Monday, August 9, 2010

I've Moved!

I have moved my blog to Wordpress, so look for me there! The new address is

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cambria Day Three

More hiking. More beauty. More eating. More pictures. More wildlife. More laughing. We packed it in the last hours. We sang and prayed together. We checked out a beautiful Craftsman house where we might stay (for free) next year. Guess who wanted to go home when the time came? Not me! We took side streets home because the traffic was almost stopped from Goleta to the Rincon. Even that felt like an adventure. Now it's gray skies, summer school, up at 5:15 am and the to-do list. I'm so thankful for this restorative weekend with special friends.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cambria Day Two

We started the day with a leisurely breakfast and good conversation around hot drinks. Then we attended an outdoor church service that was very touching. Our friends the Drs. O'Donnell were treated like celebrities. They are famous experts in their field, not only France, but in the world, but to us, they are just Kelly and Michele. Good times of worship, prayer and communion. I don't normally take pictures at church, but this so special seeing our friends praying together and receiving a special blessing after communion that I couldn't resist capturing the moment.

When you have ten people, it's hard to get going in any direction, so after an hour and a half of preparation, we were out the door for our hike through the Harmony Headlands State Park. I was reminded how much I love being a California girl. The Central Coast scenery is spectacular. We enjoyed seeing sea otters play and float on their backs. Is there anything cuter than an otter?

It was fun melding multiple styles in the kitchen for dinner. The boys guarded the grill and produced slabs of charred animals. I enjoyed collaborating with other women in the kitchen making blueberry cobbler, beans, salad, bread, and more. We all eat the same--plenty of fruit and whole grains, and little fat and chemicals. It was great to get new ideas and see how other people cooked.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

We are in Cambria, but it feels like we are in Paradise. We are here with two other couples-dear friends of over thirty years. The setting is beautiful and the food is amazing. We spent the day hiking along the bluffs, walking around the charming town, eating, reading, drinking wine and talking. This morning we sat around with steaming cups of coffee and tea just talking and having a leisurely morning. We all have Italian names and pretend we are part of the Venucci family, the famous millionaire. Anduve played his guitar in the background, while they occasionally glanced at the Tour de France on TV. (A dog got loose and ran into the pack, injuring a rider.) Anuncia is cutting up fruit for lunch. The food is amazing--lots of healthy salads, fruit, and Sweet, Salty Nutty trail mix. DO NOT EAT Erin's cereal.
We laugh, remember, share stories that have become even better with each telling, and roast Vido. We all have different stresses on our lives, too, and these come out slowly. There are times when the tears well up because we realize how special these friendships are.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Jim!

Today we celebrated Jim's birthday at one of his favorite restaurants in Summerland. Matt and Brenna drove down from the Bay Area and since Kelly and Molly are both home now, the whole family was together. Jim is hard to buy for--do you see the theme in the presents he received (pictured above)? We laughed, talked and shared. Matt told us about how his coworkers give him bugs to fix and he fixes them. Brenna deals with crazy clients who want pictures of what their one-of-a kind custom jewelry will look like before the piece is made. Kelly showed her kindergarteners that even in a thick book like Pillars of the Earth there are many words on a page that they can read. They are so proud of themselves and I'm proud of her. Molly is amazing. She has such a heart for the Middle East and is excited about Lebanon preparations. We had multiple cups of coffee, and great food in a beautiful setting. I love these precious times.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day

When the kids were little I loved Mother's Day because I was able to read and dink around the Internet all afternoon. I didn't have to make dinner. Now that Jim's been doing most of the cooking, EVERY Sunday is like Mother's Day. My kids make it easy to be proud of them most days, and I'm very thankful for each of them.

Friday, April 30, 2010

It's Off to Work We Go...

Although my amazing teaching partner was absent today, I had a fun day at school with my crazy staff. Nancy emailed the names of all the students who had won the weekly raffle. (Students get tickets for completing classes, keeping a planner, and more, and five of them win (donated) $5 gift cards every Friday.) Today, all the winners were from one class. All five.

Wendy replied: Whoo hoo! In your face! Look whose students won this week!! Watch your back, the underdog is catching up...

Me: Something's rotten in Denmark.

Wendy: All is well in Denmark and the Queen is smiling.

Jean: For some reason, all of a sudden, I am wishing that this morning Mr. G. had brought not the usual Friday donuts, but instead, danish...

Mr. G: With all due respect, Jean, danish--or lack thereof--is not what's rotten here. I'm with [me] It's Novak's shameless, brazen co-opting of this whole Renaissance raffle process that has me more than a little concerned. I must say I'm not surprised by that brown nose Wendy. But I'm starting to worry if Nancy, Mrs. Office Manager, or Mrs. Counselor, are "involved" too.

Someone put a Danish flag outside Wendy's classroom.

Me: Room 2 has posted a Danish flag. It is an act of hostility indicating that the non-Room 2 students are not as worthy as the Room 2 students. "Though this be madness yet there is method in it."

Jean: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." There may be a flag posted on Room 2, but that does not mean that Room 2 has posted a flag.

Louise: Be it known that I am swearing allegiance to the Queen. She is a little scary.

Kris: My roommate SWEARING? "Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles." Alas!

(These quotes are all from Hamlet, which is set in Denmark, by the way.)

Mrs. Counselor: I hope it isn't the danish. I am still glad we have donuts today.

Ms. Principal (who has Fridays off, but keeps up on her iPhone): You guys are hilarious. I'm sad I'm not there today!

Wendy: We miss you. Feel free to throw in some zingers. I can take it.

Ms. Principal: I'm Switzerland.

Often the exchanges are full of puns and grammar corrections. Mr. G is an expert in hyphen use. They always demonstrate the camaraderie we have with each other, and the thirty seconds spent creating the email pays off in so many ways.

Here's one from the other day:

Me (after a round of hilarious emails that don't translate well if you don't know our in jokes): I think Mikey (Mr. G.) should copy us on all his emails to keep us laughing. Where does he get off hiding such talent?

Taz: Oh, believe me, he doesn't hide it. It just emerges from time to time and he can't help it.

Mr. G: Hey Taz, when you said “he can’t help it,” I think that was the sweetest thing you’ve ever said to me (though, in fairness, you haven’t said many sweet things). But we like it that way.

I love our staff. We all get along, we collaborate well, and it makes us better teachers. We aren't competing with each other--we are giving each other laughs, ideas, help, and encouragement. I know this helps our students, too.