Thursday, June 21, 2007

Shining Solstice!!

I have finally landed at my desk after a whirlwind week with many projects still spread out before me and just a few minutes before everyone arrives at home. We're about to treat ourselves to a favorite summer time food - sweet corn - YUM in celebration of Summer Solstice.

We've had off and on thunder showers all day - a perfect transitional weather pattern to symbolize the transition of the seasons.

Shining Solstice to each of us as we hold the warmth of the summer sun in our hearts through the year through. May the sun's fire awaken in us our own bright ideas and passions and remind us to spread warm and care throughout our own "corners" of this amazing world.

Blessed Be!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

In Other News...

Besides the excitement of kindergarten graduation, the days proceeding the last day of school were full beyond compare.
Last Saturday incuded Gemma's last soccer game of the season - a tournament between all the teams from her school. Rowan's last soccer game - and the last time their team would be coached by Eric who has been their coach since they were kindergarteners. Then, it was time to pull of those cleats, shin guards and uniforms and don concert attire. Gemma had her Yamaha music concert and Rowan was to be a guest performer. The festivities ended with a late lunch at Noodles & Company.

Kindergarten Graduation

Yes, it has actually happened - Gemma has graduated from kindergarten!

Here she is - getting on the school bus for the last time as a kindergarten. Thank you to our exceptionally wonderful bus driver, Neil and bus attendant, Sharon, who not only got Gemma to school each day with kindness, care and good humor, they are also the team that drove Rowan to school each morning when she was a Lapham student.

An empty stage, just before it was filled with kindergarten singers as each of the five kindergarten classes took their turns with their songs. Isn't the stage beautiful?

Here she is on stage with her class, singing Love is Like a Rainbow. The pictures of her with the other 75+ kindergarteners, all waring their motar boards turned out a bit too dark to post.

We have many pictures with Gemma and her friends after the ceremony. I chose this one though, because it just cracks me up - each are dressed so formally, you'd think they were going to prom and not kindergarten graduation.

Gemma with her teacher, Mrs. Dickerson - to whom we say "thank you" a thousand times over for her skill, compassion, immense understanding of young children and her dedication to the art of teaching.

When given the choice about where to go for dinner to celebrate, Gemma chose Perkins (-: She enjoyed a high carb supper of rainbow pancakes with bacon, some scary-looking blue beverage and a piece of French Silk pie!

Happy Graduation Day!!

I'll close with the first part of a song the kids all sang together at the ceremony, the tune is New Yor! New York!

Start spreading the news

We're leaving today-

We want to be a part of it - First Grade, First Grade!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Incredible Timing

At lunch time today, I zipped over to Gemma's school to join her for lunch. It was her school's cookout after their Field Day events. As the "field" filled with parents, kids and staff, carrying full plates of hamburgers and othe picnic foods, many of us sprawled out on blankets, we became aware of a smell - not the pleasant smell of grilling hamburgers and veggie burgers. A smell that comes after a well eaten meal, if you get what I mean. Suddenly, it became clear to us all - the street work going on a block away had somehow disrupted a sewer pipe. YUCK! We all got treated to the smell of sewer while attempting to down our lunch. What timing!

How Do You Know When....

your nearly nine year old's underwear has gotten too small?

Well, here's how "we" know - she stops wear it and goes wild and free and doesn't tell anyone.

Over the past couple of weeks, both Jani and I have noticed that Rowan doesn't seem to have a lot of pairs of underwear in the laundry. We both share the laundry duty, so at first just attributed it to the assumption that Rowan's underwear had been in a load that we each had not personally done.

Friday, however, we were doing laundry together and one of us asked the other if we'd noticed that Rowan hadn't seemed to have many pairs of underwear in the laundry lately and we wondered if they'd been in other loads. Hmmm, it became crystal clear as we shared laundry notes, that neither of us had seen barely a single pair this past week.

Inquiring minds really want to know where the underwear is - is it being worn and stashed someplace? Is it not being worn?

Upon asking her, Rowan got very quiet and said nothing. A follow-up question, "Honey, have you not been wearing underwear?" A slight, guilty-appearing head nod. "Honey, you need to wear underwear, because...." Sunddenly it dawns on us, "Is your underwear not feeling good?" Big head nod - jackpot! "It's too tight" was the reply.

Curious as to why she didn't just tell us the undies didn't fit, she just said she didn't want to have to go shopping for underwear (she is very choosy, which I get, who likes uncomfortable underwear). A trip to Kohls yesterday afternoon yielded several pairs of nice cotton undies - Jockey and Bali - without cumbersome waistbands that have the nearly-nine year old girl seal of approval. Today, her bottom is covered by Bali - no more wild and free!!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Plays, Plays, Plays!!

All the third and fourth grade classrooms in Rowan's school are doing plays as the close of their literature block for the year. They've put on about five performaances, each classroom, throughout this week, to accomodate a variety of audiences, ranging from parents to peers to siblings.

Rowan's class performed two plays - one a chapter from a Beverly Cleary book, Henry and Ribsy. Rowan was cast as Mrs. Huggins, Henry's mom. Here she is below. Cute to see her interpretation of how Mrs. Huggins might look - in a bandana and apron.

The other play was a Tansanian fable. She had wanted to be cast as a villager in the marketplace in this play. However, the villager has a very small speaking part and her teacher (appropriately so in my opinion) gave her a larger speaking part, feeling that she could challenge herself with a larger part.

During set changes between the two plays, kids performed short pieces - joke telling, instrument playing, etc. Rowan and her buddy decided to cook up a little duet - New Orleans Jazz style by playing "When the Saints Go Marching In."

The two were so cute while they rehearsed at our house over the weekend. Each girl is far along einough in her musicanship to really contribute to their shared planning - it was like having a mini "garage" band in our living room. As you can see from the picture, Rowan is playing only right-handed. She dropped the full accompaniment, because it was confusing for her friend to manage the full accompaniment. It came off as a pretty simple piece, melogy alone for each instrument - just great though in figuring out how to duet play with two very different "voiced" instruments.

Tomorrow Rowan is a "guest" performer at Gemma's Yamaha piano concert tomorrw, playing a fun Bach piece.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Where are my IT and Payroll Departments?

This is my business logo and opening page for my website....
99.8% of the time I love being a samll business owner. I love the work that I do, it has purpose and meaning for me. It's powerful to support a group of people in their learning process and to see them embrace healthy and caring ways of being together and to see them realize that they are able to do it - they are not dependent on someone else! It's great to have colleages, also small business owners, who are my closest friends, who I trust implictedly to do the level of intense work that we do together. I love the diversity of people, groups and cultures I get to interact with routnienly and the diversity of skill sets that I need to have at the ready to do my work well.
I even like doing much of the infrastructure stuff that is required to keep things moving along and have gotten quite adept at doing graphic design for my handouts and other materials, managing software and getting it to do what I need it to do, managing billing and bookkeeping, etc.
However, there are those rare moments when I wish I worked for someone else - where I could turn over some of the infrastructure things. This past week or two has been one of those rare times.
My computer is acting funky. I've done what I can in dealing with the operating system. Now its time to call in the Geek World guys to help me out there and squeak some more time out of my computer.
The company that hosts my business website and controls my domain-driven email went bankrupt two weeks ago. Their services started going off-line left and right. My colleagues and I found out about their bankruptcy only throug a competing company attempting to win over our business. After many attempts to contact our current company, we've found out its true. So, we are each scrambling to move our websites before that service goes off-line, our sites are gone and our clients have no way of contacting us electronically. I've never moved a website before, so I have no knowledge base on which to draw. I suppose it might be easy in theory, but we're each finding lots of snags as we attempt to move our sites - interfacing with the domain holder, the old host and the new host - and all of these folks are the kings and queens of using the jargon of their trade. About Friday afternoon the realization hit me - I could slowly keep prodding through this process, learning as I went and get my site up. However, I'd be learning skill sets I'd likely not need again for a long time. A placed an email to someone lots more web savvy than me and asked if I could hire her to move the site. She's hitting lots of snags too, but at least knows how to untangle them!
Thus I've pieced together my IT department. (-:
Now, onto payroll.
One of my long-standing clients, a state agency, had not gotten me a check in a timely fashion. I give clients the standard 30 days post-invocing for pay me. 30 days came and went, no check, then 37 days, then I make contact with the agency - "gee we cannot find it, let's trace back the paper trail and see what we can figure out." 45 days have now passed, "I think we've found the problem." 50 days now pass and the check arrives happily in my mailbox - without interest for late payment figured in! Imagine, for a moment, those of you employed by someone else - how we just take for granted that our paychecks will be auto-deposited or placed into our hands on the right day and now imagine that employer being 20 days late in getting you your paycheck - this is the one less-than-joyful part of self-employement. Thank goodness for a wonderful internal ally at he agency who kept nipping at the heels of the fiscal agents to figure out where the check-cutting process had goteen caught.
So Monday (yesterday) morning arrived. I am thrilled to have gotten the payment issues worked out, have the website more underway, have a computer maintenance appointment scheduled for mid-week and plan on now focusing on my client work and hopefully getting caught up on time lost dealing with all of the above last week. HA!! We had no electricity for nearly 4 hours yesterday - a good portion of my office work time!! )-: A power pole had caught fire from a falty line in the next block - lots of drama with fire trucks, police vehicles to block the street and utility trucks, pulling out the old pole, putting in the new and restringing wire. I had enough charge in my cell to at least conduct phone business yesterday while I had no computer access (yes, I have a laptop, but my files were on my desktop).
I thought, if I worked for an organization, at least I'd have colleagues around to keep me company while everything was down. (-:
Finally when the power came back on, I had two hours for work until it was time to take the girls to the dentist.
Today, ahhhh, keeping my fingers crossed for uninterrupted work time. I've already gotten lots done and taking time to blog is my little "reward."
I'm back to being happy to run my own business again.....