Monday, June 17, 2019

#sol19 Royal Reader

Truth be told, I am not a fan of calling parents into school for more than one (two) publishing parties a year. There are many ways to share writing with valued audiences, including parents, that don't add stress and guilt to already stretched-thin parents.  Sending writing home, taping presentations, sharing videos, social media; think about it, there are SO many possibilities to keep parents in the loop and aware of what is happening in classrooms. As a teacher and as a mom, I used to "dread" those invitations, especially right after "flu" or "strep" season when I was already treading on "thin ice."

I'm not a fan of "muffins for moms" or "donuts for dads" or "goodies" with grandparents as not only can this be an additional stressor, not all students come from families with this structure or a ready person that fits that profile. Naming them for what they are, opportunities to merge home and school, and encouraging siblings, aunties, uncles and friends can make such events more inclusive and still meet their objectives.

I do think it is critical that all schools, nursery through high school, look for inclusive ways that help all students see learning as partnerships between homes and schools.  It's important that students know family members care about them and their learning.  It's vital that parents and caregivers understand and know about what is happening in schools.

Last week, I participated in such an event: I was the Royal Reader in a grandchild's preschool classrooms! I could have been an Auntie, Uncle, Sibling or a did not matter, but I was crowned, "the Royal Reader of the Day."

Seriously, this is me sharing Dragons Love Tacos (Rubin) with 2 year-olds. We "Roooooareds" together and implored those dragons to NOT eat the spicy tacos, "" They did anyway.
The idea of a featured reader who shares a new book is certainly not a new idea and many teachers do it regularly!  The look on my grandchild's face was somewhat between, "What are you doing here?" and "You don't belong here!" 

Truth be told, it is a whole lot less stressful for me to get to school during the day now

Truth be told, I certainly had a good time.  I love books and I love reading to and with children,  I did not, but I could, paraphrase Gillian Strickland in saying, "I may have tons of toys and experiences galore. But blessed am I to have a someone read to me. 

He may not remember this, but I will. I've already had a few writing celebrations and a few school concert offers come my way; hopefully, there will be many more in my future.  

If you are "local" and need someone to be a Royal Reader, I can to the job!  I even have references. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

A Good Day, In Spite of it All

I had a wonderful, early morning swim in a heated pool,
Making me feel like an old. Olympic swimmer,
In the rain, wind blowing, with the temp near 50.

I made it to my destination with a few minutes to spare,
Played rolling catch and snuggled a wee one,
Even though my tire found a 5 inch nail in the road,

I supported and hopefully inspired some of "my" teachers
With discussion, books, coffee cards,
Even though it was our last gathering.

I signed a contract for a wonderful new "job"
It's an honor to think I'm good enough,
Even though the scope scares the "bejezus" out of me!

I made my way slowly, but safely, home,
With a smile on my face,
In spite of the multi-car-rush-hour-fender-bender.

It was a good day,
With a fleet of guardian angels watching over me,
In spite of it all.

Monday, June 10, 2019

#sol2019 Help Me Help My Gardens

Long ago, someone who lived here, loved her gardens. I'm sure she gingerly planned, planted, pruned, weeded, watered, and watched her little gardens grow with pride. I can only imagine the $$$ she spent on her gardens and their upkeep.

Then, she moved away and other families moved in who were busy with commutes, work, children, chores, and life. For a long time, the lovely little gardens "maintained" themselves, sort of, with hardy bushes and persistent perennials filling the space and fighting for the right to some sunlight. The once lovely plantings became overgrown and many of them did not survive the overcrowding and canopying of the trees.

Then, I moved in and after a looking at the sad gardens and the string of dead cherry trees, I called in professionals to help me help my gardens! They arrived in a fleet of orange trucks and thanks to a bevy of people lifters, chain saws, power trimmers, like spider-men and a gigantic grinder, my yard was transformed into a brighter, lighter place where plants and flowers have the potential to grow.

So, with the overgrowth gone, the tangle of weeds and the years of hidden leaves and undergrowth appeared showing me the gigantic task ahead; so, before they were done, I ordered a pair of heavy-duty work gloves that would be here in hours!

In the days to come, you know where you will find me whenever spare time comes my way. I have this sort of love/hate relationship with that someone, long ago, who loved her gardens. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

#sol19 In the Mist or In the Midst

As I edged my way into the pool in the early morning, I was mesmerized by the mist that rose from the water, suggesting it was much warmer than the air above. It rose in streamers, slowly, as if there was something magical in the pool that wanted to escape, yet, wanted to be noticed on its way out!  The air was clearly late spring and most sane people had a sweatshirt or a jacket on to ward off the early morning chill.

As I edged my way into the pool in the early morning, my mind wandered to my new  project teaching in a new way to a new audience in a new medium.  I'm in the midst of planning and much like the pool on that late spring morning, I find ideas rising, in streamers, slowly, wanting to escape as I am driving, as I am walking, and even as I am swimming!

As I swam in the water that was much warmer than the air at 6 AM, I thought this scene might be a metaphor for my life right now. It's much easier to move through the warm water than it will be to emerge into the cold morning air.  It's much safer in the planning stages than it will be when I emerge for production.  I'm indeed in the midst of many new things and the coincidence of the mist in the midst of it all was a bit uncanny!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Praise for the Fitbit

Last month, I bought myself a Fitbit.  I realize I am "late to the Fitbit party" but I needed a watch and I committed my year to nourishing (my OLW) my body and soul this year, so it seemed to make sense!  Plus, the day after my Timex stopped ticking, an ad for fancy activity tracking watches appeared in my inbox.  I considered it a sign!

However, this post is not about my Fitbit.  It's about the power of recognition and praise to encourage and reward our attempts to move (pun intended) in a positive direction.  Every day, I see my "step count," miles moved, calories burned and whenever I move 7500 steps in a day, I get a shower of stars and a reward vibration on my wrist!  I have been known to walk around the block after dinner to make sure I meet my goal. They also give you "badges" for "significant" and yet not really significant accomplishments like the badge I earned today. I realize the badge and $2 will not get me a coffee at Dunkin Donuts.  I realize I am still overweight and still not physically fit; however, I smiled as today's recognition lit up my email!

As a teacher and a teacher of teachers, I cannot help but be reminded that our students, all of our students, need recognition and specific praise for their efforts.  I'm already thinking I should raise my daily step goal to 8000.......

You've earned the London Underground badge
You've walked 250 miles—as many as the world's first underground railway. This triumph really lays the tracks for some big things in the future.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

#sol19 Come Now

"Come see," he said pulling on my sleeve with urgency usually reserved for overturned gallons of milk.

I was enjoying a bit of Easter dinner after a long day of cooking, and thus I responded casually "Later."

"Come now," he urged pushing me out of my chair and taking the fork out of my hand. It was harder to ignore him this time as his insistence was clear.

His mother also sensed the urgency in his voice and volunteered, "I've got this one." as she got up.

"Come up and see the bubbles," he smiled proudly as I got up clearly aware that he wanted me to see something he did not perceive to be ominous. He wasted not time pulling me up the stairs and leading me to the sink where he had created the largest bubble collection of his life.

"Look at this bubble!" he exclaimed arms spread open in celebration of his creation.

"You're going to need to buy more soap," his mother smiled as she snapped the picture and offered, "I see a blog post coming."

This clearly is a slice of life in my world reliving toddler-needing-privacy-potty-training-hand-washing.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

#SOL19 Book Birthday(s)

This week, 
Amidst the sad news from Paris,
Storms of life, 
There are still reasons to celebrate.
Including, the "birthday"
Of two books
 By Della Ross Ferreri,
My niece.
Filled with love and rhymes,
Glimpses of childhood experience.

I'm proud not only her gifted writing,
But also of her determination, 
Her tenacity,
To publish again, times two.
Here is a link to Beep Beep

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Battle With Grasses

On the edge of Palm Sunday, while the buds were popping and the sunshine was momentarily great, during a battle with overgrown grasses that should have been fought last fall, I broke 2 shovel handles. Admittedly, the shovels were old as noted by the name of a long ago local store faded on the handle. Admittedly, both handles had been repaired at some time as noted by the tie straps and duct tape; yet the fact that I broke two shovels while removing 5 huge, palm-like bushes of grass on the edge of Palm Sunday is still noteworthy and I think it sends a message.....

the problem is that I am not sure what that message is!

Perhaps, I should have let those grasses grow even though they took over my patio each  summer.
Perhaps, I should be moving to an apartment or a condo complex devoid of yard work.
Perhaps, I should just find a landscaper to do this.
Perhaps I should invest in a new shovel? 

Friday, April 12, 2019

#right track, wrong train

I got on the wrong train  I was thinking about a meeting and didn't stop to think that the train leaving in 2 minutes was NOT what I was expecting. Perhaps I was also a bit cavalier about my abilities to maneuver this new commute and thus I found myself on an express train going right past my stop!

They don't stop the train for people on the wrong train and jumping from a moving train is not only frowned upon but also likely to cause bodily injury!  So I rode to the first stop, 20 miles past my stop, feeling incompetent and embarrassed that I had not been more careful.  I was certainly disappointed in myself! "Happens all the time," the conductor offered when I explained my predicament.  "You'll have about 4 minutes to get to the southbound line and catch the next train."  He was so calm and cool about the whole thing while my own blood was boiling!

I got off the train, as instructed by the conductor and walked under the track to the south bound track to wait for the next (non express) train.  As I walked, I was not alone.  There were three others who got off the train and were waiting for the next train in the other direction.

"Happens all the time," one of the fellows offered with a shrug of his shoulders.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

#sol19 A tiny flower

"Look at the purple," he begged as he grabbed my hand to show me the single, tiny purple flower nestled in the garden rubble. "It's bu-ful!" he sighed as we examined the tiny miracle that somehow emerged from some wayward seed that nestled in garden rubble. At that moment, I was so glad I had not, yet, cleaned out that garden bed!  

"It's spring," his cousin offered, "and it's so pretty." We stood around the single flower, a gaggle of preschoolers that was quiet for a moment as they admired the spring miracle.

To be honest, there were bushes filled with thousands of emerging forsythia buds and patches filled with daffodils in the neighbors' yards; but, the tiny crocus of unknown of origin was at pre-school-eye-level and within inches of the impromptu sand-dirt-construction-pit on a warm spring morning filled with hope and promise.

Like spring itself, this tiny flower was a reminder that bright sunshine will surely follow dark days.