Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Last Week of School

I hate the end of school. Really, I do. I always look forward to summer, and I have some amazing adventures planned. But, the last day of school is sad. I have to say goodbye to my 8th graders, and once they leave, even if they come back to visit, it's never the same. It can't be the same. They have to grow up and move on. But I don't like it. I'm always left feeling sad and empty, and then on top of it all, I have to clean. Days of cleaning to get my room ready for summer. Ick.

Wednesday's the last day. Boo.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Weekly Update

Crazy week. CRAZY week! And we're headed into a CRAZY WEEK! I guess that's what you get with the end of the school year. Last Tuesday, I took the 7th grade GOAL kids to Hannibal, MO. We had a beautiful day. We went to the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum and Mark Twain Cave. We took an hour tour on the Hannibal Trolley, and we did some geocaching. My GOAL kids have officially found two geocaches now and have their Illinois and Missouri badges.

When the bus got back to Fairfield Tuesday evening, I packed and headed over to Council Bluffs. Karl's funeral was beautiful and sad. It was especially hard seeing his wife lead his three kids by the hands down the aisle. I got to see many old friends from high school that I hadn't seen in ages. It was nice to reconnect. Several of us went out to eat lunch together. We laughed, shared memories, and raised a glass to our dear friend. The visit with Tracy was way too short, but luckily, I plan to head back over this summer. I hit the road again that afternoon to come home.

Friday was the 7th grade assignment journal trip to the mall in Coralville. It was a nice day, and I made the last of my purchases (I hope) for our upcoming trip. Yesterday, I went to 2 graduation parties and to the cemeteries. Now, I'm trying to catch up on some rest to battle this last week. It's going to be another crazy one.

I hope wherever you are, you're enjoying your friends and family this Memorial Day weekend. Take a moment to remember loved ones you've lost and those heroes who gave their lives fighting for our country.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Goodbye, Friend

Karl & I, March 2009: Mini reunion at Barley's

Karl & I, April 1988: New Design Show Choir in Hollywood, CA

Today, my friend Karl lost his 4-year battle with brain cancer. He was 41 years old. He leaves behind an extraordinarily strong and faithful wife, Jennifer, and 3 children: Luke, Rachel, and Anna. I think they're 8, 6, & 4. I'm glad he's not suffering any longer. I'm relieved that he is at peace. I do believe he's in a better place, but I also do believe that it's effing unfair. My heart is breaking for his family and for his dear parents, Vern and Martha. I love them so. Some things about Karl that I'll always remember:

* I was so surprised when I was a sophomore and Karl, who was a senior, noticed me. It was really the first time anyone had noticed me that way. He gave me an envelope with two smaller envelopes inside. The smallest one had a key inside and said something like, "This is the key to your heart. Maybe it's the key to friendship, or maybe something more." I was a smitten kitten after that. Who wouldn't be? I still have those envelopes.

* Karl took me on my first real date and to my first prom. I know he always just thought of me as a good friend, but he was my first love.

* Karl was also my first broken heart. I remember sobbing facedown on the couch with my mom rubbing my back. I thought I'd never be happy again. I thought I'd never love anyone else ever again.

* Teepeeing was never more fun that at Karl's house. He lived (and his parents still live) in this big old beautiful house with tons of huge trees and with two lions at the front steps. During my sophomore year, poor Karl's house got nailed more than anyone's I knew. One particularly beautiful job by Lisa, Tracy, Kim, and me included forking the yard and putting sunglasses on the lions. Vern told my mom that he just sent Martha out every morning to roll all the toilet paper up so it wouldn't go to waste.

* Because of Karl ticking me off one night, I started flirting with his good friend Curt (not one of my finer teenage moments). Curt and I dated over 2 years after that. I'll never forget that Karl's sister Karen told her baby son, "Just think, maybe someday YOU can date Tena too!" Ouch. I deserved that.

* Karl was my date at Curt's wedding rehearsal dinner and at Tracy's wedding. His dancing improved considerably over the years.

* Karl and I danced to Phil Collins' "Groovy Kind of Love" at my junior Homecoming, which he took me to one weekend he was home from college.

* Karl mooned everyone at my 16th birthday party.

* Karl came to visit me after I moved home to Fairfield from Texas. My dad taught him to waterski, and I remember he was there for Matt's going-away dinner before Matt went to the University of Iowa. I fixed steaks and my mom's garlic cheese bread.

* One Christmas when I was home from Texas, I went with my Dad to Des Moines so we could shop. I just knew, don't ask me how, that I would see Karl that day. He was at the mall.

* Karl had a weird little scooter, and he would pick me up and take me for a ride.

* Karl had a really big smile and a deep he he he laugh.

* Karl was an amazing trumpet player... first chair All-State.

* Karl sobbed like a baby when we blocked the Last Supper in our 1988 production of Godspell. We ALL sobbed like babies. I just remember that Karl was really moved, and that was, in turn, very moving to me.

* I remember a Shakespeare on the Green outing the summer of 1988 with Ricco, Sarah, Molly, and Tim. We hauled an entire picnic, complete with a watermelon, over there. I love the pictures of that night.

* Karl, Curt, and Curt's mom Jean drove over for my mom's funeral. One of my very favorite memories was after the visitation, one of the worst nights of my life. I really needed a drink, so Tracy and I went out to Kokomo's. We opened the door and saw Karl and Curt sitting at a table with a pitcher of beer and 4 glasses. I have no idea if those glasses were meant for us, but it was like Heaven sent them at that moment. I'd never been so glad to see anyone in my whole life.

Our lives grew apart as we grew up. Our friendship drifted apart as we became the people we were meant to become. But, so many memories from such a formative time in my life are tied to Karl. A tiny little piece of my heart died today too. I'll always happily remember Karl as a good friend. My prayers tonight are for his wife, his kids, and his parents and sister. I can't imagine what they're going through. It's so unfair for them.

You'll be missed, Karl. Rest in peace, friend.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Busy Spring

Wow. I haven't posted since my pathetic Suzanne post. A lot has happened since then. Here are some of the highlights:

* The 6th grade GOAL kids went to Nauvoo. It was a blast, and we had a beautiful day. They geocached for the first time, and it was so exciting when they found their first cache. I can't wait to geocache in Europe when I go this summer.

* I had my birthday! 39 years young. It was a low-key day which was a teeny bit depressing at the time, but Andrew gave me flowers and a very nice card. The best birthday present, however, is that he's putting a new roof on my house. It might not sound romantic to everyone, but let me tell you, I think it's awesome. I love him so.

* The 8th grade GOAL kids went on their overnight to Des Moines. We did a lot of cool things like the Des Moines Art Center, the State Historical Museum, a tour of Drake campus... but... the CoOlEsT thing was the Body Worlds exhibit at the Science Center of Iowa. Wowzaaaaaaaaa! I was in complete awe. I don't even have the words except to say that you must get to Des Moines to see this exhibit before it leaves. We also saw the Hubble IMAX movie which ranked a close second... best IMAX ever. Mind-boggling, in fact. The kids were good, we learned a lot, and we had a good time. What more can you ask?

* Avery needs his teeth cleaned again. $350 bucks. I know it's important, but HE'S A DOG. I have a hard time with this part of having a dog. Does anyone else think that's ridiculous, or am I the one being ridiculous?

* I got a very nice award. I was honored as the Business and Professional Women's School Employee of the Year. I went to a nice ceremony and received a certificate. There were several different categories of women honored, and I was proud to be there with them. Thank you, BPW! I know my dear Helen was smiling down on me. She just lived for BPW.

* I've been riding my bike to school a lot. I look like such a dork, but it's felt to good to be moving and not have to get in my car to go those tiny few blocks to school. As long as the weather is nice, my cute bike and lame-but-necessary bike helmet will be seen on the roads.

* Andrew's Holly is home from her year in Japan. I'm glad she made it safely. The world is her oyster right now. It will be interesting to see where she ends up and what she'll be doing.

* I'm headed to Emma's ball game in a bit. I'm going to pick her and Jack up and spend the evening with them while Suzanne is at rehearsal. I need to cherish times like this!

Whew! Guess that catches things up a bit. Now, everyone hum the Miss Gulch theme song and imagine the following image with a chubbier girl and a silver bike helmet instead of the hat. I'm ready to hop on and head home! :)

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