Monthly Archives: June 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

My Wednesday is anything BUT wordless, it’s just that most of those words are somewhere else. Go here to see them all…

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Filed under learning, writing

Writing, Writing, Writing

If you’re interested, I’ve got a number of my writing workshop pieces (first drafts, people; let’s remember they’re first drafts) up at A Teacher’s Education.

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Filed under Little Bits of Nothingness, writing


Today is the fourteenth anniversary of Mr. Chili’s and my wedding day.

I’m still at the writing conference, and have been encouraged to stretch my writing practice into poetry. Frankly, I don’t think I’m very good at it – I think of some of the pieces that Will has presented and know that I’ve still got a long way to go in terms of the kind of depths I’m able to reach with my poems – but I’m game for the experience. Here, then, is the first draft of a poem I wrote to commemorate our anniversary. You can see commentary about the process at A Teacher’s Education.

As always, comments, critique, questions, and suggestions are gratefully accepted.

People say that they can finish each other’s sentences,
but what those people don’t understand
is that they don’t need to.
Words are unnecessary.
Their shared vocabulary
is wide and deep
and most often conveyed
with the twitch of an eyebrow
or a sly glance.

They dance to each other’s music
their movements quick and light
and seemingly effortless
to those looking in
on this pair as they move through the world
in near perfect rhythm
never once looking down at their feet.

Their world is made of innumerable small things.
She doesn’t eat breakfast, but makes sure
his favorite cereal is always in the cupboard.
He doesn’t mind the cold, and so
ventures into the freezing basement in winter
to retrieve the laundry.

To those looking in, the facts don’t add up;
how can so much mundane and commonplace
equal such unmistakable contentment?
Yet there they are,
still radiating
their particular brand of quiet, certain, and
unshakable joy.


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Ten Things Tuesday

I’m at a writing workshop all week, so today’s list is a compilation of great writing prompts. (And, not for nothing, I’ve noticed that I’ve been doing an awful lot of lists and memes and things here lately. I’m going to see what I can do about making this more about actually writing. I can’t release the TTT theme, though, so I’ll start writing tomorrow…)

1. Write 5 (or 10, or 20) true sentences.

2. Write about someone in your family who is a mystery to you (whether that person is alive or dead doesn’t matter a bit).

3. Write about a thing you’ve inherited (that “thing” could be an actual material object, a trait or characteristic, or any other interpretation of “thing” you wish).

4. List 5 (or 10, or 20) of your favorite words. Notice what kinds of words they are (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc).

5. Close your eyes and think about a sensation – a scent or a sound or a flavor – and write whatever comes to you as a result of that experience.

6. Describe what peace means. What about longing? How about competence or compassion?

7. Type “faces” (or flowers, or “hands”) into Google Images. Choose one and write a story about it.

8. Write about an everyday activity – brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, driving the car. Try to incorporate as much sensory language into the work as you can.

9. Go to a novel, flip to a random page, and choose a sentence. Make that the first line of your story.

10. Choose a secondary (or tertiary) character in your favorite story (or in the novel you’re currently reading). Put that character in a new situation, have him or her meet a character from another of your favorite stories, or imagine a conversation that you might have with that person.

Happy Tuesday (and happy writing!)


Filed under ten things Tuesday, the jobs, writing

Monday Meme

Stolen from Kwizgiver this week.  Thanks, Honey!

1. What curse word do you use the most?
“Fuck,” with “shit” a close second.
2. Do you own an iPod?
Of COURSE I do!  I tend not to use it much, though, now that I’ve got the iPhone.
3. What person do you talk to on the phone the most?
Mr. Chili.
4. Do you still remember the first person you kissed?
5. Do you remember where you were on 11/9/01?
I do.  The story is here.
6. What was the last movie you watched?
Mr. Chili and I watched A Bug’s Life with the girls the other night.  I watched about an hour and a half of The Godfather on t.v. before I couldn’t stay awake anymore.
7. Has anyone ever called you lazy?
Not since I left my parents’ house.
8. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep?
Very rarely, and usually one sleepy Tylenol is enough to do the trick.
9. Has anyone told you a secret this week?
I don’t think so…
10. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Energy – it’s the first thing I notice about ANYONE, really.  If we’re talking about physical things, I often notice whether or not someone is wearing a wedding ring.
11. What are you looking forward to?
ALL of it!
12. Do you own any band t-shirts?
I bought a tank top when we went to see The Police a few years back.
13. What will you be doing in one hour?
Writing.  I’m in a week-long, writing-intensive workshop at Prestigious Boarding School.  So far, it’s awesome.
14. Is anyone in love with you?
Dear God, I HOPE so!
15. Last time you cried?
I well up every now and then; the last time I cried was about a week ago.
16. Are you on a desktop computer or a laptop?
I’m on my spiffy MacBook Pro!
17. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoos?
18. Would you ever date anyone covered in tattoos?
I don’t plan on ever dating again, thank you very much.  If I were in such a position, though, I would have no objection to ink.
19. What were you doing before this?
It’s still pretty early…
20. When is the last time you slept on the floor?
It’s been a long time.
21. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
I usually get about 8 hours of sleep a night, and I do pretty well.  I can function on less, but not for extended periods.
22. Do you eat breakfast daily?

No, and this sometimes gets me in trouble. I don’t like to eat as early as I get up, so my “breakfast” usually consists of a glass of Ovaltine. I’ll have something light later, but first thing in the morning is not my favorite time to eat.

I’m going to be posting at A Teacher’s Education this week as I work my way through the writing workshop. Go on over if you’re interested.

Happy Monday!


Filed under Little Bits of Nothingness, meme, my oh-so-exciting life


I’m at my writing conference. This is the board in the classroom; SO
much inspiration.


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THAT’S What They Are!! *EDITED!*

For about three summers now, the Chili abode has played host to a family of little brown birds.  About three years back, a pair of birds discovered that the vent to the downstairs bathroom was not capped, and they decided that it would be a perfect place to build a nest and have a family.  Every year since, we’ve watched them come back and flit from rooftop and tree limb to the side of the house, and every June we’ve been able to tell, by the increased activity (and the increased noise!) that the babies have hatched.

The only problem with this arrangement (well, the only problem in MY mind; Mr. Chili’s not happy about there being a nest IN the vent) is that we’ve never been able to figure out exactly what kind of birds they are.  I’ve had almost no luck getting a decent picture of the things, and my perusal through Audubon books has yielded a lot of “close, but no cigar” matches.

Yesterday, Beanie had Isabella over.  Isabella and her family are very into nature; whenever Bean goes to Isabella’s house, she has to make sure that she wears clothes that can get muddy (for digging around the banks of the stream behind their house) or torn (for charging through the brambles).  Bean must have pointed the birds out to Isabella while they were swimming (and I should note here that the pool is set up almost directly beneath the vent hole where the nest is located).  She probably told her that we were befuddled as to what kinds of birds they were, too, because after the girls had a bit of a swim, they came around front and spread their towels in the sunshine, and Beanie’s friend said, just as matter-of-fact as you please, “Mrs. Chili, those birds in your house are Great Crested Flycatchers.”

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And so they ARE!

*Edited to include this; it seems that today is “leave the nest” day.  One of the babies (we think there were three) ended up in the pool.  Good thing Mr. Chili put the cover on last night!


Filed under backyard wildlife, Home and Family, kid cuteness, learning, Little Bits of Nothingness, my oh-so-exciting life