Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I met the new crop today

Today was registration day in my school system. The students come to school just long enough to find out who their teacher is and wait for their parents to fill out the first wave of paperwork. I started the day with 20 students in my class. I had 23 by lunch time. We have 8 kindergarten teachers and all of us have between 23 and 25 students. Our state limit is 20. It's going to be a long year.

It was nice to finally meet the kids. I'd had their names since yesterday but they were just that - names. Today they became real to me. And, I fell in love with all of them. I dread this day every year because it's wild and chaotic. However, by the end of the day, I'm ready to get the school year started. They were all so cute and excited. It was impossible to not let their excitement rub off on me. They varied widely in experiences and abilities. (Most notable was the one reading on a 3rd grade level before starting kindergarten.) There is a tough month ahead for all of us but after that, we'll gel into our own little "family" of sorts. The good, the bad, the ugly - we're all there but we are there together. I can't wait to see what we do together!

If I can just survive tomorrow. Tomorrow is the worst day of the school year. ALL the teachers in the whole county converge on one high school. They call it training but it's rarely anything we didn't already know. It's a long, hot, boring day of meetings that might semi-relate to our teaching assignments when every one of us has things we really need to be doing to get our classrooms ready for the students on Monday. Grrr!

Goodbye purple shirt

I'm probably jinxing us by posting this, but, as of yesterday, Elvis will be going to my school! If I'd been paying attention, I'd have known Monday but sometimes I'm a little slow. The special ed teacher walked down the hall with me Monday and said, "I hear Elvis is coming to our school." I replied that I hoped so but hadn't heard from the woman I'd called about that yet. Yesterday, that same special ed teacher just showed up in my classroom with the notice to set up his IEP meeting. Evidently, instead of calling me, the boss lady just called the special ed teacher. (I have no idea how that conversation went down because I hadn't even left his name on the voicemail. However, they had his special ed file at the school yesterday AND it was done before we changed his name. Someone there must have remembered me/him.) Anyway, he will go Wednesday for OT and PT evals and we'll have his IEP next Friday. I don't know what class he'll be in yet. He'll either be in the full-time special ed room or the special ed pre-k class. That will be decided at the meeting. Either way, he'll be at my school and that makes me so happy. I know it's hard to send any child off to school but sending a non-verbal child is really, really scary. Absolutely anything could happen to him/be done to him and I'd have no way of knowing.

Of course, I'd already bought him some clothes for the new dress code and I'd purchased shirts in the colors required by the school we are zoned for. I'll happily drop that purple polo off at our local school to be passed on to a child in need. Our boy will be wearing burgundy, yellow, light blue, and red with me this school year. I'm so happy!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Gradually getting back into the school routine

We had another day of meetings today. Nothing really exciting but not the worst we've sat through, either. Tomorrow is our one teacher preparation day. The administrators always joke that they are forbidden to talk to us on that day. Somehow, we always end up having at least one short meeting. We get our class lists tomorrow, too. That's always exciting. Of course, they've already warned us that all kindergarten classes have about 22 kids in them. The state limit is 20 but they always seem to get around that somehow.

In an unexpected development, after listening to her gripe about the new dress code this year, Beth has already started wearing her new polo shirts. Her school picked the most boring colors ever - black, grey, burgundy, and khaki tan. In addition, all schools have the option of white and navy. Not a single "girl color" in the bunch. (My school has burgundy, yellow, light blue, and red. I kind of like that selection.) I did a little "eBaying" and found Beth some new polos for decent prices. The Aeropostale color "Black Cherry" is really burgundy. And, I found a lot of two polos, black and grey, that were Arizona brand and dirt cheap. They fit her well and she's worn both already. I overheard her telling BFF that they "looked kinda cute with her jeans shorts." She's such a girl. Reality will strike on Wednesday, however, when those "cute" polo shirts have to be tucked in and she has to wear a belt.

Nothing has been decided about Elvis' school yet. The special ed lady hasn't called me back. I did show incredible restraint today, though, because I sat at a table, directly across from the director of our county's special ed department for about 20 minutes today. I didn't discuss Elvis with her at all. I just have to keep praying that what is best for him is what will work out. In the meantime, I'm nervous!

I had a surprise visit yesterday from a former foster daughter, her husband, and their 3 sons. The oldest child is 3. The middle is almost 2 (and has spina bifida) and the baby is just 3 months. The older two kids have obvious delays. (Too soon to tell about the baby.) It was good to see them but it just made me sad. Despite my best efforts, the cycle continues...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I got a new thanks to Sears

My current grill was really old. I've had it over 8 years and it's been used a lot. I didn't keep it covered when not in use and I guess that contributed to its demise. Anyway, it was basically dead. I've been waiting until late in the summer, hoping to catch one on a clearance sale. Friends are coming over to grill today and I just couldn't face the idea of trying to cook on the old grill again. Last night, at 8:20, after a lot of internet shopping, I decided on the grill I wanted. It was at Sears and I used the little "check availability" button on their website that assured me it was in stock at out local store. Beth and I took off over there, arriving less than 15 minutes before they closed. We trot back to the grill department and there it was. The employee wrote down the stock number and took off to the back, only to return empty handed. They won't have any more until Wednesday. I told him I'd checked the computer and, according to it, they were supposed to be in stock. He said, "Never trust our computer." Thanks, Sears.

Instead of coming home, we decided to run by Wal-Mart and check out their grills. We walked right into the garden department and there sat a beautiful grill, almost identical to my chosen one at Sears, and it was $1 less. We had a choice of getting one assembled or taking one in the box. I wanted the assembled one but, alas, it wouldn't fit in my van. So we ended up with one in the box. Alli, Boy Wonder, and his cousin put it together and it works! So, we'll be grilling on a new grill today. I'm excited!

All in all, yesterday was a good day. My mom ran some errands with me which helped a lot. She could sit in the van with Elvis on the short ones so I wasn't constantly having to unload/load him and his wheelchair. (That gets old FAST!) We even went out to lunch. She's been trying to take me out for a meal since my birthday (in December). Yesterday was the day. That was nice, too.

Elvis ate his weight in hush puppies at the catfish restaurant and drank most of a huge cup of milk. He's so tiny. I have no idea where he's putting all this food lately. I guess a growth spurt is coming up. That, of course, means his seizure meds will be less efficient and we'll have to tweak them. That's a scary time in my life. You'd think I'd be used to his seizures by now but each and every one of them scares me. It's such a helpless feeling because I can't make them stop. Even when I give the emergency medicine, it can still take about 15 more minutes for it to work.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I survived day 2

I managed to get up on time and get to school on time. YAY! Shock of all shocks - The meeting this morning was actually useful. Obviously someone screwed up by scheduling a meeting that did, in fact, teach us something and help us do our jobs better. Heads will roll, no doubt, because if word gets out that we had a training that actually applied to our job assignment, people will expect it all the time.

The afternoon was spent back at our own schools. We got an assistant principal last year, so this is our first time to start a school year with her. She has high expectations for all and doesn't let anybody get away with much goofing off. She kept us in meetings most of the afternoon but they weren't too bad and, again, I got some useful information from them.

I even had a good evening tonight. I came home and "chilled" a bit and then Beth, Elvis, and I went to Wal-Mart. Normally, I hate Wal-Mart on a Friday night. (Actually, I hate Wal-Mart any time.) However, we were having a serious grocery shortage and I needed some stuff for school. (I spend a fortune on supplies for my classroom every year.) The best place to get groceries and office supplies here is Wal-Mart. (Yes, I could go to two different stores but loading and unloading Elvis' bulky, hefty wheelchair is a pain. The less I have to do it, the better!) It was busy, but not horrible. We ran into a few people I know, some of whom I haven't seen in forever. It's always nice to catch up with old friends, even if it's only in the canned veggie aisle.

$223 later, we made it home with a LOT of stuff to unload and sort. We should be set for food for a while. Beth went out with her new boyfriend for a while tonight when he got off work but was home a full hour before her curfew. Elvis ate SIX containers of Trix yogurt, drank a chocolate Pediasure, and knocked out right about his bed time. Like I said, it was a good evening for us all.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Relatively painless

Today was my first day back at work since the end of May. The summer has gone fast but I have to admit I'd forgotten there was a 5:30 in the morning, too. I also have to admit that I kept hitting my snooze button until 6:15. That's when I actually needed to be up today and tomorrow. All the Kindergarten teachers in the county are meeting together these two days and, luckily, we are meeting at an elementary school within a mile of my home. (As opposed to my own school which is a 20 mile drive each way.) So, I get a little extra sleep time but I'm still setting my alarm at the time I have to get up to go to my school as Monday will be here long before I'm ready.

Today's boring meetings weren't actually too bad. The presenter for the afternoon session is known for being a little...unpleasant to deal with but she wasn't at her worst today. It was nice to see my fellow teachers and have a little adult conversation during the breaks.

I'm hesitant to share this but it looks like Elvis' school situation may actually not be too bad this year. I've put off enrolling him, dreading all the politics involved in the special ed department of our school system. I'm just assumed he'd go to the school we're zoned for because they had a full-time special ed room, which he will need access to during the school day. Low and behold I was met with the news today that there will NOT be a full-time special ed class at the school he's zoned for. Those kids are being divided among two other county schools. One is a rural elementary school, semi-close to our home with an awesome principal and his teacher would be a woman I've know for 15+ years. I was fine with just that news but it was followed by the fact that the other school some kids were being sent to was.....MY SCHOOL! How incredible would it be if he could just go to school with me? I'm trying not to get my hopes up for that. I'm really okay with the rural school closer to home. That, alone, was a blessing to hear this morning. If he can come with me, it would just be the cherry on top. I've spent years dreading his going to school. I've prayed and prayed that things would work out to his advantage. I never dared dream it would look this good. At this point, I'm praying that the school that is best for him will be the one the team decides to send him to. My second prayer is that it will be a school that fits well within my schedule, too. (Selfish? Yes, but this has really stressed me out.)

Cousin It is spending the night with Beth. We sent to Wal-Mart and then out to eat. They went walking when we got home and came home with a kitten. Just what we didn't need. It's really pretty but I'm at my limit for living things in this house. It's going to have to be an outdoor kitty. My days of litter boxes are o.v.e.r!

So, day 2 tomorrow. I hope it goes as well as today!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The cousin fun just keeps on coming

I've gotten horribly off my sleep schedule the last few weeks - staying up late and sleeping late in the mornings. I was determined to ease myself back into a better sleep pattern before school starts back. Tonight, I had Elvis in his pajamas and sound asleep by 10:30. Not where we need to be but definitely better than the midnight mark we hit Monday night. I'd just gotten him settled in his bed, gotten my contacts out and myself into bed when my phone told me I had a text. It took me a few minutes to convince myself to look at it but I'm sooo glad I did. It was from Cousin It and no one from her family had come to pick her up from work. It was 10:39 PM and I live about 30 minutes from her job. I quickly put my contacts back in, hopped back into some semi-decent clothes, and headed out, texting Alli to listen for Elvis.

I got to her work in record time (@22 minutes) and there she sat, all alone at 11:12 PM on the bench in front of Cracker Barrel. I felt so sad for her (and a little scared, as if someone had tried to bother her, there would have been no one around to help). I feel so bad for her overall. She's 18, lives with her father and 21 year old sister. She, at 18, is the sole provider for her family. Neither of the others works. She just graduated from high school in May. She's passed up a scholarship to a good private college to stay home and attend a local community college. She'll continue to wait tables to pay the rent, car payment, and car repairs for her family. And to thank her, they'll leave her at work without a ride home. Something's wrong with that picture. I sure wish I had the ability to fix it but I don't. She's going to have to get fed up enough to change this situation. Until then, I'm afraid she's stuck. I'll continue to haul her when she calls me but that's all I know to do. God bless her. She's a neat kid, er, young lady now, I guess. She deserves so much better than what she gets.

She was very appreciative of the ride home. We chatted pleasantly over things like her job, my girls, and her college plans. She thanked me several times for coming to get her. She said she hated to bother me but she didn't know who else to call. I assured her it was okay to call me whenever she needed me and that my mom is will to help if she can't find me. I'm glad she feels comfortable enough to ask.

In the meantime, my planned bedtime of 11:00 has long since passed. So much for gradually going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. Tomorrow is my last day off. I guess I'll spend the first part of it in bed. I have to think it was for a good cause, though.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Successful "Cousin Day"

The girls' bio cousin (Cousin It) called today and needed a ride to work. It's an hour and a half process to leave here, go get her, take her to work, and get back home. However, she's an awesome kid who has grown up well in a whacked-out family. I'm glad to help her out whenever I can.

While I was out hauling Cousin It, the girls' other bio cousin and her daughters arrived to swim. We've been meaning to have them over all summer but never got around to it. Our summer is rapidly drawing to a close so today was the day. This is the cousin who is 7 years older than Alli and, even as a kid, knew my girls weren't being treated right by their parents. As a child, she did her best to make their lives a little brighter and I'm so glad we have been able to stay in contact with her and her own family. She has two daughters (ages 7 and 2) who are just beautiful. They all swam and we ordered pizza and watched the girls play with all our toys. The food was good and the conversation was nice. It was a nice afternoon and it was nice to make that bio/adoptive family connection a little stronger. She is a positive part of their past and I'm so glad she's a part of their futures, too. In fact, Beth went home with them to spend the night. I'm sure she's having a great time.

Tomorrow is my last free day. Thursday, I start in-service training. We have days and days of boring meetings when we really need to be getting our classrooms ready for the onslaught. I sit through these meetings every year, pretending to listen when I'm really busy thinking about what needs to be done in my room and makings lots of lists - shopping lists, to-do lists, lists of other things to makes lists of, etc.


I got a letter from Cori today. She'd evidently tried to call me a few times while we were gone and I didn't answer so she decided to blast me old school style.

The first page is pleasant. Nothing has changed in her new foster home. She blew all her allowance on getting her hair cut because she needed a change. They've found a possible adoptive home for her, still in our state but a couple of hours away. Her bio sister's foster mom is bringing her sister to visit their grandmother and she hopes to be able to see her sister while she's here. She misses her sisters. Just the stuff she usually tells me about on the phone. (Actually, she did tell me all that on the phone yesterday.) Anyway, page 2 of the letter got a little nastier. I'll just quote rather than attempt to paraphrase. All spelling and grammatical errors are hers, not mine.

"I don't Really know why you're not answering your phone, but it's all good. I'm not getting my hopes up for a reply to this letter, don't worry. But I jus wanted to let you know that I love u very much.& I always will no matter what happens. And, from the first time I said it until the end of Eternity I will say: you are like my mom. You have changed my life. I will remember u forever! I love u!

P.S. your not 'just another person' that let me down. No. your someone I loved, trusted, & respected that let me down. there is a BIG (underlined 4 times) difference."

Do I answer this? Well, obviously, I will answer. Since I talked to her yesterday, I've already discussed all the first page events with her. I'm not sure how to answer the second page, specifically the P.S. part. I don't want to sound defensive in my reply to her. I didn't make the call to have her moved. She initiated the move. And, as evidenced by her behavior here, I'm NOT the best parent for her. Despite my best efforts, she continued to cut herself, fail in school, and not be able to participate in the most basic family interactions in a positive manner. She has a right to feel the way she does. I have the right to feel the way I do. It doesn't necessarily make one of us right and the other wrong. I do hate that she feels that way. I can only hope as she matures a bit she'll be able to see I tried.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Our vacation, by the numbers

8 - The number of people our condo slept.
10 - The number of people who actually slept in our condo. (Shhh...don't tell the owner.)
$575 - The cost for my half of the condo rent.
4 - The number of phone calls received daily on the condo phone from telemarketers. We learned to let my 7 year old nephew field these calls. He'd listen intently for a while and then say, "Um, I don't know you," before hanging up. He did excitedly exclaim, "Hey, we get free cable with all the channels!" once after hanging up.
9 - The age of my nephew who had to visit the ER early one morning with croup. Yes, he's too old for croup but it is my family.
12 - The number of times I've been to this beach town without anyone in my group ever having to visit a local hospital.
11 - The number of boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes my mom brought on the trip.
5 - The number of boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes my mom brought home from the trip. Proof that there can, in fact, be too much of a good thing. I love those little cakes.
3 - The number of different bedrooms I slept in on the trip. (Yes, I spent at least one night in each of the condo's bedrooms. Don't ask!)
4 - The number of people who slept in the living room on our last night there.
1 - The number of strangers in the elevator when my 7 year old nephew announced, "My dad's almost drunk." (That man's response? "That's okay, Buddy, we all are.") In our defense, there was no alcohol consumed by anyone in the condo...that I know of. Little Nephew just blurts out odd things at times. He made an awesome drawing of a dolphin...emerging from a cocoon...dropping into a punch bowl. Creative? Or just odd? You decide.)
1 - The number of hours Beth and BFF were allowed to be out of my sight before having to physically check in with me. I figured there wasn't much they could get into when they knew I'd be seeing them within an hour. It seemed to work. As far as I know, neither of them managed to do anything to permanently mark their bodies. (Although BFF did get a henna tattoo.)
6 - The number of jellyfish stings suffered by people in my family.
1,000 - The number of miles put on my van from the time I picked up the key from the condo owner until we pulled into the driveway Saturday night.
4 - The number of hours required by the ancient condo dryer to dry ONE load of clothes. And that was only if the load only contained normal clothes. If you added a beach towel to the load, it took at least 5 hours.
75 - The average temperature in the condo. No matter how low we set the A/C, the temp never lowered. At times, we were sweating while sitting and watching TV.
38 - The number of hours it took Elvis to get back to normal after having a seizure and needing his emergency medicine to stop it. That was 38 hours with a really cranky small child with no muscle tone. It was a looooong 38 hours.
2 - The number of naps I took. However, during one of them, I was sharing a twin bed with Elvis. I'm not sure that counted.
4 - The number of crabs caught by my brother and nephews. They stuck them in the freezer and ate them on our last day there. Yuck.
$56 - (plus tip) The cost of lunch for 5 at the most fun restaurant I've ever been to. Worth. Every. Penny. (This was the only meal we ate out on the whole trip.)
90 - The top speed of my van on the trip. I certainly didn't mean to be going that fast. I just looked down and saw it. I honestly didn't even think my van could go that fast, especially when loaded down with five people and their belongings, as well as a week's food for 10 people.
3 - The number of calls from my alarm monitoring company when my alarm went off at 3:30 AM.
1 - The number of really good friends who went to house at 3:30 AM to meet the police. (Thanks, L!)
2 - The number of police officers who entered my home and woke Alli and Boy Wonder when they arrived to find the alarm still blaring and a back sliding door half-way open.
12 - The approximate number of ounces of really cold Crystal Light I spilled on my sleeping nephew. As you can imagine, he didn't much like that. He kept screaming, "Why would someone pour ice water on a sleeping person?" To clarify, I didn't actually pour the drink on him. I spilled it on the counter and it dripped off the other side onto Little Nephew who was sleeping on an air mattress in the living room.
$3.90 - The lowest price for gas I found the whole trip.
6 - The average number of times per hour that my 3 nephews burped and/or farted.
22 - The number of episodes of the Gilmore Girls I watched during the week.
3 - The number of jigsaw puzzles worked by my mom, my brother, and me. We'd taken two with us and actually went out to buy the third.
$10 - The amount Mom and I spent at the Rescue Mission Thrift Store. I bought a $0.50 book in an attempt to entertain a bored nephew for a few minutes. She got two books for herself and a folding stool to keep in her car.
$12 - The amount we spent on gas to get to and from the thrift store.
3 - The number of books I read. (Three Little Words, Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphree, and What Child is This. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will have to wait.

4 - The number of days (including today) that I have off before summer break is over.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hoping to leave in 12 hours

My busy day is almost done. We had Chinese take out for lunch. I met the guy we are renting the condo from and paid him and got the keys. I made it to the bank and closed on my loan. Beth cleaned the junk/trash/mystery items from the van. I got more contacts. (YAY, since I got a 6-week supply in October and just now need to replace the last set.) I deposited my summer pay check that came in the mail today. We made a last minute trip to Wal-Mart for a few necessary supplies. Alli offered to put the car top carrier on and I, of course, said "sure!" (She and Boy Wonder are doing it now.) Beth's got some last minute socializing to do tonight but has an early curfew. The last load of laundry was just put in the dryer. All that's left is the rest of the packing and loading the van. We just might make it!

I'm hoping for a week of peace. I've got some books to take with me - Three Little Words, Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I bought the first two from and borrowed the third from my 9 year old nephew. What can I say? My literary tastes are eclectic, to put it nicely.

I'm really sad at the thought of going without Alli but there's nothing I can do about that. She made that call in March. I know that. It still hurts to think about being at the beach without her.

Elvis is going with us. I'd go nuts worrying about him if he didn't. I'll have more peace by having him with me. My mom will help with his care (and Beth, her BFF, and my nephews will help with some of the lifting and hauling). Due to space issues in the van, we are leaving his wheelchair behind. We are taking a special-needs booster-type seat for him to use in the condo. I think we'll be fine.

Beth's pushing some limits again. Perfect timing since school starts back in about two weeks. (Last year, one of her teachers called me about her behavior on the very first day of school. She'd told him he "had his shit twisted," whatever that means. He didn't much like that. I can understand why.) Actually, by the end of the first full week of school, I think I'd heard from 3 of her 4 teachers. I was hoping for a smoother transition this year but, alas, I fear a repeat of last year. She's pierced her nose. (Definite dress code violation) She's smoking (definite violation for living at my house) but, of course, denying it. She forgets that I'm allergic to tobacco smoke and can identify it if she just walked through a cloud of it. When we've been in public, I have to give her the benefit of the doubt. However, when she's home with just us and suddenly smells like it, I feel secure in accusing her of smoking. I actually don't say much to her. I just let her know I smell it on her. I'll save the lecture for later when she asks for money. If you have money to waste on cigarettes, you don't need money from me. Grrrr, though. It's so aggravating to watch them do self-destructive things. She's 18 and can legally buy and smoke tobacco products. However, she doesn't have the legal right to make me sick.

Crazy adoption story from

I can't believe this has been going on 14 years!

You'd think by now someone could have fixed this.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Busy day today. Tomorrow will be worse!

Beth had her senior pictures taken today. I'm showing my age here but when I had mine done they were on the stage in the school auditorium and we only had the formal (fake formal wear, mind you) pictures taken. Beth's were taken at a photography studio about 60 miles from home. She had to bring two different outfits for her casual shots. The whole photo session took an hour and a half! First they did her formal pictures in the drape that is supposed to look like a formal gown. Then, the did her cap and gown pictures. After that, they did her indoor casual pictures. When that production was finished, they sent us outside and we chased a an employee through the extensive back lot of the studio before finding the photographer and assistant assigned to do Beth's outdoor casual pictures. We followed her through all the water features and several barns and sheds before finding her photographer, Steven, (who was probably all of 17 years old, thankyouverymuch) just a few feet in the opposite direction of where our chase began.

For her first casual outfit, they put her on a swing in a tree beside a creek. They took several shots of that (both full-body and close ups) before parking her on a rock with her feet in the creek. Beth managed not to throw up, even though she has issues with touching "dirty" water. After the full-body and close ups in that setting, they sent her inside to change to her other casual outfit. They finished the session with some shots of her in a gazebo and leaning against what appeared to be an old shed. The day was tedious (and really, really hot/humid) but I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures. We pick up the proofs on July 25.

Tomorrow, we have to get everything organized and packed for the trip to the beach. We also have to clean out the van and get the car-top carrier on. (That will be difficult since that is usually Alli's job. Since she's not going, I don't expect her to volunteer to help with that task.)

I've got to go by the eye doctor's office and pick up more contacts for me. I don't need the exam yet. I just need to get more of my prescribed contacts. I've been wearing this same set of 2-week contacts for about 3 months now. They are almost useless. I've had this on my to-do list all week but just haven't gotten there. I've GOT to do it tomorrow if I want to be able to see as I drive to the beach.

My bank lady also called tonight (well after 7:30 PM) and said I can close on my debt consolidation/rental house refinance loan...tomorrow! One more thing to schedule in my busy day. Things like that really stress me out. I've got the loan. I've been approved. I don't know why I'm dreading this last step. I am glad to be getting it done before vacation. That will be one less worry.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Can you tell a difference?

The pictures aren't the best but,



The stylist cut off a 12 inch pony tail. My head feels much lighter! It feels good! Now, if I could just figure out how to style it. She made it look so easy. She just used her fingers and hairspray. I haven't used hairspray in 20 years of so. I've got some catching up to do.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Porn in my Favorites?

I have a few blogs that I read daily. Truthfully, I check them a few times a day, looking for new posts. They have been mainly blogs by parents who are foster parents and/or who have adopted older kids. They are just topical in my life right now, for obvious reasons. However, I've recently branched out and I'm reading other types of blogs but, in my defense, they are usually ones I found by clicking links in foster/adoptive parent blogs. I certainly did not seek out blogs with names like these.

I just now looked at my Favorites list and noticed this:

Wonderful World of Wieners followed by The Wind in Your Vagina. To the casual observer, it would, no doubt, look like porn!

My hair cut is scheduled!

At 11:30 tomorrow, I'm having a 10 inches of hair lopped off! I'm so excited! To explain my last hair cut was the day before Thanksgiving in 2006. Can you say, "long overdue?" And, because I'm donating my hair, my hair cut is free! Can it get any better?

I just had Beth measure my pony tail and it's 12 inches from the nape of my neck to the tip. (Minimum to donate is 10 inches.) Goodbye, hair! Now, I have to decide if I'm ready to start coloring it. I have never colored my hair. (Except for the green rat tail from my senior year of high school. I'm so sad no pictures exist of that.) I've never really needed to color it but it is starting to get rather white (not grey), especially around my temples.

Elvis is getting his cut, too, but he will not have enough to donate and he does not need it colored. He will be a handsome boy on the beach with his freshly cut hair.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Been a while

I'm still here. I've pulled up my blog several times to post but lacked anything to blog about. My heart's just not in it right now. I think I have a brain cloud. (By the way, in my opinion, that is one of the worst movies ever made!) Anyway, nothing in particular is wrong...I'm just "down." Guess I'll be making that psychiatrist appointment, after all. I was ready to do it as school ended but I've felt better over the summer. I've gone downhill emotionally lately, though, and I'm ready for some help.

The Fourth of July was a boring day. Beth was out with BFF. Alli and Boy Wonder went to his sister's house for a fish fry. That left just me and Elvis at home. He's not the best of company. Some friends and family came over to swim a bit but that was all we did. Alli and BW had been gone for about 8 hours. They ran in the house and then left 10 minutes later to go see the county fireworks. Elvis and I did nothing holiday-related.

Saturday, I went with my mom to visit her family. She's from a little town about a 2-hour drive from here. We usually only get together at Christmas but the last couple of years we have added this "birthday party" gathering. We celebrate everyone's birthday. We get a cake that says something to the effect of Happy Birthday, Everyone and everyone brings one humorous birthday card. The cards are all put in a basket and everyone draws one out. We go around the group, opening our cards and reading them to the group. I'm sure it sounds odd to you but it really was a nice afternoon and evening (other than spending a total of 4 hours in the van that day).

While I was at my uncle's house, I got a phone call from a co-worker. The 92 year old father of another co-worker had died. That took up my free time on Sunday because the visitation and the funeral were Sunday afternoon. I'm glad I went though, because there weren't many people from work there. No one got much notice as he died Saturday and the only visitation time was right before the funeral on Sunday. I think a lot of people were out of town for the holiday weekend.

Today has been a long, boring day. I was at Wal-Mart at 7:00 this morning. I went to Aldi this afternoon. I'm trying to get us fed for the week and to start gathering supplies for our beach trip. We leave Saturday morning. I've learned to do as much shopping as I can here as things are much cheaper here than at the beach.

I've got a lot more to do before we go. I need to get my hair cut and it will be a serious hair cut. I've been growing it out to donate to Locks of Love. I think it's long enough now. I hope they enjoy it because I don't plan to do it again. I'm 40 and this will be my second donation. From now on, I'll keep my hair much shorter, thankyouverymuch. Elvis needs to go with me to get his hair cut, too. Boy Wonder tried to take him today but Elvis started screaming as soon as they walked into the barber shop. Poor, BW! He just brought him home immediately. It was really all he could do. No one could have cut his hair with all that noise going on. I also need to get my van in for an oil change and a check up before driving it about 1200 miles round-trip, loaded down with a lot of people and stuff. It's not getting any younger (2001 model with 145,000 miles on it) and I fully expect it to refuse to travel with me some day. I just hope it agrees to go on this trip and behaves itself. My mom's birthday is tomorrow and I never know what to get her. She's trying to clean out her house so it's hard to come up with something she wants/needs. I usually fall back on taking her out to dinner.

Tonight, however, I'm doing nothing. I'm watching a Gilmore Girls DVD and doing some minor house cleaning. This darn brain cloud is keeping me from being more productive.

Friday, July 4, 2008

With God as my witness...

I don't know that I'll ever buy Cup Noodles again, even if Carrie made them cool in the movies. You see, my dog just made them horribly uncool. He got into the trash and ate Cup Noodles that Beth had thrown away. Evidently, they didn't sit well in his stomach and he vomited them in the hall. Let me repeat that so you get the full horror of the situation: My dog ATE and then VOMITED Cup Noodles on the carpet in my hall outside my bedroom.

And, just to make the situation more festive, the paper towels were mysteriously missing from the kitchen. (I now know they are in Alli's room.) However, in the heat of the moment and in the absence of paper towels, I reached on top of the fridge to grab some napkins to clean the hall. In doing so, I knocked off the pack of light bulbs that was sitting by the napkins. All 4 bulbs in the pack managed to break on contact with my kitchen floor.

At this point, I was too disheartened to clean anything up. So, there is still dog vomit in the hall and many, many shards of glass in the kitchen. And me? I'm blogging because if I don't vent in some way, I'M GOING TO EXPLODE!!!!!!!!!!!! And, like the vomit and the light bulbs, that would leave a big mess.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Some things never change/Girls are weird

My mood has already lightened a bit tonight (even though I should have been in bed long ago). Beth and BFF (along with Beth's bio cousin) were out and about tonight. Alli and Boy Wonder have gone to his father's. Elvis and I were home alone. He passed out and I got back on the computer instead of doing things that need to be done around the house. I'll regret that in the morning but it was a nice distraction tonight.

Anyway, Beth, BFF, and Cousin It came home (early) and went to Beth's room. Within a few minutes there was a large amount of screaming and giggling coming from her room. A few seconds later I hear furniture scraping against the wall followed by 3 teen girls stampeding from the bedroom. They'd been trying to summon The Candyman and swore he was after them.

I remember doing this as a child/teen only instead of the Candyman, we were trying to summon a witch of local legend. We even got the same results they did tonight - giggling and screaming and another goofy memory. I know some people will read this and think of demons and witchcraft but I don't think any of that applies. It's a bunch of silly girls who saw something in a movie and decided to goof around together. They could be doing something sooooo much worse. Why, exactly, someone would want to summon an unearthly being that would be coming just to kill you, I'll never know. I just know it's something we did and something kids today are still doing.

They cooked Cup Noodles and I just chased them back in the bedroom, telling them to take a picture when the Candyman shows and if they scream again and wake up Elvis, he's sleeping with them (and the Candyman) the rest of the night.

By the way, a month ago I'd have been ashamed that my kids (and I sometimes) eat Cup Noodles. However, when Alli and I saw the Sex and the City movie, we laughed out loud because Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Carrie, ate Cup Noodles in the movie. Now, instead of being artificially-flavored cardboard noodles in a styro-foam cup that will never biodegrade, they are "cool" artificially-flavored cardboard noodles in a styro-foam cup that will never biodegrade.

My family is weird, but I love them.

From out of nowhere

Just when things were settling in with Alli. She and Boy Wonder have been polite and actually join in a few family things these days. I actually enjoy having them around again after all those months of not enjoying her/them. I thought things were on their way up, hopefully to stay.

Then, WHAM! Last night. Boy Wonder's birthday. His party was here. Several members of his family came over to swim and picnic. That wasn't the problem. Elvis and I stayed inside. We weren't invited. I'm sure no one meant to exclude us. But no one thought to say, "Hey, come on out here" either. They likely just assumed I knew I was invited and maybe even thought I was being stuck up by not just coming out and joining them. That still isn't what bothered me.

I think it's the fact that there he was celebrating his birthday with his family and I didn't get to celebrate Alli's with her. I honestly thought I was over all that. Things have been really good around the house the last few weeks. I wasn't prepared for my reaction at all. I didn't even see it coming. It just whacked into me about 8:00 last night. I don't know why I let it bother me. I've been trying so hard to let it go. And, I really thought I had. I guess that's why when it did hit me, it hit so hard.

I don't want to be this way. I don't want to feel like this. I truly want to put all the crap behind me and move on. If you had asked me Monday, I'd have told you I had. Once I let that little bit of negative thinking surface, the rest of it comes rushing at me - all the lies she told me when she was going to her bio mom's, the things she lied about to hide from me (dropping out of school, the pregnancies), and, what I guess is really bothering me, what else has she lied to me about? She lied to me and hid those things from me so skillfully and without it even appearing to bother her.

And I just naively trusted her and believed her. What made me trust her so blindly? I was so gullible. And, now that I know what I know, how do I trust her again? I want to. I want to with all my heart. That's what unconditional love is all about. And I do love her unconditionally. I don't doubt that for a second because if I didn't, I'd have long since parted ways with her. That's what you usually do with people who hurt you this badly. You learn from the experience and move on.

I can't move on, though. I don't want to move on. She's my daughter - so much more than any of the other 30-odd kids placed here. I knew from early on that she was different - She was MINE. I've got to accept her, warts and all, as they say. She has to do the same thing with me. God knows, I'm so far from perfect I can't even begin to see it in the distance. The difference I see between us is that I go out of my way to do what's best for her and I've never made a decision without first analyzing how her best interest fit into that decision. And she has never once taken any one's best interest, except her own, into account when making a decision. I guess those differences are expected between mothers and daughters. However, by the time the daughter becomes an adult, you do expect a little more courtesy from said adult daughter. Again, I have to remember that Alli came from the system. She doesn't process things the same way I do.

In my head, I know why and I understand. My heart is really struggling with this, though. Until she came to me, no one had ever valued her. No one had ever mothered her. Even in her role as daughter to bio parents, she probably often felt used and was continually hurt by the decisions they made. Five years with me can't overcome that pattern. I guess that's the root of my hurt. I see her consistently slipping into the patterns she saw modeled her bio parents. It's the easy way out. And, she'll survive. It's just not the life I wanted for her. I wanted so much more than survival for her.

I guess this just boils down to me throwing a big old pity party for myself. I'm doubting myself. I'm doubting that I've been the least bit helpful in helping her grow into an adult. I know that's not the actual truth but it's how I feel sometimes. The problem is me. I'm letting that doubt creep back in. I'm letting myself believe all that. I've got to change my thinking and my reaction to her actions. I see all that. It's just hard to put it into action. I'm trying hard and I thought I'd climbed out of that valley of self-doubt. However, I let myself take a free-fall right back down last night.

I will finish up my pity party tonight and I'll get up in the morning and start working my way back towards the top of the mountain where the view is good and the air is pure - and free from loathing and self-doubt. I'm worth it. Alli's worth it. My relationship with Alli is really worth it. Hell, even Boy Wonder is worth it. (I find myself really liking him, despite my past determination to believe he is the root of all evil in my life. He's really not!)

Just call me Scarlett, because "After all, tomorrow is another day."

Okay, pity party over. It's almost 8:00 PM and Elvis and I are headed for bed. He was being a little toot last night and refused to eat supper. He woke up at 5:00 this morning absolutely starving! I fed him and he dozed for about 30 minutes at 8:00. Other than that, he's been awake all day. We both have. And, I'm old and the sleep deprivation is catching up with me.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I love the 80s

I totally wasted $10 (plus tax) today and Wal-Mart. This is the most excited I've ever been about wasting $10. While digging through the $5 movie bin (looking for movies for Boy Wonder's birthday today) I ran across lots of movies that brought back memories (how sad that my memories are on sale for $5 each) but I found two movies that I had to have.

First was Girls Just Want to Have Fun. I used to have this movie memorized! If you haven't seen it - SEE IT! Yes, it does star Sarah Jessica Parker (loooong before Sex and the City) and Helen Hunt (long before Twister).

My second $5 memory was Footloose. "Jump back!" and "I gotta cut loose, Footloose, kick off your Sunday shoes..." plus Kevin Bacon before his skin got all saggy. Enough said.

I'm having an 80s film festival sometime this week. Want to come? Seriously, how sad is it that things I remember as being so cool are now so old they are in the bargain bin at Wally World? When did I get that old and lame? It makes me feel like I should be wearing support panty hose and walking all hunched over with a cane.