Saturday, September 16, 2023

It Only Hurts When I Laugh (Or Yawn)

Got some thankfuls fer ya.

As mentioned in last weekend's TToT, I spent the weekend in Branson with my friend Nikki. We had taken Monday of this week off to give us a 3-day weekend, which was lovely, and then we both did a Thing. This is mine:

While I had done some research on the whole nose piercing thing, I was still not prepared for how it hurt like a sonofabitch. I was expecting pierced ear pain. BAHAHAHAHAHAAA no.

1. It only REALLY REALLY REALLY hurt for a couple minutes as he jabbed my nostril with an ice pick or whatever he used to do the piercing.

2. By the time we left the store (piercing parlor?), it didn't hurt anymore, but I was definitely AWARE of the piercing.

3. By Wednesday, it only felt a little sore if I yawned and my nostrils flared.

4. Now it only hurts if I forget it's there and boof myself in the nose (it happens, okay?).

5. And I love it! 

Every morning when I get to school, after I turn on all the lights in the building and turn on the office computer, I go to my classroom, turn on MY computer, and open the live feed of a bird feeder in Akron, Ohio, that my kids love to watch (there's a large monitor on the wall). 

Thursday morning, I clicked on the wrong feed by mistake and opened a ground feeder that we watched one day last week (got to see bunnies and chipmunks and mourning doves, and squirrels, always squirrels, whether the feeder is hanging high or on the ground). I was sitting at my desk for a moment, watching a big, fat squirrel eating peanuts from the ground feeder, when a good sized bird came out of nowhere and hit the squirrel. My first thought was that it was a mourning dove with a clumsy landing, and then I realized it was sitting ON the squirrel and then it turned its head and I saw that it was a hawk. Oh, nooooo! I clapped my hands over my mouth and watched in horror, frozen, while the hawk squawked his victory. 

6. I'm thankful that I snapped out of my horror in time to click away from the live feed before the actual carnage began (I know, I know, circle of life, but I still didn't want to see it).

7. I was SUPER thankful that it all went down BEFORE my kids were in the room to see it! 

We celebrated Grandparents Day all week at our school, with each class celebrating on a different day of the week. My day was Friday, and my kids were WOUND UP all morning, because (a) their grandparents were coming to school and (b) they knew they were going to get cookies and lemonade after their program.

8. We sang a song, recited a poem, played the rhythm sticks for two songs AND showed off our mad dance skills by giving the grandparents a taste of our Fun Day Friday Dance Party, and the kids did GREAT with everything, in spite of how squirrely (ouch - too soon!) they were all morning.

9. I invited anyone who wanted to join us in the dance party to do so, and I was pleased that several grandparents were standing up and grooving to "Saturday Night"/Bay City Rollers and "Shake Your Booty"/KC and the Sunshine Band right along with us! It is well-known to readers of this blog that I am NOT a fan of programs and parties and special events at preschool, because I feel soooo awkward and uncomfortable at them, but it wasn't horrible and I survived!

10. My friend and co-worker Robin helped me set up and tear down everything, and I couldn't have done it all without her!

A pretty good week, all in all!

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Sunday, September 10, 2023

Rah! Rah! Rah!


I really needed that month off from the Ten Things of Thankful. 

It wasn't for lack of thankfuls. I had them. But I also had not-so-thankfuls, like my dad being very ill, changing grade levels and only having a week to physically move everything and set the room up to be a classroom, and some sadness for the lack of participation in the TToT after so many years. Did you know that at one time, we would have 50+ weekly participants in the hop? I began to feel like I was one of the cheerleaders at the pep assembly in the movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (watch it if you don't know what I'm talking about; it's currently streaming on Netflix), yelling cheers and encouragement while the audience ignored the enthusiasm and the team's morale slipped lower and lower. I wanted to throw down my poms and walk off the field.

So I put the TToT on a break for the rest of the summer (a Rachel break, not a Ross break). And now summer is over and it's time to either pick up the poms or quit the cheer squad.

Let's do this:

Slowly but surely, my dad has regained enough of his strength after his fall in early June and subsequent sepsis in his artificial shoulder joint that he may be going home soon! He was in the hospital for nearly 3 weeks and then transferred to a rehab facility near us. He plans to go home and live by himself again when he is released.

I'm thankful that we were able to bring my dad to Joplin for his rehab, because I've been able to see him nearly every single day. 

My daughter finished her summer internship at the end of July and was offered a position at the firm where she interned as a public finance attorney when she graduates next May. Yay! She won't have to worry about finding a job when she graduates!

Future attorney!

My husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on August 7. Hard to believe it's been that long!

Moving all my stuff from my former classroom down the hall to my new classroom was not fun. Also having to move all the superfluous stuff out of the new classroom was even more not fun. Having some amazing student workers helping me with all of it was priceless. I absolutely could not have done it without Dane and Baylee; we worked hard and laughed hard!

I got my room ready enough for Open House literally minutes before the doors opened. 

The room continues to be a work-in-progress, but it is comfortable and homey and the kids love it.

See those paper flags? I SEWED THEM!

I am now teaching pre-kindergarten instead of preschool. If you've been following me for awhile, you may remember that I taught pre-k for 18 years before leaving that position and taking a new position at the school where I am now. I taught toddlers for a year before being moved to a preschool classroom (where I stayed for three years), and here I am, in pre-k again. I am back with my people, and it feels good!

My birthday was last week (63, if you're keeping track). Enough said.

This weekend, I am having a much-needed girls weekend with my friend Nikki. We have shopped, talked, laughed, eaten, and gone to a club to see one of my favorite bands, the Cleverlys. I feel restored.

Pick up YOUR poms and join in the cheerleading by reading thankful posts, commenting, and then writing your OWN list to add to the hop so we can all cheer for YOU.

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Sunday, July 30, 2023

Thankfuls Before The Storm

We have a severe thunderstorm warning with wind possibly at 80 mph. So much for a leisurely (close to the deadline so not THAT leisurely) Ten Things of Thankful post! Here we go!

I'm thankful for....

1. My Red Cross app that has been sending me alerts of the approaching storm.

2. They aren't expecting tornadic weather, so there's that.

3. Weekend anchors and meteorologists when you live in a small market. They are very entertaining. The weather guy just told us the sun is going to rise tomorrow morning, and I wouldn't have known that without his fine reporting.

4. Marian Days are this week! If you don't know, it's a pilgrimage of Vietnamese Catholics to a small town a few miles away, and it's about the only thing in the positive column for the entire month of August as far as I'm concerned. The forecast calls for a high of 104 on Wednesday, and what better weather to sit in a stifling hot tent while eating a bowl of boiling hot pho?

5. The wind has picked up. Not thankful for that. But I'm inside, so that makes it a little better.

6. I always have to pee when there is severe weather or an earthquake. Sure happy for that indoor plumbing right now!

7. The lights are flickering, so my husband is looking for flashlights BEFORE the power goes out.

8. All the cats are currently in the bedroom, and if we have to run down to the basement, two of the three will follow us. The third one is a crap shoot.

9. The coming storm is almost making me forget about my ear ache.

10. By midnight, the storm should have blown past, and I'll get a good night's sleep (except for the ear ache).

There. Did it. Now off to the bathroom before the lights go out! Stay safe! 

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Sunday, July 23, 2023

Beware The Barn Swallow

You know what happens when you hit the "publish" button before you proofread your post? YOU LEAVE OUT AN INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH. This is it. Hello. It's the Ten Things of Thankful.

1. It's hot here, but not as hot as it is in other parts of the country. Last week, we had upper 90s and high humidity (think Florida without beach access). 

2. That leads me to being thankful for air conditioning. 

3. And indoor bathrooms. My mother grew up in a home that had neither. She didn't have a shower or real tub bath until she went to college. And air conditioning? Hah!

4. Milo's iced tea sure tastes good on a hot day. Thankful for that.

5. So does watermelon. And I'm really thankful for that seedless biz. Now I don't have to worry about accidentally swallowing a seed and having a watermelon grow in my belly. 

6. I'm thankful that watermelon, contrary to what my dad told me as a child, can NOT grow in my tummy, since I know I have swallowed a watermelon's worth of seeds in my lifetime.

7. Fun story: I bought a watermelon not long after we were married, and as I spent a good hour or more removing the rind, cutting it into bite-sized pieces, and painstakingly removing the seeds from each of these pieces as single me ALWAYS did when I bought a watermelon, I came to the realization that after all my hard labor just so I could eat my watermelon without swallowing any seeds (see #5, above) or needing to pick them out as I ate (which lessens the joy of eating watermelon), my husband was also going to reap the benefits of my labor WITHOUT DOING ANY OF THE LABOR. Then that evening at dinner, when I told him we had watermelon in the fridge, he delivered the good news that HE DIDN'T LIKE WATERMELON. That's a thankful for a lifetime!

8. Mama and Daddy barn swallow built a nest over the front door at the lake house. This is not a thankful, because they dive bomb us every time we go in or out of the house and have deposited a mountain of poop on the ground next to the door, but the babies are now so big that they are spilling over the edges of the nest, so hopefully, the little family will move on soon. Don't get me wrong; I know they are skeeter eaters and are useful, but I will be most thankful when I don't feel like I'm in a scene from "The Birds" every time I go in or out the door. 

Baby bootie and baby beak

Their bowels are active....

The nest is in the corner at top
of photo. Mama picked a great
spot for her babies but not so
great a spot for us

9. Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I were driving across a bridge over the lake when a bald eagle flew past. I don't know how many bald eagles call this area home, but I'm thankful at least a few do and that we get occasional glimpses of them. Just can't mistake that white head and tail when they do a fly-by!

10. I'm thankful for lazy weekends that include naps on the couch and bingeing tv shows *cough cough Vanderpump Rules.

Thankfuls are everywhere. Find yours and link up with us! 

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Sunday, July 16, 2023

Lost Things And Found Things And Ending My Post With A Preposition

Closing in on the end of the weekend, and my Ten Things of Thankful post hasn't written itself yet. Time to shake a tail feather! Here goes: 

I checked out three library books a few weeks ago. Of COURSE, I didn't get them returned in time, but our library will automatically renew them for another three weeks unless another patron has the book on hold. That's a thankful right there.

I got a notice that the second renewal period was up, but when I tried to round up the three books, only two were to be found. I searched our house - nothing. My husband was at the lake house, so I had him look there AND in the cars - nothing. I finally decided I was going to have to take the L on this book, and in this case, the L was also for "loser" because I had NEVER lost a library book before. Mad at myself, I went to work cleaning my bedroom, and as I was vacuuming under the bed, the vacuum hit against something that turned out to be MY LIBRARY BOOK, located fairly deeply under the bed. I feel pretty certain a cat had something to do with its location (cough cough Nora Pearl cough cough), but it was found and that's that.

My anxiety-riddled cat Finn has been scared of the kitty toy basket that is kept in my room, so while I was cleaning, I decided to go through the basket and see if I could figure out what was scaring him. I didn't find anything except way too many toys, some of which had never been played with (typical, huh?), so I packaged those up to donate right before Nora Pearl caught me with all the toys out. I don't think she will miss a few, do you?

Pile on the left: cat toys
Pile on the right: stolen items belonging to 
my kids

So much for organizing the toys

My kids' elementary school is being demolished. It's very sad, as the building was almost 100 years old, but it was built over mined land and had been sinking and settling for many years (a new school was just built [on solid ground] to replace it this past winter). It's sad to see it go, but the demolition workers have been really nice and set piles of bricks outside the fence for anyone who wants a souvenir of the old building. I got a (lead dust and asbestos covered) brick for each of my kids.

RIP Columbia Elementary School

Pile of bricks left by the workers

Dusty bricks in the back of my car

My dad is doing okay. He's walked a little bit at PT and has increased range of motion in both his shoulders, so the antibiotics seem to be doing their job. Still has a long way to go, but he's working at it.

Victoria's Secret underwear sale this week. 10 for $35? Yes, please!

I'm halfway through "Vanderpump Rules." Five more seasons to go....

Oh, and I'm also watching the series "Quarterback" on Netflix with my husband. Patrick Mahomes is featured, so naturally it's a great watch.

My husband and I are at the lake house this weekend, although I feel guilty for not being there to visit my dad this weekend. We've had really hot weather and unstable air which has led to thunderstorms, some of them severe. We outran a storm Friday evening and made it to our street in Branson just as the power went out. As we got out of the car, the front hit and nearly knocked us off our feet, then the tornado sirens went off. No tornadoes (yay!) but a lot of lightning and wind and no power for a couple of hours. We didn't lose any trees or even anything more than one medium-sized tree limb, so another yay!

I don't know who took this photo besides not me,
but we saw this exact same cloud formation as
we were driving 

We finally got a chance to go to White Water (a local water park) this afternoon for the first time all summer. It was so relaxing to bob around in the wave pool, then I stretched out on a lounge chair like a turtle on a rock. Ahhh!


Here's to next week and SO MANY MORE thankfuls than I can even keep track of.

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Sunday, July 9, 2023

I Can Do Hard Things!

My dad has been pretty sick and was hospitalized for several weeks, and writing a happy list of thankfuls just wasn't in my wheelhouse. It SHOULD have been, but it wasn't. There were still many thankfuls scattered in those weeks, and here they are:

I'm so very thankful for my dad's neighbors, Tim and Linda. They have gone above and beyond, and I will never be able to thank them enough for everything they've done.

We moved my dad to a rehab facility near us, so life is a little easier now. He is doing OT and PT every day to get strong enough to go back home.

My dad has been telling all kinds of stories from his past, and there have been a few surprises thrown in that I had never heard before, including how my grandfather flew some secret missions into Vietnam for the CIA.

My husband has been my rock through all of this. Because he works remotely, he was able to stay with my dad at the hospital when I had to go to work, and when my dad was dismissed from the hospital, my husband helped orchestrate the two hour trip via ambulance and got him settled in the rehab facility. He's my rock star.

I was able to go to Pride in Kansas City and had a terrific time talking to attendees who stopped at my church's booth, telling them that we are an open and affirming congregation where all are welcome, and all means all. The parade was such fun, I made a new friend while watching it, and while it was lightly raining as my daughter and I walked from her apartment to the parade route, it stopped before the parade started.

With my daughter at the parade

Happy Pride!

This just makes me laugh

Ahh, Queen!

My assistant Baylee has kept things going in my classroom this summer when I've been gone, as have my student workers. I've missed my little nugs, but I knew they were in good hands.

When "Dirty Dancing" came out back in 1987, I saw it probably 5 times in the theater and then countless times on tv, so when the Alamo Theater in Springfield had a showing of it, I knew I had to go, and I knew I had to see it with my friend Traci. We sang along with the movie and received cool props like a motel room key and a (bouncy ball) watermelon *IYKYK 

Nobody puts us in a corner

I attended Dr. Becky Bailey's Conscious Discipline Institute along with my co-worker Alyssa and my bestie and center director Nikki. It was seven days of intensive training, and I came away from it with tools and skills for helping children with their social-emotional growth. I'm really looking forward to implementing what I learned in my classroom! We also played games in the evening, one of which might have gotten a little vicious, went to a bbq place for dinner that turned out to be a biker bar and where I faked a phone call for an excuse to get us the hell out of there, and rode a luggage cart down the hallway of our hotel until someone (not me or Alyssa) tipped it over and nearly bucked me off like a rodeo cowboy.

At the biker bar, before I ditched.

It's all fun and games...

...until someone almost tips the cart over!

I also came away from the training with new friends! We shared a table with 6 educators who were from northwest Arkansas, less than an hour away from us. Considering there were people attending from a dozen states, it was a happy coincidence. 

I didn't get a picture of it at its prime, with dirt and leaves all over it and milk spurting out on the driveway, but I opened the back door of the car after a trip to the grocery store and a gallon of milk fell out onto the driveway. I managed to get it into the house and wiped off without leaving a trail of milk through the house, so yay, and I couldn't resist a photo of the carton peeing milk into my sink.

I did it! I can do hard things! How 'bout you? Can you find the thankfuls in a hard week (weeks?). Write your post and link it with us at the Ten Things of Thankful!

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Sunday, June 11, 2023

Happy 10th Anniversary To The TToT!

Ten years of Ten Things of Thankful. Wow. Potentially, that is 52 weeks of 10 thankfuls for per week for 10 years. If I lived up to my potential (which any teacher I ever had would concur that I don't) that would be, um, a really big number. And it's all thanks to Lizzi, who had an idea for a blog hop....

Lizzi's trip to 'Murica - visiting Elephant Rocks 
near Belleview, MO

I've missed some along the way, especially as I get more ADHDer. I feel terribly guilty when I do miss a week, because no matter how busy I am, mentally or physically, it's still of the utmost importance to me to reflect on the thankfuls in my life. Because even in a kind of shitty week like this one, there are still thankfuls to be found.

1. I'm thankful I was invited to participate in the very first TToT by Christine of "A Fly On Our (Chicken Coop) Wall. She had been asked to be a co-host and I wanted to support her. I never imagined that it would become such a part of my blogging life!

With Christine at the confluence of the Mississippi
and Missouri Rivers, St. Charles, MO

2. I'm thankful for the family we created at the TToT from the get-go. 

3. Blogging about your personal life can make you feel vulnerable, but at the TToT, you are always valued and never judged.

4. Being friends with fellow bloggers from the other side of a computer screen is fun; being friends in real life with those same people is the icing on the cake! From in-person meet-ups with Christine, Lizzi, Kristi, and Beth to texts from Sarah as she tried on dresses and needed feedback to video chats with Clark and to emails, texts, and phone calls about the good and the bad in our lives, we are all true blue friends.

With Lizzi and Christine in St. Louis, MO

5. Oh, and although all who have participated in the TToT do not continue to blog, it remains that we are still friends who keep in contact and that I will never stop missing their blog posts (I'm talking to you, Lydia, Josie, Lisa L., Christine, Sarah).

6. I'm thankful for the format of the TToT that allows you to reflect on your entire week and how even in the worst of times, there are silver linings to everything if you search hard enough. I, myself, have had thankfuls that included breast cancer, mice in my classroom, ants in my house, SNAKES in my house, tornadoes, family illnesses and deaths, pet illnesses and deaths, car trouble and more. It has taught me that no matter the circumstance, there is a thankful somewhere in there.

7. I'm thankful I was asked to be a co-host way back in August 2013. I took a brief hiatus in 2016 but came back to it and here I am. I have too many irons in the fire lately and haven't been a terrific host, but I try and am thankful for Clark, Lisa, Kristi, Pat, and Mimi for picking up the slack when I am a great big slacker.

With Kristi of Thankful Me in Branson, MO

8. Then there's Facebook. Maybe we haven't met in real life. Maybe we don't call or text each other (unless you count being butt dialed by Lisa Listwa), but our blog friendships have also spilled over onto the pages of Facebook where we can continue to share in each other's lives even without the blogs (still miss those, though, if I may reiterate that). 

9. I know I've left individual people unnamed that I shouldn't have, and if it's you, I'M SO SORRY. You are awesome and I'm honored to call you my friend and co-blogger!

10. The traditional tenth anniversary gift is aluminum, which isn't very exciting, but here's to ten, my bloggy friends!

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