Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Excitement

I'm back from vacation! I fully intended to post while I was away, but barely had time to keep up with my e-mail. We had a lot of fun. White-water rafting, obviously, though class 2 rapids aren't exactly "white." Number Two begged us to go to the upper river later in the week, which had class 3 and 4 rapids, and we said maybe next time. My friend Jody Wallace came to see us, with her adorable children, and we spent a great day at the pool, evening at Dixie Stampede, and breakfast at Mama's Table or whatever it was called. In between we walked all over Gatlinburg, toured Cades Cove (and caught ONE five-second glimpse of a bear, despite the warnings everywhere of how active they've been), and played mini golf. Number Two's influence again. She's a fanatic.

As promised, here's what my knee looked like a few minutes after it happened:

I thought the pattern was pretty. The damned thing still hurts, because the skin gets pulled with every step I take, and there's no comfortable position for it when I'm not moving.

My inattentiveness didn't stop there. Thursday or Friday, I'm not sure when, I ran over my middle toe on my right foot with the bathroom door. I did some kind of damage, not sure what--nail bed, probably--because even though the toe itself doesn't hurt anymore, I can't wear a sock. I know. Weird, right? I put on my socks to go work out yesterday morning and the pressure of the sock on the toenail was too intense. I don't think Planet Fitness allows flip-flops on the treadmill. So no workouts this week.

Let's see, what else...oh. Yeah. Stupid animals have FILTHED up my house! I don't know, I think they had a party. How else could there be so much dirt and fur scattered so far and wide? We had a family obligation on Sunday, and yesterday I caught up with the checkbook and e-mail and grocery shopping and stuff, so today's been cleaning. I'm getting there, but I had something going on that kept me tethered to the computer. I kept forcing myself to go vacuum...then come back and check e-mail...then go scrub the bathroom...check e-mail...find reasons to stay at my desk--hey, I need to blog! LOL It's over for now, so I'm off to finish de-furring my floors.

I just wish it lasted for more than five minutes. :(

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Smokin' Day One

First day of vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains!

Yesterday was 10 hours of travel, and though we started out in a torrential downpour, the drive was mostly really good.

Shoney's is the most ubiquitous restaurant in the world, and I get queasy thinking about eating there again. The food was fine (except for Number One's steak--J said "never order steak in a place like this!) but the faucet in the bathroom was so corroded there was a hole in it. For some reason, that really grosses me out.

Tennessee is beautiful. A lot of the time I can't tell we're not in Pennsylvania, but then the land opens up and it's a little more rolling, and of course the mountains are grander. I can't believe all the trailers/mobile homes here. Most of them are situated on huge tracts of land. Odd.

Today we woke around 6 to thunderous storms. They moved on after a while, and the weather was good enough to hike the Laurel Falls trail in the park. It was excellent. Just enough of a hike for us out-of-shape adults, with natural A/C at the falls themselves to cool us after the uphill climb.

On the way down, I hit a patch of...well, patching on the paved trail, and my food skidded out from under me and I landed hard on my knee.


J tells me "slow down, small steps!" I told him I'm not 5. After I realized the patches and my right sneaker didn't get along, I was fine. I took a cool picture I'll post when we get home, since I failed to bring the camera cable.

It rained hard again on the way back to our sweet cabin (I think this place is bigger than my house), but when it stopped we went swimming. Then I drove the one-hour round trip to town to get pizza for dinner.

Yeah, that's a bit of a lament, that we're so far out of Gatlinburg. It's not really a full half hour to get to town or a park entrance, but it's not close, either.

Tomorrow we're tackling white water rafting, and then I think I need to do laundry already. (We had to pack light due to reduced trunk space in the hybrid--but it's worth it to get 37+ mpg!) I'll give an injury report afterward. :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Power of Suggestion, or...

I had my annual exam last Friday. My doctor felt fullness re: my left ovary and scheduled a pelvic ultrasound.

So I did that yesterday. They asked me a few times about feeling pain, and I said nope, not at all.

Guess what I have today?

Monday, June 15, 2009

So It's Mondays

I seem to have fallen into a Monday blogging habit. Is this the only time I can get it in gear? Apparently. Monday is like the New Year's Day of the week. Or something.

I blogged at Supernatural Sisters today, a list of things that would be worse than bad Supernatural. I couldn't come up with much, so I added ways that Supernatural could be made irredeemably bad. Check it out and weigh in!

The Summer Plan so far is doing okay. Not perfect. Last week Number One and I worked out Monday-Wednesday, as planned, while Number Two was at her band lessons. But she wouldn't get out of bed today (she did her therapy and a bike ride afterward). Last week we managed to clean all the rooms, mostly on schedule. I skipped my office, which BADLY needs it, and pushed the kitchen to Friday. I also bribed the kids into cleaning out the litter boxes for extra allowance. \o/

BUT. *sigh* The "work" period of the day seems to fill up with junk, or stuff that's not junk, that needs to be done, but isn't "work." I got all my paid work done and have a little lull, but I'm trying to do a crit for a friend and things keep interfering. Like the migraine I got last night. I finally got around to starting to plan for vacation--we leave in 5 days--but not for Father's Day, because my bank just changed its name and therefore its website and will not let me in.

So have I written yet this summer?

That's a big NOPE.

Of course, at the moment, I have no reason to write, as I wait for various people to do various things. I have a bunch of books already written and in various stages, but no direction because I don't know what's going to happen next. As soon as one of six people gets back to me, I'll have a better idea, and will have a hard-core reason to structure my time in a particular way.

Right now, though, I must take my kids bowling, to assuage the guilt of leaving them alone two weekdays in a row while I combined doctor's appointments with errands.

Is your summer going according to plan?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Quote Quiz

Supernatural Sisters has a quote quiz with a prize! Head over and test your obsession level knowledge of the show!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Judgment Call

I just read something tantalizing and I need some advice from my peeps!

I admit, I loved Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles primarily because of Brian Austin Green. I was devastated when he was shot, and therefore not all that disappointed when the show was canceled.

Now he's reportedly going to be on One Tree Hill this fall. It doesn't sound like a huge role (Nathan's sports agent?) but I'm gonna watch anyway.

The question is, should I now DVD 6 seasons of the show this summer in preparation? Would I like it? Would it be necessary for watching season 7?

Any viewpoint welcome! Thank you!

Saturday, June 06, 2009


My finger is fine. Once in a while, the joints feel crampy when I put pressure on them laterally, so I'm expecting "fine" to not last that long, but the trauma has healed completely.

I love my keyboard (Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 7000) and the mouse is mostly cool, just doesn't glide across the surface as smoothly as I want. I keep forgetting to take it up to rub dry soap on the little pads.

I miss Supernatural like crazy. True Blood is good so far (but only 2 episodes in) but it's not easing the pain.

Terminator: Salvation was excellent. I love the kid who plays Kyle Reese (also Chekov in Star Trek) and can't wait to see him in new stuff. I'd heard several people hated the ending, so I was prepared and therefore didn't hate it.

Can't wait to see The Proposal this week. I have a feeling Betty White steals the movie.

Starting summer schedule this week. Plan is as follows:

8:00 Drop Number Two at mallet percussion lesson
8:06 Work out with Number One at Planet Fitness
8:45 Pick up Number Two
9:00 Check e-mail and plan work for the day
10:00 Clean designated rooms
11:00 Work
2:00 Do fun plans with the kids
4:00 Write

We'll see how well that works out.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Little Rant

One quick thing before I head off to add to my work in progress...

You can't graduate from kindergarten, or eighth grade, or whatever arbitrary break in grades moves you from one school to another.

Six-year-olds in shiny caps and gowns are adorable. They finished their first year of school, and yay, they're on to big-kid classes where they actually get to learn stuff. Sixth or eighth or even ninth graders (my junior high was 8th and 9th, high school 10th-12th, and we didn't have a ceremony that I remember in between) are transitioning to, usually, a new level of responsibility and perspective and challenge.

But they haven't completed anything. In most states, they are required by law to go on to the next grade level. You don't get a diploma until you finish all of the requirements of high school, and then you're graduating.

Someone could probably pull out a dictionary definition that proves me wrong, and I admit this is just a peevish opinion, but it's been bugging me. Being able to "graduate" from every grade kind of diminishes the final accomplishment, doesn't it? That's why I was so pleased with Step Up to High School--that's exactly what it is, with equal emphasis on the achievements to date and the goals to come. The celebration is warranted, but in the right way.

I place too much importance on word choice, I guess. But, hey, that's my job! LOL

Monday, June 01, 2009

Decisions Rewarded

Ten years ago, when we started looking to buy a house, there were two school districts we were willing to move into. I'd been listening and watching and learning over the nine years we'd lived in the area, and we were determined to move into the one that gave the best educational framework for my kids.

It's the best feeling to have a decision like that borne out.

Honestly, determining such a thing is not easy. Without having direct experience with a system, you can't possibly know how it will play out. Things change. And one person's excellence is another person's nightmare.

Today Number One had an awards ceremony and then a Step Up to High School ceremony. The awards ceremony was only for half her class (they divide into academic teams, and keep things spread pretty even among them). And I didn't keep any quantifiable stats or anything. But it was pretty impressive.

First, they had students in orchestra, band, and chorus stand. Fully three-fourths of the students were on their feet for the applause. I think that's pretty amazing in a world where music and arts are systematically being erased from schools to accommodate all the standardized testing and reduced budgets.

At the Step Up ceremony, the guidance counselor read each student's name, then some of their self-listed achievements and interests, one word to describe themselves, and their goals for the future (I talked about the goals part on GabWagon today).

Some of the words the kids chose were pretty interesting. Gregarious? Enigmatic? How are they so self-aware? Even if they didn't pick the words themselves...my daughter said she didn't know what to choose, because she didn't want to pick something everyone else was saying, so her friend told her to say "authentic" because she's very genuine. Okay, how many eighth graders are that tuned into their friends? Maybe a lot, I don't know. I didn't have that many friends in eighth grade, and none close enough to say stuff like that. That's something I'd say to a friend now.

The counselor impressed me, too. Not all the kids were there, but he never missed a beat. He glanced at the next student, knew instantly who it was, and turned to their page--about 275 times or so. He never missed a step--even for the kids who were new this year. Sure, he's been this class's counselor for three years, but he said it was his first class, so it wasn't like he'd developed a system over decades. Plus, I tend to think of guidance counselors as concentrating on the kids with difficulties at home, or behavior or academic issues, or on the student council and stuff. He knew every. single. kid. And what's more...he knew their nicknames. Not even just Jay for Jarrell--he knew Carlie for Margaret.

That says a lot about how a school approaches its job.

Finally, the principal at the end said he was ditching the rest of his speech and talking off the cuff. He said this was the most respectful class of its peers he'd seen. An hour and a half of reading names and attributes, a lot of them the same, and there wasn't shuffling, or murmuring, or whispering or laughing or anything. They all sat quietly and paid attention. 275 teenagers.

Now, I know they're not perfect. Kids fight and ditch classes. One of the boys picked the word "godly" to describe himself. A student has been hospitalized or under treatment for depression for much of this school year. We don't escape the negatives, of course.

But I got all warm inside when a few students thanked their classmates for making it so easy to relocate from other states (especially when one boy said the kids here are much nicer than the kids in Texas! heee!). And I gave heartfelt thanks that my husband and I made the decision we did, and found the house we found, and that my kids are getting the education I'd always hoped they'd get.

I only hope other parenting decisions bear out the same way. Time will tell.