Happiness, Life, Decisions.

A few days ago a friend reposted something designed to make you think about the things you LOVE doing vs. how you actually spend your time. An evaluation that should lead to action designed to make you happier. This had me thinking….

Do you let life happen to you
or
Do you decide your life?

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Sunday, Funday, Cold & Wet Day: March 15th, 2015

drip. drop. drip. drop.

It is what I woke to today and what I will eventually fall asleep to.  Seattle rain.  Cold, consistent, expected, but not prepared for.  But before I get too far ahead of myself – this morning I had to stop at Uptown Espresso again – their caramel lattes are really, very much, excellent!  After getting some laundry going and kind of taking stock of our day, we realized we had better get moving for our brunch reservation time of 9am.  *especially* after we saw this:

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We headed to Toulouse Petit Kitchen (seriously do yourself a favor and check this place out!  http://toulousepetit.com/ ) to meet up with two of my sister’s friends and the Mom of one.  My breakfast:

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I could hardly believe my eyes!!  It was fantastic! After breakfast we headed home for an hour or two to just relax and read. I blogged…  I know BIG surprise there!  Then we decided to cross a few of the “must happen” places off our list.

Even though it was dreary and rainy, we decided to head to the EMP http://www.empmuseum.org/

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I highly recommend this!  Might have been one of the best places for souvenirs I visited!

Due to the cold chilling us straight to the bone, we detoured momentarily at Starbucks. My sister enlightened my world be introducing their *awesome* app!!  Check it out if you frequent Starbucks or if you get a giftcard for there!

Then we headed to my place.  The place I really, really  wanted to check out

{Warning: nerd alert!}

The Seattle Public Library

It

Was…

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From the outside, taken under an umbrella.

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From the entrance.  11 floors people.  THIS is how you do a library!

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I am fairly certain there were as many people as live in my hometown inside the library while we were there!

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From the first escalator.

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The Red Floor.  It is truly, only red.

As we weren’t entirely ready for dinner, but it was time, we decided to stop at The Brooklyn.

We chose two appetizers and one entree to split among the three of us.

Here is the description of what we ordered right off the menu:

The Brooklyn Crab Cake: garnished with shaved apple and micro green pluche, finished with wasabi aioli.
Peppered Steak Medallions: with king oyster mushroom, stilton blue cheese and port wine jus
and black garlic ponzu emulsion.
Day Boat Scallops: porcini mushroom dusted
with braised painted hills shortribs -served with red bliss potato croquettes and spinach. finished with honey crisp apple, smokey bacon and
cambazola blue cheese butter.

Here is the photograph:

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and it ALL tasted fantastic!

and with that – we decided to end the evening on this most perfect note.  We read, finished laundry, crossed of items from our “to get” and “to do” lists, and then headed to sleep!!

See you in the morning!!

~J.Lyn

Blue Skies and Playing House: Saturday, March 14th, 2015

Today was a touristy kind of day.  The weather was quite perfectly Seattle.  A bit overcast with a hint here and there of blue skies!  But I digress.

This vacation Saturday began the way any vacation Saturday should begin…

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Sibling Nintendo, Mario Bro Challenge, March 2015.

Perfect!

After our Mother woke we got some caffeine flowing through our systems and had a little breakfast from our venture at the Market.

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It was in fact so delicious, we put the Market on our list for today again! Lil’ Sis had booked a treat at a Spa for the early afternoon, which left plenty of time to hit the Mall.  After a quick stop at Macy’s, we had the pleasure of visiting Francesca’s, www.francescas.com/, an adorable boutique in the mall!  I could have bought two of everything!!  Then we had a bite at  the Juicy Cafe, http://www.thejuicycafe.com/,  I seriously wish we had just a smidge of the healthy options available here!!

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It was at this point we headed to the car…

only to realize we had no keys.

It was a game of “Where Did We Leave the Keys?”  With our spa afternoon on the line, none of us were too excited to play.  Even amidst the Seattle Mall acreage and the thousands of people – – we found the keys.

As we traveled across some bridge, down some highway – I could not help myself but to take a few photographs!!

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I know I drove my sister a bit crazy, but it was so beautiful!  I love what I shall forever call “The Lorax” Trees!

We wound up just a few minutes late to our appointment, but we called ahead to let them know.

After all that excitement

and all that relaxation

We decided it was a good time to stop at the Market for more delicious fruit.

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We did some prep shopping for the rest of the week at Target and Whole Foods and stopped at the Chocolate Box before heading home to put away our purchases.

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A couple extra shots of gorgeous Seattle from the day…

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For dinner – we decided to lay low and make our own hodge-podge offering…

Not too shabby, huh?!

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We wrapped up our evening at The Elliot Bay Bookstore where I had to purchase:

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A treasure among treasures. ❤

Until tomorrow,

~J.Lyn

A Costly, but Worthy Adventure: March 13th, 2015

Vacation.  I should have taken the time to explain to my internal system what time zone my external system was operating within!  5:30am – I knew was the point of no returning to bed.  My eyes were just going to stay open regardless of the rare opportunity to sleep in.  So I snuck down to Uptown Espresso http://www.velvetfoam.com/ quite early and reveled in their Caramel Latte, extra sweet and shared their mouth-watering monkey bread with my Mom.  We lazed around for an hour or two chatting with those back home.  Then we made our way to an unitinerized venture.

Enough time had passed that Brunch seemed our first order of business.  I guess one cannot or perhaps more accurately should not live on monkey bread alone, so we headed to Lola’s.  Ah, the greatness of Lola’s! http://tomdouglas.com/?page=lola-location

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The bacon.

Yep – that’s is where it is at!

So then we headed down to Pier Market.  Along the way I had to pay homage to Pi Day

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And along the way I could not resist a photograph of the ENORMOUS ad for the Pineapple.  Perhaps a subliminal message to hurry to the fruit markets found at the Pier Market…. interesting.. and if so – it works!

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So finally we arrived!  It was a really fantastic day to walk and the slightly overcast sky made for great lighting!

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There is no other location in the whole world I wish to drop into my backyard as much as I would love daily access to Pier Market!!

We also stopped at a fantastic boutique called Fini http://www.ilovefini.com/, which respectfully posted, “no photography please,” so we resisted the urge.  Fantastic one-of-a-kind items, I especially love their cards!

We did the obligatory stop at Made in Washington gift shop: https://www.madeinwashington.com/ and picked up 2 Seattle Sweatshirts (buy one get one free!).  We hit the Fruit stand pictured above pretty hard as it all looked so amazing – I can vouch for the fact it all tasted as good as it looked!!  Then we bought some flowers for my sister for being such a fantastic hostess!!

Lil’ sis had warned us that we would be going to a fancier place for dinner so that meant a quick, but costly venture to Macy’s to pick up a nice dress for the evening.

We wrapped up our evening celebrating my sister’s awesomeness fittingly… at Canlis.  http://canlis.com/

3 hours and 4 courses later the valet retrieved our vehicle before all three of us even made it out the door.  I am leaving this somewhat vague – and I am not certain if I should, but I actually get a bit teary-eyed thinking of its perfection.  The story of Canlis is like so many stories told on American soil and is beautifully writ on the inside of the menu.  The cost is high, but the rewards more so.  Live pianist.  Impeccable service.  Toe-curling bites.  A view that leaves even the most chatty Kathy speechless.

I will leave you with the photographic evidence and urge you to add Canlis to your own list of places to experience.

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A Long Day Just to Arrive: March 12th, 2015

This morning I set out at 7:30am after kissing the fam and getting them all off on their own perspective days.  I headed to pick up my Mother who is my traveling companion for this venture to Seattle, WA. I had to take the obligatory photo of the rear view mirror as the tiny town I live in disappeared from view.

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And of course a few photos of the flight.  Southwest Airlines is so fantastic!  The Flight Attendant who did announcing was SO FUNNY!!  My abs hurt by the time we landed from laughing!

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After we landed, my sis was kind enough to bring us to her apartment so we could get settled in, showered (as is so fantastic and necessary after being on a plane), and rest a bit.  The resting didn’t happen much as we were just so excited to be with her!  After a bit, we headed off to the University of Washington Campus: http://www.washington.edu/.

In early March the campus trees bloom and create a rather magical scene, but I found myself entranced by each building on the campus grounds.  In the words of my niece – it is very reminiscent of Hogwarts!!

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Okay, Okay – – enough with the buildings (but honestly – so breath-taking!)  Here is a photo of the blooming trees!

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Amazing, right?!

We discovered shortly after arriving that there was more to the visit than just a view of the trees, it was our first impression of the College that Accepted my baby sis to their Graduate Program (Bloody Outstanding, lil’ sis!)

After we headed to Agridolce for dinner  http://agrodolcerestaurant.net/home/ 

It was okay.  I hate to review harshly as jet lag was setting in, so I will refrain from further comment & allow that under normal circumstances the experience would have been fantastic.

As exhaustion was setting in we headed for home and dreamland hoping for a restful sleep.

❤ ~J.Lyn

April 1st, 2014 – No joke

So today I finally articulated two things that have been nagging at me.  All along I have had this sensation of not quite understanding the approach to teaching.

You see when I did corporate training, the company decided what information needed to be passed on – the company meaning those that did the job and the managers.  The trainers were trusted to find the best way to teach the matter.

<silly me>  This is what I thought teaching would be like.  I thought there was a MASTER ELA 7th Grade Handbook and it covered all the objectives for 7th gr ELA.  How to best teach it to your students was the challenge.  I did not realize that teachers everywhere are spending time creating lesson plans that somewhere someone already did (times one million).  Reinventing the wheel anyone??  I am all about individuality and creativity, but huh?  Where is the MASTER??

So we are building a lesson plan out of what?  thin air?  Yes kind of.   – Um really?  Yes.  Really.

There are State Standards and there are grade level benchmarks and then school districts making decisions on curriculum. All of these effect what the teacher has to plan in the classroom.  All this AND the variety of students in the classroom.

The School District area  is also the deciding factor of where the money for schools comes from

– this information explains how a public school for a greater city downtown will be in disrepair and struggling for basic materials while a school a half mile away in a different district line may have an Olympic size swimming pool and state of the art computer lab. Seems to be that the best route would be that all taxes for school would be put into a State Kitty and then divided up by the number of children enrolled in public school and there would be an amount per student.

 

Education and Life-Readiness

There is a time to learn, study, question, think.  Then there is a time to get up off your arse and do something – Act.

 

If you’ve been around here awhile you know I am a Mom of three going back to school in my… we will call it mid-thirties.

The question I field the most is “Why?”

There are the reasons that echo others, such as “I love kids” with an added punch of “I don’t always love kids, but I always believe in their ability to do better and more than we have.”

I love the unpredictable nature of the classroom.

I love being organized and I love preparing.  I love it even more when something unexpected happens!

However

There are two  reasons I am studying Education that haven’t even remotely crossed the minds of most of my classmates.

Reason 1.  If you don’t want to do – I will.

I am tired of teachers threatening (with their educated mouths) to walk away (in their perfectly matched outfit) or drive away (in their shiny, nice cars) from students who are supposedly their “main priority”.  Now before you get your panties in a bundle = I am NOT saying that Teachers don’t deserve these things and more – they DO!!  But teachers are walking around asking, “Why is the public so against teachers?”  The public isn’t.  But while you have been complaining about not getting a raise, the “public” lost their house, their job, or/AND their benefits – COMPLETELY.  Yet you are so focused on you & the 1% of your community rolling in money that you are not seeing everyone else.  You complain that Johnny’s parents are not supporting his academics by sitting down with him and doing his homework at night, but you fail to understand that his parents were trying to figure out where to get the money to pay the bill collectors they never thought would be calling them.   There is no one to stop it from coming out of their FOOD budget, because you see  – they want to do right.  They just don’t know have the funds to cover it all.  You stand and talk about Bob’s or Jane’s “chances” because of what the parents aren’t doing – but you are not taking responsibility for being the one who knows WHAT IT TAKES for that child to be successful and doing NOTHING but pointing out who is not doing what for them.

Reason 2. I like being a villager.

You know that saying – it takes a village???  Well besides parents – it is TEACHERS who make up that village.  So when a child isn’t successful or prepared it is truth that has part of the blame at the school’s door.   I have explored several fields in my time.  What I have learned is that everyone works hard (okay, okay, not everyone.  But what we too easily forget is that those people are the minority. We have to stop changing things because of the 0.0025% of the population that might take advantage. Believe me – most do not want to live on government assistance.)  So most work hard.  Working hard is life.  Enjoying working hard and enjoying what working hard gets you is life.  It is the lesson our kids are failing to get.

 

So let’s talk about the two sides of the “Education” coin.

*On one side there is everything we can see that has changed in Education since we (adults) were there last.  No more penmanship class.  No more daily music, phy ed, or art class.  All eyes on STEM.  Foreign languages are optional later – even though we know how much easier it is when they are young.  And who needs English?  Reading all those really old books?  Speech class?  Writing?  Please.

*On the other side is everything we are being asked of as parents, that we damned well know our parents were not asked of.  Like doing up to two hrs of homework and reading PER CHILD each night.  That on top of school supplies at the beginning of the year – we are asked to pay fees for additional supplies, art costs, t-shirt costs, field trip costs, sports fees, etc.  We as children enjoyed most of these things, but our parents did not pay out of pocket for them.  Where did the money come from before?

Then there are the statistics that speak volumes for both sides of the coin we are currently tossing about.   Less than, let me repeat, LESS THAN 40% of High School Grads are ready for college:  http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2014/0514/Less-than-40-percent-of-12th-graders-ready-for-college-analysis-finds   — What are they ready for then?

How is that even possible??  We have middle-schoolers studying things I didn’t hear about until I was in late High School.  We have K and 1st graders studying math equations and analyzing the different parts of a story.  Hell, they are supposed to know their alphabet and how to spell their name, as well as knowing their address before Preschool.  Are we really confused about why our kids are crashing and burning at seventeen or younger???

When are we going to realize that our children deserve BETTER than we had – not just DIFFERENT than we had???  Why does it always seem we as a people go from one extreme to the other?  Why can’t we look at what is working and just focus on that which can be done better instead of trying to change the whole blasted system?!   It is a pyramid people – not a pendulum – that lasts through time.

So here is the get up off my arse and do something about it:

You can not improve something if you do not understand how it functions currently, right? (This is a no brainer for most people, but for some of you politicians out there I know it may be a shock).  So I am in Education, learning about what is currently happening.  I plan to teach because I know it is more than just learning about how something is supposed to work – I need first hand knowledge of what is happening.  Plus it is about damn time kids realize there are those of us who will NOT give up.  There are those of us who KNOW you are capable of GREAT things.  Let me be perfectly clear: I am not the lone person standing and caring – I am the voice saying “LOOK  in your classrooms RIGHT NOW, regardless of how tired or unhappy they may seem – THOSE people = teachers = they KNOW you are AMAZING!  Parents – regardless of how tired or unhappy they may seem – they ONLY want what is best for you.

I don’t mean to sound snarky or as if I know it all.  Never in my life have I ever claimed to know it all.  In fact – my soap box is that none of us are designed to know it ALL.   The focus should not be on who can memorize the most historical data.  It should not be who can recite the presidents of the US.  The focus should be on:

HOW to learn

HOW to take notes

HOW to study

HOW to question

HOW to THINK

Math, Science, Social Studies, Engineering, Technology, even Music, art, phy ed, language, writing and speech – these are not SUBjects to study – they are avenues we travel once we have a base understanding of how these “HOW”s work!  They are the transportation we take in order to grow learning, taking notes, studying, questioning and thinking!!!    When we graduated high school and we stepped into real life -we used THESE skills to explore different life paths.  Some paths for some of us were paths we stayed on to this day.  For others – hopping paths helped achieve happiness.  But one thing is the same – we had the ability to make the best of what we had and focus on the things we wanted. We had the tools – we knew the “How” of what to learn and how to learn to get where we wanted to be.   THAT is what we were armed with.  That is how we felt READY to take on the world.

School is the place where you learn to read.  You learn to research.  You learn to think.

Then you get up off your arse and DO something with what you know.

THAT is life.

We need to stop this focus on individual courses of study – – Now, now – – no pendulum here!!!  We are not getting rid of these things!!!  These are the avenues that we let our children explore – to help them identify the things they LOVE, the people they want to BECOME!  Our focus as EDUCATORS (be it teachers or parents) – is to return focus to the HOW

Learn

Study

Question

Think

Do

It doesn’t form a pretty acronym.  It doesn’t focus on college-readiness, career-readiness or community-readiness individually.  It’s whole focus is LIFE-readiness.

I think education needs to return to the basics.

 Address the “How” and let the kids answer.

 

 

 

 

Don’t be too surprised if in the future – I open….

A  learn, study, question, think, act  Academy.

maybe A2A Academy?  Life-Readiness School?  Hmmm…it may require *gasp* thought.  Anyway –

We will teach penmanship.  We will teach manners.  We will teach respect.  We will teach creativity.  We will teach Reading, Writing, Math, Music, Art, Languages and Science.  It will bloom into more specific fields of study!  But the focus will remain on learning to learn.

 

You can voice your disagreement, your contradictions, your thoughts!  Please do!!

I learned a long time ago that discomfort is the path to growth ( yep – being female I had that nailed down before my teens).  Seriously – we can NOT expect to solve or resolve anything if we can not respect others enough to hear them out.  To really listen. You can not challenge a thought if you haven’t listened to the whole of it!

But not forgotten… never that…

So I have completed my final project for my one of my education classes.  It is something I will very much miss.  I hope other professors can create such a learning environment for us!  So today’s Blog is titled, “But never forgotten, never that”  in honor of my amazingly talented professor.  I will carry these lessons forward for generations to come!

Back to it!  It was a pretty fantastic assignment!  It was essentially to use any medium to convey what you have learned this semester.   This is definitely a method I want to use with my students!

I have learned so much that I couldn’t image a better way, nor a more fitting one for an English Major, than to write a book!  I worked to make it look like an older book and as it will be the first volume I wanted to make sure I was proud of the final outcome… and I so am!

Here are some photos!

 

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Extremely happy with the way it has turned out!