Sunday, October 26, 2008

From the front of the house...

to the back, I see fall color. Yes, it is not as dramatic as fall color in the Midwest or the New England states but there is color. This weekend's weather couldn't be beat; plenty of sun and temperatures in the 60s. It certainly was perfect for all the little trick-or-treaters in West Seattle's junction and in downtown Burien. We went for lunch at Hey Paison! in Burien and the sidewalks were crowded with little ghosts, goblins, princesses, super heroes gathering 'loot'in the shops lining S.W.152nd. I was surprised to see so many dogs dressed up along with the kids. Unfortunately I did not bring along my camera. Sometimes I consciously leave it behind thinking that I should have face to face connect with the world rather than seeing everything as a photo opportunity. Saturday was one of those days. If you have not eaten a Philly steak sandwich or Hoagie from Hey Paison!, you should. Everything is very fresh and tasty and the owner and staff are super friendly, greeting everyone who enters the door with a "Hey, Paison!" The walls are covered with Rat Pack photos and album covers, many of them signed and the music playing was Frank Sinatra. This coming Wednesday they will be a featured sandwich shop on Northwest Evening Magazine.

My mums are leggy and lovely in their autumnal yellow and mauve. Conventional gardening advice is to prune them in June which I didn't do because I just could not bring myself to cut off all the developing buds. They say they come back shorter but stronger. Maybe next year I will prune in June.

Other weekend excitement: we went to a wine tasting Friday night. It was Sangiovese wines. Only one was appealing to me and it was from a Woodenville winery and made with Columbia Valley grapes. Imagine that, an Italian wine made with Washington grapes was everyone's favorite. Now I know you want to know the winery; it's DesVoigne Cellars.
Most exciting of all was having an online conversation with our daughter in Tunisia. We even got to see her, thanks to Skype! We even waved "Hello" to her host mom when she stepped into the room. I sure wish I spoke French or Arabic so I could tell her thank you for taking such good care of our girl.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It Must Be...

the weather. Here it is a 'sleep in Saturday' and I can't sleep past 6:00, an intense headache grips me right between the eyes. Now after cup 'o coffee number three the pain has subsided. I suspect congested sinus passages to be the culprit. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't turn into a genuine cold.

What a week! October is so busy for teachers; curriculum night was last Thursday. Kindergarten had a more sparse turnout than usual with only 17 families represented. It's not a point to worry but a 'wonder why' situation. Since we have parents sign up for conferences during curriculum night it does mean more work for me to get everyone scheduled. My favorite comment from a parent at the end of our curriculum presentation: "So, will they be learning multiplication and division this year?" Thank goodness it was delivered tongue in cheek! I actually left the classroom Thursday night feeling very relieved. I have a goodly bunch of precocious learners this year and I am quite anxious about delivering a quality kindergarten experience to them as well as to the struggling students. After conversations with parents last week I realized that the situation was not as impossible as I had thought. The kids are all 'happy campers' at this point in time and as I watch them work I am starting to see ways that they can be challenged/directed in their learning. So many of the 'middle' of the group is ready to use phonetic writing. They have 'the ear' for the sounds, they just need the encouragement to take risks and put down the letters to write words. The few that have skills above that are working on the mechanics of writing; how to rest letters on a line, how to keep spaces between words and how to drop down and sweep left when they get to the end of the paper, where to put commas and periods. The amazing thing about the really high kids is that they only need to be introduced to a skill and they have it, they put it into practice right away and I am relieved to say they are still kids. Yesterday we had a rare 'spare minute' and since lessons had been interrupted twice by spiders on the floor (Did they know it was S week?), and we had read nonfiction about spiders, I asked if they knew the Itsy Bitsy Spider nursery rhyme and of course 99% of their little hands flew into the air. I looked at my 'precocious ones' and their faces glowed with as much, if not more enthusiasm than the others. It is so nice to know they are not jaded; that they share the sweet, unpretentious enthusiasm of other five year olds.

The work week ended at 8:30 last night for me after a home visit to the family of one last student. What I had thought would be a half hour turned into a delicious dinner of grilled oysters and comfortable conversation around a dining room table. These home visits never cease to surprise me.

The week ahead promises to be just as busy. On Thursday we have our Student Intervention Team meeting which is the time for us to discuss each and every student in our class with the principal and the school specialists. It is about an hour and a half of time to talk about 55 kids so being concise is important. I have my data organized, it is mulling over the words that best describe the personalities and learning styles that is hard.

Now the sky has lightened and my weekend run and time in the yard are on my mind. It rained and rained last night but they say it will be a perfect weather weekend which would be appreciated as I have so much trimming and dividing to do in just about every corner of my gardens.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Saturday Drive

Chrysanthemums say fall and football like no other flower for me. Do the guys still give their dates those corsages with the huge chrysanthemum for the homecoming dance?I never went to a homecoming dance and I didn't mind particularly much. I always went to the game and I had a group of friends to get rowdy with afterwards but I really wanted one of those corsages. Mums like that didn't grow in any one's backyard. They reminded me of the showy flowers you might find on a silk Kimono or a Chinese soup bowl.

I see a Puffer Fish's face when I look at the bottom of this Turban Squash. Do you?

The mass appeal of piles of pumpkins or rows upon rows of flowers draws me like a magnet to take a picture. On Saturday we went to Molbaks Nursery in Woodenville so that I could spend the gift certificate that 'the daughter' gave to me for my birthday. I came away with radicchio and chard and yes, more tulip bulbs: a bag of 32 yellow and red Appledorn to add to those under the apple tree that have been there for years, and two packs of 8 fancy striped and double flowering ones whose names elude me now, but they will bring splashes of color in pots on our deck.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


The Mirriam Dictionary definition:

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin intercession-, intercessio, from intercedere
15th century

1 : the act of interceding 2 : prayer, petition, or entreaty in favor of another

So what brings you to choose prayer over wringing your hands and whining "Woe is me?" Oh sure, I say grace before eating (at least once a day) and I say my morning prayers (usually in the car, sans radio as I drive to work.) Then a few days ago I got an email from a friend and she referred to her vacation break from school as an 'intercession'. Wait a minute, I thought. I've never heard that word used for a vacation, but I HAD heard it in church. You loose your wallet, pray to St. Jude. Suffering from writers block and you have that final paper to grind out? Turn to St. Francis de Sale, patron saint of authors and journalists, to intercede for you. So after checking out the definition I googled intercession and "WHOA!" It is a popular topic with pages upon pages of links. And I thought I could find a quick intercessory prayer petitioning for help to get us all out of this financial quagmire that is gripping not only us but Europe as well. So who is the patron saint of good finances?(I never thought you'd ask.)The Infant of Prague, who I hadn't thought of as a person. I considered it another culture's visual representation of Jesus. For a while I thought about writing my own intercession but that just looked way too challenging.So I opted for the ready made version. So this is my post of how a simple misspelling led me to prayer. The word my friend intended to use was: intersession. What a difference one letter can make...and what a difference one prayer can make.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Pears and a Pepper

How can a weekend go by so quickly? Yesterday's windstorm left the sunflowers looking at down at the ground and a sprinkling of colorful leaves on the lawn. I bustled about from front yard to back for the better part of 4 hours today. Take a look at the sidebar "In our Gardens" for the specifics. I also picked most of the remaining Asian pears. I think the red of the little pepper perched on top of the pears makes a nice contrast in the photo. Just looking at the photo makes me hungry for a juicy bite of pear, so that is exactly what I will do.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Just because....

she is a woman who can 'dress' a moose, understands hockey, knows how to survive sub zero temperatures, and is able to see Russia from her bathroom window, doesn't mean she and her 'main man McCain', (Apologies to aspiring 'first dude Todd') have middle America's well being in their sites. Tax breaks for incomes above $250,000 is that what WE, the middle class want? Not for me! I am truly not a political stumper as a rule but, Jiminey Crickets, it bugs me no end to see people bad mouth Obama for being cool, calm and intellectual in delivering his viewpoints. My husband and I are proud of the so called 'elite education' we are helping our daughter to achieve. I shudder to think that Palin might be speaking as a representative for our country. Here is one columnist's opinion of Sarahs'Pompom Palaver.
And of course for something really funny, watch the SNL skit with Queen Latifah as VP debate monitor Gwen Ifill. The SNC cast must be having a blast with this presidential campaign.