Who Would Have Thought

Over the past few months my life has taken some turns that I never planned on; never really thought about. Life goes that way sometimes, no matter how much you plan, set goals, anticipate what will come, other things just sometimes happen that cause you to shift your plans, change your goals, or rethink about what will come next.

For the past seven months I have not eaten meat. Anyone that has known me for many years, knows that I was a serious meat eater. I loved meat. Never did I think I would not eat meat for a stretch of seven months. About 15 years ago I was on the Atkins diet and lost about 30 pounds eating mainly meat and vegetables. I thought I was in heaven at the time. Despite what some people believed, after six months on the diet my cholesterol was lower than it had ever been. This year, after not eating meat for several months, my cholesterol was that low again. Who would have thought?

July 1, 2016 I became an education administrator. About 20 years ago, when I was teaching middle school, my principal gave me a pamphlet about a program to become an administrator. When I questioned her about it she said she thought I would make a great administrator. My response then was something along the lines of “NEVER. I love being a teacher.” Yet here I am living in the world of education administrators. Who would have thought?

Since April of 2012 I have been a blogger. I chose to blog because I like to write and blogging seemed like a way that I could write regularly. I love blogging. It gives me a sense of having a voice in the world, and I like that sense, even if it may be a bit misplaced. Lately my work has kept me so incredibly busy that I have not had much time to do many things I enjoy; like blogging. Who would have thought?

As you faithful readers of Sweetwater Lane know, I sell calendars each fall. This year I have struggled to sell them. It seems that people are not buying them as they have in the past. A fried came by recently to get the two she did order and mentioned that last year she had purchased four of them. She went on to say that while her daughter loved hers, she never hung it in her house. She observed that millenials are not hanging calendars in their homes, most likely because they rely on their phones. Who would have thought it? Personally, I can’t imagine not having a calendar hanging on the wall of my home. Actually two – one in the kitchen and one in the office. Sure, I use my phone to put meetings and appointments on the calendar, and love that it will remind me in advance, but I still want that calendar hanging in my home or office so I can occasionally check the date – write reminders on it – plan ahead. Or just enjoy the pictures on the calendar!

This got me thinking about other ways we use our phones in place of other things. My husband is an EMT and he said the younger generation takes out their phones to check heart rates of patients because none of them wear watches anymore. That made no sense to me because with a watch you can still use both hands while you time whatever it is you’re timing, but with a phone one hand is occupied so you are left with only one hand to do whatever needs to be done. Technology does not always make us smarter or more efficient. Who would have thought?

Thanksgiving Reflections

When I was a kid we spent a lot of Thanksgiving mornings traveling for hours to get to my aunt and uncle’s house in Massachusetts.

I hated traveling on holidays then and I still don’t like it much. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I enjoy cooking and all the other preparations that go into the holiday meal. Maybe because it’s like a mini vacation from school and it’s nice to be able to take the time to relax at home doing my own thing. Or nothing at all. Maybe it’s because riding for four hours in a car with my four siblings was chaotic at best and downright painful at worst. And that’s just one way. We still had to drive home again. It was definitely uncomfortable.

I remember one year I woke up on Thanksgiving morning to discover it had snowed a good 8-10 inches and I was ecstatic because I was absolutely positive that meant we couldn’t possible drive to Massachusetts. I didn’t even care if I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. That was still better than four hours in the car ONE WAY! You can’t imagine my disappointment when my parents said, “Of course we’re going to Massachusetts! It’s just a little snow.” You also can’t imagine the fit I threw because I DID NOT WANT TO GO! I don’t recall all the details of my tantrum, but I can guess it was seriously overly dramatic and seriously annoying to my mother. But I didn’t care because I DID NOT WANT TO GO!

Sometimes we stayed overnight in Massachusetts and that was even worse. BORING! It’s not like we were going to Boston or anything good like that. My aunt and uncle lived in a big old farm-house in the middle of nowhere. At least nowhere I wanted to be. I already lived nowhere (or so I thought), so why would I want to go nowhere else? Obviously my parents were totally unconcerned with my feelings on the subject, because no matter how much I protested we kept driving to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving.

Since those preteen and teenage days filled with angst over nothing, I’ve come to understand a different perspective on Holiday traveling.

I am sure that staying home with five children and attempting to cook a full Thanksgiving dinner on her own for five kids (who tended toward picky self-centeredness) was not a pleasant idea. Actually, that was probably a downright torturous idea that my mother would have had to have been insane to entertain. So she didn’t entertain that thought, but a much more pleasant one. Going to a 17th century farmhouse, in the country, surrounded by relatives, to dine on a gourmet meal served in a traditional and formal way. What a lovely time that must have been for my mother. Her children were, for the most part, entertained by their cousins and she got to spend time with her sister and brother-in-law – no pressure. Smart woman, my mother.

While I still don’t want to travel during the holidays, I can look back on those days at my aunt and uncle’s house with fondness. Their home was lovely and sprawling, like going back to another century, when life was simple, the cookin’ was good and the blessings abundant. There were special tables for the kids to sit at and for many years that really was a special place to sit. Who wanted to sit with the grown ups anyway? And we spent hours and hours playing games with our cousins; checkers and Chinese checkers, Monopoly, Go Fish, Slap Jack, War, King’s Corners. . .

Today I applaud my mother for doing what was right for her. I’m guessing she knew it was right for all of us because that time with family cannot be replaced. As an educator I see firsthand how little time some children have with their families. So today, and everyday, I am thankful for a mother who often listened to her heart instead of her children and made good choices for us.

We will be home today, just the two of us, cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner. We are glad to have friends and family join us if they wish. They all know this. But they will make their own choices, ones that are right for them. To every member of our precious family, near or far, biological or of the larger world, know that we are thankful to be a part of your lives and we send you our love today and always.

New Year's Turkey

Karen and Dave

2017 Sweetwater Calendars!

The 2017 Sweetwater Photo Calendars are on the way!
$20.00 each ~ $5.00 S/H
Message me if you are interested!
Delivery early November.

Here is the lineup of photos for 2017:

January

January

February

February

March

March

April

April

May

May

June

June

July

July

August

August

September

September

October

October

November

November

December

December

Fall 2016

I have spent several days out photographing the beautiful creations that mother nature has bestowed upon us. What a glorious season Autumn is in New England. I love everything about it starting with the hues that abound this season. For your viewing pleasure I’ve shared a few of my favorites from this foliage season.

Bald Hill

Bald Hill


Bovine Desire

Bovine Desire


Barns

Barns


Burke Hollow Church

Burke Hollow Church


Darling Gap

Darling Gap


FIRE wood

FIRE wood


Near and Far

Near and Far


Let the Sun Shine In

Let the Sun Shine In


Bull's Eye View

Bull’s Eye View


Red Barn

Red Barn


The Road to Heaven

The Road to Heaven


Under the Canopy

Under the Canopy


Fall Peek

Fall Peek


Sweetwater Sunset

Sweetwater Sunset

Educational Progress

I spent two days this week collaborating with a group of students on a project called CSR ~ Communicating School Redesign. As a team we will spend the year together planning ways to communicate to our school stakeholders the reasons behind the need to remodel our schools and ideas for how that can be done.

A colleague shared the following video and it fits perfectly with the them of our CSR project and so beautifully expresses my educational philosophy and passion that I decided to share it here. Enjoy!