Wednesday, December 2, 2009

and so it goes...

I started cleaning my room yesterday, by which I mean, folding and sorting a huge pile of clothes. Aside from the clothes of the eight people who live here, I also have almost every clothing item I've ever owned, a whole bunch of children's clothes that don't quite fit anyone anymore, clothes with holes and stains, and sheets and pillow cases for way to many beds in sizes I don't need any more. I forgot to mention the towels. Bob has a set he got when he went away to college in 1978. I have a set I inherited from my Grandmother when she died in 1980, a set which she had probably bought in 1970. The flowers are wilted, for pete's sake.

Have I mentioned that I have a problem? And it may be true that recognizing that problem is the first step, it doesn't naturally follow that there will be a second step.

For instance: I did manage to get the outgrown clothes that are in good condition into bags to be delivered to Goodwill. They are on the carport. Where they have been since Halloween. I keep thinking I need to look through them again just in case there is something I still need.

For another instance: Instead of throwing away clothes with holes and stains, I have saved a bunch of them for "future craft projects." I saved a bra that is now see through and couldn't hold up a kiwi because I think I might use the silk-like material for the Virgin Mary's robe in the theoretical creche I'm thinking about making. Do you really think the Virgin Mary would dress in an old bra?

For a final instance: I have lots and lots and lots of t-shirts. I love t-shirts. Some of these are t-shirts that used to belong to my older sons. I've saved them for Mark, who for some reason will not wear them. Something about "Power Rangers" no longer being cool.

Oh well.

Today I am going to put those bags and a couple more in the car and take them to Goodwill. I will not buy more clothes at Goodwill, no matter how cute & in what great condition they are in. (Unless I see another suede jacket for $10 like the one I passed up last year because it didn't fit me or anyone I know and maybe I should have bought anyway...)

Today I am going to go to Lowe's and get the small screws, gaskets, and doo-dads I need to fix the little things around the house. (OK, the things I need to have Robert fix the little things around the house.)

Today I am going to make gumbo. (That's pretty easy. I threw it in for a gimme, you know?)

Today I am going to relax.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Waiting for coffee

It has been a mild fall and winter here in Colatown. Yesterday, it was even balmy. This is great for electric bills and outdoor cats, but it's not winter.

I am waiting for the coffee to finish making itself, then I am starting my day. My productive day. My productive fantastic day.

I have taken off three days from work. ##GASP## (That was my boss.)

Tax season starts in mid-January, but before that, we need to finish all bookkeeping & make sure clients don't have nasty surprises. (A profit is often a nasty surprise... go figure.) I have to organize schedules and do what I can to make sure my boss doesn't over-hire during tax season. Optimize, I say, but who listens to me? And I have to complete W-2s & 1099s as soon as possible so that people can get their own taxes done.

And then there's Christmas & New Years and that entails. Don't get me started...

My theory is that if I clean (really clean) my house, I will be better prepared for the rest of the world. I am not sure if it will work, and I'm not sure if a clean house is sustainable, and I'm not sure if 20 years of neurotic build-up can be cleaned in three to six days (counting Friday through Sunday), but I'm going to give it a shot. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's with people?

I haven't been blogging or reading blogs much lately. The stress thing. And the Facebook farm/cafe/yoville/aquarium obsession...

But in the past few months, most recently this week, a couple of the blogs I read have been temporarily (I hope) shut down because the blogger shared her very personal thoughts and was blasted by ugly commenters. In one case another blogger used her situation to write a whole mean blog about her. Since both of these people seem to be kind, funny, good spirited people, I don't understand what compels people to blast them in blogs. (Not to say that being biting & funny is a request to be blasted either.)

Blogs are public, and we know that when we push the button that says, "Make blog public." We know we lay ourselves out for comments. We know we risk pissing off relatives and friends and co-workers and anybody else who stumbles in. Thanks to recent court cases, we know that we are liable for evil things we say about others, even if we think there are only 12 people including the French guy who wants to sell Viagra on our blog reading what we write.

But, within reason, blogs are our little rant spaces. We can share what we feel without tempering it with good girl (or boy) voices that run our lives.

You know, the ones that say, "I'm sure she had a good reason to invite everyone in class to her party except you. Don't judge her harshly." Or, "Be happy for Sally for winning the contest you both entered." Or the one I really hate, "I cried because I had no shoes until I met the man with no feet." OK, it sucks not to have feet, but at least his feet aren't cold. It also sucks to have no shoes.

Sometimes you have to let go and say, "This is how I feel and I don't care to look at anyone else's point of view. So shut up." Sometimes you have to say, "Some people may have it worse but I don't care, I feel crappy. So shut up."

Blogs should be that place.

And, here's the kicker... if you don't like what you read... don't read it. Move on to one of the thousands of blogs in the world. Don't kick people when they are down. Don't slap people who have shared their own sorrow. Leave my buddies alone, dammit!

However, if you want to write nasty comments about this blog, go ahead. I've got plenty of gin. I can handle it.

Dr. Sleep says I'm normal...

...which is really sad, now that I think about it. Is it normal to dream all night long about having to clean up a motel that looks like it was hit by a frat party during a hurricane and wake up feeling tired and frustrated? Probably not, but the problem is not apnea or anything that is easily solved by a small pill or a large medical device. Oh well.

Dr. Sleep thinks it might be depression. Although I initially said, no, depression is when I feel my skin crawling and want to jump through the mirror in the bathroom, after some reflection (har-dee-har-har), I thought, maybe not. Or maybe yes. Maybe I do have either chemical or situational stress and or depression. (Ya think?) And maybe there is a small pill or a large medical device that can help.

In the mean time, exercise (other than walking to my car), eating well (real food not wrapped in Styrofoam), and meditation (working on it) might help. I'm also trying to spend more time with my family.

I know that sounds counter-intuitive, since part of my stress might come from living with seven people and 12 cats (Ya think?), but it has occurred to me that if I embrace the family instead of hiding in my room under the covers, I might be less stressed.

I also think that maybe I sleep too much. Again, counter-intuitive, but clever, huh? Maybe if I stay up later, I'll sleep better. Maybe I'm not tired enough to sleep well.

Of course, I'm still looking for the happy pill to give me energy, good spirits, clear skin and shiny hair. If anyone has any suggestions (other than Carolyn, who will tell me to exercise & eat better) let me know. OK, Carolyn, you can go ahead and tell me exercise and eat better. Maybe one day I'll actually pay attention to your very good advice.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dr. Sleep

I had a sleep study done two weeks ago. Did I tell you this? I can't remember anything these days. That's part of the reason I had the sleep study.

Bob tells me that I snore in an indelicate manner. Not a little "pip-pip-pip," but a great big "snock-gack-pshoo." He says that sometime I just quit breathing, which is bad. I know that I have woken myself up with my snorts. I know that I remember dreams all the time, even if they don't make sense and that that can be a sign of frequent waking during the REM cycle. I know that I am freaking tired ALL THE TIME and that I can fall asleep in about two seconds, but wake up easily.

I arrived for the sleep test at 8 o'clock on Sunday night. A nice lady took me to a little room that looked like a small hotel room with no windows. It did have a mirror on the wall, which sort of gave the impression of a window. I don't know why that was important to me, but it was.

I dressed for bed and sat and waited while she attached wires to my head, chest and legs. I had a tube at my nose to measure air flow and bands around my chest to measure my breathing. All dressed up and ready for bed.

Of course I fell asleep easily. And I woke up several times. Even though I didn't drink after lunch, I had to get up and pee. And I just kept waking up and staring around the room, trying to figure out what the "window" was. The nice lady had to come in and fix my wires at least once. At one point, I woke up and heard snoring somewhere else in the building. And then I started dreaming that I had overslept and was late and had to clean my room and get packed and get out in time...

So yeah, it was a normal night's sleep, except for the wires, tubes and bands. I suppose it's good that I didn't sleep like a log. What a waste that would be.

And now, today, I go talk to Dr. Sleep and see what he can do for me. I'm hoping for something simple, inexpensive and non-intrusive that will make me sleep better, have a cheery disposition, lose weight, smooth my wrinkles, and make my hair shiny. Not too much to ask, huh?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Feasts, Friends, and Fried things

I love to know what people eat.

I think I get this from my Dad, who will watch the food channel all day long if he can (with quick flips for M*A*S*H reruns & a CNN news fix.) For as long as I remember, Dad's narrative of his day at work consisted of what he ate for lunch. His trips are a diary of food. Since he is a person who will try new foods in new places, it makes for an interesting story. Ireland, Germany, France, Cuba, Indonesia, Colombia --- all opportunities for new food. All I know about their trip to Maine and Nova Scotia is that there are many many ways to cook lobster.

I love to see what people consider to be essential food for holidays. "It's not Thanksgiving without: ______________."

There is turkey, of course. I don't love turkey, but I always eat it because you are supposed to eat it on Thanksgiving. If someone offered me roast beef, which I like, I'd feel cheated. That's not Thanksgiving. My oldest son doesn't like going to his wife's family for Thanksgiving because they don't have the essential food. My husband's family's meal is not quite right to me even after 25 years.

Their cranberry sauce is jelly, not made from fresh cranberries simmered with orange juice until they just pop. Mom just chopped cranberries and orange peel, which I hated. Dad insists we have that, and we do. I just add mine as well, and we end up with way too much cranberry sauce.

It's not Thanksgiving without my brother's stuffing. We call it stuffing, even though we don't stuff the bird. I don't know why. He makes two kinds, at least. One with onions, one without. Sometimes he uses oysters, I think. It's made with bread, not corn bread. One time we had a guest who was used to corn bread dressing, so we added that as well.

Nothing gets taken away, we just add more. And although sometimes it feels like too much, I guess it's all good.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hard Candy Christmas

Every year I think we are going to have a hard candy Christmas, and every year I somehow manage to put together at least a milk chocolate Christmas. This year is probably going to be different for a couple of reasons:

First, we really don't have any money. We have eight people in our three bedroom ranch style house, and only two of them are working. Two are in school and have been told that school is their job right now. Two are struggling with various illnesses and conditions combined with a tough economy. I'm not letting them off the hook. My Christmas wish is that they'd either go to school or get jobs.

Second, even though we are probably less materialistic than most people I know, we are too materialistic for my taste right now. This is not to say I don't like stuff. I do. As I've said before, I am bordering on obsessive hoarding, if I haven't crossed the line. I'm working on that.

It seems to me that when people like me decide to dematerialize Christmas, or any holiday or festival, we don't replace materialism with something else. If we don't have shiny wrapped gifts, what do we have? Most of my family is not religious and those who are are not religious in the same way.

I would like to replace the trauma of Christmas with family time. (I'm seeing the blank stares and rolling eyes.) I'd like to take the family on a walk through the Congaree Swamp, for instance. Or to the zoo's Lights Before Christmas (costs money, but not as much as a Wii.) I'd like to make cookies, maybe. I'd like to make fruitcake like my mother used to make, only edible. We can maybe make Christmas decorations and trim the tree. I guess I want to try to replace stuff with time.

Weird, though. This kind of makes me feel panicky. Time and money are two rare commodities in our life right now. But I guess I need to decide what is important.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Still not dead yet

It is Sunday morning and the live ones in my house are sick. They claim a stomach virus, which I've always found to be vague and convenient.

The nuclear family within a nuclear family (Robert, Katy & the babies) are in Hampton to celebrate Katy's birthday and let her participate in a birthday celebration for her late father. I'm hoping she'll get closure, whatever that is. As my mother, who died three years ago in October, said just the other day in a not too unpleasant dream, "Maybe if you cleaned out the refrigerator you would know what you have to eat." Which is one of saying, "there is no closure. Only perspective."

The house has been quiet this weekend, and that is a good thing. I love the babies, but I love the quiet. Is that a grandmotherly thing to say, or what?

Quiet is good. It has not been quiet for a while. The babies are the least of the worries, and they are cute, so it's OK. It's been a rough couple of months. I don't want to talk about it. I think you'd be grateful, trust me.

I am leaving for church in a few minutes. I am helping with the Sunday school class, and the brilliant, witty, and handsome Morgan is sharing the lesson. (He will read this, so that's a little thank you. It's true, of course, I never bother to lie.) I am meeting with a couple of people to help with the bookkeeping and trying hard not to get committed to doing it again. Of course, I'm thinking about it... For now, I'm just doing the payroll for the next month (or two?) and straightening out the computer. And trying to teach an old bookkeeper new computer tricks. I am sure he will be able to handle it. I wish they had hired the USC student I'd suggested, but they seem to distrust her youth. She is young, but she's extremely well organized, smart, & precise. Now she has other commitments, unfortunately.

Oh, and I'm going to have to change my comment moderation. Some of my old posts (since all of my posts are old, these days) have been getting interesting comments in French. It turns out I'm not extremely popular as a English lesson, though. And "Viagra" is viagra. You know?

This is not to say I don't welcome comments in French or German or anything else, as long as I know someone who can translate them for me so I know I'm not selling male enhancement products or state secrets. But pretty much, a comment is a comment. Thank you very much.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rainy days, Mondays, and moldy shoes

It is raining today. A long, hard, cold (relatively), drenching, soaking, I want to be in bed with a hot toddy and maybe even something to drink kind of day.

The Facebook posts cover the usual: it's raining and it's Monday, and the inevitable (at least here) "We need the rain." What I want to know is when does "we need the rain" become, ohmygod my shoes are moldy? When will I be trading in my car for a canoe? When do the ants drag off the baby with the tail? (One Hundred Year's of Solitude reference --- this kind of rain does that to me.)

Although all I want to do is cozy up with my personal hot toddy, I am working very hard. Income tax extensions are up on Thursday. Payroll tax deposits are due then, too. Quarterly reports are due at the end of the month. And then there is the regular stuff.

Tomorrow I go to see my doctor for a follow-up of my (relatively) recent non-heart event. I'm hoping for something simple, definitive, and non-life threatening. If the cure for this non-heart event pain will also increase my energy, enable me to lose weight, make me a cheerier person, and get rid of wrinkles, I won't complain. I'm sure my whole family will be happier, at least with my increased energy and cheerier personality. I don't think they care about my weight or wrinkles.

I am still trying to figure out what to do with my 1000 hours that I am not spending on the CSI board. The process has been slowed by the fact that some people are crappy winners and have continued to make my life miserable. I am focusing on happy thoughts (not the happy thoughts where they get hit by lightening, but the happy thoughts where I live a good life, the school survives, and our children continue to love learning.)

In the short term, I am cleaning my house, taking the enrolled agent exam (eventually), and thinking about crocheting Christmas presents. In the long term, I think I want to commit to writing. Not full time, because I need to work, but in those 1000 hours I used to spend at the school or on the phone, and in the other 1000 hours I used to spend planning and worrying about the school.

Right now, I'm watching at the rain, wishing I had dry socks, and keeping an eye out for ants carrying a baby with a tail.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What will come

In the past two weeks... and more... I have been struggling with a lot of things. I am no longer on the board of the Carolina School for Inquiry & after over five years of giving the school many hours of my time, I have a small void. The void didn't come quickly enough, because even after the selfish twits won the board election, they continued to harass me and the rest of the now former board members. They will continue to harass the wonderful director, but I'm hoping that some people on the board will come to understand that Victoria is one of the greatest resources the school has. At the very least, I hope they understand that they haven't been elected to the PTA and that they are legally and financially responsible for the well-being of the school. While they may whine to the authorizer, the authorizer can do nothing but shut the school down if they think it's being poorly run. I am praying that there is enough sense on the board that they won't destroy the school.

I will never understand the employees hired by Victoria to work in an inquiry based multi-age charter school have decided to mutiny (they don't like lesson plans, they don't like multi-age, the parents aren't good enough, whine, whine, whine), with the probable end result being that they will destroy the school and make it so no other school district would ever hire them. Do they know how foolish they seem to other people? I guess not.

And so I continue to be concerned for my son's school, a school I had hoped would last longer than his school days, but I am not bound to spend 10 or more hours a week (unpaid, of course) taking care of school business.

So what am I going to do?

Well, I probably want to start eating better again. I have been on a real deep-fried carbathon the past month or so. It's time for autumn and winter vegetables, soups and stews, chili with corn bread... yum yum. Maybe I'll have time to cook and the heart to eat well. (Notice that while some people lose weight when stressed, I gain weight. Drats.)

I am also going to do the work I am paid to do. Those who pay me will be glad to hear this. I'll start tomorrow, I promise.

On a side note, I have almost quit one of my part-time jobs. I'd returned to bookkeeping at St. Michael's when the person hired to replace me had a family crisis. It worked then, but now it's getting to be tax season again, and I won't have the time. Her crisis is passed and she is available, what could be better?

I am taking things fairly slowly... maybe too slowly. I've read a lot and leveled up in Farm Town, Farmville, YoVille, AND my new Cafe on Facebook. (Sad.) I know I will find another project that will take a lot of my time, but I'm not ready to commit. Somethings have happened that push me in one way or another. I'm concerned about medical care, county jails, my professional status, middle school, my house... something will come to the front.

But for now, I am here. I am not really happy, but I am not anywhere near dead. And for right now, that's all I can ask for.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Through open doors

My horoscope for today says that I don't have to express my feelings right now, and I think that's good advice. Let me just say that I was voted off the board & a group of dedicated, level-headed people were replaced with a group that has no experience & seems to think that the board is like the PTA. I am afraid it will be a Pyrrhic victory for them, but I won't make that happen. I will pray for the school, because excellent public education for all children is what this is all about.

Right now, I am going back to doing the work I am paid to do. I'm not sure what I'll do with the thousands of hours and dollars I had been putting into the school. Maybe it's time to write. I need some alone time.

I am looking into another educational option for my son, although I'll leave him with his fine teacher until and unless there is fallout from the hateful. I always put the good of the school first when I was on the board. That doesn't mean I'll sacrifice my son.

And with this almost behind me, I am seeing lots and lots of open doors... I hope I choose well.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

On we go

OK, I didn't kill anyone last Tuesday. I was civil, & if I do say so myself, I did a fine job of explaining that being on a charter school board is not like being in the PTO. I explained that the job of the school board is not to paint imaginary school buses or help the teachers to teach or to manage the school. I also pointed out that if a parent is on the school board, they may have to put the good of the school over the good of their individual child.

Unfortunately, no one was listening. Candidate after candidate in the cabal which has decided to take over the school because of personal issues stood up and talked about how much they've volunteered in their children's classrooms, how the board should plan gatherings at the school, how their teaching experience will help them change the curriculum (which, technically, would be a violation of the charter), and how well they manage their businesses.

This same cabal which earlier accused of us being demons (don't I wish), now is accusing us of dishonesty. One spouse of a candidate went to the office and announced to the director that they aren't going to let us steal this election. I don't steal, which is a good thing. If I did steal, I'd be really good at it, and these creatures would never be the wiser.

Mind you, these are people who have never attended a board meeting, board training, or charter school conference. Until now, they haven't bothered to read minutes or check agendas. They are the masters of the irrelevant, with an unfortunate combination of ignorance and meanness.

These are people who think that they were with the school from 'the inception,' when what they mean is they walked their child to the school door on the first day of school. They were not here when the charter was written, proof-read, and re-written. They were not here when the school board made us start the whole process over because we changed our name. They were not here when we used our own money to produce and send out flyers to invite them to attend our school. They did not write the application for non-profit status or go through that extremely exact and tedious process. They were not here when we negotiated with the landlord, the school district, and individuals to get the building ready, to feed the kids, & to provide the services parents at regular public schools take for granted.
Although they were here during the first year when a well-intentioned experiment in managing by committee went down in flames, very nearly taking the school with it, they didn't learn anything from that other than that the current director is willing to take chances & stand by her decisions, even when they are unpopular. And they didn't like that.

And of course, there are excellent board members who weren't at the original meetings. Some weren't here during the first tumultuous year. That's not the point. The current board has the experience and the intelligence to know they needed to learn. It would be hoped that their replacements would be the same. And it would be hoped that there would not be an arrogantly ignorant cabal that will most likely install a board without a single carry-over member. They don't need experience. They are too smart for that.

As an INTP & a writing spider, I am constantly bewildered by human behavior. No matter how often I see it, I can't believe that a person would take a strong dislike to me when I haven't harmed them or their people. I cannot believe that people will act against their own best interest just to spite someone of whom they are irrationally jealous. I can't believe people can be irrational. I am happily surprised when people are kind when it is hard or thoughtful when it is harder. I just expect people to act in a logical way: in their best interest. Then, at least, I can figure it out.

This reminds me of another story. A frog sitting at the side of a river was approached by a scorpion.
"Please take me across the river," said the scorpion.
"Are you nuts?" said the frog. "You'll sting me and kill me."
"Don't be silly, if I do that, I'll drown too," said the scorpion reasonably.
"OK," said the INTP frog. "Hop on."
Half way across the river, the scorpion stung the frog and he was paralyzed.
"Why did you do that? Now we'll both die," croaked the frog.
The scorpion shrugged as they sank.
"It's in my nature."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Little lessons

This is my lesson for the week: not everyone is going to like you. (And by you, I mean "me.") If you stand up for what you believe in and say what you think is important to say, there will be people who don't like you for it. This is especially true of those of us who are INTP (Introvert, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving) who forget to couch things in a nice way most of the time, and when they do say things in a nice way, it sounds sort of sarcastic. Even if they (and by that I mean "I") do not mean to be sarcastic.

So now I find that something far more important than I am is dependent on my ability to: 1) not take things personally even if I'm told I'm a witch and/or I'm going to hell, 2) speak in a non-sarcastic kind way and still make my point, and 3) not threaten to have anyone knee-capped.

I am pretty sure I am at the end of my rope. I am going to have to write my murder novel soon, or else ... I don't know... maybe paint my kitchen.

Send good thoughts my way, please. And if anyone can help me turn someone into a newt...

Friday, September 11, 2009


was my second grandson's first birthday. Brendon, or "BeeBee" as his brother Gabe calls him, was not really impressed when his GrandBob and Grammy snatched him from his bed to sing "Happy Birthday" before they went to work. I understand he was more excited about the mini-cup cake he ate after his dinner.

This is Brendon with his beautiful parents one year ago today.

This is Brendon in June. Now he is walking all over the place, getting into lots of trouble with the help of his big brother, 2-yr old Gabe.

I can see the future: Gabe and Brendon, the Irish twins, fighting each other and anyone who comes between them for the next hundred or so years.

Happy Birthday BeeBee!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

It's been over a week since I've written. I haven't read the blogs I've followed nearly as much as I usually do, or as much as I'd like to.

What's up? you ask, if you haven't completely given up on me.

The first thing is Facebook Farming. I have TWO Farm Town farms and two Farmville farms. I don't spend as much time with the Farmville farms, but I've recently added rivers to both of my Farm Town farms, and the redecorating took some time. In order to afford all the crap amenities on my farms, I've been "working" for other farmers. I go to the market, tell them I give a great plow job and get hired. Who knew? It's interesting that my avatar that looks a little sultry (in an anime kind of way) gets more work from male avatars, while the motherly one gets work from older women looking avatars. Sad, pathetic, and amusing.

In real life, my son, daughter-in-love, and two grandchildren are still living with us. Life is better, though because they are really pitching in to clean & have moved from the living room to Mark's bedroom. Mark sleeps on the living room couch, but he isn't there all day.

Mark is attending and loving the multi-age inquiry-based public charter school I helped start and of which I am chairman of the board. School is great, school business is stressful. I am involved (as board chair) in a grievance hearing. I can't talk about that, which is part of the reason I haven't written. Almost anything I might write could be construed to be related.

We joined St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal church, where I have been working as a bookkeeper. Bob hooked up with both the traditional choir and the Praise choir (guitar) and it was all she wrote. Since St. Michael's is a small church, people notice if you join the church and especially the choir. It is very gratifying.

I appreciated their support (as well as the support of all my other family and friends) last week when I didn't have a heart attack. I did have chest pains that weren't horrible but didn't go away with my favorite standby Alka-seltzer. The pain radiated into my left jaw and arm. I'm embarrassed to admit that I spent the better part of the day reading WebMD & other articles about women's symptoms of heart attacks before going to the hospital. Well, not that embarrassed, since I didn't have a heart attack.

I had several EKGs and blood tests over night, then an echo cardiogram & nuclear stress test. My lung X-ray showed it wasn't pneumonia and all the other tests showed it wasn't a heart event. A cardiologist mentioned sleep apnea and I told him I was pretty sure I had that, since my husband says I snore like a drunk in a midnight choir and that sometimes I quit breathing. (Don't ask why I haven't had THAT checked out. I probably can't get past the part where I snore indelicately.) Anyway, he said the couldn't test me for that while I was in the hospital, I'd have to do it as an outpatient. Since sleep apnea isn't an emergency, the insurance company won't pay for the test even if you are already in the hospital. I sort of thought, then can we skip the nuclear stress test and let me go home? I will wish I'd said it when the bills come in. Even with fine insurance, we'll end up paying at least $1000. Granted the whole bill will probably be 5 or 10 grand.

I still have chest pains, headaches, and extreme stress. It's a little better since my kids have decided they don't want me to drop dead and have started picking up after themselves. This is comforting.

I am reading four books right now.

The Seven Outs by Brian Carpenter. It is a very practical guide to strategic planning designed for public charter schools and their particular needs. It's going to be very helpful unless it's moot & I get voted off the board next week. Oh well. Since I believe that the school is greater than the sum of its parts, I believe it will survive.

I read this book in the cardiac unit of the emergency room, so you can see it's an easy read, but still packed full of important information.

The Spectrum by Dean Ornish. Dean says he's been misunderstood and you can eat good tasting food that is good for you. And he says that not everyone needs an extreme diet, any movement toward healthy on the spectrum of eating well, exercising, and meditating helps.

I got this book after a discussion with my counselor about the food in the cardiac unit. I said, "I have always said that it is impossible to ruin green beans, but they did it." The beans were fresh (I think since there were still stems in them), and neither overcooked nor undercooked. They were just cooked. In water. No spice, not a drop of oil or butter or butter-like-substance. They tasted like the smell of newly mown grass. A nice smell, a crappy taste.

My counselor told me that Dean Ornish had come to that hospital and taught everyone how to cook with spices and herbs and still keep it healthy, even for the extreme diet needed to repair an unhealthy heart. I looked him up on the Internet and found the Spectrum website, then checked out the book from the library. I recommend the book, but my advice is that if you already know anything about health & nutrition, you may want to skim the first few chapters. But don't skip them, because there were some surprises, for me at least.

Teaching Godly Play by Jerome W. Berryman. I am helping out with the new Sunday school classes, which are Episcopalian Montessori. I'm looking forward to this. I think I'm a door keeper, which appears to mean I welcome the kids, send the parents off without hurting their feelings, and point the kids in the right direction. I won't be alone & the kids are 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.... a perfect age in my opinion. Old enough to talk and think for themselves but too young to feel they have to suggest improvements in my dress or character.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. What can I say?

Today being Labor Day, I plan to labor. I have accounting to do for two of my part-time jobs. I'd also like to get the pile of junk on my carport sorted: trash, keep, give-awy, sell. I actually pulled something out of the pile and put it to good use in the house. Maybe that was a good start.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Day of the Rest

I am taking today off from my two paying jobs.

"Yeah!" you say, "Kathy is going to spend the day reading our blogs and making witty and insightful comments, uploading photos to Facebook, upgrading her Facebook farmer to level 30, and writing in her innumerable blogs so we can know all of the trivial things that have been going on her life as well as her brilliantly thought out opinions on education, health care, and food."

I'm sorry, I may have to disappoint you.

I have taken the day off to: clean my house and do the accounting work for my third paying gig.

I decided that if I did not take A DAY and just freaking clean the house, I would go insane. And yes, I know I have Friday off. And Saturday. And part of Sunday. It just wasn't working for me.

Originally, I decided to take the day off because Mark's teacher was going to visit us this evening. And when she had to postpone until next week, Bob and I decided not to share this information with the rest of the inmates family. And so, as far as anyone is concerned, Miss S is coming to visit today, and we are doing a level 1 cleaning: making the living areas look good as long as you don't go peeping in the cabinets.

Once level 1 is achieved, we'll begin level 2: cleaning rooms that most people (other than my incredibly ballsy sister-in-law) don't visit. Level 3 is the long and arduous cleaning of cabinets, closets and the room that is piled high with things I'm (at the moment) psychologically unable to get rid of. I have high hopes for the weekend, at least as a beginning.

Having said that, I think I'll see if I can level up my FB farmer over another cup of coffee before I tackle the dishes...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Wanderings...

It's one of those days...

I have been trying to organize my health insurance, flexible benefits plan, and doctor's bills. I need an aspirin.

I wrote about my opinions on health care reform at The Matriarch's Corner, if anyone cares to read it.

I am trying to decide whether to call in sick, but I get paid by the hour, so no...

Katy made a really good sausage and bean soup for supper last night. I added shredded Parmesan and Greek yogurt because that is what I do. I don't think she was offended.

Bob starts choir practice tonight. That will be something different and fun for him to do. I had a dream that Mark sang in the choir, but when I told him that, he gave me a look.

Gabe just came up to me and said, "Baby fee. Baby fee." I said, "Do you want me to feed the baby?" (The baby is Brendon, who is almost one.) Then I decided to check. It appears that he said, "Baby free." Gabe had opened the gate to let Brendon out.

Mark's teacher is coming to visit next week. I have to clean the house. Maybe I'll make scones. Maybe not.

OK, off to work....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Spider's Tale

My son Mark came to work with me last week. As we walked in, he noticed a writing spider in the bushes. She sat in the middle of a large complex web without moving. When we left at the end of the day, she didn't appear to have moved. Mark wondered how she could do that without getting bored. I said, "She's a spider."

Mark said, "She sits there all day, writing stories into her web. Since she has a terrible short term memory, she can read it again and again and it's always new and surprising."

I'm not sure why, but Mark's story has really stuck with me. I see the spider every day and check to see if she has any new stories. They all seem to be the same, but since I also have a terrible short term memory, I'm also surprised.

This is my life.

My boss says that I am a manager, but doesn't let me manage anything, even the way I arrange office supplies. I have worked here for eight years & I am very good at what I do and he knows it. I like him, but every year I wonder if I will be able to fix the problems with communication, hierarchy, attitude, etc etc etc. ... and each year I have a nervous breakdown.

Gosh, didn't see that coming!

My children promise to clean the house, get the other house ready to sell, find jobs. I come home and find that they are not feeling well, or are fixing to get ready to do something and... oh look here comes the posse, well gotta go... my friends need me to help them...

Wow, that is new!

My father-in-law wants to help and gives a boatload of advice and promises to us and to the kids and to anyone who is watching... then does an end-run around what we have arranged and undermines our plans and our relationships with the kids.

My, that IS a twist!

The spider and I are getting tired of writing this story over and over again. As the rains pelt her web and she has to redo it, she gets more and more erratic. That's OK. Pretty soon she'll lay a bunch of eggs and die. I read Charlotte's Web.

I, on the other hand, have laid my eggs and don't plan to die any time soon. And so I'd better start the story again... lay my plans, write my goals, get a move on...

I sure didn't see THAT coming!

Monday, August 17, 2009

This day in history

On this day 24 years ago, my lovely husband and I went ahead and got married.

I was going to write a fairly humorous bit about the disaster surrounding the year of planning for the wedding, but it turned bitter too quickly. Let me just say that about two months before the wedding, Dad said, "I'll pay for you to elope. You can go anywhere."

I said, "But we have made so many plans already, we've paid for the stupid dress and reception and invitations... We can't waste all that. We can't back out now."

Dad looked at me and said, "Kathy, it is that kind of attitude that got us into trouble in Vietnam."

And so we declared victory and had the wedding and a decent reception (with only one arrest and maybe two or three bitter arguments) and short honeymoon.

I am not sure how we have stayed married for 24 years, except to say that I can't imagine not being with Bob. Sometimes we say that we stayed together out of inertia. Just yesterday Bob said, "Marriage is easy, divorce is hard."

But that somehow implies that we are in a nice quiet settled relationship and that is not true. Bob said that I am the one person he knows he can count on no matter what. I know that Bob will be there for me, not always saying what I want, but there nonetheless.

And this is not to say we haven't had some really really hard times. That's when the inertia kicks in. Or something. And at some point we realize that as hard as things are, it's just a little easier together.

What we have is trust and love and joy and humor (a lot of that) and faith and hope and charity and passion and kindness and caring and a whole lot of other things, most of them good. I thank god and all the angels that I have Bob and he has me.

And that is enough of that.

In other news... Happy anniversary to Bob's brother Clark and his wonderful wife Nancy. I can't remember how long they have been married, but it's been awhile. I guess they saw what a good day this was for us... or they were engulfed with the same type of planning issues we had.

And of course: Happy Birthday Gabe! Two years old today and still my angel, no matter what they say about the terrible twos hitting right on time.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It is raining for the second day. This isn't a summer rain, even though it's summer.

Summer rains are fast and violent, usually coming at around 5:00 with thunder, lightning, and torrents of hard raindrops. Sometimes there is hail. Sometimes a storm will deluge one neighborhood and leave another less than a mile away dry. The storms pass through after leaving the commuters in a tangle and there is still another hour of bright sunlight before dark. The rain evaporates like a sauna and you still have to water your plants.

This is a winter rain (except for the cold part.) It's rained slowly and steadily for two days with only little breaks. It's raining over a large area. The plants look happier. The worms will be coming out and drowning themselves on the sidewalks.

This rain is like my life right now. A slow thorough healing rather than a quick burst of anger and frustration that won't solve anything. This is my hope at least. It's hard to go through the days of healing and cleansing, but there will be growth. And very very soon I will be singing, "I can see clearly now..."

But not yet. Oh well.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Early is as early does

We had planned to get an early start this morning, but with a birthday dinner & visits with long distance family and (of course) working on the farm until midnight, I woke up at 9. I felt great, which is a little surprising for a Saturday morning. (Note to self: nine hours sleep).

We are going over to our old house, the one we couldn't sell after renovation, the one my son and his family moved into, the one in the 'hood. We are giving it another shot. Today, Bob, Robert, Joseph, and I will go over and evaluate, buy products, and clean. And of course, yard work, before Mike the housing inspector comes by with his weekly summons. By the end of the week, we want it cleaned, repaired, and painted. We may plant annuals, but it takes so many to make a difference I don't know if we can afford that.

We are not trying to make a killing on this house, just sell the damn thing. I hear that the market is improving, but I don't know if the lower-end housing market has heard that yet. Although the house has real brick and real hardwood floors, it was built in a time where one bathroom was plenty. At some point, someone added a half bath in the "master" bedroom, but took away a half a closet in the process. So it has a small closet and small bathroom, neither one of which is really adequate. The yard is big with beautiful trees --- oaks, maples, crepe myrtle and dogwood. There is a wisteria vine that may take over the house, but the flowers smell wonderful. It really is a nice house. Too bad the neighborhood sucks.

You can see why we are hiring a real estate agent. I'm a great sales person.

One step at a time... today is clean and clean. As soon as the rest of my posse gets their heinies out of bed.

Get up! I'm up, dammit! You can be up!

Wish me well.

Friday, August 7, 2009

BFF: or FBF for the Facebook Farmer

Hi, my name is Kathy & I'm addicted to Facebook Farm Town. It's so bad that I got a second FB account so I can have another farm. If I hook up a wireless network at home, I can work on two computers at the same time and hire myself to harvest and plow. This is very sad, and yet, I have no intention of stopping. I've even quit drinking so I can concentrate on the farm. I don't drink during the week anyway, but I've cut down on the weekends so I can get some good plowing time in.

I have an excel spreadsheet showing the best return for various crops based on cash value, not percentage. (Not that anyone else cares much.) I am not alone, because I've seen other spreadsheets & discussions about price per day et cetera et cetera et cetera. While I'm washing dishes, I make Mark hire himself out at the Market to plow and harvest. (Mark to Market... lol! sorry: accountant joke sort of.) You can see how bad it is.

I dream about the farms. I woke up in the middle of the night to harvest a forgotten crop, but I found out the crops won't rot right now because the software developers are working on the clocks. (I don't know what that means, other than I don't have to get up at midnight right now.)

In defense of my obsession, there have been some benefits. One: reorganizing my farm is very relaxing. It's like a meditation of sorts. I used to play solitaire, now I plant virtual flowers. Two: I taught Mark how to make a spreadsheet. He is very well organized and advises me on the best values for our time. Three: it's inspired me to make a real garden hide-away in my very small yard. I was so happy with my little benches surrounded by trees and flowers that I've decided to find a couple of benches and build a little nook behind the shed under the grape vines. If I get the wireless network set up, I can farm from there.

Tonight I am going to the summer birthday party at my in-laws. They group birthdays, since it's hard to get people together for every birthday. This is fine with me. My birthday is included in this party, along with my MIL, Gabe, Joseph, & maybe my MIL's sister who will be in town. I think that's all the July & August birthdays on this side of the family. (Except my niece,who has her birthday with her sister and Mark sometime in May, June, or July.)
Bob and I are planning to have a good time, especially since his aunts will be in town. We plan to ignore his sister who searched our house for cat crates she thought we had, then took our crates. I don't know if you can forgive someone who not only hasn't apologized, but thinks she was perfectly right to search our bedrooms and then proclaim that we are slobs. I have considered not going at all, but there are too many other people to consider. On the other hand, I do have fields to plow...
I am making a crochet & bead belt. It is turning out well. I am using a much smaller thread and hook than I've ever successfully used, but I'm not having too much trouble. Well, I did have to get magnifying glasses. If I finish it, I'll take a picture.
Although it is only August, I am beginning serious plans for Tax Season. Some of those plans involve figuring out how to slip drugs to my boss, who made us all really miserable last year. I am also making long term plans related to me after he retires or drops dead (heart attack or murder, take your pick.) I have a feeling that one day with no warning, he will announce that he has sold the business & I, at 50-ish with more knowledge than education, will be SOL. And with that in mind, I am planning for what to do then. I don't plan to leave before he does (although if this tax season is like the last, you don't know), but I'm not working for anyone else even if they want me. Right now I'm thinking about a tax/bookkeeping/payroll service & coffee shop. But it's early days, of course. In the mean time, I am building my credentials by working to pass the enrolled agent exam (still!) and taking as many continuing education workshops and classes as I can.
And if worse comes to worse, I can do taxes in my garden between planting virtual fields and chatting with other FB Farmers.
Time to clean the kitchen... yes, it's that time of week again!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Another cloudy Monday morning, but this one is in August

Let me start by saying that if you turn on Jerry Springer and think, "Oh my god, how much worse can it get?" you haven't met my daughter-in-love's family. That is all I'm saying about that this morning, because (1) oh my god & (2) it's not my story thank you Jesus.

What is my story is that because of the latest episode of Jerry Springer live from Hampton County SC and because I am an idiot a soft touch (soft in the head), my beautiful minivan (with six CD changer/sunroof/beepers-when-you-almost-hit-someone) is sitting in Varnville (or Nixville or Miley or Podunk) with a dead battery. Not, give me a charge, will you? dead, but dead dead dead... or so I hear. While I have no reason to distrust somebody's cousin's husband's brother who is a mechanic and says the battery should RIP, I have less reason to trust him. I am thinking of a "new" used transmission a few years ago. (Same town, different people). I'm wondering if there is an electronic damper or old Indian burial ground in the county which causes these problems. You would think one of us would learn.

So now, aside from the usual work in the country (corporate, partnership, and personal tax return extensions run out soon), a payroll (mine --- yeah!) and monthly reports at the church, getting my baby to MEGGS & AAP testing sites, completing my sister's July reports, cleaning my house because Mark's new teacher wants to make a home visit (can you just say no?), selling the house we used to live in and the kids aren't living in any more, getting rid of kittens...

Now, we have to figure out how to pay for a battery two hours from here when I can pretty much guarantee no one will loan Katy the money and let us mail them a check. So we are talking Western Union or even a freaking trip to that godforsaken county.

I am not feeling very holy, very loved, very nice. But quite frankly, even when I did do everything to make people happy, I still didn't feel holy, loved, or nice enough. It never is enough and being an enabler is no way to make a living.
And for some reason the song "No more Mr. Nice Guy" is playing in my head and that is so unlike me, I had to google the lyrics to figure out who sang it. And I found this picture, which looks a whole lot like me this morning:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to me

Last night, I went to my sister's house for the birthday surprise. She took my cell phone and said, "You are going to lock yourself into Dad's bathroom (he has a garden tub) and soak in the tub for as long as you want."

Dad interjected, "As long as you want... but be out by 8:00, since that is my bedtime."

I looked at her.

She looked a little worried.

"Isn't that what you asked for?"

Eyebrow raise.

"Saturday you said that what you wanted for your birthday was to be locked in a closet and left alone for a couple of hours. Would you rather have the closet?" she asked with genuine concern.

"Oh! No, the bathroom sounds great."

"Will you be able to relax?"

In my father's bathtub? Ummm....


"You have soothing bubble bath, sugar scrub, shampoo & conditioner... Paul made strawberries and cream (real homemade whipped cream)... and here is the soothing tea."

Paul said, "As soon as you get settled, we'll come in and sing happy birthday."

I'm afraid there are no pictures, although it was lovely. I wish you all could have been there... or not.

I soaked and read and thought and read and soaked for an hour and a half. I thoroughly enjoyed the Bath & Bodyworks Eucalyptus & Peppermint stuff. I read three chapters of The Circle of Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini. And I thought about how perfectly thoughtful this gift was.

Ellen could have given me the bubble bath et al and sent me home, where it would probably have gathered dust in the closet until "the perfect time." Instead, I was forced to relax and enjoy myself. And I did. It takes a special friend and sister to know that about me. What can I say?

Yesterday I mentioned that my youthful birthdays were disappointments because I expected too much. I once asked my mother why I didn't have birthday parties with friends like everyone else and she showed me a picture of my third or fourth birthday party. There are five or six girls in pretty party dresses and big smiles. Then there is me. I am in a pretty party dress. I am surrounded by friends I still remember. I have balloons and cake and presents. And I am crying.

When I first heard that, I felt very guilty. Not only had I ruined my birthdays, I had kept my siblings from having parties. And they might not have cried at their parties.

Later I realized I was probably overwrought. I was three, for Pete's sake. But I carried the habit of getting overwrought on my birthday for many years.

When I turned 18, I spent most of the day working myself into a tizzy. My friends Margaret and Vicky were going to take me out, since back then 18 was the legal drinking age. I worked myself up so much I almost cancelled, but Mom told me that I would hurt their feelings and I needed to get a grip. Fortunately, I did.

Because Margaret and Vicky didn't take me out, they threw me a surprise birthday party. With people. Other people. I would never have imagined that people would have come to my birthday party. (I may have had issues, ok?)
Since I had a couple ten bad years after that, I don't know if it was a turning point, but it was a point of change. I could have a great birthday, I could have great friends, I could have fun. It was spectacular, special, and memorable. I am sure I have never thanked them enough. (Hey Margaret! Thank you sooooooo much. Tell Vicky, too.)
Today, I worked really hard in the morning, but everyone in my office said Happy Birthday. My boss took us to lunch at Ruby Tuesdays (try the crab cake dinner). Bob joined us. They bought me balloons and a cake and two African Violets, because I have a reputation for succeeding in keeping them blooming. (Bright, indirect light. Ours is a northern facing window with a large western facing window close by. I'm not good with plants. Really.) I enjoyed this morning and the lunch more than I can say.

This afternoon, I went to St. Michael's, where I was again inundated with good birthday wishes. And don't get me started on the Facebook birthday wishes. I feel the love.

My daughter in love is making a cake for me, and the boys are picking up Chinese food. (If it's good enough for Jesus' birthday, it's good enough for me.) Bob and I are drinking a beer in honor of the "Beer Summit" at the White House. The kids are on their way back with the food and more beer. Tomorrow is my day off, and I may get to my to-do list. Or not.
And, I'm 49 years old. As my friend Courtney says, if you are going to lie about your age, lie old. If you tell people you are 30 and you are 40, they will say "Damn, what's she been smoking?" If you say you are 58 and you are 48, they say, "She looks good for her age."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday, Hump Day, My Birthday Eve

I am not one of those people who does not celebrate my birthday. I love birthdays. When I was a child, I expected so much from my birthdays that I was invariably disappointed. Then I learned to enjoy whatever comes, and many good things have come.

My husband has never forgotten my birthday. It isn't because he is really good with dates and always gives thoughtful surprise gifts. It is because I write "Kathy's Birthday" on the calendar. (I write every ones birthdays on the calendar. Mine has fireworks.) Then I say, do you know what I'd like for my birthday? And I tell him several things that would be nice. And sometimes he buys me something, but usually we go shopping together, which is a nice present in and of itself.

Birthdays in my family last at least a week. We have a family party with my siblings, my Dad, and some close friends on a weekend, usually close to the actual day. We eat a special meal, often on the actual day. On the actual day, the birthday girl or boy gets to say, "It's my birthday & you have to be nice to me" all day long. Then we'll have a celebration with Bob's family, usually a group celebration for people born within a month or two. It's all good.

Tonight, my sister is giving me a present. She said to come to her house, bring a good book, expect to spend two or three hours, and I won't be available by phone. That could be scary, but I think it will be wonderful. I'm trying not to speculate, so that I can enjoy the surprise and the "it" of the present.

And now, on my birthday eve, I'd better get to work. What are they thinking?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sun and Thunder

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and it is thundering like the dwarfs bowling on the mountain. It's interesting, at least. I am thinking that I need to print out some things so I can work if the power goes out. I am also thinking that it is nap time.

I am working on some interesting projects right now... sort of reviewing every client to make sure everything is in order and to see if they are making too much money. No one ever thinks they make enough money to pay taxes, but that's because they make the money over the year, then pay the taxes in one lump. One of the things I'm supposed to do is make sure they are paying estimated taxes...

I just realized how utterly boring that paragraph is. If that's what I'm thinking about, I might as well get back to work. I would, too, but my stomach hurts and I'm trying to remember if I have any medicine around here. I won't go into details. Even I have that much discretion.

As I've whined, things are kind of tough right now, although I have a lot of hope for improvement. I just want to take a nap until things actually improve. I suppose that is too much to ask.

My minivan is in the shop --- warranty expired 1500 miles ago, which was early June, right before the trip to D. C. I guess you can't take a five year old minivan to D.C. twice in addition to the many many other miles and expect it not to have some problems. I'm beginning to think I can't afford travel.

I think we have a dollar in the bank, but we have food in the house and payday is Thursday. We also have a pretty good safety net, although I hate to use it. I suppose I shouldn't complain, since we are supporting two families right now. If Robert, Katy, and Joseph get jobs I'll feel absolutely loaded. I might even travel some more.

Oops, lightning. Better get back to my nap work.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It smells like Monday

I did far less than I wanted to do this weekend. But then, I did more than I expected to do.

The van is in the shop and I have reason to believe that its problems are mostly covered by warranty. The poor thing has been to D. C. twice since we got it, and we bought it used. I'm not really complaining, since it's my fault that we pushed it, but I'd like it to last until it's paid off. I think that is in 18 months. I could look it up, but I don't care that much.

Joseph and Mark are heading to Carowinds, our amusement park on the SC/NC border. Mark is hoping that he's tall enough to ride everything. He, Joseph, and my brother John will attempt to ride every scary ride at the park without throwing up or dislocating something. Good luck, fellas!

Bob has not dislocated something, but he did pull, pinch, or twist something and is now lying in bed looking very very sad. I'd have more sympathy if I hadn't just recovered from a sciatica attack, making it difficult for me to walk. He said, "why don't you get yourself some aspirin or something?" And then he bounced on the bed. Accidentally, I'm sure.

You can understand why I'm tempted to put the bottle of ibuprofen just out of his reach. But, no, I found it for him, got him water, and did not bounce on the bed on the way out. I did, however, announce that I was treating him much better than he deserved and reminded him that my birthday is this week.

I took a Facebook quiz (I love those things) that told me that my guardian angel is Ariel. And here, I thought Ariel was a little mermaid. So anyway, it has all sorts of cool and probably completely inaccurate things about Ariel being the guardian angel of divination and something about water sprites and healing animals. All very cool. And then, it says Ariel is associated with lions and if you see or hear lions Ariel is near.

Well, with what is probably a combination of the power of suggestion & the fact that I am a Leo, I am seeing and hearing lions all over the place. In the weirdest places, too. I can only hope that this FB quiz is better than the one that said I was Draco Malfoy. (I really don't want to explore that one.) And so, I am hoping the lions will inspire me and guide me, cause it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Friday, July 24, 2009

BFF: Reflections

Oh look, I haven't written anything in a week. Let me think, what have I been doing?
I've worked all week, which is a good thing. I've been fairly productive, which is a very good thing. I took Mark to the dentist on Thursday, which was not great, but what can we do?
Speaking of teeth, Mark's dentist has recommended a fluoride rinse. Aside from all the stuff about fluoride being a communist plot, it's generally thought to be a good thing for teeth. I read that children (me) used to get fluoride in the water (the communist plot) and their teeth were stronger than those who didn't. Now kids don't drink tap water as much, so they aren't getting the fluoride. Thus, the cavities & the fluoride rinse, capitalist plots to separate me from my money.
I also heard (on NPR, she says in her snooty voice) that chewing gum with xylitol can help prevent cavities. Kids in Scandinavia chew xylitol gum all the time. Being Scandinavians, they don't play with their gum in class or stick it under the desk or in their buddy's hair. So for Scandinavians, it's a good thing all around. Since other studies have shown that the action of chewing gum can increase problem solving ability (has to do with learning styles and mixing motion with thought and all that good stuff), I'm thinking we should encourage kids to chew sugarless gum in class. If we can prevent them from playing with it or sticking it under the desk or in their buddy's hair. What do y'all think?
I, personally, don't like gum. Maybe if I'd chewed it as a child I'd have better teeth and be able to chew gum without it sticking to my dental work (and the places I've yet to have dental work), but I didn't. I always here my mother or grandmother (a first grade teacher) saying, "you look like a cow chewing cud." Dang --- hurt my self-esteem AND my teeth. A two-fer. Oh well.
I wonder if chewing gum would keep people from grinding their teeth. You know, work it out during the day. You don't want to chew gum at night. I won't do that twice three times.
SC Governor Mark Sanford & his family have gone on a European vacation. That's sweet. It's good to have a governor in touch with the people of SC. He suggested that all South Carolinians who are stressed out about unemployment, lack of health care, the high cost of education, or whatever should take some time off to explore Europe and get back in touch with their families. He said if they can't afford to go to Europe, they should kayak.
Fortunately for SC, the governor doesn't do anything. Unfortunately, he gets paid to do nothing. I'm not sure we can afford to keep him in the style to which he is accustomed.
Good news: My son Mark will be attending Carolina School for Inquiry for 6th grade. The director and the board brainstormed (you should have seen the lightning!) and came up with a way to solve several staffing issues and have a 6th grade. I'm ecstatic. Mark is too, but he's still in his summer mode so you wouldn't know it to look at him.
Yesterday at the dentist, the dental assistant told Mark he'd be getting "bubble gum gas" and he gave her a funny look. I thought he was going to say "do you mean nitrous oxide?" He didn't and later told me that he couldn't really understand her cute words but thought it would be smart-alecky to ask her to speak like an adult. Then we talked about how we hoped he did have bubble gum gas because it would be an improvement over his normal gas.
Joseph (my middle son) is going to Midlands Tech this fall. I'm proud of him for going down and doing what he had to do to get enrolled. I hope we can find the money. He is going to MTC for a couple of years to get the basic classes at a lower price than the University of SC, taught by people with at least a master's degree, in smaller classes. Then he'll transfer to a university. This is a good thing.
I believe that people should go to college when they are good and ready to work at it and not party all night long. Unfortunately (sort of), a lot of people think I'm an idiot for not insisting my kids go straight to college. Some people fill out their kids' college applications. I'm not down with that. But even though I know we are right, it's a pain in the arse to listen to smug parents & not tell them I saw their kid picking up a hooker on Two Notch. Be a duck. Be a duck.
Anyway, I'm glad Joseph is going to school. I hope he finds a satisfying, challenging, fulfilling field. I hope the same for myself, of course. Life is a quilt, not a smoothly woven cloth. At least, mine is.
It's 8 a.m. so the lawn guys are at work across the street. Today I find it inspiring rather than irritating. I have to get my minivan to the shop, drop off stuff for some clients, clean my house, plan meals, go grocery shopping, do some more accounting, figure out my flexible medical benefits plan so we can get some of the cash that's sitting in the account, crochet a blanket, and bake cookies. Then lunch. Just kidding. I've got two and a half days to get all that done. We'll see.