If…..Then- Final Reflections of SOL18- Day 31

I have to admit, this year’s SOL challenge has not been as fruitful as the ones I have participated in previously.  Allow me to reflect on why.

If I had made my Slices more of a priority, then I would not have posted almost always at the very end of the day.

If I had written my Slices earlier in the day, then I wouldn’t have felt so rushed.

If I had not felt so rushed, then I would have spent more time refining my writing.

If I had spent more time refining my writing, then I might have had more visitors comment on my Slices.

If I more people share their insight, then I usually want to take more care in pleasing my audience.

If I had tried to make my Slices a priority, then I might not have gotten to fulfill my other goal of morning quiet time in prayer during Lent.

If I had tried to make my Slices a priority, then I would have taken time away from the once-in-a-lifetime trip to NYC with my family celebrating graduation.

If I had tried to make my Slices a priority, then I definitely would’ve missed some precious sleep.

If had tried to make my Slices a priority, then I wouldn’t have gotten to read and comment on others.  What fun that was!

If I had tried to make my Slices a priority, then I might have resented the process.

So…all that analysis to say…while I realize that there were many things I could’ve done differently to make this year’s challenge more impactful, I will let myself off the hook and hope that I can try to prioritize better next year.


Traveling Dreams- Day 30- #SOL18

I have never really had the hankering to travel outside the United States.  Finances being the obstacle, I have not allowed myself to even let my mind wander across the oceans or along a forgotten path.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or because I’m seeing my children’s friends flying off to foreign lands.  But the last several weeks, whenever I see pictures or movies depicting stunning landscapes, a yearning creeps into my heart.  I wonder what will come of this sudden desire.  And if something comes up, and I am able to go abroad, I wonder where I will go.  Will it be mountains tipped with stark white snow?  Will it be fields of green carpeting the hillside?

I don’t know what my future holds, but I have decided I need to get a passport.


Ode To the [Insert Color] Bike- Day 29- #SOL18

Oh, bikes tossed lazily across multiple yards in the neighborhood,

It’s not your fault that you’re the butt of  many jokes

Your ray of yellow metal glistening in the sun and rain and moonlight.

The plan for you was simple enough: dump a fleet of you in a neighborhood, install payment apparatus, and encourage walkers to jump aboard for pennies on a mile.

Until you started multiplying, joined by green bikes and orange ones.

At least you’re not the only ones mocked and scorned anymore.

You seem so lonely without a planned home, never knowing where you will rest your wheels each night.

But of course with this ambiguity comes adventure.  Enjoy the possibilities!

Scooter McBroom- The Dog- Day 28- #SOL18

I am making up my own poem pattern today: An acrostic whose lines equal the syllables of the dog’s name.  I know- random and lame.  It’s my freebie for the month. 🙂

Some dog, I guess

Can pierce with bark

One of a kind

Occupies couch

Torments squirrels

Everyone’s friend

Really patient

“Righting” Conferences- Day 27- #SOL18

It’s that time of the year again; standardized tests are right around the corner.  Our seventh grade students will be assessed on expository writing for the first time in a couple years.  As a 7th grade ELA team, we decided to spend today grouping all our students by the writing skills they were good proud of.  They then found other writers who wanted to improve these same skills and grouped them together: students sharing tips and hints that helped them be successful.  We called these “righting” conferences.  Our hope was that the students would think about what is “right” in their work and celebrate what the CAN do.  It was a bit crazy, I’ll admit.  But it was an activity that, with practice, I think can be a valuable tool to grow student confidence and grow better writers.


Lisa’s Idea Now My Slice- 6-Word Memoirs of my Day- Day 26-#SOL18

Thanks for the idea, Lisa!

Six-Word Memoirs of my Day

Morning: Started unexpectedly, not sure why.  Yawn!

Midday: Huge task immediately captures my day

Lunch: Early break for sassy salad treat

Afternoon: Leftover iced coffee surprises for sustenance

Dinner: Chicken fingers pre-Open House breath

Evening: Still plugging away pretending almost done














eftover iced coffee sustains the

The Clean Cars That Don’t Stay That Way- Day 25-#SOL18

I don’t know why I do it…but I do.  Every time.  I always have.  And I passed it on to my daughter.

On Friday, I had to rescue my college co-ed from a car dilemma.  Riding shot gun, I felt the mounds of crud under my feet: orchestra programs, umbrellas, empty coffee cups, napkins, returned assignments, among other things.  It immediately hit me.  She is her mama’s daughter.

Now I will say, my car isn’t nearly this junky.  There is room in the front seat of my Honda for someone’s feet and purse.  But when I thought about it a little longer, I realized that the messy car was a symptom of a character flaw that I DID pass down to her- overcommitment.  Through the wonderfully “full” of our lives, ever since I can remember, I have prioritized everything and anything over keeping my car clean.  And we all know how it goes…at first, I vow that not a bite of food or drop of drink will be consumed in this newly-sanitized car.  But, wait…we’re late for ballet class.  Abby REALLY needs to eat something before she begins her evening of endless exercise.  Plop goes a bun bit between the seats.  Then I sleep in that extra 20 minutes to make up for watching too much Hamilton on Youtube.  That Egg White Delight was delicious; let me just stuff this receipt in this little something holder until I get to school.  Then it’s the workout bag and school butcher paper; straws and Cane’s prize tickets; stray socks and church bulletins.  Before I know it, these are remnants of my life, representing everything that is more important than order-little fossils bearing clues to who I am.

Hopefully, when Judgment Day arrives, my life’s worth will not be determined by the cleanliness of my car but what the good stuff inside it represents.


Richardson-Next 5 Exits- Day 23-#SOL18

Friday night and I was determined to get some of my chores for the weekend started.  As I went through the junk mail and unrequested magazines, I found an article written by someone who described how the exits to our city had taken her to places that helped build her life here.  I thought that was a cool idea, and as I hadn’t yet written my slice, decided to try a one with this model.

Exit 23: Spring Valley Road                                                                                                                  * Liberty Junior High-This exit sends my car to the only school I can call home.  I started there when I was fresh-faced, new-out-of-the-box novice and only left for a bit to begin my family.  Twenty-four years later, my car drives itself there.  Though our student population has changed drastically, the familial atmosphere hasn’t.                                         * AMC Movie Theater- An avid movie fan, I relish my time escaping into the dark rooms to be transported to different times and locations.  What was once the state-of-the-art cinema is now the dollar theater, but I still enjoy my visits.

Exit 24:  Belt Line Road/Main Street                                                                                                     * Our first home- as newlyweds and new parents.  This house will always be my favorite.  Even though it was only 1200 square feet, it was “my Christmas house.”  When I I picture that snow-tinted house on Christmas cards, this is the quaint cottage that I see.  With a tiny, cracked pool and secret cabana, my sweet family began here.  I can still picture the house-high sunflowers Sammy planted as a toddler and the washer and dryer in the middle of the kitchen.                                                                                                                *Amigos- the first happy hour choice for many Richardson teachers.  It’s always funny to see the variety of school t-shirts visible on a late Friday afternoon.

Exit 25:  Arapaho Road                                                                                                                        *Richardson Gymnastics- Many hours of my daughter’s days were spent spiraling through the uneven bars and over the balance beam.  And, of course, that meant much time spent waiting there for the rest of us.  To kill the time, I joined a Tai Kwon Do class there.  While I really enjoyed learning the patterns and the workout, when it came to sparring 11-year-old boys, I was out.  It’s OK, dude.  You win!                                                     * All Saints Catholic Church- Since one of my sons needed a special needs CCD, this church became our home 20 years ago.  Wow!  I can’t believe it was that long ago!  I have been catechism instructor and lector, as well as volunteer.  Since the kids have left, I’ll admit that I don’t do as much volunteering as I used to.  But it’s still an important part of my life.

Exit 26:  Campbell Road/Galatyn Parkway                                                                                      * Our current home- We have lived here for 15 years, and I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by.  This house keeps memories of my children’s youth and teenage years, filled with joyous celebrations and hard realities.  When my kids think of their childhood home, it will probably be this one.                                                                                                    *  The Eisemann Performing Arts Center- Oh how many Nutcrackers and ballet company performances have we seen there.  Nuff said.

Exit 27:  Renner Road                                                                                                                            * Sweet Firefly- While this ice-cream store isn’t exactly one of our most frequently-visited places, it is my favorite spot for sumptuous, creamy deliciousness.  Chocolate Orange is my ice-cream of choice.                                                                                                                      *  Starbucks- Yes, this had to be on the list somewhere.  I am not a Starbucks addict, but I do like a little treat now and then.


What Happens When You Feel You’ve Failed as a Coach?- Day 22- #SOL18

It’s been a long day.  As an instructional coach, my job comes with its share of encouraging moments.  But sometimes, I feel like I am terrible at my job.  Today is one of those days.  A new teacher I have been trying to help all year still struggles with classroom management.  I know that is not unusual for beginning teachers, but by this time of year, I want her to feel more successful in this area.  And it’s one of those things that requires daily committed decisions on her part.  I can model, suggest, attend trainings with her, but until she decides to take control, nothing will change.  I struggle with how to help her at this point of the year.  Do I continue to offer suggestions or let her get through these last weeks and start over next year?  I guess I’ll figure it out as the weeks progress.