Ten Years in the Blink of an Eye, Slice of Life Challenge #1

Ten years since we’ve talked.
Ten years since I got a hug from you.
Ten years since we went for ice cream.
Ten years since we saw each other.
Ten years since we talked and talked and talked.
Ten years since I’ve gotten advice from you.
Ten years since I’ve heard your laugh.
Ten years since we fought over who gets the last cucumber.
Ten years since I heard you say, “I love you!”

But, you are with me every day.
You are there when I succeed.
You are there when I fail.
You are there when I walk my dog.
You are there when I sing along to the radio.
You are there when I’m comforting a struggling student.
You are there when I’m writing and writing and writing.

You are there
in the tears,
in the laughter,
in the confusion,
in the joy,
in the fear,
in the wonder,
in the sorrow
in the love…
you are there.

I miss you.
Recently, a friend shared these words of comfort,
“I realized the beauty of missing someone is the
reality that you had someone special to love.” 

That’s you…someone special to love.
You loved!
I love you, Dad!

I carry you with me
every day, but a
little closer today…
the day I lost you,
ten years ago. 

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you’ve created! I’m honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

Poem #2 97 Years

Today my grandfather turns 97 years old. In honor of his birthday, I wrote this poem…



my grandfather


turns ninety-seven

Happy Birthday Papa!


Ninety-seven years-

Born in 




hard working,


a family man.


Husband to Josie-


Father of



Mary Ann

Mary Jo…

Mary, Michael, Mary Ann, Mary Jo


Papa to-






Great grandfather

Pop Pop to-






Music lover

Turnpike builder


Life long fan…

Red Sox



Big East sports





Once bought

gas on a road trip at

El Cheapo

(the nickname stuck)-

Forgot to bring his

teeth on a

trip to the


Macaroni and meatballs,

every Sunday, every holiday!

Elks Club member-

Feeling ill, West Nile?!

Misses Grammy everyday-



filled with





Happy Birthday, Papa!

We love you!

Happiness is…


WE DID IT!!! We blogged every day for the month of March. Yippeeee!!! WOO HOO!!! It’s time to celebrate our accomplishment. Thirty-one days of blogging, writing, commenting, sharing, and growing. I’m impressed. My students surpassed my expectations. To you, my students…I am very proud of Y-O-U!

What’s next? April is national poetry month. We will talk about blogging in April, but please know that I will be blogging a poem everyday in the month of April. Sometimes the poem will be an original poem and sometimes the poem will be one of my favorites. Looking forward to our next goal…here we go…

Slice #30 Collecting Joy

In my living room, I have a jar that’s labeled Joy Jar. 

It’s a place where I collect memories that are happy and joyful. This is the first year that I’m doing this and I confess…sometimes I forget to write down the moment or the memory and put it in the jar. I wish I could say this was my idea, but it isn’t. I found it on the blog of one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m thinking about that jar right now because I have lots put into the jar today. I spent the day with one of my very best friends. We spent the whole afternoon together. She’s one of those friends that I may not see for a few weeks, but when we do see each other, we pick up where we left off. She and I were roommates for a couple of years a long time ago. We always, always, always laugh together. I feel more myself when I’m with her and after I spend a day with her. Once our afternoon ended, I did some shopping and found some cute sunglasses and came home and spoiled Leo with some specialty doggie treats. What a great day! Tell me about your best friend!

Slice #29 It’s almost over

Twenty-nine days. I’m proud of our accomplishment. Even with spring break during the month of March, we’ve blogged everyday. My reasons for this assignment included honing our observation skills and improving our writing by creating a daily habit. My students accomplished this and MORE. They shared themselves in their writing. I sent an email to the originators and coordinators of this challenge to thank them. Here’s part of the email:

I wanted to share my thanks with you for the slice of life challenge. When I introduced it to my students, the responses varied from Hooray! to WHY do we have to do this?!?!?
Our spring break is the last week of this month. When I introduced the assignment, I explained it would be all month long. I was skeptical, as many students this year struggle with completing homework. It was a rocky start, but two weeks in…we were on a roll. The majority of students were writing everyday! It’s so exciting that it’s hard for me to put into words. They were writing everyday on their own!  The last week of March was quickly approaching and I heard, But, Ms. Haseltine?!?! What about vacation? How will we do this? Do we have to? Many students seemed extremely stressed out and some were resentful, like this was a punishment. Writing is NOT a punishment! Yesterday, we talked about it. We talked about why we were blogging and what results we’ve seen from it. I made the last week optional. This morning, I just read this comment on the blog (from a reluctant writer):
I’ve decided to do the whole March! I want to challenge myself and try to do the whole Spring break. Hopefully I remember to blog everyday!
I’m going to miss the challenge. I’ll continue. My hope is many of my students will continue as well. Slice of Life Challenge has created a closer community with my students and I’m so grateful.
What’s your favorite part of our slice of life challenge this March? 


Slice #28 Inside the writer’s brain…

I don’t know what to write. A deadline looms ahead like a dangerous curve on a Sunday drive. Writing comes from a place filled with peace and silence. There’s so much noise inside of my head. As I struggle to get words down onto paper for the writing group to read I think about my students. How do they do it? I am looking for the answer to suspend writers block. Although, while it is very inconvenient right now, I believe that it does serve a purpose. Lately, my senses have been searching out original scenes, ideas, quotes…just anything to add to my writing. It’s not like I don’t know why this is happening. I do. The lack of control I have over this is frustrating.


For me writing is a slowing down of life. It’s a place where I look and listen and record feelings, experiences- just life. Life right now is crazy. I need to drain these unnecessary details out of my brain…life is stressful, filled with the unknown, filled with bills to pay, report cards, school activities, running, holidays, friends, family, responsibilities…STOP.


Take a deep breath.


With all of this occurring, how can I not have anything to write?


Wait. Think. Fingers poised over the keys of the laptop computer; like the starting line of the fifty yard dash, “Ready, Set, GO!” And I’m off……Motorcycles rumble by. I clean dog hair off of the keyboard. The breath catches in my chest as I continue. Work through the fear. Writing is about discipline. It’s about the process and the process can be messy and scary, but so worthwhile. (Life can be like that; scary and messy but so valuable.)


Like driving in the fog or walking in the woods on a dark, moonless night…the path is imperceptible, but I know it is there. Faith. Faith is belief in the unseen. Faith is commitment. Committing to continue on this path no matter where it leads. Short cuts and dead ends will bring troublesome times, challenges, tears, and loneliness. The clear marked path will provide comfort, solace, and beauty. All of this is valuable in the journey to write…the journey of life. How do you cure writer’s block?

Slice #27 What do you believe in?

What do I believe in?


I believe in hard work

I believe in telling the truth…

even when it’s hard-

I believe in words

to heal, to learn, to soothe-

I believe in music

to move me, to lift me up-

I believe that reading

makes me smarter & more compassionate-

I believe in writing:

that’s where I figure out life-

I believe in standing up for others

when they can’t stand up for themselves!

I believe in equal rights for all


I believe in listening more and talking less

(I don’t always do that)

I believe that hugs and lip balm and marshmallows

make everything better

I believe that glitter and bacon and just the right pen

can make all right with the world-

I believe in my dog

and the conversations we have,

I believe in family

loud, boisterous, loving family-

I believe in traditions and rituals

Sunday dinners, beach vacations, and loving no matter what…

I believe in swinging high on the swings and

yelling WHEEEE while riding the waves in the ocean-

I believe in friends

laughing and crying together, and endless conversations

I believe in acceptance more than being right

I believe in apologies

I believe in love!


What do you believe in?


Slice #26 Reading, writing, and relaxing

Ah, I love when disappointment turns out to be a good thing. The snow thwarted my scheduled trip to Massachusetts. I was disappointed…very disappointed. I thought, What will I do? My day began with books. I read whatever I wanted. I browsed through Amazon and picked out lots of new books…haven’t bought them yet. Then, I ate some leftover pizza for lunch. Mmmmm! Watching the beautiful snow fall outside the window inspired some writing in my new writer’s notebook. In between, I watched some television and played with Leo. My disappointment turned into joy! Joy because I’m able to spend my vacation days however I chose. Any suggestions?

Slice #24 79th post

Yesterday I found another edublog written by an eighth grade teacher named Mrs. McGriff. The post she was writing was the 1,000th post. Wow! Can you imagine? 1,000 posts?!?! I’m impressed. I checked and today’s post is the 79th. I only have 921 to go to get to 1,000. Now, I’m motivated to get to 1,000. The other thing she had on her blog was a beautiful word cloud using all of the words from the blog. I made one for our blog. Here it is…