Day 12 #sol18 Favorites

Today is March 12, the twelfth day of the Slice of Life Challenge. My favorite number is twelve, so it feels particularly auspicious to write today about my favorite things. In honor of my favorite number, I am going to create a list of favorites (or at least, the top 5 for a bunch of different categories).

I don’t care what anyone says, I love this schmaltzy movie

I did this last year so it will be interesting to see what has changed and what has stayed the same.

Favorite Foods

  1. Chocolate
  2. Fruit
  3. Pizza
  4. Cheese
  5. Sushi

Favorite Books I’ve Read This School Year (since September 2017)

  1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Book 1 of The Broken Earth trilogy)
  2. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
  3. American War by Omar El Akkad
  4. Chemistry by Weike Wang
  5. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Favorite TV Shows

  1. Game of Thrones
  2. Westworld
  3. Stranger Things
  4. Black-ish
  5. Fresh off the Boat

Favorite Trips I’ve Taken (before having a kid)

  1. Iceland (August 2012)
  2. England (April 2011)
  3. Greece (June-July 2011)
  4. Israel (July 2009)
  5. Paris (July 2010)

Favorite Exercise-related Activities

  1. Hiking
  2. Mommastrong
  3. Yoga
  4. Running
  5. Swimming

Favorite Bands I’ve Seen in Concert

  1. Foo Fighters (at Fenway Park!)
  2. Dave Matthews Band
  3. The Avett Brothers
  4. John Butler Trio
  5. Sarah McLachlan

Favorite Books to Teach

  1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
  3. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  5. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurson

Favorite Movies I’ve Seen Recently

  1. Black Panther
  2. Get Out
  3. Children of Men (I teach this one in my Dystopia class and it’s really an underrated film)
  4. Moana
  5. All the new Star Wars movies

I suppose I could rank more things, but I guess that’s it for now. I’d love to hear about some of your favorites in the comments!

slice of life




Day 10 #sol18 Peace

I step outside and my lungs contract in the cold. Snow lightly falls around me; my breath into my neck warmer makes my glasses fog up.

I lace up my snowshoes as my sister and father, the only ones who wanted to join me this afternoon, do the same. When we are all ready, we climb over the snow bank and set off into the woods.

The sounds we make hang in the silence among the trees as we break a trail through the powdery, thigh-high snow: the swish of our snowshoes, the clink of our poles, the staccato echo of our breathing.

I can also hear other noises: the faint buzz of distant snowmobiles, the woody creak of the trees, the whistle of the wind.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Snowshoeing is one of my favorite winter activities; it is equally peaceful and rejuvenating to take a walk through the wintry woods. On days like this, I feel fully present and alive.

Day 8 #sol18 I would rather…

I would rather have slept in then wake at 5am like it was a normal work day.

I would rather have sat and drank coffee and stared at the beautiful snow-covered trees, instead of spending 20 minutes cleaning off my car.

I would rather be home reading my book instead of driving on icy, snow-covered roads.

I would rather have another school day in June than deal with half-full classes and lose a day of instruction.

I would rather be snuggling with my husband and child on the couch than showing movies to my students and other students whose teachers called in sick, but for whom there weren’t enough subs.

But our district didn’t call a snow day like 500 others schools in eastern Massachusetts did. So here we are.

Day 6 #sol Maybe miracles

Do you believe in miracles?

I don’t. I hate the saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” I reject the concept of soulmates. I personally don’t believe that there is some deity planning each event of our lives like we’re chess pieces.

Whenever something bad happens, or something good happens, my mother echoes empty platitudes. It drives me crazy. After the initial shock wore off of my 24 year old cousin’s death in a car accident a couple of weeks ago – driving too fast, late at night, around a poorly-lit traffic circle – my mom’s response was, “I guess it was his time.”

I call foul on that idea. It’s not like I’m rejecting her faith or something; both of my parents are non-practicing Jews, and I probably know more about our family’s religion than either of them do. And although I believe in some kind of higher power that shapes the universe and connects us all to one another, the idea of a puppeteer G-d doesn’t sit right with me. This past weekend, I listened to a Radiolab story about stochasticity, the concept of randomness. For whatever reason, I feel much more comfortable believing in the science of chance: knowing that life is ultimately random, the universe has no plans, and that bad things and good things happen to bad people and good people alike without some fatalistic purpose or moralistic judgments.

And yet.

Last night, my aunt called to tell me that my uncle, who was in the hospital with a brain bleed, had woken up. The doctors had said on Saturday that when he lost consciousness, it was likely going to be fatal for him. But it didn’t take his life; as if miraculously, he woke up. If not G-d, then who? What?

Then there was my high school economics teacher, who told us that he didn’t believe in love, just a bunch of neurons firing certain chemicals that he knew made him feel euphoria when he kissed his wife or hugged his kids. That didn’t seem right, either.

So I don’t know. The series of seemingly random choices and chances that led me to my husband at various points in our lives before we began dating; the steps of biology that all went right in just the right way to form our child and not another version of him; the opportunities to meet people that opened up one door or another for my education or my career… can I just chalk it all up to randomness?


Yesterday I taught “the real meaning” of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” to my creative writing class. We discussed the title, the plot of the poem, how most people favor its last three lines:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
This is a poem about regret after all, but today, in contemplating miracles, I’m re-reading it anew. Maybe it’s not about regret at all. Maybe it’s about choices, about the difference that is chosen for us when we take that first step. I’m not ready to believe everything is fate, but sometimes, it’s nice to think that there might be someone helping us navigate.
slice of life

Day 5 #sol18 A walk in the snow

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting  
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.

~ Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”

This morning, like every other workday morning, my alarm went off at 5 am so I could wake up and work out. This morning, unlike other mornings, I went downstairs and took my dogs for a walk.

A little backstory: I have two beloved Boston Terriers, Max (15.5 years old) and Bonnie (8.5 years old). For the past six months, we have been battling a series of eye infections in Max’s one good eye. Actually, it’s the only eye he has, as this same type of infection (a corneal ulcer) took his other eye almost two years ago. We didn’t know the warning signs then, but we do now, and we’re been on high alert ever since.

Since Thanksgiving, we have visited our vet and vet specialists numerous times, spent hours giving Max eye drops and other meds, and spent far too much money on emergency and routine vet care. But I digress —

So, daily walks instead of just letting the dogs in the backyard to do their business. In part, this is because of the current state of his ulcer – mild, not infected but not fully healed – and in part because of a felled tree branch in our backyard that our nearly-blind dog would otherwise walk right into.

I put on my boots and my coat, clipped the leashes to their collars, and opened the door.


In the dusky pre-dawn, snow falling everywhere, muffling the sounds of their dogs tags and the crunch of my boots, I felt like I could breathe. All of my recent stresses became suspended in the fresh, cold air, almost floating in opposition to the slowly drifting flakes.

Amazing, how a brief change in environment totally reset my mood. Just like that, I was ready to face my day.

slice of life

Day 4 #sol18 Transitions

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A number of people I love are going through transitions right now. They range from the exciting – 6 weeks pregnant, adding a second child to their family – to the traumatic – a 24-year-old cousin killed in a car accident, my 68-year-old uncle currently dying of brain cancer, another family member in the process of leaving her marriage of 38 years.

Even this season is transitional – the limbo space between winter and spring, the weather fluctuating between warm and cold, rain and sun and snow.

Nothing is static, I know. Last night K asked me why people’s fingernails keep growing; I explained how we’re always growing and changing. He asked if we could get a puppy that stays a puppy forever, instead of growing up and becoming an adult dog. I sighed and hugged him. We were lying in my bed together – although sometimes his desire to sleep with us is an annoyance, I know that this time will all too quickly be gone. Soon he’ll be in kindergarten; a few years from now he will want nothing to do with me, in those trying adolescent years. Eventually our relationship will become one of an adult child and his elderly mother. It’s all so ephemeral.

And today, in the grey light of midday, some transitions feel heavier than others.

slice of life

#sol17 Day 31: This is It

slice of lifeThis is it: the last day of this year’s Slice of Life challenge.

Over the last month, I’ve enjoyed reading and “meeting” other bloggers. I’ve enjoyed writing every day – some serious posts, some poems, some silly things, memes and (in this post) gifs. I’ve also enjoyed re-reading my old 2016 Slices.

Ferris Bueller said it best:

Participating in the Slice of Life challenge (for the second year) in a row has given me the chance not only to stop and look around – but even better, to stop and actually capture it. Writing is like a time capsule, a snapshot in words. This blog is like an album, a moment in time I can re-examine and see how much has changed from year to year. Next year, where March rolls around again, my son will be almost-four, in preschool; J may or may not be coaching baseball again; I will be finished with my policy fellowship and *fingers crossed* have published more of my poetry and nonfiction. Who knows what I’ll write about then?

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for hosting this writing community. Thank you, Dr. Parker, for encouraging me to blog last year. And thank you, memory, for actually remembering that this was a thing and committing to the challenge for Year 2.

That’s it, I guess. I’m grateful and tired. It’s snowing outside (boo!). I have a glass of wine and a book to read. The month is over.