Tired of Tiptoeing

“Everybody needs a hobby.
The words stung but I didn’t flinch. The night was warm and my Merlot had mellowed me.  And 23 years of experience was enough of a reminder that reacting to his comment would come at a price. Better to just let it go. He didn’t mean to hurt me. He just meant to remind me that I wasn’t a real writer. And maybe he was right. Maybe. Maybe not. Whatever. A younger me would have permitted the remark to paralyze me. A younger me would have allowed the comment to make me disappear. A younger me would have used his words as an excuse not to try.

A younger me.

Fabric Therapy

In late May, One Sunflower wrote a post about using fabrics to stimulate ideas. Her inspiring post gave me the idea to write about my mom's sewing room. 

My mom's sewing room is a safe haven. Ideas happen there. Last week when I visited my mother, we hung out in her sewing room and pawed through her fabric. She didn't say much when I grabbed my camera and began snapping pictures of her drawers of color-themed quarter-of-a-yard slices of cotton. She conferred with me. Mostly simple questions like, "What are you going to do with the pictures?" or "What are you going to make?" I could feel her looking at me with both curiosity and trust. As I continued taking the pictures, I began to like the way the natural arrangement of the swatches filled the square space of the camera screen. On the drive home, I wondered what it might look like if I arranged the photos like quilt blocks.

Once I walked in the door, my kids and husband quickly began firing questions and demands requests  at me. My photo quilt would have to wait. I did manage to scribble a few notes before starting dinner. With dishes done and litter boxes emptied, I began the delicious process of edited and playing with the photos to create the quilts. I vaguely remember hearing my husband someone complaining, "Geez, she is at the computer agaaaaaaaainn!" I didn't let the heckler deter me. I was in the zone. My revising didn't feel tedious. It just felt like I was following an idea. 


First Day of Summer School

Image from Microsoft Office
I love summer school! Today is the first day. The focus of our summer school program is shifting more toward reading, writing, and math workshops. My job is to provide intensive small group reading instruction with kindergartners and first graders. We use a program called Leveled Literacy Intervention developed by Fountas and Pinnell. I basically confer with kids all day long. What could be more fun? I also get the opportunity to sharpen my skills and deepen my understanding of the reading process. Another plus for working in the summer, is that it provides me with the perfect excuse for ignoring the to-do lists my husband tends to leave when he thinks I am on "vacation." Summer teaching does come at a price though. No mornings spent lingering over tea in my robe. No attending summer conferences. No down time. No all-day Monopoly marathons with my son. If I had little ones at home, there is no way I would teach in the summer. Not unless money was tight.

Father's Day Poem

Lessons from My Dad

Don’t brag.
Be independent.
Don’t burn bridges.
Get lost in a book.

Work hard all your life.
Pay your own way.
Write down your goals.
Listen to the rhythm of poetry.

Watch and anticipate.
Knowledge is power.
What goes around comes around.
Do something in your life to help people and you will help yourself.

Thank you, Dad, for all the lessons.

~Love, Diana

Already Thinking of Next Year

Last week, one sunflower left a comment on my post about how she was making a lot of photo collages lately. I've never made one and it sounded cool. Since I can't seem to get next year off my mind yet, I decided to play with word clouds and photo collages in Picasa. I might use them in a PLC next year to encourage teachers to dip into the Common Core Standards. More than anything, it was fun for me to play around and begin to figure out how to do things. 

Informational Kindergarten Writing

Narrative Kindergarten Writing

Kindergarten Opinion Writing

Playing with Word Clouds

I've been experimenting with a word cloud generator called Tagxedo. Below is a word cloud I created using words from the kindergarten writing section of the common core standards. Taxedo makes inserting large images into your blog a snap. Knowing the size to choose takes some testing. It does require that you download software to your computer. I wanted to play with the images to see if the big ideas in the standards appeared more identifiable. What do you think?

Catching Up on Comments - 2nd draft

Wordle: OneLiteracyCoach #2I've been wanting to play around with Wordle ever since I saw Michelle's post during the Slice of Life Challenge in March. There are several word cloud generators out there, each with advantages and potential instructional uses. Once again, Michelle, thanks for the great ideas! Here is another draft of my poem using Wordle.

Trying to Catch Up on Comments

Yesterday, I promised myself that I would take the time to read the Tuesday SOL's and write lots of comments. Whenever I read slices, I get writing ideas. This week was no exception. In Juliann's post, she included a link to another blogger's list of journaling prompts. The first prompt on this list spurred my thinking and I ended up writing a draft of a poem about writing comments.

Catching Up on Comments (first draft)

Make cup of tea.
Read. Smile. Chuckle
Get up and get coffee maker ready for the morning
Read. Read again.
Read. Smile again.
Say to myself, "Yup, I've been there.
Get up and empty the litter box. Wash hands.

Make another cup of tea.
Read. Belly laugh.
Read. Write in writer's notebook.
Read. Choke up. Tear up.
Read. Unload the dishwasher.

Re-read. Idea? Why not?
Start writing today's post.


My miniature lilacs started out small but now are becoming a
thick hedge.
I have always loved lilacs. When I was little, I think we had lilac bushes that lined the side of our front yard. If I remember right, they were next to the irises and the mulberry tree. My lilac bushes are much smaller. In fact, they are miniature lilacs but they smell just the same. The windows have been open a lot lately and the lilacs are almost in full bloom. Their faintly sugary smell floats on the breeze blowing my living room curtains.

The Visitor

All the the last one left behind was a pile of white poo. I looked around in the bushes to see if maybe I could catch a glimpse of a baby robin hopping around. I could hear the adult robins scolding but saw no sign of the last fledgling. Later in the afternoon, I heard my husband warning the cat in the living room, "Roxy, get down. Look at her, she thinks she can get that bird!"

I couldn't believe it. That silly fledgling was in the bush right in front of our window mocking the cat through the screen. Kind of explains why only 25% of robins make it to their first birthday. I do think it sweet that the little one came by to say a last goodbye. 

I couldn't get our cat's paws slapping the screen in the picture.
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