Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 – Grateful for “New Opportunities”

Sometimes I think it is my adventurous nature that takes me to various places; other times I think it is my FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and other times I just blame my ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) which I believe might just be my true issue. I get bored quickly and so, over the years, I have found ways to entertain myself. I look for new things to do that I haven’t done before. I love to go places, learn new things, take random classes, meet new people, and see new sights, so I create my own crazy plans to take advantage of new opportunities that arise.

The past 11 days have offered me several of those opportunities and as I look back at my calendar, my head spins!

As  a new member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Colleen and I attended the Mardi Gras Dinner at our Wednesday, February 6 meeting. Wearing our gold, purple and green beads and scarfs, we enjoyed our evening meeting new women of Irish heritage and enjoyed a couple of cocktails, great food, and a few laughs. I had never been to a Mardi Gras dinner before at AOH!

On Thursday, February 7, Leslie, Liz and I had dinner with Barb and Lisa and then headed off to a Cello Rock Concert put on by the Yale “Low Strung” group. That event took me back to Darien High School. I didn’t feel relaxed, but I totally enjoyed the concert! I had never been to a rock cello concert before!

On Friday, Feb. 8th, Colleen, Christine, Carol and I visited an Escape Room at PANIC in Vernon, CT. We had an hour to solve about 12-15 various puzzles and find the key and the Iron man figure doll that fit the story line. We needed an extra 10 minutes and I learned I am not the world’s best problem solver at 7pm on a Friday night! I have never done an Escape Room before!

Saturday, Feb. 9th found me cheering on our St. Augustine Dance team for the second year in a row. Even though this was not a “first time” adventure for me, it was a true joy watching the team dance their hearts out and bring home the “BEST COSTUME” award and first place for their division!

The cold lake of Winding Trails Park in Farmington, CT gave me and Colleen the opportunity to freeze our butts off for Special Olympics at the 2019 Penguin Plunge on Sunday, February, 10th. I have NEVER been so cold in my life, and as the guy in front of me said, “You can’t claim you have done the plunge unless you go all the way under!”……so we did!! UGH!! FREEZING!! But so cool to be a part of 200 Penguin Plungers who raised $42,000 in an hour!! Amazing! I had never submerged myself in water that had just been revealed and de-iced by the firemen before!

On Monday, Feb. 11th,  Dad turned 81 and Tuesday, Feb. 12th we were blessed with a SNOW DAY! A great way to celebrate the start of the week! I had celebrated Dad and Snow Days before!!

Wednesday, Feb. 13th, was a SIP AND STRIP at the Nursing Home. As a form of service, Leslie, Lisa, Liz, Debbie L., and I  joined Sr. Lucy and Sr. Francis to learn how to strip stamps from envelops to be cleaned, dried, then shipped to France to be sold as souvenirs at their Mother House. Who knew that reused stamps could help support the nuns in some small way!?!  So a couple of hours, a few sips of wine and about 400-500 stamps were stripped! I had never been a part of such an evening of service before! Such a nice night…doing something new!

The weekend brought a few new experiences in Baltimore with my sisters-in-law, Nancy and Jen. I don’t think I have ever really been to Baltimore! What a great city… the Inner Harbor and Fells Point area were amazing. I can’t wait to go back when the weather is warmer and there is outdoor music and people mingling on the brick walkways. I even tried crab cakes and Lebanese food!  Never even planned on doing that before!!

WOW…that is a lot going on! It was a very busy 11 days!

The reality is that, looking back on my calendar, this pace is nuts, but the great news is that I truly loved each of these moments that came into my life over the past 11 days. I am grateful for them and would hate to have ever missed them.

I look forward to the next 11 days! I am sure new opportunities will arise, new people will be met, good times will be had, and great memories will be made!  I am truly grateful for the new opportunities that are always on my horizon!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 – Grateful for the “SUNRISES”!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 – Grateful for the “SUNRISES”!

My closest friends would describe me as a woman who has more than 300 pictures of sunsets on my camera phone because “The sunset gets better every second and I don’t want to miss the best shot!”; however, for 34 years I have been an educator who has had to be at work between 7am and 7:30am and sunrises are my secret love!

In my first year of  teaching I sat in traffic from Fairfield to Norwalk on I-95 with a rising sun on my back pushing me into the day. For the next 30 years, I rounded the corner at the Ox Ridge Hunt Club with the sun peeking at me over the misty fields on my left hand side; almost waving good morning to me, cheering me on. For one year, as I drove from Norwalk to Bridgeport, the sunrise greeted me with a bright “hello” at the horizon of I-95, just beyond the trucks and McDonald’s rest stop, sliding past my right shoulder over the Long Island Sound.  And now, these past two years, it has ridden alongside my left hand side on Route 8; my partner in crime, helping me decide how my day might go; my contemplative friend and my silent prayer partner.The sunrises have surrounded me, literally, throughout my life.

The sunrises have also surrounded me figuratively throughout my life. On workdays they get up and get ready for their job alongside me, but even on the weekends, I am often awake just to “watch the sunrise”. I feel like it is a greeting from a friend that I happen to miss when I sleep in a little too late. My day is just not the same. For me the sunrise is a decision point about how my day will go. Will it go smoothly, as it peeks over the lake and mountains of my backyard? Or, will it stay unrevealed as the heavy clouds drape their way over it and not allow for a quick hello? I love to guess what kind of a sunrise will be there for me each day.

This morning was the hot pink mingling one with orange highlights whose brilliance can’t quite be captured as intensely on a camera phone as what it reveals to the eye. Other days it is a blue green, almost like the sea, with just a sliver of yellow-orange that separates the sky from the horizon. Yet, on other days, it is muted colors with white wispy clouds slicing through as if the clouds are racing the sun in an unannounced drag race along the highway. I love each one of them.

I believe my sunrises are special because they conjure up memories that come back to my mind in flashes of moments. They summon the camping trips with my family every July and August. They bring back the chilly feeling of the early morning walks to the latrines with the Girl Scout chaperones. They announce my arrival back home after an all night Prom Party event. They bring back the exhausting early morning feedings with my babies when I just wish I could sleep one more hour and yet, now wouldn’t trade those mornings for a million dollars. And they bring a smile when I think back to the morning Kevin had asked to see the sunrise at the beach so with our Dunkin’ Donuts hot chocolates and donuts, and a few stray wandering skunks, he watched the sun rise over Calf Pasture beach and I watched his eyes never blink for fear of missing it. The sunrises in my life have brought me countless precious moments.

I will always love the beautiful sunsets I have witnessed at the end of my busy days, but yes, I am truly grateful for the “sunrises” that bless me at the start of each new morning.