Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tea for two

Folks, I love me nothing more than complete disruption in our living space in order to repaint the same walls that we painted two months ago.  There's nothing that gives me giddy shivers more than this upheaval and chaos.

Well.  I got that sarcastically minded lie out of my system.     

Positive - It turned into the perfect time to tear down the Christmas fol-de-rol.  That stuff was up for less than 2 weeks - my new record for how short I could get the rest of the gang hoodwinked into forgoing all of that.

Negative - Mess.  Mayhem.  Madness.

Positive - It's done. 

The Younger also decided that today would be a grand time for several vomiting sessions.  The Elder decided that was gross and hid.  This unfortunate turn of events brought up the jolly recollection of our first foray into a child's puking session, five years almost to the day ago.  Our kids have some sort of visceral response to "the most wonderful time of the year."  Or else someone keeps slipping my kids some Christmas cookies laced with e. coli

And speaking of slipping "someone" something...

Here's where things get possibly more interesting.  [Naturally, one would assume that my enormous negligible reader base is bored to tears about my rambling on painting and puking.]

Our vet has "prescribed" (in the ever-so-loosest sense of the word) a spot-o-tea [obviously, said in a British-y voice) for our cat to "soothe" her nervous stressing, which is causing her to over groom.  In other words, she looks kinda mangy for no good reason.  So, we're switching her water supply to some weak chamomile, which will not affect our other needy special snuggle bum's diabetic diet.  And, when contemplating my choices, you can bet your sweet cheeks that I chose the "naturally decaffeinated" box.  'Cause who needs a furry 6-lb. dynamo hyped up until 2 AM? 

While in the tea aisle...

I also weighed my options for some good-old, plain-old green tea.  Because this, believe it or no, is going to be my intent for the new year.  I will start my days with a cup of green tea.  For the antioxidants.  For the delicate earthiness.  For all of the reasons that websites upon magazines upon word-of-mouths tell me that I should.

I'm still a little on the outs with coffee, and tea seems like a logical alternative because I do like a warm cup of something in the morning.  I like the steam in the face and two hands holding onto something with some warmth to ease my way into conversation and livability. 

And so, if you have any tips on how best to enjoy my green tea experience, please share!  I enjoy flavors of lemon and ginger but not so much berry or sugar/honey-sweet. 

So it seems that 2017 is going starting off with a cuppa or two.  Pass the cream.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

10 bits of not much

Welp, folks, it's that biennial time of the year when I've posted grades and now can't focus on anything.  Like the veritable chicken, I feel a good bit discombobulated.  With that in mind, here's some thoughts that will explain what I mean.

1.  My old iPad, which we technically didn't purchase and is somewhere around 6 or 7 years old, is acting downright twerpish.  So, we've full-on upgraded (paid for it this time) and bought a new one.  It's one of those where we weighed the decision for about 3 months 'cause on the one hand, I use it all day long for emails and such, but on the other hand, it's still a splurge.  Kudos to you, Apple, for making all of your products seemingly necessities when they're not. Because of this new purchase, I don't have a case for it.  So to the rescue (cue the trumpets) comes my Sur La Table holiday catalog.  I have been using this as my travel case for one month now as a means of offering at least some protection from stuff.  It works well enough and I get to continue thinking about Le Creuset dutch ovens and Japanese-crafted knives. 
2.  I have a firm and fast rule in my house that we change out of pajamas every day in this house, even if we're not going anywhere because once you give an inch to my daughter(s), you're not wearing jeans ever again.  Yesterday, the girls stayed in PJs all day long (Polar Express day), only changing from the day-old pair to a fresh set at night because I draw the invisible line there.  There were some delightful moments embedded in the day.
3.  My daughters have been carefully tending their Christmas lists for about 3 months now (though I haven't seen an updated draft for a few weeks now...perhaps they've settled on a final copy?).  I'm OK with this, actually.  The whole thing stemmed from a conversation that included some variation of "I want to go to Chuck-E-Cheese!" and some answer sounding like "Put it on your Christmas list."  That idea was immediately embraced, and the lists began.  So we're learning that it's OK to plan ahead for things that we want but don't really need right now.  And I appreciate having a $20 idea in mind for when someone texts me with the whole "What do the girls want...?" question.  The lists expanded, of course, but bless their foodie hearts, the majority of the lists include such items as "bottle of honey" and "blueberry jam."  That is my idea of the perfect Christmas list.
4.  The boy showed me a site posting global teaching jobs last night with the words "I'll follow you..." hanging in the balance. 
5.  A set of foster parents that I've been working with gave me a bracelet with the message "Create a ripple" on it.  I love it.  So much.
6.  I'm a BIG advocate of taking the time to remember any teachers associated with your children at the end of each semester, especially as they progress through school.  Remember the high school biology teacher even though your kid struggled in her class.  Remember the choir director that forced your kid to come in after school three times a week to practice for the Christmas program.  Remember the gym teacher that made your kid run laps because he wouldn't stop talking.  A simple note or (better yet) a few cookies is all that it takes and really does make an impression on that teacher, who is, coincidentally, a person giving your child time and attention throughout the day.  AND, I also firmly believe that the note needs to come from your kid.  Those are the best
7.  I have pulled out the flannel sheets and am relishing the ability to get into bed without writhing in agony of cold-sheet-syndrome. 
8.  I cannot keep my hands from drying out and cracking this winter.  HELP.
9.  We have made 4 batches of Christmas cookies so far and for no particular reason.  They taste extra delightful.  I can also still (somehow) fit in my clothes.  Win-win.
10.  All I want for Christmas is a pedicure.  In fact, I don't really want anything for Christmas.  And I'm going to get a pedicure soon anyway (desperately needed), so let's A + B to = Christmas. 


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sickness and disaster, oh my!

Hey there, 5:18 AM, haven't seen you for a couple of weeks, and I have loved ignoring you this last month.  I've actually been up since 4 AM 'cause sick, pitiful child after a mid-nighttime bathroom break and "Will you pleeassseee tuck me back in?" (insert pitiful voice, which doesn't coincidentally, have a particularly suited font style).  At what age will they stop requesting our assistance in pulling sheets back up over their tired bodies?  Of course, I do it because I love her and all, but there was that tiny niggling thought that, yet again, I'm just getting out of my extremely warm and fluffy cocoon in order to walk across the cold floor to your room so that I can pull the sheets up, which are  not even all twisted.  I believe at some point that my children will be able to perform this task on their own...maybe?  (Lest I sound like a callous fool, this happens any and all times that my children leave their bed in the middle of the night, certainly not just when they're feeling badly.  I certainly don't begrudge them the request when they're all pitiful.  But just because they woke up at 3 AM and felt like they needed to come see us to let us know that they're awake?  C'mon.  You have the sheet situation well in hand, my darlings.)  Blogging seemed like a good idea after doomsday visions of an ill child wouldn't stop cycling through my noggin. 

Nothing wakes me up for the day more than crouching in the super bright light (does the bathroom get brighter in the pre-dawn hours?) on the cold bathroom floor while tying my child's hair back.  If there's nothing else I learned when the Elder was a 2-year old and going through her first bout with a stomach bug (on Christmas Day, mind you), it was that vomit is decidedly difficult to get out of a little girl's long, thick hair in the middle of the night when the last thing your kid (or you) wants to do is go through a full-on, hair-washing bath.  Fortunately, this time around, it's only been phlemy coughing that just sounds awfully wretchy and makes the boy exclaim "Get off my bed!  Go to the bathroom!"  And even more fortunately, she's asleep again.

And so, I write.  Today's story is wildly different from the first 2 chunky paragraphs of woe.  Today's story is just wild, in fact.  It involves me, high heels, and my car-that-thinks-its-a-Tesla.  Here we go.

When I'm getting dressed on days that I teach, I essentially go through the same couple of options in my mind to decide what to wear. 

1.  Can I wear black, grey, or any combination thereof?  I will then happily proceed to my favorite clothing colors when/if I have not already worn them for the last two classes.  They are my happy colors.

2.  Is it a high heel kind of day?  I dig the occasional high heel, folks.  They make me feel confident and in charge.  You can't hide in them, especially when you're approaching the class and everyone hears your "ca-chunk, ca-chunk, ca-chunk" cadence in the frigid, tile hallways.  Some days, I dig that vibe.  Some days, I need that vibe.  And rarely do they make my feet hurt, so bring on the power trip, right? 

Well.  Yesterday was a high heel kind of day.  And, it turned out to be a highest-heel-I-have-in-my-closet kind of day.  They're not towering, or anything, but they decidedly high (for me).  This is significant as my story has a brief moment of running in it.  So just to complete the visual later, I'll point out that I feel as if my hands flap awkwardly at my side when I run in high heels.

On Tuesdays & Thursdays this semester, I have a pretty tight teaching schedule, and yesterday being Tuesday and all, I was in my normal find-some-food-quickly-and-head-back-out-the-door-to-your-next-class mode.  My babysitter was hanging out with the Younger, who was finishing up her lunch, and all was well.  As I backed out of the garage, I remembered that I wanted to grab my San Pellegrino (because much like I ask myself "Is it a high heel kind of day?" I often try to justify an "Is it a San Pellegrino kind of day?"), which we are now able to just store in the garage-turned-refrigerator.  I had just turned a new podcast on, and I remember a) being fully in my driveway (i.e. completely out of my garage), b) hitting pause on the podcast, and c) putting the car in park so I could walk back in the garage to grab my delightful beverage quickly.  Can you see where I'm going with this?  One of these things didn't happen.

C - I didn't put the car in park, apparently.  For as I turned around, San Pellegrino in hand, what to my alarmed eyes should appear but a rolling, driverless car, heading straight for my house.  Here's where my hand-flapping-high-heeled sprint happened.  Fortunately, I caught up to my car; unfortunately, I didn't catch it in time.  Fortunately, a shelving unit in the back of the garage prevented some seriously embarrassing wreckage of both my car and my house; unfortunately, the shelving unit is now a shattered mess.  Fortunately, my car sustained almost ZERO damage (a few scuffs and a tiny, half-inchish size scratch/ding after full on crashing into the shelving unit/house, which is (formerly) where we kept the boy's (HEAVY) toolbox (top shelf!), circular saw (top shelf!), tire/air pump (top shelf!), and other various metal/sharp-edged/heavy tool items; unfortunately, 1 piece of sidewalk chalk (alas, bottom shelf), bit the dust (Literally.  Have you ever stepped on or crashed into a piece of sidewalk chalk?  Dust.)  FOLKS.  I don't know how this happened because not only did I/my super sneaky silent automobile (well played, Prius, well played) crash into this whole thing, but the entire shelf and all it's gnarly, car-denting/scratching contents come down on my hood, but there was virtually no damage, even after I panicked, and immediately put the dumb thing in reverse and backed up, causing another din and more metal-scraping-metal clattering.

And like any rational person, I put the thing in PARK, ran inside the house and said "Don't worry!  That was just me hitting the house!" (to which my sitter looked at me and said "Yeah, we thought it was you."), and then backed out and shut the garage door on the whole mess before going to class.  Oh, nope, actually, I took a screwdriver out of my windshield wiper blades first.  Then, I went to class.  As one would. 

This resulted in a shaky-hands-from-the-adrenaline-rush situation, which led me to tell my class about my unfortunate situation, which then led them to fess up their worst driving moments: running into a stop sign, a hit & run without a license, and getting a car stuck in the woods, to name a few. 

In the past 6 months, we have spent $2,000 to get both of our cars repainted after a certain sick child rode her bike with metal handlebars through our cars, scratching down the lengths of both of them and $1,000 to fix a bumper situation after the boy was rear ended.  So this, of all things, is running through my mind in that hand-flapping, frantic dash to the brake: PLEASE, I can't afford to fix more scratches on the car!!!  And by the grace of some guardian angel with a sense of humor, we won't have to.  R.I.P. plastic shelving unit from college.  You were my pantry in my first apartment and our tool shelf.  You took one from the team and absorbed the force of the impact.  We can never repay you, but yet we will replace you.

Friday, December 2, 2016

I must tell you...

I must tell you that my $10 space heater that I bought in July is now delightfully serving its purpose.  It was indeed slightly embarrassing to march up to the cash register with a space heater in JULY, but color me polka dotted.  I'm pleased as punch right about now.

So I've been dealing with some happy-sappy technology stuff right now.  And I must tell you.  I had a delightfully, deliciously, enticingly, entoxicatingly smudge-free screen for approximately 28 hours.  And then I dropped a half-eaten banana slathered with peanut butter upside down on it.  After the "AHHHH!!!!" feeling quickly came the "Well, at least my screen is really clean, so this should be good to eat still" thought.  It's good to have a clean screen.  It's also delightful to have finger print identification and a Suri at my disposal and a device that doesn't put me in a frustrated frenzy. 

On this device, I must tell you that I've sidled onto the Gilmore Girls fan bus.  I'm full-blown GAAAHHH mode.  But, it does have the double advantage of new story lines and fast-talking characters.  And now, I must ask (because I'm not all that concerned about spoilers), does Dean ever go away?  I don't like him all that much.  Rory can do better.  Rory must do better.  Luke, however, he can stay. (and that's saying something since he speaks my literature-lovin'-language).  I'm still in season 1, so surely Dean is on the way out.  Probably not.  I'm not so lucky.

It turns out, it's hard to focus much on grading when characters working through new story lines are talking fast.  I'm taking a break now, o-b-v-i-o-u-s-l-y, because life is so dang hard.  And by that I mean that my name is in ye olde jury pool.  And I've now been summoned TWO times in less than a month.  I must tell you...this just stinks. 
And finally, that brings us to the most untechnologically technical piece of news that I have.  I must tell you that we successfully transported one recycle robot to school this very morning.  It was a 2nd effort and a better one at that as this time Oink-bot did not end up in 3 pieces at the end of the journey.  No fool that I am, we also came prepared with a roll of packing tape and scissors, both of which were unnecessary.  Learning from past mistakes, I also held this 2 1/2 foot tall robot off to the side with one hand while driving in order to absorb the natural bumps and jostles of the car.  One crampy-tired forearm later, Oink-bot made it into school and (the angels rejoiced).

I must tell's been quite the week.