Friday, August 22, 2014

Points South

Last week I took this bus
to Portland to visit Jessi.  It was certainly faster than the train; we made it there in 5 hours vs. Amtrak which takes about 6.5 hrs.  It wasn't terribly comfortable, the seats are a little hard and just didn't seem to fit my body very well and there was minimal leg room for someone with a 34" inseam!  But I was curious so I wanted to try it and it was $6.00 cheaper than the train.  The driver doesn't help you with luggage, so you have to heft your suitcase into the bay and also retrieve it...I had to climb all the way into the bay to get to my suitcase on my return journey.  Wish I had a photo of that!  :)

My goal on this trip was to help Jessi get her classroom in order for the new school year.  Every year they have to take down all their bulletin boards, charts, etc. and all the furniture is piled into the center of the room so they can wax the floors, so it's a chore to restore order.  One of my main jobs was to try to find the reading levels for all her reading books.  She has bins and bins full of them and it's a somewhat arduous task that involves searching multiple data bases and, if all else fails, Google.  I managed to put a dent in the piles, but she still has many yet to do.
 The before photo...sadly i don't have an after photo, we weren't allowed to put anything heavy on the linoleum until the wax had "cured"
 Just a few of the dozens of bins of books that had to be labeled.  I'd work on them all day and then we'd take a bunch home to work on at night
 It's time for a new bulletin board in the hall

Hard at work

Mabel Rush Elementary is a newer school and it's really beautiful.  There are lots of windows letting in lots of light, great color schemes and details that make it friendly and inviting for kids. Check out the beautiful courtyard outside of the staff lunchroom.  It even sports a small water fountain...what a great place to relax and recharge.

When I got off the bus from Bellingham, we took a long walk around the Wildlife Refuge near where Jessi lives.  Her friend Karissa came with us.  It felt so good to stretch my legs after being cramped on the bus for 5 hours.

 This is a bald eagle's nest that is protected by the reserve.  When there are young eagles in the nest, this path we are on is off limits to make sure the eaglets are not disturbed.
 Hmmm, what's that in the path?  Looks kind of like a big rat....hmmmmm
 Nope, it's a muskrat and there are two of them....muskrat love????

 Artsy photo of the sun and a tree...the result is not as satisfying as it used to be with my old Canon FTB
 These "pods" were growing on many of the oaks in the reserve.  They are called galls and are apparently the home to the mealy oak gall wasps.
It wasn't all work, Jessi and I went to the new Cinetopia to see "The Hundred-Foot Journey", Helen Mirren's new movie.  WOW, this theater was amazing.  If you choose to, dinner can be served to you as you recline in the cushy chairs complete with footstools!  We really enjoyed the movie too!

On Saturday we spent the day at the Mt. Hood Ski Bowl, a large recreation area with multiple rides and things to do.   Josh's company was having their summer company party there and I was included!  I decided to be brave and try the Alpine Sled.  It was thrilling, even if I did have trouble figuring out how to control the "go fast/go slow" stick shift.  I made it down in one piece! We played miniature golf and were treated to hot dogs, hamburgers, salads and dessert.  What a great idea for a company party that is family friendly!

Jessi and Josh are both great cooks and I was treated to great meals the whole week I was there.  

Josh's specialty is fish and chips.  His fried halibut was the best I've ever had, I tried to divert their attention and eat theirs, too, but didn't succeed!

For nostalgia's sake Jess and I watched multiple episodes of "Gilmore Girls", just like we did when she was living at home. It was a great way to entertain ourselves while we were labeling all those books!
All too soon it was time to head home.  It's never easy to leave, but I'll be back!


Les Hon said...

What a great week!! All the best stuff...especially with your girl!

Sherry said...

Such a fun post! Especially fun to be part of the classroom refresh. Thanks for taking me/us along.