helps me see that my voice matters.  Sometimes I wonder if anyone is listening, but when I read comments about my work, it feels a bit like opening a package on Christmas morning.

The type of writing that has to be done for someone else-reports and the like, I find unmotivating.  There is less choice with this type of writing and for me, choice is crucial.  I typically procrastinate when it comes to reports and filling out paperwork and forms.  How do I motivate when I know I have to get the job done?  I realize that the longer I wait, the longer it’ll be hanging over my head and the more I am prolonging the feeling of, “Ugh”.  I never like the “ugh” feeling and make it a goal to avoid it at all costs.

What motivates you as a writer?  I believe that if you can uncover this secret, you’ve filled your writing toolbox with the most valuable resource and will then be ready to live a writerly life!

SOL #15 2018

One in a Gillian … by exandra

Yesterday, my ten year old daughter, brought home her opinion writing from school.  Her opening line … “Have you ever asked yourself what a good best friend is like?”  I read on, curious who “Gillian” is, as I know she doesn’t have a classmate with this name.  I’m thinking, what are her latest words of wisdom?  This girl grounds our family-somehow she always finds a way to have our entire family to rediscover what matters in life and to let go of the things that don’t.

“Gillian is my best friend because I feel like I can always talk to her, plus we always enjoy spending time together, and we are always laughing together!  (I call her Gillian, but her real name is Lillian.)  “Oh, Lill … I whisper.”  Of course, Lillian.  My  mind quickly wanders to their playdates and sleepovers when they spend hours giggling, whispering and dancing about the house.  It brings me back to my childhood when my “Gillian” (Stephanie) and I would spend hours choreographing dance routines to our favorite songs like “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by the Police or burying time capsules in her yard for children of the future to discover.  We shared all of our secrets … from our fears to our most embarrassing moments.

As I read on, I was so grateful that my daughter has a “Gillian”.  Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend that they can always talk to-that friend that you feel comfortable talking to about your biggest secrets and, more importantly-the friend who is always willing to listen.  The friend who might not always have a solution to your problems, but the friend who leans in closer when you’re sharing your thoughts.  The friend who shows they unconditionally care.

Do you have a “Gillian” in your life?  Are you someone else’s “Gillian”?  We all need a “Gillian”.

SOL #14 2018


Honestly, I just like to sound of the word.  “Conundrum,” I repeat in my head first, then aloud.  I think of a conundrum as something that gets you scratching your noodle.  We all need to do a little noodle-scratching from time to time.  Experts, like Carol Dweck, teach us that “every time an individual makes a mistake in mathematics, new synapses are formed in their brain. When people think about why something is wrong, new synaptic connections are sparked that cause the brain to grow.”  We all want our brains to grow, right?  While conundrums can be applied to concepts outside of the mathematics world, I find math conundrums to be some of the most challenging!

Try out these conundrums (borrowed from your brain will grow because you’ll get it wrong the first, second … and maybe even the twentieth time!

Two Fathers and Two Sons Riddle

Two fathers and two sons sat down to eat eggs for breakfast. They ate exactly three eggs, each person had an egg.  How is this possible?

Or try out this one …

Crossing the River

A farmer is trying to cross a river. He is taking with him a rabbit, carrots and a fox, and he has a small raft. He can only bring 1 item a time across the river because his raft can only fit either the rabbit, the carrots or the fox. How does he cross the river. (You can assume that the fox does not eat the rabbit if the man is present, you can also assume that the fox and the rabbit are not trying to escape and run away.)

One last conundrum for good luck (or maybe just some brain growth)! (borrowed from


SOL #13 2018

“You have got to be kidding me,” I bellow as my family is in stitches, tears pouring down my husband’s cheeks as he glances at the faded photograph from 1979.  That’s me-four years old, an innocent little girl with big brown eyes.  Little did I know that 39 years later, I’d be the laughing stock of my entire family and one very dear friend.

I immediately picked up my phone and texted my mom and dad who were vacationing in the Sunshine State.  I begin with the faded photograph only, no words.  In fact, I’m speechless.

Response, “YOU are adorable!  Where did you find that?”

In an instant, I respond.  “Not so sure about my haircut!!!!!  What were you thinking?”

“Well, it was easy for you and you WERE cute!  Styles change,  :)”

To describe “the cut” is going to take some effort.  Bear with me.  Bangs that stretched down my entire forehead with a blunt scissor angle-straight across my overgrown, dark brown eyebrows.  Some may say what resembled the start of a unibrow.  Bangs that obscured my eyes like a Sheepdog. The rest, a combination of a bowl cut as if the hairdresser placed a bowl over my head and cut away and what my dear friend, referred to as a mullet.

My loving mom responds, “You actually didn’t like to get your haircut!  You cried every time.  :)”

Flash forward one day.  My twelve-year-old daughter asked for a Mommy/Daughter day.  Off to the West Farms mall we trek so she can visit Abercrombie Kids.  Since we’ve already traveled quite a distance to shop, I do a Google Map search, “Current location to 91 Ridge Road, Avon” to discover we’re only 22 minutes away from my childhood home.

“How would you like to visit Mommy’s old stomping grounds, sweetie?” I ask.  “Absolutely, Mom!  That sounds like so much fun.  I can really see the house where you grew up?”

After an hour or so of exploring the old neighborhood-where we used to ride our bikes until sunset, my old bus stop where Speedy-Dog would greet us daily and Riverside Farms-the convenience store the neighborhood gang would visit to buy penny candy, we took the drive to visit my elementary school.  Much to my shock, it was gone but along the way, we stumbled upon the Hair Barn where I used to go to get my hair cuts.

Do you ever have a familiar sight jog your memory within an instant?  The kind of childhood memory that can only be refreshed by actually seeing (in person) this visual?  “Katherine!  That’s it!  That’s the place-the very place-I stood, wailing at the top of my lungs, heels dug deep into the dirt, I am NOT GOING IN THERE!”

The Hair Barn, horrendous childhood hair cuts and a poor mom, desperately trying to get me in the building all flashed in front of my eyes.

I pulled the car into the closest parking space, picked up my phone, took a new photo and texted it to my parents.  “Remember this?!”  “It’s still there?  I can’t believe it,” she replies.  39 years later.  What a memory.”

“What a memory,” I repeat.  Now when I peer into that four year old little girl’s eyes, I no longer see the hideous haircut, but am brought back to my childhood, a day of bonding with my daughter and the love shared with my mom and dad.

SOL #12 2018

My one little word is BREATHE.  Every day, I seem to be in such a frantic rush.  I sleep until the very last second before my alarm goes off.  5:45 am.  Gym clothes strategically placed on my tub in the bathroom, waiting for me to rush out the door for a quick workout, for “me time” at the Y.  I then race in the door, grab my coffee, jump in the shower, and throw my hair in a wet ponytail.  “Are you ready?” I call out to my kids in hopes that they have done everything from brushing their teeth to grabbing their lunch boxes.  The day goes on and on this way, day after day, week after week, and what feels like year after year.  BREATHE.  I need to say this more often.  The simple act of taking a slow, deep breath every now and then could be my one little word that could make all the difference.  Can you tell I’m missing our slower paced weekend?

SOL #11 2018

Five of Our Favorite Places


Block Island, Rhode Island

This down-to-earth, ten mile island, holds a very special place in our hearts.  Seventeen years ago, my husband asked me to marry him at the North Light on BI, RI.  Since then, we have made it a goal to take the short trip back to this special island yearly.  Now, our three children enjoy the beaches, favorite restaurants and local charm of this quaint island.

Newport, Rhode Island

A place I once called home for five exhilarating years, has now become a favorite get-away for my family.  Marinas filed with yachts for my husband and son to admire, boutiques for my girls to meander in and out of, and a wealth of restaurants to choose from make Newport a worthwhile get-away for all.  Gooseberry Beach is a favorite local hang out and Ocean Drive will not disappoint.

Plymouth, Vermont

Population of 475, Plymouth’s charm and serenity is like no other.  Hawk Inn and Mountain Resort was a weekend destination for my family growing up from the 80’s until we sold our condo in 2001.  Today, we attempt to visit Hawk every couple of years with my parents.  Every time we go, we immediately enter what I like to call “unplugged time”.  We leave behind the daily grind and embrace time as a family-exploring the outdoors.  From hiking in the fall, summer and spring to skiing and sledding during the winter months.

Chapman Beach, Westbrook Connecticut

A place most people have never heard of is our “second home”.  Chapman Beach is the place where my husband’s entire family, yes all 47 of us, reunite.  This tiny beach community nestled on the Connecticut shoreline is a place where our family creates memories.  The youngest of our large family are ten-year-old twins and the eldest is my eighty-four year old mother-in-law, Grammy.  From cook-outs to Luigi’s take-out to long days basking in the sun, Chapman Beach is the heart of our family.

Hamburg Cove, Lyme Connecticut

Home to my parents and the magical land where my husband and I entered our life as a married couple, Hamburg Cove is a hidden treasure to all who have ever visited.  Summer sunsets create breathtaking fiery red and orange hues on the horizon and island music can be heard on the hill until the wee hours of the morning.  During the winter months, Bald Eagles can be spotted soaring with their young and just beyond the mouth of the Cove is the glorious Connecticut River.

Where are your favorite places?  Please share!