Sunday, November 27, 2011

50,168 Words Later....

and I'm a winner in this year's NaNoWriMo. Nothing like having the incentive of failing the class if I don't finish the novel! It's finished but it isn't exactly the greatest writing ever. I intended the story to be one thing, then the characters took over and it wound up being something else entirely. In the middle of writing it, I got the idea for another book. So I don't know if I'll write that one over Christmas break or if I'll write down some notes then stick them in a drawer until next year's NaNoWriMo.

It's alive! Now I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On Writing, and Teaching, and Life

Howdy, folks. We're in the middle of the crazies down here. Today, I had a bad migraine that kept me up all night, so I called in sick to school. I took some more medicine around 7:30 this morning and woke up at 2:30. At 3, I started working on the novel I am supposed to be writing for school. Up to this point, I had been waaaay behind. Today, I wrote 11,505 words (no joke) on my novel. This means I now have written 30,030 words of my 50,000 word novel. I expect to finish over the long holiday weekend. Realistically, if I can write on two days like I did today, I'll be done and never have to look at it again. Yay, me!

In other news, I'm now down close to 70 pounds from what I was in January. The secret to my success is stress and chronic illness. Add in bursitis and mystery arthritis and you have yourself the key to weight loss. However, I do not recommend this as a weight loss plan for the masses. It takes dedication and desperation.

I continue to pray for the school year to hurry up and be over. Because the Thanksgiving break is only five days, alas, I do not think we'll be able to travel this month to do any visiting. See also first paragraph Re: grad school course requiring an insane amount of writing this month. I will, however, have two weeks off at Christmas that I am hoping I will have the time and funds in which to travel and see my beloved ones.

You would not recognize Jamie, either, as he is now more of a bean pole than ever, except with broader shoulders, a prominent Adam's apple, a deeper voice (he sings in the Bass section at church now!!!!) I will eventually post pictures when I come up for air.

We are both singing in the choir at Church, and are in rehearsals for the Christmas concert in a few weeks. Jamie tried out for a solo and is sad he didn't get it. I'm working on a solo part in "You Oughta Know" for the concert, but we haven't been told yet who's actually singing it in the concert (it's between me another another very nice lady with an amazing voice).

I love you all.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Believe it or Not.....

I am still alive, my lack of blogging notwithstanding.I'm still teaching. I'm about 50 pounds lighter. I'm stressed out and sleep deprived. I just had a birthday. Oh, and I'm participating in NaNoWriMo this year as part of my grad course. This means I have even less time to blog than I did before. If you want to know how my teaching year is going so far, read my book when I'm finished. I'm basing it off my experiences at work. Truth is often stranger than fiction.

I just wanted to post to let you know I'm alive. And I love my blogging family. And I'm singing in church still.

Good night.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Random Things I've Discovered This Week

  • Holding in your pee too long will give you a headache.
  • If you accidentally let it slip to your boss that you're coming in on the weekend specifically to work on the office procedures manual, something that cannot be done during the week because there's always way too much to do or too many interruptions, critical tasks will appear on your desk that absolutely, positively !must! be done over the weekend. *sigh*
  • Time passes much more slowly when one is waiting for one's test scores to be posted.
  • The sound of a ringing phone is enought to make one want to hit someone else.
  • The way our children behave is in direct correlation to how we ourselves behaved as children. And I will laugh about this fact when Jamie has children. And encourage his children to act that way. It's a vicious cycle. What can you do?
  • I've now eliminated soda completely from my diet.
  • I'm completely baffled by Jamie's gift of working with young children. This must be something that skipped a few branches on the family tree. Or even a few trees in the family orchard.
  • I'm now getting close to being down 30 pounds since the first of the year. Unfortunately, the only place you can tell it is in random places in my body and on my face. I haven't really gone down a whole clothing size yet because of the way plus size clothes are made. Stupid plus sized clothing manufacturers!!!!!
Told you they were random.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Catchall Catch Up

It has been far too long since I have posted. This morning, I took my PPR exam. I think I drove myself nuts on several of the questions, pretty much overthinking them until I was ready to just click on an answer already so I could go home. I finished the 90-question test in about an hour, but made myself mark questions to be reviewed if I had even the slightest doubt as to the correct answer. Then I went back and reviewed the marked questions and made sure I had read each question carefully and selected the best possible answer, sometimes rereading the question four or five times. Generally, this is not how I take tests, but I also sometimes make careless mistakes this way. As there is a lot riding on my score on this test, I felt I owed it to myself and to Jamie to do my best, ergo I took more care.(For those of you not in the know, if I don't get a passing score on the PPR exam, my teaching contract gets revoked. My replacement at my current job has already been hired, so I wouldn't have that job to fall back on, either. Can we say, "Screwedsville?") Oh, and the state won't allow me to retake the test until 60 days have passed - well after the school year has started. Again, big fat mess if it doesn't go well. Do you see why I took more care than usual?

School starts back in session down here Aug. 22. I start in-service training Aug. 9 (provided.... see above). I have already begun getting up at 5:30 every morning in anticipation of my school schedule. Jamie is forced out of bed at 6:30. We follow this schedule on weekends also. The main reason for this is because my neurologist has stated that people who get migraines need to have a schedule and stick to it regardless of holidays or weekends. Since Jamie gets migraines, too, he is being put on a strict schedule, as well. My last day in the school year will be May 26, 2012 (I think), Jamie's last day of school will be after Memorial Day - a fact that has left him none too pleased but tickles me mightily. :-)

We continue to make progress in organizing the house and purging it of outgrown/broken/unneeded stuff. It's amazing how much crap we've accumulated over the years. Of course, we aren't progressing nearly as quickly as I would like us to, but still I guess some progress is better than no progress.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bombs Away!

This is a picture of Jamie I stole from Jamie's youth group leader's facebook page. Jamie is jumping off a ledge one story in the air and getting ready to land on a huge inflatable "blob". This "blob" will launch the person on the end of it into the air and out into a lake once Jamie lands on it.  Jamie will then make his way onto the end of the "blob" where he will be launched by the next person in line.

This picture actually mirrors a lot of what I'm feeling/experiencing as I get ready for my first year in my new teaching career.  My schooling has been that long climb up the structure to get to the top of the platform, where I searched diligently for a teaching internship. I finally got one, so now it's my turn to take that jump to the new career. Let me tell you, it's a long fall from up here! But once I take the plunge on my first day, I know my training, the support staff at the school where I'll be teaching and all my many educator family members and friends will be ready to catch me. And by taking my jump, I'll be launching someone else's career to come work in my old profession as a secretary.

Yeah, I know this post was pretty hokey. Originally, I was just going to post this pic of Jamie at camp. But the more I looked at it, the more I drew parallels to my career change.

Incidentally, with Jamie away at camp, the house has been waaaaaay too quiet. I'm so glad I get to go pick him up tomorrow. I miss the little (well, relatively speaking) booger so much!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Changes and Adjustments

I'm going to apologize in advance because some of this post is whining, while some is humor and some is all out excitement. Please forgive the emotional roller coaster you are about to read. Jamie is at camp this week (thank you, Jesus, for scholarships and wonderful youth group leaders!), so I'm just that much more emotional due to missing him.

I am very excited about my new job - but I'm also kind of nervous, scared, anxious, etc. This new position will mean a lot of adjustments for me, both big and small.  Also, it doesn't help that I still don't know what grade level I'll be teaching. And the fact that they are requiring me to take the PPR exam before the school year starts and there's only one Saturday exam available at the end of July, which means if I don't pass it I won't have another opportunity to take it before school starts (which means potentially they'll revoke my contract) and that I don't have the $120 registration fee for the test anyway (at least, not if I want to buy groceries and put gas in my car).

And then there's the $59 I need to pay for the fingerprinting and background check plus the $50-some odd dollars I'll need to pay for my probationary certification. All before I can start teaching. Which means I don't have it to spare. And we won't even get into how much I despise the fact that my life's focus has been on money so much for the last few years. Every thought, every deed, every action I take centers around the thought "But how much will it cost, and do I have enough money to cover that?" This job would certainly help with that. I'll make a couple of hundred bucks more a month than I do currently. Which would certainly make life a little easier for us because it would almost cover how much back child support I'm not receiving because they can't find the jerk. But that's another blog post. But, in order to breathe a little easier and get that extra money a month, I need to pony up cash I don't have. It is such a vicious cycle.

On a funny note, I read the staff handbook last night. 90% of what I currently wear to work as a secretary in a pretty casual office is not suitable for my new position. No sandals or open toed shoes (dude, once the temperatures reach about 80 degrees in March through about the middle of October, all I wear is sandals and open toe shoes!). No capri pants (again, those are just about all I wear because it's so durn hot!). No heels. No jeans.  This of course means I'll either have to wear long pants (too durn hot!) or skirts. I am not a skirt person, most of the time. However, I was able a week or so ago to get a bunch of nice things for the new job. Most of them were skirts. So I've been freaking everyone out at work by wearing skirts several times a week. I figure I better get used to them.

Speaking of getting used to things. I'll have to be at work each morning at 7:30 a.m. (ugh!). I am NOT a morning person. It takes around 12 minutes to get to the school. This means I need to leave the house at 7:15. Jamie's bus does not come until 7:45-ish. The school at which I will be teaching is in the opposite direction of Jamie's school. Jamie is going to have to wait for the bus at his friend's house to make sure he gets to the bus stop in time to catch it. I'm shuddering at the thought of how early I'll have to get up to get ready for school in time.

Another thing I'll have to get used to is not treating all the kids like they are my own, as I do with Jamie's friends. I can't tease and rib these kids like I would Jamie and his friends. Of course, I don't mean teasing in a bad way. But I will need to monitor myself a little more. I hardly think the parents would appreciate it if I stopped in the middle of what I was saying, sang out "Punch buggy!" and tapped the student closest to me. I don't really think that would be professional behavior, do you?

Well, I guess I'm done. I just wanted to let you all know how things are going. I'm kind of a nervous wreck, but I'm glad I'll have almost two whole weeks of training before school starts to help me become accustomed to the way things are done at my new school. I'll also be assigned a mentor teacher to help me with lesson planning, learning the best ways to manage the classroom, grading scales, and all those other things you hear about in school but can't really practice until you are in your own classroom. For everyone who sent up prayers, positive thoughts, good energy or whatever to help me get this position, I thank you very much from the bottom of my heart!

Friday, June 17, 2011

I Better Get Used to Being Called "Ms. H___________"...

…because I got the teaching internship I’ve been wanting. This means I will begin teaching in August and will be the teacher of record for the entire year. This means I will get paid a teacher’s salary, rather than doing a free student teaching assignment. This means, in short, I can continue to feed the ravenous monster that is my son!


Friday, June 10, 2011

Update on Internship Search

For those of you not on facebook, I just wanted to post a quick update. I heard today from "Charter School B". I did not get the position. But really, I'm okay with that. I don't think I would do well as a first year teacher in such an unstructured environment. Besides, I do have a job now, so it isn't as though I will die right now if I don't get an internship. I'm also still pending with "Charter School A" and "local ISD", so there is still a possibility I'll get an internship, just not at School B.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Tomorrow I'm teaching a fourth grade reading class as part of my interview process for a teaching job at unnamed charter school. It would be an understatement to say I'm extremely nervous. I'm thinking of doing a lesson on poetry/reading comprehension, which will involve group work, some question and answer time, taking apart a famous "poem" (a currently popular song that most of the kids should know), taking apart a not-so-famous (to them) poem, and writing a classroom "text message poem" on a centralized theme. I am SOOOOO nervous. Both because this is the first time I've formally taught in a school classroom, and because so much is riding on my performance tomorrow.

Please think of me tomorrow. Pray, if you are so inclined, or send positive thoughts, or good kharma, whatever you feel like doing. Whatever it is, I'll appreciate it! I'll be in a class from 1:00 - 1:30 Central Time.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Extreme Couponing?

Over the weekend, I did not do as much as I had planned, because I have this ridiculous tendency to extremely overestimate what one person working on her own can do in a weekend. But I did get one major project done. I cleaned out the closet/pantry type thingie in my breakfast area. When we were painting the house (2 YEARS AGO), this area got cluttered up with accumulated painting stuff and other junk. There is only one shelf in this area, no door and not even a clothes rod. So, a while back (1 YEAR AGO), I bought a metal shelving unit that would fit perfectly in that area with the intentions of putting the unit together and converting this wasted space to a pantry since I have no cupboard space to spare for food. One day this weekend, while Jamie was out with his BB riding bikes and watching movies, I tackled the closet. I was too ashamed of what it looked like before, so I also took no after pics, because you would not have any basis for comparison. But to give you an idea of what a big job this was, it took me four hours of concentrated, work only on this one closet, effort.

For background noise, I had TLC on the TV. TLC just happened to be running a marathon of Extreme Couponing. Oh. My. Stars. These people are nuts! How on earth do they find time to spend 60 hours a week on collecting coupons, organizing coupons, checking online coupon databases, calling in their orders days ahead of their actual shopping trip, etc. etc. etc.? I mean, yes, they got some fabulous bargains on their groceries. But they also dumpster dive to get more coupons? And spend $2,000 a year just on Sunday newspapers? And buy things they DO NOT NEED just because they are cheap? There was a lady on there who has something like 60 bags of diapers - and she does not have a baby! And there's the people who have shelving units all through their houses holding enough food stuffs and personal items to last their families for 5 years and they are still out shopping every week for more? And the people who have 40 boxes of cereal - stuff that will expire long before they can ever eat it all?

I don't understand that type of shopping. HOWEVER, I will admit that some of their ideas are pretty good and I will start adopting some of them WITHIN REASON to feed the bottomless pit my son has become. I absolutely will not be installing extra shelves throughout the house to hold the crap I don't use (already have a lot of that, thank you). But I will use coupons to buy stuff Jamie will eat. Previously, I had avoided coupons and just bought things generic or when they are on sale. But I do think trying to match coupons with sales sounds like a good idea. Of course, there are many products Jamie just can't eat because of his food allergies, but I will do what I can to save money.

So what about you? Are you more in the extreme couponer camp or are you like me, pretty much figure couponing at all can be a time suck you really can't afford? Where do you fit in?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Strings Saga Continues

Remember a while back when I lamented that Jamie would have to drop Strings/Orchestra for next year so he could take Robotics II, Advanced Android Programming and Webmastery? And then I was actually happy that Robotics II got canceled, because it meant Jamie could take Strings again? Well, all that was before the powers that be decided to add a reading class as required for 8th graders next year. Now, normally I would be all excited  for Jamie to take another reading class. It is important. BUT - now we're right back to Jamie not being able to take orchestra next year. Which means that he'll have to take private violin lessons all year to be deemed "eligible" for orchestra in high school. This is on top of the guitar lessons he wants to take (and I've been able to put off because there's a guitar club at school), enough food to feed an army (he's been eating double lunches at school the last few weeks not to mention how high my grocery bill will be this summer when he's home all day), new/nearly-new clothes and new shoes every three months, his normal medical expenses each month and enough gas to haul him hither and yon. If you are a praying person, please pray that the S.D. actually starts paying his child support. Also pray that other things in the works will come to pass. My kid appears to be a money-eating machine.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Now Taking Donations....

The Society for the Preservation of the Sanity of Mothers is now accepting donations in whatever form they are offered - whether groceries to feed the ever-ravenous, apparently hollow-legged teenaged offspring; clothing to fit said offspring who has now grown an alarming amount in the last five months; shoes to fit the feet that have zoomed in length, growing nearly two full shoe sizes; gasoline to run said offspring and his unofficially adopted brethren to their five million different activities; or first aid supplies to bandage and soothe all the bumps, bruises and aches caused by being a gangly boy with a penchant for tripping over his own feet. Donations accepted online and in person. ;-)

I was warned about boys and growth spurts. But I was not a believer until I experienced it for myself. Yowza!

Friday, May 13, 2011

On Growing Boys and Knobbly Knees

The other night, Jamie and I were sitting on the couch watching TV. The way he was sitting, I could see his arms from an angle I'd previously not noticed. His arms were skinny little sticks, and his elbows great big knobs in comparison. Then I noticed his legs and knees are the same way. Even with all his medications that kill his appetite, he still eats nearly constantly and obviously it is NOT enough. Oh, my poor child, you have been hit with the same metabolic quirk as your grandmother and uncle. I need to work seriously hard to fatten you up!

(This is a repost of a facebook note I posted today. Thought I'd share with my readers who do not get on fb.)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Bots, Part I

The competition did not go well. Several of the kids who came did NOTHING. Some of the kids who came obviously had never done anything to contribute, so I was baffled as to why they were allowed to come. One kid actually kept doing things he was told not to do. A few weeks ago, the school robotics club sponsor announced there would be no program next year.

I've decided that by-golly the kids who have worked hard and have a genuine interest will be back next year. I looked at the rules and community clubs or organizations are allowed to compete so long as they can prove everyone on the team falls within the allowed ages. Furthermore, the teams can be sponsored by an individual or entity in the form of cash or materials. It may be possible for a bot to be built, entry fees for the competition, transportation and hotel rooms can be gotten for less than $1,500. The rules state a club can also can use volunteer consultants, so long as the students themselves do all the work and the consultants merely provide instruction. Therefore, I'm going to lead a community robotics team next year. I have workbenches in my garage, I've found several marine technology websites by credible organizations that offer step-by-step instructions on building the underwater robots, I have several contacts in the petrochemical, technology and hobby fields whom I can ask to sponsor us, I know a few kids on the high school team whom I will ask to serve as consultants, and I will beg and borrow whatever tools necessary to get those kids to compete again next year.

Even if their school does decide to scrape together a program next year, I'm still going to ask the students I have in mind if they would want to do it as a neighborhood club, rather than going with the school. I really think we could do this, and I'm going to ask Jamie's friend's parents if they want to help. Of course, all of this is contingent upon if the rules continue to allow a community club to compete. I'll let you know in November or December when they post the rules if I will be sponsoring a robotics club of my own. Until I know whether or not I'll be allowed to lead a team, I'm not saying anything to Jamie or his friends. I don't want to get their hopes up for no reason.

P.S. I'm too exhausted to try to upload pictures from the competition tonight. Sometime this week after I wrap up my finals I'll post the pics under a post entitled, "Bots, Part II".

P.P.S.S. Because the Robotics II class has officially been canceled for next year, Jamie was put back in orchestra. I'm VERY happy about that!!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011


Posts will be sparse(r) around here, as I'm entering into the home stretch on classes. I'm working on first drafts of final papers, end-of semester projects, etc., while also trying to get my son ready for the robotics competition at NASA at the end of this month (we're SO EXCITED!). So, posts detailing what's up will be even more sparse than they have been. Here's some brief notes on things going on in these-here parts:

  • We continue to be active in church, with both of us singing in the choir and taking our 8-week rotation in the children's wee worship room (I must admit I'm very glad it's only once every 8 weeks!). Jamie is also very active in the youth group there.
  • Jamie has grown almost 2 inches since January. I've had to replace almost his entire wardrobe. Thank you, Lord, for thrift stores!
  • For those of you not on fb, Jamie and many of his friends got inducted into the National Junior Honor Society at the end of last month. Good job, everyone!
  • Like I said, we're getting ready for a robotics competition at NASA at the end of the month. This has involved many an hour at school, as well as at home and at the teacher's parent's house to test the robot in their pool.
  • Last night, before I could take Jamie and his friend Spencer home from youth group at church, I had to cover my seats (bottom and chair backs) with garbage bags and cover the headrests with grocery sacks. They had a water balloon fight and were playing on a slip and slide. Except they had covered the slip and slide with baby oil before they turned on the water. I SO did not want that mess on my seats!
Hope the weather is pretty where you are and that all is well in your worlds.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Quick Update

Life has kept trucking along since my last post. I don't have a diagnosis yet on the joint pain, body aches and fatigue, but the rheumatologist did put me on a prescription-strength NSAID that has helped a LOT. I wake up in the morning and I can actually move around. It's amazing how much better life seems when you don't hurt everywhere all the time. I go back to see him next month, at which time he wants to run a bunch more tests.

I've also seen the hand specialist, and she diagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel, and thoracic outlet syndrome. All this means I have nerve compression occurring in my neck, shoulders, elbows and wrists on both sides. I'm in physical therapy twice a week to learn exercises that are supposed to reduce the compression and I go back to see her at the beginning of next month.

Jamie is - well - Jamie. He's been hanging out with his friends from school and church, building bots, and such. They're all getting ready for their Remote Operated Vehicles competition (underwater remote-controlled bots) competitoon next month at NASA in Houston. We don't have school or work on Good Friday, and that's the day we caravan over and spend the night, then the competition is the next day. We're really excited to be able to go this year! Also, I'm very proud to announce he's getting inducted into the National Junior Honor Society on Thursday of this week! Yay, Jamie! His friend Spencer is also. Good job boys! On the Geek front, I have introduced him to Battlestar Galactica on Netflix, so that's been fun. I'm trying to show him there's more to Science Fiction than just "Star Wars." Sometimes, I get soooo tired of SW!

Well, I have to go make sure Jamie is getting ready for school and I need to inhale another gallon of coffee or two before I'm ready to face the day. Hope you all have a blessed day!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Je Suis Fatiguée

I am tired (for those of you who do not speak French). I've been on a whirlwind medical odyssey for the last two months - well, years longer than that, actually. But this was the first time I've ever had a doctor take me seriously and actually try to investigate my symptoms, instead of just telling me my pain, fatigue and dizziness are because I'm fat, or looking for attention, or whatever.

I told you all last post that the doctor had thrown out a whole lot of scary possibles - multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, brain lesions, etc. I went back to the doctor yesterday for the results of more blood work, an MRI of my brain and a nerve conduction velocity/EMG test on my arms (to test the constant tingling and numbness in both hands). First thing she did was tell me the MRI looked good. "You have a normal brain," she said. I fired back, "You're probably the only person who thinks so." She laughed, then said there was nothing on the MRI that indicated MS, brain lesions or brain cancer. She did say a very small percentage of people with MS do not have abnormal MRIs, so if the dizziness continues she'll refer me to a neurologist; at this point, she does not think it's MS that is bothering me.

She then apologized for stating before that she didn't think it was carpal tunnel causing the tingling, because it turns out I have it in both wrists, along with cubital tunnel, as well. Basically, both main nerves running into my hands and fingers are getting compressed either in my wrist or my elbows. She has referred me to an orthopedist to tackle these issues. I go the week after next to see the hand specialist.

Then, she said that my rheumatoid factor in my blood was high, indicating it's possible my pain and stiffness is being caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis. She said this could also be affecting my balance issues if I have it in my ankles. She also said just because my RA was high does not mean I necessarily have it. She has referred me to a rheumatologist to deal with all the aches, pains, and the bloodwork. I go to see that specialist the day before I see the orthopedist.

So, that's what's up. The good news is, she doesn't think it's MS, which is the thought that was scaring the crap out of me. The other good news is that I'm not some psycho hypochondriac looking for attention, as I've been accused of being. There is something causing these symptoms, and I am going to find out exactly what it is and beat it. I'm tired of being too tired to do anything but work, go to school and go to bed.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gee, Thanks Doc

I'm not going to go into details, but I will say I'm going through a kind of scary phase of life right now requiring multiple doctor visits and some very unpleasant diagnostic tests. I was at one such follow-up visit yesterday (which resulted in the ordering of MORE tests). The doctor told me she highly doubted my problems were caused by such-and-such simple problem and she suspected they were caused by any one of a list of much more serious problems. After scaring the crap out of me with this list, she then said, "You know, stress and lack of sleep can make your symptoms worse and can cause any one of a list of much more serious problems to progress more quickly. So go home, reduce your stress levels and get plenty of rest." Gee, thanks, Doc. Scare the crap out of me and then tell me to go home and take a nap.  Riiiiiight.

I understand from my sources on teh interwebz that some of my FB and real-life friends are going through tough times on the home and medical fronts right now. Please know I'm praying for each and every one of you as you go through these tough times. I ask that you please do the same for me, and especially for Jamie. He's witnessed some of my symptoms, and despite my attempt at being nonchalant about upcoming diagnostic tests, he's a bit freaked out right now, too. So please pray for him to not have anxiety about all this right now. And if you don't pray, positive thoughts/good kharma/love would be accepted and appreciated, as well.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

If You're Inclined to Pray

If you're inclined to pray
Please say one for me.
If you prefer to call it
good kharma
positive thoughts
love -
I'll take all those, too.
If you're inclined to pray
please do so for me.
Please send me strength
send me courage
send me Grace.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Children's Book Reviews on Jenn the Bibliophile

I just wanted to let you know that I've started posting reviews on Jenn the Bibliophile. I've reviewed the classic "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" by Beatrix Potter and Mo Willem's "Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed".  If you have little ones who enjoy being read to, I highly recommend them both - especially NMRGD. It will leave parents and kids alike "in stitches"!

Classes are in full swing, so you can expect approximately three book reviews each two-week period.  Another review will go up on the blog tonight.  As time progresses, the books will be geared toward progressively older readers. I hope you will enjoy these reviews. This blog has been added to my blog roll in the right-hand sidebar so that you can see when new posts go up. Please feel free to leave comments!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Around Here

I'm still guilty of blog neglect. But I have an excuse - I've been very busy. First, I came down with a mystery illness that my doctor is still trying to diagnose. As much blood as he had drawn, he durn well OUGHT to figure out what's wrong with me. It caused me to miss several days of work, as well as staying away from church - didn't want to infect the very young or very old, in case I had something contagious. I'm feeling a little better now, but I'm still dealing with body aches all over, extreme fatigue, episodes of some pretty extreme joint pain, and irritability. For the record, they tested me for flu and it was negative. Also, I've already had mono, so I doubt it's that.

Despite this, I've still managed to be on a spree cleaning up/rearranging/purging my household of accumulated junk. I've finally gotten to the point where I can't take it anymore. Jamie's friend Spencer is coming over tomorrow to help us pile a bunch of bulky items at the curb. I will then have the City come by and give me an estimate how much it will cost to haul it away. This stuff is not usable by anyone else, so it has to go to the dump - unfortunately. Otherwise, I would have donated it. The "stuff" is the living room couch and loveseat (destroyed by the dogs; we got it from a house where they had dogs that apparently marked their territory. My dogs have followed suit, no matter how many times I've punished them or cleaned the spot); our old mattresses and my box spring (more than 10 years old, stuff spilled on them and stained, so they cannot be sanitized and resold per state laws), an old army cot that got ripped up in the move, a papasan chair that got most of its rungs broken in the last move, an old rotted ladderback chair the previous tenants left in the backyard, etc. I will spare you the long list of just how much junk we're purging. I'm tired of moving it around with me. Even if I have to pay the City $50 to haul it away, it will be worth it for it not to be taking up space and discouraging me every time I see it. As a reward for the free labor, I'll be taking the boys to their favorite pizza joint/arcade as a reward. Bribery works wonders!

I'm keeping up with school work - barely. I have managed to map out on a calendar exactly when assignments are due for which class. I'm determined not to have a repeat of last semester's final exam debacle!

The diet on Weight Watchers continues. I haven't lost any pounds the last two weeks, but I'm still losing inches. My recent illness and an extreme desire for comfort food has derailed the whole "losing pounds" thing. But I can tell by the way my clothes fit and how my face looks in the mirror that I am losing inches. Now that I'm feeling somewhat better, I will resume my diet and be more strict with myself.

Oh, and we got a dusting of snow today! Jamie had his first snow day off of school in nearly 6 years. He was so excited! The roads (even the interstate highways) were closed until noon today because SA just doesn't have the materials to combat these kinds of conditions. I made it to work this morning - but it took me a little more than 30 minutes to go less than one mile to work! Then, when I got to work, I discovered a message on my WORK voicemail from my boss telling me if I needed to come in late due to the road conditions, that would be okay. I didn't know whether to laugh or to scream!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jenn the Bibliophile

One of my classes this semester is actually a Library Science class on Children's and Young Adult Literature.  As part of this class, I have to read Children's/YA books and write reviews.  Then I have to post reviews to a blog. (Heavenly assignments for me!)  To that end, I have created Jenn the Bibliophile.  I'll be reviewing several different age level books - picture books, easy readers, Caldecott and Newberry winners, chapter books.  Feel free to come by and leave comments.  Part of the assignment is that I have to get feedback from the general public.  Please stop by!  I'll add this blog to my blogroll on the right sidebar so you know when there's something new to read.  Thanks in advance for your help!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Guilty of Blog Neglect

School started for me last Tuesday, Jamie had a birthday party on Saturday, and I've been working out and cleaning house like mad, so the blog has been neglected.  In a nutshell, here's what's happening in our neck of the woods.

  • My son became a teenager. And that's all I'm going to say about that.  (Name that movie!)
  • Jamie also got 6 As and 5 Bs on his most recent report card.  Good job, kiddo!
  • I'm downsizing my household.  No, I didn't kick Jamie out (even if he is a rotten teenager now)....  I'm selling all my old bedroom furniture on Craigslist (double, long dresser; queen bed frame and headboard; lamp with built-in table) and have replaced it with a full-sized bed, memory foam mattress and two tall dressers.  My bedroom is too tiny for a queen-size, the mattress was hurting me, and I stubbed my toe on the end of that stupid bed nearly every day.  I'm single, I don't need a queen-sized bed for just me, so it has got to all go.  I got the new stuff for a steal, so I figure it was a worthy investment to buy new and get what I wanted and needed, instead of making do with this and that.  BTW - this is kind of also part of my resolution to take care of myself for a change. No more mattress that leaves me waking up stiff and sore every morning, no more stubbing my toe on a bed that is too big for my room, etc.
  • And I upsized my car.  Teeny tiny car was great on gas mileage... until it stopped being great on gas mileage.  And started having gremlins in the wiring that would cost more to FIND than to fix.  And started having brake issues that no one could figure out WHY they were happening and would be way expensive to diagnose then fix the problem.  So, may I present Dumplin', my new car.  She got her name because she's a big white blob.  She's more expensive than my last car (I'm trying not to dwell on that too much), but she's much safer.  5-star crash safety ratings all the way around from NHTSC, standard front-, side-, and curtain airbags. She also has seating for seven and lots of cargo room.  All the back seats fold flat for hauling cargo.  I've already tested this feature out, and she hauled home all the aforementioned furniture for my bedroom. She also costs me less in car insurance. :-)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Stinkbumps!

Thirteen years ago today, my life was forever changed with the arrival of my Stinkbumps.  Happy birthday!  And don't worry, I still love you, even if you are a rotten teenager now!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Weight Watchers Status Update

So, I told you all I had made a resolution to take better care of myself and had joined Weight Watchers.  I'm proud to announce that my first week in the program netted me a five pound weight loss.  I followed the program, kept track of what I ate and stayed within my daily points allowance (well, for the most part.  There was one day I went over a bit.)  It has not been as hard as I feared it would be to follow the program.

The next step is figuring out how I want to get more exercise.  Through my health insurer, I can join a program that costs $29 a month and I can go to any participating gym I want, as many times as I want, without a contract.  I'm wondering if I might do better though if I just find a good used treadmill or elliptical and put it in my garage.  I think if I have to find the time to go somewhere away from home to exercise, it won't happen.  Whereas if I have a piece of equipment at home, I can get on it whenever I want.

I'll keep a sidebar going documenting my weight loss and health journey.  Check in with me each Monday to see how it's progressing. 

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A Revolutionary Resolution

Being a typical mom, I always put myself last.  I make sure Jamie eats the right stuff and gets enough food before his energy levels dip too low, I make sure Jamie gets enough sleep, I make sure Jamie goes to the doctor(s) regularly and I make sure Jamie stays active to keep his body healthy.  As for myself, I stay up way too late each night making sure everything is taken care of for Jamie; I often don't eat until I've got a bad case of the shakes and sparkles in front of my eyes - which means by that time I'm so hungry I just reach for the first thing at hand or run through a fast food drive through; and I only go to the doctor if I absolutely feel like I'm going to die.  Because I work all day sitting at a desk in front of a computer, then spend a great deal of my nights sitting on my butt either reading text books or in front of a computer, I have gained quite a bit of weight since moving to Texas.  In short, I've been doing a piss poor job of taking care of myself.

So, my resolution this year is to be kinder to myself and to be healthier.  For me, the idea of actually taking care of myself is kind of revolutionary.  Ever since Jamie was born, I have focused completely on him.  But he's getting older and more self-sufficient, so I need to concentrate on me now.  I have joined Weight Watchers, but my main goal is not necessarily to lose a ton of weight (although that is a goal in the future).  I mainly joined because it will help me to keep track of what I'm eating and when, and will help me live more healthfully.  By making me keep track of what I'm eating and at what times, it's helping me understand when my energy typically starts dipping, how to counteract hunger cravings before they start, and how to make healthier choices in what I eat.  I have already entered a number of my usual recipes into the "points calculator" to see how nutritious they are - and by and large they are very healthful.  What gets me in trouble is when I don't monitor my hunger, then go crazy and eat too much when I'm so hungry I can barely stand up.  WW will also help me keep track of my activity levels and help me find ways to work more activity into my daily routine.

I won't lie and say I don't care about how I look and how much I weigh now. I won't lie and state that the fact that people guess my age to be FAR older than I am because of my weight doesn't bother me. I do care - and it bugs the heck out of me that I've let myself go this far. It's just that it's more important to me to be healthy so that I can reach my life goals.  The healthier I am, the more energy I'll have, and the weight will be easier to shed, in turn making me even healthier.  Although I quit smoking a long time ago, drink in moderation and do not do drugs, I've still been abusing my body by not taking care of it.  The abuse stops now.