ALL ABOUT LIFE BEYOND KINDERGARTEN! Kindergarten is the basic building block for all future learning. It is true that everything you need to know in life was really learned in Kindergarten. The trick is to remember what you learned when you were five or six. What you liked then will most likely be something you will like now. So be true to yourself and who you really are and who you will really be. Look back and you just may find your true self! Yes…this blog is about a variety of topics…because we are all a smorgasbord of thoughts and ideas.
It is true. I have missed the children at school each and every day since I retired last June. I miss the teachers and their friendly voices and strong opinions. I miss the friendly greetings each morning from the children, the teachers, my teaching assistant, the principal, the assistant principal, the office clerk, the secretary, the nurse, the security leader-always looking out for the children’s safety, the building manager & her custodians and of course-the parents. Perhaps, I might not ever really conquer missing the children. It is most likely very typical for me to miss the cherished task of teaching joyful children!
Honestly, I could barely walk from my car to the side door of the building without a parent or child calling out my name. Every teacher was usually greeted that way. The families love the neighborhood school and many attended the same school when they were young. I loved the school too…more than I ever realized. It is true that I did not like non-positive interference from the administration building when we had visitors from “downtown”. The following is an actual scenario in my classroom last year…
Them:“Mrs. Davis! Why are you having the children complete a worksheet?” Me: “It’s not a worksheet. It is a six page book that they are learning to read. Don’t worry. It truly aligns with the curriculum.” Them: “It is a worksheet.” Me: “You are standing by the door. How can see what they are working on? Walk over to a table and sit down with them. They will tell you what they are doing! Maybe one of them will want to read the book to you. Remember! They are barely five years old. Lots of them are starting to read!” Them: “That is impossible.” Me (politely): “You must not believe in these children! Most of them speak two languages! Give us some credit for working as smart and as hard as we can! Give me some credit!” Them: (while shutting the door and walking out):“Teachers. They get on my nerves.”
That is the exact moment that I decided to go ahead and retire…five years before I planned to retire. Because of a back injury in a car accident, I was totally uncomfortable all of the time. The pain tended to be severe. If I retired…I could have more time for serious physical therapy. If I retired…I could write this blog. If I retired…I could write the book that I have planned for so long. I know that without the back injury, I would have stayed. There is no doubt about that. Difficult decision, but really no choice.
However…If I retired…I would not have to listen to the people from “downtown” complaining about something that did not exist. If I retired…I would not have to be upset because our scores were high and not even one person commended us. If Iretired…I would not have to be upset because the children were excited about learning and not one person seemed to notice. If I retired…I would not have to be upset because my class was building a very strong foundation and not one person really realized what was going on.
If a person from “downtown” simply stands at the door and does not walk over and talk with the children…how will “downtown” ever really know the potential of these children? They will not know, but Iknow.And that is what matters the most. They did not know that I always try to talk with many students and parents from all of my past classes. But I know. They did not know that I put my whole heart into that classroom. But I know. And that very fact is what is important.
Yes…I miss the children and the teachers each and every day. I miss encouraging the children and the parents. I miss the laughter. I am certain that the laughter is what I miss the most. To retire before I had planned to retire was a difficult decision, but the right decision for many reasons. I would not want to “get on the nerves” of someone from downtown. Far be it for me to make them unhappy…just because I happened to always be putting the children first!
I might have filled out a bracket for the NCAA Final Four March Madness (is that what you call it?), but I need to take Bracket Training. Training as in a Bracket Tutoring Session…like the tutoring we have in schools for students who are simply not prepared enough for the state testing. Since I am so totally against state testing, I may not be a true basketball fan. It may be that basketball and state testing go hand in hand. As in…you better win (coaches or principals) or you may not have a job next year…in both cases.
James Corden trying to fill out a bracket…so funny!
Don’t get me wrong…I am competitive beyond belief. I am watching the Northwestern/Gonzaga game and I am about on the verge of a mental disaster. It is really wild and I am not even sure where Gonzaga is located, but I think they are from Spokane, Washington. And I really believe that I would like Spokane. However, my brother went to a Northwestern banking seminar every summer for several years. He would have definitely been going out for Northwestern.
Just 52.9 seconds left. I have not even decided who I am really for in this game. This is why I could not have filled out a bracket. I would have to take into consideration any connection that I might have with each school. That bit of an ordeal might take weeks to accomplish and I would have a short amount of time to complete this task. It is just too much for me…much like this game.
Now 39.2 seconds left. Oh good…a time-out. Now there are 32.something seconds left. Now 27.5. Now 19.4. Now 14.1. The announcer said that time is really running out for Northwestern. Six point difference at 11.5 seconds left. Now 3.7 seconds left.
And there it is…the buzzer. Gonzaga! A group of young boys in Northwestern shirts are sobbing. This is a very good lesson boys! You can’t win every time. Just as the announcer said…it is not the end for Northwestern…is the beginning of developing their program!
But, back to me…I am completely exhausted after that game. Sweating. Out of breath. OK…I will admit it…the game was exciting. Maybe I will figure out how to fill out a bracket next year. Donald Trump perhaps should fill one out too…what a controversial decision he made this year! If I put out the effort…then he can too!
I have no idea what made me think about the following incident today. It has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day or wearing green or playing bagpipes. I do hope that you had a fun day celebrating your Irish heritage even if you have no real Irish heritage!
Remembering thisincident might possibly have something to do with a mother (location unknown) who realized that her young daughter’s beloved goldfish bowl held zero actually living goldfish one recent morning.
Maybe I heard it on The Today Show. Maybe I read it online. Maybe someone wrote it in a blog post. Maybe I dreamed it. Anyway, the mother was worried that her daughter would be extremely upset upon finding out about the goldfish demise.
So the mom added some of those very small carrots to the goldfish bowl…and everything was just fine and dandy when the daughter checked on the goldfish! I wonder how the carrots are doing floating (?) in that water-filled bowl!
Hearing about the carrots being goldfish must have reminded me about THEINCIDENT that happened to me a long time ago when I was fourteen. My cousins were visiting our house for for a few days or maybe one day. That’s not the really important part. Their parents and my parents were drinking coffee and talking in the breakfast room. The children were driving them crazy. I was the oldest and two years older than their oldest. There were five of them and one of me.
So their mom said…
I have a great idea! Tricia (me)…walk all of the kids down to Gibson’s (a small Walmart type store). Let them each buy a little toy and then walk back. And she gave me some money.
Gibson’s was just a couple of blocks away and we did fine walking and even crossing a street. When we got into the store, I gathered all the children around and gave them a lecture…good practice for when I became a teacher. I told them that we would…
STAY TOGETHER, NOT RUN, NOT SCREAM, NOT CRY. BASICALLY ACT JUST RIGHT OR THERE WOULD BE NO LITTLE TOYS!
They all shook their heads up and down. They promised. As soon as we started walking towards the toy department… the oldest child ran as fast as he could in the opposite direction. The rest of us did not follow my very fair rules and all screamed at him to stop. He kept going. I was beyond furious. I had never been so furious in all of my fourteen years.
We looked all over the store and could not find him at all, so we walked back to the front door of the store and waited. We saw him walking towards us looking like a rat that fell into the creek and could barely walk.
The child (twelve years old and he should have known better) was soaking wet. His hair was flying every which way but the right way. Water was dripping down his face. An awful sight.
I screamed (another scream)…”What have you been doing? You look crazy!” Honestly, it was just downright embarrassing. And then he said…
“Tricia…don’t you understand? I stuck my head in the fish tank! All I wanted to do was to see what the world looked like for a fish. Doesn’t everyone think about that?
That twelve year old boy is a successful writer now. He has imagination and creativity galore! I cannot help but think…why in the world didn’t I stick my head in that fish tank?
Happy St. Patrick’s Day…And Keep Celebrating All During the Weekend!!
When a good friend graduated from college, I sent him a card to congratulate him and wish him well in graduate school. I received a copy of the following poem from him as an early graduation present…I would not finish college for another year or so. He was two years older and much wiser than me at that time. We had worked together on the college newspaper, The Pine Log.
As a member of the college newspaper staff, he had been the Editor and I had been a Copy Editor. Directing his life with the poem’s philosophy, Robert McCullough absolutely achieved high levels of success. Thank you, Robert! Without knowing it, you gave me a focus and a plan for life.
When I first read this poem, I realized that luck in life depends on what you put into it. It is truly amazing that one small gift can make such an appreciated difference!
Desiderata – Words for Life
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
The meaning of the poem’s title…Desiderata are the things considered necessary or highly desirable. The poet is listing things that possibly could be desirable in life!
Telluride, Colorado is just different. Sure..Telluride’s beauty is undeniable. The ski slopes in winter are not particularly crowded. Telluride is not a massive ski resort, as compared to others that we have visited. The shops are expensive, but the sweaters for sale are simply the best. Guess what…you don’t need to be wearing one of those high priced sweaters to feel at home in Telluride! Being yourself is enough.
Telluride is sort of like being in Austin…but this Austin has mountains and snow and biking trails that seem to reach the sky. You might remember from another post that Austin’s motto is “Keep Austin Weird”. Telluride might adopt their own motto…such as “Keep TellurideEclectic”. From the fun people to the fanciful architecture to the old fashioned ice cream parlor, Telluride is a unique combination of friendly people and a different way to live. Telluride is a place for the free spirit to live…perhaps a free spirit with deep pockets of money.
As Christopher Solomon says in his article “36 Hours in Telluride, Colorado (The New York Times, 12/10/2015): “Beauty and great skiing keep pulling the money here, and that keeps refreshing the scene. But it’s the people who make this place interesting-a quirky stew of Patagonia-clad men who look as if they came straight from base camp; flushed women direct from their 10-mile runs; still others reciting poetry in bordello-wear at a Colorado Avenue bar; and gray-poneytailed hippies who play ‘Sugar Magnolia’ so often you’d think Jerry Garcia never went to that great jam fest in the sky. Telluride isn’t a just a ski area; it’s a way of life.”
Telluride is located in the San Juan Mountains…the southwestern part of Colorado…49.6 miles from Ouray and 65.7 miles from Montrose. We have visited Ouray multiple times and I wrote a post about this equally interesting Colorado town a few months ago. Honestly, it is less expensive to stay in Ouray and drive over to enjoy Telluride. The drive is outstanding and worth the effort. Better yet…rent a jeep and drive to Telluride on the jeep trails…it does take a bit of nerve and some jeep driving practice!
A must see in Telluride…Bridal Veil Falls
When our children were still in elementary and middle school, we met our very good friends in Ouray. Their two daughters were in elementary school…so there were eight of us all together. They had been going to Ouray for years and knew the jeep trails backwards and forwards. We had never been to Ouray, but had rented jeeps quite a few times in Red River, New Mexico. So…surely we knew what we were doing! My husband was doing great driving our jeep until we got to Bridal Veil Falls.
When we were very close to the falls…we had to turn around. The pass that we planned to take was closed because there was still too much snow. The temperature was 101 degrees when we left Texas. Just a not so subtle reminder of why I was really supposed to live in Colorado!
In order to turn around, we had to back up incredibly close to the edge. Our son and their five year old daughter were “helping” by giving my husband continuous advice on backing up.”EEK…WHOA…STOP!” yelled the two helpers who quickly ended up standing outside of the jeep during the maneuvers!
However, Bridal Veil Falls met all of our expectations. The waterfalls are 365 feet in length and are the tallest free falling waterfall in Colorado (according to the Telluride Tourism Board). Many people bike, hike and drive four-wheel drive vehicles up the road to the falls. Telluride is very near perfect any season.
Peaceful, friendly, challenging, old fashioned buildings…yet modern at the same time. Telluride…a place to enjoy the mountain views as well as the warm small town atmosphere!
I almost went to Walmart for groceries last week. I had a ton of things to do that day and the last thing I wanted was to face the crowds at a huge, overcrowded store. Therefore, I opted for a smaller “just a grocery store” type place. At Walmart, I tend to wander up and down the cooking utensil aisles, the “put it together yourself” furniture aisle, the socks aisle because I like crazy socks and…well…you name it, I am on that aisle.
It is typical for me to spend thirty minutes at Walmart before I have even spotted one banana or loaf of bread. I am pitiful. I just like to look at junk and non-junk that I absolutely do not need. I am also instinctively drawn to any aisle that has office supplies. I have enough paper clips. Wait…let me check…I have enough plain paper clips. I do not have any of the brightly colored ones. I will write that down as a need.
However, last week I fought the tug of Walmart and went to the smaller grocery…that I refer to as the “incredibly civilized store”. It is fancy. There is quiet music and there are quiet people. Not one person has ever rushed passed me with their grocery cart as if they are late to their own wedding. And…best of all…they have a deli filled with delectable cheeses and delicacies from anywhere in the world. And…beautiful flower in beautiful vases. You see…this store appears to be the Neiman-Marcus of grocery stores. Like I said… incredibly civilized. And far more expensive than my dear Walmart Supercenter.
I always felt much safer at the civilized store. Simply less people. I felt safer until last week.
While shopping at the “civilized store”, I was looking through the large selection of jams and jellies from other countries. One jar that I wanted was on a lower shelf, so I bent down to get it. I suppose it was instinct that made me stand back up and look at my cart. Actually, my cart was right beside me. Before I bent down to retrieve the jar, there was not one person on the aisle with me. Nada! I remember thinking that I would never be on an aisle with no other people at Walmart.
When I stood back up, there was a man with his hand on a bag of potatoes that was in my cart. The bag was right behind my purse. He jumped back when I stood up and said…
“Did they say they wanted potatoes?” and then he said…”Oh, you’re not my wife!”.
He then walked away as quickly as possible. It was such an odd encounter that I followed him and he had totally disappeared. The aisle was very close to the check-outs and the front doors. I looked everywhere for that man…not to be found.
I knew immediately that he was most likely up to “no good”. Perhaps I should have yelled right away for help. I did quickly tell the store manager what had happened and they looked on the security camera footage. Evidently, this was certainly not the first reported incidence. Very scary.
Without instinct or intuition, I would probably have stood up to find a cart without a purse and maybe a parking lot without a car. One click on my key fob and he could have found my car. It was parked on the row closest to the door. Lesson learned. Be careful. Be watchful. Even in the “civilized” store…which really turned out to be not so safe at all.
Can it be safer at a more crowded store? Sometimes! At least, I did not buy any more pens or pencils. At least, I bought some very good cheese. At least, I know that I am shopping for groceries at Walmart today!