Timing is Everything

It is true. Looking back at the end of February, remembering the shorter days, the drearier landscapes, the whole “sick of winter” feeling that pervaded each moment, I realize now that I was actually poised before a portal! March was that portal! Because when you come out on the other side,

the days are a lot longer

the landscape is abloom

and I can’t really remember that “sick of winter” feeling, it’s just…


But wait, there’s one more thing, one more really big important thing…

we danced through the portal together!

Sometimes life feels so all alone. Winter exacerbates that feeling. But this year I found myself soaring into spring because of this little challenge I undertook, this Slice of Life undertaking. The days ticked past as I posted and read, posted and read. It became an energy flow and when I realized it was almost over and I lifted my head


It has been great! Hope to see many of you at the Tuesday thing! I have to check that out now. Happy writing, happy spring, happy “somewhere through the portal!” (By the way, I have always wanted to find a portal!)



Such a great







Writing will inspire you to think differently about everything you see, do, say, hear, experience. It has done that for me over this past month. I just find myself thinking about my place in this world, my space in this world, differently because I choose to write about it.

Reading what others write inspires me to live outside my little box in this world. I find myself pondering others’ feelings and experiences and comparing them to my own. Sometimes what I read makes my life feel very small, sometimes very good, sometimes very ‘meh’. But it is all ok because that is what a life is, unique!

I’ve tried to inspire my friend to write for a few years now. I know she has a special voice. I know there is an audience out there waiting for her. And finally I found the voice of inspiration I have needed to get her to reach out to the world and speak! And I found this voice because I creeped out along that ginger limb and took that chance with all of you Slicers! I was nervous, I didn’t know what I was doing, I wasn’t sure I could meet the challenge, but I did. And I love it!

So, here’s to kathyspeak.wordpress.com

My friend has found a place for her voice and I am so proud of her!


The Irony of It

Today was a great day!

  1. My colleague and I spent an entire day of our Spring Break in school.
  2. I learned that I get to spend an entire week of Summer Break…in school.

So, the question is, is this irony?

Let us first examine this elusive term (since I have no idea if I am getting this right):

  • Merriam-Webster defines irony as: a situation that is strange or funny because things happen in a way that seems to be the opposite of what you expected
  • Dictionary.com states: an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.
  • The Oatmeal (a very strange blog that made me laugh) defines three types of irony, one being: Situational Irony: when something happens and a reversal of expectations occurs.

Hmm, so let’s see. I am on vacation this week, technically, Spring Break. I should be enjoying the pursuit of personal pleasures; eating bonbons in front of the television, fishing (hahaha, now that is irony!), laying on a beach in some tropical location, shooting craps in Vegas (another hahaha, just to see if you are paying attention), but instead I am at school. Cleaning the crap out of a grade level storage closet with one of my five colleagues since we are the only two available. I should be miserable but, guess what,

it was great!!!


So at the end of this awesome day, I get an email that is even more awesome!

Finally, you say, she is going to grab that box of bonbons, find that fishing pole, book that exotic island, brush up on her shooting arm (for craps, remember?),

Nope, not even close. I just learned that I am going back to Teacher’s College this summer for the Reader’s Workshop Summer Institute! Yup, that means, this summer, when I am technically on Summer Break…

I’ll be spending a week in school! And I can’t wait!


I’m not sure, but it just kind of cracked me up that after spending a day doing something I’ve been wanting to do for a few years (taking free time and spending it working in school) I get the email I have been waiting for letting me know that I can spend a whole week doing something I’ve been waiting to find out if I get to do again (taking free time and spending it learning for a week to improve my work skills).

So Teacher’s College, here I come, woohoo, anyone else attending the Summer Reading Institute in August? If so, maybe I’ll see you there!

The Mall





Some days are just mall days.

They are rarely planned.

They happen just because.

I think I need shoes.

I want to peek at some jeans.

My hand cream’s run out.

I hear there’s a sale.

Let’s go to the mall!


Some mall days are such good days.

They rarely are planned.

They just work out that way.

I’ll take both pairs.

These fit like a glove.

Two for one or five for three?

You’ve got to be kidding me.

It’s great at the mall!


Some mall days bring us together.

You can’t plan them, it’s true.

But for this daughter and her mom

Today just worked out that way!


Somedays are just mall days!

Easter Sunshine

There’s one thing you can always count on and that’s sunshine on Easter Day. It just seems like even the bleakest of forecasts turn out ok. Today was one of those bleak days. It was a gray morning, not cold but certainly not warm. The heat was on in the house and in the car.

“I just wish the sun would come out,” I lamented on the way to church.

“Yes, it certainly is un-Easterlike,” my mom replied.

Later that morning my husband and I had to run an errand. It was on the way back that it happened…

I was squinting!

And it felt warm on my right side!

Yup, there’s one thing you can always count on and that’s sunshine on Easter Day.

ABC’s of My Favorite Things

I am sitting here at my car dealership.  I needed a new battery for my key (weird, huh). Anyway, very pleasant, no charge, no hassle, and they offered me a car wash. Really nice, right? So it occurred to me to use the time to make this list!

Yay Audi!

The A B C’s of My Favorite Things:

Apple products




Early morning peacefulness


Good friends


Ice cream



Less is more

Mindful thinking

No negativity (hahaha, said in a double negative way)

OMG moments



Rock n roll

Shopping online (search, click, done)


Understanding new skills



X-tremely funny conversations

You, for taking the time to think, read, and write

Z, my nickname because I work with a “Susanne” and she is S!

Hahaha, So I’m Not That Crazy!

My neighbor drives a car similar to mine. Actually it is the exact same car (usually) but it looks different all the time. Weird, huh?

Some days I look over in Larry’s driveway and I see a white car but some days the car is silver. Or is it? Or was it…white? Maybe it was always silver.

Then there are days when I see a sedan, not an SUV at all and I think,


Today as I was coming home I passed Larry in his (now) silver SUV. I pulled over for a neighborly chat.

“Hi Larry!”

“Hi neighbor!” (Larry always says that.) “Happy Easter, do you and Rich have any plans?”

“No, not any big plans, we will probably have the family over, maybe barbecue,” I replied.

( It was then that the question I’d been pondering sprang to the forefront of my mind!)

“Larry, why do I always feel like you are driving a different car?” I blurted out before my mind had even caught up to the fact that my question probably sounded just a little odd.

“Because I always am,” he countered with a grin.

The quizzical look on my face must have prompted him to explain because although he had answered my question I was still perplexed.

“My daughter works for Volkswagen and they have this family plan. I bought the car but it gets changed out every few months.”

(Again, the stupid look on my face probably prompted yet another explanation.)

“So I have this car now (the silver SUV) but I just recently had a white one. That one was really awesome, it had all the bells and whistles, this one is a little more sluggish, but once it gets going it drives like a champ,” he explained.

“Well, Larry, I am so glad I asked you this question because I just could not figure out what was going on!”

Lesson learned today,

Sometimes you just cannot figure things out on your own, you just have to ask a question. And it could save you from thinking you are absolutely going crazy!

Sibling Stories

I had a surprise visit from some former students after school today! They are 8th graders now (I had them in third grade) and we had a fun chat and catch up. I inquired about one of the girl’s sisters who had been in our LLD program since she had been in preschool. We witnessed “Jeannie” go from non communicative through extremely aggressive to somewhat “compliant” as a learner and member of our school community. She was one of those kids that everyone knew and everyone pulled for. Things got tougher for her in middle school and an out of district placement was eventually deemed the least restrictive environment for her.

“She’s doing ok, it’s hard,” Ella replied about her sister.

“How is her new school working out? Is it a long ride?” I inquired further.

“Yeah, it’s like an hour and a half. Right now Jeannie doesn’t sleep very well so she bangs on the wall at night and keeps me up. I’m so tired in school but the teachers just say, ‘Why are you so tired? Just get more sleep’.”

Her words brought third grade Ella back to my mind’s eye. The quiet little struggler. Never asked for help. Never let on that she was confused. Never demonstrated much emotion. Just a little person in a room, preferring to blend in and fade away.

At the time I was developing a theory of mine (I do this a lot, my family calls it my ‘fuzzy science’) about the siblings of our challenged students. Not just learning challenged but on the spectrum challenged. I was beginning to feel strongly that a lot of the behaviors we saw in them were a defense mechanism they had developed to help them cope. Let’s face it, when you are little attention is attention. And their siblings were getting all of the attention. When they got attention it was most likely for disturbing the calm in the house in one way or another by disturbing their sibling.

I spoke to Ella’s parents about this at the time because I felt Ella had learning needs that were exacerbated by her reluctance to call attention to herself. They were very open to my concerns and I witnessed Ella come out of the ‘shell place’ she had devised for herself and become ‘Ella’.

I shared this with Ella today. I shared my theory with her. It just sounded like she needed to hear it. I could hear in her that ‘slipping away little girl’ who isn’t too young anymore to begin to advocate for herself. Things are tough in her home, there is no doubt about that, but everyone needs to be able to make mistakes like leaving their lunch on the counter (Jeannie got the lunch and ate it; she is on a very strict diet) without feeling like they can’t make mistakes.

So I told Ella about this blog. About how I was writing everyday and it was teaching me to look at my day differently. I told her, for example, that today’s blog would be about her visit. (Her eyes lit up.)

And I told her she should start to write her story. I told her to write the story of her life from her perspective. I even suggested it could be a fictional piece of writing, about a little girl who has a sister…

She looked at me and said,

“That’s a really good idea. I never thought about doing something like that.”

Then we realized she had to go and she said,

“This was really great, I’m going to come back again!”

I can’t wait to read her story!

Yes, So Many (sigh) Books

I have my monthly Book Club meeting soon so I decided to post tonight about books. And reading. And thinking. And dreaming. And learning. And ideas. And, well, books.

You see, I love books. As I believe all people should. It’s a huge goal but a woman can dream. Books are friends. When you have a book you always have something to do. You always have a thought to ponder. You always have a dream to follow. You always find something to learn. You always have an idea to grow.

So I decided to Google synonyms for bookworm since that is a character trait of mine, or at least it is a name that fits me really well. The list was, well, interesting. And longer than I thought it would be. And pretty much accurate if not always flattering.

The list started with bibliophile, intellectual, reader, savant, and scholar.

Ok, I can live with those. Bring on some more you say? Next came some words “related” to bookworm:

learner, bluestocking, genius, highbrow

egghead, longhair, know-it-all, geek

thinker, learned one, cereb, acedemic

master, sage, wise person, litterateur

and the best of the best-

rocket scientist!

Really fun, right! There were lots more but you get the picture. And you get to be called all of these things just for reading books.


So, as I stated, tonight I have my book club meeting. My club had its beginnings in baseball. Too much baseball that is! Our then 10 year olds (they are now 30ish) were playing and we were watching. We got chatting about the amount of time we spent on baseball fields and whether there was something better we could do with our time. And that was how our book club was born.

I was fortunate enough to find a whole group of litterateurs to share my passion for reading with. We began monthly highbrow meetings where we geeked out over characters’ lives. Our intellectual conversation may have seemed eggheaded to some but to us it was pure

rocket science!

Ok, see ya, my fellow bibliophiles await!


Full Moon Fever

8:45 am

“Good morning, Mrs. Scannell!”

“Good morning, Joe.”

“Good morning, Mrs. Scannell!”

“Good morning, Nate. Nice haircut.”

“Thank you!”

“Good morning Mrs… Hey, what’s this egg over here? Hey, everyone, look!” “Look, it’s an egg!” “It’s Rodger, Rodger’s back!” “Who?” “Rodger, you know, the egg!” “I thought his name was Bob.” “No, that was our egg last year, in second grade. This is Rodger.”

I did not have a clue what those children were talking about. But I was quickly figuring it out! Paul, our evening maintenance man, knew I would not be around to bring “Rodger” our  Egg Day egg back, so he brought Rodger back for me! (Please see my previous post, Traditions, for the full story) Paul has grown very fond of our “Eggy” visitor and was looking forward to his return this year. I realized I would not be in school the day spring arrived nor the day after due to a personal day so I chatted with Paul about the fact that this may be the year Rodger does not return. We were both a little sad so I guess he must have brought in an egg and tried it himself. There was a post-it dated March 21, 4:00!

Well, this was really exciting but let me tell you, it got the kids worked up into a frenzy. It took quite a bit of effort to refocus them and get them ready to go to gym. And really, usually all I have to say is, “We are going to be late for gym,” and they quiet right down. Not today.


10:45 am

One of the children saw me printing out an assessment for reading.

“Oh no, don’t give us a reading test!”

“Why not?”

“We had one yesterday, we don’t want another one.”

Yes, I thought inside my head. She was right, they had taken an assessment of sorts the day before. I had left it for the substitute to administer. So perhaps I would put off this benchmark pre-assessment until another day. Today was not feeling like a good day to assess their strengths and weaknesses in reading nonfiction anyway.

“Ok, I’ll wait until tomorrow.”

“Really? Thanks!”

But someone had overheard the conversation and for the next several minutes the topic of conversation all centered on what everyone thought they knew as a truth:

“We are taking a reading test!”

“Really, we just took one yesterday.”

“I don’t want a reading test.”

“Did you hear we are taking a reading test?”


“Boys and girls, we are not taking a reading test. Stop worrying. And stop listening to people who are repeating things they overheard! You are getting yourselves all worked up.”

They were really worked up.


1:50 pm

I greeted the class after recess. We began our walk back to the classroom.

“Mrs. Scannell, Michael said some very inappropriate things to me just because I asked Mark to save my place in line,” Tom confided in me.

“Really? Ok.”

Inside my head I was thinking, “but what did you do before Michael felt the need to speak inappropriately?” I kept the thought in my head however, until we got back to the room and I could investigate.

Turns out Tom wanted Mark to save him a place in line but then Mark realized he and Tom are not supposed to be next to each other in line. So he asked Michael to move so Tom could line up away from him and that annoyed Michael because he was already there in line and…

You get the picture and it is not a rosy one!

So we had a class discussion and all kinds of problems had occurred while lining up for recess. The stories all started coming out. Then one of my girls started crying because a boy said she was trying to cut but really she was just helping someone else and people are always saying untrue things about her and then that boy got really mad because he was being accused of making someone cry but he was just standing up for someone else and…


8:00 pm

“Is tonight a full moon?” my husband asked me as we settled down to enjoy a bowl of soup together.


“I’m not sure but if it is that would explain a lot of things about today,” I replied.

And guess what!

Yup, the werewolves are out alright.

Tomorrow will be a better day!