A glimpse of my work day in review…then off to bed!

I thought I’d share a bit about my day before I collapse into bed.

I covered a lot of ground today.

I left home this morning before the sun was even peeking above the horizon, heading east to lend a hand with last-minute details at a work-related special event. Our Center for Academic Service-Learning and Research (Azusa Pacific University) planned and prepared for many months to host an 8th Grade Majors Fair for the students from the three Azusa middle schools, and today was the BIG day!

8th Grade Majors Fair

Our office was responsible for coordinating this large-scale event with participation from two other Institutes of Higher Education–Cal-Poly Pomona and Citrus College.

Eighth-grade students were brought by bus loads to one of the city’s beautiful facilities, encouraged to interact with faculty and university students, asking questions and studying colorful exhibits and displays.

The day was designed to provide age-appropriate and useful information about the many majors and academic disciplines available to the students in five short years when they are college or university eligible.

The hands-on and interactive stations were prepared to excite the students’ curiosity about how what they study in college supports their interests and what they will choose as future careers.

My contribution to the planning and execution was minimal compared to most of the volunteers, so I took advantage of spare moments to walk around with camera-in-hand.

I can’t really share photos of the children, but I hope you can get a sense of the interaction from just a few.

Volunteers from Azusa Pacific’s ROTC and Office of Military and Veterans Resources took fully loaded military backpacks and demonstrated how heavy they were by inviting 8th grade volunteers to test their strength and endurance.

ROTC army backpack

The students loved this!

Another big favorite was the Police K-9 unit and deputy Roby.

It was a very busy time, but a nice change from my usual office habitat.

And I was able to spend some time outdoors, too, an obvious benefit.

I couldn’t help but be impressed with the way the city’s Memorial Park North Recreation Center was fully committed to water saving vegetation, drought tolerant and California Native plants.

Do you think this type of landscaping is important?

San Gabriel Mountains

Do you see how close the homes are to the San Gabriel Mountain foothills?

It may only be mid-March, but we have had three days of 90°  record-breaking heat. At this rate the foothills will be tinder before we even get into summer.

So water-wise landscaping is incredibly important.

Not everyone is completely on-board with the aesthetics of grasses, chaparral, succulents and sage. But as my concern about water shortages and the generally wasteful way most Southern California gardens drink up such a valuable resource increases, so does my appreciation for these very natural California Native gardens.

At noon I left the Majors Fair and quickly changed hats, traveling an hour on five different freeways, cutting across  town in strategic traffic-avoidance patterns hoping to have a few minutes of quiet with Karina before walking to pick Sophia up from Kindergarten.

We spent the remainder of the day between homework and reading a new dinosaur book. How is it they can pronounce all those names and I trip over them?

It was a full and special day…an ordinary day, but of the best kind. I suspect I will breathe lighter from satisfaction and sleep well!

I need my rest. Our weekend plans include a preschool talent show–that should be entertaining, and this is the weekend for the Wistaria Festival. You may recall I mentioned the vine is listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

I recharge quickly so I’ll be up to it. And I’ll have my camera with me. Stay tuned!

36 thoughts on “A glimpse of my work day in review…then off to bed!

    1. How great, Denise! I’m so happy to learn your daughter-in-law is at APU. Our School of Nursing is really exceptional with a stellar reputation. My daughter graduated with her her B.S. in Nursing several years ago and I am very partial to that program. 🙂 Congratulations to your daughter-in-law for her acceptance into the nurse practitioner program. She is obviously a good student and headed into a very worthwhile career! I’m so glad to learn we have a tie through APU!

  1. Debra.. it looks like a fruitful day for the students and kudos to you for your part in it… I’m fascinated by the water wise plantings.. it is so necessary today to think of these things and natural, endemic plants are the way to go.. they know what to expect and can live almost on no extra water… wonderful that this is taking shape in other places of the world.. with heavy drives towards it here by us, as water is becoming scarce and with the growth in the cities our storage damns were never made to cope with the increases… something will have to be done.. and the one thing they’re doing is, water is becoming an expensive commodity.. one stops the wastage now which is good… lovely post..

    1. You do understand the need for water conservation, Rob! I see major efforts in city governments, but awareness is slow to spread. Even with my own growing consciousness, I have a lot of green lawn! We’re working on that, and I’m starting to make changes. The truth is that most of our homes are beautiful landscaped more like English gardens. I am very concerned about the almost cavalier attitude we have about our resources. Huge homes are still being built with really no thought about the future implications. I’m sometimes torn between fascination and alarm! If we have another year with water rationing, it’s been a few since that’s happened, the discussion will be relevant and important again! I hope you have a good weekend, Rob.

      1. As a retired green keeper of a golf course I’m aware of so many produces that can reduce water requirements.. we used a lot on the course as well as reintroducing microbes … this saved our water usage by 55%… I don’t know if these products are available in the USA .. but I’m sure they are.. if you want more info let me know…

  2. Whew … quite the productive day. Kudos to your org for their career efforts. Great info about the natural plants and their relationship to the water issues. Enjoy the Talent Shows … and I look forward to the Wisteria pics.

    1. I’m very interested in drought tolerant landscaping, Frank. It’s kind of a new interest for me, relative to other things. So I suppose you’re going to be hearing more about it as I attend some workshops this summer. I really enjoyed following the 8th graders and seeing what interested them the most. It was fun. I hope I can get good pictures of the famous vine. I also hope it isn’t too hot! I can’t believe I even have to say that! 🙂

  3. A hectic but wonderful day! And your weekend sounds like it will be fun as well. I think grasses and other native succulents are very attractive and definitely a good idea for landscaping with looming water shortages ahead. I hope your early 90 degree heat doesn’t move east!

    1. I don’t think I ever thought the drought tolerant landscaping was unattractive, but I have only in very recent times suddenly seen it as really beautiful. I often wonder what happens to so suddenly shift a perspective. Now I’m trying to learn all that I can in order to gradually make some dramatic changes at home and to incorporate many more of the larger, dramatic plants. It’s a whole new learning and education for me. Yesterday was a very different day for me, and it was fun to share some of the photos. I wish I could have shared more directly about the kids themselves, as they were very enthusiastic…and as for the early heat…this is weird! I’m sure glad there’s NO global warming, aren’t you? Yikes!

  4. Fascinating Debra 🙂 “How is it they can pronounce all those names and I trip over them?” – is it because you and I are Dinosaurs 😉 I love the idea of the native vegetation gardens – my garden is gradually going that way. I’m going to remove the Pyracantha soon and replace it with native Hawthorn – much better for the birds 🙂 I loved that photo of the big Police Woofle – looks like he’s into children in a big way 😉

    1. Thank you for stopping by last Friday…I’m a little slow! 🙂 The 8th grade majors fair was enjoyable for all of the adults who put time into it, and I’m hoping each of the 8th graders came away with new thoughts about what they might like to study in the future. I would have really enjoyed something like this when I was in 8th grade. It was a nice opportunity to be with some delightful 12 and 13 year olds, too!

    1. I’ll be you were a very curious 8th grader! You have a good mind and you take your curiosity and work with it! 🙂 These 8th grade students were very sweet. You could see they were overwhelmed by all the choices and when asked what they would like to study when they go to college, only a few could say. That’s what this day was about, though, introducing them to the idea that there are so many choices in life! Thanks for stopping by…and now, get back to your studies. LOL!

  5. Wonderful post! Sounds like it was an exciting and stimulating day, Debra.

    The Majors Fair sounds like a great day for kids, exposing them to all the possibilities that await them in life. I can only imagine the amount of planning it takes to make such an even happen.

    As you might imagine, I am all for drought tolerant landscaping, or any landscaping indigenous to the areas we live in. We are slowly introducing native plants and grasses into our own landscaping here, finding, of course, that native grasses do well in our prairie state of Illinois. I think that as awareness grows, our collective aesthetics will change. Our garden club has had several initiatives to plant native. We are “the chorus”, but, can see it beginning to filter into the general population, albeit slowly, slowly, slowly.

    Enjoy your weekend, the talent show, and the wistaria.

    1. I enjoyed your comment about native plants in your landscaping, Penny. I think I forget that “natives” are that, wherever they bloom naturally. Because of our harsh climate I tend to think more exclusively about drought tolerant planting, but of course, each area has its particular needs and requirements. I am going to take a tour in a couple of weeks (garden tour) visiting homes that have truly made the transition to native plants. I’ve seen a few of the homes through photos and they are just spectacular! The homeowners have been working on this for years and they have replaced all lawns and created the most appealing natural landscapes. I’m planning to take photos and the to share them. I think I am going to ask readers to tell me what they see that either reminds them or is very dissimilar from what is native to their region. I would be so interested to learn about that!

      Your comment about your garden club is very closely similar to what I think has been happening here. There have been champions of what feels like a small movement attempting to make a difference in native plants, particularly for purposes of water conservation, for years! After a very long time it is slowly becoming popular. Now, it’s like the “newest” thing. Funny how that happens! I’ve been noting the good work that garden clubs do in our community. I have truly latched on to the realization that they are the driving force behind many preservationist goals, and then they are behind the hard work of keeping some gardens thriving, and in the Pasadena area, many, many with strictly native plants. That’s been a tough shift, I’m sure, for a city known for the Rose Parade! Maybe this spring you could post more about your garden club. I always enjoy hearing about it, Penny!

  6. Busy and fun! Th efair sound sgreat I wish we’d had stuff like that when I was growing up. and the police dog photo is stunning!
    Water and gardening – I’m with you, we need to grow what is right, work on ways to conserve water and frankly just be bloody sensibel about t!! Right off my soap box….

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this very special day. I know the kids will remember it for a very long time and that’s so important. Last Friday, we had snow here in the canyon, quite a bit of snow. Today, I’m sure the temp will reach 80 degrees. And we need more rain or snow before the season is over.

    1. You are probably experiencing all kinds of temperature fluctuations in the canyon, aren’t you Inger. You’re so right that we need more rain and snow…but I think the rain we were expecting tomorrow is going to bypass us! It could be a long, hot summer. I enjoyed sharing photos from my work-related event. I don’t often have time outside the office, so this was a fun day for me, too! 🙂

  8. What a wonderful day, Debra, glowing with all the things that make your part of the world special. Your photographs brung it alive so vividly. I just loved the photograph of the hills above the rooftops. The warmth radiated out from it.

    1. I’m glad to have shared a little bit about my work, Kate. Our jobs take up so much of our time and yet when we blog, that’s probably not precisely what we are most eager to talk about. This one event was special and I was glad I could share a bit. And yes, to get outdoors was even better. I am at my best when I can be outside of an office! 🙂

  9. I’m breathless just trying to keep up with you, Deb! What a fantastic fair, it looks like it was just buzzing with excited energy from the students and presenters. It is so important to motivate and excite younger students about the possibilities in their future careers. My kids’ schools must have done something like this.. but I wonder because they would have told me about something this exciting! Have a fabulous weekend at your preschool talent show.. my goodness, those are just the Best Days ever!! I’ll look forward to those photos for sure! xx

    1. Our preschooler was quite the little moody diva, Barb. She stole the show with attitude–a bad one! LOL! Apparently she is happiest when she is alone on the stage, and she didn’t particularly want to join in when she had to share. Of course, it didn’t help that we all laughed! 🙂

  10. What a great idea to put on a display like this for Grade 8 students – it’ll give them a chance to think about what they reeeeelly want to do when they “grow up” and so good to read something positive about our school kids. Good for you Debra. 🙂

    I also wonder how kids can pronounce all those dinosaur names but as soon as we grow up and become parents they become tongue twisters!

    I look forward to seeing the pictures of the wisteria. I’ve seen some beauties growing in my neighborhood in the past week.

    1. The school event went so well, Rosie. I wish all 8th-graders could participate in something similar. Students today necessarily need to make choices in their educational plans so early. It’s nice when we can give them a little more information to help them get on their way!

  11. Now that’s what I call a worthwhile day, Debra! It’s so important to catch teenagers’ interest and try to get them to think positively and constructively about their future and the event you describe was obviously well-planned to do that.

    As for the landscaping and your amazing temperatures, I sometimes wonder whether you and I inhabit the same planet. 🙂 Here we need plants that can cope with excessive rainfall and temperatures which are stubbornly refusing to rise above what you have in your fridge, even as the spring equinox approaches. Sigh…..

    Your granddaughters’ ability to pronounce all the dinosaur names is par for the course if our grandsons are anything to go by….. 🙂

    1. I laugh similarly, Perpetua, when I read about the rain and cold, knowing that if I have one or two days of drizzle I start to feel oppressed! LOL! I know exactly how that sounds. You have humbled me considerably, and I don’t dare complain–outloud anyway! Ha! Wouldn’t it be fun if we could just switch places for a short time just to see what it is really like! Tomorrow is the first day of spring, so I’m holding out hope for you that the weather will get a bit warmer…and give you some sunshine! I do hope you’re feeling some improvement in your hearing. Your experience must be very disconcerting, to say the least! oxo

    1. I did have a good weekend, until I got sick. LOL! I DID overdo it. I should have seen that coming. I don’t have the common sense I was born with sometimes. But I’m fine now. Rest is very therapeutic. LOL!

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