January 26, 2018

Our heroes change over the course of our lives.  I know mine have.

When I was younger, my heroes were Madeleine L’Engle, Jean Kerr, Virginia Woolf, and a number of others.  They were female writers and several of them had families.   They made the combination of being a writer and having a family work for them.

When my children were little, my heroes were my children’s special teachers and their doctors.  Those people who made my world a better and safer for being in my children’s lives.

My heroes, all of them, have a few things in common.  Their goals are to do their jobs, their careers, their life’s work – to the best of their abilities, and to hope that this helps others to do what they need to do in this life as well.

I believe in heroes.

Who are yours?


October 19, 2017

There are some days when we feel efficient and useful.  Those days that you get your lunch, your breakfast, your hot drink of choice, and walk out the door in a short period of time, knowing that you even made time for a shower and that your clothes match.

Then there are the days when you have to walk back upstairs to your home, or to your car because you have forgotten something.

I had one of those mornings where I forgot something in my car.  I had to walk back twice.  The second time because I forgot my car keys when I walked there the first time.

On the positive side, the walk to and from my car is a nice one.  I work on a college campus that is well-treed with a reasonable amount of grass.

Yes, I did feel fairly ridiculous.  (Did I mention I also almost tripped on the concrete for no apparent reason as well?)

But, I did get a bit of exercise, and I actually have time this morning.  I am at the best part of the semester for me.  This is when my students are working on their final projects, and I get to have fun by mentoring them.

In short, I get to be productive by helping my students to be efficient, to learn, and to grow.

We all need to feel useful – every single one of us.

We need to feel as if we are being productive in some way, big or small, even if we cannot be efficient all the time.


January 2, 2017 – Live for Today

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2017.  We may not have flying cars, like Marty McFly from Back to the Future, but I think I had one of my best new year’s moments ever yesterday afternoon.

No technological toy was thrilling me.

Instead, my husband, my son, my daughter, our dog, and myself saw what we considered magical — dolphins.

For those of you who live near the beach, this might be a common occurrence.  To those of us who are normally land bound, to be given the opportunity for even a minute to see those magnificent creatures in the wild was amazing.

Our dog happened to be entranced by a few seagulls and was happily trying to chase them into the ocean, when I looked out to see the dorsal fin of a dolphin fairly close by.  The dolphin was at the edge of the wave, much closer than you would think possible — most likely due to low tide.

My son was able to snap a photo before the dolphins swam off into deeper waters.  I  could post it here, but then you would be seeing how large you could make the picture in order to spot a teeny tiny dorsal fin poking out of the water.  We weren’t able to get a picture of one of them coming out of the water for a breath.  But I’m okay with missing the photo.


Some moments are meant to be experienced in person.

Live in the moment.  

Remember the past, plan for the future, but live your life today.

May your new year be filled with peace and joy.

Sunday Evening Reflection – December 18, 2016

Sunday evening reflection – December 18, 2016

I feel as if a whirlwind is still circling around me.

I was at a chocolate Chanukah party this evening with a friend of mine at synagogue.  The women were kind, and the chocolate was a little too sweet, but fun.  As we were leaving, a friend asked if I could volunteer to help out with a project.  I know she was disappointed in me when I said no.  I know she felt I must be able to spare the time.

I don’t like disappointing people.

I also don’t like feeling overwhelmed by all the other commitments I have.  Some voluntary, some required – all of them feel necessary to me.

The last few weeks have been overwhelming.

The semester for the college courses I teach has ended this past week.  The grades have been finalized and posted.  Teaching is a joy and a privilege to me.  I am so grateful to have a job that I feel is making a positive difference in other people’s lives.

I have several close friends who have been going through difficulties over the last month.  I do my best to help out whenever I can, from picking up children and adults who can’t drive to making meals.

Friday was a flurry of driving my children and helping out others, to having to find someone to help out us when my husband needed a ride to urgent care.  Thankfully, our neighbor was able to help as I was across town and couldn’t get home in time.  Also, thankfully, my husband didn’t lose the use of his eye, due to an untimely accident.

Saturday, we found out a dear friend of ours had died.  He had been fighting cancer for more than a year.  We visited his wife and son today.  We will see more of them this week as well.  They are lovely people going through a difficult time.  We hope to be of comfort to them during this time.

I know that my friend from synagogue was disappointed in me for not giving to her cause.  I cannot give to every cause.  Nor am I willing to try.

I know that sometimes I find judgement to come so easily.  I assume that if someone is not willing to give time or effort to my cause that the person does not care, or has other priorities which I consider unimportant.

During this holiday season, whenever you think of assuming that someone else’s life is easier than yours, step back and think again.

You do not know what else is going on in someone else’s life.  I know that there are times when I wish to slow down this rapid pace of life, and take a deep breath.

I am grateful for my friends and my family.  I am grateful for my job and my ability to volunteer whenever I can to help out my children’s school, our family, our friends, our community.

I give with my skills, my time, my heart, my soul.    I am glad to do so.

Be gentle with yourself, and be gentle with others this holiday season.

Good night —


What Inspires Me – November 27, 2016

We take solace in the familiar.  We congratulate ourselves on being adventurous in exploring the unknown.

Sometimes I am not adventurous.  I know we learn outside of our comfort zone.

Next year, I want to do something different for Thanksgiving.  I don’t yet know what that will be, but I am open to considering different options.

Reading inspires me.

Reading can take me all over the world, throughout history, from differing viewpoints and lifestyles, ones I would never think to consider on my own.

I love to share my reading with others.  I think it’s more fun that way.

This next week, I will be moving forward from the Book Club (with third grade) I was doing last year with my co-Book Club leader to co-leading Reading Bowl (grades three through six this year).

We are merely getting our feet wet with Reading Bowl this year.  We have a dozen students, and they are reading most of the books on the Georgia Book Award Finalist list for this past year.  (My co-leader and myself read all the books on the list.)

My daughter surprised me when I mentioned I was co-leading the Reading Bowl at her school this year by telling me she wanted to participate.  Reading was often something other people did, for which she didn’t want to make time.

Over Thanksgiving break, my daughter fell in love with two of the Reading Bowl books I asked her to read.  She said that both books needed sequels.

I love walking into a room and seeing her nose in a book, almost as much as I love putting my own nose in a book for hours on end.

One of the fourth grade students I had pulled aside before Thanksgiving to ask to join our Reading Bowl group, emailed me over break to tell me how much she loved one of the books I had asked her to read.

To know that the next generation is enjoying learning is a blessing of which I am thankful.

Reading inspires me, and helps me to inspire others.

May you have a book-worthy season.


LLBean & Flannel Lined Jeans 25 Years Later :(

When I was in college, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I loved flannel-lined jeans.  I ordered 3 pair from L.L. Bean – one black, one cream, and one blue.

This was back in the days before low-rise waist appeared for women’s pants.

I am short-waisted.  I always have been.  Back in the 1990s, all ladies’ pants were cut high-waisted.  Which meant that when I sat down wearing pants, my pants were sitting on my rib cage.  (I inherited this trait from my mother.  She was short-waisted as well.)

Can you imagine having your pants sit on your rib cage?  Yes, it’s uncomfortable.

At some point in the last 20 years, some designer got a clue and figured out that women’s bodies were different.  Low and behold, lower waists on women’s pants appeared on the market.

I’m also long-legged.  My inseam is 32″.  This makes me a medium tall size.

I still have a pair of my flannel-lined pants from L.L. Bean from college to remind myself that I want a pair of flannel-lined jeans.  This time, I want a pair that fits my body.

Every once in awhile, I check L.L. Bean’s website, just to see if anything has changed.

November 2016 – L.L. Bean does have a pair of flannel-lined jeans in a lower waist.  They even have a medium tall length.  (1912 jeans)

Unfortunately, L.L. Bean assumes that if you want flannel-lined jeans in a medium tall length, you must be a size 12 or above. 

Did I mention that I’m most likely a size 8, maybe even a 6, depending on how the pants are cut?

Weirdly enough, if you want to order the 1912 jeans without being flannel-lined, you can order them in a medium tall length and be any size you want.

25 years later, and I still can’t order a pair of flannel-lined jeans for the winter that fits my body from L.L. Bean.

What Inspires Me – October 25, 2016

I teach Technical Communications, aka, business writing and presentations to a group of engineering students a few times a week.

What inspires me this week would be one of my students.  We met last week to discuss one of his daily grades.  He hadn’t read the assignment thoroughly, and had made a lower grade than he liked on the assignment.

Evidently, our conversation inspired him to redo a previous assignment – a major assignment that had been turned in a couple weeks earlier.  I hadn’t had the chance to grade the finals for this major assignment.  They had been sitting in one of the online computer folders, waiting for me.  He turned in an additional copy of the major assignment.  Then he came to me yesterday afternoon before class and explained why.

I tell my students that my focus is to train them to present themselves in the best light possible.  Know your audience.  In order to present yourself in the best light possible in the business world, you must write correctly – spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting all have to be impeccable.  Our world is incredibly competitive.  You must rise to the competition and meet it, before you can surpass it.

My student asked that I accept his reworked assignment, instead of his earlier version.  He made a good case for it.  I felt as if an employee had taken aside the boss and told her that the report had been sitting on the boss’s desk for the last few weeks, and would she like a more well-researched and updated copy.  He persuaded me.

This very same student also told me about the new project he was working on for the class.  He had taken the initiative to interview 100 students over the course of the weekend.  This is what a manager likes to see –  I told him that.

When my students reach beyond the limits of the assignment, when they truly learn – in those moments, I know that I am in the right profession, and I am so grateful.  They inspire me to be better, and to encourage them to be the best they can be.

Rubrics vs. Informational Interviews


May 17, 2016

Rubrics vs. Informational Interviews

Was it last week? I think maybe it was. My husband called to me upstairs, where I was working in our home office. He was telling me that he thought he had left his watch in the pocket of his jeans, along with some coins. He reassured himself that I always emptied pants’ pockets before I washed them.

I was staring at my computer screen, which had at least six different windows open. I was trying to get a handle on the curriculum I was putting together for the courses I am slotted to teach for next semester.

This past semester was my first semester teaching college, which has been a lifelong dream of mine. I enjoyed teaching my college students tremendously. I knew I needed to make changes to the curriculum. The students had requested detailed rubrics for each major assignment, instead of a broad, general one for the entire course.

While I appreciate the students’ desire to have detailed rubrics, and I have indeed created them for this next semester, part of me rebels against the idea. In a working environment, there is no rubric. Working in corporate world for over two decades has taught me that rubrics are useful only when actually used how they were designed and not slanted to be interpreted however those in charge wish them to be.

Frankly, I think informational interviews are more useful than rubrics. I have seen rubric be twisted too many times to believe in their usefulness.

To know how to interview a client or manager successfully is a skill I think I need to include in my curriculum for this coming fall. A true informational interview is an interview in which you are able to elicit information regarding a project, or topic of choice, to determine your next action step.

Unfortunately for my husband, I had already taken the step of washing his jeans with his watch inside. I tend not to check the pockets of jeans when I realize that one of the children has no pants to wear the following day, and I throw whatever dark clothes are in the laundry pile hurriedly into the washer.

Informational interviews are only useful if done before a project is complete, and if the person doing the interviewing is paying attention, or you will most likely end up with something rather worse than a non-working watch.


Falling – February 28, 2016

Have you ever been falling, or watched someone else falling, and time seems to slow down – like in a movie?  No matter how slow things seem to be happening, you know there is nothing, Not A Thing, you can do to stop what’s happening?

I did that today.

Somehow I took a wrong step, and suddenly, I was going headfirst into the wooden stair rail and the cement block at the base of the wooden steps in my backyard which lead to our porch.

I felt like time had slowed to a pulse beat, and yet, there was nothing I could do to stop myself from falling.

On the whole, I was really lucky.  My head wasn’t introduced to the concrete, although my knees and one of my elbows are a bit scraped.  No big deal.  I also have bits of splinters on the side of my palm, wrist, and fingers.  No emergency room or urgent care was necessary.  Although, I did need tweezers.

There are two perspectives – is the glass half empty, or half full?

As for me – I’m grateful that with my innate ability to trip, I’m fine.

I’m counting my blessings, and grateful for each one.

May you have a good week, and may your glass be half full.

New beginnings

January 11, 2016

New year, new beginnings.

I challenge you with a few tasks:

  • To be honest with yourself this year
  • To do your best to simplify your life
  • To find something, every day, for which you are glad or grateful
  • To find something in your life, every day, which you like or enjoy

Start out small – maybe you appreciate a new song on the radio, or a news broadcast about your favorite sports team. Maybe when someone bumped into you in the supermarket, they immediately apologized and smiled.

In the midst of our daily chaos, we have to find moments of joy. Everything whirls around so fast, the balls you have in the air come tumbling down in an instant. I know that sooner or later, I will drop one of my multi-colored balls in the air above my head. I’m not being a pessimist, I’m being practical. When one of the balls drop, I then am forced into a decision – do I throw the ball back up there, or do I let it stay on the ground out of play?

I’m a mom, I’m a writer. I have so many other hats, I don’t know how other people keep track of everything. There are some parts of your life you must keep track of – food on the table, a roof over your head, clothes to wear, and the rest of your basic needs to be met.

I challenge you to release some of your negativity this year, and to find your joy. Start with baby steps by finding bits of gladness here and there every day. Simplify your life, be honest with yourself. See where it takes you. It takes 7 days to make a habit. Try making a positive habit.

New year, new beginnings.