Wednesday, February 22, 2017

SOL17 Sunrise and sunsets

As I walked out of rehab, I saw the sun slip under the horizon, tired from its day's work. I was keenly aware of the way the sky came alive in the moments before the sun rested.  In my mind, the soundtrack from Fiddler on the Roof began to play.  The good-bye conversation with my aunt replayed as the soundtrack continued,  "This is hard, really, really hard," she said softly, "I am really tired  and I can't keep my eyes open.  I just want to shut my eyes."  As I watched the sun set, I thought about the collective centuries of happiness and tears the residents of the rehab, at my back, had known.   As I made my way back to the Parkway, my mind wandered to thoughts of my newborn grandson, a tiny miracle whose eyes are excited to be open as he takes on in his new world, a little more each day.
Sunrise sunset
Swiftly flow the days
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

Monday, February 20, 2017

#sol2017 Do you remember me?

"Do you remember me," she asked softly, hopefully?

My mind became a tornado filled with images of classrooms, names of students, glimpses of graduate students, places I have taught.....I'm not good with names anyway and on this particular day I had been up since a 3 AM phone call; thus, I knew my chances of a name-recovery on the spur of the moment were unlikely!

I studied her face trying to get an age, stage of life, in order to time-date-stamp her into some part of that spinning tornado. I think I sighed, eyes wide open, hopeful she would volunteer something. "You were my sister's reading teacher," she said while I held my breath aware I was still engulfed within a name-retrieval-nightmare!  "I always wanted to be in your reading club," she smiled, "I didn't realize until many years later that it was for kids who had trouble reading!"

I smiled, thankful for the hint but worried I would not retrieve the name of a student's sister!  "I'm coming up blank," I started to say; however, as the words came out of my mouth, her "phone beeped" and she quickly turned towards the door.

 "I'm sure I'll see you again around here as people stay for a while," she said happily as she quickly left to respond to whatever was on the beeper,   I sighed as she left the room, the tornado still swarming in the name-retrieval-part of my brain.  I have some time but I am a long way from name-retrieval.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

#celebratelu2017 More Small Miracles

I wrote about small miracles
Last week and
This week
There were more.

There were dire diagnoses
For a nonagenarian
Back to and then from
The big, bad medical center,
Yet, in spite of isolation,
In spite of the predictions,
She continues to fight
To get back home again.

There was an air-born branch
On a gusty afternoon
That hit my rental car
Causing some damage.
Yet, when I called,
Concerned, worried
About next steps,
They had a clear of a plan
To take care of it all.

There was a small miracle
Born to my son and his wife,
A baby brother to my 
First-born grandson.
With baby soft cheeks
A prefect nose,
Itsy-bitsy diapers,
Making tiny baby
 Gurgling sounds,
Wrapped like a burrito
Causing this Grammy 
To have a spring in her step
That belied the cold, winter day.

Who knew it was possible
To love your grandchildren
So very much?
Perhaps it is that
Grandchildren fill a space 
In your heart
You never knew was empty?  
Or perhaps a grandchild 
Causes your heart to
Grow a full size?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

#sol2017 Hearts, Candy, Transformers and Reflection

"Mrs. Ferreri, Mrs. Ferreri," she panted with an urgency far exceeding the situation as she rushed into school for this Hearts and Candy infused day preceding the 100th Day of School!  I've got something for you she smiled as she fumbled in her bag.  Out came a tiny package of MMs, clearly marked with a phonetic approximation of my name, Misis faray.  I thanked her, grateful to work in an elementary school on this holiday where little Cupids all love one another and their teachers!  

"Look at the card I made for Mrs. Fsdfhsdkh," she continued as we went down the hall.  "Don't you think she will LOVE it?" she continued already knowing the answer!

As the day unfolded, there were a few more tiny packages of Skittles and mini Oreos as well as Pokeman, Barbie, and Transformer cards with lovely approximations of my name. There were also a few valentines from former students and students I had only met as we breezed through our Universal Screenings.

Definitely, love and kindness were in the air today, in the hallways, and on the playgrounds.  There was even a sense of kindness as we herded those children onto the buses at the end of the day in an unusual dismissal pattern to deal with the smoky transformer outside of school! 

As I drove away at the end of the day, I thought about how those tiny acts of kindness helped me through a stressful day filled with not-so-good-news-calls from doctors, nurses and caregivers.  As I drove to meet my graduate students on this Hearts and Flowers filled day for some of them which is just days away from their winter recess, I thought about how I might help them deal with their stresses today!  So, I stopped at CVS and got the last bag of candy hearts in the store!  It's not much of a consolation when you have to go to class on this night of flowers and fancy dinner.  Yet, I hope it helps!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

#Celebratelu17 Small Miracles

This week, I'm linking to
Ruth Ayers Celebrate This Week
 To remember
Small miracles.

Waking up from surgery
After a week in-between
Living and leaving.
Accepting the re-hab challenges
The scary Hoya Lift
Wrapping our heads
Around the long road ahead.

Flat tires that hold air
Just long enough
Till you get over the bridge.
AAA mechanics that appear
Like flannel-clad-angels
On cold winter nights.
Donut-sized spares
That against-all-odds
Traverse snow-packed roads.

Snow day calls, messages,
Time to talk to friends
Finish that quilt,
Watch Hallmark Movies.

A tiny brand-new miracle
Poised to arrive
Ready to be wrapped
In his father's arms
Around his mother's heart
In kisses from his brother
In that brand new quilt
From his Grammy.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Reading in Kindergarten

I know there are some who feel that we "push down" the curriculum....thus, it is more importnat than ever that ALL os us clearly articulate what is expected!

Monday, January 30, 2017

#SOL2017 Vocabulary Learning Thanks to Sandra Boynton!

If you have toddlers or if you are the Grammy to toddlers (like me), you probably know Sandra Boynton's books, such as her Hippos Go Berserk.  There is rhythm and rhyme that makes this book easy to memorize (for the reader) but also appealing to little listeners who for whatever reason, love the song-like patterns of rhyming books

If you have toddlers or if you are the lucky-Grammy-who-gets-to-read to toddlers, you probably know that toddlers LOVE to hear the same story-of-the-moment again and again.    So, as I read about how one hippo all alone, called 2 hippos on the phone for the 6th or 7th time not so long ago, through the eyes of a literacy specialist as well as a Grammy, I thought about the many subtle messages and powerful vocabulary Boynton infuses into that story.  I love her out-of-the-box word choices and even though not everyone loves her wacky books, I am sure now that her books provide a foundation for "success" on primary, universal screener vocabulary tests, such as AIMSWEB!

Here's the connection!  One of the vocabulary words on the AIMSWEB screener is distressed!  I must admit I have been totally surprised by how many students seem to understand what that word means!  At first, I thought they connected with the word stressed.    However, after multiple readings of the same story in one sitting, I had one of those AHHHHA moments!

I'm thinking that those students I know as beginning readers and writers were once toddler story readers like my Jack and Vivi.  I'm thinking they too heard again and again and again how..Seven hippos headed west leaves six hippos quite distressed!   As I read slowly, I smiled thinking, perhaps, that multiple readings of those Hippos going berserk over the 5 years prior to kindergarten MIGHT just be having a positive effect!   

If you don't know the story, you might want to ask the parents or the Grammy of a toddler or two or three.  Or check out the story here!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Those who fall

In the middle of the night
To the emergency room
That is what you do 
When you hear 
"She has fallen."

"She'll be admitted," 
And so began another journey
Through the world
Of elderly-medicine
Research-based practices
People look at you
When they talk
Pain management
Anxiety control
Are not guaranteed
 For those who fall.

Thank goodness for
Patient advocates,
A few
Nurses who care,
Doctors with vision
Who see an elderly person
Who needs their help
To get back
To Days of Our Lives,
Hallmark movies,
Law and Order.

As Baby-Boomers
Become Those Who Fall
We will have to change
This Paradigm
Because we will soon be
Those who fall
Those who change
The perspectives of about
Those who fall.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Those who fall between the cracks

I don't know his name.
I wonder if he comes from Eastern Europe
Or perhaps the Middle East, 
I don't know where he once lived,
Nor where his relatives still live,
Yet, I say, "Good Morning,"
To this elderly gentleman,
At least once a week 
As I stop for fuel
 (And coffee).

He responds,
Softly, humbly, with a heavy accent,
Nodding his head,
Going through the motions
As if
Every bone in his body
 Aches in the dampness.

I share my Visa card
He fuels my car.
Then moves, slowly,
Towards the next car,
Slowly moving,
Towards his chair,
As if
Every bone in his body.
Aches in the dampness.

I wonder IF he has health care,
Or has fallen between the cracks,
Is here, yet hidden, in the masses
Of those without "green" cards.
Without retirements, social securities.
Will he work until he cannot
Get up and down?
Then, where does he go?

I wonder what might have been
With a public school education,
With health care,
With retirement savings,
What will happen
When he cannot
Get up and down?
Then, where does he go?