Sunday Stills: Going #Back … ?

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Sunday Stills Banner

I’m back…as this week’s title might suggest. I can’t thank Natalie enough for hosting Sunday Stills in my absence and with her amazing themes, no less! Thank you to all my fellow bloggers who continued to participate in Sunday Stills and support Natalie while I was on my three-week break. That is if you can call two-out-of-three whirlwind weekends a break!

Subconsciously, I chose this theme a few weeks ago based on some random thought, but as we traveled the first week between August 20-24, I realized how perfect the theme is to highlight our whirlwind weekend.

Before I launch into my photos, “Going Back…” implies going back to something, whether a place you’ve visited before, going back “in time” as you view your photo archives, or how about going back “to the future?” Use any preposition to add to going back that suits you…going back …in, on, to, out, under, over, through, between, by, as far as, across, etc. I’m certain all you clever bloggers will come up with some spectacular ideas and images to match!

Why did I take a blogging break?

As summer progressed, I found myself getting way too busy at the end of August into early September. My gorgeous step-daughter decided on having her wedding sooner than later and she was gracious enough to ask us when we would be available. I mentioned that Hans had a high school football celebration on August 20 where he would be in San Diego for the event. Vanessa is a detail-oriented, highly organized, long-range planner like her step-mom (she refers to me as her “bonus mom”), so she did some checking for a wedding venue. She chose Sedona for a small parents-only wedding on Monday, August 23. I’m sure she and her groom saved scads of dollars by choosing a Monday in the low-season. Sedona is in the high desert of Arizona, two hours north of Phoenix, so yep, it’s hot there especially this time of year.

Between the football event, our wedding anniversary on August 22 (spent in Prescott and in Sedona), and the wedding, this was a crazy weekend that involved me planning three one-way flights and a rental car, securing five nights in the Pet Lodge for the pups and 15 other things that had to happen. Not to mention, I haven’t traveled by air for almost 2 years, which usually makes me a little anxious.

Since my buddy Marsha makes an appearance in this post today, I again was inspired by her Writers’ Quotes Wednesday challenge which is Writer’s Choice or Order. At first, I didn’t think I could combine “order” with “going back,” but, welp, I managed to (thanks, Google).

In order to move forward, you have to look back.

Matt Maher

So let’s go back and take a partial look at our whirlwind weekends.

Going Back out on the Field for…High School Sports

My husband and I met at our high school near San Diego as 14-year-olds in 1974. We did not date but we were friends. Both of us were prominent athletes in our respective sports, me in swimming and track-and-field, he in football and soccer. Helix High School began its football program in 1951, and several former players organized a 70-year celebration honoring players from 7 decades and the coaches who inspired them.

Encouraged by friends on Facebook, we decided to make the trip for this one-of-a kind event.

These “old guys” from the 70s decade enjoyed going back onto the field and eventually watching the varsity football game after the celebration. Hans is front and center!

Helix HS 70-year football celebration 2021
Going back to high school football

I’d love to go back to when we played as kids, but things change. And that’s the way it is.

Tupac Shakur

Not only were there over 200 players there to receive honors, but alumni Bill Walton, of NBA-fame (playing for Portland Trailblazers and Boston Celtics), was also there to support his fellow Helix athletes.

For you American football buffs, two famous Helix alumni, Alex Smith and Reggie Bush, played football at Helix High school in the early 2000s and went on to become stars in the NFL.

According to Wikipedia, “While at Helix, Reggie played with the 2004 Heisman Trophy finalist and first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft Alex Smith. During his prep career with the Helix Highlanders, he won the prestigious Silver Pigskin trophy awarded by KUSI’s Prep Pigskin Report. Smith and Bush were later finalists for the 2004 Heisman Trophy, making it the first time a high school had two finalists at the same ceremony.”

Due to their busy schedules they were unable to attend, but how cool, huh?

My lovely daughter housed us overnight at her place and we enjoyed a fun but brief visit with her before we headed out Saturday morning to fly to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

Going Back to… Celebrating Friendships

We arrived in Phoenix and drove two hours to Prescott, AZ to stay with Marsha and her husband in their lovely new home! They treated us to a nice dinner downtown, then we strolled through the quaint streets in the warm summer evening.

We spent Sunday morning checking out Watson Lake and folks enjoying their kayaks and paddleboards. Marsha and her husband decided to drive along with us to Sedona to eat lunch at Butterfly Grill for our wedding anniversary. Such a fun day!

Blogger Friends in Prescott, AZ
Photo credit, Marsha’s hubby

Speaking of friendships, long-time friend, Marcie, and her husband drove from Sacramento area to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho (one hour drive from our home), to attend a family wedding over the Labor Day holiday weekend. They joined us at our home for dinner and was the first time they had seen our new place! I miss this bestie—we have been friends since 1980, our kids are the same age and we played years of recreational softball together.

Best friends
Friends for 40+ years!

Going Back to a Place…Sedona, Arizona

After saying goodbye to Marsha and her husband, we headed for the L’Auberge de Sedona Spa and Resort, where the wedding would take place the next day, and where we would spend two nights. At 7pm, we met the wedding party to shuttle to Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill. A wonderful way to spend our 8th wedding anniversary!

We were quite excited to be able to go back and see Sedona again, after our snowy winter road trip in 2018-19. The Instagram post below gives you an idea of the spectacular views that awaited us this time around.

The road was new to me, as roads always are, going back.

Sarah Orne Jewett

In late December 2018, we pulled into the Rancho Sedona RV campground with high hopes of seeing the sights around Sedona for a couple of days. Little did we know how much snow would fall our second day, on December 31, with thousands of visitors driving into the area.

Our views went from this to this in less than 24 hours!

I was told that the rock formation was Snoopy Rock, but, scratching my head, I didn’t see it.

Because we were snowed in, we couldn’t even walk the main street through town that affords all the iconic views. Going back to Sedona, on the morning of the wedding, we strolled the street that boasted views and signage!

Sign showing mountains of Sedona
Helpful Street Signs

Turns out, from the campground, Snoopy Rock was hidden. Going back this time, I finally saw Snoopy from a higher vantage point, and boy was I excited! Do you see Snoopy as if he is laying on top of his doghouse?

Snoopy Rock Sedona
Sedona’s Snoopy

For more about that winter road trip, you can check it our here.

A Sedona Wedding, Part 1

Many of you saw my post on Instagram and Facebook where I shared many images of my step-daughter’s wedding. On the morning of the wedding we enjoyed breakfast by the creek with the bride and groom, then did some shopping and sightseeing. My step-dot Vanessa’s mom was also there and helped her get ready.

Some fun facts about the wedding:

  • Vanessa and her new hubby live in Tempe, AZ. Sedona was the perfect venue for the wedding.
  • The groom’s parents live near Toronto, Canada, and travel restrictions were lifted in the nick of time.
  • Vanessa’s dog, Nala, a Shiba-Inu, was the ring bearer.
  • There were only 8 guests at the wedding: 5 parents and 3 special friends of the groom. A reception will be held next year in San Diego where most of the family lives.
  • The bride’s dress was an extra small and did not have to be altered in any way.
  • And yes, I cried when she was escorted down the steps and the aisle with her handsome papa.

Today I will share just a few photos of the wedding.

I had the pleasure of taking a bunch of photos of the wedding with my Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. I shared dozens of them with Vanessa. Next week, I will share more that happily coincide with the monthly color challenge Harvest Gold!

The small reception went late into the night. Thankfully the wedding venue was close to our room. However, all good times must come to an end, as the next morning, we were out the door at 4:45am to drive 2 hours back to Phoenix, turn in the rental car, and shuttle to the gate to fly home.

Sharing photos (except Sedona Rocks–most taken with my Lumix) for Journeys with Johnbo’s Cell Pic Sundays.

This map shows our itinerary, flying from Spokane, WA on Friday to San Diego. Saturday, from San Diego we flew to Phoenix, then drove to Prescott and Sedona. Our return trip on Tuesday, was back to Spokane with a short stop in Seattle.

It’s always good to be back home.

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Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

To see more of my images from our whirlwind weekends and other news, consider following Terri on Social Media by clicking the icons:

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Fellow blogger and Sunday Stills participant linked to my last post while on my break:

Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After

Join me next week for Part 2 of this post which highlights the wedding, which in turn shows off the colors for next week’s monthly color challenge Harvest gold! I will share more about the rest of the two weeks. Quite a bit happened so please stay tuned.

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Sunday Stills: Back to #School

graphic for back to school

graphic for back to school

Last week I took a short break from Sunday Stills to travel to San Diego for my high school’s 40th year class reunion (1978).

Did you enjoy the break? I know a few bloggers posted a couple of Sunday Stills’ favorites!

By the looks of my e-mail inbox, I see more folks are posting more often now that summer is over, and we are back to our normal routines.

By mid-September, everyone who is going to school is back by now, even the universities on quarter system. The traffic on the roads has definitely picked up in my area!

This week’s theme is “back to school’ which can have the potential for a lot of ideas. As a university lecturer, I went back to school at the end of August. I mentioned before that I love the beginning of the school year where everything seems fresh and new as the Fall gets under way.

Back to School Ideas

I’m looking forward to what your posts will cover for the theme, whether you find a fantastic image of an actual school or write a poem or haiku about the subject or just reminisce about a topic related to school. I can see someone posting about adult education, online learning or a myriad of other ideas. Did someone in your family have their “first day” at kindergarten, or high school? Those are important milestones that I’m sure you celebrated to some degree.

The sky is the limit. Here are a couple of mine to get you started.

Nothing says “back to school” in the non-traditional sense than celebrating with fellow classmates at a class reunion.

Classmates at a high school reunion
Photo credit: A friend’s husband took the pic!

I can’t say I miss the teenage drama of those days, but fortunately, after 40 years, most everyone has grown up (I say “most” with tongue planted firmly in cheek) and become responsible, wiser adults who have proven to be good friends over the years. There were two events: a Friday night mixer at a San Diego bar and grill, then the reunion itself. I have to say it was the best reunion I have attended (I went to my 10th, 20th, & 30th). Lots of talking, dancing and catching up. Many thanks to the ladies on my immediate right and left who were part of the reunion event committee.

Sadly I’ve heard that class reunions are becoming a bit of an anachronism these days, now that social media keeps people together in some sense. But there is nothing like seeing your fellow classmates in person years later with glasses, wrinkles and extra weight to level the playing field of teenage angst and insecurity that defined high school.

Of course I am back to school on my university campus as the semester has gained a foothold into September. A variety of competing coffee shops provides much needed caffeine for overworked students.

Students walking through library breezeway
Spurred on by the promise of campus “Grumpy Mule” coffee, student pedestrians make their way to the library.

Last spring, I took my leisure education class out onto the campus bridge and had them play by blowing bubbles, but not without coffee!

In this photo, a group of youth tour the campus in hopes of becoming future university students.

Future students touring the university

Almost four years ago I wrote a post about The Haunting of Old Coloma School House, which is a historical look at a building where I worked.

Share your “back to school” themed posts and images for Sunday Stills. Link up below or simply create a pingback to this post!


Terri_signature_red

Reconnecting with My High School Teacher

Meeting my high school teacher 38 years later

Meeting my high school teacher 38 years later

Who was your favorite high school teacher?

Mine was Mrs. Myrra Lee, of Helix High School in La Mesa, California, a suburb of San Diego.

Through an odd, but emotional set of circumstances, I discovered Mrs. Lee  was celebrating her 90th birthday in San Diego in July 2016, and her family posted an open invitation on Facebook to former students. Initially I declined because we had no desire for travel plans in June or July due to my husband’s summer work demands.

I contacted her family via e-mail and gave them my regrets. They asked if we would like to contribute to an album and I submitted this post, Teacher of the Year, thinking that was that. In this post I wrote these words:

Now that I am an educator, I wish she knew how much her teaching influenced my life, personally and professionally.

I never believed that I would ever get the chance to tell her face to face after 38 years.

In late June that year, my brother called to tell me that my mother, who lives in a nursing home in San Diego, had taken a sudden turn for the worst. Her doctor recommended the family should see her ASAP in case she was to pass. Abruptly, my daughter, my husband, and I made emergency plans to travel to San Diego to be with my mom.

As I looked at the dates to fly both my daughter and husband back home for work, I saw that the birthday party for Mrs. Lee was just the following Saturday. I e-mailed the family and asked if there were still spots open for the luncheon, and remarkably, there were several spots left.

The travel plans were for us to all drive the nine-hours together, then I would stay on and attend the party, and drive back home.

As much as I looked forward to this, I also dreaded the idea of my mother possibly passing away while we were there. The emotional rollercoaster that followed was overwhelming as I began grieving the loss of my mother.

From Friday, when we got the phone call, to Sunday night when we finally visited my mom, we weren’t sure how mom would look, but she looked amazingly well. Her doctor had painted a bleak picture of her prognosis. Since it was evening, she was already in bed. She battles a series of medical conditions including dementia, so she was confused as to place and time but recognized us all. Each day we visited her, she got better and the massive infection miraculously cleared up on its own. To this day she is still doing well, much to her doctor’s amazement.

I told my mom I was going to Mrs. Lee’s 90th birthday party. My mom had been with me in 1977 when we attended the high school reception honoring Mrs. Lee’s National Teacher of the Year award. She had returned from the trip to Washington D.C to accept the award from President Jimmy Carter.

Words that are dear to my heart now a year later were when my mother said, “Oh, she’s 90? Tell her I said hello and congratulations.” As if my mom had one foot in 2016 and one foot in 1977.

The day of Mrs. Lee’s luncheon brought me so much joy! Just the mere fact that I would actually see her after 38 years was hard to imagine. I was told by the family that she had suffered a mild stroke a few months before. When I entered the restaurant, I walked up to where she sat and introduced myself. She noticed my name tag and smiled. I asked if she remembered me and she replied very softly that she did. Elated and honored, I got a photo taken with her, then went to sit down.

I sat at a table with several classmates which was an unexpected delight. The best thing about the luncheon was the opportunity for us to stand up and share our perspectives and experiences we had with her as our teacher. They also passed around the two photo albums and I was enormously pleased to see my blog post plastered across two full pages.

Nervously I stood and thanked her for being such an inspiration to me. I’m sure I stumbled over a few more words, eloquent and otherwise, but more specifically, these: “I ended up becoming an educator, too, Mrs. Lee, and this is the joy of my life.”

She smiled and applauded, along with the rest of the room. I sat down with tears shining in my eyes.

In reading through the albums, it was clear that she had not let age slow her down, but continued to make news headlines.

In 2011, Mrs. Myrra Lee was also lauded for her role as a staunch advocate against human trafficking, long after retiring from teaching. This article, “Waking People to Injustice” written by Los Angeles Times Columnist Sandy Banks, leads with this headline:

“Myrra Lee, 85, is working to show sex trade’s hidden victims.”

As I listened to more of my high school classmates share their stories of her, I watched her and still saw that razor-sharp glint in her eye, as her educator mind drank in the memories and praise. Even her recent stroke at age 90 has not stopped those gears from turning.

Sadly, I had to leave the luncheon before it concluded to travel back home. I collected the dogs and my luggage and drove the nine-hour drive home reflecting on how two remarkable women affected my life as a teenager and still feel their continued influence into my midlife years.

My mother, through her daily example, taught me the value of leisure and fitness.

My high school teacher taught me the value of education and challenged students to reach for the stars and to not take no for an answer.

Was it a beloved teacher who inspired you? How so?

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For all you bloggers out there who love stats and analytics, googling “Myrra Lee Educator” ranked my original post fifth on the home page! Your stories do make a difference!