Friday, December 28, 2007

Taking reservations

Thank goodness for my awesome camera that I bought around this time last year as a graduation present, because I took ONE picture so far this Christmas. One. I'm gonna tell myself that the reason I took one measly picture is because I was just having so much fun watching and experiencing the moment with the kids and Alan and family, that I didn't want to stop and mess with the camera. And although that might be pretty accurate, I wish I had more pictures to remember this Christmas.

Wednesday, Alan and Addison and I went to see "I Am Legend." (Stop reading now if you plan to see it.) Will Smith's an awesome actor, and the concept of the movie was cool and all, but just more sad than anything else. A number one rule in movies - NEVER kill the family dog. Ugh.

The past three days Alan and his dad have been working on the guest house - laying insulation underneath, adding baseboard trim to the interior, and next they'll hang a much needed door for the bathroom. Soon it'll be time for my part - painting. It's cool to see it all coming together. Time for visitors!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Peace and stuff

Isn't there a saying that whatever you're doing at the end of the year is indicative of the year to come? I know it's not technically New Year's Eve, but if next year I'm spending more time doing what I've been doing the past couple of days, it'll be a good year. 2007 won't go down in my book as a stellar year, but I have a good vibe about next year.

And now I'm ready to get into my pajamas and watch Survivorman, which I just realized is on. The past 24 hours I've gotten to watch everything I consider a must at Christmas - Rudolph, Elf, and Christmas Story. So Survivorman is a good transition away from Christmas!

We have an out-of-the-blue chance of snow tonight. Weird.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Christmas Eve Eve

I like Christmas Eve way better than Christmas Day. Christmas Day has the potential to be oddly depressing. But Christmas Eve, when we usually open presents, is always better. Although the girls don't hold and shake their presents trying to figure out what's inside anymore, or even beg to open one of the presents a day early, watching them open their presents is still the best part of Christmas Eve. I'm guessing it always will be. And Alan and I living in the same town is not bad either.

But Christmas Day....ewww. New Year's Day can be like that, too, now that I think about it. I can't really explain it. And since I've never, not once, heard anyone describe a disturbing feeling that comes over them during what's supposed to be a happy-go-lucky setting, a feeling that makes them want to be anywhere but in that exact time and place, and a feeling that smacks them upside the head out of nowhere....well, the more I talk about it, the weirder I seem.

So here's to Christmas Eve! We're having brisket, fried potatoes, and baked beans. Nothing weird about that!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Perhaps you can relate

The piles of crap are getting to me. I can't see the surface of the dining table, because it's covered with unwrapped presents, wrapping paper, tape, receipts, cards that I have yet to address, and whatever else we happen to drop off as we walk by. Maybe you have a similar pile? I'm really glad I resisted the urge to buy or make some sort of centerpiece for the table this year. I would have never been able to enjoy it.

So to ease my cluttered mind today, I have to tackle other piles. Like laundry. And trash. And the mounds of leaves in the driveway that won't stop blowing into the garage every time the door is raised. If I can conquer those piles, maybe I'll have the peace of mind to tackle that dining table.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tried, can't do it

I just can't blog about Christmas shopping. And that's all it feels like I've been doing lately. I'll spare you the details.

By the way, I have no idea why Blogger decided to cut my banner in half.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ready for the New Year

Yesterday I spent the day shadowing the teacher I'm taking over for after Christmas break. She's really a great teacher, and I picked up some classroom management skills from her in just one day. I already know the students since I've been subbing for her all semester, and they're a super group of kids. There are always, ALWAYS kids that are quirky, strange, and downright annoying in any classroom. This one's no exception, but it just makes it more interesting. And because this is a magnet school with an emphasis on technology, you would not believe the high-tech gadgets I'll get to teach with. Awesome!

The best news, however, is that Alan is not going to Houston. I won't say much since the ink hasn't dried on the paperwork, but he'll be changing companies and staying in Midland. And you know, I can't thank his current-but-soon-to-be-former employer enough for forcing his hand. Kinda wish they would have done this sooner. (Insert smiley face here and visual of me doing the butter churn dance.) Oh yeah.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bring it, Mother Nature

We all have this internal clock that requires it to be light and dark out at appropriate times in order for us to sleep and wake up at normal times of the day. (I know this because I watch Bear Grylls take his clothes off, I mean, attempt to sleep in the Arctic with only two hours of darkness a day.) I think I must also have an internal thermometer which controls what I can and cannot accept as appropriate celebrations in the seasons. 40 degrees out on July 4th? Probably not going to feel like having hot dogs and watching fireworks. 79 degrees and sunny in December? Really not feeling the whole Christmas spirit right now. I don't know how people in Arizona or Florida do it during the holidays.

It warmed up enough today that here it is midnight, and the inside temperature in the house is 73. That's one degree away from when our A/C was kicking on a couple months ago. So while I'm supposed to be Christmas shopping and getting gifts in the mail, instead my body thinks I should be mowing the yard and working on my tan. I don't like being cold and I don't like winter, but I'm realizing I need a little of both to be "feelin' it."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

We be jammin'

I already sent this link to some of you, but check out our family as dancing elves. Thanks to Vagus for the idea.

Dress-up time

The Lee volleyball banquet was held a couple nights ago, so here's a pic of Bailey and a few teammates. When you mostly see these girls in jerseys and ponytails, it's so cute to see them all girly-girl in their dresses and heels. The season was so much fun, and although I was sad to see it end, we found out this week that Bailey made the 15-yr old team in club volleyball which starts next month. I can't wait!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Marathon update

It appears Alan's past three months of training for another marathon will be to no avail. Looks like he has developed bronchitis once again, so our trip to Dallas is probably canceled. He's going to give it a couple more days before deciding though. It's a shame, too, because his times have been really awesome lately. But it's only Wednesday, so we'll see!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Running and Hashing

Friday we leave for Dallas for Alan's second (and maybe last) marathon. It didn't help matters though, that he woke up this morning feeling sick and getting worse as the day goes on. The weather is expected to be PERFECT, so keep your fingers crossed that Alan has recovered!

Speaking of running, we had a fun time at the Hash we hosted Saturday afternoon and evening. The trail Alan and Keith designed made for a fun run, and the beer stop half-way through was a BONUS. The trail ended in the alley at our back gate, and we spent the rest of the evening eating from the grill, drinking, and telling dirty jokes around the fire pit. Very classy. Next month's run is scheduled, so that'll make three hashes for me and Alan. Two more after that and we get our nicknames. Classy, and so grown-up. We have definitely found our group.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The fun has begun

From the moment the Christmas tree box comes down from the attic, Junior rightfully claims the tree as his own. Assembling the tree, putting on the lights, touching the tree in ANY way -- these acts are all violations in Junior's world. He will live under, and sometimes in, that tree for the next month. By the way, did you click on the photo and see those fangs up close? I live with those fangs every day. I currently have a 4" square area on my calf that looks like someone came after me with a pitch fork. Alan will attest.

In other fun news, more than half of the Christmas tree lights have burned out. Yes! But it reminds me of that song that's the spoof on the "12 Days of Christmas" where they keep talking about the lights burning out? Love that song! Just thinking of those lyrics makes the fact that I have to go to Wal-Mart this morning to get more lights more funny than anything.

But my favorite tree, the little 2 ft one with all the ornaments that the girls made when they were little - was up, lit, and decorated in about 15 minutes. I was very tempted to call this our official tree and forget that big monster.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A good kind of busy

Tomorrow I'm attempting to get the Christmas stuff down from the attic by myself, while making every effort not to hurt my back again right before another hash run. Since we're hosting this run, it'd probably be a good idea if I was fit enough to participate. I also have high hopes of getting the tree up, the house decorated, and food bought for the party. Tomorrow's the only day I have off, so it all really needs to get done in one day. Throw in a couple more errands I can think of, and I'm skeptical at best. Still, it'll all be fun in the end!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

9 hours and we're back

I gotta say it's a little strange for the weather to get colder and more wintry the further south we traveled towards home. But aside from the brief period of snow and bad roads, we still made it back to Midland in good time.

Not sure I'm that glad to be back home though. We had a great time in Oklahoma with DeeBee and the kids, so now I'm missing their company! I'm also going to miss the portable electric blankets below, Mia and Brandy:



Some holidays are fun in that you get to see your family, but stressful in that you're spending your time running around from house to house trying to ensure everyone gets their fair allotted time with you. But this Thanksgiving was just plain relaxation, shopping, couch potatoing, eating, and of course a lot of video games:



The main reason I'm glad to be home, however, is because we felt bad leaving Junior alone for five days. Matt was nice enough to come by a couple times to check in on him, but he obviously had a negative reaction to our being gone. He tends to get mad when we leave town for a few days, so it's not unusual to come home and find a trail of destruction. This time it was magnets knocked off the fridge (the breakable ones), leather flip-flops chewed, papers and other junk knocked off the counter, but mostly....the freaky cat molted hair all over the place! I know he tends to shed hair when he gets upset or worked up, but good grief. There were tufts of hair everywhere, like you would expect had their been a major cat fight in the house. But Junior seems to have survived, and it didn't take long until he was attacking my jeans and holding on for dear life. Welcome home, dear humans!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Even the cat will get fatter

Tomorrow we leave for Oklahoma to spend Thanksgiving at DeeBee's. The past few years the girls have spent the bulk of their Thanksgiving holiday at their dad's, mostly because they enjoyed hanging out with certain family members on his side, i.e. YOUNG people. I understood why, but still it feels a little odd when your kids are not around on a major holiday. So it's kind of cool that we're spending Thanksgiving together this year. As the girls are getting older, I don't expect we'll have many more family trips.

That leaves Junior in charge of the house. And without Alan around to play chase with and me to stalk from dark corners and hallways, I suspect he'll be doing a lot of this:

More from Oklahoma in a couple days...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's 3 a.m., I must be lonely

Not really, but that song is stuck in my head because it really is 3:00 a.m. The things your mind dwells on in the middle of the night when you can't sleep are just plain random.

My head hurts.

Maybe I should get bangs tomorrow.

Lots of laminated letters of the alphabet...cut out individually....yeah, with the vowels a different color...with magnets on the back!

I need running pants.

Maybe I'll run tomorrow.

I should have brushed my teeth.

I hate my hair.

Might do some Christmas shopping tomorrow.

I need aspirin.

It just goes on and on, and none of these things are important enough to lose sleep over. I should have taken Nyquil.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A token posting

I have nothing to post, so here's a photo of Junior proving he has a rarely-seen-by-the-public sweet side.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It was time

Last night I colored my hair, myself. I've never colored my hair or gotten highlights - whether at a salon or at home. I'm fine with the color, although the point was not to try out a new color but to cover the strands of gray that seem to be multiplying. I'm happy that it didn't turn out disastrous, but I'm sad that this is the beginning of the end. I have to do this forever now, don't I? I kinda liked my natural hair color, because it was....NATURAL! This color is a darker brown with hints of brownish/red. But as far as doing it myself, $9 at home beats $90 at a salon.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

On On!

I'm going to keep this short since I smell like a BBQ pit and have dried beer in my hair. And that didn't happen because I got drunk - it was all part of the required festivities at the Hash House Harriers party this evening. I think this "drinking club with a running problem" is something Alan and I could stay involved with, particularly since we offered to have the next one at our house in less than a month. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and maybe next month I'll have pictures.

Friday, November 09, 2007

40 and Fabulous

This is me and Denise (my BFF!) at her surprise 40th b-day party Monday night. We are exactly a month apart in age, so no longer am I alone in the 40s. Yes!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Run, stink, eat

I'm not very good at this NaBloPoMo thing. Maybe I just don't have much to talk about, or much that I can talk about. Or maybe, had I not been a permanent fixture on the couch when I got home from subbing yesterday, I could have written something.

So I took a month off from running to get completely healed up and started back this past Sunday. It was ugly to say the least. Then I went on Tuesday after school when the weather was really chilly, which just happens to be my favorite weather to run in, and lo and behold those wonderful shin splints are back. Yes! But I'm going to try again this morning, because Alan and I are invited to a "hash and dash" (or something like that) on Saturday. Apparently the plan is a group gets together for an afternoon run and then finishes at someone's house for beer and BBQ. I just have to say - with temps expected in the upper 80s, I hope the party is spacious and OUTSIDE with lovely breezes to carry all the odor away. I know how Alan smells after an hour of running, so can you imagine trying to eat around a whole group of smelly, sweaty men? Gross.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Just doing what my body says

Happiness is arriving home after work on a cold day and smelling stew cooking in the crock pot. I had two bowls, followed by an hour of HGTV, followed by a nap on the couch. Now I'm going to take Nyquil for the sheer purpose of sleeping some more. I need sleep.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Whatever pops into my head

I just noticed on Melissa's blog that it's National Blogging Month or something like that. You're supposed to vow to post something every day in November. I missed the first three days, but I'll try to join the crowd for the rest of the month. We'll see. And this second posting of the evening is a good way to keep me from going to bed early. I've fallen asleep on the couch the last two nights before 8:30 p.m., so this is quite the accomplishment!

Cat fights

http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=21280368

This video sorta reminds me of one of my daily fights with Junior. And yes, I have been known to both slap and bite him back. Good times.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Expect much whining

Less than a week ago I mentioned the days when Alan lived in Ft. Worth and we had to do that long distance relationship thing, and then he moved back to Midland for about 18 months before we had to that "thing" again. That second time though, it was only as far as Levelland, which was pretty doable. But we still didn't like it and were so thrilled when the position opened up back here in Midland, and we were once again able to live in the same house together. That was a little over two years ago....and here we go again. This time it's Houston, which is way the hell too far from Midland. We're not going to pack up and move somewhere we have no intention of staying, and we're certainly not going to make Bailey start all over right in the middle of high school. Not to mention the fact that Addison would still be here, too. So Alan's going, alone. And that sucks. And I need to not think about it too much.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A good day off...

...is one where I get my fingernails dirty in potting soil. I fixed the window box that was sagging from the guest house window and then planted some jasmine in it for the winter. I need a manicure now, but it was worth the fun!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Joy in a jar

It seems forever ago, but back when Alan lived in Ft. Worth, I would drive or fly down to see him every once in a while. I developed a routine of going by Albertson's before leaving town and scooping out a little bag of either buttered popcorn or caramel apple jelly bellies. That's the only time I would buy them. So the other day when shopping at the now monstrosity that is HEB, I came across their brand new display of jelly bellies. So shiny and new and inviting....I couldn't resist. So I got both flavors.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Around the corner

Regardless of the year it's been, I think I'm looking forward to the holidays. And it's not even Halloween yet. Something about getting the holiday decorations and lights and candles out later next month is already getting me antsy. Maybe I want the appearance of coziness and comfort to make life seem a little more peaceful. The brain can be fooled, you know.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A short break

I'm a pretty normal person with a pretty normal temperament. Stupid people annoy me, inconveniences irritate me, and patience is not one of my virtues, but for the most part I keep it all hidden to strangers. And then I join other parents in the stands at a volleyball game and become a bit more verbose. And loud. It's amazing the license you think you're given at a sporting event to hurl insults at the refs and line judges, and to do so quite loudly. Those poor refs that we all yell at and accuse of being dumber that dirt are human after all. And those of us in the stands? We are perfect judges of depth and distance and have peripheral vision that cannot be rivaled.

So volleyball is over until club ball starts up in January. We got home from Abilene around midnight last night, but it was worth the drive and time. Time for Bailey to rest and heal up and for us to take a break from concession stand nachos, frito pie, and giant pickles. For a while anyway.

All kinds of classy

That's what we are around here. So when the winds blow as they tend to do in West Texas, what's a person to do when their cottage door won't stay closed? That's right - rig it with a bungee cord.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rust


Looks like tonight we're expecting true Fall temps to blow in. Maybe my mums will appreciate the cooler weather. These were a birthday gift from Alan. Or was it for our anniversary? I never really asked to make sure, since both occasions fall within a day of each other. Either way, I couldn't have chosen a prettier color myself.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A.K.A.

Names I've been called this week:

Mrs. Schaeffer
Mrs. Schaeffers
Mrs. Skaffer
Mrs. Shaver
Mrs. Shay
Mrs. S.
Mrs. Chambers
Mizz
Teacher
Mrs. Dolan (a teacher I sub for)
Mrs. Chalambaga ( " )
Mrs. Chalambonga

The kids don't know it, but inside I'm smiling. Especially at the little ones. They're looking at my name on the board and trying so hard to make sense of all those weird letters that shouldn't be put together like that.

And I'm no idiot. I'm sure there were some names not meant for my ears to hear, although I did find out (because kids love to tattle) that a little bratty third grade girl made up a derogatory cheer about me on the playground. Love it!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Once upon a time...

...there lived an ottoman that grew a leg.



I suppose if I cared anything about this furniture I would not be happy that our abnormally large cat has found a way to climb up inside the lining and make it his hammock. Thankfully, I don't care.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Today

Kindergarten. Tired. Grouchy. Tired of my own voice. Sandblasted from the 30-40 mph winds at recess and after school. Glad I'm not working tomorrow.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

de ja vu

Ever post something and then reread it and think, wait a minute...did I already post something just like this? So I checked and yep, I've already mentioned the Sunday night thing. I hate when that happens.

The swing of things

Here it is Sunday night, which once upon a time meant I suffered from the Sunday night blues, i.e. the end of the weekend blues. When I worked for the Almighty Chevron, I so dreaded work Monday morning. And then some time later, Sunday night meant that Alan was heading back to Levelland for the week. But tonight I'm not experiencing those bluesy feelings. Part of it, I think, is that I'm starting to get used to being in a new class and setting every other day. (Remind me of this when I someday blog about a horrible class and vow to never take anything but requests again.) But perhaps the biggest reason I'm not dreading tomorrow is that I get to be at a school around people I actually know, actually like, and consider to be really good friends. That's rare when you're subbing. There's something to be said for the comfort of familiarity and routine.

Even the Cowboys' loss can't get me down, but it sure would have been sweet if they won.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Turn away now if you're bored with books...

So I go to Barnes & Noble today to spend the gift card DeeBee got me for my birthday, and while I'm at the register the clerk tells me that her mother who has taught kindergarten for years had NEVER HEARD of Frog and Toad until just the other day. Woman. You teach elementary school and have never heard of Frog and Toad? You need to march your legs down the hall to your school's library, check out a copy provided to you free of charge, and go read it to your students pronto! I can't wait to read it to mine, no matter their age.

And then I've had my eye on this illustrated book of Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on Snowy Evening" for months, and so today with gift card in hand, I couldn't resist. (Bailey just so happens to be doing a project on Frost, so it's good timing.) I have to say though that during my last semester at UTPB, our instructor played an audio recording of Frost himself reading this poem, and whoa. That's how he heard his poetry? It was horrible!

So anyway, I'll be adding these books to my closet of teaching stuff. It's sort of sad looking right now...shelves of this and that just waiting to be moved to its new home in some campus classroom. It's exciting to think about though.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dig it

I wish everyone could experience a varsity girls volleyball game like the ones around here, just once. I think you'd be a volleyball fan after the experience. The crowd is wild, the noise is deafening beyond belief, and the action non-stop. There's also a huge following of teenagers that show up, some complete with painted bodies and costumes, and they keep things going as well. But the real entertainment is how amazing these girls play. If you live in West Texas, you're crazy if you don't attend at least one Tuesday night game.

Between the excitement of the Cowboys game Monday night and the volleyball game last night, I'm not even missing the Braves right now.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Fall blooming

When Alan is suffering from allergies, you'll know it from the explosive sneezes that can vibrate a room. I, on the other hand, have more subtle symptoms. I have this itchy nose and this nagging sore throat that doesn't really feel like a normal sore throat, but more like I swallowed a piece of glass that scraped just one little spot on the right as it went down. So I know it won't really solve anything, but I felt better today after attacking as much dust around the house as I had the energy to attack. Really amazing to me where all cat hair can sneak to and gather in thin strands and balls. And the white, feathery, cottony stuff from the pampas grass in the corner of the backyard? I swept it up from our garage and vacuumed it from our hallway inside the house. Weird.

But I'm not just cleaning for health reasons. My mother-in-law is coming for the weekend. She doesn't know I know, but I know! It's supposed to be a surprise for my birthday, but Alan's not that good at keeping secrets and I'm hard to keep secrets from. Anyway, she's coming for the weekend and I'm excited to see her.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Seventeen Years



Favorite Memories: Meeting you for the first time, our nightly singing in my bed, "Tell me about your day," always being a dog, using big words, playing store, playing with Reba, how sweet and funny you were in the hospital when Bailey was born, helping me decorate the Christmas tree, the emergency room when you cut your chin, "The Ballin," "Did I eat it?" (the balloon), all the stories you wrote, "Why is that man BLUE?", baking pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving, every recital, every band performance, watching you march in the parade, tubing the "scary" rapids in New Braunfels, watching you experience your first time seeing the ocean, making homecoming mums together, getting your braces off, your 16th birthday, and watching you drive by yourself for the first time.

Some I remember so vividly, others have faded with time. But I'm looking forward to many more wonderful memories in the future. Happy 17th Birthday, Addison!

Love you always, Mom

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A week later

So it appears I've really sucked at blogging lately. A whole week with nothing to say? Actually I've been really busy subbing, and it's just a job that can take a lot out of you. And then sometimes....the things that are on your mind are not things you can blog about!

I'm a little under the weather and so today have simple goals:
  • Shower
  • Get back in pajamas
  • Watch the episodes I've missed of "Beauty & the Geek" online. Somehow I need to make Alan watch it with me, but with all the football and baseball today...it'll be tough.
And there are girls out in the guest house that I need to wake up in a while for church. I'm not sure how many are here, but I think three. I need another cup of coffee.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gee, thanks

Bailey played great in the volleyball game against Abilene High yesterday. Played the whole match, did a little hitting, some setting, had an awesome kill. Or so we're told. We didn't actually get to SEE the game because no one managed to tell us that the time on the printed schedule was incorrect. So we drove the 2 hours to Abilene, grabbed some lunch before heading to the high school, and got there just in time to see her team walking off the court. We weren't the only parents who showed up and missed it, and I think the coaches may have gotten the message that they better make an effort next time to inform the parents directly, not leave it up to the girls to pass on important information that like.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Epidemic

If you live in this house, you will lose a toenail. That's the conclusion I've come to. Within a span of a couple months, the three of us have all had a toenail come off. GROSS! We're the House of Funky Feet. Alan lost a teeny nail from one of the nonessential toes, but Bailey and I - oh yeah, we lost the major one. The Big One. I have four boxes of bandaids, because I've been wearing them for the past month and don't see this toe being public-ready for probably another month. So bring on all the cutesy, colorful, animal print, whatever bandaids I can find. I'll be damned if I don't get to wear my $3 Old Navy flip-flops for the rest of the season.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

1st Grade Boys

I guess Alan better be on his best behavior. Apparently I have admirers.

Friday, September 14, 2007

One perk to living in West Texas....

...is Friday night football. It's homecoming for the Midland Lee Rebels, so that's where we'll be tonight.





Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Phenomenon

Usually it's common for items like socks to disappear in one's laundry. We lose hangers. Big, white plastic hangers that vanish on a weekly basis. I know my house inside and out, because nothing in my own home is off limits to me. That means I look through everyone's closets, drawers, etc. on a regular basis. And Alan and I have a system: when you take an item of clothing out of the closet, the hanger comes with it and gets placed in the garage on the hanging rod by the washer and dryer. It's a good system, but WHERE ARE ALL THE FRIGGIN HANGERS? I used to think it was because the girls were going back and forth between their dad's house and ours, therefore carting their hanging clothes, but that hasn't been happening for months now. I end up buying a new pack of hangers about once a month, which is no big deal money-wise because they were $.99 at Wal-Mart yesterday. But tell me this happens to someone else. Anyone.

Friday, September 07, 2007

For real

Maybe I'm into "The Hills" too much, but today while subbing I kept calling this third grade boy "Brody." His name was actually Brock, but Brody is my new favorite person on The Hills and I couldn't seem to get that name out of my mind. (Michelle will understand that the real reason this happened was because I was having to say this boy's name ALL DAY LONG as it was, and I was being driven crazy by his ADHD tendencies.) Anyway...

It was a little strange being back at this particular school today. On one hand it was like going back to a comfortable, familiar place since I spent most of the previous school year there. How nice to see so many friendly faces. On the other hand it was awkward and humbling, because every faculty member and even some former students understood that I wasn't a "real teacher" yet, that I haven't succeeded yet in getting a position. Those words are in quotes because one student from last year asked, "Mrs. Schaeffer, are you going to be a real teacher some day?"

Yes, I am. And I just have to assume that the next few months of subbing are going to prove useful for when I do get to put "real" in front of my title.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dinner time and I'm hungry

Is there a job that pays you to cook, and then eat the food you cooked? Cause that's the job for me. I'd give up teaching in a second for that job.

I think I could live on pasta and sauce.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Alan vs. The New Mexico Marathon

It's difficult to describe how amazing this feat is, especially if you weren't the one training and then actually running it. So all I can say is, WOW to all of you out there who have run a marathon. And way to go, Alan! An elevation of 6,000 feet and 8 miles of incline at the beginning didn't make things any easier, particularly since Alan has only trained in the flat lands of West Texas. It's just impressive.



We're back home in Midland, and although Alan is walking around like Fred Sanford this morning, he is pleased to be able to check this off his list. For a while. :-)



Alan has various stories about the run, and I think he should post his account of the whole ordeal (hint, hint).

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Bailey's volleyball team pic

http://www.ladyrebelsvolleyball.com/freshman.htm

She's the one on the right holding the ball.

In Albuquerque

It was an easy drive to Albuquerque yesterday, about 6.5 hours. We were expecting a little over 7 hours, so it was a pleasant surprise. However....we're changing hotels today. We have a smoking room, which was already giving Alan a headache last night, and our a/c stopped working around 3:00 a.m.! It was working again a couple hours later, but that's not going to cut it. I went down and had my little discussion with the front desk this morning who assured us things would get taken care of, but we decided not to chance it. By the way, it's really hard to play the firm and demanding customer role when the front desk person is whispering the whole time. Anyway, it makes things a little inconvenient logistics-wise since we were in walking distance of the finish line, but better to get a good night's sleep and just drive to the shuttle, finish line, etc.

Today we're going to chill and maybe see a movie, and then tonight there's supposed to be a big pasta dinner for the runners.

I wonder how many rolls of toilet paper Junior has chewed since we've been gone.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Headed for New Mexico

I just have nothing my brain can wrap around as interesting, not even remotely interesting. So here's an update of the goings-on.

Addison and Bailey started back to school this week. (Duh - like every other kid.) But it's kinda weird to have both my kids in high school now, Bailey being a freshman and Addison being a junior. Bailey's playing volleyball for Lee Freshman, and Addison just started a new job as a receptionist at a very nice retirement community.

Tomorrow Alan and his dad and myself leave for Albuquerque for the marathon on Sunday. Alan's race starts at 5:30 a.m., meaning he has to be on the shuttle that takes him to the starting line around 4:30. When the 5K is over that Leigh and I are running, I'll have plenty of time to walk back to the hotel to get my camera for when Alan crosses the finish. I can't wait!

Last night we went out for mexican food with Addison and her boyfriend, J. It was a lot of fun, and we got to know J a little more in the process. He seems like a great guy.

Since this was the first week of school, I wasn't expecting any subbing jobs. But I have been receiving several requests, anywhere from September through to December. Hopefully I'll stay fairly busy.

See? It's a slow week.

Friday, August 24, 2007

What a ma-roon...what a nincowpoop.

At the moment I'm enjoying a nice, cool house, unlike the last couple of evenings in which I woke up around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. sweating and throwing off the covers. Our a/c has once again been charged with refrigerant to get us through a couple more days, and on Monday or Tuesday we are getting a brand new, top of the line air conditioner. And while we're so thrilled to be getting it and no longer fighting the unpredictable performance of our current unit, it could not have come at a worse time.

My failure to get a teaching position this fall has gone from "well golly-gee, I really wanted a job" to "mother f*%#er, this sucks." The strain and weight on my shoulders from not having a job and not bringing in that added income is heavy, like buckling at the knees heavy.

Our plans to eventually be debt-free and enjoy at least a smidgen of the lifestyle that we see so many people around us enjoying are that much further off. It's not that we're materialistic, or at least we really try not to be, but you can't help but look around and wonder how everyone else does it. We could have paid off half my students loans for what this a/c is costing. I hope our luck is soon to change, because before too long we'll have replaced every single major appliance or necessity.

Didn't I recently post something about looking on the bright side? See subject heading above.

Monday, August 20, 2007

DIY It

I've thought for a very long time that one of the best gifts I could leave my kids is the creedo that you have to fend for yourself. "If you want something done, do it yourself." If you've ever been neglected, rejected, ignored, etc., then you know. It's character building, and who doesn't need a little of that?

Maybe I get some of this from my mother, because she absolutely raised us to take care of ourselves. I can unclog sinks, toilets, fix garbage disposals and vacuum cleaners, converse with plumbers and a/c repairmen (and pretend to understand them), and by God as of today I can replace a lawnmower blade!

But in all seriousness, I really want the girls to know that sometimes people just can't or aren't going to be there for them when they need them. It can be your friends, boyfriends, husbands, and even your own parents. I've been through all of it. I don't want to pass on my cynicism to them, but a little toughness around the edges can help you get through difficult times. And help you become a better handyman at that. :-) Besides, you're never completely alone.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ingredients

Two cups of coffee, a big fried breakfast, and a jog out of the way. That's how you start a Sunday. Almost gives me enough energy for the dreaded grocery store. Almost.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Randomosity

This is the vine we thought was a goner earlier in the season when the caterpillars attacked it. It's clearly fine now and is well on its way to being out of control. When you walk underneath it, you can practically feel the tendrils trying to lash onto you:



I bought these old, rickety, not-that-comfortable chairs at an auction several months ago and never really had a place for them until Alan and I found this bargain discounted table at Target. I'll pretend these are our bistro chairs until we can afford to buy good patio chairs to match the table. Umm...there's that vine again:



I've been on a mission for some time now to find the perfect homemade biscuit recipe, all the while knowing that Pillsbury probably makes THE best biscuits and all that's required is twisting open a can. Not to mention zero cleanup other than tossing the sheet of tinfoil or parchment paper in the trash. Still, it is just too much fun to work with that gooey, sticky dough! And once you've had several unsuccessful batches, the challenge to make a good biscuit becomes part of the fun. Honestly though, I don't think it's so much the recipe as it is how you physically handle all the ingredients. Anyway, what really irritates me is that I spend all this time looking for a recipe, and my Mother can whip out homemade biscuits with her eyes closed. But the ones I made this morning were pretty darn good:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Seeing the light

My lack of postings is directly related to what's going on lately: nothing. No job, no house projects, nothing newsworthy. Actually that's not completely true. The fact is that everyday I log on, my mind seems inundated with negative thoughts and who the heck wants to read that.

Which brings me to a vague part of a dream I remembered when I woke up this morning. It had something to do with either myself or Addison getting a pencil poked in one of our eyes, like a BAD poke, like it was stuck in there pretty far. That's all I remember, but what it led to when I awoke was "wow, thank God that was just a dream." Which led to, okay how about starting the day being thankful that we all have our eyeballs intact, and our organs, and our appendages, and basically our health. We may not be the Cleavers or the Cosby's, but my family is relatively healthy, alive, and talking to each other. I know I'm blessed, I just seem to have a problem remembering that on a regular basis.

By the way, the a/c broke again this week. Yes!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Marathon Update

Alan just finished 21 miles in 3:09:47. He left around 4:55 this morning. The race is three weeks from tomorrow and he's right on target!

By the way, if you're looking at my posted time and thinking that doesn't jive, that's the time I clicked "new post" and not the time I published. Good ole Blogger...

Friday, August 10, 2007

TotaLEE cool

Bailey made the freshman volleyball team this week, and they're wasting no time. The first scrimmages are today, followed by a couple more tomorrow. I'm trying to curb my enthusiasm, but it's pretty cool to me that she's playing for the Lee Rebels.

The headaches are getting out of control. I've had to make sure that I get as much accomplished in the mornings because I know I'll have a headache shortly after lunch. At least it's predictable and therefore I can plan. But seriously, what is up? I don't want to pay for a comprehensive doctor's exam - I simply don't believe they'd be able to figure anything out or worse, that they'd tell me I'm allergic to EVERYTHING. Mostly though I just don't have faith in doctors around here. I guess I've become cynical, maybe unfairly, but I only have to look at my mother and her years of procedures, surgeries, and prescription drugs to believe that some doctors appear to be figuring things out as they go. I want them to know their business.

I could also skip the whole exam and just go for the pain pills. But if the solution is to take a pill every time, then I'd have taken a good 30 pills in the last 40 days and that's just not for me. Something tells me the problem all these years has been food allergies...I'm not sure I want to have that confirmed. So stop complaining then, right? NOPE. It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to. :-)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

DeeBee surprised us with this sign she found in Oklahoma, so I placed it in the kitchen where it accurately points to the direction of our guest house, a.k.a. "the cottage." It sounds uppety, but all it would take is one visit to our home to know there is no such thing here. Just a simple home and a rustic little guest house.



It appears I won't have a teaching position by start of the school year, so I'm going to reinstate to substitute and hope that something comes up later in the semester. I didn't bust my butt looking for a job, meaning I didn't show up unannounced on campuses and call principals every day. I also didn't apply for kindergarten jobs (for which there were a few openings) or at magnet schools (longer school days). And I didn't check out the private schools and have no interest in going that route. I'm aware it sounds ugly, but I don't want to teach primarily white students from privileged backgrounds. Something will come up eventually, and I have to believe there's a reason for the delay.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Time to get up

Just catching up on some "Freakonomics:"



Actually now that Alan's through reading it, I think I'll check it out. But right now I'm deep into a murder mystery called "Monkeewrench" that DeeBee recommended, and it's AWESOME. I may have a new murder/mystery/detective series to read. That's mostly what I've been doing the past couple of days, since I've been lacking the motivation to do much more than breathe. Can't explain it, it's not a big deal, and it will pass.

I've decided a mean spirit is doing whatever possible to keep me from walking and running. It wants me to be lazy and get fat. First it was tendonitis, now it's a lingering case of shin splints. But yesterday was the last day I had to take the "fat pills," so I have motivation to keep going and see if this exercise will finally result in a leaner body.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Me

I keep messing with my profile pic. I had to remove the one of and me and Junior (which is still on my Myspace) because I couldn't get over the resemblance of myself to Dick Van Dyke. Nice chin. So then I filled space with a flower, boring. And now here's a half picture of my face. A little better, but luckily it's a thumbnail and you can't see those canines.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Afternoon getaway

It's 3:30 and I'm having a glass of wine. :-) That's right. I'm resorting to alcohol to relax, settle my nerves that are bundled from an assortment of things the past few days. What is it Willie Nelson says in "Whiskey River?" Something about letting that soft amber burn flow through his mind? Yeah, this is something like that. Except it's not amber and it doesn't burn. But I get your drift, Willie.

A photo of a photo of Willie and Dale on Willie's bus:

Monday, July 30, 2007

Stuff from the weekend I can talk about

I'm starting to mourn the end of my summer, and I don't even have a job yet. But hopefully the job situation will change soon, since principals are due back from vacation on Wednesday. If I do what I should today, several of them will have my resume on their desk when they return. And several of them will have my resume for the second time. It just always sucks to be in job searching mode....it seems you can never really relax because you know it's hanging over you...and the interviews...such joy. BUT, the end result is teaching, and that's very cool.

Saturday we had a minor scare. Alan had left for an 18-mile run and came back an hour later, clearly not having run 18 miles. He walked in and with very short breaths said "I - need - help." To make a long story short he stepped on an ant bed while running, maybe a fire ant bed, and had a bad reaction. We've all been bitten before and just dealt with the typical itching and irritation, but apparently because he had been running, the venom ran quickly through his whole body. His hands were swollen, his face was puffy, his skin was red and blotchy literally from head to toe, and anywhere you touched him he would wince from the severe itching. We called a 24-hour nurse hotline and began treating his systems for both dehydration and an allergic reaction to the ant bites. It took several hours for the swelling to leave his hands, but good old Benadryl took care of the itching pretty quickly. The ant bites slowly started surfacing that afternoon and evening, and I'm guessing we couldn't see them right away because of the redness that covered his whole body.

It sucked that he wasn't able to finish his run, be he made it up yesterday. And I ran a whole 3 miles today. :-)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

American Graffiti

The last two mornings we've woken up to a sur-prise out front. Friday morning it was an impressive TP'ing of our house. (We called it "wrapping houses" when I was growing up, and it was normally done to someone you liked.) However, along with the toilet paper, there were broken eggs all over the front porch, the driveway, and Alan's car. Not exactly a friendly gesture.




This morning the culprits got a little more creative with food. In addition to more eggs (not on Alan's car again - this was from yesterday), there were pasta shells with mac & cheese sauce, shallots, a sandwich bag filled with a doll's head in red liquid, and what I think was a frozen bag of creamed spinach. Talk about raiding your parents' fridge. There were also a lot of shoe polished windows, all over MY SISTER'S CAR (which was packed and ready for their trip back to Oklahoma today) and our house.

Apparently we weren't the only ones privy to such gifts. I had an upset mom calling me who had similar surprises at her house this morning, thinking it was Bailey who did it, because HER daughter was the one who TP'd and egged our house the previous night. She (the mom) was very embarrassed and apologetic, and I think it took some nerve to call and admit what happened. And then the kids responsible for last night called and fessed up to Bailey. They meant it to be funny. Oh yes, I was laughing HYSTERICALLY while Bailey and I were scrubbing more egg off the concrete.

Kids are stupid. Two mornings spent cleaning up this mess means I've reached my limit. I can take things in good fun as much as the next person, but I'm ready to take Alan's suggestion and hide on the side of the house tonight with the water hose and nozzle set to "jet blast."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What we do for fun

So far we've being doing a little of this:





























And a little of this:














And besides tennis and birthdays and eating a lot of Whataburger and Rosa's, we've gone shopping, played hours of Guitar Hero, and have plans to go swimming today. We need them to stay several more days to get everything in!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Catching up

This week....let's see. A/C broke again. Water heater had to be replaced (ouch). Bailey had oral surgery to have six teeth pulled. So it's been kinda busy. But everything's good and fixed and Bailey recovered easily. Only took one pain pill. The reason that's important (okay, besides the fact that she didn't have much discomfort) is because now we have good drugs in the house. And since I've had a headache every friggin day for the past three weeks, this is exciting stuff!

DeeBee and the kids will be here this afternoon, so we're pumped. Finally Alan won't be the only boy around here. And Bailey's birthday is Sunday, so it'll be really cool to celebrate it with lots of family around. She wants a trampoline by the way. She's 14, so I'm thinking it'll be used for about a year or so.

I have a few things to do before everyone gets here, part of which is making some sweets to fatten us all up over the next week.

Pictures proving my niece and nephews are the coolest are soon to be posted. :-)

Monday, July 16, 2007

To regret or not regret

There are two clear philosophies here. Live life with regrets or not so much? I see a lot of "no regrets" comments on teenage myspace pages, and although I've seen similar comments on my own daughters' pages, I'm not using them as an example here. All walks of life and ages seem to favor a side on this issue.

For me, I'd feel a little arrogant to say I have no regrets. There are plenty of things I have done or words I have said from my teen years until now that I wish I hadn't, or at least wish I would have handled in a different/better manner. And although the main "no regrets" argument is that had you not done or said those things, the circumstances or consequences that followed wouldn't have happened, you therefore wouldn't have learned from them, and maybe life wouldn't have played out the way it did. I understand that argument, but saying I don't regret anything just seems callous. Let's say you can think of several instances where you probably hurt someone's feelings or damaged a relationship or lost someone's trust. I just can't look at situations like that and say, "nope, I sure don't regret treating people like that!"

That being said, there are some cases in which you are part of the cause of someone's grief but you still don't regret it. For instance, I don't regret getting a divorce.

But I do regret not staying in touch with friends, for not always having my priorities in life right, for not putting my girlfriends first in highschool, for not wanting to play more when the girls were little, and definitely for griping out that woman in the Albertson's parking lot. That's the one that'll come back and bite me when I least expect it someday. :-)

There's no right or wrong, just different views. I'm just curious how others feel.

The Gay Desert Queen

That's what Alan calls the passion vine. A few weeks ago I was complaining that caterpillars destroyed our beloved and obnoxious vine, but with a couple treatments of rose bush insecticide, it bounced back in all its prissy glory. Now it's splattered with dozens of these gaudy purple blooms. They are a bit "out there" and appear to be quite proud of their reproductive parts!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Those crazy marathoners

It's been cool lately (finally) to be able to go for a run, and as long as I've done my stretching beforehand and afterwards, not spend the rest of the day wishing I could cut my legs off at the knees. And then there was today. Ouch. This morning's jog has left me with the knees of an 80-year old. Not sure what's going on, but I'm not going to let it stop me either. Not yet anyway.

Alan is about 8-weeks away from his marathon in Albuquerque. Tomorrow he has a 10 or 11 mile run, and every Saturday from now until the race he'll be increasing that amount, with shorter runs on the days in between. Living in Midland, he doesn't have the luxury of having a running group to train with, so this is something he's doing completely on his own. Personally I think that makes this accomplishment all the more impressive. Luckily though, Alan has a couple people he knows that have done this and can offer great advice, particularly Heather who just completed hers in April and won 1st place (I think) in her grouping.

I'm going to tag along to the marathon and do the 5K portion at the end. I can't wait to be standing at the finish line when he crosses. How cool!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

D means Done!

Guess I should post a couple pictures of the finished painting. The first one's the entry, and the second one's a corner where the kitchen, den and living room intersect. Sort of proves my obsession with colored walls. Note the plant stand that hasn't had a plant on it for two years. It's no coincidence that that's also how long we've had Hellcat.

I picked up the phrase "D means Done" from Alan. During college if I had a particularly hard project or test, Alan would always say this to remind me that finishing (passing) something is sometimes more important than the grade. And am I glad this is done!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I've been coloring

When we first got this house, just about every wall was white. After living in an apartment for several years with white walls, I couldn't wait to have color splashed everywhere. Maybe I went a little crazy with the red and gold and green, but I liked it. I decided to change it though, mostly because I grew tired of all the bold and wanted colors a little more subdued and soothing. So I primed and painted over the gold and some of the green in the den with a light neutral and then painted the white walls in the entry, hall, and open pantry the same neutral. Needless to say, I did a lot of painting the last two days. The point was to have a little more continuity throughout the house with the same color on many walls. The end result? The color looks different on every wall.

Almost forgot....this is Junior being helpful as I was rearranging pictures on the floor before deciding where to put them on the wall.



Monday, July 09, 2007

Food: the center of my universe

Sometimes you come across a recipe that you must share with the world. This is macaroni and cheese from HEAVEN by Giada De Laurentiis (Food Network chef and hottie). This is one of those recipes that you should follow exactly and not try to make more healthy. Your family and friends will love you.

By the way, we're back from vacation and I just can't get into blogging mode yet. I'm in a talking slump. Help.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I Spy

While hanging out at the pool yesterday (still in Oklahoma at Joe and Heather's), we saw this:

Monday, July 02, 2007

Back to Oklahoma!

I'm not going to talk about the swimsuit shopping yesterday that would have brought me to tears had I been hormonal. I sucked it up, patted the buddha, and moved on. And I bought workout clothes instead. ;-)

Anyway, there are more fun things to think about right now like VA-CA-SHEE-OWN. Alan and I are leaving this afternoon for Oklahoma to see Joe and Heather for a few days. Frisbee golf, swimming, and maybe a party on Friday - woohoo! Plus, I might get to watch my niece play soccer in the regional finals on Wednesday.

I better start packing.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

It's all relative

I had a couple good runs in the past week and had decided that today I was trying for three miles. I know - doesn't sound like much (the most I've ever run IN MY LIFE is two miles). I really hadn't let my muscles rest enough from the last run, and I had the hardest time finding my pace. But I got to two miles and told myself, "just do this one time and you never have to do it again." That kept me going, and I was able to finish! I really only wanted to do it this one time, but just maybe....four miles some day? Hey, I know - four miles when I turn 40!

Friday, June 29, 2007

La Familia

We celebrated a belated Father's Day with Dale by going out to Dos Comprades last night. It was nice for the six of us to get together again. It's been a while! We should do this regularly.



Not sure how it happened, but I ran again today and actually enjoyed it. No tendonitis pain, no feeling like I'm about to vomit in front of other the walkers, joggers, drivers, etc. I think the key for me is to only do this a couple times a week and walk the rest of the time. Oh, and very cool temps help. Yeah, if I could have those for the rest of the summer, that'd really help me out, thanks.

In other news....Junior wouldn't come in from the garage last night when it was time for bed, so we left him out there. My gardening flip-flops (given that role because they had so many teeth marks in them that I couldn't wear them out in public) were out there and dumbass chewed them. Not only chewed them but actually ate part of one. I had a nice pile of puke and bits of green flip-flop to clean up when he came in this morning. Let's remember that the last time Junior ate a flip-flop, we spent $250 and endured the embarrassment of having our cat FREAK OUT on everyone at the vet's office. And here's Junior right before he bit my arm this morning. No reason.