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.


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


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!