Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sing...Sing a Song

Two months have now passed since my friends and I decided to work together to keep ourselves on the straight and narrow path towards our individual goals. This month someone got the bright idea that we should write songs (okay just lyrics) to express our individual Words for the Year.

Let's start with Peggy from Middle Aged Ramblings:
"Where is the Love" by the Black Eyed Peas.
"Where is the Balance"

Listen to what your body and feelings are telling you
Like most things in life,

It takes practice and experimentation.

We need to make adjustments,

As we go along.

We need to stop and reflect,

To see which parts of our life,

Are out of Balance.

Then take the steps,

To put them back in Balance.

So remember to stop and ask yourself,
Where is the Balance.....
Where is the Balance..... Where is the Balance......

Next on our list is the AVTCoach who has written a wonderful song inspired by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele's song "A Wonderful World" as performed by Louis Armstrong.

I hear songs of love…devotion too

I sing along…a few notes for you

And I think to myself….what an abundant world.

I whisper prayers…for friends in need

Some who are joyful…some really grieve.

And I think to myself….what an abundant world

The words of a loved one….so dear to my ear

Are just what I needed… take away my fear

I hear people sharing…and it’s more than a few.

They’re really sayin’…I love you.

I see my children….I’ve watched them grow

They work and play…independence they show

And I think to myself…what an abundant world.

Our next lyricist is Roban from Moments in Time inspiring us with her song of faith & joy entitled: “Words of the Year Song” sung to the tune of “Edelweiss,” the Rodgers and Hammerstein hit from The Sound of Music.

Faith and joy, faith and joy

These two words will sustain me

Through the year, far and near

Faith and joy will be mine.

Faith that God will see me through

With joyful days His voice rings true.

Faith and joy, faith and joy

Are blessings for me to gather.

Our ever popular Octamom (c) (not to be confused with that impostor on the network news) will entertain us with two of her children singing the Excellence song.

Excellence Song from Octamom on Vimeo.

Finally, I have chosen to use the tune "Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music to push me through my quest for a more disciplined life. Please enjoy my attempt at summing up my current feelings on the matter.

"A Few of My Discipline Needs"

Disciplined living – for this I am searching
“Fly by the seat of my pants” isn’t working
Making a list of the things I must do
This just might help locate my left shoe

Grading my papers as soon as I get them
Clearing my desk off so I won’t forget them.
Grocery shopping for healthier things
These are of few of my Discipline Needs

When I’m tired
I don’t want to
pack a lunch for sure
But when I remember my Discipline needs
A healthy lunch is ... in store!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Orange Jumpsuits

As many of you might remember, my word for the year is discipline. In my quest to live a more disciplined life, I haven't gotten very far, but my journey is at least 3.5 miles (5.6 km) farther than it was the day before.

Recently, I was talking to my friend J at school. She said, "Girl, you gotta lose some weight!" (You can say things like that to your real friends.) I gave her that look, like, "You better look in a mirror!" (Yet another thing friends can do.) She then qualified her statement with, "Yeah, we both do."

That's when we got this brilliant idea that since her daughter would be at swim practice everyday after school, I would go meet her during practice, and we would walk the nearby track. We worked out an agreeable schedule and planned to meet Tuesdays and Fridays. I don't know if she believed I would follow through, as that is so against my nature, but she didn't know about my search for a more disciplined life.

So I think she was surprised when I actually showed up on her doorstep for our first walk. (Her daughter's practice had been canceled.) Shortly after I peeled her up off the sidewalk, we began our trek. (I don't use that word lightly.) If I had known what I know now about her neighborhood, I would never have shown up. I figured we would walk around the block a few times and come back home to gab by the pool, but an hour later, I found myself asking myself if there was such a thing as exercise-induced insanity and if such an insanity would get me off of a murder charge.
Members of the jury, Mrs. V is not at fault for her actions. She has never had that much oxygen running through her brain at one time. What else could you expect her to do but lash out at her companion who forced her walk up four hills that were so steep, she could see the asphalt at eye level. Mrs. V was just trying to impress upon her friend how much she wanted to go home when she throttled her.
It could work! Okay, maybe not.

Regardless, when we reached the middle part of our trip, I saw this monstrosity of a hill carved out of a quarry and thought, "There is NO WAY she is going up that!" Sure enough we did. As we reached the summit, I was thankful to see an equally steep downhill slope. In my mind, I was grateful I had survived and that the worst part of the trip was over. The problem with my thinking was, I had never been to her neighborhood before. I had no clue how many hills there were or that the only way back to her house was back up that same hill we had conquered before. "Oh, naivete, your name is Mrs. V." Note to self, drive the neighborhood before you walk it.

This brings us back to the moment I saw her house again. Having no idea that her death is imminent, J bravely announced, "You just walked 3.5 miles."

I hope the jumpsuits in prison are orange. I think the black and white horizontal stripes will do nothing for my figure!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Has It Really Been 11 Days...

...since I last posted? Where has my brain been? On hiatus obviously? What has occurred over the past week and a half? Quite a bit.

Of course there is the usual After School Tutoring, Child Taxi-ing, and Saturday Schooling all on top of my own dance classes. I am still living in the "fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants" mode which I have told myself I wouldn't do anymore. Old habits die hard.I don't believe too many super-memorable worth-mentioning things happened from from the 6th until the 13th, but Friday the 13th was a bonus day! My students had a Valentine's Day party. The student council sold candy grams of which I got EIGHT!!! When I got home, my husband showed me a package I had gotten in the mail and a slip for another package that was waiting for me at the post office. I immediately tore into the package which had been tightly wrapped and taped. It was almost as hard to get into as Fort Knox. When I finally made it through the last piece of paper, I discovered two lovely travel books from my friend Jobo in Norway - one of which I have already begun dutifully marking up in preparation for the trip Peggy (Miruspeg) and I are taking to Norway next summer (2010.)
After recovering from the surprise of the first package, Caitlin and I drove to the post office and signed for the next parcel. On the way back to the car, I couldn't resist tearing into it like a child on Christmas morning. I didn't even leave the parking lot. I sat down and began pulling out the treasure trove of goodies that Peggy had sent from Australia. Caitlin's eyes were immediately drawn to the cool pens and flip flop magnets. I pulled out the loveliest address book ever. There were photos of the indigenous people of Peru. This is probably one of the best gifts a friend has ever given me. Although it's almost too pretty to write in, I can't wait to start putting phone numbers and addresses in it.

Valentine's Day, Gary and I took the kiddos to the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum to see an IMax Movie and the Spirit of Texas Show along with the regular museum exhibits. It was so cool to see everything I teach in Social Studies standing in front of me life-size. It was like walking through the textbook. This was all followed by a nice dinner out. It was nice to be out with the entire family.

The next day was spent casually lounging around until Caitlin broke her front tooth. I was so upset because she did it in such a silly way - trying to peel the glue off the bottom of a bottle of body wash that was glued to her Valentine's Day gift basket. All I could do was pray the dentist was open on Presidents Day, which he was. Unfortunately, the receptionist couldn't find an opening, so Caitlin had to go to the dentist today. Note to self - when Gary's insurance re-enrollment comes up again, hound him until he gets DENTAL INSURANCE!!!!

Well, that's about it. Tomorrow is already Wednesday. The week's half-way over!! Aren't four day weeks the best?!

If I Were an Evil Villain...

Your evil

According to the quiz, I appear totally irresistible but inside I am an electrifying siren. Once I have fluttered your eyes and caught someone in my spell there is no way out. As soon as I have sacrificed one victim I am already on the lookout for the next one.

Haha! Very funny! If you notice, I am only 65% her personality. Makes me wonder what the other 35% is.

Who do you think you are? Take the quiz to find out.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Give Away

I was just over at Octamom's and she has a new giveaway from Homeschool Boutique. Many of my friends homeschool and if my husband does move to the Philippines for a year (now looking less likely fortunately,) I am going too with my two kids and I will more than likely be homeschooling my two children.

I have great respect for homeschooling parents who are able to teach their kids, keep them involved in outside activities and still keep their sanity. I barely do that as a traditional teacher and mom.

Anyway, if you are interested in the giveaway, read about it at Octamom's site. Homeschool Boutique has more than just homeschool products. I've really got my eye on either one of her totes with MOM written in blingy or a t-shirt that says I teach. So head on over and get signed up today!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Crazy Math

I have the most interesting class in the world.

Working with students who are primarily gifted offers me unique experiences everyday. They have very focused interests, but each one is interested in something else. Planning learning activities that will appeal to them, then, provides me with a daily challenge.

Today, however, I have found something that has kept them engaged for going on 30 minutes now. They are solving problems like the following:
KEY + KEY=OPEN (I haven't figured out how to stack this vertically on the blog, but you get the idea.) Each letter stands for the one of the numbers, 0, 1, 3, 4, 6 or 7. They had no problem when the numbers were given to them to choose from, but when we gave then NO + NO = YES and no number choices we had a blast figuring out all the combinations. Finally I had them create their own and had their peers figure them.

It has been interesting, especially when they bring them up for me to solve and I have to show them their thinking errors. Suddenly a big lightbulb appears over their heads, and they go scurrying back to their seats to try again. I love to see that they aren't frustrated to the point of giving up. That they want to keep trying and figuring until they get it right.

We can learn a lot from these students. Sometimes we think we have it all planned just right; we know we have it all worked out. Then we try out our idea or we share it with someone we trust. That is when errors begin to show up in our thinking. We don't have to give up our ideas or plans. We just need to go back to the drawing board and figure out where we went wrong.

I know my students would be totally bored out of their gourds if, in an effort to protect their "fragile" psyches, I made the way easy for them. Likewise, as adults, if life is just handed to you on a silver platter, there is no growth, no improvement. We become stagnant, stale, our brains even atrophy. I don't want that for my life. I know you don't either. That is why I teach. There is certainly never a dull moment, and I can guarantee that things hardly ever turn out the way I planned. But that's what makes my job interesting. And that's why there are erasers on pencils.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Why People Don't Go For Check-Ups

Friday I had to go the doctor. I hadn't been to a doctor except for strep throat in five years. Why so long? The exact reasons escape me, but I am sure memories similar to situations like the following are a contributing factor. I will try to avoid TMI.

Doctors' offices are generally only open for regular check ups on work days. This entails taking a 1/2 day off to take care of yourself. Every time I have to log-in to the website to request a substitute teacher, I ask myself, "Is there some other way? This 1/2 day is going to pile on to all the other days I take off for my children. I am going to have to write detailed sub plans describing every minute thing we do everyday out of habit." Yet I bite the bullet and request the sub anyway and take the morning off.

Now that I have the appointment I have to remember it. Not my strong suit, but remember it I do. I get there the requisite 15 minutes early at 8:15 a.m. I check in to the receptionist who knows me well because of my daughter. She gives me this two page check list of ailments that I need to peruse and accurately complete so the doctor will know everything wrong me. (Is this a new pen? Does it have enough ink?) Then the wait begins. I watch the clock in the lobby as person after person gets called back to the triage nurses - even people who came after I did. All the while I am thinking, "How long do I wait before I complain? What happens if my appointment runs too late? Will I just jump off the table and tell them I have to return to work now?"

Finally, at 8:50 the nurse calls my name and the dreaded weigh in happens. Now for the truth --232.8 lbs or 105 kg. I tell you what, to this American girl, it looks better in kilos. She takes me back to the exam room. She asks me some questions. "Have you had this? When did that last happen? Did this ever happen to you?" Then she asks me if anyone in my family has ever had breast cancer? I always hated this question in the past because my father's sister died after a long fight with this cancer, but this year was more difficult as I had just lost my father to leukemia this past fall. The moment I opened my mouth to answer, the tears welled up in my eyes. For the remainder of the doctor visit I was in some state of crying. I felt like such an idiot.

At this point, the nurse tells me it is time to put on that dreaded gown and leaves the room. When you hear this directive, you begin to calculate how quickly you have to change. Will they be knocking quickly. Are they standing outside the door with a timer and a chart that tells them how long a 40 year old woman takes to change clothes. Then there is the matter of where you will hide your unmentionables which shall remained unmentioned.

Finally, I am perched on the exam table with a gown that barely closes in the back. Why is this the case no matter how big a person is. Haven't the gown manufacturers figured this issue out yet? Then I realize that there is no clock in the room and my cellphone has been dutifully turned off as the many signs directed me to do. I now know they do this so you won't know how long you have been there. (It's just the opposite of McDonald's business practice of hard seats and upbeat music to get you to eat your food and get out as quickly as possible. Take their clothes, watches and phones away and don't hang a clock in the room.) As it turned out, there was an emergency which always seems to arise when I go to the doctor, and I am left sitting in a dressing gown. So I end up sitting for over 30 min in an empty room staring at a poster of what could happen to you if you got diabetes. (It was gross.) Not a magazine to be found. Can you believe it? I know you can!

Now that I have been at the clinic an entire hour, the doctor knocks on the door and comes in. After a few brief formalities and few looks of pity (mind you I am still in some state of tearfulness,) she begins her routine. I don't know how long everything took. I am just glad it's all over. I quickly redress feeling so miserable (not because of anything the doctor did) that I consider calling the sub to see if she can stay the rest of the day, but quickly reject that idea for all the reasons mentioned at the beginning of this long story.

Why do I tell this story? I think things need to change. HMOs are swamped. They require too much of a small staff. They put time limits on doctors that if they could afford to be in private practice which, because of malpractice insurance, they cannot, they would be able to schedule more needy patients like myself for longer periods. As it is, an anonymous switchboard of scheduling agents take your phone calls not knowing anything about you. Trying to get a nurse or the ACTUAL doctor to tell them why you want to see them is completely out of the question. I can almost guarantee they aren't even in the same building as the clinicians.

For these reasons, I hate going to the doctor. I am certain I am not the only one. People blame the economy and lack of insurance on why people don't take care of their health needs. I know for my case and many of my friends who all have insurance that this couldn't be farther from the truth. It is too much of a hassle to get it done, so that when we finally do go, it is often too late.

I challenge all of my friends, male and female, go to the doctor. Get that check up. Yes, it can be pain in the ... both literally and figuratively. But I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Besides, I would sure miss talking to all of you on Facebook, Scrapblog and SIStv if something ever happened to you.

Playlist Note: I thought that first song was funny!
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