Missed Calling? #SOL22

“If you’re going to stick with this teaching thing you better find yourself a husband at college.” These we’re the words of advice my father gave me as I began my college career. He made up for it on my wedding day but that’s a slice for another day.

My dad was a lawyer and I think he always hoped one of the five of us would follow in his footsteps but we didn’t. I think he might have thought I was the one to do this because of my love of history. At the time, I was heading to college to be a social studies ed major. Back then I didn’t think I was smart enough to pursue a law degree but over the years I’ve wondered if I had missed my calling.

As I had the good fortune to sit on a beautiful beach and read today, my wonderings about my choice of career resurfaced. In addition to knitting mysteries I also love lawyer stories. I got hooked on John Grisham years ago though I haven’t read one of his novels in a long time. My latest book was sparked by bingeing The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflicks so I was delighted to find a whole series of Mickey Haller books. Mickey is a defense attorney but I see myself more as an Erin Reagan prosecutor.

I know deep down I would not have wanted the lawyer lifestyle. As stressful as teaching can be, it has afforded me the family life I wanted. Though my teaching career has not panned out the way I had hoped it would and there have been tremendous challenges along the way, there have been some very rewarding times too.

One of those rewarding moments came just a few weeks ago when I ran into a family of three children from my school after a church service. The family is moving to another state and I had the pleasure of teaching two of the three children but after a brief chat I got a group hug from all three of them. I bet Mickey Haller and Erin Reagan never got a hug like that one. I think I just might be right where I’m meant to be.

Part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers

Postal Frustrations

The Postal Service is not what it used to be. I don’t know if it’s the pandemic or the fact that almost 7 years ago I moved to a more rural area, but I no longer have confidence in the Postal Service. I hesitate to mail anything from my mailbox and will either drive over the mountain to my local post office or have my husband take the outgoing mail with him to work. Receiving mail and packages at home can be a frustrating event as well.

For the past two years I have been unable to get a birthday or Christmas card mailed to my brother in California. I have sent the cards but he has never received them. I see posts in my neighborhood Facebook group about mail being stolen from mailboxes so maybe my cards are being stolen. I hope the thief has enjoyed my Christmas messages to family and friends and my birthday wishes to my brother if that’s what’s happening to my outgoing mail. Perhaps those greetings are sitting in some dead letter office somewhere between Pennsylvania and California where postal service workers are having Hallmark Channel romances. (I’ve only heard of Signed, Sealed and Delivered on the Hallmark Channel, I haven’t actually watched it.)

In addition to my frustration over lost greetings to my brother, there’s my frustration with package deliveries. I can’t count the number of boxes that have been delivered looking like they’ve been through a WWE SmackDown. You’d be surprised at the size and condition of the packages that have been jammed into my mailbox too, rather than delivered to my porch. We’ve had packages we almost couldn’t extract from the mailbox. If it weren’t for the rear door on our mailbox we’d have some things permanently stuck. If I know I have photos on the way I have to tape notes inside the mailbox asking for them to be delivered to the porch so they don’t get bent in half. You would think the bright orange Shutterfly box would be a clue that photos are inside. Apparently it’s not.

I’ve been awaiting a delivery this week. The company I ordered from sent an email telling me it would be delivered Monday. It wasn’t. It arrived today. I guess I should be glad it was today and not yesterday since it was raining most of the day yesterday. My box was full of yarn and I would not have been happy if it got wet. The box was too big to be jammed into the mailbox so it was put by the back door not on the front porch protected from the elements. Don’t even get me started on the packages that get placed in plastic grocery bags and hung from the flag on my mailbox. That’s a whole different slice I could write. Thankfully my yarn has arrived and I can start lowering my blood pressure while I knit and purl.

Part of Slice of Life Tuesday by Two Writing Teachers. Thanks for reading!

10 Things I Should Have Learned By Now

Beth Sanderson who blogs at A Reading Life used this structure during the 2022 SOL March Challenge.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

The first day of spring doesn’t mean spring weather.

Getting your knitting gauge right matters.

Always check where the rack is before preheating.

Trying a new management strategy can be like taking two steps backwards.

Second graders who haven’t sat on the carpet since kindergarten need to be taught how to sit on the carpet.

Even if I repeat the directions 1,000 times there will still be someone who doesn’t know what to do.

6:00 p.m. is an acceptable time to change into pajamas on a school night.

Making my lunch right after dinner is better than doing it at bedtime.

The work is never done until summer wife shows up.

If I can write for 31 days straight, I can write once a week.

Part of Slice of Life Tuesday by Two Writing Teachers. Thanks for reading!

Fortunately, Unfortunately Day 31 #SOL22

I have used the Fortunately, Unfortunately structure before but I never knew the origin of the structure until yesterday. Check out Fran McCrackin’s very special Fortunately, Unfortunately slice from yesterday to read about the mentor text for this structure.

Fortunately I made it through 31 days of writing everyday.

Unfortunately I know I won’t continue but I’ll try to do Tuesdays.

Fortunately I washed my hair last night.

Unfortunately I forgot to plug in my straightener so bushy wavy ponytail was the style for today.

Fortunately it was warmer today.

Unfortunately  it rained most of the day.

Fortunately we were able to get outside this afternoon.

Unfortunately the storm started during science and my projector turned off when the lights flickered.

Fortunately tomorrow is the first day of April.

Unfortunately I had to set up the new calendar materials after school.

Fortunately everything is finally ready for tomorrow

Unfortunately I left school later than I wanted to.

Fortunately I got my slice written today.

Unfortunately I didn’t do my workout because I wrote my slice instead.

Fortunately I am meeting with me writing group tonight.

Unfortunately it’s our last meeting unless Ona and I can convince the others to continue on Tuesdays.

I learned this neat trick from Ms. Chiubooka Writes slice Tea Time Haiku

I am participating in the 15th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge by Two Writing Teachers. This is my fourth year of daily slicing during the month of March. Thanks for stopping by!

Another Disappointment Day 30 #SOL22

There was excitement in the air as my 2nd graders were arriving today.

“Mrs H.,” my friend C beamed, “This is the first field trip I’ve been on since kindergarten!”

“I know,” I replied, “It’s been a long time! The last field trip I went on was with the kids who are in 5th grade now.”

We settled in for the short morning and went over the crazy mixed up schedule for the day. Second graders are creatures of habit and changing the schedule is a really big deal.

“When’s recess?”

“When’s snack?”

“Do we have snack at both recesses?”

“When are we doing Number Corner, it says we’re doing Number Corner NOW!”

The questions went on and on, right through Number Corner. Suddenly, my principal appeared at the door. “Can I see you in the hall?”

I headed to the hall where I found two of my three teammates and we headed to the room of the fourth. We all knew what was coming. We didn’t want to hear it but we knew it was coming.

“We have to cancel the trip because of the forecasted freezing rain.” She told us.

We have known since yesterday that it was a possibility but we were hopeful. We really didn’t have far to go on the bus to our high school to see a production of the thespians’ spring musical but we live in a valley and weather is unpredictable at this time of year. It’s been cold and wintery since the weekend and the reports of ice and freezing rain today started coming over the weekend.

I returned to my room to deliver the news. We’ve all suffered so many disappointments over the last two years and this field trip was a ray of hope that things were becoming normal again but it wasn’t to be.

On the bright side, with all we’ve learned these past two years our district was able to live stream the production. So as I write this slice on my phone on the WordPress app my class is enjoying the production in our classroom. I won’t mention that the freezing rain and ice haven’t arrived and tomorrow it’s to be close to 70.

I am participating in the 15th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge by Two Writing Teachers. This is my fourth year of daily slicing during the month of March. Thanks for stopping by!

Unmasked Day 29 #SOL22

“Mrs. H. something is different today. You look different.” C remarked.

“She’s not wearing her mask.” an observant classmate replied.

“Oh yeah!” C laughed. “I’ve never seen you like that.”

“You see me every day at recess.” I reminded my friend.

Today was the day masks were supposed to be optional but as they have done many times before, my district changed plans and masks became optional last Monday. The original plan was to make masks optional starting today because we have been back to school for 2 weeks since spring break today. After being back one week from break, meetings were held, numbers were crunched and it was decide masks could be optional on March 21st.

I had been traveling over break and decided I would wait until I was home for 10 days before I unmasked. I was a little more relaxed with my mask wearing but I always had one on around students. I was keeping an eye on the Covid numbers in our district and our small hospital to help me decide when I would unmask. As soon as March 21st arrived our district seemed to stop recording numbers on our Covid dashboard despite telling parents and staff they would. I kept my mask on waiting for the data.

After some questioning on social media about the lack of updated data the numbers reappeared late last week. Things were looking pretty good. There were some new cases but not many and not even close to the numbers we were seeing right after winter break. I decided I would unmask today, the original day masks were to become optional.

By 10:00 a.m. this morning my mask was back on. I had three students absent and several others with runny noses and coughs. I think we went through a half a box of tissues before 1:00 p.m. After almost two years of wearing a mask at school every day I don’t trust that my teacher immunities are in full force. It takes a year or two to build up those teacher immunities when you first start teaching so I’m sure mine are not as strong as they used to be. I had hoped that I would feel comfortable being unmasked at school but not yet. Maybe as the weather gets warmer and the noses stop running I will. My two hours of mask freedom was wonderful. I hope it becomes normal very soon.

Our Classroom Trash Can at 11:00 a.m.

I am participating in the 15th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge by Two Writing Teachers. This is my fourth year of daily slicing during the month of March. Thanks for stopping by!

Coconut Day 28 #SOL22

The smell of coconut is divine.

The taste of coconut is foul.

The smell of coconut transports me to a tropical place.

The texture of coconut makes me cringe.

The smell of coconut is sunscreen, summer, childhood and travel.

The taste of coconut is the disappointing bite into a chocolate from the Valentine box from Dad.

The smell of coconut in my conditioner brings joy.

The taste of coconut brought love from a grandmother who made a slice of coconut-free angel food cake just for me.

Grandma Myrtle 1910-2011

I am participating in the 15th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge by Two Writing Teachers. This is my fourth year of daily slicing during the month of March. Thanks for stopping by!

Metaslice Day 27 #SOL22

I picked up the term metaslice in Elisabeth Ellington’s post Slicing Process on Day 14 and it has been rolling around in my head ever since. The day before I read Eugenia Kout’s slice Method to My Madness, a slice about her slicing process. For the past 14 days of the challenge I’ve been thinking about my slicing process and the way it has changed throughout the challenge.

This is my fourth year participating in the challenge and I tried something different this year based on some suggestion from my instructional coach, Ona, who blogs at On a Thought . Ona is also the organizer of our writing group Teachers Write. The first half of the challenge seemed easier than previous years but lately it’s been more of a struggle to find a slice.

I started getting ready for the challenge on February, 28th by making a template for each day of the challenge. Once I figured out the oddities of WordPress it became quite easy to get each slice ready to go. This has been a huge time saver. In the past I would write my post and then add the footer about the challenge and the graphic. It’s been so nice not to have to spend time doing that each day.

A game changer for me this year was the Seasoned Slicer Strategies that Betsy Hubbard posted at the beginning of the challenge. Peter Von Euler’s quote was an eye opener, “Before the first day, I try to write two slices. That way I always have one in the bank in case I have a really rough day and have no ideas or time.” I don’t have to slice about something that happened that very day? This was huge, especially when I was on spring break.

At the beginning of the month the Seasoned Slicer Strategies was really helpful and I practiced some of them. While I was on spring break the ideas were flowing and I was able to write several slices ahead of time. Having those templates ready really made that easy too. I even wrote several slices using the WordPress app on my phone while sitting on the beach.

On one particular day of spring break I knew I would have an opportunity to find two slices. We were going to visit the Formula 1 race track under construction in Miami and we were doing a food tour of Little Havana later in the day. After the race track visit I started slicing in the car on the way to the food tour. I finished the slice while waiting for our tour guide to arrive. I hit publish and went about the rest of my day knowing I would comment on the hour drive back to our apartment. A word of caution about templates and the WordPress mobile app, my day 10 slice was published with the date February 28th. I was able to fix the publish date on my computer but I still have no idea how to change it on the mobile app.

Lately my slicing has been more challenging. The two weeks since we returned from break have been hectic. Our trip home was stressful and we arrived home a day later which was not the way I wanted to start my week. I had a report card deadline looming and I was already behind with assessments and grading from being out sick before break. The stress made it harder to notice and slice.

I haven’t had a slice in the hopper since day 15 and I miss that. I’ve written several poetry slices since then. Sometimes I feel like a haiku or an acrostic is cheating and not really slicing but they still come from my noticings. I have to admit a six word slice on my birthday saved me because I wanted to enjoy the evening with family even though some of them were only able to be there through Google Meet. Again my commenting was done in the car on my phone in route to the restaurant.

Finding structures from other slicers has always been helpful. I do have some favorite slicers though I try to stop by to meet new ones too. I’ve started a list in a Google Doc this year and I’ve added links of structures I want to try. I seem to forget about this list when I’m struggling to find an idea. I’ve finally written the metaslice though so I can check that one off my list.

As we near the end of the challenge I am thinking about how I can be a regular Tuesday Slicer. I’ve failed at this since my first challenge in 2018. I’m planning to set up a template for Tuesdays and maybe even put a reminder in my phone. I can’t tell you how many times late at night on a Tuesday I think, “I could have sliced today.” It’s usually when I see a post from my friend Ona. I’m hoping I can convince her to keep our writing group going so we can all become Tuesday Slicers with her.

I am participating in the 15th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge by Two Writing Teachers. This is my fourth year of daily slicing during the month of March. Thanks for stopping by!

Cinquain Poem Day 26 #SOL22

Spring snow

Sun comes and goes

Flakes swirl and twirl about

Buds and snow held exquisitely

Wind blows

I am participating in the 15th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge by Two Writing Teachers. This is my fourth year of daily slicing during the month of March. Thanks for stopping by!