Tuesday, June 30, 2009

And now that I have settled in- it is time to leave home

Yesterday the fireflies bouncing gleefully through the trees and grasses of our pasture. Horses from the back pasture were out for a walk to the river with their masters. Trees were swaying to the gentle breeze. Down came the temperature, to a more traditional 90 degrees for the fourth of July. My homes is a place surrounded by beauty.
Packing
Thursday I head out to DC for most of the month. There are two conferences and a grand baby to play with. For the first time in many years I am not looking forward to traveling.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Settling in

All of my life I have been looking forward to the next move, the next job, the next minute. Moving to Kansas was one of those adventures. I was fortunate enough to be teamed up with a Science teacher who was married to a man with the same sort of moving background. My first few years teaching with her conversations often went to where to teach next. What was this job was preparing me for? She would listen and nod. Then she would encourage me to stay- just one more year.
Stuff happened. My father passed away. Several in laws passed away. Our son graduated from University. Our daughter married and had a baby. The school rolled with the punches and was there when I returned.
After my husband's terrible year last year he slowed down to smell some flowers. Since then we have both had time to reflect on our lives. Yesterday we sat and chatted about the future. He is 59 and I am 52. What does that look like? Where do we see ourselves in five, ten and fifteen years? What impact should that have on what we are doing today.
My husband is definitely set on retiring at 62. This has more to do with the distrust that social security will be there in the future and the federal government so often "grandfathers" those who have already started in a system. Retiring to my husband means playing full time with wood and building furniture for our kids. He doesn't "need" me to be hanging over his shoulder.
Our kids need us sometime- but not full time. They will stay in that pattern for years to come. This is their time to shine and move forward. They will call . We will visit. Again- no hovering needed.
Where does that leave me?
My position. It is the best teaching position I have ever had. I am working with kids who need me, in a field I enjoy. The work is more mind taxing than physically taxing. My thoughts today are to discontinue talking about where else to teach or what else in my life to do. The long Kansas days and the wonderful school that I teach in will be very fulfilling for the next ten years.
To my favorite Science teacher- I am going to settle in. Hope we can teach together for at least a few years. The call of western Kansas is there for you, but until then!
Off to finish my Masters application.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Passing of time



The whirlwind is gone. He went to play at his own house with his playgroup buddies. I am planning on seeing him at the end of the week for the fireworks near his house. He was a blast to be around. Pure joy. I have to admit, the dogs are sleeping better. I am sure the baby's mother will too- tonight!
Today we celebrate joy for another reason. Today (in one hour) my hubby and I will celebrate twenty seven years together. Hard to believe. We had a nice dinner. After the track and field races are done we will watch Parenthood. We SO relate to that film:>)
Joy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Heat

The grandbaby is here to play- and there is no way to get outdoors! We went out yesterday to pull weeds and he was bright red in less than five minutes. Good thing we own very little furniture and he can run from room to room with no hindrance.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A great tool

My sister showed me this great tool.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/01/06/business/20090106-comeback-graphic.html
I won't ever catch up- but I am ready for a real run!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Every seven, or so years, Father's Day falls on my husband's birthday. It is something I was used to - since my own Dad has the exact same birthday (23 years earlier). My daughter and grandbaby came home to celebrate this year and we did have fun. There were lots of interesting attempts at the name "Grandpa". First it was quiet as he went down the hall. Then it was louder as he got to ride on the lawn tractor. Last it was a scream when he was running away from the doggie:>)

My husband has always been a good dad. He became an exceptional Father when our children became teens. The choice to have him stay home and me return to work was one of the best we could have made. He took them to high school through their junior years (and often on snowy senior year days). Track coach, donut man, chatter of futures...he became father to lots of kiddos with our own.
the relationship he has with the kids today is wonderful. He is called with information and for advice. He is tough but loving.
I often wonder how I found this man. Then I remember my prayers when I was a teen was to find a husband who would be an excellent father. God does listen- even during a storm!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pie Charts

My first REAL day off.
Pie Charting our retirement income is something I have needed to do for a while. Today the visit to the broker will go a bit easier if he knows percentages. I am trying to figure out what to do with our IRAs that have been sitting in cash for the last TWO years! How could this have gone on so long? Sort of like the war- it is an everyday thing so it seems like it just isn't there anymore- but it is. We are sitting at more than 50% in cash- excluding the house. Makes it all so real when looking at a pie chart.

Scott is turning 59 this week. We really have to have our act together SOON.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What happens when Scott goes out to mow?

Lots of crying and running around. Then the puppy finally settles on the window ledge and watches him!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Knowledge

What is knowledge? Are we (the over fifty crowd) finally ready to be primary sources? Is knowledge the synthesis of what we have learned and experienced mixed with the news?
Speaking of the news- I just ordered some. USA today is running an exceptional deal. Twelve weeks for $30.00. You can start and stop it at will. For those of you with college students- this is a great way to start the first semester. USA Today is a quick read and will keep their heads above their classes!

What is history?

I am part of a grant on using the Library of Congress. They, evidently, have amazing resources on line and have grants for different universities to teach teachers how to use it.
Yesterday the class began. We received these books. Now, you may be in awe of these wonderful books. I looked at them and sighed. My summer books are already in line. Then I had a chuckle. Has this professor got an understanding of what the LOC is looking for? I don't think so.
When you teach about an on line source the things the person learning needs is a steady guide through that source and time to use it. If you want to add things- give technology. All of the teachers in this grant are just that - teachers. Most of the teachers were his students at one time and have most of these books.
Don't get me wrong. Teaching is a passion with me. There are a number of books lined up on differentiation of teaching and sourcing information in my basement pile (along with some romance and thrillers).
The book on Historical Thinking and Doing History will join the pile for reference. Glancing through the rest of them- they do not strike me as something I would use unless I chose to get a Masters in History (LOL- like I need to start another masters). I regress.
The topic is "What is History?" My thought is that history is the here and now- along with how we got here and why people made decisions regarding how we got here. My class does not memorize facts-but strives to see the relations.
What do people need to survive? Food, water and people.
After they have those things what else develops? Government, trade and religion - all for the same and different reasons.
When people have all of that- what do they tend to do? Try to get more.

Today will be a time for me to put a different spin on this grant for me. My hesitation to do things for no reason is high and time is precious to me. I think my topic from the LOC will be along the lines of development of civilizations from the archaeologist and sociologist point of view. I need a great set of power points for the first three classes in the fall. Wish me luck.

Until then- I thought I would share another picture of current history with you. Not the battle of Tennessee from the Civil War, but a warrior reading for battle in Afghanistan.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sweet home Alabama

The standing in the humid sun was worth every minute to see my son fulfill one of his dreams!


Renee- I don't know how you do it.
The weather- UGGG- Phoenix is so much better in the summer!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Who is American (or should I say United States ian)

Our children chose to serve in their father's footsteps- in the military. The military is a different way of life. We have socialized medicine. Paychecks are almost secure (we remember the delay from Clinton "turning off the lights"). The community tends to be much more conservative than the norm. They are, in general, well traveled and pretty well read.

There is some question about President Obama not being fully American because he spent formative years overseas. His mother was a worker for the poor. She helped women start small companies to support their family. Usually, in the conservative groups - that is admirable...

I began thinking about us. My son was 5 and daughter 6 when we moved to Hong Kong. They learned to ride a double decker bus to soccer practice and dine at stalls instead of restaurants. They learned that giving to the beggar at the bus stop was a normal way and the people who lived in the tin huts near our high rise were selling the food they got at the market. They also learned that going to Mass was a privilege in a nearby country of China. It was basically us and the other foreigners- no one else dared.
At 7 and 8 they moved to Hawaii- in a Japanese/American neighborhood- and learned what prejudice felt like. Still, it was the US and people, in general, spoke English (never after school though- only Japanese). We were treated very much the same when we attempted to live in a small town after the service. How dare we interfer with their perfectly American place!
At 9 and 10 we moved to Saudi Arabia. They learned to live on a compound . They learned that mom could be spotted anywhere because her hair always peeped out of the scarf or her abia could not seem to stay shut. They learned not to near the main mosque on Thursday- for a body may be hanging there. They learned that there are lots of great people who cared for our wounded when a not so great group bombed their dad's building killing two of their "group dad" friends.
My children were overseas for several of their formative years. My personal belief that it is because of the understanding of what America represents- freedom from fear, freedom of worship, freedom of hope- they choose to serve their country. They did not complain that they may be "forced" into serving the country they love. (I really don't get that one).
Me thinks that often children who do not understand utter poverty, or utter fear for safety would have a difficult time understanding why a child who spent their "formative years" overseas" has such a desire to serve.

And now

Public Library from 1799!





Lobster coast!



We fly to see our son in Alabama tomorrow. Driving to Washington DC in July is becoming more and more appealing. Anyone want to go on a road trip?

Home


Maine was BEAUTIFUL. We missed the rain and enjoyed the lighthouses. The rocky coves were wonderful. I will upload pictures later.
The best part of the trip though was seeing these two brothers connect again after years of stress and childraising. It was an amazing trip!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Heading to Maine

This will be a first trip in a long time that I have no idea what I am doing. My husband has been "planning" this for months- and yet there are no plans. "Just drive along and stop when we want" - for all of the 200 miles of the Maine coast. He isn't packing books- so I have no idea what he plans on doing. Until this morning I did not know that I was to pack jeans for hiking in the woods. Don't forget that it is still in the 50's in Maine and raining. We are going with my brother and sister in law.
This should be an interesting trip.