Friday, December 31, 2004

Look Who's at VHS!


Look Who's at VHS!
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
Monique and Gerrard were very impressed with the VHS campus. Then we headed on to Thriftway to buy groceries and to pick up several issues of the Riptide (VHS Newspaper) in which there is an article about Anna Rae and the other exchange students abroad. While Monique and Gerrard did get to visit Pike Place Market and the 'flying fish', they had very little time to see anything more. But I guess that is ok because now they have had a 'taste' of the Pacific Northwest and their appetite is whetted for more. And now too they know another door that is openned to them - ours!

Our New French Friends; Monique and Gerrard

In an unusual twist of events, Monique, the choir director for Anna Rae's gospel choir in France, came to Vashon Island for a 3 day visit with relatives. Meeting them was a better gift than anything I could've pulled out of the box of gifts that they delivered for Anna Rae. Although the scarf she gave me looks pretty nice as it is draped over my shoulder in this picture. Al Eggleston is their daughter in law's father. This picture was taken in his wonderful, homey farmhouse which has a sweeping view of the sound. We talked about politcs (we're on the same page here), language acquisition, and
of course about Anna Rae.

Singing a Joyful Round


Singing a Joyful Round
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
What a spontaneous, uplifting way to end our visit. It was a pleasure to be included in Monique and Gerrard's
family holiday gathering, especially considering how brief their stay was on Vashon.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Kornowske's Grand Fir


The Kornowske's Grand Fir
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
Isn't this a lovely Christmas tree? I took the picture looking down into the grand entry room from the second floor landing.








Yule Log; A scrumptious dessert!


Yule Log; A scrumptious dessert!
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
Oh my but this was a good dessert! The cream filling was lightly flavored with orange. We were so full that we did not eat dessert at the Kornowske's. We took our portion home to eat. I savored every bite. I wonder if the Yule Log that AR ate was as tasty.









French Wine


French Wine
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
This was our wine with dessert. We had French wine along with the Yule Log in honor of Anna Rae our 'in absensia' guest.
We called her at 1:00, our time, 10:00pm in France. We put her on the speaker phone and that was fun 'cuz we all could hear her talk. She was playing some type of Monopoly with Benoit's relatives when we called. She told us all about their Christmas Eve, opening gifts (she was TOTALLY surprised and happy to get the mini IPOD from us), going to a very unusual Christmas Eve mass, and sleeping in a very crowded 3 story house with 14 other relatives. She will most likely update her blog tomorrow when she gets back to Annecy.













Drank a 'Little' Vino


Drank a 'Little' Vino
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
Here's Joe and Valerie, our host and hostess for Christmas dinner. See that BIG bottle of wine? It was a generous contribution from Penny and Emil, other friends at this holiday feast.















Teresa Holding Sweetheart


Teresa Holding Sweetheart
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
Hens don't like to be held for too long.
I am really surprised this photo turned out as good as it is. I like the way our hair/feathers match. Looks like we go to the same stylist!











Galen's Gift to Lindsey


Galen's Gift to Lindsey
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
This is the sweetest little snowman!
Galen made it at school. the body is a sock filled with rice and the hat is made with polar fleece.
















9, 10 A BIg Fat Hen


9, 10 A BIg Fat Hen
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
On our first trip out to the hen house this big black hen clearly considered us an intrusion. She made the funniest annoyed clucking and gave skitterish,
darting glances at us indicating that egg laying is clearly not intended for public display.










Lindsey and Her Fowl Friends


Lindsey and Her Fowl Friends
Originally uploaded bymtnester.

Lindsey clearly is attached to the Kornowske poultry. Lindsey knows the name and temperament of each hen. She took me out to collect our Christmas gift of a dozen fresh brown eggs. All 12 hens are laying now. Their hen house is gaily decorated with Christmas lights. The Kornowskes believe the lights were the impetus for the hens to commence laying!



























The First Gift


The First Gift
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
This is what was inside Richard's gift:
a tracing of his foot, a handmade Christmas card inside of a handmade envelope (decorated with a jack 'o lantern), a chocolate covered marshmellow Santa, and a Butterfinger and chocolate Santa. In addition Richard gave me 2 other cards; handmade and thickly wrapped in tissue paper. He clearly loves the giving aspect of Christmas VERY much. I treasure his gifts that are clearly '5 year old initiated' and given 'from the heart'.
I can see why I got the Butterfinger; I always tease the kids when they have lunchables saying "Oh, that must be for me, Butterfingers are my favorite!" when I see the orange wrappered candy bar in it's lunchable compartment. But the tracing of his foot...that is a mystery!













Friday, December 24, 2004

Ma With Her Book


Ma With Her Book
Originally uploaded by mtnester.











Pa With His Newspaper


Pa With His Newspaper
Originally uploaded by mtnester.













Santa Sighted In Ballard 12-23


Santa Sighted In Ballard 12-23
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
This was taken outside a Seven Eleven on NW Leary as you head into Ballard. Do you suppose Santa bought anything in that Seven Eleven; cigarettes, malt liquor, batteries??? And why in the heck, in this day and age, doesn't he have a cell phone?


Teresa On The Harbor Steps 12-23


Teresa On The Harbor Steps 12-23
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
Chris and I went to see the Spain Exhibit at Seattle Art Museum on Thursday night.
Many of the paintings brought back our visit to the Palacio Reale and the Prado in Madrid in summer 2000. I especially enjoyed the botanical watercolors and drawings. Downtown looks so pretty with all the Christmas lights. We took the Harbor Steps down to Western where the car was parked.

Worried

All week long I have been too worried to sit down and focus on posting an entry. I mailed Anna Rae's gifts to France on Dec. 3 and it has been a long, and for me, a tortuous wait till their arrival on Dec. 23. Chris kept telling me to no avail, "I don't want to hear about it, STOP WORRYING ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS BOX!" What follows snippets of the emails between AR and others as I fretted about the whereabouts of her Christmas box.
12-15 (to AR) Has the Christmas box arrived?
12-16(to AR) Has the Christmas box arrived? (I emailed Marion with the same question) As above, please answer by tomorrow (Fri.)
12-16 (to Marion) This is Teresa, Anna Rae's mom. Has our box of gifts for Anna Rae arrived at your house yet? I am thinking they should be there by Friday at the latest. Let me know if it does not come by Fri. Once you or your parents tear off the label listing the contents she can open the box. I think she will be a surprised and very happy girl on Christmas day. Anna Rae has had such a wonderful time being part of your family.
12-21 (To AR) I am trying really hard not to think about your box but it is always there nagging my brain. Of all the losuy things; no box from your parents!
12-22(from AR) Yeah, I really am worried about the box too, I'll be upset if it doesn't come ( but I KNOW you loved me, I KNOW you tried!!! don'tget too worried!!!) The Liz├ęs are now constantly asking me if it has arrived too. Benoit says itll come thursday (the day before we leave).
12-22 (in an email from me to our friend Kim) We miss her so much and you want to hear the real burn...she has not yet gotten her Christmas box from us and I mailed it on Dec. 3 It makes me just sick; we bought her an ipod mini! I did insure it but I think that is just for damages not loss. Chris is tired of hearing me worry about it. He thinks it will still arrive. I think someone stole it. Let's hope I am wrong.
12-22 (to AR) I went to the post office and did my whining there so it would not bother your dad and now I have a glimmer of hope that you will get your gift, just maybe not on time. First of all, I did insure it for $350. and if I fill out a claim saying it is lost, I will get paid for the loss and do the shopping all over.
BUT the post office clerk said it was likely that it was held up in customs (probably opened and rumaged through) because I listed a value above $200. This also means that you (we) may need to pay a duty fee on it once it arrives. Anyway, if you, with the help of Benoit or Catherine want to go to the post office /customs office (I am unclear which one because he seemed to use both interchangeably) and ask about the box, this is the number you will need:VE 676 826 336 US
12-23 (from AR) And good news! The box is here! Well, its somewhere nearby, I may not get my hands on it till monday when I get back in town. Apparently they tried to deliver it yesterday but no one was home. AND I have to pay them 32€ (like 40 dollars) or some customs fee. Thanks mom! lol, its no problem, I'm just happy I'll have it soon, even if its not there on xmas day. there is a possibility charlotte can pick it up this afternoon, but im not sure.
12-23 (to AR) Nothing ever gives me more joy on Christmas than seeing you open gifts; to think that ours would not be there for you, it has made me so sad. But now I am happy, happy, HAPPY! Sorry about the $40. We will pay it. Never again will I insure a box with the postal service.
12-23 (from AR) i have it! charlotte and marion picked it up, ill find an atm and attempt to get out enough money to pay them back tomorrow. I'll try to make a blog entry tonight.
12-23 (to AR) Great sweetie! I wish I could see your face when you open the gifts. You will be so glad they arrived on time!

So went the week of a worried mom. And now, Christmas can begin!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Red and Silver on White


Red and Silver on White
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
Well, this is as decked out as it is going to get this year. I really must say that this is certainly easier to decorate and less messy than our traditional Christmas trees which are Noble firs that we hunt for at a tree farm on Vashon. Chris certainly didn't miss being a sawyer; squeezing under a wet tree in a muddy lot is not exactly his favorite holiday tradition.

Deck Decor


Deck Decor
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
I really like having these lights around the garden window. They pretty well light up the kitchen as I pour my first cup of coffee in the morning. With the leaves off the trees and new homes 'kitty corner' beyond our lot, we see more holiday lights as we look off our deck this year. On the left I have wrapped this string of lights around an urn; the same urn that was home to 2 goldfish as I explained in an earlier post.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Ouch!

Yesterday I went to the podiatrist for very persistent heel pain (like since last Spring). I have already been through the physical therapy, stretching, ibuprophen, icing, no running routine and I finally decided to go for the big shot - cortisone. For those of you who know what a needle ninny I am, this was a big step (no pun intended). It hurt like hell to get and even the beefy doctor had a time pinning my leg to the table as he gave the shot. Anyway this morning I notice a quarter sized bruise at the site of injection but other than that it feels pretty darn good. I hope this is the solution. He said I my need 1 or 2 more shots. I go back in a month and if the heel feels good then I am getting orthodics for my running shoes and I will be back to morning runs. Off to school now. The kids are higher than kites this week. Lucky for us, we have an 80 minute planning block this morning and the principal and another teacher take on all 55 kindergarteners to teach a literacy lesson.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The First Gift of Chrismas


The First Gift of Chrismas
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
This is Richard. He has given me the first gift of Christmas. The bow, as you can see, is as big as his head. His gift sits with that glorious bow, under our very white, ala Shag, Christmas tree.

Surprise! it's a flame retardant Christmas!

We have never had anything other than a real tree, usually a Noble fir selected by the 3 of us after much searching at a tree farm on Vashon Island. A few years back I bought a tree at an end of Christmas sale and never took it out the box. Obviously I did not read the label on the box either. This is the tree. Were we ever surprised!
Chris seems more animated and excited than if it were green and fresh cut. That figures, since he was always the one that did the sawing. So Anna Rae, what do you think? Don't be too alarmed, it looks alot better with the red and silver ornaments. That picture coming up soon.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Thanksgiving Cooks


Thanksgiving Cooks
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
The three desserts were Pear Flan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, and Cranberry Linzer Torte & whipped cream was optional.






Thanksgiving Weekend

What a full 4 days and I still feel like I could use 2 more days to get a few more things in order. Wednesday I worked 'till 5:00 and did last minute shopping in White Center for the Thanksgiving feast. I was looking for mint. I went to the 'Dollar Bag Market', or 'Triangle Market'; those are my names for this Korean run grocery that I like but I don't know the real name of the store. Anyway, I did not find mint but I found a beautiful 16 ounce bag of fresh basil grown in Hawaii for $1.99. I had already bought Duvall, Washington grown basil for $3.99 at Safeway but I could not pass up a good deal so I bought the $1.99 basil too and ended up making pesto in addition to all the other food prep I did for Thanksgiving. So where did I find mint? Well, I went on to the Heng Heng Market - no mint, and then on to the New Angkor Watt Market and there I found mint in a narrow aisle where I got help from a man who laboriously picked dead and wilted looking leaves from the many boxes of herbs on the floor. Now do I really want to know how I can be charged 49 cents for mint that would cost me 3 times as much at Safeway? I got the mashed potatoes cooked and into a casserole, the salad greens washed, two desserts baked and the turkey washed and patted dry the night before. In the morning I rubbed the turkey with fresh rosemary from a friend's yard and sage that I picked in my own garden, added a little salt, pepper, onion and celery and presto! Ready for roasting. The Kornowskes came at 1:00 bearing more to add to the feast, Valerie's delicious crab dip, chipotle cranberry sauce, and a pie made with a pumpkin from their garden. It was all delicious and was all the sweeter 'cause Chris washed the dishes! Then we ate dessert and played dominoes till 10:30. I stayed up till 2:00 in the morning adding photos to my Flickr account and reading blogs.
Friday morning I slept later than I intended but still managed to hit a few 'Door Buster' sales at Southcenter Mall. I also went to Fry Electronics and got a card reader to use at school and then I went to Wal-Mart to get some school photos printed; not my favorite e place to patronize but the cheapest for digital photo printing. The traffic was horrendous and a slight drizzly rain did not make it any easier. I know it is hard for many of you to imagine me going mall shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving; I am NOT a big shopper. You know those bumper stickers that say 'Born to Shop'.....I can NOT relate to that. But I do like ticking things off a list, and I certainly did that on Friday. On Saturday I raked the lower backyard, had a great workout in the weightroom of the Y, talked all together too briefly with my mom and dad, met with my teaching partner at Starbucks in Gatewood and we wrote up our PGG (Professional Growth Goals; a necessary piece of drudgery),
went shopping for MORE gifts in Olde Burien, rented a dolly at Tool Center and coaxed Chris into helping me move the TV to the downstairs (Do YOU know how long I have wanted to do that??), fixed and delivered dinner for the homeless women at Hospitality House, went out for a drink with Chris at a new establishment in Burien called The Tin Room and then fell into bed by 10:30, exhausted.
This morning I went to church, then back at home I vacuumed and washed floors and walls in the living room before moving furniture to accommodate the new spacious look; now that the enormous TV is downstairs. Then I trimmed the lavender, and moved deck plant to the garden shed (it is supposed to get down to 30 tonight), and moved the urn in the shade garden up to the deck. Big surprise; the two goldfish I had put in the water below the sedges and rushes I had in the urn (theory being that they eat mosquito larvae), are STILL alive. I now have them in a vase of water in the downstairs window. It was such a lovely day today, warm enough for even bees to be buzzing around the few hanging geraniums on the garden shed and competing with the hummingbirds (2 females and a male winter here) for sugar water.
Of course, calling Anna Rae is always our BIG Sunday event. She sang with her choir group at a recital this weekend. I was a little disappointed in that she did not save the program and the only 2 songs she told me that they sang were the gospel songs Amen and Go Tell It on The Mountain. I think she got to sing a bit of a solo part but I am not sure just what. Last year at this time she was starting rehearsals for Burien Live Theatre's Christmas production. I am glad we bought the CD of her performance as I won't be hearing her 'live' this season; that is something I am sure to miss. She is looking forward to having Andy, a Vashon student who is also on exchange in Italy, visit her next weekend. For a while there we thought it might not happen because there was miscommunication and her host parents thought Andy was a girl which he is NOT. Anyway we had to write an email to ok the visit, as I suppose so did Andy's parents and Rotary Club. Meanwhile, I am eager to hear her reaction to a very special box I packed and sent off to her about a week ago. Do I say it enough; WE MISS HER SO MUCH!

Capturing the Moment


Capturing the Moment
Originally uploaded by mtnester.


Chris took a picture of Joe taking a picture, you get the picture?


















The Dominoe Team


The Dominoe Team
Originally uploaded by mtnester.



















The Stairwell Project


The Stairwell Project
Originally uploaded by mtnester.



Chris spent hours over the 4 day weekend putting up framework and rewiring to enclose the stairwell to the downstairs. It is moving right along but not without it's challenges and several trips to Mc Lendon's Hardware.
(I am not quite sure why I have long spaces between some phots. I am still experimenting and have not yet found the editing magic to neaten it all up.)

















































The Friday After Thanksgiving


The Friday After Thanksgiving
Originally uploaded by mtnester.



















Chow Time


Chow Time
Originally uploaded by mtnester.

















































Friday, November 19, 2004

Audrey


Audrey
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
Aud gets the first Hip To Be Fit shirt in our classroom. You go girl!







































My Backyard


My Backyard
Originally uploaded by mtnester.

All summer I had been cursing the
messy branches that fell from the birch in the vacant lot behind us, vowing to jump the fence and prune it a bit myself. Then on a lovely and very breezy fall morning this week, I looked up at the perfect moment to see a veritable shower of golden leaves swirling across our backyard all the way up to the deck. I am so glad I didn't jump that fence.






























Maggie and Ellie


Maggie and Ellie
Originally uploaded by mtnester.

Ellie is sporting a hairdo designed by her big sister, Maggie.








Talk, Talk, Talk

We held parent - teacher conferences in the afternoons this week. Only 4 remaining for next week. The conversations flowed smoothly and I learned so much. For the most part I came away each day marveling at how much these parents want to 'dig in' and do what ever it takes to give their children success at school; even those who speak limited English and those for whom it is a continual challenge to pay the rent and have food on the table. I have a lot of faith in this year's parents, they seem sincere and willing to follow through on my suggestions. There are a couple of exceptions such as the boy whose mother said he didn't listen to her at home either unless she 'held a stick'. Well, needless to say, I'm not going to walk around my classroom with a big stick! In fact, the Family Support Worker will be on the lookout for parenting classes for that mom. Then there are the fun stories: The boy whose mom was 'blown away' when, as struggling to ride up a hill on his bike, her 5 year old said: "I just have to use my persistance like Mr. Nelson said." (Our principal, Mr. Nelson, had read The Little Engine That Could to the class and taught the word persistance.) The parents who anxiously asked, "Is he talking about having a brother .....because he doesn't have one. It was something of a problem at his previous school. He had everyone convinced that he had a brother who had died a terrible death and each time the story changed a little but it was always full of tragedy and he was convincing to both children and adults." Boy, were they happy when I said I had not heard of any brother, imaginary or other wise. The mother who asked her son what he wanted her to relay to me and he offered this list:
1. More toys (NO more space for this one and we are fairly well stocked.)
2. We need to share more of our work when we do a good job. (That's do-able.)
3. Tell Mrs. Goethe I love her!
The family facts that come out: Two moms are expecting babies, one this month and one in Feb. Two Dads are wedding photographers. Another dad is in play production and makes stages. That was a real 'score'! We asked for pieces of pine cut to certain dimensions for our hammering lesson in Science and lo and behold 60 precisely cut pieces of wood were delivered 2 days later. The Camdodian mom who tried to teach me how to bow and say "Good bye." During that conference I also learned that the necklace around her daughter's neck was an elephant tooth and considered a blessing. The mom of my most energetic, 'drama queeen' 5 year old, says her daughter crashes into a deep sleep for about 3 hours everyday after school! The mom who said her son is totally fascinated with finding and making patterns. Even at the dinner table he makes comments such as, "I am eating in an AB pattern; a bite of peas, a bite of meat, a bite peas, a bite of meat." The parents who told me that their son loves school but says he sometimes gets "homemissed".
And now I am ready to rest my vocal cords and enjoy my weekend.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

She's Seventeen Today!

On the day Anna Rae was born it was very blustery and grey with a drizzle that came down sideways. My labor was induced at 7:30 in the morning, the Dr. broke my water at noon (ugh, what a thing to do on your lunch break), Chris and I played a few hands of Gin and I labored on. Finally, at 8:09pm, along comes Anna Rae weighing in at 6lbs.1oz., 20 inches long, blondish brown hair that was close to invisible but felt 'oh so soft!' when you brushed your cheek across her head. And today she is seventeen!
Seventeen and in Annecy, France. When we talked this morning she said she thinks that "This is one of my happiest birthdays ever!" She also confided that she didn't want to say it was her happiest ever because it might hurt our feelings. But really, she doesn't need to worry. I don't think children really understand how their happiness brings joy to their parents. Today's birthday in France with fondue and pain au chocolate does not diminish the memories of the candles blown out, the ice cream cakes devoured, the parties at roller rinks, in movie theatres and at home over the past years.
Thanks to all of you who sent her emails and commented on her blog. She heard from relatives, friends, middle school teachers, and church youth group members.
My plan worked, she was truly surprised! I could not have done it without you.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

A Better Outlook

What a difference to end a week of teaching on a good day. So what is a good day for a kindergarten teacher? It's having enough trained parent volunteers to successfully teach the Science lesson in groups of 7 or 8 (How many paperclips does it take to sink a sample of cedar vs. particleboard), it's having time for them to record/graph their results in their Science notebooks, it's having our exceptional and talented P.E. teacher report to me "They had a good day in gym today, no 'time outs'" and then my line leader pipes up, "Yeah, we got to go to ALL the stations!", it's having no spills at lunch and everyone cleans his own table, it's hearing the elation in a parent's voice as he relates that his son wrote his first sentence independently on a whiteboard in his office, it's no rainy day recesses, it's having a parent volunteer on Friday afternoons who is willing to do 'busy work' so that the teacher is able to leave a little earlier at the end of the day, it's a line of children holding bouquets of leaves as they meet you at the door after recess (they toss the leaves as high in the air as they can in unison and with much squealing,just before they enter the classroom), it's a group hug at dismissal time that nearly knocks me off the 'story chair' and it's the quiet calm and the social chatter of my team teaching partner and I as we make sure that everything is in place for Monday.
I also have a better outlook because I believe I have pinpointed why teaching seems to be more energy sapping as opposed to invigorating as it usually is for me. I am teaching the 'low' end in our Literacy Block. Two of the children in the group who come from families that value reading, and could be role models for comprehension and vocabulary building, have speech articulation issues and six of them speak a language other than English at home. This goes against research which says blending abilities is better for learning. How we ended up with this model I am not exactly sure because we (teachers) are really given quite a bit of flexibility in how to group our children/ use our resources. Since discussing (honestly venting) my feelings with the principal (remember he teaches a literacy group too) and my team teaching partner I feel like we are all going to work together towards a solution which would mean 'tweaking ' the groups to have mixed abilities.
I can't wait; in 45 minutes we are calling Anna Rae. Usually we call on Sundays. But this weekend she will spend tonight at her host grandparents so she won't be at the Lize's Sunday morning. I had my friend and co-worker, Sarah, teach me how to identify myself when I call on the telephone. I hope Marion answers first but even if Anna Rae answers I am going to try out my few phrases in French.
Incredible, I have written an entire post without railing about the results of the election. Suffice to say that I am none too thrilled to be BUSHwhacked again!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Let the Feasting Begin!


Let the Feasting Begin!
Originally uploaded by mtnester.

















The Dark Becomes Us


The Dark Becomes Us
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
We just got home from the pumpkin carving party at Liz and Eric's house. The scary 'Jack' in the middle is the same pumpkin you saw growing on the vine in my backyard in August. He is big and incredibly heavy even now that he is carved. And I did the carving this year! Not terribly original but I think he has a touch of the fierce, 'don't mess with me' attitude that I wanted.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

2 Months Down

Anna Rae has been gone 2 months now. For the most part, time has passed quickly for her dad and I. The business of ordinary life, the work-a-day world, keeps our minds occupied. Twice last week I was at school organizing and cleaning up until 7:00 at night. How is it that the principal can go home at 4:30 or 5:00 and at least 1 or 2 of us peon teachers are there till 6:00 and beyond? I wouldn't mind so much but this year he wants to practically 'sit in our laps' as we teach. I really don't get it. Granted, he is going to be starting to teach one of our reading groups as of next week. What I resent is his attitude towards planning. He sits down and basically says "Ok, What will you be teaching in literacy next week? And then he tries to 'DIFFERENTIATE' (teacher lingo for 'jack it up' or 'rachet it down' depending on the ability of the students). Manolive! He's got the highest ability group, nothing but joy, the easiest of easy to teach and feel rewarded. I sure hope he plans on bringing more to the 'planning table' as weeks go on or I may blow a gasket and tell him just what he can do with all this 'extra' planning time he is giving us. It is NOT saving me any time! Instead of having to explain lessons to just my teaching partner, I have 2 tutors, 1 Instructional Assistant and now a Principal to tell what to do. Give me back a half hour of prep time and a closed door...I am ready to take it! OK. I have vented. Now in spite of all this I must say that I like Mr. N. as a person and there is no denying that he has been a boon to the publicity for our school. He is energetic, constantly looking for 'cutting edge' curriculum training, relates well to children and parents, listens, and is improving at hearing the viewpoints of teachers, and of course being a fellow 'cheesehead' he has a cultural background I can sort of understand. I do normally, love my job. I think that having an unusually tough class as well as several schedule changes are taking their toll on me. On Monday my 28th student joins our class and that will 'cap it off'. On a lighter note: 5 year old 'L' clutched his stomach on Thurs. and told me in his broken English that "A crab is in my belly doing this" (he made pinching movements with his hand) It only got worse and when he went to the nurse's office he told the health care assistant that "Two crabs are fighting in my belly." The two crabs complaint was enough to warrant a phone call home suggesting a day of bed rest!
On the home front...This morning I went to Spinning Class; my third one this week! In the afternoon I raked moss out the lawn, pulled lots of dandelions, pruned a few bushes, and hunted around till I found 'premium' grass seed as suggested by the natural lawn care program put on by King County. It is a blend of fescue grass seed and I found it at Herr Garden Care Center in Normandy Park. As I went on the search for the seed I stopped at Kirk's Feed Store in Burien. Old Burien is definitely going upscale although when you step into Kirk's you still feel like the guy behind the counter has got to be a 'hayseed' who knows everything there is to know about livestock, poultry, feed and fertilizer. Just across the way is a new shop that sells European ceramics and gift items. They have lots of beautiful dinnerware from
Tuscany and jewelry from outside Florence. They also have a variety of Italian olive oils and wines. Seeing these things made me all the more resolute in my endeavors to save money for a possible trip to Europe this summer!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

In The Mail


In The Mail
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
After much deliberation and a couple of exchanges, the 'Birthday Box' was put together. It actually came out to a reasonable weight of about 4 and half pounds. We hope you enjoy the surprises
inside, Anna Rae!

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Where is Anna Rae?


Where is Anna Rae?
Originally uploaded by mtnester.
Pei Pei misses Anna Rae. He has been with her for every birthday since her original
Birth Day. Time to do some shoping he says. Birthday 17 is only 31 days away!

Monday, October 04, 2004

What is a turnip?

School is just breezing along. This is a fun group of 5 year olds. There are a few feisty ones and they all need to work on the social things that most kindergarten need to work on: sharing, using respectful language towards each other, walking in the classroom, keeping their hands to themselves in lines, sneezing into the 'crook' of their arm or a tissue instead of blowing snot and a bazillion germs all over the unfortunate person across from them BUT they are good at discussions, lots of eager hands raised and pretty articulate vocabularies from the English speaking children.
Yet there is always at least one funny story a week where they didn't quite hit the mark on understanding a word. Last week's was turnip. I was preparing to read The Enormous Turnip and asked if anyone knew what a turnip was. One little boy, in his most authoritative tone told us "It's a bug like an ant that eats wood." At first I was totally puzzled at how he could possible be so far off the mark because we had been talking about foods prior to when I asked the question. Then it dawned on me, he was thinking termite instead of turnip. Fortunately we had a real turnip to look at and taste (not a favorite food for any of them) after the story! Now we have a turnip rooting in a jar of water in the classroom window. Hopefully by watching and commenting on it's growth over the next couple weeks they will all know what a turnip
is. Fall is definitely here. Many of the yellow leaves in the neighborhood have already fluttered to the ground. Every morning for a week now we have awakened to thick fog and the sound of the foghorns. By afternoon it burns off and the rest of the day is lovely. I picked the big pumpkin and planted a few perennials that I bought on sale as well as 150 tulips. I have 50 more yet to plant.
On Saturday I walked in the 3rd annual walk for Hospitality House, a shelter in Burien for homeless women. We think that a total of 5,700 dollars was made.
Well, I am at work writing and I see the clock says 5:10. I had best head home because the electrician will be there to do some work in the stairwell of our basement. All of you friends and relatives have a wonderful week!
Hey did you notice...I fixed that link to Teaching In Thailand. I have to brag, I did it without anyone's advice!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

No Help Needed!

Well, I will have you know that I corrected the placement of Teaching in Thailand BEFORE I got Anna Rae's helpful comment. It was a little different than what she advised. I had to put a p and a slash as well as the br and <. I figured it out by looking at the other links and noticing patterns. The br was a good idea and next to every link but one link had this p and slash too so I tried that and it worked. One more reason why we teach pattern recognition starting in Kindergarten! Gotta run, time for work.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Yahoo!

Wow, I just looked and my link to Tanya's site DID work. However, I want it below Chloe's not next to it. Any tips? Just got off the phone with Anna Rae. She is doing great. She had lots to say about her Rotary weekend. I won't say anything here because I know she is going to post it all on her blog. By the way, she really appreciates it when those of you who read her blog, make comments. It is time consuming (as I well know) to update these things and it encourages her to write more if you comment!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Technology, Bah Humbug!

I tried to add links to my blog but they do not appear to have worked. Now, this should come as no surprise since last night it took me till the very end of Joan of Arcadia to figure out how to record it on our VCR. Anna Rae, you might get 10 minutes of that season premiere. Perhaps this week I will do better when I try to record The OC. Joan of Arcadia gets a big 'thumbs up' from me. Joan no longer suffers from Lymes disease, is out of 'Happy Acres' sanitarium, and tried as she might to ignore God in his various people forms as figments of her imagination throughout the show, in the last 5 minutes she finally agreed that maybe he was really there and not just a delusion left from the disease. Joan's mom is reconverting to Catholicism and after much angst shared the news with her husband and he is less than delighted. And to top it off their family is being sued for emotional abuse by the boy who was driving the car in the accident that paralyzed Joan's oldest brother. Oh, and things are steaming up between geeky Grace and Joan's youngest brother. I look at the summary I just wrote and snort. THIS is the one show I consider a 'must see' every week?! Smallville got a 'thumbs down' Anna Rae. Sorry, I won't waste my time taping that one. Speaking of TV, I have a new coping system to help me remember what to watch now that Anna Rae is not around to guide and commandeer my viewing. On Sunday, I scan the TV Guide for the week and highlight what I might CONSIDER watching. It really saves time and I don't need my reading glasses if I highlight.
This week I was at school till 7:00 or later on 3 different nights. Just lots of clean up, prep for lessons, writing out notes for our instructional assistants, hanging kids work up, writing antecdotals on certain 'live wires' and before I know it is 7:00. We had our Multi-Ethnic Potluck on Thurs. night. About 500 people came. What fabulous food too! I ate way too much! The highlight of the evening was after eating when we all went to the gym and Mr. Nelson (principal) posed a challenge to the student body: If there are 500 or less tardy days by the end of the school year the teachers will be allowed to shave his head. To demonstrate his sincerity he let each of the staff members take a snip of hair off his head with the clippers. The kids went bonkers yelling, "Make him bald!"
This is a lovely fall weekend with foggy mornings and sunny afternoons. I scrubbed the patio in preparation for painting it tomorrow. I also pulled the pumpkin off it's vine and did a bit of weeding and trimming in a flower bed. Earlier in the week I divided my heucheras and tirellas as well as transplanted some baby hellebores. If I have time I would like to aerate the lawn and put into practice some of the natural lawn care practices Chris and I learned at a King Co. natural landscape class last week.
Today we also went for a noon time skate along Alki then ate lunch at the fish and chips place next to the water taxi dock. A very knowledgeable and experienced speed skater, about my age, approached me and gave me her card. She teaches skating in Lynnwood and she is a personal trainer in a Queen Anne gym. I guess she knows a menace on wheels when she sees one! Actually she was very nice, we skated the 'Alki strip to one end and back. She gave me tips but mostly we did social talk about our families and work. It was an unusual yet comfortable skate.
Midnight already! That's what happens when I drink coffee after dinner!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Nearly A Month Gone

Another nice phone call today. We are so lucky that communication is easy even with the time difference. In addition to phone calls we used IM twice this week and got emails and of course our Blogs! And she has gotten letters from several friends and relatives so she knows that she is missed. Check out the photos on Anna Rae's blog if you have not done so already. I especially like the one of the rooftops and the one of the dam. Everything seems to be going smoothly. She's looking forward to meeting LOTS of other Rotary exchange students this coming weekend. They are going to do some sightseeing around Annecy. Later on in the year they will meet for 3 days in Paris and they even have a meeting scheduled under the Eiffel Tower! The crepes she ate this morning sounded pretty darn yummy but I think I would still prefer my own blueberry pancakes. Good thing she's running 2 times a week. I don't think she can entirely avoid gaining some weight because it sounds like there is a bakery on every corner.
I am glad that she is making an effort to get regular exercise. Now with the premiers for TV beginning I asked if I should tape a few shows but she says that VHS in France is different and the tapes won't work. Does anybody know if that is true or not? Two friends called today asking how I was doing without having Anna Rae around. I was touched that they were thinking of me and my adjustment to this exchange. Surprisingly enough I am doing quite well, probably for two reasons: she sounds happy when we talk and I am SO busy with teaching. I do have an occasional twinge of missing her when I pass her bedroom door or when I go into her closet to get the vacuum cleaner that is stored there. Don't worry Anna Rae, I haven't put to much out to the curb yet (just kidding, AR). Well, time to get to bed so I will be almost as perky as my kindergarten students in the morning.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

That Dam Field Trip

What a delight to talk after a week of no news! This time I was totally prepared. I had a list of 30 questions or things to tell her. If you know me very well you won't be laughing too hard. 'List Maker' is one of my major roles around this house. First of all, she was in the shower when we called so we had a nice chat with M.,her host sister. M. is hoping to return to the U.S. or Canada to go to a university next year. So, the travel bug most likely stays with these exchange students even after they return to their home. Anna Rae was in the shower because she had been out for a run! I am glad she is taking charge of getting exercise! The first thing we asked about was how the field trip to Switzerland went. "It was wonderful, just fabulous!" she enthused. Just as I suspected she used time on the bus and in traffic jams to connect and make friends. She had taken along her mini photo album of family and Seattle pictures so that she had more than language to rely on for communication. She told us that the school starts each year with a field trip as a bonding experience for each 'premiere' (grade?). And in her case it was just that. She said the scenery was breathtaking the roads were VERY curvy and they went WAY, WAY up (that part I could've done without visualizing)! They went to a very impressive dam on an Alpine lake (Hey, there it really IS Alpine!). They even toured inside the dam. She took pictures for her dad to add to his collection and I am sure he is thinking that we should fit a sidetrip for us to see it in person when we visit next spring. Chris collects postcards of dams and paints dam pictures. Anyway, after that they went to a picnic area on this Alpine lake and ate lunch. She said they had a great view of Mount Blanc. They went to this town called Martigny and went to a the Pierre Gionada museum and saw the Phillips Collection that was on loan from WA D.C.! It had works by Renoir ("You know mom, that one where people are at a picnic table?")and Monet as well as the Da Vinci notebooks of his scientific studies of the human body and they had a sculpture garden too.
School is very hard but going good. She has found a proctor to give her the test she needs to take for the BYU correspondence course but she had a heck of a time explaining the word 'proctor' to the teacher. She has a library card. It cost her 12 euros. The library has 2 bookcases of books in English. She and M were alone this weekend as her host parents were out of town. The grandparents checked in on them frequently and made them dinners. The grandpa cuts the lawn for the host family every week! Chris is envious of that set up. The grandparents live close to the school and the girls sometimes go there for lunch.
Anna Rae is going to join a choir. I think she called it a gospel choir. She said it has only 5 young girls, the other members are middle aged women. The directions are all in French but they are singing Godspell in English! The director is a neighbor.
One of the other young girls is Zara, an Australian exchange student with whom Anna Rae feels very comfortable. She went to a Rotary dinner last Tuesday night and met many other students; her district apparently takes in a great number of students. She thinks her counselor is a British woman named Pam but she is not sure.
Whew! Without Anna Rae being online-able, I tried my best to fill in any of her blog readers who might link onto me. Let's hope her computer access is up and running soon.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

First Day of School

Whew, am I ever wiped. Nothing like explaining the ins and outs of school life to 5 year olds to really suck up your energy. It does get easier; for them and me. The most amazing thing of today was that not a single child cried in either my class or in my team mate's. That is a first in 11 years! So I hope that means they like school life. Our school's enrollment is 24 students above what was projected. Second grade has 30 kids per class,so I know I am not the only tired teacher. As I said, I am quite tired and I'll be up at 5:20 to start my day and 'do it all over again'.
Hey, Anna Rae, how was Switzerland? I hope your computer is running again and you can update us all with a new post. I love you, girl!

Monday, September 06, 2004

Little Rustlers


Little Rustlers
Originally uploaded by mtnester.

Welcome to the Kittitas Fair


Welcome to the Kittitas Fair
Originally uploaded by mtnester.

2 Weeks Gone

With the school year starting it is hard to find time to update this. We have been communicating with Anna Rae through every mode available, emails, a weekly phone call, old fashioned snail mail (It took 11 days for her to get the package I mailed to her on the day she left.) It is good that we are using ALL forms because emails have not been reliable as Anna Rae's host family struggles with several computer viruses. Their computer is in 'the shop' yet again! I keep forgetting to ask her if the school has computers for student use. Every form of writing that she sends us has a slighly different voice, with her hand written letters being my favorite. She told us she has eaten something that she would like to learn how to cook; some type of pie like pastry with garlic and cheese I think. It was hard to hear her on the phone on Sunday. She couldn't find the cordless and she felt like she was disturbing people and we kept asking her to speak up. Her field trip to Switzerland was today. I wonder how it went. She was not all that eager to go, she said she would prefer to have the routine of school settle in. Oh well, like I told her, on a field trip, with more casual conversation, she may pick up more language than sitting at a desk. As for Chris and I, we enjoyed the Kittitas Fair and rodeo on Saturday. We saw Travis Brasile rope a calf in 5.9 seconds (last year we saw him rope one in 5.4). As always the smell of fair food was a lot better than the way it felt once it was resting inyour stomache; so much grease (but I do love the grilled onions on the hamburgers!) Today we went for a skate on Alki and then came home and I weeded and Chris mowed the lawn and I went and ran errands in nearby Burien. I am doing laundry
now; only the second load in a week. That is one of the differences at our house since Anna Rae left. Last week when I washed the last of her t-shirts that was in the laundry room, I hesitated and considered keeping it slightly wrinkled and smelling of her deodorant. But then my practical orderly self came back into focus and I tossed the shirt in with the rest of the load. I even miss the popsicle sticks she would forever leave on the rop of the magazine rack as she got all engrossed in a book or the TV. So you see, you ARE missed, Anna Rae!

Monday, August 30, 2004

Can't Sleep

It is Monday night and for some reason I can't sleep. While I am wondering what Anna Rae is doing I can't say that I am worrying. I think it must be all the 'to do' lists zipping around in my head as prepare for school to start. But since my a.m. post got zapped off the computer I thought I would try a second time. I wonder, is the cellist girl the one from N.Y. that you were corresponding with before you left home? She sounds quite interesting; I imagine her as the kind of person who never fades into a crowd. Am I right? Anna Rae, it must be very humbling to be literally 'at a loss for words' for you who is such a chatter box. By the way...following up on Sunday's phone call; I did put the agreed upon amount into your account. As to calling card use; I think it best that we always call you because that is cheapest (unless of course something is wrong and then of course you call). Use whatever calling card you get to call friends here in the U.S. occasionally. I hope the cell phone situation works out. That was so nice of Benoit to get you one from his work. Oh, and taking tennis sounds great. Just let us know the cost. Also, do you need to pay for school lunches or do you go home for lunch? Have you been 'clubbing' yet? Be sure to read Chloe's and her mom's blogs. They have been busy writing and A is here! Well, I am sleepier now so I will head back to bed. tomorrow I have meetings all day then the staff is invited to Mr. and Mrs. T's new condo on Alki for dinner. Thanks for making comments on my blog. You're my one and only fan!

Sunday, August 29, 2004

My Day

Well, Anna Rae gets all her 'news' from reading my blog since she isn't getting email at the moment. Therefore, a little bit about my rather boring day (Anna Rae's phone call set aside)... We read the newspaper and drank lots of coffee. I very nearly have finished painting the underside of our deck and the the posts that hold it up. Chris helped me do a little of it today but this has been 95% my job. It looks so neat and bright! I do have to touch up the 'holidays' and put a second coat of yellow on the beam and posts tomorrow when I make yet another trip to McLendons for paint. I vacuumed and dusted all by myself; your room too, AR. I talked to my sister Lynn in Wisconsin TWICE about teacher related stuff. She will be teaching in a middle school for the first time and she probably has as many jitters as Anna Rae. I went to church (someone behind me was way off key in his singing so that took my mind off of AR not being there), came home and fixed dinner (I sit in your spot at the table now, Anna Rae) did dishes, Chris folded laundry and then fell asleep in front of the TV. So now, here I sit. AR, I will deposit moolah in your account tomorrow afternoon, ok?

An Hour On The Phone

This morning at 10:15 we got our weekly phone call from Anna Rae. Her voice was 'music to my ears'! She's a bit congested but didn't sound too sick to me. The hour just flew by! The connection was great, unlike last week when Chris and I heard our own voices echo like we were talking into a tin can. If you looked at her blog you know that she and Marion babysat a 5 year old who is trilingual on Sat. night. Also, she is really frustrated with the computer situation. She can't even read the comments on her blog; but that does not mean we shouldn't stop making them because eventually she will have a better computer situation. There is so much she told us that it would take hours to put everything into sentences so I will just do a stream of consciousness list of phrases: they have dessert at every meal; cheese or yogurt that comes in glass containers with foil lids, she can't use microwave popcorn; they got rid of the microwave (causes cancer), all the girls are skinny, her host mom is petite, she can see a teensy bit of castle if she walks out into the street, she has visited 2 castles so far, she can't find a hair straightener (YIKES!), today was cloudy and a little rainy, she has not been to the beach yet, HAD planned to do so today but then the weather turned grey, Marion has 2 more days of work at the bank, Marion says her job is boring, Zara (Australian girl) lives with another family, goes to a different school & is very nice, bells ring every hour on the hour every day, Sunday is for families to be together, Anna Rae arrived to Annecy and all her text books were already purchased and on her desk! She ate all her Luna bars and fruit leather (I think she was hinting that she wants more) Benoit, her host dad has a phone he can give to her she just has to pay for activation and minutes (how fortunate for her if this does work)! The dog's name is Canel, is 5 years old. He is affectionate and mild mannered; not a jump all over you kind of dog. She has to go to school on M.T.Th.and Fri. from 8:00 to 4:30 with a 2 hour lunch. Wed. and Sat. she goes just in the morning! She is thinking about taking tennis after school. She misses us very much, can't wait to show us so much! Starting school is 'scary' (Don't worry, Honey. Take it one day at a time. You're sure to make friends quickly.) We miss you too.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Our Anniversary

I spent much of today in my classroom, putting up the calendar and organizing my desk. I also took time to clean out the cabinet that stores books on tape. A lot of the books and tapes were not matched and stored in ziploc bags; that will be remedied before school starts Sept. 8. I also went to the Children's Bookstore to buy nameplates and nametags. Do you know how long it takes just to label everything that a child uses in the classroom; more than and hour I can tell you that! I have 29 kids on my class list thus far. 28 is supposed to be the limit. Administration says there is a 7% 'no show' rate. We shall see.
Today is our anniversary, thank goodness I am a low maintenance woman or we would not be celebrating #22. Most couples go for a dinner out, I opt for a skate along Alki Beach. The weather was rather cloudy but that was actually ok since it cut down the crowds. I like to skate fast but I am NOT 'grace on wheels' so the lighter the pedestrian traffic, the better.
Well, I talked to Anna Rae's counselor at VHS and she helped solve the quandary of how to get Anna Rae to complete the correspondence course she took in Lit. from BYU. They sent the final test here to USA as AR had requested but it arrived AFTER she had left for France. SO now AR's counselor needs to send the test back to BYU unopened. Now Anna Rae must find a new proctor in France (must be a teacher, librarian, counselor, or administrator), the proctor has an online application to complete and AR must request the test be sent to her French proctor. So many hoops to jump through for a realatively easy course.
And AR tells me she has a cold! How I wish I were there fix a cup of tea for her at night, and tell her to take (or not take) Sudafed in the morning. I hope this cold is short lived.
This is the last weekend of the Olympics so I will end my post here so I can enjoy tonight's events with Chris.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

She Called

Well, I did have a nice long post about Anna Rae's phone call from France and everything she told me about her flight and her first impressions of Annecy (she must've said beautiful 4 times) but I lost the post. She sounded happy and really alert in spite of the grueling 24 hours of travel. She learned how to play Poker with other Rotary students and she seems to think she has a talent for the game. However no money was kept; she made that clear to me. She had a few difficulties; her luggage was not checked all the way to Geneva as thought; fortunately she did realize this in Paris and collected her baggage there. Air France wanted to charge her extra for her over the shoulder style backpack; they considered it an extra carry on. They did allow her to empty it and stuff everything into one of her checked bags but it was not easy.
Figuring out where to meet her host family in the Geneva airport was challenging and she ended up having to carry 3 pieces of luggage up lots of stairs (she was not the only exchange student in this predicament).But when she called she was eating chips and guacamole with her host family and she said she loved her room. She says it has doors that open onto the lawn and the woodwork is all light colored, "very pretty" and "modern". While it is a bit smaller than her room at home I can tell she is very happy with her new quarters. And since I am tired and tomorrow I have to face the reality of my 'teacher lifestyle' kicking in I am going to call an end to this post. I have Literacy workshop to attend at 9:00. We will all have to watch Anna Rae's journal for an update as her year in Annecy begins!

Monday, August 23, 2004

At the Airport


At the Airport
Originally uploaded by mtnester.

Truly Gone

She's in the air, bound for France. But let me back up, it has been awhile since I have posted an entry. So far, the most difficult time of all was the week before she left. We went to Colman Pool in Lincoln Park on Friday for a relaxing and refreshing end of the summer swim. That evening I taught her how to clean, roast, and carve a chicken for dinner. Not the best of ideas on a hot evening but it is her intention to fix a turkey for Thanksgiving while in France (I am trying to dissuade her). Fixing a chicken at least gave her a basic introduction to poultry preparation. All weekend she was saying good bye over and over to friends and relatives. Making list upon list and crossing off items as they are purchased or packed. Copying everything twice, once for her and once for us: the Guarantee Form which gives info on her host family and school, immunization forms and insurance policy, the visa and passport, the visa application (in case, God forbid!) she loses the actual visa. I made 2 trips to Staples and made a dozen plus copies each time. Packing, measuring and weighing the luggage, doing laundry and packing some more and weighing again. For those of you who are traveling on NW airlines the weight of the luggage is looked at more closely than the measurements. Each of the 2 pieces should be 70 pounds or less. Anna Rae did very well in that area as neither piece weighed more than 55 pounds. She got a hair cut on Sat. from our friend Megan who works at a very nice salon downtown but she cuts ours for a fraction of the cost right here at home, can't beat that. On Sunday morning we were all acutely aware that it was our last day together. Everyone from grandparents and aunts to friends from school and church and even families that she babysat for, were calling to say good bye. She went to McDonalds for one last taste of American fast food and then for dinner I fixed grilled salmon and pasta, a favorite for all of us. Sunday evening she and I went to church together. I think I will miss her most this year when I go to church because that is something we almost always do together and I love to hear her singing with me. There were some tears at one or two points during the day and I can't recall what brought them on, but I almost welcomed them. The emotional release was needed; the stress and exhaustion needed a release.
Last night none of us slept very sound. Anna Rae told us she woke up exactly a minute before her alarm went off at 5:30. She ate her oatmeal and watched a bit of the Olympics and before we knew it we were out the door and off to the airport. Once
in line to check luggage we saw 4 other Rotary students, all girls, also checking baggage for the flight to France. It was reassuring to talk with other people going through the same experience. The baggage line took about 40 minutes and then off to Security where we hugged and hugged, and took a couple last pictures and then we watched her zig zag through that line. After she went through Security with no problems we saw her wave her arms over her head and blow us kisses good bye before she connected with a fellow Rotary Student. All in all the time at the airport was only an hour.
Then Chris heads downtown to work and I scour Anna Rae's room for a couple things she forgot: her Rotary name tag and a watch that tells world time. As I am packing a box with these few things the phone rings. It is Marion, Anna Rae's host sister in France!! She had the times confused and thought she was calling in time to tell AR to have a safe trip and to reassure her that her family would be waiting in Geneva to pick AR up. Too bad for AR but I was THRILLED to talk with Marion! She is delightful. She said that she misses Seattle SO much (Marion was an exchange student at Ballard HS last year).
Tonight I think Chris and I will sleep better but I am not so sure about Anna Rae. The flying and airport lay over time run a total of 24 hours! No matter how tired she is I hope she remembers to call us. I can't wait to hear her voice.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Friends at the Party


Friends at the party
Originally uploaded by mtnester.

Bon Voyage!


Bon Voyage!
Originally uploaded by mtnester.

Bon Voyage

With 25 people the house felt sufficiently lively for a going away party. Anna Rae and her friends stayed downstairs on the patio and in the yard. I heard lots of laughter and loud voices so I took that to be good sign. The adults stuck mostly to the deck and dining room, visiting and not quite as boisterous. At cake time everyone was more or less upstairs. Anna Rae was really surprised to receive gifts and I felt the same way. I was just happy that most of the people invited, could come, and those few that had scheduling conflicts at least stopped by to give their best wishes. The gifts were so thoughtful too; a stuffed turtle from Chloe to use as a pillow on the plane and it is also intended as a good luck charm (maybe now she won't pack PeiPei, her stuffed Panda), a phone card to be used on New Year's Eve to connect her with Christine (a friend with whom she has spent every New Year's Eve since 2nd grade), a notebook creatively decorated with pictures of her friends, a clay ornament that everyone signed, and cards loaded with best wishes and personal messages for only her to read.
Even our new neighbors came with a journal for her. She has some wonderful friends that span her grade school years up to now, Vashon High School.
This week she is trying to touch base with just about everyone, one last time. She is anticipating and dreading the approaching departure all at the same time.
Today she and I went to the Long's Drugs and picked up some lotions and creams to keep her stocked for at least the first 3 months. Both she and I with our dry skin, we are finicky about what we use to moisturize. Then we went to REI and picked out a gift for Marion, her older host sister. Then the last (I swear it) trip to Barnes and Nobles to buy a book about Seattle for her host parents and a good French dictionary and of course two books just for fun. On top of that she went to the library to pick up 4 books she had on hold. She insists that she will be done with all of them except the French history book by the weekend.
Has the packing begun? Barely; she packed shirts today then announced that was enough for today.
I am trying to remember what the forms look like for declaring goods when she goes into airports. If I made her a list of sorts what would be the most helpful way to categorize things?

Friday, August 13, 2004

It's Here!

At last! Anna Rae's visa arrived at 2:30 by Fed Ex. We didn't have a single glitch; she has a visa through July 15'05 and she also received her airline tickets. What a relief. Time to go run some of those errands.

Pumpkin in August


Pumpkin in August
Originally uploaded by mtnester.