Author Archive: franmcveigh

#SOL22: Friggatriskaidekaphobia

A target on the calendar.

Just a number.

But . . .

It started like any ordinary day.

Normal. Normal coffee. Normal reading. Normal writing. Normal or at least routine emails. Off to sew. Deadlines looming on several projects. The simultaneity of multiple projects in varying stages.

Attaching the binding. There’s the first inkling. It’s not attached. I can see the tiny row of stitching marks but there is no thread there. Tiny, threadless holes.

Best seam ever.

No bobbin thread. Must resew AFTER filling a bobbin or two.

What should be automatic descends into a time-crushing task. The thread spins off the bobbin as I let go. The crease in my finger stings as I rethread the bobbin. That’s two.

The phone interrupts. My hope of efficiently completing this task . . .

Not going to happen!

The phone call leads to another and then a quick email. Time races by.

The binding task incomplete. Actually barely begun. I opt for re-pressing the project to regain my momentum. I load the newly filled bobbin, pull up the thread, center the needle and lower the presser foot.

AND press the foot pedal to sew.


No motor.

No needle stitching away.


And that’s THREE! It’s been hours. Nothing completed. And now the machine has decided to be contrary.

I check the power connection. It feels solid. Pull it off and reconnect.

I press the foot pedal again.


No silence around me as the air is filled with painful utterances. I’m down to a very short amount of “free time” left. It would be nice to complete something. Anything.

I press the foot pedal again. Still nothing.

As I pick up my glass of warm water where the ice has slowly disappeared, I notice the light is not on.

The light is not on.

Silly me.

I had turned the power switch off.

Of course the foot pedal was inactive.

Strike three on Friday the thirteenth was ALL on me.

No light. Power off. No foot pedal! What a ditzy move!

And now an easy solution to what had seemed like a schedule-altering, impossible to recover from, Friday the thirteenth comedy of errors.

How was your Friday the 13th? Were you anxious about the possibilities of ill fate? Did you even recognize the enormity of the date?


Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen.Jan 13, 2011

Google definition


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL22: Conundrum

Flashing Lights

Take a deep breath.

Slow down.


No one else is slowing down.

The car behind is not YET close.



But … WHERE?

Still, no one else is slowing down.

The car behind is close, not on my bumper, but close.

I tap my brakes,

Watching my rear view mirror.

Watching in front

As the lights are quickly approaching.

The siren is blaring

As the vehicle accelerates.

Where do I go?

I’m on a mile long bridge.

There are only two lanes.

No shoulder.

No extra space.

A mid line,

An outside rail.

I come to a complete stop as the car in front of me also stops.

Pure relief.

And yet, the car behind has not stopped.

My eyes alternate, front/back, front/back, front/back,

The car behind stops,

Inches from my rear bumper.

The sheriff’s car races by … lights … sirens …

Slowly traffic resumes on the mile long bridge.

When does following the law or the rules seem dangerous? What is the alternative?

The question remains:

How does one follow the law and pull over to the side of the road for an emergency vehicle when on a bridge without a “side of the road?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL22: Rehearsal

Decision freeze is a real thing.

Which red? Which white? Which blue? Print? Solid? Stars or not? Big print or little?he

It began with one pattern, then a panel, and then pictures to re-create and innovate.

The first was a pattern. Lovingly. Carefully. Thoughtfully. Each part chosen for the way they would fit together in the whole.

And here’s the draft.

New skills: applique stars and then two color flange binding (not seen in this iteration)

Quilt 1

And then because of a picture. . .

I had to determine the size of the squares, the dimensions of the stripes and the fabric for the squares. And then on to matching the picture in my head with the one on my table.

Quilt 2

The process is never complete until the edges are bound.

Binding (Measure, Cut, Sew, Press)

Ending with a mitered seam for the strength in seams sewn at angles.

Binding 2 (measure, mark, sew, trim, press, check)

And a star copied from another quilt top . . . still in progress.

Last week I put together three quilt tops as I get ready for our May Quilt Guild meeting. Do you see the theme that has emerged? In June, local veterans will receive “Quilts of Valor.” There are requirements. Size. Fabric Quality. Pre-washed. Labelled. . . My goal is to complete six. My uncle needs one so his may be included in that six. Six in a month.

One is done. One is ready for the binding to be hand sewn. Two more tops are constructed.

Two more weeks.

More rehearsal so that each quilt I construct improves and my skills sharpen.

Quilts of Valor

Quilts = Healing link

What are you doing in your community to help or heal others? Where might you begin?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL22: Real Life!

Do I remember our first meeeting?

A park bench outside Thorndike. Early morning. One in running clothes and me with all my gear for the day: canvas tote filled with devices, electrical bar, and books. Pounds of resources to last the day. Goal: to have an initial face to face contact before the week was up.

What about the funniest meeting?

A message to meet up at Starbuck’s. Arrival. Waiting. “I’m here.” But nary a sign. Further messages. Who knew. Three possible Starbuck’s in a 5 block radius. The first try was unsuccessful.

Which was the most unexpected?

I was fan-girling. Excited to meet up in real life. “Fran, it’s so good to see you,” as I was greeted with a hug. Only a Twitter friend. Real life exceeded my dreams as we quickly chattered like decades long friends.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Through TWT, TCRWP, ILA and NCTE I’ve met many folks in real life. I thanked many during the March SOLSC, but I want to return to two very special authors and friends: Christina Nosek and Melanie Meehan. Their talents are exceptional!

#G2Great chats highlighted their most recent books the last two weeks.

Literacy Lenses – Reading link Literacy Lenses – Writing link

Please check out the Table of Contents of both books from the links with the book covers above.

Check out the free chapters and resources.

Check out the Literacy Lenses posts (Reading by Dr. Mary C Howard and Writing by me).

What is your level of confidence in your knowledge and skills about Reading? Writing? What about your level of competence? How do you know? What questions have you answered lately?

Both of these titles would be great for a faculty book study!


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL22: Seasons

The one word that captures all of winter

in Iowa


The one word that captures all of spring

in Iowa


or is it


The two collided on Sunday.

And we’ve been off kilter ever since.

Some flowers refuse to open.

Last night the temps dropped to 26.

Below freezing.

Two seasons simultaneously shredding the joy and anticipation of spring.

No black and white decision.

No “either/or” possibility.



What else coexists in nature or in life that seems to be two complete opposites?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL22: April

April could be . . .

The 5 letter daily Wordle



Full of green growth

Budding flowers

But instead

April is



Snow Again



Weather alerts

Severe storms

Slow to warm

Only one crocus

Daring to bloom

Wind roaring

Coats required


This fourth month

Unseasonably cool

Slowly greening

One third gone


Fleeting seconds of joy

Amidst gloomy, grey and dreary days.

Where is spring?

Will it be a short spring? What will nature bring? What weather patterns will you see in April?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL22: And then . . .

Slicing every day in March.

31 consecutive days of writing

AND publishing.

I’ve written every day this year.

Short, long, and varied formats.

It’s a great habit.

But there was a hole

when I didn’t publish

for four days.

I could have.

But life kept me busy

And I didn’t.

I did write a #G2Great post (here) that I published

Three book reviews

But nothing on Resource-Full.

It’s great to be back

But the energy has dissipated.

Who will continue to write?

Who will be to busy?

Who will make time?

Why do you write?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOLSC22: 31 and Finale

The plan for my “slices” in March began with this image.

A piece of cake. 31 days of thanking teachers. And then I listed the days and started listing the teachers. I hit a snag. I wanted a descriptor for each that would fit into the “total picture” of a teacher. But what if not all of my daily candidates were teachers? Was “educator” broad enough to cover all possibilities? And then to include family members? Non-traditional teachers?

My idea.

My rules.

My plan revised about 151 times during the 31 days of March.


All my thanks!

Those that I thanked . . .

generated with

The reasons that I thanked them. I remember days of feeling like the shipwrecked sailor on a desert island, lonely and in search of like-minded folks. I found them in places that I worked, where I lived, and across the miles via technology with twitter, book studies and PD. All of these words fit for teachers. Not necessarily every word every day, but they all fit.

generated with

Month at a Glance

DateDescriptor Words or PhrasesPerson Thankedlink
1Voracious/Professional DevelopmentDiane Ruylepost
2ExpertiseKathy Schuitemapost
3KidwatchingSharon Van Cleavepost
4CollaborationJoni Heltonpost
5IndependenceGrandma Ruthpost 5
8TipsAllison Jacksonpost
9Words Matter/PoetryMargaret Simonpost
10Being KindKitty Donohoepost
11Action ResearchSally Donnellypost
12CourageousAunt Shirley Ruthpost
13Reading and Responding to BlogsDiane Doughertypost
14Cheerleader/Cheer CoaachJohnny Downeypost
15CuratorJill Davidsonpost
16BraveSusan Vincentpost
17Fierce Brent Gilsonpost
18Meeting NeedsClare Landriganpost
19Decision-making processDr. Towanda Harrispost
20NurturerChristina Nosekpost
21ReaderJulieanne Harmatzpost
22WriterMelanie Meehanpost
23FacilitatorRyan Scalapost
24Joy and BalanceSandy Brumbaunpost
25LibrarianJulia E. Torrespost
26CoachingPaula Bourquepost
27TravelerErika Victorpost
28MentorshipDr. Mary Howardpost
29SistersSherry and Patpost
30Sustaining communitiespost

How did you organize your writing slices this month? What were your common themes? Formats? Did you meet your goals?

See you next week or next year!


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March.

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOLSC22: 30

Day 30 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

I have spent the last 29 days thanking educators and teachers in my life. Today, I must add in the communities that have also been a part of my life. I know I needed at least 100 entries to even begin to recognize all the folks that have impacted my life. Even with this addition, I am sure that I have left some unnamed . . .

#TwoWritingTeachers where I began this weekly blogging and daily in March

#TCRWP where the community has been welcoming and I have learned how to write more concise Tweets and blog better in response to questions and comments.

#DigiLitSunday a short term weekly blogging about technology


Morningside University grad classes


So many #bookstudies




#G2Great community


and in my family: my brothers, the Ruth Cousins and the Elders that remain. So many lessons learned. So much laughter shared.

Thank you for your past and present teaching, mentorship and opportunities to learn and grow!

Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash

Special thanks to all the slicers! Who are you thanking today?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March.

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOLSC22: 29

Day 29 of the 2022 Slice of Life Story Challenge

Then and Now


Three girls

Book lovers



Farm living

And all spaced out

A gap of five

and then a gap of seven –

Twelve from top to bottom

Sharing a room

Similar but not exactly alike




Book lovers


People connectors

Flower lovers



and crafters

Connected with texts, emails, Twitter and phone calls.

Pictures, jokes, and news flow back and forth.

Similar but not exactly alike.

Today I thank my two sisters who have allowed me to “get it done” when they were more inclined to approach tasks more collaboratively or at a different pace. You’ve taught me so much. Thanks, Sherry and Pat, for being models of grace, a source of inspiration, and the best sisters possible.

How do you describe your siblings? How would you describe them at different points in your life?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March.

Check out the writers and readers here.

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Steph Scrap Quilts

"Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads..."


A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

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Ideas and Reflections on Teaching

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Listening and Talking Across Literacy and Math

Teachers | Books | Readers

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Dr. Carla Michelle Brown * Speaker * author * Educator

We have the perfect words. Write when you need them.

Curriculum Coffee

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Noticing and celebrating life's moments of any size.


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a journey of growing readers & writers

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adventures in multiple tenses

The Blue Heron (Then Sings My Soul)

The oft bemused (or quite simply amused) musings of Krista Marx -- a self-professed HOPE pursuing Pollyanna

Middle English

Life as an English teacher leader

steps in the literacy journey

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Smile! You’re at the best site ever

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas, Strategies and Tools

Joel Pedersen

be that #oneperson