Thursday, July 8, 2010

Quick Note

Just wanted to let anyone who is still following along that we are vacationing in Hawaii at the moment!  This is the first chance I have gotten to get online, and I am only staying for a minute.  We have been here since last Friday and will stay until next (the 16th) Friday.

This place is absolutely amazing!  And I will have so many pictures to share that I am not sure where I am going to be able to start!  I love it here, but am missing home just a bit.  (Not enough that I am willing to get back on an airplane right now though!)  Many many things still to see.

I am trying to keep the fact that both my dad and I are unemployed out of my thoughts, but sometimes the worry is just too much to push aside.  Thank you to all who have offered thoughts and prayers on our account concerning both the joblessness and the vacation.  It means a lot.

Gotta go get some sleep so that we can get up early and see what else there is to see!  It is nearly 11:30pm here, which makes it about 4:30am at home.  I have pretty well gotten myself on Hawaii time by now, which is good since the first couple of days seemed a lot longer than they actually were!

Hope everyone is have a great summer so far.  Go spend it with someone you love!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

Time for another edition of Friday Fragments hosted by Mrs. 4444.  And, today is a special day.  It is the 100th Edition of Friday Fragments.  Not my 100th edition, but hers.  Go on over there, say hey and congrats and let her know that I sent you!  For that matter, join in on this momentous occasion!

-- This is the last Friday of summer school.  I have to come back until about noon on Monday and then will be free to leave.  I am glad to be nearly done.

-- I am in the process of writing a letter to the school board in order to try to save my school nurse position.  Crazy Man thinks I am totally nutso to try to keep a job that has been causing me grief for the past several months.  But I just feel so strongly that all of these kids and the staff too, deserve to have a nurse available to them.  Do I think this will work?  No. I don't think that the district wants to have a nurse badly enough that they are willing to dig into their own pockets to pay for one.  It was fine as long as someone else was paying.

-- My dad is searching for a new job too.  I asked him the other day if he wanted to carpool to the unemployment office with me!  He just laughed.  His plant closure has been on the news because they treated them so dirty about it all.  I really don't know what we are all going to do with two of us out of a job at the same time.  We don't live together, but we try to take care of one another.

-- Next Friday, Crazy Man, The Boy, Little Little Brother and I will be flying to Hawaii for vacation.  I have thought long and hard about canceling this trip.  We have saved for 18 months for this.  And that money would go a long way to getting us all through until we can find new jobs.  But then I have been told that we have been saving for 18 months and it is a once in a lifetime situation.  I am just so uncertain as to what to do.

-- Had to order new checks the other day.  This is something that I knew needed to be done, but knowing that I had at least one book left, I kept putting it off.  Until I opened my checkbook two days ago and realized that I only had one check left.  Evidently I can't count, huh?!  At least that is what I told Crazy Man.  Now I am keeping my fingers crossed that the new checks get here before I have to start paying bills for July!

-- I am still not a reliable source of transportation according to The Boy to get him to a possible job.  And, everytime I go on a job interview and am asked this question, I have to laugh.  Maybe that is the reason I haven't been offered a new job!

-- I have been going to a Zumba class for the past few weeks.  It actually seems to be reshaping my body.  Of course it isn't drastic enough for others to see it, but I can tell how some of my clothes are fitting.  And it isn't the all fancy type of Zumba you see on those infomercials.  It might be except my body doesn't move in those directions!  So I guess I have been going to my version of a Zumba class!

-- Supposedly Boyfriend will be taking some family pictures of us this weekend.  Something my mom asked for.  Something I am not looking forward to.  I hate having my picture made probably as much as The Boy does!

Hope everyone has a good weekend.  Spend it those you love!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Regional Air Show



It is Thursday and I have more pictures that I wanna have people look at.  The only thing that has been done to them is to zoom in a little.  Other than that, no touch ups to be had.

What are they all from?  This past weekend, there was an Air Show at our little regional airport.  It was sooooo hot that day!  And unless you brought your own shade, there was none.  Unfortunately, The Boy didn't get to go with us because it was his weekend to be with the DNA Donor.

Anyway, the Golden Knights parachute team and the Blue Angels were the highlights of the show.  We got to the airfield around 10:30 in the morning and left around 4:30 pm.  It was a lot of fun.

I have been told that this is a Warthog.  Ok...if you say so!


If you notice, there is someone standing on the top wing of this plane.  Her husband is flying the plane in all sorts of directions and she is acting like it is no big deal.  Talk about trusting your spouse!




No, I did not flip this picture.  She is truly upside down.  Outside of the plane.  Like it is no problem.  Yeah.  She can NOT be totally sane.


This is called the Freedom Flight.  Or so I have been told.


This is a Corsair.  Not the best picture of the bunch, but I thought it was kind of cool how it seems as though there is no back ground to it.  Again, I did nothing to this picture except zoom in a little.


This is one of the Golden Knights flying in the flag.


I love this shot!


These are all six of the Blue Angels.


Another angle.


And, one more angle.

 
Don't look like the same planes do they?  I love how the sun has caught them and make them look like some sort of bug!


It is hard enough keeping the camera focused on the group as they blow by at 400 miles an hour.  But when they split like this, not only does the camera have a hard to focusing, but so do I!


I think I was really lucky to have caught these two making a pass at each other.  Sounds kinda dirty when you say it that way.....


They look like they are touching each other, but I have been told that they are about 18 inches apart.  Yeah, well, I will take their word for it because I refuse to be the one to climb up there and measure it!


Flight of Four.


Still not gonna dispute the distance between them!

This next one is my favorite of the bunch.  And I did take a bunch!  Over 1600 shots to be truthful.  I figured that I could get at least a couple good ones, and I think that I did.

If you look really close, you will see two pilots.  See them, one on top of the other?  Or at least that is how it looks, huh?  Yeah, I love this shot.

We had a really good afternoon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

At Least We Don't Have to Set the Alarm

It is official.  Or at least mostly.

My dad is out of a job.

I am out of a job.

Friday night, after having worked all day, my dad got a message on his machine saying that there was no need to return to work on Monday since the locks had already been changed.  He was to call on Monday instead to set up an appointment to come get his personal things.

Fourteen plus years and he is given two weeks severance pay and no notice.  At his scheduled appointment to retrieve his personal items, he was escorted in by an armed guard where he had to sign in with the time.  This armed guard then stood over him watching every move he made.  Once he felt he was done, he had to sign out with the time and the guard signed behind him.

He was so intimidated that after he left, he realized he had forgotten something and had to call back and ask that it be set outside for him to retrieve later.  When he picked that up, he realized there were a couple of other things that he had forgotten.  He is still trying to decide whether he is going to try to get those things or not.

Once he was there, he asked questions like when he would receive his last check and that sort of thing, but was told that at this point the company has no money so they don't know when they are going to pay them.  And, you can't sign up for unemployment until you have received your final check.

As far as my job, I got an e-mail on Friday from the state which I didn't really understand.  One of the other school nurses that I know from another district called me and told me that she didn't understand it either, so she contacted them.  What she was told was that the Governor decided to totally cut the funding for school health.  That means that my job is no longer funded by the state and if the school wants to still have a nurse, they will have to figure out how to pay for one.

The superintendent was out and didn't come back until today.  And, (gleefully I am sure) he came to tell me that he had called the state to ask a couple of questions.  He told me that he was told that all he could do was to contact his legislators and try to get them to change their minds.  He told me that he would contact them and keep me updated.

I asked if what he was saying was that I needed to find a new job, he told me that he would keep me updated since the legislators may change their mind and go ahead and fund it. 

I asked him if I would have a job here come August.  He told me that if the funding was definitely cut then I would not have a job, but he would keep me informed.

I told him that if I were to be honest, then I can't sit around and wait until the day before school starts and then be told that I have no job.  He seriously expected me to do that!  He also expected me to wait a year to see if the funding would be re-instated for the following school year!

This still has to be approved by the school board, but most of the time, whatever he recommends, they go with.  The worst thing is that I will be on vacation when the school board meets, so I can't even fight for my job in person.

At least my dad gets a severance and the vacation that he has saved up.  I don't get anything.  And, I have to finish working my 'volunteer' month.

Anybody have a couple of jobs for me and my dad?


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pictures

I know that I haven't been here in almost a week.  I finally got all of my reports for the state done and I have been working on getting things ready to go for next school year.  Add that to the fact that I am tired and my brain seems to have shut down so I don't know what to talk about....and I haven't been here for nearly a week!

Last week, several of the teachers that I am working with started talking about Zumba.  Have you heard of this?  I hadn't.  They were talking about going to a new class that was getting ready to start in our local community center.  Seems that one of the local news reporters was willing to come teach it to anyone who wanted to learn.

When I got home, I was flipping through channels and discovered a infomercial about Zumba.  I watched it.  And figured that there was absolutely no way that I could keep up with it!  However, it did guarantee that you could lose one dress or pant size in 10 days.  That intrigued me.  And, the more the girls at school talked, the more I thought I may want to at least try it.

So, try it I did.  And discovered that I am so much more uncoordinated than I ever thought!  But, I also discovered that it was kind of fun too.  And even though it was a lot of work, it was exercise and it didn't feel like it took an hour to do it.  In other words, I didn't dread it.

And I still don't.  I have been to four classes and actually am enjoying myself.  I still don't have all of the steps down, but I am still having a good time.  I thought that it would be easier with people that I don't know, but being with folks that I do isn't so bad.

There are six more classes that are scheduled that I will be able to attend before we head off on vacation.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that my body reshapes itself to look better in my summer clothes.  I don't know that I will lose the dress/pant size before leaving, but maybe tone up a little anyway.

Moving on.....

I have taken several pictures that I thought I would share.  They aren't anything special, just shots that I took that appealed to me.

This is Little Little Brother with Nephew's new puppy.


I am rarely able to get a picture of The Boy because he doesn't like to be photographed so he hides behind others or puts his head down.  He thought he was hiding here, but his momma is getting better!


Little Little Brother decided to try the 6 pound Burrito Challenge.  He ate just shy of a pound of it!  It was really fun to watch him.


We were at a military cemetary in Illinois a couple weekends ago.  Most of the headstones there were labled as "Unknown Soldier".  This was a look down the path between two lines of headstones.


I liked how the sun fell on these stones.


This tree is working on overtaking one of the headstones.


Crazy Man pointed out this stone that looked like the sun was shining right through it.

That is all I have for now.  Hopefully I will be better about being here next week!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

I know that I haven't done this in several weeks, but today is Friday.  And that means that it is Friday Fragments time.  You can head on over to Mrs. 4444 to check out just how fragmented everyone else's week has been....after you finish up here of course!

I started to walk at nine months of age.  And I have known forever that despite walking so early in life I just am not a very coordinated person.  On Wednesday evening I discovered just how uncoordinated I truly am!  I attended a Zumba class with some of the folks I work with.  It was a total train wreck for me!  Evidently angels actually carry me everywhere that I go.  That is the only way I can figure out how I can get somewhere safely instead of tripping over my own feet like I did during Zumba.

Believe it or not, I am planning on going to more of the Zumba classes.  Hang on.  Let me consult a dictionary......  Yep.  I thought so.  Looked up "glutton for punishment" and found my picture there.

It has been really hot and humid here.  About time!  I really am not into being cold.  But this humidity really bites.  Especially when the temps are in the high 80s or low 90s....and the humidity is hovering around the same numbers.

We had our American Legion Riders shin-dig a few weeks ago.  It was a bomb.  Really.  It opened up and poured.  And not only did the rain get us, but another group just up the road planned on top of us.  I think we ended up breaking even, but all in all, it wasn't good.  We are going to plan again for next year though I think.  (Yep.  There is my picture again!)

The Boy is helping with summer school in the Pre-K class.  There are only about 19 young'uns in there.  But with that age, it really feels like there are twice that many in the room!  He is doing well (according to the teacher) and the kids miss him when he isn't in the room.  He usually has nothing to say about the whole experience, so I guess it can't be that bad.

I saw an ad in the newspaper that I dropped off my resume for on Wednesday.  When I got home, there was a message on the machine from them.  I am not sure I was out of their parking lot when they left it, asking me to come in to talk to them.  Not sure if that is a good sign or not.  Supposed to go talk to them around 3pm today.

Still having some issues dealing with the loss of one of "my" kids.  Tears will hit me out of the blue.  The Boy is starting to get used to it.  I am not.  If I am having such a hard time, I can not imagine how his parents are dealing with it.

Boyfriend and Boyfriend's Wife came out to the sticks for Memorial Day.  We grilled and visited.  Then Boyfriend and Crazy Man went out to shoot at targets for a while.  We had a really good time!  After we were done eating, Boyfriend showed me how to do a couple of things on Photoshop.  I am about as good at that as I am at Zumba if that tells you anything!

Crazy Man and Boyfriend are going on an Iron Butt Ride tomorrow.  They are supposed to travel 1000 miles within 24 hours on the motorcycle.  They plan on leaving around 5am I think.  I thought about riding with Crazy Man, but The Boy is with me this weekend, so I didn't want to leave him home alone.  That, plus the fact that I am not sure I would be walking very well (or at all!) after riding 1000 miles on the back of a bike.

We are slowly but surely getting closer to the day we leave for vacation.  Three weeks until we board the plane!  I can't get excited about it yet.  I am still afraid there will be something that will keep us from being able to go.  Or worse, something will happen when we get out there and we will have to head home too early.  I guess I am actually looking more forward to the day the plane lands rather than the day it takes off!  That way I know that we have gone and had a good time.  Crazy, I know.

The Boy had an orthodontist appointment yesterday afternoon.  The girl who is assigned to take care of him looks like she is about to pop.  Her due date is Monday, so she decided that yesterday would be her last day.  That means that one of the orthodontists himself will be working on The Boy.  Took a little convincing of The Boy to get him to agree to it, but hopefully it will only be a maximum of three times.

Have you heard the song "I Pray For You" by Jaron and The Long Road to Love?  If you haven't, you need to go here to see the video and listen to it.  It has made my list of favorites.

And that is the end of what I have to say!  Will see you back here next week.  At least that is what I am hoping for!  Have a safe weekend.  Spend it with someone you love!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I Heart Faces




The theme of the week over at I Heart Faces is "play". When I read that, I knew immediately which picture I wanted to show. It isn't all fancily photoshopped or anything like that. What you see is what I saw as I snapped the shot.

And what I saw was an uncle with his two nephews, all three with a smile.  Getting The Boy and Little Little Brother to smile was feat in and of itself.  But when I whispered to each of them to give Nephew a 'wet willy' on the count of three.....that did it.  Laughter all around!

And it does a body good to see and hear it!



Now, you need to head on over there and see all of the other playing going on!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Guess Who?!

Believe it or not, I have not fallen off the edge of the Earth!  I am still around, just not able to have been online for the past couple of weeks due to the fact that school finally dismissed for the year.  So how am I able to type this out now?  Because, unfortunately, summer school started today.

Many many things have happened in the past couple of weeks.  Nothing majorly important though!  What can I say?  I live a fairly ho-hum kinda life.  Most of the time that is a good thing!

As I said, summer school started today.  I was informed that I am required to be not only the nurse, but also the secretary.  And not receive an extra check like the rest of the staff who is working.  And, I am required to like it.  Yeah, well, that ain't gonna happen!  I may be forced to be here, but I don't have to like it.

The Boy ended up coming with me.  He is too old to actually attend, but I didn't have anywhere else for him to go.  The plan (in my mind) was for him to stay either at home or with Little Little Brother two or three days out of the week.  I was not overly thrilled with this option, but you do what has to be done, ya know?!  He had to come with me today because with an appointment scheduled this afternoon for him, I didn't have time to run home and get him.  But, things have a way of working themselves out I guess.  Our Kindergarten teacher has the class of little ones during the summer that she will be teaching next school year.  And this group is a major handfull it seems!  She asked if The Boy would be willing to come everyday and help her out.  I feel much better about this, even if The Boy does not!

I am in the process of looking for a new job, so if anyone out there reading this has need for me, let me know!  It would be nice if I could make at least what I am making at the moment, but more is always appreciated!  

At this moment in time, I still don't know if I have a job for the next school year.  I have heard a rumor that I was hired back "pending funding" but nothing has been officially told to me yet.  Of course that means that when the state cuts the grant funding that my creates my position, I don't know if the school is going to be willing to dip into their own pocket to keep me working in the district or not.  It will probably be sometime in August before I know.  I just wish they would make a decision since it is really hard to tell a prospective employer when I am able to start a new job.

I am not going to make this very long today.  I have a bunch of reading to catch up on and some reports that are due in a couple of weeks that I am working on.  Just wanted to let anyone who visits here know that I am still around. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

Friday Fragment time!  Should you wish to join in, just head on over to Mrs. 4444's place and link up, or just see how fragmented everyone else's week has been.

As you can tell from my not being around for a week, it has been chaos around here.  My whole week has been nothing but fragments!  I have actually got a few things to say that could take up a whole post, but just can't find the cohesiveness needed to form a complete post.

Today is the last day of the school year.  For that I am very happy!  Next year (if I still have a job here) we will be in a brand new elementary building which sits directly across the street from the high school.  That will make things a lot easier.  I have yet to move anything from this room to that one.  Some would say that I am being obnoxious and rude about it, but why would I want to pack everything that belongs to the school and try to squeeze it into a tiny little space when I don't know if I will even be using it next year?  Call me obnoxious if you want!

Last night was the school board meeting where they were supposed to make a decision about rehiring the non-certified staff for next year.  I am considered one of those.  However, when I am hired, the board always puts the stipulation of "pending funding".  I completely understand this.  But it makes me angry too.  Because my position is funded by a grant through the state, the board will only hire me back if they receive the funding.  When I asked a board member last night if this district even wanted a nurse, he emphatically told me that they did.  But when I pointed out to him that if I am hired "pending funding" then what I am actually being told is that the district only wants a nurse if someone else pays for it.  He had no response.  And all I had were tears of anger.  I am total limbo here.  I can't look for another job because I don't know if I still have the one that I have now!  And, if this year is the same as all the years past, then I won't actually know if I have a job until August....about a week or so before school starts.

Yesterday the superintendent came to me and told me that there was going to be a scaled back version of summer school this year because the funding from the state is not like it should be.  He told me that I would be the secretary as well as the nurse for summer school.  The reason is that this way he can fill two spots with no money out of pocket.  He has never paid me extra to work summer school.  Despite the fact that every other person working it takes home a nice extra check.

Tomorrow, I am involved with putting on a scavenger hunt, bike show, raffle and all sorts of other things to support our local Veteran's Home, the Fischer House, and the Legacy Fund.  It is all being put on by our local chapter of the American Legion Riders.  This is the first time we have attempted something like this, so if you could just say a little prayer that the rain stays away and the turn out is good, it would be much appreciated!

Last Sunday on Mother's Day, I took some pictures of The Boy, Little Little Brother and Nephew.  I haven't been able to go through them all and decide which are the best, but once I do, then I will show them on here.

Yesterday I bit the bullet and set up a Facebook page.  I have no idea as to how to use this thing!  Crazy Man has been wanting me to set it up and I have been resistant.  Shoot....I can't even keep up here!  But, within a week, two people that I haven't talked to in a long time asked me to find them on Facebook, so I finally caved.  Guess Crazy Man will have to show me how to work the darn thing!

That is all the fragments of the week that my brain will acknowledge at this point, so I guess I am done.  Hope everyone has had a great week and will have an even better weekend.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Fragments

Mommy's IdeaTime for Friday Fragments hosted by the wonderfully amusing Mrs. 4444.  I have not linked to her in a while for several different reasons.  If you have no idea what those may be, then just look back on this site in the month of April.  That should explain everything.  And if you still haven't figured it out, send me an email and ask!  Now that that is out of the way, it is time for those things that have happened, but are not major enough to warrant an entire post.

School is winding down for the year, for which I am terribly happy about.  Now if I could just have those three months off that everyone always says that school workers have!  I am usually lucky to get 5 weeks out of the 12 not at school.

Couple of field trips coming up.  Going to the skating rink in the next town over today.  Next week is the park and bowling alley.  Next Thursday is the annual kickball game between the sixth grade students and the Elementary staff.  It is fun for all!  At least until the staff tries to get out of bed the next morning!  Next Friday is our last day and we get out at noon.

We only have 56 days until we are scheduled to get on the plane and fly to Hawaii!  I am trying to contain my excitement since a lot could happen between now and then.  But it is really hard to do with the weather warming up and the tickets all paid for and waiting to be used.

I really need to find a swimming suit for me to take on our trip, but am thoroughly dreading it.  Sometimes I think I would rather swim to Hawaii than try to stuff this body into a bathing suit.  Of course, if I were to do that, then I don't think I would mind getting into a tiny little bathing suit because whatever the sharks didn't eat would be nice and tan and thin.  And others wouldn't turn their heads in disgust when I show up in a tight little piece of material.

I already received my Mother's Day gift from The Boy and Crazy Man.  They built me a new bookcase out of old barn wood.  I love it!  It is nearly completely full, so I told them that I need about 10 more!  I also will need an extra room to put them all in, but one thing at a time, right?!

That is all I have to say for the time being.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dear Someone Letters

shortmama

I have missed writing Dear Someone Letters the past couple of weeks.  I just wasn't able to do so.  But, today is different!  And besides, I have things to say!  Once you have made your way through mine, head on over to Short Mama's place to see who others are writing to.

Dear Waiter at O'Charleys,

Yes, I really wanted a Cuban Sandwich.  It is what my taste buds were craving, not the hamburger that I had to order because your restaurant had removed my sandwich from the menu and you swore the stuff to make it was not in the kitchen.  So when you came back to our table and found me in tears, I almost hope that you thought it was over not getting that sandwich!  Of course that would just make me look like a complete idiot if it were truly the case.  I didn't explain then, but the tears were because I had been informed of the death of one of 'my' kids at school.  Also, I won't be able to come into your eating establishment until the Cuban Sandwich has returned to your menu grief has lessened.

Thanks for understanding,
Don't Make Me Cry Again



Dear Principals,

If you want me to do my job, then let me do my job.  If you want to change the rules for one child here and there, then don't lay it off on me.  I am trying to follow what the law says, but evidently laws aren't really important to administrators.  If the law (yes, it is a real law) says the child can't be in school, then they can't be in school.  You should not have the authority to decide willy-nilly who has to follow the law and who doesn't.  Your job should be to back me up as I try to enforce this law, since that is truly what it is....a law.  But, if you don't want to do that, then please be aware that at any unannounced (at least it won't be me telling you when it is) moment, the state can come in and do an audit.  If they find this school lacking, then they will write you out a bill for several thousand dollars per child who is non-compliant.

Thought you should know.....again,
Not My Fault



Dear Superintendent,

All of the Elementary staff are packing up their rooms so they can take it all to the newly built building three miles away.  Well, all of them except for me.  And why is it that I am refusing to pack anything?  Because if you won't tell me that I have a job, then why should I move things that I may or may not be using next year?  I will pack and move it all when you tell me that you have hired me back.  So, maybe if you want it done before August 1st you should let me know this year before that date.  And it may be a nice idea if you find me some space to actually place the items that I need to place.

Thanks for nothing,
Your School Nurse



Dear IRS,

When I opened up your letter to me yesterday afternoon, I nearly vomited.  First off, why is it that you are just now looking at my 2008 income taxes?  Shouldn't you have done that in, oh I don't know, 2008?!  Secondly, there is absolutely no possible way that I owe you more than I made in 2008.  For that matter, it is more than I made in 2009 and am scheduled to make in 2010!  And thirdly, if Crazy Man and I had actually made what you say we made, then we would have already built our house's much needed second floor....and we haven't.

Signed,
You are Wrong



Dear Little Little Brother,

Please do not try to go to school next year for only half a day.  It is your Senior year.  You need to have that experience!  It only comes once in a lifetime (or at least it better, so keep your grades up!) and you will regret it when you are my age if you don't stay.

Love,
Your Favorite Sister


Dear Son,

I am so extremely proud of you!  You have worked really hard this year, and being named as top student in the Freshman class proves it.  Next year, you have signed up for some tough classes, but I know you can do it.  And, since you had to have special approval to get into a couple of those classes, then you know that both the teacher of those courses and the principal believe in you too.

Love, 
Your Mom

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Getting There

I am back.  Kind of.  Physically I am here.  Mentally and emotionally I still sometimes kind of check out for a little bit.  If you have been around very long, then you know that I can't always write here because of lack of computer access.  And if you have been around for the past couple of weeks, then you know what has been happening in my neck of the woods and why I haven't been around.

Today, I finally feel like writing something.

Things are starting to normal up a little.  Although, it is still not like it should be around here.  I still wear my "in memory" ribbon.  And the reason I do that is because I still cry without warning.  And I figure that when I stop doing that, then I will stop wearing the ribbon.  My grief, my prerogative.

What else has been happening around here?

Well, last Thursday evening was the Academic and Sports Banquet.  Awards for these two things are given out that night.  Each family brings in a couple of covered dishes and the school provides the meats, drinks, plates and such.  You have to be invited academically or be on one of the sports teams.  

The counselor gives out awards for kids on the A and B Honor Rolls.  If you have made the A Honor Roll all year (for the first time), then you get an academic letter (to put on a school jacket), a pin to go on that letter (each year you achieve this) and a certificate for the school year.  She also awards a plaque with the student's name and the school year stating that they are the Top of the Class for their grade.

The Boy is not on any type of sports team, but we were invited to attend because he has really good grades.  He has actually had really good grades for his whole school career.  And, he has always been one of the top three or four kids in the class.  When I moved him to this school to start the fourth grade, there was a girl in his class that was blind.  She remains in his class and has been named the top student every year since we moved here.

Now, several of the kids think that it is kind of not fair since she doesn't do all of the same work that the rest of them have to do.  They also don't like the fact that she has someone reading tests and assignments for her since her reader could know the answer and inflect a tone of voice when reading the correct answer.  The Boy is one of these kids (even though he has no understanding of tone of voice!  Go Autism!).  I just try to remind him that he wouldn't want to be blind.  I also make sure he knows that I can't change his mind over his opinion, but as long as he feels that way and he still does his very best, then he knows that the grades he receives are his very own.  I don't think it makes him feel any better, but at least he still does his best!

When the counselor announced that she was giving out the Top of the Class awards, several in this class prepared to clap for the same child that had been receiving it every year.  Man was everyone surprised when The Boy's name was called!  I was excited for him.  The Boy however, just went up and got the plaque without so much as a grin!  He wouldn't even let me take his picture with it!  I think he is excited too, but he was embarrassed to be the center of attention.  The other kids were happy for him though!

I am trying to get excited enough to start packing up my office here at work/school to move it all to the newly built Elementary building that sits right across the street from the High School.  Don't get me wrong.  A new building that close to the High School will be nice.  The problem comes in when I tell you that I will be moving from a room that is about 20 feet by 20 feet with two windows to a room that is literally 14 ft by 8 ft and has no windows in the walls or even in the door to see out into the hallway.  I have seriously used painter's tape to mark out the dimensions on my current office floor so that I can somehow figure out where to place the items that I need to take.  It is like a tetris puzzle!  Once it gets in the room, you can't just change your mind about placement of items without moving everything out the door and starting over!  Oh.  And the 14ft by 8ft area actually only has 10ft by 5 1/2 ft of actual workable floor space!  Yeah.  Everyone needs a challenge!

We are scheduled to get out of school on Friday, May 14th at noon.  At this moment, summer school is supposed to start on June 1st.  Don't even get me started on that!  I am kind of hoping that it is called off due to lack of funding.  Does that mean that I won't have to show up anyway?  Probably not since the superintendent is a (insert word of choice here).

So that is how things have been here.  I am healing from the inside out.  Although this whole thing is going to be leaving a scar.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Say Cheese!


I have found another category in which I have a great (in my humble opinion) shot that needs to be shown off in an I Heart Faces challenge.  This week's theme is "Smiles".  Once you gander upon my entry, click on over there to see the hundreds (literally!) of others that are entered.  And leave them a comment telling them that my entry is the best!  I also know that there could be lots of PhotoShopping done to this picture, but I didn't.  This is the way it happened to turn out.


This is Azriel.  Maybe this isn't a full out all teeth showing smile, but what do you expect from a baby who is less than 20 minutes old?!  If  nothing else, it sure made the rest of us smile.  Admit it....you smiled too!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Last Week

Last week was tough.  

Scratch that.  

Last week was brutal.

Why?  Find out here.

Friday, we were out of school for our scheduled "Spring Break".  One whole day that I was actually looking forward to having at home to do some things that needed to be done.

Instead, I spent the day crying.  

The funeral home was filled with kids and adults alike, all wearing camouflage.  I overheard a story in which the funeral home had set up 300 chairs throughout the building.  Every single chair held at least one person.  Many many more found seats on the floor, in the hallway, or leaning along the walls.  The estimate was that there were 500 people inside the building during the service.  That does not count the numbers of folks who came and left before service time.

Stories abound detailing the concern and prayers pouring out for our "family".  Our girls were in the middle of a softball game on Tuesday afternoon when they heard the news.  Tears began to fall, but to the outfield they went.  The other team heard what happened and called off the game, saying that they were too far behind to catch up.  Once the high fives were over, the other team went to their bench where they placed their gloves and hats.  They then made their way to our team where each of their girls hugged each of ours.

The state university rushed at least one of our students and her mother (a teacher here) through while they were attending Freshman orientation for next semester.  They got them out in time for the two of them to slip quietly in just as the service was starting.

There were hugs between people that you would never expect for hugs to be.  Kids were hugging teachers.  They were hugging each other.  They were crying in front of each other without shame.  Teachers were letting the tears fall in front of all.  People who were having spats with others put those aside and came together in their grief.

Schools from surrounding communities sent e-mails or called our counselor offering support and sympathy.  Even the state university called to offer condolences.  Remember, we are a tiny school.  And the state university called.

The hallways are still unusually quiet.  They are louder now, but still not at the level they should be.  Kids are still in shock.  Although, some are wavering still between denial and anger.  There is no acceptance as of yet.

We should be grateful that out of the three classmates who were together, only one was taken from us.  And yet, we can't rejoice in that fact because one was taken from us.

There are some kids who have started counseling through an outside source because of the stress they have been forced to endure.

I feel silly because I still break into tears at times.  And I can't come up with a reason when Crazy Man asks why.  Like yesterday afternoon.  My MIL hugged me and told me to "have a good week".  I am having more trouble than normal putting my thoughts together.

And I am not this child's mom.  Nor am I blood related to him.  I am just a mom of a classmate who happens to have worked with this child through school.  I can not imagine how she feels.  And selfishly, I don't want to imagine how much worse she feels if it hurts this badly for me.

If you have read this far, please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thanks for listening.  Tomorrow will be better. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No Words

I am not really myself today.  Physically, I look the same.  Mentally, just not all there.  (Stop laughing.  I know that I am normally not all there, but this is different.)  This is a tough post.  Just be warned.

Yesterday was April 20.  The seniors are released from school on April 29th.  The entire school lets out on May 14th.  The place is loud and happy between classes.

Today is April 21.  We are out of school on Friday.  There are a total of 16 days left in this school year.  And there are no loud happy students in the halls between classes.

What could have changed so much just overnight?

Yesterday afternoon, around 4:43 pm, one of our 16 year old ninth grade students was pronounced dead by the county coroner at the scene of a motor vehicle accident.

This boy was in my son's class.  He was one of 28 students in that grade.  His brother is a senior.  His father was raised in this school, just like many of us here.

We are not a happy place right now.  The only word I can come up with to describe this place is eerie.

It isn't supposed to happen here.  Not our school.

But it has.  And it sucks.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Looky Looky!

shortmama

Not long ago, I told you that I had joined in on a Spring Swap hosted by Short Mama.  And, I have been saying that I was working on getting things together to send to my partner.  Well, I played by the rules and got everything all boxed up and sent out on the day it was supposed to go.  Want to see what I sent to my partner Julie?  Just click on her name and it will take you to her site, Just Playin' Around.

She also played by the rules.  And, because she did, I got mail!  I love getting mail.  The problem is that when you get rid of the bills and the junk mail, there usually just isn't anything left to love!  That was not the problem with this batch of mail since I got this lovely box with my name written all over it.  Of course, there were others who were as curious as I was as to what was inside....


Once I was able to convince Ziggy that I really didn't need his help, I opened it all carefully and found.....
A card peeking out on top of something bright and pink.  What could it be?!  I was having trouble not just ripping through it!  Instead, I used patience and took my time, savoring every exciting piece!

Look......
A very cute springy card and a fun new tote!  And, she shops at Target!  How do I know this?  Because I saw one of these on one of my recent excursions there when I was gathering things for her box and talked myself out of buying it!  Not sure how she knew this, but she did.

Inside this fabulous bag was.....
all sorts of other goodies!

Let's see, shall we?
Springy, flowery fun tumblers.  These things are heavier than you think!  I am always looking for something that I can use that isn't glass.  I love these.

A cute little pail filled with those little puff candies (which I can never get enough of!) in flavors that I have never seen before.

Now, I don't know where she found this, but I LOVE it!  It is a coupon holder that I can hang on my cart while shopping.  I thought she was several hours away from me, but evidently she was watching when I came this close to spilling out my tons of coupons the other day in the grocery store!  That won't happen with this nifty thing!

This is a neat little notebook that I can write anything my little heart desires in.  Isn't it cute and springy?!

And, finally....my very own cooler bag!  I don't have one of these and am thrilled to finally be the proud owner!  And, it is a bright pink, so The Boy and Crazy Man won't bother with using it!  Now, I don't have to wonder just what I am going to put my lunch in when I go on these upcoming field trips at work/school.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I loved everything in my package.  Hopefully you enjoy what was in your package as much as I liked picking it out for you!

Want to see what the other 66 folks who signed up got? (Add me and Julie and you get a grand total of 68.)  Click here to go find out!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Getting the Finger


I have decided to enter another picture over at I Heart Faces this week.  I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get my act together in time to enter anything last week.  I didn't think I would be able to show off this photo as an entry because there is not a face to be found.  But, after reading the rules for this week, there doesn't have to be a face showing at all!  Yay for me!

This picture was taken around Halloween time.  I love these cookies, not only for the taste, but also because sometimes it is fun to give someone a finger!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Writer's Workshop

If you are a reader who has been here a while, you may notice that today I am going to try something a little different.  I have decided to link up over at Mama Kat's.  She hosts the Writer's Workshop and gives you some different prompts to chose from for your writing. 

The prompt that I chose reads: Where does that fear come from? Write about something that frightens you that other people might find ridiculous. Write about it in a poem, a story, or whatever. 

I have a crazy fear of funerals.  Well, not really the actual funeral, just portions of it.  I know that most people don't like to attend funerals.  Although if you do, then I can only assume that you are a mortician or something along those lines.

Anyway, when you go to a funeral, you hope that whoever dealt with the body was able to make your dearly departed look as though they are just sleeping.  I am not sure why this is the case, but you never hear anyone say that they want to look horrid at their own funeral.  But, the thing is that if they make them look as if they are just taking a nap, that is when my mind starts to play tricks on me.  Because when the funeral director closes the lid I begin to panic and freak out.

How did I arrive at this fear?  Well, I didn't even know that I had the fear until I was at my uncle's funeral several years ago and I had the misfortune to witness the closing and sealing of the casket.

Now, when I go to a funeral, I keep my fingers crossed that the lid will be closed when I am not looking.  Crazy, huh?  I know the body is still inside, but unless I actually witness the lid closing I am fine.

Another fear that I have about funerals was discovered this past November.  We had been at a visitation for around six hours and was finally leaving for the night to get something to eat and then get some rest so we could return the following morning for the funeral.  I rode with my husband planning to leave my car at the funeral home and return to get it after eating.

Simple enough, huh?  Not really.  Because when I got back to get my car, I couldn't make myself get into it and leave.  I just had a major meltdown and started to cry.  After several minutes, I was able to verbalize just what it was that was causing the episode.

The irrational fear was that everyone had just left the funeral home.  How can people just pick up their stuff and leave their loved one in that place?  Alone?  They have been a mom, a dad, a sibling, a friend, a husband or a wife for many years.  And it is doubtful that anyone had ever just walked away from them without telling them that they were loved or even just a simple 'see ya later'.  But this had happened.  And I lost it.

Another fear of the funeral stuff occurs in the cemetery.  I have to walk several feet away from in front of the stone or directly behind the stone.  If I don't do it that way, then I feel as though I am walking on someone.  And that is just wrong.

All of these things give me nightmares for weeks when I attend a funeral.  Even just a visitation will usually set off the nightmares.  For that matter, I will probably have nightmares tonight just because I brought this to the forefront of my mind.  Talking about them makes me want to cry.

I know that these fears are totally irrational.  And most people look at me like I am totally crazy when I verbalize them.  But even though my mind knows it is a little on the nutty side, my heart has yet to be convinced.


Head on over to see what others are writing about this week!
Mama's Losin' It      

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dear Someone

Today is the day that I like to join in with Short Mama to write Dear Someone Letters.   Let's get started!

Dear Short Mama,

I have no idea what is going on here, but I could not get your button to show up.  I have tried everything I know how to do, but no dice.  Could I really have forgotten how it is supposed to work in a week?!  I don't think so, but something is up.....

Sorry,
Ima Hick


Dear Everyone,

It has been a long week since I last posted.  And I am just nearly too tired and confused and brain jumbled to even come up with something to write that is even close to being readable.  That is the main reason that I haven't typed out anything for nearly a week.  So don't be surprised if you read all of this, sit back and question just what exactly I was talking about!

Sincerely,
Ima Hick


Dear Nurse at the Other School,

Remember back in January when we sent emails back and forth concerning Kindergarten Screening?  No?  Well, I do.  And if you don't, then I will gladly show you the emails that I happened to have saved.  Anyway, during that time, I told you that you would need to make sure you were at the screening since you had a job to do there.  I didn't realize that you didn't think that I was talking to you.  Silly me!  Where were you the day of the screening?  Unless the date was different than what was posted in the newspaper, you were not there.  After I had told you two months prior that you needed to be there!  And, tomorrow is the deadline for you to return all of those papers to me that I have to have for the two of us to hopefully keep our jobs.  Guess what?  I don't have from you what I need.  Am I totally shocked?  Not at all.  Will I apologize if the forms are delivered in the mail today or tomorrow?  Maybe.  We will have to see what kind of mood I am in.

So mad that I don't even know how to end this letter,
The One Who You are Supposed to Pay Attention To


Dear School District Voters,

Nice to know that someone besides those of us who work here are questioning the school board decisions and have decided to vote out an incumbent and vote in someone totally new.  Have we all made the wrong decision?  Time will tell, but can it really be worse than it was?

Thanks,
A School Employee


Dear Mother Nature,

The weather was really nice for a few days.  For that I thank you.  I have, however, had enough of the wind.  Did you forget that this is Missouri, not Wyoming?  Now, the rain is back and with it came cold again.  Pick a season!  Please.  And make it summer.....

Thanks,
Wishing for Summer


Dear Grandma,

Didn't think I could get those deviled eggs done for Sunday dinner, did ya? Ha!!  Fooled you!  I not only got them done, but had some left.  Of course, I delegated the eggs to be hard-boiled.  But you never specified that I couldn't do that!

Love,
Your Favorite Granddaughter


Dear State,

Please do not cut funding for my position at school.  No matter what anyone else might think, I am really a help to the school.  And, if you want to cut funding, then that will just be one more person standing in the unemployment lines.  I didn't realize that when the higher ups said they wanted to create jobs that what they actually meant was they only wanted to create them in the unemployment offices.

Please Save the Funding,
A School Nurse


Dear Mind,

I am tired.  And you working all night shoving dreams that make no sense at all or that scare the you know what out of me is just not helping.  I am really over this.

Thanks,
Needing Sleep


Dear New Doctor's Office,

You were so kind to me when I called.  You answered all of my questions and then some.  Thank you so much for being so kind and patient.  I really appreciate it.

Sincerely,
Hope it Will Continue


Dear Boy,
You crack me up!  And you are growing like a weed again.  I am hoping that I will be able to convince you to start wearing short sleeves and shorts once Mother Nature allows warmer temperatures to show up around here.  I know how hard it is to totally change your way of dressing.  And I hate having to hide all of the wrong weather type clothing from you.  But, I have done it before and will do it again!

Love,
Your Mom


Dear Swap Partner,
I have everything that I can think of that reminds me of Spring all stuffed neatly packed into a box that I am going to be wrapping up tonight.  I will bring it with me to work in the morning so that I can stop at the post office on my way home tomorrow.  And then it will be on it's merry way to your house!  Hope you like it!

Keeping my fingers crossed,
Your Swap Partner

That is about all I can squeeze out of this tired, jumbled brain of mine at the moment.  Hopefully next week will be better.  Now, don't just sit there!  Go check out the other letters!