Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

FF: The I'm Smarter Than I Was Yesterday Edition

Woohoo!! I did all of my week three homework in one day, that means I am much smarter right now than I was yesterday morning. Unfortunately, it also means I'm going to share what I've learned. Mrs. 4's won't care; she's a teacher and all about learning. Friday Fragments?

And Sara? She's just a smarty, so I'm sure she'll be tolerant of me.
The chronicles of my Ordinary and Awesome life, family, and thoughts at Ordinary and Awesome is also the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

1. Sometimes procrastination pays off. I needed to cancel two doctor appointments this week but forgot and then it was too late to cancel, BUT then the first doctor called to reschedule because she was sick!! THEN I was called and told the second doctor was quitting and we would get to work with a new doctor some time in November. I very calmly agreed to all their schedule changes.

2. This Goethe quote makes me think of blogging...and maybe Facebook:

To know someone here or there with whom you can feel

there is understanding, in spite of distances or thoughts

expressed, can make of this earth a garden.

3. Introverted students prefer quiet study environments. Extroverted students prefer loud study environments.

4. Introverted students adjust to online class settings better than extroverted students do.

5. I am an okay cook and maybe I'll post two recipes I tried. Next week. Here, however, is one for Weight Watchers Pumpkin Soup.
29 oz canned pumpkin
1 Tbs butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
3 Tbs water
14 oz chicken broth
1.5 Tbs Splenda brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs white Splenda
1 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbs roman cheese for garnish
*Cook onions in butter until soft.
*Add water
*add pumpkin and chicken broth; stir well
*stir in all remaining ingredients except cheese; stir, stir, stir!
*You may add water or skim milk to this the soup
2 points, adequate taste, lots of intestinal bubbles afterward (just perfect for attending #9)

6. Sometimes it's worth the extra $10 to find a costume that an anxious child feels comfortable in.

7. Walmart won't take costumes back after Halloween.

8. I need to buy Woody's cute exercise machine. Checkered????

9. The choirs at my daughter's high school are amazing!

10. We need a new video camera.

11. If one is in the hot tub on a dark, rainy night and there is no other person in the backyard with said person and the dog begins to chase an animal around the yard, said person yelling for Checkered won't even help if he's not home.

The Oopsie Birthday

Once upon a time, a husband had a birthday. For days prior to his birthday, his wife contemplated what she would give to her husband. She was certain that the greater the gift, the more love the husband would feel from her. She decided that since her husband had lost 25 pounds since Labor Day, she would honor his request and buy him some weights. But where would the weights go?

So the wife formed a plan. It was a plan to declutter the basement and open floor space for the new weights. She got her children's approval. She got her homework done in order to free-up time. She nearly killed her back dragging her much-maligned Ab Lounger 2 up the stairs and into the car and to a store which bought it from her. She worked and worked and finally that floor space was clear.

The next stop was to purchase the weight equipment. She found many, many cute machines. She found many, many with cushioned seats and a softer, more feminine side. But she knew the husband just wanted weights.

And that is where the proverbial wheels fell off her plan.

No matter how much additional time she invested flirting talking with the salesmen at the sports stores, she truly had no idea what the husband really wanted. She thought about just buying one of the cuter machines, but she knew that would only mean she would have to bring it back after her husband tried to hide how much he hated it.

Time moved away from her and soon it was time for the family to eat the celebratory birthday dinner. During dinner, the children all began to recall that they each needed emergency school supplies for the next day. At some time, therein, the husband and 7 year old son had an argument about the husband's new age, and the husband learned that he is actually a year YOUNGER than he thought he was.

When, during the eating of the so-so crock-pot Weight Watchers cake, the children asked if it was time to open presents, the wife was forced to admit that there was not a single gift for the husband.

After dinner, the husband and wife went to Walmart to get the necessary school supplies. While there, the guilt-stricken wife bought her husband a belt and two pairs of Walmart jeans.

Amazingly enough, he still seems to love her.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Joy for October 27

My younger sister

Gifted pianist

stellar student

clever doctor

busy mom

loyal military wife

My husband
fixer of all things

helpful neighbor

self-disciplined executive

involved dad

loving husband of a blogger

These two people I love share an October 27th birthday.

Someday we will live close enough to celebrate together.

I promise.

Friday, October 23, 2009

FF: Where IS Caution Headed With These?

Our excursion this week will actually be an experiment to determine if I really am able to post about absolutely nothing. No theme. No pre-thought. No nothing. To assist me, I've joined forces with the most cooperative Mrs. 4's and Sara, who specialize in bloggers just like me.

Friday Fragments?
The chronicles of my Ordinary and Awesome life, family, and thoughts at Ordinary and Awesome is also the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

~Our 9 year old has fallen in love with the theater. He is going to play Winthrop in a local production of "The Music Man" and we have concerns about his ego size. Each time he walks into a rehearsal, dozens of teen-aged girls call out, "Ooh! He's here!!" Our boy then struts into the room. The performance isn't until February and that seems like a very long time for an ego to grow.

~Our daughter, aka a Who in "Seussical the Musical," is not quite so taken with her role. She is to find an "old-fashioned looking dress" for her costume and was told to look at the thrift stores. I haven't yet seen something like this at a thrift store.

~Our 6th grader has a close friend who almost died last week from diabetes. Previously, he had no symptoms and there appears to be no family history, but he carries the gene and then got the flu and strep back-to-back. It is thought that those illnesses and the stress on his body somehow activated that gene and the diabetes. Very frightening.

~I am still a student and have made it through week two of eight. Honestly? I don't mind the hands-on assignment like changing my home page and posting and responding (it's much like blogging :))), but I really am not enjoying having to think (take course objectives from a class I currently teach and classify them according to Bloom's taxonomy.) Blah.

~I found no new and happy Weight Watchers recipes this week. Help?

~Our youngest child has been doing very well in school this year with a teacher he's well-acquainted with and who has a very low-key, highly organized style. But this week, the teacher had the nerve to get sick and call in a substitute. Sometimes just having a substitute come in and change the bathroom rules can absolutely paralyze a child into complete anxiety and inactivity in the classroom. My poor little guy.

~I wish I had the legal right to cut off each middle finger flashed at me. Yesterday, in the dark morning rain, I was partially into a right-hand turn but stopped for a school bus to load. After the stop sign was turned off, I continued my turn only to almost hit another mother who decided to make a left-hand turn right in front of me. Evidently, I didn't accelerate quickly enough for her. She did, of course, flip me off after HER mistake. I am so sick, sick, sick of middle fingers. Such cowardice.

~To end with a happy thought now, I cannot get into Facebook and am worried that maybe my account has been hacked into and messed with. (Yes, I am ending that sentence with a preposition.) So what's happy? I have no choice but to clean my house now.

~So maybe that wasn't a happy ending at all.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Some Days are Happy

I decided to dress casually yesterday for work. Of course, I was latelatelate getting ready, but knew which jeans I would wear. I haven't needed a belt in years, so the only one I could find had a bronze buckle. My jacket had silver buttons, so I spent lots of time fretting over that.

At 10:40 (class begins at 11:00) I was ready with my mixed metals and glanced in the mirror only to see baggy baggy jeans. They were grossly too big. No one in class would even notice my color problem because they would be grimacing at my too big pants. Remember, most of my students are 18 and come to class looking like they are ready for the runway (and not the one at the airport.)

At 10:45 I was admiring the way my smaller jeans actually zip and button now.

At 11:05 I walked into class and was greeted by a chorus of, "You're late!! We were going to leave!!" There was no chalk for the board, the room was freezing, there was loud construction going on right outside the classroom windows, and I had to teach grammar.

BUT I had proof that I had lost weight and that's all that mattered. It was a great day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Does the Guilt Cause the Pleasure?

Thank-you, Yano, for thinking ahead and posting your Tuesday meme questions a week early :)

This week's theme is 10 guilty pleasures:

10. blogging
9. ice cream
8. chick flicks
7. NOT putting laundry away
6. being home sick on a Sunday morning while everyone else goes to church
5. giving a test at work and enjoying not having to lecture
4. listening to child-inappropriate radio after the kids go to school
3. the hot tub on a dark, chilly night
2. McDonalds fries
1. letting the phone go straight to voice mail

Monday, October 19, 2009

On the Cusp of Excitement

We spent Friday evening at Walmart. The goal was to buy lunch bags and Halloween costumes. We bought shoes, winter coats, and a full cart of other items. We came home one costume shy and completely forgot to get the lunch bags.

One item we bought, a cape for Halloween, was on the $10 rack but had no barcode. There were no other items like it. We told the cashier all these things, and that seemed to put her into a cloud of confusion. She walked over to talk to another cashier and then decided to simply stop our line while someone else handled it. In the meanwhile, the belt was full with the next shopper's things and our line got longer and longer as our cashier stood motionless with her back to us. After several minutes, the manager came running over to see what the problem was. The cashier assured her that "someone" was looking for a price. We told the manager the same thing we began the work stoppage with: $10 rack, no barcode, only one. After several more minutes, while we waited with the rudest cashier in town, another manager started calling the now-missing first manager. FINALLY, the second manager told us, "We'll say it's $10," finished ringing us up, and we left. It was efficiency at its worst.

And to think: I actually thought for a minute or 12 about applying at the new Walmart being built near our house. I, too, could be inefficient and rude and get minimum wage to do it.

Now, for a Walmart link a friend sent:

Friday, October 16, 2009

FF: The Education is Forever Edition

Fridays always bring my favorite memes:
Friday Fragments?
The chronicles of my Ordinary and Awesome life, family, and thoughts at Ordinary and Awesome is also the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Thank-you, Mrs. 4's and Sara for hosting. I'm yours forever.

This week is a new experience as I am back in school :( Really, I don't mind learning, but I do mind homework. Here is the first thing I learned this week ~ the shelf life of knowledge used to be 50 (that's how long information you learned was "good" before it was preempted by new research.) Now the shelf life of knowledge is a little more than 2 years.

The second thing I learned is that today's workers will typically cycle through 5 careers/companies. Researchers think our kids will cycle through 9 careers/companies. That's a lot of change.

My daughter is taking a mighty blunt health class, and the teacher says she has been embarrassed by some of the discussions from the students. Sometimes my girl slips and tells us a bit about what they're learning. I have to say, "Hooray," for our district offering this class.

My 25th college reunion is this week in Massachusetts. There are lots of reasons I won't be going, but thank-you, Facebook, for putting me back in touch with some of the former classmates I've missed the most.

Maybe I'll do better at attending my 30th high school reunion next summer. The reunion planners have been sending me reminders for the last several months. I can't decide if I can still claim ignorance and "forget" to go.

I am all about more tolerance when little kids bring Cub Scout knives to school so they can eat with the fork part, and when the girl leaves the butter knife in the back seat of her car after a cake decorating class the night before. But the child who brought an air-soft pistol to our middle school last week? Send him away.

My little boy told me that only one teacher in his building is any good at decorating his room. I'm guessing that evaluation was based solely on the number of Halloween decorations in the room.

Went to parent-teacher conferences at the high school this week. Was not thrilled by the efficiency of the English teacher who simply gave us his spiel and seemed annoyed when we asked questions. LOVED the teachers who introduced themselves to us, asked our first names, and really seemed to know who our daughter was.

On that note, when a teacher has a full-time student teacher for the entire school year, where is the teacher (the one getting full pay for the year, but not teaching??)

Finally, I spoke too soon last week in sharing the week's examples of writing from my own students. On Monday, this charmer was submitted by one of my students at the COLLEGE where I teach. May the Lord add patience to my teaching style:

"Being in english class has teached me how to work as part of a team."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I appreciate the way Evan's mom takes time on Thursdays to list the things for which she is grateful, and I always mean to do the same thing. Now that I'm a meme queen, the time is here for me to join in thankfulness.

For what am I thankful today? Many things! I will, however, keep today's list short and limited to "T" things from this week (don't you know I'm using "T" for thankful??) Maybe I'll even get through the alphabet by the time this meme is over!

~Tissues with lotion

~Time: to be with my kids, to hold hands with my husband, to chat with my parents

~Tender friends who care about my kids AND me

~Teachers who want my children to succeed in school

~"T" who, as my new friend, let me go on and on in an email this week when I really needed someone to listen

~Twelve year olds who are really easy to live with.

Your turn :) Got any "t" thing this week for which you're thankful?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another Meme! How Can It Be?

Today's meme is courtesy of our friend, Sara, who also hosts Friday's Freewrite. She's a mighty creative girl and I have already learned much from her :) I think I'll stick with this one on Wednesdays from now on.
The chronicles of my Ordinary and Awesome life, family, and thoughts at Ordinary and Awesome is also the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Middle school boys can be silly, but this one really, really loves his dad.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Memes Continue

Today's meme comes from and the list is 10 things that make me feel old:

10. The mothers of the other second graders.
9. The people from my high school graduating class who have grandchildren.
8. Getting excited about "Fame" and having my kids ask if there really was another "Fame" movie.
7. A little too much gray here and there.
6. Going to a church where the music director is young enough that he doesn't really know many hymns.
5. Asking my students yesterday about something related to the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 and having them respond, "Someone bombed Oklahoma?"
4. Realizing that the oldies station hasn't played any of my "old" songs in a long time.
3. Watching siblings and their spouses retire.
2. Sleeping with a sick child on his less than great mattress and not being able to stand up straight the next morning.
1. Having the doctor lecture me about cholesterol.

Now what about you??

Monday, October 12, 2009

Whoa There and a Meme

The flu - the never-ending strain of flu - that took over my two youngest boys and me all last week has left us ennervated.  No, I can't even think about typing "la influenza" because it has too many letters in it and requires too much energy. 

There is good news: The fevers are finally gone today!!  We hope #3's asthma will be much-improved soon, too.  That would make me smile, but then I look at the family calendar for this week, I think maybe I should just cry.  Activities, school projects, work - more than one event per evening.  In addition, I start TAKING not teaching an on-line class this week and it requires 15-20 hours per week.  But no.  I'm not going to whine or cry or run away.  What I am going to do is meme all week.  I may well find my blogging future in allowing other bloggers to do all the thinking while I coast.  (No response to anyone who asks how this is any different from my past blogging.)

Onward and upward or maybe I should just say, "Next."  Monday's meme:  Give me 5 Monday ~5 fave or UNfave things for which I shop:

1.  UNfave: school supplies - the list never ends; the emotions tied to returning to a schedule and school aren't always happy.
2.  UNfave: groceries - the never-ending task
3.  Fave: shoes - anytime; anywhere
4.  UNfave: certain clothing items for husband or son #1- they find it easier to say they don't like something rather than describe what they do like.
5.  Fave: furniture - we never buy, but I could actually shop in furniture stores

What are your faves or UNfaves??

Friday, October 9, 2009

FF: The I Work Edition

Friday Fragments?
The chronicles of my Ordinary and Awesome life, family, and thoughts at Ordinary and Awesome is also the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Thank-you, Mrs. 4's and Sara for hosting our weekly party. It is, sadly enough, the social highlight of my week.

Tales from school:

~I need to figure out who my students' English professor is. When I do that, I will ask her why she is so crazy about banning cell phones in her class. Who cares if the cells are being used to cheat during quizzes? Who cares if students can't participate in class because they are replying to serious text inquiries like: "Hey" and "wut ru doin" ??

Lighten up, lady!

~Male students have become especially sneaky this term with their cell phone use during class. They put their phones on their chairs but just under their crotches. It looks kind of like they are, well, maneuvering things down there, but they're really texting. If the teacher gets close enough to catch the texting, it looks like she is staring at the student's nether regions.

~Some examples from this week's student writing assignments:

"When I was a child I wasn't allowed to have any friends I could have only one friend."

"My uncle, may he rest in pieces, was a great man."

"Working when I'm 14 teaches me alot. I'm 18 of course."

~Here's an abrupt transition away from school news. The following is a sign from a Walmart in New Mexico.

Is one to flush the paper only or is there a trick to flushing other matter but not flushing the paper? Obviously, much to Checkered's dismay, I'm not smart enough to live in New Mexico.

And lastly (since we're already on a learning/toileting theme):

~The newspaper reading option has been replaced in this house - not that I'll be using that laptop anytime soon.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Had I Done It ...

He ate his entire sandwich while he stood on the scale.

The goal was to see his weight change.

It didn't.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

15 Words

Essays ungraded.
Laundry piled high.
No groceries.
Can't be my house.
I never procrastinate.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

La Influenza

Early on Sunday morn, la influenza came calling. Sore throat, headache, and raging fever put its personal mark on child number 3. He was one of two asthmatic children living here who should have had a flu shot the first day they came out - if only President Obama had stopped by to pick up the tab. Since he failed to locate our house, October and a new paycheck seemed a much smarter way to experience the vaccine. Ironically, it was the very day the shots were scheduled that la influenza rang our doorbell.

At 4 p.m. Sunday, the thermometer was a constant fixture in all ears here and poetic phrases escaped nervous lips.

"I'm 99.9 in the left ear and 100.5 in the right."
"Oh yeah, well I'm 101.1 in the right and 97.8 in the left."

By Sunday night, child #3 was emptying his already empty food repository all over the kitchen floor and his parents were scrambling to see who could best take a day off work on Monday.

Monday morning at 6.30 brought the usual demands always polite requests:

"Will you finish making my lunch?"

"Can you get the laces in my shoes?"
"Do you think my fever of 99.0 is high enough for me to stay home from school?"

At 8:30 a.m., the erstwhile mother realized that each of her children had used the same hand towel to wipe their post-brushed mouths, and she nearly lost her esteemed well-contained composure.

Thus, at 9:02 a.m., she removed all towels from house and hung paper towels in their place.

At 5:37 p.m, the patriarch of the homestead used a buzz saw to cut the paper towels in half and thereby reduce the financial obligations of said brainstorm.

By 8:00 p.m. child #3 and child #4 claimed ignorance that paper towels weren't supposed to be flushed even though they might look exactly like toilet tissue.

By 8:38 p.m. Monday, the mother had moved into the sick room to tend Master Influenza where she reported to all concerned:

"I'm 99.9 in the left and 101.3 in the right."

Interestingly enough, no one even looked her way.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Gallery Grows

You probably already know the story about Jill and how she has turned my kids' childhood art into keepsake quilted pictures. If you don't, here's a brief recap.

When my daughter was in second grade, she had a teacher named Jill. That year was structured, interesting, and happy, and seven years later, my daughter still has great affection for that teacher. The next year, third grade, wasn't so happy. Actually, it was miserable for my daughter. In the spring of that unhappy school year, Jill gave my daughter a beautiful birthday gift. She took a picture my daughter had drawn as her 2nd grade self-portrait and turned it into a quilted wall hanging.

When our first son drew his 2nd grade self-portrait we hired Jill, and another quilted picture soon joined our entryway gallery. Aside from our teasing about his disembodied head, we really do cherish this memento of his childhood.
Last Friday, we added to our collection with our third child's 2nd grade self-portrait in quilted form. (He looks pretty happy despite his 103 fever.)

We have one more to go and are looking for our fourth child's 2nd grade self-portrait to come home soon so we can send it off to Jill. At that point, our collection should be complete.

As always, if you're interested in purchasing a quilted picture of your own, let me know.

Friday, October 2, 2009

FF: The Three Chapter Edition

The chronicles of my Ordinary and Awesome life, family, and thoughts at Ordinary and Awesome is also the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Friday Fragments?

The bragging chapter:

  • I have, in fact, fixed my broken links to Friday's Freewrite and Friday Fragments :) Don't believe me? Click the images above. ( please work, please work, please work....)
  • I may have complained about our too full schedules, but we've added one more with the addition of my daughter's selection for the chorus of her school's production of "Seussical the Musical."

The school complaint chapter:

  • WHY, school, have you chosen to do "Seussical the Musical" ?!?!? I attended a performance of the same musical a couple of years ago with my child's class and I arrived home and announced that was one musical we would never have to attend as a family because it completely failed to keep most every person there awake.
  • My daughter's school has a very strict dress code and it is surely enforced, but dress codes that are strict can be confusing unless each detail is discussed. We understand the no short shorts rule, but my daughter's friends had on blue jeans under their shorts. The girls were found in violation of the dress code. As a matter of fact, there were so many violations (a tank top OVER a sleeved shirt was one) on wacky clothing day that the office ran out of extra clothing. I think the school should go to uniforms or provide a more lenient dress code. Without those, there will forever be too many gray areas. And don't even get me talking about the 1st hour teacher who said the clothing was acceptable but the hall monitors who decided it wasn't.
  • When an after-school activity is scheduled to end at 5, but ends at 4:10, why does the school require the students to wait outside? My child is not old enough to drive and Checkered and I were both obligated to responsibilities 30 minutes away. My child was the only person outside that building for that half-hour. Think, school, before you change plans. Not every child has access to a quick ride home.

  • If, during the month of April, a child exhibits behavior which greatly concerns you, please don't wait until a conference in September to tell his parents.
  • My 6th grader is a good student, but he has had 2-3 hours of homework each night since the first week of school. I understand the theory that homework is a reinforcement of what was presented in school, but I also believe that a child deserves some breathing room during the evenings.

  • I miswrote something on the board this week (i.e. proname instead of pronoun) and an entire class of 28 college students did not murmur a single, "Huh?" I refuse to believe that they were ALL asleep.

The recipe chapter:

  • I love emealz. They send me a list of dinners for each week and a shopping list for those meals. Customers can specify the types of meals they want (in our case it's the points counting/WW type) and the grocery chain. The recipes are not only tailored to diet preferences, but are based on that chain's weekly sale items. Try this quick and delicious soup from emealz:
Santa Fe Ravioli Soup
28 ounces of FF low sodium chicken broth
9 oz pkg of frozen cheese ravioli
16 oz fresh salsa
15 oz can low sodium black beans, rinse and drain
9 oz pkg roasted Tyson chicken
1 t. minced garlic
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
Bring broth to a boil
add ravioli & cook 3 mins
stir in salsa, beans, chicken, & garlic
Cook 5 mins.
Stir in cilantro.
Serves 6 little, bitty portions :( BUT it is only 4 Weight Watchers point per serving.