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

Archive for the ‘Upward’ Category

The U-Turn in My Easter Weekend

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.


Upward… My Small Town History


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!


Not a Happy Camper

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.




Hello? Hellooooo…

Did you hear me tapping on the mic?  Just wondering if anybody is still out there in the audience.  When I take a break, forget 15 minutes.  A month is more like it.

It’s been a hectic month, in which I finished the school year, started teaching summer school, and had a most excellent social life.  Now  that I’m done with school, half done with summer school, and back to my lame non-social life, I guess I have no excuses.  My teeny-tiny fan club (brother Mike) gave me grief today over the lack of posts.  Which is good, because it means he reads them.  God bless relatives.

Some things in my personal life have been very discouraging over the past week, and it’s got me feeling very glum.  The fact that it has rained all day today, all my kids are busy, and I have spent most of the day in a very silent apartment has not helped at all.  I hate it when I’m not perky.  I’m the antithesis of perky right now.

However, in a little over a month I’ll be jetting off with child #3, my dad and his sweetheart to that booming, amazing metropolis of Eden, NY.  I’m sure you’ve heard of it, right?  For those not in the know, go buy a REAL kazoo – you know, red or blue on the bottom, gold-colored on the top and made of metal.  On it will be stamped Eden, NY USA.  Or it should be.  Home of the authentic kazoo, sweet corn, and moi.

We’ll only be there 12 days, but I’m already exhausted thinking of all the things I want to see and do.  I have never been bored on a trip home.  Sure, it’s a sleepy little farm town, but you’d be amazed.

Fifteen minutes after our flight is scheduled to touch down, there is an open house at the Richardson Olmsted Complex, formerly known as the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.  My niece is interning there, and a non-profit group is restoring this beautiful old building and grounds.  Fortunately, they are doing rolling tours over the three-hour open house, so even if we don’t get there right away, we won’t miss the event.  Unless our plane is delayed a couple of hours.  Then somebody is gonna hear from me, because I REALLY WANT TO GO TO THIS!

Then there’s my niece’s band, Brother Keep, performing locally. Alumni weekend, creek hiking at Zoar Valley, the Lucille Ball Museum in nearby Jamestown, NY, architectural tours of  Buffalo, and on, and on… and let’s not forget my sister-in-law’s birthday, and Eden’s fabulous Corn Festival!  Did I mention it’s Eden’s Bicentennial?

I will be way too busy to be glum, even if it rains.  Hmm… maybe there’s a lesson in there for me.

Everyone Has a Bad Day Once in Awhile

Something weird happened to me last week.

Which is saying something, considering I teach eleven year olds.  It was Thursday afternoon, and one of my said eleven year olds lost his mind.  We were quietly having independent reading time (to decompress from two weeks of testing).  Not weird.

Two of my boys would not stay on task, constantly whispering back and forth and playing around.  Still not weird.  Aggravating, but not weird.

One of them is constantly off task and giving me attitude, but the other child is usually well-mannered and tries to do what I ask, although he’s very easily distracted.  So I asked well-mannered J to move to another desk across the room.  Here’s where the weirdness begins.  Though usually compliant, he refused to acknowledge that I was speaking to him and kept his back to me.  Huh.

So I told him to move to time out.  J turns his back to me, slams his chair in, heads to the time out desk and throws his belongings on the desk against the wall it was facing.  Now that’s weird.

Due to his inappropriate behavior, I asked him to bring me his planner so I could write a note to his family about said behavior.  He refused to get up.  Weird and aggravating.  I repeated my request as a command.  Still no movement.  What the heck??

When I picked up my phone and started dialing the office, he complied.  After a little back talk, I told him to go ahead down to the office and I would send his discipline referral along.  He punched the door and left.  Beyond belief.

Shortly after he left, I spoke with J’s homeroom teacher.  Seems his grandfather had thrown away the child’s speech that he had written for the speech contest, which was to be held that very morning.  This is A BIG DEAL in our school district.  All fourth and fifth graders in the county are supposed to participate.  And Grandpa threw away all his hard work.  That was before he got to school.  Then a classmate, who has trouble getting along with anybody, got into it with J and almost started a fight with him.  It had been a miserable, miserable day for him.

The young man was sent back upstairs to apologize to me.  And he indeed gave me one of the most heartfelt apologies I’ve heard in a long time.  And he’s been fine ever since.

Moral of the story:  Everyone has a bad day once in awhile.  Forgive them.

Welcome, Jakob

This will be a quick post, as I am supposed to be in the shower, or straightening my living room, or something besides this.

The past four months have flown by.  Four months ago, I became a grandmother to this little man.

Jakob on Christmas Day


Today, he will be baptized in the presence of his aunt and uncle, his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.  Another milestone in his life.  Another day for me to be thankful for the gifts in my life.  I pray we all do right by him.  Thank you, God.

Social Media and My Birthday

This will be a short post as I’m basically waiting for my clothes to dry so I can get dressed and go to work.  Ya gotta do whatcha gotta do, ya know?


My day is starting off quite nicely, thanks to my smartphone and facebook.  You see, it’s my 53rd birthday today.  As I live alone, there is no one wishing me a happy birthday as I awaken in the morning.

Or so I thought.  Silly me.  At 5 am, when I woke up (I hate it when I do that), I discovered a text message on my phone-slash-alarm clock from my youngest, wishing me a great day.   After fifteen minutes or so when it became clear I wasn’t going to go to sleep, I checked my facebook.  There was a birthday message from my son, who wanted me to know that since he was the first to wish me a happy birthday, he won the best child award for the year.  Apparently he edged out his sister by two minutes.  Big sister got a pass since she has an infant to deal with.

At six another text message arrived from my cousin, wishing me a happy birthday.  More birthday wishes from friends have been appearing on my facebook page.  And it’s only 7 am now.  I know some people find facebook an impersonal way to communicate such things, but I think it’s lovely.  And way more personal than a greeting card with a greeting card writer’s sentiments in it.

One of the nicest wishes came from my old friend Chuck in Japan last night.  Of course, it was already my birthday there!  I’m all about social media!

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