Thursday, May 26, 2005

12 Days and Counting!

Only 12 more days of school left. I thought that once the end of the year came near, time would slow to a crawl. Instead, it's absolutely flying!

Andy didn't go on his trip on Tuesday. He woke up on Tuesday morning and said he didn't feel well. He looked pale and said he had a headache, but I'm ashamed to say that I thought he just didn't want to go on the trip. Well, I was wrong, because shortly afterwards he made a mad dash for the bathroom to get sick. After a couple of times of this, I figured going to school probably wasn't such a good idea! I can't believe that we managed to have perfect attendance up until just lately, and now he's missed three days, fairly close together. I had intended to go into school to do what I had to do, since Jerry was home because it was raining. I changed my mind, though, when I thought about the fact that Jerry probably wouldn't want to help Andy clean up after getting sick. He's not very good about that, and it usually makes him sick! I called the school and told them I wouldn't be in. I didn't think to tell them why; I just said I wouldn't be able to be there. Later Tuesday night I talked with the mom of one of Andy's friends from class, and she said that I had everyone worried, and they thought something must have been awfully wrong because I hadn't missed a day volunteering in two years, and I hadn't said why I wasn't coming in! I guess it's nice to be missed. I felt terrible about not going in, but Andy came first. He got over it quickly - very quickly! By Tuesday night he was hungry and would have eaten everything in the house if I hadn't made him slow down! It turns out his class trip was postponed because of the rain, so he didn't miss that after all.

I had a great day yesterday. Jerry and I went to two thrift shops and the farmer's market. Well, I went into the thrift shops while Jerry waited outside! Sometimes he likes to go in, but he said he wasn't in the mood for "thrifting" yesterday! I got great stuff! Here's my haul: I got a very nice (new) fleece shirt for myself, a pair of Adidas shorts for Andy, a dress for myself, a Rock 'em Sock 'em robots game, Lord of the Flies book, a Spongebob Squarepants book for Andy, a Playstation 2 game called Harvest Moon, and a lamp. I spent a grand total of $18.00 for all of that! That's it.

I'm not usually a name-brand person, but I know that Adidas stuff holds up well, as Andy is on his second year of Adidas hand-me-downs that Tom wore! I just had to get the Rock 'em Sock 'em robots! They were like a blast from the past! The boys and I had seen an ad for them a long time ago and I had told them how they were around when I was a kid, so naturally when I saw them yesterday I had to get them! The lady working at the thrift shop and I played a round to make sure that both of their heads would pop up the way they were supposed to! We were laughing so hard! (She won!) I had wanted to use Lord of the Flies as part of Andy's reading curriculum later on, so was surprised and pleased to find it yesterday. The Spongebob book was a bonus find! I couldn't believe that I found the Playstation 2 game. Both boys had wanted this game but never got it. We don't think it's ever been played before. It looked brand new; the disk was still shiny with no marks on it at all, and the instruction book was still new and crisp, with everything still neatly in the case. Andy has been playing it since yesterday! He's playing it now while I'm writing this. It is a role-playing game in which you are a farmer trying to save your grandfather's farm from being turned into a theme park, and you have to prove that you can make it a successful farm. It takes a lot of thinking and planning to play the game. For instance, yesterday Andy hatched an egg (you have to remember to put it in the incubator), and then had to raise his chicken by remembering to feed it and bringing it in at night or in the rain. Each day you need to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly; either work on your garden, tend to your animals, or go to town to buy supplies (and like real life, the stores are only open on certain days, and certain hours, so you have to plan this accordingly too!). Well, one of his chickens didn't get brought in out of the rain soon enough and got sick. It figured that he didn't have any animal medicine to give the chicken, and when he went to the store, it was closed. The chicken ended up dying. Then a second chicken died because he was busy tending other things and forgot to feed it. You have to name each of your animals, and he had named these two chickens. I guess he was afraid of getting attached again in case something happened, because today when he got another chicken he named it "832"! When I stopped laughing long enough to ask about that name, he informed me it was because that particular chicken was a lab experiment! Farming in West Virginia should be an adventure! Maybe we'll just stick with growing vegetables.....

Monday, May 23, 2005

I'm Human Again!

I feel like a human being again! What a difference a few days can make. I feel like I have been in a haze these last couple of days, but am much better now. My cough is almost a thing of the past - just a little at night (most annoying when I'm trying to get rest!). I actually did two days' worth of work today - I hadn't really done a lot the last few days and didn't want to fall too far behind. The boys cleaned the house for me yesterday so I didn't have that to contend with once I came out of my fog. Now I just need to make sure I don't overdo it just because I feel better. I did that before and got sick all over again. I think I'll wait a couple more days before getting back on the treadmill. Carrying laundry up and down the stairs is still wearing me out, so I don't think walking is what I need right now.

We are wondering if the rain is going to come or not. The clouds and sprinkles have been teasing us all afternoon. We are wondering because Andy has another field trip tomorrow - this one is outdoors, too. They are going to study oysters (arsters!) at a park near here and be on the beach. That would be pretty awful in the rain! I am not going on this trip (thank goodness!). I signed up to go if I was needed, but the teacher told me last week that she already had enough parents to go this time but that she would need me to go to the movies with the class next week. Not a bad thing, huh?! I'll take seeing a movie over staring at arsters in the rain any day. Besides, it would have been very difficult to have to come back from the trip at 1:45 and then do the things I normally do at school on Tuesdays.

Now I need to get stuff ready for tomorrow and put a fire under Andy to get his assigned reading done, then it's off to bed. Four o'clock in the morning comes awfully early. Too early, apparently - lately I haven't been rolling out of bed until about five o'clock! My snooze button is going to protest and just stop working one of these days.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

I am still very much under the weather - actually, under a truck is what it feels like. Instead of resting this week like I should have, I did everything I needed to do, albeit slower than usual, but now I am paying for it. Ever the optimist though, I did discover how to grocery shop in record time yesterday. Have an uncontrollable coughing spell in the middle of a grocery store, and the people will part like the Red Sea - allowing you to get your shopping done in record time. Have another spell at the salad bar and you get first pick of EVERYTHING!

Only once did I get a little embarrassed. I started coughing uncontrollably in the cereal aisle. Then the wheezing started, then my eyes started watering too badly to see where I was going - which really didn't matter anyway as I was standing still, clinging to the grocery cart for dear life. I just couldn't seem to stop coughing, or catch my breath. At this point Jerry quickly left the aisle (no, not because he was embarrassed to be seen with me!) and went to the medicine aisle and got not one, but TWO bags of cough drops. He returned to the cereal aisle where I had been commiserating with Cap'n Crunch and helped me get a cough drop. Had I taken my Robitussin before I left, I would have been fine, but I forgot to take it. In any case, the grocery shopping got done in an amazingly short time!

I know it was silly to go out when I was feeling so badly, but it seems the people in this household think they need to eat on a regular basis. Go figure. And being the stubborn sort, I didn't want Jerry going without me, because I wasn't sure he'd get everything I needed. I have been very stubborn this week, not letting anyone help me with anything. I really need to work on that!

Now I shall go lie down and take a nice 2 or 14 hour nap.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

What a Day!

We had a WONDERFUL day today. Despite my coughing, I still managed to enjoy the trip. We rode on a tour bus - complete with reclining seats and television! The boat ride was very, very nice. I think the class will be talking about this for a long time. At one point while I was just sitting and enjoying the ride, one of the crew asked me to steer. I actually did okay! It took a little getting used to - the boat is 56 feet long and it was difficult to see the front of the boat with the children standing. I only got port and starboard mixed up once, too, but the crew member reminded me. I was supposed to be turning the boat to avoid a crab pot and when he said "starboard", I turned port. Very calmly he leaned over and reminded me. He is British, so actually what he said was "stahbut, deah, stahbut"!

Of course, I forgot to take my Dayquil at lunch time, so I hacked my way through the afternoon, annoying myself and probably everyone around me. There was no water to take them with, either. The dock's bathroom is very, well, limited. They informed us that there was no septic or sewer; just a holding tank. There was a sign on the wall that read "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down". This grossed out a few kids, but most took it in stride!

All in all, it was a wonderful day. I know there will be a lot of tired children (and grown-ups) tonight!

A baby Diamond Back terrapin.

Andy seeing what critters he can net from the marsh.

Andy's a little unsure about holding this crab!

An osprey on a nest.

Mrs. Walton making a fashion statement in her waders!

Can you find the mud crab hidden in this net?

Andy "drudging" for "arsters" - pronounced southern Maryland style!

Andy saying a few words about what he had learned today.

Here I am steering. Trusting souls, aren't they?!

This was funny - the method of "air conditioning' used on the boat was a bucket of water over your head! Almost all the class wanted to be "air-conditioned"!

Andy and Kody practicing knot tying.

Learning how to tie a "bowline", pronounced bow-lin in southern Maryland!

The inside of our bus - pretty fancy, huh?!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Anchors *cough* Away! *cough* *hack* *cough*

Not much time for blogging today, between coughing and trying to get some work done. It was a rough night last night - I felt like a cable ad - ALL coughing, ALL the time. Wow, where did that come from?! I must be succumbing to the effects of the Tylenol Cold Nighttime I finally decided to take in order to get some sleep tonight. Guess I'd better hurry and write this before the sedation part kicks in!

I am going with Andy's class on a boat trip tomorrow. The boat is out of St. George's Island and is called The Dee. I am looking forward to it. I am armed with massive amounts of Dayquil, Tom's camera, and an Oscar Mayer Lunchable. All a woman could need, right?!

Jerry's thumb is healing nicely. He's still keeping it bandaged, but it is closing well, with no swelling or signs of infection.

Well, that's all for today's quick update. I am off to bed to try to get some sleep tonight, unlike last night. I wonder how long un til th eme d i cin e w or k s ...............................

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The plum tree is full of plums this year. Last year we hardly had any; this year looks like a bumper crop!

My mint is growing fast - I'm happy about that!

The catnip is growing fast. The cats are happy about that!

Berries in all stages of ripening - green, green/pink, pink, and red!

Here's the strawberry patch. You can see glimpses of red and pink. Now the race is on to beat the critters to the berries!

First strawberry of the season!

Azalea row. We put the azaleas from the part of the yard that needs to be dug up for the septic on the top tier, and will finish sodding the second tier once all the digging is finished.

The rhododendron is blooming beautifully. I have always suspected it's because the dryer vent comes out right underneath the bush and keeps it warm, even in winter.

No Amputation Needed

Well, Jerry's thumb isn't too bad. It's a nasty cut, though. It had already started closing some by the time he got home, although it was still oozing, but we didn't think it would need stitches. When he got home he was very hungry, and dinner was on the table waiting, so he wanted to eat first and clean his hand later. That's when I put my foot down this time! His hand was really dirty from the day's work. Dinner had to wait until his thumb was scrubbed and bandaged. It got a little tricky at one point, though. As he was washing it out, all the color drained out of his face and he said he needed to sit down. I don't think I've ever seen quite that color of whitish-gray before. He got even paler which I didn't think was possible and said that he needed air FAST. I started fanning as fast as I could with a paper that I had grabbed. Then I helped him down the hall to the bedroom and turned the fan on. His color gradually came back, he felt better, and we finally got to eat dinner! This morning his hand is feeling much better. The swelling is down and it doesn't hurt very much now. It was his left thumb, so it didn't affect his eating ability! Last night he had a snack attack at about 8:30 but we didn't have anything here to snack on. He remembered some cookies that he hadn't eaten that his mother had brought to him while he was on the job a couple of days ago and got those. Now that they are gone, I figured I should probably have something in case a snack attack hits again, but I don't think he will like what I made. The only cake mix I had left in the kitchen was for a strawberry cake. There's a reason it's the last mix left. Well, I made it anyway. A starving and/or snack craving man will eat anything, right?! I am making some tortilla chips right now, though, and he will probably like those better. We had bought corn tortillas to make wraps with, but now the lunchmeat is gone and we had several tortillas left over, so I put a little oil on them, salted them, then used the pizza cutter to cut them into triangles and baked them. They are really good! You tend to get creative when payday/grocery shopping day is still four days away!

I am still feeling under the weather and am dreading going to Andy's school this afternoon, as there is an awful lot of walking to do. Andy's classroom is downstairs, and the office and copy room and teacher's mailboxes are all upstairs. I usually try to consolidate everything into one or two trips, but it inevitably happens that a teacher will ask, "Are you going upstairs? Could you please get/run/take/copy this?" I don't tell them that no, I'm not going upstairs - I just go do it. I have been walking on the treadmill every day for the last two weeks, but I take Tuesdays off. I figure the walking upstairs and downstairs and up and down the halls has to count for something. I haven't walked yesterday or today, though. I'm not able to go far without stopping for breath and to cough, so I'll wait until this bug passes by before getting on the treadmill again. As good an excuse as any, huh?!

Had to add this - I was spellchecking this blog before posting it, and it stopped on the word "Jerry's". The suggested replacement for it was "jerky". Hmmm...there are days when the two words could be used synonymously, but today is not one of them!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Oh no - the dreaded cold bug has bitten me. I am starting to feel the first signs of cold yuckiness coming on. Now is definitely not the time to be under the weather. Well, I'll just rest as much as I can, drink a lot of water, take my vitamins and pray that it's over soon! Andy stayed home from school on Friday because he was miserable with a cold that had come on very quickly. It figures - he had perfect attendance up until the end of the year. Now he has missed two days in two weeks. Guess I got this general yuckiness from him. I must remember to thank him.

I watched three children today for my neighbor who has the daycare. She had an inspection at her house and needed me to keep the children while the fire marshall was conducting the routine inspection. Since the inspection was so short, she didn't want to close her daycare all day, and the person who was originally going to watch them wasn't able to come, so guess who got the job?! It was fun, though. I was feeling better this morning when they were here. The yuckiness didn't start coming on with a vengeance until this afternoon. The children were ages 2, 3 and 5. We played, colored, and looked at books. As much as I enjoyed them, I think I will stick with medical transcription!

I was reading Anita's blog about her son's graduation from college. I got teary reading it and thinking about Andy's fifth grade graduation coming up. I know I will be doing some crying on that day. I am so sappy that I cry at certain television commercials, much to the amusement of my all-male household.

I am awaiting seeing Jerry's hand when he comes home from work this afternoon. He had three jobs to go to today and on the way to the third one he called me and asked if we had any peroxide at home. I thought that this was an odd question to ask, so when I said that we did, and asked why he wanted to know, he said he had cut himself on the second job and wanted to know if, when he stopped for bandages, he should also buy some peroxide. I asked if he was coming home, and he answered me as if I were crazy - he was just going to bandage his hand and keep on to the next job. Men. The last time he did this, when he arrived home he was pale and dizzy and the wound was still bleeding, nine hours later. That time I put my foot down and made him go to the emergency room for stitches. He assures me that this wound isn't nearly as bad. We'll see if he comes home anemic or not.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Blogs Are Catching!

My friend and neighbor told me a while back that I had inspired her to start a blog of her own. I really enjoy reading it - it's like visiting a friend and finding out the latest about what's going on in their life. I find myself checking her blog often, and looking forward to her latest entry. Here is a link to Anita's blog. She is a lovely lady who has inspired me to be more creative (she is the one who showed me the beautiful scarf she knitted, and made me want to learn). She is such a talented seamstress. Once I was at her house and she showed me a beautiful satin, lavender-colored dress she was sewing for someone. While I oohed and aahed over how wonderful the dress was, she showed me the picture that she was sewing it from. No pattern - just a picture from a fashion magazine. Now that's talent!

I think Andy feels the way I do about him taking Family Life. Last night out of the blue he said "Mom, I wish you had kept me out of Family Life class". We were given the option before the class started of keeping our child out of the class if we didn't want them to take it. I probably would have kept him out if I hadn't already seen the material that they were going to learn. The majority was based on health issues and not a lot on, well, uh, other issues. When I asked Andy why he wished he wasn't taking it, he said because he really didn't think he needed to know the proper names for "those parts"!

As I was filing papers at school on Tuesday, I had to file worksheets that the girls in the class had worked on in Family Life. (Girls and boys are separated for the classes, with the male vice principal and gym teacher teaching the boys, and female teachers teaching the girls). Not having seen the girls' material, I looked at one of the worksheets that I was about to file, and had to work very hard to stifle my laughter. The worksheet was on germs, and taking care of ourselves and keeping ourselves healthy. One of the items was to "List three things that you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy". This little girl had a very interesting list. Her three things were, "Wash my hands often", "Keep myself and my clothes clean", and last was "Tell my dad to use a tissue when he digs up his nose". I almost fell over trying not to laugh! I wonder if "Dad" knows that she shared this?!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Andy got his yearbook yesterday. I was amazed and a little saddened at how quickly everyone is growing up. It made me start thinking about the past, and thinking about how I can clearly see God's hand in so much of my life, even though I didn't know it at the time. Strangely enough, most of the time it was in the form of unanswered prayers or wishes on my part. The things I thought I wanted or needed turned out not to be what was right for me at all. The things that I did get turned out to be the right things. Sometimes it was possessions, sometimes circumstances, but I know now that had everything gone the way I wanted it to, I would be in a really big mess! Now it's wonderful having faith in knowing that what I'm given is exactly the right thing for me, whether good or bad. And not worrying about tomorrow, or a thousand tomorrows, is even better. Matthew 6:27 is a favorite verse: Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it? Or Matthew 6:31-34: So do not start worrying: "Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?" (These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings. Amen to that!

Monday, May 09, 2005

It has been a while since I wrote. Not because anything major happened - on the contrary; nothing much has happened! Last week was pretty much the same ol' stuff. Yesterday for Mother's Day we didn't even do much. A while back we were given gift certificates to a seafood restaurant nearby, but we hadn't used them yet. This place also has a carryout where you can buy raw seafood, too, so we used the certificates to buy crab meat and I made a pile of crabcakes yesterday. Jerry's mom came over, and it was basically just a laid back kind of day. I feel like I enjoy Mother's Day every day. Although there are times that are trying, I wouldn't trade being a mom for anything in this world. Yesterday was a special day for my boys as well as me, because I get to be their mom every single day.

Having said that, I must tell about something one of my offspring did yesterday. I had planned to have deviled eggs with dinner, so yesterday morning I put both boys to work helping to make them. I had one boy peeling eggs and the other cutting them and removing the yolks. I went about doing other things and walked into the kitchen just in time to see my oldest dumping the entire bowl of hard-boiled egg yolks into the trash. Not believing what I had just seen, I shrieked, "WHAT DID YOU JUST DO?!" He turned around with a look of terror on his face because of the decibel level of my shriek, at which point I repeated the question (at the same decibel level, too). He stared blankly at me and said, "You needed those?"

This is the same child who has taught himself everything he knows as far as music goes. This is the same child who was chosen out of the entire county to represent the county in his high school vo-tech computer animation competition. This is the same child who was asked by the local college to give a presentation to incoming students because at 17 he was maintaining an "A" average in college, while attending high school at the same time. This is the same child who gives guitar lessons to a student who speaks Japanese, thought the language was wonderful, and so bought a textbook and has been teaching himself to speak and write Japanese. Alas, this is also the same child who got a tattoo instead of a mattress, and threw the filling away for the deviled eggs. Well, on the positive side, he will never forget how to make deviled eggs now.

As usual, I am a day late and a dollar short. My day got away from me yesterday and when I was going to call my own mother, I was shocked to realize it was 8:40 at night. It wasn't that I forgot - my day just sped by and was gone before I knew it. I sent a card which I do hope arrived in time, but I could have made more of an effort to call at a decent time. Her birthday is coming up shortly - I shall have to redeem myself. Mom, if you read this, Happy Belated Mother's Day - I love you very, very much, and I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday, in spite of your middle child.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Let the Games Begin!

Yesterday's track meet was a lot of fun. The kids really enjoyed themselves, and we could not have asked for a more beautiful day. After Andy's class returned to the school, they had Chick-Fil-A nuggets waiting for them for lunch in the classroom. Jerry and I drove to the high school to meet Andy's class there, then afterwards I dropped Jerry off at home and had to go back to the school for the rest of the day to do my regular Tuesday stuff there. It was a very long day, but a fun one. All three of us got sun on our faces which is stinging a little this morning, but we'll live! I'll bet there were a lot of tired fifth graders in this county last night. There were tired people right here in this house last night! That was just the beginning of what will be a very busy May and June for Andy's class. In two weeks they will be going on their fifth grade boat trip. Then two days after that they are going to the nature park near here to study oysters. After that they have their fifth grade luau, then a few days later is their movie day which is when all of the fifth grade classes from the school will be going to the theater to see Madagascar. In between all of this they will be learning about the birds and the bees. Maybe the kids will be too tired from all the trips and activities to really pay attention! I can only hope.....!

The picture is a little blurry, but there was some kind of a nest up in the lights on the field.

The track meet was held at the high school that Tom graduated from last year. It is a HUGE school. This is only part of it - the rest wouldn't fit in the picture.

Racers getting ready for the 100-meter race. Andy is the runner on the far right.

Andy ran in the 30-meter race - he is at the far left of the picture.

Here's Andy doing baseball speed throwing.

Andy and friends.

Opening ceremony - each school wore a different color. Andy's school is in the gray just under the yellow bunch.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Picture Day Again - And Again - And Again......

Remember when Picture Day at school was a one-day thing? You were given a little black plastic comb, waited in line, had your picture taken and went back to your classroom. When your pictures arrived, of course your parents bought them - then embarrassed you by displaying them. That's how it was done. Woe to the child who was absent on Picture Day. You had a blank space in your school scrapbook of pictures for that year. Well, times have definitely changed, and not for the better. Photographers have figured out that a parent will buy anything that has their child's picture on it - not because they need more pictures of their child, but because of the guilt factor associated with not buying pictures of their child. So far this year there have been three Picture Days at Andy's school - or, as the wealthy photography company puts it, "Photo opportunities".

The photography company must know that parents are getting a little tired of buying pictures of their offspring, so they've changed their tactics once you get past the very first Picture Day. Now they take pictures of your child whether you ask for them or not, then print them and send them home with a payment envelope "If you want these precious keepsakes of your child". Boy, have they got you. If I don't buy these "precious keepsakes of my child", will this precious child be telling that fact to a therapist ten years from now? Not only are there pictures in the package but bookmarks, keychain pictures, calendar cards and last but not least, stickers! Boy howdy - now my precious child can just be with me, at my side, in my wallet, on EVERYTHING I OWN ALL $%#& DAY LONG!

Ahem - excuse the outburst. I must go now and write a check to those dear photographers who keep reminding me what my precious child looks like. Oh well, at least it's cheaper than therapy.


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