Tag Archives: summer

Adios, Diablo…Adios, Summer


A few months back we purchased a passel of chickens and one rooster, promptly named Diablo.  Diablo, at this point, is allowed to live with all the hens.  I am currently campaigning to separate him from the hens because I believe he is messing with their hormones in ways only a male can.  We’ve had 3 hens sitting on at least twenty eggs for months now…and they’re not hatching.  And the gestation period is twenty-one days.  Sorry hen-ladies, but your eggs are duds.  I truly believe having a male around is tinkering with their natural instincts and then proceeding to mess up my intake of eggs.  Buh-bye, Diablo.


I’ve slowly reacclimated to life back in the real world since our vacation.  It was very difficult for me to come home from possibly the best vacation of my life.  My fantasy – to spend the summer on Mackinac Island.  Maybe one day!  I can honestly say my (grown) children traveled better than they ever have before and made the trip so special.

mackinac 2011 037

The white shirt made an appearance!

The white shirt made an appearance!


So school starts soon…and I’m being honest, I’m not ready.  Of course I’ll miss summer break but it’s more.  I’ll miss the freedom to eat lunch anywhere I choose.  Freedom to go to the bathroom at any given moment.  Freedom to read or write or just sit with my dog in my lap at my whim.  I’ll miss my Chacos (I’m still trying to figure out what I can wear them with to work).  I’ll miss the quiet.  And too, I’m missing my students from last year.  I worry over which teacher they’ll have this next year, and I’m secretly wishing I could have them all back (I tend to get a little attached and I’m sure my new kiddos will help fill the holes left by last years children quickly).  Mostly, I’ll miss the pace…the ability to stop and breathe and just cherish each moment for what it is.  Sigh…buh-bye, summer.


Summer Vacation


Summer vacations…ahh!  Bill and I decided early on that we wanted to travel and we wanted to take our children with us.  So we did, and wow…it’s been an adventure!  I honestly wouldn’t change any trip we’ve ever taken, not one.  Wonderful memories, loads of fun.  My favorite vacation is a tie between Mackinac Island and a Boston-Martha’s Vineyard-Maine trip we took. My least favorite, a haunted hotel in Missouri (I did not sleep well there, to say the least).


Two pictures taken literally seconds apart. The first – the perfect photo opp. The second – real life!!

Notice Bill’s white shirt. It has probably been on every vacation we’ve ever taken. He’s taking it with us this summer, too. The kids made him give up the white socks a few summers ago though!

Top picture – brother/sisterly love!  I have at least a dozen just like this taken over the years. The faces in the bottom picture are of two freaked out kids. We had just gotten into New York City, loaded our things into a cab, and they were in the back of the van (a van probably going at least 80 mph). They looked in the cup holders and both were full of questionable liquids, very nasty questionable liquids.  That began Trey’s 48 hour spell of essentially losing it once every few hours.  In one spell he screamed, “Why did you bring me here?!”  Believe it or not, he ended up having fun.

Deep sea fishing - the Hollywood sign.

Top – deep sea fishing. Bottom – the Hollywood sign.

I’m thankful for each moment I get to spend with my family, and as my children get older, I realize these special times may become fewer and farther between.  They are growing up, working, so while I can, I plan to keep traveling and keep taking them anywhere they’ll go with me (us).

(Our vacation is coming up soon, and we are driving 12 hours each way.  I may have to retract those words once we get back!)

So what’s your favorite vacation memory?  Your favorite place to go to?  Where is the one place you’d go back to today if you could?

Summer, Week 1


I have a list of projects I want to do this summer.  It’s not a long list, and after today the list may have dwindled down considerably!  My first project was to re-do the deck.  Well, I re-did it.  Lord have mercy, what was I thinking?

The process started over the weekend, including the removal of nine, rotted boards.  My guys replaced the planks, and then we proceeded to strip and deep-clean the other planks.  The toxic stripper began to strip the pealing stain while also removing my toenail polish and burning a hole into my leg! (I am not kidding.)


Deck with rotten boards gone and just a little stain left.

Deck with rotten boards gone and just a little stain left.

After the deep-clean, we had to wait for at least 24 hours of rain free weather.  That brought us to today – a Thursday, by myself, with no one to help.  I started at 7:30, finished up around 4:30, and I may never be able to move again.

Note to all teachers and any other person who usually works indoors:  manual labor is freaking hard!

Deck Over aka chocolate pudding!

Deck Over aka chocolate pudding!

I used a product called Deck Over and it worked well.  The only problem was that it had the consistency of chunky cake batter.  It went on slowly and thickly but the end result was really pretty.

The finished project!

The finished project!

Now it's time to sit and read!

Now it’s time to sit and read.

I did manage to read a little and write a little this week – along with the daily grind of living in a house with three other humans and two dogs.  Time off is truly treasured for me, and once I’m recovered from my deck ordeal, I plan to work on an old bathroom.  It needs gutting but it may only get a gentle scrape.  I’m not ashamed to say I’ll be paying for help on this next job, but still – pray for us all.  We may need it to survive!



Saturday on Repeat


So summer’s here…as in school’s out.  And honestly, I can’t believe it.  It doesn’t feel like it to me at all!  Not sure why but regardless, it hasn’t been Saturday for the past two days – it’s actually a Thursday and I’m not at work.  I’m sure it won’t take me long to acclimate to being at home…it never does!

I had to leave you with one more funny from perhaps the funniest group of students I’ve ever had.  Actually two.

How to protect whales.  Public Service Announcement - please read and adhere to number three!

“How to Protect Whales.”  Public Service Announcement – please read and adhere to number three!  And if you see a whale in a lake, please tell the authorities ASAP!

And secondly (and my last, I promise):  What does the mother buffalo say to her son going off to college?  Bi-son!   Like I said, funniest class ever.  I will truly miss them.

Here’s my wish list for the best summer ever:

Go to Mackinac Island (check – going in July)

Write every day

Read every day

Soak up some sun

Sleep late on occasion

Be thankful every day that I have nine weeks to recharge my depleted battery

That’s not an unreasonable check-list and I plan to make sure each one is accomplished!  To all my teacher peeps, Happy Summer!  And yes, it’s really a Thursday, not Saturday set on repeat.

Summer On Purpose


Summer is here!  Woo-hoo!  I honestly can’t believe it still.  We’ve been out of school for a week now, and I’m still in some sort of weird denial.  Maybe it’s because I’m still trying to write April on my checks.  Don’t know.  I keep telling myself it’s real…maybe it’ll sink in soon.

With summer comes the lists, the plans.  I refuse to waste nine wonderful weeks.  My plans go something like this…read, clean, write, write, write, read again, clean out a closet or two, read, write, write, write.  Let’s hope I can stick to the plan!

I have one book I’m editing (which makes me giggle each time I say it because I’m no editor), one I put down a year ago that needs an ending (not sure why I put it down), and one I just started.  I plan to give them all lots of attention this summer.

I read a wonderful quote on-line – it said, “…be an on purpose person.”  That means living my life each day with some sort of goal, don’t you think?  It’s so easy for me to get caught up in stuff…stuff that eats away time, not material stuff.  I don’t want to look up in July and wonder what I’ve accomplished over the summer.  So my purpose for this summer is to spend time doing what I love, and I love writing.

Periodically, I get reminded by a punch to the gut that life is not endless.  Our community suffered another loss of a child this week – a 16 year-old, polite, kind boy.  I hate that these moments make me more aware of passing time.  I hate that sometimes I need a nudge to get to doing and get to living.  I have dreams…I best get to making them come true.


“The brightest of flames becomes an ember.  You better live life while you can.” – Keith Urban


Allergies, Bites and Pools


Itchy eyes, itchy feet, and I can’t sleep for scratching!  Between allergies and bug bites, I am living, walking proof that the weather has changed.  Usually by the end of May, my ‘seasonal’ allergies are settling down.  I haven’t hit that milestone yet.  Here’s hoping the trees are almost finished blooming!

And even though I believed we had a cold, long winter, the myriad of insects that have been feasting on my feet and legs don’t agree.  They are thriving.  I don’t like bug spray but it’s either them or me.  Today, I choose me!

Along with the warm temperatures, comes the water.  Beautiful, glistening, cold…and maybe not for me.  I adore watching the sparkling waves on the river or the cool blue of a pool but there’s no doubt I’m a land-lubber.  Watching six children swim yesterday, I could almost remember a time when swimming was exciting and I yearned to go.  Now, it’s more of a nuisance entering the water.  Is it too cold?  What about my hair?  My bathing suit will stick to my body once it’s wet.  Yuck.

To say the least, I’m adjusting – settling into a new routine at home, re-acclimating my body to the warmth and to nature.  I’m afraid it’ll take a little getting used to.  But even as I think that, I smile.  Acclimation is good, change is wonderful at times, and being gnawed on by bugs is a simple reminder that we all have a place on this earth – even if it is part of the food chain.

Beautiful - but do you think there are any mosquitoes?

Beautiful – but do you think there are any mosquitoes?

School’s Out!



Another school year has come to an end, and I can’t help but be thankful.  What a year it’s been.  Long and trying and demanding in ways teaching has never been before.  Today is my first day at home and I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.  I’m completely bushed.  But in a day or two or three, reality will set in that I’m off for several weeks and a permanent smile will cover my face.

One of my little fellows said, “Mrs. Rackley, I’m happy and sad all at the same time.”  It was our last day together, and his simple words brought tears to my eyes.  It was nothing but pure, the words that slipped from his lips, and in that moment I felt just as he did.  This little boy had become one of my children over the past 180 days.  They all do, even the ones that make you want to pull your hair out.  Somehow, they become your kids not just your students.  For eight hours a day, they become your responsibility – yours to manage, love, teach, nurse, train, coddle when necessary, discipline when needed.  It’s exhausting but it’s also fulfilling.  When God asks me one day what I did with my life, I will be able to say I tried my best to love and guide children.

While I’m waiting for reality to set in, that yes, thank you Lord, I truly am off for the summer, a little voice in the back of my brain is whispering.  It’s excited, it’s merrily jumping up and down waiting for me to acknowledge it.  The voice chants, “Write, write, write!  You’ll have more time to write.”  And another voice squirms as it beckons, “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!  Let’s hit the road.  Let’s travel and see and hear and breathe in something different for just a little while!”

I plan to listen to those voices very soon – just give me a day or two impatient ones!  Soon I’ll be ready to write and dream and hit the road running.  Summer is here!