I’m amazed that it’s been 2 months since I blogged last. Where has the time gone? Plenty of topics to write about, but not enough time/energy/writing mojo to fuel new posts. Basically, the past 2 months have been a big Whooosssshhhhhhhh of living life fully with little time to write and reflect. A 3-day staycation weekend (it’s Labor Day Weekend in the US) with no visitors or major plans might just be the opportunity I’ve needed to reboot my writing. Here goes…
After my June trip to my Home Triangle via Amtrak and the City of New Orleans, I spent a week in New Orleans before heading out of town again. That week I attended an Advanced Placement Conference and was pleasantly surprised at how much I gained from the AP US History training. After a decade of professional developments/trainings/courses/workshops, it’s no longer a guarantee that I’m going to get much out of the program. So bizarre to think that I took AP US History myself 28 years ago during my junior year! No pics from that year, but here are a couple of school pics from my senior year…Love the class of 1986!
International Relations Class; Plymouth Centennial Educational Park; I’m on the far right, wearing black and blue
After the week of AP Training, Terry and I packed up our FJ Cruiser with the dogs and our stuff and headed north together. We started in Plymouth, MI visiting family and friends, which included a 4th of July picnic with Terry’s family and my sister Barb and I going to dinner with our former English teachers, The Thompsons. Amazing teachers (they are two of the reasons teaching became my career path!) and so wonderful to reconnect!
We then headed to The Cottage and spent the 4th of July weekend with my family. Zoey and Bleu had a blast chasing their dog-cousin Magnus around the beach and it was so cool to let them play! Terry and our brother-in-law Mike went a little crazy with the fireworks this year–but sure put on a show! The best part? No injuries!
Terry, the dogs and I then headed up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Copper Harbor which is at the northernmost tip of US 41 (the southernmost point is in Key West).
Terry’s uncle is one of the founding monks of the Holy Transfiguration Skete at Jacob’s Falls and we have been visiting the monastery at least once a year for over the past decade. I attended Northern Michigan University as an undergrad and love the UP. The fact that Terry and I both have connections to the area is one of the things that drew us together. Terry threw out his shoulder while we were in Plymouth (old snowboarding injury) and so we didn’t get to kayak in Lake Superior or golf at the Keewenaw Lodge like we usually do. However, we did do our fair share of hiking, relaxing and spending quality time with the monks.
At the end of week 2 of our vacation, we made our way down to Chicago to check on our condo, visit family–and get Terry on a plane to head back to NOLA and work. I still had 2 weeks of my vacation left and so kept the dogs with me and we were able to continue traipsing around the Home Triangle. I didn’t get to spend as much time in Chicago as I would have liked thanks to the dogs (I should have put them in doggy day care so that I could visit friends and not worry about them getting into mischief!), but I still had fun before heading back to Plymouth and then up to the Cottage. Being at the Cottage the last week was a fantabulous way to end my summer vacation with swimming, playing Scrabble with Grams, kayaking, reading, walking the dogs, and hanging out with family. I even got to see my old friend Kerry and her family.
And then it was time to head back South for a July 29th teacher start date. Even after 4 years of teaching in the South, it still feels absolutely absurd to start school so early!!! The drive back to NOLA took me two solid days of driving…and I even made a special stop in Bardwell, Kentucky which requires it’s own post. I actually enjoy a good solo road trip now and then. I stop at a handy Cracker Barrel restaurant and pick up a book on CD to listen to–and I’m all set. Granted I’m wiped out for a day or two when I get to my destination… 🙂
By the way, according to MapQuest:
Summer 2013 trip…4122.88 miles…69 hours 25 minutes…nearly 3 whole days of driving
The past month has been all about getting back into the groove (grind?!) of everyday life. The new school year almost started in a new direction, however. Out of 300 applicants, I was one of only a hand full of semi-finalists to interview for an Education Curator position with the Historic New Orleans Collection this summer. It was exciting to make it that far–it would have been a wonderful opportunity to meld my public history and teaching experience–and it sure would have put an interesting slant on the new year!
Anyway, I’m back at my old school for my 3rd year–which is an accomplishment if you are following the charter school movement. Case in point: out of a staff of 25-35 teachers (the school opened in 2009-10 with a freshman/sophomore class and the current head of school took over in 2010-2011), there are no teachers left from the 2009-10 school year, there is only one teacher from the 2010-11 school year, and myself and two other teachers are the only ones left from the 2011-12 school year. And this is not abnormal for charter schools. Makes you go hmmm???? doesn’t it? It should…
While teachers were back July 29th for two weeks of professional development, students started back August 12. I like the courses I am teaching this year: AP US History and both International Baccalaureate history courses that my school offers: History of the Americas and World History. My kids in turn are amazing! I am department chair again and have two extra planning periods for IB Coordinator Assistant and Extended Essay Coordinator responsibilities–which is adding new experience to my resume.
Besides school, the past month has included visitors; my six-month mammogram/ultrasound (all good, but I get to continue going every six months for the next 3 years…); sleep study phase 2 and a CPAP machine being added to my bedside vanity chest; and appointments with both my oncologist and surgeon. It’s also been hot! We had more than two weeks of the heat index being 105-110 degrees which was insane!!
Anyway, that’s where I am on this second day of September. Shwew! 🙂
Happy Birthday to my dad, George!! Love you bunches! 🙂
Now it’s time to wrap this post up.
Peace and Love.