Music, Mangers, and Media

Jeff and I went to church last night. Christmas Eve.

Silent Night

We both pray, say Grace at meals, believe. But church is a Christmas event for us. That’s my fault. Or should I say, that’s because of me. I believe God is personal. God’s between Him and me. It’s not a place. Not in a building, at least. If it’s any place at all, for me, it’s in my heart. But on Christmas Eve, I like to go to Church. I like the singing, the message, the candles, the smell of incense, the poinsettia plants blanketing the front of the pulpit. It’s peaceful, yet jubilant. Well, it is until the girl sitting in the pew behind you starts tapping away on her iPhone. Click, click, click, click, click, click, STOP!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Your iPhone?

Now don’t get me wrong. I love, Love, LOVE my iPhone and forget my iPad. I don’t know how I got by without it. I eat, sleep, drink Apple. But in church? Cut me some technology slack! You’re in church, Missy! You talk to God! You don’t text your friends, or play Words with Friends, or friend someone on Facebook. You’re ‘friending’ God!

I’m trying to belt out a half way decent rendition of Silent Night, and she’s tap, tap, tapping away. I tell myself, “Keep singing, woman. Ignore the girl behind the iPhone, and keep your eye on the prize. Jesus in your heart.”

I got through it, like I knew I would. But it was hard to ignore the girl behind the iPhone.

Let me be the first to say, iPhones ROCK! But, not in church. Everywhere else. But not in the middle of a Christmas medley. God Rest Ye Merry Apple Products in church. OK?

Merry CHRISTmas.

My cozy iPad fireplace app - Amen

Ah-ha. Kids.

Interesting week at school. Apart from the fact that this one week lasted two, there were some fun times. Disciplinary and exhaustion issues aside, we had several Ah-ha moments.

You gotta love the first grader that wants so much to follow directions that, when told to put his name on both papers, he did. Simultaneously!

Now that's taking 'listening to directions' to a new level.

Then there’s the boy that invented his own word: scarified. He was trying to tell me how getting lost in the mall scared and terrified him, but he got all tongue-tied and made up his own word. I told him I LOVED the new word. It was very descriptive and I thought we should use it during the day. And we found ways to do just that. Laughing every time someone said it.

The kids used words like ‘summarize’ and ‘strategies’. ‘Fluency’ and ‘stamina’. Inferring’ and ‘visualizing’ ‘Symmetry’ and ‘equivalency’. Not bad for 7 years old. They listen. They learn. They don’t even realize they’re soaking things up like human sponges. They just do it.

Someday – soon – I won’t be doing this anymore.

I’ll move on.

Will I miss it?

Of course. But the memories will always be there. They’ve embedded themselves into the person that I am. The person I’ve become because of having known these kids. I am grateful for all the sugar and spice and everything nice. The snakes, the snails, the puppy dog tails. I loved them all, no matter what I said when I was pulling my hair out these past 10 years. They positively molded me. I hope I molded them, positively.

My little boy?

I was cleaning out my closet today. I’m embarrassed to say I think it’s the first time in 20 years. Yes, there hung 20 years worth of sweaters and skirts, jeans and t-shirts, handbags and shoes. Well, no. Not shoes. I’m not big on shoes. Not that big, anyway. So there was probably only about 3 or 4 years worth of shoes. Still. Ridiculous. I filled 13 giant, green, leaf bags that the Purple Heart has graciously agreed to rid me of, and 5 other bags that will join the rest of my garbage out on the curb come trash day.

There, hanging from a bar at the back of the closet, I found a belt. I knew it wasn’t mine, and never was I might add, because it was about 18 inches long. I held it in my hand and smiled, thinking, “This belongs to my little boy?”

First Day of Kindergarten

Thing is, he’s not so little anymore, but do you ever stop thinking of your child as anything other than ‘your baby’? I’m starting to think not.

But, he’s not. My baby that is. He’s all grown up and drives a car and has a beautiful girlfriend and a job and he’s – ah – all grown up.

And, now, he looks more like his dad than ever.

Dad at Fort Mott Park 1985


Dad was a cooker 🙂

He’s a kidder, like his dad. Grows a beard, like his dad. Has a kind heart, which he wouldn’t admit to having, like his dad.

It’s been 15 years since dad passed away. We’ve kept him in our hearts, and we think of him all the time. It doesn’t seem that long. Maybe that’s because I can feel him nearby. Does that sound creepy? I hope not, because it’s true. At night, when I let the dogs out, I find the brightest star in the sky, smile and say “Did you see our son today? He’s the best, is he not? We done good.” Every day now, I look at my boy, and I see his dad. I think how proud he would be. I look at my son and think he’s not my baby anymore. He’s a grown man, handsome, smart, kind, and funny. Just like his dad.

It’s the holiday season…


December, 2011. Can you stand it? A few days ago I was Christmas shopping in 60 degree weather. Today, as I check my iPhone, I see I am venturing out into 39 degrees. December. Go figure.

Do you remember the frenzy of Y2K? OMG! And now, here it is, 2011. LOL! You know what they say about time, and it flying, and you having fun.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m having fun and all, but I wonder about everybody else. Here it is, like I said, December. It feels like yesterday was Thanksgiving and the day before that was Halloween. In a few minutes, (or about 21 days or so) it will be Christmas. It’s the holidays, people, and I don’t feel like you’re stopping and smelling the roses. I drive around. minding my own business, and if someone’s not barking at me, they’re presenting me with the proverbial middle digit, waving it around like a winning lottery ticket. Just because I came to a full stop at a stop sign. Hel-loooo? It’s a STOP sign! This is my right, no, my duty as a citizen and you’re sitting in your car, flailing your arms around and growling at me because I did something I’m obligated to do.

Come on people. Where’s the fun? It’s the holidays!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

And try to stand in line while waiting to pay for some over-priced iPhone cover I can get on eBay for a third of the price, and someone’s cutting in and scowling at me because I mention that the line is behind me about 10 more people or so. HEY! YOU’RE BUTTING!!!! I’M TELLING!!!

People walk into me at the mall. Excuse me? I don’t think I heard you say, EXCUSE ME!

And try to walk down the sidewalk, again, minding my own business, and I’m always the one that has to step aside if someone is coming at me. Once. Just once, I’d like to be the person that doesn’t have to move to the side or get trampled.

Oh yeah, and when someone actually stops at a pedestrian crossing to let me , the pedestrian, get across the street, I put a little zip in my step and wave, in consideration of that person’s, ah, consideration. Why is it that every time I stop to let someone cross, they act like they’re off on some Sunday stroll and got nowhere to be, and neither do I, and they never wave – well almost never – and to top it all off THEY WALK ON THE DIAGONAL? On purpose, I swear.

OK. I’m starting to sound bitter and that really wasn’t my point. My point being, it’s December. It’s the holidays. Tis the season to be JOLLY.

Call it the Golden Rule. Call it Matthew 7:12, ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums the Law of the Prophet.’

What could it hurt?

Let a smile be your umbrella.

Laugh and the world laughs with you.

Let’s put a pleasant grin on our faces. Try to remember the reason for Season. Love and Peace and Joy and Hope and Jesus. Let’s get JOLLY, people.

Stop. Take a minute to enjoy the world around you. And just breathe... Merry Christmas

Sunday with a twist

Sunday’s usually start with breakfast at a diner. Any diner. It’s not just bacon and eggs. It’s breakfast, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sudoku, and Lisa Scottoline’s column, Chick Wit. This is our end-the-weekend ritual that throws me for a loop when it gets interrupted by, well, anything. Nothing got in the way this morning, and I was happy as a pig in, well, happy, when Jeff remembers that Lisa Scottoline is doing a book signing at Barnes and Nobel in Cherry Hill. This is, what, a few miles down the road. So after egg beaters, deep fried home fries and toast (the egg beaters balance out the deep fried home fries, in my mind) we head to the bookstore to see a book signing. Sunday with a twist.

I am beside myself, mostly because I am star struck, and Lisa is a star, and I love her books, and I am on cloud 9.

So Jeff and I get there at 12:00 for a 1pm signing. Little did I know that others had gotten there at 10:00, or so they said, and we had to stand off to the side and wait. That’s ok. It’s Lisa Scottoline. I can wait. So we wait. Thank goodness for my iPhone. And we wait. And after playing several games of Words with Friends and Free Cell, and hoping that I won’t need a bathroom, Jeff spots her, and her daughter, Francesca. They make their way through the crowd, Lisa, Francesca, and their dogs, and I can’t take my eyes off of them. I realize that I am a little jealous, as well as star struck, and I wish it was me up there, hawking MY book and telling My jokes.

Who am I to be jealous? What have I written? I’ve started about a hundred stories and have gotten no further than chapter one. Wrote some poems and now I can’t even find them. Still. Jealous.

So I listen to them doing what they do. Talking and laughing and making everyone else laugh and I think, “Man, they are so normal.”

I think, “If we lived in the same neighborhood, Lisa and I would be friends.” I really believe that. She is funny, and fun. Witty and hilarious. Personable and real. I loved her. And Francesca? Hel-loooo. So pretty and smart and funny and real. That apple didn’t fall far from that tree.

When it was all over and it was time for the signing, we had to wait – again. That’s ok. It’s Lisa Scottoline. I can wait. So, wait we did. Again. And we waited and waited and finally, it was our turn. I hugged Lisa, and she signed my copy of “Best Friends, Occasional Enemies” and Francesca told me that my name was one of her mom’s favorites, and I thought I would lose my voice. But, since that’s never happened and probably never will, I yammered on a little about one thing and another: being Italian, having a mother that also loves Lisa, blah, blah, blah and then it was time to move on. I handed this nice young lady my iPhone and asked her to take our picture. Lisa said to give my mom her best, she thanked us for being so patient, and move on we did. But not before I told myself, “Yes, Lisa and I, another world, another time, friends.”

Thinking back on it, I realize, they probably make everyone feel that way. But I like to think Lisa and I could have been friends. Thanks, girls. For making it real.

Thanksgiving

It don't get no better...

Or does it?

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and today I am thankful for yet another thing. Besides family, friends, having a job, feeling relatively healthy, and being off for three more days (YAY!), I am grateful for not feeling like I ate a piano. Maybe it’s true what they say about diets. One day of pigging out revs your metabolism. Well I am revved and psyched! I am sure I weigh less today than yesterday. Is it possible?

Sure! Anything is possible. It’s all in the attitude. Here’s how confident I am. I am so sure that I didn’t gain an ounce that I won’t even get on the scale today. This morning I will resume the diet position and not give it another thought.

Come, oh, maybe Wednesday or Thursday, I’ll hop on that instrument of good tidings and, bam! The scale doesn’t lie! The proof will be in the pudding. Ooooooooh! Pudding. I can’t wait til Christmas. I will, once more, rev that metabolism.

First and fabulous

Ok. Why first and fabulous, right? Well, it all had to do with first grade, which I teach, and how fabulous my tenth year of teaching was going to be. Then things got crazy and the whole idea of blogging on the job went south. I don’t even really know why. So here I sit in Starbuck’s, drinking my fourth cup o’joe and thinking I DO want a blog. And it WILL be a fabulous year, but I don’t really want to blog about school – all the time – every day or week or even month.

I just want to talk, on paper (or computer), about whatever. Like a diary, except more 21st century. Hence, Dear Bliary.

I wanted to reflect on my morning walk. I sometimes stay at our place near the beach, so this morning I stumbled out of bed, ( stumbling is part of my life at 60 ), brushed my teeth, in case I had to say good morning to someone, grabbed a bright yellow sweatshirt, in case I had to be noticed by somebody, threw that thing on and, iPhone and earplugs at the ready, I walked.

It was cold, but I didn’t have a jacket to match my yellow sweatshirt and pajama pants (Vain? Stupid?, so I kept on walking. I walked until I got to the sea wall and there I saw these monster construction vehicles dropping enormous piles of reddish colored sand onto the beach.

Construction Man, in his big yellow hat, nodded and greeted me, giving me the opening I needed. I asked ‘What’s going on?’ and he responded, ‘Maintenance’. Not a wordsmith, but pleasant enough. I told him he was ruining my chances for beach front property about four blocks down the road and his retort brought a smile to my face. ‘It won’t be long,’ he quipped.

That’s all it took to set the tone for my day. Just a simple joke and a pleasant nod.

That’s all it takes, people!