Thursday, August 28, 2008

Too good to be true?

I woke up this morning feeling, well, really good! Even though I love my life and I look forward to each day, upon waking up I experience a feeling that I can best describe as dread, and I have no idea why. I don't know if it's that I have to go to work, or the feeling that I won't get anything accomplished, or any number of other things, but the only way to describe it is a crushing feeling.

Last night after work I had a horrible headache from the fire alarm testing they were doing all day long, but I had errands to run...I needed to mail something at the post office for Chris, then I wanted to get some books on CD for my drive to and from work. After that I went home and, as you probably saw in yesterday's post, I dealt with the neighbor kids asking me if I could go out and play.

Chris came home briefly, and then he went to play computer games with the guys, so I had some alone time. I didn't do anything special...I had some dinner, did some laundry and some ironing, read a little bit of a book I just bought at the library, and various other little chores. The only thing I did that was purely for me is that I did yoga for about 10 minutes. And if that's all it takes to make me feel this good, then consider me converted. I really felt like a different person when I woke up this morning. I'm going to test my theory again tonight and see if a little yoga makes me feel this good tomorrow morning!

My school district doesn't pay teachers (and counselors) for classes done in anything other than the traditional manner--go to a college, sit in the classroom with a professor, and pay $2000+ for a class. I did classes through Indiana Wesleyan University, which were correspondence-type classes. I got the book and the videos in the mail, and I watched the videos (just like a distance-learning class) and did all of the work (which took a long time!). And New York State approved the classes for my permanent counselor certification!!!! But my district won't pay me for the credits, so that's over $800 a year that my district isn't paying me. Before, I didn't have the energy to deal with this issue. I don't know if it's just today because I'm feeling spunky, or if the issue is finally starting to get to me, but I want something done about this! The union hasn't done much for me up to this point...maybe it's time for me to start demanding that my dues do something to benefit me!

I'm looking for new short haircuts. I've had short hair several times, but it always works the same way...I grow my hair out long enough to donate to Locks of Love, then I get a nice short, cute haircut, then I get one more "maintenance haircut," and then I let it grow again, usually because I'm too busy to get it cut again. So then it gets long and I like the fact that I can put it in a ponytail, so I get a little attached to it, then it gets long and starts to bug me. I'm at that point gain. Inevitably this is the time when someone will walk up to me and tell me what beautiful hair I have. But I'm ready to cut it short and I'm looking for ideas. Again. I make appointments but never have any idea what kind of a haircut I'll want. (I'm open to suggestions, but I realize that if anyone is reading my blog, you probably don't even know me, so it would be hard for you to suggest something.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No, I don't want to pull weeds

The other day Chris was out scraping the house, and the neighbor kids were out there bugging us, so I told them that I needed to pull weeds. The weeds that I was pulling are actually pachysandra that's providing ground cover all over our shady yard. This might be kind of a stupid idea, but I'd like to pull all of that stuff and plant grass. I think that will look so much nicer. We made a pretty good dent in what's growing out there...but every day since then the kids have come over asking if I want to pull weeds. It's about 40% cute and 60% annoying as hell.

Today I pulled into the garage at 5:00, after leaving the house before 7:00 this morning, and as I was gathering my belongings in the car (the books on CD that I borrowed from the library, sunglasses, keys, purse, etc...), I heard some noise behind the car. I looked in the rearview mirror, and there stood the kids (Emily-7, and Eric-4). As soon as I opened the door, they asked if I wanted to go pull weeds.

Side note--we now have a new fire alarm system in the school, and they were testing it from about 11:00am until almost 4:00 when I left. The word "LOUD" would be an understatement. That alarm is actually painful if you're out in the hallway. I'm not kidding. It felt like it was rattling my brain. So by the end of the day I had a RAGING headache.

So when they asked if I wanted to pull weeds, every fiber of my being was screaming NOOOOO, but I didn't want to be mean, so I politely said that I had to do some stuff after I let Xander out. I went into the house, dropped my bags, let Xander out, and guess who's standing on the porch...yep, Emily and Erick. So after a few more minutes, I went back into the house and sat on the couch with a book. I read a few pages to unwind a little bit, then went upstairs to change my clothes. While I was up there, they started ringing the doorbell. I knew it was them, but I answered the door anyway. When I opened it, they were both sitting on the sidewalk, staring up at the house, asking if I was ready to pull weeds yet. I told them again that I wasn't sure if I'd be able to go out.

I'm fully aware that they have no idea how hard it is to work all day and then be expected to play all afternoon, but it's still annoying to me.

Is this more proof that I'm not cut out to be a mother???

Cool craft ideas for me to make

I love the web site Craftster, but I've also found some other sites with tutorials or whatnot... I keep the windows open on my computer, but it just distracts and kind of annoys me, so I figured I'd just post the links here and then get back to them when I have more time.

Tailored dragon dress:

Change purse tutorial:

Book review for Not Just a Pretty Face:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Second day back at work

I fear that I'm going to have trouble posting to my blog now that school has started. I've been especially bad about posting pictures. (Speaking of that, I should upload some pictures right now!) So I thought that maybe I'd just keep my blog screen open and type whatever comes to mind, whenever the thought occurs to me. That will make for some disjointed blogging, but it could be fun!

So first of all, I'm going to have to take two days off during the first week of school, which is seriously stressing me out. Rob and Em are getting married on Sept 5. They asked Chris to be an usher, and asked us to the rehearsal and dinner, so we have to drive out there on the 4th. School starts Sept 3. So yeah, I'm freaking out a little bit.

I guess that the good thing is that my principal and superintendent didn't even blink when I requested the days off. I expected them to have a problem with it. If I were my boss, I would have had a problem with it!!! But everyone has been so supportive, and needless to say I'm pleasantly surprised.

I had to take the Pilot in to the shop again today. This is the third time I've had it there for the air conditioner. Hopefully this will be the last. I want to get all of the repairs done before the warranty is up in October.

I'm trying to think of how to explain something that's going on at work without divulging too much information, because anything pertaining to my students is confidential. I'll just say that some parents have complained that their children didn't get an honor that mom and dad think the kids should have gotten. I'm trying to think of what I'm going to say when I make these phone calls, basically telling the parents that their children aren't the strong students that the parents think they are. This is always a touchy subject. I'm sure it's hard to be a parent, and I'm sure they want the best for their kids, but sometimes, the kids have simply failed to meet criteria for certain things, and I don't know how to make the parents understand that.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back to work tomorrow

Tomorrow it's back to work for me. I'm so conflicted because I love the work that I do, but at times I hate it so much I dread it. I look forward to the business that's ahead, but I dread things like parents demanding that their kids' schedules be perfect. That's tough for two is that sometimes, kids can't have what they want. They will definitely have what they NEED, but sometimes what they WANT just can't happen. Also, if they can't make up their freakin' minds, and say that they MIGHT want to change, but don't know for sure if they do, then I can't necessarily make the decision for them. Thirdly, the computer program is quite unreliable. I will make changes that aren't in the computer the next day or the next month. It's unbelievably frustrating.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My first trip to Lily Dale

I went to Lily Dale on Friday for the first time. I've been curious about the place since we moved to Dunkirk six years ago. It was an incredibly enlightening day for me, and I will go into more detail about my visit when I have more time to reflect on what I learned there.

Just to give a quick preview, though...I'm almost afraid that I'll offend people with what I have to say about my experience. I was raised by two Christian parents and went to a Catholic college. The majority of people with whom I surround myself are Christian to some extent. However, I've never felt completely comfortable in any of those churches. I was surprised and pleased to find that I felt at home in the chapel at Lily Dale. I have a lot of learning and exploring to do, but the truth is that I feel more awake and alive than I have with any other religion/philosophy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New glasses, no more PT

So I had my orthopedist appt on Tuesday, and I have to go for an MRI on Sept 8. I can discontinue PT for now, so that's kind of a good thing.

Today I went to the optometrist to try to nail down some glasses. I got a pair of Vera Bradley sunnies and I have some money to spare, so tomorrow I'll go down and pick my regular glasses. I LOVE glasses. I think they're so much fun and they're so stylish. I always have a dreadfully hard time picking a pair.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sara Bareilles, Maroon 5, Counting Crows

Chris and I went to another concert last night. That was our last concert of the summer! (It's hard to believe we're at this point in the year already!)

First, Adam Duritz from Counting Crows came out and introduced Sara Bareilles, which I thought was insanely cool. I like famous people who exhibit a little humility, and he did just that. He was very appreciative of Sara for opening for them and I admire him even more for being so gracious. (Appreciation and respect go a long way with me.) Below is a picture of Adam when he came out to announce Sara. Doesn't he look happy? (Also, Chris took all of the pictures that I'm posting today. He did a super job! He's a wonderful photographer!)

Sara was excellent. I don't typically like female artists. I don't have anything against them, they just don't appeal to me. But Sara is really talented and her songwriting is amazing. I'm really glad we got to see her!

I've liked Maroon 5 for a long time, although I haven't listened to them much lately, except for that one song that they do with Rihanna, which is on the radio all of the time. I wasn't quite sure what to expect of them in concert, but I was pleasantly surprised. They were really, really good! Very talented and energetic. Adam Levine never stopped moving.

Finally, Counting Crows was up. They were also very good. They seemed peppier last night than they usually are, which was a pleasant surprise for me. They're normally so mopey, and I get kind of tired of that sometimes.
We left the show early in an attempt to beat traffic. If you've ever gone to a concert at Darien Lake, you know that traffic is a nightmare!!! There's one lane to take cars to the road, and there's a big sign that tells all traffic to turn left. Well, several cars turned right, but we turned left like we're supposed to do, and it took us all over God's country. I always feel like we're turning in the wrong direction, but it gets us where we need to go. The road loops you around and you pass in front of the amusement park. Wellll, this really sucked--we got stopped at an intersection (with a line of other traffic that followed directions), and they let about 50 cars who DIDN'T follow directions turn in front of us. So it took us half an hour just to get to the thruway, all because of the idiot Genesee County Sheriffs, who let all of the traffic turn in front of us. I was so ticked! And poor Chris...he had to go to work today, and he still had to get up at 5:30 this morning, even though we didn't get home until after midnight.

Ok, that's my rant, and now I'm done.

Actually, no I'm not. I have one more thing...

This is a good story with a bad ending. Counting Crows and Maroon 5 are involved in a group called Reverb. The group is aimed at decreasing emissions, reusing, recycling, etc... among musicians and their fans. It was started by Guster musician Adam Gardner and his wife Lauren Sullivan. (PS-I love Guster :) They have a tent at the concerts called "Eco-Village," which is a very very cool idea (IMHO), but I think they fell short a little bit. First of all, the Eco-Village consisted of one tent (well, maybe it was actually two of those little 10'x10' pop up tents side by side) with a table, and on that table they had an autographed guitar and a few solar bags (ok, so I will admit that the bags were cool and could see myself carrying one, but that shouldn't surprise anyone). They had a few leaflets (printed on glossy paper-come on people!), and that was about it. Now, I approached the table because I'm interested in that kind of stuff, but if I were someone who didn't give a flip about the environment, I probably wouldn't have even noticed the table. So I signed up to volunteer at other shows.

Then I was let down again after the show. Chris and I took bottles of Poland Spring water into the show with us because you're only allowed to take sealed bottles into the venue. Normally we don't go anywhere without our Nalgene bottles, but I'm sure we wouldn't have gotten into the show with them. When we left the show, we grabbed our one empty bottle, our full bottle, and another bottle that had rolled down by our feet. I planned on recycling the two empties at the Eco Village, but guess what...the tent and all of the recycling bins were GONE! Grrrr! I wasn't all that upset about having to carry our own water bottles back to the car with us, but I was also carrying some stranger's water bottle. And despite that, I would NOT throw the bottle in the garbage. So the stranger's bottle came home with us and is now in our recycling bin.

So a quick review of my thoughts--I like the idea of Reverb, and I think they're on the right track, but they really need to set a better example, and get volunteers who care about what they're doing. (However, on the other hand, I can understand that volunteers wouldn't want to stay too long after the show, because they wouldn't get out of the venue until the next morning with how horrible traffic is. But that's just at Darien Lake...I've never seen traffic so bad as at a concert there.)

I really need to just stop writing...if I keep trying to clarify my thoughts, I could go on forever...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fun day at the Buffalo Zoo

Nate spent the week at our house, then on Friday morning he and I left the house at 9am and met Trey and Caleb (Nate's younger brothers) and my parents at the zoo at 10.

It was crazy walking around the zoo with three young boys, but it was so much fun! There's nothing like taking little kids to the zoo! It was nearly 3:00 when we left.
Nate went home with my parents, which bums me out. I wish he could have stayed with us longer. On one hand, it's kind of nice to have the house back, but on the other hand, it's just not the same without him. I love that kid so much!

I took loads of pictures, but here's one of all three of them that I just love!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nate has been here for the week

I've been preoccupied lately, as Nate (my oldest nephew) has been visiting since Monday. I have a little time in the morning since I get up at 5:30 with Chris and Nate has gotten up at about 8, but I don't want to wake him up, so I do quiet activities. As soon as he gets up, I start the delicate balance of fun and obligation. I've had appointments every day...Tuesday I had PT, Wednesday I had a dentist appt, and today (Thursday) I had PT again. Nate is very, very well-behaved, but he likes to dilly dally a little bit, and he doesn't like to get cleaned up, especially after he goes potty. I think you catch my drift...

So after the appointments and such, we've taken care of other things, like shopping, eating lunch, and going to the beach.

I'm going to spare some of the details right now and just post a picture, because I'm really thirsty and I really have some chores that need to be finished.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Got a new washer

Since my washer was kind of broken, we had to get a new one. Well, we could have gotten the old one repaired, but it would have been a very expensive and very temporary fix. (Thank God for honest repairmen!!!! Latimer's repair service rocks!)

So anyway, here's the new machine:

Bruce Hornsby two nights in a row

We learned (again) that staying out late is not for us. We went to see Bruce Hornsby at Chautauqua Institution on Friday night, and again on Saturday night at the Town Ballroom in Buffalo for a Buffalo City Mission benefit concert. Even though we were exhausted, it's an understatement to say that we had a good time! It was absolutely awesome!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sometimes it's tough to be a responsible adult

The other day, my poor washing machine started acting funny. Long story short, I called the repairman and he was kind and honest enough to tell me that it may be better to buy a whole new washer than to have him repair it. That's not an expense we were planning on! We've also realized that we have several other things that need to be repaired before things get really bad.

The back of our house needs to be either painted or sided. We determined that we can't really afford to get it sided, so it looks like we'll be painting sometime within the next couple of weeks. Our house is kind of weird. Three of the sides are covered with vinyl siding, the back is covered with aluminum siding, and the family room is painted. Oh, and we'll need to get a pressure washer to help clean off all of the old paint, so we're trying to decide whether it would be better to rent one ($53 for four hours or $75 for 24 hours) or to buy one.

I kind of wonder if they make bamboo siding. That would be a great way to cover our house with a sustainable material, although I'd wonder how we'd finish that kind of siding and what kind of upkeep it would need.

We have two roof leaks. One is over the garage, and when it rains, the water basically pours right through the ceiling into the mud room. The other leak, albeit tiny, is over the family room, around one of the skylights. The family room skylight leak isn't too bad, but is probably going to require the help of a professional roofer...something that we also can't afford right now, so that repair will have to wait. The garage roof, however, will need to be patched, but luckily, we can probably do that ourselves.

Finally, on our list of things we need before this winter: New tires for the Pilot, and snow tires for the new Jetta.

I had an idea...not sure if it was good or bad, but I decided that it was good and went ahead with it anyway. We have a family message board where we post news, pictures, etc... I'm not sure if people use it because I'm practically the only person who ever writes anything on it, but I thought I'd use that forum to send a message to anyone who buys us gifts. My dilemma was that I didn't want people to think that I was asking for things. The point is to tell people what we need, and therefore HOPEFULLY they will refrain from buying us useless crap as gifts. We get a lot of thoughtful but very wasteful gifts. I don't want or need expensive things. I'd rather have reused items or things that we use everyday (cleaning products, food, etc...). Actually, I have decided that when we have kids, I will look for used furniture, and just buy a new crib mattress. Reusing is one of the best ways to reduce waste!!! So anyway, for the upcoming holiday season, if people buy us gifts (keeping in mind that I would prefer if they didn't get us anything at all), I hope that they use our list and just get us stuff that we need.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Our trip to Cincinnati

I'm in the process of labeling pictures from our trip, so I thought I'd at least do a quick blog about what we did each day that we were away:

Thursday 7/31/08--Drove all day, arrived in Cincinnati in the afternoon. We were planning on going to King's Island, but after the long drive, we were quite tired, so we decided against abusing ourselves at the park. Instead we ate at one of our favorite restaurants, The Old Spaghetti Factory, and then went for a walk at Winton Woods, which is a county park. It was beautiful. Not quite the hike I was craving, but definitely a worthy alternative. It was absolutely gorgeous, albeit a little hot.

Friday 8/1/08--Up early and off to King's Island. I feel so bad for Chris because I just cannot do amusement park rides, so he rides almost everything alone. I do, however, enjoy walking around and taking pictures. We did have a good time at the water park, but we had to walk for what felt like miles in bare feet to get to the slides, and the pavement is roasting hot! We were pretty sore and tired after that experience. After Chris got to ride almost all of the things he wanted to ride, we went to his parents' house where we had dinner and spent time with Guy and Colleen (my FIL and MIL), Steve (Chris' brother), Lacie (Steve's girlfriend), and Avah (Steve and Lacie's daughter/our niece).

Saturday 8/2/08--After having breakfast with Guy, Colleen, Steve, Lacie, and Avah, we went to the Air Force Museum in Dayton. I found it very interesting, but also experienced a vast array of emotions, from awe and pride to anger and frustration. The technology I saw was amazing, and I'm very proud of and thankful for our troops, but at the same time, I'm so angry that my tax dollars are being spent on these billion-dollar projects when people in this world are starving and sick. That didn't sit well with me.

We ate dinner at Macaroni Grill, another restaurant we don't get to visit very often, and then we saw Ironman at the cheapie theatre--$3.00 per ticket, but we had a coupon for buy one get one free tickets, so it cost us a grand total of three bucks to see the movie. And it was quite good, which was a surprise because I'm not normally a fan of superhero movies (except X-men).

Sunday 8/3/08--We weren't sure what we'd be doing that day. Guy and Colleen suggested that we go to the horse race track, but horse racing isn't really at the top of our "fun things to do" list. Then they suggested that we go to a town called Metamora (in Indiana), which has a grist mill and lots of little shops and stuff. (I will post a few pictures here, but if any readers want to see more pics, they'll have to visit me on Facebook.) It turned out to be a really enjoyable day. Lots of stories about that, but they'll come later, including, but not limited to a train ride, a canal boat pulled by horses, ice cream in fresh-made waffle cones, and me getting in trouble for taking a picture. After we returned, Chris and I went out to a little shopping plaza where I bought some new work clothes, then we got food from Chipotle and took it back to G+C's house to eat. I had a vegetarian burrito and it was delicious!!!

And then today, Monday 8/4/08, we made the journey home. We stopped a couple of times to switch drivers, walk Xander, and eat the messiest bean burrito I've ever eaten.

When we pulled into the driveway, I felt so thankful to be home, but at the same time I was so thankful for all of our fun experiences on our trip. We agreed that it's a sign of a good vacation when we're happy about what we experienced while we were away, but happy to be home, too.

I will edit this blog with more stories and pictures as soon as I get time. It's back to life as usual now, which means work for Chris and appointments for me. Bright and early tomorrow morning I have to take the Pilot to Jamestown to get the air conditioner fixed. Again.