Monday, June 25, 2007

Lots of Firsts

The oldest went to his first concert last night, Foreigner and Styx. He had a great time.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

First Job

The oldest managed to get his first job this summer. He was interviewed right after the Memorial Day weekend. I, of course, worry about how he will do working for someone. I guess things are going fine. He has been working for about three weeks now and works a decent number of hours a week. He was given a second work shirt. A good sign. He also received his first paycheck. We had him open a local saving account. He even helped his friend get a job.

He doesn't have a photo id. Permits here don't have photos. We are so lucky that he has a passport because he had to have that or a state id for his job forms and to open a bank account. His boss said he was the first one to ever bring in a passport as id.

We remind him about getting ready for work, but he seems to be conscious of the time as well. He was very responsible when Doug was in WA, going to work early and waiting around for his shift to start because I couldn't get him there right before work started.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Relay For Life

Our Relay For Life event began yesterday. This past week I had not been excited about going. It seems that it is always the same four or six of us who go and walk. Not that we aren't the most fun four or six, it's just that it gets old. It has also been so hot this week with temperatures in the 90s.

Our blessing was that it stormed on Thursday night bringing cooler daytime temperatures Friday. I was scheduled to walk in the early evening with my Metcalf group. This is Daniel's first year participating with a team. His Costa Rica Zoo Group was bonding at the Relay. Angelique really wanted to go this year and see what it was all about. She went with me about 7:00. We walked with our team mates, we ate, we bought a glow light bracelet. She was amazed by the number of people out on the track. She also like checking out all the signs at the campsites. Our Metcalf group had a bronze award for raising 2060.00 this year. One group the Mardi Gras raised 17,000 and had a Platinum award. Isn't that fantastic!

All day the weather report was predicting thunderstorms and rain for the day. We only had a little rain in the morning. Around 9:00 pm we could see lightening off in the distance and Relay volunteers had come by sites to tell everyone to that a storm was 45 minutes away. My daughter had to be up early Saturday for an event so I brought her home about 10:00. At 10:00 when we returned home there was still no storm and I knew Daniel's team was determined to stay the night. It was getting cool and Mr. Minimalist hadn't brought a sleeping bag or sweatshirt. Doug had gathered a jacket and the outdoor ed. sleeping bag for Daniel. So after bringing Angelique home I went back out to take Daniel his stuff. I returned back home, Doug and I sat down to watch a movie, and the phone rings. Guess who?! Daniel. The Relay volunteers are telling everyone to go home because the storm is suppose to have hail. They will start back up in the morning at 6:00 am. So off I go to get Daniel.

It seemed like Daniel had a good time. Their group had tie dyed their shirts earlier in the week and they looked cool. I saw them getting their picture taken as a group and Daniel said that one of the parents took a picture of him with Darth Vader. There is a Star Wars group who has participated for the last three years. One of the men is married to one of our team members. They have some kind of Star Wars club or organization. They have authentic Star Wars Storm Trooper Costumes. It's very interesting. Patty don't share this info with Chris.

Anyway, it is alway a fun time with friends and a sad time as we think of those who have lost the cancer battle. Just in the five years that we have been at Metcalf we have lost two wonderful co-workers to cancer. Three months before one co-worker died he walked the survivor lap at Relay and became an honorary "Red Hot Mama". (Now we are Metcalf, Paws For a Cause). I do have to say that I was so impressed by their dignity, will to live, and desire to come to work and be with us for as long as they could. They were such a good example of living life with fullness in spite of a terminal illness.

Daniel is still sleeping and the rain is still dripping. Timothy and I are heading back out to see what's going on at Relay and participate in closing ceremonies if there is one.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Jury Duty

As you know Doug's father passed away on June 6th. Doug traveled to WA that Friday to be with his family. It was good for him to be with his brother and sisters. They had a chance to talk and reminisce. They will all hopefully get together again at our nephew Sam's wedding later this summer.

Before Doug left I made a schedule of all the things the kids were doing and the basic things that needed to get done that week regarding the house and work. Fortunately my last professional development day had been June 6th. I was a week into an online course that I am teaching this summer. We made a list. Checked it twice and off Doug went. Late Saturday night it dawned on me that I had jury duty the week of June 11th. Jury duty that had already been deferred from December 06. There goes the list and being able to chauffeur the kids to their programs and work. Luckily the kids are old enough to stay home by themselves and even cook for themselves. One of my friends agreed to be a contact person for the kids in case of an emergency.

The week went remarkably well. One child missed a dance class, and one had to walk home from summer school twice and one had to get a ride to work. I of course was a basket case worrying about the chances of getting to places on time and picked-up with the uncertainty of serving on a jury. I mostly sat around Monday and Wednesday. I was never selected to serve on a jury. Not necessarily a bad thing, but quite boring.

Anyway Doug's back home. Home improvements, my course, and projects are back on schedule. Hopefully I'm off the jury duty list for the next five to ten years.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Home For Wayward Pets

I have become the donation place for unwanted pets. Two years ago my teaching partner retired and gave me her two turtles. Taco and Tiny now live in my classroom. Luckily they are pretty low maintenance.

Last spring '06, I was given a hamster from the teacher of the hearing impaired. It seems a college student taught a lesson about pets, bought this creature as an example, and then couldn't keep it. It escaped their classroom and was found late in the evening by the teacher. So in the summer Speedy, whom I called Houdini, became mine. You know that I just adore hamsters but have no luck keeping them alive. This is somehow relate to my love of cats. When the hamster comes to our house for the holidays they alway run into cat problems.

Well, Houdini stayed at school and over the holidays I would go to school to care for the classroom critters and plants. Houdini made it till the end of Spring Break, a hamster longevity record. Someone had broken the top plastic latch that secured the upper most hide away in the habitrail. Our rooms are not very secure and often people come in them after hours if they are left unlocked and sometimes organizations reserve classrooms for programs. These people are not always respectful of our property or take responsibility for things that get damaged.

Anyway, Houdini made his second escape. We moved his cage to the floor and left him water and food, thinking he would return at some point and we'd capture him. This time he was not so lucky. I had gone back to school one evening to do some work and took Amber with me. She loves my classroom and playground. I think Amber found Houdini while I was working. The next morning when Angelique went to change the bulletin board calendar and daily schedule for me she found Houdini slightly flattened and sprawled on the circle time rug. This of course was a difficult life lesson to explain amidst tear and incoherent speech Angelique's not mine.

On to the next acquisition. The fourth grade teacher, who is moving, gave me his Oscar fish. It is huge. He put it in my 10 gallon tank with my other fish. Another teacher pointed out that Oscars are carnivorous and will eat my other fish. The fourth grade teacher sheepishly agreed that this would happen. I put "Oscar" in a rubbermaid container and took him home to Daniel's tank. I thought his tank was empty of fish. Of course this was not the case. There were two little fish still living in the tank. I said, "Well you're not attached to them are you." Needless to say Daniel and I fished them out of the tank and took them to my class, leaving "Oscar" alone in our home tank.

Now Doug and I are pricing 30 gallon tanks. Free animals are costly.

"Oscar" has a story. The fourth graders call the fish Oscar (how original). Angelique was in charge of feeding Oscar one day during the school year. Her class was the fourth grade class where Oscar lived. Oscar decided to jump out and escape when she lifted the lid to feed him. Well... you can just imagine how well Angelique took this. She became hysterical. I'm told it was quite a site. I had the privilege of witnessing the second act. As she came down the stairs (at the end of the school) and was in eye sight of my room, she burst into slobbering wailing tears. I couldn't understand a word she said. One of her friends explained what happened. I thought this tiny little fish jumped out of the tank and lay floundering on the ground dying. No this huge fish did not die, nor did it eat Angelique, and now it lives on with me.

I am now the proud owner of a gecko. This gecko has escaped twice from two different people in the school. It had been in the other kindergarten room last summer. When the teacher came back from break it was gone. In January, a first grade teacher returned to her room one evening and found a gecko scurrying across the floor of her room. It was captured and given to the 7 & 8th grade science teacher. It was later found out that this was the same gecko who disappeared from kindergarten over the summer. Guess what? The teaching assistant didn't want him back. So he stayed upstairs in the middle school until he escaped three weeks ago.

Over the weekend the custodian found him in her storage room. The principal called the other kindergarten teacher to claim the gecko. She has now passed him onto me. So now I've invested in special vitamin enriched gecko sand and a $20.00 lamp for this hand-me-down pet. I'm rooting for a third and final breakout.

For part of Daniel's lit. final he had to discuss and analyze elements of the the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. I wonder if we are the Pet Menagerie and what that says about the dynamics of our life.

School's Out For Summer

Yea! I finished my final day of work Wednesday, June 6th. At our school the students' year ended with a half day on May 29th. The eighth graders finished on Wed. May 23rd. The discrepancy in dates came from snow days. They couldn't change graduation because it would then interfere with the high school graduation, so our oldest group finished quite early.

The local district school system finished Wednesday, June 6th. Daniel's last day was Tuesday, since there were no exams on Wednesday at his high school.

I had staff development days Friday - Wednesday. The good thing is that we were paid extra for the days and the worked kept us busy but not overwhelmed. Now we are all out for the summer.

Doug and I are both teaching summer classes on the Internet. His finishes soon while my class goes to the end of July.