Sunday, September 15, 2013

Week One is Done!

We are off to a good start. Yes, I can still say that in spite of three criers on the first day of school, two bathroom accidents (Drat those darn tights on the legs of chubby five year olds!) and temperatures that hit into the upper 80s, it was a good first full week of school. The quote of the week: "Do we have to bring our credit card?"  asked one bright eyed student when told we were going to the library. 

Sunday, September 08, 2013

178 days to go!

Last Monday, after much more discussion than I thought was needed, the tentative agreement became the contract. The picture is of the 1200 or so of us who took the time to vote at Benaroya Hall. the meeting went from 5:00 to about 8:00 after a work day in the classroom. What is in it for me? A 2% pay raise, 3 days without students to hold family conferences before they start school (only for kindergarten) and our work day stays at 7 hours till next year. Hah! Whoever works in their classroom only 7 hours a day is not up to the standards I set anyway. 22 of my 24 students and their families showed up for those conferences this past week. They are really a diverse group. There are so many many more mixed cultures at our school in recent years. Exotic combinations like Indonesian-Pakistani married to Philipino-Laotian. The languages other than English that are of highest incidence spoken in the homes of my students are Cambodian, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Only one Spanish speaker so far. It's always changing!

Tomorrow the 'rubber meets the asphalt'. Kindergarten begins their full day schedule. There will be a lot of sleepy kids by the afternoon especially if it gets up into the 80s again as is in the forecast. Thirty one years of this and I am still nervous. There are so many new twists in our school and in my classroom this year. I'll have as many butterflies in my stomach as my 24 students do! This time next year, the first day of school will be just another lovely late summer day!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Tentative Agreement

Negotiations were looking pretty dismal when I took these photos of colleagues as we picketed in a freak rainstorm on Thursday afternoon.  Really! I was soaked even though I held an umbrella. our tenacity had to be admired judging by the many honks from the traffic passing by. 

Today I received an email from the union with a tentative agreement. Yippee! It really isn't so much about money as it is about teachers' evaluation process and having a say in how we spend our extra hours at school. I sure wish we could get more PE or Art for the students but that is not happening this year.  I spent no small amount of time on the computer this Labor Day weekend, looking at information on the Common Core Standards and how to have little ones be able to state what they are learning. I purchased this from the Teachers Notebook site. Now if only this district had a print shop or an color printer in the school. Instead I am faced with printing 111 pages on our home computer ):

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Last Hurrah!

After a year and a half away from blogging I have returned, to record my last year of teaching. This is it, the last "Hurrah!" If change is good for one's brain, mine is getting a great workout. I have a new teaching partner, a new principal in our building, a new state mandated assessment for kindergarten called WAKIDS and of course the Common Core Standards are still fairly new in Washington. If negotiations improve we will start school on time with a new contract too. My classroom is the same one I have taught in for 19 years except the seating arrangement is different and I moved around bookshelves and the calendar so everything is on opposite sides of the room. We had a Jump Start program last week to introduce our kindergarten students to school. They came for half days and we had extra help to give the fall Kindergarten Inventory. So I already know quite a bit about the 2/3 of the class that participated. I don't want to be overly optimistic but I must say that the class chemistry was positive overall.  So, ready or not kindergartners, let's begin!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

Time really HAS gotten away from me! I thought I had posted in November. So here it is the new year.

November brought the mums in our yard into full bloom just as I had predicted. The spider Mums are my favorite. Here you see a yellow spider and an orange spoon mum.

And a new car into our garage:

For the first time in six years, Anna Rae sat down to Thanksgiving dinner with us. Our very good friends, the Kornowskes, hosted. It was, as always, incredibly delicious.

 December was a whirlwind, beginning with a trip to Green Bay for my mom's 80th birthday and then "Woohoo!" tailgating at Julie and Terrys'  and a Packer game and YES, they won!

December also brought a visit from out of state friends; Tania and her beau, Owen, from Montana.

 Then before I knew it, Christmas was here! There was baking to do;  Anise Almond Biscotti and Coconut Cranberry  Chews and Butterscotch Cookies and Peppermint Pinwheels.

And relaxing with technology. (Yes, Miracle on 54th St. is on the TV)

Anna Rae was showered with gifts. (Poor Americorp girl; she was grateful for  the Christmas bounty.)

Of course Christmas meant feasting. We were a table of nine this year. the menu was gumbo, baked lobster tails, scrumptious salads and satsuma cheesecake for dessert and cookies too!

 Preceded by dominoes and followed by football! 

More feasting on December 30th with the Zarker / Primomo family. This time it was Thai food.

December meant the end to our 1950's avacado green sink in the bathroom. Here is the new vanity and sink. The counter top color is called Coffee Bean.

 When it comes to plumbing one thing leads to another.  So, a week later,  on New Year's Eve day Chris was installing new fixtures in the kitchen.

There are small beginnings for 2012, like the new leaves on my orchid:

And much bigger beginnings like the construction of the new house to the east of our lower lot line.

This is the end to the woodsy solitude that we had when we moved here  in 1987 but who knows, it may be the beginning of a friendship with new neighbors.

As for another ending and a  beginning; I am going to discontinue posting on this blog at least for a year. I will be adding to my Flickr account regularly. In fact I am starting a set called It's a Colorful Life and I will be taking a picture a day and sometimes adding comments to the pictures. Each month will feature one color.  So don't be blue, visit me here:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Viadoom Dreariness

The rain is pitter pattering outside my windowMy plan was to go walk on the viaduct and take photos from that venerable mid-century highway construction which has contributed to so many breathtaking views of Seattle's waterfront and the distant Olympics. I am waffling, it is pouring now. Demolition started last night. I will miss it but unlike many, it won't put a crimp in my commute.  My world is West Seattle. 

Fall changes are more rapid now. Here are some shots of the backyard, taken yesterday:

 This is a tree that grew as a 'sucker' from a dead tree we had cut down YEARS ago. A neighbor who has since passed away, called it a California Palm. It has thorns on it's trunk and on the underside of the palm-like leaves. The wood is rather soft, almost mealy. At one point, the tree that preceded this one, had a chickadee nesting in a cavity in the trunk. It was fun to watch as it was so close to our deck. Right now, this young tree does it's job of adding shade to my fern garden.   

 The blush of orange over yellow reminds me of peaches.

 The sumac is eye catching and it is complimented by the yellow of the mid-winter fire dogwood. It looks so good you would think I planned it that way! (;

P.S. I did end up going on the viaduct walk! My photos can be seen on my Flickr account. Click here It felt good to be part of Seattle's history.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Brilliance

It may take until noon for the sun to burn away the fog but when it does, everything just 'pops' against the blue fall skies. 

Japanese Toad Lily

Autumn Full Moon Maple

Hydrangeas age so gracefully; changing in 
color, each shade more beautiful than the last.

 Fuzzy plumes of cimicifuga lean over the shady path and wave in the slightest breeze.

Knobby seed pods of abutilon replace the yellow flowers of September.

Hardy Fushias beckon to the hummingbirds.

Dainty Japanese Anemones (aka Windflowers) flutter like nervous ballerinas in the corner of the yard.

I thought I lost this 'Joseph's Coat' climbing rose last winter.  Now it is starting to bloom!

The tomato plants are pulled and green tomatoes are in the garden window or wrapped in newspaper to ripen. We ate one squash stuffed with sausage and rice; delicious! The  garden 'to do' list is long every fall. If I just make it my goal to fill the yard waste container every weekend between now and the New Year, I'm doing fine. Coming in November: my chrysanthemums should be blooming!