Tuesday, November 28, 2017

My Not So Traditional Thanksgiving Tradition

It's Tuesday and The Two Writing Teachers are inviting you to join them on their Slice of Life blog.  Feel free to join in! 

My Not So Traditional Thanksgiving Tradition

I have written many slice of life posts about my need to keep traditions alive.  Traditions provide me with stability in the craziness of my days. I love traditions so much that I put much effort into maintaining them or making them remain in some form or another. Such is the case of my pumpkin pie tradition.

Thanksgiving = pumpkin pie.  It was that way since I could remember.  The turkey, stuffing, and gravy was nice, but my day revolved around the pumpkin pie.  As our children grew older and our Thanksgiving traditions started to change, I knew that a few of my traditions might need to be altered.  It actually started that fateful year when there was NO pumpkin pie for dessert.  I was devastated and went home feeling sad and disappointed.  The next year I announced to my family that I wasn't going to let another Thanksgiving Day go by without having that beloved piece of pumpkin pie. I decided to make my own pie and I would savor it  with my morning coffee. Since that day I have eaten my pie early in the day, before the frenzy begins AND before I am too full to enjoy it!  It has become such a wonderful way to start my day of gratitude. 

This year we enjoyed our slice of pie with our neighbors bundled up in blankets and in front of a fire pit.  As we enjoyed our morning treat we watched the swans swimming by, the geese nibbling on weeds, and the ducks dipping down into the depths looking for morning snacks.  

Enjoying this moment made us all slow down for a few minutes to taste the pumpkin pie and to enjoy the nature show.  It set the tone for the day and left me feeling very thankful and grateful for good food, wonderful neighbors, and an abundance of family times ahead!  I love this not so traditional Thanksgiving tradition!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Happy Birthday or is it Happy Anniversary

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Happy Birthday or is it Happy Anniversary?

Yesterday was my oldest daughter's birthday.  As I was leaving for work I went to say happy birthday and give her a hug, and she replied with "And Happy Anniversary to being a mother!"  I wasn't expecting that response.  It made me think about that day years ago when I first become a mother.  It was a wonderful time in my life as I felt so proud and filled with such love.  Fast forward to now. I still feel proud and full of love thinking about my children, my grandchildren, and my family in general.  Each day they do or say something to make me stand tall and proud.   

Happy Birthday Sarah and thank you for once again giving me that different perspective.  


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Of Picasso and Mentor Texts

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Of Picasso and Mentor Texts

I spent this past weekend exploring the city of Portland, Maine with my daughter.  She had visited the city previously and told me it was a wonderful city filled with great restaurants to explore. Despite mother nature's first blast of winter air, we enjoyed three days of foodie heaven, eating our way through the sea-side city. 

We also made time to visit the Portland Museum of Art and was wowed with the exhibits of some great artists including children's artist Dahlov Ipcar, Winslow Homer, and Pablo Picasso.  I thoroughly our time at the art museum and was especially in awe as I looked at the Picasso painting. I was emotionally moved with happy feelings as I looked at the colors he chose for the painting.  I was intrigued at his use of shapes to represent a face, and I marveled at what seemed to be simple brush strokes that made this painting so elegant and magnificent. I walked away from the painting so inspired to paint something - anything. Picasso inspired me so much that I simply wanted to paint. I left the museum with high hopes of picking up a brush soon.  

It was then that I began to wonder about the power of a mentor text.  Much like the Picasso painting created an urge in me to paint, my hope is that the stories I read become tools to produce better and more writing.  I hope that my use of mentor texts create an emotional reaction in my children, causing them to include deep feelings in their stories.  I hope that mentor texts I use include colorful language that the children can mimic in their texts.  And I hope that the mentor texts that I use are powerful in their words yet simple in their message so that that I create an urgency to keep at the work of writing.  I believe I use mentor texts in these ways but the experience of looking at a Picasso has left me with a resolve to ensure that I make better use of mentor texts in writing workshop.  Picasso inspired and moved me to paint, and I would like to create opportunities to do the same for my writers! 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I Am From

It's Tuesday and The Two Writing Teachers are inviting you to join them on their Slice of Life blog.  Feel free to join in!  

Today's post was written as part of a course I am taking on race and racism. The poem: I Am From..., comes from Linda Christenson's book: Rhythm and Resistance: Teaching Poetry for Social Justice.

I Am From...

I am from
A rather large family
Seven to be exact
Born to Teresa and George
58 years ago


I am from
A father, who was a hard working milkman
And a lover of gardens:
Corn, beans, radishes and more
He spent his Sundays polishing his shoes
and visiting flea markets
In search of more milk bottles to add to his collection


I am from
A mother who loved to make and bake
From sweet treats and halloween costumes
To the best penuche there ever was!
She spent her Sundays singing at the high mass
For she had the sweetest voice - like an angel
She loved to sing in minstrel shows and for wounded vets


I am from
Mechanic Street
Where we learned how to fish
And play capture the flag
We spent hours riding bikes along this street
Just being kids and having fun


I am from
A Church - Holy Angels to be precise
Where I received all my sacraments including matrimony!
I became part of the ones who chose to work on building a newer space -
St. Gabriel’s - a source of great pride


I am from
A large extended family
That used to gather for thanksgiving
60 plus relatives, 3 turkeys, bowls of stuffing,
And loads of pumpkin pie.
Time to play in the basement, creating plays and such
How I miss those days with people who have long since gone


I am from
A large clan of relatives that celebrate the fourth of July
Gathering in a big red barn, cleaned out for the day.
Eating Helen’s Swedish rye, and making our own lemon-orange sherbet
Cranking the handle ‘til our arms fell off, but enjoying every bite!


I am from
Old fashioned memories of Christmases long ago
Of silver- aluminum trees glowing with the light of the tri-colored wheel
Of midnight mass and stuffed dates
New pajamas and corny Christmas card poses
And spending the day visiting relatives across the city of Worcester


I am from
A marriage filled with love and blessings
For thirty two years of wedded bliss
Missing my man who lives on in my heart and
In the lives of our three wonderful children
And now in our two plus grandchildren


I am from
A loving family
That supported me when life was grim and gloomy
They gave me strength and hope
They filled me with endless love, laughter and peace

I am from

A grateful heart!