Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Being Married to a Man

Shameful confession: I listen to Dr. Laura every day on my way from my school to the monkeys' school to pick them up. I don't know if that is the kind of thing one can go around admitting in public, even before she started all this recent nonsense. I mean, she has historically had some helpful things to say--there was a time when The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands did a little bit of help for my broken marriage... but then that was before we separated and realized that our problems were bigger than me needing to give E more compliments every day.  It took more than a book from a cranky Skeletor lady to fix what was wrong with us.

Anyway, I digress.  Dr. Laura ain't the most popular gal in town lately--and let's be clear that this post has nothing to do with aligning myself with her ideology.  Not that it matters much to me anyway as I choose my afternoon listening from parking lot to parking lot.  I listen to it because nothing else is on talk radio from 2:15-2:30 PM and I'm too lazy to change the station from the morning.  I listen to it because I have a junkie-like obsession with other people's lives (duh--blog fan) so it feeds my addiction in between sessions with my beloved Google Reader.

But Dr. Laura, she loves to tell people that they didn't marry a man. You know the type, the women who complain that their husband won't storm into the principal's office to deal with some issue their kid is having, or the wives of wimpy guys who won't step up and make a decision or be an active father.  Dr. Laura is happy to berate any ol' sad housewife who calls by telling her that her man is a Grade-A Wimptastic Metrosexual Namby-Pamby Momma's Boy.  She's so mean sometimes.

But it's pretty clear I married a man, for better or worse.  He might not have been one yet when he proposed that April evening in 1999 (we were 20 and 19), but I knew from about 1997, on, that he would be one eventually, and that I wanted to be there once he was.  (I think it's here!  Man time!) Sometimes the man-ness (man-ity? Ha!) frustrates me, as when he doesn't think the way I'd dream about him thinking.  This Sunday he asked me to go for a Harley ride with him to look at houses out in the country.  An outing!  Gasp!  Romance!  Sweep me off my feet, E, my heart shouted.  But as soon as he learned that I wasn't feeling up to taking the bike, he announced we might as well bring along the kids.  See, that's a man thing.  No need to "waste a babysitter if we are just taking the car."   Man thought.  He's thinking about practicality, I'm thinking about "alone time" with big puffy pink hearts and I'm drawing our initials together on my notebook.  HP + EP FOREVER.  Know what?  We had a lovely drive anyway and lots of good talking.  The kids were there; it was not bad at all.  Our kids are great.  Man thinking equals pragmatic thinking.

When it really comes down to it, I want him to think like a man.  So this is why I have girl friends who think like girls and want to do girl things.  My friend Cheryl once told me (and I'm paraphrasing) that her mom said don't expect any one person in this world to meet all your needs.  She was right.  And the circle is complete because Dr. Laura (in all her infinitely politically incorrect glory) was right about this one thing about being married to a man.  It's how I really want it to be.  Dr. Laura just might be a whackadoodle, but in this area I find her sentiments to be kind of apt.  It's easy to fall into a pattern of expecting people to think like you do--and for me that means I sometimes don't expect E to be in the man zone.

He's a pretty great man, you know.  I came home this afternoon and found that he and his father (also a real man, as is my own dad) had made a hole in my ceiling and installed a ceiling fan and overhead light fixture.  Then they put holes in the wall by the TV and installed wall sconces.  Amazing.  I like it when he builds stuff, plain and simple.

Heidi Klum marvels at all the man work in my house.

Can you feel the breeze?  It's positively arctic.

The gleam in E's eye this afternoon as he navigated the attic ladder and snaked wires through walls was worth a hundred hours of "alone time."  Seeing him happy--happy with work, and now happy with being handy, adding to our home--makes me happy.  In the long run it's probably better for how we get along anyway.  (Plus I know now that he knows I'm thinking some of that QT is on my mind and maybe it might be a good thing if we had some soon.)  It "fills his bucket" as Henry would say, to build things and to work with his hands.  His job is allowing him to make friends and use his amazing brain and do all manner of mental man things.

So even though I didn't grade one paper in the four-packet stack of essays on the table, even though I didn't get to go to the grocery store tonight because payday comes one day later than I planned, even though the dog is laying at the end of my couch and stinking up the room to high heaven, the night has come to a satisfying close.  E has finally settled in next to me and he's managing the remote like it's his job.  The fruits of his labor are cooling the air and lighting the room with a gentle yellow glow.  I definitely married a man, and I lurrrrrve him.

Monday, August 30, 2010

iPhone Pics from this Week

Bike ridin' at Tata's (Lis') House

Taking pics when Mommy isn't looking

Build A Bear with Grandma

Tata and the boys

Roo waiting her turn

Chinese food before a Sunday country drive

Somehow Roo got really old looking...?

My boys!  So handsome even when they're weird.

Hard to read, but it says
"Soon, a visitor shall delight you."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Accidental 11.8

2 hrs 29 minutes
11.81 miles
Average pace: 12:37/mi

So, I'm still not fast but I have a lovely sense of accomplishment.

I intended to get back on track yesterday with a really long (for me) long run. Since I hadn't kept up my end of the bargain with myself this week and I'd slacked on the morning runs, I wanted to get out and clear my head and spend that quality alone time that happens when I find myself 5 or 6 miles from home and the only way to get back is me.

It felt like I loaded myself down with lots of stuff, but I was adamant that I needed enough fuel and water with me that I wouldn't bonk and walk the second half. I took some Gu-s (which I can finally stand) and my new pepper spray. As always I tucked a Chapstick into my pocket too. The first quarter of my run went by pretty quickly. I'm realizing that just paying attention to my turnover and posture is making me actually run faster for the first time in my life. It's hard to remember to keep my weight forward, especially since my favorite part of running is the scenery, but when I remember it makes a big difference. (What I mean by that is ordinarily I get distracted looking around and my chin goes up and my weight goes back into my heels, resulting in a slower pace.) But yesterday I wasn't even thinking I'd be fast, really, so I didn't force it. For my money it feels like anything I have to do for more than two hours needs to be enjoyable.

As I rounded the corner and turned down the main street of our town, I got the "on stage" feeling that must be left over from dancing. I always run better when I think people are watching. I know that's idiotic, but I always get it in my head that someone I know is going to see me walking and think "oh yeah, sure she runs" so I tend to walk less when I'm on a big street like that. I crossed the freeway at about three miles, and even though it makes me woozy to look down at the cars that zoom underneath the overpass, I made it across just fine. It wasn't until about mile four that I started to get a bit tired. I took a walk break for a good three minutes or so, and it made a big difference.

Somewhere between mile four and five I chose my side of the street poorly, and I ended up in an area where there's a field but no sidewalk. Great. I plowed through weeds and took my headphones out so I could hear cars as they whizzed past. I tried hard to be alert and not to do anything stupid. I was almost to my grandma's house--a planned stop to refill water bottles and use the bathroom. Luckily Gram was home so I had a nice stop, then it was back on the road.

Here's how this became an accidental 11.8 instead of 11 miles, as I'd planned. From my grandma's house there's a U-shaped loop with both ends opening up to another main boulevard. When I mapped my run I played around with going either direction to see how much mileage it would add. I couldn't remember which I chose, so as I was running I picked the farthest one. It turns out I intended to run down the closest one. So I added another .8 miles to my run, unknowingly. The remainder of the run was uneventful, but I did find myself in another wrong-side-of-the-road situation at about mile 9. Picking my way through dry weeds didn't really do a lot for my energy level, either. By that point I was getting really sore.

One of the interesting things to me about distance running is how different the pains seem to be depending on how long I've been running. When I started out yesterday I had some tightness in my left shin, but that was gone by mile two after I got warmed up. It was my shoulder that was bothering me from about mile 5, on--the result, I think, of a too-tight racer-back top and sports bra that were cutting into my already bad shoulder. But for the last almost three miles, my feet just felt sore. I'm not used to being on them that long. My hip flexors and the sides of my hips just felt like they'd done enough work for now, thank you very much. By mile 10 I just wanted to get home. I kept doing short bursts of running interspersed with shorts bursts of walking--but I knew the more I walked the longer it was going to take.

I'll admit that even though I had it in my head that I don't need to be fast on long runs (especially if it's my first time running a distance, as it was yesterday) that I got to a pretty negative place once I was tired. I was mad that I had to walk so much near the end, and even though I didn't have the GPS on, I was estimating how long it was taking me to run these 11 miles and I was frustrated. It wasn't until I got home and checked the map I'd made that I saw I made a mistake and ran more distance than I thought. Lesson here? I need to lighten up. I was pretty excited to see my neighborhood, then my street, then my front lawn. I came inside and I was so tired I asked Addie to help take my shoes off. I downed a glass of chocolate milk in about 3 seconds. I soaked in the bathtub, too tired even to stand and shower. Last night the tightness in my legs was pretty bad, but today they feel sore but manageable. In about an hour I'm heading out for a walk to get some of the tightness out of my muscles. Looks like it's a beautiful day outside, too.

So there you go. I meant to run 11, I ran near 12. And now my legs are pretty pooped.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

5 Places I Love in my State (100 Loves Post #4)

My apologies for missing a week last week. I was otherwise engaged (read: unable to type with my gimpy finger). But I'm back, beezies. Back with more things I love. I know, the suspense was killing you. As usual, feel free to join in on the fun, post a link in the linky thing, or post your own list in the comment section. KTHXLUVYABYE.

Today is all about favorite places in my state. From time to time I dream of wide open spaces or living somewhere that's not going to fall off into the ocean if there's a giant earthquake, but I can't say I'd really rather live anywhere else. There's so much diversity in California (not just of people, I know that's where your mind went) but of place, of climate, of scenery. You can find just about everything here. I had a hard time narrowing down my five, but I'll try to stick to that so this post doesn't go on forever.

My five favorite places in the state (in no particular order):

1. San Francisco

San Francisco was not on my list until a few years ago, but traveling there with the kids has changed my mind. I didn't visit the city all the time as a kid--maybe once every few years to go to a Giants' game or to take out-of-towners to see touristy stuff. I like the touristy stuff, but I didn't feel confident enough to venture anywhere else out of the ordinary since I'm map-challenged. In high school I had the chance to take touring company members from Ballet Magnificat into SF with my dance friends' families, and that was wonderful. But even though San Francisco is about as close as the Sierras, I didn't visit on a regular basis. K took me and my friend Carlos our senior year and I got my first peek at the MOMA. I liked the city by then, but timidly--I didn't feel like I knew what I was doing when I was there. It was so foreign to me. But it was seeing the city through Hank and Roo's eyes that changed my view. And, truthfully, GPS has done wonders for my confidence. Going with the monkeys has meant trying to find new things to do, and I find that since I feel more comfortable there, I want to go back more often. I feel like there are a million things left there that I want to see and do.

Previous Posts on San Francisco:
E and I take the monkeys for the first time
For Roo's Birthday present, I make her a SF Journal
We go back for Roo's 7th Birthday

2. Disneyland

Does this make me cliche/immature/obnoxious? I DON'T CARE. I love Disneyland. Love, love, love, love, love. Want to go? I'm there. I'll go with anybody, anytime. My favorite is to be there with the monkeys and/or my husband/mom/dad/sister/aunts/uncles/grandparents, though, since we all feel about the same. It is a little more challenging for me to be there with people who don't really like it, but I've done it and it's preferable to not going. I blogged about D-Land before and how it amazes me each time I go that there are so many tiny details about that place that are as familiar to me as places in my hometown. I'm just at home there and there's something about the "magic" of the entire thing being a show that just lights up my little inner performer's heart. I don't care if it's one big scheme to make money, it's a good one. Disneyland is a place that I've definitely traveled to on a regular basis in my 31 years. I've been fortunate enough to go for school about six (seven?) times. I have it down to a system when it comes to chaperoning (so much responsibility for other people's children! I don't play around). I basically want to be there all the time. So when are we going next, huh? I'm totally down. Just let me know.

Previous posts on Disneyland:
Pictures of Roo in her "A"

3. Placerville/ Diamond Springs

I'm fortunate enough to visit this area regularly and though I also wouldn't have said I loved the foothills before adulthood (they're so brown and dry!) I have developed an affection for California's foothills along Hwy 50. I especially like the little back roads that seem to be the same as they've been forever. I can picture them generations back being nearly the same as they are now, and I love that. I feel like time slows down when we visit here. I am sometimes a little reluctant to put down my life and go, but I'm always glad I do when I can sit on my in-laws' front porch and watch the silent flight of birds or hear the whisper of the trees. There was a time when E and I saw ourselves moving there, but I don't think that is meant to be anymore. I do think that for the rest of our lives we'll see that as a place of rest and family, and that makes me happy.

Previous posts about Placerville:

4. San Luis Obispo/ Pismo Beach

A quick search of my blog this morning revealed that I have exactly ZERO posts about SLO. What? Okay, that's something I shall have to remedy. (*Nods to "Braveheart"-Mel Gibson before he turned into crazy-Mel Gibson.*) Seriously, this is a defining place in my relationship with E. As I have blogged about before, he went to Cal Poly, SLO while I went off to UCDavis after our senior year of high school. I used to drive down to visit him, so we spent many a weekend being poor and eating out of the cafeteria. V.G.s, or "the Veeg" for short. I had my first Jamba Juice there and I thought it to be something so fancy at the time. We got engaged there, atop Cuesta Ridge. Cuesta Ridge is probably one of the coolest places in the state. Just as you drive over the last hill and descend into the city of SLO, there's a turnoff that goes up to the top of the ridge. From the top you can see Pismo Beach on the left and Morro Bay on the right with the town of San Luis Obispo nestled in between the two. It's gorgeous, and one night right at sunset almost 11 years ago, E nervously asked me to marry him there. I think I need to do a post on this ASAP. When I'd visit him at school we'd usually go to the beach at Pismo or get clam chowder at the Splash Cafe. I loved the college atmosphere of the town and how much it seemed like there was to do within such a close distance. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

Previous posts about SLO:
None yet :(

5. Partington Cove/ Big Sur

I guess you could say I feel some kind of kinship with this place, though I've only been there once. It's as though I share some kind of connection to it. Hmm... funny. Wonder what that's all about. Seriously, kids, this is a cool place. It's the first hike I've ever taken on an unmarked trail. It felt like it was a secret, trying to discover where it started with our internet instructions. E was all about going to hike it because he thought it might offer clues to his pirate ancestry. Who doesn't love some good pirate fantasies? In addition to being an easy hike to what felt like a really secluded and mysterious place, the drive through Big Sur to get there was breathtaking (and I mean that in the sense of its beauty and in the sense that the cliffs of Hwy 1 made me white-knuckle it and hold my breath most of the way there). I'd really like to go back and hike in the opposite direction to Partington Ridge someday.

Previous posts on Partington Cove:
Partington Cove

This fall I'm writing about 100 Things I Love, a little bit at a time. Join in on the fun by commenting here with your own loves, tweeting with #100Loves, or by posting on your blog and linking up.

What are 5 places in your state that you love?

Friday, August 27, 2010

A letter to myself:

Dear H,

Will you please for the love of Zehnder's Oreo frozen yogurt with peanut butter cup topping tell me what's going on with you this week? Remember running? Remember that? Hey, and keeping your house clean? Um... not so much this week, apparently. You started off the year like gangbusters, and are you really going to tell me that today you skipped a morning run just because you "didn't feel like it?" Not cool, Partington. Not cool.

But let's talk about what you did do this week. You've shown so much initiative elsewhere. Lunch-making and dinner-making? Wonderful. (Your first attempt at chicken curry last night was not to shabby.) I'm pleased that you've eaten well all week and that between you and E you've managed to get it together and make a green smoothie every morning. Your scale is thanking you ("run for fitness, eat for weight loss"--or in this case, just overall health), and I'm pretty proud of you for your packed lunches. They're like a little love letter to yourself every day at 11:09. So you can be proud of those things. Food is love, man. Your kids had something to eat for every meal and most of it was healthy. In my book that's a win.

I also see how hard you're trying at school. I know to some people two weeks in might seem like it's not so far into the school year to be feeling wrung-out, but you know the truth and you're still workin' your tail off. You know the fatigue that sets in after the first week, the aching feet, swollen legs and throbbing neck pain of the all-day-stander-upper. You know how those kids look at you like you're from Mars just because you're on the other side and they don't know you yet. But you're hanging in there, P. That's something. It seems like you're making a difference--only time will tell, but the kids are falling in line exactly as they're supposed to. Well, most of them. Maybe some of them will actually learn something this year--small victories--even if it's just learning how not to act like a whirling dervish in a classroom, you know you'd be happy.

But we do need to talk about balance. Even with an early bedtime every night this week, even though you've been diligent in your resistance training, you've been slacking on the morning running. Exhaustion, nerves about the dark, and lack of motivation have gotten the better of you. Maybe time to re-evaluate your goals? Maybe running another half marathon is good enough not to warrant the use of phrases like "good enough." Maybe it's just good. Hey, you had one of your best runs ever on Monday morning. Maybe it's not about ridiculous amounts of mileage for you right now, just good clean fun and fitness. Maybe you should scrap the idea of "training" altogether and just be a healthy person with no finish line. Maybe that's what you should do. These are things you should think about. You love running, but you don't love guilt. It's time to examine your goals and make sure they're a recipe for positive self-affirmation and not guilt and shame when you can't reach them.  It's time to think about your fitness in terms of daily joy rather than a finish line.  You've spent some time thinking about that as a life philosophy before.

You need to walk more, too. When you were walking this summer, you were a lot happier. Being outside is awesome. You always like it, and you love it when you're fortunate enough to have company. I know that the hours after school each night are precious and I know that you generally negate a few of them by passing out in exhaustion after the kids do their homework. But I think your soul would be happier if you did take the time to get out there and just move. You know it makes you more likely to run, too. And for Pete's sake go buy some pepper spray so you don't have an excuse to hide in fear on the mornings when the big scary dark looms outside your door. You'll thank me.

Overall, you can be proud of what you're doing. Priorities are lined up, but now habit needs to kick in. If you can bring some of the planning and energy to your exercise routine that you have set up for the kids (and for cooking) you'll be glad. The housework will get done this weekend--it's time to just let that go. But everyone at your house knows they're loved and you and E have navigated another week successfully. Plus--hey--payday is about to happen; that's never a bad thing.

Take care,

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Are tests biased against students who don't give a sh*t?

My friend Anne sent this to me today.


But so FUNNY.

In The Know: Are Tests Biased Against Students Who Don't Give A Shit?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Anatomy of a lunch

I used to hate making lunches. I barely ever did it. The first few years of teaching, if I wasn't eating out I was eating Ramen noodles. Healthy! As we've adapted to E's diet and to some of the more nutritious changes (and some money-saving changes) we've made to out general diet over the past year, we've gotten more home lunch-friendly... and I love packing lunches! I also like knowing as I round the corner of the end of 3rd period that there's something healthy and yummy waiting for me. Somebody thought enough about me to make me a lunch. Even though that somebody is me, it's still a pretty good feeling.

It does take me a while to get the lunches done, though. We all have specific needs and preferences. E has the longest day, so he needs the most food. He's also got the strictest diet and though I can't stick to it all the time--especially in times like these when it's the end of the month and we're out of GF bread--but I try to make the next best thing and stay away from his worst foods like dairy. Henry only needs a snack for now, but he hasn't been too fond of daycare lunch so I've been beefing up his snack every day. Roo needs snack for snack recess and enough food for lunch to get her through her afternoon. I am trying to work in as much fresh stuff for me as I can, and I'm trying not to eat meat for lunch when I can in an effort to stretch my lunch imagination a bit and try to think of more creative ways to get in the produce. You can imagine this process takes a while, about a half hour. I thought I'd share it with some lousy iPhone pics.

Lunch bags, all lined up. From left to right: me, E, Hanko, Roo.

Even a PB&J isn't simple. Ordinarily E'd get Gluten-free bread, but as I said, we're out. Kids get peanut butter, he gets almond butter. Everybody gets Momma's homemade strawberry and blackberry jam. (I don't do any of this neatly, either.)

Peaches from Grandpa, pears from our CSA. Fruit salad for everyone.

My salad. Grandpa's tomatoes, CSA peppers and cukes, leftover "orange fries" (baked sweet potatoes) from dinner, mushies, red leaf lettuce. YUM.

Topped off with some garbanzos and an egg. Yes, an egg. I know everyone's in panic mode over eggs. I've been watching the list carefully and none of the cage-free organic variety have shown up. So it appears I can keep egging it up. Eggy McEggerson, with a bit of homemade vinaigrette.

All set to pack!

Mine: apple and almond butter snack, fruit salad, regular salad, Ghiradelli chocolate square.
E's: mixed nuts, corn chips (Gluten-free!), fruit salad, AB&J, apple and almond butter snack, chocolate square.
Henry's: half PB&J, Annie's cheddar bunnies
Roo: PB&K, cheddar bunnies, fruit salad, chocolate covered raisins for dessert.

Re-usable water bottles for all...

Now wasn't that an exciting peek into our lunch bags? What are you packing for lunch tomorrow?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Proud Mama

I need to brag on my boy a little. It's shamefully annoying of me. Apologies, but I'm feeling a little Mama Bear tonight.

The secret to our success as parents? Video games. Mario. Luigi. Toad. Link. These admirable figures taught my son to read, or at least gave him the motivation to learn to do so on his own.

This afternoon we had a meeting at Henry's school to discuss his Kindergarten pre-assessments. The teachers test the kids each year before they come in to figure out where they start. We knew, as all parents probably feel they do, that Henry was special. We knew he was smart and capable. We also knew that he was reading above grade level; at our orientation he sat and read all 100 or so "sight words" that the kids were to read by the end of the year. A quick glance of the standards gave me the impression that he could already do most of them. But I will be the first to admit that I can teach a high school kid about organizing an essay, but I don't know beans about how someone learns to read. I had no idea what my (and E's) instincts about Henry meant. Since I'm in education I didn't want to be "that" parent. I didn't want to march in and demand some kind of special challenges for my little snowflake, because teaching has given me a little bit more perspective. I know better than to think that my little man is unique. I know even better that teachers need to just be trusted to do their jobs without parents interfering.

Well perspective be damned, apparently. Henry's amazing. (Though I need to mention we didn't interfere here and this was strictly teacher-instigated.)

I knew anecdotally that he was probably doing more than he needed to before kindergarten, but as I said--not as a result of anything E or I have done with him, and I didn't know the specifics or if there were gaps in his knowledge. Today I got to see pages and pages of assessments, skills checked off and words and figures that Henry handled with ease. It's funny. We killed ourselves with Addie, trying to make her learn everything in the years between diapers and her first lunch pail. We wanted so badly for her to be ready for school. While happy to write, sit and talk for hours, or listen to us read a book, she didn't really show much specific interest before she started off to school. In a heartbeat, Kindergarten changed her life. She was reading in months and she was soaking up knowledge like a sponge. And she has taken to school like a fish to water. She loves it and she's so smart. So with Buddy we decided not to stress about it. But ironically, he just... learned on his own.

I realize the implications here. Video games do not an excellent parent make. But for this particular kid, the right combo of wildly literate parents, a sister who likes to play school and is happy to help share knowledge, and yes--those video games--has meant that our little Hanko marched off to Kindergarten with more than a backpackful of knowledge. His assessments were wonderful--he tested beyond Kindergarten in reading and math. His teacher had to keep pulling out new assessments since he was blasting through everything she had for him. There it was in our meeting--hard evidence. We were so proud we didn't know what to say.

In reality, though, he's still a Kindergartner. I'm glad that everyone at the meeting today--Vice Principal, two Kindergarten teachers and one first grade teacher (who happens to be his grandma) was on the same page about what was going to be best for our little man. Everyone wants to make sure he's challenged, but also wants him to enjoy the blessings that are a Kindergarten experience. And he needs Kindergarten. E and I talked after we got home and we love our sweet boy--we don't want to push him beyond where he is right now because he already won't be there for long. Kindergarten is a gift.

So we came up with a plan where Henry's going to be a most-of-the-time Kindergartner and a sometime-attending-class-with-the-first-graders-er. I think it's the best thing for his brain and his soul. He'll go to first grade for reading in the morning, come back to K for the rest of their day, and then go back to first grade for math. He still needs work on some things that Kindergartners need work on--handwriting, learning about school, being a part of a class--and that's why he's right where he should be. We called him in at the end of the meeting to tell him about his new schedule and he's so proud. (And we checked in with Miss Roo big time about this tonight as well... don't want her feeling like something is wrong with her because this is what Buddy is going to do.)

So I guess you could say I'm having a good day. I know I didn't really do this (other than in a breeding capacity--though I have to say Henry's Exhibit B in the case to be made for our combined gene pools really knocking it out of the park... ew, way to many metaphors there. Anyway...) I'm happy. And I'm happy that he's not going to be the weird kid but he gets to stay in K with his homies and his loving, sweet teachers, and he gets to go to learn some extra things which I know is going to rock his socks right off.

That + a warm night and a sunset in the backyard? Good times, internet. Good times.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Food Processor: 2, H and E: 0

E just cut his finger on the same food processor disc that sent me to the emergency room the other night. True Story. He's wandering around muttering something about "Satan's Food Processor..." (He's okay--his was only a flesh wound. And there was much rejoicing.) What is with us? More importantly, what is with this food processor? Someone should make a movie about it. In a world... where basil innocently sleeps in its bed...

(See what I did there? Nerd.)

Today was another in a smudge of blurry/productive days. I'm spending lots of time wondering when time will slow down at school than I am actually able to relax and catch my breath at school. Did that even make sense? I guess all that wondering's taking place in the hours outside of my contract time, like on my run and in the shower and while I spread peanut butter on what already feels like the 800th PB&J for school lunches. While I'm at work it feels like I hit play and suddenly it's 2:07, off to pick up the monkeys as fast as I can. I enjoy my students so far but the beginning of the year always has a little bit of leftover high school (student) awkwardness for me. I never quite feel at home until they talk to (and/or like) me a little bit--too much of the familiar nerd sting. I am, however, able to use tons of ideas that I got from the workshop I attended this summer, and I feel like the collaboration I had with my friends (at the same time) has given me fresh energy for the start of the year. Having a student teacher makes me second guess everything I do (will it be observation-worthy?) and I think that's a good thing as well.

So I'm being a good(-ish?) teacher these past two weeks, but it's kicking my butt because I'm not used to it. My butt still thinks it's on summer vacay. Forget running and P90X workouts at night, I'm getting a full workout just from standing in my heels all day. I feel like it's the Mrs. P show all the time, and I look forward to future episodes starring more of the young minds of the classroom and less of my droning on, dry-mouthed and nervously laughing at my own dorky jokes. Nobody knows it's okay to laugh at me yet, so it's like performing to a room of coma patients.

I'm doing well with my morning runs and I'm on a salad-for-lunch bender that's really something. My eating habits have changed so much in the past year--for the better. (No soda in such a long time. Amazing!) I really enjoy all the fresh produce we have around right now so it's making me happy to eat well; it doesn't feel like punishment, it feels like something special. I think that's working because I feel like I'm in good shape right now too. So anyway, the running--I had a little blip on the training schedule with last week's injury, but I was back this morning and I had the best run I've had (ever? in a long time?) since I can remember. I only had to run 3 miles, but I was feeling faster than normal and I ran them at about a 9:51 average pace. Allow me the indulgence of a celebration... For a 13:00 or 12:00 min/mile kind of girl, this is like winning the Olympics. I'm getting more comfortable being out in the dark and early dawn, so I think that helped too. Good run.

The monkeys went tonight to see Despicable Me with E's aunt, so I had some time to myself. I wish I could say I did something exciting or indulgent, but I don't honestly know what I did. I guess I made dinner. So there's that. Right before he left, Henry told me he was "praying to Santa for a new iPod." I told him there were so many things wrong with that, I wasn't even sure where to begin. Kids.

I thought I had 5 miles to do tomorrow, but I learned a few minutes ago that it's really 6. We'll see how I feel about that in the morning. I think that may be pushin' it for amount of miles I can fit in before work. If I knew I could count on myself to do them as fast as today, it would be no problem, but I always try to over-estimate the time so I'm not late. Mornings are sacred and I need time to ease myself in... since I don't get time after school I try to protect that quiet work time before the kids get there.

So that's about it for the night. I'm hanging out with Marms watching The Daily Show, wishing that there were new shows on but also kind of glad they're not there to distract me from my early sleep time. Maybe I'll go read some more of Native Son. Now there's a plot you want swimming around in your head when you're trying to sleep.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Where I've Been, or: Finger Pesto is Never a Good Idea

Any illusions I had about being a tough girl are completely shattered.  But I'll get to that in a second.

Where the heck have I been all week?  The answer is unable to type and completely frustrated.  I was having the best first week of school ever--all of my careful planning and arranging ahead of time meant I was exercising, we were eating healthful and delicious meals, and everyone's homework was done.  I was looking forward to Wednesday night because it meant pizza night, and I'd get to make my new favorite, chicken pesto pizza.  E'd smoked a chicken on Sunday night and I couldn't wait to taste it with pesto from the garden and some manchego I picked up at the store.

We got home after school and all was normal; the monkeys started in on homework and handing papers to me.  I went out in the backyard and picked almost all of the leaves off my basil plant.  Fortunately basil is one of the two things left growing in my yard (Hurley seems to have no interest in herbs or tomatoes).  I picked two cups worth and came inside.  I set my mise en place of olive oil, basil, garlic, almonds and pecorino Romano.  I took out the pizza dough I thawed the day before.  I lugged the new food processor, replacement for my broken birthday appliance, over to the counter so I could watch TV and prep.  Carefully and mindfully I opened the storage container--I'm so afraid of cutting myself that I'm always conscious when I handle the blades.  I proceeded to lift them out carefully by their inner plastic rings... and then my hand slipped, my left index finger finding its way into a blade of the disc.  I didn't know the disc I was lifting was double-sided, and I found out the hard way.

My first thought was that I was just a big dope, cutting myself as I always do.  Mom's voice sounded in my head and I did what all mothers tell you to do when you're hurt: go run some cold water on it.  The cut was quick and clean and I honestly didn't feel it at first.  But as I looked into the sink and saw the rouge of a more serious injury, I decided it was time to upgrade this situation from a cold water I to a strictly Band-Aid II.  Into the kids' bathroom I sprinted and applied one of the only non-cartoon bandages.  Only the blood didn't stop.  It seemed like it got worse.

At this point I feel like I must interject to tell you that I believed myself to have a high enough tolerance for pain or physical mutilation.  One of my dancers once dislocated her kneecap in front of me and I sat with her until the paramedics came.  I've seen kids get hurt at school and I go into Mama Bear mode--cuts, broken bones, head injuries...  I don't flinch at barf or poop or anything else gross that comes out of my own kids.  But for whatever reason on Wednesday night, the sight of the blood that I couldn't stop from flowing out of my own finger made my world close in a little.  I got the ringing in the ears and the tunnel vision that are a telltale sign of imminent fainting.  Like a complete fracking BABY.

My first thought was that I needed to abandon the silliness of water and Band-Aids and treat this like a real injury.  Apparently it wasn't going to just clot up and stop on its own.  My mind flashed to my required CPR/First-Aid classes and I realized I needed to get some pressure on the wound and I needed to get myself into a position where if I did pass out, I wouldn't knock my head or fall on a hard floor.  To the couch I went and wrapped my Band-Aided hand in a towel.  By then it started to hurt pretty bad and I started to feel queasy.  I called Ad into the room and I told her Mommy might fall asleep and that if she couldn't wake me up, she needed to call 911 and Daddy.  I kept making her repeat my instructions to me and tell me E's phone number.  I wasn't so worried about the finger--when you see the pictures, you're going to laugh--but the thought of them seeing me unconscious (no matter what the reason) made me afraid it would scare them.

Ad was such a great little nurse.  She sat with me in between checking on her brother and brought me a bowl in case I barfed (!) I called E and told him what was going on so he would call and check in every once in a while... but he was at least an hour away at work, as was my sister.  I called everyone I knew and I couldn't find a single person who was home.  The bleeding would not stop, and every time I looked at my finger I got the stupid ringing in my ears and blackness at the edges of my vision.  I'm a real tough chick, apparently.

Eventually about an hour later I got a hold of my mom and since two rounds of holding my pressured finger above my heart for 15 minutes hadn't gotten anything to stop flowing, she drove me into the emergency room.  Good times.  E met us there and I got glued back together by the lovely Dr. William.  *sigh*  Oh, and lest I forget, the triage nurse in the ER bandaged my finger like this and made me keep it elevated.  Feel free to create your own punch line:

E kept me company (doesn't he look so cute in his work clothes?) and made jokes to distract me.  Between E and Dr. William, I was feeling like quite the... well, something.  Whatever it was, it was good.  Except for the part where Dr. William unwrapped my bandage and made me stand with my finger under the faucet for a good three or four minutes.  All I could think of was that Mom has been right about running cold water on everything for my whole life and she'll probably do a victory lap when she read about it.  A medical doctor made me stick something under the faucet.  You win, Mom.  Add that to the column of a billion things she's been right about in my life.

This is after he glued it back together.  It looks hideously insignificant.  I told my students I wished I got some stitches or something--stitches seem to make a hospital story really legit.  And staples?  Staples are like the Varsity squad of injury repair.  Surgical glue or Dermabond, or whatever they used on me is kind of like the JV of being put back together.  So bush league.  But the fact that I nearly passed out over a glorified paper cut that wouldn't stop bleeding is enough for me.  And it might not look so huge, but the blade cut pretty deep.  There was a definite flap.  Gross, right?

So since Wednesday night I haven't really been able to type.  It's been killing me, because I've been running around with a billion things to say... but it's taken all I have to type out a few 9-fingered responses to email at work.  Only today am I finally feeling like I can type without it hurting me.  So there you go.  Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.