Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Five: Grateful Edition

Today, since I've been grousing so much here lately, I thought I would post five things for which I am grateful.  In no particular order:

1.  I am grateful that I only work three days next week.  While it's true I've already had six days off work since October (and that does not include holidays), I've been at Jamie's school doing student observations, so they haven't FELT like days off.  I've still had to get up early - in fact, even earlier than I would for work, I've had to dress nice (nicer than what I wear to work), and I've had to interact with people.  So, they haven't really been days "off".

2.  I am grateful that the following week I will have Friday off.  Again, time off with kid to do whatever.  Sounds great to me!

3.  I am grateful that Jamie and I had already agreed on a low-key Christmas this year.  He already knows he's only getting a few things.  He has been limited to buying things for his BB, Joel & his sigoth, Leah, and just a few close friends.  Basically, all my loved ones are getting this year are Christmas cards with our love and well wishes inside.  I'm trying really hard to pinch my pennies this year because of upcoming student teaching, when I will not be able to work outside of my student teaching, which of course doesn't pay anything.

4.  I'm grateful that my work usually gives out Christmas bonuses.  (Hint, hint, hint, if you're reading this, powers that be!)  This is where most of the small Christmas we're having is coming from.

5.  I'm grateful that I have so many good friends and loved ones in my life.  This is what I am most grateful for.  You all rock!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's Like "Teletubbies" Meets "Alien"

Oh, this is so wrong! It's like a horrible mutant Teletubby (well, more mutantier than usual), or some horrible mash-up between an episode of Teletubbies and that scene in Alien when that thing came out of the guy's stomach.  I just can't look at it anymore.  Please, put it away, and for goodness sake, do NOT buy this for anyone! I believe I'd rather have a Snuggie!

In case you were wondering, it's called a "peekaru". If you buy this for anyone this Christmas, that person will know, without a doubt, that you actually hate him or her. Please, spread love at Christmas, not terror and angst!

Monday, December 06, 2010

A Parent's Christmas Wish List

Hey, kids!  Christmas is just around the corner, and I know you're wondering just what the heck you can get for good ol' Mom and Dad.  They have everything, right?  And you don't want to give them the same gifts you give every year - the ties, perfume, etc. of which they already have too much.  So, to help you out, I've compiled this list of things that your parents will absolutely LOVE to receive...and the best thing is, they're FREE!

  1. When cooking yourself something in the kitchen, actually PICK UP your trash and throw it away, rather than leaving it on the counter for mom or dad to find later.
  2. If the garbage can is full, instead of piling your garbage on top until it overflows onto the floor, actually take the garbage out to the garbage bin, then... this is the important part.... PUT A NEW GARBAGE BAG IN THE TRASH CAN.  (I know, amazing concept, right?)
  3. Boys, return toilet sits to the proper position once you have finished your business!  I'm tired of going swimming when I'm half asleep and forget to check if you put the durn thing back down.
  4. Be able to find your socks/shoes/watch/medication/favorite sweater without having to shout "Mom, where's my ______?!?!!?" every once in a while.
  5. When your parents tell you to do something, do not reply "In a minute."  Be like Nike and "Just do it".
  6. Furthermore, when your parents tell you to do something, try the novel approach of actually doing it the first time you're told, instead of waiting to see how many times mom and/or dad can repeat themselves before they blow a gasket.
  7. When it's your turn to do the dishes, actually do them BEFORE they turn funny colors and start to stink.
  8. And, hey, this list isn't just for the older kids.  You little ones can get in on the act, too!  When in public, don't blurt out embarrassing remarks about your mom's hiney, tushy, or whatever else you might call it.  Don't blurt out stuff about other people's hiney or tushy, either.
So there you have it, kiddos.  Just a few simple suggestions for what you can get your parents this year.  They're free and easy to do, but your parents will be so appreciative!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

What I'm Doing

I've been very busy (and very lazy) since Thanksgiving break.  I've been shamefully lax in updating my blog.  I don't have the brain cells to put too much here, but I will give you the highlights.

  • Jamie and I had a very lovely, wonderful visit over Thanksgiving.  We didn't publicize where we were going, becuase we couldn't possibly see all the people we wanted to.  Suffice it to be said that we were having a grand time and felt very loved.  Wish we were closer to home!
  • The semester is almost over for me.  Hallelujah!  My brain cells are so fried, somebody might confuse them for fast food.  Just a couple of weeks to go.
  • Jamie and I are both busy with churchly activities.  I kicked myself in the butt and we're back going to services after our hiatus there for a few weeks.  I've enjoyed it immensely!  We've also been busy with getting ready for the Christmas Cantata.  It's next weekend, and I just found out tonight I will be singing the solo I wanted.  If you can stand it, I'll try to get some video or at least audio of it and post it here.  Jamie is also singing in the Cantata, although he isn't singing any solos. He is possibly singing in a small-group backup kind of dealie, but Marc has not officially stated who is doing what on all the songs.  I just found out tonight (our penultimate rehearsal) that I'll have a solo.
  • Work is plugging along nicely.
Other than that, there isn't much to report.  I probably won't post anything on here again until after finals and the Cantata are over.  Love you all!

Monday, November 29, 2010

No Place Like Home for the Holidays (in Pictures)






I'm sorry we didn't take more pictures, but I was having too much fun!  Hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Procrastination Post

As I type this, I'm supposed to be doing five million other things.  I'm supposed to be working on homework (including a rather lengthy paper) - this homework is due tomorrow at 5 p.m.  So really, I have to get it done tonight.  But I don't want to.  Why?  Because so much of the stuff I have to do for these classes has very little to do with the actual art of teaching.  They are filler - even the teachers say so.  And I'm so burned out and exhausted and discouraged right now that I just can't get motivated to do anything other than what I want to do, which is sit at the computer and look at new cars.

But part of what has me so discouraged is the fact that I'm looking at new cars and realizing that it may not be possible right now to get one, mechanical problems aside.  But, so much of what I'm looking at that has the features I want winds up being minivans, which then takes me down the road I've been contemplating for years... foster parenting.  I've been thinking about applying to foster for years, but then I look at how hard I struggle to keep all my balls in the air, and how exhausted I am all the time just trying to raise one child (not to mention all the mistakes I've made and regrets I have), and how hard I struggle to keep food on the table, and how the house is always so messy I'm ashamed to have anyone over to visit, and I realize there's no way in hell I would ever get approved to foster, so why go to the expense of it all?  Plus the thought of adding more children into my teeny tiny house (and my teeny tiny car) just makes me tired.  And then I look some more at the cars in my price range, and wonder what I should do, and get even more discouraged.  This is a very nasty cycle I'm in right now.

I'm also supposed to be cleaning house and rearranging things to make life with three dogs easier, and I'm not doing that right now, either.  I'm just too tired to move.  I think the fact that it gets dark so soon after I get off work now is definitely NOT a good thing for me.  I need sunshine like I used to need cigarettes.

I can't put it off any longer, so I guess I better do my homework.  At least when I get this done, I won't have any more homework until next Sunday.  Small things for which to be grateful, no?

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Car Conundrum (UPDATED)

I'm in a bit of a quandry, transportation-wise.  I have a car, a teeny tiny car.  I kind of like my teeny tiny car, but it has some problems now, and it's just a bit too teeny tiny.  My car has developed brake problems, a mysterious short that causes the blower to not always blow, the daytime running lights have quit working (no matter how many times I've taken it to the shop - or how much I've had to pay there) and other issues that make me feel like I'm not quite as safe as I'd like to be when I'm on the road.  Of course, car problems aside, I don't think I'll ever feel safe in that teeny tiny car again ever since that semi almost squished me a while back.  Apparently, my car was too teeny tiny to be seen.

Anyway, my car has been to the shop, and fixing all the things wrong with it is going to be expensive.  More expensive than is worth sinking into this car (that was the mechanic's honest opinion).

Another problem with my teeny tiny car is that my son is friends with a bunch of giants.  Seriously.  Although Jamie is the oldest of his friends, he's the smallest.  His BFFs all tower over him.  Wm, Sp and B are all several inches taller than he is.  Sp is nearly a foot taller!  Also, most of his friends outweigh him by a huge amount - not hard to do when you are a toothpick, like my son.  So, getting all these guys together to do something is nearly impossible, unless their parents drop them off.  It is very uncomfortable for all the boys when it is my turn on after-school pick-up days.  Also, almost all his BFFs are in the same clubs he is in, and these clubs involve traveling with multiple kids in the car to different locations, some hours and hours away.  These clubs do not always have the funds to get buses for the trips, so parents step in and transport the kids.  I'm thinking specifically of upcoming trips to Austin and Houston that I know will require multiple kids and ROBOTS in my car at the same time.  We did that a month ago, where I had to transport three (or was it four?) boys and a robot only across town and I thought the car would burst at the seams. Not to mention if we had had an accident, the boys in the back would have had robot parts up their noses and in their nether regions. 

There's another option, but I'm torn about this.  I have found another car I like.  Heck, actually I love it.  It's  the modern version of a station wagon.  It's a 2010 Kia Rondo, only has 11K miles on it, is still covered under factory warranty, has seating for 7 plus cargo room, has much better safety features than my car, and is big enough that I won't feel like a bug about to be squished every time I drive down the road.  Plus, everything on it works!  No brake issues, no blower issues, imagine that!  This vehicle has been discontinued in the US (the 2010 is the last model year being sold in the US), but parts will still be available for a long time to come, according to Kia.  The big thing I'm torn about is the price.  It will increase my monthly car payment by about $80, and will (of course) be a little more expensive to fill up at the pump (it gets about 4 mpg less than my current car).  Also, my car insurance will go up by about $17 a month.  My financing has already been approved, I just need to make a down payment on it of $500, plus whatever negative equity I owe from my current car (I'm still making payments on it).  It won't be much, I think.  I won't know the actual number until the dealer does an inspection on it.

What are your opinions on this issue?  I'm really torn about this.  Your advice is welcome (and badly needed!).

UPDATE:  I called the dealer and cancelled the Kia.  Despite the fact that I have never quite seen myself as a minivan mom, I'm now looking at one - specifically, a 2006 Saturn Relay 2, with 41K miles, the same mpgs as the Kia, not as many safety features as the Kia (but better than what I currently have), a 100K mile bumper to bumper warranty w/a $200 deductible ($150 if I take it to the dealer's national chain of locations), seating for 7, lots of cubby holes and cargo space...oh, and a DVD player.... for $35/mo. more than my current payment.  I've called around, and supposedly parts are still available and not as expensive as Kia replacement parts.  As with the Kia, the down payment starts at $500, but the lender could require a larger down payment depending on how much negative equity there is from my current car.  I don't know where the down payment is coming from right now, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.  I have to do something about my transportation issues.  So, please, tell me - more thoughts?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No Justice for Single Parents in the State of Tennessee

Someone wasn't paying his child support in the State of Tennessee (SoT).  SoT took him to court because he was $1,400 behind. (That's 7 MONTHS of non-payment, people!)  SoT then said, "Oh, gee, we'll knock the amount you owe down to $346.32.  But you have to promise you'll pay your regular monthly amount each month by the 15th of the month starting on Oct. 15th."  He replied, with his fingers crossed behind his back, "Oh, yes, sir.  I sure will!"  He paid the $346.32 on October 4.  Hasn't paid what he was supposed to for either October or November.  So, my question is, is this really a surprise to anyone?  And how long will they let it go this time before they take him back to court, only to tell him he only has to pay about 1/4 of what he owes?  I don't know who disgusts me more - him or the so-called justice system.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Morgan's Wonderland

On Saturday, I took Jamie to Morgan's Wonderland.  It's a beautiful place with a beautiful message.  Rather than rambling on and on about how much fun we had, and how glorious it was to spend the day playing in such a wonderful, inclusive environment, I'll let the pictures speak for me.
















Friday, November 12, 2010

Help Shaun Groves Make a Record

You may have noticed the new widget on my blog.  See, there's this "Soft Rock Star" named Shaun Groves.  Maybe you've heard of him?  He wants to make a new record, but he doesn't have a label.  Actually, I believe that's a good thing, because he wouldn't have as much control over his record if he were part of a music machine.  His last new record was five years ago.  He's warm, funny, talented as all get out, oh, and he looks a lot like my brother (well, you can't really tell it from the picture shown in the widget, but in person and in several other photos, they could be twins!).  He's not just a Christian singer/songwriter.  He's a humanitarian, speaking and blogging on behalf of Compassion International - an awesome organization! His songs, if you haven't heard them, aren't those wishy-washy, isn't-my-life-wonderful-in-my-white-bread-perfect-world songs.  No, he sings about a lot of tough things, hard things, the things we encounter in real life.  I've met him and talked to him (briefly) in person, and he is warm, down to earth, funny, humble and just flat-out what a Christian is SUPPOSED to be (and so many are not).  He's battled his share of demons, struggled with issues of faith at times like us all.  If any artist needs to put out new music, if anyone's message needs to get to the masses, it's his.  So please, give what you can, if you can.  I've sent my $10, might even send more as it becomes available.  Will you?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Etsy, You Let Me Down

Up to this point in his life, Jamie has been surrounded by people who already know (through my constant nagging....erm, "reminding") that he has some life-threatening health concerns - namely, his food allergy to peanuts and his asthma.  This has meant that, although I know it is important, I haven't gotten around to buying him a medical alert bracelet or anything else that identifies emergency personnel to the fact that he has health issues.

Quite frankly, this is extremely stupid of me, I know.  I also know that most USB medical bracelets are either too big, or too expensive.  (Except, today I found one for less than $20 on Walgreens (dot) com.  I'll be going there shortly to order it!)  But I don't think just the medic alert bracelet is enough.  I want something else to help alert emergency personnel that they should be looking for a medical bracelet and that they should look for his life-saving medications on him.  But something like that was non-existent, at least, specific to what I wanted and what I wanted it to say.  Until now.  Today, I found on Etsy some professional looking patches and buttons, for less than $5, that say "I have asthma, inhaler inside" and "Fatal allergy to peanuts, EpiPen inside".  These would be PERFECT to put on his little EpiPen bag/Inhaler holder he carries everywhere he goes.  They're big, bright, noticeable, and have the medical alert symbol on them.

Only one problem.  Every time I go to order the dang things, Etsy's server crashes and I can't get back on.  Finally, I get back on, and then it crashes again.  Oh, Etsy, the first time I've tried to use you, for something as important as this, and YOU. LET. ME. DOWN!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Bragging on My Kid

I'd like to take a moment here to brag on my kiddo.  I know I do this fairly often, but hey, I'm a momblogger, it's kind of what I do.

Last Friday, my boy got three - count 'em, THREE - awards for the first nine weeks of school.  The first was for making the A/B honor roll (six A's and two B's.  Not too shabby!).  The second and third awards blew me away, because I had no stinkin' idea just how well my kid was doing in some of his classes!

The second award was for having the highest average in his history class - OUT OF AT LEAST 120 STUDENTS! (Six class periods with approximately 20 kids in each class period = roughly 120 students.)  Out of all the classes and all the students, Jamie had the highest average grade.  Rock on, Jamie!

The third award should not have been a surprise to me, considering Jamie's gene pool (and heck, even his family name).  He got the Outstanding Technology Award for his computer graphics class.  Apparently, Jamie figured out how to do an effect on the computer in a certain graphics/animation program that even the teacher didn't know could be done.  I feel like Spike in the old Tom and Jerry cartoons talking about his pup - "That's my boy!" (in Spike's raspy voice, of course).

To celebrate, Jamie, his friends W and B, and I went and saw Megamind in 3D.  I hadn't taken him and his friends out to the movies in a while, and I really wanted Jamie to get a big reward for all his hard work this nine weeks.  We had a lot of fun, and the movie was great.  If you haven't seen it yet, you should go.  Now.  See. It.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Five: Weekend Happies

Five little things that are making me especially happy this weekend:

  1. I'm going out dancing tonight with my friend Julie.  Her husband is playing in the band at a new dance hall here.  The dance hall is adults only.  This is part 2 of my birthday celebration. :-)
  2. I have a hair appointment tomorrow.  Nothing fancy, just getting a trim.  I may even get my eyebrows shaped.  No matter how mundane the appointment, it's always nice to get to the hair salon!
  3. The weather has cooled off enough that it's cool and breezy.  I love waking up in the morning to a chill in the air!
  4. My voice has recovered and I can sing again.  Yay!
  5. Last, but not least, I have a blind date lunch on Sunday.  My friend Sally set us up.  Even if nothing comes of it but friendship, hey, I can always use new friends!
What about you?  What are five things that are making you happy this weekend?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Not That I'm Complaining, But....

... What in the world has gotten into my kid?  He was recently moved from English to Pre-AP English, and now his science teacher is suggesting he should be in Pre-AP Science next year (they don't offer it in 7th grade) and on the field trip last week, Jamie's social studies teacher stopped by to tell me what a joy Jamie is to have in class and how Jamie is leaps and bounds ahead of most of the other students.  As he was leaving, he said, "Oh, by the way, you should really consider having him in Pre-AP History next year."

So, I called Jamie's school and talked to the counselor's office about all this.  Based on feedback they've gotten from teachers and things they've noticed, as well as the fact that the last time Jamie was tested he was in elementary and was not yet on medication for his later-diagnosed ADHD, they are recommending Jamie be retested for G/T.  They also said that since I was a G/T kid, there's a strong tendency for my kid(s) to be G/T, as well.

I want him to be tested again for many reasons.  Not because my over-achieving self feels I have to have a little Mini Me, but because of many things I've been noticing lately, and because Jamie reminds me so much of my brother.  Jamie and I made the decision together to lower his ADHD medication dosage.  He is getting to the age when many kids are able to be weaned off their medication.  Also, he's been commenting on how he hates "feeling like a zombie" on days when he takes his meds.  So, we told the doc we wanted a lower dosage.  Not too long after that, Jamie's grades went up even higher and his spelling and writing grammar/mechanics improved, as well.  His teachers are commenting on how he's even more involved in class than ever before.  I don't know if it's because the meds aren't chaining his brain down as much or if he's just more interested in the material this year.  Maybe it's a combination of both.  (If his meds have been holding him back while making him behave, well.... I'll spare you the post about the guilt I'm feeling, but know it's DEFINITELY there.  I also recently read an article about how some G/T kids are getting misdiagnosed with ADHD because of similarities in behavior issues when they are very young.  Oh, yeah, there's a LOT of guilt stewing in my heart and brain right now, and it will only get worse if I find out he does qualify for the G/T program!) 

I also want him tested because he is so much like my brother that it's like looking 20-some years in the past.  I remember always being confused as to why my brother, who is sooooo much smarter than I am (seriously, scarily smart), was never in G/T.  I found out later it had a lot to do with school politics in the little town we lived in back in Oklahoma, and the fact that when we moved to Kentucky they wouldn't retest him because they claimed he was "too old to start the G/T program now."  Naturally, he got bored in class and didn't pay attention, and wouldn't do his homework because it was boring... So the school completely let him down by putting him in just basic classes - all the while he was coming home at night from school and studying astronomy and quantum physics and other subjects on his own "just for fun." 

Jamie is the same way.  He got a gift subscription to an astronomy magazine from his Big Brother Bill.  Jamie pores over each issue and tells me stuff I've never even heard of, then goes on the Internet to learn more - just because.  Jamie and I love to watch science-y stuff like Mythbusters, etc.; but Jamie also loves to watch programs on the Science Channel, the Smithsonian Channel and other obscure geekcentric stations - stuff about black holes, supernovas, ancient Egypt, meteorites, and whatever else tickles his nerdtastic fancy.  He also loves to watch the NASA channel - not just for the videos from outer space, but the detailed interviews about diagnostics and design and the history of rocketry.  While I like to consider myself intelligent, some of this stuff is way over my head and Jamie just eats it up.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not trying to say Jamie is the next coming of Einstein - he's not.  Unfortunately, he is starting to show his mother's distaste for all things mathematical.  He still won't sit still for very long to read a book unless he has to - he'd rather be up moving around and doing than sitting still for any reason.  (Even when he's on the computer, he's always moving.)  He also sometimes does things that make me wonder if his common sense flew out of his ear and took a vacation.  He is not, by any means, a genius in all subjects.  But there are some things, some pretty amazing things, about this kiddo that just blow me away.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sloth Punkin'

This is the pumpkin Jamie carved yesterday with no assistance whatsoever from me.  I think it's cute.  I kept thinking "Gee, it reminds me of someone" but I couldn't figure out who, until it came to me today.  It kind of looks like Sloth from "Goonies".  Don'cha think?

I see a distinct resemblance, don't you?

More funny pictures for your amusement:



Jamie and his friend William model aviator hats at that mart with the walls.

Jamie just *had* to have this hat to wear to the corn maze.


And......

Pictures from this past weekend's robotics competition:





Thursday, October 21, 2010

TExES Exam Scores

For those of you who don't do facebook, I thought I would let you know that, despite a horrendous testing experience (nearly an hour delay, very loud construction noise right next door, unprofessional staff, etc.), I passed my content area certification exam.  I am a very happy, relieved woman!  Unfortunately, I can't relax and kick back, because I have a ton of homework to do, and this is midterms week, and Jamie has an orchestra concert tonight, I'm chaperoning a field trip (and getting observation hours credit for it) tomorrow, and Jamie has a robotics competition tomorrow night and all day Saturday.  No rest for the weary, I guess.  But still, one test successfully completed, one more test to go (I'll probably take it next fall).

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Dreamed

Last night, I dreamed I danced with a dead man.  He held me so tenderly in his arms, his every movement was infused with yearning for what could have been.  He whispered to me that he loved me, he needed me, and that he forgave me.  I asked him what he was forgiving me for.  "I forgive you for killing me," he replied.

Now that I'm awake, I know that I have no idea who this man in my dream was.  He does not look anything remotely like any man I know.  But while it was happening, it hurt so badly I felt my heart twisting in my chest.  I woke up sobbing, with tears just pouring down my face.  His image has haunted me all day, his words echoing in my ears.  And I still don't even know his name.

This is the first dream I have remembered in months, if not longer.  In my mind, it is as solid as a memory, not just a dream.  I have no idea why I dreamed this; I just hope it doesn't come again tonight.  I don't think my heart can stand to be broken this badly again, even if only in my imagination.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Submerged

Warning: Reader discretion is advised. There's a lot in here that, try as I might to avoid it, may come off as whining. That is not my intention, but... Well, I'll let you decide.
 
I've been doing a lot of thinking here lately. Somebody asked me not too long ago why I read so much - because, let's face it, for someone who works full time, goes to grad school full time, and is raising a kid full time on her own to then turn around and read 10-15 books a week, well.... that's not exactly normal. And my answer isn't exactly normal, either. I'm compelled to read that much. For a while, I couldn't figure out why I feel I have to be constantly reading - have to have four or five different storylines running through my head. The answer is actually pretty ugly. It's the only escape I have.

For the last several years (almost 13, to be exact), I've submerged much of who I am, much of what makes me, well, me. A great deal of my energy goes into being Jamie's mom, just about every thought and action revolves around him and what he needs, and there isn't much left of me anymore. I know this is the way it usually is when your kid is younger and needs your time and attention. And I love him to death, but... Sometimes I feel like I'm smothering, choking on it all. True, yeah, I'm going to school, and that's all for me - kind of. But so much of my creative outlets are just.... gone. I don't have time to try out for or act in any community theatre productions - and there are TONS here in San Antonio. Acting isn't the only thing I've submerged.

I've barely written anything since I got pregnant. It's like my writing muse got sucked into my womb with the baby. Sure I can still crank out a (short) poem here and there, but all of my stories are gone - just, "poof!" - disappeared. I used to fill notebook after notebook with stories, plays, poems and bits for later inspiration. Now, I have nothing. I tried NaNoWriMo, and failed utterly. I've started so many stories, written from dreams, images and lines that flash into my head - but it's all crap. They all fizzle out within a paragraph or two. I almost feel like my creativity has been surgically removed. But Jamie? I think he got it from me in utero. He writes all the time. Seriously - all. the. time. He has a book he's written - it isn't very long, but it's actually kind of a cute story. Me, I've got nothing, and it's left this big sucking hole inside me that I feel compelled to fill with page after page, story after story, book after book. It's like I've lived so much of my life constantly accompanied by all these characters and situations in my head, and now that they are gone I have to fill up that space with other peoples' stories. Because I'm just not comfortable with it only being me in there.

True, I'm singing again, but that is a recent development. Last year was the first year I had sung in public anywhere in years. It was the first time in a very long time I felt able to do something just because I wanted to do it, not because it needed to be done for Jamie. I really think if I hadn't started doing something - anything - just for me, I would have exploded. But it still isn't all I want - need - to do. Like I said, I love my son, cannot imagine a life without him and the joy he brings me, but I have to wonder, who the heck am I anymore?

Am I the only one? Has anyone else submerged so much of who and what they are that they just don't really know themselves anymore? What if I've submerged so much that I can't find myself again when he's grown and leaves home? Who will I be then, and what the hell will I do?  Go ahead, leave me a comment and tell me if you've experienced or are experiencing this feeling yourself.  Or, if you feel like I'm being a whiny baby and need a swift kick in the caboose, tell me so.  I want to hear from you.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday Five: Little Happies, TV Edition

I don't get to watch a lot of TV.  I'm busy.  But I am passionate about what I do watch.  To that end, here's my list of five recent developments in TeeVeeLand that make me tail waggingly happy.

1.  Haven (SyFy Network) has been picked up for a second season.  I like everything about this show.  It's got funny, it's got spooky, it's got scary... and it has Eric Balfour and Lucas Bryant shirtless.  'Nuff said.

2.  Warehouse 13 (also from SyFy Network) has been renewed for a third season.  I've seen several recent reports confirming this.  There also are reports of stand-alone holiday specials being forthcoming for WH13 and "Eureka".  This makes me happy, as I love the show but was very unhappy with how Season 2 ended. 

3.  A new season of Mythbusters just started.  YAY!!!!

4.  A new season of Bones just started.  Again, YAY!!!!!

5. The new season of Dirty Jobs (ohhhh, Mike Rowe, you are so dreamy!) will start Oct. 19.  Whee!

There are a few other shows that either have started airing new seasons or will soon, but I won't list them here.  Some of them are my "dirty little secret" addictions.  Others I won't list because... well, that would screw up the whole "five things on Friday" motif, wouldn't it?

What about you?  What are you excited about in TeeVeeLand?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Tales Out of School

For those of you wondering, I had a FANTASTIC time on Monday during my student observations.  In the morning, I sat with Jamie's reading teacher from last year.  I even got to help out with reading aloud when her voice got tired.  The school cannot afford to buy enough copies of books their reading to send a copy home with each student, so the books have to be shared and read during class time.  Sometimes, Mrs. B reads chapters aloud, then stops at key points to ask students to make predictions, observations or connections to what they have read.  Monday was a read-aloud day.  It was great to hear the kids' opinions and predictions!

When it was time for Mrs. B's planning/advising/break, I went to Jamie's current English teacher, Mrs. F.  Jamie had already had his class with Mrs. F by this time, so there was no conflict with my sitting with her class.  They were working on writing an essay on the themes in Langston Hughes' "Thank You, M'am".  Lunch period was also during the time when I was with her class, so I got to sit and eat lunch outside in the courtyard with Jamie and his friends Spencer, Brandt, Maxwell and J.W. (I think?). The kid whose name I am not quite sure of looks a scarily-similar to Jamie - nearly the same color eyes, hair is nearly the same color, freckles like mad, and only a teensy bit taller.  It was very strange to see the two of them sitting side-by-side.  But, it was good getting to eat lunch with all "my kids" - well, except for our friend William.  William purposely hid when he saw me in the cafeteria; he said he was afraid I'd do something to embarrass him.  Who, me?

After lunch, Mrs. F and I got a chance to chat during the last few minutes of class.  She told me that Jamie wasn't being challenged enough by her regular English class, and wanted me to get the counselors to move him to her Pre-AP English class.  Considering Jamie has a 100 average in the class, I agreed he must not be challenged enough, and went straight to see the counselor.  His schedule will be rearranged today, and he'll start Pre-AP English tomorrow.  He's excited, and so am I.  When I got back, Mrs. F and I swapped lists of "must-read" books.  We both like YA fantasy literature.  I've been invited to come back to her class any time I want.  I definitely will be back next time I do observations!

Lastly, I went back to Mrs. B's class to observe her Advanced 6th grade reading class.  I was not impressed at all with some of the students in this class!  They were in the midst of group projects, so they were rowdy.  On top of that, they were disrespectful to each other and the teacher.  Also, their responses to Mrs. B's questions on their group projects did not show nearly the critical thinking skills that were observed in the so-called regular classes.  But it was good to see how she kept the kids on task and from being too loud when working in their groups.

When the day was over, I was sad to realize I wouldn't be back again for several weeks for more observation.  I had a lot of fun and learned a lot from the teachers.  I cannot wait for next time!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Pray for You" - super funny song (and video)!

I posted this to facebook, but I thought I'd share it here for those of you who read my blog but don't do facebook. I'm not usually a big fan of country music, but this song is way too funny to let it's genre stop me from listening to it.

More Grad School Miscellany

I've gotten approval from the district to do observations in the classroom.  As an added bonus, one of the teachers I'll be observing is Jamie's reading teacher from last year.  If all goes well, my first observation day will be Oct. 4.  Yesterday, I went and got some comfortable shoes that are dressy enough to wear to church, to do field observations in and for actual teaching, but comfortable enough that standing in them will not be a problem.  I'm also going to go this weekend to find some more professional-looking clothes to wear for observations and once student teaching comes around.  What I currently wear to work is polos embroidered with the company logo and jeans.  I don't think that is quite what the district would want teachers in training to wear!  I'm haunting the thrift stores and looking out for stuff on sale.  I don't want to spend a fortune!

Anyway, I just wanted to add this quick note so you all know I'm not dead and am, indeed, still alive and well.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thank You, Jessi

I want to give a big THANK YOU to my IRL and blogger friend, Jessi.  A while back, I was begging for slow cooker recipes I could make so Jamie and I could have healthful, home cooked meals that I don't have to spend all night in the kitchen to make.  Jessi responded with a quick, easy recipe for chicken and vegetable soup.  Thursday, I went home early from work sick.  I tried to eat some canned chicken noodle soup, and something about the chicken broth made the nausea worse.  So, I threw the ingredients she listed in my crock pot and let it cook all the rest of that day and we had it for dinner that night.  I'm very glad I made a double batch, because that's the only thing I've been able to eat every day since that didn't make me feel worse.  Again, thank you, Jessi, for giving me such a great, easy recipe!

In case any of you missed it, below is Jessi's recipe.  Changes I've made are added in italics.

Slow cooker Veggie Soup:


3-4 Frozen chicken breasts

2 Large cans mixed veggies (I like to do one cut small and 1 cut large)

1 Bottle of V-8 low sodium

Spices I added to taste:  Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, fresh ground pepper.  I needed to add these because I used low sodium versions of everything.  Jamie and I are eating too much sodium.


Put frozen chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker and pour drained veggies and V-8 over the top. Cook on low for 8 hours. Use a fork to pull out chicken breasts and cut into smaller chunks, then toss 'em back in. Ready to serve. And fabulous. Trust me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's Official - I'm Getting Sick

Each September, I get sick.  I don't know if it's allergies attacking me, germs my kid brings home from school, or what, but it never fails that I get downright ill at some point during September.  I've had a few scares this month with getting ill in a 24 hour period or getting a scratchy throat that never turned into something worse, but it all resolved itself fairly quickly enough that I thought I might, just might, slip past the month of September without getting too ill.  But this past weekend, I noticed I was feeling more tired, irritable and discombobulated than normal.  Then yesterday, I felt like I was moving in a fog.  And now today I've started with the coughing, phlegm in my chest, runny nose, body hurting all over, mildly feverish and just generally feeling like crapola.  September, why do you keep doing this to me?!?!?

May I go home and crawl into bed now, please?  Or better yet, would someone please shoot me and then resurrect me when the germs all go away?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Five: Bad Blogger Edition

I've been a bad blogger this week.  My poor blog has, for the most part, sat here lonely and neglected while I was off doing other things.  In no particular order, here's what's kept me away from the blog:

  1. Swimming.  Jamie and I were - due to the lateness of the season - able to get a steeply discounted family membership to a private swimming pool in a nice, quiet neighborhood less than 10 minutes from our house.  We try to go several times a week - that is, when the thunderstorms and rain will let us.  Not that I'm complaining about the rain.  We need it!  Most of the times we go, no one else is there.  Or, if there are other people there, there's only one or two.  I have NEVER seen this pool really crowded.  The last four or five times we've gone, people outside of our group of friends only show up as we're leaving.  It's like having our own private pool, without the maintenance.  I'll be investing in a membership again next year, even if I do have to pay full price.
  2. Homework.  While it's true that grad school homework (so far) is not difficult, and the homework itself is not terribly time consuming, the preparation to do the homework does take up a lot of time.  I'm still working on getting a good system going for tracking what's due when, best organizing my notebooks, filling out all the stinking paperwork to be able to do observations, securing liability insurance (luckily, it's free through an educator's organization I've joined), and looking ahead to see what types of things will have to go in my portfolio.  The portfolio takes the place of the thesis in the Master's program.  I have to contribute items from all my classes into it and then submit it for review to my advisor during my student teaching semester.
  3. Spending Time with Jamie.  When I was an undergrad, I had to be constantly on the computer doing homework, or reading assignments, or whatever.  Jamie felt very left out and neglected.  I was determined that he not feel this way while I'm in grad school.  Since I'm taking fewer classes, and Jamie is involved in more churchly things, and doing more stuff with his BB on the weekends, I am able to do most of my homework and prep while he's off doing other things.  While he's home, I try to spend time with him - whether we're playing Battleship or Monopoly, watching TV together, taking him and his friends somewhere, going swimming, or just doing chores together.  It doesn't matter what we do, as long as I'm paying attention to him.  He told me the other night, "Grad school's not as bad as I thought it would be."
  4. Reading.  I'm a book junkie, and being in grad school hasn't changed that.  I'm still reading 7-10 books a week, on top of my text books and stuff I have to read for work.  I can't seem to inhale them fast enough.  Books I've been reading here lately:  The Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich (thanks for the recommendation, Tooz!), The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine, Charlaine Harris' older mystery series (plural), and too many others to really recall at this moment.  Search Amazon.com Books for Janet Evanovich , Search Amazon.com Books for Rachel Caine, Search Amazon.com Books for Charlaine Harris
  5. Doctor Who/Torchwood.  I'm trying desperately to get all caught up on Doctor Who and Torchwood so I can start watching the 6th Doctor Who season and the 2010 incarnation of Torchwood live on TV when they premiere.  I don't know where I've been for the past several years to miss these shows, but I really want to get all caught up!!!  Luckily, this also falls under the "Spending Time with Jamie" category, as he's as hooked on them as I am!  Search Amazon.com Video on Demand for Doctor Who Season 5, Search Amazon.com Video on Demand for Torchwood
So, that's what's been keeping me away from blogging.  I'm sorry I've been lax to post, but I'll try to do better once I get all my ducks in a row.  So, tell me, what's keeping you busy these days?  Has it affected your blogging or other daily activities?  Let me know in the comments, would ya?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It suddenly dawned on me that four months from yesterday, my son will be a teenager. Oh, Lord, please help me!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

More on Grad School

I think I'm starting to get the hang of it.  I'm getting a feeling for when I need to start homework in order to have it turned in by the deadline.  I'm figuring out what the professors want from me.  I'm already thinking ahead to classroom observations, paper topics, etc.  And I'm finding a lot of humor.

All of my professors have a Ph.D.  Not a durn one of them can spell.  In some cases, the irony of their errors is hilarious.

From a grading rubric:
I will deduct 10 pts for spelling/grammer mistakes (Oy!)

From a "welcome to the class" announcement (different professor):
I trust that you will profit from the course. I suspect that much of what we do will not become truely useful until that day you face your own students.

From the classroom course calendar (different class):
Calendar is spelled "calender" in both the links to the calendar site and in the file name.

C'mon, people, really?!?!

Now, that being said, I will point out that these professors seem to be very nice people and we engage in lively debate in our online classroom.  I just enjoy poking fun at their errors.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Friday Five: Aging Edition

Despite my occassional jokes about getting older, I don't really think much about it.  In many ways, I don't feel much older than I did in high school.  But there are exceptions.  Listed below are the five major ways in which I have noticed I'm getting older.

  1. My hands.  I NEVER used to need lotion.  No matter what I did to my poor hands, the skin never got dry.  Here lately, my hands get so dry they hurt, so I have to go slather on lotion.  Also, they get dry enough that you can see white, ashy traces of lines all over them if I don't put on lotion several times a day. 
  2. The gray is taking over.  I've been getting gray hairs since 1996, but it was usually only one or two here and there.  Now, I've got enough grays growing in that my natural hair color always looks washed out, and certain areas have so much gray they show up as streaks when I look in the mirror.
  3. Laugh/frown lines. For the most part, my face doesn't look much different than it did in high school (well, except a lot more fat).  But, I'm starting to notice laugh lines around my eyes and frown lines on my forehead that don't immediately go away.  If I look really closely, they don't really go away at all.  I make it a point to not look really closely.
  4. Diet.  I still crave those rich, ooey gooey desserts and greasy pizzas, but find my body exacts revenge later if I do.  So I've been modifying my diet (for the most part).  Sometimes I break down and have a brownie or some pizza, though.
  5. Attitude.  I used to not notice or pay much attention to age differences between me and people in their 20s (or younger).  Now, I notice a VAST difference in our attitudes.  I have very little tolerance for their party-hardy, irresponsible, whiny ways.  I used to just do a mental shrug and figure, "well, they'll grow up eventually."
So, what about you?  Have you started noticing the passage of time?  Do you notice differences in how you feel about things now versus how you felt about things then?  Or have you started using certain phrases that you heard your parents use, and swore you never would?  Let me know in the comments, or talk about it on your blog and leave me a link here so I can go take a gander.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Calling All Cooks! HELP!

Firstly, thanks to you all for the words of encouragement and support on my foray into grad school.  And those of you whom are educators, your advice is much sought and appreciated!  Now, I'm calling on all of you for help again - this time, in the kitchen.

Lest my boy turn into one giant microwaveable chicken nugget dinner full of fat and calories, I'm collecting slow cooker/crock pot recipes that are healthful, nutritious and packed with flavor, but are easy to throw together.  I used to buy a lot of those pre-packaged Crock Pot meals at the grocery, but they never have any in stock, and those meals usually have too much sodium, anyway.  So, I'm trying to make them from scratch.  I will usually wind up prepping the stuff while I'm home on my lunch break during the day.  I do, however, have plans in the near future to see about getting either one or two more slow cookers or the three-in-one slow cooker jobby I saw at that club that belongs to Sam the other day (depending on cost) and cooking up big batches of different dishes to freeze and or refrigerate for us to eat on during the week.  Last night, I made a scrumptious beef stew, and - I have to say - it was 500 times better than all those microwave meals I have in the freezer right now!

So, please, if you are a listed contributor on our recipe blog, please go there soon and leave me some slow cooker recipes!  If you aren't, please leave me a slow cooker recipe either in the comments on this blog or the recipe blog.  My sanity depends on it!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

On Grad School

I've had a few "gulp-worthy" moments as I've looked at course materials for the three classes I'm taking this fall.  These include:
  • Noticing that each professor has made up his/her own grading scale (each is different) and it will be a little more difficult to maintain that required "B" average than it was during my undergrad years.  One course says a 94% is the lowest "A" and an 87% the lowest "B", one says 93%/84% and the last  95%/86%.
  • Noticing I have to complete 30 hours of classroom observations.  Trying to balance that with my work schedule may be tricky.  I'm hoping they don't assign me to do a few hours here and a few hours there.  I specifically stated that I need to do 4 or 5 full days of observation rather than a few hours every week.
  • Noticing how much reading and writing I'm going to be doing, and trying to balance that with Jamie's need for my time and attention.  Basically, I'll be doing a lot of my school work after he goes to bed at 9 p.m. (on a good night) and on the weekends when he's off with friends or with his BB.
Luckily, there are also several things working in my favor on this.  Two of my textbooks are online, so I can (during slow times at work) do some of my required reading at the office.  Also, all my professors have different days on which each week's assignments are due.  This means I won't be scrambling trying to get it all done at once.  It will be possible for me to designate certain nights for certain subjects.  Life is much easier for me when I compartmentalize this way.  Despite all the times I've had to go *gulp* while looking over my courses, I'm feeling pretty optimistic about my first semester.  Of course, that could change the first day I do observations. ;-)  I'll be sure to keep you all updated on how it's going!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Misc.

Nothing earth-shattering to report. Life is just cruising on by, which I guess is a good thing. In no particular order, here's what's going on in our world:
  • Jamie is settling into the groove of school. He's excited about some of his classes (Forensic Science, Robotics, Computer Programming, Science, Orchestra) and in despair over others (PE), but overall he seems pretty happy with things as they are. Of course, as moody as he is here lately (ah, don't you just love puberty!?!) he could change his mind any second. Then change it back again.
  • He has finally grown enough to start playing a full-sized violin, so we went to the violin shop last week and traded in his 3/4 size rental for a higher-quality 4/4 size rental. Its name is Alfred (he named the last one Vio, as in VIO-lin). The good thing about this shop is that 100% of the monthly rental fee is applied to the cost of the violin. Jamie seems to want to stick with it, so I may purchase it outright in the spring. I've paid off so many other bills right now that I can't swing it until spring. But at least bills are getting paid off. YAY!
  • I'm scheduled to take my English 4-8 content exam Oct. 16. I could have taken it sooner, but the only other Saturday test date was this coming weekend - Labor Day weekend. I just wasn't willing to give up part of my holiday weekend (and spending some quality time with Jamie) to go sit in a room and take a three-hour or whatever test. (I may have already told you this. If I did, sorry for repeating myself.)
  • I had a moment of panic over the weekend. I was looking at the course schedule for one of my classes and thought I had homework due today. Turns out, I read it wrong and it's due NEXT Monday. Whew!
  • Jamie was a little disappointed over the weekend. He and his BB were supposed to go to Austin Saturday and explore the UT-Austin campus and do a lot of walking around. Unfortunately, it was an air quality alert day over much of Texas, so he wasn't supposed to be outside. They compromised and went to see a movie instead.
  • I got the half of the study that houses the computer and our school supplies cleaned up and organized (somewhat). The room isn't perfect (don't ask what the other half of the room looks like!!!), but at least we can get to the computer and do some work without tripping over a bunch of stuff or rolling over it with the chair.
  • Eight months after I graduated, I finally hung my degree up. It hangs on the wall over my computer monitor. This way, when I start feeling stressed or discouraged about the grad school workload, I can look at it and remind myself that I was stressed and discouraged about my undergrad program, but I stuck to it and finished it!

Well, that's about all I have to report from the Lone Star State. I hope it continues to be quiet and uneventful!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Grad School and Career Path

Grad school begins on Monday. Supplies-wise, I'm ready. One of my books is ordered from Amazon, the other two books have been downloaded as e-books (much cheaper!). I have paper, pens and printer ink. I've even signed up (and paid for) my content certification exam. I'll be taking it October 16.

Yes, I've got all my supplies and I've got all my paperwork done. But, I'm nervous. This is the first year I've been nervous about school. I think a lot of it has to do with the strict requirements. I HAVE to maintain a "B" or above in all classes, I HAVE to get a certain percentile or above on my content and PPR exams, I HAVE to have this many hours of observation, I HAVE to pass a portfolio review. Even though I got my bachelor's degree with very high marks, I didn't HAVE to get those marks to graduate. But now that I'm being told what I HAVE to do to pass the exams, I'm nervous. Silly, yes?

Also, the whole "going to be a teacher" thing is making me a bit queasy. Not because I don't want to do it. But because it's a change from what I've been doing for so long. I never intended to be a secretary. That was never my chosen career (not that there's anything wrong with it, it just wasn't what I wanted). I did it at first because I had a little mouth to feed and this was something I knew how to do. And the more experience I got at it, the more comfortable I was with it - even though I was mostly dissatisfied personally doing it. Now, I'm taking the steps to be a teacher, something I've thought off and on about since high school. That's 15 years ago, people! It was always a thought (dream?) at the back of my mind, but I never pursued it because I was a secretary, and it was kind of scary contemplating making a change. And now I'm taking the steps, and it's still scary contemplating this change. In fact, I'm shaking in my boots!

This is a big and frightening step. Not only because of the marks I have to make, but the fact that in a few semesters I won't be able to work while I'm in school because I will have to do student teaching. It's frightening because it's a change from being a secretary, and there's the fear that I will fail at it. The last time I tried to go to school and not work, I lost my house and had to quit school to go back to work. But I'll never know if I don't try. So, fear or not, I'm going for it. I'll be sure to keep you up to date on how I'm doing - even if I fall on my face. I just hope I'm brave enough to pick myself up off the ground and keep on going.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Five: "Too Damn Hot" Edition

It's HOT, people! I had to spend my lunch hour zipping from pediatrician's office (to pick up school medication forms) to the middle school (to drop off said forms and the medication that goes with said forms) and back to work. All that zipping in and out of the car and into the heat and then into over-air-conditioning back to the heat and then to the inadequate air conditioning just about zapped me, people. In honor of this, and because it's too damn hot, my Friday Five this week is all about five cold things I'd rather be drinking and/or eating right this very moment.

1) Root beer float. It's so durn hot, and a nice root beer float is just so creamy and cold. I can nearly taste it going down!

2) Margarita (I'm with you on this one, Jessi!) I lurve me some tequila, and I lurve it best when it's in a salty, slightly sour, ice cold frozen margarita. Don't give me any of that strawberry margarita, so sweet I could puke, stuff. Gimme the original - but make it with Cuervo Gold, would ya?

3) Popsicle. The kind made with real fruit please. There's just something about eating cold, frozen fruit off a stick that brings out the kid in you and cools you down quickly. Plus, it's entertaining to try and see how much of it you can eat before it melts off the stick!

4) Frozen lemonade. I just love the brain freeze you get from its creamy, pucker-inducing goodness on a hot day.

5) Strawberry cheesecake ice cream. Heck, any ice cream would do as hot as it is today. If I could, when the weather is like this I could take a bath in it. ANYTHING to cool down!

What about you? What do you crave when the weather is so durn hot you think you accidentally got on the train to hell? What's the first thing you reach for when you just have to cool down?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

As Good an Excuse as Any

When I get my school money next week, I've set aside a fairly large chunk for school/work/church clothes for me and Jamie. Jamie doesn't need much more than bigger underwear (he grew SOOOO much this summer!) and new sneakers for school right now. The bulk of the new clothes buying will be done by me. Why? I honestly have a very good reason this time. It's not so much that I'm a clothes horse (well, actually, I AM a clothes horse. I just have a really really good reason this time). ALL MY PANTS ARE TOO BIG FOR ME. Isn't that a wonderful reason to have to buy new clothes?

All my pants are so big, in fact, that I can pull them off completely without unbuttoning them. I haven't lost so much weight in the top - but I'm still going to buy new tops. 1) I need something nice to go with the new pants I'll be buying, natch; 2) Most of my tops are so old they're stained and falling apart at the seams (literally); and 3) I just want to, okay?

And what did I do to lose enough weight that I have to buy new pants? Well, not much. We just got really broke (someone still isn't paying child support, but he's almost far enough behind now that he's facing jail time) and I had to put the brakes on eating out. (Granted, we do still get carry-out every once in a while, but not often.) We've been eating a lot of meals prepared at home. But - it's been so hot I haven't felt like cooking - so we're eating a lot of microwaveable stuff and cold veggie and pasta salads. The last huge batch I made contains Garden Rotini swirls, a drained can of spinach, a drained (large) can of tomatoes, a drained can of peas, Vidalia vinaigrette dressing, parmesan cheese and diced onions. It's delish and feels oh so good going down on a hot hot day!

Of course, as nice as it is to have to buy new pants because the current ones are too big, I still feel as frumpy and unattractive as ever. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be encouraged enough to do something about it when the weather cools off. Unfortunately, down here that isn't until after Thanksgiving!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

RIP Sanyo 26" LCD HDTV


This is what my TV looks like after Jamie decided to play balloon baseball in the house yesterday. He was using the long vacuum cleaner attachment as a bat. His hands sweat a lot. Plastic is slippery when sweaty hands hold it. Plastic vacuum cleaner attachments don't have enough heft to break through the TV screen, but they have enough to destroy the LCD display. So, when we watch TV, we can only see through the left side of the screen. I did not kill Jamie, because he felt bad enough about it already. But he is being punished. I took away his computer privileges, his Nintendo DS, and the money I was going to pay him for cleaning the house all summer. He also has had extra chores added. This goes toward the cost of replacing the TV.

Oh, and don't tell him I said this, but I'm finding this a little amusing today. And actually, this gives me an excuse to buy the Internet-ready TV I was wanting to put in the living room anyway (so I can stream Netflix into the living room, too, and in HD, to boot). I would have had to buy a Roku HD player to do that. And for the record, I did call to see if it would be possible to repair the screen of the current TV, only to be told that the screens now cost more than it would to just buy a new TV. I also called my insurance company, only to be told that the loss isn't covered by my current policy.

I think another thing contributing to my having gotten over my anger so quickly is the fact that this TV cost me nothing. It was Dad's. He bought it a couple of months before he got sick and went into the hospital. I brought it home with me when it became obvious that Dad would never get to leave the hospital alive. I felt it was better to bring the TV home than to have it be a temptation for someone to break in and steal it. Also, this wasn't one of the best quality TVs in the world, and I was already thinking of how to replace it (with an aforementioned Internet-ready TV), so really, Jamie just expedited what I was already planning on doing. Although I was going to wait until Christmas time to buy us a family present, this just means I'm doing it now, and that that is one less present we'll have at Christmas.

Although, if I do go ahead and buy a new TV, I'll stick this one in the closet of the study, in case replacement screen prices come down later. This TV is also usable as a PC monitor, so I would like to be able to put this in the study to use on the computer and for guests to use to watch TV (if we ever have any overnight guests). And if that new TV does appear, I think I'll buy a wall mount for it, as well. I'm thinking it would be smart if I have the TV up out of the path of danger. After all, those vacuum cleaner attachments make for a wicked bat, and Jamie's remorse will only last so long.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Funeral Invitation

I just wanted to let you all know that you are invited to my son’s funeral.  It will be tonight once I get home and see the damage he did.  He called me and informed me (in tears and hysterics) that he was playing with a stick and a balloon, and the stick flew out of his hands and THROUGH the screen of our flat-screen HDTV. If you come calling at my house around 6:30, the funeral should be ready to begin. In lieu of flowers, I ask that you donate Xanax, Valium, or whatever else tranquilizer you may have on hand.  Peace be with you.

 

Monday, August 09, 2010

Update on My Weekend Chores

I figured I wouldn't get all my chores done this past weekend, but I am pleased to report that we did get a LOT done. Saturday, Jamie went over to his Big Bro's house for a "Star Wars" (Episodes 4-6) marathon. Like me, Bill greatly dislikes Episodes 1-3. Since Jamie was taking it easy, I did too. I picked up a few things here and there, and folded some previously washed laundry while I watched "Dr. Who" on Netflix, but other than that, I didn't do much that day.

Sunday, Jamie and I finished cleaning up the livingroom, re-tidied the bathroom, and I did two loads of dishes and washed three loads of laundry. The floor didn't get mopped and not all the dishes were done, but I felt the house was presentable enough that we were able to invite Spencer over to watch TV, play Legos and eat a spaghetti and meatball dinner with us. This gave Jamie a much-appreciated reward (having a friend over to play), as well as reinforced the idea that keeping the house tidy means more friends can come over more often.

This week, we continue to keep the bathroom and livingroom tidy, as well as doing more dishes and getting a start on Jamie's room and the study. We only have two weeks until school starts, so I want the house somewhat organized to help us both in our academic endeavors.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Friday Five: Weekend Edition

This'll be short and sweet. In no particular order, here are five of the things I plan to do this weekend. It's all in the planning, people - but this in no way guarantees the planned activities will actually get accomplished. I make and break plans all the time. But, anyway, here are five things I'd like to get done this weekend.

  1. Wash all the dirty dishes. We have trouble following through on getting the dishes done when they're supposed to be done. This could be because Jamie has inherited my hatred of washing dishes (duh, that's why that's his chore!). Or it could be because we're lazy. Or both.
  2. Put the last few finishing touches on cleaning the living room, tidying up the bathroom (still mostly clean), and scrubbing the kitchen floors so Jamie's friends can start coming over again.
  3. Get a reasonable start on the study - maybe 2 - 3 hours total, so it doesn't seem like such a big job to tackle.
  4. Take a break and head to the library for half an hour or so. This is a welcome (and free!) diversion when we're tired of being stuck in the house.
  5. Laundry. It's getting close to time for Jamie to go back to school, so I need to find and wash all his uniform shorts/pants, find the white uniform polos I bought on sale at the beginning of last school year since I knew he'd have to wear that color polo in 7th grade and wash all them. This is so I can hang them all up and take inventory of what he needs new for this school year. I know some of his pants will be too short, some of the shorts will have holes, etc. I want to have his closet all organized so I won't have such a battle when we go school shopping next week. He will need a few pairs of "regular" clothes for free-dress days, weekends and holidays, also.

So, those are my big plans for the weekend. Lots of drudgery and cleaning. This is why I make plans to do things, but they don't always get carried out. So, what about you? What are you doing this weekend (or what have you planned to do but know you probably won't do?) Inquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Spazmanian Devil

Jamie has a new nickname. I was telling my brother the story I'm about to share with you. He waited a beat and said something to the effect of, "Did you ever think your son is a bit of a spaz?" To which I emphatically replied, "YES!" So I've been calling Jamie "The Spazmanian Devil" here lately because of the way he trips, fumbles and jerks his way through life here lately.

"What prompted this?" you ask. The short answer is: Jamie's pizza cracked his wrist. He told his Big Brother that he was attacked by a pizza. The long answer is a bit more complicated.

Jamie has ADHD. It seems to get progressively worse each year. He isn't particularly hyperactive, but he is more and more twitchy, inattentive, impulsive and (at times) annoying as time goes on. This is particularly true in the summer months and on school holidays, because I don't like the side effects of his medication, so I won't give it to him if there's no school. But I've discussed that before, so I won't bore you with it again.

Anyway, the night of Monday, July 26, I splurged (after a trip to Half Price Books to unload several unwanted DVDs and books) on a trip to Pizza Hut for me and Jamie. Jamie would not sit still in the booth, fidgeting, squirming, twitching and such in his eagerness for the food to come. While doing so, he somehow got one of his sandals hooked up underneath the booth - but didn't realize it until the pizza came to the table. When it finally arrived, Jamie tried to jump up to get to the pizza and serve himself before I could. Unfortunately, with his shoe hooked up under the booth, all he wound up doing was launching himself up out of the booth on onto the floor - HARD!
As just about any kid would do, he instinctively threw his left hand out to try to catch himself. But he landed on it at a funny angle and - at that moment - I heard a little popping noise (we were the only ones in the restaurant). As Jamie was trying to get up, he put weight on his left hand and immediately said "OW!" and cradled his hand/wrist to his chest. He finally got back up in the booth and said "My wrist hurts!" Thinking he was probably just exaggerating, I went to the manager to ask for a bag of ice. I put it on his wrist and we commenced eating. (Note: I didn't immediately rush him to the ER for several reasons: 1) He's at a klutzy stage and hurts himself. all. the. time. If I rushed him to the doctor every time he fell down, I'd be drowning in medical bills. 2) It was storming really bad outside - as in the rain was falling sideways. 3) We were both very very hungry and I wasn't about to leave until we had eaten our fill. Do you know how long an ER wait can be?)

After we finished eating, I took the ice off his wrist to see how it was doing. It was 1/3 again the size of his right wrist. I had Jamie try to move his hand around and rotate it on his wrist, and he said "ow! ow! OWWWW!" Hmmm, okay, we were off to the ER.

Luckily, it was a fairly slow night at the children's ER and we were fortunate that they had an orthopedic specialist there already attending to another child who had hurt a bone. We got in fairly quickly (30 minute wait), had Jamie's vitals done and were in a room not too long after that. The ortho came and looked at his wrist, ordered X-rays, gave ibuprofen, etc., then said she'd be back after the X-rays were developed to see what was what.

Two Hannah Montana episodes later, the doc came back and said the X-rays were inconclusive. The area of his wrist that is hurt (she explained) is a low-blood flow area and is really hard to tell on an x-ray if it's cracked. Also, the swelling was making it harder to tell because the swelling could actually be holding a crack together so you can't see it on an X-ray. When she tried to manipulate his wrist, he was nearly in tears. Since she couldn't tell if it was a sprain or a possible hairline crack, she decided it was best to err on the side of caution and left orders for his wrist to be put in a plaster splint/half-cast type deal. A nurse came in an wrapped his hand, wrist and arm in cotton, then they put a strip of plaster around his thumb, encased half his wrist and up his arm on the side where Jamie had pain. Then the whole thing was wrapped in Ace bandages nearly up to his elbow. He was instructed not to get it wet and not to take it off, and to follow up with his pediatrician in one week.

This past Monday, we had a follow-up appointment with his pediatrician. He unwrapped it, took one look at it (still swollen, bruised and a bit misshapen) and said, "Go see an orthopedist." Originally, the orthopedist wouldn't be able to see Jamie until the 16th; however, a last minute cancellation got us in yesterday - with 45 minutes between when I was called and we had to be there.

We saw the orthopedist, and he examined Jamie - only to find out we STILL don't know if it's broken or not. We were sent to have Jamie fitted for a custom steel brace to immobilize his wrist (at least he can take it off to shower, but has to put it right back on afterwards), and told to go back to the orthopedist next Thursday, after getting new X-rays of the wrist on next Wednesday. At this point, I just want someone to tell me what's wrong with it, why it's still hurting him, and how long it will take for the swelling to go down and his wrist to be back to normal. But it seems that's beyond anyone's capabilities. In the meantime, he can't use it, can't play his violin, can't go swimming, can't go on rollercoasters, ride his bike or scooter (verboten so he doesn't fall and injure it worse), etc., etc. This is making for one lousy end of summer for a certain boy.

I guess that's what he gets for being a Spazmanian Devil. ;-)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Five - Back to School Edition

I know I still have quite a while to go (Aug. 23), but I thought I would do a Friday Five list of my favorite things about "back to school" time. There's just something about the start of the new school year that gets me in the heart (and the wallet) and makes me love all the brand new starts, the new possibilities, etc.

In no particular order, they are:

Coming home from work to find the house is EXACTLY the way I left it. No Legos spread all over the place, no pile of dirty dishes that mysteriously got dirtied during the day, no finding my bed turned into a fort - in other words, no extra chores for me to have to tackle in addition to getting supper started and a load of laundry or two.

Hearing my son's excitement as he tells me what cool/interesting/gross thing he learned in robotics/science olympiad/computer lab. I think this is the year they dissect frogs in science and the year he'll be learning how to write iPhone apps in computer lab (the wonders of a magnet school program!).

Having peace and quiet in which to eat and read when I go home at lunch time.

The wonderful possibility that THIS will be the year when he fully engages in reading real books, not just comics.

The fun of shopping for new school supplies and clothes (and the added fun that some of the expense of this has been taken out by the fact that I knew 2 years ago what his required uniform would be this year, and bought all the shirts when they were on sale for $3/each).

So, what about you? What do you most look forward to at "Back to School" time? Is it the prospect of peace and quiet? Is it getting back into a routine? What is it? Please share with me in the comments or drop me a note letting me know you've done this on your own blog. Enjoy the rest of your summers!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Five - Jamming Edition

Not too long ago, Jessi posted a Friday Five list of music that makes her immediately think of summer. This was a fine list. I was going to do my own summer music list, but instead I decided to do a list of the five songs that always ALWAYS make me crank up my radio and jam, whether I'm at home or in the car and no matter who I'm with. In no particular order, they are:

1. John Cougar Mellencamp - Jack and Diane




2. Soft Cell - Tainted Love




3. AC/DC - Shook Me All Night Long




4. Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar on Me




5. Bowling for Soup - 1985



So, there you have it. Yes, I know I'm stuck in the past when it comes to music, but it seems like it was just so much better back then. So tell me, what are five songs that you just have to turn up the radio when you hear them?