Saturday, March 31, 2007

Thank God Spring Break Has Arrived

I don't know how much longer I could have survived, but I'm very pleased that I didn't have a meltdown, and am now free to enjoy my nine days off with very little thought of school.

Because I am already in vacation mode, I have nothing better to offer you than random bullets. Hopefully, the time off will give me plenty of time to come up with some kind of actual content that people care to read. Because while I truly love the two of you that have been commenting lately, I am vain enough that I want more people to validate my existence.

*Incidentally, yes -- I DO think blogs are vanity to a point. I think that we all want our "stories" read -- that's why we put them out there. It matters not whether they're about our own lives, or our kids, or what have you. Not that I think all blogging or bloggers are the type of train-wreck kind of vain. It's like an actor's type of vanity. You have to be willing to get yourself up on that stage and be seen by all those people. That's all. Not the "I'm so in love with myself, everyone MUST be completely curious about every little thing I do, down to the number of times I sneeze a day." Though there ARE blogs like that out there. And, I read some of those, too. I'm a glutton for punishment.

*Dad is still in the hospital. He's having a hard time breathing, and is having sporadic episodes of atrial fibrillation (chambers of the heart beating erratically and out of sync with each other) when he gets up to do his required walking. I'm content with him staying in the hospital until he feels more secure about going home, but I'm not so sure that he's as on board with that plan as I am. Or his insurance company, for that matter.

* I am a total doofus. (You all already knew that, so I shall expound on my doofosity.) I cooked dinner the other night, spattering oil all over my shirt in the process. In order to get the stains out, I put a load of laundry into the washer, including that shirt, and started it. That same load of laundry has been sitting, growing funkier by the second, in the washer since Wednesday. Duh. Am now rewashing the entire load, with some bleach for handy germ-killing power.

* We went to Big Bookstore last night, and I selected about seven new novels about the Tudor time period (my particular favorite), and settled down in an easy chair near the windows. There was a man there who occupied the other chair, madly scribbling away in notebooks. He had piles of notebooks around him, all covered with cramped, spidery writing. He looked like he would have been more comfortable in a library, sprawled out over an entire table. Offspring joined me with books of her own to read. We were quiet, making an occasional comment to each other, sotto voce, but the gentleman with the notebooks often cracked himself up at whatever he was writing. It was very disconcerting.

* JF has been visiting the gym lately, in an effort to buff himself out. He's looking very good. (Though I thought he looked good before the workouts....) He is also enjoying the coach who rides the weightlifters under his training. There's nothing so enjoyable, apparently, as watching the suffering of others as you work out.

* I got an email from an old friend the other day, one whom I haven't seen in a while. It was nice that she was able to find me, but with recent incidences on the blogosphere, I'm wondering just how accessible I really make myself. And, it's not a pretty thought. Most of you know who and where I am, and I'm okay with that. It's just those nutjobs out there that worry me. I don't mind being found by the nice people, but the freaky people? That's another thing entirely.

* Coming up this summer, I'm slated for a first for me -- a blogger meet up! I can't wait. I'm hoping that plans continue to stay as they are, because I will be totally bummed if they fall through.

That's about it for me. I will try to come up with something pithy to say. And when that fails, I'll try to have something at least mildly diverting.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Jumping On The Pollen-Hating Bandwagon

Several other bloggers have recently posted about the terrible spring curse Mother Nature inflicts on us each year -- pollen. Now, I understand that pollination is the process by which we get our lovely azalea bushes and the wonderful-smelling honeysuckle and wisteria vines that threaten to engulf my backyard. I still hate the drifts of pollen that coat everything. And I don't even have allergies!

But -- a lot of my students do, and they're all miserable because of pollen. We've run through an entire box of Kleenex today. And I have several with noses that would give Rudolph a run for his money.

Like CCW, I've made up a mantra to help me get through it: "Just one more day until spring break. Just one more day until spring break." Also in heavy rotation is: "Only 37 more school days. Only 37 more school days..."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday Blahs, Bullet Style

Eh. It's Monday again. Yippee. I got nuthin', so here's southern livin', bullet-style.

*Called the hospital Saturday night to check on Dad, and the nurse answered. Apparently, having open heart surgery reduces one to a childlike state again, because Nursie informed me that Dad was "on the potty." I could have gone all the rest of my life without the mental image of my father "going potty."

*Dad sounded rather feeble when I talked to him. The nurse also related that he had seemed confused earlier in the day, a condition my brother seconded. Dad says he wasn't confused, it was his family who was confusing. So, add "querulous" to the list as well. It's a bit alarming, because I'm not used to Dad being so doddery-sounding. He's always been so quick with a joke or an offhand comment that seeing him struggle is hard for me. Plus, I've never known anyone who has had open heart surgery, so I'm not sure *what* the recovery process is supposed to look like.

*Dad is not sleeping well in the hospital. Who ever sleeps well in the hospital? Plus, when he lays mostly flat, he gets hiccups, which are not doing his chest any good. I can't imagine that hiccuping feels good when you've had your chest unzippered. And he's having terrible heartburn. While he was in the ICU, he joked that the heartburn was like the worst trip to the State Fair you'd ever experienced. And that he was about to urp up a corndog, stick and all.

*That made me really miss Corndog. Anybody hear from him? Dr. Dog, if you're out there, check in, okay? I miss you.

*Next week is our Spring Break. Can I tell you how heavenly it will be to spend a whole week, sleeping late and catching up on stuff around the house? It seems like life is so go, go, go during the week that there's barely time to decompress on the weekends. Much less get anything accomplished. Laundry? Mt. Washeteria is beginning to resemble Mt. Fuji, complete with snow-capped peak, in my laundry room. If I let it go too much longer, Godzilla just might crawl out from under there.

*Our klepto student has stopped stealing for the last week or so. Now we've moved on to biting ourselves and blaming it on other people. This school year cannot end fast enough on some counts.

*We did have one of our school "experts" in behavior management come and view the Klepto Kid today. Hopefully, the expert will have some suggestions on how to deal more effectively with her, because I am all out of ideas.

*I'm really bummed because Offspring did not get chosen in the random lottery for an open slot at the Honors Academy next year. She's number 13 on the waiting list. Does it make me a terrible person if I hope 13 people somehow magically get bumped from the acceptance list for one reason or another so she can have a slot? I'm not superstitious, but 13 will be my new lucky number if she gets in.

*This is where I act and think positively, because she was number 40 on the waiting list for PreK, and she still managed to get in. (please, please, please....)

*I really DO NOT want her to go to the school that she will have to attend otherwise if she doesn't get a slot at the Honors Academy. Not a good school academically, and a friend who has children there this school year has already had her son stabbed with a pencil. Twice. And part of the reasoning behind it was that he has CP, and can't get away fast enough. He was an easy mark. Great. Really sounds like a place I want my tender-hearted, bookish child to attend.

*Had a field trip with my Girl Scouts this weekend, and they complained the! whole! way! through it. It was a walking tour that *they* selected! Several of them wanted me to CARRY them! They're ten and eleven years old! I'm fat and out of shape, and I could still walk it! There was a constant refrain of "It's hot. I'm tired!" One lagged behind the entire time, necessitating me to push and shoo her along like she was a recalcitrant cow, or something. Man, I can't *wait* for summer break!

*Is it a bad sign that I'm sitting here, wracking my brain, trying to think of bullets?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dad Update

I am home from my trek to see my father in CityOfMyBirth. I am pleased to say that the bypass went well, and Dad is already out of the ICU and into a private room. I was very apprehensive about him coming out of the surgery and coping well with it, given his status as a burn victim, and with all of the attendant medical difficulties that encompassed; but he ended up doing very well.

My brother and I got to talk with his surgeon yesterday, and we were told that Dad ended up having only a double bypass, instead of the quadruple they were fearing that he would need. One of the main arteries of his heart was already completely blocked, and could not be repaired, so the doctors bypassed the other two main arteries, and closed him up. I was very relieved when the surgeon said that there was no lasting damage to the heart muscle.

It's always a very scary process to see one's parents infirm or unwell -- to see those larger-than-life figures laid low. My father, typically a jokester, actually made a fairly good patient -- following the guidelines laid out for him, doing everything that the nurses asked, and being in a good frame of mind. Being my father, he was already hard at work bedeviling the nurses. I got to spend the better part of the day with him before I had to head for home, and was very glad that he come through the surgery so well, and with a good attitude.

Thank you to all who wished him well. It does my own heart good to know that my blog friends were thinking good thoughts for him, and for me. I thank you all for your prayers, and your virtual hugs. I appreciate the support more than you can ever know.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Away Message

Just wanted to let you know that I will be missing in action for the next couple of days. My father is having at least a quadruple bypass in CityOfMyBirth, and I'm heading up to spend some time with him. The surgery is scheduled for 7:00am tomorrow.

If any of you are so inclined, prayers and good thoughts are welcomed. Dad needs all the help he can get.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Wanting

I attended a baby shower for a work friend on Friday, and drinking in her obvious joy at the imminent arrival of her son, I was struck dumb by the almost visceral longing for another baby.

The primal yearn to feel the swell of my abdomen as it grows large with child and promise. To have my child, mine and JF's, growing once again under my heart. To the sweet delight at hearing your child's first cries and seeing the face that you've dreamed countless dreams of seeing. Of hearing that satisfied sigh as the baby drops off to sleep after nursing. To marvel at the tiny toes and fingers. To be wrapped securely in the knowledge that this one perfect, tiny person, is wholly, truly your heart.

Now, Offspring is 11, and would be 12 before any child would be born. That's too large a gap for me. I have known plenty of people who have had children that far apart in ages, and it works fine for them. But not for us. I just don't think that it would work out well at this late stage in the game -- we're done with the family planning. It's just the three of us.

JF and I have never really sat down and had the "we're not having any more kids, right?" talk, but we both seem to be in agreement that Offspring is our one and only. We don't really want another child, no matter how my heart swelled as I watched my friend lovingly caress her belly. We can't afford another child. (But, that's an argument that we made about the FIRST child, and we've done all right there.) We have nowhere to put another child, much less all the apparatus that goes along with a small human.

Offspring has never complained that she's lonely, and/or wants a brother or sister. She's asked questions about what it was like to have a sibling growing up, but she's never made mention that she feels as if she has missed out on some great adventure by having grown up alone. She has always been, even from the time of infancy, a child who was quite happy to amuse herself, and has been equally happy playing alone as well as with others. I wonder if she misses a sibling that could have been or never was. I hope not. One of the main reasons that we chose to have just her is that we wanted to be able to devote our time and attention solely to her. Both JF and I felt the stings of parental censure because we were not the favored child within our family, and we never wanted her to feel that. I would like to say that we wouldn't have acted that way, but in this way, the issue is moot. She *is* the favored child. She is our joy.

The thing I miss most about not having any more children is that I will never experience the joy and wonder of pregnancy again. I will never again grow large with our child. I will never again feel those fluttery kicks within me. I will never nurse another child. And part of me dies a little each time I realize that. Part of me cries hot, bitter tears at the thought that I am done with the baby-making. And another part of me celebrates.

I will just have to console myself with passing through the infant department and longingly touching the small, soft outfits. I will run my hands over the soft woods of new cribs and sigh. I will not linger in the baby name section of the book store, but will hurry to catch up with my whirlwind tween girl and not look back. I will not want what I cannot have, for I have already had it, and it has been sweet indeed.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Anyone Need A Job?

...because there's sure an opening at an Augusta, Georgia television station!

JF and his compatriots at work just about swallowed their tongues when they discovered this oh-so-bloggable moment. So, if anyone's in the market for job in television editing, this might be your chance!

*read the fine print in the lower right corner. If it's still too fuzzy to see, click here for a still shot.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I'm Smarter Than I Thought I'd Be.... says I'm 4% Stupid! How stupid are you? Click Here!

Of course, that 4% is because I spelled my own name wrong, but I was disinclined to further any Southern stereotypes by trumpeting that fact to the heavens...

Oh, wait... I just did. Dagnabbit! I hate it when a carefully constructed plan goes awry!

As seen at Russian Violets!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Come On, It Isn't *That* Bad!

Turning a year older isn't so bad! You don't need to resort to the rack! (Though it might help your lower back pain....)

Happy Birthday, my love. I hope your birthday is as wonderful as you are.


PS - Happy Birthday wishes also go out to my doppleganger, CCW. :) Yet more independent confirmation that our families are on some sort of weird dual-plane, eerily similar timeline.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ain't That A Kick In The Pants?

I'm home today, recovering from a nasty migraine this morning that left me nauseous and covered in flop-sweat. Perusing my updated blog links today, I discover that Karyn revealed that she has started Weight Watchers. (Not that she needs to lose any weight, whatsoever...) When replying to the section of her post dealing with the weight loss, it brought to mind something that has been recently happening here at Casa KLee.

I am not a morning person. In no way, shape, or form. I do my best work in the wee hours of the morning between midnight and five am. I am truly a nocturnal animal. But, this is not really a good sleep pattern for someone who has to be on call to manage kidlets in the early morning hours and actually be productive. I am not exactly what you would call "happy"or "perky" when the alarm goes off, and I stumble, muttering death threats to to world at large, out of bed.

Another item that was not real big on my morning hit parade: breakfast. Yes, yes....I know that they (the ever-nebulous "they") say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I feel nasty if I eat too early after waking. My stomach hurts, and I typically have rolling waves of nausea if I so much as THINK of eating right after getting up for the day. I have to have at least a half-hour, preferably an hour, before I begin to think of eating.

Juggling Freak has lectured me for almost all the years that we've been together about how bad this practice is for me, the not eating. I, believing all the "the less food you eat, the less weight you gain" adage all my life, have maintained that were I to eat too early, I would only be shedding myself of those calories later when the nausea bloomed fully. JF nagged at me to eat something, *anything* for breakfast. For years, breakfast and I were very spotty. We didn't talk, call, or even get together regularly -- more like as the fancy struck us.

I went on this way until I saw our secretary at school eating breakfast recently. She has a hard time digesting milk, so she brings in a container of yogurt which she spoons over cereal and eats as her breakfast. For some reason, I thought -- I could do that! So, I've been eating breakfast almost every day -- Special K with French Vanilla Fat-Free yogurt.

Several people have asked me if I'm losing weight. Well, no -- not according to clothing fitting any better, or anything. But, I look down at my belly rolls, and they don't seem quite so large anymore. Like a pregnant woman, most of my view was previously obscured by belly, and I now catch occasional glimpses of my feet. I can see more of my lower landscape than I used to be able to.

I'm just amazed that all I have changed has been breakfast. I'm eating more. Eating more often, and finding these changes wrought in my body. Eating breakfast, and losing weight. Who'd a thunk it?

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Because I am not the most tech-savvy of individuals out there, and because I'm just darned nosy, I will occasionally visit sites like just to see who is out there, reading my site, and of whom I'm not aware. (Hi, Dr. Four Eyes!) I did a search this weekend, and checked the Technorati tags, just curious to see who all is lurking in the corner.

Imagine my surprise and anger when I discover that this person linked to me because I put up a Blog For Choice post. Of course, said person didn't bother to actually READ my post, nor, I suspect, did he read any of the other blogs of people who contributed posts for that topic, either. He just lumped all the contributors together under the banner of "murderers of children."

had quite a bit to say recently on the issue of privacy as it pertains to blogs. I understand fully what motivates people to reveal as little of themselves as possible - having your post hijacked and linked up with a list of the names of other "baby-killers" is as good a reason as any to want to keep yourself aloof -- but rather than making me fearful, this made me angry. It made me angry that there will *always* be someone out there who condemns me because of my past. That I will always be found wanting by a certain slice of the demographic pie because I have had an abortion.

It matters not that I am still tortured by my own past, and that I will, more than likely, never forgive myself for the hard choices that I had to make, but seeing my name listed among all those others, and reading the responses, I am somewhat comforted by the fact that I am not alone. I wish to God that there were not other women who tell the same story that I do, but I am glad that if any one of them were to find their way to me, they would feel a sense of kinship. They would realize that this is not the end of all they know and hold dear.

While I dislike that this person has stolen my name and site address for a vituperative attack on women, I am firm in my resolve to tell my story. Part of my healing process is not hiding what happened to me. If I try to hide what happened, I feel such a sense of shame. The guilt is mind-numbing. I will not go back to being scared of every scrape and thump in the night. That would be more of a disservice than anything this random blogger could ever dish out to me.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Little Yellow Teeth

A few years back, I had a student who was Japanese. He was a very sweet boy, but we were hampered by the fact that he spoke no English when he came to us, and Lord knows I'm not exactly fluent in Japanese.

His father was an American serviceman who had been posted to Japan, where he'd fallen in love with a young Japanese lady. They married, and had three children. A mixture of Japanese and English was spoken in their home. Then, came the recent "war on terror" and Dad was deployed to Iraq. Mother was left at home with the three small children, and since she was not conversant in English at all, Japanese was the only language being spoken at home.

So, for two years, Ichi (the first child, hence Ichi, the Japanese word for one) only heard Japanese in his home. His father was not around to provide the English portion of his language skills, so they went rusty over his deployment. After his father returned from Iraq, the family was uprooted almost immediately and posted to the base here in Humidity Like A Brick Wall. Ichi was enrolled in my class, and was confused from the start. His father did not want him sent to the English as a Second Language school (which was only in the next neighborhood over) and wanted him immersed in as much English as possible, as quickly as possible. So, Ichi muddled along, aping the actions of all the other children. When they got up, he got up. When they sat, he sat. When they ate lunch, he ate lunch.

As for lunch; Ichi was used to more traditional Japanese foods, so he tended to bring a bento-like lunch box to school every day instead of purchasing the school lunch. One day during lunch, Ichi looks around the table wide-eyed, and promptly vomits on the floor. With very little in the way of verbal abilities, he mimes that he doesn't feel well, and off we troop to the nurses' office. I try to explain to the nurse, and later his mother, that he seemed fine all morning, but that he vomited suddenly at lunch. Ichi goes home sick that day, but returns in a fine mood the next day.

A few weeks pass, and the situation repeats itself again. I'm wondering why Ichi only gets sick at lunch -- he's not eating the same thing; he doesn't seem ill, and isn't warm; he's not even sitting in the same place as the last time. I wonder what triggered the reaction. When mother arrives to pick Ichi up from the nurse's office, mother manages to convey that Ichi seems very distressed by something that happened in the cafeteria. After a little halting Japanese from me, and some equally unsure English from mother, we determine that Ichi is reacting to something he's seeing that's being eaten. Mother says, "They eat little yellow teeth, and he no like."

Little yellow teeth? I go back to the table and discover that the children are eating corn. Ichi has never seen corn before, and to him, it resembles a cup full of yellowed teeth! No wonder the poor child freaked out! So, we go get our science dictionary, and point out the corn in all its stages of growth. We show Ichi how the corn grows on the stalk, and what it looks like whole. We then cut the corn from the cob, so he can see how it looks both before and after. After that, there's no more vomiting incidents, but Ichi looks extremely ill-at-ease any time corn is served. Poor guy. I hope we didn't scar him for life!