School Begins. . .I’m Retired!

school busTuesday, September 02, 2014

Today I am grateful that school begins. . .and I’m retired!  Happy Snoopy Dance here!  Since I retired last December, this is my first time experiencing the first day of school, when I won’t officially be there as a secretary.  Yea!


Oh that sounds so. . .so. . .I don’t know, smug, annoying, probably a little nasty.  Sorry.  Sort of.  I worked hard at the school.  FYI-EVERYONE works hard at a school.  EVERYONE.  Don’t even think that one has it “easier” than another because they don’t.  They have different issues, and some days go smoothly, some don’t, but everyone works hard.  I’ve worked in corporate America, with long hours and big projects and it was a piece-o-cake compared to working in the school.  Unless you’ve worked in a school you really have no idea!  Sorry, but you don’t.  Standing behind a chair cranking hair with fussy, complaining, hard to please customers, was good training, but even that was a breeze by comparison.


My old school now has a fantastic new principal and I am very, very happy for all of them.  She will be great. She will give the faculty and most especially the students a wonderful opportunity to thrive.  She is such a good principal that I’m a little sorry I’m retired.  Hah!  Got you!  Not even.  Love her. . .but I’m still glad I’m retired.


Then I think of this first day and the children with their shinning faces, all dressed up in new clothes, with new backpacks, new pencils that still have points and erasers, paper tablets that haven’t been crumpled. . . with their hair combed and I remember how cool first days are.  Terrified smiles try to hide their fear, especially for the little ones, who are eager with anticipation to meet their teachers, yet very unsure of this whole school thing.  We’d line up outside and greet the buses, waving and welcoming. Ah, those were fun days.  Fun FIRST days.  I might take a moment today to miss that.


Okay, that was enough.  I’m over it.  Because although I’m grateful for school beginning. . .by tomorrow it will be the second day. . .and then it really begins. . . and I am grateful that I’m retired!

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Philadelphia Murals

Phila - Mural - boy holding up tree Phila - bld mural - man with periscope Phila - City mural Phila - Mural-street scene-cop car-LS Phila - Tuscany mural-CUMonday, September 1, 2014

Today I am grateful for the murals of Philadelphia.  The other day when I was driving all over Philadelphia, I saw wonderful “pictures” on every corner.  My eye is drawn to the unusual. . .have you met my husband and friends?  But, hey, if I can’t text and drive, no way can I take pictures and drive.  Right?


Then I got the idea to just hook my little digital camera on my wrist and lean it on the car door with my window open and my finger on the shutter.  I know it sounds complicated and distracting while driving, but it really wasn’t.  With digital who cares if I click that shutter a million times?  I’ll just delete them and it won’t cost a dime.  But if I’m clicking a lot, I’m bound to come up with some gems, especially with a little judicious cropping.  I took 88 pictures that day. . .not all from the moving car, but a lot of them were.  Only five were useless blurs.  BINGO!


The murals in Philadelphia are amazing and everywhere.  They are not just in the historic and downtown district. Although there are tours of the amazing Mural Arts Project, that doesn’t mean the art stops there.  Almost every neighborhood with a large windowless side of a building has a mural on it and boy am I grateful.  Some are better than others but all of them reflect the history, neighborhoods and cultures of Philadelphia.

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Crazy Pictures

Phila - Spruce St park - reflecting circle Phila - Spruce St park - car in hammockSunday, August 31, 2014

Today I am grateful for crazy pictures.  Did you ever see a great fountain, tree, historical site, haul out the camera, take a picture, then notice something curiously odd when you looked at them later?  Yeah.  Me, too.


We walked around in a great Philadelphia park off of Spruce Street, right on the Delaware River.  I took a ton of pictures and will share more of them another time.  I love the idea of the conversational fountain and reflecting circle.  I also love the idea of colorful, sturdy, two-person hammocks laced through huge old trees all over the park.


I am grateful that the two could be combined into a one crazy picture.

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Black & White & Gray

Phila - Bridge over Schuylkill River - LS - B&WSaturday, August 30, 2014

Today I am grateful for Black & White & Gray.  The extremes of black & white are never ending.  There are black & white rooms, furniture, clothing, education, taste, visions and opinions.


Sometimes when I take pictures I play around with them and give them different tones.  Sepia.  Pink.  Gray.  Orange.  It’s fun.  My sister posted black & white photos yesterday on Facebook, which got me thinking about how many shades of gray there are in a simple black & white photo.  This photo of the bridge over the Schuylkill River was plain and boring until I changed it to black & white, then it went POW!


As much as I like the starkness of black & white, for me, the varying shades of gray are where the story is.  Just like in life.  Extremes on either end. . . too much, too little. . .of just about anything are difficult and can be deadly.  Too much, too little food; too much, too little government;  too much, too little information; too much, too little technology; too much, too little education; too much, too little money; too much, too little opinion; too much, too little common sense.


The world seems out of balance these days with too much black & too much white.  We seem to be living in an all or nothing type of society.  But where is the gray?  I feel strongly about many issues, but I also also try to switch it up, turn myself around and hear another opinion even if it angers me.  When I notice another gray area and balance the pros and cons, maybe I’ll adjust my original opinion, maybe not, but I have to at least look at it.


I love black & white.  It’s healthy and exciting to swing to extremes and I am grateful for that option.    But for me. . .most of the time?  I prefer to spend my days floating in the soft, comforting tones of gray.

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?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Phila - John at Schulykill RiverFriday, August 29, 2014

Today I am grateful for the lottery.  Take a deep breath. . .no we didn’t win and if we had I certainly wouldn’t be posting it for the world to see.  We are, however, planning on winning next week, so if I go silent, watch out!  Hah, like silence is even a possibility.  Better chance of winning the “big one” than of me going silent and that is a true fact!


There’s an old story and I don’t know who first told it, probably some comedian.  I will paraphrase. . . Avey says, “Dear Lord, every day I watch the lottery on TV and I never win.  Why are you punishing me?”  The Lord replies, “Avey, you got to buy a ticket!”  So we do.  Not we. . .HE.  He buys a ticket or three, or I don’t even know how many.  He’s sure we’re going to win.  I’m sure we’re going to win.  So are ten million other suckers. . .er. . .folks.  We’ve won a buck or two, nothing more.  “It’s because we’re not going to win all of those little ones, we’re being saved for the BIG one,” I tell him, trying to encourage him.  I don’t want to burst his dream.  He has such hope.


We play the “what-if” game all the time.  “What if we had 40 million bucks?”  He does the math to figure out how much would be cash in hand and then we dream.  The question is “What would you do with. . .?”  You can play, too, but you have to follow the rules.  Your first response cannot be, “I will start college funds, buy my mom a house, get my son out of debt, blah, blah, boring!”  Of course you’d do that.  We’d ALL do that.  This game is what would YOU do. . .for YOU?  Your dream come true!


We’ve travelled all over the world with this game.  We’ve bought an RV and spent a whole year touring the USA and Canada, with our sports car hitched on the back and our motorcycles strapped to the roof.  With this game we’ve found the perfect lake, with perfect fishing, and a perfect vacation house, and we’d get the perfect pontoon boat to hook up to the perfect dock.  Then we’d take our grandkids to New Zealand and ride on the Orient Express.  It’s exciting to think of having enough money to do anything you want, whenever you want, without concern over how much to rob from Peter to pay Paul.  It’s cathartic.  It’s invigorating.  It’s pie-in-the-sky-no-crap-awesome!  It’s the kind of thinking that the lottery folks count on.


Well. . . we won the lottery today.  What?  Didn’t she just say they didn’t?  I lied.  After some recent blood test results had us worried sick for the last few weeks, my husband got a great medical report.  Terrific news!  The best!  We are every word in the Thesaurus for happy.  So today, we did not win cash, but we sure did win the lottery!   And I am very grateful!

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Chubby Fitness

chubby fitnessThursday, August 28, 2014

Today I am grateful for chubby fitness.  So I get up early this morning and pad around the house puttering at a few little things, tea, newspaper, yogurt. . .nothing to break a sweat.  Gimme a break.  It’s morning!


Then I turn on the TV and learn that some sadist has now invented a workout shirt, yes a SHIRT that will “inform” me if I’m breathing enough, eating too much, burning off too few calories, not working hard enough, blah, blah, blah.  I thought all of these years my bra, jeans, mirror and conscience took care of that.  I guess I was wrong.  Who knew?  Just what we chubby fitness folks need is something else to shame us!  At great cost.


Go ahead and buy one if you want to, but I won’t.  I don’t like my clothes dissing me.  I can self-flagellate very well by myself, thank you.  My clothes just need to shut up!  I didn’t buy Wii fitness either.  It seemed like a good idea at first and then someone told me that when you step on the pad it criticizes you if you’ve gained an ounce.  I didn’t want to give the thing laryngitis screaming at me.  Hey, I did it a favor. . .and me.


No, I won’t buy something that thinks its job is to remind me to breathe!  I learned to breathe a long, long time ago.  Every day when I get up I’m still breathing.  I might sound like a person without a goal, but breathing every day is good enough for me!  Sometimes if I feel stressed or sad, I’ll even deep breathe seven times in, hold to a seven count, breathe out counting seven.  So I can breathe and count to seven.  Countries were formed and lost on less!


Keep your lousy, yammering shirt.  Go invent a cure for cancer, unwanted facial hair and idiot drivers!  Stop wasting my time!   I am grateful that I am a member of the chubby fitness group and won’t feel one bit compelled to buy one.  I might have extra cellulite, but I also have a brain!  Anyway, will this stupid shirt come in a XXXXXXXXLLLLL!?  No?  Yeah, that’s what I thought!  Cowards!  Breathe. . .breathe. . .breathe. . .

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Big Red Chair

Phila - Mary in big chair Phila - John in red chairWednesday, August 27, 2014

Today I am grateful for a Big Red Chair.  My husband and I took another of our day treks to Philadelphia yesterday and had a blast.  Expect a couple of future posts on this day because we sure did pack a lot into it.


One of the highlights was after we picked up our son, Matt and he directed us to the new Spruce Street Mecca, near the Hyatt on the Delaware River.  It’s not called Mecca, but that’s what it is.


As we walked around, Matt said, “Let me take your picture in the special chair.”  I looked around and saw a lot of brightly colored chairs, but none looked particularly special.  I squealed when I saw it.  “An Edith Anne chair!” I shouted, shinnying myself into it and striking a pose.  My son looked for a nearby rock to hide under.  Others looked at me like I was nuts.  But I’m sure some of you remember when Lily Tomlin sat in a huge rocker, dressed like a little girl and told stories about her family before blowing raspberries at us.  Pbpll-bpblll-spit!  You must!


I am grateful I had the opportunity to sit in an enormous, lipstick-red, Adirondack chair, which catapulted me back to a happy time in my childhood when Saturday Night Live gestated some of the greatest comics of our time and life was so much easier.  Himself. . . the pouty little boy?  He’s just happy he could get in it. . .and out!

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