I am going to enjoy life after 50 if it kills me!


This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post, except that I miss my little man and wish I could spend more time with him.

Since my dad fell, a lot has happened.  After a week it became clear that while his hip was healing beautifully, the rest of his body was bent out of shape over the whole thing.  His kidneys began to fail and that took awhile to deal with.  Then his bladder decided it was not going to work as a protest to this whole thing, and that he’s still dealing with.  Then, just for fun, his blood pressure started to plummet whenever he stood during his occupational therapy sessions.  After only a minute or two, he’d feel so weak he’d have to sit back down.

Fortunately, by the time all this started, I had already taken a leave of absence from work until the end of the school year.  I have been living at my dad’s house so I can visit him daily, attend doctor’s appointments with him, keep track of his meds, pay his bills, etc.

Because I needed more of a challenge apparently, while all this was going on, my dog got a nasty, nasty ear infection, as basset hounds are prone to do.  She has been to the vet three times and is on a host of antibiotics.  She also managed to pick up fleas, which got a foothold because when Dad fell, I forgot to give the dog her flea meds for a week or so.

To make a long story short, my apartment is teeming with fleas, my car is infested, and my dad’s house has a few fleas.  Because I’ve been living there, I’ve had a chance to treat the dog and the house, so they’re almost gone.

So while I’m waiting for my apartment and car to air out from the flea bombs, I’ve had a chance to write this post at a local sandwich shop while very slowly eating lunch.

This all, by the way, is STILL wayyyy less stressful than teaching fifth graders.

PS – I tripped over the dog a couple weeks ago, landing in the road on my mouth.  Next week I’ll be getting a crown on one of my front teeth.  That dog is the most expensive pet I’ve ever owned.


I love my dad.  He’s 83, lives two hours away (a safe distance for both of us), and he called me Saturday, as I was headed to the local sandwich shop to meet my daughter for lunch.

Me:  Hey!  How ya doin'”

Dad:  Not so good.  I fell yesterday and broke my hip.  I’m in the hospital.

Dad:  Hello?  Are you there?

Holy cow. In the next hour I managed to cancel lunch, get my daughter to take care of my dog and fill my grandson’s Easter basket, pack a bag and get on the road.  As I left town, I realized I didn’t know what hospital my dad was in.  How many could there be, right?  Several, actually.

My other daughter called me while I was driving and offered to search for me.  I love my daughter and Google, in that order.  In a little while she called back with the name of the hospital, address, directions, and my dad’s room number.  I really love Google, so you can only imagine how much I love my daughter.  And her sister.  Equally.  And their brother.  Equally.  I’m serious.

I walked into my dad’s room to find him in bed, somewhat surprised to see me.  Like I’d wait a day.  C’mon, Dad.  He was not in much pain, unless he tried to move his leg.  He also scraped up his arm, so he was bandaged from elbow to wrist.  But other than that, he actually looked pretty good.

Surgery the next morning went off right on schedule.  He broke his hip right at the top of his leg, where the ball part of the ball and socket is.  He now has a shiny new metal ball connected to his leg.

When they wheeled him back to his room, he opened his eyes, said, “Am I walking?”, grinned, and closed his eyes again.  That’s my dad, and I knew then he’d come through surgery no worse for wear.  A couple hours later I told him I’d stay until he got tired, so he dropped his head, feigning sleep, and began to snore.  Yep, he’s gonna be fine.

While sitting in a quiet hospital waiting room, I realized how blessed I am.  It could have been a horrible outcome.  Even at 53, I still look for his humor and guidance every Saturday when I call him for our weekly phone date.  I’m glad that date will be kept for awhile longer.  Because as he likes to remind us, to know him is to love him.

I hope your Easter turned out as happy as mine.

I believe my last post was August of 2012.  So I’ve only been gone… what?  Seven months?  That’s not long in the blogosphere, right?  Well, in school years, that’s been ALL of it so far.

Long story short, I have a very challenging class, thrown together weeks after school started when one of our fifth grade classes was cut.  The original group gelled very well, but the poor kids who got split up and thrown into my class never got a chance to feel like they belonged.  It also put together students who had been purposely separated  before school began because of problems between them.

That, along with an ailing principal and lack of direction made things very difficult.  Our extremely poor test performance last spring meant we had people from the district coming in and lots of people wandered in and out of our rooms.  I came to dread going to work each day.

But now it’s almost April, we have a new principal who has new ideas, and we have eleven weeks of school remaining.  By no means is my life easy, breezy, but I can see sunlight in the distance and actually smile more at school these days.  And once, again, I’m telling my students that I love them – ALL of them.

So, it’s time to begin moving onward and upward again.



My hometown of Eden, New York is celebrating its bicentennial this year, and last Sunday my family and I took a “trolley” tour of Eden, which included speakers in historic garb to tell us some of the history of the town.  Except for our trolley hostess, all the speakers were depicting an actual Eden resident from the past.  I took as many photos as I could, but between the dirt on the windows and the glare of the glass, my pictures are mediocre at best.  Sorry about that.


my daughter Kay, and family friend, Kay, who was also our hostess

First we stopped at the Original Kazoo Factory, our claim to fame!

You can still see the machines operate on a belt and pulley system, and yes, they still make metal kazoos here!

Emil Sorg, explaining how he got the idea to bring kazoos to western New York.

Next stop was the Asa Warren House on Main Street.

It’s believed this house was a stop on the underground railroad on the way up to Canada and safety.

Colonel Asa Warren himself – veteran of the War of 1812.

Next we stopped in Evergreen Cemetery, where we met up with our local Methodist exhorter (preacher) and tavern owner, William Hill, who was born in 1746 in Vermont.

I went to school with this man’s ancestor and namesake, Bill Hill. Originally, the center of town was known as Hill’s Corners.

As the tour continued, we continued to meet more local citizens from Eden’s past.

Ida Landon aggravated those in power until she got a bridge built over Eden Valley!


Father Mertz was pastor of the first Catholic parish south of Buffalo, St. Mary’s.

There were more colorful characters on our tour, including the bank employee, Bill Stickney, who was held up at gunpoint when the local bank was robbed.  Stickney’s grandson portrayed him on our tour.

With a population of less than 8,000, Eden sure has a lot of history – guess that’s what happens by the time a town is 200 years old!



One of the things that I look forward to when spending time in my hometown is doing nothing.  No big plans, no excursions, just a whole lot of nothing.


My aunt and uncle, with whom I’m staying, have a big home which sits on a hill surrounded by fields and woods, and rolling hills.  So spending the day hanging around the house is a treat for the eyes and ears, and oh, so restful.  The other day we watched a wild turkey down by the woods, doing whatever turkeys do.  My aunt and uncle have numerous bird feeders outside their huge windows, so I’ve listened to birds chirping beyond the dining room as watched hummingbirds flit around while lemon yellow goldfinches zip by, going from tree to feeder to tree again.  I’ve eaten plates full of home-grown vegetables – green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini – along with locally grown corn on the cob.  I’ve napped most afternoons with a cool breeze floating in from the window.  Not.  Too.  Shabby.


A little of this and a little of that for a Thursday…

  • It is hot in Florida.  Very hot.  And humid.  I hate summers in Florida.  But… we have air conditioning and no huge wild fires, so I’ll shut up now.
  • While my summer school kids have been planning a “virtual vacation” in a project we’re doing, I have come to realize they think every state has a Disney World.  I have one planning a trip to Washington, DC, and another planning a trip to NYC.  Both kids put Disney World down as one of the attractions they want to see.  Hmm…
  • I am not too fond of the Fourth of July in Florida, either.  See above bullet on heat and humidity.  Add to that, fireworks that scare my dog silly, obnoxious revelers who light off fireworks for DAYS, and did I mention the heat?
  • I saw Magic Mike today with a friend.  Is it weird that at 53, I was one of the youngest women in the theater?  Felt weird to me.  And the movie itself?  I knew it wouldn’t be an Oscar winner, but the storyline reminded me of something I might have written in high school in my journal – if I had been prone to write about male strippers.   Which I wasn’t.  Just for the record.

Although I have lived in Florida for 17 years now, there is so much to see and do here,  that I have years of things to do and places to see in front of me.

Recently, I spent a lovely day at Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida.  It’s one of those places I drove by often, thinking to myself, “I really should go there sometime.”  Last month I finally had the opportunity.  And I’m so glad!

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a treasure!  You can meander its pathways through various gardens or join a guided tour, which is what my companion and I did.  We strolled through a variety of plants, trees, bamboo, and so many others.  In the couple of hours we were there, although we saw much, there was more we could have seen, had we made a longer day of it. One of the loveliest parts of the morning was just sitting on a park bench overlooking the bay, while workers set up for a wedding nearby.  What a relaxing way to pass the time!

There is much more to Selby Gardens.  Besides hosting private events, there is a research facility which studies, among other things, orchids and bromeliads.  They also have school programs, events, and classes for the public.  This week is a “Tropical 4th of July”, featuring reggae music, food, and fireworks, plus activities for children.  Their website is very informative and I urge you to visit it to see photos, get more detailed information, and learn about the resources they offer!

I’d Like a Clutter-Free Classroom, Please..

I have been looking forward to summer vacation for months now.  The idea of getting up in the morning without anywhere I have to be, doing great little organizational projects at home, crafting stuff, writing stuff, and cooking stuff.  Just lots of fun stuff.

So far, I’ve been teaching a half day of summer school, which has been the best part of my days.  For someone who has always been shy around strangers, I am horrible at enjoying time alone.  I’m good for an afternoon, or even a day or two once in a great while, but I need interaction with people, whether they’re in fifth grade or collecting pensions.

In one more week I will be done with summer school, and then I’ll have to keep myself entertained for entire days at a time!  And this is probably obvious to all of you already (I’m slow to catch on sometimes), but doing crafty things, organizing pantries, and fixing meals is not the least bit exciting when you are the only one who will see the results of your labor.

Poor, poor me…

Hmm… what would I tell my kids if they came to me with this problem?

Get a life.

I’d probably be a little nicer about it, because that’s just the kind of fabulous mother I am, but basically – get off your butt, and go do things.  Meet people.  Join something.  Seriously.  And I do have friends.  Honest!  But do I have people over to my place for dinner?  Never.  Do I call them up and make plans with them to do… well… anything?  Not so much.  It’s tough to do with chronic pain, but most of my friends have known me long enough to know I can’t tell when my head will take over my day, and they’re genuinely nice people, so I think they’d understand.  And most of them are teachers, so they have the same time off I do.

I find that most often I make my own unhappiness.  This quote has been making the rounds on Pinterest – which I have an unhealthy attachment to, by the way.  I laughed because it was a little bit snarky sounding, but then I realized it really is that basic.  If you’re not happy, DO something about it.

We’ll see how this turns out.




This and That and Debby

I truly planned to post this Thursday, but my head got in the way and a two-hour nap ensued.  I’m okay with that.

My this and that for this week includes the following:

  • more rain in 3 days than I’d like to see again for the next 3 months
  • all the water sent ants into my kitchen in droves and a cockroach into my bedroom until his life was snuffed out by the woman who pays the rent around here.
  • the sun has returned and the grass is already looking dry again.
  • an alligator was spotted earlier this week crossing the street in the cross walk like a good, law-abiding citizen.


Just another week in sunny Florida.

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