Sunday, March 24, 2013

WACA Conference

Last week, I spent three glorious days in Yakima at a conference.  Granted, Yakima was not so  glorious.  Driving over the pass was gross with snow, it was freezing in Yakima, and there wasn't a whole lot to do in the town, other than the attendance the conference.
  The conference was the glorious piece.  Three days to focus my energy and thoughts on my job and how to be a  better leadership teacher.  Three days to sit with co-workers and share ideas and philosophical theories.  Three days to sit in seminars, listen to keynote speakers, and maybe I  caught up on my emails, and took an afternoon to myself and napped learned something new.
There was even a little shout out to my school at the American Heart Association at a booth!

Not only did I have the opportunity to focus on my job, I had the opportunity to spend time with family on Thursday night.
Dinner with this beautiful bride and her mom.
Alice and Karen drove over from Ellensburg to treat me to an amazing dinner.
It was a beautiful evening with a delicious meal and hours of conversation, sharing memory after memory of my dad.  It helped to remind me that talking about my dad doesn't necessarily mean I haven't moved forward and need to talk about him.  Instead, I was reminded that talking about Dad gives others permission to do so, and sometimes, they need permission to share their grief with us. 
With a lightened heart, I joined the rest of the crew for the social and danced the night away with this lovely lady - Tammy.
She's my friend, a leadership teacher, and our summer leadership camp director.
And I adore her.
One week remains in March.  It has been a long haul but the time has flown by and it looks like we survived another one. 
The first week of April brings a spirit week (note to self: move the spirit week to late April!), the homecoming of my in-laws, and counting down the days to a vacation.
Oh, how I need thee!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

book club

For a girl who wanted to stop writing about books on her blog, I sure find myself continuing to write about books.
It looks like my book club has chosen a book.  And by "we", I mean two of the many invited voiced their opinion and it aligned with mine, so a book has been "chosen".

Have you read it? 
I kinda can't wait to start reading a book that is bound to end with an awesome conversation.
I reserved it at our local library about a week ago.  As with every popular book that comes out, there are about a gazillion people lined up in front of me.  I figured that wouldn't be a big deal until I realized I had a second reason for reading it.
As I slowly sipped coffee this morning, I finally caught up on all the blogs I have neglected.  Life of Bon is hosting a virtual book club on March 28 and they are reading the same book.  I love the idea of a virtual book club and I want to play along.  I guess I better buy it, rather than wait for the library, if I want to read it before the end of 2013. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

right now

right now:  The boys are gaming together.  Alexander is babbling.  Eric is playing. They are together.

right now:  I can glimpse blue sky and sunshine outside our windows.  Hello spring!

right now:  I am still curled up on the couch, battling this cold. 

right now: I am reading The Art of Fielding.  It's pretty good.

right now:  I can't help but look forward to Spring Break.  Two weeks.  Vegas.  Good times.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Say goodbye to Google Reader.

Say hello to Bloglovin.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

For the record, this technological change is above my head so for all I know, I just sent my blog to cyber space and will never see it again......


I've spent most of today with this view.
Game after game after game.
I consider it research for March Madness.
In reality, I can't shake this cold and feel awful.  My couch doesn't feel so awful so I've settled in for a weekend of little productivity.

While Eric slumbered on this morning, I mustered up energy and dragged Alexander on a few errands: post office, cleaners and grocery store.  My son loves errands.  He wasn't a fan of the grocery store stop but I had him help me pick out produce, which included cherry tomatoes as his treat.  He sure was a fan of the dozen strawberries he consumed as soon as we got home.
  On Thursday, I ended up in the doctor office with what I thought was an earache or possible strep throat.  Instead, I walked out with the words "it's a virus" ringing in my ears (muffled, of course) and irritated that I not only wasted money time by going in to the doctor, but I had to get on a freaking scale. 
Weight Watchers, here I come.  Hence the trip to the grocery story with Alexander.  The house is now full of fresh fruits and veggies, yogurt for breakfast and no booze. 
Vegas is in three weeks.  That means swimsuit.  That means motivation to get into a swimsuit.  That means full justification for the money spent on fresh fruit and veggies this morning.
I love when I can make a full circle between three random thoughts.
While you continue to ponder my brilliance, I need to get back to the basketball games.
I really do watch these games as research for a March Madness bracket.
March Madness.
Oh, how I love thee.
PS.  Does anyone have a tip for blocking irritating spam comments? 

Friday, March 15, 2013

poster making

My poster.
As promised.
To be fair, this was my FIFTH attempt at a poster.
I'm not kidding.
I'm really lucky my kids are so kind and didn't laugh too hard at my efforts.
And when the PTSA ladies don't hang this one up because it is too terrible, I won't bother to reveal it was mine.
I'll blame it on a freshman!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

random fever-induced thoughts

In order to keep up with the latest commitment to update my blog at least once a week, here I am.

It's Wednesday.  I don't have a lot of coherent thoughts going on.  I think the fever I kicked in a sweaty mess at 2AM on Tuesday is back.  And my throat hurts so bad, I'm convinced I swallowed a handfull of razorblades.  It's really ridiculous. 

I'm waiting for a couple of pictures to upload to share. 

One is on my non-smart phone so I am waiting for it to upload it to email from the phone.  From there, I have to download it to the laptop and then pull it to the blog.  It's a ridiculous process. 
The backstory to the photo is I joined the elementary school PTSA this fall.  Since Eric is volunteering at the school and both my parents were fancy-pants PTSA volunteers, I felt the pressure to join in.  So, after a few glasses of wine, I replied to an email and volunteered to work on the auction.  I figured it would be an easy way to ease my way into PTSA land. 
 Holy Mother of All Commitments. 
 I'm certain, with time, it won't feel so awkward to hang out with these ladies.  Thank goodness, I can use the experience as teachable moments with my ASB'rs as examples of having to break out of your comfort zone and meet new people. 
Meeting new people is really good for long as it is happening to someone other than me.
Anyhow, today was a half day at school so a few of my kids opted to help me make a couple of advertising posters.  I decided to make one, too.
insert photo
Turns out, in the 24 years since I had to make posters for ASB, there has been limited improvement.

The other picture is this one.
Even though I'm the parent who is the "talker", Eric is definitely the parent who walks the walk.
When he heard that Alexander was struggling with grieving, Eric stopped by the local library yesterday and picked this up for Alexander and I.
It was the sweetest gesture.  Ever.
Eric is kind of on a roll with sweet gestures.
The cold I have now was given to me by him.  He had this miserable cold over the past few weeks.
No, I'm not being sarcastic and alluding that the kind gesture was him giving me a cold.
It turns out I'm not only a terrible patient, but I'm also a terrible caretaker. 
 I simply don't like taking care of sick people.
Even though I went out and got him juice while he was sick, he one-upped me and bought me chicken noodle soup.
I don't even like chicken noodle soup.
Knowing this, he bought me not just any chicken noodle soup.
But, what I have to say, is THE BEST I have ever tasted.
BEST ever.
(the Lobster Bisque rocks, too)
Eric - 2;  Michelle - a big fat 0
Ok, I can't wait any longer for that stupid photo to upload to email. 
For now, it's time for me to crawl my feverish, whiney self back into bed. 
Poor me.
I really am a terrible patient. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

the future

 I hear a little voice call from Alexander's room about 15 minutes after bedtime,
 "Mommy, I need a hug."
"Ok, sweetie.  I can give you a hug."
I hear the pitter-patter of pajamed feet across the wood floor and then he climbs into my arms.
"What's going on, bug?"
"I got scared."
"Scared of what?"
"The future."
I turn off the TV, carry my sweet six year old to his room, and crawl into bed with him.  With only the nightlight glowing, he begins to talk.
"I was thinking about Papa and then I started thinking about the future.  I started thinking what if I died.  What if you died.  And then I got really sad.  I can't get it out of my head."
This is one of those parenting moments that has no rules.  I don't know what to say.  I don't know how to comfort him.  How do I help a six year old process his thoughts when I can barely process my own?   So, I went into teacher mode.  I asked questions.  I listened. 
 And I hope to God I'm saying the right things. 
Ultimately, we have no control over the future. 
The past is the past and it cannot be changed, no matter how different we want the outcome to be.

Eventutally, the conversation with my son turned to stories, and the room filled with his laughter.   The moment of fear had passed.
I kissed his forehead, hugged him one more time, walked out of his room and closed the door behind me.
Life is best lived when you live in the moment.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

books and balance

Memories flood me from my childhood.  I can envision myself laying on my bed, in my basement room, with a book in my hands, my legs/feet up against the red-carpet wall.  Weirdest positioning but it worked.  Weirdest red-carpeted wall, too. 

Rainy days were my favorite because I was free to spend hours reading and escaping.
Little Women
A Wrinkle in Time
Nancy Drew
Sweet Valley High

Books were my escape route in elementary and middle school.  In high school, my unanticipated social life replaced reading.  But every so often, when I needed to escape from the hustle and bustle of socializing, I'd hide away and read.  And balance in my life would be restored.

When Dad died, I did the same thing.  I needed to escape from the pain so I feel into my childhood comfort of reading.  Escaped into books.  Only I chose books that didn't provoke any thoughts.  Just mindless, paperback novels that could be thrown away (or given away).  I chose books that could be read before bedtime that would lull me to sleep.  If I could fall asleep from reading, then I wouldn't cry myself to sleep.  Seems silly to say that six months later, but at the time, that was my reality.

I am thankful for the escape and the time reading bought me as I healed.  And the balance that is slowly being restored in my life.

Fast forward a few months, and I'm reading books of thought.  I work with an English-teacher-turned-Asst. Principal, and she is always sharing education books with me.  I have Crucial Conversations and How Children Succeed on my night stand.  Both have been good for me and my mind is brushing off the cognitive cobwebs.

Today, I set up an April book club at my house.  I've been meeting with the same group for almost two years.  However, our last meeting was spring of 2012 (I think).  I simply haven't had the energy.  They understand.  They are the best.

I don't know what we'll read, but it will be something that will eventually lead to a rich conversation, full of laughter and joy with friends I dearly love.

Balance.  Healing. 
That is what reading brings to me.

Life is moving forward.  One book at a time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Help

Rarely do I enjoy a movie that was written about a book.
Everyone has told me I wouldn't be disappointed if I watched The Help so I decided our very empty Netflix queue needed a movie.
I loved the book, the rich conversation it generated in my book club, and how the characters came to life. 
What if the movie doesn't reach the visions I have in my head?  What if it falls short of my expectations?  What if I am disappointed?
Tonight, Eric and I popped it in the dvd and I figured it would be background noise while I graded papers.
Turns out, Eric is really enjoying it.  And I'm not getting any grading done!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

something as simple as changing a picture on facebook

Turns out changing a photo can be a major tear trigger. 
I am as surprised as you are.
This picture is currently my cover photo.
It's the last picture we took as a family.
Someday I will frame it but for now, I can't
Anyhow, I thought I'd simply change. it up a bit.
And put this photo in its place.
I'm about 2 in this picture and, what looks like a sweet capture of a kiss, is actually Michelle taking a popsicle piece out of my dad's mouth. 
To get to this picture, I had to scroll through a folder, filled with digital pictures of Dad.  I had been given the folder when I did his memorial slideshow and haven't looked through it since October.
Until today.
Serious tears trigger.
Sad andh happy ones.
My dad lived each day to the fullest.  That thought was evident as I looked through picture after picture with that big grin on his face.  He loved life.  He loved family.  And he loved us.
I am so lucky he was my dad. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Agony of March

March is, BY FAR, the longest and busiest month of the school year.  It is four (or sometimes five) loooooong weeks.  The only redeeming quality of this month is that spring break and a trip to Vegas awaits me at the end.  Oh, Vegas.  How I love thee!

Thoughts of being poolside will have to do for now.
State testing.  District meetings.  Guest speakers.  A conference. Planning a spring spirit week.  A field trip or two.
Every Tuesday night, I have an ASB event. Why Tuesday? Because we have late arrival Wednesdays.  Placing evening events on Tuesday brings in larger crowds of students who can sleep in the next day.
Do you know you doesn't get to sleep in?  Yep.  Yours truly. 
Every weekend seems to have a birthday party, family gathering or something else to take our time.  Oh, and in all my ridiculous wisdom, I signed up to help with Alexander's school auction in April.
Oh, and did I mention the herd is going to start running again? 
But you know what else happens in the month of March?

A little celebration of love with this guy!
Sixteen years of wedded bliss. 
I guess not all of March is filled with agony. 
Just most of it.