Tuesday, December 29, 2020

A Trove of Treasures #SOL20

I was introduced to a trove of treasures close to home that I never knew existed.  There is a short secret garden path nestled between two neighborhoods just off of a major route in town.  It was created and is currently maintained by Bob Terkanian, also known as Chief Joseph.  Everywhere you look there is a surprise.  Beautiful statues, benches, mirrors, chimes, fairy gardens, words of wisdom, and so much more greet you from above and below.  

Even nature provides wonder.  The ice formations along the pond are stunning, and crystals pop up along the path.  The beavers even left their mark along the trail.  While they cut down trees for their dams, Chief Joseph continues to plant new trees and shrubs along the path.  A burbling stream runs through the trail, and it blocks out the traffic noises from the nearby roads.   I felt as if I had been transferred to another place.  

The path leads you right up to Chief Joseph’s house, which has a beautiful deck overlooking the area.  I imagine the joy he must feel listening to the voices of the young and old as they take in the treasures he has provided.  

My friend and I wandered in delight for an hour and a half.  I am amazed by the thought, care, and beauty this one generous soul has shared with strangers.  It is an important reminder of the generosity and love for and in our community.  I hope to visit this trail again and some of the other wonders waiting outside.

I am participating in Two Writing Teachers' Slice of Life Weekly Challenge.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Love, Laughter, Lights #SOL20

The kids are older, and we can’t gather with our friends and family this year.  Baking cookies with friends - not.  Cookie swap - nope. A trip to Florida to see mom and dad for Christmas - not this year.  New Year’s Eve party - nada.  I had to put my creativity cap on to come up with some new potential traditions.

I pitched the idea to go to Lancaster Lights, and much to my surprise, everyone said yes.  My son even came home from college to go with us.  On Saturday, we loaded into the Pilot, put Christmas songs on the radio, and hit the road.

We talked of Christmas memories and our favorite holiday dishes, songs, and movies.  It was a pleasant trip down memory lane to Edaville Railroad, watching Elf, grammy’s scalloped potatoes, cookie baking, The Polar Express, and leaving carrots for Rudolph.  The car was full of laughter and warmth, all before seeing the lights.

The lights were magical.  Like children, we called out what we saw, our favorites, and the ones that surprised us.  The poop emoji was the one that had us scratching our heads.  Cam loved the plane, and I wanted to take the penguins and igloo home with me to put in my yard.  The light tunnel made us, “Ooohh and Aaahhh.”  

There is something about lights that lift the spirit and bring wonder.  While they will be different, may the holidays of 2020 remind of us its magic and help us to forge new traditions to bring forward into the future.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

The Pickity Place #joysof2020

Friend, books, and food - three of my favorite things.  

Once the COVID numbers started to decrease, my friends and I ventured out to the Pickity Place in Mason, NH.  This lovely cottage (1786) was the inspiration for Elizabeth Orton Jones's illustrations for Little Red Riding Hood (Little Golden Books, 1948).  

Today, you can dine in the restaurant, walk the gardens, and visit the gift shop.  Its menu features fresh herbs and edible flowers from their own gardens.  

What a joy it was to eat a five-course lunch tucked away in the gardens after months of isolation.  

I capture this joy in a Cinquain.  

Hues of color
Tuck us in an embrace
A feeling of freedom amidst 

This is a joy I hope to repeat again.  

Friday, December 4, 2020

Puzzles #joysof2020

 I love puzzles.  They help relax me and pull me away from work.  I am currently working on my 7th puzzle since COVID interrupted our normal lives.  However, this pastime brought me joy in another way this year.  

Many nights I would have a companion.  Someone who has not been a part of our daily lives for the last three years.  My son.  

He enjoys piecing together a scene as much as I do.  One of my greatest joys this year was sitting at the table talking, joking, and putting together a puzzle with Cam.  

I decided to write a Cinquain to reflect upon this joy.  This is also my assignment for the "The Poet's Studio:  Exploring Poetic Forms" class I am taking with Georgia Heard.  This particular puzzle is a collection of pictures from a trip with my daughter and our friends.  

Friends united
Assembled memories
Of adventures like no other

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

So Much Depends Upon #joysof2020

 This year, I discovered TeachWrite and my writing self.  This group of supportive writers has changed my life and brought me so much joy.  

Every Monday, I introduce my students to a new poem in our Meet a Poem Monday lesson, and we use that poem to inspire our own writing.  Early on, we looked at William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow."  It inspired me to write about journaling and my Time to Write friends.  They have brought me so much joy this year. 

so much depends 


a pouch of colorful


standing ready to transfer 


to an empty journal 


so much depends


a silver MacBook Air


glowing with engrossed


from all over the 


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Save a Tree, Save Our Joy


    It took some planning and an early morning wake-up to ensure that all four members of the family would be present to decorate our Christmas tree this year.  I have to say it is a beauty, 10’ and perfectly shaped.  Afterward, we sat around watching a Christmas movie before we all went our separate ways. My son went back to college, my daughter went to a soccer game, and my husband and I worked on projects around the house.  

    Later that day, we discovered that our tree was either extremely thirsty or the base was leaking.  The water was gone, and the rug was undeniably wet.  The either/or was clear.  At first, we thought it was impossible to fix.  We would just have to deal with it.  However, I realized that we needed to save that tree or our fragile joy would be destroyed.  I did not care if I had to dismantle it and put it back together myself.  That was my plan.

    Scott went to the store and found the same base, so I stopped taking the tree apart. That meant it would be a quick change.  However, it was a three-person job.  Scott held the giant aloft while Ashley swiped the old base out.  I then replaced it with the new stand, and with a little adjusting, our tree was back in place and all was right again.  

    This year the little things mean so much more to me.  The time we spent together picking and decorating the tree was precious.  It represents the commitment to and love for our family and our traditions.  It holds our ornaments and memories of loved ones, adventures, passions, and milestones.  It shines and brings us joy as we end this crazy year.  

Only One Vowel #SOLC23

 Betsy Potash of Spark Creativity always has wonderful ideas for the classroom.  Too often, I don't have the time to sit and read her po...