Saturday, June 29, 2013

Musing on my Trip

Texas was great.  The people were nice - a lot more eye contact than here which was interesting.  I was fascinated that there were plants that would be right at home here -monstera, lantana, papayas (in the Alamo!), but there were also oaks and maples and mainland-y things like that. 

Checking out craigslist for "farm and garden" was interesting, too - horses were MUCH cheaper, but sheep were MUCH more expensive. 

We were stuck pretty much in tourist land, but it was still quite a lovely city.  The convention center was just across a couple of streets from our hotel, but one day we headed out to a National Park and the San Jose mission and through an area settled by Germans - nice houses. 

The conference, ISTE 2013, was overwhelming, as usual - 18,000 participants, 500 vendors, bunches of kids and teachers and "edtech gurus" presenting 100s of sessions.  I kept sitting in sessions and watching twitter and feeling like I wished I could be in 8 places at once.  Just too much to do, and it is all at the same time.  There were probably 100 of us from all three campuses and lots of other teachers from other Hawaii schools - even some from my alma mater.  The last night we were there, we had a dinner for the teachers from the three campuses at a lively and large Mexican restaurant.  We sang our grace which is the Doxology in Hawaiian and then some of the folks sang along with the mariachi singers.  It was fun and far too much food. A platter for "four" came with about 4-5 lbs of chuck steak, most of a chicken, and a piled high bed of peppers, onions, and a large chile relleno and two containers of fresh homemade tortilla.  Very yummy. 

I would like to go back there, except getting there was painful.  Flying isn't as much fun as it was when I was a kid. We took a red-eye there, which was awful, and we spent 15 hours (from the time we got into the airport shuttle to landing in Hilo) traveling to get home.  One the way there, I was lucky that I got seated next to my son.  It's easier to sleep if you can kind of not worry about leaning on the person next to you - well, it was easier for him.  I didn't sleep at all.  On the way back, I was surrounded by teachers - my son had bonded with the group of kids who came and he wanted to sit with them - plus they had iPads to play games and watch  movies. 

Speaking of iPads, I was so hoping to win one!  I didn't, though someone from our school did.  I did trudge around the Expo and put in all the slips for the drawings, but with 18,000 folks there - chances are pretty small.  I only really need one for conferences like that - although we're supposed to get new projectors which work well with iPads which lets you walk around the classroom and not be stuck up at the cart so I guess it would be good to have one. 

I would have loved to take some of the farm tours near San Antonio and to take a lesson from a dressage judge in the area that my friend just scribed for in a local show.  I would have loved to see a few museums, too.  I'd like to take my own group of students next year and do some of those things with them - I am hoping to do a project with some Australian and New Zealand teachers and it would be cool to do something around that. 

Oh well, that's next year.  Now I need to focus on the projects around here - cleaning, gardening, canning. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Off to Texas

I've never been to Texas.  I am heading to San Antonio for an education technology conference.  Last year it was in San Diego, which was nice because I got to see my high school classmate.  This year, I won't know anyone, except, you know, the 40 other people from our organization that are going.  Oh, and my son, who got picked to go as a student!  Yay!  I don't like being away from my family much, so, even though I probably won't see much of him, at least he's there.

We basically (independently) signed up for many of the same talks, and he says he'll sit by me, but he doesn't realize that this conference is immense - tens of thousands of people - so I might see him at dinner, basically.  Maybe.  It doesn't matter, because I know he'll be there, right?  It's a great opportunity for both of us.  I would feel nervous about sending my kid on a field trip that has layovers, so it's cool he gets to go, and so do I, so I don't worry as much.  I am seriously the world's champion worrier.  This is a fact which gives my kids' eyeballs plenty of rolling exercise as well as many laughs at my expense. 

I am actually not looking forward to it as much as I was last year, although knowing what to avoid and what to look for will help this year.  This is an overwhelming conference, although it is chockful of great opportunities.  I am also pleased that there is a church very near the hotel - last year that was a problem.  I don't feel myself if I miss Mass.

I was saddened to learn that a friend of ours passed away this past Monday, and his funeral is taking place when I am gone.  He had just retired from his job not that long ago, and I am just so sad for his wife.  They were very active in Marriage Encounter (which is how we met them), and he was an engineer like my husband.  Even though they were a bit older than us, we had a lot in common with them and they were a great support to us.  Look - I even talk about them as a couple - it is going to be hard for his wife.  I can only imagine. 

Things around the place are about the same.  I haven't done as much outside as I had planned, but I have organized inside quite a lot and there have been a lot of kid-type things.  I also got to go riding with my friend.  It's a lot more fun to ride with someone than by yourself, unless you are working on showing, which I am not.  She says I can use her arena and her horses to teach my youngest a bit this summer.  Gibby is just such a mess, it's impossible to give a lesson on him. He wants his head to be right next to my shoulder at all times in the arena - a big drawback when you are trying to get a kid to learn to ride independently.  He even does it in the pasture - only about three feet back - just far enough out of reach to avoid being caught.  When I go out to deal with sheep, he runs up to me, but stays at arm's length. 

Well, wish me luck on this trip (long, unpleasant, interminable flight) and lots of new learning to bring home. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Lambs

Ellie brought her twins in last night. She's a good mom. They were probably born in the morning because they were pretty steady on their legs and fairly dry. The count for 2013 is now three ewe lambs and four ram lambs. At least this colorful lamb is the ewe:

I forgot to relate my "country living" anecdote of the week yesterday.... I generally try to exercise (beyond the farm and garden) most days of the week. Many days this means attempting to run (ie walking most of it) up the huge hill across the highway. On this six plus mile route you not only have to dodge the drivers who think the one lane rural road is a highway but also the wild pigs and the escape artist day it was an adolescent steer. My favorite walk buddies were the three buck kids who ducked through the wire fence and tried to suck my fingers. Must have been bottle babies. I really like goats, but was concerned about them walking around on the road with the speed demon grandmas (really, I have nearly been struck a number of times by speeding older women with depth perception issues).

I am jealous of the people on the other side of the highway because they have great internet options. Our service is so poor here. They also have the possibility of better views - but, then again, the one lane road, steep hill, loose livestock, and hurrying drivers would be frustrating- but not as frustrating as my truly horrible internet service.

On other notes,  the nice thing that happened to me this week was finding that the pink shell ginger has sprouted.  One day nothing - the next a nice sprout of 4 inches!  A not so nice thing was finding almost all the collards in the outside garden infected with what looks like powdery mildew.  I am really disappointed in that finding.  Also, the hens are either really hiding their eggs or just not laying (possible, some of them are coming on 3 years old and some of them look to be moulting - again).; we're only getting a couple a day from 11 hens.