Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Spring Fling Challenge-Card Making

I designed the card with spring in mind when I made it.  It's a tuck card.  The front says, "Hello Sunshine".  The flap says "life's showers bring loves flowers" and the inside says "No matter the weather we're in this together".  All of the stamps and paper are from Stampin' Up.  I had such fun making this card.  Thanks to "The Spot" for hosting the "spring fling" challenge.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Rocket Ship Good-bye

Write Share Give
Slice 26 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge

Well, it finally happened...

Grief is all in me right now...

Last week, I wrote about the rocket ship climber that the trash truck wouldn't take...

My husband felt frenzied when he arrived home and saw IT WAS STILL AROUND.

Once again, it was removed from the curb and brought back into the yard.

On Sunday morning as I got ready to dry my hair, I heard this loud banging noise!  I threw up the window shade and witnessed the sledge hammer breaking apart the rocket ship into pieces-appropriate pieces-like taking apart a giant puzzle.

I yelled out the window, "What are you doing?"

He yelled back, "Taking it apart.  Maybe someone will take it since it's in manageable pieces."

Sadly, I agreed.

It went back on the curb yesterday.  I knew what was going to happen.  I prayed and prayed that it would go to a loving home.  I know many shoppers were out on walks yesterday in the neighborhood.

Free!  Free to a good and loving home!  Please, please take it.

Alas, no takers...

So today, when I just heard the trash truck roll down the hill, I knew what was about to happen...

I heard the pieces flying into the truck-lifted and heaved, lifted and heaved, lifted and heaved.

It pulled away...

Good-bye rocket ship climber.  We loved you so!  Feeling sad you had to go.




Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Naming those feelings-what it is!

Write Share Give

Day 24 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge
That thing you're feeling...

I have been missing things, feeling a little sad over the way the morning has rolled...


corona-virus headlinesπŸŽ‡

morning joe ☕

email check πŸ–‚

inbox full of many resources (helpful)

reminder of PLC meetings on the calendar (not happening)

morning duty greeting the kids (not happening)

morning math group (not happening)

webinar on virtual coaching (it's on)

morning circle song (it's on)

virtual principal coach meeting (it's on)

twitter check (it's on)

THIS-article from Harvard Business Review (thanks to @JimKnight99 for the Twitter link)

If you can name it, you can tame it!

I'm feeling grief...

I'm naming it.  And I will keep going!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Imagining the Virtual in Quarantine

Write Share Give

Day 23 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge


A text popped up:

Can you do a little hangout later or are you still with family?

My reply: Sure! The fam is good to go.  Should we do phone? FaceTime?  Google hangout?

Text back: Hangout 

My reply: what time?

Text back: Around 9:15.

My reply:  see you then!

Later in the evening...

Text back:  can you see the invite I sent? 

My reply:  yes getting on now!

I linked into the call!

Suddenly, I see a piece of cake with a lit candle!
Three friends begin singing the happy birthday song!

So sweet!
We couldn’t celebrate in a surprise in person so they surprised me virtually.  

We laughed, checked-in and swapped a few old stories.  

We discussed the reciprocal teaching strategy with a connection to the book Pictures of Hollis Woods.  

And shared a tip.  If you initiate a google hangout as a teacher be sure everyone hangs up before you leave the call.  

Then we said goodbye.  It was an awesome way to end my special day.

Imagine four friends hanging out-only this time, virtually.  

Imagining is not so hard these days.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Chapter 50!

Write Share Give

Today's the day I open Chapter 50 of my life's book.  I dread admitting my age-because I really don't feel that old.  In fact, I've been lying to my daughter about my age ever since she was old enough to ask. :)

It's been a typical day (in uncertain times).  I woke up a little before the actual time of my birth (around 720am) and got breakfast and then opened the cards from my hubby. Read the newspaper, twitter and facebook.  Then played outside during the sunny morning and created a logo for #chalkyourwalk day.
No Matter the Weather We're in this Together!

With the COVID19 thing happening, I have had more time on my hands than normal and have been looking through old pictures.

I decided to share a couple and take my inspiration from them for a special request on the slice-tell me about special memories with family or ways you see beauty in the world today in the comments.  

Hope to hear from you.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Missing Connections

Write Share Give

Day 21 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge

I am inspired today (again) by Betsy's share of Naomi Shihab Nye's post on connection.  I have missed connection with people over the past week.  It truly made the week feel like a year.  Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love my immediate family and I feel so blessed that we can all be home together and live out the social distancing expectations.  I DO MISS my school family and colleagues very much.  So virtual connection will become the way of the world for the next few months...yes, I said few months.

I chose to connect with my student lunch-bunch on Zoom (have you tried it?).  They are a sweet group of fourth grade girls who eat lunch with me at least one day a week.  During the holidays, we've celebrated with special parties with all the trimmings. 
Image from Pixabay

One of my favorite experiences of the year so far was the gathering before the winter break. 
I brought in coffee mugs and we all drank hot cocoa and ate specially decorated holiday themed cupcakes.  We laughed about the green frosting on our lips and faces.  I smile as I write this reflecting on their adorable faces.  Oh, I miss them so!  Another sweet moment was when we stirred our hot cocoa with the peppermint candy canes.  It was just priceless to witness them giggle and interact.  I regret that I didn't capture specific conversation in my journal-I should have.

Image saved from Pixabay

Today, I just have the overwhelming feeling of missing them OH. SO. MUCH.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Surprise Flowers and the COVID Dragon

Write Share Give
Day 20 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge

I read the daily call for slices at Two Writing Teachers.   I came downstairs when I heard the doorbell ring.  I opened the front door and no one was there?!  Hmmm

Then, I looked down and saw these:

I opened the card!  Surprise!  They were an early birthday greeting from my younger brother Mike and sister-in-law Carrie...

After reading the card and admiring the flowers,  I got to thinking about Carol's modern day fairy tale posted for inspiration and came up with this story!

Once upon a time, a queen had been huddled in her home for days...

She had no visitors except for the birds, squirrels and deer who visited her yard frequently.  The queen felt sad thinking about her birthday and how she would only be able to celebrate it with the king, the prince and the princess.  No one else would be permitted inside their gates this year due to the dreaded and evil COVID Dragon.  

The queen prayed that everyone in her family and the kingdom would be ok and avoid harm by the COVID Dragon.  

On this day in the early afternoon the queen heard several knocks at the drawbridge gate. A brave knight on a strong and bold horse dropped off a stunning bouquet of flowers.   He left them at the gate so the threat of the COVID Dragon would not come to her. The queen picked up the bouquet, read the card and realized that her brother sent the beautiful flowers to cheer her in honor of her birthday.  

She appreciated the sentiment and sent one of her "hand maidens" off with a thank you for the knight and his princess.  The flowers truly made her day brighter and she couldn't stop smiling about their amazing beauty.

The threat of the COVID Dragon still continued but the queen forgot about him for a long while after she received the made her day so much brighter.  She almost forgot about how long she'd been huddled up. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Keeping Hopeful Not Letting Worries Take Over

Write Share Give

Day 19 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge


Up until yesterday, I hadn't really talked to my brothers (one older, one younger).  We liked each others' posts on FB and texted a little but not really talked.  My conversations with them got me on to worries in the time of COVID-19.

I feel like I'm in a snow globe right now...watching things from inside the glass bubble happening around me that I have little say or control over.  Connections through conversations about what's happening to the world bringing about deep feelings of sadness, loss, concern, frustration, anger, and even relief...

I'm worried about nurses and doctors I know-one has been exposed to the virus-will she come down with it?  Who will care for her?

I'm worried about my hairstylist.  Her salon has been closed.  Should I go for my hair appointment next week?

I'm worried about letting my kids self-select on the order and plan of their day.  I want them to feel safe and loved not overwhelmed by all the "learning online".  Am I doing the right thing?

I'm worried about enough supplies.  There's still no toilet paper in stock at the grocery-  I think we'll be ok but what if we can't get it?
I'm worried about  my school family (co-workers and students) wondering if they are all ok...What if they get sick?

I'm worried about people in the high risk age group I know and love.  What if they catch the virus?

I could go on and on...

I found something to help.  A prayer card...

I shared it here so you can pray it too (especially if you're a worrier like me)...

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Rocket Climber Tears

Write Share Give
Day 18 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge

I heard the squealing brakes of the trash truck.  I knew what was about to happen.  We've been trying to unload the Step 2 Rocket Climber for weeks and weeks...

It sat out on the curb...the first time Nat saw it, she screamed and cried out, "No, Dad cannot get rid of it."

I felt the depth of her angst and agreed.  I wasn't ready to say goodbye.  I kept thinking of the scene from Toy Story as the toys ascend into the incinerator.  Oh. My. God.  Why was I so attached to this thing?

I dragged it back from the curb, hid it among the trees.  Today wouldn't be the day!

He tried again.

We acted again.

He tried again.

Still no pickup?

I heard him call yesterday.

That's why just now when I heard the brakes, I knew what was about to happen!  I can't look!  I just can't!   I have to let go, say good-bye, no more curb rescues.  I'm in tears as I write this.  Why do I feel so sad over letting go of a tiny climber that had seen its better days?  Why?
We tried to give it away to a loving home-but there have been no takers...oh, God, it's just a climber.

The trash truck has pulled away...the eighteen year old climber is gone!  A piece of my heart is too...



Stop Motion Fun

Write Share Give
Day 17 of the March Slice of Life Story Challenge

Top of the mornin' to you I wanted to share that I sometimes think in creative mode when I see things and imagine the possibilities.

I saw this lonely piece of celery on the cupboard after I cut up all the vegetables for today's traditional corn beef and cabbage.  I thought it looked like a monster so I drew a face on it and decided to make a stop motion video called "Celery vs. Potato".

So I posted it to my Twitter, Facebook and Instragram accounts to hopefully help keep things light and bring people a laugh or two.  Hope you enjoy watching!
Are you team celery or team potato?

Leave your vote in the comments below!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Mission with Reward

Write Share Give

Day 16 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge

I'm a grandma!

A "pet" grandma that is...

To two guinea pigs...

So my slice is about my secret desire to steal away to the pet store alone to get supplies and spoil the little piggies...

"I need to get bedding for the piggies.  Be back in a few."

"Okay, bye mom!"

I hopped in the car and drove to Petco.  I needed to get the piggies more bedding for their cage.  I love watching them popcorn, chew their timothy and purr or squeak.  They act adorably day and night.

As I was driving, I wondered if they'd have a fresh litter of piggies.  Sure enough as I glided past the doggie sweaters, the lizards and the pharets, I arrived to the guinea pig section and there he was...the cutest abyssinian I've seen (don't tell my grand piggies) they'd definitely be jealous!

I could never bring him home-the girls would never go for it!  But he was oh-so-cute!  He popcorned and scampered along in the cage snacking on some timothy and trying to get his buddies to play too.  I could have watched him for hours but my mission was calling so I moved on and grabbed the bedding.  

Mission accomplished-and sneaking in a little pleasure while watching guinea pig babies!  Such reward in the small stuff...

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Joining, Wondering and Helping

Write Share Give

Day 15 of 2020 Slice of Life Story Challenge

I am gratefully jumping in mid-month to participate in the month long writing challenge that I had never otherwise thought I would have time to complete.  Now with being out of school for at least the next three weeks, I have an abundance of time and intend to share daily stories via my blog, The Rudder.

I am so happy to see the invitation to join in mid-month pop up in my email.  I, like many others, am participating in "social distancing" at the request of our governor of Ohio.  Our schools are on a three week break due to the corona virus pandemic or "COVID-19".

My slice today is about wondering:

      • What are the next three weeks going to be like?
      • Who do I personally know that will get the virus?
      • Should I make my kids follow a strict routine each day or just let them decide?
      • How will my students do?
      • What other details about the virus will surface as scientists learn more?
      • Am I watching the news too much?
      • What can I do to help people?

My last question lead me to do a service project.  I made cards for "St. Patrick's Day" to send to the nursing home.  Maybe these cheery cards can be a ray of sunshine for someone who needs it most!  Maybe I need it too...

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Christmas Tree Follies-1

In a crazy sort of way, I thought an artificial Christmas tree could live forever.  Even though I cringed every year at getting our tree put together, once it was up, I was #allin for the joy of decorating and admiring how it would turn out. 

In 2019, putting it up was no different...except we moved the location of the tree this year from the sun room to the family room.  The tree stand creaked and cracked as we began adding branches this year (the whole fam helped).  Level by level, color by faded & frazzled color, branch by branch, it went up as expected...was decorated and looked glorious by night's end.

The weeks before Christmas came and went and we enjoyed the baubles and sparkles in the darkness of December.  There's just something so cheery about gazing on the love that our tree exuded.  I felt foolish in thinking about how much I groaned over getting the branches attached at the beginning versus all the joy it brought as we prepared for the Christmas season.

Just a few days after Christmas, as we were all in full vacation mode.  I was cleaning up my crafting room when my daughter ran downstairs to get me...

"Mom, we need you!  The Christmas tree fell!"

"Wait-what?  Are you kidding me?"

"No, come upstairs, the tree fell!  Dad's holding it!"

I secretly thought-oh, she's just trying to trick I played along and rushed upstairs.  I was reminded she wasn't kidding and this was a serious matter.

As I ran up the stairs, as soon as I hit the landing, my eyes zoomed to the tree!  Sure enough, it had fallen and several ornaments lay in disarray around the family room with a few who met their breaking points.  I was shocked and then suddenly, realized my husband was still trying to hold what remained of a three legged Christmas tree upright.

"What happened?"  I blurted in an exhaustive sort of way...

"Well, I just lightly bumped a branch when I was going behind the tree to add the wires for the Roku and the next thing I know I looked back and it had fallen."  said my hubby in a sheepishly sorry tone.

"So you couldn't react quickly enough to save it from falling before it hit the floor and the ornaments fell off and broke?"

"I didn't know it happened!" he explained.


I was angry with him for quite awhile as I cleaned up the broken glass and put the ornaments away in their boxes, took off the garland, removed the strings of lights and the layers of branches one by one...I know the tree was old.  I know it really wasn't his fault-the plastic stand base had become brittle and just couldn't take one more bump- I thought the tree could live forever.

So this year, ironically, we have no pictures of our family by the pictures of the gifts Santa delivered on Christmas Eve.  No pictures of the happy smiles Christmas Day brought.   I regret all of that thinking the tree could live forever.

Now, the tree has met its demise.  A new tree has arrived in it's place...a metal stand model (no more plastic), reaching new heights and put up as easy as 1,     2,     3.  Plug in and presto!  we have lights!  turned on with a remote no less.

I won't take for granted that it will last forever but I sure hope it lasts a long time.  Happy new tree and a happy new year...finding the new tree was its own adventure.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Breathe, Just Breathe

One of the blessings of this winter break has been the time to work on projects around the house without interruption.  There are so many of these projects just waiting for me to embrace them.  I love that they are calling out to me to try and get my attention! "Pick me!"  "No, pick me!"  "Choose me!"  "I need your attention!"

It just so happens that the one most inspiring project has been the cleaning and keeping of my crafting room.  It's become a "catch all" over the last ten years.  Around the house when no one knew what to do with something, its new home became the crafting room.  One of the things that landed in there was my dad's bag of coloring books which got passed back and forth between him and my mom as they were in separate nursing homes the last two years of their lives as they both had extreme health issues that were incompatible with cohabitation.  My dad passed in 2017 and my mom passed a year ago on New Years Eve.  Touching the coloring books felt off limits.  I just couldn't look.  I couldn't handle thinking about how much time they spent in the last moments of their lives with the books and colored pencils.  It calmed them, passed their time when we couldn't be there.

Finally a few days ago, I was  clearing the crafting room, going through the stack of books (one by one)-this is how my one little word for 2020 found me.  I opened the book to this page as it was marked by two pencils left in the book.  My dad colored the picture a few months before he died.  My mom got the books from him but her dementia didn't allow for remembering that he had passed.  She wrote him a note on the back of the page...she loved him and missed him so much.

Just Breathe
Steve Senior, Always think outside the box and embrace opportunities that appear, wherever they might be.   Good job!

After reading the adoring message she wrote to him, I flipped back to the colored design and seeing it, burst into tears...ironically, not being able to breathe is what brought my dad's life to an end.

After my tears subsided, I reflected and felt like my parents were angels just then, talking to me, whispering a reminder to take things slowly, calmly.  Then, consider things but remember to breathe, just breathe...embracing opportunities when they appear!

So that is how my #OLW2020 found me and I chose Breathe...

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Bronze Award

Day 11
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge

Girl Scouts work through so many neat activities like skating parties, cookie sales, philanthropy experiences and learning.  Tonight’s experience was another to tally in the “neat activities” column.

Each of the 15 girls in the troop choose activities to teach the younger scouts.  We learned about how to play chords on the ukulele, how to roller skate and even raise chickens.

It was organized for each younger scout to rotate through the stations, learn, receive a sticker and move to the next area.  It required each teacher to research their activity, design a visual to promote it and then teach younger scouts.  The girls had such fun learning.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Listening to A.T. 40

Day 10
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story

Hits from coast to coast-American Top Forty

Usually on Sunday, this is what plays
Songs we remember touching us in special ways

We listen with care and notice Casey’s voice
Then smile and nod when we hear the next choice

This week’s replay from 1978
Getting excited not wanting to wait

Hearing Casey’s review of the charts
playing the radio of our hearts

Counting down from forty to one
Playback of these tunes really such fun

Songs moving up and some move down
Listening to see which song gets the crown

Moving our toes and tapping the beat
Feeling like dancing, taking it to the street

Coming down with a little affliction
When Beegees and disco were quite the addiction

Ear up close to the radio sound
Glad American Top 40 still can be found! 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Parachute Slice

Day 9
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story

Seeing the parachute today brought back memories of my childhood.  I loved looking at the colors and seeing the parachute spin.  I smiled when I heard the director of the activity tell the students to rotate the parachute clockwise.  It looked fun to be holding onto the handles and move in a circle.  

After the spinning stopped, the next game they played was 🐱 cat finds the mice.  One student gets on top of the parachute and three go under.  Then the students ruffle the parachute as the cat crawls around to find the mice.  There were so many times the cat came ever so close to finding the mice but missed.  I heard children laughing and giggling-having such fun! 

The slice of parachute was spinning my memory back to my elementary gym days.  We all longed to play with the colorful, smooth material as it brought such smiles to our faces.  Up and down it would float:  staying in, running under, circling around...I wished I could be down on the floor playing too.

Friday, March 8, 2019

I Can Only Dream of Celebrating Dad’s Birthday

Day 8
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge

One of the things that brings me joy every year on this day is thinking about birthdays of two very special people, my dad and my husband.  For today’s slice I want to specially remember my dad.

I can only dream of wishing “Happy 80th Birthday Dear Dad”.  

I can only dream of how to  celebrate:  phone calls, singing, eating out for dinner and having cake and ice cream too.

I can only dream of hearing the hunky voice saying thanks and smiling that wry dad smile.

I can only dream of getting a big old bear hug-he gave the best!

I can only dream of wishing him “Happy Birthday” with a smile...trying not to cry...

I can only dream of watching him open a funny card with a silly saying about fishing-he loved it so.  I completely regret that I never got to his favorite fishing hole to chitchat the day away.

I can only dream of these things and hope  that he can see from heaven and know how much he is missed every. single. day.

Happy Birthday Daddy! I love you and miss you!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Choosing Kind

Day 7
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge

Do you have The Daily Wonder App?  I do.  I’m glad I do.  I love checking in each day to be inspired by the “Daily Wonder”. I usually share it to Facebook and Twitter because of the positive message to inspire others to #choosekind.

For example here is today’s Wonder:


There are other options too, such as the monthly calendar and the weekly Kindness Challenge! 




You might even get cute pictures like this from my friend Tara.  All because she thought of me in #choosingkind
It’s the new cool!
Tara's daughter!
Kind is the new cool!


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Photo Slicing

Day 6
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge

I love the idea of photo slicing!  Such fun!  Here is mine!

“Don’t wind her up before you go honey...”

Who could this be about?

What was the person thinking?

Why would they make this statement?

If you have a visual in mind, what would it look like?

Would it look like this?

I was inspired to go through my photos after looking at Kelsey’s Photo Slices.  The one I wanted to 





Now, filling in the blanks...the one who said “don’t wind her up before bedtime” was Natalie.

She was speaking of not winding up little Snowball, our only family pet for now.  Natalie was in the process of giving Snowy a treat.  Snowy is an adorable little guinea pig, don’t you think? 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Hey Siri

Day 5
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge

Today’s been a day.  I was full on busy at work which left me feeling drained when I got home.

Luckily we had leftovers to heat up for supper.  I’ve been laying on the couch most of the night.

I have not been much of a TV watcher over the last four years especially because of taking care of my parents.  But tonight was different.  I watched The Voice, This Is Us and just finished up with New Amsterdam.  I heard a message that just clicked with me when I heard it and how much things have changed over the past few years for those who watch TV.  “Hey, Siri.  Remind me to watch New Amsterdam.”

This set off a whole “Siri’s” of thoughts...
“Hey, Siri, remind me to write my daily slice of life.”

“Hey, Siri, remind me to go to bed.”

“Hey, Siri, remind me to wake up.”

“Hey, Siri, remind me to cook eggs for breakfast.”

“Hey, Siri, remind me to take a shower.”

“Hey, Siri, remind me to dry my hair.”

“Hey, Siri, remind me to take the kids to school.”

And on and on...
Would it just be easier for our own brains to remember than to direct someone else to remember what we are trying to remember?  Just wondering...