Sticking to the Plan

So, I’ve started to cook again, and by cook I mean, not follow recipes and hope for the best.

After reading Forks Over Knives last weekend, I am inspired to eat less meat. Ok, eat no meat. But so far, I’ve found myself visiting the grocery store every day, spending far too many hours chopping peppers and onions, and running back and forth to the oven to be sure dinner hasn’t burned.

Cooking isn’t my favorite activity. Last week, I’d pop into the butcher’s shop around 5 p.m., grab some chicken and a couple of potatoes, and then head home to bake and grill.  Boring but easy.

Now, my thinking about dinner starts way too early.  And I don’t follow recipes (that’s another post). To plan, prepare, and serve vegan dishes will be a monumental challenge. And I’ll probably fail at first. But at least I’m trying.

And that’s what I say about the poetry I’m working on. Some days, words flow and fit together like a cool puzzle. Other days, I want to close the door to my studio and go walk the dog. Which I do.

My tendency is to give up when I don’t have immediate success. But like running a half-marathon (or five!), there are no short cuts. Writing poetry and preparing vegan meals will take time, practice, and effort.

I’m in for the long haul.


Climbing the Mountains

My legs and hips are sore, but it’s a “good sore.” The kind of ache that comes after working hard and pushing myself.

I often feel it after gym boot camp, which I take three times a week at 6am. And I feel it now, after three fairly significant climbs we did on Skyline Drive this weekend.

We arrived late Friday, car packed with supplies and food, just in time to set a warm fire and cook dinner. I love the cabins at Lewis, where we get a real bed and hot shower, but cook meals outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Early Saturday, we decided to climb Stoney Man, a relatively easy hike with a gorgeous view at the top. Leaves of yellow, gold, and red and evergreens surrounded and sheltered us on our hike, a peaceful climb with only a few steep sections. And then the gift–we walked to the open summit and a view that made me breathe deeply. I hear the mountains can be crowded in October. Half the world wants to see the leaves change. But our early climb meant we were nearly alone.

After a lunch of peanut butter and jelly, I talked David into “walking” to the Rapidan Retreat, Hoover’s summer getaway. The three mile climb about did me in. Heading down was not problem, with beautiful mountain laurel and bright yellow leaves rimming the tree trunks. We stayed close to the brook, and the sound of flowing water was soothing. After a short tour of the house from one of the Park Service reps, we headed back. And this time, of course, we climbed up. A mile and a half over rocks and streams left me breathing hard and wishing for an end much sooner than it came.

We collapsed back at the cabin and rested before preparing our chicken on the grill. The setting sun glowed off the golden leaves in the sky.

Early Sunday, we drove to Hawksbill Mountain for a delightful climb, one where we could chat the entire time and not be out of breath! Because we were so early, we ran into few people. And we had the 360 view to ourselves. Absolutely amazing.

Did I think about writing? Of course. And I wrote a little, too. My friend, Elizabeth, has mentioned how a good walk can change an entire writing perspective. Ah yes. And–sometimes quirky ideas just happen. Like the woman in the cabin next to us who chased a frightened mouse around her cabin, couldn’t catch it, but found it floating in her toilet the next day. Yuck.

What can I do with that? Thinking, thinking…..



Someone asked me the other day why I don’t have comments enabled on the blog. After all, he said, a blog is a conversation.

True. And for years, I encouraged and responded to comments.

But a while ago, after having spent way too much time online in various social media, I discovered I needed a break. Time away from the conversations.

So, why do I write publicly? For me the blog is a record of sorts. When I go back through the years, I see posts from my days as an instructional technologist, trying to get folks to explore new ways of teaching:

And then the periods of teaching 8th and 9th grade English:

When my 8th graders dressed up to read Romeo and Juliet aloud:

As a community leader for a team of Aussie teachers in Powerful Learning Practice:

Sharing my thoughts with my kids in Virginia while I was with my dad in a hospital in Boston:

The December I began to question my involvement with social media…

Pushing myself into new writing territories with National Poetry Month:

And buying my first drum…

Unfortunately, I’ve lost the posts from 2004 to 2007, which makes me so sad. I’ve no record of my early days online and then in Connecticut, working for finalsite (a CMS provider). [edited: I found a link to my old typepad blog!]

I write to learn, to think, to share, to reflect. I’ve been writing in one way or another nearly all my life. Like a miner seeking gold, I often struggle to find the words. Those nuggets are precious, but I find myself pushed forward by the possibilities.

Mostly, I want these posts, all the links, and all the connections to be in one place. Here. Easily searched and categorized. Just for me.

Something tells me I might be ready for some conversation, too.

Early Morning

I seem to reference early morning often in my posts. Though dragging myself out of bed is often the last thing I want to do, once I am up, I am up.

And ready to work.

I get my best stuff done between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Today, I’m putting together last minute details for edcamp, a professional learning opportunity for teachers from around the state. We are hosting it here on Saturday–at Fredericksburg Academy. A full day of sessions, conversations, and connections. Can’t wait.

My world seems to flip between teachers who love to learn and friends who love to write. It’s a happy place.


I am compiling rejections from my poetry submissions. But, don’t feel sorry for me. Each one comes back, looking for a second, third,  or twentieth massage.

That’s what good writing takes–effort. And, holy cow, is this fun. Revising feels like a word game for introverts–the only competition is with myself.

When I’m not revising, I’m surfing/reading. I had no idea there were so many literary sites. Everyone wants to write these days, it seems. This is my newest find where I just read (and will share with my writing peeps) — this.

It’s like my own little MFA.