Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Grand Experiment

Quite a while ago, I read an article about a family that didn't buy anything new for an entire year. They had kids and the entire family decided to see if they could do it. It has stuck with me as an interesting idea. It crops up every time the Amex bill comes in the mail. So Ducky and I have decided to that we are going to do our own version of this experiment. Oddly, this has nothing to do with the economy, but more to do with our impulse purchases and opting for the easy out (meals, etc.).

We have decided that for the months of January and February, we are going to follow a few simple rules and see how much money we can save. Then we are going to put that amount of money aside for home projects or a trip.

The Rules:
Consumable items may be purchased - groceries, cleaning products, utilities, auto expenses, printer paper/office supplies
Necessary repairs will be taken care of
Eat out not more than once a week - only when life requires it
Any purchase must fill a need - a need being a must have, cannot live without it, not gosh that would be great to have
Shop from lists
We get a monthly allowance of $20 (a girl cannot give up coffee completely)
We will have a monthly family activity allowance of $100
Use coupons when I find them

There was a time when we did not have any extra money and we were really conscious of where our money went. Now that our budget is not as tight, we don't think before we spend. We hope to become mindful of our spending, allowing us to save up to do more expensive projects or vacations more frequently. To stop frittering away our extra money and instead use it reach our goals. Anyone want to experiment with us?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Goodbye Snow

The temperature has risen since Christmas day. It has been a balmy 50-ish degrees outside the last few days. This morning when I looked outside, the snow was gone. There were a few short piles left where shoveled snow had been thrown. But the lawn was visible, the sidewalks were clear and my winter wonderland was gone.

I loved the snow. I didn't love the dirt, slush and ice mix nearly as much. But when it was fluffy and clean and beautiful, I loved it. I loved the extra days it gave me with the boys. I loved sitting in the family room by the crackling fire, reading or stitching or watching the tree. I loved feeling all snug in my house while the world was quiet outside. I loved that we had a brief bit of real winter.

Now, I am enjoying the return of our normally mild temperatures. I am washing the snow pants to put away until next year or until we go sledding. I am getting ready for the return of the mud monster (aka Velcro). There is rain in the forecast for the next ten days. Yup, we are back to normal.

The family didn't get quite enough of the white stuff. We decided that today we would go ice skating. Ducky and I have not been for nearly two decades. The boys have never been. Ice skates have changed! Once we got out skates on, we were off. I had been hoping that the ice would not have been freshly cleaned, and it wasn't. I took sweetE's hand and we stepped out onto the ice. Ducky and sweetP were right behind us.

After half a lap, sweetE was ready to hang up his skates. But, after the whole lap, he was ready for more. We went around again, he was getting the hang of it and my legs were getting back in the groove. Meanwhile, sweetP hung onto the wall like he would drown without it. I convinced him that if he held on with only one hand, it would be so much easier.

Periodically we would stop and rest in the hockey boxes. We traded boys every few laps. I found muscles I had forgotten that I had. The boys were getting better, we no longer got stuck behind other people on the wall. After a while, sweetE got so good that he was pulling us as we went.

The dreaded moment happened, sweetE turned and in my effort to avoid him, down we went. I got him picked up and made sure he was okay. He was shaken, but fine. Then couldn't hold his hand and get up at the same time. I had to walk to the side on my knees so I could get up. Then off we went again. With five minutes left of free skate, he was done and so was I. Ducky and sweetP were off for one more lap.

The rest of the afternoon and evening we have been asked if we "are going skating tomorrow" and "when are we going skating again?" I would venture to guess they had a good time. I wonder how sore I will be tomorrow?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Tale of Two Christmases

We had a white Christmas. I had a fire in the fireplace all day. We had a leisurely day. There were the right amount of gifts under the tree. The boys played happily with their toys all day. We had friends over for dinner. It was nearly the perfect Christmas day, the quickly squashed migraine kept it from being perfect. It was a stark contrast to a Christmas eight years ago.

Eight years ago, it was sweetP's first Christmas. He was about seven months old. I was so excited about his first Christmas and ours as parents. Unfortunately, there was a problem that crept up at about six a.m. It was a pain and it was familiar. It was a pain that generally sends me to the ER. That's right, the day dawned with the movement of a kidney stone. It was just Ducky and I at home with sweetP. Our little house was magical and bright. SweetP slept in until at least seven, his gift to his parents (my 5 a.m. boy). I laid there in denial. It could not, it would not happen on Christmas day.

We have video of opening gifts. I am in pain and it shows. I was trying so hard to enjoy helping him open a package of mittens. He went down for his nap and I tried everything to feel better. A hot shower, walking, drinking water, a heating pad. No luck. By the time he woke up from his nap, it was time to go. We packed him in the car. There was no snow that year. We headed off to the ER.

I had been there ten days before. Same stone, different day. I checked in and then waited. There were carolers in the waiting room. I have never hated Christmas songs before that day. If I hadn't been hoping to die or at least pass out, I might have let them know how painful their singing was. Not their actual singing, but the fact that they were reminding me of what day it was, and how it was my baby's first Christmas and we were in the ER. Insult to injury. I'm sure people in other parts of the hospital would have enjoyed their singing more.

I made it in to see my favorite ER doc. I had already seen him twice before. He scanned me, drugged me and sent me home after giving me the option to check in and stay a while. The rest of my Christmas day was spent in a drug-induced, drowsy stupor. There was no Christmas dinner. Our neighbors brought Ducky a plate of leftovers. SweetP doesn't remember a thing, I will never forget.

By comparison, a quickly squashed migraine is a mild inconvenience. Our Christmas was everything I could hope for. My children did not fight all day. There were almost no demands to get stuff done, Ducky's fretting about dinner getting done will soon be a distant memory. It was quiet and calm and happy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas

The stockings were hung on the mantle with care, by two little elves who are beside themselves with Christmas excitement. Those elves have been busy all of the day. They helped to make cookies, gingerbread stars, and tasted them too. They decorated them, using new found restraint, they heard that last year Santa got a tummy ache. They offered to go to bed early to help things along, at 6:30, so early!

They have opened their ornaments, they both got a plane. A plane to help them remember their first BIG adventure. They love their new jammies, with polar bears on them. But just can't seem to settle down for the night. Not once, or twice, but three times and more, they have popped out of bed, just too excited to sleep.

Go to sleep my boys, Christmas is coming. Mommy Santa needs some sleep to be ready for tomorrow. It is so hard to sleep when Christmas is coming, but try my boys and you will see that the time will fly by.

Merry Christmas to all and have a good night!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Do You Mean I Only Have One More Day?!?

Just as it does every year, Christmas has snuck up on me. Just yesterday I had weeks to get ready, or at least it seemed. Now suddenly it is the 23rd. There is still so much I want to get done, holiday and otherwise. How is it that I can go from feeling on top of the world (mine at least) into where has the time gone so quickly?

Not to fear, there is nothing of grand importance that remains undone. The only big project I have left is to make cookies. Santa will appreciate the fact that they were baked earlier that day. My house will smell heavenly. And I will have yummy cookies to munch on. The boys and I will be donning our aprons and getting to work tomorrow making gingerbread.

Tonight, the boys got to experience fed-up mommy. She is not very nice. But an hour is plenty long to clean up those Legos, don't you think. The boys have started to completely ignore my requests. So tonight, more than 45 minutes after asking them to clean up, I set the timer. They had 10 minutes to get that mess cleaned up. I needed access to the tree and I was not going to work around Legos. The consequence in question, one Christmas gift each. If the timer went off before every Lego was picked up, I would remove one of each of their gifts from the tree.

Can you guess what happened? The timer went off, there were Legos on the floor, the wailing began. True to my word, two gifts were removed from under the tree. SweetP was despondent because he is convinced I took a video game (I did). SweetE, wasn't bothered a bit. He told his brother that there were still lots of presents under the tree (there are). SweetE seems to have a better perspective on life most of the time. Not that he can't throw one whopper of a fit if he wants to. But lately, sweetP loses it at the drop of a hat.

So I gently reminded the boys that they had more than enough time to get the room cleaned if they had started when I asked them too. SweetP came up to me later and asked what he would have to do to earn his gift back. I simply said that if he did what was asked of him, without complaint or being reminded, it would probably reappear under the tree.

Tonight he helped make his bed, he put away his towel and cuddled while we watched "Shrek the Halls." He is well on his way to getting his game back.

Meanwhile, the weather report calls for four more inches of snow tonight. It looks like it will be a white Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Fluffy White Stuff Continues

I got up this morning to more snow. This is so very rare in this part of the world. We don't even own a snow shovel, or even a flat shovel. We are well over a foot of snow. It is hard to measure with the layer of ice in the middle. The boys have been out playing in it and came in as little snowmen, covered head to toe.

I sent Ducky to the grocery store last night on foot to pick up a few necessities for Christmas dinner, just in case. We have everything except dessert taken care of.

The pots are completely covered in snow. The van is nearly lost in the snow as well. From the front you can't see it at all. The snow has picked up again. There are dozens of birds gathering in my willow by my bird feeder. I believe I better settle in for the long haul.

All this snow is reminding me of pictures of my early childhood where multiple feet of snow was common. The first four years of my life were spent where people had snowblowers and for good reason. A kid could get lost in all that snow. I think I will go wrap some presents.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Welcome Winter

Today is the first official day of winter. We all know it started a while ago. In our little corner of the world it started last Sunday. I enjoyed my week off. Normally when we get snow it lasts for a day or two tops and only happens once, maybe twice each winter. Mother Nature is really outdoing herself this year.

Last week, we got a couple of inches and it would melt and freeze. Saturday, it started to snow early in the morning. And continued all day. It was quiet and peaceful watching the flakes drift down in varying densities over the course of the day. Ducky took the boys to the park to go sledding and I started a fire in the fireplace and settled in with a book. My idea of the perfect winter day. Periodically, I would head out with a ruler and measure the snow fall.

At dinner I took a picture of the pots on the deck. I hope they make it through without breaking and the plants survive too. The snow was soft and fluffy and slightly crunchy.

Three hours later, it was still snowing enough to completely hide one of the pots. I kept the curtains open to enjoy the winter beauty outside. The neighbors all had their Christmas lights on. It was magical to see. I sat and looked out the upstairs window and the glittering world around me. Before I went to bed, I went out for a last measurement, 8.5 inches. There was a light crust on the top and a slight sheen to the landscape.

This morning, I went out for a final measurement. There was 8 inches, the top .25 inch was solid ice. The trees were all glowy white with ice. Velcro was walking on top of it all, until he jumped off the deck and broke the ice layer. Poor guy, with his short legs he was high-centered. So I threw on my snow boots and coat over my pajamas and went out to break him a trail. I nearly took a nose-dive in the process. The rest of the day has been spent by another fire, working Sudoku, stitching projects, reading and enjoying the warm glow of the fire.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Week

So it turned out to be a snow week. And what a glorious unexpected gift it was. Monday had the start of a headache, but upping my liquid consumption took care of it. Otherwise it was headache free and fun. I got projects done. I played games with boys. I lounged. I slept in every day. Some days I was productive, others not as much.

Last night I was running around town picking up supplies for school projects, just in case. I have two tubs of frosting for gingerbread houses. I have a book about fairies for a book exchange. It is time to put work away for more than a week. I am giving myself permission to not think about plans or papers or anything else school related. I am going to enjoy the holidays and time with my family. There are cookies, movies and other fun planned. I'll be spilling the beans here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An Unexpected Gift

The last two weeks have been stressful. It is a vicious cycle, get a migraine, get behind, get more stressed, get more migraines. In 14 days, I had six migraines. I was falling further and further behind at home, at work, everywhere.

But Mother Nature intervened with a most welcome and unexpected gift. Snow. We get snow so rarely that everything shuts down when we do get it. I am on my third snow day. Woo-hoo!

Last week I was shopping at a seasonal Christmas store and found this really cute ornament. It is an apple and on the back it says "I love snow days!" It was so perfect that I bought two, one for me and one for my teaching partner. It must have worked because we got our tree on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning it was snowing.

Monday, I played out in the snow with the boys for two hours. All I can say is thank you Columbia Sportswear, you kept me warm. We made cookies, frosted and decorated them. We hung out and enjoyed the day. No stress, no worries, just me and my boys. The boys attempted to make snow men in the afternoon. The snow was too dry and it was too cold, so they improvised.

After such a relaxing day on Monday, Tuesday was another snow day. So I got productive. Yesterday, I worked on laundry and put clean sheets on our bed. I thoroughly cleaned the living and dining rooms rather than my quick spruce up. The dog hair tumbleweeds were preparing to take over and were being fed by little boy crumbs under the table. Our house felt so clean and fresh when you walked in the door. Then I got to work on some projects.

I started these curtains nearly two years ago. I was making them for my girlfriends baby's room. I got the valances made before she arrived. But life has been just a little too hectic to get the actual curtains done. Now, there are blinds up in her room, so she has not been being blinded by the sun every day. I feel bad that it has taken this long, but I can only manage so much. I had taken a pre-made curtain. I had to hem it, add the decorative ribbon and then add blackout fabric. It didn't seem like much, but it took me about four hours per curtain. And eight hours for projects is hard to come by. I had finished one of the them two weeks ago and really wanted to get the other one done. So that was my Tuesday afternoon project. And now they are done! Aren't they cute. I still plan to make a crib skirt, but I don't have the measurements. So when I drop off the curtains, I'll measure. Maybe I will have that done before the new year.

I wasn't done yet. I had the urge to project some more. I have a goal to give up wrapping paper. I want to (slowly, over the years) make cloth bags to put gifts in. Granted they won't be as fun to rip into, but it will create so much less waste and save us money in the long run. And they can be beautiful too. So I decided to make one yesterday. I was watching TV with the boys and this one is hand stitched. I thought it turned out pretty cute. My thumb is a little sore today from pushing the needle through the felt.

Yesterday was very productive and and relaxing. I'm curious to see what today brings. And whether we will end up with a three week winter break. There is another storm arriving today with cold temperatures and more snow.

PS, this is my 300th post! I have never been this successful in anything that could be considered journaling in my entire life. And I have tried many times before.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

We had great aspirations of going to a U-cut place to cut our tree this year. Last Saturday the weather was perfect for it. But my dad was here and we don't usually get our tree until two weeks before Christmas. The plan all week was to get it today.

The day dawned wet and dreary. I had a migraine hangover. The van needed new tires and the previous owner had put wheel locks on it and we couldn't find the key. Ducky spent the better part of the day taking care of the tire problem, safety first. It wasn't until almost dusk that we headed out to get a tree.

So we ended up going to the tree lot that we use every year. Somehow we always end up there. The boys like it because they give them Hot Wheels cars. We had our own personal tree shopper. He ran around and found a Noble fir, that was about 6 feet tall, not too fat, but nice and full. He trimmed the lower branches and gave it a fresh cut. Then we were on our merry way.

Once upon a time, putting the tree in the tree stand caused excessive cursing and perspiration. Now, we have a beautiful cast iron stand that works the first time and makes everyone happy. I picked it up for $20 at a post Christmas sale before sweetP was born. Then we didn't get to use it for years because we got such little, tabletop trees to keep them out of the reach of little hands.

After dinner the boys helped decorate the tree. I had threatened to not get a tree this year when I was abandoned by the entire family last year to decorate the whole thing myself. We had fun seeing the special ornaments again and remembering years past. My job was to unpack and hand out ornaments and Ducky and the boys hung them. Ducky was attempting to get the boys to put them on all over the tree and to find strong branches for the heavy ornaments. The boys just went willy-nilly and put them wherever. There was one branch that had four ornaments on it.

In the end it is beautiful. I just have to avoid looking at Darth Vader.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Two weeks left of school before break.
Four migraines in the last eight days.
The work is piling up, and I am helpless to get caught up. At least until I stop having migraines every other day.
Getting farther behind makes me stress, stress helps cause migraines, migraines make me get further behind.

I only have to make it nine more work days.

Monday, December 1, 2008

That's Yucky!

We have an ongoing battle in our house. It is called dinner. My boys come by their pickiness honestly. I am picky or hypersensitive to taste and texture. It all depends on how you look at it. So I can understand it. But it doesn't make it any easier to be the head chef. My dinners are generally pronounced to be yucky or gross well before they arrive at the table. Little do they know how gross it can get. I have yet to serve an internal organ for dinner.

Last night for dinner I was serving meatballs. Teriyaki & pineapple meatballs made entirely of chicken. They were quite tasty. But the moment that sweetE realized I was heating up the oven to make meatballs, not dino nuggets, he was up in arms. "I don't want meatballs, I don't like meatballs, I want chicken nuggets."

Being the creative kid that he is, he drew a picture. He asked me how to draw no. So I wrote the word no on a piece of paper. That was not what he had in mind. So I drew a circle with a slash through it. That is what he wanted. Then he required a piece of tape.

This is what I got.

The man on my oven was saying no. At first it was no to the oven. Then it was no to using the oven to make meatballs. Had I wanted to switch and make dino nuggets, that would have been okay.

Later when dinner was made and it was time to eat, there was the usual complaints. But when he actually tried the meatball, he thought it was okay, good even. Not good enough to eat more than one bite, but certainly not the horror that he had made it out to be.

Tonight we had the same, eww, gross response to dinner while in the pan. But sweetE ate it all and wanted more. I also instituted the "You have to choose one dinner and help me make it per week, and it can't be pizza every week" rule. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Requirement

In my world, it just isn't Thanksgiving without my favorite pink salad. Or Christmas either for that matter. So in the spirit of giving that comes with the holiday season, I am going to give the recipe to you.

Pink Salad

1 bag (12 oz) cranberries (can be frozen)
1 can pineapple tidbits (chunks or crushed work too)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 bag of mini marshmallows (more or less to taste)
1/2 pint whipping cream

The night before, chop up the cranberries in a food processor. Mix cranberries, pineapple (drained first), sugar and marshmallows in a bowl. Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, an hour at least before you plan to serve, whip the whipping cream into stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream into cranberry mix. Let the flavors blend until you are ready to eat.

This is one of my absolute favorite things in this world to eat. And we all know there aren't many things I say that about. I generally buy a few bags of cranberries this time of year and freeze them so I can make this at other times of the year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve

So I promised that today I would be thankful. So here goes, in no particular order.

I am thankful that:
• my headache is gone.
• nothing annoying happened at work today.
• all of my dental work was completed today.
• I don't have to cook tomorrow.
• my boys' eyes light up and twinkle when they see me after work.
• those boys are healthy and happy.
• sweetP read sweetE two books tonight when they were supposed to be falling asleep.
• Velcro is happy and healthy too.
• I have a wonderful teaching partner.
• I got a pedi last night and they put snowflakes on my toes.
• I have four days to relax and get stuff done.
• I have most of my holiday shopping done.
• online shopping exists.
• my cute new pink ipod keeps me happy after school each day.
• Ducky is my coparent, copilot and buddy in life.
• I live where I can run into friends in all kinds of places.
• that ice cream was on sale today.
• my headache is gone (I know I already said it, but it makes a huge difference).

And a whole host of other things. I could go on and on, but it is late, I need sleep and nobody wants to read all the things I am thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And Then...

Today we were asked to get by with even less.

And then I read this blurb on Reuters,
"Life insurance companies, nervous over massive investment losses that could ultimately threaten their viability, are hoping they are next for a bailout."

Can education have a bailout so I can photocopy freely?

That is all. Tomorrow I will be thankful, tonight I am still cranky.

Monday, November 24, 2008

One Day

One day I will be able to do my job to the best of my ability. I will not be given a script to follow. I will not have my schedule prescribed to the minute. I will not be asked to teach things that are not effective. I will not be asked to make due with less, and then less than that. I will be treated like a professional. My class size will be small enough that all students will get the extra attention they deserve to reach their potential. I will be allowed to make judgements based on how I know each student to help them learn better. Someone will once again realize that these are children, not widgets and one size fits all does not work with children.

There were extra frustrations today.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Amazon, How Do I Love Thee...

In an attempt to maintain my sanity in the coming holiday season, I am shopping now. We had the boys write their letters to Santa this weekend. And it is a good thing we did it early.

My dear little sweetE, wants a Spiderman iDog. The one that came out a year ago and is no longer available in stores. Thank you Amazon and all your shopping glory, it will be speeding my way sometime in the next week. He loves his music and he and sweetP don't always see eye to eye on what they should be listening to. "Santa" will be packaging it up with an old iPod shuffle, that has been laying around forever, loaded up with Wiggles and other preschool favorites. It even has a hard plastic, waterproof case to keep it safe in 4 year old hands. Ahhh, to be the child of a music loving and iPod crazy family.

And my bigger sweetP has his heart set on a LEGO Tie Crawler that was in last years holiday catalog. The LEGO store no longer carries it, Target no longer has it and I am not setting foot inside Toys R Us to see if it has it. Lovely Amazon did it again. Santa will get the credit, but he will be a happy boy.

What did we ever do before Amazon and internet shopping? I still love the homemade gifts, but purchasing online makes the whole season easier and less stressful. Especially if you get done early.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cold Feet

Winter has arrived. I can always tell when it happens without a calendar or a thermometer. I will be in a perfectly warm house (70˚) and I will be cold. The chill seeps in through the layers and settles in my bones. I radiate cold.

I don't live in a particularly cold climate. Can you imagine if I did? But, during the winter when the humidity is up and the temperatures are down, I can't get warm. I walk around in sweaters and socks. I sit under a very warm, very soft blanket when on the couch. I have to stop working at the computer to warm up my ice cold fingers. I have to wear socks to bed.

My feet are my thermometer. If they are cold, the rest of me will feel cold as well. Once they are cold they are impossible to warm up. Last year I laid in bed one night for two hours waiting for my feet to warm up. They still felt like ice. After two hours! I will sometimes put them on Ducky's leg (he lets me) and I make his leg cold to the touch, but my feet are no warmer.

I have special booties that go in the microwave (buckwheat hulls or something). I have warm, fuzzy booties to wear while watching tv. I have fuzzy socks. I have learned that if my feet are cold, then I must put those on before I go to bed or else I can't fall asleep because my feet are so cold.

What I do love about winter is sitting in the house with a fire in the fireplace. It vanquishes the cold and makes me all toasty and warm. I love to just watch the flames and listen to the crackle and pop. I will happily sit in the dark watching the flames for hours. So I have to make sure that I have some free time if I am going to build a fire. I also love my snowman socks. It is one of the joys of teaching that it is acceptable to wear goofy socks.

Update to the Perfect Turkey: We made them today in class. No one had time to finish, but we had fun. I still love my perfect turkey. I haven't had time to do any else perfectly this week.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Turkey of Perfection

There is an ongoing battle to get students to do their homework. Students don't realize what a drain it is on a teacher's time when work isn't done on time. When correcting papers you get into a rhythm, memorize the key and after a few can just whiz through them. When there are stragglers, it takes a lot of time. Find the key or make a new one. Remember what exactly you were looking for. Check it, record it and then return it. I hate, loathe and despise late papers. Late papers make me further behind, and I don't need any help getting behind. I do it entirely too well all by myself.

There is the thought that if you wait until all the papers are in, then it isn't an issue. But, then all those students that did get their papers in don't get feedback. And a huge pile of grading can accumulate. And sometimes you never get every student's paper.

So we attempt rewards to entice those papers to come in. The end of the grading period is rapidly approaching and I don't want a huge pile of papers to grade because they all waited until the last minute. This week we are doing an art reward. On Friday, if a student is all caught up, they get to make a turkey centerpiece. If they are still missing work, they get to go to study hall.

Today I brought my turkey in to encourage them to get their stuff in. We have lists on the board of what is missing. Only I can cross off my assignments. In theory, all those lists will be gone by Friday.

Last Friday I brought home all the supplies to make the turkeys with the boys. I thought it would be a fun project. And it was. I cut out the body of sweetE's, and he cut out most of the feathers. Ducky helped him a bit. A four year old's attention span is only so long. SweetP made his (except the cutting of the cardstock) and it turned out really cute.

SweetE's bird, isn't he cute.

SweetP's bird, I love his quote. He came up with it entirely on his own and I really couldn't blame a turkey for saying that. In case you can't read it, it says, "Eat Pork."

Then there was my bird. I am carefully cutting out each and every part. I colored the edges of the feathers with Sharpie to make them stand out. Ducky interrupts my reverie with, "You know it doesn't have to be perfect." Shows how well he knows me. I am a frustrated perfectionist. There are so few things that I can take the time on to make them perfect. I hate, hate, hate it when I can't do things up to my own standards. I procrastinate on a regular basis rather than do a half-way job.

Between my ability to get easily distracted (I started this post almost two hours ago), and my need for perfection, I am ripe for disappointment. But my turkey is perfect. It was a small enough project that I could take the time to make him exactly the way I wanted to. It wasn't difficult, just fun.

Perfectionism is my turkey. It drives me nuts, but now I have the perfect turkey.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not an Athlete

We have been attempting to clean up and organize and purge in recent months. In the process I found a scrap of paper that shows my enduring lack of athleticism.

There is an award called the Presidential Fitness Award. Every year in PE we all had to do certain activities to attempt to win it. To receive the award you must reach the 85th percentile in every area. It was torture for me. I would have preferred to just skip it as I already knew the outcome. There was no hope in hell. And in my case hell = PE.

Here are my results.

50 yard dash - 26-29th%
600 yard run - 75% (my shining moment)
Long Jump - 30%
Shuttle run - 70%
Sit ups - 16-19%
Flexed arm hangs - 11-14% (My most dreaded second of the year)

My average percentile, 38%. Complete and utter failure. No wonder I hated doing it. It was in the midst of these years that any joy I got from exercise was squeezed out of me by middle school PE.

This may come as a shock to those that know how I feel about running. But I ran a race once. Voluntarily. It was in elementary school. I seem to recall that it was kind of fun. The photo of me shows me all smiles with my atrocious headgear glinting in the sun. I didn't win anything. I never did it again. I believe more because it wasn't something my mother was interested in rather than a lack of enjoyment. We lived in the sticks and if mom wasn't interested there wasn't much I could do about it.

Does this make me think I should take up running again? No. The only exercise that I have ever enjoyed was walking up a butte everyday. I don't know why it didn't get old. I did it by myself every day, late in the afternoon. It was a mile up and a mile down following the road around the butte. I often ran stairs at the top. I was in awesome shape. I think it was because I loved the views. I could see for miles in every direction, all the way to the mountains. There were always plenty of people around, so it wasn't scary or lonely. I haven't been able to find anything else since.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I had asked Ducky to get me a new ipod for Christmas. Mine did not have a lot of storage space, so loading it with songs was a pain. I knew he had ordered one, because I told him exactly what I wanted. He, however, decided that my Christmas present should be a surprise so I got my new ipod today!

It is pink and square and cute and holds all my music. Yeah! So tomorrow I will be testing it out when I have to go in and do some work.

I also managed to get a few things crossed off the to do list. There may be hope yet.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I sat down to post last night and drew an absolute blank. And tonight doesn't seem to be any different. I believe that I am just so tired that coherent thought beyond the required is just not going to happen. I of course have lots of great thoughts during the day. But since I don't write them down, they go as quickly as they came.

Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Overwhelmed and Undermotivated

No matter where I look, I can see at least a dozen things I need or want to get done. It doesn't matter where I look, home, work, anywhere. As I sit at the computer, I see a pile of papers that need to be sorted, receipts that need to be entered, grades that need to be entered, papers that need to be graded, photos that need to be downloaded, a calendar that needs to be ordered, photo books that need to be made, a list of projects in other rooms waiting to be worked on, a magazine I want to read and a catalog I want to peruse, a bill I need to pay. If I dug into that pile I would find another dozen things that I have forgotten. One of which I was reminded of while reading a friends blog. And now I feel like a total schmuck. These are all while I face the computer, don't ask me to turn around and look into the family room.

The real problem is that I don't have time to do all the things that need doing. When I attempt to get something done, I get interrupted (about every 2 minutes) or sidetracked. So even if I manage to cross one thing off the list, about five more get added in the meantime. Which makes me loathe to start anything. So that makes it impossible to ever get caught up.

I would walk around with my eyes closed, but then I would get all bruised up by bumping into things. I know I will never get caught up if I don't just start, but the effort seems futile. So I will go attempt to get two small things done that have been put off for the last month. Two letters.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

End of Season

Yesterday was the end of sweetE's soccer season. He loved it, even if he did get bored and just wander around the gym. But he is four and even that is cute. He got a new trophy. He wanted to know if he got to keep his soccer shirt. I missed a good chunk of his season, the games were early and Saturday is my day to sleep in. But I made sure to be there a few times. He would wander and then all of a sudden run after the ball. He was too polite to kick it away from anyone, but he was happy to kick it if it came his way.

Tonight before he went to bed, he ran downstairs to get his trophy. He came back up with his new trophy in hand and his medal from the spring season around his neck. He had a blast and that is all that matters.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Stroll

It has been a busy week. I usually stay late on Fridays and attempt to get a handle on the week that just finished as well as the week coming up. However, I volunteered to help at sweetP's school with their craft night. I came home early from work so I could spend an hour with the boys before scooting out the door again.

So shortly before six, I headed out the door into the rapidly darkening night. As I strolled along on my way to school, I remembered one of the things that I love about fall. I was walking through the leaves on the sidewalk, enjoying the crunching, rustling sounds they make when you walk through them. It is the only time that I drag my feet to make the dry leaves fly into the air. I slowed down to enjoy the light crispness of the air, the sound of the leaves and the relative quiet of the neighborhood.

I hope the rain holds off for the rest of the weekend, so I can get some more good walks through the leaves before they get flat and soggy from rain.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Moving On Too Quickly

Driving home from work on Tuesday, I spied with my little eye, something green and cone shaped. It could not be. It is too soon! So I assumed I was wrong. Driving home last night, I looked again. Yes, it was. There is a house with a Christmas tree up in their window. On the 5th of November. I hope it is fake, so it is not a fire hazard. I know there can be legitimate reasons for decorated trees, special visits or people leaving. But, wow it makes the year seem to go by that much faster.

I could not believe that the Christmas lights were out for sale at Target before Halloween. This is insanity. I am not ready to be Christmas-y just yet. Pretty soon the Christmas/holiday season is going to be six months long. I do love the holidays, but I have Ducky's birthday, Thanksgiving and the end of the trimester to get through before I can think about it properly.

I know I promised to start my education discussion posts today, but I am still assembling a few facts. So stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Moving Along

Now that the election is behind us and the victory was by a large enough margin that we won't be waiting for recounts, let's move on. This election season was nuts and it went on forever.

I am happy to report that my pay will not be determined by my students multiple choice tests. Thank goodness. Tomorrow I think I will start a little series on my thoughts on education. I am buried up to my eyeballs in it, so maybe I can start a good discussion what is working and what is not.

Today, I need to get my buns in gear and shorten the stack of papers I am carting around. And get caught up on laundry. And try to shake this cold. Oh, and go to work and teach about exponents and plural nouns and the nervous system.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Seriously So Possessed

Yesterday was possessed. It started when I was in the shower. The lights were flickering and not in that way that flourescents usually do. There were fleeting moments of darkness. At the same time Alfred, the new Roomba, started chiming. The sound he makes when he returns to his dock. And my dear sweetE was downstairs watching Backyardigans (coolest kid show ever) so I know it wasn't him.

The lights eventually drove me nuts and I just turned them off. The flickering didn't help the migraine that was beginning to form. Only I thought the headache had to do with cold that I have been fighting since Saturday. So I popped my Advil and headed off to work. And then I popped more Advil after school. And then I came home and was possessed by what was the worst migraine I have had in some time.

I put sweetE in jammies at 6:30 and followed suit still thinking my headache was cold induced. At 7:30, after helping sweetP with his homework and piano, I gave up. I just went up to bed without a word to anyone. I had taken a migraine pill at 7 and hoped and prayed that it would work fast. If not, the nausea was going to overtake me and I hate that. I was so thoroughly possessed by that headache that I didn't get to put the boys to bed.

At 9:30 I finally felt better. So I got up for a bit to get ready for bed. Then I was possessed by insomnia until 2:30 in the morning! Dang 6:30 comes fast when you fall asleep so late. So we'll see how today goes.

Make sure you get possessed to vote! I did. I hope Obama wins and I hope he is the change we need and that he has promised to be. I don't think I can handle four more of the same. There are too many important issues at stake.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Time for Change

I woke up this morning to the pitter patter of little feet. Completely forgetting that the clocks were supposed to have changed. It is not like I needed to be anywhere. But, do they really have to subject us to the twice yearly upheaval to our circadian rhythms? I am strongly considering putting a measure on the ballot that would keep us on Daylight Savings Time all year round.

Speaking of ballots, please remember to vote. My ballot has been cast and I am waiting patiently (okay, maybe not so much) for the election to be over. The negativity to end. To find out what direction our country is headed in. And to find out if my paycheck will be directly correlated to how well my students can answer multiple choice questions. Because we all know that life is multiple choice.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Silly Things

A little over a week ago, sweetE was being silly. Not that that is rare in our house. But it was bedtime, and I always say, "I love you, good night, sweet dreams." Never fails. The boys each say those things back. And there are many mommy kisses to go along with.

But sweetE decided that instead of sweet dreams, it should be sweet beans. So now every night I tell him, "I love you, good night, sweet beans." And he replies, "sweet peas."

And another silly tradition may have been born. I love childhood.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Little Shadow

My sweetE has been strongly bonded to me since day one. I would expect that as he gets older, that bond would weaken as he grows more independent. So far, that bond is made of super glue. If anything, it seems stronger than ever.

He grows especially fond of me when I have to work extra. Back to school and conference weeks are hard for him. He loves his "mommy time." We don't have to do anything special, just be together.

Last weekend, sweetP had a birthday party. Ducky and I thought that it would be nice if sweetE got to do something fun too. So Ducky planned to take him to see a movie while I dropped sweetP off at the party and then headed to my school to get some work done. Except sweetE wanted no part of that plan.

He wanted "to go with mommy!" No amount of convincing could change his mind. So he came with me. On the way to school I asked him why he wanted to come with me.

His response, "because, (pause) I love you." I just wanted to scoop him up and kiss him, freeze that moment and live it forever. I'll admit that I love that he is mommy's boy right down to his DNA. Who wouldn't like to be adored like that? I get to see his face light up when he sees me. I get to enjoy some of the best hugs around. I get to be the center of his universe. We may joke that he is Ducky's clone, but I win every time.

I'll take the sad face when I have to leave him at preschool, because it just shows how much I am loved by my littlest boy. If he could be my shadow, I know he would. How did I get so lucky?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Should Have Been

Today, I got the rare treat of seeing my aunt. They were doing a whirlwind trip out west to see relatives of all sorts. I have not seen her in years.

The more we talk, the more it seems that I should have been my aunt's daughter. We are so much alike. All of the ways that my mother and I are different (which is pretty much everything), she and I are alike. We talked about migraines and how we both suffer. We talked about remodeling, which we both enjoy. We talked about sorting through things, slowly and completely. We even look alike. We both avoid horses completely. The list goes on and on.

They arrived just as Ducky and sweetP were headed off to soccer. It was an unfortunate conflict, but it was sweetP's last soccer game and we didn't think he should skip it. My aunt and I had a wonderful chat while sweetE charmed my uncle. My usually shy boy, warmed up to them in about 4 seconds. After nearly an hour, we headed off to lunch with Ducky and sweetP set to meet us when they were done.

I felt bad that Ducky was missing so much of our time together, but grateful that I got this chance to visit. Our lunch came to an end and they had to head out to go visit my parents. I wished that we had more time to chat and not feel rushed. SweetE was really sad to see them go, he wanted them to stay. He wanted to know when we would see them again. So I may have to research a trip.

They are such wonderful people, I wish they lived closer.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sick Days

There is a hazard to being a teacher. It is impossible to take a day off.

Sure, we get sick days. We accumulate lots of them. In order to use one, you have to work just as hard as showing up. So it is easier to just drag yourself through the day. I sometimes dream of a job where I could just call in sick and then flop back into bed.

Instead, teachers call in. Then we drag ourselves in and write lesson plans, in excruciating detail. We prepare the board with all the necessary info and copy the worksheets. We lay it all out in a neat pile on the desk. We write a note to the substitute thanking them for coming in. Then we return home. And ponder all the things we forgot to leave or write or think about. We hope that the students behave better than they do for us.

Monday, I was pondering coming in to work. We have a morning kindergarten teacher that will substitute in the afternoon. I pondered on Sunday while hanging out in urgent care. I pondered all Monday morning. I pondered as I walked in the building and saw her in her classroom. And decided to stick around and work anyway. The entire time dreaming of taking a nap.

I have reached the point that it takes an ER visit to keep me home. How sad is that? But I still love my job. The kids are aggravating and entertaining and fun. I love sharing my love of math and science. So, for the time being I will drag my sick self in and teach away.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Life Caught Me

One observation with corresponding migraine.
25 thirty minute conferences.
One PTA meeting.
Three regular days.

Means one tired me and the cold caught me. And my Sudafed prescription ran out and my sinuses are all up in arms. So I am off to do the smart thing. Go to bed with my latest book, read for a bit and let the Nyquil kick in and then get some sleep so I can wake up all better in the morning.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Time, or the Lack

It seems like the Earth is rotating faster lately. I wish I had more hours in the day, but instead it feels like less. I don't think I have that much more to do or that I am that much less efficient, but it feels like that must be the case. The To-Do list is growing at an alarming rate. It is the whole one step forward, two steps back phenomenon.

So if you have any tips to get stuff done, please share. Otherwise my To-Do list is going to resemble Santa's list.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Golden Weekend

My three day weekend is rapidly coming to a close. And most of it has been down right wonderful.

The boys and I spent Friday dealing loose ends. We went to the bank and the credit union. We went shoe shopping. We managed to find a pair that sweetP loved and thought "felt good." My days of just bringing home shoes for him are over. I have to make sure he likes how they feel, or I am just throwing money away. Apparently sweetE is in that in between size so they only had one pair, and it was not a pair I would spend money for. We picked up lunch and headed to my work. The plan... Put a movie in for the boys and work like crazy until it was done. And it worked, and then some. The boys watched their movie and then entertained themselves. Three hours of work done with minimal interruptions, all things considered. Back home we all just hung out and played. Yeah!

My first project on Saturday was to get all of the plastics that I have been saving for the past six months to the master recycler event to be recycled. I am feeling pretty Earth friendly. Saturday was soccer central in our house. It was a beautiful fall day and we missed sweetP's practice because we were out working/playing in the yard. I got the roses trimmed and my willow partly trimmed and Ducky got the lawn mowed, the shed cleaned and the patio furniture stored for the winter. Then my friend, one of the original trio, came over with her little girl and we caught up. It is sad that we live so, relatively, close and don't get together that much. But it was fun to catch up and hang out like we used to so long ago before careers and kids intervened.

Today we headed to the pumpkin patch. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the lines weren't too long. We rode the hay ride, found our pumpkins, took pictures and had fun with each other. We wandered through the corn maze and learned a some election trivia along the way. The boys tried pumpkin bowling.

Back at home, the yard got more attention and we attempted to get caught up on home projects. I scrubbed the shower liner, rather than buy a new one. The boys were being extra helpful trying to earn Mommy money. They earn fake dollars for being kind, helpful and honest. Then they can trade them in for some kind of activity. SweetP earned enough for a family movie night with treats. So I am off to eat dinner so we can watch a movie together tonight.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Best Ideas

I have been informed by sweetE about where the best ideas come from.

The other day he was telling me some story or idea or something. As usual the main theme was toots as we call them in our house. I have reached my limit on the amount of poo, pee and toot stories I can tolerate. No amount of kindly asking him to please not talk about that anymore has slowed the flow of stories.

So when he launched into a new one, I kind of lost it. Using the angry, stern (but not yelling) voice, I told him that I was sick of hearing about toots. And then I watched his face fall, his lip protrude, the tears well up and face start to get blotchy. He turned around and slowly walked away. I heard him go up the stairs.

I called Ducky and told him that I made sweetE sad. But that I was so sick of hearing about the products of his tush. Then I headed upstairs to make it all better. I found him in his bed, covers pulled up to his chin, thumb in mouth, curled up in a little ball. For a boy who enjoys grossing us out, he can be so sensitive.

So we started to chat, and he told me that it was his best idea.

me: What is your best idea?

sweetE: From my tush.

me: What?

sweetE: They come from my tush.

me: You get your best ideas from your tush?

sweetE: yeth.

me: sweetE, you get your best ideas from your brain.

sweetE: No, they come out my tush.

me: sweetE, your brain gives you all kinds of ideas.

sweetE: But they go like this(showing how they travel down the body).... and come out my tush.

And I had to keep from laughing, because this was a serious conversation and he was already sad.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Upside of Working

There are many reasons why I work. There are some unexpected benefits too.

The best of which is the greeting I get when I get home. The boys (especially sweetE) run up and give me the best hugs. Makes my day. The "my world is now complete now that you are home" kind of hugs. I miss those in the summer when I am home all the time. By working, I give all of us a chance to miss each other.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Hate Preschool

You would think that I am sending him to prison. My little sweetE makes sure to let me know how much he hates preschool every day he has to go. While in the same breath he might say how much fun he has.

Tonight he wanted to listen to his new music CD. Ducky didn't know where it was so they listened to an old one. He gets a CD with all the songs from his music class each month. The very same music class that when I left today, he was curled up like a pill bug with his hands over his eyes. As sad as sad can be. Even though I know that two minutes after I leave he is fine and happy and having fun.

I know that he is fine because his teacher tells me. The teacher we know and love. The teacher that can tell the instant he walks through the door if he will need a little TLC that day. The teacher he loves and will readily talk about with great enthusiasm.

But he hates preschool. I would swear he does it to make me feel bad. And he pulls at the heart strings every time. I also know that he doesn't hate preschool (he loves it), he just would prefer that I go to preschool with him. He is a mama's boy, has been since day one. He has my heart wrapped around his little finger.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Where did the weekend Go, Again?

75 papers got graded.
15 lessons got planned.
Ten loads of laundry.
Six meals got made or purchased, but definitely eaten.
Three rooms got vacuumed.
Two freshly made beds.
Two play dates.
Two soccer games.
One migraine headache.
One long overdue date with Ducky.
Plus, dishes, cleaned fish tank, and I don't know what else.

Numerous hugs distributed, fights were mediated and toys stepped on. I avoided four phone calls. Told my brother (yes, that one) no his friend could not borrow the Halloween costumes I have made for the boys.

I miss those three day weekends I had last year.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Who Needs Toothpicks?

Sleep is the be all and end all of my well being. I love it.

Last night I lay there waiting for sleep to come. My eyelids so heavy I couldn't keep them open if I tried. Sleep, however, eluded me. I lay there, the Carpenters "Hurting Each Other" running through my head. Thinking how appropriate that song was. The medicine that is supposed to be helping, is depriving me of sleep. Lack of which is one of my known triggers for a headache. After an hour and a half, I trudged downstairs and took a benadryl. It bought me about two hours of sleep.

And I laid there, same song running through my head. I slowly watched the morning arrive. Mourning my lost sleep.

I also realized that I am prone to the rare, but annoying side effects of drugs. I am at least thankful that my side effects have never been in the life threatening category, okay there was one time. So most people get drowsy when on this drug. I get insomnia. Lucky me. So now I will be taking it in the morning. It can keep me awake when I need to be awake.

The problem lies with the fact that I am horrible at remembering to take medicine in the morning. It is easy at night. It is part of the locking up process. At the kitchen stop, I take my medicine. I have no set routine for the morning. My mornings are not all alike.

So give me ideas. How can I make sure that I remember to take it in the morning? So, a) it can be effective and b) not keep me awake at night.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Where Did the Weekend Go?

It seems like I just finished up work on Friday and here I am looking at Monday morning creeping up on me. I can't really tell where those two days went. I don't really feel like I got anything of consequence done.

I had great plans to conquer Mt. Laundry. I only managed to scratch the surface. I had plans to edit my students papers on plants and animals. I didn't look at a single one. I decided we would have health tomorrow instead. I intended to sort through a pile of papers and miscellaneous stuff. I only lowered the pile by an inch.

It is amazing how two soccer games, a birthday party and a visit from a friend can eat up most of a weekend. In addition, we checked on a geocache that the boys recently hid. Stopped at Home Depot to buy cement. I gave the boys haircuts, so they will look cute on picture day in a week. We picked up dinner from our favorite restaurant. We practiced piano and finished homework. We played games in the yard before the rain came.

So while it feels like I didn't do a lot. I guess I really did.

And most exciting of all, no migraines for four days. And counting.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Shiny Silver Lining

Oh, what a week it has been.

It started on Saturday. I noticed a rather icky smell coming from under the house. Ducky had been talking for a few weeks about needing to crawl under the house to look for water. So down he went. I went about my business and washed my hands in the kitchen sink. He sees water flowing quite freely into the crawl space.

Shiny Silver Lining: My bionic sense of smell caused by migraines prompted him to go look that day. Hence allowing us to discover the leak sooner rather than later.

Shiny Silver Lining: My need for clean hands made the leak so glaringly obvious that he couldn't miss it, even though he was several feet from the problem area.

So we call the plumber and they can come out on Monday morning. Not an emergency, but it should be taken care of soon. So come Monday, our friendly plumber shows up and takes a look. It is a cracked pipe. The pipes will either be running up the wall on the left or the right of the sink. If on the left, it will be behind cabinets. If on the right, it will be behind the dishwasher. He recommends a company to come clean up the grey water mess that is residing under our house.

Shiny Silver Lining: It runs behind the dishwasher! Much cheaper and easier. I want a kitchen remodel, but not on credit.

We schedule the grey water clean up for Wednesday night and plumbing for Thursday morning.

Shiny Silver Lining: I can't cook dinner without a kitchen sink, so McDonald's drive thru here I come. I have a migraine and don't want to cook anyway.

The plumbers and clean up guys all agree that the leak started about a week ago. So we are really lucky to have found it so soon.

Shiny Silver Lining: That means no maggots or mold or other nastiness under my house! And the clean up was much cheaper that way too.

The plumber came Thursday morning and got right to work. Ducky had pulled out the dishwasher and cut a hole in the drywall to expose the problem area. They found the offending pipe right away and made some startling observations. It appeared that the pipe had been crushed. Most likely stepped on when the house was being built, 13 years ago. Arghhh.

Shiny Silver Lining: Did I mention we found the leak quickly?

I have been known to be a friendly, chatty sort of person. So I am chatting away with the plumbers and mention that I want a tankless hot water heater. And that ours will most likely need to be replaced soon. I share how our neighbors had replaced the pipe/tube in theirs and we just haven't gotten around to it yet. So we strike a deal. They will flush my hot water heater and put in a new pipe/tube thing and they'll call it even with the money I am saving from Ducky doing prep work the night before.

Shiny Silver Lining: They discover that the pipe/tube thing that is supposed to be about 5 feet long is only one inch. It is a miracle I was getting any hot water at all.

Shiny Silver Lining: Now we can turn down our hot water heater and lower our gas bill.

So our house is all fixed now. And it cost us much less than it could have.

I had two migraines this week.

Shiny Silver Lining: I saw the headache specialist this week. So I might be on the road to a pain free existence. I have enjoyed two headache free days, and I am thankful.

I got to experience the great smooshing as I dubbed my first mammogram.

Shiny Silver Lining: Results are normal.

So all in all, there has been a bunch of not so great stuff this week. But everything has turned out okay.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Specialist

I know you all have been on pins and needles in anxious anticipation of how my appointment with the headache specialist went. At least those of you who still read my blog, now that it feels as though it has become a whiner blog. But when you are in pain more days than not, it is hard to keep a sunny outlook on life.

Of course, I had a headache the day I saw him and could not think straight to save my own life. But I muddled through. Like many of the specialists that I have met, he was all business and focused on the task at hand. Although he did seem to like when I mentioned that I hoped he would become my new best friend. We tracked my long and sordid headache history. I was diagnosed when I was eight. We tracked my drug history. We covered the anatomy of my headache. He didn't know what I meant by ache. I thought ache was a valid description of a dull constant pain. Of course in my diminished mental capacity I could not think of a way to say that.

After checking my reflexes, my eye movement and a bunch of other stuff, he announced that I wasn't going to die. Also known as, you do not have a brain tumor or aneurism. Neurologically, I am fine. Except for the hair trigger in my brain that causes me grief and headache on an all too frequent basis.

So where do I go from here. He upped how often I can take my "immediate relief" drug to two times a week. He added a "rescue relief" injection should "immediate relief" fail me. We added a preventative drug to help reduce how often I need to seek immediate relief. And I will go see him again in two months, with my headache log in hand.

In the mean time, I should expect my pulse to go down to a range that most people experience normally. It might even spend quality time in the two digit range. My sleep should improve with the side effects of this new drug. Last night is a testament to that. I slept soundly all night long without my usual early am wakeful mental sideshow. And with any luck, fewer headaches.

I am so ready to have a few days headache free. Today, I had a migraine. But I got to treat it!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Just Another Day

Migraine started yesterday. Can't treat it. Advil makes it worse. Counting the minutes until tomorrow at 9:30 when I meet my new friends in Neurology.

Greeted by sweetP at 5:30 as he got in bed with me. He has a sore throat. He is staying home from school, at least for the morning.

SweetE woke up nice and early and forced me to move. All I wanted to do was stay in bed.

Waiting for the plumber to get here. Ducky discovered the kitchen sink is leaking under the house. That means I have to empty the hall closet to access the crawl space.

Lost a cell phone somewhere in the house. It is turned off, so no tracking it down by calling it.

Can someone please tell me why I was in such a rush to grow up?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Too Tired, But I Just Can't Sleep

My sleep issues have taken a new turn. I wake at 3 in the morning and my brain kicks into high gear even while it and rest of me are screaming for sleep. My eyelids act as if they are weighted down and it is all I can do to not stagger when I walk.

And most annoying is the things that pop into my head. The other night it was a Weird Al song about Pentiums. That I was subjected to days before. And then my brain just heads into overdrive and makes me stress that I can't fall back asleep.

All of this makes me cranky and causes headaches. And I get enough freakin' headaches.

To top it all off I did something to my back tonight and now it hurts. All I did before it started hurting was sit in a chair and work on sweetP's Halloween costume.

Would it be wrong of me to want to spend a few days unconscious and let my body reset itself? If I was a computer I would have rebooted long ago.

It has been a busy week and I will tell all about it tomorrow. Now I need to go attempt some sleep.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The World is Looking Up

To show how truly borderline dehydrated I always am, I drank 50+ ounces of water after my massage on Saturday. See how good I was being. And I still got the massage headache. At 4:30 in the morning. But two Advil and a melatonin later, I was back asleep and bye-bye headache.

SweetP is still loving school. However, he got a compliment for calming down, but he can't remember why he needed to. There is an email off to the teacher already. Enquiring minds want to know.

SweetE loves preschool, except the part where I leave. He is still heaping on the mom guilt. Today he clung to my leg and tried to follow me out the door. He had a new teacher for his music class and I had to just tell her to pick him up and that he would be fine in less than 5 minutes. To add insult to injury (his not mine) he had a well kiddo check at the doctor today and got two shots. Definitely didn't help with the "Please stay Mommy" feelings he was having. He is healthy and was a squirrelly little bugger the whole time, until the shots.

We watched home movies of the boys from 2-3 years ago and gosh they were cute. Still are, but they are so much bigger now. It almost makes us want another one. Almost. Especially since I am the headache queen.

In just a few short school days, my students have already learned to ask if I have a headache each day. I am hoping to make it just one more week, at least.

Some of the stress at work is lessening. I get to teach science! Yay!!! I am starting to settle into a routine. The plan for the year is to fly under the radar, except briefly popping up with moments of brilliance. Note to self, keep mouth shut in staff meetings.

So all in all, even though the heavy drinking isn't working out and I haven't looked for a therapist, I might survive this year.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Banner Day

Today was a banner day. I woke up with the migraine gone! SweetP had his first soccer game of the season. SweetE got to run errands with Ducky instead of spending 3 hours at the soccer field. They showed up for the actual game. No one got too sunburned even though I forgot the sunscreen.

My sister is visiting, so we went to the spa. The boys went to the arcade and didn't miss us a bit. I have at least some of the kinks worked out and I drank a lot of water. So no massage headache tomorrow, I hope. I have another massage scheduled for Thursday, so with any luck the relaxation will hold off the migraines until I can see the specialist in a week and a half.

Unfortunately, my sis and Ducky are watching Lord of the Rings. I loathe those movies so I am blogging, so all is not lost.

Tomorrow, we might go for a hike in the afternoon.

Friday, September 5, 2008

So Far, So Good

SweetP has gotten back in the swing of things and has only had good days! SweetE had his first day of preschool, but Ducky was there with him the whole time. So we will see how today goes. He was really excited to see his little friend. So I am hopeful for a happy year for him.

My students seem great, there is only one that seems to have a future in driving me nuts. Everything else about my year is still driving me crazy, causing me stress.

And my week and a half without a migraine. Nope, got one yesterday. I made it three days. I see the specialist in a week and a half. So I am muddling through today. And hoping for no more for a week. Then I can treat one.

We've got a busy weekend ahead. So keep your fingers crossed that this headache goes away.

No matter how much I plan to start that drinking problem, it just doesn't seem to be happening. I won't mix alcohol with prescriptions. Especially Ambien, don't want to pull a celebrity moment. Or I need to go somewhere and I won't drive if I have been drinking. Haven't managed a single drink all week. Not that there hasn't been cause to need one.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day for sweetP

Today was sweetP's first day back. As always it turned into a mad scramble to get out the door.

It started with the wake up. Have I mentioned that he is not a morning person? But with the new staying up later thing, he has to get up without complaint or no staying up that night. So he rolled his cute self out of bed while I picked out some clothes. Then the trouble began, I picked a blue and white striped polo. Apparently that shirt is so "not cool, it is boring." So after a bit of discussion, he went off to find a cool shirt. Not to self, make sure to wear a cool shirt if you are wanting to make new friends. So he picked his shark t-shirt. Meanwhile, he was telling me the importance of looking cool and that he doesn't want to be seen as boring. Besides the polo is a church shirt. Mind you, we don't go to church. His grandma bought him that shirt for his birthday and he has yet to wear it. She goes to church. Is there a correlation, who knows. He also didn't like his white socks and went and found his one pair of black socks.

Once we got the shirt straightened out it was time for breakfast. I usually make pancakes for the first day of school. Since they have to eat earlier than we do all summer long, it should be something that they really like. For the first time ever, he didn't want me to precut his pancake. What the heck!? Mommy rejection all over the place. What does he think he is supposed to be growing up or something? What if I am not ready? I know rejection is a good thing, it means I am doing my job, but couldn't he space them out.

So we fly out the door and I completely forgot to take first day of school pictures or bring the camera. But we got him to school, returned his reading bingo, put money in his account and got him settled. He had a good day. He likes his teachers. With any luck of my worry will have been in vain. Now I can redirect all my worry where it belongs, on the chaos that is my school year.

Gotta go to bed, can't have a migraine for a week and half at least. If I do, I will have to just live with it. My students will be there tomorrow. Let's hope my first day goes as well as his did.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Migraine Monday

So all the worry and stress has done me in. So I am working at getting rid of the migraine I woke up with. The boys are being reasonably cooperative and Ducky is off playing golf (he offered to stay home, but I said no). Tomorrow the marathon starts, and then go, go, go until June.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Just thought it important to note that heavy drinking for me would be about 2 drinks a week. Compared to the handful of times I drink over a year, that would really up my intake.

It would make it cheaper than therapy and easier to find. But more beneficial, probably not.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Learning from sweetP

I need to take a page out of sweetP's book. This has been a grueling week, mentally, physically and emotionally. Some might say that I am overly sensitive (there may be some truth there), there were two migraines this week and I am a basket case about work.

So let's just start at the beginning. As I have mentioned before, there is a human in my life that is making life challenging and stressful. I have not yet figured out how to remove this human from my life and retain the rest of my life in its current form. Nothing criminal, just not part of my world. The usual excitement and anticipation for the start of the school year is missing. That makes me sad. I love the start of the school year.

My teaching partner decided it would be easier to start the school year after all. The plan that if she gets back in the swing of things life will fall back into place. So yeah on that front. But I still spent the entire week worrying about what I was forgetting and thinking of ways to make life easier for her. I was also worrying about our schedule. At the moment, I have to teach writing (ugh) and she has to teach science. We don't want to teach those topics. Part of what makes us a great team is that we each love different subjects. And being passionate about your subjects makes you a better teacher. I want to teach science, damn it! I'm good at it, I love it, I help my students love it. Teaching writing, I wouldn't know where to start. Writing is often a chore and when it isn't I am blogging. I don't think I can teach them all to blog and have it count. We find out on Tuesday what we have to/get to teach. Wish us luck.

So I am worrying and fretting and stewing and dwelling on my work life all week AND about who sweetP's teacher will be and who will be in his class. The waiting was over on Wednesday. Way back in the spring I had asked that he be placed with his best friend. They only have one more year to be at the same school and they are such good friends. It helps that they are not disruptive and it is a really good friendship. I want it as solid as possible before they head to different schools. They plan to be rock stars when they are older.

So I raced to the school to see the list (the server went down from so many people hitting the site at the same time). I looked through the first list and there he was. I looked at the teacher name. Of course it was the teacher that I had reservations about. I have heard stories that you will love this teacher or hate this teacher. All the hates are from people with sensitive children. I have a sensitive child. Nervous dread filled me for the second time this week. I read the list again, no best friend. I look at the other classes. Best friend is in another class. I am so disappointed for my sweetP.

I head off to the soccer field where sweetP will be practicing after piano lessons. And I just sit and dwell about how disappointing it is and get nervous about how his year will go. So my year is shaping up to be a stinker and now maybe his is too. So I dwell, I gripe and then I go look at the lists again. I read through the names twice. He knows two boys in his class. One from soccer (so just a few weeks) and one from kindergarten. He doesn't know either of them well. Not a single one of his buddies is in his class. He has one friend, a girl from kindergarten that lives in the neighborhood, in the whole class. His three best buddies are in another class together. Worry, fret, worry, fret.

The next morning, after a fairly sleepless night (have I mentioned lack of sleep and stress gives me migraines), sweetP gets up early and comes in to bed as Ducky is getting up. He snuggles and wiggles. He completes the wake up process. We talk. It goes something like this.

me: Are you okay that best friend is not in your class?
sweetP: It's okay, I can see him at recess.
me: Want to know who is in your class?
sweetP: Okay.

I run through the list of names. Some questions of who that kid is or a he's funny, and we get to the end of the list.

me: SweetP, I'm sorry you don't have any of your buddies in your class.
sweetP: It's okay mommy, it only takes about two days to make new friends.

So he isn't worried about who is in his class. So I can relax a little, at least for now. That night we meet the teacher. I will get to make my own impression about her beyond the rumors. I vow to go in with an open mind. Not much else I can do at this point.

Fast forward to the end of the day, Meet the Teacher night. We head to school and find the room. SweetP is kind of doing the shy guy routine. We meet the teacher. We form opinions. We finish filling out paperwork and head home. I don't get the warm, fuzzy, happy feeling that I have gotten from his last two teachers (we adored these teachers). Ducky did not get the warm, fuzzy, happy feeling. My MIL did not get the warm, fuzzy, happy feeling.

me: SweetP, do you think you will like your new teacher?
sweetP: Yeah.

Okay. Note to self, learn from sweetP, stop worrying, just believe it is all going to work out okay. So I am hopeful that his year will go okay. If not, I am going to one giant pain in the tush if he starts hating school.

Now if only I could start to feel better about my year. If it continues on the current path, I will either be drinking heavily or headed into therapy by years end. I wish could be as worry free about my year as sweetP is about his. I shudder to think of the shape I would be in if I was a worrier. I am waiting for the twitch above my left eye to return. It was a frequent visitor last spring.

Feel free to vote on the sidebar for how I should cope with my stress from this year.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Beat Goes On

Let's say that I am neck deep into day two of work. It started last Friday when I stopped by my classroom to drop off a box of stuff. Less stuff to lug on Monday. For weeks I have been getting more and more anxious about the start of the year. On Friday I got the news that my "oh so fabulous, gotta love her" teaching partner (I mean it, she is great!) would be taking a temporary leave for at least a few weeks. I don't blame her, if I were in her shoes I would be doing the same thing. But that just gave me one more thing to make me crazy.

So here I am trying to remember all the stuff that needs to be done to start the year. This is only my second year setting up an elementary classroom. And there are so many little details that need to be done. That doesn't include all the meetings that eat up time and remind us of how much there is to do.

Our class has gained three new students and lost one. If there is one constant in my life it is change. And I don't like change. So I am doing the best I can, but it seems like there are interruptions every few minutes. Then I get distracted and lose stuff and waste time trying to find it again. Then I have to prioritize the stuff I have to get done with the stuff that I want to get done. Today I did some of both. I emptied the file drawer that was filled with math stuff from several former teachers. Why people don't empty their own stuff I don't know. I figured since I didn't look in there once last year, it was all headed for the recycle. But there were overheads filed in there so I had to sort those into the trash.

I have had an offer from a former classroom parent to come in and help me get stuff done. I called her today and thanked her for her lovely offer and said, "Does Thursday work for you?" So I am hoping she will call me back and say yes, see you then.

So far I am 1 and 1 for headaches. I came home with one yesterday, but not today. Today I went to see the doctor and we decided it was time to see the headache specialist. And I got a tetanus shot, so my arm hurts. In the meantime, if I am going to survive this week I need to go to bed about 9 every night. I don't like to go to bed that early, but the alternative is more headaches.

The mega-marathon-decathalon has started and won't stop until mid June. So I will do what I used to do in PE as a kid when we had to run laps. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, eventually you get there.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Screeching into the School Year

One week from today I will be back at work. I got the dreaded letter two weeks ago. It outlines the many ways that I am going to be frustrated this year. I am spending my last week desperately trying to knock items off my to do list.

Today I visited my grandfathers cousin. My aunt had asked me to please help her get copies of some old family photos. Since I live an hour away and she lives thousands of miles away, I was happy to help out. She asked me over a year ago, so I thought I had better get it done. It took a major part of my day, but I am now the proud owner of 25 old photos saved as jpegs. She is a lovely woman who appreciated my boys and seemed to enjoy our visit. She even baked cookies for us! For over two hours she found pictures and told me who was in them. So as soon as I get those photos burned onto DVD and sent to my aunt, another project will be complete.

This last weekend I headed off to the coast for a girls weekend. I was able to escape the heat and the noise and interruptions and enjoy a pleasant weekend away. I only took one project with me, the favorites books. My goal, get them done before I came home. I almost made it, but I ran out of sticky tape stuff. So they are 80% complete and I hope to finish them one evening this week. As is usual for me, I managed to have a migraine the first night there. I had been fighting a headache for the previous two days and didn't realize when it morphed into a migraine until late that night. I turned into a pumpkin at midnight and only as I was laying in bed did I realize it had switched. Fortunately I never travel without the meds and I was all better by the morning. I missed 4 hours of fun girl chat, but saved the rest of the weekend. Thanks R for the super fun and relaxing weekend. I needed it more than I realized.

The last two big projects of the summer are finishing my room and organizing the garage. My room is nearly done, I just need a few more hours to get it done. The garage is started and I should be able to make some good progress in the next few days. Our goal is purge as much as we can. Some amusing things I have found while organizing: a t-shirt that I bought in 8th grade (about 22 years ago), a pair of spandex shorts that Ducky had when I met him 18 years ago (trashed never to be seen again), utility bills from 12 years ago (shredded and recycled), a pair of purple bridesmaid shoes without the matching dress (saved for the daughter I don't have) and a hose to a vacuum we got rid of quite a while ago. Who knows what other treasures I will unearth.

So I hope as I head to bed on Sunday night I will be able to feel as if my summer was well spent. Because I feel like I need a few more weeks.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Moment with a Boy

Yesterday morning Ducky took the boys to Home Depot. We needed some lava rock for a dry well Ducky had dug in the backyard for our ongoing drainage issues. SweetE will periodically begin telling a story. They go something like this. (Not one of his real stories, but a close approximation)

"Last year when I was a baby I had a bike and it was blue and I rode it all the time and it went really fastly so that I had to drag my feet to stop and then I got in trouble for going in the street because cars go out there and that's not safe and and and I could get a boo boo and then I would need a boo boo strip and I would want the camo ones cause they are really cool, really cool but they get wet when I wash my hands and then I don't like them I really like the inbisible ones cause they don't get wet, do I have a inbisible one on now, cause I have a boo boo right here see see and that's weird, weird, weird are we going to ride the tractors, last year sweetP was watching Drake and Josh and they don't make good decisions and that's not nice and I found a penny and put it in my pocket, did you put it in my wallet, can I have a tookie the chocolate kind...

Notice the lack of periods in those sentences. He will go on and on like this speaking like hummingbird wings flap. Just a stream of not quite 4 year old consciousness. So as he is giving one of his rapid fire stories a man walks up to Ducky and says..

(like he is hyperventilating) "I feel like I need to breathe for him."

And you do and it makes you all tense because he doesn't stop and breathe or let you process any of what he is saying or breathe. I think it is hilarious that someone else noticed and had to comment.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Projects and Summer Vacation

I have come to the realization that I will run out of summer long before I run out of projects. I am also still keeping my New Year's Resolution in mind. I think my Campfire girl oath is still running through my head, "I will finish what I begin."

Ducky took the boys camping Saturday night and I got the rare luxury of having the house all to myself. I had 19 hours to call my own and see what I could get done. My goal, get my room clean and organized. I want to actually use my room. I want to stop referring to it as the pit of despair.

I remained incredibly focused for me. I unearthed the most interesting things. I found utility bills from 12 years ago, 12 years! I found notes from students telling me how awesome I am. Those made me feel better. I found letters from my grandparents. The ones from my grandma made me cry. I miss her, she was my most favorite person in the world. I found a letter from my dad that was touching.

My shredder was used so much it overheated and shut itself off. I recycled and purged and cleaned and organized. I worked for nearly eight hours. And then I went to bed.

Just as I was falling asleep, I heard the possessed toy. So at one in the morning, I set out to find it. I searched the boys room, I searched the guest room, I searched the family room. I found it in the dining room on its side. I set it upright and assumed that I had solved the problem. Except at 5:56, Spiderman was webslinging again. And there was too much light in the room and I got woken up just enough that I couldn't go back to sleep. Not that I didn't try, this was my day to sleep in, damn it. Now I had the very real fear that I would be struck by a migraine and my Sunday would be ruined. I didn't, it waited until Monday.

I gave up, ate breakfast and got two more hours of work in. I can see the end. About three more hours and it should be done. I will do the happy dance and start doing projects in there. There is a chair so Ducky or the boys can come hang out with me. Or I can escape and read. And I will get to cross one more thing off my to do list.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer Blogging

It is summer and the weather has been lovely. I mean it. Perfect temperatures, nice breezes, truly lovely.

So my blogging has been left on the back burner a bit. And my commenting too.

Today, we are taking a break from the Fun in the Sun adventures. Today, I am jotting down funny things I want to remember about the boys.

When we were out of town last weekend, we stopped in a part of town known for people looking the part of hippies. Who knows if they live the part too, I don't know them that well. Ducky was trying to explain what hippies were and how we knew when we saw one. Note to self... Do not tell boys what hippies are and then leave the windows down. Every time they saw someone they thought fit the description they would yell "There's one." About every person that walked by. A more careful explanation by me helped narrow it down. The funny part, they didn't call them hippies, they called them whippies. "There's a whippy, there's a girl whippy. Mommy, there is a kid whippy!" There were whippies everywhere. It is a wonder they didn't get whippylash from looking for them.

SweetE likes a certain kind of granola in the morning for breakfast, with milk. He tells me he wants the "tookie kind." I will be really sad when he starts pronouncing things properly.

I am gathering all the stuff for the boys favorites books. When I asked sweetE who his favorite friend is, he said sweetP. Ahhhh. In case anyone is wondering what these are, and want to borrow the idea, here it is. I make little scrapbooks that document the things the boys like each year. Topics include color, food, friend, game, adventure, animal, etc. I was finding that I was forgetting so many of the little details of their lives. The ones that I wish I knew about myself when I was little. The boys love them and will get them down and look through them.

SweetP has been challenging lately. He has a poker face when it comes to lying. Not so long ago honesty was important to him. Not so much anymore. He is a good liar and that is scary. This morning he told me that he did his reading. He gets up before me and since I had a mega migraine yesterday I slept later. He is supposed to read for 30 minutes every day. I want him to do this before he gets any screen time. This morning there were quite a few clues that he didn't really do it. So now I am going to have to make him do it with me. It bothers me that I don't feel like I can trust him anymore. There have been other things too, and when you catch him in it, he will say that he doesn't want to get in trouble. I need to think of a way that the consequences of lying are worse than the consequences of fessing up.

I am happy to announce that Velcro was deemed healthy at the vet today. He is coming up on his twelfth birthday this year and I am not ready for him to have health problems. He also went to the groomer and he smells good and is so soft.

There was some other stuff I wanted to jot down, but I have forgotten it already. I had a good memory once, long, long ago.