Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I shouldn't have started reading Elie Wiesel's Night. It has me feeling very down, combined with the rainy weather, which always pulls me down, too. I have too much to do to feel down right now. I am taking a break (short break) from writing reading reports to send home with my children tomorrow. I am afraid I am not going to get them all done. There was a meeting after school, and I didn't get home until 5:35. I was running (and I do mean running) around the kitchen doing several things at once: chopping vegetables, browning meat, starting a pot of coffee (no sleep last night), jotting items on a list of things I must absolutely do before my head touches the pillow tonight, looking over Lizzie's papers, listening to Hannah tell about her math test today, pulling off clothes and jewelry (I wore two different earrings today; nobody mentioned it), putting a load of clothes in the washer, talking to Katie Bug's mother on the phone, checking e-mail and finding one from Kati Pearl's mother that had to be answered right away. By 6:00, I had most everything at least under some semblance of control. Tim called. He wanted to stay in Hattiesburg for Bible study, did I mind? "Do you need me?" I always need you; can't live without you; get home as soon as you can; be careful; I love you.

I really should be hitting that list, but this week has been so very fast-paced and I am very tired. Tessa, if you're reading this, I promise I will read your entry tonight. I know I promised I would do it last night. I know. But tonight, I mean it. I meant it last night, too.

I need to go back down to the nursing home and clean some more, but the weather is sounding really bad out, and I hate to leave the girls by themselves in case the power goes off. Every time it goes off since Katrina, Lizzie asks how many weeks will it be off this time.

I did cancel tomorrow night's study group session, which gives me a little more time to work on these reading reports. I really did not want to cancel, because I've got some good stuff on writing strong leads/dynamic conclusions/word choice. I am having a great time with the study group members; I love having their input on these lessons I'm putting together. I hope they are finding it helpful as well.

Why is it that far too often the more you know about someone the less you like them? I just did an internet search on someone, and some things came up on my screen that I did not want there. Sometimes I just do not like people. Actually, a lot of times I don't. It's the rain and the book, I hope.

Why did I promise my parents I'd send these reports tomorrow? Why do I do these things that seem like fantastic things to do in theory, but take up so very much of my time? Why? I guess because I want my girls' teachers to do it for them. They don't, but I want them to. So I do unto others. While I was leveling the children, I was jotting down all these notes about which strategies they use while reading and which ones they don't (but should), so I sent a letter home saying that I'd type up my notes and send them home with the children Thursday. But now I don't see how I can get them all done (well, done well) by tomorrow. Maybe I will work on them over spring break and send them home with the report cards.

I love my job. In what other job would you get told every single day that you're beautiful? That you're funny? They slip up and call me Mama and I don't correct them. "Mama, what do you want us to do after we write in our journals?" Come and hug me and then choose a book to read to a friend. Today, I stood in front of the mirror before we went to lunch and announced to them that I am too fat and I am going on a diet right away. They were indignant. "You are not too fat!" "You are perfect!" "You are beautiful!" "I love you!"

I will do a few more reports, and then I will take a long bath and try to unwind so I can get a good night's sleep. No, wait! I have to put the clothes in the dryer! I have to pack Lizzie's lunch! I have to iron! I have to make parent phone calls! I have to read to Lizzie! I have to get her in the tub! Why am I sitting here pretending I have time to write?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

I slept 7 hours straight last night. When I looked at the clock and saw that it was 6:12, I was at first disoriented. How could it be 6:12? What happened to 1:30, 2:45, 4:15? Most nights, I see several different numbers on the clock before the alarm goes off. I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize myself: no puffy eyes, no red cheeks, my stomach even seemed flatter. I have always wanted to experience the healing powers of sleep that I've heard and read so much about. God is good.

We had to take Lizzie to MEA yesterday afternoon. We'd planned to go the the Backdoor Coffeehouse last night--David had a Celtic band coming, and some other people lined up. We had arranged a babysitter and were going to even actually go to eat beforehand. It was going to be a--dare I say it?--a night out. I have distant memories of those. But Lizzie has a sinus infection that has gotten into her ears and has her throat all raw, and on top of that (on bottom of that?) she injured her tailbone on the playground Thursday. The doctor said it could possibly be cracked and that he could x-ray it, but there's really no point because nothing at all can be done for it. She got a shot (a NINETY DOLLAR SHOT), a flu test (a SEVENTY DOLLAR FLU TEST), and a prescription for an antibiotic. It was nearly 8:00 when we finally made it home. She went to sleep in the car and slept until 6:12 this morning.

The Arch books I ordered on President's Day are trickling in. Even the orders I cancelled are coming, which irritates me a little but I'm trying not to think about it. It's my own fault. I got carried away. A couple of days before, I'd ordered some from Concordia Publishing House. I'd been thinking about the Arch books we had when I was little. Arch books are bible stories written for children. We had dozens of them; I learned to read when I was four because of those books. I'm pretty sure Angela got (stole) them all from Mama's house, but she won't exactly say. She got suddenly evasive the last time I asked her about them. Fine. I can always just order my own. So I found a source for them (CPH), but their ordering process is just not at all user-friendly, and their processing is slow. So I did what I always do and went to Amazon. I like to order from small companies when I can, just like I like to bypass Wal-Mart and buy from smaller companies, but I really wanted those Arch books for Lizzie, so I went to Amazon. When I saw the 796 offerings there, something just came over me, I guess. And so many used sellers! Some selling for as little as 1 cent! Well, I just starting clicking "add to cart", "add to cart", "add to cart" over and over again. I'd click on a title, find the cheapest seller, twenty cents, fifteen cents, eighty-five cents, all in good condition, and I bought about thirty-five books in no time flat. Seven of them I had to purchase new from Amazon at anywhere from a dollar ninety-eight to three ninety-eight. I was giddy with excitement, drunk on the savings. I went through the one-click ordering at record speed, barely glancing at anything except the totals: twenty four something from used sellers, and twenty one something from Amazon. I clicked the okay button at about the same time I glanced at the final total, including shipping. WHAT!?! Good grief. Good grief. Good grief. I am an idiot. I was paying $3.95 to ship EACH one of those twenty cent books, and only $7.98 to ship EVERY one of the new ones. What to do? I clicked around the site and learned that you can cancel orders within thirty minutes of ordering. So I went to work pulling up every single one of them and cancelling all but the new ones from Amazon. I had them all done within ten minutes, working fast. Still, in about an hour I started getting order confirmation e-mails from all these individual sellers. I sat here and responded, over and over, to those e-mails: I am sorry, but I cancelled that order. Please do NOT send me the book. Out of thirty orders, I've gotten three of them anyway. I hope that's all that didn't get cancelled.

Hannah made the varsity cheerleading squad. She was excited for thirty minutes, until she found out her best friend didn't make it. They cheered together on the junior high squad, so she has some changes ahead of her. She's still a little down about it, but I can see some of the excitement coming back. I am glad that relationships are more important to her than accomplishments. She's had a tough week, though.

Lizzie started journaling this week. She's been journaling in kindergarten, of course, but I bought her a little spiral bound journal at the dollar store and she's been writing in it every night.

I finished Life of Pi. I miss being on that lifeboat with Pi and Richard Parker. I'm reading a strange book now, "The Boy on the Bus". Strange. I've copied one passage in my notebook already, though. When I read, if I own the books I underline interesting passages or phrases to revisit; if I borrow the books from the library or a friend, I write the passages or phrases in a notebook. This is what I copied from "The Boy on the Bus": "I do care what other people are saying, but not because I care what they think. It's just that sometimes what other people say shows a truth you cannot see yourself. Because you're always too close to your own life."

I started yet another blog this week, a daily news blog at I hope I can keep it up. Sometimes I think I work myself into a hole that I can't dig out of. The point of a new communication tool should be that it works for you, not that you work for it. Now that Elton has fixed things so that I can access from school, it shouldn't be a problem. I can post quickly during snack time and be done with it.

Thursday at lunch, B, who was wearing a new outfit from J.C. Penney for the class picture and had new gold metallic thong flip-flops to go with it, announced that only people wearing flip-flops could play with her at recess. We had a warm spell earlier in the week (which was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful) so a couple of the girls actually did have on sandals and flip-flops that day. Others came to me, upset by the announcement. So I gave a little teacher speech when we got back to the room, and I heard no more about the flip-flop club. However, yesterday morning, which dawned bright and cold, with a low of 44, K and T came in wearing jeans, long-sleeve shirt, coats, and flip-flops. I don't know how they convinced their mothers.

I did something yesterday that I regretted almost instantly, which let me know I shouldn't have done it, and now I'm thinking about how to get out of it. I got an e-mail invitation from Sherry to go to the national scoring conference in Denver again this year. Last year was really great; I learned so much, even though they worked the dog out of us. I mean, they worked us hard. Still, though, it was a great experience, and I was glad to be invited again. So, even though I had niggling doubts the whole time I was doing it, I faxed her all the info she requested, and then I just pushed it to the back of my mind for the rest of the day. Last night after we got back from the doctor, though, I saw that I had another e-mail from Sherry. She thanked me for faxing the info, but said she'd be out of the office for the next two weeks and wouldn't be able to get the fax, so could I just e-mail the info or call her on her cell. So I'm thinking that maybe instead of doing that, I'll just tell her I've had second thoughts and to give someone else my spot. I'm going to think about it for a while longer.

I heard from Firebird this week. I miss talking to her. She was having a little trouble with an online professor giving unclear assignments. She'd give the prompt for a paper, but then hold the students accountable for things that were not listed in the prompt. Even though our conversation was not based on personal things, I still enjoyed having contact with her. She might come here and spend a weekend with us at the end of this month.

I gave Rachael another chance Wednesday night. On the second episode, her theme was wine. She cooked three dishes with wine: a scallop and artichoke thing, a veal and pasta dish, and peaches in port that she served over ice cream. She suggested that you invite your friends over to watch you cook this meal and serve them wine while they watch. On the first episode, she made a dessert that I'm going to make as soon as I finish the sugar fast I'm planning. (I'm having a lot of joint problems, and a sugar fast always helps.) She threw a chunk of butter in a skillet, added dark brown sugar and sliced bananas, then at the end put in some rum. She served that over caramel ice cream. I think that'll be good, even though I have a milk allergy and ice cream has adverse effects on me.

I did have company while I cooked Thursday night, but I served them coffee instead of wine. Tim and his siblings have been invited to sing at Lowery Creek Baptist Church tonight, and they were practicing here. It was nice listening to them while I peeled potatoes with a paring knife (take that, Rachael), and put together a meat loaf (Rachael always stuffs her meat loaf and makes a roll out of it). They have a good sound because they all know how to sing all the different harmony parts. While I peeled and chopped with a paring knife, I amused myself by singing along and trying to pick out parts they weren't singing. I'm good at that, finding hard-to-hear alto or tenor notes, even trying out bass parts from time to time. I don't guess I'll be able to go and hear them tonight; I'll need to stay here with Lizzie. I'm thinking of renting Out of Africa to watch.