The Wellesley Effect (SOLC 21 of 31)

Sitting on my counter is a fundraising appeal from my alma mater, Wellesley College. The envelope that it came in, and the gift giving card are smartly labeled, “The Wellesley Effect.” I’m not going to lie, it hooked me. Yes, I had been part it – the Wellesley Effect.

Wellesley wasn’t my first choice. As a High School Senior going to an all girls college didn’t seem to be what I thought I should want.  But it was the best school that I got into and from the moment I was accepted, they made me feel wanted. Every letter, every new student reception, every person I met, made me feel safe and supported and hand-picked to be part of the Wellesley Effect.

I had a fall back plan – I’d transfer to Cornell sophomore year (that’s where my Dad and brother went). But, I didn’t need to. After freshman year Wellesley had cast it’s magic on me and I was staying. I stayed all four years on campus – even  though I thought for sure that I’d go abroad.  Once Junior year came, I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving the idyllic campus or of interrupting the leadership opportunities that I had worked towards.

My college years absolutely helped me find myself and my passion.  As the fundraising letter says, “…Wellesley teachers you how to learn, how to determine what is relevant and true and how to be agile and resourceful in your thinking…” – yes, yes, it did.

This summer, my daughter will spend 3 weeks at Wellesley in the EXPLO camp on campus. I am so thrilled for her and hope that the finds the same feelings of safety and passion and ways to find the leader in her that I felt 20+ years ago.

Usually, I have to admit, I toss the fundraising letters in the trash (they come so often!). But, today, it sits on my kitchen counter a bit longer and I’m thinking about sending off a check to support the continuing the spirit of the Wellesley effect, because, there is no doubt that Wellesley had an effect on me.

One-Way Bridge Standoff (SOLC 20 of 31)

It’s a weekday commuting irritation. It’s a place where those in the know, know how to navigate it, and those who don’t – or don’t bring their patience – cause disruption for others. It’s the two-way, one-way at a time, bridge that I cross daily as I commute to work.

You see, it’s a yield to the other side kind of system. It’s a follow-the-leader over the bridge assumption. It’s a you-can’t-really-see-the-other-side, so go slow and hope that no one is on the other side situation.

On good days, we all take our turns, alternating who gets in from each side, following the first car who has a clear path and taking it slow over the one way bridge.  On bad days, two cars from either side go at once and meet in the middle – a bridge standoff. Both refuse to back up. To be honest, neither can back up easily. And so begins the bully brigade of cars, pushing the other backward, forcing all those behind it to also inch backwards until one car reaches the edge of the bridge and can awkwardly pull aside with just enough room for the rest of the line of cars to squeak by.

Deep breath. Patience my friends, patience. We will all get where we need to go. Just need a little patience.

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Must Watch: The Kindness Diaries (SOLC 19 of 31)

If you haven’t seen the Netflix series, The Kindness Diaries , it’s a must watch. In a world where news is all too political and divisive, where our focus is instantaneous satisfaction and material items and where we too often don’t have faith in others… this show is a good reminder that faith and hope and kindness can prevail.

The premise of the series is this: Leon, the host, travels from California, across the US and then to around the world trip solely fueled (literally) by the kindness of strangers. He leaves his house with no money, 1 tank full of gas, no change of clothes and spends each day finding strangers, making their acquaintance, sharing their stories and hoping to find some food to eat and a place to stay.  The stories are inspiring, to say the least.

I started watching the first episode last night, at the recommendation of my son’s Hebrew School teacher. I watched with my husband and my son and we were hooked. The first episode ended and we started the second. The second episode ended and we started the third.  I could have watched all 15 episodes at once (had it not been time to go to bed).

We all need a bit more kindness in our lives. I can’t wait to watch some more episodes and to be inspired. If you need some kindness inspiration too, need to be reassured that there is goodness out there – start watching The Kindness Diaries. You won’t be able to stop!

Oven-Baked Pancakes (SOLC 18 of 31)

Some recipes withstand the test of time. They are enjoyed generation, to generation. This is one of them.

Weekends are for Oven-Baked Pancakes. An alternate to regular pancakes, this one is baked in the oven, more custard like than cake-like and enjoyed with lemon juice, powdered sugar or syrup.

My mom used to make this for me when I was little. It was a special treat. It was a weekend treat. Now I make it for my daughter. It’s also a weekend treat. It’s easy and not too time consuming, but it’s special enough to save for a Saturday morning breakfast.

It’s the kind of breakfast that requires a special oven-safe pan. That’s okay, it’s a deliciously different breakfast treat – it can require a special pan.

The hand-written recipe (from my mom’s friend who gave her the recipe)  was given to me in a recipe book put together for my engagement party years ago. I know the recipe by heart, but still refer to recipe on the blue and white card in the blue and white floral 3-ring binder – special recipes from special people.

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it out:

Oven-Baked Pancake

Ingredients: 3 eggs, 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. milk, pinch salt, 1 T sugar, fresh ground nutmeg, 2 oz. butter, lemon juice, powdered sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Beat eggs lightly. Add milk, four, salt, sugar and nutmeg. Mix well.

Place butter in a 10″ cast iron or oven-safe skillet. Heat until melted.

Pour batter into hot skillet in 450 degree oven. Bake 10-15 minutes or until very puffy and golden brown.

Serve topped with lemon juice and powdered sugar.

Serve IMMEDIATELY!

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Roots (SOLC 17 of 31)

I’m a Mahoney (now), a Weisbart (before marriage),

a Jewish girl,

with roots from Germany and Russia,

married to a Mahoney

a Catholic,

with roots from Italy and Ireland

with two kids

who are now

Irish-Italian-German-Russian,

being raised Jewish,

but who everyone assumes isn’t

because with name Mahoney,

shouldn’t we be Irish Catholic?

 

Be the change – SOLC 16 of 31

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – M. Gandhi 

Be the change

BE it. DO it. MODEL it.

Set the stage,

follow the script,

and BE the change.

Not talk, but action.

Not research, but movement.

Be the change.

Ignite the spark.

Model the response,

that you wish to see

in the world.

Be the change.

Poppy’s 100th Birthday (SOLC 15 of 31)

Yesterday would have been my Poppy’s (grandpa’s) 100th birthday. He died at the age of 66, when I was almost 10.  It’s hard to imagine what he would have been like today. Born in 1917, my how the world has changed! My aunt Ellynn says that the one thing that he would have loved the most about the modern times is the Internet – he would have loved having so much information at his fingertips.

I don’t remember many things about him, but I do have some key memories that have become the whole of the memories I have:

  • His beard
  • His glasses
  • Playing solitaire with him at his house, him in his big blue chair with the snack table in front of him, me on his lap or standing behind him on the chair.
  • His pipes. If I am anywhere where someone is smoking a pipe (which is very infrequent these days), the smell always conjures up images of him.
  • His smile.
  • His warm laugh (always with his grandchildren).
  • His loves of reading books which lives on in all of his grandchildren.
  • His business as an optometrist – he always made sure I had glasses that were on trend!

Happy 100th Birthday Poppy! Hope we are making you proud!

On the Eve of A Snow Day (SOLC 14 of 31)

This poem was originally written Feb. 8, 2017 for another Snow Day, but it seemed appropriate to post today given that many of us got our snow day calls early last evening.

 

On the eve of a snow day,

Called early in the night,

There is pleasure, excitement,

Pure delight.

 

A no-alarm morning

PJs all day.

Some work,

Some movies and

Definitely some play!

 

It’s a gift from Mother Nature,

Not one to rebuff.

It’s a day to refuel

And it’ll be just enough.

 

Take in the white blanket

Of snow covered trees.

Rejoice in the quiet, the peace,

Of the noiseless streets.

 

Be still in your mind,

Be still in your soul,

Treasure this gift,

Take the time to feel whole.

I’m Writing, I’m Writing (SOLC 13 of 31)

I’m writing, I’m writing as fast as I can! You see, I’m on a mission. It’s a mission that I set for myself – to write a handwritten note to every student sometime between the first day of school and the last day of school. It’s one that I’ve done every year that I’ve been an administrator.  This year I have about 430 notes to write. I’m probably about half-way done.  These images below are of the wonderful and amazing stacks of stories that I read this morning and some of the numerous notes that I wrote to students about them. I’m writing, I’m writing as fast as I can.

When I was in elementary school, my Principal, Dr. Clark, would often write us handwritten notes in beautiful calligraphy. While I don’t have his calligraphy skills, I do remember how proud I was to get those encouraging notes. And so, from the first year I served as an Assistant Principal, I’ve written notes too.  And I hear from students and parents that they are cherished – that they hang on the bulletin boards and refrigerators in their homes, that they are put into scrap books and that they are saved and reread. I love that. I love that my notes linger and live on and give students an opportunity to know that they are noticed and loved and believed in.  So, I’m writing, I’m writing, as fast as I can to meet this year’s deadline and make sure that everyone gets a note. IMG_6273.JPGIMG_6274.JPG

You are enough (SOLC 12 of 31)

“Dear Evan Hansen,

Today is going to be a good day and here’s why, because today, today at least you’re you, and that’s enough.” – Finale, Dear Evan Hansen

If you haven’t seen this musical yet, run to see it. It is a heart-wrenching, soul-searching, guilt-invoking musical that resonated all too well for many different reasons.  I’ve been listening to the sound track non-stop lately (partially because I love it and partially because my son is now also hooked on it).  The songs aren’t happy ones – they are emotionally driven and raw, but they are about accepting who you are and being okay with that.

On many days we can often feel beaten down by the process of work, parenting, marriage and life’s demands, this musical has a wonderful message.  “You’re you and that’s enough.”

So today, as I push through the demands of a Sunday, and try to breathe through the stress of returning to work tomorrow, I’m going to listen to this song over and over and tell myself, “Dear Me, Today is going to be a good day and here’s why, because today, today at least you’re you, and that’s enough.”  Thanks for the inspiration Evan Hansen.

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