Perfect Workshop – SOL Day 20

Day back after Spring Break.

Note to self:  Remember today.  Take the positive that swirled around you today:

  • silent writing for 15 solid minutes for Writing Time, despite having to pull curriculum
  • talk – before an entry, after an entry – after productive search through their Notebooks for ideas

Then the kicker:  one student saying to another:  “You didn’t write over the Break?  What do you mean you didn’t write?!  How could you not write?”

Don’t forget — rest throughout the week so you can be as calm and thoughtful as you were today, enjoying that swirl of good conversation in the classroom.

Remember it turned out better than you could have ever expected..  because of the agency you give them.  That classroom is ready to run on it’s own.

Let it go.  And above all, write so you can keep teaching your kids.  🙂


Changing Brain – SOL Day 19

I’ve been trying to pull myself out of a fog I’ve been in for a year, maybe more — writing has helped so much.  It’s because I stopped writing that I went into this funk.. or the funk came because I stopped writing, I haven’t sat with myself long enough to figure out which.

There’s a part of me that just wants to believe my brain has changed as I enter my mid-40s.  I don’t remember things.  Things that didn’t bother me before send me into a tizzy, when I considered myself an easy going mom, wife, friend.  Just a person.  Is it me who’s changing?  Or was it just Trump and all that political horror of these past few years that just have me .. where?

But.. I visited Travel in Ma today, and for all my trying to dramatize and obsess over what’s missing in my personality, who I am, who I was (mid-life crisis??), I see what peace has serenely blanketed itself over different parts of my life.

  • I genuinely care for my husband more.. I know I had harbored things over the years… and now, I just don’t see them. Or, I know what they were, but I don’t care.  I really don’t care..
  • I accept where my children are going, as long as they’re happy. My eldest son is finding his way.  Before, it would have been death for me for him not to follow “the plan.”  All I care about is the who decides he wants to define himself as, if he is at peace with himself, and what I can do to help him be there. .. which is just a peaceful, calm parent who supports and loves, no matter what. Anything else.. I really don’t care.
  • I’m okay with my weight.  All my life, I’ve had to outsource my battle with pounds.  I want to get in this dress for this thing.. I want to look this way, like I saw this person.. Now, I just want to be healthy.  I’ve been changing my lifestyle for over a year now, with diet and exercise.  I feel strong … and solid.  The rest, I really don’t care…

.. that’s all I can think about for right now.

Because the rest depends on whether or not I get enough sleep for tomorrow. First day back after Spring Break.

I guess I can add:

  • I am more realistic about stuff.  I know my limits and can now speak for myself. When I say no, it’s no.  The rest.. will be okay.


The Facebook Talk – SOL Day 18

This is a difficult topic to broach — because there are no rules, I haven’t read about it anywhere (haven’t looked, but I’m not one to look for Facebook advice online), I haven’t talked about this with friends, and — maybe it’s the writer- and reader-teacher in me who likes a particular angle to connect to young people — I like to use my own experiences.

Eldest daughter cried about stuff yesterday — it may have been PMS — but friends and lack of friends and ability to make dear friends got brought up, as did the amount of time being spent on Facebook.  So we had the talk.  Talk #1.

I’m sensitive to the possibility to being overbearing.. but at what other time would I be able to talk to my young person about the alleged misery Facebook can potentially cause?

I think we all know what Facebook’s about, so my aim was to end up with a real, honest and authentic discussion about what Facebook actually is at this point in her young life.  Any study I’ve heard about social media didn’t come up.. and I tried to approach this the way I would with my students.  What am I really concerned about?

Concern #1:  is she using it in a healthy way as she grows into adulthood or is her experience with her casting her into the doldrums?


We waited for a thread to emerge that we could hold on to.  We found it when we sensed part of our moral code emerging as we talked:  we need to talk to people in real life.  It’s not enough to think about people, talk about people behind closed doors or in our minds, we need to reach out, converse, be kind, make the world a better place, make friends.  So much more better could happen in the world if we only talked.

Which translates to — if you saw any of these friends at the market or at the library, would you entertain having a catch-up conversation with them?

If not, why do you allow yourself to peer into their lives?

The way we approached this was through her friends:

Are these people she would actually come and have a conversation with on a normal day?

When was the last time she spoke to some of these friends?

Who did you know?  Who don’t you know?  Who do you want to know more? How can you achieve this in reality to cultivate a meaningful and richer life?

We had a brief discussion about our views, but left her with the bulk of those questions to figure out on her own. I told her, “this isn’t about our negotiating your choices… it’s about helping you see a viewpoint so you can make the best choices for yourself.”

Because I’d been in the vacuum of cyberspace.  It can get pretty lonely, no matter how much information or how many words from someone are running through your mind.

Nothing beats human companionship, IMHO.



New Goal to Replace That Addiction – SOL Day 17

Well, I figured out what to do with that book problem I talked about earlier..

Fellow Slicer is going their Reading Writing Project reunion at Teacher’s College. I’ve never kept a bucket list until now.

Every since I attended The Heart of Texas Writing Project, our local National Writing Project affiliate in 2015, I’ve been looking for every Writing Project I can to extend my learning to be a better teacher for my kids. I’ve gone to our Saturday Workshops as a TC.. I’m just not satiated.

Just not satiated.

The only time I’ve ever left Texas was when I was 5 when we vacationed in Colorado and visited Pikes Peak.  Within a year or two or five or ten, I will be visiting New York for the Teacher’s College Writing and Reading Institutes.

Mark the date, Veronica.  Start saving.


Book Binge – SOL Day 16

This is a confession for the ages ..

Dearest, if you come across this while perusing this blog that you know I’m trying to keep up for the Slice of Life Challenge, well, you know how I am and what I’m all about. You can’t guess where all those stacks of books come from.. why we keep running out of bookkcase space and have to keep buying new ones to scatter our collections around the house. .. Baby, let’s just keep reading…

I launder books.

Yesterday, my bookish eldest daughter and I (we brought my middle daughter along as a conspirator) went bookstore hopping throughout the city.  We started at the largest independent bookstore here in Austin, then progressed to the largest Half-Price, until we finally ended up at a Barnes and Noble uptown to just decompress with a couple of White Hot Chocolate Mochas.

My husband gave us an allotted budget — but it wasn’t an allotted budget, not really.  He said “here’s cash and you have X on the card.  Daughter has X amount, too.”  I know he expected us to be reasonable, but, of course, that didn’t happen.

We bought books and notebooks and pencil cases and cutsey, booky stuff — whatever was our little carry basket.  We tried to cull our finds, honestly, but by the time we hit the register, I was already thinking of ways to split the bill between daughter and me…

On to the next store..

Oh, Lord, what I found.  Stuff!  We split our bill again.

When we hit the final bookstore, mission creep finally hit, so I only bought 3 writing magazines (only!) before we trekked our way home.

I’m embarrassed to list the amount we spent.  In my mind, I tell myself that this was our Spring Break Vacay.  Some people spend it on shopping, nails, hair — we are book investors.  But the price we pay to read and live readerly and writerly lives still bothers me..

Eldest daughter lamented with me while were on our way home.  She told me about a time she and her friends were going over the price of their literary tastes..

Her friend remarked, “Drugs are cheaper..”

The price we pay..







My husband doesn’t know about this yet.

Writerly Advice to My Daughter- SOL Day 15

Tackled 3 bookstores today.  A total of 8 hours — while we waited for brother to be done with his shift work.

Found a notebook for middle child, who hasn’t written at home .. for months and months.  She used to walk around with her nose buried in a notebook, scribbling about her daily life.

When she finally sat down to write, she said she didn’t know what to do, how to start.  Gave her a quick launching lesson, then summed up a why it’s so important for her..

My talk, as  captured from my own Notebook:

“You should always be capable of writing for yourself — not for someone else, not for grades, not for scores, but entirely and wholly for yourself — to please yourself.

Your language, your thoughts, they belong to you.  And if you have trouble composing them for yourself, then you need to pause and figure this out. Figure out how to talk to yourself, how to think for yourself, how to write for yourself, with you as your audience.  No one else.

Society, school, parents, friends, ourselves — we’ve all done enough damage and discourage. Don’t let it be a complete and thorough annihilation of you, your voice.  Because who when would you ever get it back?

Do you really want to wander through this world without a voice? For even yourself to hear?”


Patriot’s Day – SOL Day 14

Watched Patriot’s Day with Mark Walhberg about the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.

It’s always difficult watching one of these mass-casualty films from a horrific event in our nation. When I hear of another event occurring, I wonder when they’ll be marketing it for a movie…

I think this will be the last one I watch, though. I was moved.. angry.. hurt.. upset. Character development was excellent.. events seemed to be portrayed accurately. But I know it’s fiction. The day these events happened, I knew where to go for my information, how to glean and parse and figure out what was going on, who did what, how it was being revealed to the public, what I needed to know as a citizen from this.  It’s different when it comes to you as a movie.

For instance.. I knew there was a woman who died from her injuries on the sidewalk.  I wasn’t waiting to see her on the screen, but when I did see her, I knew it was her, because I remember the impact I felt when I found out about her death 4 years ago. Why will I put myself through knowing about this again?  I don’t want to live through this tragedy twice.

When it happened, it molded my opinions.. some have softened, some have hardened with age.  But dragging this out into the open again.. reminds me of what a family must feel when they experience a tragedy and their not wanting to go through trial to avoid living through the trauma all over again.

I wasn’t expecting to say these things when I decided to blog about Patriot’s Day.  It was a great movie.  It seemed respectful of all involved with the tragedy.

But when this happened, I was an involved member of the family of citizens of these United States. I cried the day it happened. And when I saw this movie, I didn’t realize that I was going to be put through this experience again.

Now, I’ve decided I’m not going to watch any more movies like this.

I’ll continue to be an informed citizen.  This is just another thoughtful decision I guess I have to make.  In a lot of ways, I wish it wasn’t there for me to have to make it.

God bless America.