Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fog on the water

It's Sunday and as I look out the window I see a view very similar to this. Fog rolled onto itself and just touching the clouds as they roll past in a similar grey, just higher.

It has been weeks since I posted an update to my blog. I just read all of the Sept and Oct entries made by my sis. Wow what beautiful sights...quilts, kids, family, small towns and more. A lot has happened since school started.

September hit hard and there is only now a bit of breathing room. I have never had to work so hard so long to get a class up and running. OMG!!!!!!

There was packing and unpacking and packing and unpacking. An early open house and meeting parents the night before school started, then again a week later to discuss curriculum and classes. Then there were assessments and grouping kids and schedule changes and changes and changes. Add meetings, meetings meetings meetings and data collection data data data and packing again to paint the room and unpacking again and parent conferences and training sessions and meetings and data and meetings and broken printers and offline computers and book fairs and meetings and oH yes...teaching. And this week-end all day sessions to finally catch up on grading papers, because progress reports then report cards will be due soon.

BUSY. Not to mention thousands of other details and trying to live and exercise and oh, yes sick as a dog for three weeks too.

But today the sun has broken through. Yesterday I did catch up and had time for a walk on the beach. Today I have time for home. Laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning, maybe even a little quilting. What an overwhelming time and how lovely it is to hope for a more humane pace to come.

Love you all. Me(g)

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Changes indeed! When I posted the photo of those cute little frogs, I thought I was nearly ready for the school year to begin. My boxes of books and materials were unloaded and put away. The room was organized and the last of the decorations were finished. A little garden was planted and other little things were in place to perk up the portable and make it a fun place to be.

Then, the possibility of moving to a new school developed. It meant tension and sleepless nights. Two days of all-day meetings (sore bottom, tired mind). Finally I learned I would stay where I had been moved to but in a different classroom. Soooo, a day spent reboxing and labeling everything. Then most of 2 days cleaning up after the last teacher in the "new" room. It took one full day just to clean out her overloaded and unindexed files. Then moving furniture around, unpacking again, and finally today a bit of decorating. It's not as finessed as I would like it, but its OK. And I can spend Labor Day at home. One last day. Then more meetings and finally the kids will arrive. I'm eager to meet them!

Despite all of the work, its been fun. The staff at the new school is really nice and helpful. The move and prep have been filled with smiles and laughter as well as work.

OK. More later. Maybe even a picture of the new space soon.

Love ya'll. Meg

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wrapping Up Projects

The Papier Mache animals are painted and sealed with plastic. I'll include a photo once they are installed, that is, if they are installed. Wouldn't you know it?! I just finish my improvement plans for my portable and learn there is a possibility my classroom will be changed again.

Yep, that's schools for you. And when will we know for sure? Maybe next week or maybe after Labor Day. Of course whichever room it is, it will need to be in order by Thursday after Labor Day for Open House.

Sheesh. Kids are being shuffled to different schools and some teachers as well. This will result in additional moves. We don't know yet if we can volunteer for change or if it will be mandated. No child left behind is leaving those who work in the schools in the dust!
I just lined up a great event for my class, the local music store has several talented teachers and they've agreed to come and teach my kids about their instruments! Cool! We'll also read stories that connect to the instruments. Elementary will be a lot of fun (and a bit of work).
Summer is still wonderful. Full of sun and swimming and creativity and books.

Talk later. Meg

Saturday, August 8, 2009

More Projects

Two more projects completed! Yahoo. The summer is moving along. It's nice to reach some of the goals set back in June. The little frog in the photo is one of four I bought ages ago. They have magnets in their bottoms and move around our house staying where they can and surprising us with their little smiles and goofy colors! They've been a ton of fun.
So, when I found these little crocodiles for 50cents I bought a few for my classroom. I have a favorite book, that is a version of Red Riding Hood which takes place in Louisiana. The woods are now the bayou and the basket of food is filled with Cajun delights. A lovely crocodile shows up in this version and I thought the magnets would complement the story. The other day I opened them up and added magnets. Now I can move them around the classroom and entertain the kids.
The second project is pillows to sit upon during silent reading. I bought themfor $1 each, but the neon colors screamed and weren't at all silent. so, these have been covered with bugs and butterflies and hearts in quieter, but still "perky" colors.

What do you think?

I also put the second coat of gesso on the papier mache. Company this week-end, but next week that project will finish as well. Fun!!!!

Talk soon. Meg

Friday, August 7, 2009


This summer has been full of projects. I'm getting ready for the upcoming school year and vacation means time to think and to create.

One of the projects is papier mache. The outside of my classroom, a portable looks so institutional it makes me want to run every time i approach it. I have run through a half dozen ideas to improve it, but most of them are either too expensive or they would get me in trouble with maintenance. So, I'm making little paper animals to hang outside during the first few weeks of school. Then I hope to instigate a mural project in partnership with our art teacher.

I'm including a couple of shots. At the moment my figures are all painted white with gesso. We are supposed to have a couple of rainy days next week, so that will be my big indoor paint day. Watch for the results. I'm having a ton of fun if nothing else.

What are you working on?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer is here in full force. We have reached the mid 90's on the island and over 100 all around us.
One thing that makes the heat bearable is our luscious crop of basil and the promise of tomatoes ripening soon.
Pesto is one of those indescribable delights! It is a tad cooler today, so I hope to make several batches to freeze for winter usage. I'll fill it with memories of sun and light breezes, of briny sea smells, fresh fruit and flowers. I love the summer!
I'm hoping to add more notes later. But now I'm off to the pool. I swim laps when I can. And after yesterday's gigantic hot-fudge sundae (totally off limits and doubly delicious because of that) I need to swim. Talk to y'all later.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Comment on the Blackberries

Sorry, the photo does show blackberries. i borrowed it from the internet. The photo window is smaller than the image. If you want to see the berries you have to click on the pic. Meg


We grew up picking and eating tiny wild blackberries. Not the big burly ones that grow on every roadside and vacant lot in the Northwest. These are sweet and small. They have teensy tiny seeds that are unnoticeable. For some of us it takes hours just to pick enough to cover the bottom of the bucket, but they are worth it.

Those burly guys I mentioned earlier? They would ride Harleys if they could. Tough old berries on inch wide vines that extend their arms and wrap around whatever they can reach. A tumble of thorns and berries like the snakes on Medusa's head.

Those live in our yard, along the bluff and up the sides a bit. But guess what? I am attacking them and they are beginning to dwindle. I know I'm having the best of summers, if I actually get out the loppers and pruners. There is something fully rewarding about clearing a patch of overgrown land. No, not like the pioneers. More like machete wielding fun a la "Romancing the Stone". Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. She smiles like crazy when she realizes that even a city wimp can whack weeds. That's me. A crazed grin and pure glee.

Watch for pictures soon. So, I'm off to scare those berry vines into leaping off the bluff! (Actually they will be properly carted away and mulched to death.)

Love you all. Me(g)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

May it always be summer

This summer is already one of the best. Sunshine. Rest. Accomplishments. Company. Friends. Books. Good food. Coffee. Cats. Fresh fruit. Light breezes. Laughter. Music. Mmmmmm.

I'm posting a couple of pictures. Mom visiting. Warren and Vince working on a new deck lower on the property, closer to the water, but not too close. Flowers.

This summer really has been terrific. Each day has been packed full with a rich variety of things. Like a garden run amok. That's me. Laughing my way through the days and totally surprised by deep joy.

I decided that if I want a long-lasting break I need to create it. It turns out not to be that hard. Just enjoy each day fully. Take time to take in everything except worry and fear. That means driving to Coupeville on the back roads at 20-30mph instead of 50. Smelling the countryside and looking at it. It means stopping at the beach, removing shoes and jumping in . Running on the beach, looking at rocks, rubbing the salt and sand off with a sock. Laughs and smiles and joy.

I've been able to visit several friends. Traci York and I went to the nursery and bought flowers. Is there anything more wonderful? Warren and I split our irises so we can replant and share the bounty as well. We have a new deck and we can hear the water from there. I love to prune and weed when there is time, so I'm in hog heaven weeding and pruning the back garden.

Summer is great!!!! And the cherries will be ripe in another day or two. First strawberries and now cherries. We even have some tiny wild blackberries. As I said, summer is great.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer: Golden Days

Summer. Not every summer is easy and refreshing, but this one has started out perfectly. A nice mix of catching up with errands and jobs and time to unwind. A balance of visitors, those to be visited and time alone.

Lots of sleep the first couple of days and a trip to the local bookstore to prepare for summer reading. Then mom came to visit. It was the kind of visit that golden memories stem from. We laughed almost non-stop. Time to enjoy the eagles and there were many!!! Time for gardens, books, shade and sun. Time for me to learn to play pinochle...the basics anyway and time for a drive to Bellingham on Chuckanut Drive. The views were spectacular. The lunch was yummy. The toy store entertaining and the nursery inspiring. WE HAD FUN.

And now, daily chores and a run on the beach. Visiting local friends and talking with my cat. Hooray. Time to be happy, to let worries and stress disappear. Summer is great.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


It's nearing the end of June. My middle school classroom is packed and ready to be moved. The portable is emptied of all traces of, teachers and their stories. It's ready to receive me and my version of a school year.

Once the portable is cleaned and the multitude of boxes moved, I'll settle in and make it mine. Like moving into a new house. What posters will I hang? How will the furniture be arranged? Where will the kids' work be hung?

School fills my mind even if it is summer. That's the life of a teacher!

For awhile this morning there was room for other thoughts as well. Eagles! One, two, three? No more! Five, six, seven, eight? More! Nine, ten, eleven, twelve? Keep going! We made it to eighteen. They were diving for fish, scanning the sea from the sky, drifting in the thermals, and playing tag. Mom is visiting so we gasped and pointed, oohed and ahhd together. Now a bit of rain has arrived, so its tea and talk. Isn't vacation great???!!!

More talk later! Love ya'll. Me(g)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

OMG Here we go again!

I am the queen of job changers! Every few years I get a new challenge. Up until now I've initiated the process, but this time it's the economy and budgets starting it all up. No, I haven't lost my job. But I am being moved back to elementary!

It was a bit of a shock and surprise and some tears were shed with my team at North Whidbey, but they need some middle school staff to move to elementary. Our district isn't firing staff this year, but they do need to reduce staff size by 22 over the next year or two. That means any openings that come up have to be filled by current staff. I'm filling a 3/4 job at Crescent Harbor.

Fortunately I learned of the possibility a day before they told me, so I had time to think about it. The Math teacher I work most closely with was told on Thursday of the change and why. We were pretty sure I'd be next. I didn't want to move, but oh well.

I've decided to just dive in and love it and I'm finding it easy to be excited.

I love those little kiddos and my mind is exploding with ideas. I love the creating part of this job.

I stopped by to tell my friends at CHE that I'd be there next year and I received an amazingly joyful reception. I know more people than I realized and it was non-stop hugs for quite awhile.

I'll be in a portable that has a really nice feeling to it and windows from which you can see the Olympic Mountains when they are out!!!

Anyway, I'm moving again and starting over again. And its OK, I love change and I'll have new little kid stories to share!!!

Love you all, Me(g)

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Not only do I have a big family, but I'm a teacher so I have lots of kids at work too. We just finished a big field trip. All of my advanced students (25) spent most of a day on the job with a mentor from our community. We were spread out throughout the town. Support for the project was rich, everyone had a mentor and parents volunteered to drive, so we didn't need a bus. Once in a while something goes very right at school and this was one of those events. The kids each had an "amazing" time and came back with excitement and facts and impressions that will last a long time. At the moment they are preparing power point presentations to share with the class and perhaps other classes as well. Then their presentations will edited into a presentation next fall for the community group that funded the outing. Fun!!! I'm including a few photos so you can share our day. We went to beauty parlors, veterinarians, glass blowers, jewelry makers, daycare providers, theaters, film-makers, photographers, oceanographers, policemen, interior decorators and more. A great day!


As an Auntie I get to love lots of special nieces and nephews. I'm lucky to have lots and lots of them and each is very precious to me. Our family is big and as quirky as can be, but we are rich in love nonetheless.

These are two thank-yous I received from my two great-nieces, Zoe and Madison. What a lucky Auntie I am. I love you all!!
Great-Auntie Ina

Early Spring

I've taken a few photos and thought about entries to the blog, but somehow I never make it online. I'll try to post a bit today. First of all, I'll share a few spring photos. It's so beautiful here. These were the first spring buds and flowers. Now we have lilacs and rhodies. MMM I love spring!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

easter egg quilt for Sydney

Sydney's Quilt

Sydney's quilt is done. I'm adding phtos in a moment. I was really happy with it. It looks sunny to me, like a bowl of easter eggs. My friend Arlene quilted it for me and you can see how wonderful her work is. She picked up the swirls in the border and made swirls all over.

I tried machine stitching the border, but couldn't quite succeed. So I hand stitiched it. Something I love doing anyway.

Warren and I drove to Seattle yesterday. Sydney's at Children's Hospital. We visited with her and her dad for a while. She has such a long road to travel!!! Three months already. Multiple surgeries and multiple chemo treatments and she has much more.

Anyway, I gave her the quilt and she loved it. The best part of making quilts is thinking your way into anther person, imagining their likes and trying to match the design and colors to them. When you succeed it's great. This one hit the mark. She really liked it. We left her cuddled up in it and starting a nap.

Warren was great to go with me and you are great to share this here.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Sewing the pieces together and adding borders.

Quilting a little more for Sydney

After vacation I took a week off from the quilt and focused on school. Sunday I made up for lost time and finished the top. Some of the pics show the colors better than others. The last border is purple with fun swirls on it. I'm hoping to get a better shot once its quilted and bound.

This was gong to be my first quilt for me to quilt together, but I needed to finish this week while Sydney is able to receive a visitor. Next week she has surgery and I want her to be able to cuddle up with it then. So a friend is quilting it for me. Then I'll add the binding. Those fotos will be posted later this week.

I like the top. Its sunny colors and polka dots. Makes me think of easer eggs. The back is a fun flannel. Light lime green checks with little hearts that are almost polka dots. I'm excited to know that I will be able to give it to her soon.

It was great news when I learned the name of her surgeon. I worked with him when I worked for the tissue bank. I even watched him perform surgery too. She has one of the very best taking care of her at Children's.

Ok. time for pics. Talk more soon. Me(g)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

These run from bottom to top. Pieces, pattern, small squares, my sewing room, my sewing view

Quilting for Sydney

I'm a quilter. Not quite a beginner, but not too far along either. I love it. I don't really understand fabric, but I love the mixing of colors and designs. I enjoy the women I've met through the hobby and I love the sense of community and service that exists with quilters.

My sister got me started. Yes, she starts me on new paths quite often. Nice, hey?! Then she started the rest of the sisters in the family. Now we talk fabric stores and fat quarters. Machine quilting and how best to bind a quilt. Thread and projects and laughter and fun!

So, coming soon are pictures of my current project. One of my students has cancer and has basically moved into the hospital for 6-9 months. She and her family were accepted into the Ronald McDonald house. This is where community counts too.

Both of her parents are teachers and the school community, plus the larger town along with friends and family are finding ways to support the foursome as they face a challenging disease and its treatment far from home.

Me? I'm starting with a quilt; filling it with love and hope and hugs and greetings from all of her current teachers. She's a sixth grader with lots to live for and lots to get through in the coming months. I hope this quilt will help keep her warm and cozy all the while.

Share the proces with me. Me(g)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I love reading everyone's blogs. Makes me feel like I just had a cup of coffee and a chat with each of you. But when I try to write mine, the coffee gets cold.

What pushes me into finally making an entry is the joy I get from yours, that and the fact that I promised my sister. Hi Sand'! You're still making me braver than I am.

At the moment I'm on vacation. What a glorious gift that is. My first day off I took three naps! I was worn out. I had had a headache for three days and had just finished two solid days of parent conferences. (I'm a teacher.) The first day we stay until 8pm for our parents and then start at 7:30am the next day. We didn't break for meals, we were so busy. Just took five minutes to grab a snack and kept at it.

The second day I drove to Kent for a baby shower. That was fun. Lots of really nice women, terrific food, great gifts and laughter. Caught up with family and got to hug the cute babies who arrived last fall. Melissa's baby will have cousins his age to play with.
The great aunties have a tradition now. We each sew a row on a baby quilt. This one was filled with lively colors and a zoo full of animals. Grandma Annette connected our rows and did the quilting and binding. It looked really good Annette. Thanks.
And now I'm already on day 4. Someone slow down the clock!!! I'm off to the pool to swim laps and then a new project awaits me. More on that later.

Love you all. Me(g)

Monday, March 23, 2009


It's raining. That can mean so many things...

The entire sky is covered at the moment. To the east a sheet of grey. To the west the clouds are more delineated. And here in the middle the trees are swaying; rain is sliding drop by drop along the windows. This time the rain is cozy. While the trees bend and twirl and the rain slips quietly down, my kitty and I are comfortably tucked away. Blankets and books and tea.

When we look out there is an invitation to reflect. Life must be good if time allows for reflection, if there is a break from work, if the mind can travel through memory, and if there is a calm in which one can reside while one thinks.

It's a great day.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Spring is Coming

I don't know about you, but I get really tired of winter. Snow is great. Short days are OK. Rain is tolerable. But endless grey is hard to take. I play mind games each year. It's not really winter until late December. January isn't really winter; if you watch, Pussy Willow will start to form buds. February isn't winter the Forsythia bloom and the wild currant won't be far behind. March and April bring official Spring and the local tulip festival. Winter? What winter?
It almost works. If I can make it to February, I know I'll survive.
This year was grey, but Spring has been shaping up for weeks. Buds are forming everywhere. Tulips and daffodils are up and out of the ground. I was in California a couple of weeks ago and everything was in bloom there. A great preview of the color to come. The final proof of life returning was the waking of the frogs. We live by a pond and each year the frogs awaken in spring. Its a full tympany of sound. A percussion section that sings the sound of the earth. Last night the first frog woke and began to call the others. Within a week there will be thousands calling out. This is the music of our vernal equinox.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Family. That word hosts a myriad of images, emotions and experiences for people. For many it's overwhelmingly negative and for others its a synonym for strength and comfort. Family stories are horrific, non-existent, funny, warm, wacky, short, long, never-ending.

I'm lucky. I belong to one of the great ones. We use up all of the adjectives like crazy, thoughtful, distant, close, funny, wise, strong, intelligent, original, innovative, energetic, slow, flexible, stubborn, short, tall, skinny, not-so-thin, kind, sensitive, angry, unbending, preoccupied, stressed, overloaded, available, generous, faithful, reliable, and loving. Above all my family is a family. We belong to each other.

There is room for individuality within the group. There is space for variety. There are traditions, but also new members, new routines and new expressions of love and joy and celebration. There is strength to be leaned on, humor to lose yourself and your problems in, there is food, and fun and times together and times apart and ups and downs and life as only life can be, and through it all you aren't alone. You are free and you are connected. How wonderful!

I have brothers and sisters, uncles and aunties, nieces and nephews, cousins and cousins and cousins and more cousins. Big, boisterous, and the best.

I have brothers who call just to say "I love you.", "What's up?". I have a sister I would be lost without. I think we must be twins. My sisters-in-law are so incredible! As the ad says "indescribably delicious"! And my brothers in law are thoughtful, and funny and soo talented. You think I'm exaggerating? NOPE. I'm holding back.

Mom (the best in the universe) deserves an entry of her own along with the kiddos. Nieces and nephews who share their lives, their discoveries, their hi jinks and their love.

Thanks to you all. You make life so rich!!! I love you all. Me(g)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cats Schmats

Do any of you own a cat? We do. I find I can't live without the pleasure of all those feline moments: delicate baths, soft fur in the face, a lump of love & warmth on the lap and the comfort of the ubiquitous purr. Those teensy tiny fuzzy wuzzy cutesy tootsy little kitty bundles break my heart and say take me home.

I love my cat. But once the downy fur is gone, the musculature developed and the voice box discovered, they become more complex.
  • Do I enjoy opening and closing the door twenty (no kidding) times a day? NO! Will I always be her doorman when her little meow rings? Absolutely.
  • Do I like to turn the water off and on in the bathtub? NO! Will I always let the water meter run when she cries for a drink? Absolutely.
  • Do I like to be woken in the dark of night by a nudge against my shoulder and the odor of fish? NO. Will I always lift the covers and let her nestle against me, purring, grinning, and falling promptly asleep? Absolutely

Cats Schmats.
I sure do love this one! Ain't she cute?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sunny Days

The last two days have been great. Watching the inauguration was moving. I watched it with friends at school. Instead of a Tuedsay morning meeting we had a Tuesday morning CELEBRATION! We laughed, cried, sighed, stood, clapped, reminisced, hoped, loved and were inspired.

Two of us remembered marching (here, not in the south), remembered debates and discussions, the movement and the discrimination. Our kids come from every background imaginable and for them it was a "no brainer" that everyone is equal. We danced in the halls, we cheered in the classes and yes it was done with respect for all.

Today was an all day class; learning how to help kids struggling with math. And it was actually useful. We started so fogbound that the room looked like it had white filmy curtains. By midday it was burning off with hints of islands, boats muscling their way through the tide and a promise of sun. By early afternoon we could see snow-capped mountains, glistening light refracted from the deep blue and a bald eagle gliding past with a snack in its claws. A beautiful day. A day filled with hope and promise just like yesterday.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Sister Made Me Do This

If left to my own devices I would crawl under a rock (provided I had a good book and a crack for sunshine) and disappear. BUT ...I have a big sister and she's been dragging me behind her for, well since, OK, OK always.

I usually like drafting along in her wake when the world is calling, but a blog? Techno-smart?! We'll see...

This is for her and for the rest of my computer aged family. Hello. Even our mom, who is a terrific great-great grandma has a blog. Before long all of us will be airing the family linens in the sunshine of the internet. We laugh a lot at ourselves. Hope you do too.

This is my test drive so I'll be back once I've filled in all the other screens.

Bye sis this is for you. I love you forever. Meg