Slice of Life Day 31- the end, the beginning?

A month seems an eternity. A long, slow succession of days plodding forward…or as ole Will would say, “creeps in it’s petty pace”. These brief tales, these slices of one life are not “tales told by idiots, strutting and fretting their hours upon the stage”. They are small wonders of beautiful lives, pieces of humanity full of descriptions and metaphor, grief and joy, signifying life.


Thank you, gentle reader for taking the time to get a glimpse into my life and allowing me the brief glimpse into yours. This challenge which seemed so daunting on March 1st, has left me a better person for having lived up to my commitment and hopefully a better writer. I do not think this is the end, but the beginning. I think this blog will continue on. So my dear slicer friends stop by in April to see how Dubuque was, to catch up on the latest glass projects and see how the garden is coming along.

So long and thanks for all the fish!

Slice of Life Day 30!! Whoa

Trill, chirp, screech, twitter, chatter, caw, tap-tap, The sound of birds! Woke this morning to a chorus of different birds. The sun has finally lifted it’s weary head and shone down upon us. A nip in the air tells me, it is still March, but April is slyly sneaking in. Scott and I took a break from trying to cram all the things we can’t get to on this our first day of Spring Break (Good Friday indeed!), to stop, walk and sit in nature’s beautiful choir. Right in the middle of errands, Scott took a turn to a strange destination. I am directionally challenged, so I thought maybe I’m just missing something. Until we pulled up to the Trailside Museum of Natural History in River Forest, Il. The building is closed on Fridays, but the outside is open. They have several rescued birds of prey- I like the owls! and places to sit all around their bird feeders. They are located next to a wooded area- part of the Cook County Forest Preserve, so they get many visitors to the feeders. We saw doves, finches, red winged black birds, and woodpeckers! It was so calming to sit in the middle of a busy suburb surrounded by water, trees, and birds. My mom never liked birds- she claimed it was because Grandma Eich’s chickens used to peck at her legs when she went to the outhouse. My great grandma lived on a farm and her husband worked for the railroad in Southern Illinois (around Danville). Apparently, indoor plumbing was slow to get there. I could understand her nervousness, that would scare me too, but I love birding. I bring my phone with me for photo ops, but also to try to recognize birds or their calls. Once in Michigan, we saw a cardinal and Scott pulled up a cardinal call on his phone and that poor dude never knew what happened. He was clearly attracting a hot little cardinal, but couldn’t find her for the life of him. I felt bad for the guy, he  flew back to his birdie bachelor pad with nothing to show for his afternoon of making noise!

Today, we saw a downy woodpecker(first pic) and a red-headed woodpecker! I did not take these pictures though. I use the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It’s a fantastic website. lots of audio and a searchable data bank AND bird cams. They also do some citizen science. IF you like birds check it out. I used it as a research tool for my 4th graders when we did our birds of Illinois unit.

Slice of Life Challenge Day 29 the present moment


As I sit in the quiet of my classroom, all the chairs on the tables, 4 legs bolt upright like eager hands in the air, I pause. Take a deep breath. Feel a sense of calm. It is the calm before the storm. All the hustle and bustle of students, backpacks, devices, and life. Some storms are soft gentle rains that fall all day long, some loud bursts of thunder followed by pounding rain, and others still are chaotic whipping winds and hard pelting rain, that are gone in the flash of lightning. But each new storm, each new day brings with it challenges and triumphs, tears and laughter, light and dark. And that is ok- every day can’t be perfect all the time. I embrace the chaos, ride out the storms and hopefully truly appreciate the perfect moments that each day brings.  Eckhart Tolle said, “Boredom, anger, sadness, or fear are not ‘yours,’ not personal. They are conditions of the human mind. They come and go. Nothing that comes and goes is you.” So live in the present, honor the past, and the future will be what it will be. Emotions are fleeting, the storm will pass, the birds will sing and life will continue in all it’s imperfect glory.

Slice of Life Day 28

Assessments. Common assessments. How do we know what they know? Pretty heady stuff for the Wednesday before Spring Break. Spent the day science curriculum planning. I have to admit, I like the planning. I get excited finding or creating things that not only get the point across, but are engaging and fun as well. As we work to implement the Next Generation Science Standards, there are such new and interesting ways to create learning opportunities. Phenomena based inquiry science from kindergarten to high school is a way to create curious problem solvers. Now back to assessments.

Slice of life-Day 27

OMG! I wrote this and totally forgot to post it!

Open it! Text me a picture. NO! We have to be together when you open it. OH come on, I’ve been waiting for this for a week and half- just open it! My husband refused to open it until I got home.

The return address said it all- Chicago Wolves- it was my game issued, Barbashev worn St. Patrick’s Day sweater!! The Wolves always auction off the sweaters for charity after the special sweaters have been worn. We bid on it and won! So now I have his stick from his rookie year and his sweater- next time Ivan’s in town, he can come visit his stuff:)

Slice of Life Day 26

Been contemplative this weekend, must be the return of the cold weather, when my soul is aching for spring. We had a brief glimpse of spring in February and then the darn groundhog saw his shadow and back into the icebox:)

Well, such is life and nature. Ups and downs, colds and hots, neat as a pin and messy as a pig sty. That’s what makes it worth hanging around for, never know when that next amazing day, beautiful sunset or best friend will show up. Gotta stick around to find out. Arlo Guthrie once said,” you can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in, you can’t have one without the other”. So buck up little soul, spring is just around the corner…and then summer….and then fall….and by then you’ll be waiting and hoping for the crisp clean air, brilliant diamond bright snow, and the beauty of a winter day.

OH the sun! Gotta go make the most of this bright new day! Happy blogging slicers!

P.S. If you get a chance and need smiles- Arlo Guthrie, the Garden Song on Austin City Limits 1987 – He always talks within the song and he’s just a really cool and funny man. and always makes me smile when I feel down.


Slice of Life Day 25

The blink of an eye

It’s amazing what happens in the blink of an eye

We are born, we live, we die

Each time the light recedes to dark,

seconds pass before again we see a spark,

It’s amazing what happens in the blink of an eye

Joy, despair, hopelessness, pride

Flashing emotions, flashing life it goes so fast,

Trying to make sense of present and past

It’s amazing what happens in the blink of an eye


I started this poem…or maybe it’s done. Usually, I’m pretty “sunny”. I see the glass 1/2 full and look at the positive side of most situations, but every little once in a while, someone or something drinks my glass 1/2 empty. This weekend, I had to help move my amazing, strong, independent, beautiful mother in law to a skilled nursing facility. It was hard; it was heart breaking; it happened in what seemed the blink of an eye.

Although, I have a bout of melancholy, I am hopeful and slowly refilling my glass- I am sure it will be 1/2 full and the sun will shine bright and clear again…in the blink of an eye.




Slice of Life Day 24

Some days just sail along and everything seems to go right….and then BAM somebody shoves a stick into your spokes. But sometimes if you’re very lucky, in the slow motion spiral to the ground, you realize that maybe, just maybe it’s exactly what you needed. At first, everything seemed fine, just a typical Saturday and then this started to unravel- the heater went out, we can’t get our dog food any more, something’s up with the new tv, the fish died, I’ve got a sore throat, the puppies got diarrhea… Singularly, all these are small annoyances, but taken en masse, well it’s best just to start over. In the midst of cleaning up the floor again,, I looked at my poor puppy and she wags her tail, “What do you say Gwennie, back to bed?”

Apparently, we just needed to push restart. No more poop, heater fixed itself, figured out the tv, the fish however is still dead…can’t win em all!

Slice of Life Day 23 We are made of stars

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff

Carl Sagan



It was a star-studded Friday. I am fortunate enough to be attending a year long teacher workshop at the Museum of Science and Industry called, “Our Place in Space” And today, we used this quote as the basis for our learning. We learned all about the “life cycle” of a star, the Milky Way, and the Big Bang Theory. I was in awe of the vastness of the space around us. We are so small in the grand scheme of universes, but to see how our knowledge has grown by leaps and bounds gives me hope. I learned that we have discovered that the universe is expanding and that expansion is infinite since space is being created, not filling up- there is no edge to the universe. How bittersweet that there is probably life out there, but we will probably never really know that because of the time it takes to communicate over such distances. The fact that all the forces on Earth are at work in the universe thrills me- and that this idea started in 1687 with Sir Isaac Newton. And the quote, we are made of star stuff. All that we are and all that we have comes from the stars- how glorious is human kind, how beautiful is this blue dot we call home, how amazing are the stars gave us life, how humbling is the vastness of space……

Slice of Life Day 22- WOW!

During this time of testing in Illinois (PARRC), I am brought back to my ISAT days. Each year a third grade teacher and I would write an ISAT play for the teachers to perform to sort of rally the troops. We sprinkled in reminders of eating a good breakfast, bubbling in completely, using the room and other test tips. The teachers would get together and practice, make props and learn lines. Then, usually the Friday before the tests would begin, we would have a whole school assembly and perform the play. The first one we did was The Wizard of ISAT- “I’ll get you and your number 2 pencils too!” We had parodies of the songs and everything! We also did CinderISAT, ISAT fables, and Saving Private ISAT. I was going through my old emails to see if I could find the scripts and lo and behold I found part of CinderISAT and all of Saving Private ISAT. It gave me quite a chuckle to read the script. The gist is Private ISAT is missing

General: I’m not gonna lie, this is dangerous- we’re sending you in to save one of your own

Sergeant Meets: Private ISAT was lost- somewhere over the conclusion of his extended response and we need the best trained force…

Sergeant Exceeds: An Elite Studying Squad to get in there and bring that response home!

Ahh remember the days of extended response?? Here is the song that ended the play- to the tune of the Caissons go rolling along:

Be here, be on time

We will start our test at nine

As the ISATS go rolling along

Bubble in but not out

You will Hear the teachers shout

As the ISATS go rolling along

For it’s AB,C or D-

Answer thoughtfully

Bubble in those answer dark and strong

IF you try your best

You will ace the test

As those ISATS go rolling along

Well at least we had a lot of fun for this part of ISAT:) Imagine all your teachers singing this- those tests didn’t stand a chance:)