Friday, December 31, 2010

Boiled Custard is gooone...

My brother was here to pick Evan up earlier, and he asked me if the leftover boiled custard was at our sister's house. I said yes, it was. Not including the half jug I brought back home with me, but I feel entitled to some of it. After all, I paid for it and I spent two hours preparing it. Over an hour was devoted to nonstop stirring, and a good part of that involved hot steam hitting my bare wrists.

So no, I don't feel guilty. ;)

He told me that he was over there (in the last day or so, I suppose) and there was only a couple of inches left in the jug. He had gotten a mugful and that was what was left.

Sounds to me like he was jonesing for some more. LOL

For those uninitiated into the wonders of boiled custard, it's a thick, creamy vanilla drink, sometimes thick enough to be eaten with a spoon. A holiday comfort food that my dear departed grandmother used to make for us. Custard it is, without a cloying overtaste of eggs that you get from thin, runny eggnog. And it is boiled - in a double boiler for an hour or longer, until it is appropriately thickened. Thickening will intensify once the decanted custard is refrigerated, or set on the back steps to chill, as I've done many times. The name is not glamorous, just a simple description of an annual country treat.

He also noted with a slight tone of disapproval that most of my Chex mix was gone as well. It seems Matt and Tyler both had parties and that was part of the fare. Oh well. I did leave it over there intentionally. Keeping a high carb snack that's got nearly three sticks of butter in it (special sibling recipe for the seasoning - we put double in the mix) here at my house is a recipe for disaster.

I had made two batches. Do you see what trouble I could have gotten into if I'd brought it all home? Yes, I'm being a good girl. In some ways, I've been a *very* good girl and I wish that I could say it's making me a happy person, but that's not the case.

Ah, not to worry. The day I made the Chex mix, my brother happened to be at my house and I gave him a bag full of it. He had helped me tremendously. I needed help to get Dad's fireplace into my car, and Tommy graciously assisted me.

Dad seems to be happy with the fireplace. I'm so glad it only took me 39 years to figure out what to give him for Christmas. He even said he'd been planning to buy one for himself. :) Nailed it! Believe me, he's a hard man to shop for.

I'm sorry the boiled custard is gone, but I could always make another smooth-as-silk batch of vanilla yumminess if someone specially requested it and threw in some bribery to convince me it's worthwhile to make it for a second time this winter.

Dad did ask me if I'd left the "flavoring" out of it. Um, Dad, I think you've got me confused with that person who puts alcohol in there from the get-go. hahah Personally, I'll stick with putting a little bit of vanilla extract in my own cup, and let everyone else doctor theirs up. I never thought that the taste of whiskey was a good addition anyway, even if there was only a spoonful.

2010

... And nobody is about to attempt a landing on Jupiter... Arthur C. Clarke is probably disappointed, somewhere. C'mon, I loved that movie. It's strangely hopeful.

I was thinking at Christmas, a decade ago I was reading the exact same book I did this year, The Stand by Stephen King. I don't know why I wanted to read it again. I read it ten years ago because I was laid up in the bed over Christmas with approximately 100 stitches holding me together post-surgery.

Yes, I chose Christmas deliberately, though not irreverently. Bad breakup. I figured if I was going to be that unhappy I might as well be in pain too. Though the pain mysteriously never showed up. Either that, or I just dismissed what I felt, as usual.

So over the last year, what happened? Not much of anything.

I feel fortunate that I didn't lose any family members. I'm still trying to deal with my mother's sudden death in January 2008, and it really doesn't seem to be getting any easier at times. The only thing that helps is completely dismissing her from my mind.

I found out that my father has two failing valves in his heart and a cardiologist wants them replaced and a pacemaker put in. He falls asleep uncontrollably these days, perhaps from a lack of oxygen. Dad's angry about it and says he'd rather go on and die than have surgery and be a burden to anyone.

On a side note, when my sister heard him say that she asked him if now he wonders why I've got such a pessimistic attitude. Apparently, I get it honest. AHA! So there, Dad! On the other hand, it's not so reassuring to know that I'm not an anomaly in my family after all. To be fair to myself, I really did start my life with a totally Pollyanna attitude. Then things happened. More things happened. I prayed and prayed for help. Things got worse. I feel like I'm being tested to see if I can live up to the meaning of my name.

Out of horror from seeing pictures of me, I committed a bit more strongly to getting back in shape. I look down, and sure, I'm not happy with what I see, but when I see photos of myself, I realize that what others are seeing is truly worse than what I've been paying attention to in the mirror. I dodge my reflection a lot. So I'm going to lose as much weight as I can, however I can, and then I might just pay a visit to a dermatologist and then a plastic surgeon.

I might as well. I'm probably going to have a Frankenstein-style scar across my throat soon anyway. That lump in my neck is getting bigger, and it's affecting the lay of the land, so to speak. I had it checked out back in the spring, and I got conflicting reports on what it might be. After the CT scan and ultrasound, the nurse called and said "It's nothing." When the lab results came in the mail a few days later and I checked the terminology on the internet, I found something different. So I'm going to ask Dr. Caylor to biopsy it after he takes it out. It's sitting on a lymph node under my jaw (or maybe it IS the lymph node) and I just want it gone.

Let's see. Tyler joined the Air Force, and he's working with explosives. Steph got divorced and has a new boyfriend. Matt started high school. Evan had his tonsils out. And I'm just tired again.

I started taking liquid B vitamins again, and they seem to help, except for when I'm feeling depressed, and then nothing helps. Predictable, right?

I took the high road and it was pointless.

Yet I still feel anxious, and simultaneously like I've let someone down.

I saw my 18 year old nephew's Facebook post that he was having a party tonight. I don't know if my sister knows about this party, and I was hoping it would be along the lines of a few close friends hanging out before he has to report back to the USAF.

Last night I was headed in to Wal-Mart to buy something that I absolutely couldn't do without, and I texted him to ask if he'd like me to buy any sodas for his party while I was there.

He said he'd like for me to pick him up some Shiner Bock. It made my skin crawl to read that. It made me want to cry. I'm remembering him as a terrified 7 year old, about to have an IV put into his arm for an emergency appendectomy, and he's singing "Jesus Loves Me" through his tears and sobbing. Hearing him say, "Aunt Val...?" in that pitiful hurt voice sometime in the middle of the night in his hospital room, when he needed me to help him get to the bathroom.

Okay, I know he's in the military and old enough to die for his country, and I'm being a real prude for turning him down. I know that someone has been giving him alcohol; I just hope it's not any more than a beer here and there. It just bothers me to know that he's drinking, and planning to have friends over to drink tonight.

And most of his friends are under the legal drinking age.

I told him that if I got caught buying alcohol for someone underage, I'd lose my teaching license. I'm absolutely positive that would happen. But I was really hoping that they would stick to sodas tonight.

It would be safer. It scares me because I know just what alcoholics some of my friends became at the ripe old age of consent. Some of them became really nasty-tempered people as a result.

My mother was an alcoholic. Her father was an alcoholic. There's an addiction gene I am going to avoid discovering in my genetic makeup.

As for me? Well, I was petrified to try more than a wine cooler even when I was 19. I had a few opportunities to try worse stuff than alcohol, but I had no desire to, and the thought filled me with revulsion. I've witnessed for myself how excessive drinking can cause some people to unleash their darker tendencies on the unsuspecting.

Odd, isn't it? I don't have children, and yet I'm worried to death for someone else's. I am definitely the family worrier. I wonder if *that* is genetic.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Short girls' feet don't go that far!

Okay, this is as good a time as any to explain how angry I am. I've been trying to exercise using "Your Shape: Fitness Evolved". I was aiming for 300 calories today. I'm at 263 calories and incredibly pissed off.

I'm only 5'5", and the trainer keeps cutting my score because I'm not putting my feet wide enough to make her happy. I'm watching us both on screen and when I finally get my feet somewhere that makes her comment positively, I don't look like her pose onscreen.

Furthermore, it's not possible for me to put my feet that far apart, even in top physical condition, and expect my knees to be able to lift me back up again. Human knees just can't do THAT! It's not a problem specific to my knees - these are impossible moves. And if I continue trying to do those, say bye-bye to what's left of my knees.

Ubisoft needs to do a better job on scanning users' bodies. Yes, I wore incredibly tight clothes when I was scanned, and yes, that looks like me onscreen, unfortunately, but I think that they measured my arms and legs wrong.

Hello? I am the woman who keeps buying pants in average length, and then having to hem the suckers up an inch! I don't have short legs, but my God, I don't have the Julia Roberts "Pretty Woman" 44 inch set either.

Yeah you heard me. That 44 inch measurement is around a whole different part of my body, so lee me 'lone bout dat.

It's a great concept, but right now, it's killing me. My shins were screaming when I was doing that "flying jog" and I came pretty close to crying (from the pain) when I gave up in the middle. So much for the "Nice and Easy" program for beginners. I expect my shin splints to come back with a vengeance. I guess it's a good thing that I bought a new bottle of rubbing alcohol last night. I shall become one with the ice, just as I have in the past.

I wonder how many days of absolute failure at this program it will take me before I can complete a routine properly and without pain? Maybe I should only give it a shot once a week or so and the rest of the time concentrate on Sports and Dance Central.

Dance Central is my new friend. Dance Central doesn't make me do freaking lunges for 5 minutes straight, in the same position, until I force it to quit because I can't get my feet any further apart. Dance Central has an interesting venue that actually CHANGES and it doesn't constantly run me into the wall and expect me to burst through that wall to do a damn toe touch.

To heck with this. I'm gonna go dance. And if that doesn't help, then I'm gonna go box and pretend I'm punching my fitness trainer in her skinny aerobicised head.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Greeting Card Remorse

I've been wracking my brain (yeah, wracking is spelled that way!) to think of something decently useful to give Dad for his 75th birthday today. I've always had a hard time getting gifts for him because he never really seems to like anything.

His birthday is 6 days before Christmas, so that requires brilliance *twice* in one week, and gift brilliance just isn't my talent. His Christmas gift is very expensive and over-the-top this year. I bought it back at Halloween and I'm sure he'll give the same pale thank you as always. But that's okay. If he ever has just a minute of appreciating this, it'll be worth it.

So this morning as I was swimming up through some interesting dreams I realized that he had mentioned needing some new shirts a while back. And while I hate the impersonality of a gift card, I never manage to get his size right, and I doubt I'd get the color right either, so I'm going to let him choose this time and get what he needs.

But I think I'll trick him. I'll stick it to the top of a can of cashews and wrap that up. LOL Ha ha fooled ya!

I am a little worried about his birthday card though. I have a fear of buying cards because I am afraid that the one I choose won't be good enough, and I'll regret it. Greeting card remorse, can you believe it?

We don't have a real card shop here in town anymore because the mall is slowly emptying out. :( So there's not a lot to choose from.

A couple of years ago I resolved to make all of my own greeting cards (so they would be special and require some thought) and I did for several birthdays, but even though I spent hours on his, he kinda tossed it aside with a murmured, "That's nice." And then he crowed over my siblings' store-bought cards. *sigh*

I wasn't slow making the card, but it took a lot of work to find the perfect saying and graphic to attach to the front. Plus all of the details I added. Some of the metal pieces I put in caused a bit of pain, for what it's worth. So I wasn't being cheap -- I was trying to make him a special card. The materials I used didn't just fall out of thin air - I paid good money for them. It was a waste of time, for whatever reason. I don't think he even bothered to read the darn thing, and it was chosen specifically for him. Grr.

Add that to the list of things I won't be doing again.

I always dread his birthday because I know I will feel bad. :( It's another thing I just can't do right for him.

Update: Found a card I think he'll like. :D It's from Quincy, most especially. It has a dog on it that plays sound bytes when you press it.

"How about a big kiss?? Just as soon as I'm done drinking outta the toilet! Slurp slurp!

You know what we need? Some cheese. Let's have some cheese. You get the cheese and we'll eat some cheese. Cheese!?!??

I think you're the best! Hey! A squirrel! Gotta get the squirrel! Get the squirrel! Squirrel!

Wuff Wuff! That's I Wuff You in dog language!"

If nothing else, he'll laugh for a minute or two. :D

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I kill smiles.

I have never seen anyone lose a smile from their face as fast as my father does when he's talking to me.

He got here on the heels of the FedEx truck, on his way to the Christmas party. He asked me if I was going, and I told him the delivery truck just left, and I'd been waiting on them for 8 hours.

Truthfully, I was letting the wait upset me. I'd been feeling lightheaded and dizzy for a couple of hours and now this.

He was happy to play with my dog and then when I told him I hadn't been able to get ready because I didn't know when they'd show up, he practically stomped out of the house saying that I could go on and get ready and go with him. As he was leaving. I think that's a pretty sure sign that he didn't want me to go.

I'd told him that I was in a bad mood (true, though I didn't admit I'd fallen into a downward spiral because he doesn't understand that) and I didn't know if I'd go or not. I felt a little unnerved last year when I was there (nobody's fault but mine - they're nice people and the only family we have left here) and I didn't know if I could put on the happy mask when it was already slipping.

So now I can't go, because this has upset me to the point that my face is tear-streaked and my eyes are red and puffy. There's no makeup I can put on to cover it all up. And I don't want any well-intentioned people to ask me what's wrong.

I could go late, but I'd be too embarrassed looking like this and having to deal with Dad's explanation of why I'm not there. It's just too late. :( I asked him to get Paul to call me, but I get the feeling he won't pass the message on.

Don't get me wrong. My father is a good man who has worked hard all of his life, but I know he doesn't understand me at all. And this isn't a teenager saying that. It's an almost 40 year old woman. I can't honestly blame my father for the many ways in which I've failed him.

Lord, please give me a hand

I'm going to need some major help in controlling my anger. It's already bubbling up inside. I can feel it.

I am lied to all of the time. I know that. I understand it. I don't appreciate it, but it's something I have to accept. Comes with my job, unfortunately.

But when the liar is a loved one who lies about even the most inconsequential things, I've got a problem with that.

Lies about blabbing your secrets to random other people.
Lies about what they are doing, are going to be doing, and who they are going to be with.
Lies that are so thin, transparent, and pointless that even a complete stranger could see through them. *sigh*
Lies that are told just out of laziness and sometimes purely out of selfishness.

But when the time comes when they could either leave something alone or lie to save your feelings, they are too *moral* and a *Christian* and it wouldn't be right to do anything other than say the meanest and cruelest things just to improve their self esteem and too bad if it hurts your feelings because "we're family and it's okay to say things like that to each other!"

The devil in me says that I should let loose with "the truth" myself occasionally, because surely that person would understand with their infallible reasoning that payback in kind is absolutely fair and correct.

Still, I don't say anything.

I defend them to others when their veracity is called into question.
I don't call them on how their lies contradict one another.
I don't point out that the truth, which makes them look less than moral, is glaring at everyone. The rest of us are not as stupid as they wish we were.
I don't point out that they are making the exact same mistake they whined to me for years that they were desperate to get away from.

Lord, I am trying to turn the other cheek. But I am afraid that if I hear "you need a gastric bypass" one more time in order to kill my smile, I'm going to come right back with *the truth* myself. I could make mean little digs all the time, but I stop myself because I know it's the wrong thing to do.

I think it's time to do some boxing.

Liquid Bs

Well, the liquid B vitamins I've been taking seem to be helping with my energy levels. That is, instead of dragging my feet home and through the house to my bed for a few hours every afternoon, I'm feeling like a "normal" person probably feels.

I'm sure that there is room for improvement, but for now, I'm happy to consider this a good start. I hate being tired all of the time. And it's probably due to the fact that I don't eat right. (Insert comment about it being hard to eat nutritiously while making servings for one every meal...)

They still taste nasty, but I try to take them when I have something to drink, to wash them down with. I can't say that they are a wonder drug, but for me, they are vitamins I'm supposed to be getting otherwise, but am not. They don't give any kind of instant energy boost, either, but I can feel the difference when I skip a day.

Here's to regaining a little bit of my energy. :)

FedEx, help a sistah out!

I ordered a new computer on Digital Monday. A friend researched it for me, because he's so much better at that than I am, and he knows all of the right components for what I'll be doing on my PC.

Yes, PC. I use Macs at work and PCs at home. And an iPhone to bridge the gap.

What???

You want confusion? The Macs in my classroom run the class software in Windows XP. :D Two languages in one head! No one can think at that speed! LOL

So anyway, my desktop was dying. I've boosted the ram already, attempted twice to give it bigger hard drives, and both times were disasters. I knew what I was doing. Bad things just... happened.

The first time, I was trying to save the drive from my My Book - a totally epic fail backup system that croaked as soon as I got my important files onto it. I don't know what made me do that when my blood sugar was dropping. I've said before when it happens, I just become stupid. I sweat, I stutter, my hands shake, and fight or flight responses take over. I become so afraid that I think longingly of curling up into a little ball on the floor and hugging my knees while I cry. But I don't do it. I just continue whatever I was doing, trying to fix it while *acting* normal. Anyway, my hands started shaking right about the time I was attaching the cable connecting the drive to the motherboard, and that sucker snapped the pins right off the back of the hard drive.

So much for that.

More recently, I was going to put in a TB hard drive because the original one is almost totally full, and my Photoshop files take up tons of space. Well, I put in the hard drive, turned on the PC, and the end results were a short-circuited flatscreen monitor *cry* and video card. Right now I'm using an old 15 inch monitor with a huge footprint, and even it is acting wiggy, so I know that the video card is damaged as well. I'd continue to use it, but I really hate looking at World of Warcraft on it. I'm just not used to the bizarre dimensions.

My friend was right (five years ago) about how much I'd love my flatscreen monitor. I did. It's sitting beside me looking at me forlornly with its big black face. :( It misses me as much as I miss it.

So... full hard drive, insufficient RAM, dead monitor, fried video card, broken USB ports on front (totally my fault... both times happened when I had my Wacom tablet plugged in and bumped it with my knee - computer no longer lives on my floor), and unreliable optical drives... Enough to make me go on and buy a new one.

I did a few upgrades from what my friend suggested, because I just can't live with myself if the computer I buy isn't over a thousand dollars (okay, not really, it just works out that way every single time - I can justify that as a business expense because I do use it at home on my second job -- designing digital scrapbook kits). Ordered it, and immediately got my credit card declined. LOL

Lately that's been happening a lot, strictly due to my bank being very protective of me. They did that on the plane tickets I bought, in the summer and in the fall, and on the computer. Why? Because I never use that card and suddenly I did. The one I use all the time and pay off every month (rewards card) has about 10% of the limit the other one has, and when I used the bigger one, they freaked out and cut it off. So I had to call them and prove that I yam who I yam. No problem, purchases made, done deal.

Except with the computer. *rolling eyes* It took over a week and a couple of calls to the computer people to make sure that they were going to put my purchase through. It finally went through and I saw that it would be delivered Dec. 22nd. Coolness - I'll be off work and can sit at home and wait on it.

Then on December 13th, I came home to find the first FedEx tag, saying that they tried to deliver my package, but I wasn't home. Imagine that! Nobody home during the workday! Wowee! Total anomaly there!

Because I wasn't foolhardy enough to sign the slip for them to leave it on my doorstep until I got home, I called FedEx and got some really fast-talking lady from somewhere near Bwahston who was frustrated that I couldn't understand she was speaking English.

I sifted through her angry remarks to get the answers I needed:
1. They will not let me have the package delivered to my workplace, where someone WILL sign for it and it will be safe.
2. She thinks I live out on a farm somewhere because I said small town. I live in town. City people don't understand that small town people actually have things like running water, teeth, shoes, and central heating. She thought leaving a huge computer box on my doorstep was safe because of this. She kept insisting I have this done.
3. This town doesn't have a real FedEx place, but Jackson, 45 minutes away, is a piece of cake for me to get to and get my PC at my convenience. Oh yeah, sure, THAT's convenient!
4. They think I'm pathetic that I don't have someone living with me who is unemployed and can accept packages while I'm working.
5. They think I should trust my neighbors with my deliveries, although my neighbors are, guess what, working people too! Imagine the chances of a block of people who ALL work! Wowee!
6. I can't be necessary enough at my job to be unable to just take the day off and wait on my package.
7. I'm welcome to schedule a Saturday delivery, which I did when I called them Tuesday after another delivery attempt was made during my workday.
8. Deliveries on any day may come anytime between 8 am and 8 pm, and they won't give you a hint. :)

I wish I'd had a choice of shippers, but shipping was free with my order and I didn't get a choice. I don't think I could have insisted on a carrier and paid for shipping, to tell the truth. The last time I bought a computer from them, I was able to call UPS and ask them to hold the package for me to pick it up that night. My hometown is upscale enough to have a UPS place. :D And nobody chasing their barefoot toothless sister through the yard, neither.

So after I scheduled the Saturday delivery, as my final chance to get what I'd already paid for, my father calls to tell me the Pattons' Christmas party is you guessed it, Saturday at 4. My once a year chance to hang out with my cousin Paul, and I'm going to miss it if FedEx doesn't show up at a reasonable time.

But I've already figured how this will play out. They're going to wait until about 8 pm to deliver, and I will feel extremely *awkward* about going over to their house that late in the evening. I don't really believe that family-type party is intended to drag on until 10 pm. Something in my tummy tells me that's kinda rude, to hang around that long at their house.

Grrr... I guess if I get delayed that long I could always ask Paul to meet me for coffee or something. *rolling eyes*

BTW - it's 12:33 here, and no FedEx yet. I've put the "leave it on the steps" tag on the door just in case I don't hear them -- I'm trying to cover all my bases, y'know?

2:33 now... still no FedEx...

Resolution - they showed up at almost 4:00. Why couldn't they do that on any other day of the week, when I'd already be home by then?

Santa scared me!

And Santa almost made me cry last night!!

I was at a Christmas party at my boss's house last night, and Santa came through the door yelling "Ho, Ho, Ho!" Even after I turned around and got a good look at him, I still felt adrenaline coursng through me. I was definitely scared and shaken up.

Oddly enough, I had a flashback. I remembered walking through Raleigh Springs Mall at Christmastime when I was a little girl and they still had the fountains with the colored lights in them. Oh, that place seemed so magical to me. I could have watched the fountains for hours, but it seemed like we were always busy headed someplace else. ;)

They turned a huge area in the center court of the mall into the North Pole. Santa had a throne inside a house surrounded by cottony snow and railings around the whole area. Seems like there were giant candy canes stuck into the snow in different places.

I must have been looking at it all in an awestruck way because I remember Dad asking me, "Do you want to go talk to old Santa Claus?" and I remember answering, embarrassed, "No!"

I wonder if at some point I totally spazzed out on Santa's lap when I was really little. LOL Because last night, I was really SCARED. Maybe the childhood fear came from knowing he was always watching and he could get into our house whether we locked the doors or not.

Now isn't that a creepy concept for a kid? Plus, there was that whole threat of him spitting tobacco juice in my eye if he caught me awake. Dad said that would happen. Personally, that just grosses me out.

Maybe that's part of it. A tobacco-chewing Santa is just a horrifying thought to me. Can't stand it when people chew that stuff and then want to carry around their used spit in a bottle. It's nauseating.

Friday, December 17, 2010

My CMA!

Just goes to show you that you don't *have* to be a singer of any talent to look like you're a nominees for a Country Music Award.

I just got back from "having my hair done," which consists of coloring over my silver roots, getting my hair washed and conditioned, my eyebrows waxed and shaped back into submission, my hair trimmed, and my hair styled into the biggest hair I've had in a looong time.

Honestly, I did leave that big hair look behind about 15 years ago. Admittedly a little late, but the same person who pointed that out seemed to think that I should have my hair all cut off short in what I like to think of as "Old Lady Hairstyle #1".

Not to be confused with "Blue Haired Old Lady Hairstyle," of course. That one requires a rinse and a subject with a likely cataract problem that causes a yellow cast to what they see, which prevents them from seeing how blue their hair really is.

I like to think that many of them are secretly going punk on us, and they are being sneaky with the blue and violet haircolors. :) Go Grannies! Wave that flag! Go for the pink if you want it!

I'm probably going to go purple myself, just because I can. I just lost my interest in auburn a few years back, which is why I'm back to what my normal color used to be, before the silver took over.

Someday I will let the silver shine, but for now, I prefer to let it look like highlights in my hair. Light brown highlights. (Because you really can't make a silver hair hold a dark color longer than a couple of days.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wearin' them longhandles

It occurred to me last night after I opened my electric bill, that for a bill that low, I sure wasn't sitting around the house with chattering teeth. The house isn't exactly *warm* all the time, but I've been fairly comfortable.

It might be the electric fireplace. Could be the afghans and sweaters I wrap up in. But no...

I think it's the longhandles. Oh come on, you've never heard that one before?

Thermal underwear, to be exact. Not that waffle-weave stuff, because it doesn't like me. I think Fruit of the Loom makes the ones I like and I've been wearing the tops and the bottoms (relax, I've got several sets!) daily for the last couple of weeks.

What made me notice it was Tuesday in my classroom. I could feel a chilly bite in the room and my hands had started turning white, but other than my ice queen touch, I was comfy. (If you don't count the static electricity shocks that are plentiful when I wear my winter shoes. *sigh* *zap* *ouch*) Poor Quincy goes to give me a kissy-lick and his tongue gets shocked. Fortunately, that goes in his short term memory and he forgets long enough to get zapped again. Or maybe it's a tiny electric shock short circuiting his frontal lobe. Ya think? What was I saying?

And the funniest part was today when my students were wondering what my Kinect avatar was doing wearing that tight black getup. :D What can I say? It scanned me and then created an outfit to match mine, right down to the v neck. Last night when I played it changed my pants to grey to match my current outfit. Fun fun. Luckily for me it remembers my wishes and doesn't make my avatar a true likeness of me. She's trim and cute. I'm ... well, I'm working on it.

Feeling physically fine

Say *that* three times fast, would ya? I dare ya. I double dare ya. I double DOG dare ya!

I think that I did various exercise-type things for about 2 hours last night, altogether. I thought when I woke up this morning I would be in real pain, but I'm not. I'm stiff more than anything else.

I keep thinking of all those long muscles in my legs, especially my thighs, like long rubber bands that have been just sitting there for a while, unstretched. Now they're getting stretched and I'm afraid they may have dry-rotted. :D

Moreover, I'm tired and sleepy overall. I think I could have benefited from about four more hours of sleep, but I'd have been worse off when I got up.

The kids had fun with Kinect Sports and Dance Central today, and none of them laughed (that I noticed) when I was dancing with them. I think they probably should have. LOL But I'd forewarned them that I can NOT dance anyway. ;)

By the end of the day, I felt like I had lead attached to my arms and legs, though. I are tired! (So much for "I is BEEST!")I'd like to go to bed and stay there for several hours but I have a gathering to attend later, plus a few gifts I have to get tonight.

I don't feel that jazzed about going tonight (just me, I'm tired, and it'll be a crowd), but the host (my boss) is retiring and this will probably be the last time we'll all get to see his lovely home together. And his wife was my kindergarten teacher, so I can't miss out on seeing her. I love her dearly.

And I hate to admit it but my lower legs and feet are swollen right about now. Argh. That might be why all of the stiffness is hanging on. Edema is not your friend! Even though it can contribute to the awesomely fun activity of your nephews taking turns making ear prints on your shins, it is not a recommended pastime. "How'd you get that blood clot in your leg?" "Familial pinna direct impression."

Good, I'm glad you came along with me on that. Ha.

Could be i need to drink a tank full of water, but I seriously detest running to the bathroom every 15 minutes. And no, that never stops with me drinking water. LOL I'm practically my own stage of the water cycle. Eww that's gross, I know.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Exercise "Progress?" for the day...

"Progress?" as in "You call THAT progress? ROTFLMAO!"

Kinect exercise progress for today:

93 calories burned on YSFE...
25 calories burned on Dance Central...
Well, add maybe another 50 calories on Dance Central for the 45 minutes' of dancing later on.

One tired and sore me, who knows it takes 3500 calories to burn off a pound of fat. *sigh* Definitely an uphill battle from here.

Such a little payoff and so much effort simply means I have a long way to go. I'm not up to doing the really effective stuff yet, though I have to admit my problem in Dance Central is NOT that the dance was grueling.

This white girl just ain't got no rhythm and I sho nuff can't dance. Still. :D But I'm working on it for the sake of exercise.

Tonight I've got to figure out how to set up the party mode for Dance Central so that I can let my classes try that out tomorrow. :)

After I'd done one song about three times, I started getting the hang of it. :D I still look like a pregnant elephant on the playback. so I'm probably just going to skip looking at that for a while. Maybe forever.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm a bad daughter.

My father was talking to me on the phone about how my sister is mad at him and it was plain he is angry at her. One of the things he mentioned was that when she calls, she does it on her drive to work and waits till she's close to the end of the drive to call.

I tried to explain to him that she does the same thing to me, and never talks to me about anything but what is on her mind, then she cuts me off if I bring anything up. It's always been like that between us. My role is the listener and advice giver, and other than that, I'm just to shut up. It took me a couple of decades to get the message, but I finally got it.

He started to say something about me, and then he said he wasn't going to say that because it would hurt my feelings.

Hmm. Which is less hurtful - the comment he would have said to hurt me or all of the possible comments I keep thinking of since he didn't? The thought comes to mind that nobody can hurt you quite so badly as your own parents.

Without getting too much into the details, he's looking at open heart surgery, and he says he isn't going to bother because he just wants to die. Apparently that angered my sister when he said that, so he decided to get at her by hurting me. That's usually the way it's done. I suppose I should be thankful he didn't let me have it.

And to be absolutely ironic, I've been spending the last few days trying to figure out what to do to celebrate his 75th birthday on Sunday. He said he doesn't want anything for his birthday or Christmas, except to just go on and die. Well, too bad Daddy-o, because I've already spent a lot of money on a rather expensive Christmas gift for you, and you are damn well going to accept it, if I have to lug it into your house myself, while you're asleep.

I do not know what I'm supposed to do to be what he requires of a "good" daughter. I help him whenever he asks me to, but damn it, my mind reading abilities are just not cutting it! I can NOT be the spinster daughter who kneels at his feet waiting for him to bark. It's what he wants. But there is still a person in here who still needs so much to be loved for herself and not for her utility.

He criticizes me for my weight and for not getting a doctorate. What good could it possibly do him for me to have a doctorate I don't want and can't use? He says "You could teach college" as if that's actually a step up somehow. Sure, he could say he has a daughter that's a college professor -- would that finally make him proud of me?? He says he told me not to buy this house. What he actually said 10 years ago was "Buy that house and I'll rewire it for you." The few times I've let him meet my boyfriends he found an excuse to scream at me and belittle me in front of them. Since none of them had the balls to defend me, that pretty much ended those relationships.

Hey, what good is she as a girlfriend if even her father hates her? That's what they saw. There I am, trying to be a respectful and dutiful daughter, and he shows me nothing but disrespect with a touch of meanness. So why would any of the men I dated have any respect for me as even a half-intelligent person when my own father was crushing me beneath the proverbial boot?

If you figure it out, please let me know where I went wrong, because I really and truly see only one way out of all this misery.

It causes grey hair...

Today a student asked me if grey hair was caused by age or by stress.

So I asked him if he was wondering because he could see my silver roots. He looked a little embarrassed and said yes. Well, I had to laugh at that point. :)

I told him it was both, and heredity as well. But in my case I had started going silver when I was 16, so I guess maybe it really is stress in my case.

Hey, what can you do, right? :D I just get it colored back to brown every six weeks, but within a couple of days of that, my temples are silver again anyway. Doesn't seem to be much I can control in that situation.

I wouldn't mind just letting it all go, but I don't know how I'd look with hair that's steely silver at this age.

Old... or sick?

I don't know what's causing this all-over pain right now. I've been suspecting arthritis, but then last night I started sneezing uncontrollably.

I suppose I could be coming down with something; there seem to be an awful lot of students getting sick in class lately. I may have a cold or a virus. Surely, hopefully, it's not the flu. The man who gave me my flu shot told me it vaccinates against all three current strains of the flu.

Please, please, please don't let it be the flu. (Please?) Although I don't want to get sick with anything, something mild is preferable to something major, of course.

Zombie Tired

This is one of those days when I've come to work without getting enough sleep the night before. I got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep, and I thought I would be okay, but by the time my first class started, I was literally dragging my feet to get down the hallway.

I know, it's entirely my own fault, but this is the way it worked out today. I find that it's taking too much energy to smile, and all I can think about is how much I want to skip eating at lunchtime and just pass out on the floor of my classroom. I had promised myself I'd make my closet into a little refuge but I haven't gotten around to it yet. :(

Actually, there are a couple of old TVs in there that I really need to find a new home for. They were for watching videos and editing digital video, but now that we don't have those stations anymore, the TVs are just in my way. I wonder if it would be kosher to just put them in that recycling trailer at the high school, since they are analog televisions anyway and the world has long since gone to digital.

If I get rid of the TVs, I can use that cart for a coffee pot and maybe a microwave. There's actually too much old classroom stuff in there but I'm afraid to get rid of it. The video camera dolly, for example, is taking up a HUGE amount of space in the closet, but I know that's a really valuable piece of equipment that could be useful in other ways.

On the brighter side, I've had several people compliment me on the food I brought. :D Makes it worthwhile to cook, when someone else enjoys it. I have to remember to bring those recipes to work so that I can share them.

I had plenty of leftovers of the Taffy Apple Pizza, so I gave what was left to my last class, who said that they really liked it. :)

No, that wasn't a bribe. LOL It was just leftover-prevention. The thought of bringing home that sugary dessert was scary. At least this way somebody else ate it instead of me, and I didn't have to throw away good food. ;)

You know, I rescheduled my 4:00 hair appointment because I hoped I'd be able to catch Fed Ex and sign for my package. But no, they came and left a note on my door, again. I guess I have to call and schedule a Saturday delivery. So this bears repeating:

FedEx, YOU SUCK. I know that's not very ladylike, but it's true. :D

Recycling contributions

I dropped by DHS last night to contribute some recyclables. It made me happy. :) I tossed in several plastic bottles and my old laptop battery, packed back into its shipping box, so it should be okay until things are sorted out.

Getting things into the cotton trailer started out a little bit problematically, until I realized that the ends are only about 7 feet tall, as opposed to the sides which are about 10 feet. LOL

In any case, it was a good feeling. :) My only regret is that I didn't take all those Wal-Mart bags with me last night!!

Christmas Cop-Out

Christmastime is here again...
And I don't wanna participate in all the stuff that's going on.

I have three Christmas trees in my house, and only one of them is up. Because I bought it close to Halloween, when I was still feeling the love in the world.

By the time Christmas gets here, I lose the thread of the whole holiday spirit thing. I see other people going and doing their family things with their loved ones, and here I am. Blah.

There are so many things I would have done for my children at Christmas. I had a lot of plans. I guess that's the lesson to be learned here: that I shouldn't have been so arrogant as to believe I would get to have a normal life like other people. I'm still sitting here with the heart of a 20-something, getting awfully close to 40, and knowing the old biological clock is winding down. It's just something I know somehow.

I think my mother cursed me back in 1995. She probably didn't mean to, but she sure was all bent out of shape with me at the time, and I still haven't figured it out yet.

I was driving her from Dyersburg to freaking Augusta, Georgia (a 14 hour drive) for her stepfather's funeral, and sometime in the evening I mentioned a book I had read about childbirth. I was surprised that women in labor can use laughing gas to get through it, if they don't want to be fully awake or unconscious either way.

She suddenly screamed at me, "You're never getting married and you'll never have any children!"

Ouch. Where did that come from??

Up to that point, I never realized what hatred my mother was harboring against me, and I have yet to understand why. Maybe she was jealous of me because I was single at an age she wished she had been. Maybe it was that she was unhappy with her marriage. Maybe it was something as petty and simple as the fact that I would not allow her to smoke in my car. Hey, I stopped for her to get out and smoke more than once every hour, until she fell asleep and left me alone to drive in the middle of the night. Lemme tell ya, that was a long drive after I'd already had a full day's work with no time to rest afterward. She had no qualms about making it feel like a barefoot journey through hell while she was awake.

At any rate, what little I have came at the price of some very hard and lonely work, and absolutely no help from her through any of it. She once relayed to me that she told someone "Hey, I've RAISED *my* kids, I'm not raising anyone else's!"

You know why that bothers me so much? I was four years old when my parents got divorced. I wasn't "raised" by any stretch of the imagination. And I sure didn't have my mother when I needed her after that.

And yet, I still miss my mother. She died a couple weeks after Christmas. I attempted to make my peace with her on her deathbed. I'd given her a dose of liquid morphine and talked to her, but by that time she wasn't responding. And a few minutes later, she was gone.

Something tells me that she must have heard me apologize for whatever it was I'd done wrong. I just wish that she could have responded to give me whatever absolution she could.

Sometimes I think that I should have apologized for ever being born, because it seems like just about the time I came into her life, she got tired of having a family -- a husband, and three kids. She just wanted to be free. I was the last one to come along, and it's always given me the impression that I must have been the last straw. They already had a toddler when I showed up, so maybe I was just too much to deal with. And with my Dad always telling me that I was a little imp, I guess I was a pretty rotten little kid.

But you know, I remember those days, when I was just learning to walk and talk, and I remember that what I wanted was just to be loved. I just couldn't make it happen.

So eh, maybe I am cursed. I wonder if being baptised would wash that off of me. ;)

My father expressed horror a few weeks back when he discovered I've never been baptised.... um, why was he surprised? Nobody ever took me to church (we were sent, as in, get out of my house for a few hours while I hang out there and you bad children might get whatever's wrong with you "fixed" while you're there.) and other than my sister going when her boys were younger (and giving me the "If you were a Christian like *I* am" one time too many....) church was never considered important.

Suddenly my brother and father are going and they think I'd better go too, because they are. I get the "you should pray" speech, though I never stopped, even when things were bad when I was a little girl. I still don't get any kind of a response when I pray, but I keep doing it anyway. It's kind of a "is this thing on??" feeling of exclusion mostly.

Could having someone hold me underwater with a prayer help with anything? I really don't know. I've been to church several times over my adult life and the same thing happens every time. I cry. I can't attribute it to any kind of mystical experience because, hey, this is me, and it's not like I'm anything special in that respect. I think of all those times I've prayed for help and never got it, and then I realize I'm being presumptuous to think that little old me rates notice and especially a response.

It makes me feel like this life is one huge dramatic production and I've been relegated to being a backstage gofer... once again.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cooking... and no sleep...

Okay, I admit that's my own fault. Instead of coming home this afternoon and immediately starting to cook, I went to sleep. Couldn't help it, I's tired!

I've made apple-cinnamon punch, and I'm in the process of making the Taffy Apple Pizza. Stupid WalMart didn't have rolls of cookie dough, so I had to buy the flat pack... which was 2 ounces short. So I made it work with part of a second package, and then the freaking crust puffed up in the middle but didn't cook - It was still doughy... so it got cooked a loooong time. I hope it's done. Cored, peeled, & sliced the apples all at once (heh hee I love that gadget!) and they are now soaking in Sprite waiting for the stupid cookie to cool. :D Peace.

Next is the taco ring, which I'm a little apprehensive about. I'm thinking about putting it all together tonight, putting it in the fridge, and baking it in the morning. That dish just isn't the same after it's been refrigerated overnight and reheated.

I suppose I should just commit to getting up an extra hour early tomorrow. The toting things inside part will take a long time too, but on the brighter side, I could just pull my car up outside my classroom windows (which are right by the cafeteria door), prop the door open and just cart things directly into the teacher's dining room. Yeah, I think that would be a GREAT idea.

Cooking is something I still enjoy quite a bit, but every time I do it, I find myself thinking that by now I should have a family of my own to cook for. Or even just one other person here to benefit from it. I don't really cook for myself, because if it's really good, I sneak too many extra bites. Sneaking from whom? I don't really know, but I do it and it's hard to control my portions like that.

And I do hate to make something and have to eat the same thing for days until it's gone, or just throw it away. I guess with something like a ring or a braid I COULD figure out how to half the recipe. Freeze half the meat and just use one pack of crescent rolls.

Yikes, what is that funky junk playing on my iTunes right now? It went from Chipmunks to techno-rap. bleh.

Okay, changed it over to Pandora.

Went into the kitchen to stir the ground beef around and realized once again that the smell of that stuff frying in its own grease makes me feel a little bit ill. Vague ammonia smell to it, I think? Ewww... It's okay cooked and seasoned, but plain old ground beef simmering - nasty smelling.

I don't know how I'm going to get everything done this week. Food tomorrow. Hair appointment tomorrow, Fed Ex tomorrow. I guess I could try to reschedule my hair appointment and see if Fed Ex shows up. If I miss them again, I think I'll just tell them to reschedule delivery for Saturday and understand that I can't so much as leave my property until they deliver.

If I'd had my 'druthers, I'd rather have had UPS deliver. At least with them, I could go to UPS place here in town and pick it up myself. I didn't care for the fast-talking woman on the phone at Fed-Ex. She babbled at me and then said I needed to make a choice of the six she claimed she offered (I never heard one, just that what I wanted was not an option), then complained that I was making her do her job.

Uh, what?

Well, the dessert is finished and being refrigerated... I hope that doesn't cause a quality issue. :) The meat is cooked and in the fridge till morning when I shall get up a full hour early to put the taco ring together. The veggies for it are cut up and waiting in a baggie. My hands smell like onions.

Makes me think of being "invited" to my sister's for dinner and being given a shopping list over the phone on my way there, and then discovering she saved all the onion-cutting for me to do. Oh, and half the food prep while she showers and makes herself up.

I'm not so much an invited guest as a servant. :) But hey, we're family, and somewhere I missed the "Family Rules" book that told me it's okay to treat the youngest like crap! LOL

Recycle that!

I'm geekily excited again.
I was thrilled when DMS put in the paper collection bin for recycling.
I was so happy when I found out that someone in town pays for cans to be recycled.

Now... DHS Project Graduation is collecting an impressive range of recyclables, and they're including things I couldn't otherwise recycle, but felt so guilty about trashing. Basically they are taking everything but glass and food (And really, most food should go into a compost pile anyway). This means I get to recycle all those stupid Wal-Mart bags and plastic jugs and bottles too. And old electronic parts. And someone gets to have a fundraiser which is basically my garbage.

Happy happy joy joy!

I'm still feeling the "Save the Planet" vibe I had all through high school before anybody but the EPA really cared, but as George Carlin said, the planet doesn't need us to save it! The planet is fine. It's humans that are f___ed. The planet is gonna shake us off like a bad case of fleas, if we don't watch out. And it will be our own fault.

Hey, God gave us a beautiful place to live. And He gave us the intelligence (eventually) to keep it pretty. So shouldn't we honor that by keeping our planet a healthy and beautiful place to live?

Discomfiting Others

A while back a complaint was sent to me about my Facebook posts, which were not cheerful enough. Apparently I was making a lot of people uncomfortable because I was not being a Merry Sunshine type - I was posting my honest feelings of hopelessness and depression.

She hasn't spoken to me since she made her comments, and I don't claim to wonder who else out there is concerned that I'm telling the world I'm very unhappy. I'm sorry that I didn't lie for her, since she doesn't speak to me anymore.

It comes down to this: some people think that I should be making their world a sunnier place to be, via my Facebook posts. I can understand that a lot of people have the philosophy "Don't bring me down." On the other hand, can you consider why I might boldly put it out there that I am so unhappy that at times I seriously weigh the pros and cons of suicide?

Most days when I'm down I'm like a drowning person in a whirlpool, clutching at whatever I can to keep from going under. A few people out there know the type of response I need to help, which is something to cling to, to keep me afloat until the depressive cycle is over.

Uh uh, I'm not bipolar. Hey, I've never seen any manic phases. :) Just your garden variety single woman, depressed over childhood trauma that bled into the adult years. Cut deeply and nobody ever offered me a bandaid. Eventually I learned to stitch up my own wounds, but I had to do it with whatever thread was available, and sometimes the thread was like barbed wire. It did its own damage but it held me together out of necessity.

Hey, I'm not crazy either. I'll bet that a lot of people had traumatic events in their childhoods, but someone helped with them along the way. I went for help a couple of times, and after opening up those wounds anew, the so-called professional just poured lemon juice into them. No, that didn't help. And I'm no expert, but I'm sure that browbeating a patient and telling her that her mother's death two weeks prior was not important, was wrong. Not only was my mother's death important, it was the key. And he tried to break it off in the lock and throw half away without ever looking inside to see what was hidden away.

I've tried anti-depressants (Paxil, Welbutrin, Celexa) and I'm at the point of whining, can't I just be happy without drugs to get me there?!? My sister once told me that she wished I was back on the meds, because they made me likeable. As if there was nothing else likeable about me. I know there's gotta be something. LOL Well, suffice to say that wasn't a very *nice* thing for her to say to me, but as she has stated before "We're sisters! We can say stuff like that to each other and it's okay!"

What she means is that she feels okay about saying nasty things to me. I've never felt okay about being nasty to her, not even when we were kids. Of course, I figured that if I were mean to her, a beating from an angry father would soon befall me. We got into very physical fights, and I was scared to fight back because of what Dad would likely do to me if I hurt her. So, I always lost because I wouldn't fight back. I still have a scar on my back to show for it, and I never told on her for that. I figured I'd somehow be blamed anyway. Anyway, that's not the trauma I was referring to. That was just part of daily life with siblings.

So, whoever is out there reading, if anyone, you'll have to just forgive me for not structuring all of my posts to specifically make YOUR life happier. I've learned to consider myself in the equation of life, and I have to come back with: What have YOU done to enrich MY life lately? Hmm? Don't offer any commentary on how wrong I am unless you have a truly viable suggestion that will help me in my situation. :) Thanks for playing. Final Jeopardy time. :D

There. Now you have an idea about the general direction I'm coming from. It might help you to understant that the me you see on the outside is a protective shell most days. Letting people in is like showing them the chink in your armor.

I promise, naysayers, that if I ever do have something really happy and good happen in my own life, I will pester the snot out of you posting it all over Facebook and here. :) I pray every day and night that it will happen some day and turn this sadness around.

Partner in Crime

Matthew was over tonight to get some help with his Spanish assignments, and after he finished, we decided to play a little on Kinect Sports. We boxed, we played table tennis, and we did track and field events. Hurdles did me in. :) I started laughing on the way the last hurdle and just lost my ability to run. It was like somebody let the air out of my balloon and I just fell over. So he beat me at that, but I won the sprint and discus, I think.

Ah, we had lots of fun. :) We laughed so hard! I think we both agree that continuing to play that kind of video game will make me lose weight at some point. I'm taking it to his mom's house to play at Christmas. :D I will at some point get an XBOX Live account set up.

And this time, boxing didn't make me feel like I'd ripped muscles loose in my back. I am freaking sore, though, in my arms, thighs, back, and neck, so I know it's plenty active. Matt says it's better than Wii, because you move more than your arms. We actually had to run, jump, and generally move. You can't even navigate the game menus sitting down. You must stand!

Last night I set the Kinect up here in my living room and played for a couple of hours. I decided to start "Your Shape: Fitness Evolved" (YSFE) and did the fitness test... Problem was, I didn't realize I was signed in as Player 1 and not Valarie. Yeouch... I will have to do it again on my own profile. I wasn't up to a repeat last night, and the sad thing is that it was a really sissy version of a fitness test to start with. Or it could have to do with me not eating much yesterday. Hmm.

Well, in any case, I'm in pretty lousy shape, and since nobody is willing to work out with me, I'll do it here at home, by myself. I wonder how much of that has to do with the awful shape I'm in - maybe they're embarrassed to be seen with me. I would be. On the other hand, you have to wonder what kind of friend someone is if your being fat is enough to embarrass them publicly. Oh, I hope I'm wrong about that. :)

What bothers me most isn't the shape reflected back to me by the scanner; it's my inability to keep breathing. Not only are my limbs and torso out of shape, apparently so is my respiratory system. And that's more important than anything else. I suppose I'd be shocked to know how little oxygen is actually getting through this body of mine. Maybe I won't have to find out.

If I can just lose ___ pounds.... I'm not going to say how much I need to lose. My friends know how much and it's enough to say that I'm very overweight and I don't feel well.

I liked the classes at Ultimate Fitness but I couldn't keep up. They made me feel like a fat old lady. Darn it, I'm not old! I'm only 39, for now. Will I do the *wink wink* lie about my age when I turn 40? Right now I'm not feeling it. I don't feel old so much as I do sickly, and I want to change that.

So hmm. There you go. That's my awful confession about me, my weight, and exercise. Still, I have that dream of being able to run again without believing I'm about to die. :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yep, snow!

It is snowing right now, and I think it has been snowing since maybe 7 am today. Not much to speak of and probably no danger of missing school tomorrow, but the flurries sure are pretty to watch. :)

So, the Frogcast was right. LOL Yay! I love snow.

My brother's German Shepherd has been enjoying the snow, and so has Quincy, though I think the part about it being cold to his little feet at the same time has him flummoxed. I know how cold that frozen concrete is, because I was barefoot on it this morning trying to get the little fella untangled from the tires of my car. I was there for under a minute, walked through some snow, and I thought my feet would freeze solid and then break off. It HURT!

I just found out a few minutes ago that Evan's Christmas play is tonight at 6:30, and I wish I'd been told before today, so that I could have my clothes ready to wear without being in a rush. All of my laundry is done on the weekend, and hung up to be dry by Monday morning. Yes, I have an excellent dryer, but I'm a lot like my grandmother on that subject. Dryers use a lot of electricity, and my clothes shrink to an unwearable size if I put them in the dryer. Then I have to iron all the wrinkles out... But if I hang them very carefully, they don't shrink, and they don't wrinkle. So I hang all my clothes. Simple reason. :)

I have deduced that using her clothesline so much is what enabled my grandmother's dryer to last for 40 years. I inherited her washer and dryer when she died, and they were in great condition. :) I used them for many years more.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Snow? I Hope?

I'm hoping that we will have snow this weekend. :) It's funny, but I trust the "amateur" local weatherman over say, The Weather Channel, who often gets our local forecast off by a wide margin.

Or you could say that I'm trusting the one whose forecast has the potential to make me happier.

I'm still a little girl when it comes to snow. I think dreamily of snow forts, snowball fights, and building snowmen. I don't actually have anybody to do this stuff with, so I suppose the happy feeling that comes with snow has a lot to do with childhood memories.

I remember waking up for school, my dad and stepmother headed to work already, and listening to the radio station proclaim that there would be no school today! Freedom to play all day and not have parents fussing at us? It just sounded too good to be true! And yet it was true... :)

This left us in the care of our teen brother and stepsister, which was pretty fun in and of itself. They knew how to make snow cream and hot cocoa from scratch. :) I remember she dared him to run outside in the snow, barefoot, and while he was out there she locked him out of the house! I'm pretty sure it was only for five minutes or so, but to my little-girl brain, it seemed like an eternity.

Back in the 70s and 80s, we had serious snow several winters. Drifts that were two to three feet tall, packed snow on the streets that allowed for some fabulous sledding, and lots of snow piles for me to shake off the pine trees in the backyard. Some of those trees bent under the weight, never to recover.

I still remember how it felt to put on my playin'-in-the-snow apparel. Being a family that was always watching money, probably not out of necessity, but one person's own agenda, we didn't go and buy full-out ski clothes. After all, this was a family of kids that were always outgrowing clothes. Two elementary schoolers and two teenagers. We were practical.

My outdoor gear consisted of two pairs of heavy knee socks (back then I always had knee socks... and once again, I still hold them in high winter regard!), two pairs of jeans at the same time, thermal undershirt, shirt, sweater, heavy coat, thick and stiffly crocheted hat, scarf, and mittens, and whatever boots I owned. When "Flashdance" came out and brought with it the legwarmers trend, I used mine to bridge the gap between boots and jeans. NO drafts!

The hat, scarf and mittens (plus some booties for wearing in the house) were made of two or three strands of yarn held together, by Aunt Lillie. She lived in Ohio, and she knew a thing or two about how to stay warm in the snow and cold. :) I remember my sister and I griped about how stiff those things were, but now that I'm an adult, I understand the method behind the madness. LOL She was just trying to keep her beloved nieces toasty warm out there in the cold.

I did wear all of mine, though I was kind of dumb about how to effectively wear a scarf. These days we've figured out how to wear one keyhole-style, which keeps them from uncoiling from around one's neck. My sister refused to wear a hat at all times, saying it made her look dumb, but I think that was an issue of vanity. I knew even then she just wanted to show off her waist-length blonde hair... She'd rather freeze to death than cover it up. To each her own, I suppose. I've decided that beauty is not worth suffering for -- especially if you get overlooked because of your pretty blonde-haired sister. Nobody goes for Snow White when Rose Red is there.

Because of her concern that boys should see her in a flattering light, she never did play in the snow with me after the age of 11. She was content to stand around talking and absorbing male admiration. :) I should have used the distraction as an opportunity to lob a bunch of snowballs at her. :D Because that's what you're supposed to do when your sister won't play with you in the snow!

These days, on snowy mornings, I still like to get out of bed, all the lights off in the house, and watch the tv for news of my school system being closed for the day. Just by the light of the tv. If I had a radio, I'd listen to that. And when they give me the good news, I really do get all excited and do a little happy dance and cheer. I suppose it's hilariously goofy to see, but nobody ever sees it. :)

And then I do the most bizarre thing a night owl could do... I get up anyway! I open all the blinds in the house, and I sit there on the loveseat, watching the snow fall. I'm always smiling. There it is, the perfect chance to just sleep LATE, and I get up. Somewhere inside I'm tickled that I'm getting to skip work and I don't want to waste the opportunity to just waste the day. LOL

When I lived in Brownsville (in the icy-cold house I rented) I would unfold my foam flip-chair on the floor in front of the kerosene heater (I'd pretend it was a roaring fireplace), cover up with an afghan, and lie there watching the flakes drift down from the sky. I was poor as a church mouse, but snow does not discriminate based on economic situations. Rich or poor, everybody in the town can get snow. It's an equal-opportunity gift from God.

TKO by XBox

Today I took my Xbox Kinect to school for my classes to use for their physical activity. It was a winner. More kids than usual participated, and they had to get up and *move*. During my planning time, I tested out the Party Mode, and got hot, out of breath, and moved myself. I played for about 30 minutes after work too.

When I came home, I had to go to sleep, because I was soooo tired! Part of me says, oh no! I'm that outta shape! The other part says, yay! It actually DOES something... Rather, it makes me DO something.

The Post Office has stiffed me once again on my Dance Central and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved games. They just haven't bothered getting it to me since the ship date 10 days ago. Even in December, that's ridiculous. After all, it only had to get here from Kentucky! Yikes!

By comparison, Davinci Gourmet, who left a bottle of coffee syrup out of my order last week (I think a bottle broke during packing and they goofed about putting it back in), had the replacement bottle plus an extra free bottle on my doorstep today. They can correct and turn around a order in 1 week at their cost, but the USPS is acting like they still use the Pony Express.

*sigh* I'm a little put out by that. But it is what it is, and I'm at their mercy, so that's all I have to say bout that. *rolling eyes*

I'm glad the kids had fun today. They bowled, did track & field events, played soccer, boxed, and played ping pong. All the events came up randomly and I just drew names to see whose turn was next. Kids who didn't want to participate wound up changing their minds. I guess it looked like fun to them. :D

So I passed out early this afternoon, and dreamed about trying to mine Obsidium, while being chased by students who wanted to play my XBox. LOL My headache wasn't gone when I awoke, so here I am drinking a Pepsi. I think it'll be okay - I didn't eat much today after all. We had our Christmas food thing starting today at work, and not much appealed to me, including the sweets. The food was fine. I just haven't had an appetite the last few days.

And don't say that's a good thing. I already don't eat 3 meals a day as it is. I've been skipping breakfast AND dinner, and throwing away half of the lunch I buy. :) Yeah, can't tell it to look at me, can you? Even my doctor says there's something weird going on with my metabolism, and it's not my glands. The XBox is my last-ditch effort to do something about it.

Cataclym Mining

I hate it. I hate Mount Hyjal especially much but I have to hang out there until I get all the freaking Obsidium I need.

I can't prospect Elementium until my jewelry crafting is at 475.
I can't get it to 475 without gems prospected from Obsidium.

AND OBSIDIUM IS A FREAKING RARE MINERAL!!

I think I'm going to lose my cool trying to find that stuff. *sigh*

Exercise on hold -- thanks USPS!

I've been waiting for 10 days now for my Kinect "games" to arrive from Amazon.com. I bought "Dance Central" and "Your Shape Fitness" because, let's face it, I need to exercise... The USPS is the problem. They don't let you track stuff, and they hold things as long as they want to. It's been an unreasonable wait.

I didn't think I was in that bad of shape until we went to Ultimate Fitness and did the Boot Camp and Pilates classes. I remember a few times I thought I was literally going to pass out, and that's never happened before. (My sister thought it was funny that I was so close to actually losing consciousness. I was probably pushing myself too hard, but I didn't want to look that pathetic in front of the rest of the class.)

And I haven't gone back. I know. I should have swallowed my pride and taken my lumps. But I'm going to try it this way and see if I can at least get my breathing and pulse back to something less frightening.

I'll admit that for a long time I've been wondering what's the point of staying in good shape when I know nobody is looking at me with any interest. At least I've discovered that the wheezing for breath is fairly painful, and I want to stop THAT at least. :\ Plus, I really want to be able to run again. I liked running when I was a kid, and I think I would like it now but I know it can't be done until I lose some weight first. Those crackling ligaments in my ankles keep me from doing it at this weight.

It's come to the point that I will have to do it all alone anyway. I can't find anybody to exercise with, so I don't have a choice. So I'll do it my way. With a computer. :D

Guess I'm going back to glasses

Hey, that sounds like the beginning of an LL Cool J. song.

My contacts are starting to bother me again. And the optometrist said that I've got blood vessels growing into my corneas, which is veddy veddy bad.

I'll be honest, I'm still too tenderhearted about all the people who said cruel things to me when I got glasses in 4th grade, and that's why I haven't worn them since I was 16. I hated how they made me look and I hated how they limited what I could do.

I don't want to look like I've got beady eyes and I don't want to lose peripheral visual acuity.

But I don't guess I have a choice. I'll do my best to make them invisible, because I'm still mindful of the old saying about girls who wear glasses. It was true for me. I doubt anything will change there.

Photoshop Saved the Day!

A few weeks ago, I went to San Antonio. My nephew Tyler was graduating from Air Force basic training and we all piled into small planes and went right on down. :) So proud of him!

One night there we took a Riverwalk Barge ride and I took lots of pictures of the Christmas lights hanging in the trees and reflected in the water. To shorten the story, the one I was most thrilled with turned out to be a big blur outside the camera viewfinder.

So I pulled it into Photoshop, worked on the levels, and popped a Watercolor filter on it, and now it's a very neat looking "watercolor" that I'm actually happy with.

Blurry picture = excellent excuse for applying some creativity to your photo. :)

I think I might use it for the cover of a photobook i make from that trip's pictures.

This provided for one excellent teachable moment for my Photoshop students. :) (How to save blurred photo...)

'Splaining

First of all, I couldn't think of anything cute or clever to say as a title. So it is what it is. LOL

I have started blogs before, and I didn't like what my tone turned into, so I'm going to set a few ground rules for myself on this one. See if I stick to them. No, I'm not going to write them on here, because I don't want anyone telling me I broke my rules. :)

I'll just briefly 'splain that sometimes it would be nice to have someone to just chat with about random stuff, but I don't have anybody. People are busy, and they have their own situations to deal with. So blah blah, here I go.

I will talk about random stuff that anybody reading this will believe is proof that I'm out there. So? I have been getting labeled "weird" since I was in elementary school, and now that it doesn't crush me anymore, I'm okay with being labeled like that. A kid did his best the other day in my class to indirectly call me a bitch. I think I caught him by surprise when I grinned and told him he's about to find out just how true that is. LOL He went back to his seat and started working. 'Nuff said.

I have figured out a few things about middle school kids. They want to be honored but not have to behave honorably to get that. Any teacher that doesn't let them have their own way is a bitch, or just plain mean. Well hello, I'm required to make them work, so if I want to keep my job, I can't let them just goof off every day in my class. They already get one out of five days for that. And there's that concept of the "automatic A". There's no such thing, and by the way, my STEM class is ever so much harder to be in charge of than my Language Arts classes ever were. *sigh* Just a glimpse into my world, in case you were seeing things inaccurately. :) But there are perks too. I'm still exhausted by the end of the day, and I still have a class of 36 6th graders to deal with every single day. (BTW - that's overloaded by 8 kids...)

You know how "real" teachers in academic subjects are evaluated based on the test scores of the kids in their class? I'm one of those individuals, like the principal, who is responsible for the scores of every kid in the school, even though I don't have all of them in my class. And there's nothing I can do about it. My job is actually difficult and I didn't request it. But I'm doing fine, thanks. Never thought I'd grow up to teach engineering, yet here I am....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reload & Try Again

I think I'll try this one more time.

I catch myself thinking through things over the course of the day and realize I'm mostly composing paragraphs in my head. Sometimes the thoughts are actually worthwhile. And sometimes I wonder why anybody would want to be involved in a conversation with me.

I'm still very shy with people who aren't firmly in the well-known (to me) category, especially if there is any stake in getting to know them better. I can't help it -- when I'm outgoing with strangers, if I'm not doing something that's attempting to help them in some way, I really am putting on a false front of confidence. It's too bad most people don't want to know what's on the inside for real. I suppose it makes them uncomfortable to know that you don't really have all your duckies in a row, but there's an excellent set of decoys thrown into the grouping. :)

Yes, I'm going to take that leap, and soon, but I've been thinking about what God is trying to teach me in this situation.

I really struggle with the free will versus predestination issue a lot. Am I supposed to be respectful and trust that God had my life take this path, disappointing that it often is, for a good reason? Is this a form of Purgatory? (Forgive me, please, Catholics - I don't mean any disrespect there, and I certainly don't know enough about your faith or even my own to say much. Therefore I usually avoid talking about it altogether, except for what I can understand.

Or... is this the point where God has led me to see if I will pass the test and use my free will *correctly* for a change. Hey, I say "for a change" because I always had that fairy tale notion that if you were a good girl and made the right choices, things would steer in the direction of general happiness.

I didn't say I was right. :)

Maybe the lesson I'm going to have to have once again is grace in the face of humiliation. But when it's over with, I can drop that chapter from my life forever. I've done that a couple of times already in the past few months, and it came about because of a little voice in my head. The voice (my own, instead of someone else's biting tone) said I need to distance myself from him because he is never going to see what he needs to, and that I'll feel better sooner or later if I cut all ties with him immediately. Not even be friends anymore, but just people that used to work together. I didn't even say goodbye - I just disappeared. It's for my own good, I suppose. At least I'm not pining over the "could have beens" with him anymore. I'd say that's sensible.

Anyway, I know that I have to pluck up my courage, and the salient point is that I will only have to be brave at that point in time, and then it will be over with. I *think* I can do that. Ah, there's probably some checklist of things I have to do in my life, somewhere up there, that includes how many times I have to ask men out and be told no. hahaha. But if I do this and he says no, it'll be another door I can shut and never reopen. There's something useful about that, I just know it.

I'm not perfect, but I have some pretty great qualities for someone to discover. I just don't think I should be hitting anyone over the head with it, you know?