Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fleeting Thoughts

I have a lot of writing potential today, but no organization, so I'm just going to focus my creative juice into a cookie-cutter blog. Hope you enjoy. This can also be modified and used for an e-mail for those of you who enjoy the survey but don't do blogging or Facebook.

Outside my window... the sun is shining. Kids are talking. The leaves are still green, but they have that "look," like they could turn at any time. It LOOKS cool, and not just because I know it is. The sky is so blue, it has to be cool.

I am thinking... about eating school lunch (chicken alfredo), that I don't want to put books in right now (even though I should be), I want brownies, and I really love my new fall red zip-up.

This week I will try to... keep up with my house, get all these books in, enjoy my last weeknight/morning free, because Chloe starts coming with me next week.

I hope to teach... the 7th graders to write descriptive essays later, and Chloe to be confident in herself. Someone called her gross at Kindra's and it hurt her little feelings. :(

From the kitchen... if you don't smell bread of some kind, I'm not cooking. Biscuits, crescents, warm-and-serve rolls, home-made bread, garlic bread, cinnamon rolls. Every meal I cook these days includes bread. Probably why I can't drop the 5lbs I gained back. I also rock at scalloped and mashed potatoes. Go carbs!

I am wearing... Light tan pants, the kind that have a little stretch to them and make my butt look firm(-er than it is). A dark brown, brushed cotton t-shirt from Maurices that fits so great. And my fall-red (not dark, not light, kind of distressed) zip-up sweat(er)shirt also from Maurices. Long gone are the days of Buckle hoodies and jeans :( Oh, and my brown Eastlands, which are the new Doc Martin ("new" as in I wear them because I'm old and broke, but I love them just as much).

On my playlist... My recent adds include "Need You Now" by Lady A, "We Rode in Trucks" by Luke Bryan, "Address in the Stars," by Caitlin and Will, and "Say Hey (I Love You)." This time of year, however, causes me to listen to "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room," by John Mayer and "Sitting at a Bar" by Rehab among others.

I am reading... I just finished "Deadline" by Chris Crutcher which was good. Probably won't be starting any more books for a while.

I am hoping... that Chloe loves pre-school, that Christmas comes soon, and that I can lose these 5lbs without the "stress out" method that usually makes me skinny.

I am thankful for... fall weather. Chloe's new pre-school. Good friends. My great job. Sonic pop. :)

I am remembering... last fall. Beer bread at Robin's. Heritage Days. Weaubleau softball concessions. Weaubleau kids. And that I need to print vacation pictures SOON!

I am creating... Christmas presents this year to save money. An idea for another novel (but can I do it again?), and a hole in the ozone with my aerosol hair spray, but I don't care.

I am praying... that people will leave me alone and stop gossipping/lying about me.

Around the house... it's somewhat clean. Chloe's Polly Pockets are here and there. It doesn't smell like fall. I need a new candle.

One of my favorite things... Sonic Coke. Bread (of any kind). My purple sheets.

A few plans for the rest of the week... I don't have anything planned this week, but I hope to watch Grey's Thursday. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Get your shoesies, get your sockies, and hurry run to school (boom boom)

The title of my blog today is a song my brother and I made up years and years ago. It really had nothing to do with school for us, it was just a stupid song we sang when we needed to get our shoes on for something. My mom brought it out of the depths of her memory and taught it to Chloe, who now sings it (and varies the items she's 'getting') when she leaves to go somewhere.

On Monday, October 5th, she'll be singing it as she gets ready for her first day of pre-school! Chloe was accepted into the Calhoun Pre-K program. Think pre-school meets daycare.

The program allows children day care as well as pre-school taught by certified Pre-K teachers. It is open (and charges) on Calhoun school days only. While the thought of taking Chloe from Kindra, who has helped me raise her while I had no choice but to work is sad, I'm very excited for this opportunity for Chloe.

In her own words, "I'll have mine own teacher, an I'll get to play on a playground, and maybe paint!" She got the news yesterday, and by coincidence her new jeans came in the mail. "OH MOM! You got me new school clothes!" she exclaimed.

My baby girl is growing up!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

To Be (Naive) or Not to Be (Naive)...That is the real question

As a parent I find myself often reflecting on my own experiences and trying to decide if I should do it the way it was done with me, or if I should be more or less conservative. I already know that I'm much more liberal than my own mother, which doesn't make her right or wrong, it just makes us different.

Raising Chloe, I debate often about whether to be reserved with her on somewhat "taboo" topics, or whether to be the one to feed her the honest, gory truth, knowing she's going to find it one way or another.

I could tell you a million embarrassing stories about how naive I was as a child and pre-teen. I won't embarrass myself (or you) too much, but this is something I have been contemplating lately.

I distinctly remember my first high school dance. I was a freshman. I was quite intimidated by the seniors there. I was worried they'd laugh at us or make fun of us. I was wrong. They were absorbed in their own adventures. I looked over during one of the up-beat songs and saw a couple of juniors dirty dancing. As you know, I didn't watch the movie until later on, so I had NEVER seen this before! I stared at them in the dark, and I wondered what had happened to these guys since they left our middle school!

I recall sitting at Lindsey's dining room table with her, trying to get the courage to ask her mom what a certain word (that I won't publish) meant. It wasn't in the dictionary, we'd already checked. When we finally had the nerve to ask her, she told us, without ever changing her tone, exactly what we wanted to know.

In a way I want Chloe to be that girl at the dance. I wouldn't mind if she couldn't figure out why B.J. gets made fun of. I'd be ok if she was one of the few who listened intently as her 6th grade teacher explained the birds and the bees and she'd never heard of such a thing.

What I'm not ok with, though, is her being laughed at for having a squiggle pen that vibrates when it writes, and not knowing why she's the butt of a joke. I'm not ok with her learning street terms and their definitions from the class slut in the 8th grade. I'm not ok with her being pressured and asked if she knows what so-and-so is and then laughed at, only to Google it when she gets home.

For now, I find my approach a little more liberal than my own mom's. Chloe knows the proper terms for male and female anatomy, and she knows where babies come from, although HOW they get in the tummy is still God's doing.

It's scary raising a little girl. I want to impress strong morals and values on her. I want her to make good choices with her life. I want her to avoid compromising situations, but I also want her to be aware. I want her to know the dangers, I want her to hold her own. I want her to "get" the jokes, and then be the one to say, "You guys are disgusting. Get a life."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Allergy Eyes

If I wrote a blog about every hilarious thing that my daughter says, I would be online all the time. Every day I send Mom an e-mail about something cute or funny Chloe said the night before. Among the e-mail worth quotes are, "Mom, I look fabulous," "You're so precious, Mudder," (I'm still trying to twhart the "mother" comments), and "Gimme a oochie hug!"

Last night, however, she picked up a conversation Mom and I had and tried to use it for her own benefit.

Mom's been having trouble with her eyes, and was telling me she went to the doctor and he gave her some stuff for her allergies and some drops for her eyes. That's really all the conversation entailed. We talked about other things, watched Beauty and the Beast (non-scary parts only) with Chlo, and then Chlo and I went home to get ready for baths and bed.

After her drink, her second trip to the potty, and her fourteenth "oochie" hug, she was quiet for a while. Just as I had turned off my light and was about to lie down, she came tip-toe-ing into my room.

"What is it, Chloe?" I asked her.
"I can't sleep," she complained.
"Why not?" I asked, expecting the thunder or "bad dream" excuse.
"I have a- a- allergy in my eye."
"You have a what?" I asked, not sure I heard her right.
"A allergy in my eye."

I told her the only way to get an allergy out of your eye is to keep it closed. She went to her room to try it...I didn't hear her again until morning.

Kids really do say the darndest things :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

You were right, Johnny. You can't win no matter what you do!

I heard about it at school. My girlfriends talked about it all the time. I had the soundtrack, but I was not allowed to watch "Dirty Dancing." It was, after all, rated R. It was full of rebellion and sex and issues bigger than my naive brain could understand. I didn't even know what it was about, I just knew I hadn't seen it and probably never would.

That was until TNT bought the rights and showed it, edited, on cable. I was sixteen the first time I saw it, and I fell in love with Johnny just about as fast as Baby did. At first I thought I just loved it because it was "banned." Maybe because the word "dirty" was in the title. But then again, I'd seen more grotesque dancing at my school dances than I had on that movie.

I soon came to realize it was a timeless classic. It was a romantic story of the good-girl falling for the rebel guy. Only in this movie, the rebel guy turned out to be honest, hard-working, and trustworthy. Did I mention he was also hot? He was THE ultimate boyfriend.

Patrick is gone now, and it's almost like Johnny is gone, too, and Dirty Dancing is now just an old home movie. It's that bitter-sweet memory of the times we (never) had and the best boyfriend any girl could ask for.

Baby said it best when she looked at him with her big eyes and said, "Me? I'm scared of everything. I'm scared of what I saw, I'm scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you."

In a way, I think the sixteen year old girl in all of us feels that way about Johnny, about Patrick, about the movie itself, and will never really get over losing "our" Johnny.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning...?

When I was taking college classes I usually only went to school two to three days a week. Since I was home a lot on the weekdays while my family and friends were at work/school, I got in a WONDERFUL habit of spending time with my Mimi. We went shopping, went to lunch, and just hung out at least once a week. How I MISS those empty days with no responsibility or bills, when I would drive or walk to my grandma's house and meet her.

September 11, 2001 was one of our planned days. She had a couple that she would have lunch with once a month. They have known me since I was a baby, so they enjoyed when I came along. That particular day we were headed to Rudy's in Warsaw at 11:00.

I woke early so I could watch T.V. and have plenty of time to get ready in a leisurely fashion. I was sitting on the couch at my Mom's house with a piece of buttered toast and had just turned on the T.V. Mom had been watching Today before she left for school, and before I had time to hit the guide button, I heard the sense of urgency in the tone. I could tell they were unscripted, and as I watched, I learned of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center.

"What an idiot," I thought to myself. Then I felt bad. Maybe the pilot had a heart attack. Maybe his plane malfunctioned. As Matt and Katie discussed the possible explanations and waited for the voices in their ears to give them details, they showed footage of the burning building. The smoke rose from the towers, then all of a sudden, a plane flew into the second tower.

At first I wondered how they had footage if it was accidental. It took me a while to realize that was a second plane. I had witnessed it. The world, or New York anyway, had been panicking about the first plane, and never saw the second one coming.

I kept listening, trying to understand what was happening. I knew it was bad. I knew something terrible was happening, but I didn't understand what. As the morning wore on, and more details came in, it settled in my mind that it was an attack.

I tried not to worry about it. We went to lunch at Rudy's. It was a warm day. I even remember that I was wearing capris and black sandals. We talked about it and what it meant.

By the time I got home from lunch, the world was in sheer panic. There were rumors of war (I won't lie, Revelation crossed my mind). People were lined up at the pumps trying to get gas. Rumors flew that prices would soar, or that we'd be without fuel altogether. People flooded Wal-Mart looking for bottled water and non-perishables. For the first time in my life, the belief I always held that American soil would never see war was vanishing.

I was scared.

I waited in line and filled up my car with the maximum twelve gallons. I waited eagerly for my mom to come home so I could talk to her about it, see what she heard. I watched T.V. all day long, trying to get any clues as to whether or not I was safe. In Warsaw, Missouri was I unsafe? Would there be more attacks? Even MTV showed nothing but footage. It must be big.

In the months that followed the talk died down. We declared war, and America changed from the country I'd known. Country song after country song hit the airwaves. They were angry, they were sad, they were patriotic. I related to all of them.

"Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list, and the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist. And the Eagle will rise, and there's gonna be Hell when you here Mother Freedom start ringing her bell and it'll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you...oh brought to you courtesy of the Red White and Blue.." it made my adrenaline rush, my heart pound.

"Have you forgotten how it felt that day to see your homeland under fire and her people blown away? Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside going through a living hell. And you say we shouldn't worry 'bout Bin Laden? Have you forgotten?" A few months later when the war was criticized, when Bush's name became mud, when soldiers were dying and the Hollywood starlets were anti-war I was mad. This song evoked pride and feelings of support.

But the one that has touched me the most, the one that still brings tears to my eyes was Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning." It was performed live at an awards show, and I will never forget his performance, in his ripped jeans and suit jacket.

"...Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger? Stand in line and give your own blood? Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love.

I'm just a singer of simple songs, I'm not a real political man.
I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you the difference in Iraq and Iran.
But I know Jesus, and I talk to God, and I remember this from when I was young: Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us, and the greatest is love."

That song reminds me of how the whole country seemed to turn to God. For just a moment on the timline of the world, we united in prayer. We read scripture. We were kind to each other. We loved strangers. For just a brief second in time, we were one.

When there is a funeral people always say they hate that it took a tragedy to bring them together. I guess that's how I feel about 9/11. We have gone our own ways. Kids today don't even remember the occurrence. We found a place of safety in our country again, and a sense of apathy about the war and the soldiers.

But every now and then, I go back to that day, and I ask myself, "Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?"

Never. Forget.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Do I Have Wrinkle-Free Pants Clean?

Do you ever let something fester so long you feel like you'll snap the next time it's brought to light? That's kind of the way I have been feeling lately. I'll begin my blog with a disclaimer: I mean no personal injury to anyone reading this blog, or anyone those anyones know.

I shall begin.

Lately it seems I have been the listening ear to conversations about being a stay-home mom. I listen/read sympathetically as my friends, whom I care deeply about, express their frustrations, concerns, and exhaustion. Their husbands don't help out enough, or their husbands work too much. The babies aren't sleeping all night yet. Their kids demand their attention all day, they can't get everything done, and they NEVER get a break.

I sympathize with the stay at home wife and mother. While I do envy them, I have to say I enjoy my job and I'm not sure I'd be cut out for the stay-home gig. Although, it's possible I convince myself of that to thwart my jealousy.

Anyway, lately I have found many of these conversations alluding to the "luxury" we working mothers have. After all, we have adult interaction, we have a break from our ever-needy children. We have "more" income. We get vacations and holidays and weekends.

Wait a minute. Do these stay at home-ers realize that we working moms are STILL moms? Let me try to put this in perspective without sounding too melodramatic or whiny.

5:45: Alarm. Snooze. I have wrinkle-free pants clean (I think).
6:10: Finally roll out of bed. Shower, brush teeth, express hate for the morning.
6:20: Blow dry. Are my eyes open? "Chloe. It's time to start getting up."
6:30: Dress. Straighten hair. Flip Chloe's light on. "Chloe! Mommy monster is going to get you!"
6:45: Shoes. Pick out Chloe's clothes. I can do my make up in the car. "CHLOE!"
6:50: I'm dragging her out of bed in her PJs. She refuses to open her eyes. Kindra won't mind to dress her.
6:55: Grab something from the fridge for lunch. All I have is a Milky Way mini? I'll eat in the lunch room.
7:00: Out the door, drive to Kindra's. I get a grumpy goodbye and a cross look for waking her up.
DRIVE/Apply minimal make-up.
7:38: Arrive. Quick chat with a co-worker on the walk in. Write on the board. Check school e-mail and answer. Line-out the folders, worksheets, etc for my day.
8:04: 8th graders arrive. "You guys have eleven minutes until class starts," I say EVERY day with an encouraging tone. AKA I'm not in kid mode yet.
8:15 eight graders learn reading.
9:05 They leave. It's my "free hour." Do all my running. Copies for tomorrow, blah blah the life of a teacher.
10:01 eighth graders learn English.
10:51 I'm working in the library. Only 250 books to get in the system. I should eat lunch in here. Wait. I had no food. Run to the lunch room. Fifteen minutes of adult conversation with constant hum of teenagers.
12:07 7th graders learn English. I enjoy observing them.
1:00 elementary students have library time. Checking in/out books.
1:53 Send little ones back. Work on those 250 books again. Or should I put in grades so I don't have to take them home?
2:55 Walker bell. Finish up my stuff. Quick social interaction in BELC.
3:15 DRIVE.
3:52 Pick up Chloe. We have to go to Wal Mart. We have no food.
4:43 "Thanks, you too." Push the cart to the car. Load groceries. Load Chlo. Drive home.
4:51 Unload Chlo, unload groceries. Put away. Start dinner.
5:14 "Hi Mom. . . Oh just cooking dinner..."
5:40 Sit down with Chloe. Is this really the first time we've talked all day? She is telling me all about her day at Kindra's. I'm wishing I had been home to play with her.
6:15 dishes. I should sweep and mop the kitchen, but I am tired. And Chloe wants to play Polly Pockets.
7:00 "You need to get in the bath now. I'll make it deep with Princess bubbles." Start laundry (after the water runs), there is a mound of towels. Polly Pockes everywhere, but I haven't checked my Facebook farm all day... :)
7:45 "Baby you have to get out. The water is cold." Jammies, comb, lotion. I love this part of the day.
8:00 She HAS to watch Wubbzy. Laundry goes in the dryer. I clear a path in the living room and call it good.
8:30 She needs a drink. She needs a bedtime story. She needs to say a prayer. She needs my attention. She needs to potty. She NEEDS to go to bed. Because 6:45 comes too early for her. She settles for juice, potty, ONE book, and a long snuggle. And five kisses and one squeezy hug.
9:00 I'm exhausted. My house is a mess. I haven't balanced my check book. I want to take a bubble bath and watch tv. I fold clothes in front of the tv and then head to bed. Do I have wrinkle-free pants for tomorrow?

Working isn't a luxury. It's not a social hour. It is WORK! I still struggle to make ends meet, and I'm always behind on my "second" job as a Mom. Is it a job I LOVE? Yes. Do I have a better schedule than most working parents? For sure. But
would I rather have all those hours to spend with my daughter so I don't have to divide my attention between her and the world in the six free hours I have in a day? Definitely.

The only real words of wisdom I can come up with for this she-said/she-said dilemma is a quote from my friend Sebastian, "The sea weed is always greener in somebody else's lake..."