One Week into September

Momentum is gone
Swing back into poetry
Hard after silence

Hello September! The month started out well. I spent Sunday chatting with #poetparty on Twitter, and I’ve started writing for the #haikuchallenge again – not quite daily, but I’m working on it. I’ve been finding it difficult trying to pick up the momentum after not writing too much in August.

Poets.org has a poetry contest on teaching opening in October. Check out the guidelines here.

 

 

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Last High School Registration Walk Through

It’s finally here, the last time we will have to go to Gretchen’s school for walk through registration is tomorrow. So this morning I filled out all the paperwork in an attempt to get through the process more quickly. Rachael has been officially added as a pick up person; mom no longer has to go with her if she needs to pick Gretchen up during school hours. 😀 She could have been added last year, but I was in Germany during walk through and apparently Dad was a deer in the headlights. Gretchen is happy Mom is available to go this year.  Mom isn’t these things are a mad house.

Survived Walk Through Registration

Fill out paperwork
Go over everything
Last year of high school

And speaking of madness, I’m currently filling out high school paperwork times two. Because Gretchen needs her health requirement to graduate and it’s incorporated into Agua Fria’s PE class Gretchen cannot take; she needs to take the health portion online. I thought this meant through her school, but no she has to registration as a concurrent student with an online high school for one half credit course! Hopefully once the school year starts, Mom will get some peace again. I have fallen off of weekly updates for the poet blog revival. While we’re on the subject of poetry – Fellowship applications for writers to teach at the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference at the Virginia G. Piper Center at ASU are due Monday July 30th. I know the poetry community in Phoenix would love to see some poetry workshops at the conference. Sorry for the short notice, but I have a link to the website.

Reading, Reading and Even More

Reading. 😉 Yes, it’s that time of year again. I’m doing remote reading and scoring tests. I have officially made up Rachael’s lost grant money with the hours I put in by the end of shift today. The rest of my time scoring this season is nice cushioning.

Since I’ve been reading, I haven’t really spent much time on poetry. But most years I’ve used May as a destress from writing 30 poems in thirty days in April. On the school front, Gretchen got an A in Eng 102 and Rachael got an A+ in OChem 2; she’s signed up for 20 credits this coming Fall semester. Gretchen took her AP US History test today; next Wednesday is her AP English test. The day before Rachael will be interviewing over at ASU to help out the veterinarian (one of the job opportunities I stopped waiting to hear on before I bought airplane tickets). Rachael is also signed up to take the GRE in August before the fall semester begins.

Tomorrow is the #Urbanwinewalk in downtown Phoenix, hopefully Shawn and I will be able to spend some time over there. And of course Sunday is Mother’s Day and then Monday is back to work. Gretchen has only two weeks left for high school. Then Tuesday May 29 her ACE summer courses start – Public Speaking and Sociology!

#NaPoWriMo 2018 Day Twenty-five

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My children know I’m crazy

Beware sleep deprived
mom who will walk into walls
may trip over cats

Do not approach her
without sufficient coffee
may misinterpret

Do not approach her
if she holds a sharp object
may take fork to foot            😉

NaPoWriMo Prompt – And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). Today, we challenge you to write a poem that takes the form of a warning label . . . for yourself! (Mine definitely includes the statement: “Do Not Feed More Than Four Cookies Per Hour.”
Happy writing!

Good morning and welcome to another installment of #NaPoWriMo a day late. This morning I already accomplished buying airline tickets. 😀 WooHoo! All four of us will be shuffling off to Buffalo at the end of June. Gretchen’s last day of summer classes is June 28th but I’ve been waiting to hear about Rachael’s summer schedule – which is still up in the air. Whatever she ends up doing, she will just need the 4th of July week off, because she’s going on vacation.

I did start working on this prompt yesterday, but then Rachael made pancakes for breakfast; Shawn went grocery shopping (I had to put food away); and Gretchen found out her ACT score – 24. I told her it is a very good score, but she was all moody because it isn’t a great score and she felt like she did really well when she took the test. Her SAT is 1160 and everything I looked up yesterday said 24 ACT is comparable to 1180 SAT. I told her at least you are consistent. Still did not help. I looked up ASU stats; she doesn’t want to go far from home. Their website said any ACT score 22 and above is accepted. They will take as low as a 19. She is good, improving her score will help with more scholarship money but she doesn’t have to worry about being accepted especially if she keeps up her GPA. Still none of this improved her mood yesterday.

This morning there is no sleep deprived mom to deal with because I slept in – first day of teacher walkout. The high school campus is open for half the day, they’re dismissing students at 10:15, but do to the low number of teachers expected to show up; they are having a big tutoring, extra help session. Gretchen’s last day of Eng 102 is May 5th and she has a paper to write for that class and figured it would be good to stay home and work on it without being penalized with an absence. This afternoon after I’m done working, it’s back to the orthodontist to pick up her new retainer. And at some point I hope to get to today’s poetry prompt.

#NaPoWriMo 2018 Day Twenty-one

Gaze at reflection
too enamored by beauty
vanity takes hold

NaPoWriMo Prompt And now for our (optional) prompt. In her interview, Brim provides us with several suggestions for generative writing exercises, and we’d like to challenge to today to tackle her third one, which is based in the myth of Narcissus. After reading the myth, try writing a poem that plays with the myth in some way. For example, you could imagine that imagine the water is speaking to you, the narcissus flower. Or you could write a poem in which the narcissus berates the Kardashians for stealing their neurosis. Or a poem that comments on the narcissism of our time, i.e. beauty and body obsession, etc.

Good morning! And welcome to day twenty-one of #NaPoWriMo where we are suppose to write about narcissism and I’m a little sleepy as I stayed up to finish watching Lost in Space last night. As I was mulling over where to take my poem I headed over to twitter to see what the #haikuchallenge word today is and it’s hold. Ahhh… shouldn’t be too difficult to turn a haiku with hold into a vanity senryu and there you have it. Yesterday the word was retort and I posted a clever retort to go with my #redfored poem until I realized my syllable count was off – oops.

Schools rank near bottom
Governor offers pay raise
Teachers retort – strike

There it is fixed because I had with strike for my original tweet. Here is an article on CNN about the Arizona teacher walk out. I got an email from the high school district informing us schools will begin early dismissals on Thursday. We will get a follow up email on the 25th with greater detail, but if too many teachers walk out, they may close campuses completely. And all this on Gretchen’s “April break” she didn’t really have because her AP History teacher wanted all the students taking the AP test in May to come in for a practice test. Shawn drove her to school because no school meant no bussing. And he asked, Are you and Rachael going to pick her up? Well I know Rachael is no school also meant she could leave campus at any time without a parent signature, but she may need a pick up when I’m working. Sure enough the practice test ended while I was working, but Rachael had no problem picking her up by herself.

#NaPoWriMo 2018 Day Twenty

#RedforEd

Teachers
Walk out
Demand better future
Students deserve higher quality
Education

NaPoWriMo Prompt – Our prompt for the day (optional as always) takes its cue from Notley’s rebelliousness, and asks you to write a poem that involves rebellion in some way. The speaker or subject of the poem could defy a rule or stricture that’s been placed on them, or the poem could begin by obeying a rule and then proceed to break it (for example, a poem that starts out in iambic pentameter, and then breaks into sprawling, unmetered lines). Or if you tend to write funny poems, you could rebel against yourself, and write something serious (or vice versa). Whatever approach you take, your poem hopefully will open a path beyond the standard, hum-drum ruts that every poet sometimes falls into.
Happy writing!

Good morning and welcome to day twenty of #NaPoWriMo two-thirds complete today. And guess what, last night teachers in Arizona voted to walk out; they’re not allowed to strike, but it is pretty much the same thing. The walk out will start on Thursday the 26th, giving the governor a chance to respond. Ducey did promise teachers a 20% pay raise by the 2020 school year. When other people looked at his math they said it wasn’t feasible and even though the governor said he would increase teacher pay without moving or decreasing school support money (support staff, building, bussing, etc) teachers and other school officials have no idea if he’ll hold true to that statement. The teachers know they can’t do their job well without support staff, quality buildings, busses and educational materials. The last month of this school year maybe interesting.

Weekend Happenings

Friday was the big day for Gretchen, she was off to see Hamilton with her school. We saw Wicked at Gammage auditorium a few years ago; I don’t remember the playbill being called gammbill. (Okay it was March 10, 2012) more than a few years ago. Gretchen loved her second Broadway musical at Gammage. Mom was a little jealous but not overly when I saw the balcony seating. We had balcony tickets for Wicked and the height really got to me. Then Saturday Gretchen went to a friend’s birthday party, they sat together at the play, so I asked her if everyone was talking about Hamilton at the party. She said yeah, and we were all talking about it in class, too. This one confused me because the play was Friday and they left at 7:30am and didn’t get back to school until 6pm. I totally forgot about her Saturday morning Eng 102 – doh! So Hamilton inspired haiku 😉

Burr Hamilton duel
honor called into question
count ten, turn and solve

Bus ride to Gammage
Spend day watching Hamilton
Bring Mom back play bill

Hamilton, a fool
not throwing away his shot
was killed in the end

The one below is a kimo. You can read about the form at Writer’s Digest.

Two men stand back to back, pistols ready
when honor is in question
after ten, turn to solve

Then on Sunday, Rachael was back to work. She did get over to the medical clinic on campus and was officially diagnosed with the flu, but there wasn’t any other problems so she was told ibuprofen and rest. She actually stayed home on Wednesday and she and I watched the second half of season one of Star Trek Discovery. I’ll make my children into full fledged trekkies come hell or high water. When Rachael came home from work, she had term papers to write. The one thing about being sick for more than a week, very little homework was done. And of course, after she wrote Mom gets to proofread. Oy vey! One of the dullest papers I have read yet. Then we went to see Black Panther so my weekly blog update for the poet blog revival is a day late.

On the positive side, I think all the cleaning I’ve been doing paid off. Rachael got sick over a week ago and no one else in the house has shown any symptoms. And last week I had two haiku published outside of my own website and twitter.

Peter Pan Envy

This is the first article I wrote that was accepted on ritro.com. Note – At Rachael’s first parent/teacher conference, her kindergarten teacher said for the first two weeks of school your daughter would only answer to Peter Pan. LOL! Mom saw nothing wrong with this. Last night Rachael told me their prom theme this year is Neverland. 😉 It couldn’t be more appropriate.

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Rachael Cap & Gown Duke Photography

Have you ever suffered from Peter Pan envy? There are times in our lives when it is a lot easier to say, “I don’t want to grow up”, than it is to face change. Who doesn’t, from time to time, reminisce about their childhood and the adventure your life would take?

It seems as if life is simpler to a child. All one needs is faith, trust, and of course pixie dust and anything is possible. Your wildest dreams can take flight. But as one grows up, faith begins to wobble; trust is hard won; and let’s face it who really believes in fairies? It’s impossible to fly!

Once you stop and think about it, however, Peter Pan envy is a healthy way to deal with change and growing old. I know what you are saying, “What? Is she crazy!” But think back to when you were a child and think about all the dreams you had for when you grew up. Now, what happened to those dreams?

Most of us upon reaching adulthood put our childhood dreams aside. Reality takes a huge bite out of our imagination and as our innocence fades with age so do our dreams. All I’m saying is don’t let this happen, because dreams are what make us who we are. Once we put our childhood dreams aside, our lives become uninspiring. If there is no inspiration to guide us down our path in life, how do we remain equipped to handle all of life’s obstacles?

This May, my daughter will be turning 5 years old. This is a big change in her life. Next year she will be starting kindergarten, or as she puts it, “Big kid’s school”. Luckily she still has the imagination of a child to help her handle this transition. Think back to when you started school; did it make you feel grown up, as if you were leaving childhood behind?

I tell my daughter quite often she needs to stop growing up, and she always laughs. “You can’t stop growing, Mommy. Everyone does” is her reply. Okay, you can’t stop growing unlike Peter Pan. But why is it we believe once we’re grown up we have to give up on our dreams?

Are you thinking about how you felt upon starting school? Now think about the aspirations you had for yourself then. Have you accomplished any of them? If not, maybe it is time you took a lesson from Peter Pan. It is a good way to help conquer your fears. Children believe they can do anything. They don’t have any fear of consequences holding them back.

May is an excellent month to change your life. Spring is in the air. Flowers are blooming, and all around us the earth is renewing itself. There is no better time then the present to change your life. Remember your childhood dreams and make them a reality. Forget about the consequences and do what your heart tells you. Nothing can hold you back if you believe in yourself.

Think like Peter Pan and fly!

Academic Letter

I feel cheated. My daughter got a letter last night for academic achievement. When I was in high school, letters were only for the athletes. I was one of the top 20 students in my high school class. Yes, top 20 out of over 300 students in the class. What did I get? Paper certificates and my picture taken and displayed at the Erie County Fair. I want a letter, now. Since I was born with cerebral palsy there was no way I was going to earn a varsity letter. And I thought playing sports was the only way to earn a letter. Back 25 years ago, I think it was. Does anyone my age have an academic letter?

At any rate, I used my daughter’s accomplishment to write a couple #haikuchallenge on twitter. The first when we got the invitation for the assembly.

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Invitation

 

celebrate great grades
academic achievement
offers no trophy

 

It obviously showed what little I know about academic awards these days, because she came home with this last night.

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Gold medal 4.0 GPA and Academic Letter

 

No athletic skill
Impossible to believe
Daughter earns letter

I have to say I’m also very proud of my oldest daughter who has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school without earning any letter. Gretchen did not understand the fuss because we never went to an academic award ceremony for Rachael. I told her it’s because of the school Rachael attends takes great grades as a given and does not celebrate them. She will be receiving a special diploma in May to honor her four years of hard work. I guess that’s something.

AzMerit Score

For months they’ve been telling us to be prepared for bad test scores on the first common core tests students took here in Arizona last spring. Okay so I won’t be disappointed if my girls’ scores are within the average for the test. Well today Gretchen’s results finally arrived.

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Highly proficient in English

Switch to common core
AzMerit test scores came
Jaw dropping, great grade

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Proficient in math

 

Yes, this mother is having a #proudparent moment especially on the English score: two +s (reading for information & reading for literature) and a check mark (at grade level) on the writing portion. Way to Go, Gretchen! Now if I could see Rachael’s scores…