Monday, August 30, 2010


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. ;-)