Monday, September 28, 2009

Ick....We're Sick..... AGAIN! (or is it "STILL!"?)

I can't breathe through my nose. My nostrils have whittled down to teeny, tiny little straws through which nothing will pass. Because I can't get oxygen to my poor brain, it's all befuddled. I can't do homework. The homework, specifically, that was due LAST NIGHT, but I was dealing with a kid with a 104+ degree fever. While we were trying to get over strep, we apparently picked up a flu-like illness. I'm monitoring the situation closely, because with his asthma and other health issues (like having barely any immune system, apparently) a case of the flu could go very wrong, very fast with Jamie. In fact, last night I was advised by the nurse hotline (his insurance requires insureds to call before seeking emergency medical care) to go ahead and take him to the ER. Yet, when I called the ER, they said they might be able to see him in 6-8 HOURS. Um, no. What other germs would he pick up in the meantime? He wasn't having difficulty breathing, just all the other symptoms of flu. I made the executive decision to stay at home with home, just dosing him the same way the hospital did LAST time he had that high of a fever. Sure enough, within half an hour, it had dropped to 101. I could live with that, and apparently, so could he. So we both went to bed. Today, his fever has been down around 101-102. Again, I can live with that. As long as I can go to bed soon. Please? I can't think. I don't care if I get a zero on this assignment. I don't have enough oxygen to be able to complete it, anyway.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Glad to Know I'm Not Alone...

I just read this piece by Peter McKay, entitled "I Won't Grow Up!" I'm very glad to know I'm not the only one who is aging backward (well, at least mentally).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Aerosmith seems so appropriate for how I feel today: spunky, funky and ready to kick a little a$$.  You see, last week, I had the crud from hades.  Strep throat supreme.  But, thanks to 3.5 days at home, super strong antibiotics and lots of rest, I’m feeling much, much better.  Usually I complain that I’d love some time at home to relax.  I’ve learned, however, that there’s a big difference between being home relaxing and being home sick.  I’m infinitely grateful to be back at work today; I couldn’t stand one more minute of being stuck inside the four walls of my seriously messy house, but not having the energy to do anything but lay in bed and chug sore throat spray.  I was ready to go bonkers being stuck in that house!  Now that I’m back in almost-100% condition, I’m thinking there’s some serious housework to be done.  I hate having a dirty house (unfortunately, that’s its normal condition due to time constraints and school/work obligations). 


Oh, and thanks to Suze! The ruffle scarf you sent me is awesome, and just happens to be one of my favorite colors.  It will also look gorgeous with my off-white pea coat, once the temperatures drop enough for me to wear it - high of 94 today; don’t think I’ll be wearing a scarf or coat just yet! ;-)


Well, I have a mountain of reports to tackle. Off I go!


P.S. Ann, is today your birthday, or is it really close to your birthday?  If so, happy birthday!  If not, a very merry unbirthday to you!


P.P.S.S. Mama Tooz, hope you continue to recover from your surgery.  I’ve been thinking of you!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Do You Remember Middle School?

I do. I remember it as a horrible place. I was teased and taunted mercilessly, humiliated numerous times a day (oh, but don't worry, I got my own back quite a bit. Heh heh heh). I also remember that - as a sixth grader, a lowly peon sixth grader - the only option for after school activities was the academic team or (at the end of the year) the sixth grade play. I've commented many times on how lucky my son is to be attending a magnet middle school program. But just in case you don't understand how lucky he is, let me give you the list of after-school programs he has signed up for this year:

Monday - Aviation. Club activities description: Flight simulation, aeronautical engineering principles, history of flight.

Tuesday - Science Olympiad. Club activities description: Competes against other schools in engineering projects, building aquifers/bridges, science experiments, etc.

Thursday - Robotics. Club activities description: Competes against other schools in robot challenges (design and build robots to carry-out predetermined tasks/abilities). Mainly uses Lego Mindstorms(TM) robots, but also some building of robots from scratch.

How stinkin' cool is THAT?!?! He also had many, many other choices. Unfortunately, clubs only meet on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, so he had to choose only three. On the one hand, this is too bad, because there were lots of things to choose from that he really wanted to do. On the other hand, this is good because it keeps the kids from piling on so many extracurricular activities that they get burned out.

The best thing about this school? Jamie is engaged and eager to go to class each day. No foot dragging, no complaints that he's bored. Every day he comes home excited and babbling about all the cool stuff they did that day (his words! School is cool!). This is quite a switch from the guy who was constantly bored or, when asked what he did that day, said "nothing". He's already started (without any prompting from me) a project that isn't due until the middle of next month! Is this my child? What have they done with my Jamie?

Another great thing about his school - not only are all the grades available for parents to check 24/7 online, but they send home progress reports at 3 week intervals. Students are expected to maintain a "76" or higher average in each class. At the first progress report, the student gets a warning if s/he is not up to that level. At the next progress report, if there has been a positive change in their average, as long as they continue to improve, they can stay in the program. BUT - if they don't improve or if they continue to struggle and don't have a "76" average by the time report cards come out, they are removed from the magnet program and placed into regular middle school classes. Lest you think this is harsh, the students have plenty of opportunity for help. All teachers offer tutoring, free of charge, before school and during lunch. Students only have to ask for help. However, if the student doesn't want to work for the privilege of staying in the program, they are gone. The key is the student's willingness to work for it.

And don't fear for Jamie's ability to stay in the program; I can gladly report that his progress report shows he has straight A's! It seems the school's integrated approach was what he was needing all along. I haven't posted on here exactly what his integrated approach projects are for each nine weeks, because I haven't figured out how to post the information (it's on the school's website) without revealing the school's name. No offense to any of my readers, but I know durn good and well that I don't personally know each and every person who happens to cruise by here. I don't want to reveal to the entire world where my son goes to school, and the integrated project sheets only happen to mention the school name about a hundred times - each. So, if I know you and you are interested in seeing what exactly is meant by the integrated projects I keep referring to, drop me an e-mail or a comment in my comment box, and I'll be glad to e-mail you a link to the pages (each project has it's own "wheel" to explain it. Each nine weeks is a new project. Each grade level does different projects). Forgive my paranoia, but I'd like to keep some anonymity!

UPDATE: I just noticed something when e-mailing the integrated project info to Becca. Next nine weeks, Jamie gets to build and race a solar-powered car! That's it! I want to go back to middle school!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Meme/Blog Quiz!

I was looking for a simple meme/blog quiz to post for today, and couldn't resist the "What Beatles Song Are You" quiz. I mean, c'mon, we're talking the Beatles here! If you take this quiz, please post the result either in my comments, or put it on your blog and let me know in my comments, and I will go look at it.

You Are "Yesterday"

You are reflective, nostalgic, and even a bit melancholy. You can't help but wish for better days.
You believe that sometimes you can't appreciate what you've got until it's gone. Life is bittersweet.

You are honest and humble. You can look at yourself objectively, even when it's difficult.
Every day you try a little bit harder to be a better person. It's the best you can do.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Odds N Ends

1) The church I go to has "GymJam" once a month for middle schoolers. Basically, for $6, parent(s) can drop of their child(ren) at the church gym for movies, fellowship, pizza and board games/sports, etc., while the parent(s) can go out to dinner, see a movie, or whatever, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Great! Fantastic! A night out for Momma! Jamie's best-friend's mom, Julie, and I are planning to make a "Girls Night" out of it. Except - well, there's nothing going on this weekend that I want to do, and no movies I particularly want to see. Well, except for "9", and Jamie and I are going to go see it together. While I find it annoying that there's nothing I really want to do this weekend that I can't usually do with Jamie in tow, it is nice that we'll get to have a girls night for once. I haven't been out anywhere without Jamie in close to a year, so some girl bonding will be nice. Plus, the church does this every month, so at least I know I'll be able to have some "me" time fairly regularly!

2) Speaking of church, practice for the Christmas cantata at church starts this Sunday, and I'll be singing in it. AWANA also starts on Sunday night, so Jamie will be getting active in that again. He also will be starting Wednesday night Bible Study at church. The class is made up of only 5th and 6th graders, and many of the friends he's made at church so far will be there. He's supposed to start this week (tonight) but I have way too much homework and house work to do (neither of us has a thing to wear tomorrow) for us to go tonight. So he'll just have to start a week late.

3) It's raining cats and dogs here. It's been so dry (we're in an exceptional drought) that I'm very thankful for the rain. We're supposed to get rain daily for the next week, and I'm so glad. Normally, I hate when it rains for days on end, but we need it so badly, all I can say now is "hallelujah!"

4) Speaking of dogs, Buddy is not happy with the rain situation, and stays huddled in the corner in the bathroom anytime it rains. Thunder and lightning send him into quivering, scared fits where he jumps up into your arms/lap and refuses to get down. His terror is so real that it makes me wonder if he's a Katrina rescue dog. He's about the right age (his age was guestimated by the shelter workers last year at approximately 4 years) and not much is known about his history, other than he belonged to an old lady who died before Dad got him, and prior to living with the old lady, she rescued him from a pound shortly after Katrina, from a place that had a lot of Katrina strays. This was the sketchy information the 2nd shelter was able to get from the old lady's family, who didn't know exactly where Buddy came from, just the little bit of info the lady told them. The lady lived alone and the family couldn't, for various reasons, take Buddy to live with any of them. If he did live through a hurricane and the horrible aftermath, I could certainly understand his terror of storms!

5) Ziggy, on the other hand, is not so much scared of the storms as he is adamant about avoiding getting wet, period. He loves to jump in the bathtub with Jamie, but heaven forbid he should be given a bath on his own or get rained on! If it is raining outside, I have to practically force him to go out to potty. Then, when he comes back in, he's impatient for me to come dry him off with a towel and will bark at me when he comes in, as though saying "Well, get over here and dry me off, woman!"

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

What's in a Name?

Juliet: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Would it really? I've been undergoing a bit of name crisis lately. You see, my name is not my own. When I was a teenager, I did a little research and found that there were at least 27 people in the United States who had the same first and last name I do. Many of these people are my cousins. You see, I have a very, VERY large family. My father was one of 12 children, each of those children have had at least three children of their own (many have five or more). Each of those children have had children, and many of those children have had multiple children. I'm one of the youngest of the children of the original 12 children, so I have many second and third cousins who are the same age as me, if not older. Out of this whole group, my first name is a very popular choice. When e-mailing aunts, uncles or cousins, my signature line usually has to be followed by "daughter of Joe and Shirley" in order for them to know which one I am. (To be even more confusing, my mother was not the only Shirley to marry an (enter last name here) brother, so I can't just put "daughter of Shirley). All this name duplicity made things very confusing at family reunions.

I recently did another search, and discovered that there are way more than 27 people in the world now with my same first and last names. There are dozens who even share my middle initial. Of those dozens, there are a goodly amount who have the exact same name I do. This freaks me out. It's hard to feel one is an individual when there are people out there in cyberspace with your exact same name!

This whole "being one of many" thing is what led me to give my son the name I did. It is fairly unique (although I stole it from a high school classmate). When coupled with his middle name, which is also fairly unique (it's one of my favorite uncles' real first name, although he goes by his middle name), and when added to his last name, well, there isn't another one like him in the entire world. I like this. My son, however, does not. He has insisted on shortening it to "Jamie". He says he doesn't like his real first name because it's "too weird." I guess that just goes to show how much one's perception is affected by one's name. I have a very common first name, so I want my child(ren) to have unique names. (If I ever have a little girl, I'm going to name her Jonah). He has a unique name, and apparently would rather have a common one. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he grew up to have a child and name him "John" or "James." Not that there's anything wrong with those names, but they're just - well, fairly common.

*I apologise for this post being about a common subject. I have several things about which I'm all het up, but I won't post on these for many reasons. 1) This is not a political blog. This blog is my way of amusing myself while keeping those I love (or at least like) abreast of how our lives have been since we transplanted down to Texas. When I start talking politics, my blood pressure rises, I get angry, and then I am definitely NOT amused. 2) Life is too short to alienate people because what I happen to believe is not what you happen to believe. 3) What mother on earth doesn't enjoy talking about her kid? I'm no exception. I will find never ending ways to talk about my son. When talking politics, I usually get so angry I start to sputter. It's one thing to sputter at another in person. When writing, it's just annoying. So I refuse to do it. 4) Opinions are like buttholes, everyone has one. I don't need to add any more crap to the atmosphere by airing mine. So I stick to a safe subject, my kid, my life, and the occassional spooky story, sappy poem/short story, or amusing anecdote about a non-existent cat. Sorry if my lack of political punditing bores you.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Four Eyes!

Due to Jamie's ever-increasingly frequent headaches and not being able to see things I could (with my glasses on, of course), I decided an eye exam was in order. Sure enough, he needs glasses while at school, or while working on the computer/reading/knitting, etc. When he's just playing with his friends outside or during P.E., glasses are not necessary. Unfortunately, glasses are yet another item not covered by his insurance.