Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It Ain't A True Southern New Year's Eve 'Til Someone's Blown A Hand Off

Yet another New Year's Eve in the Nation's Groin, and already the fireworks are loud and numerous.

We got back early this evening from a quick commando blitz-style trip to CityOfMyBirth for what I sincerely pray is the last little bit of festive family togetherness until at least Spring Break. We spent some time with my grandmother, who will be 90 this year, and God Bless her, she spent about 20 minutes of the time we were there whacking my father for one thing or another. May I say that I absolutely *adore* the fact that my father was getting called on the carpet and smacked like a naughty toddler by his mother?! It was truly a Christmas Miracle. I will hold the vision of my grandmother and my father elbows-deep into a bitch slap fight in my mind's eye until my dying day. It means I have ammunition against my father, and that, dear readers, is more precious than gold.

The next time he tries to verbally spar with me, I shall remind him that I saw his 90 year old mother kick his ass, and I shall win. Period. Enough said. My reign shall be awesome to behold!

Ahem. Sorry. Got a little sidetracked there. Seriously though -- if you lived with my father, you would totally appreicate the need to have ammunition like this ready against him. I have been at his mercy for far too long.

The trip was otherwish uneventful, other than the Ben and Jerry's scoop shop in CityOfMyBirth has closed, and that bummed Offspring out to no end. Our local scoop shop has been closed for about four years, so we always capped off a family trip with an ice cream, and it peeved Offspring that she was denied Ben and Jerry's. We had to settle for Marble Slab Creamery, and it wasn't nearly as good.

The trip home was scary -- the major highway was populated by idiots who were determined to run us off the road, and after we bumped through the median grass after a game of chicken with an SUV and a semi, we said the hell with it, and took a two-lane road in towards town. Then, some total knucle-dragger decided to pass a slower driver by coming at us head-on. We did another fancy slide through the soft shoulder, and crammed our hearts back in our chests. Luckily, after that, we passed over the river, into our state, and our town. We headed through the downtown area, to see cop cars with people pulled over virtually EVERYWHERE! Nothing says "welcome home!" like a squad car's light bar.

We stopped on the way to the house to grab fast food because I think our luck had run out. We're staying in tonight, and hoping that's fireworks we hear, and not gunshots.

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2009 be a helluva lot better than 2008!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Lazing About

Hi, all! Just a quick note to say that we're all still alive, and enjoying the time off. We have plans to head to CityOfMyBirth tomorrow to visit my family for the very last little bit of holiday gifting and assorted hijinks.

School starts back in exactly a week. I'm not looking forward to having to follow a schedule again.

Juggling Freak is busy playing with all his new gadgets, I've been messing with the Wii Fit that I got for Christmas, and Offspring has been MIA since about seven minutes after she opened the cell phone we bought her. (Thanks to all who offered advice about the cell phones -- we actually have had one for her for over a month, waiting under the tree, but I couldn't say anything about it here in case she read about it. Not that I'm "cool" enough to warrant her checking my blog with any regularity. Anyway.)

I hope all of you had a good holiday, and I send you all wishes for a great upcoming new year. May your 2009 be healthy, prosperous, and full of joy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ho Ho Ho!

For those of you that celebrate Christmas, I hope you get everything you are wishing for -- both materially, but more importantly, personally and spiritually. For my friends of other faiths, may you be happy, healthy, and fulfilled.

Thank you for spending time with me here, and thank you for all the love and support that you give me. I appreciate you all more than you can ever know. I send you all the best for the holiday season, and hopes for a joyous and prosperous 2009. May your lives be filled with joy, your hearts with love, and may your burdens be light.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Break Out The Peppermint Schnapps-- School's Over!

In honor of the momentous occasion of two paid weeks off from work *and* no rambunctious little charges to herd like a farmer, I give you a Christmas-themed meme.

I don't remember were I got this from. Either I stole it from one of the people I read, or I stole it from one of the people THEY read. Or, maybe I got it as a mass-email and decided it would be good blog fodder. In any case, here you go!


1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

I actually LIKE wrapping presents. However, there are always those oddly-shaped items that you have to resort to a bag for. I typically do NOT use bags for Juggling Freak and Offspring simply because they are peekers. I thought that Hallmark’s motion-activated gift bags this year would be a great solution for the Incredibly Sneaky-Peeky Duo, but the cat would most likely set it off at 3 in the morning, and I’d have to kill her.

2. Real tree or artificial?

Real trees are best, especially for the scent, but they’re so messy. We got an artificial when Offspring was small, and we’ve used an artificial ever since.

3. When do you put up the tree?

Juggling Freak is a total Scrooge who refuses to do one single iota of Christmas decorating until it is actually December. Usually, we do the tree on the first weekend of December.

4. When do you take the tree down?

As soon as I can fully admit to myself that the holiday is once again over. (sigh.)

5. Do you like egg nog?

Blargh! No. I’ll repeat my answer from last year’s meme – drinking eggnog is like saying you want to get a little drunk, but you also want some pancakes.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

I have a few that I remember quite fondly. I had a plastic cow that drank water and you could then milk a very watery, white “milk” from her plastic udders. It was probably made in China and highly toxic, but it was the 70s, and no one thought about stuff like that then.

7. Hardest person to buy for?

My parents. My mother has absolutely EVERYTHING, and my father gets harder to buy for each year.

8. Easiest person to buy for?

Offspring. I am usually pretty well versed on what is or is not to her taste. Though, as she gets older, she gets harder to buy for. It’s not all toys and dolls anymore.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?

No. The one I used to have was made out of glass, and the blasted cat shattered some of the pieces years back. However, we do have several Playmobil advent calendars, which are lots of fun.

10. Have you ever recycled a Christmas gift?

Yes. Usually stuff that I get from students, because really – how many lotions from Bath and Body Works does one REALLY need?

11. Lights on a Christmas Tree?

Hells, yeah! The more the better, in my opinion! Juggling Freak says that I like so many lights on the tree that you can get a tan by sitting by it.

12. When do you start shopping?

I sort of look around all year long, and will very occasionally pick up the odd gift on vacation somewhere new. I tend to start shopping more in depth in early November.

13. Favorite Christmas song?

Lately, “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant, though I am also partial to “The Holly and the Ivy” by Bing Crosby.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Praline cookies, also known locally as “Christmas Crack.” It’s THAT addictive!

15. Mail or email Christmas cards?

Are you seriously asking ME this question?!? Mail, and all handmade cards! Just did 12 cards and a gift card holder on Saturday!

16. Worst Christmas gift you received?

Hm. I don’t think I’ve had a really BAD gift, unless you count the horrid Christmas sweaters I used to get in childhood that looked like they were picked by blind shut-in maiden aunts.

17. Favorite Christmas movie?

A Christmas Story! How can you resist “Fra-gee-lay” and Ralphie eating Lifebouy?

18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home?

I like to stay home, but we usually travel, if only the half-hour all the way across town to my mother’s. We try to go to CityOfMyBirth to see all my father and grandmother, but it’s not always possible.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Of course. I have to teach them to my students every year. I’d be in a real pickle if I didn’t know them.

2o. Angel on top of tree, or star?

Neither. We have a replica of Disney World’s Cinderella Castle, complete with Cinderella. We’re Disney slaves.

21. Open gifts Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

As a child, we were always allowed to choose one present to open on Christmas Eve, and then all the rest on Christmas morning. As an adult, we have so many relatives to see that we do Christmas Eve at my mother’s house, our own Christmas on Christmas Day morning, and then head over to my mother-in-law’s. My father and my father-in-law are fitted in wherever possible.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?

People who knock others over in their haste to get to the best deals. I once saw a woman snatch a Tickle-Me-Elmo out of a little girl’s hands. Sad, really. This year, I saw one woman punch another in the face for stealing her parking place that she was waiting for.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?

I don’t do the theme or one-color thing. I like to have a multi-colored tree, and I put as many of the special ornaments as I can fit on the tree on there.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?

My mother-in-law is FAMOUS for not being able to cook, so we’ve gone to a local Japanese restaurant on Christmas Day for the last 10 years or so. It started off because they were the only thing open, but now it’s become something we look forward to.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?

Personally, I’d like to lose weight and be healthier. And, I’d like more love for our planet and less war and strife. On a more selfish note, I’ve asked for lots of crafting stuff, and some good books. Otherwise, I want my family to be happy with the things that I’ve gotten them. The giving is the more fun part -- I like watching other people’s reactions more than I like getting things for me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

25 Days, 25 Reasons

Offspring will officially be a teenager in 25 days. It will be a bloody miracle if all 3 of us make it to 13 without maiming, bloodshed, tears, and LOTS of profanity. It is also somewhat telling that I just misspelled "teenager" as "teeanger."

Don't get me wrong -- I love my daughter with everything that I am, but this age is SUCH a struggle. Everything is of such monumental importance. For you other mothers of teenagers (or thereabouts) out there, is this the way things are in your world?

For example, Offspring *desperately* wants a cell phone. Now, while this is a perfectly normal desire of that age, the histrionics that accompany it! Oh, the wailing and the gnashing of teeth! (That's mostly me, by the way, the wailing and gnashing of teeth. But in my defense, she started it.) I told Offspring that I did not think a cell phone was a good idea. I've heard horror stories of parents who get their child's bill to find out that they've run amok with it, and there are pages and pages of charges. I can tell you right now -- we can't afford a $300 cell phone bill. Plus, cell phones aren't allowed at school, so you can't take it there. Once you get home, you HAVE a phone here that you're always on. Why do you need a cell phone, too? Other than it's the hip accessory to have, and that everyone else has? So, when I tell her that I think it's a bad idea, she comes down with a HUGE case of the sulks.

Despite all of this drama, I do love her. So, in honor of my daughter whom I love, and who I sincerely hope will arrive at her thirteenth birthday, I give you: 25 reasons that I promise not to kill my daughter.

1.) People tend to frown on murder.
2.) By "people" I mean "the cops."
3.) And most likely any other government or state agency as well.
4.) I paid an awful damn lot to have her, and I don't want to let all that money go to waste.
5.) My parents would probably be mad at me.
6.) I don't particularly want to go to jail.
7.) I don't think I'm cut out for life as Big Rhonda's Bitch.
8.) Blood is pretty hard to clean up.
9.) And I think we all know my track record as a housekeeper.
10.) If my cleaning skillz are the deciding factor, I'm toast.
11.) It's also really hard to get blood out of some fabrics.
12.) While I like forensic shows, I don't think I've gleaned enough information to get me off scot-free.
13.) Who else could I get to run out and check the mailbox?
14.) And to bring me extra toilet paper when the spindle is miraculously empty? Again?
15.) It would really put a damper on the Christmas season.
16.) And I'd have to return a WHOLE bunch of gifts.
17.) And I *hate* waiting in the endless return lines.
18.) Plus, my feet are still KILLING me, and it wouldn't be good for me.
19.) Who would feed the kittehs?
20.) What would I do with all of her stuff?
21.) I think I'd really miss her. Eventually.
22.) Who else would drive me to distraction?
23.) Despite all my complaining and her crankiness, I still see occasional flashes of the snuggly little girl who once adored her father and me.
24.) She can still manage to surprise me with a hug or a kiss, even though she's too "cool" for it most of the time.
25.) She's still my baby.

And there you have it. She may make me mental a lot of the time, but I'm just hoping that it's a phase, and we'll all come out unscathed on the other side at some point. I hope we can all hold out that long.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Please, Lord -- Let Me Make It

We have five days of school left.

Every year, I forget how hellish the last week before Christmas break actually is. I remember it as being bad, but I tend to minimize the more horrible details simply because I'm an optimist, and my mind just happens to work that way.

So, not only are there 5 days of school left to get through, with all of the Christmas anticipation that that involves, but there is also a "super moon" waning at the moment. A "super moon", apparently, is not just any crazy-making, normal, full moon, but a full moon that is the closest to Earth that it has been for 15 years, and will be again for another 8 years. So, this means little people who are virtually wetting their pants in excitement over the holiday and who know that we only have five days of school left before two weeks off, but ALSO a large celestial body that plays havoc with moods and behavior.

Now, I can hear some of you scoffing -- full moon? Really? YES. REALLY. I was never one to put much stock in all of that mumbo-jumbo until I started working in the education sector. It, surprisingly, is true that full moons do mean more headaches (and work) for teachers, policemen, and hospitals. I would have never thought it was true, but every! single! time! my kids are acting like they've got no blasted sense at all, there's been a full moon.

Kids who normally are so well-behaved that I wish to clone them are acting up. Kids that I would have NEVER thought to have a note sent home to Mama are making some VERY poor choices. And not just the "I was talking when I should have been working" choices.... more like the "I hit her in the mouth because she looked at my eraser" choices. Like the "I cut my new school shirt up with scissors just because" kind of choices. I had one little boy CRY the other day because he didn't know where to sit on the carpet for story time. We sit in the same places every time we go to the carpet!

Nevermind the fact that there will probably be little to no actual REAL work this week -- there will be a lot of coloring, and lots of art projects, and on Thursday, we will be making individual gingerbread houses. On Friday, we will watch holiday movies, and allow the kids to come to school in their pajamas, and drink hot cocoa all day. That's really going to help all the hyperactivity.

Just five more days. Please don't let me go postal on anyone.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This Just About Sums It Up

Click on the photo to embiggen. Pay attention to the small print. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My Feet: They Hurt. A Lot.

Some of you may remember WAAAAY back that my feet have been bothering me. I was diagnosed with plantar's fasciitis in my right foot about two years ago. And shortly after that, I broke said foot, and the plantar's fasciitis went away. Until now.

About six months ago, my lefy foot started hurting in the same way my right had, so I self-diagnosed the PF and went out to get some lifts for my shoes. The pain didn't go away, and one night, after limping along like a hobo on a bender, Juggling freak insisted that I make an appointment to see the doctor. And I did.

I went to the doctor right around my birthday, which as you may remember was slap-bang in the middle of October. The doctor did absolutely NOTHING for me, not even giving me the benefit of believing that I knew what the pain in (now) both of my heels meant. He said that he doubted that I had plantar's fasciitis, but that he'd put in a referral to the orthopedist, and in the meantime, I was to wear shoes ALL THE TIME. Even in my house.

So, time goes by. October fades into November, and November into December. The pain gets better for about 3 weeks. Then, it comes back stronger than ever. There have been several nights where the pain was so intense that tears came to my eyes. I'm getting madder and madder that I paid my co-pay for a visit to the doctor that did nothing to help me AND that I still have no referral. Finally, after one too many painful evenings and one to many nags from JF, I call the doctor's office to complain that I STILL haven't gotten my referral. It must have worked, because -- Lo and behold! -- the very next morning, I had a call informing me that my appointment was a go.

I went to the Ortho yesterday morning, and STILL have hurting feet. The ortho ordered x-rays, which showed that I have very small bone spurs on my left heel, in both the front and back, and a smaller one on the back of the right. The Ortho Doc, however, says that "85% of the time, this problem self-corrects." He gives me these exercises to do (already doing them, which I told him) and tells me to get lifts for my shoes (already had them, which I told him.) He then goes on to say that I should take some ibuprofen for the pain, and maybe roll a frozen water bottle underneath my feet a few times a day. Yeah. Like I have time to do that.

He also says that if the pain doesn't go away with the exercises and the water bottle trick, to come see him in a month, and he may recommend physical therapy. Hooray. All I want is to not have to walk around in pain all the time.