Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's Dec 31st. Does exercising put a smile on your face?

So how many people will take up exercising at midnight? Happily... Knowing it's a slog. It's painful. It's transformational. It's enjoyable. It takes work to effect change. Smile. Be the change you wish to see.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 30, 2013

I Love It

I love it when life lessons repeat. Like waves they build upon each other creating a tsunami. Giving us a real opportunity to learn. (Comic harvested off of Facebook.). I'm hearing Cat Stevens in here. And he was singing this song in the 70s.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Five Days

It's been a full five days since I exercised. Day one and two were expected. Planned for. But then the ankle twist occurred.
It's actually a very funny story. This Catholic worshipped with friends at the Congregational church Christmas Eve. On the way out, missed that last step and went down. Pictured God with His smite key... You know right pew, wrong church. Still thanked God nothing broke, but waiting for the swelling to completely subside.

Grant me patience.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Best Present Ever

Family. My niece and her family are up from South Carolina. Best present ever, just allow me to hold and kiss the children. No wrapping required.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

And the play...

The play was great. The best Christmas Play ever.

The angle choir was late to the stage. Each tiny soul received a lovely applause as they emerged from the wings.  The littlest singer, suffering from stage fright, who wouldn't at 4 years of age, mumbled her solos. It was sweet.

Friendships, friendships and love.  Big kids with little kids. Kids from different schools hanging out and having fun. Parents meeting and enjoying each other's company. The gifts of caring, sharing, respect and love joyfully exchanged.

Merry Christmas 2013. These youth are ready.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Art Imitates Life

I was lucky enough to steal away for two hours this morning. Back to work and my stained glass corner. I've just about finished the cutting and fitting.

And as I was trimming off the excess shards I was reminded of how we all have razor sharp shards we can shed: indifference, snarkiness, impatience, bossiness. With effort, they are chipped away and our edges smoothed. Allowing our goodness to work with others.

Friday, December 20, 2013

"Life is not a dress rehearsal." jeff noel

But this was. The youth did a great job at tonight's dress rehearsal for the Parish Christmas play, A Christmas Carole. Tomorrow the show will go on.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I almost forgot

Last night after play practice, the girls getting down to their homework, I almost forgot to exercise. I know, what could be the big deal? Must I exercise every night? The answers to these questions are: Yeah it is a big deal and no I don't exercise every night.

But last night exercise almost flew right off my radar. Life is so busy these days. This is the first holiday season in 15 years that I am working full time. By now, for many years past, I have had the Christmas meal planned and food purchased. The gifts are wrapped and placed under the tree for the kids to shake and ponder. Cards sent. Teacher offerings created. Christmas cookies baked and exchanged. Fruitcakes made and soaked while visions of sugar plums danced in my head.

This year, thankfully my Mom is hosting Christmas but it is requested we have our traditional dinner the Sunday after. For this meal, the food is not planned out or bought. My mantra: You still have time. I do. The presents are somewhat bought but none are wrapped. (I think everyone is covered.) And I still have time... Nothing, not one cookie or fruitcake has been baked. No candies or cayenne pepper fudge concocted. Not one card sent... And last night, I almost forgot to don my bike clothes and visit my dear cycle housed in the garage for a bit of pedaling.

So what's the big deal? I don't exercise every night, that's true. But to forget (almost) an anticipated bike date.  As I was pedaling along, my music silenced, I was pondering the near miss. And after mentally agreeing that life is very hectic and what I truly needed was to quiet my mind, I cut my session to 30 minutes and finished off the evening with a meditation.

It's interesting how life works out. Maybe tonight I can get in some wrapping.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Nana and Grandpa's elf watching and waiting on the best shelf of them all

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Who did I meet?

Driving home I was in traffic behind a school bus. The roads icy. The sidewalks piled with crusted ice chunks. Traffic was heavy and steady until it came to an abrupt stop. A older man, crossing the road with his wife fell into the street as he was trying to climb over the snow bank to the relative safety of the sidewalk. Traffic stopped in both directions. Twice he tried to right himself but all he managed to do was inch himself out of imminent harms way and into the boulder ice field. Horns blared. Vehicles inched by.

I pulled up past the couple into the safety of a neighboring parking lot. When I reached the couple a shop owner was also at their side. In stereo, we asked if they were ok. Did they need help?

The gentleman had his hip recently replaced. His face had been cut by his fall.  He could not negotiate the icy terrain. The shop owner and I helped him up. The man could not support himself given the uneven ground. His wife asked for a ride home. They lived 2 blocks away. We helped him to my vehicle.

What was I doing? Putting strangers in my car. My daughter was with me... Would we be a news headline? Abducted? Carjacked? I nervously smiled. Inched out into the traffic and drove them home.

As we parted, they both thanked us and gave us God's blessing. But did you catch his name? Read my comment below to find out.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Best Blooming Thing

The most wonderful aspect of being a parent is watching your children bloom.

Leaving the parish play practice the other night, a parent snarked, "Whose kid is that without the sleeves?" Smiling and proud, I answered, "Mine, there are some battles I choose not to fight."

Silence... The most conservatively dressed and multilayered mom has a daughter wearing Minnie Mouse arm warmers and a sweatshirt vest and it's below freezing. So what? There was no mention of the heavy eye liner... Maybe tonight.

She is exploring, experimenting, discovering and all her undergarments are on and appropriately covered.

She is chatty. She has a friend. He is a boy. They hang out. I'm delighted. They are good for each other's first relationship. I enjoy the excitement in her voice when she relates stories from their texts. And the seriousness when she assures me they are just friends.

She is finding her way.  Making choices on  her own. Discovering her passions.
I could not be more proud.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I've got the touch.

As I'm sitting here making ornaments with decoupage, eggs and ribbon, I was reminding myself not to touch the eggs while they dry. I was saying, "You are touching them too much." Creating wrinkles...

And then I laughed. I'm a toucher. Ask my girls. Always hugging them. Always. Always. Always.

Art imitates life.

What is the center of your focus?

Who? What? Why?

Do you have a good answer?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Do you know why today is a milestone?

Today we took out the winter clothes. But more than that we emptied the bins that will be used to store maple sap in just about 8 weeks.

The Sugaring Season is before us. Be still my heart.

Morning view

Ice on the roads
The Saturday ride is stationary.
A storm approaching.
Six inches or more.

I believe this will be my riding scenery
For a while.
Pedal On
I'm An Overcomer.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It Snowed Here

The office was cold.
Work stressful.
Holiday todo lists and commitments piling up.
Scheduled and rescheduled.
In two weeks it will be over.
The plays performed.
The girls will be on vacation.
And then maybe I will sleep.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's the little things....

In reference to the image, one could say I loose my head over the little things. A dear friend found this phone case at a yard sale, and thought of me.

She, a total coffee lover, gave it to me when I invited her over to share a coffee over some Holiday Scrabble.

My boss gave me a quarter pound of locally roasted coffee that when brewed is coffee heaven. Unbelievably good coffee, thanks Boss.

Share the little things. Make someone loose their head, or at least smile.

Monday, December 09, 2013

I've made a change

If you're driving by the house hoping to catch a glimpse of our leg, chances are you won't see it.

Oh she is displayed and a glow 24/7, but she is in the kitchen. Around the back of the house; whispering Merry Christmas to our neighbors.

I wonder if they have exclaimed, "You should see what it looks like from our kitchen." Or driveway, or living room.

I know it looks great from my seat at the table.

Sunday, December 08, 2013


While fitting the pieces together I realized I had overlooked cutting some out. How often does that happen in life?

So focused on the end product we skip a detail. Thankful it's only stained glass and not a baby in a car seat riding on the roof of a car. Remember that story?

The detail before me is the most important one. Deserving of all my focus.

Friday, December 06, 2013


Where has the time gone?
Winter hike into Crawford Notch, NH.
Circa 1976 / 1977.
Family and old friends, can you name the players?

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Life's choices are endless

What to do? Where to go? What's next?

And nothing wasted. How does God do it? With love.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The great circles of life

Do you ever feel like you are spinning your wheels? Getting no where?

But maybe at these times we are most effective. Maybe it is at these times our circles, our lives, touch another life circle and a great impact is made.

Keep moving.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Do I know you?

I went to my 35th high school reunion last night. A Facebook estimated crowd of 25 was expected. There were well over 100 in attendance. But still a small turnout when your graduating class numbered 1212. I went knowing 3 people and was pleasantly surprised to remember a handful more. Still ...

Donna greeted me at the door. "I know you." My response was you look familiar but I could not place her. She told me who we hung out with. Yes, she was correct. But still nothing. Until I got home and looked at my yearbook.

Yes I knew you. Thank you for remembering me.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I walked to the bay.

The ocean has always had its appeal. Even on a cold November day the draw is there to walk to the sea. To see and smell the surf and the salt.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Isn't it ironic?

A bike path sign covered in lichen. Like hiking boots or running shoes caked with dust. Or Thanksgiving with stores open for shopping.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Our Tenth Year

Gather together a turkey, duck and a chicken.  Debone the birds. Then stuff the chicken inside a duck and then stuff the duck inside the turkey. All layered in stuffing. Sew it up. Pop it in the oven for 12 hours. And voila you have a tradition. Family gathering. Each bringing a component of the feast. To share. Happy Thanksgiving. To family.  To friends.  With love.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How long was your yesterday?

Each of our days are prepackaged into distinct blocks of 24 hours. So how is it some days seem longer than others?

I'm thankful for the many blessings yesterday bestowed upon me. It was an awesome day. The key is: It was a repeat of the day before, and mirror image of today. As always.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Glimpse

After work
After a trip to the car dealership to get a new tire... Impromptu...
After teaching religious education and then riding my bike... Yeah!!!
Came the time for prepping for Thanksgiving...
Tossing together one of the stuffings for our turducken; our 10th bird creation.

Thank God, neatness doesn't count in the prep. Only in the cleanup.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Can you see progress?

I had two hours this weekend to work on this latest project. Lucky me. I slipped back into work, where my boss has given me a corner of the office, and cut and fit and marked out glass. Again, lucky me to have the gifts of time and workspace . For this time of year life is so busy and scheduled. All good. Most required.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Alphabetizing Our Children

Talk to your mom friends. How many of them have children who are alphabetized? Maybe yours are alphabetized. You know the alphabet A, B, C...  A.D.D. or A.D.H.D or.... think of a letter, come up with a syndrome. Or string them together...  M.P.D...S.T.D.

I was talking with a dear friend about learning, teaching, testing styles. Our conversation focused on our local elementary school which is a multiple intelligence school but it truly teaches to a  limited population of children. And that being the children who sit up straight, sit quietly, learn quietly, listen and then take tests in the prescribed time. Yes the students learn through Physical Education, and Art and Music the same concepts they are investigating in Science and Language Arts, but they teach to the pool, the model. And then they test. "You have 50 minutes. Complete this essay. Fill in these blanks."  And if your child doesn't fit this mold, well then there is testing, meetings, I.E.Ps, and possibly medication.

Maybe my assessment is extreme, I will admit to not being a psychologist and I know I'm making huge generalizing here, but is it? There is little tolerance for variability in the public school setting. We must get through this material. The MCAS is coming.  What I'm seeing is many many children are being labeled as deficit or delayed or whatever. It all means the same, these children are not up to speed. Well, all these children cannot be wrong or broken. There are too many of them, and their pool is growing. So where is the error in our thinking?

Many children and adults labeled with ADD and ADHD are wicked smart. They are passionate, neurons firing, sponges. They think and think and think of new ways to do things and even cooler ways to think. Exploring and developing. But not always able to convey in the mandated ways the importance of their explorations.  So their value is not measured by standard tests. But there is awesome value there.

I'm proposing that before all this alphabetizing great engineers, musicians, scientists, mathematicians, writers, artists were just allowed to learn and explore, dream and develop and then produce on their own time. Trained as a scientist I have watched and been amazed at the wonder hypothesized by my more contemplative coworkers and classmates. They take in all this info, they ruminate and process all the data and their permutations, and then they produce beauty.  It's an art form to be able to think.

I wonder if Galileo was ever timed over his discoveries? Or Michelangelo ever rushed over his art?

What am I saying here? I'm saying the pace of life is increasing logarithmically with the speed with which we can access information. The electronic age is bombarding us with data 24/7. It's a ever increasing constant. Does that even make sense? An ever increasing constant....

And the masters, the thinkers, the passionate, they remind us to take the required time to evaluate all the data, and then move forward.  These thinkers are not disabled, nor are they working at a deficit. They are our artists for the future. Let them paint in their own time.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gentle Reminder


Wild turkeys are a treat to watch. A little bit of wild in the backyard or field or roadside. But another turkey we come across, not served on our dinner tables, the naysayers, negative, sad, unappreciative, don't let them bring you down.

They carry a sadness and are so misunderstood. Even to themselves.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Have fun with your kids.
These times are worth more than gold. Seriously.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

What did you do yesterday?

Yesterday in an effort to explain social justice and service and how it ties in with the responsibility of Confirmation I promised to lead my students down south to rebuild after last summer's tornadoes. The whole class wants to go. All of them. I'm thinking tonight's class won't want to be left out either.

Here is praying all the pieces fit together. I'm envisioning many many car washes, bake sales, public presentations requesting community support in my future. Can't wait.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Seussical JR

So how many of us have seen this play? Or the full fledged version Seussical? How many times? Once, twice, five times....

Last week my boss mentioned his son, a 4th grader, had the lead in today's production. He was a phenomenal Cat. His passion clearly evident. Someone to watch for on Broadway or movies.

And his message: A person is a person no matter how small, brought tears to my eyes. How many times had I heard this line before today? Obviously I needed to hear it again.

A person is a person, no matter how small.
What We Do Matters.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Opportunity knocks

The usual Saturday plans were canceled. Opening the door of opportunity for bike riding out through Sudbury and Wayland, dog walking with friends in the park, Mass and seeing two of my students and knitting quietly at home in the evening. Today did not go as planned, it went better.

Photo taken on my early morning ride.