Today Is Good

I’d rather be right where I am today
Yes, I would
Yes, I would
Today is good

I’d rather keep in step with time than stay
Yes, I would
As I should
Today is good

Sometimes my heart begins to stray
To other times, to other days

My memories may not obey
This need to stay
Here in today

The day will come when I will say good-bye

Yes, it will
A moment still
And so until

I’ll lean into the sadness and I’ll sigh,
This is good —
For I have stood
Right where I should

Sometimes my heart begins to stray
To other times, to other days
My memories may not obey
This need to stay
Here in today
Here in today

My first thought when I saw the photo challenge was Simon & Garfunkel’s El Condor Pasa. 

My second thought was wishing to go back in time to when my children were young and my parents were both still alive. I quickly realized that wasn’t a healthy road for me to go down.

So I ditched Paul Simon’s sparrows, snails, hammers, and nails, and wrote this about my need to stay in the moment.


God Bless the Moon

Every morning I go downstairs and sigh when I see the tray table beside my father’s chair. It’s a mess.

I tidy it — but I know my organization will erode to disorder by evening.

The problem these days is that he has taken to playing the boombox my brother got him last year. My father doesn’t understand the difference between a DVD and a CD, or, for that matter, between the radio setting on the boombox and the CD setting. He needs help, but often won’t ask for it. The CDs and their empty cases cover his tray table.

Whenever he puts a CD called “Scottish Tranquility” in, we have this conversation.

Dad: This music is so mournful.

Me: It’s supposed to be peaceful.

Dad: There are no words!

Me: It’s instrumental.

Dad: I understand that, but where are the words?

Me: Instrumental means it’s just the instruments.

Dad (pointing to the CD case): But it lists the names of the songs.

Me: Yes, the songs still have names.

Dad:  This music could put you to sleep.

Me: That’s why it’s called Scottish Tranquility.

Dad: Can you put something else on? This is terrible.

It really isn’t terrible. It’s soothing and quiet, just what my soul needs.

This morning, at 4:30 AM when I got up for work, I looked at the mess on his table. Open books, half-done crossword puzzles, CDs, and empty cases.

“Why is everything always out of place?” I said out loud, frustrated, longing for that Scottish Tranquility.

Half an hour later, when I walked outside, I was pleased to see the moon in its proper place. It silhouetted the barn and reflected off the road. A restart to a messy day.

Something about that sight gave me peace.

The moon is always right where it should be.

The other night it was peeping through the trees.

Sometimes it’s out in the daytime.

I’ve seen it from an airplane.

And it was gorgeous in Bosnia.

photo by Nicole Flohr

I can’t count on the moon to be in the same place every night.

But it will never be misplaced.

It may not be as reliable as the sun — rising in the east, setting in the west — but it’s there.

All I have to do is look.

Ah, the Sea of Tranquility.


Our trip to France was sweet.

I’m not talking about the food, which, of course, was amazing.

My food pictures leave something to be desired — not the food, my pictures.

Like this dessert — I don’t remember what it was, but it was delicious.

Or these crepes — which looked so wonderful that I started to eat them and then remembered to take a picture.

I took a picture of these meringues on Day 1 because I had never seen such large meringues. The patisserie was closed but I wanted to remember to buy some later. Unfortunately I forgot.

This pastry with apricots was really good but I can’t remember the name.

The sweetest thing about that pastry, though, was that my siblings and I sat outside on a bench to enjoy our selections from the patisserie together. We talked and enjoyed the morning sun before heading back to our hotel.

For years, I had heard my father say that he really wanted to see the beaches of Normandy — so we made it happen.

He probably doesn’t remember the trip today — at least not without the aid of the photo book we put together.

But we remember.

For one week last May, we fulfilled one of my father’s dreams — and had a good time doing it.

That’s the sweetest part.




I repeat the word “streamline” at least a dozen times every I’m on the deck.  I probably say it in my sleep.

What I mean by streamline is what Michael Phelps is doing in this picture:

It’s pretty straightforward (no pun intended).

A couple of seasons ago I showed my swimmers the Michael Phelps picture, and then photographed them imitating it. I got quite a few variations on the streamline theme.

We work on streamline at every single practice.

I demonstrate while standing on the deck. I show them pictures. I stand behind them on deck and squeeze their little arms against their head, holding them in the correct position. I have them watch other swimmers in the pool who are doing it correctly. Still, streamline is a struggle and ends up in conversations like this:

Me (speaking to Cute Little Swimmer –or CLS — after watching her forget to streamline): Hey, CLS — when you leave the wall for backstroke, I want you to hold your streamline.

CLS: I do.

I watched her again, and then tried different words to explain it to her.

Me: When you leave the wall for backstroke, you’re doing a good job getting those arms up into streamline, but what you’re doing immediately after is pulling them to your side.

CLS: No, I don’t.

Me (pretending I didn’t hear that): This time really think about holding your arms above your head until you’re ready to take that first stroke.

The next time, I took pictures. Here she is, leaving the wall. Her arms were heading towards streamline.But then she disappeared under the water, and I couldn’t see what was happening.

When I saw her right arm, it was out to the side. Not in streamline.

Then both arms were at her side.
She tried to get them back up into streamline.

But she pulled them down again.

When she came back to the wall, I showed her the pictures.

She looked at them, rather disbelievingly.

“I can’t do it,” she finally said to me. “I have asthma.”

It was my turn for disbelief.

Once I had a swimmer tell me she couldn’t kick at practice because she had gotten new boots. “My feet are still getting used to them,” she said. But she obviously wasn’t wearing her boots in the pool. And her feet looked fine.

I’ll keep working on streamline with my group.

At every practice.

Some day maybe CLS will get it.


Best of 2017

Every year is filled with ups and downs, unexpected trials and undeserved mercies.

My favorite time in 2017, was the week in May when my brother, my sister and her husband, and my husband and I all traveled with my father to tour Normandy and Paris. The picture is of Bud and me in the Eiffel Tower. Our time together is so limited. Having a whole week together was amazing.

My second favorite time was this, learning to shred cabbage the Bosnian way.

I love my home, but traveling sure was fun. I may have to do it again in 50 years.

Merry Christmas everyone. Looking forward to the adventures of 2018.


The Perfect Job

My home away from home. At 5:30 AM, so serene.

“It must be boring,” said one of the swimmers this morning, “just watching people swim back and forth.”

No. It really isn’t. Something about the rhythmic splash-splash-splash of a single person swimming down the pool is very Zen — and I say that in the most Christian way possible.

It’s meditative. Contemplative.

Add in a few more swimmers, each with their own rhythm of splashes, and it’s a trio, a quartet, a quintet.




I also love my co-workers. I hadn’t realized how much I missed people, until I was spending time in quiet conversation with another lifeguard every weekday morning.

When I go back later in the day to coach, the atmosphere is totally different.

Confusion. Cacophony. Unbridled energy.

Forty to fifty swimmers fill the lanes. The youngest group splashes with their coach in the shallow teaching pool working on skills, or playing a game, or both. A couple of other swimmers practice a specific skill or do a late warm-up in the diving pool. Young swimmers are everywhere.

This, too, is perfect for me. The hustle-bustle-excitement of coaching. Both frustrating and rewarding. A puzzle to solve as I try to figure out what makes each child tick. I watch to see what skills they need to develop, and I fall asleep thinking about how to help one swimmer learn to dive, and another master the breaststroke kick.

Three hours a day. That’s all I work at a paying job.

Don’t tell them — but I think I would do it for free.

Two hours of quiet. One hour of craziness.

A perfect ratio.

And the perfect change of pace to balance out my time as a caregiver.

How did I get so lucky?



Just an Old Green Pillow

I remember when Mom,
With needle and yarn,
The fabric in her lap,
Chain-stitched the outline of an owl
And satin-stitched the eyes and beak

It may look like
A lumpy green pillow,
But now I see
That it is,
In fact,
July’s Hydrangeas in November
A reminder of a summer past

It is an acorn cap
From which some squirrel has stolen the acorn
Or an apple left to wither on the tree

I think of Mom
When I see it
Flopped on the chair
Loose threads dangling
The carefully stitched outline
Frayed away

It is but a memory-keeper

The tangible