Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Teachers, we support you!

I would like to take a moment to say THANK YOU to all the teachers of the Gresham-Barlow School District.

Our children go to school every day and enter a place where they are loved, cared for and educated. They are curious, they are happy, they are confident and they will have a bright future- thanks in no small part to the people who work so tirelessly for them every day.

I understand that both sides (the school district AND the teachers) have concessions to make in order to avoid a strike. I understand that school budgets are taking a beating, and we ALL have to make sacrifices in order to recover. I understand that my children simply won't get the same education I did, years ago, in the same schools. Change happens.

What should NOT happen is a school district completely ignoring the backbone of their organization when it comes to safety, schedules and compassion. What should NOT happen is an official distict website using language so slanderous and disresepctful to the district's employees that I- as a parent of the district, not a teacher- cringe to read such a passive agressive slap on the cheek. What should not happen is a school board walking away from negotiations while my children's education is on the line.

I have seen some things that, in my opinion, the teacher's association could bend on. I have seen the anger, the passion, the hurt that has the school board on the defensive. And guess what? I have an opinion about that.

Sometimes, just acknowledging some else's frustration goes a long way toward finding common ground. I have seen the teachers do that. Now, as a parent, I ask the district to do the same.

If a strike happens, I will be very disappointed. I will feel sad for my children, for the families of the teachers, even for some school board members whom I believe really WANT to reach an agreement. I will be sad for the district that helped form me and so many around me.

If a strike happens, my children will not cross a picket line. I do not believe that my eager to learn students will get the education they deserve while their beloved, hard working teachers stand on the sidewalk in a last attempt to be heard. Instead of sending my children in to get a sub-par education at a school which has always provided them an excellent education, my children and I will stand WITH those people who stand FOR them. My children will return to school when those schools are what every child deserves.

I ask any Gresham-Barlow parent to join me in this. We simply cannot support our schools without supporting the teachers within them.

I am confident that if the school district goes back to the table (and STAYS there as long as is neccesary), with the intent to find a respectful solution- our teachers will do the same.

Teachers: THANK YOU. From the bottom of my heart- for all you do- thank you.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mommy/Son Dork Tour 2012

First off, sorry I haven't been updating much. Bad me. I know I said I'd be around more since I'm off Facebook, but life is busy. And I have to say that I am really enjoying the less internet-centered life.

Still, I have to share: Skyler and I just returned home from a 2 night stay in Forks, Washington. This was super, amazingly fun. Really cool. In fact, even if you hate Twilight- or live under a rock or something and don't know what it is- you should still go to Forks.

Perhaps now Dusty won't have to listen to me begging him to move to Astoria...because I think I now want to move to the Olympic Penninsula (though I don't think I could handle a town with THAT small of a population...perhaps Port Angeles would be a better choice for us).

Skyler and I set off on Friday morning with a plan: head to Astoria, Oregon via the old St. Helen's highway and then travel all the way up Highway 101 to Forks. I brought lots of water and snacks and an audiobook. Sky brought a good attitude, lots of enthusiasm and multiple disposable cameras. We even bought a map. And we looked at it right side up (<--- Aren't you proud, Mom? Everyone else: there is a story here. I'll explain someday.).

We made it easily to Astoria, then crossed the bridge- which is LONG! Wow!- to Washington. We were happily listening to the book, chatting and enjoying our time...when suddenly I realized we were in Oysterville. This was majorly confusing to me, since I was almost positive that Oysterville was NOT on our route. Probably I should have looked at the map better. Since I didn't, we had to backtrack quite a way! I'd somehow gotten off of 101 about 30 minutes before I realized my mistake. But still, we have a sense of adventure and figured that- hey, at least now we know what Oysterville looks like!

...Until a couple hours later when I realized I'd gotten off of 101 AGAIN, and had just added ANOTHER extra hour to our trip. See why I had to buy a map? Because I didn't own one. Because I can't read them. Probably (MOM), I would have been able to read it had it been upside down! :-)

Finally, we got back on 101 and actually stayed on track, because Skyler decided he'd better take over the map reading. Finding our bed and breakfast was quite an adventure, since I had planned to rely on the GPS function on my phone- not realizing that I wouldn't be able to use that function in Forks, because T-Mobile sucks when it comes to coverage in remote areas. Luckily, the people of the town are pretty friendly, used to tourists and willing to help out a woman on the verge of tears in a gas station.

Saturday morning we did a tour of Forks' Twilight spots. That was fun! I loved it and Sky was willing to have fun because I was having fun. We took some silly pictures and laughed a lot.

Then we headed to LaPush. LaPush left me struggling a bit. Traditionally, I have always been Team Edward and Team Cannon Beach Is The Best Beach Ever. I have to admit- seeing the beaches at LaPush has my loyalty to BOTH teams starting to shift. It was AMAZING. Oh- and really cold.

Sky and I finished up Saturday night with a walk around the property of The Palmer Lodge (the B & B we stayed at) that left our jaws dropped. As the rain slowed and the sun faded, we got to watch a herd of around 70 wild elk walk out of the forest and into an open field to hang out for the evening. I have seen exactly ONE elk that wasn't in the zoo in my entire life. Sky has NEVER seen an elk out of captivity. This sight alone was totally worth all the driving.

After the elk sighting, Sky and I decided to "hit the town". There is exactly one activity on a Saturday night in Forks that the inn keepers could think of: bowling. So we headed to Sunset Lanes Bowling Alley, where score is kept on paper with a projector system, bumpers have to be physically placed on the lanes at the start of the game, and the newest song we heard was from the 80's. It. Was. Awesome. We still have no idea what our final scores were- I've never had to calculate them myself! Even so, I have never had so much fun bowling.

On the drive home Sunday we opted to head through Port Angeles, then head to Kingston so that we could take a ferry to Edmunds and then have lunch in Seattle. I realize we pretty much took the two longest possible routes, but the journey to and from Forks was as awesome as being there! We were amazed at the sight and beauty of Lake Crescent. We MUST camp there someday, now that I don't totally hate camping*. The ferry ride was great, too- but by the time we reached Seattle we were pretty ready to get home. We love Seattle, but it WAS a lot of driving and exploring for only three days.

What a trip. I feel like some amazing memories were made, and I am so glad that Skyler isn't *yet* at the age where mom is just NOT cool enough to hang out with! I know it'll happen eventually, which makes times like these just so much sweeter.