This is a busy week of holidays and family – for you too I am sure.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have had some heavy conversations this week. It comes with the time of year I suppose with the year end reflections. I am planning some big things for 2020 especially in the area of teaching. I am taking my strengths and running with them. Stay tuned for more details.
If were having coffee I would tell you I am going to stop trying to run at the dunes by myself. I am bombarded with memories I do not wish to relive when I am there by myself and I cannot do it anymore. I love the trees and the area but can no longer go there alone.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that I miss Amy Krouse Rosentahl. I loved her work. Here is a TED talk you need to watch.
Would you like a refill? Maybe some water?
If we were having coffee I would want to talk about New Year’s Eve parties — have you ever hosted one? A long time ago I wanted to have a heaven and hell party — decorate upstairs white and airy and the downstairs in black and red. If I were to throw a bash on New Year’s Eve, which I haven’t done in ages, who would I invite? I would want it to be a memorable evening.
Neil Gaiman — I love all his writing and would love to hear him talk. I wouldn’t mind a road trip with him either. He seems to have loads of stories to tell.
Kelly Link — Love her writing and would love to hear about her book seller days — past and present.
Matthew McConaughey —no explanation necessary
Hemingway — I want to hear the stories and find out which of his stories are his favorite.
Who would you invite? Would you have a theme?
If we were having coffee I would tell you I do not appreciate the non winter like weather. It is 51 degrees and there is no snow. It is not right.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I am exhausted. It has been a crazy week of activity. We went to the Kalahari water park resort for the holiday as part of the gifts for the kids. I was excited to ride the surf machine they have there. I did well but ended up doing a front flip which made everyone laugh. It was fun but I am glad to be home now.
I love questions. I love to ask them of others and to reflect on them in my own writing and mind. I have a question collections from reading and also from podcasts. The end of the year is a great time to think about which questions I want to ask more regularly.
Here are 5 Questions I am pondering lately:
What gives me life at work?
What wears me out at work?
Is there anything I can do to eliminate or diminish the effects of #2?
What do I truly want to change?
What do I miss from my teaching life?
Number 5 is the one that is popping out to me the most lately. Being a coach I am often just outside the teaching. I co-teach with others and model lessons but there is something different about having students that are my own day to day.
Student action and reactions to what I plan is exciting to me. I truly look forward to the discussions I have with students.
One thing I did recently was to make the notecatcher for students look like sketchnotes. My model on the large chart paper looks like the student version.
I want my 7th graders to be motivated and I was thinking about how I would like notes to be more fun.
In my own classroom I used to take risks and ask kids in my class all the time to evaluate our practices and reflect. My goal was always to give them strategies they would use forever, not just for the next assignment or test.
I miss the day to day schedule and the micro movements to change students behavior and academic action. I miss family meeting time, the group written chart story and mini-lesson, the independent writing time and conferencing. I miss the many real alouds a day and writing practice time.
I need to incorporate a time blocking schedule to my coaching life. The schedule between 3 offices gets tiresome some weeks. I need to dedicate certain days to certain tasks to keep myself on track and get more focused work completed.
Questions 1, 2, and 3 had me thinking about my first teaching job and a life-changing conversation. A good friend and I in the first building I ever worked in, had a discussion about what I missed about college. She asked me specifically what I missed with the idea that I could incorporate those missed experiences into my life now. The idea was to take the essence of the actions and make it real again. I took that to heart and made some changes that were wonderful.
Question #4 had both a small and large impact on my thinking today. The small impact is a self-editing idea that I learned in high school. A teacher advised reading my piece one sentence at a time, starting at the end. Taking the sentence out of context allowed me to focus on the sentence itself without the content of the story surrounding it. I would be less likely to skip over important details this way.
I would love to be able to work from home a couple days a month but not sure that is possible with the new schedule.
When I was little the anticipation was for today at 6 pm. That time marked the ceremonial beginning of Christmas at my German grandmother’s. The record would play with the church bells ringing and Santa would arrive. We would hear his bells before we saw him. I vowed every year to remember to ask about Rudolph.
At Oma’s the feast was always the same: ham, her unique potato salad, vienna bread, lime sherbet punch, deviled eggs and a relish tray.
As we got older we couldn’t wait to leave the house to get there. I have no idea how slowly my dad drove to stall on the way there. Even as an adult there was magic for Christmas Eve and we always began at 6 p.m.
After she died in 2000 the holiday was never the same for me. It was not as magical. My mother did not have the ability to recreate the atmosphere nor did she want to. She changed the time, the menu and the schedule.
I thought I would never feel that magic again until a couple years ago I came home to the house decorated for the holiday, the fire roaring, food and drink made and I was transported back again thanks to my husband.
Sadly, the house we are in now does not yield the same hygge feeling. The people are the same but there is no fireplace. There is a different energy here. I do have my memories.
The more I read about Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland I feel I would be comfortable there. A lifestyle of being outside in the snow, saunas, reading, and great coffee sounds perfect to me.
Next year I must remember to begin the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokafiod — the Christmas Book Flood. It is a tradition of giving books and chocolate to friends and family and to spend the day reading. The perfect way to spend the day in my opinion.
Today it is 51 degrees and there is no snow. There is no traditional menu tonight but I have books given to me by friends. I think a day of reading is the perfect way to spend today. Maybe I will take the kids to the used bookstore later to pick out a book or two to begin anew.
Here we are at the end of 2019. It has been a roller coaster year for me. How has your year been? I have been reflective at this time of year. The thoughts have been more centered on general life rather than writing. Happy Winter Solstice to you! I need to find a good tarot spread for the occasion.
If we were having coffee I would tell you one of the podcasts I started listening to this year is #10thingstotellyou. One of the latest episodes was about 10 questions to reflect on. I am a sucker for this type of list — especially one of all questions! Laura posted the list on Instagram so here it is for you. My favorite is #3. This post type of mine has started many conversations in my real life and online.
If we were having coffee I would tell you my friend Jenna Britton started her podcast which deserves a subscribe and listen! You can find the info here. Jenna is amazing and has a wonderful Sunday letter you need to subscribe too as well.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I am now on Winter Break from work! I am thankful for less driving for sure. I took my school email off my phone. I do not want to think about work at all.
If we were having coffee I would tell you my youngest made cake this morning after being inspired by the “Nailed On” show on Netflix. We watched an episode where this Marine made a cookie that looked like it should be in a horror movie. It was supposed to look like a toy doll with movable arms. I laughed so hard I cried.
If we were having coffee I would tell you we did some Christmas shopping this week with the kids. We ate not so great pizza at Pizza Hut but wonderful hot chocolate at Oberweiss. Our oldest started his new job this week too so that is exciting.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I am thinking about my one word for 2020: MORE. A have a lot of projects planned for the new year. More on that coming soon.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I wrote every day. I mostly just wrote morning pages. I did write some for my Kathy Fish Skillshare class. I find her incredibly motivating. I have to revise both of the pieces I started and they will become part of the 100 rejections project.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I received my Scribbler box and was super happy with it. It was exciting to get a box of reading and writing goodies. There is a paragraph writing contest I will participate in and also an editor chat for January.
If we were having coffee I would tell you Happy Holidays and thank you for joining me every week for our coffee chat!
Snowy Night by Mary Oliver Last night, an owl in the blue dark tossed an indeterminate number of carefully shaped sounds into the world, in which, a quarter of a mile away, I happened to be standing. I couldn’t tell which one it was – the barred or the great-horned ship of the air – it was that distant. But, anyway, aren’t there moments that are better than knowing something, and sweeter? Snow was falling, so much like stars filling the dark trees that one could easily imagine its reason for being was nothing more than prettiness. I suppose if this were someone else’s story they would have insisted on knowing whatever is knowable – would have hurried over the fields to name it – the owl, I mean. But it’s mine, this poem of the night, and I just stood there, listening and holding out my hands to the soft glitter falling through the air. I love this world, but not for its answers. And I wish good luck to the owl, whatever its name – and I wish great welcome to the snow, whatever its severe and comfortless and beautiful meaning.