Tuesday, November 6, 2018

#sol18 Slice of Life: Choices

The reminders 
Litter lawns, crowd corners,
Fill mailboxes,
Overwhelm ad space,
Red signs, blue ones,
Negative ads, 
Better be wary ads,
Reminders of political affiliation
Rather than who they are,
Rather than what they want to do.
Asking us to vote against.

I struggled to find
How candidates stand on issues.
Amidst the plethora 
Of warnings and ultimatums,
Amidst the exaggerations,
Amidst twisting of the truth,
Amidst red seas and blue waves,
Yet, I finally made informed choices,
Based on issues
Not just on color of the sign.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Cold and Dark With a Touch of Stars and Rainbows

Overnight, the leaves changed color, the days grew shorter, and jackets needed to be found. These clear reminders of the colder, darker, and often bleaker season upon us made me a bit melancholy. So this Twitter message was probably meant for people like me who want to see their "cup" as half full! 
Message received! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

On the Eve of Halloween

I had a "sunrise" seat on the early morning train and watched what seemed to be a scene from a Halloween movie unfold over the Hudson. Usually, I just follow the crowd up and down the stairs and through the turnstiles, like lemmings to the trains, but perhaps inspired by that orange glow burning in the morning sky, I noticed the people in my cohort.  
There was the girl with bright orange hair, an over-sized jacket and what appeared to be Doc Martens boots?  Are they back in style, I wondered or were they from her mom's attic?  
There was the man with tousled hair, who looked like he had just rolled out of bed and onto the train, sitting next to a man with monogrammed cuff links peeking from behind a suit that appeared tailored just for him. 
There were a flock of boys in uniforms, one a foot taller than others, heading to school.  
There were people napping, nodding, watching their phones, listening to iPods, reading the Wall Street Journal, pursuing social media, and playing Candy Crush, but there was no one talking.

As we went underground, I realized there was an endless sea of diverse, different but seemingly peacful zombie like creatures heading into the bright orange sunrise, on the eve of Halloween. 

Was I the only one noticing and feeling a bit uneasy?  

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

#Rainy Tuesdays

It rained EVERY Tuesday in September resulting in wet (ruined) sandals, wet (ruined) shoes, wet (ruined) umbrellas, wet (ruined) laptops and phones and messy (puddle-filled) commutes via buses, trains and cars! SO as September came to a close, I invested in rain-gear for my feet and a new umbrella.  I was confident that I'd get prepared and then the rains would stop.  After all, there was NO snow at all during that winter after I got a snow blower!

The sun was out when I headed into the city on the first Tuesday in October and it had all the appearances of a lovely early-fall day. I didn't need to worry about those clunky water shoes so I donned my new slip-ons and left the rain jacket at home!  Interestingly, my grad students also noted the Tuesday without rain situation, happily!

However, a few hours after immersing ourselves in miscue analysis and collaborative models there were 4 severe storm warnings and 2 tornado watch warnings on my phone. The sky was ablaze as I left the city and at one moment I wondered if it was THE storm or fireworks somewhere? The rain started slowly but increased in intensity, volume, and duration.  I knew that it was rain and yet it felt as if I was being pelted with rocks!  I knew it was thunder and yet if sounded as if the skies would open an swallow me hole.  I knew that the rain would eventually stop and yet, I wondered if I would have to wait till morning to finally be home!  There was hydroplaning and sloshing and flooding in spots.

Yes, there have been years of bone dry earth and water rationing as we endured droughts.  Yes, there are still areas of our country and the world that would welcome a deluge, Yes, I know now that buying rain shoes and an umbrella was not enough of a deterrent for Mother Nature,  So, next Tuesday, I will wear my rain shoes, carry an umbrella, hope the rains go elsewhere, but be prepared for rain.  Can you hear me Mother Nature?

Saturday, September 29, 2018

#celebratelu Celebrating Sun

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun shiny day!

I had to go looking for my sun glasses when the sun came out today after many cloudy days and lots of heavy rain. The yard sale signs popped up like harbingers of fall and the walkers, joggers, and bike riders emerged from hiding to embrace the sunshine. The homecoming floats gratefully paraded down Main Street and the cheerleaders danced in gratitude for the opportunity to celebrate under clear skies. There was still a chill in the late September air that seemed to remind us all the enjoy this gift and reminder that light follows darkness just as sunshine follows rain.  

The analogy to life was evident as I sat in the sunshine waiting for the parade to pass with a song about sunshine in my mins. There will be storms in all the chapters of our lives and there will be days when it is seems the storms will never end; however, if you hang on, there will be better days and sunny skies on the horizon.    

Saturday, September 22, 2018

#irs That IRS Letter

I had spent the day playing trucks, trains, and blocks with my toddler grandsons before stopping by Fairway for some birthday-weekend-goodies.  I was planning on spending the waning hours of the evening working on reading responses from my grad students and working on slides for this week's classes. I had every minute scheduled before bed.  I arrived home ready to roll.

Then I put my hand in the mailbox and saw it, a letter from the IRS addressed to me, the estate manager. The lump in my throat grew immediately to a size that allowed me to just barely swallow and  the my blood pressure soared to new heights as I imagined the potential questions, reviews. additional fees, and potential audit inside.  

I put away groceries and made tea and I was actually shaking by the time I opened the big fat letter with certain disastrous news.....and then.....I could hardly believe the words from the IRS....."can you please complete this survey about the time and money estates spend the fulfill their tax obligations."!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THIS survey I was glad to fact...I abandoned my plans for the evening....drank 2 cups of tea....and was happy to share that I have spent.......countless hours.....managing estates in the last few years,,,,,and the IRS paperwork is INSANE!  I am hoping they sent this survey so that things might change in the future!!!!!!! Perhaps, others have complained or at least noticed?

If I had a chance to redo a chapter of my life, I would manage the estates of my mother and my aunt without a second thought.  Yet, the IRS paperwork is pretty intense as it stands now and without a tax attorney and/or an accountant who understands the difference in tax filings, you can be hit with fees, questions, audits, headaches and high blood pressure!

I'll set the alarm to work on slides for next week and celebrate that the IRS asked me what I think rather than telling I am wrong!!!!!

Moral of the story 1 for adults: NOT all IRS letters are bad news.
Moral of the story 2 for adults and for parents of children: ALL meltdowns are the result of not fully understanding the whole situation.  

Thursday, September 20, 2018

We all become stories and memories

I just finished Joe Biden's book, Promise Me, Dad.  I knew the ending before I read the first page and yet I read, finding inspiration and hope.

At one point in the evening, sitting on the porch with the distant sounds of a dogs barking and children thoughts drifted to the power of a good book to take us away!  As a child, I regularly escaped in books.  As an adult, I am grateful for the reading and writing skills that allow me to escape into a good book.....even when I know the ending.......even when I know I will be sad.....

Which reminds me that, "In the end, we all become stories and memories." Margaret Atwood

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Celebrating Life

The sun came out on this sad day,
After endless gray skies.
At first, I thought it ironic
Then, I decided it was a sign
Of this new chapter,
Without pain and suffering.

As I dug for my sunglasses,
I thought that he might have requested
The sunshine, a light, so to speak,
A reminder of his journey
Towards a new chapter.

As I listened to a his family,
Remember their dad,
I thought of the power of love
To transcend unfathomable hardship,
And the power of angels
To shape the future.  

As I watched his family
I remembered this journey
Can have mile-high speed bumps,
With countless trials
Unfathomable challenges.
Heartache and heartbreak.
Sometimes, the journey is derailed
Yet, we are called
To persevere.

As I left the church
I caught sight of a babbling brook
Under an overpass,
And I remembered the Biblical verse
Peace is like a river
Ebbing, flowing, persevering, 
And I offered a prayer
For a peaceful journey
As the sun set
After a celebration of life
This sad day

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

#sol18 A September Day

I thought about the date as I nestled into my spot (leaning against a door) on the already crowded train. 
I thought about the whispered announcement so many years ago about planes and the World Trade Center as I listened to the announcement about shortened and crowded trains.
I thought about the lives changed in classrooms just feet from me as I watched a seasoned passenger whip out her knitting and knit on the steps of the train.
I thought of my colleague teaching in an adjacent classroom who lost the love of her life and wondered how many loves were lost that day.
I thought about the shock and sadness that descended on the city (and the nation) as I wondered how many of these people were on trains on that morning.
I thought about riding the bus home with students that day to make sure everyone had someone at home and wondered how many fellow riders lost someone that day.

I remembered that some lost all and some lost greatly; however, we all lost something that day.
I smiled as I watched the standing-knitter and all those who have persevered in spite of adversity as I geared for a September Day in a resilient city

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

#sol 2018 Happy New Year

Stopped by Staples,
Knowing the crowd would be there,
Just for old times sake.
Circled by DSW
Knowing I didn't need shoes,
Out of habit.
Said a prayer for first day jitters
Knowing teachers and kiddos will be stressed
Like always.

 The many first days,
The smiles, tears, laughter, fears,
The smell of new pencils and notebooks,
Fresh new faces, ideas, optimism,
The promise of fall despite the hear,
The magic of a fresh start
Happy New Year