Saturday, March 31, 2012


I am grateful to all of you! Yes, all of you, Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge Writer's...This is my third year participating and my best year yet. This year I was able to take in so much more. I observed, I watched, I listened, I read, I tried things in my writing. I am in awe of all of you.

Things I learned in this challenge:

I entered this challenge with one goal, to write. I learned that I can do it! It is such a great feeling to set a goal and achieve it..

To try out things in my writing without fear or ridicule, there was always a friend to find something you didn't realize you had done well in your writing. This is the greatest group of cheerleaders you will ever have!

If you are thinking that issues in your life are unique, perplexing, confusing or overwhelming, write about them, someone out there has been through them or going through them and they will lend an ear or help you through.

Despite all the negativity in this country about teachers, we continue and are a profession full of compassionate, kind, creative, generous, loving individuals who want to make a difference and I am proud to walk among you!

Thank you Stacey and Ruth!

Friday, March 30, 2012


My wonderful super doing her thing in the tug-o-war!
What happens when you put every teacher in my district, the administrators, custodians, secretaries, & paras in a gym for competiton? You get Crazy Sports Night in Riverhead. When you get all of these people together in a gym making spectacles out of themselves, you will also find a large crowd very willing to watch!
Last night this large crowd gathered to watch Crazy Sports night to benefit a student in my school who has been battling cancer and another student in our district who has been recovering from a horrific accident & is now recovering in a long care facility in another state.
Events included an obstacle course, a basketball shoot-out, a three-legged race, scooter race, hula-hoop chain and the finale was the good ole tug-o-war!
The event was a huge success. We raised over 4,000 dollars for the two families! However, more than the money raised was how the event left us feeling...Just looking out over the crowd, seeing the looks on the children's faces as we laughed, ran, jumped, tumbled all in good fun doing what we could for these two families was absolutely the highlight of my year as well as my colleagues. When we returned to work today all we talked about was how wonderful it was. Everywhere you went in the building it was the talk of the children, the staff, and the parents. It was such a morale booster for us all.
In the local paper, the front picture is our Superintendant of our school. She was pictured with her team, the district office, doing the tug-o-war. I happen to love our Superintendant. She is so supportive of the teachers, the students, the staff, of everyone. This picture of her in the front of the paper, pulling with all of her might just says it all for me! She is willing to get in there with us, to do the hard work...
I just wish those passing all the laws, passing judgement on teachers were there last night. We are so much more than test scores and so are our students! Last night made me so proud to work where I do, to do what I do. These last few weeks I was feeling so deflated, last night helped put some air back in my balloon..I'm so thankful to those I work in the trenches with! GO RCFa!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


This is going to be short and sweet! I am beginning to wonder if life in general has taken it's toll on me. I am not usually this exhausted. Today my legs felt like I even went to the gym. I ran my 3.5 miles, but it took all I could give not to jump off the treadmill and run screaming from there! Who is this person? I love to run. It is my adrenaline at the end of my days or the jump start to my days. So I'm going to hunker down, feet up, blanket over me and watch a little bit of tv. When I have unwound a bit, I will hit the hay nice and early. This is something I have not done in a long, long time. Perhaps this will recharge my batteries. I have only 5 more wake-ups till Spring break. Perhaps that is all it is. Time for some much needed rest...
Sweet dreams everyone!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I've run into a complete word/brain drain...I begin to write and I get all locked up. This does not usually happen to me. I would begin to write and then erase all that I had written. It didn't express what I wanted to express. It didn't capture what I was really thinking. The words were coming out all wrong. I don't know if it is because I have so much I would like to say or is it because I don't have enough to say! Some of my swirling thoughts consist of the following:
Lockdown drills at school....
Budget issues that are deeply impacting our school morale....& precious resources
Students whose behaviors are beginning to escalate...
Students whose academic progess seems to be halted and what do I do next?
Lack of sleep...too many late nights, so much to do, so little time...
Mounting medical bills! UGH......
My daughter's mounting difficulty in passing her social students regents exam...
Details for an upcoming 5K Race I am in charge of in my cousin's name and all the small details.....
Swirling thoughts, spiraling out of control, spinning wildly around my head and yet nothing put on paper that manages to make much sense.
Time for bed...tomorrow is another day. But, for now, I wrote something down. It is better than yesterday when I posted nothing!

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Today I attended a bridal shower for my cousin. Twenty-one years ago she was the flower girl in my wedding. Thirty years ago I was the flower girl in her mom's wedding. Her mom is my mom's youngest sister. It was a beautiful shower. Her sister and bridesmaids threw the shower for her. They thought of everything. She was surrounded by people who loved her. It was so evident by the things the girls did for her.
My sister and I sat with our aunt throughout the shower and our thoughts during the whole event kept drifting to our aunt who was not there with us. We could not help but think of her. She was missed. We wished she could have been there with us to celebrate, but we understood why she was not there. I mean honestly, if it was me, I don't know if I could have come myself.
I guess it is time I write about it. I have not been able to write about it, talk about it or barely speak about it. It is still so very painful, so raw, so very hard to believe. My other aunt, the one who was missing from the shower, she lives around the corner from me. She is only 7 years older than I am. We were pregnant together. I was having my first child, she was having her second, my sister was having her first as well. We were all pregnant together. Eventually our children wound up attending school together. In June 2010 the three cousins graduated from High School together. It was a wonderful moment, celebrated greatly as it was the day my son came home from the hospital after his horrific accident.
My sister and I both had boys. My son was the oldest, my nephew was born next and last, was dear, sweet, beautiful Susie. Susie was smart, kind, different and everyone's friend. She was the President of their class all four years of HS and she was simply, just amazing.
Tragically, this past November 22nd, the night before Thanksgiving, without warning, with no illness, Susie went into cardiac arrest while at home with her mom and died. She was 19 years old. It was instant. Her mom, a cardiac nurse tried to do cpr, but there was nothing she could do. EMT's came, but there was nothing they could do. Two hours after the call went out our dear, sweet Susie was gone. Her loss is immense, the pain so raw. Her mom and dad, her brother andrew and his fiance angela have lost their girl. There is not greater loss than this. Their hearts, our hearts, they are broken.
Susie had a way about her. She made everyone who came in contact with her feel good. She was always smiling. She was always happy. She would make you laugh! She LOVED everyone. She saw the good in everyone. She reached out to everyone. Susie was unique.
So today on this very special day, she was missed, my aunt was missed! There will always be a piece missing when our family gets together. When Susie left this earth, she took a piece of our hearts with her. I do know though, she is smiling down on us. I LOVE YOU SUSIE Q...
Her brother made this website about her, her friends have written tributes about is beautiful! It is called LIVE LIKE SUSIE...I am passing it on b/c it is what helps her family get through the really tough days! May you all LIVE LIKE SUSIE!

Friday, March 23, 2012

SOLC 23 Truth is...

Truth is I'm feeling deflated. While I know some years you get those "classes" that are more challenging than others. Truthfully, I am ok with that. I work in a high needs district. I expect these things. I have been teaching for 23 years now. Challenging students I am up for. Students who need me to rethink how I do things, well that is my job.
What I am finding difficult, deflating and downright disheartening is the lack of respect from administration and the parents. In my 23 years this has got to be the worst I have ever seen it. This week alone I have either received emails, phone calls or written letters with the following sentiments:
1.) Cursed at & called a very unkind word for letting a parent know their child was threatening another student with bodily harm and this other student was now afraid to come to school. (I teach Kindergarten)
2.) Written a very nasty letter telling me how upset a parent was at me for sending their child to the nurse when their child had green stuff running down their face and their child could not keep their head up in class. The note explained that I needed to know the difference between allergies and illness and their child was certainly not sick after all when the child came home, she was fine, however, the child was up all night with a bellyache, so she did not get much sleep so expect her to be tired today.
3.) Emailed berating me because their child was not drinking enough water during lunch time. I should be monitoring this more closely. I am to remind their child to take the water bottle out each morning and to remind him to drink all day, them remind him to use the bathroom as well. If I am not capable of doing this, she will arrive each morning to take this child's water bottle out of his backpack for him.
Now...I will tell you, these are the kinds of notes/emails/phone calls I tend to deal with every single week and sometimes daily. I just have "those" kinds of parents this year. But, this week, well, I had ENOUGH! Truthfully, I am disheartened by the lack of respect. Is it me? Since when is it ok to curse at a teacher? Since when is it ok to berate a teacher and tell them they are incompetent for sending an obviously sick child to the nurse? (mind you, the school nurse called this parent at their job-they are an educator, they never bothered to call back) I do not profess to be a nurse, I am a teacher, who saw a child with glassy eyes, who looked sick, I turned her over to the professional, she makes the calls. I am only looking out for the best interest of their child. I guess I am missing something. Sadly, it is these types of situations that have seemed to crop up so often these days. They make me wonder if I belong in the profession anymore. Do I have what it takes to remain? Why do these things bother me so much? When I began teaching 23 years ago I never encountered such things. Yes, perhaps, on occassion a parent was somewhat difficult. This is beyond that. It has me out looking for alternative ways for me to finish out my days until retirement. Truthfully, I just don't think I can take the abuse anymore since no one seems to stop them from treating us this way. Sorry, I could not find a silver lining tonight.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We are in the paper! SOLC 21

Today I came home to a note from one of my friends at work. It was a quick and simple note. "Did you see it? Our kids are in the paper?" What? How did I miss it. My first thought was someone from the paper was covering our St. Patty's parade we had on Friday. I must have missed seeing the reporter from the paper. I quickly opened up the paper and to my delight and surprise, it was not our parade, but an article about our Lolligrams.

We did this on Valentine's Day. We must have missed the article when it was written. The article is dated for February 15th.
Things really do happen for a reason. I say this because we did the Lolligrams for Chris. Chris is a young boy from our school who we have been praying and rallying around while he fights cancer. On Friday Chris completed his last Chemo treatment. He was welcomed home on Friday with a heroes salute. The firetrucks, ambulances and police escorted him back in town as he made his way home from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer center.
It is the little things in life, those small, and ever so important things that keep me going. Just this one little article and I am reminded of why I do some of the things I do. Why some things are important and other things just aren't!
Welcome Home Chris! We continue to pray for your continued health and recovery.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


There is something to be said for the sound of birds chirping, the blooming trees, the warmth of sun beating down on you. It is no longer that spring is around the corner, it is finally, Spring is here. You don't even have to hear the birds chirping, feel the warmth of the sun or see the blooming trees, just enter the Kindergarten hallways of any school and you KNOW something is different.
It is almost instant as you enter the wing that you know that something is different. The noise level is at a new decibel. It is a much higher decibel than normal. Everyone who entered today remarked about it today. The children just can't contain themselves. The chatter sounds like a zillion chipmunks running in circles screaching at the top of their lungs. I kid you not. In one day my class has morhped.
I'm hoping that tomorrow the screaching chipmunks will take it down a few notches tomorrow.
Happy Spring everyone...

Monday, March 19, 2012


Upon entering your immediately hit by the lights, the sounds, the smells, and the different people. The beeps from the machines are all different. So are the lights. Some machines the lights are blinking. Some machines the lights are just glowing. On other machines the lights are flashing madly along with loud sounds. Those are the sounds that delight those that have come to win. If those machines are making the loud sounds and flashing wildly you can bet people are screaming with delight because they have won the jackpot. The meaning of jackpot is different for everyone. Jackpot could be $25.00, or jackpot could be so much more.
My husband and I have come to this place for some rest. This place of sounds and light to get away. Yes, really, we went to atlantic City for some time to de-stress. It is odd that we would choose to go to someplace so busy to try and relax. However, we were not there to gamble. We went because it was not far from our home. It is only a three hour drive. The weekend was supposed to be gorgeous so we decided to take advantage of the weather and walk the boardwalk and just get away from it all. It just so happens that we LOVE the beach and our favorite restaurant is at the hotel that gave us a great rate. So we set in motion the plans. We quickly found someone to watch the kids (or should I say, keep an eye on them). They really don't need a sitter. They are old enough, but my son still needs someone to help with some things, like his medication etc. I don't want this falling on his sister. So, it was all set. My brother and sister volunteered to help out. I called the hotel on Friday night, made the reservations for Sunday and we were all set. One night away for us to rejuvenate.
It was perfect! Dinner at our favorite place. Lots of window shopping and beautiful weather for walking the boardwalk. When we left to come home my husband commented that he wished we had one more night. I agreed that one more night would be great. However, this was perfect too. It was just enough to get away, enjoy some relaxation and not be too long away from home. We have not been away by ourselves since our son's accident. (It is almost 2 yrs since the accident).
My daughter kindly reminds me often. "Mom, you need to leave the house, you and Dad never go out!" She is right. We don't ever go anywhere. So, I did it, I made the plans. Sure, they were for one night. I'm not sure I would be able to leave just yet for longer. Longer time away would require much more juggling of things for my son. This was perfect. Being last minute was also perfect. I did not have time to rethink it and back out. I know if I made plans in advance I would have panicked and canceled. So I'm glad it went the way it did. This was perfect. The kids were fine. I was fine.
The lights, the sounds, the smells, they were just what we needed. The change of scenery, well, you could say my 17 yr old was correct. We did need to leave the house. I'm not sure if it was even the lights, the sounds or the smells. It was just the company I keep. That time with my husband and the uninterrupted time alone, precious time one does not always get in our busy everyday lives. Time I do cherish. Time I won't wait so long to take together next time. For as we have learned, life is too short! I hit my own jackpot. There are no lights, sounds, etc. I don't need those...I already have all I need!

Saturday, March 17, 2012



Michaela and her Uncle Mike St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Today is St. Patrick's Day. It is a day of big celebrating for our family. Honestly, we have been celebrating all month. We begin March with decorating. The green shamrock tablecloths, dishtowels, wash cloths, placemats, table runners all come out. The shamrocks, leprechauns and any other Irish related items are put up once Valentine's Day is over. The bag pipe music begins playing. We are infused with the joy of St. Patrick's Day. We completely enjoy this holiday. It is enjoyed just as much as Christmas in our house. Both of my parents are 100% Irish. They are proud of their heritage and passed this pride to their children. My mom is named after a river in Ireland. The adair River. This river was one her dad fished at when he was a child. Our names were all carefully selected to reflect our Irish heritage. I come from a large Irish-catholic family. My mom is the oldest of ten children. I am the oldest of 58 grand-children. My own children are completely fascinated by how many cousins, aunts, and uncles they have. It can get very confusing. It is equally confusing because we reflect our Irish heritage in our name selection. We tend to use the same names over and over. We have many Uncle Peters, Uncle Kevin's and aunt Kathleen's. It is so hard to keep it straight. However, odds are good, when in fact if you forget, call them Peter or Kevin. Today my daughter said to me that she loves her name. However, she is most grateful that I didn't name her Kathleen like so many of her relatives. I just laughed! She is the only one so far in our family. I didn't go with the norm. I didn't name her Kathleen or Kate. She is Michaela. It is an Irish name. However, she is the first Michaela in our family. Her name is spelled differently than most Michaela's as well. My brother Michael is her godfather and I wanted it to reflect his connection to her. My brother is adopted from Korea. His connection to his Korean heritage is sketchy at best. I have always felt that his new heritage began on March 1st. when he joined our family. However, I am always looking for ways to let him know how important he is to us too. Connecting my daughter's name to his was my way of letting him know how loved he is, how his joining our family made our lives complete. My daughter loves her godfather very much. He treats her like she is his own daughter. He is such a wonderful Uncle, brother and friend. Our lives are so blessed on this St. Patrick's Day and on all the other day's too!

Friday, March 16, 2012


I am afraid if I stand close to them long enough or if I eat with them, their crank will rub off on me. Yes, I'm scared of them. I do not dare enter their lair (the faculty room) in the morning nor at lunch. By them, I mean "those" teachers. You know who I mean. I mean "those" teachers in the faculty room who are complaining about everything, the ones who find something wrong with every new initiative. You know, the one who complains when you enthusiastically mention doing something new. Every school has at least one of them. Some have even more than one. Sometimes, if you are not careful, their crank can become contagious. My friends and I have a rule, never let a fellow friend enter the lair unattended. If you must enter the lair, buddy up. You must always have back up. Sadly, I went without back-up today. I broke the golden rule. I should have known better. Whatever was I thinking? I mean, today was party central, the day before St. Patrick's Day. The lair was hopping, hence my reason for my entering the lair. I thought it would be nice for the faculty to have some Irish Soda Bread. Not being of sound mind I quickly ran into the lair without thinking. Upon entering to drop off the soda bread the noise level was deafening. Today's topic of crank was about our new breakfast program. I chose not to become involved in the discussion when asked. I just nodded and kept my head down. I quickly dropped the soda bread and butter on the table and escaped unharmed. Ha! I was quick to pat myself on the back for my quick escape. I returned to my room. I marveled with my friend how I had escaped the lair without battle wounds. I spoke too soon. I realized after getting back to my room that I had left my papers in the faculty room. Oh no! I must go back. I glanced at the clock. It was a good time, no one would be there. The student's were coming in now from the buses. I made a mad dash up the stairs to the lair. Upon entering I see that the soda bread has been cut into. People are enjoying it. I also notice that someone has stolen one of the sticks of butter! What? Really? I glance at one of the special area teachers that is making her coffee. I begin to complain about how I can't believe that someone would steal a stick of butter. While I am speaking I realize…oh…my… has happened! I am complaining about something so trivial. Their crank has rubbed off on me. I stop mid-sentence. I apologize to my fellow teacher. With a perplexed look, she says, "ok?" I grab my papers and get out of there! Not sure what happened to me back there, but really? Over a stick of butter? I broke the cardinal rule. Never let us enter the lair unattended! BUDDY UP! It's a good rule! One I most likely won't forget next time! Nor will I forget to bring extra butter, apparently it is in large demand in the lair!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I'm wondering how one can be so tired when they hit the sack at 8:30 in the evening? I woke up tired and I remained tired all day...I was thinking it could be daylights savings. Can losing one hour really mess you up that much? So I am asking my fellow slicers. Did you find yourself very exhausted this week? Do you find yourself yawning at 7 o'clock and trying to keep your eyes open? I do hope this is the reason for my exhaustion and not old age. With that being said, I am going to finish up a few things and make way for bed even earlier tonight. This is sad but true. I will be going to bed at 8 o'clock tonight. I sure hope it is daylight savings that has me so worn out tired because gosh almighty I am one very tired Kindergarten teacher and can't even think straight to write anything but how tired I am tonight. Good-night everyone!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Monday began as it should, the shrill of the alarm alerting me that a new week was beginning and that I needed to get moving. I hit the ground running. My running clothes were laid out, I did my 3 mile run, showered and headed off to work. The sun was shining so brightly on my drive to work. I needed my sunglasses, something I have not needed in such a long time. The long commute was brightened by the scenery and the tunes kept me company. But, I felt that strange pain, square smack in the middle of my chest, it hit me hard. Hmmmmmmmm, what the heck? Then, suddenly it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest, it was hard to breath. I began to wonder, do I turn around, should I pull over and call someone? The pain intensified. I thought this is just not the way to begin the day. I decided I should call my husband and then thought better of it. I did not want to worry him over something that was nothing. I figured I was hungry and once I ate I would feel better. That was my story and I was sticking to it. I arrived at work. Unloaded my bags and got out my yogurt while trying to ignore the pain that was now radiating down my left arm. I kept trying to keep myself from thinking about the pain. I decided that perhaps asking the school nurse some advice might be a good idea. I headed down to her office. She saw me in the doorway, she instantly got up and went for her blood pressure monitor. We do have a routine her and I. She asked if I had taken my pressure in the morning. I had, it was low, but not as low as I could go. She then asked if I was feeling dizzy and what was my heart rate in the morning. Ironically my heart rate was good I told her. She looks a little perplexed at me. I then slowly proceed to tell her that I am having pain in my chest that has now gone down my arm. She gives me that look, I know that look. I don't like when she looks at me that way. It is the same look I give my children when they are in BIG trouble. Yup, I was right. I was in trouble. I was right, I knew that look. She was not happy with me for not going back home when this started and for now not wanting to go home. She made me call my husband. Oh boy, it is now on! NOT THE HUSBND! Now I'm in trouble. I call him from her office. He picks up immediately. I can hear it in his voice, I know he knows something is wrong. I tell him everything is ok. He chuckles and tells me if everything is so good then why are you calling from the nurses office. Oh boy, he is too smart for me. Well, it is nothing, but I'm having some chest pain and will need to go to the doctor, but I would like to wait till school is over. However, Mrs. P thinks I should go now. I know you won't be able to get me for a few hours right? He wants to know why I would wait that long and then tells me he will call me back in five minutes he will call the office and get someone to cover his route. Oh nuts, I'm not winning this battle with anyone today! I hang up and proceed to tell Mrs. P what he has said and we both call the main office and explain what is going on. I then go and set my room up to be out. I end up not leaving though till 2PM because my poor husband did not get relieved from his job till 1:15, I work 45 minutes from his job. He picked me up and we headed to SBUMC where my Cardiologist was, it has the heart center where I had my heart ablation surgery three years prior. I speak to nurse from my doctors office they tell me to go to the ER. We arrive at the ER, they were expecting me. I am taken immediately. It is a flurry of activity, EKG, put on a gown, blood work, questions, etc. They ER was packed, but I was given priority because I have a cardiac history and the EKG showed something funny. Before I knew it, I was put in a room. I was now scared! Really? The doctor arrives, not mine, but one of the Pa's in the practice, lots of questions, more monitoring and the decision is made to do a scan to rule out the need to put a stint in my heart since they gave me 3 nitroglicerin tablets and it did not take away the pain. My head was spinning. I don't think we had time to think my husband and I or even time to get scared. We decided we needed to let our children know what was going on since it was now dinner time and the kids would worry that I had not come home from work. We called friends to let them know what was going on. We covered all bases just in case. They came and took me for the test. Within 45 minutes the test was done and then we waited…we never talked about the what if..we didn't make plans for me to be admitted, we just did not go there! I didn't want to think about it. We would cross that bridge when we needed to. Within that hour the doctor arrives and tells us, I have good news and bad news. The good news, you have PERFECT arteries, there is no calcification, no blockages. Your heart is in great shape. The bad news, I have NO idea what your pain is from. Perhaps you pulled a muscle running, perhaps your pneumonia is still there, we hear some wheezing. So, we will do a chest x-ray. I had the chest x-ray immediately. The x-ray was negative too. We were again at a cross-roads. They still had no clue where the pain was coming from. They decided to discharge me. WOO! I still have the pain and oddly, one day later, still have pain and now I have begun to come down with a cold, but I will take a cold any day of the week as opposed to what they thought was wrong! LIFE IS STILL GOOD and what a Monday that was!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Kyle in last year's parade...

I do love a parade. Today my children will March in our town's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. It is the town's 77 parade. It is our family's 45th time partipating in it. We are entrenched in tradition in this town and in this parade. I have lived in this town my whole life. Our family tradition in this parade began with my dad when he joined the local volunteer fire department. Then as children we marched as girl scouts and boy scouts. The tradition continued when we were in the high school marching band. This tradition continued as I married and decided to buy a house and live in the same town. My children began marching as boy scouts and girl scouts and then in high school with the same marching band that my brothers and I were in. I LOVE that my children have continued the tradition for our family. My sister's children are now attending the same school as my children and today for the first time, my nephew will be marching along with my daughter in the 8th grade band. My sister and I get completely excited and even giddy about it. My husband did not grow up in this town. When he first moved here after we were married, he didn't quite get the whole parade tradition. He also did not get the whole being proud of our heritage thing either. My husband is Irish. He is not 100% Irish as I am. His family did not celebrate his heritage as my family did. In my family St. Patrick's Day is like Christmas. When growing up I remember how excited my dad was about St. Patrick's Day. Several week's before St. Patrick's Day my dad would begin with the little gifts for my sister and I. Irish hair bands would be left on our dressers. We would get Irish buttons to wear to the parade. He would start playing the Irish music. He would start singing Irish songs to us. To this day even though my dad is not living in town with us during this time, he will call and say, do you have your buttons girls? Did you hang out your banners? He will send buttons in the mail to his grandchildren. He has sent his Irish suspenders to his grandson to wear during the parade. He wants the tradition to live on. Now, twenty years later my husband has grown to love our family traditions around St. Patrick's Day. We celebrate this day in a big way. We live on the parade route. So naturally we have a huge party during and after the parade. For twenty years now everyone has been coming to celebrate at our house. My husband has been cooking since yesterday. He has cooked about 50lbs of corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, Sheppards Pie. I made Irish soda bread(although I still have not been able to make it as good as my mom) The house is decorated like it is Christmas. St. Pat's banners everywhere, green shamrocks. The music has been playing for weeks! My son has taken on this tradition from my dad since he was in junior high! He LOVES the bagpipes!
This parade is HUGE! It is attended by 10,000 people each year. It is a fun day and we look forward to it each year. The best part, we have shared this with our friends and their friends and my children's friends for so many years. I did not know how many people have enjoyed it so much till I received this call last week from my son's best friend who goes to college in Buffalo. "Momma P, can I come home to you on St. Pat's? I really can not miss Poppa P's corn beef!" I chuckled! Of course you are welcome!" This young man was driving home 8 + hours to have corn beef and hang with my crazy family for corn beef. Really? I love it! I hung up with him and told my husband, you better go get another two corn beef briskets, the college kids are coming home! This day isn't just about the parade, it is about being with our family and our friends. It is about laughing and enjoying the things that matter to us. Someone once said to my brother, who was wearing all the buttons my dad gave him. Your not Irish (my brother is adopted from Korea) my brother chuckled. He looked straight in that person's face and said, my name is Michael Kevin Clark, my dad is Donald Perrine Clark, my mom is adair Eileen Clark. I may not look Irish to you, but name is Irish, my heritage is Irish, in my heart I'm Irish, it is not on the outside that counts, it is what is on the inside. Stop judging the outside and perhaps you could live a happier life. The person was STUNNED and SPEECHLESS! My brother was 9 when he said this! I LOVE that kid! Today he is still that spunky and amazing person still celebrates being Irish even if he doesn't look like he is(what a crazy comment, still drives me nuts)
Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!
PS: On Friday I will have a parade with my class-they have made floats at home and they will bring them to school. In the afternoon the school lines up and we march our floats around the school. So you see, I do so love a parade...

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I am going to actually give myself a pat on the back. This is something I am not used to doing! I am used to quite the opposite usually. I am used to berating myself and letting myself down after setting unrealistic goals. I am also used to setting goals I know right from the beginning were going to be difficult to meet. It is not to say that am new to this. I am used to giving myself goals. I have high expectations. I set goals. I make lists. I write things down. I say I am going to do things. I mean well. I really do. I don't mean for things to happen. Life just happens. Things happen. I lose steam. I lose my way. I let things get in my way. I make excuses. I give up. I…well let's just say I don't always reach the goals I set for myself. I don't always achieve my goals for so many reasons. So this time I decided to change it up a bit. I'm learning to break things into smaller pieces. MUCH, much smaller, attainable and realistic pieces. For the slice of life challenge my goal was not to write every day. My goal was to participate in meaningful ways. I have already met the goal I wanted for myself. Once I met that goal, I wrote new goals. My next goal was to read slices each day that would help me grow as a writer. I'm well on my way each day to gaining something each day as a writer from reading slices. To help keep me on track, I set a timer each night and I read and comment for one half-hour in the evening. I do this so that I don't take away from the other millions of things that need to be done in my evenings. I didn't set a goal that I would write a slice each night. However, an added bonus from my reading a slice each night has been that I am inspired to write each night. I am so excited that so far I have managed to write each night of the challenge! I am quite proud of myself. I did not do that well with this goal last year. This new found strategy of setting smaller goals is working quite well for me in my running life as well. Before hand, I would begin out with a goal in mind getting ready for a race and before I knew it I was behind on my running. I had let life get in my way. I was behind on the miles I needed to be at. I would grow frustrated with the process and by the time the race would roll around I was not confident I was ready for the race. This meant horrible race jitters for me because I felt that I did not prepare correctly for the race. This race season I have not done that to myself. I have set smaller goals. I have not put as much pressure on me to achieve as many miles run in a week. My goal may be less miles run in a week. However, the surprise is on me. I am actually running more miles in a week now that there is less pressure on me. I am feeling in better shape than I have been in months and training has just begun. I even got up this morning at 5am in 22 degree temps on a Saturday to do a 4 mile run in the woods with my team from Team in Training. The old me would have found an excuse to not go. However, I had set realistic goals all week. The goal was to run 3x's this week, not 20 miles. WOW! Big difference. In the end, having less pressure resulted in me logging 8 miles on two runs already in even faster time than if I had run 20 miles. I like this new me and I certainly like being able to pat myself on the back instead of beating myself up! WOO! Eureka!

Friday, March 9, 2012


Did you ever have one of those weeks that felt months long? Did you come home dragging yourself through the door and make a beeline for your pj's? Did you find yourself wishing to be curled up on the sofa with a warm blanket? (and this was at 8 o'clock in the morning?)...well that was me today! I literally crawled through the door today with envisions of curling up on the sofa, pj's on and my favorite warm fuzzy blanket over me... Sadly, I didn't get to curl up till, I'm off to enjoy the comfort of my fuzzy blanket and curl up with my favorite guy & my little pup who is so happy I'm home!
Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


It is truly the little things that I most appreciate about my husband. It didn't take long for me to realize and appreciate these little things about him. I know when I learned to let the big things go and appreciate the little things, it was shortly after we were married and our first child was born. I had just returned to work after my six-week maternity leave, I was tired, no, exhausted, overwhelmed and slightly complaining about something very trivial one day at very wise older teacher said to me, don't sweat the small stuff, when he forgets to do those small things that drive you crazy remember to be grateful. Grateful that your husband is there to forget to close that shower curtain & say that to yourself when your closing it & she said ENVISION how sad you would be if he was no longer there! Those words 20 + years ago never left me. So I began to appreciate my husband more. I began to look at him differently. I stopped sweating those trivial things and focused on the important things, those small, kind, loving things he does on a daily basis that shows he loves me and his children. Today was a perfect example. I had a very difficult week. My husband works many long hours as a driver for UPS. He calls every night when he is on his way home to let me know he is on his way and I then finish getting dinner ready, so it is hot and ready when he gets in the door. Tonight at 7:45 he calls, this is around the usual time. I pick up and say, "How was your day?, are you on your way?" see you in 20 minutes?", to which he replies, "ummm, no, more like an hour or so!" I was like, oh boy, you were not kidding you were swamped today!" He laughs and says, YES! And NO!" I'm stopping at the stores first! I was curious, why?" You see we are having our annual St. Patrick's Day Parade & Party this coming Sunday. We will be having 40+ people over for Corn Beef, Irish Soda Bread etc. My husband didn't want me to have to go and do the shopping after work tomorrow, he wanted me to come home and relax or get out and go for my run. So, there he was at 8 something at night after a hard day of delivering boxes, food shopping so that I could relax tomorrow! My husband is kind, thoughtful, loving and compassionate and it is the little things that mean the most! I don't need flowers, food shopping was like a HUGE bouquet of roses. Roses don't last, but the memory of his thoughtfulness, PRICELESS! Oh, I almost forgot the best part, he doesn't let me cook it either! YUP, he sure is a keeper!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Today at work I reached my breaking point over a situation that has brewing for over a year now…something I have not spoken about with anyone except the people who are involved, but today, my rubber band of emotions which have been stretched more than it could allow, the band snapped! I had kept all I could keep in, all the emotions of everything I have been through had crept up to the surface, bubbled up and spilled over into a complete MELTDOWN! Full, all out freak-out melt-down…I don't do this, I don't have melt-downs…It reminded me of Chevy Chase in the scene from National Lampoons Christmas when he doesn't get his bonus where he is flipping out and screaming and as he is close to the end, he say's holy sh*, merry Christmas, where's the Tylenol…that was me! I didn't see it coming, someone said one thing to me about the "incident" and all of sudden, I was Chevy Chase, flipping out, spilling expletives out of my mouth in-between utter hysteria…this was NOT me! I don't do things like this! My colleagues came running to me, mouths agape, some saying get the nurse, some asking me to sit down, other's saying, let her have her moment, others handing me water, still others telling me that they would have done this a long, long time ago & what took me so long! However, hours later, I still can't believe this happened to me, yet I do. For one year now there has been some harassment going on at work, harassment of myself and some other colleagues. The incident that sent me over the edge, was a threat to slash my car tires! Really??? I'm trying to teach and I have to worry that my car is being vandalized while I work. Sometimes it feels like I'm living a lifetime movie, this can't be my life! I am a positive, love life person. I don't do sad, I don't get upset, I don't let life get me down! I'm upset I allowed myself to get so upset, but furthermore I am frustrated by the lack of action on anyone's part in finding a resolution to a situation that just should not be! So for now…I will find a solution for me! I will not let this control me..I went to the gym, it took a big pounding on the treadmill, 4 miles of hills….but I finally found my positive again! Ahhhhh! No more Chevy Chase moments for me, but holy toledo where is the tylenol???

Monday, March 5, 2012

SOLC 5 2

Well, I wrote another slice today, was getting ready to upload it when my phone went off and up popped this picture of my son at a house fire he was at two nights ago! The picture instantly brought a smile to my face. NO, not because of the misfortune of the people whose home these fireman saved! Because, well, while my son was out fighting that fire, I sat up waiting for him to arrive home safely and well, to hear all the details b/c it was his very first fire that he fought as a non-probie firefighter. This was a big deal! It was another one of those extraordinary moments. Just two weekends ago he took his pack test. His whole department was there in support. This was the last hurdle in completing his probationary fire fighter status. This was a long time coming. Before his accident, he was almost done with all the requirements. The accident set him back. He was fortunate, fireman take care of their own. His company and fellow fireman spent the next 22 months helping him practice. They would call him and say come down, we will help you practice. Two weekends ago as he was coming out of the smoke filled building he said he could hear them chanting his name and applauding, all of them! KYLE! KYLE! KYLE! I wish I could kiss each and everyone of those men for loving my boy like they do! I was the second phone call he made that day, the first was to his grandfather, who has been in the same department for 50 years. My dad can no longer fight fires, so when Kyle joined several years ago the decision was made to retire my dad's number to Kyle. My son wears that badge very proudly! I opened up the picture tonight and I saw his proud face and I thought of all the hurdles he went through to get there and I cried, tears of joy! I then immediately sent the picture to his grandparents who are snowbirds in Florida, they needed to bask in this moment too! Slowly, very slowly humpty is getting put back together again!


This year I'm teaching a combined regular education Kindergarten class with some special education students included. I was excited about this. I was excited about working with the special education teacher that would be pushing into my class for one period a day to work with the three students that were included in my class. One week before school started they closed one section of Kindergarten in our building pushing the numbers in my room from 20 to 27. YIKES! I was still excited, only now the excitement was also nerves…where will I put all these little cherubs? It has been challenging to say the least. My three included students are just so wonderful and have made fabulous progress. I am so proud of them! It is my non-included student's that I have been concerned about since the first day of school. Since I was the combined class they put in my room student's who had not been through the evaluation process yet, but would need evaluations as the year progressed! So my year has been about paper work, more paper work, meetings, fighting for these children at these meetings, documenting, documenting, and documenting and lots more meetings. Today after working with one particular student on numerous strategies, with very little progress and constantly going back to the drawing board, readjusting, evaluating and adjusting, we had a light bulb moment…it was such a small light bulb moment in the grand scheme of things, but for her and for I, it was HUGE! We danced, we sang a song, we high-fived, and we savored this moment, it was important, she does not get many of these. This sweet little pumpkin works so hard, never gives up and neither do I. It was a good day! When I went to my mailbox at the end of the day, I found more paperwork. It was needed for documentation for another one of my little cherubs, by the time this year is done, 9 of mine will be included. Paper work or no paper work, those light bulb moments are what keep you chugging along!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

SOLC 4: Putting Humpty Back Together again...

I have begun to think of my son's recovery from his traumatic brain injury in terms of putting Humpty back together again. There are just too many similarities to the old familiar rhyme to not make that connection. I also feel that in order to survive all that we have been through, you MUST, keep your sense of humor or you will not survive! When he woke up from the coma he could not talk, he could not eat, he could not walk, nor could he remember how to write or read. So we began the long, painful task of putting him back together again. Some pieces of putting "Humpty" together again fell back in place rather quickly! Within hours of waking from the coma he went from not speaking, to one word utterances. It was so amazing to see how quickly some pieces of him went back together. Other pieces did not go back together so quickly so he left the trauma center to begin the long process of putting those other pieces back together at a rehabilitative center. We arrived at the center, where they evaluated him, told us what therapies he would need and what we would expect. Little did they know about my Humpty, he was going to SHOW THEM! Within hours of arriving he decided, he wanted to go HOME! He told his therapists, he wanted OUT of his wheelchair, that he wanted to walk at his HS graduation and that he WOULD be present at graduation. Graduation was a little over a week away! They did NOT crush him and told him no, they said, ok, let's go! He and his therapists worked hard, if therapy was supposed to be an hour, he put in two or more hours. He was amazing, but so were they! They were right with him every step of the way! One day before graduation and they called a team meeting and told us that Humpty had DONE IT! He was going home. He would still need to be a patient at the center, he would continue with outside therapy, but he would be at graduation. HUMPTY was almost back together. Now 22 months later we have had set backs and many more hurdles and we are still putting Humpty together, but Humpty is working hard and I have never been more proud!

On april 28th there is a 5k race to benefit the Rehabilitation center that began the process of putting my Humpty back together! My son and I are running that race together! I don't think there is a better way to thank that amazing team of doctors and therapists for helping us put my Humpty back together again! This week my son did 2 miles on the treadmill, to others that may be just ordinary, but to me it is extraordindary! It is amazing to me how the little things in life are just so much more beautiful to me now that my Humpty is beginning to have all his pieces come back together! LIFE IS GOOD!
PS: First picture at the top is my son right after getting his diploma, the second is the standing ovation his class gave him!


Saturday, March 3, 2012


Truth be told, my husband is smarter than me! He loves when I say that! I don't mean this sarcastically, I mean it truly, he is smarter than me in the common sense, see the full picture, thinking with your head, not your heart sense. When we got married we had our first child, our son, 10.5 months after our wedding. Yes I guess you could say, a delayed honey-moon baby. We were young, starry-eyed and SHOCKED but, thrilled all at the same time. His arrival brought great joy to our lives and we quickly fell into the routine of domestic chaos! Diapers, work, laundry, sleepless nights and you guessed it, more chaos, sleepless nights and laundry, all the things that come with having a new baby! Three and half-years later we were thrilled to find out we were having our second child. Life was good! So imagine my shock when my husband told me that this child would be our last! Hmmm, what? I asked? Your kidding me? This was not in our plan? We were planning on having four children…you can't change the plan! He explained how he never really thought it all through, what it would be like as they got older, the bills, the homework etc, and besides, his final logical argument, car doors only come with two windows one for each child, eliminating arguments and when we go out, we each have a child. If we have more children we increase the possibility of losing one! WhaT? LOSING ONE? You think if we have more than two children we will loose one? He was dead serious! When I thought about what he was saying he was right(not about the car doors or losing children), but for many reasons and I trusted him, completely and the decision was made, we would only have two children…

Twenty-years later we are at dinner, just the two of us and the conversation turns to the night he announced he only wanted to have two children. He brought it up because friends of ours, who are our age almost, only slightly younger, had children much later in life

than us and are now having a third child…I chuckled and said, glad that is NOT us! He says, I guess she didn't marry the smart guy who knows all about the logistics of car doors. For some reason, this just made me laugh so hard, perhaps I give him too much credit, perhaps my husband is not so smart after all…logistics of car doors! He kills me sometimes…LOVE him, but sometimes men are from Mars!


Friday, March 2, 2012


This week the Superintendant of my home school district made an announcement that really got me thinking. He announced that the Principal of the High School and the assistant Principal will be retiring in June. This announcement made me downright sad. Why was I sad? I was sad for many reasons. I was sad for self-ish reasons. My daughter only has one more year at this high school. I would have loved it if she finished her high school career with both this Principal and the assistant Principal. My son had them throughout his entire High School career and I feel he was very lucky to have had them guiding him through such important years in his life. It made me sad when I started to read the negative comments being made by the members of the community who did not appreciate these individuals for the contributions that they had made to our community and to the children of our school. I was actually quite shocked how negative people were. The comments that were made were all about how happy people were that these old "dinosaurs" were leaving and perhaps now people who were more knowledgeable and younger would do a better job in our high school. I was honestly so surprised. Perhaps I had been living under a rock. Perhaps I had been missing something all this time, but truthfully, our high school is one of the best around, run like a well-oiled ship, where no nonsense is tolerated, where children were first! I had always felt like my children were receiving an education that was very personal, very tailored to what they specifically needed and it was not a one size fits all attitude. I have loved their teachers, loved the schools approach to many things. Did I love everything? No, but I could support things because I always felt that the children were at the core of what they were doing. Let me give some examples:

  1. My son was on the wrestling team, one of his team members lost his dad on the first day of practice their freshman year, he was now an orphan. It was horrible! This poor young boy was devastated, he had never wrestled before, but it was his dad's wish to see his son wrestle, so he had joined the team. He was going to be sent to live with his Grandparents who did not live in our district, which meant that this young boy would now have to leave our district. He did not have friends in the other district, nor did they have a wrestling team. So, some of us spoke to the coach to fill him in, the coach then in turn spoke to the HS principal, who spoke to the Superintendant. Everyone felt that this young boy had been through enough, that moving him would be even more traumatic for him. The district made the decision to allow him to continue to attend the district till graduation. The family members from the team helped get him to and from practice since he did not live in the district and transportation was not provided. The Principal that was considered a dinosaur, he was at all of the home matches. He checked on this young man all the time! He checked in with us, those of us who were driving him back and forth to see how we thought he was doing…yes, the man some are so quick to see go!
  2. My son was involved in EVERYTHING in school. Every club, theater events, he played in the marching band and he was a three sport athlete. There was NOT one thing that I did not see these Principals at. This included away events, events that took place hours away from our school. They were there supporting the students, all students at these events. They would walk around talking to the kids, checking on them and yes, making sure everyone was behaving, dinosaurs, perhaps, you were expected to behave and if you didn't, yes, consequences were given! I applauded them! (One time my son, thinking he was funny said something to a very pretty, young sub, the sub did not find it funny and you bet, I got a phone call and my son spent some time with that dinosaur and he was in trouble!) Good for the dinosaur! You were expected to tow the line, he was fair, you knew what he wanted and in this school everyone was treated fairly and with kindness and respect!
  3. The teachers that work under these "dinosaurs" are some of the hardest working individuals I know. They go above and beyond. They reach out to their student's on a regular basis. Like most educators, if you work in building where you feel valued, appreciated and supported, it is most certainly reflected in how teachers behave. This is not to say that most teachers do not do this, but I think that teachers that work under administrators that nurture their teachers, appreciate them and show support to them it certainly reflects in what you see in their staff!
  4. The last and the reason closest to my heart for why I will miss these two individuals. When my son was injured 5 weeks before graduation, these two "dinosaurs" did all that they could for our family. They came to the hospital, they supported my son's friends, his sister, the school community etc. while we held our breath when he was in a coma. The Principal called everyday! When my son woke up and then went to the rehab facility to learn to walk, talk all over again, the principal asked about graduation and would it be possible for us to get our son there! He knew how important it was for my son. He made it possible for my son to be there. They put a ramp in so that my son could get up on the stage. His staff was amazing as well, as a matter of fact, almost 2 years later, they still are. Even though my son is no longer a student at the High School, his teachers continue to reach out and help him. My son is still recovering from his injuries. His former teachers have helped tutor him in math so that he could pass his first college course. This same teacher is again helping my son because she heard he is studying to take a State Fire Department Exam. I attribute this to the support and nurturing these teachers receive from the "dinosaurs".


    I do like to add that all these positive things that I have encountered while my children attended this school, none of it could be measured on a state exam! I do wish people realized that sometimes "dinosaurs" might not be bells and whistles, but they might be just what you need and be very, very careful what you wish for!

    I wish these individuals only the best in their retirement, they certainly deserve it, but I will miss them! They we will always have a special place in my heart & I thank them for their guidance, kindness and love for all students!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I began with the Tuesday slice two years ago hoping I could challenge myself to write for one day a week. Then last year I joined the challenge hoping I could really get myself writing more. What I found in return was so much more than just the reward of writing everyday for a month. I found kind, passionate, thoughtful, intelligent & like-minded individuals from all over the country. I was amazed at everyone's willingness to support, read & leave a word on my writing! I found myself looking forward to reading other's slices and selfishly, I looked forward to the feedback on my slice as well. I found myself sad when I did take some time away from slicing and ultimately, I missed the professional stretching of my mind that went along with writing, slicing, reading & thinking each week! So, once again, I join the SOLC & I thank Ruth & Stacey for hosting this. I am most appreciative to them as well as I am to all the slicers out there who each week allow me a little glimpse into their lives so that I may grow as a writer, person, wife, mother, daughter, sister, teacher & friend. Thank you for this opportunity & Happy slicing everyone.