Spring in Salinas

Dear Jasper and Kestrel,

I know you are still having rain in Portland, that warm, soaking spring rain that I am missing. Here in Salinas, the weather can’t make up its mind.

Last weekend, I walked in the rain to Mission Park School. This snail looked so pretty against the wet sidewalk, I photographed him. People who know how I used to stomp on any snail I saw know that this is progress in my karmic journey.

Snail, out snailin’

Out walking today, I saw signs that spring is progressing. The wooden sidewalk that your mommy and Uncle David would beg me to pull their wagon over (for the bumps) was looking pretty and green.

Bumpa bumpa…..

Flowers were blooming, and I found a robin’s egg shell laying under a tree, where the Momma bird was being very vocal, letting me know that I  should go away.

Robin’s egg shell




At a friend’s house, I noticed the return of the headless statue!! Hooray!! Auntie Bridgett loves this statue and we worried when it disappeared. But there it is, big as life and still headless. You go, headless statue!

Stalwartly Headless


Meanwhile, in Uncle David’s garden, some bulbs I got from Great Grandma Billie’s garden years ago are starting to bloom. They are wonderfully tall lilies, and they get as high as Liza before they even bloom. But today, one went from a bud in the morning to a full bloom in the afternoon. I expect some sort of explosion very soon.

Lilies this morning…..




Lilies this afternoon!

Spring Field Trip

Dear Jasper and Kestrel,

Spring has sprung, but it is also dripping, blooming, and blowing! But we are not letting that stop us. Today was the fourth grade’s walking field trip to Hartnell College to watch the children’s theater show, The Princess who Lost her Hair.

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Daffodils peeking

The weather was windy and cool, but 75  kids, 8 parents, and three teachers headed off from University Park School. We walked through the neighborhood to stay off Central, where the sidewalks are still being reconstructed after the trees were removed, and off West Alisal, a very busy street. Once we got to the Theater Arts building we went right in. We were the only class coming, so we had the whole theater to ourselves. We got the first through 6th rows…great seats! Every student got their own program, and most read about the actors and story before the play started.

A line of fourth graders

The play was performed by 6 performers, 5 of whom were kids. It was an African folktale about a sad but vain princess who believes that her long, beautiful hair is her only source of strength. When a bird asks for a few strands for its nest, she rudely refuses and sends the bird away. The bird, being magical, causes a terrible drought in the land.

In the audience!

A kind beggar woman goes to find the bird and help resolve the problem, having her own adventure along the way. In the end, the Princess and the beggar woman become friends and rule the country together. It is a lovely story of the consequences of vanity and pride, and the need to be kind and respectful to everyone.There was enough music, theatrical magic and silliness in the play to be very entertaining.

As a fan of the theater, I could enjoy the play because the students were behaving so well. As a teacher, I enjoyed the fact that my students could pay respectful attention to live theater.

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The Set of the Princess Who Lost Her Hair

We got back to school without getting wet, and enjoyed the rest of the day writing about the trip and doing our mosaics.

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Kylie’s Garden

During my afternoon, I realized that it was 5 years this week that my Momma passed away. It was that same day that I lost a dear student, Kylie Casada, to brain cancer. Momma’s memorial is her family and the flowers we grow from her garden. Kylie’s memorial is a garden at University Park, which has just this week started blooming. Heather, daffodils and a cherry tree are opening up to remind us that life is beautiful, and that it goes on.

Spring is a time of new beginnings.


Grandma Judy