Saturday, December 31, 2011

New girl...maybe not

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It is around the corner...chasing us.  Or are we chasing it?  The new year is coming and so is the end of my vacation. Had such high hope for this last week and a half...muph.  Family drama sucks up a ton of does being sick. My wish for the new year is that those two will take up many fewer hours than they did this year.

It looks as though the first part of the new year will be spent getting ready for school...and my darlings. I miss my little 7th graders. On these long breaks I watch stuff like, the top educational video and get all sorts of crazy ideas.  That and a solid 8 days of reading my book club book, Digital Natives.  Those kids won't know what hit them.  Not sure I will remember their names...bless their hearts, but we will take on the world together.

I gotta go...the family is napping and it is 7pm...we definitely won't be making it to midnight unless I stir this place up a bit.

My prayer for 2012....

   Amen! Be safe everyone.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ode to Pinterest

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The Siren calls to my unconscious.

Deep inside I feel her thick gravity.

Images, swim and scroll

To Pinterest I must succumb.

She seduces with her promise

of projects and low fat dishes.

A temptress to the attention

So much so it  this post took three days to write.

Pinterest is like facebook in that it is a social network...however instead of sharing your daily activities you "pin" things that you like from online.  And you get to see what your friends "pin" when you subscribe to them. 

So...let's say you see this awesome low fat dish you want to make for New Year's hit the "IPin It" button that you have downloaded on your computer when you became a member of  Pinterest and it adds the blog post or web post to one of a collection of boards on your profile. Your friends can see it and you can then go back to it later to make the dish or to send friends to if you loved it.  

Be is a whirlpool of creative fun.  Once you step into Pinterst it is like Narnia you lose track of time and you are no longer sure who your are but you won't care.  

You do need to be invited to Pinterest...if you need an email let me know and will be thrilled to add you.    

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It is a I've heard

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My Grandfather used to always ask me if it would make a bit of difference in a 100 years? It is the yardstick I have been trained to measure all worries. Clearly not easy when certain worries strike...but extremely reassuring when I get all twisted up about something.

For example, there was the one time I forgot to pay a speeding ticket and I got a phone call that there was a warrant out for my arrest.  I know right??? I hear you all gasping with fear and images of that show OZ in your heads.  When I went to pay the ticket I am pretty sure I could hear the Imperial March as I trod up those steps.  I was expecting the lady behind the desk to come out with the cuffs to throw me in the clink. She didn't.  She gave me a receipt and said in a sweet East Texas sass, "You have a good day, now!"  And here I had prepared for the worse: wore my clean big girl panties (no free show for the guards), did not bring my purse (didn't want some handsie guard going through my goods) and I made sure to call the family and say goodbye (I did cry...I will admit it.)  100 years from now I mostly likely will have wiped that smudge on my record away forever or at least I won't remember it.

Or like last May, when budget cuts had (and still have) teacher's jobs on the line.  I have thirteen years in this great institution...I know if something drastic and crazy happens with the district I can and will find something.  It will be okay.  I have a little talent with this writing thing...worse case scenario I send some extra hours driving students...but it will be okay. I may have to ditch my "Weasley house" (minus all the cool magic) but I will make it and might find my own magic along the way.

However, this normal self possessed calm I try to maintain faded last week. It was two days prior to Christmas...I had the worse back pain known to mankind and well...when I went to make "water" there was blood in it...not the kind you expect but the "Oh dear God, I must be about to die" kind.  I was worried...but I had to drive I did.  Thank goodness we were busy and I never got around to googling a self diagnose of my ailments because I would have gone straight to the hospital.  After 6 hours with the kids and the pain growing exponentially and adding a new element of fever to the equation. I limped into the local Care Now.  It took a short 2 hours...not because I was in a room and they were running test...but instead because every person known to mankind wanted to be better before seeing relatives for Christmas.  The good news is I did not die.  (Deep sigh of relief.)  It was a kidney infection and after a single day of the strongest antibiotic she had, I'm had already started to feel better.  The best part about that near death incident...found out I've lost more weight...but the scale was super sketchy so I am not sure I trust its accuracy.

If this posting was a math problem we could see it all equals up.  It will be always will and worry changes nothing.  Grandpa was so smart.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Lift off to another year...almost...

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A year is almost in the rear-view mirror.  365 days, each one similar in schedule but each had its own interesting turn of events.  Out of the 8,760 hours I was given I slept  1,825 of those maybe more surgery takes a ton out of you.  I spent 1,095 hours writing on the blog or my book.  I spent probably twice that on facebook.  (Don't judge...I have stressful jobs.) My goal is to have those numbers swapped for next year.

This is my favorite time of the year, "The Retrospect," and "The looking ahead." A time to assess and to plan for the future.

I come to the year with a pocket full of wishes...I've noticed that those wishes don't change so much:

  • better health, 
  • to lose weight, 
  • to work out more, 
  • to worry less, 
  • to have more money,  
  • to be wiser with the little bit of money I am given, 
  • to get somethings...lots of things fixed in my little house, 
  • to finish a book that I am proud of, 
  • to grow my blog enough so I can quit my second job, 
  • to be a great teacher and a better daughter/friend/person, 
  • to explore my creativity,
  • to be stronger,
  • to give myself credit for my successes,
  • to be nicer.
 I am pretty sure I have had mostly the same list since I was in high school.  Not sure what that means...maybe my growth is super slow...or I'm not growing. (That was a tough one to think about.)

"to give myself credit for my successes..." well I could start that here...
  • I've lost 45 pounds 
  • I've completely changed my diet (no sugar, low fat and low carb) I feel so amazing because of it.
  • I have joined a professional learning community on purpose and feel more inspired as a teacher because of it. 
  • I traveled someplace on a moments notice with a friend and had a blast.
  • I know I have talked about this before...but my blog has gone from 25 readers to 124 followers, 55 who follow by email, 94 who follow by facebook and 254 twitter followers.  
  • My blog has gone from on average 30 hits a day (half of those coming from me) to on average 200. I know it isn't Pioneer Women numbers but it is incredible growth that I am truly proud. 
  • I have faced my immortality (liver disease)...sounds awful but it was extremely freeing.  I have the choice how long I want to live (through the daily food choices I make)...and I have chosen to stick around a bit. 
  • I have grieved, I have loved, and I have learned.  I hope to do it all some more...well except for the grieving part...that sucks.
I think I am ready for change.  No one really likes change...but I think I am ready.  That means everything...including the blog.  A face lift for her second birthday...not a bad deal.  Wish I could get a few things lifted.

What are you guys looking forward to for the new year?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hello?? Not sure where I have been lately...

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Ever feel like the fog has cleared and you can see again?  We all need to wipe away the heavy moist condensation sometimes.

When I started teaching I spent much of my free time reading professional books, researching trying to be better for my little darlings.  Some years I have been more diligent than others about improving my craft.

Working two jobs distracts you.  I wonder what kind of teacher/writer/friend  I would be if I didn't have to have the second job. Every now and then I get sad and sappy...maybe overwhelmed is better word for it. I feel that I do too many things and can't do well at any of them because of being spread too thin and for what?

Last weekend was a rough drivers ed weekend.  A student didn't break wouldn't work...the light was red for us.  She was looking straight at the cars, her knuckles were white from her strong grip.  We slipped slowly into the intersection flirting with stopping but still rolling.  I think I cussed at her. I was standing with both feet on the break and my arms pulling and tugging at the steering wheel. I got the tire to bump a curb she finally stopped us.  The trucks' tires were screeching I remember seeing the bodies of their cabs wobble and shiver on the wet roads.  They stopped.  We hadn't moved.  I was wrestling the steering wheel to point us in the right direction if we survived.  The squealing tires were abruptly silent. The trucks' grills were the only thing I could see in the windows.  The two little girls were silent in the back seat...frozen in a crash position. It was the first five minutes of the driving lesson.  It didn't get much better. This was when I started heavily thinking why do I do this?

I might have shared the story on Facebook.  My fellow drivers ed teacher posted this:

Because when you go to bed at night you can rest assured that you did your very best to teach that person how not to die. That is the higher ethic of teaching Drivers ed. You are not just teaching a lesson, you are teaching life and death. 20 years of facing that challenge and several student deaths has taught me one thing, you do your best all the times and never take your job as just a lesson, its a responsibility. You did well tonight Val.. Rest assured you may not have made her understand but you did your best, and if you face that challenge again, you will always do your best. She did not try to kill you, you tried to save her life :) thats why we teach drivers ed... its the ultimate responsibility.. its not just a job.. its a calling you are good at... as far as people honking at you... lets see them do a better job :) guessed it I was back in the car on Monday. I have cut back my hours.  December is busy and I want to spend it with my family.

A friend has requested my presences in her professional learning community...PLC.  PLCs are how teachers get together and discuss their craft, do book studies, and generally try to improve their skills.  I said has been a while...I need a professional recharge.  The group is doing a book study on Teaching Digital Natives, Partnering for Real Learning by Marc Prensky.  At first look I was pretty sure it was super LAME-O.  I have been pleasantly surprised and inspired.  I love unexpected inspiration.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ice that Toilet Folks...we need some snow....

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It is freezing. is nearly freezing.  I love the cold.  It is even better if I don't have to leave the house.  The best thing ever, is being home on the sofa wrapped up in a super soft blanket...and nothing to do for the day.

The Facebook rumor mill is busy with predictions from my former students of an impending ice storm.  Pretty sure they might exaggerate a tiny bit.  There are an equal number of ice/snow rituals taking place.  The only time white, upper class kids believe in voodoo is when it comes to a minuscule chance it might result in them getting out of school.  I can't blame them I am pretty sure I feel the same way.  The only difference is I have a enough sense to feel a bit ridiculous chanting in front of the toilet, flushing three ice cubes and doing the well respected snow dance. Some things have to stop when you reach  a certain age...there are greater chances of falling and we all know that gets ugly in a bathroom.

I have been inspired of late.  My good friend, Aunt J-Me, has recently become a crocheting maniac.  I am in total awe of her ability to whip out scarves in a few hours, blankets in a night, it is crazy how good she is.  She invited me to a Stitch and _itsch club.  It was excellent food, laughter and learning.  They finished scarves and I got something that resembled a worm...or maybe a super thin Barbie scarf.  I know pitiful.  I am learning. Maybe if we get some snow I can get some practice.

I better get busy...I gotta go get some ice and head to the bathroom  make a rubric I have been promising for the last three days. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What if...

What if instead of playing with fake farms on Facebook we each sent $20 to help buy farm animals for people we didn't know?

Heifer International

What if instead of driving by lakes low from the summer drought and wondering what it all meant...we helped fund clean water for those with none at all?  
Charity Water

What if we stopped complaining about our life being unfair and we gave that energy to an organization that helps people destroyed by those in their lives?
Amnesty International
What if instead of boycotting banks we became the banks?

What if welcome arms helped instead of blocked people from coming into a country?
American Refugee Committee

What if we worried about the health of the planet as much as we cared about our own comfort?
Earth Day Network
What if instead of cussing and pepper spraying people over cheap Christmas gifts we chose one of these?

What if instead of saying our bra color on Facebook we said the charity we chose to support?

What if.... 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

An Attempt at Socializing

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Growing up I was always aware of the stares of others.  I knew that my sister brought me attention that I never wanted.  I knew that people avoided and talked about us.  Recently, I had a taste of those old feelings but it was me that brought it on myself.

My dear friend turned 27...again yesterday.  This year has been hard for her, It was good to see her surrounded by love, family and friends. This marked the second "social" occasion since the doctor removed my guts...well my gall bladder, and I have had the drastic dietary restrictions.  I have to say I never realized how much of my social life was tied to food.  I probably should have guessed...I mean I am not a boozer, and not one to pass around the hash pipe or needle. Food is way more seductive...if someone comes over and I don't have anything to say take a bite or make an excuse to get some grub.  

The first social event was a faculty pot luck....I could not eat one thing that was brought.  So I brought my own raggedly lunch- beans and cucumbers...I know it is a pretty sketchy combination.  Over the last 5 months beans have been the go to food.  Low fat, full of high non-soluble fiber and so stinking easy to make they are one of the few filling things I can ingest and not be in pain after.  And cucumbers are a tiny bit sweet so I feel like I am getting dessert.

Everyone noticed...I'm pretty sure.  There were comments made about how I was distrustful of my fellow peers cooking.  When I explained about the restricted diet then I got some mixed comments...and looks.  Some said they felt guilty eating next to me.  Nice.  Some looks were horrified, some were a sympathetic smiles, and the one that grated my nerves was the comment..."Well, it is better for you.  Maybe you will lose some weight."  Oh it was said!!! That bitch!  My friend looked like she was going to claw the lady's eyes out who said it.  I didn't bother to tell her I already had dropped 4 jean sizes, what would be the point?
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That brings us to my friends birthday.  It was her party she is welcome to eat how she likes.  I love her and if I physically could have I would have dug in like a crazy lady.  However, that was not an option for me. So I ate lettuce and tomato. I got brave and snatched the smallest slider wrapped in bacon I could find.  Then I talked with people while they drank.  The later it got the less they made sense.  The more I got comments like, "Come on have a drink.  One won't matter."  It felt like I was in a bad after school special.  The more I said no and tried to explain to the drunks that it would exponentially accelerate the progression of my liver disease the more dug in they got. I finally had to go.

All the way home I thought about the coming holiday...a celebration of eating.  This year I am offering more veggies then carbs and sweets.  I wanted to make sure I wasn't left out and could socialize and not feel like I was making everyone around me uncomfortable while I ate.  I will have all the normal stuff...just with healthy twist...and healthier options for those interested.  No alcohol. Family won't care.  They won't judge me...well not about what I dusting ability will be under question but I am used to it.  At least with them...if I think of slipping they will snap me back in line.  I am thankful for them. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Very Busy Sunday

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Today, there were no death defying moves on the roads.  Days off rock.

I did wake up at 8 A.M. like an alarm clock went off.  It hadn't.  But I was wide awake.  Pretty sure I blame the sun and being off of that damn Day Light Savings.

I made sure to make the morning productive.  I didn't do any dishes, but did  squeak out one load of laundry.  I was very busy...checked up on my blog buddies. During my hiatus you guys have been busy.

I wrote in my book. It felt good. But I discovered I am wonder I haven't been writing.  So I dug in and researched...I have a better idea of where I am going.  It will all work out.  I need to write through it.    

I hit a pretty big number today...well actually late yesterday.  I have had over 20k page views on the ol' blog.  That is a ridiculous level of growth for me...considering this is a side thing I do between two jobs and book writing.  Last year at this time I dreamed of hitting 3k.  It was a lot to ask out of my 25 readers.  I have to confess but last year I was the one doing most of the page views.  I was very busy.  Who knows maybe next year it will be 200k page could happen. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Twirling My Retro Joy

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Spinning back into the swing of things.  Today was the first full day back at the driving school.

6 hours of sitting next to awkwardly shy grown boys gripping the steering with everything they have inside their soul. I need to stretch next time.  I tried to get them to talk.  It made their driving worse so I shut up...well I cut the chit chat.  How uber boring!

On this uber boring tour of the same town for 6 hours I did discover:

  •  7 garage sales.
  • 80% of them had extreme amounts of clothes.  These don't fly off the lawn as fast as you would think. They looked so hopeful at the beginning of the day and by end they were angry shoving it into trash bags.  Don't waste your time folks...just donate them to that friend that likes them or Goodwill.
  • While sitting in a silent car for several hours I tend to day I was a multimillionaire land investment specialist.  Life was so good....only one job and I was the boss, lots of travel, time to have babies, time to write....the list goes on. 
  • As the hours click by the smells coming from the restaurants get stronger and stronger.  Not in a bad way. I always have the strangest cravings when the shift is over.  Today it was fried rice, a beef burrito, and Asian sweet bread with a frozen yogurt to top it off. 
  •  I absolutely detest putting gas in the car.  I hate doing it for my own car. As the hours tick on I find myself looking at the gas gauge almost as much as I do the speedometer.  Today I had no choice...I had to do it.  So to ease my irritation I facebooked on my phone while the gas also was a way for me to look busy while the drunk guy on the pump next to me looked at me all angry.  At least he wasn't homeless and begging for money. Not that I hate homeless people but as a female there is a natural fear I have of men that have nothing to lose.  I was looking pretty delish in my super baggy jeans about two sizes past a good fit and my faded Troy Aikman might have a few holes and a bleach spot...but it is so comfy and kinda homeless chic.  Maybe that drunk guy was thinking I was going to ask him for it all makes sense.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What is daylight savings really saving?

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I am still suffering from jet lag.

I was one hour.  Get over it already!

It used to be so easy but falling back, but this week has been killing me.  Everyday I have been in bed by 9pm.  It doesn't help that Mom and I forget to change the time on the clock in the living room.  So as I rush to bed I think for a brief second it is the normal time.  The darkness that sets in at 5 pm doesn't help. I am pretty sure it is triggering some prehistoric mechanism in my brain telling me to prepare to sleep.

To top off my exciting weeknight life I have been waking up at 4 am....who in their right mind wakes up at 4 am naturally?  Not me...until this week.  It goes against my delicate systems...and I want it to stop.

I am going to try to use this new wake up mechanism for good tomorrow.  I have a doctors appointment. It is for my first blood test post surgery.  I was a genius and decided that I would have the appointment at 3 pm.  That way I wouldn't miss school.  I am pretty sure I am out of days off.  So my little stingy self will be fasting all day in preparation for the appointment.  Smart right?  Well, this is where the waking up before God will come in handy...when my eyes pop open at predawn the plan is... I will hop from bed and get some food.  You know, so I don't die tomorrow.  Then I will eat- fast, and go back to sleep. I am thinking that if I am super speedy I may even stay partially asleep while I eat and will be back in bed before I know it.

Let you know how the experiment goes...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hold day with the dead to go

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HOLD ON! We have only 8 school days till Thanksgiving.

"I think I can. I think I can," is the chant of the champions.   The only problem we have with these 8 days is one of them...well three of them include the annual district mandatory field trip.  I cannot think of a worse fate.

The powers that be thought that the 7th graders would benefit from a day in the woods walking on wilderness trails, observing research ponds (don't get is a mud pit that the kids fall into) and then spend some time in a settlement cemetery. On paper it probably looked good.

Imagine if you will....
Your boss saying next week we want you to stand in a cemetery for 8 hours with no bathroom and make sure the students don't trash the oldest settlement in the area. Oh, and it will be surrounded in poison ivy, and poison oak.  If you are really lucky you will see some of the hundreds of poisonous snakes.  I am not even kidding.  This is my fate for next Thursday.

Last year I had nightmares for two months.  "They," the wily woodsmen that work at this hell hole, informed us that when we see a snake...(you caught that right?  When? What in the...)...we are to stay still and slowly walk away backwards.  My dear friend was one of the "lucky" to run into one of these reptilian monsters of the deep backwoods.  She screamed for her life and ran like a crazy lady, throwing elbows the entire way nearly knocking two darlings to their death.  I asked her about it later she informed me, "They need to pay attention when they in the woods."  I nodded in complete agreement.

Another teacher friend had a student with diabetes in her group. She had to be "trained" before being assigned to him.  Half way down the trail the little darling had a drop in blood sugar.  The symptoms had her pretty freaked out...she had to ditch her group on the trail and run with the student back to the main picnic area to do urine test and administer insulin.  The other little lost darlings had to be chased down by the other teachers on the trail to be assimilated into their groups.

Everyone survived, so the district called the mandate a raging success.  They didn't see the snake. Nor did they see my friend's red face when she was trying to get the kid to take his insulin, a phone clutched to her ear talking to the nurse at school, and her delicate brow moist from the jog.

I know...I can hear you...but you safaried in Africa what is a few hours in a cemetery?  I was only responsible for me there.  I am handful enough without having to watch preteens bubbling with hormones bent on "having a good time" in the woods.  

I think I will hit play on Youtube..."I will survive" is on...I will survive.  Hope the little darlings make it.


"We are learning to make fire." 
~ Margaret Atwood
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Heat radiates from me.

Or is it the stitches holding me together.

There is a fire inside.  

They call it fever. Or is it ambition?

It consumes as it burns. 

Will the ashen coals be my only shape?

He said extreme heat produces diamonds.

I'm not seeing a sparkle.

The warm silt darkens as the wind carries it from my palm.

Like wishes, the powder takes wings as they become apart of the storm.

Inkpaperpen has a great routine of posting prompts for her readers and then on Wednesday we post our results.  The inspiration this week was Margaret Atwood's line, "We are learning to make fire."  I am not sure why but all the prompt tend to make me feel poetic....

Write On Wednesdays

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Grandma saw it before it was cool...

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In a longing for holding on to the Harry Potter phenomena owls have been showing up everywhere.

My Grandmother collected owls.  In the back bedroom at her house, the room with the burnt orange shag carpet, had an entire wall bookshelf.  Perched on the top shelf in between pictures of grand kids and crafty crap we produced for her in great volume, she kept her owls.  They were not as common back then but she had a ton of them.

As the little guys make a trendy appearance I am struck by the thought of her. It made me think...

I have been thinking for the last year about getting a tattoo.  With the wide variety of pictures of the little guys coming out, and with a little bit of peer pressure I decided to do it.

Not sure why the pores in my leg looks so huge...please over look and focus on the art. 

Every part of it has some kind of symbolism for me.

The owl of course represents Grandma.  The text below is the song that helped me heal after her death. I chose blue because Grandma always made us put our feet in the water.  We traveled with her a ton growing up.  Where ever we went if there was a lake, river, ocean or big fountain our feet ended up in the water.  When I went to Africa and we were driving by the Cape of Good Hope I made the driver stop so I could hustle out to the powder soft sand and dip my toes in the cold water.  I did it for her.  I did it for both of us. Having the tattoo makes me remember that all things, people, feelings and situations pass.  The only thing we are left with are our memories.

What is something that you have always wanted to do?     

Rethinking life

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Last year...

I thought I was finished with my first novel.

Excited about the upcoming holidays I was planning for a month, the menu for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was hoping this time the holidays would go like planned.  

I had a list mapping out my black Friday game plan.  

I was taking a sabbatical from teaching drivers education and loving every minute of it.  

I hadn't been to the doctor in over 3 years. I had odd aches but passed them off as inconvenient and old age.  

I had gained a gang of weight and could care less.  Looked at it as my time of expansion...knowing that it would cycle off eventually. 

I was content. Dreaming about the day when I could see my book on Amazon.

This year...

I have started rewriting my first novel with a different point of view.  It has changed everything the voice finally sounds like my own but the plot doesn't fit for some reason. It has gone back to being a stressful work in progress.

I'm excited about the holidays but nervous.  I don't want everyone feeling awkward because I can't dig in with them.  But I also want to have a variety of food that I can digest and not get sick from.

After spending an unexpected two grande in medical bills there will be no planning any kind of shopping sprees. Instead I am trying to get my body strong enough to get back to working two jobs.

I knocked off a few things on that list of things I always wanted to do or try.  (tried kale...yuck, go on an impromptu vacation, got a tat...that will be a later post.)

I have lost some unexpected weight.  So my clothe fit differently...too baggy can be just as uncomfortable as too tight. 

I am worried.  I have planned my own funeral/death plan.  Morbid, but it is better to have a plan regardless so your family won't have the added stress. It isn't that I think I will die tomorrow...but we are all a little closer everyday. Better to be prepared.

Next year...

I hope to be stronger, healthier, and finished with this damn book.

How about you?  
Where have you been and where do you hope to be?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Unleashing the devil...or was that my gall bladder?

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In the silence I have been busy.  

It is amazing how much pain you can endure when it starts small and grows slowly. For the last three months I have been on the super know the awesome low to no fat, low carb, no sugar diet.  (Lost a gang of least a 1st grader.)  It was an attempt to not die before my scheduled surgery.  It is amazing the self discipline you can find when that is the alternative. 

As the date got back ache got worse, and I started getting pains in my chest.  Seems like all I was doing was walking around hunched over holding my back, sleeping and dreaming of a giant steak with a buttery bake potato. (It is the Midwest we like our staples.)

I had surgery two weeks ago.  It was suppose to be a quick and easy laparoscopic, three small holes and done.  He got in there and couldn't find my gall bladder. Then found that the stone was too large to fit and had to make a 4 inch cut across my abdomen above my belly button.  Supper sexy.  What with the scars and all that loose gross skin from weight loss I am going to be rocking that bikini this coming summer. 

While the doctor was digging around in my innards he found something we weren't expecting.  I know you're thinking like I alien???  
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My liver had quite a bit of scarring.  Apparently, I have this gross thing called Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH.  It is where fat instead of being processed and and broken down in your liver gets trapped there and the liver reacts to the "intruding" fat by scarring.  Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis sounds I had a fast and wild youth. isn't so.   This non-viral disease in instead related to my insulin intolerance.  

After the diagnoses I did some digging around and reading all the studies I can find.  The doctor said that they don't really have a cure for it but have found for some people weight loss helps to slow down and sometimes stop the progression of the liver cirrhosis and eventual liver cancer. I have always had insulin intolerance  even at my thinnest so I am not sure how it will help.  Plus, nothing can get rid of the early cirrhosis damage that is already there.  Maybe I'm bitter because my steak and potato are being postponed for a lifetime.

I will have to get monthly blood test to monitor my ATL (not a shout out to my Atlanta is a liver enzyme that is an indicator of liver health.)  The normal ATL is 0-45 and a month prior to surgery mine was 90.  Two weeks before surgery it was 120.  I go in for testing next week to see where it is now.  With my gall bladder gone there will be more stress on my I am expecting an initial climb in the number. 

Another exciting thing I get to have are biyearly liver biopsies.  I am not a fan of this test.  First of all you have to be in a MRI or CT scan while they do it.  My last experience in a MRI scan I had a panic attack, and almost clawed my way out while having a full blown asthma attack.  So you can imagine the shivers of fear that raced through me when the ol' doc dropped that bomb on me.  First question I asked was, "Do I get to be sedated?"  He said no and looked at me like I was crazy.  Just wait till I claw my way through one of his machines...then sedation won't seem like such a bad idea. My next biopsy should be in a little spring break fun for me.  Who needs the beach?  
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I feel bad dumping my sunshine on you, dear reader.  But with all these life changers I haven't picked up my laptop very much..and when I have it has been in a mad search for information.  I have not abandon you. But up until a week ago couldn't sit up long enough to shower much less type anything.   I do have a request...

After 3 months of eating chicken/bird and it looking like it will be my food of the future...I am in desperate need of easy and tasty recipes.  Would love to hear your suggestions.  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Life is a lark

Song of the Lark, Jules Brenton

Tucked into the corner of my Grandmother's guest room was a set of several framed pictures.  There was a small framed picture of this.  It was only a few inches.  I always assumed it was of my Grandmother. It was the stocky gypsy build of the barefooted woman.  The strong arms and famine skirt with the wild hair, she had my feet.  It had to be grandmother.

It was not until my grandmother passed that I realized that it was not her.  It only added to my grief and piqued my curiosity of this woman in the picture. This was painted by Jules Brenton known for his works focusing on the northern French peasantry.  Peasantry...she could be related.   

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Baggie clothes and Norwegian fjords

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I'm back...

Feeling is truly amazing how powerful a healthy diet is.  Once you cut the red meat, simple carbs, and well all things good and tasty it leaves...well...not much. You never get that..."oh my God I am full and want to take a nap," feeling instead it is..."meh, I'm done."  I feel lighter.  My clothes are baggie.  It it is exciting I am actually looking forward to going to the doctor and getting weighed.  I know that had to sound felt strange to type that. We will find out the good news on Tuesday.

Next week my students will be turning in their very first essays.  It is a long painful process to grade them.  With 168 kids and my OCD urges to give them complete feedback as budding historical writers it takes me forever. Grades will be due in a few day after I take them up.  I know rocking planning.  I solemnly swear to do better next six weeks.  I know that I will not be seeing the light of day next weekend...only essays on the survival techniques of Cabeza de Vaca.  Pretty exciting.  The first 50 essays sound unique and I hang on their every word.  The last 118 I barely remember.

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My cousin decided to open an membership. I love her for letting us help her research.  After looking at the old family tree I found some exciting stuff.

  1. My Great, Great, Great Grandfather was the editor of a Scandinavian Newspaper in Chicago.  Apparently writing is in my blood. 
  2. I am one quarter Norwegian.  This possibly explains my terribly white skin. Here I was thinking that there was a strong possibility I was part vampire. 
  3. It is very addictive once you start it is tough to stop.  Ancestry makes you feel a bit like a treasure hunter.  Be aware!
Now I can't stop looking all the beautiful pictures of Norway.  I want to is amazing.

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Pretty sure you have to agree.  

I have the best news ever...I have started writing again. 

This morning I propped the back door was open and the dogs were chasing each other inside and out I read and edited my work in progress....the book.  By the time they had calmed into their morning nap I was writing.  It felt great...and painful all at the same time.  I was struck by the would hit in small spurts.  I know it will get stronger.  The key is practice. 1,000 words this morning and I will commit to another 1,000 words tonight.  It will be done.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

GRAW...really it wasn't my stomach

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I have been teaching about Woolly Mammoths for the last couple of days.  I love this part of history, it is like American Pickers but there is always that chance that the treasure could be in your own backyard. It all feeds my obsession with t-rexes...and my strange desire to have one in my foyer...oh yeah and I want a foyer.

I have been absent from my dear blog.

It has been several days since I wrote.  I have had several big life changing things occur this week.  I was diagnosed with a "large" gall stone sitting in the neck of my gall bladder.  Until this week I didn't know that my gall bladder had a neck.  Every time I eat something with fat or tough to digest my gall bladder releases bile and it pushes this "large" stone, grinding it into the soft tissue of the neck.  Which I have to say hurts like you wouldn't believe.  Irritating news, but not life changing.  Means that I will have to consume minimal fats and watch those hard to digest foods. Pretty sure the surgeon will suggest surgery...I am fine with it.  I'm not a fan of pain.

A few days later I learned that I have type 2 diabetes. Irritating, not surprising.  I am a bit of a chubby bunny. I have an appointment to start "working on" my diagnoses.  Until then I have to watch my carbs and sugars.  So if you are keeping a list that means no fat,  no carbs, no "tough to digest foods," and no sugar.  The list of foods that remain...not so exciting.  The great three weeks I have lost 20 pounds.  So basically I rock.

If the doctor had one of those frequent customer cards I would have a pocket full of free visits saved up.  Between all of this the pneumonia and the blood clot there has been a lot going on.

I spend a ton of time trying to figure out what I can eat.  Chicken is my saving grace.  I consume more veggies than I thought possible.  I feel hungry...and am grumpy most days but I feel better.  Lighter.  I am excited about the fast purging of weight.  It has me looking at all those exciting summer clothes I will be wearing.  In between the calorie counting, the recipe searching, working 60 hours a writing has suffered.  All of it.

I feel like I am coming out of the other side.  I think I am finding my balance.  My friends at work have been super encouraging and helpful.  They always seem to be there when I need them, even when I don't ask... they help.  It is what they do.

I have a super stack of papers I have been avoiding all week.  Stupid essay test. Then there is that WIP it has so much dust I am not even sure I remember what it is about. Better jump back into the balance.... deuces.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Read with me

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Shush the wind.  

It blows too loud. 

Read with me, and sit a while.

The story started as all greats do...

Once upon a time in a far away land. 

Take a breath.

Slip into the world in your mind. 

There was a prince and a fair maiden...

They were back in time.

Don't rush.

Savor each delicious verb.

Let them simmer in the inner recesses and paint wildly

verbose images.

Read with me, and sit a while.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just one line

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Ink Paper Pen has offered up a great challenge for this Write on liners.  At first my mind went to those lines that drunk men feel are super clever when they are posted up at the bar and you are trying to get you a drink.  That isn't what they are talking about. These are sentences that are stripped of all excess.  They represent you in the moment, for the day or in my case it is for the last decade.

When my Grandmother passed away I had a extremely difficult time. To cheer me up the family let me pick the video to rent. I got Across the Universe.  When the song Let it Be came on I wept.  Not one of those "this is touching I got a tear," but one of those ugly cries where the song stopped and I was still sobbing.  I  got the CD and played it for a three months.  It was my drive to work and my drive home.  It was my letting go and letting be.  The phrase and the song tell me that bad things happen but we aren't alone and that through it all the love remains.

My one liner...

Let it be.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

End of the World as we know it

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Monday I was feeling good, refreshed.  I stopped at QT my favorite way to start the day with a fresh ice tea and a smile.  I happen to be on "e" and thought I would go all out and fill up the tank of the swagger wagon.  I got the pump going and was headed inside...eye on the prize in the form of a delish ice tea.  I got two steps from the truck and a sweet innocent looking lady shouted...well said with force, "Ms." I turned to see what was going on.  Worried she was going to inform me that my pants were torn or the truck tire was flat.  Instead she smiled. She handed me a piece of paper, "Have a blessed day."  I thought well there you go it is official it is going to be an great day.

I got my amazing ice tea and hopped back into the truck on the road again.  When traffic got rough I thought about that paper she handed me took it out to see what little positive message she was giving out.  Across the  cover was "The End is Near."  Not exactly what I was thinking.  The inside was filled with inspiring messages of doom and destruction.

She might have been right.  It has been a rough week medically.  With the constant leg cramps, headaches, the asthma, the lack of sleep and then yesterday found out I have gallstones.  I give up.

My friend always tells her students, "You got to try a little."  Pretty sure she is right.  I did slow down the health craze effort after the chubby summer, and my mom moved in.  It is so easy to go with the flow of old habits and sweet cakes.  I have to make a change or will slowly continue to fall apart.  Time is tight this effort will have to be in the form of diet.  Not starve and hope for the best.   But I will be smart.  I will try a little this time to make a change that will make a difference.

I have to google...and put it to paper.  It will work.  I hope.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

RUN! Monsters are coming

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I love a good thrill. It is probably why I teach drivers education and 7th grade.

I have decided that when I become grossly rich.  You know crazy rich with money everywhere like Richie Rich. I must have a full size Tyrannosauruses Rex in the foyer. I want the the animantronic experts from Disney to sync up the fossilized bones with the elaborate door bell.  I know pointless to stress about it but I have done hours of google searches and have a plan for the purchase and set up.  Just in case.  Better to be safe than sorry.  It was the our Girl Scout creed.

I am feeling better.  I know you all were worried.  The pneumonia is gone. I do have uncontrollable leg/foot/hand cramps.  I haven't slept through the night in a week an a half.  But at least I can breath.  It is all relative.

With the 60 hour work weeks and the pneumonia my writing has taken a back seat.  The family asked me when the last time I worked on my book? I couldn't come up with an answer.  Shamed I pulled it up and painfully hacked a sweet 250 words.  Not much but getting back into good habits are so stinking painful.  The head games are exhausting.  Not to mention the self is enough to make you want to languish on facebook/tumblr and waste the day away. My advice to you if you have worked hard for your good habits don't let them go.

Any suggestions for getting back into the habit of writing?     

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The doctor slipped me a rufee

Day two in the captains log,

The pneumonia is kicking my butt.

I just checked the mirror.  My eyes are the size of bee-bees.  I am continuously amazed at the long lasting effect of Codine cough syrup.  Maybe it is the winning combination of cough syrup, nebulizer and random other items the doctor has me ingesting.  I am not sure if I have dreamed the last two days or if this is real.

I am going with this is real.  My only proof is that some how in all of my school dreams my clothes randomly disappear and no one notices.  In my dreams I know I am a tiny bit outraged that no one notices but relieved because how do you explain that you forgot to put on a shirt.  On day two and ...all clothes are in tact. I did walk out without my shoes this morning but figured it out once I stepped on a twig and wanted to die.

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I have noticed a trend.  Every day...and by that I mean day two on the meds, 6th period rolls around and I cannot for my life stay awake.  Thank God there are no children in here at that time.  It is never on purpose but it happens.  Yesterday, I was watching an informative video on QRI usage in the Social Studies classroom.  I know it completely sounds like the next blockbuster hit!  Down I went.  It was the ugly drooling kind of nap.  The bell rang for passing period and snapped me out of my deep slumber in time to go do hall duty.  While mingling with my peers, the teacher across the hall asked if the principal had come into my classroom as well.  I was horrified but in a muted way.  There was a small voice in the back of my head that was going on and on about something to do "OH my God he is my evaluator what will he think of me snoring it up on the job the first week?"  The guilt got to me so I confessed...not sure what I wrote.  Pretty sure the grammar was awesome, and I misspelled some stuff.  He replied this morning...that he didn't notice.  Southern men have such sweet manners.

The students are funny.  I am not sure how funny they will continue to be in a few weeks when this fog lifts. But under a psychedelic glow they are cherubs.  Pretty sure they have no idea that this is not how I will be the rest of the school year.  Bless their hearts.  

Get some rest dear reader...time for me to go juice up.     

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day sweats

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We all survived the first day.  Looks like a good mix of students for another exciting school year.

I have been sick.  I thought it was just my asthma.  Today was killer.  Was getting the inhaler every hour and triple puffing. It had little impact. I went to the doctor. Turns out it but with a healthy mix of pneumonia.  I got the super steroid shot in the bottom. Super ouchie!  And walked out with the wonder grab bag of drugs.  The doctor has ordered me to call her tomorrow. She is a tiny bit worried that there may be some kind of clot.  She didn't say where pretty sure that is for the better.  So till then...I take the pills, inhalers,  nebulizers, and cough syrups and try to rest.

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  I saw this and it made me think of the first day of school.  Everyone is dressed all fancy.  The is a ton of small talk and it seems like we are waiting for the show to start.

Hope everyone enjoys the rest, and the start of the show.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It is coming...

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The school district I work for is "embracing technology."  It isn't like we tried to ignore the existence of it before but now we are allowing the students, and encouraging them to bring their own "devices."  Not a huge deal, in my eyes.  Some are acting like we are letting the aliens land in the cafeteria.  It was bound to happen eventually, technology changes too fast for a district to try to keep up technology equitably.

For those teachers in the same situation...being encouraged to use more technology but not being given any ideas I have found the most useful blog known to man.  Free Technology for Teachers

I have noticed that between the bronchitis, driving 30 hours this week and school starting all my writing has been ignored.  It isn't out of spite.  I love the new POV, point of view, it feels so much more comfortable. I am exhausted.  My hobby is sleep.  I do the essentials and fall right into bed.  For example tonight I am suppose to finish writing the handouts for the inservice I teach in the morning.  I got half of it done and have no motivation to do any more.

I can do this.  I can finish.  I am almost there.  I say goodbye. Wish me creative, and coherent thoughts.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On the Northern Wind

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There was a huge cloud that passed over the neighborhood today.  Everyone stepped outside.  It was like one of those scenes in the movies where the aliens arrive and there is wide spread awe.  Only I didn't see any aliens.  There was a huge continuous cloud with equally amazing cool breezes.  The weatherman said that because of the cloud we didn't break the record.  If you don't live around here the weathermen have been drunk on us passing the continuous days over 100 degrees that was set in 1980.  It makes the initial news blurb every night, right after a quick barely noticeable mention of the debt crisis and right before the two sentences about the famine in Africa. 

School starts for me in three days.  I am happy to get back to the school routine.  The house runs more smoothly when everyone has a set schedule.  I volunteered to do an inservice.  I have not even thought about it all summer.  I might want to get on top of that or it will be a painful hour with my peers while I sit and stare back at them when they don't laugh at my jokes.  Tough crowd.    

Monday, August 8, 2011

Crusty Monster

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I hate waking up with a cold.  My face feels completely crunchy.  The body releases awesome things when you sleep and they always pool and dry in the most unusual spots.  This morning I got up...barely in time for work.  My right eye was swollen shut.  It made it so difficult to see the random crusties.  I thought I got all of them.  I got some of them.  It was a rough morning. 

I didn't wake up completely till around noon.  It provided for an eventful 4 hours. I will have to get sleep tonight and wash my face better tomorrow.  (I think I scared the children.) 

Good news...I only work for a three day stretch then I am off for a glorious two days.  I can make it.  This is my last week before going back to school.  It is sad.  I had such great hopes for organization.  I got some of it started but could use a couple of weeks...with no teaching drivers ed.  

I am excited to set up my classroom.  With all of the sickness, and driving I have not even thought about the new school year.  This year the school district is making big changes we are allowing the use of phones and their own laptops/tablets.  It is an exciting change.  I have their first "phone" lesson figured out and can't wait to think of additional ones.  If I must confess it is what I thought about for most of the 8 hours I was driving students.  A busy girl gotta multitask.  

Any cool ideas for teaching using cellphones? 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer is almost gone

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The hotter it gets the more I find myself looking at pictures of water and snow.   I've watched White Christmas twice, Day after Tomorrow three times, and Elf.  I also find myself waking up earlier.  Not sure what that nonsense is all about.  It is good I I only have a week until school starts.  (Deep sigh.)

This summer flew by lightening fast.  Feels like I only accomplished half the things on my to do list.  Even though I did not get my book released yet...I did get other stuff done.  I wrote nearly every day.  It was bit of a scattered effort.  Half of it was on the book I won't use, and the other half was on another book that will never see the light of day.  However, they were both not done in vein.  I discovered my main character.  I learned that a story is more than plot and characters.  I learned that the stories I love are filled with problems, and stakes that grow with every page.  I learned that if you love your characters you will put them in the biggest trouble you can imagine and let them fix it themselves.

And in between the increased number of hours driving and all the writing I found how I want to change my bedroom.

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Isn't that beautiful.  I have several book shelves but they are mismatched and completely crowed with books...and they may need dusting.  It would be freaking awesome if I could build looks easy right?  A couple of boards of wood, some nails, throw some paint on that puppy. I love the ceiling too but am thinking maybe we start with small steps.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Put on Your Creative Hats

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After posting my inspiring on Random bits, I was out and about the blogsphere checking on my friends to see what everyone has been up to.  About ten minutes into the process I had the most pleasant of surprises...there was a post about me.  Well, not completely about was about my blog.  So that is the same thing.  

Laura, at Literary Legs posted Redefining Creativity about where creativity comes from and how it comes to each of us.  

So please take a hop on over and see how she has masterfully cleaned up my post and mentioned this little blog on her own.

Random mid week bits

1)  I have been thinking that one day, one day soon I will start my new art.
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I am obsessed with book art.  It looks simple, just cutting a book up. The combination of images really do tell the story without needing any of the words.  I marvel at the cutting talents of the artist that did this piece.  I forget that I have clumsy cutting styles.  But I think I could so do something like this....maybe more of a beginner one.  

2) I adore dogs.  The only thing I adore more are funny dog pictures.  I found on my tumblr an artist, Carli Davidson, who specilizises in dogs.  She has the most wonderful series called Shake.  Do yourself a favor and check it out.

A few of my favorites...who couldn't just love dogs after these adorable pictures.  Stay cool everyone!