Sunday, June 29, 2008

since you know everyone

For awhile now, Mike has used me as his personal phone book. "It's easier to call you than to look it up" was the answer to my question of "why?" We've laughed a lot about my ability to remember phone numbers, and chalked it up to local folklore. Well, turns out this talent of mine is well known, but I really don't know how it happened.

Just about a year ago my then principal called me after a board meeting to ask my ed tech's home phone number. That seemed odd to me, since he should have had access to the office records of not only home numbers but emergency addresses, but whatever. Maybe it was easier to just call the person who worked with him all the time and assume I knew the number. (Turns out I did, along with his cell numbers.)

Last week I got another call from a friend's husband. "Since you know everyone in town, do you know the number of the animal control officer?" Yes, in fact, and I have it committed to memory. Don't ask me why-- there really is no good reason.

I guess I should take comfort knowing that if my day job ends I'll be employable as an operator, and have lots of solid references.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I said I was going to add pics to my whale watch post. I have finally done that. There's also a pic of my graduates on the 'in the books' post.

I also think it's time for a gathering of RVB-ers, live and in color. Any ideas?

life in the slow lane

Life around here is delightfully low key. Laundry when it's not raining (and I love that my helpers are actually getting old enough to help!) Today did yield us about 16 lbs strawberries, which are now awaiting pie and ice cream and margaritas. Girly helped freeze 3 bags of berries while Boy shucked 4lbs peas. We headed to the Dixfield Coffee House for yummy desserts and Jim Gallant playing his guitar. He played perhaps my favorite song of all time, 1952 Vincent Black Lightening by Richard Thompson. I love the story of the song, the honesty, and, it turns out, I have a thing for DADGAD tuning.

The best part of today? It's still June. Yes, it's summertime and the livin' is easy!

Friday, June 27, 2008

let them eat cake!

Girly decided she wanted a flip flop fun summer half birthday party. (For those of you not in the know, her birthday is between Christmas and New Years, and not a good time for little friends to come celebrate.) I'm not good enough to make a flip flop cake, but I figured I could do a sun. I'm quite pleased with it, actually! Two years ago she had a kitty party and I was proud of that cake, too. I enjoy making the kids cakes part of the party-- and that I make them myself brings more joy than maybe it should. Boy had King Cake for his Mardi Gras party this year, and ice cream cookie sandwiches to go with his sliding party last year.

Today was also the end of her cheering camp experience. Check out that jump!!

Boy brought his sunglasses to this week's game. He really looks like a first baseman now!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

100 tidbits

Because I love a challenge, and like playing along, here are some things you may or may not have known about me.

1. My first grown up job was teaching special ed at Peru Elementary School.
2. I am the only one of my siblings to move north.
3. It's one of the smartest things I've ever done.
4. Marrying Weather Boy is another.
5. I actually like spending time with my in-laws.
6. I never had braces.
7. I've had glasses since 7th grade.
8. I love wearing glasses.
9. I tried contacts in the early 90s, but they drove me nuts.
10. I have a blind spot in my left eye.
11. I used to make teachers "disappear" when they were yelling at the class.
12. I hate getting in trouble.
13. I never had a detention as a student.
14. The irony of whom I now teach is one of my little joys.
15. I did not have a female best friend all through high school.
16. I only correspond with one of my high school classmates, through Christmas Cards.
17. I only see one friend from high school regularly.
18. She was in my sister’s class, and her best friend.
19. I have no idea if anyone has planned a 20th high school reunion for this year.
20. If they have, I honestly don’t know if I’ll attend.
21. When I tell high school kids they won’t remember their win/loss record in sports 20 years later, I’m not kidding.
22. I was a gymnast in high school.
23. I still see myself as one, although I am certainly not any longer.
24. I ran cross country because my 6th grade teacher asked me to join the team so we’d have 5 runners.
25. And because the girls and the boys teams rode the bus together and all my guy friends ran.
26. I made cookies for the teams every week.
27. But I hated every step.
28. I got my first Mac in college.
29. I liked that I could get a program to sing “I love trash”.
30. I still have it somewhere.
31. The first computer “lab” at Peru School included Eddie Tech’s and my Mac Classics.
32. We brought them in every Monday and home again on Fridays.
33. All our students made HyperCard stacks.
34. It was cutting edge learning in 1994.
35. I am very sensitive to smells.
36. It will come in handy if the kids ever try to lie about what they’ve been doing.
37. But I don’t think they ever will, because they know we’ll follow up.
38. Anyone who thinks parenting is easy isn’t doing it right.
39. I think playoffs in coaches pitch youth baseball is insane.
40. But Boy loves playing, so we endure.
41. I much prefer individual sports-- running, gymnastics, dance.
42. I might have played soccer if we didn’t grow up in the late 80s in a football town.
43. My high school team was co-ed, and not really advertised.
44. I loved playing pick up soccer with all ages before we had the kids.
45. Weather Boy organized it, but it was easy: show up Sunday night at 5 and we’ll divide into teams.
46. We so need to do that again.
47. We go to a lot of concerts.
48. The kids come with us most of the time now.
49. I treat making mix CDs as an art.
50. It’s easier to make playlists and burn them.
51. I have to make some this summer.
52. I also need to make a new quilt for our bed.
53. The one we have now I made in 1994, and it’s falling apart.
54. I tried to be too economical with seam allowances.
55. I also need to make Mike and Katie’s wedding album with Katie.
56. I’m excited to do that.
57. I love it when my kids truly smile.
58. Actually, I love it when anyone truly smiles.
59. I have pierced ears but don’t wear earrings anymore.
60. Too much hassle.
61. I also don’t wear make up, unless I’m going on stage.
62. I thought about going to Broadway to try to ‘make it’.
63. I decided being a good wife and mom was way more important.
64. My mom wouldn’t let me join the competition gymnastics team when I was 6.
65. If she had, and I had stuck with it, I would have eventually competed against Mary Lou Retton.
66. I really don’t like being alone for long periods of time.
67. I end up shutting down emotionally.
68. I enjoy cooking and baking.
69. Especially when I can do it without a strict recipe.
70. Someday we need to do Iron Chef.
71. The kids have offered to be judges.
72. I’d go mostly vegetarian if I wasn’t married to a meat lover.
73. I’ve taught myself to like seafood.
74. And asparagus.
75. Brussel sprouts too.
76. I still don’t like clams though.
77. Too slimy.
78. I’m working really hard to pay off our debt.
79. I think I’m doing a pretty good job, especially since the price of gas has doubled.
80. I don’t like to be too hot or too cold.
81. It’s one of the many reasons I don’t ever want to move out of Maine.
82. My body works better when it’s hot, though.
83. My toes lose circulation when it’s cold.
84. I hope my body doesn’t force us to relocate someday.
85. I really don’t like to travel.
86. Flying makes me feel horrible.
87. I also panic about losing tickets.
88. Or missing connections.
89. If we ever go overseas, I think I’ll need a valium to make it.
90. The only time the kids have seen me out of control was on a plane.
91. That was totally not cool.
92. Driving isn’t so bad.
93. (I know, I have control issues.)
94. My sugar cookies are still requested by my former co-workers.
95. It’s my grandmother’s recipe.
96. I need to learn to make her fudge, too.
97. These family recipes are as important as pictures.
98. I wonder what the kids will cook someday and think of me?
99. All 4 of my grandparents died within 4 years of each other.
100. This was fun!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

so much for the Summer of Rach

...unless it's the summer of Rach hanging with a lot of different doctors. I have strep, again. Three weeks later, for those of you counting (and I certainly am). I have stronger drugs this time which will hopefully kill it. I need to stop back into the office in about 3-4 weeks to be cultured again to see if I'm a carrier. If I come down with strep again, I'll be sent to talk to a surgeon about having my tonsils removed. Good times.

This afternoon I head back to my OB/GYN office to have an ultrasound to figure out if we need to have a hysterectomy conversation. And my other foot has been driving me nuts all week.

Good thing we delayed our trip to MT to see my sister until next summer.

We had a great visit with the OB today. Surgery is the last option on her list, which makes me feel very comfortable working with her. We're going to try some hormones for awhile and see how that goes. And as the day goes by my throat hurts less.... but I still think I'll take Mike and Katie's advice and indulge in some frozen treats.

Monday, June 23, 2008


If there was any doubt in my mind that I was forming solid connections with my students, it's gone now. I got a letter from the new mom in my class, along with a baby pic of my grand student. It was a short letter, but she talked about how she sort of misses school and is looking forward to fall. She also told me how the baby is doing, and signed off saying I could come visit her anytime this summer. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say she considered dropping out of school a year ago. Yea, I'm feeling pretty good about what I do right now...

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Today Weather Boy got a burn permit. No, he did not have unclaimed student art of which to dispose, but we did have a huge pile of rotten wood to deal with. We side with Joe on this one: flame is much more fun than manual labor.

As I was sitting there, I saw this picture. It makes me happy.

Mike and Katie came over. Turns out Mike loves playing with fire too. Weather Boy has declared we'll start no more fires without bestfriends in attendance. Works for me.

Katie is feeling better, and was up for dinner. I created a pretty tasty meal, if I do say so: basil and sun tried tomato chicken sausage and broccoli rabe pork sausage over whole wheat and multi grain penne mixed with sauted mushrooms and onions and a can of sun dried tomatoes in oil. I didn't take a picture, but I may send the recipe into Cooking Light.

Not bad for having no plans for the day. Summertime, and the livin' is easy.

Friday, June 20, 2008


I thought I had split the rain wickets today, but turns out Mother Nature is still in charge. My load of towels is soaking wet on the line. They will just have to wait until it stops raining for me to take them down, run them back through the spin cycle, and re-hang. Grrrrrr

Remember Me?

So I finally started (and finished) Sophie Kinsella's Remember Me? that SJ had paid forward from Beth, who had won it from bookbabie. It was a quick read-- I started and finished last night. While I found it a little bit predictable, it was a perfect book for the start of summer.

So... anyone want the book next? The rules say I'm supposed to pass it on to another blogger. Weather Boy has already kindly acknowledged that it's not his style of book. Katie? Amity? Wendy? I don't think I have a huge list of people reading me, so really, speak up if you're interested in playing along in our roving book club.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

the toughest job you'll ever love

Weather Boy and I faced a rough parenting decision tonight. Boy had a baseball game, and WB was asked to ump. At the very end of the first inning, we saw lightening, and so the game went to a 30 minute delay. The coaches, however, started the game up after about 15. We decided it wasn't proper to be playing, and so we removed ourselves from the game. Boy took it very well-- talk about a kid having maturity way beyond his years- not even one "but please, why can't I just play"-- but I still feel a bit sickish to my stomach that our actions affected him possibly negatively. The coach called us a little bit ago, and we're all good, but still... these events are not in the parenting manual.

I do feel proud that we stood firm on our beliefs on safety, and I'm hoping that both kids will translate this lesson on doing the right thing even when it's hard to their own lives. Its rough on the playground these days, and the bystanders are the ones who make the difference. We talk a lot to kids-- I do it every day at work-- about standing firm in our beliefs and not being afraid of what someone else thinks. Peer pressure is real and standing up to it is incredibly difficult. As hard as it was to actually pull him from the game, I'm glad we had the courage to do what we thought was right, even when no one else agreed.

it's in the books

Another year has come to an end, and as excited as that makes me, there are certainly things I will miss. Life is change and change is life, I get that, but that doesn't mean it's always easy. My classroom is all boxed up, as is my favorite school of all time. I've said goodbye to my principal and my teaching partner from this year. There are parts of today that were certainly bittersweet.

It is summer, however, which always means good things. Places to go, people to see, things to do. I take comfort in these family summers, because I know we are lucky to have them, and that they, too, won't last forever.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The best job in the world.

So I had 3 sunshines graduate today. Each of them thanked me, as did all of their families. I don't do this for the personal glory, but it is wonderful having people acknowledge the struggle and what it took us all to help them overcome it. I was astounded to look out at a private graduation ceremony an see a packed house there for 3 kids-- current students, past students (who hated school and couldn't wait to blow town), and probably future students along with family and high school teachers... a very impressive sight. My graduates deserved every ounce of attention they got, and I'm teary remembering the day. I am one proud teacher today. This is why I do what I do.

As one of them posted to the student lounge: I just want to thank Mrs. Buck for helping me get threw school.
Clearly I done good, huh? Spelling is so overrated....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

a day with the sunshines

My favorite part of my job is when I get to spend some time with my sunshines outside of our classroom. Change is not something they handle well, but when they let themselves trust us enough to take the risk, it goes well. This trip was no different. A few of the kids had never been on a boat, and those that had hadn't been on one in the ocean. This was definitely going to be worth it.

We headed out on the two hour bus ride, having established with the district school health coordinator that no, there is no air conditioning on school buses. How kids can ride in the very back seat of the bus I will never understand, but they divided nicely: HS in the back, MS in the middle, and us old teachers in the front.

Once we got on the boat, they were a little freaked out by the number of strangers also heading out to see some floating mammals. Most everyone found a seat upstairs, while the kids went under deck. As we started moving, they headed to the front of the boat-- a small space which limited the number of strangers around them but kept them in the fresh air to reduce nausea. All was well.

For the first time in my existence, we saw whales. I didn't get great pics, and I'll upload them to this later, but it was quite impressive. Weather Boy and Weather Lad are beyond jealous, which means I'll be heading back at some point soon, I'm sure :) The sunshines were really excited about seeing the whales-- and when they smile for real, it confirms why I love this job. To see these wise-beyond-their-years teenagers giggling and running for the edge of the boat to see a whale swim by-- yea, it's quite a moment.

Two kids got sick-- one was so green the whites of his eyes looked funny-- but we made it back to shore with no other incidents. We let them walk around for a bit, looking at the shops and getting their land legs back before heading back on the bus. We were back in town by 6, as promised. They were tired, sunburned (I didn't exactly say I told you so, but those words did leave my lips), but refreshed after spending a day on the ocean with friends.

Many people ask how I can work with these kids all day. I don't know why it makes sense to me, but it does. I enjoy helping kids transition between hating school and every authority figure in their lives and into kids who recognize they have different strengths and learning styles than the average kid. I am teaching more than math and science. I guess at heart I'm teaching them to make peace with the cards life has dealt them, and to keep working to make the best hand they can with what they've been dealt. It's not always easy, and sometimes I only start a process that they have to finish on their own after they've left, but if I leave them knowing there's someone out here who always wants to know how it's going, someone who isn't afraid to be seen with them in public, then I've done my job. They make me happy, they make me proud, and I love working with them every day, even on the days I don't love it. The cool part is if I read that last sentence to them, many of them would understand what I was saying, but all of them would believe me.

Monday, June 09, 2008

if you don't vote... can't complain. At least that's my rule. So, everyone out there remember to vote, even if it does feel like a foregone conclusion.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

put a fork in me

Track is done! It was a long day at the state meet, but not horrible. I did end up enjoying the season-- I'm planning on doing it again next year-- but I am sure excited to not have practice on Monday.

Too bad it's my first Leadership Team meeting.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

democracy is not pretty

Guilt sent us scrambling to get to the district budget meeting today. I had sort of forgotten about it until after school, and by then Weather Boy was headed to the dentist, and I had not prepped for a speedy dinner. So we inhailed in marathon time and turned around and headed for the SCC. Twenty-five or so hearty souls showed up, along with a few out of district administrators. After two hours of question and explanation, we passed the thirteen articles by an average of 22-0.

I guess the part that bothers me is the rote nature of it all. We have to vote because our country is a democracy, but because we're a representative democracy, we don't have much say about what we are voting on. The general sense of the few of us in the room is we would have paid to put at least some of the cut positions back into the budget, but that is not an option. We either say yes to what the school board has determined, or no. No suggestions, no changes. They have to ask us what we think, but can't really do much with any response beyond the lowest level of Blooms'. (Is anyone else with me on the irony here?)

There are other articles on which we have to vote, but we're really committed to the money, weather we say yes or no. If the rest of the towns in the vocational region say yes to paying their share, then even if we say no, we pay anyway. So why add a fifteen minute argument about something we can't change to an already lengthy evening?

So now, we all get to vote in our respective towns on Tuesday saying we either agree or disagree with the decisions of the twenty-five (brave? foolish) souls, who said we agree with the decisions of the thirteen members of our school board. If the majority of people in our communities say they agree, then we're done. If not, well, I'm afraid to ask what that process will look like.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

so much for that

How pathetic would I be to have to call in sick with 8 student days remaining? I'm afraid that could be what happens. We'll see what John says tomorrow, but I have a bad feeling about my making it the week. Grr.

I've seen the doc, self diagnosis of strep confirmed. Give me 24 hours, my amoxicillin, and some yogurt, and I should be fine.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I hope tomorrow is like today

Sticking with the musical theme of my posts this week, I can't get this Guster lyric out of my head. It is absolutely gorgeous at our Little Piece of Heaven. Sun is shining, birds are chirping, breeze is blowing, music is playing... and soon 4 little bestfriends will be running around laughing and playing and loving. Yes indeed, life is perfect.