Saturday, January 31, 2009

the one that got away

so today . . . i was a slug. really. i spent most of the day on the couch with my cute little laptop surfing the web. it was a lovely day. i spent a lot of time looking for a computer bag that was small enough to protect my new baby, but with very little success.

you would think that the people who make these teeny tiny machines would know that we will need teeny tiny padded bags to carry them in. at least we will if we are women. and, a computer bag is an accessory, so black neoprene is just not going to cut it! i have to say that after spending a good portion of the day clicking around online, there is very little out there that i can get excited about.

apparently there ARE small, cool looking bags out there, but they do not come cheaply. look closely at this ad i saw in vogue magazine (and no, i don't subscribe to vogue. but sometimes in a waiting room there aren't a lot of choices!)
in case the print is too small for you to read, let me translate. the tiny computer on this page sells for $400. each of the two carrying bags shown with it cost $830!! EACH!!! and they are just protective sleeves--there aren't any pockets for accessories or even carrying handles. who would spend more than twice as much as they spent on their computer for a protective bag?!? i mean, if your computer gets scratched up, just buy another one and you will still come out ahead!

i sound a little bitter, i know. here is why . . .

before my computer arrived at my house, i was at the mall. i was just browsing around, and i found a computer bag in victoria's secret. it was kind of a plummy burgundy color--the same color as the trim on my handbag--and all the zippers had golden pull tabs. it was pink and white striped inside. it was generously padded and had both a shoulder strap and short handles. it even had an outside zipper pocket for accessories. AND it was on sale for 50% off. i really liked it, but did i buy it? NO . . . because i hadn't looked around at bags much, and what if i found one i liked better? would it even fit my computer (which i hadn't actually seen in person yet.) and even at 50% off the price seemed a little high to me, (although now having looked around i realize that it was very reasonably priced.) i mean, it was victoria's secret--it isn't like they specialize in computer bags!! instead i came home and started checking around on the internet to see what other options i had. and as i said before, i found that there was not much out there that wasn't black. so i decided the bag at the mall was just perfect and went back to get it.

and it was gone. of course.

so now i am back to trying to find something online. and it is even harder now, because i keep seeing that perfect bag, and nothing else measures up--not even the $830 goyard bags . . .
which, by the way, are NOT reasonably priced!

Friday, January 30, 2009

oh where, oh where has my phonics book gone?

so today . . . i lost a book. well, as it turns out, i didn't lose the book, but i certainly couldn't find it.

this year because my class is so small (only three students) i am sharing a classroom with another teacher. we had to rearrange her classroom to make room for my little group. so back in my corner, i have to keep things organized because my space is limited. i tend to keep my things ordered even when i am in my own classroom, because when you have a room full of wiggly 5 year olds, you have to be able to move quickly from one activity to another. and if you leave them with nothing to do while you are looking for materials, chaos will ensue!

so in my space, everything has a place and i try to keep everything put away. but somehow, over the weekend, one of my activity books was moved. it wasn't where it belonged. i looked in my cabinets. i looked in the cabinets in my old room. i looked in the other teacher's cabinets. i even went to the office to see if there was an extra book lying around. i looked off and on all week, but couldn't find the missing book.

and i need the book by monday. if i can't find it, i will have to make a copy of the worksheets i already have. and then the kids will complain because nobody wants the black and white copy--they all want the full colored sheets. and i really don't want to listen to my little dumplings complain for the next four months-- i need that book!

so before i left school today, out of desperation i took one last look around--and there it was--on the bookshelf with the other books--but not where it belonged! it was at the end of the row of books, with the spine partly obscured by a notebook that was sticking out just a bit. there were 10 or 12 books between where it was and where it belonged. no wonder i couldn't find it!

this reminds me of something that happened to me several years ago. i had a beautiful orange silk blouse which i loved, but suddenly i couldn't find it (and this was before diandra was the right size to "borrow" my clothes, so i couldn't blame her!) i looked everywhere, but it was just gone. a couple of years later when we moved, i found the blouse--it was in my closet, but again, not where it belonged. the clothes in my closet are in rainbow colored order, so the orange blouse should have been between the red blouses and the yellow blouses. but somehow it had been put away in the wrong place in the closet and i just didn't see it until i moved and had to take everything out.

this behavior may sound a little bit obsessive/compulsive, but usually it works for me. really. just not this week.

but today, i found the missing book! my world is back on it's axis, and on monday no one will have to use a black and white copy . . .

Thursday, January 29, 2009

i thought it had to be a quarter . . .

so today . . . i was standing on the playground, in the warm sunshine (our little 6' x 3' sun spot,) watching our 4 and 5 year olds play. pretty soon, candice came to me to show me a shiny rock she had found. it was about 1/4" long, and it was white, but it didn't look shiny to me at all. however, she thought it was beautiful! so i admired it and told her she could put it into her pocket so it wouldn't get lost. which she did.

about 15 minutes later she came up to me with a sad face. she said to me, "where's my shiny rock?" i reminded her that she had put it in her pocket. so she checked her pockets again, looked at me and kind of shrugged her shoulders and shook her head. i said, "well candice, i don't know where it is. i don't have it." she crooked her finger at me so i would lean down near her, which i did. i thought she was going to whisper in my ear, so i turned toward her. she came close to me, reached her little hand up to my ear, and pulled the rock "out" of my ear! there it was in her hand, and she had this surprised look on her face, kind of like "look at that!" she shrugged and said, "i guess it was in your ear!"

i was stunned! that little girl had just done the "pull the quarter out of your ear" trick, and i hadn't had a clue that it was coming! i laughed and laughed--in fact all the teachers on the playground who had seen it laughed. it was hysterical! and the look on her face was priceless! she was still trying to look like she could hardly believe what had happened, but at the same time, she was so proud of herself for pulling off the joke.

tomorrow is going to be candice's last day in my class. the current economic situation has hit her family especially hard, and so they have had to make some difficult decisions. i am going to miss having her in my class, but i will never forget how she pulled that tiny, shiny rock out of my ear . . .

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

too many choices?

so today . . . i am back on looking at business cards. as you may recall, that is how i got started blogging--i needed something to put on business cards. at that time, i thought i had chosen a card i wanted--turquoise blue with a bright yellow sunflower. but i was never completely happy with it, so i didn't order any.

but vista print never gives up! apparently they realized how much time i had spent working on a business card that never got ordered, and decided to plague me until an order was placed! so every few days i get another ad from vista print promising me 250 business cards for FREE! (that many cards will probably last me forever, as i have no idea who i am going to give these free business cards to.) but NOW there is an even better deal. NOW i can apparently choose from their entire line of designs for the low, low price of $3.99 for 250 cards. i think to myself, "ooohh, i wonder what the more expensive cards look like?" so off i go to and find that they have over 1800 designs!! i try to narrow it down by selecting a category of designs, but since i am just a little OCD i am afraid that if i don't look at them ALL, i might miss the perfect one. so that is what i do . . .

it didn't take as long as i thought it would--94 images per page meant i ONLY had to look through 19 pages of business cards. i was astounded by the choices! no matter what your occupation or interest, there were business cards for you! and then there were several selections that were nature inspired or just very colorful abstract designs. how was i going to decide? it was easier when my only choices were the free ones!

while looking through page after page after page of cards, i started to have a bit of an identity crisis. who am i, really? a few of the cards had cool houses or architectural designs on them, but i'm not a realtor or an architect. there was one with the perfect wave curl, but i'm not a surfer. i'm not a florist or even someone who does gardening, although a lot of cards had pretty flower designs. i am a teacher, but that isn't all i am. i do play the piano and there are a couple of cool keyboard designs, but i don't think i am good enough at it to showcase my interest on my cards. i've come to realize that my cards will say something about who i am--so what do i want them to say?

i have no idea.

i don't know what i want my cards to say, i don't know what i want them to look like, i don't know who i will ever give them to--all i know is, for some reason, i want business cards (even though i don't have a business!) so i guess i will keep on working on it. and now that i have been blogging for a month, maybe "blogger" will be my business title instead of "consultant" or maybe "blogging consultant . . . "

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

an inflatable neck pillow, two dogs, and an egg

so today . . . i woke up in the recliner--again.

i've been sleeping in the recliner in the living room for the last week. i've had so much sinus congestion that if i lay down i cannot breathe. so i have been sleeping in a sitting position, using my inflatable neck pillow to try to minimize the certainty of waking up with a stiff neck. the first few nights i slept fairly well, even though i woke up a few times coughing or blowing my nose. then mia discovered where i was and spent the night in the chair with me. it wasn't too bad, because she slept in the middle of the foot rest part of the chair, so i just arranged my legs to one side or the other of her. a couple of nights later, milo discovered us. he slept in my lap for a little while, but then spent the rest of the night upstairs in the big bed. the next night BOTH dogs decided to sleep with me and decided to play "king of the hill," with me being the hill. last night, i felt like the interloper as they tried their best to take over the recliner and the down throw i was using for a blanket! (they love anything puffy or furry.) i can usually sleep through a lot, but in the confinement of a recliner . . .

anyway, this morning as i was sleeping in the chair, i kind of noticed that it was getting light outside. as i slowly became conscious (but with my eyes still closed) i was able to determine that both dogs were once again pinning me down under my blanket. i could hear rollie upstairs closing drawers and closet doors, so i knew it was almost time for me to get up. but it was so cozy (or crowded, depending on your attitude!) that i just couldn't quite do it yet. i knew that if i could hear rollie, so could the dogs, but they didn't get up. i heard him come down the stairs. so did the dogs, but only their eyes moved as they watched him head for the kitchen. the refrigerator door opened and closed, and the dogs didn't budge. then, i heard the faint crack of his hard boiled egg shell. ZOOM!! those dogs were up out of the chair and into the kitchen at his feet in a nanosecond. even at that hour of the morning, it made me laugh. our dogs don't get people food (well, except for broccoli stems, which they LOVE!) but apparently every morning when rollie eats breakfast, he gives the dogs a tiny bite of his hard boiled egg, and they weren't about to miss it--not even if it meant a few more minutes cuddled up to me and my puffy down blanket . . .

Monday, January 26, 2009

classroom or germ factory?

so today . . . i went back to work. it was kind of hard to get up and get going after four days of not having to get up early. i laid in my recliner (yes, i am still sleeping in the recliner--i have to choose between laying down and breathing) and hit the snooze button twice. even then, i wasn't sure my eyes were ever going to open. i'm still not feeling all that great, but i am on antibiotics so i am not contagious, and i needed to get back to work for many reasons.

anyway, i did finally drag my body out of the recliner and up the stairs to get ready for work. i spent the first hour at school trying to make sense of what had happened with my students on the two days that i was gone, but i really didn't have the brain power to do it. i led music time for the pre-k and kindergarten classes, because it was my turn. (although, i have to say that my "dancing" wasn't very enthusiastic, and it made me a little bit dizzy!) i taught both classes in our classroom, because the other teacher was gone, and then headed outside to FREEZE for 45 minutes of playtime. (this was kind of funny--right now our playground is all in the shade except for a small area about 6' x 3' and guess where all the teachers were standing? yup, in that tiny area of sunshine. and when there was a problem in the shady area, we all kind of looked at each other like, "whose turn is it to brave the cold this time?") then we went in and had noodles for lunch, which was nice because ALL the kids like noodles.

i was starting to drag a bit, but the end was in sight. just another 15 minutes to go and all the little dumplings would be down for their naps, and it would be my lunch time. i was watching the minutes tick by on the clock as i finished cleaning up from lunch.

and then it happened.

megan came up to me and said, "teacher . . ." and threw up! right at my feet! she just barely missed my new shoes . . .

you see, THIS is why i teach kindergarten and not pre-k. kindergarten kids know to go to the trash can if they have to throw up. kindergarten kids don't have bathroom accidents. if kindergarten kids spill their milk or juice, they can clean it up themselves. if i am teaching pre-k, i want a janitor on call at all times!!!

and so, the saga continues as another one bites the dust . . .

Sunday, January 25, 2009

daughters . . .

so today . . . diandra preached during church. it was the first time she has preached for the whole church and not just the youth group. it was interesting to watch her and see that while there were some similarities between the way she preached and the way her dad preaches, there were also some differences. i was so proud of her! which got me to thinking about how wonderful it is to have a child. and even though my "child" is all grown up, it is still pretty wonderful.

here's the thing--she isn't just like me, but she is like me. and she isn't just like her dad, but she is like him. we can see shades of her aunt and her uncle (from different sides of the family) and her grandparents in there too. and then there are the totally surprising parts that we don't see in anyone else--those parts of her that are uniquely diandra.

when she is dealing with kids or teens, she is me. when i hear her say, "it isn't your words that are the problem--it is way you said them!" and the response she gets is "what~" as only a teenager can say it, i just laugh! my words are coming out of her mouth. she is now on the adult side of that conversation that every parent has had numerous times with their teenagers. when she tells a joke, she is definitely her dad! but she is also her dad when she is explaining the Bible and spiritual concepts to her youth group. she is strong-willed like my brother was as a young person, but also nice like rollie's sister. she is friendly like both of her grandpas and has strong opinions like my mom and loves music like rollie's mom. she is creative like my grandma was, she has my eyes and rollie's hair, but her smile is all her own (well, hers and dr. hodges'.)

she is just beautiful (i guess she gets that from my mom too!) it will be interesting to see who she is when she is 30 or 35, because we all change. none of us are the same person we were when we were 20. our experiences and circumstances, and the people we spend time with all effect who we become at 35 or 40.

for now, i think my daughter is a pretty awesome person. and while i take credit for much of that awesomeness, i can't take credit for it all. she has the best dad! she has an extended family full of wonderful people. she has a church family who loves her and supports her. and she makes good choices about who she will be and what she will be like. so i am not worried about what she will be like in a few years . . .

. . . because i think she will always be awesome.

Friday, January 23, 2009

a clean car and you don't even have to tip anyone

so today . . . it rained.

i took my car out and parked it in the driveway, hoping the rain would wash off the dust. this is an unusual occurance for two reasons.

1. "it never rains in california . . ." at least not during the day. really! i know it occasionally rains at night because sometimes when i wake up everything is wet. but it hardly ever rains during the day. i don't know why this is. it probably has something to do with where the mountains are and the orientation of the coastline . . . but today it rained all day! and since i was home from school again (i am still sick!) i got to see it! and hear it!!

2. my car is never dirty. every night when i get home, i take out my giant california car duster and clean off my car. but the last two weeks they have started construction on a new building where i teach, and they are using cement blocks. so my car gets covered in the dust created when the blocks are cut to the necessary size, and since i think this cement dust will scratch my shiny black paint (that rollie just had waxed for me) i don't disturb it. thus, it is pretty dusty.

there is really no punchline to this story, except that while most people would be putting their cars INTO their garages to get out of the rain, i took my car OUT of the garage and into the rain. because it needed a bath. now i am just hoping that it rained enough to clean it off . . .

(ok. let me just say that i know this is not one of my more entertaining or enlightening blogs, but after spending two days in the recliner alternately blowing my nose and coughing, it's all i could come up with. i mean, not much happens when you are drugged, dressed in your pajamas, and struggling to breathe. especially when it is raining . . . even in california . . . )

Thursday, January 22, 2009

if you are tired of hearing about me being sick, just move on . . .

so today . . . i am still sick. i am so sick i stayed home from school, which i never do, and even went to the doctor, which i do more frequently. now i have medicine, and i am feeling a little bit better.

let me just say that i love kaiser permanente. i know there are people who don't, but i have no complaints. with just a couple of exceptions, i have had wonderful doctors and wonderful care. i had surgery on my wrist, which cost me a grand total of $5. the $400 a month medication i take only costs me $5. and they will send it to me--i don't even have to find time to go pick it up! i admit there have been times when i have seen an on call doctor with whom i have not connected well, but most of my doctors have been personable, caring, knowledgable people. i met another one today.

when i called the nurse advice line to see if i should go in and see a doctor or just suffer at home until i got better, she thought i needed to see someone today. sadly, there were no available appointments at my usual clinic. but they did find me one at a clinic about 20 minutes away--all freeway, so the drive was easy! it's true that you never know what you are going to get with a same day appointment, but the doctor i saw today was a gem. she didn't just treat my congestion, she also took care of some other routine procedures, and by the time i left, i had future appointments with a dermatologist and a gynecologist, a prescription for antibiotics AND a prescription to treat my symptoms until the antibiotic does its work!

i have heard people complain that they can't get their doctors to order any tests or procedures beyond the bare minimum, but that doesn't appear to be the case with kaiser, at least in orange county. once they get you, they want to poke and prod as much as you will let them. "do you want to get your flu shot today? it's free!" "we are set up to do mammograms today. would you like to take care of that while you are here?" "oh, i see it is time for your (fill in annual procedure here.) can we do that today since you are already here?" today i just wanted to say, "no! i can't breathe! just give me drugs, and let me go home!!" but i didn't, because i WAS already there and it WOULD save me the inconvenience of making time for a future visit . . .

and i am so glad i said yes, because while i am still sick, i have hope that soon i will be feeling much better. AND i have referrals to take care of some other health problems i wasn't even aware of. AND i found a new doctor that i really like--even if she is 20 miles away . . .

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

where's the pizza?

so today . . . i am still feeling pretty bad. i think my allergy has morphed into something much more evil. i have sent 6 kids home already this week with fevers!! and i am NOT going in tomorrow unless i wake up feeling much better than i did today. so i don't have much brain power for blogging. but i do have something that i hope will give you a chuckle.

joshua drew this picture for me today. joshua usually draws tyrannasaurus rexes with bloody teeth and sharks eating swimmers, so this was a new direction for his art. he was talking most of the time he was drawing, but truthfully i missed most of it because i was kind of vegged out today, just trying to breathe. but i did hear him talking about shark fins. i asked him if he had ever eaten shark fins and he said, "yes, in soup!" so i had him tell me about the rest of the food he had drawn on his plate. it had some very interesting choices. when i asked about the orange things at the top right of the plate, he said, "ducks!" i said, "ducks?" and he said, "well, they are dead ducks!" if you look closely you will also see rice, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, corn, alligator, rice, dumplings, fish, vegetables, and carrots. i guess he was hungry . . .

Monday, January 19, 2009

how many gigabytes?!?!?

so today . . . i have been working on my digital picture files. i've been taking digital photos for quite a few years with no good system for organizing them. so now that i have this wonderful new computer, i am trying to get my pictures organized. at first i thought i would just transfer one file at a time to the new computer, edit it, save it to my external hard drive, and then move on to the next one. it sounded like a great idea, but somehow it hasn't quite worked out that way . . .

i just have too many photos. the problem is that i love to take pictures. i take multiples of everything, and i never delete anything (not even the blurry ones!) it is kind of hard to organize digital pictures when you can only see 15 or 20 of them at a time on your computer screen, and you have hundreds to deal with. and since i have no system, it is just a mess!

the truth is that most of these photos will never be printed. i have plans to scrapbook them, but i don't know how i will ever get caught up. i enjoy scrapbooking--the feel of the paper, deciding which pictures go together, creating color schemes for layouts--but it is time consuming, and i don't want it to just become another chore that needs to be done. so mostly i enjoy my favorite photos on my screensaver.

but i am thinking about creating one of those bound books you can make on sites like "snapfish" for each year. i could put a new folder on my desktop, and as the year progresses i could copy my favorite photos into that folder. then in january of each year i could make a book. i would still have the fun of creating pages and arranging photos, but i could do the whole year in one book and it would be done. then i could just scrapbook for fun. i made one of those books this year, and i love it. i spent a few days laying it out and then just waited for it to be delivered, and now it is done and ready to be enjoyed. and it kind of has an importance to it, because it is a real book.
so it is time to take charge. i am going back through each file and deleting ruthlessly (well, maybe not ruthlessly, but i am deleting multiples and terrible pictures. really.) it is such a huge job, but i am determined to get it done--and then keep it up, because i love taking pictures and i'm never going to stop . . .

Sunday, January 18, 2009

so today . . . still sick . . . can't breathe . . . nose is sore . . . can't sleep because i can't breathe . . . nothing helps . . . stupid wind . . .

Saturday, January 17, 2009

samsung rocks!

so today . . . i am going to brag about my new little computer. it is awesome!

first of all, let's talk about the size. it is about 10 inches by 7 inches and weighs only 2.8 pounds. it is pearly white, but not glossy so fingerprints won't mar the surface. it has a 10 inch screen which doesn't seem too much smaller than the 12.1 inch screen on my last laptop. and it is sleek--even the giant battery doesn't stick out of the back. i can slip it into my larger handbags and hardly even notice it is there!
now for the specs--1gb of ram, 3 usb ports, 160 gb hard drive!!!! inputs, outputs, and a 6 cell battery with a battery life of 6-8 hours!! it has an sd card slot and my first built-in webcam.

the only downside (and it is marginal) is that it doesn't have a cd/dvd drive. now when i first heard about the mac air book (which doesn't have a cd/dvd drive) i thought it was crazy to build a computer without one. but actually, the more i thought about it, i realized i hardly ever used my cd/dvd drive. however, i will probably eventually get a usb powered dvd drive so that i can make copies of my music cds to use at school--i don't like to use the originals there, because they tend to get scratched up or lost.

ok, now for the fun part--it is just so cute! i can pick it up and hold it easily with one hand. the screen is bright. and the battery really does last--i take it to school and turn it on by 8:15 and it runs until i get ready to go home at 3:15 ON THE BATTERY!! i don't even carry the power cord to school with me. i've never had a laptop with a battery like that--i've been on an airplane and had the battery go dead on my laptop before i can even finish a movie! so my previous laptops haven't been all that portable. and a 160gb hard drive?!? i love that.

it is so pristine. for the first few days i didn't do anything but surf the internet, because i didn't want to mess it up with stuff. but the day came when i decided i was going to keep it, and it was time to install software. i pulled out the first cd . . . and then remembered there was no place to put it! they say you can use your old computer to transfer programs onto a usb drive and install software that way. i didn't have much success with that, so i just started downloading stuff. it is amazing how much you can download (which i am sure the computer people know--thus no cd drive.) i haven't started putting pictures or music on it yet--that is where my files get messy--but i think all my main programs and data have been transferred.

but the best thing is that i have done almost everything by myself! usually i have to keep calling rollie to help me do stuff that i don't know how to do. but he has been really busy this week, so i have just been figuring things out on my own. he helped me with a couple of things, but i am feeling pretty proud of myself today! i love electronics, but i don't really understand them. i think they know it, and they mock me! but not this sweet little laptop--i think it loves me, at least so far . . .

Friday, January 16, 2009

allergy or flu? does it even matter?

so today . . . i am paying the price for our lovely weather. the santa ana winds have been blowing for several days now, pushing our daily temperatures into the 80's. it has been beautiful! however, it does not come without a cost. many people complain of allergy symptoms when the winds blow, and i am one of them.

i have never had allergy problems before, but these winds are killing me! at least, i am hoping it is the winds, because the other alternative is that i am getting sick . . .

this is also a possibility. i cannot tell you how many children are coming to school with runny noses and coughs. i try to keep my distance, but sometimes they manage to breathe on me anyway. and they touch everything! schools are probably more germy than a pediatrician's office.

whatever the reason, i can't breathe!!! so i have spent the evening laying on the couch, alternately dozing and reading, which is really not a bad way to spend an evening. i finally realized i should take something for the congestion, so i have done that, and now i am thinking maybe a cup of tea would be nice . . .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

shoes, shoes, shoes

so today . . . i wore the wrong shoes to school. they were ok, but when i happened to see my reflection in the glass door at recess, i realized i had another pair of shoes at home that would have looked so much better than the ones i had chosen. my feet were embarrassed the rest of the day! about then a little girl ran past me wearing a pair of silver sparkly shoes. they were new and they were beautiful. she had only had them for a couple of weeks and she wore them every day. every day! i looked around the playground at the shoes that were running and kicking and jumping and realized that most of the kids wear the same shoes every day. so at what point do we decide we need 46 pairs of shoes? (i'm not saying i HAVE 46 pairs of shoes--i may have more or i may have less, i don't know. i was going to count them, and then decided that maybe ignorance was bliss.)

my newest shoes were a gift from my daughter. they are black and brown checked vans and i love them! my new favorite color combination is black and brown (so i can wear my new shoes,) and those are the shoes i should have had on today. could i wear those shoes every day? no--i mean, i guess i could if they were all i had, but i have a lot of shoes. here's the thing--i don't grow out of my shoes anymore, and i am careful with them so i don't very often wear out a pair. and that is how i end up with so many, many shoes. so how many shoes are enough? will i ever never get another pair of shoes? i've been thinking about this, since the economy seems to be taking a turn for the worse. and i think that if i just get a pair of red flat shoes and a pair of silver flat sandals, i can probably weather the downturn in the economy. oh, and a pair of dark brown boots . . .

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

an average day turned into a good day

so today . . . i have blogger's block! i had 3 or 4 paragraphs written about american idol (which returns this week! yeah!) but then i thought probably most of you wouldn't be that interested in it. i thought about what happened at school today, but it was just an average day, although we did have spinach at lunch (do i really have to say it? YUCK!) and then it was time to head for the church--worship band practice, dinner, and bible study. some weeks wednesdays exhaust me and some weeks they exhilarate me. i thought today was going to be an exhausting one, but it turned out not to be.

it was the teens--they rock!! after dinner, provided by my wonderful husband, i walked into the teen room for something and had conversations with three different kids, then another one outside. here is the thing i love about our church--it doesn't matter who you are, people like you. really. we aren't all "cool" but it doesn't matter. you know how whenever people get together, whether it is at a party or a class or a church, people tend to get into groups with other people like them. but at our church, you see different kinds of people talking to each other all over the place. i love that! those teens don't seem to think about my age--they see me coming and they smile and hug me and talk. truthfully there are times when their drama makes me want to scream. but tonight there was no drama coming my way--just some kids with new phones or old shoes or cracked screens, or guitar players wanting to be drummers. and talking to them lifted my otherwise ordinary day out of the "average" category and into the "good" category.

one more doubletree inn cookie would have elevated it into the "great" category, BUT SOMEBODY ATE IT!!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

so today . . . we made penguin cutouts at school. while i love glitter, it was time to take down the christmas stuff, i guess (although one year i did leave my own christmas tree up until valentine's day--don't worry, it was an artificial tree!) so we made penguins, because it is the middle of winter--even if it was 85 degrees outside today! the first year i taught preschool here, i wrote my lesson plans several weeks ahead of time as i always have. the end of october rolled around and there i was with my fall lesson plan talking about the weather getting cooler and the leaves changing color and falling off the trees--none of which was happening!!! just try finding leaves on the ground for art projects . . . but we painted red, orange, & yellow leaves anyway because, by golly, it was october! about a week ago i was driving home from school through our neighborhood, and i realized that the leaves on the trees were turning color and falling off. i am not kidding you! there were yellow leaves on the ground EVERYWHERE! but even though it looked like fall, it is january, so now we are talking about mittens and boots and snowmen and penguins and animals hibernating and freezing cold weather--again, none of which is happening here. in fact, we are back in shorts and sandals for the next week while our temperatures hang in the 80's. i love where i live (sorry mom! and wendy.) it is beautiful here, and the weather can't be beat. but it is wreaking havoc with my lesson plans! really. i am trying to teach little kids about the differences between the seasons, and how nature cycles through the changes, and how each season has a purpose, and how we can tell what season it is by the changes we observe. but it is kind of a problem when we are still using the air conditioners in october, and we do our christmas shopping in our shirt sleeves, and the trees lose their leaves in january, and then we are back to our summer clothes in the middle of february. i mean, where is winter?!?!?!? maybe i should just give up this whole teaching about the seasons thing and teach about dinosaurs. they love dinosaurs . . .

let me just leave you with this picture of a snowman . . .

Monday, January 12, 2009

random recess ramblings

so today . . . at recess the kids were playing pretty well. i mean, i wasn't constantly responding to tattling, bickering, and tears. two little girls had a ball, and they were bouncing it back and forth to each other instead of fighting over it. several kids were actually building with the giant foam blocks instead of whacking each other with them. nobody was being run over by a bike or a scooter. and the basketball players were throwing the basketballs at the hoop instead of kicking them at each other. i don't know what it is about recess, but some days the attempted violence is surprising!

anyway, as i said, today the cooperation factor was high, and so there wasn't a lot that demanded my attention. i was sitting on a chair (we were inside today because of the dust from the new construction, which is too bad because it was BEAUTIFUL outside today--85 degrees!) holding a tiny little girl who just needed some extra attention. and after a few minutes, i realized that several different children had come up to me and said just one thing. i didn't have any conversations--they just ran up, told me something, and then ran off. it was kind of funny, so i started keeping track of what they said.

"do you know what i was for halloween?"

"when my sister was a baby she was very, very fat!"

"my mom has a new phone, but she doesn't know how to use it."

"my face is wet!"

"yesterday i wore my tights."

"on saturday night . . . no wait, it was sunday night . . . no, saturday night i ate a lot of spinach."

it made me laugh--all these random thoughts just thrown my way . . . and yet, when i connect each thought with the child who said it, i realized that it did reveal a little bit more about who they are and what their family is like. it sort of reminded me of blogging--lots of different people writing about random things. but as they write, they reveal something about who they are and what is important to them. i think that is why i like to read blogs--sometimes they make me laugh and sometimes they make me think, but they always reveal something about the person who wrote them.

but that's not why i blog. i blog because i have found that i like to write. i blog because choosing one thing to write about every day helps me to see that my days are NOT all the same. i blog because i LOVE words. i blog because my mom lives 1000 miles away, and even though i talk to her on the phone once in a while, it's not enough! i blog because what if i get senile and start forgetting things? i blog because it is fun! and if it reveals something about me, well, i guess i will just have to accept that . . .

Sunday, January 11, 2009

when did my daughter get so smart?

so today . . . i was sitting by diandra at church, and we were talking. i was telling her about some of the stuff that had been bothering me. she would make a comment occasionally, but mostly she listened. then she said some very wise things, and ended with, "you know mom, this is out of your control. there is nothing you can do about it. and worrying about it and being mad about it is only hurting you. you just need to let it go. either you trust God with this or you don't. it's your choice."

i have to say that while i now felt a little annoyed with HER, i was also proud. because she was right. i needed to just let it go and let God take care of it. i could choose to continue to rant and rave about it, or i could step back and let God handle it. diandra is probably the only person who could have said that to me without making me feel more irritated. there was a little part of me that thought she would support my anger, or at least think i was right. but she didn't. she listened to me, and then pointed me back in the direction i needed to go. she didn't tell me what i wanted to hear--she told me what i needed to hear.

so that's what i am going to try to do--i'm going to let it go. i'm not totally over the emotions of the situation yet, but i have decided to stop worrying about it. God can handle it--he probably doesn't even need my help! and thanks diandra, for helping me get through today--i needed it! now i know that tomorrow WILL be a better day!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

some days . . .

so today . . . was kind of a hard day. some days are like that. i wish they weren't, but they are. most of my days are pretty good--i have a wonderful, loving family, i have a steady job that pays me more than i could make working at the mall, i have two dogs who are a riot and are always happy to see me, i live in a place where the sun shines most of the time, and so most of my days ARE pretty good. but today was not.

the fact is, i am not in control of everything. stuff happens around me that affects me that i cannot control. i hate that! it is one thing to deal with the consequences of my own actions, but when i have to deal with the consequences of the decisions made by other people, i am not a happy camper. my choices may not always be the best ones, but they make sense (at least to me.)

about a year and a half ago i was driving rollie's car and got rear-ended by a HUGE pick up truck. i wasn't hurt, but the car was smushed! it totalled the back end, and it was in the shop for a month while they completely rebuilt it. it was a nightmare for me, and i couldn't help thinking if only. "if only i had left the house a little bit later . . . if only i had gone on through the yellow light instead of stopping (i know, but we live in california!) . . . if only i had taken a different route . . . if only i had gone in someone else's car . . . " i suppose any of those decisions could have resulted in a safe trip. but the cause of the accident was really a guy who was following a bit too closely, made an assumption about what i was going to do, and then took his eyes off the road for just a second. and so i suffered the consequences for his decisions. (so did he when his insurance company got the bill!)

today i am having a bit of a hard time. i know i will get through it, because i always do. again, i have a pretty good life and soon, that life will overcome the issues i am dealing with now. the stuff that is bothering me today will get resolved or just fade away over time. i guess is isn't all that important. what is important is the people in my life who love me (all 4 of you!) i know they will be there no matter what. they will not give up on me, or tell me to just get over it. they will love me, and try to help me, and do their best to understand me, and let me know that i am not alone. and so even though today was difficult, tomorrow will probably be better--or maybe the next day . . .

Thursday, January 8, 2009

a good teacher

so today . . . my school kids made me laugh. they do and say stuff all the time that is funny, but i usually just sort of chuckle to myself and move on. the truth is, if i laugh out loud they never stop! then they start TRYING to be funny, and things just deteriorate from there. but today i laughed, and it was fun. (i admit i was already feeling a little giddy, since my new computer was on the ups truck headed to my house.)

then later in the day i heard a conversation among 4 year olds that didn't include the phrases, "i won't be your friend anymore," or "i'm going to tell the teacher," or "fine! you can't come to my birthday party," or even the ever popular "TEACHERRRR! he won't share!" which really means "i want it and he won't give it to me." instead, they were talking about kids they knew that didn't go to our school anymore. "do you remember adam? he was so funny! one time milk came out of his nose," and "remember mikey? where did he go?" it was just fun to watch their little faces and hear their little voices having a real conversation. they were looking at each other and talking to each other and thinking about what the other person said and then responding. they weren't just reacting to what was happening around them; they were thinking about something--their lost friends--and talking about it. it was cute! they could have been 20 years old, sitting around eating cold pizza, drinking sodas, and talking about the kids they used to know from high school.

it is easy for me to get caught up in being the teacher at school. there is so much to accomplish in one year, so many expectations to be met. and then there is the whole issue of behavior and classroom management. i try to be a good teacher, but today i remembered that being a good teacher is more than just reaching academic goals and having a class of well behaved students. it also means seeing who these children are going to become and enjoying the people that they already are. so i am going to laugh out loud more, and if things escalate from there, oh well . . . a good teacher should be able to handle a classroom full of giggles!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

a what?

so today . . . i was sitting at a table doing paperwork while jonathan and joshua played with math manipulatives. jonathan had the transportation counters, and as he moved them around, he would say, "zoom, zoom." this reminded me of the mazda ad and that song,"zoom zoom zoom." so i said, "that car must be a mazda." jonathan said, "a what?" so i explained how mazdas go zoom zoom zoom, and that my car was a mazda. then joshua said, "my car is a llama."

my only explanation for this is that we have been studying peru, and there was a picture of a llama in the book.

my car is not a llama. it is a mazda. zoom zoom.

Monday, January 5, 2009

i have no words, and yet i blog . . .

so today . . . i lost a friend. it's hard to describe how i feel. i am overwhelmingly sad, but at the same time i am glad that he is no longer suffering and in pain. he has been battling cancer for so long--about seven years. he fought hard to stay alive and did everything in his power to beat the disease, but early this morning his battle came to an end.

i am at a loss for words here. i have tried several times to write this paragraph, but nothing seems right. we were friends for a long time, maybe best friends. jim and his wife becky, and rollie and i used to get together and play cards once a month. if we went to their house, becky would always prepare a wonderful dinner; if they came to our house, we ate pizza. our daughters became friends. jim and rollie were both pastors, and sometimes the conversations we had while playing cards helped them keep their sanity. it was good to have friends who understood our lives in a way most people can't. there were times when our conversations would help solve problems; there were times when we laughed so hard we couldn't breathe. those friday nights saved us--we were able to be ourselves, knowing that no matter what was said or done, we would still be friends.

it is hard to maintain a friendship when great distances separate you, and now that we live over 1000 miles apart we rarely get to see each other any more. and so it is really hard for me to believe that jim is gone, because he is still very much alive in my mind--graciously eating pizza for the hundredth time, taunting my lack of skill at rook, mocking something i said. he was like that annoying little brother that you look forward to seeing. he loved his family, he loved his church, he loved God, he loved people. he was a good guy.

so today i am sad. not for jim, because as his wife said, he is finally well! but for all of us who will miss him. he fought this battle with courage and determination and integrity. even in the midst of his illness, he tried to be kind and encouraging to the people he encountered. and i think that today jim can say, " I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Tim 4:7 (NIV)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

and starbucks gets another one . . .

so today . . . i went to starbucks. again. i am afraid i am becoming one of those people who goes to starbucks. i said this would never happen to me, and yet i've been to starbucks three times in the last month . . . i don't even like coffee, but then again, i'm not sure you can call something named "peppermint white chocolate mocha" coffee.

it isn't that i have anything against starbucks--but really, most of their drinks probably have more sugar than a piece of chocolate cake, and given a choice, i would rather have cake. and i think spending $3.50 for a small drink (which, btw, they call "tall" even though it is the shortest, smallest cup) is crazy, and i am just not going to do it. although i have--3 times in the last month!

in my defense, let me just say that i have been using gift cards, but still . . .

so here is what happened. just before christmas i was meeting with my leadership group and since it was our last meeting before christmas, i wanted to do something a little bit festive. i thought going to starbucks would be a special treat, so we drove the half mile to the nearest one and stood in line to order. i had not planned ahead enough to be armed with my usual soda, so i scanned the menu for SOMETHING i thought i could drink. and that's when i saw it--peppermint white chocolate mocha. i could probably choke that down, i thought. i like peppermint and white chocolate, and maybe the mocha won't be too strong. and it's christmas, so what's a little extra sugar . . . so i ordered it. and it was delicious! i drank the whole small tall thing and wished there were more!

the next week, we were in portland for christmas. it was COLD and there were several inches of snow and ice on the ground. my mom needed to go to the grocery store near her house, but it was too slick for her to drive, so rollie said he would take her. diandra and i went along because, guess what? there was a starbucks in her grocery store! so while my mom picked up a few things, diandra and i ordered tall (meaning small) peppermint white chocolate mochas. only THIS time we also bought special starbucks sippy cups to drink it from! (hey! if you take your own cup you get a 10 cent discount!!) i was starting to feel the transformation taking place . . .

that brings us to today. again i blame the leadership group meeting, because one person was sick, so that just left two of us. and it was a lovely, but cool afternoon. and starbucks was only half a mile away. and if we WALKED there and back . . .

so, to all of you who love starbucks, whom i have mocked over the years, i'm sorry. now i understand. i don't know what will happen when they no longer have the peppermint to add to the white chocolate mochas (which they only do at christmas, apparently) but until that happens, i am one of you . . .

Saturday, January 3, 2009

the best laid plans . . .

so today . . . i was going to get organized! i have been thinking about it for a while, and thought that today was the day i was going to do it. i kind of had a plan--work upstairs until noon, break for lunch, work downstairs while watching a movie or catching up on my tivo during the afternoon, and then after dinner plan for future organizing. that was my plan, but like most of my plans to get organized, it failed. i should have known it was doomed when i was still up at midnight last night! but i had been watching tv and just about the time i was ready to go to bed, milo jumped up beside me and snuggled in and fell asleep. milo is our very chubby chihuahua mix dog and, while he is very affectionate (meaning he lives to lick us!) he rarely falls asleep in my lap. so this was a treat, and he was so sweet, i just couldn't disturb him.

milo loves to sleep! he can sleep anywhere, but he prefers cushy softness . . .
usually milo has to share my lap with my computer.
but that meant that i was up later than i had planned, which meant that i slept in pretty late this morning. by the time i was up and around and had eaten my mcdonald's cinnamon melts for breakfast, it was actually almost time for lunch. so i revised my plan--forget working upstairs; just start downstairs. but first i wanted to check on the location of my new computer (see yesterday's blog). that meant getting online, and once that happened an hour just flew by! yikes! i needed to get moving if i was going to accomplish anything today. but then diandra asked if i wanted to go to the mall with her to get some shoes, so of course i said yes! (now before you start thinking that all i do is shop, you should know that diandra and i have some of our best conversations while walking around the mall. sometimes we don't even buy anything!!) TWO HOURS LATER we came home, only to have rollie say, "let's go get something to eat." so out we went again. by the time we got home from dinner and errands, it was really too late to think about organizing anything, and so here i am--still disorganized! however, the day was not a total waste. i did get 8 loads of laundry done (and mostly folded and put away,) i did spend some time with my family, and i did get a new pair of shoes (thank you, diandra!)

Friday, January 2, 2009

what can you buy with $15 anyway?!?

so today . . . i'll bet i checked the ups online site 4 or 5 times. i know it was pointless to check it more than once, but i have to know! where is it? when will it arrive? maybe they didn't know where it was at 10:00 this morning, but maybe they did at noon, or at 2:30 or at 4:00. you see, i ordered a new computer, and i am impatient for it to get here! it is coming from new york, and i ordered it on tuesday, so i know that there is no way it will arrive before the middle of next week, and yet i have this irrational hope that it will arrive any day now . . .

i have been having computer issues for several weeks. just when we think we fix one thing, something else starts acting weird. i use my computer A LOT! it is on all day and evening almost every day. i carry it back and forth to school, i use it at home, and i take it whenever i go out of town. i NEED my computer, and it is trying to die on me! but it was time to start looking for another one, so i headed for the internet.

i started researching. and researching and researching and researching. pros and cons abounded. (did i mention that i have a love/hate relationship with my electronics? i love anything black or silver that has a rechargeable battery, but there are so many options that i hate making a choice.) i went to discuss it with rollie, and he said, "either make a choice or i will just order one for you." he knows me. he knows i can research for months and never buy anything! like the time i researched digital cameras for six months and finally narrowed it down to three choices, but couldn't decide which one to order. so he bought one for me for christmas!

and while i really like the camera he chose for me, i wanted to make my own choice about a computer. as i mentioned, i will use it all the time. but since i didn't want to have to pay shipping or tax, i really had to shop around. and the clock was ticking . . . so, in record-breaking time (about a week) i made a decision and clicked the button that said, "send it to me!" and now i wait. and wait and wait and wait. and all because, after all of that, i didn't want to spend an extra $15 for 2 day shipping . . .

Thursday, January 1, 2009

to make resolutions or not to make resolutions . . .

so today . . . was the first day of 2009! a chance for a brand new start! i love brand new anything, but this year i am not making any new years' resolutions. i mean what is the point? i am never successful at keeping those good intentioned resolutions. is anyone? i think january should be called the month of unsuccessful attemps!

i don't know why it is so hard to keep my resolutions. several years ago, i decided it was because i made too many, so my efforts were kind of scattered and nothing was ever accomplished. the solution to this was clear--make fewer resolutions. i tried that by cutting my list down to only the very most important resolutions, the ones that would make the most difference in my life. it still didn't work--by february i had pretty much given up on all of them. so the next year i decided to just choose one really important thing that i wanted to change and focus on that--just one! as it turns out, the number of resolutions wasn't really the problem, because i was unable to keep even one! ok, i thought, maybe it is the curse of january--just too much pressure to start (or stop) doing something on january 1st. so i decided i would make my resolutions at the beginning of any month that started on a monday--the beginning of a new month AND a new week, and without all the "first of the year" hoopla. but i soon discovered that too many oportunities for a new start kept me from starting anything new--after all, if it didn't work out this time, another opportunity would come around in a few months when i could try again!

as a result of all of this, i have come to the conclusion that if i am going to make changes in my life, i just need to pick one and do it. the time frame isn't important. in fact, sometimes focusing on that self-imposed time frame immobilizes me. maybe i need to start (or stop) on a thursday or a saturday rather than a monday. maybe i need to give myself some time to ease into a new behavior instead of expecting it to be instant. maybe, just maybe, i need to stop focusing on what i need to change and start focusing on how far i have already come! i don't know . . .

what i do know is that i am not yet the person i want to be. you would think by this point in my life i would have my act together, but i don't. maybe i never will. but for now, i think i will start out this new year by trying to give myself a break. i'm never going to vacuum every day (sorry if that shocks some of you!) i'm never going to exercise regularly. i'll never be finished organizing my closet. and as for menu planning, let's just say that unless my mom and dad are visiting, it is anybody's guess what we will have for dinner on any given night! my digital music collection is never going to be the way i want it. and the only way my photos will ever get organized is if i quit my job and devote the rest of my life to it. BUT i think i am becoming more patient and maybe even a little bit more compassionate. i am trying to overcome my fears and do some new things (who would have thought i would ride a zipline through the treetops in a rain forest?) and i am trying to just keep moving forward and not let circumstances overwhelm me. so maybe at the end of 2009, i will find that i have progressed, even if my carpets are still waiting to be vacuumed.