Tuesday, March 31, 2020

#sol20 Day 31 Strength, Hope, and Miracles

As this year's SOL Challenge and the month of March come to a close, I'm reflecting on how much life has changed for most of us in 31 days. 
I've (we've) struggled to find topics outside of "The Virus" and struggled to focus on a challenging, new way of working and living. Yet, I've (we've) persisted as practicing writers and virtual friends. Perhaps, persistence will help carry me (us) through challenges in April into May?
I've (we've) learned that the real heroes are working in hospitals and as first responders even if they are scared.  They are delivering packages and food even if it is risky.  They are retooling businesses to create needed resources and working night and day to assure miracles every day.

I've (we've) been reminded that life is unpredictable and as I (we've) obsessively cleaned, I've (we've) been reminded that we feel "good" when we get rid of "things" ; yet, we treasure and hold tight to family and friends (including virtual) and their words of wisdom, hope and encouragement. 
I thank each of you who stopped by this month and wish each of you and your friends and families strength, hope, and miracles (if needed) in the days ahead.  

I survived  the SOL March Writing Challenge.
I'm glad I did. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

#sol20 Day 30 A Long Hot Shower

I took a long, hot shower. The kind of shower when you stand there solving your own problems and the problems of the world until your skin has turned red and your fingers have pruned. 

The kind of shower where you wash your hair an extra time because it had been so long since you washed it the first time, you forgot, until it was too late, that you had already shampooed. 

The kind of shower I took, long ago, when I was mad at the unfair world and my father would end up banging on the door about wasting water.

In that long, hot shower, I shed a few tears, shared a few prayers, and shoved a few concerns down the drain.  I relived some recent events, redirected some concerns, and released some stress. I prayed for relatives, friends, and my students. I asked for strength for those providing essential services, endurance for medical personnel trying to save the ill, and patience for the rest of us.

I was extra clean, extremely clear of thought, and exhausted afterwards, even if I id not solve the problems of the world.  But, perhaps I will try it again as I slept better than any baby ever slept!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

#sol20 Day 29 Have a Great Day

I was immersed in finishing my work with a big mug of tea and my trusty laptop.  I noticed the familiar UPS truck stop a few houses away and noticed the time as I thought about the long days these folks seemed to be working. 

The driver went in and out of his truck and it seemed like he was delivering something to every house on the block!  Finally, he arrived at my house, wearing blue gloves and a mask, and leaving appropriate social distance, left a box on my porch. He smiled as he swept his arm around the neighborhood offering, "You get a box, you get a box, and you get a box. Have a great day!

"Thank you," I yelled, smiling at the Oprah inspired greeting as he was already back to his truck.
He was starting the engine before he had both legs in, waving as if it were required, and heading off to another delivery, a few houses away. 

"He's like as modern day, Pandemic Inspired Santa Clause," I thought to myself:

He jumped in his truck, in spite of the long day.,
But I heard him exclaim, have a great day!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

#sol20 Day 28 Today

Today's agenda:
Shopping, online,
Talking, on phone,
Cleaning, my garage,
Reading, student responses,
Responding, SOL posts,
Writing, this blog post,
Staying, home,
Praying, for those
On the front line.
Caring, for others,
Researching, a cure,
Working. essential jobs.

Friday, March 27, 2020

#sol20 Day 27 It Will Be Better

The sun had just peeked over  I horizon as I left for an early morning walk. To be honest, I had been feeling a bit like a "caged bird" and I hoped some fresh air and exercise might alleviate my mood and lead to a productive day.  I watched a few dog walkers, clearly in pajamas, and a few joggers, clearly attempting to maintain their routines, as lines from Maya Angelou's Caged Bid iBtrd were invading my thoughts: 

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
After a few blocks, I "hit my (walking) stride" just as the local bird population, back from their winter in the south, filled the morning air with sound. I kept going a bit longer than I had originally planned and as I arrived back home and quickly Googeled the Angelou poem which I knew included a line about a "free bird."Before I reached my intended site, my very favorite MA quote appeared and I knew I was where I needed to be to find inspiration for the day.

I've learned that no matter what happens,
Or how bad it seems today,
Life does go on,
It will be better tomorrow. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

#sol29 Day 26 Your Mom is Having a Baby!

There is a lot of talk recently on what we should share
with young children about the pandemic.
It makes me think of a time long ago when my parents
failed to tell me about a big family change.
"Your Mom is having a baby! the boy sitting next to me said excitedly 
as my Mom came to the classroom door.   

"No she is not," I said confidently because she was certainly not having a baby,  We lived in a tiny trailer home, my mom, my dad, my sister and me.  I'd know if she was having a baby! "Boys are such know it alls," I thought.

I packed up my bag and headed home.

The next morning, my dad was sitting on the side of the bed, strangely dre ssed in his work clothes in spite of the early hour.  "You're a bit sister, this morning,," he smiled and I knew without asking that he was not referring to my little sister.  Handing me a tiny stuffed animal, he added, "Your little brother, Jeremiah, was born this morning.  Mommy is at the hospital with him."

"What about me?" I think I asked.

"You are going to school, today, and then Mrs. Parke (our neighbor) will meet you at the bus.

And so, I headed back to second grade and sheepishly learned how that growing belly my mother called "getting fat" was a sign of a reproduction, from the boy sitting next to me.

While I agree the nightly news is too stressful,
it's probably best to talk to kids in a way they can understand.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

#20 Day 25 Juxtaposition

During a normal SOL season, I notice "life" more closely.
  This year, it's juxtaposition I see!
Bright forsythia in early bloom amid a cold spring snow-rain.
Happy daffodils and tulips amid worry and angst.
Houses of worship closed, amid prayers.
Hoping to get back to work amid
Those who yearned for days off.
Nurses, doctors, grocers,
Garbage collectors, police, EMS,
Exhausted heroes,
Teachers, educators,
Emerging respect and appreciation!


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

#sol20 Day 24 Thank Goodness for Technology

Yesterday, I
Zoom-chatted with graduate students
Sharing projects, books too good to miss,
Sharing fears, concerns, hopes
(to get through the semester).

Video-chatted with preschoolers
Sharing show-and-tell and No David.
Sharing laughs, giggles, hopes 
(to see you soon).

Go-Noodled with preschoolers,
Popping imaginary bubbles
While the snow-flake-infused rain fell.
Sharing movement, exercise, hopes
(to get outside soon).

Video-messaged with a 4-year-old
Who now has his own Messenger account
Sharing his rainbow, walls, hopes
(to see you soon).

Monday, March 23, 2020

#sol20 Day 23 In Focus

On one hand, it's hard to stay focused
When there is no place to go.
Sure, there are lessons to plan,
Responses to read,
Students to reassure,
Closets to clean,
Rooms to paint,
But, it's hard to stay focused.

On the other hand, 
I'm staring to focus on
What is really important,
What I have not done,
While I kept busy,
Focusing on
People, memories, connecting. 
Finding happiness
In thoughts, words, actions.
What is really important. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

#sol20 Day 22 So Many Changes

I let my mind wander as I completed my 2020 Census form.  So much had changed in the past 10 years. I had lost my parents, my marriage, my home. I had moved to a new state, become a mother in law, gained grandchildren. I had "retired" and I was now teaching teachers rather than struggling readers.

In 2010, I remember we got the "long form" of the Census, a thick packet where you blackened out or wrote in answers with a #2 pencil. We sat together at the counter sharing a bottle of wine while we answered many questions about our parents, children, jobs, home. Dinner was late that night thanks to the long form.

In 2000, we were knee deep in college decision making, likely sitting around the table, in Friendly's, where we went to make big decisions. We would soon have three in college. I remember going to Friendly's to make the college decision but I can't remember doing the Census.

In 1990, we were likely overwhelmed with spring dance and baseball schedules as well as work, yard work, and the challenge to get through each week. I can't remember doing the Census, but I can remember getting notes in the front door asking about a convenient time for someone to come and collect the data! Family life was intense at that point.

In 1980, we were likely in survival mode balancing a newborn and careers. We were sleep deprived and stressed with mortgage payments! I can't even remember doing the Census, but I can remember getting notes in the front door.

In 1970, my parents filled out the Census on my behalf while our country, and much of the world, was in crisis. Meanwhile, I tried to make decisions about my future.  Colleges had closed early that year, like this year, as we dealt with the devastating effects of an unpopular war and college protests. Family members were pitted against each other as the impacts of questioning authority and loss of life filled the news. I know it was a very stressful spring but I don't remember anything about the Census.  I can remember I was feeling overwhelmed by the scary situation in our world.

So many changes; yet, scary times persist.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

#sol20 Day 21 I Let My Mind Wander

I was outside on the porch when the mail carrier walked up, delivering the mail at a socially safe distance. I thanked him for his service, grateful to talk to someone while wondering how much longer daily mail delivery would continue.

I thumbed through the mail, thinking of times not so long ago when the mail contained bills that needed to be paid.  Most times now, the short pile of mail is a couple pieces of junk mail, applications for credit cards and a few store flyers.

On this day, the 2020 Census arrived, and I almost overlooked it as it looked like a reminder and I was thinking the Census, like most other aspects of life, was delayed, like Income Tax filing. For some reason, however, I saved it and pulled it out when I paid bills.

This time, I went to a website and put in a code, thinking how different my life was 10 years ago when I answered a packet full of questions on paper. My process and my life were very different 10 years ago. Now, my household, is just me. 

The process was quick with a couple of questions about my age and living situation. Yet, I sat there letting my mind drift back to where I was and what I was doing in 200, 1990, 1980, 1970, 1960....before I hit the submit button. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

#sol20 Dog Days

Normally, I think of "dog days" as those hazy hot days of summer when dogs dig a pit in the cool earth and rest from the heat of the day.

Yet, one of the interesting "noticings" from looking out my window, working in my yard, and taking many walks (of late) is that dogs seem to be really enjoying this new "work-learn-stay-at-home" world.

Tails a-wagging-enthusiastically, a parade of pooches, large and small, can be seen leading pandemic-weary owners around the block, up the street, and out of their funks.  I'm guessing there have been more morning-midday-evening walks than usual for most of these pooches based on their enthusiasm!

In this new world of social distancing, the dogs have become adept at keeping their distance, crossing the street as needed, and at least most of the time, becoming more aloof when other dogs are around!

So on this first full day of spring, I declare this one of those dog days.  (I wish I had a dog right now!)

Thursday, March 19, 2020

#sol20 March 19 Another Consequence

Twas a dark and dreary morn,
Working/learning/staying at home
Ruled the land,
Closed stores,
Cancelled appointments,
Everyday yoga pants, 
Why bother make up.

As I blew dry my hair,
It was clear
Another "consequence"
Not in the same category as
Fear, hunger, anxiety
Not as devastating as 
Isolation, pandemic illnesses,

Yet, a consequence
That might endure.
I'd talked about "going natural,"
But, there was always an excuse.
I'd complained about the time, money,
This time, it's out of my control,
This spring, I'm going natural.
I'm guessing I won't be alone.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

#sol20 March 18 Teaching is Not Easy

Most of us participating in this March Challenge
Are in the field of education directly or indirectly
As teachers, administrators, consultants, authors.

This month, thanks to an invisible enemy,
Parents, caregivers, grandparents are challenged
To "teach" at home,
Alone, while trying to work from home,
Alone, while trying to make this new way of life
Alone, without professional development,
Alone, while trying to make all this
Seem normal.

As a lifelong educator,
I want to send a message to all those
Now called to be teachers.
It's not easy.
It's always messy.
Learning is not a straight path.
Teaching does not equal learning.
You always have to teach and reteach.
You can plan,
Your plans will never go off perfectly.
You will always need to modify plans.
Children always make their own paths.
Teachers sometimes throw up their hands
And give in to the moment.

Teachers often feel frustrated,
We feel like we could, should, want to do more,
Teachers often feel 
Anxious before the school day,
Exhausted during the day,
Spent, after the school day.

Teaching your own children
Is a special kind of hard.
We are with you
We will not criticize you,
We share your challenge.

Love and protect your children
As your first priority.

I'm participating in the month long SOL Challenge with Two Writing Teachers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

#SOL20 March 17 Potato Soup

No parades this year,
Frankly, nobody to see, this year,
But I'm wearing green
Planning on Avocado Toast, for lunch.
Planning fairy houses, for the garden,
Thinking of St. Patrick's Day past,
My Aunt's green hair!
My Mother's green beer, 
Corned beef (ugh) and cabbage (ugh),
Thinking of potato soup, this year.

May your troubles be less,
May your happiness be more,
May nothing but happiness
Come through your door.

Monday, March 16, 2020

#sol20 March 16 Hope vs.Despair

My hair dresser called herself,
To apologize for cancelling,
"The studio has no choice," her voice quivered.
"I hope this will only be a couple of weeks," she sighed.

"I hope so, too," I said with confidence I really didn't have,
Knowing how much she depends on her profession,
Pretty sure her husband might already be on "break."
I hope they will not despair,
I hope they will be strong.

My local WMCA housing my gym, my pool,
Sent an email apologizing for cancelling.
"We have no choice," at this point.
"We hope this will be a brief closing."

"I hope so, too,"  I thought to myself
Knowing how much so many people depend on it
To keep their bodies and their minds moving.
Knowing how those swimmers, sports teams
Relish in daily practice to keep their hormones and energy
In check.
I hope they will not despair,
I hope they will be strong.

I hope these are signs
Of Hope.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

#sol20 March 15 One Walk and Then Another

I started the day with an early morning walk watching an amazing sunrise amidst tiny signs of early spring like pussy willow blossoms and crocus buds. Fortunately for me, who was feeling a bit alone, there were many, many others who had emerged before the sunrise and we acknowledged each other politely, at a distance, with comments such as, "lovely morning."  People were certainly more friendly than usual.

I fought my way through the grocery store scoring fruits, veggies, and even some off brand toilet paper. There were many others who had arrived early and we acknowledged each other politely, at a distance, with comments such as, "nice green beans."  People were far more polite and friendly than usual and certainly nicer than reported on the news.

After lots of cleaning and gardening, I decided to take a walk before eating dinner, alone. I  was planning on a short walk, but walking towards the late afternoon, setting sun along with seeing so many others sharing the sunset seemed to fuel my walk. People were friendlier than usual and encouraged each other with comments such as, "we can still get out and walk!"

As I headed to the shower, my knees were aching and my feet were tired, but then I noticed my Fitbit recorded 75,000 steps (to be honest, most of those steps were tiny ones, moving items in my garage from save, to Goodwill, to throw away) and I was filled with hope for this new stage of life. 

This morning, I am sore, very, very sore. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

#sol20 March 14 It's Really Big

I really wanted to write
Today's slice about this
Fire station 
Under construction
It's really big,
With a really big hose
To put out really big fires
It's really memorable, but,
The library is closing
For at least two weeks.
Closing a public library
Is really big
With really big impact,
It's really memorable, but,
Not in a good way.

Friday, March 13, 2020

#sol20 This Week

This week brought us
One less hour of sleep,
A full moon,
Friday the 13th,
Darkness on Broadway,
Red lines on Stock reports,
Distance learning,
Parents scrambling,
Politicians panicking,
Stores void of toilet paper.

It's been a hard week
For almost everyone.
Stay safe,
Check on the elderly,
Keep your social distance.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

#sol20 March 12 Personal Motto?

"Did you decide on a family motto for your accent wall?" she asked.

"," I said sheepishly, "but I have thought about it!"

It did seem like a nice way to personalize my new kitchen when the kitchen designer suggested the family motto on the accent wall long ago at the beginning of my renovation.  I live alone, so it's just about me!  How hard could it be to find a a quote that sums up what you feel about your life?  High school students do it for yearbooks!  I have lots of quotes and writing prompts in my notebook!  Yet, 8 months after she launched this idea, I still have not found a quote that speaks to who I am, today and everyday.  

Do I use a quote that refers to surviving family trauma? 
What about quote about becoming a strong woman?
Should I use a quote about learning? 
Do I use Eleanor Roosevelt, Anna Quindlin, Michelle Obama, my mom? 

I have a collection of quotes that seems to grow rather than shrink and I am beginning to think that what is easy to find at 18 and your adult life is just beginning is hard to find when you have many decades of life under your belt.  Or, perhaps, I just have not found the one for me. 

So, I'd be happy to consider quotes if you wish to share.  But, I'm also beginning to think a nice bulletin board might work there as well!  I'd have a place to hang pictures from the grandchildren and ever changing quotes that inspire me!  

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

#sol20 March 11 Like Always, These Days

The first sign something was wrong was the eerily quiet parking lot. I've been to IKEA, a mega big box store near me, a few times and I have always struggled to find a parking space.

"I must have timed this right," I thought as I entered into the cavernous store, disinfecting my hands after touching the escalator railings. I made a conscious effort to not touch random pieces of furniture or tags along my path.  I was on a clear mission and knew just what I needed.

There were a few people along the winding path to the bookcase section, but not many.  Some wore masks and some wore gloves. I made a mental note to add disposable gloves to my personal-protection arsenal now in my bag. 
I picked up one Ekat bookcase and a base in the self service area and headed to the checkout noticing again, the emptiness that is always filled with people any time this store is open.  

Then, I got to the checkout area.  You always wait in a long, long line.  You always wonder if your purchase is worth it. Not this time, not this trip. 

I walked up to the waiting cashier, who was wearing gloves and a mask, paid for my purchase and left the store with a sick feeling in my stomach from yet another impact of the novel virus plaguing our society. I wiped my hands and the steering wheel with disinfectant, just like I always do these days. 

I washed my hands, when I got home, and took off my clothes to wash them, in hot water, like I always do, these days.  Another sign that something is wrong, these days.

In the last few weeks, the suburbs of NYC
have changed due to the presence of the Corona virus.  
It is a sad slice of life today.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

#sol20 March 10 Are Your Eyes Open?

"Are your eyes open," he asks as he not-so-gently climbs over me and slides under the covers holding tightly to the car of the morning.

"The sun is awake," he offers as he sits up to show me the not-anymore-pitch-black-horizon.

"See, Meme, it's a new day," he sings as he climbs in beside me and presses his warm-from-sleep feet into my warm-from-sleep legs.

I sigh
 I realize
He's growing at break-neck speed.
 He barely
Spoons into me these days. 
I sigh
With gratitude
 He is with me
While his floors are redone.

It was not long ago
I was rocking his tiny self to sleep
 After reading Snuggle Puppy.
It was not long ago
 He was climbing in and out of his cozy coupe.
Finding joy with Clifford in a box,  
It won't be long
Before he heads to kindergarten
It won't be long 
Before he will not want to snuggle his Meme.
I can't think about that.
I enjoy this moment. 

I'm trying to write every day in March 
Two Writing Teachers' March Challenge
This is a Slice of My Life this week

Monday, March 9, 2020

#sol20 March 9 "Just" the Flu

Got a text ✔
She has the flu ✔
But how ?
Flu shot ✔
Plenty of fresh air ✔
Healthy diet✔
Plenty of rest ✔
But how ?
High fever ✔
Chills ✔
Positive test✔
Didn't she have it already?
This is Flu A ✔
Another strand of the flu ?
It's very scary ✔
It's hard to watch those we love suffer✔
I wonder
Is this late, hard flu season ?
The price of a warm winter
It's scary ✔
Even if not the virus paralyzing us ✔
Even if it's "just" the flu✔

I'm participating in the March SOL Challenge
With Two Writing Teachers
This was a real slice of my life this weekend.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

#SOL20 March 8 The Last Night

It was a Friday night in late June and I was the kind of tired that teachers know as "End-o-year-counting-the-days-exhausted." 

I had at least 20 report cards to finish and an inbox filled with grad school student papers.

My elderly mother had been upset because her anniversary was on the horizon and she wanted to visit the cemetery and she wanted to go out the that restaurant near the cemetery; yet, I had to work on that last for her (in retrospect) anniversary as it was also the last day of school.

"Let's try that Chinese place one last time," he said in a text that was prophetic, yet not unreasonable as the previous take out had been sub par.

We settled onto the porch on that warm June night, just like we normally did. 
Shrimp fried rice and chicken with broccoli in plastic bins with take out chop sticks,
He opened the wine and we began small talk about our day.

In retrospect, tired was not my biggest problem that June day.
In retrospect, it was the last Chinese food I ate.
In retrospect, those report cards and papers did not matter all that much.
In retrospect, I probably carried the conversation as he was quiet.
In retrospect, my mom's problem was not one to worry about.
In retrospect, he probably didn't eat much.
In retrospect, it was suddenly chilly.
In retrospect, it was the last time we sat on the porch.
In retrospect, I can't believe I didn't see "it" coming.
In retrospect, it was the last dinner.
In retrospect, life as I knew it changed in an instant.
In retrospect, it was the last night.

'm participating in the SOL March Writing Challenge.
This is a sad slice of my life!

Saturday, March 7, 2020

#SOL20 March 7 Cans, Paper, Dressers

I remember my grandmother washing out cans, taking off the labels and saving them in a bin on her back porch. She was a young wife and mother struggling to make ends meet during the Great Depression and she never really changed how she lived or how she recycled. I thought it to be a strange, old fashioned thing to do;!  My mother just tossed cans in the trash in what I perceived to be the modern way!

These days, recycling has become, once again, the norm at least for bottles, cans, and paper.
Recently, where I live, we've begun mandated use of our own shopping bags. I've begun to adapt to the BYOB stage with a stack of bags from Trader Joe's and Home Goods in my car.

Yet, for me, the greatest recycling project of all happens on the first Friday of each month at the curb.  People put out their "trash" - old strollers, old dressers, old brooms - and the recycling rangers, as I call them, comb the streets for anything that might be reusable by anyone.

I know the impact of recycling cans, plastics and paper is huge. I know the impact of using our own bags is huge. I am SURE those recycling rangers who took everything but an old bed frame is huge as well. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

#SOL20 March 6 They Left the Back Flow Potty!

My home life became challenging after a demolition crew arrived to take out my kitchen and bathroom.  In retrospect, demolition day was the easiest part of the journey towards a tub and sinks that drained.

After the dumpster left and the dust settled, the breadth and scope of the project ahead started to become real. There were old walls and holes in floors where once there had been a peeling tub and an avocado green kitchen (think 60's).

I knew this before I started, but the reality kicked in quickly: there was no running water inside my house, except the washing machine and...

A "back flow" potty in the basement.

You may have one if you have a really old house.  Way back in the early days of sewer systems, they were "required" as a way to contain the inevitable back ups that occurred. In the days before basements were typically finished, it was deemed easier to clean a basement floor.  In the early days of sewers, there were regular, messy back ups!  The interesting thing about these potties is that there  are no walls for privacy and no sinks for hand washing.  It's just a toilet sitting in the open!

In the days, weeks ahead, I was grateful for that back flow potty and I found ways to wash hands and brush teeth!

  • One night, I was outside washing my face with the hose and something ran over my feet.  I screamed!
  • One day, I was brushing my teeth when the mail delivery person arrived!
  • One morning, I was brushing my teeth when my neighbor was headed out to walk his dog. I waved, my mouth full of paste and my bed head in full view.
  • One day, I arrived at the gym as it opened and the clerk commented about my early arrival.  I was honest about my renovation. The next day, she smiled from ear to ear as she asked if I came to shower or to work out!
  • I bought a gallon of hand sanitizer as they days grew colder; I used every bit!

I'm participating in the SOL March Writing Challenge.
This really is a slice of my recent life!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

#SOL20 March 5 Sneaker begins with a p

She had been cutting the advertisement into pieces when she stopped, amazed at her own emerging letter awareness.

"I know shirt starts with an a," she said confidently.

"Shirt actually starts with an sh," I responded.

"Oh," she said looking dejected as she continued her cutting.

"I know sneaker starts with a p," she said smiling. 

"Sneaker actually starts with an s," I responded trying to figure out where this letter-sound focus was  was coming from. 

"Well then I am going to cut out that p from this sneaker," she mumbled as she cut the Puma off the sneaker. 

I smiled as I now understood from where her emerging letter awareness was coming! 

"Sometimes people put their names on the shirts and sneakers," I added wondering how much explanation was wanted.

"That's silly," she said laughing, "they already know it's their shirt!"

She will make the sound-symbol connection as she is aware there is a connection between letters and initial sounds even if she is not yet aware of advertising power coming from putting brand names on clothing items.

I'm participating in the SOL March Writing Challenge.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

#sol20 Day 4 Long Time No Pedi?

In retrospect, if the shop had not been so crowded that holiday weekend, he might have noticed how nervous I was. "What to you want," he asked?

I read the signs and considered, French, Gel, Spa, Super Spa,...."I guess a regular will be fine."

"What color?" he asked pointing to a wall of tiny bottles.

"Um," I started, "perhaps a French would be best," I said slowly because deciding on a color would have been a formidable task!

"Come,"he said as he motioned to the chair. He helped me into the chair then had to show me how to turn on the massage feature as he turned on the water and settled into his seat.  

For a minute or two, I soaked and he prepped for the undertaking ahead. Pulling one foot out to begin, he studied the appendage and asked with concern, "Long time, no pedi?"

I smiled, wondering if I should tell him it was my first time? Certainly, I had cut, filed and painted my own nails many times in my 60 or so trips around the sun. Certainly, I had soaked my feet in the tub a few times although it was not a regular activity. Certainly, I had used a pumice stone on my heels while taking a shower more than a few times. Yet, after years of students, coworkers and others sporting professionally groomed toe and fingernails, I had finally decided to find out what all the hype was about! 

"Long time," I smiled and I think we both knew the truth.

"I'll make them good," he smiled. "You come to right place."

I'm participating in the SOL March Writing Challenge.
Several people have been sharing memory slices
 and this one is one of my favorite memories.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

#sol20 Day 3 March 3 The Lawn Jockey

Those of us who spend our lives in schools are used to decorating for every "holiday" including Presidents' Day, Groundhog's Day,.... St. Patrick's Day (even if we are not Irish).
My neighbors take that decorating spin to a new level with a small statue in their front yard, affectionately referred to by my grandchildren as the Statue Boy. 

I must admit I look forward to his changing costumes, especially his Yankee (baseball) and Leprechaun attire; yet, there was a part of me thinking that I remembered there was some unsavory history behind such lawn art?  So I did a bit of research. Yes, I Googled "jockey lawn art."

There are several different stories behind the "lawn jockey", including a version that George Washington commissioned a statue of Jocko, The Faithful Groomsmen, to represent an African-American boy, too young to fight, who froze to death holding a lantern during the Revolutionary War. 

There is also a theory that lawn jockeys played a role in the Underground Railroad marking dangerous and safe houses along the journey north. Different lanterns tied to the arm would signal if a route was safe or not.

In Saratoga Springs, NY, lawn jockeys are part of the local horse racing culture, wearing the bright colors of favorite jockeys in a long tradition of summer horse racing. At one time, many jockeys were African American; yet the "lawn jockey" is an image that transcends racial identity as jockeys today are of diverse heritage. 

So, after just a brief Google search, I am thinking that "lawn jockeys" are historical "relics" with an unclear but not unsavory past!  

Yet, if you have something to add to this story, please let me know and I will add!

I'm participating in the SOL March Writing Challenge.
I'm planning to write a little slice of my life each day in March. 

Monday, March 2, 2020

#sol20 Day 2 March 2 The First Lyft

Admittedly, I'm a bit behind on many aspects of "cultural literacy"! 

I had been nervously waiting for him for since I asked him to come. I made plans in my head in case he did not come and even though I had allowed more than enough time, I wondered if I would make it and I wondered what would happen if I missed my connection?

I carefully put my two pieces of luggage on the porch and then moved them next to the porch and then moved them closer to the end of my driveway.  I went in to brush my teeth, again, and to try to relieve my anxiety that was mounting by the minute. What if he were a criminal or, I don't know, going to steal my bags (full of books and achievement tests)!

He arrived right on time in a Toyota with a license plate that matched the number relayed to me on my phone. He stopped carefully and jumped out of the car introducing himself and showing me his ID before I even asked. He seemlessly opened his trunk and loaded my luggage asking in a joking fashion, "Do you have a body in here?"

His accent was heavy, yet he made carefully articulated small talk first clarifying to goal of our trip and later sharing a bit of his own story working as an apprentice lineman for Verizon and driving for Lyft when he can in order to save funds to attend the University.  His dream was to study to be an electrical engineer like his brother who now works for Google.

After learning I was a teacher, he shared how he learned English from watching TV with subtitles in his native language. He talked of The Big Bang Theory, his favorite show, and how he watched it again and again until he could retell whole shows.

The ride flew by and before I knew it, and before I was ready for the ride to end, it was over. I knew it was unlikely that our paths would cross again and yet I knew he had given me a faith in this new system of transportation. He had also renewed my faith in this new crop of hard working first  generation Americans who are working to reshape now only their own lives but how we all live and travel from place to place.

I'm participating in the SOL March Writing Challenge.
I'm planning to write a little slice of my life each day in March. 
I'm also going to encourage new bloggers as a member of the Welcome Wagon.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

SOL20 Day 1 Potential Slices

I'm feeling anxious, 
Like when you approach the podium,
Yet, it's my 9th time,
It will get easier every day.
I'll be looking at everything
I see, hear, do,
As potential slices.

I'm a Mom, Meme, Auntie, Great Auntie,
I'm a Sister, Sister in Law, Friend,
I'm a semi-retired Literacy Specialist
Adjunct Professor, Mentor,
Online Course Developer.
Hopeful book publisher.
I'm renovating a kitchen and a bathroom,
(I probably could find 31 slices right there)
I love to walk, swim, sew.

Along with my writing challenge,
I'm doing a 31 minutes (at least) for 31 days,
Exercise and clean eating challenge.
I'm painting walls,
Busy trying to
Put my house/life together.
Plant a few seeds/gardens,
Every moment
A potential slice.
No wonder I am feeling anxious!

I'm participating in the SOL March Writing Challenge.
I'm planning to write a little slice of my life each day in March. 
I'm also going to encourage new bloggers as a member of the Welcome Wagon.