Saturday, August 20, 2016

Happy Day To You

Today I celebrate  
Coffee, scrambled eggs,
Gently used gloves, tried and true clippers,
A screw driver that is smarter than I am,
A rake that knows what to do,
And friends through thick and thin,
Good times and yucky times.
Over the years, I have celebrated 
With back to school shopping,
Folders, notebook, school clothes,
Swimming days, lobsters and mussels,
Yet, I have never felt more blessed,
Never celebrated with laughter and tears,
Never put my gifts to work before sunset.
Today, I celebrate the power of friendship
To unearth a hiding Mum,
Lost among weeds,
Found thanks to tools
That already knew what to do,
And friends who know what you need.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Chapter Where I Swam With Stalactites

I learned to swim in a tiny, poured concrete pool in the mobile home park where I lived.  I suspect "Ed Smith," who owned the lot where mobile homes were headed onto postage stamps, built the pool by hand.  I suspect that swimming the length of it was really no big deal: however, five year old me envisioned myself as nearly an Olympic swimmer when I first finished the distance. 
My mom did not swim, did not like water, did not like to be around the pool; however, my dad, whose swimming roots were in a tiny turtle-filled pond on a farm, had other ideas about the potential of swimming for his young daughters.  So, after he got home from work, we went swimming.  We jumped in off the rough concrete sides again  We laughed as the cool water licked our faces.  We had daddy -daughter time and pool-time almost every night in those days before we had TV, in those days before we could even read to ourselves on summer nights. 
Yesterday, however, I inched my way into a new and unfamiliar swimming venue.  Yes, there was a wee bit of "I'll do it but then you have to get in too happening." Yes, that's me swimming in an "invigorating" cave. Yes, it was cold and dark in that place where the sun doesn't shine.  

Yes, it was an experience I will treasure for a lifetime.  Cold, clear and captivating water envelopes your body as you descend the stairs.  Yet, after you adjust, the cave becomes your own God-made-stalactite-filled swimming hole! 
I suspect my dad and the one who made that swimming hole were smiling as we  paddled around

Ps Thanks to the stranger who offered to take a picture as there was no way you could get out and then face re-entry!  

Thursday, August 4, 2016

SOL16 New Chapters

The sky was as blue as it could be,
The other day,
A gentle breeze served as a reminder
A new chapter was beginning
July was over,
August, the season of new beginnings
Was here.
The mood, juxtaposed to the sky,
Mixed. excited, scared, reflective, unsure,
As often is the case
When one chapter ends,
And another begins.

Someone finished a chapter,
Of their life, the other day.
Leaving their comfort zone, 
Facing new challenges.
Holding tight to the memories,
Laughter, love and tears.

Someone finished a chapter,
Why does every good story have to end?
How do you looking ahead,
Rather than backwards?
How do you hold tight to the good memories,
Overlooking the sad ending?

Someone began a chapter, 
Starting a new year of living,
Filled with potential, hopes, and dreams.
Celebrating as it should be,
With mementos, slobbery kisses,

Someone also began a chapter,
A new way of living,
Filled with potential, hopes, and dreams.
On a street where everybody
Knows your name,

Goffle Brook Park - Hawthorne, NJ, United States. A serene view from the bridge of the water fall. Usually duckies will go on the rocks bellow. The waterfall is from the lake.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Jane Yolen

Read to me riddles and read to me rhymes
Read to me stories of magical times
Read to me tales about castles ad kings
Read to me stories of fabulous things
Read to pirates and read to me knights
Read to me dragons and dragon book fights
Read to me spaceships and cowboys and then
When you are finished - please read them again. 

Read To Us

Read to us Beachbabies Wear Shades
Tell us about Clifford and his escapades,
Read to us Snuggle Puppy and  
Goodnight Moon,
Read to us softly with voices of characters
Right here in this room,
Read to us while we snack, safe from harm,
Read to us while we rest in your arms,
Read to us now
With our heads resting next to your heart,
Read to those tales over and over and then,
Read us our favorites again and again!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

#celebratelu16 How do you decide what to read?

When it comes time to buy baby gifts, I always give books.  I guess it comes as no surprise to most recipients as I have always loved to read, adore a good bookstore, am a Kindle affectionado, collect old books, teach kids to read for a living, and teach wanna be grad-student reading teachers in the evenings.

Over the years, I've found some wonderful Sandra Boyton board books, like The Goodnight Book and Barnyard Dance, that I buy in multiple copies to have on hand when the occasion for a baby-book-gift arises.  

So, when I found out that I was going to be a Grammy last year, I went "hog-wild" collecting books for the little miracles that would be joining our family.  I can assure you that my granddaughter and my grandson have plenty of books!

So, when I saw this picture pop up attached to a text late yesterday, I really had to smile.  Like most kids who are immersed in books and reading, this little girl has learned to generalize the power of reading to "tasting" a few textbooks about Scala and Human Physiology, as well "tearaing apart"  some magazines, like the Better Homes and Garden sand Real Simple in the picture below.  At 10 months, she can't yet read nor even say many words;  however, she can make her needs and wants known and can find reading material no matter where it is hidden in her house!  And, she is already faced with the challenge that has shaped my life: So many books, so little time.  How do you decide what to read first?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

#sol16 Warning Signs

These days,
I usually order books
On my Kindle.
It's faster, easier,
With two clicks
I'm reading.

One summer day,
So for a special "vacation" treat,
I went to a real, wonderful,
Where "real" books lined the shelves,
People thumbed through the pages
Before carrying their treasures home.
The warning signs
Confirmed what I already knew.
It was a dangerous place 
Where books were screaming
"Take me,"
My credit card was moaning
"Do you need all this?"
And I was smiling
As I remembered the joy
A wonderful bookstore
Could bring
And as I carried my 
Treasures home
Ignoring all those

Sunday, July 24, 2016

#celebratelu16: Imagination

Nestled between "normal-sized"homes on a quiet suburban street in a NYC suburb, I discovered spectacular fairy gardens!  There are gnomish homes, pebble-lined paths, tiny thyme trees, and delicate butterfly-flowers.  If you look closely, you might even find a cucumber or two purposely left behind by the fairies for the gardeners who diligently tend to the gardens.  If you listen closely late at night, you might even "hear" the tenants emerge from their lilliputian lodgings and begin their after-bedtime bedlam!  Seriously, there are FAIRY GARDENS growing and sponsoring fairy life on suburban streets after dark!

I've listened to the preschoolers who helped create the gardens talk about the emerging flowers and the need for daily careful watering.  I've discussed the potential magical powers of tiny pieces of sea glass with young gardeners who oversee the care of gardens.  I've even talked with the owner of one of the regular sized houses about the specific plants that will augment rather than detract from her magical paradise tucked on the side of the house! I'm pretty sure I heard some strange sound coming from the garden as I took out the trash late one night!

So, this morning I celebrate the magic and miracle of imagination.  While I intellectually know there is no-such-thing as "fairies," I am totally sure that imagination is the basis for creativity and problem-solving ability.  Imagination allows us envision those people and places we read about, yet never see.

Imagination needs to be nurtured, supported and cultured, just like those fairy gardens I found!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

#sol2016 Respect

I was waiting in line in McDonalds for my .99 coffee when I overheard a woman, appearing to be the manager say, "I can't believe this refrigerator door is left open again."  Her employee, who was busily managing both the line inside the store and the never ending drive up window single-handely, did not respond, but kept on working on her orders.  "Did you hear me?" she asked the food-service-worker?"  Without waiting for a response, she continued in what appeared to me to be a "put down tone" in full listening view of customers and other employees, "If this keeps happening, we're going to have to talk."  Moments later, she turned on her heel, tucked her manager-style-white shirt into her skirt and left the front of the store saying, "I'm going on break now, but I will be watching."

I wonder if the "manager" had one day worn that food-worker's uniform and stood in the front of the store taking orders and filling them in rapid fire order?  I wonder if her "attitude" was always so disrespectful?  I wonder if she every considers how her words impact others?  I wonder if she thinks about how her words might build anger in her employees?

As I enjoyed my coffee, I had plenty of time to think about this one small but very SAD interaction and the many, many other sad interactions between people with different beliefs and different backgrounds and how those put-downs might be interpreted and might contribute to seeds of hate.  I thought about people in management, leadership, authority, power, and control (including teachers and administrators) whose words and actions might contribute to anger that might fester or that might even boil over into hate sometimes.  I thought about all the sadness and the violence that has filled the news lately.  I thought about how I could try to be a little kinder to everyone I meet along this path of life.  I wondered if we need to all take a page from:
                                          Arethra Franklin and give each other a little RESPECT?

Find out what it means to me