28thFebruary

In like a Lion

I know it’s not March, but it’s awfully close. It’s overcast, dreary, cold and windy.  The forecast says it should be even colder tomorrow when March makes its official entrance.  That’s okay…I’ll be snuggled up with DH in that big “Grand Victorian” bed.  There’s something comforting about rolling over into March. There’s hope that spring isn’t too far off.

I woke up this morning feeling like taking my coffee out to the spa and watching the sunrise but the cover is somewhere in California being replaced/repaired and it’s too much effort to drag one of those heavy, awkward, foam panels off.  The cover is under warranty, I just bought a new one last year, and it started pulling apart at the seams.  We emailed the spa cover company and they said to unzip it, remove the cover from the foam panels, and ship it back to them.  We’ve been waiting two weeks and, this morning, DH opened his email to find a request from them, sent last Monday, for a return address.  I boxed it up and he took it to UPS to have it shipped.  I can’t believe he didn’t put a return address on it. 

The internet never came back up here at home.  The router went out and we had to get another one and set everything up again.  Now, Saturday morning, we’re back in business.

I watched The Changeling last night.  Really provocative and sad.  Especially knowing that it’s a true story. Won’t say anymore.  Don’t want to spoil it.

In my post on November 14, I blogged about an encounter I had with a new student that I was getting for the trimester.  He had behavior issues and introduced himself, on the first day of class, by having a major meltdown.  I tried to follow up with my favorite Assistant Principal and he said, “He just needs love, Pat.” and I thought, “Yeah, sure!  Stick him in my class so I have to deal with his attitude everyday!”  I tried to work with the kid for a week and he wouldn’t do a damn thing.  I could tell that a violent eruption was always lurking just beneath the surface.  I also began to notice that he couldn’t read or write very well and covered it by refusing to do anything.  Of course, they teach us that these kids need lots of extra help and that sounds good in the book but the reality is that some kids who are so far behind tend to fight tooth and nail when you try to give them “extra” help.   I rationalized that I could let him sit there everyday, hope to avoid major conflict, and just give him a failing grade at the end of the trimester or I could try to do something different.  I decided since it’s my class, and it’s all about computer literacy, that I could teach him to repair computers and have a clear conscience about knowing that he learned something while I had him.  I quit trying to make him do the same thing as my other students and began to set aside computers for him to repair.  I told him he would receive a grade based on his effort.  I taught him, little by little, how to do quite a few repairs.  The kid blossomed!  He would walk into my class everyday (at least the days he was at school), tuck in his shirt (which was the only time he would have his shirt tucked in) and start repairing laptops.  I began to let him pick up and deliver laptops and told him I trusted him to behave appropriately in the hallways and in his encounters with the teachers.  He never let me down.  Not once.  In fact, several teachers told me how polite and helpful he had been to them. He began to smile and his smile would light up your world!  He missed so much school, I had to have a talk with him and told him how much I depended on him to help me get the laptops repaired and his attendance improved.   Of course, we had many, many times when he came to school and stayed only until the end of my second period class and then cut the rest of the day but, at least, it was better than missing the entire day.  I was surprised that none of my other students said, “How come he doesn’t have to do the lessons like the rest of us?” but they never did.  Sometimes, young people are more intuitive and compassionate than we give them credit for.

Yesterday was the last day of the trimester.  I get all new students starting next week.  ”T” asked me to check his schedule and see what class he would be taking second period and I told him.  He got upset and said, “That teacher HATES me.  I got suspended because I got in an argument with him in the cafeteria and he got in my face!”  (Actually, “T” has gotten into more than one fight in the cafeteria and I think the teacher was lucky that he just got an argument.)  I talked to him.  Gave him that old standard teacher talk about doing the best you can.  Gave him a hug and told him how much I appreciated all his help and sent him on his way.  After class was over, I couldn’t let go of it.  It really bothered me.  I just couldn’t put my mind at ease.  I went to the AP and began the conversation with, “Bill, do you remember when you told me that “T” just needed some love?” He laughed and said, “Yeah, and you know where he is now, don’t you?  You know what you are to him? You’re his surrogate mother!”  I really hadn’t thought of it that way.  I’ve never discussed “T”s home situation with him but I guess it makes sense.  I do worry about him.  I said, “I know he’s already taken my class but is there anyway I could keep him in some capacity?”  Bill was all smiles and asked if I’d be willing to make sure he received at least some of the same curriculum he’d receive in his new computer class and I told him I’d do the best I could to integrate some of it into my time with him and he changed “T”s schedule so I could keep him 2nd period. I went in search of “T” to tell him to report to me next week instead of the other class but he wasn’t in school.  After leaving my class, he cut the rest of the day.  Now I have a second period class with one student. I’m not sure if that’s the right thing to do.  Maybe I’m just enabling him by not having him move on with things the way they are and learn to deal with the other teacher.  I don’t know.  What have I gotten myself into?  Sometimes, it’s difficult to know what’s in a child’s best interest.  So many times, it just comes down to the heart.  I feel it in my heart.  I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense but I think I need to keep him a while longer.  I can’t be his mother.  I can be his teacher. I wrote a poem about this very kind of thing about ten years ago when I was dealing with the same sort of circumstances with a young girl.  I titled it “I am not your Mother” and it was published in a literary magazine.  I may try to find it again.  See if it evokes the same feelings.  It’s hard to be a teacher.  There are, occasionally, those children who make my heart bleed.  The ones you want to wrap your coat around and carry off to a safe and warm place.

Now I’m crying.  Damn, I’ve gotta stop this.  

It’s time to get to work.  I’ve got a lot of housecleaning to do so DH and I can be ready to take off tomorrow morning.  Gotta get the entire weekend’s work done today.

 

27thFebruary

School’s out!

Just taking a second to blog.  The bell just rang and the weekend’s begun!  We had a terrible storm last night complete with thunder, lightning, torrential downpours, and wind.  I woke up at 4:00 to discover that the electric was out.  It’s really unusual when it goes out at my house.  I set the kitchen timer for another hour but there wasn’t any getting back to sleep with the storm.

The electric came back on around 5:00 but the internet and satellite didn’t.  Don’t know if it’ll be on when I get home so I’m taking a quick minute to blog even though THE BELL JUST RANG AND I’M FREE FOR THE WEEKEND!!

Thanks for the supportive comments about yesterday’s meeting!  Pitiful, Arrogant, Upchuck Lowlife called in sick today.  Coincidence?

26thFebruary

Just my (pot)luck…

Potluck luncheon today.  I’m going to do the best I can.  I made a huge pot of Vegetable Barley Soup to take to school.  At 71 calories per cup and packed with healthy stuff, I’m hoping it will keep me on the straight and narrow.  Having these potlucks every two weeks can be tempting but the principal loves them and I’m kind of the organizer of them.  Our new principal is very much about building community.  In my opinion, she’s made some great strides in that direction.  She loves having teachers sit down for a few minutes and have an opportunity to communicate and share.  In all honesty, I’ve gotten much closer to some staff members that I barely knew before.

After finishing up the soup yesterday evening, I took a stroll around the neighborhood.  It was 55 degrees and felt good out there.  Today we’re heading for 65.  Whoo Hooo!  Can I wear sandals?

I hate the way they’re doing American Idol this year.  Last week, they only chose three to move on to the finals and I liked at least six of them.  On the other hand, last night was terrible.  I wasn’t blown away by any of them.  A couple of them were okay but most were sadly lacking.

 

  1:30 - Just finished a meeting with the principal.  Looks like my job is safe for another year.  That makes me HAPPY because it means I don’t have to make difficult choices.  With the budget cuts, there’s no funding for my position next year.  That means the school has to pay my salary instead of the state.  Of course, funds are tight at the school level and there aren’t too many resource positions like mine that are being completely funded by the local school.  So, I figured I had three choices for next year:
1)  Teach full time classes in either math or technology
2)  Transfer to another school and fill a resource position or
3)  Move up the corporate ladder and take a job at the district level.

Of course, with Andrew and Steven going to school here only because I work here, I wanted to do everything I could to stay here until they graduate and was pretty much resigned to the idea of going back into the classroom full time.  There’s nothing wrong with that but it’s kind of like a demotion and I worked hard to get where I am.  Still, I would never take them out of this school when they’re so close to graduation and love it so much.

Today, the principal calls me in to her office and tells me she’d like for me to continue pretty much doing what I do next year.  She’d like me to teach a class in Digital Citizenship to a class in the middle school and one to a class in the high school and the rest of the day, three periods out of five, I’d be free to resource.  She also asked me some point blank questions about Pitiful, Arrogant, Upchuck, Lowlife’s job and wanted to know why, if we’re both in the same position, he isn’t doing the things for the school that I do?  I tried not to let my personal feelings color my answers to her but she said she didn’t understand why I was taking on the full load of resourcing and pulled no punches in telling me that she doesn’t feel that Paul is pulling his weight and I may be the only TRT in the school next year.

I feel vindicated.  The woman sees what’s going on and is dealing with it. 

26thFebruary

Thursday Menu

Weight 176.5
1.5/3 

I requested a personal day for this coming Monday.  DH wants to use that other freebie room we have at Grand Victorian before it expires.  We get three personal days per year and I have one more left.  My old principal always said, “You don’t have to ask me for permission for a personal day.  You’re entitled to them.  Just email me and let me know when you’re taking one at least a day in advance so I know what’s going on.”  My new principal’s policy is that you have to request it and have her approve it.  I requested the day before Christmas break in September because we were taking that cruise and she kept me hanging on until the last minute.  Said she could only grant a personal day if no more than 10% of the staff were out.  I don’t like that.  If you request it early enough, she shouldn’t approve anyone ahead of you and there’s no way she can know if people are going to be out sick until the day comes so why doesn’t she just go ahead and approve it?  I requested it last Friday and still haven’t gotten approval.  Guess I’ll ask her again today.

Now, I’m going to take a shower, shake up my scales, and see what I weigh.

Oops!  Strike the entire first paragraph.  Just checked my email and she approved it.  Guess I’m taking a break and heading up to the casino Sunday afternoon.

12:00 - Just finished lunch.  I didn’t make it to the store yesterday so I still don’t have much to eat around the house that isn’t off limits.  Found a frozen Boston Market turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and veggies Hearty Servings Entree.  I was shocked to see that it only had 360 calories.  Not too shabby…

5:45 - Doesn’t look like I’m going to get time to exercise this evening.  I have to make a huge pot of Vegetable Barley Soup (the recipe’s in My Favorite Recipes) for the potluck at school tomorrow.  I’ve got a massive stock pot and I’m going to be stirring and peeling and dicing for quite a while.  I have promised myself that I’ll go out and walk around the neighborhood before I go to bed, however.

Did good on food today.  Forgot that I was on a diet when I did ESS after school and I indulged in a bag of baked chips and a sugar-free Tropicana before it dawned on me.  I checked the labels and the chips were only 130 calories and the drink was 5 so I guess it won’t kill me. 

Now, back to the peeling, chopping, and stirring…

25thFebruary

Wednesday Menu

Weight 176.5  (1.5/3)

Breakfast:
Trail Mix (150)

Lunch:
Boston Market frozen turkey dinner (380)

Snack:
Lays Baked Potato Chips (130)
Tropicana Juice (5)

Dinner:
3 bowls Vegetable Barley Soup (210)
2 low-fat granola bars (260)

Snack:
2 low-fat, sugar-free fudgesicles (90) 

Total: 1,225

24thFebruary

Tuesday Menu (1.5/3)

Weight 176.5

Breakfast:  Trail mix (200)

Lunch:
Green salad with salad toppins and Hendrick’s dressing (100)

Dinner:
Two fish sandwiches on lite buns (600)
Broccoli (100)
Tossed Salad (50)

Total (1,050)

Woke up a few minutes ago.  Actually, I woke up quite a few times last night.  Like every hour or so…  to pee…I must have been holding a ton of water.  I figured I’d show a weight loss of at least a couple of pounds this morning.  Jumped on the scale and it showed 155.  Wow!  That trail mix must be a real winner! Lost 23 pounds in one night!  Reset the scale, hopped on and it showed 152.  Did it again and I got 157. Damn!  Guess my scale is broken.  I don’t know what I weigh.  I have another set around here somewhere but don’t know if they’re calibrated correctly.  Guess I’m gonna have to switch and I won’t know how much I’ve lost.  That’s depressing.

Ten minutes later:  Went to the bathroom and tried the scales again.  Now I’m down to 132.  I found the other ones.  They show 178.5.  I know that set weighs heavy.  I would always weigh less at the doctor’s office than I did at home when I used them before and we know that’s not right.  Still…it’s all I’ve got. Guess I’ll have to go with it.

Aiming for another perfect day.  This one should be easy.  It’s one of the few days when I don’t have anything going on after school and should be out of the building and halfway home by 3:00.  Maybe I can go to the grocery and get some healthy food in here.

6:00 am- Finished my shower and tried my old scales one more time.  Gave them a good shake.  I didn’t hear anything rattling around but, when I stepped on them, they showed 176.5.  Did it three times in a row and it remained steady.  So…I guess I lost 1 1/2 pounds yesterday.  I figured that I ought to calibrate the other scales to be the same but I noticed that there isn’t any way to do it.  No dials or wheels.  What you see is what you get.  At least, if the white ones don’t work, I know that the stainless steel ones are 1 1/2 pounds heavier.

8:30 - Blog, Blog, Blog…I’m not happy so I think I’ll just keep my blog minimized on my computer and write throughout the day.  I’m not happy because last Wednesday, the internet was down and my students didn’t get to work on their semester project.  On Thursday, I had to attend my monthly TRT meeting.  I had scheduled the deadline for Friday.  They scheduled a pep rally and I didn’t even get to see my 2nd period class on Friday.  Yesterday, after hearing their sob stories about no internet on Wed, me not being there on Thurs, and not having class on Friday, I extended the deadline to tomorrow and promised them they could work on it yesterday and today.  Yesterday, we had a fire drill during class and that used up nearly 20 minutes.  Now, today, I just found out that we have a “Cultural Diversity” assembly that will eat up the entire period.  Hello!!!  The end of the semester is Friday and I’ll have all new students starting Monday.  Could we have class now and then?

Goal Setting - Think I’ll plan a couple of short term goals here.  Goal number 1: Be at 175 by March 1.  Goal number 2: Be at 165 by April 1.  Gonna borrow Brandie’s trick of writing down the progress on each daily blog.

3:10 - WOW!  I’m home and it’s only 3:10.  That certainly doesn’t happen very often.  Waiting for DH to get home (about 15 minutes from now) so I can put together a grocery list, get some healthy food in here, and then come home and exercise.

School really made my blood boil today.  We had that assembly on Cultural Diversity and several teachers and students were asked to write poetry about their ethnicity.  Phyllisann is Mexican and was one of them. She wrote her poem over the game weekend and rehearsed the Hell out of it and it was truly beautiful.  As soon as she got up to read it for 1,600 kids and a hundred teachers, the kids started booing her.  It was terrible.  It started with a group of ninth graders and then was picked up by the rest of the kids.  Granted, there were a lot of good kids who didn’t partake but it was still nasty.  Why did they do it?  Who knows. Probably because she has to write up a lot of referrals and call a lot of parents because she’s thrust in that role of being a pseudo assistant principal. She gets to do all the nasties without the accompanying pay or position and the kids know that.  I felt so bad for her.  She toughed it out.  Put on a strong face and did her thing.  It was only later, around those of us who are her good friends, that she let it get to her and cried. Kids can be such shits sometimes. 

4:30 - Got in a thirty minute workout.  Thought I’d go for forty but I got too hot and bummed out.  Talk about out of shape!

23rdFebruary

Monday Menu

Weight 178

Breakfast:
1/4 cup Trail Mix (130)

Lunch:
Green Salad with Trail Mix (250)

Dinner:
chicken breast (350)
green beans (50)
Corn (100)
Tossed Salad (100)

Snack:
2 Schwann sugar free fudgesicles (90) 

Total 1,070

23rdFebruary

Just another Monday

I’m going to be tired tonight.  I didn’t go to bed until eleven and then had to pee at 4:45 so I went ahead and got up.  Could have slept another thirty minutes but I knew I wouldn’t be able to.

It was good to snuggle up with DH last night and sleep in my own bed.  I wanted to blog yesterday evening but you would have thought I’d been gone two weeks instead of two days.  DH and the boys were all over me.  Evidently, however, nobody loves me enough to crawl out of bed at 4:45 to chat so I get to blog a little bit.

Had a good time with the girls but the weather was freezing. It was absolutely, totally, TOO cold!   It was 9 degrees Saturday morning and I don’t think it got much warmer all day.  We didn’t do much hiking in the woods.  I wanted to take a bunch of pictures but, when I got my camera out, the batteries were dead.  I took a handful using Pam’s camera when she, Phyllisann and I went out for a walk Saturday morning but I didn’t get any of the entire group and Pam didn’t want any pictures taken.  She’s a little bit paranoid about photos.  Still, Phyllisann couldn’t resist trying to snowball me when I got this one of her.

We played lots of games Friday evening and feasted on all kinds of good stuff but the highlight was the Chicken Alfredo we had for dinner.  Saturday, we drove into Nashville to shop.  I didn’t like the stores.  All that cutesy, country kish.  Quilts, potpouri, scented candles, bunny rabbits, lace and frills.  Not really my thing.  I did find a tee shirt for Phyllisann, however, that said, “What happens with the Sisters, Stays with the Sisters”.  We were going to go somewhere else but the snow was getting heavy so we decided to play it safe and head back to the cabin.

Saturday night was another game night.  There was one new game that I have to get for the boys.  It’s battery operated and reminds me of the old Simon game.  You get four colored discs and slide them under an arch that senses the color and tells you which color to slide next.   It gets faster and faster until the discs are flying under it as you and your partner try to keep up and slide the correct color.  Saturday night, we never got to dinner.  Phyllisann took over the kitchen to make some Mexican tapas (appetizers) and made so many different kinds that we were all stuffed by dinnertime so we never fixed any but just continued to snack all evening.  Especially when Gina brought out the chocolate covered strawberries, no-bake cookies, and pumpkin mousse. 

Sunday morning, we feasted on omelets and fresh fruit and then gathered all our stuff and headed home. Phyllisann and I headed up to the Outlet Mall in Edinburgh since we were just a few miles from there and I got two beautiful jackets at Coldwater Creek and a couple of Puma hoodies for the twins.  One of my jackets is a rust colored suede and the other is a beautiful, embroidered denim jacket.  I might have gotten into a problem on the denim.  It was missing a button so it was reduced 90%.  I figured I’d take the top button off, sew it on the missing spot, and put a different button on the top as an accent.  Good plan…but, when I looked at it last night, I noticed that the buttons are riveted.  Don’t know how that’s going to work.

Today, Chickies, I am MOTIVATED!  Gotta get back on track.  Going for a perfect day of healthy eating, exercise, and a weigh in.  Hope the scales go that high…

6:00 a.m. - Finished my shower.  Weighing in at 178.  Shouldn’t be too hard for Phyllisann to hit THAT target.

3:00 p.m.- Sitting here at work waiting for Andrew to finish ESS.  I usually work until 4:00 but I don’t feel like doing that today.  I’m going to look up some personal stuff on the internet, blog a little bit, and then head home.  So far, I’ve done great with the food today.  All I have left to do is eat a healthy dinner and work out and I’ll have a perfect day.  Someone just sent me a joke.  Here ya go…

When to Start Cussing
A 6 year old and a 4 year old are upstairs in  their bedroom. ‘You know what?’ says  the 6 year  old.  ’I think it’s about time we started
cussing. The 4 year  old  nods his head in approval.  The 6 year old  continues, ‘When we go downstairs for breakfast, I’m  gonna say  something with hell and you say  something with ass..’ The 4 year old agrees with  enthusiasm. When  the mother walks into the kitchen and asks the 6 year  old what he
wants for breakfast,  he replies,  ’Aw, hell, Mom, I guess I’ll have some Cheerios.’  WHACK!  He flies out of his  chair, tumbles across the  kitchen  floor, gets up, and runs upstairs  crying his eyes out, with his mother in  hot  pursuit, slapping his rear end with every step. His mom  locks him in his room and shouts, ‘You can stay there  until I let you out!’ She  then  comes back downstairs, looks at the 4 year old and  asks with a stern voice, ‘And what do YOU want for  breakfast, young man?’  I don’t know, he blubbers, ‘but you can bet your fat ass it won’t be  Cheerios!’

5:00 - Just finished a thirty minute workout.  How quickly the body forgets!  Alternated between the treadmill at a 3% incline at 3 mph, step aerobics, and low impact aerobics.  Felt tired and sluggish but, at least, I did it.  Now, I just have to finish up the day with a good diet and I’m done.  Can’t decide what to do about calories.  I’m getting flack from everyone about doing 1200 a day but I don’t feel good about upping it to 1500.  I’ll have to give that some thought.

10:00 - Looks like I made it.  One perfect day.  I’ll try for another one tomorrow.  I wish I had eaten more calories but I don’t have the kind of food in the house that I need.  Guess I should go to the store tomorrow.  Right now, I’d love to have some Kashi and soy milk but I don’t have either.

 

Home from Indiana.  Had a great time with the girls.  Here’s a picture of Phyllisann and me before we went shopping in town.  Yes, it snowed.  Yes, we got lost (but just a little bit).  Yes, we had a wonderful weekend.  Right now, I’m going to unpack and take a soak in the spa.

6:00 - Okay, I’m all soaked up and relaxed.  We headed out Friday afternoon and arrived at Moonstraka about an hour after dark.  Pam gave us pretty good directions and we only had one little misstep.  We wound up taking the wrong road for a couple of miles.  One of those one lane gravel tracts with ditches on the sides of the road.  Phyllisann was finally understanding what I meant about the isolation out there when we crossed over a creek on a covered bridge.  No turning around.  No phone.  We lucked out, however, because the road looped back around to the main highway and we resumed our trip. 

I’m going to have to quit blogging because DH has missed me and won’t leave me alone enough to type.  Later, girls!

My cell phone started buzzing with emails yesterday during the meeting and I had to turn it off.  A couple of Tagged people started buying me as a pet and there were 52 emails over an hour as one bought me and then the other.  I don’t like being “owned” by someone… especially a couple of guys I don’t know but the bidding war took my value from $18,000 to $1,118,720.  Took every penny of my “cash” to buy myself back.  I rarely visit that site.  Lots of idiots and perverts but I don’t wanna be anyone’s pet.

Last day of what has been a killer week.  As soon as I get off today, Pyllisann and I are heading to Indiana for the game weekend.  Yes, I invited Phyllisann.  I think she’ll make a great addition to the group.  She’s so much fun!  She must have had a bad day yesterday, however.  I emailed her a couple of times during the meeting and she sounded really discouraged and worn out.  Pyllisann is in principal training.  She’s taking a course in administration that has her “shadowing” the principal and has her pretty much at the beck and call of our principal and assistant principals.  In other words, she’s interning and doing the work of an administrator without the pay, recognition, or actual authority.  Tough spot to be in.  She works long hours and gets to do a lot of “dirty work”.  In fact, she’s performing all the duties of our Testing Coordinator who transferred at the beginning of the year and one of our counselors who transferred in January.  They get a lot of work out of Phyllisann for very little money.  Don’t know what the problem was yesterday but I’ll see her today.  Sounds to me like she needs a long, relaxing weekend!

I’m off to the shower.  First one in means all the hot water I want!

4:00 - Okay, I’m home and waiting for Phyllisann.  The principal told her she wanted her to be at a meeting after school today.  Crap!  Of course, she can’t say “No!”  I just hope they don’t keep her too long.  I DON’T want to be out in the boonies after dark trying to find this place again.  

What is that noise?  It’s windy outside and something is squeaking.  A door to something?  Don’t know what it is but I’m sitting in the kitchen and it’s driving me batty.  Guess I’ll have to go outside in a little bit and see what it is.

Easy day coming up.  I have a TRT (Technology Resource Teacher) meeting/training coming up today so I get to go in 30 minutes later and don’t have to stay after!  That means I can relax a bit this morning.  DS will be taking the boys to school and that gives me even more time.  Maybe I can catch a couple blogs.

Does anyone watch American Idol?  I don’t like the way they’re doing it this year.  Only choosing three out of the first twelve contestants.  There were a couple who really did a good job and had a lot of potential but they don’t even get a chance to grow.  They’re already gone before it even begins.  On the other hand, the oil rig guy is a real sweetheart but doesn’t have anywhere near the talent of a couple of the others who’ve already been eliminated.  I’m thinking in particular of Anoup and the other guy, Barry?

Had one last parent conference yesterday for the young lady who cursed three teachers and threw her little hissy fit that put the AP on my sh8t list last month.  Mom said it was the wrong time of month for her and she “always gets that way”.  That’s one of my pet peeves.  I hate when women do that.  Okay, so the hormones are raging.  Big Deal!  Get over it!  It’s no wonder men still stereotype women and throw out some crass remark whenever we get angry because so many women use menstruation as an excuse.  Try doing that on the job, Chickie, and see how long the boss puts up with it.  ”Oh, I know I cursed four customers yesterday and threw a book at one of them but I was on my period!

Okay, let me try to catch up with a couple of blogs before I get in the shower.

6:30 - Crap!  I let the boys take their showers first while I read a couple of blogs and Steven (who would spent the entire day in there if I let him) just said, “Nana, I didn’t take a very long shower but I noticed that the water was getting cold when I finished.”  It’s snowing…the high temp today is supposed to be 30 degrees and I’m going to get a cold shower.

Slurp…slurp….Ahhhh, coffee! I’ve got to wonder if the last two days were worth it. We made up a missed school day. True. But at what price? I’m thinking back 17 years ago. I got up every morning at 3:30 and walked six miles delivering newspapers. Had three routes. Then I’d come home and sleep for 45 minutes before getting the boys up for school. I’d get them ready and out the door and then I’d go to a dental office where I worked as a dental hygienist from 8:00 to 4:00. I’d get off work at 4:00 and attend classes full time at U of L from 5:00 to 9:00 in the evenings. I also worked as a tutor in mathematics and tutored on the weekends. Did that for six years in order to become a teacher.

Now, I work a couple of 12 hour days and it damn near kills me. No, the old girl just ain’t what she used to be. At least, these last two days are done and over with.

Yesterday’s Open House went well for the graphics department. I think they enjoyed it and I know a lot of teachers learned more about the program and got better acquainted with the teachers.

Today, I have to work a regular day and then an extra hour and a half for ESS (Extended School Services). Seems almost like a day off! It’s Homecoming Week and there are a lot of “dress down” kind of days this week. I don’t usually get into that stuff too much but, after two twelve hour days wearing heels and dressing up, I’m ready for a change. Today is “nerd day”. Going to wear a shapeless black tee shirt that says “Go, Mustangs!”, a pair of high water jeans, and some Reeboks with white socks. Close enough to get away with a day of total comfort. To me, it’s not about school spirit. It’s about being totally exhausted and too tired to care what I look like. I’m not really trying to be nerdie but the high waters and socks ought to count. Maybe I should put some tape on a pair of glasses.

6:00 am - Decided I ought to step on the scales. I mean, really, I’m just about as miserable as I can get so why not get it over with? Seriously contemplated getting back to diet and exercise for at least a week before doing the dirty deed so I wouldn’t get so depressed but, what the Hell? Not knowing isn’t going to change anything.

So…I did it. 176. Not as bad as I feared. This time last year, I was at 204. Got down to…what?…165 or so last October? So…I’m almost 30 pounds to the good for the last year. Next week, it’s back to work.

Yesterday went fairly well. Up until the last couple of hours. They seemed to take forever. Of course, when I finally finished at six, someone grabbed me for another fifteen minutes and I felt like screaming, “Where have you been the last twelve hours? Go away! Leave me alone!”

One more day of parent conferences. Today is also the Open House for Graphics but I don’t have to do much for that. I helped plan it, sent out invitations, and got some of the food planned and purchased. There’s going to be a state senator visiting and a bunch of Ivory Tower occupants but most of them will be there early and I’ll be done with it. Gotta dress up again today so I’d better get to it.

7:00 - OMG! I’m so tired! Idiot that I am, I got into fixing student accounts on a bunch of computers in the last hour and then got pulled for something so when it was finally time to get out of there, I had to spend an extra twenty minutes putting 30 computers away and locking them up. I had to pee so bad I wasn’t sure I’d make it home and yet, I was too damn tired to go to the bathroom. I just wanted to go home. That’s pathetic.

Now, I’m home.  I made the effort to pee and that’s all I’m doing.  I’m throwing my butt on the couch and someone better make me a sandwich or something cause I’m not moving.  I’m done.  I quit.  Finito!

Gonna be a long day. Teachers are working till 6:00 tonight. With all the days we’ve missed school, they’ve decided to have parent conference day take place from 2:30 to 6:00 tonight and tomorrow. Ugh, two back to back eleven hour work days. The kids would have been off today and teachers would have worked. Now, it’s a regular school day and teachers will stay until 6:00 tonight and tomorrow to get conference day in. Gonna be a long one. The PTA is fixing food for us. I don’t know what they’ll have but we won’t starve. I don’t have a clue about what to wear. I’ve got to look nice for the parents but I have to be comfy for the long day. Guess I should have thought about that yesterday.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I was going to help the graphics department at school with an open house kind of thing? They’re finally going to try to do that tomorrow, too. I had to freeze all the ham, turkey, and buns. I got them out of the freezer last night and put them in the trunk of my car. Hope it’s all still good. I think the ham and turkey will be fine but I don’t know how the buns are going to be and I’m not going to be able to buy anymore. Hope I don’t have a couple hundred stale buns out there. I swear, we girls have more problems with our buns…

11:45 - Almost noon! Five hours down, six to go!

4:30 - The PTA gave us apples, oranges, potato chips, tortilla chips, salsa, veggies and dip, and cookies. You gotta be kidding?? I’m tired, I’m hungry, I need to go to the bathroom. 1 1/2 more hours. (sigh)

7:00 - Home.  Finally. Twelve and a half hours since I left for work this morning and I have to do it again tomorrow.  As soon as it’s a little bit darker, I’m going to go outside, strip off my clothes, and slide this poor old tired body into the spa.

I have one sister and I love her dearly. Three brothers. I had two sons, my brothers all had sons, my sister had a son. My sons had sons. Even our dogs and cats were males. Surrounded by men, I couldn’t wait until the day I had a daughter in law to go shopping with, to chat with, to do “woman” things. Didn’t get it. Got two dingbats that drive me crazy.

David finally broke it to us yesterday. He let Stacy come home. She promises to do better. One psycho, bipolar, totally self-absorbed DIL.

Then there’s the other one…Tina. Darryl started seeing her 20 years ago as a “friend”. He “felt sorry for her”. He and his friend got pregnant with twins and have been bickering and arguing ever since. They’re still married although I don’t know why. They haven’t lived together for two years. He has his girlfriends and she has her boyfriends. They did, eventually, give me a granddaughter and then proceeded to ruin her. She’s in the third grade and can barely read. She’s already failed once and they’ve been told there’s no way she’ll pass this year. She stays up all night and sleeps all day during school. She sits in front of the TV, munching Little Debbie Cakes and drinking soda and has learned to fend for herself. She misses at least one day a week of school.

Yesterday, Tina told me that she’s leaving for Disney World this morning. Disney World???? Why are you going to Disney World? Doesn’t Holly have school? She tells me she wants to take her to Disney World as a treat because I took the boys on a cruise over Christmas and she wants Holly to get to take a trip. She isn’t going to miss an entire week of school…only four days. They’ll be home Thursday. True, I took the boys on a cruise but they’re 18 years old, they live with us, and it was over Christmas Break. And I gave Holly boucoup bucks worth of goodies for Christmas. I said, “Why don’t you wait for spring break?” It’ll be crowded over spring break. I said, “It’s going to take you two days to get there, you’ll spend one day, and then two days to get home.” I know…that’s okay. She’ll still enjoy it. I said, “Tina, she really shouldn’t miss so much school. She’s already so far behind.” She says, “They already said she’s going to fail the year so it won’t make any difference.”

So then, two hours later, Tina is sobbing and crying to DS because her truck blew up and needs a new motor and it’s going to cost almost $400.00 to get one and she just doesn’t have that kind of money. So, she rents a super-duper van with a TV and all kinds of goodies to drive to Florida and, including the insurance, it costs her $395.00. For five days. For one day at Disney World. If she can’t afford $400.00 for a new motor, how can she afford $1,000 for hotels, meals, Disney World, and a van? And then, when she gets home, her truck will still be out of commission.

This whole thing is so stupid it’s beyond belief. Then Holly lets it slip…”Mommy’s taking her boyfriend with us.” Well, then, that explains it. Doesn’t it? It’s not about taking Holly on a trip at all. It’s about Tina and her boyfriend getting to take a trip and taking Holly along for the ride.

Really…I’m not that picky. I just want a woman in my life who has some measure of common sense, responsibility, and commitment to her family. Is that asking so much?

9:00 am - Splish Splash!

I’m getting ready to jump back up on that wagon. After next weekend’s outing with the girls, I’m prepared to come home and get back to eating healthy and exercising starting next Monday. I’m ready for it. I’m actually looking forward to it. I’m tired of eating junk and laying around. One of the things I hear about so often is how beneficial water is to weight loss. I don’t believe that. I know a lot of people do but I did some research on the topic a while back and here’s what I found out:

Top Ten Diet Myths - Myth: Drinking lots of water will help you lose weight.

Fact: If your daily drinking habits consist of sweetened teas, juice drinks and sodas, then replacing them with water can result in consuming fewer calories, which can lead to weight loss. But simply upping your water intake will not, unfortunately, help you shed pounds…

Five Myths About Drinking Water - …Scientists say there’s no clear health benefit to chugging or even sipping water all day. So where does the standard advice of drinking eight glasses each day come from? “Nobody really knows,” says Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a kidney expert at the University of Pennsylvania….

Dieting Myths - Four Common Dieting Myths Exposed - …We’ve all seen someone around the office or at the gym lugging around a gallon of Sparkletts in the hopes that drinking water will help them lose weight. While there is certainly nothing harmful about indulging in this diet myth, there is no connection between consuming water and losing weight…

Diet Blog - The Mythical Daily Water Requirement - 8 glasses - that’s what most people think they need as a daily requirement. Copious water intake is supposed to keep organs functioning properly, skin supple and body weight at bay. Nonsense! - say researchers from the University of Pennsylvania who conducted a study to test these theories (which will be published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology).

ABC of Fitness - Staying hydrated is essential to keep the body in top shape, but those who hold on to the belief that drinking more water will keep the extra weight at bay are sadly mistaken. Yes, your stomach will feel fuller for a little while, but eventually, your body will still crave for food to satisfy its nutritional needs. Also, contrary to popular belief, drinking excessive amounts of water will not speed up one’s metabolism nor will it flush fat away.

I could go on but you get the point. I don’t drink a lot of water. I drink when I’m thirsty. I don’t drink soda or fruit juice. I drink coffee, I drink unsweetened tea, occasionally, I drink a diet soda. I drink water when I want a drink of water. I usually wind up drinking about 3 glasses of water a day.  When I’m trying to be good, I try to drink more but I think I’m done with that.  I don’t think I’m going to lug a water bottle around and try to force myself to drink it just for the health benefits. When I need a glass of water, I think my body will let me know I’m thirsty.  Anybody else got an opinion?

14thFebruary

It’s alive!

Yesterday just about wiped me out. I can’t believe how sick I was. I vomited at least a dozen times. It got to the point where I was sucking on a piece of ice because I was so dehydrated but even a small drink of water would start the heaves again. My God, it was awful. I had chills, stomach cramps, and I spent much of the day heaving over the toilet bowl drenched in sweat. Then, as quickly as it had come, it was gone. I stopped vomiting around 1:00 yesterday afternoon, cramps stopped around 6:00 yesterday evening and chills were gone by 8:00. It was almost like I had food poisoning but no one else got sick and I didn’t eat anything different. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until DIL stopped by and told me she and DGD had the exact same thing earlier in the week. Today, my stomach feels like someone punched me!

Anyway, I do seem to be back among the living so I’m going to try to catch up on some of your blogs.

9:00 - Got about halfway caught up on blogs. Decided to take a break and do some blogging myself before getting back to it. Today is Valentine’s Day and the twins’ birthdays. Hard to believe they’re eighteen years old! My God! Where did the time go? They’ve lived with us for five years now and I still see them as little boys. Couldn’t get a straight answer from either about what they want for their birthdays so we decided to get each of them a charge card with $100.00 on it. Steven did say he’d like a new desktop computer. Fat chance, buddy. Maybe for graduation… We have five computers in the house and they’re all pretty good ones so he’s not exactly suffering.

DS says I’m starting to fill out my pants pretty good. Guess that’s a fairly simple way of saying I need to get back on my diet. Of course, I can feel the waistbands tightening so it’s not like it’s a surprise. I’m planning to get back to it after next weekend. I’ll have to get really organized and start keeping track of calories and working out again. I’ve gotten back into that couch potato routine.

Next weekend is the girl’s game weekend. Ten or twelve of us rent a cabin up in Indiana and tour wineries, eat, shop, eat, play games, eat, and party all weekend. Last year was the first year I was invited and the first year they rented Moonstraka cabin. The requirements? You have to be invited by one of the group and you have to be a strong, independent woman. Most of these women are career women with demanding jobs and they juggle work and family and hold responsible positions in the work force. No room for whiners or softies. I headed up there (about 90 miles) after work on Friday. We were supposed to drive to Nashville, Indiana, go down the road to Brown County Cabin Rentals, and pick up maps with our names on them in the mailbox. Shortly before I got off the interstate for Nashville, Sistah Pam called on my cell and said, “This is important! Call me back as soon as you get to the rental office to get directions! The ones they gave us are total crap!”

I got to the office (it was closed but I knew it would be) and the parking lot was on a slope and covered with ice. I slipped and slid over to the mailbox and got my envelope and then made my way back to the car. I called Pam and she said, “The directions………no sense…….took forever….red barn…..fork in road.”

I said, “Pam, I can’t understand you. You’re breaking up really bad.”

“write down….important……right hand turn…write this down….children playing.”

“I’m trying to get it, Pam, but I’m only getting little snippets. Tell me again!”

“no sense……impossible……..fork in road……..12 miles…..red barn….dog………watch out……….sign…..signal…………children…….90 degree turn……….bridge…….yellow…..hill.”

“Okay, Pam, I got it. See you in a few minutes.” I mean, really, what was the sense in continuing? I had the directions from the real estate office. I figured she was trying to tell me that they were really vague but I’ve got a pretty good sense of direction so I figured I’d get there eventually. It was just getting dark and snow was falling when I pulled back out onto the road. The directions read something like this:

“Proceed five miles down the highway to the center of Nashville. Turn left on Main Street and follow it until you come to the sharp ninety degree turn in the road. Take the road that leads off to the left at the curve. Follow this road until you come to the red barn on the right. Turn right about half a mile after the barn. Follow this road to the sign that says Children Playing. Turn right and go over the bridge and then follow the road until you come to the fork in the road. Bear left and follow the road up the hill. You will see the cabin on the left.”

Okay, sounded easy enough. I went to the center of town and then turned left onto Main Street. Next, I had to watch for the ninety degree curve and take a left. I drove, and drove, and drove. The entire road was curvy and twisty and snow covered. I drove for around ten miles and then got to thinking that I must have missed the ninety degree curve. I pulled over to get the directions out and call Pam. There wasn’t any signal and my phone was worthless so I gave another look at the directions. I was reading them again when a ranger pulled up beside me and said, “Are you okay?”

I said, “Yes, I’m fine, but I think I’m lost. I’m looking for Moonstraka cabin.”

He said, “I never heard of it but there are a lot of cabins around here.”

I said, “Well, I was supposed to get on Main Street back in Nashville and then follow it to the ninety degree curve and make a left.”

He said, “I think I know where you’re talking about. Follow me. I’m going to go up here and we’re going to come to a sharp curve where I’m going to stay on this road and you turn left when I stop and signal for you to do so. I’m not familiar with Moonstraka but there are all kinds of cabins up there. It must be one of them.”

Okey, dokey! No problemo! I followed him for three or four miles and we came to a sharp curve. It didn’t look any different from the thirty or forty curves I’d already passed but he stopped and stuck his arm out the window and pointed left and I honked my horn, waved, and turned left. Next step was to look for a red barn on the right. Of course, it was pitch dark by then and I was trying to figure out how I was going to tell if the barn was red but, at this point, I decided any old barn would do. I followed the road and it got extremely narrow and began to climb up into steep hills. I passed turnoffs for the Girl Scout camp, the Boy Scout camp, the 4-H camp, and the Christian Fellowship Camp but they were all dark and deserted. I doubt if the Girl Scouts go out in the boonies in the middle of February to go camping. The snow kept falling and the road climbed steadily uphill as I began to slip and slide and I decided that I’d better turn around and get out of there as soon as I found a place wide enough. The road narrowed and narrowed until it became a single lane gravel tract with embankments on both sides. I kept driving and driving and didn’t come to any place where I could turn around. I thought about backing up (for ten miles?  in the snow?) and knew that wasn’t possible.   I was forced to keep crawling along, up one hill and down another.  All the time going further and further when all I wanted to do was turn around and go in the other direction. I finally came to a place where a gravel road turned off and I backed in and got turned around. I headed back down the road and, at the top of a hill, my car decided to go sledding. I couldn’t stop it. I just sat there, powerless, as it slid down the hill, the rear end slowly swiveling around and sliding off the road and coming to a stop right at the edge of the embankment. Sh8t!!!

I got out my cell phone and there still wasn’t any signal. I sat there for a minute scanning in all directions but I couldn’t see any lights or any signs of civilization. I got out of the car and walked to the back of it to take a look. The embankment was about four feet deep. My rear tires were right up to the edge and my car was angled with the rear end lower than the front. Given gravity, I figured it was more likely than not that it would finish the slide down into the embankment rather than pull up the rise and back onto the road. I stood there for a minute, the snow softly falling around me and the moonlight bathing the woods in a serene halo of light, and comtemplated my predicament. The longer I comtemplated, the more depressed I became. I looked at my watch. It had been more than an hour and a half since I’d left town. An hour and a half, by car, since I’d seen any real civilization and had a signal for my phone. An hour and a half and the only other vehicle I had seen on the road had been a forest ranger who led me into this God forsaken camping area and then took off for parts unknown. Standing there in my heels with the snow slowly melting around my ankles, I didn’t feel like a strong, independant woman. I felt like a total idiot and wanted to call my hubby to come and get me.  I kept wondering how in the Hell I had gotten to this point. I took stock of my position. Cell phone doesn’t work but I have a suitcase in the trunk with lots of warm clothes and a pair of boots. I have a pot of loaded potato soup and two bags of gourmet cookies and a couple bottles of wine. I guess I could put on some warm clothes, eat some cold soup and get drunk. Other than that, there was only one thing to do. I knew I had to get back in the car and try to pull it out. I didn’t want to think any further ahead. Just pull the car back onto the road. The thought entered my head that a Lincoln Towncar was not really the right vehicle to do this but I quickly put that thought out of my mind and got back in the car. I kicked off my heels, pulled a pair of socks out of my suitcase and put my foot on the pedal. I slowly gave it gas. Gentle…gentle…slow and easy...I held my breath and I felt it pull up and move forward a little bit. Slow..slow…easy…an inch at a time, I eased it up the slope and back onto the road and then, shaking like a leaf, I began to crawl the rest of the way down the hill. I decided that I would follow the tract back to where it began, go back the way I had come and not stop for ANYTHING until I came to civilization. It seems like I drove forever and I was still telling myself to breath deep, keep moving, and focus on nothing but getting back to town when I saw it. A sign that said, “Watch for Children Playing”. I stopped and looked around. Sure enough, right up the road was a bridge. I turned and, soon enough, I saw the cabin. I parked my car, walked into the cabin where the other ladies were heating up homemade soup, playing cards and wolfing down exotic appetizers and said, “I need a drink.”

This year, I think I’ll ride with someone.

6:30 - Just got back from taking the twins out for their birthday dinner.  Their favorite - Golden Corral. Steven ate all white and Andrew ate all fried.  It’s their birthdays so I didn’t bitch.  Steven had big, fluffy yeast rolls, baked potato, steamed rice, and noodles.  Andrew had fried chicken, fried shrimp, french fries, and onion rings.  Gads!  How can they eat that crap??  I had a pretty tasty piece of grilled steak, a salad, baked potato and a piece of chocolate chess pie.  They threatened to burn me at the stake if I told the restaurant staff it was their birthdays.  So I did, of course.  They got the singing waiters and waitresses and a couple of cupcakes with GOBS of icing and gummy bears stuck in them.  (hee, hee)  Just what a couple of 18 year olds want.

13thFebruary

Run, Forrest, Run!

Ugh!  I’m so sick this morning.  Went to bed at 9:00 last night because I was sick and I’m still sick this morning.  Nothing left but dry heaves.  Wish I could take off today but I’ve got too much to do.  Seems like I’m running and running but can’t get caught up.

6:30 - Gave it up.  Had to jump out of the shower and hang over the porcelain throne.  I called in sick and I’m going back to bed.

The winds came and there are 37,000 here in Louisville without power this morning.  Again.  I know underground utilities are really, really expensive but still….  Three major outages this year.  The utility company says we’ll have extra charges added to our monthly bills for the next FIVE years to pay for the outages of the last six months.

DS is having it hard.  I expect him to fold.  He had to get the kids to school yesterday, go to work, get permission to leave work yesterday to pick the kids up after school, bring them over here, go back to work and then pick them up after he finished.  In the meantime, DIL is crying and begging and swearing she’ll do better.  Anybody got a xerox?  Sigh…I know he’s going to give in.  I can tell by the way he was talking about her yesterday.  Making excuses and trying to minimize what she does.