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Ode to a Banana Slug

11 Jun

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Genus Ariolimax!
You are North America’s largest land mollusk.
With two sets of tentacles —
the bottom two tentacles for feeling and smelling,
the upper tentacles with eye spots that
can move independently to scan for danger —
and a mouth on the bottom of your head,
you travel up to 6.5 inches a minute,
scouring the forest floor for anything to eat.

Ariolimax columbianus!
Traveller of Pacific Northwest,
you thrive in the damp forest floor.
You have but one lung (on the right side)
and a body coated in slime
to prevent dehydration.
Your slime is neither solid, nor liquid.
It is a a liquid crystal,
making you a gem of a forest dweller.

 

 

Between a rock and a hard place

4 Jun

“I’m sorry, we don’t seem to have a record of that reservation,” the friendly hostess told me over the phone.

I’d suspected as much. It was Sunday – two days before I was going to Outdoor School for four days with my sixth graders – and I had expected an “It’s getting close” email reminder from Sniff Dog Hotel. They always come in the morning, two days before Lucy is going to stay. But now it was afternoon.

I had called under the guise of making an August reservation for a summer trip and casually asked about the reservation for today, June 4th. Maybe a naughty word crossed my lips when she told me there was no reservation.

I wanted to tell her what had happened. How the camp we’d originally been scheduled to attend had burned down. How I’d cancelled Lucy’s reservation for that date. How a union retreat in March had also been rescheduled and I had cancelled and rescheduled Lucy’s stay. In all the cancelling and rescheduling, I missed making this reservation.

Of course they had room for a last minute reservation…in the View Suite! Of course I booked it – I was between a rock and a hard place.

Here is a view of one of the rooms Lucy will occupy. That’s not her in either of the rooms, but you can see that her accommodations will probably be a little more luxurious than mine. It’s fancy, but I know they will take care of my baby while I am gone.

Sniff_0713+146

Summer planning

28 May

The whoop from the room next door caught my attention and I walked over to see what had my teaching partner so excited.

“Have you seen the new calendar?” she asked practically dancing about the room. “We are back to a Labor Day start!”

Her joy was contagious, even though I knew the reason for the changed start time wasn’t. A few years ago, the school board decided they wanted to lengthen the school year and amended the calendar so we started before Labor Day this year. Budgeting issues this year promised teacher layoffs and people were worried. The change start date for the 2019-20 school year was a way to save some jobs and keep class sizes at current levels.

My first instinct, after checking the email and looking over the new calendar, was to message my sister to let her know I could now attend the Twist Fibre Festival with her. It takes place just outside Ottawa in mid-August.

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Since that first email, she and I have messaged and searched and video chatted, finalizing plans. This weekend we booked our trip, which also involves a week in Montréal.

We still have three weeks of school, and this trip comes near the end of summer, but I am excited because summer vacation is starting to seem real.

 

 

Some lasts

14 May

With only five weeks of school left, my mind has begun looking for lasts. In addition to this being the end of another school year, this is my last year as our union secretary, a post I’ve held for the last three years. There are some aspects of the job I won’t miss, especially late Monday nights. But there are several I will.

Last weekend we had the last union board retreat. Every year we spend a weekend in Hood River, a lovely little town along the Columbia River. It’s work, but there is always a little play time. This year, during the scavenger hunt, our mission was to find something  Red for Ed. What my team found in the Goodwill had us laughing.

Yesterday, I said farewell to one of my favorite jobs: reading the letters from graduating students who applied for the scholarships we offer. The scholarships were established in the name of a man who was a great volunteer, so students are asked to write about their volunteer experiences. The team meets at a coffee shop and it makes for a really lovely couple of hours.

There are still lots of thing on my “last ____ of the year list”, but I am a little sad that these two won’t be on next year’s list.

screen-shot-2017-12-02-at-6-09-23-am

Goodbye March

31 Mar

IMG_0019I don’t do much gardening anymore;
I only keep a box and
a few pots on my stoop.

But, like March,
the season of the flowering kale
has come to an end.

 

 

In its place comes April,
full of hope and new possibilities.

 

 

I have replaced the kale IMG_0020
with pansies for now.
Later, I’ll put my dahlia tubers in pots
and change up the pansies
for something that can take
the heat of summer.

And so, Spring Break ends,
this month of daily writing ends,
but the journey
around the sun
continues.

Allergy eyes

30 Mar

There is something in the air.

I know because I feel it in my eyes.

I feel it even before I wake up: the heavier than usual lids, the itch, the grit, the tears that run from neither joy nor sorrow. Allergy season has hit my eyes.

It takes some time to get them serviceable. This means drops and hydrocortisone cream. This means frequent looks in the mirror to gauge the degree of puffiness and redness. This means extra wrinkles as the swelling goes down. This means NOT rubbing them.

It takes some time for them to feel normal again. Well, normalish. In allergy season, normal is a distant memory and desire. By noon, I feel normalish and I wonder when I will wake up and feel normal. I wonder, too, which student will be the first to comment.

Today, I replace the SOL logo with something more representative of how I’m feeling today.

ten-secrets-of-blood-oranges-64905-1

 

Furiously knitting

29 Mar

“Do you ever take commissions?” my librarian friend asked.

I cringed inwardly. It can be an awkward question to answer and I gave my standard reply,”Yes, but I have rules.”

Her raised eyebrows were a sort of encouragement to go on, so I explained, “I won’t accept payment and you have to live with my timeline. I could finish it in a week, a year or never. I love to knit but don’t like pressure to perform. I want to knit a project because I love it. What did you have in mind?”

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My friend had been on last year’s Printz committee. What she wanted was a pussy hat with the word “Fury” on it, in celebration of Damsel by Elana K. Arnold.

“Let me think and look around,” I said.

I found a free pattern  –  Hamilton Pussyhat by  on Ravelry. – that captured the beauty of the cover.Screen Shot 2019-03-28 at 3.39.27 PM

During the Rose City Yarn Crawl, I made it my mission to find some yarn that would capture the colors of the book and work with the pattern. I did.

 

I took the peace of Spring Break to adapt the pattern, replacing “Rise Up” with “Fury” and began knitting. I learned to knit a Latvian braid and, slowly, but surely, the hat took shape.

It is now finished and blocking. I’ll give it to my friend when I see her at our next book club meeting in two weeks, unless I see her at the library first. I hope it is a good fit.

 

 

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