Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 For Me.

And, now, in no particular order, what 2015 was to me:

  • I was a father for four years.
  • My daughter turned six.
  • I began my first year as a real teacher.
  • My grandmother has been dead for 25 years.
  • I was a fifth grader 30 years ago.
  • I turned one 40 years ago.
  • I noticed that wine is really cool.
  • I've been without my best friend (let's be honest, my best friend pre-girlfriend) for 18 years.
  • I've had a taste for whiskey for over 20 years.
  • I saw my favorite dog put to sleep.
  • WWII has been over for 70 years.
  • I bought my first Szechuan Peppercorns.
  • I ate Thai food for Thanksgiving.
  • I became the father of TWO girls.
  • Discovered that wine helps keep me a viable part of the population.
  • We've had more snow in the month of December than the rest of the year.
  • I harvested cucumbers and tomatoes at the first of November.
  • I planted my first Ginger plants...and they are coming along well!
  • I planted my first sweet potatoes from those bought at the supermarket, now I'm planting one of THOSE!!!
  • I've gained a deeper understanding of the books I read, and the stories within stories that are present.
  • I learned that wine is its whole other own food group.
  • I'm proud to be a husband and father.
  • I've thought I was the worst father/teacher/husband/son/brother ever.
  • I've realized I wasn't the worst father/teacher/ husband/ son/ brother ever.
  • I realized I don't really, deep down, give two shits about what others think of me.  Particularly when I am decorated with another person's snot or other bodily fluid.  This happens, screw you if you think it reflects bad upon me to wipe snot from my daughter's nose and rub it on my jeans.  It's parenthood, no one gets out alive. ...or with a full night's sleep for that matter, so go play in the freeway.
  • I like wine more and more.
  • I planted impatiens and they bloomed beautifully in the garden.
  • I realized I genuinely care about my students...dammit.
  • I realized the holidays are a bunch of work.
  • I recognized that New Years' is just another damned day.
  • I noticed that I would never have my life another way, it's difficult, and the participants are hard to deal with from time to time, and some of the scenarios really make me scratch my head, but all-in-all, it's a damn good life, and I am lucky to be a participant.
  • So, 2016, you better fucking impress me.
Where's my wine???

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Our China Trip

We spent all weekend packing, unpacking, and repacking.  In the end if we lose any'll be a specially engineered chaos and pandemonium.  I don't recall which bag has what now, so opening them again will be a nifty kind of Christmas.

The house is near cleaned.  Everything is near ready.  We have two days left and I know there is still stuff to do, but damned if my befuddled mind can remember what those things are.

A few weeks ago I bought some ginger with the idea of creating teriyaki sauce, which I did, and some sort of Asian dish...which I did not.  I glanced at them yesterday and was pleased to see they had shoots on them.  So today, in a moment of brilliance I like to call nonlinear cleaning, I planted them.  Earlier in the summer I did the same and have had mild success.  It is alive and the leaves smell very gingery.

Whilst in China we will be updating you at a different blog.  You are welcome to follow us there.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

What a Community I Have.

When I was a kid I marvelled at how my dad seemed to know everyone.  He knew policemen by name.  He knew shopkeepers and clerks and was always so friendly and well liked.  As I grew up I secretly recognized I would never be that way.  I knew that the population is growing so rapidly that the chance of me knowing someone in a "BIG" town like Yakima was remarkably small.  I never imagined I would be a member of the community.  I knew I would remain an anonymous face that no one would notice.

I was wrong.

When I go to town I routinely see several people I know.  I may not know them so well that we go out for drinks, but they know me, I know them, we smile, we talk.  Of course, these are places I visit a few times a month.  I know the butcher lady at Safeway, because I've spoken to her several times over the past ten years.  I know the lady that is the manager at the pizza place we visit maybe five or six times a year...but she's been there for years and we've been visiting for years.  I think it's difficult to understand that from a 15 year old's point of view.

Little did I know that I would be part of that larger community.  Far from being a person in a back room working on something, I am out there in the public eye.  I'm a teacher.  I was a substitute for almost nine years.  I worked in three districts.  I met a lot of people.  Some of them I only have the vaguest memory of.  I worked at fifteen different schools.  It is not unheard of for me to hear, "That's Mister Awesome," to this day when I'm in a store.

Now I teach at a middle school.  It's really what I've been waiting for all these many years.  I knew when I worked at convenience stores I would not be there forever.  I knew I did not want to be there!  I knew when I worked at a mill I would not be there forever.  I knew when I worked at a half dozen other places I would never be there long.  I knew this because I did not match the people I worked with.  I remember marvelling at the people whose conversations I overheard on break.  "I can't stand my woman."  "I'm gonna get a case of beer and drink 'em all tonight." "I passed out and didn't remember where I was..."  Although I understood what was going on in their lives, this was not me..  Now, when I go to work, I know these are the people I've been waiting to work with.  They care about me.  I really care about them.  The kids, my students, like me.  They seriously care about me.  I'm mildly fond of them in return.  I'm in a good place.

I never imagined we would adopt from China.  We did.  And now we're doing it again.  Who knew our first daughter would be such an outgoing, spectacularly brilliant and rambunctious child.  She has a good heart and people see that.  They are attracted to her.  Chloe is so authentically sweet, even older kids are attracted by her personality.

Top the whole thing off with the fact that Chloe is adopted, and people seem to feel like we are part of their extended family.  I don't quite follow that line of reasoning, but the feeling has not hurt, so I roll with it.  So many strangers have reacted so positively that just today one lady was nearly in tears when we told her where we were going on Wednesday.  People at banks, stores, and public places are now thinking of us.

We set out on this adoption thing with the sole idea of creating a family.  One we envisioned as small and cloistered, much like Cora and I enjoy nightly.  Not too many outside influences and just us being a family.   We never set out to "save" a child from a life that was horrible.  We never set out with "GODLY" intentions.  We just wanted a family, and this was the way that was right for us.  Did we influence a life positively?  Maybe.  I sure hope Chloe understands our motivations and that she is loved, but it was for selfish reasons we adopted.  We wanted to be parents.

People at work, even those I don't directly work with are excited for us.  Strangers are praying for us.  Clerks at stores we visit regularly are thinking about us.  Former students have wished us well.  Students and teachers have found our blog for the first time.  I have gotten positive feelings from all. Chloe's friends and teachers are thinking of us.  The people at City Hall are excited.  The chief of police, whom I know by name (Hey, I figured it out, Dad!), wished us fair travels.

I love this community we are a part of.  We are a family of sorts.  Soon we will welcome Hailey Grace to join it.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halloween...and OH! We're travelling soon.

 So, Chloe had a good three-day Halloween this year.  She dressed as a Doctor, a Bride and then, finally, Rainbow Dash a My Little Pony...whose cutie mark I painted on her face for her.

 I also did the other girls' make-up.

 These cousins get along so well!
And in other news, we will be travelling to get Hailey soon.  We are both feeling the squeeze before the trip.  Of course being gone from work seems to be one of the more pressing things for me.  Today, I stayed late and I'm pretty sure I'm ready to leave...apart from the end of the quarter, which is fast approaching.  And I have a test to give...and...well, there's a lot to do for packing and getting ready.

I need to take all my photos off my computer.  I need to decide how much photography stuff I'm going to pack...maybe I should rent a lens for the trip.  We have to get the kindles loaded so Chloe doesn't go stir crazy on the plane.  ...SOOOOOOO MUCH TO DO!

Ok, I'm off to see about a lens.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Beautiful Daughters.

 Soon we travel to pick up Hailey Grace, but until I can post pictures of her, here is Chloe.  She is so stinking pretty, and she's growing up so fast it's crazy.  I haven't been taking pictures like I used to...probably has something to do with having a real job.  Eats a lot of what used to be free time.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fort Stevens

 There were two parades the first night we were there. (8-15-2015 to 8-23-2015)
 The first was military vehicles.  the second was lighted bicycles.

 The ranger below is Patrick.  He was from Britain, and was very entertaining to our junior rangers.
 Morgan, below, was Chloe's BFF for the week!  They got along very well.  Morgan was AWESOME!

 We went with The Browns and my in-laws.
 I went for a ride one night and took photos of the Peter Iredale.

 Chloe still loves the beach.

 Above is a picture of everyone barring me and the grandparents.

 The in-laws at the beach.
 The last day was very long.