SOL Tuesday #1 2018

We have all had recurring dreams, right?  My daughter came to me the other day, saying that she’s been having a recurring nightmare.  When she went on to describe her memory, it got me thinking about the fact that my recurrences are only nightmares.  Why is that?  Is there science behind why my recurring dreams are nightmares versus scenes and images of me on a beach nestled in paradise, surrounded by my favorite people, without a care in the world?

As a child, I had a fear of clowns (actually, I must admit, I still find them rather nightmarish).  I’m guessing I was about 8 when the torment began.  I’ll never forget waking up for the first time out of a deep sleep in a full sweat.  At the time, I was living in  Avon and the first house I can remember as a child.  It was evening, just after dinner when the house settles down but most children aren’t ready to drift off to sleep.  I was listening to Michael Jackson’s Thriller album on my record player, while hosting my own private version of modern day American Idol.

“Billie Jean is not my lover
She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son
She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son”

I belted out at the top of my lungs when, out of the corner of my eye, I caught of glimpse of the red painted and unpleasant smile that seemed to house all of my fears in one.  I saw cruelty in his eyes and it’s grotesque face would haunt me for years to come.

Within seconds, I bolted out of my room and went desperately seeking the comfort of my parent’s arms.  Unfortunately, when I got to their room, what I found led me on a frantic chase to find them.

In an effort to keep the visual from you and to keep this horrific memory from being written down in its entirety, I’ll end here…

While my daughter’s recurring nightmare was a different storyline than mine as a child, it had many similarities.  If only I could find a way to change the tone of these dreams to a state of bliss …. maybe I’ve found an idea worth pursuing to make my millions for all of those exhausted children and parents who have ever been woken up frightened by such dreams.

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SOL #31 2018

As our last day of SOLSC has arrived, I am spending time reflecting on my students.  Here is a post I wrote to them, in honor of all of their hard work and growth as writers.  Quoting Kate Roberts, “Teacher chills”.  They never cease to amaze me!

It’s hard to believe that one month has come and gone and our SOLSC is coming to an end.  I am so proud of all that we accomplished, both in school and at home.  Everyone has shown what it looks like to live like a writer.  You are ALL writers!  You ALL have a voice that is being heard and admired by a bigger writing community.  It is my hope that you connected with other writers outside our four walls and that you have an opportunity to continue those connections, even when SOLSC comes to an end.

I have enjoyed reading all the small moments that happen in your daily lives.  I feel closer to each and every one of you because of your writing.  I’ve read poetry, lists of favorite athletes, glimpses into vacations, Slices that have been written alongside a parent, and Slices that have made me happy, sad, excited, and have left me wondering.
I’ve also read meaningful feedback where I can see how we can bond with people we’ve never met.  We’ve connected with writers from San Fransisco California, Birkenhead England, Andover Kansas, Indianapolis Indiana, Larchmont New York, and well beyond!  

Some of my favorite comments …

“Ha! I love it! I like how you separated it into two sections. you made me feel like I was right there.”

“I try to make the best post I can.  Thanks!”

“I love your inspiration posts!  I am so inspired!!!  (people usally say that I should be a pilot or a lawyer, but I want to be… an actress, or an artist, whatever I want to be!)”

“¡Estoy tan feliz por ti! ¡Ojalá estuviera allí para ver! ¡Debes haber estado explotando con emociones! ¿Podrías escribirlos?

(I am so happy for you! I wish I was there to see! You must’ve been exploding with emotions. Would you write them?)”

“Write very fast. big feet and vanilla ice cream. I love the way you think of unique ideas instead of copying everyone else! Keep up the good work!”

“You have such a nice dad. You should be proud. Maybe write about how you felt.”

“Wow your dad is doing an amazing thing for those people in need!!! My dad did something like that but he was helping the homeless and getting the homeless food and everything.”

“Happy Birthday!”

“I have that problem. I can not do the pickle. Like I will go in, in and out in and, out, out. Like it is the most confusing thing. but i’m sure you can do it!”

“O.M.G your story is awesome. 👏 Great job. You used so much IADD. I can NOT wait for more!’

 

 

“It doesn’t matter that you’ll get braces and reading glasses because you look good in anything!”

 

“That is an empowering quote… I hope you know that everyone knowns that you can do any thing if you put your mind to it :)”

“I like it a lot -you used good moves.  Good job-keep up the good work.”

“I know i don’t like it when people take away from my summer ):”

 

I have seen so much compassion and collaboration.  You should all be proud of the wonderful people you are and how you’ve reached out to other writers and supported their growth.  Teacher chills here … THANK YOU!

What has SOLSC done for me?  I think all of the above explains my answer.  Why do I write?  First and foremost, for my students.  (But I must admit, I look forward to embarking on the Tuesday SOL challenge!)

Until then … thank you Two Writing Teachers for making this possible!  You’ve touched countless lives!

 

SOL #30 2018

As SOLSC comes to an end, I have decided that for this Slice I’d keep it short and sweet.  I’m so proud of how I’ve developed as a writer this month.  I’ve enjoyed writing my daily Slices and receiving feedback from a global writing community.  There’s such enjoyment coming from the idea that my voice really does matter, no matter how silly or mundane a Slice.  Having said that, I have fallen short on the commenting aspect of SOLSC.  So, tonight, I am giving myself permission to sign-off of my own writing and sign-on to the community that deserves recognition for all of their Slices!

SOL #29 2018

It was a typical Thursday morning in our house.  Alarm goes off at 5:45-the very last minute to sleep before brushing my teeth, throwing on my gym clothes and heading out the door to head to the Y.  I stumble into the bathroom and hear the faint noise of water running.  “Is it the toilet?” I wonder.  I jiggle the lever and the sound remains.  “Ssssss” I listen with a more attentive ear.

I decide it’s time to turn off the water at the source.  I crouch down and begin to turn the knob thinking, “Righty-tighty, lefty-loosy” as I try to wake up my brain.  I finally finish turning the corroded knob and listen even closer.  “Still there,” I repeat.  I contemplate waking up my husband, but my lapse of judgement gets the best of me and I decide to let everyone sleep and I head out the door.

Flash forward an hour and a half.  It’s now 7:15 am and as I walk in the door from HIIT, I am confronted with, “Mom!  Dad’s in a really bad mood!” I stop in my tracks and realize heading to the gym and kindly letting everyone sleep in may not have been my best decision of the day.

Up the basement steps he comes and I take one good look and realize we have a problem on our hands.  His black sweatshirt is covered in sheetrock dust and he has a single bead of sweat dripping down his cheek.  “Dad?  What happened again?  Can I go in the basement?  Which toilet can I use?  Are you tired?  Mom!  You’re not going to believe what happened!” our ever-so-helpful son repeats, which only makes matters worse.

At that point, I knew to hold back any reaction, knowing this is not how anyone wants to start the day, let alone my sweet husband who takes care of other people’s homes daily.  One look says it all.  A pipe burst.  Leaked water all over our basement from our second floor master bath.  Through layers of sheetrock, into our first floor powder room and right into our basement.

Tomorrow’s a new day, right?  I know our family will excuse the mess while having Easter dinner here!

SOL #28 2018

A Slice I shared with my students this morning ….

This morning, I was visiting a second grade classroom.  The teacher, who by the way is a dynamic educator, was teaching her students about capitalization.  Her students were so engaged, participating in the discussion and sharing when to capitalize words.

“Be sure to start every sentence with a capital letter,” one child excitedly told her friends.  “Always use a big letter when it’s someone’s name,” chimed in another enthusiastic boy.  “I always use a capital when writing the word ‘I’,” shared Johnny.  “What about names of months?” asked Mrs. Smith.  “Of course!” they all shouted.

There was a long pause in the classroom.  Mrs. Smith made sure she had full attention from all of her students.  “Second graders …” long pause.  “You know all of the expectations for capitalizing your letters!  You’ve just shared them with each other.”  Lots of nods and smiles spread all over the classroom.  “It seems that you just need to remember to use what you already know.”

With that, an even longer pause.  As the second graders mouths dropped open a bit, I could see it in their eyes and expressions-“Oh boy, she’s onto us!” they thought.

FOURTH GRADERS … I challenge some of YOU!  Are you using what YOU already know about capitalization?  Challenge:  Go back to a couple of your previous Slices … add capitalization (punctuation too…).  I think your audience will be VERY grateful!

Fellow teachers … This is ALWAYS a struggle for me as a writing teacher.  Clearly, conventions are necessary, but I continue to have students that do not edit their work (some that even wait until the very end to add punctuation and capitals!)  When writing, I always speak to the fact that our audience deserves to read a piece that has been edited.  In the same breath, I worry for our reluctant writers and sometimes find myself excited when they entertain the idea of writing.  How do YOU foster this aspect of writing development?

SOL #27 2018

Do you ever feel like your eyes are so heavy you must close them?  My eyelids feel heavy and the entire area surrounding my eyes feel puffy and swollen.  It’s as if no amount of sleep-from 8 hours to 12 will have a positive impact on my worn-out eyes.

It all began 2 days ago.  I was heading to bed on Sunday night around 11 when I had to make that difficult decision-alarm set for 5 am or 6:00 am?  Some may wonder how just one hour can make any difference, but for other early risers out there you certainly know the difference!

As I stumbled upstairs in the dark, I made the final decision to give myself the gift of an extra hour.  It’s amazing how that simple hour feels like an eternity.  I just wish my eyes appreciated it as much as my mind.

Last night was a repeat of Sunday.  Sleep in or head to the gym?  Sleep-without hesitation was the final decision.  8 1/2 hours later, I awoke to my husband slipping out of bed to head for the shower.  Slowly, one foot in front of the other, I unplugged my phone from the jack, grabbed my water bottle and stepped downstairs.  As I walked past the large mirror in our dining room, I caught a glimpse of myself out of the corner of my eye.  “Yikes!” I shouted!  It looked like I had not one but two black eyes.  “Really?!”  My daughter came tearing around the corner, “What’s wrong, Mom?”  Before I could respond, she blurted out “Oh!  What happened to your eyes?”

Guess what I’ll be doing this evening?  You’ve got it!  Cucumbers, tea bags and cold compresses, here I come!

SOL #26 2018

Onions

The putrid smell.  The way they make my eyes burn like fire.  Their acidic bite.  The offensive odor they leave in your mouth for what feels like an eternity.

As a child, I loathed onions.  This hatred was so powerful that my mom would have to read all of the ingredients on pre-made sauces at the grocery store.  She spent hours of her life scoring the labels in search of a spaghetti sauce that was onion-free.  Maybe that’s why she perfected her own homemade concoction over the years?

Salsa?  Nope.  I loved the flavor, but could not handle any “chunks” as I’d call them.  As I got older, I’d actually take a strainer and remove all evidence of onion from the salsa and dip my tortillas in the remaining liquid, while throwing away all of the fresh vegetables that make salsa … salsa!

When I was 12 or 13, I was invited to my friend Carla’s house.  I was thrilled!  Carla was the girl that everyone wanted to be friends with – she was outgoing and always smiling.  My time had finally come-Carla wanted me to be her friend and even better, she had invited me to sleepover!

I loved everything about sleepovers!  From the anticipation to staying up until all hours giggling, telling our biggest secrets and playing our favorite games.  Unfortunately, this sleepover changed my perspective and made me think twice before accepting an invitation from another friend for a very long time.

Carla’s mom was very stern.  We all knew she meant business and that one of the worst things anyone could do was to upset Mrs. Warner.  Respecting your elders was of utmost importance in her eyes and we were always extra-vigilant about saying our pleases and thank you’s when in her presence.

We all pulled in our chairs at the dinner table, put our napkins on our laps and said a prayer before digging in the the home-cooked meal Mrs. Warner had made.  It was something called meatloaf-a new concept to me … what looked like hamburger molded into the shape of a loaf of bread.  “Interesting,” I thought but knew that I should dig right in and show Mrs. Warner how grateful I was for her meal.

That’s when everything came to a sudden hault!  First bite, mouth wide open, insert fork with a heaping pile of …  meat?  No such luck!  Onion the size of a quarter in my mouth!

I feared Mrs. Warner, but couldn’t hold back a physical reaction.  Eyes watering?  You betcha!  Nose crinkled?  Yep!  Gagging?  Of course … would you expect any less from the girl who despised anything onion?  Carla glanced in my direction and shot me the evil eye.  The one that silently screams, “Control yourself before the wrath of mom heads your way!”

With that, I sheepishly asked to be excused to use the restroom.  Before Carla’s mom could answer, she jumped right in and said, “Absolutely!”  I just barely made it to the toilet before vomiting the entire contents of my belly into the bowl.

As suspected, I was not ill but for those of you who truly have an aversion to a food will relate, the odor, flavor and texture of such food made my gag reflex get the best of me.

Thankfully, once the vomit flavor took over the onion taste was gone.  I was able to collect myself (of course, not before Carla came to check on me) and eventually exit the bathroom.  To this day, Carla’s mom does not know what happened that evening over 20 years ago…. at least I hope not!