Sunday, February 27, 2011

Irony Sucks

Waaaayyyy Back when Winter got started at the beginning of November, the sickness season also began.  Viruses, bugs, bacterial ickiness and general sickness galore has gone through just about every household of everyone I know in my county.  There are probably only a handful of kids in school that will get perfect attendance this year, that is if any of them at all were spared. 

My kids don't usually fall to every illness sweeping the schools and my husband never gets sick.  I can't remember the last time I was really ill myself.  Overall, I say our family has a pretty good immune response to all the icks that go around.  Last year was the swine flu in which Naomi was the only one to fall victim.  Somehow she fought the flu for 7 days on the living room couch and did not infect anyone else in the house.  Last year was a victory for us.

This year, it seems as if any immunity we had stored up over the years was repeatedly attacked.  Hendrix, my son has been sick two times this winter.  He was the first victim of this horrible season.  He woke up at 3AM one morning and came in our room and puked on the floor.  He is 5 years old and had never puked before, so it was new, scary and just overall miserable for him and everyone involved.   Hendrix's immune response is strong.  He has a knack for kicking out a virus within 24 hours.  He missed one day of school and was back and ready to roll.  Around one week later, Naomi wakes at 3 AM and pukes all over her floor and about 30 minutes after Nathan and I have the bathroom and her bedroom cleaned up from that catastrophe, he starts getting sick.  Both Nathan and Naomi were sick for around 48 hours.  They puked and got a fever and then it passed.  Everyone in the house had been sick and I was feeling the impending doom, but it never came. 

About three weeks later, Hendrix once again was sick and missed about three days of school.  He had the flu.  He just wanted to lay around for a few days and had a fever.  The flu swept through the households and school relentlessly.  It seemed as if everyone was rushing for their dose of Tamiflu. I thought that the whole family would fall victim once again, but it never happened...thank goodness.

Even though more viruses have plagued the school since these instances, our home has been sickness free.  We came out a lot better than most families, who had things go around the house multiple times and whose kids missed weeks of school.  Now it is right on the edge of spring.  The groundhog predicted that spring would come early and other than a minor setback of a snow storm last week, it has kept to it's promise. I felt like we were in the clear...then BAM!  I feel like I have been hit by a Mac Truck.  I finally fell ill today.  Nothing serious yet, but I feel it could have the potential to not be good in the coming days. 

The whole irony of the situation is that I am the one who HATES winter will all my heart and soul.  Being cold is the worst form of torture to me.  This Winter has been completely unbearable for me and even though it has affected me in other years, this is the first year that I am afraid I suffer from SAD.  (Seasonal Affect Disorder)  The few nice 60 degree days the last few weeks have been heaven to me.  I was just starting to come off of my funk when today at 60+ degrees when I should have taken the kids on a hike or to the park, mid-day my throat starts to hurt like it's swollen shut, I am coughing, my chest feels almost wheezy and my head has been pounding.  I am hot and then cold at the same time.  The only thing missing is the fever.  So now the nice weather is here and I kick off the spring when I should be out walking, hiking, and soaking up the sun, by being miserable and sick. 

While I hate to be sick, I also am hoping that this is some kind of bug.  If this is my allergies already acting up, I am going to have a loooonnnngggg spring.  :(

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Feeling the Crunch

It's that time of year.  Winter is slowly being forced out by spring, which means that soon I won't be able to blame the weather for not getting out and walking more.  More importantly, it's that time of year where the School Board starts working on their budget.  In the past my interest in this subject was little to none.  Two years ago, our county built two much needed high schools and since then, the budget has been cut and cut and cut.  Some has to do with the debt service for building the schools, most has to do with the fact that Federal and State budgets are being cut too.  For the last two years my interest in the budget process was peeked.

The first year I attended a few budget meetings the schools and PTA's were sending home letters of the importance of attending and being heard.  Teachers salaries were going to be cut, important programs were on the chopping block and a lot of improvements to the schools would be set aside.  This was the year before the new schools were to open their doors as well and there were threats that the high schools would have to sit for a year, or that the old high schools would not be converted to middle schools.  That was a lot for people to swallow after fighting so hard for the schools.  That year, things worked out ok.  Life went on, all the schools opened. 

The following year once again programs were on the chopping block as well as many teacher aides positions.  The end of that process we lost 47 teachers aides.  The next cycle, one of the elementary schools got closed. 

So here we are again.  Being told there may be deep, deep cuts.  The problem this time is that there is nothing left to cut without crippling the parents and students of much needed programs.  On the chopping block this year are sports and music and arts.  At the last School Board meeting I realized how there are apparently three types of parents where I live...well actually four. 

There are the parents who breed their kids to eat, breathe and play sports. There are the parents who push the value of a good education balanced with arts and music.  

Third, there are the parents who just don't care.  In this category, those parents will never be seen at a School Board meeting, a PTA meeting, and you will never see their kids in sports, clubs or any extracurriculars.  The kids of these parents rarely have a chance to be anything but average.  These parents are also the ones who complain the most even though they do nothing to change the system.  Unfortunately, the whole public school system model is designed for these parents and students but that is a whole different discussion. 

Finally, there are parents whose students are in need of special services.  These parents at face value seem to fit into the category of parents who don't care, but that isn't necessarily true.  These parents know that no matter how many meetings they have or notes they send, that the schools are just not funded enough to help them.  What special needs help there is in place in our schools is very limited and the few teachers assigned to the jobs already have too many kids assigned to them, but realize that the ones they serve are only a fraction of the kids who need help, but can't do much about it.  But even as sad as their stories are, even if these parents joined together to get to the budget meetings and plead for help, the sports parents would boo them out and demand new uniforms and facilities. 

The other first two types of parents are the ones who attend meetings and it is hilarious when you get them in a budget meeting. You will have one parent stand up and remind the board how important arts and music are to education.  The fact that they increase IQ and the chances of kids being accepted to college.  Then the next parent will stand up and say that their kid isn't a band geek and no matter where they have to cut the money, they don't care as long as a kick ass football field gets built this year.  Well, you can probably tell from my very biased example that I am among the parents who value the arts and above all want my child to receive a good education. 

It is hard to be unbiased about the subject.  I did not play sports in school and had no interest.  My daughter is in 5th grade and has played every sport offered in our area but has outgrown all of them.  She was an awesome cheerleader, but had enough of the girly girl drama.  She tried her hand and basketball and soccer and it wasn't her thing.  She was awesome at softball, but in our local Little League it all depends on who you know and who is coaching.  So in a nut shell, she knows the importance of sports and I do too, but it's not for her and having a kid who is not going to play football or softball, I get so mad when these jock parents crowd the room wanting millions to be spent on softball and football fields for the high schools. 

With an obesity problem in America physical fitness is very important.  My daughter takes ballet instead of playing sports.  It is physically demanding and will keep her in shape.  It is the way that parents have gone about pushing their kids to their limits and making a lifestyle of sports or nothing that has gotten dangerous to society.  There are not many high school districts out there that do not coddle their star players, and that increases when a chance at regional or state come into play.  There were football players when I went to school that were dumber than a box of rocks, but they played well and the coaches were able to persuade some teachers to give them a break on their homework, or be lenient while grading test.  This was done because in able to play sports you had to keep a certain GPA. 

Another problem with the push for sports; injuries and drug use.  I will use football as the example again b/c that is where most of the atrocities I witnessed in high school occurred.  There were times when a player would get hurt and they would pop a pain pill, wrap it up, and send them back out to play. Not to mention that nationally, only one in three sports concussions get reported or check out.  These kids ram heads and keep going.  While most parents do not want to admit it, most of the "star" players were taking dangerous supplements and in some cases illegal steroids.  The better a kid plays in high school, the more pressure they have to be better to get that college scholarship. 

I know this has just been a rambling of thoughts and I got a little off track of my main point.  My main point was that this School Board budget meeting made me soo mad.  If our board appropriates 2.7 million to build three new sports fields instead of fixing the crumbling elementary and middle schools, I think I will be done with the public school system.  Where I live, a school is "in improvement" from the NCLB act and others were on the cusp of not being accredited.  The kids who graduate here rarely go off to be anything special.  This one meeting led me to think back over the years and I can see plain as day why now.  The priorities of some of the parents here are a little backwards.  It is funny how hard they fight.  Their kids will graduate with injuries and not get scholarships for sports, and never even have a chance at going to state, but at least they had a field that made the other teams envious.  I was so dumbfounded I came away not knowing what to say.  But the budget process just got started and I will find my voice.  When I find my voice I will show these sports fanatics that brains always win over brawn.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sticking to my guns...figuratively

Both of my kids have decided that it's time to test their boundries.  Being the butt end of winter with spring just within reach where I will be normal and happy again, I think they must both have lost their minds to push me right now.  My daughter is 10 and puberty is hitting her, her friends are getting their periods, she is a punk rock diva who's trying her hardest to find where the limits are.  My son who is 5 is a parrot and mimics everything that his big sister does.  He is testing the limits too in his own age appropriate way.  She is famous for using a major attitude in her voice when she is talking to me, or her step dad or anyone in authority like she is talking down to them. Hendrix has chosen the route of temper tantrums and acting like a two year old.   

Both of them have lost their marbles.  I have never been one to punish or ground, so when the hammer came down last night...figuratively again...I think they were shocked.  I laid down in bed at 10:30.  They had been in bed for over an hour.  I yelled in the room for them to turn down the TV.  They did and all was good...except that they should have already been asleep.  At 11:30 when I heard them arguing, I woke up and walked in to find Hendrix playing his DS and Naomi reading a book, lights on and TV playing.  I lost it.  I turned off everything and flipped out on them.  I did a lot of yelling and told them they lost the TV for a week and they earned an 8:30 bedtime until the end of the month.  I make threats of punishments all the time, but are not the best at following through.

Well, today I physically took the TV from the room and they are in bed.  They may not be asleep, but they are in bed with the lights out and nothing to do at 9:00.  I know it's only been one day, but I feel triumphant.  I kinda hope they screw up some more so I can take more of their joys away since they have decided to take so much joy from me the last few months. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt, Gaga, Me=Getting our Groove Back

Making a concrete exercise plan has been on my agenda now for a month.  Not as a New Years resolution or anything, but again, trying to beat the winter blues and get some motivation and energy.  I have been a sorta active member of a gym now for a year and have one year left on my contract.  Sorta a member means that I started off going three times a week, and slowly got to once a week and now if I go twice a month I am on a roll.  I pay a monthly fee for this gym, so the exercise plan is to incorporate definate gym days into my schedule.  Friday is my toning day at the Luray Fitness Center, which unfortunately is not my gym.  I had been to toning twice in the past and know what it entails and knew going in that it is fun, hard, and extremely successful.  I started my plan today and jumped right into toning and now I feel like jello, which is phase one, tomorrow I will feel like a tree and every move will make me creak and moan in pain.  No pain, no gain.  I am going to make sticking to my exercise schedule a high priority of my day through the rest of the month and then tweek it if I need to.  So me...getting my groove back.

Lady Gaga joins me today in getting her groove back.  I have been highly anticipating her return and new album and was overjoyed with it's release on Facebook today.  I love the song and can't wait to get that album on my MP3 player.  I was waiting for this day and to hear this song, and alas, Mubauk, that Egyptian ahole of a president, decides that today is the day he will finally resign after a month of protesting.  Way to steal Gaga's Thunder! 

But overall, Egypt, I hope you will get your groove back.  But just a quick note to you Egyptians out there...democracy isn't much less corrupt.  Sure, you won't see a President serve for 30 years in most democracy's, but the people you elect definatly do not represent you.  They represent the interest of the lobbiest that take them to dinner and give them bonuses and lavish vacations.  Good luck with that Democracy and way to show Mubauk that you were Born This Way!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

So much for Everyday

I intended to make blogging an everyday occurance.  A journal if you will.  After a few posts I realized that 1. it would be time consuming, 2. something interesting doesn't happen everyday and 3. the blogging actually worked in jump starting my writing and my ablitity to get somewhat back on track with keeping a schedule.  Usually the most interesting of comments or incidents can be compacted into a Facebook status and do not require a full blog. 

I am proud to announce that since my last blog I have read two books and completed the first chapter of the book I am writing.  I am not much of a reader, but would really like to get into the habit of reading for pleasure.  While I was in school, that thought never occured to me that I would grow up to be one of "those" kind of people who read books.  I hated to read the ones assigned and never read a book on my own.  I have a sinister purpose for the extra reading right now.  I really want a Nook for either Valentine's Day or my anniversary.  The hint has been dropped to my husband who really just wishes that I would share my daughters Nook, so I figured if I kept buying books and read them to have a stack of read book laying around, he would see the cost effectiveness of buying me one since books are 50-75% cheaper when you buy them electronically and sometimes are even free.  

But alas, even though I am proud of myself for reading more, and I am slowly getting motivation to get my "to do lists" attempted everyday; the reading has somewhat replaced the online games.  I thought I would have withdraw from them, but without seeing posts from everyone else playing them, I haven't even thought about them and I certainly do not miss them one bit.  I will gladly accept reading as my new vice over computer stuff anyday.  I am still struggling to get back into the "groove" of things.  The weather within the next few weeks should start to heat back up slightly and I am hoping my winter blues will be over and I will be back on top of my game. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Day of Triumphs and Let Downs

Yesterday my husband gave me great news.  He told me he'd be home from work early.  And by early that meant before the kids were home from school.  He suggested that we watch a movie and just relax, but in my head I had already decided that I do enough relaxing during the day and that we were going to go to town and have lunch.  Big mistake to keep that thought in my head.  At 12:30 when he arrived home, I announced that I wanted to go to lunch.  This caused a huge problem.  He had just come from town and we live far enough from town that it's annoying to make unnecessary trips. 

Nathan did not want to go to lunch.  He wanted to relax and watch a movie.  Winter is already a hard time for me.  I shut down and hibernate.  Two examples come to mind to explain my emotional state in the winter.  Example 1:  like a pre-teen who just started getting her period.  Example 2:  like I'd just been dumped the next day by the person I'd lost my virginity too.  That gives you a pretty good view that my emotional state is on a hair trigger and the littlest feather can set it off.  His unwillingness to do what I wanted set me into a crying fit.  It wasn't a big deal.  He'd just got finished working and hardly ever gets to relax.  I am not sure what made me break down like a toddler and throw a fit. 

My husband is an amazing man.  He didn't get mad, he didn't leave me to cry, he stayed by me and helped me through my breakdown.  We talked out a lot of things.  The heart of the conversation boiled down to my lack of motivation affecting my life.  The lack of motivation came from winter.  But even deeper, it came out that my lack of motivation for writing my book was that I was afraid of what my friends would think.  I am petrified that if I wrote a book that actually gets published that a friend or friends will read it and think it's horrible.  I could care less about critics, I just wanted approval from my friends.  It's crazy.  Having this emotional, face soaking talk with my husband was a triumph.  I talked my way through my feelings to the core of the issue and now I feel so much better.  Enough so that I did a lot of work on my book today.  Not actual writing yet, but character descriptions, notes, outlines, and other neat features that are on my writing software. 

Today was a day I hoped my kids would triumph as well.  Hendrix was to start his first karate lesson and Naomi her first ballet lesson.  Hendrix and I observed the karate class on Tuesday so he could get a feel for the routine and decide if he wanted to give it a try.  Tonight, he, just like mom today, shut down.  He wouldn't even give it a try.  They start the class with exercise and streatching and Hendrix wanted no part of it.  Karate is over.  It was over before he even tried.  Glad soccer starts in two months, he's really good at that.  I was more worried about Naomi's start to ballet.  She is a fast learner, but she has never taken any dance and at 10 years old, she was going to start in the advanced class, even though she is a beginner.  She came home and declared that she was very sore, but in a great way and she LOVED it. 

The day belongs to the women of the house.  Naomi rocked ballet, I got a lot done after my breakdown, especially on my book.  The men, not so much.  Nathan had a half a day just to console a wailing crazy wife, and Hendrix had a disapointing evening when I gave him the ultramadum of staying in karate, or giving up.  My son had his first lesson in quitting, I know it won't be the last, but I can always hope.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This has Kinda Helped

I have gotten out of the house the last few days.  My cabin fever has broken and even though I still want to play the part of the bear and hibernate until spring, I have managed to find some kind of motivation to get me out and about.  I am still WAY behind on my task list, which has to be completed before Monday.  On Monday, the month of February explodes on my calendar.  Why?  Because I thought it would be a great idea to sign up my son for karate at the same time I signed up my daughter for ballet.  Each class meets twice a week.  Same time, same day?  No way!  Is it ever that easy?

On top of that, my daughter will start her next play with the local theater around February 14th and that is a twice, sometimes three times a week practice.  But I digress...

The real reason for the post is to announce that the blogging has somewhat helped me sort some things out in my life.  I have decided which book to write first and that was a huge decision.  I also decided to make it into a book series and has roughly outlined the first three books.  Very roughly outlined, but it is progress, none the less.  Right now the only things that are keeping me from just diving right in and writing my little heart out are taxes and my new camera.  The taxes won't be too horrible.  I do have software and it's pretty simple, but the camera?  Photography is a pretty big passion of mine along with writing and reading.  I haven't had the time to take this baby out and see what she can do. I named my camera Delila.  She is beautiful and I hope she will help me capture many great memories. 

I hope that in my next post I will be able to report that I have written the first chapter or two.  My creativity has been overflowing lately without the distraction of games.  By the way, I deleted Cityville too.  I am Facebook game free.  I've been clean for three days.  The Wii, now that is a different story.  We just bought a few pretty addictive games for that too.  Those games are exercise though and I can limit myself because I get easily tired. 

One final note...I don't know if the groundhog is supposed to see his shadow or not for spring to come, but whichever it is, I hope it happens.  Otherwise, I will no longer break for groundhogs.  That's your only warning rodents.