Life moves fast, so slice on…SOLC 2015, 31 of 31

I think what I love most about 31 days of slicing is that it captures and memorializes a month in my life, a month of my thinking and noticings, a month of captured conversations, questions and situations.

Life moves fast, so slicing allows us to honor the moment and then hold on to it.

Today marks the completion of 5 years of slicing. For each year, I have created a hard-cover shutterfly book with each of my slices in them.  Today, I will complete Volume V. Very cool. And one day, I’ll look back on what I wrote each March and some things will still resonate and others will seem silly or mundane, but I will have written them.  And they will be there long after I’m gone for my kids to know my words, my tone and my thoughts.

In this digital world, I think sometimes we allow our work to be so fluid and digital that we forget the art of the published text in hard copy.  So if you can, take your slices off your blog and print them, or make a book or create a folder where they also live for others who may not be so digitally inclined, to read them.

Life moves fast, so slice on…

And I hope to….every Tuesday!

You’ll Know It’s Spring When… SOLC 2015, 30 of 31

You’ll know it’s spring when
the brown grass turns to green
when the snow banks melt
and the parking lot is clean

You’ll know it’s spring when
the sky is gorgeous blue
and the warmth of the sun
comes blazing through!

You’ll know it’s spring when
your boots and coats are changed
with gear that’s for the rain

You’ll know it’s spring when
your toes and fingers aren’t numb
you can shed your jacket and
enjoy the sun

So where is Spring?

Shopping Sunday, SOLC 2015, 29 of 31

It’s Sunday. Time to go grocery shopping while the kids are at Hebrew School. I hate grocery shopping. I always feel overwhelmed by the options in the store. Overwhelmed and not up to the challenge.

I have my list. I stick to it, for the most part. Usually coming home with something that wasn’t planned or needed. Sometimes I come home with something unplanned by really delicious! Last week I picked up a gelato that was scrumptious. This week it’s on my list to buy again.

In the checkout line, I review the items of those before me and those after me. Better choices. More creative. I wonder what they are making. Trying to get inspired before my next shopping trip. In line, I peruse the cooking magazines – EASY, LIGHT, 5 INGREDIENTS – they say. I could do that, right. But I leave the magazine behind, afraid that it will sit unused once its at home.

But, it’s Sunday. Time to face the grocery store. Here we go…

Recovery, SOLC 2015, 28 of 31

Two days ago, my husband had lower back surgery. He came home yesterday with a strict set of instructions for recovery. Neither of us realized how difficult the recovery would be before it got better. At the hospital, the restrictions started:

No BLT (bending, lifting or twisting) for 6 weeks to 3 months
No driving for 2 weeks.
No shower for 3 days.
Get up and walk every 30 minutes.
Roll in and out of bed.
Push with your arms to get up out of a chair.
Make sure that when doing computer work, your work station is ergonomically correct (screen at eye level, hands at 90 degrees)
No physical activity for 3 months

It seemed like a lot then, but now, home, it feels like even more. Without him able to get out of bed on his own right now, we were both up every two hours last night.

Currently, he can’t dress himself or put on his on shoes – now MY back is aching too!

It’s amazing what we take for granted – and healthy and fitness and flexibility shouldn’t be one of them. I realize that now for sure! He will mend and be moving around more and more each day. Until then, we’ll try to keep following doctor’s orders.

Waiting Room, SOLC 2015, 27 of 31

Yesterday, in the hospital waiting room (or Family Respite Room, as they call it), I was struck by the co-mingled parallel experiences of its occupants.

Many of us had checked in together that morning around 5:30 am. We part ways, go with our loved ones and then the wait begins. And it goes. Hours later we find ourselves together again in the waiting room. All feeling the same tension, all trying to pass the time. Waiting for news from our loved one’s doctor or surgical team.

Sometimes we chat – not really introducing ourselves by name, just falling into a conversation to pass the time. We learn a little about each other from hints of overhead phone conversations. We learn a little about the reason for being there. Then we go back to passing the time on our kindles, phones, computers, books.

The room perks up as a nurse or doctor approaches the waiting room – hoping that its news for them. We extend kindness to one another – offering to watch their personal items (computers, clothing, etc.) while they go to eat – we understand that it’s too much to carry around.

And then, one by one, we peel off as our loved ones are moved from recovery to private rooms and we can once again be with them. The waiting room wishes us well and there the co-mingling ends.

Smiles and Surgery, SOLC 2015, 26 of 31

This morning my husband is having lower back surgery. We had to arrive at the hospital at 5:30 am for pre-surgery admission.

Everyone we met at the hospital greeted us with a smile. Each step of the way. From admission, to the nurse at the nursing station, to the nurse serving the pre-op room, to the anesthesiologist and her team, to the doctor – they all smiled, and joked and were funny and warm.

It made a difference. This surgery isn’t too complicated (and as I write this, I just got the call that the surgery is over and all is GOOD!), but it made me think of what a difference it makes for them all to be so smiley at 6 am – and how at ease it made us.

All too often we fault doctors and nurses for their bedside manner (or lack thereof), but today I applaud it and couldn’t be happier with the welcome and warmth we were given.

Smiles with surgery go a long way to easing surgery and starting recovery.

Baseball/Cookie Time, SOLC 2015, 25 of 31

It’s baseball time
time for
gloves and new cleats
bats
and new uniforms
time for
team meetings
team spirit
team gear
and opening day

It’s GS cookie time
time for orders
deliveries
collecting money
thank you notes
time for booth sales
posters
and eating and enjoying

It’s spring time
time for
cookies
and baseball

On giving, SOLC 2015, 24 of 31

Lately, I’ve been collecting clothing and shoes for a few families in need in my school. I do this from time to time for usually one family, but right now, the need is bigger, so I’ve branched out.

Two things always strike me – the generosity of those around me and the gratefulness of those who are receiving the items.

I put out an e-mail to a few friends, colleagues and our PTO Board members and bags and bags of items came in. Coats and boots, jeans and t-shirts, socks and pajamas. Wow!

And each family who came to pick up the items graciously took them and said, “Thanks, this helps.”

It’s amazing what clothes can do for a kid. Just like food fuels their body, having clothes and shoes that fit – fuels their spirit. The next day, they skip into the classroom showing off the new shoes. For one student, this made a huge difference in her behavior and her attitude. Sometimes we need this reminder – be patient, be caring, be compassionate. Academics is hard when your feet aren’t comfy. When your shoes are too small or too big and you don’t have socks.

Today a family requested some help with hygiene products. I’ll put out the call (or e-mail). I am so proud that she felt she could ask. But it is a reminder that just some basics things can make all the difference.

Yesterday we got an e-mail from our local girl scout troop who asked for snack donations for a nearby school district in need. Again, we sent out an e-mail and gathered donations.

When our content work seems so hard for our students, let’s remember the basics – the food, the clothing, the hygiene products – may be part of the answer we are seeking.

Finding motivation from comments and commenting, SOLC 2015, 23 of 31

Yesterday (maybe due to the commenting challenge), I got a lot of comments on my post. And each time I checked my inbox, there were more comments for me to moderate. And each time I read a comment, my heart leaped with joy knowing that another reader had connected with my writing in some way. The result was immediate. Not only was I more energized to keep posting, but I was more energized to keep commenting on other people’s posts.

So, that got me thinking about this type of community and the commenting and what it does for us as writers, teachers, parents, people. It allows us to be vulnerable and safe at the same time, while operating under an assumed honor code of respectful communication. It assumes that we are all entering this challenge willingly and are wanting to connect with others. This is empowering. The praise for the effort, the content and the craft propels us forward to do more, to do better and to try harder.

How then, can we bring this into our classroom worlds daily? Not only in the area of writing, but in all areas – to allow students to feel the positivity and be motivated by it? I don’t have the answer yet, but it’s rolling around in my mind. Post-its? Compliment sticks? Bookmarks? But the idea of it being in writing so that it lives and can be referred back to is compelling. Because on the days that we don’t feel at our best, it sometimes can be the positive feedback that keeps us moving forward.

Writing I love and Writing I don’t, SOLC 2015, 22 of 31

The writing I love
is for me
is for them
is stories
and noticings
and observations

The writing I love
is easy
and fun
and well-recieved.

The writing I love
is exploratory
and risky
and crafty.

The writing I don’t love
is forced
formulaic
evaluative

The writing I don’t love
is pressured
time bound
and topic driven by someone else

Guess which writing I’ve been doing all morning? 😦

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