Sunday Night Supper

Last Sunday, Ed and I volunteered for the Sunday Night Supper, which is at a local church for people in need. This church is in a prosperous suburb of Chicago; and yet, there is definitely a need to provide food for people who are just scraping by and perhaps are even homeless.

Our group of volunteers provided the food and servers that night. I was assigned to a drink cart with two other woman; an assignment I thought would be an easy gig. We had six tables with 8 people at each table in our section, and we offered them apple juice, coffee, water and milk. Some of them wanted just apple juice, some wanted apple juice and milk, and some wanted everything. So we were kept very busy pouring drinks! Not only that, but most of them wanted refills throughout their meal of bratwurst, German potato salad and a hot apple compote. (Someone later told me that they loved the food we served, since many of the groups bring pasta since it is easy to make, and they get tired of it!)

It seemed that the same people come most Sundays; they are friends, and save room at the table for latecomers. The meal is over by 7:00, though, so you can’t be too late!

Back at the drink cart, if we ran out of apple juice, the person whose glass I was refilling would look concerned. No need to be, however. There was plenty of apple juice back in the kitchen. It seemed to me that our guests were stocking up on calories; the food and drinks we were providing may have been the most substantial and nutritious meal they would get that week. Altogether, about 96 people came to the Sunday Supper.

On the way out, however, they all received “goody bags” of fresh vegetable and some cookies, donated by a local grocery store.

Would I volunteer to pour drinks again on another Sunday?

That would be a yes!

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10,000 Steps Per Day

Today was Day 3 of my challenge to walk 10,000 steps per day. So far, I’ve been able to get those steps in every day! I took advantage of the beautiful fall day we had here and walked to the gym this morning to get some stepping done on the treadmill. It’s a bit chilly outside, but the fall colors are beautiful this year. Ed and I also took an extra long walk last night to get some of my steps in. Ten thousand steps take a surprisingly long time to walk! However, I have to admit that when I fold laundry, my Fitbit thinks I’m taking steps. Don’t take that away from me–it totally counts!

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Diary of a Substitute Teacher

Teaching on the day after Halloween is difficult for any teacher, much less a sub! Yesterday I spent the afternoon in a fourth grade classroom. I had just taught this class when I was subbing for their art teacher on Tuesday, and they were such a great class; so well behaved and engaged in the art lesson I was teaching. They were not engaged in the reading lesson I was teaching them yesterday. It was difficult to get them to settle down when they came in from lunch (where many of them probably ate candy from trick-or-treating). But eventually, even with all the talking and distractions, we did get our reading work finished.

As I was telling Ed about my day, I said, “Learning how to read a non-fiction text just isn’t as engaging as learning how to draw a vampire.”

Yup. That definitely could explain why teaching yesterday afternoon was such a challenge!

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NaBloPoMo No Longer Exists…

and last year I totally bombed NaBloPoMo, with a total of 8 out of 30 posts actually published. It was my worst NaBloPoMo ever. Plus, BlogHer has given up on NaBloPoMo, so no official group is getting together to write daily in November. If you are writing for NaBloPoMo on your own, leave a comment and I’ll visit your blog and give you some comment love!

I am always up for a challenge, however, so here we go again! Let’s see how I do for NaBloPoMo 2018.

Speaking of challenges, I’m also attempting another November challenge that I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish. At the urging of the managers at my gym, I’m going to attempt to walk 10,000 steps a day for the whole month. I am really going to have to focus on this challenge to get it done! I rarely walk 10,000 steps a day, so here goes nothing.

In other news, I am no longer a preschool teacher. Yes, after 8 years of doing something that I completely loved, I switched jobs. I want to get back into elementary school teaching, and a good way to do that is to substitute teach. So now I’m a “guest teacher” in a suburb next to mine. So far, it has been going really well, even though substitute teaching is outside my comfort zone! But going from school to school has been easier than I thought, especially because all the school secretaries are amazing! They are so friendly and helpful that my school year has been off to a great start!

I have a half-day job this afternoon, in a 4th grade classroom. Perfect for the day after Halloween!

In order to get these 30 posts written this November, my goal is to not obsess about my writing, so I’m writing this quickly and then hitting “Publish.” And that’s how it’s going to be!

NaBloPoMo, November 2018

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Staircase at Olympic National Park

Deep in the forest

It’s been a while since I blogged! So where do I begin again? Let’s start with an “How I spent my summer vacation!” essay. Here you go!

Our Hiking Vacation (with kids!) Begins

The treadmill and stair machine at the gym are no match for real life hiking. So although I’d been working out regularly, starting our hiking vacation at a place called “Staircase” was a little intimidating to my out-of-shape legs. Fortunately for me, Staircase is named after steps that have rotted away and no longer exist to torture untrained tourists’ quad muscles. The Staircase entrance to Olympic National Park is on the southeast side of the park, and it is less popular than the entrance by the Hoh Rainforest. However, the hiking is spectacular, and this old growth forest ended up being the perfect place to kick off our 12 days of exploring Washington.

Staircase Rapids Loop

The travel guide I was using during our trip said that this hike, the Rapids Loop Trail, was 4 miles, which was misleading. It was only about 2 miles, with mild elevation changes on the trail. The path was gorgeous, with huge, old moss covered trees and boulders. At the halfway point, hikers cross the river on a suspension bridge, which was built to replace a smaller bridge washed away by a flood. Although technically this is not a rainforest, I thought that the lush mosses that surrounded us were more beautiful than the mosses in the famous “Hall of Mosses” in the Hoh Rainforest. This is definitely a trail that should not be missed!

 

Hoodsport and the Hood Canal

We spent the night in Hoodsport at Glen Ayr Hotel and RV Park. The hotel owns a dock on the Hood Canal, where we sat for a little while that afternoon and saw a seal popping its head up out of the water. That evening, Emmy picked The Tides restaurant for dinner. She wanted to eat seafood, and assumed correctly that a place called “The Tides” would have some choices. The hotel also had a very nice hot tub in a separate building from the hotel rooms, which we took advantage of.  Hood Canal is popular with divers and as we sat outside our room, we watched three divers suit up in hotel parking lot. They went diving in the evening during high tide. The next morning during low tide, we went back out to the doce and walked on the rocky beach. A family was bringing crab traps up on the dock and showed us a rock crab they had caught.

 

Mount Walker and Rainbow Canyon

Our handy guidebook said that the view from Mount Walker is incredible, with views of Seattle and also Mount Rainier. As we were driving up Mount Walker, all we saw was a curious deer and more and more fog. By the time we arrived at the viewpoint, we could barely see the trees in front of us. So much for the incredible views! We had also planned on hiking the Rainbow Canyon Nature Trail, but we couldn’t find the trail head! Supposedly, it was at the back of a campground in the same area as Mount Walker, but there were no signs for a campground or the trail. We were persistent, however, and stopped by a Ranger station to search the map for the elusive trail. The map showed that the campground entrance was right across the street from the entrance to Mount Walker. We drove back and parked by a gravel road that had been blocked off. As we walked back into the forest, we could see campground sites that we hadn’t noticed before because they were completely overgrown. This was obviously a campground that wasn’t in use anymore. At the very back of the campground, just like the guidebook stated, we saw the trailhead sign.

The trail was very narrow and closed in. No one else was there, of course, since it was so hard to find! As we descended into the canyon, wet ferns brushed up against our legs, and we felt as though we were walking in a Jurassic era forest. The girls were a little freaked out by the quiet, dense trail. The youngest started to look quite anxiously  around the forest for mountain lions. That is the one thing we didn’t want to see!

Have you been to Olympic National Park? If you haven’t, add it to your vacation list!

 

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