Monday, December 28, 2009

Confessions Part 3

It's the end of another year, the perfect time to purge the closets of clothes, the drawers of junk, and the house of all that extra stuff that you don't really need.  It's also the perfect time for confessions, and resolutions....

So here's Round Three of my confessions

1. When I watch television shows on DVD I have to look a the title of each show, and read the summary.  It's true, even if I've seen the show before I still have to do it.  I hate the "Play All" button.

2.   My alarm clock goes off three separate times in the morning because I like to wake up slowly, I'm guessing this is one of the many positive aspects to living alone since I suspect if anyone else had to listen to three alarms each morning things wouldn't be so pleasant

3.  Despite my tendency to ramble on and on, I have actually gone an entire 24 hours without speaking, at all.  And I did it just to see if I could (cause I'm weird like that).

4.  I hate cold weather but am to cheap to turn my heat above 65 unless I have guests over and then I do it out of guilt.

5. I get horribly embarrassed by awkward people doing embarrassing things on TV and therefore can't watch most reality shows because they make me queasy and uncomfortable. And if I do watch them I do so with the remote in my hand ready to turn the channel if necessary.

6.  While I never, in a million years, would ever want to be on The Real World, I am sad that I'm to old to be on it because it makes me feel...well, old.

7.  No matter where I am, in any building, I always make sure to know the fastest way to the exit.  Although nothing has ever happened to make this information necessary I like to be prepared just in case.  (side note: B, don't pretend like you don't do the exact same thing)

8.  I like driving, a LOT, except for in the rain which sucks, or when going over a bridge.

9.  I call it "E! Entertainment Television"  Every. Single. Time.  Deal with it

10.   I've only been able to keep 1 New Year's Resolution in my entire life and it was this year so I'm quitting while I'm ahead and resolving to not make any more New Year's Resolutions

Farewell's to a better and brighter 2010!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rookie Mistake

When Christmas time rolled around during my first year as a teacher I was beyond excited.  Here we were during my favorite time of the year (excluding my birthday, obviously), and it was my first year in the classroom.   Tiny fireworks were exploding inside my head on a daily basis, and the craziness of the entire season lead to my first big rookie mistake.
Christmas Presents

Now, I've gotten some pretty awesome things over the years.  A LOT of chocolate, some adorable hand written cards, Christmas pins (which I always put on so the kids can see that i'm wearing them) but that first year, oh that first year....I got a present that trumps all other gifts.  A gift that lives in infamy.  A gift that I (and here's the big mistake) opened in front of the pajamas

with a greese stain on them

and they were itty bitty 

 and yellow

and I am not itty bitty

and yellow is not my color

You can imagine my surprise at this particular gift.  After all, I had just opened a bag of christmas cookies, a new pin (which I was wearing), a Snow Globe with a students picture in it, and several cards.  So when faced with a pair of yellow silk and lace short shorts and a tiny tank top I was left, for perhaps the first time ever, speechless.   I stammered, I stuttered, I declined holding them up for the rest of the class to see, and I fled to my friends classroom as soon as I had taken my kids to PE.   I was both relieved, and slightly horrified, to see that she had gotten a similar gift.  And, while mine had a grease stain, she only got the top half of hers so clearly I was the winner.

Plus I learned a valuable lesson, and now, when faced with any sort of gift from a student I polietly accept,  and then open them in PRIVATE!

Also, writing a thank you note to a 5th grader who has just given you sexy pajamas required all my creative writing skills to make it sound, you know, not creepy. 

Friday, December 4, 2009

If you thought I had a lot of stuff before....

Check me out now!






Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yard Sale: Before

I am feeling overwhelmed

And blessed

That so many friends

Have donated so much

For my Yard Sale

This Saturday

From 7-12 (or until people quit buying)

All Proceeds to benefit my Adoption Fund

**And this doesn't even included the Solid Cherry Dining table, or the additional carload, and a shed FULL of stuff being delivered later in the week.**

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I confess...I suck at New Year's Resolutions.  No really, it's true.  I have never, ever been able to keep a Resolution that I make on January 1st (usually they're broken by January 2nd).   This year I was determined to be different, this year I would make, and stick to,  a resolution.  Now I could have cheated and resolved to be more sarcastic but that would have been cheating (although I totally could have kept that one).  Instead I decided that my resolution would be something concrete, something that I could see and touch, something that I was actually capable of doing.

And I did!

I resolved this year to finish making the tree skirt that I had begun 2 years previously.  A tree skirt whose completion was interrupted by life and RA and a complete inability to use my hands for about a year.  So I did, and after 3 years of working I must say that  it was so worth the wait!


Now I have to think of a new resolution......I may have to revisit that be more sarcastic idea.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


In the spirit of Thanksgiving I've been thinking about all the things that I'm grateful for, and here's what I came up with...

Today I'm thankful, enormously thankful, tremendously thankful, that Facebook wasn't around when I was in college (not that it was that long ago). College was fun, very fun, at times it was probably entirely too much fun, but it was also not plastered all of the internet.  The things that I remember remain fond, if hazy, memories. The things that I've forgotten, well they are certainly better off forgotten.   Those were carefree days when not every piece of electronic equipment housed a camera and you didn't have to worry about pictures from a party showing up online before you managed to stumble home (although some of those old school albums that keep popping up are pretty funny).   And yes, I realize that I sound like my grandmother, waxing poetic about the Victrola and Model-T, but seriously not everything is meant for public consumption.    Can you imagine all the dumb stuff I would have done?  My mouth and brain were not always connected during those years so I can't imagine what I would have posted, or who I would have poked or stalked (well actually, yes I think we all know what that would have been...).  I did, and do, enough embarrassing stuff without the help of the World Wide Web. 

So for now, I will remain grateful that the most embarrassing thing I did at a computer back then was send the occasional sad and lame email, and write a lots and lots of really bad stories.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

In the Heights

Let me start off by saying that Musical Theater is my happy place (mostly because I firmly believe that my life would be a lot better if I were allowed to burst into song occasionally and have people dance around me).   This weekend I had the chance to go see In The Heights at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.   I've been excited about this show since I saw it win the Tony for Best Musical (among other things) in 2008, and couldn't wait to see the first national tour.   The show is a blend of Hip-Hop, Rap, and Latin music that makes even me want to get up and dance.   Which, considering that the last time I wanted to dance was at a college semi-formal where copious amounts of liquid made me think it would be a good idea to "shake my groove thing", is a pretty amazing feat.

The tour is led by Kyle Beltran (who just graduated from college in incredible).  Beltran plays the lead role of Usnavi (originated by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the composer/lyricist of In the Heights).  Although skeptical of anyone else in that role, I was completely convinced before the end of the opening number.  His absolute enthusiasm on the stage made him a joy to watch.   Not to be outdone, the rest of the cast delivered performances that were all their own while still remaining true to the characters that the Broadway cast has brought to life.   Isabel Santiago (Daniela) was particularly amazing to watch, so much so that it is utterly impossible for me to imagine her as anything but her character.  Aside from a spectacular voice, she has seemingly perfect comedic timing and delivered each line impeccably.   Natalie Toro (Camila) was equally amazing and made me never, ever want to tick her off!  Shaun Taylor-Corbett (Sonny) was fantastic and funny, and could garner laughs from the audience without saying a word.

I could talk about every cast member, as well as the crew, because they all put 100% of themselves into the show and made it incredible, so much so that after seeing it on Friday night I splurged and bought tickets to see it again on Saturday afternoon (totally worth it, budget be damned)! 

I am actually very glad that I saw it again on Saturday because an interesting little thing happened.  After the intermission, which seemed to last an extra long time, an announcement was made that the role of Usnavi would now be played by Shaun Taylor-Corbett.  It was particularly fascinating for a dork like me to see how he was able to go from playing Sonny in the first act, to Usnavi in the second act (although I did wonder what prompted the change).  He did a great job and I loved seeing how everything about him, from his tone of voice to the way he carried himself across the stage changed completly for this new character.  I understand that this is what actors do, but seeing it so literally on the stage was particularly awesome. 

If the tour is coming anywhere near you, you should seriously check it out.  And, if you don't want to go alone, give me a call. After all, I've already blown the budget once, might as well do it again!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ups and Downs

Sometimes being a grown-up can really suck.  Seriously, adults have to  make some crappy decisions sometimes and there are moments when I wish I could just ignore things until they go away.  Unfortunately that can't happen, so instead I occasionally indulge myself in a box of Lucky Charms to feed my inner child. 

I've spent a LOT of time lately thinking about adoption, and money, and adoption, and money, and money, and money, and money which I hate because this is so not about the money.   The thing is that I am 100% committed to adopting, but I'm also 100% committed to paying my bills.  Which for me, means that the normal 18-24 month wait for this adoption may stretch out an extra year while I work my rear off making extra money.    Until some of my bills get paid I cannot, in good faith, take on a loan to pay for this adoption.  I would rather work and save for an extra year so that when I'm home with baby I can do things like pay for daycare, and food....

So my painting/babysitting/tutoring/housesitting/etc will continue in full force.  I am still having the garage sale (my guest room is filling with stuff, you guys are awesome).   I am accepting prayers of all shapes and sizes (the more the merrier)!!  And I will keep working, and saving, and paying off debt because I still know that my daughter is out there and that she'll come home when the time is right! 

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Garage Sale!

One of the many ideas that I've gotten about raising money for the adoption is to have a garage sale.  The only problem is that I had one last year and I just don't have that much stuff to sell.  I do however have a yard to sell stuff in and, as you know, will do anything for money (well anything legal).  So here's the deal.  I know a LOT of you have lots of stuff that you'd like to get rid of/take to Goodwill/burn/whatever.  How about instead of all that, you give it to me?

I'm going to be collecting stuff to sell in a garage sale over the next several weeks.  If you are local, have stuff to get rid of, and are willing to donate it to my sale please let me know.  I'll even come pick up anything that I can fit into my car. You know what they man's trash is another woman's Bulgarian Adoption Fund!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stuck in a moment you can't get out of

No this post isn't a tribute to U2 (although I love them) it just seemed like an appropriate title for what transpired in my backyard earlier this evening. 

As I was bringing in the trash can I noticed something strange out of the  corner of my eye.  At the bottom of the gate there was something that just wasn't right.  Upon further inspection I found a turtle, a little turtle, a little cute turtle that had wedged itself between 2 parts of the fence.  It was completly vertical and absolutly stuck.  In fact, I thought it was dead at first and almost didn't bend down for a closer look (I've had dead turtles in the yard before...gross).  I felt so bad thinking about the little guy that I had to look and, to my relief, the turtle moved.  I tried to pull it out but it kept making a strange squeaking noise.  Did you know turtles can squeak?  Yeah, neither did I, I was afraid I was going to smash it (double gross).  Well it took some work, and some garden tools (covered in gloves so I didn't pierce anything) but I did manage to make a lever and make enough space between the two pieces of wood to get the little guy out!  I put him in the flower bed and he promptly burrowed himself under the mulch!   I'm taking this as a win for turtle-kind.

This story is so much better with pictures, but alas, while I was able to snap some shots of the incident I can't upload them.  My camera is experiencing an epic fail, the result of landing in the sand while on a trip to Lake Erie.  But on the bright side a new camera seems like a great gift for the mom-to-be (hint hint)!

p.s. I can't find the spell check button on this new version of blogger....what's up with that?  Also, I suck at spelling, sorry!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Questions and Answers

Well, now that the initial shock of being accepted by the adoption agency (AGCI) has worn off, it's time to get down to the business of answering lots of questions. I've had a lot of the same questions over the past few days so I figured this was the best place to answer most of them!

Why Bulgaria, why now? I have been looking at adoption programs since last year. Every time I would get interested in a program something would happen and I'd decide that it wasn't the right one for me. Then this summer I got the latest edition of the Wittenberg Magazine and found this article on the last page. It was about a documentary that a fellow alumnus made about Bulgarian adoption. As they say, one thing led to another and I found myself looking at a slide show of children who had been adopted from I watched it became very clear to me that this was the program for me! And so it began.......

So why the heck didn't you tell me this in person you jerk! I started this process at the end of July and at that point I didn't know if I would even be a eligible to adopt from Bulgaria. In fact, after submitting my pre-application I was asked to submit further information about my medical history. Until I got that phone call last week I honestly didn't know if this would ever happen. Not telling people was hard! But, telling people and then having it fall through would have been even harder!!

So when are you coming home with a baby? Bulgaria only recently reopened to international adoption and their government, and the Minister of Justice in particular, have been doing a wonderful job of improving and stream-lining the process. All that being said, the current time line from application to coming home is 18-24 months. My agency is very quick to say that this is only an estimate, there is always a chance that it could take more or less time. I have plenty of time to get ready and figure out how to pay for it all.

Speaking of money, how are you going to pay for this? The short answer to that question is that I have NO idea! Seriously folks we're talking beg, borrow, and steal (well maybe not steal). I have several grants I can apply for once my home study is done, and am going through Financial Peace University to help me manage my money better! I am going to have to get a loan for part of it, and I'm just going to work my rear off. I've already let the word out that I'm back in the painting/house sitting/babysitting/whatever business. And, I'm going to be doing a lot of praying. While the money part of this is probably the scariest and most overwhelming, I am confident that it'll all work out!

I am sure there are lots more questions out there, and I'm happy to answer all of them. Thanks to everyone for all of their good wishes already. This is a crazy journey I'm embarking on and I'll take all the love and prayers I can get!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Big HUGE Announcement!!

I've been trying to figure out a way to start this post but can't seem to get the words out so I guess I'll just come out and say it.....I've started the process to adopt a little girl from Bulgaria!


Yeah, that's right. I started looking at this program in July and had to get some information together about my RA and from my Doctor before I was even allowed to apply, then I had to wait for the agency to approve my application before I could officially start the paperwork. Well, the agency just called about 30 minutes ago! I can hardly believe it, you see the only thing I've ever known that I wanted to be when I grew up was a Mom. Sure I had dreams of being an author, Broadway star, and world traveller, but even in all of those I was still a mom. And right now just seems like the perfect time. I know there are about a million logical reasons why I shouldn't be doing this right now (mainly the state of my bank account), but overwhelming all of those reasons is the simple fact that I am absolutely certain that this is the best decision I've ever made in my entire life. Do I think it's going to be easy? No! Do I think it's going to be amazing? Without a doubt! Now I'm sure that I'll have LOTS to say about this in the coming days and weeks but right now I'm just to excited to type!

p.s. This is a long process, the estimated time from application to coming home with a child is 18-24 months.

p.p.s. Don't be mad if I didn't tell you in person. There are very few people who even knew I was thinking about doing this, let alone actually doing it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two Years

Two years ago today I was at home much like today, but my sister and mom were in China. We were all getting ready for "Gottcha Day". The day that Ella would finally meet her mommy, and we would finally see updated pictures of Ella. Two years ago today, I woke up in the middle of the night ready to check my sister's blog for pictures of Ella but managed to convince myself to go back to sleep after realizing what time it was. (Imagine my surprise when I woke up in the morning and read Noelle's blog...turns out that at the exact same time that I woke up in Georgia, she was seeing Ella for the first time. Really if it weren't for our 3 year age difference I'd say it was a freaky twin thing). Two years ago today I got a phone call from my BFF on the way to work, screaming that the pictures were finally up! Two years ago today I sat with Beth and laughed and cried when we looked at the pictures for the first time together. Two years ago today I became an Aunt, and it remains my # 1 day ever.

Ella only a few months after coming home!

Ella, 1 year into the family

Ella, 2 years at home and fully in charge of....everyone!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Confession Part 2

I am not a trendy person as my friends will be quick to tell you. I hate to shop. I often think that the "fashion" I see in the stores looks stupid and don't understand haute couture. However, there is one piece of fashion that I love, that I wish I could wear, that's makes me wish I lived in a different decade...


I love hats, and I'm not talking baseball here people. I'm talking about Hats with a Capital H. Hats that were part of ensembles. Hat's with feathers and bows. BIG hats that cover your entire head, and little hats that only cover a part of your hair. Sadly, I don't wear hats. Sadly, most people don't wear hats. Sadly, hats are not "in". But oh, how I wish they were. I wish I had a hat to go with every outfit. And hat boxes and hat pins for each one.

Perhaps if I had been born 50 years ago I could have had the hats of my dreams. Of course then it would also be 50 years ago and I would have things like the Internet or Deadliest Catch. Still, it would be nice to be able to buy and wear the hats that I long for. I suppose that until time travel becomes a reality, or hats come back into fashion, I'll have to just slap on a baseball hat and pretend it's adorned with bow and flowers and that people don't think I'm crazy for loving hats!

Aren't Pets Grand?

I written before about how my cat would kill me if she could (and love every minute of it), but I'm not sure if I mentioned that she has split personalities or not. She's sort of a Jekyll and Hyde type of cat. Only I like to think of her as Cordy and Cordelia. As Cordy she's sweet and kind, she likes to snuggle (although only twice a day). Cordy let 2 toddlers pet her last weekend and likes to clean my dog's fur. Cordy is a house cat.

Cordelia on the other hand is the one who wants to kill me. She's a wild beast. She is also the one who, at the moment, is unnecessarily angry at me for changing her kitty litter to a new brand. Cordelia is the one who pooped in her bed and, most recently, decided to pee in my dog's food dish. Yeah, that's just want I love to come home food congealed in cat pee.

If you think that's gross, your right. And it's probably worse than you are imagining.

I am determined to not let Cordelia beat me. I've cleverly put a thin layer of her old litter over the new stuff in the litter box. Let's hope Cordy emerges soon and gives it a shot because I'm so over cleaning crap up all over the house, the litter box is gross enough!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I know that people run, I know that some people (for reasons that I can't fathom) even like to run. But what I really can't understand is why people insist on running on the road, when there is a perfectly safe bike path and sidewalks along the road to run on. I mean really, there's this one guy in particular who runs, and I'm using that term loosely, down major roads. Busy, major roads, with lots of traffic. And he doesn't run so much as do a spot on imitation of Burt (of Sesame Street fame) doing the . . . pigeon.

It doesn't seem safe, or smart. And really, if you run you probably do it for your health so I'd think you'd be concerned with getting hit by a car. I'm just saying...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's the pits

(WARNING: This is kind of gross, sorry)

One of the many glamorous things about having RA is that my immune system isn't quite up to snuff. You see having RA means that my immune system thinks that the fluid surrounding my joints is evil and attacks it causing swelling, pain, and super sexy claws where my hands should be. Clearly my immune system takes the short bus to work. Now, because it's my immune system that is the problem the medications I take suppress my immune system so it can't attack my joints. I'm all about the medication because it's one of the reasons why I am now able to do things like dress myself (I'm a big kid now), but having a immune system that doesn't fire at 100% means that infections are a real concern.

Keeping this in mind I became concerned when I noticed a large, red, warm lump under my arm (I'm to dignified to say armpit). A major infection could easily land me in the ER which I have tried to avoid since my senior year at Witt when I broke a finger by falling off my porch, sober. After several days I did what most people do, I told my mommy who made me call the doctor, who made me come in to the office. So I found myself on the exam table about to get Harold (as I like to call the lump) lanced. I admit I was pretty excited about this because, well I'm weird and I wanted to see what was going to come out of Harold. I was fully numbed before the scalpel came out so I didn't actually feel anything, but I could hear the scalpel and ahhh, like nails on a chalkboard. Not even the crap coming out of Harold could make up for that noise. Also, because Harold is the gift that keeps on giving, I've been having to apply and reapply bandages to the area ever since then. Do you know how much it hurts to remove medical tape from your armpit (guess I'm not that dignified after all)? Especially when there is an incision there? And it bruised from trying to squeeze Harold to death? It hurts. Yesterday I actually used this sentence in conversation "I couldn't get on the treadmill today because my armpit hurt". For real people do you know how often your armpit moves during the day? A LOT! But still as the saying goes "better out than in" and I'm frankly ready for Harold to move on, and take his crap with him (even if it is kind of cool, in a gross way).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I am not a Writer...

I am a person who writes. If you don't understand the difference then you've never been an English Major, or a Writer, or a Person who Writes.

See here's the difference, I like to write and I write when I feel like it. I blog, or journal, or type things into files that will never see the light of day. I start stories, and more stories, and write scenes, and make plans that I never follow through on. Some months I'll write a lot, some months I won't write at all. I use entirely to many italics (and parentheses).

But a Writer, well a writer writes everyday. They write even when the words won't come, they write when they feel like it and when they don't. They put pen to paper just to put pen to paper. They are much, much more disciplined than I. They have the skill and ability to take words and thoughts and dreams and ideas and turn them into the stories that we read.

And here's my secret (shh) I've always wanted to be a Writer. To be able to take the scenes and stories that run rampant through my brain and put them on the page and make them as real as they are in my head. I want to be able to influence, and inspire, to make people laugh or cry based on my words. I want to be a writer, but I may have to settle on just being a person who writes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Seriously funny reading recommendation

As you know I read a LOT! I read books of all kinds; fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, biographies, classic literature, historical fiction, travel narratives, plays, short stories, young adult books, and chick lit. It would be impossible for me to pick out my favorite genre because I love them all. I think books are like music in that you need to have plenty around for all of your moods. There are certain books I can only read when I'm feeling serious, silly, sad, etc. Two of my very favorite books to read when I'm in the mood for a good laugh are "How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship, and Musical Theater" and "Attack of the Theater People" both my Marc Acito. If you haven't read these you absolutely must they could be the funniest things I've ever read. They are laugh-out-loud-pee-your-pants funny. I have the added bonus of having the main character remind me of someone I went to college with which makes it extra hilarious for me. These books are for anyone who has ever been in a play, watched a play, or tried out for a play. It's for all of us who know all the lyrics to all of the musicals. It's for people who never had the guts to be in a play, but still dream about how awesome it would be. It's for anyone who feels nostalgic for the 80's. It's for anyone who has ever had to worry about how to pay for (or pay back) their college tuition. Seriously, go read them, I guarantee you'll love them.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Last week I drove to Gray to visited the BFF and my drive takes me right through a college town that reminds me a lot of Wittenberg. There are kids wandering campus in their Greek gear, lounging in the grass studying and playing Frisbee. It makes me feel nostalgic, it makes me feel sad, it makes me want to break into song (as most things do). I make this drive a lot, and every time, every single time, I start to sing "I Wish I Could Go Back To College" from Avenue Q (don't judge me). But like the song says; "If I were to go back to college, think what a loser I'd be. I'd sit in the quad, and think oh my god, these kids are so much younger than me."

When exactly did that happen? When did I get old? When did I stop being able to stay up all night and still function the next day? When did a half of beer start being enough to make me tipsy? When did I become someone who worries about paying the mortgage? I could swear to you that Wittenberg seems a like a lifetime ago, and that it just happened.

But like with all things I do have some regrets about college, I know I should have studied more, I should have had more confidence in myself, I should have studied abroad, I should have had the guts to confess my crush on you know you who. Still, despite those regrets, college was fun. Really, really, really fun. And I have friends from college who I still talk to. And I recently discovered that even after 9 years you can reconnect and have fun with old college friends. I'd love to go back, but only to visit. I'm not sure I could make that daily trudge up the hill from the KD house to...well any building on campus. I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't be able to cart heavy books around the bookstore, and I know I couldn't drink as much. But it sure would be fun to wake up in the cold dorm on a snow day and spend the morning watching the Price is Right waiting for Joann to tell us that lunch was ready, and then spending the afternoon in the Commons reading and writing and "studying" and gossiping about what had happened the night before...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Domesticated Animals....are they really?

I've never understood people who have wild animals as pets. I mean seriously people, a Tiger (snake, spider, elephant, monkey, whatever) is NOT a pet. I once saw this TV show about people who have monkey's instead of babies and we're not talking about just one family, but a lot of people. I tried to stop watching, but couldn't. They have highchairs and strollers and clothes and refer to the Monkey as their child. One man even got mad when someone laughed at the monkey and said something along the line of "that's my daughter" (dude, no its not. It's a MONKEY). This one lady had to send her monkey to an animal sanctuary after it tried to kill her and she still visited it and called it her son, also her mom talked about how she missed her grandson since he was now at the monkey sanctuary. Anyway, I had a point.....

Oh yeah, wild animals are not meant to be kept as pets. I'm not even convinced that domesticated animals are truly domesticated. Sure, my dog is personally afraid of her own farts and wouldn't ever turn on me but my cat? Oh she'd eat me in a second. She started life as this tiny adorable furball.

But even when she was tiny and (seemingly) innocent, I could see the wheels turning in that evil little brain of hers. See right now she's thinking "I could totally take that".

(Clearly my point about the dog being completely domesticated is proven). Okay, besides being a crazy lady who post pictures of her cat on her blog, I did have a point....

Yes, here's the thing. Sometimes when Cordelia looks at me I know she's thinking "If I weighed 200 lbs more, I'd eat you. And I'd like it". So if my cute, adorable (sometimes evil) "domesticated" cat is secretly hatching plans to kill me in my sleep, what's to stop a tiger from doing it? The answer is nothing, but still people are surprised when their wild animals turn on them. They go on the news and cry about how they never imagined that their beloved pet (ha) could turn on them. Hello? It's a wild animal, you don't see me bringing a gorilla into my house to dress up and feed with a bottle. So here's the thing, lets keep the wild animals in the wild where they belong. Also, if you have a cat like mine, watch your back!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Confession Part 1

I stole this idea from Bridget, hope she doesn't mind!

Confession: I'm afraid to exercise

Yes, it's true, my treadmill frightens me. I bought my treadmill several years ago when the one I inherited from my parents needed to go to exercise equipment heaven. When I bought it, I loved it. I would get up early 3-4 times a week to walk before work (if you know me personally then this will have extra significance since you probably know how I feel about sleep)! I felt great, I loved how I felt after walking, I had more energy, I was actually alert on my drive to work. It was all in all, a good thing.

Then I got RA and the treadmill became my enemy. I couldn't even walk to the bathroom without being in pain so the idea of doing extra walking, on purpose, was laughable. I spent a lot of time (I'm talking more than a year) altering the way I did everything to try and keep pain to a minimum. I started walking with my hands in my pockets (less chance of hitting something on accident), I got all new (flat and boring) shoes, I started avoiding touching people (if a kid accidentally bumping into you in the hallway made you cry and vomit you'd avoid it too). All in all I did everything, everyday, to minimize or avoid pain, and I am not being dramatic when I say that it's all I thought about.

Then I started to get better (by the grace of God), but despite that I still continued living in my "avoid all possible pain" way which included ignoring the treadmill in my bedroom. But now I'm 20 months into this battle, 18 months post-diagnosis, and 6 months into feeling pretty much normal (well as normal as I ever was). It's time for things to change, to get over the fear that any physical activity will lead directly to intense pain, to take my doctors advice and get moving. While I'm still likely to walk with my hands in my pockets (I'm a klutz), and avoid handshakes (can I wear a sign that says "this isn't a pissing contest just a handshake, go easy"), it's time to conquer the treadmill.

p.s. sorry for the gratuitous use of parentheses (but I really like them).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Movie Mania

Have you ever come across a movie on TV and sat down to watch the entire thing even though you already own it? You sit through commercials, bad dubbing over inappropriate words, and editing to fit the time frame allowed. And (this is the best part) there are some movies that you do this with every, single time there on TV.

Come on, admit it. You know you've done it too.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Spare Room = Bare Room

I bought my house over 2 and a half years ago, and in that time my Spare bedroom became a catch all room for well, everything. It had craft stuff, my nieces toys, a pile of stuff for good will, lots of puzzles and games, but no actual bed. It was blah, and boring, and I had no idea what to do with it. I've had some paint samples hanging on the walls in there for about the last 5 months but couldn't ever get the motivation to actually do anything with it. Well once summer started I began my annual "holy-crap-it's-summer-so-I-must-compulsively-clean-every-inch-of-my-house-from-floor-to-ceiling". Once I had cleared every bit of junk from the spare room so I could shampoo the carpets I decided that since the room was empty I might as well take advantage of it and paint. The problem was that I still had no idea what to do with it so I turned to to help me. After a few afternoons of playing with colors I settled on Hallowed Hush and Solitude (which ironically had been hanging on my walls for months although I didn't discover that until after I'd bought the paint). Now the room has lots of color, although it is lacking things like furniture. That's okay because my next project is going to be refinishing a few pieces I already have for the room! I just love summer, there's so much time for projects!!!

Blah and boring!

Still blah, still boring

Hallowed Hush on top, those ceilings are high!
Top color done, now comes the tape...

And tape, and tape, and tape.....

1st coat of Solitude hits the walls!!

So fun!

Removing the tape was my favorite part

Now for furniture, and a bed.......

Friday, June 5, 2009

Toilet Trials

To start off my summer vacation I decided to tackle the toilet in my guest bathroom. This toilet has been a pain in the rear since I moved into the house several years ago. My poor dad has been over many times to replace flappers, and fiddle around inside the tank trying to stop it from running constantly. After the last flapper install Dad declared that the whole system would have to be replaced. Well that was about 6 months ago and we've both been to busy to do anything about it. I was talking (i.e. complaining) about this to my BFF Bridget and she told me that she had replaced the innards of the toilet at her old house.
Well if SHE could do it, then darn it so could I. I promptly headed to Home Depot and bought a complete toilet repair kit that promised to be "easy to install". The box even declared "easy to install", the guy at Home Depot who I asked about it said "easy to install". HA, it was definitely NOT easy to install. Factor in my RA which means my hands have very little strength, and screws that are so corroded that they literally disintegrate when you touch them, this Easy to Install system ended up taking me 1 week, 1 visit from my mom, 1 call to our pastor, 1 visit from said pastor, and 1 new tool courtesy of said pastor. (Dad is currently in Israel, hence my calling our other pastor for help). But, after Mom and Pastor Alex helped me unscrew the tank from the bowl I was able to do the rest of the install myself, and I'm pretty darn pleased!!

Finally the tank comes off! All it took was 2
extra days, and 2 extra helpers.

As though the toilet wasn't enough of a project I
decided that this was the perfect time to remove
the wall paper from that area to make painting easier.

A tub full of old (gross) parts.

A floor covered with tools and wall paper debris

Now just look at that! A beautiful new system.
Sweet Success

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The End

School's out for summer! Teachers across Georgia are rejoicing, and parents are moaning. I have 10 beautiful weeks of freedom from kids (and their parents), and grades, and lesson plans, and IEPs, and correcting IEPs, and correcting IEPs again, and just fixing the IEPs myself because I'm tired of editing and having my teachers not actually fix anything....

Summer is awesome.

Don't be a hater, we teachers know you mock us only because you're jealous. Trust me when I say that 180 days of kids more than earns me my summer vacation. If you don't believe me then I invite you to come visit my classroom next year. I'll be there all year, dealing with kids, and their parents, and IEPs, and correcting IEPs, and correcting IEPs again, and just fixing the IEPs myself because I'm tired of editing and having my teachers not actually fix anything. I'll have girls crying because their best friend "like totally gave me a dirty look on the bus and my life is so over". I'll have boys masturbating in class (yep, every year...not cool). I'll have girls getting their period for the first time ever and freaking out about it. I'll have parents who don't give a rats ass about their kid and who I never actually meet although their phone number is on my speed dial. I'll have kids fail, and I have kids succeed. I'll have endless meetings and mountains of paperwork. I'll have papers to grade, and standardized tests to give and lots and LOTS of Diet Coke. Its a loud, crazy, hormonal, annoying, fun, nutty world and I bet you wouldn't last a day.

Did I mention that Summer is awesome?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's a Safety Thing

This afternoon I was part of a scene that is played out across schools all over the world. A kid misses the bus and doesn't know his address or phone number or who to call in case of emergency. Here's the catch....I teach middle school, this was a 6th grader.

I have know this kid for years, taught him as a 4th grader, and again this year. Over the years he has made very little progress in school. I recently had to explain to someone who works with him on a daily basis that, no sorry he's not going to "grow up", this is about where his maturity level stops. He can be very sweet and fun in the classroom, but can also be a huge pain in the rear. He is not the easiest child to work with, but also not the worst. But here's the thing, he doesn't even know his address or phone number, and I KNOW he's capable of learning, and memorizing them. I have kids in the MOID class that know their addresses for heavens sake. And what really kills me is that his parents know his ability level, they know that he needs lots and lots and lots of help with everything. And yet they don't bother to update their contact information when their address/phone numbers change. I've been telling him all year that he absolutely needs to learn his address. As a matter of personal safety he needs to know where he lives. I stood in the office getting more and more annoyed that I couldn't find someone to get this kid and I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't his fault. Because it really isn't his fault that he doesn't know these things, but it is his parents fault. If you have a child with a disability you need to be more involved, not less. And it kills me that they aren't. That he had to watch me call number after number after number trying to find someone who gave crap about the fact that he wasn't home yet. It kills me that I had to call the school social worker to come and get him, and that I had to make him describe his house to me before I let him go because I wanted to be sure that he would recognize it when he saw it. And it kills me that I was getting more and more annoyed with him while it was happening, Yes, it was well past time for me to leave work. Yes it was the 2nd to last day of school. Yes I am tired, but that is no excuse. I don't want to be that teacher, or that person. Mostly I think I was mad that I seemed more concerned about this kid than his parents and that is the most messed up part of this whole thing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I am an independent person, a very independent person. In fact stubborn would be a nice way of putting it! The point is that I have a hard time asking for, or accepting help from people. Despite my earlier rant about having to complete "man chores" I would actually prefer to do it myself than to have to ask for help. And as for actually needing help, well I'm sure not going to admit that! Even at the start of my RA, when I could hardly get dressed by myself, I hated having to ask for help, and rarely did. I was in horrible, horrible, horrible pain, and I still would rather do things myself than ask for help.

For the record, I'm kind of an idiot.

RA taught me many things, including the fact that sometimes you just have to ask for help. I still don't do it well, but I do ask when necessary (even if I have to give myself a pep talk first). So this week has been a lesson in asking for help, and I'm pretty darn proud of myself! My rheumatologist agreed to let me try and lower the dose of one of my meds, as a result I've been feeling a bit off. When I went to the grocery store and bought lots of heavy items, the idea of loading them into my car was a bit much so when the bag boy offered to take them to the car for me I accepted, for the first time ever! Today at Lowes when I had to buy mulch I decided not to repeat last years performance (it ended with tears and no mulch), instead I went right in and asked someone for help.

Either I'm growing as a person, or I'm becoming more Southern....either way, it's a good thing!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Half a loaf

I'm single and I'm totally cool with that, but there are a few times when I find it would just be more convenient to be in a relationship.

Example 1:
I'm at the grocery store and I need to buy bread for sandwiches. Now, when I'm in the mood for sandwiches I usually eat them for 2-3 days in a row and then I'm cashed out for a good month. But there is way more than 2-3 sandwiches worth of bread in a loaf. Why can't you buy a half loaf of bread? Really, I know I could freeze it but it just doesn't taste the same when you thaw it (despite what Bridget may say).

Example 2:
While I begrudgingly mow my lawn and take out the trash I can't help but think that this is a man job. Yeah, I know that basically makes me a bad woman but whatever. Before you sic the scary feminists after me let me just say that I'm all for women's rights. And as a woman it's my right to not have to do certain things. Just stick me on a time-machine and send me back to 1950. Hasn't anyone come up with a business plan for situations like this? There should be a number I can call to get someone to come do the "Man chores" around the house (lawn, trash, anything to do with the car).

Huh, on second thought maybe I don't need a relationship. I just need more money so I can get a lawn service and a maid....

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Phone Obsessed

Does anyone remember the old SNL sketch where three guys were in some super "modern" store and they were making fun of technology? They are comparing/talking about cellphones and one guy pulls out his cell phone (maybe Will Ferrell), and it's smaller than his thumbnail and he can barely hold onto it because it's so small?


Okay, maybe it's just me but I thought of that sketch yesterday when I got Internet connected to my phone. Now I'll admit to being a bit phone obsessed (I know I'm not the only one), but I always swore that I wouldn't get Internet on my phone. Who needs it? I have a computer, plus fancy new high-speed Internet, clearly I have no need for the Internet on my phone. I was very adamant about this, self-righteous even....oh how the mighty do fall.

Of course I remember making the same oaths against texting, and phones with keyboards, and facebook, and blogging, but clearly those didn't work out :) So yesterday I get the Internet hooked up to my phone and I found myself sitting on the couch, looking up facebook on my phone. On my tiny 1x2 in square phone screen. The best part? My computer was sitting next to me, open, connected to the Internet, and logged on to facebook.

I at least had the presence of mind to laugh at myself! And to consider the fact that if someone wanted to become a hermit in this day and age it would be way more fun with all the technology we have now. Yeah, don't ask my mind works in mysterious ways...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Don't be Dumb

Here's the thing, I really think that things would go much better in life if people would follow this one simple rule....Don't Be Dumb. I heard an advertisement for a news segment tonight about how to avoid "cyber thieves". Apparently these "cyber thieves" find out about you on facebook, and then call your friends/family/strangers begging for money. People are falling for it. Well you know what people? Don't Be Dumb! It's like those Internet or mail scams that get people to send checks to some 3rd world country, but then promise to triple your money in a week. Really? How about this....Don't Be Dumb!

If someone calls me begging for money chances are they're not getting it. And if they're claiming to be a friend/family I'm so totally going to test them to see if it's really them, and then I'm still not going to send them cash (sorry folks). Plus, I'm pretty sure that if someone were to call claiming to be B, then I'd realize it wasn't her by the sound of her voice. If not I'll ask the ultimate question that only B would be able to answer "tell me about the greatest nap ever". Ditto for my sister, "what's the name of that girl who got your hermit crab" or any family member, "what kind of plastic surgery did I have"?

But before I did all that, before I gave the third degree to someone on the phone, before I let some stranger go on and on and on about how they need money, before all that I'm going to remember this.

Don't...Be...Dumb (and then I'll probably hang up and laugh because I'm smarmy like that).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Yummy (and gross)

I know that I'm officially a "grown-up" and that my taste if food should be more sophisticated than, say, my two year old niece but I'm afraid it isn't. You see I have a dirty little secret and it's name is Kraft. Mac and Cheese to be more specific, but it's the Kraft part that's important. Imitation powdered cheese just isn't the name, neither is that Velveeta crap (I'm sorry but I'm not buying a cheese that isn't found in the cheese section). The only problem is that I hate, I really hate, the sound it makes.

I know what you're thinking.... Mac and Cheese doesn't make a sound.

But it does, and it's horrible. It sounds just like the word moist. And I really hate the word moist (even more than the sound of mac and cheese). It's just gross, and dirty, and, well moist. It's almost enough to prevent me from making it, almost. Perhaps earplugs would help.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ode to Sam's Club

I have discovered the joy's of discount warehouse shopping. In a never ending quest to be more money conscious I joined Sam's Club. What a wonderfully, magical place. They have everything, only MORE of everything. Do you need 84 rolls of toilet paper? They've got it. Were you in the market for 3 dozen pairs of white athletic socks? They've got it. I do admit that I don't always understand their bulk offerings...mayonnaise by the gallon? Really? Unless you're a Duggar, or a member of the fictitious Eriksen family and need to make a traditional holiday 7 layer mayonnaise salad, I can't see the need. Plus it makes me want to throw up a little.

On the other hand I'm not sure that I really needed those 36 individual cups of applesauce, but that didn't stop me from buying them! I will take credit for showing incredible self-control while wandering past the school supply aisle (3 times). Oh, the school supply aisle! I could devote an entire blog to my love of school supplies. While buying 2 pounds of beef jerky is something that I hope to never do; the sight of 24 multi-colored fine-tipped roller ball pens left me weak in the knees. To say nothing of the sharpie markers, and post-its, and paper, and more pens. I can't believe I made it out of there without a single item from that aisle. I only made it out by thinking about the start of next school year, when I can buy school supplies to my hearts content...............

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Beach

I'm not necessarily a "beach person" Don't get me wrong I like the beach, but often visiting the beach is a whirlwind of packing beach bags, unpacking beach bags, applying and reapplying sunscreen, searching fora spot on the beach amongst 10,000 tourists doing the same thing, and digging sand out of places that sand should never be. When I was little my family visited Myrtle Beach every summer to see my grandparents, and to enjoy weather that Michigan rarely afforded. It was fun. It was really fun...for me. I imagine it wasn't so much fun for my parents. Now that I'm a "grown-up" I like my vacations, in general, to be a bit more relaxing. Let's be honest and admit that I'd be perfectly happy sitting in a comfortable chair with a glass of wine and a good book. It wouldn't matter to me if I was in the tropics or Toledo (well, okay maybe the tropics would be better). The point is that I don't need to visit a beach that is high-maintenance. I need one that is more laid back and relaxed.

This weekend my sister, niece, and I made a trip to Hilton Head to visit friends who were there for Spring Break. I've been to Hilton Head many times and each time I realized more and more that this is my kind of beach. It's nice and relaxed (at least in April), the beach isn't to crowded (at least in April), and the food is great (even if you don't like seafood). We had a fantastic time, and it ended way to soon. Ella actually cried when we left, and I couldn't blame her!!

Ella's not a fan of the sand...but loves the ocean

Ella loves the towel that GiGi got her at Disney World

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Testing Blues

This past week at school we've been taking the CRCT or as I like to think of it the Completely-Ridiculous-Crap-Test. The CRCT is what the government of Georgia has decided kids in grades 1-8 have to take to prove that they are ready for the next grade. Of course we have to give it before the year is over so, of course, we have to cram 10 months worth of material into 8 1/2 months. I HATE this test!!!! It doesn't make sense that we judge an entire years worth of learning on one stupid day. What if you're having a bad day? What if your dog died? What if you couldn't sleep because you were in charge of your siblings and one of them was cranky? What if your best friend looked at you funny on the bus on the was home yesterday? What if the idea that one test is going to determine if you can go to the next grade freaks you out so much that you forget everything?

The really great part about this test, and others like it, is that if the students do really well on it...they make it harder! And all of those sped kids who we have to individualize education for? Well tough shit kid. You have to take, and pass, the same test. It doesn't matter that you can't add, or that you read on a 1st grade level, or that we give you an individualized education plan so that you can be successful at school, at the end of the day you still have to pass the same test as everyone else. So lets forget about the fact that over the course of the year Johnny has increased his reading level from 2nd to 5th grade. Let's forget that Sally now knows how to borrow in subtraction. I'd love to be able to say "nice job" and "way to go", but instead I have to say...."hells bells kids you suck."


How about the people are in charge of these things come and visit my classroom for a day. I'm willing to bet it would open their eyes to a whole different world :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Technology is FUN

Those who know me know that I've been without cable for about a year and a half. I made the cut in an effort to save money, although my credit card would beg to differ! I also have dial-up Internet, again for money reasons. I couldn't quite make the cut to no Internet like my sister did, I'm a bit to addicted for that. The point is that I've thought for the past 18 months that I've been saving money........

Turns out I was wrong. I discovered that by getting a package deal, and cancelling AOL I'm actually saving money while getting to enjoy high-speed Internet for the first time in my house. Plus I can get cable back!! Please don't think me to pathetic that this fills me with joy. I've had the Discovery Channel on all day and I'm not tired of it yet! Who knew that I could enjoy faster Internet, the Discovery Channel, and pay LESS each month? Clearly I didn't know that or I would have done this a long time ago.

Welcome back Cable, welcome back.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Where Am I?

You know how Video Killed the Radio Star? Well it seems that GPS has killed my inner compass. This past weekend I drove to Orlando and, since my niece was in the car, my dad had us take his GPS. Now, I had kind of a hard time letting go of my mapquest directions which were printed out and sitting in my glove compartment, but I decided to try out Tina Turner. (On a side note, the GPS is named Tina Turner, you know because she tells you where to turn...) Anyway, Tina was pretty fun to have in the car. I especially liked being able to watch the map on screen and see how long it would take us to get there. Although I promise that I still watched the road and was a very responsible driver! Tina and I did have our differences, like whenever we entered a construction zone, but overall it really liked having someone telling me when and where to turn.
However, when we got to Sea World I discovered the trouble with Tina Turner. Despite my notoriously bad memory, and my inability to remember much of anything before 1989, I have a fairly great sense of direction. If I visit a place (think theme park, mall, zoo) I can usually look at the map briefly and then be able to navigate my way around. This is possibly the only area where my memory is excellent (although I can remember a ridiculous number of lyrics from musicals). I entered Sea World confident in my ability to navigate the park. I had visited it before, and knew generally where everything was. But it seemed like no matter where I tried to go I got lost. Looking for the Whale and Dolphin Theater? I ended up at the Artic. Looking for Dolphin Cove..oops those are the Clydesdale's. Need a bathroom, well there's a gift shop.
I figured it was a fluke, but the next day when we went back to Sea World the same thing happened. My internal compass was perpetually set to "Middle of damn nowhere" and I usually got there by pushing directly against the crowds of people who knew what they were doing. I spend 1 day relaying on the GPS to get me somewhere and suddenly I can't even find the exit (and there were signs)! I'm going to the zoo on Thursday and I really hope my internal compass has turned back on.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pollen War

Growing up in Michigan I knew what pollen was. We learned about it in Science class through the use of some really awesome film-strips. Pollen was the stuff that bees pick up as they fly from flower to flower. Pollen was the stuff that game some people the sniffles. Pollen was, above all else, invisible.

Then I moved to Georgia. Pollen, in Georgia, isn't hidden in pretty flowers. Pollen in Georgia descends upon the state in waves. It attacks like an invading army, leaving a trail of Kleenex and watery eyes in its wake. It falls from the trees in a thick shower of yellow powder that covers every available surface (inside and out) of the entire state. No one, and no place, is safe from pollen. And when it rains.... Oh you'd imagine that the rain would be great as it knocks the pollen out of the air, but you'd be wrong. When it rains the pollen puddles, and collects, and creates an oil slick on the road. It's gross. It gives everyone allergies. It means I can't use my porch until it ends. It means I have to add one more pill to my medicine cabinet. It sucks.

Right now I'm in a war against pollen...and the pollen is winning.

This awesome picture is of the pollen that I washed off my back porch

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Dead Poet Moment

I take my dog for a walk (almost) everyday, baring an RA flare or rain. Since I'm a creature of habit, as is the dog, we always turn right out of the driveway and make a circle through the woods. Well today I saw a strange dog at the end of the cud-de-sac so I decided to turn left instead. We walked through the same woods that we go though everyday but I honestly had a moment of complete confusion as to where to go once I got into the woods. It was like I was in a whole new place despite having walked that same path everyday for two years. It made me wonder if maybe we need to look at things from a new angle more often...

p.s. Bonus points if you understand the Dead Poet reference!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Teacher Tales

Every teacher has a special cache of stories that they pull out at parties (you know you do). Kids say and do some crazy things and honestly some of them are to good not to share. I was reminded of a classic story yesterday at at meeting when someone mentioned this student's name. Of course I'm not going to reveal any names, or even gender, but honestly how could this not make you love kids......

In my very first year of teaching I had a student who was a particular project of mine. I really wanted X to feel confident in their ability, and to learn to love school as much as I did (remember this was my first year, I was a bit delusional). X has a severe learning disability and was functioning far below the rest of the class, but still we slogged through it. Then one fateful day our entire team took a field trip to the local history museum. The docent who was working my group that day was a tiny old women who looked like she didn't know quite what to think about my students but she bravely carried on taking us through the history of the state. Periodically she would stop and ask the students questions and every time this ran through my head "please don't call on X please don't call on X". Before you think I'm a horrible person you must understand that this student would often answer volunteer to answer questions in class, and was called on frequently, but X's answers very, very rarely related to the question I had asked. "Why no dear, purple is indeed not a factor of 42, but good try."

Anyway back to the museum and the section on farming.

Docent: "Can anyone name one of the state's Cash Crops?"
Johnny: "Tobacco"
Docent: "Excellent, anyone else?"
Alice: "Cotton"
Docent 3: "Yes, about you dear, in the back row, did you have an answer?"
Me (in my head): "Oh dear lord"
Student X: Celery

Yep, celery. I will give X points for understanding that a Crop has to do with something you plant. And bonus points to the docent who, after a moment of stunned silence, recovered well.

It was a great day at the museum, and I'm still laughing about it years later.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Real Story

I get asked about my RA a lot so I thought to write about it and answer lots of questions at once!

I went to a Halloween party on a Saturday night in '07 dressed as a girl scout (it was awesome). The costume itself isn't significant, but the party is because I was driving that night so I stuck with one glass of wine and lots of water. The point being that I wasn't drunk and, despite my perpetual clumsiness, I didn't fall down. Still the next day my right ankle hurt and I was limping. By Monday my limp had turned into a full-fledged pain and I had a disturbingly large lump on the back of my ankle. My sister insisted that I call the doctor to see what was up, which I did a bit begrudgingly since I don't generally like visiting the doctor. My doctor agreed to see me the next day and when she saw my ankle she was stumped. There had been no apparent trauma to my leg or explanation for the giant lump. After some head scratching and a few looks in the medical textbooks she decided that my best bet was a visit to an orthopedic surgeon. An appointment was made for a week later and I headed home with a still swollen ankle, a more pronounced limp, and a little bit of anxiety over just what the heck was wrong.

I woke up on Wednesday to discover that not only was my ankle still sore, but now other parts of my body were following suit. By Friday my hands, wrists, back, feet, knees, and even jaw were also inflamed. Things didn't improve when I got a call from my mom telling me that her bosses wanted me to come in for some blood tests. My mom is a nurse at an Oncology practice, and although she told me not to worry...I did. Blood tests were run and it was decided that what I really needed was a Rheumatologist. A call was placed and I was given an appointment to see an amazing rheumatologist. The catch was that the appointment wasn't until January 18, 2009.

Now for those of you keeping track my symptoms started the day after a Halloween party. Within a week of that, nearly every joint in my body was inflamed and painful. My doctor's appointment wasn't until January 18! That left me with 2 and a half months to try and deal with my symptoms on my own. True, my regular doctor gave me a prescription anti-inflammatory as well as a dose of steroids, but overall there wasn't much to be done. Those months were not my best, and I'm sure I wasn't fun to be around. I slept very little because of the pain, and ate even less because my jaw was to sore to chew. When the day finally came for me to meet the rheumatologist I was happier than I had been in months! After a LOT of blood work, and another week of waiting for results it was confirmed that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis.

48 days later I turned 30....awesome

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Yes I AM a "real" teacher, thanks for asking...

Here's a particular pet peeve of mine, people who think that because I'm a Special Ed teacher I'm not really a teacher. Do you know how condescending that is? Ask any special ed teacher you know and I guarantee that they've heard the same thing. I wonder who exactly people consider "real" teachers? Having taught both regular, and special ed I've seen both sides of the story. When I was a regular ed teacher I had lessons to plan, discipline to keep, parents to conference with, data to gather, standards to meet, and students to teach. As a special education teacher I have to do all of those things plus write IEPs, modify lessons and materials, hold IEP meetings, help regular ed teachers make accommodations and modifications, oh yeah and try and TEACH a kid with a disability. Sure I may have less kids in my class, but that certainly doesn't equal less work!

Here's the big kids have a disability (have I mentioned that already?). I have students who are reading on a 2nd grade reading level. I have students who can't add (even with a calculator). I am expected to teach these kids how to cope with their disabilities, how to read, to write, to do math, how to function in the classroom. Oh yeah, and I'm supposed to teach them the same exact standards that everyone else teaches. Plus (and here's the real kicker), at the end of the year my kids have to pass the same standardized test as every other kid.

So, people of the world, I'm not sure what you consider a "real" teacher...but let me assure you that anyone with the word teacher as a job title is, indeed, a REAL teacher.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Good Old Days

I teach 6th grade most of my students fall into the correct age range, although I do have several 13 year olds. Regardless, they are middle school aged and I really wish they would act like it. It really bothers me when I hear my kids talking about a movie, and I realize it's some Rated R horror movie that they have no business seeing, or an inappropriate TV show that's on late. Now, when I was growing up my parents closely monitored my TV watching. My sister and I weren't even allowed to watch TV shows where the kids were disrespectful to their parents. I couldn't understand why I wasn't allowed to watch Growing Pains, but seeing it now I totally understand. Instead, I watched a lot of Cosby Show, Punky Brewster, and Little House on the Prairie. Those were great shows with good values. They were funny and entertaining and just plain good. What happened to shows like that? Does everything on TV have to have an 'edge'? Aren't there any good wholesome shows on TV?

Now don't get me wrong, I like TV (probably to much). And I like a good action show as much as the next girl, but sometimes I just want to watch a show that's....well, nice. A show that I wouldn't be embarrassed to watch with my niece, or someones grandma. Until then, I'll just stick with my DVDs and reruns of M*A*S*H (which would be wholesome if you took out the violence, sex, and drinking)!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good Friends, Great Soup!

This past Friday my sister, niece, and I made our monthly pilgrimage to Gray, Georgia to visit our best friend. Getting to spend time with the Ivey League is always fun, and we only wish they lived closer so we could visit more often. This weekend we decided to cut the drive short by a bit and meet in Milledgeville for dinner at Buffington's. I'm honestly not sure what I was more excited about this weekend, seeing B and the family, or getting to eat the soup at Buffington's. I've been thinking about eating here ever since the first time we visited several months ago. On that trip I got a cup of soup to start off the meal, but only got to eat about a spoonful before my niece took over! If you've ever met Ella then you are well aware of her love of soup, trust me when I say that it's better to get out of the way if you find yourself between her and a bowl of soup. Well this time, I was smart and got a bowl of my own. It was well worth the wait! Imagine if you will the greatest potato soup you've ever had. Then imagine it's even better....that's what this soup tastes like! If you're ever in Milledgeville and are looking for the worlds greatest soup...then you must go to Buffington's! (This is so not a paid advertisement, but a public service announcement since i think I would be doing the world a disservice not to tell them about this soup!)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Comment Issue

I've heard from several sources that there have been some issues with commenting. I think that i've fixed the problem, so feel free to leave comments (hopefully they'll go through).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Adventures in Dog Walking

I am the proud owner of a miniature schnauzer named Inga VonUnderthebed. I got her from a rescue place when she was 6 and she's been the best dog ever for almost three years. Now, I don't claim that she's the most well behaved dog (she'd never been on a leash before I got her), or the smartest (she's afraid of her own farts), but she does love to cuddle. As an added bonus it turns out she is absolutely fantastic with my niece Ella. I'll admit that I had my doubts about her before Ella arrived, but Inga loves, loves, loves Ella and basically lets her do whatever she wants.

When Inga first came home she clearly hadn't been socialized with other dogs. Cats she loves, but dogs she could do without. She barks at every dog we see except, oddly enough, one large stray dog that likes to follow us on our walks. She also hates car rides, well to get technical she hates going away in a car, the trip home she's always totally cool for. She gets daily walks around the neighborhood but i don't really take her out and about with me. We have made one trip to the library park and she did great so today we decided to take her down to the Augusta Canal. The canal is a great place to walk, and they have a playground that Ella loves. As an added bonus the city of August has drained part of the canal to do some work on it and I basically wanted to see the big muddy hole in the ground. So, with my pockets full of bags to pick up poo off we headed for an afternoon to enjoy nature.

I was a little nervous when we started because I wasn't sure how Inga would react, but when we started off she was great. We passed lots of people on our way to the walking path and Inga was to busy smelling all of the great smells to even notice them. We crossed the bridge to the actual walkway and that's where the trouble began! There was a 20ish young girl with her dog on the path. Well when that dog saw Inga she literally dragged the girl over to Inga, and she was NOT friendly. I suddenly found myself in the middle of a dog fight (although it was pretty one-sided since Inga was just trying to get away). Luckily Inga wears a harness and I literally picked her up by the leash (while spinning in circles) trying to get this dog off of her! I was freaked out! I managed to get Inga up into my arms before the dog could bite her, the dogs owner was apologizing a mile an minute, and Inga was fine. Of course poor Ella was crying "black dog hurt Inga" but she also recovered. Unfortunately the same can't be said for my left hand which is currently swelling up.

Once I stopped shaking, and Ella stopped crying we continued our walk and saw many, many other dogs and dog owners who were all perfectly well-behaved. But seriously folks, if you're going to take your dog out in public you need to be able to control it!!!! I'm thankful that no one was hurt, but it could have gone a lot worse. Needless to say we're going back to the library park next's a LOT less crowded.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Last night I finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I realize I'm a bit behind the times on this one since it came out in 2007, but in my defense I have had it sitting on my bookshelf since then. The thing is that when I read books I have to be in the right mood for the right book. I think that's why I buy so many books, because I never know what I'll be in the mood for. Anyway I guess I was in the mood for a more serious read after finishing a couple of fun travel books so I picked this one up on Monday. Last night I was finished.

This book was absolutely incredible. The Afghanistan that Hosseini writes about is one that I never even knew existed. Up until pretty recently the only Afghanistan I knew was the one on CNN. That Afghanistan is one filled with Taliban, and women covered in burqas. That Afghanistan is a strange and backward country, one that had no connection with my own. In this book Hosseini writes of a different Afghanistan. One with a proud and complex history. A country that has been torn apart by war and drought, but is also filled with poets and writers and people. A people that I'm ashamed to admit I never gave much thought to before. While this book is fiction, it still portrays a very real Afghanistan. This book was by no means easy to read. The content is rough, gritty and honest. The story pulls you in and spins you around for 372 pages before throwing out back out into reality. It is a book about love, faith, hope, and sacrifice. It is a story about powerful relationships, and about the power of relationships. Above all it is an incredible book that I would highly recommend to everyone!

This book has clearly cemented Khaled Hosseini as one of my favorite authors and has assured that I will buy and read anything that he writes in the future.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

All things Vera

I am not a girly-girl and never have been. Despite the fact that my bedroom is currently pink, I've never been that into girl stuff. I don't own a million pairs of shoes, my make-up collection is very basic, and I generally hate to shop. I'm pretty sure the mall was invented by an evil genius, as was the concept of "window shopping". However, there are two things in life that I'm willing to shop for anytime, anyplace. Those things would be Vera Bradley purses, and Office Supplies. The Vera is to feed my inner girl, and the Office Supplies are to feed my inner OCD (well okay the OCD isn't really internal). Now imagine how excited I was when Vera started a line of office supplies. I imagine it's probably what Mr. Reeses felt like when he first put peanut butter together with chocolate!
I usually have to rely on my friend Kim and her excellent gift giving skills for my Vera Office Supplies since I'm to frugal...ummm cheap to buy them for myself. But today I learned the most wonderful thing. You can find some Vera at TJ Maxx! And it's on sale! I guess you really do "get the max for the minimum, minimum price". I'm telling you it was like discovering delicious fat-free cupcakes that taste like delicious fat-full cupcakes. I was able to fulfill all of my Vera Office Supply needs for 1/2 price. There was one office supply item that I couldn't find at the Max. The all new Vera Bradley Clipboard. I had to go to 3 different stores and pay full price for this beauty, but it was so worth it.
I'm telling you it was like Christmas and my Birthday all wrapped up into one glorious day!