#SOL16 Day 31

Perserverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other. ~ Walter Elliot

Well here it is day 31, and I did it! I wrote and posted every day for 31 days. If you would have asked me back on March 1st if I thought I was going to finish, I would have undoubtedly said yes. You know how it is when you are all excited and just beginning a new project. But, if you asked me that same question on the 15th or the 25th, the answer would probably have been, I’m not sure.

Sticking to something for 31 days is definitely a challenge. Some nights I was so tired or not feeling well. Other days I was frustrated because I couldn’t think of something to write about, or I kept dismissing all my ideas as lame. Once in awhile I didn’t want to drag myself upstairs to the computer. The key to my finishing I believe is that I tried to take it one day at a time, one blog post at a time. I tried to draw inspiration from the incredible teachers who also took on this challenge.

I am proud of myself. I feel accomplished and am left wanting more. Wanting to be a part of this challenge forced me to create the blog I have only had rolling around in my head for the past year or two. It made me step out of my comfort zone.

I am grateful to the many people who took the time to respond to my writing. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I hope to continue to follow many of your blogs. You are all a source of inspiration and make me want to be a better writer and teacher.

Such a Scare


#SOL 16 Day 30

Everything worth doing starts with being scared. ~Art Garfunkel

OMG! I just had the scariest experience.

It was another long day a school. So much to do and so little time. I am not going to be in school tomorrow, so I needed to plan for the substitute. It is exhausting. You the the drill. I have a wonderful sub that knows the ropes and can be counted on to get the work finished or wing it – whatever is necessary, yet I still make sure to over plan so that I am not leaving her in the lurch.

After school there was tutoring and then home to freshen up for an evening commitment. My husband and I stopped for a quick dinner on our way home and even Facetimed with our grandson as we were driving home. We are multitaskers!

I couldn’t wait to get home and slip off my shoes. My legs and feet were aching. I sat down on the couch “for just a few minutes” and started watching The Middle. I felt myself getting a little sleepy, but I “wasn’t going to sit here too long.” I thought to myself that I should set my phone alarm, but my phone was only at 15%, and I was afraid it would die before the alarm went off. I could plug it in, but that would require me to get off the couch (well almost entirely off) to reach the plug behind the table and turn on the light.

Instead, I just sat there “watching” TV. I remember opening my eyes to see part of The Goldbergs and glance at the clock on the DVR which read 8:38. OK, I’m still safe. I will get off the couch and go upstairs in a minute. I continued to sit there feeling my head bobbing and weaving like one of my favorite Phillie’s bobbleheads.

At 9:00 after what felt like a full night’s sleep, the phone rang and woke me from my slumber, only I didn’t realize that it was only 9:00. I jumped off the couch with a sick feeling in my stomach. Oh, no! What had I done?!? This can’t be! I woke up thinking that it was the middle of the night, and I had missed my chance to post my Slice for the day. I was heartbroken that I had come this far – writing and posting every day for the past 29 days only to falter two days short of the finish line 😦

Once my heart stopped beating like the drumline at a Villanova game, I realized that I had only slept for about 20 minutes and there was still time to write and post.

I will be able to sleep tonight!

Tension Headache


#SOL16 Day 29

I like to pretend that headaches are memories fighting each other. ~ Rachel Wolchin

Too much Spring Break
Early wake up call
New student arriving
Spanish class cancelled
No preps

Holding head in hands
Everyone talking
After school meltdown
Desks not in order
Aching head
Chatter about basketball
Hard to focus
Energy drainer

Sorry, that’s all I have tonight!



#SOL16 Day 28

Water is the driving force of all nature. ~ Leonardo daVinci

I have found the answer to all my problems in life – WATER! Yes, you heard me – WATER!
You see I was checking my AOL mail (don’t be judgmental!) when I began perusing the “news” highlights (there use to five, today there are 41). The caption – “Hidden signs you are not drinking enough water” – caught my eye. What are these “hidden” signs you ask? Well here we go.

5. Tired ✔
4. Dry skin ✔
3. Joints hurt ✔
2. Immune system is weak ✔
1. Gaining Weight ✔

I am so relieved that I now know why I am so tired. I thought it could be that I wasn’t sleeping well at night, too many trips to the bathroom, over worked, not enough exercise, or that I had been drugged. No, it is because I am not drinking enough WATER.

I thought my dry skin was due to washing my hands so much, lack of attention (aka not using hand lotion), forgetting to wear gloves this winter, I was in desperate need of a pedicure, or heat that was too dry. No, it is because I am not drinking enough WATER.

I thought my joints hurt because I need knee replacements, I am getting older, I inherited my mother’s arthritic body, or we were going to have rain. No, it is because I am not drinking enough WATER.

I thought I have been so sick this school year because I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I didn’t get my flu shot until March, my desk was positioned too close to my students, or I was just having an unlucky year. No, it is because I am not drinking enough WATER.

I thought I was gaining weight because I wasn’t exercising enough, I wasn’t sleeping enough, I was eating too many carbs, or I was just a victim of the “menopause fifteen.” No, it is because I am not drinking enough WATER.

OK, so I have been treating this whole idea of not drinking enough water rather flippantly, but maybe there is something to it. When I think about it, I only drink about eight to sixteen ounces of water on a good day. That surely can’t be enough. It is easier to drink more in the summer when the weather is hot, but the rest of the year it can be a chore.

My goal for this week (besides finishing the #SOL Challenge) is to increase my water intake. Now, I am not going to hang an amount over my head which will only serve to set me up for failure (see yesterday’s post). Instead, I am going to try and be mindful of how much water I am actually drinking and try to increase it each day.

If my theory is correct, by the end of the school year I will:

  1. Have more energy and be less tired
  2. Have the soft supple skin of a toddler
  3. Be able to walk without hearing the sound of bone scraping against bone, or cracking joints
  4. Have not been sick in months
  5. Will be down about 10-15 pounds.

I wonder if you can believe everything your read? Cheers!

There’s Always Tomorrow


#SOL16 Day 27

There’s only one day at a time here, then it’s tonight and then tomorrow will be today again. ~ Bob Dylan

So here it is the night before my last day of Easter break. Where did the time go? I had long “to do” list when my vacation started on Wednesday. I was going to take care of everything in my house that had fallen by the wayside. Right. Didn’t happen. Why do I always set myself up for failure when it comes to my breaks from school? I make long lists and think I can get it all finished like a superhero. Wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, I did accomplish a few things, but the bulk remains just where it started on Wednesday morning. I would hang the list on the fridge, but I am afraid it would taunt me as I pass by each day.

Yelling things like, “Hey remember me? That closet you were going to clean out.”

“Look, over here, I’m that bag that needs to go to Goodwill.”

“You who…did you forget that you were going to sort and file this pile over here?”

So instead, I am going to rip it up and through it into the recycling bin. When tomorrow comes I will choose ONE thing to try and accomplish for the day. If I try and get to one thing each day then the list will get completed. One day at a time my friends, one day at a time.

Easter Egg Hunt


#SOL16 Day 26

Easter is the only time of the year when it is safe to put all your eggs in one basket. ~ Anonymous

Hunting for eggs with toddlers
means the eggs are hiding in plain sight
As they approach each colored egg
their faces show a look of delight.

Each egg that goes into the basket
is a prize that is greater than gold.
They laugh and squeal, and they giggle
carrying as much as they can possibly hold.

A sunny Saturday afternoon
spent with grandkids is really great.
No worries, not a care in the world
Everything else can just wait!



Easter Bread


#SOL16 Day 25

There is only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on. ~Leo Christopher

Today I didn’t worry about time. I planned to do my traditional Easter baking – Ricotta pies and Easter bread. I dug out my handwritten recipes that are stained from years of use and nostalgically thought about the people who generously shared their family recipes with me. I have been making these since I was first married over 35 years ago.

Easter bread takes time and patience. You must melt the butter and let it cool. You must warm the milk but not too hot. Add the yeast and wait for it to bubble. Mix the ingredients then knead the dough for eight minutes. Then it rests and rises under kitchen towels and a homemade afghan – have to keep it warm. Again I wait until it doubles in size. Again I knead in the raisins and nuts (some with no nuts because that’s how my son likes it). Again I wait for them to rise.

Finally they are ready to bake. The house is filled with the aroma of love. Once they emerge from the oven I wait one last time for them to cool so that I can drizzle them with a confectioner sugar mix and nonpareils. It takes me all day.

Today I moved a little slower than I have in years past. I remember years when I made a dozen batches of Easter bread; today there were only three. I remember when I kneaded those 12 batches by hand – two times for each batch. Today I let the Kitchenaid mixer do the work. My hands are not as strong and agile as they once were, but they got the job done. When I said that my fingers were locking up a bit, my husband said that maybe this should be my last year to make the bread. My reply was quick – “NO.”

My family waits almost 365 days for a taste of this bread. We only have it at Easter. It is tradition. I know that someday someone else will have to make the bread and carry on the tradition, but not yet. If it takes me longer to make the bread, it takes me longer. This is one time I am not worried about time.


Spring Haiku


#SOL16 Day 24

Spring is nature’s way of saying ‘Let’s Party.’ ~ Robin Williams

Sunroof open wide
Radio turned up full blast
Spring break is heaven!

Local team leading
Squeeking sneakers balls bouncing
March Madness is here!

Fun to be Nona
Filling baskets for grandkids
Need to stop shopping!

Just Like Riding a Bicycle


#SOL16 Day 23

Life is like a ten speed bicycle.  Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles M. Schulz

I played the piano yesterday. I played the piano yesterday in front of the whole school and a dozen parents who showed up for our Tenebrae service. So what’s the big deal you ask? I haven’t played the piano in four years!

Although I have a degree in Music Education, piano is not my primary instrument. I was/am a string player, string bass specifically. I played the piano all the time for my students but never for performances or church services unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. I am not that confident in my playing abilities and get VERY nervous. Since I moved into a teaching position four years ago where I only teach ELA, I haven’t touched the keyboard – not even at home.

Sadly, the music teacher at school lost her mother this past week, and she was out on bereavement leave. I filled in for her at the 5K event on Saturday and gave the choir their starting pitch and directed them in the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” which was easy peasy, no pressure. I guess that’s where my principal got the idea that I could fill in at Tenebrae. He emailed me the night before, and I must admit, I panicked a little bit. I didn’t have a copy of the music at home, so I would have to wait until I got to school on Tuesday morning to find music and practice. I bit my lip and told him I would do it.

Long story short, I found the music (it was only eight measures long), practiced a couple times by myself and a couple times with the cantor; we we off to Tenebrae. We had to repeat the verse six or seven times in the course of the service. By the second or third time I realized that I was really enjoying myself and even missed playing a little bit…just a little bit. I heard a couple of clinkers, but my colleagues swear they heard not one wrong note.

I guess it is like riding a bike. All those years of practicing came back to me.The muscle memory in my fingers carried me through. Don’t hold your breath though; there are no upcoming concert dates for me.

I Wonder


#SOL16 Day 22

Think and Wonder, Wonder and Think. ~ Dr. Seuss

Wonder – to think or speculate curiously

My mind is always “on” and thinking or worrying about something.  So today I tried to capture some of these “wonderings” and share them with you.  I wonder how many didn’t catch in time to write in my notebook?  Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

I wonder what really goes on in the mind of a person suffering with dementia.
I wonder what the jabbering of babies and toddlers really means.
I wonder how many shades of green there are in the forest.
I wonder about the lives of people I see on the street.
I wonder what it would be like if I really didn’t have to work.
I wonder why it is so important for some people to be the center of attention.
I wonder why 7th grade boys are so silly.
I wonder what times that birds that serenade me each morning wake up.
I wonder what it would be like to be debt free.
I wonder what it would be like to hit the lottery
I wonder if homeless people are afraid.
I wonder how many of my middle school students will remain friends after high school.
I wonder how long I could do without my cell phone,email, and social media.
I wonder why some people are complainers and others ar problem solvers.
I wonder how many scarves one person really needs.
I wonder.