Fall 2012

Winter's Last Stand

Well, well, well...winter has decided that it is NOT finished yet.  Especially in Vermont.  Today, we got a wee bit more snow...and since afternoon activities/meetings/classes were cancelled, it meant that I didn't have my graduate course this afternoon.  I left work thinking that I'd be able to go out for a run, but, unfortunately, the sidewalks weren't really cleared off in the Junction.

So...what's a girl to do when she wants to go outside and play in the snow?  Snowshoeing...  :)  And I called up Diane to conspire with me, always a willing accomplice!

Winter's Last Stand
Fall 2012

A Slice of '13 Life in March

Sugaring Snow

On Wednesday afternoons, I'm coaching (!) a running group of women from my school and the local community with a local running shop.  While we were out on our run this afternoon, the biggest, fluffiest snowflakes started falling!  It was pretty impressive...and certainly made for a fun run.  Apparently, it's a sugaring snow as it signifies that sugaring is well underway in Vermont...mmm...maple syrup!
Fall 2012

(no subject)

So, while I was in Florida, apparently, it snowed in Vermont!  Yippee!  Taking full advantage of the snow, and our vacation, Kelsey, Diane and I met up at Indian Brook for a quick little jaunt in the snow.  It was beyond lovely...

Lovely Woods

Both the view...and the company!

Goofy girls!
(See me in the reflection of Kelsey's sunglasses?)

There were many laughs on our trek around Indian Brook...it's always a good time!

3 of Us

How can you go wrong when this is your view?  I mean, really...this is where I live...

The Indian Brook View
Fall 2012

Learning to Lead

Late last fall, I was asked by the president of Vermont-NEA (my state's teacher's union, part of the National Education Association) to attend a Women's Leadership Summit -- a training aimed at improving leadership skills of those of us in the rank and file.  The fact that this training was being held in Florida in February sealed the deal...I mean, really...do I need an excuse??

So, on Friday, I found myself waking long before dawn in order to make my way to Orlando for the weekend.  I arrived (along with hundreds of other educators, among other conference attendees) to a warm & humid Florida winter.  It was lovely!  Just being outdoors without a hundreds layers felt so freeing...

This is Winter?

After checking in to both the hotel and the summit, I found my way to (lunch, first and then,) the first workshop: Leadership 101.  Or something like that.  It was a really nice overview of NEA governance (the structure of the national association) and a leadership basics review.  It was also an opportunity to meet fellow educators from all over the eastern half of the United States.  Very quickly, I found myself hanging out with a group that included a high school science teacher from Maine, an elementary teacher from Rhode Island, two teachers from North Carolina, and one from Pennsylvania.  We were an eclectic group, for sure, but definitely could learn from one another!

Friday night, unfortunately, was filled with lots of information-getting...everything from more leadership talk (the summit was a combination of minority & women's leadership programs...so it was quite diverse, actually) to expense-voucher reimbursement 411.  It was a LOT of sitting, after a very long day of travel.

Encouraged by the bright sunshiney warmth of Florida, I woke up extra early in order to squeeze in a quick run.  (Who am I?)  So, without really knowing where I was headed, I laced up my shoes, put on some tunes and hit the streets...very quickly I realized that I was staying just around the corner from where I had stayed the last time I was in Florida!  I also found that my hotel was right across the street from Downtown Disney!  Bonus!  Anyway...I ran into this guy while on my morning run:


Saturday morning was much of the same: more leadership talk -- gender roles in leaderships (positive/negative qualities), how to listen with empathy, etc. (And a LOT more sitting...I was really glad I'd gone out running...)  We also broke into small groups to learn from one another and to learn about endeavors the NEA is undertaking on a national level.  Honestly, I was quite surprised by all that my union is involved with.  It's an impressive list...

Lucky for us, we did get some time to chill on Saturday evening.  So, my little group and I wandered over to Downtown Disney for some shopping, some dinner and some fun!


It was beyond lovely to be out and about long after the sun went down without a winter jacket.  Ahh....is it spring yet?

Sunday morning, both groups gathered for a final activity and to create an "action plan" for ourselves upon our return to our work within the Association.  And, then, I was on my own.  Kristen (from Maine) and I meandered around Downtown Disney some more (and ran into quite a few runners who'd just finished the Disney Princesses Half-Marathon!) and had a little "snack"...

A Midday Snack

Kristen took off to catch her plane, but I still had a few hours to kill, so...I meandered around Downtown Disney some more.  I may not have actually made it to any of the Parks, but the magic of Disney is definitely everywhere.  It was fantastic.  :)

I had an enjoyable lunch people-watching with this as my view:

Downtown Disney View

Which, was a very stark contrast to my dinner-time view while waiting to board my plane in Philadelphia:
Dinner View

Overall, a fantastic weekend filled with learning, meeting new people, and finding a new energy for my work within my local association.  The biggest takeaway:  I've been darn lucky to work in states where my local union has been allowed to be a strong advocate for teachers and our role in education.  It isn't so in other parts of our country...and it definitely makes a big difference.  I tip my hat to those educators who have to fight so much harder for their work...
Fall 2012

Running To Chocolate

Well, I managed to twist Beth's arm to join me in Fairfax, Vermont for the "Run to Chocolate"...a 2 mile road race ending with a sweet reward: chocolate in all its forms!

Phil, a teacher at the middle next door, joined us, too!

For a chilly, Saturday morning, we all finished in a respectable 20:09. I'll take it!
I'm ten months into this crazy goal of mine and I'm thinking I'll just keep on going...it's *gasp* kinda fun!

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Fall 2012

A Visit with Natsuko

Well, after a few emails and lots of questions (visas, work permits and the like) about whether or not it would even work out, Natsuko arrived on Monday evening to spend a week with me!  As always, she was ready and willing to join in whatever it was that I had going on...namely, work!  So, off we went on Tuesday morning for a full day of 4th grade!  My students had been practicing introductions in Japanese for several days and most were more than willing to show off their new knowledge!  (A few, though, were still pretty shy!  It was sweet to see...)  Natsuko, for her part, hung in there with us throughout a not-quite-so-exciting few days.  It was lots of "listening" practice for her...

School Buses

Really, it wasn't that exciting of a week for her to visit.  I had a graduate class after school on Tuesday.  Wednesday evening, we joined with some friends for trivia at a local pub -- Natsuko was able to help us out with a question about wasabi at a sushi restaurant though!  BUT, as luck would have it, Friday was a snow day and we found ourselves with free time!  It translated itself to: shopping day!

Off we went, through the snow, to the various stores of Vermont for Natsuko to find treasures....well, gifts for her friends and family in Japan.  (She's headed off to her brother's wedding next week!)

Cleaning the Car

We met up with Tara for lunch at Misery Loves Company...tasty!


Saturday, we ventured out to Indian Brook, one of my favorite places, and wandered around in the freshly fallen snow.  Good times, for sure, especially considering that our snow boots didn't quite offer enough traction to avoid slipping and sliding our way around the reservoir!  But, you cannot escape the beauty of Vermont out here...it was breathtaking!



And, sadly, on Sunday...off Natsuko went back to Toronto.  But, good news...she'll be hanging there for another year or two at least...so I'll be venturing that way soon enough!  :)

Fall 2012

Climbing High

There I am, climbing up the wall like spider-woman! Unfortunately, this is about as far as I made it up this wall...maybe another step or two, but then my hands (well, fingers) gave up and couldn't hold on anymore! This resulted in quite the Tarzan swing back toward Dan who was so expertly belaying my climbing attempt!

See? Told you so! But, alas, all was not lost...I had had several successful climbs earlier in the day! My arms and shoulders were pretty much shaking the rest of the day.

We (Dan & Tammy, Jami, Aly and I) were all saying the same thing by the end of the day! And, most definitely, plans to climb again soon!

A high five!

She moves too quick! (But her ankle is well-healed, finally! Mostly.)

Dan showed off his spidey-skills before we got too far into the day! He climbed, inverted, up this hallway-like feature without the assistance of a belay. Yeah. In my dreams.

Belaying away!

Aly found her inner spider-monkey for this wall!

Determination at its best!

A very good day, indeed!

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Fall 2012

Snow Fort

I wish I could take credit for building this awesome snow fort, complete with flags and perfect for a winter evening bonfire, but the props go to my friends Becca & Zach. As is always the case this time of year, determining the appropriate number of layers takes a lot of thought...and I almost always get it wrong. Tonight was no exception. With my hot apple cider in hand, I warmed myself by the fire...especially my legs which did not have enough layers. :( But the fire was plenty toasty...warm enough to cause the walls to sublimate (change from solid to gas without melting!)...the evidence of such was the fuzziness of the walls!

The best part about hanging out outdoors in the woods of Vermont in the middle of winter: the stars! So many were visible, including Jupiter! With any luck, we will continue to have lots of snow this winter and more nights hanging out at the bonfire!

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