Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall flashback: September 28

Day 5 writing prompt from the SITS Girls fall blogging event: link up a post you wrote on this day (September 28th) from a previous year. If you didn’t publish something on the 28th, link up a post from that week.

This was a fun exercise. I went back to 2010 and found a link to September 26 when I chronicled Ava's first foray into preschool.

It's funny to look back now at how small she was, how worried I was about whether we'd chosen the right school and how many pictures I took. We definitely picked the right place. Dylan is there now too and this is a good reminder that I need to get back on the stick with taking pictures so that they'll have them in the future. And so that I'll have them.

Fall recipe goodness: lasagna

Day 4 Prompt from the SITS Girls fall blogging event: Share either your favorite fall craft or autumn recipe.

This one is in the works this week: my lasagna recipe, complete with tutorial. Cheesy, meaty goodness. Hope it makes you drool!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Fall memories

Day 3 Writing Prompt from the SITS Girls fall blogging event: share one of your favorite fall memories with us, or something you look forward to each fall.

My husband and I dated for eight years, because, you know: you gotta be sure. Kidding. But we did take A WHILE to get engaged. We were enjoying our lives and careers, but finally decided to make it official and get married.

As we discussed wedding logistics and narrowed down our date choices, he said he really wanted to do it in the fall. Great! I did too. But what was his reason?

"Well, we met in the fall, so it always feels like "our" time of year, plus, fall is about change, like the changing of the seasons, and we're changing our relationship, making a lifetime commitment to each other. It just really feels appropriate."

Huh. Wow. I was just thinking it's more likely to still be a bit warm in the fall so I would be comfortable in my strapless dress. But what he said works too.

Our wedding was right at the start of fall, it was still warm, I was comfortable in my strapless dress, and eleven years later, fall still feels like "our" time of year.

Wedding day, September 2001

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Team & I just did customer service training for 30 employees from 9 county programs. Feedback themes: good energy & humor, bring handouts.

Foggy fall in the Northwest

I'm trying to catch up on the SITS Girls Fall Back into Blogging event. Day 2 is a Photo Prompt to celebrate the beauty of fall with a picture of what fall looks like in your neck of the woods.

I grabbed this picture earlier this week. We've had a string of foggy mornings with pretty decent afternoons. I love summer and hot weather. But there's something to be said for these cool mornings: I'd rather the weather just skip the niceties and drop kick us right into the frost and fog of fall (say  that four times fast!).
But all is not gray and gloom around here. The sun has been burning this fog off most days and leaving us with sunny and warm (for Seattle) afternoons with temperatures in the low 70s.
Still, I'll take the clear, bright sunny fall days like we had at the Harvest Fest last year over the fog any day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Me + school = love

I'm doing the SITS Girls Fall Back Into Blogging event, with daily prompts and ideas for getting your blogging mojo back. Boy do I need it! So here goes. The first prompt is writing about your best school memory.

Unlike some other parts of the country where school starts in August (What the heck?! That's still prime summertime.),  in the Pacific Northwest it kicks off in September with a frenzy of activity around our house. 

There's back to (pre-)school for the kids, and also for me too in a way, since I serve on two schools' boards: my alma mater's and the kids' preschool. Ava's birthday is mid-month, followed by our anniversary. It's a bit crazy-making, but also exciting because my best school memory itself!

Narrow it down to one memory?! That's like asking a chocolate lover what's their favorite chocolate memory. Or a parent which kid they love best. It. Can't. Be. Done. I have ALWAYS loved school. LOVED I tell ya!

The books, the assignments ("Is it okay if I read ahead?" Yeah: I was THAT kid.), my teachers, the schedule, the lockers, my friends, and even trying to decipher the intrigues of the popular cliques.

Unlike some folks, who found their school years to be something to be endured, I couldn't wait to get there every day, despite the two hour bus ride each way during middle and high school. I also had no angst about my place in the class or school hierarchy because I had my own "peeps," my own places to excel, and because there was so much that I loved about being at school that I really didn't dwell on the vagaries of the affections I elicited (or didn't) from my fellow hormone-addled classmates.

It probably helped that I was a happy, confident, and self-directed kid. Also, I was (and am) a realist. I knew there was no way to change my family's income or name, or the fact that we didn't use the word "summer" as a verb. Things were what they were, so I had to get on my life and revel in the parts where I had some control. Like studying and doing my best in class.

From a social standpoint, in the bell curve of class popularity, I probably fell squarely in the middle of the bell curve's hump: not popular, but far from an outcast. I was a nerd who played sports, I was smart, I fit in (at least with my friends) and I was among fellow school-loving, athletic and nerdy kids and had a tribe to call my own. It was a school that was very classically academically rigorous but that also gave students a bit of latitude in identifying and working on non-traditional academic pursuits too. Like helping Bill Gates to work on early computers during his time there. And look where that got us all: right here with me blogging and you reading, here on the interwebs, that's where. 

But there is one memory that stick out in my mind as pretty great about my school years. In high school, I took Graphics (or art as it was called in most schools) with a great teacher who was renown for his unconventional approach that drew on his experience in a number of disciplines, including being a Unitarian minister. Students were allowed to draw on the walls of the studio, which were painted over every year to allow the new class to leave their marks. We learned to draw live nude models, which I drew with a discrete black bar over the naughty bits, enacting my own self-censoring.

I was no artistic standout, but he made each student feel like they were. And he taught us techniques that enabled us to strengthen whatever artistic abilities we had.

One winter, he gave us an assignment to draw a interesting Santa Claus. I decided to do a funky Santa. Not funky like smelly: funky like platforms, bell bottoms, gold chains (it was the mid-1980s and hip hop was just getting big, after all), and an afro, complete with the afro pick in the shape of a Black Power fist. The next day, he called me in to his office.

As one of the few kids of color at the school, I was scared. Was he mad that my Santa didn't match the other rosy-cheeked, white-haired specimens turned in by my classmates? Had I (horrors!) misunderstood the assignment?!

No. He got teary as he told me that my goofy picture, done on a whim to amuse myself and complete my homework, had moved him deeply. It turned out that he had an adopted daughter who was African American. Seeing my Santa, in all its funky glory and all my obvious joy at creating an image that reflected my reality and worldview and that didn't fit the cookie cutter mold of what was expected, gave him hope that his daughter would also someday be comfortable creating art that reflected her reality and complexity as an African American girl with a white dad. And he thanked me for sharing my vision of what could be, not just what we were used to. How's that for making a nerdy little girl feel that she had something amazing to contribute to the world?

Now that I'm shepherding Ava and Dylan into their school age years, I want them to have similarly powerful experiences and mentors; to have grownups in their lives - besides their mom and dad and grandparents - who let them know that they have something unique to contribute to the world, but that they have to work hard to hone whatever talents they have.

I want to facilitate their love for learning, nurture their natural interests and provide an outlet for - and celebration of - their own wacky funky-Santa-like ideas. I want to model for them the need to push their personal boundaries and be lifelong learners in a way that is not dependent upon being in a classroom. After all, I have to prepare them for a world I may never see, but in which I want them to excel. Hopefully, they will also come to love - LOVE! - school the way I did.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy anniversary

Thanks to my inlaws for watching the kids so that we could celebrate 11 years of marriage with a lovely grown folks dinner at Blueacre.
To answer the question Ava posed when we picked them up ("What did you do all night? Why didn't you want us to come?"): we talked politics, work, kids, crazy teenage shenanigans, what crazy shenanigans our kids better not even THINK of trying, what we've learned, why we love, and more. Even after 19 years, we still had each other laughing out loud (the real one, not the text kind) all night.
Happy anniversary to my friend/husband/love, Jason Jones.

Vintage facial hair

Jason's off to work to train clients, rockin' the Dr. Benton Quest facial hair from the Jonny Quest cartoon. Maybe I'll dress Dylan like Hajji. Where does one find a size 4T nehru jacket?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ava: Why do people live longer than dogs? Is space above heaven? #PreschoolerDeepThoughts #WhenLogicAndFaithCollide

Friday, September 14, 2012

5 years!

Guess who turned 5 today and wore this crown & carried her new unicorn from the moment she woke up until she climbed into bed tonight?

She declared, "I don't like my birthday gifts, I LOVE them!"

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Driven to (non-alcoholic) drink

Rough day on the parenting front. I don't drink, but tonight trading sparkling cider for sparkling lemonade.

On a related note: does the French Foreign Legion have a minimum age or potty training requirement for inductees?

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Good grief, night 2 is barely underway & my tears are already welling up. I add my thanks to troops and military families. #DNC2012

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

LOL! RT @CharlesMBlow: If Suge Avery bursts in that room singing "God's Trying to Tell You Something" it's going to be all over... #Clinton #Preaching #DNC2012"
Clinton "'We're in this together' is a far better philosophy than 'you're on your own.'" #DNC2012 #swoon
Loving Cristina Saralegui! "Don't boo: vote!" #DNC2012

Monday, September 03, 2012