I’m Okay

“I’m okay.”

That usually means something else isn’t. It always means something else isn’t okay.

E. called twice on Saturday. S. hollered through the bathroom door, over running water from the shower. “E needs for you to call as soon as you’re done! He already called twice.” We’d been messaging back and forth. He probably wants to pick something up on the way here. Ice cream, or maybe my favorite coffee.

I finished without rushing and returned his call.

“I’m okay.”

“Okay…what happened?”

“Yeah, you know that yield sign where you have to crank your head all the way back and it’s a stupid traffic flow design? The brand-new Mini-Cooper in front of me didn’t go when it was clear. We’re exchanging information now, I’ll be there in a bit.”

He sounded calm. That’s what made me nervous. When he got home, I took a look. License plate was bent. Otherwise, no major damage. Fender bender minus the bent fender. I looked at the pictures of the other car, walked into the house, and discussed the next steps, grateful it wasn’t worse.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Where to now?

Year three. Day thirty-two. (I also posted on Tuesday, February 28th.) I knew I’d hit the inevitable wall, writer’s block is real. It’s ugly. It’s really ugly. But I got past it. So where do I go now?

I’ll take a little break (at least until Tuesday) and go back and read more posts. I remind myself it’s okay to return to past posts and comment. They’re new to me if I haven’t read them. There’s so much good writing out there.

I have some posts saved as mentor texts, suggestions for writing structures, techniques people used, stories that stayed with me. I make a plan, more of a mental note, to stretch myself during National Poetry month. There’s more than just free-verse, but I like to take the easy way out. I found one I’m eager to try and many more I’ve never encountered. It’s time I play a little harder.

Do I join a writer’s group? Create my own? Might as well give it a try. I’m a bit nervous about that since I was a member of a book club years ago, The Book Club With No Name. If that’s any indication of how that turned out, my hesitation is warranted.

Year three, you’ve been good to me. Thank you to everyone here, TWT for creating this amazing space, and to Chris Margocs of Horizon 51, who brought me along for my first ride three years ago.

I stocked my Writing Pantry with mini-bottles of bubbly. They’ve been chilling in the fridge. Summer’s flirting around here, so off I go, a toast to many more Slices!

Friday, March 31, 2023

SOLSC Glossary of Terms

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Blurking: looking for new blogs to follow, often by looking at lists of blogs other people follow, especially when posting comments on a Slice

EMS: early morning Slicer

Mindbloggling: those great writers who use crazy awesome techniques and make you think about deep issues. These posts require several readings.

PMS: post-morning Slicer

Seasoned Slicer: Slicers with more than five years of Slicing experience. They are excellent mentors, lead workshops, suggest new structures, are members of other writing groups, suggest resources, encourage us all, and are great writers

Slicer Butt: numb sensation in the glutes from sitting for long periods of time (especially on weekends and spring break) writing, reading, and commenting every day for a full month

Slicerism: terms Slicers use such as Slice, SOL, and “Oops, I accidentally put two spaces between the period at the end of my teaser and my permalink, my bad!”

Writerly Craftivity: the ability to seamlessly weave artsy projects into writing such as quilting, bird watching, knitting, dancing, music, art, gardening, opening a bottle of vodka…

Writertude: looking on the bright side of choosing random topics for writing such as allergies, pickles, or rats. Often helpful when hitting the wall (or an empty Writing Pantry)

Writing Pantry: where you go in your mind’s eye to pull techniques, tips, structures, words, images, for a new piece of writing

Non-Road Trip

It was a good day for a road trip. I didn’t take one, but it was a good day for one. Where would I go? Another book shop? A hike. An hour long drive on a hilly, winding road, dotted with bluebonnets to get to Sweet Berry Farms for strawberry picking and homemade ice cream? Around here, summer already flirts with spring and it’s only been a week. Would I go to a new to me barbecue joint, those that make the best-of lists I tend to ignore? Do I go north or south or east or west?

Instead, I stay put because it’s Sunday. I clean out one corner of the garage, emptying out a box of old books I’m finally able to part with, except for a yearbook. I thumb through it. Do I keep it? The clock reminds me it’s time to pick up my teen from our neighborhood pool. “Can you give K a ride home?”

I take the short drive to drop of the friend. Pull into a tidier garage, shut the door behind me, and get on with my Sunday, because there isn’t much of it left. It was a good day for a road trip if Monday didn’t hover nearby.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Bench Warmer

Saturday, March 25, 2023

I figured out I was a bench warmer as a third grader, before I knew there was a term for it. My parents allowed me to join Little Dribblers, our local kid’s basketball organization. All my friends joined, and they were the cool kids. I don’t remember how I ever got to the practices, I probably walked to most of them, but my parents weren’t always in the stands cheering me on. Usually, they dropped me off, picked me up, and that was that. Typical 80’s kid doing her own thing. Their work schedules often conflicted with extracurricular activities and there were two other younger kids at home. Later it would become three.

During practice I tried to keep up, watching the others with envy as their basketballs obeyed and bounced back to their fingertips for another forceful tap. I spent most of my time chasing my basketball. If a coach intercepted it and passed it back to me, I moved out of the way so it wouldn’t hit me in the head. I like to think I have a metal plate in my head that attracts moving objects. It’s still there and it still works. I was never good at catching.

My dad watched some games, but I rarely played. I learned that you have to be good to play, otherwise you sit and wait for the team to win. Or lose. Sometimes I’d go in and it seemed that just as I got warmed up, a buzzer went off or a whistle blew and there was a switcharoo. Back to the bench. Cheer the team from there.

The following year, the sign up form went home again. I looked at it, but I knew better. I wouldn’t bother. We didn’t have a smooth driveway with a basketball goal for me to practice. I didn’t get any better. I wanted to play because my friend played, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as they did. I preferred to spend my time in different ways. After all, if I was going to sit on a bench, I’d rather sit there reading a book, not wishing to dribble basketball.

Declutter E-Clutter

I’ve zombified my eyes and my back is hunched. It’s everywhere. Google drive. Work email. My own email. All of my pictures on my camera. Over 7,000 of them. Why so many screenshots? I rarely go back to them. This is ridiculous. This is in addition to the regular clutter I’m constantly working to clear out of my house. I start looking at pictures and start deleting like a champ. Until I start looking at them and reminiscing.

I tried deleting some folder from my Google drive at work. However, I’m afraid I’ll delete something I may have shared or has been shared with me. It appears that I can delete a shortcut to a folder that was shared with me without accidentally deleting the entire folder. See what happens when you start sharing too much? I’m sure that happened frequently. If other people’s Google drives are like mine, they may not notice anything is missing.

With emails, I gave up. No sense in trying. Those bots keep it chock full of junk. I’ve unsubscribed multiple times to the same addresses. Mark it as spam and it still shows up. Can I start with a fresh account? The work account is the one I want to clear out. Every summer I sign up for a decluttering challenge, a letter a day for each letter of the alphabet. I’ve only made it to letter E, I think. It takes about an hour per day and it works great, in theory. I have the directions buried somewhere in the depths of my email. I didn’t delete them. Saving them for, what? A rainy day?

I’m trying to delete as I go. Set aside time to focus on it, even if it’s ten minutes a day. The problem is it’s hard to find those few little minutes. Looks like I’m an e-hoarder.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Allow Me to Introduce You…

Say hi to my Pinkie Toe. We have this thing. It’s attached, of course, but it’s also, electric? Magical? Possessed? Implanted with a microchip put there by an extra-terrestrial being when I was three? It has lots of stories to tell.

Here’s the back story. I have a reputation. Good? Bad? Well, maybe not that kind, but of the kind that breaks things. Specifically, technology type things. Like the Internet. A VCR/DVD combo from back in the day. The school’s network. Electrical wires and power outlets. My laptop. Printers. Cameras. Phones. Important things.

I’m not sure when it started, but I made sure our ITS on campus was on-call any time I planned for my students to use the laptops. He knew he’d earn his keep with popping in throughout the day to troubleshoot. These weren’t ordinary troubleshooting issues, either. A brand new cart of computers? There was always something wrong with them.

Yesterday, we were offline due to a broken server. I didn’t do it. Today, I taught a lesson on paraphrasing. Kids used Pear Deck to practice. For the last class, I scheduled my observation and evaluation lesson with my director. She came in, set up, and the students logged in, entered the correct code, and

a light flickered. My ginormous computer panel board shut down. Completely. I had set the Pear Deck to teacher led because, well, I had to teach stuff. There was no way to continue with the lesson. All of the other lights were fine. The other flat panel, where I had my March Madness Tournament of Books presentation going on loop was fine. My computer at my station was fine. This was the same lesson I had to complete at home last night because our server was down yesterday.

Seems Pinkie Toe needs an update, but I don’t know how to submit a tech support ticket. Perhaps watching E.T. will help.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Time Out

Today, the internet went down for our entire district. I couldn’t work on the lesson I have scheduled for tomorrow. My observation is for this specific lesson. Sigh…

It also happened during one of our busiest times. Most kids pop in to the library not to read books, but to play video games or watch YouTube videos. Got to sites they shouldn’t visit. What must we do to pry the devices out of their hands? We’re 1:1, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. In theory it works, but there are so many important steps that were missed when the Big C forced it on us.

What did the teachers do? Some turned on a movie. (Yawn.) Some had students read. Others allowed students to play board games. Whip out real paper and writing sticks. What do we do with these?

Our group of regulars who come in every day during lunch skipped their usual comfy spots and made their way to the tables. Instead of taking out their Chromebooks, they sat there and talked. They made eye contact with one another. They spoke about favorite uncles. Not so favorite aunts. Getting in trouble. Bed times. Finishing a journal. I’m actually almost finished writing on every page! Wondering what they’ll do in the next class after the bell rings. Will the bell even ring? Mentioning all types of crafts they like to make.

They spoke with one another. They were smiling. It was glorious.

Thursday, March 22, 2023

Are You There Judy? It’s Me, Ally

Hey Judy,

Me again. This time I’m not asking for advice on big life lessons. I want to say thank you. Thank you for writing great books. They got me through puberty. And now, there’s A MOVIE!

I can’t wait to watch Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret. Did this happen intentionally? Were you thinking about making this a possibility years after you published every pre-pubescent girl’s guide to body changes on purpose? How many pre, peri, regular, and post menopausal women will be in every theater across the country when it opens?

We’ll drag our daughters by the ears to watch it with us. (Do they even read anymore?). I’m orchestrating a watch party, at one of my favorite eatery theaters of course, because we must have access to fancy snacks and mimosas. Beer. Wine. Cocktails. I’m sure my favorite place will have a full menu of book related fare and fancy sips.

I might sneak in a pack of Oreo cookies, take a stack of four, and put two back as a nod to Blubber. I’ll drink a glass of orange juice before I get there in honor of Deenie. I’ll buy a brand new bra so I’m ready for “We must, we must, we must increase our busts!” However, in this case, it doesn’t need increasing, just lifting. I will mortify my thirteen year old with no shame.

I read this book twice in middle school. Years later, it was part of a Banned Books display in our school library one year when I took my class. Two boys were curious, I explained why it was my favorite, and they each checked out a copy. “There’s no better way to learn about girls than to read about them.” Sold!

I plan an adult me reading of it before the movie is released. I’m looking forward to loving it all over again.

Your Faithful Book Fan,


*Occasionally, I write to Judy Blume.

First letter is here.

Second letter is here.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Look, a Nook!

Fabled Bookshop and Cafe has another little hiding place. Upon entering and scanning the layout, plotting my first bookcase to peruse, I noticed an adorable writing nook (occupied) on the left side past Aesop. A writer, deep in thought, oblivious to those entering behind her. I glanced her way, took note, and on we went.

Later, I went back to that section where the travel books take you wherever you want to go. The nook was unoccupied, its writer a ghost of a memory. Who was she? What did she write? How long was she there? Is she a regular?

My daughter took a seat. “I can do homework here, no distractions.”

“I can write in my journals here, no distractions,” I agreed.

It’s a small desk with and a steel book holder and potted plant lit by a wall sconce. That’s it. We noticed a single desk drawer.

“Open it.”

She opens the drawer. A pile of hand-written notes (the best kind) greet us, happy to get a breath of fresh air. “Ooh, notes! Do you have paper so I can add a drawing?”

No, I didn’t have paper.

Already having spent a chunk of time there, my companions’ patience wore thin. I’ll only read one. I’ll come back another time. Solo. I can spend the entire day here. Of course, I didn’t say that out loud.

I took one note and read it.

Yes, I do have dreams so big, it scares me half to death to chase them.


Thursday, March 16, 2023