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."


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Finally Feeling Better

Since the end of December, I have been fighting a bug--not the flu kind.  Mine was more of an infection in sinuses and lungs.   I don't normally get sick and when I do, I usually can maintain and continue to do what I have to do.  

I went to urgent care on Wednesday because of a pounding headache that was caused by the sinus infection.  I felt so much better on Thursday and then the headaches hit again and were awful.

The guy who does my pool was here over the weekend to fix something and I told him about falling in the pool.  He said that could be the reason it has been so hard for me to get over it.  Hadn't thought about that.  Just glad that I am finally on the mend.

My friends, Jessie and Elise, have been really sick.  We are getting together this Saturday when I go to Tucson and I was afraid that we would have to postpone that, which would be very disappointing as they are so much fun!

Jessie does a blog and he hasn't been writing much.   I just read what he wrote and I want to "copy his words" as they are really profound and so true.  So thanks, Jessie, for what you wrote today.   You guys are the best!

From Jessie:

"You will come across people that have been hurt or broken in one facet or another....but you recognize the goodness in them...There are times though when you just have to realize that regardless of how much you want to help....some of those people need more than you are able to give.

"The moment you start to hate others (for no reason) you narrow and degrade your soul".

"The problem is not that you don't know your worth....the problem is that you're hanging around people who don't know what you're worth"..

I love my (me) time and being sick over the past few days allowed me to go deep inside of myself to pick my brain if you will.

Like my brother Dr. Herman Toles always tells me "Let Go" "Let God". It works indeed.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Ushering in the New Year!

I rarely get sick, especially since my asthma has gotten totally under control.  I use to have at least one asthma related episode every year, but I did my best to not allow it to get the better of me.

For the past several years, I have had a few sinus infections or bronchitis, but nothing major.   In August, I lost my voice off and on for about six weeks.  It happened the day of Teresa's burial.  I didn't really feel bad, but trying to talk at times was exhausting.

I didn't feel well over New Year's Eve weekend.  I had a mild case of bronchitis.  I was in the backyard hosing off the cool deck and the turf when I pulled the hose.  Somehow, I ended up in the pool.  It was COLD!!!  Fortunately, I was able to get out even though I was in shock from the cold and falling in the pool so quickly!  It took me a few hours to get warm, even after a hot shower and putting my pj's on.

Between coughing and sneezing, it was fairly miserable.  Lack of sleep didn't help.   On Tuesday, a headache was really bad.  I went to Urgent Care and have a very severe sinus infection.  I am thinking that the "December Swim" may have contributed to it a bit.

A strong antibiotic, cough medicine, and another prescription certainly have made a difference.    Even though I am not 100%, what a difference!

I am not good at being "sick" and I know that is part of the problem.  I can't seem to just rest.  With Patrick here, it was hard not to do things. I made him green chili burros and beans.  Last night Judy came over and fixed tostados which really helped.

Here's hoping that I got all of the bugs out of the way for the rest of 2018.  Looking forward to the second year of my four year term on the GPS Board. Things are looking up!!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Chunk, the Grand Pug!

For Christmas, I got Patrick a fawn male pug.  He had been wanting one for companionship for Paco when he is at work.  I found one and Cameron and I went an picked him up.  He is absolutely precious.  

I have had him for the last two weeks and have gotten very fond of him.  He is cute, smart and fun. When Patrick got here with Paco, he was thrilled to meet his new "dad" and "brother." I am not sure Paco was as excited to meet him.

Having a puppy around is a lot of work. He is especially adventuresome. He figured out how to get out the doggy door so I have to keep an eye on him. He follows Diego and Seamus around and they don't really want to be bothered with him.  It is funny to watch. 

I know all puppies are darling, but this one is special, I think.   I am going to miss him when he moves to Oakland and know I will have to go out and visit soon!!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Reflecting on 2017

I have to say that I am glad 2017 is over.   It seems as I get older, I am more anxious for a new year to start.

2017 brought a lot of changes, some good and some very sad.  I will start with the sad ones and go to the good ones.

We lost our incredible aunt Teresa on July 2.  It was a blessing as her last many months were not the best.  She was not the person we knew.  Even though she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, at 94, is it really that or is it just old age and dementia?  However, as with Alzheimer's and the saying that you lose someone twice--once when they do not have cognitive abilities anymore and then when they pass.  I believe that.

The one consolation I (we) have is that we did the very best for her during this difficult time.

But 2017 was the end of an era.  Our family has been in southern Arizona since 1903 and in Douglas since 1912.  The family home (858) was purchased in 1918 by our grandfather.  I had the privilege of growing up there.  My kids spent their summers there as did many of our cousins.  But the best part for me was the time that I spent down there with Teresa from 2010 to 2015.   

I spent a little over two weeks in October in Douglas cleaning out almost 100 years of "things."  I had help from Judy, Ken, Kerri, Cecilia and Jay.  However, I was there the whole time and got it done, even though I had dreaded it for many years.  The house sold immediately and it closed the end of November.  There is a new family living there now and I hope that they love it like we did.

Losing Teresa was harder for me that losing my mom.  I am not sure why, because my mom was the best and we were close.  I think it is because I had her much longer in my life and I lived with her for five wonderful years.

This is really not the same, but I lost my Lucy pug last March.  She had been with me through some very trying times and was my loyal companion.  I miss her, too.

The good things were my year on the GPS Board.  Much happened, but I believe for the greater good of a wonderful school district.  We have our new superintendent who truly understands the importance of relationships.  I think we are back on track to having GPS be one of the best districts anywhere.  We just need to work on the legislature to make them understand the importance of funding public education.

I won't even begin to get into the national politics.  All I can say is my mom would be absolutely appalled by what is happening.  I am concerned that we have lost focus on caring about people.  I hope I am wrong.

So here is to 2018.  I am hoping for better times in many ways.  It is so hard for me to imagine that I am the age I am.  I never thought about this part of my life and I hope that I can do it right!!