Morning Fog

Full of pie

I am not a Black Friday shopper, at least in the way Black Friday Shopping has come to be known. I went to the grocery store this morning – that’s shopping. I went to BedBathandBeyond, almost next door to the grocery store, and quickly grabbed a new Christmas Tablecloth and napkins, and a picture frame. That was shopping too. Oh, and we went to the hardware store for a couple of things. Shopping, shopping, shopping.
Then, my youngest son Squirt said to me, “Mom, how come you don’t go shopping on Black Friday.” I just stared at him, debating whether or not to engage him by pointing out that I had indeed gone shopping, while realizing that he was using the same tone that he used when he asked, “Mom, how come you don’t go watch chick flicks and drink wine with your girlfriends?”
Life must be hard when you are 13, and harder still when your easy-to-categorize mom doesn’t live up to all the cliches. So I just said a few bubble-bursting things about Black Friday shopping to Mr. Gullible and Impressionable, and he walked away deep in thought.

Since I guess this is going to be about him and the funny things he says, last night, after his older brother Jolt had left with the girlfriend, Surfergirl, Squirt told me that he doesn’t like Surfergirl as much as he used to…I was shocked, since he loves her like a sister and he has known her more than half his life now. I thought maybe she had beaten him playing BlackOps, but no. He said, quite thoughtfully, that it was as if she was taking his sister Sprite’s place in the family. I thought that was a very sweet and loyal thought on his part. Because in many ways, with Sprite way up in Montana for 2 1/2 years now, and with Surfergirl playing the part of the female sibling and 5th family member for all that time (and basically being a part of our family for 7 years now) it feels sometimes as if she has taken her place, in a very superficial way. So I had to explain to him how she isn’t taking Sprite’s place, she has made her own place in our family. And if they get married, that will be her place forever. And besides, we might all live in the same city again one day, or Jolt and Surfergirl could be living somewhere else, and Sprite and her CowboyMarine husband could be the family members who are around for everything. Nobody is taking anybody’s place.
That seems so obvious to me, but apparently not to everyone…sometimes I forget, now that he is a smart-mouthed teenager, that my Squirt is the one with the uncanny ability to voice feelings and thoughts that others wouldn’t, or couldn’t. It was startling sometimes when he was a wee one, but he is still the same kid, albeit in a different body. He is now officially taller than me and his sister, and he has the biggest feet in the family. I think, after growing two boy-children, that the way they can just shoot up and become So Big is the most ironic thing life has to offer. Because they are still just little boys, with an attitude, on the inside. Amazing that girls are ever attracted to them, really. Silly girls.

Oh, and I baked two pumpkin pies this year. Two more than ever before:)

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It occurred to me at 6:30 this morning as I was re-organizing my kitchen cupboards, because I clearly have nothing more pressing to do (that was a lie, BTW), that we really live in a remarkable place.

Imagine a country with a major National Holiday dedicated to the sole purpose of getting together with loved ones, feeling grateful, and Giving Thanks for our many blessings. No matter how exactly you do that, or what combination of the above resonates most with you, a person would have to be some sort of Scrooge not to feel warm and fuzzy about that.

I was going to write about all of the things I am thankful for, but due to the slovenly way I have treated my blog(s) lately, last year’s is there, right there, if you scroll down a a bit further. Or I could link to it, because NOT THAT MUCH has changed, when you get down to it. Thank God for that.

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Knock, Knock

From time to time I wander by here. I play with my widgets or my header. Sometimes I try on a new theme. But now, at this moment, I am perfectly happy with all of that, and I couldn’t think of a single good reason not to write something. Anything. For a change, nobody is glancing over my shoulder or asking for something. With a few days off from school, there are no pressing school duties that must be done NOW. It’s like the good old days B. T. Before teaching. Ahhhh.

FYI: just for the record, I do not dislike teaching. I actually kind of like it even if it is a lot of work.
The problem is that it takes me away from my life. I suppose there are people who define their lives in terms of their job and what they do for a living, but after being a stay-at-home mom for a couple of decades and knowing what a full (and fun! and fulfilling!) life that was, I can’t help but feel that this job has me stuffing most of my life into the crowded hall closet of TIME.


To Do, and then some

This is sort of a litany of things I need to do, all of them boring, so maybe I should just skip it and go do them.

1. Lament how boring, in a busier-than-I-know-how-to-deal-with-it way, my life is.
2. Decide that regardless of how much I should be doing, I want to blog a little.
3. Put some laundry in the washer.
4. Take a shower/wash my hair/debate rinsing Natural Instincts into it.

Addendum to #4 – re: Natural Instincts…this is how I cover my gray, which is debatable in a way. I am not terribly gray, especially for almost 50. Gah. Gah. Gah. That photo of me on the right is me a couple of months ago, needing to redo the Natural Instincts. In other words, it was washed out and that was my natural color. The gray is a bunch of individual little strands all around my hairline. I hate seeing them, but they aren’t too noticeable until/less I pull my hair back off my face. Which I do all the time when I am home and around mirrors, so I see it all the time.

I don’t dye my hair because I don’t want a different color, and I want to know it can wash out and be ME again. Also, I can never settle on the right shade to use, so I always put off doing it – the lightest blonde is too light. The middle one is too gold. And the darker one is too dark. I have tried them all individually and have combined every combination of two shades. I settled on liking the lightest and darkest together because they aren’t gold at all and it comes out looking pretty natural on me. My hair is naturally a medium golden blonde, but adding a gold color rinse makes it WOW too gold. My natural highlights come out looking yellow at first. HOWEVER this time I am going to mix all three and I am deathly afraid that it is going to come out — purple or something. I know that is crazy, but I am not a chemist. I am not even a hair stylist, cosmetologist, whatever. I had one bad experience with highlighting my hair when I was 20 and that put me off hair color for 25 years. This isn’t an area I march into bravely, and it is one where I wouldn’t go at all except for one thing…silver hair looks really funky next to gold hair.

5. I will of course need to get dressed and probably do more laundry.
6. I realize I left out a quick trip up the street to get Starbucks first. I am out of cream, and like Cardiogirl, I can’t drink coffee without cream. And unlike Cardiogirl, I don’t have a backup fridge with an extra gallon waiting for me.

On that note, I am out of here.


No longer atwitter

Well, that love affair didn’t last long.
I loved the way I could go into Twitter and make the randomest of entries about what I was doing. I didn’t check in much at first, so I thought it was kinda fun, and it was also fun checking other people’s random little updates.
Then I added way too many friends. Hard to keep up.
So I thinned it out a bit, taking out the folks who NEVER logged in. Taking out a couple I didn’t know but seemed to know folks I did know. Still didn’t matter much.
The problem was that I didn’t have time to log in that often and when I did, I would have to sift through 4 or 5 (or more) pages of chat between the same 2 or 3 folks (love you guys, really) to catch the one or two little things from somebody else. Whatever, it got old. I got bored tweaking my background. People fizzled out and some dropped out. Then I did.
Can’t say I miss it. Maybe that is another one of those things I will try to get back to in the summer. When I have a life again.

Ok, random things.
1. My son had a bluegrass assembly at school today. He was so proud that he was the only one who could correctly identify a real live mandolin. We can thank Led Zeppelin for that. Who said rock ‘n roll is for losers? It’s obviously edjakayshunull.

2. The other night I was googling old boyfriends, as you do, and got way more than I bargained for. Actually, it was only ONE old boyfriend, and he was more of a fiance. And the on-again-off-again bane of my existence for what should have could have been the best three years of my life. And he almost wrecked my marriage a dozen years ago. And yet, still I wondered what he is up to.
You know, if you are sleuthy, you can find lots of pictures online. So I found him and his wife with a cute little picture of one of their sons…who turned out to be quite an athelete. Got written up in the newspaper a few times AND got a sports scholarship to a big school in the Midwest. The only thing I can say to that is that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Then I found other pics of him…pictures taken very recently, looking better than a 50 year-old man should look. And so to the casual observer, things look to be going great in his life. I betcha there are still demons chasing him around though. Glad they aren’t chasing me. I’m happy to see him do well, and happier that it is without me. Having said that, there is a part of me that would love to call him up and have a chat. And the SMARTER part of me smacks the not-so-smart part of me upside the head and stares her down. Enough said about that.

3. Field trip on Friday. Day off next Monday. Things are looking up.

4. I got almost 8 hours of sleep last night. Felt like half-a-million bucks today. I might have to get that much sleep a few nights in a row to make it a full million. I can see that won’t happen tonight…

5. We got new phones at school last week. But that isn’t the good part…today they came after school and moved the phone that was one side of the room ACROSS the room so it can actually sit on my desk! What a concept! Do you have any idea how much easier that will make my life? Okay, it won’t really make that much difference. BUT I will be able to sit in my desk and talk to someone like a person, instead of screaming across the room HOLD ON I NEED TO GET ACROSS THE ROOM into the speaker. Did I ever mention that my classoom is really big? It’s big. It’s double-wide trailer big. So yeah, the phone is now proudly on my desk instead of sitting with the VCR and DVD player under the TV.

6. I went to a presentation at my school-for-next-year yesterday. I sat at a table, the only non-teacher. The only new teacher-for-next year. At the table were also – the teacher I am replacing, my son’s third grade teacher, his fourth grade teacher and his current teacher. I have balls of steel I think. Or I would if I had balls. Should it have felt awkward? Should I have felt uncomfortable or out of place or like an intruder? Hmmm….after the fact I wonder about these things, after I jump in with both feet.

7. Which leads me to my next fear. I am fearful about next year. Everything has been so smooth this year at my school. There is nowhere to go but down next year at the new school. My life outside school will improve, but what about AT school? I hope it works out and that I am not regretting my decision to move. I really am worried and I am not sure why. Why? HOLY CRAP what was I thinking. Starting all over. Same grade, but it’s going to be so different.

*sigh* I better go to bed before I work myself into a frenzy. And trust me, I have enough going on in my REAL life. I don’t need to sit here and worry about the future. And why am I being so negative about this? Probably because this year everything was such a perfect fit that I can’t imagine duplicating that. Oh well. Time will tell, and what’s the worst that could happen? They fire me? The parents stone me to death? I guess I will just take it in stride.

Unless it’s the stoning thing.


New Deal

I joined up with BLOG 365. At the rate I’ve been going, I would only make about 120, but it’s a goal people. No matter how busy I am with teaching, it is relaxing to stop, drop and roll out the words. It’s fun. I need fun. Not that teaching isn’t fun…teaching 1st grade is a lot of fun. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Yeehaw.

So there is a cool new badge on my page, which if truth be told, is the main reason I joined up. I love the badge. So my new year officially starts with my last consecutive postings.

I am feeling much better today. The zicam/sudafed/aspirin/airborne combo is working pretty well. I still sound a little froggy, but I needed only one short nap today, and I’ve been running around like a busy little bee all day. I am still trying to get a sub for Tuesday though. Just my luck, everybody is sick and it hasn’t been easy. I am 0 for 2 right now, with a call into #3. Darn it, I want my day off.

Spring has officially sprung, at least for now. It was in the mid-70’s this weekend and it felt so warm and sunny that it was hard not to start feeling better. I wish I could say that it is going to be warm from here on out, but since it is only early February, that probably isn’t the case. Some trees are blossoming though, and it is starting to look pretty.

Now I have to spend what’s left of my weekend planning lessons for this week. Planning homework. Keeping my fingers crossed that I find a sub.
In case you hadn’t heard, I really want to take off on Tuesday.

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Up, barely

I literally did not get out of bed today until 5pm. And that wasn’t just me sitting in bed reading or watching or TV or something. No, I slept that long, with only a few brief waking moments here and there.

I am still sick, but much better I prepare to go back to bed, a mere 7 hours later. It was great sleeping and all that…but I get a mere two days off, and I wasted one of them sleeping it away. I know I needed it, and it did help, but dayum I feel robbed.

Regarding Airborne, I suck that stuff down like crazy. And actually, I do believe it works. And I think I missed taking it at a crucial moment this time and maybe that is why I did get as sick as I did. Usually the instant I feel even the slightest tickle in my throat, or congestion in my head, I take the Airborne. It usually works. But if you don’t take it soon enough, it doesn’t help as much. I am still taking it a couple of times per day though. It is my crutch. That and Zicam.
This is my current cold-treating protocol: Zicam swabbed in my nose along with a dose of Aspirin and Sudafed washed down with Airborne. Toss in the occasional cough drop. And sleep.
I will be victorious. And I am going to try to get a sub for Tuesday. I have too much to do on Monday, but if I can get someone on Tuesday, that will be good. A little extra rest. And a chance to go watch something my son’s class is doing at his school on Tuesday morning. Remind me to call a sub tomorrow, ‘kay? I already checked with one and she was busy. The more I think about it, the more I want to take off.

Someone mentioned my still having my sanity even though it is February.
All I can say is that sanity is relative. I love my class, and I seem to have won over the parents as well, for the most part. And hey, it’s only first grade. My goal is to prepare these little guys as completely as possible for the next grade…but things like grades aren’t the big deal they are in older grades. My “VG” instead of an “O” isn’t exactly keeping someone out of their favorite college. All parents are different, but I think that for the most part, parents want to see progress, know their kids are learning something, that they are being nurtured, and that interaction between the kids and me and all the stuff that happens on the playground is fair and that negatives are addressed and lessons are learned. And I am blessed because all 23 little ones can be a delight. 18 of the 23 are reading well above grade level, so that makes things easy. 22 of the 23 are at least at grade level. Only one is really struggling, but it is amazing how he can suck up so much of my time and energy. If I had a bunch like him, it would be darn near impossible. And some classrooms are like that. It is one of the perks of being in a private school…I may be making (a lot) less money, but I think my job is (a lot) easier in some ways.

On that note, time for Zicam, Sudafed, aspirin, Airborne and sleep.

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Beam me up

I am tempted to post this entry as blank space.
That is the only way to truly capture my emotions at this time.

But not too interesting, I guess.

I had such a long day today. I stayed at school until 6:30, mostly getting ready for a substitute teacher. I am off to a conference tomorrow on Teaching Gifted and Talented students.
The problem is that, by the time you get everything spelled out, laid out, and worked out for the sub, it feels like you just taught the whole day yourself. So I now feel like I just taught two days today instead of just the usual one day.

I got another super duper email from another parent today, on a whole ‘nother matter. They are so cute these parents. And so easy to manipulate. All you have to do is sacrifice your entire life for the welfare of their offspring. That’s all.
NOT that I don’t appreciate their appreciation. I totally do. I don’t know how to do anything half-way. I was born an over-achiever, and while I DO NOT feel as if I am over-achieving in this job, I can hold my head up high and say that yes, I am doing my best. Yes, I can do no more than I already am. And it is fine to have that effort acknowledged now and then, even if that isn’t at all the reason I do it. The praise is actually a good thing, because it lets me put the brakes on a bit. I go and go and go and go…worried that I am dropping some ball somewhere. Knowing that people out there think I’m doing ok lets me breathe a little and say, ok, maybe I should relax a little. Because you know what I found out? There is NO end to this job. You never do it all. You never do enough. You never get to a point where you put the whole thing to bed. It ends in June when the school year ends, and before that, well, it is just cram, cram, cram I’ll sleep later, thankyouverymuch.

The biggest reward comes from seeing the kids succeed and grow. That makes first grade magical, actually. Seeing kids learn to read right before your very eyes is so cool. You want to beam and say, “I made that.” Or something similar. Something more appropriate and professional. Really.


And then some

Little Miss Oh-So-Independent (‘cuz I’m old enough to get married and thumb my nose at the world) had to call her dad for a ride home from work today. Heh.
Darling Daughter, you are taking a step back in the world because you haven’t had to call your folks for a ride home in 2 1/2 years.

Nothing wrong with calling daddy, really. Nothing wrong with needing a ride, really. I’m just giggling a little here because you KNOW that a big part of her running off with this Marine and getting all hooked up and married and moving out and making her own nest is because she is a WO-MAN now. She is all grown up. She doesn’t need us to tell her what to do or to take care of her.

Until she gets stranded at work and wants to go home.

I think Mr. Wonderful enjoyed doing that though. He has never really been the “go to” parent much. But now things are all different. The problem is that she lives too far, and so he came home after that and collapsed on the bed. He couldn’t stay upright after all that driving. Due to his disability, not sheer wimpiness or laziness, if you happen to be out of the loop on that matter.

So why was she stranded? Once upon a time she thumbed her nose at the stripped down little Accord we bought for her to drive, and which served her well until we sold it last week or maybe two weeks ago? We should have gotten rid of it as soon as she GOT MARRIED and independent, but the insurance company was cool with her being on our policy while he was deployed, so we let it stay. Like the phone. Meanwhile, back at the base, he ordered her a car overseas and they picked it up in Montana over Christmas. So they would have had two vehicles, had he not driven his truck head first into an icy ditch and totaled it.
So now, they are reassessing the vehicle situation for the moment. And while they have one really nice new one, they only have one. And trying to survive with only one will be tough, given the distance he has to go to the base, and she has to go to school and work.

I hope she really loves this guy, because her life is a lot more complicated than it needed to be at only barely 20 years of age. AND she still has scars on her face from the accident. The bruises are gone, but there are lingering gashes that haven’t healed yet.

Sometimes it is hard not to feel bitter. I protected that little face for a lot of years. And not so some DUDE in a pickup could crash into a dish and mess it up.

Moving on.

Yesterday was weird. On the one hand I got a wonderful email from a dad in my class, complimenting me on something the first graders had done. It was a glowing email, which of course I forwarded to the principal.

But I also found myself in a phone conversation with another dad who actually got into discussing his daughter’s bowel habits, and how much juice they (don’t) give her, and I really almost couldn’t believe I was having that conversation. There is something to be said for teaching older kids.
But I kept picturing this guy in my mind…bulging biceps, tatoos, barrel chested, perfectly coiffed and dressed, with his older teenage boys and the little trophy wife who bore him the girl in my class. Reduced to discussing the poop habits of a six year old girl. Made my day.


No Ka-Boom

When I turned onto our street this evening, there was Sprite’s car sitting in front of our house. She was there with her Marine, sweet as pie, collecting a piece of furniture that we had threatened to give away if she didn’t want it/didn’t take it in a timely manner. I guess after the phone finally shut off, she didn’t want to press her luck with dad.

For the record, they did have notice of the phone being turned off. It is all too long and tedious to write out here, but as late as Friday night Mr. Wonderful was on the phone with her Marine warning him that it was going to get shut off in the next day or two and that he didn’t want to make her mad at him, so please to move the service over.

We visited, they were kissing up to us (as it should be), and she has a brand new phone number. Mr. Wonderful is happy now that he doesn’t have to track his rapidly declining rollover minutes and put off phone calls using the anytime minutes.
When did phones get so complicated?

So now, she is on her own, finally. Although that is a laugh.
She is a textbook example of a young lady going from being dependent on her father, to being dependent on her husband. With less than 2 years of college under her belt, and a part time job at Victoria’s Secret, she wouldn’t last long on her own without him. Thanks to him, while he may not make great wages, housing is covered, insurance is cheap and good, he got an awesome bonus for re-enlisting so they had cash for furniture and a new car, and they get discounts on everything everywhere. He is even signing his GI Bill over to her for the rest of her college, so there’s that. He still has a scholarship he can use if/when/let’s hope he goes to college himself.
Ok, and he is cute, polite and friendly too. Oh, and he’s Catholic. Does anybody think this is too good to be true?
I am still so skeptical. But I want her to be happy. It is hard to just let go and be happy for her. Is that normal?

It is so different with Jolt and Surfergirl. They have been together for 4 years. We have spent so much time with her at this point that she feels like one of our own. I have found myself almost telling Jolt to pop the question already, a few times. I think I would be crushed if they broke up, and that is really a development I never would have predicted. Somewhere along the line, my thinking shifted from “he’s too good for her” to “he’s lucky to have her.” Interesting, no? I don’t know if that will happen with Sprite and CowboyMarine. The jury is still out on him AS HUSBAND MATERIAL. I liked him fine when they were just dating.

Time will tell, I guess. I will just concentrate on trying to let go a little.