Category Archives: #OLW

#SOL23: Old and New

I could write about Coco as I did here quite briefly when I named a specific location (above the picture).

I could write about Duke’s as I briefly mentioned here.

Or I could write about Monday’s adventure at the Farmer’s Market (although there really wasn’t a farmer in sight).

Or I could write about the huge picture book debut celebration that inspired my May travel.

Choices, choices, choices. Which topic is most interesting?

Hmm. . . To me? Or to my readers? Have you clicked on any of the four links above? Do you have my current location in mind? Have you seen ANY of my social media posts over the weekend?

All four links give clues to my location and to my weekend activities. I’ve been in four bookstores, a museum, a Farmer’s Market, Duke’s, and Bob’s Market.

Definitely not in Iowa. If that was your guess, you have totally missed ALL of my clues.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the joy, the excitement, and the fun of watching a picture book author fuss over details: What kind of pen to use to sign books? How and when to arrive at the event? How to efficiently and yet kindly greet everyone in attendance? How to organize the flowers and gifts? How to be kind, gracious, and inspiring?

Reading the book to the audience and especially the 20-some kids seated on the floor? A veritable piece of cake! (Much like an ordinary day at school.) No nervousness at all!

We laughed. We cheered. We even shed a few happy tears as we watched the joy, love, and celebration of and for Kitty Donohoe and How to Ride a Dragonfly at Children’s Book World on Saturday, May 27, 2023.

It’s a gorgeous book. Read it. Enjoy it. Review it. Read it again. Check out the lyrical prose by Kitty Donohoe and the outstanding watercolor and pen and ink illustrations by Anne Wilsdorf. Ask your bookstore to stock this book. It’s simply amazing. You will want it in your collection!

I had the pleasure of capturing details in person for #curiositycrew members. What a journey we had this weekend! We’re already planning for book parties # 2, # 3, . . . Will you be ready to join us?

What did you celebrate this weekend? Where did you find joy? How did you share your love of reading/writing? And with whom did you celebrate?


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

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#SOLSC23: Choices

Drive time Sunday gave me time to think, organize, and ready my brain for blogging this week on the downhill side of the Slice of Life Challenge.

What can I write about?

  • Lady Hawkeyes win and advancement to the Sweet Sixteen
  • Driviing Conundrums
  • My uncle’s story about the river flooding so quickly that he had to watch his brother dive underwater to unhitch the horse from the wagon so it wouldn’t die stuck in the river bed. Literally watching his brother risk his life for the horse.
  • Current quilting projects
  • Formatting issues with my blog posts
  • “Response-ability”

Each of these bulleted items could be a slice or two or three. What to do? Start writing and see what surfaces? Take a walk and narrow down the topics to just two or three?

So I started typing. And here is my draft.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Saturday I spent five hours in Zoom PD. Willingly. By choice. In years past I’ve wished for Saturday Reunions to have remote access to save time, $ and resources required to travel. Saturday I was grateful for the learning! There was a theme across the sessions whether it was Lucy, Amanda, Brooke, Rachael, Janet, Phillip, Gene or any of the other sessions I attended.

Response – ability

That was the theme! Not to be confused with “responsibility”. In education, responsibility typically deals with accountability and fidelity. Responsibility makes me think of more of a teaming, “We are in this together approach as we work on common goals in similar ways.”

Response – ability

This word conjures up possibilities. Possibilities in the way I respond to students. In the way I respond to parents, teachers, community, and administrators. It also conjures up choices. I’m thinking that this is “freeing” as I can be “responsive” both to and for students.

Responsive to students is a common discussion thread in our #CuriosityCrew group from #G2Great. Our roles deal with students, teachers, and administrators from PK – college. We collectively believe (like many others) that our fidelity is to the students sitting in front of us, first and foremost. Our goal is learning. Students learning.

So what does it take for students to be learning?

Instruction needs to meet student needs. It’s not “everyone on page 40”. Instruction is explicit. Instruction is differentiated. Instruction is designed to move at a pace that ensures students learn and also close gaps where necessary. This is instruction that is “response-ability” for teachers. Teachers are expected to as well as able to “respond” to students. If 75% of the class doesn’t understand concept x, we can reteach and check for understanding again. We make sure that learning and not “coverage of content” is the focus.

Response – ability

New concept

Old belief

Values students.

Values learning.

Embedded in a sense of urgency

But not limited to a pacing guide.


To students.

Response – ability.

Additional Resources:

“Recall that response-ability, in its most succinct iteration, is “an ability to respond, to respond to the world beyond oneself, as well as a willingness to recognize its existence” (Kuokkanen, 2007, p. 39).”

link –,39)

Poetry: “Response-ability”

What does response-ability mean to you? How does it fit into your life?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum in March. 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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#SOL22: Rehearsal

Decision freeze is a real thing.

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

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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#SOLSC22: 27

Day 27 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge 2022.

Who Am I?

What stories do you know about me?

Made with

I have no idea why the “cloud creator” added an “s” to teachers and books lovers? That doesn’t make sense. However, what does make sense is that these are a few of the words that describe Erika.

Thank you, Erika Victor, for your love of family whether it’s your family in the US, your family at your international school or the family of readers and writers that you navigate here!

How have you stayed connected with your family (personal or professional) the last couple of years?


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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#SOL22: Foreshadowing

Totally, that kind of a day. Cold. AGAIN. The average daily temp for January is 35 degrees. Staying 15 to 20 degrees below that average is just cold. Tiring. Causing weary bones.

It was not a good day to sew. 15 minutes of stitching around the edges of an 18 inch square was followed by over an hour of “ribbit” – ripping every single, stinking stitch out. So not right! The outside shape was a parallelogram. Not a square. UGH, Geometry! Not the picture in my brain or the one that matched the lines in the plaid.

Following directions was not helpful today. My #OLW “Be patient” was tested. At least three times or more.The air fryer cookbook said six hard-boiled eggs emerge after 15 minutes at 250 degrees. WRONG! The egg white was gooey, icky and totally gag worthy. Trash can ready. Not even soft boiled. GROSS! Beyond disgusting.

The good news was that the other five eggs went back into the air fryer and the egg whites are now solid. Same time as on the stove. No water necessary. The verdict on this methodology has not yet been released.

What will be my choice next?

These are my tools. Which should I use first?

Eggs? Breakfast pizza? Cinnamon rolls? Doughnuts? Banana bread? What should I bake in the air fryer next? Will the recipe be accurate in terms of time and temperature and yield a tasty outcome? What do you predict?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL21: Final Four

Not an elimination.

Not a bracket.

Not a sport.

The final four days of 2021. What am I willing to prioritize as 2021 wanes? What am I willing to let go? What am I willing to put on my “To Do” list? What won’t even get a mention on my “To Do” list?

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

This image seems to fit some of my end of the year traveling. And yet, it seems too simple. Are all the choices really straight lines? What if I venture off the track?

My final four days of 2021:

Finalizing my 2021 #OLW (One Little Word)

Updating syllabi and moodle courses




I don’t yet know the format for playing. Perhaps in fabric choices, Perhaps in writing or reading choices.

How will you end 2021? How will you begin 2022?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL21: Tradition

It’s been tough to be willing to dig into family traditions, holidays, celebrations and find a healthy balance for all ages and beliefs. That willingness led to a below normal attendance at a family even but even more individual time with some very specific family members.

I’m blessed to be a member of a large family. I’m a “Baby Ruth”. One of 56 grandchildren. I’ve written about “us” before here, here and here.

The calendar and the weather blessed us with many opportunities this year to begin our holiday celebrations. Smaller settings. Enjoying conversations. Catching up on the reality of missed events and holidays. Laughing about zooms.

On Sunday we celebrated Grandma Ruth who, if alive, would have been 125.

We celebrated the elders, those alive and those lost, as we viewed their high school graduation pictures. We know that not all rural kids were fortunate to finish high school during those early years of the twentieth century.

We recognize that it’s hard to keep track of generations, but our “Sunday dinner the week before Christmas” remains a priority tradition for many. We’ve had weather and Covid cancellations but we continue to strive for celebrating our strong ties.

Some of us spend time with out-of-town family so we bring our holiday with us.

We add in coloring, reading, telling stories, sharing memories as we play games, race cars, and decorate ugly sweater cookies. Telling jokes. Playing “I Spy”. Talk and laughter abound!

What traditions will you continue over the winter holidays? What traditions will you let go of this year?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL21: Good Enough?

I’ve heard this phrase for years, decades even.

But I’ve been wondering lately what a person is to do if the quality of the lemonade is dubious, not up to expectations, or perhaps not even fit for consumption.

Do we politely sip it anyway?

Do we question the source to attempt to determine why the quality seems to have slipped?

Do we just say, “Oh, it’s for a good cause. Suck it up! It’s good enough!”

Colleen Cruz offers us much wisdom in her book, Risk. Fail. Rise.

What are mistakes? Are they “missed takes”?

During our #G2Great chat in February of 2021, Colleen defined mistakes for us.

Surprise! We thought it was going to go one way. But it went another!

And I was ready to talk about tons of mistakes.

Two real-life examples

Gravy too thin? A secret ingredient for quick thickening might be two tablespoons of instant mashed potatoes.

In quilting: A narrow seam might “fix” a seam that is pulled too tightly.

But the subtitle of Colleen’s book is:
“A Teacher’s Guide to Learning from Mistakes”

Recounting mistakes is not the end goal. My list could probably be a mile or two long.

Learning from Mistakes.

Where does the learning come from?

I liked the element that Jill added:

The learning begins with reflection and knowing a bit more about the types of mistakes that occur.

Getting beyond mistakes are “good” or “bad” takes some work or study. Not all mistakes are equal. Four kinds of mistakes include: stretch mistakes, aha moment mistakes, sloppy mistakes, and high-stakes mistakes.


The life mistakes with gravy and quilting were/are not earth shattering. Annoying? Yes. Easily rectified? Yes.

But they do require an awareness of the end product. A road map of our destination. An expectation or approximation of that end goal/ success criteria!

Who decides what is good enough? What if we set the bar too low> What if “any lemonade” becomes our goal and the quality drops off? Will we continue to make lemonade? Are we willing to adjust/adapt to maintain a certain criteria of excellence? Who determines the criteria?

Do give yourself grace.

It’s going to be another wild year.

But continue to have high expectations. Your life will be richer for all that you maintain high expectations. It will be up to you to determine where and how many mistakes you want to share. (Many folks won’t notice them. Others will notice and name many.)

The key is being willing (#OLW) to reflect on the “fails” in order to learn and grow your own list of accomplishments.

You get to set the criteria! Go for the Olympic Gold! Set some worthy characteristics!

Be flexible. Grow and learn. Don’t settle for making lemonade. Make the best lemonade possible!

When is “Good Enough” really Good Enough?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL21: A Simple Plan

A simple plan: A six store drive through south central Iowa.

Up. An early departure.

Obstacle 1: First shop closed today.

Keep moving. Five more to go. A simple plan.

One day of shopping. No major needs. But my first AISH. AISH is the All Iowa Shop Hop that consists of 86 stops. 86 stops in a two month period – June 1 to July 31st.

Truth be told. I’m not a shopper. Never have been. Book stores? Yes. Lumber/fix up stores – Menards, Home Depot? Yes. Otherwise, not so much.

I’m not planning on all 86 stores. I was thinking of starting small. The 17 shops in southeast Iowa. This has been my corner of the state all my life. There are some shops I have not yet visited since this quilting bug bit me last year. (Sound interesting? Link) Visiting all the shops in one region makes one eligible for a regional grand prize. One small goal.

It won’t be easy. Some shops are rural. One in my region has this posted under updates:

DIRECTIONS: Our address is 1949 110th St, Salem, IA 52649, but we are not in the town of Salem, we are about 5 miles from the town and about ‘ONE country mile’ off the 27/ 218 four lane Highway.
From Mt. Pleasant, where Quilters Paradise is on the square; Take Hwy. 27/218 South for about 12 miles, to 110th Street, just across the Henry/Lee county line. The street numbers go from 330th street in Henry county, Instantly to 110th street in Lee county. (Look for the “QUILT” signs.)

The first road in Lee county is 110th Street & is our road. Turn to the Left or East, we are about a ‘Country mile’ down the road and at the top of the hill on the Left or North just before the crossroad, Pilot Grove Road.

If you miss 110th street, the next highway crossroad is the Junction of Hwy 16 & 27/218, which is about a mile farther. If you get to the Junction of 16 & 27/218 you can make a U-turn, or turn Left or East onto Highway 16 and go to the first gravel crossroad, which is Pilot Grove Road and turn Left onto gravel headed North. Go a ‘Country mile, ‘ at the stop sign, we are on the corner. You can see the driveway where to park to the Left, the ‘RED’ door is on the WEST SIDE of the building is the Shop door. If you go through the STOP SIGN, the road is a Dead End and coming back we are on the corner.

If ALL Else FAILS… Call our phone number, 319-850-0524, and we will get you to us from wherever you have gotten lost.

It will be interesting to see if GPS and Google Maps play nice on those directions. Surely one will be close . . .

So back to the simple plan for today. Drive approximately 30 miles, shop, 30 miles, shop, 1 hour, shop, 10 miles, shop, 15 miles, shop and return home with “free stuff” from AISH as well as any purchases along the way.

There was a surprise at the first town. A collection of farm equipment at the fairgrounds and then these signs along the road.

The fairgrounds was packed.

Lawn chairs lining the sidewalks. Vehicles in the shade facing the parade route. Pickup trucks with tailgates down at the corners of rock roads. These folks KNEW there was going to be a tractor parade. And they were prepared for the sun with hats, umbrellas, sun shades, and awnings.

“A few tractors. A few miles. No big deal.”

We were traveling at 10 mph. Ten miles per hour. If the tractors stayed on this road, we would share it for 30 miles.

How long would 30 miles take?

Your answer?

And then for the reality . . .

Exactly how long would you travel at 10 mph or less? Willing? Able? Settling for?

Highway 92 is a state highway. Two lanes. Asphalt. Two lanes. With no passing zones every mile due to hills. Hills that meant slower uphill travel.

Google Maps told me there would only be a 6 minute delay.

(I saw that major eye roll.)

To believe or not to believe . . .

The good news was that we followed for 10 miles before the tractor parade left Highway 92.

Revising and changing plans.

When have you had to adjust your daily plan? What variables mattered? What variables were completely beyond your control? When were you willing to go “with the flow”?


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Check out the writers and readers here.

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