Posts Tagged With: Slice of Life Tuesdays 2012

Where were you Yesterday?: Conversations with Eileen & Slice of Life Tuesdays

Morning my friend and Slicer Friends,


I LOVED yesterday and for most of it I enjoyed the warmth of my living room with MSNBC  keeping me rooted in DC.

Four years ago I was there, freezing and stuck in an  area with Tuvia,  propped up against the side of a building, covered in his hat and my scarf with no hope of even hearing the new Obama’s speech until I found a small bar with one precious  table just  opening up for us.  Hope and change- YES!  We watched the Inauguration on TV even though it was happening less than a mile from where we sat.  But we had a bathroom, hot coffee and food! We shared our table with an immigrant  couple from Mexico who had to come to DC as we had to  see it for themselves. We all cried.

And this year… here in my cocoon, in my pjs with coffee in hand once again, as Obama made his way to the front of the Capital, grayer,  more confident, and more comfortable, he was on fire and once again I cried, even though he has missed the boat on education.  Let me repeat that: HE HAS MISSED THE BOAT ON EDUCATION!  But I’m going to give him another chance to see the light.  In fact, I’m going to send him a link to my documentary when I follow my buddy Christine to Finland and we get a closer look into the FInnish approach to education.

For now I’m going to enjoy the Progressive President we have with us.  Finally he could come out!

I did take a break from the festivities to get a guitar lesson with Jon.  That was some workout.  I did get dressed and get out to have dinner with good friends. And I did get to finish a first draft photo book for my nephew and his new wife and I am ready to live through yesterday a second time with Tuvia who was working yesterday.  Today’s a tough one for him as he waits to see election results from Israel.  But this afternoon, we will share yesterday.

4 More Years!

Missed you yesterday,


Categories: Conversations with Eileen, Slice of Life Tuesdays 2013 | Tags: , , | 14 Comments

So Interesting: Conversations with Eileen & Slice of Life Tuesdays on Wednesday

Morning Friend and Friends,

So sorry I’m a bit late, but I needed to wait and digest a bit.

I have been supervising student teachers since I stopped teaching full-time and I’ve had amazing student teachers and then of course, the challenges 🙂 Right now I’m in one of those challenging experiences and I am still loving it because I keep growing too.

One side bonus is the adventure of meeting and working with cooperating teachers in schools I have never visited.

My current  student teacher is in his second placement at a private school on top of a mountain overlooking the Hudson River. WOW, what a gorgeous spot and how crazy, I didn’t bring my camera.  Next time, I promise.

My student teacher is an undergrad from Korea, so English is his second language like at least  50% of the students who attend this school.  So here, all teachers have to be ESL teachers no matter what their subject.  My guy suffered through his first placement  at a traditional high school, working with an excellent teacher teaching 11th grade juniors.  Now in a school with smaller classes, working with students who are very much like him, he is still challenged.

Conclusion: teaching is tough no matter what and who you get to teach.

For me, even though one semester is too short for a student teaching experience, I love moving along with the new teachers who fall into my lap 🙂



Categories: Conversations with Eileen, SOLSC 2012 | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Sandy’s Coming: Conversations with Eileen/SOLT

Evening Friend,

I’m writing tonight just in case we lose power and I’m disconnected.


I don’t remember the last time I didn’t have my computer, my iPhone and/or  my iPad. My hands are shaking already and you with missing letter on your keyboard for years, would be laughing.

One good thing about being with Tuvia is that even when I am engaged in upcoming disasters he is still ignoring them and almost laughing and my need to prepare.  So yes, he did allow me to come along as he shopped a bit for the days ahead and yes, he did let me put a few dry items in the wagon, but for the most part he are carrying on as normal and maybe that’s a good thing, you know?

Today the City was quiet, the highways, in and out were easy to navigate and we enjoyed Once with almost a full audience.  We met Jeff and Marla and raced for our Paramus diner for dinner before they made their way  back to Ellenville and we were just down the road from home.

Our day was a normal one and I hope that tomorrow will be the same.  Fingers crossed!

Good night everyone. and thanks Stacey for inspiring me to post tonight.  Let’s hope we all have power 🙂

And you my friend,

I’m thinking about you always,


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

The Babes of the 92nd St Y: Conversations with Eileen & SOLT

Yesterday I hosted my band of babes for a lunch.  We are a group of 7 and I have been writing a piece about us for years in my head and finally, on Sunday night- Monday morning I finished a digital piece that was ready for viewing.  I did want to share it with the full group but I was too late.  Florence left us without any warning less than a year ago. So sharing this piece with them together, between the main course and dessert was a spectacular experience. Even though some of them knew I was working on a piece about us the reality was overwhelming.They needed a second viewing to absorb it.

  For Florence, of course. For Hilda, Pearl, Rena, Freide, Trudy, Diana…women who embraced me when I was brand new to my life in Rockland.  I owe them so much and finally I had this piece to document our “family of friends.”

As I prep for Yom Kippur and for a trip to Spain and for a new professional development project beginning when I get back… I am grateful!

Categories: Conversations with Eileen, SOLT 2012 | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Happy New Year with a Head Cold: Conversations with Eileen/Slice of Life Tuesday

Morning my Friend,

Yes, a New Year and a head cold to kick off the fall season.  Good thing I could just chill on the couch today.  I had Dana coming with milk, OJ and some turkey slices and her bag of tricks to clean the place and find time for a manicure and pedicure.  But first my guitar lesson with Jon and all I had to do was shower, brush my teeth and get dressed in some workout clothes, but clearly I had no energy for working out today.  Actually, I had barely enough to get me through my lesson but I was motivated to make more progress on Schindler’s List and curious about our first piece for a new guitar orchestra that Jon is kicking off in October. Telemann to start.

And I did get to read, I did get to Google Hangout with Jack and Mary and I did get to enjoy MSNBC as Romney was roasted by Dems and Republicans alike.


And, the Chicago Teachers just ended their strike  and even though it’s still raining outside, it’s a gentle rain and even though the lights blinked earlier, the powerful winds of earlier today left the power in tact!

As much as I’d like to keep this going, I can’t.  My head is refusing to cooperate so I have to bid you a peaceful goodnight and hope the energy returns for tomorrow


Categories: Conversations with Eileen, SOLT 2012 | Tags: , | 6 Comments

9/11: Conversations with Eileen SOLT

Morning Friend,

I have Morning Joe on in Tuvia’s dark living room and we are remembering our 9/11 mornings.   Where were you?

I had just finished my first class of the day and as my new 8th graders left the class probably Ray, who sat in the row by the windows, given that I had them in alphabetical order, was off and on to the rest of his day in his new school.

As the last kid disappeared into the hall racing for  period 2  I made my way down the side stairway near my room and into the  main office to empty my mailbox and  take a morning stroll through the office.  For some reason a large school TV had been set up and turned on in at conference area and a few teachers were stopping by, watching a scene at the Twin Towers.  I strolled over as the second plane hit,  chuckling at the absurdity of the scene until it wasn’t absurd as the towers began to crumble.

I didn’t think about Ray then.  I didn’t know that as his dad dropped him off  by the entrance to my classroom, that  he was on his way to work in a tower high above the plaza and we had just watched his tower crumble.

I’m thinking about Ray this morning and every 9/11 since that first one.   I think about his mom and his sister who also made her way into my 8th grade English class years later. And their mom… All sweet people who wake up on this day and remember…

Ray never talked about his loss.  He was out of class for a few days, but not many.  His classmates were gentle but he seemed to continue without any show of emotion and I followed his lead, never asking him directly but checking in with Rick, his guidance counselor and some of his other teachers.  He was a quiet kid who did his work, maintained high grades and had a nice set of friends.  I let him be but I think about him.

Every year after to commemorate the experience I read Billy Collins poem, The Names with my students.


Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.

A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,

And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,

I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,

Then Baxter and Calabro,

Davis and Eberling, names falling into place

As droplets fell through the dark.

Names printed on the ceiling of the night.

Names slipping around a watery bend.

Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.

In the morning, I walked out barefoot

Among thousands of flowers

Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,

And each had a name —

Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal

Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.

Names written in the air

And stitched into the cloth of the day.

A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.

Monogram on a torn shirt,

I see you spelled out on storefront windows

And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.

I say the syllables as I turn a corner —

Kelly and Lee,

Medina, Nardella, and O’Connor.

When I peer into the woods,

I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden

As in a puzzle concocted for children.

Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,

Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,

Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.

Names written in the pale sky.

Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.

Names silent in stone

Or cried out behind a door.

Names blown over the earth and out to sea.

In the evening — weakening light, the last swallows.

A boy on a lake lifts his oars.

A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,

And the names are outlined on the rose clouds —

Vanacore and Wallace,

(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)

Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.

Names etched on the head of a pin.

One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.

A blue name needled into the skin.

Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,

The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.

Alphabet of names in a green field.

Names in the small tracks of birds.

Names lifted from a hat

Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.

Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.

So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.


As I read the poem aloud I whispered Ray’s last name  near its end.

What is he doing today?

Categories: Conversations with Eileen, SOLSC 2012 | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Praying: Conversations with Eileen and Slice of Life Tuesday

Morning Friend,

Yes, I’m back  and as I think about praying I’m remembering the process…

When you died of at the end of March, I thought long and hard about a way to best mourn your passing and keep you close to me and I did consider daily praying within the Jewish tradition but in all the years of our friendship I never felt that religion played an active role in you life.  Maybe it did, but I don’t remember ever having a conversation in that area and when I tried  the  Mourner’s Kaddish prayer  on for size, it just didn’t seem to fit.

So I turned to my blog and to writing and a daily conversation with you that I could share with the rest of the world as well, now that felt right, not that you ever considered blogging but writing was a center piece of you life and we spent many hours talking about writing and everything else, so I just kept our conversations going on my side.  No, I don’t create a conversation every day, but I think about one.  Sometimes it sees the light of day and sometimes not but I feel the best when it does get to page, so here I am sharing it a day before it will be out into the world.

When my mom died just before her 94th birthday, in early July, the ritual of daily prayer was the clear course and my brothers took up the tradition as well: Jeff back home in Ellenville, Rick in Israel and me, here in Nyack, just over the Hudson River. When my mom’s parents died, she immediately grabbed for her prayer book.

The Mourner’s Kaddish is a short prayer. It’s recited by the immediate family members for the first 11 months, during the mourning period. I recite it privately, when I wake up and before I turn in for the day. My brother Rick joins a group of fellow mourners at his place of work each day for the fuller service.

It’s a short prayer with no mention of death in it.  Sometimes I wish it were longer. Sometimes I recite it when I am driving, sometimes as I make the bed in the morning, when I prepare the livingroom for the next morning, sometimes more formally, standing still with the small prayer book pictured above, the prayer book I received when I graduated from Hebrew School in 1962.  It hasnt been used too often before now, but it has traveled with me from home to college and then to my homes.  It’s lived proudly on bookcases for display with the special books and now it’s off the shelves that gathered dust and actively with me each day remembering my mom.  I think she would love it that all three of her kids are keeping her alive in a traditional way, and using the Sidur I was given, that would make her tear up.


Categories: Conversations with Eileen, post a day 2012 | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Back Home: Conversations with Eileen Day 106 & SOLT

Morning Eileen and fellow Slicers,

I am up and the home is humming.  Windows are open and my sad planters, filled with dead remnants of this crazy July heat wave are gone way too soon.   I do have some survivors and they are now soaked with life and trimmed down.

And  so begins the next chapter of my life without the early morning calls to my mom, actually the calls home continue but now when my dad answers the phone it’s quiet in his house and he isn’t passing to phone away to my mom.  He won’t be doing that ever again.

It’s been strange.   It was a whirlwind of two weeks from the time my mom took her last fall, was raced to the hospital, went through an operation on her hip and spent the next week fading away from us.  One week of visits to the new hospital near Middletown, sitting and watching her decline, my dad helpless.

And the whirlwind continued through the funeral, the Shiva period, the race to arrange the trip to Israel for Maya’s wedding,, pack and get on a plane just two weeks after the decline had officially begun. It was fast and I was strangely unemotional, just trying to keep it all straight, just the little things, like worrying about packing time, even though when it came time to fill the suitcases, I had no problem.

And the week in Israel with our whole family and the events leading up the wedding, time with Israeli friends and family from Tuvia’s side and of course the wedding event and it all felt… strange, for lack of a better word.  I watched my dad feeling torn between joy and deep sadness. He was treated with great respect but it was hard for him to take it all in, digest it because someone was missing.

And now I’m home without work this week.  Just time to be back with Tuvia and settle into life without my mom.

It’s the little, life things that hit you the hardest.


Categories: Conversations with Eileen, SOLSC 2012 | Tags: , | 16 Comments

It’s 3am and there’s an Israel I’m missing: Conversations with E/SOLT

It’s early morning my friend,

I actually began this entry with a bout of jet lag at 3AM and first a visit to Facebook posting a status update, receiving great responses from friends back home in my normal zone and finally, totally giving up on sleep, grabbing up my Israeli cell phone and  tiptoeing  into the bathroom for a muffled conversation with Tuvia who was up, of course at a normal 9:15 PM in Paramus and itching to talk.

A long talk… A great talk… 🙂

And now still in the darkness the birds are singing to me and I’m remembering the Israel that I’m missing…the sounds of the sea just below our balcony.  I am missing that Israel here in a luxurious condo that I’m sharing with Marla and Jeff, Amanda and Steve.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to be here with the family to celebrate a wedding but… I’m missing the Israel I share with Tuvia, of course.  How could I not and I’m missing my mom.

It’s the Israel of his past and our present that we share as we begin  each morning walking out of the lobby of our hotel, crossing the road and immediately removing our sandals to inch our way in the deep, freshly mowed sand to the edge of the sea. I  grab  my camera  out of its bag, while Tuvia offers me freedom from the constraints of bag and shoes allowing me  to capture the experience once again no matter how many pictures I save of sea and sand and humus and pita and strangers that cross the lens of my camera.  I want it all.

Funny that we are satisfied with a very routine experience.  We don’t have a favorite restaurant that’s if you can’t count a seat on the deck of Banana Beach just to enjoy a small plate of humus, a basket of fresh pita, an Israeli salad with scrambled eggs and cheeses.  And if we can fit it in, we return later for a glass of wine and the sunset.

Seems like I can never remember the restaurants we’ve shared meals with friends, but I do remember our conversations, yes that’s what I remember.  And yes, there are some family and friends I am seeing on this trip even if it can’t be the elaborate schedule Tuvia begins to create on our first night but given the this unique visit to Tel Aviv, I still need to find time for those routine experiences I’ve come to love.

I woke up too soon of course.  I was dreaming about my mom and it was good to share it with Tuvia who miles away in front of his TV set, bored he could understand why I was up and missing both him and my mom at the same time.

I’ve been curious about what Israel means to me alone and you know, it means a lot.


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Categories: Conversations with Eileen, Israel, SOLT 2012 | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Catching UP: Conversations with Eileen Day #54/ SOLT

Morning Friend,

Early morning in Ellenville and it’s peaceful at Jeff’s house sitting Shiva with family and friends.  It’s a new experience for us: for me, for Jeff, Rick and my dad and we are taken care of by Marla and her Shiva Squad of great friends. It’s a well oiled machine of nurturing as we begin life without my mom.

I have been trying to write this post for the last few days when each phase of this process was fresh but it didn’t/couldn’t happen.

I wanted to begin at my mom’s last day  when I sat with her on Friday morning. Just the two of us for an hour before more family arrived.  It was my unexpected window to share a moment of her last hours of life.  We didn’t talk, just shared the life space of her room and it felt like our time.  I listened to her labored breathing and then opened my iPad and read  her the piece I was writing for her funeral.  I read it out loud for the first time even though others read it on my blog.   I revised and tightened lines inspired by her signals, the way she might have commented in earlier times.

Over the last few years and more dramatically the last few months I have been watching my mom  start to leave us but my writing was centered  on our time together when she had the most influence on me.  As I read my piece to her I realized that she too, had been sharing more and more about her life with her parents when their influence was most critical.

Soon a nurse joined me and my mom, checking in with both of us and sharing with me some of her conversations with my mom.  It was a sweet time, just the three of us, a wonderful way for the day  to move along.

Jeff and my dad arrived and we sat together quietly.  More family joined us and it was clear to the doctors and nurses and even though my mom had experienced a spurt of consciousness in the early morning, she was in her last hours.

At 3:00 PM after missing a breath,  the staff was called in to make it official.  Her sister Sally arrived to see her and her granddaughters sat with my dad just outside the room.  Inside we began to write her obituary to share the funeral details with the larger community.  All new to us, we used the daily paper to model our obit.  We weren’t ready to leave her.

But the final process was in motion.  Too late for a burial before Shabbat, my mom gave us a needed Saturday for restore our energy for the dreaded day of her funeral.  Near the end of the day I traveled up to Ellenville without Tuvia to spend time with family and share the funeral process.  On that way up to Ellenville, I slowed down as I passed the hospital at exit 122, out of habit, but my mom was somewhere else now, prepared for burial.

Late that night we met with the new Chabad rabbi, trying hard to share a very  orthodox approach to Judaism with some sprinkles of modern lingo.  It didn’t work for me.  That unequal role of men and women in the world of prayer was just too anachronistic.  But I was respectful, relived that I would not be spending any time with him after this week of mourning. My mom would have been horrified if I were too challenging.

Sunday was a long day, but a wonderful celebration to my mom.  The room was packed with friends and community members and everyone who spoke added more rich details about my mom.  And with Jeff as the mayor and we did get a police escort down route 209 to the cemetery.

And Sunday night the Shiva began with prayers, women pushing their way into the male dominated Minyan, not counted of course but our voices were strong.

Food for comfort arrived, platter after platter and Marla and the Shiva Squad took charge as we sat.

Peaceful and new to the experience I remained in the house until last night when I skipped out to join Andy at your  grave in the cemetery that I once teased my mom she could find me.  She was horrified.

Andy has created a perfect site for you, planting tomato plants, flowers, some dill.  Leaving heart-shaped rocks, figures designed by your grandchildren… everyone else up there must be jealous.

We would have stayed longer but it was hard to ignore the bugs and so we headed back to your homestead and Andy made coffee and we sat on the porch, listened to the brook and felt you with us.

Miss you,


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Categories: Conversations with Eileen, SOLT 2012 | Tags: , | 15 Comments

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