Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Home Stretch

As I typed the title I was thinking about school, but I realize it could also refer to all the work Steve and I did around home this weekend. I love double meanings. We had gorgeous weather all three days of our long weekend, so most of our time was spent outside, working on the yard. I didn't take many pictures, but here are the few I did manage to get:

This is one of the beds off of the back deck. The bird bath used to have a copper painted pan, but it rusted out, so I used a glass platter/plate I had in my thrift store collection, and I actually like it better.

This is an odd section that was supposed to be grass, but since it was all weeds, I've planted some ground cover and daylilies. I probably should move the dividing stones, but I'll see how the plants do first.

I also used the great weather to wash and dry my woolens for storing; they always smell so good from the wool wash and the fresh air, plus it's good for protecting them from the you-know-whats:

Steve and I walked down to the beach last night in time to see the sunset.

Today Melissa and I went down for an hour or two before she went to work; it was nice catching up with her. She's always so busy but she's so good about making time for her mama.


Her cat, Fern, has been with us since December, as she was between places for awhile and is still settling into her new place. Steve and I are going to hate to see her go, as she is a very affectionate cat. I've never seen her sitting here before, but who knows what she does when we're at work!

And my sweet Gracie, enjoying a nap. I think the warmer weather suits her just fine.

I'm back to work tomorrow for the remaining two and a half weeks. I must be getting wistful about my students already, because I bought a bunch of freezer pops as a treat for them. I'll try and save them for exam week, but I may feel like treating them early. They are a good bunch of teenagers. Hope you have a good week and maybe someone will give you a treat too!


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Picture Free Post

Another week has flown by; I only have eleven days plus two exam days left in the school year, which means lots of stuff is due all at once. A new thing called a SMART goal (gotta love the acronyms) was due Friday at noon, but with being out two days last week for Meredith's graduation, and a dentist appointment, a concert, and an end of year function one night this week, I knew the only time I would be able to finish my report would be Friday afternoon, so I didn't stress out about it, even when I got the "we noticed you missed the deadline" email at 4:30 pm. I finished up at 8:30 pm, left it on the secretary's desk, and headed home without bringing anything work related with me.

My Honors 10 class has been fantastic and I'm really sad to see my time with them coming to an end. I've used two Civil Rights videos and the materials/activities from Teaching Tolerance and it's been so rewarding to discuss with them the reason why I think teaching English is so important: that reading and writing well are the most powerful tools we can have to effect change in our society. The first video I showed, The Children's March, highlights the fact that it was people the same age as my students who really helped get the ball rolling in Alabama. The second one, A Time for Justice, is more of an overview, or timeline of events. The activities include reading primary sources, writing, and working in small groups, which is the only way to end the year, in my opinion. And they have matured so much since January, that it is great fun listening to their discussions. I've been writing down my observations and thinking about how to incorporate other texts into an even larger unit of study, including research, which is normally my bugaboo.

Steve spent the day with his daughter, helping her seal her garage floor, so I had the day to myself. It feels like it's been ages since I have been home, so I spent the time puttering around, doing laundry, washing the kitchen and bathroom floors, and sweeping up cat hair. Tomorrow we are planning to work in the yard, and then I'll have Monday to sit on the beach and relax.

I got a book in the maiL today too, so I also spent some of my time reading, which was pure luxury. It's the sequel to Shirley Jackson's book, Life Among the Savages, titled Raising Demons, and it's every bit as enjoyable as the first. I don't know why I didn't buy it when I was at The Strand last weekend, but I ordered it from them on Tuesday and it arrived today. I'll definitely order from them again, as their prices are competitive, even with the shipping cost added.

I also was thinking about summer projects while I was scrubbing the floor, and I'd really like to strip my kitchen cabinets; there must be 80 layers of paint on them. I know it's a big job but we don't have that many so it might not be too bad.

No pictures this time, but I'll probably take some of the yard tomorrow after we finish, so I'll share them next time. Hope your Memorial Day weekend is a good one!


Monday, May 18, 2015

Whirlwind Weekend

I was fortunate enough to attend the graduation ceremony of my daughter, Meredith, as she received her Master's degree in Library Science this past weekend. I usually take Amtrak when I visit her, and indeed, that was my plan for this trip, but unfortunately, the terrible accident in Philadelphia on Tuesday caused all trips to be cancelled until today. An email from Amtrak on Wednesday evening informing me of the cancellation meant I had to scramble for an alternative. I thought about driving, but my parents told me they'd be too worried for me to make the trip alone, as I was exhausted and stressed, so they bought me a round trip airplane ticket instead, despite the extra cost incurred due to last minute booking. And believe me when I say it was a godsend. As a result of their generosity, I was able to arrive Thursday morning and enjoy a beautiful day wandering around on the Upper East Side with a friend of my husband's, before checking into my AirBnB in Brooklyn in the afternoon. This is the Conservatory Garden and you can see that the weather was perfect.



I met up with Meredith and Ryan for dinner and was able to relax and have a good night's sleep before the graduation ceremony on Friday morning.


After the ceremony, the four of us went to lunch at Bare Burger, on 46th Street, then split up for awhile. I went to The Strand, where I bought Shirley Jackson's Life Among the Savages, that was just recently reissued, and popped into Purl Soho just for fun. I also had a coffee and cookie at The Frog's Crown Bakery in SoHo and another coffee at The Gray Dog on University Place when I needed to rest. We all met in the evening to eat dinner at Shake Shack and walk on the Brooklyn Bridge.



On Saturday, Meredith and I met two of her friends and their mothers at Monument Lane for brunch, which was not only delicious but had a lovely atmosphere. I think it's a fascinating coincidence that the moms are all wearing the same color as their daughters.

Meredith and I hung out with the pets after brunch. Although Sinon was quite happy about that, Ollie seems a little put out, don't you think?



Saturday night, Meredith and her father and I went to Citifield to see a Mets game, where we had a very fun yet relaxing time. I enjoyed Mister Softie ice cream in a mini Mets helmet and we all wore the free Mets fedoras as we watched the Mets make a lot of runs against the Brewers, before heading back to our respective places for the night.

I flew back yesterday without incident and was back at work today, tired but proud and happy.

Only 17 more teaching days to go!



Saturday, May 9, 2015

May Is My New Favorite

I am loving this month. We are having perfect weather and I have spent lots of time working in our yard. Unfortunately, I caught another outbreak of poison ivy, but went to my urgent care for a shot of prednisone and a six day course of tablets and it shut the rash and itching down. I had three outbreaks last year and I'd like to figure out where it's growing so I can avoid it, but so far, no luck.


The roses in the front yard look and smell heavenly. I took this photo today, and you can see a bit of fog in the background.

This bloom glows in the morning light, doesn't it?

I took this photo one morning on my way out the door and it has the look of a painting for some reason.

This is a little area I'm trying to grow perennials in so the weeds don't take over. I had a little edging left over from the front, but not quite enough, so I used a shell and some driftwood to finish it up and I quite like the effect. It reminds me of a book illustrated by Barbara Clooney, called Roxaboxen. My girls and I loved it and I often think of it when I'm messing about in my yard.

I took my mom out for lunch today for Mother's Day, instead of tomorrow when the restaurants will be packed, and she took her first (and probably last) selfie!

When I got home, I went down to the beach and knit. It was foggy when I got there.

But in twenty minutes, it had completely burned off. Amazing to watch the weather change so quickly.

And I finally finished my Horizon scarf! I was getting a headache, so I just took a quick picture, but will take more after I give it a good soaking.

Melissa's cat, Fern, was sitting in the window when I got back to the house. She wants to be outside so badly, but it's way too risky around here to let her, so I have to listen to her whining about it. I'm going to miss her when Melissa takes her back. She's such a sweetie!

I hope you're enjoying a marvelous May as well!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Checking In with Good News

I have brought my school bag home every day this week, but instead of grading papers, I merely take it back to school and continue to add more papers to it. And instead of working on it tonight, I decided to finish reading Heather Ross' book, How to Catch a Frog. The book was lovely, if a little heartbreakingly sad at times. I had picked it up yesterday morning, right after an appointment to recheck my blood pressure, and was so eager to start reading it that I took my Honors block to the library, had them check out a book, and gave them a block of reading time so that I, too, could read. The block ended much too quickly.

My dad has been recovering from his surgery at an amazing rate and is in a rehab section of the hospital now. He is being discharged on Saturday and he's anxious to get home. I've been visiting him for 30 minutes in the morning on my way to work, and then stopping in for an hour or two after work, on my way home. Today was the first day I skipped the afternoon visit and that was because I was feeling a little under the weather this afternoon. I'm sure it's because of all the extra time I've been away from home since last Friday, so tonight is an early to bed night for me. Gracie curled up against my knee as soon as I sat down on the couch; guess she misses me.

Saturday night, after I left the hospital, I stopped in at a new place called Toast to eat a quick dinner. I sat at the bar and had a delicious meal of thickly sliced homemade bread, topped with an over-easy egg on broiled smoked cheddar cheese. The perfect comfort food. The photo collage around this light fixture is just one of the many cute ways this place is decorated.

Another night this week, I sautéed more of our asparagus, along with green onions and mushrooms, and when they were almost done, added a bunch of sundried tomatoes. I fried an egg to put on top of it all and ate another comfort food dinner.

That was the same night I walked to the beach and knit for an hour, to help decompress. It was a good night.

Another piece of good news is my trip to New York in two weeks, to see my oldest daughter graduate with her Masters degree! I'm so excited that I get to see her, not to mention how proud I am of her. The ceremony will be held at Madison Square Garden on May 15. I've rented another AirBnB place, two subway stops away from her, so she isn't too stressed about having company crowding in their little place prior to her ceremony. Using AirBnB has been a great way to explore more of Brooklyn on my visits, as each little neighborhood has its own vibe. As usual, I will take and share lots of photos.

Hope you have a good weekend; I'm hoping to finish up the shawl that I've been neglecting so I can start something new! What are your plans for the weekend?





Sunday, April 26, 2015


I am happy to say that my dad's surgery went well and he is recovering on schedule with a minimum of pain. I spent Friday night in his room with him, as he was still pretty out of it, and we wanted to make sure he could get help when he needed it. Although sleeping in a chair is not exactly restful, I did okay, and it was worth it. I couldn't have done it if it had been during the week, and it allowed my mom to get a good night's sleep, as I know she didn't get much rest the night before the surgery. I hung out with them most of the weekend, but am going back to work tomorrow. He is being discharged from the hospital tomorrow, but will be in the same facility for the rest of the week in the rehab portion of the building. He wasn't too keen on the idea, but we convinced him that it would be best for him and mom to build up his strength before coming home.

I came home before dark today so I could spend some time in the yard weeding. I felt like I needed to spend some time outdoors getting some exercise after spending so much time just sitting around at the hospital.

I also picked up my new glasses this week; one pair of sunglasses and one pair of regular glasses, and I'm pretty happy with both of my choices.


My lilacs are so beautiful, aren't they?

And our strawberry plants have the prettiest blooms.

After I finished working in the yard, I picked some of our asparagus to roast, sautéed some mushrooms, and put it over polenta with cheese for a quick and easy dinner.

And Gracie took a nap on the book I just finished. Such a sweetie.

I know this post is a bit scattered, but it was a choice between this way or no post at all. Have a good week!