Posted by: hannah jo | April 3, 2011

A week and a half in the life

Each day, something happens that makes me think, “Oh, I should write about that on the blog.” And, then, as you’ve learned, that’s as far as that gets.

Here’s an attempt to highlight a few of the events from the past week and a half or so that made me think that.

Pam and Bob came to visit. Yes, the same Pam and Bob that I visited recently. Bob came to Seattle for a conference and we enticed Pam to join him by offering to take them both to a Sounders game. It worked! We met for dinner and then one of the most exciting soccer games ever played in Seattle. The Sounders did not win, but it was still a thrilling match. They took a record number of shots on goal (26!), yet managed to score just once. Too bad the other team also scored once, so the match was a draw.

Pam and Bob surprised me by visiting me at work the next afternoon and got to see for themselves that the stories I tell them about what it’s like to serve the public in an exceptionally busy branch library are not made up. Two events requiring incident reports occurred during their brief visit. And, no, Pam and Bob weren’t directly involved in either of them, thank goodness.

I met my dear friend Carl for brunch at the cafe at Swanson’s Nursery one day and had a wonderful chat with him about work and life and gardening. Carl is one of my few friends from grad school. We met in one of Nancy Pearl’s classes and hit it off instantly. He’s one of those friendly people who gets along well with everyone and is in high demand for get-togethers. We don’t see each other very often, but when we do, it’s always full of laughs and hugs. His girlfriend is exceptionally tolerant of the many female friends he has who make demands on his limited free time. She understands that we all need our Carl fix from time to time.

Thanks to Kenneth, I made my first batch of granola, ever. And, it was awesome. Kenneth kindly taught me how to make granola after reading how much I enjoyed eating homemade granola at Pam’s. It’s super easy and so delicious. Andy and I ripped right through it. I bought more raw ingredients today and hope to make some more tomorrow. I think I’ll make a big batch or two and take it into work to share the next time I work on a Sunday, as a nice alternative to donuts or pastry. Along with another mix CD, of course.

Andy and I attended a lecture about parenting and it was surprisingly good. Dr. Mike Riera gave a talk about “Uncommon Sense for Parenting Tweens and Teens” at Town Hall, which focused almost entirely on the broad range of “normal” behaviors of teens. He was refreshingly positive about teens and clearly enjoys working with them, in all their complicated glory. His basic premise is that parents of teens should view themselves as consultants or coaches rather than CEOs. We should influence our kids, not try to control them. Sounds obvious, I know, but it’s so easy to forget this when you’re in the thick of some kind of drama with your teen.

I walked around Green Lake a few times with various people, including the lovely Linda, with her adorable dog Owen. I also made a fool of myself at my exercise class twice, which is sometimes great and sometimes hell on earth.

I got to attend the church of Nancy for four hours one day, and get paid for it! My library system got a grant for Nancy Pearl to come in and teach a bunch of us about Reader’s Advisory. Several of us have taken her classes, gone to her programs at conferences, and even taught for her, but that didn’t exclude us from taking this new class, which contains a lot of familiar content at this point, but still gave me new ideas and hope.

Unfortunately, there was another break-in on our block last week. Not much was taken from the home, but it was still bad news. I am the block watch captain, so I’ve been busy updating our block watch map again and rallying all of my neighbors to look out for one another and report anything suspicious. I have a huge fear that we’ll be broken into and am trying to keep that in check. We’re lucky that we have an alarm system AND a dog, but I know that neither will truly prevent a motivated thief from robbing us.

A tragic event occurred last week that I am still trying to deal with. On Monday, we found out that a student at Lily’s school had died. Lily didn’t know her very well because they were in different grades, but it’s a small school and everyone was greatly affected. On Tuesday, though, we found out that the girl took her own life. I cried a lot that day and am still crying about it off and on. It’s just devastating. The school has responded admirably, making resources available to students, staff, and parents, but it’s still just so shocking and sad.

On Wednesday, I reported to KUOW for a 4-hour phone answering shift for the pledge drive and just happened to arrive at the same time as half a dozen parents from Lily’s school. They were there in a group to do a community service type of thing, but I was just there on my own. I ended up sitting near them and it was incredibly helpful to talk to them about what had just happened. I didn’t realize how badly I needed to talk to other parents about how sad I was and how worried I was about how the girl’s parents were doing. How does a parent ever recover from something like that? Hell, how do they ever get out of bed again? It was heartbreaking to hear about the daughter of one of the volunteers. She had just spent the previous three days with the girl who died and had absolutely no idea that anything was wrong. Now, she just keeps asking whether she should have noticed something or if there was something she could have done. Her mother has tried to reassure her in every way that she can, but it’s a huge task. This woman was so very sweet. She asked her daughter what she needed on Tuesday and her daughter said she needed her at school with her that day, so she went. She said they didn’t talk, really. She was just there, on a very sad, very quiet day of school.

The woman sitting on the other side of me at the pledge drive just happened to be an artist — the artist who created the beautiful artwork now displayed at the entrance to one of our libraries! Plus, she’s a rower and knows my neighbor across the street, who’s also a rower. I really enjoyed talking to her. I love how little events like these — volunteer shifts at public radio pledge drives — illustrate what a small world it is and how interconnected we are. I had not sought out other parents from Lily’s school to commiserate with, yet it ended up happening just by chance and was so very helpful. I wouldn’t guess that I’d have a lot in common with an artist who’s also a rower, but we connected right away.

Andy and Lily are now braving the elements as Lily starts a new soccer season and Andy takes on a co-coaching role. They had their first practice on Thursday night and their first game today. Lily’s team was terribly short-handed, so the result wasn’t ideal, but I think the girls had a good time and are excited about playing together again. One of the girls came home with us and is spending the night, which is both fabulous and frightening. We get a huge kick out of this particular friend of Lily’s because they routinely laugh so hard when they’re together that they can’t breathe, but they often end up very short on sleep during these overnights, which means that we do, too.  So often, on the following morning, Andy and I say to ourselves, “Never again!” But, in this house, if you make us or our daughter laugh, you will probably be given yet another chance, as we’re illustrating right now. We’ll forgive a lot if you’re funny. And, this girl, she’s hysterical. So, she’s here again, making us eat our words, again.

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