Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Teacher Appreciation week!

Being a teacher, it feels weird to wish myself a happy week, but at this time of the year, you just never know!

Most people do not understand the dynamics of school and May.  The last few years there had still been some cold and snow and other yuck that kept spring fever from hitting so hard.  Well this year, as nice as the weather is to experience on the weekends, the kids are feeling the call of summer.  And we still have half a quarter to go!

This is a time of great stress for everyone.  I am speaking here as a High School teacher.  Teachers are trying hard to get through the material that is part of their curriculum and battling a whole HOST of distracting events.  You wouldn't believe the number of athletic events that take kids out of school in the afternoon.  PLUS there are standardized tests occurring in the mornings, scattered through the next week or so.  Throw in seniors just getting to the end of the month, students trying to get caught up/passing so they don't have do recovery credits in the summer, the stress of trying to find jobs, and all the personal things that we only have a passing knowledge of.

Every day you go in hoping that the kids are doing well, that the day will be smooth and everyone is cooperative.  This does not always happen, but we do what we can.  The same exact thing happens at the elementary school, but with slightly different behaviors.  Whether they want school to be done or NOT be done for the summer (there are some who apparently do not look forward to the summer off) there is some acting out that is going to happen.

So every day I go into the building with the hope for a good day.  And regardless of whether that comes true or not, the kids need to know that I will still be there for them even if they are behaving in a way that defies reason and logic.  Because you never know what is really going on in their lives or their head.  And I hope that I can find a way to remember this and always be a joy giver in their day.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Clinging to things with not much to cling to- the lake edition

So in a spin off of a recurring clinging to trees segment, I present you with the less obvious clinging of the height fearing art teacher in question.

This first chapter is when I BRAVELY volunteered to walk across the rocks to get to that concrete landing that you see behind me.  The first several rocks were not too much of a problem.  They were flat, they were not too far apart, but then from there things got a little more dicey.  Really it was not that dangerous or anything, but the heights and the gaps in the rock were more than I could stand.  I did not make it all the way across.  I was just shy of a panic attack when I turned around, thrust my phone into the hand of the Mad-English teacher and told him to take the picture.  He is a good guy. I look just a little uneasy, don't I??

The second segment involves sitting about 5 feet away from the edge of that rock, and that is about as close as I could manage.  Gives me shudders just thinking of it right now.  Like my sister said on Facebook, she knew that my fingers were digging into the rock on the left side over there.  She knows!!

Be brave and find your joy in unusual places!!

Bayfielding and waterfalling at its finest

The urge to head north is really strong at the time of year.  The weather has gotten mercifully warm, the now has gone and the bugs are not out yet- it seemed like a perfect time to go for a day trip.  And it was!  Perfect for going on a Bayfield and waterfall adventure.

The Madeline getting spiffed up for the summer season

The Mad-English teacher and I began our journey on Saturday morning, and was I ever excited to be getting out of town.  The MA, now that apparently the new deadline of April 30 has passed- (Idk what the heck is going on.  Always the working late stopped on April 15, but not this year... this year it has mysteriously stretched out a few more days.  Mmmmkay) - is firmly entrenched in his yardwork clothes.  Meaning, he isn't going anywhere far from home.  So, I have to find partners in adventure and I have a few to count on!

The statue of liberty in Bayfield

The lake was so clear 

It was cool to see these sailboats out of the water- SO BIG

We drove on up to Bayfield for some luscious rhubarb/ginger scones and coffee/hotchocolate at the always amazing Big Water Coffee Roasters Coffee shop.  It is the best way to start one's adventure on a Saturday morning, I only regret that it is not about 60 miles closer so I could get there every Saturday.  The last time we walked onto the Bayfield City Dock and looked out onto the lake and watched the ferry (actually the ice breaker boat) it was REALLY cold and was the first or second day that the ferry was running to the Island.   SOOOOO much nicer in May!  A little adventure on the dock, and then a walk along the beach and to the other dock area and off we went (after maybe a short stop at a store front for a new Bayfield hoodie!!  :) ) to Houghton Falls.

The primary reason (other than the obvious coffee, scones and lunch at Coco's) was to get in some good hiking and see some water falls.  Mission accomplished!!  The first water fall area was Houghton Falls north of Washburn.  I was there for the first time when the ice breakup had just begun.  It was much more scary for me, as there was all the ice and snow and slippery and yikes!  With the proper hiking boots footwear and less slick underfoot, it was a good hike!  I had a great time climbing down the sides of the dells area and got to get down to the cave that I had seen last time. There was actually still ice in a couple parts of this dells area!  Pretty cool---- get it!!  HAHAHA
The ice left in the darkest part of the Dells area

Got down to the cave!
Anyway, we ended up sitting out on the rock that overlooks the big Lake and my compadre shimmied down to the lake.  I knew that I would never make it back up if I went down- I could tell that my height, or lack of it, would cause me problems.  So being an intelligent being, I stayed put.  HOWEVER, on the way back, we discovered another way down to the lake and I did get myself there.  I went and stood in the lake for about 30 seconds- long enough for photo proof- and then got out of there.  THAT is some cold water.  The "falls" part of Houghton Falls is sort of secondary to the rest of the experience.  I LOVE sitting on that rock landing overlooking Lake Superior.  It is just beautiful!
OH that was some cold water

Part of the overlook at Houghton Falls

After refreshing ourselves with lunch at Coco's (YAAAAAY), we headed on over on Hwy 2 to Hwy 169 to Potato River Falls.  Now THAT, boys and girls, is a waterfall..... 2 of them actually.  And if you want to hike, there are two trails and both of them involve a lot of steps.  There are several flights of stairs to the lower falls, some of them a little sketchy, and there was quite a bit of erosion here and there.  A water fall website said that you can cross the river below the falls--- they were not there in the spring, obviously.  We did not cross the river.

Lower Falls at Potato River Falls

After going and hiking around, and then regretting our decision to go down so many stairs when one is in rotten post-broken-arm shape, one finds out, we stopped at the car for some water (yeah, we left it in the car.  We are not too bright sometimes) we moved along to the upper falls area.  Well, now that was worth the trip down even more stairs.  Magnificent.  Just magnificent.  Lots of photos were taken, oooos and ahhhhs were said and then totally tired and happy we drove on Hwy 169 (wheeeeeeeeeee!!!) to Hwy 13 and then home.

Upper Falls

Not sure what this little yellow flower is. 

Beauty about to burst

These are the days that recharge my batteries and make me truly appreciate living in the place that I do.  And is also leading to more research for waterfalls in northern WI, and planning a few more trips north, and the next time (the day after school is done, you bet your life) it will involve a ferry and a car and a picnic on the beach...  And summer will be here at last.  And we have been waiting for it for such a long time.

Gorgeous Potato Falls

What a  joyful day it was!  Hope you can find your joy in what ever adventure you are embarking on!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Daffodil days

I went outside last night when it was somewhat overcast and found perfect lighting for my daffodil pix.

These were all taken with my phone and I threw together this collage without any editing at all.  So they are slightly over exposed, but you can see all the different kinds!  A couple look similar to each other (you have to really look to find the differences) but they are all different sorts.  AND then I forgot that I had some other kinds elsewhere, like by Lola.....
There are more types to bloom yet, too!  :)
These are among my favorites
Lola is looking lovely, isn't she!
These peach and yellow ones are not super easy to find, but they are worth the search

It was very soul satisfying to inspect all of them up close!  It was a good afternoon.

TODAY!!!!!! Today I am Bayfielding!  If you need me, I'll be eating and hiking and waterfalling and softly weeping at the end of the dock looking towards Madeline Island.....  jk.  Well, I will be wishing that the ferry ran more often so we had time for an Island run, but not today.  We have some new waterfalls to inspect!  Big Water Coffee, Coco's and the Chequamegon Food Coop will be our stops in civilization, otherwise we will be walking and hiking and possibly wading, baby!

And THAT, like my daffodils, will give me all sorts of joy!

Friday, May 1, 2015

May Day! Already?

I changed my calendar to May this morning!  HOLY smokes how did that happen??

Lovely May sunrise

It is a beautiful morning, just a few clouds that made a lovely sunrise possible.  Warmish out (who am I kidding, my feet were freezing when I was standing out there barefoot) with the promise of a lot of smiles.

May is a time of anticipation.  Students are anticipating the end of school.  Seniors are anticipating graduation.  Teachers are anticipating a rest coming in just a few weeks.  Summer always holds so much promise and thoughts of adventure and respite.

This past week has been a lovely gift in the weather department- walks have been taken and gardens have been worked in.  I know that I have to begin lifting up some heavy weights as I have aches where there should be none.  But this will start and indeed already has.

May has the promise of visitors too!  I will get to see my grandkiddos this month and my boys and my Sarahs and I am so so excited!  Speaking of excited, it seems the Mad-middle son and his lovely Sarah could be having an addition to their family coming in the fall, and I can hardly contain myself! Life is so full of lovely surprises.

May has a number of birthdays I enjoy, too, most notably my little Greggy and my seester Rose!!  Two of my favorite peeps!  (don't worry all the rest of you, you are my favorite peeps as well!)  

May is looking to start off really well- it is Friday after all!  AND I "may" have a day trip of pictures, coffee and Lake Superior planned!  And this will be good.

Hope your May Day is spectacular!  And most importantly - full of joy!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Is it bedtime, yet??

I am definitely paying for my weekend this morning.

Staying up late for prom two nights in a row was the start of it.  That just is self explanatory.  It was a really good night for us and the kids.  

The nice weather is the other factor.  I went for a couple of really long walks.  Sunday found me cutting down brown, dead stuff in the garden, digging out a few plants, filling the wheelbarrow, checking the bees, directing the MA as he used the tractor to fix the massive chunks of lawn the snowplow took out this past fall, raking, and a bunch of other things I can't remember.  I have some photos but I frankly can't be bothered to post them right now....  Lol.

My legs are really tired from the shoveling, my elbow is tired from all sorts of stuff and my eyes are tired from yet again not falling asleep in a timely manner.

On a positive note, we got to talk to the Mad-second son last night for a long time and we get to FaceTime with miss Ella and her parents tonight.  And plans are underway for visits from both of them, so that definitely made my night.

There is a week of wonderful weather evenings coming up and a plan for a day trip on Saturday!  So this is looking good.  Daffodils continue to open and there should be a massive bloom happening later in the week!!!

In spite of exhaustion, I am feeling ever optimistic and summer is ON ITS WAY!!  So many YESES to that!!!!

Planning to find all the joy that I can until then!  :)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Anyone wanna go to Prom??

I am a junior class advisor- sort of the honorary one, since through a complicated set of reasons, I have no actual students to advise- and this weekend is Prom.  Starting tonight and continuing tomorrow night, I get to hang out at school (along with my long suffering colleagues) and be immersed in the drama that is the junior prom.

In our cranky, old, grown-up way we have been trying to keep the students from screaming at arguing with each other too much, spending thousands of dollars and spoiling their night before it even starts.  I OPENLY admit that I haven't had to do too much yet, again because of my schedule and student load, so I don't want to sound like I am complaining.  I was not the one who is in the middle of all of the action, but since I orchestrate the back stage of the play every year, I am happy to take a back seat.

We have, again, in our adult way, complained about all the drama and materials that go into a night that lasts only a few hours and they spend a lot of that time not even at school!  But upon reflection, I guess there are a lot of opportunities for learning in all of this.  Like compromise, getting along with others- even if they have WILDLY different opinions, planning, and actually getting to watch the space they see every day become a totally different environment.

Those of you who actually went to prom undoubtedly have memories from it.  I personally don't, as I didn't attend.  I made the posters for them in the art department for 2 years, and I actually probably have a copy of those somewhere, funnily enough.  But there are those who speak of that night fondly, and I think it will be a nice evening for the kids.  I do not remember prom being a community event where I came from, but it certainly is here.  Many people come and watch the Grand March, so if it gets people talking about the students in a positive way, then that is worth it.

As for me, I am shaking off the feeling that I will be losing my weekend!  I use that time to recover and recharge.....  I will be feeding off the kid's enthusiasm today and tonight and tomorrow.  Hence I have a bit of melancholy today, from all sorts of things this week.  These wild swings I had of the lowest lows and some pretty amazing highs is taking a toll on me this morning.  While I slept, I am pretty tired, y'all.

So, I am going to get all cleaned up and rev my engines and get psyched up for the weekend.  I get to come home for a few moments after school to take care of my JacPot chores and such and then go back for the duration.  There could be a cocktail in my future at the end of this day!

Have a great Friday and give away some of your joy today!