Express Yourself

Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Young Poets in the Wild 2015

                                   Young Poets in the Wild 2015

                                                                  Their drafts are rough,
don't be so tough
on the writing
of these young poets

Just take a glimpse
Peer into
These brilliant minds,
without a doubt
 within their souls
you will find-- 
they actually

 Here's hoping
you do

Without further adieu
Let me
introduce to you
Young poets
 in the Wild
and their poetry

-- By Maureen Ucles


I jump
I shake
I dance
I hop
I swing
I twist
I cannot stop

I scoot
and roll
across the floor
I spin in circles
out the door

I run
I leap
I skip
I bounce
I slide
I swing
I fling
but I'm still careful
I don't

 How I Feel!!
When I do my homework
I feel in my head fireworks

When I play soccer,
I feel like I'm
running away
from a toro
in a rodeo

Every time I eat,
I just want to go
to Itz
a restaurant

I feel ants
on my head and brain
What do I feel in school??
I feel like I am famous
because I am so cool.

When I climb a tree,
I think of being a professional
in soccer
and can play soccer
in the street
This is so sweet!!!

My Best Friend
by JG

My best friend
My best friend
My best friend
is nice.

My best friend
is kind.

My best friend
My best friend
My best friend

Tuesday, April 21, 2015



Don’t quite know
Where the wind will blow
If my words will flow
And do you justice
All I know
You’re on
Your way

Don’t quite understand
Where I’m gonna land
‘cause I miss you
Last week--
Right now

How it burns
Deep in my soul
Memories so fresh
I can feel ‘em
You and I
My Elizabeth
And the crew
Step by step
It will be alright
Everything always
To fall into place

You are
Extraordinarily wonderful
Distributed in your practice
Strength under fire

Thinking back
Baylor Clinic
Sitting, watching, waiting
Contemplating my mortality
Never alone
Who does that?
Not many…
Maybe just you

Your belief in me
Never waivers
Those long talks
Warm tea
You completely
Get me
Never let me settle
Nudged me along

The silly jokes
Caught you in a few
Seam-busting laughter
About skinned cats
Pointed shoes
Candy apple red
So Cathie
So human
Caring deeply
Words, words, words
Like butter

Yeah, I know
It’s time you go
Saying goodbye
Excruciatingly hard
But you gotta know
I’ll be
At your door
Otra vez

You and I
Just peachy
So proud
After all these years
To call you
My friend
Once, once

By Maureen Ucles
For Cathie Robinson
April, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Working It!

I have been working overtime lately--reading and writing like a boss!  Hey, I own this.  But the owning is taking quite some time. I think my brain, due to neural plasticity, has been changed and I am able to synthesize better, faster...sounds like the clip from the 5 Million Dollar Man or perhaps still, the Bionic Woman?  I have found a system that works well. Through trail and error, I have found hope and the confidence that I can read tons, write my notes, reread parts and then write what I remember.  After doing this, and discussing what I am learning with the students and teachers, my thinking is becoming solidified. Now I need to continue down this path and not panic.

 I have primary and intermediate goals.  By Saturday, I should have read How the Brain Learns. Then I will be ready to  synthesize and write a summary. On Sunday I will begin to read another book related to the brain and learning.  I should have that done by Wednesday with  and accompanying a
summary. By May 30th, if this pace works, I will have read 13 long books and have written 13 more summaries. My ultimate goal is understand on a deep level and finish,..just finish well.

 What do I get as a reward? Lots of learning and brain transformation. Additionally, I allow myself to post a meme in order to show my progress. These memes are my Double Stuffed Oreo Cookies with a glass of cold milk. They are my dessert and way to celebrate. I enjoy finding the right photo to encapsulate what I am feeling in that exact moment that the summary is finished. It is exhilarating. I will do this 13 more times. Hopefully, I will finish reading the last 13 books on time..  More reading, late nights, early mornings, lunch times, sharing, and hashing out my summaries is my mission. I will try, try and try some more.  Let the chips fall where they may. 

I can see it...the finish line! 

 Below you will see my poem that I wrote to encapsulate what I am going through.  Writing always helps me make sense of my crazy world. It is cathartic. This poem is dedicated to all the Abydos Writing Trainees in my group.  Keep tugging, grappling, pushing forward...we'll get there!

Working It
by Maureen Ucles

Working on a plan
Day by day
So many pages
Need some Tums 
Rolaids? None
Working on my plan
A little bit at a time
Bird by blasted bird
Gonna try harder
Do my better,
better than best

Working my plan
No end in sight
Pages 'tras pages
to read and why?
Learning takes time
Concepts to ponder
My brain is on overload
Makes me wonder

Bite sized chunks
 here and there
manage what I can
Learning's in the journey
One step at a time

Got my Flairs working
Annotation station
Capture the residue
Eighteen colores 
Five shades of blue
bringing it all together
Thesis statement
What's new?

New learning
Short term
Refreshing hue
Subconscious rumblings
More thoughts
Living in my head
New pathways forming
dendrites growing
connections found
stronger and bound
synaptic highways
high velocities
Long Term Memory, Baby!

Not giving in
Keeping hope alive
So close to a win
Can do it!
Got this!
Workin' it!
Working my plan!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Shallows-If I Only Had a Brain!

I am reading a very intriguing book called The Shallows by Nicolas Carr.  I have been reading it since Sunday and I cannot put it down.  When I get home from work, I plop myself down and continue my learning journey about my brain and the effects of prolonged internet use. It has definitely got me thinking about neuroplasticity, the memory, and the distracted nature of the internet.

 Nicholas Carr shares much historical and scientific research about the distracted nature of the internet and the effects on our brains. Basically, because our brain changes when we learn something. Synaptic pathways are formed. If we have prolonged exposure to something that stimulates the brain, our brain will create pathways and crave more of that stimulus. Our brain mirrors or mimics what we see and experience. We are a product of our environment.

The internet is very busy with hyperlinks, ads, visual stimulants, and little text. When one reads information on the internet, they read differently than reading from a book in hand. Because of all the excess stimuli, the brain has to problem solve multiple stimuli, decide what to focus on and then be distracted again from clicking on hyperlinks while sifting through other distracting stimuli. We cannot think deeply about what we are learning because our brain is taking on too much information. It is working overtime. Thus working memory cannot hold more than 2 to 4 things at a time. When bombarded with an very active environment, our working memory is overloaded. When this occurs we call is it cognitive overload. Much of what we have read is considered shallow reading and the information gained has fallen through the cracks, down the drain. Thus our memory will not take hold and move to long term memory. We cannot remember what we did for hours and hours. We are driven to distraction.

Because of the neuroplasticity of our brain is ever changing. My brain today, will be different tomorrow,. The neurons are growing dendrite trees and creating synaptic pathways. Thus when we have prolonged internet use, we are  training our brains to love and live in distraction. We cannot sit and delve into deeper reading, as we did before or write our thoughts in a coherent ways thanks to our distracted brain. Our brain, once literate and linear has become distracted, like the internet. Our brain is comparable to the activity of the internet. If you go to any meeting, people have their cell phones out constantly.  Every second there is a notification from Face Book, Twitter, Instagram, a blog site, text or email. Everybody has been trained by their cell phones to check those notifications. We cannot put them down. We need them and must stay connected at all costs. The information that we gather is irrelevant. Who needs to know what Kim Kardashian is doing today on Twitter? But hey, it is trending. Did you know that former New England Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez has been found guilty  of first degree murder and will go to prison?  It is on the tickers of ESPN and blowing up on Face Book. We have to have the latest information, even if it isn't important. Can we decipher what is important from all the garbage? But we must be connected and in the know! We cannot turn it off!

The internet and computers were supposed to make our lives easier with the calender notifications, notes and reminders, but this medium has now become our master. Think about it. I have become addicted to my smart phone. I cannot remember what I do daily. The day goes by so fast and it is a total blur. I look at my cell phone when I wake up, as I get ready for work, during work several times at lunch, during breaks and in meetings, When I get home, I hear the buzz and have to look down. I am on constant alert. Notifications, notifications, notifications. I have to know what is going on Facebook, Twitter and my emails. Texting is so much fun and is easier too. I don't like to talk to people on the phone, except my friends. It is easier to connect that way and become less human and more got it... the internet, my computer and smart phone.

Carr raises lots of red flags that are very serious. Are we becoming, due to our brains plasticity, our computers? Are we becoming the technology that we created? Many questions need to be answered. But... I love technology! I have to pause and ask myself:  What has the internet done and is currently doing to my brain?

My brain has changed for sure. I need to seek solitude, connect to the linear and literate part of me. I need to become more human.  No wonder my memory has faded.  My working memory can only take in so much. I want to get back to my pre-internet self with my books and writing. I think that my use of the internet will change now. I want a healthy brain, a more quiet brain where I have time to ponder and think deeply. This will allow the connections and learning to happen at a greater rate. I will have a sharper mind.

Reading The Shallows has given me pause. For that, I am grateful. It has opened up my eyes. Maybe you  too will  see the things in a new light. I certainly hadn't given it much thought before. I was too distracted, like our society. The effects on my brain scares me. How long have I lived here and how long will it take to reverse these ill effects? When I was driving home from work today, I turned my cell phone off, but I kept wanting to check at it at stop lights. It seems that I have to always be doing something. I am not okay with silence. My phone is there begging me to engage. I wasn't that way five years ago, not that I can remember. My mind has to always be busy, busy, busy. When will my thoughts and new learnings take hold, if I am always busy?  They won't. I seek to find a greater balance. I need to get back to me. It will take time, but it will be worth the effort.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Abydos Summaries

I have been working overtime on reading several books and writing summaries for Abydos. I am doing fine, but sometimes, when I finish a summary, something crazy overtakes me. I begin to create memes. I do this  to let off the stress and celebrate. Here are some of my latest memes.

Extreme Exhaustion-National Poetry Month

Extreme Exhaustion
by Maureen Ucles


Skinned knee
Why me?
No sleep
Can't put it down
Head in the clouds

Eyes rolling
the wheel
Crunching ice
Pump up the jam
Window's downing
not a sound

Oh my!
Curb hopping
Fire hydrant killing
Fountain's blue
Siren's blazing
Ambulance pacing
Fire Department chasing
Chief of police calling
SWAT Teams sprawling
Go home!
No thing

Need some sleep
Rest my eyes
Counting sheep
too tired to jump
one, two, three...
no shut eye near
prying open my lids
tooth picks
not solution
I'm stuck
Twilight Zone
Ground Hog Day
Extreme Exhaustion

Monday, April 6, 2015

My Latest Memes-Summaries

I have been loaded down with reading great books about writing this past week.  Then I have to synthesize them into summaries for Abydos Writing. I am a trainee and hope one day soon to read everything and become a trainer.  It is a tough journey. I am learning so much.  One way to take a break is to make memes and put them on Face Book to support my friends who are on the same journey. I post them to break the tension and to give them a laugh and a break.  Here are some of my recent offerings.