After hearing Kelly rant about Pinterest, I found myself agreeing with her that it raises people’s expectations on birthday parties, valentines, travel, exercise routines, and family dinners to an unattainable level and can make us all feel like everybody’s living a better life than us. Even the person who posted an amazing dinner on Pinterest doesn’t cook like that every day. But Pinterest makes it seem like people are living these extraordinary, crafty, well-organized, luxurious lives. People don’t post on Pinterest the day they had teaching when they cried in the room at lunch over the failed lesson. They don’t post the dinner that no one liked. They post their fabulous teaching ideas and the beautiful meal. It raises the bar for all of us by making it seem like everyone else seems to have amazing ideas, and makes us feel like maybe we are living the PicNSave version of life. Then I wondered if even my blog can do that at times. Mostly I blog when I travel or am doing something I love, so it makes my life look like one big Carnival Cruise (less the alcohol.) This is encouraging to me when life is tough, but I want you to know that I’m not writing about my students for whom I’m making very little visible difference this year, or the stupid things that people in my life do that make me crazy, or this and that that gives me angst. This forum seems a little too public for that, but you realize that it’s not all the Good Ship Lollipop, right? We should all try to live lives of thankfulness and use the gifts we have been given to make a difference in the world, but perhaps we should work to ratchet down the Pinterest-level expectations on life.
For Mother’s Day, Jim and I rented out all three rooms of the bed and breakfast we like to stay in, and all the children came to play with us.
Although Jim and I were coming from Sacramento and Brenna and Matt were coming from Mountain View, by chance we met in Morgan Hill on the way down. "Where are you?"
"We're in Morgan Hill. Where are you?" "We're right behind you!" Brenna turns around not realizing I meant "We haven't quite reached Morgan Hill yet."
"Where exactly are you?"
"Do you see the truck that says Nestor on it?"
"No. Do you see the sign that Says Coyote Center Drive 1 mile?"
"Yeah!!! We just passed that!" We picked up drinks at Starbucks and caravaned the rest away together.
Brenna had just finished putting on a big multi-venue several day conference with simulcast speakers. She told us about complicated Internet preparation, rehearsals, snacks, bands, and food trucks, But the best thing that happened was that she won a free Roomba. Coming home from work to a freshly vacuumed apartment every day apparently changes your life.
I heard great stories about kindergarten. Kelly is A creative teacher and every single one of her kids has surpassed the goals we had for kindergarteners in 1980.
I really enjoy listening to Molly’s thoughts while she is coming to terms with the fact that she may have to leave her beloved San Diego to find a job that requires a college degree.
In SLO we had coffee at Peet’s, asked questions at the Apple Store and poked around the stores on Higuera Street. Matt and Brenna ran into friends from Mountain View at the restaurant where we had lunch in SLO.
Some of our time together looked like this unposed photo:
Some people might judge us saying that technology keeps us from intimate relationship, but what I can say to that is our family bonds over sharing stuff we find on the Internet. I loved the time I spent with the girls looking at handmade articles on Etsy. Doesn’t Kelly resemble this meerkat we found?
He’s SOOOO cute! Important stuff, people!
We also played games and ate a lot of food that wasn’t quite good for us. Notice the spelling of “acquittal.”
I really enjoyed being with these people whom I love so much.
Our house has been under construction for five months now and the end is nowhere in sight. We’re running our own “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie” version of home improvement. It started with putting in new floors, which are beautiful now, but were quite a project. Afterwards our amazing new contractor did an excellent and painstaking job on all the baseboards and door casings which had to be replaced. At the same time Jim found he could reach through his office wall right through to to the outside!! TERMITES! How we hate them! And since we had a contractor whose truck was NEVER in the shop, and who showed up when promised and did beautiful work, we replaced all the wood on the front of the house. But why stop there? We replaced all the fascia boards and repainted the exterior. Of course if you are going to remove forty-year-old gutters to paint, would you put them up again? No, you would replace them with shiny new ones, because what better way to spend disposable income than on GUTTERS? Oh, and on new sheds because the old one was, well, so old it wouldn’t run Windows Vista. Now, everything that used to be in it is stored on our deck while we research new sheds. But wait!! Fate discovered we still had money in our checking account, and during the process of painting, our contractor found a five inch in diameter hole six feet deep in a four by eight beam that supported our roof! (See photo) They pulled the beam out, and replaced the stucco and interior drywall while we were in Europe. Did I mention that our contractor is amazing? Termites were nesting in our fence, so we had to install a new fence as well. We also have an amazing neighbor who planned said new fence, picked up the wood in his truck, did the lion’s share of the work (although Jim helped a lot), and hauled the old fence to the dump. We feel so lucky to have neighbors like this. But wait, didn’t you also tear out your upstairs bathroom down to the studs and replace everything? Why, yes, we did. Apparently we feel we must single-handedly improve the US economy…or at least the home improvement sector of it. This project still is not done because one bag of the Thin Set Jim used was defective and never set, so he has to rip out his beautiful tile job on the floor of the shower and replace it. I hoped Jim was joking when he said he broke a dual pane window in our living room. The kind of window you have to special order. He wasn’t kidding, and I am not even making this up. There is a roof issue, too, but I refuse to hear what it is, because when you spend half a year’s income on a tile roof it should last forever without any problems. Period. I deserve to be congratulated for the way I have not fallen apart with all this home chaos, but last week when I came home to a failure in the circuit breaker that went to the microwave, this was too much. Apparently a forty-year-old switch box can’t take a lot of jostling (like the kind that happens when a supporting beam above it is removed), and the wires somehow caused my favorite circuit breaker to melt. Miraculously our electrician showed up the same day and replaced it for FREE, otherwise I would have still had my head down on the dining room table sobbing. Imagine what this would be like if it hadn’t all run smoothly with excellent craftsmen? Shudder.
Jim and I spent the weekend in Cambria, California with some long-term dear friends–some we’ve known for over thirty years, (and one of these came all the way from Geneva.) It was relaxing and uplifting to spend time with good friends, hike along the beautiful coast, sip wine, eat good food, pray and worship together, shop (with a local who knew the great places to go!), and drink coffee. We rented a house with a beautiful view, and deer roaming the streets. We talked and talked and talked. It’s just not the same over the phone or email–we need to take the time to BE together. These are the important things of life.
Because our flight didn’t leave until 3:00 we were able to play in Munich for a few hours the day we left. The kids found a park and played like little children, we climbed the church tower for beautiful views, we walked the streets and looked in closed shop windows. It was like a bonus day.
We visited Dachau concentration camp in an emotion-packed day. Two of my students on this trip are gay and one is Jewish. I can only imagine how they felt walking through the horror-filled sites, but we were ALL impacted. My stomach churns thinking about all of this. One thing that added to my understanding was the film that showed the villagers’ horrified reaction when they were shown the camps for the first time after the liberation. It’s clear they had no idea what had been going on. They thought it was a regular detainment facility for prisoners of war, and it was in an industrial area outside of town, invisible from the outside. Hitler built the camps originally to keep the opposition from organizing, and later he depended on the slave labor the camps supplied. Horrific. The first picture is of the sign on the gate at the entrance to the camp. Ironically, it says “Work makes you free.”
We had a city tour of Munich today with a professional guide. Ninety two percent of the city was destroyed in WWII but the parts that were untouched are amazing. The guide told us “the Germans pay for the rest of Europe (i.e. Cyprus, Greece, Portugal), and the thanks we get is that they hate us.” Then we toured the fairy tale castle Walt Disney used as his model, Neuschwanstein. We couldn’t take pictures but it was incredible and we were lucky to get to see it covered in a rare April snow.