Thursday, March 31, 2016

SOLSC - Another March. Check!

I can't believe the month has come to an end. My writing muscles felt good during this year's challenge. I feel that all of my posts both said something and had me thinking about the craft of writing rather than simply trying to put words down and get them published. (Thanks Stacey for the permission that slices can be first draft writing!)

Spring Break almost always falls so that I am doing part of the challenge on the road. When you are traveling light and in third world countries there are extra layers to the challenge; blogging, posting, and commenting from mobile devices as well as power cuts and unreliable and often sluggish connections. It's a good thing vacation time has extra hours in the day!

Thank you, once again, Two Writing Teachers Team for giving us this opportunity to come together as a writing community. "See" you all Tuesdays. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SOLSC - I Was Not Expecting To See

I was not expecting to see
the train change directions
twenty minutes into our seven hour ride.
That's a lot of backwards.

I was not expecting to see
pine forests
and more pine forests
stretching to the sky
in the Sri Lankan hills.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

SOLSC - Massage: A Local Experience

I love a good massage, so when our host asked if I was interested, of course I found a way to schedule one into our time. (Thankfully my husband is very supportive of the idea, partially because of my compressed vertebrae and chronic shoulder tension. He knows massage works. Perhaps also because if someone else does it he doesn't have to!)

A couple of days later I left my family to finish breakfast and hang out while I walked down the street with Sriyani. About two blocks down the main street we entered a medical office marked with a green plus. I was asked to sit in the waiting area. As I sat on the platstic chair I knew I wasn't the only one who thought it was hot, everyone was looking for something to fan themselves with.

I was eventually called into the office, and after more waiting my blood pressure was checked by a sari-clad woman - the person in charge (medically trained in both the west and Sri Lanka, I was told). More waiting and I was taken back to the treatment area.

This was when I knew I was having a totally local experience. Stuff was stacked haphazardly everywhere, in and out of boxes. Among the haphazard storage was a solid wood table. The table was about seven feet long and 3.5 feet wide with a raised edge that ran all the way around, except for the two inch gap at the foot of the table, reminding me of the metal tables used for autopsies that could then be hosed down. The only things on the tables, besides the interesting stains, were what appeared to be a small pillow at the head and a questionably clean cloth laying on top. There was also an armed chair that had black chunks of a substance I couldn't identify with a twin green cloth draped over the back.

I was then asked to stripped to my panties and to wrap in the cloth on the chair. Following that the masseur brought out heated oil and rubbed it in my hair and lightly on my head. I was then lay on my back and more oil was rubbed all over my body until I felt like a wet slippery fish. All of this (maybe 30 minutes) the original sari clad woman came to see if I was in pain. I wasn't. The next step was to take heated polices (scented ash in fabric bunches - thus explaining the black clumps scattered about) and push them into my skin all over my body - three types in succession. 

The final step was asking me if I wanted a body wash. When I answered in the affirmative I was led to a bathroom that had washing soaking in tubs (I felt slightly better about the green fabric I had used)  and the hot water tank was rigged up. I used the mostly cold water to rub off some of the oil on my body, knowing I was going to wash when I got back to the house.

It was a 100% authentic local experience and I don't need to do it again.

Monday, March 28, 2016

SOLSC - Sri Lankan Cacophony

 The sky drew darker throughout the afternoon. The tuktuk was negotiated traffic when it started. This rain did not start with a drip or a sprinkle - one minute the sky was threatening rain and the next minute someone ripped the coulda open and the water dumped out.

My daughter commented that it is like being at home, in Seattle. Obviously we aren't there much as this was NOTHING like a Seattle rain. As we got to bout the third reason why she cut in with, "OK! OK! I get it!"

We returned to the house and sat out on the huge, covered veranda. My husband picked up where he had left odd in Harry Potter and I took in the Cacophony around me.

The sound of rain, thunder (that was actually quite distant at that point, but you wouldn't know it from the volume!), my husband reading with voices according to character, and my daughter munching on a snack.

The sensory input did not end there as I was looking out through rich greenery at raindrops and lightening and literally hundred and hundreds (I quit counting when I reached a thousand) huge bats obviously flying with a purpose from one place to another directly across my line of sight.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

SOLSC - Transport Trucks Sri Lankan Style

We had been on the road for only twenty minutes and already three vivid images are etched in my mind. I was in the back seat with no way to photograph what I was seeing. Staying in our lane on the left we would come raring up behind a vehicle, our driver poking his nose out to the right to see if it was possible to pass in the oncoming lane. The truck in front of us was open in the back and at first glance looked like a load of hay. (In fact, keeping with family traditions, the little one declared, "Hay!") I then asked if she noticed all of the terra-cotta pots peaking out.  A few minutes later we passed a truck piled high with coconuts complete with stripped stalks of the branches across the back to keep them from rolling out. When we passed the truck absolutely stuffed with pineapples there was no sort of barrier across the back, yet the fruit stayed out. I can only figure that the rough exterior as well as the clumps at the apex of each fruits keeps them wedged in place. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

SOLSC - A play in four acts: "One Bag"

Act 1:
The pile next to the bag had completely disappeared. The next task was to see if it zipped. Success! Everything for the three of us to spend two weeks in Sri Lanka fit into one checked bag, without even having to sit on it or force the zipper. (Our baggage allotment is six bags, but that's WAY too many bags to try and navigate trains and tuk-tuks.) 

The big test would be the airport scale. The limit is 23 kg per bag, but often with only one bag they don't make a fuss if you are over. Final verdict: 23.4 kg. I walked away smugly, feeling pretty impressive with myself.

Act 2:
Arrive and deplane, thrilled to have a jetway rather than a bus ride. Buy visas, clear immigration, swing through duty free, and figure we've timed it about right as the bags have started to circle our carrousel. As 30 minutes stretches into forty-five I contemplate a new policy - the last bag odd the carousel for each flight should come with a bottle of champagne, some reward for being the "lucky one" who got the opportunity of seeing everyone else's luggage before being ruined with your own. 

Act 3:
No champagne for us, even if the policy was implemented. The carrousel is turned off and it looked like we were good to be in the same clothes for a while. After being in the airport for nearly two hours, not only did we not have our bag, but we no longer had enough time to make our train to Kandy. 

Having worked in the travel industry in a previous life I know that it is a good sign when they actually know where your bag was left. Our baggage tag matched the number of a bag that was left in Jeddah and will come in our tomorrow's flight. They say it will be delivered to our AirBnB home at that point. I am optimistic, but not holding my breath. 

The "sorry for your inconvenience" money covered an air conditioned car ride, rather then a bus to a train (which probably would have had to be a bus because the one we were planning on we wouldn't make and the later one didn't have any seats) and new toothbrushes, shampoo, etc. The little one loved getting to pick out a new shirt. (The grown ups chose to wash theirs out tonight and trust they will be dry by the morning.) With plenty of money in case we need to really shop tomorrow. 


Act 4:

Friday, March 25, 2016

SOLSC - Time is Irrelevant

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

I love having friends with whom time is irrelevant. When we are all together it doesn't matter how much time has passed or how much time we have - we enjoy the minutes together to the fullest and then look forward to next time.

Spring Break is upon us. We are allowed to leave school at 3:30 on Thursdays (the last day of our week). We were pulling out of the parking lot at 3:31, headed 300 kilometers south to Jeddah.

Upon arrival we hugged all the children, left ours, and the adults headed off - picking up another friend along the way. After having to wait for prayer to finish so the restaurant would open, we enjoyed an evening of excellent sushi and fantastic company.

I thoroughly enjoyed my evening (as I think our daughter did too, since she was still up when we got home, three hours after bedtime). I will say that, in the back of my mind I was very aware that it was Maundy Thursday and that if we had been in a different country our evening would have looked different. This is something I have come to terms with about living here. We moved the story up a bit in our week so having an Easter Egg hunt this morning wouldn't seem quite so odd. As a friend once said while we were in Jerusalem, watching many people need to kiss the exact spot that tradition says something happened, we're too reformed for that.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

SOLSC - Encouraging Thinking

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

I read a fair amount of blog posts, covering a wide range of topics and ideas. One I read recently, titled "Adding or Subtracting Learning" by George Couros, had both my head nodding and my mind whirling. 

I tend toward the mindset that students should be the ones doing the most work in a classroom, they should be doing the most thinking during a lesson. (My part is primarily in setting up these learning opportunities.) I have done things similar to what he talks about in this post before, but it got me thinking about the math lesson of the day. 

Geometry is our overarching theme. We have explored perimeter and area of two dimensional shapes and were ready to move on to prisms. I handed each group a set of four base ten flats and asked them how they would explain the ideas of area and perimeter for this object. Then the fun began.

Wandering from group to group they were anxious to share their learning. I would sprinkle a thought here and there: "Why do you think that?" or "How do you know?" or "Are you sure there isn't another way to look at it?" or "What about _______?"

I wrote the words "faces" and "volume" on the board. I reminded them they could use any resource in the room. I asked them to both explain their thinking and find a resource that could support their reasoning. 

Everyone was engaged. Everyone was thinking. Ideas were being formed and challenged and changed. Then our time was up.

Now for the assessment. I created a Google Form with five questions. (My forms always have at least three questions as the first is always 'Name?' and the last one is always 'Is there anything else you want me to know?') The other three questions for this form were:

How did you figure it out?

What resource proves you are correct? (Share the link that you found to show your thinking is correct.)

So what is the answer?

Yes, my questions were in this order. Yes, this was intentional. The answer is the least important part of the process for me. I want them to be able to share their thinking. I want them to know how to search for, and be successful in finding, information.

What do you do to encourage thinking? How do they 'show' their thinking?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

SOLSC - In This Crazy World, It Could Be Anywhere

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

Living in the Middle East I may be more aware than many about where potential hot spots are. After today the notion is reaffirmed that it could happen anywhere.

A year ago we were about to head to Paris for Spring Break and I was very much looking forward to my escape day in Brussels. Never a thought that either of these places might be used as sites for trying to get the world's attention in horrific ways ever crossed my mind. 

What a difference a year makes. 

As we prepare for Spring Break to start many people are concerned about where might or might not be safe. Some have changed their plans. I'm feeling pretty comfortable with direct flights to and from Sri Lanka.

This world is a crazy place, and it's getting crazier.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

SOLSC - Snapshots of Recess

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

I had recess duty. While I wandered from shady spot to shady spot, observing kids as I roamed both playgrounds. I realized I was observing many mini-slices through each mental snapshot I took.

Creative foursquare - you can move the ball with anything, but your hands. A hoot to watch feet, elbows, foreheads, knees, and backsides try to make accurate hits. You don't even need four true squares, any open bit of blacktop will do.

Three students who had been put together for a group project did NOT like the idea of being together. (To the point of asking their parents to request that I switch their group.) I told them that their biggest challenge was not going to be the academics of the project, that they are all very smart. Their biggest challenge was going to be to work together as a team. They saw that this was true over and over and over and over. And then today at recess I see the three of them choosing to play together - just them.

A jumble of girls huddled together, all focused on one girl. Whispering. Turning. Perhaps pointing. More whispering. A few tears. All a sure sign of girl drama. Steer clear!

Third graders awkwardly trying to control a basketball as they dribble across the court. You can always tell what skills are being taught in P.E. as they find their way onto the playground - painfully at first, but their skills grow and so does their enjoyment. Just as they start to get somewhere approaching competent, the unit changes and the awkward stage of a new sport emerges.

And then there are the boys who will play soccer, no matter what!

Monday, March 21, 2016

SOLSC - Exotic Palm Branches

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

After a long day of school and what-nots we have finally made it through dinner. After dinner we read a Bible passage for the day. Being Palm Sunday, we read about "Hosanna!"s and a donkey and a parade and the waving of palm branches and it strikes me; as a kid palm branches were so exotic. The fact that they ordered palms, especially for this day, that were shipped in for us to wave as we sang our "Hosanna!"s, was part of my childhood. Among the evergreen trees, a few maples, and often some budding fruit trees, the idea of a palm tree was so foreign. And now, here I am: palm trees line every road and the palm fronds along the path between our door and the car drive me crazy as they never seem to be trimmed back far enough to not be encroaching on the path - not an evergreen in sight.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

SOLSC - Summer Camp

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

I can't imagine being a kid and having a summer that DIDN'T include summer camp. The type of camp is not nearly as important as being at camp. 

Summer, to me, means going to camp: 

New friends, singing, cooking over a fire, stars, beautiful scenery, opportunities for new activities.

Climbing into a sleeping bag at the end of the day; whispering in the dark and trying to giggle without being heard. 

Having a counselor, mosquito bites, and dirty clothes are all a part. 

There are others that aren't to be left out:

Going for hikes, "Are we there yet?", and switchbacks.

Dining halls, having to try a bit of everything, and K.P. duty.

The session ending, getting autographs, taking pictures, and having to leave - all with the promise of 'next year'!

This goes on from summer to summer to summer until... I'm not sure what happens. Camper becomes counselor becomes director, but eventually there is no more going off to camp and adventures take on new shape. 

Now I sign my daughter up for camp and get even more excited than she does as I know how much adventure awaits her at summer camp.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

SOLSC - Comfort Food?

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

With my husband still out of town and the weekend nearing its end my dinner making ambitions were low. My need for something satisfying was high. I bought something I knew he wouldn't go for and I couldn't remember the last time I had - boxed macaroni and cheese! 

My craving for mac and cheese not only involved the slight glow of orange cheese powder. I like bright green peas mixed among the cylinder noodles. Being where I am I can't get everything so ShopRite rather than Kraft; canned rather than frozen. The cart loaded we headed home.

The day wore on and dinner time was nearly upon us. I put the water on to boil as the little one went to play outside. Once dinner was ready we reconvened at the dining room table. Smiling, I took my first bite - and wanted to spit it out. Canned peas are nothing like frozen ones! 

I said nothing and tried not to make any faces as I ate a few bites as they were served to me and the rest I subtly separated the ruining orbs from the scrumptiousness of the main idea, thankful I was eating from a deep bowl. 

She said nothing, until it was time for seconds and then asked, "May I please have just macaroni and cheese?"

When I came back from the kitchen with her second helping I asked for her help. "If I ever try to buy canned peas again, please remind me how gross they are."

She looked up, wide eyed.

"You were a huge trooper eating it the way it was served to you the first time. I think they are gross, too."

Her grin spread and she promised to remind me. 

After dinner I stood over the pot and hunted for peas to remove from the mix. When she saw what I was doing she asked, "May I please have some for lunch tomorrow?"

"Both of us will" I told her as I, hopefully, learned my lesson AND bonded with my daughter.

Friday, March 18, 2016

SOLSC - Gulp

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

After being diagnosed with epilepsy my daughter was put on medication (and has been seizure free ever since!) She is very motivated to take her medicine. She wants to go snorkeling. The only restriction put on her when she was diagnosed had to do with swimming in open bodies of water. When we met with the neurologist he told her that if she doesn't have any seizures, come spring she could probably go snorkeling. (We live on the edge of the Red Sea next to the reef that Jacques Cousteau says is second only to the Great Barrier Reef.) You don't have to ask her twice to take her medication. She she hears the timer goes off, she heads straight to the kitchen.

Carrying around a big, glass bottle of medicine everywhere we go takes some consideration. And, when we expect to be home by medicine time, and then aren't, well, let's just say it is not ideal.

Two weeks ago her medicine had to be refilled. Not one single pharmacy in town had any in. No joke. So my wonderful husband drove 300 kilometers down to Jeddah, spent several hours at the hospital trying to get all of the process taken care of (and this is after I emailed with the doctor and had everything in place), and then drove 300 kilometers home - all after a full day of work. 

Sigh. Having to do that every seven weeks was not high on his list of 'fun'. Thankfully he managed to come home with nearly a year's worth of medicine - some in the large glass bottles and some in pill form. Now we just have to teach her to swallow a pill.

(As far as I know my husband does not read my blog so I feel comfortable sharing the following, as he is the only one I promised I wouldn't tell.)

Daddy is away for work for five days. I thought we could try learning how to swallow the pill (half a pill, really). If it didn't work the suspension was available. If it did work I wouldn't have to carry that big, glass bottle around Sri Lanka over Spring Break nor worry about what temperature the bottle became.

Last night I asked her if she would like to try and learn how to swallow a pill and surprise Daddy when he gets back. She was all for it. I grabbed a bit of bread, a glass of water, and half a pill. We sat together at the table. I took a bit of bread, chewed it, and showed it to her just as I was ready to swallow it. She did the same.

With the bread chomped up and prepared for swallowing I had her place the medicine in the middle of the bread. She tried to swallow and laughed. I told her she could use the water to wash it down. I held my breath.

Back up several decades to when I first tried to take a pill. I tried this very same method and it did not go well. I ended up having to put crushed, nasty tasting bits of medicine in the jam on my toast and just deal with it. I remember spending 30 - 45 minutes to try and get down one tiny pill. I was crossing my fingers that she took to this more quickly than I did. (Now a handful of pills is no problem, but that didn't come until much later.)

When the giggling subsided I was expecting her to pull a pill out of her mouth, but it turns out she was giggling because it went down surprisingly easily! Yippee! I was so excited I danced about, which made her laugh more and we celebrated her milestone with hugs, and more laughter, and huge prideful grins.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

SOLSC - Random Song

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

Sitting at the dining room table, I opened the kid's Bible to read the next passage. With the Christ Candle flames dancing across the page, I read the title: "Fiery Furnace". Instantly I started singing a song in my head; "It's cool, cool, cool, cool, in the furnace, man!"

How did that pop in there? It is from a musical we did in church when I was in Kindergarten! With the wonders of the world wide web I thought there might be a chance I could find the song. Even better, I found the entire musical - several options, actually. Wondering what I might remember after nearly four decades I pressed play.

My daughter was enthralled and picked up on some of the choruses, joining in with her mom who was belting out every line to every song. Forty five minutes later we were both smiling as the music faded.

The cover to the record I had as a child.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

SOLSC - A Perfect Lunch

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.
(Somewhere in the middle of this post is the halfway point of the March Slice of Life Challenge. It's all down hill from here, right?!)

There are times when I am hungry and there is nothing I can think of that sounds really good - or at least nothing I can find in this town. Don't get me wrong. I am happy to make my own food, and almost always do. In this town, across the world from 'home', there are things I just can't get.

I have not had a Truffle Hunter sandwich in soooo long. In fact, really great sandwiches in general are hard to come by here. Even if I can't find my way to Gresham, Oregon I could make one - if I had all of the ingredients.

Ah, to dream of a perfect lunch. 

My mouth salivates as I think of what I could make. First of all, it has to start with good bread - nice and fresh and chunkily sliced. Then, the sandwich I am thinking of would have cream cheese spread thickly, but not too thick, on one piece of the multigrain bread. On top of this protector of the bread there is a layer of whole cranberry sauce followed by sprouts (or green onions - even cucumbers could work). The other piece of bread would have a thin layer of brown mustard and then some paper thin, nearly translucent, sliced smoked turkey. Put it together, cut it in half, and yummy!

I would need a glass of water (no ice) to go with it and one large handful of potato chips (black pepper?). Something rich and chocolatey would be needed to make this the perfect lunch - a piece of flourless torte, perhaps.

What else?
A small salad?
A bit of fruit; grapes, strawberries, or 1/2 a banana?
A glass of wine?

This lunch is best as a picnic; beneath a big shade tree, out at the beach, on a mountain - doesn't matter, but outside and warm enough to be in short sleeves, but not so warm you are sweating.

To top it all off would be lunchtime conversation with a dear friend.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

SOLSC: I can't believe they just ____________!

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

Do you have those moments? The ones that you think "I can't believe they just ____________!" I sure do. 

This is a thought that crosses my mind more than once a year: How long do you have to wait to post things about a particular class, school, parent etc.? One advantage to teaching overseas is that if I wait for a period of time, what I write about could be from the last school or the one before that or the one before that. No one would be able to figure out which school or student or parent I am writing about. In order to remember the moments, perhaps I need to write the post and keep it as a draft. Eventually I would come across it again and could hit 'publish'. After eleven years at several school in the Middle East I have stories to tell.

I have taught with a deaf librarian. Seriously. A lovely person, but there was no such thing as whispering to converse with them. I have had a student write about how much they wished their mom wouldn't have any more plastic surgery and then shared that writing in a conference. I have had a student who, during the 5th grade puberty talk, wanted to understand how the Virgin Mary had a baby, (especially touchy since the child was not Christian.) I have had a parent berate their child when you are conferencing with them and their child to try and collectively support the child in making better choices (and then go home and beat them). I have had parents in shock that their child was able to find inappropriate content on the internet when they live in a country that supposedly blocks all inappropriate content. 

I am sure you have had your "I can't believe they just ____________!" moments as well. Teaching: always keeps you on your toes!

Monday, March 14, 2016

SOLSC - We All Have These Days

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

It is much later than I normally post. That is due to a very significant factor; I haven't written yet today. Great correlation, huh? And why haven't I written? Well, I haven't felt grabbed by a moment that has screamed (or even whispered) "Write about me!"

Yes, I spent the day with a classroom full of fifth graders.

Yes, I had encounters with my daughter this morning. (In fact, one that might be worth writing about except that I think I would not like to relive it, which - let's face it - is often what happens when we try to take a moment and translate it to words.) And more this evening.

Yes, I am engrossed in the Iditarod.

Yes, I have had some meaningful time with my husband.

Yes, I spent nearly an hour and a half talking with my mom.

Yes, my best friend is trying to figure out how to make the college of her daughter's dreams a reality, but only if it is the right choice overall (read: financially).

Yes, home got hit with a storm yesterday that has had crazy stories like this and this and this.

Yes, I need to book our flights home for the summer, but not knowing how much money we will be given for the tickets leaves me second guessing. Do I stick with the routing we have always used? Since it is months later than I usually book the price is a higher than I have ever paid. Do I try another route, through an airport I hate? Do I try something completely different? Do we fly together? Do I ask my husband to drive himself the 300 kilometers from the airport to home just to turn around two days later and come get us so we can stay in Seattle for one more Sunday of fellowship? Sigh.

Yet none of them these compelled me to sit and write a slice. Now bed time is nearly here and the pressure is upon me and I don't know what to say. We all have these days; full of moments, yet no moment rises to the top. Today was a true 'day in the life' in all the normalcy of life. And now I will head upstairs to get ready for bed and read a bit before falling into dream land. Tomorrow I will awake and my journey to find a moment will begin again. We shall see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

SOLSC - A Sign Of Things To Come?

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

We have two bathrooms upstairs; the girls' bathroom and the boy's bathroom. Since it is the adults that take showers in the morning it works out really well. We each have our own space and our own pace and it all works out, even when you factor in that the water pressure is really only stellar when one shower is going at a time. 

Last night we got home late from our weekend camping trip. After a couple of days in the sand everyone needed to get the grit out, but we decided that the little one needed the sleep more; a little sand for another day wasn't going to hurt anything. To my surprise she was up a few minutes early this morning. I pitched the idea of a morning shower and she thought it was a great idea. At least I had the wits about me to take mine first. 

She had promised a fast shower. Ten minutes after a fast shower would have been a relaxing five minute shower she was still enjoying the water. I let her know that Daddy was waiting to take his shower, though that didn't seem to hurry her much. As it took a couple more nudges to get her out I wondered if this was a sign of things to come. As she gets older she may prefer a morning shower. Now won't that be fun?!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

SOLSC - 38 Hour Adventure

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

38 hour adventure complete. (All weekends should be three day weekends so the adventures can be longer!) We headed out yesterday morning (right after I wrote my slice) and just walked in the door (and I'm sitting down to write my slice) - must be March! Each member of my family had a great weekend, and though we were together for the entire adventure, our highlights are different.

My daughter loved to play in the sand, but mostly to climb rocks. Good thing we were in the desert, surrounded by rock outcrops. She also just loves camping and found out that she really does like to off road, but the rock climbing topped her list on this adventure. This trip there was another boy, about a year older than she is. He was new to rock climbing and so, rather than asking for Daddy to be near, so took on the role of expert and showed him how it is done.

My husband, who even gave a few "Woo-hoo!"s throughout the adventure, loved being off road. Some of our adventure was wadi-bashing, but we also encountered rocks of all sizes, dried river beds, stone ledges (just wide enough for a truck), and more sand. We had the truck in four wheel much of the time and I think he not only enjoyed himself, but was proud to never need to be dug out or pulled out.

For me, I loved sitting in creation and especially the wide open space of the desert. I loved the quiet and the color. I loved the end of the day as the sun heads for the horizon and the light magnifies the color and then the deepening of the sky and finally a humongous sky so full or star it is hard to believe that anyone could count them all.

There were fifteen of us in six rigs for this outing. At one point I quipped that we could drop some of us off to set up camp, enjoy the quiet vastness, and let the little kids play. Meanwhile the big kids (and in this country, to drive you have to be male) go see what they can conquer on four wheels.

A good time was had by all!

Friday, March 11, 2016

SOLSC - Small World

It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

I am sure some of you have had this happen: you are reading posts of Facebook and you see someone comment on someone else's post and you think, "How do they know each other?!" When I notice this I have to ask. I love finding connections in the world.

It happened again this week and when I asked it turns out they had gone to the same church camp when they were kids. This church camp happens to be someplace very near and dear to my heart and my life story many times over. It is how I know one of the people - Christy (who lives in Washington). (The world continued to connect us as her sister married someone I had grown up in the same church with and now they live in my hometown and the paths continue to cross, but that is a tangent.)

I know Wendy (who now lives in Colorado) because she worked for my dad when I was a kid and I used to help out in the office in the summers and met her then. When I grew up I got to have some of the same life experiences she had also had in Alaska. Last summer she organized a reunion for people with that connection and we met again as adults. 

Yesterday she posted an op-ed piece her son wrote, as a proud momma should. (And she has reason to be proud!) I commented on the post, tagging my college's president as this is a kid who would fit well at my alma mater. She then told me our worlds collide again as her daughter just made the major life decision that gives her answer to the all important question, "What school are you going to next year?" Yup, my alma mater.

All of that would be enough for a 'small world' post, right? It doesn't stop there. When her daughter was on a visit to her future university a couple of week's ago she hung out with, wait for it, my god-daughter (who lives in Wyoming). And when Wendy asked how I know her, I met her parents at that same church camp this all started with. Now that, ladies and gentleman, is a small world.