Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Today, FOUR Babblers showed up in Olympia: Bugsaw, Jillibus, jmcnrick, and Pinikula. We had a great time, and plotted our work for tomorrow.
I will have pictures of them up then…
Right now, a link to the scarves they chose
More pics and a full report in the morning…
Posted by stidmama on 05 Jun 2010 | Tagged as: Babble, children, education, Family Matters, fun, garden, Gardens and Life, grad school, health, Making a Difference, parenting, school, teaching, Uncategorized
Well. It was a LONG school year for me. And now it is over. I am apparently continuing in the program, and have a student teaching assignment lined up for next year! I will meet with my mentor teacher next week.
The end result of the actual teaching in the school I was doing my practicum was positive. Not only did we all survive (always my first concern), but more than 95% of the students managed to turn in work that demonstrated an engagement with and understanding of the idea of adding description to writing to enhance meaning! A few students even chose to continue to refine their work after I returned it to them. Most students seemed to find either poetry OR prose engaging, but a few enjoyed the whole shebang. I was able to demonstrate improvement in writing for many students, although in the future I need to refine the actual points I document.
The best parts of this school year were definitely the work I did IN the actual classrooms; the hardest and least satisfying were the “lessons” I had to write up and “teach” to my peers — who don’t interact with materials at the same level of interest or ability as real children. Also, most of those lessons provided anywhere from minimal “good job” feedback to none at all from my instructors. What is the point of assigning work that isn’t monitored, and letting students continue blindly in a path that may or may not be profitable? At least now I know from a student’s point of view how that feels (not good).
I have a couple weeks now to relax and recoup before I begin the summer session — five weeks, but devoted to the reading endorsement that so interests me. So it won’t seem onerous. And it’s with the same teacher I had last summer, someone who is engaging and gives good feedback.
The “free time” I will have will be devoted to the garden and house, and to working with a stidkid on refining some skills that his school has (again) dropped the ball on. *stern mama look* No excuse to let a student’s performance not meet their ability!
And in August, just before I dive into the student teaching, there is a Babblers meet up here in Olympia! We are very excited about this. Will get some folks from the local area as well as some from as far afield as Canada and the East Coast of the U.S.!
For today, however… I am resting and getting over a late flu bug that hit this week (yes, I missed my final day of class for the program), and getting my bearings on the tasks ahead for the summer. If the sun comes out, I might even spend time in the garden!
Hello to all! We are here (see title) today, Stidgrandmere, a stidkid and myself.
While on the Big Island we have seen Hetty and her husband (yesterday in Victoria) and lunched with Hetty, Jillibus, Flosey, Raelite, and Saanichcat here in Sidney today. Supper tonight with Raelite’s family, and tomorrow we will be on Salt Spring Island. I love vacations!
While I am actually trying to do a fair bit of math homework, I am also taking a couple breaks to take pictures.
Here is one from yesterday:
And a few from today:
Stidgrandmere and the Stidkid in the garden at the Provincial Governor’s mansion:
Stidgrandmere and Saanichcat:
This is Hetty, getting into her “Smart Car” — a nifty little two-seater that she uses to get around.
And here is the WHOLE group (thanks to the kind stranger who took our pic) just after we ate at Sabhai Thai in Sidney — highly recommended by us all!
Standing left to right: stidgmere, flosey, stidkid (#2) and stidmama.
Seated: Jillibus, Hetty, Raelite and Saanichcat.
Finally, I took a rather poor video of everybody, but at least you can sort of hear their voices!
When Dr. Nut asked me to write a pirate story, I said “sure thing” without giving it a thought. After several days of trying to get my ideas to gel, I was about to give up. But Nut is tenacious… so I finally finished it and she put it on Babblecast for your listening enjoyment. It’s about 20 minutes’ worth of pure silliness.
I have also put it on this site, under the Stories section. You can read The Valiant Valkyrie in its entirety — and future sequels — here!
I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you.
It has been a very busy couple of weeks for some reason!First off, congratulations to my Babble-Friends, Featherbee and kristinc, who both had their bundles of joy delivered safely in the last few weeks. Two more bouncing babies added to our happy Babble Family.
Let’s see… my last post was on the 8th… a lot has happened in the almost two weeks since!
The children were at YMCA camp on the Kitsap Peninsula that first week. Tom and I were enjoying a few days’ R&R; at home, no pressures. A few small projects intended, only a couple of which were realized. We watched several movies: Little Miss Sunshine was amusing but definitely not for prudes, and appropriately rated R; a very very bad (does anyone remember So Bad It’s Good Theater?) Sci-Fi flick with Patrick Stewart in a relatively minor role, Lifeforce is worthy of cult status but basically trampy and trashy (not unlike the Rocky Horror Picture Show), rated R but I think it was at the extreme edge of R (lots of nudity); and Mixed Nuts with Steve Martin and many other very funny people, rated PG-13; and finally, Hanky Panky, a PG-rated film from 1982 starring Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner, though not technically a comedy the impeccable timing of the stars lent the movie an edge that overcame what could otherwise have been just another Hitchcock knock-off.
Other memorable things from that week:
All too soon the children were home. We stopped to get a new laptop computer for me (I like to be able to work from any comfortable perch in the house, and the elder stidkid needed something he could take to high school with him… he gets the old one); then got a bird for the younger stidkid who had earned it by getting his room reorganized and CLEAN! His name is “Bleu”… (as in bleu cheese)
Last week was the 17th International Bacteriophage Meeting at The Evergreen State College. And I was sick nearly the whole time. A bad allergy attack the Friday before triggered all sorts of sensitivities, so I didn’t go to the informal dinner at our friend’s house before the meeting, nor to the official opening picnic, nor to the big feast… I didn’t even get to hear a single lecture, which disappointed me greatly. I just wanted to rest and sleep most of that week. But Stidkid#1 DID attend, in part to help our friend with little errands and tasks, and mostly to just be there. He rubbed elbows with friends old and new, and by the end of the first day, everyone knew his name! I was able to see my friend in the photo below only briefly, very late on her last day in Olympia. I hope that I will be healthy for the next meeting!
Here he is with our dear friend Dr. Zemphira Alavidze, and new friends Dr. Irina Chkonia and Grace Filby. He has known Zemphira all his life — and is penpals with her grandson in Georgia!
Here he is with one of his heroes, Dr. Revaz Adamia, of the Eliava Institute in Tbilisi.
Once again, with Dr. Hubert Mazure, the great-grandson of Felix d’Herelle who was the first (along with George Eliava) to really develop bacteriophages as a medical treatment.
Here he is, with his grandmother “Stidg’mere” showing her the posters at the meeting.
And last but not least, here he is with two of the Evergreen students he has worked with a little bit… (I am sorry I don’t remember their names). They made one of the posters behind them.
I would love to talk on and on about phage and their history, and the Eliava institute, but it has been done so well by Dr. Elizabeth Kutter and her students and other scientists at Evergreen that I will simply direct you to their website.
And since then… well a nice, wet weekend. We went to “Camlann” — but that is a post for tomorrow.
Monday morning, another gray and cloudy (and slightly cool) day, no different from home — except we were the guests of gracious hosts… stidkid#1 and I at Hetty and Alan’s house, stidkid#2 at Jillbus’. Like so many times when I am away from home (or just on vacation at home as this week) I woke fairly early and wandered downstairs to enjoy the quiet.
I had an early breakfast of tea and toast, then wandered upstairs to finish packing. When I came back down, stidkid was sitting at the table, happily chowing down and chatting with Hetty. Here is a pic I snapped quickly while their backs were turned. You can see that, from the main floor of Hetty’s home it feels like one is standing in the treetops.
Hetty is perhaps the best conversationalist I have met. She doesn’t just like to talk, she has things to say — and is at least as good a listener as she is a talker. Like many Babblers, she has a multitude of interests, and can hold her own I suspect on nearly any topic. I had a couple very nice conversations with Alan also over the course of the visit. I am so happy that Hetty married a kind and gentle man. He reminds me in many ways of my own Tom. Just a bit older… I suppose by the time we are their ages we will also have some wonderful life stories to tell!
Hetty treats every person as important and worthy of attention, she doesn’t talk down to kids, but I noticed she carefully modifies her words to match the understanding of the person with whom she speaks. Jill does the same, but in a different way. It is interesting to me how people can accomplish the same things in such different ways. Hetty is sweet, like cotton candy — Jill is tangy like lemon meringue pie. Both are the icing on the cake.
Speaking of Jill, it was time to bid Alan and Perky adieu and head down the hill to Jill’s house. The younger boy’s belongings were already in the foyer… and away we flew to Vesuvius… in time to watch the ferry pull away from the dock. Even the bald eagle on the tree seemed surprised that we missed the boat!
While we waited (and hour until the next sailing time) we walked to the little store just up the hill and the boys got ice creams (after all, it had been at least an hour since breakfast), then down to the beach.
Here is Hetty, waiting for everyone to catch up (as usual):
The beach at Vesuvius is an interesting little shallow harbor, looks like it was carved out by an ice cream scoop, so perfectly round! The rocks are a mix of upturned sedimentary and boulders (granite perhaps?) deposited during the last ice age.
Here is are two views from above, you can see the lines in the rocks:
Part of the curve of the beach, you can see that here wave action has left the beach covered with small boulders and pebbles — most between one and three inches diameter.
A stidkid looks for aquatic life from a precarious perch…
On the way to and from the beach, we stopped to admire the blooms in a couple gardens. The monarda (bee balm) caught our attention in this one:
And the combination of penstemon and osteospermum (I think) were striking in this garden. I think the purple foliage behind it was a type of coleus.
The ferry ride was lovely — a quick, calm crossing and this time we were the first on and the first off! At Crofton, we turned left/south and headed for The Malahat which I had envisioned as a sort of deer trail. Surprise, it’s Canada Highway 1, a multi-lane freeway that takes you straight into the heart of Victoria! The views, had it been fairer weather, would have been spectacular. As it was, it was merely pretty (ho-hum, yet again another pristine view). [please note: the last sentence was sarcasm]
In no time, Hetty was pulling into a parking space just around the corner from one of our favorite shops, Murchie’s. This tea shop is over a hundred years old and sells some of the nicest teas I have tasted. And spices, and coffees. They have a nice little deli as well, and it was here that we had arranged to meet the final babbler of our trip, raelite.
Sure enough, we had barely sat down with our salads and sandwiches, than Raelite showed up! Of course, we babbled on about Babble and Babblers, houses, places one can see on on budget in Victoria (always a consideration for us), and Life in General. But in no time, the parking meters were about to expire and we had to leave. Time for a couple more pictures, here is stidkid#1 again, with Raelite:
And the six babblers all together, this one taken by a kind parking enforcement officer who was checking to be sure Hetty was about to move her car! Behind us is the Thai restaurant, Siam where the children and I later ate supper. If you are in Victoria, this is a good place to eat!
And then, they were off and we were standing there, suitcases in hand, expectant looks on our faces. Where to first? Was there time to catch an earlier ferry?
We arrived at the dock in time to wave goodbye… So back we went to Government Street. First stop Munro’s bookstore, then Murchie’s again to pick up souvenir teas for the family. Then the Irish Linen Shop across the street and down a little to find some nice handkerchiefs for me and a pretty table runner for my mother-in-law who actually has space to put such things.
And then… The Maritime Museum, a very interesting place for two boys and their mother! Again, wonderful, nice people. I think we had the whole museum to ourselves, being Monday afternoon only an hour and a bit before closing… they kindly kept our suitcases behind the counter so we could explore freely. And I asked before taking pictures — they are a little dark and blurry because I had to take them without a flash.
The museum starts out with an historical perspective on water activities, which the children and I found most interesting! Here is something that puts modern day punishments into perspective…
And one that shows just how much bigger people today are. stidkid#2 is standing next to a soldier’s breastplate and helmet. Considering he hasn’t even begun to stop growing…
A unique item in the museum is the Tilikum, a dugout boat found on Vancouver Island and converted into an ocean-going sailboat in the early 1900s. Here are the boys at the stern. the original canoe stopped at the lower blue stripe:
And stidkid#2 at the bow.
Opposite the bow of the Tilikum was a figurehead. I regret that I did not write down the name of her ship:
This was the permanent exhibit. Upstairs were more, we were able to view the one on the second floor before closing time, titled “P.O.S.H., for Port Outbound; Starboard Home.” It is a look back at the heyday of ships as the major mode of distance transport. The museum curator said they were able to interview a number of people who had either traveled on the boats or worked on them. What a terrific experience that must have been! If you can get to this museum, I do recommend it. It fronts on a pedestrian street, but is easily reached from either Government Street or Wharf Street.
After a very satisfying supper (complete with a delicious black-rice in coconut milk pudding), the children and I made our way along the wharf toward the ferry terminal. Here are my most precious traveling companions with a beautifully decorated orca:
A reasonably smooth and quick crossing and a short drive home, and we slept in our own beds that night…
What a treat it had been to spend time with Hetty and Jill: from the walks in downtown Ganges to the evenings spent discussing any topic that came to mind, to the narrated tours of the areas around Salt Spring Island. What a joy to finally meet Raelite and learn more about her life in person. What a grand adventure the boys and I had, wandering the streets of Victoria with all the time we needed to explore! I enjoyed every minute. This is what makes British Columbia so beautiful to me — the slower pace of vacation time and the scenery are nice to be sure, but mostly the beauty is in the people.
One last pic from the journey, the one that makes me smile the most, Hetty and Jill by my favorite mural in Ganges. I think they look like the fairy godmothers they surely are to me! [bippity-boppity-boo?]
Well, Sunday dawned cloudy and gray — a bit misty, with promise of rain…
I had asked to accompany Hetty and Alan to church — they sing in the choir (as the veteran performers they are) and then go to the local hospital to sing for some of the people in the long-term care unit there. In a former life, I had done similar things. So, I wanted to hear them sing, and visit with folks too.
Jill took the boys for the morning, and though I am not sure what they did, I know they had fun!
The little church is fairly new, but a good size for a vacation-retirement community. It wasn’t even half full, and there were no children at all. A few younger people, but most were older than I; no spring chicken! It was a typical service in the liturgical tradition, recognizable to any person of Lutheran, Catholic or Anglican background. The music was very nice — though one song had no music available, and I searched in vain for something in the hymnal that might make sense… hard to take the songleader out of me, even a decade on. I will put in a post about the sermon later, it gave me food for thought! The people there are very nice — a little too much for this “hiding in the library” sort of person — but generous and kind.
After the service and coffee hour we drove to the hospital — I am so very happy I went. I love to do things like that for people, and though I did not as Hetty had assumed know these “old favorites,” they were easy enough to pick up and sing once I had heard the chords through. Hymns tend to follow a very similar pattern, after all! The folks who came to the sing-a-long, though, knew them really well. I had to stop singing a couple, when I recognized them as some of my own grandmother’s favorites… but mostly it was a fun time. Only half an hour, but plenty long for these frail elderly.
Then we found a salmon for Hetty to make supper and went on home to gather the boys and Jill. Actually, Hetty and Alan dropped me off and Jill took us from her place across to Crofton on the big island via the little ferry at Vesuvius.
Now, Vesuvius is a tiny little place, a small convenience store and a few houses clustered around the ferry dock. There is sometimes a pub, though it is currently closed while the owner deals with legal issues. A nice feature of the gulf islands, is that ferries OFF are free… you drive on and go!
The ferry “terminal”:
And with the ferry in…
Getting on the ferry (it’s smaller than it looks):
Crofton is a nice industrial town, attached to a pulp mill and the ferry terminal. Working-class and decidedly “un-stylish,” it nevertheless has an air of purpose that is nice — and often lacking in bigger towns.
But our real destination was Chemainus, a former mill town that repurposed itself after the mill (the only real employer) closed down about 20 years ago. It has become a center for arts and artists. There are quaint B&Bs, a theatre (which I am told is quite good), murals on nearly any vertical surface that doesn’t move, and all the associated touristy-type shops that accompany an artist colony-cum-vacation spot.
We had a lovely meal at a small hole in the wall Greek eatery, then walked around the town for an hour and a half. The sky was overcast, but except for a quick sprinkle just as the lunch was brought out, it never rained. And we did NOT melt!
Pictures, of course!
Here is the “quaint”:
A view back to Salt Spring Island from the boat ramp at Chemainus:
And to prove that’s where we were…
After Chemainus, we spent a little time at Jill’s again. She has a new type of jig-saw puzzle that also has cross-word clues and answers on it. We had fun working on that until it was time for supper.
And supper…. AH! Jill’s meal the night before was terrific, and Hetty’s was eye-opening! I had not had fennel root before, so of course I made a pig of myself. It tasted so very good, especially with the salmon. Some home-made wine from Alan’s cellar; beautiful tender new potatoes, salad — and of course the company was delightful.
Here is a picture of the table that Hetty set:
And then dessert, followed by conversation while the boys watched Julie Andrews in “Cinderella” — the Rogers and Hammerstein musical that was the first to be live broadcast on network television.
By the time Jill left and we turned in for the night (after ten o-clock) I was beat, and sorry that we would leave the next day.
In the final installment, our trip back to the main island, the afternoon and evening in Victoria, and our long journey home…
Waking up Saturday morning to a lovely view out Hetty’s living and dining rooms, I had a leisurely breakfast, then woke up stidmatt and he had a lovely porridge made by Alan.
Dropping by Jill’s to be sure stidgrant was ready to go, Alan took the boys on a walk while Hetty and Jill and I headed into the “big town” of Ganges to walk in the farmer’s market, see the library (they both volunteer there) and have lunch. First stop was a lovely performing arts center where the “Fiber Festival” was taking place. We didn’t walk about much, but I was intrigued by a quilt display. So many ideas!
People are wonderful and creative… there is much beauty in this world if we only look for it.
Next stop, the library, where we parked. Here are pics of the library and of Hetty and Jill inviting us all to read. Don’t miss the posters up for the Harry Potter party from the previous evening!
A quick jaunt then across the main drag toward the harbor, and to see the dozens of really great stalls for the artists, artisans and farmers on the island. I didn’t take pictures of them, but… imagine yourself in a medieval bazaar: people changing money (yes, Salt Spring Island has its own currency); offering baked goods — including some vegan cookies and cakes which I promptly snapped up; displaying their garden’s bounty (garlic, greens, root vegetables, potatoes) in many colors, shapes and sizes; potters with mugs, plates, bowls and platters; an armorer — yes, a chain mail specialist from whom I bought a small ring for one of the boys; clothes from scarves to dresses to shirts and hats; art; and musical instruments – I bought a clamshell ocarina for the other boy. Good smells, pretty sights, and never enough money in the pocket!
Close to the market, we stopped at an Italian-style restaurant for lunch. Looked like they had good food, though most of it had dairy in it so I just had a green salad (which was excellent). Waiting for our table, I snapped a quick pic of the ladies:
And then back to the car with another small stop at Mouats, a century-old store to get pirate T-shirts for the family and for the boys’ penpals. Car rides on this island are fun. There are so many great views — old farmsteads, forested areas, quaint clusters of dwellings, curious remnants of old places, a mix of new and old architecture that tells the story of life on the island over the last 150 years. Of course, habitation on the island goes back much longer than that, but most of the structural clues are left by non-indigenous peoples.
Supper that evening was at Jill’s place — rice, broccoli and a great chicken dish; dessert was chocolate cake with ice cream, and fruit salad with meringues. Wine or soda with supper, coffee or tea with dessert. By the time we left Jill’s cozy home with instructions to stidgrant to help with finishing clearing up… it was nearly 10 pm!
Sunday’s report in the next post…
Without wanting to sound like an advertisement for tourism… British Columbia is one of the prettiest places on earth. From the many islands off the west coast, to the mountains, to the lakes and cities, each spot seems to hold more and more wonderful things to discover. The people are (for the most part) friendly, the air is clean, the wildlife abundant. Though I am familiar with only the area around downtown Victoria and some of Salt Spring Island, I think it is reasonable to extrapolate a bit… so here is a narration that may encourage others to visit!
On Friday last, the children and I took the MV Coho (a privately-owned ferry) across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Port Angeles in Washington state to Victoria in Canada. We went as foot passengers, leaving our car near the dock and saving about a hundred dollars in ferry fees! It was also nice to board and disembark first…
A view of Victoria from afar..
The view from the ferry coming in (or going out)
Victoria, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, is a real gem. The seat of the Provincial government, and the major port city on the island, it retains a small-town feel in many ways. This was my first major trip alone with the children, and despite not having the right amount of money for the bus fare once we got ashore, and then having my debit card (that I had been using to get cash as needed) stop working briefly two days later… we managed to have a super time. Most of the people were very helpful and friendly, and the children were delighted to be having such a grand adventure.
Of course, Victoria was only a stop for us this trip — our real destination was Salt Spring Island, the biggest of the Gulf Islands just east of the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
So once we caught the bus in Victoria, we rode it up to Swartz Bay, catching the ferry again as foot passengers across to Fulford, a small harbor town on the southern end of Salt Spring Island.
Stidmatt above, stidgrant and me below, on the ferry to Fulford…
We sat by the window on the ride over, and I couldn’t help noticing a young firefighter across the isle, wearing her uniform, but carrying a pretty dress and an instrument case. As we were coming in to the dock, I asked if it was a violin, and we had a nice (though short) conversation about violins and fiddles.
We were walking off the dock, when one of the children said, “Mom! Mom!” and I heard from somewhere behind me, “Stid? STID!”
It was Flosey, a babblefriend who had come to meet us for supper. She was first to arrive, followed soon after by Jillibus who had brought Dilly — and Hetty and her darling husband Alan (and aptly named poodle, Perky). We had supper at the restaurant at the top of the ferry dock.
The men at one end of the table…
The women at the other end of the table! (L to R: hetty, dilly, flosey)
I wish I had taken some pics of the place inside, the main seating area was defined by lovely abstact stained glass panels, and the windows looked out on the harbor — and a heron perched on a rock stained by lichen and lit by the afternoon sunlight. We ate, and babbled, ate and talked about babbling, ate and enjoyed the company. When the food was gone, Alan took the boys and the dog home, while the rest of us had coffee and talked on…
And before we got in the car, a pic of us all together, with thanks to Gladys (a complete stranger) who offered to take it for us! (L to R: Jillibus, stidmama, flosey, hetty, dilly)
Finally, we delivered Flosey and Dilly to their homes, and Hetty and Jill and I went on home ourselves. I stayed with stidmatt at Hetty’s house, stidgrant stayed at Jill’s house each night, and during the days we had grand adventures and fun times. We were really only with them for two complete days, which I will outline in the next post. But, for only two days, we made a tremendous quantity of memories!
As I was posting about my child and the pirate puzzle earlier today, I realized I didn’t post about our visit toward the end of June with Babbler Hetty and her darling husband, nor about the ATC card Babbler Atalante sent me last week!
With apologies for such omissions, I plead summertime activity syndrome… and direct you to the three pictures I posted at flickr.com for the former;
The additional note and picture on the page I maintain for Artist Trading Cards I Received.
Though ordinarily I would have been able to do a good bit of work during the many (four) hours I was sitting waiting for the kid who had band camp two weeks in a row, my laptop computer’s battery stopped holding a charge. Ergo, no computer during the day, and lots to do when I got home!
Excuses? Perhaps… but true!