On Status and Observations – SOL Day 31

So, for this my last blog for the 31 Day Slice of Life Writing Challenge, some observations about where I am this moment.

– For whatever reason, I’ve been unhappy coming here to blog. It’s not you, it’s me. This is my 2nd year — I’ll be back next year, as I know the year will be different.  I’ve noticed I’m mercurial from sets of years to sets of years as I approach my middle age — and I just could not hit a rhythm with my SOL blogging.  I knew to find some moment in my life and tie it back to a memory or a story, but I just couldn’t.  I could. Not.  It’s like my brain didn’t want to go there, and really, I feel like a non-comformist, especially when I read all the beautiful writing and blogging from my fellow teachers.

– The good news is that I absolutely have not felt a whit of jealousy when I read their profound, moving posts (like I did last year during my first year).  I really, really enjoy seeing the blogs of fellow Slicers.  I’m refreshed when I visit them.  Last year, I wanted to conquer the writing I saw, this year, I just want to wallow in it like a little grateful piggy.  I plan on visiting more teacher-writer-Slicers in the days to come.

– But I come over here and .. what?  .. Just couldn’t find my grove.  Probably because this was my Dad’s place last year — I’ll Give You All This and More — and, well, maybe a part of me feels I profaned it by just deciding to blog whatever this month for the SOL Challenge.  This is probably what’s going on.. I have to get over it..

– Chuckles with the hubby tonight at Carabba’s, a local Italian restaurant.  Actually, the laughing was afterward, when we went to REI and tried looking for tennis shows for his size 14/15 monster feet.  Aside from Keens, they have the uglieset shoes.  Today, he tried on these yellow and black stompers that looked like the cross between a giant bee and a rubber duck.  We didn’t get them.. but they were so comfortable, he almost got them.  Hubby didn’t think they went with anything.

– Selena’s Anniversary — the anniversary of her death.  She’s from where I’m from, but I only knew about within the first 2 hours after she died. Now, every couple of years, I binge and listen to her music, watch her videos and live concerts and dream about her.  Today, I came across an article on a festival they’ve begun having every year in her hometown of Corpus Christi, TX.

Said an actress who attributed her success in Hollywood to Selena:

I moved to Hollywood, and the struggle was real,” Cruz said. “But after 15 years of struggling, now we’re getting representation with ‘Orange is the New Black,’ and that is something that I feel Selena broke some barriers for us.

I’m sorry .. if she struggled for 15 years, only to end up on Orange, then Cruz was just wasn’t a good actress.  No, I’ve never seen her on her show, but to say that ending up on a prison show and saying that this is “representation” for Hispanics.  Playing an Hispanic on a television wasn’t what Selena was about.

Selena started with her Mexican-American culture, but aimed for mainstream because she saw herself as an American. Driven by her talents, she knew she was unstoppable, until the end.  Not once, in all that research and interviews I’ve read, have I heard her mention “representation.”  She worked her butt off to make it.  Which is all any of us can ever ask..

Forget “representation.”  Find your talent, work hard, keep looking for avenues to show your work.

Kinda like writing..

– So.. on this, the 31st day of our SOL challenge, I plan on starting another blog somewhere else, just to knock the funk out and do what I want to do.  Here, this isn’t it.  I’ve struggled.  Here, I want to think and reflect about my Dad.  To blog, something I now feel comfortable with (thank you SOL), needs go somewhere else.  I’m ready to move that intention over.. and just write.  🙂


Just Posting 2.0 – SOL Day 30

Okay, I know what it is.

My alert self is realizing my subconscious is trying to come to terms with the Slice of Life Challenge coming to an end..

I want to continue this blog.  Continue *A* blog, just to blog, just to write.. but I don’t have to be definitive about the type, style, source, type of thinking, of said blog.  Am I really that organized in life?  No.  I think it’s just another procrastination gimmick I’m setting up for myself.

Well, if I can’t figure out what this blog will be about, what it’ll be like, what I’ll be blogging about, it’s time to say good bye until next year..

Yeah, right.

Today, I taught my kids about discovery in their rough drafts for Opinion.  I know this is what captures voice.  The best voice.. So, for me to confine myself to structure is just stupidity .. for me, because that’s not what I want to do.


So, anyone who’s reading this, I apologize for the thinking that keeps running through these pages.  You know I’m not defining anything, I’m just perusing through the cob-webs, trying to find order.

Sometimes disorder is something to be celebrated.  Going to celebrate now, because tomorrow’s the last day..  Going to mentally prepare to continue..

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.


Writing on the Fly – SOL Day 11

So, at about 4ish today, before I took my nap, and then at about 8ish, after I took my nap (I’m Christianing my Spring Break, you see), I thought about how I still needed to write my Slice of Life for the day — and I felt a lump of dread form in my stomach, as though I swallowed a lump of raw dough whole.

Not the kind of thing I wanted to feel on this, my second year of completing the challenge.

I’d already noticed a lot of my little SOL friends from last year are missing, I lamented the fact that I hardly see them blogging, and, of course, I wondered what my fate might me.  Do I give up, too?

I just wasn’t feeling the fire.  It’s been creeping up on me this week, especially with Life.  And then Life.  And more Life.

I decided to go in for an adjustment.

I didn’t quite write about this yet, because it was against my self-imposed “rules” — I hadn’t written about it in my Notebook for the idea to make it to my blog — BUT — here, I’m going to tell you now what I should have said at the beginning of this paragraph:

My plan was to really use my Notebook as a launchpad for all of my entries this year.

The experiment didn’t fail, I just need to tweak it.  I think that’s a trait of good writers to notice what’s working for them — or not — and to allow themselves the freedom and flexibility to adjust as they see fit.  Do whatever you can to NOT kill the Writing Spirit. .. because everything else in Life tries to smush it enough, I think.  Don’t you do it yourself.  Don’t allow mission-kill to creep in.  Do whatever you can to feed the fire, sustain the muse, even if it means abandoning plans and slowly modifying habits.

So… here I am absolutely free-writing on my blog, as I did last year.

Issues I observed with blogging were:

  • I didn’t reread my stuff much
  • I didn’t revise
  • I waited last minute A LOT to post  (hitting the 11:59 was very common for me)
  • I rushed with ideas and just dumped
  • Whatever writerly habits I developed online didn’t seem to translate to what I wanted to accomplish in my Notebook or in my real life writing.

Greatest success I experienced was:  forcing myself to address my own mind during a time in the school year that would have demanded I abandoned myself, my mind, my writing.  A 30-day commitment is a big deal.

Those observations were what led me to use my Notebook as a bridge.. to extend the thoughtfulness and the time thinking and preparing for each post.  To be more involved and mindful.

I just don’t have the time.  Not as much as I would want.  I’m raising a family, we have kids attending 3 different schools (university, middle and primary) — we rise early for commutes into the city.  So, yeah.. it’s tough to find time to be thoughtful in the Notebook to bridge that thinking to here.

What’s my plan now?

To just do whatever I feel like doing.  If I want to spit on a page online (like this), then I will.  I will continue to be thoughtful about writing in my Notebook and bridging it to here, because that’s something I really, really want to do — I just need to be more intentional about carving out that time.  I really want to allow myself to be free and unafraid of writing on the computer (which is probably what allllll this is about.. isn’t it curious how we get the point at the end of the page?).  I will work on going back and rereading my stuff that I type online.  Or not.  I’m among friends and colleagues.  What have I to fear?  Being chucked in jail?  Death?  Bah.

It’s just little ole me being me.

Hopefully — and I’m sensing this, look at how much I wrote — I will write more online during this year’s challenge, post beyond the SOL postings.

I won’t know until I try.  🙂



First Note of My Roadtrip

No matter what — and this has been for the 22+ years we’ve been together — we just can’t seem to get away from packing the car the moments before a roadtrip.  Yes, it’s trouble.sneak

The trouble for me is that — well, I’m realizing this now — after schlepping everything to the car, Hugo will usually tell me to pack light next time.  He just doesn’t just tell me.  It’s a bit of a grumble.  It’s a happy grumble.  I don’t mind it.

What does get me is that this little grumble threatens the survivability of my stash of books, notebooks, techie junk,  (I’m taking a keyboard), stuffable purse items and whatever else I usually find absolutely necessary to take with me.  These, I load them all myself, ALWAYS, but that doesn’t negate the timorous feeling I have in my tummy when we finally buckle up.  I’ll cover it up with cheer and distraction, a prayer as we launch ourselves into the familiar, and when the distraction is over, I feel overwhelmingly successful.  Like a kid who drank soda before going to bed.

This was first Little Notebook note to myself.  Blog post accomplished.  🙂

Digital Writing – Trying to Know What I’m Doing

So, here I am, writing crazy.


Language Teachers have it tough. If you take the English route, you’re trained on Shakespeare and Chaucer, Morrison and Cisneros, but when you’re in the classroom, your reality is brief passages from pre-selected work or even random non-fiction articles with a nameless byline.  Random.

It’s hard to bring to life what students see as dead weight (irrelevant, dead authors), so I am constantly trying to bridge the connection between breathing body and canned curriculum. Continue reading