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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Nanny's Manicure

Now,  most young women who have babies return to work. It was not like that when I had my children. Hiring the right nanny, babysitter or choosing day care is all stressful and a difficult decision. My daughter tells me her friends think very highly of their caregivers, and appreciate the job and kindness being shown to their children. Nanny's become part of the family, and we all would like to choose our family.

That being said, I went to the nail salon today. It was a quiet afternoon. The ladies who work there are very pleasant, and eager to please. It is a nice atmosphere. A caregiver came into the shop pushing a double stroller. There was a baby and a two year old. She asked for a manicure. She was clearly an employee of a family. The owner said I can take you now.
  The nanny said I have to feed the children first. She propped a bottle for the baby using a small towel, and handed the two year old a yogurt and a spoon.

She sat down for her manicure. Different customers played with the baby who had lost his bottle. The two year old decided to explore the nail parlor, touching the dryers, plants, and climbing on all the stools that spin. The nail technicians tried to occupy the children. The nanny remained in her seat giving orders to the child. I did not know what to do. I left the shop when I could, deeply disturbed. I told my daughter the story and she said maybe the parents told the nanny to get a manicure? I hope to meet these parents in town one day. What would I say? What should I have done? Something is very wrong here, or is it just me?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

There Is A Call For You In The Office

Our radio station's weatherman is a celebrity. At one time, he made trips to schools, to educate classes about meteorology, it is a very special day. The children and parents are photographed and mentioned on the radio. It is the urban version of 15 minutes of fame. I wrote a letter to the station explaining why my class was worthy, and you hope to get chosen. I did this and offered a homemade cheese cake if Mr. G. would come to my school.

He didn't come, but on my way to work he mentioned my name, the school and my cheesecake offer,   It was fun to hear. The school was far from the station, and not accessible by train, we lost due to bad location. I was a minor celebrity that day.

In those years there weren't cell phones. We could not use them in the classroom if there were.. All calls came through the office, and the secretaries paged you... My class was babysat and I was told to report to the office for a call.  This usually meant bad news, today it didn't.

I received a call from a man who had heard the announcement on the radio. There is no privacy in a busy school office. The supervisors and student were all there. The man explained that he remembered me from High School. He knew my brother, ( I am an only child) .he recognized my voice. We had dated briefly, and he regretted our break-up,  things were not going well in his marriage, and he never forgot me. Was there any hope for us?

I went from celebrity, to marriage counselor. I explained I am not the person you seek. This is my married name not the name I had in High School. I do not have a fact we have never met! He did not believe me. I went on to tell him this was a fantasy... to forget the past, and patch things up with his wife. Memories are fun, but live in the present!

At this point I had the attention of the entire office. I had stopped office traffic. I was uncomfortable with my new almost famous status. I said goodbye and asked my admirer not to contact me again. I stopped writing letters, I ate the cheesecake.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Why Are You Wearing Pajamas To School?


Meeting my school friends for lunch  encourages work stories to resurface. Like war buddies we share common experiences. Hard times become fond memories now. Here are a few. After 27 years, teaching you meet interesting families. The young children are influenced by the quirks and whims of their parents. Sadly I have had children asleep in class because they spent the night in the emergency room with their battered mothers. Some children hit and kick the dolls in the play area, because that is what they watch at home.

There were also happy families and delightfully funny children. Jon was one of them. He had 7 brothers and sisters. His mother was a professional singer and on weekends she sang at clubs and engagements. Dad became the sitter when she was away. We were a uniform school but occasionally the children wore their regular clothes. One day Jon came to school wearing his train pajamas and slippers. Daddy is taking care of us today, he happily offered when I looked surprised at his attire.

Open school night brought Jon's lovely mommy.  Her hair , make-up and clothes made her look like a fashion model. After we discussed how well Jon was doing in class, I asked her how her show had gone? She was surprised I knew she had been away. Jonathan came to school wearing P.J.'s and slippers, he brought cake for lunch. She laughed and said, " his father was the babysitter".

Mercedes was the third child of a family I knew well. I had taught the children and their cousins. She was the baby and determined not to attend kindergarten. Regardless of who brought her to school she screamed and cried and threw herself against the classroom door. Eventually she would be exhausted and sleep at her desk.  It was a terrible. I was ready to agree that she was not ready for kindergarten, and kindergarten was not ready for her. Grandma came to visit me. She told me that Mercedes had done this for two years in nursery school and it was time for her to attend kindergarten. Please teacher, please help her!

As soon as Mercedes understood this act was not going to work, she
adapted, and loved school. Kids are always interesting, so are their families. Life in kindergarten was an education for all. Remembering is a
wonderful thing.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Teen Mom

Today there are many cautionary shows for teenagers about early pregnancies/ I like the shows. They are realistic about the hardships, and things they must give up to be teen moms. It shows what 16 or 17 year old boys really want, trucks, new tires, video games, and to hang out with their friends. The teen's parents are usually supportive, but the teen parents are emotionally and financially not ready. They do not they continue their education, at least not now.

All this reality programming was not around when I was a teen. I attended a large High School. Regardless the size everyone knew who the popular students were. I don't know how I came to meet Ronnie but our last names began with the same letter, which means we must have sat near each other in class. She was smart, attractive, and a baton twirler. This meant she had the right friends. She was all the things I wished to be.

Ronnie also had a boyfriend. I always thought he acted like an idiot. He was a year or two older, tall blond, but silly and loud. She was always smacking him, and telling him to stop doing foolish things. I thought she deserved better. She clearly adored him.

At the end of High School I heard she was pregnant. Her mother told my mother they had been secretly married and now all the news was out. This did not surprise me really, I thought Ronnie was a very moral girl. Her mother was showing the marriage certificate around to save her daughter's honor. I went to college, and my own dating life began in earnest. Ronnie, husband and child moved into my apartment building. We would pass in the elevator, or I would see her pushing the baby on a swing. I always said hi, but deadlines, classes, dates prevented me from sitting down and visiting.

One day we had a chance to talk. She said she sees the life I have and wished she would have waited to marry and have a child. She wished she had my life. Hello 1972. Back to the future...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Affairs

I worked for a handsome and kind man. He was married and had children. There were many beautiful and willing ladies who would have loved his attention.  He had a " best friend" for many many years. She was an artist, or believed she was. They had that in common. It was a professional relationship-- and more. She was not attractive, nor young. She was bossy and difficult to work with. I did not know this was his paramour for a very long time. I knew and liked his wife. The stories I heard made this all hard to believe. There were clues. She drank from his coffee cup, he held her pocketbook when she left the room. It was all so familiar... What did he see in her? Why her?

My neighbors planned to relocate to Florida after he retired. He was joyful, she unwilling. Finally, he was going and she would join him..They had been married a long time, and I guess she was not ready to start a new life alone. He was a handy man. He painted and fixed things and always loved to give advice. Again not attractive, thin, slightly stooped, thinning hair, glasses. They bought a house in Florida. They loved their dog. He started to do odd jobs in the new neighborhood. and met a woman 10 years older then him. She had been married several times. She lived a few houses from them. I saw them together by chance at a movie theatre. It was clearly not his wife. He moved out, and in with  his new lady. My friends divorced. I had occasion to speak to his wife. She told me the dog was confused, he did not know which house he belonged at.  The dog would walk down the block and get disoriented.

Why do people have affairs? Do you leave to find a new life? What do people look for? What are they running away from? What are they running too? Maybe the heart knows no reason? It's a mystery...

Dr Phil, calling Dr. Phil...

Saturday, April 6, 2013


As I weigh in as a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers ( 11 years), I am thinking about food.  After my monthly weigh in I treat myself to something sweet and special.  It is my reward for 30 days of vigilance.  Imagine if my addiction was heroin, instead of food?

I do A LOT of cooking.  I cook by choice.  I like to chop and peel and shop for food. My specialty is using left overs in a creative way.  Sometimes the outcome is great.  Other times only a good effort.  Food is interesting. I like color and texture. I love root vegetables.  I am sure I grew all I ate, somewhere in a past life, seed to meal.

I came across this quote in a Weight Watchers booklet, perhaps it will speak to you...

                                        "No one who cooks, cooks alone.
                                        Even at the most solitary, a cook in the kitchen
                                        is surrounded by generations of cooks past, and the
                                        advice and menus of cooks present, and the wisdom
                                                 of cookbook writers"                                               
                                                                                      Laurie Colwin

Finally I share a food story.  My neighbor is 94 years young.  She is clear of mind, walks everywhere, and does not believe in doctors.  She eats plain food, and not much of that.  I do share my home baked sweets with her- she likes a sweet treat.  One day she was telling my mother and I about a perfect dinner she had the night before.  It was a chocolate bar and a cigarette.  My mother asked her if it was dark chocolate?

Food,  you can't live with it, you can't live without it...  sounds like men.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lights In The Sky

We lived in a house, tucked away, on a forgotten street. The children played hockey, and football. They rode hot wheels and we knew all the neighbors. This was before GPS's. Nobody wandered onto our streets. In those years the kids had many activities and I was always driving someone somewhere.

I was in the car with my daughter who was a young teenager. We were heading home it was almost 5:00. The sun was beginning to set, but not for us. It was now very sunny and very bright around our car. I could see shadows surrounding other houses and trees. We were in high noon. My first thought was a helicopter with a strong search beam looking for someone. There was no sound. Weren't helicopters noisy? We turned the corner and still the glaring bright lights. My daughter's eyes were as big as saucers.

I was afraid to stop, and afraid to continue. We got to the house and ran in. I returned outside. Nothing, no lights, no sound, just a fading sun and evening approaching. My neighbor was out with his two young children, and thought my story and I were crazy. He had no idea what I was talking about.

Something was above us. Somebody knows what we experienced. That somebody is not me. All my life I have looked to the future and the sky. Was this the day I had been waiting for? I still wait and keep looking up.