Monday, December 22, 2008
What a week last week was! This week will start out hectic but will settle down to be admired like a piece of art or a well made craft. I just realized that the holiday is a piece of art that is laced with the love of all involved. Every gift we choose, item of food we bake, cookie we decorate, hymn that we sing...all gets woven together into the fine silk of Christmas aqand the most Perfect Gift of all.
Last week was about finishing the semester at school...I needed to write my progress reports. I have no form, I write a page or so that describes what we have been working on, what the child does well, whaqt the child needs help with, how their behavior helps or hinders their efforts, and what their family caqn do to support us in our work together. I can do some copying qanqd pasting on the description of whaqt we are working on per grade level, but the rest is a individualized report taken from pages of notes that I have tqaken and student work. It took all week to write aqll 53 of those. I didn't get here (at SP) too much because I was tied up with doing a good job on behalf of my kids. I have to share some of the love though...
Last Sunday was the children's program at church. Our music director pulled up aq program about the little stars who chatted and worried and dreamed as they awaited the birth of the baby Jesus. It was special because she used it a bit differently about 12 years ago when my biggest guys were 12 and 14 and they played the roles of the wise men. This time, my 16 and 17 year old sons were the wise men. This time my 13 myear old daughter had the beautiful solo piece--12 years ago, my older daughter was only 8, so she did the solo in the children's part. I saw this play a bit differently given the roles of my children.
The high school choir had their winter program last Sunday as well. It is a guaranteed gift of the holiday. They did such a beautiful collection of holiday songs--and they finish with a "mass chour" of all the groups who sang doing "The Hallelujah Chorus" followed byh "Silent Night" as a processional exiting number. In the middle of the program, they announced the 2 state choir qualifiers from our tiny school district. I was thrilled to find out one is my 16 year old son. Again, when my second oldest son was a junior, he went to state as well. I have awesome, gifted, talented, wonderful children (most of the time).
We had a lot of really awful weather last week--getting much nastier and dangerous this week that twisted through a lot of things...My yhoungest son had a sore throat and a slight fever, so I kept him home Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, I had to go for an unpleasant meeting about my 17 myear old. He is close to not graduating this year because of really awful grades in a couple of classes. It had the look of yet another similar meeting that I have sat through semester after semester with this child. He reads too much (???) and gets detentions where they have him sit and read to make up for the heinous behavior that caused the problem. The meeting wasn't nearly as horrible as I anticipated--they finally were on the same page with me, tryhing to help him do better instead of trying to punish him. He was free to come to this meeting because in his auto repair class he has done so well that he didn't have to take the final. I think he will pill this out, in any case. I also got to have some quiet time with my husband, riding with him to school and back to my school. We don't seem to get much time like that these days.
My little guy went to school on Wednesday, only to be sent home eaqrly because he was still not feeling well...qand then they sent everyone home early thaqt day, caqncelling my dqaqughter's band aqnd choir holiday show. She waas upset because she had one of two vocal solos in the junior high prograqm and they chqanged the time of the program to noon on Friday when we wouldn't be able to go. The weather was pretty bad, lots of ice and then freezing.
This entire week was our "Secret Santa" week at school and I had drawn the custodian's name. I snooped a bit and found out that he collected goat "stuff" because he raises some special goats on his farm. I searched eBay and found him some great things and had so much fun surprising him with the help of our secretary. I always love surprising someone and this was special because I found things that he had never run across before. My little guy was still under the weather on Thursday, so we kept him home again. Thursday was our assistant principal's last day and he treated us all to a big sub-sandwich to share for lunch as well. Of course, there were predictions of horrid weather again, so the rest of my kids were all sent home at 11:15. My second oldest was such a help with driving and so many things--shopping and cooking. He took me to the doctor and helped me with my brace and just everything. He helped me and made an egg casserole for me to take to the Friday breakfast potluck. I got to go to the party because my kids were all home with big kids to help with the younger ones and I could safley leave early. It was fun and our Secret Santa was exposed. Mine was my principal--she gave me some really thoughtful gifts on Friday--a special National Boards lanyard because she thinks I should flaunt my credentials. She gave me a beautiful hand painted bag for my walker. It is whie painting of the Nativity on dark blue denim, witl three pockets for carrying things labeled "love" "peace" and "joy." There were other sweet things--craft items etc...and they were obviously chosen with me in mind. It was sweet. And my custodian friend got his "big" gift from me--I found a "dairy sign maker" on eBay that made those heavy metal address signs with a goat topping it--he was so tickled. That made my day. The real beauty of the day is that since school was canceled on Friday, they have to reschedule my daughter's jr. high concert so I will get to hear it.
I love these things...and today things were a bit dismantled at church. It was the Chaqncel Choir's big musical, but with the really nasty weather on Saturday night, our organist and our choir director were both snowed in and then the wind drifted snow and they just couldn't get out of their house. The many talented musicians in our church shuffled hings around and the choir will do their big musical piece at the Christmas Eve candlelight service. The really interesting part was that until I saw today's bulletin with the order of service, I had no idea that my second oldest son had a big solo for today. I'll have to wait until Wednesday night to hear that.
I am so blessed. I didn't mention any of my pain or health issues...because all of this love and beauty around me has kept them pushed out of the forefront. They are lurking and with the cold in the negative double digits around here through Tuesday afternoon, arghh!!
I love the holidays...I have lots and LOTS to do today, but since it is out of love and for love and to celebrate the greatest Love ever, it will be fun. I am looking forward to every bit of it. If I haven't taqlked to you lately, I will. I am working on lots of things for the ones I love and I surely include many of you too!
Hugs and love to you all,
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Wow, what a month. I left the hospital with two of my doctors disagreeing on whether I had a heart attack or not and I have decided to simply make it a wake up call to help me make better decisions. They only kept me off work an additional day, and I returned under everyone's kind scrutiny. Well, almost everyone. I came back on some strong antibiotics, a nitroglycerin patch to join my fentanyl pain patch--and another medication to keep my stomach settled. They explained tome that with my meds and health issues that it was important to look after my stomach as well as everything else. They never really pinpointed the source of my anemia or disappearing blood eithe, but they managed to frighten me a bit on those topics as well.
I went back to work to find out that the young lady who I supervise was using an outdated curriculum that the funding neither the grant t hat funds her nor the district policy approves of. I waited until we had a moment alone the next day to quietly remind her that it wasn't allowed and she shouted at me, accused me of interfering and then ran out in tears. She now isn't speaking to me. She now isn't speaking to me except to be mean, but she managed to get our bosses involved by sending emails for job descriptions a nd passing out research on the program. I tried to warn her when I talked to her, that if they became aware, they would be around asking questions. Our building principal and a couple of the administrators from the district came and held a private meeting with her to tell her that she was wrong and that I was herimmediate supervisor. She was told that she had to work a nd communicate with me and follow the rules. She is very upset and her behavior looks like someone who wants to be relieved of her position. I did find out that our boss had found out the day that I went to the hospital that this was going on and left it for me to deal with. I feel like nobody has heard my wake up call but me and it really hurts my feelings. I have been trying not to think of any of this until I get there on Monday because I have had to cancel all of our students in order to reconfigure our schedules. It will hurt me to lose any of the children who I have built relationships with, in order to straighten out things to meet the needs of the district and to meet my own needs of scaling back my workload.
On a far more loving note, we had an awesome Thanksgiving here. I did not do any cooking or shopping or anything. I helped prepare the shopping list. My second son prepared pies and jello and fruit salads. My daughter and her father did the shopping...and she prepare3d the veggies tray. My husband prepared the turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. My younger daughter helped with the casseroles and rolls. My 3 younger guys cleared off the buffet, changed the tablecloth and set the table while my oldest son a nd third son got to sleep because they had worked so late the previous night. It was an awesome meal. We always take turns sharing what the year has given us to give thanks for, and then my husband said the prayer. We are such a big group that sitting at the table together doesn't work well, so we sat together in the family room and had a fun time. My kids are great kids--all with a quirk or two, but I don't think we can find any of us without one.
And except for a couple of bites of my daughter's cheesecake, I ate healthy, both in choices and amounts...some turkey breast, a slice of light bread, fresh veggies, a bit of baked mac & cheese for my indulgence, jello and fruit. It was plenty and I didn't feel stuffed after all of that. I give thanks for having the knowledge and the willpower to take care of myself to get my body in order to share the world with my kids as they grow into wonderful adults.
I also gave thanks for my friends--including all of you who have prayed for me and given me the emotional boost I have needed during some very difficult months, starting with mid-June and my back surgery. You are the best, and you help me to help myself. Thanks to you all!!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Hi my friends. Te title says it all--I am in the hospital right now, under observation. I have had a day unlike any other I have had. I was bopping along, doing my regular daily routing and had just gotten to take my 10 minute break to use the restroom. I headed back to my room ad stopped to deal with some sixth graders who thought nobody was watching them act stupidly and I went into my room and sat down with about 4 of my 6 kids already in the room. My chest started to hurt, a piercing or stabbing feeling from the inside with pushing down on the outside. I was trying to ignore it until one of the girls asked me if I was having pain in my chest. I don't know how she knew, but I answered her correctly and then I got up to walk a few steps to see if it would lessen, It didn't, so I pushed the door to my little room open and signaled to my son, who is working on the playground and in the cafeteria o days he isn't subbing. He came and I told him what was up and he went for the principal. She asked me what I wanted and I hemhawed a bit and she asked if it should be a 9-1-1 call. I unhappily agreed and she went to the office and made the call. A couple of others came dow to help me and sent my big group of 4th graders back to class. I had cool washcloths on my head and got the window opened because I was sweating buckets and the principal did a code red lockdown to keep the kids from warching a potentially upsetting situation.
The paramedics came and it got very busy in a hurry. I had a heart monitor and an EKG done on the spot. They connected me to an IV and gave me 4 baby aspirin. It was a loud and bumpy ride to the hospital as they questioned me about all kinds of things. They gave me a spray of nitroglycerine under my tongue and that got the chest pain to let up almost immediately.
To make a long story short, they told me that I had had a heart attack. They also found several other things--a bacterial urinary tract infection and an unexplained blood loss. That last is their biggest worry right now. They had decided to let me go home and then rescinded that comment within seconds. All I know is that this has scared me stupid and that I expect to leave with another handful of prescriptions to go with the ones I already have.
I have had a lot of attention and cannot seem to get this finished. I actuually started this around midnight and was surprised to still hve it up at 8AM. I have been trying to finish it and it is almost 10 now. I am going to sign out and I will give an update this afternoon.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
I have had a week of ups and downs. This is the third time that I have tried to do this. The first time, I finished and thought I clicked the right buttons, so I was surprised when I found out that it wasn't here a couple of days later. I tried again on the 29th and spent most of my computer time on this page and fell asleep with my laptop on my lap and woke up with my clothes on, my laptop in my lap and 3 kittens on my laptop. I am glad that nothing more happened to my machine than the loss of my blog.
I guess I could have had the misfortune of these kittens. I don't know a lot about them, but a couple of months ago, my kids found a mama cat and these three kittens in our garage. They are sweeties. One of the babies looks like the little beanie baby that is a black kitty with white feet, so my kids named him Ty. Ty had been injured when we found him--His fur and skin around his lower lip, mouth--whatever you call it had been all pulled off aNd it looked so awful. we took him to the vet and she put him on antibiotics because it was infected and told us that the only time she had ever seen that type of injury was as the result of animal being tossed from a moving vehicle. She saw him again in 2 weeks and 2 more weeks later until the infection was gone and then did surgery to put him back together. She couldn't get it all of the way back, but she did the best she could. We have him, his tiger striped brother now known as Bobby, and his little long hair calico, kind of tiger striped looking sister Hobo along with their mother, Puddles living with us and the 3 kitties we already had and my basset and my son's dog and the guinea pigs and other assorted rodents and critters who live in cages around here. They are sweet cats that were very socialized but not well trained at first. Their mama prefers to sleep on the back of the toilet and doesn't pay much attention to the kittens anymore. Bobby is quite a bit bigger than Ty and Hobo, but they definitely are comfortable together and play quite well. I am worried about the two little ones but have no idea how to get the mother to feed them more than once a day. The little ones can fit on my computer power source and sleep there for warmth, I think. We know that they are at least 9 weeks old and probably more like 10 or more, from the way they looked from when we found them. We really didn't need 4 extra cats, but I have given strays to everyone we know who loves cats and needed them. I cannot imagine how people just unload pets. We live on a country type road that isn't too far from in town and our closest neighbor also seems to find cats and kittens the same way that we do. They are big hearted people who always buy things from the kids fund-raisers and they also get involved in similar fundraisers as I. I may try to get some information from one of the cat lover teams here on SP, I'm betting someone I know might be able to help.
I have had some stressful days at work--Thursday was a doozie, that's why I didn't have the energy to do more than my regular daily SP activities. Friday was the opposite. People who haven't went out of their way to be kind or friendly were great on Friday. One of my students who I really worry about was having major issues on Thursday and I was able to help him out and resolve problems that shouldn't have bothered him, so he had a good day on Friday as well. I finally got a couple of big jobs done on Thursday and feel like a load has been lifted off of my shoulders a bit. My youngest son, who has Asperger's Syndrome had a really bad couple of days early in the week because so many people do not understand his condition either don't work with him or the kids encourage him to do things that he shouldn't do--laughing at him when he thinks they are laughing with him. (He calls it showing him respect.) That took a chunk of my heart, hours to settle, and a bucketful of tears. He deserves better than what he gets at school and they just want to label him as bad rather than to teach him and help him stay on the right path. Then, I am stuck with the awkward situation of needing to discourage him from being with kids who represent the "friends" he has always wanted. I haven't quite been able to do that because it is like pulling a rug out from under him. Mothers don't do that--so I am trying to figure out the way to help him and maintain a group of friends at the same time.
Anyway, with all of this and my pain levels staying pretty significant, I have gotten walking in everyday--either 2 or 3 15 minute walks throughout my school, in a local store and parking lot or in my home which is the hard way. I have to stop because my back goes into spasms and sends fireworks to my brain at times, but after a minute or two, I go on. I haven't done so well with eating this week because I am having to spend time just grabbing what is quick and available--then before I go to bed, I get my fruits and veggies in whether I want them or not. I am perfectly aware that that is not the way this works, but it is as much as I can get done while I am so dependent on others with everything from food to showers to getting places to getting my shoes and socks on. I am glad that I got my hair permed during break, it is easy to care for and much easier to look at too.
That's enough for now, this will not get lost again today. (Thanks for the tip, Claudia!) Take care everyone. I hope to get caught up on your pages and our threads this weekend, because I miss you.
Friday, October 03, 2008
My mood is a bit better and my body is too. The weather here is cooler so my shorts, tank top and slides along with my big bulky brace is comfortable and my shirt underneath is only damp, not dripping wet. I bet that is helping my pain level and my mood. The idea of two weeks to myself to use as I please has a lot of promise also. I will be going into work around several doctor appointments to work in my room and have sons who will take turns to help me with the more physical aspects of what I need to do. If there are any teachers reading this who can share a good book leveling site with me that I do not have to pay to use, please let me know. We are using Fountas and Pinnell leveling and I have about three boxes of books that I need to go beyond "Matching Books and Readers" to level. I have leveled all of my Sunshine/ Wright Group books, Little Celebrations, Rigby (except for some older publications), Sundance, Alphakids. I have tradebooks, Scholastic books, Troll books, and several more current books that I need to level but cannot afford to pay to use sites that may not have what I need in the fiurst place.
My daughter is happily enrolled in school. She would like to have more money, but needs to get that money the old fashioned way by working, lol. I did buy her a card for her phone and need to email her the numbers to get her phone up and running tonight so we can talk again.
Work continues to challenge me. I expect\ to have some differences of opinion along the way, but some days are more tough than the others with these strong personalities I'm dealing with. I really work best with adults who show their passion and compassion for children on their sleeve rather than those who either hide their feelings and relationships or who don't build those relationships with students. I warn parents that their kids become my kids when I am their teacher and that I will respect them and get their good information, but the reality is that I reaqlly do love qand nurture them in their home away from home!
I am sleeping more and better and my fatigue is starting to kick in already/ I plan to get as much sleep as my body wants so that I can see the next parent coming in for a meeting with me. I'd like to come back new and improved before my new appointment with the doctor. Maybe I'll get some shopping in. I ordered a few new articles of clothing at the same old size last week, and am surprixed to report back that the new things are all falling off of me because they are too big. That is my NSV (non-scale victory) of the month.
Thanks to so many SP friends who have been supporting me during these dark days of mine. I'm ready to move onward to a place much more bright and cheerful. Take care to all of my regular friends and new friends too!!
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