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.



A week ago this time (December 3, 2014) I was coming home early from having just been laid off from work.  It was the first time in a long time I found myself unemployed and without a plan.  It was/is terrifying and I've had panic attacks every night.  I tried to keep a routine to prevent myself from falling into a nasty spiraling depression.  That's not to say I wasn't depressed because I certainly was.  I was really depressed but I know I get worse so I did whatever I had to to stay out of it.  As I'm a bit of a workaholic by nature (it only stems from guilt from sitting idle or feeling like I'm not being productive), I gave myself projects.  A few of them were things I was working on anyway, like sending Christmas cards.  Others were things I planned to do but stepped it up a notch.  I even volunteered at Lil Bit's school.  I also followed up leads from people about job openings.  Let me take a side bar here to tell you how amazing people are...I give mankind a bad rap but there were/are people coming out of the wood work to help me.  People I haven't talked to in ages reached out to me to offer whatever they could; job postings, hugs, advice, whatever....I was truly amazed at how kind those close to me and even far away could be.  I would hug each and every person if I could, from the person that says, "sucky news" to the person that pretty much did most of the leg work to help me find a new job.  So thank you, any of you that read this...you will honestly never know how much it all meant to me.

A week later, things are looking way up.  Silver linings are sparkling like never before.  This time off allowed me to spend time with my little one; to sew her a dress she's been asking for; I have in fact finished most of the Christmas cards; and my ugly Christmas sweater is mostly done.  But even more great news is that I received a very decent job offer today from a former employer that has asked me to return in the past.  Not being ready to leave the company I had been working at I declined 2 offers from the New Place within the last 3 years.  New Place found out about my termination and extended the previous offer to me (when it seems the could have very well cheated me, they didn't).  So I'm excited to say that I am back in business.  Even better news is that I can continue to take the rest of the year off.  I might add that the only real great thing about being unemployed is the free time.  Seems I get a little of both worlds without the panic attacks.

Now, if you are wondering about the dress...well, Lil Bit has been wanting a wedding dress to play in...so here it is!

Front with veil

Back with veil


20 Years Ago Today

Twenty years ago today I said good-bye to my father for the last time.  Officially, he will have passed away on July 24, 1994 just before one o'clock in the morning.  I said my final farewell the evening before in a sterile hospital room filled with family, no privacy for the matter.  I whispered "good bye"; I gave him a kiss on his lips.  He never responded.  I promptly walked out of the room and stood against the wall until I could no longer stand before sliding down the wall while crying.  A nurse passed by me and made some exclamation along the lines of "poor girl".  She asked me if I wanted a Popsicle.  I have spent many years wondering when my last real good-bye was, the responsive one anyway.  I do not even remember how many days my dad was comatose, but that last real good-bye would have been just before the coma.  I do not remember many of the gritty details anymore; it is probably a good thing.  The only good bye I have to remember was a kiss upon unresponsive lips. 

It was twenty years ago today that my Aunt Jo Ann offered to take my brothers and I to her home for food and rest.  I do not know why I said yes, but I did.  She took my older brother home while my younger brother and I went to her house.  That house...it has seen more tragedy than a home should.  I slept in my cousin Sara's room with her.  Sara, who passed away in that house in January this year, was so kind to me.  My junior by 9 years or so, she refused to let me sleep on the floor.  I would find out that following morning that my dad was gone as my aunt sat next to me on her sofa while gingerly giving me the news.  To be honest, I had known before she even said the words.

It was twenty years ago today that I realized my life would be different.  I had known this time was coming.  This death was from an illness that took its time and crept into my dad for years.  He was 39 when he died.  I knew it was coming.  Nevertheless, until the moment I kissed my dad good-bye, that very last time...it was just another day to get through.  That last time I left the hospital was when I knew things would never be the same.

It was twenty years ago today I said good-bye to him.  I do not know what my life would be like if he were still here.  There is no point in imagining it.  Regardless, it has been twenty years of missing the best parts about my dad.  It has been twenty years of consoling others while saying, "the pain never goes away, but it does get easier" because I actually know.  It has been twenty years of life moving on without him.


PSS Chronicles

I read the PSS Chronicles Ghost Hand and Ghost Hold as a recommendation from my friend Jen.  It is a series of young adult books written by Ripley Patton.  I highly recommend them as well. Ripley Patton grew up in a town near me and has and continues to use Kickstarter to fund  her books.

I had always envisioned the character Marcus with meticulous detail.  I have some ideas of the others though I could always see Marcus clearly.  Tonight I was catching up with television and realized my brain used JD Pardo for Marcus.  It's interesting to see what my brain pulls out the attic.


ASL Calculate

Today I had to look up the ASL (American Sign Language) sign for "calculate".  It spurred mostly from a fleeting thought as I spoke to someone who asked me if I had yet to calculate something.  When she asked me she made a rotational motion with her hands.  Later that day I spoke to someone else and he did the same rotational motion with his hands.  I think I even make that same motion when talking to people.  That fleeting thought turned into a must know; I wondered if ASL's calculate was the same motion we were making with our hands.  It was not...calculate is this:


When thinking about the motion in question I admit that I mostly relate it to a process or perhaps a gear of a machine...so I looked up process as well.  Lo and behold...the motion people have a tendency to make is actually the ASL sign for "process"!



A Study in Jealousy

I admit I am a bit jealous.  You might be able to relate to my plight...

Books take me to worlds and eras I would otherwise be unable to visit.  I sometimes fall in love with the characters and places.  It is the safest form of love because there are no consequences nor expectations, no rejection nor fear.

Many years ago, when I began reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's tales of Sherlock Holmes I was entranced in the stories, falling in love with the characters of Holmes and Watson.  

In recent years, television shows and movies have made Holmes and Watson more popular fellows than they were ever before (this is not to say past shows and movies did not do the same, it merely affected me less).  The stories and characters have drawn Sherlock fans and newbies alike.  At first, I was happy to see this happening; I could share this excitement with the world.  I too enjoy the movies and programs, just as so many others.  As time has gone on though, I have grown jealous and possessive.  Sherlock Holmes and John Watson were MY characters to love.  Others could love them too, but behind the quiet barriers of a book.  Now, everyone is privy to them.  Everyone is privy to "Come at once if convenient; if inconvenient come all the same".

I suppose anyone could relate, he who has ever loved a book to then experience it as a very popular movie.  It is not to say this is a first for me either.  For some particular reason, I am bothered more by this than others in the past.  There is little to do about it so I shall digress while all the while remaining quietly jealous.


Christmas 2013

I had anticipated this Christmas to be the best I have ever had.  Think of all those times as a child that you woke up early, ran to the tree to see the most amazing display of gifts splayed before you…that feeling you had at that moment…that is what I expected times ten.  This is the first year my child would really experience this and I felt like I would experience this too through her eyes.  I expected to have the excitement of sitting around the tree and divvying gifts to family and watching each other open gifts to see the happiness, laughter, and full-on merriment that ensues.

That is not what I got.

I do not want it to seem as though I had a terrible Christmas or that something tragic occurred because neither was the case, it simply didn't meet my expectations, and there lies the rub.

To begin I should note that I have not stuck with many of my Christmas traditions this year.  I did not send out Christmas cards.  I did not decorate the house (aside from the tree and stockings).  I did not do as much baking this year.  We did not go see Santa Claus this year.  However, the traditions I did upkeep have been great: a homemade holiday dress for Lil Bit (her favorite one so far); baking cookies (but this year with my mom too); our newest tradition: Domino’s pizza for Christmas dinner (with a big tip to the driver)! 

I have been in a crabby mood this season because of a combination of things but I have managed to hold myself together.  Giving gifts always makes me a happier person so when I've been down, I've gone out and bought some gifts.  Some game playing with relatives on Christmas Eve cheered me up greatly.  I felt like the culmination of the season would be when my child, now old enough to appreciate the season (or the commercial part of it anyway), would run into the living room, see the gifts & turn to me squealing with delight that Santa left her so many delightful (and beautifully wrapped) packages.

Instead of this delightful vision of the day, Lil Bit awoke at 5:30 AM whining.  The whine signals the start of a 30-minute-minimum inconsolable tantrum.  Distractions would not work, not even the temptation of opening gifts.  Because of her behavior, we did not get to open presents right away (in fact, it was several hours later).  I cried because my dream felt ruined. 

It ended up not being ruined.  She was still delighted with her gifts (even though she asked for a new TV and did not get one she did get a LeapPad that plays LeapPad videos).  She was enthralled with all the gifts that were hers to open and each gift was amazing to her.  Her grandparents came to visit and she squealed with delight at those gifts as well.  I was delighted that the dress I made for Lil Bit was the dress she has wanted to wear the most this season.  Every chance she gets to wear it, she does.  In her mind, it is a princess’ dress.

The most redeeming part of the entire day is when my mom opened her gift from Lil Bit, a mug that had her hand prints on it.  It made my mom tear up and it was the sweetest thing I have seen all season.  I spent the rest of my day playing with Lil Bit's new toys and it was amazing how good it felt; as if everything was in its place and while I did not have the Christmas I expected, I am glad I went along with the one I was given.

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season!