Wednesday, February 15, 2017


I sat down to write a few times today. Every time I sat down I felt like I was hitting a wall. The ideas aren't flowing as they were, and I feel like what I really want to write is redundant and just plain uninspiring - "I don't want to have ALS anymore". Not that I really ever wanted it. But I'm done please. Time to go away.

So I am going to write about the number 101 (one-hundred-and-one).
There are 101 Dalmatians.
101 degrees is a fever.
101 degrees outside is a really hot summer day.
More importantly, today is my grandmother's 101st birthday. Yup, she is 101 years old. One century and one year. I spoke to her today. Of course she is worried about me, but I think she was pleasantly surprised to hear me in good spirits with a pretty clear voice. Talking to her on the phone is a bit challenging because she gets excited (she is an excitable sort) and she tends to talk over you. But she told me that she got so many flowers for her birthday (her friend Ellie sent her flowers in the shape of a cake!), that her room almost looks like a funeral parlor. She told me she was very happy to hear my voice and that I said today was a good day and that I was not in any pain. She reiterated that life is full of good and bad - good that I don't have pain, bad that I am dealing with this. It was a short conversation as she doesn't really like to spend a long time on the phone, but it was enough to make us both happy. I cried a bit when I got off the phone, as I wondered what it feels like to be 101 years old and to have seen such good and bad in the world, and then have to worry about this.
Today is also the 101st day of school (at Sharon School). I know this because counting how many days we have been in school is part of the math curriculum. And yesterday was the 100th day of school, and when you teach in an elementary school the 100th day of school is a holiday! The 100th day of school landed on Valentine's Day, and when that happens you might as well have a full moon on a Friday the 13th while black cats walk under a bunch of ladders. But, I digress...
So, today was the 101st day of school.
In calendar time it is:
One hundred. One one.
Ten tens. One one.
101 tally marks.
One dollar and one penny.
Four quarters and one penny.
Ten dimes and one penny.
Ten bundles of ten straws. One single straw.
I always liked the 101st day of school a little more than the 100th. On the 101st day we begin subtracting. (180-101=79) Seventy-nine days left of the school year. I typically begin to talk to the kids about how we have less days left in first grade than we have completed. We often go back to our Hopes and Dreams wall that we created during the first week of school, and reread what we wanted to accomplish. Many of the kids are excited to see that we have accomplished many of our goals like "learned how to read", or "do math", or "play on the playground". But often times there are goals that they haven't reached yet, like "learn how to play soccer" or "spell big words". We talk about how we have some time left - 79 days to be exact - and how we better get busy! The 101st day is a reinvigorating day.
I feel like I am on my 101st day. I have accomplished a lot. A marriage, a family, a teaching career, a college education, just to name a few. And now I go back to my Hopes and Dreams wall and decide what it is that I want to work on for the next 79 days. I don't think "playing soccer" is in my future, and I already "know how to spell big words". I know I don't want to call it a Bucket List, as that conjures up thoughts of death and dying for me. So I'll stick with Hopes and Dreams and add and subtract from it as I see fit. No real rules when you are working with 79 days.

Live to Love. Love to Live.

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