Thursday, October 16, 2008

No Expiration Date

The other day, I read my sister's post and I now know who is to blame for the fact that I have so much's clearly my parents fault! In her post, Joan spoke about how our parents never got rid of anything until all the life was sucked out of it (Joan used the work 'frugal'). It didn't matter if it was a jacket, a television, a lamp, a car. As long as the item could still be used, it was.

This has translated into my life in the following way... I see something that I don't need at that moment, but I want to have it "just in case the one that I already have, dies", or "just in case the store runs out and doesn't have it when I need it". Then what happens is that the original item either never dies, so I continue to have a spare (or two, or three) hanging around...or I decide to use the new item, but the original item is still useful, so I can't possibly throw it out. (Which would probably explain the W*nnie the P*oh, Batm*n, and Power R*nger comforters, among other things, that I haven't been able to part with)...sigh.

At times I have circumvented this dilemma in the following way...I take the still useful item and donate it either to a friend, neighbor, or a charity. I can justify getting rid of a 'perfectly good _______ (fill in the blank)...if I know that someone else will continue to use it and get some enjoyment from it. But that only works when I am ready to replace the old item with the new. Sometimes I just not ready to 'let go' of an item...usually for sentimental reasons, yet it needs to be replaced. Then I end up holding on to both (see the above comforters) items.

It's only when I get fed up with the clutter, or I am thinking about having to pack up the car in case I need to evacuate (which thank goodness I didn't have to do), that this extra 'stuff' starts to bother me. Fortunately/unfortunately that's where I am now...if I can only find the time to follow through, I might actually be able to go against the lessons in frugality that I learned from my parents, and get rid of some stuff... if only...sigh. Breathe in ... breathe out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

To Pack or Not to Pack

Received an email from my local was actually a 'community update' regarding the fires here in Southern California. It recommended that all residents in my area load-up their cars and be ready to evacuate at a moments notice. Currently, there are no fires within my immediate vicinity, however three years ago there were fires located near where the current fires are, and overnight the fire travelled over the mountains and reached my community.

Three years ago, we were awaken at 1:30am by a neighbor pounding on our front door telling us that the development up the hill from us was being evacuated, and that we should start packing up our cars....which we did. At 2:30am the county sheriff was pounding on our front door, recommending that we evacuate our home which we didn't. It wasn't a mandatory evacuation...just a strong suggestion.

Last time, I remember looking at the stuff that I chose to pack, and at the stuff that I chose to leave behind...It made me realize that I have lots of stuff. a lot of unnecessary stuff. Evidently I haven't done a darn thing about it...because here it is three years later and I still have way too much stuff.

This time, I am somewhat at a standstill re: what to pack. I've gotten together some of the family photos (including computer disks)...but not all of them. I've made a list of things to remember to put in the car...just in case. On my list I've written down that I should grab the important papers(including my moms), two laptops (the family one, and mine from work), the desk top tower, picture boxes ( and I've put some loose pictures in a plastic container), Amber (the dogs) leash, the kitty's...their two carriers...and their litter box! Food for the animals, medicine for each family member, clothes for a few days.

I can't think of what else is really important. Instead of packing everything into my van...I'm sitting here posting...trying to decide if it's really necessary to put it all in one place, or if making a list is enough. I'm wondering if I am in denial that the fire will come this way again...or if I'm being optimistic that it won't. My head hurts from breathing smoke all day, and I just want to go to sleep.

Just to add to the fun and excitement... Sport threw-up this afternoon, I think that it was a reaction to all of the smoke. Thank goodness I have a carpet cleaning machine in my garage (actually, I have two)...and although I think that it is a god-send everytime someone throws-up on the carpet, I will not be adding it to my list of things to take, in an emergency. I sure hope that Sport feels better soon, I sure hope that we don't have to evacuate, and I sure hope that the fire season passes quickly, and that no more lives are lost...and that no more homes are lost.

I would say...breathe in...breathe out...but with all of the smoke and particulate matter in the air, I'm thinking that wouldn't be too healthy...sigh

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Can't A Girl Catch Her Breath?

I can't believe how quickly time has flown by since school/work started. It's already the end of September. Heck, I can't believe that this year is almost over.

Work has been keeping me really busy. I'm still working part-time, but instead of working a shorter day, five days/week, I am now working slightly longer days on four days. One would think that with one less day driving to work that I would have lots more time on my hands. Somehow, I don't = (

Elle's 14th birthday is this week. We're planning on going to Disneyland the end of the month to celebrate = ) Talk about time flying feels like she was just born yesterday...sigh

Life here continues on a somewhat even keel...I'm not complaining, given the alternative. I'm still trying to find time for me. However, it seems to be elusive. I'm thinking someday in the not too distant future, I will have plenty of time on my hands...and then I'll look back on these days and maybe even long for them. It's hard to imagine having too much time on my hands. I'm guessing that I'll find things to do to fill up the time, but for now, I'm just look for some time to catch my breath.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Need A Room

Work started...waaaaaaa. I've been really busy scheduling kids and doing an inordinate amount of paperwork. Fortunately, paperwork and organizing schedules are two things that I am really good at, otherwise I would be up the proverbial creek. Unfortunately, the excessive amount of paperwork that I am required to do takes time away from what I really love to do which is to work with kids.

I am trying a somewhat new attitude this school year...I am attempting to let go of the expectation that I will actually have a room to work in at my high school. Last week I went to the school just knowing that there wouldn't be a room for me (since they unceremoniously moved someone else into my room with three weeks left in the school year last June...without giving me any notice or warning), and lo and behold...I wasn't disappointed. When the principal looked me in the eye and said that she couldn't get to it until the next week (meaning this week), I was able to smile and say...great, I look forward to coming back next week (now this week), instead of throwing a pissy attitude about how I am a professional and expect to be treated as such.

This reduced expectation doesn't preclude me from fretting about the way that I am treated at that particular school. It doesn't stop me from being pissed off that I have had to move eight, now nine times in the eight years that I have been serving that particular school. It doesn't stop me from resenting the principal's favorites who never have to move. The change in attitude just allows me to remain calm and not blow a gasket at least in that moment.

Today I am going back to that school. Despite the principal telling me that I would have a room this week, I am 99.999% sure that I won't. If you hear a loud thud this morning, it may just be me, fainting, if they actually assign a room to me. Breathe in...breathe out.

Friday, August 29, 2008

She said...she said

I think that I need to start carrying around a digital recorder. Either that, or a translator unit that can translate from teenager to parent and back.

Although my profession has trained me in the area of communication and communicative disorders, there seems to be a big gap with the communication between myself and Elle. For some strange reason, I am able to effectively communicate with Middle School and High School students, and have successfully done so for many years. However, I seem to be having great difficulty when it comes to communicating with my own daughter.

I wonder why that is. Could it be that I filter whatever she is saying to me through what I want for her?...or is it that she is filtering what I am saying to her through what she wants to hear? Either way, conversations, the past few days, have been ending with Elle screeching either "I never said that, don't put words in my mouth!", "You never said that, you're making this up now", or "You just don't understand!" which point Elle storms away from me.

I am running out now to go and get that digital recorder...sigh...breathe in...breathe out.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

They're Back In School

Both my kids went back to school today, Elle to High School, and Sport to Middle School...and I feel really sad. This summer passed way too quickly and I am not ready for them to be back into the grind of school.

Homework, early morning wake-ups, rushed breakfasts, homework, afterschool activities, did I mention homework?

I miss my kids. Normally I would have gone to some Professional Development days (for work) but this year my district decided not to pay their employees to attend the "Buy Back Days" I decided to extend my summer vacation by 3 more days. I guess the price that I am paying for not going to those classes, is that I miss my kids...and they've only been gone for one hour...sigh

If I am feeling this blue when I know that I will see them both in a few hours, I can't imagine what I will feel like when they go off to college...shudder... breathe in...breathe out. This parenting thing is hard!

Maybe if Elle hadn't been so worried this morning about starting High School, getting her schedule, and finding her classes, I wouldn't be fretting so much. Hopefully when she arrives home this afternoon, she will have good, happy stories to tell me about her first day of High School. Sport on the other hand, went off to a new school (Middle School) happy as a clam. Hopefully his joy won't be squelched.

I wonder, if as a parent the worrying about your kids ever stops...and if so, when?

I'm going to try to distract myself...sitting here fretting is not going to make the day go any faster...I'm going to head to the nearest big box store for some retail therapy...breathe in...breathe out.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

She's Gone

Sunday night Yulia left to return to Russia=~( We are all sad. Now that both foreign exchange students have gone our house seems really, really empty with only the 5 of us, the dog and the two kitties. It is so hard to believe that four weeks have gone by so quickly. It is almost frightening how it flew by. Sometimes I feel like my life is flying by as days turn into weeks, which then turn into months and then years. I mean, wasn't it just New Years 2000?

The day before Yulia left, we took her minature golfing. It is something that she had never done before and she really enjoyed it. Then we took her to some outlet stores so that she could shop some more. Let me tell you...this girl really likes to shop! So much so, that as she was packing her suitcase to go home, she ran out of room and ended up leaving 2 bags (like purses) and a whole bunch of bathroom stuff which has labels in Russian, so we have no idea what they are for =(

We have already received an email from Yulia and she has arrived home safely. We've been receiving emails pretty regularly from Indonesia which is really nice. It's strange though...the emails all come from the future...sometimes, we even respond to the emails before they were written...boy is that weird!

I have seven more days of summer school, and then I will be off until September. I am so not looking forward to school starting, both for Elle and Sport, and for me. Yet, I know that it will be here in the blink of an eye...I guess that means that I better try to enjoy every moment...breathe in...breathe out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

He's Gone

This weekend our foreign exchange students went to San Francisco, and we went camping with three other families up in Bass Lake, California. We camped at a beautiful campsite right on the lake...well not exactly ON the lake but the lake touched our's a photo from our campsite.

We had some visitors in the morning...

Beautiful you say????? Let me tell you these geese must never sleep! Starting at 9pm both nights they started honking...and they honked all night long. Now if they would have honked in a rhythmic way, that might have lulled me to sleep...but no!!!! All night long we heard "honk, honk, honk, honk, honk...pause for 12 seconds, then 5 honks with an 8 second pause. The pattern continually changed and kept us awake the first night...sigh.

On Sunday the four families rented a boat and we also rented a big thing (like an innertube without the hole in the center) and took turns taking rides on it. It was so much fun! Sorry, no pictures of me in a bathing suit. I have the pictures, but there is no way that I would post them! lol

Monday night Surya left to go back to Indonesia:~( Words cannot express how sad we all feel. He was such a great kid, saying goodbye to him was really difficult. Needless to say, there were many tears (mine) and lots of hugs and promises to keep in touch. His leaving definitely took some sunshine from our home. Saying goodbye, especially since we don't know if we will ever see him again is tough.

We have Yulia until this coming Sunday. I am trying not to think about her leaving. In the meantime, there is so much to do...breathe in...breathe out

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why Won't Some People Accept An Apology?

I am sooooo tired! Yesterday, Yulia and Surya went to Six Fl.ags Mag.ic Moun.tain and didn't get back to their school pick up point until midnight. That meant that we got home about 12:20am and they didn't settle down until about 1am.

The good news is that they both had a terrific time and were so excited and animated in their retellings of the day. The bad news is that even though we got home at 12:20am, they didn't settle down and get to bed until 1am...which meant that I didn't get to sleep until about 1:30am...and I had to wake up at 6am.

I used to be able to function on four and 1/2 hours sleep...not anymore. I was totally wiped out today at work. Fortunately, it was a day filled with paperwork...and my lack of being 100% didn't affect the kids I work with. Of course, when I review my paperwork tomorrow, chances are it won't make a lot of sense and I will have to redo everything tomorrow...sigh.

On a different note, I hate when someone yells at me, I apologize, and then they continue to yell at me as if I never apologized. Here's what happened. I was at one of my schools today. I was given a room to work in that had recently had the floors waxed, so all of the desks, chairs, computers were stacked on one side of the room. I mentioned this to the Asst. Principal when I arrived at the school this morning, and asked her if it would be alright if I moved a table and chairs to the other side of the room so that I could work with some students. She said that would be fine.

So...I was busy working on my laptop...minding my own business...trying to stay focused enough to get some paperwork done and this maintenance worker (we'll call him MW) walked by my door. He looked in and started yelling at me, telling me that I scratched the floors and that I shouldn't have done that. Being so tired this morning when I moved the furniture, it did not register that I was scratching the newly waxed floors. Sure enough, I looked where the man was looking and yep, my dragging the heavy table across the floor definitely scratched it.

I apologized to him telling him that I was very sorry that I scratched the floor. Instead of accepting my apology, he continued ranting and raving about how I should never have moved the furniture and that his supervisor would be really mad about it. I explained that I had asked permission before I moved the furniture and that I was really sorry that the floor had gotten scratched and that if his supervisor was mad, he could come and talk with me and I would explain what happened. Still MW yelled at me. By that point I had had enough of his yelling and I stood my very tired body up and yelled back at him. In fact, at that point I wasn't even sorry anymore...just angry that he wouldn't accept my apology. MW walked away in a huff and I sat down and just wanted to cry. What a wimp I am!

I vacillated between wanting to cry and being angry. Turned out I didn't cry, instead I called one of my friends, who usually works at that school, and proceeded to tell her what happened. She totally understood, knew MW, told me not to take it personally... that was exactly what I needed to hear. However, I am left wondering what motivates people to be unwilling or unable to accept someone's apology. Is it a power trip? Stupidity? Innate nastiness?

I need to get to bed...and soon. The kids are heading up to San Francisco tomorrow for the weekend and they will be picked up at 5:30am. One wants me to wake them at 4:30am and the other at 4:50am...sigh...breathe in...breathe out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

They Made Fun of Me

Last night the kids and I were sitting in the living room talking about Russian money, Indonesian money and American money...and comparing/contrasting them.

I was showing the kids some coins that I've gotten during my travels, and we were discussing how pretty and colorful the Russian and Indonesian paper money is, and how the U.S. money...even the new bills...aren't as colorful.

During this whole money discussion, the kids were trying to get me to say "rupia" and "ruble". Rupia being the name for the Indonesian currency, and Ruble being the name for the Russian currency.

The kids were saying the words which I will not repeat since I cannot seem to say them correctly. Evidently, both of the words start with a "trilled r" which no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't seem to pronounce. Elle was able to say the sound...but not me. Needless to say, I was quite frustrated and my inability to get my tongue tip to vibrate up and down. (I felt like a clumsy oaf!)

Yulia let me know that it took her about 2 weeks of practice (when she was little) to learn to say this sound, and Surya told me that he had to teach his older sister how to say it. (I think that they were just trying to make me feel better). However, each time I tried to say either word with the "trilled r" in it, they both cracked up. Not a good sign.

Given my profession, I pride myself on being able to correctly produce all sounds (at least the sounds which are present in the English language)... and I've always prided myself on my ability to hear subtleties within different languages/accents. But try as I might, I was not able to correctly produce the sound last night...I think that I came close...but still they cracked up. Even though I will be working today...I will spend the entire car ride to and from work trying to get that sound! sigh

Monday, July 7, 2008

There Were Fireworks

This weekend we took the kids to see Fireworks. On the 4th of July, we had a BBQ with some firends, and then went to a nearby mall to watch a fireworks show. (Actually we parked on a street about 1 mile from the mall). Not only did we get to see the fireworks...we also saw a fire on a hill, that was started by the fireworks...yikes. Fortunately, the firefighters were stationed on the hill where the fireworks were being lit, and the fire was put out quickly...whew!

Last night, a local park held an outdoor concert, and another fireworks display. This time we were up close to where the fireworks were being set off. It was loud, bright, and quite impressive! All the kids really had a good time!

Today everyone is off to various activities. Sport is off to camp from 8-3, Elle will be a Senior Program Aide at a different Girl Scout Camp in the afternoon, Yulia will have class this morning and then take a tour of UCLA, Surya will have a class this morning and then head off to Universal Studios, and I head off to work summer school.

We are all starting to feel sad that our time with our foreign exchange students is drawing to a close. Both kids will go to San Francisco next weekend (we will be camping with some friends), and then next Monday, Surya will leave :~( He is an awesomely funny, polite, and helpful kid and none of us are looking forward to his leaving. Yulia will be with us for one additional week.

I am trying to take one day at a time...but the days seem to be flying by...sigh.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Can't Anyone Get Some Sleep Around Here?

The meeting between Elle and the foreign exchange students went well. We spent the day walking around the town of Big Bear and then ate lunch there. Afterwards, we drove home. Everyone fell asleep in the car, including DH...everyone except me that is. Since I was the one driving, that was a very good thing.

That night we had 4 tickets to the Dodger game. DH took Sport and Surya, and I took the girls shopping. Turned out the Dodger game was an historic game (Dodgers won 1-0, without getting any hits, only the 5th time this has happened in baseball history). Surya loved the game, the stadium, participating in "the wave"...and came home singing "Lets go Dodgers!".

The girls loved shopping. Of course...what's not to love:~) Both were successful and purchased some items...lucky for them.

Elle is finding it strange that she needs to knock on her bedroom door before she enters. (the reason that the door is closed is to keep the kitties inside her room...for now). Elle chose to give Yulia her bed and instead to sleep on a mat on the floor...she is finding that very comfortable.

We took the kids to the beach on Sunday and they went "boogie boarding". They all had a blast. Today Surya and Yulia are going to Disneyland and won't return to the "pick-up" point until midnight...sigh. Tomorrow we will all (hopefully) sleep in for the 4th and then swim and BBQ with some friends. In the evening we are hoping to be able to watch some fireworks.

The kids have been really busy and are tired. Maybe they'll catch-up on some much needed sleep tomorrow morning. Maybe. I need to catch up on some much needed sleep as well. I return to work next week...having chosen to work summer school. Fortunately it will only be for four weeks and then I will still have about three weeks off before the next school year. This summer feels like it is already flying by...sigh...

Gotta run and drop Yulia and Surya off so that they can catch their bus to Disneyland. I forgot to post this in the is now 11:20pm and I just received a phone call that they left Disneyland 1/2 hour late...that means that I won't be picking them up until 12:30am...yawn...I will definitely be sleeping in on the 4th!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Getting Ready for Elle

Tomorrow morning, we are all getting up at 5:30 am so that we can leave the house by 6:30 and drive about 2 1/2 hours up to the mountains to pick up Elle from camp. I can't wait. I've really missed her, and I know that Yulia is anxious to finally meet her American sister.

For the past two years, I have driven Elle to camp and have picked her up by myself...allowing the two of us to have some decompression/talking time, as a transition to get Elle ready to come back to the 'real' world. This year will be very different...not only is Yulia driving up with me, but so is Sport, Surya, and DH. I hope that the onslaught of people is a positive experience for Elle and not too overwhelming.

We plan to take a drive to the town near the camp and visit the lake that is there. We expect it to be a full days adventure. I'm thinking that Elle and the rest of the kids will fall asleep on the drive home. Tomorrow evening, we plan to go to a free concert at a nearby park. That is, if everyone is up for it.

This is the only weekend that we will have both students with us. Next weekend, Yulia will go (with the group) to San Diego, and the following weekend Yulia and Surya will both go to San Francisco. I wish that they were both coming camping with us instead:~(

Today Sport mentioned that it will be really hard when they go home. He's will be. Sport said that he hopes that the students that we get next year will be as nice as Surya and Yulia. What??????? Did he say next year??????? Yikes.....breathe in...breathe out.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Russian has Landed!

Late, late last night (after 11pm), the bus carrying the Russian students, and most importantly (to us) Yulia, arrived at the designated pick-up point. Once the lights inside the bus came on, Sport picked out Yulia right away. She came off the bus looking so lost and exhausted, but as soon as she saw the sign we made for her, her face lite up:~) I gave her a big hug and she held onto me, almost for dear life, and hugged me right back.

I introduced her to Sport, Surya, and of course my DH. We brought her home and she got to meet my mother, Amber (the good doggie) and the two kitties. She said that she wanted to take a shower (even though it was almost midnight). Who can blame her, after sitting in an airplane breathing in airplane air for all of those hours, I can certainly understand her wanting to wash the grime away.

She opted to allow the kitties to sleep in Elle's room with her. (that's where they usually sleep). I can tell (probably because she told me) that she can't wait to meet Elle this coming Saturday, and is willing to wake up at 6am, on Saturday, so that we can be on the road by 6:30am.

This morning I helped Yulia send an email to her mother and father (using an on line Russian translator to put the words into the Russian alphabet) then Sport and I took Yulia and Surya to the bus stop so that they could go to school today. I felt like I was sending my kids off to kindergarten as the two of them got on the bus. Hopefully when I pick them up this afternoon, they will have stories to tell about their day.

We'll also be taking home a French boy this afternoon...but just for a few hours. His host family is going to the Dodger game this afternoon, and don't think that they will be back in time to pick him up... So I will take him home with me until they get back. Thank goodness all of the kids speak English otherwise we would need to resort to pantomime. sigh

At this moment, I am definitely feeling sleep deprived. I probably didn't get to sleep until about 1:30 (I wanted to make sure that Yulia was settled in...Surya and Sport fell asleep a little after midnight...and then I just couldn't fall asleep). I woke up at 5:30am. I am off to take a nap. Once I wake up we'll see what the day brings...that is until it's time to go to the bus stop.

I am missing Elle, and can't wait for her to come home. The house feels full, but it's a good full, and once Elle returns the family will be complete.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Indonesian has Landed!

Last night Surya, our Foreign exchange student from Indonesia, arrived! In the morning I told Sport that Surya was on the plane and on his way here. I couldn't believe how excited I felt. As the day progressed, the excitement continued to build. At some point during the day, we had to take Midnight to the vet so that she could get a shot to get rid of the tapeworm. However, even that trip to the vets couldn't dampen our spirits.

Surya was scheduled to arrive at the pick up location about 10pm, however approximately 6:30pm we got a phone call that said that the plane had landed early and that we should plan to pick him up between 8:30 and 9pm. Sport, DH, and I couldn't wait. I called my sister, Joan, to give her the update and she was excited too. It was strange, but once we decided to host Surya, he became ours. What I mean by 'ours' is that he became part of our family and all day, I found myself thinking about him and hoping that his flight was comfortable.

Around 7:00pm we received another phone call telling us to be at the pick up point at 8pm. When we arrived at the church parking lot there were lots of other families waiting for the buses to arrive. The excitement throughout the crowd was palpable. I can't really describe how I felt when the buses pulled into the parking lot. Watching these kids get off the buses, tired from their long trip and looking worried that their host family might not be there...well it was hard not to get somewhat emotional. Finally Surya got off the last bus...I recognized him right away from his picture. He recognized us by the sign we carried that had his name on it:~) He immediately hugged Sport and bowed and shook hands with DH, then bowed to me. Of course I whipped out my camera and captured that moment for posterity.

Surya seems like a nice boy. He and Sport really hit it off. Today Surya and Sport are spending the day at a sports camp. Classes for Surya don't start until tomorrow, and Sport was scheduled to attend the camp today. It will be interesting to hear what Surya has to say about his first American camp experience.

I wish that Elle could have been there with us. It saddens me that she missed out on the excitement and experience of watching Surya come off of the bus and be welcomed into our family, and that she will miss the experience of picking up Yulia tonight. Even though Elle will have her own "first contact" with both Surya and Yulia on Saturday, I still wish that she could have shared this experience with us.

Tonight we will drive back to the same pick-up parking lot this time with Surya, and we will all share in the experience of meeting Yulia for the first time. She's already on the plane...I can't wait.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Elle is gone for the week to a sleep-away camp, and the care of the kitties has fallen on moi. So the first night Elle was gone, I read a book in her room and let the kitties crawl all over problem...yet. Sunday, I also spent time in Elle's room hanging with the kitties and trying to help them not be upset by the change in their routine...namely Elle not being around. Once again, I laid (or is that lied) down on Elle's bed, read a book, and let the kitties crawl all over me. Only Sunday night, as I picked up Midnight, I noticed what appeared to be a small grain of rice stuck to her coat, on her back leg.

I used a tissue to remove it...thinking to myself at the time..."Um, this looks like either a grain of rice, or a maggot". (Don't even get me started on how I know what maggots look like). But being busy, trying to get my house somewhat ready for the foreign exchange students, I didn't give it another thought...that is until I found some more "grains of rice" on Midnights hind leg.

Of course she had been crawling all over me at the time...and this time, it was coming out of her tush...EWWWWWW! Of course the vet is closed until tomorrow, so I researched what it could be online, and have determined that what I saw was tapeworm... so now Midnight is in isolation, and quite unhappy about it. Twilight is upset that she can't be with Midnight, and I'm grossed out about the whole worm thingy.

I am off to vacuum the rugs and wash the comforters. Will need to get the kitty's to the vet tomorrow, after all, we have a foreign exchange student arriving tomorrow night, and another one arriving on Wednesday night. I certainly don't want to scare them away from America.

Can you just picture it..."Hello foreign exchange student. Welcome to America. Please make yourself at home. Just stay away from the kitties...and watch out for any stray pieces of rice you may find lying around". EWWWWWW.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Can You Say...Long-Winded?

Sometimes, time has a way of getting away from me. I can't believe that my last post was over four weeks ago. sigh. Evidently I've been really busy...distracted...or maybe just really lazy. Lots has gone on in these past four weeks.

Got two new computers...a desktop and a laptop. Will post Elles persuasive letter to my DH and I, which convinced us that we needed not one, but two computers in the next few days.

School is out for Elle and Sport...oh yeah, and for me too:~) I will be working summer school (for 4 weeks this summer). Elle is excited because she wants to come to work with me and help me out, serving as a "typical" role model for the students that I work for. Usually during the school year I work with secondary students (grades 6-12) and then during the summer, I get to work with elementary school students (preschool-5th grade). For some reason, this summer I will be working in both middle and high little ones for hoo.

On another note...I really need to learn to say "no". A friend of mine volunteers for a company that arranges for students from other countries to come and stay here in the U.S.A. for 3-4 weeks during the summer. While here, they live with a "host" family, and attend school to improve their English (or is that American?). My friend asked Elle and me (we were camping with 2,000 girl scouts at the time ) if we would like to be a host family. Elle thought that it would be a fabulous thing to do...discussed as a family, and decided that we would be willing to take one student.

We looked at some applications, and decided that we would host a 14 year old girl, from Russia. She will arrive here this coming Wednesday night...we can hardly wait. OH, but there's more...when Elle and I went to the informational meeting, they mentioned that there were still about 19 kids who wanted to come to the Los Angeles area who still hadn't been placed....I bet that you just know where this is going...

Yep...we decided to take another student. This one will be a 13 year old boy from Indonesia. He will be coming this Tuesday night...yikes. This house is sure to be crowded...let's see...3 adults, 4 kids, 2 kitties, and 1 dog. I better run out to Target and see if they have any wall-stretchers. lol

I need to get going...I am going to drop Elle off at a sleep-away camp this afternoon. She'll be gone for 1 week. The camp is located a few hours drive away from here...up in the mountains. When she returns, they'll be a new brother and a new sister here. The boy is sharing the room with Sport, and the girl will be sharing the room with Elle. It may be strange for Elle to come home to another person living in her room. It should be interesting. Hopefully this will be a positive experience for all of us, and hopefully all of the kids will connect and make life-long friends. That's my wish.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

No Computer Yet...sigh

We have decided to buy a desktop and a laptop (the desktop with gaming capabilities for Sport, and the laptop with music capabilities for Elle). We still haven't decided on which ones. There are some good prices out there, but when you add in a 3 year warranty, and a 3 year anti-virus type protection, suddenly the price becomes not quite so good...sigh:~(

On the kitty front, Elle and I took the kitties to the vet yesterday. Midnight doubled her weight in two weeks and went from 1 pound to 2 pounds=^..^=, and Twilight went from 1.6 pounds to 2 pounds in the same time period=^..^=. They both weighed enough to get their vaccinations...needless to say, I am the mean one who held them while they were injected...and Elle is the nice one who stood back and had nothing to do with it all...sigh. They both received another round of de-worming...yuck. Both of them were low energy last night and this morning, not eating much...but they've seemed to have perked up this evening:~) (Their pictures will be posted as soon as we get a computer)

Work is winding down. Sport and Elle have 16 more days of school until they each culminate, and I have 21 more days of school until summer vacation. woohoo! At this point in time, I am still slated to work summer school. Sport doesn't want me to work (even though it's only 4 weeks and even though he will be in camp)...I think that he likes the idea of me being at home. Elle doesn't mind if I work, as long as she can come to work with me. I'm hoping that I will get some elementary schools to work at so that she can volunteer in some classrooms.

Did I mention that Elle earned the Gold level Presidential Service Award? DH and I are both really proud of her. She wants to continue volunteering both with Girl Scouts, at our church, and hopefully at my work. Good for her.

Now it's back to the internet (thank goodness for my work laptop) so that I can continue to fill my brain with more computer stuff...sigh...breathe in...breathe out.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lap vs Desk

Our desktop computer died. It wasn't a quick death, it wasn't a slow death. It took about a week. It started with the screen freezing, moved onto the fan sounding like a blow dryer, and ended with the light on the tower turning amber with nothing on the screen.

Now our family is without a computer..sob.

So we are faced with the burning question of whether to replace our dead desktop with a laptop...or a new desktop. And which brand...and what do we things to we need, and how much memory...and... oh wait that was more that just one question. sigh.

I am a true technotards. I have absolutely no idea where to even start to look to decide laptop or desktop. Elle wants an apple laptop...of course she wants it for herself. Um hello there...we need a new family computer. Didn't we just spend a boat-load of money on new kitties for her?????

Having just restored the desktop due to a virus...6 weeks ago, DH and I are not inclined to keep photos or anything important on the computer...we'll use flashdrives.

Does anybody have any suggestions for us? We basically need a computer for email, blogging (although I realize I haven't done much lately), playing games (Wor.ld of War.craft and Rune.scape. for Sport), and downloading music and burning CD's for Elle.

Make, model, amount of memory, video cards, etc...we're not even sure what it is we need. Anyone have any suggestions???

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Kitties Have Landed

This has been a really hectic week. Last Saturday, Elle and I drove an hour to pick up the kitties that Rescue Lady told us about.

As we were leaving to drive there, we received a call from the Rescue Lady who told us that one of the kitties had a cold, and that if we wanted to wait another week until we picked them up, we could.

Yeah, right, sure, no problem. Um excuuuuse me but these kitties are for a 13 year old girl. She wanted them like now...if you know what I mean. So I told the lady, no problem...we were on our way.

Arrived at the rescue place...met kitties...rescue lady assured me that the kitties were 6 weeks old that day (yeah, right, sure) rescued/adopted two kitties...bought 'stuff' for the kitties...drove home much poorer but with two cute kitties.

On Tuesday, Elle and I took the kitties to the vet. The all black kitty (Midnight) weighed all of 1 pound (vet thinks she's 1 month old...the tuxedo kitty (Twilight) weighed 1 pound 6 oz. and is probably about 5 weeks old (did I mention that Rescue lady said that they were from the same litter?) Along with the cold, Midnight had lots of ear mites...Twilight had less ear mites and tested positive for round worm (looking more and more like Rescue Lady was not telling the truth about them being littermates). Had the vet deworm both kitties, got ointment for Midnights eye which was 'goopy' from her cold, and had the vet reconstitute some antibiotic that Rescue Lady gave to us for Midnight.

Our vet was able to get blood from Twilight to test for feline leu.kemia and feline a.ids. Because Midnight is so was unable to take a blood sample from her, so he will try again when we return in two weeks for another exam, and I believe another deworming.

Needless to say, we left the vets a lot poorer, but at least we left with two hopefully healthier kitties. We've taken some pictures...and I will post them as soon as I can charge the battery in my camera. Breathe in...breathe out.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Kitty Tale

DH and I promised Elle a kitty if she brought her grades up, and promised to be responsible for the kitty's care. Her grades are up and it looks like she will be getting a kitty this Saturday from a rescue group.

Rescue group woman told me that the kitty that Elle wants, has a sibling. Rescue group woman sent pictures of alleged kitty sibling. Rescue group woman said that if we take both kitties that she will only charge us for one of them. Rescue group woman does not play fairly.

I have a feeling that Elle will be bringing home two kitty's on Saturday...sigh.

Rescue group woman said to buy a scratching post that is made of rope. Elle wants something that also has a ledge for the kitty to sit on. Does anyone have any ideas as to where we could get something suitable for one (or two) kittys? I used to have four kittys, but they were indoor and outdoor kittys and didn't need any fancy scratching posts...they had the great outdoors. These kittys...oops did I just say these???...I meant this kitty will be an indoor kitty. Any other suggestions as far as litter boxes, food, toys...etc????

I am still tired from the camping trip this past weekend...Rescue group woman certainly caught me at a weak moment. Breathe in...breathe out.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Let's Hear It For The Hormones

I'm going camping this weekend with 2,000 Girl Scouts (ages 12-17) and about 500 adult volunteers. Yikes...that's a lot of estrogen all in one place! Wish me luck!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Traaa ditioooon..bum bum bum (pause for 3 beats)....Tradition!

Saturday night I was making dinner when suddenly all of the power to the microwave went out. Mind you, no other power anywhere in the house went out...just the microwave. It's the kind of microwave that is installed about the stove and is expensive to replace.

After breathing in and out...I unpluged the microwave and plugged a night light into the outlet, checking to see if somehow we might have tripped a circuit such luck. DH and I looked at each other, sighed a big sigh, and stated that we probably had to go and buy a new one. (Given that this one is only two and 1/2 years old, we were not too happy about it) Fortunately with DH having a new job to start, the freaking out about the cost of a new microwave was not in my consciousness:~) whew.

It surprises me that if this had happened two days before, both DH and I would have been stressing about buying a new microwave, but because we now know that he will be starting work the end of this month, we reacted in a very different way to the situation.

But I there we were faced with a microwave that appeared deader than a doornail. (Fortunately we didn't need the microwave to finish preparing dinner.) Saturday we needed to light some candles, part of our tradition. We thought about 'blowing off' (no pun intended) lighting the candles, but instead, ultimately decided that lighting them was an important part of the evening. We all gathered in the kitchen to light the candles. Just as Elle was going to light the candles, DH glanced over at the microwave and the power came on.

I'm thinking that my dad and all of our relatives who have passed... were appeased.. Letting us know that they are still watching over us, and reminding us that traditions are important to maintain the chain that passes from one generation to the next.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Yippee Skippy

Since DH has been unemployed, he has been picking Sport up from school every afternoon. Yesterday was a day just like the others...only different:~) Sport came running in the house and said "Guess what?...Daddy has a job!"

Now you must understand that Sport is quite the little joker (can't imagine who he takes Before I was ready to get excited and start jumping up and down, I asked Sport why he was telling me this momentous news and not Daddy. Sport explained that Daddy was still in the car, and on the phone with "L".

I happen to know that "L" was one of the people, where is used to work (before his company split in two and he ended up at the awful place that laid-him-off) that was working hard to get him hired over in their department. So I started to feel some hope tenatively bubbling within my stomach. Still reluctant to get too excited I walked outside and waited for DH to get out of the car.

Sure enough...he has a job. He will start on April 28. He now officially has one week of unpaid vacation to get ready to go back to work. The great thing about this job is that he knows all of the people that he will be working with...and he likes them and they like him. In fact, the people that he will be working with all threw him a surprise party the evening of his last day of work ...(I sure hope that they don't want their gift back)...heeheehee

Anyway, that is my good news for now. Actually I would say that it's great news. There are still some particulars to work out, and some papers to sign. It's not a union job so in 14 months his health benefits will expire. Fortunately, he will be covered under my health plan, and he is already 'vested' in the union, so when it comes time for him to retire, he will still be eligible for his pension.

I can definitely say that I would much rather be dealing with these details, than stressing out about him not having a job. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and know that I have a lot to say about that subject. However, I'll leave that for another day.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend...I know that we will:~)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Advice Sought

DH continues to look for work. I signed up to work summer school. Money is tight. However, none of these things are what I need advice about.

I have a dilemma that I could really use some help with. I just found out that someone that I know has been reading my blog. This makes me uncomfortable. It's not that have said anything bad about this's just that it creeps me out that they know stuff about me and speak to me as if I had shared this stuff with them personally. I haven't blogged in a few weeks partially because I don't want them to know everything that is going on in my life.

I'm not sure how to handle this. Asking them to stop reading my blog won't work. I know that some of you have faced this dilemma before. Any help that you could offer to me would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Interview Update

DH said that the interview went really well. They have some more people to interview, (hopefully they don't but just told him they do) and they will call him sometime next week.

DH was definitely less stressed after the interview. I am hoping that the less-stressedness (it's a word now, because I just used it:~) will continue until he lands a job. (I know that hope is probably purely fantasy, but it is my hope none-the-less).

I suspect that as next week progresses, DH will turn back into Grumpy... at least until he hears back from these people.

Breathe in...breathe out

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm Crossing My Fingers...

DH just got a phone call. He will have a job interview tomorrow (Thursday) at 10:30am. You can be sure that I will have all of my fingers, toes and my eyes crossed hoping, praying, and visualizing that they will offer him a job that fits his criteria...good pay, enjoyable, long lasting.

Breathe in...breathe out...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Can You Say "Too Much Time Together?"

DH is still out of work. I have been off of work this week for Spring Break. DH wants to follow me around when I complete my errands. egads!

I've definitely enjoyed going for walks with DH and the dog. I've also enjoyed laughing and joking around with hubby. I've enjoyed that he has been available to take Sport to some of his sporting practices. It's really nice having someone to share in the afternoon chauffering. However, I still must say...enough is enough! I need some time to go and run some errands by myself. Alone. Solo. Just me. Well, I'm sure you get the idea:~) DH has decided that everytime I go to run an errand...he wants to come with me. Invariable this makes the errand last twice as long:~( Again, don't get me wrong...for the most part, I am really enjoying spending time with him...just not enjoying entertaining him.

I guess that's what it really comes down to. I have figured out, over the years, how to entertain myself...and the kids. Entertaining DH has not fit into the equation in a long, long time. Maybe it should. Maybe that is part of what a marriage is about. It's just that I'm not used to it.

It sure would be great to win the lottery...of course I would have to buy a ticket first... breathe in...breathe out.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Things have been really hectic here. Lots of reports to write and meetings to attend. Haven't had a moment to myself...until now. Still have alot more: students to assess, reports to write and meetings to attend... there just doesn't seem to be any end in site. Fortunately, I will have next week off from work to try to catch up on my report writing.

The scope of my job has changed in the past few years. Accountability seems to get in the way of providing services. This really pisses me off. I find that when I am able to work with my students that I get rejuvenated and renewed. When I am stuck with the paperwork aspect of my job, then I become drained. Last summer I was able to take off and not work. It was really good for me. This year, unless DH gets a job (please keep your fingers crossed), I will need to work summer school again. This makes Elle, Sport, and me...very sad:~(

In happy news...Elle got the part she wanted in the play that her Drama class will be putting on, in May. She is really excited about it, and it is nice to see her enthuastic about something. Sport is enjoying playing baseball, and his coach is playing him in a way that is helping Sport thrive...hopefully that will continue.

DH continues to look for a job. No luck yet, however I have been treated to some wonderful home cooked meals courtesy of DH:~) I am focusing and affirming that all will be well and am continue to remind myself to...breathe in...breathe out...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

He Turned It Down

DH called the place that had offered him a job at approximately 1/2 his previous salary and told them that he couldn't take the job. He explained that he really didn't think that it would be a 'good fit' for him.

They told DH that they really appreciate that he didn't take the job (while continuing to look for another job), have them take the time to train him, and then quit. They really thanked him for not wasting their time.

DH is really a stand-up guy:~)

Breathe in...breathe out...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Blahs...

I'm not having a very good day today. I'm overwhelmed, stressed out, and feel like I could cry at any moment.

Aside from the stress of DH not having a job, I am overwhelmed at my job. Since I have 4 different schools that I serve, there is no coordination of assessments and meetings between my school sites. Therefore, what I am currently faced with is 3 meetings tomorrow, 4 on Monday, 1 on Tuesday, 1 on Wednesday. I have had to assess 7 of these students and am required go through the assessments, figure out what each of the students needs, and write a 4 page report for them. Then I have to attend all of these 9 meetings and somehow figure out how to continue to provide therapy for my kids.

There is definitely not enough time in my workday to get everything done (at least not if I want to do it right), so I end up having to write my reports at home. I really resent this. Since I work in a critical shortage field, the higher ups dole out caseloads that far exceed what can humanly be worked with (at least not if you want to provide quality therapy...which I do). The paperwork at times is overwhelming...and unfortunately, this is one of those times.

I have just finished writing up the last report that I need for tomorrow...did I mention that I have 3 meetings tomorrow...and that I only work part-time.?..sigh.

I need a vacation! Fortunately, I will have one week off of work starting Friday 3/14 at 12:40pm...I can hardly wait.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Last Day

Today will be my DH's last day at his present job. (breathe in...breathe out).

He had a job interview yesterday, and was offered a job at less than half his current pay. The work would be mind-numbing. The amenities (access to a phone or computer) are non-existent. Did I mention that the pay is less than half of what he is currently earning? The thought of working at that job thoroughly depressed DH. The thought that, that would be the only kind of job that he would be offered has sent him into a tail-spin.

I least he has a job offer. But at what price? Would it be better for him to take the job (any job) and continue looking for work (at least he would be bringing some money in)? What if each day at the new job would slowly eat away at him? Depress him? Reduce him to being less than he can be?

Would it be better if he doesn't take the job and continues to actively look? What if at the end of his severance pay period, he still doesn't have a job? Would he then kick himself for not taking the one job that he was offered?

It will be interesting to see what happens when he meets with the HR people for his exit interview. He has been offered 6 weeks of severance pay with a possible additional 6 weeks. There is some form that they said he would have to sign, in order to get the additional 6 weeks. DH has already spoken to our family friend/attorney and will fax the form to her as soon as he gets it. I am hoping that his receipt of the extra 6 weeks of severance pay is not contingent upon him not working. I guess we'll know later this afternoon.

In the meantime, DH told these people that he would let them know next Wednesday about the job. DH and I clearly have a lot to talk about. Did I already say... breathe in...breathe out?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Amending a Comment

A few weeks ago, Ms Chica wrote a post which she titled "On Leaving and Being Left Behind". With my DH's impending departure from his place of employment, I got to thinking more about the post.

In my comment to Ms. Chica, I stated that "You are so right that it is much easier being the one leaving than being the one left behind. Part of that is that the person that is leaving gets to experience something different (even if it is not new), while the one that stays is left with a void to fill."

I would now like to amend that comment. I think that the circumstances of leaving are really key as to whether it's easier to leave, or to be left behind. My DH will be leaving his work at the end of next week. On February 29th he will be expected to relinquish his employee I.D., turn in the key to his office that he has worked in for twelve years, take all of his personal belongings, log off of his computer, turn off the light for the last time and leave.

Once he has taken care of business, he will then need to say goodbye to his coworkers, some of whom he has worked with for the past twelve years. I think that it will be a difficult good-bye. It is one thing to say goodbye to people, when you have the clear expectation that you will be seeing them again, and it is an entirely different matter when you have to say goodbye to people with the reasonable expectation that you will most likely never see them again.

Having worked in education in an itinerant position for many years, I have learned to cope with saying goodbye to students and staff at schools at the end of the school year. Some schools have been harder to leave than others (schools that I have been assigned to for longer periods of time). Some schools have not been so hard to leave. I think that the difference between the two was how 'involved' and 'attached' I allowed myself to become with the staff at the school. When the staff welcomed me, as one of their own, and included me as part of the staff (even though I was only there 1-2 days/week), I found saying goodbye far more difficult, than when I kept my distance throughout my time there.

Over the course of my career, I have learned to emotionally keep my distance from most staff at my schools...because I know that I could easily be reassigned at the end of the year. I still walk into the office in the morning with a smile on my face and greet everyone. I still smile and talk to the teachers in the course of performing my job. I still bring gifts to the office manager, plant manager, and other personnel over the holidays, as my little way of letting them know that I appreciate that they make my job a little easier. But I have learned over the years to maintain some distance and separation, because it makes the leaving not as painful. I realize that this means that I lose out on the bonds of friendship that I could have formed...however, after years and years of having to say goodbye to people...I have learned to protect myself from being the one leaving. I have learned that once I have left a school, despite the best of intentions, I don't keep in touch with anyone. The common bond that we have shared together (our experiences at a particular school) no longer exists. Our reasons for speaking together, or for sharing pleasantries is gone.

For this reason, I anticipate that next Friday when DH says goodbye to his co-workers for the last will be tough. He will be saying goodbye to people that he has spent 8 hours a day, five day a week with, for twelve years. Despite the best of intentions, I seriously doubt that he will keep in touch with these people. I'm pretty sure that when DH gets another job, he will let them all know. I'm pretty sure that he will tell them to keep in touch, as they will tell him to do the same. But it won't be the same...and the bonds that kept them together, that kept them involved in each others lives will be gone.

In this case, as DH walks away from his office, and shuts the door, he'll be leaving (hopefully to a better experience)...but he'll be leaving alone, and he won't be returning. I think in his case, being the one leaving might just be harder than being in the group that is left behind.

Friday, February 15, 2008

"You've Got To Have Friends"

Sometimes I worry about Elle. She seems to prefer my company to the company of friends. She would much rather hang out with me on the weekend (read that in the past that meant shopping together) then call a friend to get together.

While I am happy that she seems to enjoy my company, I worry...shouldn't a 13 year old girl should be hanging out with her friends outside of school...and not her mom?

I think that part of the problem is that Elle likes to be in control (I wonder who she gets that from?lol). She has a hard time being tolerant of people who are acting in a less mature way then she thinks they should act. She describes the girls who are the "poppy's" (as in popular) as girls who only think about themselves, how they look, and their place in their group. She tells me that they are all stuck up, thinking that they are better than everyone else.

Over the years, she has had special friends that she's wanted to spend time with...but then they grew apart (for whatever reason). She's been without a special friend at school since one of her friends moved on to the high school this year. Elle says that she hangs out with a group of kids (guys and girls) at school, and she has walked out to my car on many occasions...talking to different boys (egads!). I realize that if she was hanging out with her friends all of the time, I might have a whole different set of concerns/worries.

I love hanging out with Elle...I love that she enjoys volunteering with me on Sundays...I love listening to her perspective as we come across different situations during our time together. I am grateful for the time that we spend together. I just worry whether or not this is the best thing for her.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

In Honor Of Valentines Day

A PUPPY has been born in Japan with a large, clear, love-heart-shaped pattern in his coat. The Chihuahua was born in May as one of a litter to a breeder. Shop owner Emiko Sakurada said it was the first time a puppy with the marks had been born out of a thousand she had bred. She had no plans to sell the puppy, which has been named 'Heart-kun'. The long-coated male Chihuahua puppy was born in Odate, northern Japan

Happy Valentines Day:~)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Six Days A Week.

After six days straight of cooking dinner I can definitely say that I am not enjoying myself. I don't mind cooking...but everynight??????? If I'm not careful, pretty soon I may be sporting a dress, pearls, high heels and an apron just to cook dinner...Donna Reed, June Cleaver, and Betty Crocker better watch out.

Now I realize that most normal people probably cook every night, and will go out to eat, or bring something in once in a while, or maybe even once a week. Up until this point in my marriage, I haven't had to do that. I've been very fortunate that my DH hasn't minded eating out or bringing food in a few days a week. My excuse (not that I need one) is that I work everyday, then bring the kids to their various activities and by the time we're finished...I am too tired to cook. I want some time to kick back and relax...and what better way to do that then to have someone else cook for me.

My DH is a fabulous cook...he loves to cook...he is a creative cook. However he doesn't get home from work until 7:30pm...and although we eat that late, it is just too late for him to start cooking dinner. His current job will end at the end of this month. Unless he finds another job before then, (and I certainly hope he does), I will gladly pass the cooking torch over to him.

I just had an idea...this may solve my dilemma over what to give DH for Valentines Day...maybe I should buy him an apron...just in case:~)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Mrs. XXXXX,

For just over two years, I was an only child, and then you decided to have your son, Sport. For over eleven years now, Sport has been a big part of my life, usually not in a good way.

Sport is addicted to online games such as "Trick.ster" and "Rune.scape". If there's an available computer, Sport is on it. On the rare occasions that I get online, he complains that he should be online, and not me. Or he will be in the same room as me, successfully figuring out ways to annoy me to no end, which, as you can imagine, makes being online, not only a rare, but also an unpleasant time for me.

Sport uses the phone more than anyone else in the house. The downstairs suffers from noise pollution, not only from Sport, but also from whichever friend he decides to call because he has become too lazy to hold a phone up to his ear, and talk quietly into it.

Sport is losing focus on the important things in life such as family, and fresh air. These games are a bad influence in his life. He talks about the games he plays like they're real, and loses his temper a lot more than before he started playing these games. I love Sport, but right now, it's just too hard to be around him.

In conclusion, I think Sport needs more time outside, and less time in front of a computer screen with a phone in front of him. I believe that you can help change his attitude about the computer, and make his virtual life his secone priority. I want my real brother back.



Elle had an assignment in which she needed to write a business letter either: registering a complaint, paying a compliment , or making a suggestion as to how a company could improve their product. Elle decided to write her business letter to me. Please note that all the names were changed to protect the not so innocent...sigh.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Say What?...and then my jaw dropped.

For those in a is the abridged edition. (for a more comprehensive edition continue reading):
DH told me yesterday that he has been laid off of work effective the end of this month. He'll get 6 week severance pay.
Company downsizing.
Need advice on budgeting...and on sticking to a budget.
Did I already say YIKES?????

Here is the long winded version:
Yesterday, I got a call from DH. He said to me "You'll never guess what just happened." Mind you he said this with a quiet voice, not an excited enthuastic voice, so I knew that the ensuing dialogue was not going to be happy. However, what he proceeded to tell me left me with my mouth agape, and truly speechless. (which for me is quite a feat)

When I didn't bother taking a guess (after all he had just told me that I would never why bother) he went on to tell me that he had just been laid off of work. Not fired, laid off. While I understand that there is a distinction between the two (and for the purposed of explaining what happened to Elle and Sport, it is an important distinction) the results are the same. As of the end of this month, he will no longer be employed at his current job. They're giving him 6 weeks of severance pay, which I guess means in essence that he will continue to receive his paycheck for another 10 weeks. YIKES!

At this point in time DH is optimistic that he will be able to find another job before his paychecks run out. In fact the HR person at his place of employment asked him to bring in his resume and that she would work with him on any changes that need to be made to it. In addition, the HR person said that she will try to help him find a new job...possibly with the same company, in a different department.

I spoke with DH this afternoon and he has been very busy making phone calls and putting the word out that he is looking for a new job. I am glad, that for today a least, he believes that he will be able to get another job soon...and I hope that he is right. When we were first married, DH used to freelance. There were times that he would be on "hiatus" but know that he would have the same job back when the new season started. (During those breaks he was able to enjoy the time off, knowing that he had a job waiting for him) There were other times that the show that he was working on was cancelled...those breaks were filled with looking for work and stressing out that he'd never find another job. The stress level at those times was palpable.

Fortunately during the times that my DH was 'seasonal' we didn't have children, I worked full time plus I also had a private practice in the afternoons. Money was flowing quite freely during those times and his lack of income was just a blip on our radar.

Now we have two children, I work part time and while I am already taking on a full-time caseload, during my part-time hours (for extra money) the lack of DH's paycheck is a huge speed-bump on our radar. The thought of him not having a job (or a paycheck) is actually a huge, big deal on many level...the money level and his mental welfare (mine too).

I have lots of thoughts on this matter. I will save them for another post, once I am able to collect them and put them down to paper. In the meantime, I realize that I need to develop a budget, to prepare for a possibly worse case senario. Over the years I've developed many budgets...I'm just not sure how to stick to them. Food shopping/planning is the hardest for me...I just don't get how to make a shopping list (that would mean that I know what I want to make for dinner more than 5 minutes before I start cooking). Usually every afternoon finds me running to the store for whatever items I need for dinner that night. I realize that this is not at all time or cost efficient and with my DH's impending loss of income, it will not be a wise thing to continue to do.

Does anyone have any suggestions or helpful ideas...they would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Ballad...Part 3

Here is the ballad that Elle turned in...

Late at night when the moon is high
and the air is calm and still.
I hear a sound outside my window
Beyond the window sill.

I hear the storm that's coming
I can smell the smell of rain
I think before the morning sun
My world will fill with pain.

I open up my window
see a movement in the tree
I fear that something evil
Will be coming after me.

I hear the storm that's coming
I can smell the smell of rain
I think before the morning sun
My world will fill with pain.

A flash as quick as lightening
Bursts before my eyes
I try to call for help
But no one hears my cries.

I hear the storm that's coming
I can smell the smell of rain
I think before the morning sun
My world will fill with pain.

Appearing right before me
with eyes as black as coal.
A vampire stands, shows his fangs
and decides to take my soul.

I hear the storm that's coming
I can smell the smell of rain
I think before the morning sun
My world will fill with pain.

This is the ballad that Elle turned in...what do you think?

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Ballad...Part 2

As promised, here is ballad number 2. Elle did not turn this one in either.

Buzz goes my alarm clock
Monday morning, very early.
My ipod sounds out music
Mom will let me stay home, surely.

I don't want to go to school today.
Oh, please don't make me go.
I don't want to go to school
I think I'll pray for snow.

My father makes me breakfast
I don't think that I can eat.
I don't want to go to school today
Staying home would be a treat.

I don't want to go to school today.
Oh, please don't make me go.
I don't want to go to school
I think I'll pray for snow.

I think I have a fever
I'm sure my temperature is high.
My throat is sore and achy
My mother says "Nice try."

I don't want to go to school today.
Oh, please don't make me go.
I don't want to go to school
I think I'll pray for snow.

My excuses fell on deaf ears
I can't go back to bed
I'd rather be at Disneyland
But I'm stuck at school instead.

I don't want to go to school today.
Oh, please don't make me go.
I don't want to go to school
I think I'll pray for snow.

Fortunately Elle understands the futility of praying for snow, here in Southern California. Stay tuned for Ballad #3...the one that was turned in.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Ballad...Part 1

As promised, here is the first ballad that Elle wrote. (Keep in mind that we were , excuse the pun, 'warming up')

Ode To A Cold Room

I wake up in the morning
With icicles in my hair.
I see my breath before me
All I can do is stare.

Cold room
Turn on the heat
Cold room
Let me warm my feet

I sit up in my bed
My bones begin to ache.
I can't even feel my fingers
I don't know how much more I'll take.

Cold room
Turn on the heat
Cold room
Let me warm my feet

My clothes are hard and solid
Stuck together with some ice.
I need a hammer and chisel
or some heat sure would be nice.

Cold room
Turn on the heat
Cold room
Let me warm my feet

I walk over to the heater
Flick the switch to on, and then.
My mom says the heaters broken,
and it will be fixed....but when?

Cold room
Turn on the heat
Cold room
Let me warm my feet

FYI... Elle did not turn in this ballad to the teacher. Coming soon...The Ballad...Part 2

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Two Things

I was tagged for this Two Things meme by Patches over at Claw~less & Ball~less.

Two names you go by... Mommy and Lynn

Two things you are wearing right now...a sweater (it's cold here) and a silver bracelet.

Two things you would want (or have) in a relationship...Trust and and good sense of humor (thank goodness I have both)

Two of your favorite things to do... read a good book and go to Disneyland with my kids

Two things you want very badly at the moment...I don't think that badly is a word, so right now I want a damn dictionary and a massage

Two pets you have or have had...Amber (the good doggie) and Redd (the good, but now deceased kitty)

Two people you think will fill this out...Renee and Patti

Two things that you did last night...Made a lentil loaf for dinner and read my book.

Two things you ate today...Acorn squash...leftover lentil loaf.

Two people you last talked to...DH and my mom

Two things you're doing tomorrow...going to work and taking Sport to basketball practice (unless it's raining, in which case I will just take him to for a piano lesson)

Two longest car rides...When Elle was an infant, it too us eight (8) hours to drive 300 miles to Mammoth Mountain, California and driving from New York to California (via the southern route...of course we didn't do this in one day:~)

Two favorite holidays...Halloween and um... I can't choose just two.

Two favorite beverages... water and water

Two people no longer alive who you'd like to talk to - My dad and my grandma and my grandpa (fine so that was sue me:~)

The semester ends tomorrow...I'm hoping to post the ballads sometime this weekend:~)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Groaner

In honor of Ralph, who was very creative in his last response to my Disneyland post...Here's a really clever groaner for you. I wish that I could say that I was clever enough to have created it, but I wasn't.

A thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre. After careful planning, he got past security, stole the paintings and made it safely to his van. However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas. When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied, "Monsier that is the reason I stole the paintings. I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh."

See if you have De Gaulle to tell this to someone... I posted it here because I figured I had nothing Toulouse.

Still waiting for the ballads grade...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ode To A Ballad

Last week, Elle had an assignment in her Language Arts class. The assignment was to write a 4 verse ballad and include a chorus. Elle, asked me if I would help her write it... and since she rarely asks me for my help, I was glad to oblige.

I asked Elle what subject she wanted to write this ballad about. She suggested writing one about her ice cold bedroom (her room is always freezing which is great in the summer, but not so great in the winter). After we wrote that ballad Elle said that she had so much fun writing the first one, and that she wanted to write a second ballad, about school. Finally Elle stated that she decided that she wanted three ballads to choose from and that she wanted to have the third ballad be about a vampire. (she had just finished reading two books about vampires).

After all three ballads were written, Elle chose the darkest of the three (the one about the vampire). I am expecting a call anyday now from the school counselor, telling me that she is concerned about Elle's mental welfare... that should be a fun conversation.

(I will post the three ballads, just as soon as Elle gets her grade. I wouldn't want her teacher to google Elle's ballad and find my blog...I don't know if that would actually happen, but I don't want to take any chances)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Went to Disneyland

Yesterday, I went on a field trip with Elle and her chorus class to Disneyland... (in case you are wondering, this would be the chorus class that experienced Elle standing still during the winter performance). The teacher had asked for volunteers, and Elle asked me if I would please go...How could I say no?

For those of you that have never been to Disneyland, here is a picture of the Cinderellas Castle in the morning...

...and here is one of the same castle in the late afternoon.

What visit to Disneyland would be complete without having the pleasure of sitting in It's A Small World and hearing the same song over and over for 20 minutes???????

Wandering around the park I spotted none other than Jasmine and Aladdin.
And finally...Given that I live in Southern California...what trip to Disneyland would be complete without a 'star sighting'...I was coming out of 'Alice in Wonderland' and heard a man say "Coco, do you want to go on this ride?" Now I don't know about you but I don't often hear that name so I looked to see who was speaking...It was none other than David Arqu*tte, his wife Courtney C*x , their daughter, and their entourage. I figured that I had to snap a picture to show my blogging friends. Here is a picture of Courtney taken with my phone.
In case you are wondering, there were paparazzi located behind me...of course they had huge lens... and I made sure that I didn't get in their you won't be seeing me in Peop*le Magazine anytime soon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Out With The Old...In With The New

Today I exchanged my old work laptop for a new one. I've been told that the new one is a lot faster (which isn't saying much since the old one worked at a snail's pace). I can say with certainty that the new laptop is definitely a lot heavier. (which isn't such a good thing).

I've been distracted the past few days, trying to be sure that I backed-up and removed all of my files off of the old computer (I know...nothing is ever really removed). I also spent time trying to be sure that any personal stuff was off of the laptop.

I am not really computer savvy, or it took me awhile to figure out how 'erased' I could make the computers memory. Evidently I did a pretty good job because the technician who took my old computer came to ask me if I had ever put any files on the old laptop...evidently he couldn't find any. Yeah me.

Now I get to spend some time playing with the new laptop...because, of course, they didn't give me any instructions on how to use it...sigh.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Taking Time To Slow Down

Are you ever in such a rush while you are eating, that you forget to chew your food, and you kind of choke on it??? I really need to slow down.

Once I had kids, I started to gulp my food down. At least I think that's when it began. I started inhaling my food when Elle and Sport were little...hurrying to 'grab a bite' before they needed me. I know that it isn't healthy, I just am too lazy to retrain myself to slow down. Now Elle is 13 and Sport is 11...I still can't seem to slow down and enjoy a meal.

DH on the other hand enjoys taking his time....bastard!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Slow Start

Do you ever wish that you could 'ease your way' into something, only to have to just jump right in? That is how I feel after today.

Returned to work. Told Elle and Sport to look at their return to school, as being one day closer to summer vacation. My mother would say that I shouldn't wish my life away. I know that she is right. I can't help it.

I love what I do. I just don't love all of the pressure and stress that comes with my job. Never from the kids (I love working with them)...just the faculty/staff and sometimes the parents.

Have a new student teacher. She started today and will be with me 3 days/week. Although once again it will be a lot of work for me (at least in the beginning), I enjoy the company...and I enjoy mentoring someone, and helping them learn how to survive in the schools.

Have an all day meeting tomorrow, which will help fulfill the continuing education requirements for my state license. I hope it's something interesting. Unfortunately, attending this meeting means that on Wednesday, I will have to see twice as many students. Sigh...they'll be no easing into work for me.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Boo Hoo

The kids have to go back to school hoo. (homework starts again...yuck)
I have to go back to work tomorrow... boo hoo.
Enough said.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I'll Take Staying In The Dark for 2008

I wonder... if I had a crystal ball, and could forsee what the coming year would bring...would I really want to know what was going to happen? Would I take a look? ... Or would I look away?
Given that I am somewhat of a control freak (but only in a good way, lol) one would expect that I would want to know what is going to happen to me and those around me this coming year. But I don't think that I would want to know...I mean, what good would the information be to me if I couldn't change the outcome? I think that having the knowledge of possible impending gloom and doom, without the power to effect a change would weigh heavily on me.

Now if I could somehow change the outcome based on what I saw in the crystal ball, would I then want this information? I don't know. What would happen if by changing the course of events (good or bad) in someones life, I inadvertently caused something even worse to happen down the road? Would I want that power? That responsibility?

Would I find comfort in knowing that something bad was coming down the pike? Or would I prefer to go along my happy way in ignorant bliss? Would I, knowing that something bad was going to happen, start a fight, or emotionally pull back from someone if I knew that our time together was to be measured in days, weeks, or months instead of years? Or would I hold onto them so tightly that I would emotionally smother them?

Generally, I am not one to bury my head in the sand. I prefer to know all the facts and proceed from there. But in this case, I guess that I would prefer to allow for the spontaneity and surprises that this coming year holds rather than having the year all planned out. I figure before I know it, 2008 will be over and I'll be sitting here wondering what 2009 has in store.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I Have Survived!

I have finally come out on the other side of a horrible stomach flu. Monday morning at 1:30am I woke up Open Both Ends (OBE). Fortunately even in my deep state of slumber, I woke myself up and made it to the bathroom where I proceeded, over the course of the next 7 hours, to alternately hug my toilet, sit on my toilet, and sleep on the bathroom floor...and let me tell you my bathroom floor is not comfortable at all. I don't even want to think of the germs that were living there (that might make me sick all over again). I just couldn't pick myself up to get back to bed in between 'attacks'.

Once I thought it was safe to leave my bathroom, I proceeded to spend the rest of the last day of 2007 asleep in bed. I also spent the first day of 2008 in bed. I couldn't even get it together to turn on the T.V., read a book, or carry on any sort of conversation.

I hope that my ending one year in bed, and starting the new year in bed is not a portent of thing to come. Wait that didn't sound right...I hope that if I'm in bed it's for a good, no that's not right either...Oh heck...I hope the rest of this year finds us all healthy...and if we're in bed, it's because we want to be there.