Friday, September 27, 2013

Ten Things That Are Full Of Great

"Grateful" is spelled entirely wrong. It should be "greatfull." Case in point: this list of ten things that are full of great!

1. Fall is really trying to show up down here in the armpit of the Ozarks. It was still 90 degrees today, but there was a relatively cool breeze and the air just FEELS different, somehow. My favorite time of year starts when high school football season starts and continues until the presents are opened on Christmas Day. Then I'm done, but it's a good 4 month run of delightfulness until then!

2. I'm getting better at telling the identical twins apart in my classroom. The ones in my primary class are the hardest, because they are very quiet and I don't have any vocal cues to help me out. The pair in my pre-k class are much easier (and not because they don't look as much alike, because they DO), although I called one of them the wrong name TWICE today and had to give her two pieces of candy for it (me and my big mouth - I told them if I called them the wrong name, they would get a piece of candy). And in my defense, the first time, she was standing next to her sister's chair, and her sister was on the other side of the room (and neither of them were quite where they were supposed to be), so I don't think that one was my fault. The second one, I will concede, was TOTALLY my fault. But I paid up for both.

3. My darling friend Lizzi is going to run a 5k for Race for Life in honor of me! And it's only three weeks away. And I don't think she's run more than five feet in her entire life, and here she's going to do a 5k. FOR ME and for everyone else affected by cancer. If you feel led to donate to her cause, here's the link:

4. The Freshman Lady Eagle Volleyball team remains undefeated in regular season play, although they did lose two games in a tournament (tournaments don't really count, but apparently, neither do freshmen anyway, which is sad that no one at their school really knows or cares how awesome they are). And when you consider these girls came together from three different middle schools, having never played together as a team before, well, just WAIT until they are on Varsity. 

Go big or go home.

5. And speaking of the Freshman team, they were all at my house on Monday night for dinner (they've been going to a different teammate's home each week). They inhaled two pans of lasagna, plus salad, bread sticks and dessert. They giggled and ate and ran through my house screaming. They all piled into the same chair on top of their coach. They farted like a bunch of boys. They talked about boys and volleyball and school. And they were delightful.

6. We had apple slices dipped in caramel sauce for snack one day this week in the primary class. I had forgotten just how delish that is! And it's a healthy snack, right? I mean, it's APPLES. An apple a day and all that, you know.

7. I made chocolate chip cookies this week, primarily so I could eat the dough. I'm not that big a fan of the finished product, but oh, that dough! 

8. On a quest to buy a Missouri State University t-shirt this week, I was in a store that had - wait for it - BOBBIE BROOKS JEANS. This is for you, Jak

Still not going to dribble them off.

9. It's been a lovely week for compliments! Of course, there's the one I got this week from the preschooler (please read about it here if you haven't already - it was quite a compliment!). All my Facebook friends who read my blog are very kind to me, but this particular comment, from someone I went to high school with, humbled me so :

"...your writing does so many things.
 It makes me smile, and laugh, and think; 
it makes me grateful. Sometimes it makes me sad. 
But it always -- always -- touches my heart."

If only she knew what a positive influence she was on me in high school! A year older, beautiful and talented, and always smiling and pleasant. And always kind. (Throwing you under the bus, now, Ruth, but I want you to know how much I appreciated you then and now.)

10. I have a washer and dryer in my basement. My bedrooms are on the second floor. It's two flights of stairs, plus walks down two long hallways to get my laundry from the second floor to the basement. But that's okay. Because sometimes, I seem to have some difficulty completing the entire wash and dry sequence. In other words, I forget (or, if I'm really honest here, completely blow off out of laziness) the load that's in the washer and have to rewash it. Sometimes more than once. If I had to put quarters in a machine, well, I don't even want to go there.

THIS IS A LINK UP, MY BLOGGY FRIENDS! Write a post listing YOUR Ten Things of Thankful and link it up below. Those of you who have been thinking about joining us, quit rewashing that same load of laundry and write that post! (You know who you are. Don't make me name names.)

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Two Stories, One Nicer Than The Other

It worked!
I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. It is naturally curly and naturally mouse gray, although I'm hoping I keep that fairly well camouflaged (a privilege of being tall is that very few people can see the part in my hair and the gray roots camped out there). The older I get, the curlier it gets. When the weather gods are with me, I beat it into submission with that miracle invention, the straightening iron (WHERE WAS THIS WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL?!); when they aren't, my hair is left to its hurly burly curly devices.

However, I made a vow to myself last year that I would NEVER NEVER EVER complain about my hair again when I received the news that I would not need infusion chemotherapy to treat my breast cancer.  And I am proud to say I have kept that vow. Too hot and humid to straighten it? Then it stays curly. Which means it's been curly about 95% of the time for the past four months. 
See? Fall is TRYING.

Monday of this week, fall gave us a little sneak preview. The humidity dropped a bit, along with the temperatures (if you call 82 cool, fall weather, which I don't, but it's at least a start). I also had just bought a new hair product that I hoped would live up to the hype on the outside of the bottle (which it did, surprisingly enough). I went to preschool that morning with sleek, straight hair.

My class of pre-k kids had arrived and were sitting at the tables, doing their morning work (coloring candies in a jar - "C" week, ya know), when one of the boys called me over to him.

"Miss Dyanne? Your hair looks nicer today."

My first thought was, "How sweet!" But before I could complete the thought, loud, snorting laughter erupted from my assistant teacher.

"Nicer than usual?" I asked him.

"Uh huh!" he answered brightly.

More laughter from the peanut gallery of one.

In all fairness, the kiddo meant it as a compliment. But the way it came out, um, yeah. 

And now, this 4 year old boy has single-handedly given me a complex. 

Nicer. NicER. NICER.


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Rockin' the paper gown.
Today was oncology day. Bloodwork good. Passed the "follow my finger" test. No swelling. Breast exam normal (or as normal as it can be when the boobs aren't real). I had requested Mardi Gras beads be thrown to me in exchange for showing him the goods, but he wasn't sure HR would find it nearly as amusing as I would.

Every monthly oncology visit culminates in a trip to the infusion center for my Zoladex injection. When I get called back, I sit in a recliner, waiting for my injection to be delivered by the pharmacy. This can take anywhere from ten to thirty minutes (or more), depending on how backed up everything is. I usually kill time by playing with my phone, sending Snapchats to my friend Allison and looking through Facebook.

Two visits ago, while waiting for my injection to be delivered, an attractive woman of about 45 walked through the center and stopped to have an animated chat with a patient and her two adult daughters who were seated next to me. I kept looking at this woman, because she looked so familiar to me (it's a small town, after all, and it's uncommon NOT to see someone you know or at least recognize any time you go out). I zeroed in on their conversation, shamelessly eavesdropping as best I could, in an attempt to garner a clue as to where I had seen this woman before, when I realized she was talking about her recent cancer diagnosis and upcoming treatment plan. I was taken back for my injection at that point, and all thoughts about the woman faded from my mind.

I sat in my recliner today, pulling out my phone so I could entertain myself until my injection arrived, when an infusion patient, assisted by one of the nurses, slowly walked from the restroom back to a recliner. The patient was dressed in baggy sweatpants, her skin pale and somewhat ashen, devoid of make up, her hair mussed. She walked slowly, painfully, towards her chair, and it was then that I recognized her as the cheerful, attractive woman I had seen two months previously, fresh from her diagnosis and prior to any treatments. The nurse helped her into the chair, where she turned onto her side, pulled a blanket up to her chin, and closed her eyes.

And I sat there, healthy as a horse, guilt-ridden for my good fortune, heart broken for a woman I'm not sure I even know.

It sucks. Cancer sucks.

Treatments are barbaric and primitive and temporary. Always temporary.

And it sucks.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday 9.25

Can you guess which volleyball player is also a dancer?


Yeah, that one.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Thankful Heart Is A Happy Heart

Was it just me, or did this week start out really slowly and end with a whoosh? On Tuesday of this week, I thought there must be some mistake, because there was NO WAY it wasn't at least Thursday. AT LEAST. Now it's Friday, and I'm sitting down to write my Ten Things of Thankful list and thinking to myself, "Didn't I JUST DO THIS, like, yesterday?" 

Guess not.

Well, then, here goes nothing:

1. I am thankful "B" week is over in pre-k. We opened band-aids and stuck them on a "B" page, had a balloon blast-off, made bread, made butter, had a teddy bear picnic, used our scissors (BIG deal) to cut out a boa constrictor, and had our first fire drill (which has nothing to do with "B" week, other than making a busy week even busier).  

2. I'm thankful for the laugh courtesy of my primary class. We have talked about shapes this week: we made a shape placemat, we traced shapes, we read books about shapes, and we identified shapes from flashcards. They were great at it: they pretty much all got triangle, circle and square. Most of them got rectangle and oval. A couple of them even knew octagon and pentagon.  Then I showed them a half-circle (an odd choice for a flashcard, but that's the risk you take when you buy flashcards from the Dollar Spot at Target). They looked at it and said, "Taco." Can't argue with that answer.




3. I'm thankful for frozen yogurt, because it makes me think I'm eating healthfully even when we all know it's just cleverly disguised ice cream.

4. I'm thankful candy pumpkins are only available once a year and the time is now. I love every sugary good bite (and always eat the stem first, if you were wondering), even when my tongue is wearing a little candy pumpkin jacket (eat half a bag of them and you'll know what I mean). They wouldn't be as tasty if they were available all year long, and I would look like a giant pumpkin if I ate them all year long, so it all works out for the best, don't you think?

Brach's Mellowcreme Pumpkins

5. I am thankful for the iPhone iOS 7 update. THERE IS A LEVEL APP ON THERE NOW! DID YOU KNOW THIS?! Now I can hang things on my walls without having to go in search of a level in the mess that is our basement. Of course,that implies that I care beyond "good enough" just how straight my pictures are on my walls, but the point is, I CAN make sure they are level, if I want to, with this snazzy app.

6. I am thankful for my bathtub. It's big and deep, and I fill it with bubbles galore. And then I lie in it for hours at a time, reading, watching tv, crushing a little candy, napping. 

A little something for Jak and Clark

7. I'm thankful that I have had a visitor from the U.K. here this week and have had a lovely time showing her around town. Look for more about this some time in the next week or so.

8. I am thankful to be contributing financially to the public library and the wing they will be naming for me, since I see a library book that I REALLY meant to renew is still sitting on my bedside table.

9. I'm thankful to have my college boy home for the weekend. With his laundry. And his appetite. And the trail of empty food containers and Coke cans left in his wake.

He's hooooome!

10. I'm very thankful that fall has finally decided to make an appearance, blessing us with delightful weather which has allowed us to sleep with the windows open. Never mind that the cats squabbled over which one of them got to sit on table by the open window, knocking a fan off onto the floor in the process. The cool breeze, the sound of crickets and frogs, the far away wail of a train, all make for a glorious night.

Be ever thankful.

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday 9.17

Have you ever read the book, "Cheaper By The Dozen," the story of motion study expert Frank Gilbreth and his family of twelve children? (If you haven't, you really should.) As a pioneer in the field of efficiency, Gilbreth believed his home could be run as well as a factory and incorporated this efficiency into chores, homework, shopping and the family budget. He believed in utilizing every moment for learning experiences with activities such as painting the Morse code on the walls of their vacation home and requiring the children to listen to foreign language records when they were in the bathroom for what he termed "unavoidable delay."

It seems the administration at my daughter's high school has been reading this book, because they have employed their own passive learning exercise for times of unavoidable delay:

Yes, Toilet Talk. You heard it here first.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Random Thanks

Ten Things of Thankful Time! Here's this week's completely random things for which I am thankful.

1. I am thankful my son's college is close enough that we get to see him every couple of weeks or so. We stopped to see him last weekend on our way from Point A to Point B and took him to lunch. His sister got to see his dorm room for the first time (and was pleased to note that the soccer team practices on a field right. next. door.).  She is suddenly much more willing to visit him now.

Don't believe either one of them. They
really do miss each other.

2. It's volleyball season! I'm thankful my daughter made the freshman team and that that team is made up of a great bunch of girls. They get along really well (i.e., no drama), have excellent coaches, and to make it even better, are having a winning season (4-0 for the season so far, plus first place today at a tournament, where they were undefeated). 

3. I'm thankful for my preschoolers and the things they say. This week, one of my pre-k girls told me she wanted to tell me a secret. When I leaned down, she said, "I think you're beautiful and smart." (She's currently my favorite preschooler.)

4. I'm thankful for Red Velvet Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting. Chef's note: I only use half the red food coloring called for in the recipe, and the cupcakes taste better the next day than they do the day you make them (and they taste pretty darn good the first day).

This is ol' Betty's photo, but I can say with all
honesty that MY cupcakes looked better than these.

5. I am thankful for my preschoolers and the things they say, part two. One of my pre-k boys ran up to me with one hand on the back of his pants and said, "I did NOT just poop my pants.... Would you check and make sure I didn't just poop my pants?" (Good news - he was right.)

6. I'm thankful for my friend Melinda. Our girls have been friends since they were in kindergarten, so we have spent a lot of time together over the years. (She's the one who threw me the Ta ta to the Tata's party last year before my surgery.) She's very organized, so whenever an event has to be planned (such as organizing food for the volleyball team), I can count on her to be the one to do the organizing and just tell me what I have to bring/wear/serve/do. 

Big cheesball pose as we work the
concession stand at the volleyball game.

7. I'm also thankful for friends who act just as stupid as I do (not that I would name names *cough cough Amy cough cough*). And for my girls night out friends, who helped me celebrate my birthday this weekend.

Let's see how stupid we can look while eating
a cupcake at Cupcakes by Liz. Amy wins.

8. I am thankful for my preschoolers and the things they say, part three. One of my primary girls (meaning 3 year old) has insisted all week that her name is Mary Katherine (it isn't). We have had some rather lively yes-it-is, no-it-isn't conversations about this. 

9. I will forever be thankful if no one EVER gives me a plaque that looks like this one I found in a trophy case at the high school that was hosting today's volleyball tournament. This is the stuff nightmares are made of.

Androgynous hurdler on plaque in
trophy case. 

10. If you read my TToT post from last week, you will know that a dear friend's husband had a double lung transplant last week. I am pleased to tell you that he is doing phenomenally well (but not without a hitch or two along the way), and one week after his transplant, he is being moved out of ICU and to a regular room and is being weaned off his various and sundry machines. Very thankful once again for the donor's family's gift of life to Dave and to the many others whose lives have now been prolonged thanks to organ and tissue donation.

Create your list and link up, my friends. 

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday 9.11

I came home yesterday to find a package at my door.

Not just any package. An international package.

Inside was something that made me laugh out loud (you'll find out more about that very soon).

And something that was so beautiful and thoughtful that it almost made me cry:

Thank you, Lizzi! I love it!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I've Had A Fantastic Week. You?

It's the weekend, and time for another edition of (ta ta TAHHHHH!) Ten Things of Thankful! This has been a fantastic week. FANTASTIC, I tell you! Here's how:

1. Preschool started this week, so it's back to school I go. I work in the best preschool in town (no lie). We have classes for toddlers through pre-k that meet two or three mornings a week, we have a staff of thirteen who all get along famously, I get to have snack and recess, and I look forward to going to work every day. How many of you can say that?

2. My pre-k class, which meets on MWF mornings, is a lively group and very social (that means they talk a lot when they're supposed to be listening). But they are so excited to be at preschool that right now, it's still cute and endearing.

3. On the first day of school, I was waiting in the hallway outside the bathroom for one of my boys to do his thing, and when he came out, he said, "You're a nice teacher!"

4. I have eleven kiddos in my T/TH primary class (with one opening if anyone wants to send their 3 year old to preschool). We've spent the week learning to line up, stand in a line, and WALK IN A LINE. It's pretty much like herding cats, but there was improvement from Tuesday to Thursday, so I have hope we'll be able to do it one of these days. I'm shooting for October 1.

5. One of my primary students thinks she is going to "pretty" school instead of "pre" school. How can you not love that?!

6. My daughter's freshman volleyball team won their season opener against an arch rival (JV and Varsity lost their games). They also won two days later at their home opener. ROCK ON, FRESHMAN LADY EAGLES!

7. My birthday was this week, and I was thoroughly spoiled with birthday phone calls (including a singing one from my person and her daughter), texts, emails and Facebook messages. I loved being an attention ho!

8. The preschool staff draws "secret sister" names at the beginning of each school year, and we get little gifts throughout the year for each other. When I walked into school on my birthday, I found a Sonic Diet Coke and a Turtle Molten Cake Sundae. Best. Breakfast. EVER. I also received a chevron-print fabric basket with all kinds of fun stuff in it, including what I thought was a fan (thinking ha ha, hot flash joke), but what turned out to be stays to shore up the basket and make it sturdier, which has probably caused my secret sister to die a little inside, since she probably heard me TELLING everyone it was a fan and couldn't correct me. I didn't figure out the little package had stays in it until I got home and pulled them out and tried to unfurl them into a fan; instead, I had a handful of slats, which I puzzled over for several minutes before figuring it out.

Yes, it tastes as good as it looks.

9. My birthday ended with a trip to Andy's Frozen Custard with my husband and daughter after the volleyball game, where I indulged in a Choc-O-Rocko concrete. It was an ice creamy day!

10. The best thing to be thankful for this week (other than the first home football game last night that we won and which WOULD have been #10 had something more important not come up) is that my friend Cindi's husband received a double lung transplant yesterday. He has been waiting since about February until a pair of lungs became available. He went into surgery mid-afternoon on Friday and was out about six hours later. He had a good night resting in the ICU and today, the plan is to get him up and walking and get him off the vent. What a miracle of medicine! A special thank you goes to the donor's family, whose generous gift has made others live. 

That's my week. Your turn. LINK 'EM UP, BUTTERCUP!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Little Older, A Little Better

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt #5: You know you're getting old because...

Today is my birthday.
2nd birthday

And it would be a perfect day to write about getting old. If I planned on it happening, that is.

I WANT to get older, given that the alternative to getting older is dying. (Can't go backwards; no backsies, 'member?) 

Photo bombed by the cat

But get old? Not if I can help it.

Getting old is a state of mind, and giving in to it is giving up.

9th birthday

So I will continue to run and slide across my hardwood floors in my sock feet. I will skip whenever my heart feels like it. I will sort my M&M's by color before I eat them. I will startle the cat just to watch him jump. I will sing with gusto in the car and throw in dance moves as necessary.  I will eat cookie dough. I will Zumba like a boss. I will use the toothpicks from my sandwich like chopsticks and pick up pieces of lettuce from my plate (purely hypothetical, of course...). I will dance in the kitchen. 

At 5, showing off my twist skills

I shall grow older, but I shall not grow old.

And you can't make me.

So there.

Should be 53 candles. May be
a little short, fire codes being
what they are and all....

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