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:

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