Gathering Graces 3/20/2018

*Today was a very packed day!!  It was Higher Ed Day at KHS, where college representatives from around the state came and talked to juniors.  While that was going on, I was up on the third floor proctoring Math placement tests for seniors who are attending NIC.
*Today was the International Day of Happiness, and KHS celebrated with students and staff wearing yellow, and a fun assembly at 11 where students competed against staff in a game of Family Fued.  While this was going on, I was setting up for a luncheon my PEO chapter was sponsoring for the junior girls, to tell them about opportunities to help them obtain a college education.  Thanks  to Christy, Teresa, Jan, and Carolyn for coming to present and bringing cookies, and Michele for getting the food, and Sally and Ann for providing cookies.
*We had some pizza left over from the luncheon, so between sixth and seventh period, in the spirit of International Happiness Day, Paul and I handed out left over pizza to students who were walking down the hall.  I think we made some students very happy!!
*I got a little breather in the afternoon, then after school, the PASS program from Pinehurst Elementary brought 24 students to KHS for a field trip hosted by Paul and some of his Drama students.  It was a really fun time. 

Let's Charleston!

*By the time I got home, I was ready to sit down, put my feet up, grab my knitting, and watch some shows.  When Paul got home, we enjoyed a type of taco salad I concocted, and relaxed throughout the evening.  I was getting tired around 8:30 p.m., so we got to bed a little early tonight.


Gathering Graces 3/19/2018

*Kind of a normal kind of work day today.  Not much too unusual.  The students who were applying to be part of the National Honor Society submitted their applications today.  I functioned alright with my faulty keyboard.  All is good.
*We played with paper bag puppets in drama today after school.  I am in my final two weeks of working with the students in the PASS program.  It has been a very fulfilling experience, and I hope they have enjoyed it as well.  Today we played around with paper sack puppets.  I love watching students creativity.
*I got home and grabbed my knitting project, and finished the second season of Broadchurch.  I liked how the writers brought the second season to a close.  The final episode tied up a lot of things.
*Paul had forgotten some items in the driver’s ed car at the district office, so after our dinner of cod, roasted vegetables, and cucumber and tomatoes in oil and vinegar, we walked down to retrieve his items.  It was nice getting out in the evening and taking a little stroll together.  Paul shared with me about how students in his Speech classes are sharing about historical speeches, and how they are responding to the content of them.  It was fun to hear about what the students are learning.
*Paul and I also finished up the second season of The Crown tonightNow we will wait a while for Season Three to appear.


Gathering Graces 3/18/2018

*I spilled coffee on my laptop keyboard and my keyboard now has a mind of its own.  I hope someone at school can look at it tomorrow and give me some hope!
*Great dinner at Bill and Debbie's house, with Pork Roast,  onion soup, mashed cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cabbage salad.  It will be our last meal with Debbie for a while as she is flying back east on Tuesday to spend time with kids and grandkids.
*Spent the afternoon knitting and watching Broadchurch and sitting by the fire on this snowy, rainy day.
*Paul had the final performance of The Rivals today.  They had a good-sized crowd who laughed and really enjoyed the show.


Gathering Graces 3/17/2018

*Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  I really didn’t do a whole lot to celebrate, except wear a green pin, and have a St. Patrick’s-themed soup for dinner.  It did get me thinking how there are people who embrace this holiday, and the celebration of it is a big part of their lives.  But not so much for me.
*My day began with a wonderful conversation with my friend April M Lee who lives in Italy.  There was a lot of things I wanted to talk to her about, and it was easier to talk than to write it out.  But schedule a call can be a little tricky because she lives 8 hours ahead of me, but we figured it out, and our hour plus conversation was really good.
*I decided I could start on my taxes and try and get them done today.  While Travis, Molly and their niece Zoe were getting packed up and ready to go, I was muddling my way through my federal income tax.  I am not able to finish, as I am waiting for Cosette to send me a couple forms....then I can proceed.  It will be nice to get that completed.
*It was so nice having Travis, Molly here for most of the week.  As your children get older and live in a different part of the state, you realize time with them becomes less and less, just because of their choices and the nature of their lives.  I am sure all parents go through this, but that doesn’t mean it is easy.
*The afternoon was spent watching more episodes of Broadchurch and knittingI am really enjoying Broadchurch.
*Around 4:30 p.m., Paul and I headed over to Christy and Everett’s house for Corned Beef and Cabbage soup, salad, and to watch the Gonzaga Bulldogs play the Ohio State Buckeyes in the NCAA tournament.  Bill and Debbie joined us as well.  Paul stayed until he had to head up to the theater for his show.
*When I returned home, it was back to knitting and finishing up the first season of Broadchurch.  The entire show is a murder mystery, and the murderer is revealed in the final episode.  It was so well done, and really captured the spirit of a small town, and how things happen in a situation like this, where one of their citizens has been murdered.  I look forward to the next two seasons.


Gathering Graces 3/16/2018

*I had quite the social schedule today!!  First I met my sister-in-law Debbie at The Bean to have coffee and knit and visit.  I didn’t realize that knitting in public helps you meet people.  One woman came in who was fascinated by the way I was knitting, because it was different from the way she learned how to knit.  Debbie explained that this woman knits Continental style, and I knit American style.  Then she showed us some slippers she was knitting.  Aubrey, it was a delight talking with your grandmother!!  Right before we were getting ready to leave, Christy came in to grab a drink between her PT and her nail appointment.
*My next stop was Best Shots, to have lunch with my friend Pam.  We had a wonderful visit.  While we were there, Molly, Travis and their niece Zoe came in to have lunch, too. 
*After lunch I needed a break, so I went in and took, what in our family is known as a “coma nap”.  I slept from about 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  It felt really good.
*The next event was attending the production of The Rivals at the Sixth Street Theater.  This production was unique in the fact it is a reader’s theater, and they are reading a story from the seventeenth century, and it is British. This is not the type of show you sit back and be entertained, even though it is very entertaining.  This is a show about listening to the words, listening to the story, and hearing the nuances of the language that Sheridan used when he wrote this story.  I takes a while to get into the rhythm of the language, but once you do, it is very funny!!  Good job to the cast, and Paul for his direction.
*The evening was not over yet.  When we got home, Travis had brought a movie he thought we would all like to watch called Reign Over Me.  It is a movie starring Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler in one of his few very serious roles. Sandler portrays Charlie Fineman, who has slipped away from reality after the sudden loss of his wife and children.  It was a quite moving story.


Gathering Graces 3/15/2018

*I can tell it it spring at KHS, because the Counseling Center is bustling as ever, with students  wanting scholarship help.  There was some big deadlines yesterday, and I am so proud of those students who are submitting scholarships!
*At the end of the school day, my desk was a mish mash of piles, papers, and envelopes.  I decided I needed to stay a little longer today to sort through things on my desk, tie up some loose ends, and get some things organized before I left for the day.  I am glad I did.  It will make coming into work on Monday much easier.
*Travis drove Cosette to the Harrison exit outside of Coeur d’Alene to meet up with her friend Sidnee.  She would be spending the night with Sidnee and her family, then heading back to Moscow on Friday.
*Later, Travis and Molly went to Coeur d’Alene to visit some of Travis’ family, and they brought their niece Zoe back here to spend tonight and tomorrow night.  There hasn’t been an 11 year old in the house for a while.  It will be fun to have her around!!
*After a very hectic and emotional week, I wanted to sit and knit and watch a good show on Netflix.  I was looking for a good British comedy, but ended up choosing a British show, but definitely not a comedy.  I started watching Broadchurch.  Molly and Travis said it is really good, so I look forward to watching it (even though I have been warned it is a bit dark and grim).
*It was nice sitting up and talking with Molly and Travis, (even though I got to bed way past my bedtime!!)  But it was worth it!!


Gathering Graces 3/14/2018

*What a whirlwind day I had today.  I just went from one thing to another.
*Throughout most of the day, I pulled some of the seniors out of their Government class to talk with them about where they are at in the college process, and hope to keep them on track.
*I had a parent show up who needed to make corrections on her student’s FAFSA, and we got that done, and it went very smoothly.  Whew!!
*Cosette came to KHS today and hung out with Paul, and they both enjoyed hanging around one another.
*From 10 a.m. to 10:17 a.m., KHS students gathered in the library to sign posters with the names of the 17 victims of the school shooting in Florida.  It was a very moving time, and the students took it very seriously, and many were visibly shaken.

Paul and students signing a poster.

More poster signing.
*After I got home from work, Molly, Travis and I went up to the Sixth Street Theater for a photo shoot.  Molly and Travis like to dress like characters and attend Comic Con events.  They wanted some photos of them in their outfits, so we spent about an hour with me taking their photographs.  It was fun!!
*Around 6 p.m. we went to Kellogg High School for an awesome event put on by the KHS Art Department and Creative Writing Class.  It was called A Night of Art & Poetry: The timeless architecture of Kellogg presented through drawings & poetry of Kellogg High School students.  For the first 45 minutes, you could walk around the cafeteria and look at the artwork students created based on buildings in Kellogg.  The artwork was for sale for $20 a piece.  They also created a Buildings of Kellogg Coloring Book that were drawings of the buildings, and sold this book for $5.  At 6:45 p.m., 16 Creative Writing students got up to the microphone on the stage and shared their poems they wrote based on the buildings of Kellogg.  We heard poems about the McConnell Hotel, a building in Kellogg that burned down last summer, as well as The Bean and Being, written about a local coffee shop, Problematic Bones, based on a Mary Jo White’s Chiropractic building, Dirty Ernies, written by one of the football players who recalls the fans who watched the game from the balcony of this local bar, and Looking Up From the Kellogg Pool, a poem about the old Lincoln school/mall. 


Gathering Graces 3/13/2018

*It was a weird day of emotions today.  I just felt off for some of the day, and I am not sure why.  Then it kind of came back in the evening.  I think some of it is the event surrounding Paul and I in our life.  In different areas of our life, there are conflicts, and emotions are running high, and every day there seems to be something new.  Maybe it is all just getting to me today.
*There was a bright part of my day.  The kids arrived this afternoon, and it is so wonderful to see them!!  Molly, Travis and Cosette arrived to spend some time here in Kellogg during their spring break!!
*This summer one of the additions to our yard will be a Narnia garden.  The kids bought Paul a Solar Lamppost for his birthday, and a Aslan plaque.  Last weekend he purchased an Aslan cement fountain to add to the garden as well.  It will be fun to see how it all comes together.  So one part of the yard is our Hogwarts garden, and now we will also have Narnia.  Maybe after the Narnia Garden, we will create The Shire garden.
*The weather was again beautiful today, and the snow continues to melt.  I look forward to when Nikki and I can get out in the morning and start walking outside.  We had taken a break while Nikki’s grandkids were here last week, and walked this morning and it felt so good.  My body missed the walking!!
*Cosette was working on her taxes this evening, and it reminds me I really need to get those done.  Maybe now that I have typed it out, I will remember.
I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121 1-2


Gathering Graces 3/12/2018

*When I arrived home from work, I loved that it was still so light outside.  I went out in the backyard with Mr. Clark and Sadie, and marveled at where the backyard had no snow, and where it still had a couple of inches.  A few more days of sunshine, and the forecasted rain, and it may just go away.  It is official.  I am ready for spring!!
*Students attending North Idaho College next fall have some deadlines coming up, so I sent notes to them today to help keep them on track.  A lot of student are being chosen for Financial Aid verification through the various colleges they will be attending, and sometimes parents and students need a little assistance in filling out those papers and completing the steps required.  Because if they don’t, they will not receive any financial aid monies.
*Paul is bravely teaching students how to drive again this spring by instructing Driver’s Education.  He normally just does the driving part, but last Thursday, Friday and this morning, he also got to teach the 7-8 a.m. classroom instruction part while the other teacher was out of town.  I think he will enjoy getting an extra hour of sleep tomorrow morning, since he won’t have to be at KHS so early.
*I have two senior girls who often come and hang out in my office during seventh period a few times a week.  I enjoy listening to them talk about their lives, and am often intrigued what goes on in their lives.  I enjoy them being around and they bring fun and life into the office at the end of the day.
*Since we don’t go down to the basement a lot, we still had Christmas decorations up.  Molly, Travis and Cosette are arriving tomorrow to spend a few days home over their spring break, so I decided it was time to take down Christmas in the basement.  Paul helped me take the ornaments off the three little trees, Paul dismantled the trees and stored them, I stored the ornaments, and also put the Nativity Scene away, and a few other odds and ends.  Mission accomplished!!
*I have been enjoying looking through my Alexis App in my phone, pulling up TuneIn, and going through the many options of podcasts to listen to while I work in the kitchen.  Tonight I listened to a BBC news station for a little bit, then I found a great interview with Jennifer Egan, the author of the book I just read, Manhattan Beach.  She talked about how she wrote this book and it was really interesting.  I sent a link of the interview from the program New York Time--Book Review to the members of my Book Club.  If you would like to check out this podcast, you can go here.
*Another podcast I have been listening to in the evening is one called Uncivil.  Bill and Debbie had told me about this one.  It is a history podcast, where they go back to the Civil War, and bring stories that were left out of the official history.  If you want to check it out go here.
*I also worked on my new knitting project for a while, and am making progress on it.  I LOVE the yarn I purchased last Saturday to make this project.  And Debbie’s guidance on Sunday has really helped make the process easier.


Gathering Graces 3/11/2018

*Another beautiful day today.  It has been so nice outside, that the 8 inches of snow we still have in the yard seem a little out of place.  The next couple days are suppose to warm up, so that may help melt some of the snow.
*Today we had family dinner, and I spent most of the afternoon preparing for dinner.  On today’s menu was turkey meatballs, tomato sauce, Caesar Salad and Zoodles.  If you are not familiar with Zoodles, it is a way you use spralized zuchinni like pasta.  So I put some zoodles in a bowl, covered it with sauce, and put some meatballs on top, and a little Parmesan cheese.  Paul, Bill and Debbie seemed to like this meal.  I know I did.  Christy was a little under the weather, so her and Everett were unable to come to dinner.
*After dinner, Debbie and I sat on the couch and she gave me some tips on knitting, and we sat knitting and visiting for a while before her and Bill went home.
*I am thankful for my husband Paul every single day, but some days I am VERY thankful.  Today was one of those days.  Some days I just can’t even comprehend my love for him, it is so big. 
*The birds were singing and chirping outside today.  I love that sound.  A week from tomorrow is the first day of spring.  It sounds like the birds are getting ready!!


Gathering Graces 3/10/2018

*It was an absolutely beautiful day today.  The skies were blue.  The sun was shining.  It is amazing how that boosts the overall well being of those around you. 
*I spent the better part of this beautiful day on a trip to Spokane with my sister Christy and sister-in-law Debbie.  We started the morning at World Market. It had been a while since I had been to a World Market.  I forgot what kinds of items you could purchase there (for instance, I forgot they sold furniture), and things are pretty reasonably prices.  I love looking in the food section.  It seems like I always find something interesting to try.  Then we went to Michaels. I bought some yarn to use on some new knitting projects I want to start.  After shopping for a bit, we went to The Onion for lunch.  I had a bison burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun.  It was really good. 
*After lunch we headed east to the Spokane Valley Mall and walked through TJ Maxx.  We went to the other end of the parking lot and walked through Home Accents, a store similar to TJ Maxx, but with only household items. 
*With the trunk filling up with purchases, we started driving toward home, but I had one more stop I needed to make to Fred Meyer in Coeur d’Alene.  I am fixing family dinner on Sunday, so I had to pick up a few items to help with the preparation of the meal.  And I found everything I needed.
*It was really fun spending the day with these two women, and having a pretty laid back schedule.  We weren’t rushed in where we had to go, or we didn’t have a timeline on being home at a certain time.  Plus every time we got out of the car, we got to enjoy the sunshine!
*I arrived home to a home full of three cats and a dog, but no people.  Paul had already headed up to the theater.  I unloaded my purchases and started watching a new show on Netflix Alias Grace, while I took one of the skeins of yarn and made it into a ball of yarn.  I tried starting one of my projects, but had a little trouble, so I need will try again later.
*When Paul arrived home, he said he spent most of the beautiful afternoon working outside in the backyard, and he took me outside to show me some new additions to the yard, and how he cleaned up some areas.  I can’t wait to see it in the daylight tomorrow!!
*I headed to bed early, anticipating the time change as we “Spring Forward” tonight, and lose an hour of our early morning. 


Gathering Graces 3/9/2018

*I spent some time this morning writing, one of which was a letter to a friend.  I also spent time finishing the book Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan that my book group would be discussing later that day.
*One of the highlights of my month is gathering together with my Huckleberry Book Club and talk about the book we discussed, and a lot of other topics as well.  Typically we gather together at one of our homes for a meal and discussion.  Today Vicki decided to host our gathering at City Limits Pub in Wallace.  It was a nice change.  And we had quite a good discussion about the book.  We often don’t talk about how an author writes the book.  Usually our discussion focuses on the subject, theme and characters of the book.  But this book was different.  This author writes very well, and we talked about how she cleverly wove different stories and characters together very well, and didn’t confuse the reader.  It was a delight to read, and a delight to discuss.  In fact, we loved her writing so much that we have decided to read another of her books for our April book discussion.  In 2010, Egan wrote A Visit From The Goon Squad.  It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.  Thank you Vicki, Mary-Gail, Debbie, Nancy and Susan for an always enjoyable afternoon.
*Paul and I thought it would be a good night to watch a movie.  We looked at our options on Amazon Prime Videos, and decided to rent Darkest Hour, Gary Oldman’s fascinating portrayal of Winston Churchill’s first weeks as Prime Minister of England. (He also won the Oscar for this performance.)  There were times as many of the characters in the movie were describing Churchill, many of the same words are used  to describe our current president.  We have also been watching The Crown, and it was interesting comparing Oldman’s portrayal of Churchill to John Lithgow’s portrayal of Churchill. (Lithgow received an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.)   In both, there is portrayed a very special and loving relationship between Churchill and his wife Clemmie.  Have any of you ever read a good biography about Winston Churchill?  I think it would be a fascinating read.  Let me know if you have read one you liked.
*On my last shopping trip to Costco, I had purchased two bags of avocados, and they were quickly turning ripe, and ready to eat.  I read up on what to do with avocados, and found out if you make guacamole, it can be frozen.  So I took six avocados, and I had some Litehouse guacamole spice mix I had purchased sometime back to make guacamole, and I added the spice mix, salt and lime juice to the avocados, and made a delicious guacamole.  I put it in three containers.  Two of the containers were put in the freezer for later use.  We will see how it tastes once we thaw it out in a week or so.
*I am fortunate to have men in my life who are wonderful, and who have not used their power to act inappropriately toward women.  Yes, there are men who respect women, and I am surrounded by them each and every day.  My  husband, my brother, my many brother-in-laws....this list goes on and on.  And I need to remember these men, especially on days like today when I am listening to, or are in conversations about men who take the power of their position, and act inappropriately toward women, through words and actions.  I was saddened to hear the story come out this last week of author Sherman Alexie, and the accusations against him.  As I was working in the kitchen yesterday afternoon, I asked Alexa to play the podcast This American Life. The episode was called Five Women, and here is the description:  A different kind of #MeToo story, about several women who worked for the same man. They tell us not only about their troubling encounters with him, but also about their lives beforehand. Who were they when they entered the workplace, and how did their personal histories shape the way they dealt with his harassment? As I listened to these five women (one of whom was his partner/wife), tell their stories, it was hard.  In fact, I didn’t finish.  I need to return to the episode and hear Kristen’s story of how she was the first to accuse Don of sexual harassment, and to listen to Vivian, the partner, give her final thoughts. 
*I loved this portion in our Lenten devotional this morning that talks about faith:  Faith is like a small window through which you can see a vast landscape, and the landscape in question is the sovereign power of the creator God and the overwhelming glory of Jesus himself.  We stand at the window, doing our best to wipe it clean from the condensation of our own unbelieving breath, and holding on, as we do so, to those for whom we want to pray.


Gathering Graces 3/8/2018

*Happy International Women’s Day.   International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
*A great day of working with students on scholarships, talking to juniors about college and career related information, and extending invitations to 36 sophomores and juniors who are eligible to become National Honor Society members.
*I found out this week if you cook chopped up cauliflower and mash it like potatoes with heavy whipping cream, it tastes surprisingly like mashed potatoes.  Delicious!!
*I have also discovered Yerba Mate.   Yerba Mate has the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate" all in one beverage.  Of the six commonly used stimulants in the world: coffee, tea, kola nut, cocoa and guarana, yerba mate triumphs as the most balanced, delivering both energy and nutrition.   I usually make a cup with some cream and stevia, and drink it before or after dinner.  It doesn’t seem to interfere with my sleep.  I like having another type of drink to enjoy!  Does anyone else enjoy this beverage?
*Since the year began, I have been enjoying a rather unique phenomenon in my life.  Most of my evenings have no obligations, and I am home, free to explore future possibilities, read, listen, knit....whatever I choose.  It is a liberating feeling I am learning to really enjoy.


Gathering Graces 3/7/2018

*My evening was spent in the lovely home of Debbie Gibler for our P.E.O. meeting.  Tonight was had installation of officers at the end of the meeting.  Installed were Dawn, Christy, Betty, Christine, Michele, Carolyn and myself.  I love my P.E.O. sisters, and I love being a part of an organization that helps provide all kinds of support for women attaining further education.  I would love to talk to you about it more if you have any questions. 
*The KHS Seniors continue to plug away at getting done all they need for college preparations.  I had one student in my office today who is attending the University of Idaho.  I helped her get her Vandal account set up, and she also chose her dorm and picked a roommate.  She was SO EXCITED when she left my office!!!  And then that makes me excited. 
*We had a discussion at our faculty meeting today about a new thing called “Juuling”, which is a new type of e-cigarette that looks like a USB flash drive.  We have had some issues with this at Kellogg High School.  If you want to read an article about it you can go here.  Basically it is a way to inhale a large amount of concentrated nicotine at once.  Students don’t use flash drives as often as they used to.  If you see a student using one, you may want to check to see what it really is that is charging in their laptop or phone charger.  It is always good to be aware of the newest “thing”.
*This morning our Lenten devotional was based on Matthew 15: 21-28.  It was the story of Jesus and his disciples going to Tyre and Sidon and having a Canaanite woman ask Jesus to rid her daughter of demons, which he finally does because of her faith.  His disciples were amazed at this because this woman was not Jewish, she was a Gentile, and Jesus, at this point, was only ministering to the Jewish people.  It is a wonderful story about faith, and these are the words N.T. Wright shares to illustrate what the people in the crowd may have been thinking:
And we are left thinking: is that what we mean by faith?  Faith to see how God’s strange plan works, even though it isn’t exactly flattering for us?  Faith to cling on to everything Jesus says even when it’s unexpected, and to pray in those terms rather than assume he’s going to do what we want in the way we want it?
Jesus makes to leave.  His eyes swing slowly round the crowd, and they pause for a moment on you.  ‘What is it you want from me, then?’  he seems to be saying.  ‘Have you got enough faith to see God’s strange plan working its way out and find what you need within it?’
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.   Hebrews 11:1.