Back to School Time

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​Another back to school season. I’ve been going or participating in back to school since before i was five years old. I did my time in preschool/nursery school, kindergarten, grades one through twelve, four years of undergraduate, two plus years of post graduate, and so far eighteen years of sending my kids back to school.

This year felt different. I’m not sure why. My two younger children are still in public school. My daughter is in her last year of middle school. My son is in his second year of high school. We saw them off on their buses yesterday. Maybe it’s that we’re barely home from vacation. All the laundry’s not quite finished. The sink is full of dishes, and we’re actually using paper plates this week!

I have my writing supplies. I’m mostly happy with my writing supplies, although that won’t keep me looking at new ones in the clearance aisles of Target and Staples.

Part of my back to school ritual is bringing change to my website. While I am an essayist, I don’t feel as though I keep a blog per se. I write articles. I follow themes. I offer something.

However, I’ve hit the block asking what is it that I actually offer? What more can I give? What can I do differently? And how can I incorporate my writing life into my children’s back to school life? Sometimes it flows, and other times, it really doesn’t. Today is one of those days. I’m going into the capital to see Dan Rather speak, and my daughter has a football game she’d like to go to, but doesn’t have a ride. This is one of the times where I give myself precedence. Normally, I’d acquiesce and change my plans. This can’t be one of those times.

Back to School is also about priorities. Choices. As a Mom, I feel as though I give up so much. Most of it isn’t anything earth-shattering or heartbreaking. As a Mom, I choose my kids first even if as teenagers they’re hardwired to put themselves first as well.

Overall, this week has been positive.

And that’s great because next week is the first full week of school, the first full week back from vacation, the first full week of Suicide Prevention Awareness month – a serious subject to tackle, but also one that needs tackling, more and more often. Awareness is Prevention, and I’ll need all my energy to plan out useful posts and resources.

I’ve been walking paths recently. All kinds of paths and roads and journeys. My six week memoir workshop is focused on paths this semester, but paths are always within my sight. We are all walking a path, sometimes like a tabletop game board. We’ve passed GO, we’ve collected something, probably not quite two hundred dollars, and we are on the square that says Back to School.

Roll the dice, and see how far we go!

My Pin Collection – 3

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L-R: Kids playing, the initial K (this was the first gift I received from my students as a teacher), Teacher’s desk, Child, Wooden heart, 2 figures dancing, NY’s Odyssey of the Mind, inside the Odyssey pin, Fall cornucopia, US Navy MWR name tag. (c)2017

Flowers, Clockwise: Starburst in purple and green, Daisy, Daffodil, Rainbow stones in a butterfly. This one was my mother’s. She collected butterfly pins and other accessories. I think this one is my favorite. (c)2017

Christmas Collection, L-R: Spode porcelain wreath, Silver penguins, Clay/ceramic SNopwman, Copper-colored wreath with snowman, Streetlight. (c)2017

Clockwise: Delaware, Winnie-the-Pooh, Strasburg RailRoad, Duran Duran, Daffy Duck. (c)2017

NY Birds with Outpost #4

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On Friday, I met a bird lady at a local event here in the Capital District. Actually, while she only brought birds for her demonstration, her husband describes their work as from mice to moose. And to be fair and less flip, she wasn’t a bird lady, she is a wildlife rehabilitation specialist.
Linda, and her husband take in almost any and all animals that need rehabilitation services. Their aim is to get whichever animals can, get back into the wild.
While my kids played at the Carnival going on, I spent my time with Linda learning about the birds and other animals that they care for.

I was fascinated by the birds.

They’re all predators, and in the wild, or at the rehab center, do not hang out together. Their being well fed keeps them from looking for food among each other at the demo. At home, they’re kept in separate cages, like birds together, etc. Of the five birds I met, all but one are New York State natives. Two of the birds are only here in the summer, so when the cold weather comes along, they’re moved indoors until the warm weather returns.

Only native birds are released locally.

I could get pretty close and take photos, even with a flash, but was warned not to go behind them. They don’t like that.

I was surprised at how much training and licensing goes into running a rehabilitation center and taking care of the animals. There’s state licensing and for the birds you also need federal. After taking coursework, there’s a test that must be passed. To teach and have the demos like the one I attended, you need additional training and licensing, even for a former teacher like Linda.

I called the smallest a grumpy cat owl. Look at his face, and you’ll see what I mean. She’s a Screech Owl named Maid Marian.

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Maid Marian. Screech Owl

The Kestrel Falcon is Mr. Piffles, and there’s a Mrs. Piffles back home. He’s one of the summer birds.

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Mr. Piffles. Kestrel Falcon.

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Mr. Piffles. Kestrel Falcon. Showing off. He did this for me several times so I could get a good picture.

Pygmalion, or Piggie is a Broadwing Hawk. He’s also a summer bird.

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Pygmalion or Piggie. Broadwing Hawk.

Shakespeare the Barn Owl was the most regal, the most uncaring, keep looking but don’t touch me aristocratic looking when he wasn’t turning his head regally or falling asleep.

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Shakespeare. Barn Owl.

Last but not least, we have the oldest of the group, twenty-year old Annabelle. She’s a Prairie Falcon from the desert. She was a breeder in Texas. When she passes, she has a home in a museum in western New York.

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Annabelle. Prairie Falcon.

Visit their Facebook or Website to learn more about what they do and how you can help them.

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