late november catch-up

IMG_6072Public Service Announcement: “Regularly used in text messages or online, the word/ letter /phrase /term, “K” really only means one thing: Fuck You. The use of a “K” should be reserved for very selective moments of frustration or annoyance, otherwise it sends the wrong impression.” Read more here.

Am I the last person in the cyber world to know this??  Perhaps.  I can definitely think of specific people who have used this with me.  If they meant it in any other way but a casual “okay,” I was clueless.  I think of myself as a relatively savvy-for-an-old-lady online participant—I do wonder where people get their gifs from and so quickly after I message them.  My older daughter has promised to show me.  But this, K stuff is perplexing.  Who told who and when and why did they leave me out? Continue reading

apples, prejudice & bao

img_5756The week opened into this new season.  I moved to Newton in the middle of summer but I am experiencing every bit of this new season as it rolls in.  Skies are blue except when they are not; dusky greens are just beginning to show color and we need more than our summer blankets at night.  

Last weekend, we picked apples in Stow, MA.  Saturday began with clouds and I was betting we could make it to the farm, pick apples and leave before the rain set in.  However, the rain began in earnest as we crossed the border into Stow.  So, we found a cafe in Maynard, the next town over, where we ate grilled cheese and I had a good coffee.  We parked next to a Harry Potter shop, found out that there is a Wizard’s Con in November, and looked at a lot of cool stuff.  Then the rain stopped and we were able to squish around in the apple orchard and bring home a bag of apples.   Continue reading

our new world

F4797A75-796A-4825-A9D8-80FCB91A8BBFLast week, Julia’s inclusion facilitator (a post previously called “case manager” and hereafter IF) told me that Julia was not put on the bus list in error and if it was possible for me to drive her for the week, she would get the bus this second week of school.  I agreed, jotting down the bus as a topic of conversation for our meeting this week.  Sunday evening, the bus service called me to tell me when Julia would be picked up on Monday.  This morning the bus was early and so tooted its horn for us.  I went to the door and Julia was out a few minutes later.  I talked to the driver who actually seemed to know the the time quoted to me was too late and that they were still making adjustments.  She apologized that I did not get phone call before this morning about changes.  I feel like I’m living in some utopian bizarro world!  In Madison (I’m not going to repeat the bus saga, the sped bus never tooted its horns if Julia was not waiting for it.  A bus pulled up to our house, waited a few minutes and then left.  There were a few times when I complained the bus never showed up and the dispatcher said that the bus was there, waited and left.  If the bus was early, especially in the early days of ninth grade, it could have escaped our notice.  So, this little curtesy, a tooting of the horn seems like a miracle to me. Continue reading

first friday


~ I found a coffee shop with WiFi and other folks sitting and tapping away on laptops.  And pretty okay avocado toast and latte.  It is on a side street that is the size of an alley.  I had looked for it yesterday and couldn’t find it.  Clearly, it is a gem as there could not be much walk by traffic.  And I found a parking space.

~ Parking.  If I moved directly from Park Slope, Brooklyn, to Newton, MA, I would opine that parking in and around Newton was a challenge but not impossible.  However, having spent umpteen years in the midwest, parking in Newton feels close to impossible at times.  Also, having a line of cars behind me and no place to pull over and let them pass when I am looking for a parking space is uncomfortable.  I’ll get used to it, I know, just now . . . I am very grateful for early Jersey training in parallel parking.  The skill is like riding a bike. Continue reading

morning pep talk

Julia finished two days.  She has come home happy both days.  I’ve gotten no frantic phone calls, emails or texts from anyone at school.  She lost her binder on the first day (found yesterday) and her new to her jacket on the second (she will look for it today).  There is a strict phone rule in her physics class—if the phone comes out in class, you lose it.  First time, until the end of class, second time, it goes to the house office with unknown consequences.  Good black line rule for Julia, nice that it is for everyone. I’ve driven her to school these two days and I will do so tomorrow as well.  Buses are messed up (Did I bring that challenge with me?).  Interestingly, the bus dilemma is not confined to sped buses and there was a general email from the principal about it yesterday.  He admitted that the primary reason for the problem is not enough planning and he has an idea about what to do for next year. For the present, more parents are driving kids to school.  Just like West, Newton North sits in the middle of a suburban neighborhood and as such does not have the roads to support school drop off traffic.  Our 6 minute drive takes 20 and getting out of melee takes more. The buses will help.  I think Julia appreciates our time in the car.  High anxiety yesterday, a slightly lower level this morning. Continue reading

first day of everything

First day of 11th grade

Tuesday: First day of Julia’s Junior year at Newton North High School.  Today has been a bit more than a year in the making.  The first queries I wrote to Boston area high schools, when I was still just toying with the idea of moving, were dated mid-August 2018.  So, today feels like crossing a finish line and at the same time, it is the beginning of another big adventure.  

I drove Julia to school this morning and her case manager met her at the door.  Julia went in at 11, an hour before upper class students were due to arrive and two hours after the freshman class started.  The Sped administrator, who has been our life line since we arrived, suggested the time and it gave Julia a chance to have lunch and settle in before the school filled up.   Continue reading

end of august

The Salem waterfront

Sitting in a coffee shop whose name I’ve already forgotten.  There is no free wifi here which suggests that I will try the Starbucks around the corner next time. My car is parked at a metered space that I probably don’t have enough time on. I can’t always tell if there is a time limit on parking spaces. Julia is at an orientation for new students.  She is anxious and scattered and so am I.

New reality: Carry change for meters. Find a coffee shop with free wifi. Get acquainted with feeling scattered. Continue reading

perfect impermanence

432344A0-42BB-428A-9AE6-065C84CA861D“The deeper that sorrow curves into your being‚ the more joy you can contain.” ~Khalil Gibran (Also, Sr. Francis said something like this to me when I sought her counsel after my first “true love” broke up with me. I have been taught the same lessons over and over.)

Writing around the photos from last week when I should be making phone calls. I almost posted pictures without words, thinking that energy should be put to the practical and useful.  I let that thought pass.

We made it to a beach on Friday.  Unfortunately, the beach itself was not all that hospitable. Revere Beach, which to tell the truth I had been warned might disappoint. It was low tide and the waves were smaller that Lake Michigan’s waves on a sunny day. The damp and wet sand was covered with a bit of sea weed and a lot of brown oozy stuff. I googled around trying to figure out what it was but the best I could find was a newspaper description of “yucky brown stuff that smells.”  Is it bacteria? Have I been away from oceans for too long to know what is normal? Continue reading

last days at west

According to the MMSD calendar, the last day of school was June 12.  However, the high school exam schedule was for June 6 and 7 (Thursday and Friday), as well as June 10 (Monday).  Months ago, I had assumed that a closing date of June 12th meant that Julia would be in school until that day.  As it turned out, the one exam Julia was scheduled to take on the 10th could be given to her on the 7th, and so, Julia had a rather anticlimatic last day of 10th grade/ last day of West High on Friday without many good-byes.  We went back on Monday to take some pictures and say some farewells.  Julia is taking good memories of her time at West High with her.

Continue reading

the pace of change

Not at all what the house looks like today, but my favorite picture of my home.

House on sale today.  The listing.

The House: Staged.  Stripped of it finery.  My finery.  Even the periwinkle walls of my bedroom are bleached white.  Adorned with ersatz tchotchkes and fake ferns.  Upstairs hall echos when I call up to Julia in the morning.  The ethos of the house is a disturbing dream of a home I have abandoned but not left.  Dali or Esher-like?

Me: tired, grumpy, stressed. Discovering how home is rooted in the art on my walls and the books on their shelves. Terrified that the pace of change is picking up. Yes, I know, I pushed that stone down the hill. Continue reading