Thursday, March 31, 2005


I am sad, mad and frustrated right now. I am deeply saddened by Terri Schiavo's death. I am frustrated at the fact that apparently some people's lives are worth more than others. Who decides that? Yesterday's headlines disgusted me. The top headline read "Appeals Court To Consider Schiavo Request". Directly underneath that was the headline "Pope Getting Nutrition From Feeding Tube". Am I the only one who sees irony in this? At 4 PM yesterday when the last request for Terri Schiavo's feeding tube reinsertion was denied, apparently the pope was perkin' along nicely with his.

No one - not her husband, not her parents, not the masses of doctors - will ever know what she was or was not capable of. That was impossible to tell - but where there is life, there is hope. Perhaps if the opinions of her condition had been unanimous in that there was no hope of recovery, things would be different (even so, starving someone to death is not an option). However, in this case there were differing opinions - some saying she could regain some function, some saying she could not. As long as there was some doubt and differing professional opinions, she should have been given a chance, and her husband - I use the term loosely, and will not print the words that I feel truly describe him - took that away.

People talked about her "quality of life". What is that, anyway? Does a person who has all four limbs and no deficits of any kind have a better quality of life than someone who is handicapped? I believe that quality of life is relative to the person living it. A person who is fully functional mentally and physically could be miserable with their life, and yet a quadriplegic could be joyful with theirs. No one can say what quality of life is or isn't - too many variables. I hope her husband enjoys his money that wasn't spent on helping Terri. I have a feeling that what he thinks will be "freedom" from what he saw as a burden, will now become more of a burden than he ever imagined. I hope her parents find peace. I know Terri already has. Stepping down off my soapbox now.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Going Once, Going Twice.....

Well, now I have seen it all. I was searching on eBay for history books and came across this auction. Grandmas on the auction block. I have seen weird stuff up for auction before, but they have been jokes (mother-in-laws, annoying relatives, souls, and even dignity for sale!). I don't think this one is a joke, unless I'm really missing something in the ad.

We are enjoying our last day of freedom here. Tomorrow it is back to school, schedules and same ol' same ol'. Actually, it's probably a good thing as we were all becoming just a tad too lazy (sleeping 'till whenever, staying up 'till whenever, eating whenever). I mentioned in an earlier post that Andy is a creature of habit, but in truth I think we all are, and a little more of a daily routine isn't really such a bad thing. I will heartily disagree with that statement as the alarm is going off at 4 tomorrow morning!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Searching for eggs (even the cat!)

"I WILL find all the eggs, and anyone who thinks otherwise can answer to my little friend here."

Andy hid 7, then ran out of hiding places, so this is what he did with the rest!

Happy Easter

He is not here; He has risen, as He said He would do. Come, see the place where He lay. Matthew 28:6

Easter! Time for eggs, candy, and most importantly, to acknowledge the fact that we are all saved because someone loved us enough to die on a cross for us.

The Easter Bunny made an appearance at our house last night. I must admit I was a bit worried, wondering if this story had discouraged him from making his rounds last night!

We are not having a traditional Easter dinner today. We had one of our sugar-cured hams last week which led to leftovers, then ham sandwiches, then ham spread for sandwiches, and now it is awaiting its final metamorphosis into bean soup. Needless to say, we were not in the mood for ham today. I have been cooking a crockpot full of spaghetti sauce with Italian sausage since this morning, and right now there is a butter chocolate fudge cake in the oven. We won't be able to move after dinner, but that's okay!

We had our traditional egg hunt. Every year the four of us take turns hiding the eggs for the others . It is always, shall we say, interesting. Last year Jerry and Tom tackled each other on the ground for an egg that they both spotted at the same time. Sadly, I did not have the camera with me to capture that Kodak moment. I can only assume that memories of last year prompted Jerry to carry around a plastic baseball bat during this year's hunt. As long as I am in the house while someone else is hiding the eggs, there will be NO CHEATING! No one peeks, or they invoke my wrath. Unfortunately, Jerry is lacking a little in the No Cheating department. When it was my turn to hide the eggs, I was more than a little pleased with myself for what I thought were creative and wonderful hiding places. What I didn't know was that not only was Jerry looking out the front window watching me, he actually took a picture every time I hid an egg! There on the camera screen was a documentary of every hiding place of each of the 12 eggs. He may not have seconds of the chocolate cake tonight.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Yes, We Have No Blog

Nothing much has been happening around here. I couldn't think of anything to write. I considered writing about how inept I would be at saving the world (should the need arise, you know), while playing a video game with Andy. I thought about telling how while we were supposed to be battling the enemy together, Andy kept having to come rescue me, because I kept finding various ways to either get myself killed, fall off of high ledges into endless pits, or wedge myself into places from which I could not escape. A most hopeless warrior. Andy gently suggested that perhaps I would rather just watch the game instead of participate. I agreed.

Then I thought of writing about how the mother of a 14-year-old was arrested for entering an abortion clinic demanding to see her daughter who was taken there unbeknownst to her mother. This is absurd. The clinic contends that the 14-year-old's rights were violated. Excuse me - a 14-year-old has rights such as this? Yes, the time for talking ideally would have been before the situation arose that required the clinic visit, but you know what they say about hindsight. Actually, my neighbor says that hindsight is 50/50. I'm not kidding. She does not intend it as a joke, either. Very hard to hold a straight face when she says this! Well, this is also the same neighbor who refers to "hosta" plants as "hostages". I'm not kidding, and she's not joking then, either. She told us one morning that the deer were eating all her hostages. At this point we remembered something vitally important that needed our attention at home, as there was a real danger of us bursting from stifled laughter.

Well, I thought about writing all of this, but then decided not to. I will just wait until tomorrow and maybe then I can think of something to write about. So, no blog for today.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Rain - Rhymes With Bane

Bane of our septic tank, that is. The heavy rains of yesterday did us in. Brothers Johnson to the rescue once again! In a previous post I commented that we must be good customers because we received a Christmas card from the company - now I know this to be true. When Jerry called them this morning he was told they were very busy and wouldn't be able to come out until sometime next week, but if Jerry wanted to leave his name and number, they would call if something became available sooner. Approximately 10 minutes later they called back, saying that someone would be here today. Approximately 1o minutes after that, they arrived! I felt as if we should have offered refreshments or something, as they have become more frequent visitors than our friends and neighbors! Well, in any case, now we may dishwash and bathe with abandon once more. Until it rains again......

The whole issue with Terri Schiavo has everyone offering opinions and opening discussions. I don't think there has been this much debate about anything since the election last November. This story certainly puts a different perspective on the issue for me, though. I had not realized that there was question as to the husband's possible involvement in (or responsibility for) her condition. Kind of puts a new light on the situation.

Yesterday was Haircut Day at our house. After a false start about a month ago, we managed to go on and finish getting the job done - well, Jerry and I, anyway. I usually cut Andy's hair myself, and Tom - well, we're not real sure what Tom is doing with his hair these days. About a month ago Jerry and I set out for haircuts one sunny afternoon. We decided to try Hair Cuttery this time instead of the usual place we went. We had been to Hair Cuttery once before, but didn't like the attitude of the people there, so had determined that we wouldn't go back. Well, it had been a while, and with the usually high turnover rate at places like these, we figured it might be safe to return there. When we walked in we were told the wait would be about 45 minutes to an hour. Hmmm...we saw exactly one man sitting in the waiting area, and we saw four stylists standing at the back door smoking cigarettes and chatting. When Jerry started to say no, thanks, the lady suddenly changed her mind and - what do you know - the wait suddenly became only 20 minutes! Jerry figured that maybe the third time was the charm - say no, thanks again, and maybe we could be seen RIGHT THEN! Nope - didn't turn out that way. Instead, she changed her tune to 30 minutes. By this time Jerry had had enough. He said no, thanks - we'll go elsewhere. As we headed for the door, the lady actually said "Oh! We could probably take you all next!" Puhleeze. Well, we went across the street to the good ol' standby haircut place that we had visited for years, grumbling all the way over about the bad attitudes and general nastiness of the previous place. When we got to the shopping center, we couldn't find the place. It was GONE! We started thinking we had sniffed too much perm solution at the other place and had lost our bearings, but no - the place was GONE! Instead, there was a FOR LEASE sign in the window of where it used to be. Oh dear. Now what?! The only other haircut place now was 20 miles or so in the other direction. There was no way we were returning to Hair Cuttery - sheepishly or otherwise! Jerry decided we were Standing Our Ground and by golly, there'd be no haircuts today! Finally, after a month, our vision started becoming obscured by the completely unruly masses of growth atop our heads - hence our trip yesterday. We are shorn and happy. Oh, and by the way - we went to the place 20 miles in the other direction!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I had one lone clump of daffodils in my back yard. No idea where they came from, but they look much better in a vase on my table!
This blog has been rolling around in my head for a few days now. I almost didn't write it, but then remembered the whole reason for having this blog. I started this as a kind of journal for myself and my boys, so that many years from now they could see what the dailiness of our lives was about. So, having said that, I will write what is on my mind and heart. It's my blog and I'll write if I want to, write if I want to, wriiiiite if I want to - you would write too if it .....oops! Got carried away there. Great. Now "It's My Party" will be stuck in my head all day. See? This blog will probably even save my boys thousands in therapy when they're trying to discover where the lunacy factor came from!

Anyway, what I was getting at was that self-reflection is never easy. Actually, it's downright painful sometimes. I had an "ouch" moment a couple of days ago. I was thinking about some of my neighbors and started thinking "They should be doing this, or that", (insert whatever it was I thought they should be doing at that particular time - it varied depending on the day!) or, "Why do they think they have so much? They're up to their ears in debt!" Or, "Don't they know how ignorant they really are?". Now, it has to be said that this wasn't about any one person in particular - it was several people. Over the course of several minutes I had managed to basically shred lots of acquaintances and, in my mind, bring them down to size. Shortly afterwards, while basking in my moment of righteousness, it hit me. I'm not talking about a twinge to my conscience, or even a nudge. No, Imean that it HIT me. Like a 2 x 4. Suddenly in stark and painful clarity I saw myself as being the only common denominator in all of the negative thoughts I had been thinking about people. It occurred to me like a flash that it is only me that is bothered by their actions. They are not thinking twice about it. They do not care what I think, nor should they. Furthermore, my high-and-mighty thoughts made me worse than they were. What gave me the right to judge other people? It occurred to me that while I waste time stewing about other people's actions, they on the other hand are giving me no thought at all, and moving on with their lives, just as I should be. After contemplating this for a while, I thanked the Lord for knocking me down a few notches. Painful, yes - but absolutely necessary.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

It has been a very nice weekend. I can't say that I got much accomplished, but that's okay. Tom and friends' band practice was at our house again yesterday. I sincerely hope the neighbors enjoyed it. And I mean that sincerely. (Cheshire cat grin here).

Tom and Billy have gone to visit Steve at Washington Hospital Center this afternoon. Maybe we can finally get the right story about how he is doing this time! Having information go through several people is like the old game of telephone, and by the time the message gets to the last person, it's NOTHING like it was when it started out!

I was reading the book about the Kansas pioneer women and it told about how they used to build "soddies", or houses out of sod, because there were no trees to make lumber with. This is what it says:

"Harnessing the strength of several yoke of oxen, they used a special grasshopper plow or sod cutter to slice strips of sod from the earth. A sharp spade was then used to chop the strips into individual bricks. Weighing a full fifty pounds apiece, these blocks generally measured one foot wide, two feet long and four inches thick. In general, the typical sod cabin was constructed by stacking the sod bricks, one layer after another, around the perimeter of the site. Laid with grass side down, the blocks were normally placed side by side to form walls two feet thick. In all, it took nearly one full acre of prairie turf to provide enough bricks for the average one room soddy, which usually measured sixteen by twenty feet and weighed nearly ninety tons."

I found this fascinating. (It doesn't take much, you know!)

I watched yet another movie last night - but this one doesn't count toward my slovenly-bon-bon-eating-housewife tally. I watched this one with Jerry, so instead it counts as spending-time-with-hubby. We watched Wyatt Earp on the History Channel. I must confess that when he said he wanted to watch it, I figured it would be a really good time to do laundry, clean the cabinets, shampoo the cats, detail the get the picture. Instead, I found myself watching it, and when Jerry fell asleep before the ending, I kept watching it because it was a good movie! It was also a long movie - four hours!

Just now while I was typing this, Tom called to let me know that they were leaving the hospital and were on their way home. Steve must be doing well. Tom said that they saw on a hospital map that there was a Blimpie's in the hospital. Steve is allowed to have anything to eat and Tom and Billy were hungry, so they decided to go there and bring Steve something. Tom said they wandered around for a long time and couldn't find the Blimpie's so they stopped at the cafeteria and asked two security guards they saw there. When they were asked how to get to the Blimpie's, Tom said the guards said that they didn't know there was one, and if they had, they surely wouldn't be eating in the cafeteria! I wonder if they were new?!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

We are breathing a sigh of relief here. Two of Tom's friends have talked with Steve from his hospital room and he is doing well. He had surgery on one of his legs the night he was taken in. We're still a little confused as to whether one or both of his legs were broken as we got conflicting messages! He will have surgery next week to reconstruct one of his elbows and part of his forearm which was shattered. Those are the only injuries we are certain of at this point, but Tom will be finding out more later. In any case, Steve was talking to his friends and is allowed to have visitors beginning tomorrow.

The letters are hard to see with the small picture, but they say "We miss you Mrs. Fitzpatrick!" Andy is holding the "K" - what a ham! You can click on the picture to see it better. That's the new teacher who "rocks"!

Spring Has Sprung (I Think)

I finally had to take down my winter flag. I had determined to keep it flying until there was no chance of snow whatsoever. I think we have reached that point. The trees are starting to bud and my lilies have started coming up in the flower bed. I have daffodils already blooming out back. I broke down and changed my house flag yesterday. Now I need to take down my St. Patrick's Day flag from my mailbox and put up the Easter flag.

No word on Steve's condition yet. As a mom, I was concerned about Tom's upcoming license suspension. He was given the option of turning in his license for 30 days at MVA or requesting a hearing where he can explain why he would need his license during that time. I thought he was going to request a hearing to see if he could maybe just be limited to going to work or something similar instead of losing it altogether, but time is quickly running out for him to request that option. I have reminded him too many times that he needs to address the situation - as I have reminded him of other obligations and responsibilities, but I have finally determined that I will not say anything more. He cannot learn responsibility if he is not allowed to handle (or mishandle) his affairs. It is time for me to step back (still praying that he'll be guided to do the right thing, though).

I went to Andy's school yesterday and took the picture to send to their former teacher. I think it turned out very nice. You can't see the letters very well in the small picture, but I printed out an 8 x 10 on photo paper and it looks wonderful. Unfortunately we can't send it to her until school is back in session after the spring break.

Maybe more blogging later - maybe. It's going to be a beautiful day and there's lots to be done outside to get this house ready for selling.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Another Accident

Last night was a little uneasy for us. Tom's friend Steve was in a car accident and was in very serious condition when they flew him out. We have not yet heard how he is today, but are anxiously awaiting news. A neighbor had called me and asked me to listen to my scanner because she wanted to know what was going on when she saw an ambulance at the house beside hers. I turned on the scanner and didn't hear anything about what was going on next to the neighbor, but I did hear that there was a very bad car accident and that they were closing off Route 4 in both directions and had called for three helicopters. Tom was due to get off of work in about a half an hour, so I called him to let him know he might want to go get coffee or something, as he wouldn't be able to get home for a while. I heard on the scanner that one of the accident victims was a young male and told Tom this. As is usual, when something like this happens he and his friends check on each other to make sure everyone's okay. The friends were able to reach everyone but Steve, and then shortly thereafter it was confirmed that it was him involved in the accident. Tom was badly shaken because Steve had called him yesterday afternoon wanting to know if he was free so they could get together and hang out or something, but Tom told him he had to work and wouldn't be able to. Tom finally made it home. They had the road closed for a few hours as they were doing accident reconstruction work but they opened a detour eventually on lots of back roads. This is the fourth of Tom's friends to be in an accident. The first one was Josh (I didn't post a picture of that one). Then it was Billy's turn last October. Then Steve (one who works at the music store with Tom) had his accident with the bus last month. Last night it was the other Steve, who was just here hanging out and eating pizza with us last Saturday night. Josh's accident was his fault. Billy's was not his fault, and the first Steve's was not his fault. We don't know the details of last night's accident yet. I would imagine that the odds of a circle of friends being in accidents would be slim. I could understand it if they were unsafe drivers, but Billy's and Steve's wasn't their fault. Other drivers (older drivers) caused their accidents, so it can't be chalked up to teenage driving. I did, however, spend some time in prayer this morning and it occurred to me that Tom's speeding tickets could be (and should be) a warning from The One in charge. Yes, Tom has gotten two of them now and is facing a 30-day suspension of his driving privileges at the end of this month. I firmly believe that having a mother who prays for his safety daily has kept Tom from being in an accident, but I also firmly believe that the warnings he is being given should not be ignored. I shared this with him this morning. I am sorry that he has seen many friends in accidents, but I truly hope it serves to change his driving habits. By the way, the picture of the boys playing in the band were taken the week after the first Steve's accident. He was flown from the scene, but was released the next day, and three days later was here in our garage playing guitar. Someone was definitely looking after that young man. Billy was just able to resume playing the drums when the picture was taken. He broke his hand in his accident and it had just healed enough for him to play again. Well, I will certainly be praying for Steve and awaiting news on his condition. More blogging when I am able.

Steve (the truck & bus) is on far left with the blue guitar. Billy is the one in the middle with the hat (at the drums).

This is the other Steve's car - this happened last night.

This was Steve's truck.

This is (was) Billy's vehicle.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

This is a large box from BJ's that I had sitting by the trashcan, but my cat had other plans. Did I mention he's not very bright?!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Uh oh - I'm not wearing any green today. I am, however, typing this in green, and I found a few greenish moldy spots on some bread this morning - that counts, right?! Andy's bus driver gave out green hats to everyone boarding the bus this morning. It was a sight as I waved goodbye to him - lots of little green hats!

I have yet to hear back from my sister since she unwittingly called me yesterday. She has called me quite a few times accidentally because a button on her cell phone somehow gets pushed. Yesterday afternoon she called but I wasn't able to answer it. Later I listened to the message - well, what there was of one! I heard muffled talking, muffled music that sounded like a school band practice, and other unidentifiable noise. This is all there was. I listened for a full five minutes before hanging up. I have no idea how much longer the message really was. I called her cell phone and left a voice mail thanking her for the lovely phone call, and also thanking her for not talking about me while she didn't know she had called me! She really needs to watch that - that could truly be a hairy situation! What if she just happened to be talking badly about the very person she accidentally dialed?! Ouch! Jerry used to unknowingly serenade me with country music when he had his old cell phone. Somehow some button would accidentally get pushed and when I answered the phone all I would hear was Jerry singing - loudly. Some people sing in the shower - Jerry sings in his truck. Loudly.

I'll bet he's singing now - he has gone to Delaware today. I don't think his truck knows how to stay parked for more than a day or so! He left at 5:30 this morning, but called me at 9:30 to say he was already on his way back. All he had to do was drop off a sunroom. He's not installing this one. On the way home he will be stopping to finish a porch that he started earlier. As much as I miss him, I am always amazed at how much I get done when I'm by myself. Already today I have finished all of my work, plus worked a little extra in case we go away for a few days next week. The house is picked up, the laundry is done, I filled the wagon and woodbox with firewood and now am writing this! I may even spend a little time on the treadmill! Will wonders never cease? I usually pray while I walk - sounds strange, but it's time that I really enjoy spending with the Lord, praying about everything and everyone, giving Him all my worries to handle (and then trying to remember not to take them back later!). Today in addition to prayer, I need to think of something green to have for dinner. Hmmm......maybe I need to get that bread back out.....!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Today's Blog Is Titled Couldn't Think Of A Title For Today's Blog.

Jerry made it home last night - with a horse! It was a beautiful horse. We looked at it through the slats in the trailer door and it just calmly looked back at us. It had to be a terrible ride for the poor thing - I know how miserable Jerry was - I can't imagine standing and riding in a bumpy trailer for 12 hours or so! Jerry's brother came here at around 9:00 last night to pick up the horse and trailer. This one was sent out from Ohio for his brother to train. Jerry's brother trains horses for the Prince Georges County police department where they are used by the park police and other places.

Andy had another good day today! I hope this is the beginning of a trend.

I will most likely be up for a good while this evening. Tom called this afternoon from work and asked if he could go to a concert with a friend who unexpectedly had an extra ticket. The friend is the drummer that was in previous pictures that I posted (and that was in our snow battle). I don't mind him going to the concert, but he won't be getting home until late, and I doubt I will sleep until he is in. Don't rock bands know this is a school night for heaven's sake!? Sheesh.

I saw in today's news that Scott Peterson got the death penalty. Hmm - guess that means he'll be on death row for, oh, about 20 years, kept at taxpayer's expense, while awaiting death. I wonder why this is? It seems to me that if one is sentenced to death, things should not be prolonged. I remember first hearing about his wife missing on the news, then shortly thereafter Jerry and I were watching another news report that said that the husband had been having an affair, but then they showed him and he was just pleading for someone to find his wife. I looked at Jerry right then and said that they needed to take a close look at the husband. He looked much like a weasel to me, and then changing his story 2-3 times didn't help matters, either. I wonder though how life can be so disposable. If he wanted his freedom, he could have done anything other than what he did. What a coward. Ooohhh - it's much too late in the evening to be getting my ire up about this!

I'm looking forward to next week. School is closed all week for spring break, and we might go a-hunting for property during that time. Andy said, "Awww....I just wanted to spend the week doing nothing and playing video games". Hoo boy - DEFINITELY time to get that boy out into the country with a farm to keep him busy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Home Again, Home Again

Jerry just called me from his mother's house; they just arrived there and he will be on his way home shortly. They have been on the road for 11 hours, and now he has about another 40 minutes to get here. Whew! He sounded so very tired. It will be nice having him home again.

Well, Andy's new teacher is wonderful! The first words out of Andy's mouth when he got off the bus yesterday were "Mrs. Walton ROCKS!" I met her today, and I have to agree with that assessment! She is a a lovely lady with a disposition to match. She has a great sense of humor, as well. Andy said that yesterday they were doing "webs" on the chalkboard, which is where you write a main subject and circle it, then draw "webs" off of that main word to explain details about the word. The main word was "space shuttle", and when asked for webs to draw off of that, one child said "endless darkness". The teacher wrote that, and then Andy spoke up and said the teacher should make a web off of that that says "Andy's mind"! Andy was shocked when she laughed and actually wrote it!

I had asked the principal last week if I could have the children make a card for their teacher who is out, and she said that would be a good idea, so I thought of something fun to do. There are just enough students in the class for each one of them to hold up a card with a letter on it, so that they can spell out "We miss you Mrs. Fitzpatrick!" I asked the new teacher today if I might "borrow" the class sometime soon to do this, and she said that Friday right after lunch would be good. I am going to take a picture of the whole class spelling out their message, print the picture out and tuck that into a card that I will have them all sign. I hope it works out. Watch Friday turn out to be the day several students are absent! Last year I wanted to do something special for Andy's fourth grade teacher, so I asked the principal if I could "borrow" the class then, too, and told her what I had planned. I bought muslin and cut it into 12 x 12 inch squares and bought fabric markers. I "borrowed" the class during one of their music classes so the teacher wouldn't know about it, and had the children each draw or write something special to the teacher on their square. Then I sewed the squares into a quilt. When I had asked the principal about doing this, she said that it sounded wonderful, and that it would make the teacher cry! She was right; it did! I don't think I'll be making a quilt again this year, but you never can tell! In any case, I am so very glad that Andy has a great teacher now. Now, he needs to stop being class clown so she doesn't leave!

The children really put a lot of thought into making this.

The principal said the quilt would make her cry - she did!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Happy Monday!

Monday again! This Monday is a good one, though. Some are better than others. This Monday brings me one day closer to having my husband home again. Yes, he is still in Ohio. The job turned out to be a lot more difficult than anyone anticipated. The windows he is replacing turned out to be rotten and needing a lot of work before the new ones could be installed. I think his mother is getting antsy and is ready to get back home again, too. She enjoys taking trips, but doesn't like staying away too long. I know just how she feels! Jerry sounded so tired on the phone this morning. He has been working 12-hour days for the last four days, and will probably put in near that amount of time again today. There were 28 windows to replace, plus all this other added work now, too. He's as anxious to come home as I am to have him back home.

I had a dream Saturday night about Jerry. Looking back on the dream Sunday morning, I thought it was wonderful that I would dream about my husband of 23 years! Think about this - your subconscious could have you dream about anything or anyone - you cannot control your dreams. I could just as easily have dreamed about something or someone else - say, abstract thoughts, Pierce Brosnan, get the picture! But I dreamed about my husband. And I'm very glad I did.

I hope Andy is having a wonderful day today. His new teacher is supposed to start today, and after all the turmoil of the past week, he deserves to have a wonderful day. I can't wait to hear all about it when he gets home. We will have his favorite dinner - cheesy shells with anything! I make the pasta shells and pour Ragu cheese sauce on them - he loves it! I'll probably make fried chicken to go with it, but as long as he has his cheesy shells (he named them this), I could serve liver and he wouldn't care. Well, okay - that's stretching it a bit!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

My Hands

I took a good look at my hands last night. Somehow without realizing it I had gotten into the habit of hiding my hands from sight when talking with other people. I was ashamed of how awful they looked. They were dry, cut, rough, and my nails were very short. Last night as I was getting ready to use hand cream because the dryness felt uncomfortable, I actually gave some thought to the uses of my hands. I realized that my hands were reflections of my daily life, and that I need not be ashamed of them. The dryness of them can't be helped - that happens every winter. That's just part of what makes me unique - dry skin in winter! Then there are the cuts. Some of them came from stacking firewood. Some came from playing with a cat who got overly rambunctious. Some are paper cuts from volunteering at school. The roughness is from using cleaners around the house, pulling splinters from firewood out of my hands and fingers, and some burned spots in various stages of healing. I keep the nails short in order to do my job - it would take me twice as long to type with long nails. In thinking of these things, I realized that my hands are a reflection of me - what I do, and what's important in my life. I suppose I could wear gloves, learn to type with long nails, and stop playing with my pets, but what fun would that be?! My hands reflect who and what is important to me, so I'll just have to unlearn my habit of hiding them (and use hand cream a little more often!)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Mom To The Rescue

Well, I helped make a change for Andy's class, but I wish it wasn't at the expense of someone else. Several posts ago I mentioned that Andy's teacher was put on bed rest during her pregnancy. It appears that she is not going to be coming back, so the school was looking for a long-term replacement. They were looking for somewhat who was certificated (what a weird word). That means someone who has all the teaching credentials - not just a substitute. It appeared that they found someone who started last Monday. That afternoon Andy came home looking terrible and telling me how awful the new teacher was. I didn't agree with a couple of the things Andy said the new teacher had done, but I figured the class and teacher would adjust to each other in time. When I went in on Tuesday, it was awful. Not only was this new teacher short-tempered with the children, but with me, too. I thought she treated them unfairly. I won't go into all the gory details here, but let's just say that she is a better candidate for a military academy than elementary school. Those poor children were miserable. This class has been through a lot already this year. In November one boy's mother was killed in a car accident. This was hard for a lot of the kids because for some of them it was their first encounter with death, and with it being the mother of one of their classmates, it was especially difficult. Andy took it hard himself and it brought up the discussion about who would take care of him if something ever happened to me, like it did to the other boy's mom. I'm sure it made a lot of the kids think of things like that. Then there were several snow days which were a lot of fun, but totally threw off any school schedule they had! Andy is very much a creature of habit, as are most children this age - it provides stability and a sense of security, I think. Then when school resumed, their teacher was gone - then they found out that she wasn't coming back. As if all this weren't enough, last week they had the state testing to deal with, which is always a pressured time for them. I thought that these children needed to be given a little slack - not to be coddled or let them slide in their work, but just shown a little tolerance in light of what they had been through in the last few months. If this new teacher knew anything about this class's circumstances, she sure didn't show it. By the second day the children looked absolutely beaten. They seemed miserable. It upset me on Tuesday to see them like this. I came home and told Jerry everything and I began to get upset as I was telling him. He got furious and wanted to pull Andy out of school right then unless something changed, but I thought we could try to talk to the principal about our complaints since during the course of the afternoon I had found out that it wasn't just me who was having a problem with the new teacher. I wrote the principal an email Tuesday evening and spelled out everything that I was unhappy with. I have to say that Andy's school is blessed with the best principal I have ever known. She is very approachable and a definite people-person; not just someone who sits in her office and makes rules. She is involved in every aspect, and always has a kind word or smile for students and parents alike. Anyway, I admit that I was upset when I was writing the email and by yesterday I was kind of wishing I had not been so hasty in sending it. Oh, my opinion of the new teacher hadn't changed, and Andy was still miserable, but I just felt that I was kind of hard on the principal in my email. Well, last night the principal called me to let me know that they had found a new replacement, and that the current teacher would not be returning. Apparently I was not the only one who complained and it seems that she even rubbed some of the staff members the wrong way! I apologized for the tone of my email, but she said no apology was necessary - I was just speaking my mind. I told you she was a great lady! She said that she was very positive about the new person coming in and that the children should have a much better time starting next week. If truth be told, I'm kind of glad the drill sergeant won't be there on Tuesday when I go back in - I was a little intimidated by her myself, and wondered how miserable she'd make me if she knew about my complaint! Well, I feel good that Andy's class will have a nicer teacher, but I do feel kind of bad for the unkind one. She seems like a miserable person, and I'm sure being ousted from a job she thought she had until June can't feel nice, but I really hope she figures out a way have a better disposition with children. I have learned something, too. I will sit on an email a day or two before I send it!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Look Ma, no hands! One squirrel rode the bungee while the other ate from the suet feeder (upside down!) while waiting his turn. The bungee was swinging, but the picture doesn't capture that.

A Slippery Slope

What shall become of me? I watched another movie today. I shall have to curb my wanton ways before I become tempted to watch......daytime television.... (Shriek of terror).

Okay, okay - that will never happen. I'm not brain dead nor do I intend to become that way by watching inane nonsense. Today's movie was Little Women and I thoroughly enjoyed that, too. There were only two movies that I wanted to see, and now I have finally done so! Well, only two movies in the free movie listings on On Demand on Comcast that I wanted to see. I still have Casablanca, My Fair Lady, Singin' In the Rain and Gone With The Wind on DVD to watch, but I can see them anytime. The two that I wanted to see were only going to be there for this month, so I'm glad I got to see them. (And I made sure my work was done first, so it was a guilt-free movie!)

Well, Jerry, his mom and the horse arrived safely in Ohio last night. He had expected to arrive somewhere around 6 p.m. but by 8:30 p.m. I still hadn't heard from him. I started to worry, so I called him. He was just about to call me to let me know that they had just arrived - a little over two hours late. They ended up sitting on the beltway for an hour because of something that had happened there, then later on in the day the horse trailer got a flat tire. Jerry had to take the trailer to a tire place where it was found that the tire had a piece of metal in it, so they couldn't just plug it; they had to patch it. He said they jacked the trailer up - horse and all! I had promised myself that I wouldn't worry about him on this trip, but by 8:30 I couldn't stand it anymore. At least I waited two hours after he should have arrived to call. I'm getting better!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A Day For Me

I should be ashamed - but I'm not! I actually watched a movie in it's entirety today, and enjoyed it very much. Jerry left for Ohio early this morning, I got Andy on the school bus, then Tom got called in to work early (no, I didn't arrange that!) so I figured I would sit down and get a lot of work done. I got my coffee and sat down, but that's as far as I got. There was an email letting me know that there were problems with the dictation system and they had no idea how long it would be out of commission, but they'd let me know when I could get to work again. I immediately thought about a movie that I wanted to see but never had the time, but then just as quickly felt guilty because of all the things I should be doing, like more de-cluttering. I gave each room a cursory picking-up (didn't make much difference in the appearance of the room, but I felt better!), then decided to treat myself to that movie. I watched Sense and Sensibility all the way through with no interruptions, and enjoyed every minute of it, thank you very much! I can't remember the last time I watched a movie by myself. I need to watch chick flicks alone, otherwise the male gender in the house thinks it's funny to watch me choke up and cry at movies! After that I was able to work again, so I finished that. Maybe this evening I will work on the house. Maybe.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Strange Weather!

In the past three hours I have seen the weather change from 51 degrees and rain, to 36 degrees and snow! I'm still not tired of snow yet, so I don't mind seeing it at all.

Not much happened this weekend. On Saturday everyone except Jerry kind of sat around and did nothing - my favorite kind of day! Jerry helped a neighbor who is putting an addition on his house. On Sunday Jerry's mother came over and we were all going to work in the yard. We had come inside for a minute and without warning Andy got sick - we're talking projectile here! Naturally, he was on the stairs when it happened! After that he was a little pale and tired, but fine, and it never happened again. By Sunday evening he was ravenously hungry and I was trying to slow him down! We're not sure what that was about, but if it was a stomach bug, that's about how long I want it to last the next time I get it!

Not much time for blogging today - it seems whenever I write that, I end up writing my longest blogs! I have to be at Andy's school shortly. His teacher still isn't back and now there is another substitute teacher. I hope things start to go a little more smoothly in his classroom. Today and tomorrow they are finishing up the state testing. Those poor children go through so much for those stupid tests. I totally disagree with them, because they take time from learning what they are supposed to be learning so that teachers can coach them to learn what is going to be on the tests so that they will score higher and the schools will get more money from the state. It's ridiculous and I really disagree with the whole thing - as do most of the teachers, because they have to stop teaching what they were teaching, teach "to the test" for about two weeks, test the children, then get back to where they were before. In my opinion the testing doesn't even give an accurate assessment of where the children are anyway - they have been taught what's on the test strictly for the test! Oh, now I'm off on a tangent again! I feel sorry for the students because they are pushed hard to do well on these. Usually the teachers give them some sort of treat afterwards, but since Andy's teacher is not there, I wasn't sure if the substitute would do anything, so yesterday while I was at BJ's, I got a box of mini-cupcakes for Andy's class. I'll take them in with me today but they probably won't have them until tomorrow when the testing is finished. Jerry and I went to BJ's yesterday because he is leaving for Ohio early tomorrow morning. His sister there wanted new windows for a farmhouse on their property they are remodeling, so Jerry ordered them for her and now that they are in, they also want him to install them. The funny part of this is that there is a horse that Jerry's brother needs to get out to them in Ohio too, so they thought as long as Jerry's coming this way ..... so now he'll be taking a horse with him, too! He is going to be taking his brother's horse trailer with the windows safely packed in the front in a little room there, and the horse in the back! Jerry's mother is going along too to visit Jerry's sister while he's there. It should be quite a trip! Anyway, knowing that they will have the horse with them, I didn't think they would want to be stopping a lot and since it's about a 9 to 10 hour trip, I wanted to get food to pack for them that they could eat on the road and that's why I went to BJ's yesterday. (I kind of took the long way around getting to why I went there, didn't I?!) Well, off to school - more blogging later!

Friday, March 04, 2005

A Book In Every Room

I love books! Ask Jerry - he's the one who has to put up with the overflowing bookshelves, boxes, bins......! I have a rather interesting reading style. I usually have about four books (or magazines) going at the same time. Either I have a vast curiosity or just a short attention span! For instance, right now in my living room I have the new issue of The Old Schoolhouse magazine that came yesterday. I love this magazine. It is for homeschoolers, and it always reaffirms my decision to homeschool Andy. It is interesting how I began receiving this. Several years ago when we were homeschooling Tom, I purchased material several times from sellers on eBay who had a family business of selling used textbooks and curricula. They then turned their business into a small homeschooling newsletter, and sent copies to all of their eBay customers. Over the past few years this little newsletter has grown into a very nice, glossy, 200-page magazine that is now sold all over the world in places like Barnes and Noble, Borders, Amazon, etc. They have been sending me copies of the magazine since it started, and it gets better with every issue.

Anyway, that's what's in my living room at the moment. Next we come to the kitchen where the book Esio Trot by Roald Dahl is lying on the table, still there from when I finished reading it to Andy while he was eating his breakfast this morning. It is an amusing story about tortoises - read the title of the book backwards and see what you get! Now the, ahem, powder room which at the current time contains a copy of Countryside magazine which Jerry and I both read. Next is our bedroom which contains many books, but on my nightstand right now is Pioneer Women, Voices From the Kansas Frontier. This is a collection of essays written by women who left everything to become settlers in new land. In Andy's room there are also many books, and we usually just pick something to read at night. Up until yesterday I had Selling Your Home in the car. My bible is in whatever room I decide to read it, and in the car with me a lot, too. That one's portable! A strange way to read perhaps, but how else would I be able to learn about homeschooling tortoises who pray about selling their home to move to Kansas to live in the countryside?!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Weighty Issues

The time has come to do something about my size. Two things occurred today which decided this for me. The first thing was that my legs and feet were aching badly today from all the walking I did at school yesterday. I am definitely asking too much of my size 7 feet to support my, uh, much larger size body. The second thing happened when my Avon order came in this afternoon. I was looking at the brochure where they show the new things coming out, and on the cover was a plus-size model, modeling one of the new outfits from Avon's new plus-size line. The model was approximately my size, and I was looking at her thinking how we actually were similarly shaped. Just then, Jerry glanced over and looked at the picture and commented, "Is she pregnant? Avon's carrying maternity things now?" Lovely man. Well, that clinched it. I thought that by writing my intentions and progress here in a somewhat public forum, it would motivate me. Either I will lose weight, or I'll become a fine liar!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Not much time for blogging today. Not even enough time to think up a title for this one! School was two hours late today and then I went in to volunteer for the rest of the day. I worked when I came home (okay, I watched the History Channel a little bit, too). I'm not sure it's safe to be at Andy's school anymore! These accidents didn't happen at school but maybe there's something in the air! (except for Andy's teacher - her, uh, condition wasn't an accident and I really hope it didn't happen at school !!!) One teacher's aide fell and seriously hurt her back a few weeks ago. She is back now, but wearing a brace. Then over the past few days a teacher broke her ankle badly, requiring surgery and everything that goes along with that, and a long period of recuperation, so she'll be out a good while. Today I discovered that Andy's teacher was going to be out the rest of the week. I thought this was strange since the state testing is this week, plus his class had two major projects due this week. She is pregnant and due in May, so I was hoping everything was okay with that. Later in the day I found out that she could possibly be out the rest of the year as she has been put on bed rest. I haven't told Andy this yet, though. He is definitely a creature of routine, and the slightest changes throw him off, and I know he would really miss his teacher. He was already very disappointed that she wouldn't be here at the end of the year for fifth grade graduation because of maternity leave. I do wonder, though, how much learning there is going to be. From what I saw today, the poor substitute spent most of the day trying to hold down the fort. At dismissal time I asked her if she had a large bottle of Tylenol for the rest of the week, and she assured me that she did!

Andy and I were reading a book the other night and we came across this passage which I found really amusing. The book is written from a little girl's perspective. She was explaining why she didn't like a particular new girl who had come to her school. Here's the passage:

"Her name is New Thelma. The first day she came to our school, my boyfriend named Ricardo chased her all over the playground. I hollered and hollered for him to stop. But he said chasing New Thelma was fun. And so that is how come he dumped me. Dumped is the grown-up word for when you have to find a new Ricardo."

What a hoot!


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