#SOL17: First Day

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The bus turns the corner.

My last check to see that everything is in my car.

One picture down.  It’s kind of gloomy.  No sunshine for this auspicious day.

The brakes squeak as the bus pulls to a stop in the road.  I hear the stop sign pop as it is extended.  “Smile!  Just one more picture!”

He takes three steps, turns, and looks.  I snap the photo. He starts up the steps.

I’m sure it’s blurred.  Tears stream down my cheeks.

This would not be the day to take a lousy picture.

I watch as he walks down the aisle and chooses a seat.  Third row. Behind his friends.  He looks happy but he was so quiet this morning.  Only the top of his head is visible from outside the window.

The driver looks down.  Closes the door and the bus lumbers down the road.

  I hop in my car.  Five miles and I will be at school for my son’s second “First Day of School” picture.  It’s 1995.  The First Day of School. No digital pictures.

As a teacher, how do your own personal “First Days” impact your attention to detail in your classroom?

What are you planning for this year?  Why?

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL22: Memory Loss?

“What was it?”

“Um” … Long pause. No pressure. “Crunchy?”

I begin to shuffle through memories in my head … GA. CA. Last few meals out. Last few meals picked up.

No memory. Reading the choices doesn’t help.


Two cars are now lined up in the rain behind me.

No sudden remembrance echoing in my brain. “Just pick something.” Of course, I cannot say it out loud. The person listening to the order must think I’m crazy

I consumed it last time. It was an unexpected treat. It was like no other lunch order. Today, as I’m trying to remember any of the details, I’m coming up blank. NADA.

I read back through the list.

Now there are three cars lined up. Decisions are apparently beyond me today.

“Do you have the Doritos?” my sister leans across and asks.

The voice in the metal bucket says, “Yes.” And I take a big breath. Solution.

Decision made.

No memory loss here.

I didn’t see the menu before.

I didn’t order it.

I just ate it.

Semi-randomly, I choose. I think it’s one of three items. I choose the first. Soon I will find out if I was able to guess correctly.

When you can’t respond quickly and easily to a question, what’s your response? Are you calm? Are you panicking? How do you move on?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL22: One Simple Task

Replace two items.

Plan A: Gather all possible tools.

First item: Replaced in less than five minutes.

Plan B: Add some WD40 to item two.

Plan C: Patience. And a third and fourth dose of WD 40.

Plan D: Add power tools. Use the drill carefully!

Two hours invested in this one little task.

Plan E: Head to the local hardware store for assistance.

Plan F: More power tools.

Plan G: Drill out the recalcitrant object.

Plan H: The flat top falls off. Drilling out is still required.

Plan I: Matching the fasteners. No preference. ANY one that will work.

Plan J: Super Duper stuff that works on rusty items.

Plan K: Second item drilled out. YET . . . some residue remains in both.

These are not STEPS. Remember the first item was done with PLAN A!

Plan L: Forget it? NOOOOO. . . the end is in sight!

Start to finish

Two license plates

Four screws

Five hours

Mission accomplished!

When have you had to remain persistent in order to complete a task? Persistence? Patience? Or just plain pig-headed and determined to win?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL 22: A Trillion?

I’m sure I’ve seen that message a trillion times.



Connected. No internet.

If you live in a town, city, or have access to quality internet, this message may be foreign to you.

If you live in a rural area or one with spotty internet service, this message may be very familiar.

How familiar?

To reach a trillion times in one year, that would be 2,739,726 times per day.

Okay . . . so maybe not exactly a trillion.

BUT, today, I counted 51 times. And that was in the first eight hours. So if that was the average per day occurrence, the total for one year would be 18,156 times per year. Take that times the 20 years of the internet would result in 363,120 messages. Not a trillion.

BUT, when I’m waiting. . . it sure feels like the message pops up multiple times every hour.

What annoying thing occurs frequently enough that it causes frustration? What does the data say about the frequency? Is it REALLY a major problem?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL22: The Elders

So much love for these four.

So many numbers.

Four of 11 kids.

All with kids: 7, 6, 5, 3.

All with grandkids: Too many to count

And of course the “Great Grands”

Respect for their lives, their loves, their stories.

How long will we still enjoy those games of Hand and Foot? The pies? The company?

Time found . . .


July was a hard month. Missing so many.

And yet finding joy.

Finding cause to celebrate.

Finding comfort.


Near and far.

So hard to find the words that are inclusive.

Words of comfort.


“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body,

I am life without boundaries,

I have never been born and I have never died.

Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies

All manifests from the basis of consciousness. 

Since beginingless time I have always been free. 

Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out.

Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. 

So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. 

Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. 

We shall always be meeting again at the true source, 

Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh, “No Death, No Fear” 

As July enters its last week, the days already grow shorter.

Enjoy the minutes, hours or days that you can steal.

Store up joyous memories.

Stir up some good trouble.


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL22: County Fair

County Fair . . .

Hot. Hotter. Hottest.

July weather at its finest.

Often a precursor to the state fair.

Competition. Livestock. 4H. FFA. Races. Concerts. Demolition Derbies. Tractor Pulls.

Food. Anything and Everything.

Exhibits and Competition.

I entered a Quilt of Valor in the Quilting Division. Here’s how it looked. The display is off a bit for the flag. The stars belong on the left.  It’s a mixed media entry with appliqued stars, stitched stripes and two colors in the binding. My first applique.

I wasn’t ever in 4H as I grew up. I’ve never competed in a competition at a county fair before.

Check out the ribbon this quilt won.

A red.

Second place.

Cash value = $3.00

Not all entries won a prize.

What fun! Entering the open quilting class

at the county fair.

What competition have you been in lately? How did you fare?

What goal setting have you done personally? Have you competed against yourself? What did you learn about yourself?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

#SOL22: Unexpected

A red stop sign made of metal is an octagon in all the states I’ve ever driven in. Has it always been red and white? If you are interested in historical trivia, check out this link.

Stoplights have a fairly consistent pattern with red at the top, then yellow and green at the bottom. Even colorblind folks can figure out the brightness of a light from the expected placement on the bar.

But this week I’ve been puzzled by a five light traffic sign. It looks like this

Or this.

If I need to make a left turn, I may be waiting awhile.

Can you predict what is in the other three light spots?

Is this a format familiar to you?

What does your basic left turn light look like?

Are you predicting with a high degree of certainty? What is your response when something fairly common in your life changes?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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One more piece of evidence.

What goes in the remaining two lights in the left column?

#SOL22: Complex?

Is it a new task? The novelty from a new task can make it complex.

Is it complicated? A lot of moving parts put together in an unusual order can make it complex.

Is it unclear? More graphics or print can often provide clarity and simplify something that looks complex.

If you saw this page, would you know what to do?


Words: background, with, color and several mixed decimals… 7 different letters serve as labels.

What would be your level of confidence that you could both accurately and efficiently complete the task? Do you know with certainty what the task is?

Let’s try another view: a model.


Could you deconstruct the block in B above and make it with 100% accuracy in 30 minutes?

Or does this page increase your confidence?


Of course, these examples are from my weekend quilting. As I studied the new block that I was to make, I thought long and hard about how the directions both contributed to my success and possibly also to my fear of failure. Which ones were helpful? Which ones were confusing? When was a picture not worth a thousand words?

As I constructed the blocks, I referred less and less to the directions and more and more to a completed model. By the fourth block, I no longer looked at any paper copies. Had I achieved automaticity? It was a fairly simple pattern: a square, three rows on two sides of the square and some flippy corners.

What’s your prediction for your automaticity if this was your task? Which would be most helpful for you: A? B? C? a combination of ABC?

Does everyone learn the same way? Does everyone need the same things? How would you connect this to “learning”? Instruction? Your own life?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL22: Notifications

“Your tracked flight is now $… (was $…)” Two days in a row. Prices inching up like the gas pumps. Breaking Point? Is it time to dig in and purchase? There’s a long list of tasks that I should be completing. Other things I would rather do. Some homework. Another blog post where I need to hit publish . . . And yet . . .

Is it procrastination? Is it an optimistic hope that prices will decrease? Is it just a lack of time to sit down and review the details?

If Coco can deliver meals, who can deliver flight bookings? Coco in Santa Monica last week . . .
For more information about Coco, check out this link. New: Coco in Iowa

Food Delivery. Flight, hotel, car reservations. What services are you adding back into your life? How will you measure success?

____________________________________________________ Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.
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#SOL22: Talk

Oversell? Undersell?

The waiter was charming. “It’s the best. As a third generation LA resident, it’s the best.”

Tempted to scoff at the claim, I didn’t. And yet, “Tell me more,” did emerge from my mouth.

As a Midwesterner, I was doubting the claim. I was expecting “the sell” on the sea bass so close to the ocean. Seafood, yes. Or the pasta, in an Italian restaurant. Beef, not so much.

A bone-in ribeye, on a patio, with friends, a celebratory dinner.

Tender, flavorful, perfectly done.

Every morsel eaten.

Best steak in Santa Monica!

What talk matters? What talk is convincing? Who are the experts? How do you know the anticipation matches the outcome?

I can’t imagine that I will ever stop asking waitstaff about menu items. It’s truly a pleasure when the “sale” matches expectations. And now my chagrin. After googling beef production, my state lags behind California in beef production. We’re seventh and CA is fourth. Oops. A traveler with arrogance about quality beef is now apologetic. However, I do know quality steak! And you don’t have to be in a steakhouse to find a superb steak. Thank YOU, Il Formo! Thank YOU, Santa Monica!

And this week’s adventures will continue!


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum.

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL22: Weekend Recap

Being patient in order for a topic to separate and rise to the top from the busy weekend is difficult.

What should I “slice” about today?

6 seniors on a panel for a Q and A session with the whole group 6 hours of excitement at LFA.

5 years of participating in the Ladies Football Academy at Iowa. 5 family members playing Hand and Foot.

4 family members together most of the weekend. Saturday dinner = 4.

3 football player “lifts” at LFA. LFA and 3 Marek women

2 gooseberry pies made and devoured this week. 2 elder Ruth sisters. 2 Baby Ruths. 2 sisters. 2 from FL 2 winners at Hand and Foot.

1 French toast breakfast created by a chef. 1 glorious day of fun. Best place to relax and unwind.

Which story to tell? Which one wins the story “lottery” for this week?

Revising my list of six. You’ve already seen some of the revisions above.



Which story?

Maybe it’s not really one of those.

Maybe it’s about being on the front page of the sports section for both the Iowa City Press Citizen and the Des Moines Register on Saturday, June 11, 2022.

Moi? On the front page? Of the sports section?

Yes, the Front page of the Sports Section

Do tell!

Here’s what the article looked like in the Des Moines Register.

A J Epinoza Buffalo Bills 2021

(picture from the field on the north side of the indoor practice field … 2019)

Here’s a link to the Iowa City Press Citizen. Scroll down to the second picture.

You may have noticed that the picture looked like a pose in the video from last week’s post. Yes, that 2019 photo of us lifting up AJ Epenesa at the LFA with the help of teammate Chauncey Golston made the front page of the sports section in two major Iowa newspapers. (And it was AJ’s idea)

So the new pics from 2022. Riley Moss. Notice that no assist was needed.

Big 10 Defensive
Back 2021

Eric Epenesa – (brother of 2019 liftee AJ)








Petras / Moss Duet of “Piano Man”

Favorite foods, stadiums, coaches . . .

Thank you, #IOWALadiesFootballAcademy #ForTheKids #UIHC

How do you choose just one small moment from a day fillled with joy and occasional raindrops?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum.

Check out the writers and readers here.

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