Writing Spaces, inspired by Bonnie Kaplan

My usual space to write is in the far corner of the dining room on my roomy leather chair.  The chair is old, worn, and cat scratched. The fireplace hearth is my coffee table where I rest my coffee mug. My lap is my desk. A view of the kitchen and whoever may be in it at the time is in front of me. The deck and the woodsy backyard are to my right and the fireplace, often on in the winter months is to my left. I can see almost all of the happenings of the household from this spot. At the same time I feel a sense of privacy because I am nestled in one, far corner of the dining room. I feel like I am in the center of the action yet removed from it.


A Bug and a Wish Gone Wrong

Our school has adopted Positive Discipline this year. I taught my first graders how to do a bug and a wish. They colored and cut out bugs and wishes and glued them onto popsicle sticks. When they have a problem with a classmate they say “It bugs me when you (fill in the blank). I wish you would (fill in the blank)”. Lately the girls have been requesting bugs and wishes after every recess and it seems to take forever. I have them do it in the hallway outside our classroom so they don’t interrupt the rest of the class. They are generally quite adept at giving and listening to bugs and wishes. A small part of me suspects the girls are doing it to get a little special free time in the hallway. Despite the temptation to deny their request I just say, “sure, but be quick please.”

Today Maggie asked to do a bug and a wish with Adele after lunch recess. “Sure, but be quick please.” I said while groaning on the inside. Read Aloud is after recess. I was well into Mercy Watson Princess in Disguise when I heard crying coming from the hallway. “Rats!” I thought. I totally forgot they were still out there. My high school cadet went into the hallway after the girls. Two came back to class immediately and sat down demurely. The third came back with red eyes and sniffles. I traded places with Miss Maria, the high school student. Individually I took the girls into the hallway to ask about the problem. Adele explained, “Maggie, was just putting too much pressure on me.” Huh? Am I talking to a six year old or a sixteen year old? Then I  Maggie into the hallway. “Why was Adele crying? What was your bug and a wish about?” “She was name calling me. She called me Bionic.” She said, appalled. “Do you know what bionic means? Do you think maybe Adele thought you were playing?” I said. “Bionic means strong and with a computer in your body.” Hmm…she does know what it means. “And we weren’t playing. It was at lunch.” This wasn’t going to be easy.

I called the girls together later that afternoon. “Girls, I understand that Maggie called you bionic and that at Collins we have a rule about calling names.” “Is it possible that you both had good intentions and there was just some miscommunication and misinterpretation going on here.” Maggie said with a puzzled look on her face, “Wait, what does that mean?” “Oh, I think that you both are very kind and wouldn’t want to hurt anyone elses feelings. Can you just shake on it?” I said out of desperation. I just wasn’t sure what else to say and really wanted this to end. It really felt like more drama than I had the patience for. While Bug and a Wish is a great way for children to have their feelings validated and for kids to learn to handle their own problems, I felt like the problem solving had gotten out of hand.


Spontaneity is something regained when children are old enough to not care,

When friends are comfortable,

When putting the planned dinner in the fridge sounds like a better idea,

When friends’ company is long overdue.

My Nightstand

  1. Maxson’s senior picture
  2. Lavender pillow spray (a gift from a student)
  3. Hairband
  4. Phone
  5. Highlighter marker
  6. Abovetheinfluence.com rubber wristband
  7. Maxson’s Eagle Court of Honor program
  8. Several parenting books from Alfie Kohn to Letting Go A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the College Years
  9. Bel Canto by Ann Pachett (I’ve tried so hard to read this book several times)
  10. Baby diaries for each of my boys (now 18 and 20)
  11. DVD of Footloose, the Musical that Tanner was in his Freshman year of high school
  12. Cucumber and Sea Petals aromatherapy candle
  13. Remote for the room lights.

I focus on my Breath


I set my intention for strength,

I focus on my breath.

Ujjayi breath.

It cleanses,



gives me strength.

We breathe in together, out together.

Our collective breath gives me the engery

to do what I otherwise would not have the courage, strength, spirit to do.



Too much.

Stayed late at school to make the room look ready

Nothing like walking into a ready to go room in the morning.

Waiting at home for the freezing rain to hit,

Waiting for Dan to return from Toronto.

“Made it to Port Huron and the temp is 55.”

LIght rain and 34 here and falling fast.

Waiting for Maxson to arrive home after class downtown.

“Careful driving home. Might be freezing rain.”

Waiting for Tanner’s reply to, “How’s Cali tonight?”


Too much.




Queen of the Games

Racko, Mom’s favorite.

(just to annoy the kids, actually)

Parcheesi, Maxson’s gift from Grandma and Grandpa upon returning from their sabbatical in India

Rummikub, Scrabble (regular or speed), .


Tanner challenges me to chess for the sheer pleasure of beating me.


Bunco with the church ladies.

Multi-generational Euchre tournaments with the Harris family.

Cribbage. Pegging on the Dreuke game board or on the Ipad.

Sequence, Mancala, Hearts.

Canasta. A family tradition. Queen of them all.