Monday, March 27, 2023

Slice of an Idea

Did you ever wake up and feel disoriented?  Today, a series of images rushed through my sleep. They were disturbing so my mind shifted to pleasant thoughts. All of a sudden, I felt the morning open with clarity. 

Waking up with an idea is fascinating so I opened my digital notebook and began writing. Then, I read the introduction to today's Slice of Life by Morgan Davis which linked me to first-time slicer, Schuyler Becker's blog. Morgan's question piqued my interest in mining my story and Schuyler noted "maybe it's okay to not know what I'll write or what I should write". I did not plant a seed of an idea for today's writing. It serendipitously appeared. The beauty of writing is to go with the flow, explore our surroundings, and just be present for ideas to appear.

Maybe a gray day feels gloomy, seemingly unable to find
a bright spot until I fling open the shades and stare at 
my sole weeping cherry tree. I notice several
buds dropping to the ground. Why?
A tiny bird feasts on my buds,
pecking away.
©CVarsalona, 2023

My Slice of Life
16th Annual March SOLSC! #SOL23

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Into the Spring Fog

I woke to 44 degrees weather, soft raindrops, and a sky of muted gray. There was silence in the neighborhood as if it was the middle of the night. As I embarked on my shopping run, I turned onto the main roads to find cars lit with headlights, window wipers swishing, and a small number of cars on the road. What struck me was the mood that was being evoked by the mixture of the rainstorm, cloudless sky, and the piping in of slow instrumental music. The name of the piece popped up on the dashboard, Still/Sound.

Wrapped in Morning Fog

on silent footsteps
it came

I drove cautiously
enjoying the scenery
waiting for spring's renewal
©CVarsalona, 2023

My Slice of Life
16th Annual March SOLSC! #SOL23

Grandpa's Birthday

"Birthdays are special events in my family." 

The birthday person has the privilege of choosing the food and cake of the day. It is up to the family to organize the day with favorites and have a cake ready, whether it is homemade or bakery-bought. Homemade cakes were delicious specialty items for the birthday person. That tradition has lasted throughout the years as did the signing of Happy Birthday. My mother baked and designed a cake around a theme chosen by the birthday person. An at-home party with friends was also a favorite. Presents followed. I will never forget my father-in-law's tale of his childhood birthdays. "When I was a little boy, my birthday meant I could have an extra meatball for dinner." That story has been told many times to my children and now to the grandgirls. Each person has their own recollection of a childhood birthday with the family. I remember standing on a chair so I could blow out all of my candles while everyone sang Happy Birthday.

Today was my husband's birthday. He has been talking about a prime rib dinner for the last two weeks but last night, all of us decided to try an Italian restaurant, The Esposito's Fairfax, with authentic Italian recipes. Of course, this reminded me of my Nonnie's fabulous homemade pasta, huge pots of pasta sauce, and fried meatballs. 

Each person has their own recollection of a childhood birthday with the family. I remember standing on a chair so I could blow out all of my candles while everyone sang Happy Birthday. 

Birthdays are special!

As the king or queen of the day,
You choose the storyline.

As the years pass on,
Recollections of cakes, candles, and song
Build a bridge of happy memories.
©CVarsalona, 2023
Happy Birthday, Richard!
Happy Birthday, Dad!
Happy Birthday, Grandpa!
Best Presents from Sierra and Aurora
Happy Birthday signs, a handmade crown, and a delicious cake

On each birthday, let's remember this inspirational quote from Emily Dickinson,
"We turn older with years but newer every day."
My Slice of Life
16th Annual March SOLSC! #SOL23

Friday, March 24, 2023

Enjoying Springtime

“Let us find inner freedom in each lucky moment that we encounter, like a sun-basking butterfly that finds peace on a cherry blossom petal.”

 – Erik Pevernagie

The weeping cherry tree planted in my Virginia garden stands tall in its early stages of development. According to legend, the gift of the cherry tree brings good luck and future happiness in the days to come. I thought the beautiful little buds were going to fall down during the daylong rain but they did not so I can continue to enjoy the sight.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for providing a meeting place for reflective writers around the globe. I am offering this slice for 24 of the 16th Annual SOLSC! #SOL23 March Writing Challenge. It is Multi-lit Friday so in honor of my international slicer friend, Terje Akke from Estonia, I ask: "Kas sa naudid kevadet?" (The translation should read, "Are you enjoying spring?")

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Going Rogue

I'm "going rogue" this week. No, I am not behaving in an erratic or independent manner but I am deviating from the structure of the etheree, a poetic format. What's on my mind? I enjoy the beginning of spring in Northern Virginia as it brings freshness to the air, warmer temperatures, and cherry blossoms. When I moved here in March 2021, I wanted to plant a weeping cherry tree to decorate my lawn area near our patio. I had a weeping tree in my meditation garden when on Long Island. Yesterday, the tree started blooming. Today, more buds were noticed. The temperature rose to 81 degrees. 

Cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. are peaking.

While desiring to visit the Tidal Basin where hundreds of visitors are touring this week.  There are eleven varieties of cherry blossom trees but the cold weather and rain will arrive tomorrow. I will watch the news sharing the majestic beauty of the trees that reached their peak yesterday. 

Next Friday, the Poetry Sisters are sharing their etherees written during March. This ten-line form begins with a single syllable, and each line expands by one syllable until the tenth line has ten. They are continuing with their 2023 theme of transformation. Each writer will submit their poem to Tanita Davis' blog

Below is the modified etheree that I wrote and will continue to refine during this coming week. 


transforms earth's
barren visual presentation
flirts with nature's greenery
flings open its budding petals 
while dancing under a canopy of blue
spring removes any doubt of seasonal change
brings renewal and hope to earth and humanity
as watchful eyes wait patiently for cherry blossoms to
bring glorious gardenscapes of color that make one's heart sing
©CVarsalona, 2023, draft

It's time to join Poetry Friday RoundupThank you author/poet, Rose Cappelli for hosting Poetry Friday this week. Click here.

Logo by Linda Mitchell


Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Story Challenge Day 23.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

My Springtime Pile of Good Things

Everyone has a pile of good things in their life. Granted there are times when the pile is filled with weeds mucking up life's garden. Now that spring is here so we need to pause, reflect on what is, and immerse ourselves in the ritual of spring cleaning. Gardeners remove what is not needed and enrich the soil. With patience, we need to assess our pile of good things so it can grow, spread, and become a thriving garden. In addition, like our spring garden, our souls need nutrients to grow a positive and grateful inner garden.

With thanks to Fran Haley for sharing her lovely, inspirational pile-poem introduced by Stef Boutelier on Day Two of Ethical ELA’s Open Write.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for providing a meeting place for reflective writers around the globe. I am offering this slice for Day 22 of the 16th Annual SOLSC! #SOL23 March Writing Challenge.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Slicer Party #SOL23 RSVP

Slicer Leigh Anne Eck is an exceptional hostess. Once again, she is hostessing an online slicer party during the last weeks of the 16th Annual March Slice of Life Challenge. Below is the beautiful invitation that was posted on Leigh Anne's blog, One Day in the Life, on March 16th. 

This year, Leigh Anne is inviting slicers to think about our best colors. In 2021, she found a slice by a fellow slicer, Deborah Dillon, and decided that her thought, "The best colors are everywhere because they are in the things I love.. would become our RSVP to Leigh Anne's party. 

to the party, I will bring:
a poetic bouquet of springtime colors
scented in lavender
against nature's fields of green-
twigs of cherry blossoms
from Virginia's trees-
delicate forsythias to
add to a funnel-shaped vase-
spring adds colors to
liven earth,
freshen each heart,
offer renewal
©CVarsalona, 2023
Photos from Unsplash

Robin Williams stated, "Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party." Yes, thank you Leigh Anne for suggesting a party of colors. May the colors of the earth provide a joyful experience for all at your party.


Monday, March 20, 2023

Pennsylvania Welcomes Tourists

As we traveled to Pittsburgh for a framily wedding, I saw this sign and knew I had to photograph it. It became the opening of the photo album I created for the wedding couple. It is an inspirational slogan created by the Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership. Karen Winner Sed, Co-Chair of the PTP stated, "Happiness is a universal aspiration. Whether you are looking to explore the outdoors a historical attraction, or an urban setting the overarching motivator is happiness." Happiness flowed throughout the wedding weekend. Smiles were everywhere but it did not take a sign to bring out the sunshine that lit up faces. Happiness is an inward emotion that does bring smiles.

 What made me happy this weekend in Pittsburgh?
  • The Priory Hotel was a beautiful setting for an elegant wedding. It was built in 1888 and was refurbished beautifully.
  • It was such a joyous moment when I was able to hug all my framily friends and enjoy special times with them. There are now several new little ones to bring love and laughter into our group.
  • The wedding was a beautiful celebration of a dear couple who were embarking on their own pursuit of happiness journey.
  • We took a brief walk through a part of Pittsburgh's history, the Strip District filled with boutique stores, larger shops, and restaurants. While it was cold outside, it was still fun seeing what Pittsburgh shopping offered. The long street reminded me of shopping in China Town in New York City.
  • The drive home was pleasant and we had a delicious meal in a restaurant we love that is only an hour away from home. 
Because we were busy all weekend, I missed a couple of slices. Tonight, I am joining, Two Writing Teachers for their Slice of Life Story Challenge, Day 20.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Pack Our Bags and Go

Am I an organized packer of our bags when traveling? Frankly no. I have been working on this for years. I think I am getting better at this but my son is not and always needs assistance so nothing is left behind. A case in point is the year we were going to my mother's burial and my son left his dress shoes at home. Thank goodness that my husband had his hush puppies. Proof number 2 is that his toiletry bag is missing from our Disney trip in late January. So you can see why packing for a trip regardless of how long it is makes us all worried that something will be left behind. I checked and double-checked the trunk before taking off to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for a framily wedding. 

P  acking 
A dd only what is needed
C hallenge myself to
K eep it simple
I  nclude toiletries and makeup
N o extra clothing
G et on the road with the hope all is in the bag
©CVarsalona, 2023, designed in FotoJet


 It's time to join Poetry Friday RoundupThank you poet/Kidlit author and friend, Laura Purdie Salas for hosting Poetry Friday this week. Click here.

Logo by Linda Mitchell


Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Story Challenge Day 17.

  • This post/slice is an extension of my Day 16 Slice of Life that can be accessed here.
  • We are almost at our destination so I will respond to comments throughout the weekend.
  • Happy St.Patrick's Day-We will celebrate with the framily tonight at the Welcome Party for the wedding! It's at a Pittsburgh pub. 

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Packing Dilemma

Are you an organized packer? My husband, son, and I are packing for a weekend trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I started helping my son organize his clothes yesterday and thought that I would not have too much of a problem. Well, that thought was incorrect. Since we are going to a wedding there are several events that need different clothes. With the way the weather has been lately, I have been hesitant about what to bring. It's puzzlement so wish me luck. Follow my path during this weekend because we have never traveled to Pittsburgh.

 It's time to join Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Story Challenge - Day 16.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Slicer Meet Up

The power of a Zoom meet-up is the conversation, exchange of information, and comfort of talking from home. 

Late yesterday afternoon, I read that Two Writing Teachers offered teacher workshops on Zoom. I missed the afternoon class but signed up with the thought that the windstorm would cease and my husband and son would be able to chase down the cushion to my patio chase lounge before the meet-up began. So at 8:00 pm, I turned on Zoom but the strangest thing happened. I could hear Tammy Evans and Erica J. speaking to each other but the video kept going on and off.  I tried the restart and the update buttons but that did not resurrect the video. After about 5 minutes of trying to Zoom with the slicers, I finally accomplished the task and had a wonderful hour of constant talk. It was like being with friends I have not seen in a very long time. 

It was great chatting about new formats we found at other slicers' blogs, how we get our ideas, and slicer blogs that we enjoy reading. I started to use the "Currently" format then changed my mind. I decided to use a simple poetic format, the hay(na)ku, that I shared at my recent professional development keynote address on Zoom for RSCS- Reading Specialist Council in Suffolk County, Long Island.

A new format for writing challenges: the hay(na)ku
-PD slide I provided for classroom or personal use-

Other samples for student use during  
SOLSC for students and National Poetry Month:

small poems
celebrate students' thoughts
lifts spirits
beyond printed pages
slicer stories
gifts to friends
Hay(an)kus written by ©CVarsalona, 2023

 It's time to join Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Story Challenge - Day 15.