Wednesday, March 31, 2010

090 / 365: Bank....Shmank!

I had my first official dealings with my new bank today.

Last week, my old bank, First Market Bank, merged with Union Trust to form Union First Market Bank. FMB was owned by Richmond's famous Ukrop's family, who wisely decided to ride into the sunset this year. Now my little bank was becoming big. A little too big, as during the transition, my debit card was rejected by the gas station (and there were reports of many other people having problems). Sigh...I should have known I'd be in for a bumpy ride.

My first task was to activate my online account. This process took an hour and two phone calls to customer service. I could have done this last week, but my procrastination side took over. This caused me to rush through the sign up procedure, which caused me to be locked out of my account, which forced me to call customer service. And, as if I didn't have enough, I repeated the entire sequence, including the call to customer service. Thank goodness I didn't get the same person!

Next was the paycheck debacle. We received an e-mail from payroll on Friday that today's paycheck would not be directly deposited if we had an account with Union First Market Bank. Seems they were still working out some glitches. I became a Nervous Nellie, knowing that this was the paycheck that paid the mortgage. Somehow, I had to get my paycheck and get it to the bank so that it had time to clear before tomorrow's mortgage payment. All before a training I had to do at 11.

Murphy's Law kicked in: I didn't get my check til 10:30. However, God was good and I actually got to my training with five minutes to spare. The bank people promised me that this was the only time I had to do this. I hope so. Like I said, I hope my nice little bank isn't getting too big!

Until next away!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

089 / 365: Maybe?

I have a feeling, albeit slight, that I might get a full night's sleep tonight. Pain is under control. Keep your fingers crossed.

Until next time...cross away!

Monday, March 29, 2010

088 / 365: Root Canal Haiku

Root canal is done.
Tender but some improvement.
Maybe sleep will come!

Until next time....heal away!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

087 / 365: A Good Egg...

Yes he's a mess, but he's all mine!

MGR is a good soul. While silliness, abruptness and an "occasional" run off of the mouth exudes from his exterior, his interior is one of compassion, care and goodness. In this Easter season, it would be appropriate to call him a "Good Egg".

My toothache has prevented me from being at my best: as a wife, mother and productive human being. He has picked up where I left off: offering to run errands, doing the laundry, cooking and even some cleaning. All the while, he has maintained his "Father of the Year" status. The other night, I walked in on him and SRR. They froze like deer in headlights: MGR in a pilot's hat and aviator glasses, holding a rifle while "Mini-Me" was dressed up holding a light saber. They were shooting enemies while flying the couch across the sky. Awesome! Then he took JOR with him to play games at a local comic shop.

He was doing all of this while prepping (and fretting) over his observation. I don't know why he was fretting, he is good at what he does. He has a wonderful group of students and it's been a productive year, thus far. He knows his strengths and weaknesses and works on them. While he's not a fan of standardized tests (who is?), he does what he has to in order for his kids to do well. However, he does believe in fun as a main ingredient to learning, allowing for various projects and activities that make school an enjoyable place for his students.

This good egg has put up with me for almost 10 years. He must be cracked! I hope he knows how much I love him. And that's no "yolk"!

Until next time....crack away!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

086 / 365: The Fit Family, Year 2

Another year in the record books. A FREEZING year!

I'm so proud of these three boys. They ran a great race. MGR told me SRR had trouble staying with the slower duet. He was itching to leave them in the dust. JOR also had a good run, not stopping at all. That's an amazing accomplishment for him. Yeah boys!!

My turn next. Oye, what a mess!

The cold temps and colder breeze were not good for me. I guess between the cold, the waiting around, the lack of water yesterday, and the lack of proper training the past 3 months, I did not run my best race. The first two miles were OK, I was slower on miles 3 & 4, and by mile 5 by entire right leg was cramped up. It was not pretty. Sadly, my time was not as good as last year.

I could sit here and wallow in self-pity, but I'm not going to. I had my "mad" hour, now it's time to move on. There were lots of positive things about today:
-My family had fun at the race, despite their constant complaining about the weather.
-As I was lining up at the starting gate, I saw the most amazing event: a group of visually handicapped people, white canes and all, were prepping for the race. It was totally inspiring!
-My great friend, JSG and her amazing daughter, IMG, place second in a singing competition. Awesome!!
-I survived playing Mass w/ only two days to practice the music.
-My tooth didn't drive me crazy...til about an hour ago.
-The stinky finish wasn't the end of the world. This is just the beginning of race season, so I have a couple more chances to redeem myself, and lots more chances to get off my dupa and do some real training!
-Tomorrow I get to recharge my batteries after a very hectic week!

Until next away!

Friday, March 26, 2010

085 / 365: 10K Vigil Haiku

Sticker at Expo:
"In my dreams, I am Kenyan."
Need miracle now!

Until next time...dream away!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

084 / 365: Oh My Stars!

They pulled it together!

JOR and SRR redeemed themselves this week: a decent week at school (all greens) and home, a good drama rehearsal, and then tonight's stellar performance! (Catch it on my FB page.)

I am so proud of these two squirts!

Until next time....listen away!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

083 / 365: Oh, the pain!

God is showing his sense of humor....again.

This toothache has been around for a few weeks, but it was nothing serious. A twinge here, an ache there, I was handling it. Then last week, the pain intensified and stayed around longer....and longer....and longer...


Usually I have a high tolerance of pain, but this is driving me crazy. Not only does it hurt, but it's slowing me down and turning me into a not so nice person. This is not the week for this. Tomorrow starts a marathon of events that carries us to Sunday. Events such as:
-Thurs.: Boys to drama class.
-Boys' performing at school talent show.
-Fri. morning: 2 trainings.
-Pick up race bibs.
-JOR to church retreat.
-Sat.: Kids miles for JOR, SRR and MGR
-10K (hopefully with no tooth pain!)
-Play Palm Sunday Vigil
-Sun.: SLEEP IN!
-Yardwork (Weather permitting.)

OK, so I need positive thoughts, prayers and vibes that I can make it to Sunday!!

Until next time....pain be gone!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

082 / 365: I don't get it!

OK, maybe I'm confused. (Doesn't take much!) I have a few questions for those who are anti-health care reform:
-You're unemployed, no insurance and a pre-existing condition. You could have an opportunity for coverage. Is that so bad?
-You pay $3,000 for your son's back brace, and that's with insurance. The whole mechanism is about $500 worth of parts and labor. Do you see a problem with that?
-You have a child with high functioning autism. You doubt he'll make it on his own. Isn't it good to know he'll have health insurance until he's 26, instead of the standard 21? Lots can happen in 5 years.
-Your wife had an infection that nearly killed her. She now has no legs and only some of her fingers. There was a fundraiser to help you pay for medical bills. You have insurance, yet you still had to reach out to the community for help. Why?
-You have a premature baby and due to the many complications, have had to pay over $15,000 in medical bills. What if you or your husband has to switch jobs. That baby has a pre-existing condition. What insurance company would carry him?
-People with critical illnesses have to wait (and sadly die) in emergency rooms, because those without insurance are clogging up the ERs for simple things like a head cold. Does this need to happen?
-Are you scared because your husband, the small business owner, might go out of business because of health care costs? He is exempt from paying if he has less than 50 employees.
-Do you think pro-life is only for the unborn? What about improving the quality of life for ALL people, unborn AND born. Isn't that the PRO in PRO-life?
-Nobody has complained that we have mandatory car insurance. Why are cars more important than people?

Why are you all angry? People were trying to help you, make life easier for you, maybe even save you some money and give you peace. Why are you listening to politicians and "journalists" who have their pockets padded with money from insurance companies? Why are you listening to people who have the money and resources to take care of their own families? Why are you listening to people who DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU! They just want the money and the glory!

I'm sad that in 2010, we are still forced to deal with callous, racist, homophobic, narrow minded people who are being fed the food of hatred while sitting at the CHRISTIAN table. Honestly, do you think it's Christ-like to spit at a lawmaker, to judge a person by the color of their skin or their sexual orientation? Isn't that hypocritical? Whatever happened to "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me."?

I am disappointed, angry and confused. What I thought was a sign of hope, that all would have access to affordable, quality health care, has become a sign of hatred. As an American, I am embarrassed for my fellow citizens. As a Christian, I am disgusted with the anti Christlike behavior (and am continually praying for it to stop!). As a human (and a pseudo-optimist), I am hoping that this will pass....and quickly!

Until next time...hope away!

Monday, March 22, 2010

081 / 365: Could it be....

-that our supposedly advanced country will now have affordable health care for all? (Good news!)

-that our supposedly advanced country has resorted to name calling and spitting because they didn't get what they want? (Bad / Sad news!)

We have a long way to go.

Until next time....grow up America!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

080 / 365: Martial Law: Final Day

Whew! We made it!!

Martial Law has been lifted and the citizens are free to roam again, provided they don't botch it up. JOR and SRR seemed contrite and humbled by the events, or lack thereof, of the weekend.

This was a learning experience for me as well. It was much harder for me to correct my own kids than a classroom full of others'. I assumed (yucky word) that lots of what I had asked of the boys was known, such as how to put clothes away properly or how to put toys away, or even loading the dishwasher. I realized that I needed to work with them: introducing the skill, modeling and then allowing them to practice it before I check on them. Sounds familiar after being in the classroom for 22 years. A big DUH on my part.

I really need to take a step back and put myself in their shoes: What does Mom mean, "Clean up your room." What do I do? How do I do it? Oh well, I just sit here and read comics til she comes up here, screams, then does it herself.....

To celebrate freedom, we treated the boys to dinner at Waffle House. You would have thought we took them to heaven! They ate like there was no tomorrow and were kind and polite to everyone. We had lots of laughs over dinner and afterwards as we took a walk around the neighborhood. They fell asleep quickly!

JOR and SRR really are good kids! Hopefully, Martial Law will not become the MO at the Ranch. I'm getting too old for this!

Until next time....liberate away!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

079 / 365: Martial Law: Day 2

I'm not sure who is being punished: me or them.

It was a very long day under Martial Law. JOR and SRR had sessions of hard labor both in and out of the house. "Hard labor" is a subjective term, especially for these two. As I worked to quickly vacuum up three bags of leaves, they took forever filling one. Occasionally I had to spot check and demonstrate what needed to be done, only to leave the scene and hear this:
J: "Gimme the rake!"
S: "No! You had it last!"
J: "No I didn't, you did!"
S: "It's my turn!"
J: "I don't want to pick up the stupid leaves!"
S: "Me either! Why do we have to do this anyway?"
And so on, ad nauseum.....

Their other outdoor chore, after attempting to pick up leaves in the flower beds, was to clean off the deck. Simple stuff: leaves out of the planters, sweep the deck, move the hose. Well, as you can see from the picture, the tension was so thick you could cut it with a chainsaw!

Once this hour of sheer hell was finished, we showered, did some shopping and brought Chinese food home for dinner. After dinner, I coached them on their lines for the next big production in June. That was difficult to do as they nodded off to sleep after each scene. I'm almost there myself. One more day of this. I really hope this is sinking in..... Or am I just sinking?

Until next time.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

078 / 365: Martial Law: Day 1

...and so it is at the R Ranch!

The first day of Martial Law (ML) began with an explanation as to why this was occurring. Mommy and Daddy sat JOR and SRR down and explained that in many countries where the leaders have lost control and need to regain it, ML is enacted to make the country safe and stable until a more peaceful means is found. This is a drastic measure used only when the citizens' behavior undermines the law of the land.

OK, so I was busy patting myself on the back when I heard, "Can we play now?" Ugh!

After a rough ride to school, they supposedly had a better day than yesterday. Both stayed on green and even had their picture taken together (this should be good...).

Then they came home.....

While cooking dinner, the neighbors came over to see if the boys could play. I had to explain that they were on restriction for the weekend and won't be able to play til Monday. This killed JOR and SRR! (Yes!) Then they had to find a quiet activity. JOR finally pulled out the microscope he got for Christmas. "Mom, this is SO cool!" SRR designed a generator from a cardboard box. Hmmmm...... Are they know...that thing...that..brain?!?!?!

Then the rest of the night featured dinner, an in and out trip to Target, YMCA without swimming (this killed them also!), they brought their laundry down, read a book, had snack, then bed. Tomorrow, they will find their list of activities posted on our family whiteboard. I'm sure this is going to go over well....not!

Until next time....police away!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

077 / 365: The pain....

...of parenthood.

This week was a rough one for our offspring. SRR had a color change at school, and has had "run-mouth-itis", arguing over everything. Even our JOR, the old angel, had his first color change ever this week.....for making fun of somebody! Also, his test scores for the gifted program came back and showed that he was far less than gifted....he was lazy! Then, their drama teacher said they didn't know their lines this week.

OK, I may be overreacting, but I am crushed!! I'm crushed because the boys are working me by arguing and being disrespectful. I'm crushed because my "angel" is making fun of other kids. I'm crushed that my smart, talented boys are not living up to their potential. I'm crushed because I'm being told, "Don't worry. This is normal. It's just the beginning." I'm crushed because I'm also being told, "Everyone is getting edgy 'cause it's getting closer to Spring Break."

Guess what? I am worried! I don't want them growing up nasty and unmotivated. I don't want them thinking this behavior is acceptable. I don't want them to think that this is the beginning of years of torturing Mom. And, truthfully, I don't care if it's close to Spring Break or Arbor Day! Thus, Martial Law will be enacted in the R Ranch this weekend.

I had initially made fun plans for the weekend: a visit to the Richmond's Children's Museum and the state park for a Spring Scavenger Hunt. None of it's happening now. The consequence for their incorrect behaviors that culminated into this weeks' issues will be a weekend at home with....nothing! No TV, video games, or computers. Just books, schoolwork, cleaning and maybe, just maybe, a walk around the block with their mother (they are doing the First Market Kids' Mile next weekend). Perhaps maybe a discussion or activity (or 2 or 3) about behavior and consequences. I cannot stand by and watch them self-destruct. It's bad enough watching them grow up, but it's even worse when they think they've already grown up!

Don't bother to contact them this weekend. We're starting with a 10 mile hike with full pack....and then we'll really get busy!

Until next time...pray for me!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

076 / 365: Dance therapy....

I danced my cares away today. Well, for two hours anyway...

I attended a workshop for music and physical education teachers. This session was a share session of dances from different countries. Strategies, techniques and resources were shared amongst colleagues.

While it was nice to meet new teachers and great to see old friends, the dancing was the best part. I actually broke a sweat during an Israeli folk dance. For two hours, I got to forget everything and mindfully dance! It felt great!

Until next away!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

075 / 365: Springpad

Technology can be fun....sometimes!

In my quest to live in the present, I have secured the use of a cool app called Springpad. This FREE app will help me remember what I don't want to store in my brain. It has a mobile feature, so I can keep track on my phone as well.

Judging by the looks of it, this app maybe helpful in my search for serenity. I hope!

Until next time...springpad away!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

074 / 365: Second "Mindful" day...sort of...

Now I know why "Mindful Living" has to be practiced....

Something told me today would be a challenge. Mindful Living, aka living in the present, was very difficult today. Could it have been the e-mails, the scheduling, the two media projects I wanted to finish today before driving across the county to deliver a DVD? Uh...yup!

I tried to start the day by focusing on project #1. As I worked, the e-mails came in and I had to respond to them. In retrospect, I should have shut the e-mail account off until I was done w/ project #1. Then I had to meet with the teacher for project #2, while #1 waited. I ended up working on both, even trying to do it simultaneously until my laptop froze. It must have been reflecting my brain on multitask mode.

Well, at the end of the day, some of the stuff was done, not all of it to my liking, so I will go back and "tweak". The DVD was delivered and I even got in 45 min. on the eliptical before heading home.

After the usual evening ritual, I gave the boys this paper from today's UPS delivery. I could have gone to pay bills, get ready for tomorrow's lessons or tomorrow night's party. Not happening. I watched them design their backdrop for their movie (their idea). They were being kind with each other and very amusing to me. I enjoyed that "mindful" time of watching my guys go through the creative process. The other stuff got done later.

Mindful score: Home 1, Work 0. I'll "practice" again tomorrow.

Until next time....practice away!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

073 / 365: First Full "Mindful" day...

I "practiced" more "Mindful Living" today. Some bulleted observations:
-Stress level slightly decreased as I tried to focus on the "here and now" and what I was doing at the present, not what I needed to do. Didn't feel too overwhelmed.
-Enjoyed time with my family. Even though I was on the computer while they watched a movie, I did take "gratitude breaks" and watched how much they enjoyed the movie and how lucky I was to have all of them around me.
-Played video games with the boys without thinking about what to wear to work tomorrow or what I was going to have for lunch. We had a blast!
-Seemed more relaxed.
-Stuff still got done: clothes, lunch planned, dinner menus for the week done, trash taken out, calendar / schedule updated for the week, etc.

However, the caveat comes in the fact that I started this "practice" on a weekend. The true test will begin tomorrow as the work week commences. Should prove to be interesting....

Until next away!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

072 / 365: Mindful...

I think I am at the beginnings of an epiphany.....

Today started out rough. While I knew to get the boys' swim gear together for our morning trip to the YMCA, I forgot my essential running tool: my phone / mp3 player. Since we were running late to my WW meeting, I couldn't turn back. Thus, my challenge was to do five miles sans any musical inspiration. Oh, was this a challenge!

However, while on the treadmill, I was skimming a magazine to take my mind off my unmusical run. An article stared me in the face and it read like someone spied on me. It mentioned things like:
-Letting your husband kiss you on the head as he leaves because your too busy with your e-mails and Facebook.
-Doing the dishes while your kids talk about their day.
-Texting one person while out with another.
-Making a to-do list while on a family outing.
...and the list went on.

This "multitasking", what I thought was being productive and efficient, is now being frowned upon as quite inefficient. What's more, while technology brings you closer to distant peeps, it keeps your close ones away from you. So, you mean to tell me I shouldn't be doing this? Ugh! Just when I thought I had it down pat.

The article recommended practicing (emphasizing practice) mindful living, or "mindfulness". This state of being allows you to live and the present. You focus your physical, mental and emotional being on what is going on NOW, not what will happen tomorrow. While it concedes that some planning has to be done, it is important to spend mindful time with your loved ones and with yourself!

Some examples were, again, taken from my life:
-While taking out the trash, instead of thinking about the next cleaning mission, why not look at stars / sky, inhale the outdoor air, and enjoy a moment of peace?
-While reading with your child, instead of thinking about what to take out for dinner, why not marvel at their reading or get involved in the plot?
-While sitting with your husband at night, put away the laptop and put on the imagination cap. Talk about each other and what happened during the day.

I had the opportunity to practice some mindfulness this morning after my run. Usually I have my phone with me, Facebooking profusely while the boys swim. Well, since I didn't have my phone, I had no other choice than present for my boys. I watched them swim their little hearts out, JOR demonstrating his strength by swimming a decent distance and SRR demonstrating his goofiness by imitating a dolphin and a hammerhead shark. I watched as they socialized with other kids and how they took turns jumping into the pool. Had I had my nose in FB, I would have missed those moments. Now I have them in my memory and no one can take them from me.

This is something I am going to practice. I'm curious to see how my life will function while I try to lead a mindful existence. Who knows? Maybe I'll be a little less stressed. Maybe I'll have more enjoyable time with my family. Maybe I won't forget my phone for my next run.

Until next time....mind away!

Friday, March 12, 2010

071 / 365: Saving Grace...

Five lessons in four different schools. Sixty miles put on my van today. If it weren't for my XM radio, I'd go stir crazy.

I have the stations set for the many moods I possess while driving. Headbanger music while on the highway, Spa music while I'm driving the back roads, CNN for the latest headlines and, as seen above, Oprah radio for those estrogen moments.

This radio has been a source of information and fun for me. It was through this radio I heard about the tragedy of Virginia Tech. The advice and remedies of Dr. Oz first came to me over these airwaves. I laughed (and almost crashed the van) as I found the filth-less wit of Jeanne Robertson. It has also been a source of inspiration from the Catholic Channel.

I hope and pray I can keep the subscription going after our pay cut. It will be difficult to drive to all these schools without a plethora of listening material. It helps me get through the day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

070 / 365: Done

I know how this sponge feels!

The past two weeks, I've been participating in school events at night. Parent nights (monitoring the lab), and association meetings have taken me away from the ranch. I'm sad about this.

The next two weeks are more of the same: parent nights (with me as the parent), meetings and some business events (at least there's money in that).

I'm not doing well being away from my family at night. That's the only time I can listen to them talk about their day, help them with homework, read with them and tuck their tired dupas into bed. Also, by the time I decompress, I'm too tired to do anything functional around the house. I hope I can make it to spring break. I hope I can make it to the weekend.

Until next time...wring away!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

069 / 365: Missing You...A Haiku

Sneakers, I miss you!
Need to run and clear my head,
Maybe someday soon!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

068 / 365: Friendship....

(No, these aren't mine. They got home too late for me to get a picture.)

SRR came home beaming. After attending a fundraiser dinner at a local restaurant, he proudly proclaimed he made a friend. All on his own. No coaxing from parental units saying, "Go play with your new friend!"

The excitement just oozed from every pore. He talked about how he and C made minty lemonade at the table and how much they ate (which for SRR can turn into a monologue). Then they talked about this and that and gave each other hugs when they had to part. He was stoked about the entire evening.

While not shy, SRR is not as social as JOR. SRR's friends usually come by the way of his brother via association, thus tonight was a good experience for him. His very own friend, his way, his terms. C likes him for him!

I am happy to say that I have wonderful friends like C. To all of you: Thanks!

Until next time....pal away!

Monday, March 8, 2010

067 / 365: In the game...

I had the honor of being a full time music teacher today. After being out of the daily classroom grind for almost 3 years, it felt good to get back in the game...sort of.

Driving home, I reflected on my teaching "chops": What worked? What didn't? How was the management? Did the students achieve the objective? Did I achieve it? I went through my "shtick" with a fine tooth comb. There were definitely some things that have rusted shut (my stamina for teaching 6 classes a day, small managerial issues), but there were also things I've improved upon (engaging the students, pulling in their background knowledge, integrating other subject areas into a lesson without comprimising the objective). This was a good spot check on how I'm doing pedagogically. It was also a good way to ensure I get a good night's sleep tonight.

Until next time...collapse away!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

066 / 365: FLY!

I'm trying to FLY again!

The past couple of years, I have subscribed, albeit half-heartedly, to the principles of FlyLady. This wonderful woman is an organizing expert who puts a realistic spin on the art of decluttering.

FlyLady, aka Maria Cilley, believes that everyone should FLY. In other words, you need to Finally Love Yourself. While this is a no-brainer, you'd be surprised how many people out there do not and cannot FLY. Whether they are in a toxic relationship, a bad economic situation, or physical or psychological issues hold them captive, they cannot love themselves enough to rid themselves of clutter. This clutter can take many forms: a REALLY messy house, hoarding, disorganization at work, and even body clutter. She feels that if we take the time to love ourselves and give ourselves a sense of peace, clutter would not be a necessary part of our lives.

Slowly, I've taken on her philosophy. While I do have "hot spots" in my house, most of the time it's presentable. (She forbids use of the other "P" word: Perfection!) FlyLady believes that we all deserve a clean, peaceful environment so we can be better parents, workers, children, and humans!

I need to brush up on my FLY techniques, some of which I'll share in this blog. My vast readership will have to deal, as this is a good way for me to review. For now, I'll get my clothes out for tomorrow and go to sleep at a decent hour (her edict). This will help me get a good start to this crazy week.

Until next time...FLY away.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

065 / 365: What a day!

Our first full day of health...and it was a blast. I almost forgot what it was like to have 3 happy, healthy and fun boys with me!

This picture is to prove that while today was fun, it wasn't all perfect fun. SRR had many episodes of challenging behavior. Sir Bratticus reared his ugly head on more than one occasion and in more than one location. I spent lots of time taking deep breaths so as not to lose my temper with him. It worked save for one altercation.

SRR's stubbornness was truly a reality check. No we are not the Cleavers, but yes, we can have fun and laugh. Even when one is acting a**!

Until next time....hee-haw away!

Friday, March 5, 2010

064 / 365: My hero!

Seven days of sheer hell have gone by and the R clan is on the road to recovery! I decided to take the day off to disinfect the house. My handy bottle of Clorox and I spent the afternoon together, cleaning every possible surface in each bathroom (lovingly known as the "Ground Zero"s). I made sure the bleach presence was known to the vicious things that made my family and me ill for a week. The fumes reached the point that my shirt was ruined and my nose hairs are now curled for life, but we won the battle!

Disinfecting the bathroom wasn't the only cleansing I did today. Little by little, I started to get rid of the dirt and clutter in my brain. I've had a rough couple of weeks, so lots of germs and viruses invaded the small space between my ears. Crud like negativity, doubt, jealousy, anger, pity, and apathy took their places in my head. Like my family, I think my brain is recovering from this latest bout, but a good cleansing is always beneficial to get rid of any residual mess.

I need some good meds for my head, so tomorrow the prescription will be filled. I started reading one of the Covey books (very helpful!) and will do a 5 miler tomorrow after WW. Working in the yard to get some fresh air and playing with my three boys tomorrow afternoon will also get my brain back on the right track.

Ironically, I replaced the air filters in my house today. Maybe that's what I'm trying to do with my head. If I can just filter out the nasty stuff, I can make it! Then whatever the filter can't get, the bleach will!

Until next time....clean away!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

063 / 365: Silly therapy

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass from OK Go on Vimeo.

Thanks BS, I needed this!

OK, things are looking up: two of my 3 "boys" are on the mend. MGR is the last one down, and down bad! I hope he'll be on the mend soon.

Tonight, I started feeling very overwhelmed. The anxiety came over me quickly, without warning. After driving JOR to school, crossing the county for a lesson, another trip to help a friend with a film project, back home to check on the other two, pick JOR from school, take him to drama class, bring him home, go to a school meeting, come home to do homework with the boys, make lunches, wash (sterilize) clothes, and plan for tomorrow, I was shaking! While I know it's only temporary, it still set me off.

Then, while checking my e-mails for the final time tonight, a colleague sent me this video. A message from God telling me to chill. Things will get better when the morning comes.... Yes, this too shall pass, but hopefully not like a kidney stone!

Here are the lyrics to the song:

You know you can't keep lettin' it get you down
And you can't keep draggin' that dead weight around.
If there ain't all that much to lug around,
Better run like hell when you hit the ground.

When the morning comes.
When the morning comes.

You can't stop these kids from dancin'.
Why would you want to?
Especially when you're already gettin' yours.
'Cause if your mind don't move and your knees don't bend,
well don't go blamin' the kids again.

When the morning comes.
When the morning comes.

When the morning comes.
When the morning comes.

When the morning comes.
When the morning comes.

Let it go, this too shall pass.
Let it go, this too shall pass.

Let it go, this too shall pass.
(You know you can't keep lettin' it get you down. No, you can't keep lettin' it get you down.)

Until next away! (and giggle!)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

062 / 365: Strange...

My job involves visiting numerous schools. Most have the same "aura" of a cold, business-like, "we must pass our SOL, so there will be no talking" environment. Everyone is focused on the task at hand: to make sure the children fill in the correct bubble for each question. At the same time, they are thinking, "Will I have this job next year?"

Everyone except the staff at "S" Elementary School.

"S" was my third, and final, stop for the day as a teacher needed (or in this case, thought she needed) support with her electronic gradebook. When I met my integrator colleague to go through the teacher's gradebook, I kept hearing an unknown sound. A sound so foreign to elementary schools the past few years, I thought I was having flashbacks of teaching days gone by. This sound resonated through the library and would not stop. In fact, it got louder and was....


A group of teachers was talking in the library. Their conversation was not one of benchmarks or schedules. It was light and fun and personal. What hooked me was the frequency and intensity of the laughter. It was contagious. I couldn't help but giggle myself.

The flashbacks started coming. I remember a time when schools were fun. When being a teacher meant doing your job, but allowing your students to see that teaching, and more importantly learning, can be (and should be) fun. When it was OK to act out, to belly laugh to the point of tears, even if it was in a faculty meeting. When it was acceptable to sit in the front office and joke around with the secretaries. When it was allowed to push teachers rolling the students stood by and giggled. When it was expected to yell to another teacher down the hallway. When it was permissible to be human.

Sadly, those days are long gone. Students will not see how much fun learning can be. They will be formed into Scantron Drones, charged to do non-thinking tasks sitting at desks and computers. They will miss the beautiful sight of a teacher's smile. They will miss the glorious sounds of a teacher's laughter. I am sad for the students, but even sadder for the teachers.

Something tells me I will try to visit "S" Elementary School more often.

Until next time....laugh away!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

061 / 365: Frustration

Don't let the Norman Rockwell-ian look of this picture fool you.

JOR was getting loopy, bored after staying home for 2 days. SRR is just getting over his bout with the stomach virus, so he's very sensitive. MGR has been fighting something for the past 2 weeks. These three are not a good combination.

Playing Jenga Max requires concentration, a steady hand and teamwork. Well, it wasn't happening tonight. About 2 minutes after this picture was taken, JOR knocked the structure over one too many times. MGR got angry and left for the kitchen and SRR decided to play the game by himself.

This sickness has made us all crazy. We're used to feeling good: having energy, being happy, etc. This virus knocked us flat on our dupas. I can't do a chore unless I have a nap first. It takes all that I have to be nice to my familial unit. I'm at my wits end. There's too much to do to be sick. I want to feel better. I need to feel better.

Until next time...heal away!

Monday, March 1, 2010

060 / 365: Yucky..

Misery loves company. My poor SRR now has the stomach bug. While it was Daddy that brought him home, he wanted his mommy. I was there.

The exposure to all of these viruses has finally taken its toll. I'm feeling queasy, light headed, and just plain YUCKY! I'm kind of glad I came home early. A nap and some down time helped my head a little.

While I have a right to wallow in self pity, there was another event that upstaged my illness. A well-known, well-liked high school choral director died unexpectedly yesterday. It was a shock to all who knew her. I had the honor of meeting her last year. She was auditioning a group of young men for solos while I took pictures for a drama project. Her professionalism, knowledge and most importantly, her love for those students radiated in everything she did that afternoon. I know the school community has lost a true educator. May she R.I.P.

Until next time...hug away. You just never know......