Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Shhh! Don't Tell, But I Love _____

This post is part of the Slice of Life March Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.
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What would show up if we have one day of the Slice of Life Challenge dedicated to secret obsessions? Ramona got me thinking about it with this post

The idea reminded me of Glee - both because Glee could be a secret obsession itself and because Glee had episodes dealing with some of the characters secret obsessions. In the episode, "Guilty Pleasures", this is the thread running among the storylines with secret musical obsessions like Wham and Barry Manilow, as well as unspoken love interests. It is possible that three of the four previously mentioned possibilities could be attributed to me. (No secret love interests here, sorry for killing the suspense.)

What else do I or have I obsessed about?

Most recently Hamilton would fall into this category. I read the book, listened to the soundtrack excessively, watched every Ham4Ham, listened to every interview, and followed the original cast on social media.

My first secret obsession? Menudo. The first boy band of my generation was fueled by Bop magazine. My love for Ricky Martin didn't die when he became a solo artist. In fact, I will still get up and dance when ever his tunes are played. 

Anyone else?

Seattle Memories - The Kingdome

This post is part of the Slice of Life March Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.
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I am sure I am not alone in this phenomenon. You're scrolling through your Facebook feed and someone posts something that brings memories flooding back, something you haven't thought of in ages.


This is where I was taken - Seattle's Kingdome. It wasn't a story of the grandeur that she brought it to mind, it was the occasion of the Kingdome's implosion. I am guessing that it was this local news story that reminded her. (She is a very busy woman and I am certain she is not keeping track of things like this in her spare time.) So now I'm pondering this Seattle icon.

Besides seeing it dominate the skyline, my earliest memories of the Kingdom were of the paper airplane contests that were held inside. (You can read articles from the 1970s & 1980s here and here.) What a great idea! Take a humongous, inside area with a huge open space in the middle. Place circles on the ground with different prizes to be won if your plane lands inside particular spaces, line people up around the upper decks, make sure they put their name and phone number on the paper, and let them fly.

I have very fuzzy memories of being taken to an NFL game, but have no true memories of it myself.

I have spent hours and hours and hours in the Kingdome in the 90s, though. I am a 1995 "Refuse To Lose" convert to the game of baseball and a diehard Mariner fan ever since. I bought tickets to tons of single games for the duration of the Kingdome and continued those first years at Safeco Field and finally also purchasing partial season tickets. (Living overseas has changed how I experience baseball, but that's another post.) I have been fortunate to be a most of the major moments in Mariner history and the Kingdome was a part of those.

This was the fate of the icon...

Back then photos were taken with film. I have one, from that morning. It was a Sunday. I was riding up to Crystal Mountain to teach skiing with what is now Outdoors For All. As we drove by, at sunrise, I realized it was the last time I would see the Kingdome mostly intact and I snapped a picture. The colors are pink, there is a full moon hanging above. Prior to the actual implosion they had some work to do in deconstructing some of the monolith to ensure it would actually implode when they pushed the button (or flipped the switch, or whatever they did to make the implosion happen). The picture is at my other house so I can't share it with you here. I titled it "Full Moon, Half Dome".

Seventeen years the Seattle skyline has been without this icon. That was the point of my friend's post. How has it been that long? Yet the life I lived then seemed more than 17 years and 8,000 miles away. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

(Random Kingdome trivia and memories here.)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Poem In Your Pocket Day

This post is part of the Slice of Life March Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.
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This week is Reading Week and today is 'Poem In Your Pocket Day'. 

I choose to do our poetry unit in April. One reason is because it is National Poetry Month in the US, so there are lots of ideas floating around, but that isn't my main reason.

I like the timing of April for poetry. I find it to be an engaging way to return from Spring Break. Plus, it is a shorter unit and we only have school for a couple of weeks that month. 

All of that being said, I did not do a bunch of prep with my students for today. I did mention it yesterday, reminding them that they could bring one with them. During writing time this morning one of their options was to write a poem, but I didn't push it and barely encouraged it. 

So, I am pleasantly surprised to look around the room during snack and see several students sharing poems with one another - boys and girls alike. One student even brought me a poem to add to the one in my pocket (that I had jotted on a sticky note this morning).

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Confession, Memories, and a Cliffhanger

This post is part of the Slice of Life March Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.
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I read Leah's post that was inspired by Whistle Pops. You can read it here. "It's funny how a picture can bring back a flood of memories in an instant." is how she starts her Slice. She closes with an image gallery of candy from her childhood. Now I am awash in memories myself.

One candy that she doesn't have pictured are Now and Laters. Did you eat these as a child? If not, think extra hard and sticky versions of Starburst. (There may be consequences for my writing this, as I know my mom reads my blog.) Confession: Mom, it wasn't apples or carrots that popped off the back brackets of my braces. There. I said it.


As I contemplate candy from my childhood the following items gurgle up from my memories:
Fun Dip
Pop Rocks
Nerds
Ring Pops
Lemon Heads

Boston Baked Beans
Spree

Runts
Sour Patch Kids
Gobstoppers
Bottle Caps
Charlston Chews
Necco Wafers

I am struck that there isn't any chocolate on this list. These days I can pass on candy just about any time, it's chocolate that gets me. When did the chocolate things start? Whatchamacallit is fun to say. It is the chocolate bar I think of from childhood (besides plain Hershey bars for s'mores), but it wasn't something I had a thing for. High school is when my first chocolate memories begin; Peanut M&Ms (for breakfast), Skor bars (with Coke Slushies), and selling the chocolate caramel band fundraiser bars to myself.

One more memory - the first picture on Leah's post is this...


I figured that I must have written about this before, but a search of my blog shows nothing. I am not ready to write about it today, either. I am sure it will come out one day.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mom's Snorkel Outing

This post is part of the Slice of Life March Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.
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One of the only things that was on my mom's 'must do' list while visiting us in Saudi Arabia was to go snorkeling. Today was the day we had set aside for the outing. 

There is a great beach just over an hour north of us. The coral is fabulous. It sits in a small bay. Best of all, the National Guard oversee the area and when we register they will close the beach off to non-Western expats so we can wear whatever we want. It's been nicknamed "Bikini Beach".

The first thing I noticed when we paused at the bluff above the beach was that there were two boats anchored in the bay, which I have never seen before. When we pulled up next to the water there was a breeze blowing - enough of a breeze that putting our sun shade up in its normal 'tent' format would just blow it out to the water, even with the stakes.

The guys who were diving got into their gear and headed out. (Full body wetsuits as well as being below the surface of the water were two factors that would be very different for them than for those snorkeling.)

I am a wuss. I don't like to be cold. Plus I live here. I don't have to get in when the conditions are not ideal. I plopped down to enjoy the view and watch my daughter construct grand things in the sand.

My husband comes back in to take my daughter snorkeling. She tells of all the pink and purple coral she saw and describes many fish that fascinated her.

My mom sat next to me. 

"Who will believe that it was too cold?!" I imagine her saying to people back home. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Once you are packed the trip can start, right?

This post is part of the Slice of Life March Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.
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Once you are packed the trip can start, right?

I wish it was that easy to set a calendar - the second you close your back the clock automatically strikes the minute of departure. (Sometimes it is the opposite, you want time to freeze until you can get it all packed.)



I am packed, if you count everything that needs to go into the suitcase is either in a pile or written on the list as 'packed'. Sub plans are complete, if you count the highlighted section that I can't fill in until I see how Sunday's and Monday's lessons go. The taxi reservations are actually made and confirmed, as are the plane tickets, but I can't check in yet.

And then there is the can of worms that has just opened up regarding electronics while flying. Currently this trip will not be impacted, but I realize rules can change at any point. I wish I didn't have to take my laptop, but I am presenting at a conference so it is necessary. I have convinced my husband that we can share one. (He arrives after I present and can use mine for work while I switch over to my phone.)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Who Is More Relieved?

This post is part of the Slice of Life March Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.
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I'm not sure who is more relieved, the teachers or the students. 

I probably have a slice about this each year as the science fair is always in March. In fact, I have always set it to be the day before Spring Break. This has been done for several reasons including keeping both students' attention and attendance right up until the last day. 

This year I am a bit out of whack since we still have a week to go until vacation starts. Again, this was done intentionally. I had hoped to be selected to present at a conference. The conference starts before our Spring Break begins. I run the science fair at our school so I figured I should probably ensure I was around for it. Turns out, it was good planning, but that hasn't kept me from feeling the automatic; science fair complete = vacation starts.

The morning started with judges judging and teachers grading. The students are so nervous for this part. That being said, it doesn't take them very long to realize that they are prepared. Their confidence flicks on and they shine. 

We allow for a couple of periods of class visits from third and fourth grades. One team asked each student who approached their table if they knew anything about the greenhouse effect. If someone replied in the affirmative the student continued, "Could you please explain what you know?" This was all them and it was a fantastic way to engage their audience. I loved it and will use this example for years to come.

The final round of visitors is the one the students are most anxious about - their parents. Five minutes before the students needed to change from their spiffy outfits to their active wear I went through the venue announcing, "Parents, there are only five more minutes, as we need to get to P.E." (The end time had been clearly communicated to everyone previously.) While the parents reluctantly departed, my students beamed. They had made it!