Monthly Archives: March 2016

Bragging to the tweens

Today I actually bragged to my class of 5th grade readers.

Someone was being a smarty pants/ sassafras  and asked, “Ms.G, how do you know so much about this part in the story?  You must’ve read ahead!”

I denied it, because for this read aloud, I truly hadn’t planned it day by day. (Sorry right now to my TC staff developers who might be cringing right now.)  We were at a place in the fantasy story where there is so much symbolism and figurative language, that I felt obligated to pause there and discuss it.

“No, I really haven’t read this before today,” I admitted.  “But, I am a reader and a writer.  I write everyday and I read everyday, and I went to college and studied literature.  So I know that this writer put this part with the ants in the soda syrup in here as a message to me, a signpost to all of us readers, that there is something sinister and not quite right about the setting.”

Then I explained about my Slicing this month.  Really, I am so proud to have completed the challenge as compared to last year where I missed a couple of weeks. The children were impressed.  I heard audible murmurs of admiration and questions.

Of course they asked me for my blog site.  But this month was just for me…just for you.  I’m gonna keep it a secret for now. Congrats, comrades for making it to the finish line.

My heart is full.

Field trips- bah humbug!

I used to love them when I was in my 20’s

but now that I’m in my 40’s I must admit that I dread field trips.

I’m a total party pooper, the wet noodle, “veteran teacher”

I can’t believe it, really, but at some moment recently, I decided that I’d had enough of :

the expensive school buses to arrange,

the chaperones to coordinate- who did ridiculous stuff, like take “their group” of 3rd graders to get cotton candy and ride bumper cars instead of stay at the science center with the other classes…

the children who  might bolt the trip or jump into the lake nearby

It’s just not really worth it, anymore. The legal paperwork and auditing fear alone is enough to stop any teacher in her tracks

so I was secretly pleased to learn today that our trip Thurs. to the state capital was cancelled because we had no busses.

Dont judge me too harshly, but field trips are tougher and so are the stakes.

 

The walk

I begrudgingly got my butt off the couch to go on a walk tonight

My son was leaping about with excitement:

“Mom, I’m gonna take you to a magical gahden of flowers – you will neva believe it, it’s so so beautiful. Cmon!”  ( he has a Boston accent as a west coast native and he’s 4)

He rode his cool Bmx bike up the hill while his sister clanged up behind him on her scooter, I walked one dog, my husband the other.  Every once in awhile the kids would race, then show off their budding brake skills.

The light was nice , the weather brisk– early spring but maybe too cold for the tulips yet.

We stopped to look at my son’s favorite “gahden” . It looked like a regular old yard with planters full of weeds and frozen dirt.

“It’s even more beautifuller in the morning, ” he insisted.

My husband and I looked at each other quizzically –and smirked,then  he gave me a little kiss.

“Oh no, they’re kissing!” Squealed my daughter.

Then my son dropped his bike on the sidewalk, and ran full speed towards us with open arms, and gave us both a big hug,

” Family hug!”  He shouted.

And there, on the corner of Henderson & 32nd ave, we embraced as a family.

 

 

Trigger Happy

Did you know that fiction stories have a predictable arc?

The first part is stasis, or the reality.  The character is in their reality and is living through it.  Think Cinderella before the ball, or Opal before she meets Winn-Dixie.  Then there is a trigger, something or someone that sparks the protagonist into the story’s quest.

Today I taught my 4th and 5th graders about this arc.  I used this website that I found through another slicer recently:

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/how-to-structure-a-story-the-eight-point-arc/

It was hugely interesting to teach to my students studying fantasy fiction, coming off of our historical fiction unit.  Now I’m obsessed with noticing the triggers in all of my books and the occasional binge watch on TV:

  1. the owl message in Harry Potter
  2. the wardrobe to Narnia
  3. the tornado to Oz
  4. the Winn-Dixie market
  5. the brown bomber car in Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963.
  6. Winter is Coming!  (Game of Thrones)
  7.   How many more triggers (sparks to adventure) can you come up with?

 

 

not my favorite Easter

Traditionally we go to friends’ for Easter brunch.

We hide eggs for about 15 kids. We eat a lot, drink a lot. My friend, who is diabetic , drinks too much and gets louder and louder- until it becomes a fever pitch and it’s time to leave.  Last year I broke one of their lawn chairs. Ugh I thought, really?

Today I went to church, worked with the children’s program – where kids had a feast.  Everyone pitched in to make it a nice event , memorable. When we got home, our kids looked for eggs- a little taller & more skilled this year, but still little!  Time ticked furiously, I could rest before the party.

And then my broken heart returned like a wave crashing on my head. It began really hailing outside. I burrowed deep into my fleece blankets and thought of who I would truly be pleasing at our scheduled brunch.  These aren’t my fm true friends, sadly that would understand my stress- that we are in crisis behind our masks and I am hurting and grieving alone.

So I stayed home. I slept a lot and tried to nurse myself back to peace.  My children were disappointed.  MI wasn’t too successful in hiding my depression from my family, but at least I didn’t put myself in the spotlight, pouring gas on the fire at the brunch.  I gracefully texted my friend, told her the half truth that I wasn’t feeling well… And let it go. Next Easter has got to be better than this one.

 

 

Science Fiction Ideas

I’m going to borrow from a fellow blogger tonight and write some science fiction story ideas:

  1. Character goes to check in on her flight, but there is no record of her, gets her ID and there is none in her wallet.  Cell phone is blank too… She looks down, and her shoes are gone.
  2. Character finds that she is being followed and watched by animals, specifically sea animals like otters, fish, and whales.
  3. Dystopian story of a society built in a National Park Preserve in Alaska, like Denali.  There is no technology and limited communications– and it’s harsh in the interior of frozen tundra and predators.
  4. A character who can see people as colors.  The colors are a warning system about their mental stability.
  5. A dystopia where people have zero privacy as our electronics  have fully taken over.  Characters are in search of life on the remote sea, as land forms have no anonymity and are under constant surveillance by government.  No satellites though anymore due to radiation concerns.

 

 

Changesonebowie

“Time may change me,
But I can’t trace time”- Bowie

I glanced down at my  six-year-old daughter’s long legs today.

Wow, when did that happen?

she is going to be so tall

taller than her mama.

I think back to when if rock her in the yellow checkered glider when she was a baby,

tucked in my arms.

even then I knew it was fleeting

I could feel her growing

listening to lullabies

with tears streaming down my cheeks

Gonna buy you a diamond ring

And if that diamond ring won’t shine,

Oh I didn’t want to wake her

I was already grieving the time

I couldn’t trace and retrieve.

 

 

 

My purse spilled for you

What’s in her bag? (This is mocking the popular celebrity article in US Weekly ):

  1.  Crumbs from a lime frosted St. Patrick’s day cookie I smuggled out of the staff room last week.

2. my prized new Burts Bees lip conditioner- purchased on sale at Staples (of all places!)

3. my iPhone that won’t hold a charge and says I have no storage when I really should have plenty.

4. my green Fossil wallet- badly worn and in need of replacement, my husband bought it for me 4 Christmases ago

5. my Olay concealer – it’s a little too orange on my fair complexion and the top falls off so there are smudges of this stuff all inside my purse and on the upholstery of my car.

6. Loose change… Always- usually pennies hiding under a layer of grit and old crumbs

7. SafewayMonopoly tickets – my boss collects them so she can win a 5000$ shopping spree and donate it all to our neighborhood food bank.

8. Starbucks receipts – I’ve upped my caffeine intake since daylight savings kicked my tired ass!

9. Tweezers – work best in my car mirror on those crazy middle aged brows gone wild!

10. An odd souvenir plastic Space Needle from the 1962 World’s Fair. I purchased this for a quarter at an estate sale on Saturday evening!

What does this say about me?

Overworked/ over tired/ overweight / generous/ dehydrated/ hopeful/nostalgic/ conscientious …

yes.

such a celebrity!