a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


SLICE OF LIFE is hosted by Two Writing Teachers

I stood in the vestibule waiting with the afternoon kindergarten students who were waiting to board the bus.  She walked through with her mother, the preschool teacher.  As they breezed past, I couldn’t help but get caught in a snippet of their conversation.

“Do I really have to go with you?” she whined in her tiny second grade voice.

“Ashley, you know what my answer is going to be,” her mother asserted.

“But can’t I just stay home with the boys?” she pleaded in desperation.

“The boys are not old enough to watch you.  It will be late at night.  You are all going to have to come with like usual.”

I smiled, enjoying the cuteness of her whining even if it was an ordinary irritant for her mother. 

I caught her mother’s eye over her head.  She saw me smiling and looked at me like I was crazy.  “You wouldn’t happen to be interested in babysitting would you?” she asked me.

I was a senior in high school doing an internship in a local elementary school’s kindergarten classroom. “I would love to!” I answered.

“You wouldn’t happen to be free this evening, would you?”  Her voice sounded as if she expected to be disappointed by my response.

“Actually, I am.  What time?”

That moment, that snippet of overheard conversation in the vestibule was the beginning of a life-changing relationship.  I babysat Ashley and her brothers regularly for the rest of my senior year.  After graduation, I even decided to forgo staying in a dorm two hours away from home in favor of remaining close to Ashley and her family.  I stayed home and commuted to classes at the Chicago campus of my college.   

Ashley is no longer that whiny 2nd grader I met so many years ago.  She is a nurse.  With a boyfriend.  And an apartment.  Although she is no longer that 2nd grader who drew me pictures and counted on me, I know that younger Ashley is still a part of her, the way she will always be part of me. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


SLICE OF LIFE is hosted by Two Writing Teachers

“Do you want me to make reservations for us for Tuesday night?” my husband asked me last week.

“Why would you do that?”

“Because it’s our anniversary and I wanted to do something nice for you.”

“Oh. Why don’t we just go out on Saturday night instead of squeezing it into a school night?”

“Because Saturday is the FIRE game.”



At this point I get a bit of excitement in my voice as I have visions of our weekly ritual during our first year of marriage.  “Why don’t we…,” my voice suddenly drops off as the vision fades and reality sets in.

“What?” my husband asks, hopeful in response to my newfound excitement.

“Well, I was about to suggest that we have a candlelight dinner at home Tuesday night, but instead why don’t we just watch t.v. while we eat?  That’s what would be most relaxing for me.”

My husband chuckles at my honesty, “Sounds good to me!”

So, tonight, to celebrate our seven-year anniversary, I put off vacuuming the house, we ordered pizza, we sat and just talked to each other while we waited for it to arrive, then we watched a DVRed episode of Touch, one of our favorite shows, while we ate. 

And after dinner, he killed a spider in the basement for me.* 

Tonight I feel taken care of.  I feel the freedom, time, and space to be me.  I feel loved.

*my apologies to the spider and his family

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Slice of Life is hosted by TWO WRITING TEACHERS

I will miss her because she is the one at work who I can really answer when she asks, “How are you?”

I will miss her because she is truly reflective about her practices as an educator.

I will miss her because she is like the younger sister I never had.

I will miss her because she is passionate about reading, writing, speaking, listening, teaching, and learning.

I will miss her because she is always working for students, not against them.

I will miss her because she knows my flaws and likes me anyway.

I will miss her because we collaborate with an ease I have never found in another colleague.

I will miss her because she pushes my thinking forward.

I will miss her because she truly gets workshop-style middle school language arts instruction.

I will miss her because she inspires me to be enthusiastic about school events, to teach better, to live better.

I will miss her because I know her flaws and like her anyway.

I will miss her because she is moving to the administrative center to become a curriculum coordinator.

I will miss her because she is my friend.

I will not miss her because she will always be my friend—even if she is no longer right next door.