Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year-End Wrap-Up

Well, 2006 is officially coming to a close, and blogging sounds like more fun that finishing my grand office cleaning project. I do need to start getting ready for our party later, though.

Anyway, I was thinking about our year, and what we've accomplished/where we've been. It's not a huge list, and there are still some things that I had hoped to do, like lose a massive amount of weight, that haven't happened. There's always next year, right?

Here's my quick and dirty list:

Places I Went This Year:

--New Orleans, LA in March and June
--Austin, TX in April and June
--Newport, RI (new place for me) in May
--Boston, MA in May
--New Braunfels/San Marcos, Gruene, TX in July and September (new places for me)
--Chicago, IL in August
--Columbia, SC in October
--Baton Rouge, LA in August
--Lafayette, LA many times

So, no place exotic, and two of the trips were for weddings, but they were all fun. In the next year, I anticipate going to Dallas in January for a wedding, South Carolina for a baby shower or birth, and maybe Chicago twice in the spring for some training. Still no trip to Europe in my future. I will be riding to Austin on a bicycle in April. Scary.

Stuff I Accomplished (in no particular order):

--made some new friends
--cleaned out the garage, office, pantry, laundry room, our bathroom
--got a dog
--bought a new bike/found a hobby that Darren and I could enjoy together
--made some friends with kids Zach's age
--took a trip alone (very weird feeling to be without Zach)
--reconnected with an old friend from high school
--got contact lenses
--got caught up on uploading pictures/ordering prints (TODAY)
--took tap dancing lessons

Well, uh, I guess that's about it. Not such an impressive list, but that's all right.

Goals for the future are:

--Lose weight
--Get pregnant (hmm. could counteract lose weight)
--Make it to Austin on my bike
--Get caught up on my photo albums
--Get two cars in the garage
--Buy a Honda Pilot
--Buy a Nintendo Wii (we don't have any video games, and have decided to buy this as a reward for finishing the MS 150)
--Make a career change/get a new teaching position in art or elementary school
--Clean out my closet

OK, time to shower. Have a great night, and don't drink as much as I plan to.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas!

OK, Christmas technically ended almost half an hour ago, but I'm still awake, so it should count...

We have had a great time the past few days. It's been nice being home with my boys, trying to relax and enjoy each other's company. Zach and I did some mommy-son things this week, and I even enjoyed myself. If we do any more things together here, though, I will need to invest in some black exercise pants to wear out and about. Paired with an oversize t-shirt and visible panty line, they seem to be de riguer for outings in The Woodlands. I know I am not a fashion plate, but I do try to make an effort to look nice when I leave the house every day. Exercise pants, in my opinion, belong at the gym, or when you don't plan to leave the house.

Anyway, this week, Zach and I took a friend to Pump it Up, which is this indoor inflatable playplace. I am not big on outings with lots of other mommy-types, but I took a book and read while Zach and his friend jumped around for an hour. They both had a great time, and with lots of coaxing from me, managed to leave willingly before the session ended. Another day, I took Zach to see Santa Claus, and there was a huge area of "snow" right outside of Santa's house. We had to wait in line for 40 minutes, and Zach was very patient about waiting. He played in the snow for about 1 minute after having his picture taken with Santa, and decided that it was too cold and wet. We also saw some real reindeer, and Zach got to sit in an Old West stagecoach. We baked cookies together this week, and drove around to see Christmas lights a couple of times. I am so glad we have another week until we go back to school. I really like this slow pace that we are living.

Yesterday, Darren spent the entire day washing and folding laundry (that was a Christmas present in itself), and I spent the day in the kitchen. I made a chocolate bread pudding cake with eggnog sauce for today (YUM), and gumbo for dinner last night. It took all day to chop the veggies and cook the gumbo, but it was well worth it. Sitting down to dinner last night withe Darren and Zachary, I couldn't help but wonder how many families in South Louisiana were having the same thing for dinner. After we ate, we took Zach and Roux riding to see some Christmas lights in The Woodlands. We came home, put Zach to bed, then began the arduous task of setting out the Santa Claus presents. One Santa from our family ended up having to dash to a convenience store at 11:45 to get batteries for the Piston Cup race track, which was a huge hit today.

We crashed around 1:00, and I woke up at 7:30, wondering why no one had woken me up yet. I checked on Zachary, then went downstairs and let the dog out and started breakfast. By then, Darren was awake, so went in Zach's room, turned off his noise machine, and just stood there until he woke up (maybe a whole minute later). Thus commenced an hour of playing with Santa presents, then we ate breakfast and unwrapped gifts. Around 11:45, we started getting dressed and preparing for our trip to Galveston, to Darren's dad's house. We arrived there around 1:45, (not much traffic on I-45 today), and Sean and Jamie got there about five minutes later. We sat around and drank wine, then Mike and Tracie came over around 3:00. We drank more wine, then gorged ourselves on Christmas dinner around 5:00. Afterwards, we opened presents, and it was like a whirlwind of activity in that one room. There were 9 adults and 5 kids, and everyone was opening something at once. I didn't even get to see my nieces and nephews opening gifts, but everyone seemed to be excited about their presents.

We hung out and talked until 10:00, then drove home. Zach fell asleep in the car, and Darren and I tried to clean up as much of the present carnage as we could before we got too tired. Now, it is time for bed. We are going to go to the Houston Museum of Natural Science tomorrow to see a Ben Franklin exhibit, then to REI to spend our Christmas gift certificates on bike gear.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Things are going much better today, even though Darren stayed home sick. I finished (and mailed) the last of my 49 Christmas cards, finished my baking (the biscotti is in the oven, and the haystacks and oriental crunch mix are cooling), and Darren called his dad to tell him that we will go there for Christmas Day. Zach is going stir-crazy by staying inside all day, so we'll have to plan something fun for tomorrow. We have a vet appointment in the morning; does that count as our outing for the day? I just don't want to go anywhere right now. I like being at home, and have lots of things to keep me occupied. It's good for our bank account!

On the job front, I had my phone interview today, after I listened to a recorded message. Things are progressing pretty fast with this, but I guess they have to. I have to drive to Katy (the other side of the world to me) on January 5th, use one of the precious few personal days I have left for this school year, and take a reading and math test. The reading part won't be a problem; it's the math I'm concerned about. My last math class was the fall of 1992, and I didn't go to class a whole lot. I got a study guide from the library, and actually enjoyed working math problems last night. Call me a nerd...

After I pass the tests, I have to have another interview and register for the training cycle by January 15th. I will then fly to Chicago in March and May for training, costing me 8 days of time off. One and a half of those will be paid, but not the rest. At over $200 docked pay for each day, this could get expensive. I will sign the franchise agreement in early June, and be open by mid-July. At least I'll get paid by the school district until August 15th.

There is still a lot of information to find out, like the earning potential, and all of the exact details involved, but I am excited about this. VERY nervous and apprehensive, but excited.

6 more days until Christmas! The 5-year-old whirlwind can't wait to tear into his gifts, and I hope the dog doesn't help him do it ahead of time. I'm keeping a close eye on those two. I've already learned the lesson of putting bows on presents this year. Apparently they're quite tasty. The one good thing about the dog is that the cat isn't sleeping and shedding on the tree skirt.

Off to clean the kitchen. AGAIN.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Rush

Friday was our last day of school until January 4th. It was also the end of the nine weeks, day of the teacher talent show, and day that my parents came in to celebrate Christmas with us. Because of those things, I had to get my baking done for friends at my school and Zachary's teachers, as well as presents wrapped to send to South Carolina with my parents. No pressure, right? It seems like every time I try to do something to simplify my life, something else comes up to complicate it. Why is that?

As far as Christmas is concerned, I still need to finish and mail my Christmas cards, which I vow to cut back on every year. It seems like I send more, but receive less each year. Darren has such a large family, and rarely do we get cards from anyone in his family. I know it's the thought that counts, but it would be nice if there was some reciprocation. I am done with my shopping, but still have some gift wrapping to do, as well as baking for the neighbors and Darren's co-workers. I think it's all doable, considering the fact that we are staying home for Christmas, and not having any company. This is the first time EVER that I will spend Christmas away from my parents, and it feels really weird. I know we have to start new traditions, but I have such a small family, and we've spent every Christmas with my parents and sister. I think my sister has missed once or twice, because she lives so far away, and her in-laws live a few hours away from her. We'll go to Galveston to see Darren's dad Christmas afternoon, so that will be fun. I am sure that Zach will get to see several cousins, and run around and be loud with them. I hope the weather is decent; it snowed two years ago for Christmas. I am sure it will be shorts weather this year. We are not having a New Year's Eve party this year, for the first time in a while, and it feels weird. We have a friend who is having a small game night, but she hasn't said too much more, so maybe it's not going to happen. We have been invited to a party with some of Darren's co-workers, and that sounds like a lot of fun. If we find a babysitter, it may work out. I don't want to be on the couch at home that night, nor do I want to have a party and have to prepare lots of food, clean my house twice, and go back to work January 2nd.

As a teacher, it seems like I put off all projects around the house for Christmas and summer breaks. The two main things I want to accomplish over this break are to clean out my closet, and clean out our office. I did both this summer, but they have fallen by the wayside. My scrapbooking supplies, which don't seem to be selling faster than I am getting them in, are taking over our office. I made this nice little area this summer to sit and work, but it has become a dumping ground, and there is no room to sit and scrap. I want to do something about that, since it doesn't seem that I will be having any more Friday night crops over here. They are too much work for little profit, and I really do want to quit selling Creative Memories. I just have to figure out how to do that...

Remember how I was talking about changing jobs? Well, an opportunity for an almost entirely new career path has come my way this weekend. My dad and I were talking on Saturday morning, and he is going to help me buy a franchise. I won't elaborate too much just yet, but I would get to continue working with children, would have more flexible hours, and would be my own boss. It seems too good to be true right now, so I don't want to get my hopes up. I do have a phone interview with the company tomorrow afternoon, so we'll see what happens...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

MS 150--Am I Crazy?

I have signed up to ride my bike 187 miles over a 2-day period in April. The ride goes from Houston to Austin, and I, along with 17,000 other people, will be riding to raise money for MS research. Darren and his brother did it this past year, and I was so proud of him for finishing. It really inspired me to do it next year, but I am very scared. I bought my bike in September, and a friend found a trainer for me in a garage sale for $10. I rode 25 miles over Thanksgiving, but aside from that, have not ridden. I need to start training, so I can actually make it all the way to Austin. I know several people who are planning to do it, but I don't know if I will be able to keep up with them. It will be a good way to get in shape, if nothing else.

I am concerned about making enough time to ride. I am going to have to make it a priority, and at least get on the trainer every day, if nothing else. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Everyone who rides is required to raise at least $400. That is a huge amount of money, considering that Darren and I both have to raise that amount. I will have to start hitting family and friends up for the money after Christmas, and hope that I can get enough donated for me to ride. If anyone is interested in contributing, the link is in the sidebar, and no donation is too small. Every penny donated will be greatly appreciated, and I promise to try not to fall on my face!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Can I Have a Do-Over for November?

Well, another month has gone by without me posting something here, but there has honestly not been much worth writing about lately. I was sick with various sinus ailments from October 24th, when I got a flu shot, until early last week. I was tired, congested, cranky, and coughing. I am still a little hoarse, and not 100% better, but am finally feeling human again. It cost me three of my precious eight sick days that I have this year, so I guess I can't get sick again for a while. Now that that's done...

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I would like to do career-wise. I am very restless right now, and really think I need to make a change for next year. There are so many factors to consider, though. I would hate to leave my friends at school, but feel a little disconnected from them this year. We don't hang out much outside of school, and I'm fine with that. All I want to do after work is come home and sit on the couch. I know that's not completely normal, but I've just been anti-social lately, unless it's completely on my own terms. We're so busy that an afternoon with no commitments is bliss to me.

Aside from my friends, I don't feel like I'm being challenged in my job. I do like social studies, but fifth graders seem to come with more and more attitude problems and emotional disturbances every year. It's getting harder to actually teach, rather than focusing on discipline. Plus, I've heard that I am going to have to teach writing next year. I am a very bad writing teacher, and wouldn't ever grade any of my students' writing assignments. We have huge classes this year, and will have even more kids next year, until another school opens in the fall of 2008. Things are crowded now; I can't imagine what they will be like next school year!

I am really considering teaching art, since I am certified to do that. If not, I'd like to at least go down to elementary. I want to get off school at the same time as Zach, and not have to take off work to schedule doctors' appointments. Most offices now close at 4:00, which is the same time that I get off work. I would LOVE to only work half-time, so I can volunteer in Zach's classroom. I can't imagine losing half my salary, though, especially since we are planning to buy a new car in the spring.

Maybe I should just scrap it all and go to culinary school, or open a business. I'm just dissatisfied, and I don't know what would make me happy right now. I know my future isn't in selling Creative Memories full-time; I'm definitely not cut out for that. Will someone just tell me where I can find another job with equal pay, the same number of days to work per year, and no nights, weekends, or holidays? That would be perfect.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wake me up when October ends!

October has always been my favorite month, because of my favorite holiday, Halloween. It's also when we get a few cooler days here in the South, and our electric bill finally dips below $200, because the air conditioner no longer has to run constantly. We do get a few trees with colorful leaves, and have to switch to long-sleeved shirts and jeans, as opposed to shorts and t-shirts. However, this year October has been more hectic than usual, and November promises to be crazy, as well. How did life get this fast-paced for us? I am so thankful that we have many friends who want to do things with us, but we don't have a free weekend until sometime in December.

With me working full-time, there's not a whole lot of time during the week for us to hang out at home, or really accomplish anything there. I've accepted that, but it would be nice to have a little time on the weekends to sit around and read a book without feeling guilty about it. If only the cat would learn to do laundry...Thank God Zach isn't into sports yet, and I refuse to join any organization that meets on the weekend. I've decided to ride in the MS 150 in April, but don't have time to ride my bike.

Anyway, here's how my month has gone: On the first Wednesday, I was the hostess for our monthly sorority meeting. It was supposed to be a fundraiser for the chapter, with me doing a Creative Memories presentation. Everyone showed up late, and didn't seem interested in the scrapbooking stuff, so I didn't push it. I didn't mind too much, but I had spent money on promo items, and time setting them up. Two days after that, I flew to South Carolina to help my sister and her husband get settled in their new house. We worked really hard, but it was so nice to go somewhere and only be responsible for myself! I need to go visit her more than once a year. That weekend, we went to the Renaissance Festival with some friends, and I didn't enjoy it as much as I usually do. It was hot, and it is so hard to go someplace like that with a large group of people. It's also gotten very expensive for the food and rides. Later that same day, we got a dog.

It took several days of persuading Darren, but he fell in love with Roux instantly when he saw him. He's somewhere around seven months old, and is a mix of Chocolate Lab, Golden Retriever, and Springer Spaniel. He has a very sweet disposition, but is digging up our backyard. He stays in a crate while we are at work, and I feel really guilty about that. I don't want him to disturb the neighbors by barking (which he doesn't do), or dig his way to China. I also don't trust him in the house. The poor cat is traumatized, and is now living upstairs. The dog was a stray for a while, and came to us with mange and pinworms. He has to have daily medication, which isn't a big deal, but is a big expense. Roux is coming with up this weekend to Louisiana. I sure hope my dad's beautiful yard looks the same when we leave!

This past weekend, we took some friends to see Cowboy Mouth at a bar in Houston. It's been two years since we saw them in concert, and it was a great show! I always feel revived after I see them live. They are so much better live than they are on CD. Zach spent the night with another friend that night, so Darren and I went out to breakfast before meeting up with them Saturday morning. It was so weird to get to talk to each other without interruption! We decided to clean out our garage last weekend, and after we pulled everything out, realized that we needed to go and get some storage shelves. Lowe's made a nice sum of money off us that day. We skipped two birthday parties last weekend to be able to work on the garage, and we're not finished yet. We have a lot of trash that needs to be thrown away, and some items that need to be sold or donated. It looks a whole lot better, though.

I got a flu vaccine on Tuesday, and have been at home ever since. I should know better than to take that shot; I get sick every time. It started with diarrhea Tuesday night, and by yesterday morning, I had fever and my whole body hurt to move. I am feeling better, but still have fever. I had to waste two of my precious 7 days of sick time that I get each school year, and am taking a half day tomorrow to go and get a permanent crown put in. What fun!

I am excited about going to Lafayette this weekend for homecoming. I hope we run into some friends there, and Zach is excited about going to a football game. Saturday is also our eleventh anniversary, so maybe we'll get to go out and eat alone.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Another Year Older

My birthday yesterday was a lot more uneventful than last year! No hurricanes, we kept power, and there were restaurants open. A significant improvement. I don't really care that much about my birthday, but last year's was just lame.

We went to Louisiana for the weekend to see the folks. I hadn't been since July, Darren hadn't been since Father's Day, and more importantly, my parents hadn't seen their only grandchild since August 17th. Mom and Dad's house, which I call "the money pit" has been in a constant state of remodeling since they moved in two and a half years ago. There are always new improvements to see each time we go.

It was a nice weekend, even though the weather wasn't so nice. Saturday, Mom and I did some damage at Macy's, buying new clothes. It's so nice to find some classic, tailored pieces that aren't cut for people with no curves! Saturday afternoon, Mom and I went on a towel quest to find some new towels for one of the bathrooms, and Saturday night, we all went out to eat to celebrate my birthday. We went to Peking Garden, which was the first hibachi restaurant in Lafayette. The food was excellent, but it took forever to get seated. As my hubby says, "They take reservations, but they don't know what to do with them."

Yesterday, we went out for breakfast to Dwyer's, which has been around since the 1920's. It took forty minutes for our order to arrive, and when it did, they had run out of biscuits. You would have thought the waitress would have had time to let us know. After lunch, we ran around to a couple of places, and we headed back around 3:30. Zach slept almost the whole four-hour drive, so last night's bedtime was a marathon event.

I got all sorts of new bike stuff for my birthday, so I guess it's time for me to get serious and start riding. I bought my road bike a few weeks ago, and have only ridden it three times. By the time Darren gets home during the week, it's almost dark, and Zach isn't trustworthy on a bike. I need to start making the time to train, so that I will be in great shape once April and that 187-mile ride come. I just need to stop working, so I can ride during the day. Ha.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Slightly Better Rested

I went to work yesterday morning, and still felt okay until about 11:00. I decided that I wasn't going to try to tough it out all day, and requested a substitute for noon. The kids read independently for their lesson, so there wasn't a whole lot of teaching that took place in my classroom. That's a good thing, because I think I would have babbled endlessly.

Around lunchtime (11:10), I became REALLY tired, and had a hard time talking to my third period class at 11:45. I could feel myself swaying. My sub arrived at noon, and I left the students in her capable hands. I had to talk to someone all the way home to stay awake, and of course, I couldn't go to sleep right away when I got home. It took me an hour to fall asleep, then I slept until 4:00. That wasn't enough, but I had to pick Zach up from school. I managed to stay awake all evening, and we spent an hour at the grocery store. Thanks to my incoherence, we spent WAY more than we usually do. It will be fun today to look at what we bought last night. Hopefully some of it has some nutritional value.'

When it came time to go to bed, I had a hard time getting to sleep. Go figure. I can't wait for this congestion to leave and never come back! My whole house probably smells mentholated by now; I have a vaporizer next to the bed, I had some inhaling oil from England on a cotton pad in my pillowcase, and for extra measure, I smeared Vicks Vaporub on my chest. I slept all night, though! I'll probably (hopefully) crash early tonight. We'll see...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Just. Want. To. Sleep

Well, it's 4:27 in the morning, and I have been awake since 2:51. My alarm goes off at 6:02, so this won't be much of a night for me. I didn't manage to pass out until after midnight. It's going to be a fun day. I have a raging sinus infection that seems to have gotten worse since I went to the doctor yesterday. I should've stuck with my DayQuil and not even bothered to fill the decongestant prescription. My whole face hurts, and my body feels like it's weighed down with lead (or is that fat?) I sure hope this stuff keeps me awake all day, like it did all night. Right.

Zach's birthday party went very well, for the few of you who actually read this. He got lots of Cars-related stuff, and we had a great turnout. I'll get to those thank-you notes eventually, after I finish the ones from last year. We had a great weekend with Darren's sister and her family, and even went out to eat Japanese food, which I had been craving. There isn't a noticeably large amount of toys in my living room, so I'm happy.

Labor Day weekend flew by. We went back to Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels for the weekend, with Darren's brother Sean, his wife Jamie, and their two kids. We did the waterpark for two days, and had a ball. No one got sunburned, and we rode all of the rides. Zach even rode the big slides. We were hoping they'd let him on, since he is about half an inch too short for a few of the rides. I bought him some water shoes to make him taller, and I guess that worked. We cooked in the room Saturday and Sunday night, and Monday, we checked out and went to Gruene. We shopped a bit, ate a yummy lunch at the Gristmill, and headed home, along with the rest of the population from the Houston area. We stopped in Giddings, home of the famous Seafood and Donut restaurant, and got some ice cream from Dairy Queen. It's probably a good thing that there isn't one closer to our house. I'd be even fatter than I already am.

Hmm. Still not tired. What else can I babble about? Oh, I can talk about my frustrating students. That should fill some time. I teach four classes of Social Studies to fifth-graders. My homebase is pretty good; I have two other teachers in the room with me, so that helps with crowd control. I have a deaf student and her teacher, and all of my other kids (and me) want to learn sign language. They got rid of our content mastery room this year, so instead of sending the kids who need extra help to another room, we have extra teachers in the room to help those kids. It works out really well, because the kids don't miss instruction, don't get lost on the way to and from another room, and there is someone else there who can watch the kids if I have to pee. Second period is my "helpless handraiser" class. I have one every year, and they suck the life out of me with their endless questions and need for me to clarify every word that I say. I can't think of any major discipline problems in that class. Third period I have after lunch. I have the aggressively helpful boy, the boy who sits under his desk and refuses to work, the girl who can't sit still, and the boy whose neck must be broken, because his head is always down. I also have lots of talkers in that class. They take a lot out of me. My last class I have after PE. I have the bouncy boy who can't sit still, the blurter who can't understand why he can't talk to me all the time, the boy who slaps people in the bathroom (and can justify it), and two boys who can't seem to get their act together and keep track of all of their stuff. This class requires the energy of a lion tamer, to keep these kids quiet enough for me to teach them. I pity them this afternoon.

Well, since I'm still not tired, I may as well go find something to do. I only hope I make it until 4:00 this afternoon!

Friday, August 25, 2006

I'm So Tired I Could Cry!

This was our first full week of school, and I feel like I am operating on auto-pilot. I can't believe that I have to do this for 35 more weeks and be okay with it! School is fine; the kids seem immature, and are very talkative, but it's always so hard to adjust to the new group of fifth-graders. By the time they leave me in May, they can open lockers, bring the right books to class, and copy vocabulary like professionals. Come October, things will run much more smoothly.

I just feel like I have so much on my plate right now, and I don't know how to fix it. I have so much paperwork to do for school, and haven't even started grading anything yet. I need to produce something for Tuesday folders next week, but I don't know when I will have time to deal with it. We have so many meetings and trainings during our free time at school, it leaves very little time for planning and grading.

Besides school, I'm stressed about the sorority. I am currently the secretary of my alumnae chapter, and we meet monthly during the school year. I was president last year, and took care of letting people know when the meetings were, and most of the planning. We changed officers in May, and the new president has yet to send out anything to the entire chapter. I haven't heard from her since May, and our first meeting for this fall is supposed to be in less than two weeks. The officers haven't gotten together to plan anything, and we have to raise lots of money in the next few months to be able to send a delegate to Convention next June. My duties as secretary are to keep a membership list and the meetings, do a calendar, and mail out newsletters to people. I am trying hard not to step in and decide everything, since that's not my job anymore. I'm really not enjoying it right now, and would really like to step back, but I don't know how to. Our chapter is only two years old, and we have about twelve members. We meet monthly at different women's houses, and we do a couple of philanthropic things a year. It's kind of a pain to go to the meetings, for Darren to get home in time for me to leave, then I drive at least 30 minutes, and we sit around for at least an hour before we start talking about the business. I get home late, and am exhausted the next day. I just don't know if I want to do it anymore, and I feel really bad about it.

In addition to the sorority, I've somehow managed to hang onto my Creative Memories business. I really like getting the new products each month, and getting a discount, but it's something else for me to stress about. I feel like I have exhausted everyone I know who is willing to host a show, and I don't know how I will meet new people. My monthly crop nights are a lot of work, and I don't usually have a good attendance. I think it would be cheaper for me just to be a customer again, and buy what I want. At least I'd get to scrapbook again!

What else is bugging me? Darren has started riding his bike after work on Tuesday nights. I don't begrudge him wanting to go and do something fun, but Tuesdays are really hard for me. Zach and I come home around 4:45, and we are alone until 9:00. Zach doesn't listen to me as well as Darren, and he and I usually end up getting in a fight, and by the time Darren gets home, we are both angry. I know that I go and do things alone sometimes, ( and occasionally they are not meetings), but that's after I have Zach for two or more hours, and he goes to bed while I'm gone. It's just hard after a long day at school to entertain Zach alone.

Zach started gymnastics yesterday, and we'll have that every Thursday evening. I pick him up from his after-school program, we get about 15 minutes at home, I rush him out the door, and we fight traffic to get to the gym on time. He didn't want to participate in the warm-up yesterday, and is the only boy in his class. I don't know how long this will last; he's been in gymnastics for a year, but has always had a friend in his class. Plus, he's tired after being in school all day.

So, tomorrow is Zach's birthday party. I don't recommend having a child the second week of school, and having to plan a party. We are doing it at a place this year that does everything, so that is nice. However, we have company coming in to stay with us this weekend, which is fine, but I was up late cleaning the house last night, and since they will be here all weekend, that leaves me almost no time to get schoolwork done. Maybe my 13-year-old niece will want to grade papers?

Okay, time to tackle the mess that I made in the kitchen. That was cathartic. Thanks to the two of you for listening, if you haven't stabbed yourself with a butter knife by now.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

First Day Jitters

Zach and I had our first day of school today. To him, it was no big deal, but I was worried about him getting in trouble. After all, he DID call 911 last night!

We arrived at school at 7:25, and had to wait for the doors to open at 7:30. His teacher was running a little late, and when she got there, I took a picture of her with Zach. We found his seat, and he sat down and started looking through his pencil box at his new supplies. Darren and I kissed him, and he nonchalantly told us bye. I managed to wait until we left the building to start crying, which was a feat! He just looked so little sitting at that table, and kindergarten is so final! Up until now, he didn't have to go to school (not that I had a choice to work or not), but now, he has to be there for many years.

Anyway, I left Zach's school and drove to mine to get ready for MY first day. It was a typical first day; we collected supplies, set up binders, learned how to open lockers, passed out paperwork, took a tour of the school, and had 40 minutes in the gym with the fine arts teachers this afternoon. I seem to have a really good group of students this year, and I even have a deaf student and interpreter in my class for part of the day. The other students are really excited about learning sign language, and it will be good for them to be exposed to her.

It was a long day, not sitting down, not pausing in talking to the class. There are so many things to go over with dress code and procedures. Dismissal always takes a long time on the first day of school. The buses go to the elementary campuses first, then pick our kids up. So, they are always late on the first day, because there is usually a situation where a kindergarten student forgets where they live, and the bus has to drive them home. We were out by 4:30 today, which wasn't too bad. I don't think we have bus duty this year, which is odd. No one has mentioned it, and we didn't get a schedule for it. I'm not going to mention anything!

I was so eager to talk to Zach to find out how his day went. I didn't have time to think about him until after school, and couldn't wait to get to his school. He didn't want to leave when I got there; he was looking at one of his shoes under a microscope. Once we got in the car, and I asked him how his day went, he only wanted to talk about Mr. Robert, who is his YMCA after-school teacher. I kept asking him about his kindergarten teacher, and he was really confused about who his teacher is. I'm glad he likes the after-school program; he's been at the same daycare since before his first birthday, and I was worried about how he would handle the change.

When we got home, Zach finally opened up about his day. He told me that his teacher wanted them to go home and tell their parents they had a FABULOUS day. He also volunteered information about dancing in the classroom, and the teacher reading a book to him that I read last night. Besides that, I didn't get too much out of him. He said he liked it, and can't wait to go back tomorrow.

Tonight, I have to write student names on desk name tags, their conduct sheets, and cards for their classroom jobs. I get all four classes tomorrow, and hopefully textbooks. 179 more days to go!

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Zachary is OBSESSED with the movie Cars. His grandparents took him to see it when he visited them for a week in June, and he came back and recited the plot to Darren and me. We took him to see it again, here in Houston, and we had to keep him from telling us what was about to happen. He loved that movie so much that he can recall every last minute detail about it, and did one day when we were walking to the mailbox and back. It's scary.

Now, we are in the process of amassing a collection of Cars merchandise that is growing by the day. Like all good parents, I took him to McDonald's regularly for Happy Meals, and even ate some Happy Meals myself, to make sure we got the complete collection of eight cars. When we didn't get two of them, I ordered them off eBay. I even bought extra Lightning McQueen cars on there. In addition to the Happy Meal toys, we now own the soundtrack on CD (which he can sing to), a t-shirt, lunch kit, spiral notebook, underwear, and toothpaste. Zach's birthday is coming up August 23rd, and I bet you can't guess what kind of party we are having? He visits the website numerous times a day to play with this poster that you can magnify to see and hear details about each car.

Zach has explained exactly which Cars toys he expects to receive for his birthday. He has even woken me up at 3:00 in the morning to further describe the Mack truck that he is sure he is getting. The problem is, they don't make some of the toys that he thinks he will get. I have bought most of the toys that are available at Target and Toys R Us, and there is a Mack playset, but it doesn't talk like Zach has requested. He will also be disappointed when he does not receive the red Cars TV/DVD player combo that is in the stores. Those Pixar people are clever at placing Cars merchandise in every area of the market! There are snacks at the grocery store, as well. There are certain aisles that I have to avoid so that we don't have a battle in the store.

While I am glad that Zach has gotten attached to such a wholesome movie, I will not be sad to see this obsession end. I know it will continue for a while, because the movie, and more merchandise, will probably be released at Christmas time, forcing me to trudge through every store in search of one elusive item that Zach sees on TV. I guess it could be worse; he could be obsessed with Barney or something (I shudder as I type that name).

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Sometimes I really can't stand my child. Today is one of those days. He has been in a rotten mood all day, has yelled at me numerous times, and refused to comply with anything I ask him to do. It's exceptionally hard to be nice to him when he is like this. Reasoning with him does not work, nor does time-out or spanking him. I just can't figure out what the solution is, and I've had it. I really feel sorry for his kindergarten teacher this year; she has her work cut out for her! I'm starting to wonder if he is ready for kindergarten; his listening skills seem non-existent at times. He'd be bored if he had to repeat preschool, though.

I just wish he'd stop yelling at me, demanding things, and ordering me to do things. The problem is, he gets his way, because it's easier than starting a war over minute things, and other people in my family (who shall remain nameless) give him what he wants and don't make him wait for anything. Consequently, he has no patience, and since I am the one who tries to break him of the instant gratification habit, I am the one who he does not listen to. I am the bad guy.

We got home about fifteen minutes ago. He screamed at me the whole way home because I wouldn't turn around and buckle his seatbelt. This is something that he can do on his own, and insists on doing most of the time. He just didn't want to this time. Once we got home, he went to play with my new vacuum cleaner, and I specifically asked him not to touch it. He did touch it, and emptied the filter all over the carpet. I tried to put him in time out, and he hit me and yelled "NO" at me. So, I spanked him, then put him in time out. After time out, I sent him to his room, and told him he has to stay there until I calm down. I am trying very hard not to cry right now, and I just hope this parenting business gets easier. It's times like this when I seriously can't imagine having two kids to deal with. I'd lose my mind!

I have two weeks from today until I go back to work, and get to spend the day with 95-100 children, aged 10 and 11. I can't wait! It will be much better than endless days with a four-year-old, and the added bonus is there will be adults to talk to.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Adventures in Dentistry

I have always had a fear of the dentist. I think it's because I have such bad teeth, and ALWAYS have cavities when I go. I've had bad experiences with a couple of dentists that I had to go to, because of my insurance. One dentist filled a large cavity, and put metal next to a nerve in my tooth. Every time I drank something hot or cold, I felt this unpleasant "jangling" feeling. I then had to go to another dentist to remove that filling and put another one in.

I have nightmares about all of my teeth falling out on a regular basis. I take Valium to go for cleanings. The smell of the drill scares me, along with having my mouth open for a long time. I always feel like I am going to drown in my own saliva if I can't swallow ( I think that comes from my bad allergies and semi-permanent congestion). I am a weenie. Therefore, I pay for the better (if you can call it that) dental insurance that my district offers. The worse insurance allows you to choose from two ghetto dentists. I went to one of them once, and while I was in the chair, with all sorts of equipment sticking out of my mouth, someone was telling me how much it would cost me that day, and asking if I could afford it. I never went back. This past year, I got on the "better" dental insurance, which means you can choose which dentist to go to, but you have to pay in full for your treatments up front. They then reimburse you for whatever amount they feel like ( I think they spin a wheel), up to $1000 a year. I think I maxed it out this year, by already having a crown put in.

I had to go to a new dentist yesterday, because a filling that I had broke off. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much Thursday night. I forgot my Valium in my rush to dress my reluctant child and get him to my neighbor's house, but figured all they were going to do yesterday was replace that filling, so it shouldn't be too bad. Right. The dentist was great, and very patient with me, and listened to all of my concerns. However, they started by digging out the old filling, which didn't feel great, then let me know that I should have a crown put on that tooth. I had about six shots, and she hit a couple of sensitive spots when she was drilling, but it wasn't horrible. I get to go back in October and pay another $800 for my permanent crown. Lucky me.

I'm going to get on my husband's insurance in January. It covers a whole lot more, which means less up front. Of course, since my open enrollment doesn't match up with his, I get to pay my premiums until next September. I think it will be less than what I have to fork out in October, though.

OK, I REALLY need to start getting ready to go to a wedding, especially since I sent Darren and Zach to the grocery store...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

On a Cleaning Spree

Well, it's hit me that I go back to work in less than a month. Now, all those projects that I wanted to accomplish this summer are having to become realities, because if I don't do them now, they just won't happen. During the school year, evenings are for relaxing, and weekends are for cleaning. I don't like doing any projects if there isn't enough time to finish them. I started cleaning out our office in June. Darren and I put up some new cabinets for our office supplies and all my scrapbooking stuff, got rid of lots of books, and sold some of the surplus electronics that we had lurking in there. The one thing that I didn't finish was the filing. For the 12 years that we have been living together, neither of us has ever been able to come up with a good system to deal with the bills and mail that we get. I'm so lazy that all of our bills are now paid online, and when they come in the mail, I throw them in a plastic container under our computer desk. Other mail gets stacked on the kitchen counter. I wish we didn't get mail!!! We have also never put anything in the two filing cabinets that we have, and I am trying my hardest to remedy that. I am going to the dentist tomorrow morning, and need to find my x-rays, so I'm on a deadline.

Other exciting things I have accomplished this summer are: cleaning out my freezer, cleaning out our bathroom cabinets, (PLEASE do not give me bath products for a present! They will sit unused in our cabinet until they no longer smell like they should, and even then, I will have trouble throwing them away. Oh, and don't let me buy make-up when there is a bonus. It will sit and rot, too.) and, well, that's about it. I'm sure we'll progress to the linen closet and clothes closets someday. Until then, I'll be reading and playing on the Internet.

I just realized that this post isn't making a whole lot of sense. Oh, well. I probably should stop before I start waxing poetic about new school supplies. When we went to Target today, they were all set out, and looking so pretty and colorful. I only bought a few things, along with the organizers for my bathroom. I LOVE school supplies; I think that's why I'm a teacher. My classroom's really organized; even my filing cabinet! That's one area of my life where I do have control, and it's great!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Playing around with the name and birthday calculator

Name Çalculator

There are 17 letters in your name.
Those 17 letters total to 59
There are 8 vowels and 9 consonants in your name.

Your number is: 5

The characteristics of #5 are: Expansiveness, visionary, adventure, the constructive use of freedom.

The expression or destiny for #5:
The number 5 Expression endows with the wonderful characteristic of multi-talents and versatility. You can do so many things well. The tone of the number 5 is constructive freedom, and in your drive to attain this freedom, you will likely be the master of adaptability and change. You are good at presenting ideas and knowing how to approach people to get what you want. Naturally, this gives you an edge in any sort of selling game and spells easy success when it comes to working with people in most jobs. Your popularity may lead you toward some form of entertainment or amusement. Whatever you do, you are clever, analytical, and a very quick thinker.

If there is too much of the 5 energy in your makeup, you may express some the negative attitudes of the number. Your restless and impatient attitude may keep you from staying with any project for too long. Sometimes you can be rather erratic and scatter yourself and your energies. You have a hard time keeping regular office hours and maintaining any sort of a routine. You tend to react strongly if you sense that your freedom of speech or action is being impaired or restricted in any way. As clever as you are, you may have a tendency to make the same mistakes over and over again because much of your response is glib reaction rather that thoughtful application. You are in a continuous state of flux brought by constantly changing interests.

Your Soul Urge number is: 7

A Soul Urge number of 7 means:
With a number 7 Soul Urge you are very fond of reading, and retreating to periods of being alone and away from the disruptions of the outer world. You like to dream and develop you idealistic understandings, to study and analyze, to gain knowledge and wisdom. You may be too laid back and withdrawn to really succeed in the business world, and you will be much more comfortable in circumstances that are tolerant of your reserve, your analytical approach, and your desire to use your mind rather than your physical being.

You are very timid around people that you don't know very well, so much so at times that casual conversation and social situations can be strained. You tend to repress your emotions to the extend that some people have a good bit of difficult understanding you. You tend to be very selective with friends and you don't easily adapt to new environments or to new people very quickly.

The negative traits of the 7 include becoming too much the introvert and isolated from others.

Your Inner Dream number is: 7

An Inner Dream number of 7 means:
You dream of having the opportunity to read, study, and shut yourself off from worldly distractions. You can see yourself as a teacher, mystic, or ecclesiastic, spending your life in the pursuit of knowledge and learning.

Birthday Calculator

You entered: 9/24/1974

Your date of conception was on or about 1 January 1974 which was a Tuesday.
You were born on a Tuesday
under the astrological sign Libra.
Your Life path number is 9.

Life Path Compatibility:
You are most compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 3, 6 & 9.
You should get along well with those with the Life Path numbers 1 & 5.
You may or may not get along well with those with the Life Path numbers 2, 7 & 11.
You are least compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 4, 8 & 22.

The Julian calendar date of your birth is 2442314.5.
The golden number for 1974 is 18.
The epact number for 1974 is 6.
The year 1974 was not a leap year.

Your birthday falls into the Chinese year beginning 1/23/1974 and ending 2/10/1975.
You were born in the Chinese year of the Tiger.

Your Native American Zodiac sign is Raven; your plant is Ivy.

You were born in the Egyptian month of Hathys, the third month of the season of Poret (Emergence - Fertile soil).

The date of Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 14 April 1974.
The date of Orthodox Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 14 April 1974.
The date of Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) on your birth year was Wednesday 27 February 1974.
The date of Whitsun (Pentecost Sunday) in the year of your birth was Sunday 2 June 1974.
The date of Whisuntide in the year of your birth was Sunday 9 June 1974.
The date of Rosh Hashanah in the year of your birth was Tuesday, 17 September 1974.
The date of Passover in the year of your birth was Sunday, 7 April 1974.
The date of Mardi Gras on your birth year was Tuesday 26 February 1974.

As of 7/5/2006 6:20:40 PM EDT
You are 31 years old.
You are 382 months old.
You are 1,658 weeks old.
You are 11,607 days old.
You are 278,586 hours old.
You are 16,715,180 minutes old.
You are 1,002,910,840 seconds old.

Your age is the equivalent of a dog that is 4.54285714285714 years old. (You're still chasing cats!)

There are 81 days till your next birthday
on which your cake will have 32 candles.

Those 32 candles produce 32 BTUs,
or 8,064 calories of heat (that's only 8.0640 food Calories!) .
You can boil 3.66 US ounces of water with that many candles.

In 1974 there were approximately 3.7 million births in the US.
In 1974 the US population was approximately 203,302,031 people, 57.4 persons per square mile.
In 1974 in the US there were approximately 2,158,802 marriages (10.6%) and 708,000 divorces (3.5%)
In 1974 in the US there were approximately 1,921,000 deaths (9.5 per 1000)
In the US a new person is born approximately every 8 seconds.
In the US one person dies approximately every 12 seconds.

Your birthstone is Sapphire
The Mystical properties of Sapphire

Though not meant to replace traditional medical treatment, Sapphire is used for clear thinking.
Some lists consider these stones to be your birthstone. (Birthstone lists come from Jewelers, Tibet, Ayurvedic Indian medicine, and other sources)
Agate, Moonstone, Lapis Lazuli

Your birth tree is
Hazelnut Tree, the Extraordinary
Charming, undemanding, very understanding, knows how to make an impression, active fighter for social cause, popular, moody and capricious lover, honest and tolerant partner, precise sense of judgement.

There are 173 days till Christmas 2006!
There are 186 days till Orthodox Christmas!

The moon's phase on the day you were
born was in its first quarter.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Relaxed and Happy

I have thoroughly enjoyed my week alone! My house is clean, I've read three books, and Darren and I went to see two movies in the theater. I've been sleeping late, watching what I want to watch on TV, and not having to entertain someone. I could really get into this! It hit me last night when I was in the grocery store. There was no one making any demands of me, and I could get through the list without losing focus. The party comes to an end this afternoon, I'm afraid.

I have missed Zach like crazy, but I think I needed some time away from him. That old saying rings true: absence does make the heart grow fonder. When he comes back today, I'll be ready to give him my full attention, and to serve his constant requests for chocolate milk without any sarcasm. At least for a couple of weeks...

I just feel like we are always on the go, and trying to rush a four-year-old to get dressed, put on his shoes, brush his teeth, and get out of the house on time is tough. I've been early everywhere I've had to go this week, and it's been so nice to only be responsible for myself. Hopefully I can keep this mood for a while!

I guess this feeling makes me pretty selfish, but I have always been the kind of person who needs alone, quiet time to stay sane. During the school year, I don't get enough of it; I drop Zach off at school, have a three-minute drive to my school, then I am with kids all day. I get the same three minutes alone in the afternoon, and when I get home, I just want to be quiet. The demands for chocolate milk and Cartoon Network usually start before we even get in the house, and we usually have at least two hours before Daddy gets home.

Anyway, I think I am going to go and enjoy the rest of my quiet time, so I can be a better mommy when my little buddy gets home.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Trying to Keep Above Water

I blinked, and now we are already into the fourth week of summer. Where did it go? Before long, Target will have their school supplies out (or they might already have; I've been a good girl and stayed out of there lately). In the meantime, my grand plans are going unfinished. I have been working on getting our office clean and organized, and clearing out a spot for my scrapbooking stuff. I've done most of it, but still need to deal with the paper that I shoved into a large Rubbermaid container. It needs to be filed, but I have to set up a filing system first. In order to do that, I need to clean out the old papers that are already stacked in the filing's a vicious cycle!

Let's see, what else do I want to accomplish before August 10th? I wanted to spend a week in Louisiana, and spend some time in Baton Rouge, but that's not going to happen. We have something going on every single weekend, and Zach isn't even into sports yet! We went this past weekend, went to New Orleans for the day on Saturday, and boiled lobsters for Father's Day. Those were so good; we boiled them in crawfish seasoning! Zach is spending the week with my parents, and I am supposed to be in a three-day workshop. With all the flooding in Houston today, compounded with this lovely stomach virus, I stayed home and slept on the couch. Now that I missed the first day of the workshop, there's probably no point in going for the last two days. I do feel bad; my district spent $180 on my registration!

Before Zach comes home on Friday, I want to go through his toys. We've never gotten rid of anything, because we are saving everything for our second child. The only problem is, there won't be room for the second child to have any new toys. I always feel awful getting rid of toys, but Zach rarely plays upstairs in his room, and ignores most of the toys. He'd rather be downstairs, following me around, asking for chocolate milk, or rotting his brain in front of Baby Looney Tunes. When that show comes on, he will find me anywhere in the house to let me know it's on. Like I care!

I miss Zach like crazy right now. I was really looking forward to him being gone, because this staying home business is not going all that well, but now the house seems empty. I miss his exuberant hugs and kisses, as well as the constant singing and noise. Four more days...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ramblings of a Procrastinator

Every day, I keep telling myself that I will post something, but I just can't come up with anything. I am having a hard time getting used to our summer schedule this year, and I can't figure out why. I didn't have the usual closure to the school year; I left school at noon on the last day, because we were flying to Boston for a wedding in Newport. Consequently, I didn't get to spend the final afternoon with the kids, and have the long goodbye chat that we normally have. We were gone for five days, then I came home, and couldn't get motivated to unpack or clean my house. The last few weeks of school, everything was put off, because in my mind, I would have all the free time in the world once I was off work for the summer. As usual, I was/have been consumed by all the wonderful things I would accomplish this summer, and get very frustrated with myself when I don't fulfill my expectations. I did manage to organize all of my scrapbooking materials into a manageable area, which I am proud of. However, all of the paper that was displaced to create that scrapbook area is now in a Rubbermaid container. I'll get to it...What I am supposed to be doing today is laundry, and getting ready for our trip to Galveston tomorrow. I've gotten some laundry done, and still need to hit the grocery store, but I feel like writing right now. So, I'll write about our trip.

Anyway, we spent five wonderful days in New England on our vacation. We flew into Boston late on the night of the 26th, my parents picked us up at the airport, then we drove to Newport. Along the way, we stopped and ate at a McDonald's/rest area. That was strange! Saturday morning, my mom, sister, and I went to the bridal luncheon, then all the bridesmaids went off for hair appointments. Mom and I walked around and looked at all the shops, then Dad took Darren and me to drive along the coast. The scenery there is breathtaking, and Darren had never seen the Atlantic Ocean before. Saturday evening, Beth, my sister's childhood best friend, got married at a beautiful outdoor setting. It was at a resort overlooking the water, and there were fresh flowers everywhere. Some other former neighbors from Louisiana flew in for the wedding, and it was nice to catch up with them. There was an outdoor cocktail hour after the ceremony, then we went inside for the reception. It was a sit-down dinner of steak and shrimp, and there was a very good band, who had learned some Mardi Gras music for the occasion. It was a wonderful, relaxing evening, and having a babysitter was an added bonus!

On Sunday, we had breakfast, then went walking along the Cliff Walk, which goes behind several of the mansions. It was a beautiful day, and it was nice to spend some time with Natalie and Kevin before they flew back to South Carolina. I would have liked to spend more time in Newport, and will definitely try to go back sometime. Mom, Dad, Darren, Zach and I headed to Boston around noon, checked into our hotel, then took the T into the city. We walked part of the Freedom Trail, ate at a pub, then headed back We also got some Italian cookies from a bakery in the North End, which were really good. Monday, we drove to Lexington and Concord, and visited Minute Man National Park, Longfellow's Wayside Inn, and the town of Sudbury, where Mom and Dad's friends grew up. We were exhausted by the time we returned from our expedition, and ate at the Mexican restaurant at our hotel. Afterwards, we went back to the room and watched The Apprentice. Tuesday, we went back into the city, rode the Swan Boats at the Public Garden, looked around Faneuil Hall, and finished walking the Freedom Trail. American history means so much more to me now that I teach it. I went to Boston when I was twelve, but all of the monuments had no significance to me then. We had lunch at an Italian restaurant in the North End, which was a neighborhood that we fell in love with. I think Darren and I are meant to live in a big city, where we can walk to locally owned shops and restaurants. We toured the USS Constitution, then walked to the Bunker Hill Monument, which was closed for remodeling. We all felt cheated that we had walked so far for nothing. We then took a taxi back to the harbor, and went on a sunset cruise. It was cold outside on the boat! We watched the Constitution do their sunset cannon firing, then went back to dock. We ate at a seafood place called Tia's, which was fairly good. I wanted to have lobster on our trip, but it could have used some seasoning. Wednesday, we went next door to our hotel to the Necco factory, and stocked up on candy. Mom and Dad rode with us to the airport, then went back to the hotel before their flight to Scotland. Of course, our flight was delayed. We made it home around 6:00, and did nothing for the rest of the evening.

Since we've been back from our trip, I've been to physical therapy a couple of times for my foot, cleaned out part of the office, went to Austin last Thursday and Friday for an art conference, we've joined the Woodlands pools, and tomorrow we are going to Galveston to the beach. We're going to Lafayette this weekend for Father's Day, and Zach will spend next week with my parents. I have three days of workshops, but will enjoy my free time (and miss him!)

I know you're sleeping, and drooling on your keyboard by now, so I think I'll stop.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I'm Still Alive

I have no idea if anyone reads this thing, but I am still alive. With the end of school and a vacation to New England that started the day school got out, there has been no time to form coherent thoughts. We returned from our vacation yesterday, I completed my last work obligation until August 10th today, and now I'm a free woman. (unless you count the four-year-old who will be ever-present this summer) Anyway, I do plan to post in the next couple of days, so don't give up on me.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Darren has been training for the MS 150 since January. It's a 180-mile bike ride from Houston to Austin, to raise money for MS research. It's the largest one in the country, with 13,000 riders. My sister-in-law, as well as my cousin, have both been diagnosed with MS, so this affects us personally. Darren has $55 to go to reach the required donation amount, so if you would like to help our cause, feel free to mail me a check or go to Darren's website, There is a link on there to his MS website.

Anyway, Darren's brother Sean has ridden this ride for the past three years. A knee injury prevented Darren from doing it in the past, but he was determined this year to ride it. He bought a new bike in December, and began participating in training rides on the weekends. During the week, he would get up early, stretch, then ride in our kitchen on a trainer. I think he was worried about completing the ride, but I knew he could do it. After all, he is an Ansley, and they are known for their "willfulness".

Plans changed numerous times about how we would handle the weekend of the ride. It was finally decided that someone would drop Darren and Sean off in west Houston for the 6:30 start of the ride, then Jamie, Zach and I would leave from The Woodlands and head to LaGrange. I had no idea how big the campsite was; I don't know what I imagined, but this place was HUGE! It's the Fayette County Fairgrounds, and there are tents and people barbecuing everywhere. Jamie planned to camp with the guys, and I got a hotel room in Austin for Zach and me. I'm not much of a camper, and I didn't want Zach to keep 13,000 people awake. We arrived in LaGrange at around 9:30, somehow managed one of the security people to let us drive through the site, and set up tents. Afterwards, we walked around for a while, and Sean called to say he would be arriving around 11:15. We walked over to where the riders came in, and starting cheering on all of the riders. Sean arrived around 11:20, then went to have a massage and eat. He took a bus to a school for a shower. We went and waited for Darren, and also saw some other guys who we knew come in. Darren arrived around 1:45, then we went to the HP tent so he could have a massage and eat. Each rider signs up for a sponsored team, who provides a place to sleep, a van to carry their clothes to LaGrange and then Austin, and also meals for the trip. There are also several rest stops along the ride. We sat and ate barbecue for a while, then Zach and I left for Austin around 3:30.

Zach and I arrived in Austin around 5:00. After checking into our hotel, we went and explored the local Target. I needed some aloe and sunscreen, since I have a nice burn on my face and arms. Afterwards, we tried to go and eat at the Hula Hut, but after fighting for a parking space and finding out about the hour and a half wait, we drove back near our hotel and had dinner at Outback Steakhouse. We went back to the hotel afterward and crashed by 10:00.

This morning, we checked out of the hotel around 9:45, then went and grabbed breakfast at McDonald's. Darren called to say that he was at the lunch stop at 10:00, and would be in between 12:30 and 1:00. Zach and I headed downtown, to where the finish line is, and parked in a garage a few blocks from the finish. We met up with Jamie, who had gotten a ride with someone, and headed down to wait for the guys. Sean called and said that he was 5 miles away, and arrived at about 10:50. Darren kept calling to give me updates, but cell phone circuits were busy, and my phone was going straight to voicemail. We waited and cheered on the arriving riders, and Darren arrived around 12:45. We went and met up with some other friends and waited for Sean and Jamie's neighbor to arrive. Darren changed clothes, and we were on the road at 2:30. Jamie and I had a mission: eat at a Dairy Queen, since there are none near where we live. We stopped and ate at one, and before long, all three boys were snoring in the back of the truck. We arrived at Sean and Jamie's house around 6:15, loaded our cars, and headed home.

Jamie and I were inspired by the people completing the race, and decided that we want to train for the ride next year. If a 300-pound woman can complete it, I'm sure I can, too! Stay tuned for further bulletins.

Friday, April 07, 2006

A Day in the Life

I decided to take on this challenge from one of the blogs that I read every day. Yes, I do actually get on the computer every day, usually multiple times, but I have felt very uninspired lately about blogging. I can't imagine that anyone really wants to read about my life! Anyway, here is a recap of my day so far:

12:00AM Lying in bed with a squirmy four-year-old who won't stop kicking, praying he goes to sleep before I lose it

12:10 Decide to go in Zach's bed, since he refuses to leave mine

12:11 Zach starts crying for me

12:12 Go downstairs and completely lose it with Darren, who is working away on yet another freelance project on the computer

1:40 Go back upstairs to bed, after a very long discussion with Darren about various things

2:00 Finally pass out, counting the number of minutes that I have left to sleep

6:17 Curse the alarm clock and try to decide if staying home today is worth one of the two personal days that I have left for the school year, then get in the shower

6:35 Go downstairs, fix lunch, cook breakfast for Darren and me, and sit on the couch and watch the news while eating breakfast and drinking a Red Bull

7:05 Go upstairs and get dressed, do hair and make-up, and console myself with the fact that it is Friday

7:40 Load Zach in the car and head for school

7:50 Drop Zach off at day care, and voice yet another complaint about his naps, and how miserable they make me at night

7:57 Arrive at school, check my mailbox

8:00 Hang out in the hallway with my friends and chat

8:10 Unlock my classroom and prepare for the day (straighten desks, write lesson on the board)

8:15 Hang out in the hallway with my friends and chat

8:35 Mosey back to the classroom when kids start arriving

8:45 Announcements and pledge

8:55 Tell the kids how tired I am, and tell them to read silently until the parent volunteer who is doing Junior Achievement arrives

10:00 My second period class arrives, and I warn them that I am tired and cranky before reading the lesson with them. They were very talkative today, and I had almost zero tolerance

11:10 My third period class arrives, and I am so delirious that we sit and chat about shopping, food, and alligators for a few minutes before beginning the lesson

11:40 I walk the kids to lunch, then go to the lounge to eat with my friends. One of our previous co-workers brings us Chinese food, and and we catch up with her.

12:10 WIth no time left to go to the bathroom, I pick the kids up from recess, and walk back to class

12:55 We switch for advisement, and two boys stay in the room and wipe off the desks while I sit at my desk and stare into space. I call Darren to find out how expensive our car repair will be.

1:25 Fourth period begins, and the parent volunteer and I have a hard time keeping this homeroom quiet and seated. I tell her about our sleeping problems, and she tells me to try half a melatonin in Zach's chocolate milk in the evening.

2:25 The kids switch back to homebase and go to their lockers

2:35 I walk the kids to PE, then go to the bathroom and check my mailbox

2:45 I go to the registrar's office and stick school photos in my students' cumulative folders

3:05 I go meet with my team members for a parent conference

3:40 I pick the kids up from fine arts, and dread the seemingly endless dismissal period.

3:45 I consider putting my head on my desk and taking a nap while the kids play mumball in the classroom

4:10 I race to get out of the door ahead of the buses, so I don't have to sit and wait on them. I know I'll fall asleep if I have to wait.

4:20 I pick Zach up from day care, and he's his usual, happy, talkative self

4:30 We stop at the grocery store for melatonin and ice cream.

5:10 I arrive home, check the mail, unload the car, fix Zach some ice cream, turn on the TV, and go play on the computer.

6:00 Zach and I go outside to chat with the neighbors. I must move around, or I will pass out.

7:00 Darren gets home from his lovely commute (an hour and a half on a good day) with our now-fixed car, and we decide that dinner will not be cooked at our house. We decide to go and try the new Red Robin, and Darren needs some new water bottles for his training ride tomorrow morning for the BP MS 150. We explain to Zach that he will no longer get his vitamin at night, due to the sugar it contains. Surprisingly, he doesn't put up a fight.

8:00 We arrive at the shopping center where Oshman's and Michael's are. Darren and Zach go to Oshman's, and I go to Michael's to check out their current scrapbooking inventory. You can never have too much!

8:20 We arrive at Red Robin, are seated immediately, and have a nice dinner. At the end of dinner, I drug Zach with some melatonin that I crushed before we left the house. He gets really sleepy after eating.

9:30 We arrive home, put Zach to bed, and Darren and I veg on the couch for a while.

11:00 Since I can no longer keep my eyes open, and there's nothing to watch on TV, taped off the DVR, or from Netflix, I decide to go to bed.

OK, that was hard. It's depressing to see how structured my day is at work. No wonder I have no patience for waiting when I go to appointments; my day is timed down to the minute at work!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Stressed-Out Ramblings

I seem to be getting worse and worse at posting regularly! I guess it's because my life is getting more and more hectic, and seems to be spinning beyond my control sometime. The problem is, I don't know how to slow down. This pace of life is normal for where we live, and I guess I should be thankful that I am NEVER bored! It would be nice, though, to have a week where I was able to come home immediately after work every day, not be too tired to cook dinner, my husband show up at a normal time, and not have to leave the house again. I'm obviously dreaming when it comes to that, and the sad thing is that none of the activities are for my son. I work 40+ hours per week, am an officer with my sorority's alumnae chapter, am an independent consultant for Creative Memories, and just finished a weekly tap-dancing class. Besides those scheduled dates, I still have to make time for grocery shopping and any other errand I need to run once I get off work. I don't want to leave them for the weekend, and run around non-stop.

I've come to the conclusion that I need to quit selling Creative Memories. I think that would eliminate a lot of stress in my life, but I don't know how to quit. After doing our taxes and seeing how much money I lost on it last year, it would be MUCH cheaper to just be a customer and buy the products at full price. At least then I would have the desire to work on my own albums! No one is showing up to my monthly crop nights, which are a lot of work. I race home from school, run to the grocery store, then come home and have less than two hours to make food, clean up, and set up a product display. I then have to worry if my son will behave while people are at our house. I also don't have any shows booked for the future right now. I know I am supposed to be making phone calls every day to customers, but that is like punishment to me. I e-mail them at least once a month, and I would just be bothering the same people every time. I don't want people to stop answering the phone when I call, because they don't want to hear about Creative Memories.

There are only ten weeks of school left until the summer. If I can just hold on until then, I'll be okay. As of right now, we have no plans, and Zach will stay home with me. I am sure I will find things to fill our days; otherwise, I'll lie around and read, and he'll watch too much TV. We'll both snack all day, as well. Aren't we the exciting two?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Flower Update

My flowers arrived on Wednesday, and they were new ones, not the ones that went to the funeral home. They were beautiful, but died already. I guess it's the dry air?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My Flowers Are Where?

Darren and I don't usually do a whole lot for Valentine's Day. We'll buy each other a card and a small gift, and go out to dinner. This year was going to be no different. This morning, we woke up and opened our presents from each other. I gave Darren a card and a new bike computer; he gave me some red Converse shoes (Yes, that IS what I really wanted) and a card. We got dressed, and went to work.

School was crazy, as it usually is on a holiday. The kids decorated bags yesterday for their Valentines, and we hung them from the marker tray below my board. Some of the kids put their cards and treats in each other's bags during homeroom this morning, and others waited until this afternoon. At lunch, a couple of mothers brought cookies and cupcakes. During dismissal, each student got his or her bag, and commenced eating LOTS of junk. I also had a bag full of goodies from my students to take home. I was looking forward to going out to eat with Darren and Zach tonight.

After school, I picked Zach up and went to a friend's house to deliver some Creative Memories products she had ordered from me. On my way home, I called Darren. I noticed that he sounded funny, but just figured that he was tired. I guess he couldn't take it anymore, because he eventually asked me if I wanted to tell him thank you. I didn't know why, and said as much. He replied by asking if I had received anything at school today. I said I hadn't, and he asked me if I was joking. I assured him that I really was not joking, and he said that I should have received flowers. I was in meetings during any free time that I had today, and never went through the office. The secretaries never called and said that I had a delivery, either. I decided to call at school to see if there was anything waiting for me. When they didn't answer, I decided to turn around and go look for myself.

When I arrived at school, I met up with one of the counselors in the parking lot. She told me that she heard about my flowers. I didn't say anything, and went in the building, where I met up with one of the assistant principals. He explained to me that they had received a call from a funeral home in Conroe, where my flowers had arrived earllier today. The funeral home tried to call the florist, to no avail, so they then tried to reach me at school. The assistant principal informed me that the situation would take care of itself, so I decided to finally head home. On the way, I called Darren and told him the story, so he decided to try to call the florist.

When I got home, there was a voicemail message from my principal, asking me to call him on his cell phone. Nervously, I dialed the number. When he answered, he told me that he had a funny story for me, and I realized that he knew about the flower situation. He explained that he had spoken to the funeral home, and that I should appreciate the fact that my husband had tried to make such a nice gesture.

Darren arrived at home around 7:00 and told me that he had been unable to reach the florist, and had spoken to their cleaning crew. He is going to call them in the morning and ask for a refund. I would have liked to have gotten flowers today, but it's kind of pointless to get them tomorrow, and I'd rather us have the money instead. It was sweet of him to do that for me, because I rarely get flowers from him. I'd rather have something that is going to last, but it's still nice to be thought of.

After telephoning several restaurants and hearing about their ridiculously long wait times, we ended up at a local Japanese place. We all ate too much, and had a great time. I can't wait to get to school tomorrow and hear all of the stories about me and the flowers!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I am such the procrastinator!

Here I am, on the computer, instead of taking down the Christmas decorations. I have women coming over Friday night to scrapbook, and the dining room table is covered with candles, ornaments, and plates. You'd think I'd be more motivated to do something about it, but I'm not. Instead, I'm reading blogs, checking e-mail, and trying to think of other free ways to promote my Creative Memories business. I would much rather read all day than clean anything; if I could get a job where I was paid to read all day, I would jump in a heartbeat! I am the person who reads every piece of written material that comes in my house. The trivial things that I pick up would scare most people if I admitted how many details I remember about what I read, or even the people who I know.

Ever since I was little, I have taken procrastination to an art form. My mom used to make me clean out my closet when I was young, and what should have been a 2- or 3-hour job would take days. Of course, me being a hoarder didn't help the situation. I had tons of shelves in my closet, as well as my own filing cabinet. I had stacks of paper and art supplies taking up most of the lower half of my closet. I would carefully examine each item on the shelves before I decided what its fate would be. More often than not, it would go back into the closet, or, if I felt like I would be in trouble if there didn't appear to be less stuff in my closet, I would be a nice big sister and give it to Natalie. Cleaning out my closet was one of the things that I hated the most about childhood. It was traumatic to me to have to get rid of stuff, because I thought that everything had feelings. Mom and I always ended up screaming and crying during this task. Somehow, I would get it all done, late at night after everyone else went to bed. Mom and Dad would hear me banging around and come to yell at me, and I would proudly show them the finished product.

Moving on to college, any time that I had a test or project due, I couldn't study until my apartment was spotless. I would know that I had these things due, but just couldn't make myself start them. I guess I work well under pressure.

Our first house, which was 1007 square feet and had one bathroom, a single-car garage, and a single-car driveway, was smaller than the apartment we lived in before it. One night, I got bored, rearranged the whole garage after Darren went to bed, and parked a car in it. I was dying to wake Darren up and show him my masterpiece, but somehow I don't think he would have appreciated it as much as I did. Of course, being that it was a single-car driveway, I think we parked the car in there for about three days. I did feel a sense of accomplishment, even if it was short-lived.

Now, when I clean the house, I clean the whole thing at once. It drives my husband crazy, because he doesn't understand my system. I move from room to room as I get bored in each room, and clean everything at once. It doesn't look like it's getting clean, but eventually everything comes together. For example, I could start with the kitchen. I unload the dishwasher, but before I wipe the counters, I find something that belongs with the medicine upstairs. I go and put that away, then notice a pair of shoes that needs to go in Zach's room. I put those away, then find a cup that belongs in the kitchen. This way, I have variety in my cleaning. I think the problem is that we have too much stuff, and I don't want to deal with it. I don't have control over all of our stuff, so I get overwhelmed and lose interest.

The funny thing is that my classroom is always neat and organized, and everyone at work says how efficient I am. I have control over my classroom, so it doesn't overwhelm me. Of course, having kids to help clean up does save time... My co-workers tease me and say how spotless my house is, but they have never come over on a Thursday or Friday evening, when we've slobbed the place up all week. I get to the end of the week, and have no desire to clean anything. I'm tired, and all I want to do is read or watch TV.

Well, I guess I need to stop procrastinating. Zach needs a bath and to go to bed, so I can sit on the couch and spend some quality time with a trashy library book.

Monday, January 09, 2006

It's National De-Lurking Week!

This is the week set aside this year to leave a comment on other people's blogs. If anyone is actually reading this one, please leave a comment. I would love to know that I have entertained someone other than my sister! I know that I haven't been very good at posting lately, but much of my life is just too mundane to bore total strangers with. It's enough that my husband and mother get to hear every sordid detail of my life in the fifth grade; I'd like to seem a bit more exciting to those of you who don't know me.

Anyway, feel free to leave a question or comment, or just say hi.