Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ob la di, ob la da, life goes on...

This past week, my Great Aunt Peg and Great Uncle Dick passed away.  They had been married for over 70 years, and died within days of each other.  Never have I known such a fun, and yet earnest and intelligent, couple.  The fact that they were married and essentially inseparable for over 70 years is a phenomenon for which I cannot find a single word adequate enough to describe, and I feel so blessed to have known them and hope that perhaps, a little bit of that magic that they had exists somehow in me.  One can hope! They had such an interesting life and they travelled to many different places together, Alaska, Ireland was a favorite, and even came to visit me at Ft. Bragg while I was stationed there in the Army.  Being on military time, I decided to call them "super early" in the morning at 9:00 so we could meet for breakfast.  My Grandpa Bill was with them and he answered the phone and I could tell I woke him.  I said, "I thought you all would have woken up already, the early bird and all."  Grandpa Bill replied, "Weenie, I haven't seen the early bird since Reagan was in office!"    This was, of course, an exaggeration, but typical for my Grandpa Bill.  And it was 1992 so it hadn't been that long, really.  He had so many witticisms, Uncle Dick did too.  They both were so much fun, and funny!  So many stories we heard from both of them.  I got to see them frequently during the summer when we would go to Dewey Lake; I was always excited to run from our place to see if Patty, Tim or Richard were at the back cottage firing up the grill! Upon learning of their passing, my first instinct was to call my dad, or my mom, or my Grandpa Bill, but sadly, they all have gone onto the great beyond, and the reality of this hit me like a tornado.  The people that used to make up such a hugely impactful part of my life, from visiting with them on their porch at Dewey Lake, to sailing the sailboat, to riding around the lake on their red float boat, or running and jumping off of their pier, are gone.  A significant part of my life has ended forever, never to be recaptured.  That makes me feel a profound sense of sadness.  Especially for their own children and grandchildren, my second cousins, or first cousins once removed, we always tried to figure that out!  No matter, they have endured a great loss and I hope they take solace in all the love that was shared; I hope they take solace that Aunt Peg and Uncle Dick's lives go on through them, through their beautiful grandchildren.  But still, grieving takes time and life goes on. Children go to school, we go back to work. Life goes on.  We log on to social media, tweet what's going on, hashtag something. Life goes on. Happily, I am now connected via Facebook with many of them, and it's a salve to see they have their own children and families.  Beautiful families!  Many of them, many of us, have lost loved ones in this past year, and for that I am sad.  Many of them, many of us, have beautiful families and for that I am thankful.  Please, say a prayer or keep their families in your thoughts.

Obladi Oblada - I love the Beatles and this song makes me smile.  I hope it makes you smile, too.

Richard and Margaret Burke

Sunday, March 3, 2013


I am completely non-plussed that it has been so long since I've posted.  If I hazarded a guess at how long it's been, never would I have guessed that it's been as long as it's actually been!  Finding that ever-elusive balance in life has been a struggle lately, to say the least.  But balance is an interesting concept.  Not only do I see it (or the lack thereof) in my school and home life, but also in that awesome little Kindergartner with whom I am so blessed to spend my time.  At once she is my mini-me, singing and swimming and charming all she encounters and in another turn, she is running lightning fast, shooting goals in soccer and farting on command.  (yes, you really did just read that, sorry Iz)  Literally, she will turn her bootie toward Don, bend over and just cut loose.  That is by no means 'Maureen' behavior, no siree.  That is 'Don' all the way.  On the one hand it makes me cringe and on the other I ROTFL.  And it's a good thing, truly, because I tend to take myself too seriously and appreciate Don's yin to my yang.  Somehow our equally individual traits are in her, not mutually exclusive.  It's a wonder that it works, and yet it does.  The little wonder turns 6 in just about 2 months and we are already talking about 1st grade!  (1st grade!!!)  Just a few short months ago she was a shy reader; unsure of herself.  Now she's reading like a champ and eagerly anticipating chapter books. Last summer she was falling off her bike unable to keep it upright and now she rides like Lance.  A few weeks ago she was struggling to remember all the notes on the treble clef with help from her piano note speller.  Now she's sight-reading and playing so much more confidently.  This time last year she was struggling to get from level 1 A, B and C to level 2 in swimming.  Now she's almost in level 4 and jumping off the diving board.  Last week she jumped off for the first time; other children in her group walked out to the end and walked back without jumping, but not Iz.  She walked to the end and jumped right in.  As soon as her little head bobbed up above the water she made eye contact with me and shouted, "Mommy, I had faith in myself and I did it!"The other parents and lifeguards standing nearby all clapped because it was said with such amazing incredulity and passion on her part.  I, naturally, cried.  :)  Don has joked so many times how he never swam, he sank.  Really, he jumped in and tried so many times as a child and just sank to the bottom.  He realized it wasn't his thing and pursued other sports.   Watching my little mermaid swim and love it has been entrancing, especially since I find so much joy in it myself.  And hearing her little voice from the deep end of the pool was so sweet, especially since it was so triumphant.  "I had faith in myself."  It's all you can ask as a parent.  That, and the confidence to break wind at will.  Balance, life is about balance.  :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fashion (Pants on the Ground)

I've often said that guys have it so much easier than girls do regarding fashion; fewer choices makes it easier to determine what to wear everyday. Suit styles tend not to change much over time and thus, guys can get more use out of an item. Sizing is far more standard from one men's designer to another, so it's easier to find your size when you're a guy. But most importantly, and this is the reason for this post, guys' styles are typically more comfortable. If you question the veracity of that statement, just think: HEELS. (I almost typed HELLS, which isn't far off, but they make our legs look good, right?) However, I am re-thinking that last part. I know that guys have been wearing their pants at questionable levels for awhile now, but it seems to have reached a new low. (pun intended). Many guys are now belting their pants BELOW their butt. First of all, doesn't that completely negate the wearing of pants to begin with? Why even wear them? Pants are meant to cover one's undergarments, right? But never mind that part, what I want to know is, isn't it uncomfortable as hell to wear them that way? When I see them worn in that manner, I can only think of that song about pants on the ground...he must have noticed it before I did and felt compelled to write a song. I get the song now. It feels weird looking at a guy who is wearing his pants that way, almost obscene. People complain about women's styles being too revealing, but usually a revealing style in a woman's garment is by design. On purpose. The guy's pants on the ground is a modification of the intended design. I just don't get it, and I don't think it's because of my age or gender. I think I don't like it because it's totally asinine. There I said it, I feel better.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Thankful. I am thankful. Thankful for my family and I love them with all my heart. But this post isn't about them, though they deserve it, it's understood that I am thankful for and love my family. Love is a many splendored thing, right? Patient. Not over-rated. It doesn't stink. Generally under-appreciated and taken for granted in the grand scheme of things. But not by me. I am overtly expressive of my love of my family and that's not what this post is about. Today I want to express my thanks for my co-workers. The people I work with on a daily basis are pretty amazing. It's easy to see someone in one particular light, as a teacher or social worker or psychologist, but in reality everyone, every individual is multi-faceted and multilayered. From the tech-savvy linguist, who at first blush takes what we do very seriously, but who is witty and hilarious and makes us all laugh at lunchtime; to the quiet, reserved and more ernest, yet laid back individual who brings us delicious home-made brownies, which I swear are the best. ever. (ever); or the knowledgeable and dedicated life-long learner/educator who devotes precious time outside of school to her students and her thoughtful planning and instruction, or the vivacious and remarkable new staff member, who is at once silly and bubbly, but yet incredibly kind and patient. I could go on and on and on. My point is that we all know how important it is to have people in your personal life who love and support you, who inspire you, but isn't it just as important to have those same kinds of people where you spend the majority of your day: at work? Isn't it enlightening and enjoyable to be able to work with people who share your same level of energy doing what you do? Yes it is. I am surrounded by the kind of people who love what they do and I am thankful.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Preschool/High School


Me: Iz! Look at these adorable Saucony gym shoes, but they have ties, is this something you would like to work on together? Tying shoes? Should I order them?

Iz: Yes Mommy, those are soooooo cute! (she hugs me) I’ll practice tying my shoes.

Me: Ok, sounds like a plan.

(Later that week after the shoes arrive)

Me: Iz, let’s work on tying together. (She slips the shoes on, still a bit big but I want plenty of time to work on the tying part). You cross the laces over, tuck one under and pull tight. Voila! You try.

Iz: OK! (takes the laces, wraps them around each other, pulls tight, nothing happens.) That’s ok, Mommy, can you help me and show me again?

Me: Sure. (repeat steps delineated above) ((We are both happy to have the cute shoes and to work together))

(A few days later, after many tries at home and at school)

Me: Ok, remem…

Iz: I GOT IT! (she aggressively grabs the shoes, shoves them on her feet, takes hold of the laces, wraps them around each other, pulls super tight, nothing happens)

Me: Should…

Iz: NO! I CAN DO IT!!!! (repeat steps delineated above) (MANY MANY MANY TIMES, including the vehemence about doing it ALL ON HER OWN)

Me: Ok, I’ll just wait. (no shoes are tied at this point, nor will they ever be if this continues) ((Sigh))

High School

Me: (In German to my AP class) Good morning! Let’s start your essay on diversity and cultural differences; how can we describe these concepts in detail? What are the historical implications of these concepts to a German-speaking person compared to an English-speaking person? How do they affect us on a daily basis? Be sure to make an outline, staying only in the target language and have a rough draft ready by the end of class with a final draft by week’s end. Also, be sure to call my Google Voice number and respond to the prompt. I will not give you the prompt in advance! Remember, I can see how many times you call and you should only call one time. This call counts for participation, next time it will be for an assessment. OK?

Students: Alles klar! :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

(Anti)Social Media

I adore social media and how it connects me with friends and family that I don’t get to see nearly as often as I’d like. It’s a give and take, an exchange of information, pictures, trivia and life’s minutiae. Due to the nature of life in general, we all have things we love and things we hate. We are all different. Life would be a total snoozer if we all liked the same things. But back to my point, I have an adorable 4.5 year old and I love my husband and my dog and my job and I’m trying to stick to an exercise regimen, so you’ll see a LOT about all those things from me. That’s me. I have friends who are wonderful cooks and bakers and they share what’s cooking tonight. I love that. But I have other friends who complain about others’ posts and I don’t get it. The beauty of social media is that you can change settings to see as much or as little of someone as you would like. If Onkel Fritz is posting too much about his (ugly) hamster, you can edit which of his posts you get. Or, my personal non-fave, when someone decides to post pictures of an injury, (seriously, this GROSSES ME OUT) I swiftly delete that picture, but look forward to the other posts that individual has to share. But don’t fool yourself when you post something snarky about someone else’s posts, because let’s be honest, I’m sure there are friends in your queue who have had enough of what you have said, but they like you so they tolerate you. Or secretly mock you in private, but that’s life. Can’t we all just get over ourselves? Or not, that's ok too. That’s why social media exists; we love to share about ourselves and we love when people notice. It’s quid pro quo, just like life, and it’s awesome. Can’t we just be (facebook) friends?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Preschool/High School

Preschool: “Mom! I get new clothes for the new school year? Every year?? Yippeeeeeeee!”

High School: “Mom! Are these the only new clothes I am getting for the new school year. Boooooooooo!”

Preschool: Letter from teacher: ½ page ‘Welcome, my name is…” ½ page supply list.

High School: Letter from teachers: What letter?? Is there a list-serve I missed somehow??

Preschool: ‘Open-house Night’: teachers, students, parents, grandparents, neighbors are all invited and are all there. Early.

High School: ‘Curriculum Night’: teachers, students, parents, grandparents, neighbors are all invited; the teachers are all there.

Preschool: Lunch: Lettuce and carrots with ranch, chicken breast and apple slices.

High School: Lunch: Ice cream sandwich, bag of pretzels sticks and a can of pop. (don’t judge, that was a staple for me way back when...)

Preschool: “Honey, what did you do at school today?” “I learned numbers and the alphabet and how to write my name and how to read and circle time. Oh, and we played outside and made a craft and Terrence got glue in his hair and Sherrie wouldn’t eat her apples and I said I would eat them but Ms. Carol said that Sherrie should eat her own apples and I skinned my knee and then I fell and I skinned my other knee. Did you see the hole in my pants?

High School: “Honey, what did you do at school today?” “Nothing.”