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Back in style

27 Aug

Many people have back to school traditions. Some people take a yearly photo. Some people have breakfast traditions. For the last few years, I’ve knit socks.

This year, I had my 2019 back to school socks ready for the first day of inservice week.

These are knit in a colorway called Patience. It seemed appropriate.

My 2018 socks were knit in No. 2 Pencil.

The 2017 school year started shortly after the eclipse. Naturally, this colorway was called Total Eclipse of the Sun.



In 2016, I used this yarn, Fall for Barrie, for another project, but had enough left over for a pair of shortie socks.


Hand knit socks aren’t cheap, but it makes me happy knowing my feet are sheathed in something made by my own hands.


My secret strategy

6 Aug


The only thing that keeps me going back to my local supermarket is its proximity to the pet store where I buy dog food. Over the last two years, following a buy-out from a national corporation, the local chain has transformed – and not in a way I like. My secret strategy is to park my car in a spot near the park that separates the grocery store from the dog food store, walk to get the dog food, then do my groceries.

Yesterday, my secret strategy played out. As I walked back to my car with the dog food, I saw a silver sedan pull into the shady spot beside my car. Imagine my surprise as I saw who emerged: an 8th grade teacher from my school who will be joining us in 6th grade in September. Apparently, he uses the same secret strategy.

We chatted at the cars for a while, discussing our violation of parking prohibitions. Before too long, he was picking my brain about 6th grade. Instead of getting his cat food then groceries, he decided to get his groceries first so we could carry on our discussion. Eventually we parted, me to the Vitamin section, him to produce, each saying something like “See you in a few weeks”.

As I exited the grocery store wheeling the cart to my car, I saw him again, coming from the direction of the pet food store. We laughed and said “See you in a few weeks” once more.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.



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.



25 Jun

I have officially been on vacation for a week, but the big end of the year drama happens today.

Sunday afternoon,  staff got a text telling us to check our email. I did and the message was short and sweet: Tuesday the administrators will call all staff to tell them what their job will be next year.

It’s been a long wait. The discovery of budgeting irregularities meant that our district had a severe shortfall and the projected cutbacks for the 2019-20 year meant jobs would be eliminated. At first it seemed like the RIF might be as bad as the bad year, after the financial crisis. But with retirements and consolidation, it was projected to be not as bad. But still bad enough that we left school last week not knowing for sure what we’d be teaching.

But today is the day.

The staff are buzzing, trying to predict how the calls will happen. By grade level? Alphabetically? Bad news first? Moving first, staying second? It’s a way to try to make sense out of this crazy process.



I don’t normally bring the phone with me when I walk Lucy, but today I will. Lucy will be there to support me if it is bad news and celebrate if it is good. Wish us luck.

Late Tuesday Update: Good news: My team gets to stay intact!

School’s out…there was some drama

18 Jun

Act 1

INT. Classroom – Last Day of school

Sixth graders are sitting on floor. Two girls are singing in front of room. Three teachers are huddled on one side of room. One stands alone on the other side. One of the three teachers is mouthing words to the lone teacher. She cannot understand so walks over to the group.

ME THE TEACHER: My lip-reading sucks. What’s up?

TEACHER 1: We are moving to Orange Hall.

ME THE TEACHER: What??? Are you joking?

TEACHER 2: No. Go check your email.

As Me the Teacher weaves through the mass of 6th grade bodies, Teacher 3 paces and mutters to himself.

Act 2

EXT. Later the same day on the playing field

Sixth graders are gathered on the field in various groups. Some are running. Some are signing yearbooks. A group is sitting in the grass playing with their Magic cards. A lone boy wanders, playing a harmonica.

ME THE TEACHER: The timing is bad, but there might be some perks to the move.

TEACHER 3: The locker room is bigger in Orange hall and, because we will be on the first floor, we will have direct outside access.

TEACHERS 1 & 2: I was thinking the same thing.

Act 3

INT. Classroom – Teacher’s Last Day of school

Me the Teacher is frantically packing. She is disheveled and her face is very red.

Act 4

INT. Classroom – Teacher’s Last Day of school

CUSTODIAN: Are you ready?

ME THE TEACHER: Yes. I didn’t think it was possible,  but I got it all packed up.

CUSTODIAN: This move means a lot of extra work for us.

ME THE TEACHER: I know and I am sorry, but have a great summer.

Custodian exits.

Me the Teacher does one last sweep of the classroom, turns off the lights and exits the room, closing the door behind her.






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