Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Picking Up the Habit

Hooray! I am proud and pleasantly surprised that I made it the whole month of posting and commenting every day, so today, I've been doing a little reflecting.

I've loved writing since I was 7 years old. Maybe even before that, but that was when I remember writing my first poem. By age 8, I had enough poems to compile a chapbook with the help of my mother. Now, at age 32, I have files and files of poetry and short stories and essays, but I hadn't been writing much lately. I succeeded at keeping a journal during my pregnancy last year, but it fell by the wayside after a month or so of baby-watching. A friend suggested that perhaps the past couple of years have been happy... insinuating that I only write when I'm depressed or anxious. I suppose it's possible, but I don't think that's the case.

Writing is a habit. Yes, some of us feel the urge to do it more than others, but when the habit is lost, it's difficult to get back into it. It's hard work, after all. Few addictions are harder to keep up than to kick, but writing is one of them. I had fallen out of my writing habit for some reason, and to be honest, finding the reason doesn't seem important. The part I'm interested in is the getting back to it part - the solution.

So, I signed up for the SOLSC to see whether it was still there, deep inside, small and dim - the need to write. It was. It took some days to clear away the cobwebs. It took some whining about time and schedules and responsibilities. It took some remembering about craft and style. It took some whispering and shouting and singing to recall my voice. I'm so glad for the space and opportunity to be kicked in the butt because I usually won't get things done otherwise. On March 1st, I wondered with real fear, "Can I still write every day?" On March 31st, I know I can. I'm not saying I'll be posting a new blog every day for the rest of the year because some of those schedules and responsibilities did suffer this month, but the habit is back. It feels good to listen to clicking keys and watch the white screen fill with words again.

A very sincere thank you to Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life community.

Monday, March 30, 2015

PD Facilitation Resource

I design and develop a lot of professional learning these days. It's my primary responsibility. Of course, there are some non-negotiables to workshops: modeling best practices, creating the space for reflection and processing, norms of collaboration to foster a strong community of learners, opportunities to network with other educators...

I've learned plenty over the past three years (like bring candy for the afternoon), but one of the resources that I return to again and again is this book:

I have a book shelf, but I keep the "blue book" as we call it it, in my desk drawer because I flip through it so much. In it, the authors give a whole bunch of neat protocols that I've used as is, modified, or just browsed for inspiration. They are organized by goal: activating knowledge, generating ideas, summarizing and synthesizing, and so on. Many of the ideas in this book can be used with students, but I've found them to work really well with adult learners, in particular. If you're looking for a new twist with your department or PLC, check it out!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Attic Room

The empty room upstairs
painted pear and white
neutral and unobtrusive

A playroom for our only daughter
just across the hall
a jump and a skip
but apart

A secret reading nook
a lookout window
for sunsets and swingset
a sanctuary

Listening room for Brahms
Mozart and Beethoven live loud
Mendelssohn scamps

My husband thinks if he finishes it
another baby will come
What else
could come?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Back Home

There's nothing like going away but there's nothing like coming home.

As exciting as it is to take a vacation away from everything, I'm always eager to get home again and back to routine. This time, it was the first I'd been away from the baby for any extended amount of time. She's eight months old. How long do mothers usually wait before going away without baby? A friend of mine said ten years... that just seem unrealistic to me. Besides, I have a conference in a few weeks, so this was like a little test run.

It was glorious to go hiking, eat out, and sing karaoke, all without a worry about bedtime or snacks. But, after three days, I was ready to get a little baby hug. The good news is that even though she had a great time (our nanny sent photo evidence), she was ready for a hug from me too. Getting that hug felt even better than getting back to routine.

High Five Today On a Hike

1. On our hike today in the Wenatchee National Forest, we saw the last of Winter snow and the first buds of Spring right next to each other.

2. A lovely picnic that fueled the rest of the hike.

3. Hours of walking and talking with my partner. We always have things to talk about but don't always take the time.

4. Spotting animal tracks, hearing frogs and birds.

5. Feeling like I earned this beer!


I lived in Orlando off and on for 10 years, so I feel confident saying I know a thing or two about tourist traps. Growing up in Florida, I always loved the REAL Florida: natural springs, protected beaches, swampy mangroves... and I looked down my nose a bit at the tourist traps: theme parks, cruises, facades. Sure I've been to most of the theme parks, but I just felt sad for the tourists who flew across the country to see fake stuff.

Well, here I sit, in my room at the Bavarian Lodge in a Bavarian-themed town in the Cascade mountains, eating crow. Leavenworth, WA (basically one street) has been fashioned for the amusement of tourists and beer/streusel lovers. Think Helen, GA for the east coasters. It's a facade, but it's also quaint and charming and filled with people who really do live and work here. I know it's not really Bavarian, but sometimes it's nice to pretend.

What's not pretend are the amazing alpine peaks and mountain lakes surrounding Leavenworth. We'll be setting off on a hiking adventure tomorrow and I'm sure my leg muscles will attest to that!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The REAL Start of Spring

By now, we've all read about a hundred posts about the glorious onset of spring. I wrote one of them myself. Happy daffodils, cheerful tulips, and the zeal for physical activity that only comes after a long winter. However lovely all these may be, they are trivial in comparison to the bounty the season yielded today. The real herald of the new season finally came: the Clinique Spring Bonus gift!!!

I admit, I had been lurking around the Clinique counter for a month or so, awaiting the sign to be posted for the deal. I use Clinique face wash anyway, so it's not like I spend extra money to get the bonus gift (can you hear how I justify it all?). I had been rationing my face wash in an effort to make my purchase and GET MY GIFT. Get it, I did. It's never a whole lot (although the lipstick and mascara always make it worth it!), but there's something about the hunt that makes me feel like I did something amazing. See my haul! And yes, that tube is lip gloss and lipstick in one. Score!