Goodbye to a Friend

Friday started out so wonderfully.  I knew it was going to be a great day because I was able to hit all the green lights on the way to work.  Seriously, not one red light.  When I got to work I thought that was pretty amazing!  My students were presenting their Genius Hour projects on Friday, and I was so excited for this.  You could feel the energy in my classroom when the students entered.  It was electric.  Friday was our minimum day which meant I was going to start my spring break at 12:56.  Yes, everything was lining up for a perfect day.  But, it wasn’t to be.

On Friday, I learned that a dear friend was not expected to survive complications from an aneurysm.  I am devastated and shocked.  I wanted to take a moment and share a few things about my friend, LaRie.  I met LaRie over 20 years ago when she transferred to the school I was teaching at.  The school was Pomerado Elementary in Poway.  Through the years at Pomerado, we formed a tight-knit friendship with other teachers at the school.  We lovingly referred to each other as the Pomerado Princesses.  Man, we went through everything together.  LaRie, Laura (another friend), and I were the youngest teachers on staff.  We were single back then.  We experienced the boyfriends and the breakups with boyfriends.  We all got married in the same year within months of one another.  I married Kevin  in February 1995.  LaRie married Tom in May, and Laura married Dean in August of the same year.  The three of us went through pregnancies together.  I was first, Laura followed, and then LaRie had her son, Michael.  Those were fun years.  We were truly a family at Pomerado.

Sadly, our Pomerado family split up.  A few of us moved to a new school, Shoal Creek (where I teach now).  Some of us remained at Pomerado.  LaRie was one who stayed.  We did not let the fact that we were separated stop us from being present in each others’ lives.  We decided to form a book club.  That way we would have to get together at least once a month and keep our family ties strong.  We laughed at the beginning because book club was just another excuse to have a party.  I think that is when LaRie gave our group the name “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Party.”  Yeah, we loved a party.  Sometimes we talked about the book we read, but mostly we talked about our families, and work, and what we were up to.  This was the best part of book club.

This is why it is so hard for me to believe that LaRie will no longer be with us.  Well, I know physically she won’t be with us.  But, her spirit is so strong.  I know she will continue to be present.  There are so many things I will miss about my friend.  She was always so assertive.  She was never afraid to speak her mind even if she knew people did not agree with her.  I always admired her for that and wished I could be more like her.  Family meant everything to her.  She was a loving wife to her husband, Tom.  She was a wonderful mother to her son, Michael.  She was so proud of her family and talked about them often.  LaRie always made you feel welcome.  She was always in for fun.  She had an infectious laugh.  However, the one thing I will miss the most about LaRie is how she always greeted me when I walked in the door.  “Hey Jude!”  This was always followed by a big hug.  Yes, I will miss that happy greeting and that hug the most.

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How Lucky Can I Be?

I am very fortunate to have people around me that I can call girlfriends. Two events this week reminded me how lucky I am to have these women in my life. There are two groups of gals I get together with on a consistent basis. When life gets hectic, these women are there to help me slow down my pace. They help me realize how important our connection really is.

Last night I spent a wonderful evening with girlfriends who belong to my book club. We decide on a book to read and then we gather at someone’s home for dinner, wine,  and conversation.  We lovingly refer to ourselves as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Party.  One evening, when the book club met at my house, my husband made a comment to us.  He said it didn’t sound like we were talking about the book.  It’s true.  Some of our conversation is based on the book, but the majority of our discussion is based on what is happening in our lives with work (we’re all educators) or with family.  Most of the women in this group I have known for 24 years.  That’s a long time.

On Thursday night, I had the opportunity to enjoy a Girls’ Night Out with my neighborhood girlfriends.  Again, we try to get together once a month to enjoy a movie or celebrate birthdays.  We have even gone on vacations togther.  On several occasions we have traveled to New York City for a fun girls’ weekend.  While there we run through Central Park, see a Broadway show, and shop at Tiffany’s for a bauble or two.  On Thursday night, we decided to see Lee Daniel’s The Butler.  The movie was great, but I just appreciated the company of my friends.  We all have children who are the same age and fortunately, our kids are also good friends.  Even our husbands enjoy the occasional Poker Night together.

I am so glad to be a part of both of these groups.  It’s always nice to know that these women will be there to support me through anything.  The friendships I have with these wonderful ladies is so valuable.  I love and appreciate them everyday.  I hope everyone gets a chance to experience friendship like I do.  It is priceless.  I am one lucky lady.  🙂

A Lazy Saturday

Today was a great day despite the sweltering heat.  It’s days like today when I wish I had a swimming pool or air conditioning.  I think I spent most of the day sweating!

I finally got around to getting my ten-frames put together for a math lesson.  In order to get it done, I had to go to work to run them off.  I brought my paper cutter home to get them cut apart.  I brought home a box of gallon ziploc bags to place the sets of ten-frames.  I convinced two of my daughters to come with me so they could at least sit in my air-conditioned classroom while I prepped everything.  They were so hot that they didn’t mind taking a ride to my school just to sit in the air conditioning!  I have yet to staple my art sketch books, but there is always tomorrow.  I am hoping it won’t be too hot.  I want to go for a short run, so I will have to get up early before the heat sets in.

Tomorrow I am going to take some time to read my book club book.  We are reading The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  Here is a summary of what the book is about.

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

I am only on Chapter 3, but so far I am enjoying the book.  I have many more books on my night stand waiting for me to read.  Many are teacher resources.  I just ordered and received Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer and I need to read Mind-Up which is a curriculum that encourages children to self-regulate their behavior and helps with concentration.  It is promoted by the Hawn Foundation.  My coworker told me about it, so I thought I would check it out.  I am still not sure how it all works.

Even though it is a three-day weekend, I am still thinking about work.  I guess as a teacher you never can get away from that.  I am still going to try and enjoy what is left of this weekend.