Wednesday, October 29, 2014

jai's thoughts on inglewood elementary school

The thoughts below were posted on a slightly different form on last night in response to an article in the Nashville Scene and another in The Tennessean. I haven't used our blog in a long time but I thought this was a good reason.

First, let me say that I do believe the educators inside of KIPP Nashville work hard to for the betterment of their students. Second, this is NOT an official Inglewood Elementary or IES PTO statement. This is the statement of the father of a thriving first grader at Inglewood Elementary School.

That being said...
It appears that Dr. Register has all but handed Inglewood Elementary School over to KIPP Nashville. It also appears that Dr. Register doesn't know his schools or possibly, doesn't care to be bothered by them.On the big day that Dr. Register was scheduled to come to Inglewood, about a month ago, he had a full schedule and he made it clear that Inglewood wasn't really a priority. 

First, he was almost 30 min late for his meeting with PTO leadership and he brushed off his tardiness with a joke about not remembering where Inglewood was. He presented and listened but most of his responses were combative and dismissive. For example, the PTO expressed that despite our frustration at how difficult it was to get parental participation the PTO had more than doubled. His response: "That's not good enough."  When presented with stats about trends in growth and trends in attrition he squashed them because we weren't dealing with the kids struggling right now. He was presented with some contradictions to his facts and he ignored them.
Next he was scheduled to tour the school and visit classes. Instead, he rushed off to a ribbon cutting. He was about 30 min late for the faculty meeting in the afternoon, but he did cut that off so the community meeting would start on time. 

In the Scene's article he said:
“.. I acknowledge that feedback from the meeting. That was faculty and community members, very few parents there."

There is plenty of video and photo to show that our library was packed, SRO, with a diverse group of individuals. Yes. we did have a lot of community members there and therein lies the rub. Dr. Register doesn't understand Inglewood or East Nashville.The fact that he couldn't recognize that this was an audience filled with caretakers of our kids who include Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and Parents.

A factual point. We had a sign in sheet not everyone signed in and not all who signed in gave addresses (~100) but over half of those who signed in were residents of the Inglewood ES Zone(~50). Those of us who were there saw many of our fellow parents and grandparents but we are Inglewood and we all have a vested interest in the children in that school.

I guess because there were a few very vocal attendees who were not from Inglewood that was all he saw. Maybe because our families and communities members "handed his ass to him" as one administrator told another a few days after our meeting. I don't know but he obviously didn't understand who he was talking to. This past weekend some of us went canvassing around the school where we met several multigenerational Inglewood households, where we met people who have lived within a 1/2 mile of the school for 40 years. We met folks with dilapidated duplex stoops within two houses of a neatly manicured cottage to a set of those new "tall and skinnies". Dr. Register doesn't understand this about Inglewood, heck about East Nashville, but KIPP does. This sense of community is part of the reason why they are so interested in Inglewood, a school building that is 3 miles away, across Gallatin Rd. and in a separate MNPS cluster.

KIPP is ready to try a new model, a community school model. They have hired a bright, excited young principal from one of their more creative schools in Philadelphia, according to Randy Dowell, head of KIPP Nashville. Dr. Register and his team have given up on the community and the creativity of their principals unlike Randy, who fully believes in his mission and his team. I believe KIPP sees this as an opportunity to change the charter landscape b/c Inglewood isn't your typical high-poverty, high-minority population neighborhood where they typically situate their schools. Inglewood is diverse in a very East Nashville kind of way. Inglewood has a couple of streets of black folk and then a couple of streets of white folk next to a couple of streets where everybody lives together. The same goes with economics; some well off, next to some less well off but all within the relatively tight economic bracket. Inglewood is becoming younger and more hipster but streets and areas like Rock CIty, Bronte, and Glenmeade are still entrenched with the type of families (sometimes THE same families) who have been there since my parents moved onto Delmas in 1966.

KIPP wants something special but as the preliminary results of the PTO's "Future of Inglewood Elementry School" survey given to parents via folders are showing we don't want anything to do with KIPP. The Paideia path is more popular than charter (no offense East). A full half of the respondents want STEaM as our educational model with a pathway to Litton Middle and on to Stratford. The PTO will release the full report within the next few days.

So, even if KIPP understands the uniqueness of Inglewood better than Dr. Register they need to understand one particular idea - we want NO part of KIPP. If they come my children will go and they will not be alone. I will also say that some within this community are not opposed to organizing a walk-out come next August if KIPP comes in.
Have you ever seen a walkout by 5 and 6 year olds? I can guarantee it will be adorable.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hard Wax Joy!

A few months ago I decided that I needed to use hard wax to handle my underarm hairs. I did some research on hard wax. Then I bought a wax warmer (space saver kind) & found some organic wax (2 for 1 sale too!), read the instructions & jumped in. You know new learning curve, I'd gotten really good (fast) at waxing underarms with Parissa wax strips.

1. You have to warm up the wax & stir it to check that wax is warm enough to apply, but not so hot that is too thin & HOT to apply to skin. Ouch!
2. First time was challenging, it took longer than previous self-waxing experiences had been.
3. However, the hair removal was worth it. Incredible! Hardly have to tweeze. Love it!
4. Since I have hot pot of wax, I take care of many more areas then just UA, lip, chin, brow.

The chin is probably the hardest area to ignore for 2 weeks, especially when I'm used to tweezing whenever is necessary. I want to tweeze ALL the time!

I've used hard wax 3 times & it's still awesome. I love it & hope I continue to have the patience to wait to wax my chin ... so hard to wait!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

October Julia quotes

Julia spent night at my mom's after our weekend camping trip
Apparently they watched "Masterpiece Theatre" - a murder mystery

Julia's account of what happened ...
"a woman shot people, she was mad at man who did brain surgery, he was drinking ... alcohol and hurt a boy named Nabil."

Interesting happenings overnight @ Grandma Bonnie's!!!
What happens at Grandma Bonnie's, stays at GB's??!! : )

Julia & I were organizing some papers & photos.
She was very helpful, likes to look for patterns of course.
However, this was very random!

"I am out of cemetery ... I don't mean "I'm out of cemetery, I'm dead!"
"It means I won the game."

I really don't understand what that means. She is really smart, but sometimes she says sentences that don't make sense. This is 1 of those times. : )

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

School Board protest

Again writing post weeks after the fact. UGH! It has been a busy month - started with this issue!

Basically parents at IES found out that there was talk/rumor about closing or converting the school to charter. Low scores put IES on Priority List (bottom 5% in state). There are lots of reasons for us moving to bottom, but IES wasn't high on list before. However, we are upset because parents were not informed. There was an article in newspaper a few weeks ago.

PTO organized a campaign to tell school system what we want for IES - support for current principal, keep school open & provide needed resources in order to educate students.
We created a flyer with action steps & passed it out at car rider line.  We emailed & called parents.
We encouraged parents to email (or call) Superintendent, our School Board member as well as press.
We signed up speakers at School board meeting - 2 IES parents & Community PTO supporter.

It was great. Lots of positive comments! Then Superintendent presented his plan "3rd Way" to handle Priority Schools, particularly in East Nashville. It was unbelievable. Lots of drama!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Stratford High School football

First home football game - also Elementary School Night
We showed up for tailgating & game wearing our IES spirit wear. Lots of fun, good crowd!

While watching the game
Probably best Julia quote ever ... "is football about violence?"

3 more home games, plan to be there for Community PTO tailgating.
Fun & food & people watching!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Rock Star" - not Cleaner

I asked Julia to clean up her area.  Then later in the van, I asked her to pick up some stuff on the floor. This is what she said to me: " I am a Rock Star and an Artist, not a Cleaner."
Then she proceeded to tell me "You boss everyone around & we don't like it."
I said something about even rock stars & artists were children who cleaned up after themselves!

Apparently there has been discussion among my family members.
THEY don't like being bossed around!

My response - clean up your stuff. Simple! : )

Friday, August 22, 2014

Missed Bus (MTA) 2X this week!

The title of post explains it all. I usually ride the bus 1-2X ... so this week I didn't ride it at all!
I'm going to try to ride 2-3 times next week. I'll let you know how it goes. : )

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Parent meeting/PTO success

Once again I am backfilling posts ... I wish I could write posts more quickly. I read emails usually within day or so, why cannot do that with blog posts.

Anyway, today (8/21/14) we had Parent meeting at J's school.
It was good turn-out. We learned what's happening at IES.
Exciting news like Reading Recovery program for first grade students to help basic reading skills.
Also Reading Clinic for other students to help with reading deficits.

  • We had food & drinks! 
  • We had more teachers present than last year. 
  • Some teachers helped with child care. 
  • We elected PTO officers. 
  • We had door prizes. 
  • We have meeting dates set for year. 

Overall it was great!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

First Day of School

Hope everyone that started school today had a good first day!

Julia greeted me with 
"It was awesome to be in first grade. I love my teacher!" 
... ahh, those are good words to hear.
Little tears are forming again as I write. : )

I had "best FIRST day ever" (15 years as MNPS employee) - it was amazing!
Extremely impressed with how smooth the day went at Amqui ES.
I'm exhausted, but it was good day.

Enjoy tomorrow off if you have kids (sarcasm as I know you might wish it wasn't so) at home.  They get back to school on Friday (school buildings are used for election sites so that is why no school on Thursday).

Remember to vote tomorrow! Long lines mean participation! : )

Monday, August 4, 2014

New Commute, New Transportation possibly

I like my new commute, very little traffic, fewer miles, less time in car.
How will I listen to those audio books anymore?! : )
I'll probably leave home around same time in order to avoid school zones (hate them!!!).
Also allow me to have some quiet time in office, maybe get some tasks done (I can tell that I will be running ALL day like at previous schools!).
I am going to explore taking bus to work since I live & work now 0.25 mi from Gallatin Road.
I am sure it will likely mean a longer day.
No driving, less wear & tear on 11 year old car, walk to bus stops - all good!
Regardless it is a more peaceful transition for me from home to work.
Drive home is more traffic, more people awake I guess, but nothing like driving home from PMES.

Update on bus (mid-August):
MTA Swipe & Ride program - I thought was free since Jai used it at NPL.
It is free IF employer pays for it. Unlike NPL, the state, Vanderbilt, MNPS does not. : (
This year is first for MS & HS students having free bus passes which is awesome.
It will help with traffic & less teen drivers on the road! : )
However, it would be fantastic if MNPS paid for employees as it would help with traffic & stress.
I tweeted about it & included @MetroSchools as Jai taught me. I doubt it will be retweeted as other tweets have been! : )

Regardless I purchased a 20 ride local pass = 10 trips. My goal is to ride bus 3 days a week. I will have some kind of PTO meeting almost every week & there will be day I miss bus or want to drive.
I rode it 1 day last week (I had appointments or meetings other days). It was fine.

I cut it close in morning - bus was almost there when I got to stop. I caught up on some texts I'd not had time to reply. Walk to school was farther than I estimated. A colleague saw me & hestitated to stop. It was funny! I had plenty of time in afternoon & got to stop no problem. However, bus was late which had me worried! I texted some more! : ) Then I got off in wrong place & had longer walk home. Not bad overall. I need to have magazine or book, maybe get audio book on my shuffle.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Happy Birthday, Tara!

This is what I wrote to my friends on day before my birthday! : )

Dear Friends!
Well, today is my last day as 43 ... OMG! I cannot believe I am "mid-40's" - HA!
Yep, though I am a planner, I am now sending email with plan for dinner tomorrow.
Nothing fancy or wild, but craving some Drunken Fried Rice so Thai it is.
I'm getting it Medium too - kids will have to get another dish!
We heard Pad Thai Kitchen on W. Eastland closed so this is our other favorite place in East Nashville.
Friday, August 1
5:30pm - yes, we eat early.
We're basically senior citizens with young children!
207 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37213
(615) 248-7933
If you want to join us, come on!

It was fun. 15 people total, 9 adults, 5 kids.
We had interesting service, not typical, but kept us guessing. 
Also they bought a cake & sang "Happy Birthday" - that was hilarious!

We'll probably still have some folks over later in August for casual back yard "party."
Grill meat, kids play in baby pool, nothing fancy AT ALL!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Julia's AFRO!

While cleaning (future post-dated post to be written soon I hope) in bathroom closet, I found this comb/pick. I don't use a pick, but it probably came in a package with comb & I kept it. I throw away lots of things, but you never know when someone might need a pick. : ) So anyway I decide to put it in cup on sink counter that holds girls' brush & comb, not really thinking that anyone will notice. I don't know what I was thinking - of course, Julia would notice. I'm surprised Jacqueline hasn't, but she's not really into hair yet. ANYWAY, Julia started messing with it, using it on her hair. Whew, buddy! She blows out her hair into quite an afro.

Obviously it is time for her "back to school" haircut. Actually it is. Darn! Another item for To Do list. :( : )

Regardless, every night that girl is using that pick on her hair. Also I got bottle of Beautiful Curls detangler & leave-in conditioner for all us "girls" to use (love that stuff) & she likes it so she puts that on hair too. HILARIOUS! You know she really wants some long hair to swing around like all her classmates were doing last year. Nope, not going to happen ... until she plans to take care of her hair, it is staying short & I usually cut their hair. Maybe the afro will be her thing! : )

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer 2014 projects

This is list I wrote on June 4 I think. : )
Many of these tasks have been on a list for a long time.
Highlighted/crossed out items are ones accomplished ... some will get moved to new list, hopefully not many!
Highlighted items are in progress ... not quite completed! Close, but no cigar. : )

  • hang rod & curtain in doorway of Tara's office
  • contact company re: garage renovation (now has become basement project)
  • Julia ride Bike (independently, even with training wheels)
  • Jacqueline potty trained
  • Julia write comic (something she & Jai were doing together) - I really don't know re: its status
  • Get additional needed camping gear & supplies (go to Friedman's, yard sales, Amazon)
  • organize & clean (basement, garage, Jai's office, Tara's office) - Jai did office while we were in NC
  • Go to Y outdoor pool often - duh, like this wouldn't happen!
  • Get "new" lawn mower (pawn shop, Goodwill, FreeCycle before purchase @ Home Depot)
  • Get picnic table - Julia & Jai DIY project, very colorfully painted!
  • BUGS - find solution (company we'd hired for 2 years wasn't doing it!) - hired new company, better
  • Fix basement door knob & handle
  • Fix cot (been in Tara's office for years, Julia broke it after we'd had it for a week!)
  • Fix back door handle - this was recent addition, but really concerned re: personal & house safety)
  • piano tuned, lessons for Julia

Here's August & future lists. Happy Reading!
Mid-August update, these Highlighted/crossed out items have been completed. : )

Deadline: August 31

  1. drill hole in middle of picnic table
  2. get umbrella for picnic table
  3. hang Nicaraguan breastfeeding picture (finally got frame!!!, gift received when Jacqueline was baby!)
  4. get frames for 2 more items (Jac's Mother's Day poem [original one broke], RPCV poster)
  5. continue potty training efforts with Jac
  6. Tree work done (week of Aug. 4 or 11) (removed TALL hemlock & holly bushes from front)
  7. Tennis date with friend (Tara)
  8. Dude date with friend (Jai)
  9. Trim shrubs (front & back), vines on mailbox - Jai doesn't want to do this, cannot barely see box!
  10. Date Night (Aug. 2 girls @ Parents Night Out, Aug. 9 girls @ Bonnie) - until September, yay!!!!

Deadline: January 2015

  • piano tuned, lessons for Julia
  • regular weekly tennis play (with friend or join league) (Tara)
  • consistent daily & weekly Exercise schedule (BOTH)
  • Lose at least 2 pounds per month (BOTH) - June 2015 goal: Tara (25 lbs), Jai (50 lbs)
  • decide on plan for 10 year wedding anniversary celebration in June 2015 (BOTH)
  • Jacqueline is potty trained! (BOTH/Jai)
  • monthly dude date with friend (Jai)
  • Garage purge - every Saturday in August (until done!) for 2 hours - see notes below

GOAL: fill trash can weekly (not typical occurrence), take appropriate items to Trinity Lane

  1. toilet (been there for 2.5 years!)
  2. "upstairs" loft area - what is up there??!!
  3. hang bike(s) - GET bike for Tara (hers stolen 2-3 years ago!)
  4. wood shop area - clean & organize it!
  5. sweep out leave, cobwebs
  6. LOTS MORE!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

"I know Math"

That is what Julia says to friend Nieves at our spontaneous playdate/snack dinner yesterday.
I don't remember what they were discussing, but that was Julia's response.
She was right, but oh, the confidence & attitude.
Who does she remind me of ...? : )

Friday, July 25, 2014

Organizational Anxiety (Home & Work)

This post really is being written 3 weeks later in mid-August ... well ... that's what I do.

I return to work on Monday, July 28. Summer break is over after 7 weeks ... not shabby at all, very great vacation time as MNPS employee. Despite 14 years of this process, I have anxiety about returning to work - like I've forgotten how to do my job & my brain stops functioning. It is strange, but true. In addition, I am going to a new school where I know no one other than principal & assistant principal whom I met ONCE in the interview. Not that I care about having friends at work, but my shy side is feeling scared about going to a new place.

Anyway, back to blog title. Not that I haven't done anything all summer, but there were a few items on my Summer To Do list (future post-dated blog post) that I had not tackled - my office, bathroom closet, garage, basement - some hail-Mary attempts were made. Sometimes it seems silly with less time, you'd think I'd read book or go to Y pool or combine those 2 and just relax. Nope, I freak out, need order in the ensuing chaos so I organize. Jai dislikes post-vacation-pre-work Tara mode -- really stresses him.

3 of 4 of tasks listed above are not going to be completed in few days. They truly were summer projects. I could list excuses, mainly didn't want to do them earlier. I want them done, but it is not something I felt like doing post-work-beginning vacation. I truly need to veg, especially as I'd packed up my previous office AND I stored those boxes in part of garage. 

Garage - 1 reason I didn't do much (other than work boxes being in there) is I need Jai's help since that is typically his domain. However, Jai is not really interested in organizing anything. Once I packed van with work boxes to take on July 28, I was able to move around. I reorganized the camping supplies so they are all in 1 place (took shelf from basement which helped clean out that space)!!!! We started purging on July 27, but it is definitely an August/September project. Jai is excited about prospect of on-going fun! : ) Really he doesn't want to be forced to do anything ... we have been married 9 years, garage is mess, we need to use space differently. He's not going to do it alone ... we're doing it together.

Basement - mainly shifting some stuff (purging) & sweeping bugs & dirt - that was necessary per instructions from new bug consultant to deal with our bug problem. Plus we were having consultation with architecture & construction company to discuss renovating basement. I needed to clean & organize space. It is NOT done, there is definitely lots to do.

My office - once again during a break, I didn't want to tackle this task. It is small space, doesn't get used often, it really isn't disorganized ... except for huge box & pile of papers (paper bills or receipts mainly) that sits on desk. There was moment when I needed to find document & searching through this hot mess pile was annoying & fruitless. Frustrating! Didn't change outcome - most of it needs to be shredded at this point I suspect. Project for Fall Break! : )

Bathroom closet ... small project, attainable goal, really needs to be cleaned anyway since it is public health concern. No, not really, just Tara's public health standard. : ) Basically I took everything out and washed shelves & walls. Then I laid grip liner on shelves & rearranged everything. I got rid of few items, mainly shifted placement of items, hopefully making space more efficient & user friendly. Even though I am primary user, it is used by Jai some for Jacqueline's care, more Julia now as she becomes more independent & manages her skin & hair care. I am enjoying results - much easier to find what I need & use products I have. Example: found container of body salt scrub which I should use to exfoliate, especially legs before waxing. Probably been in closet for 2 years, all dried out, block of salt ... I added almond oil to it, now I can use it again!!!

I also organized some stuff I have in my mini "office" downstairs in living room. I had piles of file folders, but it was a mess too. I used these beautiful batik like cloth nested containers made in Ghana that I bought at RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) conference here in Nashville in June. Cool thing is it is functional, practical, looks like decoration too. Brillant! I actually can find what I need more easily. Overall it makes me feel good, especially since I paid money for containers & supported a good cause!

Work project
I get to Amqui ES on Monday - my office is dirty. Understandably so since previous occupant packed up her stuff as I did, but she didn't clean the space (as I did not either). Since I am OCD about cleanliness, I grabbed paper towels & wipes, whatever I could find in main office (asked principals & custodians), vacuum cleaner, & I got to work on this new space! I moved every piece of furniture which was going to be necessary since I knew I would rearrange where desk, shelves, tables were anyway. I broke 2 parts of a lamp. First bulb cover shattered, then bottom collapsed. This meant I had to vacuum again!  1 vacuum cleaner "exploded" - it was old! It took a few days to clean & organize everything just right, which meant I was delayed organizing & planning for School Counseling Program. However, having your work space right is critical, especially in my job where I work with so many different people - it has to function in certain way.

Does organizing help with the anxiety? Yes, I think it does. It is some kind of order. I sleep poorly usually the few days before work starts. Physical work helps with exhaustion to aid sleep. There is some peace is completing task, especially when there is an aesthetic benefit as well. Am I crazy? Pretty much ... like all of us, just in my unique way. : )

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Visit PDOs for Jacqueline

It is time for Jacqueline to go to school. YEAH!!! : )
It really is a good thing for everyone, especially around this 2.5 year age.
Emotions run high! Tempers flare! Balance is needed in universe.

We started talking about where she would attend school back in January actually as we contemplated enrolling her sooner than Julia. Having 2nd child has really impacted all of us, but particular Jai being stay-at-home parent. We started tours in April & May as we had learned about more since Julia enrolled at Inglewood UMC's PDO.

1. Inglewood UMC - learned that director was retiring, no one hired yet.
So we got on waiting list, but didn't pay registration fee to hold spot.
2. Dalewood Baptist - much cheaper we discovered years ago so hoping this might be good fit.
Jai & Jac visited. Learned that director was retiring, no one hired yet. Trend!
We got on waiting list, but didn't pay registration fee to hold spot.
However, didn't really like look/vibe - something not right, so not too concerned.
3. Dalewood UMC - learned from parent of former PDO classmate of Julia's about this NEW place.
It's called a Creative Preschool, run by retired Pre-K MNPS teacher. Fee is slightly more, but not crazy!
We checked it out today. Really liked it. Still really close to home. Also runs from 9a-3p - SWING!
Completed registration paperwork & paid registration fee next day!

We got info about getting ready. Guess what?! Start date is way earlier than expected... in August! Basically they follow MNPS calendar which other PDOs do also, but Julia started after Labor Day. This is fantastic. We'll all start within days of each other so we'll get routine established soon.

Awesome sauce!!!! I am probably most happy for Jai. This way he can have some breaks. Hopefully will be easier to schedule appointments, consistent exercise routine, accomplish some tasks, find job. : )

Menopause ...What?!!?

Yep, that's the title. WTF is what I said!! I don't understand.

I referenced "hormonal changes" in my June 3 DietBet post. Well, I keep notes in calendar of my menstrual cycle (surprise, surprise!) & some weird (for me) happenings last few months. Unusual is better term, not weird really, just atypical since I'm regular kind of woman. Anyway I have my annual well woman checkup in July so I thought perfect opportunity to discuss this concern with my medical provider. Marty (nurse practitioner extraordinaire at MNPS Bransford clinic, love her!) says "why don't we check your hormonal levels as well as thyroid, make sure all is normal."

Well, it is NOT normal! She calls me next day (yep, results are that fast at clinic, again love them!!) & says "You are in middle of menopause." Again WTF! I don't understand. At this point, I'm a week away from next birthday, yes, I'm in 40's, but I'm not 50! I thought maybe I misheard Marty, but I looked at numbers when I received copy of lab results. Some numbers look like I've almost shut down shop!

Not sure what is next step. According to my mom's recollection of her menopausal experience (some of which I remember!) it is process, years, not months. Hopefully hot flashes will be nice since I'm frequently cold. At least I might be done before Julia hits puberty though it seems like that girl is already there!

I'll read that chapter in Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I skipped it 7 years ago when we were trying to get pregnant. No kidding that clock was ticking!. Schedule follow-up with Marty. Fun times are a-comin'! : )

Monday, July 21, 2014

July quotes from Julia

I know there are more, gosh, there are so many!
However, if I don't write them down, it's gone in a flash ... like Julia! : )
Thankfully my sister wrote 2 down & I got this 1 down before memory fails.
Ahh, the almost 44 year old brain is so tired. Gosh, I am almost 44! That is crazy!

while visiting with 2 friends & telling Julia story about how she talks lots.
I remembered this one which actually happened in June - AMAZING!
So glad Susie wrote this one down - classic. : )

Backstory - I asked Julia to stop talking ... you know why.
Julia: "I really like to talk. I have lots to say!" (also said with lots of enthusiasm & volume)

Lunch @ Sushi Train with friends Anne Marie & almost 6 year old son, Sam (Julia's peer since pregnancy)
Julia & Jac running around restaurant like crazy people. It was bad. I was so embarrassed.
Sam: "Is this a playground or a restaurant?"
I kid you not, he said this. Ahh, out of the mouth of babes, right????!!!!
I am over taking my children to restaurants. Hey, this will save me money too!

Memphis for Jai's family reunion, at pool with few children @ reunion other than mine
Really sweet girl close to Julia's age whom she'd played with endlessly night before & during morning tour.
However, I guess Julia had reached her limit.
Julia: (in whisper at side of pool where I am) "I am pissed off @ ...."
Really! What happened?
Nothing probably other than someone else talking to her as much as Julia talks to everyone else.

Like I already wrote, I am sure there are more, but unless they are repeated, it's gone! Until next time I remember! : )

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer 2014 vacation trips

Lots of driving - probably no more planes until we strike it rich!

June 6-14 Chicago - long drive, girls did fantastic, stopped in Kentucky on way up, St. Louis on way back, stayed with friends both places, good family time, went to museums, took train which was fun (also instead of driving & paying outrageous parking fees!)

June 16-28 briefly home for Julia to attend ENCORE camp - awesome sauce! didn't like driving to Robertson Academy 2x/day, but plan to network & carpool next year!

June 30-July 6 North Carolina - long drive, but girls did great. Stopped in Asheville both ways, stayed in hotel both times (different ones). Susie was wonderful to drive most of it since I had calf injury. Also to help with child care so Jai could stay home for first solo vacation in 5.5 years ( I had mine Oct. 2013 during Fall Break!)

July 11-13 Memphis - ahh, family reunion, fun times, thank goodness for short drive - it was fun, lots of yummy BBQ, good tour (too long!) ... what will happen in 2016? Where will we go?

July 18-20 camping @ Rock Island State Park (about 2 hours away from Nashville, in White county) - rained, but fun, must get better sleeping pads & fly tarp!

Jai & I talked about doing a 'driving across TN' trip in 2015 & 2016 instead of going to other places. It was exhausting to be gone so much of summer. Routine was shot, lots of eating out, not enough sleep - not really that different from other summer breaks! : )  However, there are 96 counties in TN, lots of state parks, other Wildlife Refugee areas. Looking at map as we had to troubleshoot wrong turn (good map reading skills without GPS), we realized that we have been to less than 20 of 96 counties, probably most in middle TN. Kind of get off beaten path, take some smaller highways, see more of our home state.

Re-read this post in 11 months. : )

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thanks, Nicole Kidman!

I wish I could write that I met her or saw her like my friend did at church.
Reading this quote from billboard while driving on interstate is next best thing, right?!?!
HAHA! I'm such a comedian.

Seriously though I thought this was cool advertisement.
Important message, using your star power appropriately.

"I'm part of the story. Are you?"
- Nicole Kidman
part of NPL Foundation campaign
(NPL = Nashville Public Library)

What is the story? Giving money to support NPL? I hope so because that is needed.
What is that other quote about "great library = great city"?
NPL provides lots of wonderful services beyond traditional book lending.

  • I am very grateful for borrowing books since we no longer buy books unless for kids' birthdays. 
  • We love participating in Summer Reading Challenge - all of us. 
  • Going to local branch where they know us by name. 
  • Visiting branches for programs like Storytime at Main NPL which we have not done this summer!

I remember one year I made a donation for my nephew's birthday - thought it was a cool idea.
My brother was pissed (since I didn't give him anything else!). I guess I could have gotten him a book too.
I was young & carefree, no kids yet - still in my 20s! : )

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Always #LikeAGirl


This made me cry! Go girls, teens, women! Be yourself!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

NC text quotes

Strange title I'm sure it seems to anyone unaware of this tradition we started a few years ago - not texting since that's recent, but fun quotes from road trips, usually found from driving on country roads in NC.

Yesterday we drove to beach at Emerald Isle & I starting texting them to Jai (my dad was driving!). It's random & out of context so it can be confusing. Jai's responses were probably just as funny as he tried to guess where we were. I guess he didn't know we were in car. Sometimes I remember to write down name of church, most times I do not. Anyway here goes some of them. Enjoy! : )

1. Remember to take Jesus on your vacation (Pelletier Free Will Baptist Church)
This might be 1 of my favorites. Jai guessed Cracker Barrel. HA!
I also thought "like we would leave Jesus behind in Nashville. He rides shotgun!" : )
2. We are not Dairy Queen, but we have Sundays
3. God Bless the USA (this one is from 2013, but it has to be listed)

There were only 2 quotes I found in phone, thought there were more, definitely some good ones last summer! These quotes are good times. Also calling Niki when I see crazy stuff when I'm driving. Like prostitutes or people wearing fur coats when it is 100 degrees in August. Happy Summer! : )

Addition on 8/3/14
While walking Johnders this morning, I saw this gem on sign at Eastwood Baptist Church.
7 days without God makes you weak

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I love doing homework & other great quotes

Yep, those words were said by 5 year old daughter ... during SUMMER vacation.

At end of year, students received a bag full of various materials, including some artwork, but also workbooks & instructions to encourage students to read during summer etc.

On 6/13, while we were on vacation in Chicago, Julia was writing letters & words in her handwriting workbook. We heard her say "I love doing HW."

On 6/29, while assisting Susie with making batch of green smoothies. Julia was tasting it.
She then found me to declare "Delicious ... like sweet grass. I like green smoothie." Really - you know what grass tastes like. Sweet?!

On 7/2, while on vacation in NC, at beach, she shared about her experience with the ocean.
"The wave spanked me ... then I spanked the wave back!"

Where do these phrase gems come from? Oh, to be in the mind of a kid. : )

Monday, June 30, 2014

New job for Tara

I decided to transfer this year, at least be looking for schools near home. Even though 11 miles one way might be nothing to some, I am over it. Also with little kids, it would be nice to be closer.

I completed transfer process in March & started looking & talking with people around MNPS, especially keeping eyes open for retirements. There were a few, particularly in East Nashville area, it was amazing. Sadly I applied, but nothing panned out, jobs went to others. I even applied at schools I wasn't interested, but it was good experience. You are not desperate, but can practice your answers. : )

Actually interestingly it made me ponder what I was doing, what are my goals at year 15, where am I headed. I knew it wasn't the right fit, but questioning "what is it I want." Ironically at this interview I saw counselor leaving her interview, then she got the job, so her school was open. I still wasn't thinking about that school as it wasn't in East Nashville, but my coordinator encouraged me & I talked with counselor. I emailed principal. We met next day & I got an offer. I accepted.

During the 2014-15 school year I will be School Counselor at Amqui Elementary School.
It is about 300 fewer students than PMES and 5.8 miles away from home.
Madison is much better commute for me - straight North, no traffic.

Good deal! : )

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fascinating Observation

For lack of another clever title, I had an interesting conversation today. I went to a 1/2 day training, unexpected as it was intended for MS & HS counselors mainly, but I found out & went. Glad I did, great stuff about college readiness & preparation & it really is a Pre-K-12 mindset. Hopefully this speaker will be brought back for ES counselors soon.

I sat with some colleagues whom I know mainly from my MS days which is where both individuals have worked most of career as counselors. One person I know better asked about my children, talking about how big they've gotten, in school now, wow, already, where does she go to school ... you know they drill, we catch up a bit. My children are young, theirs are not, they each have 1 grown child in college. They both are not much older than me, yet are less than 5-10 years of being eligible for retirement (30 years of service) & I am only 1/2 way. Example, person said in 7 years can retire at age 52 ... that means I am only 2 years or so younger. WOW! Such different places you know.

Anyway, I asked where their children attended school. Keep in mind that they have worked these 20+ years for MNPS as teacher & counselor. 1 person said some private school for K-8, then DA for HS. Other person said USN for K-12. Conversation already included discussion about college fees & how they weren't going anywhere during summer because Belmont was getting all their money & they get no financial aid from completing FASA because they appear to make too much money. Luckily that will NOT be our situation since we have 1 income. : )

OK - so this is interesting to me. This is not first time I have encountered this scenario. You work for MNPS, but your children attend private school. 15 years ago MNPS was a different place ... actually that is around the time I started working for MNPS. Both individuals are African-American women - not sure if that makes a difference, just interesting, also both children are female. Actually they are friends - I asked if they knew each other at Belmont. Not sure if moms were friends & kids met or whatever, but they've all known each other a long time. Regardless interesting stuff. Person 1 whose child graduated from DA said that her child attended a "public" college (MTSU, TSU, UT),  but couldn't handle it so had to go to private.

Not sure what that means, but again interesting stuff. Oh, best part, when discussing money, person 1 said her child gets no scholarships ... initially I thought because she didn't get any. NOPE! She didn't apply! No way. I applied for EVERYTHING in HS even some Delta & AKA affiliated scholarships & I didn't know anything or anyone connected to those organizations. She said she talked with her about it, but she wouldn't do it & she's a school counselor. WTF! Unacceptable. It is called, stop paying for Belmont, young person gets a job, apply for some scholarships. I know what TSU was like for graduate school & it was shockingly different from Wellesley & I was older than 18 or 22, but I finished & it was definitely cheaper.

Fascinating stuff ... Julia & Jacqueline be ready to get some money for college, no free ride from parents. : )