Saturday, October 31, 2009

...All Hallow's Eve

So I carved one of my pumpkins after all. My neighbors invited me over for pizza and a pumpkin carving party this afternoon, which sounded like fun--and it was. We ate and talked and laughed and made some pretty cute jack o'lanterns. I can't remember the last time I bothered with a pumpkin. Leaving them whole, as fall decorations, is more my style now that the kids are grown.

Not many trick-or-treaters out tonight, not in our neighborhood, anyway. But there have been some cute costumes (on the little ones) and gruesome costumes (on the bigger ones).

Something that made me smile: A little boy leaned his head in my door and said, "Ah, it smells like pumpkin pie in there!" Nope, not pie--just a double batch of my Grandma V's apple cake.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

...a teary sort of day

Last year Sandra came to my classroom. From rural Mexico, her educational background was not the strongest. She stayed in the "silent stage" of language acquisition for most of the year. Unfortunately, she and the only other girl in the class, Raquel, didn't hit it off. This year, Yesenia was the newcomer, and she and Sandra soon became best friends. (Raquel's sister came up from the middle school, so she isn't alone. In fact, the two sisters seem to prefer being apart from the others, but that's a whole other story.) So Sandra and Yesenia sat together, worked together, and walked arm in arm down the halls together. Yesenia has a strong academic background and was always helping Sandra, who started to bloom. And then...Yesenia dropped the bombshell. Her dad's job here was ending and they were moving to South Carolina to live with an aunt. A new job was promised. Today was Yesenia's last day. The two girls were inseperable, solemn faces, trying without much success not to cry. And I wanted to cry for them. I took their picture together so they will always remember the other's face.

I know what it's like to be the one leaving. Every time Dad got new orders we packed up and said goodbye to neighbors and friends, and started all over again in a new town, a new school. Moving mid-year was the worst. But Yesenia has a bright spirit and I know she will adjust. She's intelligent and kind. She will make new friends.

A few years ago I struck up a conversation with a woman at a conference. She said she grew up in a military town. She knew how it felt to be the one being left. If I could talk to her again I would ask, "How do I help Sandra grieve the loss of her friend?" Sometimes life is just downright hard.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

...visitors, a new camera, and family heirlooms

Nate is home from Alaska, so he and Genavieve came for a visit this past weekend.
We went camera shopping (since mine went sploosh! in the toilet last summer and sealing it in a bag of rice didn't totally revive it), went out to eat at Ice Harbor Brew Pub,
and had fun being silly, as usual.
Sunday morning mom and dad stopped by to have lunch (for them) and breakfast (for us). They were returning from their annual trek to AZ and CA and miniature shows. Coming home they stopped in Portland to visit mom's sister, Aunt Nanie, who sent them on their way with two large boxes full of Grandma Irene's cosmos glass collection. (Mom had called me a few days before and asked if I was interested in having it. Of course! Arlene and I thought the pieces had already been sold to a collecter.) So after breakfast/lunch the table was cleared and mom unpacked the boxes. Wow. Wow. I remembered that grandma had a lot of pieces, but I sure didn't expect there to be so much! Mom said that none of Nanie's kids wanted them (I have a theory about that) and she was glad that I did. She stipulated that I not sell the pieces (I won't) but didn't say anything about gifting them. It sure will be fun sharing with my sisters, daughter and nieces!
(The large lamp with the chimney is mine, a Christmas gift a few years ago from mom and dad because I liked Grandma's so much. I brought it out to compare to the other one. They're the same, except for the color at the top.) Arlene, let me know what to set aside for you! :-)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

...Father Scott

This past summer my cycling friend Kathie told me about a fun website with cool jerseys. One jersey in particular just had to be purchased for Scott, our LBS owner. For some reason, we thought his birthday was in November, so we thought we had plenty of time to order it. We were bummed to find out that it was actually in September, and we had missed it! Instead of waiting for next year, we decided to get the jersey anyway and surprise him. So last night, using my birthday as a pretext, we gathered at the shop for snacks, beverages, and conversation.

Father Scott loves his new Sunday jersey. He donned his skull cap and blessed us all with the bike pump as we genuflected and asked for puncturevine-free riding. For some reason though, he didn't want to hear confession!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

...turning 51

Last year, for my 50th, I did it up big--a personal day off from school to thoroughly indulge myself. But let's face it--51 just isn't a number to get too excited about. Sure, it's been a fun day--lots of birthday wishes and awesome gifts (flowers from my kids are on my desk at school!), dinner out with my very good friend and her husband, decadent chocolate cheesecake for dessert, and before bed I will journal my dreams for the coming year (in a new made-with-love journal from Arlene!)--but 51...m'eh. Not even a speed limit.

Part of the fun of my birthday is sharing it with so many people. My nephew Jason (who just found out he is going to be a dad again) is 34 today. My nephew Taylor is 16. The son of a coworker is 13. Our school secretary of many years (who retired at the end of last year) also shares the date. (We still exchanged cards this year, although it wasn't quite the same as being able to walk into the office and simultaneously say, "Happy Birthday!") The Main Squeeze of LimesNow is celebrating a big one today (Happy Birthday, Badger!),'s always tickled my funny bone that Annette Funicello was also born on October 22.


(And happy day, tomorrow, to my baby brother, Dave. We're 8 years apart.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

...something I forgot to mention

Earlier in the week an email appeared in my inbox at school: "There may be an opportunity for two teachers from our district to travel to Guanajuato, Mexico the week of Thanksgiving. Let me know if you're interested." I immediately wrote back: "Let me check with my kids, but I'm pretty sure I want in." Then I texted Katie. Her response? "Do it!" I asked, "Would Nate say the same?" "YES!" So I emailed again and said to please add my name to the list. That evening I chatted online with Nate (he's still in AK) and he too said, "Go!"

So the week flew by but nothing more about it in the inbox. On Friday the person who sent the email was in our building. We were walking up the stairs together and he casually said, "Oh it looks like you and I are going to Mexico next month." YIPPEE!

I'm not 100% sure yet, but I think we'll be teaching strategies to English teachers, rather than actually teaching English. And even though it will be a week of's in Guanajuato, Mexico in November!!! How cool is that??

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

...odds and ends

  • Pouring rain yesterday kept us from riding. I'm afraid that mid-week rides are over for this year.
  • I keep checking to see if the dog needs water. Will take a while to break 14 year routines.
  • The only noise I ever hear from my neighbors' apartment next door is laughter. A happy sound that makes me smile.
  • One of these days a kitty is going to find a home with me.
  • Not having an old dog to rush home to means I'm staying way later at school than maybe is healthy.
  • I love sites that make me laugh like don'tjudgemyhair and cakewrecks.
  • Fall is here. A pumpkin and mums are sitting outside my door. I doubt I take the time to carve the pumpkin.
  • Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches are the best. Comfort. Yum.
  • I might be spending the week of Thanksgiving in Mexico teaching English. My kids said, "Do it!" Still waiting to hear if I am chosen.
  • Our school is doing Battle of the Books for the first time this year and I've been asked to help. I think that means I get to read all the books the kids will be reading so I can be on a panel.
  • It's time to clean out the garage so I can start parking in it again. Not sure why I treat it like a dumping ground all summer. A trip to the recycle station is on my to-do list this weekend.
  • Tumbleweeds are beautiful this time of year.
  • I have much to be grateful for and life is good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I love the students I work with. They are the reason I get up and go to school each day. (Paperwork and hoops--gack. But the kids? Ahhh.)

I have always said I have the best students in the school. It's not that they don't have their share of annoying quirks (who doesn't?), but on the whole...there is something so innocent, so open about a high school student who is just learning to speak English. We have fun together. They soak up all the English I can give them, and ask for more. They are playful and wild, and incredibly social.

Part of my job with these kids that I adore is to advocate for them with other teachers. And it always blindsides me to come up against someone who doesn't see them the same way I do. Someone who misinterprets embarrassed smiles as smirks, who see disrespect in a look, when none is intended. Someone who doesn't stop to consider if the student even understood the rant.

If I feel blindsided and sick to my stomach...I can only imagine how the student involved feels. They may not have understood the words...but the message was loud and clear.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Chasse Lady Firefighter--5/8/95-10/9/09

Goodbye, Chasse ol' girl. I will miss you.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Years ago I learned the acronym HALT: Never let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. I usually do a pretty good job of taking care of myself, but these last four weeks have gone by in a blur and the last one...TIRED...has kicked me in the butt. I came home from the soccer game and put in a napping movie (one I have seen so many times it puts me to sleep) and slept. Then I got up and made a crockpot of my favorite chili (There's hungry taken care of. I won't have to think about what to eat this week.) then went to bed. It was pouring rain all night and I slept hard. When I woke up this morning and did a mental check, it was a relief to discover that the blues had gone. (I need to find a new name for that awful weepy feeling--blue is the color that gives me energy.)

As for angry and lonely....Serenity prayer to the rescue.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

...the blues

The fourth week of school has come and gone...and I'm still not keeping up. Lesson plans for six different classes, program paperwork, a club to supervise, meetings, meetings, (sigh) meetings, new administrators, new secretary, new students...whew.

I woke up this morning with a case of the blues that I cannot (will not?) shake.
And I'd ask you to

...but I can't even stand to be in my own company right now.
Tomorrow will be a better day, right? Oh, wait, I get to spend the day in my classroom. Yippee. And to the soccer game to supervise the concession stand.