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Month: December 2006

My Teacher, My Friend

When I was around four or five years old we lived in this really small little town.  I don’t remember the population as I was very young, but I would guess there were less than 600 people that lived there.  We lived in the church parsonage which ended up being my favorite childhood home (even though I was convinced that there was a witch in my closet and that my ceiling was going to fall in while I was sleeping).  To me it was shaped like a barn.  There was an awesome split staircase, lots of fun hiding places, and a perfect climbing tree in the back yard.

One of the advantages of being in such a small town is that everybody knows everybody.  Next door was an older woman named Opal who became a grandmother-like figure to my sister and I.  We spent many afternoons at her house helping in her garden, eating freshly baked bread, and drinking the best chocolate milk ever (which I later discovered was Ovaltine).  Each year for our birthdays she would make us a special birthday cake and bring over.  I remember one being in the shape of a church and another being in the shape of a lamb.

Across the street was the cat lady.  I want to say her name was Verona but I can’t recall for sure.  She was the stereotypical cat lady who took in all the strays around town.  I only remember going to her house to trick-or-treat and saying hi to her when she was out in the yard, but I always remember that she had a lot of cats around.

Across the street the other way (we lived on a corner) was the church that my dad was the pastor at and next to it was Beverly’s house.  Beverly and her husband Lee attended our church and got to be friends with my parents.  I recall spending many, many, hours with Bev.  I have very fond memories of sitting on her front porch reading together.  Bev spent the summer with me teaching me how to read before I started kindergarten.

When I started kindergarten the next fall,  I was very excited to find out that Bev would be my teacher.  I think it was really hard for both of us not to let me become the "teacher’s pet" of the class since her and I had such a close relationship outside of school.  By the end of the year, she had me reading the second grade level books.  I loved that I was so advanced in reading and I really loved that she took the time to help me get there.

After kindergarten was over we maintained a close relationship.  Bev and her husband moved out to a farm and would invite me and my sister over to ride horses and hang out occasionally.  She also gave me my very first television (an old black and white 13 inch) and probably ruined my interest in books for a few years.

After 3rd grade we moved away from that small town.  We would hear from Beverly and her husband every once in a while and if I recall correctly I think we even visited them a time or two.

My mom tells me that she last spoke to Beverly about 2 years ago and at that time she was ill.  I found out the day I got back from my trip to Portland that she passed away on December 16th.

I never really got the chance to tell her how much of an influence she had on my life.  Not only did she teach me about books, school stuff, and how to read, she also taught me a lot about life.  She is one of the few teachers I have had throughout my life that actually made a difference.  I’m sure I’m not the only one that benefited from her love and caring and I hope that she knew just how much she was appreciated.



It always seems that the more I need to do the less I actually want to
do. Today is busy. Very busy. I should be working my ass off and
getting things done but I can’t because I’m distracted. Today I want to
write. My head is exploding with things that just need to get out but I
have to stifle them because I need to get my work done and I can’t
allow myself the luxury of releasing them. Yet any other day, when I
have little to do, I would not be able to find the words to type on the
screen. I would struggle to write of my daily activities. I suppose
stress gets my brain all fired up and allows more creative freedom
somehow. Today I am ready to expose myself, to be read, to share my
thoughts with the world and I cannot because I have too much work to do.


It Will Always Be Remembered As A Very Elmo Christmas

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I’m not even sure where to begin with the telling of the holiday weekend.  Everything was really pretty low-key, which is just the way I wanted it to be.  Zach, although waking up a little sick on Christmas morning, seemed to enjoy opening his presents.  He actually ripped the paper off himself with just a little help getting it started.  He got many, many, gifts (probably too many if you ask me) and was the least excited with the ones from Mom & Dad and/or Santa.  It seems that his extended family really likes to spoil him.  I think his favorite gifts so far are his Sing ‘n’ Boogie Blue, and his Sesame Street tool bench.  The TMX Elmo freaks him out a little but after a couple minutes he starts laughing at it.  When he can keep the animals out of it long enough to sit in it himself, his Elmo chair also giggles at him and freaks him out just a bit.  He seems to be warming up to that one though.

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We spent Christmas Eve with my Dad and his wife.  I enjoyed the Christmas Eve service at our church, although Zach and my 2-year-old nephew were both really wound up and didn’t want to sit still at all.  Afterwards, we returned to my dad’s house where we had a quick dinner and exchanged gifts.

We had a nice and quiet Christmas morning at home, just the three of us.   I would have liked a little more time to just hang out with Zach and play with his new toys, but we headed over to my mom’s around noon to hang out with my family.

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My sister and her family were already at my mom’s when we arrived.  We spent the afternoon lounging around.  While the younger boys took naps, we watched a few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (still not done with the second season) and I took the opportunity to do a little knitting.  It does seem to get a little easier the more I practice, but the hat I’m making might not hold up for long.

When my brother and his wife arrived we did our gift exchange there.  We all got some pretty good loot, but the best gift was my Wacom Tablet that I’ve been wanting for a very long time.  I think this was the first year in a very long time that I didn’t already know what my mom had gotten me for Christmas and it was a very nice surprise.  I was secretly hoping that she had gotten it for me but I didn’t actually expect to see it when I opened my gift.

After our gift exchange we had dinner together, watched a couple more Grey’s Anatomy episodes (can you tell we’re a bit obsessed?) and then headed home.

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Tuesday I got to stay home with Zach, but instead of playing with my new toy, I spent most of the day doing laundry, dishes, and cleaning up Zach’s toys about 10 million times.  I would have liked to have just left his toys strung all over the place, but Izzy likes to claim them for herself and chew on them if I do that.

Today I had to go back to work and it just plain sucked.  There is so much that I have to do in the next few days and all I want to do is stay home with my baby.  He’s still not feeling well and was very clingy when I dropped him off at day care this morning.  Fortunately, I was busy enough today that I didn’t think too much about it but I was really happy to pick him up after work.

For more Christmas photos, go on over to Flickr.  For some reason I got very few photos at my mom’s house and Elmo was not well represented but I’m hoping my mom and sis will share some of their pics.

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