Tuesday, January 30, 2018

When flakes snowball

I crawled out of bed and peered out of the window in one motion noting the gently-whitened lawn and the snow-covered street ahead. "Better get yourself moving ahead of the traffic," I thought as I grabbed an easy-to-wear outfit and jumped into the shower in one motion. Yet, the image of those gently falling snowflakes was in juxtaposition with the side of me that felt anxious about the morning commute. 

I threw oatmeal in the microwave as I put on my coat tucking in my cell phone safely in a pocket in one motion.  Before you could say snowy morning, I was out the door and headed down the snowy path towards my destination.  The gently falling snowflakes landed softly on my window and seemed to be in juxtaposition with an awareness that the trek would be longer than usual. 

Before I had reached the highway, I began thinking about the power of snowflakes (soft, gentle, and light as a feather) to raise total havoc with a commute.  "How can something so beautiful and fragile mess up a morning commute so much?" I pondered as I saw the overhead sign proclaiming at least 94 minutes to the bridge.  "How can something so beautiful and fragile cause people to dangerously change lanes and play bumper cars rather than manage their safe driving habits?" I pondered as I heard there was yet another accident between me and the bridge.

The gently falling, delicate flakes of snow certainly snowballed into a messy morning commute!  "Too much of a good thing, is never a good thing," I smiled as I finally reached the bridge and prepared to transfer from commute to teacher of central messages! 

I grabbed my bag, my phone, and in one swift motion, the Veggies Sticks from the back seat.  "Better take these into the teachers' room," I smiled remembering the central message of my commute! "Too much of a good thing is never a good thing!"

Friday, January 26, 2018

We really seem to like super sizing!

Super Moon?"

Next week, there will be a super blue blood moon according to NASA!  I heard something about it as I was falling asleep in front of the news the other night and then it popped up in Facebook news, so I guess it is a real thing!  I had to know how big the moon was going to be!!!

A quick Google search suggested that a blue moon is when there are 2 full moons in a month! 
A super moon is when the moon is closest to earth in its orbit during a full moon.

I've been around the block a few times but I never heard about this before!  Perhaps it is just another sign of America's preoccupation with supersizing not just sofas and burgers!


Thursday, January 25, 2018

One Silver Mazda, Please

"Silver Mazda?" he asked confident he already knew the answer as I entered the underground garage. 
"Yes," I smiled confident he connected me with my aging Mazda.
"I get," he nodded as I went to the cashier and he disappeared into the cavernous garage that cares for cars of students, professors and Lincoln Center guests who live far from Manhattan but stop by with their humble Asian and American cars to let them mingle with the Porsche and Mercedes Benz who spend their nights days in this spotless garage.
"You used to have a stick shift?" his partner asked resting on the bench, waiting the next after-class car pick up.

"Oh my goodness," I responded a bit astonished he remembered the car I drove into that garage just one weeks after the 911 disaster brought New York City to its knees.  "That was a long time ago!"I responded wondering how he connected me with my long ago tiny green stick shirf!  "How do you remember that car?" I asked incredulously.  "

"There are VERY FEW stick shifts her,e so we remember them all!" he smiled as he sat grateful that the nightly onslaught of Fordham people was coming to a close. "I've been here 38 years," he continued rubbing his tired thighs, "I remember each and every stick shirt. Back in Brazil, everyone does stick but not here in the city.  I know you stick people," he chuckled!

With that, my silver Mazda appeared and I gratefully pulled out a generous tip for the gentlemen with great memories who work underground protecting my cars (that no longer have stick shifts) year, after year, after year on those nights I head into the city to work long after my bedtime, those nights when I transform from teacher to professor! 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Down but not out!

It came over me like a giant wave as I prepared for work.  "What did I eat last night?" I wondered, realizing even before the thought was jelled that food was not my problem. I laid on the bed for a moment as my stomach flipped and the room began to sway.

It quickly became clear that this was not going to be one of those "Mind over matter," moments.  I headed to that room just in time and then,,,,well I will spare you the details....but I was down, down, down!  

The good news is that I lost a day as was down; however, I'm not out!  

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

#sol 18 What makes a book great?

Long long ago, when my own children were preschoolers, we read the same books night after night after night! My son ADORED Sandra Boyton's The Going to Bed Book.  I did not need to look at the text  in order to read the nightly pick.....! In fact, when HIS son began to adore the book many years later,, I still did not need to look at the printed words...
The sun has set not long ago. 
Now everybody goes below
to take a bath in one big tub
with soap all over—

Then, I remembered a quote from Dennis Abrams Scholastic that I keep in my writer's note book as a reminder of my need to publish someday,,,,
A great book is…
  1. One that contains a simple and original idea presented with clarity and great power.
  2. One that connects with the reader, asserting its world directly into the reader’s mind.
  3. One that makes the world seem larger and more interesting.
  4. One written with humor and a light touch.
  5. One that is a realization of a complete but very different world.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A First Reflection on My Writing Life

It was early on a Saturday morning, eight years ago, when I dipped deep into my well of courage and took a big risk sharing my writing with anyone who happened to find this blog in cyberspace. If you were to go back and read my first entries, they were safe, informational pieces sharing research or describing how the weather impacts teachers!

Then, two years later, after regularly reading the Two Writing Teachers Blog, I challenged myself to participate in the Slice of Life Challenge for the month of March.   It really was a bit risky to think that anyone would even read my words, but this 30 day challenge changed my writing life!     

I've learned a lot about writing through writing. I know it is easier to write about small moments and tiny snippets (good and bad) of life and harder to write about the really big things! It's hard to write when your life turns upside down and when you are sad to the core.   I've learned that comments make me write more and that the more I write, the easier it gets.

Perhaps, writing is like exercise.  The more you do it, the easier it gets and the better the writer gets!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New Semester Eve

I had just finished removing the 1.5 inches of slush, less than any plow could enjoy, less than anyone expected, from the end of my tiny driveway when the sky lit up like a  Christmas tree.  I located my phone in an attempt to commit the image to memory.  It was not a lovely spring-summer-fall evening.  It was certainly a cold-blustery-wintery evening.  Yet it was magnificent.  It was memorable. It was a slice of red-sky-at-night just before the sunset.......a slice of now clear-dry road between snow covered lawns...a hint of the excitement  professors feel on the eve of the new semester! 

That's right, professors feel it on the eve of a new semester.  Grad students feel it, too. It's New Semester Eve, so to speak and the sky, perhaps even the heavens, lit up to welcome this new beginning!    

Monday, January 15, 2018

#sol18 What are homes made of?

I was not looking forward to going back. I was thinking the extreme cold might be an excuse, but I went anyway. I went back to the house where I lived for many years. The house where I debated color choices and Pinterested dramatic tile-back-splash-over-the-stove-options! I went back to the house where I stayed up way after bedtime to hang a chandelier high up in a hallway! I went back to the house where Christmas Eve, New Year's Day, and Evenings on the Magnificent Porch were spent sharing ideas, making memories, and enjoying family. I went back to the house where there were memorable conversations in swivel-around "bar stools" i while I was cooking and washing dishes.

Yes, on the coldest of days, I went back and I was flooded with the warmest of memories.  I thought of the no-power-sleep-over-with my elderly mom, aunt and caregivers where beds were set up on the first floor and movies were enjoyed by all.  I remembered the happy announcements and the deep discussions about next steps in life.  I remembered the cousins eagerly watching an octopus carving on New Year's Day.  I remembered the prayers of thanksgiving around the table.

I reflected on warm memories on my cold ride home  I thought about people, conversations, messes, and love that once filled the house. I thought about the family we nurtured and celebrated within those walls. My mind drifted to an old cross-stitched wall hanging: A house is made of brick and stone.  A home is made of love alone. Yes, I thought to myself as I drove through the darkness, a home is a never-perfect location where family gathers, love grows, happiness festers, and forgiveness prevails. I hope some lucky family can make it a home once again.         

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

#sol18 I already know that

We've been doing school-wide "screenings" of late in an effort to be sure "no child is left behind."  It can be a bit "laborious" (and at times tedious) for those of us who are screening as we ask the same questions for reading and math again and again and yet again to one child and then another. 

Some students tell me they are "great" at math or reading even before we start the 5 minutes or so of screening; however, other students show me they are great at remembering by their answers.

Yesterday afternoon, "E" was flying through the math section of the screening. 

I began with "Which student is fourth in line....."

She chimed in with, "Was waiting for the bus.....," answering the question accurately 

I smiled and continued onto another question,"Which of these is the same as..." 

She finished my sentence and answered the question accurately, again.  "I already know that," she smiled.

I smiled but was clearly perplexed.  I knew she could not be reading the questions.  But, how could she remember...

SO, I asked, "How do you know the questions I am going to ask?"

She smiled, and confidently responded, "You ask the same questions every time.  I remember.

Yes, I do, I smiled to myself....recognizing the multiple meanings of my own response. 

If you ask the same questions, you will get the same answers!  

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

#sol18 OLW to guide the way

I had started to think about but had not started to obsess about my 2018 OLW when early in the morning, on New Year's Day, there were posts about OLWs appearing on Facebook and Instagram!  Clearly, others had settled on OLWs as 2018 opened! 

I do know the potential power of a OLW to shape decisions and focus thinking!  A few years ago, I chose JOY and the year was not only filled with happy celebrations but culminated in a huge family celebration!  I chose WHY NOT? one year, and the word became real when 2 miracles arrived 3 days apart changing my name to "Meme"!  Last year, I chose HOPE as my OLW...and 2 more miracles  joined my family!  

Thus, for 2018 I chose a OLW based on a little bit of inspiration but with a great deal of respect for what the word might do for my year!  At first, I was not sure this was a "sign" but four different posts in the past week with a quote from Ida Scott Taylor plus some soul searching lead me to a OLW for this new year...PRESENT!

Here is part of the quote that sold me:  One day at a time...Do not...grieve over the not be troubled about the future...Live in the present...make it...worth remembering.  Ida Scott Taylor.

So for this year, I am going to try to be PRESENT more. I am going to try to LIVE in the PRESENT moment finding the joy, hope and inspiration.  THIS will be a challenge as the sadness of the past still haunts me and concerns about the future can overwhelm me!  THIS will be a challenge as there will be MANY lasts and MANY firsts this year!  However, it just may let me focus on the people, events, and challenges of the moment!