Total Pageviews

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The People. One Dog. One Door. Yogi. Tickets. Weekends. Cards. Friendship. Journey. Inspired. Happiness. Dogs. Spinning. Seeing. Sharing. New. Spring. Paths. Time. No. Just the River. Toast and Honey. Listening. Gift. Fortune. Step. Growth. Just Be First. Priceless Horse. Life in Maine.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The People That You Work With

I wanted to write today about the people that I work with. As I have been in the profession of teaching for over 30 years, I have worked with a few people. There are those that make coming to work feel like camp and there are those that make coming to work feel like work. When I first started teaching, I had a wonderful aide in my classroom. Linda was more like a mother and a friend. I had just moved from Massachusetts to Maine. I didn't really know anyone and was only 21. I loved my job and it never felt like work. I still mostly feel that way. I love the friendships I have made over the years and how they have seen me through some joyous and trying times...marriages, deaths, baby. Life and all its many gardens. I feel blessed today to have such great people to work with.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

One Door Closes and Another Opens

So we are getting ready to end this 31 day challenge. I have written every day...except not posting on the day when I was up at camp. I have enjoyed the comments and the commenting. I have enjoyed the push to write and capture my life over the past days. Met some new friends. I will continue to write on the Tuesday SOL. I am also doing a 31 day challenge with my class that will take us to May Day. We decorated our special notebooks yesterday using Wordle. It was so much fun watching them come up with 31 possible ideas to write about. Looking forward to the next slice of life opportunity.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One Dog Story Leads to Another.

Today when I shared my blog with my students, some of them were very eager to share their own dog experiences. Here are some of their stories. Emma: When I take my dog for a walk, I'm not actually the one walking the dog. They're walking me. Makayla: I don't have to walk my dog, she walks herself. Avery: Sometimes I like having my dog hold the leash and I have the strap around my neck. (Don't try this at home!) Galen: My dogs like to sit on my trampoline. I sometimes will bounce Max the older one. The younger one Annie, jumps off the trampoline and squeals. Jarrett: My sister sometimes likes to do the tango with both of my dogs. She has experience with this kind of stuff. Nuala: You don't want to tango with my old dog Asher...he hates kids. rut-ro They are asking me to tell you about the "doggy jail" story. Well, it was a dark,stormy night...the wind was blowing gales...and I was at school. My dog Lucas who hates thunder and lightening...was home alone. This old dog, who can hardly get up the stairs, decided to make a break for it. Crashing through the doggy door, leaping over the fence, and making a run for the road. On the road again...I can't wait to get on the road again. Now, alone, wet, and scared, he made his way to a neighbors house. The neighbor did not recognize our dog and called the dog officer. The dog officer took Lucas to Doggy Jail. DUN...DUN...DUNN With his one phone call...he called me. HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In order to spring him from jail...$5.00 Priceless.


Yogi. Yogi is my sister and brother-in-laws dog, a basset hound. A rescue that they have had for about three years. Let's just say they have no children...just a Yogi child. When they first got Yogi, we watched without laughing as they launched into doggie land...or should I say Prince Yogi land. Who says that a dog can't learn new tricks? Yogi has just published a book, How to Rule Your Kingdom in Under 20 Barks. Here are some of the things we have learned about dogs through Yogi. 1. When on a walk, Yogi decides what side of the street to walk down and what streets you walked down. I was always under the impression that when you take a dog for a lead. 2. Only on the weekends. When you feed Yogi, he eats out of your hand. During the week, he eats out of the bowl. 3. When tired, you just lay down. Doesn't matter if you are on the sidewalk, middle of the street, wherever, whenever. 4. The last rule for today is a new rule. When your owners are remodeling, you never know what might show up as your next resting place. gotta love him.

Monday, March 26, 2012


So you know how you can be zooming along in life happy, happy, happy....and then not so happy. Well, here's how it started. Traveling to camp in Northern Maine...nice weather...clear roads. My husband and I are chatting away and I turn the corner and begin to build speed...maybe too much speed... yes apparently too much speed. I notice blue lights...not yellow...not green...but blue. Blue lights, let's see does that sound familiar to you? Oh, no. Really? I did not see that the speed limit had gone down to 35MPH. So then you know how you are suppose to be a role-model for your children...Here is part of the conversation with my 20 year old daughter. "I got a speeding ticket on Friday." "What, another ticket? You're going to have to change the license plate on your car!" It is truly humbling, and terrifying to have to come clean with your children. Tomorrow I will tell about the license plate.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Saturday's Post because I will be at camp this weekend.
Weekends are a time for me to recharge. I like to spend time with my family and friends. Sometimes I go to Massachusetts to visit with my sister, brother, and my mom. One of the things I like to do is to go out to eat with my family. We have a special Mexican restaurant that we like to eat at. My sister has a dog named Yogi and he is a loveable basset hound. We will all go out to walk Yogi around the neighborhood. He has places that he likes to visit...especially where there are treats involved. I sometimes also go to a Zumba class with my mom and sister. We have lots of laughs. I enjoy my weekends with my family.


My daughter sent my husband a cute card for his birthday. It was a funny one about the amount of miles he had and how he still looked good. It was on the table with all of the other cards and then I noticed it got put up on the mantle...all by itself. It got me thinking about other cards that I have saved and the importance of the written word. I still have cards that people gave to me with each anniversary in AA. Those words that people said...I sometimes just take the cards when I need to be reminded of all of the support. I still have some notes that my father wrote. He passed away almost 12 years ago. Sometimes I just want to hold the note. A funny note that he wrote to the high school. It was a note about my sister being absent. It was around the holidays. It started out Dear Teacher, my daughter Liz had to help Santa and the elves with all of the presents. I still laugh to myself when I read that. I still have cards that my husband sent to me. Beautiful, loving words from such a kind kindred spirit. Why do we save certain cards...words that we need to hear...see...feel. I still have Norah's first note to us saying that she loved us. Little words...big meaning. Many memories.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


So today I am thinking about a friendship post. This reminds me of the wonderful, thought-provoking book we are reading as a class Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. Today we are on the chapter titled Friends. It is about a girl with Aspergers Syndrome and her struggle to understand how to be a friend and how to get one. We are having such rich discussions in the classroom. Lots of opportunities to see the world from different perspectives. I think back to a friendship I had in the first grade as a little girl. I could tell we were kindred spirits. Friends that brought me soup when my Dad passed away. Friends that helped me celebrate the birth of my daughter. Friends that just sit with words necessary. Friends that just hold your hand. Friends to laugh and cry with. There have been and continue to be new friends along the way and lots to learn both about myself and others. I am grateful to the wonderful friends I have today and those that will come in the future.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Journey of Jobs.

I love reading other people's posts because some days it sparks an idea, image, or a feeling and I just want to write. So this comes from 10 jobs I don't want to have. I am doing 10 jobs I have had.
10. dishwasher...first job at a donut shop when I was 15. I did not enjoy the job, but did enjoy the first paycheck. 9. switch board operator...the old-fashioned kind with the plug-ins. I loved working at this company and held about 5 different jobs while I finished high school and completed 3 years of college. 8. CVS...cashier. It was an okay job. 7. camp counselor. A camp in western Massachusetts for handicapped kids. I loved it! 6. waitress. I have tried this about 4-5 times and just don't seem to be able to get it to flow like some other people can. 5. aerobics instructor. Have been doing this for 31 years. 4. teacher. I have taught K-8 Special Ed. and now teach gr. 3/4. I have been teaching for 30 years. 3. substance abuse counselor. I did that for about 6 years and worked with both kids and adults. I did enjoy the work. 2. spinning instructor. I teach bike spinning at the local YMCA. I have been doing that for about 6 years. 1. kettlebell instructor. I have been doing that for about 3 years. There are more but that's all for today.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Inspired by a Fellow-Poster!

Random Facts About My Daughter. 1. She is named after her grandmother Norah(who she never got to meet) 2. Rides horses. 3. A sophomore in college. 4. Loves her family. 5. Is kind. 6. Has her horse Laity at college with her. 7. Considers her horse one of her best friends. 8. Main meal is pizza. 9. Loves sweets...mmm..wonder where she gets that from... 10.Owns an old Toyota Corolla.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Candles, Tears, Happiness.

A few years ago in my third and fourth grade class I had one of those I'll always remember this moments. It all started with a special lunch we had planned for our principal. She was a love with the students...nice matters, was one of her mantras. We surprised her with a tablecloth to candle lunch in the cafeteria. One of the students even came up with the idea of being a waiter with the cloth over the arm. It was hilarious. Well, later that year I was having one of those frazzled days and running in circles. My aide at the time suggested I go to the teacher's room for some tea. It was getting near lunch anyways so I took the time. I got my tea and then walked back to the room to get my things for lunch. A table with candles, tablecloth, china, and delicious looking food awaited me. My eyes filled as I looked at those students beaming. How very kind and thoughtful. They saw how much our principal loved that kindness sent her way...and then they sent it mine.

Dogs and Friends

Off to the dog groomers with our newest addition to the family. His name is Lars and he came to us through my friend Susan. Susan passed away a year ago from cancer, she was in her 70's. She had battled lung cancer for about 10 years. Lars was her baby boy poodle, a mini. Sleeping on her bed. Riding in the car. She would cook his favorite beans and turkey burger. Let's just call him Prince Lars. As Susan was dying, we talked about what would happen to Lars. Susan knew I had a farm with horses and dogs, at that time we had 3 dogs(2 poodles...minis, and a lab, cocker-spaniel mix). One of my last memories of Susan is her laying on the floor in the sun with her arms around Lars. I knew that she knew it would be one of her last times to do this with him. She would soon be in the hospital. I offered to take Lars when Susan died. He fit right in. He was not the only prince anymore, but he still held his own in this new mix of friends. When Lars first arrived he did not seem to understand his name when you called him. He would look back and as if to say "Are you talking to me?" We quickly learned, after a few trips into the woods to retrieve him, that he needed to be on the leash for awhile. He's not a big fan of the groomers either. He usually has to be muzzled for at least part of the procedure. Today the groomer was remarking at what a nice boy he was...and then proceeded to tell me all the things she couldn't do because he wouldn't let her. Oh Lars! But he seems to be happy with us, and our family wouldn't be complete without him.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spinning with the Irish Rovers!

I teach exercise classes before I go to school in the mornings. It is a wonderful part of my day with a great group of people. Some of us have exercised together for at least 5 years. We share lots of parts of our lives with each other. Somedays we are laughing and other days we are offering support. Today was a laughing and remembering day. St. Patrick's Day in our spinning(bike) class was filled with Irish music. As I began to look for music for this class, I came upon an album that I had had as a kid. The Unicorn Album by the Irish Rovers. I immediately remembered the album cover and then began to smile to myself as I listened to the songs. I even found myself singing along with the music. Amazing, how long had it been since I had heard this music and it was all coming back. I eagerly brought it to play at the spinning class this morning. Three of the four people in the class had been to Ireland and were Irish. The music started and the bikers began to spin and sing. Singing Old Danny Boy and even sweating green sweat! What could be better!

Friday, March 16, 2012

How do you see the world?

What would the world be like if we could or would accept and celebrate differences? My class is reading Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. We read it last year also and then skyped with the author. It was a wonderful experience both reading the book and skyping. This year we are reading it and having such rich discussions about feelings and the things that the main character Caitlyn is experiencing. We get excited when she is excited and scared when she gets scared. The students are being able to understand the black and white thinking and to see the grays. It is a great story to read and continue to build that community of understanding and acceptance in the classroom. Our next book along the theme of differences and acceptance will be Wonder by R. J. Palacio.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Can I Share...Can I Share....

This morning at our circle the students gathered around to share their nightly writing journals. Each one shouting louder than the next...can I share next, can I share next. Here are the reasons why they like to share: I like to share because I like the stories I write and I want to share it. Sometimes I don't want to share, because I think people are not going to like my story. I share if I like my story. When I share I get nervous about things that I write. I am sometimes afraid that people will whisper about what I write and laugh at me. I feel good after I share because people give me good comments. I like hearing people comment about my writing because it lets me know that people care about my writing. I think sharing is important because it helps us feel safer and closer to one another. So let's keep sharing and building community.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New Beginnings

Sky open with a new sun. Slowly coming up, each part important and in its own time. Nothing to push or rush. Just enjoying each moment.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Snowdrops! Spring! Worms!

Walking into school this morning someone pointed out the new plants coming up. I looked and saw the snowdrops. I love these little flowers. Usually they are poking their little heads through the snow. Now they are just poking through the mud. Another sign of spring were the worm mounds. The worms poking through the ground as spring calls to them. The air feels like spring as it begins to warm here in Maine. All the signs of spring are forming a picture as they gather. The ice is darkening on the lakes and ponds as it begins to think about letting go. The ice usually holds on till April...early this year and I am ready. Ready to take a big breath of spring.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Many Paths

I am feeling very grateful today for the paths that my daughter has chosen for herself. As we know there are many paths out there in college land both academic and extra-curricular. So many choices that lead you in a direction and away from another. As a parent, you can only hope and pray that you have provided a good stable base or foundation to stand on. A foundation to look out from. Also a place to return home to whether to refuel or to just idle awhile. Feeling very blessed.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Three Deer and Taking Time

As we were walking out of our camp today it was beautiful. It was warm, blue sky, and the river flowing past. The snow was packed down so the walking out, about a mile, was pretty easy footing. I first heard the bird, and then gazed up, up, up to see a woodpecker. I stopped and watched for a bit...glad to take the time. A bit further down the road, another bird, not sure what it was, a new call to me. Again I stopped and watched for a bit... On we walked and then as were nearing the end of the walk to the car, I happened to turn to my left and there were three young deer. Very close to the edge of the road foraging...They saw me and looked as if to say, we won't run unless we have cause to. I thought to myself there is no cause to run from me...what a gift to just stand and watch...a moment of being invited in... Taking time.

No Cells, No Computers...Just the River.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Toast and Honey

My new favorite thing is toast and honey. I have a special country nut bread that I love to toast and then add the honey to the top of the bread. I also put a bit of butter on first. It tastes so good and is such a comfort. I know that it is what I need right now. It is the time of year in the school year that I always start to feel that there is not enough time to get done what I need to get done or had hoped to get done. I try to remind myself of everything I have done and to look at where each kid is... I teach a 3/4 so I have the students for 2 years. It is also the time of year when I think about the students that will be leaving and moving on to 5th grade. There are some that it is time to for them to move on ...and there are others that I would like to have more time with. The community that is built in the classroom is so important. So today I sit with my toast and honey and reflect about time past, time present, and time to come.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Listening is a Gift.

Today we had an author's tea, really it was an author's juice. The third and fourth graders shared their writing with their parents. Students shared in front of the whole group of parents first and then they shared privately.
Each student was eager to be heard as they read their Native American Legends, poems, and slice of life writing. Students were able to share their published writing and their writing in progress. After we had a little refreshments and shared our thoughts about the tea. I thought to myself as they shared their thoughts...listening is a gift. It is so important to stop and let someone know that what they are saying matters. I am reminded of that today as I think about the smiles on the students and parents faces as each student shared.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fortune Cookies For All.

So yesterday my 3/4 grade class was reading Wonderopolis, a wonder filled internet site that always has a wonder of the day. It was about fortune cookies. The class learned about the beginnings of the fortune cookie and even how to make fortune cookies. Every night I have my students write in their "nightly journals". Last night was about the fortune cookies. This morning one of my students came in proudly and said, "I have something for you and the class." Out came a plastic bag labeled with a Chinese symbol that meant good fortune. Inside the bag were homemade fortune cookies, complete with homemade fortunes. I had sent home the recipe for fortune cookies, not really expecting anyone to make them so soon. As we gathered in our circle, he began to pass out the cookies. "I'm not sure if you will get the right ones or not," he said to us all. I eagerly opened mine and it said, "you will get stronger." He said that I was suppose to get the one that said "your cold will be gone tomorrow." I have been struggling with the winter cold...sneezing. I was so pleased with the thoughtfulness of this little guy with a big heart. I was also pleased with the response of the rest of the class. Another opportunity to build community. Sharing our kindness and laughter over a fortune cookie.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Step By Step

She knew that she could do it. Yet there was a part of her that doubted. So she started climbing. Every Tuesday night her dad would take her to the local Y and she would learn about climbing. Climbing that high wall. Each foot finding a safe place to rest. Each hand reaching higher. Sometimes confidently taking those steps. Sometimes gingerly taking those steps. Sometimes stopping midair and hovering. Hovering and waiting for courage to kick in. There was a bell at the top of the yellow wall that she was climbing. She desperately wanted to ring that bell. She knew that she could do it. She saw her teacher watching her climb. She was 3/4 of the way to the top when suddenly she stopped and said she couldn't do it. Yes you can she heard a voice inside her say. Yes you can. So each step up, each step up, each step up. The bell so close she could hear it ringing before she actually rang it. Oh yes she rang it. She rang it and rang it and rang it. Yes you can.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Plants...Roots....New Growth....

I am a plant lover. I did not grow up in house with lots of plants. I am not even sure when it started. I remember that a therapist that I had started going to when I had some major trauma going on in my life had this beautiful huge maiden hair fern. If you don't know a maiden hair fern, let's just say it is delicate. I tried and tried to grow one for awhile and then finally got it to grow, with some help from a friend. In order for it to grow it needs to have moisture around it. It is so beautiful in the light...sun light coming through the windows. I look at it and it reminds me of where I have been and where I am now. I have another plant that someone gave me that is kind of prickly, but it has or yellow. The person that gave it to me had given it to me as a cutting and was rooting it. It stayed in water...I'm not kidding, about 3 years. I looked at that cutting, gaining strength, making so many roots that it would be hard to die. I finally put it in soil last year and another accomplishment...It is growing and has red flowers pretty much all the time. I look at it and think sometimes it takes awhile to make a change, after things have stayed the same for a long time. It may be fear that holds me back. I just love seeing the growth, new growth. I also love knowing that there are lots of possibilities in the plants as they grow and as they rest.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Just Be Place.

My husband and I have been going to this area up north in Maine for over 20 years. We usually camp...stay in these primitive sites right on the river. Mt. Katahdin is in the background and the Peneobscot River is right in front. It is the swift river part of the river, the loud noise of the water where you can't hear the noise in your head...everything goes away except for the sound of the river and the view of the majestic mountain. It is just outside of Baxter State Park. It is cell phones, no computers. It is heaven. My soul always feels refreshed and renewed when I go there. We were there this past summer and walking along the river where we always walk. There are a group of camps on the river that we walk past and have dreamed about owning. Well this year, the one with the best view was for sale...hhhmmmm. I wonder how much they want for it??? Two weeks later we had an appointment to look at the camp that had been for sale for a few years. We liked what we saw and also saw that the price had been dropped some. We left the appointment and said we would think about it. Three days later, the realtor called and emailed and said that the owner had dropped the price $30,000. I couldn't get on the phone fast enough to say we wanted it and my husband was on his way with a deposit. 6 months Later and we know own this little bit of heaven. I feel so blessed. It is so much more than a view. It is a slow-down place, put it in perspective place, a just be place.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

$75 First Car

I remember my first car. Somethings about it I will never forget. It was an English Ford Cortina. It was white. It was my first car. I was 17 years old. I could afford it. My father found the car for me. The first child of 7 drivers...he was probably thinking this could get expensive. It had been owned by a couple that kept it in their garage. They only wanted $75 for it. My father said there was something I should know about it...before I got too excited. It had been in a fire. He then proceeded to tell me that the owners had kept a blanket on top of the engine(not sure why) and they had started it up and the blanket caught fire and they drove through the garage. (I am not kidding about this...this is how I remember the story being told). So my new to me car was just had primer black paint on the hood that had needed work after the fire and the crashing through the garage. I can tell you that I was just so excited that I had a car that I could overlook the cosmetics. I remember that I loved that car. I loved that car even when it wouldn't start in the winter and my father would push it back, back, back to the far back part of the driveway. Usually saying something about it staying there till spring. I remember that I would come home from college and quietly go to the car and get it to start and convince my father that it too could have a front spot in the driveway. I have had other cars through the years, but I will always remember my first not all white car and the journeys it took me on.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Price of a Horse.

My daughter is can that be?
Just yesterday she was asking for a pony. 7 years old and riding a big horse...First riding lessons and she discovered it was soon to be her passion. Neither my husband or I grew up with horses. Neither of us knew anything about horses. Soon we would discover that there would be a farm and horses in our lives. The first horse came in the size of a pony. Who knew that ponies could be bad? A surprise birthday present at 10. Manny entered our lives. He was a 12 year old pony that had supposedly worked at a summer camp. Norah, my daughter, learned a lot from Manny. Never give up! You can fall and still get up and ride again! Get back in the saddle and tell him where you want to go! There were more horses that came...Geronimo, the paint horse, that was suppose to be a jumper. He jumped...only when he wanted to...and sometimes without warning. More lessons. Hold on. Be prepared. Adventures can be unexpected and fun. Payday. A short stay with a love of a horse. A rescue horse that taught Norah how to really jump. One of her last jumps she faltered and fell. The vet said that it was a neurological problem that was not going to get better. More lessons. Love can hurt. Goodbyes can be lived through. There are more stories to tell. My eyes fill as I recall some of the ones already spoken and more yet to speak. My heart is also filled with the love of my daughter and wonderful world of horses that she introduced into our lives. The cost of a horse...priceless.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Slice of Life in Maine Today I sit looking out at the swirling snow. A snow day. I am an elementary school teacher so the words "snow day" still mean something to me. It means a non-hurried, take your time kind of day. It means "who could I have breakfast with this morning?". We have the woodstove loaded and my 4 dogs are laying around. Here truly is a slice of life in Maine.