Like Being Back in School

When it happens to be 9:30 pm the night before you owe your child's teacher a party supply sign up sheet and your printer will not print...just draw the damn thing...

Frankly, it looks better anyway.  Stupid printer.




This is all so mundane, but if you really ended up hear to keep tabs, see my last post on why I am doing this...(besides of course, to break the tedium).

This week's activity is to take a photo of something I am grateful for and post it to social media with an explanation, this to be done at least twice this week.  I honestly feel like I could do this a few times a day all week...there's constantly something popping up...but worry not.  I will not be one of those people that posts only around the holidays (every day) on the "I'm thankful for ..." kick.  I like it, but, ugh, yea, enough already.

Of this great list of things many are functional (like heat and clean water) and some are frivolous (like my favorite pink scarf).  I take most all things for granted as we are all prone to do, and I don't know that I can pick any one or two out as THE ones.  I could go the route of saying, "ignore the ones that we should all be grateful for and pick personal things" or I could go big-picture items as in the things no one notices is under their nose until it's gone...so I wonder, do I go with those that so many are without (practical well engineered infrastructure) or silly (Staedtler Lumocolor correctable pen) or even mushy/personal (name of friend here)?

What would you choose?  What thing are you grateful for?

Just a small list I started but probably won't pick from because most of them are too mushy/personal...
  • My ears so I can hear my child's voice (especially when she breaks out into song at some random time (not unlike her mother)); and also so that I can hear music because it honestly puts me in a great mood and so many times more than not, motivates me.
  • My eyes so I can see my beautiful child; and so that I can easily read and drive and function without the inhibitions of blindness.
  • My mom, for which I cannot imagine life.  She's my solace.
  • My lovely bulldog Beastie who lets me hang on her.
  • My gigantic pink calculator, how else would I do my job? (Don't even suggest I do math in my head).
  • My reliable car so that I can go the places I need and want to go.
  • Twitter because honestly it does kill the tedium (and I guess other reasons too).
  • A good book so that I can escape. (this but multiplied to a magnitude of some great number)
  • Certain people who shall remain nameless because it's almost torture to get me to tell someone how much they mean to me unless I can tell them in some stupid comedic manner, let alone announcing it in some public manner which leaves me vulnerable.


Silly Resolutions

If you follow me on Twitter and by any unlucky chance get to read my pointless and mundane tweets you will recall I bought an amazing planner for 2016 that has grid dot paper, 12 month layout with weekly layout, dry erase sheet tucked in nice folder, two stretchy binder bands, 3 ribbon bookmarks....really it goes on . I love this planner. One of the other things this planner has is a set of weekly tasks to perform.  They are wholesome tasks and this week's was to write a letter to at least 3 people that have changed my life in some way and thank them.  I did this and have them ready to be mailed in the morning.  Way to go, right? I won't deny that I feel better for doing it and I completely admit that it feels silly.  This week I even feel vulnerable.  There's just something awkward about this all but I'm going to continue with this to the best of my ability.  So if you see me being mushy or saying something that makes you/me uncomfortable....just know I'm getting this silly resolution done!  It makes me better and is there harm in telling someone how appreciated they are?

I also resolved to continue with my better eating/exercise routine from last year (which rocked), to write more things down perhaps here if not elsewhere, to mail more letters, to clean/unclutter the basement!  Wish me luck!


Story Toys

I'm just going to throw this out there...you want some quality apps for your little one that you can trust to be decent, useful, functional and clean?  Then spend the few dollars to pay for the apps from Story Toys.  Seriously worth it.

This post brought to you by no one but me...I love their new "My Very Hungry Caterpillar" app, thought I should share the loves.



I Hate Change

I've said it, what seems like, a million times.  I do not handle change well.  This past year has really tested me and while I can at least say I'm coming out alive and essentially unscathed (thank my lucky stars)...mentally I am a basket case.

Let's go back to March of 2014.  That isn't when the major changes happened but that's when they started creeping into my life.

March 2014 - I moved from the downtown office location of my then employer to a satellite office.  The new office wasn't bad but it was a change no less.  I liked the people there, I liked the new office, I even managed to handle the longer commute.  In no time I felt adjusted.  I think it might have helped that I had a new friend among coworkers and it smoothed things out for me.

July 2014 - We decide to enroll Lil Bit in preschool.  I have a hard time with this for two reasons...I feel weird about taking her from my sister, who had watched her since I returned to work when she was 3 months old.  I also feel weird because she's growing up and I'm not ready for this.  I'm not ready for the change in life, the change in schedule, the change in her innocence...etc.  You understand if you've ever been there.  It's the last time you'll enroll your baby in preschool...she's no longer a baby, she's a freaking PRESCHOOLER.  It's rough but I think I can do it.

August 2014 - Lil Bit's first day of school; there are festivities the entire week before, events, meetings with the new teacher, school supply shopping, much ado about preschool.  I cried like a baby when I dropped her off and had to turn around and walk away.  Heartbreaking.  I guess the nice thing in terms of change is that it wasn't necessarily a huge change in my schedule as my husband generally took Lil Bit 2 days a week to his parents in the morning and they took her and picked her up from school.  It was significant that she was not at my sister's for 5 days of the week.  But, there was a plus, let me tell you, I have waited ages to take my child (I thought about this even when I did not have a child) school supply shopping.  It, in some ways, got me through this week.

September 2014 - My sister informs me that she's moving to a different state.  I hold it together long enough to leave her house before I sob the entire way home.  She was there for me always...literally, physically there for me.  She consoled me, amused me, cared for my child, and in general was just there for me.  I panic for a bit but then go into "get things done" mode.  I make provisions for my daughter's child care which now means that she's going to Child Care 3 days a week and to the grandparents/school two days a week.  It is a significant change to my schedule but also a significant change in my venting sessions.  If not for my new coworker/friend...it could have gone bad...but I managed through it.  I struggled, felt depressed, came to terms, worked through it, and came out unscathed having finally gotten into a comfortable but revised schedule and routine by the end of October.  I am happy for my sister and her family...it has seemed to work out well for all.

December 2014 - I am laid off from my then employer.  I'm hit hard by this....come home to sob into Riley who sat there staring at me like I was nuts, after all, it was just a job.  This whole ordeal severely depresses me and I keep myself busy with sewing projects and Christmas events and volunteering at Lil Bit's school.  I didn't even read during this time.  Also, December depresses me in general because it's the end of the holiday season when things get packed up and festive decorations come down and we begin the Holiday Doldrums until May.  I really suffer silently through this.  I am fortunate to have found a new (and better in so many ways) job within one week of my lay-off.  I get a month off, essentially paid for, during the holidays to spend with my family, and to do things for my child's school.  In hindsight I see this and think of nothing depressing at all.  Just a lot of change.

January 2015 - I start my new job.  I also start teaching a class two evenings a week at SIUE.  Lil Bit starts taking a dance class.  It's a major adjustment to routine and schedule.  We struggle through but are settled by the end of February.

April 2015 - I decide to start taking care of myself again.  I exercise, I eat well, I take great vitamins (that I even promote to people (Advocare if you are wondering)).  I'm doing well...I feel the best I've felt in a long time.

May 2015 - The most devastating month ever.  Everything feels like it ends in May.  I finished the book series I had been reading since September 2014.  Change to a new book I suppose.  Final exams for my class end the first week in May and while I'm happy for it to be over, it's a change.  Lil Bit's first year of preschool comes to end.  I miss her teacher already.  Again, change.  Dance class comes to an end (the recital was today and Lil Bit doesn't think she wants to dance again...I kind of miss it).  Change.  Despite all this change and adjustment to schedules (even with the beginning of camping season and the opening of the pool, and just things in general) the one thing that is killing me over and over is the loss of Riley.  I miss him and I say it's heartbreaking and sometimes I wonder if that's going to be literal for me because the panic attacks I get thinking of him hurt my heart, and my lungs, and every single part of me as I gasp for breath.  I feel silly acting this way.  He was after all a dog...we expect the loss of them over our lifetime...it wasn't entirely a surprise, though far too soon.  I can't help but break each day as I see something that makes me think of my friend.  It's been the hardest change so far.

I feel ridiculous not being able to handle change.  Ridiculous.  It could be so much worse...trust me, I play the scenarios in my head often.  I'd talk them out but in some ways I've lost some of my best consolation between Riley, my sister, and my coworker/friend.  They listened when they didn't need to and still at least 2 of them do...just not face to face, it makes things a bit harder.  And, looking back to the past, I realize I do get over it; but right now, I just feel.....ridiculous, lousy, panicky, and lost just to name a few.  I hate this feeling.  I just go everyday for as long as I can and when the feeling overwhelms me, and it does, I just let it wash over me so I can get back up and move on out of the sludge as best as possible.  And hopefully, in a few months, when a million more changes have come at me...maybe I can look back to now and say, "If I made it through that, I will make it again"...and if not, I guess I should go school supply shopping?

In any case, it feels good to have gotten this off my chest.  Thanks world for listening.  My heart goes out to a few of my friends suffering through their own things.  One friend T. lost his long time girlfriend to a peculiar medical incident which leaves him and her entire family mourning the loss of a very special young woman.  My friend K. is losing her dad and while I wish there was something I could say to her to ease the pain...I can only just sit here and be ready to hug her when she needs it.  Lousy feeling indeed.  My friend C. lost a niece tragically in a car accident this week and her sister is struggling to stay alive...I've been thinking of them often.  And to a woman I only know professionally, I hope to never know your pain of losing a child.  Her son died this week, age 27, while exercising.  He was in generally good health.   Life is so fragile, I try to remember that this crappy feeling of mine could be trumped with real sadness of fear in the blink of an eye.  Hug those you love, tell them you care....never let a crappy mood get you so down you miss the good things.


RIP Dear Riley

I'm extremely, extremely, extremely, heartbroken today at the loss of Riley, my pal and provider of solace.  Ri was an amazing dog (perfect really), a loving friend, and all around great and gentle creature; there are too many wonderful and funny things to say about him but I want to be selfish and keep them all to myself for now.  I want to hang onto the few sacred things that made him mine.  I also don't think I can get the words out...spoken or written.  He's everywhere with me...from my mouse pad, to my computer desktop screen, and the fur clinging to my clothes...and while he isn't here now to give me comfort which he did so well I hope these remnants of him (which are painful at the moment) continue to remind me how lucky I was to have had him in my life and warm my heart.

The whole family as well as our now lonesome bulldog Bella, miss him greatly and life will certainly be different without him.  It will be hard to walk into the house today and not see that beautiful friend.  Rest in peace Bubby.  My heart aches without you.


Students Must Get Bored Without Toys

For those unaware, I have been on occasion teaching a class or two at a local university that is also my alma mater (I guess I've officially been accepted as faculty because lo and behold I've even been listed on their website).  I had some business to take care of at school yesterday so after my day job, I picked Lil Bit up from her grandparents' house and we headed to school.  She was eager to see where I taught as she understood I was a teacher of big kids.  (She has made her own declaration that she wants to one day be a teacher, but a teacher of small kids and not big kids).

We walked over to the new Art Building where I hold class and looked at the classroom...a large room with stadium style desk seating and a large white board and projector screen at the front of the room.  We walked in and she looked around; I could see the disappointment on her face.  She had formed her opinion of the room and that was that, she was ready to go.

Later that evening as we were preparing for bed she asked me, "where do they put the toys?"  I asked her what toys she was talking about and she clarified that she was asking about the toys for my classroom, inquiring, "don't the big kids get bored?"  I laughed, of course they do...that's why they play on their phones half the class.  I mentally took a step back and looked at my classroom through the eyes of a four year old whose experience with school was preschool, a place where there isn't an inch of space not covered in a colorful and fun manner.  I told her that my kids didn't get toys in school...she couldn't hide the unmistakable expression of sympathy on her face.  She promptly spoke up and said, "I'll sell you some of my toys so the big kids can have something play with at school."  I again had to laugh, it was such a sincere and kind thought (and have I not already paid for those toys?). I of course told her it was a good idea and she should tell me which toys I could buy.  She pondered and decided she couldn't really part with many of them and said, "I can sell you one toy and the big kids can share!"  In the end though, she decided she couldn't part, just yet, with any of her toys and the big kids will just have to be bored...but I have always heard it is supposed to be the thought that counts.