Blogtober 30th: Sigh

I’m glad for…

  • a gratitude practice to offset days like today;
  • friends who help me keep perspective;
  • an oceanic field trip to look forward to tomorrow;
  • crazy beautiful skies from sunrise to sunset today;
  • a nice glass of red wine;
  • that the Spirit knows what to pray–and does so–even when we don’t or can’t.

too-tired(which is saying a lot, given the sap gene…)


Blogtober 29th: More Bullets

I am grateful today…

  • for ruby red wine and the wine-dark sea;
  • for official transcripts;
  • for vegetables and greens;
  • for my five cats on National Cat Day;
  • for my goofy, exuberant, simple dog;
  • for the fervor and enthusiasm (tempered with healthy fear) over the approach of NaNoWriMo;
  • for Poe and his “Philosophy of Composition“;
  • for a good, game, good-natured AP class.

poe raven

poe philosophy

Blogtober 28th: I Can Muster Bullets


  • that grades are done enough;
  • that the air is cooler at night and in the mornings (even if it did get to 85 degrees today);
  • for Skype calls with friends (even calls that are interrupted by multitasking or poor call quality);
  • for (hopefully) more sleep tonight than earlier in the week;
  • for chiropractor stretching and massage;
  • for the department office stash of chocolates;
  • for colleagues who graded with me tonight;
  • for making 10,000 steps yesterday for the first time;
  • for sleep.

this is a bullet  bullets15


Sources: and

Blogtober 27th: I’m Not Dead Yet

October 27, 2014

Some days are better left unlisted.  Some days are designed to provide you, through what may seem like stinginess, with opportunities for laser-sharp focus and deep appreciation of the few gratitude points you can find.

Haha!  This day wasn’t that bad.  It was just really…really…long.  And so I shall put it (and myself) to bed with this gratitude point:  I’m not dead yet.  Hahaha!

frazz optmistic

Blogtober 25th: Lazy Day

I am grateful for a lazy day.  It wasn’t my intention, per se, but it happened, and I’m not complaining.

I slept in, after being woken at 6-something by my dog who was howling the yard–she’d forgotten to come upstairs to sleep last night and was feeling lonely and abandoned.

When I finally got up a little before 10, I fed the dog, made coffee, showered and dressed, and went to brunch with a friend.

Said brunch was delicious…and energy-zapping, apparently, because I came home and napped for something like two hours…or so.  It might have been the cherry cider.  It might have been the bacon and carbs.  It might have been the funnel cake with spiced apple compote and lemon-berry ice cream.  It might just have been that I’m exhausted and sleep-deprived in general, and all of these other factors simply exacerbated that reality.  Regardless, I’ve had a lot of sleep today…and suspect I’ll have NO trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep tonight.

I finally awoke when a friend called.  I have since fed the dog a second time, fed the kitties, and am now sitting down to write.

I’m okay with days like this.  Grateful, even.

brunch oc -- chapter one

brunch oc -- cider and v



brunch oc -- dia mask

Blogtober 24th: Gratitude Haiku

October 24, 2014

These felt right for tonight.   Some of them may come across as melancholy, but I assure you that each contains gratitude.

Lesson plans done through
Thanksgiving; I feel better.
Now grades must be slain.

My heart gets shredded,
but it doesn’t die—not yet—
shocking even me.

Water floods my cells,
peaty scotch dries them again;
smiles and more water.

Friend types and skypes me
simultaneously and
sips wine and heart-laughs.

Soft sheets open, un-
fold to welcome, hold, hug me
deep and warm through night.

The world screams story,
Tonia says, and right she is;
today my ears bled.

Inbox delivers
a list of ten—the things you
like about me.  Wow.



Blogtober 23rd: Hot Stress Breathing

I keep forgetting to breathe.  I keep forgetting to move, to roll my shoulders, to stretch my neck.  I got a Fitbit, and I finally got it working today.  Awareness really is halfway to success.  I haven’t been so aware of my movement (or lack thereof) since my personal training sessions ran out in spring.  As a results, it’s a little easier to remember to move, to breathe.

Several different friends have said just this week that it’s time to take a day, to practice radical self-care.  I agree.

Today I carried around Friday-night-level exhaustion.  All I really got done was the Powerpoint notes I needed for my online class discussion and then the running of said discussion.  Really.  That’s all.

But somehow it’s okay.  Or maybe it just is what it is.

I’m finding that, as the seasons are shifting between summer and fall–today it was 80 degrees, but tonight it will probably dip just below 60–so, too, do I appear to be in a seasonal shift.  My job is shifting, the conditions at my school are shifting, my family reality is shifting with the death of my last grandmother, my certainties and securities are shifting, my plans and dreams are shifting, the future is uncertain–it always was; I just didn’t realize it.  (Haven’t I learned this lesson before?  I am a slow learner.  Like my students, I need repetition.)

And tonight, with the warmth of the Peat Monster filling my throat and chest, the cooling air flowing from the window through the fan, creative foment stirring in my gut despite the exhaustion, I am grateful–grateful for…

  • the Peat Monster,
  • the story brewing,
  • the friend who skyped with me tonight,
  • sitting virtually in the same room, working quietly and companionably with someone,
  • cereal for dinner (Rice Chex and Honeycomb, if you want to know–from childhood),
  • friends who checked up on me to see if I’m doing well and to ask after my day,
  • the birthday gift card with which my Fitbit was purchased,
  • the prospect of chaperoning a field trip to the Ocean Institute next week (I get to go on the boat!),
  • a minimum day tomorrow, with time for planning for AP,
  • Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects on audio in the car, for a gripping drive,
  • Sarah’s reminder that I’ve got a light that always guides me, that I speak of hope and change as something good, that I live my truth and know I’m not alone.



(Photo source uncertain; found on

Blogtober 22nd: Of villainy and w(h)ine

So I spent my entire day at the district office today.  The bulk of that time was spent in a vertical teaming meeting, and then I had a more stressful and exhausting meeting afterward for the online class I teach.  The dongle for my new Fitbit doesn’t seem to be working.  My computer and phone memories are too full, and my pictures won’t download properly to the cloud.  An ex-colleague has decided to be nasty and invade my space and time with her venom and its after-effects, creating extra work for me.

This day has sucked me dry.  And thus the especial need to identify the positives and express gratitude for them.


I read Steven Pressfield’s “Writing Wednesdays” post about villainy…or rather, about the second act of a novel or film belonging to the villain.  And then some ideas about the villain for my novel began to swirl.  And then some ideas about the villain(s) in my own life began to clarify.  And I smiled inside.

If there’s no villain, there’s no conflict.  If there’s no conflict, there’s no story.  I’d prefer to live a conflict-free life…but I prefer even more to have a good story.

And so I’ll drop these villains into my novel and some sort of justice will be served.

To further shift the balance, I announce my gratitude for…

  • Supervisors who have my back.
  • Students’ parents who are kind and gracious in their emails to me.
  • Colleagues who are truly pleasures to collaborate with.
  • Friends who take me out to dinner and pay for my wine.
  • The edge of cool in the air these nights after the sun has gone down.
  • Friends who talk to me on the phone, talk me off ledges, allow me to talk them off ledges.
  • A particular friend who deftly reminded me that there is no shame in being emotionally wired the way I am (the family sap gene and all), and who helped me remember why I might have associated shame with that in the first place.
  • And, as always, my dog who is happy to see me when I get home, even when I’m late.
  • My bed, which will welcome me with open blankets in the not too distant future.

For these things and more, I am so grateful.

Blogtober 21st: From – to +

October 21, 2014

OK, this is an exercise in speaking positive into negative space.  After a day of too little sleep, an upset stomach, endless meeting, zero silence, and plentiful frustrations and insecurities, I need the deliberate positive input of a gratitude practice.

A book I ordered on Amazon came–Roald Dahl, on the recommendation of my good friend.  Looking forward to getting back into my reading habit again.  It really has been too long since I let myself sink my teeth into a juicy novel.

I managed to get some grading done today during the meeting, even found my way to the page where one can both read the assignment and enter the grade on the same page.  (Why is this a revolutionary concept?)

Enjoyed a short walk at work, the sunshine, the shade even more, the plumeria creamy-white in the after-lunch sun.

Actually cleaned a tiny bit in my bedroom while talking on the phone with my bff.  I love the kind of multitasking that doesn’t actually divide my attention from the conversation.

Had a good class today.  Read Annie Dillard with my class.  In fact, read Annie Dillard aloud to my class, which is a gift all unto itself.  I love the poetry in her dense prose.  I think my kids finally started tasting it today.  I could see them licking their lips, smiling as they wrote furious notes in the margins.

teachers how to think not what to think

 (My goal)

Blogtober 20th: It could’ve been worse.

October 20, 2014

Of some days, the best that may be said by way of gratitude is, well, it could’ve been worse.

At least the day didn’t drag.

At least I didn’t forget my lunch or forget to drink my coffee.

At least I clocked hours in grading.

At least all the online grading wasn’t stupidly and prohibitively slow.

At least the technology didn’t completely fail.

At least my students were nice.  (When I asked them at the end of class what they’d learned today, one said, “The meaning of life!”  Hahaha!  I should’ve replied, “Well, yeah, we were reading Virginia Woolf and Annie Dillard!”  ;-)  Instead I just laugh heartily.  At least they’re starting to get it.

At least the department meeting wasn’t contentious.   (That could be because only half of the department attended.  Hmm…)

At least I feel a little bit grownup this week, having taken time on Sunday to schedule out time for the things that matter to me.  And I’m grateful in advance for the powers and providence and grace that will allow me to stick to those schedules.

Back to work…


 A little perspective