Archive | July, 2019

Hurry up and Wait (and don’t let the door hit you on the way out)

30 Jul

I knew I need to replace my back door, but when the condominium exterior doors and trim were repainted in the Spring, my door was skipped. Oh it was prepped, alright. Just before the painting began, the doors that needed replacing – and there were three – were marked. I’ve been living with the mark ever since.

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Emails flew between the three people who were going to replace their back doors. One person volunteered to coordinate. I looked at doors online. Then an opportunity came up and the person coordinating decided to move.

I got busy with work and decided to take care of it in summer. At the end of June, I started calling small, local, door and window companies to get an estimate. Rejected by everyone! Apparently I was late to the game and everyone in Portland had already scheduled their summer door and window replacement. This was a concern because I had hoped to have the work done while I was off for the summer. I was back to square one.

When my neighbor to the left moved in, he’d had his front door replaced. I reached out ti him because I knew he’d gone through Home Depot. His experience, I learned, had been good, but I know other people who had had less than great experiences with them. I booked a consultation for my last day of school.

The consultation was straightforward and a few days later, I got a call from the contractor – a small, local, door and window company – for an appointment to take measurements. the day of the appointment, they called to see if they could come earlier than planned. I was more than happy to hear that. The young man came on a Thursday, took the measurements and said I should get a quote from Home Depot in a few days, but Monday at the latest. Monday came and went and there was no call. The following Monday, I called Home Depot.

The woman on the phone told me the guy I’d worked with was at lunch, but she looked up my file. She asked a couple of questions and said she’d get a quote to me in an hour. She called back with a one more question. With her next call, she had a quote. One of the doors – I was also adding a screen door – was on sale until Wednesday. I could come in and sign the contract any time, but if I came after Wednesday, the sale was over and the price would go up a bit. The difference wasn’t great, but I was anxious to get the ball rolling, so I went in to sign the next day. The doors were ordered and I was told they’d be in around August first.

One of the great things about modern technology is the ability to track purchases. From the updates, I received, I learned my doors were running ahead of schedule and would arrive at Home Depot on July 26th. On the 27th Home Depot called to say my doors were ready. The young man I spoke with said he’d let the contractor know. Yesterday, the small, local, door and window company called and we scheduled the installation for August 20th. I go back to work on August 26th. If all goes as scheduled, I will have achieved my summer repair goal.

 

Art Saves Lives

29 Jul

I’ve been a little absent from this blog. It is not a sign that I haven’t been reading – just a sign that I am knitting like a madwoman and relaxing. I have read a number of really great things, but haven’t had the discipline to sit down and write about them. Such is the life of a teacher in summer.

A recent YA read I really enjoyed was Sorry For Your Loss  by Jessie Ann Foley. Recently, I was talking with a friend about the different ways people process grief, sharing how each of my siblings behaved differently following the death of my mother. Sorry For Your Loss tells the story of how a large Irish-American family deals with an unexpected death. As the youngest (by 4 minutes) in a family of five, I loved how Foley depicts the way birth order impacts your role in a family.

36137535Publisher’s Summary: As the youngest of eight, painfully average Pup Flanagan is used to flying under the radar. He’s barely passing his classes. He lets his longtime crush walk all over him. And he’s in no hurry to decide on a college path.

The only person who ever made him think he could be more was his older brother Patrick. But that was before Patrick died suddenly, leaving Pup with a family who won’t talk about it and acquaintances who just keep saying, “sorry for your loss.”

When Pup excels at a photography assignment he thought he’d bomb, things start to come into focus. His dream girl shows her true colors. An unexpected friend exposes Pup to a whole new world, right under his nose.

And the photograph that was supposed to show Pup a way out of his grief ultimately reveals someone else who is still stuck in their own. Someone with a secret regret Pup never could have imagined.

 

My morning cup of joe

23 Jul

I like the ritual of making coffee, and I am a person with strong routines.

Every evening after dinner, and after I’ve tidied the kitchen, I get the coffee pot ready for the next morning. When I get up, I stumble to the kitchen, turn on the coffee pot, then take a shower. That way the coffee is ready when I am out of the shower, so I can sip it while I reflect on what the day holds. Summer, winter, weekend, weekday, the routine is the same.

This morning, I went through the routine, but when I poured my coffee, I got a surprise.

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I lifted the lid of the coffeemaker and realized where things had gone wrong.

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So, I started over again. I refilled the reservoir, actually put a filter AND coffee in the gasket, and pushed the button. In the time it takes to shower, I had a fresh pot of the real thing.

 

 

An Evolutionary Tale

22 Jul

I’ve been reading a lot, but not writing about it. Let’s blame summer vacation and my deep relaxation. It’s a good thing. And I am at the point where I have a large stack of books I could write about. Some are clamoring loudly for me to write about them, but I am choosing to write about a quieter book today.

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Moth: An Evolution Story is written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Daniel Egnéus. It’s an excellent book that not only depicts the process of evolution, but  also allows young readers to look back at past human activity and its impact on the natural world.

Publisher’s Summary: “This is a story of light and dark.”

Against a lush backdrop of lichen-covered trees, the peppered moth lies hidden. Until the world begins to change …

A clever picture book text about the extraordinary way in which animals have evolved, intertwined with the complication of human intervention. This remarkable retelling of the story of the peppered moth is the perfect introduction to natural selection and evolution for children.

Along come people with their magnificent machines which stain the land with soot. In a beautiful landscape changed by humans how will one little moth survive?

Powerful and visually spectacular, Moth is the remarkable evolution story that captures the struggle of animal survival against the background of an evolving human world in a unique and atmospheric introduction to Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection.

The text is almost poetic prose, told with just enough detail to get the idea across. For those wanting more facts, the story of the peppered moth is included at the back in more straightforward, scientific prose. The illustrations lift this book, creating at atmosphere that captures the moth at night and the changing environment beautifully.

Almost every student learns about butterflies and moths during their primary school years. The butterfly always seems to take center stage. Moth: An Evolution Story might help the lowly moth gain more fans. A must for any classroom.

Home going

11 Jul

I have a trip planned for August. Until then, I am enjoying being an armchair traveler- visiting various times and places through literature. Recently, two books stuck me because, in both, the main character travels back to a country in which they’d been born in an effort to make sense of the world.

In Forward Me Back to You  by Mitali Perkins, tells the story of two characters, one who is recovering from an attack and another who was adopted and an infant and is struggling with what to do after high school.

 

Publisher’s Summary: Katina King is the reigning teen jujitsu champion of Northern California, but she’s having trouble fighting off the secrets in her past.

Robin Thornton was adopted from an orphanage in India and is reluctant to take on his future. If he can’t find his roots, how can he possibly plan ahead?

downloadRobin and Kat meet in the most unlikely of places—a summer service trip to Kolkata to work with survivors of human trafficking. As bonds build between the travelmates, Robin and Kat discover that justice and healing are tangled, like the pain of their pasts and the hope for their futures. You can’t rewind life; sometimes you just have to push play.

In turns heart wrenching, beautiful, and buoyant, Mitali Perkins’s Forward Me Back to You focuses its lens on the ripple effects of violence—across borders and generations—and how small acts of heroism can break the cycle.

 

I received an ARC of Randy Ribay’s Patron Saints of Nothing at ALAMW in Seattle and only just got around to reading it.

 

Baa Baa Black Sheep

9 Jul

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It’s called the Black Sheep gathering, but it welcomes sheep, goats, and other wool bearing beasties of all colors.

Although I’ve lived in Oregon for almost 23 years, I’d never heard of this wool festival, that celebrated it’s 45th anniversary on the weekend, before this year.

I started my visit in the barn, walking around the pens and getting to know the different breeds represented that day. When I left the barns, the scent of sheep barn clung to me, even though there was nothing on the soles of my shoes. I went into the marketplace, the scent still present like an ovine perfume, but no one seemed to notice. Perhaps they wore it too.

I had the chance to talk to a dyer I like and to get to know a few others I’d never heard of before. None of them mentioned my sweet aroma. Fortunately, the scent of raw wool permeated the air in the hall.

A trip to the restroom offered up one more beastly delight:

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Go ahead, make my day

2 Jul

I’ve only been on vacation for two weeks, but I have already reached the point where I have lost track of the day of the week. Turning the page on the calendar yesterday morning was a helpful anchor, but, with so much unencumbered time, it makes me worry when I actually have an appointment. Like today.

Lucy is in need of a nail trim, so last week, I scheduled an appointment for today. As soon as I got off the phone, I began to worry. Would I remember the appointment if I have lost track of the day? So I came up with a coping strategy.

Lucy doesn’t enjoy going to the vet. If she could read, I suspect she’d hide these notes. For me, knowledge is power; for her, ignorance is bliss.

 

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