The Breachway

Friday, August 23, 2019

Not my President/7 deadly sins

What tax break? I didn’t get one. I’m not in the top 1% . My grocery bill has risen. My prescriptions have doubled in price. Have you checked the price of insulin or an epi-pen? Betsy Devos has totally screwed up public education. Horace Mann is turning in his grave.

The people of Puerto Rico are still waiting for disaster relief, not being swapped for Greenland. That was stupid; pure, unadulterated, stupidity.Rather than funding schools, factories and social services, funds are being diverted to interment camps to house rapist and murderous children; pure shell game. Where is the money, then, if there is no wall?

Folks at the border are escaping horrors in their homelands, seeking shelter here, in our ports, as did other “tired and hungry” people... let’s offer them pathways to citizenship so they can work and live legally, and gee(!) pay taxes! Let’s give them an education so they can become mechanics, business owners, teachers, 5 star Generals, brain surgeons and politicians. Those women and children at our borders are not rapists, murderers or psychopaths. They are tired, hungry and poor. My grandparents took in refugees from the Ukraine after WW II who stole food, clothing and money; anything that they could,they were tired, hungry and poor. But rather than punish them, our family adopted them and provided shelter, an education and safety; a pathway. You know them. You’ve eaten at their pizza joints, their “houses of pizza.” Their kids educated us in Wakefield. Why are you so afraid of immigrants? 

You should be afraid of a core group of misogynistic, hedonistic people who want to control women’s healthcare. You have granddaughters who are going to need mammograms and gynecological care, who might not work in an industry that provides affordable care. They may need to face hard decisions you may not agree with, but they will need that choice. They need to be supported by a government by the people, and for the people, led by honorable and thoughtful individuals, not people who grab women by the pussy or who think it’s ok to rape girls at a frat party, because they were drunk.

Your granddaughters need to know it’s ok to get dressed up, go dancing, and get drunk. They also need to know it’s not ok to be slobbered over, held down, harassed, touched, grabbed or raped, just because. We need to stop normalizing this. It is not just” locker room talk.” It’s assault, plain and simple. Yet the occupant of The White House brushes off his behavior, boasting that he can kiss any woman he wants, they all lust after him. That is delusional, purely sick and twisted. This is NOT the person I want representing me to the world!

Your grandsons need to learn by example, what it means to be honest and charitable, and to serve their country, not just in the military, but in public service, helping and sheltering the “tired and hungry.” They need to be immersed in a society where men and women are equal in every way, no matter their race, creed or gender identity. They need to know that if they or their children face the world with physical, emotional or intellectual challenges, they won’t be disparaged and made a joke of, by the person elected to be a leader, an exemplifier. 

Our children need to know it’s ok to be Muslim. They need to know it’s ok to be Jewish. They need to embrace atheism , as well. We have that freedom built into our foundation. They also need to know they are NOT “ the Second Coming!

Our children need to learn, by example, that charity not only begins at home, but also in our neighborhoods, our cities and towns. In an honorable society, we pay our workers a fair wage. We don’t set up shell corporations and universities, with the intent to defraud. They need to live by the creed, that , “you don’t lie, cheat or steal.” Our children need to see that be stuff our President espouses to, as well.

How can it be acceptable that the person elected to protect our “alabaster cities,“ work to provide safety, security, and shelter for our own, only works part time, golfs at his own resorts, and complains about how much money he is losing at his job. He swore an oath to protect and defend against all threats both foreign and domestic, yet our mass shootings have escalated. Walmart is selling bulletproof backpacks for God’s sake! And not one, single “domestic terrorist” was Mexican, Guatemalan or Muslim! 

I don’t recall Barack Obama ever, ever spewing the vitriol the occupant of the White House does, not did Bill Clinton, George W or George H W. Yes, Clinton was a misogynist. We brought impeachment proceedings against him. It was our duty. We didn’t look the other way.

Running a country is not like running a company! Brain surgery is not the same as a haircut. When I choose a leader, I want someone who is experienced in government, foreign affairs ( not sexual affairs), and protocol. When I get my hair cut, I want someone who knows about hair. My brain surgeon may be “ the smartest person, ever, “ but she’s not touching my cowlicks! To know the difference between a contractor and a con man, you have to check their references; what is their experience?  Initiating sanctions and tariffs are not going to hurt the foreign economy. They will hurt our economy. To offset the tariffs, goods and services will cost us, our people more hard earned money. It’s not just our cellphones and iPads that will cost more, our defibrillators, our heart/lung machines, our ambulances, breathalyzers, and farm equipment will be ensnared. It doesn’t take a Fulbright Scholar to figure out that! It does, however, take experience in government and diplomacy. I guess we forgot to note bankruptcies and dalliances when the electoral college, not the people, installed a liar, cheat and a fraud into the most revered house in America.

Next time, let’s do better.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Zach’s Birthday

Oh Zach, I missed it. I'm so sorry. Please forgive! 
That being said please don't be down about your birthday. I have a different "take"  on birthdays, which might give you a different perspective as well. Sometime in my late 20s early 30s I decided I really didn't like celebrating my birthday because I had nothing to do with being born it just happened.In a weird kind of way I felt like it should've been a day that my parents were celebrated and honored, because they were the ones who were the reason I got here.I realized I didn't need one particular day to celebrate my life; there were many other days during the year when cool things happened that I said "well I'm glad I was here" and then there are other days that not so cool things happened,and I had been given , by my parents, the "tools" and courage I had within, and I thought, "wow, I'm glad I was here; I learned from this." 
In the natural order of life, we have no control over when we take our first breath or when we take our last breath. However we do have control over every single breath in between. It's those every single moments that should be celebrated. Not just on the anniversary of our birth. Every day we are here, every breath we take, is an opportunity to celebrate being here.
There is a reason every single one of us was placed on this earth at the time we were placed here,by whoever placed us, here like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Simple acts of kindness that you do affect everyone else around you. For instance, the person you allowed to go forward ahead of you at an intersection, perhaps missed getting killed by a drunk driver by that split-second . You don't know that, but it's part of your puzzle. So there is a reason to celebrate your birth,your part of the puzzle. You are part of our puzzle. Without you, our puzzle wouldn't be complete. Think about the corner pieces that hold your puzzle together; your kindness toward others, your strength to overcome obstacles, your honesty, and your wisdom to make right choices. Those are what connects you to all the inner pieces of your wonderful life. So, we celebrate you every day, not just on August 11. Celebrate ALL your days, not just one random day.
Auntie Julie's philosophy lesson for the day. 💕 (btw...happy birthday!)

Zach’s Birthday

Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Father's Love is Forever

October 10th, I had a heart attack. I didn't know, at the time, it was a heart attack. I felt a weird squeeze and a bit of hmmm....heartburn? What whipped my head around was the squeeze went up my neck, both sides and caused my lymph glands to swell. A tiny bit of sweat on my upper lip, the slightest tingle in my upper left arm. Come to thin of it, I remember feeling something similar to this a couple of times before, but I ignored it; dismissed it as just a weird feeling. This time was different.
Not wanting to leave my car where I was. I didn't think an ambulance was necessary. I was fine! It was just a weird feeling. I called my daughter, Ellie , who insisted we go to the Emergency Room at our local hospital. I carefully and slowly drove myself home down busy Rte 1. Ellie drove me to the ER, and yes, I was having a heart attack; a women's version of a heart attack. The rest is History, which I hope to journal at a later date. What I need to write is the presence I felt when the squeezing became weirder than before.

Sitting quietly, trying to accept that I really might be in trouble, I felt my father's hands, from behind, on my shoulders, warm, strong and large; comforting. There was never a doubt. Dad was there. My dad was always there for me.I felt a calmness, a peacefulness never imagining what was to come.

Throughout my hospital stay, the implementing of a stent in the "widow maker" artery, and the following days at home, I felt completely at peace, never a fear, no anxiety about my heart attack. I knew, or felt, I was no longer in control. I "let go of the wheel," and trusted. Not a specific being or thing, or procedure. I just trusted.

My father's body left 21 years ago; my father's protection, love and guidance remained. I am grateful he has that dime in his pocket to call home.

Monday, February 18, 2019

We travel the world, my love and I,
we sometimes never leave our sofa.
We travel the world, my love and I,
every where I could hope fa.

Kids and Guns

I worked many years in Special Education at the Middle and High School levels. I worked with kids who aggressed with weapons, as well as fists and feet.  A common thread was video games, along with family discord, and learning challenges  Many were bullied as children because of their learning difficulties and turned to video games as escape from their “society. “ As the games became more “mature,” the kids did not. They assimilated the actions and emotions of their “friends” in these game scenarios. They did not develop healthy conflict resolution. They continued to be bullied by those who labeled them as slackers, druggies or emo. I witnessed this everyday. Everyday.  When you pile on PTSD from early trauma, easy access to guns, and lack of mental health treatment, you have a problem.  These kids learned, at an early age, it’s ok to hit someone on the head with a hammer,(Mario) to enjoy sling-shotting stuff to smash and die (Angry Birds) and their alphabet from Baby Einstein, not a parent who read to them or a teacher, overwhelmed with up to 30 little ones In a class; all with learning challenges.
Read to your babies, folks. Learn everything you can about Emotional Intelligence, and the signs of Social Disconnect. Turn off the TV ; you’re a better teacher than Sesame Street. Do not allow your phone to babysit your children while you attend to tasks, give them a book, a puzzle, crayons, or music. Please don’t regift your children, tweens,and young adults to someone else’s idea of education. Growing a healthy child; mind and body, is the most important job you will ever have. Do your job!  Rant done. Over and out.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

This is a fabulous article. I have been at a loss to succinctly put into words, my very strong disapproval of appointing this candidate to the highest court in America. Brett Kavanaugh is NOT on trial, there is no presumption of innocence. This is a job interview, and the way he presents himself, is unnerving. We no longer seat judges according to their impartiality, but by their ability to use their influence to advance a political agenda. He has voiced his opinion, the opinion which will brought to the Supreme Court if appointed, that accusations being brought forth, are in part, a witch hunt brought on by democrats and the Clintons. That is NOT impartiality! That is a political bias, which should never be allowed to enter the room where the laws of this great country are being interpreted. When cases of sexual assault are brought before the court, we deserve a Justice who will be fair and impartial, and not be influenced by powerful political PACs and legislators, looking to use the Supreme Court to advance political agendas. This candidate has shown that he is not the best candidate to hear cases involving sexual assaults, Roe v Wade, economic disparity in the workplace or anything else that will directly affect the empowerment of not only women and girls, but any faction that does not fit with the ideology of the conservative right. His obvious alliance with a political leaning, will cloud his judgement and influence. This in not someone who should be shepherding our country. He is not a shepherd, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Just When You Think...

Just when you think...

Just when you think the world has gone completely to the dung heap, young people enter, and the world tilts and wobbles a bit.  Just when you think all is dim and gray, enter the kids; the agents of change creeping in to open your eyes. Look around, listen to what is being said, feel the winds of change... Fake news!

OK, so that being said, I experienced something, a dimension out of sync, this past week that completely blew my mind. I was with an incredible group of students this past week, that totally shook my world. The world as it were, did not wobble and tilt. It spun out of control and sent me into another dimension, a warped and ugly place where I had thought we had begun to leave behind; door closed, buried, returning to only to learn from our mistakes.
I've been a teacher for a long, long time, and thought I'd seen and heard it all.  Not so. Within the span of six hours I heard and witnessed such crassness and cruelty, the likes of which I have not experienced in a very long time. Lightning fast, the village I thought was raising more thoughtful children, more empathetic souls; a ghost town. The hope I felt for generations coming to assuage and mend the rips, rends and chasms; disintegrated. If what I witnessed is what "Making America Great Again" is tipping us toward...Be wary.

This week, I worked in a Middle School. I worked in a school in a middle-class town, filled with people of average incomes, average intellect, struggling to survive. This town has had its share, more than its share, of Opioid misuse, abuse and deaths. It has had its share of spousal abuse, resulting hospitalizations, and deaths. It is a town that has struggled to educate it's children and send them off to change the world. It is a town whose growth has created anger and confusion, with services not keeping up with it's needs. One would think this town, with it's common struggles, might be the place where children are taught and nurtured to look around and see that everyone has challenges, and to support those challenges. For, "by the Grace of God, go I," may cause them to pause and understand; understand that those who are cast out, might someday be them.

In the span of six, very brief hours I heard one boy call another, "retarded." When I asked that the boys settle down, another shouted, "who you callin' boys, we ain't no niggers." This from a very white boy, in a 100% white room. And yet another hurled, "don't be insulting (XX) cuz everyone knows he wants to be a girl. And from the girls, giggles and a comment, "don't be insultin' the girls."  Yes, I did write them up...class dismissed.

Exhausted, I manned the door to await the next class, and welcome them into  the room. A very exuberant teacher, playfully skipped past the door, exclaiming..."Friday, Friday!" a gaggle of girls giggled and rolled their eyes, and I thought, "how sweet." WRONG! The teacher was not a slender, lithe, sprite of a woman, but a more substantially built, woman of joy. The giggles were snide little expressions of disgust, as I overheard the low condemnations of this bundle of joyful mirth, be called an elephant. "Seriously" one announced with the classic head tilt, "I thought we were having an earthquake." Enter the next class of students whom we stupidly believer will, "Make America Great Again."

"Ok, ladies and gentlemen. You may listen to music, one earbud in, phone face up on your desk, while you work independently on your assignment." One might think I had asked them to cut off a toe. Phones were secreted under the desks, thumbs texting at rapid fire. "Change of plan. In that you can't follow directions, all phones are to be powered down and put away in pockets or backpacks." WRONG!  The sneers came out, the classic head tilt came on strong. Believe it or not..."Who the Hell does she think she is, she's a fucking sub. She's too old to know what a cellphone is..oh yeah, she's looks pretty stupid...yeah she's a 'tard...She's a fuckin' 'tard!" Yes, I wrote them all up. As I was doing so, charming girl #1 and delightful girl #2, quietly gathered their things and slithered out of the room. Teachers have great peripheral vision. Front office notified, the "all call" went out throughout the school, and just like that....poof, my faith in a world of caring, a time of understanding, a better place for all...gone in one whimpered, poof....

Who the Hell is raising this festering boil of a pod of people? Who do these children look up to, aspire to? Whose hands are guiding? Those hands might just possibly be hands dipped in swill. I used to roll up my sleeves; loved getting my hands dirty, being, “the change” I hoped to be. I reveled in knowing that my hands had penned praises on papers, held the tissues to wipe the tears and applauded success.

After this week, I wash my hands.

Monday, April 2, 2018



the smell of snow, approaching, falling, settling...
the feel of snow, kissing the cheek...
the taste of snow, a flake on the tongue, a fist full from woolly, mitten-ed fists....
touch the snow, cold, drippy as it melts, fresh from the heavens...
nary a sound...

Coming Home

It has been said  you can never go home once you leave; the rhythm is disrupted, out of sync, on a different road.  However, you can return, not physically, but emotionally, through the nether-land of memories and milestones that shaped who you are. Letting go of the physical is the hard part.

Remembering a hand, holding, or hitting, is physical, the feelings evoked is emotional. A walk in the woods or down a busy street brings back smells and sounds; physical senses. Feel what you felt then; wonder, fear, delight, excitement; emotions. A cry in the night heightens awareness. Is it a cry for help? Is it a cry in pain, or is it a soft cry of grief; a deep and guttural cry of despair? The sound is physical, what is felt, deep in the center of your being, is what you need to feel. It's what you need to go home.

Home... What is home?  Home is where you felt, just felt. Home is where you belonged, were a part of a whole. Home was the foundation that shapes who you are now, how you are, and where you are. Home might have been safe or home might have been a place from which you were desperate to escape; to leave and never return. Yet you do return. In the way you face adversity, the way you love, the way you hate. Home is from where your decisions are made. Home is the way you express emotions. Home is the direction, the weather vane that points you toward where you need to be. Where this is, may not be where you want to be. Be patient, wait for the shift in direction. Feel the shift, slight as it may be, but there nudging you quietly. Try a different path. Step out of the shadow. Duck under cover from the glare. Follow. Carve and create a direction of your own. Trust the emotions you feel, for now. Follow until the wind shifts again.

Finding home will take you back along the paths you chose or were chosen for you. This is where it gets tricky.  You'll come to crossroads and need to feel what you felt. Did you miss a turn, did you lose your way? Did you stride forward with purpose and conviction, only to come to a tangle of choices and turn back, missing the thread that might have brought you through?

Home...the first memories of who you are, where you are, how you belong is home. Home is a nurturing place where you fall asleep in loving arms. Home is where you know you will be great. Home is where you don't give up. Home is where you are heard. Home is where you can just... be. Home is your first direction. not always the home of our dreams. Home cans also be a hurtful place, a place where there is little warmth. Home can be a place where there is confusion, fear, and despair. Home... a place you need to leave, and return to when you find the right path. Some find the way to change the direction their home placed them on, some do not. It is for those souls, wandering the short and narrow paths, that compassion and understanding need to take hold. The wounded soul that needs a resting place, too covered in armor to notice the gentle shift. Finding that road home is so very hard, often leading to dead ends, through thickets, thorny and tangled. But following your gut, will lead you to paths that were hidden to you as you forged blindly away from home. Listen to what you feel, follow your true North Star, it will lead the way. Believe.

They say you can't return home. You can return home. Home is within you. Home is where you are. Home is how you live, love and hate. You created home. Home is who you are. Welcome home.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Not Just One Corner

I am a holistic teacher and strongly believe that we need to get rid of data driven teaching. That why I am passionate about kids with exceptionalities. We need to bring back all the arts. They reach so many different corners. We need to bring back recess at all levels, not rely on gym class to get kids moving. We need to bring back  solid foundations in all four core subjects, not competencies that align with the latest common core, frameworks, every child learns, and no child left behind.  
When we speak of a "well rounded education," this does not mean the square pegs of ever changing data driven curriculum. It means "rounded," reaching every learner, at every level; learner's who might need music to learn fractions, art to learn geometry, recess to learn socialization, videos and documentaries to enlighten history. How about reading or being read that's a novel approach. Ask your high school kids to see their common core English textbooks. They are being required to dissect lovely works of poetry and prose into cold, clinical, data driven, tests with assigned accountability.
Let's start the day with a song, throw in some movement, paint the sky with every color in the rainbow. Let's measure the shadows in the room, let's chart the sun across the sky. Let's teach the whole child, not just one corner.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Choose your torch

I don't think I'm being cynical however we as Americans tend to be very short-sighted and we forget things very quickly. The recent racial atrocities have begun to overshadow our concern with North Korea. Concerns about North Korea overshadowed our health care concerns. Our concern about our Healthcare overshadowed the Russian spy gate. Russian Spygate overshadowed our concerns about our cabinet choices, such as a totally inept an experienced person to head the Department of Education. Poor cabinet choices overshadowed campaign promises. Those campaign promises thankfully have not happened such as, " lock her up,  build the wall, punch the protesters in the face, "let's make fun of disabled people, name-calling, candidate support from racially biased supporters; David Duke just thanked Donald Trump for his support of the atrocities that just happened in Charlottesville. I guess it's true that history repeats itself I just didn't think it was going to happen in six months.  But fear not! Something worse WILL happen.  Donald Trump has proven this to be true, and will make us forget Charlottesville,  make us forget North Korea, make us forget Healthcare, make us forget no Muslims allowed, make us forget building the wall......I implore you, don't forget. Bigotry or Liberty; choose your torch.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Food For Thought

I have not eaten any fast food from the big chains in.......10 to 15 years. My kids were never given Happy Meals as dinner, nor were they "drive through" kids. I eat healthy, yet struggle everyday with weight related health issues. The obesity problem is more systemic than a fast food ban. It's a lifestyle thing that is impossible to change. We, in suburbia where the obesity rates are high, have to drive to buy groceries, to clothe ourselves, to do banking, mail parcels, go to the doctor. How crammed is the parking lot at the gym; the park? If we could bring back the neighborhood green grocer, the pharmacy, the savings and loan.....if the movie theater was the prominent focus point of our downtown, we might walk more. If were had the space to grow a baseline crop of non GMO staples, fertilized by free range chickens, pollinated by honeybees not affected by those lush, green, over-fertilized and manicured pesticide patches we so love in suburbia. If our jobs did not require us to commute long miles and hours every day, if our schools were all within walking distance......We love our cars, we love our suburban homes, we need that commute to chase that lifestyle. We can't ever change this. We have taken up too much space on our planet to accommodate all of the wonderful people who live here. So I guess what we need to do is ban cars. Ban malls. Ban planned parks and recreation. Ban sprawling suburban homes, ban school complexes and ban long commutes. Hmmm...looks like we need a "do over."

Monday, May 16, 2016

To Ellie, Upon Graduation from The University of Rhode Island -May 22, 2016

In one week, we will be in Rhode Island, celebrating Ellie's graduation. I can't believe how fast time has flown. Was it 4 years ago, that we dropped her off? I visited her this past week and had a truly wonderful time. I had a little trouble with my eyesight when I left.....not that I'd admit to being a little teary-eyed when I tooted the horn past the fence hole!
I worried weekly, I became an expert at that, about my little girl; the bobble-headed bunch of blonde curls, little girl. I was convinced she would get on the wrong train home, and end up in Scranton, or Des Moines or, gak……El Paso….I agonized that she would wither away, alone in a dorm room, with gerbils as friends.  Really, if anyone can worry, it is me who takes the trophy.  How would she manage the dining hall; she was too shy to venture out…I had to learn to worry in silence.
But then, just recently as a matter of fact, I spent some days with the object of my angst and realized there was never, ever a moment, a nano-second I had cause for concern!  I remembered the girl with the easy swagger, who at 4 years old, strapped on roller-skates, picked up a basketball and took off like a demon, dribbling and skating down the street.  And a year later, took the training wheels off her brother’s bike, and rode a distance, not thinking we were watching, to prove she was big enough to get a dog. She took on social challenges all throughout her early school years, with her chin up and her shoulders squared; this girl proved she feared nothing.  I spent 4 years worrying about nothing.
Here it is, on the brink of graduation, and I finally stopped worrying, I learned from the best, there is nothing of which to be concerned. Without a doubt, I am confident that Ellie will face her future with the same quiet determination, the same resolve and character strength that she has shown everyone, especially her worry-wort of a mother, her whole life.
With a lump in my throat, pride in my heart and not one speck of worry, I congratulate my daughter, Ellie on her graduation from the University of Rhode Island and can’t wait to watch her spread her wings and soar. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

"we the people...."

I will be voting tomorrow. As a woman , and the mom of a daughter, this is a vote to really think carefully about. I want to make  sure the person I vote for, will respect my gender, guard the milestones we have all worked so long for. The person I will vote for, will  potentially, dictate how rewarding my children's, children's lives will be. Will there be choices or consequences in health care?  Will there be affordable choices with major life decisions. College vs home ownership; retirement funds vs medical bills.  The candidate I choose, will he or she be sure of their own compass to be able to reach across the aisle, to ask for collaboration to steady this great country and chart a true and unfettered course?  I take the right to vote very seriously. I do my research and I try to ignore rhetoric, all of it, from both parties.   I hope all who do choose to vote in tomorrow's primary, vote with no reserve, firm in their conviction and remember that we are,
"A government of the people, by the people and for the people."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

One door closes.......

The Blindside

Divorce is undoubtedly one of the most difficult and, conversely liberating events in one’s life.  The decision to divorce sometimes comes suddenly, out of the blue, leaving the unsuspecting partner breathless, devastated and drowning.  A blindside of sorts.
Last week, I was served papers; unceremoniously, across a polished, mahogany table.  A paper was given to me with just two words spoken; “sign here.”  I refused to sign, not knowing to what I was assigning my name.  Had I done something to my partner?  Had I said something terrible or hurt the children in any way?  No one at that polished slab of wood uttered a word; no one raised their eyes to look at me.  The hammering of my heart and the growl of my intestines were the only thing indicated that this was not a horrible prank.  With one last gasp of fire and dignity, I took the offending paper and added my own words.  “I refused to sign, because I was not told what I was signing.”
My first thoughts were of the children.  How would I explain to them that I would not be with them to share their final years of high school, never take prom pictures, nor be one of those proud few in the special section at graduation.  I gathered them close and just blurted it all out.  I knew I should have handled it better, but that’s what a blindside does.  The damage was done; the shock on their    faces was more that I could bear.
I called upon friends to tell them of the divorce, because in all divorces friends are hurt, too.  I wanted them to hear the news from me and to let them know I would understand if they had to reevaluate our friendship.  In all divorces, you lose friends.  All of my friends had been my partner’s friends, long before I came into the picture.  I knew they liked me better, but in a divorce, longevity and familiarity trump all.  Also, in divorces, friends often wonder,” if it can happen to her, it can happen to me.  They seemed so happy.”  They were blindsided too.
Almost a week has gone by; my breath doesn’t catch in my throat as often. I can see a bit more clearly that the divorce is most likely going to be very liberating.   I can see how toxic and unhealthy this partnership was.  I realize that there were hints of a blindside, but I loved my partner and loved the life I had been living.  I know I will find another partner; I will celebrate more proms and graduations.  Out there, is a partner who will cherish me and respect all of who I am, without reservations, without vindictiveness, without blindsides.  I am swimming to the surface, clearing debris, working to heal.  I am learning to trust myself and my choices.  My future is still murky and uncertain, but I am hopeful.  The next time choose a partner, I will choose with the sting of a blindside always under the surface; lesson learned. 

I am a Moderate Special Needs, non-tenured high school English teacher. There is a clause, MGL Chapter 71 § 42 states that non-professional status teachers teachers are “employees at will,” which means they may be terminated by the employer for any reason or for no reason. (   My Principal, my partner of two years, used this to hand me my walking papers last week.  It is for him and his posse that I write this. It is my hope that parents who entrust their children to teachers, who truly care, will demand a change to the recklessness that ensues when there is absolute power.  Change begins with one small voice, but if all who have been blindsided rally and join voices, maybe, just maybe, the cry to change will be heard and blindsides will never be allowed again. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

ELA curriculum needs a serious thrashing!

I teach juniors in high school. I teach literature. Our curriculum is laid out so that we teach how poets and writers of prose dealt with death. I have students who could write their own stories, and in my classes, they have. I have shared with them my connection to Julian Ross, and if you don't know his story, google him. My students and I have followed this wonderful, funny little mista, who has taught my kids, and me so much more than standard tests can assess, in 3 months about living. Dickinson is lovely and important, Uncle Walt is profound. My students are creating raps, from the heart that bring tears to my eyes. Take that, Common Core! Take that, Pearson, Holten-McGraw Hill. To my colleagues, "Teach like your hair was on fire!"

Sunday, August 24, 2014

This was written by a friend and fellow Syracuse University mom. During the course of my four years and her three, we have shared many, many thoughts and emotions via our fabulous facebook page. Mary's daughter and my son attend(ed) Syracuse and now and forever, bleed orange, as do we, their proud moms.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A friend asked me, "As an adult away on vacation, a trip or just away, what is it that you miss? Do you yearn for home or do you gravitate back to childhood? Do you miss your hometown?"

I posted a quick thought, but I know I will add to this.

I miss the me I was; the wide eyed innocent, trusting child. I miss the strength of my dad's hug and the security of knowing mom was home. I miss knowing that my best friend was just a few doors down the street and that no matter where I ended up in town, someone knew me.  I miss the prickly feel of the dry grass on my legs and shoulders, as I watched, stretched out in a field of Queen Ann's lace, the clouds form all sorts of images against a deep blue sky. They say you can never return, but you can. Just close your eyes, be still a moment, breathe and it will come to you, fleetingly at first, but if you allow it, it will flood in on a wave of warm summer air, punctuated with a smile. Also my fiend, Dorothy told me to click my heels, that works too!

Friday, August 8, 2014

This is a facebook post from my much loved son, who is realizing he is not going back to Syracuse University. His time is done. He graduated this past May.......
Kj Mills
So last night I had my first dream about school since I graduated. I think it's because it is getting close to the time where I would be going back to Syracuse. If this were last year I would be getting prepared to leave in 12 days. Having a full time job has made me think less about not going back to Syracuse, but it is now getting to the point where I'm going to start missing it. In May people asked me if I was sad, and I said no, I will feel sad when it is time to go back and I won't be. But my dream also said something else. For my Syracuse friends I will describe it. I was running up university place trying to catch the bus but then realizing that I don't have one, and that a bus will never come to college place for me again. I stopped running out of breath at the corner of university place and comstock and realized that I am out of place here. There was no place for me to go and stay. And I needed to get home and continue my work. My interpretation is that yes I am sad that I will never be a student at Syracuse again, but it is a good thing because I would be out of place there and I have my career to fill up my life. I will always cherish my time there and will come back every year as a visitor, not a resident. If you read all of this thank you so much for listening to me.

This is is what I sent to him.....

When you learned to walk, I held your hand; then you let go. Tall Spire showed you feathers, Waybright gave them to you, Saugus High School showed you how to choose the best feathers and think about flying. Syracuse University held those wings for you, improved those wings, handed them to you on May 12th and you let go and soared. What you didn’t count on was the gossamer thread SU attached to your wings; invisible yet strong, that will always hold you close, wrapping around your heart sometimes so tight you feel you can’t breathe. But you will learn to let go, one tiny step at a time, just like you did all those years ago. You will continue to soar, but never so far that you can’t find your way back, you just have to follow your heart, and that thread back to where the Vale of Onondaga meets the eastern sky, where you can always return, but can never go back. Transitions are hard; I still get antsy stepping off an escalator! (Heart strings to heart strings)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

For these few things, I am grateful...

I was asked by the awesome Beth Browdy Gonyea to participate in this,with her. Please join me in this exercise. Each day for 5 days post 3 things you are grateful for & tag 3 friends each day as well to join.
Here are my three things for today:
1. I am infinitely grateful that I wake up everyday with the same body and mind that I had when I went to sleep. So many times you hear of someone "passing away in their sleep" and how fortunate that is. You hear of sudden strokes and the slow confusion of Alzheimer's; a fall down a flight of stairs or a push down that same flight of stairs. So yes, I am grateful for every blizzard to slog through, every drop of rain that manages to find its way into my house, every degree of heat and humidity that slows me to a crawl, as well as every bright star in the winter sky, rainbow, sunrise and sunset.
2. I am grateful for DNA; yes DNA, for without my own particular strands of DNA I would not have my dad's eyes or my mom's hair. Without their genetics I would not have Gram's hands or Pop's big toe; Ma's smile or Pa's patience. I am grateful that when I look into my daughter's eyes, I see my dad and when my son smiles a certain way, I discovered Uncle Jim. I see that look in my brothers eyes and smile too. When I see my nephew, I see my dad as a young man and my niece has his sense of humor. I am grateful my cousins share the hands and feet of our grand-genes and that we have all been woven with the threads that bind us together, though some of us are quite "textured!" Where this DNA began, I have not figured this out yet, but I know I will. I am hoping to mull this over for many more years, but when it comes time for the final answer, I know I have lived as close honesty and faith as I could and will await the next questions with hope and trust.
3. The last in this very short list of gratefulness are the people who have woven their own threads into my life.  Some threads have broken, yet they are still part of my tapestry. There are some who are hidden below, but are still weaving quietly, waiting to surface when the time is right. There are
bright splashes of Syracuse Orange, Keany Blue, Sachem Red, Warrior Red; the Blue and Gold of NASC, the Maroon of BPU and now Tanner Blue.
There are the muted grays and browns of sadness, the bright yellows of new babies being born and the breath taking whites of those taken too soon. The clerk at the store who helped me find chutney and laughed with me about the silliness of the word, chutney; the young man who flipped me the bird as I was driving along at my own pace, the students who amaze me with their resiliance, the dog who greets me with a whole body wag, the dogs who live in my memory. The cats, the bunnies the fish the turtles, they are all part of the tapestry I will finish, many years from now, if at all. I may be able to keep working on it, "later." As I said, I haven't figured that out yet. But for today, this minute, this breath, I gather you all close, marvel at the colors you all have given me, and I continue with the thread I was given at 4:30 pm, July 30, 1956 and say, thank you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

This is so simple

This is a "must read!"

I had to add in my two cents, as well.....

When my kids were little, I got into a heap of "conversation" with their Principal, because they did not submit their four summer reading projects (written) when they returned to school. They did however, spend the a part of that summer learning about all the core subjects; they calculated and estimated how many logs and branches it took to build a fort in the woods. They learned geography remembering how to find that fort in the deep woods! They learned about the planets and stars, while stretched out on their backs under a humid night sky, watching the Perseid Meteor showers grace the sky. They learned about the moon's pull on our tides and how to form letters at low tide and watch them wash into the ocean at the neap tide. They even learned how to make a sun dial to tell them when to come home. They were blessed to be able to vacation for a week or so where they could experience this, but what stayed with them when they returned to their bustling home and town, was the curiosity and ability to seek answers that is still ingrained in them at ages 20 and 22. I look back on that summer and have to thank that Principal for instilling a resolve in me to never, ever try to make my students, "fit the mold!" They are not "common" and their "frameworks" are most certainly, "outside the box" if I have properly done my job!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Go 'Cuse!

Waiting to watch Syracuse University play Dayton.  GO CUSE!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

To apostrophe or not to apostrophe; that is the question.

Thank you to my brother, Tom the last standing member of our family's grammar police (did I get the apostrophe correct???) for pointing out my incorrect use of the dreaded apostrophe in my blog title....Mea Culpa! I created this blog as an assignment in graduate school and no one there caught it...That should have been a clue!  If any one can help me un-do my era, I will be foevah indetted to youse! Good to know my brother is still taking care of me!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Keep calm and carry on.

Field trip went great....only a wee bit of drama (love those adolescent hormones), a few tears (not mine) and a big disappointment (.....mine and one student) Nothing that a good strong cup of tea won't cure......ummmm.....or a teeny martini! Keep calm and carry on!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Stink, stinking, stank, stunk

I had to have a "talk" with the 6th graders yesterday, and draw from my Health Teacher Hat......(Yes, this is still my first love of teaching...wish I could get hired as such!)  Many of the staff have have been complaining about a particular student's odor; the student ultimately being sent to the nurse. The student admitted he hadn't showered for 3 weeks.  I highly doubt that, as he appears to be grime free, but as a mother, I recognize that particular, on the brink of puberty, stench!  So. I pulled the, "we have a few items on the agenda." chat.....segueing from missing assignments, to cold weather cautions to facing the gossip wagon of," ewwww, so and so stinks!"  I broad brushed it to, there comes a time in everyones' life that we all stink,,,,our hair stinks, our breath stinks, the toe jam stinks, arm-pits and knee-pits stink........and there is a time when we ALL have stunk the worst....EVERYONE has.....when our bodies start changing from little kids to adolescents.....the dreaded puberty........then I switched to actual body maintenance....we brush our teeth to keep gums and teeth healthy, we exercise to keep heart and lungs healthy, we go to school to keep our brains let's not forget the biggest organ in our body, which is...............YOUR SKIN!  We talked about how it is so important to keep skin  whole and healthy to act as the protector of all the other body parts and how it is so important to wash it every day, especially during the big change!  We also talked about how important it is to keep it clean by covering it with clean clothes......

Today, the student who precipitated this talk, came in to school shiny and clean wearing fresh clean clothes; not a skink in the air!  Success........I hope it lasts!  Baby steps.......I love the Health Teacher Hat.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 2, 2013
Back to school!  I faced today with both excitement and trepidation.  I know I wanted a few more days of vacation and I am sure the kids did, too!  But once I beeped into the school and saw how the custodians had really worked to shine it up, I was actually glad to be back and looking forward to seeing my kids.

We had a sad occurrence during the break, as we lost a student to a very rare, but fatal infliction, (HLH) I asked Paulette if she knew anything about it, and in her 40 years of being a Pediatrician, she had neither seen nor heard of it.  This, I passed on to the kids who were struggling with Julio's death, and were confused at how and why he caught it.  I used Paulette's word, "just, dumb, awful luck.....really bad luck...."  This seemed to help.

I got my lesson plan binder back from Rich, today....looks like I dodged that bullet.  There were no comments!  I may have Stephanie Doucette look at it anyway to get some insight.  But for right now, so far, so good.

I firmed up the lunches for the field trip on the 10th.  Looks like we are set to go!  I just have to get the permission slips out and signed... collect $3.00 from each student and hold my breath!  I LOVE field trips, and I know something will go wrong, but I really think we will have an amazing time!

My 6th graders came in today, with tales of seeing Orion in the sky during  break and had truly checked it out on the Internet!  They even asked what was that big bright, non-twinkling star-thingy in the low horizon.....JUPITER!  They were psyched, but not as much as I was!

This week, I am going to have them play with the triple beam balance and try to grow some soil/yeast.......

Next week we move on to the ice-age in anticipation of the Wooly Mamouth and Mastidon exhibit at the museum,

I am saving up some of the Know Atom activities for Spring, when I know we will have some down time to fill.soil growing may be one of them!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Exerpts from my TMMS journal

December 14, 2012

The first half of today went really well.  All of my kids are really becoming avid star watchers, with most having watched the Geminid Meteor Showers last night!~ and today I was able to have Ken be a” phone a friend” and answer all sorts of Astronomy questions from them! I was amazed at how much thought they have put into this unit.  Rony asked me the other day, “How long does it take to work for that Space thingy?” (NASA) He wants to be a part of building a colony on Mars. Honestly he has some great Ideas! All the kids are working very hard on their Postcards from Mars and can’t wait to see them hanging up!  I am going to ask if we can put them in the display case.

The kids have had a very tough week; Jerome has been suspended again; this time for breaking a desk in Julia’s room.  I heard he took out a few lockers too.  Word has it that he also had to be restrained. Somehow, maybe it’s because I am not Tootle the Train and I never stay on the tracks, they have been OK in my classes.  A few little dust-ups but nothing I can’t work with.

Deunta told me I was “fuckin’whacked” when I asked him to begin his postcard, (suspensions and absences) cuz, “I ain’t goin to do that shit.” Unfortunately he had to leave…..He did return with an apology and was able to participate in the “phone a friend” asking Ken about what was the big fuzzy thing in “the dude’s sword? (Orion’s sword/nebula)  Gotta love it….the dude…. 

……Then, Cheryl showed me a text she had received about the Sandy Hook shooting.  My first thought was about my Syracuse friend, JoAnn, who is an elementary school teacher “somewhere”in CT.

My next thoughts were of KJ and Ellie and how much I needed to hold them.  I had the same awful gut wrenching sick feeling I had when my two babies were at Waybright Elementary School and the planes hit the Trade Center in NY.

These are some of my FB posts and blogs. The FB page is where JoAnn and I have a lot of mutual friends who are teachers (Syracuse University)

Profoundly sad.  As a public school teacher, I spend 5 days a week with students with whom I have become very fond. I do not teach them, they teach me. I guide them and help them learn.  I encourage them when they fall, to pick themselves up, turn it around a try another way. I laugh with them, I cry with them. I listen to them, I hug them and yes, I discipline them. They have become, “my kids” too. I would throw myself under a train for KJ and Ellie as I also would do for my TMMS kids. An on occasion, I have already.

I have no words to express how, profoundly, utterly helpless I would feel if I could not have protected my kids from the animal who attacked them, today.

We had our first lock-down drill about 3 weeks ago and my "kids" did great. It was routine and business as usual.....Never again, will I ever. ever take this drill as routine and business as usual. I am sure that each and every drill we have, will open this horrific wound. The next one we have is going to be very, very hard for everyone. Peaceful thoughts are wished to all; we all need them, we all have been touched by this tragedy.

December 17, 2012

I  sat in a circle with my 8th graders and reminded them that when they walked through my door on the first day of school, they became "my kids" and that our door to the hall will be locked and remain so until further notice. I also told them that if, IF someone broke through the door, the first thing they would see is the flat screen ....really close up, followed by the rock I use for a paper-weight, the tape dispenser, the scissors and my great big teeth, biting them.....and the list goes on......simply locking the door brought a visible relaxing of the shoulders. I do not have shades for my huge windows, but I am going to break out the sewing machine and make some this vacation, so we can hide better. That also sad that in a community where violence is not uncommon to "my kids," the last bastion of security, our school, is questioned.

December 25, 2012

Peace to all

First official teaching job.....

I can't believe I've made it this long at Marshall Middle School.  I had been two solid years, subbing , teaching and being a para at the High School level, that the switch back to middle school was daunting. When I was in the Wakefield system, I started out,, almost six years ago at Galvin Middle School, and seamlessly moved back and forth as the preferred substitute teacher between there and  Wakefield High School. I was working in my hometown, wandering the halls that were familiar to me and following y father's legacy. The students I first met in 6th grade at Galvin are now Juniors and Seniors! Some of the students I interacted with at the High School are graduating from college! Some go to college with my own children and some have even dated my daughter and son.

This year, I tried something new. I was hired to teach Science to low level Middle School learners, at an inner city, very poor and very socially challenging school.  My "tough kids" in Wakefield can't hold a candle to my Lynn kids.  There was poverty in Wakefield; there was abuse and neglect, but it was hidden.  I developed a good nose for who had slept in their clothes.I knew who was sliding down the slippery slope, after all, I had known their families for years, I knew them!  I knew nothing about my Lynn kids, except that they walked into my classroom, "the old in-house room" skeptical, distrusting, rolling their eyes at the new "old" teacher.Many were conversing in Spanish and all carried a swagger a mile wide.  Ok, I reminded myself that "kids are kids" and that I could do this, I had done this many times, but not here, not Science and not at a school where the students were rumored to run the school. (I had worked for six months at English High School in Lynn, prior to my switch to TMMS.)

I also found out very quickly, that part of the "problem" here was no one seemed to have a firm hand at the helm.  Memos would go out, then get corrected, then get recalled, only to go out in the original two days later.  Meetings were called, hours after I had gone for the day, and I would be chastised like a child, for missing them.  I was forced to attend long new teacher meetings as a stipulation of my hiring, I was assigned a mentor........Imagine, I was shown all there tricks of the trade to help me as a "new teacher!" Hello???? I had been a substitute teacher for five years and had been "mentored" by so many wonderful veteran teachers ,many with  whom, I continue to collaborate!  I have made many lesson plans, followed many units and managed many a classroom of diverse and challenging children. I've written many IEPs, chaired numerous meetings, been to many, many "back to school nights.  This was TORTURE!

As the weeks go by, the meetings have been less intrusive and I have been able to connect and teach the way I love to teach, by letting the kids take the reins and question everything. 

December 14th was a heart-wrenching and horrible last half of the day.  I was helping the kids finish their wonderfl Mars post-cards and models when I foujnd out about the school shooting in Newtown CT.  I looked around my tiny, cozy classroom, and saw my kids in a different light. I do love what I do

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When we talk of no child left behind, yet still require all "children" to take standardized tests like MCAS, SATs and MTEL to prove acquisition of materials presented, just how many "children" are actually left behind? If everyone is encouraged to shine their own lights, what a brighter world in which we would live! 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Morsels and Millimeters
My Graduate School Blog

Leave No Child Inside | Richard Louv | Orion Magazine

Leave No Child Inside Richard Louv Orion Magazine

21st Century Learning

Everyday I hear people grousing and complaining about all the kids, texting, facebooking, IM-ing....Geesh! I think it is absolutely wonderful! To be a witness to a world so full of changes and technology is utterly breathtaking for me. I grew up marveling at "color tv!" Pong changed the world! Lucky were the kids whose parents could afford Pong! We would gather around the enormous 19" screen and were mesmerized for hours, watching that tiny white ball lobbed back and forth , ponging its merry way from side to side.
I wonder, lately how much of a help or hindrance getting my Masters was.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What an interesting thought, lets talk!: Within each learner, just below the surface, there...

What an interesting thought, lets talk!: Within each learner, just below the surface, there...: Within each learner, just below the surface, there lie many gifts; these gifts are quirky and funny, solemn and intuitive, fresh, insightful...
Within each learner, just below the surface, there lie many
gifts; these gifts are quirky and funny, solemn and intuitive, fresh,
insightful and valuable; unique. Each
learner begins to use these gifts to weave the fabric, however nubby and
textures with bumps and twists, or smooth, well planned and seemingly
flawless. The materials our learners use
to begin their life’s work are also unique, dependant upon their culture,
family life, support systems, socio-economic contributions, hope, dreams and
The one of a kind weave they create begins with what they
feel most comfortable or confident with.
A child, who sings and dances, weaves in one way; a child who builds
towers of blocks and then knocks them down, another. Children who go to sleep
at night with all their “loveys” surrounding them or the little one who
clutches a favorite book are all showing the world, what kind of learners they
will be.
Harvard psychologist and author of several books regarding
the multiple ways learners’ access and process learning describe these gifts as
Multiple Intelligences. It is my belief,
my personal philosophy of Education that these gifts are to be celebrated,
shared and woven into the unique fabric that showcases the wonderful talents,
strengths and skills of each and every learner.
As virtually everyone has the capacity to develop, to a
reasonably high level of performance, these multiple layers of intelligences, a
more holistic approach to teaching should seamlessly be woven into each
learner’s fabric. Teachers as guides or
facilitators need to understand that all we need to do is hold those first bits
of color the learner chooses, until their work becomes to come together. We then need only to guide and suggest
different threads and stitches that might make more sense or create a stronger
fabric. After all, this is not the
teacher’s design, it is the learners own, unique pattern and weave. Teachers
also need to become collectors and documenters of fabrics designed by their
students. Learners will often reveal
their designs and patterns through misbehaviors and it is these, not
achievements, teachers discover the true self, document and portfolio these
designs for total understanding of the learner as a whole person. It is from
missteps and miscalculations that learning takes the greatest leap.
Recognizing the many layers of learning or multiple
intelligences is not a new philosophy. Plato observed that if you allow
“education to be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to find out
the nature of the bent.” (Plato-The Dialogues of Plato; Encyclopedia
Britannica). Incorporating multimodal techniques into everyday learning brings
learning to higher levels of comprehension, confidence and clarity.
Maria Montessori is recognized as observing that “nature endows
a child with a sensitiveness to order, which distinguishes the relationship
between objects, that makes a whole of an environment,” from distinct and
separate components.
Rather than focus on learning deficits as a paradigm in
Special Education, we need to work within the parameters of a growth
paradigm. Teachers need examine our
basic descriptive vocabulary when describing strengths and
exceptionalities. We need to promote
growth through rich and varied interactions, real life activities and hands-on
projects. We need to insure that we
foster connections with learners and their peers, collaborate with our own
colleagues, and seek innovation daily through technology and traditional
As teachers and guides we need to become expert detectives,
determining the “who, what, when, where and why” of our learners and their
strengths and challenges. We need to be
at the ready to offer a steady hand to their loom as they weave through
turbulent times and soar through exciting achievements! It is essential that we collaborate, with
parity with colleagues, Administrators, parents and care-givers to achieve the
goal of opening all avenues, doors, windows and minds to insure that no stone
is left unturned, no thread left tangled nor any cloth cast aside in dismay.
Response to intervention at all levels should be employed to
move learners away from substantially separate classrooms and unnecessary
special education settings that segregate learners by disability and or
social/emotional behaviors.
I see a changing role of Special Educators in that more
districts are recognizing the need to identify strengths earlier in learners
and to foster self esteem, increase the appreciation of all learning styles and
to recognize the unique gifts all learners have to offer.
21st Century learning is an exciting frontier to
be embarked upon and embraced by all, as weavers or the world. Global Learning is here, it is now; diversity
and technology abound! Our learners,
once creative weavers on rudimentary looms, are now able to weave more color,
greater texture and endless fabrics into their life’s work, using technologies
and information that, twenty years ago was in it’s infancy; mere dream of
Master Weavers.
am a weaver, a dreamer, a guide and an admirer of designs. I am a teacher.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ribbons, strings. threads and yarns; We're talking kids here!

When I think about teaching, the last thing I want to do is lecture in front of rows upon rows of learners, struggling to stay awake. How awful that must be! Learning new things or revisiting old, should be exciting and fun. Who better to set the tone for learning, than the learners themselves!
I like to think of kids, my students as bits of yarn, or strands of thread; ribbons all shiny and blowing in the breeze. With the right instruction and a skilled hand, these colorful bits and pieces begin to weave together and form a wonderful fabric; the designs, the colors, the stories all unique.
It is my job to take hold of all those little beginnings and help guide my learners across the fabric, through other bits of the weave, connecting and entwining in the pieces of their peers, their families and their communities, to become a part of this wonderful and wonder filled, fabric
The richness of color, diversity of experiences and strength of community will make a beautiful display and a treasure for all.