SOL March 7th On Hold

I notice that I have a few things on hold. Grades are due at the end of the week and while I know that I need to get busy, I’m still dragging my feet. The task is not on hold but my motivation obviously is.

There’s a monthly social justice newsletter I publish that is usually out by now. I guess it’s on hold, too.

Conference session proposal due dates, catch-up zoom calls with friends, the prospect of a vacation with no commitments… all things that I hope or plan to do, temporarily put on hold.

On hold until I can catch my breath, recover my sense of equilibrium. Actually settle.

Some things can and will have to wait. Other items will require action sooner rather than later.

Something can be on hold and build up our anticipation – a long awaited library book, for instance. That’s possible.

Putting, placing, accepting a few things on hold – that’s just where I am right now. And there’s a hopeful anticipation for the time when I can turn my attention to each task in turn and savor being present and to have made it well worth the wait.

SOL March 6th Homewords

homework, housework

homemaker, housekeeper

home is where the heart is

A house is not a home

homebody, housebound

home stay, house sit

homestead, household

home alone, house party

homeowner, house buyer

homeless, unhoused

homesick, house weary

home run, housecoat

in home, outhouse

at home, in house

home court, house call

SOL March 5th Service

The act of moving house requires a good deal

Of faith.

To move means relying on others. It means matching your schedule to accommodate someone else’s availability. It means waiting.

You may be first, you may be next, you might be last. It’s not necessarily your decision.

Service is a thing you will request, eventually receive and later evaluate.

Some, all, most or none of your needs will be met. You will respond accordingly.

Shout out to all the likable, friendly, cooperative service providers who make a whole thing possible as they contribute their parts.

Thanks to the nice technician who waited just a few more minutes to confirm that our internet connection worked.

Thanks to the movers who wrapped, hauled and unwrapped my furniture in a single day.

Thanks to the insurance employee who patiently helped me find the right coverage for overlapping residences.

Thanks to internet provider employee who filed a complaint on my behalf and got a technician to my place within two days, instead of two weeks.

Thanks to the realtor who still answers any questions I have about the new place in nearly a heartbeat.

There are always omissions. People you forget who did kind and necessary things to help you on your way.

The act of moving benefits from a good deal

Of gratitude.

SOL March 4th Soul Song

Mom, mom, you have to come listen to this! He called from the living room where everything is still provisional. I mean the furniture is in there but it looks like we’re having garage sale.

Mom, just listen to this. You need this. It’s for you.

He pulls up the link on his phone, lets it play. Soul piano chords catch my attention. I start bobbing my head, vibing to the lyrics.

"Feelin' good, like I should.
Feelin' blessed, never stressed..."

This is my song brought to me by the one who knows, the one who listens, the one who gets me. For a moment my mind is blown and so is any semblance of cover.

By now I’ve listened to this song at least 6 times. First thing this morning, then in each of my classes, once for my colleague. I’m celebrating.

I have grounds for celebration.

Enjoy this gift:

SOL March 3rd More Fun

Today’s thought: these kids have no idea how much fun I can be.

Toss and catch with a partner, I said. For a change, I got in on the action. I worked with Teddy, then Malcolm, Dom, then Lydia. I worked by playing. I played catch with each of them. Sometimes I missed. I tossed high, I tossed low.

Dom told me, I don’t know how to catch.

That’s awesome! I said. Do you want to know why?

He smiled and nodded yes.

Because I’m a teacher. This is what I do. I can help you learn how to catch!

What I learned is that Dom actually knows how to catch. To each of his successful catches I did a little victory dance. That seemed to put him into more of a catching mood.

With Malcolm my task was to keep him on his toes, changing it up, tossing fast then slow, then to the side. He wasn’t too psyched to be my partner at first but I quickly won him over.

Winning kids over, getting them into a catching mood, is actually what I signed up for. But do my students know that? Probably not nearly enough.

SOL March 2nd, 2021 Moving Day

We forget sometimes that furniture 
positioned to hold, contain, support 
and our precious things
 can be taken apart
   broken down 
    into pieces,
all elements minus coherence.

Furnish is another word for provide.

The movers know how to work with leverage and
At the end of the day I suppose 
their backs probably still ache.
I hear them converse in languages of 
Eastern Europe
but I am not close enough to discern
whose mother spoke which tongue.

Furniture removed
exposes dust and space
the things we eventually become.

It's nearly time to repeat this exercise 
in reverse.
Filling space
reassembling pieces
in a new place.

SOL 2021 Take 1

11 months since I last wrote here. That says everything and nothing.

I came home this afternoon and informed my teen: If we’re going skating, we need to go in a few minutes. He looked up from his tiny screen placed just a few centimeters beyond his plate full of crumbs. He was finishing off a piece of toast. Swear to god my child lives off toast, butter and baloney.

Let’s not go, he said. We’re moving and…

There’s just this week and next week and then it’s done, I said.

I know, but …

I can tell he’s weighing the pros and cons. And I’m doing the same. I could easily bag it, and say, let’s focus on moving but part of me still wants to go skating anyway. Just to say we did it, we were out, we took a mental break from moving.

I’m ready to give in, to stay home and hunker down with more logistical tasks. We’re up, milling around in the entrance thinking maybe no, but maybe yes.

I’ll go move the car. I’m parked illegally. I’ll just go move the car.

Alright let’s go.

Really? You want to go? Ok, then, let’s go.

We grab our jackets and the bag of skates and helmets and mittens and gloves and left. Final check of the pockets for the correct assortment of keys and IDs, we head downstairs, jump in the car. We’re on our way. We park and walk towards the U-Bahn. He starts to chatter. He’s full of questions and commentary and also wants to hold my hand. We haven’t seen each other all day. We arrive on the platform just before the next train is ready to leave. It’s about a 10 minute ride to the rink. Once we’re seated and settled, my teen goes quiet. Five stops in I look over and notice his eyelids becoming very heavy. He’s falling asleep!

I can hardly remember the last time I was able to witness my young boy nodding off. Today was my chance.

Of course he only had the benefit of a few short winks and then it was time to get out. For a moment I could forget all about moving and instead savor the joy of being moved.

SOL March 31st The Year of March

I’m leaning heavily towards avoidance on this, the final day of the Slice of Life Challenge. Why is that?

Could it be that I’m not quite ready for it all to end?

That I’m not quite ready to let go of this wonderful haven of support and camaraderie from one day to the next.

Just now when it feels like I’ve got my writing stamina back. I mean, I’ve been writing every day for a month now.  And I commented on at least 4 blogs every day. No kidding!

I completed the challenge, although it feels like the real challenge is just beginning.

Let me see if a poem can close this out.

The Year of March

That time when March was a whole year…remember

“the lost semester” we called it.

I was there and you were too.

Everyone at a distance

although we were slow to learn.

The year that was March

31 days that seemed to go on without end

when we wrote like there was no tomorrow.

Remember, then, how we recovered

how long it took until we found not the way back

but chose a different path

One that held space for everyone who needed it

A path that afforded more humanity and care

than we had seen in centuries.

That was us, you remember.

We did that.






SOL March 30th Twitter Hiatus

With the words “I have no more clicks to give…” I took my leave from Twitter. For two days, now going on three.  I needed a break and I think the shift to distance learning sent me to a new saturation point. When my work day consists almost exclusively of type, click, swipe, download and upload, I found the swirl of Twitter in addition to be too much to bear.

That’s saying a lot. I love Twitter and owe so much to the communities I’ve joined and helped sustain. There are folks on Twitter who have become like family. I care deeply about them and they about me. So taking a few days away, while necessary has also made me wonder about how I want to shape my future engagement. It’s time for me to step back and think carefully about my purpose on the platform.

Twitter has been a huge source of intellectual nourishment. It’s where I decided to call myself a writer, publish a book, start a publication. Twitter is where I’ve connected with people who have introduced me to incredibly rich opportunities to lead, teach, contribute, share. Without Twitter, my online life grows much quieter. Which seems to be what I need right now.

As for the weekend without- I felt freshly focused, able to sustain my attention a bit better. There’s a book I need to finish reading by Tuesday and I will make it easily.  I felt more at ease with my family – not trying to cram in some witty response or skim this hot take by a friend throughout the day. Twitter encourages us to spread our attention thinly over multiple topics. Even if I pause to read a whole article and share it out with a comment or even a thread, I tend to do so with a couple of other topics in my mental queue.

At any rate, I’ve shown myself what’s possible. I stayed away for a hot minute and the world did not come to a screeching halt. Twitter will keep turning whether I show up or not. At the same time, my engagement is not only about me, it is very much about other people. If I step away, how will I convey care and concern for those who are dear to me? Where can folks who may want to turn to me for support or to submit a piece of writing reach me?  These are questions I need to consider as well. I don’t think I’m done with Twitter but I will be seeking ways to scale back my participation over the next few weeks.

Sounds a little scary but that may also be the indication of its necessity. We’ll see how it goes.


SOL March 29th SeeSaw Performance Art

I can see what appears to be a round knee peeking through torn sweatpants. The device is being adjusted. I see the ceiling briefly then cut back quickly to more than just a knee, but a crouched body and very big face. She’s looking at me? Looking for me? I can’t tell. She backs up a little and produces a leaf that might be out of plastic or a thin metal. It looks rather delicate, like it might belong to a dangling earring or Christmas tree ornament. She holds it up to the camera, pinched between her thumb and forefinger. As if preparing to demonstrate a magic trick, she shows both sides, turning it in an intense close-up for me to study.

She stands and walks away from the camera, turns to face it again and then tosses the leaf in the direction of the viewer. The leaf flutters past the screen. From the chair next to where she performed the toss she takes a different object. This time it’s a small stuffed animal, a frog. I know because she brings it back to the camera, jamming it into the viewer’s face for inspection. Again she turns and walks back to toss the frog towards the device. The ritual continues for 4 or 5 more objects. She doesn’t say a word but the scene is rich in communicative detail. This show is for my benefit. She is tossing at a target as I have asked her to practice. She has also, in her own way, put a startling piece of performance art into the world that I will not soon forget.