Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I'm a word nerd.  It's true.  I LOVE words.  In fact, one of the first things I do every year with my students is share Maya Angelou's wonderful poem "I Love the Look of Words" and talk about words we all love or wonder about.  We make a special section in the classroom where we collect words throughout the year - words that make us stop and pay attention, or words that sound funny or interesting, or words that we simply like (I love the word "sasparilla," no reason, I just do).  And pretty early on all of my students learn that whenever we work on vocabulary we are going to also look at what the word means, at its part and try to figure out why it means what we accept it to mean. 

So, what does this have to do with my title - with "renovate"?  This weekend my husband and I started renovating our kitchen. It's our 30th anniversary and 50th birthday presents to each other. In all honesty my husband will do the majority of the work, but I will help when he lets me (I'm not nearly the perfectionist he is!).  Being the scary nerd I am, I had to check on its meaning.  Here is what I found:

re (again - already knew that one, I use it all the time with "revise" - to look again!)
nov - Latin, new
ate - suffix used to make verbs

So renovate means to make new again.  Duh.  I knew that.  And I know that what we are doing is making something new.  We are finally getting rid of the AWFUL linoleum and countertops we have hated since we moved in.  We are giving the walls a new coat of paint.  And we are bringing new energy and enthusaism to the space.

This is what summer means for me, too.  Renovate.  I come back to school after 10 weeks or so "made new," ready to try new things, to look differently at things that have been the same for too long.  We always say we need to rejuvenate (to make young again)...but what we really need is to renovate.  I'm going to give it a try....along with trying to figure out how to use the nail gun!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Friday...how did this happen?
Just yesterday
Tuesday was breathing down my neck,
insisting I write...something.
My brain
My fingers
I waited
it was
Oh my!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Tonight I'm thinking about memories....and what they hold...and what they don't.  My dad was with me this evening.  He has dementia and doesn't have many memories all of the time.  That bothers my sisters and my mom alot, but for some reason it doesn't get to me.  Maybe it's because most of my memories are bad...violent...painful.  I don't know. It just doesn't bother me.

As we were walking tonight I asked Dad if he remembered the weeping willow tree we had in our backyard when I was growing up. (It was huge.  We kept our picnic table and lawn chairs under it.  It was the best  place to be on the hottest summer day).  He laughed.  Sketched the tree in the air with his hands (he doesn't have many verbal skills most of the time) and then I reminded him of the night he and my uncle stayed under it all night drinking beer & tomato juice (poor man's bloody marys) and reminiscing.  He laughed.  His eyes lit up.  He remembered.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this but I know this:  Memories never really leave us.  They are always there, waiting for the word or picture that brings them back to the front.  I like helping my dad remember those good ones.  I'm glad he's forgotten the bad ones.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


My brain is tired tonight.  This heat...I wasn't ready for it.  But, then I found myself thinking about it, so here is my very lame poem...the best I have tonight :)

     pounding, searing,
     shivering, freezing,
     giggling, playing

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's Okay!

It's summer!  Two official days out of school and I've finished my first "summer read."  Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson is my kind of book: set in England, a sweet love story, but with a twist - this one dealing with prejudice.  I was captivated and renewed as I read this book.  It was a relief, a break, a treat.

It reminded me again of what I really do know: I am not a writer!  I am a reader who loves good writing and who every once in a while tries to imitate something that touches her.  Just before the end of Major Pettigrew I read this line, " ... there was only the pause of quiet reflection pooling between them like sunlight on carpet."  I had to stop.  Let this sink in.  Be thankful for being able to read something like this.  It is simply beautiful.

My husband wants me to be a writer.  I did write him a short story for his birthday.  It's okay.  He loves it, that's all that really matters.  But lines like "quiet reflection pooling between them" don't come into my head.  And I don't think you can "learn" how to do this.  It's there, or it's not.  And that's okay.  I collect lines like these like some small boys collect bugs.  I mount them on pieces of paper and display them in places I can see them.  I treasure them.  Savor them.  Love them.  Show them to my students and encourage them to see if lines like these live in their heads.

And that is enough for me.