6 August 2013 : Back to School Catalog

Penzeys SpicesI remember being in kid in early August and the commercials started up with back-to-school sales. I HATED that. There was still a month left in the summer! Don’t start telling me about going back to school!

Penzeys SpicesBut here’s a back-to-school catalog that’s pretty slick, spicy, in fact. It’s from Penzeys Spices and their 2013 back-to-school catalog includes a picture of my mom and me (taken by Ella, no less), along with an article that includes snippets of an interview with me and two PSCS students (download it here and go to page 30).

Maybe back-to-school isn’t so bad!

Penzeys SpicesThe short version of the story is that this spice company likes to feature human interest stories in their catalog and decided that for this issue their focus should be on kindness and schools. They found PSCS and me!

The photos included here are the one of my mom and me from the catalog, the case of “Kind” spice gift boxes they sent me at PSCS to distribute, and the note included from the company founder.

3 August 2013 : Heartman Comics

Heartman ComicsBack in 1998, when Chloe was 5 and in kindergarten, I put a little drawing I made for her each morning on a sticky note in her lunch. What started on a bit of a whim (just like this blog!), grew into a daily event. As the weeks passed, my drawings got more sophisticated and, I daresay, more interesting.

Most of the drawings came back home in her lunch bag, along with all the waste and leftovers from her lunch (the school had a policy to send everything back home so parents could see what their kids were and were not eating). I took to saving the drawings and not too long ago found them in a sandwich bag in our basement. Some I put into a scrapbook, others remained loose.

I started a new blog today, one in which I intend to preserve and share these drawings. If you’re interested in following along, learn more here.

2 August 2013 : Highlighting Yesterday’s Post

Bernard showing the bottle to Christine

Bernard showing the bottle to Christine

I’m sure I didn’t do a good enough job yesterday of expressing how significant it was for Bernard, Christine, Melinda, and me to be sharing our last night together at a restaurant in Seattle and discovering that the restaurant carries a wine made by Bernard’s cousin in France. Not only that, but that the head chef and co-owner, Renee Erickson, knows Bernard’s cousin.
Our server delivering the bottle

Our server delivering the bottle

I try to make a point in my work, both with students at PSCS and those people who participate in my kindness classes, that so-called synchronicities like this carry meaning.

The label

The label

I think the world is a very friendly place, that opportunities are regularly appearing for us. Our job is to clear out the clutter in order to see the opportunities and then take advantage of them in order to receive their benefits.

Along the way, we get messages like the one we got on Wednesday at The Whale Wins. It came at a very poignant time at the restaurant, too, when we were sharing with each other how we’d decided to get married and talking about how one solidifies commitments with one’s friends.

When we are open to receiving messages of this kind, this kind of experience takes care of things like commitments. They become self-evident.

1 August 2013 : No Such Thing as a Coincidence

There is sadness in our home tonight. We took Christine and Bernard to the airport this morning, which basically means our “French” holiday is over. Flight TrackerTo try to have the feeling of their presence last as long as possible, we’ve been tracking their flight.

Last night they took Melinda and me out to dinner at a place called The Whale Wins.

Bernard and the owner of The Whale Wins

Bernard and the owner of The Whale Wins

It was an incredible experience, and not just because of the company, the quality of the food, or the brilliant service. Bernard noticed that this restaurant in Seattle carried his cousin’s wine, which of course we ordered and drank. The server was suitably impressed to send over the owner. Turns out she regularly visits France (and Normandy, where Bernard’s family is from) and has met his cousin.

The four of us sat in stunned awed, that here on our last special night with Christine and Bernard in Seattle we stumbled on to this French connection.

I took it as a sign that we were in the right place at the right time with the right people. To me, it’s that simple.

29 July 2013 : Watering

So Melinda, Christine, Bernard & I spent the weekend in Friday Harbor, a city on San Juan Island, a little ways north of Seattle. "Watering"If you aren’t aware, Seattle sits on the Puget Sound and to the west and north are several islands. San Juan Island is one of them, and Friday Harbor is a popular destination spot. In July, it’s typically wonderful by all definitions. Weather, views, food, etc.

So we went up on Friday, traveling by boat. And we came back yesterday by float plane. It’s quite an experience, taking off on the water at Friday Harbor where you feel all relaxed and touristy. And then less than 40 minutes later you touch down on Lake Union in downtown Seattle. It’s hard to believe you were on the island less than an hour earlier.

This photo is seconds before our “landing” on Lake Union. Although “landing” seems like the wrong word. I suggest “watering” to describe the touching down of a float plane.

Who’s with me?

28 July 2013 : The Big Competition

Sports reporter Andy Smallman here reporting from the Roche Harbor Bocce Ball tournament.Bocce Ball Match

The match began innocently enough, the competitors discovering the playing field somewhat spontaneously. Teams were quickly determined, with Christine and Melinda matched up against Bernard and Andy.

The CM squad scored early and began trash-talking, references to an action made by one’s foot striking another’s posterior being casually flung. Such talk likely fueled the competitive juices of Team BA as they responded with several points in succession, one round scoring an unprecedented 3. They completed the match with a round of 2 points.

The final score was 10-3.

27 July 2013 : Holding Hands

Holding HandsSo Melinda and I were on a small bus that takes people from Friday Harbor to Roche Harbor and back again (on an island not far from Seattle). We were on the return trip after a fabulous time with Christine and Bernard. Melinda put her hand on my leg and I slipped a finger into hers.

I think we like each other.

26 July 2013 : Why Do They Call it Whale Watching?

Have you heard the one about the man who had lost his keys? He was down on all fours under a streetlight looking as another man approached.No Whales in Sight

“What did you lose?”

“My keys.”

“Where did you lose them?”

“Over there.”

“Why are you looking here?”

“The light’s better.”

That’s an illustrative story for so many things but I’m bringing it up in relationship to the whale watching boat trip we took yesterday with Christine and Bernard.

We hoped to see an Orca but the light was better over here, I guess.

25 July 2013 : When July is juillet

bc needleSo Melinda & I have spent most of the last four Julys in France. 2010 was the first month of the sabbatical. We left Seattle on July 4. We remained in France for most of July, 2011, returning to Seattle on July 29. And last year, we were in France up until July 30, the day we returned home after a month there.

You see, our intention has been to live in France for a month each year, that month being July. But it’s getting to be harder, what with PSCS responsibilities and all. This year we were there until July 16. And I’m not sure what next year will be bring.

But to our credit this year, we returned with Bernard & Christine Bertail. That’s like bringing back some of France with us, right?

This photo is of Bernard & Christine and a certain Seattle landmark. We took them to the Seattle Center today.