Slice of Life – Blooket

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 12 October 2021.

Today while observing a computer class, I learned about a new review game called Blooket.com. As the children started logging in to Blooket for the review of the lesson, I began to help some of the children get to the page and join the game the teacher had prepared.

One little girl got an error message when she tried to write her Nickname, which our teachers always encourage the students to write their real names. She got the message “That name doesn’t seem to be appropriate.”

Someone said, “Oh, you didn’t use a capital letter.” I wish. We tried again with a capital. That wasn’t it. Then, so she could play, we just used her first initial and second name.

I found my cheeks getting red with embarrassment and anger that she had to get that message saying her NAME wasn’t appropriate. It was a name unnecessarily censored. It stayed with me, and I got more indignant.

When I got home, I signed up for Blooket so I could send a message to the contact email asking them to do something about it, so she wouldn’t have to get that message again.

Within thirty minutes I received this humble and helpful response:

Hey Denise,
We are super sorry about this! We will add that name so it is not flagged. We aim for users of every age group to be able to play! Unfortunately sometimes the computer picks up the wrong thing to censor.
Apologies for the inconvenience,
S.
I am thankful that I spoke up. As of now, though, her name remains inappropriate, according to Blooket. I will check again until it’s fixed.

Poetry Friday – Poemtober

Happy Poetry Friday today! Thank you, Irene, at Live Your Poem for hosting today. Here is her post with an Ode to Autumn by Neruda and “Autumn Puzzle” by Irene, as well as an opportunity in 2022. I hope to become an official wild and precious writer.

It’s a busy week here, so I have another LaMiPoFri again. (See Kat Apel’s blog for more information on the Last Minute Poetry Friday form.)

I was inspired last week by Jone McCulloch to look at the prompts for the Inktober and write small poems. Here are my first week’s October #smallpoems.

And today for my lamipofri poem, with today’s Inktober prompt watch:

How to Be Here

  • be curious
  • be courageous
  • watch for your privilege like a guard patrols a parapet
  • let that power go
  • listen laser-focused
  • be curious
  • be courageous

Spiritual Journey Thursday – This is the Day to Love

“And do you really believe God is with you no matter what? That you are not alone, that you don’t have to be you all by yourself? Here’s to being where you already are. Fully present with all that is true. And then here’s to doing your next right thing in love.”

~Emily P. Freeman, The Next Right Thing Podcast #188

Yes, indeed. I believe this more and more every day. With three surgeries in one month — two for my cataracted eyes, and another abdominal surgery for my husband, we are feeling more ephemeral in our house.

These thoughts of vulnerability aren’t making me worried or sad, but instead I believe they make me live more intentionally. More fully here. More often saying, “This is the day to love.”

Thank you, Ramona, for the link to Emily’s podcast. It was as you described, and I’ve enjoyed thinking about where I am these days. And thank you for hosting this group today.

Now, here I sit at the Toyota dealer, for what is going on the sixth seventh hour. I’m writing a poem on napkins with a borrowed pen and editing the rest of this post on my phone. Being here.

You Have the Right to Be Here

Yesterday I crashed into you.
My reaction was reflexive, “I have
to move over” as I heard a
car horn blast from behind. I jumped right
into you: the curb designed to
keep me in my lane. How can I still be
afraid to hold my space and remain present?
Fortunately, I got off with just a
blown tire and broken rim, right
there I was – – pinballing to the roadside to
regroup. Then today I sit at the dealer and attend,
waiting as things are fixed, enjoying a
grilled cheese and iced tea, right
here and now at Caribou, not neglecting to
be fully here and to be
gratefully astonished.

This golden shovel poem is based on a quote in The Overstory, the book by Richard Powers, which I just finished reading this morning. “You have a right to be present. A right to attend. A right to be astonished.”

Inktober / Poemtober Small Poems, Week 1

Maybe someday I will try inking all the prompts for Inktober, but for now I am going to follow Jone Rush McCulloch’s lead and write a small poem each day in October.

My new lens is like
a clear crystal burning in
the light of sunshine

What new suit will you wear
when all your defenses fall away?

Vessel
A ship at sea, airtight
’37 dirigible crash at night
Chalice holding wine of Light
Internal river of lifeblood
Person who holds extraordinary love

When we said ‘yes’
more than 38 years ago,
I never knew the knot of love
could keep getting stronger.

White supremacy,
raven of oppression,
unmerited power through
hatred, fear, injustice.
Never satisfied.

Holy Spirit,
To your church,
come and clear it
Make them hear it
God, be near it

When I see a fan,
I think of you, Mohammed H.
You were my Kindergarten fan fan–
now growing up still charmed
by the hum of the bladed whirligig.
Future engineer.

Slice of Life – Update on My Yo-Yo Quilt

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 5 October 2021.

Today I finished another step of my yo-yo quilt. I was inspired to get started on this quilt in August and wrote about my progress here.

Since then I’ve worked on it off-and-on, and I learned so much. I’m not totally satisfied, but I decided to finish anyway. It was my first attempt doing artwork with yo-yos. Each piece has been basted onto the background. Now I just need to more permanently sew down each of the more than 600 yo-yos. (I wonder how long that will take!)

My inspiration is the Bahrain World Trade Center. Click the link or photo below to read an article about the process of the building of this landmark in 2008.

Poetry Friday – Tree Love and a Mad Lib Poem

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily…
~Mary Oliver

I read this lovely poem by Mary Oliver for the first time today at Sharing Our Stories Magic blog, and it reminded me of the book I’m reading, The Overstory, which is a magnificent 500-page love letter to trees. Have you read it?

Read Oliver’s full poem “When I am Among the Trees” here.

On another note…

Who I Am

I was born in the year of the red security sweater.
My mother was an elegant upright piano
And my father, an unfiltered Camel cigarette.
Is it any wonder I grew up to be a kind of amusing
cross between a shy Daffy Duck and a stoic puffin bird?
Take a fluttering look at me—
I’m aloofly friendly, hope-filled, and wearing out.
Is it any wonder that at night
I have nightmares about
my sweet retirement life crumbling before it begins?

I wrote the poem above from a prompt shared by Taylor Mali–It is a fun foldable called Slam Poem Mad Lib. Did you see Taylor Mali’s Metaphor Dice are on sale right now for teachers for $8 instead of $20? (Thanks, Karen E.)

Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is with Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core. Today she has written and shared a beautiful poetry primer with A to Z loveliness!

Poetry Friday – In Memory

Jeff, gentle giant
Your heart was big, but failed
Today you are gone

It was the summer Scotty died.
I flew back a month after I moved to Iowa.
After the funeral
we went on a road trip.
Your aunt, Scotty’s grieving mom,
your broken Grandma,
and your stunned Aunt Denise
(who was being driven back to Iowa
to start a new school year
in a new school and new state)
and you, his cousin —
teenage laugher and listener,
so bright-eyed and fun-loving,
with a sly shyness.
You, who made the trip fun,
instead of a drudge.
We drove in the camper,
saw some sights,
took funny photos,
and told stories of Scotty.
It was the year of the Blizzard–
a new ice cream treat.
We stopped
in every small-town DQ
for a new flavor.

Today, thirty-five
years later, you have left us.
Another nephew
gone too soon–death’s order in
this broken world, false again.

It is Poetry Friday, and Laura Purdie Salas has the roundup here, with tankas and a new picture book coming out: If You Want to Knit Some Mittens.