Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Class of 2024

My Flower Garden Girls are graduating from high school. The ceremony is this evening. I'm not going. I'm here at home with Numbers Idris and Killian, but Hannah and Sergio will be there because Sergio's brother and nephew are graduating too. The older I get the more I hear myself saying, "Where did the time go?"

Emma and Bella

Ivy

Emma and Sophia

And these three boys as well. 

Aldo (Raul's best friend), Charlie (Sergio's nephew), and Raul (Sergio's brother). The picture was taken at Hannah and Sergio's wedding in September 2015.

I've been invited to graduation parties for Bella, Ivy, and the three boys in the bottom photo. It is my hope and prayer to find Emma at Bella's party. (I don't expect to be invited to hers.) Sophia's graduation ceremony was last week. She'll be getting a card in the mail, although I would love to find my way 6-7 hours east and give her a big hug and congratulations in person.


Sunday, June 16, 2024

Happy Father's Day

It's been a good week. I had a visit with my favorite therapist on Tuesday morning and am paying closer attention to the parts inside that make up who I am. My parts don't always agree; some are confident and brave, and others fear failure and rejection to the point of avoiding activities and potential relationships. The grown up Martha is learning to take care of the child and other parts within. By the time I grow up completely I'll probably be at least 75 and totally gray. I'm mostly okay with that. Life is a process. I love who I am much more today than I ever have in the past.

Yesterday my sister and I took an hour and a half drive south to a destination nestled on a hill overlooking the eastern shore of Seneca Lake in central NY. We were there for a baby shower celebrating the impending arrival of our sister's first grandchild. It was a beautiful day. I took advantage of our all being in one spot to take a photo of the three of us. (Old photo from the same destination.)

Monday, June 10, 2024

Fresh Breeze

The tears have dissipated, just as I knew they would. I am okay once again.

I had a lovely Saturday. In the morning hours I took a basket of jelly/canning jars out to my son who makes jellies, salsas, and pickles. (I am cleaning out.) From Dave's house I drove to the next town where my eldest daughter and her family were working on their rental unit. It has been abused and neglected for several years and they have decided it's time to put it on the market. Finally, I headed toward Lake Ontario and my friend Gail's cottage.

Gail and I took a drive to Sodus Point and had lunch at Captain Jack's. BLT's for both of us, a side of mac salad water for her, and sweet potato fries and iced tea for me. Around the corner from the marina I found the Imprint Coffee Food Truck where I bought an small, afternoon half decaf and then we parked the car at the park and walked the beach.

I purposed to keep my feet (sneakers)  and blue jeans dry and kept an eye on the waves lapping the shore, but anyone who knows me is aware that I almost always come home with wet feet. It was a beautiful, relaxing afternoon of scouring the sand. I came home with several bits of polished glass and a pocketful of rocks. Maybe I'll do some paining, eh?


Saturday, June 08, 2024

Sometimes She Cries

 And what think you of tears?

The toddler Martha stood silent, a knot blocking her throat, desperately attempting to hold back the torrent of tears welling up within...

I am a crier, much to my parents chagrin and much to the annoyance of my former husband, who both likely determined my tears to be a form of manipulation, but "silent tears fall at the moment when we feel the most alone, vulnerable and lost."

 (I went in search of a quote that might speak to my thoughts and found it here. I don't know that anything in the article represents me. Honestly, I didn't read much. I was simply collecting words that fit my own thoughts.)

I've shed so many tears in my lifetime that I'm certain God has several cisterns full because there couldn't possibly be a bottle big enough for all the silent tears I've cried. I'm finally finding words for what I feel and, sometimes, like today, for why. It is the fear of feeling lost, vulnerable and alone.

This week came with a major (from my perspective) relationship shift and try as I might to squelch the Toddler Martha, she appeared again and again until I lay in bed at night in the dark of my room, tears flowing, speaking out loud to the small child within. "It's okay. It's okay... You're going to be okay." 

Life is full of loss. It is also full of gifts. Letting go is hard, especially when the heart becomes entangled, and even when I know deep inside the release must come. The hand can only grasp something new when the old is set free.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Hooray!

He's home!!! My son in law is home and we are thrilled! It was a very long day of travel and sitting in airports with delay after delay, but he is home, tired and smiling. I'm sure the terrible weather and tornadoes in the mid west, especially Texas, might have had something to do with the delays. We are grateful for airplane maintenance crews, dedicated airline personnel, and tireless pilots. The kids were all smiles when they got up this morning.

It's a rainy Memorial Day but we had no plans for a picnic. We are laying low today, catching up on lost sleep and remembering to be thankful.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Just Waiting

Now we wait.

We wait for Sergio to get his passport back.

We wait for his return.

I wait for for an official letter regarding the 2nd CPS investigation at work.

I wait for news pertaining to my appeal of the first CPS decision.

I wait for Bethany's return from vacation.

It's been a lot of waiting.

We've been decompressing. Most of the time I have peace. Every once in a while panic grips my heart and I must consciously loosen its grip once again. What exactly am I afraid of? I am afraid of running out of money. I am afraid of being dependent on my children. I am afraid of not being able to keep up with expectations. I am afraid, and yet still there is peace. The money is not gone and my immediate bills are covered. We are interdependent because we all depend on each other. None of us meet every expectation. All we are able to give is our best and I can do that.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Petition Granted


It's been a week of tears and trials, wondering and waiting, and fears and faith. At 6:07 am on May 11, after leaving her "best friend in the whole world at the airport with a one way ticket to a city 2000 miles away," my sweet daughter put out a petition for prayer.  On Tuesday, May 14 she said, "Thank you to everybody who has been praying for us so far. Please keep praying for peace and courage and strength. Today is only day four of an absolutely brutal separation and it is hard not to be discouraged when we’re missing each other so much." On Saturday she wrote, "Sergio has his green card interview on Monday morning. I am trying to get as many people as I can to pray on Monday, because right now we’re feeling like we need a miracle. Please pray on Monday. Share our story with anybody who will also pray. Friends, family, church members. Everybody you can think of..." and this morning, "Sergio is waiting in line for his interview now. Prayers are so appreciated! Although still terrified, we are feeling so much calmer than we expected, and I really believe it’s because of everybody praying" She is one of the strongest, bravest, and most beautiful people I know. I am so very proud of her. We are breathing easier tonight. Sergio's petition has been granted and we are eager to have him back home again soon. 

My own trial pales in comparison.  I get to stay home with Killian. (There is a silver lining, isn't there?) Although I still get that feeling in the pit of my stomach sometimes, mostly due to future financial needs, I also have a unexplainable peace. My present bills are paid and I have money in the bank to cover immediate expenses. My kids won't let me starve and we don't have a mortgage or costly rental agreement. I get to enjoy the sunshine, plant some flowers, and play checkers with my grandson. What could be better than that?

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Parades and Parties

Yesterday was the Williamson Apple Blossom Parade. Since my children grew up living there, the Apple Blossom Festival was an integral part of their childhoods, so Hannah and I packed the boys into the minivan and set off to watch.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Tears and Smiling Faces

What can I share? 

It's been an incredibly difficult week in a myriad of ways. We are looking forward to all the trials being behind us, ... and terrified of possible outcomes at the same time. We're doing our best to keep things "normal" in a household where everything has been flipped sideways. One of our company is far, far away, and another is going to work everyday and trying to keep things going for her children. I am attempting to process my job loss and the humiliation that entails. (Honestly, I got fired for taking a chewed up crayon from a 2 year old.) I'm also trying to decide how to proceed. I opted not to complete the unemployment application after contemplating the survey on my termination. No "poking the bear" or "opening a hornet's nest." No making big decisions before we know when Sergio will be home.

Killian and I have spent the last couple of days together playing games, going for walks, and watching "Bluey" episodes. I've accompanied my family to a pediatric dentist appointment (Mommy was there too.), and on Wednesday Kili and I drove out to Williamson to visit my friend Tahnya from the other daycare where I worked for over 6 years. Last night we met my son Nate and his four children at my son Dave's house, and walked down Main St in Williamson to watch the Kiddie Parade. The parade was short and sweet. The walk there and back was scattered with familiar faces; Mrs. Dennie, my friend Becky and her daughter and grands... and the special blessing of finding my little friend Mara and her mother standing next to me as we watched the parade. She just turned three a few days ago.

In the midst of "the week from hell" there have been some entirely wonderful surprises. On Tuesday afternoon, after returning our cans and bottles, I ran into one of the Toddler 1 moms and her sweet child. I didn't want to see anyone from work, but if there was one parent to see, this was the perfect one. She'd received an email regarding my termination, yet assured me of her confidence and trust in my care of her young daughter. She even gave me a hug. Seeing my friend Becky was healing, seeing Mara and Nicole was therapeutic. I don't have any reason to hide my face or feel ashamed.

Please pray for my daughter and her children, her sweet in laws, and of course, my son in law. We only wish him to be home again.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Emotional Tensions

We are running on fumes. I hate that I have my own inner turmoil while my daughter and her little family are facing such an incredibly huge trial of their own. Sergio is alone in a strange Mexican city without his family, going to appointments and hoping he gives the correct answers when asked unexpected questions. He is tired, teary and only wants to come home. My sweet, strong and beautiful daughter is doing everything in her power to hold things together here at home, to reassure her children and to put on a positive front all while her insides are churning. It is heartbreaking to watch. In another week we will have an answer and are holding onto the belief that Sergio will soon be back at home with us. Life cannot possibly throw only one trial or challenge at a time. They always come in multiples, and my insides are churning too.

The situation at work has gone from bleak to hopeless. It was not enough to have one "indicated" CPS case against me and my coworker (the one Kelly and I are in the process of appealing), but second investigation has been added. Video cameras in classrooms can be helpful in determining events, and they can also be misleading. On Friday I sat down to draw with our almost three year old toddlers but they were feeling spicy and decided to chew on crayons and run about the room instead. One small boy stood directly across the table from me, smiled mischievously, and took a bite of a thick black crayon. I stood up to take the crayon and he took off running. I pursued, and this was my demise. The voice in my head said, "Don't grab the hoodie!" and so I reached for his shoulder, caught him, and took the crayon. In the process a corner of my right, middle finger scratched the side of his neck (although my mind is confused now as to whether it was the right or left...) I did not look at his neck before walking back, dropping the crayon in the box, and sitting down. My mind was already spinning. What should have been the simple retrieval of a mangled crayon had suddenly morphed into something bigger than I could process. The flight/freeze response kicked in and I felt paralyzed.

The child cried. Whether from the scratch on his neck, the taking of the crayon, or both I do not know. The other teacher immediately scooped him into her arms, started to reprimand me, and then saw the scratch on his neck. She shouted, "Oh, my God!" and rushed for the phone to call the office. The irreversible turn of events had begun. The next two hours I walked about, interacting with children in a stupor. I already knew what was coming. I felt ill and uneasy. I had meant no harm and yet harm had come. 

I was eventually called into a meeting with admin, shown the video (which I could not watch closely) and asked if I had anything to say. I did not. I did not know what they were seeing. No mention was made of the scratch. I was told the video showed me grabbing the child by the hoodie and that this was maltreatment of a child. I disagreed and said I did not grab the hoodie. I was told I was being placed on "administrative leave, effective immediately" and given a paper to sign with their findings and decision. I declined to sign. I gathered my things and went home. My son in law left for Mexico early the next morning. Sunday was Mother's Day.

On Monday afternoon I was summoned to the daycare for a meeting with the licensor and a woman from CPS. I was peppered with questions and accusations. The licensor at one point said she did not see a crayon in the child's hand and that in the video it looked like I had grabbed the child by the hoodie and pushed him to the ground. Everything I do is on camera and open for interpretation. Children are wildly unpredictable, tossing their bodies and flailing at unexpected moments, especially when they are upset. He may have dropped himself to the floor when I took the crayon, but I did not push him.

"If you could go back and do this again," the women asked, "is there anything you would do different?" Hindsight is always 20/20, but even that doesn't always provide answers. "What would you have done?" I asked them. They squirmed a little and turned the question back to me without answering themselves, and asked the question again. I was assured that they could never "do" my job, but that was of little consolation.

When that meeting was finally over, there was a meeting with administration. I knew what was coming already. I was being terminated due to "maltreatment of a child." Another paper to sign, which I did not. I instead acknowledged seeing it with initials and a date. I am forever grateful to my friend Linda who insisted I needed someone along for the meeting; at least as moral support and a note taker. I am now unemployed, and possibly ineligible for unemployment. 

I have one CPS case against me for simply being in the classroom, and a new investigation for removing a chewed crayon from the hand of a child. Children have been my life. I love them with every fiber of my being. They have restored my soul in days past, put hope back into my heart, and given me life, yet I am quickly becoming terrified of them.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Playing Catch-up

 * The long weekend vacation to New Hampshire (we also drove up into Maine) was fabulous. There is nothing quite like like getting away from the everyday and exploring someplace new. On our way to Hampton Falls, Gail and I detoured to Whitinsville, Massachusetts where our friend Beth met us at The West End Creamery. I have been wanting this for years. It was such a wonderful hour of remembering childhood and catching up on the present day.

* Our friend Linda, who was already in Boston, met us in New Hampshire and we spent the next couple of days going to a sea glass festival, a rummage sale, gift shops, restaurants, and exploring the coast. It rained Sunday afternoon and we took a drive up along the coast as far as Kennebunkport, Maine and the Bush Estate. Vacations are always too short and on Monday morning, when it was finally sunny again, we turned west and headed for home.

* I returned to the hair salon on Tuesday evening and saw my new favorite hair stylist, Anna. The appointments weren't double booked this time and we laughed about the mix-up that happened in March. "I'm glad you decided to come back to me," she said. 

* The Webster Museum was doing a little presentation on Wednesday afternoon during my lunch break. My neighbor and I were the keynote speakers... They are highlighting our little neighborhood of National Homes which were built in the early 1950's. It has long been affectionately dubbed "Indian Village" for the street names, Pontiac, Seneca, Mohawk, and Iroquois. I should have asked for more than just the hour as I had to rush back to work as soon as it was over. Before I left, I was approached by a woman who said she had gone to school with me, and there was my old friend Melissa, who not only graduated with me but was also in my kindergarten class, along with Beth who I had just seen in Massachusetts. How fun is that?

* It was a stressful week at work. Something felt off with my present coworker all week but there was nothing I could put my finger on aside from a slight coolness that didn't seem to be there the week before. The children have been crazy, as usual. On Friday afternoon, just after returning from a very late lunch, I sat down to draw with a few of the children, most of whom did not take a nap, and were now running around the classroom. It went well for a very short time and then several decided it was a good idea to eat the crayons. When I stood up to take the crayon from one small child, he took off running, crayon in hand. I chased him down, caught him by the shoulder, and took the chewed on crayon out of his hand. In the process, I accidentally left a large scratch on the side of his neck. (I am as horrified as anyone else. Probably more so.) Everything is on camera and I would never, ever purposely hurt a child, but my boss, who reviewed the footage insists that I pulled him backward by his sweatshirt. This happened at 2:30 pm just 20 minutes after I had returned from my break. At 4:30 pm I was called into a meeting and sent home on "administrative leave." I am absolutely sick.

* In the early hours of Saturday morning my sweet daughter got up and took her best friend, my son in law, to the airport with a one-way ticked to El Paso. He is now in Mexico. On Friday he has an appointment with im mig ration. It is our hope and prayer that he will be looked upon with favor by those in authority and return home by the end of May. Needless to say, stress levels are at an all time high. All your prayers and good thoughts are appreciated.

* Yesterday was Mother's Day. My sweet children all reached out and made the day very special. Six came over with the fixings to make subs, and one called from Florida to let me know he loves me too.

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Bits and Pieces

 * The spine doctor says my MRI looks good. My vertebrae are in good shape at the moment. I am no closer to knowing why my lower back/SI joint are pained but I can rest knowing my back is okay.

* The cardiologist seemed very pleased with both my blood pressure and heart function. I have mild aortic valve disease, which could possibly be reversed if my blood pressure remains under control, I get enough moderate exercise, and bring my cholesterol levels down.

* Work remains stressful. Children are bound and determined to live dangerously. We don't want to hover over them constantly, and yet this is (almost) a requirement of the job. It is downright exhausting. Our letters have not been sent to CPS as the lawyer has not yet "perfected" them. Probably another 2 weeks before they are mailed because we "have plenty of time." Ugh.

* Tomorrow I am going on another adventure with my friend Gail. We're going back to the New Hampshire coast where we went together 3 years ago. This time we're meeting our friend Linda who is already in Boston.

* I'll be sticking close to home for a while after my return. We've got a few things happening here in the next few weeks. (Hopefully I can fill you in later.)

* Oh, and there's a fun little thing going on in the town museum. They're doing a thing on our little neighborhood, which was known in the past as "Indian Village" because of the street names. It's a little tract of National Homes and we feel like it's a pretty special little place.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Appealing

"Indicated." That's what the letter said. "Child abuse and Maltreatment of a Child." Now we appeal. The letters are written and we wait for a second decision.

Of course, neither of us actually harmed or mistreated any of the children. We have done everything in our power to keep them safe and make certain they are loved and treated with kindness. Children are wildly unpredictable, fast, and clueless and no teacher can be everywhere at once, no matter how much we care for the welfare of each child. This was the perfect storm. The women who came from OCFS and CPS said the same, and yet they handed us a "guilty verdict."

I am grateful we are able to appeal.

Monday, April 22, 2024

The Life I Now Live

It's nothing like I ever imagined, getting up and going to work every day instead of watching grandchildren and gardening. I don't prepare the meals or bake cookies. I don't organize the house or wash the floors. I get up each morning and go to work. It's not anything like I thought it would be. The children I imagined would fill my days do not. In fact, in many ways we hardly know each other. Instead I spend my days with children who will, in all likelihood, soon forget me altogether. It's a difficult truth, but it doesn't make loving them any less important.

No doctor appointments this week. I might finally work a full 40 hours. Next week are my follow up appointments from last week's tests. I've been reassured by a retired doctor friend regarding my echocardiagram. He says trace and minor heart valve regurgitations are not uncommon, and mine are not likely to be causing any problems at present. My heart looks good and blood work has all come back without any major issues. I'm pretty sure the cardiologist will agree.

A dear childhood friend called me on Friday afternoon to deliver some news. This friend was recently diagnosed with stage 4, inoperable, liver cancer. I am stunned and saddened. I don't see her often but she is dearly loved. Life is rarely predictable...

The passing of a distant family member caught me off guard this afternoon. She left behind a husband and four, some of them adult, children. The news was unexpected and heartbreaking.

It was a cold weekend but the sun came out today and the toddler rooms were able to go outside on the playground. Any day with outside time is a good day. Almost everyone took a nap. Almost. We have one small child who did not. She was not tired. Thankfully, she was quiet so her friends could sleep.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Bits and Pieces

* News of the eclipse party is everywhere. The eclipse was fantastic, the gathering was the best!

* After every fabulous, rejuvenating event come unexpected stressors. We are stressed. We are stressed for several and various reasons. All we can do is move through them because they aren't going to be over until we do.

* Work is stressful because children are maniacs. (I don't expect anything different.) Work stresses are being managed as well as possible. Hopefully everything will work itself out in time and without any more incidents. (Incidents are inevitable which is why maniacal children are stressful.)

* Did I tell you I was scheduled for an echocardiagram in June? Well, it's tomorrow instead. Yesterday I went in for an MRI on my lower back and afterward decided to see why my follow up appointment with the cardiologist was so far out when my papers say 4 weeks. After checking the schedule, it was discovered there had been a cancellation this week. Did I want the appointment? Absolutely!

* Stress does crazy things to a body. Many of the sensations I have been feeling recently would have been brushed off in the past, but with the knowledge that I have an abnormality in my heart, there comes an even greater consciousness of these sensations. Is today's pain in my upper back related to my heart or did I sleep wrong? Am I once again carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders? Am I imagining symptoms or are they real? (I wasn't crazy in February...) I can not tell the difference between what is serious and what isn't. I will be relieved when tomorrow's appointment is over and I have some answers. (PS. I took a sick day tomorrow.)

* My car has a new battery, fresh oil, new lift support struts so the back will stay open when I want to put my groceries inside, and new brake lights too. Oh, and the gas tank is full.

* Please keep my little family in your prayers. We have big things happening. Thank you so much.

PS. I felt God smile again this afternoon when my phone rang. The person on the other end had no idea I was trying to call them back for precisely the same reason they were calling me. I never even had to tell them anything. I just smiled and agreed to their suggestion. It was perfect!

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Life keeps Moving Forward

Monday's joyful gathering is history, and we're all reveling in it's shadow. Moon shadow, that is. Ha ha! Mr. Moriarty's story has been shared by wide and varied news outlets including the Boston Globe, People, and TikTok. It's a beautiful thing!

Monday was fabulous, the rest of the week has brought several stresses that can't be mentioned at this time. Prayers are appreciated for two distinctly different situations we have brewing. We're looking for positive resolutions to both although both are quite serious. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, yes?

Monday, April 08, 2024

In the Path of Totality

What an absolutely incredible weekend! Saturday was gorgeous, there wasn't a cloud in the sky on Sunday, and today the clouds rolled in thick and heavy, saving our eyesight but not dropping any rain.

It was Mr. Moriarty's Opus. His driveway and front yard were filled with family, friends, former students and news crews. It got dark as night at 3:20 pm and was light again by 3:24 (or something close to that). The gathering was amazing and the eclipse was fabulous.

Old classmates were reacquainted, underclassmen became friends and we all felt like family. It was a grand reunion. I even took my yearbook along to have it re-signed 46 years later. 



Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Total Eclipse of the Sun

Things have been ramping up in Rochester, NY for a while now. The total solar eclipse is less than one week away. Our area will have 2 hours and 26 minutes total eclipse time, with 3 minutes and 42.5 seconds of totality. In all honesty, I've been ignoring the event for quite some time. I've been through several partial eclipses and, until just recently, I figured I would be shut up in a room with ten children, unable to experience the phenomenon. I knew I wasn't going to be taking the day off, so I put it out of my mind.

... Let's rewind the clock 46 1/2 years...

Okay, it's the fall of 1978 now. I am a 14 year old high school freshman sitting in my Earth Science class. The teacher is new to the district this year. He is young, just 22 years old, handsome, and very tall. It is said that he wears canoes on his feet rather than shoes. His foot is a size 17, but I digress... On this particular day he is handing out a worksheet titled "Total Solar Eclipses From 1952 through 2030." There is one to which he wants us to pay particularly close attention. It is 46 years in the future and is expected to pass directly over Buffalo, NY. He tells us we will be reuniting in Buffalo for this once in a lifetime event on April 8, 2024 and he wants us to remember this.

I have to admit, I do not have a clear memory of this day in 1978. It was a very long time ago, over 3 of my then 14 year long lifetimes, but there is a tiny ember of a memory, a very faint glow. A lot has happened between then and now.

...

Fast forward to March 23, 2024... I am sitting at the table in my son's Florida house. I am looking at my computer, and as is my every so often custom, I decide to check out the obituary notices in my hometown newspaper. Somehow, rather than going directly to the death notices (Yes, I am rather morbid.), I connect myself with the front page instead. Looking back at me is a picture with a headline that reads,

"50 years ago, Webster teacher asked pupils to reunite for 2024 eclipse. His moment is here"

Interested, because I was a Webster student 50 years ago, I begin to read and find myself suddenly transported back in time. I instantly have a renewed interest in the eclipse that is now closing schools and shuttering area businesses for the day. There on the screen is an aged version of my former Earth Science teacher. I begin to poke around online. I look up his Facebook account, I message friends to inquire as to whether they have been invited. I begin to follow the story a bit more closely. I even ask if I can come to his party. His answer, "Absolutely! Please attend."

This past weekend a new request showed up on Mr. Moriarty's Facebook. NBC Nightly News was coming to interview him, part of Lester Holt's team, and he was looking for former students to attend. Could we bring old yearbooks or anything else from those 9th grade years? I decided to go out on a limb and text my boss to see if there was any way I could get out of work in time to attend. She messaged me back a few minutes later and said yes! That's when I got out my old yearbook and popped it into my car. I wanted to make sure I had it along on Monday afternoon. I wanted to know what kind of grades I received that year and looked for old report cards, but so far I haven't found them.

I arrived at Mr. Moriarty's house yesterday afternoon in time for the news team to film me walking up his driveway, with him coming out to meet me. (Yeah, it was a little bit staged. Ha ha!) Inside I met the father of a coworker (I was wearing my work sweatshirt.), lots of former Earth Science students from various years, and of course, Mrs. Moriarty, who had been my study hall teacher way back in 1978-79. 

(This is getting to be a lengthy post...)

There were interviews, pictures by the news team, and lots of sharing with former classmates. There were just three "vintage" students, as Hallie Jackson referred to Barb, Ric, and me. I don't watch the news much so I wouldn't have known her if not for others who said, "There she is!" when she came out the back door of the house. She seemed like a normal, regular person, and was very nice. I couldn't be star struck because I hardly knew I should be. Honestly, I mostly live under a rock. LOL!

It was a very fun couple of hours. Like Mr. Moriarty said, "It isn't about the eclipse anymore. It's about the people. It's about the connections." I am very much looking forward to the actual event on Monday, April 8, 2024, the one Mr. Moriarty was so looking forward to back in 1978 when he was a brand new teacher and we were 14 year old Earth Science students.

PS. We're not just vintage, we're first class.

From Mr. Moriarty- "Hi Friends, the interview from NBC Nightly News with Hallie Jackson will air on Sunday, April 7 at 6:30. I believe the spot will be near the end of the program."

Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Tulip

If you are not familiar with The Tulip Tale, you can find some background here. (The first post is from last year and will help you understand where I'm going with today's story.)

I haven't felt the same heaviness this year, but I did find myself thinking of her this past week, my beautiful salmon colored tulip. She not only survived despite the odds against her, but she was the prettiest tulip I have ever seen. She taught me about life, survival, and God's amazing ability to heal. I caught myself glancing across the yard last week, knowing I wouldn't find her yet hopeful just the same, but she was not there. She is gone now, never to return, her purpose in life complete, and yet the lessons remain.

I almost didn't go to church this morning. I know how that sounds being Easter and all, but I haven't been the last two Sundays (I was in Florida) and sometimes it's hard to go to church alone, especially on a Sunday so geared toward families. It can accentuate the loneliness of being singular, especially in a group of people I don't really know. In the end I decided to go anyway, because I knew I'd regret staying home. Diana greeted me in the sanctuary and invited me to sit with her and God provided the gift of not being entirely alone.

There was a children's moment during the service where a woman invited the children forward and she read them a book, Good News by Glenys Nellist. I smiled when on the first page there appeared a tulip praising God. There she was, my beautiful tulip, smiling at me from within a board book. "I once was lost in darkness, but now the sun I've found!"  The voice of God whispered in my ear and I knew He heard the unspoken cry of my heart. I smiled silently.

A woman gave the Easter message as is the custom of this new fellowship I've been attending. It was the women who followed Jesus and attended to His needs who were the first to proclaim the risen Christ and so a woman is given place to share the Good News on Easter morning. She delivered a beautiful message of God's love.

After the message and sharing of the Lord's Table came two final songs, words on the screen above so we could follow along. The last song, Beautiful Things, had a picture of beautiful, red tulips blooming in the background. If I ever needed confirmation of the Father's love for me, and my lost tulip being an unmistakable gift of His love... And to think I almost stayed home. I left with tears in my eyes.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Bits and Pieces

 Every so often I let a bigger chunk of time go by than I intended. 

* On Friday, March 22 we finished up my Disney Birthday Adventure by visiting Animal Kingdom with Jim and Michele's two youngest children, Jonah and Charlie. It was was an absolutely incredible week topped off with a birthday cake on Saturday afternoon. I couldn't have asked for  more and am so grateful for the lengths they went to in order to make the week so incredibly special.

Jim and I visited Gideon's Bakehouse inside the West End Market on Corrine Drive in Orlando on the way to the airport Sunday at noon. We had Parker along for the ride. I bought a few of their spectacular cookies to take home, and then wandered about the Orlando airport picking up a few souvenirs there that I hadn't found or missed in the parks at Disney. It was a direct flight home so no layovers this time.

* Monday morning found me visiting the cardiologist before work. This was scheduled ahead of time and my first visit. I'm now scheduled for an echocardiogram in June along with another blood pressure medication and a return visit to the cardiologist. (Turning 60 is an exciting adventure so far!) It's good to know I wasn't simply anxious or crazy when I made the appointment in February because I was feeling off.

* There was a mandatory in-service staff meeting after work from 6-8 pm on Tuesday evening that covered all things related to recent visits from OCFS and CPS. The case involving our classroom is not yet settled (it should be halfway there now) but we have been assured by the director that all will be good in the end and no one is in danger of losing their jobs. In the meantime, my co worker and I remain separated and work is stressful, albeit a bit friendlier. I was so tired after work on Wednesday that I put myself to bed by about 7:30 pm.

* Some news of interest. You may have heard about the up and coming total solar eclipse that will be occurring on April 8. Rochester, NY is in the path of totality which makes it a pretty big deal around here. Schools and business will be closed and we are expecting a record number of visitors to our area. That in and of itself is pretty exciting, but there is an added excitement I did not know of until accidentally stumbling upon a news article while in Florida last week. (Here's another in case the first doesn't work.) Back in 1978 a 22 year old local teacher, in his first year of teaching Earth Science, was looking 46 years into the future and inviting his 14 year old students to gather together for this very event. 

Fun Fact #1- the event is on the horizon. 

Fun fact #2- I was one of those students 

Lester Holt and his NBC news team are flying into Rochester to interview Mr. Moriarty and some of his former students! It's almost bigger news for some of us than the eclipse. LOL!

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Wildly Wonderful!

 I flew into Orlando on Saturday, March 16.

Sunday, March 17- Jim and I took a walk at Black Bear Wilderness Area in Sanford where I saw my first in the wild alligator.

Monday, March 18- Jim and Michele took me to Disney World! It was fantastically fun! I loved all of it!!!

Tuesday, March 19- We stuck close to home and met up with my long lost brother in law and his wife at Hollerbach's German Restaurant in downtown Sanford. It was Jim's first time meeting Uncle Stan.After lunch Jim got a haircut across the street and we walked the 3 miles back home. 

Wednesday, March 20- Jim and I went to Epcot together. It was fabulous! We ate our way around the world, checked out all the gift shops, and enjoyed a myriad of rides through various countries. Guardians of the Galaxy is the best ride ever. I think I dreamed of it in childhood.

Thursday, March 21 (today)- I got up at 5:15 am, drove to the coast and met my friend Marty for sunrise and breakfast on the beach. 

Back home in Sanford, we were surprised by a visit from Jim's friend Dan and his wife Rachel.

And then we watched a rocket launch from the driveway.

What an amazing week!