Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Why Joe Missed the TAKS Test But Won't Miss the Bathroom Again

Last night Joe got sick.  I wasn't in the room the first few times it happened but I think I found something similar to what went on last night on Youtube.  Click to see what happened.  The only differences were that Joe isn't a girl, he was the only one in his room, and he had teriyaki chicken and rice instead of pea soup.

Joe is 11, almost twelve.  I figure that he is old enough to get to the bathroom.  How can I always make it to the bathroom?  It is because I have to clean it up if I don't.  And that is the key.  Joe could learn that lesson today.  It was a nasty job because there was puke spilled all over the room.  We ended up doing 4 loads of laundry, wiping down the shoes, wiping down walls, swabbing up floors.  The entire time Joe was complaining of a headache.  I had to try really hard not to add my breakfast to the mess.  We ended up lysoling the room down.  We talked about strategies of how to make it the bathroom, even if this takes you by surprise. 

He was very distraught about missing the TAKS test today.  I found out that he can take it tomorrow.  He spent the day watching Arthur, watching DVD's and reading Huck Finn.  He drank gatorade and has had soup today and is feeling better.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Its Like Pulling Teeth

Thank goodness we are nearing the end of Joe's baby teeth.  He pulled one out today.  I almost felt like giving him LaMaze breathing lessons he was carrying on so much.  I remember when I was a kid I had no problem losing teeth.  I thought it was kind of fun.  I would get a little money.  No big deal.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How We Celebrate Earth Day Here in Texas

I was up at Spring Creek Elementary School yesterday when the principal made an announcment over the loud speaker that Thursday was Earth Day and consequently the cafeteria would be serving cold food.  I was in the library but I could hear the collective groan of all of the kids.  Were they groaning that it was Earth Day or that there would be cold food?  The cafeteria's lunch offering on Earth Day would be cold deli sandwiches.  Okay, the last time I checked, the bread had to be baked somewhere, sometime. If the purpose is to focus on saving energy by not cooking food, does it matter if the food was cooked a few days before?  The deli meat for the sandwiches also had to be cooked, then refrigerated.  It all had to be transported to the school.  Then the items had to be refrigerated once they arrived at the school.  This all takes energy.  Does refraining from reheating already cooked food qualify as an effort for Earth Day?

If you really want to tune yourself into the earth try planting a garden and feeding your family something freshly grown every day.  I know it is early spring, so to follow my own advice I am going to have to harvest some of my herbs.  Tacos with really fresh cilantro.  Now, that is my idea of an Earth Day menu.  Or, if you are really a purist, you could just open the back door and let the kids graze on the fresh spring grass. Just kidding.

Joe made the announcement this morning that he was not going to buy lunch today.  He says this everyday.  He then asked if I could bring him a fast food lunch.  He asks that everyday.  The answer is always the same, " Joe, you really don't need fast food.  That is contrary to your goal of not getting fatter."  So he packed some lunchmeat, crackers, fruit, and cheese in his lunch.  According to the standard set by the RISD Child Nutrition Department, we celebrate Earth Day everyday and we didn't even know it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

How Did I Miss This?

Joe is inspired!  He has always been a pretty good reader and enjoyed reading a variety of books.  The problem that I saw was the he would get half way through a book and quit.  Then pick up another one.  He has started so many books without finishing them.  He says he gets bored.  Since Spring Creek has started the Accelerated Reader program he has had to change his ways.  You can't pass a test on a book that you haven't completed.  Well, maybe you can, but I am not going to start him on that path in the 6th grade.

Right now he is reading Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.    Somehow, in my inadequate education, I never read this book.  So I have decided to read it now.  Better late than never.  I have read the first 11 chapters so far.  What a delightful book.  I love how the character of Huck is so factual and literal.  He is an outsider, looking in so he makes a lot of societal observations without sounding judgmental, in the style of Forrest Gump.

Joe has grown up in a nonracist environment, so his eyes are being opened to blatent racism that was the norm in this country in the era that the story is set.  He could not believe that he was reading the N word, and he couldn't believe that it could be used 20 times on the same page.  I don't worry about him picking up this vulgar term because he is reading this book.  He has pretty good self control.

He was delighted at how blatently funny-bad Tom and Huck could be.  The murder and robbery gang that the boys start would be alarming if it weren't so funny.

We invite any of you to read this book along with us.  We are planning on having a Huck party when we finish the book.  If you want to join in on the fun, the reading and the party, just let me know.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Salt In The Wound

Today I was in the kitchen, unloading the dishwasher and cleaning off counters.  My thoughts were just wandering...Why didn't I have the TV on?  I hate a quiet house.  It makes me feel so lonely.  Gosh, what in the heck is that?  It looks important.  I will ask Bob before I throw it way.  Why has it been so long since I cleaned off this counter.  Then the phone rang.  "Is Matt's mom or Dad there?"

Me     Where did you get my number?

Him    Well, Matt indicated he would be interested in taking
           a review class to prepare for some upcoming college
           entrance exams!

Me     That is highly doubtful.  Matt died almost 14 years ago
           shortly before his second birthday. I think you got my
           number off some old list.  Do you know how painful it
           is to get calls like this?  Do you think if you guys are going
           to use public birth records you could check them against
           public death records to prevent situations like this?

Him    Mam, I think I must have called the wrong number. 

Me     No, I don't think you did.  I want you to put an asterick by
           my name and get ahold of your supervisor and tell him or
           her about the problem.

Him     (click)

Well, they don't mind calling, but they never hang on long enough for me to express myself.  I have recieved several calls like this over the last few years.  I have also recieved letters informing me that Matthew has been chosen to go on some really expensive youth trips due to his outstanding academics and citizenship.  It is very painful.  Mercifully, my main method of dealing with Matthew's death is that I try not to think about it too much.  I can be consumed by sadness and longing.   It is kind of like the method I use while fasting.  I know I will eat something in the future, but for the moment, concentrating on food takes away from the spiritual experiences of the here and now.  I know that I will see Matthew again, but if I think on him too much I can't concentrate on issues that are important right now. So, I do pretty well for the most part, until I get a call out of the blue, like the one today.  I hate to have a quiet house because the silence reminds me that Matthew is not here.  I don't always think about it but I like to keep the TV on so that I don't think about the quiet.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The New Math

I thought I was flying under the radar.  It was my birthday yesterday and I was planning a little dinner in a restaurant with Bob and then cake later with Bob and Joe.  I was thinking, " Good!, I sure am lucky that everyone doesn't know that today is the big 5-0 birthday.  Then I heard a knock on the door at 3:02.  Standing in my front yard were about 25 friends holding a banner, giving me ballons and flowers.  I live in Dallas, but our neighborhood is like a small town where nothing goes under the radar for too long.   This is Karen.  She taped up the banner and realized that she forgot one letter.  It was pretty funny to her students because she is the 6th grade teacher and one of her subjects is spelling. 

Look at these beautiful flowers!  I feel so blessed.

This is the lttle key-lime cheese cake we had.  Joe kept complaining because there were not 50 candles on the cake.  Bob explained that each candle represented ten years.  I think Joe just wanted the record me trying to blow out 50 candles or lighting the house on fire.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to wish me well.  I was really surprised, honestly.  And this is the second surprise that I experienced over turning 50.  The first party happended on Spring break when my neice invited us over for a hot tub party.  When we got there the whole house was decorated in black balloons, and other signage appropriate for the near dead.  I was given the ugliest orthodic shoes I have ever seen, reading glasses that were new, but I swear were stolen from my father, and various other items to help me deal with the problems of people of extremely advanced age. I think my sister was trying to get me back for her 40th birthday party when I gave her a bra with some quote attached, like, "Help!  I've fallen and I can't get up."

Honestly, I remember going to a friend's 50th birthday party about 18 years ago.  I couldn't believe she was that old.  I was amazed at how good she looked for her age.  It is amazing how those thoughts come back now.  The way I am looking at it, I have about 50 years to go! 

One of the best gifts I got yesterday was a computer program John wrote for me proving that I was 29 not 50.  He is at the Naval Academy studying computer science and Information technology.  He wrote it in c++:


using namespace std;

int main(){

bool everybodyIsHappy;

bool momIs29Not50 = true;


everybodyIsHappy = true;


everybodyIsHappy = false;


cout << "Happy Birthday Mom!\n";

return 0;



cerr << "You liar! Mom is 29!\n";

return 1;


So there you go.  I am 29.  It is a matter of national securtiy.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

This is Knee-t

Most people would agree that I am pretty traditional when it comes to medical care.  I am not into anything weird.  I actually roll my eyes when people start talking about going to a chiropracter and I am openly antagonistic toward, and challenge those who promote any new-age remedies. 

So when I came home from skiing with a messed up left knee I was preparing for the worst.  I had actually injured my right knee about 13 years ago doing the same thing, falling while skiing.  I remember thirteen years ago after limping around with a knee brace for about a month I finally went to a doctor.  We were on the Kaiser Permanente program then so I went in to see what ever doctor was available.  It was some new doctor from India.  I could hardly understand him.  I think we communicated through gestures.  He prescribed some steroids for my knee.  I was thinking he was crazy.  Like a pill would do the trick...Then my knee got better.  Of course I gained thirty pounds,  but at least I didn't limp when I was waddling around.  I had a minicus tear.  I haven't really had problems with it since but I have always been nervous about reinjuring it so I kind of always protected it when I would ski.  I guess that is how I injured my left knee.

I really didn't want to go on another steroid and gain thirty pounds.  I have had way too many weight issues to even think about going down that path again.  But I knew the other alternative for someone of my advanced age was going to be surgery.  That did not seem like a very good option either.  I bought three knee braces to try to find the one to give me the best support.  I was taking a lot of ibuprofin to combat the pain and swelling.  I had been in pain for about ten days when I was talking with  a friend last Friday.  The pain and the popping in my knee were getting so bad that I did not think I could wait much longer before I went to a doctor.   She told me about a method her daughter had taught her to end some pain and swelling in her knee while  she was on vacation  a couple of years ago.  She had wrenched her knee so badly she could not walk. 

I tried the method and within three days my knee was totally pain free. I was off iburofin and had taken off the knee brace.  I actually went on a two mile walk with a friend of mine yesterday.  This is what I did.  I put one hand on my knee where it was hurting, applying a little pressure with my finger tips.  I took the other hand and patted the top of my head while I was inhaling.  I then patted my upper chest while exhaling in a pattern.  I repeated this process about 5 or 6 times, about 5 or 6 times during the day for about 3 days.  each day I got progressively better.  I didn't chant any magic words.  As a matter of fact I was probably thinking to myself on the first day," I look really dumb, I am sure this isn't going to work."  So no one can call this faith healing.  My other thought was, " Am I so proud that I can't give this a try?  It is not costing me anything except my pride." 

I have asked some of my friends with  medical backgrounds why this would work.  The conclusion was it must be something similar to accupuncture, but with out the needles.  I would love to know how this really works.  Now if I can do something about the shin splints I am getting from walking so much.

About Me

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I am a stay at home mom but the clock is ticking. My husband and I only have one child left at home. I enjoy shopping and finding great bargains.