Spring Break

Spring Break is here and we never even had winter. When I see pictures of my friends back East still getting snowed on I can recall how happy I am that I don’t live there anymore, but also how amazing it was when things finally thawed out. You really earn your summer in some places. Yesterday, I helped with a middle school “social.” As I was helping sell candy, all of the students were pushing and shoving and money was literally flying everywhere. They were all paying with big bills we didn’t have change for and it was insanely chaotic. I hadn’t dealt with ca$h in many years, but it’s pretty easy to calculate when everything costs 50 cents or a buck. LOL There was no mark-up for the students either, which I appreciated.  I have become quite the regular at the school in the past few weeks. The best reason for volunteering there for me is to see what middle school life is like in this day and age for my child. I am not there enough to be utterly shocked much, but I have encountered a few really impressive well mannered students. It is a very multi-cultural public school with students from every corner of the planet. Where I grew up, there were probably 96% WHITE folk and Native Americans. Las Vegas wasn’t very far away though so we weren’t TOTALLY sheltered. Anyway, I am not much of a spring breaker. Spring break to me sounds like hedonism in Fort Lauderdale for college students, but it has evolved into a staple of American society. However, since we have the time off, it’s time to go over the river and through the woods to the desert on Monday we go.

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Do you have the luck of the Irish?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Do you have any exciting plans for this holiday? I have been taken for an Irish girl on more than one occasion and told that because I have dark hair and pale skin: “you must be Irish.” Last year, I went home to Ireland to see my people for the first time and I didn’t see my doppelgänger anywhere. Actually, I know for sure that my ancestors came from England and Scotland, but I’m pretty sure there is also Irish in there too. My children on the other hand have more of a mixed heritage. They have Scandinavian roots so all 3 came out blonde. As I didn’t understand anything people were saying to me in my ancestral homeland, (Ireland) I must be AMERICAN. Seriously, I didn’t understand those people AT ALL. My Irish seat mates on the airplane were perfectly coherent, but the locals were from Ireland or something so I just pointed and smiled when ordering food and hoped it turned out edible. I loved the Irish vegetable soup! Now, you’re probably thinking who cares about the soup, I’d go for the beer; but nope, Mormons (us) “usually” don’t travel for the beer so I didn’t get any Irish beer. We did manage to tour practically the entire country in less time than has ever been done before. We did more miles in one day than some Irishmen have done in a lifetime. (When you’re from the American West, driving LONG distances is pretty normal.) The day we visited the Ring of Kerry was incredible. I highly recommend this famous drive. It was a sunny mother’s day (in Ireland) Sunday and we had the road to ourselves. In fact, it looked like Hawaii the sun was sparkling so much on the water. Chances are our luck of the Irish would never hold out again since the road is usually crowded with tour buses and less awesome weather or so I read in my guide book. I DON’T recommend driving there as it was FRIGHTENING, but we definitely got the best insurance and we got out remarkably UNSCATHED. Those poor Irish people always being invaded by American tourists who can’t drive!

On Sunday, I followed my daughter to support the Portland Shamrock run. She was playing in the band and we got to be entertainment. They got paid!! $$$$ (to support the school band program of course) It rained a lot and nearly blew me away while I was setting up the tents they were to play under. I had always wanted to support runners, but not bad enough to go into the city early in the morning so this was my chance. There were supposedly 35,000 people running that day. I was pretty good at cheering and the runners really loved the band’s support. The students played for hours with no water and minimal breaks to catch their breath. In return, a lot of the runners expressed their appreciation as they went by. There were runners of all shapes, sizes, and abilities.

Shamrockrun

Nike World Headquarters

This week, I was a chaperon on a middle school field trip with my daughter’s school. Every parent wants to go on this field trip, but it is pretty much the luck of the phone call. As I was home at the time they were calling the would be chaperons, I got to go. We were going to Nike World Headquarters. It is only about 15 minutes from our home, but it is a closed campus and you cannot go there unless you are an employee or with an employee or for a school field trip. If you are LeBron James, Tiger Woods or someone like that then they have also probably been there. We arrived in awesome yellow school buses. When I lived abroad as a student, I learned that yellow school buses are so unique, but I never would have imagined that before as it is such a normal part of American school life. I wasn’t always a bused student so buses to me are very nostalgic remembering my school track trip competitions and orchestra festivals; they were good memories so it is always an enjoyable time to board a school bus for a trip. Upon arrival, the students were placed in different groups and then would go to 6 different stations. I followed my daughter’s group and they worked out with Nike employee volunteers who were former collegiate athletes of some sort and now happy to be out of their desk jobs for the day. They started off in the indoor facility which was a basketball court with an indoor track on the upper level. We later went outside and they played soccer and football on a big fake, yet awesome grass turf. After we went back inside where the students met the Nike Skateboard shoe design team and were able to “design” a shoe. The design employees were much more interesting (IMHO) than the other employees with a more artistic and less athletic flair. The last event in our rotation was the indoor track. It isn’t often that I get the urge to run laps, but I did. However, I did not give in to my inclinations as I was a mere chaperon. At the end, we went back to the main gym floor and ate sack lunches while Nike had a guest speaker for the students. Her name is Sarah Reinertsen www.alwaystri.com . It was a great inspirational talk by a person who didn’t let her disability get her down and became a Nike sponsored athlete. It was a fun day where the students really pushed themselves and most participated the entire time. It was a fun experience that was generously provided to the school by Nike.

Nike soccer field

Nike soccer field

shoe design studio

shoe design studio

Walking to school is dangerous, but so is not walking…..

I have heard and read that walking to school is becoming rare. Have you ever heard the stories of the glory days? When parents (now grandparents and great grandparents presumably) would walk to school uphill both ways? Well, I walked to elementary school. It was a neighborhood affair. We walked in all kinds of conditions. I even took a short cut home one day after my book order books had come and I was up to my knees in mud. The short cut was near the creek and probably after snow melted so I was quite literally up to my knees in mud. My brand new books were ruined. First of all, getting to order from the book order was a rare treat too so I was devastated. However, it didn’t kill me. I was a rural student and it was the eighties.

When we were in Tokyo in December 2014, I saw the most incredible sight. Adorable school girls on the subway in their uniforms making their way to or from school. They were so cute and I wanted to take their picture, but having extremely limited Japanese language skills, I didn’t want to be a weirdo and take a picture of some children. Granted, it is supposed to be very “safe” in Tokyo, these children were navigating around in one of the biggest cities. It was incredible! But here in the United States, it is now deemed by many too unsafe to allow children to grow because it is quite dangerous. What did I learn from my trudging through the mud? Not to go that way! I was never dumb enough to go play near the swift moving creek on my walking route, I figured that out without an experiment. At our home, walking to school is not always conducive to our schedule, but we do it whenever we can. I will offer no explanations for the various dangers which could be encountered, but refusing to allow it would not be a solution either.

What are you waiting for?

At church this week, my friend came to thank me for inspiring her to go to country X.”If you guys can do it…. SO CAN WE !” While I am happy to inspire people to travel and see the world, this individual is a native of country X with her parents and roots there.  I would think that going home to see your parents and your homeland that you haven’t seen in a long time should be inspiration enough, but somehow our family adventure was some kind of catalyst for them. If you WANT to travel there are very few reasons for not being able to do it. If finances are holding you back, then quit going to Starbucks (insert other place if necessary) and I assure you that you can find a way. I personally never go to Starbucks because I don’t drink coffee and I wouldn’t spend $5-10 on a daily waste of $$. I can count a lot of things we haven’t done to prioritize travel. As a disclaimer, not getting a formal education was NOT one of them!!!! I can also strongly advise watching travel deals. I find WAY MORE than I can take advantage of.                           

                                                                                ßΟΝ ∇∅γ∀G∃ !

Roomer travel….

I used to be super obsessed with hotwire.com. I always got incredible deals. I have used it for many years in Waikiki, Paris, Anaheim, Washington DC. and many other random places. I find it is very useful for cities. However, it is absolutely useless in rural landscapes where I often find myself. I am not much of a camper. It isn’t because I don’t enjoy sleeping outdoors; rather, it is because of all the tedious preparation.  (Most often, I have some family member I’m visiting anyway……) These days, I have a strange addiction to making travel plans and then changing my mind. I don’t change my mind on wanting to travel, but the destination specifics get changed frequently. I am also trying to maximize my loyalty to either earn or burn points. However, I recently decided to lock myself into something and then poof, I have a conflict. I had heard of www.roomertravel.com  so I decided to look into it. They will try to sell your non-refundable non-transferable hotel bookings. I have made my first posting resale on there, we’ll see. https://www.roomertravel.com/stories/work-requirements-may-16-in-dallas-for-less-at-the-hilton-anatole-on-roomer Anyway, it looks like a cool website to watch for deals for future travel. You can never follow too many of those. 😉

There is now a teenager in my house….

The pink bike belonged to her grandma, but she never got on it so we toted it from Utah a few years ago.

The cute Electra bike used to belong to her grandma, but she never got on it so we imported it from Utah.

My firstborn turned 13 today. She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and then raised in Pennsylvania and Oregon. The time has gone by so quickly. She is almost as tall as me and has long been wearing my clothes.  She was excited to get a facebook account today and be “legal” on social media. She has only had a cell phone for about a year now. I was reluctant to pay for that and turn my child over to potential time wasting technology, but I also needed her to be socialized into today’s world. Before we turned her over the trendy newest most up to date iphone on the market, (for 5 seconds) we had long discussions about the pitfalls and dangers on the internet. Indeed this week, I had more “issues” in regards to this subject so we had to revisit prior discussions. #parenting

We took this bicycle picture this morning. Since we live on a hill, teaching my firstborn to ride a bike was nearly the death of me. It was soo frustrating. I hoped that the other 2 would be a lot easier to teach. Just like with most of the things we have done, the other 2 figured it out a lot quicker. I wouldn’t blame the child, but the teacher (me) was pretty inept. We have 2 beach cruisers at our house that I love, but our bike rack isn’t really made for them so we have to take other bikes when we leave home.