So You Want to be a Writer
Fotos of Phrends
ANGELI
November 2009

angeli-donna-lincoln-center
What better way to take advantage of a day of off school than to hop a bus and head to the City to meet my dear friend, Angeli. Angeli and I s
pent several lovely hours at Dafni Greek Taverna on 42nd Street. We started with a hot appetizer of baked imported cheese called Saganaki. It was lethal, but oh so good. We both tried the combination platter of gyro, bifteki, and souvlaki with tzatziki. Yummy! Unfortunately, we had no room for dessert, but we still felt decadent. We had to work off those extra calories, so we strolled up Broadway to Lincoln Center just a-walking and a-talking.

We reminisced about the racing days when our scientist-husbands turned amateur open-wheel race car drivers. We talked about our weekends together in the Berkshires. And a whole lot of girly-girl talk was thrown in, too.

 
My Writing Life
I Write -- Sometimes, I Read
               November 2009

Here is my behind-the-scenes life -- my life when I am not in the classroom -- my after five life. I write! Then sometimes I read.donna-barnes-&-noble-david2

My writing group, the Write Group of Montclair sponsors Open Mics every month. Twice a year we meet at Barnes and Noble book store to read to the public. I am reading a chapter from my book in progress. It is about my husband, David, and the traumatic brain injury he suffered and survived in January 2005. donna-david-pict-2-b&nThe picture I am holding is David on Christmas morning just three weeks before his trauma.

Reading to strangers gives me a sense of well-being. They encourage me with their intent interest in the story and their  amazement at David's survival.

David comes with me to the readings. He is living proof and testament to my words.

The first draft of the book is completed. I am  working on revisions and will send it to a publisher when done.
 
My Family Album
david-friends-2009Give You My Heart
December 2009




I'll take it!

Some girls want jewelry or fancy vacations or Broadway shows, flowers, or perfume. They are all nice, but I want more! I want the very essence of my man.

I've got it -- and I know I do!  See!

                       Hi Neely! (That's me)

                           You ARE the most important person in my life.

                       Sincerely,
                       David
        donna-david-heart-2009And you know what? David has my heart, too.

 
Featured
Meg and her friends organize a BOOK FAIR to buy new books for the town library.
Read more...
 
On Teaching
This is me!
This is me.
I love my class.
Can't you see?
 
 

 

Yep! That's one happy teacher. THAT'S ME!

Sometimes I really look like that. Oh, don't worry. It's a good thing. I practically stand on my head for my kids. But then . . . they just about stand on their heads for me, too.

I think kids are just about the smartest people around. Don't let their size trick you. Sometimes they try to hide what they really know, but if you dust away the cobwebs, it's all there . . . just waiting to be discovered.

 
Children\'s Writers Workshop
Directions to Children's Writers Workshop
 
School Days Colleagues
 
Our Kindergarten Teacher
Meredith

Kindergarten Teacher
 
Donna (Me) 
First Grade Teacher
Donna (Me)

1st Grade Teacher
Kathy
Kathy

1st Grade Teacher
 
 
Gale & Michael
Gale & Michael

2nd Grade Teachers
Our Second Grade Teachers
Gale & Michael

2nd Grade Teachers
 
Anna
Anna

2nd Grade Teacher
 
Karen & Ethan
Our Fearless Leaders disguised
as Elmo and Cookie Monster

That's Karen, our Principal and
Ethan, our Vice-Principal
 
 
 
KINDLING WORDS: the RETREAT 2005
Registration is open for KINDLING WORDS: the RETREAT -- 2005.

KINDLING WORDS is a retreat for professionals in children's publishing.

If you are a published children's book author or illustrator, or an editor or agent working in the children's publishing world, you are warmly invited to attend KINDLING WORDS: the RETREAT.

KINDLING WORDS is held at Silver Bay, NY http://www.silverbay.org/ on the shores of Lake George, nestled in the heart of the Adirondack mountains.

The retreat is scheduled for January 27th through January 30th. An additional week of retreat prior to the start of the KW, with no programs or speakers, is provided for a minimum additional charge.
 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
Pick a book.
Go ahead! Pick a book. Any book. AND read.
 
 
 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
THANKS ANNE and MARY
 
My Published Work
 
A Star Wish
A Star Wish
 
Have you ever wished upon a star? Wished for a new doll or wished to stay in the bubble bath forever and ever? Wished you never had to eat spinach, or liver, or anchovies or wished for a million dollars . . . maybe two? I don't know . . . do wishes come true? It's fun to think about. But the year of the drought, everyone was wishing - Ma and Pa, Mr. John and Mr. Hank. They were all worried about the corn and they were wishing for just one thing . . . RAIN!

But the rain didn't come. The grass was brown. But the rain didn't come. Twigs snapped. But the rain didn't come. Maybe if I wished harder, my star wishes would work. MAYBE!

Maybe it would rain.
 
Phrogs FROGS Phrogs
Regis Amphibian & Kelly Rippit Rippit Rippit
Regis Amphibian & Kelly Rippit Rippit Rippit
by
Bernadette Bird & Downia Glass

 
 
Another visit to Erie. Just can't keep away. This time I found a lot more frogs. They just kept leaping up all over the place. Some cars have signs that say, "CAUTION! I stop for garage sales." But I need a sign to alert unsuspecting motorists that I STOP for FROGS!

My poor father-in-law kept saying, "Not again?" And I kept saying, "Ahh, just one more!" Then my friend, Kristin, would shout, "LOOK! Over there! And . . . SCREECH!!!!!

That's Kristin between Regis and Kelly.
 
Friends on the Fast Track
One Happy Racer
David with Donna (Me)
One Happy Racer
David with Donna (Me)
David & Donna 
Mike & Angeli
David & Donna
Mike & Angeli
The PODIUM! 
That's David in the Middle 
#1
The PODIUM!
That's David in the Middle
#1
 
David & Mike 
sharing the PODIUM 
with another friend, Chris
David & Mike
sharing the PODIUM
with another friend, Chris
 
David and Mike didn
 
*NEW* TBI Traumatic Brain Injury - A Living Nightmare
David trying out his 
									new running clothes
									LOOK'N GOOD
David trying out his
new running clothes
LOOK'N GOOD
December 2004
 
 

 


Here's David just 20 days before the TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) caught up with him. Bet he would have run faster if he knew what was coming. Life's turns can be so unexpected. This was Christmas morning and I wanted to see how his new running clothes fit and looked on him. So, of course, he had to try them out -- running down our very short hallway. He looks GOOD!

This is the picture that I hung in David's hospital rooms in Columbia Hospital and at Kessler Rehab. I wanted the doctors, nurses, therapists, and aides to know who he REALLY was. I wanted them to see him brimming with life. I wanted them to glimpse him before TBI.

David ran about 20 miles every week. He could always be seen running through the parks of our town, all 6 of them -- and then up the hill to Lincoln School and down again. He ran to keep himself fit and healthy. He ran to ease the stress of 12 to 14 hour days of work in his lab/office at Columbia University. He ran to clear his head and for the feelings of relaxation he experienced after the run. He also ate well and took his vitamins. These three things were great contributing factors to David’s being alive today – that and his great motivation to live. I mean anyone who could run 10 miles in one stretch has great determination. David has great determination.

 
Writer Friends
 
          Meish 
sharing his new book
Meish
sharing his new book
 
More than ten years have passed since I first met Meish and he still comes to my classroom every year bringing his newest creations to share with the Kiddles and me. We look forward to his visit all year as we read some of his many books. Here are some of our favorite titles.

ANIMAL POEMS FROM A to Z

JOKES, RIDDLES, and POEMS

PAPER PARTY

GIRAFFE GROWS UP

HOW PLANTS GET FOOD

WHAT is a FOSSIL?

101 SCIENCE POEMS and SONGS for YOUNG READERS

Thank you, Meish!
 
Flowers Around the World
Orange Flowers
Orange Flowers
 
Single Pink Flower
Single Pink Flower
 
Purple & Orange Flowers
Purple & Orange Flowers
Pink & Orange Flower
Pink & Orange Flower
 
Field Flowers
Field Flowers
 
Purple Flowers
Purple Flowers
 
I love flowers and I love my digital camera. Put the two of them together anywhere in the world and it is a wonderful combination. Just "point and shoot" and you can't go wrong. The natural beauty of flowers will guarantee a perfect picture every time.
 
*NEW* Strange Happenings
Donna 
with 
Nose Bead
(left side)
Donna
with
Nose Bead
(left side)
 
Kiersten
with 
Nose Bead
(light side)
Kiersten
with
Nose Bead
(right side)
Betty 
She made me do it!
Well . . . she held my hand anyway.
Betty
She made me do it!
Well . . . she held my hand anyway.
 
Buddha's 
Erie, Pennsylvania
Buddha's
Erie, Pennsylvania
 
My daughter, Kiersten was visiting last April (2005) when she said, "Mom, I want to get my nose pierced." I looked at her as if she were nuts . . . not an uncommon mother/daughter look. Then she told me she wanted to get her daughter's nose pierced, too. "OK!" I thought. "I'll call your bluff." I told her if they were going to get their noses pierced, then I would, too. Now, she called mine and said, "Let's go!" So I did! I braced myself. I got up my nerve. I only had to keep it until I was seated in the piercer's chair. Unfortunately, or maybe lucky for me, the piercing studio was closed. Our window of time was also closed, since Kiersten had to go back to New Mexico. "DARN!" Just when I thought I could really do this.

But the seed was planted and it wiggled just beneath the surface of my mind. Then, Betty, a friend of mine, came to visit and gave me frog earrings. They matched hers. But I didn't have enough holes in my ears, so she persuaded me to pierce three more. So, when we went to Erie, we headed straight to Piercing Pagoda. Of course, getting my ears pierced reminded me of my desire to get my nose pierced. (Sounds a little like IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE -- doesn't it?) The next evening Betty and I went to Buddha's -- a little nervous and a lot scared. (I could have gone to Ink Assassin or Mad Mike's, but Buddha's seemed a little more sane. Actually, another time I did go to Ink Assassin and spoke with the piercer, Missy, who was very knowledgeable about her craft.) Anyhow, thirty minutes later I walked out of Buddha's with a hole in my nose, feeling a little woozy, and a lot like I must be out of my mind, but loving every minute of it.

It didn't take Kiersten long after she got back home to find her own piercing studio. And now we have matching nose beads. We're mirror images - mine on the left - hers on the right . . . mother/daughter style! :)
 
Puerto Penasco, Mexico
Hitching a Ride
Hitching a Ride
 
Pelican on Rock
Where Did Everyone Go?
Pelican on Rock
Where Did Everyone Go?
Pelicans 
and more 
Pelicans
Pelicans
and more
Pelicans
 
 
*NEW* WIND RIVER Prokaryotic Biology
Trish, Krista, & Jeremy
Strolling through Estes Park.
HEY . . . I'm there, too.
Be
Trish, Krista, & Jeremy
Strolling through Estes Park.
HEY . . . I'm there, too.
Behind the camera
 
Ye Olde Paddle Wheel
Ye Olde Paddle Wheel
 
 
Streets of New York City
Hydrangeas 
									on
									77th Street
									near 
									Central Park
Hydrangeas
on
77th Street
near
Central Park
 
 
I never tire of walking the city streets, well, that's not entirely true, my feet would probably complain if they could, but you know what I mean. I could walk there all day and never be bored. In fact, I once walked seven miles, without realizing it – just wandering around the city. There is always something to see. The sights of New York City are many . . . the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, the Staten Island Ferry, Grand Central Station, Coney Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Central Park, Broadway, museums, cathedrals, churches, and parks . . . the list goes on and on and on . . .. But, what I find most fascinating is just ordinary people watching. When you REALLY think about it, it is so amazing that there are no two people exactly alike and if you take the time to watch, people do the darndest things. Then, it’s really fun, too, when during the summer months, you stumble onto street festivals, like . . . the Greenwich Village Festival or the Lexington Avenue Summer Fest, the Times Square Block Party, or the Washington Square Summer Fair. There are so many! I also love when I happen upon street performers . . . congo players, break dancers, or rap singers, mimes or guitarists. There are even didgeridoo players. There are many talented folk in New York City.

One day on my many wanderings - actually I was wandering away from St. Luke’s Hospital, where I had just visited my friend, Paula Danziger, who was very ill - I was very distracted, but, when I reached the steps of the Cathedral of St John the Divine, my attention was riveted to a very unique dance team. Their stage was the outdoor steps of the cathedral. About fifty young people rolled down the steps . . . like water in a beautiful choreographed ballet. It was amazing and yet it is near impossible to convey its beauty with words. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

The flowers in New York City are beautiful, too. You probably wonder where they grow between all the concrete and steel, but grow they do – in front of brownstones, on terrace roofs, and in flower boxes, hanging outside apartment windows. Even the subways, deep underground, offer beauty – beauty of music and beauty of art. So, if you are ever in New York City, look around and you will see beauty and you will know why everybody loves New York. I know – I do!
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life
Life away from home is soooooooo different. Besides going to the swimming pool and New York City, we just hang around doing . . . well, ordinary, normal things.

DAILY DOINGS

 
Link to Important Sites
KINDLING WORDS: the RETREAT
This retreat, tucked away on the icy shores of Lake George in the Adirondacks of New York, is for published authors and illustrators.

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
This international organization for writers and illustrators is a must for anyone who wants to be a part of the publishing world.

 
Clip Art Credits
 Clip Art courtesy of myFreeClipart
 
Home
People come from all over the world to visit my site.
                motion
                                    I love to see from where they come. Maybe you will like it, too.


 
Fotos of Phrends
APARNA, VIKRAM, ESHAAN, and KRISH VASISHT
                      November 2007


It was a strange way that I met Aparna and her husband, Vikram. But, I know it was supposed to be.

Several months after David’s trauma, around June of 2005, I received a phone message. A woman’s voice asked to speak to me about tutoring her son in Spanish. I thought she must be trying to get help for her high school student who needed extra help, and I thought it must be a mistake.
aparna-2007

I can handle 1st grade Spanish and even 2nd or 3rd, but I knew I was no match for high school level Spanish. Even though I had majored in the language in high school and college, and had recently returned from Puebla, Mexico where I studied all things Mexican for five weeks, I knew I couldn’t teach advanced Spanish. And then since I was so overwhelmed with David’s care, and preparing to go to Santa Cruz, California with him for more therapy for what turned into six weeks, I’m afraid I was rude and never returned Aparna’s call.

Aparna didn’t give up. There was a message on my machine when I returned home in late August and an email shortly after that. I was put to shame. When I finally contacted her she told me she learned of me through lesson plans I had written foreshaan-2005 my graduate studies course with the Oregon State University. Aparna explained that Eshaan, her four-year old son, really wanted to learn Spanish. I agreed to meet her and, Eshaan. 

Over tea at Aparna’s house I picked up a blue block and said, “azul.” Eshaan repeated. I pointed to a yellow one and he mimicked my “amarillo” perfectly. I continued with verde, rojo, blanco, negro, and anaranjado. Then he ran off to play in the adjoining room. When Eshaan returned after fifteen minutes, I called out the colors to him in English. He told them to me in Spanish. He stole my heart. I fell in love.

After that Eshaan came to my house for about thirty minutes each week and we sat on the floor with flash cards spread between us. “Muestrame el perro,” I said. He pointed to the dog. (el gato/the cat; el cerdo/the pig; la luna/the moon) We counted how many cards he won (the ones he knew instantly) and the ones I won. (the ones he took more than a second to call out) We stood at the window talking about los arboles/the trees, el cielo/the sky. We sang to the songs on the computer—Los Pollitos Dicen. We practiced shapes and numbers and the days of the week. And no matter how tiredeshaan-&-vikraam-2007 I may have been after teaching school all day, I brightened when Eshaan came through my door. He made me smile.

Eshaan doesn’t study with me anymore. He’s learning Spanish in his first grade classroom. But we still see each other--either at his house or mine when we go there for a visit or he and his parents come to ours. Aparna and Vikram and Eshaan and his little brother, Krish, have become very dear to David and me. I’m so glad that Aparna persisted in contacting me and didn’t let my unintentional rudeness stop our budding friendship.

 
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