Tag Archives: Chicago

Why I love Social Media

More from my visit to Chicago

I was a teacher and reading specialist in Chicago for ten years. My final year was full of wonderful memories of children I will never forget.
I had the good fortune to work with two first graders that made every day rewarding. They were both the little sisters of former students so the families are also special. When I went to visit last August, I discovered that one of the two girls who I named ALIANA for was no longer at my former school. 😢 The phone number I had for her mom wasn’t valid any more. My excitement to share my book with her was dashed.
I noticed a parent from my school was following my Facebook author page, but the profile picture didn’t look familiar. I’m active on Twitter and Facebook but rarely used Instagram until my illustrator started an account for the book. Aliana Reaches for the Moon
Suddenly, I had the same parent mentioned above following and liking my Instagram posts, but I still didn’t know who it was.
Then one night, I saw a picture that made me cry happy tears and filled my heart to overflowing! It was the girls I thought I lost. A picture of them celebrating a birthday had me jumping up and down! I woke Charlie who’s always ready to join in the fun.
The following day, I messaged with Maria (the girls’ mom) and told her my plans to visit. We met in the afternoon before school pickup time to get the girls from school together. More happy tears, this time from my little friend who is now a fourth grader. Then, her sister spotted us and more excitement, more hugs, and a very happy reunion.
I love a happy ending, don’t you?

Do you believe in Karma?

I’ve always believed in putting positive energy into the world. I cheer on my friends when something wonderful happens; their joy is my joy. I try to be encouraging when they are facing challenges. Sometimes just letting someone vent or have as much time as they need to talk about what’s bothering them, is a gift.

This is also my habit on social media and with people I don’t know. You never know when your smile, your kindness, your acknowledgment of someone will make a difference.

Last week, after a successful day of two school visits that included seeing children who used to be my students and their families, I was driving in Chicago to meet a friend for dinner. I saw a man spreading out newspaper on the wet street so he could kneel and change a flat tire. I had an empty box that had been full of books that morning. I stopped and offered the box to the man and the woman whose tire he was changing. They were grateful and I was happy to be able to help.

I mentioned that I would appreciate it if they would recycle the box when they were done because it had my name and the title of my book on it. They asked to see the book and each of them bought a copy! When I stopped, selling books wasn’t even on my mind. I just felt like I could spread a little joy after a wonderful day.

photos of the wonderful families who I used to teach who came to see me.

Chicago Botanic Garden (micropoem) part two

A quinceañera photo shoot

on a beautiful rose garden day

children gather to watch.

Overheard, “Do you see the princess?”

“May we say hello to the princess?”

Children kept at bay, eyes fixed on the beauty, until ….

“Aren’t we lucky we saw a princess today?”

Chicago Cubs Players Weekend

I’m a lifelong Cubs Fan who no longer lives in Chicago. An afternoon at Wrigley Field is always a good time and an important stop during my week in town.

This weekend is Players Weekend complete with alternate uniforms and nicknames!

For the full experience, a Chicago hot dog (mustard, chopped onions, neon green relish, tomato, dill pickle, and NEVER ketchup!) is required.

And the icing on the cake: Cubs WIN!

American Writers Museum in Chicago

A visit to the American Writers Museum at 180 N Michigan Avenue in Chicago with a fellow writer is the source of renewed inspiration and energy for writing and reading.

The museum, which opened in May 2017, has a variety of exhibits including an entire room devoted to picture books with large displays of cover art and a library for families to enjoy reading time together.

A special exhibit dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder is captivating for anyone who has read the books, watched the TV show, or sees themselves as an explorer or pioneer. We were especially captivated by the panel about how Laura became the “eyes” for her older sister when Mary became blind from illness. This is likely the reason Laura became such a wonderful storyteller.

My friend and I were reminded of so many favorite books and authors from high school and college days, and were also surprised at how many more we need to explore.

Look for happiness

I love coffee. It’s magical.

Coffee is one of the things that makes me happy. This particular cup (yesterday with a good friend) would have been appreciated for the obvious reasons.

But the bubbles formed when milk, yes milk – never cream, was added let me know coffee loves me too. 💕

You can go home again

I was lucky 🍀💚🍀 enough to spend a decade at a great school with fabulous colleagues, the most supportive families, and children that filled my heart every single day.

I’ve been gone for 17 months but whenever I return to Chicago, a priority for me is reconnecting with the children who made getting up at 5:30 worthwhile. I may no longer remember all of their names, but I remember stories about each one – how hard they worked, how genuinely sweet and caring they were, and sometimes how challenging and challenged they were.

Yesterday (in my first 24 hours back in town) I visited school and was made to feel like a celebrity as a chorus of voices called my name. 💕💓 💕

Children who I knew from kindergarten and first grade are now eighth graders and beyond. I met kindergarteners yesterday that are the baby of a family I’ve known since before they were born. The magic of children never fails to impress and inspire me.

And in a perfect twist of fate, yesterday was the Scholastic Book Fair which is also something I treasure. Buying Matt De La Peña’s book and sharing it with the sweetest children in the world is a new memory for me to treasure.