Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year. Can I go to bed now?

Well, people, it's 12:37 on January 1, 2013 here in Birmingham. I went to a party tonight and I am proud to say I was there for AN HOUR AND A HALF. I got home around 11:30. I am safe and sound and warm and watching something I recorded about pagans (Pagans? Is that capitalized? I mean, it's a religion, right? Why is Muslim spelled so many different ways? Has anybody else noticed that when you spell it "Moslem" it looks a lot like "mausoleum?" I did.) And I am happy here at home by myself so BACK OFF AND STOP JUDGING.
Oh, I went to Subway for dinner tonight on my way to the party, and I got there at like 8:45 and there was one girl working there who said she had been there since 6:30 THIS MORNING. I asked her how long they were open and she said till 10:30, and when I was on my way back to my apartment I thought about stopping to see if she was still there to wish her a Happy New Year, but I wanted to go through Scottsdale and see the Christmas lights again (even though I already did it once) and going BACK to Subway would mean backtracking, and also even though I had the best of intentions I thought this girl would maybe think it was weird and be afraid of me for coming back to talk to her, and since I was already afraid of rapey murderers in my parking lot because the outside light over the apartment steps has gone out and that's totally asking to be kidnapped and raped and dismembered and have your remains scattered across 3 different states, I certainly didn't want to scare anybody else. I'm thoughtful like that.
Oh, I know you have all been worried about whether or not I have gotten my planner for this year (because not having a planner in time is one of the signs of the apocalypse, right?) so I would like to update you on that: I HAVE ONE. Actually, that's not true. I HAVE TWO. TWO PLANNERS. Because I'm thorough.
Actually I have two because one is little and goes everywhere with me and can even fit in my black purse, which is the smallest purse I have and that's why I took it with me to find the travel one, and the other one is bigger and will mostly stay home and keep track of EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN so that when I forget something, I have to come up with a really good excuse, and it will therefore be a good exercise in creativity. Only the problem is that I went to Staples and got a bunch of their stuff from the Martha Stewart line (because it is all color-coordinated and I saw an awesome example of it HERE>>> but then when I got home and tried to put it all together THE DIVIDER TABS DID NOT FIT MY BINDER!!! And I don't even know what binder they WOULD fit because they certainly won't fit a normal-sized one, and mine is 5.5"x8.5" and other than that and normal what other size is there??? WEIRD. BAD MARTHA. So I have to go BACK to Staples tomorrow to exchange my dividers for a set that actually works. But at least I have my little planner and tomorrow the rest of my big one should come together.
Once I get it all put together and organized exactly how I like it, I'll post a picture and links to all the stuff. But right now it is time for me to go back to laughing so hard I give birth to a kidney, and you can have this much fun too if you will go buy Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, although if you are opposed to profanity I don't advise this. But sometimes cussing just makes things funnier. (Sorry, Mom, but that's how I feel.)
I've got to go read my book and see what sort of trouble the Pagans are getting themselves into; happy celebrations and be safe!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Year, New Projects

Hello, friends!
I hope everyone has had a lovely holiday season so far and that you continue to relax and enjoy the gifts and goodies that remain. For my part, I got a HUGE influx of coffee mugs--four to be exact, and Bob's makes five--but it's been really cold outside (delightfully cold!) so I'm using two to three per day. I also got some books and a bunch of Doctor Who much I think I'm going to create a sci-fi shrine somewhere in the apartment now. I also made a trip to Hobby Lobby and got a bunch of cheap Christmas ornaments for next year. But first let's focus on the 363 days before that.
Sometime in October, I believe, I stumbled across The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin in the library. I had heard it mentioned, but didn't give it much thought; the familiarity of the title struck a chord with me, however, and after flipping through a few pages, I checked it out. I also canvassed her website,, and needless to say, I was inspired. Like Gretchen, I am not unhappy as I am--I have a lovely apartment, a perfect match of a husband, a loving family, a standoffish cat, a job I love, and so much more--but I think I could be putting forth more effort to enjoy what I have.
I'm going to follow the format of Gretchen's project, which is to give each month of the next year a focus (marriage, family, gratitude, etc.) and make resolutions to help me experience the most happiness within my focus area. The resolutions build on each other, though, meaning that if I have 3 resolutions in January and 3 new ones in February, that I should actually strive to follow all 6 in February. I feel that I've found a kindred spirit in Gretchen Rubin, because she likes to make lists and check things off and even take notes on books she reads for no reason other than she likes taking notes--I had no idea anybody else did that. She wants recognition, or "gold stars" for doing good work, but struggles to give out those same stars to others (me, too.) If I could meet this woman, I think we'd be able to talk nonstop from dawn to dusk without taking a breath and still each make a list of talking points for the next meeting. (She also loves children's literature, but I can't imagine who wouldn't.)
Anyway, the point of this post is to warn you that I'm about to embark upon my own happiness project. I'll get into more specifics when I can, and I'll try to be consistent about updates, something that I'm absolutely terrible at right now. But alas, the new year and my new project shall begin soon, which means I have oodles of preparation and lists and notes and books to keep me busy.
Happy dead-time-between-Christmas-and-New-Year's, my friends!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Okay.... In order to write more posts, I've decided that I'll write a post for each new recipe, craft, decorating endeavor, or other project I do. No, this does not include every picture I color with my kindergartners. Just stuff that takes some effort and has potential to a) inspire others or b) provide a lesson from which others can learn.

Tonight I tried a new recipe, lentil and ham soup, found on
(I tried to make it link, but when I use the "link" option on Blogger it just shows a blank space where the text is. If anybody can help me fix this, let me know.)

This is what it ended up looking like:

Here's a close-up:

If you want the recipe, check out the above link, but a quick summary is chopped ham, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, some lentils, chicken broth, tomato sauce, and spices, dump it in a slow cooker and leave it the hell alone. I cooked mine on high because I didn't have the specified 11 hours to leave it on low, as we didn't drag ourselves out of bed until after noon today. It can easily be doubled, halved, what have you for whatever quantity you need.

It turned out okay. I have NO experience with lentils--never even bought them before. The soup tasted alright, not my favorite and perhaps a little too strong with some of the herbs. The lentils were perhaps cooked too long because the interior mush slipped right out of the skin once it hits your tongue, but everything else seemed perfect, including the consistency. If the lentils were added later, I'm guessing it would be more liquidy, but the lentils would perhaps be firmer. I don't know what they're supposed to be like, so I can't say whether that would be good or bad.

Bob seems to like it okay--we had it with cornbread (Aunt Jemima corn meal and recipe--a little too sweet for me), and he likes to dip the cornbread in his soup. His typical response when I ask how he likes something is, "It's not too bad." That can mean anything from toxic tar-like substance to what you would request as your last meal before your execution. Well, actually he usually tells me if there is something really wrong, but you get what I mean. He's eating it, so whatever.

I have to add for anybody who suffers from GERD (acid reflux) that I'm not feeling too hot at the moment--of course I'm also drinking Dr. Pepper, so that could be part of the problem.

Ooh, Bob just found the bay leaf, which means he wins the prize! I don't have a prize, but if there was one, he'd get it.

Coming up: I'm looking forward to baking some pumpkin snickerdoodles for Halloween at school on Wednesday--I'll post with pictures after that adventure.

Happy fall cooking!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Quarter-Life Crisis

Hello, friends. In less than a month I will be 25. While this is just an arbitrary number that does nothing more than save us some money on rental cars and insurance, many of you who are similar to me in age and career progress can certainly understand why it can seem so a) significant and b) depressing.

It is significant for several reasons. One of those reasons is that when you're a kid, 25 is "old." Most people this age who are not trying to be doctors are finished with school and have a career. I have friends who have had/are having babies, or getting ready to buy houses. Well let me tell you, me and Bob are not having babies anytime soon. In fact, I sent my mother a text the other day that I'm seriously considering animals instead of tiny humans. They are cheaper, you can leave them alone when necessary, they love you unconditionally, they don't go to college, and they don't wreak havoc on your lady parts.
Now, as far as buying a house goes, we aren't ready for that either. This one doesn't bother me so much (or at all, really)--we don't know where we are going to be in 2 years, we don't know what sort of house we will need, and we are already paying off a mortgage worth of student loans. I don't care really--renting is fine.
Now, the career thing is frustrating. It's not like I don't know what I want to do. I even know exactly what I want to get my master's degree in. But I can't go back to school until I get a job doing what I trained for (ironic, I know.) The way we live for the next 9 months depends entirely on what happens during the summer, and another summer has come and gone and I'm still on my "stepping stone." Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job. It's why I want to go back to school for special ed. But I won't get anywhere until I get off this stepping stone, and my chance is pretty much gone until next summer. That really stinks.

I'm one of those people that feels lost without a plan. Having a plan doesn't mean I'll follow it, or that I'm organized, but it means I know what to expect. So I'm making a plan for the next year of my life.

1. Writing. Since I was in first grade I have been a writer. I love words--they are my medium for art. I don't paint or sculpt, because I'm terrible at it, but I am GOOD at writing. And I've started writing a book. I have a concrete idea and a solid storyline--the first I've ever had. This one actually might go somewhere, so I'm going to take my time and keep working at it until I'm done.

2. Plants. For the past several years me and Bob have tried to plant stuff and make it grow with limited success. I think a big part of the problem is that we usually don't plan ahead. It's like, oh, we should have planted carrots a month ago. Not this year. I'm getting started now. I'm figuring out what to plant and what we'll need to do it, I'm putting it on my Google calendar with reminders and this year we are going to grow some food!

That's all I have for now. I like these goals. They will have tangible results, with measurable progress, and they are things I really WANT to finish. I want this year to mean something, to be one I can look back on with pride instead of, "What happened that year?" I want it to count.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dead Tigers

This post is concerning a lovely conversation I had with my mother around this time last year, "this time" meaning Football Season.

We were walking companionably along in a parking lot, possibly Hobby Lobby, and we saw an image similar to this:

My mom pointed to it and commented, "Now I don't understand that. I just don't see how that is showing support for Auburn. Do you get it?"

I was (understandably) confused by this, so I gave her a quizzical look and asked her what she meant. She elaborated: "Well, it's supposed to show support for Auburn, right?" I confirmed. "Well then, how is it supportive to act like you're driving around with a dead tiger in the trunk?"

I stared at her for a minute or two. Then, after I finished laughing, I explained to her that the point of the tail is to make it seem as if the CAR ITSELF actually is a tiger, what with the tail hanging off the back of the car just as it does the back of a tiger.

And now I am proud to say she knows and is no longer walking around with the idea that people are trying to pretend they have dead tigers in the trunks of their cars. Happy birthday, Mama, I love you!

Friday, September 14, 2012


Perspective is a powerful thing, and it can change quickly. My perspective on several aspects of life has seen some things in a new light lately.

1. Texting and driving. Since the texting ban took effect in Alabama however long ago, I've sent maybe two texts while in the car, and have made/received less than 5 phone calls. Cause, you know, I don't want to get a ticket--I hate being stuck behind somebody driving the speed limit, can you imagine how frustrating it is to have to STOP and WAIT for a cop to write you a ticket? And then that slow person has just had that much more time to back up traffic EVEN MORE. But I digress. That's not what changed my perspective. A ban on something won't stop people from doing it. Seeing billboards and commercials and magazine ads won't stop people from doing it. What scared ME most was when I was on my way home from school one day. I was exiting off 65 south at Montgomery Hwy and going straight across to Lorna Road, and I was stopped at the light, third car back. The light turned green, and I had enough time to think, "WHAT'S TAKING SO LONG?!" before the little red Honda took off. The other light had been red for several seconds. And yet, that little red Honda got t-boned by somebody going over 50. 31 was shut down for awhile, and I'm sure both cars were totaled. It was LOUD. That's the worst wreck I've ever witnessed. Now, I don't know that the driver of that car was texting, but something distracted them from the road for a good 5 seconds or more. And that's what can happen in 5 seconds. I don't want to be the one responsible for totaling somebody's car, breaking somebody's leg, or killing somebody's child.

2. Prenatal care. Because I work in special ed, I see what can happen when you don't take care of your body, when your body is busy creating somebody else's body. I work primarily with a child who has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Just so you know, this is what alcohol exposure in utero does to a baby's brain:

This child is such a sweetie. Many kids with FAS can be aggressive, but he is not. When his medication is in full effect, he can sit at a table or on the floor, listen, and attend (somewhat) to a task. This doesn't mean he understands--what many kindergarten students come to school already knowing, he struggles daily to learn. Things like colors, numbers, shapes, and letters, and writing his name, things two- and three-year-old children know, he doesn't fully comprehend. Before his medication has kicked in, or after it has worn off, all self-control is left behind. He is incapable of keeping still, he constantly touches or pats his classmates, he makes inappropriate comments that get all the other kindergartners riled up, and he spontaneously attempts to do back-flips and lands on his head. When he's in that state, there's absolutely no way he's going to be able to learn efficiently.

I also have worked with kids whose disabilities are attributed to prenatal drug exposure--blindness, extra fingers, mood disorders, and mental retardation. Kids whose lives could have been so different. Don't get me wrong, each one is a blessing and I love each one for all that they are and all that they can be. But I see the frustration when a first-grader tries to write his name for the thousandth time and forgets how to spell it, or when a third-grader has to ask how to spell "him." And there's every chance that some of these challenges would be present even if every precaution was taken--but please, ladies, if you are of child-bearing age, even if you don't WANT children, take care of your body. I'm sure these kids' mothers didn't have malevolent intent, but the consequences are what they are, and it can't be changed. Some of these kids will never be independent. They will rely on others for care for the rest of their lives, robbed of the ability to make responsible decisions, control their impulses, or fill their own basic needs.

3. I'm grateful for so many more things in my life. I'm grateful that I have fruit flies to deal with at the moment (though I hate them too) because it means there's food in my kitchen. I'm grateful for the alarm clock that goes off at 5:45 in the morning because it means I have a job to go to, even if it's not the one I have dreamed of for the past 6 years. I'm grateful that I have twice as much laundry to do as I used to, because it means I have a husband who loves me and puts up with my erratic moods and various ailments, real or imagined (although I'd be grateful too if he'd put clothes IN the basket instead of NEXT to it, HINT OH HINT.) Finally, not to upstage the hubs, I'm grateful for the parents I have who have supported me (and us) when it was needed, whether I (or we) wanted it or not.

Yes, yes, I know, I've blathered on and you're probably all asking yourselves why you're bothering to read this far. Well, I'm done now. Go enjoy your weekend. Roll Tide.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Week X

School starts for kids on Monday, August 20th. This is the first week for teachers, although Monday and Tuesday all the regular classroom teachers (i.e. not me) were at AMSTI training. That means that the past two days I haven't had much to do. Today everybody came back, and we had a lovely 3-hour meeting about the following.....

We are on a six-day schedule. Monday will be Day 1, Week A. Our resource classes (art, music, computer, library, and counseling) are scheduled based on day number, not Art on Monday, etc.

Each Day 6 is a no-resource day and is reserved for meetings, especially for us special ed folks. Each class also has another day during the week with no resource class--it might be any day 1-5.

We also rotate counseling and library, each every other week. Some people have counseling during Week A, some during Week B. So if you have counseling on Day 3 during Week A, that means on Day 3 Week B, you'll have library.

AND IT CHANGES EVERY WEEK! Monday will be Day 1 Week A. The next Monday will be a Day 6. That means Tuesday will be Day 1 Week B.

This means that kindergartners NEVER know which resource they have, they just know that Day 6 is always a "bummer." It can be for teachers too, because that's one less outlet for busy kids and one less break during the day. But this may or may not affect me much this year because.....

WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE ARE DOING. I am deadly serious. Well, okay, we know we will be helping kids with their schoolwork and helping coordinate therapies and services, but we have no idea how many kids, how old they are, or what type of services they will need. I heard today we may have as many as THIRTEEN KINDERGARTNERS with IEPs (individualized education plans) coming up and that is HUGE. We know of another two that we will definitely be servicing, but we don't know whose room they'll be in yet, which is kind of important because they will both need a LOT of services.

Two of our staff went to a training workshop about autism and communication today. Originally it was going to be me and April (the chick I'm working under) because we're supposedly the "early childhood" folks. But since Mandy has the self-contained class (the class for kids whose needs can't be met in a traditional classroom) they thought these kids might go in there with her, and we might not even have enough kids for an early childhood unit and me and April would just go all over for whoever, wherever, whenever.

Then we heard about these thirteen kindergarten kids. Who we know nothing about. Who may or may not be enrolled at our school.

Oh, did I mention we are supposed to start providing services for all these kids on the first day of school? At least 13 is my lucky number.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Second Post of the Day.... which I wonder if I may have Adult ADD. I've been sitting around reading blogs (well one blog, which led me to the second blog, which I am still reading. I have also been on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail. I think I said that in my other post.) Anyway, one of the blogs I've been reading chronicles the life of a mom of four kids, all of whom have special needs ranging from ADHD to Asperger's. She herself has also been diagnosed with Adult ADHD and I just read a post about how she just started medication for it and how wonderful and productive she felt that day. Now I am a firm believer in Better Living Through Chemistry, and if medication has helped solve, or at least maintain at a functional level, my anxiety, depression, and GERD, then if I have ADHD and something out there can make me more functional and doesn't cost a billion dollars, then why not?

Now first of all I don't want you people to go thinking I have self-diagnosed (even though I sort of have) and am running out this minute to purchase black-market speed. Are you crazy? That crap is probably WAY expensive and if I get an actual diagnosis by a doctor who I already see on a monthly basis, then I can get a generic for like $4 a month instead of $4 a pill. So stop worrying, Mom, this is not just a quest for more medication, it's just a quest for productivity.

Which brings me to the reason I started writing in the first place. I'd love to be a more prolific blogger--who wouldn't love to make a living swigging coffee and playing on the computer in their pajamas all day?--but I have just never been able to keep at it for any length of time, usually more than about 2 weeks. This one has been the exception, but as you can see in my posting history, I'm still sporadic at best.

So the real real reason I started writing was to chronicle my journey from reading blogs to Doing Something Productive. I was talking to Bob about the symptoms of ADHD that I have--not the hyperactivity, but never being able to finish anything (like a sentence) such as washing dishes. It is only through God's good grace that we ever have clean dishes, because this blessed apartment has a dishwasher. But some things either can't be washed in it or just don't fit. So I have a habit of putting things in the dishwasher and whatever doesn't fit just has to wait. I'll wash what I need if it's urgent, but usually it waits several days. Or Bob washes it. (That's usually what happens.) I'll get started, and halfway through decide I am done, and go wandering off. Sometimes I leave washed, but still wet, dishes in the sink and they get dirty again just by association with the yet-unwashed dishes.

Well, I decided I was GOING TO WASH DISHES, DAMMIT (sorry Mom.) I actually said this to Bob, in hopes it would help me finish the job. I said, "I am going to wash the dishes, just you watch." And then he didn't say anything. I watched the back of his head. He did not turn around to watch as I had commanded. So I said, "Did you hear me?" Then he turned around and I repeated what I just said. I went in the kitchen and looked at the dishes. Then I realized that I had to go to the bathroom. And I had a headache. So I went to the bathroom first so I didn't forget to. (Yes, I HAVE forgotten to go to the bathroom.) As I was getting on with it, I thought, "I need to remember to get some headache medicine while I'm in here. Did I weigh myself today? I don't think so." So I weighed myself. Then I washed my hands and thought, "I need to get some hand soap for the kitchen sink so I'm not always using Dawn every time I need to wash my hands. The sink is dirty. Should I wipe it down now? I have those Clorox wipes conveniently under the sink for occasions just such as these. No. I am on a Mission. To Wash Dishes. This can wait. I need to get medicine." So I reached into the medicine cabinet and doled out my two acetaminophen and single ibuprofen, noticing that we were dangerously low on both. "I need to check these off on my grocery list so I don't forget." I left the bathroom, took the medicine with me to where the grocery list (which is one of two, both of which have a magnetic strip on the back to hang on the fridge--neither of them is on the fridge) sat quietly on the coffee table. I searched for a pen and checked off pain reliever and hand soap on the list (haha! I remembered!)

Now, as you may have forgotten, my Mission is to Wash the Dishes. To actually Finish. I put up the clean dishes--a spoon, a pot, and a bowl, which I placed on top of the stack then rearranged because we have Fiestaware and I don't like two dishes of the same color to be stacked directly on top of one another.

Hold on, I have to check my email. I signed up for this ADD newsletter about how to manage things and get them done when you have ADD and I just got like 5 emails from it and I can't stand having that number in parentheses staring at me, waiting.

Okay. Focus. Focus focus. I checked my email, which included a link to the "Clear Clutter the Fantastic Never-Tried Way That I Have Developed Just For You Because I Am A Psychologist and Very Special Human Being" document. I opened it and started reading--well skimming, cause it was a lot of garbage I probably don't really need--and found a whole lot of stuff that, sure enough, I already know. Small steps, duh. Have everything you need before you start, duh. I KNOW THAT. The point is that I just don't do it. Then I hopped back over a couple of Chrome tabs and looked back at the Mommy blog for a minute and realized I was in the middle of writing a blog post. (This happens every time I write a post, I'm just trying to illustrate my logic behind thinking I may have ADD.)

So. The dishes. I poured the water out of the soaking chicken dish from Thursday, ran the disposal, and proceeded to wash it. Then I washed the colander. I put some silverware into the dishwasher, along with a coffee mug. I washed another dish, and a pot that had some residual water staining on it and I didn't know if it was just hard water or actually dirty. Then I had to dry those dishes so I had room on the mat for the dishes I still had to wash. I put one up, then had to rearrange it all because one dish had to fit inside another and it was full of pot lids. Now I return to the remaining dish, which is leftover from when I tried to make no-bake chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies yesterday, which did not set up right and now I eat them out of the pan with a spoon. They're still good, I just couldn't take them to Sally's for dessert last night so I ended up having to go by Gigi's and get some cupcakes. They were awesome, but they use too much icing I think, and also it was 5 p.m. on a Friday in June and traffic was awful.

Anyway, the pot is all sticky with chocolate and sugar residue, and little bits of oat are cemented to it, so clearly the best thing to do was to put hot water in it and let it soak, probably for several days.

Sleep Schedule Fail

So at about 11 last night, I thought to myself, "Self, you must utilize your access to prescription medication with the objective of getting a full night's sleep, else you will fail parlously in any endeavor in which you partake tomorrow." Or something like that.

Well at 8:30 this morning I awoke to hear my cell phone alarm dingling away happily in the kitchen, and I staggered out of bed to silence it. I considered, briefly but not seriously, staying up, and then I staggered back to bed, thinking I'd sleep for another hour or so and then get up and do something.

Fast forward to time of waking. Roll around bed for awhile, sit up and put on glasses, smack phone to turn the light on and it's 1:30.

Obviously the day is over and there is no point whatsoever in trying to actually do anything, so all I have done all day is sit on the couch or floor and read blogs, check Pinterest, Facebook, Gmail, and Twitter. With the TV on in the background. Occasional snacks.

While I enjoy days like these on some level, and in fact during the course of the day do not actually feel any desire to do anything, I always like having the feeling at the end of the day of HAVING done something. I have done NOTHING today. AT ALL. This just makes me a failure at so many things, but my logic is, since I have already failed for the day by sleeping until 1:30, there is no longer any point in trying, so I might as well just do whatever the hell I want. So there.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I've Never Liked Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs is one of those games that just sucks. Somebody's going to be out, and it's always by the skin of your teeth that your butt misses the invisible line that divides the chair in half, while the other person smugly wiggles just a smudge and you fall off. Then everybody points and laughs, and you have to go stand dejectedly on the sidelines while everybody gleefully rejoices in their chairs, safe for another round. But even if you survived that round, you always have that innate fear, that sneaking thought in your mind: I could be next.

But what if they mixed it up and made it even MORE risky? What if all the players were blindfolded, and after each stop the referees (what else would you call them?) remove MULTIPLE chairs--it could be one, it could be all BUT one. And then they hide the rest. So when the music stops, not only are you worrying about how many of you won't get a seat, but you're also scrambling frantically about the room looking for the chairs, wasting precious time at every corner that turns up blank. So at the end of each round you have people standing, bewildered, in the middle of the room wondering, "Did we miss one? Is there a chair still out there? Do I still have a chance?" while the seated onlookers are taking a deep breath and thinking, "Thank God it's not me."

Well, that's how this week at school has been. We thought they took out three chairs, maybe more--turns out two of the people left standing managed to find chairs in hidden corners. Only one chair got snatched, and it belonged to the person I'm going to miss the most. She's okay with it, though; more okay than I am, probably.

I got a chair, but it's one of those that's made for toddlers. It's a chair, but slightly too small for my rear end and if Bob tried to sit on it with me, it would collapse. (That's a financial metaphor, by the way.) Bob's playing his own game at the moment, and hopefully he'll find one of those big throne-like La-Z-Boys hidden behind a curtain somewhere, one big enough to hold both of us, even if we're a little cramped. Of course, best case scenario is that we each manage to find a chair that is an appropriate size for one person. But nobody knows where those chairs are, or if they even exist right now.

I have had an idea that I think would be quite the viral YouTube sensation: Synchronized Roll-y Chair Dancing. Think of it: Ten people in rolling, spinning office chairs, whirling in and out of one another in a perfectly choreographed routine set to "Pumped Up Kicks." Amazing, right?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Screwing with the Universe

Ever have those days where you feel like the universe is just playing with you, and you want some way to get back at it? Today was one of those days.

Earlier today at school, I was going through sight words with a kid. I would ask her to tell me the word and she'd say, "I don't know." Now this is her strategy for whenever she doesn't want to work--just say you don't know, and hope they leave you alone. This same child remembered something entirely new we taught her two weeks ago and haven't discussed since. I KNOW she knows more than she lets on, which can be frustrating because she could be advancing so much faster if only she would realize it! But little kids don't think that way.

Anyway, I just got in the, haha, take that! kind of mood a little while ago. So I posted a Facebook status soliciting people to shoot the chickadee outside my window. (If my grandmother were dead, she'd be rolling in her grave, but she's alive and if she checks Facebook, she'll probably scold me. Life goes on--it won't be the first time. I love her dearly, and she's taught me a lot.)

Let's get this straight--I don't like birds. I know that's a blanket statement, and in fact it isn't entirely true. I don't hate ALL birds. I just don't like the boring, annoying ones--the ones that sit outside your window at ridiculous hours of the day and night screeching, who don't do anything cool like hunt small animals and other birds, or who can't be considered for purchase in the poultry aisle at Publix. I do, though, have a vendetta against a particular gaggle of geese that lives in the Inverness area, because they will regularly take up residence in the road and refuse to move even when you nudge them with the bumper of your car. I also have a vendetta against ALL swans--this is another story, though.

So anyway, the point to this post is that today my mission is to stick it to the universe in as many small ways as I can. The first way I chose today is to look up a very specific recipe for chicken, and then purposely get "creative" with it. I don't think it will have a major negative effect--rather than use lemon, for example (because I don't have any, they are expensive, and I don't like them), I sliced some onion and threw some minced garlic in there. I am kind of winging it with the rest of it, but with chicken, potatoes, and green beans in a pan with olive oil, onion, and garlic, it can't be that bad as long as it's all cooked, right?

Way #2 that I am showing the universe who's boss: I'm drinking Pepsi out of a Coke glass. Small, I know, but it's the little things that give you satisfaction.

Oh, and back (way back) to what I was saying about my Facebook post about asking people to shoot the bird? Well, underneath that, I posted a comment about what I'm doing tomorrow--volunteering at the Humane Society. Being hypocritical in a way that doesn't hurt anybody satisfies the rebellious streak in me. Which is good, usually it's asking me for chocolate and caffeine and battling my will for a happy tummy.

Such is life. Sometimes you get along, and sometimes you don't, and either way, it's the little things that matter.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I was just perusing Pinterest, and I noticed some goody bags for a kid's party labeled "Thank you!" It got me thinking, when I was a kid, my mom always had me say thank you to the kids who came to my parties, or just came over for a play date. I always thought, in typical selfish-kid fashion, why exactly am I thanking them? I always thanked my friends when they invited ME places--they extended the invitation, after all, they let me play with their toys and make a mess in their house and eat their Fruit by the Foot. That made sense. It didn't make sense to me the other way around: Thanks for coming over and messing up my room, not putting my doll's hair on the right way, and eating those last two cookies I was going to eat after supper tonight? I didn't think that seemed quite right.

Now I see it differently. As an adult, and one who has suffered extreme feelings of loneliness, I understand the reasoning behind thanking friends for spending time with me. Even when it takes a lot of effort on my part, I'm always grateful that someone else thought I was a worthy way to spend part of the day. When you're a kid you don't think much about your value as a person. You're a kid, and your parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles (if you are lucky enough to have them) are always telling you how wonderful you are and everything you do, no matter how crappy, is perfect.

When you're an adult, you start to realize that your worth as a person is measured by more than the opinion of the people who created you (no offense, Mom.) Your worth is measured by the things you do for yourself, for your friends, and for people you don't know--in short, for the world in general. And when other people want to be around you, it's a sign you're either doing something right, or that they put up with your negative qualities so much because there is something lovable about you regardless of whatever you're lacking in personality. No one is entitled to trust, friendship, and respect without first showing some to others, and we're all guilty of betraying at least one of these fundamental principles at one point or another.

Despite our faults, most of us still have at least one person who calls you, texts you, eats lunch with you, or at bare minimum comments on your Facebook posts. If you do, be grateful to those people--they've seen the ups and the downs, and they are willing enough to muddle through your downs because they think your ups are worth it. If you don't, maybe you need to reconsider the ways you show trust, friendship, and respect to others. It's important to realize that people perceive things differently based on personality, gender, age, stage in life, and the kind of day they're having. If you're naturally sarcastic, like me, realize that some people don't get that kind of humor and don't appreciate it. Almost all of my friends have at one point or another been offended by something I've said. (I can't count how many times I've probably offended my husband.) But they've all forgiven me, just as I willingly forgive them for accidental insults that are nearly always meant in jest.

I guess what I'm saying in all this rambling is that now that I'm an adult, I appreciate much more that friendship can be a sacrifice. You sacrifice time, energy, calories, and sometimes your own feeling of well-being for your friends. And I love my friends and am eternally grateful for everything they've sacrificed for me.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Bella.... Oh, Bella. She is, if you'll pardon my vernacular, a mess. One minute Brittany and I are falling out of our chairs laughing at something she's said or done, and the next minute Britt is pretending to strangle herself with her scarf because Bella won't listen.

A little information: Bella is six years old and repeating kindergarten this year; she's skinny because all she eats is peanut butter, cheese puffs, vanilla wafers, goldfish, and gummies, and her gait is more of a skip than a walk, so she burns TONS of energy. She loves to sing and dance, and she likes to make up her own lyrics to tunes she is familiar with. She is obsessed with fairies, particularly Tinkerbell, and she loves Barbie. Every day, usually multiple times, she stops her bouncing long enough to ask, "What color are your eyes?" We answer her every day and usually let her get close enough to see, but still she asks--and I discovered today that she also asks her own dad the same question all the time. Recently she's also had a preoccupation with angels and daisies. When she is focused on one of these things, it's incredibly difficult to get her motivated to do schoolwork; however, she conveniently enough NEVER gets focused on schoolwork.

It can take this little stinker upwards of an hour to sort 35 bears into 5 plastic cups based on color--and this lengthy time frame has NOTHING whatsoever to do with her low vision. She's just that stubborn. She sees colors very well and she's pretty smart; she has an incredible vocabulary, which is unsurprising considering so much of her information is probably based on sound.

Since Bella is completely blind in one eye and has very low vision in her other eye, it has been determined that it will be in her best interest to learn Braille and cane skills, so that if her vision fails completely she will already be much more adaptable. Since I am with Bella for about 30+ hours a week, I get to learn these things too. We had our first big breakthrough in Braille practice today--Bella wrote her name in Braille all by herself with no more than motivational support!

This is a HUGE DEAL. She hasn't been working on this for very long, and just yesterday it took her about 15 minutes to just write her name once--today she did it THREE TIMES in LESS THAN TEN MINUTES. Note: When I say she's learning Braille, it isn't the way you picture it. As she is so young and still working on dexterity, she uses tennis balls in a muffin tin to represent the six dots that form the basis for the language. We read books aloud to her and let her run her hands along the dots on the page, but she doesn't comprehend those at all yet. It's a long process, and she has a hard time sitting still for even five minutes.

But we're learning.

Eventually I'll post more information on Braille and sighted guide (when a seeing person leads a blind person), but for now, I'll leave you with this little scene from today....

Me (to Britt): Did you know Bella can speak with a British accent?
Britt: NO WAY. Are you serious?!
Me: Bella, do you know how English people talk?
Bella: No.
Britt: Do you know what language we speak in America?
Bella: I speak....BONJOUR!

And then we died laughing.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

You know you're married when....

I had a married moment today. Bob was getting out of the shower and getting dressed, and I was getting ready to take laundry to my parents' house since we don't have a washer and dryer at our apartment. So as he opened the door I threw out my hand and said, "Give me your underwear."

Ladies, this is your life as a wife: washing your husband's dirty underwear and being glad to do it, because that way you know that at least he HAS clean underwear, and you also know when he needs a new pair because the old ones have holes bigger than the waistband.

This is not to say that Bob doesn't ever do anything to help out--today, for example, he put all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and fixed dinner. Last week he did the laundry because I was out of town, and most weekends we do the laundry together and share the folding and putting-away. Our marriage is very much a partnership and every day we learn about one more thing that annoys the other person and one more thing that makes them happy.

This is also not to say that every woman enjoys domesticity: I know several women who hate either cooking, or cleaning, or laundry, or all of it. My own mother is not a fan of cooking, but it made her happy to give my sister, my dad, and me a reasonably clean home, clean clothes, and healthy meals (when we would eat them.)(I say reasonably clean not because she was not a good housekeeper, but because with two children, two dogs, two cats and numerous friends and neighbors tromping through the house every day it's a wonder the house is still standing at all.) I have several friends who would rather express a dog's anal glands than vacuum. And that's fine. Everybody has different preferences, strengths, and ideas about who should do what in the house.

All this is to make the point that while demanding that a person hand over his dirty underwear is not something I'd choose as a career, it makes me happy that I can do certain things to take care of my husband, even when he's perfectly capable of doing them himself.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


We have now been married for a little over three weeks, closing in on four. In one way it is still new and exciting and I feel almost like we are just playing house. In another way, though, most of the time it seems like life has always been this way. It feels exactly like it did when I would go visit Bob in Auburn for a weekend, only it's one fabulous weekend that never ends. It's like life was always meant to be this way--it just feels so perfectly right.

I actually cook dinner most nights--I'm trying to keep up with planning meals two weeks in advance to limit last-minute grocery trips, and having expensive vegetables go bad before I use them all, and forgetting that there is a carton of sour cream in the fridge that has been expired for two weeks (yes, sour cream CAN AND WILL EXPIRE.) Some dinners have worked out well; others have left something to be desired. Bob has never told me anything is bad, though--he always says it's at least "edible," and I'm usually my own worst critic. He never complains when something happens and he has to fend for himself or when we have a last-minute change of plans and just have to have frozen pizza or spaghetti.

Our biggest adjustment in life has not actually been living together--it's been the change in our schedules. Since I got hired at Pleasant Grove Elementary as a special ed aide and he started class instead of work, I have to get up at a painfully dark hour and he doesn't get home until after 6. That means I stay up later to hang out with him, and he gets woken up at 5:30 when I get up to go to work. As a result, we're both thoroughly exhausted. I do get home around 4, though, and that gives me time to work on dinner and have it on the table before 7:30 pm.

That's all I'm going to write for now; I could go on for awhile, but I'll stop for now. Future posting topics will include Bella, my charge at school who is almost totally blind; the reason I spend hours on Pinterest each day but don't have the energy to clean; and why sex is worth waiting for. (The sex post will NOT include inappropriate personal details, disgusting euphemisms, or judgement about anyone's personal choices--merely reasons why, if you're on the fence, I recommend waiting.) I apologize for the lack of humor lately. It's all I can do right now to keep posting with some honesty and regularity. Hopefully future posts will be funnier--anything to do with Bella will probably be pretty good. She's a handful!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year = New Resolutions to Break

Hello friends, it's January 1, and we know what that means--time to make New Year's Resolutions! Now we all know that NYRs typically follow the same patterns with everybody: a resolution to eat healthier and to exercise, usually followed by a resolution to lose X pounds; one to stay/get more organized; one to spend more time with loved ones; one to pick up a new hobby, learn a new skill, take a class, or complete X number of projects....

These are the standards. And usually another standard is to break your resolutions by mid-February at the latest. So I figured I might as well choose resolutions I have little to no control over, and that way I can avoid any guilt whatsoever if I don't succeed, and I get to feel fabulously superior if I do. So here are my resolutions for 2012:

1. Get bigger boobs

2. Have a 92% good-hair-day rate

3. Improve contact prescription (under 14 would be great)

4. Go 6 months without a sinus infection

Now I think these are great resolutions to have. There are other things I want to do this year, too, to improve myself, my life, and my marriage, but rather than call them "goals" or "resolutions" (which allow for failure if you fail to meet them) I'll just call them "things I want to do." Maybe if I am less stressed by the idea of failure, I'll do better at these things.

1. Keep our home in a state of "20 minutes to clean enough to entertain."

2. Bake or cook new recipes frequently--one to three a month at least

3. Walk more often, work up to running a couple of miles without stopping

Now, how about you guys? What are some things you want to start doing, or do better at, this year?