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Thank you, Universe!

11 Sep

I may have mentioned my deal with the universe, the one where, if the Universe let me stay in 6th grade, I would go to Outdoor School this year and not grumble about it.

There were many reasons why I didn’t go last year. one of them had to do with compensation. Teachers had to be away from home for three nights, with no financial compensation and I was going to be out-of-pocket for Lucy’s boarding fees. All teachers were given was an additional personal day.

Yesterday, at my union meeting I found out that we are going to be remunerated for those three nights at a rate that made me cheer.

I have several months yet to think up the woodsy name I will put on my wood cookie nametag.


Look out Outdoor School. Here I come!


Middle School (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah)

9 Aug

Moving to a new team feels like Middle School  and I have to find my place all over again. A lot is changing. I am excited about a new grade but worry about losing the friends I will no longer be working with. Oh, middle school!

Trudy Mixer, the protagonist of Ann Hood’s She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah), is in the same boat.


This was a really great read and I think that kids today will be able to connect, event though the book is set when I was still in diapers.



7 Aug

Turning the kitchen calendar from July to August felt traumatic this year. It meant only two weeks of summer left. August is transition time, the Sunday night of summer.

Over the summer we learned that, not only were we getting a new principal, the whole office staff is changing: secretary, two VPs, student supervisor, and principal. It is unprecedented in my career. Also unprecedented was the email from our new principal inviting us to sign up for a time to come in for an informal, on-on-one chat. Wow!

My meeting was yesterday.

I tend to spend the summer in athletic shorts and t-shirts, but I arrived at school in Bermuda shorts and a striped shirt. Casually professional. I wanted the first impression of me to be a good one!

Our chat started off informally, with each of us giving a little bit of our background and me talking about my three-year experience at my school. We knew some people in common, even though we’d never met before. Education is a small world.

She concluded with two specific questions about communication practices and conference scheduling. Two things people had complained a lot about last year. I told her what I’d heard as a union rep and what I thought.

I had walked in hoping she’d surprise me by saying I could stay in 6th grade. I’ve spent the summer coming to terms with my grade change. I left feeling optimistic about the new school year, new admins and new grade. This is going to be a good one!




Summer movie summary

3 Aug

I usually have big plans about movies I will see at the theater in the summer. My plans usually fail and I end up watching them at home months later. But not this summer. This summer I went to the movies THREE times!

The first one was a definite summer movie:


This one won’t win any awards, but it was fun to watch – and sing along.

The next two were documentaries. I saw both in old-fashioned, classic theaters : the Laurelhurst Theatre and the Academy Theater.

My sister and I saw the Mr. Rogers documentary at the Laurelhurst.


Yesterday, I went to the Academy Theater to see the documentary RBG.


RBG and Mr. Rogers have very different personalities, backgrounds and life histories, but they are both about making a difference in the lives of ordinary people. It won’t surprise you to know I laughed and cried at Won’t You Be My Neighbor.  It might surprise you that I also laughed and cried at RBG.

If you haven’t seen either, I highly recommend both. I think middle schoolers might like both of them

My new phone

31 Jul

I finally did it. I got a smart phone.

I’d managed to get along just fine with my flip phone and computer, but I will be buying a new car before too long. Since new cars all have bluetooth capability, I figured I ought to get the phone before the car so the dealership can show me all the fabulous things the car and phone can do together. If only they could drive for me!

I don’t think I am ready for that yet. Do you think that means I have trust issues?

Getting the phone was quick and painless. I have a MacBook and an iPad, so you can imagine the direction I went. I was in and out quickly, with the new phone connected to the phone connected to the Apple ID I use for my other devices.

It wasn’t until I was driving home that there was one piece of crucial information I didn’t get: the phone number.

This was easily remedied by calling my landline. There was an email waiting for me when I got home, too, from my carrier. That made my next step easier and I began announcing to the world my newly connected status. Here is my first selfie:



Sleeping with the anemones

24 Jul

Although I have been to the Oregon Coast many times, last week’s trip to Cannon Beach was unique for two reasons. First, the tide was so far out,  the marine garden in front of Haystack Rock was visible.


We were able to see the sea life that clings to the rocks: limpets, barnacles and anemones.

The second reason why this trip was unique is because my sister and I brought some of my parents ashes to bury at the beach.

We looked for just the right spot – away from other people and close enough to the water that the tide would soon carry Mom and Dad away and make them one with the universe. We had packed supplies to dig the small hole we would need and took them out to start as soon as we found the perfect spot. Broken bits of shell were nearby so we used those to decorate once we had buried the ashes, and wrote their names ( Georgie & Earl) above.


Then, we walked away to let the ocean do what it will. We giggled a bit as we walked away because we’d left Mom & Dad sleeping with the anemones.

A few days in Ottawa

11 Jul

A few days after celebrating Mom’s life, we took my niece back to her summer job in Ottawa, where we spent a few more days. We did everything quintessentially Canadian.

We saw the changing of the guards on Parliament Hill while we waited in the ticket line for tours of Parliament.


We then ran a family errand: searching for a window air conditioner for my nieces apartment in a city that just went through a heat wave. We finally found what we wanted at the 4th store, then returned for our tours of Parliament.

The tours are free, but they limit the number of people per tour, so You have to get tickets for a specific time. We got tickets for two tours – the East Block and the Central Block.

The East Block tour focused on the history of Canada. We got to see the office of Lord Dufferin, Sir John A. Macdonald, and Sir Georges-Étienne Cartier, learning how they each helped build Canada.

We also got to go into the original Privy Council office.


On the Central Tour, we went right into the House of Commons and the Senate.

Then we got to visit the library.


We had to be silent. Fortunately, no on got shushed. The library is as modern and up-to-date as any library. I love though, that they didn’t remove the built in card catalogue.


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