Monday, August 31, 2015

Writing Challenge day 31: Running Challenge

Seems fitting that my 31 day writing challenge ends on the same day I decided to stop #catchingsunrises, and on the day before the start of the 2015-16 school year.  Publicly posting sunrises that coincided with my runs turned out to be public invitations to see sunrises which incidentally became an 83 day habit that I couldn't really imagine not doing with all of you.  Not to mention writing for 7 minutes for 31 days which became as important as running for those 31 days in August.  So thanks to everyone who sent me responses - I was enriched and encouraged, and I grew because of our shared experiences.  As a writing teacher, that just means a lot to me. 

Now for the finale -- Pick one to write about, or write on all three: 


7 minutes of your time ... 

My sunrise runs actually started June 12, so here is the beginning with a few extras.  Love Instagram.  


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Writing challenge day 30: sage advice

This is Sage.  She's Emma's crested gecko and today's writing challenge is Sage Advice.

7 minutes...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Writing Challenge day 29: small moments

Misa and I will be sharing 6th grade this year.  Yesterday she helped make getting ready way more fun and put up bulletin boards and did other time-consuming logistics for me.  Then we rode our bikes and SUP'd in the rain and she was totally happy, and so was I, while at the same time, I stayed in the present because that's where we were.  So today's writing challenge is Small Moments Today. 

7 minutes

Friday, August 28, 2015

Writing challenge day 28: diggin in

Always impressed with my husband's swimming skills, style and effort to dig through the weeds to make it to the sweet spots in the Lake.  He's super badass.  So that's today's writing challenge What will you dig through today?  

7 minutes 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Writing challenge day 27: garden

We're nearing the end of our potted plant season and the tomatoes, chard, eggplant and pepper yield have been decent.  It was fun having my dad here when the eggplant ripened 'cause I made a dish he used to make for me that Brad and I savor which is a mix of eggplants, fresh tomatoes, greens, and fine dine sauce over rice or wrapped in a corn tortilla.  He forgot about it and said he hadn't had it in years.  And he liked it, which is like the biggest, rarest compliment from my dad, ever.  So today's writing challenge is What does your garden yield? And that can be metaphorically or literally.  

7 minutes :) 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Writing challenge day 26:

No love, some love, kinda got love -- I passed these three yesterday morning and watched what was happening.  I couldn't tell their real story but I imagined one.  They're the subject of today's writing challenge: what's their story?  

7 minutes ... 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Writing challenge day 25: Timer of zero

Yesterday while I was climbing this dude was conspicuously training, and by conspicuous I mean grunting, breathing, clapping hands for himself - he had the yellow pad and folder and he was clearly into it.  And I should not judge but I really wanted to enjoy the mellow jazz and R&B playing on the sound system and just get my own movement on.  As his timer was obviously set to his goal, I found a way to set mine to zero, zero.  And that's today's writing challenge: what to do with a timer set to zero, zero. 

7 minutes 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Writing Challenge day 24: try hard

I did a lot of push-ups alternating with pull-ups and TRX .  I deemed it a "try-hard" day and I did.  So today's writing challenge is Try Hard. 

7 min

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Writing Challenge day 23: rainbows

Lots of rainbows this season - I don't know if yall noticed a few but anyway, today's writing challenge is:  Rainbow.

7 minutes ... 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Writing Challenges day 22: miss

I miss my mom and the ocean, and my sister.  Today's writing challenge is things you miss.  

7 minutes ...

Friday, August 21, 2015

Writing Challenge Day 21: Running is Amazing

Today's writing challenge is inspired by Jada Matson who is a budding writer and a motivated runner, not to mention,  a really cool kid. 

What is your "amazing" thing?  

7 minutes ... 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Writing challenge day 20: dumb shit

I'm not sure why I saved this from a friend of mine except that it's so pragmatic.  Today's writing challenge is about dumb shit.  Have you done dumb shit?  What makes dumb shit? 

Just write for 7 min about this: 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Writing challenge day 19: abundance

This is part of the title of a book I just finished reading and love the idea of "abundance" so that's today's writing prompt: An Abundance.

7 minutes ... 

Writing Challenge day 18: playlist

This is my current playlist of songs.  I titled it "Bring on Truth," because all these songs cause me to pause and challenge my truth.  What would be on your playlist if you created one today?  What would you title it?  Random or theme based?  

7 minutes ...

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Writing Challenge day 16: graffiti

Chicano Park is in the Logan Heights neighborhood, and about 10 minutes from Natuonal City, where I grew up.  It is a graffiti stand-out representing the deep Mexican-American roots integral to San Diego.  This picture is one view w/pillars of art telling different stories.  This picture below still has space for more graffiti art and when I went to it last year to show John-Pio and Misa this element of hip hop in action, we each imagined what we'd contribute if we had time, paint and an idea. 

So today's writing challenge is to imagine what would be your graffiti art if this section below were reserved for you.  

7 minutes ...

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Writing Challenge Day 15: make your case

Take your time, but not too much, not too long.  Today's writing challenge is You got to make your case.  

7 minutes :)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Writing Challenge day 14: lonely luggage

There is something about this picture that has your story or someone else's story to tell.  When I first saw it, it resonated with me right away which I'll share later. (BTW: thank you all for your submissions - It is great to reconnect with so many of you and read your amazing thoughts and ideas!)  

Today's writing challenge is simply to write about this picture.  

7 min :)

Writing Challenge Day 13: meals

Misa and I made a chocolate cake in a mug which turned out moist and gooey, like cooked cake batter and if you can imagine it topped with ice cream you'd know it was a repeatable dessert in our house.  Since then I've received three mugs: a white specked one from a student with my initials on it, one with a cityscape of Chicago, and the third is made of pottery, swirled browns and reds that make my coffee taste better because it came from a close friend.  

So today's writing challenge is related to the title of this book:  meals in a mug- could it be all you need?  What would you make?  

7 minutes of your time ... 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Writing Challenge Day 12: Friendships

Feeling gratitude for friendships near and far.  I have a deep bank of people in my life and I still believe people come into our lives at different times for different reasons, and that there is a unique response to every meaningful one.  I could list all them here, but for now I just want today's writing challenge to be what matters in friendships.  

7 minutes ...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Writing Challenge Day 11: Gettin High

This day in 2010, we were high up in a Wyoming mountain range.  This picture was the morning sunrise as we prepped horses for the kids and adults to ride almost 15 miles up and into a special, remote land where we made camp for a week.  I draw on that experience as one that is most memorable, most absorbing, most fun with family and friends, Annie and Stanley, Amy and kids, Mattie and kids -- a top 5 in my memory of outdoor trips.  

So that's today's writing challenge: top five memorable outdoor moments.

7 minutes :)

Remembering what it means to share a big sky.

I forgot how they got this cake up there!

Amy surrounded by all the kids:) 

The constructed raft:

John-Pio's first fish with the ever patient Jake

These friends ❤️

Highlights in history remind me of my history.  

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Writing Challenge Day 10: Gettin' Older

One thing about teaching is I keep getting a year older but as long as I'm a 6-7th grade teacher, my students are always the exact same age year after year.  Ms. Matson, Ms. Jorgensen and I had this kid, Toren Young as a student almost 6 years ago.  Now he's going into his senior year with already a DivisIon I football scholarship to the University of Iowa.  Toren's a model of possibilities - of working hard, and harder still.  I have loved witnessing this kid mature and grow into a respectable leader and a  respectful young man (shout out to his mom and family) who calls us by Ms. and answers with "yes ma'am" and "yes sir."  He stopped by to visit during our Guam Liberation party as well as to drop off some fundraising items, and his presence reminded me once again why I teach - I really needed this boost.  So here's to celebrate a kid who knows what it takes to stay in touch w/the "village" and who puts family above all else.  

Since it's my 51st birthday, today's writing challenge is growing older - what stays the same, what moves on? 

7 minutes :) 

Writing Challenge Day 9: Clearing calendars

One of the best things about living in a city with friends who come and go is that some come back.  So when word got out that Sue Lottridge was coming to Madison, I naturally cleared my calendar to make way for running, climbing, and beer drinking.  And talking 'bout Life, the Universe, and Everything too (of course).  Even Stacey, strong mama of three babies made a cameo appearance.

So today's writing challenge is Clearing your calendar. 

7 minutes of writing ... :)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Writing Challenge Day 8: Slowing down and noticing

Every day since the last day of school I've worked consistently to lace up my shoes and show up.  Today was like all other days since June 12, except I got to run with two of my favorite athletes and closest friends.  Both training for big events, both committed and dedicated to the process of training, and most importantly to me - both know how to make me laugh, slowing me down.  Making me go even slower. 

So here's today's writing challenge:  Slow down.  What do you notice?


Friday, August 7, 2015

Writing Challenge Day 7: Fully Clothed

We've been members of Goodman Pool and Brittingham Park ever since they opened so I have no qualms about going for as short as 30 minutes like we did today where I promptly laid my butt down and fell into a surprising mid-day nap, only to be woken by John-Pio saying, "Mama, you didn't even take off any clothing.  You're just like, HERE.  Asleep.  And we're pretty much done swimming." So in the spirit of deep naps, here's today's writing prompt:  That time I fell asleep fully clothed only to be woken by ...

7 minutes of your time :). 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Writing Challenge Day 6: optimistic

What about memories?  My dad is 76 and over the last five years I feel like he's bridging memories, as if pieces of him are shooting like a lightning rod through his bones and he's eager to get them out.  The past few days I spent hours recording his stories of fishing when he was young.  Some words and names of fish are lost but his memory of how they're caught and how they're cooked are fresh. I love catching glimpses of his vulnerability, too - I can see it.  At times, his sharing is uncovered and raw, and sometimes there is a hint of sorrow.  I
keep searching for any inklings of regret, but I think that's one thing my dad taught me well: Regrets demand too much, that nothing in life except death or accidents have to be earth shattering.  And his presence here reminds me that he is 99% optimistic and 1% foreboding - I think the quote I live by. You must act as if it is impossible to fail, could have come right from him.  

So that leads me to today's writing challenge:  What makes you feel optimistic?  

7 minutes of your time!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Writing Challenge Day 5: Magic Word(s)

Every morning when I see Mr. Troia he drops advice:

Fixed rate for retirement over variable.
Exercise over sitting on couch.
Pick up your stuff and others litter.
Teach 'em to put their cereal away when they're young.

Then he said "Tell me the magic word to make Life better ..."

So that's today's prompt: Tell me the magic word(s) to make ..."

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Writing Challenge Day 4: Surprises

My dad and I must have similar circadian rhythms.  He was up at 4:55am.  So was I.  He went fishing, and I went running.  Morning fishing lasted 6 hours resulting in a whole lotta fish!  THEN, early evening fishing went longer.  I'm not much of a fisherman but I savor the surprise and delight when one is caught and that really matters for some of us, because that catch is dinner.  

So today's prompt is related to surprises: What was your last surprise?  Or what surprises you or surprised you in your life, past or recent or yesterday? 

Capturing surprises here:  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Writing Challenge: Day 3 Parenting books

I'm clearing book shelves, giving away a bunch, and making way for new ones.  I  compiled a stack of 19 books to pass on,  all related to parenting.  Honestly, I read every one of them, and so did Misa! Those books happened to be visible and accessible to anyone who earned the time-out corner.  Misa's memorable one was by Sylvia Rimm: How to Parent So Children Will Learn, in which she asked, "Do you really believe this stuff Monmy?"  So in the spirit of self-help parenting books here's day 3 writing challenge prompt:

Pick a title from this stack and write what it's about ... 

(7 minutes of your time!). 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Writing Challenge Day 2: Moving Day

Prompt:  When I moved . . . (Tell about a time when you moved.)  Set timer to 7 minutes and write!  Later today I'm going to write about backpack moving. 

You know it's moving season by the number of U-Hauls lined and parked along alleys and streets.  We spent the last day and a half helping my bro and sis-in-law.  They're now on my favorite side of Madison within walking, biking, public transportation distance to all the cool stuff 'cause they're cool and it's humbling to see them adopt lifestyle values similar to us.  Here's what moving day looked like:

Dad so strong.

my favorite pic of these two bros

ruth is her own woman

Lisa and Ruth closing it up