Sunday, January 27, 2008

Len Court

The first time I saw this house, I knew I wanted it. The location, its sturdiness, the woodwork and the little dead end street, I loved it all. As we walked around for the first time, I felt at home and like it fit us. We put an offer in right away and the owner thought it over. He was in the house when we first looked so he told us about all the work he had done and also what he'd like to finish doing, but just no longer had the energy. After he thought for some time, he decided he wasn't ready to sell and took it off the market. We were crushed. This was May 2002, one month after Ken and I were married.

Instead of doing nothing, which was certainly an option, I decided to write the owner a letter. In it, I told him how much we loved the work he had done and how we really felt comfortable there. I also agreed with his plans to continue renovations and make it a comfortable home for us. Finally, I asked him, that if he should ever reconsider, to please contact us and give us a opportunity to buy it. I dropped the letter on his porch under a rock and a little hand painted frog I had sitting on a shelf. It's funny because I don't know why I gave him the frog, I just did.

For months we looked at other houses and nothing appealed to us like Len Ct. I was hooked on that house. Then one day in September, I was rushing around getting ready for work, when my heal got caught on the stairs and I sprained my ankle (same ankle as the other two sprains). I spent the morning in the ER then home with some pain killers, a blanket and my TV. Early afternoon, there was a knock on my door, it was the owner of the Len Ct. house I loved so much. He said he was ready to sell and if we still wanted it, he wouldn't even show it to anybody else. He also said that the little frog I had given him, sat on his window sill in the kitchen, so he often thought about us because of it. In addition, that if we did buy the house, the frog would be included.

Long story short, we bought the house and spent the past 5 years working hard to make it look exactly how we wanted it to .... The problem is, I guess, that we didn't work enough on other things too. We became engulfed in home improvements of the material kind. What that got us was a gorgeous looking home, filled with frustration and anger.

So now, we have signed a binder for the next owners. They love the place and all we have put into it. They also love the idea of the community in which it belongs. There are not too many places left that have such a strong sense of community. We were lucky to have been a part of it. Kingston is a great town, I love it here, but Len Ct,. to me, is the most special place in this town. I am glad to be passing the product of our hard work and dedication on to the next couple and I hope they find peace and happiness there.

It looks like we will be closing by the end of February... it's almost over, and although it's hard, I have never felt more free to be me... never ever...I want to take full advantage of this time and be the best I can be. Though I am nervous, I am looking forward to the changes that are and will be taking place in my life.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Skatetime USA

A couple of weeks ago I went roller skating with some of my girlfriends. It was great fun and very inspiring on many levels. The rink is fairly new, but reminded me of my days of skating in the '80's... wow, does that sound like such a long time ago. I was glad to know that roller skating is much like riding a bike, once I tied up those skates, I was off. Though I still can't skate backwards, it's like my body can't figure out how to do the same motions on ly in reverse. hmmm maybe with some practice.
Hanging out and skating with my girlfriends was great. I feel so fortunate to have them in my life. The power of women is strong and they have been so supportive. I'm grateful.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Only one year left!?!?!?

On this day, in one year from today, the United States America will be swearing in a new president.... now the countdown may begin.

When sworn in for a second time (and how this happened, I will never know!) Bush gave world leaders a choice between oppression and freedom. He stated that it would be the policy of the US to end tyrannies and support democracies in every nation and culture. Furthermore, he claimed that the US would help spread freedom, but not because we believe we are a chosen nation, but because it is a permanent goal of mankind.... to him I say, so long as there are leaders like you in the world, we will never be free.
He spoke of freedom for minorities throughout the world, but let our own citizens of New Orleans suffer horribly after Hurricane Katrina (8/05) ... they are a minority, didn't they count.... some are still living in moldy trailers, and learning in moldy schools. Other fled New Orleans, a city they called home, displaced and unable to ever return. They are hungry, poor and suffering... why doesn't he fight for their freedom from oppression?
He claims America "brings the highest standards to our schools", but we as teachers are under-staffed, over crowded and are being introduced to a whole new population of children many of which can barely read or write and are very angry! These are the same children Bush promised to protect under his "No Child Left Behind Act"... I am only one teacher, in one small part of the country, and I can't even count how many children I know that have been "left behind" since this glorious act came to be.
During previous wars, presidents have turned to the people of the US and asked them to help out. Help by conserving metals or food, entering women and minorities into the work force, buying bonds, saving money, supporting soldiers, etc... This president has asked nothing of us during the invasion except to be patient, because it will be quick anyway. In fact, why is there no government campaign for us to conserve all and slow down our dependence on non-renewable resources. How about tax breaks for alternative heat sources and energy for cars. Most people I know have turned down their heat several degrees this winter, but that's mostly because of the high costs. We need to feel like we are doing something right... like a morale booster... ok USA let's get together and stop using so much oil... not because it puts a hole in out pockets, but because if we work together, we might make a difference... and we want to make a positive difference... and the world might notice....
Oh, well, we have been asked to keep the economy going by shopping more. In fact, we have even been encouraged to shop for homes by lowering interest rates... all of which keeps 'we the people' in debt which leads us to fear... which leads us to need to be led... and sometimes blindly.... the psychology behind it all sounds a bit paranoid... but only if you let them make you think so.
My fear is the next president won't be much different. I wish someone would stand up and say, "America are you ready for a change? No... I mean a genuine change!" I love this country for so many reasons, but every day I become more disenchanted and embarrassed of its behavior. I am ready for a change... I can feel it deep in my bones....

The world is watching us, what will happen next????

Friday, January 18, 2008

Happy Friday

Although it turns out I have to go to work today, much like the rest of the world, I am going with a smile on my face... 2 hour delays ROCK!!!
Anyway why waste a precious snow day when there is no school Monday anyway...???

to snow... or not to snow

My advice to my students who want the day off tomorrow due to the possibility of an impending snowstorm is the following:
1-Put on your favorite pajamas both inside out and backwards.
2-Grab a cup with a few ice cubes.
3-Stand at your back door (front might work, but there is more of a risk of other's seeing).
4-Open the door and turn your back to the great outdoors.
5-Throw the cubes, one at a time over your shoulder and into the universe
(or yard) while asking for a giant snowfall.
6-Get some sleep just in case this doesn't work... because we will have a test in life science class if there is school.

I predict a mere 2 hour delay, but hope for the whole day. If anyone reads this before morning... help me out ok?

Light snow his evening...then snow...freezing rain and sleet after midnight. Snow and sleet accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. Additional ice accumulation of up to one tenth of an inch. Near steady temperature in the lower 30s. South winds around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation near 100 percent.
The only way to survive these wretched winters is to get the occasional snow day off from work.... :) BTW, it's not snowing yet...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pave Paradise... Put up affordable housing?

The beloved view from my classroom window has gone from wooded beauty with deer and wild turkey... to a clear cut lot being prepared for "affordable housing". My dear woods are almost completely gone. I suspect I will mourn this loss for months to come.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Adventuras en España

So I have been home a week now and haven't managed to write about my trip to Spain. It's not because I don't want to, everything about the trip was wonderful. I just don't know how or where to begin.

Christmas was my first day there and so the streets of Madrid were very quiet, as was the subway ride to my hostal. It was a nice way to be introduced to Madrid because every day after that, her streets were jammed packed with people enjoying the holiday season. Definite party town, no doubt these folks know how to have a good time. Everything was so different there, the sights, the smells, the way of life. Funny things surprised me like, you cant get coffee to go... why??? I guess because if you are going to have coffee, than you you sit and enjoy it, I could get used to relaxing with cafe con leche.. what could be better?

Aside from the beauty of the streets, it's old buildings and beautiful balconies everywhere and trust me, these things are all very impressive, I was impressed by the number of park benches.... everywhere. It was nice. People just sitting soaking in the sun, mothers watching their babies playing, older gentlemen debating, couples kissing and teasing one another. Everywhere I went I could feel the passion of the people, friendly, warm and full of life.

Valenica was another part of the trip. much smaller, less crowded and on the Mediterranean Sea. Clean and pristine city, but also full of life. The train ride alone would have made this trip worthwhile, but seeing the sights of the city!! Amazing!!! So amazing in fact that, I found myself speechless on more than one occasion and spent most of the day with a lump in my throat ready to cry. Valencia is the perfect city by the sea.... I can only wonder if there are more like it... and how soon until I can go back. By the time the sea was in sight, it was dark and a bit chilly, but the feet went in anyway and danced a bit. Later the waiter said this was good luck.

On my last day in Madrid, I wandered the streets and went to el Raestro, a huge flea market with lots of goodies. By this time, I was less hesitant to attempt Spanish and was able to communicate a bit. ?Cuanto Cuesta? How much?... This was certainly an adventure. I tried to find museo del Prado...but got very lost, so I enjoyed the many benches and sites and drank too much cafe con leche. Later in the evening I met a clan Irish guys and taught them to speak New Yawk style... "How you doin'?" was the phrase of the evening...quite funny. We watched American football on a wide-screen tv while they drank their Irish beers and I enjoyed my el ron y coca. Funny to watch American Football in a foreign land and have everyone around me know more about it than me... I don't even like football, but I liked meeting people that I could speak with and it was all part of the experience.

I miss everything about my trip already and would go back tomorrow if I could...the sites, the smells, the tastes and the passion, what a beautiful place!!! I think I could like being a gringa there for a while!! Thank you Spain!! Thank You!!