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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Family Fun Night

This weekend my children have a four-day weekend.  They have tomorrow off because it is Professional Growth Day throughout our school district.  Teachers will be attending in-services, so students have the day off.  I am envious.  They will get to sleep in while my husband and I head off for work.

In any case, my husband and I thought it would be nice to take our daughters out for dinner and a movie.  We haven’t done something like this in quite a while.  I think our daughters were preteens the last time we went out, all of us together.  We were trying to remember the last time we did this on our way to dinner.

The movie we went to see was Saving Mr. Banks, the story of how the movie Mary Poppins was made.  My kids love anything Disney, so we went to watch it.  The story was also about P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, and her life as a child.  We get to see where the inspiration for Mary Poppins came from.  It was a very touching movie, and I have to say, I got a bit emotional.  My husband and I both did since the story revolved around P.L. Travers and her relationship with her father.

We thoroughly enjoyed our evening out together.  My daughters even told us on the way home that we should do it more often.  That made me feel good.  Most teens don’t want to be seen with their parents.  One more thing for me to appreciate about my day!

Lazy Monday

I am ashamed to say that I didn’t do anything productive today.  Well, I take that back.  I did do some laundry.  But, other than that, it was a lazy Monday.  My husband and I have been off from work this week.  My husband has been spending most of his time at the beach, surfing.  He announced to me today he just needed to not be working so he could get all his projects done.  I second that emotion.  However, the reality is that we have 3 children.  Two are in various stages of orthodontia.  One is hopefully college-bound.  We need to work or win the lottery.

In the meantime, my husband and I are enjoying our time off from the rigors of work.  We are appreciating every moment until we have to get back to our regular grind.  Tomorrow, we will be celebrating the New Year with friends.  Each year we do a progressive dinner.  This year we are in charge of appetizers.  Easy enough.  My husband went to Costco today for various finger foods.  I think we are ready for tomorrow.

On New Year’s Day, we will go to my mother’s house to celebrate the New Year and Christmas.  She was gone for Christmas taking care of my aunt.   We will get together with my sister and brother and their families.  I am grateful that I get to spend time with my family this vacation.  Life is definitely good.  🙂

Merry Christmas!

The presents have been opened. Everyone is happy with what they got this year. There are a few returns in my future.  That means I have to brave the mall in the next few days to return and/or exchange items that were the wrong size or color.  I don’t know if I am ready for that.  Long lines and packed parking lots await me.  I expect the next few days will be worse than before Christmas.  I will need to remember my deep breathing and patience as I am waiting to return items.  In any case, I will worry about that later.  The stores are closed now anyway.

In a few minutes, we are off to my sister’s house to exchange presents with her family.  My brother is on his way, too, with his family.  My sister is making everyone breakfast this morning.  We usually go over to my mom’s house for lunch.  However, as I posted the other night, she is still in Los Angeles with my aunt.  It seems that my aunt has taken a turn for the better.  In fact, she may even be able to go home from the hospital today.  I am thankful for that great news.  We will celebrate with my mom when she comes home.  That may be on New Year’s Day.

Anyway, I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone who celebrates today a happy and merry Christmas.  I hope all your Christmas wishes came true.  Peace and joy to all of you.

Photos and Traditions

This weekend my husband and I took our three kids to Disneyland.  My first thought was how am I going to keep up with my #nerdlution challenge?  But, here I am iPad in hand, posting to my blog for Day 6 of the challenge!  I started out the morning with an invitation to write a haiku by Kevin Hodgson (@dogtrax).  Since I am at Disneyland, here is my haiku.

Haiku from Disney
The happiest place on Earth
Long lines await me

We actually got here on Friday night.  I tried taking pictures with my iPhone of all the holiday decorations they put up.  But, for some reason, my night photographs don’t turn out very well.  I have to talk to my friend, Kim Douillard (Thinking Through My Lens).  She is an expert at taking pictures with her iPhone.  I don’t know why I keep getting a shadow of light when I take pictures with my iPhone at night.  And, how do I get rid of it?   I decided to stop taking pictures and wait until the next morning  to take them.

The next morning I decided to take pictures of the same things I photographed the night before.  Here are pictures of the Christmas tree and the garland across Main Street.

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I love Disneyland over the holidays.  I love the decorations.  It’s a tradition I share with my brother, and sister, and their children.  I am trying to enjoy every moment, because I realize as my daughters get older, these moments will be few and far between.  Soon, my kids will be going off to college.  Hopefully, they will get married and have kids of their own.  I hope my daughters can continue this tradition, maybe with their children.  Who knows?  For now, I am happy in the Happiest Place on Earth.  🙂