Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year 2017!

I was remembering tonight the many wonderful New Year's Eves that I spent with my wonderful cousins.   We usually went to Durant's (or as my mom called it, Duranti's) for dinner and then back to Yaya's.  I would always spend the night there.   It was so fun with Tony and Yaya, Pat and Phil, Cecilia and Jay, and others through the years.   I miss those times as they were the best.   I am so grateful for my cousins and I miss both Tony and Phil.    New Year's Eve will never be the same for me!!

This has been an eventful year.   I have posted so many times about my wonderful Aunt Teresa and the decisions we have had to make for her in these past few months.   I went to visit her today at the group home.   She is in wonderful place, but when I got there today, she said she was almost ready for me to take her home.    She hasn't really asked that much since she has been at the home, but it still gets to me when she asked.   The last month she was here at my house, she asked every day that I take her home.   I have said this over and over again, but at the end of 2016, I still believe it.  I HATE Alzheimers!!   It is such a sad way to to spend the end of your life's journey robbed of the dignity of your brain.  But she is happy and in a good place.   I love Kathy and Joel, the caregivers.  They are so good to her.   Although I wish that this had not happened, I know that this was the best we could do for her at this point in her life.  

Tomorrow, January 1, 2017, I will officially be a Governing Board Member for Gilbert Public Schools.  Although I was sworn in earlier this month, the term doesn't start until tomorrow.  I am excited and a bit nervous about this new experience in my life.  I just know I will do the very best that I can always.

Yesterday I had lunch with one of my former Gilbert El kiddos.   She is amazing and is doing a lot politically in Arizona.  I am so proud of her and so glad to have reconnected with her.     That is the best part of this journey for me--to see so many of my former students doing so well.  I have such hope for our future because of these wonderful young adults.

It is a quiet evening for me.  I am "home alone" and it is certainly not anything to make a movie over. I have relaxed and watched some football and a couple of shows that I had not seen before.   It is so weird to just sit and relax.   Haven't done that for awhile and it has taken me a bit of time to get used to this new phase of my life.

The good thing is that I can fix anything I want for dinner.  I had thought about ordering out, but decided to make cauliflower and cheese soup.   I have experimented with this recipe for quite sometime, and tonight's came out delicious.      

There are a lot of fireworks going on.   The pugs have been okay, but Maya keeps barking.  I know I won't make it until midnight, but will put the doggie door down when I go to bed in hopes to keep them from barking and running outside!!

I am hopeful for 2017, but am still worried about the climate in our country right now.  I hope that what is going on leads to some dialog so that we can get past some of the awful "stuff" that has happened over the last year.   We need to be accepting and kind for all.   It is sad that having differences of opinion has lead to so much contention.     My hope is that we can come together and figure this out before it is too late.  I HATE HATRED!!!

It is almost the New Year in New York.  I will be awake for that, but hope to be asleep before it happens here in Arizona.  My sleep patterns have been so off for the last several months.    And that takes its toll.

I am so thankful for the wonderful family that we have and the incredible circle of friends that I have.  It is what is most important!!

So HAPPY NEW YEAR and hope that 2017 will bring peace, understanding and acceptance for all of us!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Embarking on a New Endeavor

It doesn't seem possible that 2016 is almost over.   It has been an eventful year is so many ways.     I have been thinking over the last few days about all that has happened this past year and the new adventure that I am embarking on in less than two weeks.  

I have written about my dear friend, Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch in the past.   She is one of the most amazing humans I know.   I had posted one of her quotes awhile back about the importance of listening.   She believes that there are three things that are important in any pursuit--one of them being active listening.

I love the other two and know how important all three are to being successful in any endeavor. 

""First embrace your own story, because you can not understand where you are going until you have understood where you have been. And when you think no one knows, remember YOU KNOW! So hold on to that as your measure of ethics."

"Often in our pursuit for future endeavors, we unintentionally create distance from our past. Instead, take the good things that helped contribute to who you are today and integrate that into the workplace in a positive way. For example: if you learned something in a unique and effective way, teach someone else that technique."

"Embrace the story of others."We sometimes think of diversity as us versus them, but everyone has a story."

"Letting down your guard in business is never an easy task. Besides wanting to maintain a certain professional tone, we all have our own pre-existing notions about one another-which can sometimes be a barrier that blocks us from being open to different ideas. Remember, when working together you are all on the same team! So, drop those notions and focus on combining your differences for the good of the business"

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A December to Remember

I am not a big fan of all of the hoopla of the holidays.   Never have been other than when I was a little kid and my kids were little.   I don't like to decorate and more than decorating it is taking down the decorations that I hate so I haven't done any decorating in awhile.

This year with Teresa being in the group home was especially difficult.   It was our first Christmas not knowing what to expect.    We were able to take her to Christmas Eve at Yaya's and she came to my house for Christmas dinner.

I was a bit nervous about that because it was her first time being here and I wasn't sure what she would remember or if she would want to stay. The pugs were so excited to see her, especially my black ones because they were in Douglas with us.  It was really cute to see how they all reacted when they saw her.  She was perfectly content and was ready to go back to her home after dinner.  I don't think she remembered being here or at Yaya's but we will all cherish those memories.

December also brought the swearing in for the GPS Governing Board.  I can always count on my family to show their support and this was no different.   Even my friend, Patty, went down to the County office for the swearing in.   We went to lunch after to celebrate and it was a very nice day.   I know that I have a big job ahead of me, but I will do the very best that I can with some very difficult decisions that I know are going to be coming up in the next four years.

A former student of mine from my principal years invited me to a very special event.  He met his girlfriend when they were in fourth grade at Gilbert El.    He wanted to propose to her in the classroom where they met.   He arranged with his former sixth grade teacher to set it all up.   I was so privileged to be there and so touched that I would be invited.   I have absolutely loved the reconnected with so many of my former students from when I was a principal and how incredibly supportive they have been to me.   I have heard so many of them tell me that what was important was that I knew every child's name, I had lunch with them at least once during the year when they were the Top Cat, and I gave them a birthday balloon on their birthdays.   Other than the balloons, nothing else cost any money and the balloons were not that expensive.  It proves my belief that relationships are what it is all about.   

Yesterday I spent the day figuring out how to minimize the tax bill I will have to pay for selling the rental house in Mesa and then reinvesting that money in a house for Patrick in Oakland.   Tax laws definitely hurt the middle class in my opinion.   It doesn't seem quite fair to get dinged for something like this.    Fortunately, I didn't make any money on it when I rented it and put quite a bit into improvements so I don't think I will get hurt that badly for it.    But no matter what, it was worth it for Patrick to have a nice home to live in and not a studio apartment.   Oakland is gentrifying so it is a great investment.   People can't afford to live in San Francisco anymore and Oakland is so close that housing is really starting to become expensive.   It is amazing how much different the market is here compared to there.    It is a really cute house and they have made it a home.

For the most part, 2016 has been a good year.   What has been the most difficult is watching the mental decline of my dear Aunt Teresa.   In just one short year, she was able to be left alone for periods of time, to not being able to be left alone at all, to having to be put into a home with the care that she needed that I was unable to provide.   Although it was such a difficult decision, it was the right thing to do for her.    She is happy there and is very well taken care of by the people who own it.  I miss having her here, but we go see her just about every day.

I hope that 2017 will be a good year in many ways.  I pray that Teresa does not suffer and that she is able to have some dignity in her life. I hope that my tenure on the Board will be positive, even though I realize that decisions will be criticized.  I know that I have always done the very best that I could for children, teachers and staff and I will continue to strive to make the best decisions possible.  I went to lunch with some friends on Monday and this was in my fortune cookie.  Don't usually pay attention to these, but this one was interesting, to say the least:

Monday, December 26, 2016

A Holiday Message

Growing up in Douglas and going to Loretto Catholic School, my experiences were not very diverse. When I went to Douglas High School that changed, but not by a lot. I then went to ASU and became a teacher. I did my student teaching in a low income district and my special education student teaching in the Roosevelt District with the majority of students and teachers being African American. What an incredible experience that was! I got hired in Gilbert at Gilbert Junior High when it was a very small district and growth had not come yet. 

I spent 39 years there watching the growth and the diversity. Gilbert El was probably the most diverse school at that time, but we had several very nice subdivisions being built. I loved that we were able to bring everyone together and be a part of our school through those years. We had LDS kids, Catholic students,Christian and Protestant Religions, Muslim, and Jewish and I am sure many others. But what I was most proud of, is that we all were Gilbert El!! At one point, we had almost 1300 students so I saw the whole growth and decline that happens in a community like Gilbert. 

My point on this post is that through my last 45 years of being in education, I have worked with people from many cultures, communities, religions and belief systems because that is what our country has always been about. I have lived through growth and then decline but no matter what, the message was still the same--we care about our kids and families no matter who they are. 

I know this is long, but in honor of all of the many and diverse religions and children I have worked with, I am wishing everyone a very peaceful holiday season no matter what your beliefs are. Just remember that kindness and acceptance are what it is all about and our children are who will continue to make this country the greatest country in the world. We, as adults, need to provide the best to keep that happening. It is critical!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Eve at Yaya's

 From our Scott Family Facebook page:
Teresa was so cute tonight and so excited to be with us. My dear friend, Louise, who is Jewish, offered to bring her over to Yaya's because we didn't know how long she would be able to stay. It went great. She ate well, drank a beer, got her picture taken a lot, held babies and got lots of hugs and loves. She got tired around 7:15 so Louise took her back. It was perfect. Kathy, her caregiver had her looking so nice and all dressed up. We are going to try to bring her here to my house tomorrow for dinner and see how that goes. Although it was so different than past years, it was still so special. 
I am so thankful to my cousins here in Arizona as well as all of the rest of you far away who still check in about her. We have a very special family. I know we know it, but I want to say thank you for your love for Teresa, especially these past several months. During the time I was with her in Douglas and she could still communicate ok, I know how important that was to her. And I know how honored she was through the years at family weddings and events to be considered the matriarch and get such special treatment from all of you. I know that I am thankful for the unconditional love she always gave each and everyone of us--always finding the best and positive about situations. But I am equally as thankful for all of the family who have visited, called and supported her on this difficult journey. We would not have been able to have the incredible 90th birthday/reunion without all of the original cousins support in pulling it off. 
So on this Christmas Eve and weekend, thank you to our wonderful cousins and the family friends for so many years who have supported Teresa and us in this difficult journey that is part of life. Despite how our family has grown and become so diverse, I believe that we all still know the importance of family connections and our family history. Because of our over 100 year history in Arizona and in Douglas, several members of this group are old, close family friends. I also am thankful for their many years of friendship. Many families don't have the incredible connections that we have. My wish for the future is we continue to do the best we can to continue this wonderful relationship and remember where we all came from.