Sunday, June 11, 2017

My Dream Job

As we close our doors on the 2016-2017 school year, I just want to raise a toast to the amazing people I work with, the incredible support I receive, and most of all, the inspiring kiddos that make this my dream job.

First Day of School, 2016

I have so much love for my students, my kids, my school family. We had our ups and downs this year, but not nearly as many downs than ups! I spent a good majority of each day wondering aloud how I was given such an awesome, self-sufficient, hard-working class. And they were kind too! It's like I won the classroom lottery!

One student donated all of his savings to help buy presents for other students. One student FILLED the donation box!

By April, my students could run the classroom without me (allowing me to walk around a give 1:1 attention as needed!). I could interject with amusing stories (well, amusing to me) and reinforce the ideas they were learning. My favorite part about teaching lessons, is when it all clicks and you get an A-HA! moment from one of the kids (or sometimes the adults.)

I laughed so hard everyday at the things these guys would say and do. Some of them had no idea what it felt like to be safe in a classroom where no one would judge them, no one would scold them, no one would punish them for things they couldn't control. (Don't worry, they still had consequences for all those problematic middle school behavior choices!)

What's this? Just a fossilized PB&J we found behind the filing box.
One student walked up and said, "Oh, that's where that went."

When the selective mute becomes the class clown, you know you're doing something right.

When you are able to look at a kid's face as he's angrily spitting hateful words at you, and look past it to not only understand him, but love him more, you know you're doing something that matters.

When the the 6th grader who was in the principal's office everyday, is creating speeches and extra lessons in her FREE TIME as an 8th grader, you know you've found a good home.

To the ones who are moving up to high school: I wish you the best. I hope we have taught you the skills you need to be a successful human being. I hope you always feel supported and know you've got a bunch of crazy ladies cheering you on.

To the ones coming back to us next year: We got a glimpse of how incredible you really are. I am so proud of the progress we've made and I know you're going to continue to amaze me next year.

And most importantly, to the ones who we haven't met yet; the ones that are struggling, the ones that are angry, the ones that feel unwanted and out of place: We are here for you. We will open our classrooms, and our hearts, to you with welcome arms. You're already loved, even if you don't know it yet.


Monday, May 1, 2017

An Open Letter to My Dad



Ok Dad, we both know this is going to make you cry, so go ahead and grab some tissues before you continue...

Got 'em?

Dad/Chuckie/Chuckles,

I have spent years trying to piece together a letter to you, but when it comes down to it, I just want to pick up a ball and our gloves and head outside. It was a staple of my childhood.

Actually, you are the staple of my childhood. From countless field trips to Thursday lunches (that chili and cinnamon roll was ridiculously good, right??). Hours on the couch watching the Mariners, and several more freezing our toes off in Pullman (Go Cougs!).

I love my mom, but I don't think it would surprise anyone to hear that I'm a Daddy's Girl. I can hang with the best of 'em talking baseball and dropping random stats (even erroneous ones like "70% of lead off walks score").

You've shown me how to work hard for what I want. You helped raise me to think for myself and focus on the present. You also taught me important life lessons, such as, how to properly place a needle on a vinyl record. And, a skill that certainly came in handy during college: how to shotgun a beer.

You taught me how to play ball. Not just the mechanics, but what the game really means. How to plan ahead for situations that might come up, and how to manage under pressure.

I remember the first time I was able to throw diagonally across the lawn. It arced...and I received a lesson on the shortest distance from A to B was a straight line. I think there were diagrams in the grass. But that's what I love about you. I speak logic, too. And I appreciate the lessons that I probably complained about in my youth. They're always here with me, and I have to smile when I catch myself passing them on to my students.

So, Dad, here we are on your 65th birthday. You once told me you wished you had drank more beer with your dad while he was still around. I don't think we will ever have that regret. Bottoms up, Chuck. (Haha, get it? Up Chuck?)

Love you always,

Your daughter

Sunday, April 9, 2017

five seven five

Cold night, midnight sky
Angels shine in the bright glow
Stars already home

Angel Stadium of Anaheim, 2017

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spring Reset

A quick break from blogging and real life, and now back to reality. I was listening to Danny, Dave, and Moore talking to Mariner's GM Jerry Dipoto yesterday. He was discussing a young 1st baseman who has had a rough time keeping up with the major leaguers. The M's optioned him down to AAA to give him a chance to reset and come back to The Show stronger than before.

As Jerry talked, I thought about my own Spring Reset. February and March are historically difficult months. The kids at school (ok, us teachers too) go week after week without a break. On top of that, there's the joy of being single on Valentine's Day... This trip to Arizona each year has been my chance to get my mind right and ready to go strong through the end of the school year. 

Spring Training, 2017 did not disappoint. From the second we landed, Eleana and I made the most of our time. In 5 days, we packed in:
5 baseball games
A visit with my favorite athletic trainer (he's hiding behind the swarm of boys around E)
Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers at Talking Stick Resort
Several awesome (and 1 super awkward) selfies
Karaoke at Ernie's with the best KJ in the land
A night partying with Patrick Warburton and his posse
Singing the national anthem
A ton of autographs (including Mr. Mariner himself, Alvin Davis!)
A bucket of beer at the Salty Senorita
A thousand laughs

And then Eleana hopped in an Uber and headed home...and things got even more wild.  

Most of you know that I don't back down from a dare...especially if there's a free beer involved. So when the host of a Seattle radio show dared me to fuel the rivalry between him and another Seattle radio host, I was all over it.
That might be an alternative fact.

A big thank you to everyone who made this Spring Break the greatest one yet.
Best old friends, best new friends, baseball, and beer... MLB is back!

Cheers to the 2017 Seattle Mariners! Play ball!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Songs for the Soul

A Thousand Ways to Get There

A thousand ways to get there
Underneath that clear blue sky
A thousand ways to get there
On the road until we die

Keep moving on
Keep moving on

South Mountain Road, 2017

3 Shades of Blue

Walking toward the ocean
Strolling next to you
Hand in hand we stride the strand
Wave on wave of blue

Ventura Pier, 2017

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Talking to Strangers

Spoiler Alert: I like talking to people.

There's something to be said about having friendly conversation over the Starbucks counter while the barista makes my Grande Americano in a Venti cup, extra ice, 2%, splenda (in case anyone would like to buy me coffee). Or chatting it up with the bartenders at my local watering hole while sipping on my pint (in case anyone would like to buy my drink).

Barrelhouse 101, 2017

Anyway, all this to say, I meet a lot of new people every week. I learn about them, they learn about me. Sometimes I make up extravagant stories, sometimes I tell the truth (also filled with extravagance). I assume they do the same.

Did I ever tell you about the time I faced a Clone Trooper?

These past couple weeks, I decided to throw my hat...um, heart?...no, HAT back into the ring. (Maybe less of a throw and more of a soft toss.) What I got back was a lot of laughter, a lot of hope, a few free drinks...and repeatedly asked, "How are you still single?"

It made me think.

I know, I know. How could anyone with this amazing shirt be single??

I've been pondering this for days...and came up with nothing. I feel like there are books out there meant to guide me in an answer (suggestions welcome!). For now, I think it means a little more meditative thought, some personal reflection, and maybe a filter on which strangers I converse with.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lean Forward

Sometimes it's hard to get started. We've all been in our comfort zones before, content to stay where we are. But is this what makes us happy? (Truth be told, beer does make me pretty happy...)

T Phillips Alehouse, 2017
    
I remind myself that I have a great life: a fulfilling job, friends in several states, my family nearby. I'm content. But I want more.

Rumi on point. 

This week has been full of opportunities for being bold. I grasped them each time and met them with a smile. I made new friends, I laughed and cheered. I savored special moments with the people I love, and I tried to make new memories with moments I loved.

Grandma Lee and Grandpa Bob, 2017

I was reminded today that all I need to do to get started is lean forward. Let the momentum move you.