Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

The Summer of UN– The UNexpected

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2010 at 6:32 am

Flower arrangement on top of Plath book from seniors and Uncle Wiggley-- an old book from my grandparents' home.

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This summer was about surprises. Good ones. Bad ones. Good ones with bad bits. Bad ones with good bits.

Surprise #1: Gram Florence Dies.

Obviously, death is a bummer. Gram was 85, but still no one expected her to go—ever. She was vibrant and healthy, tall and athletic. The kind of senior citizen who did water aerobics. She had been having some minor health problems, the clichéd broken hip and then a shoulder injury that had always bothered her, but still. She was recovering fine, so the call was a surprise, as was a quick trip to Sacramento, California the week school let out.  It was as nice as a funeral can be. Many attended. Many said nice things about her generosity. My favorite comment came from one of my cousins, who said she was so competitive at games that he always joked that her headstone should read “Bingo!” or “Gin!” or “Yahtzee!” If you ever played a board game with her, you would understand!

While it was a sad affair, I met many fun cousins who I wish I had known better and for longer.

Surprise #2: I love the plush-ish life/not the rustic life

My friend Holly and I spent a girls weekend in Los Angeles, her adopted hometown, and the place where we were once roommates so many years ago. She has a beautiful little boy now (Casey) and a fun and handsome husband (George), but she is still my darling and wonderful BFF. We stayed at a plush hotel in Santa Monica, which is basically a suburb of LA. The hotel had puffy white comforters and miniature shampoos with scents like chamomile. We went to the movies, drank gourmet coffee and tea, shopped on Robertson Blvd. (where all those crazy movie stars are photographed in the gossip rags), and rode the famous ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier. Such a holiday is my cup of tea. If you are wondering why this is a surprise, see Surprise #5.

Surprise #3: Feeding 36 people is stressful.

We reunited at Litchfield by the Sea this year with my paternal relatives from Pennsylvania and some of my relatives from California (See Surprise #1). It ended up being quite a large group of peeps: Stan, Carolyn, Kyle, Karrie, Cathy, Sheli, Bret, Bret’s friend, Joseph, Adrienne, Shari, John, Aiden, Catherine, Alexa, Shirley, Eddie, Whitney, Taylor, Abbie, Jodi, Dave, Koby, Kaylin, Kyle, Dennis, Becci, Chris, Alice, Heather, Hogan, Riley, Hayden, Matthew, Shannon and Jim. My sister hosted a cookout at her house on the night before the Fourth of July, so it was all hands on deck for me, my hub, and my sister and her hub. It turned out really well, and the reunion was a ton of fun. But I was surprised at how stressful it can be when you have a huge group of people and not one person really in charge (and everyone thinking they are in charge). My favorite parts of this trip were the Pawleys Island Fourth of July Parade, which I loved for its political slant and whimsical display of First Amendment privileges, and the nail polish/sundae making party we had, which landed me with a green-polka dotted, butterfly themed pedicure. Thanks, Adrienne!

Surprise #4: Snowball. AKA Snobawl Pryncess Aurora Lewis

My former cat, Hootie, as some of you may know, passed away last spring. I was really surprised at how upsetting this loss was. Hootie got on my nerves, but I was shocked at how empty the house felt without him hovering around. Since then, my sister, Heather, has been begging me to get a kitten. I’ll admit. I was smitten with the idea and searched the St. Francis website many a night, but my husband and I still weren’t so sure we wanted another pet. Then, along came Snowball…or Snobawl as we like to call her because she is the meowing-est cat I ever did see! She was living in the alley behind Myrtle Beach Ford and my sister and her co-workers found her living in a tire. Now, she gets to live (sort of) like a “pryncess” (misspelling intentional), so she is my little rags to riches gal. While she is all white (hence the name Snowball), she has this sort of old lady side to her personality that reminds me of someone named Gertrude or Matilda. What I am trying to say is: She looks like a little prissy white kitten, but she is really more like the opinionated dame that writes letters to the editor too often. She also likes to hunt. She brought me two frogs from the garage in the middle of the night. Thanks! (not!)

Surprise #5: The Little Cabin that Didn’t OR I love the plush-ish life/not the rustic life

Okay. I love to plan vacations, but I am a sucker for the romantic details. This particular mountain getaway was supposed to be something like sleeping on fresh sheets next to a screen window while the creek babbled in the background, waking up to the smell of coffee and bacon, hidden pathways, shopping at craft stores, and games of Yahtzee under the glow of the cabin light. However, a cabin in the mountains is really more like: sleeping on old sheets that smell like musty mildew next to a screen window while you dream that a mouse might crawl in to your bed, waking up so hot you wish you could take a bath in that adorable claw foot tub, but the sound of a bath makes you nauseous (you are that hot), shopping at the giant town grocery store because it is the only cool (I mean in terms of temperature) environment, and falling asleep sketchily to the dreary sound of reality television pumped from an old TV with a grainy screen. Get the picture?
I love the plush-ish life! Next time I take a vacation, it will be to a city! That’s more me. I love the mountains, but would have rather stayed in a more modern environment. Like a resort hotel in downtown Asheville! LOL. Live and learn. So they say…

Surprise #6:  Teaching the Sixth Grade!

My final surprise of the summer was hearing that I was going to be teaching sixth grade. I love middle schoolers so I was excited by the news and instantly began thinking of all the fun learning projects we could do together. Mainly, I love middle schoolers because they are still willing to be goofy and have fun (most of the time). While I know I will have big shoes to fill with Mrs. LaBruce’s excellent experience teaching sixth graders, I am also looking forward to something new and different. A happy surprise!

I’ll quote something I heard somewhere, “The only consistent thing is change.” Young people know that more than anyone. You are changing all the time. Us old fogeys get set in our ways and then freak out a little bit when SURPRISE! change comes down the pike way. That is one of the reasons I love working with young people. You keep me aware that life is about change. Change and Justin Bieber. Just had to throw that joke in.

If you had to pick one word that summed up your summer, what would be and why? 

My summer obsessions for 2010:

Mad Men

Toe nail art

Blogging and reading blogs

Greening up my life

Saving energy

Re-purposing stuff

Crafting (


Cupcake shops

Crackle paint

Magazines (always an obsession)

Reuniting with family and friends

Flower arrangements

Fantasy tablescapes for parties I will never have

Design elements (typography and blog layouts etc)

Making my classroom CLEAN, VIBRANT, and an amazing place to learn.

See you soon!