Tuesday, September 30, 2008

...the last, last ride of September!

OK, so I thought Saturday was our last ride in September...but I wasn't looking at the calendar. Tonight is the LAST ride...and is it ever beautiful out!!! Sunny, hot, and just a bit of a breeze. I can't wait to get on the bike and go, go, go. But for now...I need to change my clothes and take my ol' dog out to play for a bit. :-)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

...my ancient dog

My dog is 13 1/2 years old. When Katie was 8 years old she fell in love with Dalmatians, and this was even before the newer movie came out. She loved Dalmatians. So, she saved her money, and in 1995 we brought Chasse Lady Firefighter home. Yes, she was Katie's dog, but...eventually it was obvious that she was my dog. Chasse means Hunter in French but the name doesn't fit her personality. She is a wimp. But a tough wimp. I never expected her to live this long. She's been hit by a car and almost died of shock, and has been shot with a blowgun dart (back in her wandering days). And I really thought she would be gone by the time I sold the house and moved into the apartment. But she's still here. And we have a problem. Occasional accidents on the carpet turned into regular accidents on the carpet turned into daily accidents on the carpet. I've tried limiting her water during the day and penning her in the kitchen (she can get through whatever I put up). I always potty her twice in the mornings--once as soon as I'm up, and again just before I leave, and try to get home quickly after school. But today I left for one hour to go grocery shopping. One hour. I pottied her before I left...and came home to another puddle on the carpet. And I feel awful. I feel like a bad person because I'm ready for Chasse to go to doggie heaven. This has to be stressful on her too...once trained she rarely had accidents in the house.

...Cabbage Hill

Yesterday five of us rode from Pendleton to Meacham and back again. It was a beautiful day--sunny with no wind. And wouldn't you know it, I forgot my camera! Rats. So imagine a clear fall day with a great view of the Pendleton valley. It took us 3 hours to go up, up, up for 30 miles. Puncture vines were abundant along the side of the road, but we only had one flat tire. Our destination was the Meacham cafe for their famous pancakes. We ate, rested, drank lots of coffee, then headed back down the hill. My average speed on the downhill was 28 mph. I chickened out on the hairpin turns and used my brakes, but it was still a rush! I found out later that a rider from Pendleton, Mac, is 75 years old. I would never have guessed he was that old--on the way up he kept circling back to make sure everyone was ok. So while I put 60 miles on my bike, he probably logged about 80. I hope I'm still riding strong when I'm 75. The last ride of September...it was a good one.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Our group in Morelia with our teachers at CCL. 6

Gabino's sister and family. (Gabino is Maribel's husband.)

Candy and me. 6 A student's grandpa.

In August I had the very good fortune to get to travel to Mexico for 2 weeks. I was one of several teachers from our district who got to go. The district paid for our flight down and back, and for one week in Morelia at a language school. We could stay longer at our own expense if we chose to do so. What an opportunity! I visited with my friend Maribel, who used to be my next door neighbor, to ask if there might be someone in her family who could give me a place to stay and take me around to see the sights. She thought of her niece, Candy who is 23 and takes care of her family home in La Viga ( a very small ranchito north of Morelia). Lucky for me, Candy said yes to having me come and hang out with her for a week. So, after spending a delightful week in Morelia with coworkers brushing up on my Spanish, I hopped on a bus that took me to Villa Morelos. Candy and her good friend Claudia and her daughter Yaneli met me there and took me to La Viga.

Claudia and Yaneli 6

Maribel's mom. I love this photo!

We had such a good time together. It didn't take long for us to become friends. Funny how one can bond with some people so quickly! We had lots of laughs together--we didn't always understand each other--even though I've been speaking Spanish for a long time there are still words and meanings that I miss. Throw in a rural accent and I miss a lot! Candy was a wonderful hostess and taxi driver. She took me to several neighboring ranchos so I could meet relatives of my students. (And what fun THAT has been to show pictures of me with grandpas and cousins!) I feel very blessed to have been chosen to go to Morelia, and even more blessed to have gotten the chance to spend time in La Viga with Candy. As they say in Mexico, "God willing, I will return!"
Yaneli with her cousin Elian. 5

Gabino's mom and dad. 6


So the phone call from my ex-husband about his dad has me thinking about family. Stephen and I were married 6 short years. We've been divorced for 21. Yet his family is still my family. I promised Rolly and Em that I would not divorce them from their grandchildren. And even though they live 7 hours away, I have kept my promise. So many memories of our annual road trip to Salmon Arm! It didn't matter what time of day or night we rolled into town, they welcomed all 3 of us with open arms. Em always had a huge pan of cinnamon buns and rice krispie treats waiting for us, and a certain drawer in the kitchen was full of red licorice. After dinner Rolly always wanted to know who was ready to play cards--and we played by "Rolly rules." What a cheater! We had so much fun around that table.

After the kids graduated from high school and moved to Portland (and I was no longer the family activities director) it was harder to find time to make our annual trek. The last time we went was the summer of '06, but we still keep in touch through letters and phone calls. Technically, Rolly and Em are no longer my family. But my heart tells me different.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Tonight's one of those nights that I just can't fall asleep. So, instead of tossing and turning and getting frustrated, I usually get up, knowing that I will sleep well tomorrow night. There are two reasons why I can't get to sleep tonight. One is physical. I had to push myself really hard on the ride this evening to get back before the sun went down. The fast guys left us in the dust, so we didn't have anyone to pull us along. (They promised they won't do that anymore with these shorter days.) So my legs ache and I'm dehydrated. The second reason I can't sleep is because of a message I got today. My father-in-law in Canada was taken to the hospital. The call came this morning but we haven't had any updates all day. So at this point no news is good news. My head is full of memories of Rolly, as well as practical details of "if/when" we make the trip to Salmon Arm to say goodbye. Nate is still in Alaska working, and Katie starts at PSU on Monday. But the details will take care of themselves. For now, we wait, and send thoughts of love and peace to our family up north.

Monday, September 22, 2008


This is my 20th year of teaching. In some ways doing what I do has gotten easier. I know the routine. But in lots of ways it's gotten harder. There are so many more requirements now than there were when I first started teaching. So...why do I teach?
Just look at these faces!!!

Who can resist kids like these who work harder than hard, tussle like puppies, make me laugh, then frustrate me to no end, who want to learn English, who want to fit in, who want to achieve even when faced with so many obstacles?

I love these kids. And they are the reason I keep coming back. From time to time I try to figure out what else I could do with my life. But I haven't thought of anything else yet. Until I do, these smiles will keep me going.

(There are 2 girls and 1 more boy in this class, but they were camera shy, so I didn't force them to say "cheese!")

Sunday, September 21, 2008

...my silly kids

I thought we were smiling for the camera...

I miss my silly kids. Only they're not kids anymore. Nate just turned 25 and Katie is 21. They know how to make me laugh--big belly laughs that feel so good. And since school started I have sure been in need of a great big pee-my-pants belly laugh. My kids have always been clowns. But before digital cameras I wouldn't find out what kind of faces they were making until I took the roll in to be developed. And I remember actually getting quite angry with Nate for rolling his eyes back in his head when he was about 6 and "ruining" the pictures. Now I laugh at the memory. Obviously I didn't scar him too badly--as you can see, he still hams it up for the camera. And Katie often manages to look like a Dr. Seuss character without even trying. So I'm looking forward to November--Nate will be home from Alaska and we're going to get together at Katie's apartment for Thanksgiving. Guaranteed, lots of laughter will be on the menu.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Last summer my friend Shelley kept urging me to come out and ride with the group from Scott's, but I knew as soon as I did that Scott would try to sell me a bike...and I would want to buy one. I have always had a bike and ridden a lot. And I thought I was strong, and fast. But I had no idea what a difference having a road bike would make. Wow. I test rode a few bikes from Scott's before deciding on my beautiful blue and black Giant titanium frame road bike. A full year later and I am still in love. :-) Buying it was the best thing I could have done for myself. I'm not sure how many miles I've put on it (the computer shows an incredibly huge number that can't possibly be right) but my guess would be about 2,000 miles. I feel stonger and healthier than I've ever felt. I can even stay up with the fast guys for longer stretches of time, and I'm no longer in the slow group! There are other benefits as well--my circle of friends has grown, it's a great stress reliever, and cycling clothes are cute! haha I've even started making my own jerseys, combining my love of sewing with my new passion.

...my 2 year old great-niece

Happy Birthday, Jadyn! Today Jadyn, her mom, and grandma (my sister) are participating in the nation's largest 5K walk for women in Boise--St. Luke's Women's Fitness celebration. What a fun way to spend your birthday morning! (I did the walk last year with my sister--incredible to see so many women out walking.) Jadyn is a beautiful little girl who delights us all. I don't get to see her nearly often enough, but love getting picture updates. It's also fun to see my sister as a grandma. She keeps Jadyn overnight from time to time and always lets her help with whatever she is baking.


It's time to quit lurking and create my own blog. But now that I've done it, what do I have to say? I think about things to write when I'm out on my bike, but now, sitting at the computer, I feel uncertain. What will I write about? Why write? And for whom? So...here goes...welcome to blogging, Sue! :-)

....digital pictures

Pictures are so much fun to take and fun to look at, but they can become overwhelming when you have so many that you don't know what to do with them all. Should I print them and put then in an album? Leave them in a computer file? The good thing about digital cameras is that you can take lots of pictures. The bad thing about digital cameras is that you can take lots of pictures.