Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reading-Junie B. Jones

Yesterday I went in to read in the 1st grade classroom: Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren. What fun! In a way, it's kind of challenging to read, as the writing has "kiddish" grammar, which sounds a bit awkward when you read it.

There are phrases like this:

"I tapped on my chin very thinking."
"She wins me at all of our races."
"I quick hided behind my hands."

So I was reading along, and once in a while I had to pause, but only to stop myself from laughing!! Every time I said the word "nutball" (Junie was called a nutball by handsome Warren), a couple of the kids giggled.
(click on the photos to see a larger view)

The 1st graders seemed to enjoy the book, and I know I enjoyed the break in the day! I returned to my home office with a smile on my face.

Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, by Barbara Park. Illustrated by Denise Brunkus. Copywright 1996.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Window

Yah A. basically ruined the house. Just kidding. This fall our house underwent construction and this was part of the process. A. didn't do anything this time...I hope.

wacky tacky

A. looks awfully wacky in her outfit. agreed?

Ladyhawk Soccer Fun!

Here they are...the Ladyhawk soccer team, yesterday at the 6-0 win. Nice photo, coach!I did manage to make the last 15 minutes of the game, *sigh*. So the photo subjects weren't very balanced in terms of showing everyone... I'll try to do better next time.

I'm really enjoying seeing their speed and grace as they FLY up and down the field. Fun game!
(Click on photos to see a larger view.)

Baby Birds!

The neighbor down the street showed us where a little sparrow had built a nest and there were baby birds! It is right on their front porch in a hanging basket. Go figure. They had just been born, so I think they can barely hold up their heads. Look for the little "fuzzies."The mom bird is shown here protecting her new "brood."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

Yesterday we went to a Memorial Day picnic at the Air Guard Base. The Legion of Honor participated in a special Memorial Day service, followed by the picnic.

Brats, hot dogs, burgers, potato salad, chips, pop = fun!Watching people drive the jeeps around the pavilion, sometimes even "catching some air" = funner!!

Trying to "steal" the cash box from D.K. = funnest!!All in all, it was a nice way to gather together, and to take time to remember those who have died in the service of our country. And, all who have died, yet remain in our hearts.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dear Friends-Hello Again!

Holiday weekends can be packed events, with family get-togethers or other celebrations. The past couple Memorial Day weekends have also been layered with out of town visitors, as it's the perfect time to draw those extra days off out into an extended trip. Two years ago T's best friend H and wife D travelled from San Antonio TX to visit, and my childhood friend L came from Ohio (now she lives closer, in Chicago). Here we are, at that time.

This year, we had the college reunion activities, then L came for another visit, staying for part of it with my other closest childhood friend, M. We managed to squeeze in a visit, as they graciously came over to our house.

As I say, M & L are my closest childhood friends, since we were about 8 years old. Started with school, Girl Scouts, church. My dad coached the Park District softball team, and if I was on the same team with one of them, we'd of course play the other's team. In high school we walked to school every day together. Sharing sleepovers, multiple crushes, supporting each others' sporting events (L was very good at field hockey and badminton, M & I played softball), hearing about L's camp adventures (her true passion in life), and OK a little studying. Endless hours sitting watching TV at M's house at the kitchen table, listening to her mom laugh loudly about everything in her endearing way. Rusty the dog barking incessantly! Big Red, L's dog, who so longed to run. I remember the time that I discovered him in my neighborhood (she lived maybe 1/2 mile away. As I recall, it was raining, and I managed to grab hold of his collar. He was SOO strong. I wasn't very comfortable or knowledgeable about dogs, yet miraculously I managed to get him back home (OK, really he dragged me). I was practically in tears by the time I reached her house.

M & I went to St. Olaf, and L went off to the University of Iowa. After that, we went our separate ways, starting, then nurturing, our careers & families, but always staying in touch. L always the furthest away, living in Boston, OH, now Chicago. I lived in Iowa, then MN. M in MN. L is fantastic at keeping up friendships -- these things are very important to her. She's like the glue that binds together her cherished relationships.

The years have FLOWN by.

When M's daughter E graduated from high school a couple years ago and they celebrated with an open house, I was delighted to find that M's parents, aunt, brother and their families were there! What a blast! We took this photo, and I'm so glad that we did, as tragically, M's mom died two years ago. She has her eyes closed, but never mind.

This is my theme of the last few days (see the post about my college reunion), but I'm still thrilled at how fun it is to connect and re-connect. People like L really make an effort to do this. I need to do better...

"The better part of one's life consists of his friendships."
- Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Um Ya Ya Reunion!!

Over Commencement Weekend at St. Olaf College (Memorial Day weekend), we celebrated a big reunion!

I have to say that in my mind I was approaching the whole event with a little bit of trepidation, thinking to myself: What have I accomplished in these 20+ years? How have I contributed to the world, the state, my community, my family, my chosen industry? Will people remember me? Will my "buddies" attend so that we can connect? Will the food be good? What should I wear?

Well, as soon as I arrived (went with my friend A.) and started to "mingle", gosh, it really didn't matter! So nice to see a familiar face, catch up briefly, see another friend, hug/greet/chat, and so on! Surprise to me, as I really didn't think about this beforehand, how many people brought their children, a few young kids, but mostly around high school age, and some current Oles as well. The children that I met were very friendly and in fact delightful -- a wonderful reflection on their parents.

President Anderson spoke briefly, providing some fun facts about current college life. The scariest thing for me is the daunting tuition now = $38,000. How can I ever afford this, that is, if my kids are interested in attending St. Olaf? Ah yes, will just keep saving, I guess.

We had a wonderful speaker, who talked about connecting. It struck me how appreciative he is for the opportunity to have a college education and to serve his family well. And, as CIO of a major corporation, he has! and is serving his own family and acting as a fantastic role model for his 4 children.

A highlight for me was a song created for the reunion and performed by one of our classmates, called "What Does 25 Mean?" It was quite beautiful!! Note to J.F. -- Please keep me in the loop when/if there is a digital version, as I'd love to download it.

After our class photo in the Chapel, most people stayed and talked even more, nice! Here are a few of us:

After a productive trip to the bookstore, we just had one more stop before heading home. My friend A's whole family is buried at the local cemetery in Northfield, so we stopped there for a quiet tribute and more remembrances.

What a fantastic day. It left me with the feeling...why don't I connect with my college classmates and friends more often?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Thoughts of the Day, G-Style

I like to jump rope.

I like to swim.

My mom is weird.

I like to give my sister a wedgie.

I like to ride my new bike.

I wish S. was here. I hope that S. is having fun. Well, not too much fun.

We had kettle corn.

Chinese food is tasty.

I wish that my mom would stop typing!!! MOM STOP TYPING!

Papa is really silly.

Planting Sunflowers

The other day G planted her yearly sunflowers. Last year we planted Lemon Heads, which grew beautifully. In fact, my mom ended up creating a painting from a photo just like the one shown in my friend's blog, of her looking up at the sunflowers. Lemon Heads have small blooms, so the weight of the flower does not cause the sunflower stalk to bend (which happens frequently with sunflowers).

This year, however, we decided to plant MONSTER Kong Sunflowers from Jung Seed Company, which can grow upwards of 9 feet tall. Ah...we shall see...

To plant: use your index finger to push the seed into the ground. It will be just the right depth! And getting your hands dirty is half the fun of gardening!!

Then water, and nurture!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Music Informance Fun

The first graders gave an Informance yesterday. "Informance" stands for informal performance. They were fantastic! They've learned how to recognize notes and can sight read several bars of music, with proper timing AND pitch!!

My favorites were Wee Willy Winky and the Che Che Leche Dance (OK, I have no idea how this is spelled...!!).

Here are some photos! I see that the photos are of just a few people, but these are the 1st graders who were close to me. And the digital camera does not take great photos from far away.

Fun time!!!