SOLSC2014: Halloween Costumes

Each Tuesday a community of writers shares a slice of life at Two Writing Teachers. So grateful to participate in this community.

Circa 1961 with brother and Grandmother.
When I look at this photo, I wonder if I really trick or treated with that mask on the whole time. How could I see with that mask covering my face? How could my brother see? The costume probably wasn’t made of flame retardant in 1961.

The neighborhood where this home was a fun one to go trick or treating. First we’d walk down the block and then up and around. The houses were terraced so it was a bit of a hike.

This photo is perhaps the only one I have with a Halloween costume. My favorite costume, the one I remember the best, is the one my mother made me. Most likely it was the year before this photo.

My mother created a pumpkin costume. She dyed a sheet orange. On the top and bottom she sewed a seam for drawstrings and left arm hole spaces. With a black felt pen, she created the face. I wore black tights and a black shirt. To “plump me up”, the bottom drawstring was cinched up. Then my parents wadded up newspaper and stuff their little pumpkin.

I so wish I had a photo. Living in Southern California meant that Halloween weather was often not very cold. That Halloween was warm. Did you know that newspaper makes very good insulation. So about half way through trick or treating, I had to slim down the pumpkin so I wasn’t so warm.

I think about this costume every Halloween. These days, I dress as Grandma Spider, a name given to me by my grand girls for my fascination with spiders. I love wearing all black with my spider jewelry and hair accessories. Our school doesn’t go out for this holiday but I am able to wear my spider regalia.

Do you remember a childhood costume?

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SOLS14: First Autumn Storm


Each Tuesday a community of writers shares a slice of life at Two Writing Teachers. So grateful for the opportunity.
Yep, I am a day late. I vowed to write this week because I didn’t last week.

The days are getting darker and shorter. It’s becoming the time in which I arrive to school in darkness and leave in darkness. Today the first big storm of autumn arrived.

Days like these make the library more popular. Kids want to hang out where its dry and warm. It’s icky that the library is a pretty big space and can be used for multiple purposes during the day.

I left home without a jacket this morning. It was drizzling and somewhat warm. By the end of the day I regretted the lack of a jacket as the rain was of puddles proportions. I am not a fan of umbrellas but luckily I had one in the trunk of the car.

The rain will bring the leaves to the ground. The wind will pick up tonight. I love days like these. I love this darkness time we are entering into on these fall days. It won’t be long until the days begin to lengthen once more. This is the time to cocoon and reflect.

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SOLSC 2014: Time to Read

It’s Tuesday. Time to share a slice at Two Writing Teachers.

This coming Sunday is my book club. We re reading The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. It’s the story of the 1936 eight oar rowing team from the University of Washington. It’s an interesting read when I get to sit down and read.

My challenge has been reading time over the last two weeks! It seems like every night has been filled with meetings. And last weekend was crazy busy with events that were dear to me but oh to have time to read. I feel like I am running a marathon to find a few minutes to read a page to two.

Then I remember what Donalyn Miller in Reading in the Wild about having your book with you. It’s then I am glad for the Kindle app on my phone because I can read brown’s book. I’m not one for ereaders but in situations where I want to grab a few minutes, the Kindle is perfect.

How do you find time to read? How do you sneak it in?

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SOLSC2014: September Ends


Share a Slice of Life with others at Two Writing Teachers.

How can it be that September ends today. Since August 31, 2014, I have:

-returned to school
-gained a class
-been relieved of teaching at another school(hooray)
-completed eight physical therapy sessions for my shoulder
– followed the exercise protocol for my shoulder
– returned to yard work in small amounts
– submitted poems for publication
-participated in three Google chats with my online group
– spent a day at the Willamette Writers house
-time with oldest grandgirl

It’s been quite a month.
I can hardly believe that October will be here in less than two hours.

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SOLSC2014: How Much Technology Do We Really Need?

IMG_0785More SOLSC at Two Writing Teachers!

Saturday at was at the mall.  I had some time before my haircut so I popped into the store which carries my mobile phone service.  I was curious about the newest phone that Samsung has out.  After all my phone is ancient being two generations behind the 5s.

I am also wondering should I move to the IPhone as I have an IMac and Ipad at home.  There are varying points of view on this.  The latest from the sales person was that I would be “dumbing myself down” by moving to the IPhone. Interesting, I thought.

With great animation the salesman explained that by getting the Galaxy 5s phone, I would get the Galaxy S5 phone watch.  A phone watch?  Am I Dick Tracy? Do I need a phone watch? First all it is SO big!  SO big.

Meanwhile, the salesman explained how I would no longer need my Fitbit, I would know what my heart rate was at all times and best of all, I could change television stations. Really, a TV remote control on my phone?

I told him that I would need to think on it and walked out.  I would like to upgrade for the camera but I just don’t want a phone on my wrist.

It really raises the question about how much technology does one really need? As a Teacher Librarian Technology Specialist (my new title), I get the importance of staying up on the technological advances.  However, soon, we may all be implanted with a chip.  I want mine to be a chocolate chip.

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SOLSC2014: When I Was Nine


I was sad to miss last Tuesday’s Slice of Life. But here’s another Tuesday and time to share slices at Two Writing Teachers

Fifty-two years ago the country experienced The Bay of Pigs. I was nine. They say that nine year olds are nervous lot. Yep, that was me.

Recently, I read Revolution by Deborah Wiles and I shared my thoughts in this POST.

I had her first book in the trilogy, Countdown. Which I read this week. Now where Revolution felt like worlds apart, Countdown capture that slice of time perfectly for me. She describes wearing Buster Brown shoes. I don’t know if Franny shoes were cute but my Buster Browns? U-G-L-Y! I hated them. So much so that I wore my mutt lucks for three weeks before getting caught by my father. And as Franny, I loved playing jacks.

I could not understand why my parents were so lax in building a bomb shelter. We has a house without a basement. Where would we go without a basement? What provisions did we have?

Here’s what I wrote about that period in 1989:


Even as an adult, I have had dreams of nuclear bombs. I have often wanted to discuss what it was like to be nine in Russia in 1962. Did they worry about America bombing them? Did they have the same kind of fears? Did they think about building bomb shelters?

Today my oldest grandgirl is nine. I owner what affect the international news has on her? Does she worry about beheadings or bombings? She hasn’t mentioned such worries.

I was going to put Countdown in the school library when I finished reading. I must keep it as it captures so much of me during that period. I will buy another plus Revolution for the library.

Now I have to wait for the final book by Wiles in the trilogy. I can’t wait.

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SOLSC 2014: What Do You Need for a Good Writing Day?


Tuesday. Time for a slice of life. Thanks to the incredible people at Two Writing Teachers for a place to share.

Monday was a day to work on my manuscript. I have been away from it all summer until last week when my critique group met (my home group).

I have know for awhile that my beginning needed a change. A dramatic change. I had an idea and last week my critique group confirmed I was on the right track.

As I worked on the manuscript, I started noticing how I write. There are things, I need to do before settling into work.

Like making sure I am caught up on my email. Today that led me to notes from a critique partner which helped the revision. In particular, it led me to research more about pinball machines. (This figures into the book).

Another email was a discussion with another friend on worked and didn’t work for a novel in verse book we just both read. It made me think through my character.

I need to have dark chocolate around. This is important.

This revision also led me to researching blue butterflies as I wanted to compare the color of a house to a blue butterfly.

I am currently reading, Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild. As I wrote and revised, I reflected on how Miller observed her daughter’s reading habits. As she stated in her book that at first glance, it may look like her daughter’s not focused but actually everything she’s engaged with is connected to her reading and writing. That’s like me. I may look like I am unfocused but in reality it’s all connected.

I finished late in the afternoon and was pleased with what I accomplished.

Revision is messy work. I have to admit that I’ve been terrified to tear the beginning apart due to the domino effect. But it’s all good.

Posted in Reflection, Revision, SOLSC2014 | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments