Monday, June 24, 2013


I just had a long weekend without my kids.  I kept myself happily humming along with writing projects, house projects, training, finishing up the school year, and easing into summer. 

Yesterday completed week 7 out of 18 of my training for Pumpkinman Half Ironman, and though I could certainly stand to get more miles in, I'm feeling good so far. 

Here is last week.  Two each swims, bikes and runs.  The training plan, by the way, calls for three each, but I do what I can do.

Sunday morning I had no kids and no reason to get up early, but I still got up at 4:30 to ride with Suzanne.  That is love right there.   On our ride we saw a rainbow, hardly any cars,  and stayed just ahead of a rainstorm.  So beautiful. 

Later I got in my first open water swim of the season with my friend Susan paddle boarding beside me. Then we switched in the middle of the lake and she swam back while I paddled.  I stayed in my bathing suit for a few hours after on a warm and windy day and held onto that relaxed-from-the-inside-out feeling that comes from a good day of exercise.

When I am training for a big race, I always have a day when all of sudden my legs feel different, like the muscles kick in.  I felt it yesterday.  It felt so very... muscly.  Muscly legs might be the main reason I'm doing all of this training. 

On the Summer Solstice, I got to spend an uninterrupted day with my girl Marjorie from Brooklyn.  Nothing like a girlfriend who's been through it all with me, serves as a touchstone, and makes me laugh.  I loved spending the longest day of the year with her.

I swooped her from the airport and we went straight to the coast, spent a few hours with this view talking about everything under the sun.  It was probably the most beautiful, warm, and still day I've ever had in Bar Harbor.

Seafood with a view.

Sunset on the solstice.  I dropped Marjorie off in Sorento for the weekend, and had a beautiful and silent drive home.

Speaking of sunshines, here are my three:

I have to say I am so productive when I don't have the kids, and can train hard, write, hang with friends, and focus on other parts of myself.

But when I get them back,

 and I get these faces,

the sun shines even brighter.

Sunday night I got everyone back around one dinner table, on the deck, and there were ice cream cones for dessert.

The first Monday of summer means Reed goes to ART CAMP and Skyler and I, along with a crew of favorite friends, are going to jump in a lake.  Enjoy the sun, everyone.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

all in a week

Woah. This has been one heck of a busy week. I'm just coming up for air.  Here are some glimpses:

I hugged goodbye many amazing seniors, including this beauty, at last week's Senior Banquet. 

Watched Tim hit a line drive. 
Ate sushi with Tim and Hillary.
Stripped wallpaper and painted and shopped for carpet and stripped more wallpaper.  And then re-wallpapered.  Holy cow, that is a big job. 
Rode 30 miles with two of my favorite people.
Enjoyed 6 am on a Sunday, a quiet and lovely time to ride.

Watched another class of seniors graduate. I miss them already.
Watched Reed finish out his baseball season.

Helped the kids prep for their last day of school.

I am getting closer to summer with a few more hurdles before me.   I am about to spend a lot more time barefoot.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

this I believe.

I use the "This I Believe" essay series from NPR with my high school students every year.
They are a wonderful teaching tool because the essays are short, succinct, and have a perfect balance between story telling and reflection.  I start by sharing several examples with kids from the NPR databases (there are thousands of sweet and inspiring essays there).  We then write lists of things we believe and share them, and then eventually, students choose one belief to elucidate in a short personal essay.  They are my favorite essays to read.  They make me laugh and cry and have hope for humanity.

Because I admitted to my class this year that I had never actually written my own "This I Believe" essay, I decided to commit to writing one, and that is where this post came from.  It was sort of like birthing a child to get that essay out of me, and one cool added benefit of getting back in touch with the difficulty of the writing process was that I could tell my students about the experience.  I told them how hard it was to write, and how, by the time I had a draft I was reasonably happy with, it only had 3 sentences in common with my first attempt.  I also shared the essay with them which was a leap for me to do, and they were awesomely supportive.

It turns out that I believe a lot of things.  And so do my students.  Here are some of mine interspersed with theirs, written on my chalk board.  

I believe that teaching is truly the best and most joyful job.

I believe in starting my day with coffee and silence, and in getting up very early to do so.  

I believe that the kind of energy you put out into the world will be given back to you.  I believe that you have control over the kind of interactions you have with people, and if you are kind and patient and diplomatic in all situations, then you will get that back in spades.

 I believe that everyone needs a good therapist at some time in their lives. 

I believe there is beauty everywhere you look if you are looking for it. For example, check out the sky I saw last night at a red light on the way home from baseball.  

There is even love in a sweet potato, if you're open to that. 

I believe that being a parent forces you to constantly work on being a better person.  Within every hour, I am somehow challenged to do things and react to things and think about things with more patience and love.  When your kids are smart and have really good memories about what you say, you have to work even harder.

I believe that if you have more than one child, then figuring out ways to spend time with one child at a time is a tremendous gift to both the parent and the child.  I also believe in piling the groceries right on top of Reed.

I believe in setting goals and telling people about them to hold myself accountable.

I believe in cooking colorful meals and eating with people you love.

I believe in buying fresh flowers.

I believe in singing at the top of my lungs in the car.

I believe that fresh air and a hard run can solve most problems.

I believe that writing helps you figure out what you think.

And that, my friends, was one full week of blogging every day.
With love and thanks for listening.  XO.

Monday, June 3, 2013

baseball confessional

Every once in a while, out of the blue, Reed says to me:  "I just cannot believe you went to a Yankees game in New York.  What were you thinking, Mom?"  Considering I taught my kids to boo for the Yankees since they were just learning to talk, I guess he has a point.

Reed is doing a little bit of a Jon Papelbon stare down, but a little less intimidating. 
Below are my two former Red Sox loves who have both moved on to other teams.  Johnny Damon first drew me into the Red Sox.  I'm over him, but I really did get a little flutter every time he came to bat for a few years there.

It's been two years, and I still miss Jon Papelbon.  We watched him play against the Sox the other night and I do not like seeing him in a Phillies uniform.  I love the way he pitches like a badass, and pumps his fists when he wins the game.  Look at that leg.

Trying to find my new Red Sox crush was seeming unsuccessful so far.   There is just not current one player who totally does it for me.   I have my favorites, for sure, but it's not the same.

I adore David Ortiz, our Big Papi.  But I just want to listen to his adorable accent and watch him hit home runs.

 I also love the new kid,  Jackie Bradley, Jr., but I kind of wish he was my little brother.  How cute is he?

The catcher, Jarrod Saltalamachia, has a lot of potential, and it's fun to call him Salty:
But he has made extremely unfortunate decisions about his hair.  Can someone please tell him?

I know a lot of women have a thing for Jacoby Ellsbury.  He's so reliable and fast and daring.  I feel like we have watched Jacoby grow up as a Red Sox, but he's still such a baby face.  Again, I'm thinking little brother, though admittedly a very handsome little brother with a nice jaw line.

I love John Lester, too. I feel totally comfortable when he's pitching; I don't ever have to bite my nails,  and plus he has a great cancer survival story. Who doesn't love John Lester?
Overall, I just have this loving, endearing feeling about everyone on the team; I'm attracted to the whole conglomeration (except Johnny Gomes);  I get a charge out of all the high leg kicks that the pitchers do, all the fist pumps, the cracks of the bat, all the muscly forearms, even the spitting. 

Now, if the pitchers would just stop wearing those dumb hemp necklaces.

GET THIS.  Tim used to play on a semi-pro baseball team in Portland.  They played in Red Sox uniforms, as in, they played in genuine previously-worn RED SOX UNIFORMS.  He was 27 and chewin' and spittin' and lookin' fine. 

I found my Red Sox crush.  Right next to me all along. 

I also get to have the local men's softball league, and Tim under the lights whenever I want.  I especially like the way he taps his bat on the plate.
Then we go home and either watch the Sox together, or I hear myself say things like:  "Can you please stop doing the dishes and come watch the game with me?"  He's a keeper through and through.

Sox fans out there, do tell.  Who has caught your eye?  Kirsten and Elizabeth, I'm talking to you. 

Go Sox!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

and we were so happy we rubbed dirt all over our bodies.

Things that did not happen today: neither a bike ride nor a run, nor that stack of papers that need to be read by tomorrow.

Something that DID happen today: I had to register the kids for the next year of early morning rec program that our town offers (because I have to be at work an hour and a half before their school starts) and the sign up was today at 9 am. I knew that people are hard-core about getting in line early for these highly coveted and limited spots. I got in line at 6 am with my camping chair and coffee, 3 hours early, and I was 33rd in line. Considering there are only 35 spots, and some parents have more than one child, 33rd place was Not Good. The first people there had been in line since before 4 am. This felt like an episode of Extreme Parenting.

 Long story short, I sweated it out because it did not look good for me to get spots for my kids, and finding another option would be hard and stressful, and lo and behold I got the LAST TWO SPOTS for early morning care.

I said OMG! and PHEW! and WOW that was close! for the rest of the day.

A few posts ago, I wrote about how the sign of a successful weekend is how dirty we all got?
This weekend was a huge success. 

Today, playing with the hose with our friends turned into getting muddy...

Which turned into dancing while covered in mud...

Which turned into all the kids taking off their clothes and taking a bath in the little pool on the driveway.  Not pictured.

It was another hot one today, into the 90s, and we all have slightly sunburned shoulders to show for it.

Just to round it off, we ended the day with some more dirt;  Tim and I planted 6 arbor vitae which involved digging (Tim) and mixing manure with potting soil (me), all while the temperature dropped about 20 degrees and a gorgeous wind came in.

Right now I have two exhausted kids sound asleep upstairs while I'm feeling the breeze blow through the silent house.  Ahhh.  Can you feel that?

Oh right.  The papers to grade.  Off I go.