Sunday Morning Coffee Share

Good morning, Everyone. It is a beautiful Sunday morning here on the south shore of Long Island despite the pandemic not easing as smoothly (is that the right word?) as all had hoped.

If we were having coffee together, I would report that my bike rides and travels through town spied so many graduation signs on the front lawn and birthday parades (I invited myself to join a few parades). It is a nice feeling to wave hello to neighbors I now recognize more readily. It is also so nice to see families, teens included, walking together, keeping a safe distance from others.

If we were having coffee together, I would tell you the yard is beginning to pop with color. Forget-Me-Nots bloomed their pretty blue, trimming the perennial garden. The veggies, broccoli rabe, snap peas, and collard greens (Matt’s favorite if I cook them with too much bacon), have sprouted. Window cleaning has commenced, and we are stripping varnish from the boat (thank God it is a small boat) so we can sand and revarnish the trim. The little engine needs some attention, but the sailboat now sports a fresh coat of blue bottom paint, and the rudder is hung. Getting close.

If we were having coffee together, I would report on the writing front. Daily Bread’s manuscript came back from editing this week with not too many errors and drastic changes needed. I sent out copies to agents and two publishing houses that did not require agents this week and crafted a spreadsheet. I decided to start weekly postings on how Daily Bread came to be. I will be presenting character backgrounds, back in the day stories, research and writing processes, and recipes. This weekend I have been trying to recreate the story’s sweet treat, Knot Surprises. The first two attempts were a bust, but this morning’s dough looks so much better. The problem with family recipes is that not much was written down. You can check out the first Daily Bread post from last week here.

I had some very encouraging feedback from the Blogging A to Z challenge. Journal On! Daily Writers’ Workshop targeted kids of all ages. I put together too short workbooks for teachers and parents to encourage journaling and creative writing. Journal On! Fun and Games and Journal On! Thoughts and Ideas Gleaned While Quarantined are available for free until the end of the (home)school term—June 23rd. If you or anyone you know would like a copy, please email me at storiesserved@gmail.com. I will send you a PDF document and the Powerpoint in exchange for honest feedback.

That’s it, folks. Have a good week. Make it great. Be safe. Be smart. Be well.

Big thank yous go out to Ecelic Ali for keeping the Weekend Coffee Share up and running.

 

 

Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

Daily Bread an Introduction

photo by Sergio Arez at Unsplash

Daily Bread is my middle-grade historical novel set in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, 1911. The story follows eight-year-old Lily, an American-born child of Sicilian immigrants, who loves to sing out her artist heart and prove she is not a little kid. She learns that it is not easy to be a big kid in the crowded tenement neighborhood, skirting old-world traditions, tackling bigotry, disasters, and screwy bakers, and learning to cross the street by herself.

 As I bring Daily Bread to publication, I will share the story’s character and plot developments, the fun research adventures, and my writing process. Get comfortable and join me on the journey. You may need to get something to eat. Share your impressions and your stories. 

The heart of Daily Bread came from my grandmother and her sisters telling and retelling their stories at the dinner table or in the kitchen. Stories grew from each teller, and time shifted perspective and facts. My grandmother, the eldest, was born in Sicily and immigrated with her mother across the ocean in steerage. She was perhaps two years old when she arrived and met her father for the first time in 1905. The family lived in the Lower East Side tenements on Manhattan Island. Four American daughters were soon born to the family. My grandma spent her crowded childhood in three-room flats on Mott Street and Mulberry Street.

My grandmother and her sisters had many heated argu—er—reminiscent sessions around the table, hashing out the family history. Their mama, my Great Grandma, was at the center, happily stirring pots adding to the commotions in bursts of Sicilian. Many of Grandma’s stories revolved around the wrongs and trespasses acted against her. The sisters had their own spin and burdens. Forgiveness may have been possible, but no one ever forgot. I hated the high-pitched hollering and the hand-slapping on the table. But the stories were so fantastic. I quietly stuck around, listened (never daring to say a word even as an adult) and remembered.  

Great Grandma and four of her daughters from back lt to rt Frances, Lily, Bea, Margaret(front rt)

 

There were few artifacts to verify the stories of their life in the tenements. Photographs during those early American years were scarce. There were no diaries or stacks of letters to browse through. Except for a few pieces of jewelry, sentimental items that were once cherished disappeared from bureau drawers. That side of the family did not like clutter. 

Daily Bread is not a factual account of immigrant children baking bread in the basement of a Jewish bakery. I am not sure if the baker’s wife gave the children morning and midday treats or if any of the children were in danger. What is true is that immigrant children of the early 20th century, like my grandmother and grand-aunts, had incredible responsibilities in caring for each other and journeying through indifference, bigotry, and disasters as they grew up (some things have not improved for today’s children of immigrants). Despite and because of their circumstances, they spun their American life stories to pass on better circumstances for their children and generations to come. They made America. Another truth is that, throughout her life, my grandma baked beautiful bread.

As I bring Daily Bread into the world, I will share Back In the Day Stories and my writing process. I am so fortunate to have my parents, several of their cousins, and our matriarch, Aunt Tosca, around to interview and gain clarification. Get comfortable and join me on the journey. Share your impressions and stories. You may need to eat something.


Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

Mother’s Day 2020 Coffee Share

Good morning Everyone.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies. I have always believed that it is easy to birth, shelter and feed a child, but it takes a mommy to nurture an entire life, and protect and nourish a soul. A mommy is in it for the long haul, no matter how independent, big,  and gray her baby grows. I am blessed with one of the best mommies ever. My mom is the definition of strength, determination and crazy-love no-nonsense sweetness.

The virus has kept Mom in the winter condo in Florida with Dad. I miss her terribly. Her roses and cat miss her too. It is also Dad’s birthday-87 years young.  My grandmother claimed he was the best Mothers’ Day gift she ever received. It was true.

That’s it, folks. I hope you are all well and rocking those essential masks. Have the best day possible as we honor our Moms, and a good week ahead. Make it great.

Be safe. Be smart. Be well.

Big thank yous go out to Ecelic Ali for keeping the Weekend Coffee Share up and running.

 

 

Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

Hurray for May

Good morning Everyone. How is everyone holding up? It is a rainy Sunday morning, but it is May. The last of April’s showers and cold is finally moving on. Did you get yourself a cup of coffee? Let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee together, I would say that spring is starting to look green. The oak trees are ready to shed their fluff in exchange for leaves, the forget-me-nots bloomed into beautiful blue mounds, and the combo coffee grinds and acid fertilizer I fed the hydrangeas have perked up the foliage. Dandelions have sprouted alongside the clover on the lawn. I have been on a mission, using this handy-dandy gadget that twirls the dandelion weed from its roots. It is more satisfying than vacuuming the house. We spread the clover last summer in hopes of enticing bees. For a few years, we have used non-chemical lawn and garden treatments to protect the birds, bees, and the water aquifer that supplies Long Island drinking water. Matt has gone to war with the moss growing between the patio pavers. Personally, I don’t mind the old world look, but he believes moss has no place on the patio. He mixed Epsom salt, white vinegar, and dish soap and sprayed the concoction. It worked within a few hours. Now someone will have to scrape the brown remains.

The ferries restarted the spring schedule to Fire Island, but it is limited with lots of rules for social distancing and masking faces. The town and county lifted the bans for the marinas. My sisters got their family boats into their slips. If the weather would just co-operate, Matt and I will varnish the trim, paint the bottom, place the rudder and little engine, clean the deck and hull, dig out gear— a lot to do.

If we were having coffee together, I would report on the COVID-19 front. Suffolk County has high numbers, but the hospitals are beginning to see a slowdown. More people are being discharged then admitted. New York school and campus facilities will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. Teachers, students, and parents must continue with remote learning (big sigh). Restaurants continue with take-out orders only. Main Street looks abandoned, and everyone must wear masks in stores. I have been riding my bike around town, waving to anyone on the street. I noticed kids playing in their front yards and people sitting on front porches engaging in much missed conversations with neighbors walking by.

My parents are still stuck in Florida. They miss home, and we are missing them terribly. My sister and I are tackling the yard with Mom relaying instructions. The roses must miss Mom since, despite my feeding and care, not a bud has emerged. Today, we scheduled another Family Meatball Meet-up on Zoom. I made Sunday Dinner Bingo boards to play during the zoom session.

If we were having coffee together, I would report that I completed the Blogging A-Z Challenge. I wrote daily prompts for kids to journal. Maybe it was a quarantine, but I found the whole challenge a struggle. This was my third year, and I had a hard time finding a rhythm to compose and keeping up with fellow bloggers, piling up the guilt. Daily Bread is still in editing. I am now working out a few project ideas. A writer always writes.

That’s it, folks. Have a blessed day and week. Make it great. Be safe. Be smart. Be well.

Big thank yous go out to Ecelic Ali for keeping the Weekend Coffee Share up and running.

 

 

Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

Z is for Zippity Zow

Welcome to my 2020 Blogging A-Z April Challenge. Each day, I will post a brief Journal On! Daily Writers’ Workshops lesson and prompt. Teachers, parents, and students may use the material to encourage daily writing practice, spark insight, and embrace mindful reflection.   

photo by Natalie Pedigo

Zippity Zow! We made it! And how!

Wow! Twenty-six days of journaling, discovering, and challenging our boundaries. We did it—and we did it in alphabetical order. We jotted, mused, and explored ways to paint pictures with words. We incorporated our senses, memories, and feelings, and indulged in wordplay. 

It has been a difficult month with the COVID-19 virus keeping us from our normal and threatening our wellbeing. But we are making it through, together, doing what we can to be safe and helpful. We can all be proud of the life long lessons learned during this time. Together, we will carefully move forward. 

I’m feeling rather proud. Inspiring journaling habits to the young and young-at-heart is a worthwhile endeavor. I hope the practice may have lightened your load a bit, relieved distracting stress, and brought peaceful joy to your day. 

  1. Primary Prompt: It’s a beautiful day. What is making you Zippity Zow proud today? DId you get outside, plant something, bake? Draw and journal about your proud zippity zow day.
  2. Intermediate and Upper-Intermediate Prompts: What makes you feel Zippity Zow proud? Is it finishing a difficult task, helping out, or finding the space and drive to journal each day? Giving yourself time to observe and ponder thoughtfully is worthy of recording. Write about your zippity zow proud self with joy, wonder, and reflection.

I hope you enjoyed the daily journaling challenge and that you continue to discover your voice proudly.    

 

 

Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

Y is for Yellow

Welcome to my 2020 Blogging A-Z April Challenge. Each day, I will post a brief Journal On! Daily Writers’ Workshops lesson and prompt. Teachers, parents, and students may use the material to encourage daily writing practice, spark insight, and embrace mindful reflection.   

Color words illustrate the images you are describing. Colors set a mood, spring objects and places into the forefront, and add to the word-painting on the page. Adding color descriptions explains the condition of an object, feelings, and scenes. There is so much variety in one color. The yellow I am thinking of is probably not the same shade of yellow as your yellow. Words like bright, pale, somber give color added depth. Yellow, a simple primary color, provides us a treasure trove of journaling practice.

  1. Primary Prompt: Draw a yellow thing you can see and hold. It could be a food, toy, or piece of clothing. Write about your yellow thing. My yellow ______is ….
  2. Intermediate Prompt: Find a yellow object. Write a simile about the yellowness of the subject. For example, The umbrella was as yellow as a school bus. Are there any other connections between the two objects.  The yellow umbrella demanded attention as I walked down the street. Expand on this yellow object scene. See where it takes you.
  3. Upper-Intermediate Prompt: Find a yellow object. Describe the shade of yellow. Is it dull or blindingly bright? Does this object have to be yellow, or can it come in a variety of colors? How does this yellow make the object stand out from the rest? Is yellow your first pick? Why/ why not? Would you have a better or friendlier attitude towards the object if it were a different color?

Until tomorrow, Everyone.

 

 

Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

X is for eXcitement

Welcome to my 2020 Blogging A-Z April Challenge. Each day, I will post a brief Journal On! Daily Writers’ Workshops lesson and prompt. Teachers, parents, and students may use the material to encourage daily writing practice, spark insight, and embrace mindful reflection.   

Excitement is exciting. There is birthday excitement, travel excitement, excitement over lobster, and candy is always exciting to indulge. Experiencing excitement perks up the endorphins in our brains, boosting moods and dispositions. Attention is focused, and energy seems boundless. Lists run through our minds and fill Post-It notes and scrap paper. Sometimes the planning and anticipation are more exciting than the actual event. Excitement is exciting—but I mentioned that already. Let’s journal about excitement.

  1. Primary Prompt: Draw an exciting event you had experienced. Was it a special birthday party, a family vacation, or a day trip? Or was it the time you learned to ride a two-wheel bicycle or when a kitten, puppy, or baby sister or brother arrived in your home. Add details such as the people and the place for when this event happened. Label. Journal about the exciting event.
  2. Intermediate Prompt: Think back to an exciting event. Was it a school play or a family experience, like a camping or ski trip, a game you participated in or watched? What did you do to prepare? Did anyone help you get ready? Was it hard to think of anything else while anticipating the event? Journal about your excitement.
  3. Upper-Intermediate Prompt: Are you excited over an upcoming event? Does it involve your family or friends or both? Have you done or been to this event before? How is this time going to be better and different from any other similar event? Journal about excitement you are feeling and your expectations. Include the consequences of excitement, such as sleepless nights and forgotten chores.

Until tomorrow, Everyone.

 

 

Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

W is for Weather

Welcome to my 2020 Blogging A-Z April Challenge. Each day, I will post a brief Journal On! Daily Writers’ Workshops lesson and prompt. Teachers, parents, and students may use the material to encourage daily writing practice, spark insight, and embrace mindful reflection.   

Weather takes on a significant role in our everyday lives. Weather dictates our plans and our expectations. It affects our moods as well.

Many journal writers use their weather reports to mark the day and cue of what is to come. Weather writing utilizes all of our senses. The volume of vocabulary to describe the weather is astounding. Descriptions go beyond the look of a clear sky, sound of the wind, or feel of the temperature. Haven’t you smelled the crisp air of snow on its way or tasted a summer day heavy with salt? Journaling the weather adds richness and dimension to writing and painting with words.

  1. Primary Prompt:  Draw today’s weather. Include the trees and sky. Label everything in your picture. Now write about the weather like a weather reporter: Today’s weather is … Add a sentence about what you will do today.
  2. Intermediate Prompt: Take the time to observe today’s weather with all of your senses. Write a sentence for each sense to describe today’s weather. What do you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell?
  3. Upper-Intermediate Prompt: Take in today’s weather. Note the time of day. Use all of your senses to describe the weather. The fog leans heavily against the flower petals. Does the weather match your mood today? How?


Until tomorrow, Everyone.

 

 

Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

Last Sunday in April Coffee Share

Good morning Everyone. How are you doing?  The shelter-in-place lockdown continues in Suffolk County Long Island. Schools are closed, and only essential businesses are opened. I am in awe of the healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID19 crisis.  Although my household and family have thankfully been well and following the orders, the weather has been cold and wet, exasperating the cooped up feelings. There is just so much cleaning and organizing I want to tackle. Pour yourself a cup of coffee. Let’s catch up.

 If we were having coffee together, I would tell you that I miss my COVID-19 pre-life. I miss seeing people, going to the store without a mask and a game plan, looking before I touch, and not touching, God forbid, my itchy eyes (pollen season is about to bloom). All efforts are making headway.  The exploding numbers are decreasing in the area, and hospitals are discharging more than admitting patients. It will be slow yet steady progress so long as EVERYONE cooperates and remains patient and smart.

If we were having coffee, I would announce that I’ve discovered the power of Zoom. We had a successful family Zoom session with 18 boxes talking at the same time. I made up Earth Day BINGO boards and sent them via email to the grandkids, nephews, and nieces. We played on Wednesday via Zoom. It was fun but deteriorated quickly when the toddlers in the room started to climb and dance on the tables.  I was also able to Zoom a cocktail half-hour with beach pals. 

If we were having coffee together, I would report that my parents remain in Florida. We are hoping they can fly home at the end of May. They are being good by following the rules, but it is getting tedious, and it is spring. My sisters and I are taking care of my mom’s gardens. We need to tend to the roses and hydrangeas and pull the dandelions and chickweed.

If we were having coffee together, I would mention news on the writing front. Blogging A-Z is near the end. I have had some helpful feedback on the Journal On! prompts for school-age children. I am planning on streamlining it and preparing a package for teachers. In the meantime, Daily Bread went to an editor. It’s happening.


That’s it, folks. Have a blessed day and  make the week great. Be safe. Be smart. 

Big thank yous go out to Ecelic Ali for keeping the Weekend Coffee Share up and running.

 

 

Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

V is for Visiting

Welcome to my 2020 Blogging A-Z April Challenge. Each day, I will post a brief Journal On! Daily Writers’ Workshops lesson and prompt. Teachers, parents, and students may use the material to encourage daily writing practice, spark insight, and embrace mindful reflection.   

Visiting by ClickArt

I think I miss visiting most during the COVID19 quarantine. I want to visit my downtown and browse through shops and smile at strangers without a mask. I look forward to ordering a bold medium-sized coffee face to face at the coffee shop and chatting with the librarian in the library. I can’t wait to spend time with my parents, sisters, and kids. 

We are being patient and smart about how to get about our days. This crisis will end. Although today’s shelter-in-place orders feel endless, we will get through this. In the meantime, we Journal On! Are you looking forward to visiting a place and people once this crisis has passed? Let’s journal about the visiting we are planning. 

  1. Primary Prompt: Who or where do you want to visit first once it is safe to go outside our homes? Is it your neighbor across the street, the park with your friends, or the bakery to buy a big black and white cookie? Draw a picture of you visiting this person, group, or place for the first time once the quarantine is safely lifted. Label the items in your picture. Write about your drawing.
  2. Intermediate Prompt: Think about the first place or person you want to visit once it is safe. What will you do? What will you talk about? Journal about your feelings.
  3. Upper-Intermediate Prompt:  Write about the visiting plans you have. Why is this place and/or person at the top of your visiting list? Include details in your plan, such as activities and conversations you look forward to when you first go visiting. Describe the feels you anticipate.


Until tomorrow, Everyone.

 

 

Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

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