Sunday, March 31, 2019

SOL 2019 -- Day 31 -- Onward!









SOL story challenge, March 2019
Day 31 -- "Onward!"
**************



Looking back at the titles of my posts from the past month, I thought about my journey during this year's SOLSC challenge. I realized that the titles, as they are in the order they were posted, do a pretty good job of telling the story of how I progressed in writing, and in life, during the month. Here is the list-poem created from the titles: 


Progressing Through March

Here I Am Again!
Hmmmmm....
The Decision
Monday
Text Snippets Poetry?

Whole New World
Six Word Stories: The More Things Change....
An Equation Poem
What's Interesting So Far?
Small Gratitudes

March Observations Pi-ku
Looking Out My Window Today -- Pi-ku Poem
Clickety Clackety
PD on Pi Day
Let Spring Break Begin!

Little Cloud
St. Pat's Six Word Memoir
Three Good Things About Yesterday
Thank Goodness for Spring Breaks!
My Evening

21 Observations
The Visit (A Haiku)
Letter to the SOL Writing Community
Grateful Follow-up Letter to the SOL Writing Community
An Inspiration and Some Helicopters

Blazer The Fire Engine Who Was Afraid
Taking time to smell the crocuses
For the Longest Time
Spending the Day With the Grandkids
Words That Have Made Me Click

Onward!




Explanation of the progression:
I began March rather tentatively, having recently started a new job, and not knowing how much time I would have to write. But I started the SOL challenge anyway. I wrote every day. I reflected on the major changes going on in my life. I experimented with and practiced my writing. I noticed things that were happening around me, and wrote about my observations. I wrote about a memory or two. I was enjoying myself.

Then, about mid-month, I began to doubt myself. I continued to forge on with my writing, but I wondered if my writing was worth reading. I decided to keep writing, but was very confused. In a letter I posted to the SOL writing community, I expressed my dilemma, hoping that maybe someone would reply. If my writing was bad, I wanted to know about it so that I could try to fix it.

The response I got from that letter was overwhelming! I heard from countless others slicers, some with the same problem as me, and many who had helpful suggestions. I received the affirmation (which I needed badly) that my writing wasn't terrible. I received encouragement...so much encouragement that I actually felt embarrassed! I was extremely grateful for the pointers which were given to me and to other 2nd- and 3rd-year slicers; I intend to take all that I learned from that experience and improve myself as a writer, and as a person.

By March 24, no longer worried about whether my writing was "good enough" or not, I continued my writing with new resolve. I noticed and reflected, wondered and reminisced, and learned from other slicers. With this SOL story challenge now ending, I am feeling happy and thankful...happy to have learned so much, and thankful to Two Writing Teachers and the SOL community for another enjoyable experience.

Now, onward!  :-)



**********************
JudyK :-)  March 31, 2019




Saturday, March 30, 2019

SOL 2019 -- Day 30 -- Words That Have Made Me Click







SOL story challenge, March 2019
Day 30 -- "Words That Have Made Me Click"
*******************



During this month's Slice of Life challenge, I have read many, many slices about countless different topics. Today, inspired by Elisabeth Ellington and Ramona, I thought back to some of the words that have prompted me to click on certain slices to read. I've come up with this list-poem:



Words That Have Made Me Click

Walks
Music
Moment
Travel
Shopping
Pictures/Photos
Chocolate
Little Things

Words
Poem, Haiku, Pi-ku
Library
List
Books
Wordscapes

Sick day
Flu
Couch
Blues
Weather phenomenon
Snow

Puppies
Dog
Kittens
Baby
Grandkids
YOU
Sister
Grandma

Spring
Morning
Spring Break
April
Monday, Friday
Sunday, Saturday

Beautiful
Quiet
Happy
Daffodil, Crocus, Tulip
Sunshine
Nature
Look out my window

Question
Comments
Wonder
Inspired
Currently
Noticing
Life
Joy
Gratitude
Memories
Thanks


************************
JudyK  :-)  March 30, 2019


Friday, March 29, 2019

SOL 2019 -- Day 29 -- Spending the Day With the Grandkids




Slice Of Life story challenge, March 2019
Day 29 -- "Spending the Day With the Grandkids"
*******************




Spending the Day With the Grandkids:

Riding in the car,
Shopping,
Hugging,
Looking at pictures,
Laughing,
Drawing,
Styling hair,
Eating,
Joking,
Adding & Subtracting
Reading,
Playing,
Watching movies,
Talking,
Rocking...

Loving.





  




************************
JudyK  :-)  March 29, 2019

Thursday, March 28, 2019

SOL 2019 -- Day 28 -- For the Longest Time




SOL story challenge, March 2019
Day 28 -- "For The Longest Time"
**************





There is a question I've wondered about for the longest time....



After taking lots of crocus pictures yesterday, 

the question came to the forefront of my thinking again. 

So I've written a Haiku about it:




For the Longest Time

I've been wondering.
The plural of "crocus" is....?
Crocuses? Croci??





Hmmmm....

*************************
JudyK  :-)  March 28, 2019


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

SOL 2019 -- Day 27 -- Taking time to smell the crocuses


SOL story challenge, March 2019
Day 27 -- "Taking Time To Smell the Crocuses"
*****************


We finally got a beautiful, slightly-warmer-than-average, sunny, blue-skied day here in Central Ohio today. It was the kind of day that you wish EVERY day could be during a March spring break in Ohio. (Ha! If only....)

Taking advantage of the nice weather, I decided to clean out the inside of my car...which needed it badly. But first, I wanted to get some pictures of my crocus flowers. The flowers have been in bloom for a while now, but most days recently they've been staying closed up because of the lack of sunshine and warmth. Or on days when they HAVE been open, I haven't been around at the right time to see them open. But today, we had the sunshine and the warmth, and the flowers were wide open and beautiful, and I was around to see them. So, of course, I had to get some pictures:



                       
         
This is the one where I accidentally knelt on a colony of ants 
while getting this picture....I have a knack for that. ;-)



               
     

      




Then, after I had enjoyed gazing at those beauties for quite a while.... well, then it was on to the car cleaning:



 



...With intermittent breaks to sit on the glider on my front porch to enjoy my view:






It IS spring break, after all!  :-)


***********************
JudyK  :-)  March 27, 2019




Tuesday, March 26, 2019

SOL 2019 -- Day 26 -- Blazer The Fire Engine Who Was Afraid



SOL story challenge, March 2019
Day 26 -- "Blazer, The Fire Engine Who Was Afraid"
************************

Earlier today, I was thinking of some of the records I used to listen to when I was a small child. One of them had a story and song about a fire engine named Blazer. Blazer was a happy little engine until one day he was called out to a fire, and it turned out that he was afraid of fires. What a problem for a fire engine to have! Of course, the story had a happy ending, because Blazer was able to overcome his fear when it mattered the most. The story was corny, and the music was even more corny, but it contained a good lesson for children to learn. I remember listening to that record over and over and over again, so I obviously must have liked the story, the song, or both!




Here is a picture from the internet which shows what the record looked like.



I haven't listened much to music for small children recently, but I'm wondering if the music these days teaches lessons to children, as they did when I was very young. I'm guessing that they do...or at least some of them. I know there is a recent children's song about a baby shark; I've heard part of it, and the tune is quite catchy...but I have no idea if it teaches a lesson. Maybe I'll ask my grandkids, and see what they think.  ;-)

When I was looking online for information about Blazer, I was able to find a recording of the story/song. I listened to it -- because of course I HAD to refresh my memory! In case you'd like to hear it, here is a link to it:

~~

Watch "Blazer, The Fire Engine Who Was Afraid (Cricket Records 1954)" on YouTube


https://youtu.be/h6eSYMGHDNM


~~

Now that I've listened to Blazer again....Well, let's just say that I can go a while (a LONG while), before I listen to it again. I think I'd rather take the baby shark. ;-)


*******************************
JudyK :-)  March 26, 2019




Monday, March 25, 2019

SOL 2019 -- Day 25 -- An Inspiration and Some Helicopters




SOL story challenge, March 2019
Day 25 -- "An Inspiration and Some Helicopters" 
*****************************


The quote below was the inspiration posted on the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Story Challenge today. I am posting it here on my blog because this quote spoke to me with such a loud voice that I couldn't ignore it, even if I had wanted to. After I experienced somewhat of a writing crisis over the weekend, when I read this quote this morning... well, it was as if this person were talking directly to me. I could absolutely be the writer being referred to in this quote! So...I am posting it here in my blog, so that I can refer back to it the next time I doubt myself. Because I know myself, and I know that there most likely will be a next time.  :-)
             



And now, with that said, here is the writing which I had intended to post when I got onto my laptop this morning...before I was distracted by that quote. ;-)  It's a poem which I wrote yesterday, after movement in the skies outside my living room window caught my attention. 



The Helicopters

Six helicopters
Flying by...
Two by
Two by
Two.

Military helicopters
In training exercises...
Two by
Two by
Two.

Heading back
To the Air Force base...
Two by
Two by
Two.

Weekend training over,
Flying done...
Home.
Home.
Home.


************************
JudyK  :-)  March 25, 2019


Sunday, March 24, 2019

SOL 2019 -- Day 24 -- Grateful Follow-up Letter to the SOL Writing Community






Slice of Life story challenge, March 2019
Day 24 -- Grateful Follow-up Letter to the SOL Writing Community
***********************



Dear Slice of Life Writers,

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to those of you who gave me feedback yesterday! I was confused and didn't really know where I stood in this writing community; you helped immensely to clarify things for me and show me the mistakes I was making. Your thoughtful questions, suggestions, guidance, and recommendations were truly helpful and will assist me in becoming a better writer and blogger. 

Special thanks to Kathryn,  Leigh Anne Eck,  Tracy,  Elisa,  Jen at TeachWrite,  Tracy Vogelgesang,  On a Thought,  Angela Faulhaber,  ChristieWyman,   JenniferFloyd,  Heidi,  Ramona,  aggiekesler, and  Elisabeth Ellington.... I so appreciate your help!

With much gratitude,
JudyK  :-)



***********************
JudyK  :-)  March 24, 2019

Saturday, March 23, 2019

SOL 2019 -- Day 23 -- Letter to the SOL Writing Community







Slice of Life story challenge, March 2019
Day 23 -- Letter to the SOL Writing Community
********************************************





Dear Slice of Life Writers,

I’ve been participating this month in the Two Writing Teachers’ annual writing challenge -- the Slice of Life Story Challenge -- for my third year in a row. Each time, the challenge has been an interesting experience, and I learned a lot about writing each time. The first year, my experience was encouraging and exhilarating, and I had a blast! :-) The second year, I had much less encouragement, but I still had fun and learned a lot. This third year, with more than a week still to go, my experience has been far different from the previous years. Why? I am missing the fun. To be more exact, I am missing the fun which comes from the sense of community.

I don’t really feel like I’m part of the SOL writing community this year. I am certainly trying to be! I’m writing and posting daily, I’m reading (and thoroughly enjoying!!) other slicers’ posts, and I’m commenting on other slicers’ posts -- usually more than the minimum requirement of three comments. I’m attempting to encourage others in their writing. I’m trying to make my own writing interesting, and I’m trying to leave an interesting hook when I post my permalink on the Two Writing Teachers website each day, to maybe catch the interest of potential readers. I also put some info about myself, with a link to my blog, on the Padlet that Kathleen Sokolowski create
d to help slicers connect with each other. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be doing. 

So, what is the problem, you ask? Why am I not feeling as if I’m part of the community?

The problem is that I am getting very few readers from the Slice of Life writing community, and even fewer commenters. If it weren’t for one person -- Ramona from Pleasures From the Page (https://pleasuresfromthepage.blogspot.com/) -- I would have had zero comments on my blog for the past 8 days. ZERO.  Z-E-R-O.  For eight days.  Considering that there are 200+ people participating in this writing challenge, those are some pretty bleak statistics. Do you know how deflating those statistics are to my fragile writer ego? ;-)


I’ve never considered myself to be a good writer, but I’m trying to improve. That’s the reason why I started this blog in the first place -- to improve my writing and challenge myself. And I have decided that I will continue to challenge myself, in spite of the lack of comments from others this March. I intend to complete the Slice of Life story challenge again this year, and I intend to continue writing beyond that. It’s not as much fun for me when I know that I’m practically the only one reading my writing, but I have put on my Big Girl Pants ;-) and decided to forge on anyway. I still want to improve myself. :-)

So, SOL writing community, this is where YOU come in. This is where I am asking for your help!

If you are reading this, PLEASE leave a comment and let me know what I am doing wrong. How can I improve my writing? How can I make my writing, and this blog, more interesting? I am hoping to leave this blog -- with all my random thoughts and stories, experimental poems and lists, and all types of writing -- for my children and grandchildren to read some day, so that they can know me a bit better, so that my thoughts can become part of their history. How can I improve my writing and my blog so that people actually want to read it? I need your feedback. I need your constructive criticism. Really.

If you have read all the way to the end of this letter, I commend you and thank you for that. If I can ask for just a bit more of your time, please leave a comment. Pretty please with words (better than sugar) on it.  ;-)  ;-) Thank you!

With appreciation,
JudyK :-)


******************************
JudyK :-) March 23, 2019

Friday, March 22, 2019

SOL 2019 -- Day 22 -- The Visit (A Haiku)






Slice of Life story challenge, March 2019
Day 22 -- "The Visit (A Haiku)"
************************************



Today, I went back to visit the elementary school where I had been teaching until just before Christmas. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with my former coworkers, and spending time (I visited the school for 5 hours!) with my former students. It was a great day! I wrote a Haiku to celebrate -- 




The Visit (A Haiku):

Catching up with friends
and getting countless hugs from
little people: Joy!




*******************************
JudyK :-)  March 22, 2019

Thursday, March 21, 2019

SOL 2019 -- Day 21 -- 21 Observations




Slice of Life story challenge, March 2019
Day 21 -- "21 Observations"
***********************


In honor of March 21... 

Here are 21 observations of things I see out my living room window at 10AM today: 



1. Gray skies. I see gray skies, not at all unusual for this part of Ohio for March...as well as February, January, December, and November. March is when we normally start getting fewer cloudy days, and see more sunshine. But not today.


2. Wet pavement on all the streets. It has rained during the night. How much it has rained, I don't know.

3. A trash truck, its employees picking up a nearby neighbor's trash.

4. The trash truck driver, outside the truck, waving his hands wildly while talking to his work partner.

5. The same trash truck, employees inside, driving backwards down the street which runs next to my house. The truck disappears from my sight. Did the trash company employees forget to pick up a customer's trash?

6. The same trash truck again, a minute later, driving the correct way on the street again, leaving my neighborhood. Apparently they corrected their error.

7. A tarp-clad chair on my neighbor's porch, covered up to protect it from the winter weather. Perhaps it will be released from its imprisonment soon?

8. Cars driving past the street corner where I live. Inside them are people going about their business, running errands or going to work. I wonder briefly about their destinations.

9. My wooden mailbox post. Gee, it's looking worn...and not at all dark brown, which it used to be. The post can really stand to be painted.

10. A neighbor's huge pine tree, its branches brushing against their garage roof. That tree has been there for many years. A few years ago, the bottom branches were removed so that the tree wasn't crowding up against the house. Maybe a few more branches need to go.

11. Grass. Lots of grass in my yard and in the neighbors' lawns. It is mostly brown, with a little bit of green here and there. Spring is trying to come.

12. The big rock under the pine tree across the street on the corner. The rock is large enough for a person or two to sit on. It has been there for many, many years, and has stories of its own to tell. I know a few of the stories; maybe I'll write about those stories some day.

13. Leafless trees in neighbors' yards. Wait just a minute. Looking more carefully, I can see buds of leaves sprouting on the trees. The branches aren't really bare anymore. Spring IS trying to come.

14. The round patch of a tiny flower garden in the yard across the street. It has the remnants of ground cover growth from last year. Once there was a tree that grew in that spot. When the tree died, my neighbors turned the small circle of dirt into a tiny garden, covered with a ground cover plant. The plant will sport minuscule flowers when it blooms later in the spring. Or maybe that plant blooms in the summer? I don't remember exactly.

15. My car, parked backwards in my driveway. It is an old car, and it's parked in that manner so that it's pointing down the slope of the driveway. That position will hopefully help prevent my leaky sunroof from dripping onto the front seat of the car. It's not fun to sit on a wet car seat. Trust me, I know about such things.

16. Another neighbor's yard.... There are 4 tires, 2 trash barrels and a small woodpile sitting alongside his garage. They don't look horribly terrible, yet they aren't very pretty to look at. It makes me wonder about the appearance of the side of my house, as seen by my neighbors. Hmmmm....

17. A tanker truck driving past my corner, heading deeper into my neighborhood. I saw this same truck driving by a little while ago, before I started taking notes. It has EPA something-or-other written on the side of it. I wonder if it's vacuuming the leaves and collections of winter gunk out the sewers on streets in the neighborhood. I've seen my township perform that service in previous years.

18. A torn bag of mulch in the flowerbed of the yard across the street. My neighbors never used the mulch last year, so it's been lying there for a while. I wonder if they will use it this year. They are an older couple who have had some health problems in the past year, so maybe not. Maybe I'll offer to spread the mulch for them this year.

19. A different truck, this one with a long conveyor belt and some packages of roofing shingles on it, driving slowly past my corner. It drives onward on the street which runs next to my house, and I can't see it anymore. Then I hear its backup warning signal beeping, so I think it's parking on the street right by the side of my house. One of my neighbors must be getting some roof repairs.

20. A car turning onto my cul-de-sac. Driving it is an elderly man who lives next door to my across-the-street neighbors. The car pulls into the garage which is attached to the house. The garage door does not go down. 

21. The elderly man appearing, a minute later. He walks out of his garage, down his driveway toward his mailbox at the curb. I see him pick up two empty trash cans and carry them into the garage. The garage door closes. The man is back home with his wife, in the warmth and comfort of their home.



When I first starting looking out my window and taking notes, I wondered if I could find 21 things to notice. It seemed to be a formidable challenge. Could there be 21 things happening in this quiet little neighborhood on this rainy weekday morning, when most of the neighborhoods' residents are at work or school? I shouldn't have wondered; it took me only 10 or 15 minutes to spot these 21 things. I could have written whole stories about a few of them.


My advice to everyone: Take time to stop and observe what's going on around you, wherever you are. You'll be amazed at what you see and hear...and wonder!



:-)


***************************

JudyK  :-)  March 21, 2019




Wednesday, March 20, 2019

SOL 2019 -- Day 20 -- My Evening






Slice of Life story challenge, March 2019
Day 20 -- "My Decadent Evening"
**********************************





My Decadent Evening
(A Six-Word Story)



"Survivor"

and

Rocky

Road

ice

cream




📺 🍨
😋




************

JudyK  :-)  March 20, 2019

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

SOL 2019 -- Day 19 -- Thank Goodness for Spring Breaks!





Slice of Life story challenge, March 2019
Day 19 -- "Thank Goodness for Spring Breaks!"
**************



Earlier this morning, this photo collage, made from photos I took a year ago today, popped up on my phone. It immediately brought a smile to my face, and warmed my heart.


I remember that day one year ago -- Monday March 19, 2018.  I was on Spring Break, and I took a hike at a nearby metro park on that morning, knowing that it would be one of the few chances I would have for semi-decent weather that week. The upper left photo in the collage is a picture I took along the walking path. There were no leaves on trees yet, and the grass hadn't greened up yet, so the park was still mostly wearing its winter brown color. But the sky was a beautiful blue that day, and the sun was shining, and I embraced the sunshine and enjoyed that hike for all it was worth. That morning was peaceful and refreshing; it renewed my spirit and soothed my soul.

After the hike, I came home and took some pictures of my crocus flowers which were in full bloom in the flower bed by my front porch; those are the other pictures in the collage. Those beautiful little purple flowers cheer me up and lift my spirits every time I see them. My mood is lifted now, just looking at this picture collage!

A year has come and gone since then, and I am once again on Spring Break. It's a respite from a different job this year, but it's still a welcomed break from my normal routine. I'm looking out the window right now, and once again am seeing sunshine and some blue skies. As I remember last year's spirit-lifting hike, and knowing that spring now is right around the corner, I am again full of joy and ready to take on whatever the future sends me.

Ahhhh, thank goodness for Spring Breaks. Onward I go!

********************************
JudyK  :-)   March 19, 2019