A Short Winter's Note 6:46 PM


Winter clings to one last embrace, unwiling to release us to spring's loving arms.
Did they say "snow" possible?
Why yes, yes they did...
Alas, it is March and not the April I imagined it to be.

The Chosen 6:36 PM


The theater moves around us as people of all ages find their seats and merrily chat to their neighbor. We sit in the front row, the stage just before us serving as footrest if we so desire. It is a theater in the round and we are "right there" with the actors.
At 11:00 the show begins, and I am transported back to high school when I lost myself in the story of two boys living within five blocks of one another in Brooklyn, New York. It is 1944, WWII is nearing its end, and Danny hits a baseball into Ruven's eye beginning their adventure together as students and as friends.
I am not sure how many times I read The Chosen or how many times it enchanted me with its story and its characters... and this morning, in the theater in South East DC, I was transported once again. The acting was amazing, the script followed the story well, and the show was, in every way, fabulous.

Clutter Be Gone 7:13 PM


"How did you do that!" My daughter walks into the kitchen after a long day of her busy life and sees... clean... from the counters to the cupboards to the everything in between. The kitchen is clean and clutter free!
It is a wonderful blessing to have my mom around for the next few days!

Sparking Ideas 12:10 PM



“I want a step- dad.”


I am silent as I have no idea where this is coming from. My daughter is eleven and has never wanted a dad.


“I want a step dad who can teach me to fly.”


Ah, This is starting to make sense.


She loves Wendy Mass and is currently reading For Every Soul a Star… in which one of the character’s step dad teaches him to… fly!

Paradox 3:36 PM


Beach towels were spread around the edge of the black top. Kids chattered, parents wandered, and the sun shone brightly putting the books on display squarely in their own spotlights.
Throughout the month of February, the grade set forth upon a quest - each student researching and writing a non-fiction book. Topics ranged from animals to people and everything in between. Each student chose the amount of work - some added an index while others a glossary... and everyone had pictures.
I sat on my daughter's towel flipping through her book and listening to her best friend read about dolphins to her dad. The bright blue sky offered endless possibilities as it reached from horizon to horizon. Listening to the chatter, enjoying the sun and the gorgeous day, I found it difficult to blieve that just hours earlier my office learned of the loss of our contract proposal meaning that within weeks, most of us will be unemployed.

Crapes 5:03 PM



Weekends are all about crapes.
She does it on her own...
The flour, eggs, butter, milk...
Spooning it onto the griddle...
The smell wafts up the stairs...
"Come and get it" she calls when her cooking is done...
This night I add strawberries to mine while she spreads hers with Nutella.
Weekends are all about someone else treating me - by cooking Crapes.

She is SPILLING INK again! 10:24 AM



For the longest time, my daughter included “author” in the list of professions she wanted when she grew up. She spent hours writing stories followed by time illustrating them.


This past summer, she decided that she wasn’t going to be an author or an illustrator. She started thinking about all the other things she could be. She stopped writing stories, but wrote a poem now and again. She fell in love with science and found a stronger taste for math.


(As I write I find myself thinking… is this still my daughter?)


Before her writing test last week, I handed her a copy of Spilling Ink. “You can read this to prepare for writing your essay.”


Having rejected reading the hard copy I bought when it was first released (donated to her class library) and showing no interest in reading the paperback I bought for her at home, she decided to give it a try, for the test.


And she is still reading it.


And she is writing stories.


And she has discovered new creativity and imagination – stories with humor and a completely different voice than in the past.


This book, Spilling Ink, at the right time… opened her eyes and her mind and reminded her of the delight she found in writing.


When I found the book in her pack last night, I assumed she had finished it. “Oh no,” she said. “I accidently put it in.”


So back to school it went today. She reads a little, writes a lot, and returns to the pages of the book.


She found a new copy of Stone Soup – the periodical written by kids – last night… reading and enjoying it cover to cover – appreciating, a new, what it takes to write a story. Perhaps she was even reading the kid’s stories with a different perspective.



Thank you to the authors of Spilling Ink and to the blogs I have read that encouraged me to buy the book and to donate it to the class library. Several kids in the class have read it – and now my daughter is finding the magic it offers to those who dare to open the cover!

One of Those Days 2:57 PM



It has been one of those day


You know those days…


From the moment I walked into my office


To the moment I log off the machine


I am exhausted and it is just now 4!

Shared Time 12:47 PM



We sat together at the bar – her homework done, our meal completed


Notebook traveling back and forth


A sort of Pictionary


My pictures penned


Lines off, not connecting


Simple outlines


Vaguely, perhaps, resembling the word in mind.


Her drawings


Detailed, exact


Creative in presentation


Word expressed clearly in black ink


And we laughed


Chatted


Enjoyed our afternoon

A Return to Waking in the Dark 11:00 AM



The clock does not say 6.


It has to say 5.


I look out the window to find more than just a gray day… it is dark.


It can’t be 6 I think as I snuggle back under the quilt with the cat.


But the clock is chiming (something it does only after 6) and I know, in my heart of hearts that it is, actually, now after 6.


Spring's Song 1:04 PM



At my house, there are many signs of spring – trees budding, grass turning green, birds moving from spring training to full choral performances… and there are frogs. The music of the frogs begins in early evening after the sun has set and as the sky moves from pale blue to dark. It is spring music; tones only heard during these first weeks of the season.


The frog lullaby has started! Soon I will be able to open my bedroom windows at night, curl beneath the quilt and allow their hopeful songs to move me to sleep.

And Then, There is Silence 4:49 PM


A birthday party, around the corner...
We arrived home and she was out the door....
"Bye Mom..."
Words I feel I need to get used to hearing a
s I anticipate hearing them more and more frequently in years to come.

And I am left... with silence.

I

Petites!! 12:58 PM



“Do you want to run ahead and order?” I ask as I stand at the counter waiting for the server to return.


“Yes!” Off she goes.


I receive the expected answer and return to our table to collect two backpacks and two large umbrellas. Gathering everything into the most comfortable position possible, I navigate my way through signs, people, and “wet floor” signs. As I walk out the door, I notice that it has, for the moment, stopped raining.


Making my way to the middle of the shopping center, through another door, and to my daughter’s side where she is waiting in line for dessert – a chocolate, peanut butter petite… delicious! We have changed our regular routine to include this stop at Starbucks – currently celebrating their 40th anniversary.


A birthday, a free petite that is all about chocolate and peanut butter… that is worth celebrating!

Mary Poppins I am Not 10:44 AM



My umbrella blew inside out as I walked to the coffee shop. Somehow I don’t think this ever happened to Mary Poppins... my thought as I twisted and turned suggesting that the wind playfully return the umbrella to its correct position.


As I sighed thanking the weather report for “Not” mentioning the gusts of swirling wind this rainy morning, I consider Marry Poppins.


While I am not a stranger to singing and dancing anywhere at any time, I am not sure I do with it with the grace and talent (or the costumes) Marry enjoys. Unfortunately, I cannot make medicine taste good, have toys and other items put themselves away, or adventure through chalk drawings. As for flying… even with my big striped umbrella, flying is not an option (though my daughter has tried)


Reaching into my carpet bag to find “just the thing” would be a wonderful piece of magic.


But, Mary Poppins I am not.


As I peered from beneath the bottom edge of my umbrella, forcing it before me like a shield pushing the wind back or holding it at bay, I realized that, in several ways, I am like Mary…


I can create magic through words and ideas – no carpet bag necessary.


I sing and dance - but also walk and talk and enjoy the birds, no costumes needed.


And I don’t need to disappear into a chalk drawing to discover anything – I can quiet my mind and see the magic of the world around me.


Though I wouldn’t mind the flying part; and, I would love to know how she controls her umbrella in a playful wind… I am not Mary Poppins. I am me!

Touched by Books - A different Kind of Slice 10:18 AM



“Was it good?” I asked my daughter as we walked to get a quick snack before ballet. She had the first part of her writing test yesterday and read 1.5 books while she waited for the class to finish.


“It was okay.”


Standard answer. It was okay. Rarely is there a book that she loves or one that receives a “good.” Most of them are simply “okay.” Sometimes I find this disheartening as I do love books; and yet, she reads; she loves to read; to finishes the books and understands what she is reading; and how many books do I, also an avid reader, “love?”


There are books that touched my life – Where the Red Fern Grows (which I just ordered for her); Little Women; Les Miserable’s (Loved this one); Because of Winn-Dixie…Tale of Two Cities…And yet, to read this list, I find that they are books I read years ago. Is it only in retrospect that we can see the books that touched our lives or turned us “on” as readers?


My daughter is reading Spilling Ink today in preparation for her writing test tomorrow. Her favorite books to date: Familiars; Savvy; Lost States of America; The Girl Who Could Fly; Ballet Shoes; Moxie Roosevelt; But the one that has touched her life – Umbrella Summer, oh, and the graphic novel Smile. (She loves Winn-Dixie too and has for years)


I wonder though, in years, as she ages, what works she will remember.