Sunday, October 4, 2015

Fall Weather And Other Thankfuls

I am pretty sure this is the first time I have opened my computer in exactly one week. I really need to shake off this writer's funk and get my shizz together. Maybe it will help to be thankful? Surely, it will!

1. Fall is finally here! Now, I hate, hate, HAAAAATE cold weather (unless I get a snow day out of it), but I love the clean, crisp air of fall! Our leaves aren't changing yet, save for a single leaf here and a single leaf there, but FALL, people!

2. Volleyball still sucks. I'm not going to lie. But the JV team, on which my daughter is now playing (and please, don't get me started on the unfairness of this) won both their games this week. That team she USED to be on, the one she worked so hard to make and which she, so she's been told, single handedly has caused to lose nearly every single game they have played even though she has only lost them a handful of points, lost both of their games. By a lot. Bam!

3. I'm thankful for a daughter who may fall apart about said treatment at home, but at practice and at games, she keeps her chin up and a smile on her face. I should do the same, but I'm not as good at hiding how I feel as she is.

4. I'm really thankful for my good friend and fellow bleacher buddy Melinda. She was one of my very first friends when I moved here 17 years ago, and I'm happy to say she's one of the best!

5. Funny preschoolers. Instead of straightening my hair, I wore my hair in its natural state (wildly curly) this week for the first time since school started, and one of my 3 year old girls looked up at me, smiled sweetly, and asked, "Did you take a shower?" "Because of my hair?" I asked her. "Uh huh!" she nodded happily, and I laughed and laughed. 

6. Unless we are cooking or doing something else special, our preschoolers take turns providing snack for the class. Popular choices are goldfish crackers, Cheez-its, fruit snacks, cheese, cookies, etc. On Tuesday, the snack helper for my primary class brought watermelon (cut into bite sized pieces and in a clear, plastic box from the produce dept. at the grocery store). We've never had that for a snack before, and while messy, most of the kids loved it (I have eight 3 years olds in that class). When snack was over, I took the nearly empty box to the water fountain right outside the door to drain the juice out of it before putting it in the trash, because we all know trash bags are great and all, but they aren't leak-proof. I had the lid loosely over the box and was straining out the little bits and pieces of watermelon that were still in there as I poured AND WAS NEARLY DONE when something horrible happened and the box slipped. I do NOT know exactly how this all happened, as it went down quick and ugly, but the remaining watermelon and juice flew out of the box and against the wall above the water fountain, as well as IN the water fountain, down the sides of it, onto the wooden steps there to help preschoolers reach said water fountain AND onto the floor. What was probably only about a quarter of a cup of watermelon bits and juice appeared to be more like an entire watermelon. With a deep sigh (and, surprisingly, no bad words from me), I got paper towels and was in the midst of the clean up process when Vanessa, the church office administrator, came up the stairs. "Did you take a picture of it for your blog?!" she asked. Dammit! No, I did not! But know what makes this a thankful? That Vanessa's first thought was that it was great material for my blog. She's a fan and I appreciate it more than she knows.

7. Can that one be two? It was really long....

8. I'm thankful for the positive benefits of living in a small town. I did something earlier this summer to goober up my achilles tendon (I have a vague recollection of it popping as I stretched up on tiptoe to reach a high shelf). My heel has been pretty tender all summer, and I have been doing heel stretches in an attempt to make it feel better. Then two weeks ago, when I took Lizzi on her Tour de Missouri (blog post to come, I swear!), I put on real shoes instead of flip flops for the first time since, oh, May, walked for miles and climbed on rocks that nearly were the death of me (teaser), and the back of my heel became swollen and painful. REALLY swollen and REALLY painful. And kept getting worse. I was able to wear a pair of TOMS shoes, since the part that touches the heel is soft and I could slide it under the swollen part, but all other shoes are out for me. And it's fall. After Thursday's volleyball home game, I showed it to the athletic trainer and asked him what he thought about it. He thought I could have torn part of the tendon. The dad of one of the team members just happens to be an orthopedic surgeon, and while he wasn't there that night, his wife was, so, at the trainer's suggestion, I asked her to take a picture of it and ask her husband what he thought. And she did, texted it to him, and got me a tentative diagnosis of retrocalaneal bursitis. He advised ice, ibuprofen, heel stretches and clogs and let him know if that didn't make it better (which research on The Google tells me would mean four to six weeks in a walking boot to immobilize it until it heals). Try to accomplish a diagnosis and treatment plan that quickly and inexpensively (i.e., free) in a big city, why don'tcha?

9. The second thankful here is that the doctor VERY CLEARLY has instructed me to go shoe shopping.

10. I have loads and loads and LOADS of laundry to do today, which isn't my favorite way to spend a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon, but by the end of the day, I will have put my electric mattress pad on the bed and made it up with fresh sheets and a couple of blankets and I will be ready for cool weather!

I don't even have pictures to use this week for my post.
Enjoy this instead....

How the heck are y'all, anyway? I've missed you, even if I haven't been making the rounds of your blogs lately. Do link up with us at Ten Things of Thankful. It really does make you feel better.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Yes, You CAN Find Thankfuls, Even When You Think You Can't

My, oh, my, oh, my, but I'm cutting it close with my Ten Things of Thankful post this week! I have so many blog posts floating around in my head right now, and I haven't had the time to write any of them. I wasn't able to participate in Six Sentence Stories this week, and that saddened me. There are health issues with my mom and volleyball issues with my daughter, but with any luck, I'll be back on my game and writing this week. Until then, here is a (probably blessedly) brief Ten Things of Thankful for this week:

Friends who began as on-line friends and ended up as Real Life friends.

Having one of those friends call you when you're on a long, solo road trip and keep you company for over an hour and a half. 

Rental cars with cruise control and automatic windows, because, believe it or not, SOME people manage to rent cars with neither (and it wasn't me).

Weird cloud formations, captured through a bug-spattered windshield.

Possibly an alien portal....

The Pope's visit to America. I'm not even Catholic, but I was especially moved by the multi-faith ceremony at the World Trade Center on Friday.

The Brit's visit to America. I know visiting my corner of the world wasn't as exciting as many of the other places she visited, but it meant a lot to me to get to show it to her.

Ruby, who is happy to see me whether I've been gone for three days or three minutes.

Lap time after I left her for three hours.

Friday Night Lights and a big win at homecoming, and homecoming dances that make me forget how annoyed I was during the dress shopping.

It's supposed to say UNDER the sea, but I just see UDDER.

Well, they make a pretty cute couple

Super Moons that light up the night.

Rare lunar eclipses that, even though they are too shy for the camera, glow red and lovely and have us standing outside on our sidewalk in the dark, where we can hear voices throughout the neighborhood from other people doing the same thing.

Believe it or not, it isn't too late to link up this week! Don't make me be the last one!

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Happy Pills, Happy Kittens And Happy Preschoolers (That Didn't Start Out Being Happy)

This weekend is going by quickly, but that's okay THIS time, because Sunday afternoon, I will be meeting Christine and Lizzi in St. Louis! I'm very excited to meet Lizzi and to see Christine again, and, rest assured, you'll read all about it soon enough. In the meantime, I need to get my Ten Things of Thankful list written

I'm thankful that my husband and daughter didn't make a fuss when I told them I was leaving for a couple of days to spend time with someone I have never met before and who may or may not be some kind of ax murderer....

Volleyball is still not going well, but at least I got a couple of pictures of my daughter playing.

I was telling a friend at work how, the night before, I had decided to take a happy pill and not upset myself over the whole volleyball debacle, my happy pill being a bag of peanut M&Ms that I took to the game in my purse. Every time I wanted to make a snarky comment during the game, I ate an M&M. Unfortunately, the bag was empty by the time the varsity game started (shoulda bought a bigger bag, like maybe trashbag size). The next morning, I walked into the office and found a big bag of peanut M&Ms in my mailbox! Now, that's a sweet friend!

While watching a home volleyball game this week, I looked up to see the sweet face of a former preschooler, now in 5th grade, who came over just to see me. We had a very nice visit that worked better for me that ten bags of peanut M&Ms.

Ruby has taken to sprawling across the piano like a lounge singer. It makes me laugh every time I walk in the room and see her there.

One of my preschoolers in my Primary class (3 year olds) was having trouble letting go of dad (quite literally) when he came in to the classroom on Thursday morning. After prying his fingers off of dad's pant leg, I sat down in a chair (ironically, it was the Sad Chair) and held the little guy while he cried big crocodile tears. When I had finally soothed him enough that he stopped crying, I asked him if he were ready to sit at the table with the other kids and play, but he said no, he just wanted to sit with me. So we sat together, and I dried his tears and snuggled him and it was very nice.

Same day, same class, different boy, the youngest student in the class, just barely making it in before the age cut off. He has only been potty trained for a couple of weeks (the kids have to be potty trained to be in Primary, and I'm sure his mom had been sweating about that). The first two weeks, when I took him to the bathroom at Mandatory Potty Time, right after snack, he would just wail and cry and say he didn't have to go, and I was fearful of a long, long year of this. On Thursday, the urinal caught his eye and he wanted to know what it was. I told him it was for big boys and grown up men to use to go pee pee, and he decided he'd like to give it a try. So, having no experience ever using one, I taught him how. We were both pretty excited about it, not going to lie.

Chicken pictures, texted to me out of the blue and usually including funny captions.

New Snapchat filters that kept me entertained for far too long.

The first glimmers that fall is just around the corner.

Always be thankful. Your hosts


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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tape: A Six Sentence Story

It was the fall of 1978, my freshman year in college, and my roommate, a high school classmate of mine, and I were going to drive home for the weekend. 

My roommate drove a veritable tank; it was a 1972 Cadillac El Dorado, a hand-me-down from her grandfather. It was big, brown, and roomy, able to take two college girls and their laundry home with room to spare. On subsequent trips, we fit six people plus luggage and dirty clothes into that car, but this trip, it was just the two of us.

Funny how I remember that trip like it was yesterday. There was nothing particularly memorable about it, unlike the time we got stopped by the Highway Patrol in a case of mistaken identity when they were looking for a getaway car from a recent bank robbery that roughly fit the description of my friend's car; I remember it because we spent the entire three hour trip singing along to an 8-track tape of the soundtrack from Grease, over and over and over....

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "tape."

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Thankful for Preschool and Diners And Other Stuff But Not Webworms

Nothing like waiting until nearly the Zero Hour to post my Ten Things of Thankful, but I'm having trouble getting them down. I have a cold, a little birthday gift from my daughter, and I feel crappy. Volleyball has not been a good experience, and when my child is hurt, especially by an adult, then it hurts me, too. The weekend has gone by too quickly, and I haven't gotten any good sleep. Whine, whine, whine. Sucking it up now and writing my thankfuls:

1. For a short week, it was reallllly long! It was the first week of preschool, which means two First Days of school, one for my Primary class (three year olds who will turn four over the course of the year) and one for my Pre-K class (fours turning five). The first week is exhausting, but it's so fun to see those excited little faces come to their first day of preschool! And all went well, meaning no one cried and no one wet their pants, so there's a thankful.

MY first day of school pic

2. It rained on Tuesday, the first day for Primary, which is a TRAGEDY, because not only do those kiddos WANT to go out and play on the playground, they NEED to go out. And their TEACHERS need them to go out, too! But you know how it sometimes says "scattered showers" on the weather forecast? I looked out the door of my classroom, where I could see out the glass entryway to the playground side of the building, and rain was falling like crazy. Looked out the windows in my room, which are on the opposite side of the building from the entryway, and not a drop was falling from the sky. That was pretty cool, and my kids thought so as well, when I showed them.

3. In spite of the scattered showers we received, the playground stayed reasonably dry, thanks to the two GINORMOUS sweet gum trees that grow there. The trees sheltered most of the playground from the rainfall, so we were still able to go outside and play. Thank you, sweet gum trees, even though you are currently harboring your share of the web worm infestation that has come to the area and it's really creepy to see those webby nests of what I know are nasty little caterpillars in your branches. (On Friday, at recess, one of those little fuckers fell out of his nest and was crawling on the back of my shirt, which is NOT a thankful, but one of the other teachers saw it and picked it off of me and I never had to deal with it.)

Ewwww - gross!

4. I haven't had a decent raincoat in years, especially for warm weather. I have one with a fuzzy lining that I wear when it's cold (and which is Barney purple and I HATE it - what was I THINKING when I picked that color?!), but I would perish in it when it's 90 degrees and raining, so a few weeks ago, I finally bought a thin one at Eddie Bauer that can be stuffed into its own pocket for travel convenience. Since I had to go to the grocery store after school (right about the time the rain went from "scattered" to "downpour"), I made good use of it, although I will tell you that, even though it is a wonderful convenience for traveling, it is a bad, BAD idea to STORE said raincoat in its own pocket, as it came out looking like a wadded up kleenex, but as long as it did its job (which it did), then I was able to overlook the wrinkles.

5. I had to renew my driver's license, and while there is more to this story that I will tell later, I got it done before the rain wreaked havoc on my hair. 

6. Wednesday was the first day of Pre-K. We had a birthday, and the birthday boy (whom I loved even before this happened) brought doughnuts for his birthday snack. And not just ANY doughnuts, but Dude's Doughnuts, a local delicacy.

7. I painted hands for a craft in my Primary class the first week of school and lived to tell about it.

The first of many painted hands this year.

It's a frog, okay? A FROG.

8. My daughter was officially asked to the homecoming dance this week by the boy she is currently Talking to. (This is the second step in teen relationships, the first one being texting and snap chatting, then Talking, then dating.) 

9. While relatively nothing volleyball related has been good lately, my husband and I did find a fabulous restaurant when we drove to Springfield to watch a volleyball tournament on Saturday. We went there for breakfast, before the tournament started, and if we had had time, we probably would have gone back for lunch and dinner as well. From the outside, it was a place most people would have glanced at and kept on driving, but thanks to the reviews on Trip Advisor, we went there ON PURPOSE, and were we ever glad! It's on a portion of old Route 66 that has not been renovated or made hip and trendy, and has been a diner in one incarnation or another since the 1920s. Come visit me and I'll take you there!

Almond encrusted French toast with raspberry drizzle,
homemade sausage, and biscuits and gravy.
In the background is my husband's omelette
(ick - I hate eggs and upgraded mine to the B&G)
and coffee (double ick)

10. After many hours of searching, we found a homecoming dress. That's a thankful in its own right, but here's the big one: it only cost $24.15. BAM!

It's the start of a new week; hopefully, the thankfuls will be so bountiful that I will have to pick only the highlights of the week!

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Perfect: A Six Sentence Story

It was a silly conversation, really, one they had shortly after they were married as they were lying in a tangle of sheets, her head upon his chest as he lightly stroked her hair, and as their breathing slowed and their hearts returned to a normal rhythm from the heights both had reached earlier, they talked about everything and nothing.

"It would be the perfect murder," he said, laughing, after explaining his imaginary plan, "and no one would be the wiser."

"Goodness gracious," she exclaimed, drawing back slightly and looking into his face, "It's a good thing I know you well enough to know you wouldn't harm a fly!" She laid her head back on his chest and pressed her body against his as he resumed the gentle stroking of her hair until his fingers slowed and he fell asleep.

While she never dwelt on it, the memory of that long ago night flashed across her mind occasionally, and when it did, it brought a secret smile to her lips.

He was correct; it WAS perfect, and no one was the wiser.

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "perfect."

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: The Birthday Edition

It's my birthday, it's my special, special daaaaay!

My 5th birthday. Picture another 50 candles....

Can there BE a better reason to list Ten Things of Thankful?

I'm okay with getting older, because it means I'm not dead, even though my family has already picked out my epitaph:

Except for my neck, I'm pretty okay with how I look.

I still feel 11 inside.

I have some pretty great friends, both in real life and in the blog world. I've received Facebook messages, emails, texts, and voice mails (including a singing one from my Person and her daughter) wishing me a happy birthday. I feel loved.

My mom still calls me on my birthday every year to tell me how miserable it was to deliver a 10 lb. baby.

I got a haircut for my birthday (thanks, Darlynda), and I really like it. This leads me to...

...avoiding 1661 Sydrome. I read about it somewhere, but I can't find the site to cite it (tee hee). Basically, it's when a woman looks 16 from the back (long hair, short skirt, tight jeans), but when she turns around, she's actually more like 61 from the front. While I still insist I am in NO WAY ready to wear Alfred Dunner, I am thankful I realize that the best way to age gracefully requires making a few changes in the ol' beauty regimen.

Dollar Store reading glasses. They work, they're not hideous, and THEY'RE ONE DOLLAR!

A birthday that often lands on Labor Day weekend (I was actually born ON Labor Day). THREE DAY WEEKEND, BABY!

Spending a lazy weekend with my husband and kids at my favorite place for such a weekend, the lake house.

Be thankful always.

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