We had our back to school kick off today. The keynote was Manuel Garcia, a Senior at Mount Vernon High School. He gave an eloquent speech about how teachers are the unseen foundation for all great people. He said that even though the foundation of a building doesn't get a lot of praise and attention, it is vital in the life of a building and always the last thing remaining. As an elementary teacher who has traveled and taught around the world, not until now staying in one place long enough to follow my students through graduation and beyond, it is always great to see the fruits of the combined efforts of many educators and mentors as children turn in to young men and women. Just as each of my students becomes part of who I am, I hope that I have helped in positive ways to shape the lives of my students. I need to see those success stories. Remember the name of Manuel Garcia, he is going to continue to make us proud to call ourselves educators.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
This bike doesn't look like it has been ridden in a while. It is part of a garden display at one of my neighbor's homes. He happens to be a landscaper and has done a neat job of landscaping his own yard. In addition to the bumper sticker on the bike that says. End Terror, Ride a Bike, he has a sign on his work trailer that says Tools not Arms. Even garden art can send a message to others about who we are and what we believe.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Today I was in a meeting all day. At the beginning of the meeting, we were encouraged to look at things from the 10,000 feet level instead of getting into the details. They wanted us to see the big picture. Being able to see the big picture helps us see how all of the details fit together. In my position at the district level, I have become very aware of how narrow our focus can become as classroom teachers. This is not really a bad thing, because as a classroom teacher, our area of focus does need to be our individual students. But at the district level, we have to look at all the pieces and see how they fit together to meet the needs of all. After my meeting today and as I was thinking about how my job is to be able to see the big pictures and help to provide paths for the classroom teachers so that they can make the necessary connections while still focusing on their own students best interest. I thought about a shot from an airplane, but my airplane is in the shop... :) so I did the next best thing and went to the top of Little Mountain and took a look down at our beautiful valley. A little hazy, but from the top of the "mountain" you can see the whole town, the Skagit drawing an S through the valley, the Sound and the San Juans, the farm land, the Olympics and Mount Baker in the Cascade range. All very important pieces of our valley, but it is nice ever once in a while to see how all of the pieces fit together.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
I am not a big fan of eating artichokes, but I think that they are very interesting plants to grow. This year, I decided that I would try to grow an artichoke. Since it is a perennial and since I was growing it as a flower, I decided to plant it in one of my flower gardens. I put it in a place with good soil and plenty of sunshine. I noticed that something was nibbling on it. But I just kept watch and kept watering as needed. We headed off for vacation in April and left my mother in law in charge of the house, garden and Roswell. We very much appreciate that she likes coming up and doing this for us. She got a little zealous with her weeding and actually pulled up my struggling artichoke. I decided to try again, planting another one. This one was having trouble so I moved it to my vegetable garden. I watched artichokes in our neighbor's yards begin to grow into giants while mine continued to struggle to survive. One day, I went out and the artichoke was gone. I guess some critter likes eating artichokes more than I do. I gave up for the year, but will try again next year. But for now, here is a photo of someone else's artichoke. Aren't they cool plants?
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
It is fishing season for Chinook and Pink salmon on the Skagit. Lots of poles in the water today. We stopped on the other side of the river for a while to see all of the action. Erik saw a 3 foot fish jump out of the water. I missed that. But these guys look excited and ready to catch a big one of their own. Not only does the Skagit Valley offer bounty in it's fields, but also in it's waters.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I have a lot of different lilies in my yard. This is a new one that I planted this year. Kind of a mix between a tiger lily and a stargazer. So colorful and delicate. Looks refreshing on a hot day like today to see some surviving color.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
School doesn't start for a few more weeks, but this was the first day of trainings for me. Wow, is it hard to get back to being on all day. Exhausted at the end of the day, I realized I didn't have a photo yet. Decided to stop at Office Max and find a Back to School photo.
Monday, August 17, 2009
I spotted this car outside the district office today. Officially, the first day for teachers is still about 2 weeks away. But trainings have started and teachers are beginning to return to their classrooms. Anyone who is a teacher knows that teachers spend most of their summer getting ready for a new school year. We grab little snippets of time to feel like we are really on vacation. The teacher in this Prius must have plans to eek out a little more vacation after her training today.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Today we drove home. The wonderful thing about driving home is realizing that we live in a place that is pretty wonderful too. I love to travel and see new things but I am so thankful to have such beauty close to home. We stopped in Pashastin, Wa a little town in the Cascades. The farm stand was just brimming with colorful fruits and vegetables. Thought this little Cow Train and Barn was worth a photo.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
A bit of Americana for my photo today. This little gas station in Zillah, Washington was built during the TeaPot Dome Scandal of the 1920s. Currently, it is not being used as a gas station. The price on the pumps reads $1.76 so it has been a while. Although we did lots of driving today, I did have some interesting photos to choose from today. We started our morning in Boise. Boise is a neat little capital city, but the reason Erik likes to go there is that it is the closest place with either a Texas Roadhouse or a Sierra Trading Post. We spent time at both. Erik says that the drive through the North East corner of Oregon is boring, but I don't think so. The blue mountains are beatiful with the stark landscape and the sky that goes forever. We spotted a train carrying fuselages of air planes. I took some photos, but didn't really get a good shot. It was really interesting to see plane parts being carried by train. We also stopped at the Pendelton Mills in Pendelton hoping for a goot photo. (We have been there before for an interesting tour of the mill.) The real attraction here was a huge Great Dane named Beat who was traveling with his people from coast to coast. Beat was impressive, but no where near as cute as Roswell. We then headed up into Washington to Yakima. This part of Washington is known for fruit orchards and vineyards. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset as we rolled into Yakima for the evening.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Since we still had 3 days before we needed to return home, Erik suggested that we head to Boise today. This journey would not be on any planned route home, In fact, it is adding about 900 miles to the trip. But, we had never been in the Eastern part of Idaho and we like Boise, so we decided to go. 640 miles of canyons, rolling hills, farm land, and snaking rivers. Lots of driving and not much stopping. We traveled in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark and the Oregon Trail Pioneers. All of my photos today were shot out of the window of the car as we traveled past at 70 miles an hour. Not the best day for photography, but we did see lots of beautiful country.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Today we left the beautiful Canadian Rockies and headed out on another adventure. Today was all about rolling plains, fields of wheat, Native American communities and watching stormy skies. We passed by the East side of Glacier National Park. Soon after our last visit to Glacier, they had huge forest fires. Sadly, the effects of those fires is still really evident. But new growth is starting to emerge in the form of colorful wildflowers. Lots of beautiful wildflowers and the vastness of the big Montana sky graced us as we drove to Great Falls, Montana.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Our last day in this majestic area. We traveled up the Ice Field Parkway to Jasper National Park stopping to hike to amazingly blue lakes along the way. Throughout the day, we watched the sky do amazing things as the clouds would roll in and out. At the Athabasca Glacier, we waited out a down pour of rain. When the rain had ended, the scenes were spectacular as the sun and mountains started to peak through. We were in the puffy white clouds at the tops of the mountains. We hiked to the edge of the glacier. This is a longer hike each year as the glacier continues to recede. We stopped in Banff for dinner before heading to our hotel in Canmore. We took one more drive out to Vermillion Lakes and were treated to this beautiful reflection.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
We left the amazing Banff landscape and headed to the urban landscape of Calgary for the day. We chose to explore Calgary today because it was supposed to rain in the mountains today. We drove from the mountains to the prairie to the surprisingly big city of Calgary. We stopped at the Canadian Olympic Center. This was the home of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Lots of daredevil things to do there like roll down the hill in a giant hamster ball or take a Ski lift up to the top of the mountain and ride your bike down. We decided to stop on the West side and took the C-Train into town so that we could explore the city. This urban landscape doesn’t hold a candle to the amazing beauty we have seen the past few days in the Canadian Rockies, but we enjoyed a nice day of exploring a new city.
Monday, August 10, 2009
This morning we explored two beautiful alpine lakes. The first was Moraine Lake. Absolutely stunning blue, surrounded by mighty mountains. We enjoyed a beautiful walk around the lake. We then headed to one of the most photographed lakes in the world. Lake Louise. Lots of people, but again, absolutely stunning. We then headed to Radium Hot Springs in Kootenay National Park. The drive was beautiful. At one point, we were warned that there were wolves on the road and not to stop. We didn't see any wolves, but we did see a moose. On the way back, we drove the Old Bow River Parkway. We saw an ospreys on their nest above a bridge. Again tonight, the sky was incredible and the evening light lit up the massive mountains was awe inspiring.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Beautiful day in Banff today. We started off by taking the Minnewanka Loop. The lakes were beautiful this morning with the reflection of the mountains in the water. We saw big horn sheep and mountain goats along the way. We then explored the beautiful, yet crowded and touristy town of Banff. Although I have seen photos of the Banff Springs Hotel many times. I still gasped at my first glance of this massive inn. We took a walk in the evening up to a lookout to take photos of the Inn. It was impossible to take it in up close. With rain threatening we ended our day with a drive around Vermillion Lakes. There was a mixture of blue sky and puffy clouds and looming gray clouds. The late afternoon light illuminated the mountains in the distance. Great day. We are so thankful to get to spend time in this very beautiful part of the world.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Lots of forest fires around us today. We lamented this fact as we drove past massive mountains, raging rivers and glassy lakes. Everything was pretty hazy. We could just imagine how amazing it would be on a clear day. When we got to Revelstoke, BC, the park rangers encouraged us to go up the mountain. They said it was clear at the top and that it was peak season for the wildflowers. That is all it took to get us heading in that direction. We enjoying a beautiful hike along alpine lakes and meadows. It was still hazy in the distance, but we could see the glory of the colorful wildflowers. Not quite at peak, but close. The rest of our drive included driving through Glacier National Park ( the Canadian one), Yoho National Park and the into Banff National Park. By the time be got to Banff, hazy skies were replaced by blue skies with puffy white clouds. The mountains are huge and so close. They tower over you in every direction. We have a room in Canmore for the next 4 nights. I am excited about all the beauty we will see while we are here.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Beautiful drive from Mount Vernon to Kamloops today. We passed through amazing, grandeur and diverse country. Not a boring, mundane place on the route. A man at a restaurant in Hope suggested we take old highway 1 up to Kamloops. This road follows the Frasier and Thomson Rivers winding through gorges and blasting through tunnels. This is the gold mining route and along the way we past several little historic towns. Hard to believe that Yale, BC was once the largest city West of Chicago and North of San Francisco. If you blinked now, you would miss it. We saw lots of old wooden churches that I am sure have many stories to tell. At one point, we were surprized by 4 big horn sheep grazing on the side of the road. My photos aren't as nice as I would have liked due to the haziness caused by the nearby forest fires. We did seem flames, but we did see the helicopters with the big buckets for water. We were surprised at how hot it is in Kamloops. Erik realized he forgot his fleece, which he will need in Banff. We went to a store to find him a fleece. When we asked where they might be, the lady looked at us like we were crazy. Why would we possibly need a jacket in weather like this? (we found a jacket on clearance)
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Just after a huge truck packed with flats of broccoli passed me, I came upon these men taking a well deserved break from the broccoli harvest. Not the best photo. Just a drive by, but I chose to share this picture because I think that it is important to remember not only where our food comes from, but who helps bring it to our tables.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
We live on a corner lot and lots of people walk by our house and stop and smell the flowers. I love being able to share with my neighborhood in this way. I have had several occasions though, where people have decided that my garden was a great place to cut your own bouquet. I am all for sharing, and would happily share if someone asked, but on occasion, people have just decided to take without asking. A few years back I came home to find that the only white lily I had, had been pulled up by the roots. When I shared this with my dad, in Daddy fashion, he made it his mission to send me another white lily. I now have beautiful and fragrant white lilies blooming in 3 parts of my garden. So far, no garden thieves this year. Perhaps because last year, different culprits were caught by both my mother in law and my neighbor. I guess that it takes a village to raise a lily.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Last week we experienced record breaking heat. It was impossible to find any type of cooling device. Fans and air conditioners were no where to be found. I heard that if you called Toys R Us, they answered their phone by saying "We are all out of pools, how can we help you." The funny thing is, there is really only about one week a year here when anyone would think of investing in an air conditioner. That week was last week. This week, the temperatures have dropped. Still a little warm today, I think that 85 was the high. But word is, that the rest of the week will be below average temperatures down in the low 70s for the high. I'm guessing that there will be a lot of barely used airconditioners on Craig'slist this next week.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Seemed to be about time for another Roswell photo. He had just gotten a bath and I don't know if he was exhausted from the ordeal or just sulking, because he isn't a big fan of baths. Since Roswell is black and white, it often works just to do black and white photos. Colors would distract from his cuteness.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Today we had a fun day celebrating Erik's mom's birthday in Seattle. She was a little unsure when we suggested a Duck Tour, but we all had a great time riding the amphibious truck/duck through beautiful Seattle. It really is a fun tour and I would recommend it to anyone. We also had a great lunch down by the harbor steps at a Brazilian Steakhouse. Yummy.