measurably better now than in the last post

Monday, October 29, 2012

for those of you who don't know me well, sleep is one of my most favorite things and not really because i'm inherrently lazy, but mostly because lack of sleep makes me mean and grumpy. i've felt mean and grumpy for the last week.

i don't like feeling mean and grumpy.

i didn't sleep well because i was worried about my last class in grad school. i was convinced that i'd be the one exception to the rule and i'd be the person who made a 'c' in the class and didn't get to graduate due to said 'c'. whenever i'm stressed, my silver-lining-self becomes a horrible hybrid of a pessimistic, glass-half-empty fatalist.

on top of that, and i'm not trying to be a griper (because i really do love what i do), last week couldn't have been more busy if it tried. monday i had an after school 'thing' and an evening obligation for school; tuesday i had two assignments to complete; wednesday i had one more assignment to complete; thursday i had an after school 'thing' and another evening obligation for school. by friday, i was completely worn out, and on saturday i had a training from 8-3. i know this might be a normal work week for  some people, but it isn't a normal work week for me, and i'm a creature of habit.

the girls went to work with their dad saturday while i worked, and the three of us had a fun time unwinding saturday evening...


we chilled out with robert randolph & co., and let me tell you - that was some much needed soul fuel. we tried to hang in there for zz top, but we were all three way too worn out before they went on stage. the girls fell asleep before we were home, and i love putting them to bed like i did when they were little.

so here's what i learned last week:

1) cortisol is real. very, very real. i was so stressed last week that i could literally feel copious amounts of cortisol coursing a pathway through my body and wreaking havoc on all facets of my life, from head to toe. seriously.

2) even when i want to give up, my friends (and my stubborn-to-the-core mind) won't let me. i am a lucky, lucky lady to be surrounded by such supportive people.

3) strangers can be unexpectedly nice, and people who you think you aren't strange can be unexpectedly punk-esque.

4) anne lamott's political insight makes me happy.

5) there are no words more reassuring, after a week like the last, than these (especially when you're convinced you've royally botched everything):



i can tell you without hesitation that this weekend was much, much sweeter than the last 72 weekends simply because i got to enjoy my time with the girls and i didn't have to worry about an assignment that was due on sunday, or a reading response that was due on friday, or a reply that was due on saturday, or what books i would need for the next class.

what a fabulous feeling for all three of us!! here's a mini-celebration photo of the girls congratulating me for the end of grad school...for us all!!


alright, enough about that.

my next social dilemma is figuring out how to occupy all this free time i have on my hands now (in case you're worried, i have a few ideas up my sleeves)...

suggestions welcome - maybe i should learn a new language. french? spanish? italian? knowing myself the way i do, i need a new challenge. sooner rather than later would be ideal...thoughts?

alright, that's all for now.

peace...

done.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

after a year and a half of grad school, i am unofficially done. i submitted my very last assignment for my very last class in the program tonight. whew!!

because i'm a big nerd, it has been fun for me to watch this collection of books grow...and grow...and grow. this picture doesn't include the ones that i have at school or the ones that reside on my nook. i was looking at this picture tonight and i realized that i've given a big chunk of money to pearson and heinemann by way of their publishing companies.


i'm not going to write much tonight, but i have to say this has been a heck of a week. i'm very happy to have completed this accomplishment with the better part of my santiy intact.

now, where's my wine?

cheers!!

helmets for horses

Saturday, October 20, 2012

okay, hold on - we're going to time travel real quick. ready?

september 3, 1994. texas tech v. new mexico. something big went awry, and the masked rider fell off of her perch atop a giant quarterhorse. double t went crazy. ultimately, the horse freaked out and its animal instincts chose flight over fight. when he made the turn up the ramp in the southwest corner of the endzone, he skidded and smacked into the concrete wall.

i was sitting with some of my college (and current) faves, one who grew up around horses. he said double t died instantly from blunt force head trauma...it was so gut wrenching to see the black tarp being drawn over that ramp. public death of a powerful, regal animal: not something you see too often.

as of this moment, i am extremely hoarse. i just spent the last few hours cheering (okay, fine - hollaring loudly and emphatically) for my red raiders. huge victory last week over west virginia. huge victory today over tcu (triple overtime!). we are now 3-1 in big 12 play.

some of my best memories from college center around texas tech football games.

and without fail, whenever i mention that i'm a texas tech alum, people always have horse jokes to share with me. it's almost as if i have an invisible slogan tatooed on my forehead inviting people to share their horse humor with me (for the record, i don't). usually their jokes aren't funny, but i oblige their comical attempts anyways to appease their faltering senses of humor. and plus, i don't like hurting people's feelings...you can take it for what it's worth.

however, i got one text today taunting my red raiders for their lackluster first half performance. i had a pretty witty comeback, but i couldn't compete with their reply.

it simply said, 'get your horse helmets ready.'

i'm not sure why that made me laugh so hard, but google it - maybe you'll laugh too?

photo credit
in a world filled with animal rights activists and human rights activists {i saw a garage sale sign today that said 'garage sale - proceeds benefit human trafficking'.....sorry, but i need some clarification. are we supporting it or are we against it? i'm gonna need to know because one of your neighbors has starbucks at their garage sale, and the other has beer...serious garage sale competition...let me know when you make up your mind...i'll either be wired or asleep}, you would think we'd be a little further ahead of ourselves.

in a world where we are bombarded with commercials about the ethical treatment of animals, why on earth haven't we invented a helmet for horses who are bound, at some point in their sweet equine lives, to go slightly postal and challenge a cement wall head-first?

because we are the wiser species, we know the cement wall will win nine point nine times out of ten; but the horse does not know this.

and that's why horses need helmets.

we have political yard signs. we have garage sale activist signs (albeit with high levels of ambiguity - is there a limit on how many cups of coffee or mugs of beer i can have?). we tell people not to loiter, and we beg of them not to solicit. so why don't we have animal activist signs? if we don't speak out for protective head gear for horses, who will?

maybe this is my million dollar idea.

just maybe.

i'd hoped to save the world in other ways, but i won't deny my true calling in life a great opportunity when it comes my way. :)

peace...

rain or shine

Sunday, October 14, 2012

it's acl weekend in austin, and the girls and i made our way out to the festivities yesterday afternoon. our chariot dropped us off near the front gates, and we stepped out into the land of annual musical bliss. shortly after our shuttle pulled away, the clouds decided to have some fun with us (and the 60,000+ other people who were there).

jay is my 'type a' child. she likes order and organization. she likes to have a plan in place, and once that plan is in place, she needs for that plan to unfold accordingly.

the rain, which was not part of her itinerary, caused us to scurry for cover, and in the process we had to leap several puddles and dodge strangers. by the time we got to our destination (which really only took about two minutes), she looked up at me and i could tell she was about to lose it.

i asked her what was wrong, and she said, 'mommy, this just really stresses me out...everything seems very unpredictable right now.'

fair enough, little one.

i was quick on my feet and one step ahead of her - i'd already scouted out the loot that would turn her day around. while wringing out her hair, i said, 'i promise you will have candy and a new bag in less than three minutes. will that help your stress?'

twizzlers and swag to the rescue!


after our pit stop in candy land, the girls were starting to dry out and we made our way back to another part of the fun: there was a jumpy castle for the kids, a covered picnic table, and a nice selection of help-yourself beverages for the adults. right next to a great stage...land of musical bliss.

this is my anti-type a child. there are several pieces of earth on her neck here, a few leaves stuck to her back, a twig sticking out from behind her right ear...and she's happy as a lark.




 the people-watching is off the charts in the behind-the-scenes areas of acl, and between that, listening to the girls laugh and squeal, and enjoying the music, there really was never a dull moment...sensory satisfaction.
 
 
we eventually headed out into the main area - it was soggy and muddy, and so were the people. the girls were seriously amazed, but it wasn't long before jay decided she's had enough. cee could have stayed there all night - dancing, meeting new people, finding novelty in every direction she looked.
 
i knew it was time to go when jay was holding her sno-cone in one hand, holding her nose with the other ('mom, it smells like illegal funny cigarettes. this is not good, people are breaking the law.'), and saying 'oh my gosh,' every time she heard or saw something gross.
 
we made it home safely, i made them strip down in the garage, we each took a steamy shower, and they were sound asleep before 10. acl mission accomplished, and now all that's left to do is clean up the aftermath.
 
 
we just finished a late breakfast at one of our favorite places, and now we're off to fulfill a couple of fun sunday adventures.
 
more soon! peace...


mamma bear

Friday, October 12, 2012

cee had soccer practice this evening. jay had friends to play with on the playground, so i plopped into my blue canvas soccer mom chair and had a great time watching practice...for the first three minutes.

then it became glaringly obvious that there was a kid on cee's team who was mouthing off to her any chance he got. for the next twenty-seven minutes, i sat and listened to him pick at her, talk back to the coach, and call her a loser.

i tried to be calm and objective in my observations:
was he the only kid acting like that? (yes)
was he picking on all the kids, or just cee? (just cee)
did cee seem annoyed? (highly)
was it only bothering me? (no)

more than anything, i kept wondering why nobody was asking the kid to close his mouth or use some manners. turns out he is the coach's kid. at this point, i was happy to see that a) they were going to scrimmage boys against girls and b) this boy was going to be the goalie. by me.

for the next thirty minutes, i listened to him boo her, call her a dumb girl, and call her an idiot; and even though i was fuming by this point, i was proud of the three goals cee scored.

by the time practice was over, i was about to pop. cee came running off the field, saw my face, and asked what was wrong. i told her i was going to talk to her coach. she asked, 'mamma bear?'

i said yes. she said, 'i'll be on the playground.'

i really do try to reserve my mamma bear moments for special occasions, and in the nearly ten years i've been a mom, i can count my mamma bear moments on one hand.

photo credit
but first of all, please do not attempt to make shallow excuses for your child's behavior or blame it on adhd. as a teacher, i would never allow a child to talk to another child that way in my classroom, period. and when i'm paying for my child to participate in a league where sportsmanship and teamwork are the emphasis, i will have very little patience with your excuses. furthermore, there's a huge difference between adhd and disrespect. one is a medical condition, the other is not. one can be tempered with medicine, the other can be rectified with positive parenting.

second of all, please do not tell me that you will address this with your child because cee's a really good player. when you do this, you're implying that if she wasn't good you wouldn't want her on your team and you're implying that your kid's behavior would be somewhat acceptable to subject on a lesser player.

and finally, whenever your kid is treating another kid poorly, call him on it. i promise i'll do the same with my children...i expect a lot from my girls, and i make that very clear to them. whenever i see them slip, we simply talk about it, discuss the behavior and why it's wrong, and we brainstorm ways to handle similar scenarios in the future. it's not rocket science, it's parenting.

i was raised in a home that allowed me to be tacky and rude to others when i was growing up. i was rarely punished for it, and nobody every talked to me about why my actions were wrong. to say i learned these lessons the hard way would be a tremendous understatement. as a parent, i vowed to never let my own children down by side stepping those difficult conversations. the rules of life are pretty simple: be nice. treat others how you want to be treated. make good choices. be a positive example for others.

nobody is perfect, and i appreciate that in people. imperfection can be breathtaking, beautiful, and precious. i appreciate it in myself, and i appreciate in these two. if i don't take up for them, who will?



alright, i will step off of my soapbox now. enjoy your friday evening...

...peace.

sweet moments (and a chick) in the midst of conflict

Friday, October 5, 2012

it was conflict week in my classroom...the literary kind of conflict. i love conflict week.

i hate conflict, but i love conflict week.

last night i was showing cee and jay my powerpoint...cee was pretty on board with me because she's learning about some of the same things. there were two moments in the middle of my powerpoint where they made my mamma heart happy.

this was the cartoon i used to show man v. self conflict...


cee said, 'oh, cool. this reminds me of the robert frost poem...the one where two roads split in a narrow wood and he decided to take the one less travelled...'

seriously. melt my heart.

and this was one of the images i used for an example of man v. society conflict...


the girls know about segregation, mlk, jr., and rosa parks. they immediately understood how wrong the whole concept of segregation was. and then i realized the words that were above the water fountains, and i had a wicked foreshadowing of them using the word above the water fountain on the right.

i said, 'you know we don't use that word because it isn't appropriate, it's very disrespectful, and that would be like calling someone an ugly name, right?'

cee said, 'mom. please - we know that. we would never say that word.'

and jay said, 'we don't use that word...we just call them...friends. just like we call everybody. people are friends.'

again, seriously. melt my heart.

i love where their hearts and minds are.

and speaking of love...

jay is in love with chickens. still. in all fairness, she didn't know what life was like sans chickens for the first three years of her life. and like me, she still misses our sweet, sweet hens.

her classroom is getting hatching eggs next week (and i'm thinking of ways where we might possibly evade our h.o.a. rules and keep 'poultry and/or fowl' for a pet). in preparation for this, the kids in her class wrote stories about chickens. jay wrote about the first time she remembers buying chicks from the feed store.

she has recently become very aware of/keen on figurative language and making her multiple meaning words funny. i really cannot tell you how happy i was to discover that she used 'egg-nore' in her story. as in 'the baby chicks were chirping so loud, and i told my sister we had to try to egg-nore them.'

their sweet smiles have worked overtime in making this week a great one for me, and now it's time to kick back and enjoy a long weekend.



i hope you'll do the same.

peace... :)

shades of gray

Monday, October 1, 2012

'did you find any?' i asked.

she hesitated.

i knew.

'you did, didn't you?' i pressed with a scrunched up face.

'a few.'

'how many?'

'well i didn't count, but maybe twenty...don't worry - they're all underneath. and i think we got them,' she lied (badly).

'got them?'

'yes. with a caramel chocolate brown.'

'sweet,' i said, pretending not to care.

'don't worry - it happens to us all.' 

it's official - the gray hairs have arrived. what evs.

don't worry - i've got this covered (and it's only taken me three days to figure out how to break the news to you...record time!). :)

peace...

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