Friday, July 26, 2013


So there's this school...
Most of its students are on free/reduced meals.
Many of them live at poverty level.
A lot of them don't speak English at home, so schoolwork in English is difficult.

Most of the thirty-six of the fifth graders last year worked extremely hard. Scores haven't been released yet, but the regional director of the schools in the state said their standardized test scores were up 20%-30% from last year.

Which means their teacher did her job.
Which means she had a good relationship with most of them.
They were wonderful.
She grew to love them and was proud of them.

But the future of this school is uncertain. It is quite possible it won't be open past this school year. And unlike last year, when she'd shared responsibilities, this year she was the only fifth grade teacher. And the class size for this year had grown to thirty-seven at last count. She knew she couldn't do justice to that many at once.

On Sunday, a mere five days ago, she found out about a fifth-grade opening at another charter school nearby. Although she had not applied anywhere else over the whole course of the summer, she felt she needed to apply for this job. So she mailed her application and resume on Monday. She had an interview Thursday morning. And a couple hours later she had a new job.

She'll be making more money.
But will she be making friends like she had at the other school? Women she shops, hikes, and has good conversations with?
She'll have a more secure job.
But will she have the same impact on a very different demographic of students?
She'll have a smaller class.
But will they win such a large part of her heart?

Only time will tell.

The reactions she got from now-ex-co-workers ranged from the bitter:
"I can't believe you're leaving!"
"I'm going to miss you!"

To the sweet:
"You'd better call me."
"If someone else wants you, it means we did the right thing in hiring you. Congratulations."
"Good for you!"

When the interview was taking place, she was asked why she wanted to leave her current job.
"I don't want to," she responded.
And then she explained why not but why she was seeking other employment.
She didn't know if that was wise. But it was honest.

So the school she loves is now looking for a new teacher.
And she feels more than a little guilty.
And not a little protective.
Will the person they hire be able to love those kids like she did?

The principal at her now-old school, who is new, who she had not even been officially introduced to until she resigned, told her, "Well, if it doesn't work out there, let us know."

Her now-former-co-workers, many of them friends, are now in meetings without her, and she gets another week of summer.
There is an unknowing, which makes her somewhat excited and somewhat nervous. 
There has come a moving on - something that a week ago wasn't even on her radar. It's hard to know how to feel about incredibly fast changes like this.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


 Naturally, a few things came home with Benjamin and I from our trip to Spain and Morroco.

Rocks and shells came home in abundance. Benjamin collected most of them and I lugged them home in the suitcase. They are now adorning various places in the house and outside.

 I bought a pair of earrings (my first in YEARS) and a necklace in Toledo. Both, however, are of Arabic design, not Spanish. It has prompted me to buy a few more pair back here at home, and I'm trying to get back into wearing them...

A couple cards I purchased in Asilah.  Need to frame and hang them.

This throw with gold thread I bought in Chefchouen. It is currently covering a large pillow on my bed.

A handmade mirror frame from Chefchouen. Miraculously, the mirror made it back in one piece.

The tile on the red table came from a tile shop in Chefchouen. The smaller decorations on the fence posts are from Toledo, but sure look Moroccan, don't they? That's because everything in Toledo is either of Spanish or Arabic design. Those happen to be magnets I found in a little souvenir shop. I attached small metal squares to the posts, and stuck the magnets right on.

Four other tiles I bought in Chefchouen. Using them as coasters on the rooftop patio.  The little Aladdin's lamp came from there as well.

I really wanted an authentic Moroccan pouf. Had no idea they were made of camel skin... 

I got this blanket in Asilah for a steal. The guy originally wanted 320 Dirham for it, but, being our last day in Morocco, I only had 150. He finally caved. 

Ever country I visit I buy a doll in native dress. This little Spanish flamenco dancer and camel dude join dolls from Moldova, Russia, Mexico, Turkey, Germany/Austria, Egypt, and India. Just realizing I never bought dolls in Slovakia or Hungary eons ago. Oh well.
Now I just need somewhere to display them all...

Benjamin bought quite a few things, too. I gave him $100 at the beginning of the trip and he did really well with it. I don't remember everything he got, or know where it all is anymore, but here are a few things:

A dagger from Toledo. He bought two or three. Toledo is known for it's steel, and they make swords and daggers for many films (all the Lord of the Rings movies, for example).  This one he paid 6 Euro for - he couldn't believe something THIS COOL was THAT CHEAP! Six Euro is about $9.00.

 He bought two or three glass bottles. Those had been on his list since before we left.

And he found this instrument in Asilah. Guess who got to carry the thing back in her (very large) purse so it wouldn't break? Yeah, a mother's love...

Fun stuff!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tile, Tile On the Wall...

Remove a few, repair them all.

I had a few loose tiles in my shower that I knew had to come off. I knew I needed to see what was going on behind them.

Hoping for the best, but fearing the worst, here's what we discovered:

Black mold...

Wood rot...

Old hives...

So it all had to come down. All the way to the back wall of my house. 
There wasn't even green-board in there, and insulation had been put in only one section.  
It looked nice on the outside, but it was a mess on the inside.

It's been done right now.