Wednesday, March 31, 2021

I Stayed the Course

It is almost 11:00 PM. I hoped that I would be able to write in a quiet space but two different games are being watched in two separate rooms. The blare of the fast-paced sporting events is loud and clear but then, a thud, a pouring of rain, and a loud whooshing wind overrides any other noise until all cease at the same time. The quiet is relished during this reflective time. 

I STAYED the COURSE but it has been a tough one, writing for 31 days and responding to other slicers' writing. I am happy to say that I did finish the March SOLSC! #SOL21 challenge as did many of my slicer friends. Some days, I snuck in just before the midnight hour with a sigh of relief. Most days, I promised myself I would write earlier in the day. At any rate, I am proud to say I documented my life move to Virginia from Long Island, New York each day. It will be fun to look back and see what I had to say about the stressors, strains, and excitement of making a transition to a new place and lifestyle. 

Throughout this month of writing, I read, commented, and corresponded with so many educators from around the states and as far away as Estonia. Among the different types of writing, I learned how to say Bon Apetit in Estonian from Terje Akke and also learned a new form of poetry from Arjeha, the sijo

With this March Musing 2021, I stand in awe of all my slicer friends who also withstood a month of writing while balancing many balls. I thank each and every person who visited my blog and took the time to write a comment. I read all the comments but many times, mostly towards the end of the challenge, I did not have enough time to write individual thank yous in the comments.

I stayed the course!
Through thick and thin times
Moving from Long Island
To a new home in Virginia.
Celebrated joyous moments.
Gingerly transversed many rough trails
On my way to this destination-
The final stop of the slicers' March journey.
In faith, I wrote daily,
opening my heart
to the whispers of my soul.

With a new commitment to writing poetry for the month of April, I'm off to join a community of poets for National Poetry Month. I will start the month off with a poem at Spiritual Journey Thursday.

Day 31 March SOLSC! #SOL21 at Two Writing Teachers
I appreciate the space Two Writing Teachers opened to all writers. 

TWT, thank you for the badge!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Almost There

Where did the month go? Some days, I thought the month was lingering in slow motion. Other times there was so much to do for the moving out of Long Island and moving into Virginia journey, I totally forgot the date and day. Now that my March Musings 2021 journey for March SOLSC! #SOL21 s almost over, I am tired and disappointed that I had little time to write during the daytime when I was fresh. As I think back on this month, I realize that my exhaustion is from the energy expended in the move. 

I have one day left to write a daily slice of life capturing the small moments of the past month so I need to beat the clock before the end of the night.

I am almost there. Like an athlete running the course, I, move forward with bated breath excitedly anticipating what will happen next. I know that I will end March having written each day and responded to other writers' slices of life. I have corresponded with some old friends and other new ones, appreciated the variety of writing styles and welcomed suggestions on different formats. Will I be able to sustain my writing routine with a fresh new lens during National Poetry Month? I certainly hope so and maybe I will be able to write during the daytime like I planned for March.

lights flashing
lighting future passageways
"hopeward" bound
©CV, 2021

Day 30 March SOLSC! #SOL21 at Two Writing Teachers

Monday, March 29, 2021

New House, New Garden

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. -Audrey Hepburn

New house, new garden:
new life
of blessed tomorrows.

This is not just a dream but a soon-to-be reality. We have a large patio that was built to my husband's specifications but not the garden. We also have a gardener who was recommended by three new neighbors. At his suggestion, we visited three nurseries. The first one was an awesome sight with pavilions of annuals, perennials, statuaries, showcase rooms, trees, and more. The second one was a small enterprise that did not have what I was looking for, and the third one was a wholesale flower center. Little did we know that we needed a gardener to accompany us at this nursery. The owner being a friendly person decided to let us take a look around and gave us a tour. He added little stories about the type of flowers that grow in Virginia as opposed to Long Island. Now with a better idea of what flowers will grow on my property, I am ready to create two gardens: a herb garden and flower garden. Let's see what I choose and how the gardener plays out my ideas. 

Day 29 March SOLSC! #SOL21 at Two Writing Teachers

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Hiking with Family

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” -Henry David Thoreau

Yesterday, the family met for a walk up Bull Run Mountain. Not quite sure that we could keep up with my daughter and husband, we decided to give it a try. We knew that we could easily walk a minimum of two miles on the Long Beach Boardwalk in New York but as my husband noted that was a flat walk. 

We started out slow, cautious of where our feet landed. The forest had many huge old roots that meant caution had to be used when walking. The baby was in a backpack carrier and my soon-to-be-4 year old, Sierra, was hiking along. The weather was warm and the bright sun felt great as it hit our foreheads. All was fine until the path narrowed on the beginner route. After about 1/2 mile my husband felt some pain in his hip where he had a cortisone shot in the hip, so he turned around to wait for us in the car. We all continued walking single file. 

As I wondered how I would do on this hike, my granddaughter Sierra took my hand and we continued onward and upward. It was such a sweet moment. At the halfway mark, my daughter looked for a resting spot. She chose a beautiful one overlooking the stream. I did not think I could get down to sit on the moss-covered area, so I gingerly sat on a log and thought about the Civil War battle fought in this area. I could not imagine the soldiers wearing wool uniforms in the heat, especially since I needed to take off my lightweight jacket. Another thought popped into my mind. If I lose my balance on this incline, would I tumble downward?  

With my OLW begin, I moved on. While I could not remember which route would get us back to the starting point, I was glad to have my daughter and son-in-law leading the way. 

I am proud that I weathered the 2-mile trek with my granddaughter at my side. It was such a wonderful feeling knowing that her presence kept me moving forward. This walk was a blessing because I did not really dwell on fear. I was so enthralled with the scenery and sense of accomplishment.


One step at a time.
Patiently walk the incline.
Journey uphill.
Without a spill.

Postmark: There were no accidents or spills on my first hike on Bull Run Mountains. At the end of the hike, Sierra turned to her Mommy,, "I want to stay at Grandma's tonight. I have my own bed." (How endearing those words were. While she did not stay overnight again there was the promise of more fun times and sleepovers. What a wonderful two days I spent with my family-a treat from all the unpacking and moving in.)

My photos are not syncing right at this time.

I am ready to post this slice of life for Day 28 March SOLSC! #SOL21 at Two Writing Teachers. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Rambling Thoughts

She wakes with a smile on her face as bright as the sunshine outdoors. 
"Grandma, I love you." 
These words melt my heart. 
All the stress of our life move floats away as I see her smile and feel her presence. 
She brings me Teddy who needs fixing. 
His bell fell off during her first sleepover. 
Grandma fixes that. 
My mind floats back to my childhood. 
I feel Nonnie's hand in mine during our morning rituals. 
I turn the clock back to today:
The taste of hot chocolate, sweet berries, peanut butter on toast. 
I shall remember this first sleepover with delight after a year of virtual happenings. 
Being a grandmother is a joy that opens a new world of surprise and wonder.
I am filled with delight. 
I breathe in the freshness of spring and hold her little hand, 
Realizing the grandness of one cherished word, "Grandma".
Day 27 of March SOLSC! #SOL21 at Two Writing Teachers.

Friday, March 26, 2021

A Day To Remember

While yesterday was the official date of my husband's birthday, today was our celebration with the family. The day started off with bright skies, strong sunlight, and warm temperatures that brightened everyone's mood. My daughter arrived early in the morning with my two granddaughters and from that moment on my husband, son, and I were in a "good-busy mode." I felt gratitude immediately and kept on smiling throughout the day. 

I am grateful for:
  • My soon-to-be 4-year-old came running in several times during the day to say, 'Grandma, I love you!" 
  • Both my granddaughters being loving and cuddly during the day.
  • The relaxed walk we took in the neighborhood with the little girls. 
  • The many photos that documented our wonderful family day.
  • The delicious and beautiful looking cake my daughter picked up for my husband-layered yellow cake with Bavarian cream in between the layers, chocolate ganache frosting, and blue-lettered "Happy Birthday, Grandpa" writing (requested by my granddaughter).
  • A yummy dinner followed by a surprising request from my granddaughter. "Mama, can I sleep at Grandma's? My daughter and son-in-law discussed this and finally agreed. 
Gratitude is a heart-filled emotion.
It is an unexpected gift of love.
Gratitude sings a song of praise;
Blows a gentle kiss across a room.
Gratitude floats through the air
And lands with surprising sparkles.

©CV, 2021

"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." -Sara Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.

Unfortunately, my photos of the day did not sync properly but you can imagine

how happy everyone looked.

Day 26 of March SOLSC! #SOL21 at Two Writing Teachers.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

It's Time to Rethink Unpacking

After a round of unpacking and arranging the shelves in my master bathroom, I  finally take the time to sit down and reflect. I am exhausted, frustrated, and still not finished sorting and organizing. Tomorrow will be Day 3 of arranging just this one room. How did I get through the packing stage without crumbling? Perhaps, it was the deadline of moving day that became the incentive. Now the routine of constant unpacking is getting to me. Friends are telling me to take my time and understand that these moments, days, weeks are stressful. As I think that I had no words to express my feelings, these thoughts flowed out.

It's time to rethink unpacking. 
The obsessive routine haunts
My dreams, wakes me wondering.
It's time to stop the merry-go-round.
Find my center, undo the stress, relax.   

While thinking these thoughts, I googled poems on unpacking and found a very interesting one by Thom Gunn, "Thoughts on unpacking".

Unpacking in the raw new rooms, I clear,

Or try to clear, a space for us, that we
May cultivate an ease of moving here
With no encumbrance near,
In amplitude. But something hinders me:

Where do these go, these knick-knacks I forgot?
—Gadgets we bought and kept, thinking perhaps
They might be useful someday, and a lot
Of others that were not:

Bent keys, Italian grammars, Mickey Mouse caps.

You can read the rest here. I read the last stanza to my husband.

In the stillness, I decide to the quiet voice inside and start anew with a renewed spirit. I will clear a space for us because my little granddaughters will be here in the morning and I am ready for a day of pure fun.

This is a combined slice of life post for both Poetry Friday Roundup and March SOLSC! #SOL21.

Poetry Friday hosted by a poetry colleague, Susan Bruck who is honoring National Poetry Month Kidlithosphere Roundup by collecting special projects from Poetry Friday poets.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Imagining My Dream Bathroom

Each morning I wake with the desire to organize another room of my new house but I need motivation. I am at the point of being overwhelmed with the magnitude of the process. Today's task is to set up my master bathroom. In order to get into the mood for this laborious process, I luckily  find an inspiring quote from Soakology . 

"Soap is to the body what laughter is to the soul."

Laughter would be a welcome surprise right now and so would quiet. Before I start, I decide to share a before picture of my master bathroom. It is quite messy but you only see one part of it. The linen closet is filled with bottles of all different essentials, toiletries, medicines, cleaning products which are normal essentials but there is a mess of jumbled-together products. I need to take baby steps in order to turn this room around.

I think you can see that I am ready to get started. I lay down some large boxes to act as a cutting board. This job tasks patience. I pause to remember something from my past. My mother taught me how to line up a pattern on the material so I could cut the cloth in a straight line. It is tedious work that takes me a couple of tries before the liner fits nicely into the container. I feel like I am "on a roll" but oh, no, I am distracted by something else. 

This is a typical occurrence so the flow of work does not go as planned. Did I finish my organization plan? Let's say I wanted to. I think this job will take me several days because of the other tasks that are also important. I will keep you posted and hope there will be some after pictures that show how my dream bathroom turned out.

Day 24 of March SOLSC! #SOL21 at Two Writing Teachers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Organizing My New Kitchen

Today is devoted to organizing my new kitchen. Actually, it is a reorganization because the first plan did not work as well as I would like. It takes time and perseverance to complete this task since I have quite a bit of space. 

-disorganization phase prior to writing this blog-

Actually, I am perplexed. I see bottles of spices for cooking, another set for baking, and lots of clutter. I unpack another box and find my old cookbooks. While I use the internet for many recipes I also want to do due diligence to my old tried and true recipes in the cookbooks. I peruse the cabinets in the perimeter around the appliances and the drawers under the eight foot of center island counter space. Each cabinet needs to be designated for a distinct purpose. So I stand back with wide open cabinets to take a good look at the whole job, sigh, and take on one cabinet at a time. 

Hours later, I am still in the organizing phase but too tired to continue. There is tomorrow to finish my grand plan of making my kitchen one that has fluidity and practicality, a place with warmth reminding me of my former kitchen that always was the hub of the home. I want my kitchen to be a place for conversation, laughter, and joy-a place for my little granddaughters to knead dough, bake cookies with me, and enjoy a licking-the-bowl good time like I did with my Nonnie, and my children did with my mother and me. Perhaps, tomorrow will be the day to sit back and say, "Ah, my kitchen is complete. I can move on to another room to organize. 

There are many more boxes awaiting me. For now, I contemplate on how to make my kitchen a place for loving gatherings with the following quote by Kitchens by Emma Reed in mind.

"Kitchen. Noun - A gathering place for friends and family. A place where memories are homemade and seasoned with love."

Day 23 of March SOLSC! #SOL21 at Two Writing Teachers.
Is your kitchen the gathering place in the home?

Monday, March 22, 2021

More To Do List

Where there are many boxes to unpack and "stuff" to organize, there has to be some time to laugh out loud. The stress of a "life move" seems to be getting the best of my husband, my son, and me so I decided to add a bit of levity at the end of a jam-packed day. Maybe this quick poem will bring a chuckle in the morning as we start another day of unpacking and organizing the "stuff" we accumulated over the years.

More to do,
the common chant.
Sometimes it's good
To list and rant.

More to do,
Let's count the chores.
Kitchen organizing
Some mine, some yours.

After that
Wait in line

Three hours later
Off to a store
for kitchen organizers.
"This is a bore!"

No time to rest
Get those boxes out!
Ready for another day?
Let's not shout!

Day 22 of March SOLSC! #SOL21 at Two Writing Teachers

Sunday, March 21, 2021

First Day of Spring

Sixty degrees and sunshine marks the first day of spring. It is uplifting. I itch to go outside walking in nature but my honey-do list is endless. The work of organizing the kitchen in my new home simply has to be completed. A sense of nervous impatience to rid the house of unpacked boxes brings a decision to postpone a nature walk until later in the day. 

Finally, I am ready for a short ride to visit my granddaughters. The weather feels like warmer than earlier in the day. The ride is pleasant and the forest-like environment in the community of Reston where my little ones live is restful and peaceful. Tall trees line the road like elegant guardsmen, a welcoming sight, and the daffodils sprouting up in vivid clumps is delightful also. BUT, the best part of the first day of springtime is the joy of seeing two happy little granddaughters enjoying nature. 

Springtime turns a blank canvas into a colorful piece of art.
Daffodils dance under a golden sun while trees stand guard.
Children discover the gleeful joy of nature's playground.
©CV, 2021, draft

Thank you to slicer "Arjeha" for providing information on the sijo poetic format and posting his original poem. Click here to read all. Please feel free to comment on my first-time sijo poem in draft form.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

A Spring Peek

winter blew its deepest breath
hoping to hold its reign
as it blustered in today

fireplace turned on for warmth
hot tea, oatmeal - comfort food  
for the writer's winter soul 

spring waits nearby for its turn
patiently sharing  earth love 
some daffodils nod hello
©CV, 2021

I'm welcoming springtime while preparing to organize my Winter's Embrace 2021 Gallery.

Sneak Peek from my slicer friend, Brian Rozinsky.

Isn't this scene just dreamy?

Winter, By Degrees

A sweet spot
not too far from freezing,
makes for the biggest, fastest snowflakes,
not alike how this precise angle
pitches art
as nature's mirror.
Words & photo by @brianrozinsky

Friday, March 19, 2021

Friday Night Pizza

Each day after closing on our Long Island house on Monday, we spent on unpacking so when the social committee of Regency at Creekside (the development we now live in) announced a social gathering on the lawn with a food truck selling individual pizzas, I said, "Let's go". Unfortunately, the weather did not permit the event. 

Lucky for me, after our closing on Monday, I bought fresh pizza dough from a local Italian bakery on Long Island. Tonight, although I was exhausted from unpacking, I decided it was time to make the pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. I combined two pizza doughs to make one large pizza. I kneaded the dough using on my Nonnie's pizza board. 

Yummy, what a treat that was! I think my Nonnie would have been proud of my efforts. After all, I was only four or five years old when I started following her around, learning everything I could about baking and cooking. I will remember this pizza party after a long week.