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!

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Day 11 #sol18 THAT WAS FUN.

My 3.8 year old stabbed me tonight in the ribs with a plastic drum stick while I was putting him to bed.

Like, grabbed it with both hands and poked it like a sword in between my third and fourth ribs on my left side.


GIF from the film “Pet Sematary” 

How’s your night going?!?!

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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 9 #sol18 Road trip!

slice of lifeOne of the fun things about doing to Slice of Life challenge every March is seeing what stays the same and what changes from year to year. (I guess that’s a benefit to only Slicing in March?)

This means that every year, I blog about going to Vermont to my family’s annual reunion weekend (see 2016, 2017). Well, today is the day we leave!

So the Slice of my Life today is all about packing.

I must admit, I am a bit of a cliche when it comes to packing. I take waaaaaaay more than I really need.

I wanted Cher’s closet SO BADLY when I was in high school…. (Source)

But pre-child, packing was a thing I could do pretty quickly, if I needed to.

Well, not anymore! Now I pack for myself, plus my kid. (My husband packs for himself – I refuse to take that step.) This means I am not only packing my own clothes and shoes and toiletries, but everything we might need for K – clothes, pajamas, extra outfits in case he has an accident, pull-ups, toys, books, where are his mittens? oh no, did I grab his sound machine? Plus our dogs, their dog bed, their leashes, their food for the weekend. Plus all the gear for the activities we might do in Vermont: skiing, snowshoeing, sledding.

It’s a LOT of stuff.

Not our actual car, I swear.

J and I definitely had a mild spat about packing last night when we were both tired and cranky, but today we’re enjoying a leisurely morning as we finish up. By 11 o’clock we hope to be on the road and on our way up to Vermont for a fun-filled weekend of family insanity.

So, I guess I’d better finish this blog post so I can double- and triple-check that we have everything and get ready to go!


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 7 #sol18 Protest

Today, twelve minutes into my Period 1 class, students staged a walk-out.

The faculty and staff knew about it, so it wasn’t a surprise. More than half of my creative writing class stood, a synchronized dance of putting on coats and grabbing backpacks, walking out the door, down the hall, and exiting the main entrance. They met with at least a hundred other students, staff, and safety officers; they stood for seventeen minutes in honor of the seventeen victims of the Parkland school shooting. Some returned to class afterward, while many marched to nearby Union Square to meet with students from a neighboring school and make phone calls to politicians in favor of gun control legislation.

Suddenly, I  needed to come up with a new lesson plan for the few students remaining in my room. I told my student teacher Mr. Y that I would be right back and ran to our teacher resource center to grab a DVD (Brave New Voices, a perfect thing to watch at the outset of our poetry unit).

As I passed by the window, I looked out to see so many students and adults standing silently, peacefully, in support of their beliefs, and I was heartened. One of the most important things we can and should do in schools is to provide our students with the language and skills to express themselves, the knowledge of history and society to engage with political systems, and the empathy and courage to understand others and make the world a better place.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”

slice of life

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.
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