Sunday, March 31, 2013

A drive down memory lane

My husband and I spent the weekend visiting his parents and other family in southern Indiana. We moved from the area 34 years ago, but drive back to visit several times a year.  We found time this weekend to drive around a bit and look at places from his childhood and our dating years that we had not seen for a very long time.  Memories and stories were savored.  Some places were much the same.  Others were almost unrecognizable.  Do you remember...?  Did I ever tell you...?  My grandpa used to...?  Oh my, what happened to...?  Were the questions we asked on our drive down memory lane.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Twas the night before Break

Twas the night before Break and all through the house
Were sounds of the children finding their  clothes
And packing and stacking of those
In suitcases and totes and anything close.

As families work to prepare
For a week without school,
A week without care.
A week of vacation both here and there.

Twas the night before Break and all through the town
 And all the places near and around
Parents were making a list, checking it twice
Because forgetting something just would not be nice.

"Pack your jeans, t-shirts, bathing suits, pajamas,
Sandals,sneakers, and sweatshirts," called the mamas.
"Ipods, Ipads, and Kindle Fires, too
Earplugs, cellphones, anything you need to do."

Twas the night before Break and all we could hear
Were the sounds of students giving a cheer:
"Spring Break is near.  Spring Break is here!"

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Planting trees

 "The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit."
                                                                               Nelson Henderson

Isn't that what teachers do?  Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, we work with kids helping them learn to read , write, solve problems, or whatever content we teach.  We work to teach them to think critically, to collaborate, to research, to dream.  We work with kids because we hope to make a difference in their lives.  We try to lead by example, teaching our students to get along well with others, to write their name, to take pride in their work, to never give up.  We teach because we love kids.

Happy planting!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

3 days till Break

How is it that some days seem to last longer than others?  Days that we anticipate often seem to take a long time to get here, but then fly by?  We have three more school days until Spring Break.  The days are dragging and seem to last forever.  I think the snowy cold weather makes this worse than usual.  It's cold.  It's snowy.  Winter seems unwilling to leave and Spring feels a long way off.  Just 3 days till Break.

Monday, March 25, 2013


I am really not much of a fan of reality shows, but the one show I really enjoy is The Voice.  There is something about the blind auditions that appeals to me.  The chance to be coached by an award winning performer is quite a prize.  Even if you are not chosen as the big winner, you may get several weeks of coaching.  It doesn't really matter if you are young or old, thin or not, or what you look like.  The competition is all about your voice.

We are in the middle of planning for this year's Young Author's Conference. It is my school's turn to host the county-wide event. Each year our students are encouraged to enter the Young Author's writing contest.  Each school selects two students as their writing contest winners.  Any student who registers may attend the conference, but the winners are recognized up on stage the night of the conference.  The winning entries also are published in the newspaper.  This is another case of being chosen for your voice.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

memories of Palm Sunday

The morning news reported that today is the 48th anniversary of the Palm Sunday tornadoes.  If you live in northern Indiana like I do you have heard a lot about the Palm Sunday tornadoes over the years.  If you are old enough and live in the right area it is burned in  your memory.

 I was a third grader that spring.  We had just moved into a new house around Christmas that my dad, with the support of many friends and relatives, had built.  Our new house had a finished walk in basement.  That day my parents heard the tornado warnings on the radio or TV and had called all of us into the house and into the basement.  The sky was this weird gray color and the air had a strange stillness.  My dad walked outside to see and hear what he could.  All of us kids were crying, worried about our daddy.  I remember begging him to come inside where it was safe. I wanted him next to me, holding me.

All of a sudden, it sounded like an enormous train was coming through our house.  Daddy ran inside and we all hid in the back corner  bedroom.  It was in the part of the basement furthest from the door and big windows.  After an eternity, the sky and the sounds returned to normal.  Our neighbors swing set was in our yard and there were lots of fallen trees, but things around our place seemed pretty normal.

A couple of miles north there was a lot more damage.  A lot more loss of life and property.  A few days later my dad took us on a car trip around the country to see the trail the tornadoes left.

Every year on Palm Sunday I recall that train sound, the fear for my daddy, and the damage we saw.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


It's Saturday
I can roll over again
It's toasty and warm
And quiet.

It's Saturday
No need to get up so early
It's a day to catch up
A day to relax a bit.

It's Saturday
A little luandry
A little dusting
Run the sweeper.

It's Saturday
The library
The bank
They don't open till 9.

It's Saturday
A slower pace
Time for coffee
Time to post early

It's Saturday!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

6 days till Break

We have 6 more days of school until Spring Break.  It is cold and snowy.  A dreary day.  Cloudy.  Windy.  No real signs of Spring to be found.  But only 6 more days of school until Spring Break.

 There is a lot to do.  InView make-ups tests to be completed.  A competitive grant needs to be written. A PBL training day. Young Author's Conference details to take care of .  But only 6 more school days until Spring Break.

I'll get through it all.  Only 6 more school days until Spring Break!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


My husband and I have a Siberian Husky named Sable.  She is a beautiful dog.  We have a big back yard surrounded by chain link fencing for Sable. She spends her day running and playing all over the backyard. When we get home at night we let Sable out to run and play in the front yard and then she joins us in my husband's woodshop. We sit in there and chat and catch each other up on our day.  As we talk we play with Sable (she loves tug of war with her rope toy)  and feed her treats.

 As soon as I pull in the drive each evening Sable starts running up to the gate and excitedly jumps around waiting for me to park in the garage. Her tail wags furiously and her whole body vibrates.  She barks and barks until I open the gate.  Then she is running, leaping, barking some more and  hoping for a good back rub.  Sable is our personal welcoming committee.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Simply joy

A few Sundays ago my phone rang.  My daughter-in-law, Cori, was calling.  She began the call by saying, "Claire woke up from her nap and said she missed her friends.  When I asked her what friends she missed she said, Papa and Nana Mac.  So we are calling to talk to you."  I talked to Cori and Claire for several minutes and then my husband had his turn.  We talked about little things, but most of all we told Claire that we loved her and missed her. 

Papa and I live about an hour and a half away from Claire's house.  We generally get over to see Claire and family every 3-4 weeks for a day or so, but it had been a little more than a month and 2 1/2 year old Claire was missing her "friends."

What joy!  My granddaughter missed us.  A greater joy!  She thinks of us as her friends.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lessons from my foot

I have been dealing with a stress fracture in my right foot for about a year now.  I have been to the doctor, the specialist, and  the physical therapist many times.  I have had an MRI .   I wear orthotics and and do stretches as instructed.  I ice my foot in the morning, when I get home from school, and most evenings.  I learned that my right leg is not straight and that I have been landing improperly on my foot my whole life.  It is not healed.  It is better, but not healed.

I have been a walker for about 17 years.  Until I realized I had a stress fracture I walked 45 minutes about 5 days a week for exercise.  Now I limit myself to 30 minutes to keep my foot "happy."  I have had to make some changes to my life and my routine to accommodate my foot.  I bought an exercise bike and use it some days.

I have learned to be patient.  I have learned to adjust.  I carefully choose shoes for their fit not their style.  My specialist recommended Saucony brand sneakers.  I have worn out several pairs.  I have learned to plan my walks and to factor in the weather more than ever.  I have learned to enjoy the small "steps"  (pun intended) as I walk into the future.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Good food,
Good wine,
Good friends,
Good talk,
Good laughs,
Good night,

Life is good.
I am thankful for each member of our couples' Bunko group.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I am experiencing a weight loss plateau.  I rejoined Weight Watchers on August 18 and by Christmas I had lost 19.8 pounds.  In January I lost the .2 I needed to make it a full 20 pounds.  It is great.  I am wearing a"new" size.  I have purchased some new clothes, but found others in my closet that used to fit three or so years ago that I loved.  But I have not been as faithful about attending meetings the last couple of months and have not kept a food diary.  Here I am at the halfway point toward my forty pound goal and I am experiencing a plateau.  For the last eight weeks I have continue to gain and lose the same couple of pounds.  At my morning meeting today I was up 1.2 pounds.

On my drive home I thought about plateaus.   I think plateaus can happen in areas of life beyond weight loss.  Teachers can get a little bit comfortable about how their instruction has improved.  Students and parents can enjoy the fact that they made it to the next reading level or mastered a new skill.  A plateau is not all bad.  It can be a time to savor an accomplishment along the way.  However, it is important to remember the big goal and not loose focus.  Spending some time on a plateau practicing the skills needed to move forward may actually be a good strategy for long term success.  So, I am gearing myself up to move forward in my weight loss efforts.  My short term goal is to make it to the 25 pound mark.  My long term goal is to lose and keep off a total of 40 pounds.  I have some other areas of my life that I need to move off the plateau and move forward too.  Onward!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Laundry questions

Have you even noticed that laundry never ends?  Just when you think you are caught up something smelly and /or dirty mysteriously appears?  I often wonder, "How can two people generate so much laundry?"

Since my house is up for sale, tonight  I find myself doing laundry on a Friday night.  Can it really be that I need to wash the sheets?  Did I  really skip washing them last weekend?  And where did all of those smelly towels come from? Where is the laundry fairy when I need her?  She must have left for a warmer, sunnier spot.

I am really not a super picky about my house.  But it does need to be picked up and relatively neat and clean if prospective buyers are going to be walking through it this weekend.

I just don't get it.  We are not real slobs.  But it has been an extra busy week.  There was that night that I fell asleep on the couch and missed  the news. When I woke up the prime time shows were on TV.  And last night we weren't home until late.  So I guess it has been 5 or 6 days since I thought about keeping up with the laundry.  Maybe it has been 8 or 9 days.  Hm... But really, where does all of this laundry come from?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A great start to the day

Today began with a presentation to the full staff at my school.  I was so nervous that I seriously thought I was going to throw up about 10 minutes before we were to begin.  Everything was ready.  I had rehearsed my presentation several times including a few power point slides and my handout.  But I dreaded it.  I wanted to call in sick, but didn't dare.  This was information that I had to present.  I was worried and hoping that it would be well received.

I have a habit of rushing through and talking quickly when I am nervous so I had practiced slowing down, pausing, and deliberately gave the staff a couple of times to turn and talk.  As I was finishing I glanced up at the clock.  There was 2 minutes left until time for the bell signaling that students could enter the building. I had paced myself well and was feeling good about how things had gone. Then the most amazing thing happened as the presentation ended.   They applauded!  Not only were they attentive and respectful.  Some sweet person started clapping and most of the staff (around 60 people) applauded.  What a great start to a busy day!

P.S.  My principal commented that he never gets applause.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mom's favorite holiday

My mom LOVED Christmas.  It was the highlight of her year.  She always had a Christmas club savings so she could buy gifts, lots of gifts, for her chidlren and grandchildren.    My mom would buy one "pricey" gift per person and then spend almost as much money on little things.  Little things that let you know she thought of you often and that she had shopped and planned for months for Christmas.  She would buy toys for the little ones and things that struck her fancy for the rest of us. She would buy clothing.  It would not always be the right size, brand, or color you'd prefer, but she always "knew what would suit  her girls (or son or grandbabies) best."  Mom would buy chocolate fudge for everyone because it was her favorite.  One year she bought Macinaw fudge for everyone in the family while visiting the island in July just so we could all have the "good stuff."  Mom had all kinds of Christmas decorations all over her house.  She often bought decorations for our houses too.  Some years Mom would have a big dinner for all of us.  We stopped in with our families whenever we could during the day.  Other years she paid for all of us to spend the weekend at Turkey Run State Park, one of her favorite places on earth.  I think I miss my Mom more at Christmas time than any other time of the year.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Those dumb cows

A few years ago my cousin asking me to interview my dad for her.  She was writing a family history and wanted to include some personal stories from our fathers' generation.  It was a delightful time.  Dad's eyes lit up as he told me stories from his childhood and  the young adult years before he married my mother.  It think my favorite was "those dumb cows."

My grandparents were farmers.  They had about 150 or 200 acres of farmland.  Down the road was a woods.  Each day they let the cows out in the pasture near the woods to graze.  When Dad was about 10 or 12 it was his job to gather the cows up and get them back to the barn for milking.  One warm summer day he decided that "those dumb cows" could find their own  way down the lane and back to the barn.  Well, those dumb cows were really dumb.  Left to themselves they headed to the woods instead of the barn.  Those dumb cows went into the woods and then into the ditches and everywhere but to the barn.  Those dumb cows had to be chased and chased toward home.  Some of those dumb cows refused to move out of the woods.  It took hours and hours to gather the cows and all the while Dad shouted, "Go home, dumb cows!  Go home!"  There was no supper that night for the boy who thought those dumb cows could find their own way down the lane and back to the barn for supper was long over before all of the cows were returned to the barn.  "That was the day I learned why someone had to go gather those dumb cows and get them back to the barn," Dad said.  "They really were dumb.  Too dumb to go home on their own."

Monday, March 11, 2013


Holding a newborn grandchild,
Happy, tired smiles on the faces of the parents,
An "I love you, Nana" hug and kiss from Claire,
Playing Bubble Guppies on my Ipad,
Singing the alphabet song,
Enjoying family pictures on Facebook,
Hearing "I love you" for the first time from Jack,
A phone call to check in,
Time together.

Reading with a fourth grader,
"I did it!" from a first grader,
"It is so much easier when you help me plan," from a colleague,
An email reporting a group bumping up a level in guided reading,
"I am so proud of my kids, I am really noticing how they have improved as writers!"
Teachers quickly signing up for an inservice I am leading after school next week,
"Hi!  You know my name, right?'" as I pass them in the hall.

Quiet time with my hubby,
Memories of years gone by,
Sharing stories about our boys being born,
Congratulatory emails and phone calls,
A walk with a friend,
A leisurely glass of wine, 
A good book.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

An unexpected pleasure

Yesterday  husband and I woke to a very cold house.  We were staying at my son's house with our 2 1/2 year old granddaughter this weekend. (Mommy had a new baby sister and Daddy stayed with them at the hospital.)  The furnace had stopped working.  The short version is that they are getting a new furnace tomorrow.  So, while the rest of the family is at the hospital we brought Claire home to our house.

Today began with the cry of "Grandma Nana, where are you?"  So far we have read 7 different books.  Eric Carle's The Honeybee and the Robber seems to be the favorite.  We have read it 5 times.  The tabs to make the bee and other animals move are so fascinating!  We have played with our dolly and built a big tower out of blocks.  We brushed our teeth, got dressed, and ate peanut butter toast for breakfast.

We have  watched the cat.  Claire and Socks are still trying to figure each other out..  Claire keeps watching to see what Socks is doing and Socks keeps peeking her head out to see if that noising girl is still here.  Socks used to hide under the bed when Claire came, but now she keeps to the edge of the living room ready to sneak away if Clarie gets too close.  At this moment Socks is laying on her side watching Claire who is sitting on the couch watching Yo Gabba Gabba.  Grandma Nana is having a great time, but needed a few minutes to sit and rest.

Today is an unexpected pleasure.  A day when we thought Mommy and baby sis would be coming home from the hospital.  A day we thought we'd head home and see them next weekend.  Instead I am enjoying the unexpected pleasure of a day with Claire.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fortunately, unfortunately

Yesterday my new little granddaughter, June Elise was born.  Fortunately, today I visited her in the hospital and had my turn to hold her.  Unfortunately, I heard a few toots and smelled that smell.  Diaper change time!  Our family joking says, "She who holds her changes her."  So I gamely began to change her.  Alas, unfortunately, June was not done.  Fortunately I had laid her back in her little infant bed. Unfortunately, her runny little poo-poo dripped down the bed sheet.  Fortunately, I had wipes. Unfortunately, the wipe package was emptied before June was emptied.  Fortunately, her mommy found another package.  Unfortunately, I had trouble opening them.  Fortunately, June was happy to lay quietly while I figured it out. Unfortunately, we got poo poo on her little socks.  Fortunately, we had another pair so I gave her back to her mommy all sweet smelling, dry, and warm.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bittersweet joy

Today I am rejoicing.  My oldest son and his wife have a new baby girl!  June Elise was born at 12:04 am local time.  Both grandmas had the privilege of being there in the delivery room.  It was the most amazing experience of my life.  The only other times I had been in a delivery room for a live birth was when my own children were born.  Let's just say that this was experiencing birth from a new perspective.  I literally had a front row seat as I pushed my daugther-in-law's right leg back toward her shoulder as she pushed.  I can not find the words to express how beautiful it was to watch June's entry into the world.  We all shed tears of joy.

It was a bittersweet time.  Just about 15 months ago we were at the same hospital with the same son and daughter-in-law, same doctor, same other mother for a very difficult birth.  38 weeks and 5 days into her pregnancy the baby stopped moving.  An ultrasound could not find a heartbeat.  Norah Lynn was stillborn.  There was a huge knot in her umbilical cord. We all shed tears of sorrow. Today's joy would not be possible without last year's sorrow.  Today's joy was extra sweet.  We all knew that today was a real miracle.  Today I am rejoicing.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Tonight is full of rejoicing!  June Elise arrived at 12:04 am and is just perfect.  Mommy, Daddy, and June are all doing great.  I will have more words to share in the days to come, but for tonight we are rejoicing.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Today I am......

Today is my birthday.  I am 57, but I am also:

12 and excited to have a new basketball hoop and ball.
16 and eager to "legally" date.
18 and anticipating college in the fall.
21 and making planning to marry the love of my life.
24 and hoping to start a family.
25 and enjoying my  infant son.
28 and enjoying my 2 month old and 3 year old sons.
29 and a first year teacher.  Second grade is wonderful!
40 and a Weight Watcher member working to lose 40 pounds.
48 and soon to be an empty nester.
49 and missing my mom who lost her battle with cancer.
53 and a first year literacy coach.  I miss my second graders, but love the new challenges.
54 and looking forward to being a first time grandma.  It's a girl.
55 and looking forward to our first grandson's birth.
56 and full of sorrow.  In January, our second granddaughter was stillborn and my dad passed away.

Today I am 57.  I am hopeful.  Later this week our third granddaughter is due.  Next month our second grandson is expected.  I am back at Weight Watchers working to get back to my goal weight.  Our house is for sale.  We are renovating Dad's house with plans to move there in another couple months of went he house sells.

Today I am 57, but I am also all of the years before.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Simple fun

Idle thoughts while watching my cat play....  Haven you ever noticed that it's the simple things that make a difference?  Each time I open a new gallon of milk I throw the milk ring on the floor.  My cat springs into action.  She pounces on that milk ring and bats it around the kitchen.  Within a few minutes it has flown into the great room and hides under the couch or the coffee table only to be nudged out and into her mouth.  She soon rolls around on the carpet with the ring firmly lodged in her mouth kicking it with her back paws and boxing it with her front paws.  A simple milk ring provides her with hours and hours of fun and exercise.

Although I do not play with milk rings, I have noticed it is often the simple things that I enjoy the most: A warm mug of  hot chocolate on a cold day.  A good book.  A good morning kiss from my hubby. A phone call from my granddaughter saying, "Nana I miss you."  Pictures on facebook of that same granddaughter in her newest dress up outfit or of my grandson enjoying his newest art project or toy.  Time with friends and family.  The simple things.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Both of my sons' wives are expecting.  My older son and his wife are expecting a baby girl later this week.  My younger son and his wife are expecting a boy in mid-April.  We can hardly wait to meet and hold these new little ones.  Will they look like their older siblings?  Both of my grandchildren look a lot like their daddies.  Will the new ones look more like their mommies?  Time will tell.  We are eagerly waiting and wondering as we wait.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Too many irons in the fire?

My weekly Twitter update included a quote from Max Lucado, "Pull a few irons out of the fire so one can get hot."  In our super busy lives we have  lot of "irons in the fire."  Recently I have been thinking about priorities both at school and at home.

My literacy coach colleague and I have been wondering how and when we lost control of our schedules.  This past week we took the time to stop and discuss our priorities for the rest of the year.  We met with our principals and refined those priorities a bit.  It is time to pull a few irons out of the fire.

My husband and I are "updating" my dad's house before moving in and making it ours.  Life is hectic working on that house while keeping the house we are living in clean and ready for showing to prospective buyers.  We are trying to keep up our usual schedule while adding a lot of time to work at dad's.  It's time to pull a few irons out of the fire.

I love to scrapbook and have several in progress.  I enjoy shopping.  Occasionally going to the casino with Jean is another fun activity I enjoy.  I think it's time to pull those irons out of the fire for awhile.  I'll be looking for a few other irons that can wait until this phase of life has passed.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Today my husband and I worked over at my Dad's house.  Dad passed away 13 months ago.  The house he built in 1972 is soon to become our house.  We are working to "update" it before moving in.  We have had some drywallers working on the back bedrooms.  They will soon be working their way down the hallway and into the front room.  The carpet layer was out to measure and talk carpet and flooring with us.   Just over 40 years ago Dad was dreaming about his new house.  Now it is our turn.

Friday, March 1, 2013

It's time!

This year I made myself a promise that I would make time for the important things.  Tim to have coffee with my Weight Watcher buddy, Jean.  Time with my sisters.  Time to walk for exercise.  Time to pray.  Time to read the my newspaper at night and to read my book club's book each month (I need to open the book.  We meet on Monday.)  Time to write.  Time to reflect.  Time for the 2013 SOL challenge.  It's time.

It's time

Life is crazy right now.  Isn't it always?  One of my big goals for 2013 is to make time for myself.  That means making time to have Saturday coffee with my Weight Watcher friend, Jean.  Time to get together with my sisters.  Time to chat with Laura.  It means time to read the paper each evening and to read the book for my monthly book club.  (Even if the first Monday of the month is just 3 days away and I haven't started yet.)  It means time to write and reflect. Time to enjoy my family and grandbabies.  So, here I am joining the March 2013 Slice of Life group.