Tag Archives: blogging

Day 61 – And my summer is done

24 Aug

wpid-20140713_085103.jpgSixty-one days is a long time to not be working. I don’t say vacation because my job is such that I get paid for the work I do ten months a year and that pay gets spread over twelve months. When I’m not working in the summer, I’m actually not paid for that time, but it sure feels like vacation and I love it. I consider it one of the many perks of my job. To anyone who begrudges me that summer ‘vacation’, you too could have been a teacher. I don’t apologize one bit for enjoying every bit of that time. Tomorrow I officially go back to work for the 2014-15 school year.

When I started my daily blogging on day one, I mused about how blogging every day might affect my enjoyment of the summer. In fact, I was pretty certain that 2011, the last summer I blogged every day, was an excellent summer in part because of the blogging. Now I know that I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a bad summer, but I don’t think blogging made it what it was. I usually enjoyed the time spent writing. I’m proud of myself for posting every single day and I’m a bit tired of posting every single day. This summer was good. Nothing bad happened but I wouldn’t call it fantastic, as I did in 2011.

I had big plans to read lots this summer! On day two (no I won’t recap every day) I shared my summer reading list. I read five of the eleven books on my list, well I’m almost finished number five. Of the five, I recommend three booksof them. The first book I read was The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. It was okay,  lagged in the middle and was a long story, long enough to be epic, but fell short. It was far less interesting than its title suggests. Then I read Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. This was a great YA read that I’d recommend to most of my female friends and my students. It deals with poverty, abuse, bullying and young love. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness was my favourite read of the summer. It was the third in her Discovery of Witches trilogy and I almost never read sequels. This was a most excellent exception. If you like fantasy and historical fiction, this trilogy is for you. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion was a light and easy read and it was downright funny. Glenn’s reading it now. I’d recommend this one to anyone who reads; its appeal and target audience is that wide. Right now, I’ve been reading A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby for a few weeks because I had a difficult time getting into it and I had to slug through the second part of it. With about 60 pages left to read I finally want to know how it ends. What drew me to this book was the premise: four strangers meet for the first time on New Year’s Eve on the roof of a tall building with the intention of jumping to their deaths. They don’t jump and the rest of the book is about how they navigate through life and their newfound unlikely and unofficial support group. It’s less interesting than it sounds. I’ll see it through.

I have learned a lot about myself as a writer this summer. While I won’t delve into that too much I’d like to recap my top five posts ICYMI.

  1. Day 14 – Letting Go I wrote about my daughter’s daring summer adventureswpid-img_0301.png
  2. Day 20 – Ten ideas for stories exactly what the title suggests
  3. Day 28 – Namaste was about my path to yoga and what makes it right for me
  4. Day 29 – The end of an era was about the new subdivision being built behind my home
  5. Day 42 – BBQ Meatballs is a family favourite recipe

Each of these have been viewed by over a hundred different readers, so clearly these have proven to be the most interesting posts. Even though each post is dramatically different from the others, they have one thing in common. None of them are about my day, nor are they poetry. Those type of posts got the least traffic. I enjoy writing poetry and will keep doing so. In fact, if you didn’t see my blackout poetry, check it out. I really had fun with it and can’t wait to try it with my students. I always felt like writing about my day was  a bit narcissistic and definitely a cop-out when I wasn’t sure what else to write about, especially when the day wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

Now that my 61 days are over, I plan to continue blogging from time-to-time. Now that the summer is over, I’m looking forward to going back to work. I might as well look forward to it and go in with a positive outlook because it’s going to happen either way. It’ll certainly make it more enjoyable.

And thus, without a wing,
or service of a keel,
Our summer made her light escape,
Into the beautiful.
                       ~ Emily Dickinson

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Day 31 – Friday solution

25 Jul

Since I’ve started this daily blogging, writing my blog on Friday nights has been the most difficult part. For some reason, at the end of the week, writing that blog has been so incredibly difficult. That isn’t the only problem I’ve encountered while blogging. When you force yourself to write, and post every day, some blog posts turn out better than others. After three or four weeks of blogging I began to notice a pattern, one that is supported by evidence when I look at the statistics of my blog. The writing that I like the best, almost always gets the most traffic to my blog. I know when I’ve written something good. The opposite is also true. I know when I’ve written something mediocre or blah and this shows up in the stats as well. I’m an astute judge of my own writing. Whenever I write about the ordinary happenings of that day, I bore myself. So here is my solution, don’t allow myself to cop-out by writing “today we did this..” until Friday night and then I’ll use lots of photos to tell the story of my week. That’s my solution for my struggle to write my blog posts on Fridays.wpid-20140720_122938.jpg

This photo of Savanna was from last Sunday. She stopped to chat with me for a minute before she left for work. Then she went out into the garage and I heard her say to Glenn, “Nope, she didn’t notice.” Then she came back in a minute later and said, “Look at my shirt.” It was Glenn’s sweat shirt from his time in Royal Rangers; it must be thirty years old. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Glenn wear it, but she has claimed it now. Every time I ask my kids to let me take their photo they have to do this, well not this exactly–an awkward pose, make a face, give me a stern look or a double chin. I can never get just a simple smile or pleasant look. wpid-20140721_104247.jpg

Glenn’s mom has been with us for three weeks, and she’s going to be with us for another three. This is the kind of thing she does on a daily basis. She’ll see something she thinks needs to be done and she does it. Monday it was cleaning the BBQ grill. It looks almost as good as it did the day we bought it. Another day she cleaned the sliding glass door and track; another day it was the little windows in the double doors between our office and living room. She also ironed all of Glenn’s shirts. She’ll find something to putter away at, then she sits and reads, does her Sudoku and Price is Right, Let’s Make a Deal and Dr. Phil have become more regularly watched in our household.wpid-20140721_211149.jpg

Monday night was the perfect night for a trip to Tingley’s. Is it even still called that? Maybe just by the people who know better, but the kids working there were all wearing shirts that said Dundonald Dairy Bar. Pfft. It’ll always be Tingley’s to me. Even ZuZu came along and enjoyed a little ice cream. Here we have Seldon making his stern face. Why? Why must my children do this? It’s not like I was one of those mothers constantly chasing them with a camera.

When we were at Beulah Seldon ended up needing stitches. He was playing a game of man hunt, or wpid-20140722_142024.jpgsomething with the youth and he took of his shoes. He sliced his big toe open on a sharp rock. We went last Thursday to get them out and the doctor said they needed to stay in longer. It was a long 12 summer days that he could not swim or long board. Tuesday afternoon we went back to the doctor’s office and nurse Debbie was finally able to remove his stitches and she gave him the green light to return to the fun stuff of summer. Wednesday he started volunteering at the pool with Savanna, helping with swimming lessons. The main reason is to help an autistic boy who is taking lessons, but he stays all morning helping with all of the classes and he’s really enjoying it. I think we have another lifeguard in the making.

wpid-20140722_195726.jpgOn Tuesday night, Sadie, Glenn, ZuZu and I went to the Kathleen Gorey-McSorley concert in Officer’s Square. I love her style of folksy celtic and musical story telling. She’s a talented young woman. There were three little girls, maybe three or four years old, dancing and running back and forth in front of the stage. They were half the show. ZuZu loves being around so many people. She kept creeping behind our chairs to get belly rubs from the women sitting behind us. Then, the baby who was sitting with his mother in front of us started crying and ZuZu pulled on her leash to get a closer look and managed to distract the baby from his crying, so Glenn took her to meet the baby. Is there anything cuter than babies and dogs together?

Iwpid-20140723_141427.jpgt was so hot outside on Wednesday! I spent some time outside in the morning with my book, but once it got very hot I retreated inside, into the air conditioning. The highlight of my day was the hour I spent with my book in the tub. I rarely use the whirlpool tub in our master bath and for that reason I think it was not a good idea to have it put in. However, when I do actually allow myself to take that luxurious time to use it, I love it.

wpid-20140723_210022.jpgWe had mom and dad over for supper on Wednesday night and mom brought me some of her homemade soft molasses cookies. How could I not share one with ZuZu when she gives me this look? You know what happened.

I have no photo evidence that the last two days even happened. But that’s okay, right? We were too busy living to document life. Sadie went to the Senior’s center on Thursday for crafts and again today for a lunch time potluck. My mom is in Augusta for a few days with her quilting buddies on a shopping/Quilting Show trip, so dad came over for pizza tonight. Between trips to the pool, driving Seldon to his friends houses, taking Sadie to hair appointments and the senior’s center, I’m reading every chance I get, sneaking a chapter in here and there. Because after all, that’s what summer’s all about.

 

 

 

Day 21 – Attitude of Gratitude

15 Jul

For many reasons, yesterday was a tough day for me. It was the beginning of a stretch of a few weeks with nothing big planned and I think I was mostly restless and a bit grumpy. I long for this time of waking naturally, sitting around with coffee, doing yoga in the morning, not eating breakfast until 10:30, basically doing what I want, when I want. Yesterday, there were a few obstacles in the way of that. I think that is probably what caused me to have a tough day. Looking back, there were several reasons to assess yesterday as a fantastic day. I did yoga early, which is what I prefer, and my massage therapist called me to say she had an opening. I had a wonderful massage, which I missed last week during the power outage. Also, I was really happy with my writing/blogging yesterday. So today, I’m choosing gratitude by changing my attitude. I know, it rhymes… so original.

Five things that I’m grateful for today:

  1. I got my yoga, and first cup of coffee in before 9:00AM. I’ve been doing yoga with online videos at www.doyogawithme.com I like it because I can choose the level, type of yoga, length of class, even instructor. I’m doing beginner classes, but I’m excited to know that there’s lots of room to progress. I’m a summer time exerciser. I’ll exercise amost every day all summer and then quit cold when work begins again in September. If anyone has advice for me on how to maintain a sensible exercise routine, one that I want to do while working full time, I’d be glad to hear your advice.
  2. I went to a new chiropractor and was thrilled to have a fantastic adjustment as it was my first appointment in three years. I saw Jennie Hersey, at Fredericton Family Chiropractic. I used to babysit Jennie, but shhh, don’t tell her I told you. She was sweet and professional. Because she is so tiny, I was worried that she would have a difficult time with the strength needed for my adjustment, but I had nothing to worry about. She is small AND mighty.
  3. I came home to a big hug from my son. This is not rare, but as he gets older I appreciate that it still happens on a regular basis.
  4. I have been sitting outside on my covered front porch, listening to the rain and writing for hours. I’m completing a virtual summer writing camp for teachers. I’ve started this camp in previous years, but this is the first time I’ve really followed through with it and I’m so glad that I am. Maybe later I’ll share some of that with you, maybe. I’m posting everything for that to a different blog… you could probably find it if you really wanted to.
  5. wpid-20140715_140115.jpgMy 86 year-old mother in law is here; she’s vibrant, healthy and great company. Sometimes we’ll cook together. Often, she will putter around the house doing little things that I’d never do. For instance, today she took one of those little fabric shavers to the couch in our family room. At other times, we sit in companionable silence while we both read or she does her sudoku puzzles and I write. I’m glad she can be here with us this summer as she is mourning the death of her best friend just a few weeks ago.

With so much for which to be grateful, I have little reason to be grumpy. However, I’m learning to allow myself to feel a range of emotions without dwelling on the negative for too long. Sharing my gratitude is one way to keep me mindful of all the blessings in my life.

Day 10 – 4th of July Road Trip!

4 Jul

Summer is meant for road trips! Today we’re going to see good friends that I haven’t seen in almost a year. While yesterday I was happy to watch the storm, today I’m hoping it stops raining so we can enjoy a BBQ, a bonfire and some genuine backyard celebrations. It’s looking good because Glenn just interrupted me and said, “Look!” while pointing at the sky clearing up ahead. Fortunately, we’re driving west and leaving hurricane Arthur behind us.wpid-20140704_140546.jpg

Do you want to know what I love the most about road trips? Don’t answer that because it doesn’t matter. I’m going to tell you anyway. I love being a passenger, and generally that works out well for me. I love to relax, read, write, play games on my phone, snack, and nap. Sounds like the perfect day to me! But the thing I love the most about road trips is being trapped in the car together. Honestly! It’s during really long road trips when we have our best conversations, you know the big ones. We talk about our future, what we want out of the next 5-15 years, we talk about our finances, we talk about our kids and our hopes for them, we talk about life. Being in the car for hours and hours lets us have time to talk about the things we put off talking about in our day-to-day life. It’s not that we don’t want to have these conversations about life; it’s that we always seem so preoccupied with living our life.

Today, I’m doing one of the things I love to do best. I’m spending the day with my love, driving to see our friends, listening to the music, writing my blog and he doesn’t know it yet, but we’re about to begin our dialogue! Happy 4th of July to my American friends and family.

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Day One – This summer has 61 days

25 Jun

In 2011, I challenged myself to blog every day for the entire summer. I did it and surprisingly it left me feeling like I had the best summer possible. I remember, at the end of the summer, Glenn and I were at an outdoor concert at Officer’s Square and one of my colleagues was there and he asked me how my summer was. When I replied, “It was great!”, he was clearly taken aback, I even remember that he commented that he’d never heard that response before; he expected that standard, “Good,” or “Too short!” At first, I didn’t connect blogging every day with having a great summer, but looking back I can see that these two things clearly were dependent on each other. First of all, I spent a considerable amount of my time doing something I love to do–writing! I do love to write, and I so rarely make it a priority because with my job and busy family life it seems selfish to take the kind of time it requires out of my already crammed schedule. So writing daily was a treat for me and meeting my goal of blogging every single day, all summer, was satisfying. Also, I think writing every day kept me cognizant of how I spent my time. Even though I didn’t write about my day each time, I was more purposeful about how I spent my time, making sure that I had interesting experiences to share. At first I thought I had made a terrible mistake, counting down the days, when the end of the countdown meant I had to go back to work. However, as the summer wore on, I realized that feeling like I was achieving my goal and having a record of the best parts of my summer, mixed with my musings and poetry, left me feeling truly accomplished and satisfied. I tell you all this to explain why I’ve decided to do it again. I guess you could say it’s a bit of an experiment. My driving question is this: Is daily blogging directly linked to a having a great summer, or were the two once simply mere coincidences?

Even though a rainy one, today was a fantastic day for the first day of my summer. I slept in until 8:30 when the pounding construction started behind my house. I got up in time to see my guys off to work and then did my yoga in peace, took my coffee and book to the deck to read, all before breakfast. I firmly believe that EVERY day should start this way! Because she had the day off today, Savanna and I had a mother and daughter dfiosay planned. We did a little shopping, then went to see The Fault in our Stars, a movie based on the John Green book that we both read last year. Usually, I’m not thrilled with based on the novel movies. How can two hours do justice to a good book? There are so very few based on the novel movies that I ever think are even as good as the book that I really should stop seeing the movie, but when I love the book there’s no stopping me from seeing the movie too. I’m glad I did! The movie was equally as good as the book, right down to the tear jerking ending. Savanna even sniffled a bit, which almost never happens.

The end of the day brought the season premiere of Big Brother. We started watching this years ago with Glenn’s mother Sadie and now she watches faithfully every summer, so we do too. This summer she’ll be with us for eight weeks, essentially the whole summer starting this Saturday.

So, yoga, coffee on the deck with a good book (more about this and other books tomorrow), a movie with my girl and Big Brother. I’d say I’m off to a great start to a fantastic summer. Tomorrow brings a morning with my boy, lunch with a good friend and hopefully more time spent reading.

Day 58 – My summer has been GREAT!

24 Aug

Last night I went out again with my good friend Marueen. We went for dinner at The Lunar Rogue, then went to Officer’s Square for the outdoor concert, Ross Neilsen & the Sufferin Bastards. Glenn and ZuZu met us at the concert. When I got there, I was looking all through the crowd to find him and I saw a colleague pointing and assumed he was pointing me toward my husband. I looked to find Glenn and when I turned back to wave at my colleague, he had already turned his head in conversation.

We sat down and were enjoying the concert and conversation. But, I thought I better go say hello to my colleague and thank him for pointing me in the right direction. I haven’t seen him since June, so naturally he asked, “How has your summer been?”

To which I replied, “Great!”

“Great!? Most people who have had good summers say good, or nice, but ‘great’; that’s fantastic!”

I found myself saying, “It really has been.”

I could look back over my summer and dwell on all of the things that I didn’t accomplish or lament about the times I should have taken to rest instead of doing something else, but I’m going to choose to look back through my blog and see everything I have done this summer. At least that’s what I’m going to do tonight. Maybe on Sunday, when I know I have to get up and go to work the next day, I’ll feel differently, but I won’t let myself live in the state of self-pity for too long. I HAVE had a great summer. I got to spend ten days at the cottage with my family and a whole week with my niece, brother and sister-in-law. Glenn and I made two trips to New Jersey where we shopped a lot, did a few touristy things that included a day in NYC. I really got into my groove at the gym trying a bunch of new classes including, accidently of course, body combat. I was lucky enough to go to the best workshop I’ve attended in my whole career. And, I’ve read some great books. I’ve spent quality time with friends and family, and blogged all along the way. With my last two summers cut short by course work for my masters, this one has been a fabulous, university course free, summer.

Of course it would be nice to have another week or two, but after having nearly nine weeks off, I’m willing to admit that I’m ready (and need) to go back to work/school. I never know what to call it; it’s both work and school. The laissez faire days of summer are nearly over, and they’ll only really last to relieve my work related stress until the late January snow becomes unbearable. But, I can live with that, because then it’s the hope of another beautiful summer like this one that keeps me sane. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I really love what I do.

I’m not going to promise not to complain over the next few days about what I didn’t do. Remember that list that I wrote on Saturday about the stuff I didn’t do this summer that I’d like to try to squeeze into this week? Pfft, yeah, pfft, right! But, I’m okay with that too. I might grumble a little, most at myself, but my prevailing attitude is one of joy and gratefulness. I’m glad that I can say I’ve had a great summer and have the blog to prove it.

Day 24 – Blog Writing

21 Jul

I made it a goal to write this summer for at least a half an hour a day; instead, I’ve been blogging for about a half an hour a day. Blogging is writing you say? Well, yes it is, but it isn’t really what I had in mind, in fact I think it is a bit of a cop-out for me. Here’s the thing…

I love to write, and I love to write and share what I’ve written. It is exhilarating to write for an audience, whether the audience is known to you or not. But, what I really want to do, and part of my longer term goal, is to write a novel. I’ve started it, barely. Now that I’ve started to blog every day this summer, I feel this compulsion to continue. However, when I set the goal to write for at least a half an hour a day, all summer, I envisioned drafting my novel. I thought I’d force myself to write for thirty minutes, and it would turn into getting really into it some days and spending the better part of the day writing. That hasn’t happened yet.

Blogging is fun, because some people comment on what you’ve written and then you know you have an audience this is enjoying your work. Even when there are no comments, the blogging software keeps track of how many hits your blog gets, so you can look at the statistics and see how many people have read all or part of your blog posts. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ve got a readership, no matter how small, that is looking for your next blog post.

Blogging is different than other writing though. Of course there are several things that are the same, but the differences really matter. If you’ve noticed, when I post a poem to my blog I almost always say that it isn’t finished. I do this because it is usually something I’ve just written; it’s a draft. Most writing, and almost all good writing, requires revision. Blogs are a bit like diaries that you let everyone read. Diaries don’t require drafts; they don’t even have to be good or interesting. I think some of my blogs are interesting and mostly well written, but many of them are just drafts of essays that I post for everyone to read like they’re something special, but they’re not. Blog writing is different because there is no other context where I’d post my ramblings, my drafts for the world to read (and perhaps judge).

Last week, when my friend and colleague Pat Rogers began her own blog, she made a comment that it was scary. I understand why someone would think it is scary. I think it is brave, especially in our profession. We teach children to write, so whatever we post for the world to read ought to be exemplary. With a blog, it shouldn’t have to be.

If you’ve been reading my blog for weeks now, or even longer, and you aren’t blogging yourself, I encourage you to give it a try. Write your blog, post it to facebook or twitter and let the world know that you have something to say. It’s fun, and it’s fun to be a part of a community that is blogging and reading each other’s blogs. As for me, I better stop blogging now. I should see if I can spend at least as long working on my novel as I did sitting here blogging about blogging.

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