SOL Day 11- Twice or Thrice, a Hair Elastic Conundrum

slice-of-life_individualI have very long hair, perhaps if you do as well you can relate to this issue- how many times can a hair elastic be wrapped?  Twice? Thrice?

When it’s brand new, two good wraps can contain all of my hair without feeling like my hair is being pulled or making my scalp hurt.  After a while the elastic starts to stretch out and twice is not enough.  It starts to feel loose.   But not so loose that it can be wrapped thrice.  That’s when you feel like your hair is being pulled out of your scalp strand by strand.

Let’s look at Exhibit A:


The elastic on the top has been around a while.  It is too loose for twice and for  thrice.   This one can only be used to secure a bun on top of my head because it wraps around that comfortably.

The middle elastic is on its way to being too loose.  It is holding strong at being wrapped thrice for ponytails,  braids, etc.

The bottom elastic is newer.  It is just right for a low ponytail and a braid made up of half of my hair.

I feel like Goldilocks and the Three Hairs (Elastic).  It’s either too loose, too tight, or just right.  Does anyone else have these hair elastic issues, or it is just me?

SOL Day 10- Saving Daylight is Exhausting

slice-of-life_individualFall back, spring forward.  I do not remember a mere hour of time change making such a huge difference in my life when I was younger.  But every year it takes me longer and longer to adjust to the time change- especially in the spring.  As a teacher who taught a unit on seasons and earth’s rotation- I also don’t see the point in saving daylight.  It will naturally start to get lighter as we inch closer to spring because that’s the way the rotation of the earth works.  It’s why we have seasons to begin with. But I digress…

On Sunday I was exhausted at 4:00pm…it was too late for a nap and too early for bed so I got myself caffeinated and powered through.  At 9:00 I was wide awake when I should have been drifting off to dreamland.  Then on Monday morning my alarm went off and it was pitch black and felt like the middle of the night!   I wanted to go to bed and it was still light out.  Stop the madness!

My dog is also apparently having some difficulty adjusting.


I feel that this accurately depicts my current state of exhaustion.  And just when I’m finally used to this pattern of light, it will be time to turn those darn clocks back again!

SOL Day 9- Spider Woman?

slice-of-life_individualOnce I was helping my mom and my brother move a pile of firewood into a hod in preparation for winter.  I had a dance rehearsal, so I was wearing tights and a pair of calf-length sweatpants over them.

After moving the wood, I went to a dance rehearsal for The Nutcracker. My calf was itchy and I noticed what I thought were mosquito bites. I kept trying to itch them through my tights and eventually just took the tights off for relief.  I couldn’t believe that a mosquito had bitten me through my tights.  The weird thing is that there were a lot of them and they were almost in an array.  They itched like crazy, but I am very susceptible to mosquito bites so I didn’t worry too much.  img_3974

A few days later though….


The bites had taken on a different look altogether.  They were definitely not mosquito bites.  I went to an Urgent Care and the doctor their thought perhaps they were spider bites or possibly chigger bites.  I was told to use a topical anti-itch cream and given a prescription for steroids to help clear them up quickly.  The best guess was that whatever little creature feasted on my leg came from a piece of the firewood I had moved.

I showed the bites to my students, who immediately decided that the creature was radioactive and I was going to become a real-life Spider Woman.  They were VERY excited about this possibility.  I kind of was too.

Much to their disappointment (and mine to be honest) I didn’t gain any special skills, the steroids left me unable to sleep for about a week, and the bites eventually cleared up.  I much prefer to imagine what could have been if I’d become a super hero- a far superior ending to the story.

SOL Day 8- It’s Time for the Coronavirus Slice

I feel like I would be remiss to not slice about the Coronavirus, hopefully so I can look back next year and recall what a crazy time it was.

For starters, I wasn’t concerned about the virus at first. I haven’t traveled overseas, I can’t afford to book a cruise, I got a flu shot.  But now it is EVERYWHERE.  Figuratively in the sense that people are continually talking about it.  And it seems to be well on its way to literally being everywhere.   Every day I have to decide what news to believe and what to dismiss and what precautions to take or what caution to throw to the wind.

But all of a sudden, this [bleep] got real when TCRWP cancelled their Saturday reunion, scheduled for later this month.  It got real when Facebook groups started popping up to provide resources and help for teachers planning online instruction in case of a quarantine.  It got real when universities started requiring students to fill out forms if they plan to travel over Spring Break and insisting that study abroad students come home ASAP.  It got really real when Starbucks stopped letting me use my reusable cup.

To be clear, I hope everyone was thoroughly washing their hands in public spaces (and in their own homes) before all this panic.  I certainly was.  But then I started thinking about…

The crosswalk button I just touched to make the light turn.  The gas pump. The handle of the public restroom door that I have to touch because there’s only a hand dryer and no paper towels to serve as a barrier. Shopping cart handles.  Every kid in my class who wants to hug me or touch my hair or accidentally sneezes directly into my face.

This would be the part in the horror movie where the dramatic  Dun Dun DUUUUUN music would swell and the camera would do the close pan from my face (eyebrows raised, eyes wide) to the surface where crawly germs would be visibly moving in all their CGI magical glory.

I know. Those germs have always been there. I have touched many gas pumps and crosswalk signals and restroom door handles and Lord knows that many small children have pelted me with various fluids throughout my career. Those germs were always there.  They will continue to be there.  But now they mean something different.

When (hopefully soon) the panic dies down or a vaccine is created or the virus fades into the same “remember that” category as H1N1 or the bird flu or the swine flu or SARS or MRSA or any of the viruses that came before it will I go back to touching all the gross things with reckless abandon?  Will I carry rubber gloves in my purse to use at the gas pump like I am now?  Will I reach a full What About Bob level of caution?


what about bob


SOL Day 7-Pizzelle Fraud

slice-of-life_individualWeirdly, memories of my Nana keep popping up this week.  She seems to want to be written about, so that’s what I shall do.

When my mom was growing up, she and my grandparents lived next door to a family from Italy.  Mary, the matriarch, and Pauline, my nana were the best of friends- because they both had backgrounds in cooking A LOT of food for their families. They were true 1950s housewives who shared cups of sugar and lots of recipes in their shared driveway.

One of the foods my grandmother learned to make from Mary was pizzelles.  My mother still has the (now ancient looking) pizzelle iron.  These cookies were a staple around the holidays.  I remember watching her use the iron to make the pizzelles, I was never allowed to do it myself even though I desperately wanted to-  not because I might burn myself, but because I might mess up the pizzelle! (If you’ve never had them, they are so delicious, but they are really thin and look kind of like a lace doily. The batter looks like pancake batter and you pour it into the mold on the iron.  You can’t leave it on for too long or it burns or crumbles.  Very difficult to cook)

I haven’t had a homemade pizzelle since my grandmother passed in 2009.  My mom has the iron but she says she wasn’t ever allowed to make them either- only Nana could do that- and she kind of feels like an attempt could lead to disaster.

So the other night, the same night of the Christmas lights, I noticed a box of -gasp- STORE BOUGHT pizzelles on the counter.  I looked at my mother in shock.  We laughed at the idea my Nana and Mary were up in Heaven having a conniption fit- you do NOT feed your family cookies that came from a STORE!  But my mom said she was in the mood for them and didn’t feel like she could make them herself.  I guiltily ate one (Sorry, Nana. Sorry Mary.) and it wasn’t that bad.  But it wasn’t a real deal either.

I may have convinced my mother that we should get the iron out and try to make pizzelles ourselves…so stay tuned for what will likely lead to disaster!


SOL Day 6- Christmas Lights

slice-of-life_individualTonight I was driving home from teaching a grad class and I decided to stop and check on my mom.

As I drove, I noticed several houses along the way that still had lights on their bushes and trees.  Christmas lights?  I wasn’t sure because they were stands of white lights, which looked very pretty, but to me they looked like Christmas lights.

It’s March.  Now I’m guilty of leaving my tree up for far too long into January, but that’s more out of sheer laziness and the fact that no one can see if from the outside. Plus it’s pretty.  These lights felt very holiday to me.  And seriously, it’s March!

I don’t want to appear too judgmental, because I have no idea if these houses just enjoy a nice light display with no holiday attachment.  I’m just saying it felt holiday-ish to me.  And I’m also just saying that March feels just a tad too late to still have a holiday display up.  It’s not like the lights were green for St. Patrick’s Day.

So finally I pull down my mom’s street and as I approach her driveway….and this is what greeted me:


Now here, I feel confident judging because I know for a fact that these are from Christmas because I helped to put them up.  My judgement was misplaced, because it should have been directed toward my own family.

I just need to know….when do you consider holiday lights to be past their prime?


SOL Day 5- Coffee Talk

slice-of-life_individualThis post was inspired by Paula Bourque’s slice about coffee (  Thanks, Paula!

When I was growing up my grandparents lived with us.  My grandfather passed away when I was 8 and at the start of my third grade school year, my grandmother was in charge of getting me to school.  My parents both worked and my brother was older so he left earlier than I did. I could have taken the bus, but I think my mom wanted my grandmother to have a reason to get up and moving in the morning- she was pretty lost without my grandfather.

Every morning she would make coffee and watch Good Morning America.  When I was dressed I would come downstairs to join her.  She would pour me coffee in a little espresso cup (that was basically a shot glass with a handle) and we’d sit and watch Charlie Gibson and Joan Lunden deliver the news.  We’d drink our coffee and chat and then she’d drive me to school.

So, my coffee drinking habit started in the third grade.  Now, I don’t think that I really drank that much, and there was definitely a lot of half and half poured in….but my mother swears this is why I stopped growing by 5th grade (I hit 5’3 and haven’t grown any taller since 1992).

This is where my coffee addiction began.  It has been a ritual for me to drink my coffee and watch the news ever since those days with my Nana.  Currently I leave for work around 7:30, so I make sure to watch Action News and at least the first 5 minutes of GMA to get the headlines. It’s a ritual I cherish and one I’m thankful I had the opportunity to create.

SOL Day 4- Enunciation is Key

slice-of-life_individualIn celebration of Women’s History Month, every day we read a brief biography of a famous woman inventor.  One of the texts I use is Brilliant Ideas from Wonderful Women: 15 Incredible Inventions by Inspiring Women! by Aitziber Lopez.

The other day we read about Elizabeth Magie Philips, who invented the board game which became the inspiration for Monopoly.  In the description, the text cited Philips as an entrepreneur.  I paused briefly to ask my students if anyone knew what that word meant.

Student 1-  I know!  It means someone who is like REALLY GOOD at canoeing. 

I thought about this for a second.  The word was entrepreneur-  the student heard ‘canoe’ so clearly I did not enunciate.

Student 2-  I’m pretty sure it’s that stuff that smells really bad.  It’s like poop or something.

I thought about this for a second.  The word was entrepreneur- the student heard ‘manure’ so clearly I did not enunciate.

Eventually the students came to the understanding that an entrepreneur was someone who starts their own business.

And I came to the understanding that I need to enunciate when teaching a new vocabulary word.

SOL Day 3- 5 Stars

If you read yesterday’s slice, you know that I left school mid-day with a terrible migraine.  I also left my car in the parking lot because I couldn’t drive.

The next morning, I had no way to get to work.  There are several colleagues I could have asked to pick me up, but we had a faculty meeting before school and I really didn’t want to inconvenience anyone.

So I ordered an Uber (I have only taken an Uber once before in my life.  I wasn’t even sure drivers would be out and about at 7:30am).

The driver, Mohammad, arrived and I hopped in. He seemed perplexed by the request to drop me off at a school, so I explained that I was a teacher and that the day before I had a migraine. My car was at work.

We chatted throughout the ride- he did most of the talking, I did most of the listening.  My headache was downgraded from a migraine, but was still lingering.

First he lectured me on drunk driving. I wasn’t sure if he missed the migraine explanation, so I reiterated that my car was at work because I had to leave with this bad headache.  He shared that his wife also suffers from migraines. Solidarity!

He then shared that public transportation in the US is atrocious, and it’s not like that in other countries.  He remarked that so many cars on the road only have one passenger and that’s why traffic is so bad.

When we got to school, he pulled through the parent drop-off line and wished me a good day and blessings on my soul.

I gave him 5 stars.

SOL Day 2- Insane Migraine Pain

slice-of-life_individualI get really bad migraines.  Sometimes I can head them off at the pass with some Excedrin, but often they come out of nowhere and I’m helpless.

A migraine hit me last last week at 11:00am, when I was in the middle of teaching science.  Fortunately my students were working on a project so I was not doing much talking. Unfortunately, this was a bad one.

My migraine symptoms follow a very predictable, linear pattern.

  1. Pounding behind my left eye.
  2. Nausea
  3. Vomiting
  4. Doozers from Fraggle Rock methodically bulldoze through my brain and drill tiny holes into my skull while they sing that marching song at top volume.
  5. Need for complete silence and total darkness
  6. Sleep
  7.  Drink ginger ale.

None of this is really ideal in an elementary school with a lot of little children.  I could feel that I was going to throw up and I ran out of the room to the nurse’s office.  Fortunately, I have an amazing student teacher right now. Unfortunately, I’m really not supposed to leave her alone in the room for legal reasons.

I threw up in the nurse’s office bathroom and dragged myself into the main office to see if any building subs were available.  Shocker-they weren’t.

I asked if I could lay down in the nurse’s office instead of going out to recess duty (impeccable timing by the migraine gods).  I tried to close my eyes- there wasn’t a way to make it dark, because the nurse and various kids were in there.  I continued to vomit into a trashcan.  Lovely.

By some miracle our school secretary was able to poach a sub from another building.  The only problem was that I couldn’t drive myself home.

The solution was that my principal would drive me home and I would just leave my car in the parking lot at work.  So that’s what we did.

Because of the recess timing, I didn’t get to see my student teacher.  I couldn’t even text her because the Doozers were working overtime and I was trying not to throw up in my principal’s convertible!

I got home- got in bed, and mercifully, was able to sleep off most of the pain.  Thank goodness that my student teacher is so fantastic she was able to just make the rest of the day happen with ease.  Thank goodness that the secretary is so magical that she plucked a sub out of midair.  Thank goodness my principal could leave to drive me home.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s slice- when I wake up and realize my car is still at work!