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26 December 2008

I promise not to turn this into a weight loss blog...


But - you need to indulge me a post on the subject at least occasionally...

Those of you who know me well and for a long time know that I have been running from the fat girl for a long long time. All my life as a matter of fact. Kicked that beyotch to the curb about a decade ago - but the pregnancy changed the game for me. Mind you - I am not blaming my current status solely on an event that occurred eight years ago. I have gone through different mindsets on this subject ranging from "who cares" to "maniacal obsessive" - none of it has served me well.

So I go back in time and revisit what I did to lose the weight originally. Raise your hand if you know what the answer is. Yes - that's right. Weight Watchers. BUT (and this is a big but - pun intended, LOL) it was PRE-POINTS!!! I loathe this 1-2-3 B.S. and everything that has come since. I have tried on three separate occasions to lose weight this way and for reasons unknown to me - points don't work for me. I liked the old exchange system... I don't remember the fancy-pants marketing term for it. but it was circa 1996. I spent a fair amount of time on-line last night trying to dig something up from that time period. Some luck - but what I did find was some information on TOPS (take off pounds sensibly). Guess what they offer??? (well - besides affordable meetings that are held at a time that I can not attend) An exchange system! YAY! So I downloaded their materials (doesn't say anywhere that I can't). And have just survived day one. Rather well, I might add. Never mind that I am pretty hungry right now - but - that really shouldn't be surprising. I walked for about a half an hour as well. That was the other part of my success before - I walked A.LOT. So I went out and bought sneakers today. And I walked. And now I feel like I got hit with a Mac Truck - but I am hoping it will get better... with time. That whole exercise gives you energy thing?? Doesn't work. Not in my universe.

So - the gig is I want to lose 61 pounds. Doctors would tell me I "need" to loose about hmmm - probably closer to 80 but I figure if they want to live my life they can pay my rent - 61 is just fine with me. At the end of the day - 55 or even 50 may be fine with me too - we shall see when we get there. I am NOT going to have that "last ten pounds" frustrate me into giving up completely and gaining it all back - been there. Done that. NOT happening again. Skinny is not on my wishlist.

You can watch my progress at the bottom of the blog - there is a little tracker. I reserve the right to rant when I need to - but I will be careful not to go on and on and on about this here. I know what a colossal bore that can be.

Okay - thanks for listening... Encouragement is appreciated. :D

23 December 2008

The one about Lipstick Jungle and reflections on friendship and life.

This morning while watching Lipstick Jungle (three cheers for DVR!), it dawned on me how very odd it is that I love this show so much. I can't relate to these women on.any.level. They spend more on one outfit than I spend on clothes in a decade, they are driven career women, they obviously feel quite at home in "the city" and they all adore and trust each other. This is by far my biggest sticking point. I don't have girlfriends.

I have mentioned before that I prefer the company of men and while there is some real truth in that statement, it doesn't take away from the real truth. Oh.. what IS that truth you ask?? That truth is that I know that a friendship - a REAL friendship with a woman - will never work. I give up before it starts. I look for trouble to reinforce this idea along the way. I make excuses. There are some very valid reasons for this - and I won't get into it here, but suffice it to say that I have been badly burned by women claiming to be my friends, and I just don't see any reason to allow the possibility of that happening again.

I see women opening up to each other and sharing and relying on each other for advice and support - and I am so envious I almost puke. And then I remember the flip side of that is the kind of vulnerability that I just am terrified of. Once a woman knows so much about you, she can use it against you. And my experience is that she usually does. Say what you will about men, but I have never been betrayed when I have confided in a man. Ever. Women "sell" themselves as loyal, all these "girlfriends" mugs and keychains - but men really ARE loyal as friends.

Which brings me back to this show... I think we buy into it all - and we may even be able to admit that we want it. At the end of the day it takes a lot of patience and courage not just to be a friend but to allow others to be your friend. Sometimes I think I have that kind of patience and courage. And then I realize - I don't. Not yet. Maybe never.

Oh yeah - and I am SO glad that Victory and Joe are back together and I think Shane is acting like an ass.

21 December 2008

Violins, Toasters, Diet Ads and Soulmates...

Yesterday we had our friends and family pot-luck brunch... it would seem the fates were smiling on us because in the past, we held our brunch on The SUNDAY before Christmas - had we stuck to THAT policy THIS year, Mother Nature would have stolen our show. As it turns out - we changed to Saturday this year and the show went on in spite of CrabbyWhineySIL calling out.

A good time was had by all! My mother played piano, TalentedMusicianFriend (who is the wife of PirateTeacherFriend) played violin and we all tried to sing - only TalentedMusicianFriend actually succeeded, LOL... But it was incredibly fun and I felt that we honored my grandfather by reviving our singing tradition. We were blessed with an abundant supply of delicious food (If ANYONE has any suggestions on what to do with leftover bagels, I am all ears!) and finally opened and shared the $200 bottle of tequila which was given to Ron by his ex-boss in like 1998 or so...

After everyone else left, close friends Anthony (Ron't lifelong friend) and Alison (Anthony's wife) remained - until 10 pm - and we got to talking about many many things. One thing that was decided was that no one makes a decent toaster. We don't even care how much it is - but we want to be assured of consistently being rewarded with perfect toast every time. Even if there is only a minute in between toastings. We have a Krups toaster which I proudly and confidently purchased a few years ago for approximately $60. A name like Krups - SURELY it has to be decent - right!??! WRONG!!!!! It toasts only the top half of the bread. AND as a special bonus, if you make more than one round of toast consecutively the second person will receive only burnt offerings. Is it really too much to ask for a small appliance that will toast evenly? We can watch movies on devices we hold in our hands, we can record and pause live TV, we have little devices that give us directions - but NO ONE can make a decent toaster?? Maybe I should write a letter to Steve Jobs. I am sure the iToast would look great AND work perfectly. Wonder if he would consider it?!

Moving forward... soulmates. I wonder how many of you believe in the concept of a soulmate, or I am told more accurately phrased as a twin flame... the other half of your own soul - you only have one - you spend your life looking for this person... blah blah blah... you know what I am talking about. Please take my poll on the right. I can't tell how you voted. It isn't that sophisticated of a system... just vote. Don't be so paranoid! I will blog about this later.

Yesterday I watched TaiChiInstructorFriend and his daughter pull out of my driveway. I won't see them again until they return from Brazil the first week of January - I felt a pang of anxiety - and feel it still when I think of them being gone. Godspeed, friends. I will sincerely miss you while you are away...

Finally - I have to mention that I used to really like evite - and I still like the IDEA of evite - but I doubt I will use them again. Too many ads... for DIETS! What is UP with that?? The juxtaposition of ads for Weight Watchers and my pot-luck brunch is reinforcing of my idea that the holiday season is mostly to keep the diet-industry afloat. Fatten 'em up, then make them wildly paranoid about bathing suit season! Brilliant! Mwahhhahaha! Evil maniacal SOB's. But that is a rant for another day. I digress - bottom line, I am investigating other on-line invites - right now purpletrail is looking pretty sweet... have YOU got a favorite??

Happy Holidays my friends... happy holidays!

16 December 2008

Sometimes small things make you a hero.


Yesterday I was blessed with the opportunity to be a hero. Mind you, in a million years I never thought that covering P.E. would make everyone think I am so fabulous, LOL! I was supposed to sub fourth grade - BUT the teacher booked two subs... she booked the other sub in September but had forgotten. After ample apologies from her (hey - accidents happen) I went to the office to see if I was needed anywhere - sure enough, they needed a PE sub in the other building. I rolled my eyes, chuckled a little and accepted.

On the way over, I realized that since that school starts earlier, one class already missed PE. When I arrived, I told the secretary that if that teacher wanted her planning period back I would be happy to help her out with that - she was welcome to send her kids to me during my free period.

You would have thought I gave her a million dollars... (maybe the next time I am loud when I sub for PirateTeacherFriend she will refrain from scolding me) but seriously - what was I going to do with a free period? Other teachers found out what I did and I was bombarded all day with accolades - which is super-nice, but honestly, I felt sad that any other sub wouldn't have done the same thing...

It was second and third grade PE - and I was happy that I always carry my whistle, that's for sure - Even I would have had a hard time yelling over them to get their attention). I also had a ton more fun than I thought I would, certainly more fun than I had subbing for 4th, 5th and 6th grade PE!

14 December 2008

You know when you go out to dinner for your birthday...


...And they dress in funny outfits and sing embarrassing songs loudly so that the whole restaurant looks at you? Well that didn't happen... GMOM did manage to alert the pianist (I just like saying that...) to the fact that we were celebrating my birthday so he did play happy birthday and sing to me... but it was nice and not ridiculously embarrassing,..

Then there was the part where GMOM spilled iced cold water down my shirt (Hello!) and Mr.GMOM decided to let the comedian know that it was my birthday... yes. Thanks so much for THAT!!! It actually was a very good time, and I feel very blessed to have such wonderful friends.

This does, actually, conclude my birthday celebration for 2008. It began on Thanksgiving. My mom and my aunt gifted me at that time... I had a little cake... Ron made me a pie last weekend! (There are pictures somewhere for that, but they aren't on the photo server yet - so we shall have to be patient) Many people wished me happy birthday on facebook as well. And everything concluded last evening in the company of some excellent friends. It was a very nice celebration this year.

Thanks so much to everyone -

03 December 2008

And now... a little humor.


(REAL little...)

A substitute teacher was trying to make use of her psychology background. She began her class by saying, "Everyone who thinks you're stupid, please stand up."

Right away, Little Johnny stood up.

The teacher said, "Why do you think you're stupid, Little Johnny?"

"I don’t, ma'am, but I hate to see you standing there all by yourself!"

Badadum.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
I'll be here all week...

25 November 2008

A cautionary tale...


Let this be a lesson to all who would make assumptions... about boys. And girls. And pink Hanna Montana pencils...

Today I subbed for a first grade teacher. It was me and the special ed teacher in the room. For a large portion of today there was a "discussion" between a boy and a girl about a pink Hanna Montana pencil. The girl insisted that the boy took it from her - that it was hers. He made no bones about the fact that he doesn't like her - "she is not my friend"... horrifying first-grade things like that...

Off and on throughout the day was the issue of this pencil. Boy says it is his. Girl says it is hers. Finally I take the pencil. In the back of my brain I think... "I will leave it for the teacher to talk with them tomorrow." And then I thought "what am I thinking?? I can't leave a busy teacher a note about a pink Hanna Montana Pencil! This is nonsense." So when the boy left I gave it to the girl. Told her to take it home and leave it at home.

A few minutes after the girl left (her bus was called) the boy returned to the room. With his sister. She said she gave the pencil to the boy. The other teacher thanked her and said that it had helped the boy get his work finished that day.

OMG. I felt absolutely HORRIBLE! How could I fix this?!? I totally owe this boy an apology. I told the teacher what had happened. She wasn't angry - she told me that the girl has done this before and that I had no way of knowing. I even told her that I had planned to leave it for the teacher with a note and then thought the better of that idea... she laughed.

I believed the girl not because I liked her more or think any less of the boy... I believed the girl because it was a pink Hanna Montana pencil. And maybe because I heard him being so wretched to her (knowing what I know now I see that he had a reason).

I screwed up. BIG. What is the message this boy received from all of this?? He is not trustworthy? Girls will be believed more than boys?

UGH!!!!! I fell for the oldest stereotype in the book and I am woefully embarrassed by it.

24 November 2008

Opportunity wears soft-soled shoes...


For years I have been trying to figure out how to make the holidays less like a potlatch and more about reaching out with hearts and hands - I have weakly suggested we forgo our family pollyanna in years past and have been shot down... this year I decided that most people would welcome the opportunity to just get together without having to worry about spending money on a trinket gift... will this save us a lot of money? No. of course not. But it MAY help everyone to change their focus... it isn't about the presents. It is about connecting with each other. Pure and simple. Spending time - not money...

This year, the weak economy and tenuous employment situations for many offer each of us an opportunity to really think about what is important. What really makes us happy. Kids too - kids remember and appreciate the time spent with them - the times we focus on them and make them feel special. Take advantage of this time to shift your focus...

Say no to the potlatch... say yes to real connections!

16 November 2008

Apparently, I have been promised extra energy...


Here is what my horoscope says for today:

It's as if you took extra vitamins today, for your energy level is high and can soar even higher if you are willing to let go of your past. Mars is now in your sign until December 27, revving up your motor and supplying you with extra fuel. Don't procrastinate; it's your time to start something fabulous.


Sounds impressive - doesn't it??! Most days I read this horoscope (just for fun - I know that) and marvel at the ring of truth it has to it... Today I read this and am seriously hoping I get some of that energy... what would be really great is if I could have that energy even if I exercise. Because for me - in the alternate universe in which I live - the more I exercise the more I feel like someone beat the crap out of me. Sort of counter-productive to losing weight, isn't it?

Anywho - if Mars being in my sign can somehow fix this for me temporarily - then woo hoo! :D

Yeah, I know.

It's B.S.

But a girl can dream right??

14 November 2008

It is easy to be excellent in a sea of mediocrity.


I subbed today with someone who was - well - mediocre. Perfectly nice woman. very sweet. But a complete and total push-over. She subbed for the regular ed teacher and I for the special ed teacher. We had only one class period together and then I brought my students back to the room at lunch time and at the end of the day.

The class period we had together, was odd at best. The room is full of diverse abilities - and the assignment left was a worksheet packet. She tried to have everyone work together, got upset when some students worked ahead. Didn't want to allow students to help other students - these are sixth graders... one student is an honors student who would have otherwise just been sitting there doing nothing. He wanted to help one of my students, a new student in class, who was struggling with the multiple instructions given (I was pretty-much tied to the Downs Syndrome child who needed constant assistance). She didn't want him to help... it was frustrating, but we survived.

When we returned to the room for lunch she was sitting at a table in the back drawing (she is an art teacher she told me - I think she was drawing things for the students). Kids were loud, doing whatever they wanted, not lining up for lunch - they were trying to pass out lunch tickets... no one could hear. It was pure chaos... I finally spoke up. Couldn't take it anymore. Just said (in my naturally loud booming voice) "Ladies and Gentlemen - if you would like to get to lunch this afternoon I strongly suggest you get in line and get quiet." And then I waited. I reminded them that I would not allow them to embarrass me in the hallway and we would simply wait for quiet before we would leave. And we waited. We were seven minutes late for lunch but we were quiet.

Imagine my surprise when I returned with my students at the end of the day and encountered the exact same situation! But the teacher, who had a planning day and was in the building, followed me into the room and caught her doing nothing and the students carrying on - and she knew I had nothing to do with it (thank HEAVENS!) ... I felt bad for the other sub - clearly this grade level is more than she can handle, as I said - she is very nice... but I felt embarrassed for her...

But I realized today that I actually am a decent sub and I am grateful that I have that weird invisible thing that my mother has (on a smaller, less-developed level of course) where students just seem to listen to me. I do not have a huge problem with classroom management. I don't pretend to know why... but I am grateful... no doubt about it!

Oh - and I booked three and a half more days while I was in the building today!

07 November 2008

The Meeting

You thought it would never happen. You thought I had forgotten about Rebecca and Vince and Garrett and Becky. But you were wrong! I have finally taken the time to write a bit more... so I hope you enjoy a little more of Vince's nostalgic recollections... Part twelve follows:

It was a blistering hot August afternoon in 1995 when Vince first darkened the doorway at Garrett Glass. Dressed in full Army Dress Uniform he was an impressive figure. Garrett was in a hurry, needed to get to an appointment he explained and asked how he could help Vince.

"I want to talk to you about my niece." he said.
"I don't think that I know your niece, Sir" Garrett explained
"I think you do. Her name is Becky."

Garrett stopped dead in his tracks and looked Vince straight in the eye. "So you are Vince then." he said and held out his hand. Vince recalled his firm honest handshake - truly a man's handshake tells us of his character. There was just something about Garrett. He intended to really throw his weight around and show tis guy who was boss. Instead he almost instantly liked him.

"Vince, I'm sorry - I am really running late here. I would love to talk to you about Becky, but I have to get going. You are welcome to ride along if you like. We can talk on the way."

This was the first day of what would prove to be the best friendship of Vince's life. The two rode together in that beat up old truck that Garrett was so fond of. Vince laughed to himself thinking of all the times he tried to talk Garrett into buying something new, but all Garrett ever wanted to spend extra money on was that 1957 Cadillac Convertible that he was restoring. Well, that and Becky of course. His devotion to that little girl was beyond imagination. She wasn't spoiled - but he made sure that she was properly cared for - and well, maybe a little bit spoiled. But they had a chemistry between them, a connection that was unbelievable. When Becky came into a room, Garrett's eyes lit up - she ran to him with complete joy and abandon - like they had been separated for months even though it had only been hours.

Vince helped Garrett replace Mrs. McClosky's windshield. They said little while they were working and Mrs. McClosky looked confused about why this army gentleman in his fancy uniform was helping to repair her Toyota Corolla. When they finished they said goodbye and headed back to the shop. On the way, Garrett told him about Caterina.

"Since she's been back, I've tried to help her stay sober. She lies all the time about her drinking, Vince. She shows up at odd hours. I let her see Becky, but not alone. Too afraid she may black out, or just forget what she is doing. We go to the park together..." Garrett tried to explain.

"You knew she was a drunk when you met her, Garrett. How did you get so close, so intimate with her if drinking bothers you so much? Did you really think you would change her?" Vince was agitated.

Garrett didn't answer. He just drove. Vince remembered thinking that he may have crossed a line - upset him somehow - touched a nerve. Eventually they pulled up in front of the shop.

"You want to meet her?" Garrett asked
"Becky? Sure - I mean of course!" Vince answered, relieved that Garrett finally was talking again.

They went across the street to a second story house-apartment. A large woman with bright silver hair and kind blue eyes answered the door. "Hi Mrs. Ivanov. I'm here for my lunch date" Garrett said. Mrs. Ivanov held the door open for him to enter the apartment. "Daddy!" Becky ran around the corner in a yellow sundress, her hair in pig tails and threw her arms around Garrett with such blatant happiness, you couldn't help but smile to see this reunion.

When she saw Vince, she froze. Her face changed. Tears began to well up in her little toddler eyes. She must have been afraid of him - the uniform, his height - he was never sure what it had been exactly. Garrett explained that this was her Uncle Vince, that she didn't need to be afraid and when Vince offered his hand to her to shake, she tentatively put her little hand out as well - and Vince fell in love instantly.

21 October 2008

What is the sniglet for this??


You guys remember sniglets? Lactomangulation... Bevemeter... well - we need a sniglet to name the phenomenon where one looks in the mirror before a special occasion and thinks they look all sorts of fine only to discover when inspecting photos of the event that in fact one looked fat, ridiculous or - perhaps worst of all - both. What can we call that distorted perspective?? Has this happened to you at all?

On a tangently-related note... here is a quiz... Your loved on asks you if you are as fat as someone else at a given event. Is the correct answer: 1) Oh no dear! Not even close! 2) I can't tell, she is wearing a coat.

Yeah - that's what I thought.

11 October 2008

FIlling the shoes of a gym teacher.


Yesterday, I was a gym teacher. Those of you who know me know that I generally have about as much regard for a gym teacher as I do a cock-roach. Okay. Maybe a little more. Just a teensy bit. Couple that with the fact that I am perhaps the most woefully uncoordinated person on the planet and I simply could not control my laughter when the sub callers asked me to accept this assignment. They practically begged me. Since my number one fear is disappointing people - I agreed to give it a try...

I will tell you this - it IS hard work - a different kind of hard and not as hard as a regular day. I hardly had to write anything on my sub report (which usually fills two pages). I got to play all day - which was pretty cool. I DID have to do a lot of yelling, just so students would be able to hear me. The desk was an absolute train-wreck and there were smelly sneakers on the floor and dirty socks on what I THINK was supposed to be a bookshelf - but I am learning that everyone has a different organizational style than I do.

All in all, it was okay. Not really my speed. Not my style. In a pinch, I would of course, do it again - but I won't be asking for that assignment anytime soon THAT's for sure!

06 October 2008

Someone needs to explain this to me...


I had a 4:50 appointment for a Chiropractic adjustment. I arrived on time. I signed in. I sat. And waited. And waited. At 5:15 she took me back. To a second waiting room. Uhm hello. NO. Let me rephrase... HELL NO. I am so not sitting and waiting who-knows-how-long because the doctor had a new patient.

Excuse me??? That is all very well and good for YOU - but this long-time faithful loyal comes-every-two-weeks-patient needs her scheduled adjustment. Is it too much to ask that you take me within ten minutes of my scheduled appointment? Tell the NEW patient that you are BOOKED today and will have to see him or her tomorrow. Or the next day? Or at the bare minimum CALL your loyal patient to let her know that you are WAY off schedule and offer a re-schedule??? Is that too much to ask?!??!

I am livid. (Could you tell?? LOL) What is the deal with doctors? Why do they do this and WHY do they think it is okay?

I walked out BTW. I told them I can not sit around and wait - that I have another engagement - which I do. William has karate this evening. I said I would call to reschedule. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't. Maybe I will try another chiropractor.

01 October 2008

Was this a Catholic School thing...


Or just a "HEY! You're old" thing...

I remember being in grade school. When we would encounter an adult in the hallway the whole line would announce in complete choral voice "Good Morning Sister Marie" or whatever the teacher's name was. In the classroom, if an adult entered the room everyone was completely silent, stood up and the same magical thing happened... "Good Morning, Father Cramer". And then Father Cramer would say "Good Morning, class - please sit down."

Did this happen only in catholic schools? Does it still happen? If so - is the possible reason that we didn't have a lot of people wandering around? Also - I was remembering that I don't have a lot of experience with substitute teachers - if we had a sick teacher, another sister would come and take care of the class for that day.

Back to my question... this idea of addressing adults in this way... was/is this solely a catholic school thing or is it a hey - that was more than 30 years ago thing...

Anyone??

28 September 2008

Polite Subtlety


"In love silence is of more avail than speech…there is an eloquence in silence that penetrates more deeply than language can." Blaise Pascal

This post has been mulling around in my head for quite some time - I am finally deciding to just put it out there and see what you all think...

Some part of me wishes that we only called those who are very close to us - like family - by their first names. Using titles, creating what at least appears to be a respectable distance with everyone else. Then again I wish men still wore hats and women, gloves. I think there was an implied genteel politeness. And I think these things once acted as visual reminders of our need to be courteous. And no, I realize the good old days weren't always good - I know this didn't always work and that people don't like to be told what to do - but this is all part of the American tradition of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater". Of not understanding subtlety. The whole "You're not the boss of me" mentality we are so good at. Sounds a lot like toddlers and teens if you ask me - we are an entire society lacking self-restraint and good manners - but hey! No one tells US what to do. Or what to wear. Or how to behave... right?

Anyone who has ever read Jane Austen for instance realizes that there have always been ways to buck the system. But they were quiet and subdued. Double entendre and silent glances ruled and there was plenty of blushing to go around - even without the ass-slapping vulgarity that we are plagued with today. Look at the french for example... The french word s├ęduction CAN mean persuading someone to go to bed with you, but it is typically used in a more general way to reflect the idea of trying to charm someone. The french seduce everyone - men - women - doesn't matter but in the second more general way... without the sexual proposition behind it... Think about it - this kind of attention is, well, nice... who doesn't like to be on the receiving end of kind words, compliments, warm feelings. Why do Americans always have to assume everything to be sexual? (back to the teen thing I think, no?)

At least that's how it looks from my chair.

21 September 2008

Clean Slate


Everyone likes a clean slate, a fresh start - to have this we must first have the courage to have nothing. To be ready for change we have to be willing to put everything aside - make room - create a void. There is an innocence to nothing that offers the opportunity for change, growth, knowledge. This (painfully awkward) attempt at haiku addresses this week's prompt from Weekend Wordsmith.

Stark barren nothing
empty of expectation
Hopeful potential

20 September 2008

Next time you want to complain about teachers...


Okay folks - the very next time you want to complain about teachers and that they "only" work 10 months out of the year I challenge you to spend a few weeks filling their shoes - or trying to. These men and women are saddled with the HUGE responsibility of educating our FUTURE. That's big. Really big.

The last two weeks I have been teaching every day. Our district mandates a lot of planning days and meetings etc several times a year so the need for my services has been great. I have never worked as hard as I have these last two weeks. And I have worked damn hard in the past. But I can assure you - knowing that young minds and hearts are depending on you takes everything up a notch. I am - for one day - to facilitate learning for these students. Learning about facts, how to read and how to behave like decent citizens with kindness and compassion for each other. I may move around from room to room and building to building, but I still take that challenge seriously. I venture to guess that is true for most if not all subs. We have big shoes to fill and we work hard to do so.

Favorite moment so far? Student I taught last week saw me in the hall, ran up to me, hugged me and said "Mrs. C - are you coming to our room today?" Sadly, I wasn't - and when I let her know that she said "Bummer." Wow. That is a wicked cool feeling. Two weeks in - and already students are liking me. That is definitely a great feeling. That and teachers are calling me back into their rooms so teachers must like me a bit too...

All of this might help to explain my recent absence here in the blogosphere. I can't promise that is will get any better, but hey! You never know! I'll work on it.

12 September 2008

Back-To-School


This picture is from the first day of school this year. It is my son William and his friend Alexis...

I just wanted to check in for a bit to let you all know that I have been busy every day this week subbing and expect to be busy from this point forward - I even have a few days booked in January! Suffice it to say things are going well. I already have some good stories but can't really share them in an open forum like this - so I may be starting a private, by-invitation-only blog for that very purpose.

Anyway - I wanted to check in with everyone just to let you all know I am still alive and well...

07 September 2008

As fate would have it...

I start tomorrow! A second grade resource teacher! YAY! Wish me luck people...

05 September 2008

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!


Great news!! Thanks to PirateTeacherFriend for providing me with what will likely be my first subbing assignment! September 11th! Just think - this time last year if you had told me I would be subbing I would have laughed in your face - and yet - here I am! YAY! And the super-weird thing is that I am not really nervous. Maybe I will be that day - but not now. Not yet... Maybe I won't be - who knows?!

And so it would seem that being brave and requiring more of myself is paying off.

I need lots of positive vibes this coming Thursday please! Think of me! :D

Lucky me!


"I felt it shelter to speak with you" -Emily Dickinson

You've heard me say it before - I typically don't enjoy the company of most women. I am a man's woman. But today I visited with a friend and enjoyed copious amounts of conversation and a nice lunch. Let me just say that I feel more content and relaxed having had this time with her and feel extremely grateful to count her among my friends.

GMOM - thank you. It was a delightful day. Let's do it again sometime, shall we?

01 September 2008

Don't Tell...

Part Eleven of Rebecca's Saga. In case anyone is still reading... here is a bit from Vince's perspective... If you want to read more, click the link on the sidebar and scroll to the bottom to read from the beginning...

Vince pulled into the lot behind the shop but didn't get out of the truck. The rain slid down the windshield past the wipers stopped mid-swipe. He was tired. Not go-lie-down-and-take-a-nap tired, the kind of tired that overtakes a person who feels over-extended and out of his league. He had no idea how it ended up this way - him raising a 16 year old girl on his own. Even though it was the right thing to do there were days that he couldn't escape feeling like he had made a big mistake. Becky was a good kid, but everything else about the situation felt bad. Real bad.

Caterina had always had problems. He remembered when they had moved away - she was in seventh grade, he was in fifth. He caught her early one morning filling a lip gloss container with rum. That was how she did it - how she kept it hidden. She popped out the little plastic ball and filled the glass vial with rum. Or vodka. or whatever she thought she could get away with that day. He wanted to tell his mom. Damn it! What if he had? What if she had gotten help then? She begged him. Cried.

"Please don't tell Vinnie! Remember how you took that cookie last week? Remember? I didn't tell on you. We have to stick together..."

He never told - he just tried to avoid her as much as he could so he wouldn't have to make that decision again. He remembered her being escorted home with the police on more than one occasion, then there was the time she nearly had alcohol poisoning and his parents made him put on a coat at 2:00 am to go to the hospital with them. After that they sent her away to a rehab program for girls. She ran away regularly, more jail time... in the end, there was no money for him to go to college. He joined the army instead. He liked the structure and being in top shape - they trained him in electronics and eventually he coordinated construction planning and advised on electrical construction of buildings used to house satellite tracking equipment for the Gulf War.

He was accomplished - would have stayed with the army if not for his sister's letter to him. "I need your help, Vinnie. I had a baby a few years ago and I gave her up. I miss her awful and I am not allowed to see her because I am not perfect. He won't let me see her Vin. I need your help." she wrote. Instead of reenlisting, he came home determined to help reunite his sister with her daughter. That's what she needed - he had reasoned. Someone beside herself to be responsible for. He had no idea how wrong he was until he showed up on Garrett's doorstep.

What We did on our Summer Vacation...

Since a picture is worth a thousand words here are 27... Knock yourself out! :D



31 August 2008

Get thin - or else!


This isn't brand-new-hot-off-the-presses new but it sure is new to me... This is in Japan...

companies and local governments must now measure the waistlines of Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkups. That represents more than 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the entire population.Those exceeding government limits — 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women, which are identical to thresholds established in 2005 for Japan by the International Diabetes Federation as an easy guideline for identifying health risks — and having a weight-related ailment will be given dieting guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. If necessary, those people will be steered toward further re-education after six more months.

SOURCE: NY Times

Apparently their goal is to reduce diabetes and stroke. Guess they didn't get the memo that there is no scientific proof to back up this plan...

Can you imagine if your taxes went up because your local municipality had too many "metabo" (short-hand slang for "Metabolic Syndrome")? Holy crap! There would be witch hunts everywhere! Or what if we got fired for being too fat? Think the unemployment rate is ridiculous now??

I hope they repeal this soon. There is a protest movement involving sending 1000 fat cranes to the Japanese Government. I like the idea. Problem is that it will fall on deaf ears... "Clazy fat Amelicans... We can't risten to them or we get fat rike them!"

30 August 2008

Beautiful


My first try at PhotoHunter. The prompt was "beautiful". This was easy for me - after years of trying to get William on a bicycle we learned for sure this summer that that would not happen - at least not without first addressing his gravitational insecurity. The physical therapist recommended William get a trike - so... we did. And for this mom, seeing my son at age eight finally able to ride a cycle - even if it is one with three wheels - is beautiful... that and well - he is so darn cute! :D

Lost Socks - PSA


I decided to not do the metaphor thing. It was wildly tempting when I saw the prompt at Weekend Wordsmith this week. Decided to be silly instead...

Lost Socks. A Public Service Announcement

They are alone.
Mismatched,
Scared.
Unable to find their way back.

They are the lost socks.
Socks carelessly thrown into the washer without regard for the dangers awaiting socks in the wash:
Slipping under the agitator,
Falling behind an appliance,
Stuck to velcro - or worse... inside a pant leg not to be discovered for months to come.

Don't let this happen to YOUR socks.
Bag 'em up.
Stick them together.

Remember:
One thoughtless, callous act on your part
Can part your socks
Forever.

28 August 2008

Dog Humor


So... As you likely know my dog Gunther has diabetes. Right now we are trying to get him regulated and so I must test a urine sample several times a day. To do this I simply slip a test slip under him at the right moment.

Ha.

This dog who could barely drag his butt off the patio last week to relieve himself now finds it necessary to run 3 laps around our half acre fenced-in yard before he decides on the proper place. He does this, I am sure, to laugh at me trotting around behind him with the test strip in one hand and the container (to compare the result with and determine the reading) in the other...

Yeah, Gunther... hysterical.

BTW - the dog in the picture is not Gunther. Gunther is slick enough not to laugh at me right in front of me, but I KNOW he is yucking it up as soon as my back is turned.

We are what we are drawn to...

Apparently I am "The Coach" - which i'll take as a positive omen considering I can be called to sub beginning next week!

Thanks to Tricia at Miss Rumphius effect for the cool test. Oddly accurate actually!

Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...

HFDS - The Coach

Humanity, Foreground, Detail, and Shape


You perceive the world with particular attention to humanity. You focus on what's in front of you (the foreground) and how that is affected by the details of life. You are also particularly drawn towards the shapes around you. Because of the value you place on humanity, you tend to seek out other people and get energized by being around others. You like to deal directly with whatever comes your way without dealing with speculating possibilities or outcomes you can't control. You are highly focused on specific goals or tasks and find meaning in life by pursuing those goals. You prefer a structured environment within which to live and you like things to be predictable.








The Perception Personality Types:


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Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy

Gunther Update

Well - he seems to be better. I think this was directly related to the hypoglycemic episode and not so much the diabetes itself. He was dosed yesterday at 20 Units just once (in the morning) and his readings for yesterday showed a nice curve... including one negative reading though so I want to check with the vet to see if we should keep it at 20 or try 18...

He seems much more himself the last day or so... Maybe we have him stable now. I hope.

25 August 2008

I hope I am over-reacting.


Gunther had a bad night last night. Hypoglycemic episode. Lots of panting - anxiety no doubt, couldn't get up on his own... Then we thought we had it pretty well regulated with peanut butter and karo syrup and saltines, but it increased again through the night and I found myself coaxing him down the steps at 3:30 this morning to help him get outside (thought maybe he had to pee) and give him more saltines and pb and syrup... This morning I talked to the vet who said that what we will do is monitor his levels throughout the day today and not administer any insulin until tomorrow morning - and then to give him less. And only in the morning.

My concern now is that he seems lethargic and he is not walking right. He CAN get up on his own but his legs are so stiff. He doesn't seem himself. I wonder if there isn't something else going on, along with the diabetes... even though all the other bloodwork was apparently fine... or if he is just not interested in playing this game.

I worry we are running out of time with Gunther. I realized the other day while looking for baby pictures of William that is is difficult to find any that didn't have Gunther in them as well... Thought I'd share one...

24 August 2008

If you haven't seen this...

You owe it to yourself to watch - Maybe someday SOMEONE can explain to me how neither TaiChi nor WuShu was accepted as an olympics sport while - heaven help us ALL - Synchronized swimming IS...

Whatev.

23 August 2008

When an Ear is a Tooth


Thanks Bonnie at Weekend Wordsmith for this week's prompt - I had fun with this one! :) We've all been there with this one I am sure...

When an Ear is a Tooth

What is wrong with that guy?
Is he crazy?
Wandering from case to case
Opening door after door
Mumbling about pea pods or green beens -
Vanilla Ice cream or Neapolitan.

Wait -

I see it now -
His blinking right ear...
Is a blinking Bluetooth.

Ah. That explains it all...

22 August 2008

Yeah - Well, Who Asked Me?!?



Today, at my gal Mindi's blog, Moms Need to Know, she trashed the wide leg pant. Min - ya know I love ya, but here is where you and I shall part company. You must never throw the baby out with the bath water. One single commandment condemning all wide leg pants does not do the fat girl any good...

As with any fashion, there are rules for pants. One must follow rules if one wants to avoid looking dumpy. These rules are for those of us with a more ample ass (among other things)...

First - WRITE THIS DOWN ON YOUR HAND SO YOU DON"T FORGET: It is not about size. It is about fit. The number you see on the tag doesn't mean a damn thing. It is just a subjective number thrown on there by the manufacturer. A 14 in a Gap pant will not necessarily work for the gal quite comfy in a 14 from the Avenue. Does this mean it is time for a meltdown if you can't squeeze your bottom into a 14 at the Gap? Uhm no. It means GET A BIGGER PAIR. There's a reason women's pants don't sport waist measurements or anything else on the outside tag. It's called: WHO CARES?? Just as long as you look smashing, darling! Get over it and get a bigger pair.

Okay - next: when choosing pants/trousers/knickers - whatever you want to call them, the ideal silhouette for pants is going from your widest part straight down. So - if your widest part is quite wide this actually necessitates a wide leg pant... right?

Also: You need to wear a heel most likely. It is a rare gal who can pull off a flat in a wider leg pant. Doesn't have to be a go-go boot with 5" spiked heels - but you are going to need a little lift. Just insures that you don't look like you have PJ's on. Ya know?

Waist - not too low, not too high... And please!!!! NO MUFFIN TOPS! EW. Gross. And rise - well - make sure you fit in there. all together. No one wants to see your undies sticking out. Don't tell all those little chippies who think it looks all hot to have their thong sticking out the top of their pants and sporting a peek at their ass-cracks. It makes them look cheap - but they don't want to hear that - they would throw back that we are just jealous - okay. yeah, whatever. Bottom line - fat girls - NEVER do this. You don't have that kind of margin for error. You can most likely get those skinny chicks back in the cleavage department - but that's a post for another day.

If you are short, you should stay away from a crop pant. Arguably also capris, but until someone can tell me how to keep my legs from sticking to my car interior it is capris all the way for me when it is hot out.

Okay - so that is the scoop on pants... Oh yeah - I almost forgot - stay away from a pattern on the bottom. Some may argue with me on this point, but I truly think that none of us need any help creating the visual illusion that we are BIGGER on our bottoms - right? If I am wrong - go on ahead and wear that large floral print on your butt. Rock on... more power to ya!

20 August 2008

Gunther Update


Once again, it would seem that the Proximity Principal works for me... I took Gunther to the vet yesterday. The new vet. And I like him. A lot. He is taking a much more relaxed approach to treating Gunther's diabetes. No glucose curves (as he said, it is too stressful for the dog and for the owner), testing with urine-strips, not a blood glucose monitor. This matches my ideas on this case exactly. Gunther is a senior dog and I do NOT want his last months or years to be filled with needle pricks and many overnight stays at the vet's. I don't know how long he will be able to hang out with us, but I don't want it to be miserable for any of us. I return this afternoon to learn how to give him a shot and then we are off and running.

We are using Novolin-N insulin, 30 guage syringes (incidentally - one needs a prescription in NJ for syringes but NOT for insulin. Fascintating) and Keto-diastix. I have managed to find some good deals online for the syringes and the testing strips. So it will be just under $4 per day to treat Gunther's diabetes; two shots - one urine test.

We spilt his food into two servings, he gets one third in the morning and the remaining two thirds in the evening. He is allowed to have protein snacks through out the day. He can even have a little peanut butter if we buy him the natural peanut butter - the other has too much sugar.

To help track everything I downloaded a program called Diabetes Logbook X (sorry windows users - this is a mac-only application). This is FREEWARE and was developed by a mother to track her young (3-1/2 years old) son's medicines etc. Geek that I am can't just keep track in a notebook like the rest of the world, LOL! I plan to donate to Diabetes UK at the developer's request...

19 August 2008

Bloggers... question for you...

When a reader makes a comment to your blog that sort of requires a response, do you respond by commenting on your own blog or on theirs? Or do you do something else? Thanks!

18 August 2008

Cloudy with a chance for secrets

Part ten of Rebecca's Saga... Thank you to Bonnie and GMOM for uhm - "nudging" me forward a bit. Comments, requests, suggestions etc are appreciated... want to read more? Please, see the sidebar!

Rebecca felt almost guilty knowing more about this girl's life than she did. Why would Vince have told her about Caterina without cautioning her not to tell Becky? Or maybe he meant to but was interrupted by Becky's call than night? In any event, Rebecca felt awkward having been burdened with this huge secret.

Mercifully, Becky changed the subject - talking once more about band camp. Rebecca never knew there was so much drama among musicians. She was grateful for the distraction however and listened intently.

After lunch, Rebecca walked Becky back to the shop. She noticed an old sign in the window that she hadn't noticed the day before: Garrett Glass ~ Garrett Lewsinski Proprietor. She smiled a faint smile and as she traced his name with her finger she realized how odd it was that she had just assumed that Garrett Glass was "her" Garrett's. Sort of arrogant in a way - assuming that the universe is ordered the way she imagined.

Rebecca headed back to her house. There would be no time for her to investigate at the library. She still had wallpaper to scrape in the halls, and linoleum to rip up. Her mind wandered to the possibilities of what could be under that awful floor. She concentrated so intently on the possibility of beautiful wood flooring that she didn't notice the blue truck edging up beside her.

"Rebecca!" Vince's voice startled her from her daydream. "Need a lift?" He asked.
"No, Vince. I do not."
"I was headed to your house - to finish the estimate" Vince offered, not noticing the edge in her voice. Rebecca's bike stopped quickly scattering gravel onto the asphalt. Vince pulled the truck off to the side of the road and put on his hazard lights. Rebecca suddenly felt trapped. She was going to have to talk to him - but she desperately wanted to avoid it.

"Flat tire?" He asked innocently.
"No, Vince. Not a flat tire." Rebecca's curt reply startled Vince. He stopped a few feet away.
"What is it then?" he asked.
"Vince - I am not going to have this conversation with you here. Not now." Rebecca started to pedal away again.
"What conversation?" Vince tried to follow her on foot, but the bike took on speed as she went down a small hill so Vince hopped in his truck. Rebecca's mind was racing. Maybe it would be better to have the conversation away from her house - here in the middle of the road. Neutral territory and all. She felt irrationally angry with him and knew she was really angry with Garrett. But DAMN IT he was not here to yell at and SOMEONE had it coming.

She skidded to a stop again - Vince passed her again in his truck and pulled over again. For a moment - neither one of them moved. Vince watched her in his rearview mirror. Rebecca straddled her bike with her arms crossed.

"I'm not getting out, Rebecca."
"Well, I am not moving."
"What is the problem?"
"How could you?"
"How could I... what exactly?!"
"Not tell her!"
"Ah." Vince opened the door and slowly walked toward Rebecca. She didn't move - only her eyes grew wider.
"It wasn't my idea, Rebecca -"
"Don't you think I realize that? But you could have told her anyway. After. Maybe she would have liked to meet her mother after she lost her father, Vince! Her MOTHER!!!"
"It's not like you think it is."
"Oh really?" Rebecca moved away from the bike and shook her hair out of her helmet and moved her hands to her hips "How is it then?"
"She's a drunk, Rebecca."
"Becky's a drunk?"
"No - my sister. Becky's mother. Caterina is a drunk."

Rebecca didn't know how to feel. She was confused. The Garrett she knew would not have been involved with a drunk. He was the cleanest, most straight-laced kid she knew - too smart for that stuff... How did he let that happen? While her mind raced, she didn't notice Vince putting her bike in the back of his truck or the dark clouds looming overhead.

"Please get in the truck Rebecca"
"No - I am almost home. I'll just - " Rebecca noticed her bike was not where she left it - "Vince - put my bike back. I want to ride home. You can't just assume that I want a ride. You -"
"Rebecca - it is going to pour in about a minute. You have at least a half a mile to go. Let me drive you home."
"No. Give me my bike."
"Rebecca - it doesn't -"
"VINCE" she was extremely agitated with him now "Just give me my bike!"
Vince took the bike out of the truck and returned it to her side. Then he got in his truck and drive off.
"Good." She thought and put her helmet on.

As she pulled away the skies opened up and she was drenched. By the time she got home there were puddles in her sneakers and enough rain running down her face to hide the tears. A little bit down the road she could see Vince's truck slowly pull away as she pulled into her driveway.

She parked her bike in the shed and ran into the house, quickly closing the door behind her and shrinking to the floor exhausted and emotional. She sat very still - waiting to hear his truck pull into the driveway. It never did. She knew he had waited to make sure she got home okay and while she was somewhat touched by his kind gesture she was equally relieved she wouldn't have to hear more about his sister, Becky's mother, the drunk. Not today at least.

15 August 2008

Simple Magic



Hopping back in on the Weekend Wordsmith Challenge this week... the prompt is "Laughing Baby". Couldn't resist a couple cue pictures of William giggling - he was such a happy smiley baby... Anyway - here is my poem, Simple Magic... Enjoy!

Simple Magic

Simple, magical laugh
Erases sorrow,
Distracts pain.

A reciprocal joy
In innocent eyes
Responding with glee
to my giddy gaze.

It's all worth it
In the end.

Work in Progress


Thought I would share with you my most recent project... I am working on a parade banner for the Karate School, William is my assistant of course! I don't know where I get these ideas in my head - but sometimes I just can see it in my head and basically - with no experience whatsoever, just will it into existence.

Have I mentioned recently how much I love felt? Felt is amazing! You can make almost anything out of felt - it is incredibly versatile and cheap and just fantastic. If you use a sewing machine to finish it actually has a bit of a high-end sort of appearance to it. My goal with THIS banner is to ensure it does not look home made.

Incidentally - the logo is designed to appear as handwriting. You will be able to tell that a bit more once the word "institute: is added under "karate" as well as the phone number. I am pleased with the project so far and am hoping that we can use it, if not at the Waterford Township Days in September - at least in the Halloween parade in October!

13 August 2008

Never is a long, long time.


I would say I will never have another dog, but my grandmother used to say "Never is a long, long time." and what'ya know?! She was right!

Gunther (my dog) has diabetes and I am no longer coming unglued. I have a tentative plan.

The first part of this plan was to get a new vet. Several reasons for that - the first and most practical reason is that I can no longer afford to travel a half hour one way for a visit. Not with the visits that we will need to make. There is a vet a few blocks away - the Proximity Principle (sort of like Acoms Razor) has worked for us with Karate and chiropractic care - let's give it a try for veterinary care. I went down there and talked to the nice girl this morning - got a good positive vibe and made an appointment for Tuesday morning.

The other reasons for needing to switch relate to deteriorating service at our current vet office. Waiting more than a half hour for an appointment to start, another 15 minutes for them to find our chart so we can fork over HUGE amounts of money while they hand you a receipt that attempts to scare you into not saving some money by ordering meds on the internet. UGH! You know - if you didn't charge me $55 for a 10 minute visit, maybe I could afford to buy my meds there... just a thought.

Gunther is an otherwise healthy dog. He is a Shepherd mix and he is 11 years old. I am realistic. I want to try giving him the shots along with finding a balance with maybe a more appropriate diet for him. I can't see him going through glucose curves. He doesn't poop or eat if he is not at home. He just doesn't. This is why we never take him camping. If he responds positively to the treatment, we continue. If he is not happy with the treatment after a reasonable adjustment period - maybe a month or so - or if it changes him, like makes him nasty or if he simply deteriorates, then I will have to consider putting him down. When he reaches the next stage of the disease, I will put him down. I am not delusional. He is a senior dog. I want to help him maintain a happy life but we are not going to make a monstrous battle out of this. I knew from the beginning that he is mine only for a while and then it will be over - but I seriously never thought it would be something like diabetes! He has NEVER been overweight and he has never been fed table scraps - I have done everything I have been asked to do - he is not considered a high risk for the disease - and yet he has it. And it sucks. And it pisses me off - BIG time.

But I digress - for now... the plan is to provide him with care and then go day by day from there.

Back to the title of this post... I am fairly sure Gunther is destined to be my only dog. Never had one before - had a LOT of cats - but there is something different about a dog - maybe it is that they actually notice and care if you are not around. I don't know - but THIS is absolutely excruciating. Don't think I can live through this again. I won't say "never" but...

11 August 2008

So. Wow. THAT was a busy weekend...


Let's review a little bit... Here are some things I learned.


  • Never ever EVER go anywhere NEAR the Schuylkill Expressway on a Saturday Morning on a nice day. We suspect the Philadelphia Zoo to have been the culprit - but it took us forever to get to my mother's on Saturday morning and we blame both the zoo and the TomTom (since it was her idea to go that way...) If by any chance you want to go to the Philadelphia Zoo - don't go on a Saturday. Seriously. Horrible.


  • The listing price for my childhood memories is $59,900 in case anyone is interested. My grandmother's house is for sale. They had an open house and I went inside. Let me tell you - you know how in movies they show someone walking through a place and memories flash in front of them... that really happens. At least it did to me. I walked in and saw that horrible orange and brown floral wallpaper with my grandfather hanging up his coat and singing - it was very emotional and actually a little strange to realize how SMALL things are in that house. I have been in that house as an adult - so it isn't the "things always seem larger as a child" thing. Something else. My aunt and Ron both said they think it is because our house is fairly large and wide open. I guess that makes the most sense.


  • Even if someone makes an incredibly tasty bean salad with garbanzo beans and even though it is very good for you, you must limit your intake. Seriously. Do not have six servings. You will have horrific gas pains. And that is all I'm gonna say about THAT.


  • Hail storms are freaking scary to drive through. If Ron hadn't been there and I was driving home I would have turned around and stayed there until this morning. We were in the Suburban and I seriously thought that a hail stone was coming right through the windshield at any moment. Awful. I have never experienced anything like that in my life. Hated it.


  • Sooner or later it pays off to RSVP promptly. I won a prize at the shower I went to because I was the first to RSVP. I have a policy. Decide right away if you are going or not, respond immediately and mark details on your calendar and throw out the invite. Done. No room to forget. Finally - my madness pays off!


Coming up this week is a trip to the vet because my baby puppy (not - but I call him that all the time even though he is 11 years old) has had two accidents in the house this week - NEVER has accidents - and seems to be drinking a lot. I am hoping for a UTI and not diabetes. :(

I also have to get William to do all this work that teachers feel compelled to assign to children over the summer. Which leads to my rant (for another day of course) about why not just have school all year long??? If they "need" a break why not let them actually have it? If you are worried they will not retain info what makes you think three or four assignments is going to do them any good? Hate this mandatory will be collected and count as your first grade crapola they send home at the end of the year. Ick.

So - there it is... Will keep you posted.

Oooooo... Ahhhhhh...


I've won an award! How about THAT?!?! Look how bright and shiny! First one - well - EVER! Thank you to Drowsey Monkey for this esteemed honor.

And now for da rules...

1. Only 5 people are allowed to receive this award
2. 4 of them followers of your blog.
3. One has to be new to your blog and live in another part of the world.
4. You must link back to who ever gave you the award.

And the winners are...

Froggy at Frog Tastes Like...
Mindi at The Queen Mum
Saphira at The Insanity Called my Life.
Marvin at An Alien Mind
and...
My gal Shana (rhymes with Hannah) at I Promise it Won't All Be about Beer.

04 August 2008

It just irks me...



I'm sorry, but when you retire - RETIRE. Go fishing. Travel the world - do whatever you want but please don't come back! Yeah - I'm looking at YOU Mr. Martin and Mr. Favre... WTH is up with this trend? Have a "Farewell Tour" and make a big deal out of it being your last year - big headlines, lots of interviews and other attention - plenty of lovey-dovey fan mail I am sure...

And then BAM! Oh - never mind. I think I will come back after all.

Knock.it.off. It is to the point now where I don't even blink if someone in sports is going to retire. Who cares? I'll believe it when I see it. Don't get me wrong - these two men - I love them. I think they are rare in the sports world in that they are both polite gentlemen. But still - they have both lost something in the area of integrity with me at least (not that I imagine that either one of them would give a darn about what I think).

Athletes - hear me. Please. If you think you might want to retire - take some time. Make a list of everything that is making you lean in that direction. Write the you of tomorrow a letter today to remind yourself of these reasons... leave only when you are truly ready to leave. This is what I did. Give yourself a little time in your new life to enjoy the freedom and the lightness. Sure - you won't have adrenaline rushing through your veins 24/7 but guess what - you can get used to it. Learn to relax. Not easy. Of course not. But definitely worth it in the end. Have a little self-respect. When you leave. LEAVE. Don't come back.

End or rant.

for now.

:D

03 August 2008

Goodwill Goodness - redux...


Okay - over the past three days I have visited two Goodwill Stores and spent under $50. I got the following:

Talbots LS sweater
Old Navy Jacket
Liz Claiborne capris
BN Sarong with cute little lady bugs on it
Quicksilver shirt for Wlliam
Cute T-shirt for William with VW Beetles on it that says "Don't Bug Me"
A button down SS MacDonalds Racing team shirt (Bill Elliot) for William
Pair of "Police Sunglasses" for William's Halloween costume
2 BN Dry erase markers
24 BN pencils
4 BN Spiral nootbooks
11 BN pocket folders
BN Metal ruler (green)

I think that is all - it was a good week - and let me just say this - if you need or want Halloween stuff - get thee to your local Goodwill IMMEDIATELY!!! You will not regret it!

Happy Shopping!

01 August 2008

Cutting off one's nose to spite one's face...


Okay - maybe it is just me but this guy seems to forget that since he is the landlord - it is HIS house... dumbass.

A landlord was arrested and charged after he crashed his Hummer into a tenant's home because they were behind on their rent, New Castle County police said.


(SOURCE)

So now, he is not only out the back rent, but all the repairs for the damage HE intentionally incurred - his insurance company will never cover that, plus all the legal fees for reckless driving etc. Someone is just not terribly bright...

31 July 2008

What I've Learned...


Let me just share with you something I learned yesterday. Nothing terribly profound, but useful just the same... Pizza Cutters, at least really GOOD pizza cutters like one might get from say - Pampered Chef - are sharp.

Really REALLY sharp. Like a knife. Only round. So if you fail to remove the protective shield they provide in the correct way you might, oh I don't know, slice your finger, for example.

And it might hurt.

A LOT!

That is what happened to me yesterday. I was so excited to show Ron the new ergonomically correct, gimongous pizza cutter that I went to remove the plastic protector (In a way inconsisyenet with the intention of the manufacturer apparently) and in one split second there was blood. EVERYWHERE. Nice. Like a papercut. On steroids. Ouch.

26 July 2008

Finally... William has wheels!



My son, William is eight. He is super-cute and quite smart in his own quirky unique way. He also has some rather significant gross motor challenges that have, up until this point, prevented him from really riding a bike. At.all. Of any kind. A little more than a week ago a physical therapist suggested we get him a trike. That's right, a big giant tricycle. At first I was reluctant - worried about someone making fun of him - but the PT reminded me that his friends will not and the other kids will likely just find something else to pick on him about. The value of him developing leg and ankle muscles and self-esteem and just feeling the thrill of propelling himself through space will outweigh any potential teasing.

So - after many many calls to different bike shops we found one that had one in stock that he could try. He was a little reluctant to get on it initially - he has severe gravitational insecurity and worries about falling - doesn't like to be up high at all - but once we convinced him to try it, that the trike was just like the tricycle that we had to pry out from under him last year because he looked like one of those clowns that ride tricycles he took to it instantly and loves it. It is fabulous to see him so happy peddling around, quite pleased with himself.

Bravo, William! We are so proud!

25 July 2008

So - where's all the reports of the good news?

I know it isn't nearly as appealing to read something uplifting and postitive. I realize that as a society we are more than happy to soak in the bad news but I just have to say... yesterday I paid $4.05 per gallon for premium unleaded gasoline. I was so happy I wanted to hug the young man who filled the tank (i'm in NJ - we don't pump our own gas here).

Where are all the reports on the falling gas prices?? All these people willing to bitch moan and complain about rising gas prices... I paid $0.07 less per gallon this week than last week. I happen to think that is pretty darn great.

Am I the only one??

21 July 2008

Memory Lane and Silk Pies

Here, my patient friends, is the ninth installment of Rebecca's Saga. If you are new here and want to catch up, please see the side bar. Have a comment or complaint? Feel free to post it here... Someone at some Ivy League school is likely doing a thesis on the direct connection between lots of comments and feedback and the speed at which stories are completed... motivation and all that... so - feel free...

Rebecca and Becky sat on Garrett's grave for a while - sometimes talking sometimes not. Rebecca thought it interesting that Becky talked so freely to her considering she was basically a stranger. She looked at Becky when she could remain conspicuous, trying to find some trace of Garrett - but couldn't see it. She could hear him though, in the things she would sometimes say.

"My Daddy always told me not to look for trouble where there wasn't any. I never knew what he meant when he told me that, but I think I figured it out last week at band camp." Becky said and she continued with a story about a drummer who said something about a certain flute player who was a bit of a rival of hers.

Rebecca was reminded of a time when she and Garrett were walking into town together as they often did. It was a warm summer day not unlike this one and they laughed and talked easily as they always did. Why hadn't she appreciated that more? Maybe it was because when you are 15 years old you don't yet know how rare it is to find someone with whom you can be so easily "yourself". That particular day she was complaining that a certain football player hadn't returned a call she had made and she was listing the possible reasons she was being "blown off".

"He doesn't like me, or he thinks my nose is too big, or maybe my butt or may..."
"Maybe he is just busy Rebecca" Garrett countered. "Did you know football practice started this week?"
"Oh". Rebecca replied in a much smaller voice. "I am looking for trouble again, aren't I?" she knew where he was going with this.
Garrett smiled and put his arm on her shoulder "Wouldn't expect anything else from you."

He had been right of course. The football player WAS busy. And exhausted from long practices. Eventually, he did call her and they did go out - in fact they went to the homecoming dance that fall. Where he promptly dumped her for a cheerleader, as cliche as that was... Of course Garrett pulled her through that too.

"Rebecca?" Becky was shaking her shoulder to startle her back to the present.
"Yes? Oh - sorry, Becky - what is it?"
"I wanted to know where you were going when you stopped to talk to me?"

Rebecca didn't want to tell Becky that she was going to research her father's accident. She felt it might make the girl sad. She lied and told her she was just out for a ride.

"It's almost lunchtime, want to grab a bite?" Rebecca offered.
"Sure" Becky took her up on her offer. They walked together to the diner talking about the incredible chocolate silk pies they had there and taking turns pushing Rebecca's bike.

At the diner they sat at a booth. Becky looked forwardly at Rebecca and said "I can see why he loved you." "Who?" Rebecca asked. "My Dad - he told me you were beautiful and funny and smart. That was why he had named me after you. He wanted me to be that way too."

This sort of candid truth stunned Rebecca and for a moment her own curiosity erupted from her mouth: "What about your mother, Becky? wasn't she beautiful, funny and smart too?" Rebecca's eyes grew wide shocked at her own sudden brush with brusqueness. Becky's answer echoed in her ears: "I don't have a mother... well - I never knew her anyway."

I need to brag...






My friend Fred is an amazing, gifted artist. You can see his work HERE. I have always felt a little like I know a celebrity since whenever I go to the grocery store I see his artwork on packages of flatbread Fred is a retired graphic artist and incredibly talented. Now it seems, he is becoming internationally famous as well...

He is featured in the current issue of Corel Painter magazine (Issue 18). The magazine is printed in England and the USA market is always a month behind the issues sold in the UK and Europe. The magazine is available at Barnes and Noble and Borders bookstores, and perhaps at other magazine retailers, if you would like to drop in and take a peek.

He also has a featured gallery at the official Corel Painter Magazine Website. Fred- I once again stand in awe of your talent. Thank you so much for sharing!!! Your work is just amazing and you so very much deserve this honor!