Cooler by the Lake

March #SOLC Day 31


I awoke this morning to some ominous clouds moving slow but sure across the lake from north to south.

I saw on my phone that there was a fire earlier this morning in Pilsen.  Could that be what I’m seeing, I wondered?  I tried to sniff to see if I smelled smoke.  Nope.

Then I turned on the T.V.  The weatherman was talking about low clouds moving in over the lake.  It was cold weather.  Those were the clouds I was seeing out my window.  The meteorologist said it was currently 38 degrees, but that two hours earlier it was 52.


Clouds rolling in over the lake

I was fascinated.  It’s a rare day around here that we get to see actual weather, cold air, moving in the sky.  It was foggy.  Soupy.  “The clouds are shrouding the tall buildings in the city and on their way to taking out Millennium Park,” said the Meteorologist.  It sounded like a science fiction movie.  The Stratus clouds are taking over the city!  Take cover!  Run for your life!

The traffic lady came on next.  She spoke of the threatening low cloud ceiling that was disabling the traffic copters this morning.  Then she showed a picture of the sunrise, currently taking place in a southwest suburb.  A tale of two cities.

The forecast for today?  In the 40’s here, but low 60’s in the burbs.  Looks like it’s springtime in the city.  Always cooler by the lake!


 The picture outside my window by the time I finished writing this


Countdown Times Two

March #SOLC15 Day 30


This week I am looking at two countdowns that are very different from one another.  Two more days of slicing and two more days until our condo garage project begins.  I’m not sure which I dread more!

Our garage, which parks more than 250 cars, will be closed for construction beginning this Wednesday night for TWO months.  Yes, you read correctly…TWO months.  We have attended a number of meetings on the subject since January.  So many unanswered questions.  Parking in the city is neither abundant or cheap.

“What about people with special needs?” a man carrying an oxygen tank asked.

“What about pregnant women?” a woman just weeks away from delivering her baby asked.

“What about crime in the neighborhood?” we asked.

“What if the roof caves in?”… mom asked that one.

These questions continued as well as the frequent gatherings in the community room of our building.  The most recent meeting we attended included a police officer from the local district a half a mile away.  Officer Panick.  Good name, huh?  She told us not to panic (I am not kidding!) because the criminals were usually still asleep at 5:00 a.m.  She also told us not to walk around with our phones in our hands, ear buds in our ears, or a wad of money in our hands.  So very helpful.

As a result, we have been busily preparing for this extravaganza.  Removing our bikes that hang on the wall in the garage.  Unfortunately we haven’t used our bikes in about 3 years, so the dust was overwhelming.  The tires were also very flat.  Cleaning, pumping, breaking locks with an electric welding thingy (because we couldn’t find the keys), and moving them to their new storage closet in the basement took an entire afternoon.

We also needed to pull all of our balcony furniture out of our storage lockers before this project begins, as we will not have access to those for two months, either.  Another entire afternoon down the drain.  Now our third bedroom is filled with outdoor tables and chairs.  Hopefully it will warm up in the next two months so we can put them out!

I made a little list as I contemplated all of the things I need to plan for and worry about over the duration of this project.  We will have to…

  • Prepare to lug our groceries back and forth
  • Be careful what we bring with us to and from work – nothing too heavy
  • Run to get the car and bring it to the lobby in order to take my mom out
  • Duck for cover when it’s raining
  • Hope for no crime to take place in the wee hours of morning when Kathy goes to work
  • Wake up extra early to walk Kathy to her car
  • Hope for no crime to take place in the hours after 8 pm when we come home late from work and/or being out
  • Hope our dog walking neighbors show up in those cases
  • Stock up on the heavy items at the grocery store

I’m sure there is more that I’ve not yet realized.  Sadly, the time I have spent writing over this past month will now be consumed in these upcoming months with getting to and from my car and planning everything out.

I’d rather be writing.


Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

March #SOLC Day 29


Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

Will each come without delay

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

Only one more post per day

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

So much more to say

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

I fear my thoughts will soon stray

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

On this blog I will continue to write I pray

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

Thirty-one days filled with stories that stay

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

To my fellow writers who have taught me along the way

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

For all the comments and support I say thank you and hooray!







Sunshine Go Away

March #SOLC Day 28


Why does it have to be so bright?

I want to hide my face.

This room I sleep in lets in all the light.

It feels like it’s shining right through to my brain

Pounding, prying, pushing

Why can’t it just rain?

A dastardly cobalt blue sky this hour

Not a single cloud in sight

I awaken and my mood is sour.

I know such beauty should give me a different feeling

Birds singing, children playing, trees budding

But all I can do is stare at the ceiling.

And so I turn to my other side, to rest in another pose

Hoping for sleep to return

I find that it’s not quite as unbearable

when my eyes are closed!








Taking Time for Gratitude

March #SOLC Day 27


I have a morning routine on work days.  It’s the same each and every day, as long as I’m at home.

After my shower, with my robe still on, I always shuffle into the kitchen, open the cabinet, grab a bowl and pull my cereal off the shelf.  I could probably do this in my sleep.

But today…..was different.  As I was reaching for the Special K a weird feeling came over me.  I froze in mid-reach at the second shelf.    This strong wave of emotion came over me.  Because I usually perform this morning ritual so mindlessly I guess I was a little shocked to actually stop and feel something right smack dab in the middle of my breakfast routine.

So, I stopped and considered what was happening.  Here it is.  Lately I feel like I’ve been hearing so much bad news and I think it all hit me at once.  Bad news is happening close to home and not so close to home.  We’ve all heard about the air plane that crashed into the French Alps.  The co-pilot decided, for whatever reason, to drive the plane right into the side of a mountain.  It’s hard to fathom.  All those innocent people terrified as they watched and felt themselves plunging to their horrible death.  It’s just so heartbreaking.

Closer to home I’ve been hearing, almost daily this week about people I know who are ill.  Cancer seems to be the most prevalent of the evils.  But, there are others who have lived very full lives and are preparing to leave this world.  No matter the reason, it’s all very sad.

So, I thought to myself, as I was following such a boring, commonplace routine this morning, how lucky I was.  I also considered how difficult life is right now for so many people.  I think that’s what stopped me cold in my tracks.  The mixed emotions of sadness and gratitude.  It didn’t feel right.  It certainly has never entered into my morning breakfast routine before.


It’s Life Changing

March #SOL15 Day 26

sol[1]Two children.  Both in sixth grade.

One young man.  Quiet.  Difficulty speaking up.  His speech is not easy to understand.   “He never talks”, they say.

One young lady.  Quiet in a different way.  An old soul.  Articulate.  Serious.  “She’s new”, they say.

Both have found their voice through writing.  Neither afraid to tell the class about their feelings that are deep down inside.  Neither hesitant to share personal, sometimes intimate thoughts and experiences.

A classroom full of students who are listening.  Reacting.  Questioning.  Supporting.

After these two students finish, the room is a buzz with other students sharing their writing with partners.

One student says to me and two other boys, “I have one story here in my notebook” as he points to his pad, “and another that’s still in my mind” as he points to his head.  His eyes are sparkling.  He can’t wait to read and then tell.

Another boy from the group has a random stack of papers.  He’s misplaced his notebook, but he has not lost his writing.  “I’ve got it – hold on!” he says.  There.  He finds the piece he wants to read.  I watch him.  He is African American.  About 5’9.  A “cool” kid by many kids’ standards.  Reading his writing to me and two other African American boys.  I feel I am in the presence of something very important that is happening here.

I finally leave the classroom (only because it’s time for gym – otherwise I would have stayed until the end of the day!) and I’m thinking….this writing thing….this tool we are giving our kids to express themselves….this is powerful.  It is life changing.

I Believe

March #SOLC Day 25


I believe that I’ve done something right when I look at my friends and family.

I believe that I can finally make it to the weight that I aspire to.

I believe that dogs are as smart as people.

I believe I could live on pizza if I had to.

I believe that nothing feels better than the sun shining on my face.

I believe that there is no more important job one can have than working with children.

I believe happiness is found within.

I believe Hawaii must be the most beautiful place on earth.

I believe that people genuinely want to make a difference.

I believe Chicago is the friendliest city in the country.

I believe breakfast is the best meal of the day.

I believe that the human body strives to be whole and well.

I believe we should stop and look when we see a rainbow in the sky.

I believe the same about a sunrise and/or sunset.

I believe Albert Einstein would have made a really great friend.

I believe that writing is good for the soul.

Thank you to Jennifer Morales over at The Chronicles of a Teacher for inspiring me to try this format!