Saturday, March 26, 2016

Synopsis of a Vacation - #SOL March 26

 It's March and time for the Slice of Life Challenge! Thanks so much to the entire crew at Two Writing Teachers for organizing and hosting this massive event! 

Thanks also to Ruth for each week hosting celebrations from us all. What a gift.

I'm excited to be part of the Challenge again this year. As I continue to tap into "joy" as the motivation for my writing, I am also tracking the territories about which I tend to write (and sometimes intertwine). Current writing territories are teaching, family, friends, travel, working with a personal trainer, the quirks of being me. Today, I am celebrating the gift of travel and time to recharge.


It is Saturday and time for both a slice and a celebration. As I look back on this week, there is much to celebrate. It was a week away at Hilton Head to rest, recharge, and rejuvenate for both my husband and me. Reflecting back on the week, here's a synopsis of all the things I'm celebrating:

Lots of activity.
Having the opportunity to take a daily walk with my husband.
Then, moving on to an hour-long beach walk on my own.
Daily bike rides, sometimes on the beach and other times on the many bike paths of the island.
Golfing - two rounds of 18 holes with my husband.
Only lost 1 golf  ball to the golf gods or alligators.

Wonderful food.
Seafood with each dinner except one - she-crab soup, shrimp, lobster, grouper - lots of yummy!
Publix subs - I read this article (see #1) and this article a few years ago and I couldn't agree more with both!
Piggly-Wiggly - the best place to go to ask for local shrimp to be steamed while you wait.

Reading.
Finished 4 books out of 11 I brought.
(But I had choices!)
Found a new author to me - Laura Lippman - and loved her.
Many different places to settle in and read - our balcony, poolside, at the beach (my feet buried in the sand), in my corner chair in the condo with a view of the ocean.
Listened to my first-ever audio book during our drive from home and back.

Dolphins
Saw them two different days
First day saw pod of 10 on two separate occasions while on my walk.
Next day, saw 2 dolphins looking for dinner.
Dolphins bring out the kid in me; I got so excited when I saw them.

Time.
The blessing of time not scheduled.
Time to breathe.
A gift to celebrate.




Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Vacation reading - #SOL March 22



It's March and time for the Slice of Life Challenge! Thanks so much to the entire crew at Two Writing Teachers for organizing and hosting this massive event! You are all rock stars!

I'm excited to be part of the Challenge again this year. As I continue to tap into "joy" as the motivation for my writing, I am also tracking the territories about which I tend to write (and sometimes intertwine). Current writing territories are teaching, family, friends, travel, working with a personal trainer, the quirks of being me.

For me, getting ready for a vacation is an exciting time. And of all the many things I look forward to packing, the packing of books is my #1 priority.


I begin gathering books at least a month in advance. I have a pile I keep in the living room, adding to it as needed. The variety of books I bring are as eclectic as me:
  • Advanced Review Copies that I have been given that will be coming out in the next few months that I want to pass on to teachers and students.
  • My next adult book club book - read in preparation for going to hear Laura Lippman speak about her latest book in May. For now, we are reading one of her older titles, What the Dead Know.
  • A few chick lit books, especially ones set in the South - what beach vacation would be complete without one of those?
  • One or two spy or mystery books because I love them and my husband can enjoy them as well.
  • New children's books about which I have heard a lot of positive things - the 2nd book in the  MasterMinds series by Gordon Korman and Pax by Sara Pennypacker topped this list.
  • Books friends have recommended it and I reserved at the library - Adrianna Trigiani's book, All the Stars in the Heavens is one of these.
The process was more arduous this year than in previous years because I brought so many print books. I gave my self an arbitrary rule - I could only bring what fit in the bag. That's tougher than it seems. And did I mention, I brought my Kindle as backup also?!!

It's also important to note that, though I have been reading a great deal professionally as of late, not one professional title made it into the bag of vacation reading.

I read quickly, but I don't kid myself that I will finish all of these books. However, I do need choice in my reading, and depending on the day, I never know what I might be in the mood to read next. Therefore, choices are available.

What are you reading over spring break, or this spring?

One of the final revisions of books
that would come on vacation with me

Monday, March 21, 2016

Not quite ready to let go - #SOL March 21





It's March and time for the Slice of Life Challenge! Thanks so much to the entire crew at Two Writing Teachers for organizing and hosting this massive event! 

I'm excited to be part of the Challenge again this year. As I continue to tap into "joy" as the motivation for my writing, I am also tracking the territories about which I tend to write (and sometimes intertwine). Current writing territories are teaching, family, friends, travel, working with a personal trainer, the quirks of being me.

Today’s slice has been bouncing around in my mind for awhile, but after reading Karen’s beautiful slice about her mother’s hands and Clare’s series of slices about losing her mother in so many ways, the shape of what I wanted to say came to life. Thank you to these mentors for helping me tap into something I needed to write.


Caught off-guard
Amazing Grace sung at Mass last week
Tears streamed down my face
The words catapulted me back to the hospital room
Mom’s last hours
Family gathered around her
Saying goodbye
While playing Amazing Grace, her favorite song
As she passed from this world to the next
I'm still not quite ready to let go 

Caught off-guard
Relaxing on the couch one evening
Hear sniffling beside me
Tears streaming down daughter’s face
She shows me story gone viral:
A grandfather cooking hamburgers
And only one of his grandchildren showed up
Picks at the scab of our double loss last year
Regrets about time not spent
We’re both not quite ready to let go

Caught off-guard
Looking through my camera roll
Tears streaming down my face
Pictures of my parent’s house
Taken as we drove away for last time
It belongs to someone else now
But my memories live there
Dad’s garden and manicured lawn
The glassed patio Mom loved so much
I'm still not quite ready to let go


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Celebrating Firsts - #SOL March 20



It's March and time for the Slice of Life Challenge! Thanks so much to the entire crew at Two Writing Teachers for organizing and hosting this massive event! 

Thanks also to Ruth for each week hosting celebrations from us all. What a gift.


I'm excited to be part of the Challenge again this year. As I continue to tap into "joy" as the motivation for my writing, I am also tracking the territories about which I tend to write (and sometimes intertwine). Current writing territories are teaching, family, friends, travel, working with a personal trainer, the quirks of being me.

Today's celebration and slice is more of a photo essay.

Though I'm a day late, I need to celebrate a day of firsts from yesterday:

First drive across the bridge that always takes me to an island of relaxation





Traditional first lunch once on the island. Menu simple: she-crab soup and grilled shrimp. Then the first walk out on the dock behind the restaurant to check on the "catch of the day."















First view out of our condo window - it sets the stage for the days to come.






First walk on the beach - peaceful, relaxing, zen





 "First" celebrations feel good today.