Signing up for Ashleigh’s Talent Show…solc19

Ashleigh walked out the door briskly, as she heard the solid think of the door. Her mind was racing with ideas, as her friend Pyper, strode along side her.

“Well,” Pyper questioned, “Did you do it?”

Ashleigh nodded with reluctance.

“Now what?” she shook as Pyper slapped her heartily on the back and grinned a mile wide.

“Now…. the talent!”

“I already told you I am NOT talented. Not unless you want me to stand and look like a wilting plant.” Ashleigh extended her wispy arms in a downward fashion, reminiscent of a willow she had once seen in a book.

Pyper laughed out loud as she started to list the possibilities….”Well, you said you were singing, so what’ll it be. Country, pop, blues, jazz….I know RAP.”

“That is NOT singing, and NO!”

A Ball of Yarn SOLC19

She imagines herself as a ball of yarn, one that should be easy to unwind, but is wound too tight.

She is a necklace with that epic knot that won’t be untangled.

Tug it. No.

Finesse it. No.

It requires to be cut. But until then, tied, tightly binding all that is free in her. Creativity. Love. Compassion.

It is all so hard, her mind an endless to and fro, a winding of the key, an endless darkness.

Let it all go, she says. Bright skies bring happy thoughts. Kind words. Acts of generosity and self care.

Loosen her core one by one. Snap! There rebounds one tiny filament. An eternity of twine to be unwound.

Time crawls at once in the winding of events and words…

Time will slither slowly in the loosening of the tense strings she has woven..

In the end she will be useful. Helpful. Compassionate.

For now she is wound.

Blankets and other compulsions

Today I am following the path of my fellow Slice of Life bloggers, and using the format of 31 things about me. Challenge accepted.

1. I just put 5 blankets on my bed, only because there were not 6. I love blankets, even though, I admit, I am one of those “at least one foot out of the cover” people.

2. I just downloaded a coloring app, not because I have all that extra time, but FLOW is a thing, for real.

My first masterpiece (color by number) was deceptively tedious.

3. I am a reluctant leader. I like to push the envelope, because it is my journey, and though I love when people follow, I like it to be because they, too want to push themselves.

4. “Pushing myself” is an extremely mental concept – my body rejects this notion in all forms, except aging. Good job bod.

5. I love writing songs for instruction Weird Al Yankovic style. Yep, your favorite pop hit is now about written composition strategies. You are welcome 4th grade.

6. I don’t sing. This is despite the fact that I was in choir until 8th or 9th grade and they could not find a place for me because I have no ear for sound. This is why my YouTube account of writing songs has few posts and even fewer views. You have to be in my class to hear melodies like that.

7. Speaking of howling, I have a Basset and a pug. Technically both are my sister’s babies. The basset is mine when she misbehaves.

8. I dog sit as a side gig. I love my puppy homes. Something about getting to be the fun puppy aunt that brings treats and fun. You can’t over-treat a dog for a week. Like the grandma of doggy-living.

9. There is the occassional escapee. I have cried and lost sleep when a fur baby bolts. They eventually come back because – treats.

10. I am procrastinator. No parent newsletter yet for this week. I believe in immediate rest following marathon weeks, and time relaxing as much as possible.

11. I just learned a lot of this wordpress stuff and love blogging from my phone. Better use of time than Facebook, probably…

12. Inspired by Rick Riordan and JK Rowling. The worlds they create. My favorite writing allows me to learn that which I had never known. Even though I studied it in high school, college, and in teaching. Mythology. Now. I. Get. It.

13. Flamingos. This is a thing on my campus. We are in Texas. I’m not sure why.

14. My classroom is bright yellow because….they let me. I love the sunshine.

15. Naps are my favorite restorative practice. Rest is important.

16. I have a twin who is the math to my language arts. She does not teach. She and I are pretty opposite. We even purposely have different color hair to make sure we are than much less a spectacle.

17. I can spend a lot of time and money in bookstores. Obvious.


I love Awkward Yeti comics. I am.the brain. I overanalyze, which is why it is hard for me to start writing.

19. This is year 21 or 22 for me, which means I have also taught in 9 schools. Rolling stone, no moss here.

20. This is NOT easy. I find it hard to share writing….so personal.

21. Favorite Song: Wonderful World Louis Armstrong.

22. I am currently geeking out about all things “A Star is Born.” I saw it with one of my favorite people and we ugly cried like babies after a long day of 1/2 day students, 1/2 day parent conferences, on the day after Halloween. All of that aside, the performances are EVERYTHING.

23. This is a long post. Stamina in writing will be a new goal.

24. I once gave my writing to my 5th grade teacher. Later that day, I saw it in the trash. It was silly kid writing but it was my poetry collection, an original. All my favorite stickers too. I never throw student love notes away until they are no longer in my class.

25. I tried to write creatively in high school, details were my kryptonite.

26. Speaking of Kryptonite, I am a fan on Marvel and can’t wait for the next two movies – Captain Marvel and Infinity Wars 2.

27. I love all writing utensils. I am not Flair exclusive. It is an illness really.


I have an embarrassing number of books on my kindle to read, yet every paycheck I have to see what just came out.

29. I love the TV shows Burn Notice and the Masked Singer. I can’t decide if that means I want to be a spy or just possibly someone who wears a costume and sings really badly. (See #5).


Love board and brush, especially the “distressing”. They give you 2 minutes to beat up your distressed work. I need like 30 or 45.

31. I am excited about this challenge!

Lighthouse #solc19

Today I am intrigued by the image of a lighthouse. I think because my school is a LIM school and we are reviewing for our Lighthouse status this year. We have been reflecting on Lighthouses a lot and I have started to think a bit more abstractly about the concept of being a lighthouse.

Lighthouses are strong.

Lighthouses are weathered.

Lighthouses are defined by the character of their battles with an angry ocean.

The important thing about lighthouses is the light.

Lighthouses illuminate for weary travelers.

Lighthouses guide sailors in an abundant and energetic ocean.

Lighthouses create a path of beauty even in the darkest storms.

The important thing about lighthouses is the light.

Lighthouses rest when their light is not needed in the brightness of day

Lighthouses let themselves be filled with the light.

Lighthouses are not fearful of being too bright or not bright enough

The important thing about lighthouses is light.


It was a gut check moment. The kind of moment that happened a million times a day for Ashleigh. Where most people experienced these moments once in a season, for Ashleigh they happened so many times it was like a fire drill siren going off in the middle of a thunderstorm. Her emotions were running the show, and her desire to flee was unrelenting.

She rubbed her sweat soaked hands against her perfect new jeans and grabbing the pencil, she scrawled her name on the sign up sheet. “There,” she thought, “Ashleigh, 5th Grade, Ms. Nelsen’s class.” She shifted from her left foot to her right as she looked at the next column. “Talent?” She read quickly through the other entries. Laurie….singing. Tara and Audrey were doing a skit.

How on earth did she think she belonged in this show? When she had found out it was on Grandma’s birthday, and had mentioned she would like to go instead of attending the usual family gathering, Grandma had suggested maybe Ashleigh participate in the show.

“Why don’t you sing that song you love so much?” Grandma had suggested.

Of course she was referring to “High Hopes” by her favorite band Panic at the Disco. Ironic. She did feel panicked, but nowhere close to any kind of dancing.

She scrawled, “Song. Unknown.”

She shuffled away scraping her feet on the tile as she left.

“What have I gotten myself into?” Ashleigh sighed heavily as she stuck her still clammy hands into her pockets. One alarm turned off, as another took its place.


The first thing she heard was the distant call of the owl as it sat across from her bed in the dry tree. The paper thin leaves had left the tree long ago, and the sound that disturbed her the most tonight was that which came from the familiar bird. He was ALWAYS there every night. He guaranteed that tired exhaustion did not become the restful sleep that she needed. Ashleigh tossed and turned, as the moon rose in the sky. 

“Ugh,” she groaned, as she threw her tennis shoe close the window pane. The owl lit from the tree branch and Ashleigh got up, grabbed her robe, and put on her slippers. She crept downstairs, where she silently turned on her computer. Her restlessness had kept her from sleeping, but she knew that Hannah would be online to talk.

Ash2018: ZZZZzzz

Hlove: clearly you are not

Ash2018: i wish

Hlove: Sup

Ash2018: sisterfun

Hlove: tell me all about it

Ash2018: New car….

Hlove: NEW…like NEW NEW, and never been used…..WHY DOES SHE GET A CAR?

Ash2018: #favorite

The door creaked slightly and Ashleigh jumped from her seat. It was 12 am and she was due for swim practice at 5:30. She instantly dimmed the light on her monitor, as her Dad asked, “Sweetheat, why are you up at this hour? Did you take your medicine tonight.

Ashleigh nodded, hugged her father, and took the stairs up to her bed room. Everything in the room was loud. The digital numbers buzzed on the clock. The fan screamed a rhythmic hum. Her heart pounded relentlessly in her chest. She opened the drawer in the shabby chic nightstand by her bed, and shook loose the little white pill. She knew that this would help her sleep tonight, but they never removed the thoughts. Everything from the minor embarrassment of wearing her sweater inside out to first period, to the impending English exam this Friday. The thoughts danced and twirled in her head – the medication only slowed their tango until her solutions and apologies did not matter. The thoughts stripped her of happiness, creativity, and fun. The meds did not bring that back,



I can feel it brewing.

The storm outside. The wind beating on the window, knocking slowly, angrily at the remaining summer heat. Challenging it again for the season.

It craves the mild winter, but the relief from the sweltering and unrelenting Texas heat will not come. The storm barrels into town this Halloween night, as it has so many times in the past. The children in their costumes hurry, hurry, hurry around, collecting their candy before the rain claims their evening.

The tower climbs higher and higher in the sky as the darkness attempts the to build. Thunder sounds in the distance, and large drops plop, plop, plop. on the windshield. As the wiper blades glide along the rhythmic beat of the rain calms the rush of evening.

The thunderheads stand ready overhead, statues of darkness in a light that refuses to give way to the storm. The sky appears in bands of darkness and light, as daylight begins to fade away, and children settle back into their houses.

The thunderstorm is no more. It is a memory as the sun releases its’ grip on the day. There is no more heat. There is no more strength. The summer will yield to winter, as it always does. Today may not be the final thunderous symphony of the year, but soon the thunderstorm will fade.

The silence. The cool winter chill remains.

The Ocean

The waves lap the shore unearthing the pieces of earth only to deposit them some place far away. I wonder what it is like to be that piece of a sand, a lone drifter in an ocean with powerful volumes of liquid and sediment, the waves lifting and carrying you.

Alone. No control. Washed away. Inconsequential.

The waves again tug at the shore, but this time they have a gift. It is magnificent in its’ uniqueness, splendid in the way that it catches the light and sun. The surf slowly deposits this gift on the shore of a distant land, no longer in the struggle of the surf.

It is peaceful. It is beautiful. It is home.

Writing Goals

Today I shared with my writing class the writing goal for November. I accidentally told them 50000 pages instead of words! Aye caramba! So I told them I would try to write 50000 words.

I know the idea is to write a small novel, but I have all the characters floating in my head with no problem at all. They are happy characters, living somewhere near the west coast. Except for Ashleigh, her anxiety is out of control.

She does have one particular helper when she feels that “too anxious to go to bed” feeling – her sweet Bassett but, Roxie. Roxie has 2 types of fur – long outer coat that is impossible to control, and of course her undercoat. It is the biggest pain for Ashleigh, because though she liked her spaces clean, Roxie inadvertently deposits the plentiful fibers of her undercoat everywhere. Short and stubby, they float through the air, attaching to ceiling fans, collecting under furniture, and making a mockery of her black jeans, sweater, shirt….

Poor Roxie can’t help herself, so she nuzzles close to Ashleigh’s ankles, feeling her electric emotions. She doesn’t know why she feels this way tonight only that it is there. The panic lays in her chest like a boulder….a boulder that is rocking back and forth, threatening to tumble at any time.

Ashleigh sighs, rather high pitched, and Roxie snuggles closer. Ashleigh does the only think she can do. She keeps her mind and arms busy. Delicately grabbing the grooming kit, she removes the shiny silver comb, an implement she knows all too well. She begins tut o stroke Roxie’s back, as the comb creates exaggerated lines in the fur, and balls and balls of fluff.

“Where can all of this be hiding?” Ashleigh contemplates.

The Thought that Goes Bump In the Night

It was one of those dreams, the kind that linger all day, and begs you to address it. I had one of them a few months ago and it was the weirdest dream about a hurricane. I knew I had a tough year coming  up, but despite my dream research online, I was sure that I was wrong. This year will be great, despite my battle with depression. This silly hurricane in the dream was a wisp of wind, a short traveler that would only be passing through. In the dream, I was trying to get to higher ground, to get away from the fray.

This morning I woke with the same type of troubling dream, one that my psyche would not let go. In my dream, I was at my grandma’s funeral, a shell of an event with a sense of masked faces. There were hundreds of them, though I knew only a few. I was comforted by their presence and sensed the support and comfort emanating from their coming and going. Even though I don’t recall what they said, I felt loved. I was not alone. In the dream, I had strong sense of having boyfriend, and I saw people from my long ago high school past. My immediate family was there.

The reality is that I believe in the power of the mind to process, warn, and help me navigate my world. Not every single dream means something, but these types of dreams have held a reality to me that have helped me guide my emotions. So this morning, I wonder if the hurricane is over, and what type of support I will be need. Both dream archetypes are that of change. Although I am restless, my direction is one of which I am unsure. Hopefully the storm will bring a happy change, and the sun will shine as my friends and family support me in the change. I wonder what I want to process, but can’t in my waking hours.