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?


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 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 make being home for my girls a 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


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 just want to be with want to know 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.