Thursday, March 22, 2018

#sol18 March 22 Carpe Diem

I was outside shoveling as the sun began its descent and the snow continued to fall. Neighbors with snowblowers and shovels joined me in this early spring evening gathering. It was a bit like "clean up day" except we overlooked the branches and leaves in favor of moving snow around. No one seemed particularly worried about shoveling or making driveways totally clear. Small talk ensued around shovels as it might soon ensue around rakes.  The "State of Emergency" kept people working from home, watching movies, cleaning closets and preparing taxes. There was some laughter and smiles and to be honest, if felt good to be outside on this not-so-cold evening. One neighbor offered his arms up the Mother Nature reminding her, "You giveth and you will taketh away!"  
I was outside shoveling the overnight offering in the early morning glow, along with the same neighbors, about 12 hours later! "It really is beautiful this morning," someone offered as we came close enough to talk over the roar of blowers. "I couldn't wait to get outside and shovel this morning,"

I found myself smiling as I headed back inside for coffee. An early morning walk amidst chirping birds is certainly in the future, but for today, I will seize the glory of that soft, white blanket across tress and lawns as well as cars. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

#sol18 March 21 The Last Call

I got "the call" early this morning and there was not, yet, a snowflake to in sight. So, I headed out for a "Spring Break" kind of walk on this first full day of spring. I was pretty sure the predicted snow that had already caused most schools to close would be starting shortly.

The flakes did begin falling, gently, soon and continued falling, softly, throughout the day. It certainly did not seem to be as scary or as intense as the forecasters had predicted. In fact, it seemed to pale in comparison to last week's Nor'easter! As I draft this at 7 PM, the snow is still falling softly and gently, as if it were being respectful of this new season.

There will likely be many, tomorrow morning, perhaps already, complaining about using more of Spring Break for a snow storm that seemed to fizzle; however, I for one, am very glad I do not have to make "the call" that puts many parents in child care crisis and causes many teachers with spring break plans heartache! Perhaps my own perspective is softened because this is likely to be my "last call" or perhaps I realize that making "the right call" every time is only possible for "Monday Morning Quarterbacks." 

I'm really glad I enjoyed this Spring Break-kind of gently snowy day!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

#sol18 Today, R became a bad guy!

In my small groups, mini-lessons are very short (1-3 minutes), but sometimes, students take us on tangents (based on their own thinking and experiences) I do not anticipate!

 "So you're saying R is a really bad guy?" he asked jumping out of his chair!

"Well BOSSY does not mean really bad," I said challenging his interpretation of the Bossy R!  "BOSSY means you are not letting someone do what they want to do!" I continued already realizing the error of my thinking when talking to a literal-thinking 7-year-old who has been schooled in Mindfulness!  "We call the R BOSSY when it comes after a vowel because it doesn't let the vowel make its sound and it doesn't let is say it's name!

"Well that is not nice!" his partner agreed.  "If a kid didn't let another kid do what they want to do they would get in a lot of trouble."

"We should call him the really mean, BAD GUY R," and send him to the principal!   

"We could make a video game about him!" his colleague certainly headed to STEM greatness volunteered!  

Clearly, it was time to do table my lesson and practice reading and writing some words!  

Monday, March 19, 2018

#sol18 March 19 On the edge of spring

I was at the intersection of winter and spring, on a small trail with the cold wind stinging my face and the warm sun trying to soften the blow of a long winter with too little exercise. Some sections were still covered in snow and others were covered in mud. Walking alone, there is time to listen, to think, to wonder, to hope, and to remember.

I was thinking about this long winter and wondering if spring would be able to take over this week?
I was wondering about the creek clearly ready to spread beyond its bed.
I was hoping the muddy puddles and snowy patches would not swallow my sneakers!
I was remembering a March long ago when I lost a sneaker to a muddy patch of the path! 
I was listening to the birds chirping and remembering nesting birds on the Mid Hudson Bridge.
I was hoping they would not be OK if another storm blew into town.
I was thinking about the many trails I had walked on cold March Sundays preparing for spring .
I was wondering if I would be out there walking next week, or would I find an excuse?
I was remembering someone who pushed me forward even if the weather held me back.
I was a the intersection of  winter and spring, where the old is hanging on even though we are clearly on the edge of spring.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

#sol18 March 18 Second Chances

I have a few pieces of furniture that were purchased "new" and some furniture from family. I've shopped yard sales and flea markets where I've picked up items that have had second chances!  I now live on a road that connects villages where an entirely new to me form of recycling happens on Saturdays in the spring.   

Early on Saturday mornings, someone hauls chairs, trunks, consoles, strollers or whatever else they are not longer using to the curb.  Then, they put a FREE sign on top of the items!  Cars slow and sometimes stop to look until finally, someone pulls up in an SUV or Minivan and picks up the items to give them a second chance!

While this process seems best for "bigger" items, it appears to work for whatever your want to go.  Given the amount of work, time and planning that goes into a yard sale, I have to admit I find this FREE TO GOOD HOME process not only generous but also liberating!  We all deserve a second chance at "happiness" and life outside of the attic!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

#sol18 March 17 Luck o'the Irish

One St. Patrick's Day, my aunt dyed her hair emerald green and served pitchers of green beer!  I was too young to consume, but I remember the adults seemed happy and I am confident they believed the Luck of a party planner with a mission was with them!

Another St. Patrick's Day, I arrived home to find my son and a friend had eaten most of the corned beef from the crock pot!  I'm not a huge fan of salt filled beef, so I let the crock pot purging slide.  Later, I found they ate another corned beef dinner at the friend's home!  I am confident the Luck of teenage metabolism was with them 

Another St. Patrick's Day, I took the train into the city along with a bevy of parade-going-people. There was laughter and singing along with snacking and I suspect, some drinking. I'd fasted that morning in support of my brother who was undergoing another surgery.  He'd been fighting a battle against an unrelenting cancer, but was willing to use chemistry, surgery, prayer, and plain old fashioned luck to buy time. We were all nervous but hoping the Luck o'the Irish would be on his side. 

I've not consumed green beer and do not plan to do so, ever.  I'm skipping the corned beef in favor of some lentil soup this. I've seen a few rainbows and have a pot of good soup!  I'm very  grateful that I'm not sitting in the waiting room at the big cancer hospital this year.  I pray that all those who need a little luck today, find it!


Friday, March 16, 2018

#sol18 March 16 The Cold, My Cold and Could Be Cold

It was bitter cold as I began to change the tire.
18-wheelers generated 10 degrees of windchill.
The penetrating cold made me very cold
It reactivated my lingering cold. 

I was still cold, in my bones,
Longing for a hot tea,
Back in my classroom, shivering,
As Pam* and I worked our way through
The growing tricky word pack
"Cold," she said slowly
Attempting to sound out letters
On the of 3x5 card
As I implored her to look again.

"Maybe, it's not cold but it could be cold,"
She grinned knowing she was stalling.
"It  was  cold this morning," she smiled.
"It could be cold at recess, too," she added!

I could have explored
Unreliable phonetic patterns in English.
I could have reminded her of should or would.
Instead, I reminded her the word was could.
"Yes," she smiled, "but you and I both know
It could be cold!"

* Pseudonym

Thursday, March 15, 2018

#sol18 March 15 Flattened Tires

The coffee was hot, but not too hot! The traffic was present, but not overwhelming. The news about Toys R Us was sad, but not as bad as news could be. But, as I turned onto the Thruway, my commute turned from peaceful, to stressful.
I hit that pothole full on. My front right tire went into the hole with a 'thud' and that familiar 'whomp, whomp' followed in seconds. I pulled just ahead of a van that had clearly taken that same hole. Then, I made the call for help as if I had done this before (I had). I texted work and waited for HELP truck that helps with flattened tires on busy highways during commutes.

I waited just long enough to reflect on the many flattened tires I've had, but not long enough to finish my coffee.  HELP arrived, raised my car, inserted the doughnut, and sent me on my way.  I thanked 'Calvin" profusely for his support and headed to work, late, but not too late.

Image result for flat tires
In 3.5 years, I think I have had 9 pot-hole-flattened tires in my sporty little Mazda.  Perhaps I should take a 'pot hole defense' course?  Perhaps, I should consider a car with full sized tires?  Perhaps someone should fix potholes?      

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

#sol18 March 14 "P" is for Protest and for Pride

Long before some of you were even born, I did a bit of protesting against a war that had divided families and our country.  I was a high school student attending a nearby college for part of each day and so I saw glimpses of what peaceful protests as well as angry mobs.  I helped stage a "sit out" on the "grassy area" of my high school one morning!  We stayed out just long enough to get detention and to get into the local news, but not so long that we got suspended!

It's been a long while since I've had such a "cause" and students rising to bring issues to life.  So, I'm watching today's students with pride and confidence because they are fueling discussion and images that just might change our country's direction.  I'm reminded that our words and our actions are most powerful when they are respectful and heartfelt.  Today, I'm wearing my orange ribbon in support with pride.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

#sol18 I Had Better Get Going!

It was dark in my when I got home last night.  Eerily dark.  There were no lights in windows and no street lights.  I knew, without flipping a switch, that power was out. With all the trees still leaning over power lines after last week's storms, power outages have become routine.

I ran through potential morning scenarios in my mind as I charged my phone in the dark car, on the dark street, on a dark night. It was snowing lightly and based on the weather reports,there might be a delay? Either way, there would be a messy commute. It was a parent-teacher conference morning and I had to be on time. I'd need the alarm app.  I'd need sleep.

I crawled into bed, long past my bedtime, in a dark bedroom with a charged cell nearby and the alarm on high. I was overtired, so it took me a few minutes to fall into a somewhat less than blissful sleep, but I did not allow myself to check the time even once! 

Then, in what seemed the blink of an eye, the lights in my room, in the hallway, in the bathroom, on the street, all of them, were doing their thing!  "I had better get going," I thought to myself as I crawled out of bed and hopped into the shower on auto-pilot.  Standing in the shower, I realized the alarm had NOT gone off! The wall clock confirmed my suspicion!