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!

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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?

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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.”

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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

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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?

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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!

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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?

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Now that was unexpected! #SOL18

It was 7:00 Saturday morning on the porch. Our first real warm early morning. The birds were singing their little hearts out, the coffee in my mug steamed happily into the air, and my notebook was in play for the first time all week.

Suddenly, I heard rustling in the garden bed before me. The tall feathery ferns parted and made way for an unexpected visitor.

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While her appearance at that moment took me by surprise, this beauty of a snapping turtle had been spotted the day before searching for a safe spot to lay her eggs. Several neighbors had contacted me to let me know my rose bed across the street seemed to be on her list of options. My assumption was she had moved on.

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Apparently she spent the night well-hidden and comfortable in my front garden bed. We live just above the Assabet River that meanders its way through my small New England town, so it’s not unheard of for turtles to make the journey up the steep hill this time of year, but it hasn’t happened often in the 15 years we’ve lived here.

 

My husband and I sat and watched her in amazement as she sat and watched us in possibly in amazement.  Eventually she made her way out of the garden bed, across our brick walkway, and down the sidewalk. I hoped she would head towards the river to safety, but instead she returned to a second location she scouted out the day before. This time in our neighbors front yard. She climbed up and it appeared she was satisfied with this spot and ready to lay her eggs. We had to dash, but a neighbor began time-lapse filming what happened next. We haven’t had a chance to follow-up with him yet, but it doesn’t appear this spot was used either. I guess only she knows which spot will be just right. To us, it’s a mystery.

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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?

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Summer Reading #SOL18

Books

One of my favorite things about summer is having a lot more time to read. During the school year, I nod off in the evening after only 10-15 minutes of reading. On weekends, I feel conflicted about spending time curled up with a book when I know my “Honey-Do” list is a mile long.

During the summer, and Christmas and April vacation weeks, I go to bed early so I can rise with the sun and the birds and sink my teeth into a good book — after I’ve written my Morning Pages, of course!

I still have 18 days of school left, and my books are piling up. I better get cracking!

What’s on your summer reading list? I hope you’ll share!

  • The Wind in the Willows (Grahame)
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (Lancelyn Green)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (L’Engle)
  • A Wind in the Door (L’Engle)
  • Greenglass House (Milford)
  • Finding Perfect (Swartz)
  • The Playbook (Alexander)
  • The Crossover (Alexander)
  • Margaret Fuller (Marshall)
  • The Kingdom By The Sea (Theroux)
  • The Peabody Sisters (Marshall)
  • Code Girls (Mundy)
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend (Bivald)
  • A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry (ed. Milosz)
  • H is for Haiku (Rosenberg)
  • Sandpiper: The Life and Letters of Celia Thaxter (Thaxter)
  • Poetry of the First World War (ed. Kendall)
  • Native Plants for New England Gardens (Richardson)
  • The Genius of Birds (Ackerman)
  • Oak and Ash and Thorn (Fiennes)
  • Walden (Thoreau, ed. Cramer)
  • Sharing Books, Talking Science (Bang-Jensen/Lubkowitz)
  • Joy Write (Fletcher)
  • It’s all about the Books (Mulligan/Landrigan)
  • Engaging Children (Keene)
  • Kids First from Day One (Hertz/Mraz)

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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?

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