Friday, August 9, 2013

Going hiking

I am packed. This was no small feat. I have 39 pounds of things in this backpack…. Including about 3 liters of water. I have no idea how in the hell I will carry it as far as I need to. I put the pack on in my bedroom and walked out to the kitchen…. I thought I was going to die. The first day of my hiking trip we are scheduled to walk 4 miles. That is just to the campsite. These gung-ho women I am traveling with will probably want to go further and farther than that. I may be in serious trouble here.

There were many packing questions I had that I just had to guess at. Like: how much toilet paper does one person go through in 6 days? I have no idea….. maybe I could have Googled it- but I really feel they would just be guessing too. I have one extra outfit in my bag and my bathing suit…. But I insisted on 6 pairs of underwear. I do not think this is excessive. I really like clean underwear, and I just do not want to take fewer pairs and beat them against a rock and wring them out to dry on this trip.

Macy waited until I was all packed and had everything crammed into the bag (for the 3rd time) to mention that I should fill the water bladder to make sure everything fit with the water in it. So I unpacked everything and filled it. It fit… it just made the bag heavier.

I am concerned that I will not have water, electricity, bathrooms….. and internet for 6 days. I have no idea how I will fill up the time. I’m going to keep a journal but I really dislike handwriting everything. Typing and auto-correct are really the way I like to go now. (My 8th grade typing teacher would be amazed…. He didn’t think I’d ever learn to type!)

I think I will miss my family even more than flush toilets…. And that is A LOT! I worry about what I will miss at home and what’s going on in the real world. Also, there are no chairs, I really like chairs. I think this island should invest in a few picnic tables. I am not sure if I can even put the pack on from the ground…. And if by some miracle I can get it on, I wonder if I can get up off the ground with the pack on without some kind of rope system… or a crane.

Ok, enough of these thoughts. I’m just going to try my best. Did I mention there are a lot of snakes on this island? Not gonna worry about it, but I will keep my tent zipped tight! Wish me luck!! Good thoughts and prayers are very welcome too! J

Monday, June 3, 2013

“Call Poison Control!!!”

Dill came running from the bathroom yelling, foaming at the mouth and eyes wide.
Me: what’s the matter?
Dill: I just brushed my teeth with itch cream!!
Me: What?! You’re all right. Just rinse your mouth out and brush your teeth with toothpaste.
Pepper: Don’t you people read the tube?!
(I had done the same thing this morning. Pepper put the cortisone cream on the counter where we usually keep the toothpaste)
Dill: Mom, I’m gonna die!
Pepper: You’ll be fine, Ilene did the same thing this morning. She’s fine.
Its true, my teeth haven’t itched all day!!

Follow up- Dill started crying and REALLY wanted Poison Control called. We did. They said IF he swallowed a lot he could have a little diarrhea, but no other issues to be concerned about… they also called our boy very young to be such a Drama King….  They pegged him!!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Bedroom conversation

Pepper: I can't sleep.
Me: Why not?
Pepper: I don't know, I was sleeping fine in the car.
Me: I know. Every time the speedometer went over 45 MPH you fell asleep! Then you didn't wake up again until I went below 45!
Pepper: Remember when the kids were little and you would drive them around until they stopped crying and went to sleep?
Me: Uh-huh.
Pepper: Feel like driving me around until I'm tired?
Me: No
Pepper: Do you want me to drive you around so you can fall asleep?
Me: You mean, get out of bed and back into the car we've been in all day?
Pepper: Uh-huh.
Me: No.
Pepper: ok, good night.
Me: Good night.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

At the doctor's today.....

Pepper and I were waiting in the exam room for the doctor to come in for my appointment. It was taking longer than usual and I was getting impatient.

Me: This is taking too long. Where the heck are they? Maybe they forgot we’re in here!!

Pepper: I could run out of the room yelling that you’re having a seizure… I bet someone will come in quickly then.

Of course, just as we both burst out laughing…. In comes the doctor!! :D

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Working in a Consolidating School District

Each day I enter the school with confidence and determination.  I have done this job for 17 years. I know what to do.

Each day I step into my office ready to take on the pile of work I left yesterday and I am ready for the new challenges that will reach me on the phone… in a report… from a parent… from a teacher or a co-worker….from a small, distorted voice in the hall. I look forward to working with my students.

Each day I have a plan- Each day I am ready to teach
Each day I pray that I will make a difference

Lately, each day is harder than the one before…

I feel less confident that I will finish yesterday’s tasks
I feel less determination to take on new challenges
I feel over-whelmed by the phone

I wonder if the small, distorted voice in the hall really needs me.

I am hit with realities at work I did not plan for
I have been told to expect a pink slip on Friday
I feel loss at my last “Jingle Bell Walk” and final “Spring Sing” 
I have mountains of paperwork that have no meaning and no value
I have less energy and feel I have less value- 
                                             expendable and easily replaced 
It is an effort just to stay positive with my students.

Each day I have a plan- Each day I am ready to teach
Each day I pray that I am making a difference

Now, I do tasks that used to be done by others because of downsizing
I face changes in my expectations and of what my role is
I juggle mis-information given both on purpose and by accident
There is no money to do things as they have been done before
I must count my copies and try to focus on today and my students
I wash my hands with generic, watered down dollar store soap
I shake my hands dry because there are no paper towels
There is fear and sadness and a strong smell of loss in the air

Each day I have a plan-Each day I am ready to teach
Each day I pray that I have made a difference.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blood pressure

My sister has gotten herself into a mess. Sometimes, as we were growing up, it felt like she could fall into a 100 thorny rose bushes and come out without a scratch but then at other times she would  trip on an invisible crack in the sidewalk and barely recover. This time she did not fair well. She ended up in a dark and lonely place. Her mind, heart and spirit are broken. I haven’t seen her since Christmas 2 years ago. I miss her.

She sent me a letter today. She started with an inside joke only I would get, an old joke from an episode of Laverne and Shirley from when we were kids. Then she offers me words of encouragement and advice. It isn’t bad advice, but I’d never admit that to my little sister. She ended with information about how things are going for her. Its hilarious and I am going to share it here:

“Well, I am working on getting into the boot camp that starts in June. But wait till you hear this... I have to take a physical for it. This nurse went to take my blood pressure and it was really high (I knew it would be because I just came from my shrink and was a wreck). She put the cuff on (of course, she is like 5'5 not even 100 lbs) and the thing flew off and hit her in the face because of my fat lunch lady arms. The doc couldn't stop laughing after he saw that she was ok and didn’t have a flesh wound. I’m like ready to die. Needless to say they are going to call me back when they have the bigger cuff for fat ladies... “

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Observations from the back seat

When I was about 13, I remember being over at my Grandparents for a celebration. As we were all leaving (My family and my mother’s brother’s family) David, my 16 year-old cousin got into the driver’s seat. He always seemed so old to me while we were growing up because he was 3 years older so that usually put him into the school just above where I was (jr high when I was still in elementary, high school when I finally made it to jr. high, etc.)

So I watched in awe as we all got into our cars and he got into the driver’s seat. Not only did he get to drive, but my other cousin, Kim, who was only one year older than me got into the passenger seat and my aunt and uncle got into the back seat! At the time, this was very amazing to me.  This never happened in my family. I made the request a few years later once I got my license but both parents gave a resounding no to the idea of me and either of my sisters in the front seat while they sat in the back. Oh well, I tried.

Last night, after a dinner with all 8 of us, the guys took the boys to their house and the girls came home with us. Macy asked if she could drive. I could not say no. The cool awesomeness I remembered my uncle being would finally be mine! Not only did I let Macy, our 17 year old drive, but I had Pepper sit in the back with me and had Dori ride in the front passenger seat.

Here’s what I learned: Pepper was not happy with this suggestion to sit in the back. The door handle in Dill’s spot has something sticky on it. Dori, in charge of the radio, does not like the same kinds of music I do. The speakers in the back are much louder from Dill’s spot. You can not see over the driver’s seat from his spot so I had no idea when turns, bumps, ramps, passing cars, stop lights…. were coming up. Macy likes to “shimmy” the ever-slightest bit like a race car driver as she tools along the highway. From the clothes hook above my head, Dill long ago tied a balloon. The string left behind is long enough to hit my forehead. There is no lumbar support in the back seats of our SUV. I still get car sick in the backseat. My parents were much smarter than my uncle. :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Power Outage

A big storm rolled through our area recently dumping quite a bit of snow and knocking out power all over. We did not actually lose power when everyone else did, ours was mostly a brown out. We had dim lights, use of the stove, but not the microwave or oven and couldn’t use our pellet stove or TV. We were all home together for a snow day. The kids played games and we all read and hung out. At the end of the day, Dill announced, “Hey, we got through the whole day without technology!” I think he felt like Laura Ingalls!

This reminded me of the first time I ever lived through a power outage. My family lived in Cleveland and I wasn’t more than 3 or 4. It was a big summer storm that knocked out power all over. Our whole neighborhood was without power. On day 2 of the outage, my Dad talked to the neighbor because they were both worried about losing everything in the freezer. They decided to get out their grills and just cook everything. Other neighbors joined in and it became a huge neighborhood party. The outage did not affect us too much since it was summer and when it got dark, everyone just went to bed. On about the 4th day, Mom was ready to do some laundry and was again talking to some neighbors about how long they would be without power. It suddenly occurred to my mother that the electric company should have given an estimate on how long the outage would last. She asked who had called to notify the company that the power was out and all the neighbors looked at each other and then started laughing when they realized no one had called because they assumed someone else had! Mom called and was told the power would be turned back on within the hour. J

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weekend at Waterpark

We went to a waterpark to celebrate a long weekend off school. We met Jay and Lexi, and lots of members from their family, Dad B &D and my sister L and her family. It was nice because pretty much everywhere we went we saw familiar faces. We had the option of taking a shuttle over to the casino but instead decided to stay at the waterpark hotel and play card games without losing our shirt!

We took these pictures and I realized that in the distant future this would be my idea of heaven. Friends and family relaxing together, laughing and playing games.

On the way home we even stopped to take Dori out to lunch!

It was a very nice short vacation. :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Energy Crisis

As a child I thought the energy crisis had been invented by crazy parents like my Dad who would wander around the house yelling out numbers as he counted how many lights had been left on in the rooms no one was in. (Its horrible because now as an adult I often wander around my own house counting how many lights my kids leave on after they leave a room!)

I long ago proved that the energy crisis was made up. There were commercials on TV when I was 6 or 7 that told kids that to help with the energy crisis we should turn off the water while we brushed our teeth. The announcer told us that there was a water shortage and we needed to do our part to help save water. Pa-leeze! There was no water shortage! .... I really doubted that were true- so one day I turned on the bathroom faucet full blast then went off to watch episodes of Sesame Street, Electric Company and Captain Kangaroo. I came back into the bathroom and the water was still pouring out!!  Since we lived in a city and we paid by how much we consumed.... all I can say now is: my poor Dad!!   :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Oh no... "Star-get"

Two of Pepper's biggest expenditures and addictions are the store: Target and the coffee house: Starbucks. I was just in a local Target today and saw this sign! Oy, our bank account is in trouble! To make things worse, the store is almost on our way home from work..... and Pepper loves a "long cut" (the opposite of a short cut!)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Giant's lunch

As a group of kindergartners went into the lunch room I noticed the tray included chicken patties without a bun.

One of the kids also noticed what was on the tray and said to me, "Wow! We are having a giant people's chicken nugget!"


Friday, February 1, 2013

I see Old people....

Pepper and I were getting ready for bed one night and she was looking in the mirror. She tells me she notices a wrinkle.

Me: Wrinkles are a sign of a good, long life.

Pepper: I don't like them.

Me: (changing tactics) Well, many cultures honor and respect older people for their wisdom.

Pepper: I respect old people... I just don't want to be one!!


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Out of the mouth's of babes

At work my new student teacher has started working with a group of 1st graders. She brought in a Batman and Robin matching game that she found on the internet. The kids loved playing it and it was fun to listen to the conversations they had together, but this one is my favorite....

Student: I'm looking for Robin. He's Batman's wife.

Student teacher: You mean Robin is Batman's friend?

Student: No, actually we call them partners.... that is what they are. :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dish Duty

I think Dill often says very eloquent things when he speaks (especially for an 11 year old). For instance, tonight as we were driving, he was talking about some candy he still had left over from Christmas. He said, “No one can really capture the essence of the banana flavor in candy" This phrase tickled me and I made a point to remember it.

However this morning I was less than amused when, as I was picking up Pepper and my breakfast dishes from the table he said to me, “Be a dear and take away my dishes too” That earned him dish washing duty! J

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ned's Head

One of the games we played this week at school was “Ned’s Head” which is a game where the kids have to feel and identify all sorts of gross disgusting things in Ned’s head and match the card they pick out of a pile. These are things like a giant ant, a dirty old Q-tip, and the favorite of the boys in my group…. Ned’s used lunch. (A big plastic slab of vomit)

One item is a huge, decaying tooth. One of my students pulled this out and I said, “Wow! That is a big tooth! I bet the tooth fairy would give a lot of money for that!” The student considered this for a minute and said, “No, she wouldn’t”

I was surprised, so I asked why not. He said, “The Easter Bunny will give anything cuz he’s got lots of stuff he needs to get rid of, Santa only comes if you are good, but the Tooth Fairy is the smartest…. Fake tooth, fake money.” I love kindergartener logic. J

Saturday, January 12, 2013

swim blonde

Pete is on the high school swim team..... and that means goin' blonde! At the beginning of the season all the boys dye their hair blonde then just before the last big meet they shave their whole head and possibly other body parts too..... since Pete is a freshmen we aren't exactly sure how involved that gets, but we will find out soon! Its hard to believe how fast this guy is growing up. It seems like just yesterday we were waiting for the kindergarten bus and taking off the training wheels-- now my boy and I can share a L'Oreal Excellence superior grey coverage hair color bottle. Dang, time sure does fly!!  :)