This is So Long For Now, Beloved Bloggers

Yosemite Girls

Yosemite Girls

The above image is of myself and my Beloved daughters enjoying a summer day in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. We just celebrated their late January birthdays, 30 for Lauren, 33 for Megan. I am honored to have passed on a strong leisure ethic to them.

This photo of Lembert Dome from the Tuolumne Meadows Campground depicts my beloved leisure space of all time. How fortunate my grandparents passed on their love of the mountains to my mother and dad, who in turn made sure we spent many hours at the beaches of San Diego, endless days of weekend outings and glorious weeks camping, keeping the values of leisure in a busy, fast paced world.

If you are wondering what any of this has to do with the title of this post, it means I am using this WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme to say a fond farewell to my beloved readers and bloggers.

As another year turned the corner, I made the difficult decision about this blog, Second Wind Leisure Perspectives.

Now is the time for me to take an extended break from writing and publishing.

I am both sad and a little relieved at this decision.

Teaching is Taking All My Time

Although I profess to be retired, I have been teaching part-time as a lecturer in the Recreation and Parks field, which requires more time than I initially expected. Going from one class per semester while also working full-time was one thing, to teaching 15 units a year, some semesters with 150 students, feels like full-time work.

And I dearly love it!

This spring semester I took on a new course teaching the management of leisure organizations. Simple enough one would think, but have you seen the mountains of management literature out there?

I read at least 100 pages of management literature every day, then synthesize it into curriculum and power point slides while making it all relevant to their assignments. I had to create this course from scratch because of my own management experiences in the field.

Last night I lectured from the textbook on the evolution of management theory. I told my 80 students that they will likely never remember Max Weber’s “Bureaucratic Method” of the depression years or Elton Mayo’s “Human Relations Approach” of the 50s and 60s. You could hear a pin drop as students dutifully listened to the lecture.

When I began the next lecture at 7:30pm on self-management, they began to flood me with questions. Suddenly, the energy in the room was exciting and palpable as I shared the latest trends on what it takes to be a new manager in the field. By the time I got home at 9:00pm, I was wired!

This is where my energy needs to be…

…with these university students, hungry for information on what will direct the rest of their careers.

In the blogging world, blogs come and go. I hope you learned a little something from me about finding a healthy balance of leisure in your own lives and that you make wise leisure choices going forward.

I will be visible on Facebook and Instagram  where I will continue to share my photos. I will also continue to read your posts when I can and I do hope to blog again at the end of the semester.

I cannot thank you all enough for the wonderful friendships and relationships I have built since I started consistently blogging in September 2014. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, liking, commenting and sharing my posts.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye…

…for now.

All my best,

Terri_signature_red

Variations of Higher Education

student bicycles line the sidewalk

student bicycles line the sidewalk

The Weekly Photo Challenge does just that: it offers a challenge to photographers and photo-bloggers to find or take pictures of people, places and things of interest.

This week, my challenge was going back into the classroom to teach a new set of university students on the subject of management. I really wouldn’t say it was challenging, as in difficult, in that respect, but I faced the challenge of settling into a new routine after a long semester break that included extended travel.

The photo challenge this week is Variations on a Theme.

Have you guessed my theme yet? Education!

The photo above shows a variety of colorful bicycles all lined up as the spring semester begins. This represents a very cold, cloudy day at Sacramento State University (yes, I know it’s not as cold as what the rest of the US is experiencing). Students will still ride their bikes in the cold and rain.

This next photo is of my new classroom (the calm before the storm of 40 students gathering for class). This is a high-tech classroom with cameras, audio and microphones set up to record the lecture in order to stream it for the online section of students.

University classroomAs I teach my classroom of face-to-face students one night a week, the online section with another set of students watches the video of the class. All 80 students in both sections complete the same assignments. Someone is a genius for creating this variation on the higher education theme.

This semester will be a walk in the park! I get to lecture once a week, which counts for two separate classes! I only have to be on campus one day a week and I will only have 80 students instead of 130! Nice variation on this theme!

Just for fun, as we long for warmer days ahead, this next photo shows my former Friday morning class having their day at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center. A variety of kayaks, colors and levels of skill and enjoyment.

College students kayaking for first time

Experiential Education is another variation of a teaching technique of which I am proud to be a part. I will miss those classes…a little!

For now I will enjoy this new challenge of teaching management theory and practice!

 

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!

Under Construction

Late-Summer-cone-flowers

Late-Summer-cone-flowers

If we were having coffee today, I would wish you a happy Labor Day weekend and toast the holiday with a nice Colombian medium roast. I can offer you a variety of teas if you prefer.

Labor Day, observed as a national holiday on the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. This holiday traditionally bids farewell to summer as schools and universities begin and autumn is in the air (supposedly).

I am spending the three-day weekend at the delta enjoying the last of the windsurfing season. My wrenched knee is healing slowly, so I’m not sure how much water time I will get. Luckily,  I can stand-up paddle a little, and get up and down the launch OK. We also have to pack up a load to take home, then starts the de-construction of our camp.

I like to think of this time of year as being “under construction.”

Back to Teaching
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week I started back to my part-time lecturing gig at the university. My last time teaching was in December. When I retired from public service in recreation, I had to take 6 months off (really eight) from my CalPERS public agency. Both my full-time work and part-time teaching are public agencies that pay into CalPERS. As I go back to teaching, my new title is “Retired Annuitant.” Retired annuitants can go back to work at their former workplace on a half-time basis, and still receive a pension.

Not to brag, but I “work” 8 hours a week on campus. Of course there are lots of papers to grade which can done at anywhere. Teaching two classes per semester is fantastic. And my students are enthusiastic (and laugh at my jokes).

One of my classes is new to me, so I am still constructing lectures and putting together good class activities to keep my 80 students occupied.

Master Bedroom Construction
master-under-constructionIf we were having coffee, I would show you how the bedroom addition is coming along. You will have to check out my Pinterest boards for the decorating ideas we are choosing. I am particularly excited about my bedroom office nook, where I plan to spend hours blogging, grading papers, and generally organizing my life.

Summer into Autumn
Are you ready for autumn? I sure am. Ironically, fall is the driest time of year in Northern California and the threat of wildfires is worrisome. Fall seems to also be under construction, as the sun goes down earlier and the nights and mornings are blissfully cool, and the leaves slowly change from green, to yellow, then to vibrant oranges, reds and browns.

I think my attitude goes under a little reconstruction as well. Does this happen to you when the seasons change? I enjoy the unique things that each season brings, but the Fall brings a sense of peace despite the sometimes frenetic pace of school, work, the imminent holiday season, and perhaps some travel.

I hope you enjoyed coffee with me today. What parts of your life are under construction now?


Join me each week for Part-Time Monster’s Weekend Coffee Share.