I am excited to start the first day of fall quarter today. When I was a student, and even as a high school teacher, there was always a feeling of anticipation (butterflies even) until the class got up and going. That was the feeling over the weekend and last night. Today: Bring it on!
Just FYI... I am teaching a Lab Pedagogy course Monday 1:00-3:50 and a writing intensive Leadership Development course Tuesday/Thursday from 12:00-1:20.
Let me begin by saying everything is fine!
That said, however, Friday was not a fun day and definitely made "The Wrong Coast" feel too far from home. I got a call from my sister around 4:00 PST that my dad had been rushed by ambulance to the hospital with chest pains. My sister is a smart gal and knows how worried and helpless I would feel being so far away that she didn't actually call me until she made it to the hospital and had seen dad for herself. At that point, he was still in the ER and they were running tests to find out what happened, but he was already doing better. They were telling him he was going to stay all weekend and perhaps have a procedure on Monday. Ugh.
It was scary, to say the least. Being 2900 miles from home means that you can't get home quickly, even when your boss is phenomenal and says "go if you need to go" without the slightest hesitation. An hour or so later I got to talk to my dad (probably breaking the rules with a cell phone in the ER, but at that moment, I couldn't have cared less!) and he said stay put here in Oregon. He wanted me to "save my vacation days for Christmas when we could all be together and not in a hospital." Vacation days isn't exactly the way things work at this level, but, he really was feeling better by that point so I didn't make the trip. But, that is what dad's always say, isn't it? If it was really urgent, would he have told me to come?
In my head, I know the reality is that this will happen again in the future...as it will to any child that lives long enough. Reality just doesn't make me rest any easier. In the end, it wasn't a heart attack. In fact, they gave him a stress test on Saturday which he passed, so they sent him home late afternoon. He is back at work today (AMAZING!), following up with his doctor in the coming weeks, and on some new medications. And, I am eagerly awaiting Christmas break, now more than ever. But, once all the dust settled my mother was quick to point out that I have been lucky to work with some phenomenal people who put family and health above all else. I must agree! Ag Ed people (at all levels) really are the best people.
FYI...I am aware I have been falling down on my blogging duties. Things have gotten really busy at work AND I have been using all of my free time on a "crafty" project that will be a Christmas gift - so I can't blog about that until after Christmas or it will ruin the surprise for someone!
I have spent the last few days (9/12-9/15) in Eastern Oregon visiting student teachers. I thought I would share the journey. We (Dr. Greg Thompson went with me so I didn't mess up anything :-)) visited Hermiston, Heppner, Joseph, Cove, and Imbler (in that order). I didn't think to take pictures until we were leaving Heppner so GT took my picture with the Mustang mascot. Notice the terrain behind me... that is Eastern Oregon.
They grow mint in eastern Oregon. You can really smell it when it is raining (which it did while we were out there! That deserved the exclamation point because it always rains on my side of Oregon and it hardly ever rains on the east side. I must have brought it with me.) Below you can see the mint which is dumped back into the fields after it has been processed and the oil removed. You can buy it to compost in your yard and it will smell minty-fresh every time it rains.
We started the day by meeting the cooperating teacher for breakfast at Old Town Cafe...super cute and the food was great!
Then we hopped on a yellow, straight-drive bus and wound our way around a mountain to a mountain trail head tucked back in the woods to watch a lesson on riparian areas. This was the view out of the front of the bus.
This is the scenery we viewed once we got there. One of only a few deciduous conifers you will find in the US
And our student teacher doing a great job "learning" some kiddos.
It was gorgeous out on our field trip, but the view is just as good from the school parking lot. Yup, there is a little bit of snow up there.
Then we went to Cove HS which is one of the smallest schools I think I have been in. This is literally the view from the front door. I stood in one place and snapped three pictures. You can see the sign over the door (to show that I am coming in the front) and you can also see out the back of the school down the only 2 hallways!
Finally, we were off to Imbler High School (Tara King: this is where JD Cant teaches. He says "Hi".)
And, we got to see Chelcee doing great things in the classroom at Imbler.
My favorite part of the trip was getting to go to the eastern Oregon teachers' district meeting at Mamacita's in La Grande. What a fun bunch! But, a close second would have to be the small independent hotels (I can highly recommend "The Indian Lodge" in Joseph, Oregon) and independent restaurants (like The Cock and Bull in La Grande. Yup, that was really the name).
I will definitely be back to eastern Oregon.