Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30: Comings and Goings. . .

Today we said good-bye (or, we hope, so long!) to Camilla, funny, snarky, deadpan, tough, lovable, ice-cream-loving, stubborn, curious Norwegian exchange student/member of our family for 10 months.

We all (Lyle, returned last week, Andy, Nate, Camilla, and I) had a great, delicious, fun dinner at The Cellar downtown last night, and then today we headed down to Richmond to drop her off (minus Lyle, which was good, as we had only. just. enough. room): 

That was the trunk, with her backpack squished down the side, and then we had two big carry-ons (one that Pella will take with him as she'll be seeing him in two weeks) in between us in the back seat. Not an inch to spare! 

It's a quiet night at home now, as we adjust to having a space where that lively, laughing girl used to be. She was out a lot, very involved with all kinds of things, but she'd truly become like a member of the family, someone who's supposed to be there, and it makes me/us sad to not have her here anymore. She said in her final letter than she wished she could stay longer, and though I surely need some downtime to address things like the disaster our house is and such the like, I could easily have had her around for another month or so! But regrets are pointless: we have a strong tie to a great young woman, and I hope we stay in touch. At the moment we are planning a Denmark/Norway trip next summer. We'll see what unfolds. 

The upshot of this adventure is that risk taking is beneficial! Adjusting and flexing and sometimes lying away fretting all end up becoming love, new bonds, and even more adventures yet to come. AFS: yes! 

And here are our two Start-Visit and End-Visit Shots: 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21: Beginnings, Endings, Continuations!

Wow. This life thing is amazing. I'm slogging through to the end of the longest school year I've ever experienced, and at the same time watching Nate and Camilla celebrate the end of a particular stage in their lives, and we're all preparing (I think, maybe, a little, reluctantly) for Camilla to leave next Monday, and also waiting for Lyle to arrive, and today Andy and I head down to celebrate the imminent arrival of two brand new people, Craig and Heather's twin girls, whom we never ever expected to even dream about!

So it's a pretty verklempty time.

Add to that the inevitable tiredness of the end of a long year, done well, and the disappointment/infuriation of parents who behave badly and blame teachers for mistakes their kids make, but all that topped off with the pride in the kids who do buckle down and do their level best and how much they've grown and learned (and would do, no matter what else happened, because that's what humans do, and it's wonderful to be a part of that, even though it's exhausting and [go back to start of paragraph and reread!]). . . .

and you have a mushy mess of tired and emotion.

So, if you're reading this and you're a parent with kids in a classroom, and if you have had any one of those moments where you got a special message from a teacher, a meeting after school or even just to touch base, or if your kids had a special day or learning experience or book recommendation or event, or even if they're coming home at the end of this year of learning and growing more learned and more grown than they were in September. . . . . multiply your kid by at least 60 to see what each teacher juggles, and then drop everything and go thank that/those teacher/s.

Make it an email that you cc to the principal and the school board.
Write a letter to the editor praising the teacher, the school, the public education system.
Go buy a gift certificate to the local breakfast place or coffee shop or garden store or, if it's all that's on offer, to Walmart or Dunkin' Donuts or make a donation to the local library in the teacher's name.
Send a hand written note on the back of an old bill.
But say thank you. Say it loudly and honestly and specifically. Say it as loudly as those parents who bash the system or the teacher/s do. Because: believe me, it's a tough job, and saying thank you is the right thing to do.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18: How the HECK did that happen?

Two graduations, a Water Festival, a Solutions Fair, 16 poetry papers, and 45 personal narratives later. . . . It's mid-late June. The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn ClubThe Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yay! I was looking for a fun, well-written, funny series that might fill the space left by Raefella Barker's Summertime and Hens Dancing, and here is it! I got all three at our neighbor's yard sale (seventy-five cents, baby!), and they are a huge pleasure. Fluffy, but tightly written with likable characters and great dialogue, the first one kept me reading when I should've been asleep, and then I bolted the second one down in about two days. One more to go--but I'll be looking for more Gil McNeil after this!

Needles and Pearls: A Beach Street Knitting Society NovelNeedles and Pearls: A Beach Street Knitting Society Novel by Gil McNeil
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Second one: I barely stopped in between, and it's just as good as the first!

View all my reviews