Monday, November 24, 2008

Admission, Decision, Transition

In June, 1986, I graduated from Western Washington University with a BA in German Ed. The BA was in German, and I had what I think they called a "Professional Studies" in Education. I had completed all the University requirements in the Ed department to qualify me for my certificate to teach German at the secondary school level: 6th through 12th grades. Two years after that, I received in the mail a new certificate stating that I was now certified K through 12, without ever having taken a single elementary ed class. A few years later, my certificate expired, but by then I had launched myself in to a new career, my current one. The first year after graduating from WWU, I worked various part-time jobs as well as working as a substitute teacher in two school districts. I credit this experience with the fact that I have been a flight atendant for the past twenty years. Well, for one year after the substitute teaching nightmare, I worked at a historical museum (THE Historical Museum for Washington State) but my career for the last twenty years has been about as far away from a classrom as you can get. Until very recently, I thought it would be absolutely impossible for me to ever want to teach again. For anyone who might be interested in a career as a flight attendant I issue this warning - the lifestyle can be addicitive: international travel, pass priveleges, flexibility with your schedule. Many of us were hired not believing that we would be making careers of it, but - and please pardon the pun as well as the tired cliche here - time flies, when you're having fun. Well, I've had my fun. Late last month I turned 45, and there's a possibility that I am now eligible for a sort of retirement package with my company. And while I never thought I would say it, I'm thinking of going back to teaching. There are several reasons why I am once again interested in the field of education, not the least of which is the fact that I now have a student living under the same roof as me who, I am told, seems to be struggling in school. Ben entered Kindergarten mere weeks after his 5th birthday. If you want to ask 'why so early?' I'll tell you: it was all me me me. I was selfish, I couldn't wait. There were no children his age in the neighborhood, and I wanted, needed for him to be out of the house - playing, learning, whatever, but I needed some "me" time. As awful as this may sound (especially as indelicately as I have put it) I really have no regrets. Ben is a smart kid, he did well, considering he was nearly a year younger than some of his classmates, and he wasn't really the only young kid in his class. He kept up sufficiently to be passed on to first grade. But by then, I was starting to care about his education (I know, I KNOW, but stay with me) and TH and I were both interested in becoming involved with not only Ben's general education, but the school, teachers, and administration providing it. If you've read this blog since it's beginning, you might remember my dismay with the distinct lack of involvement of the majority of parents - if not, you can read about it here. In the back of my mind, even as we sat in those tiny chairs in that classroom at the "PTSO" meeting, I was deciding to enroll Ben in private school, which indeed we did. Ben started first grade last year at a very small Montessori school a half hour drive from our house. While the distance and lengthy travel time to and from school weighed heavily on the minus side, I considered the environment - six students at the elementary level, and one elementary level teacher - a major plus. Granted Ben's teacher was pregnant and would be on maternity leave for three months in the spring but still I figured the favorable teacher-student ratio would give him the boost he needed to stay at grade level, might even propell him beyond. During the fall session parent-teacher conference, she was enthusiastic about Ben's imagination and assured me he was progressing normally. When I expressed my concerns with some small issues, she told me that his difficulties were normal for his developmental level, but we'd watch in case he didn't progress beyond them. This school also provided me with an ideal opportunity to not only get involved in a fund-raising project for the school but also to meet and get to know four really wonderful women, also parents of students at the school. The auction was a great success, and I think we were all riding a self-congratualtory high when we were told that the elementary teacher would not be returning after spring break. Ah, I thought, new baby - who could blame her. I even said this to the schools director when she gave me the sad news. She gave a non-committal shrug and chuckled a little. The short verson is that a new elementary ed teacher was never hired, leaving the school's director and one other teacher to educate all of the students, a range that includes preschoolers on up to second grade. As you may have guessed, there is a Looooong version to all of this as well, but that is surely a post in itself. So basically: admitting that I am ready to say goodbye to a career that I have loved for the past twenty years, but deciding that I'd rather make a career transition back to education, my original plan. Hah! What goes around comes around, right? Am I scared? Yeah a little, but also very excitied, and this feels so right. I really miss my guys when I'm away at work these days. Plus there is really so very MUCH to do here, and I don't want to miss any of it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kitchen Short Cuts

Are you getting tired of the Halloween post yet? I am. I've been working on a post with a little bit of what's going on around here lately, but until I'm finished, here's some useful information that I thought would be nice to share. Lasagne: Don't cook the noodles before you assemble the casserole, just lay them on there dry. You don't even have to buy those special "no boil" noodles, just remember to pour a layer of sauce into the bottom of the pan before the first layer of noodles. My friend Amy* is still afraid to try this. AMY! JUST DO IT! Snickerdoodles: The recipe I have says to chill the dough for an hour before rolling into balls etc. etc. Do not refrigerate the dough first, proceed immediately to the rolling of dough into balls followed by the rolling of said balls into cinnamon/sugar mixture. Remember, the sooner they go into the oven, the sooner you will get to eat them. The same holds true for... ...Molasses Krinkles: I think the recipe I have must have come off of a package of flour originally, because it calls for this specific flour by name, but instead I used whole wheat pastry flour which gives them a little more body. The recipe also says to chill the dough (don't bother for the same reason as stated above) and to roll into balls, then dip the tops into sugar, place on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with a little water. PFFT! A huge waste of my time, name brand flour company people! Instead, roll the dough into balls as soon as it's mixed, roll the balls into sugar as you do with snickerdoodles, and Wallah! It's cookie time! (in 11 minutes or so) And plenty "krinkled," thank you very much. *wanna see more of Amy and Elaine? check this out!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

And Just Like That, It's Over

There was a thin layer of frost on my car before we even went to bed last night. When I got up this morning, it was 29 degrees. A good six hours of freezing temperatures have effectively ended the garden season, but I ventured out early this morning to see what, if anything, could be salvaged. What a gorgeous morning! Yes, frost on the tomatoes, but also... frost on the pumpkins! Frost on the sunflower! Rose Hips! Spider webs. Steam rising off the compost. And a leaf seemingly suspended in mid-air. Purely by chance, I picked nearly all of the green Striped Roma tomatoes yesterday, and today has been a can-a-thon. We are a sandwiches-for-lunch family, and use plenty of sweet relish - there is no way I can make the amount that we consume, but we will savor the few jars of home-made relish when we have them. I also canned 6 pints of dilled green tomato spears. We don't really eat dill pickles, but I wanted to experiment. I'm having fun. Can you tell? Is that weird, that I'm getting all creative with produce and spices, and lots and LOTS of vinegar?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Don't Blame me, Blame My Sister-In-Law

So, my lovely SIL, Christine just sent this to me in an email: Dangerous Chocolate Cake 1 Coffee Mug 4 tablespoons flour (that's plain flour, not self-rising) 4 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons baking cocoa 1 egg 3 tablespoons milk 3 tablespoons oil 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional, but highly recommended!) Small splash of vanilla Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well . Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and mix again. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. (high) The recipe also advises not to be alarmed if the cake rises over the top of the mug, this is normal. And that this recipe serves 2. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHA! And, of course, that the "Danger" lies in the fact that those who possess a microwave "are now only 5 minutes away from a chocolate cake any time of the day or night." But if you are worried that you might just go crazy and eat a mug-o-cake every day, ask yourself this: Would I sit down and eat 1/4 cup of sugar ( the amount in one of these cakes), spoonful by lovin' spoonful? That's how I'm getting around this one, folks.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Plum Lovely

This has been a great year for our fruit orchard. And while the start of the season always seems to catch me off guard, (apples now rotting on the compost heap...) by now I'm getting the hang of it. The canning jars, lids, and rings take up temporary residence in one corner of the kitchen, the canning kettle gets jockeyed around the stove and counter tops for lack of available surface space upon which to store it, and we are now playing host to swarms of fruit flies. I swear, there were at least twenty of them on the bathroom mirror last night. The bathroom! There is no fruit in the bathroom! What are they doing in my bathroom?! This is the last of the plums, I cleared the tree today. Maybe the apples languish because I'm just not a great fan of plain apples, eaten out of hand. Sure, I've made some apple sauce, and frozen some for pies this fall and winter, but give me a plum and I'll let you play with my blocks (sorry, but that is a family joke for the benefit of my sisters.)(and it's not even dirty.) We haven't had a good crop of plums since the year Ben was born, seven years ago! So believe me when I tell you, there will be no plums wasted due to lack of interest. I've already put up about a gallon of plum preserves. I've also got a couple of half gallon bags in the freezer (plum cobbler? plum crisp? Oh, man. YUM!) And I took quart sized bags of fresh plums to give to my family last weekend at my father's 81st birthday celebration. Today I'm drying plums, as well as trying the recipe for 'Plum Sauce' from the Ball Blue Book - my go-to book for preserving the harvest (*ahem*) I'm thinking it will be kind of like chutney. I had a little taste of it as it simmered away - wow, YUM! Last month I was up to my elbows in pears. My little pear tree really outdid herself this year. Pears: another fruit that wins my affection. That little pear tree is my friend. So I was able to make a pear crisp to take along to Dad's party. I think I like it better than apple crisp, and, really, who can dispute the deliciousness of apple crisp? My go-to book for baking is the Better Homes and Gardens one. You know, the one with the red and white checkered cover? My mom cooked almost exclusively from that, and the Betty Crocker cookbook when I was little. You just can't go wrong with the classics. The rest of the garden is doing well too. The late apples are good for cider (need to pull the press out and clean it - note to self: do this BEFORE the fruit is falling off the trees next year!) The Zucchini and most of the tomatoes are producing nicely, with the exception of the 'Striped Roma' tomatoes which are remaining stubbornly green. An Ben and TH planted pumpkins this year! For Halloween! The remaining number of days to which I must calculate for Ben on a daily basis! This years costume possibilities: "Faceless Zombie," or "Headless Skeleton Mummy." Both of which apparently terrify Ben and are therefore worthy of consideration. I suggested "Vampire" since it seemed obvious that scary is in now that we are seven but was rebuffed with "*sigh* Oh, no Mom, they don't scare me." Well, the Plum Sauce is bottled and steaming away in the canner, there are still mounds of produce to deal with, and I still need to figure out what to make for dinner. You'd think with all this food that would be easy! Hmm, I'm thinking maybe something with juicy ripe tomatoes, and perhaps fresh plums...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Non-Post

Hey, Hi. Yes, I'm still alive, it's just very cosy under this rock. Thanks for checking in, I intend to post a "real" post soon. But you know me... I've been busy making things. Which I soon hope to make available here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When it rains...

Lately I have been trying to figure out how to end this blog. And a little bit of "do I really want to end this blog?" Yes, and no. I don't know. All through the day, I make mental notes for future posts - but the thought of sitting down at the computer, like I am right now, well, it's currently way down at the bottom of my list. A very, very low priority.

It has been a busy, eventful summer. There was, of course, the Alaska cruise in late June to early July. That event gets an A++++.



Then we were home for a mere 5 days before heading out to Illinois for the 50th wedding anniversary celebration of an aunt and uncle of TH's. (Which receives only a B, due to hair-frizzing humidity) From there TH went home, I went to NY for 8 days during which time Ben was spirited away to Grandma and Grandpa's for his annual week of doting grandparently spoilage.

From that point on, things sort of took a slide downhill. I will not go into detail except to say that it involves the health of people I dearly love. So, dear fellow bloggers, I hope you understand if I take my leave from this place for a bit.

I do still enjoy checking in with you all now and then, and hope you are all having a splendid summer.

Be well,
-Becky

Monday, June 23, 2008

MORE New Pets?! (Or the Cunning Mind of a 6 1/2 Year Old)

THIS is an excellent book.


It's been Ben's fave for the past three years. Today, while reading "The World of Micro life," Ben stopped to ponder: "Bacteria is an animal, right?"
Me: "Mmm hmmm"
Ben: "Then, if I stop taking care of my teeth, I'll have pets!"
Whoa.

Aaaaaaanyway...
I'll be on vacation off and on for the next three weeks. Not that I've been really regular here, but just to let you know - it's gonna be pretty quiet at The Flying Mum. Wish I knew how to load a chirping crickets sound bite.

So, hope you all are having a lovely summer so far, and I'll be back on the boards in a month or so!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Since you asked...

Well my bags are (not) packed and I'm ready to go... So ready. In all my 20 years in the travel industry, I have never, ever been on a cruise that was longer than a day and didn't involve catching fish. Granted, I am in the flying end of the travel industry spectrum. Nevertheless, I AM SO EXCITED! We'll hit Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, and will be joined by 12 other family members from both TH's and my sides. There will be cousins for Ben to play with! I anticipate a very good time will be had by all. I intend to post pictures etc. after we get back, though I can't guarantee that will happen before all the other stuff we've got going on... Now if all the rain and wind would please head on back to November, we'll get this party started!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Dude, Where's My Summer?


Just a quiet, rainy day - doing laundry and listening to this and this. Perfect rainy-day music.

School ends this Friday. It's been a really good year - I like the school and I've met some really nice people whose kids are also enrolled there. I'll miss the daily visiting at drop-off, and hope that the tentave playdates actually pan out.

We already have a LOT scheduled for the summer; Alaska cruise (in 3 weeks!) visit to the midwest to see Grandma and Grandpa, camping on the beach, reunion party with college friends I've only recently gotten back in touch with.

Yep.

Summer will be over before I know it.

If it ever STARTS.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The One With All the Pictures



It's Clothesline weather again! Yay!
Does anyone else's kid continually use their clothes as a napkin? If so, what are you doing to remedy this? Because seriously, I'm thinking about converting Ben's wardrobe to "Tie-Dye Everything."



A later start than I'd hoped, but with any luck, we'll have some fresh veggies this summer!




(Pssst it's almost time for Folklife :)
Ooo, ooo, I think one of my favorite artists, Jill Mayberg, designed the logo this year!)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

If Happiness Is a Bluebird, Then I'm Going to Build a Birdhouse in My Soul



I am, at heart, a happy person. I know this, because sometimes when I am exercising and my heart is really pumping good, I can feel the happiness all the way into the core of my being. Not endorphins, happiness.

But there are things that can cloud my happiness. Usually some small thing - perhaps something someone said, or the way they said it, or the way they looked when they said it... you get my drift. Sometimes I walk around awash in the dirty water draining off of everyone elses psyches. And it occurs to me that I tend to hang on to these negative feelings far more strongly than I do to positive ones. How many times have I thought "I feel so good right now, I really hope this feeling will last!" ? I know I've posted about feeling that way with my own son right here on this blog. But when I'm under the dark cloud, well, I just might as well stay there - no umbrella - getting soaked to the skin. The effort of running for shelter seems worthless, burdensome. And sometimes I'll just wallow in the muddy water, drowning in self pity, anger, bitterness and ultimately, self condemnation.

While I have no problem taking credit for my happy feelings, the negative ones beg to be blamed on someone else. But as tempting as it is to play the blame game, deep down I know that the only one responsible for my feelings, be they good OR bad, is me.

Today, I choose happiness. I will try to focus my energy on being happy, and make the effort to STAY happy. I'm not going to try to distract myself from any bad feelings - they will need to be dealt with eventually - but I want to keep at the front of my mind the fact that I am, at heart, a happy person.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Whew!

It's over.

The Auction for Ben's school was last weekend, and I am officially exhausted and now have that achy-might-be-coming-down-with-something feeling. Just in time for work this weekend. Nice.
But we did it! And we managed to make a tidy sum of money for the school. The school exists solely on the tuition payments of 6 full-time students and about 37 part-time preschoolers. I mean: the rent for the building, all of the school supplies, recreational equipment and salaries for 3 staff members - all of it - funded completely by tuition. I honestly don't know how they do it.
The money made at the auction will go to more school supplies and, hopefully, expansion of the "playground" - which currently consists of one of these:



The small chest with the kids' artwork on it turned out ok.




But by the time I finished "doodling" on it, I was sufficiently tired of it.



I didn't really feel like looking at it anymore. Especially up close. So close that I had to remove my glasses from in front of my poor confused eyeballs (am I nearsighted? Am I farsighted? MAKE UP YOUR MINDS ALREADY!)



But somebody else happily paid just under $30.00 for it


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Spring Break Activity

Capillary Action



This is a good one.
Color some water with food coloring - any color is fine, but it should be enough of a contrast to the flower's color to be easily seen. Put your cut (or "hand-picked" :)) flower in a clear vase or jar. Enjoy the show!
It will take at least a day for the color to start showing. Carnations work really well for this (as evidenced by all the green ones worn on lapels on St. Paddy's Day.)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Spring Break

Remember this? well this year is different, so far.

I mean, I was dreading it, because I remembered that post - and also I think I may have something, uh, hormonal going on. But to my advantage was the memory of last years frustration and the realization that I'd better have plenty of "things to do" for the sake of BOTH of our sanities. So yesterday we spent a couple of hours at the local Children's Museum. I am embarrassed to admit that we had never been before. The only other time I had stepped foot inside their door was to ask for a membership donation for our up-coming auction (which they thankfully obliged us with!) And now that we've been, I will absolutely be bidding on that item!

I have also been blown away by all the awesome activities posted on The Crafty Crow. As have many others. It seems like I can't visit a mommy-blog without seeing a link to this site. All in all, I think it'll turn out to be a pretty o.k. spring break, dontcha think?

Random Things:

auction things



journal things



garden things





Eren over at Vintage Chica asked about what kinds of thing inspire us. Too many creative bloggers to mention have definitely inspired me - you guys rock!
Maybe you found something here today that inspired you?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Auction is in 2 1/2 Weeks? Oh, Snap.

Yes, the auction - a fund-raiser for the Montessori School that Ben attends - is in 2 1/2 weeks. People (including us) just got their invitations last Friday. After reading mine, I noticed that the directions to the event were printed on the back of the R.S.V.P. card and, while the "Free Babysitting" was advertised, the location of the babysitters (at the school, not the event) was not.

Yesterday, at the parent-teacher conference, the school director pointed out a typo - the R.S.V.P. phone number is incorrect. And this morning I noticed that there is no mention of the $10.00 per person/plate fee.

Oh snap, indeed.

But more donations are coming in! Some of the businesses I left letters with have either called in their donations, or sent them directly to the school. And my very own Mama has donated an antique cut-a-rug rocker, and this!



As you can see, I have a lot more polishing to do. There's an auction meeting today, maybe I'll take the set and see if anyone else will take a piece home to polish...

One of my responsibilities is the early elementary classes' project. I was truly at a loss as to what to do, but after looking at what Meg and Jen just put together for their kids' school auction, I was inspired to have the kids help as much as possible. Meg was a real help, allowing me to download some of her photos to show the other moms, and what we came up with is this:




The auction coordinator bought a little wooden chest that I'm having the kids help me decorate. I had them put their hand-prints on the chest, and then I transferred their "signatures" next to their hand-print. I then asked them to draw a small (approx. 5"x7") picture that I'll transfer onto the chest near their hand-print and name. Hopefully, each parent will find their child's contribution charming enough to start a bidding war! Just kidding. Sort of.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hey, Look... it's Me!



Yeah, so, this is pretty much how I look these days. That was a pretty good hair day too. I recently started getting "regular hair maintenance" (sounds like I'm talking about a car, doesn't it - *sigh* it's been a while) and I'm still getting used to using all these "styling aids" (roundy-brushy things and hair dryers) and "products" (anti-frizzy things and shine enhancers)

It's a lot more work than I normally like. But I'm trying to get used to it.

PS, thanks Mad Hatter for the inspiration. How do you get those scanned photos to look so good on the computer?

Monday, March 03, 2008

The War on Mucus

Is currently being waged here, as it has been off and on since early January. The fact that my six year old son knows which Muc*nex to take and when ("...bubblegum or grape during the day, orange cream before bedtime...") seems a little worrisome to me. We had it beat, but only for a short time and now both Ben and I are hacking up a storm.

I know that dairy products should be avoided due to their phlegm-making properties. I also know that flour makes paste, and so bready-type things should also be avoided. Ideally, ideally, we should be enjoying lots of fresh fruits and vegetables right now. But Come on! Two months without pizza? Or lasagne? Sorry, no can (or no wanna) do.

"My husband is so tired, he's re-tired!" (badum-bum)

Really, the man can (and will) fall asleep anywhere. And since he's been retired from the Navy for 5 months now, I'm shortening his moniker from TFH to just TH - Tired Husband.

Some of you may remember last year's valentines, which inspired these gift tags
















I wanted to do something different this year, and inspired by the crayon/waxed paper hearts I came up with this





















which I affixed to the front of a card. It can be removed and hung on the wall, or (as here) from a curtain rod. I like hangy-things, they take up very little space, but can add a nice punch of color.




















I've volunteered to help out with an auction being held this spring to generate funds for Ben's school. I never would have believed that it could be so much fun! I'm getting donations from local merchants and businesses, as well as crafting up a storm; covering plain-jane journals in imported art and wrapping papers I've collected on my travels. At first I wasn't sure if they'd be something people would bid on, but the other moms were very enthusiastic about them, so I made up a few more which I then tied up with a pretty ribbon and fancy pen.

I want to thank you all for your expressions of interest in my little blog. It's somewhat surprising to me , and EXTREMELY flattering that you are so happy to see me posting again - what nice people you are!

Busy, busy, busy. But also happy, happy, happy! Spring is on it's way, YAY!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The First Post in Months Where I Actually Say Something

Go Ask Alice
The holidays were busy. I think we can all agree on that. I know many of you eased off of blogging a bit from Thanksgiving through the start of the year. But I'm not going to use that as an excuse for why I completely stalled out in November. In fact, I'm not going to offer any excuses. The plain and simple truth is that I started to dislike blogging. What once was intended as a writing exercise, a creative outlet, started to feel more like an obligation. It was time for a break, so I took one.

It felt reeeeeally good, people - and I'm more than a little apprehensive about starting up again. I will likely be posting less than I previously did, and mostly just want to use this medium to support the whirlwind of creativity I am currently caught up in. Also, I like the kind of sharing of information, ideas and resources relevant to the group of folks I've met here, so if I find something I think may interest or help anyone, I'll happily post it.

Feed Your Head
I used my time well. I don't quite know what happened, or when, but some creative door opened up in my brain, and the ideas that are pouring out of it are many, varied, and (for me) exciting. If I tried to describe all of the projects I have on the table, this post would eat up most of my evening and yours. So instead I'll put up some pictures. Let me know what you think, and I'll try to post about them in the future.












Valentines Decorations














Valentines for my guys,birthday cards for Mom and my niece














Journals covered in imported papers















Gift tags and cards