Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BOOKS- What I'm reading!


I've been doing mostly reading so far on this vacation and wanted to post about a book that I am enjoying IMMENSELY! I've read a few of Sharon McCrumb's other books, but they were mostly from her Appalachia series which are very good but quite serious.

I previously read "If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him" and that book provoked a decree from DH that I was not allowed to read McCrumb in bed if he was home. My shoulder-shaking efforts to not laugh out loud were not successful at not waking him up. As I read it, I was delighted to the point of laughter at the way McCrumb uses the language- her writing is hysterically funny!

"Highland Laddie" may be even funnier than "If I'd Killed Him". I have not even finished the book yet, but I have already begun searching for copies of the rest of the series. Once I get them all, I am going to start at the beginning and go on an Elizabeth MacPherson (the lead character) binge!

Since I feel totally inadequate to convey the spice of McCrumb's writing, I will simply present to you here the final part of the Prologue to "Highland Laddie Gone". Lord, how I wish I could write like this!

"Dear Mary-Stuart,
Can't tell you how devastated I am to hear that you won't be at the Highland games this year. In that case, I think I'll go. And I'll be happy to take care of Cluny. He's my favorite member of the Clan Chattan anyway.
No, I am not teaching. I am getting a degree in Forensic Anthropology, along with my fiance, Milo Gordon. We spend a lot of time cutting up dead bodies. I think of you often.
Sincerely,
Elizabeth"

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's finally VACATION!!


Well, I am back to "living on the porch"!

Last week was a hectic rush of meetings, a funeral, packing, etc. Getting ready to come here is a lot of work. Then there was the unpacking, getting organized, etc. I LOVE when DH is here- we talk, a LOT, we watch TV, we read, it is quiet and fun.

However, he has gone back to the city and I am finally alone. LOVE him, don't get me wrong. LOVE having him here. But what I really, REALLY need is to unwind, decompress, whatever word you want to use. The last 8 months have been among the most stressful and most terrible of my life and I need to just relax fully.

So, now I am starting my vacation. I have 120+ books loaded into the Kindle. I have tatting, and cross stitch, and hardanger, and needlepoint, and crewel projects all waiting. (They are all SMALL projects, lol!) I have everything I need to make 100s of digital scrapbook pages. And, within limits, my time is my own! I'm a little annoyed with myself because I forgot to pack my Teneriffe lace books and supplies, but I don't think I'll get bored without them.

There is going to be a farmer's market this summer at the town pavilion every Wednesday, so I am looking forward to lots of fresh fruit. I also saw a notice about Yoga classes on the beach in the mornings- I may check that out. But mostly, I am going to read when I want, play with all my projects when I want, eat what and when I want, sleep when I want, even if it's the middle of the day; I'm going to try to find my way back from the anger and bitterness and depression to the happier person I know I used to be. And I will do that best by doing MY things.

I've already finished one book and most of the second; I have one in the Kindle for bedtime and one "real" book for the beach (no sand in the Kindle, please!); gotta see how many I can read in 6 weeks! Bought a bunch of new Creative Memories digital kits for my digi-scrapping today. I have the tatting and the hardanger pulled out but have not actually picked them up yet- maybe tonight!

I can only wish that everyone had a DH as wonderful as mine who would give them this time of peace and restoration.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Short Warning Post ;)

So, here's what happens when you use "Magic Marbles" without measuring!

I had started three very small bamboo plants after the Flower Show in early March. They were originally in a demi-tasse, a small coffee mug and a small vase. They were all outgrowing their starter pots so I decided to put the vase from the Senior Prom to good use.

Well, these "magic marbles" are supposed to expand for 4 hours. I put some in the vase, added water and 4 hours later, put the bamboo into the vase. Then, they decided to go wild!

These slippery little buggers have been expanding, falling out of the vase, sliding all over the countertop, and bouncing into the sink and onto the floor for almost 24 hours now!!! The pictures you see here have been repeated 6 times so far! Every couple hours I go into the kitchen and there are more little glowing marbles all over and the water in the vase has been all sucked up. So, I put the straying marbles in a new vase, take some more out of the bamboo vase, add more water and walk away. And 3 hours later what do I find? Yup- more marbles! EVERYWHERE! Found a bunch last night that had bounced and rolled into the dining room!
Anyone wanna guess how long this will go on????

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Taking a Break from Packing

Let's hope this works this time- this post is giving me LOTS of trouble!

So, I am getting ready for my incredible vacation- 6 weeks in the little house at the shore. Even with a furnished house, packing for 6 weeks is not anywhere near actually moving, but it is a lot of work- the most important thing being figuring out what you NEED to take. Clothes, personal stuff, kitchen add-ons, linens and towels are all essentials- but so are all the things I need to take to PLAY with!!!

The first picture below is one of the digital scrapbook pages I have already made for my book of the last year of our school. I have several goals in digi-scrapping this summer; I want to MASTER the Creative Memories program, Storybook Creator Plus, and make several books with it. I also need to work on the My Memories Suite program, as that is the one I am using for my digital Heritage project. I know there is SOOO much more I can do with each of these programs. I am happy with my pages so far, but need to play, a LOT, with the programs to really get good.
The picture above may be familiar if you've been reading here for more than a year. This is a picture of the chart for the Sampler designed by my Internet-friend Aury. Last summer this was done as a stitch-a-long with a large group, but I fell way behind with it, and once things fell apart at school, I abandoned my needlework completely for the rest of the year. So, this summer is the summer, I hope!, that I complete last summer's stitching project.

Everything else "needle" connected that I am taking is smaller than Aury's sampler- which is a good sized piece and which I use a small floor stand to work on. The in-hand projects are all small things I can play with as I feel the inclination: a miniature Hawaiian quilt top, some tatting stuff, my Teneriffe lace forms, and a small needlepoint kit that I bought in Bermuda in 2007. My Internet-friend Margaret, whom I've "known" via needlework groups for more than 15 years, is an avid needlepointer and her work is so wonderful that I have to give needlepoint (after a 25 year hiatus) another chance.

There is also the packing of sufficient DVDs for amusement, and the loading of the Kindle-although, since I can always get more books just by clicking on the Kindle store, that is not a priority. The local library has a used book sale shelf- paperbacks are 50 cents and hardbacks a dollar. I go in, buy a couple dollars worth of books, and once I finish reading them, donate them back and buy some more. It is a good way to donate to the library fund and I only keep the books I know I will want to read again- everybody is a winner!

So, as you can see, getting ready for 6 weeks of rest and relaxation is a LOT of work, lol! It will all be worth it- in just a few days I will be "living on the porch" again! Time to get back to packing!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

John Denver and The Muppets sing Poems Prayers and Promises

I have loved John Denver's music for many years. This song has lots of special meanings and memories for me. Now it has some new meaning to add to all the others. Riding home from the last day of school at CD, this came on the radio. My friend turned up the radio and commented on how much he loves this song. Since I admire him as a teacher and treasure him as a friend, it was serendipity that we should hear this song together as we drove away from our beloved school one last time.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's all over


As we met each class for the last time, the kids were compelled to leave messages on my blackboard. I have taken and saved pictures of each section of the board so that I have copies of everything they wanted to say to me and to anyone who reads this. They are all messages of love, for me, for one another, and for the school we sadly leave behind.

The last days were full of tears. The students are scattering to a large number of different schools, and they know that, no matter how much they work to stay in touch, things will never be the same for them.

The teachers now know where they will be teaching next year, at least those of us lucky enough to have a job know. I will be going to an all-girls school, which is definitely deja vu for me. I loved my own all-girls high school 40+ years ago, so I am hopeful that my new school will be a good experience for me. It is, in fact, the school my mother and my lifetime friend Susie attended, so there is something special about going there. Several people I am close to are also going there, as are a number of our girls, so I will not be "alone" when I get there in September.



They seem to keep taking the same picture of me!

This was taken as we prepared to sing the Alma Mater for the last time at school. There was a closing ceremony for the Juniors on the last day, then everyone assembled in the courtyard, the juniors were officially invited to join the Alumni Association as the Class of 2011, and then we struggled to sing the school song. By the time we finished, I was in a group hug with about 10 students, all clinging to me and one another; as I looked around the courtyard, similar scenes were everywhere.

The day mimicked a funeral. We had the "services" indoors, the final farewell outside, then the faculty went to a lovely luncheon, generously provided by the Parents' Association. There was talk of going out after the luncheon, but most of us needed to go home and have some quiet, private time to finally grieve alone.

This time since October has truly been the worst year of my life. To go through the death of our beloved school has been traumatic for our students, the faculty and the alumni. It has been inspiring also, though- such grief could only occur when something truly special was lost. Our school achieved great things in its time and will be remembered as long as anyone associated with it still lives.

WE HAIL CARDINAL DOUGHERTY HIGH!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Grief


This picture appeared in the diocesan paper in October after they told us they were closing our school. The one you cannot see except for the grey sweatshirt is me.

Our long, impossibly long, deathwatch over our school is coming to an end. Graduation is tomorrow morning- for the last time we will send a class out into the world. Next week each class will have a special closing day. On Thursday, June 17th, we will send our Juniors away and close forever.

Our students will go to new schools. Many are going to a school which the current parents there chose in order to keep their kids away from kids like ours. All are going to have to start their high school careers all over, even the new seniors.

This year has been unmitigated hell. There was no support for our situation. There has been no caring shown for the trauma we have all endured.

I don't know how I will get through these last days. What goes on in our building every day is truly unique. We read so much in the papers about racial and social conflicts in other schools- and that did not and does not exist in our school. How will our kids be treated in schools that do not have our acceptance of diversity? In fact, we do not "accept" diversity, we glory in it. What kind of environments will our students find?

How will the teachers who have been there 40 years cope in new schools? How will they fit in when they are separated from those they have known and worked with for those 40 years? Imagine being 60+ and being the new kid in the building!

I'm not sure I'm even making sense here. All I know is that the terrible pain we have all been feeling for the last 8 months is about to come to a head. I don't know how much more any of us can bear.

I want Graduation to be a happy experience for the kids tomorrow- but how can it be when it means the last graduation and the end of our school? I hope I can be strong enough for the kids; it will be hard because my heart is truly breaking.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blog Candy Update

I chose a winner for the Blog Candy from the OWH Blog Hop on Monday night. I left a post on her blog to contact me via my email. If I don't hear from her by Friday evening, I will choose a new winner.

So, don't give up hope yet, lol!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010