Sunday, March 31, 2013
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Friday, March 29, 2013
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Monday, March 25, 2013
Sunday, March 24, 2013
The story of Max continues in this cross country adventure of escape and survival.
Ann Patchett, once again, drew me into the lives of her characters.
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.
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
Friday, March 22, 2013
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
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?
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Sunny and cold (mid 30s)
High, thin clouds
Dark clouds gathering on the horizon
Snow flurries dancing in the wind
Painting of pastels on the horizon
Darkness of night
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Friday, March 15, 2013
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
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
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
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
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
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
e-Portfolio Has Gone Google
Traveling cross the curriculum with Google Earth
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.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
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.