Fond of fonts…

SOLC #18

I arrived at the elementary school I was training at 45 minutes early. The teacher’s classroom that the meeting is held in was there before I was, which is a bit unusual. She let me into her classroom with a warm and friendly hello.

Seeing that she was working on a bulletin board, I immediately said,”I am just going to quietly prepare for my session. I hope being here doesn’t bother you.” She was more than gracious.

After I had everything set up, I looked up to see her beautiful board. She was just putting the finishing touches on the lettering. “I love your handwriting,” I exclaimed. She heartily thanked me.

Although I have been in her classroom monthly since the start of the school year, I hadn’t really closely viewed all of her posters. As I surveyed the room today, I noted all the different fonts she has used on bulletin boards and signs.

A conversation ensued about our love of lettering, fonts and handwriting. We exchanged a couple of examples of how much this fetish of ours feeds our creative souls.

I knew she was a first year teacher, but I learned this is her second career. She told me about how much she loves teaching and how different it is from her previous job.

Soon it was time for my presentation and she had a meeting to attend. We extended pleasant wishes for a good day, and I couldn’t help but smile at the new connection I made with a friend shares a fondness of fonts.


Writing = Peace

SOLC #17

It was a great weekend!

Friday night – We started by attending a Dueling Pianos concert with a couple from Todd’s middle school.

Saturday – We enjoyed a slow morning which consisted of drinking coffee on the back porch in the warm sunshine and made plans for the day. Accomplishments: ballet practice, errands, chores and an hour long walk. The only bummer was that the UW Huskies lost against Oregon State.

Sunday – We relished another warm morning on the deck, went on a birding walk with Todd’s mom, practiced putting at the golf course and ate a delicious St. Patrick’s Day dinner.

Despite our lovely weekend, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by writing tonight, finalizing my plans for the vocabulary professional development I have in the morning and beginning to pack for 5th grade outdoor ed camp that I am chaperoning this week with Cali.

No creativity at the moment but no apologies. I need to take a deep breath through writing in order to celebrate, gather myself and end my wonderful weekend with the same type of positivity that I experienced the last two days.

Reflective journaling is a form of writing that is comforting and actually brings peace in anxious moments of life. Today, this is my needed slice of life.

Mission Accomplished

SOLC #16

After ballet practice, we had two errands. Time was of the essence, as other events awaited us this afternoon. First, the Dollar Store to get decorations for 5th grade outdoor ed. camp and St. Patrick’s Day. Second and lastly, Trader Joe’s to purchase food for both of these events.

It was particularly busy at TJ’s. Originally, I had the list, which is located on my phone and Cali was pushing the cart. Narrow aisles and the need to manuerve prompted Cali to request a switch of grocery story responsibilities. We were clipping along when she asked if she could get some lentil chips located on the very bottom of a shelf. Being that she has a host of food allergies, I am pretty lenient when it comes to her requests for items not on our grocery list. She bent down to grab a bag with the phone stylus we use to check our list off with in her hand. No sooner had the words come out of my mouth, “Be careful not to drop my stylus” – did she do just that. An immediate, “Oh no!” was emphatically uttered. “Where did it go?” she asked. Cali’s hand slid along the edge of the bottom shelf. She looked at me with panicked eyes, then knelt down and literally slipped her head into the bottom shelf. I bent down with her. As she searched with her hand, I anticipated that the stylus had slipped between the shelf bottom and edge into a space under the entire unit that where we would never be able to retrieve it. “I touched it! It’s right here but I can’t get it out!” This is when we went into full rescue mode. Forget the tiny aisles filled with people. I have no idea what a traffic jam we might have caused, but we didn’t even considerate it. I removed the plastic holder with the price tag and item description, then pulled on the metal edge. “I need something to lodge it out with,” she stated. I quickly grab the car keys. After pulling, pushing, sliding and prying for several minutes, she managed to pop the stylus out of the groove it was in along with a huge amount of dust bunnies. We smiled at each other with relief. Up we popped from the ground. With the stylus tucked away in the phone and everything on our grocery list (plus more), we headed to the check out stand.

Two gifts

SOLC #15

I arrived at a school district meeting a few minutes early. No one is the room so I made myself comfortable and decided to check email before team members arrived. Turns out the meeting was canceled. I responded to a few more messages and headed back to my office.

If you arrive after 8:30 at my agency, you will most likely have to part in the far parking lot. The back 40 we call it. That was the case this morning. Warmer than usual, I didn’t need my gloves or to zip up my coat. Once you cross the parking lot, there is a nice sidewalk. On the left hand side is the wall of red bricks, and on the right hand side is a nice landscaped section of several cherry blossom trees in a row on the way to the main doors. The branches are bare this time of year. As I walked in enjoying the warmth and the view, I noticed a small bird on a branch of the tree closest to me. I don’t know what kind of bird it was. If my mother-in-law or husband was there, they would easily be able to identify it. I married into a birding family, so I am learning to notice distinguishing characteristics f birds. It was small enough to fit in my hand, with grey feathers and a white spot on it’s chest. The tiny chirps didn’t catch my attention, it was it’s flight pattern. It flitted to the next tree in line, and I assumed it would fly off but it didn’t. It continued to flit to the next tree at the same time I arrived at the tree. It kept in step with me all the way to the last tree before the front door. How serendipitous that this precious, little creature was flying in the same direction as I walking and at the same pace. What a fairy tale moment- like Dorothy on the yellow brick road or Alice spotting the white rabbit. Finally it flew away into the distance, and I observed that the branches of the tree were not bare, but actually had tiny buds with soft, whitish interiors at the very tips.

Quiet enough to hear…

SOLC #14

Up early before both of the boys this morning. My normal order of operations was completely rearranged due to an early morning commute. I hopped out of bed, fully awake and immediately intent on preparing for the day as quietly as possible so as not to disturb the guys during their last sleeping moments.

What am I going to wear with my black and white striped shirt?

Remember to pack your make up by so you can get ready once you connect with Susan.

When can I get my contacts from the optometrist? Oh yes, I can get them on the way to ballet.

And, I could grab a new pair of tights for Cali right after that at Target.

Maybe I will see some of my colleagues from other school districts at today’s meeting. I bet I will see Lisa from North Mason.

Hmmmmm, I have never parked at the Kingston Marina lot. Maybe I should try to leave a few minutes before I planned to make sure I get a good spot.

These thoughts and more filled my mind as I showered, dressed and fixed my hair. It may have been quiet but inside my head, it was busy and loud.

After selecting my black pencil skirt and the trendy sandals that Madison gave me, I plopped myself on our white painted, white cushion up-cycled bench at the end our bed. This is my favorite DIY project that Todd and I have worked on so far. I was doubled over, with my chest entirely prone on my lap wrestling with the buckles of my sandals. I hope that my shirt doesn’t get wrinkled while I attach these darn straps!

Suddenly, the sound of Blaise’s rap music playing in the bathroom down the hall interrupted the plethora of random thoughts racing through my brain. Simultaneously, the whirring of the coffee grinder downstairs added to the sounds that jolted me from listening only to the voice in my head.

For a moment, my mind was calm and quiet enough to hear the morning sounds of the Beuke house.

For moment, I enjoyed the silence of my thoughts and listening to the combination of sounds surrounding me.

It was a brief moment though.

Freeze frame. This reminds me of a movie scene that I saw once.

Oh yeah, I want to wear that black and white flower necklace with this shirt. That will look classy. I hope it still has the extension link on it.

And… off I went moving as fast as the ideas traveling through my grey matter on the way downstairs and out the door.

Last Band-aid

SOLC #13

Beth Moore’s Storytelling vs. Band aids post was very thought provoking and telling. How did I miss the word – story – in the title of our month long challenge? I, literally, had to go back and look. Yup! The word story is definitely in all of the information regarding March’s SOLC.

As a first time slicer, it has been challenging to write daily. (And I am proud that I have done so! ) I have been true to the slice of life concept and written about moments or thoughts that occurred during my life each day, but not necessarily in a narrative format!

I appreciate that Beth said band-aids are ok, once in a while, but “the real challenge is to write a story every day”. Hmmmmm, I had to scratch my head and think about how I missed that important distinction.

Heck! I had to look up the definition of blogging when I was contemplating participating in SOLC! Blogging is a type of literature, admittedly that I normally don’t even read. I understood the definition to be online journaling. This is how I have been approaching the challenge.

Double heck!! I just lead a professional development training on modes of writing. Can you believe it?! I presented, discussed and worked with teachers on the components of narrative writing and how it differs from information/explanatory, opinion and argument.

Thanks Beth for clarifying and upping the challenge to be story writing every day. Signing off from my last band-aid…

Fit Bit Nation update

SOLC #12

Five days I wrote a poem about my new Fit Bit watch. I had a lot of questions then, and I am happy to report that I have more answers now. My updates and comments are seen in italics embedded within my original poem.

Keeping track of data for my first week

Why didn’t it record my stages of sleep?

If my watch in not on the right part of my wrist while I sleep, it won’t record. Getting enough sleep is difficult for me.

Steps and badges for reaching my goals

I have earned five step badges so far! Woot! Woot!

What other functions does this watch hold?

I found various health related articles s connected to the data my watch records. I also discovered some workout routines that I can do on the days I don’t run.

Notifications of emails and texts

Does this data make other folks fret?

Not sure about this one still, but there is a community option on my dashboard that I want to examine.

Rarely ever do I drink enough water

Based on my data collection, I realized I wasn’t drinking water until late morning. Now I start drinking earlier in the day and have drank 75 oz consistently for the last five days.

Why does my husband say he created a monster?

He actually laughs when I report my successes to him and appreciates that I love my birthday gift.

I still haven’t recorded the food that I eat

If I do, will my experience be more complete?

Yes, my experience will be more complete when I know how many calories I am taking in and expending through exercise, but I am ok with not starting that monitoring process yet. After SOLC!

I charge my watch daily while taking a shower.

How can I take 250 steps every hour?

While I have been increasing my steps, I haven’t reached this goal. Meeting days are harder than when I am training.

My Fit Bit Versa is a gift to explore

Can I figure out how to make it do more?

Happily, I am figuring out how to do more with my watch. Analyzing health data and is eye opening and motivating. I would have never purchased one on my own. Such a thoughtful and insightful gift from my husband, as it has become of way of ensuring that I am taking care of myself.

A parent’s wonder…

SOLC #10

First position

Second position

Fourth position

Fifth position





Any ballet dancers in the SOLC community? These are the positions and moves that my youngest daughter Cali is learning. She is new to art of ballet and has been dancing for four short months. Her enthusiasm is evident in her inability to sit or stand still as she is always practicing in the privacy of our home and in public. Most of her peers started before 10 years of age, which is how old Cali was when she began taking lessons. She understands that she will be in class with younger girls until she masters certain skills commensurate for her age group. A challenge that she is aggressively pursuing.

We go to the YMCA every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning for an hour. I watch her for the first 15 minutes, run around the track for a half hour and then return to her class to watch the last 15 minutes. I am in awe every time I observe her. She has made so much progress since November. There’s something about watching your kids do activities as a parent, isn’t there? Do you know the feeling and emotions I am referring to?

I had this wonder, when I nursed each of my three children in the wee hours of the morning, What activities and talents would we be driving you to, watching you, cheering you on and admiring some day? Each of them have chosen and achieved success in vastly different hobbies and passions than myself.

Aidan sings sacred and classical music in a select choir in college and has a propensity for learning multiple languages.

Madison tore up the field in soccer and bounded her way through gymnastics. Now she uses her eye for fashion in her online clothing business.

Calista, well you know that she is dancing now, but she also rides horses western style.

While I enjoy the fact that my children look like me, (Yes, my version of the mini-me syndrome.) I relish more in the fact that their talents are so wildly different than my own. It is one of the many magnificent privileges of being a parent – seeing your offspring come into their own. I am impressed with my children and the answers to my nursing wonders as their lives unfold before me!

Blended Families

SOLC #9 – A colleague of mine shared the gist of a podcast he listened to and thought I would like it and.. I do! Shout out to Clancy!

The etymology of the noun step, as in step-mom, originally meant mother of an orphan. At a time when divorce was not as common, step-parents were basically grief parents. Over the years the word evolved to mean relationships through marriage. The sweetest version Clancy heard and knew I would appreciate it is idea that a step-parent is a bonus parent.

Todd and I have been married for a year and a half. We brought three kids each into this marriage – a version of the Brady Bunch with a cat instead of a dog but no maid! Our kids range in age from 21-11. Because five out of our six children are teenagers/ young adults, and we have shared parenting plans, kiddos are coming and going from our home all the time. We love it! Even with schedules that we record and organize, on our large white board calendar in the kitchen, plans are ever changing. We have enough space, beds and food to accommodate our six plus more.

We are intentional about how we blend this family. It is our whole-hearted belief that all of our lives are enriched with the addition of siblings and parents. We plan whole group activities, as well as time alone with our own kids. Discipline is done by biological parents. I could go on with our parenting philosophy, but the bottom line is we celebrate and are so thankful for this family that we are creating. I love the concept of bonus – it describes the disposition we have in our family.

To all the bonus parents in the SOLC community – cheers to you and your precious families!