Friday, December 25, 2009

A Perfect Christmas...

It's what we all hope for, right? A perfect Christmas. Everyone "home" for the holidays. The perfect gifts. The perfect dinner. The perfect weather. Everyone getting along. Perfect traditions. Everyone healthy. Everyone happy.

Sounds like a dream come true, but how often does it all happen? Someone in the family doesn't make it home...or you couldn't afford that certain gift or it was out of stock...or the turkey is dry and you-know-who burnt the pumpkin pie...or slush or sunshine instead of a cold snowy day...turkey making people tired and grumpy... Auntie's in the hospital...Susie has the flu...or that sad look in Granny's eye hasn't gone away.

We wish for a perfect Christmas. We expect it and we stress ourselves over making things perfect. But think about the first Christmas. There wasn't a lot about it that was perfect, was there? I doubt Mary thought, "Perfect!" when she found out she was giving birth in a stable. Joseph probably shared her sentiment. All the political unrest at the time? Not so perfect either.

But one thing WAS perfect: God sent a Savior to all of us.

Well, I had a college professor who shared a little devotional thought just before our final exam one year. It was the BEST Christmas devotional I've ever heard. I sat there listening, totally hooked, but after the final, I wrote down notes. I can't find them anymore, so I won't do justice to what she shared with us but I want to share what I remember.

Rather than worry and stress over making things perfect, look with me for a moment at the original Christmas story. We all know the basics of Jesus being born to Mary in a rugged manger, etc. But let's look at more than that. Let's look at what the angels had to say.

They appeared months before...to Zechariah (the husband of Elizabeth who was Mary's cousin). The angel came to tell him that Elizabeth, who was barren, was going to give birth to John the Baptist...who would pave the way for Jesus. When the angel first appeared to Zechariah he was afraid. And the angel spoke, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard."

Six months later, another angel, Gabriel, came, this time appearing to Mary. Gabriel greeted her and Mary was troubled and wondered at his greeting. So Gabriel said, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God."

Then came Joseph's turn. He was troubled over Mary's pregnancy and had decided to divorce her quietly. But an angel came to him and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife...."

Finally came Jesus birth and there were the shepherds not far from his birthplace. "An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.'" Then they went on to announce Christ the Savior's birth.

Over and over, the angels appeared to people...humans...like you and me. And each time the people were afraid, worried, scared. And every time the angels told them, "Do not be afraid." Words of assurance..."your prayer has been heard"..."you've found favor with God"..."I bring you good news: A Savoir is born!"

So what do you say? Why don't we lay down our worries...or better yet, give them up to the same God who sent those angels (and His Son) to people like you and me.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear's third verse says...

"O ye beneath life's crushing load, Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road And hear the angels sing."

Merry Christmas, everyone. I pray that all of you can find rest and peace during this season. God bless you all. I love you!

I'm sorry it's a bit late. It was supposed to be my Christmas Eve post, but a virus tied up my computer.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What To Do, What To Do...

Man oh man, how I wish I could figure out what type of occupation would be...satisfying. As y'all know from previous posts, I'm on the lookout for a different job. For now I'm looking within the school system. (I'm desperate enough that I applied for Middle School today!) For personal reasons (like being there in the summer for my girls) it's a must. But I sincerely wish I could figure out what I REALLY want to do.

It's true that I dream of writing a novel. But honestly, part of me's afraid of that. What if I write and someone thinks it's ridiculous...like someone who's opinion I value. I mean, WHAT IF I wrote a novel well enough that it got published but people near and dear to me thought it was hokey or something. Or stupid. Or...whatever. Nevermind the little detail of actually writing something good enough to get published, lol. Who worries about that? Pfffft.

Know what? I'm a nerd. Self-proclaimed nerd, thank you very much. Okay, okay, other people have told me so, too. Or wait...maybe I'm a geek. Sometimes it's hard to differentiate betwixt the two. I like stuff like typing. I like short sweet projects that are in and out in a short time. Not something that takes months. I like creative things. I like working with graphics on my computer (not like I'm a trained pro, but I can play, baby!) lol I like things like...bouquets of sharpened pencils. Okay, that part's not true. But it's a fun part of "You've Got Mail." :D

AND I like technology. I like every new gadget that comes out. I don't OWN every new gadget that comes out but I do a bit more drooling over them than I should, probably. I like things with buttons. (Ok, Wiggles fans, I hope ALL of you burst out in "What's This Button For?" because secretly that's been my theme song for years now.)

And I love books. I love them so much that I ENJOYED working in the book section of a shipping department of a publishing house...because I was dealing with books. It wasn't like I got to sit and read them. I was picking them up and putting them with order forms and off they went to some lucky soul. But I liked it because it was books.

I'm crazy.

The end.

Sign up below to order your copy of my first book. Ha ha.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'!

Life can feel so crazy sometimes. And when it seems the craziest I have this tendency to want to just hunker down and do nothing...like waiting for a hurricane to move past. When it's at its craziest I just don't know where to start. Or I tell myself I don't know how to wade through all the details...or I'm just too scared. (Not in a big-bad-little-girl-scaredy-cat way, but just too apprehensive to make a decision.)

And change? I'm very reluctant about change...unless we're talking about rearranging furniture and then, well, look out, because I LOVE to keep it moving...mix it up. There've been places I've rented that furniture could only fit in one way and it...drove...me...nuts. But other changes I'm reluctant about. Well, truly...not ALL changes. When things are rotten, I welcome change wholeheartedly. (I'm NOT stupid.) If I really like or love something as it is, I can't imagine change being good...and I resist. Well, there are some things in my life that have become increasingly rotten and to make a change would be HUGE. Huge hassle. Huge task figuring out what would be best, what would work and fit around all the details of my life, and what results do I really want, anyway.

This week, I have begun to take action. My job has not been a good situation. I feel crushed/bruised by my superior and I have a very challenging group of students this year. The kids are FINALLY beginning to come around, but the other "garbage" is still there. I feel hurt and unwanted and it's SO hard to get up and go each day (although I'm working at even that...as much as I can.) So this week, after receiving what I think is pretty sound counsel from a friend, I started applying for other openings within our school district...a transfer. (So if you're thinking of me, you might pray for something good to come through.)

I feel better just for having decided to pursue a change. Life will still be crazy, I'm sure, but maybe it'll be the good crazy.

(I'm not saying Happy Thanksgiving until tomorrow.) :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Say wha???

I teach kindergarten...as you all know. I recently went to observe a teacher at another school to see if I could get some brainy ideas to get a better handle on my very "active" class. I've adapted several of the little tricks (for lack of a better term) that the teacher used. One in particular has led to some humor and I thought I'd just pass it on...

When the class is being pretty noisy, losing focus, etc., I raise my hand high and say, "Give me five." The expected response is that everyone stops what they're doing, raise their hand high, and look at me. I don't know why, but it seems to work like a charm. However, Friday afternoon, I was losing them, so I stopped what I was doing and said, "Give me five." One of the rather...challenging...little boys didn't miss a beat. He immediately said, "Give me some sugar!" Bahahaha, who can NOT laugh at that?

Or how about this one...

When I was observing at this other school, the teacher was doing small group reading lessons. In their story there were two ants who desperately wanted this big red juicy apple but couldn't get it off the tree. So one of their ideas was to just yell at the tree, "GIVE ME THAT APPLE!" By the end of the story they learn to ask nicely and use mannerly words like, "please." Reviewing the story, the teacher asked why the ants couldn't get the apple in the early part of the story. One little girl said, "Because he was talkin' trash to that tree!" Then there were others chiming in about "trash talkin'." Very funny stuff from a five year old. Trust me.

Not earth shaking stuff here, but hey, it's more upbeat than last night's blog! :)...and for the record, that's something to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Heartaches

The Thanksgiving holiday is coming down the pike. It is...upon us. You can tell because of the massive CHRISTMAS-IN-YOUR-FACEness that is in every retail place these days. When it's THIS "in your face" it's undoubtedly turkey time...or past. And judging by the fact that I'm not suffering a turkey hangover, I can tell it's turkey time.

For some reason that suddenly reminds me of a sing-songy thing we used to sing and laugh at as kids... "he's a redneck, turkeyneck" (repeat about 1000 times or until your mom gives you that look.)

Anyway, it's time for digging deep and sharing what we're thankful for, right? I have SO much to be thankful for...but I don't feel it right now...which is downright shameful. (And I don't mean that flippantly.)

Instead I feel overwhelmed. I feel fearful. I feel like life is going to blow up in my face and when the dust settles I'll see that I didn't measure up. I'll find out that I'm not enough...for anyone or anything.

And there's a big part of me that figures "who can blame anyone for judging me so?" I can't think of an area of my life where I "cut the mustard." I realize that this is such a pity-party thing...but it's this big dull ache right now and I had to vent it. (Aren't YOU the lucky readers??!) I'm just not sure how to get a grip when I feel like this.

Do you know how dangerous dreams are? Maybe some people dream the possible, but I don't think I can. I dream of things that are not attainable. I don't dream of accomplishments. I don't dream of "doing." I dream of relationships. I dream of stuff like...being chosen. I dream of stuff like...being wanted more than anything else that life offers. I dream of real true love...and finding that it can be reciprocal and not just some romantic nonsense in my head. I dream of someone seeing me, faults and all, and just loving me anyway.

I know it happens. I have this awesome brother. (Don't tell him I said he's awesome.) He's married to his awesome little wife. (You can tell her I said she's awesome.) They love each other. Like...for real. They see the faults, but the love is there. It's solid. It's a fact. Like a universal truth. I can love that way...but what do I have to offer that someone would feel reciprocally? (Is that even a word?)

My brother knew...he KNEW...by the end of one date, that he he had found "the one." He KNEW. I'm happy for them both.

I just can't help but wonder how on earth I made such stupid mistakes. Did I totally mess up the plan that God had for me? Or was it meant for me to walk this road...feeling invisible and bruised?

For the first time in years, here lately, I've felt hopeful. Hopeful that life was going to unfold in a positive way and it's not that those hopes have been smashed. It's that the fear has been stirred. What if I'm not enough?

Tough question.

I now return you to your Thanksgivinginess...and hope to get going here wth some humor very soon, cuz, frankly...this blog was (dare I say it?)...sucky.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Life Changes

Wow, has my life changed! My last post was August 9th, I think. Here it is, August 11th, and my life is so different, it makes my head spin.

Some of you know and some of you may not know, but a little over a month ago (lean in here, because I'm going to whisper this next bit...) I started dating again. Yes, I'm serious. Me. Hill. The woman who's been a single mom for like....400 years now? Yep. It's true. An amazing man seemingly appeared out of nowhere and asked me out. Ok...that might not be entirely true. He IS amazing. He DID ask me out. But no one really comes out of nowhere. I have known him ... on a professional basis ... since last December. I had enjoyed making his acquaintance, chatting whenever I saw him, etc., but had not contemplated anything further. My mom saw it coming. My bff saw it coming (and she's never met the man). I laughed them off. No one notices me...not like that, silly women. As if. Then...out of the blue...he asked me to dinner. I accepted. And here it is, a little over five weeks later, and we're still going out...and having an amazing time.

It blows my mind really. I know you complimentary friends who will say "you look beautiful," etc., but it never sinks into MY brain...or heart, really. So now there's this amazing man, sweet, intelligent...and yes, lookin' fiiiiine, ...who tells me I'm beautiful...and stares at my face, looking his fill.

How did it happen? A gift from God, I'd say. An answer to prayer. A blessing.

My thoughts are getting jumbled and I'm not blogging so great, but this is the time to be blogging, I say. Life is more than a survival routine now.

And I'm too tired to think of how to wind this up, so I'm just going to back away from the keyboard now.....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

And that's when my eyes popped out of my head.

Today was a good day. It was really really good. I got up and got ready for church, thinking it would be cool to put some curls in my hair. Now curls are NOT a bad idea...but they just didn't pan out the way I had hoped and I came off looking like Bozo's lost cousin. Unfortunately it was time to head out the door to Praise Team practice and so off I went, curls bouncing along and seemingly wanting to attack my face. Mom said that the curls looked good ... that they were fine. Then I'd look at her and she'd collapse into a fit of giggles. She swore it was the look on my face...but the curls are the reason for the look on my face, so I figure it's all connected, right? The curls are to blame. So I grab my sun glasses and kind of maneuver them up on top of my head like a head-band of sorts and into the church I went. No one on praise team laughed at me. Yay them! So practice was over and Mom and I headed out for breakfast during the Sunday School hour because I'd taken too long with curls to mess with eating. There we sat in Dunkin' Donuts when Mom was overcome with another fit of giggles. There was nothing to do but head for home and go for some damage control. So we did. And amazingly enough, it worked. Sometimes I try to "fix" hair-gone-wrong and it backfires. Today worked out, though.

But enough of that. At church we were told that there would be no Praise Team practice this evening, as is the usual on every other Sunday night. It was cancelled for preparation for VBS. So a couple of us on the praise team were talking it over and, long-story-short, I ended up volunteering for everyone to come to my house for a social in lieu of practice.

So Mom and I came home after church service and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. And did I mention we cleaned? But you know what? My house was actually in decent shape for company when they all arrived. I will ALWAYS be one whose house has signs of "life" in it. I'll never live in a show case. But it was in good shape. That always makes me feel good. I don't even care that I would not open the door of my bedroom because of the fright that was inside there. Doesn't matter, because the "public" portions of my house were goood.

And now the whole reason for my blog tonight. You're wondering when my eyes popped out of my head, aren't you? Well, here we go. When we got home from church I went into my bedroom to change into clothes so I can really have a go at the cleaning. (Now there's a scary lead-in, no?) I put on a shirt and grab my long black shorts. I tried putting them on and it was no easy task. Yes, I got them up, but it was like being in a movie. I laid back on the bed to make my tummy flat enough to fasten the dang thangs. I've been weighing myself off and on the past few weeks and my weight has been hovering at 115...which is about my norm. After I got the shorts on I walked out to the dining room where my scale happens to be. Why? I don't know, but it's there. My dining room and living room have no wall between them, just different flooring. The dining room has hard ceramic tile...which, by the way, is incredibly slippery when wet. The living room has carpet. Well the scale had been pushed over onto the carpet and, not thinking about that fact, I step onto the scale. I glance down, looking toward the scale reading, but not really thinking yet, because I'm waiting for it to stop moving. The scale slows and stops at 180 pounds. 180!?!?! THAT's when my eyes popped out of my head. Then in that split second I realized that my scale was on carpet instead of on a hard surface. Whew! I was wondering how I could gain 65 pounds without noticing! I moved it back onto the ceramic tile and got a much better reading, lol. Higher than normal but compared to 180 it was wholly acceptable.

Praise team friends came over and we ate yummy cake and did a lot of laughing.

A good day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Where'd You Get an Idea Like That?

Obsessive? Me?? Well, I guess that depends on how you define obsessive. I KNOW what obsessive means but you know, sometimes you're not sure how to put it into words...into black-and-white, so to speak, so I looked it up and found that an obsession is "the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc." If that's how YOU define it, then the answer is yes.

I know that's shocking for those of you who know me and have known me for any length of time, particularly through my "Wiggles" years. "Mimismum", the quiet one who always left you guessing just where her loyalties lied...laid...lay??? (NEVER mastered that verb.)

Lately my obsession is still here at my keyboard...in facebook. Facebook "hooked" me because it's SO awesome to reconnect with people from the past...and connect with friends and family who live so far away. You guys know. You get that, right? So THAT isn't a problem. What's a problem is those darn games! TOTALLY useless. (You should see my farm in Farm Town, though.) TOTAL wastes of time. (Have you seen my high score in Brick Breaking?!) TOTALLY frustrating. (WHY is there no REAL way to guarantee a good game in Bejewelled???) Yet there's just a bit of challenge there that keeps me going back and wasting time. And there's my nice slow heartbeat from sitting here with eyes glazed over from playing just "one" more game. That nice slow heartbeat that makes you think it's not necessary to ever get off your back side and do anything.

Paints a pretty picture, doesn't it?

Well, tonight I was just getting onto one of my cyber-farms when my mom asked if I'd gotten "that mail from the mailbox." Well, yesterday I "bought" a mailbox for that farm so I got all excited and asked/exclaimed, "YOU CAN GET MAIL IN THE MAILBOX!!!??" After a bit of confusion, she clarified that she was referring to the mailbox right here in the REAL world..not the virtual one. I had to laugh at myself...and at the same time thought, "Who's obsessive???!"

Before the internet became popular books were my obsession...and I miss them. I've been reading the same book for a few months. I used to finish one in a matter of a few days. Books were my obsession for sooooo long that I don't remember a prior obession...unless Winnie-the-Pooh counts (which he TOTALLY does.)

I know many of you (well, I suppose I'm playing it a little loose with the word "man"...all 3 of you who may read this) may think that rambling is an obsession of mine, too, based on the way I've been writing lately. Rambling with very few points to be made...or just not knowing where I'm going when I start writing and not knowing how to stop. But..I'm not going to let that stop me for now because I want to get going and writing more again...so if you bear with me long enough to read these, I apologize and I thank you for being here. Better days ahead, I hope....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Moments

I love the little moments of life. There's some saying about that out there these days. Something like, "We don't remember days, we remember moments." Something like that, though most likely much more eloquently put. But the point's still there.

The moments. I love love LOVE the funny ones. Then there are the ones that are so sweet and full of love that you think you just might burst. And of course there are the ones where you think you'll blow that little vein near your temple if not your jugular from something that just cranks you off in a really bad way. I don't love the veiny moments, but they're there. I had one a couple days ago and at moments that gut-twisting feeling starts to stir again and I wonder how everything is going to work out. But enough of that. It's not what this little bloggy-blog-blog is about.

About a month and a half ago my mom moved in with us, at my request, to help me with an impossible schedule conflict between my work and the girls' school. Over the weeks she's been here we have had SO MANY of those laughing moments. The laugh-so-hard-you-cry laughs. The don't-say-anything-else-until-I-get-a-bathroom-break laughs. The you-oughta-be-committed-for-laughing-that-much laughs. They're awesome. And they're with my mom which makes it even more awesomer. And what's great is that so often they're things that if you told, people would look at you and listen as you told the story...then sit and just blink at you repeatedly, waiting for the funny part.

For example, tonight we're sitting here in the quiet of the evening. The girls are in bed. The dogs are laying on a blanket near me on the million-dollar-sofa looking like they've been hit by a car. And Mom and I are in our respective seats with laptops perched on our knees. I'm on the chaise at the end of the million-dollar-sofa and Mom is in the glider catty-cornered across the room. We're enjoying the quiet. I shift my leg and unwittingly knock some toy off the end of the sofa. It's light enough that I didn't even notice it touching my foot. BUT it happened to be this little gadget that shoots out of this pipe-sort-of-thing and shoots a polly that is strapped to it gliding off into the galaxy...or the living room. So we're sitting there quietly when suddenly FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFWUP! out shoots the glider and scares the LMNOP out of us as it shoots past Mom's legs!

Now see? You're probably sitting there blinking, aren't you? Waiting for real hilarity? I laughed until I couldn't breathe, people! I mean...I'm a rising comedian's dream audience, I guess.

But isn't that really how it works? The really good stuff is the simple stuff, right? The polly aircraft seemingly spontaneously flying through the room. The dog doing a headstand when you try to rub her nose in ... well ... her business (yes my yorkie does that and I laugh everytime...push her head toward the offense and she can get her rump up in the air nearly to a 90-degree angle, lol). Simple, no-account moments. But the good lovey moments are like that, too, aren't they? Like when your tweenie comes running back to give you one more hug and kiss before she takes off with her friends? When your little girl says, "I just want to be WITH you, mama." Eye contact. A wink (oh that one sleighs, no?) Being told "it's okay." Simple, little things that make all the difference in the world.

I don't know that I have a point to make in all of this. Guess I just wanted to say that I love the little moments. I do.

A few of my moments...







WAIT! How did THAT get in here???? Ah well, no harm done. None at all.......


Help. I can't breathe. Neither can Mom. lol

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Famous Firsts

Ok, maybe not so "famous," but a first anyway. I guess instead of writing about it, I should be ashamed, but be it as it may, tomorrow will be a first for me.

A couple days ago I told my girls to each invite a friend to go to the movies with us tomorrow and to spend the night at our house. I've NEVER had my girls invite anyone over. I've been a lazy mama. I've been ... apprehensive. I've been ... a dud.

But tomorrow we're doing it. We're going to see G-Force and then they're spending the day playing together...and one of them is staying over for the night.

It doesn't make for much of a blog...but I've got to get started again. (I've been saying that for waaaaay too long.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Megan's birthday

Eleven years ago today, I gave birth to the most perfect little person I had ever laid eyes on. And for eleven years I have watched her grow. There have been tears. There has been laughter. There have been make-overs. There have been messes. There have been...snail documentaries(...which you can see here.) There have been gymnastics performances. There have been awards ceremonies. And there have been many, many, many, many smiles. Those smiles light up my life.

Dressing up in style....
A little music...
A little ham with cheese...
Sleepy but happy...
Goofy grin...
A little lippy...
First tooth gone...
Scary!
A beautiful princess...
Christmas program...
Love her laugh...
Her baptism...
Got a 4 on her FCAT in Math!
Only one in her classroom to get a 5 on the FCAT in Reading!!
Christmas gymnastics recital...
Stylin' once again...
She's great at giving makeovers. Anyone interested???
Sleepy girl...
More laughter... (One of my favorite photos!)

Happy birthday, Mimi-girl. I love you!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

Today is the Fourth of July, a holiday packed with meaning for those of us here in the United States...just as those of you in other nations have your patriotic days you observe. And THIS fourth has got me to thinking.

I was just outside with my Yorkie-baby, Ceci, and the fireworks have begun. It's a fairly noisy place outside right now...okay, and inside, too. I was mindful of how the noise affects my dogs...which sounds funny, I guess, but that's what I was thinking of. Ceci was oblivious to the noise. Pooh, so far, has been fairly chilled about it, too, aside from an occasionally REALLY loud one that startles him. But anyway, as I was thinking about it, I thought of how odd it was to be able to just tune out the noise. But then I realized that the reason it was so easy was because it isn't a threat and because I know it's a celebratory thing. And that turned my thoughts yet again. This time I wondered...what must it be like...how awful it must be...to be either a soldier or a civilian in a war zone...hearing similar sounds and worse all around you...all the time...and knowing that not only are the sources of the noise a threat to you and those around you...but that more than likely there are people being hurt and even killed when you hear those sounds.

The price that has been paid for our freedom...for our ways of life...is monumental. And yet we as a people can be so "you owe me!"-minded...rather than humbled by the sacrifices made for us.

I don't know what all I'd like to say in this blog tonight. I don't know exactly where I was headed. But I am thankful and saddened by the many lives lost in the history of our nation so that I can enjoy the freedoms that I do.

So to all of you in uniform...to all of you married to those in uniform...to all of you whose parents have served...whose grandfathers and uncles and brothers have served...thank you...and may God bless you.

To those of you serving now, may God keep you and protect you.

And to my own grandfather...who I never met, but who gave up his own life in the Battle of the Bulge...thank you...and may you rest in peace.

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Puppy, Parvo, Parenting and Praise

For what seems like forever, my girls and I have been dreaming of getting a teacup Yorkie. Alli has googled "teacup Yorkie" and searched the internet thoroughly on more than one occasion so that when we saved up the money we could find a puppy to make our own.

Well, for what also seemed like forever, I worked at getting my National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. That was no joy ride, people. I hated every step of the way...and did a lot of whining about it But I really wanted to achieve it so I could get the yearly bonus. Such noble motivation, lol. Seriously, though, the process was rigorous and that would have been fine IF it had actually taught me something that made me a better teacher, but all it did was get me the piece of paper and the yearly bonus (provided the state has the funds for the bonus each year.)

This year the state almost didn't give us the bonus but in the end did dispense the bonuses to those who had the certification. I was one happy camper, I kid you not. And while there were plenty of places that I could use the money in a very practical way, I had told myself that when I got my bonus the first time I was splurging. The original plan was a trip to Australia. A solo trip to Australia, no less. To Sydney, to be exact. That trip was the motivator when I was whining through the process of writing up my National Board portfolio.

Payday came. But just a few days before that, my youngest pointed out to me that since I was getting my bonus we could finally get our teacup Yorkie. At that point I could hardly say, "Sorry, I'm going to Australia. You'll have to wait another year." Nope, couldn't do that. It only seemed right that if I were going to splurge, I should splurge on something for the whole family. So we started searching out puppies. We finally found one and made the purchase in early May. Ohhhhh the long weeks waiting to actually get her. She was 6 weeks old when we bought her. We scheduled for my mom to pick her up on her way driving through Missouri as she made the move to live with us here in Florida. It was five long weeks before she and the puppy showed up on our door. (You should have heard the screams, lol.)

We named our sweet little baby (Kristen, I CAN call her a baby because, you see, this is MY blog!)...we named her Cecilia Grace. We call her Ceci for short. "Cecilia" is after my dad, "Cecil," and "Grace" is similar to my girls' middle names, "Hope" and "Faith." I know, a lot of name for just a little dog, but all our pets get middle names. It's the way we roll 'round here. Ok, I didn't give the guinea pigs middle names because just between you and me, I don't really give a rip. They're rodents. I'll take good care of them, but forget about any terms of endearment.

When Ceci came we all marveled at how sweet and how docile she was. Such a calm little sweetheart. Even at night, as I'd tuck her in her kennel to sleep, she'd go peacefully and would only whine when she needed to go out. I was amazed at just how easy she was to handle. Well, she arrived on a Wednesday evening...and three short days later we began to learn why she was so docile. She'd had some "digestive problems" (I'll avoid being too graphic here.) On Saturday she refused to eat and by mid-afternoon we became pretty concerned. Tiny dogs can have problems with hypoglycemia and we worried at how long she'd gone without eating. And by mid-afternoon she'd lost interest in her water, too. So we made the decision and headed for the Animal ER.

I've always been one to think that it's rather ridiculous to go to great expense for medical care for a pet. I haven't really understood. I KNOW pets have a special place in our hearts, but money being hard to come by, I've kind of scoffed at it...though never to a person who has spent a lot on medical care for their pet. I've just thought along those lines in my head. Well, I learned a big lesson. I'm glad I had no words to eat, because WOW I'd have had a buffet! We went in to the Animal ER thinking that the problems she had were related to being car sick on the way traveling from Missouri to Florida and that her system was just out of whack. We figured they'd give us some sort of electrolyte stuff and we'd head home and that would be that.

We were wrong.

They ran a few tests and came back, telling us that her test for the parvovirus came back VERY strong. It was like a death nell in my head. I swear it. I thought we would lose the little baby dog we'd been waiting to get for so long.

Well, long story short...or long story not even longer...she spent two days at the Animal ER, then got transferred to our "family vet" hospital where she stayed four more days on IV fluids, antibiotics, med for nausea, and morphine. She was one sick little puppy.

Finally on Wednesday we were given some hope and on Thursday she began to eat a bit. So Thursday afternoon she came home. It was still rather tough for a few days trying to get much food down her, but now she's eating great, barking with sass, and then she snuggles up close and starts giving you these sweet little puppy kisses with intermittent BITES, lol. Yeah that's a great way to wake up, lol.

Our sweet quiet little docile puppy is a little bit of a fireball. And she is adored by us all. She's a sweet cuddler once she gets tired and loves being with her people.

So let's see, that takes care of "Puppy" and "Parvo" in my title. As for the "Parenting," when I threw that into the title I was just thinking about when we admitted Ceci into the hospital. Like I said, I used to scoff a bit at people taking extreme measures with their pets, but honestly, with two little girls whose little hearts would absolutely break if their puppy were gone, there was nothing else I could have done. (And between you and me, I'm glad I had them to help me justify the expense to myself, too.) I hope I don't sound inhumane. I wouldn't want an animal to suffer ever. It's just hard sometimes to justify a lot of money going to animals when family expenses are tough enough to handle.

And so that brings us to the final P..."Praise." I seriously praise God for answered prayers for Ceci. She is such a wonderful addition to our family and I'm so glad she's pulled through. I know some of you prayed for her and I'm thankful to you, too.

I've got to get back in the swing of blogging. No good form, just rambling it seems right now. So I'll close with a photo of our little baby.
















Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hmmmm...

I don't have a set plan for this blog entry. Well, I take that back. I have several ideas floating around in this wee brain of mine. There's those dancers I mentioned a couple entries (and a couple months) back. There's all that's going on in life right now (but I guess I could stretch some of that out for coming entries.) And there was last night.

This will be small beans to most but I was laughing myself silly last night. All day yesterday, Allison begged EVERYONE to play school with her. Now...I'm a teacher. I've almost always been in school...well 3/4 of my life anyway...so "playing school" didn't overly excite me, but my goodness the little girl's heart was set on it. But we were busy cleaning all day so I had made her wait...hours. There were almost tears over the wait, but she pulled through, lol. Finally, supper was cleared away. (Yes I said "supper" despite the fact that most people go "huh?" when they hear the word. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!) And Mom and I agreed to be Allison's pupils. Meg wasn't going for it.

Now, school isn't generally a hysterical event...although with five-year-olds and a VERY sarcastic colleague, it can have some hilarious moments. But last night there was a lot of laughter.

There were different sources of the giggles. There was the fact that I refused to obey, threw paper wads at "the teacher", tattled on my classmates for touching my chair, touching me, sucking on their glue sticks, and I begged to go to the nurse for an ice pack for a sore spot on the side of my tongue. My teacher gave me a month's detention...in the corner.

Then there were the stories about shiny nuts that were just plain funny. I'm sorry, but they were. Mom and I were laughing like nuts ourselves.

But the REAL fun was when Allison told us all our names. She was the teacher and her name was Mrs. Nutbag, who I occasionally "slipped" and called "Mrs. Bag-o-nuts." Mom's name was "Bobbie Ann Woody." I was "Jessica Bumbag." All these names from my little princess, Alli.

Today over ice cream, I asked Alli what Meg's name is. She is henceforth, "Sarah Stinkbomb."

Oh! And later this week, my brother is coming to visit. So we asked Alli what his name should be. She thought really hard for just a couple seconds before declaring that he is "Junk-in-the-Trunk O'Reilly." We'll call him Uncle Junk for short.

Dancers, life, and a tiny puppy who is cuddlier than anything I've ever seen will be coming soon....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Soooooo.....

It's been a month since I said I was on my way back to blogland. I MISS you guys and reading your blogs and have no one to blame but myself. I must take some time and read read read at your sites and get back in the loop!

SO SO SO much seems to have been happening in my life and I need to blog about it...but not this late at night. Ok, 10:30 is not all that late for me, but tonight I'm particularly tired. But I felt the need to take the step and get back in here and write!

I really need to share about the dancers I mentioned last time. And about my baby girl puppy. And about my mom coming to live with us. And about the girls schooling next year. And about the battle I was expecting when I last blogged. And about...oh I don't know, maybe my chiropractor, lol. I swear his office is my happy place.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow......

Hill

Monday, May 11, 2009

Preparing for War

I'm gearing up, digging in.  I've got to do battle...or rather stand my ground (which can feel like a battle).  I'm going to share sooooon.  Tonight I need sleep.

So much getting ready to happen.

Oh...and I've got to talk about some dancers I've been seeing.  (No, I don't mean dating, just normal seeing.)  I see them and automatically think, "BLOG!"

Oh Oh Oh!!  I also got some testing scores back.  Details at ten...or sometime.

I'm coming back to blogland.  Brace yourselves.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'm Alive.

Catchy title, eh?

Well, I feel like I haven't been here in forever. But then to me, the last two weeks have been about a year long and held enough stressers to spread over a couple years, too. So I've wasted time on facebook and leaving an impression in the sofa.

I'm not going to write about all the things going through my head these past couple weeks. There've beeen scathing reviews at work that were crushing. There've been medical visits...going to a surgeon this Wednesday for a consult...lump number two appeared this week. And there are issues to be settled about Megan's schooling that stir up a number of decisions I've pondered nearly forever and haven't wanted to undertake. I'm feeling incredibly tempted now...and confused...and scared.... So I'm praying and I'm waiting and I'm agonizing. So many questions...with answers that only time will tell, really. So I'm praying for God's wisdom.

And that's just some of the stuff. The other stuff I don't even want to write here. I don't want anyone to see inside my foolish head and heart to see the things that break it. But broken it is. Not beyond repair...but the break still hurts.

I'm on Day 2 of an 11-day Spring Break. I can't begin to say how glad I am to be on break. There is plenty to get accomplished so it won't be all rest and play (unless I follow my usual unproductive pattern, but I've got a friend egging me on so I'm sure I'll get to some projects, lol.) But to be out of the school is sooooo good. I struggle with teaching as it is. It's the only profession that I really wanted to undertake, but the problem is that I don't really want a profession. I want to be a wife and mommy and make my family feel loved and cared for. That's my big ambition. Not a bit of career woman in me. But I work. I work to feed my kids and provide health insurance, keep roof over our heads....all of it. And I try to do my best. But this year my best didn't measure up. And the scathing review I got was crushing. It hurt. And now I don't even want to be there.

The past two weeks have held hurts that are just more than I want to deal with. I want to wake up tomorrow and find out that it was all a bad dream and that I have my act together. And my life is something different than what it is. And even THAT makes me struggle. Where is my contentment? What room do I have to complain? I have blessings beyond what I deserve. There are people out there with much worse. But my struggle is there.

And THIS is why I haven't blogged a lot lately. Seems I just blog the blues and that's not who I am. But that's WHERE I am right now. I'm hoping I'm on the upswing though. I'll think of some funnies to share soon and we'll have some happy blogs.

See you all 'round. (I'm coming to catch up on your blogs SOON.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top O' the Marnin' to Ye, Lassie!

Happy St. Patty's Day to all and to all a good night...or something like that.

I'm not the biggest St. Pat's fan alive. I have a real aversion for pinching (let's not go into THAT childhood memory, k?) and so I am always on a mission to splatter green on every forgetful soul to spare them the pinch that would otherwise come.

But today we had us some goooood fun in kindergarten. My neighboring teacher told the kids how every year a leprechaun comes and messes up her classroom. I told my kids he had never found my room yet. Then while they were at lunch, I overturned chairs, threw papers up in the air, rolled approximately a zillion glue sticks across the floor, and dumped rubber bugs all over the tables, etc., etc., ending with a litte note from the leprechaun.

The kids went berserk! They were SO loud, going on and on about the crazy leprechaun (with the occasional coming grinning to me to ask if I'd really done it.) I wouldn't fess up. After we pitched in and cleaned we headed out to the soccer field behind the school to see if we could find the leprechaun. But first we glued some gold glitter on our hands to try to tempt him out of hiding. We ran all over the place, following footprints the kids claimed to see and yelling, "GET HIM!!!!!" It was hilarious good fun. At one point we plopped down in a patch of clover and hunted some more. A few seconds into the clover a little girl pulled out a little army man and yelled, "THE LEPRECHAUN!!!" lol

They were so much fun.

Here are just a couple pics of all the naughtiness the leprechaun caused..and a bit of our glittery bait.
















Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Not "Blogging" per se...just an update to my gals...

Hi girls...this isn't really bloggy, but wanted to let you all know that I had the ultrasound today and they said that I have a cyst, but that it's normal and may grow or shrink with hormone levels but is not a concern at all.

Thanks for all your support while I was waiting between doctors visits, "the mamm," and the ultrasound. :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Destroying the Myth

'Tis I, Hill the MythBuster! (I thought I'd go a little 80s on ya and go with "buster" instead of "destroyer," because it sooooooooooooo matters.

Men...if there are any of you out there...this one probably isn't one for you. If you proceed, it's your own fault. I'm going a bit TMI again, because mainly my friends read here and y'all need to be unscaredy-cat of mammograms if you've never had one. So really, guys, I'd appreciate if you'd just skip over this one. K?

Today I'm going to share my experience of "the mammogram" with y'all, because, quite frankly, the unknown freaked me out unnecessarily. So now, without further adieu...

I was nervous about the mammogram. I've never heard much beyond negatives and no one had ever told me much about what goes on...at least not enough to have an accurate picture so there was an unknown. For example I had this idea they smashed your boob against your chest. I worried about a fractured rib. lol Ok, probably not so much but I know that even when I do a self check I feel every rib...and that's at the fullest portion. (And I DO use "fullest" a bit freely) I was nervous although making myself just chill.

However, I sat in the tiny changing room with nothing but a full length mirror to look at (while sporting such a snazzy "hospital" cape. Yep, CAPE, not gown, so they can flip that baby out of the way. I nearly felt like a superhero. A superhero facing her kryptonite, but a superhero none the less.) and I noticed my face was really red. I rarely get much color in my face. Not that I'm a ghost (BOO!), but I just don't get too rosy. I was pretty red. Two days before I'd been at the doc and my blood pressure was 119 over 90-something. The 90-something was not good. My bottom number is ALWAYS in the 60s so obviously there was some real stress happening. I figured as I watched my flushed face that my blood pressure was up again. Although, the day in between appointments I got it checked and it was back down to 119/65. That's about my norm. So I know it's circumstantial.

Anyway. They told me that if you feel a lump, they automatically send you to get a mammogram AND an ultrasound. My script was just for a mammogram. So they said that I'd get the results from the mammogram by the following Wed. and I should call my doc, ask if he had the results, and tell him I need the script for an ultrasound. It's automatic BUT you have to have written doctor's orders. She (the mammo-girl) told me my results would say I needed an ultrasound and not to freak out, because it was standard protocol since I'd felt a lump.

As for the mammogram itself, for those of you who are dreading getting your first someday... It was not painful at all for me. It was a tad uncomfortable...plenty of pressure...but they add the pressure gradually until it's to the appropriate compression, then you hold your breath and hold still while they duck for cover from the radiation, I guess, and they snap the photo. I THINK it's actually a porn lab, but we won't tell them until they do the ultrasound.

In my mind it was supposed to be pretty painful and something that happened fast and hard, but it was not that way at all. All-in-all I'd describe it as pretty gentle. Firm, absolutely, but it was gentle and not like some awful attack, lol. So if you haven't had one yet, don't go in with your blood pressure soaring over the unknown. Just be weirded out that you're going to put your boob on a table and let them start squeezing it like an orange they're trying to juice with a vice...from top to bottom and then again from both sides. That's just not right. Necessary maybe, but not right.

After I left the place I went home, cleaned out my car, including vacuuming for the first time in months (literally)...and that was a big job. You'd be appalled at my car if you ever saw it. And then I went and took almost all the toys out of Megan and Alli's room (they're sharing one now to make room for my mom who is coming to live with us) and then I took apart Megan's bed and moved it, put it back together and moved other furniture. I haven't done that much work on one day in months. And I went to the store! lol Apparently the blood pressure and relief from boob anxiety makes a bit of a housekeeper out of me. There is hope!

Now see? Does that sound all that bad? lol I'd been led to believe it felt like an automatic garage door shutting on you. In comparison it was really quite a treat. ;)

So what are you waiting for? Go get yours today! lol

Friday, March 6, 2009

Well, well, well

It is high time I got myself back over here. I don't know WHY I stay away from a place I enjoy so much. It's that blasted facebook and my lack of discipline. I just love the instant connection of facebook. And here, it is delayed connection. But I love blogland. I do. So here I sit.

Lots and lots going on in my head and in my life right now, although I don't think a lot of it is blog-worthy...or maybe just not blog-ready. One day soon I'll get back in here and get some fun blogging going. I could grace you with stories of my first date ever. Or how about a little story about a guy named George. Believe me, dangling these topics is probably more interesting than the actual incidents but I'll try to spruce them up a bit in the telling.

Things are looking good for Meg to go to the little Christian Academy I went and visited. In fact it's looking like it MIGHT be possible to put Allison in there, too. I really like the idea. Would love it even more if I could actually be home with them on Tuesday and Thursdays if they get into the school. But Mom says she's going to come live with us and that will provide someone to be with them those two days each week...if I can work that out with their dad...which quite frankly stresses me. I've got some ideas that I think will be absolutely THE BEST for the girls but I worry that he might not see things the way I do. I'm hoping though...and praying.

Oh did I mention I get to have "The Talk" with my eldest soon. This is the year that they give TMI to children in school, so I'd like to go ahead and gross her out in the privacy of our home where she can hurl and spew if she so desires without her peers watching. I hate that my child is 10 and yet will have the info sprung on her, so I think I'll take the sting out the best I can. My 8 year old is begging that I fill her in on everything too. Of course I will...3 years from now...or later if I get them both into the little school I'm hoping to. Maybe they'll let them live in wonder a little longer than public school.

Hmmm...Tuesday is ultrasound day..which reminds me that I TOTALLY need to blog about mammogram day because quite frankly, there are some myths that need to be destroyed. And I, Hill the Myth Destroyer, plan to do it. Besides, mammograms are just downright funny...in a way that gave me temporary high blood pressure. But I'll save that for tomorrow when I'm trying to avoid folding laundry and cleaning my kitchen and writing lesson plans.

Sorry I've been laying low so long. I'm coming to hit your blogs SOOOOON. And I'm SO getting back to FX4. Fun like that should not be skipped.

Until tomorrow.......hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.......

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Prayers, please.

I'm going to talk about a health concern I have tonight. And because some may consider this an awfully public place, I'll just preface with some warnings. Personally, I'm not concerned over who reads it, but...

Warning Number 1: If you really don't want to know TOO much about me, this might not be the post for you.

Warning Number 2: If you don't want to chance a bit of TMI, this post might not be the post for you.

Warning Number 3: If you're among my male friends...or just happen to be a guy who stumbles through my blog, I'm just telling you now that if you read on, it's on your head. It isn't such that you'd say "I can NOT believe she just said that," but different people have different privacy standards. I'm just giving you forewarning.

Two to three months ago, I discovered a little pea-size lump/knot/hard little thingamabob among the lymph nodes of my groin. I went to the doctor and he said it was most likely just a lymph node that had become hard due to fighting some minor infection somewhere. He said for me to watch it and let him know if it became tender, grew or changed in any way, or if any more little pea-size lumps/knots/hard little thingamabobs made an appearance. A few weeks after that I was again in his office, for other reasons, but he examined the little pea again and said that I should just keep watch as before. He said I shouldn't be worried about it. I had been worried before going to get it checked out the first time and felt much relieved when he felt comfortable enough to say it wasn't something to worry about.

This morning, however, as I was getting dressed, I noticed a tender spot in my breast. In the back of my mind I figured it was general tenderness from hormones. A normal part of life. But at the same time that went through my mind, I started to check it out and noticed a lump. It's a very small lump. So I thought at the time, maybe I'm imagining (while really thinking I wasn't) and I went about my day. From time to time I'd try to feel for it. Sometimes I couldn't feel anything. Other times I THOUGHT I could. Finally, earlier this evening I laid down to try to check it out like they do at the doctor's during yearly exams. I could feel the little tender lump.

I freaked out a bit. My heart was pounding and a million possibilities were rushing through my head. I sent text messages and IM's and tried to call four different people. No one was available. Then a few minutes later they all pounced on me. Lots of tears. And at the same time I know it's premature worry. It might be nothing at all. But on the other hand we all know that lumps can be a really bad thing. And you see, the thing is, I have these two little girls who are counting on me to be here until they're 100. I'm under orders. And the thought of NOT being here for them had me really scared. Even the thought that IF it was cancer, having to take treatment would interfere hugely with my job and I have no choice but to work. There IS no alternative. That's where my insurance comes and it's the only way to put food on my children's plates and a roof over their head. All those worries...

It didn't take too long to calm down. And tears are cleansing. I'm feeling very steady right now.

But anyway, I share all of this because I really covet your prayers. When you think of me, would you please say a prayer that this will all be nothing?

Thanks.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Civic Duty

For the first time in the 19 years I've been "qualified," I have been summoned for jury duty. On the whole I don't mind. On the whole.

However, I have a couple little concerns. One is very realistic. The other might be a bit on the ridiculous side. Let's start with ridiculous, shall we?

The thing I'm worried about is if the case is something like murder or rape or something scary. I've always worried about being a juror for something like that. What if the defendent gets my face in his mind and is found guilty and later gets out of prison and comes after jurors for revenge? Scares me. Truly.

The other is financial. Jury duty pays $15 per day. If it's four days or more, they start paying you $30 per day. I hate to break it to them, but if I miss more than this one day tomorrow for jury duty, their $15-$30 will not pay my bills. There's just not a lot of breathing space. I'm keeping on an even keel right now but if I get stuck in a long trial I'm sure I'll feel the repercussions for a while.

And further more, I've got a trip to Sydney coming my way soon. I'll explain that later, but all I can say is that if jury duty makes me dip into the Sydney funds, I'm going to be seriously crushed.

I believe in being responsible...even on the civic level. A community, city, state, country, world won't work if we don't all pitch in together. I get that and I want to do my part. But I'm seriously wondering who's going to pitch in when I can't pay my bills because I'm doing civic duty.

And to end things on an upbeat note (that will seem to contradict my concern, but I'll explain later)...yes you read that right up there, I am SO going to Sydney...later this year. More later.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Time Has Come, The Time Is Now...

Hillary Balsbaugh, will you please blog now? Ok, a little different than Dr. Suess and Marvin K. Mooney, but I can't get that phrase out of my head....ever. I love Dr. Suess...not in a mushy personal attachment sort of way, but the guy could rhyme! And I like rhyme. I can rhyme too. I think it makes up for my lack of rhythm.

Well, in my last oh-so-chipper blog, I alluded to some big stuff I've been thinking about blogging about. And I guess I'll give it a bit of a go.

On January 26th or 27th I went to an open house for a private Christian school we're interested in sending Megan to next year. It is like IMPOSSIBLE, but we're trying to put a bunch of puzzle pieces together to see if it can happen. Middle school in and of itself, whether private or public, presents a huge challenge for me. You all know I'm a single mom. And therein lies the complication. Our household = 1 adult, 2 kids. I report for work at 7:15. Right now the girls are in elementary and go to school where I teach so there are no complications. NEXT year Megan starts middle school (6th grade). Here in our school district, schools do not all start at the same time. MOST elementaries start at 7:15 like we do. MOST middle schools start at 9 or 9:15 (not sure exactly). That presents a problem. How do I get my child to school 2 hours after I report for work? I canNOT see sending an 11 year old to day care of a morning. Nor can I afford to do something like that. Some of those schools have before care, but I'm not sure they start early enough for me to get to school. And again, it's another bill to pay. Not room for more bills in my budget.

This private school I checked out is AWESOME. Love the curriculum. Love the atmosphere. Love the philosophies. Love it all. And it's across the street from the elementary school where I teach. Problems? Well there's the cost first. We're trying to get a government grant...which is possible because Florida has the voucher system where you can get X amount of dollars to pay for private if you so choose. We'll see. Then there's the fact that they don't start until 9. That's still almost two hours after I start work. Will my principal allow my child to be on campus with me until she needs to cross to the other school? Not sure. Not sure at all. Scared to even ask right now. ::sigh:: Then here's a hum dinger of a detail. The private school is THREE DAYS A WEEK. And gives two days of work at home. No night time homework, but two days of "school" to do at home, Tues. and Thurs. Ummm, probably don't have to outline the problem, huh? Well, the girls' dad says that his wife is trying to get a job there to help get a discount AND that if she does Meg could probably hang out with her on Tues and Thurs. I can't begin to say how badly I do NOT want that to happen. I don't want my daughter's early adolescent years to be a big bonding bonanza with her step-mom. *I* want that. I'm really sick of sharing my kids.

And at the same time, I see what a spectacular thing it could be for Meg to go to this school. I toured and saw the classes. It has Megan written all over it. (For a lot of reasons I won't bother going into because that's a WHOLE lot of typing.) To be honest, I'd love for BOTH girls to be there. But not with circumstances as they are.

So that all got me to thinking. And quite frankly I got rather disgusted with myself. For years I've talked about how I'm kind of stuck in teaching. I'm not enjoying it. I'm fed up with all the paper work and red tape and developmentally inappropriate standards. And I've wished for so long to be a stay-at-home mom and maybe even home school my girls...so they can still have the childhood that public schools wants to take away from them.

But I cling to "I'm stuck." I say there's nothing else I could do and make enough money, benefits, etc. to take care of my family. And obviously for the situation I'm looking at, taking another position somewhere else won't make me able to keep my daughter two days a week and get her to school at the right time without daycare or "before-care."

But I finally thought, What's my problem? Why do I cling to the "boo hoo I'm stuck" philosophy? I know I may be crazy considering the economy...which granted, is very scary right now. But I want so badly to defy my personality and my unambitious self and DO SOMETHING...FIND SOMETHING...to make being home for my girls a possibility...to make this 3/2 school day schedule possible. I just don't know where to start. And two weeks have passed and I haven't done anything. But I've GOT to try something. I've got to quit sitting back, unhappy with what I do for a living. My only alternative though has to be something I can do from home and you all know about how plentiful REAL careers from home can be. And by "REAL" I mean a means of bringing in enough income to pay the bills, medical insurance, etc.

What do you all think? Is there anything out there? Am I crazy to think I might find something else? I want to. I want to take life by the horns and quit feeling like I'm helpless about everything. "Stuck renting." "Stuck in my job." "Stuck in Florida." Do you sense a pattern here? I'm more than this. I KNOW I am. I'm not a victim. And I don't want to live like one.

There were days when I was a victim of abuse. But I didn't live like I was. I didn't take that mentality. I mean...I REALIZED, but I didn't pull it around me like a cloak, so to speak. And yet, all these years later, I act like I'm a victim of life. It's not right. And I want to make a change. I just have to find out where to start.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhg

I probably shouldn't blog tonight. So YOU probably shouldn't bother reading this. ONE of us has to use some self control. I nominate you.

Yeah, I probably shouldn't blog, but I am. It's been what? 10 days since I last blogged? And how many before that? Anyway, I've had things on my mind and have been thinking of settling in for a good serious blog. Big stuff going on, or big to me, I guess. But I think I'll save the big stuff for another night when I'm not in the "place" I'm in right now.

I've been doing fairly well recently...even got my kitchen spic and span last night...which hasn't happened in waaaay too long. It felt good. It probably felt better than your run of the hill act of responsibility should. I mean for crying out loud, it was just washing dishes? oooo what an accomplishment. But for me it was. I'm good at putting them off. And I'm good at getting started and deciding I'm just sick of it and leaving half of them (or more) still sitting there...for "tomorrow." ("Tomorrow" should not be taken literally.)

I came home today, cooked in that nice clean kitchen...real food even. Too much food, really. But I felt proud of that, too. No fast food. No easy, pop-in-the-microwave thing. No sandwich. Chili. I made chili. First time in years. And it was good. And I felt proud.

Then I sat down and surfed to some of the corners of cyber-space that I like to visit. Peek in on my friends. Etc. I was doing just fine. Then one of my last stops just blew everything for me. Nothing wrong at that stop...just triggered some thoughts that made me sad and sent me spinning a bit.

I decided to just put the computer aside and go get the nap I'd been looking forward to today. A nap always feels good. At worst it would just feel neutral...and that would have been a step up, really. But unfortunately my brain was working too hard and I laid down and all those sad thoughts just kept spinning. Too much reality to them or they wouldn't have caused the tears and made me give up on the nap.

Do you ever feel that almost every friendship or relationship in your life is just more heavily wanted by YOU than by anyone else? Like people find you pleasant enough, but could take you or leave you, whatever? I hate to sound like pathetic, but it's just how I feel.

There are people on this earth that I adore...that I just love to be with however I can...and some of them really indulge me. Some are so kind and so sweet. But when you step back and weigh things out, it seems that it's me who wants and them who are just too kind to tell me to back off. And I can't begin to tell you how utterly tired of that feeling I am. I would love for some of these people to feel in their hearts how I feel about them...to just want to be with them...to want to know them...to want to share as much of life together as we can. It just never seems to work out that way.

And tonight's one of those nights I just can't shake it. The bad part is that when I'm fine and dandy, I think about these things...and come to the same conclusion. But it just doesn't seem to hurt as much...or I'm able to just accept it for what it is.

And what's worse is I really need to vent at times like this, but I don't want you guys seeing me as this down, bluesy sort of person. I am really an upbeat sort of person. An optimist. I am. And I'm afraid I'm going to go down in cyberhistory as the big bawl baby of blog land. Ugh.

I think I'm going to go boycott estrogen now. Thanks for listening.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oh NO She Di'n't!!

Unbelievable.

Today I went to get my eyebrows done. I do it occasionally...like when I really can't deal with them anymore and figure IT'S TIME. So I trotted off toward the salon I go to. It was....closed, from all appearances...with a sign that said "by appointment only" and gave one lady's name and number for nails and another's for hair. Times are hard, no?

Anyway, so I drive around the relatively close area finding little salons, calling their number and asking their pricing. One place said $14. I thought, "Uhh, no." My old place was cheaper. So I call the next place I come to. He says, "$7 per eyebrow." WHAT!?? I thought I was mistaken in hearing him, so I reiterated, "$7 PER EYEBROW?" and he assured me that was what he'd said. WHO PRICES BY THE BROW?? If I were to go in with a unibrow would it be cheaper than taking my two brows in for some sprucing up? (No I have NEVER had a uni.)

On to the next place because ... well ... $7+$7=$14 AND pricing by the brow is odd. Next one was closed. So then I remember one about two blocks from my house and I head that way. I call their number and she tells me "$7." I refused to ask if it was priced by the brow and went in anyway. It was NOT priced by the brow. It was $7 no matter how many brows you had. Encouraging!

I walk in the door at the same time a little girl around 9 or 10 walked in. She was the daughter of one of the ladies working there. She stared at me...and stared...and stared. I spoke to her a couple times and she'd answer then continue to stare. Oooookay. In the back of my mind I began wondering if she went to school where I teach. FINALLY out came the question, "Are you a teacher?" And there it is. Yes. And she goes to the school. Mystery solved. And now she's my shadow...other than when her mother was shooing her away. lol

Now HERE comes my indignant "Oh NO she di'n't!" You know how in a salon (or any other business) the workers try to make suggestive sales. Not suggestive as in inappropriate "You are such a hottie - nice curves" suggestive, but as in, "Would you like a hot fudge sundae with that?" suggestive. Now, in a salon you expect to hear, "How about a pedicure?" or "Would you like to add some nail art today?" Not shockers. And I have no problem with them ... when I have some will power to resist, anyway.

But today was different. This sweet little lady who's ripping the hair out of my brow as I try not to flinch and remain "serene," suddenly asks me, "Would you like to have your LIP done today, too, or just the eyebrows?" I calmly answered, "No, just the eyebrows, please." I WANTED to say, "Who the heck do I look like, TOM FLIPPIN' SELLECK??!"

Yeah. She went there. Now if you'll excuse me I need to go examine my lip a bit more closely.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Just a Chuckle from Al-Gal

This will be brief, but it gave me the giggles and I decided I needed to write it down...and this is the place I decided to write it!

Today was a cleaning day at our house. Don't ask me why it's worse than when we started. It won't help my mood. However, something that DID help the mood was a brief moment with Al when I tucked her in tonight.

I had said something, and I can't remember what, but she made the comment that she'd "picked up all the candy." And sure enough, there was her EASTER BASKET full of candy sitting near her bed. I laughed and said something about it being almost a whole year old. Then she laughed too and said something about there being some valentine's candy in it, too. And then out of pure silliness she said, "And there was a million bucks in there. I just threw it away."

So joining her goofiness, I replied, "Yeah, we don't want any old money laying around."

(And here comes her reply that triggered our fit of giggles.) "Yeah, it was SO last year."

See? Wasn't much, but a bit of silliness.

Loooooooooooooooooove my silly girls.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

100 Things

My friend, Sunshine, over at So What Was I Saying? , has a list of 100 things you've done.

Following her lead, the things **I** have done are italicized.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars (does it count if I was inside a tent?)
3. Played in a band. (Ok, so it was a marching band, so???)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain--climbed on a mountain...
9. Held a praying mantis What are you? Crazy?
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. I don't do the whole "ocean thing."
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch--does knitting count?
15. Adopted a child no, but my parents fostered newborns when I was still at home
16. Had food poisoning don't know if it's food poisoning but I've eaten some "bad" food before and gotten pretty sick.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked--are you crazy?
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill...it's called a MENTAL HEALTH DAY
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb--I THINK so. I've DEFINITELY held a baby goat...
26. Gone skinny dipping no, but I'm skinny and I have definitely gone swimming
27. Run a Marathon--Is 10 miles close enough?
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice too scary...and never been to Italy
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset--Florida/beach and Malawi/Africa...
31. Hit a home run no but I have RUN all the way HOME so my mom would flick an ant off my thumb, does that count?
32. Been on a cruise I ... DON'T ... DO ... THE ... OCEAN ... THING...
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person No, but I've seen Victoria Falls...BREATHTAKING
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors--Mom drove me past the little house she lived in when she was a baby in Arkansas...is that the same?...
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language--freshman in college, goose latin...myby nybame ybis Hybillybaryby
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied Satisfied, yes, but limited enough to still worry about making ends meet. The satisfaction's not linked to the money.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person Nope, but I've FELT like the Leaning Tower of Pisa in my person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa - lived in Malawi for 2+ years, visited Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing I ... DON'T ... DO ... THE ... OCEAN ... THING...
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris nope, but I've been to the bottom of it
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling I ... DON'T ... DO ... THE ... OCEAN ... THING...
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater--AAAUUUGGGHHH!!! JAWS!!!
55. Been in a movie Of course, don't you recognize me??
56. Visited the Great Wall of China No, but I've seen footage of Greg there. Close enough. lol
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies Mmmmm, Thin Mints and Tagalongs
62. Gone whale watching Here we go again...I ... DON'T ... DO ... THE ... OCEAN ... THING...
63. Gotten flowers for no reason There's ALWAYS a reason, like being so dog-gone great, lol.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma Ummm, yes, but only to myself. I have to check because there used to be rules about not donating after you've been to Africa. I don't know if that has changed but I've clung to it as an excuse. I'm so bad.
65. Gone sky diving I ... DON'T ... DO ... THE ... oh, wait, ...nevermind...
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check/cheque Yes, and the bank and I had a very...stimulating conversation, lol.
69. Saved a childhood toy--my Pooh bear who I've had since I was four...and way too many other things.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square No, but I've played Four Square.
74. Toured the Everglades What's to tour? I had an alligator living in the pond outside my patio in my old condo. Close enough.
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London No, but I've seen the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in D.C.
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle Well, does it count if I never got out of first gear?
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book--I have a dreeeeam...
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible--significant portions, but no, not the whole thing
86. Visited the White House Just saw the outside a few times, never went in.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. I plead the fifth.
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous ::siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh::
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one--My dad, my bio dad, all my grandparents, a couple aunts and uncles
94. Had a baby - two
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Been to the Panama Canal.

Now it's Your turn...if you haven't yet!

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I teach kindergarten. But most of you guys know that...if not all, seeing as how it doesn't appear that I've got an ever expanding readership. lol Is that a word? Of course it would help if I'd manage to get over to other blogs and you know...read others. I'm so bad. Forgive me guys! I will get to your blogs. I enjoy them when I get there, but I am the queen of procrastination. (Sheesh, I started to type "the cream of procrastination.") ANYWAY... What was I saying? Oh yes, I'll get back out there and reading. I WILL!

On Monday of this week I was beginning a math lesson. I always use my document camera (which is basically like an opaque projector...lay a paper down on the cart, the camera "sees" it...the camera is connected to a regular projector which shines it on the board.) Anyway, I walked up to the board to pull down the screen on which I shine the projected material. Now, I have the nice new shiny shiny projector that is ultra cool. But the screen I use is older than I am. And it behaves much the same as those roll down blinds we all used to have on our windows as kids. You know the ones. You pull it down and unless you get it just right it will fly right back up to the top. Over and over, sometimes. For months I've battled with this screen. For months it was my exercise program. Instead of touching my toes, I stood up, bent down, stood up, bent down, etc., multiple times (like 20ish) before it would catch. Then, among the minor miracles of Christmas, sometime in December I started getting it on the first try almost every single time. And when I didn't get it the first time, I'd get it in two to three, tops. Well, Christmas is over. SO over...maybe not in my heart....and maybe not in my living room...but it's definitely over where my screen is concerned. Monday I tried to pull the thing down. Up it went. Down again. Up it went. Repeat about 20 times. Listen to the giggles of the kids who think it's hilarious. Of course it's probably because they're laughing at my hair flying up and down every time I bend and straighten. But whatever. FINALLY, on the 67th try, it stays down. Before I could heave a sigh of relief, out of the relative quiet comes the sweetest little voice, FILLED with his own relief, "THANK YOU, JESUS!!" I laughed so hard. Now I take my Jesus very seriously and it really and truly sounded like a prayer, but it was soooo adorable and came from the cutest and quietest little guy.

It was priceless.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kraaken and Rip Offs

I've got a couple things on the agenda today. We'll start out with a true story and we'll end with a bit of a complaint. Sounds like a fun day, doesn't it? I know, I know, complaining isn't normally "the thing to do," but I think you'll like it. It involves George Clooney. So keep reading, would ya?

Alrighty, let's begin with the true story.

If you've read here much at all, you've heard me mention my good friend, Kristen. I THINK I referred to her as my enabler for something, but I can't remember now what I was blaming her for. I'm sure it will come to me later. Well I'm NOT really that sure. We're talking about my memory after all. But whatever. She's a wonderful friend who (in our imaginations) lives just around the corner. Nevermind the fact our addresses contain "Florida" and "Texas." That's all just a state of mind. Okay that was stupid. FOCUS, Hill.

Well, two summers ago...that would be the summer of 2007...(see how quick I did that math???)...she and her hubby and four daughters came to visit and we spent a week or so together. Kristen will remember how long. Details get fuzzy for me...just like my jaws, dang it. Ok, nevermind that. It's what Nair is for. Anywho, we spent a few days at our house in Cape Coral, hit the local water park, the Shell Factory, and ummmmm, heck, I can't remember now...the beach? Surely the beach was in there. Oh yes! The beach. K and her fam all went out on the waverunner like maniacs. Insane. Did they NOT notice the ocean beneath them? Thanks for the freak out, people. I owe you.

After some days of fun in the sun, we allllllll headed up to Orlando. We shared a condo, did a bit of evening swimming, and hit SeaWorld. Now, I could go into a whole lot of mini stories...if I only had a brain...but seeing as how I'm focus-challenged this evening I'm going to go ahead and zero right in on our little ride on Kraaken. I'm going to totally leave out the part about Steve (that would be K's hubby) running out of gas on their way to the airport because he had it all under control and knew just how far he could make it on that tank. Not even going to bring that part up, because if I did, I'd roll off the couch laughing hysterically and I've got a blog to write!

Ok, it was just Kristen and me waiting in line to ride Kraaken. Steve got his brains squished years ago and can't ride roller coasters anymore so he kept the kids in kiddie playland while K and I went and hit the big rollercoaster. (Is that a compound word? I apparently can't decide.) Now if I'm not mistaken (and there's a good chance I AM) Kraaken is a legendary sea monster. THAT should have warned me it was not a good idea. I KNOW the sea/ocean is evil. I KNOW it is not my friend. I KNOW because of the awful panic that ensues at the thought of riding a large ship, seeing a submarine movie, contemplating riding a wave runner. It's what the nerds (yes, that's me) call Thalassaphobia. Sounds even worse, doesn't it. Kristen should have known better, too. Because she's thalassaphobic, too. Only she's crazier than me because she watches shark documentaries addictively. WHO DOES THAT??? Hmmm, I'm afraid of the dark. Let's turn off the lights!! lol

Ok, so we should have known better, but we waited in the mongo sized line. And we waited. And we waited. And we waited. And THEN............we waited. But FINALLY we made it up into the sweltering, stifling heat and humidity of the little house where you go into yet MORE lines where there's no breeze and we waited some more. Because that's the way it works. I guess if you're not tough enough to wait it out, you shouldn't be on the ride anyway. Kind of weeds out the wimps. But I'm no wimp, and neither is K, so wait we did. The lady right behind us was riding alone. Her husband refused to come with her. Now we know that HE was the smart one. (Sense any foreshadowing here???) And now FINALLY (for real) it was our turn. We got on the ride and by "luck of the draw" I got the seat that they reserve for "oversized adults." Meaning Kristen and I could have shared it comfortably. But it only had one belt so I was stuck flying solo in it. VERY VERY fortunately, the worker boy came over and cinched up the harnesses...and cinched...and cinched. Finally I was in there nice and snug. Down came the shoulder thingiemabobbers and the ride began. I don't remember what we talked about as the ride started, but I'm sure we were gabbing because that's what we do. I KNOW that Kristen was laughing herself silly that I was in the extra large chair. What were the chances that Queen of the Toothpick Arm People would get the big chair? Anyway, the ride took off, we went upside down, twisted every which way, vrooming all over the place kamakazi style ... and at the speed of...well, not light ... and not sound .... but dang, it was FAST. And fun. For a while. We're flying along and getting ready to head into the final stretch at... however many miles per hour they make those things go, suffice it to say we were at top speed. And then. INSTANTANEOUSLY we were completely stopped. There was no slow down. It was like...one heartbeat at 100mph, the next heartbeat completely still. It happened too fast to be scared. It was one of THE most hilarious moments of my life. Do you know what it looks like when you stop that fast? It's a hilarious sight. Hilarious isn't really a strong enough word. It was just too funny. When you stop that fast you know why you were given a good snug harness and good strong over-the-shoulder thingiemabobbers. But you know what? Your arms and your legs....they don't have anything but your tendons and muscles and skin holding onto them. So you know what happens. Your arms and legs shoot straight out in front of you....at the very same moment as everyone else's do. It's like ... synchronized swimming. BOING! I could see everyone in my peripheral. Arms and legs sticking straight out ahead...and seeming to suspend in midair a few seconds before they all dropped. So hilarious. I looked for a photo but I couldn't find one. I suppose no one had their camera ready. Imagine that.

We sat there for a minute or so when a HIGHLY trained employee came on the intercom. She asked us to wave if we could hear her voice. We waved. She then informed us that they were having some technical problems. That was a major shock to all of us who'd just become part of a slapstick movie where we have no control of our limbs. But to give her some credit, I guess you have to start SOMEwhere. She then informed us that we were waiting for maintenance and that they were coming "to rescue" us. Yep, she said we were going to be rescued. Didn't instill a lot of calm really. I can't remember all she said, but her vocabulary was not the type to put the precarious people at ease. So we were back to waiting. We could see below us, past our now dangling legs. We lost count of how many golf carts of "maintenance" people went past...going AWAY from Kraaken. Kristen tried to help. She screamed, "MAINTENANCE!" so many times I'm surprised she didn't lose her voice...which only made me laugh hysterically. I was really enjoying the experience...even the panic-inducing lady on the intercom cracked me up. It was just...surreal. Well, after who knows HOW long, the lady came back on the intercom and informed us that in a moment we were going to begin moving...I guess so we wouldn't panic, lol. Now THIS is the part of the story where I start to feel some concern. You see, there wasn't just one train of cars on the rollercoaster. There were two. We could see the other train. They were technically behind us on the ride, but because of all the curves we could clearly see them ahead and to our right. Now the ride went so fast that we have no idea how many curves and loops are between us and our followers. But the intercom lady said we were going to start moving. So we waited for it. And waited for it. Then EVERYONE on OUR train notices that the OTHER one is moving. We were NOT. So, I guess I figured it was time for a little public service announcement and so I called out, "OK, PEOPLE! GET READY FOR A LITTLE JOLT!!" It was a wonderful moment for me. When will I EVER get to use that line again. It was swwwweet! lol

And a moment later we began to move. And if I recall there was a bit of applause from those of us who wanted out of the way of the train that was closing in on us, lol.

We got off the ride. No injuries. Just a good story to tell. So really...it was a good experience, right? And NO, I do NOT want to ride another rollercoaster. But thank you for asking.

Ok, end of true story. Now it's time to complain.

I'll make this as brief as I can. Think "Facebook." I don't know about the rest of you, but I GUESS because I am listed as single, I get ads in the side pane for every singles website on the net. I ignore them. Even the ones that advertise millionaire singles. I'm thinking...why on earth does a millionaire have to resort to a singles ad?? I mean, seriously. Anyway, that's not the complaint. I know, I promised you George Clooney, and I'm getting to him. All these singles ads come up on my facebook. And I canNOT count the times that some singles website ad comes up with George Clooney's face! I mean, seriously? Am I supposed to believe that if I sign up with them, I'm going to get a date with George Clooney? Does George REALLY need a singles website to find someone? Really? I just have a little word of advice for web advertisers. Single does not necessarily mean GULLIBLE. There's a difference. I don't care if I DID buy beachfront property in Arizona. Clooney is NOT on your site! Quit trying to rip me off!

That's all for today. Except a word of advice: next time you ride a 'coaster, DO buckle up. Oh! And if a singles site promises Clooney...It's probably Rosemary.