Y is for Yard

I love my yard.

I love my house too but this time of year the yard is my most happy place. It’s not that it is an especially large or fancy yard. There is grass and flowers and trees, like you would expect, but it’s more than that. It’s our little piece of land. It’s green and alive. 

 I think this “yard love” must be something that came from my dad. He was the only one of his siblings to leave Philadelphia and haul his family across the Delaware River to New Jersey because he wanted a house in the suburbs. Mostly, I think, he wanted a yard.  Growing up in a tiny row home with no outdoor space except the front stoop and the alley between the house and its neighbor may have fueled this desire.

My parents bought their piece of suburbia in 1956. It was a brand new 3 bedroom rancher, costing four thousand dollars secured with a loan from the VA. The lot was a pretty good size but it was bare except for the new sod so dad planted some trees and put in some shrubs under the front windows. We also had blackberry bushes that grew wild along the back. That summer he bought a lawn mower and a grill and invited all his brothers and sisters to come down for a BBQ.

The next year they put up a fence and a shed and a few years later, an above ground pool. My dad worked as a truck driver in the city. This was sweaty, hot work in the summer so every night he would come home, put on his swim suit and dive in that pool before we even sat down to dinner. I like to imagine him floating around, looking up at the blue sky and thinking “Ahh! This is the life.”

I’m channeling that same sentiment when I sit looking out at our yard. I admire how lush and green the grass is and how big the nectarine tree that my husband bought me a few years ago forMother’s Day is getting. I remember all the birthday parties our kids have had out there and how many holiday BBQs  we’ve celebrated. It’s my little paradise. My Dad would have loved it too. 


L is for (yay) Lunchroom Duty

You can tell by the title how this post is going to go.

I love my job. I really do and it is that fact alone that gets me through my least favorite hour of the day-11:30 to 12:30.  Lunchroom duty (oh joy).  My two comrades and I join forces to guide a room full of elementary school children successfully through a meal. It can get a little crazy. Let me break it down for you…

11:30-11:40-Grades 1, 2 and half of fifth enter the lunchroom (approximately 90 students). Main Focus: getting those student buying lunch safely to table without spilling said lunch on themselves or others; insuring that first graders don’t try to squeeze 8 students on to a bench meant for 4 (“Everybody scooch down! Joey’s elbow is in Eric’s Mac and cheese!”)

11:40-11:45- Open various packs of ketchup, mustard, salad dressing, etc. Clean up spills. (“Sit back down. Don’t touch his food. Please don’t play with your food!”) Open milk cartons, spread cream cheese, peel hard boiled eggs..you get the idea. And on a side note, if I ever get a hold of the guys who invented yogurt in a tube and juice in a bag, we are going to have some words!

11:45- Hold up the quiet sign to get students attention. Flash lights to get students attention. Say “BOYS AND GIRLS” really loud to finally get students attention. Allow those purchasing ice cream that day to form an orderly line. Quickly move. Clean up more spills. Open more packages. (“Finish up your food before you eat your ice cream. No blowing bubbles in your milk! Sit down.”)

11:55-12:00-Hold up the quiet sign again (see above). Call students by tables to throw away trash and line up. (“No running! Face front! Pay attention!”)  Accept hugs from happy first graders as they head for the playground. Check each others’ backsides for sticky hand prints.

12:00-12:05– Bask in the peace and quiet while our saint of a janitor cleans up the rest of the spills and empties the trash.

12:05-12:30- Do the whole thing all over with the 3rd, 4th and the other half of the fifth grade. Basically the same routine but with less spills and more drama.

Lucky for me, the next hour of the day is my own lunchtime. I go home to my nice quite house with my nice quiet cats and read a book….quietly. After that I can face the afternoon. I really can’t complain though. On top of all those hugs, I get to hear some pretty cute stories and now and then someone offers to share their cookies. How can you not love a job like that?!

G is for Girlfriends

I have four girlfriends that I’ve known for most of my life. Three I met freshman year of high school, the third I met in sixth grade. I might have met that one sooner but she used to throw dirt balls at me whenever I rode my bike past her house. I think she was jealous of my green bike with the banana seat and the sissy bar but that’s a whole other story. Anyway, after being inseparable through high school, we all went off to college or jobs then life took over and BAM it’s almost 40 years later.

One night, when I couldn’t sleep, I took inventory of our collective lives. These are some of the things I came up with:

Between us we have about 18 years of college.Two of us work in education, one in nursing and two in finance.

We’ve had a total of 5 weddings but only four of us have been married. Two of us have been divorced, one remarried and one widowed.

Between us we have 12 beautiful children including a sweet little girl who was adopted from Guatemala.

Two of us have traveled to Europe, four to Bermuda, and two to Mexico and of course we all love “The Shore” because we are, after all, Jersey girls!

We’ve had our triumphs and we’ve had losses and we have loved and supported each other through all of it. When I tell people that I still have the same girlfriends that I had in high school sometimes they’re impressed. I’m impressed too because the older we get the harded it’s become to keep in touch. But we have and I’m proud of that.

Girlfriends rock!

F is for Fresh Air!

Hallelujah! The windows are open! Let’s just take a moment to breathe in the fresh air. I realize that the air here in the suburbs may me a little fresher than it is for those of you who live in the more urban areas but to be fair I live in New Jersey and the air quality in the “Garden State” is sometimes less than perfect. Still, I love being able to turn off the heat and fully enjoy the indoor/out door lifestyle.

Hubby is a winter guy. He melts in the heat so each year we have a running argument about opening windows. Usually, as soon as I get up, all the sashes go up. He tells me I’m “letting in the heat. I tell him I’m “letting out the stuffiness.” Depending on how high the temperature goes that day, I usually get my way.

Seriously, though, there is something truly rejuvenating about a spring breeze, the sound of birds and the smell of the hyacinths. Ahh! Rejoice! The cold dark claustrophobic winter has finally ended! Breathe deeply, my friends!IMG_1212-0

E is for Energy

Energy is a weird thing.  If you find you are low on energy, one way to get more is to get up and do do something. It’s like if you pretend you feel energetic, you will be! A self fulfilling prophecy!

Case in point; every afternoon after work, my cup of coffee and ipad call to me.  I grab both, curl up in my chair and veg out. Then at exactly 4:00 this annoying little icon flashes on the screen and reminds me that it’s time to do some yoga. Never mind that I am the one who set this reminder to go off everyday, I still find it very intrusive.

Lucky for me and my lazy butt, I have my own motivational team (aka the family). Hubby heads out for his afternoon walk with a kiss and a wave, causing me to feel more like a slug. Next, Boy Child heads out to baseball/basketball practice. Since he never manages to close the door tight, I need to haul myself up to close it. On my way back I pass Girl Child on her way to do homework who says to me “I’ll sit in the den so you can do your yoga in here.”

Now I’m stuck! I can’t just sit back down no matter how little energy I have. And you know what, if I keep muttering “I think I can, I think I can” pretty soon I really can. Twenty minutes later I’m feeling more motivated and energetic. Amazing how that works!