Thursday, December 27, 2007

In the Genes

Roger just sent me a link to this bit about my Grammie buried somewhere in the Mt. Holyoke College website as proof of genetic heritage. I love all of the same little joys in life that she did!

I have often thought through the years about what I've inherited from both of my grandmothers. I definitely inherited wanderlust from my Grandma Jan, but I also inherited my Grammie's propensity for sleeping in (another little joy). The two don't always work so well together!

I was so pleased that our travels earlier this month allowed me to show Jack the campuses of Amherst College (Dad's alma mater) and Mt. Holyoke College (both Grammie's and Mom's alma mater). Mom and Dad met in college at a fraternity party where they were matched up according to height. Mom was the tallest girl and Dad's roommate was the tallest guy, but he didn't want to be matched up with the tallest girl so he switched dates with Dad.

The result? My unique combination of genes. And my genes have been especially loving that toast and jam lately.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Obi-Wan Joseph and the Wise Guys

Thursday night Jack and I went to our ward Christmas party at church. (Roger was attending his last MLS class of the semester. Yay!)

Usually ward Christmas parties are loud, raucous affairs with lots of joyful children running wild. Somehow the organizers pulled off an elegant, magical event. Dimmed lights, beautifully arranged buffet tables, the high school madrigal choir dressed in black tuxedos and red gowns. We even had that perfect, gentle, barely accumulating snow for the ride home.

The evening culminated in a still nativity scene with a children's choir singing The Nativity Song. The night before the boy who was planning to play the part of Joseph decided he'd be more comfortable playing a more anonymous wise man and his mom asked if Jack would play Joseph.

All we needed to prepare was a costume. Not really my strong suit. But this time I had a brain wave. He wore his burlap Obi-Wan Kenobi robe from the Halloween before last tied at the waist with a length of hand made rope. It was perfect, and Jack made a wonderful Joseph, holding a staff that he swore he would not turn into a weapon ("as long as the wise men don't say anything rude!").

Friday night we went to see Jack's good friend Rex in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at the Springville Playhouse. The whole production was fun and very well done. I was familiar with the story, but had never actually seen the play.

Rex did a great job playing David, one of the boys in the pageant who had to play a shepherd because his mom wouldn't let him be a wise man. When the pageant director asks why, he shrugs and says, "I don't know. She just always says 'Don't be a wise man.'"

This afternoon we're off to find a Christmas tree--the third one we'll decorate this season after helping Aunt Linda and Nana and Gramps decorate theirs in Massachusetts. And tonight we're off to a neighbor's holiday party.

I think the Christmas season is well underway.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

School Daze

For thirty years I pretty much ignored elementary schools (except as some of our best customers at the bookstore!). Then Jack started kindergarten three and a half years ago, and I've slowly but surely gotten sucked into elementary school culture. Being a helper in the classroom once a month, doing the newsletter for PTA, taking my dutiful shifts at the book fair, helping out in the library, etc.

This past week has felt like full immersion!

Last Thursday Jack and I were in Massachusetts, and we had the privilege of meeting my sister Linda's third grade class at Central Elementary School in Stoneham. Linda thought it would be fun for her students to have pen pals in the wild west. Jack's teacher agreed, they paired up the students and now they're at least two rounds of letter writing into the project.

Jack was especially looking forward to meeting his pen pal Adrianna, who was very nice and who helped us pass out the salt water taffy treats that we brought from Salt Lake City. And we bought salt water taffy treats in Boston that we'll be sharing with Jack's class here!

While we were visiting Linda's class we all sat in a circle and the kids asked Jack questions about their pen pals, about his school and about living in Utah. The very first question someone asked was "Why did Sam [name changed] spell hockey wrong in his letter to me?" Linda quickly said, "We need to ask Jack questions that he knows the answer to." Later in the car Jack said, "I knew the answer to that question, you know. It's because Sam is an idiot!" It's important to note that Jack knows better than to call people idiots. He and Sam are actually friends. Jack was kidding, but I'm sure glad he didn't say it in Linda's class!

The day after we got back from our trip, I helped out with a third grade class field trip to the planetarium in Salt Lake City. The only reason I signed up to help was because Jack wanted me to. I'm just very relieved that after three hours of wrangling kids we didn't lose any of them.

Ah, but my adventures do not end there.

Last night I got my very first call to work as a substitute librarian at one of the elementary schools in town. I signed up well over a month ago, but only to work in the libraries at the half dozen schools in our area, so I'm only expecting to get a handful of jobs over the course of the school year.

Checking books in and out and reshelving is only a tiny portion of the job. I had to teach six different classes for 45 minutes each, and do recess duty for half an hour! The regular librarian had planned a reader's theater based on the book Who Will Pull Santa's Sleigh?--just the thing to wind kids up!

Except for all of the shushing part, I actually enjoyed myself. Which is good because I need to go back tomorrow and do it all over again with six more classes.

But it's definitely not something I want to do every day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jar Cheeses

I'm here, I'm here! I've just been very busy getting ready for a trip, taking the trip (Boston, 10 days!), getting home from the trip and now catching up on everything after the trip. I promise I will write a bit about our adventures, but for now the following minor observation.

The grocery store we usually shop at has been recently renovated and now has new aisle signs indicating the type of items found in each aisle. I had no idea that "jar cheeses" was an important enough product category to be given its own billing on an aisle sign. Who knew?