We did have a good spring break week. While Bob was home we made a day trip down to Fulton to see the birds at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge from a boat with commentary by an experienced birder. (And we saw the first bluebonnets of spring on the way down). From the boat we saw 23 whooping cranes, including at least five babies, one still strongly cinnamon colored. There were only fifteen whoopers left in the world in the forties when the project to save them began - 215 now, so seeing so many in one day was amazing and hopeful. We also had funny experience of seeing a greater flaming -- yes pink and standing on one leg -- who DOES NOT belong in the Aransas refuge. Occasionally an adolescent flies up from Mexico and visits. He looked pretty odd standing in the midst of a bevy of white pelicans, who DID NOT enjoy his presence.
Bob is working very hard to get his fifth grade science and math program up to speed, and its been a huge challenge, but he seems to be making real inroads. He says it would be much easier to teach fifth grade at Menger next year, especially math, Science would still be a challenge. The decision about whether to apply for jobs closer to home opens up next month. It will be a hard one, financially to our advantage and nice to be simplified back to one home and together every night -- but could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire regarding principals and such and he would like to leave on the note of having finished a really successful year feeling strong and competent. Change is hard. We really don't know what choice we'll make (and of course not what will be available if he does choose to look). There is a program here Alliance Schools, which selects schools which serve low income populations and have a high commitment to excellence and community involvement. Probably Bob will apply to all of those.
Ruth and Chris were in Austin on their spring break too and it was fun having them as house guests. They were pretty busy visiting friends and doing city errands, but we enjoyed evenings together. Ruth has volunteered with a local hospice Austin to do a photo project with them -- somehow helping families record and treasure photo memories when a death is imminent. I don't know exactly what she will do, but she is excited by this opportunity and needs a photo assistant who is certified with the hospice. That would be me once I can get trained and get my TB test. I'm waiting for a call back. I'm also volunteering to do their newsletter. I went this morning for training and go back tomorrow before work to finish training. I find the volunteer coordinator and the bereavement services coordinator wonderfully refreshing real, hard working women, who were very open and welcoming to me. It was fun being the beginner, not in charge. I think this will be a great opportunity for Ruth and me to work together doing something meaningful - also a chance to expand my community.
Chris has already started applying to jobs in the Austin area. He and Ruth want to get back into their house and their life here, though this school year has been successful, exciting and educational for both of them, OR they want to move to the Pacific northwest where they love the nature and progressive political climate. A huge deal over break was the discussion in which I got it (after may tears and much protestation) that moving might really be the best thing for them and that I don't need out little family community to continue as is. I could be happy with a scattered family. I was completely stubborn on this issue, but something has shifted and the shift is real. I work like that. I'm wedded to my position until I'm not and then I don't look back. This surprises Chris who hasn't seen it may times yet, but is a relief to Ruth. She says they probably will not choose to move because of expensive housing up there, Chris' trouble with lack of sunlight, and their own attachment to staying near family. We'll see.
I had lots of Grandma fun over spring break. Joanna's kids continue to grow up (of course)! Every time I see KK dance, she's markedly better. The first weekend of break we were able to attend "watching days" in her classes, which was a treat. The instruction she's getting is excellent and the steps are getting harder and harder. Watching all the young dancers concentrate so fiercely and work so hard is inspiring.
Zachary is lots of fun these days, talking in sentences and tearing about getting into and climbing up and over everything he encounters. That kid knows no obstacles even when they seem apparent to others. Sunday lunchtime was a prime example. He asked Ruth if he could ride in her car to a restaurant and she said "No' because the car seat was in Bob's car ad she didn't want to move it. Zach wet out and unstrapped the car seat and lugged it over to Ruth's car ad hefted it up on the seat -- of course he couldn't do the straps. We were all impressed.
I'm working, reading, enjoying my new venture of selling beads on eBay -- enjoying having my family close for now. I'm not writing much beyond my daily writing practice and bead descriptios, but want to change that - WILL change that. It will be easier now that I don't have a house full of people. .