Friday, potluck, fake payday, nice weather!  What more could you ask? 

I did okay at potluck yesterday.  Ate some of my baked ham, a baked sweet potato, green beans, and some apple crisp made with oatmeal and Splenda brown sugar.  Today shouldn’t be much of a problem.  We have lots of leftovers.

Fake payday today!  Since they went to mandatory direct deposit, it never feels like a real payday.  Getting handed that stub just isn’t quite the same but I should reap the rewards of some of the overtime I’ve been racking up.  This check should reflect the optional parent conference day I worked, some ESS, and some home school hours.  I had another session with the whiney kid yesterday but we worked in the family room instead of the kitchen so Mom didn’t hover quite as much but she still popped in a couple of times.  The kid didn’t do half of the homework I assigned her and Mom said she just didn’t understand it.  Yeah, sure.

Last night, DH pointed out that this time next week, we’ll be in Tunica.  He said a friend at work told him that we’ll be passing the original Cracker Barrel restaurant on the way down and they have a buffet.  Big Papa got all excited about that.  Hope we pass it at an inconvenient time.  I already have to contend with the Paula Dean Buffet at the caseeno.  That’s my definition of sin city.  Actually…after thinking about it for a couple of minutes, I don’t think I do too bad at buffets.  They’re all made up of that kind of heavy, comfort food and that’s not my favorite.  I usually load up a plate and then just kind of pick at it and feel bad about leaving an overflowing plate for the server to pick up.  Still, I’ve already recognized that my leftovers are not going to impact some poor starving child in China so I’m okay with letting it just get thrown out.   I’d much rather have small portions of really good food than an overflowing plate of comfort food.

I’m going to set up a workspace in the family room and begin tackling the reupholstery project this weekend.  I know I’m going to feel really good about redoing that chair for less than fifty bucks.  I forgot to get cording so I need to pick some up after work today.  Guess I’ll go by after I finish home schooling.

Gotta run, Chicklets!  Have a fantastic Friday!

29thOctober

Potluck Club!

Giving myself the Straight and Narrow Award for today.  Potluck’s here!  I’m think I’m ready.  I’m bringing a baked ham and baked sweet potatoes with Splenda, cinnamon and Brummel and Brown.  If no one else brings anything healthy, I’m still good to go!  I’ve been trying to stay the path but it’s never easy.  Can’t say I’ve had perfect days since Monday but I’ve done pretty well at staying the course.  Exercise is the hardest part.  I’ve been putting in some long, hard days and then I’m tired and achey by the time I crawl in the door.  Today shouldn’t be too rough.  I’ll be finished and home by 4:00 or so.  I wish I could count on DH to fix something healthy for dinner.

I started working with another home/hospital student yesterday.  Didn’t care for her as much as the other one I’ve been working with.  This one was really whiney and Mom set us up in the dining room and hovered over her the entire time.  This girl had strep throat and it led to some kind of systemic infection.  She’s eleven years old and weighs 57 pounds.  Of course, Mom was no more than 90 pounds herself.  She looked downright anorexic so I don’t know if the kid being so thin was the result of her illness or just the way she is.  At any rate, in the hour that I worked with her she took a phone call (Mom said it was an important call from her father that she’d been waiting for all day), went to the bathroom three times (Mom said when she has to go, she has to GO!), whined continuously and was coddled by Mom every second and wasted a good fifteen minutes because she kept getting off track and telling me about how sick she’d been and how her teachers “don’t even care!”  I have another session with her today and I’m going to tell Mom we need a place to work where we can have privacy so she won’t be “distracted” from what we have to do.  In other words, Mom, get lost and stop coddling this child for a few minutes!

It’s that time.  Gotta hit the shower.  At least the weekend is in sight!

The Gorgeous Blogger Award gave me an incentive to get moving.  And then, I was thinking about how we’re all struggling with one thing or another. Always trying to do what we need to do.  Always working toward bigger and better things.  And I decided we need different awards for different things.  Hence: I created the Chickie Awards shown below.  Please feel free to copy them or link to them and share with others.

I’m so excited!  I’ve got to work on my acceptance speech.  What do you think I should wear?

And the winners are:

Straight and Narrow Award:
Susan

Sunny

Go-Go Chick Award:
Brandie
Firefly
Sarah

Just DO IT Award:
Joy

Paperskin
Beerab

Strut Yer Stuff Award
Sunny
Firefly
Sarah

You’re focused.  Controlled.  You’re in there for the long haul.  Let all those other people work out six hours a day and eat 300 calories.  That’s not your bag!  You’re in it for life.  Making those small changes that add up to big losses.  Day after day.  Hanging in there.  Sometimes, it must seem like no one notices but they do.  That’s why you got this Straight and Narrow Award!

27thOctober

The Just Do It Award!

The Just Do It Award is designed to motivate!  Having a tough time, Chickie?  Been off the wagon for a while?  Feeling used, abused and overwhelmed?  This award is just what you need to get you up on your feet!  There ain’t nothin you can’t do once you set your mind to it.  You’ve just gotta figure out what you need to do and then DO IT!  Come on, you know we’ve all been there and we’re all here for you now.  It may seem like you just can’t get back on track but we’re cheering you on.  Our mantra is heard around the world…”JUST DO IT, CHICKIE!”

Congratulations!  If you’ve received the Strut Yer Stuff Award, it’s because you’ve done some serious work and have reached some major milestones in order to get where you are!  Be proud!  Buy new clothes in new sizes and hold your head high!  Your work has paid off and will continue to pay off as long as you hold the line.  So… Go on.  Get a manicure AND a pedicure!  Buy some sexy undies!  Get a new hairdo and STRUT YER STUFF, you little Hottie!

The Go-Go Chick Award is given to those who make me feel exhausted just reading their posts!  “I have to get up at 4:00, work out on the rowing machine for an hour, breastfeed the baby, wake up the hubby and iron the kids clothes while I’m fixing them breakfast, take them to school and then head to the office where I do the work of twenty five people and eat lunch on the treadmill, come home and help the kids with homework while fixing a low fat, low carb, heart healthy dinner!”

If you’ve received this award, it’s because you are Da Bomb!!! You have a LOT to be proud of!  Even though your life is incredibly full and your cup overfloweth, you still manage to exercise and eat healthy.  YOU just totally ROCK!

27thOctober

Go-Go Girl

Today is a go-go day.  Work, faculty meeting, drive halfway home to tutor for home/hospital student, turn around and drive back to work for ROTC meeting.  Ought to have me running from 7:00 to 7:00.

Or, it could be that I’m a go-go girl because of upcoming plans.  DH and I decided to get away for a few days.  We have a long weekend coming up the first week of November.  I know he wants to go to Tunica, Mississippi and I’ve been reluctant to do so.  But, I called one of the caseenos down there and we have enough points for one night free and the others at half price so I booked us a room.  We’ll head down there on Thursday, Nov. 5th and return on Sunday, Nov. 8th.

I talked to Mom and she’s really looking forward to us taking her to our place in Florida for Thanksgiving so we’ll be heading down there two weeks after the Tunica adventure.  I haven’t been down there since June.

Lots to keep me busy.  Weight is at 185.5 this morning.  Won’t say I had a perfect day yesterday because I didn’t exercise but I ate well so I feel pretty good about it.  Even when dinner didn’t turn out, I stuck to it.  I fixed Ginger Grilled Chicken Breast with Snow Peas.  They didn’t have the brand of snow peas I usually get so I had to buy a different brand.  They were stringy and tough.  Yecchh!  I ate the dish but wound up picking all the snow peas out of it and just eating a bit of the chicken and whole wheat linguini that make up the rest of the dish.  Without the peas, there wasn’t much to recommned it.  I filled the void with an apple and a salad.

Looks like exercise is going to be 20 minutes or so on the treadmill before I go to work because I know I won’t feel like doing it after a killer day like the one that lies ahead. 

Have a wonderful day, chickies!

26thOctober

Keep on Truckin!

Got one perfect day behind me, now I just need to keep it up.  I’ve got a plan for today.  Taking a hard boiled egg, a single serving tomato juice, a sandwich of whole grain bread with lean ham and an apple to work with me.  Going to walk on the treadmill as soon as I get home.

I went to Whole Foods yesterday looking for greek yogurt but couldn’t bring myself to pay $2.50 per carton for it.  Right next door, there was a fabric shop.  One of only a handful left in Louisville.  I decided to go in and check out the fabric for reupholstering the chair in the RV.  I found one fabric that would work for $45.00 per yard.  Found another for $35.00 per yard and a rather flimsy possibility for $25.00 a yard.  Then I wandered into the clearance area and found a good possibility marked down from $45.00 a yard to $5.00.  There was only six yards left on the bolt so I bought it all.  I’m getting closer and closer to tackling that job.  I’d be really happy to get it done for $30.00!  I even have enough fabric to redo a couple pieces of trim so that the chair will look like it belongs in there.  I’ve tackled much bigger jobs in the past but it’s been a long time.  Haven’t reupholtered anything for at least seven or eight years.

I’m off to the shower and then I’m going to enjoy another perfect day!

Made with fresh tangy lime and peppery chili paste, this restaurant favorite is easy to make at home.

1 1/2 lbs. flank steak
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1/4 tsp. chili paste or 1 tsp. minced serrano chile
1 tsp. sugar sub
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 pound green beans, trimmed
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat grill or grill pan to high.  Rub steak on both sides with 1 tsp. of the oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium rare.  Remove from heat and set on a cutting board for 5 minutes.

Whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, chili paste, sugar sub, cilantro, and scallions in a large mixing bowl.

Heat a saucepan of salted water to boiling.  Add beans and cook until crisp tender, about 4 minutes.  Drain.

Thinly slice beef across the grain.  Toss with lime juice mixture, adding any meat juices that have accumulated on cutting board.  Add beans, toss and serve.

Serves four.  319 calories per serving

That’s what it feels like. 

Waiting for the other shoe to drop….
Waiting for my ship to come in…
Waiting for the dust to settle…

Yeah, it feels like I’ve been waiting to exhale. 

How many times do we complain about waiting in line?  Griping and whining about how we don’t have time for it?  Don’t have time to wait.  I’m tired of waiting.  I have to get moving.  I’ve waited long enough.  How about some chiches about time? 

Better late than never….
There’s no time like the present….
Time waits for no man…

I’ve been stalled on this diet thing forever.  My life has been stalled forever.  Not that I’m not busy.  I’ve got lots of stuff to keep me busy but I’m just

running in place…
spinning my wheels…
running hard and getting nowhere…

I was sitting in the spa this morning thinking about going shopping today.  Needing to pick up some dress pants that aren’t so tight.  What’s that about?  I have lots of dress pants.  Lots of tight dress pants.  I think it’s time to get off my butt and do something about that.  Then I thought about going out to dinner with my friends this week.  And a potluck luncheon at school.  And, of course, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  In fact, the entire holiday season is right around the corner.  I almost decided to wait until the new year to start getting back in shape.  Wait a minute…that’s three months.  Three more months of procrastination.  Is that crazy or what? 

So, I’m doing it.  I’m starting right now.  I’m planning on boiling some eggs to take to work next week.  Fixing a nice dinner of Thai Beef and String Beans.  With a salad.  And I’m going upstairs and uncovering my treadmill.  Again.

There’s no time like the present…
Better late than never…
Time waits for no man…

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

And my all time favorite.  JUST DO IT.

10:30 a.m. update - Weighed myself, 186. (Cripes!!) Put on a horrible orange tank top, bright blue capris, a red sports bra and hot pink shoes.  Gathered a few old friends to help me (Enrique Iglasias, Rob Thomas, Pink Floyd and the Blue Man Group) and headed upstairs.  Moved the boxes of Christmas decorations to make a path, moved the rocking chair that went up there to make room for the sleeper sofa that went to Florida, moved six suitcases and three boxes of winter clothes and made it to the treadmill.  Moved my aerobic steps and a box of books off my treadmill and walked for thirty minutes at a 2% incline and 3.0 mph.  Not much, I know, but my calves were burning, my heart rate went up to 130 and I developed a light sheen of sweat on my brow.  Oh, and a headache.

Thought about some realistic goals while I was walking.  Decided that I want to be in the 170s by Thanksgiving.  That should be easy enough if I keep at it.  Only 6 pounds and a month to do it.  I’m not going to deny myself the potluck, or dinner with the girls, or Thanksgiving dinner.  Maybe I’ll be so motivated by the time those events get here that I won’t want to eat a bunch of junk but it doesn’t matter.  It’s all about the day to day routine.  I know if I do what I’m supposed to everyday, those random events won’t make much difference in the long run.

I went online and printed out some coupons for Oikos yogurt, threw out some flat iron steak to thaw for dinner, boiled a dozen eggs, and made a grocery list. 

It’s really not that difficult.  JUST DO IT.

3:30 update - Went shopping and got lots of healthy stuff.  Came home and cleaned the bathroom and did a load of laundry.  DIL dropped off DGD, Holly, and said she wants to divorce DS.  Go for it, girl!  Don’t know why they didn’t do it a long time ago.  They haven’t lived together for more than two years.  She has a boyfriend and he’s moved in with his girlfriend in Florida.  Doesn’t sound like much of a marriage to me. 

Now I need to get things prepped for dinner.  Think I’ll post tonight’s dinner on My Favorite Recipes category.  It’s really good and really healthy.  It’s from The South Beach Diet cookbook so the focus is more on lowering carbs than calories but it still comes in fairly low at 340 calories a serving.  Leaves plenty of room for a salad and light dessert.

 

23rdOctober

It must be Friday!

 DH is stretched out in bed and I have my alarm ringing in my ear.  Yeah, it must be Friday.  Gonna be a long one.  I have to teach ESS for an hour after school and then I have to go see my home/hospital kiddo after that so I won’t be getting off until 5:00.  Hope the trip to school goes better today.  I was late yesterday and had to sign the dreaded red sheet.  I was only two minutes late but the regular sign in was already taken up and the red one was glaring at me.

DS used my car so much that I told him he had to keep it gassed up.  As a result, I haven’t had to put gas in it for months.  Now that he’s gone, I’ve got to get used to it again.  Headed out yesterday morning and the gas tank was empty.  I had to stop and that took at least five minutes.  Went up the road a bit and came upon a wreck and traffic was slowed down.  There goes another five.  Then, because I was running later than usual, I got behind a school bus that was stopping at every corner and lost another few minutes.  Finally got around it and came upon the remnants of a house fire about a mile from the school.  At least ten emergency vehicles blocking the road and traffic being directed around the scene one lane at a time.  Hope no one was hurt.  Even after all that, I managed to walk in the office at 7:32 but the red sheet was already waiting.  First time this year that I’ve had to sign in late.  sigh…

DH called from our place down in Florida.  Said it was 80 degrees and sunny.  Said he’d already unloaded the truck and was going to take a long, hot soak in the clawfoot tub and get a good night’s sleep.  Anyone seen that commercial of the redneck hot tub?  hee, hee!

Okay, let me get this day started so I can get it over.  Have a wonderful Friday, girls!

22ndOctober

Tick Tock

The kitchen clock is tick tocking away.  I never noticed it before.  Everything seems so quiet this morning.  I know it’s psychological but nevertheless, it really seems quieter since DS left yesterday.

In this melange of assorted family, it all adds up to chaos.  Andrew and Steven live with us.  Oldest DS has been here for more than a year.  With a cat, and DGD, Holly, is here whenever he spends time with her.  Youngest DS is here almost all the time and it’s only been recently that he stopped caring for Jake and Scout everyday.  Then there’s his dog, the twin’s cat, and last but certainly not least, there’s DH.  Ohh, and me.  I suppose I add to the chaos.

Oldest DS packed up his panel truck and headed for Florida yesterday.  He’s going by our cabin in Madison and dropping off a sleeper sofa, a dinette, a bunch of cabinets and assorted odds and ends.  His stuff is all going with him.  He left yesterday and the house seems so much quieter.  Of course, it isn’t but it sure feels that way.  Feels empty and a lot more roomy.  I hope he gets there safely and finds what he’s looking for with his girlfriend of the last year or so.  Lots of love goes with him and I’ll miss him but it still feels good to get a little piece of my house back.  There’s been a lot of tension between him and DH, especially the last six months or so.

My goal is to get my home back by the first of November.  Youngest DS needs to go home.  We have a very close knit family and I know this is a difficult time for him so I haven’t pushed him very hard.  I love him and know he feels lonely and displaced.  He stayed here in the beginning of this mess so I could help with the kids and because he didn’t trust DIL but things are not going to change significantly for a long time and he needs to begin rebuilding his life around something other than DIL and his kids.  He’s over here almost all the time although he does go home occasionally.  My house is a LOT closer to his job and he has DH and I here.  It’s hard to find fault with him because he works like a dog and does everything he can to help but it doesn’t do him any good to stay here.  He needs to learn to deal with his life as it now stands.  I can only imagine how alien his home must feel to him.  Kind of like my house this morning.  Very, very quiet.  And, for him, very, very lonely. 

It’s hard to imagine that it’s only been a little more than a week since he had the kids over here everyday.  I guess, in some ways, it’s been easier for him to adjust because things have changed fairly gradually.  He had a home and a family, then he had the kids all the time, then she had the kids but he watched them everyday, all day long, then it became every day but just for a couple of hours and now it’s just once a week.  In some ways, I suppose it’s been easier but in other ways, it just feels like a long, slow nightmare that just keeps getting worse.

I suppose, at some point, he need to set regular visitation.  We need to say, “This is when he has the kids.  Every week.  This is what it is.”  I know, however, that it’s going to be difficult for him.  It looks like he’s going to wind up getting them Saturday evenings, after work, keeping them Sunday and Sunday night and then taking them to school Monday mornings.  That’s the only day he has off.  DH needed his help last Sunday to work on his car and I wasn’t happy that he spent his only day off working on DH’s car from around noon to 7:00 p.m.  Had a word with DH and told him not to tie up ANY of DS’s Sunday because that’s his day to spend with the kids.  Of course, he countered with, “I know.  I felt bad about it but it was also the only day he could help me with my car and I couldn’t do it by myself.”

I’ve been blogging too long.  Gotta get moving.  Have a good one, Ladies!

21stOctober

Thanks, Sunnydaze!

Thanks, Sunnydaze, for nominating me for the Georgeous Blogger Award!  It had a .png extension so I’ve changed it to a simple jpeg picture so no one will get any pings from it.

Rules:

-Include the award on your blog or post
-Share with everyone six interesting facts about yourself
-Nominate as many bloggers as you like
-Be sure to link the nominees within your post
-Let them know that they received this award through their tagboards or private message them
-Share the love and link this post so that everyone will know the person whom you received your award from.

Six interesting facts about me:

1.  I love to travel, usually in a 37 foot RV.

2.  I love to cook (and eat).

3.  I’ve been married 40 years to my high school sweetie.

4.  I write.  All the time.  About anything.

5.  I have ten acres down in Florida and can’t wait to RETIRE down there.

6.  I’ve visited 44 states including Alaska and Hawaii, and five different countries.

Nominations
Susan
Joy
Brandie

I’ve really been out of commission for a long time.  Didn’t realize how long until I started trying to think of six interesting facts about myself and couldn’t think of any.  Anyway, this is what I came up with.  Pass it on ladies!

20thOctober

Ruby Tuesday

Killer Tuesday is more like it.  I have to work from 7:30 to 2:30 then have a mandatory faculty “book study” (like we don’t have enough to do without having to read books about how to be a great teacher) from 2:30 to 3:30.  I have to be at the home of my Hospital/Home school kiddo from 4:00 to 5:00 and then back to school for an ROTC Booster Club meeting from 5:30 to 6:30.  Looks like a twelve hour day from the time I leave for work until I get home.

I don’t like these mandatory book studies we’re having.  In theory, it sounds good.  Read a book on school time and then meet once a month for a “book study” session.  In reality, I read about half of it at home a couple of weeks ago and read the other half yesterday evening but found that I’d forgotten most of the first half.  (sigh)  I mean, really, how do you expect us to sit around reading books at work when I usually can’t even find time to go to the bathroom?

I hope oldest DS doesn’t move out today without me having a chance to say goodbye.  He was packing up his panel truck yesterday afternoon and getting ready to move to Florida with his girlfriend.  He moved in here a year and a half ago to stay “for a couple of months”.  I love him but will be sooo glad to see him moving out.  He’s supposed to take a sleeper sofa, dining room table and chairs and a half dozen cabinets and drop them off at the cabin for us.  I hope it all works out for him but I don’t put much stock in “internet romances”.  He and his girlfriend have only gotten together a few times but they talk and IM and visit on a web cam constantly.

He’ll be leaving Holly and the twins behind but I don’t think they’ll notice too much.  We’ve raised the twins for the last six years so they think of DH and I as their parents and Holly still lives with her mother.  True, she’s over here almost every weekend with her father but I’m usually the one who watches her.

I’d better hit the shower and get this day going.  I’d rather sit here and blog for a few more minutes.  Don’t really want to tackle today but I don’t have much choice.  The last thing I need is to start a killer day by running late.

19thOctober

I remember…

Yep, the leaves are comin down!  I sat out in the spa yesterday and watched them.  I looked up and, for a moment, I thought it was a flock of birds way up in the sky but then I realized it was leaves, spinning and whooshing up to the sky on an updraft of wind.  It made me think of when I was a kid and we’d see so many birds flying south this time of year.

I remember sitting on top of my sliding board and watching clouds of birds that covered the sky in long black ribbons that seemed to go on forever.  Wonder why we don’t see that anymore?

I remember an abandoned piece of property with a ramshackle old barn that had several gnarly old fruit trees and my Mom would take us there to gather apples and pears in the fall.  We’d wrap the pears in newspaper and put them in boxes in the garage and it seems like we had pears forever.

I remember my biggest trick or trick ever!  I had a huge bag of goodies. My brothers and I were walking home and a bunch of teenagers ran up behind us, pushed me down and took my trick or treat bag.  My brothers took me home, dumped all their goodies on the table and we took turns choosing.  One for you, one for me, until we all had an equal amount and then my big brother gave me the last piece even though it wasn’t my turn to pick.  It was one of those peanut butter chewy things wrapped in waxy orange paper.  I didn’t even like them but I still remember him giving me the last piece.

I remember my grandmother’s jams and preserves.  Come to think of it, most of them seemed to be “pear based”.  Apple and pear preserves, plum and pear preserves and good old pear butter.

I remember standing over the heating vents in our kitchen with my dress billowing out like Marilyn Monroe on chilly autumn mornings and my mother saying, “Patricia Ann, if you don’t get moving right now, your brothers are leaving without you!”

I remember having to leave my warm, cozy bed to get ready for school.  I still have to leave my warm, cozy bed to get ready for school.  I still don’t like it.

I remember being twenty pounds lighter and the waistband of my pants feeling loose instead of tight.  I remember having two separate boobs instead of one continuous roll of fat across my chest and under my arms.  Wasn’t that long ago.  This time last year. 

I can’t go back to Grandma’s pear preserves and mama urgeing me out the door every morning but you would think I could get back to where I was last year.  Wouldn’t you?

What do you remember? 

18thOctober

Rerun…

This is for you, Susan.  It’s a rerun in more ways than one.  Seems like the newsletter is always a debaucle.  At any rate, sit back and enjoy the show from last February:

February, 2009 - I put in another long day yesterday.  Finished the school newsletter and will, hopefully, get it out today. I’m not really responsible for getting it copied and distributed.  The graphics department has to do that.  My part is DONE!  The principal was really happy about it.  That makes three newsletters down for the year and three to go!  I don’t know why it’s so hard to get anything done at school.  I’ve decided I’m going to keep track of what I do today and try to figure out where the time goes and what I can do to make it more manageable.

4:30 - OMG!  I’m so exhausted!  All I want to do is crawl up on the couch and die.  I tried to keep track of what I did today.  Here’s what I got:

7:30 - 7:45: Checked my mailbox, set up an account on a laptop for the attendance clerk because her PC went down - met with the principal to discuss printing out the newsletter, set up another account on a laptop for one of the counselors whose PC went out.

7:45 - 8:00 - Met with the department head of the graphics program and tried to break it to him (in a nice way) that the principal was NOT going to wait until next Wednesday for the newsletters to get printed and wanted them done on a copier so they could be distributed last period today (1,600 of them).  Dismantled and put away laptop, speakers, and projector used for a training yesterday evening.

8:00 to 11:00 - Checked my email - 23 new messages since yesterday afternoon - answered the ones that were red flagged and put my own red flags on the ones I needed to deal with today.  Set up a cart of 30 laptops for a teacher and delivered them to her room.  Taught my computer class (my kids were sooo good today, bless their little hearts!), met with graphics department head again (guess I didn’t handle the first meeting well because he came to my room and was really angry and defensive about copying the newsletters and pretty much said he had other priorities today). It occurred to me that I don’t get paid enough to deal with this kind of stuff so I told him I was just the messenger and he’d have to take it up with the principal. Went to a classroom and fixed a printer.  The principal summoned me to her office again because she’s NOT happy with the head of graphics and wants those damn newsletters to go out TODAY.  Asked if I’d show one of her secretaries how to run the newsletters through the copier and get some kids to fold them in half.  

Set up the copier with 11 x 17 parchment paper and showed the secretary how to place the front and back pages and run copies.  Showed her how to reverse the paper, place the two inside pages and run the parchment through again.  Told her we distribute them in stacks of 25 since that’s a pretty good average for most classrooms.  Told her to keep count by using tick marks for each set of 25.  She looked at me like she didn’t know what I was talking about.

“You know…like this…make a mark for 25, another mark for the next 25, and, when you’ve made four marks, make a slash through it for a set of 125.”

She gave me this totally puzzled look and said, “You mean each one of these marks are 125 papers?”

How can you not know how to do tick marks?  “No, each mark is 25 papers and each set of marks is 125.”

“I don’t understand that at all!  Why can’t I just write down 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150 and just keep going?”

“Ummm…that’s fine.  If that’s easier for you, that’s fine.  Whatever you need to do to keep track of how many you have.”

I watched her until she got the hang of it and then went to find some kids who were teacher aides or office aides to fold the newsletters.  Got the kids and showed them how to fold the newsletters and got them started.  Went to a classroom and showed a teacher and her students how to set up accounts on a really great history site.  Came back to the library to find the kids looking for me because the secretary had done 400 copies with the inside pages upside down.  WTF???  400 pages??? On expensive 11 x 17 parchment paper!  How can you not notice something like that for 400 pages???  And the kids were afraid to say anything.

Okay - I’m sure she feels bad enough.  I go in there and make sure she understands how to do them and wait while she makes another 100 copies to make sure.  She’s lost track of how many copies she’s made and I tell her not to worry about keeping track of that.  The kids can count them out into stacks of 25.  We’re in third period now and I need to find new aides to help with the folding.  I find a couple of kids and head back to the library to discover that the secretary accidently hit the 75% button and ran off 100 copies that have to be trashed.  Got her straightened out AGAIN and showed the kids what to do.  Went to teach a class and came back to find, (I swear to God!) that the secretary put the pages down on the wrong guide and there are 350 new pages with a 3 inch margin at the top and the print running off the page on the bottom.  

I can’t stand it.  I really can’t stand it!  Did she not notice this on the first 100 copies?  Surely to God she saw it on the next batch of a hundred!   What was she doing?  Reading a Harlequin romance as the pages floated one after another into the tray?   I decided that I’d better go to the principal and tell her I’m doing the copies myself and break the news that the entire morning has been wasted and we have 850 newsletters that are total trash and about 400 that are good.  I told her I would have the newsletters ready for last period.  That gave me 2 1/2 hours to get it done.

At this point, I gave up on trying to write down what I do all day.  Damn near killed my ass getting 1,600 newsletters printed, folded, and distributed but I got them done and didn’t hardly have enough energy left to drag my butt out to the car and drive home.  Had a carton of lite yogurt today and I’m really too tired to even be hungry.

Don’t have any wine in the house but a couple of dusty bottles of Maui Splash from a couple of years ago. They’re going in the freezer while I throw together a pot of loaded potato soup and then the wine and I are going to the spa.

Update - Our graphics department is done at the end of this year.  They’re being replaced.  We have a new magnet program coming in with a focus on medical technology.  The secretary is still at the school and is the one who didn’t order paper for this batch of newsletters.  They’re always trying to find something that she can do.

17thOctober

Uniboob

The uniboob is back.  You know, the one that extends from your left breast, under your arm and around the back to the right breast.  That obvious roll of fat that can only be hidden by some kind of tortureous bra full of wires and spandex tight enough to contain the Colorado River.  Even then, it doesn’t do anything but push the fat up into the underarm area.  Not for me.  I’ll just wear jackets for the time being.  No sheer blouses or fitted tops for you, Sistah Pat!  You better plan on covering up with a different jacket every day! 

DH and I were going to take the RV and go to Edinburgh this weekend.  I wanted to spend the weekend in that nice little RV park across the road from the outlet mall.  Edinburgh is a strange place.  There’s nothing there but a huge outlet mall, a lot of restaurants, and a couple of nice hotels.  I suppose people go up there and shop all day, go out to dinner and then crash at the Hilton Garden Inn.  It’s strange that they have this huge outlet mall and directly across the street is an RV Park hidden in the woods.  Right next to the RV park is a fence separating it from a pasture with horses and, on the other side, a corn field.  Weird.  At any rate, we just couldn’t work it out.

Went to the funeral home yesterday evening and visited with Rick and Pam.  Rick is taking his father’s death hard.  Of course.  We feel bad for him and the cold and rain didn’t do much to lighten the mood.  We had planned to go to Edinburgh as soon as I got home from work but yesterday was incredibly stressful and then we had the visit to the funeral home and it just kind of killed the mood.  This morning isn’t much better.  Still cold and gray.  DH got up early and had some coffee, read the paper and then went back to bed.  I don’t think he wants to drive up to Edinburgh and I’m not enthusiastic enough to change his mind so I guess we’ll just hang around here.

I showed my temper to the boss lady yesterday.  First time she’s seen it but I didn’t feel like being diplomatic and she deserved what she got.  I do a four page newsletter for the school.  It’s designed to showcase the school to the community.  Copies go to the kids and their parents and they get distributed to local businesses.  I work hard on it.  I beg people for articles about events that show our school in a positive light.  I want to have articles about honor’s kids who are chosen to go to leadership conferences and meet with the mayor.  I want articles about athletic trophies and honor roll kids and teachers receiving awards for outstanding events in the community.  Don’t know how it works everywhere else but, in Kentucky, kids pick their schools and we want to attract exceptional students and lots of them.  Our school budget is based on the number of students we serve.

The problem is, teachers are busy.  They don’t have time to write articles about the good things going on in our school and I don’t have time to be a reporter.  I do this newsletter voluntarily.  It’s not my job but I work hard on it and I’m pretty good at laying out an attractive spread that’s printed on parchment and looks good.  The principal loves it.  She really wants to keep it going and counts on me to get it out.  And I do.  But I don’t have time to do it at school and almost all of it is done on my own time.  Still…the principal is getting the nickname of “last minute Louise” because she always seems to be getting things done at the very last minute. 

Case in point…the newsletter.  She wants to approve it before it goes out and I understand that.  I do.  The problem is that she’s constantly making changes at the very last minute.  The Showcase of Schools is this weekend.  It began at 3:00 p.m. yesterday and runs through this evening.  The Showcase is an event where all the high schools and middle schools converge at the convention center and have booths where they try to recruit students for next year.  She wanted a big stack of newsletters at the booth to be distributed to families.  She’s clueless, however, about the amount of work that goes into getting it done.  I worked on it last weekend.  I finished it over the weekend and took it her for approval first thing Monday morning.  The only things missing were her “Message from the Principal” which takes up the first column on the first page and her “Calendar of Upcoming Events” which takes up the last column on the back page.  She looked it over and said, “This is great, Pat, but I’d like to include an article about the Freshman Academy and our Environmental Program.  I talked to those teachers a few days ago and asked them to write something.  Haven’t they given the articles to you?”

“No, I haven’t heard from them.  When did you ask them to do this?”

“I think it was last Monday.  Can you contact them and get those articles in this issue?”

“I can ask them but, in all honesty, if I include those articles I’ll have to delete some of the others and redo the layout to make the new articles fit in the space that’s available.  I know you want these to be ready on Friday and I still don’t have your “Message from the Principal” and “Calendar of Events and we’re looking at a lot of work in a short window of time.”

“I know.  I know you asked me for them a couple of weeks ago and I apologize for not getting them to you.  I’ll try to get them today but I’d really like for you to get the other two articles from Teacher A and Teacher B.  I think those things really need to be in the issue that goes to the Showcase and I really want these for Showcase.”

Okay…so I go to Teacher A and she’s fuming because she swears this is the first she’s heard about this and she doesn’t have time to write up an article and Teacher B is apologetic and says she’ll write up something and email it to me.  So I’m forced to “interview” teacher A and write the article myself and, in the time it took for me to interview her, she could have written it herself.  Teacher B sends me an article and I swear one of my students could have done a better job.  She also sends a photo that would really look good and I think we need to put the photo in but that’s going to create even more chaos with the layout.

I worked on the newsletter Tuesday evening and then finished it up when I was home with Revenge of the White Castle’s on Wednesday and took it to the principal first thing Thursday morning.  She liked the two articles and loved the picture of some of our kids posing with the Mayor but wasn’t happy that I’d taken out the article on one of our students winning a bunch or ribbons at the fair.  I told her I’d had to cut some things in order to get the new articles in and I figured that the kiddo winning ribbons at the fair was a good one to cut because her ability to bake a tasty pie and sew a nifty dress really didn’t have anything to do with the school.  Principal lady says she sees my point but the kiddo is such a wonderful kid and she’d really like to keep the article.  Again, she apologizes for not having her own articles ready and I remind her AGAIN that I still don’t have any parchment paper to print the newsletters on and her secretary hasn’t gotten back to me after she asked her to purchase it.  She says she’ll take care of it and sends me on my way.

Thursday afternoon, around 1:00, I get an email from Last Minute Louise with the Calendar of Events and the Message from the Principal which is -  get this -  two entire pages!  I run to her office and find that she’s left for the day. Thursday evening, at home,  I reworked the entire article, slashing and cutting like crazy to get it down to something manageable and still had to reduce the font in the entire newsletter to 8 points to get things to fit.  If you’ve never done any desktop publishing on Adobe Pagemaker, you wouldn’t understand what that entails but, take my word for it, it’s a monumental pain in the ass.

Friday morning, I’m back in her office and find that she won’t be in until late morning.  I go to the secretary and ask her if she has the parchment paper and she doesn’t know what I’m talking about.  In the meantime, I have classes to teach and I finally run back down to the office during my 20 minute lunch break to find Principal Lady sitting in the conference room with a couple of other teachers eating lunch.  I show her the newsletter and she says, “I’m eating lunch right now.  You can leave it here and I’ll try to take a look at it when I can.”  She gives me a nasty look as if I was somehow out of line to interrupt her lunch and the nasty look DID NOT sit well with me.

I said, “I didn’t get lunch today.  I’m on my lunchbreak right now.  I don’t have time to eat lunch and I didn’t have time to eat dinner last night.  In fact, I was up until 1:00 trying to get this newsletter done in time for the Showcase.”

Principal Lady said, “I really want it for the Showcase but if you can’t get it done in time.  We just won’t be able to have it.”

I said, “If I’d known you didn’t care if we had it for Showcase, I wouldn’t have given up every free minute I’ve had for the last week to work on it.  My part is done.  My part has BEEN done for more than a week.  In fact, I’ve had to do my part over and over again because no one else ever has their part done in a timely manner.  I’ve been run ragged trying to pull this thing together.  I don’t have the time or the energy to devote to something if it’s not important.  I’m done.  I’m finished.  I’M DONE!”  With that, I just turned around and walked away and left her sitting there with the newsletter on her desk and her jaw hanging on the floor.

It wasn’t five minutes later that she appeared at my desk apologizing and telling me how rough it’s been pulling this Showcase together and how no one wants to help with it and she’s been stressed to the limit. 

I said, “I know exactly what you mean.” 

She apologized again and said the last thing she ever meant to do was come across as unappreciative to me because she knows how much I do for the school and appreciates it more than she can say.  Said I just happened to come at a time when she decided she was actually going to take 15 minutes for herself and was not going to let anything or anyone intrude on her lunch so she could kind of relax and regroup to prepare for the Showcase.  She said the newsletter looked absolutely fantastic and she wanted to know how soon I could get three or four hundred copies to her.

I told her I didn’t even have paper.  I had, at most, less than a hundred sheets left from the last newsletter and her secretary said she didn’t know anything about it.

I swear.  She looked like she was going to cry.  I told her I’d make as many copies as I could using what paper I had and would have them on her desk before I left school.  She smiled and said, “I don’t guess I can talk you into coming down and helping out with the Showcase tomorrow, could I?”

I smiled and looked her square in the eyes and said, “Not a chance in Hell.”

We both started laughing.  I made 80 copies of the newsletter and left them on her desk.

 

16thOctober

A new life?

DS surprised me yesterday.  He began talking about going back to school.  Looking at changing careers.  I think he’s been shocked at how many resumes he sent out and how he hasn’t heard anything.  A few days of working construction and not getting any bites to a position as a chef have gotten him thinking about making changes.  I wish he would.  He’s always had a good reputation in the restaurant industry but it’s highly demanding and I’d love for him to look in new directions.  In the space of a couple of years, he’s gone from a family man with custody of two beautiful kids and a  decent job as the head chef of a restaurant to an unemployed man who has lost his family, his car, and his dreams.  If there was ever a time to look at making serious life changes, it would be now.  I think it might restore some of his battered self esteem and help him look beyond his current situation.

Of course, he’s not unemployed.  He’s working but it feels pretty temporary.  He comes home covered in drywall dust and totally exhausted and I can’t see him doing this forever.  His boss is a good friend of his and will keep him working but it’s not really DS’s niche and so he still considers himself jobless.  If he’s not cooking, he’s not doing his thing.  I hope he can find another “thing” that isn’t so physically demanding and has a future to it.

In fact, he’s downright shocked that he hasn’t received a single bite and he must have sent at least 50 resumes to positions offered on Craig’s List.  He’s been replying to ads for months and he’s become convinced that he’s doing it wrong.  He clicks on “reply” on a listing and the email pops up but it’s not his email carrier so he copies the address line to his AOL email, copys the subject line, attaches his resume and sends it out.  I’ve checked how he’s doing it and it all seems correct but, like him, I’m really surprised that he hasn’t gotten a single reply.  I’m not sure how Craig’s List works but it seems like he’s doing everything correctly.

I called DIL last night and asked if DS could have the kids from 6:00 p.m. Saturday when he gets off work  and keep them until he drops them off at school Monday morning before going to work.  She seemed delighted.  I’m actually surprised she didn’t say he couldn’t keep them Sunday night because it’s a school night but she seemed okay with it.  In spite of everything, she knows he’s been the one who got them to school everyday for four years.  I know the deal about not letting him have them on school nights was just a ploy to force him to take them on weekends but, now that he’s working, weekends are about the only time he can spend with them.

DH and I were going to take off in the RV when I got home from work today but, last night, he told me that Rick’s father died.  Rick is a dear friend and we’ll be going to the funeral today.  I think….I don’t know if he got the news late or what but DH told me visitation and the funeral are today.  I’ll have to check that out.  It doesn’t even give me time to send flowers.  I don’t know how we missed hearing about it until the last minute.  The man was really struggling with Alzheimer’s and I guess it was expected.  Rick told me he wasn’t doing very well a couple of weeks ago.

Yeah, I guess I have to face the facts.  Summer is over and winter is chomping at the bit.  Woke up and decided to go out to the spa for a few minutes but the rain is really cold and I didn’t feel brave enough to run for the spa.  I’m not flexible enough to make the adjustment from a warm cozy bed to a dash in the cold rain within a ten minute timespan. 

After all the stress from yesterday, DH and I have decided to go off in the RV this coming weekend.  I’d like to leave Friday but I know DH has a lot of stuff to do here at home so it might be Saturday before we can get out of here.

Busy day today.  Aren’t they all?  I’ve got to go to work, finish up the school newsletter, get off work and bring the boys home and then rush over to teach my home school kiddo.  If I get home in time, DGS wants me to take him to Balfour to pick out his senior ring.  They’re open until 8:00 on Thursdays.

Not much else going on.  DS called his attorney again yesterday and the guy said, “You don’t have to sign anything.  All this stuff is already taken care of and you pay child support so she’s on her own about daycare.”  After he talked to his attorney, he called the caseworker and the guy said, “No, no.  All I need you to do is fill out a financial statement so we can apply for daycare assistance.  You’re not agreeing to pay for anything.  It’s just to see if you and Stacy qualify for assistance based on your joint income.”  He’s still not feeling comfortable with doing it, however.  It’s really difficult to trust these people anymore.  At any rate, it seems logical that I ought to call Stacy this evening and see about arranging visitation before he fills out anything.  It might make her a bit more flexible with what he wants if she needs him to fill something out.