Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Special Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day was special for me. I have been doing a lot of things lately that are way out of my comfort zone in many ways. Spending time with a wonderful man has been quite an experience. Dave is so good to me and the more time we are together, the more I appreciate what he has to offer.  

We have a lot in common with our love for sports and our educational careers. He is very respectful of my role on the Governing Board and encourages me to do as much as I feel I should.  That says a lot to me.

He is currently staying in a retirement community in Apache Junction with a golf course and a lot of amenities. Last night they had a Valentine's Day Dance there with a live band. The band played a lot of songs from the 50's and 60's.  Although I haven't had much opportunity to do so, I love to dance. Many nights I put on my music and dance around the house to get my "steps" in--not a pretty sight!  However, he also likes to dance so we went last night.

We went to dinner first at a Mexican restaurant owned by an acquaintance of mine. It was super crowded, even as early as it was in the late afternoon. I generally try to avoid restaurants on Valentine's Day and this was a perfect example.

The dance was really fun with the exception of "too many old people" being there!  Haha!  I am just in denial, I am thinking!  What was really great was to see so many people having such a great time!  It was such a fun night and once again, we had a wonderful time together.

Dave leaves at the end of the month to go home to Montana. He is planning on coming back for St. Patrick's Day and I am planning a trip to see him the first part of April.  I don't know what the future will bring, but I do know that I am enjoying every minute of our time together right now!  What a nice, kind and gentle man he is! 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Very Nice Weekend

This weekend has been a pleasant surprise in my life.  A lot has happened and it has been nice.

I met a gentleman friend a little over a month ago.  We have gone out several times and have talked and texted.  I am absolutely not used to this.  Although I have "dated" here and there since I retired, it has mostly been "there."  Prior to that, my dating experiences have not been the best.  And on top of that, I am living alone for the first time in many years (and not very often during the years).  I have really enjoyed being alone in my house and not having to pick up after anyone or anything.  

My life is full and I enjoy it.  However, it has been nice to have someone who cares in a different way.  

This weekend we had a great time.  It is the first time we have spent extended time together.  Friday afternoon we went to the movies and then had a beer at BRI.  I told him I would fix dinner Friday so I got steaks and barbecued them.  We also had  baked potatoes, zucchini, salad and beer bread. 

After watching a game, we went outside and I built a fire in the fire pit.  It was really great to sit, talk and listen to music with a great fire.

Saturday afternoon we went to dinner and then took the light rail to the ASU basketball game.  ASU won so that made it even better.

Dave is a retired teacher, counselor, coach and administrator.  He loves sports and we have a lot in common.  He lived in Washington, Idaho and is now back in Montana.  He is just here for the winter so he can golf, swim and play pickle ball!!

In addition, he grew up (and now again lives) in Butte, Montana.  He has "copper" in his blood  like I do!  He grew up in an Italian Catholic family as opposed to an Irish Catholic family for me--but many similarities!

He is very thoughtful and brought these beautiful flowers on Friday afternoon.  I appreciated it very much.

And an added good thing--both Diego and SEAMUS love him!!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Another Year of Community Service

January is the beginning of the new year of my four year board term.  We are elected in a November election and then take office the first of January.  Last year I was elected Board president and it was quite a year.   The superintendent that was in place when I was elected, resigned in June. We had an incredible interim superintendent in Suzanne Zentner, who had been the executive director of Talent Management.  Suzanne served the District well in this role from June until October.  She continues to be an integral part of our leadership team and I so value her contributions.

We went through the Arizona School Board Association to find a new superintendent.  Shane McCord was selected in September and started the first of October.  What an amazing four months we have had with Shane at the helm!!  GPS is on its way back (in my humble opinion) to being the best District in Arizona.

For the past four months, I have been able to truly serve the District as a board member and be a part of some incredible happenings.  Because public education is underfunded and a myriad of other issues, it will always be a difficult job, but it has truly been a pleasure working with the other Board Members and the administration, faculty, staff, students, and parents.  

We had our organizational meeting last week and I was touched to be elected Board President for another year.   I look forward to the next three years of service to GPS.   It will be a difficult, but extremely important journey and I believe in the people we have in place!

As I look back on my wonderful educational career, I am blessed to have had the experiences that I have had and the wonderful relationships that have been built through the years.  

When I retired in July, 2015, I was worried about what I would do with my life after so many years (and hours) of working.  I shouldn't have been as my days are filled.  

I can continue to count these past three years as part of my career in education from being a substitute principal in Gilbert, to working with ASU and mentoring a principal, to my time on the Board.  Not many people can say that they have had a career that spans 47 years.   I had 44 years of "regular" employment in the schools to now.  Although I don't get paid anything, I am getting way more than a paycheck could ever bring.   

I have three more years on the Board which will bring me to 49 years (as I am counting this year in the 47).  I don't know what three years will bring, but I may just have to run for one more term to get 50 years in!  Who knows?   But as I said previously, I am blessed in more ways that I can express!!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Twenty Eight Years

Twenty eight years ago today, we moved into our house on Gary Way in Gilbert.  I remember being so excited to have this new house that I had a lot of input into it being built.  I wanted a house with a basement so that we could have a pool table and a fun place to be.

At the time, there were very few houses in the area.  I was able to choose the lot as well as the floor plan.  The houses are really close together and I was able to get a corner lot with no houses on one side or in the back.  That has proven to be a really good thing.

Having had the house in Douglas for almost 100 years in our family, it is still a milestone to live in the same house for 28 years.  I love my house and I love the area that we are in.

As I grow older, this location will be great as there are so many stores, etc., close by.

I have been here by myself (for the most part) since mid-October.  I love having the house just to myself after so many years of having my kids (and various other people) living with me. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Good Friends, Good Times

I have written many times about the friendship I have with Elise and Jessie who live in Tucson.  They have been such dear friends and have been there for me through thick and thin.  Elise and her sister, Ann, lived across the street from us in Douglas when we were very young.  I don't know the exact number of years, but we have been friends for over 60 years.  Not many people can say that.
Like many friendships, there were times we saw a lot of each other and then there were years where we hardly did.  But it has never mattered.
When Judy had my 60th birthday party, Elise, Jessie and Elise's mom, Marge, came.  I went to Marge's birthday party a few years later and then to her memorial service.
During my five years in Douglas, Elise and Jessie were a gift for many reasons.  I spent time with them in Tucson to get away, which was greatly needed.  Every year, we go to the cabin for a few days at least twice.   We went this past fall and have a trip planned for April.  They will be up in February as we are going to see Bill Maher. Needless to say, I look forward to being with them. 
I went to Tucson on Saturday and stayed until Sunday.  We sat around and talked in the afternoon and then went to dinner at our favorite place when I go down--The Outback Steakhouse.  Unfortunately, food hasn't tasted very good to me lately and I didn't get to enjoy my prime rib like I usually do.
Elise's daughter, Tanyge, came with us and spent the night.  I have gotten to know her and she is fun.
Elise and Jessie had this sign waiting for us when we got there.
Needless to say, I had another great visit and look forward to seeing them again in February (if not sooner)!

Here is a picture of Elise and her precious son, Chris.  Elise and Jessie are both so dedicated to his care.  I admire them MUCHO!
The only "problem" that I have when I go down there, is I have to sleep on a bed with a U of A bedspread!!!  The sacrifices we make for our good friends............

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Facebook Post from a Former Student

I have been so privileged to know former students from both my teaching days and my years as principal at Gilbert El.  Most are adults now and I love connecting with them.

This post was on Facebook this weekend and it says it all to me.  It really means a whole lot and confirms why my many years in education is the best.  I am so blessed!


Monday, January 15, 2018

Carmen Agra Deedy, Storyteller Extraordinaire!

Several years ago, I found a children's book at a workshop that was held at Gilbert El.  This special book, "The Last Dance," has become my absolute favorite book ever.   It is a beautiful story about the cycle of life and the importance of family.   I have used it many times when I have had to give a eulogy and always keep copies of it when someone loses a loved one.
I met Carmen at the IRA in Chicago awhile back and she was delightful.  When I was the superintendent in Douglas, we were fortunate to have her come two different times to tell her stories to our kids there.  She was beyond amazing.
When I got on the school board, there are many things I want to help accomplish, but I have two major goals that I am going to really work hard to make happen before my time is us.  I have done one and that is bring Carmen to Gilbert.
She was here this past Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and told her stories to over 7000 third, fourth and fifth graders.  It was an incredible three days.  She did nine sessions and never told the same story.  And each one of the stories was unique in itself.  She had the kids (and the entire audience) in the palm of her hand.  To me, seeing an entire auditorium full of children totally engaged with smiles on their faces was PERFECT in every way.  
Although her stories are funny, they all have a point to them.  There was a few times where I got a bit teary. 
The response from the teachers and other adults was equally amazing.  EVERYONE enjoyed her!  Our librarians did an incredible job of giving the children background on Carmen and her books.  The District administrations was extremely supportive.  It could not have been a better three days.
Carmen has become a friend and I value that so much.  She is truly a warm, compassionate and real human being and I am so  proud she came to Gilbert. I know she will be back sometime in the future.
Here is a quote that I got from a storytelling website:
"At the most basic level "Telling the Story" is a means of transmitting ideas from one person to another. [1] Storytelling is a part of life, intrinsic to most cultures. They help people make sense of the world--life’s experiences, dilemmas and hardships. Stories can educate, inspire and build rapport. They are a means of communicating, recreating, and helping preserve cultures [2] by translating memories into a more concrete manner that can be handed down verbally or in written form. Telling the story can provide the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of one’s experiences and oneself."