Sunday, April 29, 2012

mom's home

Mom is home.

She was in a very good mood coming home.

She went to bed.

She want's to watch little man tomorrow.

We are back to normal.

Friday, April 27, 2012


So with all the stuff I said yesterday I neglected to mention the overwhelming sense of dread that I had.
I felt like everything was going to go bad.
Then it did.
Mom called me on the intercom phone from downstairs and asked me to come down to her room at 3 am.
I did.
She was experiencing chest, back, jaw and arm pain.
I asked if she wanted me to call 911 or just take her to the hospital.
She declined and asked me to rub her back.
I rubbed her back and she said the pain stopped.
We all went back to bed.
I called her during my lunch break.
She said that her heart had just started pounding.
I asked if she wanted to me to come home.
She said yes.
I did.
We went to the hospital. 
The ruled out a heart attack.
But she is still there.

Impending doom.

AND the room phone at the hospital is busy.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


So I am feeling anxious today.
It is probably because of all the things I screwed up royally today.
I sent home student tests with out recording the grades and had to e-mail parents and beg for the things back. We will see how that goes.
I had to drink the nasty glucola drink for my glucose test only to find out- My appt is tomorrow. The wonderful nurses laughed at me as they took my blood anyway so I wouldn't have to do it again tomorrow. You know, when my actual appointment is.
I went to the store, did not buy dog food or get cash back.
Justin is at the store for the dogs and my $10.
I forgot to bring $10 to pay for hairspray tickets, so I am in debt to a very nice teacher who's wife is directing the local high school production.

Stuff like this gets me anxious.

It would be easy to blame pregger brain, but that is a whole lotta crap to screw up in one day. I don't know why but I have this intense desire to appear "together." It is not like my parents were nazis about grades, they never said bad things about me. In fact I think my mother thinks a little to highly of me sometimes. Well the old me. The perfect baby, toddler and child who never got in trouble or caused her anxiety or stress. Whereas my child is a piss ant sometimes. He is a 14 month old boy.  Comon.
It is normal to be annoyed when someone compares your child to theirs, but when that "other child" is you, what do you say? lol

Wow- holy -tangent- batman

Maybe my mom is stressing me out. She was actually very nice and helpful today  AND did it without complaint, so I don't think I can pin today on her. Normally- yes, today- no.

Back to my compulsive need to please. The kiss of death for me as a child would have been "I am disappointed" It still is as an adult. Which makes that above list a VERY long one for me. Normally I can handle those screw ups spread out over a week, but in one day- I suck.

I guess I am just having an "I suck" day.

I am normally very confident person. I don't feel like there is much to complain about my body or my looks, although they are changing dramatically as I get older. I don't think I am as pretty as I used to be. I feel like the general shape of my face has changed and it just is not as attractive. It is not that I am "ugg I am so old and ugly" just not as pretty. GAH what a terrible complex right? Now I feel like I am being self centered. Kids are starving in Africa (Hell, in America) for God's sake. It is like when people give me crap for being thin. It really annoys me. I know I am a normal body weight ( not in a pregger state) I don't walk around going "Oh my God, I am so fat" insecure people do that. Like I said, I don't need that kind of attention.

ok rant over- hope it made sense

Saturday, April 21, 2012

There has been a death ;)

So... the TV remote is missing.

It is really easy to notice how LOUD the kid next door is when he plays basketball, when you can't operate the TV. Oh, I could operate it. I would have to sit on the floor, use the unmarked buttons on the box, and switch channels one by one. Not really worth my effort.

Not that I am lazy, well, I take that back. I can be incredibly lazy when the time calls for it. TV is not that important right now. Or not important enough to get up and go through all that. Especially after I have swept the kitchen and front room. Then I mini-vaccumed the junk that just doesn't go in the dust pan, and any big blobs of hair that magically appear. The I dry swiffered to get all the things I can't see. And let me tell you, there is a LOT of crap on that floor that the swiffer gets. It makes me go "ewwwww" every time I have  throw away the "dust cloth." THEN I bust out the steam mom- BEST THING EVER! I steam mopped the rooms. Except for the explosion.

I was almost done with the second half of the kitchen, and there was this big CRASH and bang and POOF! Somehow the 5 pound bag of flour in the cabinet gained the skill of mobility and decided this is not the kind of life it wanted to live. It flung its newly opened self onto my still wet kitchen floor, and promptly exploded. On the wet floor, on the clean counters, ON MY NERVES!

Despite my pregger hormones, I did not cry. I went and cleaned it up like a big girl. What I can't understand is why it decided it needed to take out the pitcher that goes to our tea maker. Was it a murder suicide? Was it a well planned double suicide? I don't know, but what I do know is that my husband is going to be sad when I tell him we can't make tea for a while. I don't like sweet tea, or really any other tea for that matter, so it is no skin off my back. You will not see me running out to Wally World to purchase another one any time soon. That is the lazy-ness talking right there. See I told you I could be lazy when the time was right.

Ok so I am off to those other things I need to do... Like grading papers.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

a better outlook

So I don't want this to become a forum to vent about my students. So instead of telling of the rudeness, playing in the bathroom until someone's finger was smashed, and lying that happened today. I will tell about the good things.

We read a poem today. They had a few short response questions, to which I intended a certain answer.
They AMAZED my by going deeper and really pulling out some great stuff. I was super proud.

We had a talk about connecting to texts differently. How reading a book now might be good, but reading it in 5 years will allow them to emotionally connect differently. How your experiences with death or injury will help you understand a characters experiences differently.  They were really making great connections.

This morning they came in, and did what they were supposed to do.

They put in a serious effort into their ss test.

There was no girl drama. THANK GOD

Apparently everyone wore deodorant and  showered because there was NO stink in the room.

small favors... :)

Friday, April 13, 2012


So we are in the midst of standardized testing hell. Overall MY kids are doing well. They are working hard, using scratch paper, and not asking me ridiculous questions (that I can't even answer anyway.)

I have one student who takes all standardized tests in a separate group because they get extra time. So basically this student can take up to 85 minutes to answer 35 questions. There are two sections like that. so in total they can take up to 170 minutes for 70 questions. That is nearly 2 and 1/2 minutes per question. They did not finish the first section. Then during the break proceeded to throw a temper tantrum that included writhing on the ground crying, throwing his pencil and calling the test ugly names. He had to be removed.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!? 11 years old.
I have had this kid for 2 years. (See previous post Getting Loopy) About 2 months into 4th grade, last year, they failed a spelling test (admittedly for lack of studying.) They proceeded to throw themselves on the ground and throw a fit. I ignored them and proceeded to pass out papers to the other students. Allowing them to step over the tantrum-in-process  in order to do so. I knelt down on the ground and told him to get up. This is not acceptable behavior and would not be tolerated. If they were to continue they would spend the rest of the day in the office AFTER we called their mother at the middle school to explain what happened. They got up, calmly apologized and went to their seat. Never had another fit again.
2 YEARS LATER they decides to throw a fit with another teacher because he was frustrated with the test and did not finish.
Here is the thing- I did not find out until after school.
When they came back in to my room after testing, I asked how it went. They said  "fine."
IF I HAD KNOWN right away, I would have had a "chat" with them, and then there would have be consequences- BIG TIME.

Called mom- She is just as upset.

So a kid that I had NO concerns over failing a test, probably failed.. awesome!

Please ignore the grammar and punctuation errors. I am terribly exhausted and don't really want to edit.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

getting loopy

ok enough with the heavy.

Today I was reflecting on the last 2 years I have spend with my students. We are in the middle of standardized testing hell. It gives me a LOT of time to think.

I have had the awesome opportunity to loop with my students. That means I get to have the same kids (mostly) for 2 years. I have some serious punks in my room, not bad, just punks. The one who can't stay in his seat to save his life. The one who says EVERY word that comes across his mind, he feels that each comment is the most important thing ever. I have typical 11 year old girl drama. But I also have the funniest, most sarcastic, most creative, most caring students. I have developed a strong relationship with the students and their families. I feel like their mom sometimes. I get called mom at least 3 times a week. I am hurt when they make bad decisions, and I am sad with them when they experience tragedy.

In the last two years we have laughed so hard we have cried. We have cried over lost pets. Rejoiced in new life (twice.) I have inadvertently lied to them. We were talking about what would happen when I went on maternity leave last year. The conversation had lingered on past the time allotted. They were asking the most ridiculous questions. " What if the sub forgets to do the attendance?" Same thing when I forget, the office will call down and tell her to do it. We had breached the world of "What ifs"and I was over it. I told them " Look guys, we have another month to discuss this, I am not having this baby tomorrow."

Then I did.


This is something they have NEVER let me forget either. The first day back I get "You said you weren't going to have the baby tomorrow!" Six. Weeks. LATER. 10 year olds have a long memory.
Ever since then, anytime I give an absolute, they remind me of my "not having the baby tomorrow" absolute.

"They will let you know when the pictures are."
"Are you sure? I mean, you said you weren't going to have the baby the next day, then you did."

I swear- an actual conversation.

Kids :)

I have never cried at the end of the year- I think it is a given this year.   

Monday, April 9, 2012

The meat of it all

So my mother and father are 9 years apart. I think the best illustration of this age difference is where they were when JFK was shot. Mom was watching the Bozo show and Dad was in chemistry. Fortunately, they did not meet until the eww factor had been erased. To get all psychological on you for a second my Mom's mom died about 3 years previous and her father had recently remarried to a woman whom my mother hated with a fiery passion. I won't go into it here, but from what I hear, Mom was right. Shortly after she moved out, after a screaming match with her father, she met my Dad... Daddy issues much?
Back to Dad.
They met, partied, moved in together, loved and I am sure fought. They were married after about 3 years together. It was a simple court house wedding, everyone wearing jeans. Mom went to work that afternoon and her boss refused to change her name tag because he did not believe her. The next week they honeymooned in Hawaii. They were there almost 2 weeks, they basically stayed until the money ran out. During those early years they moved a lot, and made a lot of friends. Mom was a waitress, and Dad worked at the VA as a veteran's advocate and a National Service Officer. They were active in the Purple Heart.

After 5 years, Mom decided it was time for baby. Dad claims he was a part of the process, but Mom has told me otherwise. So all that has led me up to what I really wanted to flesh out.

So I know for a fact my Dad loved me, and he never failed to tell me that. When I was a baby, he would play with me, and move my legs and arms. But Mom tried to finish her college degree about 5 months after I was born. When she came home, my diaper hadn't been changed at all. Mom quit right then. If I needed ANYTHING, I know daddy would make it happen.

One time he was supposed to come to my 6th grade class to talk about Vietnam. All three classes were grouped into a class, and my teacher was trying to entertain 90 eleven and twelve year olds while we waited for my dad to show up. When he was 15 minutes late, I called home. Mom had been trying to wake him up for hours. He didn't come, and I had to tell my teacher. I cried in the teacher's lounge for an hour. I was so embarrassed, I couldn't go back to class. I did, I don't remember anyone saying anything to me. I am pretty sure my best friend Beth threatened them within an inch of their lives if they did.

Looking back, I see how that would have been hard for him. But if he couldn't do it, then he should not have agreed to it. If nothing else, then called the school and said he was sick or something.

This is a great example of how I feel about my dad. I have always been so proud of him, and felt a deep affection for him. But when he disappoints, it is big time.

I knew he did drugs, smoked pot mostly. But I also knew that he was unreliable when it came to his prescriptions. No one knew. I told no one. I mean, my best friend from grade school Beth did not find out until I was in college. When I was little, it just meant my dad slept A LOT. I remember when I went to half day kindergarten. When I was on the first shift, mom would pick me up and bring me home, and I would ask if Daddy was up yet. If he was still asleep, then I could watch cartoons. If not, then I was resigned to my toys, or whatever he was watching.

He slept on the couch. When I was really little, I did not know it was weird he slept on the couch. When I was older it was explained that he slept out there for 2 reasons. One, he watched TV very late into the night. Two, he has PTSD, and he did not sleep well. He was afraid of hurting/annoying mom all night, especially if he had a nightmare.  Mom later told me it was because he was really handsy. And he wouldn't LET my mom sleep. That, and he liked to watch TV very late.

 I have a distinctive memory of our house in Cicero. He was sleeping on the couch, I walked up very quietly, and watched to make sure he was breathing. I did this countless times throughout my life. I do it to my mom now. Do people do this? Do other kids?

My dad was never mean to me. I can hardly recall a time that he even told me no. I could tell my dad things that I still haven't told my Mom. My first driving ticket, he knew.

He made sure I had a very rich childhood. The summer before 6th grade we DROVE to Alaska from Chicago. We stopped at every cool place along the way. I saw all sorts of historical monuments and not so historical monuments. Our only goal was to be at my cousin Chris's base by 4th of July. So we took our time, met cool people, took LOTS of pictures, and enjoyed the open road.

See mixed feelings.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Into the Dark ages and back out.

So the very little I know about the dark ages comes from my mother. Dad did not talk about it other than call it the dark ages.

So after he gave up custody, and the pure sight of his ex wife would send my father into seizures, he kind of wandered around.

Now, you may think I am exaggerating about the seizures, but not really. When my father was injured in Vietnam he came out pretty beat up. Lets say you break a finger you will be 2% disabled for about a week. Not enough for a handicap parking pass or anything. If you add up everything that is wrong with my father including, the traumatic brain injury (thus the seizures,) the missing eye, the blown out ear drums (which would eventually heal to be super sonic-trust me,) the shrapnel in his other eye, shrapnel throughout his body, and PTSD. He is well over 150% permanently disabled.

So with all of the above in the air over his head he did a lot of drugs with no intention of taking care of himself. He was told it would be unlikely he would live past the age of 30. What 20 year old kid wants to hear that?

At some point in this dark adventure he met a woman and married. This is his second wife. She also enjoyed drugs apparently. But I get the impression she was a good person otherwise. Grandpa never spoke ill of her. The 1 time her name was mentioned it was so say that she was sweet. She had a son whom my father was very fond of. I think he really loved that kid. Mom told me that he used to talk about him a lot. Maybe a substitution for his daughter?

One night she and my dad were driving around, I am not sure where. Maybe California somewhere? She was driving and my dad was sitting in the passenger seat with his legs on the dash, when there was a car accident. I don't know if she was at fault, or if there was even another car involved, but she was killed. My Dad broke both his legs in several places and again spend months in the hospital.  He had to learn to walk for the 3rd time in his life. First being in toddlerhood, like all of us. Second, after his injury in Vietnam, because he was bedridden for so long. And this time because of the broken legs.

Now I do know that he claimed he also went to school under the GI bill. Grandpa never denied this, but I honestly don't know how true it is. He said he went to UCLA and received degrees in English and Psychology. Now, I know my dad had always been an avid reader and sure knew how to play psychological warfare with people. He was one hell of a sales man.

When he was 30ish  he met my mom who was about 21. They were both dating other people at the time. But it was the end of the dark ages, he was the age they told him he would not live to. He had seen and done more than most Americans.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dad- The begining of his story

Go with me here. I don't know where I will end up, but I have been thinking about my dad a lot lately.

We are coming up on 2 years since my dad has passed. His birthday, my grandfather's birthday, my mom's birthday, and my parent's anniversary were all the last week of March. It used to be this glorious week of birthday cakes and cards, now we just try to keep my mom distracted. It just has me thinking about who my dad really was. He led a strange life before my mom and I. When he joined the Army, he lied about his age. When they found out his real age they could not send him to Vietnam yet. My dad as a genius, and so he qualified for special forces. When he left for basic he had a high school sweetheart. When he came back from basic before he went on to special forces training they were married. We (my mother and I) assume this was because she was pregnant. We know I have a sister that was born while my father was overseas.

My grandfather gave me this photo album when I was in college. Inside it are pictures from their wedding and pictures of my sister when she was a baby. Her name is Dawn. It was very surreal to see these pictures, kind of like alternative universe.

While my father was in Vietnam, he did terrible things. Terrible things that made him a good solider. I think he struggled with that his whole life. Just the few things he shared with me (with a hint of soldier pride) were enough to keep you up at night. I am sure he only told me the tip of the ice burg. I know many times he told my mom that he did not think he could go to heaven because of what happened there. That always bothered me because he would not talk to me about it, even though I tried. I would have showed him that it is possible. I know he prayed, I just don't know what the prayers were.

Vietnam nearly killed my father. Literally. My father started a firefight that lasted almost a week. Yep- That is my dad. So sometime into this fight (early on) a grenade or large explosive went off very close to him. He was blown back. He said he remembers some snapshots. The sudden silence (his eardrums were blown out.) The searing light (his left eye was severely damaged. Being dragged, which we found out later was by Wayne, because a tank had begun to crush his head. The percussion sound of helicopter blades. He would later say in a local newspaper article that he knew he would be ok because "God doesn't take you to heaven in a chopper." He went to a hospital in Japan and underwent brain surgery. They drilled a hole in his skull to relieve the pressure. He was in a coma for a while. I don't know how long, and I don't know if it was medically induced. Not too long after he was sent to Hines hosp. outside of Chicago.

I know my grandfather visited him, I don't know if my aunt did. She is just as enigmatic to me sometimes.  I know while he was there he pounded out an image of the liberty bell on copper and had it mounted on wood and sealed. It is about 5 inches by 8 inches big and very very good. It is the only inclination that my father had any artistic talent that I ever saw.  When he was released he went to his wife and child and was told she wanted a divorce and for him to give up rights to their daughter.  He was a baby killer and a horrible person. The military told Dad that he would not live past the age of 30. He fought but gave up. He gave up visitation rights but not the rights for someone to adopt her or anything. I wonder about that time, grandpa wouldn't talk about it and dad certainly didn't. I am just uncomfortable asking my aunt.

This sets the stage for what he calls the dark ages. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Many Hats

So one of my many hats is as a photographer.

It is definitely a hobby- where occasionally people pay me.

I think I am pretty good, I have pretty strong creative side. For a long time it was expressed through scrapbooking. But honestly, just getting prepared to scrapbook is very time consuming. I have collected a large amount of scrapbook stuff, and if I am going to work on pages, I am going to take it ALL out. When you have a 14 month old, you really can't drag out all that stuff for very long.

Photography is a whole different medium. (AND it is a whole lot neater.)
I really love it because it is a great reason to get out of the house and interact with different people. I definitely have my dad's personality and people skills. I like getting out there. Don't get me wrong, I love my co-workers, but new people are good too.

It is completely exhausting. In every way. Weddings are all day affairs. I recently was a 2nd on a wedding and did not even do the morning or deep into the reception, and I slept for 13 hrs that night. Being preggers did not help much. The other weddings I have done were much longer and just as exhausting. But oh the end result.

I am always soooooo excited to throw my disks in the computer, and see what I have. Even part time on this last wedding, I took over 1,000 pictures. In my first pass, I deleted about 400 of them. I am down to about 350. Which is reasonable in my opinion. On a wedding with 1000 pictures. I will spend about 10 hrs editing.

The whole process is a creative challenge to me, and I love it.

It seems that with photography is it is feast or famine. I have gone 3 months without a single thing to take pictures of, then I will have every weekend booked. I am in a feast period. and exhausted. Good thing it is spring break.