Ten Things Tuesday #SOL

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Ever heard of Ten Things Thursday? Here’s a Ten Things Tuesday.

  1. I am looking forward to checking in and settling into my dorm here on the Cornell campus for my PD this week. I’ve been curled up in the student center happily reading and writing for three hours.
  2. I hope I have the wi-fi situation settled so I can make my TeachWrite online course this afternoon!
  3. I wonder if the groundhogs will leave the new plants in my garden alone while I’m gone? I chose them from a list of plants that they apparently aren’t interested in. I’m done fighting with them!
  4. I wish the way too chatty middle school boys on a lunch break from their math camp would go back to class, so I can hear myself think!
  5. I am curious to see if the woman who was on my flight from Philly, then on my bus here to campus, and now eating next to me in the cafeteria is here for the same PD?
  6. I don’t like unloading all my worldly possessions in airport security lines. The sight of those buckets makes me stressed! So worried I’m going to lose something!
  7. I pray there isn’t water in my basement back in Massachusetts. Thunderstorm and flash flood watch alerts keep popping up on my screen.
  8. I am falling behind in my summer reading. My TBR pile is enormous and I haven’t made as much progress as I wish I had.
  9. I can’t wait to go on the Heinemann Teacher Tour again at the end of the month. It was fun two years ago and I didn’t make it last year.
  10. Yeah! The middle school boys are leaving and it’s time to check in!


Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?



Butterfly Dances #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday the 13th, everyone! Sylvia Vardell at Poetry For Children is our gracious hostess this fine Friday. Don’t miss her exciting news about the latest addition to the Poetry Friday Anthology series, Great Morning! Poetry for School Leaders to Read Aloud. I can’t wait to gift a copy to my principal for use during our new all-school Morning Mindful Moments and school meetings. So many of our Poetry Friday friends are featured in this collection. Bravo!

My poetic muse up and left me during the final weeks of the school year, but she’s back! She flittered and fluttered her way back into my psyche as I watered one of my garden beds the other morning. I planted milkweed seeds back in the spring in hopes of attracting monarchs, and had completely forgotten about them until I returned from a week’s vacation. Not only were the milkweeds there, but the visitors I’d been hoping for had arrived. Bee balm is also on their menu, too.

The seeds for this tanka came to me as I watched this beauty dance in celebration of summer’s bountiful pollinator feast. Now I’m on egg watch!

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butterfly dances joyfully from stem to stem gathering nectar from midsummer’s bright blossoms if you plant it they will come


I hope you’ll join Sylvia and the rest of us for some Poetry Friday fun today!

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The House By The Pond #SOL

There are so many writing opportunities online for teachers this summer! One of the teacher writing camps I’m participating in suggested writing a Yelp, Amazon, or Goodreads review. I thought I’d give an in-depth review of our Airbnb from last week’s vacation a go! Let me know how I did at selling it!

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“A House By The Pond” is exactly that and so much more. The spotless rental apartment is in a lovely home on woodland-abutting property in an area rich with mid-Hudson Valley history. The delightful host, Doris, grew up in Hyde Park and she knows everything there is to know about the area and its history. The house is private, safe, and served as a quiet retreat. It is perfect for a researcher working in the FDR Library archives (which my husband was), parents visiting their child at the Culinary Institute of America, Marist College, or Vassar College, or anyone looking for a relaxing place to settle into at the end of a long day of hiking or sightseeing.

During our week-long stay, my husband and I were entertained by the wildlife in or near the home’s pond – two adorable sunning turtles, a chorus of call-and-response frogs, a wide variety of bird life, and deer. We were sad the resident fox and her kits eluded us, though!

The garden-level apartment, with its own private entrance, features an eat-in kitchenette with sink, mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. There’s a comfortable sitting area with two couches, a back entrance with large closet and numerous wall hooks, which was served as the perfect mudroom when returning on a rainy day or from a hiking excursion. The bedroom has an en suite bathroom, a desk/workspace, and additional sitting area for reading or watching TV.

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During our stay, we took advantage of the fabulous front porch overlooking the pond. It’s perfect for eating, reading, dozing, or relaxing while gazing out across the pond area. It was shady and breezy on a sweltering summer day and a terrific place to hide out when it was pouring rain. The lovely back deck overlooking the woods and garden, is available, too.

The house is nicely removed from the hustle and bustle of Route 9, the main north/south road running parallel to the Hudson, but not far from the action. The Vanderbilt mansion (a great place to picnic!) and Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill are just minutes away. Drive another minute or two and you arrive at the FDR Presidential Library & Museum, the Culinary Institute of America, or Marist College. Charming Rhinebeck village or historic Poughkeepsie and Vassar College are 15 minutes away, if that. Breathtaking hikes (or cliff climbing, if that’s your thing) in the Mohonk Preserve and the Shawangunk (Gunks) range are just a short drive after crossing the Mid-Hudson (FDR) Bridge. And we even hopped on the train in Poughkeepsie, headed south, and spent the day in NYC. Amazing!

The extras. Did I mention the extras? Doris has thought of everything possible you might need, want, or could possibly forget during your stay. Each afternoon, she leaves a basket of muffins, fruit, and bottled water for the following day. Want to pass on the muffins or fruit? No problem. Just leave her a note in advance. When we arrived, the mini fridge was stocked with orange juice, half and half, and bottled water. The cupboards were filled to the brim with all the paper goods, utensils, and cleaning supplies to see you through your stay. A snack basket, filled with more goodies than we could eat, was a lovely welcome. The bathroom had a basket, too, brimming with everything imaginable. Doris really has thought of everything!

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There are plenty of restaurants (including the CIA!) if you feel like eating out or doing take out and enjoying it on the porch, back deck, or the kitchenette’s bistro table. There’s also a terrific Stop & Shop on Route 9, if you want to pick up a few groceries of your own.

Doris is rated an Airbnb “Superhost,” and that she is! She is wonderful and took very good care of us, but also gave us plenty of space and privacy. We are already planning a return visit to stay at “The House By The Pond.”


Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?


Swap treasures in the mail! #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! I’m back after a bit of a hiatus while the school year finished up. Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is our hostess this week, and she’s showcasing some sweet summer souvenirs!


On the very first morning of my summer vacation from school, our mail carrier delivered a delightful package from poetry swap-mate Brenda Harsham, who blogs at Friendly Fairy Tales. It was bursting with color, ladybugs, and a friendship theme. What a way to begin the season!

the best friends appear when you need them like ladybugs — Brenda Harsham

I adore ladybugs (how did she know?), so I will treasure her creative offering. I also chuckled when I saw Brenda’s return address on the envelope and realized we live SO CLOSE to one another and I know exactly where she lives! Let’s meet some day, Brenda!

And then, a few days later, this arrived.

The True Definition of Vernal Pool
Vernal pools, could just as easily be called poke puddles, observation opportunities or wonders water. These pools typically fill when kindergarteners are indoors missing the outdoors due to seasonal weather. If you’re fortunate, Mrs. Wyman will bridge the gap between vernal pools and lessons with jackets, boots, journals, pencils and a wander plan. Hands will get muddy, wonders will arise, research will begin. Poems about frogs, leaves crustaceans and life cycles will be written. These pools will continue to lure insiders out-of-doors whenever there are learners near a Massachusetts woods and Mrs. Wyman to lead them. — Linda Mitchell

Wow. I’m not going to lie. This left me in a puddle of the-school-year-just-ended-and-I’m-a-bit-of-an-emotional-wreck tears. Some of you know of my fondness for vernal pools. Ok. Let’s be honest. It’s an obsession! I write about them often, in both poetry and prose. Linda Mitchell (we ARE going to meet IRL one day, Linda!), who blogs at A Word Edgewise, followed along faithfully during the month of April, as I wrote a poem a day about vernal pools as part of poet/author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s 1 Subject 30 Ways challenge. My journey began here.  Linda had never heard of vernal pools and…well… “poems are teachers,” as Amy’s book is so aptly titled. Now Linda knows all about them! And her card will be treasured along with Brenda’s.

Many thanks to Tabatha Yeatts, who brilliantly coordinated this summer poetry swap!


I hope you’ll join Tricia and the rest of us for some summer Poetry Friday fun here!

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Not the brightest bulbs! #SOL

It wasn’t a phone message I hoped to receive. “Urgent! Please call you bank about possible fraudulent credit card activity.” That is the message that greeted me when I arrived home last Monday. I immediately checked with my bank, and it was true. Someone had used my credit card and purchased close to $700 in Walmart.com gift cards and was beginning to make purchases with them. $700!

As you can imagine, this was extremely frustrating news to learn. What makes it even worse is that it happened just a couple of months ago, so I only just went through the process of cancelling my card, signing an affidavit disputing the charges, and contacting anyone that automatically deducts payments from my card, like my gym, Amazon, etc.

Now for the crazy part, and I do mean crazy! The thief or thieves aren’t the brightest bulbs on the tree. They set up an account online with my name, and are using the gift cards they purchased, but…WAIT FOR IT…they forgot to change the shipping address to their address! They left it my address! Yes. Every day for the last week, I have come home to find packages on my porch. I wish I could get excited about them, but I can’t. They aren’t even anything I want — tongue depressors, a copy of 50 Shades of Gray, Mortal Kombat action figures, a tent light. And, every day I have to call Walmart.com and report them. And everyday Walmart.com tells me there aren’t any more coming. And every day another package or two arrives.

I’m done. So done! I just want my $700 back and to come home one day, just one day, to no packages on the porch. Is that too much to ask?


Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?


Almost There 2018 #SOL

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Three days of school to go and it’s my final SOL for the school year. That means more time for writing and posting is coming very soon! This week I’m revisiting and updating my “Almost There” post from last year to reflect changes that have occurred.

Almost There

Frogs returned

Digraphs learned

Assessments complete

New carpet’s beat

Pencils bitten

Report card comments written

Goodbye bags prepped

Promises kept

Technology unplugged

Children hugged

Bulletin boards bare

Almost there

— Christie Wyman, 2018


Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?


I need to get what? #SOL18


Just a sliver this week, as I finish up my last 8 days of school.

On Friday afternoon I heard three words I knew were inevitable — you need progressives. I’m not sure why I’ve been dreading them, but I have. For years, I’ve worn glasses for distance vision — driving, movies, and theater. But recently, I find myself sitting in the front row of meetings and presentations, so I can read the text on Powerpoints and other presentations. And I’ve found book print to appear smaller and smaller, so I picked up a pair of magnifiers at Target. This helps, but…

When you reach a certain age, this is bound to happen. But that doesn’t make it easier to accept. I guess I’ll embrace the news and an opportunity to go on a shopping spree for glasses and sunglasses at Warby Parker!


Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?