SOLC 31 of 31: Easter Morning Treasure Hunt

This year, like the past few, started with an Easter Egg Treasure Hunt that led the kids to their Easter Baskets. It’s only 10 clues long and takes them between the 3 floors in our house, but it is so fun! I love the excitement on their face as they figure out each clue, run from room to room and ultimately find the basket filled with candy.

Since I am Jewish and my husband is Catholic, we celebrate a lot of “both” in my family. Therefore the Easter Baskets are just little with some candy in them – no toys or large gifts. My daughter often asks how come her friends get bigger presents for Easter. But, the one tradition I have started for them, so that they will feel some sense of the Easter Basket part is this treasure hunt.

They look forward to it and I hope that even when they stop believing in the Easter Bunny that they will still enjoy the hunt for the baskets.


SOLC 30 of 31: The Benefits of Slicing

Nearing the end of my 3rd month long challenge, I making a list of why I enjoy this challenge so much.

1. It forces a good habit – writing every day
2. It pushes you beyond your comfort zone of topics – 31 topics is a stretch, so eventually you’ll need to dig deep and find new things to write about, research and reflect on.
3. Feedback. The feedback and value of the feedback from a community of writers cannot be underestimated. It fuels your writing and inspires you to write more.
4. Reading other slices – gives you perspective, ideas and inspires new genres or topics that I might not have otherwise thought of.
5. Documenting a moment in time of your life – this is truly a gift for ourselves, to document our thoughts for one month of the year. One day, we’ll look back and read our entries and say, “wow, why was I thinking about that?” or “oh, I remember that!”
6. Playing with genres – because these entries don’t have to be anything, they can be everything – short or long, poems or prose, conversations or reflections – and the opportunity to have complete control over that is itself inspiring.

SOLC 29 of 31: Transformation

The room
once fuchsia pink
is now
trobicana cabana blue
in a blink.

The room
once seafoam green
is now
meditation tan
summoning up
a beachy aura.

The room
once light blue
will soon
spring meadow green

The room
once holding Christmas Lionel Trains
is now a classroom for
it’s 8-year old teacher.

Amazing how small changes
can transform spaces.

SOLC 28 of 31: Photography and Writing

Taking photos
is like
writing slices

With photos
You have to
take a lot
of shots
to get a
really good one.

In writing,
you have to
write a lot
of slices
to get a
really good one.

And both
need review
and publication.

SOLC 27 of 31: A Gift of Writing

I am a Shutterfly photobook addict.
I’ve also been known to use Shutterfly to publish “text only” books that are collections of my SOLC entries for the month.
I have a coupon from Shutterfly in my inbox for a free book. So last night, I took my daughter’s 2nd and 3rd grade writing pieces and typed them up into a book for her. She is a Shutterfly expert, so she helped with the layout and backgrounds. We added a few pictures to support her work and BAM – the gift of writing – all shiny, hard-cover bound and a forever memento. We will finish and order the book today and eagerly await our orange box with our collection of writing!

Over the past two SOLC challenges, I’ve made my book AFTER the challenge. This year, all along the way, I’ve been copying and pasting my entries into my “SOLC Challenge Volume III” Shutterfly book. I’m just a few days away from ordering this gift for myself!

The collections of writing from a particular period of time in one’s life are priceless to have!

SOLC 26 of 31: The messy before the clean

I am having my kids’ rooms painted in two days. Therefore – it’s time to clean up and clean out before painting. The rooms are messy before they are clean. I hate that part about cleaning up. It’s always worse before it gets better. Its funny though, it’s a see-saw of feelings from overwhelmed to “let’s go,” from “I don’t want to,” to “it’ll be worth it.” It’s a great opportunity for us to go through their rooms and de-clutter, but it always seems like I’m the one doing most of the de-cluttering and cleaning.

It’s the messy before the clean.
It’s the chaos before the peace.
It’s the before, before the after.

SOLC 25 of 31: Frustration

Frustration is
trying to type my SOLC piece
on my husband’s new computer
and the cursor
has a mind of its own.

Giving up.
Giving in.

SOLC 24 of 31: Accessories

When I moved into my house 7 years ago, my mother and father and in-laws were here to help me unpack. It was great to have that kind of help (especially with a 2 year old and 3 week old)! But it was my mother-in-law who helped to accessorize. She put some artificial greenery above the cabinets and although I never would have chosen to do it myself, I have to admit that it adds a little bit of “life” to the kitchen. She helped pick out the cabinet in the entry way and the artificial flower arrangement that sits on it. Again, I wouldn’t have chosen it myself, but it is nice to have. She was instrumental in urging us to get our carpets and had a knack for shopping on line to find just the right colors, shapes and sizes.

Her mother, my husband’s grandmother, also made a flower arrangement for us. Additionally, in her younger days she sewed the curtains for my master bedroom, made “pottery barn” knock-off curtains for my daughter’s room and sewed seat covers for the dining room chairs.

My mother-in-law passed away a little over a year ago. Since then, I’ve thought many times about getting new flowers for the front hall (just to change up the colors) – but I don’t know where to begin. I mean, I do. I’ve gone to the store many times and looked at the flowers. But it’s just not my thing. I don’t know which types or colors to pick. My mother-in-law would. So, the flowers stay the same until I can channel my mother-in-law or take a risk to accessorize.

SOLC 23 of 31: What lives in us

In a recent conversation with my Aunt we were planning a short overnight trip together. She was reminicsing about how when she planned trips with my Grandma Janet, grandma would always hem and haw before the trip. The constant complaining prior to the trip was almost enough to make her want to cancel it. But once on the trip, or home, grandma would be happy she went along. My daughter is the same way! I didn’t connect the two pieces of their personalities until we were planning this trip together. My daughter will hem and haw and complain about going somewhere even if we are off to the most amazing place. Once there, she LOVES it and after the trip I’ll often remind her of her prior complaining (in hopes that maybe next time she won’t). It’s funny how those personality quirks are passed down too!

My Grandma Janet was also the master of striking up conversations with strangers — anywhere, anytime. She’d make the doctors waiting room a friendly chat room, or the line at the restaurant. She’d give out compliments to strangers and learn their life story before you even knew it. In her older years, she’d accompany us, but sit on a bench to wait while the kids played at the park. There, she’d make a new friend and then tell us all about them on the way home. This skill doesn’t live within me. I’m not good at making small talk with people I don’t know. It certainly is a talent! We marveled at her ability to strike up conversations and put everyone at ease. I wish this did live within me. Maybe it’s there and it’s something to work on.

SOLC 22 of 31: Neecy

Neecy, Grandma Bernice, died just 3 days short of her 91st birthday. I haven’t figured out how best to capture her 0 through story or poem, so I thought today I’d start with a list that might help me craft something in the next few days.

Neecy, wasn’t Neecy until my kids came along and called her that. She was always Grandma Bernice to me.

In her later years, she didn’t like having her photograph taken unless her hair had been “done.”

Neecy said, “I’m not a good cook, but I’m good at making reservations!” This was true – we did mostly eat out when we visited with her.

She enjoyed flea markets just as much as she enjoyed the country club dinners.

She lived in New Jersey most of her life, but Florida is where she seemed at ease and at home.

She was fiercely independent – but I didn’t know that until my grandfather died. When he died, I assumed she would too. I didn’t know how she would go on without him. But she did, for 5 more years. She lived alone in her apartment until the day that she died and that’s exactly how she wanted it.

Neecy ran Grandpa’s insurance business while he was away at war. She did this, even though she had young children and had no idea how to run a business. But she did it and she did it well.

When my grandparents were newly retired, they loved to travel and take college classes as part of a program they were part of. I loved listening to them talk about the week-long class and the newly learned knowledge. Thinking back, it was a wonderful model for life-long learners that they chose to take classes for enjoyment.

Neecy’s last car was a red Buick coupe with the license plate HERS on it. Grandpa had HIS. It was flashy and little and didn’t strike me as one that characterized her. She wasn’t flashy like that. But she LOVED her little car.

When we would visit her in Florida, we would want to stay and be with her. But she shooed us away – “Go! Enjoy the beach. Go! Play tennis! Go!” – and so we did. Our visits were usually spent at the beach during the day and with dinner with her and grandpa or just her after grandpa died.

Grandma Bernice was fun and young! She swam and did water aerobics until almost the day she passed. When I brought my kids to see her, she played on the floor with them and marveled at their antics. Seeing her laying on the floor on her stomach with my infant son in front of the full length mirror is an image I’ll never forget.

Neecy was quiet yet warm, caring but conservative and always a cheerleader. I miss her.

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