Tag Archives: Slice of Life Story

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

Tied up in knots

7 May

“Ms. Gillespie, I tied my shoes together.”

So said the 6th grade boy standing before me. He should have been on his way back to his seat from the meeting area, where I had just taught a fabulous lesson, but he couldn’t walk. I knelt to take a closer look. He hadn’t tied shoe laces together – he had braided bungee laces around the clips. Maybe my lesson hadn’t been that fabulous after all.

IMG_0240

“You’d better take a seat and take off your shoes,’ I said as I stood up. “I’ll see what I can do while you work,” I replied.

I poked a bit with a pencil before channeling my inner MacGyver. I took a paperclip from a dispenser, unbent one end, and began loosening the laces. While they should have been working, a few students came up to offer assistance.

“I have long fingernails.”

“I’m a Boy Scout.”

“My little sister does this ALL the time!”

I declined all offers of assistance. My strategy was proving successful. I loosened one strand enough to loop it over the clip, loosening even more. My MacGyvering was working and before too long, I laid two, separated shoes on the student’s desk. He felt a little foolish, but I felt fabulous.

 

 

Finally!

26 Feb

My dog, Lucy, got me up for a potty break around 4 Monday morning. I am always a little bleary at these moments, shuffling to the kitchen to get her harness. I lean out the back door, holding onto the leash, eyes barely open and  whispering words of encouragement to get her to do her business quickly. This day, I was a little more alert, on the lookout for the snow that Portland forecasters had promised yet again. Seeing none, I went back to bed and got up at my usual time.

I turned in the coffee pot before I showered and dressed. Once dressed, I went to get my first of my two morning cups. Of course, a two-hour delay had been called while I showered. I look outside. There was very little snow on the ground at home, but school is 30 minutes away and at a higher elevation. I puttered at the computer, drinking my coffee, then sat down to knit a bit. When the coffee ran out, I checked the closures: still a two-hour delay, so I wouldn’t make a pot of tea, I’d make a second round of coffee while I packed my lunch, thinking about what time I should leave.

About a half hour later, Beaverton schools were closed – Portland Public Schools maintained their two-hour delay. My streets were still clear, but apparently the storm had veered West and my school district’s higher elevation mattered.

I dumped the last of the coffee and put the kettle on for tea.

screen-shot-2018-05-15-at-6-04-18-am

 

Helping Howard

19 Feb

The message from the Oregon Basset Hound Rescue president  came Friday night: Could someone get to the Humane Society on Saturday to take a look at a dog? Howard had been returned to OHS a second time and they were asking for OBHR’s help finding him a new home.

I’d been planning to do my taxes Saturday morning, then spending the rest of the day knitting. But, I live closest to OHS, so I said I’d do it. I was told to wear black (Howard was reported to be afraid of people in black) and  arrive before OHS opened. I was to go right in once the doors opened  and let them know who I was – they’d be expecting me.

There were two small crowds out front when I arrived. The crowd closest to the doors were clearly potential adopters, eager to find their furry soulmate. They were older that the crowd further back. I initially assumed these were volunteers, but, using my excellent powers of eavesdropping, I learned they were veterinary students coming for a tour.

IMG_0139

When the doors opened, I queued up and waited my turn. they were expecting me and before I knew it I was being escorted to a meeting room. It wasn’t the sort of meeting room you might imagine. this was a room designed for an intimate meet and greet.

When Howard came in he showed no fear of my black clothes. In fact he was sweet and curious, sniffing all over to get to know this new room.

He came when called and demonstrated how well he could sit (and wait) for a treat. he also demonstrated his excellent climbing skills.

Howard came to Oregon from a kill shelter in California in the Second Chance program. He had been picked up as a stray a few times and the last time, his owners declined to come and get him. The shelter thought he might be adoptable in Oregon so he was sent here.  Apparently, Howard is such a devoted family member he is very vocal if left alone, and so he was adopted and  returned to OHs. Twice.

Despite his sad early life,  Howard is a lover. He is such a lover that he has a big old heart on his side. He is a model canine and OHS staff use him to model leash-walking for new arrivals. Maybe that’s why he has a gold star beside his heart.

IMG_0145

If I didn’t have to work, and if Lucy were friendlier to other dogs, I’d have taken him home myself.

I was a little sad to see him go, but hopeful we could spread the news about Howard to the OBHR community.

I am hopeful that Howard will soon be in a home with a retiree or a new friend works from home. Maybe I’ll have a good news update during our March Slice of Life Challenge.

 

Praying for a snow day

5 Feb

The message came just after 5 this morning.

Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 7.07.36 AM

The paltry inch of snow makes my inner Canadian roar with laughter at our unpreparedness. My inner Beaverton School District teacher is praying for a full on cancellation.

And so, here I sit, showered and drinking coffee, checking again and again to see if there has been an update.

The wondering starts spinning in my head.

  • If Portland Public has closed, why haven’t we?
  • What is the latest time they’d change the late start to full closure?
  • An email form one of our administrators has our modified schedule for the day. What is the best way to modify the day I have planned?
  • Last night, I brought in the manual to my new car to learn how to activate the seat warmers. I also wanted to read up on driving AWD and how to activate the X-mode for severe driving conditions. I am a little worried about icy roads, as the last third of my drive to work is uphill.

As time passes, my hopes dash and I get on with the routine of my morning muttering a little prayer under my breath that we will get a full snow day.

 

 

#alamw19 – Day 4 – AWARDS!

29 Jan

I got up early, packed, and checked out of the hotel. I swung by  Starbucks   – where I might have seen David Levithan – then went to sand in line for the Youth Media Awards (YMA).

I don’t know that I can adequately describe the energy in the air. People were buzzing about what they hoped would win, of course. Strangers in line next to you were now your new friend. We all agreed this was better than all the movie and TV awards combined.

As a short person. I really like to sit in a row where no one sits in front of me and I got one dead center.

50780492_291183578266404_6090569964270387200_n

It also let me run into a few people I know. I was standing and chatting with an former library colleague when the ALA media approached us.

“We are doing a documentary and wondered if you two would be will to answer a few questions?”

Of course we said yes. We were asked about favorites. She said Dreamers and I said Drawn Together. They asked a few more questions and afterwards we each thought we were hopelessly inarticulate, but we didn’t care because the YMA were about to begin.

For the first time, my twin sister was watching from her home in Canada and we were able to watch together.

screen shot 2019-01-29 at 7.03.03 am

Yeah, we cry over books.

Some favorites won awards. My TBR list just got longer. Waiting in line, my new friends and I had all agreed that even if our favorites didn’t win, we knew this was an opportunity to meet new books.

But before I could meet those new book, I attended YALSA’s Morris/Nonfiction Awards reception. This is my other favorite Midwinter event. Each of the awards announces five finalists in December. The winner is announced at the YMA. All ten finalists get a few minutes to speak and their speeches always touch my heart.
Afterwards, there is a book signing. This year we all got five books. I made a beeline for John Hendrix and got him to sign my copy of The Faithful Spy.

51228093_10218868473650846_2892151408562274304_n

 

After the reception, my five signed books in tow, I collected my luggage and headed to the train station. I thought my train was at 5, but it was at 6. I sat, knitting, watching the people around me. I finished the first sock in the pair.

50799469_10218873192328810_6785579845532254208_n

Boarding time finally rolled around. I boarded the train and was glad to be on my way home.

Snack time

8 Jan

Monday.

Right back at it after Break.

It’s like we were never gone.

The bell rings. Sixth graders enter the locker room. They grab their stuff. They come to class. They mostly sit down and open their choice read books. There are always a few chatterers and stragglers who need a little herding or redirection, but, by the time I get in the room, the class is sitting, reading and eating their snack. I survey the room thankful for the routine.

And that’s when I spy him.

In a room full of kids eating healthy snacks, one boy has a giant tube of cotton candy.

While cotton candy might fall nicely into one of Buddy the Elf’s four main food groups (candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup) it does not qualify as a healthy snack in sixth grade.

I looked at the young man in question. He was nonchalantly reading his book as he pulled a strand from the tube. Although he avoided my eye contact, I could tell he was waiting to see if he’d get away with it. Maybe it was the smirk on his face.

He was a good sport when I sent him to his locker to put it away and get something healthier.

It’s good to be back.

screen-shot-2018-05-15-at-6-04-18-am

The Fat Squirrel Speaks

Knitting, spinning, and assorted awesomeness.

Global Yell Blog

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Jone Rush MacCulloch

Deo Writer: Musings to Spark the Spirit

Klickitat St. Readers

Just another WordPress.com site

Readerbuzz

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

PLUMDOG BLOG

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Gail Carriger

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Kate Messner

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Cybils Awards

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Someday My Printz Will Come

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh!

Opening books to open minds.

andrea gillespie

Inquiring My Way Forward

Kirby's Lane: A Place for Readers and Writers

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Horn Book

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The History Girls

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Books Around The Table

A potluck of ideas from five children's book authors and illustrators

%d bloggers like this: