"God must love the common man, He made so many of them..." Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Welcome to the 2008-09 School Year!

Almost everyone’s back – principals, teachers, support staff, and yes, the school board. Only the students are missing! And we only get to miss them until Tuesday. Where did the summer go? Well, wherever it went, I hope you went with it and had a great time!

Our first board meeting of the 2008-09 school year was last night. There was the usual order of business, nothing out of the ordinary. What wasn’t ordinary was the school district’s new web site. http://www.sthelens.k12.or.us It’s great and the technology team deserves a double-click standing ovation! Please log in, sign up for e-alerts and spend some time exploring all the new features, including some really cool customized calendars. And just so you know, the pictures alone are going to make folks move to our district. Here’s to increased enrollment!

It’s hard to believe the first day of school is almost here. My baby is a senior this year, so it’s her last first day. Sniffle. It will be bittersweet when she graduates because it was really and truly only just yesterday that she was in kindergarten. There are three generations of St. Helens lettermen graduates in our family, so lemon and black run swift and deep. Go Lions!

Here’s wishing you all the best this coming school year. May back packs be light and homework be easy. May lunch be good and recess be fun. May pencils be sharp and minds be sharper. Have a happy and successful 2008-2009!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Are you a shopper? I'm not. I hate shopping -- especially for Christmas gifts and groceries because no one ever likes what I buy. I grit my teeth every time the mall is mentioned. There is just one enjoyable annual shopping trip that's worth every penny -- school supplies!

This weekend I spent a lovely hour browsing the school supplies at a local store. My kids are big now (college and almost-college), so no more watercolors or blunt-end scissors. It's amazing how fast kids grow up, isn't it? Anyway... as I ambled up and down the aisles, I found myself bedazzled by the notebooks, composition books, planners, portfolios, binders, journals, crayons, markers, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers... Let me not forget to mention the book bags, back packs, and lunch boxes. I almost fainted from the overwhelming variety.

What was your most favorite new school supply? Clean big pink erasers? Pens before the caps and ends are all chewed? It's so hard to choose just one, but my all-around favorite new school supply has to be the college-ruled composition book.

In the 5th grade, the list of supplies included a college-rule composition book. It languished in my desk, buried under the usual detritus of elementary school, until one day in November. The teacher asked us to pull them out for a "journaling activity." What the heck was that? The teacher explained this was like a diary, but instead of being super deluxe private with a heavy-duty heart-shaped lock, it would be turned in. The teacher would read out entries and write back to us. Then we could continue the conversation by writing back or start over with a new entry. Ancient I.M.-ing. Prehistoric blogging.

That activity unlocked the writer in me faster than my brother could pick a heart-shaped lock with a bent paper clip. Since then, I've filled heaven-knows how many comp books. I buy as many as I can find every fall and gleefully use 'em all up. And this year, so that I will feel less old, I'm going to buy watercolors and blunt-end scissors.

Friday, August 1, 2008


I'm sure it will come as no surprise to anyone, but I'm broke. Not flat busted broke, but broke enough. And I'm surrounded by broken stuff that I'm too broke to fix.

After a little tour around the house, I found lots of things that need to be fixed or replaced. May I share?

Kitchen: leaky pipes under the sink, broken oven door, burned-out burner, unreliable fridge, and noisy rusted-out dishwasher.

Living room and hallway: non-working electrical outlets and light switches.

Bathroom: non-working electrical outlets, non-working fun, and LEAKY tub taps.

Garage: broken garage door and LEAKY hot water heater.

Outside: two broken gates and rusted out down-spouts.

I would love to fix all of this but I just can't afford it. So I'm giving this list of repairs to the neighbors and ask them to pay for it all. Whaddya think?

Welcome to the world of school maintenance and bond measures. It's just like this...