Thursday, October 1, 2020

Today's Cup

Last Saturday my Aunt Diane stopped by to bring me something I had left at our family get-together on Labor Day. 

We sat on my back porch, a light cool breeze keeping us company. We talked about playing cards on our fall break, picking back up from our weekly summer card nights. 

That night I sent a group text with a countdown of the days - 25 to be exact.



That was the last time I talked to her. She had a heart attack the next afternoon and passed away Wednesday morning, the same day I found this poem. It speaks to my heart and is a gentle reminder of how easy it is to lose those we love. I don't write this post for sympathy. I write this to remind you how each day is a gift.

Days

Each one is a gift, no doubt, 
mysteriously placed in your waking hand 
or set upon your forehead 
moments before you open your eyes. 

Today begins cold and bright, 
the ground heavy with snow 
and the thick masonry of ice, 
the sun glinting off the turrets of clouds. 

Through the calm eye of the window 
everything is in its place 
but so precariously 
this day might be resting somehow 

on the one before it, 
all the days of the past stacked high 
like the impossible tower of dishes 
entertainers used to build on stage. 

No wonder you find yourself 
perched on the top of a tall ladder 
hoping to add one more. 
Just another Wednesday 

you whisper, 
then holding your breath, 
place this cup on yesterday’s saucer 
without the slightest clink.


May you take a moment 
to whisper,
to hold your breath,
and place today's cup 
on yesterday's saucer.

I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic

Thursday, September 17, 2020

I have forgotten...


It has been over two months since I have written a blog post. That is way too long.
Today, on Twitter, I saw this tweet.


And then I saw the invitation from Ruth Ayres to write. 

And so I did.

I have forgotten what it was like to weigh what my driver's license says
and to walk up and down the stairs without my knees hurting
and to read something without reaching for my glasses perched on top of my head.

I have forgotten what it was like to cook for just me
and come home to an empty apartment
and sign my name as "Blome".

I have forgotten the scent of little boy sweat mixed with pancakes and maple syrup
and the sound of the basketball bouncing in the driveway
and the feel of little feet kicking the driver's seat in the minivan.

But I remember that all I have forgotten makes up 
                    my today.


Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Sparkle

If you are a long-time reader of this blog, then you know about the EJDs. If you are a newcomer, then let me introduce you to my group of high school friends.

Eight of us have been friends for a very long time. Some for over 45 years. EJD stands for eight jelly donuts. We began calling ourselves that sometime during our junior year because...well, there are eight of us, and we used to do "innocent pranks" with jelly donuts.

This past weekend, five out of the eight got together again for two days of laughing, eating, and relishing in friendship.

It has now become a custom that creative gifts are exchanged. This year was no different.

One of the gifts was a specially made mask. It says, "EJD 2020" and the 0s are donuts.

After we took our picture, I sent it to my daughter. She texted, "Are you smiling?"

I thought to myself how dumb that really was and replied, "Oh, yeah. I guess we didn't realize that no one could tell we were smiling with the masks on."

She says, "Oh, I knew."

"How did you know?"

"I could tell by your eyes. They all sparkle."

Sparkle.

Yes, our eyes did sparkle because we were with people we loved, and our joy in the time spent together couldn't help but bubble up and make our eyes sparkle.

This moment made me think about returning to school. Masked. Where no one can tell I am smiling unless they look at my eyes.

I hope they see the sparkle.

I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Creating a New Space

At the end of this month, this blog will celebrate its 7th year. It is hard to believe that I have been sharing words in this space for that long.

I have grown as a writer, a poet, and a storyteller. When I think about why I started this blog, my answer is simply because I wanted to share a day in my life as a reader, a writer, and a teacher, and I wanted to join a community of writers.

I still want to continue writing here, but this space has grown and needs to be pruned a bit. So, I will continue to share stories and poems and reflections about my life, but my teaching life is moving to a new space.

This week I will be creating space on another blog called Pencils, Pages, and Practices. My goal is for this space is to become a place to share ideas, resources, and what I am learning and doing in my classroom. I hope you will continue to join me here AND check out my new corner in the teaching world, too!


Thursday, June 4, 2020

Weekend Verbs #SOSMagic


Sometimes I just need a time-out. Time for me. Time to do what I want, when I want, and why I want.

And try hard not to think it selfish.

With so much time at home and school being "officially" out, scrolling through social media and getting sucked into its toxic hold was taking up too much of my time. Last weekend I took a personal time-out, and I unplugged for almost three days.

Do you know what I learned?

  • The world continues with or without me scrolling through it.
  • My personal productivity increased.
  • It wasn't as difficult as what I thought it would be.
  • I was happier.
  • Returning takes discipline.
  • I didn't miss it.

Sunday night I sat with my notebook and wrote my weekend verbs, all the things I did instead of plugging in.

I made time to:

walk
plant
transplant
water
fertilize
smile
read
write
celebrate
sleep
grill
relax
lounge
(sun)burn
talk
collaborate
soak
eat
swing
rock
observe
laugh
drive

BE

Maybe time-outs aren't such a bad thing after all!


I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic

Friday, May 29, 2020

The Blank Page #PoetryFriday


It's Poetry Friday and Mary Lee has the round-up this week at A Year of Reading. Check out all the poetry goodness!

If you have a loved one who has struggled with dementia or Alzheimer's Disease, then you can understand the pain of watching someone so desperately trying to find a memory or even a simple word. There are times of recognition, but as time goes on, those moments become brief.

My grandmother-in-law wrote pages and pages of her life stories before she died. I treasure them although they belong to my husband. My mother has early dementia, and I gave her a notebook for Christmas urging her to write her stories. I don't want her pages to be blank. I want my children to know stories and to treasure them, too.

These times are heavy on my heart, and this poem is a result.

The Blank Page


Each day the sun rises,
the morning’s page
beckons for a story,
                a memory.

The sun shines, and
your eyes light up
until the words, like dried ink
fail to come
                once again.

Throughout the day
I see you searching
reaching to grasp a memory,
like a child trying to catch fireflies
blinking on and off
                in the dark.

Each day the sun sets
and the page remains blank
held together by words
                unwritten.


Picture at Pixabay
Edited:  Mary Lee pointed out how the last line of each stanza was a poem within the poem. I bolded the words using her noticings.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Letter to My Daughter #SOSMagic

Dear Megan,

It is hard to believe nine years ago you made a decision that would set you on the path to where you are today. When you said you wanted to become a teacher, many people questioned and criticized your choice. You were a 4.0 student and people couldn't believe "you wanted to be a teacher."

But I knew. Mommas always know.

Last week you finished your 5th year of teaching. You know what that means? You beat the odds. Many teachers don't make it past five. I know the first year was rough and honestly, I didn't think either one of us was going to get through that one. 
Isn't she just the cutest third-grade teacher!

I have never seen you teach in person, but I have seen the love you have for your students and the love you put into making your classroom a safe and happy place for them to be and to learn.

Today, as I was driving you around town to deliver your student gifts, I did something that I never told you about. I rolled the window down and listened. 

Just listened. I watched the surprised look on their sweet little faces when they saw you standing at their door. I heard the way your love poured from your heart and into your words. "Hey, buddy! Do you know today would have been? The last day of school! I know this isn't how we wanted it to be, but I wanted to share it with you anyway."  

I saw their faces light up when they opened their gifts, specially chosen for each one. I watched them smile as they looked at the picture in the frame, documenting your time together. And I watched you stay 6 feet apart when I know you so desperately wanted to hug each one of them. It took every ounce of strength I had to hold the back the tears. 

Seeing you on those porches today with your students, I know why you became a teacher.

And I couldn't be prouder.

Love,
Mom


I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Memory Catchers #SOSMagic

As writers, we are also memory catchers, like someone carefully running through time with our butterfly nets and whispering, "I caught one." 

When I read Elsie's post last week about her plain walnut box, I knew what I would be writing about today. I have a jewelry box that holds "junk" but also memories of so many different stages in my life. I'll be honest, I haven't looked in this drawer for a long time. But when I did, the memories were released.
  • Charm bracelets, a fad from my junior high days. A flute, a volleyball, and a key to happiness. 
  • Silver quarters I found while working the cash registers at McDonald's.
  • My high school ring and senior key.
  • My sorority pins and pledge ribbon from college.
  • A teddy bear necklace, the very first Christmas gift when my husband and I started dating. 
  • My broken engagement ring and diamond, which wasn't really an engagement ring because we were never really engaged.
  • A sycamore leaf pendant that I was awarded for Manager of the Year during my first career.
  • Some of Megan and Ethan's baby teeth that must have fallen out of the bag where I keep them.
  • Ethan's first library card when he was four years old.
  • My mom's business card when she lived in China.
  • Girl Scout pins when I was a leader for Megan's troop.
...any many other things that I have just kept tucked away over the years.

I really have no idea why I have kept many of these things in this drawer. I guess it is because I am a memory catcher, and just like butterflies, I don't always want to let them go.


Thursday, May 7, 2020

Friends and Scrabble Boards #SOSmagic


Humans are wired for connection. Many times this connection comes from our families, but often our friends fill this need too.

I have many groups of friends from teaching friends to online friends to family friends to longtime high school friends. They have all shaped who I am during the different stages of my life. I can't imagine my life without any of them.

If you have been a long-time reader of my blog, you know about my high school friends - the EJDs, also known as The Eight Jelly Donuts. Most of us have been friends for over 40 years even as we have lived from all four corners of the country and from one coast to the other.

Together, we have been through marriage and divorce, birth and infertility, eating disorders and addiction, cancer scares and death of parents, career changes and life changes, grandkids and menopause. And through it all, we have remained friends.

We have zoomed several times during this isolation period. Angie, my friend-turned-sister-in-law has been "playing" a new kind of Scrabble game. She chooses a theme for a board and builds words to fit that theme while challenging herself to use all of the letters. This is her EJD board.

This board reminds me of my students. I worry about them. Middle school is a time for change not only physically, mentally, and emotionally, but also socially. This is the time when friend groups change. Elementary friend groups evolve into middle school groups, which can set the course for many years ahead.

I have had students tell me the worst part of this pandemic is not being able to be with their friends. I have parents who are allowing kids to see each other while other parents are not. In the middle of this, kids are trying to figure out where they belong. Some feel their friends are changing and some are moving on without them. Some are trying to hang on to the friends they have while trying to understand who their true friends are.

Middle school life is messy even without a pandemic.

I worry.

They are searching for connection. They need connection.

I reassure them by telling them my own friend stories while they are rewriting theirs. Life revision is hard. They are beginning to place the tiles on their own Scrabble boards. In the years to come, I want them to be able to use all of the letters and to connect all of their words in their own beautiful stories.

And I pray that they become blessed with their own EJDs.



Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Spring State of Mind #NationalPoetryMonth



It is April, and I am joining many others in celebrating National Poetry Month. This month many people turn to their gardens and landscapes and play in the dirt. I'd rather do a little playing with words. This month I will be creating found poems by taking words, phrases, and lines from other texts and rearranging them into a "literary collage" with a whole new meaning.

I feel like spring has finally arrived, and may even stay. It is raining this morning (again!) and looking out the window, I notice that everything is so, so green as if the change happened overnight. This also happens when the days begin to get lighter. I wake up one day and just...notice.

As I have been walking during the quarantine, I have noticed the arrival of spring more. Maybe it is because I am forced to slow down a little and take notice. To be in that spring state of mind.



Today's forecast:
sundance
raindance
flower power

spring state of mind




And the Progressive Poem continues...



1.   Donna Smith at Mainely Write
2.   Irene Latham at Live Your Poem
3.   Jone MacCulloch at deowriter
4.   Liz Steinglass
5.   Buffy Silverman
6.   Kay McGriff at A Journey Through the Pages
7.   Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
8.   Tara Smith at Going to Walden
9.   Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10. Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11. Janet Fagel hosted at Reflections on the Teche
12. Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
13. Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
14. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
15. Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
16. Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
17. Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
18. Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading
19. Tabitha at Opposite of Indifference
20. Rose Capelli at Imagine the Possibilities
21. Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
22. Julieanne Harmatz at To Read, To Write, To Be
23. Ruth at There is no such thing at a God-forsaken town
24. Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wandering
25. Amy at The Poem Farm
26. Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work that Matters
27. Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
28.
29. Fran at lit bits and pieces
20. Michelle Kogan

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

When Life is Messy #NationalPoetryMonth



It is April, and I am joining many others in celebrating National Poetry Month. This month many people turn to their gardens and landscapes and play in the dirt. I'd rather do a little playing with words. This month I will be creating found poems by taking words, phrases, and lines from other texts and rearranging them into a "literary collage" with a whole new meaning.

When I was playing around with my words, this poem came about, but I was afraid it would send the wrong kind of message.


This one I felt was a little more positive. Sometimes when life does get messy, like in our current situation, we don't always slow down, stop, and take in those small things that we know mean so much. So, even though sometimes we may just want to throw in the towel or give up and exit, we may find better footing on another path.


Just when you think
life's messy
don't fear
find your path
one foot in front of the other
and

stop and smell the roses.


And the Progressive Poem continues...



1.   Donna Smith at Mainely Write
2.   Irene Latham at Live Your Poem
3.   Jone MacCulloch at deowriter
4.   Liz Steinglass
5.   Buffy Silverman
6.   Kay McGriff at A Journey Through the Pages
7.   Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
8.   Tara Smith at Going to Walden
9.   Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10. Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11. Janet Fagel hosted at Reflections on the Teche
12. Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
13. Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
14. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
15. Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
16. Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
17. Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
18. Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading
19. Tabitha at Opposite of Indifference
20. Rose Capelli at Imagine the Possibilities
21. Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
22. Julieanne Harmatz at To Read, To Write, To Be
23. Ruth at There is no such thing at a God-forsaken town
24. Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wandering
25. Amy at The Poem Farm
26. Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work that Matters
27. Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
28.
29. Fran at lit bits and pieces
20. Michelle Kogan

Monday, April 27, 2020

The Journey #NationalPoetryMonth



It is April, and I am joining many others in celebrating National Poetry Month. This month many people turn to their gardens and landscapes and play in the dirt. I'd rather do a little playing with words. This month I will be creating found poems by taking words, phrases, and lines from other texts and rearranging them into a "literary collage" with a whole new meaning.


A day with...
small acts of kindness
can lead to 
a strong spirit
for the miles ahead.

Here we go!


And the Progressive Poem continues...



1.   Donna Smith at Mainely Write
2.   Irene Latham at Live Your Poem
3.   Jone MacCulloch at deowriter
4.   Liz Steinglass
5.   Buffy Silverman
6.   Kay McGriff at A Journey Through the Pages
7.   Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
8.   Tara Smith at Going to Walden
9.   Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10. Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11. Janet Fagel hosted at Reflections on the Teche
12. Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
13. Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
14. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
15. Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
16. Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
17. Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
18. Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading
19. Tabitha at Opposite of Indifference
20. Rose Capelli at Imagine the Possibilities
21. Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
22. Julieanne Harmatz at To Read, To Write, To Be
23. Ruth at There is no such thing at a God-forsaken town
24. Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wandering
25. Amy at The Poem Farm
26. Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work that Matters
27. Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
28.
29. Fran at lit bits and pieces
20. Michelle Kogan

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Celebrate! #NationalPoetryMonth



It is April, and I am joining many others in celebrating National Poetry Month. This month many people turn to their gardens and landscapes and play in the dirt. I'd rather do a little playing with words. This month I will be creating found poems by taking words, phrases, and lines from other texts and rearranging them into a "literary collage" with a whole new meaning.




The key of life
wear confidence
be bold
breathe deep
sparkle plenty

nourish your body
awaken your mind
and soothe your soul

but
never miss 
a chance
to celebrate
the moment!

The Progressive Poem continues today at Dani's blog, Doing the Work that Matters.



1.   Donna Smith at Mainely Write
2.   Irene Latham at Live Your Poem
3.   Jone MacCulloch at deowriter
4.   Liz Steinglass
5.   Buffy Silverman
6.   Kay McGriff at A Journey Through the Pages
7.   Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
8.   Tara Smith at Going to Walden
9.   Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10. Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11. Janet Fagel hosted at Reflections on the Teche
12. Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
13. Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
14. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
15. Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
16. Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
17. Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
18. Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading
19. Tabitha at Opposite of Indifference
20. Rose Capelli at Imagine the Possibilities
21. Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
22. Julieanne Harmatz at To Read, To Write, To Be
23. Ruth at There is no such thing at a God-forsaken town
24. Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wandering
25. Amy at The Poem Farm
26. Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work that Matters
27. Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
28.
29. Fran at lit bits and pieces
20. Michelle Kogan

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Small Steps #NationalPoetryMonth




It is April, and I am joining many others in celebrating National Poetry Month. This month many people turn to their gardens and landscapes and play in the dirt. I'd rather do a little playing with words. This month I will be creating found poems by taking words, phrases, and lines from other texts and rearranging them into a "literary collage" with a whole new meaning.

I spent some time today in my collection of words. It has been a dreary, rainy Saturday, and letting my fingers sort through brought comfort and some much needed time away from the screen.




Amy at The Poem Farm has today's line with the Progressive Poem.



1.   Donna Smith at Mainely Write
2.   Irene Latham at Live Your Poem
3.   Jone MacCulloch at deowriter
4.   Liz Steinglass
5.   Buffy Silverman
6.   Kay McGriff at A Journey Through the Pages
7.   Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
8.   Tara Smith at Going to Walden
9.   Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10. Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11. Janet Fagel hosted at Reflections on the Teche
12. Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
13. Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
14. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
15. Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
16. Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
17. Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
18. Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading
19. Tabitha at Opposite of Indifference
20. Rose Capelli at Imagine the Possibilities
21. Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
22. Julieanne Harmatz at To Read, To Write, To Be
23. Ruth at There is no such thing at a God-forsaken town
24. Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wandering
25. Amy at The Poem Farm
26. Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work that Matters
27. Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
28.
29. Fran at lit bits and pieces
20. Michelle Kogan