Leave a Message at the Beep

Over the past week, my husband and I have had similar experiences. We call to make an appointment or to check on a missing piece of information we need to make decisions and have to leave a message rather than speak to a human. Now, I get that employers in all different fields are short on employees, but do they realize how frustrating it is when a customer/consumer leaves an inquiry and it goes unanswered for days upon days upon weeks?

On one hand, I think that I might be too used to the almost instantaneous replies of texting and messaging, but on the other hand, if a person/business still uses a phone to communicate shouldn’t there be someone to answer said phone and reply to voicemail?

I am old enough to remember answering machines that were separate entities from hardwired landlines. My parents sold advertising, and our home was their “office.” As soon as we came home from being away for any length of time – a day, an afternoon, a couple of hours – the first thing that happened was someone raced to “check the machine” to see if there were any messages. Then one of my parents returned the call once they banished us from the dining room where the phone sat.

Okay, so before my rant goes on too long, I better make sure that I am not a culprit of this form of torture and “go check my machine.”

Carefree Creating

Yesterday I spent the afternoon and evening with my two granddaughters ages 6 and 9. I brought my big bag of arts & crafts supplies: paper plates, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, tongue depressors, all sorts of paper, beads, and more. Usually I go with a craft in mind, but yesterday I was winging it.

I simply put all the supplies on the kitchen table and let the girls go to work creating. E.(9) created a ripped tissue paper collage on a plain paper plate. She ripped and glued until she had the four colors of tissue paper just the way she wanted and then arranged a pattern around the edge of the plate. I.(6) began with making a paper plate mask (a lion) and then used cupcake cups to make fireworks like we had done once before. She told me she chose to put them on a piece of black paper because the sky had to be dark. She also made an alien mask and one that was a mystery to me.

What struck me was that each of the girls looked through the supplies, thought of what they wanted to create, and went for it. When they finished each creation they were very proud of their work. Neither of them looked for flaws or something that didn’t turn out quite “right.”

At what age to we start judging ourselves and our work? Was their total abandon because they were in a safe place with a person who they know loves them no matter what? Would they have acted differently in school?

I want my students to create with such abandon, but in 7th grade there is a lot of judgement going around – judging themselves, each other, and worrying about how the teacher will judge their work. How can I change this? How can I stop them from asking me, “Is this good?” I try, but it is an ongoing challenge. I will definitely be thinking about this a lot this week.

I am sorry I have no pictures of E and I’s creations. We got distracted – playing charades, taking turns reading, and taking spelling tests (at their request). LOL.

***Thanks to my daughter-in-law I now have pictures!!

A “Grand” Time

It has been a little while since we saw our granddaughters in person – just over a month. That is too long!!

We have been looking forward to today and the chance to get much-needed hugs and kisses.

I wonder what they have in store for us. They usually have something on their agenda. I will bring my “Mary Poppins” bag with art supplies and see where their creativity takes us.

It’s Haiku Saturday, so here are my haikus.

Spending time today
With my lovely granddaughters
Emma and Izzy

Can’t wait to see them
Catch up on their little lives
Play a few new games

Maybe arts & crafts
Will be on the list to do
Many giggles too

Life is always good
When spending some time with them
Our hearts overflow

Best Friend

On my drive to school today I was beginning to stress about what I was going to write about this evening because yesterday was so hard. When I sat down at my desk and flipped the page on my calendar I immediately knew this was my answer!

The definition of a best friend is a person who you value above other friends in your life, someone you have fun with, someone you trust and someone in whom you confide.


For the last almost 50 years, Chuck has been my best friend. We met in high school when I was just 15, and he was 17. This year we will celebrate 43 years of marriage and 50 years of dating. Yes, we still think we are dating.

Chuck is the first person I tell when I have good news to share, and he is the one person I want to help me get through the bad news. I just love being at home and spending time with him. We take care of each other, trust each other, and respect each other. We laugh; we cry; we hold each other up.

On every step of our journey together we are a team. Chuck has supported me in every way – all of my college concerts & recitals, the many shows I produced during my career as a music teacher, becoming a Writing Project Fellow, my pursuit of a master’s degree, my writing, and all the stress and meltdowns that went along with each of those things. There was never any judgment – just support.

Chuck definitely brings out the best in me. He is my biggest champion. He knows when I need a pick-me-up and when I need a smackdown (a Moonstruck moment – “Snap out of it!”). Chuck is such a good man; he makes me want to be a better person. My high school sweetheart, my husband, my best friend. He keeps me grounded and helps me fly.

Unwind & Unplug

It’s been some kind of day. I started off feeling peaceful and ended up anything but peaceful. I could ruminate all night, but I think I am just going to unplug from what got me stirred up and plug into the things that bring me joy.

  • Chicken Pastina soup for dinner
  • Working on a project for my grandkids.
  • Reading

That’s about all I can muster this evening. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Memory Lane

Who lives on Memory Lane?

Of course, I was struggling for a slice today, so I Googled creative writing prompts and I came across 365 Creative Writing Prompts on thinkwritten.com. I got as far as prompt #52 and stopped.

What does Memory Lane look like? How do you get there?

When you have a lifetime (64+ years) of memories, where do you start? How can you pick one? When I got home from school, I felt the urge to make a visual representation of Memory Lane.

I think I will keep adding to each “road sign” when memories pop into my head. This should give me plenty to write about when I am stuck again. Who do you find on Memory Lane?


Okay, so the hour I lost yesterday really hit me hard today on this dark, rainy Monday. But little did I know – today is National Napping Day! Bingo!

“National Napping Day was created in 1999 by a Boston University professor and his wife. William Anthony Ph.D. and his wife Camille Anthony created this holiday to spread awareness of the importance of getting enough sleep and its benefits. The holiday was meant to help make up for the amount of sleep lost when the hour changes. The date was chosen because studies have shown that people are already at their most tired and sleep deprived after daylight savings changes.”


I only managed a 20-minute nap after school before I had to go back out in the rain to an appointment, but that was enough to make me feel a little better. Most days you will find me napping at some point between the time I get home from school and dinner. On other days I nap after dinner – before I go to bed. LOL

I must have been meant to live in a country where mid-day naps are the norm. Spain has its siesta, Italy its riposo, and China its Wǔshuì. Do you think this idea could ever catch on in the United States?

Shopping Spree

Disclaimer: I am not a big shopper. My husband does all the grocery shopping. I only shop when I really need something, and since the pandemic, almost all of that happens online. However, I was at a loss for what to write about today, and the prompt on the Jetpack app was – Where would you go on a shopping spree?

If I could go on a shopping spree, it would definitely be to Target! Target has everything! In no particular order are just a few of the many, many things that would end up in my multiple carts during this spree.

  • Books – I have too many on my wishlist to list here, but they would include picture books, middle-grade books, and adult fiction and nonfiction.
  • Stationery & School Supplies – Admittedly, I have an addiction to this department. The haul here would include journals, notecards, post-it notes, stickers, index cards, pens (lots of pens) with all different colors of ink, sharpies (thick and thin), flair markers, colored pencils, and folders & folios. The list here could on and on.
  • Beauty – I don’t wear a great deal of make-up, but I would get some nice mascara, lotions & potions to help my aging skin, luxurious bath gels, eye masks, and new hair gadgets & accessories.
  • Electronics – I’d love a digital camera and an upgrade to my ancient iPad.
  • Home & Furniture – Oh what I could do in this section – bedding, storage, pillows, throw blankets, kitchen gadgets for the chef in my life…
  • Video games – for the boys in my life.
  • Toys – The grandkids would certainly give me a list
  • Arts & Crafts – This is a favorite activity when I am spending time with the grandkids.

The list could go on and on. There still are many other things on my list – purses, comfy socks, slippers, and new luggage. Then there is the seasonal section of the store. A lot of damage could be done there! Of course, there are all the practical things I could use – cleaning supplies, personal supplies, and food. And don’t forget the DOLLAR SPOT!

For someone who doesn’t shop very often and can’t say they enjoy it, I am having no problem dreaming about what I would get on my shopping spree!

Haiku Saturday

I try to participate in Haiku Saturday by posting one haiku on Twitter each week. Today I decided to take it to a new level and create my slice with a series of haikus.

It was a long week
So many things on my plate
Wanted to give up

Overloaded mind
No nourishment for my soul
Weekend finally here

Time to think of me
What is really important
Relax and refresh

Home is what matters
Where we come to be ourselves
Just the family

Be in the moment
Enjoy the downtime for now
Monday will come fast

Morning Wonders

Each morning when I enter my classroom, I walk to the opposite side of the room to look out the window. There is a wooded area that separates our campus from a satellite campus of Temple University. I search for the deer that often make their way through the wooded area in the morning. A tornado in September of 2021 thinned out the woods a great deal, but my deer friends with their natural camouflage aren’t always easy to see.

This morning I saw a rather large brown mass. I couldn’t tell if it was a deer sitting down or a tree stump. I watched a little more and then went about my morning routine. A few minutes later, the teacher in the next room came in and pointed out that several deer were sitting out back. Just then a couple of them began to lift their heads. There was the answer to my question – it was a deer.

By now, a student had arrived, and we looked at the deer together trying to count how many were moseying around out back. We were up to about ten (which was more than usual) when all of a sudden two deer railed up on their hind legs and began fighting!! Neither Sean nor I had ever seen this happen before. I sent Sean into the next room to alert the teacher to look out and see the conflict going on outside.

The skirmish went on for a few minutes and then the deer started running and chasing each other, leaping over fallen tree limbs, and circling back around. It was like the deer were filming a new version of the rumble scene from The Outsiders, but it was hard to tell which were Greasers and which were Socs!

Unfortunately, they were too far away to take a good picture, especially through the screen, but they looked something like the two pictured here.

They romped around for a couple more minutes before they dated off in different directions. It was time for us to get moving on with our day, but the sight of those deer fighting (something until today I had only seen on TV) has really stuck with me.