Monday, June 30, 2008

Game, Set, Match!

I wasn't sure what was making me so out-of-sorts today, but I couldn't shake the feeling ALL DAY. I did a rather fast 2 miles on the elliptical at the gym. I walked around the apartment complex. Then, I chipped my front tooth (and the dental receptionist just chuckled at my predicament). I produced 2 iMovies and kicked them into iDVD, completing 2 big ole video projects. UGH. I'm eating the right stuff - I'm working out - I'm sleeping (sort of). Still, I couldn't figure out why I was cranky, annoyed, aggravated, and basically SOUR all day. And HOT. I could not cool off - and I was wearing very little in powerful air conditioning. UGH.

Then, there it sat on the counter: the tiny, little BLUE PILL that makes ALL the difference in my day. I should have read the signs better: hot and cranky = lack'o'estrogen. DUH. I had forgotten to take my magical 2 mg of estrogen that make the difference between Happy and Crappy. I can't believe it has been 1,130 days since my hysterectomy. I've taken that pill 1130 times - you'd think I'd remember it's impact on my life!
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Side note on the Ted story: haven't heard much from him since Friday (he had a busy weekend, and is leaving again for CA tomorrow). I've been wondering if he had been bothered by the 'I can't have kids' chat we had the other night. I've dealt with this for years, and he's known for 5 days. I certainly couldn't fault a guy who decided to break it off because he wanted kids of his own (literally). It's certainly been on my mind. How diverse our blogs are - postings of children at play, postings of exciting ultrasounds, and then the postings of the angst of being barren. Life is interesting.

He did finally e-mail me a quick note today, AND I literally almost ran him over on my way out of the parking lot tonight. He was walking his 2 dogs. We chatted for a bit, and he said he'd call if he made it back into town this weekend. Boy, it's hard to be hopeful and carefree all at the same time.
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I have wanted to get back into playing tennis forEVER, and finally bought the brightly colored balls today, found my racket, and headed off to find a tennis court back board. Just as I was driving toward my neighborhood courts, I passed a couple, rackets in hand, obviously headed toward the same spot. Not wanting my lame singles game to impede their actual game, I kept driving, in search of a flat building. I found it! I remembered that the back of a nearby school was flat, made of brick, and away from people. (For being an extrovert, I sometimes really like to be alone.) YEAH! I parked the car behind the school, and I was in my own little private tennis session! WOOHOO! The woods were right behind me, which I took as an incentive NOT to let the ball get past me! I could open my car door windows, and listen to the radio while I smacked the ball. Who says a one-eyed blonde has no depth perception! :o)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lights, Camera...Blog!

Okay, two blogs in one day. This is a first, even for me. HOWEVER, I captured 2 pretty awesome pics and just had to share. Now, whether or not standing with my metal camera on my metal deck during a lightning storm is really a GOOD idea...well, that's still up for debate. Regardless, at least you'd find the pictures on the camera if something were to happen to me! :) ENJOY!

Beauty and the Beast

Love it, love it, love it. I love the June paycheck, where all my extra hard work (choir, computers, yearbook, talent show, etc.) comes back to me in $. Why? Because, after all my bills are paid, I can go get my summer FLOWERS! I LOVE filling my deck with colorful planters.

I love squishing my fingers through the dirt, making a COMPLETE mess of my kitchen. I love watering all my plants so my downstairs neighbors get a shower...HA! (Sorry..that just might teach them that screaming at all hours of the day is rude and annoying! UGH.)

Anywho, here are a couple of the after pics. I want to buy more. Perhaps tomorrow! Now, I can enjoy my morning cup of coffee and the paper, looking out over Castle Rock, surrounded by natural beauty. LOVE IT!

Let's see...then there's the 'beast' known as my den. I am preparing for my Masters presentation, and spent the better part of 5+ hours yesterday going through ALL of my classes over the last 3 years. 30+ semester hours worth of reflections, papers I spent hours writing, research...WHEW! I split it all into 5 categories, and believe it or not, this picture actually represents an organization of my mind. Scary little mind, eh? Should be great to see the AFTER pic in late July!

QUICK UPDATE (5 hours later): I was able to purchase some file folders this afternoon, and now I have been able to relocate my carpet. WHEW! Yeah, Target!

Finally, my newest discovery: Mint, Melon and Sugar Scrub. I COULD pay more than $20 at Bath and Body works or some other expensive store...OR I could pay only $10 at my friendly, neighborhood Target. Sweet. It's great, does wonders for my feet and hands, and smells fantastic. There are a bunch of different scents, all for only $10. Definitely recommended. :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Home of the Brave!

WOW! WOW! WOW! I am bursting with pride right now!
What an amazing day at the ballpark with all my little friends!

My babes all met at the Employee Entrance, just before noon on Sunday, June 22. It had to have been close to 90ยบ in the SHADE, and they just happily sat with each other on the gravel, wearing their tie-dyed pride! I was so proud of how they DIDN'T complain (I was ready to complain!). All 80 kids were pretty close to being on time, and they all were wearing their shirts! (I had brought along 6 for the kids who said they needed them....and then showed up wearing one! Whatever works!). One little one was a little heat-sick, one was a bit scared now that she was at the big park. Two of them had added a brand, new family member just last night, with mom cheering them on from the hospital! What a happy, little, Flagstonian family we were!

Two, really sweet Rockies Staff members, Crystal and Erin, brought us INTO the building, underneath the field, and past all the really important places in Coors Field. We were lined up in this waiting zone. Then, this HUGE garage-door opened, and VOILA! we were staring at the entrance to Coors Field! WOOHOO!

It wasn't quite time for the Flagstone Choir to make their entrance, so we moved to the side to allow for all the Little League teams (all 400 gajillion of them!) to parade along the outskirts of the field. We warmed up, and Crystal and Erin answered all the questions I tossed their way. One little one came up to me, hand over her mouth - I thought she was either going to be sick, or already had been. Turns out, she "was so excited, her tooth just fell out!" So, right there, underground at Coors Field, I just put the little tooth in my pocket for later! HA! Just like my classroom! A bigwig from the New York Mets (Guy Conti, Bullpen Coach) wandered by, and commented on the fabulous energy of our group, and said that HIS team needed to harness some of that energy! YEAH!

Finally, our turn. Telling the kids that it was time to stand and enter Coors Field was AMAZING! They were so excited - sharing this experience with them was ten times more powerful than when I sang by myself. Their energy was TANGIBLE! We carefully walked along the red dirt, waiting for our turn. Just as we got out on the field, we heard the names of our Principal and Secretary being called Jan and Susan! After the Color Guard had completed their flag presentation on the field, we were led out ON THE GRASS, right there between 3rd and 2nd Base! We oh-so-carefully stepped over the precious white line, a line painted by the groundskeepers, and which we were warned to stay off of! We lined ourselves up between the 2 microphones, and I blew the first pitch on the pitchpipe. It was so LOUD and overwhelming and wonderful at the same time! We were all just grinning!

THEN, they announced our names. OUR NAMES! I'm not sure I ever stopped smiling - I raised my arms to conduct, and off we went. Only during the middle of the song did I realize that the WORDS were being displayed underneath the JumboTron! It was a great relief, as I think I was the only one worried about forgetting the words! The kids were amazing - they knew those words down pat! :)

Just like I had experienced before, as we reached "...and the home of the brave!" the entire stadium, all 45,000 of those fans, started cheering and yelling! I have tears in my eyes all over again just thinking about it! My kids were in amazement of themselves, and I couldn't have been prouder! They smiled for the cameras, and then waved to the family members up in the stands! They were still on the JumboTron, so they got a chance to turn around and look at themselves! HOW COOL IS THAT?!

So, this blog can only give a SMIDGEN of what was a most overwhelmingly, amazing day! The families greeted us with open arms upon returning from our performance, and we enjoyed the regular ballpark treats (hot dogs, lemonade, etc.) Even with the scorching heat, we were able to enjoy each other's company, meet grandmas and grandpas in the stands, and be awfully proud of a job well done!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Greet Each Day with Enthusiasm

The death of Tim Russert has been on my mind all week - I cannot seem to get his family out of my mind and my heart. He was a part of my every morning on the Today Show, part of my Sundays on Meet the Press, and part of my evenings, when the politics would be summarized on the evening news. He was wise, yet unpretentious.

He had a respect for family that flowed through his words and his actions. His humor was reachable, his smile friendly. He was one of those very smart people that was still one of the people. An amazing man. Larger than life. His authentic, true heart and soul, worn on his ordinary shirt sleeve.

I've watched tribute after tribute on televisions, computers, newspapers - everywhere. No one has spoken ill of him - I've heard speech after speech, story after story about fond memories of this man. His death is one of those deaths where you feel as though you've met the man, as if he's one of your family members. As though you've always known him. How real he seemed to me.

I've cried at each and every memorial service - I watched the wake in Washington, D.C. at my desk while at work. I'd listen to excerpts on the radio. Amidst all the horrible things happening in the world right now, to me, this was a true tragedy.

I grieve for his family, for his wife, for his son, for his father. His friends, both personal and professional. The generation who won't get to hear his voice of reason. The grandchildren who he would have adored, and who would have adored him in return. The wife who won't be able to grow old with this man who clearly loved her. The son who can't call him every day to talk about Buffalo teams. The people whom he inspired everyday. The humor he brought to this world.

Faith. Faith was another reason I admired Tim Russert. Not being a Catholic myself, I could still admire and respect his outward and honest practice of faith. How he was true to his religion and his profession. How his integrity was displayed in his interviews with famous individuals in our society.

His son. What an amazing, young man this is. He seems much wiser than his 22 years. He clearly has learned many wonderful lessons from and through his father. The maturity, the good-natured joy. The ability to see past the pain of today, and toward the hope of tomorrow. The ability to hold his head high, and comfort others in his own time of pain.

His character. His love of family. His love of his country. His warmth. His sense of humor. His love. How I will miss this great man.

"...a day greeted without real enthusiasm is a sadly lost opportunity." Tim Russert

Sunday, June 15, 2008

One Assembly that Really BLEW

Good grief. I'm not sure I can even capture the true sense of this assembly in a blog. It was kind of that train wreck that people have to either witness or live through to truly appreciate. Regardless, here goes: what was supposed to be a sweet, musical visit from an 80-year old friend of mine turned into a circus, sideshow act. Elaine, my friend and Mother Abbess from "The Sound of Music" had offered to come to my school to demonstrate her supreme whistling talents for my kiddos. She's the national whistling champion, and is really fun to listen to. Little did I know she would be bringing her grown daughter, Claudia, along with her. Yes, they usually whistle together, but I had only spoken with Elaine.

Well, the assembly began with 150 of my 1st and 2nd graders (and my friends/colleagues) piling into the gym to listen. Claudia, who shall from this point on be known as The Hulk, went gung-ho into the assembly, telling me that she'd 'whistle to get them to be quiet.' She had no use for our lovely quiet signal. This was going to be good.

I'm not sure what my favorite part of the assembly was...
  • Choice #1: When The Hulk would GRAB the microphone away from her happily, singing mother, and hold it to her own face, inserting whatever SHE wanted to say RIGHT THEN
  • Choice #2: When The Hulk would THROW CANDY at the heads of my children when they answered a question correctly. Lovely.
  • Choice #3: when The Hulk would run into the audience, thrusting the mike into the faces of my friends, trying her best to force them to whistle
  • Choice#4: when The Hulk began to mock me for not allowing any more candy
  • Choice #5: when my principal walked into the assembly, sat down, and became The Hulk's next microphone victim. This might have been the highlight...
I was told that I didn't look RED at this assembly...I looked PURPLE. I didn't know what was going to happen next, and it was completely out of my control. I'd put my hand up, she'd tell the kids to put their hands down. I'd stand to the side, she'd tell me to get up front. I was happy that I could provide my friends with a more than sufficient laughing session, as I watched tears roll down their cheeks as they sat there, waiting for the next event. Like I said, train wreck, and we had front row seats.

The really sad part is that these two really ARE talented whistlers. There was a little bit of musicality being taught to my kiddos (how to blow, how to make 2 tones, etc.) It was just overshadowed by The Hulk's behavior.

Go figure: they have made it onto "America's Got Talent", the TV show with David Hasselhoff, Sharon Osbourne, and Piers Morgan. Apparently, Piers and The Hulk even got into it on national television. I'm so glad we could share our pain with the rest of the world. Stay tuned - Tuesday nights - "Climb Every Mountain" is the song they'll whistle. I have no doubt that The Hulk will provide yet another, memorable performance. Who knows...maybe she'll even throw some candy.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

3 More to Go

HOLY COW. I only have 3 more classes of kids to grade. THREE MORE. I’ve done 16 classes worth of grades today. At about 25 kids in each class that's 400+ kiddos to grade. They each have 6 things to look over/comment on, so that’s… 2,400 fields of data I’ve looked at today. It's the end of the year, so I make many more comments than I usually would. It's my chance to actually chat 1:1 with the kids. Still, 2,400 fields is a lot of click, wait, click wait, etc. That would definitely explain why I’m crossed-eyed. UGH!

I did escape for a haircut, which really turned into a hair shave (it’s a bit shorter than I anticipated). Thankfully, my hair grows faster than bunnies can mate, so I’ll hopefully have my girlish looks back super fast. Another GRR.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Heights

Happy kids! Kites flying! Blue sky! Could I be any happier!? What a fun activity! After teaching my kiddos "Let's Go Fly a Kite" from Mary Poppins, I felt the need to actually get OUT of the building, and fly some! So, after trying out 1 kite with 1 kid before school (practice mission: successful!), I took 2 full classes outside, and we flew our $1 kites from Wal-Mart. It worked! They were zooming around the field at school, happy as can be, singing the song and flying their kites. THAT is a happy day! o)