Buckled In and Hangin’ On

July has been a roller coaster month. I haven’t posted in about three weeks, but it’s not because I’ve been idle. Shortly after I last posted, I attended the first of five two-day retreats of the beta class of the OKSci and OKMath Leadership Academy in Oklahoma City. It was a wonderfully productive meeting, and I met 43 fantastic math and science educators from all across the state. We will be working OKScitogether this school year to build a foundation of excellence in instructional practices and resources for Oklahoma math and science educators. I’m honored and excited to be a part of the team!

Two days after the meeting, my husband and I drove to Dallas to pick up our two grandsons, four and seven, to spend a IMG_2859week with us while their parents went scuba diving in Cozumel. The week was hectic and full of field trips, science experiments, art projects, and swimming. I was exhausted at the end of each day, but it was a great kind of exhaustion. I had a blast with the kids. One of the highlights was bringing the boys to my classroom—we made “Gak,” dissected and reassembled the dissectible torso, played with Marble Mania, and built some cool stuff with my Engino wheels, levers, and pulleys kits. When my older grandson remarked, “I wish you taught me science,” it made my week! On Saturday, we drove back to Dallas to deliver the boys and turned around the next day for home.

The morning after our return, our contractor arrived to tear apart our master bath. I was stuck at home most of the week while the destruction and eventual restoration was taking place. There are still no shower doors, but we’re about 90% complete, and it looks fabulous!

I made good use of my time at home last week, between consulting with the workmen and rearranging my office, to work on the online phase of a course through our local educators’ technology consortium. I’m getting some great tips on integrating more technology into my classes and in the process am planning a technology-rich science unit for all of my science classes. The course wraps up with three face-to-face meetings this week, when I’ll present my project plan to the rest of the class.  They are enthusiastic educators, who inspire me with their dedication.

Every roller coaster has its dips, though, and mine has left my heart in my throat. Our darling beagle, Meg, grew very ill last Wednesday and we had to have her euthanized that evening. She had a wonderfully loyal and adventurous spirit and Meg Pupwas persistent in true beagle fashion—she never gave up on the scent of food or an interesting trail. With her nose to the ground and her tail waving, off she went. Then she was oh, so glad to see you when you, or she, came home. Although we’d expected to lose her this year (and several times had believed the end was near), we weren’t really prepared for the empty house and hearts.

We also have a 13-year-old border collie, Snickers, who is forlorn without Meg as well. Unfortunately, she is currently undergoing treatment for kidney problems, and we’re not certain of her prognosis at this point. I would never have believed 17 years ago, when my husband gave me a beagle puppy to shake up our recently empty nest that I would let these animals so innocently steal my heart. But I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

One thing’s for sure: I’ll be kind of glad to see July come to a close and hope the roller coaster will ease up enough for me to get off. I’ve got three weeks left before school, and I need a little time to catch my breath before the next ride takes off.

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