The First Day

Tomorrow is the first day of school for our students.  I’ve had 26 plus years of these first days, but I still get excited. Yes, I do love school supplies and the shopping trips to Target and Staples for new notebooks and pens and post its.  This year I even purchased a fake candle with a vanilla scent to make my room feel calm and inviting.  And yes, of course I love buying all sorts of new books to share with teachers and students. But beyond the special lunch box and newly sharpened pencils,  I just love the idea of starting again,  outgrowing ourselves (teachers and students), and trying to grow our work from good to great, and then from great to even better.  We are lucky to be in a field where we get to do this over and over and over again.

I wish all of you who have started, are starting tomorrow, or are beginning the year in a few days or weeks, a very happy New Year!  Let’s make it the greatest year yet!


A Vacation Plan Says So Much

My 28 year old daughter, who works and lives between Ferrara, Italy and New York City, recently had a week-long vacation (a rare event). Here is how she spent her time.

-She came home to Connecticut

-She spent time with us (her parents)! We went to vintage shops, spent time at the beach, and had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.

-She visited my father (He is 88 and was thrilled to see her!).

-She had a dental appointment (It wasn’t all just fun!).

-She shopped at Goodwill with her grandmother.

-She took walks.

-She read in the hammock.

-She went to the beach with a college friend.

-She cooked.

-She went for a run every morning.

-She watched Jeopardy.

-She just hung out.

I think the way a person spends their vacation time says a lot about what they value.  My daughter’s vacation plans made me smile.  I love the person she has become (and is becoming).



Cats and Daughters Cafe

Last week, I received this text from my sister:

Check out this cafe in New York! You can have Japanese snacks and pet cats!   I’m taking my girl to meet your girls there on Sunday.  Wanna join?

OK, I’m not a big  cat lover. Dogs are more my style. But an opportunity to spend time with my sister and our daughters….I’m 100% in. So I replied, “Sure. Why not?” It definitely sounded like a pretty cool (Lower East Side cool) kind of thing to do on a Sunday afternoon in summer.

So Sunday arrived, I met up with my sister and her daughter, and we headed to the city.  We arrived at the cafe, met up with my daughters (who live in NY), went up to the bar, ordered ourselves some coffee, and then headed in to play with the cats.  The woman in charge shared a long list of rules: Don’t pick up the cats, don’t touch the cats if they are up in the perches, watch out for the cats with the purple collars – they bite! Once we had agreed to behave, we entered the cattery.  The cats were few and were just sort of laying around (I guess that’s sort of what cats do.  I’m not really sure what I was expecting. Maybe some cute kittens?).  So we…sort of just sat around and pet a few of the feline friends who seemed interested.  We tried to engage the cats in some play, but most wouldn’t be bothered.  Two cats (brothers) were playing with each other, and that entertained us for a bit.  Our hour was up, so we gave the kitties a last pat on the head and headed back to the cafe for some Japanese snacks.

I can’t say I loved the cat cafe. This may be popular in Japan, but I’m not sure it’s going to catch on here (Now a puppy cafe.  That’s an idea worth investigating!).  But spending time with  my sister and our girls, watching them interact and laugh and talk.  That’s worth everything, even an afternoon watching a bunch of sedentary cats.



Summer Monday

I love the section in the Sunday Times where they share somebody’s weekend routine.  I love to hear about how people spend their leisure time. So today I thought I’d share a typical summer day.

Wake Up

On summer days, I wake up when I want to.  If I’ve gone to bed early, I get up early.  If it’s been a late night, I might sleep in a bit.  Today I woke with the sunlight and the birds singing and the sound of my husband grinding the coffee. I came down, kissed my husband, gave the pup a pat on the head, and headed to the kitchen to grab a cup of that fresh coffee.

The Morning 

I quickly checked email, Instagram, and Facebook.  I just want to make sure I check the Google Doodle, that I know if it’s National Doughnut Day or National Oldest Daughter Day, that I’m up to speed on the NY Times Breaking News, what my children are up to, and all the other silly stuff that exists in the world.

Then I make breakfast (homemade banana muffins this morning), and we sit out on the porch, dog at our feet, sipping coffee and eating muffins, and talking about the day’s schedule (or lack thereof).

Walk the Dog

It’s going to be a hot one today, so a friend calls to see if I want to join her for an early walk on the trail.  I grab the leash and the pup and we head out to take a relaxed 3 mile walk on the beautiful bike trail that runs alongside a gorgeous river.

Lunch with Friends

I meet some wonderful friends for lunch.  These are friends I taught with years ago, and we’ve maintained such a close friendship even though we have gone in completely different directions. We sit, relax, talk, laugh, share, and make plans to meet again.

Afternoon on the Beach

Then it’s off to the beach with another friend for the afternoon.  We sit near the water, the waves lapping at our toes, and we talk about everything from careers to husbands to children to grandchildren to traveling to concerns to celebrations, and then some.  We walk, we swim, we keep talking.  When we finally check the time, it’s after 5:30.  But who cares?  It’s summer! We stay a bit longer.

Time to Write

I return home, pour myself a nice glass of Chardonnay, and sit down to write.

I’m not sure what I’ll do next.  Maybe make some dinner, sit outside, read, and get ready for another beautiful summer day.