Monday, November 27, 2017

Hi Ho Hi Ho...

...It's back to school I go. I would dread it more, but I am looking at a calendar with nothing in the evening. (Well, there WILL be grading..!)

Tuesday, I am going to the Dr. with the Mr. He has had an "interesting" fall. He had two stents put into his right leg which had blockage. He will go back in December to make the appointment for a stent in his left leg. He was using a cane when he went in, but is walking fairly well without one right now.To top it off, he had a weird growth removed from the elbow of his left arm. They biopsied it, and it is an Invasive Keratinizing Squamous Cell Carcinoma. His stitches come out on Tuesday, and I want to see what the doctor/surgeon is thinking about where we go from here if something is needed.

Hopefully, we will put all of this behind us by the time 2017 ends. In the meantime, we are praying for the best.

The fall of 2017 is one for the books. I'm not sure we could cram much more in: highs and lows have been plentiful.

And so...things are going about normal on Easy Street. (Our normal is always fairly abnormal.)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

We had such a nice Thanksgiving. On Wednesday evening, all of the Tiny Town folks went to Big City to spend the night with the Bs. We celebrated CB's birthday, played a fun dice game (winner, winner, chicken dinner!), and had Thanksgiving dinner (L's cooking--yum!) with them on Thursday.

On Friday, all of my family gathered at Little Big Brother's for a Thanksgiving Dinner. There were 27 of us. His oldest son is headed to Niger, Africa for six months. He and his wife were home before he leaves. It was good to see them. We were all thankful it was a beautiful day so the kids could play outside.

Saturday, the Mr. ad I went to the last U game of the season. (They won in the final seconds!) We stopped in to see the Mr.'s little brother and his wife for a bit after the game. We have missed seeing them. It seems like it is harder to get together for holidays these days.

Today, I am headed to church and will spend part of the afternoon decorating for Advent. The house isn't done, but hopefully I will find time after I finish at church.

So what am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? 

*Grandchildren who make me laugh and give the best hugs
*Facetime so I can talk to those kiddos
*Being reminded how much fun school can be when I watch the Bug and her love of Kindergarten
*The Mr. keeping me going all fall with cooking and other household duties. (Those 14 hour days at school are long.)
*Students who make me laugh and challenge me to be on my toes
*Colleagues to collaborate with and share our stories of joys and woes
*Good books and movies to make me think and provide relaxation
*Boots and leggings and all comfy clothes  (Those leggings don't make it out of the house without a skirt or tunic over them!)

Mainly, I am thankful for family: the family of my childhood, our family of today, my school family, and our church family.

Counting blessings here on Easy Street.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Busy Fall

If the fact that I slept for 12 hours last night tells you anything, I am finally catching up from a craZy fall.

School has been busy, and thankfully I am keeping up on grading. (Well, for the most part.)

The musical is over. "A Christmas Carol," with public domain Christmas music, was a hit. We had good attendance, lots of compliments, and students who were pretty proud of their work. Huge cast, long days, and lots of hours, but here is the end result in photos:

 Marley and Scrooge
 Ghost Past
Ghost present and Scrooge
 Two of the street singers
 Street Dancer
 Cratchit Family of the future
 Fezziwigs in costumes by my dear cousin, Konnie.
Young Scrooge and Belle
A good friend from HS days and her little sis came to the final performance. 
So nice of them!
 We are in the process of tearing down the set in my stagecraft class. (It was more fun going up.)

In between performances, we celebrated E's 4th Birthday. 
 The littlest Miss going down the slide with Birthday Boy E watching. 
This was the first of about 10 trips down for her.
 Breakfast with Nana and Papa
L our Pied Piper 
On the Wednesday after the show Little Sis and Hubby from California came for a week visit. 
 All four siblings went out for dinner during their visit. This doesn't happen often enough these days.
We laughed so hard and had such a nice evening. 

Two days after they left, our English Department went to the National English Conference in St. Louis. Free books and new ideas were in wonderful abundance!
We saw and heard from some of the gurus in English Education and several favorite authors. 

And that brings us up to Thanksgiving 2017. It has been a hectic, but fun, fall. Maybe I will find time to blog once again. (Thanksgiving in a separate post. Stay tuned.) 

Thank you for your patience and continuing to check in on Easy Street. We are alive and kicking.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Anniversary, Birthday, and First Days

This was written in August and never posted. (Don't ask. My life is not my own.)

These long gaps mean busy days. Fun days, but busy days.

The Mr. and I celebrated our 41st anniversary early last week. We didn't do much as it was my first inservice day for this school year, but we went out for dinner that evening.

Meanwhile, the Bug has been celebrating her 6th birthday. Last Saturday, there was a swimming party. On her birthday, Papa and I joined the Ts for breakfast and presents. And then in the evening, we went to a local restaurant for a "Big Girl" dinner out.

Finally, the Bug had her first day of school. She was pretty irritated last year when Mommy and Daddy decided she would wait a year to go to Kindergarten. ("How would YOU like to be the oldest kid in your class???")  Our good friend, Pat, who taught Kindergarten had to be smiling down from heaven. She said August birthday kids were usually not quite ready for school. K remembered her words.

So, off to school went the 6 year old and she had a great day. The bus drops her off at the HS so she can meet Mom after school. She was tired, but pretty excited. She was also fairly disgusted that school started on a Thursday. She didn't want a weekend. She wanted to go to school. I told my students that I'd like to know where kids lose that!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Analyzing Art

When the Bug came to see me last week, she drew my portrait. She was on the iPad sketching app.
I have to laugh at her drawing. That rectangular figure shape fits these days. I've always had broad shoulders, and now I am broad all over. 

Big smile or big mouth? Not sure which way she was going with that one. Either could fit.

A bit of blue hair seems accurate. 

I seem to be walking (running?). That is usually the case.

And that is definitely a grandmother's heart.

Kids eyes. I like how they see things.

You might be wondering how I found this. She did a screenshot save on my iPad that put the picture onto my photo storage. 

And next week, the Bug heads off to Kindergarten. She'll learn a lot, but I imagine her teacher will learn a bit, too.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Put a Dent In That

For the last two days, I have gone to school at 7:30 and worked until meetings at 9:00. Then I worked my lunch time from 11:30-1:00. Afternoons, we worked on using new technology and other curriculum issues.

I have accomplished quite a bit: seating charts, birthday calendar, new signage for the Chrome Books the students will be using this year, lesson plans for the first two weeks, and inventory of the paint and materials for the play. I even have things on the board ready to go. Whew!

Using time wisely will be the focus of this fall. In the next few days I will need audition information ready to distribute, and a bit more detail added to the rehearsal schedule.

There is still quite a bit to do for the show, but I am feeling better about the first day of school.

As much as I didn't like giving up four days of my summer for this tech work, I really appreciate how much I learned about dealing with our new teacher computers, student chromebooks, and then how much I was able to accomplish in my classroom. Not to mention that, though we didn't get paid for those days, now my "old" MacBook Pro teacher computer is mine to keep. That was our pay.

And that is how you put some dents in the work load. (Both from the administrative side and the teacher side.)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Last Full Week of My Summer

Today is the beginning of my last full week of summer. That sure went fast.

So how am I spending it?

Monday and Tuesday, we have tech meetings all day. (Hopefully, I will get quite a bit done to be ready for school.)

I'm hoping there is time for a manicure and possibly a pedicure, but only after all the school work is done. Which will be-- never. Who am I kidding?  I can always find something to do--even the morning school begins.

Time is slipping by rapidly.

Stopping to smell the roses and look at the stars and go barefoot a few more days.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

And it's August...!

August 1st is here already. I can't believe it. This summer has been so much fun that I hope I am ready to go back to school in a couple of weeks.

The Mr. and I just got back from a trip to Lake Superior and some travel on the Great River Road. Here is a photo dump of our relaxing vacation.
 Lake Superior at Two Harbors
 Our lodge had a restaurant on the 2nd floor with a great deck. 
This was the start of our eating every meal outside.
 While in Two Harbors we visited Gooseberry Falls and the Split Rock Lighthouse.
 Then, we visited Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin--almost one city, except for the state line that separates them.
 Duluth has a wonderful lake walk that is about 6 miles long--and beautiful!

 There is quite a bit of shopping just off the lake walk.
 Rick loved watching this bridge which raises and lowers to allow ships, sailboats, and excursion boats through.
Lighthouses seemed to be the theme of this part of our trip.
 I should say lighthouses, marinas and eating outside. This was the view from our lunch spot.

 Leaving Lake Superior, we took the Wisconsin side of the Great River Road along the Mississippi River. 
This cabin? This was Laura Ingalls Wilders birthplace and setting for Little House in the Big Woods.
Pepin Lake is part of the Mississippi, and this was just a short jaunt off the River Road. 
The Mr. was a good sport and let me stop in at their museum in the town of Pepin, too.
Even along the River Road, we found marinas and restaurants. 
The Pickle Factory is a bar and grill for both boaters and road travelers. 
This was the only time on our trip that eating outside was warm--a little too warm. It felt like we were at home.
Our final meal "out" was in Amana, Iowa. 
We visited one of the colonies before heading back to pick up Baxter, who had been on vacation with L, CB, and E.
This was the sunrise on our last morning on Lake Superior. We hated to leave such a beautiful place and the lovely temperatures.
Now we are back home, and it is actually fairly cool. I was hoping to hold on to this relaxed, peaceful vacation--and bringing the cooler temperatures with us might make it easier.

And yet...I have a new class to plan for, a new English II teacher to coordinate with, and then auditions for the musical will be the first full week of school. Have I mentioned that there are still two more tech days next week? There is quite a bit to do before August 14. (Teachers first day back.)

So what am I doing? Blogging.

Procrastination is my middle name.  *sigh!

Friday, July 21, 2017

The July Balancing Act

This month is slipping away rapidly.

*Yesterday was Little Big Brother's birthday. We had a small gathering on Easy Street with salads and birthday cake for the Birthday Boy. The little girls made cards and sang to him. I popped the cork on the champagne I brought home from California.

*The Bug and Mommy went Back-To-School shopping for Kindergarten. They made a day of it: shopping, lunch, and a movie. I used to love these days with the girls. There would be three of us in a changing room. I would bring them things to try on. We'd laugh a lot. They loved choosing school supplies and packing their backpacks. (My mom started them on this passion--buying pencils and folders for them before they even went to school. They were "helping" Grandma get her classroom supplies.)
The next generation of Back-To-School shoppers.

*Bug's Little Sis spent the day with this Nana. We went to Story Hour at the library and went swimming for awhile. She also conked out and took a 2 1/2 hour nap. Our only incident was spilling coffee (cold) on me, her, the couch, and an iPad. Ay yi yi!  She is a busy girl.

Sleeping Beauty

*I've learned if you paint your toenails Navy Blue, they look black in certain lights. I am sporting Goth toes right now. They are growing on me.

*I am still spending time on school work here and there. The musical auditions happen on the first full week of school, so I have to be ready to roll. To say nothing of classes beginning. My room is partially put together, which is good. And we have four tech days in the next few weeks.

There are still a few weeks left in my summer. Days are filling up quickly, but I am hoping to enjoy all of them.

Balancing work and play. It is an art. And a challenging art at that.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Family Weekend 2017

Last weekend the tribe descended on L and CB in Big City. We had such a good time.

There was a Friday night trip to a brewery owned and run by a former student and to meet Tiny Town friends who live in the area. When they built the brewery, they made sure to make it family friendly. It is a beautiful setting.
On Saturday morning we went to City Market to check out the produce, products, and spices.
There were a couple of shopping trips and lunch at Fritz's. The littles loved the trains delivering their food.

The Bug had plenty of time to ask Aunt LeLe questions about Kindergarten.  Someone is pretty excited to be going to school this year. 
E is starting pre-school this year, too. One of our shopping trips was for school clothes for the littles.

L and CB cooked BBQ for us on Sunday. Delicious. They could go into business.
And that littlest one had plenty of time with her Uncle CB. She is his biggest fan. (Maybe 2nd biggest. E is pretty crazy about his daddy, too.)

Baxter attended the weekend and collapsed in a heap when we returned home. He was one tired dog. He got a lot of lovin' on this weekend.

Who am I kidding? The Mr. and I were pretty wiped out, too.

We don't get together like this often enough, but we sure had a great time.