Tale of Two Bugs: Weekly Photo Challenge

I took this picture with my phone when my husband and I were on a lovely trip to Vermont.  We were enjoying breakfast at the local diner and this bug joined us.  The sun hadn’t yet come around to the window boxes so it was easy to get up close and personal!

dialogue bugs

Check Out These Dialogues




As Summer Winds Down

I was wondering when we’d see a writing prompt about the beginning of the school year; here’s today’s:  As a kid, were you happy or anxious about going back to school? Now that you’re older, how has your attitude toward the end of the summer evolved?

Kelly in K
Kelly in Kindergarten

I loved going back to school for most of my kindergarten through ninth grade years.  Finding the right lunch box for elementary school, new school clothes and shoes that would be reasonably fashionable for junior high, and calling friends once we got our class schedules in the mail, kept us busy for the last week of the summer.  It always seemed that the weather would cool off the week before school started–you could smell the start of the beginning of the school year.  Wearing our new corduroys or new sweaters would be a great  idea on the first day because the air was cool and brisk.  However, we’d be sweating to death when we got off the bus to get home, and the sweater would be left on the hook in the coat room, because (technically) it was still summer!

Much of my career has also revolved around an academic year calendar.  The summertime we hope things will be “slower”, time to catch up and do some planning, but finding that’s never the case.  As we push past the Labor Day weekend things around the office return to “normal”; everyone is back from vacations and meetings are well attended.  Normal also means that it will take longer to get to work in the morning if I leave, even a few minutes, late because buses seem to stop at the end of every driveway now.

On the other hand, back to normal also means that I get to do some back-to-school shopping for myself; new office supplies, new sweaters and shoes–even a new lunchbox.  After all, grownups deserve to get excited about the crisp, cool air and the chance to start something new, too.

Today’s thank you goes out to the all the folks who help make the start of the school year successful for all the kids in my neighborhood!

Back to School Bloggers’ Blues

A Week Ago, This Happened

A week ago I was in my doctor’s office, the result of chest pains and anxiety.  It’d been going on for several days, maybe a week or so; and I knew that if I was feeling poorly on the weekend and not just at work, something was not right.

A week ago my doc ordered a bunch of tests; EKG, Stress Echo, blood work.  She also ordered me to be out of work for two weeks.  After the appointment I went to the office to tie up some loose ends and let folks know that I would be out. I hadn’t eaten or had much to drink the prior 24 hours or throughout that day, feeling too tired and nauseous to eat or drink.  By the time I got home I could barely walk up the three stairs to my kitchen and the arms of my husband.

A week ago I found myself on the bathroom floor, being propped up between the tub and sink with my husband saying, “what happened…are you okay…can you feel this…?”  As he went to call 9-1-1 I thought, “This is it, I’m having a heart attack.”  I’d seen the Elizabeth Banks video that shows her as a harried mother, wife, neighbor, worker, who even as she’s having a heart attack, wants to clean up the house before the rescue arrives.  I felt like I had all the signs and symptoms.

A week ago I was in the emergency room with IV’s dripping and nurses and docs asking lots of questions.  All of the tests my doc had ordered earlier in the day ended up being done in the hospital.  I know now what it’s like to have a “head CT”, a “chest CT with contrast”, an x-ray of my foot, an ultrasound of my carotid arteries and my heart.  EVERYTHING came back clean.  Thankfully, no heart attack, or any issue with my heart for that matter.

A week ago I was helped by: the fire department that got me out of the bathroom and to the hospital, nurses Betty and Joe in the ER, the incredible ER doc who was so thorough, all the techs who did ultrasounds and CT scans, and the CNA’s who made me comfortable.  I can’t say I’m entirely “better” one week later, but am quite grateful for care I received while being treated.

I urge any of you who read my blog to not wait until February’s Go Red for Women event to be aware how women and men’s symptoms differ.  And, while I am not happy to be on this forced vacation but I will take full advantage of it so that I don’t find myself here again!

More blogs to check out:

Into the Fray In the Garden

The photo challenge posted last Friday, Fray, make me think about your garden, again.  A picture from the beginning of the growing season shows the grapevines as they snaked their way along the garage.  The second shot shows full, lush leaves that crawl well beyond the frame holding them up now that several months have passed.  We have to duck under the green canopy to get to the tomatoes and the squash!  We’ve been reaping the benefits of all that’s been growing and continue to “enter the fray”, every day.

grapes 1



The Fray of Bloggers:


Positivity Doesn’t Need To Be A Challenge

I finished my daily Thank You postings last Monday and spent this week not writing, but thinking about what to write.  I’ve landed on an approach I think will work for the next 365 days.  I want to use my blog as a way to share gratitude and positivity; stories, ideas, insights–things I come across that strike me and I hope would bring a smile to you.  Here’s the first one:

happy girlsRecently on Face Book, I’ve noticed at least two friends who’ve taken “The Positivity Challenge”.  There are a few different challenges with fan pages; for five or seven days you post three things for which you’re grateful that day.  Not unlike thanking someone everyday, the thought of stating your gratitude out loud is a pretty powerful thing.  According to this article in Psychology Today, if you break the process of being mindful about gratitude into small steps, you can more easily make it part of your daily routine.

Give it try, see if it works for you.  You might surprise yourself!  Oh, and thank you for stopping by!

Positive Bloggers:

525,600 Minutes: How Did I Measure My Year?

When I started thinking about how to frame this last post of my “year”, all I could hear in my head was this song from RENT.  I’ve never seen the movie or play; I just am always so moved by this particular song.  The hair on my arms and the back of my neck practically stand at attention, I am so moved–every time!

For all but two days of the past year I’ve spent a part of my day either writing or thinking about writing or posting something to this blog. It’s been  challenging, interesting, and gratifying way to mark a year of my life.  I’ve hoped that in some way it’s helped or inspired a reader, especially the people I don’t know who’ve read these posts.

Here are a few interesting bits about the last year I can use as a measure of the impact of this blog:

360 Followers (that’s almost one for every day)

377 Total Posts (I liked doing the weekly photo challenges!)

19,846 Views (as of today at 12:00 noon)

863 Total Comments made on my posts (okay more than a few are from my Mom, but she’s my mom!)

All-Time Best Day 600 Views, the post:  Boys Will Be Boys Is Unacceptable.  (It’s one that raised some awareness about a very sad and personal story of the daughter of a college classmate.)

What I enjoyed most:  Writing about my family and posting pictures that are meaningful to me and to them.

Biggest surprise:  When I wrote about my grandson’s third grade teacher I knew she probably would never see it, but of course that was never the point of this blog.  Surprisingly, last Christmas I got a lovely greeting card from her thanking me for the blog.

Continued hope:  That everyone who’s stopped by and read at least one of my posts will have found something to be grateful for, daily, in their own lives.

To everyone who has stopped by over the last 525,600 minutes: Thank you, and I hope you keep reading and keep saying thank you to anyone who contributes to who you are…I will!


The Post That Started It ALL!

I originally posted this as the first entry of my year-long crusade to thank someone every day.  Tomorrow will be my last post, and I’m still working on it!  Please enjoy this one today; I can hardly believe how quickly this year has gone by!


The idea for this blog has rumbled in my head even since before blogs existed. I’ve often thought of the many people who come in and out of my life. I’ve been taught to sing, read, cook, teach, type, see, care, love, risk, fear, and many other things along the way. About 4 years ago I had the chance to thank one of those people in person. My 5th grade teacher!

Mrs. Fontana

She was awesome and we, her small class of about 20 students, were awestruck. Strict? Yes! Caring? Yes! She wanted what was best for each of us. Pushed us to try harder, to do things that made us each believe we could do more!

My husband and I were out to dinner at our favorite restaurant, D. Carlo’s, a nice, low-key place where you could sit for hours and eat and drink some of the best Italian food I’ve ever had–which is a story for another day. There I sat with my husband, celebrating our anniversary, when in walked a party of four. An older and younger couple, clearly related to one another, and sitting just a few tables away. The older couple, regal and striking, heads held high and an air of deliberateness in their stride. I said to my husband, “I think that’s my fifth grade teacher.” He didn’t believe me at first, how could I possibly remember who I had in the fifth grade. Well, I remember all of my teachers from elementary school, I told him.

But how did I know it was her? Well, Mrs. Fontana played the piano for us, mostly it was a Friday afternoon treat, but sometimes we could talk her into a command performance if we were particularly well-behaved that day. The year I was lucky enough to be in her class she decided that we would do a school play. Lots of music, terrific songs from well know shows and movies like the Flower Drum Song, Mame and Meet Me in St. Louis.

Mrs. Fontana played the piano that stood in the classroom. We’d stand near, as each of us jockeyed to get a good view of her and to be as close as we could to the music. Her long fingers breezed over the keys and would only come down hard on them when she was trying to get our attention. It was her fingers that I remembered most. She had two rings on them. One, her wedding ring; the other, one that looked like a paint brush stroke around her finger. I don’t entirely remember if it was gold or silver.

I said to my husband, I’m sure: it’s her! Look, her fingers. There’s the ring I remember. I excused myself from my husband and told him I had to speak to her, to say “thank you”.

I approached the table, asking pardon for my interruption, but was she, in fact, Mrs. Fontana. Before I even had the entire question completed, she said, “Kelly?” Can you imagine! Five of the eight kids in my family had her for a teacher and she remembered me!

She made me sing a solo that year; more than one I think. I told her that, had I not been pushed to do something as uncomfortable as singing “I Enjoy Being a Girl, I probably would not be able to do the public speaking I do today. I told her that I had to thank her, that without having her as a teacher I’m not sure I’d be where I am today!

As we left the restaurant, I was thrilled I had the chance to have said “Thank you” to my teacher. It is a moment, that without sounding to cliché, I don’t think I will ever forget!