Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy 87th Birthday, Teresa!

I have written a lot about our wonderful Aunt Teresa over the last year and a half on my blog. Today is her 87th birthday and our whole family is very blessed to have her in our lives. She is truly the matriarch of the Scott Family.

Teresa is in Douglas for her birthday at the house at 858 14th Street. The amazing story behind this is that she was born in this house 87 years ago!! That would be a story in itself, but in Arizona, it is even more of a story!!

I wish we could all be there for this birthday!! Thank you, Teresa, for your unconditional love, your incredible faith, and your cheerful outlook on life. May we all have just a piece of what you are. You are truly an inspiration!!!

Cameron wants to wish you a very happy birthday and he speaks for all of your nephews and nieces. To listen to this, please turn off the music on the side of the blog. Just put your cursor on the "II" on the playlist and it will turn it off. I did leave "Danny Boy" on as the song for your birthday because it has a special meaning for us!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Amid Chaos, A New School Year Awaits......

When we returned from our vacation back east, I had a message on my phone from the district person in charge of air conditioning. He wanted to let me know that the new air conditioning that was being installed, was not going according to how he had planned for it. As a result, there would be no a/c anywhere on campus (except my office) until at least July 24. I have been doing this long enough to know that promises made by construction people very rarely work out.

I returned to school on Monday, July 13, to find that my office was fairly cool. However, all of the ceiling tiles were out in the main office causing it to be very warm. There were workers everywhere in the office trying to get the air conditioning working. In addition, we are getting a new fire alarm system, so the workers were there working on that, too. So much for the peace and quiet of July when the office is closed, I don't have to answer phones, and I can get a lot done. By Wednesday, I was very frustra
ted with all of the noise, chaos, and warm temperatures!! Of course, last week was record heat, even for our part of Arizona!!

Hoping for a better week, I went to school on Monday, only to find more ceiling tiles out, more workers working, and more noise than the week befo
re!! In addition, the new fire alarm system was "beeping" over and over--not the loud noise, but a very annoying one anyway. I went out of my office and said "that I was going to beat the hell out of someone if that noise didn't stop." An older gentleman (probably younger than me) who was working out there looked at me and quickly went over to the system and found the button to push to turn it off. Of course, I thanked him and went back to my office!!

I was there for a little over an hour before all of the district internet and email was also down!!!!! I had intended to send an email to the teachers letting them know about the problem with the a/c, but couldn't get on the email. I was able to pull up the internet and decided to try to get the message out through Facebook as many of our staff participate in this. Administrators are supposed to have access to these sites in order to monitor issues with students. However, WEBSENSE was in full swing blocking my access to Facebook. At that point, I went home and posted a message on Facebook. The comments are priceless!!

This morning after all of the rain and the high humidity, things were the same--just more people in the office that I didn't know and lots of loud noise and high temperatures!! I tried to work for a few hours before the luncheon that we had at 11:30. That is when I noticed that my printer was gone. I had trouble with it in May and one of the district people came and looked at it and said it was fine (when I say looked, he stood in front of it and looked). I reported it again in June and someone came and took it yesterday. I had an email telling me that a part had to be ordered. No worry--I just could print from the office printer. So I did some work and went to print and there was NO CONNECTION to the office printer (plus I would have had to walk through men on ladders and men with wires coming from the fire alarm). So I politely sent an email to the technology department asking if they could come back and reconnect my computer so I could at least print on the office printer. The response was that a part had been ordered and when it came in, they would bring my printer back. I will not tell you what my polite response to that email was and who I bcc'd!!!

We had a wonderful lunch at Carrabbas sponsored by the Gilbert Education Foundation. where the food was good and the building was comfortable. I went back to the office and lasted about 30 minutes!!! As I was leaving, I ran into the district person who is in charge of a/c. He, of course, is very frustrated with the contractors and the promises that have been given. So now I am officially worried!!!!!! Who knows what tomorrow will bring........

The one certain is the on August 10, approximately 750 children will be at school at 8:13 in the morning. This much I know is true--we will be ready for them no matter what has transpired in the previous weeks!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ellen!

Today is Ellen's birthday--I won't say which one. Ellen is the cousin who is closest in age to me--just a little bit older!!! Ellen is the oldest daughter of my mother's brother, Tom. She grew up in Washington D. C.

I didn't officially meet Ellen until 1965 when I went back to Washington for a national conference. However, we had been writing to each other for several years and I felt as though I knew her very well. This was when writing letters was the best form of communication. Long distance phone calls were expensive, as well as cross country trips.

That summer I was able to stay in Washington for another week or so after the conference and then fly home. I had an incredible time and got to see and do so much in our nation's capital. And I loved getting to know Ellen and her sisters!!

Ellen and her sister, Ann, came to visit us in Arizona in 1967. The three of us then went out to California to Disneyland, etc.

One of the things that I remember about Ellen is how much she liked music. She plays the piano and knows a lot of Irish music. She is also VERY smart!!!

Ellen and her husband, Nick, have five children--four daughters and a son. Two of her daughters are twins. She also has two grandchildren. Ellen and Nick live in Pittsburgh. We don't get to see each other very often and I was so happy to be able to visit with her over the 4th of July weekend.

I hope you have a very happy birthday, Ellen. I also hope that we can get together more often as I always enjoy our visits!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Visit to the Vietnam War Memorial

During our trip back east two weeks ago, one of the many places I wanted to visit was the Vietnam Memorial called the Wall. I attended college from 1967 to 1971 which was during the time of this war. I vividly remember all of the protests and the anger that was pervasive in our country during that time.

I was trying to explain all of this to Cameron. It is so hard to explain to a ten year old the devastation of war and the difference between World War II and Vietnam.

Although ASU was mild compared to universities like Stanford, University of Wisconsin, and University of California/Berkley, I remember the protests that went on at ASU. Probably the scariest time was when the students in Ohio were killed by the National Guard causing riots on university campuses all ocross the United States.

I tried to explain to him how I personally felt about the Vietnam War. I was against it, but always felt so badly for how the soldiers were treated when they came home by the people in this country. I believe that our country learned a valuable lesson about how awful we treated our veterans.

There were also several young men from Douglas who I knew who were drafted during that time. Nine young men from Douglas were killed during this war and I knew most of them. I went to school from kindergarten through high school with some of them.

So visiting "The Wall" was something I wanted to do to remember that time in our history and the young men that I knew who died in Vietnam. One of my favorite children's books is "The Wall" by Eve Bunting. It tells the story of this Wall to children in a very heartfelt way. Children's books can often capture moments in time through the use of pictures and words that are simplistic, yet profound. If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it.

I found this poem on the website for the Vietnam War Memorial. It truly made me think about the cost of war to our nation and those troubled times more than 40 years ago.

"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.

Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own.

And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ana!

It has been awhile since I have done a happy birthday to any of my cousins on my blog. As I was looking at the July calendar, I knew that Ana and Charlie were married in July, but had forgotten that her birthday is also this month.

Ana lives in the San Francisco Bay area where she gre
w up. She is the third daughter of my mom's youngest brother, Bill. Bill and Rose had seven children. Although Ana is about 10 years younger than I am, I love being around her and visiting with her. For several years, when Patrick was a teenager, we went out to San Francisco for a few days during the summer and we always stayed with Ana and Charlie.

Ana and Charlie have two children, Steven and Ma
deline. Two years ago Steven and Charlie came out to go to an ASU game with us so that Steven could see what ASU is like. He decided to attend San Franscico State instead. Ana's dad, Bill, was a proud Sun Devil!!

When we had Teresa's 85th birthday party two summers ago, several of the San Francisco Scotts couldn't come because of a prior commitment the weekend of her party. So they came out the weekend before. It was so nice because Teresa was able to visit with them without so many people being around and I got to do a "trial run" of the menu for the birthday party!!

Ana and Charlie were married in July of 1987. I was going to Douglas for my class reunion that weekend. My mom and Teresa took Kerri and Patrick to San Francisco for the wedding. Ana's mom had died unexpectedly about a year before and my mom and Teresa were so thrilled to be the "stand in moms of the bride." They talked about it so much when they came home and how much it meant!

Ana is always so much fun to be around. She gets
a little twinkle in her eye and you know she is thinking up some mischief!!! Charlie is one of the nicest guys in the world. As I said before, I love to spend time with them and wish we had more opportunity for that.

I have said this many times in the different posts that I have done for family is so nice when not only are they cousins, but they are also friends!

So, Ana, I hope that you have a wonderful birthday this year and I hope to see you soon!! I know Teresa will be giving you a call tomorrow.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The News Is Good!

Judy and I went with Teresa to the pulmonary specialist this afternoon. Judy had been around getting as much information from the other doctors for us to have the appointment today. The doctor was running a bit late, and when he came in I could see why. He has a wonderful "bedside" manner and really took a lot of time with us and asked a lot of questions and answered a lot for us.

She had a CAT scan in March that didn't show anything. We didn't have the full scan from the one done in June, but he felt that it is most likely scar tissue which he saw a lot of in her lungs. He suggested that we wait two months and do another CAT scan then which will be three months from the last one. He said that if there is anything fast growing that she probably wouldn't feel as good as she does and she would have a lot of symptoms that she doesn't have. He was very kind and told her that if she was very worried and would lose sleep over this, that he would do things more aggressively, but based on all of the information that he has, he feels it is best to wait.

There is still a chance it could be something, but if it was something that grew so quickly between March and June, there is probably very little that can be done at her age. However, she is not exhibiting any other signs of anything.

Of course, Teresa was darling with him. You could tell that he really enjoyed her and he was very patient. She told him about her faith in God and I told him about her enjoying a vodka tonic. He asked her what she was doing when he got off work tonight because he thought he might like to join her for a drink!!!

We all came away from the appointment feeling much better about everything. She, of course, is leaving everything in God's hands.

So thanks for all of the comments on the blog. She loved reading them today and got a bit teary as she was reading them. Thanks for the emails and the phone calls. Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. She is such a wonderful human being and I know we have all learned so much from her about living life to the fullest!!

The picture I posted here is with Teresa, my mom, Uncle Tom, Uncle Bill, and Uncle Matt at our family reunion in Douglas in 1992.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Reflections on the Fourth of July Weekend

This past week spent in the Nation's Capital has been an important one to me for a variety of reasons. The first time that I visited Washington D.C. was in the summer of 1965 when I attended a national convention for an organization that I belonged to in high school. After the convention was over, I was able to stay an extra two weeks to visit with my cousins who lived there. I was able to see so much of Washington D.C. and the surrounding area during that time and I loved all of our country's history that takes place and took place in this area.

I was back in 1970 for a wedding of one of my cousins and haven't been back since. Every few years our cousins from back east have a family reunion. Most of the relatives that attend are from their mother's side of the family as they are mostly from the east coast. My Aunt Teresa attends all of them and has always had such a gre
at time. This year we were able to go with her and get to visit with our cousins that we don't see as often.

Over the course of the past year that I have written my blog, I have talked so much about the importance of our family to Teresa and how she is truly the matriarch of our family. All of my cousins love her dearly and she always has an honored place at family weddings and visits. Most people who know Teresa love her as she always sees the good in people and looks for the positives instead of the negatives in situations. Her strong faith in God has carried her through many good and bad times over the past almost 87 years. I admire this faith that she has.

Well, Teresa was in her glory at the farm visiting with her siste
r-in-law, Mary, and her nieces and nephews as well as Mary's family. She was up early every morning to get back to the farm and stayed late each night. She never appeared tired of these long days because she was in her element with family. She told stories of our family and of their dad, Tom, growing up in Douglas. She told the story that is probably my favorite one. My mom was about two years younger than Tom, but those of you who knew my mom will know that she was the fiesty one. My Uncle Tom had the same type of personality as Teresa. He was a kind and gentle man. When he was about 10 and they were attending Loretto School in Douglas, there was a boys' side and a girls' side for playgrounds. It was that way when I attended. Well, one day word got over to the girls' side that some kid was beating up Tom Scott. When my mother heard this, she flew over to the boys' side and proceded to "take care" of the boy who was beating up her brother. When the parents came to school to complain about their son being beaten up, the nun brought my mother (who was always very little) to the office so that they could see who beat up their son. It turned out that the boy was upset because the Scotts were "getting another baby--my Uncle Bill" and he was an only child.

On Sunday, we took her to our cousin Barbie's house in Maryland where she spent the night with Barbie, Joe, and Laura. Monday Pat and our cousin Lisa picked her up and brought her to our other cousin Judy and Neil's home, also in Maryland. We had dinner with everyone and Teresa was animated and talking and laughing about so many things. She has counted how many nieces and nephews that she has with spouses included and I think it is around 174. She tells anyone who will listen about how proud she is of this. And I can tell you that those nieces and nephews love her dearly.

We had reservations to spend Monday night in Baltimore as our plane was taking off fairly early from Baltimore on Tuesday morning. As we were driving on the freeway to Baltimore, she was talking to Kerri, Cameron and I about how much it meant to her that "her kids" got to come to this reunion this year. She wasn't able to finish what she was saying as she was crying.

Just before we left on this trip, I took her to a cardiologis
t appointment for a follow up on tests that they had run on her. The cardiologist found a mass on her lung on the CT scan that was done. She said it could be nothing serious or something very serious. She also doesn't want to see her back until she sees a pulmonary specialist to determine what it is.

I know that this was hanging over her head during this trip,
but she has the most incredible outlook about it. I know that it has worried me. Judy was able to get her primary care doctor to recommend a specialist and they called today with a cancellation so she has an appointment tomorrow.

I am hoping and praying that it is nothing serious as she means more to me than I can put into words. And I know that there are a whole lot of other people out there who feel the same way.

So no matter what happens tomorrow, this past week has been a special one for us and something that I will always cherish.

Even though I already put this picture of her on a post, I am doing it again as this truly captures her smiling face for all of us!

I am going to try to be like Teresa and see the best in things and try to have her wonderful attitude about life. One could only hope to be half as good a person as Teresa Scott is!! In this day and age when so many people call themselves Christians, yet they are unaccepting and so intolerant of anyone or anything that is different from what they believe, Teresa truly exemplifies what a true Christian should be!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Farm in Virginia

We have had an amazing Fourth of July weekend here in Virginia at Bristol Mines Farm. I have heard about what a great place "the farm" is for many years, but this is the first opportunity that I have had to visit it. This farm is owned by my Uncle Tom's family. Tom was my mother's brother who lived in the Washington D.C. area after leaving Douglas in the 1930's. He purchased it in the early 1970's. His children have kept the farm and his son, Tommy, and Tommy's wife, Michelle, hosted a family reunion.

The farm is 203 acres in the northern Virginia countryside, which is absolutely beautiful!! It overlooks the Rappahannock River. Kerri, Cameron, and Kayla went swimming and kayaking in the river. The kids also went fishing and Cameron caught a large mouth bass and a blue gill.

Our hotel is in Colonial Beach, about 15 minutes from the farm. We are right on the shore of the Potomac River and right where it feeds into Chesapeake Bay. Last night Pat, Kerri, and I walked down the beach and went into a restaurant/casino. As soon as we walked into the building, there was a sign that said "Welcome to Maryland." Apparently, as soon as you go into the river area, it is Maryland, not Virginia!

There are two pairs of bald eagles nesting on a pole in front of the hotel. It has been magnificent and so symbolic to see these graceful birds flying around. There are also several eagles down by the river at the farm.

It has been so fun to visit with our east coast cousins as we don't get to see them as often as all of the ones on the west coast. It has also been great to meet their cousins on their mom's side of the family. I have heard about many of them over the years, but had never met them.

Tonight we had our own fireworks show at the farm!! It was AMAZING!!!! The guys had a full "arsenal" of fireworks that they set off. It was as good as any fireworks show I have seen and something that could never be done in Arizona.

One of my favorite memories of this weekend is going to be when one of the little girl cousins went up to Tommy and asked when they could start playing "craps." He replied that they could play anytime they wanted to!!! Cameron is now an expert at playing craps. He had won quite a bit of money when it was time to leave tonight and Kerri returned it to the little kids!!

This weekend has been a completely different experience for all of us and I feel so fortunate to have been able to be a part of the reunion. Teresa has a wonderful time visiting with everyone. She is in her glory when she is surrounded by family!!

Tomorrow we will be dropping her off at one of the Scott cousin's houses in Maryland and then try to see some more of Washington D.C. We are hoping to visit a couple of the different Smithsonian Museums late tomorrow and Monday before heading back to Arizona on Tuesday.

It has been a great weekend. Thanks to Tommy and Michelle, our Aunt Mary, Ellen, Nick, Ann, Joe, Judy, Neil, Lisa, and everyone else who made it possible. Cameron will have some incredible memories of this weekend and all that he has experienced that is so different from Arizona!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Green Chili CAN Be "Terrifying"

So much has happened since we left Arizona last Thursday for the east coast. Aunt Teresa, Cameron, Cousin Pat and I flew out of Sky Harbor and arrived in Baltimore around 11:00. Kerri had been in Atlanta at the Model Schools Conference and she flew into Baltimore to meet us. She got there about 15 minutes before we did and we met her at baggage. We had a hotel at the airport and by the time we got our bags, picked up the rental car and got to the hotel, it was quite late.

We planned on doing some quick sightseeing on Wednesday in Washington D.C. before heading down to our cousins' farm in Virginia for a family reunion with our east coast cousins.

We left Pat and Teresa with our Aunt Mary in Bethesda and got to our hotel in D.C. Thursday afternoon. We met Katie for a late lunch and were joined by Ken and Kayla. Ken did some quick sightseeing with us and then left to visit some relatives.

I have so much to write about what we have been doing the past few days. I intend to post pictures and tell about our adventures, but it may not be until we get back next Tuesday as every moment has been taken it seems.

I do want to share something that I think was really funny. Different families have been responsible for meals at this reunion. The Arizona contingent was assigned meals with the Washington D.C. Scotts. I had emailed asking what they wanted us to make and asked if it was possible to get tortillas around here. There didn't seem to be much hope of getting any good tortillas so I offered to make my green chili rice. I was told that I could get green chilis here. I decided that they were probably the very small cans of green chilis. In order to make enough food for the many people at the reunion, it would require many of these small cans. So I decided to pack two of the large cans that I get at Sam's Club in two of the suitcases.

When I opened the suitcases the first night in Baltimore, there was a note from the TSA that my bags had been inspected. It didn't even occur to me these very large cans of green chilis would be "flagged" by the screening system at the airport!

After reading the notice in the suitcase, I looked at the cans. When I put them in the suitcases, they were fine. However, after the cross country plane ride, they had big dents in them. I have no idea if this was because of air pressure or
the way suitcases are treated by the airlines!!!

Anyway, I took the cans to the farm and they have been quite a conversation piece over the last few days. People from back east don't normally see cans that size of green chilis!!! So tomorrow I am fixing the green chili rice with the "terrifying" green chili that came all of the way from Arizona. And the best part is that these green chilis that are sold at Sam's, were grown and processed down near Douglas!!!

We have had a lot of laughs over this. I have so much more to share and will do so as time allows over the next few days. RIght now it is 1:00 a.m. (only 10:00 in Arizona). I need to get some sleep for another great day tomorrow. Everyone is having a wonderful time!!