Sunday, March 31, 2019

#sol19 March 31 Finish Line

Like most you,
I find myself reflective
On this last day of March,
I'm proud that I saved moments
Wrote when I was tired, sad, not sure
I had anything to say.

Reminded that each day is a gift
That will not come again.
Savor the memories
From real every day life,
From the mouths of babes
From those we have loved.

Hopeful that I can sustain writing
In order to sustain me
Through the joys and trials
Of this life.

Grateful for this writing community
That makes March fly past
While moments stand still.
For those who inspire me
For those who risk sharing
Their lives and loves
For those who took time to read.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

#sol19 March 30 A little bit of recognition

"Congratulations,"my watch said to me.  You met your step challenge again today.

I must admit I smiled and said, " Thank you" to the watch. 

"Only 300 steps to meet your goal," it said to me the next day as I settled on to the couch with a cup of tea and my laptop to read slices. 

"Seriously, I'll do a load of laundry and get them done," I responded to my prodding friend grateful for the reminder.

"You earned a marathon badge this week," it said as I  collapsed into bed early last night. To be honest, I already knew it had been a very long week and that I felt like I had run a marathon! Yet, the acknowledgement from my Fitbit put a smile on my tired face!

"We all benefit from specific recognition in order to stay focused on our goals," I thought as I gave my Fitbit a friendly pat, grateful for a full week and watch that could comment on my exercise level. 

The connection to our March writing challenge was clear as I drifted off to sleep: A little bit of recognition keeps you coming back for more, in all aspects of life. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

#sol19 March 29 Changes

I used to drive the road nearly every day, before and after stopping to care for my elderly parents and aunt; however, I haven't been there in a while. So, as I headed to a Professional Development gig, a sense of deja-vu collided with a gratefulness that my mom, for one, was not around to see the changes. 
Her bank, with it's drive through tellers-she-knew-by-name had been replaced with a big, shiny new bank across the way. I could almost hear my mom's admonition, "They could offer a whole lot more interest if they didn't build that new bank!"

They took down Murphy's, too. My mom went there to eat (and drink a pint or two) a few times because it was just down the road and it offered "Irish" fare. She would have had something to say about replacing it with condos. "The last thing we need is more condos," she would have said even though she was living in a condo. "Too many cars and too much traffic already," she would have continued.
"Ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange," I thought to myself.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

#sol19 March 28 La Famiglia

This SOL challenge has me thinking about what I see as potential blog posts (i.e. has me thinking like a writer)! As I drove across town, I noticed a sign for Famous Famiglia (Famous Family) that sent my mind into cascading memories of my Auntie La La (seriously I called her that from age 1 even though I had been able to utter Aunt Mary Etta for many, many decades!)

My Aunt was fluent in multiple languages, a skill that came in handy when she was in the army during WWII. She sometimes uttered a phrase or two in Japanese; however, she readily dispensed Spanish and Italian advice and admonitions at family gatherings. "Ah Mamma Mia," was one of her constants long before the show/movie made it famous.  She also called us her, "La famiglia famoso," which means literally famous family but I always interpreted as wonderful family!  Her toast at the beginning of every meal, yes even breakfast, was, "A la famiglia," or to the family.

Sigh, it must be day 28 if driving by signs spur a post.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

#sol19 March 27 Real Learning

"I wish I knew what I know now when I started my case study," she sighed.

"But you are learning from your readings, class discussions, as well as your case studies," I noted.

"I know so much more now," she continued.

"Real learning," I smiled, "is messy and at times uncomfortable, which is what you might be feeling right now,"

"I guess I never really thought about learning like that," she smiled.

Real learning, in Grad School and in pre-K, is a bit messy and a bit uncomfortable when you are in the middle of it!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

#sol19 March 26b Amidst the gray

It was a gray, early spring day. The sky was overrun with solid gray clouds. There was not, yet, an inkling of green grass that would soon be emerging from the gray ground. There was not, yet, a bud emerging from the gray trees. The air even seemed gray. There was no other way to describe the day other than gray.  As I walked down the road, the only real sign of spring was the temperature of the air. Yet, times were a-changing and life was e-merging underneath the gray skies.

As I walked into the classroom, it was clear that times were a-changing. The room was filled with pinks, yellows, short sleeve shirts and short pants! I smiled as I looked around at the students whose wardrobe choices were clearly inspired by yesterday'x warmth and sunshine.  I wondered how many, "You shouldn't wear thats," and "It's not warm enough for shorts," were exchanged before they merged to brighten my day!

Monday, March 25, 2019

#sol19 March 25 Still Hopeful

Went for a walk,
Cleaned the bathroom,
Cooked a chicken,
Still upset,
Ate candy, 
Said a prayer,
Tried to read, 
Still worried,
Phoned a friend,
Vacuumed the basement.
Went to bed,
Still upset,
Wrapped in comforter,
Said a prayer,
Tossed and turned,
Still concerned,
Yet, the new day
 A glimmer of possible,
A plan to go forward,
Still upset,
Still hopeful.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

#sol19 March 24: Coping with lists

I had been working for hours and was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the magnitude of the tasks at hand and the timeline ahead, so i employed an old familiar coping mechanism and made a list!

I make lists to remember groceries and to make sure "jobs" are not lost in the business of living. Often, just making a list seems to make the tasks ahead manageable! Crossing items off lists give me a feeling of accomplishment.

This week's list includes 2 grad classes, one full day PD, 3 online classes, and Income Taxes. Looking at my list in print makes it seem doable specially when I realized that I had all of it partially done!

I sighed as I finished the list wishing only that ALL the stresses and hardships in life could be made manageable with lists!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

#sol19 March 23: Her words

"You have to get yourself things you love," my mother-in-law said to me long ago when I was still waiting for someone to buy me "things" I liked. She's been gone for more than 30 years, but her words still sting in my subconscious when I hesitate to buy things that bring me joy. 

Last weekend a the "Farmer's Market" where I buy fruits and veggies, there were rainbow tulips, tightly closed and yet suggesting the magic they might bring over the course of the week.  I hesitated, but her words stung as I debated the 1 bunch-for-seven-dollars or 2 bunches-for-ten-dollars. They certainly were not needed; yet, they spurred happy memories of my brother who loved tulips and of the rows of tulips and daffodils in my old house. 

"You should get the rainbow flowers," said a little voice who just happened to be shopping with her mommy. "You should get two," she who knows nothing about fiscally frugal shopping but everything about surrounding yourself with things your love. 

I placed two bunches in my cart and threw fiscal frugality out that morning. This busy week has been made richer and more beautiful by these rainbow tulips resting in her old vase.

It's not too much of a stretch to think that her wise words of wisdom from long ago came out of her little mouth a few days ago! 

Friday, March 22, 2019

#sol19 March 22 Leave a trail of books

"Cant' we just read together," she said in a pleading voice as I tried to help her sort words with short e and long e sounds. I've heard the plea before and as long as I'm working with children in schools, I will likely hear the plea again! While we were doing the work if the class, there was no chance for enjoyment - even for a reluctant reader who finds reading hard!

This time my mind drifted to the bags of books from a recent library book sale (sorry could not help myself) and the box or two left in my garage from a dear friend who entrusted me to distribute them well.

When I push into schools, from now on, to offer mentor-ship or PD, I think I am going to always bring a book (or a few books) with me as a reminder to me as well as to teachers that the real work of reading is the work we do within books

After a lifetime of studying literacy and trying to understand what it takes to make every child a reader, there may be no greater gift I can give than to leave a trail of books!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

#sol19 March 21st Tip of an Iceberg

I was rejected by my first choice college, and while the rejection was some preparation for the many rejections in life, it stung.

As my niece's, nephews, and my own children were accepted and/rejected from colleges, I was older and wiser and once again I tried to understand the formula. I was sure that grades were not THE most important thing, but not sure of much else. 

I've heard celebrities and politicians talking about children attending big name schools, and I did wonder about the impact of prestige and money. But, the secretive process and the complex formula have always been cloaked in silence. 

I'm sure of only one thing.  Those wealthy individuals and their children caught in the middle of the current scandal are the only the TIP of a giant iceberg. If we are to be honest, many a politician, professor, doctor, lawyer...... many, many students have attended colleges that on paper equally qualified students were rejected.

The promise, hope, and the reward of prestige and money are likely factors along with some "give backs" and promises by those who have in their own ways, paid ahead! 

PS: I hope the current scandal opens the door to reviews and analysis of these secret admissions formula. 

PPS. Perhaps Boston College, which long ago rejected me, is trying to make restitution as they recently accepted one of my grad students into their PhD program. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

#sol19 March 20th Equinox

At 5:58 is supposedly happens,
Daytime and nighttime are equal.
There are hopes and dreams,
No promises, of warm weather.

Yet, the
Sun is already little stronger,
Snow is almost gone,
Playgrounds have come alive,
Geese have come back,
Colors pops are in stores.
The hopes and dreams are tangible.

Although we all know
That a front could blow in a
Reminder that winter
Is stronger than an equinox,
Is not impressed with daylight, 
Wants another chance to 
Mess up driveways, commutes, 
Spring training.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

#sol19 March 19 Is this safe?

I realize I am late to the Smartwatch era as people have been mentioning their step count, stair status, and text messages while looking at their watches for several years! In fact, many a day on hall duty, I'd find students banging their feet on the floor in an effort to up-their-count-before the work day began.

So when my old Timex-basic-watch stopped ticking last weekend, I was at a cross roads and had to make a decision. I am sure for $19.99 or less, I could replace my basic watch and be good for several years or I could try a Smartwatch. I considered the I Watch, Garman, Fossil and Fitbit watches and the range in price and features was a bit hard to fathom. I'm committed to swimming a lot, walking a bit more, jogging a little, and moving with purpose this year and I am hoping this might spur my movement and document my efforts.

So I made the purchase, set it up (not too bad) and now am sporting a Fitbit Charge 3.
I hope it will reward my efforts with daily data I can celebrate!
I hope I don't lose it. 
I hope it keeps it's charge for 7 days like it says.
I hope I don't take a page from my students and move my feet to trick my Fitbit!
I hope I don't tire of the data'feedback and focus on movement!
I hope it is safe - but that little blinking light next to my wrist really is a little scary!

Monday, March 18, 2019

#sol19 March 18 Tiny Homes

My mother took her 1950's housewife experience seriously and she always seemed to be in the kitchen! We were usually within a few feet of her anyway as there were just a few places to play in the "tiny home" I where I spent the first decade of my life. The 8 X 8 "open space" was the kitchen, living room, and dining room but you could only eat when the table was pulled into position in the living area! 

My parents slept in the middle bedroom that was also the walk through to the bathroom that was also the walk through to the second bedroom. 

There were Golden books, carefully chosen for their size, stacked in the bedroom where my sister and I shared a twin bed that was the width and length of the bedroom.  We read, played, dreamed, fought and slept on that bed! It seemed quite normal to us as our friends lived in similar (often smaller) homes.

google image
The 8 X 20 "trailer" was pulled behind our Ford when we moved to a new city and a new trailer home park filled with new friends and adventures.

I smile when I catch a glimpse of the new"tiny homes" knowing just a wee bit about the joys of being close in an open concept living space and the challenges of sharing a twin bed with your sister!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

#sol19 March 17 A Wee Bit of the Green

My father and his siblings
Claimed among their ancestors
A horse thief and
From County Cork.

In spite of an Irish surname,
My father and his siblings
Were just as much Welsh!
Claiming among their ancestors
A merchant marine lost at sea.
A seamstress to the wealthy.

In spite of an Irish surnames.
My siblings and I
Are equal parts 
Italian, German, Welsh
Claiming among our ancestors
A builder of the Erie Canal,
A salesclerk at Bloomingdales,
Teachers, farmers, welders,
Like so many Americans,
We're a patchwork quilt
Yet, today, 
Like so many Americans
I will wear 
That green sweater,
Grateful to be
A wee bit Irish.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

#sol19 March 16: Going Rogue!

I spent a week in Ireland,
Where 25% of my roots are anchored.
There was endless Guiness!
There were delicious mussels!
There was memorable beef stew!
There was no corned beef!

So this year,
I'm going rogue
Skipping salty beef
Avoiding briny cabbage.

I'm going to skip the meal
Created by immigrants
In favor of a meal 
Of those who stayed behind!

Friday, March 15, 2019

#sol19 March 15: Amidst All That Jazz

 I had a few minutes between "schools" yesterday, so I ducked into Starbucks, ordered a green iced tea, and got to work. 

 There were people from all walks of life wearing suits, heels, scrubs, hoodies, sweats, and sandals (first 50 degree day in NYC). They were hunched over tiny tables focused on phones, laptops, and tables. 

I found myself wondering if people come here to work because so many others are working or do they come because the loud music is surprisingly calming?

The jazz of the day had a strong beat that in spite of my reservations really was conducive to drowning out the neighboring conversations as well as the baristas' drone of, "Grande..Iced latte."  I found myself thinking about how some of our students would benefit from the option to have music, perhaps surprising music, when writing. 

I'm only sure that I found a chair and got a lot of work done!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

#sol19 March 14 Down the cliff

I get on, gingerly,
Holding tight.
Grateful that moving steps
Carry me down the cliff,
I try not to look up, too far,
Or down, too far,
Slowly, into the deep abyss
Where shining engines
Sparkling cars carry
Throngs of people.
This modern, space age looking,
Lies in stark contrast
To most of the city's aging subways.
So, I hang on tight
And try to enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

#sol19 March 13: Who are the people in your neighborhood?

Remember the Sesame Street song, Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood

I couldn't help myself from singing in my head as I watched the dog walkers with jacket clad apartment dwellers the other day. Each walker had 3-4 dogs and each block had 1-2 dog walkers!  Perhaps it was the time of the day, but I couldn't help but try to do the math in my head....but ended up needing to do some Google searching!

With a little Google search, I I found that in 2017, there were over 30,000 registered dogs in Manhattan. Then, I asked Google, "How many blocks in Manhattan? 262 blocks (with 4 sides to a block). If, what I was observing on my walk in the Upper East Side was generalized to just one half of Manhattan, than 500-1000 dogs were being walked at that mid day point by dog walkers! 

That is a lot of dog walkers! And I am pretty sure that dog walkers weren't an occupation when Sessame Street coined that song.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

#sol19 March 12th Snow Wife

We are almost halfway through the SOL challenge! 
"I'm going to read this book to you," she said confidently as she sat "criss-cross-applesauce" and placed her book confidently in one hand with the pictures facing her audience. She clearly knew how to read books in a school setting.

"This is Cinderella and this is Mulan and this is Elsa and this is Snow Wife," she said pointing to the stickers in the "book."

I had already had my hand slapped for modeling pronunciation of a word, so I listened with one ear and let my mind wander into how a new-age version of the Grimm tale might look with Snow Wife:

Once upon a time, there was a young teacher/doctor/social worker/store manager (you choose) who was planning a winter wedding to her long time man-friend. They had lived together for years/a while (you choose) and had solved problems like which car/refrigerator/sofa/paint (you choose) to buy.

They both loved the cold weather, skiing, sledding, snow hiking (you choose) and they both were interested in ways to be socially responsible/culturally responsible/gender neutral (you choose). They thought about having a fairy tale wedding in a large reception hall and in a small winery. They thought about celebrating their love indoors and outdoors and about eloping to Bermuda/Aruba/Florida (you choose) but nothing seemed just right. 

One day, they were walking through the woods on a snowy morning and it just seemed right. So they sent out the invitations, hoping and praying for snow. When Mother Nature did not provide snow, they hired 7 snow making machines from a local ski area to blanket their setting with snow. Snow Wife and Snow Husband along with their parents, including their loving step-parents, were warmed by the sun and family love while nestled in the snowy woods as they publicly stated the promise they had long made to each other. 

Disney thought the story was so lovely, they decided to make a movie with a new non-traditional Disney main character who was part of a family balancing careers, family-life, hobbies, sports, interests, illnesses, challenges (you choose). They lived happily ever after, were respectful to one another, and their families respected their choices and decisions. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

#sol19 March 11 Blocks

I'm grateful to my friends at Two Writing Teachers for fostering
my thinking and writing through their March Slice of Life Challenge.

When my children were young, we had a set of previously-loved wooden blocks that were used to build strong houses, tall condominiums, long roads, and mighty ramps. Over time we added piles of trendy Construx and Legos, but those old wooden blocks were the first engineering materials.

I thought of those blocks when I saw intricate cities in Kindergarten classes.
I thought of those blocks when a colleague wrote a dissertation about block play.
I thought I had given them away until I found them in the attic when I moved.
I thought about leaving them by the curb, but something made me carry them with me.

I smiled when my son asked if I still had them when his firstborn was a toddler.
I smiled when he cleaned them up for his own son.
I smiled the first time I built another road, another house, another ramp...
I smiled when his second born took my hand and said, "Road, Meme, road...tat you (thank you)."

I wonder how many more lives those blocks will impact...........

Sunday, March 10, 2019

#sol19 March 10: The Last Gift

"You are the Successor Executor listed on our Aunt's Will," he said gingerly. "It needs to be cleaned up, but she doesn't want to talk about it and I haven't had the energy to push it," he added even more gingerly.

"I've got it," I said reassuringly, having no idea was I was reassuring him of at that moment, but sure that I would do anything for my little brother, our Aunt's lawyer, who was losing his fight.

I guess my brother had confidence in me, far more confidence in me that I would have had if I had known then what I know now about Wills, Estates, Trusts, Income Tax, Estate Income Tax, and the Surrogate Court System!

For those who have not traveled this journey, it CAN be a crazy path that more accurately resembles Groundhog Day (the movie) than a linear route to a finish line!  You need addresses, emails, birthdays, social security numbers, wedding dates and divorce dates. You will spend weekends searching the internet and cemeteries for dates of death and then spend more weekends searching down those who witnessed your care of your Aunt. You will create family trees and massive spreadsheets, seek out children of your cousins, write letters and more letters, spend hours on the phone, become friendly with bank managers, and have piles of files! At times, you will wonder if you will ever be able to deliver this Last Gift of finalizing affairs to you Brother and Aunt.

I would have taken on this challenge as a Last Gift even if I had known how crazy this journey would be, but I really am glad I did not know. The good news, is that after almost 3 years, I think I see the finish line in the distance, as long as there is not a request for some obscure document leading to another Groundhog Day!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

sol19 March 9th Re.pen.zel

Can you get Repenzel? she asked.

“You want Repunzel? I asked because that is what  adults do when talking to children and they mispronounce words.  We don’t say, “It’s Repunzel not Repenzel, we just offer them the model of the traditional pronunciation. 

“It’s Repenzel,” she corrected me. Say it like this, “Re.pen.zel.

 I smiled knowing she will not always be playing with Disney princess dolls! I smiled as I handed Repenzel, to a three year old who comes from long lines of strong, independently thinking women. I smiled realizing I was not going to be writing about some of those strong women in her family tree because I had a new slice brewing. I smiled as I hoped she would always have the confidence to speak up for what she believed was right, the forum to express divergent thinking, and the courage the think creatively on this International Women's Day.

Friday, March 8, 2019

#sol19 March 8th:Raw Kindness for the Win

I reached in my bag to check the time, and my phone was not there. “Ugh,” I thought pretty sure I left it on the table when I grabbed my now worthless charger. Even though I was early for the 6:49, there was not enough time to walk back to my car, drive home, get my charger and make it to school on time. “Ugh,” I thought shivering in the bitter cold,” it’s going to be a long day.”

At the next stop, the train took a long time to come to a full stop.  People, who usually do not talk on early morning trains, were muttering as they finally entered, “It’s not OK to get off a moving train, but is it OK to get on a moving train?

Ugh, I thought to myself, “I hope the breaks are working,” as we sat at that station much longer than usual. “Ugh’” I thought not much later when the train came to a stop in the middle of the marshes, “I’m probably going to be late.

Finally, at the transfer station, a man using a white cane was almost to the escalator when a young man cut in front causing him to fall. The young man never looked back as he sped to his destination. “Ugh,” I thought to myself, “That is so wrong.”

At the first subway stop, a young man got off the train in order to assist an elderly woman, hunched to almost 90 degrees get her walker on the train while two riders on the crowded train gave up their seats and helped to make sure the elderly rider was comfortable and her walker was secured. “Ahh,” I sighed as I observed raw kindness and my faith in man’s kindness to man was restored. 

Ahh,” I sighed realizing that up until that moment, I had only been noticing what was wrong with my day! Raw kindness can turn a day around!

PS I got to school safely and on time after all!.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

#SOL19 March 7th: Coffee and Ashes to Go

The little sign next to the train platform and the line of customers behind the sign certainly caught me off guard, but also made me smile. For busy commuters, a local church set up an "Ashes to Go" stop at the station. No need to go to a church at a specific time in your already busy day.

It was clearly not the first time the Pastor had joined the masses in the morning cold, and it was not just commuters using the convenience.  People stopped for some quick ashes before or after picking up that special morning elixir at Dunkin Donuts next door. 

I thought about religion embracing our crazy, busy world as I climbed  on the train. I thought that some churches might consider partnering with drive through coffee spots of a "Pick Up Your Ashes" because during rush hour, you always wait in line.

As a teacher, my mind also wondered about the implication for education. Perhaps schools should set up a  "Books to Go" at the local soccer field to make it easier for busy children and their siblings to find books! Perhaps libraries should offer a pick up your book drive through service?

If you want to reach your people you have to meet them where they are.

#sol19 March 6 Grandma

In the days before I became a grandma, people asked me what I was going to be called. My mom and my sister became grandmas in their early 40s, and because they said they were too young to be a grandmas, they were Nanny and Nanna.  I was not going to be a "young" grandma, so those did not seem to fit.

In those days, I could only pray for healthy babies  and for my children, who were bringing children into this world as their own worlds were shattered by loss.

In the days when tiny miracles made me a grandma, I thought only of how I could support those new families.

In the days after life returned to some new semblance of normalcy, I sang "I love you, a bushel and a peck" to those babies and read them Snuggle Puppy.  I relearned swaddling and diapering and delivered  meals.

Then, one day, a little girl said, "Hi, Meme." (2 syllables), perhaps it was because I had referred to myself as Grammy but really only to differentiate from another grandma who hoped Gram would fit.. And so, I became Meme.

Then one day, a little boy greeted  me with, "Hi, Meeme." (1 syllable), and I proudly earned another name.

In the days since I became a grandma, I've grown to understand the privilege of the role and the insignificance of the name(s).  

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

#sol19 March 5: Not Alone

I often walk to a nearby park for exercise and an opportunity to nourish my mind. It's a park with quite a story!

It was designed by the son of Fredrick Olmsted, designer of Central Park in Manhattan. Amazingly, my little park was started in 1930 and completed in 1932 during an era when the nation was in the Great Depression.

I can do a more name dropping because prior to the American Revolution, The Lenape tribe of Native Americans lived here.

During the Revolution, General Lafayette's troops were stationed along the banks of the brook. He even had headquarters in what is now my park!

After a winter of rain, snow, freezing and thawing, the paths are partially flooded and the dam is overflowing. The trees are still empty but I know I will find pussy willows blooming soon. Perhaps it is the water pouring over the dam or the endless babbling brook or perhaps it is because so many people have "walked" this path for so many years, but I never feel alone as I walk through the park.

Monday, March 4, 2019

#sol19 March 4 She is Amazing: Grace

Grace (pseudonym) walked gingerly towards the pool, yet confidently, almost as if she knew she was heading into a safe place. Wearing a bathing suit that likely fit long ago, she pulled the falling straps back on her narrow shoulders as she moved towards the ramp. Her caregiver, still wearing her coat, took Grace to the edge of the ramp, but then took her seat as Grace walked even more slowly down the ramp, taking the tiniest of steps, into the water. I tried not to stare and tried to focus on my own swim, but my mind wandered as I began to feel both protective and admiration.

She was thin as a reed and her skin hung loosely, as if meant for another body. "How old," I wondered as I swam another lap. Yet, it appeared that once in the heated pool, she appeared to move more gracefully.

"Can I share your lane," she whispered as she moved  gracefully into my lane, and I nodded agreement as I moved to the edge of the lane, not that her tiny body needed much space! She swam so slowly that I wondered how she stayed afloat; yet, the stroke and rhythm were textbook crawl. I slowed my own pace, respectfully, yet I lapped her again and again. It took a while for her to complete on length of the pool and she rested for so long that I thought she might need help, but the life guard appeared to know her well and was close enough at any moment to reach in if she faltered.

I could not help but watch her and wonder........"How old." Then, she even more slowly than she entered, exited the water and the caregiver gracefully wrapped her in a towel around her and gently placed slippers on her feet.

I thought not only of Grace, but also the challenge of aging gracefully, the hope of hanging on to what we love, and the empowerment of warm water, as I finished my own laps and headed to the locker room.

"She's 94," I heard someone in the locker-room mutter softly as I put on my sweat pants, "She swims a couple of times a week."

 "She's my hero," I heard someone else say as I put the rest of my own clothes on.

We're all aging as long as we live, but we're also all empowered by doing what we love, as long as we are alive.  I hope when I am Grace's age I'm still swimming, reading and writing!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

#sol19 March 3: Change in Plans

I was excited
My new suit
And I were ready,
Morning swim,
Warm pool, Aquacize.

Coffee brewing
 l looked out the window,
I looked at the message
Trees, car, roads
Laden with snow
Delayed opening
More snow than expected!
Surprise !@($&
Instead of swimming
This morning
 (I appreciate Mother Nature's Slices of Life,
The snow is beautiful and peaceful.
March snows are sure to melt.
But, I'd be OK if this was the end.)

Saturday, March 2, 2019

#sol19 March 2 Looks Can Be Deceiving

I entered slowly, my eyes adjusting to the relative darkness. I heard the slow drip before I saw the stalactites  covering the ceiling. My eyes darted from the ceiling to the ground as I stepped gingerly watching for icy spots that could send me into a tailspin! Memories of exploring and even swimming in caves flooded my mind.

But, this was not a cave! This was a short tunnel on a cold winter morning after some very cold weather followed by a thaw....and some more very cold weather...followed by warming. I've walked through this footpath tunnel, just blocks from Central Park, many times and I usually watch my footing and respect the old stones that line the floors and ceiling because even on a sunny morning, these warn rock can be slippery. I'm pretty sure this little tunnel has been around since the overhead rail was built long, long ago!

The train rolled overhead as I slowly traversed the underground ice "cave" and the slow drips turned to cold rain and then back to slow drips as I returned to the morning light. I stopped, removed my gloves, and grabbed my phone, thinking, "Thanks for this SOL post."