Category Archives: #SOL22

#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?

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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!


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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?


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#SOL22: What’s your sport?

I grew up in an era of “no sports.” There were no girls sports in my hometown. I thought I was tall enough, taller than most of my peers, and was totally convinced that I could be good at basketball with some coaching and practice. We lobbied for sports but it didn’t come to fruition in time for me to learn whether I had any ability or not.

So my experience with sports was from the music side. That was my field 100 yards long where we rehearsed, marched and entertained in high school and college. That was my seat in the bleachers in the gym when the pep band fired up the crowd, played a rousing “Star-Spangled-Banner” and then proceeded to entertain ourselves when the athletes fell short as they often did.

I wrote about what I loved about a specific fall weekend in this post that listed MARCHING BAND as a big favorite. It remains a favorite. Competitions, whether a participant or spectator, delight my ears and my eyes. Of course when I know some of the bands or competitors, it’s worth the drive and the photos. Remembering becomes even more important.

When I searched my blog posts, I was shocked. I didn’t panic. I called on my #OLW to “be patient.” I continued to search. I was not giving up. And finally with a change in search terms, I found it. This post from seven years ago. Link

This Saturday will be the 10th and final Ladies Football Academy at the University of Iowa. It will be my fifth because of course, Covid canceled the last two. I anticipate the day’s schedule will be similar. Assigned groups, rotating activities, student/athletes leading us through drills and sessions intended to inform, educate, and even entertain us as we fundraise for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

Here’s the site. link If you have a few minutes to watch the video, my sister is at 1:06 and our group is, yes, holding a Hawkeye player at 2:04. Fun, learning, sporting, and raising money for a good cause.

Yes, I love football. High school and college level. Professional football … not so much.

What’s your plan for the weekend?

I will be with about 500 friends doing the Swarm, tackling some challenging drills, and reviewing WHY I love both football and the Hawkeyes!

Even though the stands will be mostly empty, this is the music I will hear on Saturday!


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#SOL22: Projects

Is it the planning?

Executing the plan?

Revisions along the way?

Successful completion?

The “Thanks” upon receipt.

A brief review of the last few quilts.

Graduation 2022

Quilts of Valor

And a baby gift!

My Perspective:

It’s all about the gifting!

Just some of my 2022 creations.

What are you creating? What part of the process is your favorite and why?


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#SOL22: Commencement

Is it the music?

The speeches?

The rituals?

What memories surface with that word?

A vision of the last graduate you saw?

Memories . . . present?

Memories . . . past?

Commencement: what does it mean? Commencement is actually derived from a 13th century French word meaning beginning or start.

Hearts flutter at the beginning strains of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Folks fidget. Babies cry. Bleachers squeak. Nervous laughs break the quiet.


Do they inspire? Do they reminisce? Do they bring joy?

What advice is imparted?

On ‘Sunday one speech began and ended with “Wear sunscreen.”



Easy to remember.

Here are some ranked examples of quotes from speeches. link

Or perhaps this greatest speech of all time. Link

What do you think was the best speech ever?


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#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


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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?


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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!


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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?


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