Saturday, December 9, 2017

"We don't remember days, we remember moments." Cesare Pavese


The advent of Christmas has a way of stopping a busy person in order to relive a memory.  With all of the Christmas songs playing on the radio, decorating, shopping, and baking, I know this to be true- as it has happened to me numerous times these past few weeks. 

The moment I hear the opening of Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas" or "I'll Be Home for Christmas", I am a little girl again, asking my dad why he gets so sad when that song is playing.  Daddy served 5 straight years in the African shores during World War II, and he was away from his family for 5 consecutive Christmases.  I remember his sincere and emotional telling of what it was like to be in the desert during the war, and to have temperatures plummet from 100 degrees in the daytime to below freezing in the night.  When I was old enough to understand, he talked about the great loneliness of being a soldier away from home for such a long period of time, and he would hug me a little tighter when he talked about how grateful he was to have a wonderful wife and 3 children to dispel those old memories and to make new ones (although the sad ones could never be erased completely.)

I was going through a box of ornaments I have not looked in since my husband died in 2012.  Scott and I were very big on Christmas; we bought and decorated a fresh cut Christmas tree 12-14 feet high (in our living room), and wrapped the beams of that room with live white pine and red bows, with crocheted snowflakes hanging from the beams.  Outside decorations were just as elaborate, and it was exhausting!  The first year we moved to our new (but old-1936) house, the tree was so tall and so big, and we did not have enough ornaments.  I had a stash of scores of little stuffed animals (gifts from students), so they were all corralled and placed on hooks to add on the tree with  the Christmas bulbs and the 1200 lights. As I looked through that giant tub of ornaments, I remembered so many former students, and I thought about special moments that Scott and I enjoyed with friends and family when decorating our giant trees through the years.  One year, a friend - who was a plasterer - brought his stilts to wear while decorating! Sometimes we had 10 or more friends decorating for the evening, as putting up such a giant tree was a very big job. The laughter and camaraderie still echo in my heart, although I will never see such wonderful days again.

Inside another box, I found a Christmas tree - a tiny one, with white lights, just 16 inches tall and fully decorated, which was given to me by a friend in 1980, when I was getting divorced from my first husband.  Sue knew that I would not be having a tree, or any other decorations, that year, as my life was in turmoil. It was to be a sad Christmas,  and she just could not tolerate the idea of no Christmas tree in my life.  That sweet friend died from Lou Gehrig's Disease in 2003, after we had been friends and colleagues for almost 30 years. We shared so many discussions about school and teaching, marriage and divorce throughout those years, and I remember so many moments in which I was on the receiving end of her kindness. 

All of these memories were made through very personal connections, through connecting with others real conversations, with solid eye contact and careful listening skills. 
I don't remember the years, or the days of the week that so many of these events happened, but the memories are etched in my mind.  I recall so many childhood moments with my parents and my brothers, and when we were with our parents, they gave us their full attention.  Of course, there were no cell phones and electronic devices then, so bonding was certainly easier than it is in today's connected world.  Upon reflecting on so many memories, may I make a suggestion?  How about disconnecting from devices this Christmas season in order to truly connect with family members?  Give your children, spouse, parents, siblings, and friends the attention they desire.What a great gift -  to share feelings, to have someone listen and care, and to be understood.  Those moments of personal time shared are the ones that will be remembered. 

Wishing you a blessed holiday season - with new and better personal connections!   


As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®


Christmas at our house, 1991

Buying a GIANT  tree, 1994- Scott is on the far right 
1955- George, Daddy, me. George is 5, Dad is 35, and I just turned 3



Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 

Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 








Saturday, December 2, 2017

"Self-worth comes from one thing - thinking that you are worthy." Wayne Dyer




Teachers know all about giving second chances to kids . . .and then giving third and fourth chances, and more.  Educators want to help students to perform the very best they can, so that they will believe in themselves.  Often in life, however, those extra chances don't exist.  "You're late - you're fired."  "Failed to reach objective- employment terminated."  I found a story that is so inspirational that I must share it with you, and it is all about extra chances in life, and the impact those chances have on people's lives.

A homeless shelter in Dallas, Texas, has a homeless choir.  The choir started as a pickup singing group at a day shelter for the homeless, and it grew from there. Participants are not permitted to sing if they are under the influence; instead, they are asked to come back next week. Their director, Jonathan Polant, is more than a choir director to them; he is a friend and perhaps, their most stable influencer. 

After over 2 years of rehearsing, the director felt that the group deserved a bigger stage, and he made the necessary arrangements for them to appear at Carnegie hall in New York City. Under Jonathan's tutelage, the group procured appropriate clothing,  flight accommodations, and hotel reservations, and they were off to NYC!  For many choir members, this trip was the first experience on a plane, or the first trip outside of Texas. Indeed, appearing at Carnegie hall was the biggest event of their lives.

When asked if the choir was "that good" to appear at Carnegie Hall, Jonathan answered that it was not a question of "good", rather that they were "that worthy" to appear.  What a wonderful answer. Jonathan knows that self-worth can be more powerful than being homeless. 

Every person must feel that he or she is "worthy" in the eyes of another, and for some, what others see becomes a yardstick for the manner in which one measures himself. Just as teachers give lots of chances for kids to do better and to believe in themselves, Jonathan has helped his group to rise above being homeless and become a part of something greater than themselves.  He has created a personal relationship with his homeless friends, and given them a place where they feel secure and valued, helping each of them to see and understand their own self-worth.

What an inspirational story this is!  I appreciate the lessons offered by this special man who is the choir director, and I am uplifted by his approach of giving chances and recognizing the worthiness of others, no matter their current station in life. A great addendum to this story -  one of the choir members received a recording contract and one is in transitional housing.  Who can speculate how the choir experience at Carnegie hall will lift the others?

Here is the link to the story- well worth the few minutes to watch! 

https://www.today.com/video/choir-of-homeless-people-rocks-carnegie-hall-1105055299793 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®


Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." William Arthur Ward





I think Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday.  No gifts to buy, no major decorating required, just preparation of wonderful good food with lots of family and friends.  Most of all, I like the idea of setting aside a special holiday to celebrate being thankful.  But then, I am all about gratitude.

If you listen to people around you, you will hear plenty of complaining.  People complain about traffic and work, relationships and money, time and anything else they can think of.  I find listening to complaints really drags me down. Although I am not a Pollyanna, I try to look on the bright side. 

To be honest, on this Thanksgiving, I am quite sad.  One of my best friends died last week, and the two of us have been going out together for Thanksgiving dinner for years, since my husband died.  I am grieving, but I am thankful for the years we had together, and thankful to be driving to Mercer to be with my brother and his family, where I am always welcomed. I miss my late husband terribly, along with the two 25 pound turkeys we used to make for a throng of family and friends every year.  Although I am sad, I am grateful that we had such a loving relationship and welcoming home that we made so many people feel included and loved for 30 years.  

This Thanksgiving, may I suggest that you look around you and focus on all that is good in your life?  Be thankful for the small things that really aren't so small: a roof over your head, food on the table, people who love you, a warm bed to sleep in each night, a job to make money and provide service for others.  Those essentials are denied to many people who live in this world.  When you look at the world through grateful eyes, you will see your blessings multiplied.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Please share your thankful thoughts with others around you, and make 2017 Thanksgiving a day of spoken and shared blessings.  .  


As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®


Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 







Sunday, November 19, 2017

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Henry Brooks Adams



Perhaps you have noticed that obituaries always include the final paragraph that reads "Mr.___ was preceded in death by . . ."  followed by the sentence that says "Survivors include  . . . "  

A really good friend of 40 years, my golf buddy, and former colleague died on November 12.  Campbell Witherspoon, Jr. was a gentle soul who loved life, people, conversation, and most of all, education.  Through the many years he worked at various districts, Cam was a coach, teacher, headmaster, department head, assistant principal, principal, curriculum coordinator, gifted and talented coordinator. He was also a mentor to scores of new teachers and a caring adult and great role model to thousands of students. 

Sadly, in his obituary, the teachers and former students are not listed as his survivors, because they are not his kin. But when I reflect upon his life as an educator (we were colleagues for 25 of those years), indeed, he was a different kind of relative.  Cam was like a brother to some, a father to others, and near the end of his career, a wise grandfather to many.  He taught all the things he learned that somehow don't seem as important in today's date-driven school atmosphere of teaching to the test.  He taught manners and caring; empathy and responsibility; perseverance and self-discipline.Cam encouraged his students and set high expectations for them.  His nurturing personality turned around many students who needed a caring teacher in their lives. Cam's modeled gentlemanly and appropriate behaviors for students every day of his life. Because Cam was born during the Great Depression,  he had great appreciation for all that he had, and he expressed his appreciation freely, forcing others to reconsider gratitude over entitlement.  His cheerful demeanor and gentleness, along with his love for people and conversation, made him a friend to so many, and a favorite teacher to many more. We were great friends, and through the years, Cam and I and my late husband had hundreds of meals together and played countless rounds of golf together.  Cam and I ate out for Thanksgiving dinner together for the past 5 years since Scott died.  I will miss him terribly this Thanksgiving Thursday.

Campbell Witherspoon, Jr. leaves thousands of survivors behind, former students, colleagues, and friends, and each person if richer by far for knowing him.  His influence will continue through eternity.  God speed, Cam. 

To read more about Cam's accomplishments and life, here is the link to his obituary:
http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Campbell-Witherspoon&lc=7414&pid=187248922&mid=7640143 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®


Dede and Cam - Christmas party, 1990, enjoying a laugh

Cam and Dede, Thanksgiving, 2015


Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 






Saturday, November 11, 2017

"Discipline is helping a child solve a problem." L.R. Knost



A local news story caught my attention this week.  I was stunned to discover that the Pittsburgh Public School District suspends elementary students grades K-2 for indiscretions such as not having a pencil, forgetting a notebook or book, and  being tardy to school.  The story, featured on WPXI.  lists these statistics:  during the 2014-2015 school year, the district had almost 10,000 suspensions; last year nearly 6,000 suspensions.

Really?  Because of forgetting a book or pencil?  

The Pittsburgh Public Schools already suffer from negative publicity because of their low test scores. ( http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2016/10/14/Pennsylvania-releases-public-schools-report-cards/stories/201610140085 ) Within the past month, two violent incidents have been reported in the same elementary school, reinforcing the district's negative image.  Additionally, although the dropout rate has improved slightly, huge gaps still exist. Absenteeism is high, and 30 percent of high schoolers have been suspended.   http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2016/11/22/report-released-on-pittsburgh-public-schools/ 

So, with all of those HUGE problems, administrators and teachers are worried about kids grades K-2 forgetting books and pencils ????  What planet are they on? 

Perhaps one of the reasons for the achievement gap is directly correlated to students in grades K-2 missing classes because of inane suspensions.  Young students missing class time are missing the fundamental building blocks for the remainder of their educations. 

I was a classroom teacher in two suburban schools for a total of 37 years, and I saw lots of suspensions for violent and inappropriate behavior, but none for forgetting a book or pencil.  In my opinion, suspensions merely put students back into a home or street environment, not always the best environment, rather than keeping them in a nurturing environment in school, where issues can be discussed and addressed. Suspensions do not help students to solve problems.  Suspensions cause students to get behind in their work, become frustrated with trying to catch up, and in some cases, to finally give up and drop out.

I don't think the Pittsburgh Public Schools are helping students to "remember" better by suspending them.  A better solution to address small issues needs to be implemented that will not cause students to lose so much class time for such petty peccadillos. 

In my opinion, loss of class time in the early years will lead to more learning issues in later years. 


Interested in learning more about this story? See the full story here:  http://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/pittsburgh-public-schools-could-change-way-younger-students-are-punished-1/643741020 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®


Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 

Friday, November 3, 2017

"Those who teach the most about humanity aren't always humans." - Donald L. Hicks





I am not always sure of what my topic will be each week; events present themselves to me that I deem worthwhile, and then I have my subject.  I warn you that this week's subject is a sad one, especially if you are a dog lover.

My next-door neighbor, Barb, has been a great friend since I moved to my condo 5 years ago, after my husband died.  Barb is also a widow, and she moved here 2 years before I did.  I would love to have a pet, but I am just too busy and I travel too much to take care of a pet, so I have been very lucky to have Barb's dog, Abby, as my adopted dog for these 5 years. Abby was at my house during Barb's vacations, she spent evenings with me when Barb was out and I was home, and she loved to ride in the car- even in my convertible.  Abby sat upright and tall in the back seat of Barb's SUV (as Barb's co-pilot) on short and long trips around town and to Barb's camp. Abby asked for her yummy treat of homemade "ice cream" (plain vanilla yogurt, a few tablespoons of peanut butter, and some honey, frozen in little lickable containers)  every day before 4 p.m.  She positioned herself in front of Barb (or me, if she happened to be at my house), and gave the "dog stare" with the tilted head that asked, "Aren't you going to give me my treat?"  She was bright and fun and loving, and she just wanted to be petted and loved.  Although she was not mine, I loved that dog, but probably not as much as Barb did.

Abby died on Halloween, and Barb and I are both heartbroken.  Abby was a little over 14 years old, and had a full and wonderful life, but neither one of us was ready for her departure, even though we recognized that she has been failing for the past several months.  Abby lost 15 pounds, her arthritis was debilitating, and she could no longer hear. We had to resort to sign language to get her up - she was such a smart dog.  Yet, throughout her physical problems and loss of agility,  she never lost her gentleness, her smile (yes, Abby smiled when she first saw you- followed by a sneeze from smiling!), her wagging tail, and her enjoyment of seeing people. She was really a people dog, and she loved sitting out front watching the walkers and joggers go past, meeting their eyes with hers so they would stop to give her a pet and a hug.  Even at the end, when she was too weak to lift her head, her tail still gave some little wags and she was still the loving dog she had always been.

This sadness over losing Abby has made me think about pets, and more specifically, about dogs.  Dogs are such loving creatures, and they have so much to teach us. Dogs are so patient, as they wait for their humans to get dressed, to arrive home, to make them food.  Dogs are so trusting, as they come when called, acquiesce to their masters, and rely on their humans for every basic need. Dogs are so compassionate, as they crowd their humans with love and kisses and tail wags when their human is crying, and they just seem to know when a human just might need a dog on their lap.  Dogs are so protective, as they throw themselves between their humans and possible threats, like intruders, or other dogs.  Dogs are so loyal, that even when scolded, they come inching back, tail between their back legs, trying to regain their human's good graces.  Dogs are so joyful that they teach us to live in the moment, and to enjoy the wind rushing through our hair (fur.)  Dogs are so adventurous that they don't even mind sniffing a pile of poo in order to experience all the rich smells out there!  Dogs teach us that life holds so many possibilities:  a ride in the car, a nap in the sun, a walk on or off a leash, and the delicious possibility that one might meet and chase a cat.  Dogs teach us that love is always the answer, regardless of the question. Indeed, dogs are great teachers.

When a human friend passes, I reflect on the many moments I had with that friend, and I think about how much they enriched my life, as I hope that I enriched theirs.  Today, I am thinking about a friend with four paws who gave me so much happiness, and she wasn't even my dog!   

Barb and Abby had almost 15 years together, years that both enjoyed.  Abby was there for Barb when Barb's husband, Tony, passed away unexpectedly, and she helped Barb to keep a sense of normalcy in her life.  Abby was a true and faithful companion, and our lives are both richer because of Abby and all the lessons this wonderful dog taught us.  RIP, sweet Abby. You were so much more than a dog - you were a friend.  


Abby in her prime




The last photo of Barb and Abby, October 31, 2017.  Abby was too weak to walk. 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®


Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ®