13 to 18

The past month has been HECTIC!

I’ve been the recipient of email after email saying “_____ will be joining your class starting _____.” While I’m cheerful for these emails, because they mean some sort of normalacy is coming, they also lead to the mad dash. The mad dash to get things ready… pencil bin (with hopefully all the right materials), writing binder, adding to Google Classroom and other programs, nametags for the desk and locker. And the I’m sure I’m forgetting something mentality.

Then the sigh of relief for a moment. An extremely brief moment until the child walks in. Then it’s time for the excited yet crazed first day. Making sure they feel comfortable. Answering question after question. Helping them learn routines. Introducing them to other students and teachers (who may or may not have known them before mask wearing was a must).

Finally the end of the day arrives. If I was lucky I remembered to setup everything ahead of time and wasn’t climbing on chairs to reach something in a cabinet in the middle of a lesson. If I was lucky the child picked up on routines and connected with friends easily. If I was lucky no tears were shed by the new student or me.

If I am lucky I’ll stick with 18 students for a while.


Dear Uncle Lou,

This week, while on vacation, I was persuaded to play golf… not once but twice. The first time I played with the women’s set of clubs and STUNK big time. “Practice swings” happened a lot and the ball did not go very far. Needless to say, I left that golf outing feelings bummed.

Time number two though was different. I was playing with the whole family so I was “forced” to use your clubs. I was nervous yet excited to use your set as so many people have told me I should try playing with men’s clubs because of my height. While I didn’t have my best round of golf, I certainly improved. They weren’t to heavy. They weren’t too long. My drives went further. My chips were better. And I used some new (to me) clubs. Who knew what a 9 iron could do?!

So thank you for allowing me (even if you didn’t know at the time) to borrow them for the day. They will definitely be used again on the next vacation.




For over a year now I have been attending church in a living room, on a tv, via YouTube from St. Patrick’s Cathedral rather than my actual, local church. Sometimes I’ve been by myself, other times I’m with family.

This past weekend I went to church “in the chapel” of my parents home. I was joined by my sister and parents from the start. We listened to the gospel readings. We sang along to the (not so great) music. We recited the prayers being said. All very much like the previous 52+ weeks.

But then my sister-in-law decided to join. She came in to the “chapel” quietly but late. She too listened and prayed.

But when it came time for communion Amanda stood up like a Eucharistic minister and passed out communion (aka pieces of graham crackers).

What a treat!

Cake, Cake and MORE Cake

The Easter table was set for dessert. Some cookies, candies and other treats were scattered about. An ice cream cake, cupcakes and a bunny cake were all lined up as well. We all gathered about the rooms trying to stay distanced at the same time.

The ice cream cake was labeled “16!” The cupcakes had “50!” The bunny cake had “Happy Birthday!” This was one of the first times we were all going to be able to celebrate together. And Aunt Judy had not messed around.

“No blowing out the candles,” Aunt Judy said, “but we ARE singing.”

And off-key we sang. Each person got their special moment. Each person got to use the special, gold candle snuffer. First it was Bria’s turn (April 5th), then Rick’s turn (April 2nd), then my turn (April 7th).

“Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday Dear (name)
Happy Birthday to You.

May the Dear Lord Bless you
May the Dear Lord Bless You
May the Dear Lord Bless (name)
May the Dear Lord Bless you!”

3 separate times we went though this song. 3 times the snuffer was used. 3 cakes were cut. But MANY smiling faces being together!

Fellow Slicer

Dear Fellow Slicers,

We made it! 31 day straight of writing… for the whole world to see. And if you didn’t make 31 days, that’s okay, you still wrote and that’s what counts.

This month I’ve changed my morning routine to read your slices. To feel your feelings. To get ideas for my own writing. To comment on your hard work.

I’ve read about many (big and small) times in your life. I’ve felt the challenges of college admission, the deliciousness of cake recipes from friend, and the growing and learning of plants as well as colleagues. I’ve learned from far and near about the broadening of knowledge and challenges of teaching during a pandemic. I’ve laughed about pets, family members and neighbors.

I’ve enjoyed each slice I had the chance to read this month for one reason or another. So thank you! Thank you for putting yourself out there. Thank you for commenting on my writing. Thank you for giving me ideas for my personal writing and my teaching. Thank you for keeping me going.

As much as I want to write tomorrow, I won’t. I’ll take a break. But I’ll see you next week. Same place, same time!

Love, Elena

It’s Time

I feel very fortunate that I was able to get a vaccine a month ago because I’m a teacher, not because of my age. Many people in my family are still waiting for their turn.

“What can I do when Brett and Amanda are eligible to schedule their appointment later this week. I want them to be ready!”

“Why don’t you practice and make an appointment for Casey (a family friend in need)? He’s a Bridgeport resident and I just read about a Mobile clinic at the zoo,” my mom says shoving her phone with a flyer on it at me. The flyer says that Bridgeport is having a hard time getting residents vaccinated which is why this Mobile clinic will be in the area for the next week (accepting walk-ins as well).

“Sure,” I say wanting to help in anyway I can.

I find the website and begin to create him a profile. What do I put for email address because he doesn’t have one? Same with his phone number.

I decide to multitask…call the phone number and fill out online forms at the same time. Which will be easier and faster?

Several minutes pass, “Please continue to hold as we are experiencing high volume of calls.”

Another minute. Still not done navigating the online form. What a pain. I’m lucky my school district did all this for me. “Please continue to hold as we are experiencing high volume of calls.”

7 and a half minutes into the call (form almost done but not quite), “Good evening. What can I help you with tonight?” comes a friendly voice on the other end.

She asks a bunch of questions which I try to answer the best I can (my dad chiming in when I get stuck).

10 minutes into the project and we are done. He has an appointment not even 48 hours later.

“Woo hoo! I’m so happy. That made me feel so good getting him an appointment. Thanks for the idea. Now back to trying to help others be prepared to schedule theirs.”


I used to be considered a “plain/picky” eater.

My mom would complain about the lunches she would have to pack. “How will you not eat a peanut butter sandwich? Why will you not eat the bread when you eat the turkey from your turkey sandwich?

My aunt would only host me overnight because I was basic in my eating. An iceberg lettuce salad with tomato and cucumber, a baked potato and bread was my dinner most nights.

In college my roommates would constantly say “let’s order takeout Chinese food. Oh wait… Elena doesn’t eat that! Ugggghhhhh!”

By the end of college those same roommates convinced me to eat chicken and broccoli (2 foods I had been eating just not cooked in that way).

After college my mom convinced me to eat peanut butter on an apple.

Even further after college a friend has since convinced me to be more adventurous… to eat sushi, mushrooms and other random things I never would have considered before.

And TONIGHT… “the men at the bar” convinced me to have escargot!

Deliciousness in a mushroom cap!

I dislike tires

If you’ve been following my blog this week you probably already know a little bit about my dislike of tires. However, being in March in Connecticut means temperatures changing often. (One day it’s 50 degrees and the next 27 degrees.) Which means my tire pressure changes too. And with a change in tire pressure comes the light on my dashboard. Ever since getting stuck at Mile 118 I’ve been more nervous about my own tire light coming on and “exploding.”

As I’ve said I’ve always had bad luck with my tires…especially in the winter. So when my tire light came on this time I added air to my tire immediately and continued on my way.

A few weeks later though, the temperature dropped and my tire light came on yet again. Instead of finding my way to a gas station I found my way to Burns Tire (still immediately). No appointment, just my fingers crossed and hoped they’d help.

“My tire light came on. Can you check the back passenger tire for me,” I asked peeking in the door.

“Of course!”

Within minutes my tire was fixed.

“Thanks for adding air to my tire,” I started to say.

“And for taking the nail out of it,” the mechanic said with a wink.

“Ugh! Oops! Glad I came in. What do I owe you?”

“You’re all set! On us!”

I left with a huge smile on my face. I definitely know where I’ll be going to buy my next tires.