Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm moving.....

Inspired by a friend and frustrated with changes in Blogger, I am moving to Wordpress. The posts are all over there. Book mark my new address....


That Kind of Day.....

I am a part time Teacher. For the last eight years I have taught Kindergarten 2 and a half days a week or two days one week and three days the next week. Last year, my first as a Technology intructor, I was in class every Monday, Wednesday morning and Friday. This year I was upgraded to an 8/10ths position. I work four full days a week. It's a perfect life. My paycheck has almost doubled. I have every Tuesday off to do 'my' thing. It's for house cleaning issues, errands, appointments, lunch dates, extra school activities, etc. etc. For the past month and a half Tuesdays have been packed with 'must dos.' Except for today.

HRH is at a training session for his UAW position deep in the 'up north' of Michigan for the whole week. Where they have snow. Many inches of snow. Last night the Princess told me she had signed up for Jazz Band at school and needed to be at her middle school by 7:15....a.m. Sooo...instead of our usual 'wake Princess at 6:45, drive Prince to high school, come home, breakfast with Princess, make lunch and drive her to middle school by 8' Tuesday morning routine, I got them BOTH up at 6, made a healthy, hearty breakfast sandwich for BOTH of them, packed a veggie and dip lunch bowl for her lunch, drove him to the high school, tarried on to the middle school, dropped her off and came back home. All in my jammies, thick heavy socks and ugly orange crocs that I was ecstatic to purchase for $7 in South Carolina last summer before realizing the nobody anywhere wears ugly orange crocs in public which is why they were only $7. It's only 8:30 am and I have no where to go. For the whole day.

Soooo....I am planning to make myself a sugar free hot chocolate, pour a bowl of corn flakes with frozen blueberries on top (yum...love the way the milk freezes around those babies!), plug a movie into the dvd player and grade the 250+ papers that need to be recorded in order to mark the 500+ report cards I need to do in the next few weeks. Maybe I will do a few loads of laundry and fill another bag with clothes for the Salvation Army. Maybe..... And outside? Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!! Loving these ugly orange crocs......

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Sixth of the Sixth

Got this one from my friend, Mary. The idea was to open your 6th picture file, post the sixth picture there and explain it. What a laugh! What a memory.....

It's out of focus but I don't care. The Princess was six. Had been with us for just barely over a year. She was missing a tooth. She could sing 'On Top of Spaghetti' with the cutest Russian lilt and lisp. Decked her out with a giant fork of 'spaghetti' to sing at the church's spaghetti dinner and talent show. She wouldn't go up without her dad. Half way through the song she looked up at me (in the audience filming with the video camera), forgot all the words and ran into my arms. Completely stole the show. LOL Did it again two years later when she and her dad did a beautiful Vince and Jenny Gill rendition of 'Let There Be Peace on Earth.' It was our favorite sing along song in the car for a very long time.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bitten again......sigh.

I am doing some research for a story I am writing. Yeah...just another fan fiction thing that I do when there is nothing else 'cooking.' I have fans that have been clamoring for another 'road' piece for a while now. This time I am sending my families from a previous fic - 'The Duplex' - to Walt Disney World for Thanksgiving. Something about 'seeing' the esteemed Goran Visnjic (aka Luka Kovac) in a Goofy hat is appealing. And someone has emailed and asked that I interject 'Abby Lockhart' (aka Maura Tierney) grumbling around in a Minnie Mouse get up. Haven't figured out how to get that in but it sounds like a hilarious possibility. Hee. At any rate, I am having some mindless fun. I always do when writing fan fictions. But that's for another post. This one is all about WDW.

I thought I had outgrown the place. Seriously. I went to Disneyland twice and WDW once (the year it opened!) with my parents when I was growing up. My sister and I went to WDW together - alone - the year she graduated from high school and I graduated from college. Road trip extraordinaire! What memories the two of us have of that trip. I went once again with my husband - who was then my fiancee - for a long weekend. We took his daughters for a week several years later and stayed in a camper. We joined my sister's family there when my son was a toddler. My parents moved to Florida and WDW became an easy day trip....or a jumpstart for an extended stay. We took my youngest step, a niece and our three year old son for a week once. My son and I went back for a day six months later when we were visiting my parents. Pathetically, my son had been there six times before the age of seven. Then along came the Princess from her Russian orphanage. Our family was now four strong and I was working part time. Which meant a partial pay check. The trip became rather pricey for us. But, we had saved a day of our tickets from the year before (Disney tickets are good forever) in order to take her at some point. And we did two years after her arrival...for her 7th birthday.

It was...interesting...to experience the Magic Kingdom with a child who has not grown up with the Mouse. She had seen a number of the movies via our dvd collection at that point - Snow White, Bambi, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins and The Little Mermaid (which scared the bejeezes out of her). She even had several sing along dvds committed to memory. (Listening to 'The Tiki Room' with a Russian lilty lisp was hilarious!) This was to be HER trip. She was to pick and choose where we were to go. I anticipated having her overwhelmed with it all. Instead, all she cared about was getting pictures taken with all of the characters so she could have a photo memory book like the one I had made her brother years before. That's all. Oh...and swimming in the pool with the dragon slide at our for one night only New Orleans Resort pool. Sooo....that trip ended up being placed in the hands of the master - her 9 year old brother - who managed to get us to all of his favorite places in three different WDW parks in ONE day....and back to the pool for a late night swim. My feet had blisters on top of blisters! That was six years ago. The last time we were actually inside the parks.

So now I am researching what things are like at Walt Disney World for the holidays. What the new attractions are. Where the new restaurants are. For my story. And I have been bitten again. Sigh. My children are 13 and almost 15 now. They are more interested in their friends, their sports, their school activities. The 'master' has been to another kind of park and is now a roller coaster fiend. He wants to ride them over and over all day long. I thought the Peter Pan ride would be a hard sell. He wouldn't be interested in another trip to WDW. She wasn't much intrigued the first time around. Surely she wouldn't be interested this time. Or so I thought. I am just mulling a trip over. Trying to figure it all out. Financially. But their eyes have begun sparkling at the thought of the possibility. Heh. Walt Disney was a genius. That WDW 'bug' is freaking contagious.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Musta Missed It

I seriously must have missed something here. I didn't go to the polls. Maybe that's it. I did my voting via Absentee Ballot. We had a Teacher Workshop all day long on election day and I didn't want to spend my evening standing in line. So I voted at my desk at school five days prior to the Big Day. It was a particularly tiring day so I didn't even manage to stay up to watch the counting. In fact, I was in bed and sound asleep by 10 pm. So I musta missed something.

They tell me it was a historic event....this election thing. The first time a family of color will be moving into the White House. Hmm. I musta missed something because I ceased seeing Barack Obama as a 'black man' MONTHS ago. Seriously. He was just a 'candidate.' I was paying more attention to the issues this time around. To what both candidates had to say about education, the war situation and economy. I didn't really see what color his words were. Just wanted to make sure that they were something I could support. Something that was important to me. So I musta missed something else.

Frankly, I found the last few days of this campaign to be totally boring. I hate aggressive verbal attacks. I can get plenty of that on the playgrounds at school. I didn't even watch much tv last weekend. (Maura Tierney is gone from 'ER' after all. Sigh.) I watched only to see what was happening with Senate, House and local campaigns. I was totally sick of hearing "I am ___ ___and I approve this message." Even some local candidates were using it. Bleh. Quite frankly, the tack sounded better coming from Richard Dreyfuss' mouth in 'An American President.' Very passe this time after a short while. So I think I musta missed something.

My blogging friend, Mary, at The Eleventh is probably purple with rage reading this by now because I didn't 'get' it. Or maybe she is embarrassed and is not wanting to call me a friend any more. This election was a HUGE deal for her. But, I wasn't crying when I cast my vote. I was actually trying to balance the durn ballot on top of the huge stack of letters my kiddos had written to Veterans during our Tech Lab sessions. I have very little room for a huge ballot on my desk. And I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to watch which states were turning blue and which states were turning red. Old age is exhausting these days. And I wasn't particularly stirred to learn who the winner was. Maybe I already knew? But rest assured, Mary. I was totally moved by the bits of his grand speech at Grant Park that I heard. Gonna get that transcript sometime soon. Actually I felt something akin to the same sort of feeling when I heard a similar recorded speech at the museum in Boston last summer?

However, NOW comes my time to sit up and truly pay attention. THIS is the process I am interested in. 'Transistion' is MY thing. I am very curious about cabinet appointments. I love reading all the predictions about what the First Lady will be making her 'cause.' I am intrigued with a young family taking up residence in the White House. Who freaking cares what color they are? It's going to be interesting to see which schools are scouted for a 7 and 10 year old. (Hint to Michelle: Check out Sidwell Friends. They did good by Chelsea, already know the Secret Service drill and is a 22 minute drive from the White House. Momism knows that the ride time gives you a chance to go over those spelling word lists and Math facts!) It'll be fun to see if a dad is relegated to dog walking duty on occasion. It will be a joyous thing to see positive spirits and willingness to work hard radiating from Washington again. I am not gonna miss that!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A little cheese with that whine?

I have seriously been put to shame. Spanked. Settled in the corner to 'think' about my actions of late. I have been whining about being bored. Whining about having nothing to look forward to any more. Whining about the futility of my day to day activities and chores. Not thinking outside of my little world like I should be.

During a recent online conversation, my sister responded with 'it's getting to be that time of year for you, isn't it?' How could I have forgotten?

I hate the holidays. I hate the money that is spent. I hate the feeling that I have not 'given' enough. And I have always been totally torn about where to spend them, how and with whom. When my stepdaughters were smaller there was no question. Whenever we had them we spend that time with my husband's family. Christmas Eve one year. Christmas Day the next. My sister would drag her husband and kids from their warm southern climate to our ice and snow to be with my parents and us. My steps became teenagers and the decisions about where they spent holidays was no longer ours. Our son came along and there was even more incentive to spend holidays with my far flung family. My parents moved south and traveling during the holidays became expensive....and necessary. My daughter arrived from Russia, I became a part time teacher and the money was no longer there to travel with four. My sister's family decided to spend holidays at their home and we all snagged bits of time here and there to be together. And I hate the holidays.

But today I logged on and started transversing my favorite blog sites. At the Eleventh I saw my cutie, Rabbit, in her Halloween costume and at Blood Signs, my comrade in stepmomhood was lamenting about steppers finding their 'place' on kid holidays (you're lucky P...we very rarely had the girls on Halloween but I have made several of their costumes.) At Snacks Please, it was a delightful rundown of the new vocabulary of my favorite baby girls and their big sister. ( I want them....seriously. ) But it was when I logged on to The Pioneer Woman that I was taken aback. The Marlboro Man and her two oldest punks are headed for a week in the Dominican Republic to see the work being done by Compassion International.

I have been trying to get our finances in order this month. We have more money coming into the house because of my return to an almost full time position. I sent a donation to Shaohannah's Hope, the Chapman Family's program for adoption. It was the money we got back for our tickets when we couldn't attend the rescheduled concert of last summer. Adoption is important to us. I know we will contribute there again. I signed us up to give monthly to Mercy Corps's hunger program once again. I also wanted to start sponsoring a child some where. You know...send money to the program and letters of encouragement to a kid. I figured mine are old enough to be involved as well. I had been twiddling about where...which program to use. There are so many to choose from. The Pioneer Woman's post was perfect timing.

So now my already international family has ties with one more country....Korea, Russia and the Dominican Republic. We are sponsoring an older boy because we figured - like with adoption - the older ones tend to be overlooked. Anthony is 10 and a soccer playing dude like the rest of my children. Soccer? Gads. You'd think I would have learned......

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

God Is No Fool

It was the fall of 1973. I was a very nervous college student. I was attending a small college about 40 minutes from my childhood home - Michigan Christian College. It was my first class on my very first day as a freshman. It was early morning. I settled into an old wooden chair desk in a small damp classroom at the end of row of rooms in a 'cabin' in the woods of the campus. Pencils lined up. Spiral situated nice and square on the desk. I wasn't one to make friends quickly. Didn't really have anyone to talk to. Then in walked the 'professor'. He strode to a corner desk, hiked a cowboy booted foot to the seat of a desk and announced - with an Oklahoma drawl - that we were there for the 'Fundamental Basics of Mathematics'.....other wise known as 'Fun Math.' My college career was off and running and that particular teacher set the tone for what were to be two of the most amazing years of my life. Ken Franklin introduced us to a poetry book in that class that became a campus cult favorite. He read a poem aloud at the beginning of each Math class. We all had our own copies. I remember purchasing one at the college bookstore for my Mom - who used to make mid week donut runs to our dorm with goods from the family donut shop. I had each of my friends choose a favorite poem and write a note telling her why it was a favorite. She treasured it for a good long while.

I lost my copy of the book. Actually I had given several away to friends YEARS ago not realizing that I was giving away my last one. I would think about it occasionally. Remember a poem that was particularly meaningful to me. Wondered where I could get another copy because I had discovered that it was out of print. Well...I found one on the internet several weeks ago and paid $30 for it. THIRTY dollars. And the inside flap price says $4.25. Go figure.

But it's nice to have it back....no matter what the cost. Nice to have it on my bedside table again. It's even as ratty and beat up as my own copy used to be. Thirty dollars very well spent. Just looking at it brings back fond memories of antiquated quonset hut biology classrooms, dormitory fun, late night devotionals, chapel services every morning, my roommate, pranks, prayers, my friends, duck weed on the lake, the totem pole, Faculty Firesides, chat sessions in the hall, term papers, all night study sessions, 'Amazing Grace', campus theater productions, cafeteria meals, Beautiful Days, Bible classes, 'W Club', psych class with Ron Luckett, Hebrew History with Terry Blake (who used to always call me his 'beautiful, beautiful Lyn'), Stephanie and Casey.....so so many memories. Thirty dollars VERY well spent. And my favorite poem? I think it was everyone's favorite at one time or another. They printed it in the year book one year. It's number 43.

"Bits and pieces
Bits and pieces

People. People important to you, people
unimporttant to you cross your life, touch
it with love and carelessness and move on.
There are people who leave you and you
breathe a sigh of relief and wonder why
you ever came into contact with them.
There are people who leave you and you
breathe a sigh of remorse and wonder why
they had to go away and leave such a gaping
hole. Children leave parents; friends leave
friends. Acquaintences move on. People change
homes. People grow apart. Enemies hate and
move on. Friends love and move on. You think
on the many who have moved intoyour hazy memory.
You look on those present and wonder.

I believe God's master plan in lives. He
moves people in and out of each other's
lives, and each leaves his mark on the other.
You find you are bits and pieces of all
who ever touched your life, and you are
more because of it, and you would be less if
they had not touched you.

Pray God that you accept the bits and
pieces in humility and wonder, and never
and never regret.

Bits and pieces
Bits and pieces"

Lois A. Cheney
God Is No Fool

Michigan Christian College is now Rochester College and is located in Rochester, Michigan.