Sunday, March 31, 2013


He is risen, indeed!

A month of slicing is completed, indeed!

Cheers to Ruth and Stacey, indeed!

My mom thinks I should keep posting everyday. Indeed?

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If you're leaving your comment early in the day, please consider returning this evening or tomorrow to read some of our evening posters' slices.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

New Customer

After our day on the Mekong we ate at an open air restaurant over looking the river. Before heading back to our hut we passed a massage place. One of my favorite things about traveling in this part of the world is that I can enjoy a foot massage on a regular basis. 

A foot massage pampers more than just your feet. Your feet do get the majority of the attention, but you calves, thighs, hips, head, neck, and shoulders also get worked. All of this attention, for an hour, costs anywhere from three to ten dollars. (The extravagant price is sought at your hotel or guest house with the masseuse coming to your room.)

Up until today we have waited until G was sleeping and then we would go, in shifts, for massages. This afternoon she was pretty tired and in a good mood. She was enjoying playing with a rock and using two leaves she had torn up as pretend money. I asked her if she would like to watch me get a foot massage. (Daddy was going to do research, comparing a Laotian massage with his previous Thai massages.) She was up for it and thought she might like one of her own. 

J headed upstairs for his massage while G and I settled into chairs side by side. She is naturally observant and spent most of the the time taking it all in. The older, German speaking woman in the other side of her was half way through her foot massage and the young, Thai man on the other side of me was having a head, neck, and shoulder massage. As typical, my massage started with a foot bath, but this one was COLD! Right then I thought G would give up the idea as she does not like cold water. We would see. She did zone out a bit, putting her thumb in and closing her eyes, but it didn't last long. After about 45 minutes she reached for my hand and started practicing the techniques she had been studying and did quite well!

J and my massages were finished and she was still interested so J's masseuse gave her a three minute, trial version (without the cold foot bath). She loved it and is ready for one of her own. So begin the days of family massage outings, at least when we are in SE Asia. 


Friday, March 29, 2013


We were wandering the night market in Luang Probang tonight when I thought I would let G pick out her own souvenir. (The grown ups had picked out two gorgeous rose wood bowls.) I had been noticing some small, zippered bags that I was sure she would like. I asked her if she would like one, pointing to the smallest two sizes. We knelt down (this night market displays everything on the ground) and she began looking through them. After closely examining several she decided she didn't want one.

I was a bit shocked. It is very rare that we buy things for her and she loves to get presents, but I was also proud that she didn't pick one just to have 'stuff'.

After wandering some more she spotted some tiny dolls and asked if she could have one. We knelt down to examine them and I showed her that they were actually key chains. Once again she spend minutes considering her options before deciding to pass.

She is very particular, which she gets from her daddy. I love that she didn't need a 'thing'. Today we had a great adventure we are calling our 'Butterfly Adventure' because if the hundreds of thousands of white butterflies we saw. Tomorrow we are heading on a boat adventure. We have done something right when the adventures are more important than the things!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mixed Emotion Thursday

Perhaps the mixed emotions I have had today are actually appropriate for Maundy  Thursday. The disciples were riding the thrill of Palm Sunday and the joy continued with being able to celebrate the Passover with Jesus. And then came the garden and the soldiers and the rooster.

The joy of hearing 'Mommy!' as she came down the jet way. The family hug, being on vacation, having them each asleep here in the same room. Yet, reading our passage at dinner I realized it is Thursday already. Tonight the celebrations came to a screeching halt with some silver and a kiss. A spectrum of emotions, all in one day.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Full Moon Reminiscence

Linda at Teacher Dance wrote about the full moon in
this post, which reminded me of the following.

One August in the late 80s I was spending time sailing through the San Juan Islands, an archipelago in northern Washington boarding Canada. Don't think of this as a plush trip, I was at YMCA Camp Orkila sailing a 21 foot Venture and a 25 foot double masted wood boat that was originally a life boat. The boats were powered either by the wind or by oars; two people for the Venture and four for the bigger boat. 

Days were spent on the open water or exploring the beach and woods of the islands. Camping had its own adventures. Fresh water was available at most State Parks, or brought with us when we were on the island camp owned, Satellite or some of the other camping spots we used. Outhouses and open pit toilets where our amenities everywhere. All meals prepared over a fire or stove with food we carried with us. The two biggest challenges to keeping our food stores were deer, which so many tourists fed they were more like dogs, and the very determined raccoons. We considered a night successful when we were able to keep the food safe without having to take it all back out to the boats.

I spent most of two Augusts this way. There are many moments that will always stay with me; the porpoises that bumped our bow and then swam with us, loads of government peanut butter sandwiches, rowing for hours and barely making headway, a huge storm the overtook us on one crossing, the view from the double seater open-air outhouse, lots of songs, stories, and laughter, and this evening.

I was sitting on the beach, reading a book with my flashlight when the full moon rose. The brightness of it demanded my attention and I watched it rise over the beauty of the land. After spending quite a while enjoying the glow of the huge orb, it seemed so much larger than any moon should ever be, I realized it was so bright I could read by it, which is what I did.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

What Are You Reading?

“It’s Monday! What are you Reading?” is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is a chance for book lovers to share their reading accomplishments as well as what is on the proverbial nightstand. She even does a giveaway. Subsequently Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts added an opportunity for those reading kidlit to join the fun. Since I read both I will post to both. Check them out, join the conversations, and discover more great books.
Must haves for my classroom library are marked with *.

* Son by Lois Lowry
I enjoyed this final peek into the society Lowry began with The Giver.

A Widening Light edited by Luci Shaw
These poems on the Incarnation were a balm to my soul.

The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi
 Hard to imagine, well written, a glimpse into a life far harder than mine.

* Wintergirls by Lauri Halse Anderson
Everything I had read by Lauri Halse Anderson to this point have been historical fiction, so I dove in expecting another. Surprise! This is a book about eating disorders told in first person. Well researched and rivoting.

Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (audio)
I have loved the other Maggie Stiefvater books I have read, but I will leave the rest of this series unread.

Max the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
The story of Max continues in this cross country adventure of escape and survival.

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
Ann Patchett, once again, drew me into the lives of her characters.

How Children Succeed by Paul Tough
Interesting findings. The two things new things I took away were that GPA is a better indication of college completion than SAT or ACT scores, which simply show intelligence. You can be intelligence and still not finish college. The other being the seven character strengths that are most likely to predict life satisfaction and success.

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen  (audio)
Another series I am going to bow out of. It did get better as it went, but not enough to convince me to continue. 

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Today is Palm Sunday. There have not been any hosannas since Shrove Tuesday. Today is a day of celebration. Have a parade. Shout 'Hosanna!' Wave palm branches. Celebrate!

Thursday and Friday will have plenty of heart break and sadness, but not today. As next weekend unfolds there is plenty of angst, but no today.

So, why are there churches that choose to bring Thursday and Friday into their parades? Why are there churches that don't focus on the celebration, shouting and waving?

I have no idea.

OK, that is only mostly true. I do understand the some congregations do not gather at all between today and next Sunday and rather than go from one celebration to the next, without understanding the importance of Easter they squeeze a bit of the story in today.

The church I worshiped with this morning does have a gathering both Thursday and Friday so I am baffled why they had to be brought in today.

I missed the parade. I missed the whooping it up. I missed shouting "Hosanna!" after so many days of quiet reflection. I want Palm Sunday. Thursday will come soon enough.   

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sadie Hawkins Dance?

Tonight is the Sadie Hawkins Dance here in small town Wyoming. The big girl here is a freshman and has no idea how good she has it. There are a group of a dozen girls who are close friends. They appreciate their friendships, but I don't think any of them realize that it is unusual to have so many close girl friends who can continue to hang out together without major divisiveness. The girls are all hanging out, getting ready. They have a BBQ planned, which they don't seem to be too concerned about how or if the boys join them for. They will all head to the dance in about an hour, to make an appearance. None of them are big into dancing so they will bail pretty early to head to another house for a bonfire. Most of the girls will then have a sleep over. Are you noticing that this is really about the girls getting to hang out with an interlude of boys? So, I wonder if it is really about the Sadie Hawkins Dance or just an excuse for an elaborate sleepover. ;)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Life Span of my Birks

I took a class in Berlin January of 1993. I am from the NW, where Birkenstocks are common place. I decided that buying my first pair in Germany was very appropriate. I knew what kind I wanted, found a place that sold them, and made my purchase. I remember walking around the cold, snowy streets of Berlin with wool socks and my Birks. I enjoyed breaking them in, having them mold to my feet. In true NW fashion I only wore them with socks.

Years passed and the cork wore out, which I had replaced. Driving a stick wore the rubber off the left heel, so that repaired as well. With a little maintenance my Birks had a good, long life. Living in Saudi Arabia I wear sandals every day. My Birks were my relief for my feet when I was home. 

20 years of use and they were finally thrown out. Why? I went to get them out of the closet and the foot beds were growing mold. That decided it. Thus ended the life span of my first Birks.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Workshop Model in the Math Classroom

I would guess that many, if not most, of us teach language arts through the workshop model. I had a math collegue come back from a class with Erma Anderson asking if I could tell her more about the workshop model. Erma had been talking about how math was heading in the same direction. 

I had never thought about it before, but that really is how I teach math as well - a mini lesson, time for them to work through concepts at their own pace while I confer with them as individuals or in small groups, reflecting on their learning, and a time to share what they have learned.

Anyone else see the connection?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Virtual Mommy

I have been gone for over a week now. For G we have realized that 'out of sight' is more likely to lead to 'out of mind', which makes the week go more smoothly. I did talk with her twice last weekend and this morning (her 'Friday' night) she had asked if she could talk with me. I was thrilled. I miss her and was very happy to see her smiling face. She lit up when I came on the screen. (Skype is a wonderful thing.) We talked and made faces for a few minutes, the faces punctuated by peals of laughter, true music to my heart. She then stopped talking, but didn't want me to hang up. J and I talked for a while and she stayed near by, but played a game on her own. Every time I suggested that she could hang up she would object. I finally clued in that just hearing the two of us talking near her was comforting and 'normal'. She showed me the Mothers Day card she made for me (tomorrow is Mothers Day in the Arab world). I got to join in the blessing before dinner and sit at the table with her while she ate. Ah, to virtual parenting. It was eventually time for her to get into jammies and start the process of heading to bed. She didn't want to give up any of the good stuff before bed so reluctantly told me good-bye (and subsequently pressing the red button, one of her favorite features of Skype - getting to 'hang up' herself). I miss her bunches and am thankful for the ability to be virtual mommy for an hour.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An original story to enertain a child

One day, long before you were born, and even before your parents were born, there lived a mouse. The mouse's name was Leo. Leo had 27 brothers and sisters. They all lived in the wall of a castle.

Leo had many, many adventures during his life. This time I will only have time to tell you about one of those adventures. This adventure took place when Leo was still a very young mouse, but old enough to know that he was supposed to love cheese and hate cats and to never, ever, ever step on any pieces of metal. (That was how his youngest brother had died. The 'SNAP' of the trap still haunted Leo's dreams.)

This particular day Leo was scurrying around the castle looking for a princess to scare. He was ducking behind the knights in armor (though their armor was not very shiney) and scampering under a tapestry when he saw a princess curled up with a book. He was just planning his route so he could pop up on the far side of the book, scare her, and be gone while she was still creaming. His plan was perfect, except for one thing. Curled up next to the princess was a cat!

The cat saw Leo and the chase was on. They ran over tables and under the bed, up the curtains and along the ledge. Just as it looked like the cat had Leo cornered the princess caught up to them and picked them each up by their tails.

What do you think happened next?

Not much, which is nice

Today I do not have much to say, which is so nice after a week of too many thoughts and too much emotion. Today was quiet. Today allowed for vegging and napping. Today ended the commitments. Today we started to peek at what the new normal might start to look like, but that wasn't for today. It isn't for tomorrow either, but elements of normalicy started to creep back in today. Today involved doing dishes and having the dogs back, having to take out the garbage and go to bed in order to be up at a 'normal' time in the morning. Tomorrow we will escape for the day and get some shopping done. Wednesday we will think about school. Today we didn't do much, which was nice.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Not Quite Spring in Wyoming

Sunny and warm (mid 70s)
Sunny and cold (mid 30s)
Blistering wind
High, thin clouds
Dark clouds gathering on the horizon
Snow flurries dancing in the wind
Pale sun
Painting of pastels on the horizon
Darkness of night

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Our 'Good-Bye' Day

Words are hard today. I can come up with 'good-bye' and 'sad' and 'crappy'. Not very eloquent, I know. Today was for listening. Listening to our hearts. Listening to stories. Participating in worship, yes, but those were not words we had to come up with. Worship was a stream we stepping into and let it carry us. It was part of 'good-bye'. Today was our 'good-bye' day.

Friday, March 15, 2013

I hate red

I hate red and I hate ALS so I guess this is appropriate.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Journey

Twenty four hours after receiving the 'Come NOW' message I was on my way. We happened to have a group of student headed out on the same flight so I was able to catch a ride. One of the chaperones for that group is one of my dear friends. This was a blessing as I knew it would continue to put off my total break down.

Upon check in I was given my boarding pass for the first flight, but told, though I was booked all the way through to Billings they were unable to print boarding passes for me as Delta had yet to open the subsequent flights. No problem, I would get them in Paris.

After a 6+ hour flight we landed in Paris, but due to cold weather and a storm there was quite a bit of ice on the ground leaving some taxi ways closed and on the ground speeds quite slow. It took us quite a while to reach our gate. Once we did we were further delayed due to ice on the jetway. After nearly an hour of delays we were able to get off the plane. My layover had been comfortable, but now I was starting to be concerned.

The counter for connecting flights was just inside the concourse from our gate. I waited my turn, glad to not have to go far to get my boarding passes. When it was my turn I handed the agent my passport. She clicked away at the keyboard and then asked me for further paperwork. I let her know I was headed for a funeral - I had called Delta that day and they had told me to get on the plane, no paperwork. She clicked away some more and then told me that I was not listed anywhere and did not have a reservation. I would have to go to the Delta counter. I inquired about why they could see all my flights in Jeddah, but now they had disappeared. Once again, she told me I would have to go to the Delta counter. I inquired as to where I would find said counter. She told me to take the bus to Terminal E.

I waited in the stretching security line, following the signs to Terminal E. At CDG they scan your boarding pass to link it to your belongings as they scan them. I didn't have one.  After explaining my situation there were several conversations in French before they agreed to let me go.

I sat on the bus, wishing I had a coat, motoring to Terminal E. Once I arrived trying to find a counter was difficult and I was trying to not get distressed. I finally found an Air France / KLM counter. I snuck to the front, letting the person who was next that I was not cutting, but just needed to know if I was in the right place. The agent told me they would be able to help, so I got in line. This was the first I was really becoming aware that a large storm had come through the area with people who had been stranded overnight.

It was finally my turn. He asked me to explain my situation, which I did. In a few seconds he had located my entire reservation and asked again who it was that told me I didn't have one. His only explanation was that perhaps they were tired. He printed my next two boarding passes and I walked away, finally allowing the tears to stream down my face. I felt so sad.

The one good thing about the storm was that, in the area of reservation counters, they had allowed free, unlimited wifi. It was a good customer service move, allowing people to both rebook online and be connected to those that needed to know their change of plans. I was simply thankful for a lounge chair and a chance to catch up on life and the Iditarod. (Ailey's day is coming, but not this year.)

After a real BLT sandwich and an extra hour at the gate because the crew had been delayed by the icy roads, we were on our way. After boarding the plane I was ready to buy a lottery ticket, what are the chances of getting two long flights (6+ hours and 12 hours) without individual entertainment available. Ugh. There was good news, the flight wasn't full and I ended up with the entire three middle seats to myself. I hadn't slept in a couple of days and was very thankful to be able to get several hours of sleep on my way to Salt Lake City.

Clearing customs and getting back through security were uneventful. I sat to have a beverage and some dinner (Alaska salmon) while I utilized the free wifi available throughout the airport. I headed to the gate, that I had checked out before my meal. I arrived a couple of minutes before the time I had been told to arrive only to have the gate agent tell me that when I was the only passenger not there they decided to make up some time and even though the plane was still on the ground they had closed the aircraft door. He could put me on standby for the next flight.


I will fast forward the story through all the details. I ended up in a hotel last night and on a flight to Billings this morning. It may have all been His plan as we still hadn't figured out how to get me to Worland last night, but now I am sitting in the airport in Billings awaiting the arrival of Nin's family. They have one seat left in the mini-van, which now has my name on it. Also last night another dear friend arrived and they got time with him. Come Monday everyone else will have left and I'll still be there, for a while.

The journey continues.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Fall? In the tropics?




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Waiting To Go

I just posted "Chiang Mai" and was on my way to bed when I then found out that a long and dear friend is losing his battle with ALS, right now. By the time you read this he may well be free of the nasty thing and living in a place we can't even imagine.

Right now we wait.

I am trying to book plane tickets, knowing I won't get there 'in time', but also knowing that that is not the real reason I am going.

I first met Tom in 1987, at summer camp. In 1989 we both met Virginia. They got married. She is my best friend. They have two fabulous daughters. I could go on and on, but I won't. Right now I'll just say this sucks.

This end part came faster than any of us were anticipating. Yes, there is an upside. The drawn out, really horrible part isn't going to happen. It will be fast. He has pneumonia. His lung will collapse. Medicines have him comfortable.

It still sucks.

It sucks that he will be gone. It sucks that he had to experience ALS at all. It sucks that she will be solo parenting. It sucks that the girls won't have dad around. (And they had a deal! She would take lead when they were little ones and he was taking over for the adolescent years. That deal ain't gonna happen.)

It sucks that the rest of us don't get to share anymore in the things we had in common; learning to follow Jesus more, baseball, the outdoors, sushi, a good cigar, a fine wine, and an amazing university. There will be no more fishing stories or trips to Cabela's. The international limit for red heads in one place will not be pushed as far (everyone in both of our families qualifies).

Oh, the random thoughts that come into my head. I thought we had more time. I thought I had at least until this summer. I have great pictures I haven't scanned yet. Ugh!

It was way past my bed time when I got the 'come now' message. A message first because we wouldn't have made it through spoken words. We did sob on the phone together and then she headed back to the hospital room and I sit here, looking at screens, feeling very disconnected and torn open from the inside, and far away.

Flights for the U.S. leave here about this time of night. My passport is in a safe at school. It wouldn't have mattered if I still had it from last weekend's trip as I need a new 'exit/re-entry' visa each time I leave the country. I might not have even made it to the airport in time if I had everything and had gotten directly into a car. So I wait.

I know I won't get there 'in time', but that is not the real reason I am going. We knew I live far away. I told him this summer that I didn't know if I would see him again (fully believing that I would), but promising him I would be there, for them, the rest of his family.

I will be there to help get the details of the service taken care of. I will be there for anything and everything that is needed on that day. There will be lots of people that rally around them between now and then. I will still be there the following week as they try to figure out what the new 'normal' is. That is why I go. So they don't have to worry.

So they don't have to worry and because I love them. and him.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Chiang Mai

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Spring break is quickly approaching and though we won't be going to Chiang Mai this year, we have enjoyed it every time we have. In an effort to share with others the things we have enjoyed the most I keep saying I will write a post about it. If you ever find yourself looking for something to do, we love Chiang Mai. The heart of the old city lies within a moat. There is an extensive night market. Of course there are massages and Thai food to be enjoyed. All of that wrapped up with the warmth and kindness of the Thai people. So, here are some of our specific 'don't miss' spots…

A Lot Of Thai is Yui's home cooking school. We have never gone to Chiang Mai without cooking with her, one trip we even did all three classes. You can read all about it on her website. What I can tell you is we have never been disappointed, both she and the food have been amazing. Her entire family supports the business, which is run on the covered patio of her home. The morning starts with a trip to the local market and continues until you can't possibly eat another bite. You even get to go home with a great cookbook so you can remember how to recreate the yummy dishes later. We highly recommend it!


Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and preserve, it is not a place to go if you want to see an elephant show or ride on elephants. We spent a day volunteering with the elephants. First off was feeding them. We shucked corn and loaded baskets, each basket being a couple of feet in diameter. The elephants then came up to the raised walkway/platforms where we fed them the contents of their baskets.


From the perspective on the platform you are given the opportunity to admire the elephant from a more eye-to-eye point of view.

Then it was time to head down to the river to give them baths. Yes, that is a scrub brush in my hand. I had no idea how hair elephants are, nor would I have ever guessed how coarse that hair is.

There is also an educational aspect to the day. They showed us a documentary and talked about the plight of elephants in Thailand. Even though they are an endangered species, that only applies to wild elephants. Once someone owns the elephant they have no more rights than a dog or cow.
They also have the opportunity for longer volunteer experiences with huts right on the property. When G gets older it will be a very cool family vacation.

Chiang Dao Nest is who we went through for our trek. We did a two day, private, hill tribe trek, staying overnight in a Lisu village. The hike was great - strenuous, but doable. The scenery was fabulous, be it caves, jungle, streams, bamboo forests, fields with water buffalo, or remote villages. The food prepared just for us was more than we could eat and scrumptious. The storm that passed across the valley that evening we will never forget. (We were dry in our shelter.)

We then stayed in one of their bungalows complete with view and their own restaurant a few steps away.

We would gladly spent more time exploring this area, a bit north of Chiang Mai.

The last thing I want to tell you about is the Baan Celadon Factory and Showroom. Celadon is the traditional green pottery. This factory has amazing pieces for those with deep pockets. What I loved is that they also have a place where they sell seconds, most of which you couldn't tell were seconds. We maxed out our luggage allotment with the pieces we purchase, both for us and as gifts.

There are many more places people love. If you have a favorite spot in Chiang Mai, or vicinity, please be sure to add it in the comments.

(Note: All photos were taken on my camera.)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The 7:59 Goal

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Student led conferences are fabulous for many reason that I mentioned here. One of the other reasons I love them is to be a part of the team helping each student to reach their goals. Not only does the student write out their goal including the steps they will take to meet it, they also include what kind of support they would like from both myself and their parents.

This year I had a student come up with one (with a little help) that is new to me, but I really think it will work for them.

This student is very capable, but has a tendency to procrastinate. (I know, that doesn't narrow it down a whole lot.) There are times when this student would like to bounce ideas off their parents, have their parents look over their work, or need a little clarification. This student tends to wait to bring these things up with their parents until it is nearly bed time. Not a successful time for anyone.

That is not going to be a successful strategy anymore. Why? Written into the signed goal sheet their parents will not help, encourage, answer, or otherwise engage about school work after 7:59 pm.

Isn't that brilliant? I sure hope the parents stick to it.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Big Four Oh!

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As I explained in this post, I was so ready for today. I had been gone all weekend at this conference so this morning was the first time my daughter had seen me since she ran off to her playground Wednesday morning. (Remember, our weekends are Thursday/Friday.) She poked her head out of her room before it was waking time. I followed her back in, even as she pointed out that her clock was still blue (sleeping time). As we sat down to snuggle she gave me a huge hug. I was thrilled for this tenderly strong embrace. I told her how happy I was to see her. She beamed at me and said, "It's your birthday!"

The day went by and I was exhausted from my weekend and lack of sleep. I really could have come home, taken a hot bath, climbed in bed, and crashed for the night. I didn't think that was a three year olds idea of a birthday evening. When we asked her what needed to happen she chirped, "Cake!"

Neither my husband nor I really like cake so I suggested ice cream with was greeted with a grin. What I really wanted was a big salad, followed (or proceeded) by ice cream. The restaurant that had the salad I was thinking about is across town and G's bed time would be missed by a long shot. Plus we would have to stop somewhere else for the ice cream.

I then remembered an Italian restaurant close to our house that starts with a nice salad and has gelato. Bingo! It is a place my husband and I have been to a couple of times when G is on her monthly playdate. It was introduced to me by a girl friend a year ago in celebration of her March birthday. We knew G would like pasta and ice cream, occasionally she even gets excited about salad. What we had no idea about was the kids' menu.


As with many family restaurants the kids' menu comes with colored pencils. This one was an entire book with stickers and at least a dozen activity pages, very cool! They had pizza, which is always her first choice. They even put her order in as we sat down. Another sign of a great family place. We had barely ordered when they came out with her pizza, but it wasn't piping hot ready for her to eat. This was a premade pizza dough with the toppings for her to make her own pizza! We loved this restaurant before, but now we are enchanted.



After we all enjoyed our salads, bread, and entrees it as time for ice cream. Birthdays are not to be celebrated here and we were in public, but I knew it wasn't going to fly without a candle. I asked the server if he would light the tea candle on the table, which he did. J and G proceeded to sing to me and I successfully blew out the candle. The three-year-old's needs were met and we each grabbed a spoon. We had ordered dulce de leche, chocolate, and coffee (one of J's favorites) to share. G plunged her spoon into the coffee. We warned her that she might not like it so to take a small taste first. After a tentative lick she shoved the spoon into her mouth, smiling, and heading back for more.


Ice cream enjoyed, we headed home. After an emergency potty stop along the way (practicing her camping skills of squatting is important) we arrived at home and zoomed through the bed time routine. I wanted to now have that bath and be in bed shortly, but I still had this post to write.

Between then and now I got to sit on the couch and talk with my best friend for a couple of hours. I love that. Now I am on my way to bed.

Friday, March 8, 2013


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What the heck is #gafesummit?

This weekend I have been at the Google Apps for Education Summit Middle East, hosted by the American School of Dubai. It is a professional development conference put on by Google.


The weekend gave me, not only the opportunity to hone my Google App skills to a higher level, but also a chance to connect face to face with people I usually only interact with online through COETAIL and Twitter.

What kind of sessions were there? Everything from "Docs 101: A Getting Started Guide to Docs, Spreadsheets, presentations, and Forms" to "Managing your Google Apps Domain". Here are some more titles…

Conjugating Google Apps in the World Language Classroom
Inbox Management - Making order out of chaos
Get the Best Mileage Out of Your Drive
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That list doesn't include the sessions I went to or many others that were offered. There is another post coming with my reflections and take aways, but right now I must find my bed as the alarm will soon go off for the start of another school week.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Skiing in the UAE

When I thought about what I would want to do while I was in Dubai only two things came to mind; Burj Khalifa (which I had to work very hard to remember the name change from Burj Dubai) and Ski Dubai.

One down. One to go.

The funny thing about these two outings is that they are in the two most famous malls in Dubai. Last night we were at the Dubai Mall. Tonight, Mall of the Emirates.

Ski Dubai's website says, "The first indoor ski resort in the Middle East". That had me wonder how many indoor ski resorts there are in the world because this is the only one I know about. Wikipedia says there are 11 others. Who knew?

I also had no idea that there were restaurants surrounding Ski Dubai with glass windows for observing the fun on the snow. At dinner we were able to see the snow park part of the area with inter tube and huge, clear balls you could roll down the hill in.

When you walk in you pay for your experience and then collect boots, pants, and a jacket (as well as disposable socks). You then head over to get your skis. Once you are all geared up you head up an escalator to the slope. Just before passing outside you collect your poles. (They do have snowboards as well.)

Most people were going to play in the snow - experience the cold, perhaps try the snow park, and ride the chair lift all the way around. There were also local teens who obviously used Ski Dubai as their hang out.

Not only is there the quad lift, there is also a Poma lift along the one wall.

The walls are painted light blue, but the ambiance is not that of a sunny day on the slopes, more of an overcast feel. I felt right at home!

With 196 feet of vertical drop the lift takes much longer than the journey down the hill, but it made me smile. It was also very good for my ego as I had the best form anywhere on the hill. I found myself thinking 'I ski pretty' to the tune of "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story.

I am glad I got a chance to make some turns and it is fun to say I mastered Ski Dubai.