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Friday, 7/13 Doing What I Must

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hi All,

I blew up today. Oh my, I finally let loose some of the frustration that the people in the park program have been giving me as i have been trying to teach. I was doing a daily read aloud for the older children in grades 3 on up. The staff would come in and interrupt my work, undermine my control over the group by making jokes and conversation with the kids, bringing in pizza and eating in front of them, letting a specific kid move back into the group when I moved him, playing basketball as I read in the gym...and the list goes on. I finally gave up and when I went to get my kids, I asked for only the kids who planned to sit and cooperate. That left me with 6 out of about 25-30 who came. Today, I had a guest reader (My son Mitchell) and when I went to call for my kids, nobody would respond to me. They were loud and yelling, goofing off. After 5--yes, F-I-V-E requests for my readers, I finally hit the ceiling. I told the children that they were the oldest children who should be well-behaved role models, especially when there is a guest. I took the 6 children who did get in line and we left. I found out later that the remainder of the group who stayed behind were all given candy. After Mitchell was done with a wonderful story about the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner, he left and one of the park workers came and told me off. "The children want to know if they are in trouble," was her opening comment and she went on to tell me that it was my fault that they didn't know I was having a guest reader and I asked her why should they need special information to behave in a respectful manner and listen to an adult. I also pointed out that her staff has repeatedly got in the way of my lessons, canceling reading without even giving me a bit of forewarning. I let her know that I was done trying to deal with them because there is only one week of the program left and quite honestly, I didn't care about her or the rest of the staff, I was there to help the children continue reading during the summer and to possibly show growth.

I was so angry that I wanted to scream out of the windows. I have been trying to work with all of this going on from about the third day. The behavior problems that I experienced with a specific kid who I caught in the building almost an hour before they were supposed to be there was blown off instead of being treated as gross misbehavior. I tried to explain to them that this situation was a major liability to the school district--he was running around the gym. Any injury would put my school district in a bad place and we can't afford that. He lied and said he was in the bathroom and they pretty much accepted that as acceptable. Nobody ever believed me and I saw him there. Finally, he was bullying a couple of other kids. He actually beat a child up outdoors after the program and that child's mother pulled him out of the program. I couldn't get anyone to listen to the fact that this child was a bully--but three days later, after I refused to let him come to my groups and interfere with lessons any longer, they finally gave him a day off from the program. He told one of my aides that he didn't care. His mom wasn't home when he left for school and when she got home, he would tell her that he was sick. I tried to call and let her know about that, but he was answering her phone. I suspect he got away with that as well.

I haven't been able to manage these young people working for the park program. They have had total problems managing their large group and have resorted to screaming, making the kids put their heads down for over 30 minute periods, and blowing whistles indoors over and over again. I tried to provide ways to handle such things. I offered to use my reading lessons to enrich their programming, such as special reading activities to go along with the Fourth of July, but they never communicated any plans to me. I bought them donuts and tried very hard to be a part of things and finally had to stick to providing reading lessons for the 115 children enrolled that dropped to about 40 a day. I believe that their inexperience and lack of planning caused the drop in attendance as well.

I am in a tough position because I can influence a number of things considering I am the one who influenced that these programs work together. If I tell one of the major funders the truth that he has been asking me for, the funding could be lost. I don't want that to happen, but I don't think they are getting what they are paying for either. I have to be careful with what I do next--I need to make sure that there is appropriate supervision for the staff of these programs to allow the true plan--academic enrichment imbedded within their activities--to occur. I don't want the program to disappear because of a few rotten apples, I want administrators to make them better. It is important that I also share all of the many positives that have went on. I have a soon to be first grader who was a non-reader, making daily gains and feeling pretty proud of himself when he originally wouldn't look at books or teachers. I have a pre-schooler doing nice one to one correspondence when he reads a meaningful text. At least 35 children read 3 or more books/chapters every day that I am allowed to see them. I have also trained my two aides in reading support that is helping them with their own work in their college teacher education program. I have a lot of positive stories, so I have done nothing but good. Those are important facts and anecdotes for the funding sources to have. After I share that, I can address the issues at hand.
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I sure hope my anger isn't the result of the many steroid injections I have had lately. My back and hips are both doing far better than they have for months with this medical treatment. I am covered with bruises, especially on my legs. My right knee is still sore and so is my left shoulder. Both my husband and I see our PCP on Monday at 4.

My therapist just encouraged me to talk. He said that healing takes time and he offered me some valuable insight. I learned from him that the car that hit us was a very expensive one. The other car owner's insurance has contacted us and Mitchell, and they are being very kind at this point in time. I am hanging in there.

Talk to you all more later--as always, your kindness is awesome!
Gentle hugs,
Sylvia

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 7/14/2012 4:11PM

    You are trying so hard to do some good and your co workers are just getting in your way :(( Its very understandable that you have had quite enough. You have every right to get mad. I honestly don't know how you have managed to put up with crap like this for so very long. I am guessing most people would quit if their issues were ignored or belittled. Its only your love of teaching children that is keeping you going there I suspect. This really needs to be heard and addressed. I hope you can find someone with clout willing to listen.
Hope you can enjoy your weekend with less pain..
{{{gentle hugs}}}
Linda

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DETERMINEDJANET 7/14/2012 2:16PM

    Hugs!!! Unfortunately respect is a lost art with so many these days. I would have been frustrated too.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/14/2012 1:52PM

    Oh my! The children sound like they suffer from poor parenting and supervision. The staff as well. LOL. To be honest, Sylvia, I think the funder of the program should know what is going on so he/she can set some limits on how his money will be used. It should not be used to teach children bad manners and disrespect for authority.

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RORYLYONS 7/14/2012 2:07AM

    Sending emoticon have a fabulous weekend.

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MAMAWALMART 7/14/2012 1:45AM

    emoticon
Here is a well needed hug. Sounds you are doing the best you can with the situation you have been handed. If one child gains from your work, it makes it worth the time.
God Bless and Keep Smiling
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Karen

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Wednesday, 7/11 Medical & Accident Updates

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hi all,

My body is angry at me. I guess it has a mind of its own. My left arm, shoulder, hand are not having fun. The swelling in my knee has come down thanks to a lot of ice bags. My PCP called me a bit ago for a follow-up and I got an appointment for my macho husband who hasn't been seen yet. Any accident as nasty as ours was should result in medical exams. There is no way to see what all may have happened without expert help. Marissa finally let me take her to the ER today--her pediatrician wanted her to go yesterday and , following her father's lead, she refused. After a totally restless night of sleep, her co-workers at the church sent her home from work early and suggested that she get looked at. They didn't find any damage in her chest or lungs. That bruising from the seatbelt is pretty awful. If she isn't better in 2-3 days, she will need to see the doctor. One of her orders was "No lifting," and she can no longer be angry at me for calling the church to request exactly that yesterday. Yay for what mothers instinctively know.

My pain doc gave me 8 injections in my SI yesterday with a second set planned for me in a month. It wasn't a fun night between the slow "un-numbing" of my thighs and lower back, but I am somewhat better already today. These trigger point injections were a blessing when my spine doc did them and it seems as if my pain doc them far more cautiously using the fluoroscope. He sure got a few interesting reactions out of me when I had a reaction that went down part of my legs.

Today, I saw my ortho for a follow-up on my hip. Floyd wasn't pleased with the outcome of this one. The injection that the radiologist did 3 weeks ago has been quite a help. I am guessing it is 75% less pain than I was dealing with during all of my waking hours. That is a double-edged sword. Since the injection was successful, it means that I definitely have arthritis in my hip joint. The only treatment for the level that I have it is a hip replacement. I can have a total of 3 injections, no more than 3 months apart. That means, I have anywhere from 8 to 25 months before the replacement will be necessary. The upside to this is that it a hip replacement is a great deal easier than a knee replacement, of which I have had three. The downside is that this is the same leg that I had the RSD in that caused the need for the second replacement on that right leg. I guess that all I can do is wait and see how long I can hold out until a second injection. It can work as long as 8 or 9 months.

Finally, the thing most on my mind is this accident. I have never been negative or unrealistic in my life. I did struggle with depression when my body was the most out of control with the knee replacements followed by the infection in my spine--but as I took control and got better by working hard and losing weight, I beat that. However, I am a total wreck and especially in the car. Every time we have driven anywhere, there has been some close cal. I am jumping and seeing things out of the corner of my eye. I am entirely overwhelmed with anything that provides me a bit of stress--like the kids doing their typical bickering this morning or Micah's noise-making and begging for soda in the back seat of the car. (I have cut him and the others off of most diet soda now. We have lemonade, juice, tea, lots of water and flavored water, and milk. The others are pretty happy with it although a couple of them pick up their own soda once in a while. He is not at all happy with this change...but he is 14 and I can do this and I did!!) I almost had a meltdown over some of this kind of stuff that I deal with all of the time. I am an absolute nervous wreck.

I see my therapist tomorrow. I already know what he will tell me, but it isn't helping me to say it to myself. He reminds me that it takes energy to deal with chronic pain. He points out that I have a high stress job and a large family that takes more energy to deal with than most people have. The result is that when something new comes up, most people have energy reserves to fall upon to use but given my world, I don't have any reserves to use. That is why I get so upset or sad or down. OK, I get the concept, but I don't know what to do with this mess.

I picked up my swim suit cover that was in the dirty laundry and it was still wet. (I had it on in the car over my swim suit when we had the accident.) For some dumb reason, I smelled it and I almost doubled over with the smell of chocolate chip frappe and spent airbag taking me right back to the scene of the accident. I understand why I have heard that the sense of smell have been one of the most powerful senses that we have. It is really unbelievable what that smell did to me.

Another part of my frustration is that Mitchell went over to get things from his car. The refused to let him take anything except money (some change), medicine (none). letters (none), and with a bit of begging, my parking placard. He had his entire trunk full of teaching materials and Micah had left several DS games in the back seat. They said that the only way that he could get those things was when the insurance company released it. Now, my husband is thinking they want to blame this on him. That is not reasonable given how it happened and all of the astonished witnesses that were there. I believe it has gotten to him as well.

i guess my life is just going to be full of things and these events are part of it. I hope that I develop some sort of appropriate coping mechanisms pretty soon.

Take care everyone!!

Gentle hugs,
Sylvia

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 7/13/2012 10:55PM

    I have been in a couple of bad wrecks and it is quite stressful afterwards. I hope things work out soon and you and your family can get your things.

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ARIANERA 7/12/2012 8:42AM

    Hope you feel better soon.

I'm not surprised that you are jumpy in cars. It took several weeks of nightmares after my car accident (in the pre-airbag days, but I was wearing my seat-belt) before things started to subside.

Ari

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COURTNEYO5 7/12/2012 7:47AM

    Oh, Sylvia, I am so sorry. I agree with the other two ladies about PTSD and def have a good convo with your therapist. It really sounds like PTSD. That kind of trauma takes time to get over and you are so active and have so much on your plate--both physically, mentally, and family wise. I've told you before, IDK how you do it. You've always seemed so together. Everytime I read one of your entries or blogs you are so strong..I know now that this is accident is quite a trauma for you. Take time for yourself. I know you have a huge fam but you need to take time and deal with all you've been through. I'm so sorry about your medical issues too. Combined, things are too hectic for one person to handle. Give it to God and talk to your therapist. I know you'll be ok--you're too strong not to be. As far as energy reserves, you'll find yours given time. Everything is so new you'll find your energy after you come to terms with what happened. I am so sorry and if there is anything I can do as far as the team goes or if u just need someone to vent to..I'm here. Gentle hugs to you...Courtney

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WALKZWDOGZ 7/12/2012 3:20AM

    Post traumatic stress seems like kind of a logical response after all you've been through. Have a good long talk with that therapist; if you don't get helpful answers, shop around.

Sending prayers & very gentle hugs!

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_LINDA 7/12/2012 12:31AM

    Oh Sylvia, is it possible you are suffering from post traumatic stress on top of everything else?? With all these close calls building up? For sure everything you are trying to handle, huge family, difficult job, it wouldn't take much extra to push you over the edge or send you into a depression.
I hope those shots ease some of your pain, and that the rest of your week goes much, much smoother..
{{{gentle hugs}}}
Linda

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Tuesday, 7/10 A Nasty Car Accident

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hi all.

I am awake... and nauseated... and I am in pain all over--more than usual. However, I am happy beyond all belief. My husband, youngest daughter, and I are alive and are all reasonably well. It was a horrible almost ending to a fairly routine day.

I left for work and somehow had forgotten Lola, my classroom bunny. Marshall came to my rescue and brought her to school for me and helped to keep me from having to reassure a lot of young children that Lola was okay. I skipped lunch because I didn't need salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, gravy and fruit juice and furthermore. I didn't want all of those unnecessary calories. When the program was over, I went and got into my swim suit and had my son drive me to the pool. My plan was to fix a healthy sandwich when I got home and to work in my sadly neglected gardens to free them from weeds.

Floyd picked me up from the pool and we went to the church and picked Marissa up from her summer job with the church feeding program. I stayed in my swim suit because I knew it was the most comfortable thing I had to wear when I worked in the heat to do my yardwork. She wanted to go to the bank and the library after we made a stop at McDonald's for some of my favorite sugar free lemonade. Floyd ordered a diet coke and Marissa ordered a "chocolate chip frappe." (Yuck and arghh... more to come on that.) Floyd added in an order of chicken nuggets. We got our treats and the road was full of traffic, but a kind man in a black pick-up truck let us out onto the road.

We were talking about our next day schedules. I have an appointment with my blessed pain management doctor for trigger point injections in my lower back. It was right then that it happened--everything moved into slow motion. We were traveling south on a four lane road that is/was pretty busy. There were a lot of cars in front of us at the approaching traffic light. A white car (a 2010 Dodge Charger)ran a stop sign on a side road, flew through the road and despite my husband moving into the right lane, he plowed into the driver's side door and as that happened, my door hit the utility pole. The previously mentioned beverages flew all over the car and I was hit in the head by my daughter's cell phone. When we struck the pole, the airbags deployed and the engine started to smoke. I don't know which of the next things happened in what sequence, but my husband slumped over for a few seconds and I did as well. I am unsure if I lost consciousness, but I don't know when the windshield broke or glass went into my hair that was soaked with frappe. I unlatched my seat belt and tried to get out of the car--Marissa was alert and kept asking us how we were. I couldn't push the door open, but some good samaritans had come and helped pry it open. I had the seat all of the way up so Marissa had foot room and my body was in a lot of distress--getting out in that position through a door that would only open about 10 inches was no small feat. I made it--but nobody could get Floyd's door open--the engine was burning and it was horrible. Someone brought some kind of tool and pried the door open--the horn started honking, but my husband got out. It seemed without injury which he confirmed.

My right knee was swollen with a knot the size of a baseball, scratches, and bruises. I could barely stand. They got my walker out of the trunk, but I couldn't grasp it with my left hand. My head was burning and I was not right. The paramedics wanted me to go to the ER, so I agreed. They put a cervical collar on me and put me on a back board, hoisting me into the ambulance. I couldn't stand the back board and they didn't like letting me off, but my back was raging with pain and that was the last thing that this injured person who sleeps in a chair because I cannot straighten my back needed--so they agreed and took it away. I was a mess in thought, and in every physical way possible. Marissa was bleeding where the seat belt scraped her on her upper shoulder near her neck. She was a rock and called most of the other kids. (We were in Mitchell's car--he let us use it while he was out of town at an Ultimate Frisbee contest for the weekend on the shores of Lake Michigan.)

It turned out after a few hours that I had no fractures in my left hand or my right knee, and the CT scan showed no injury to my head or neck. They were pretty impressed with the hardware in my neck. (They didn't get to see the bigger hardware in my lower back that normally brings x-ray people out of their room to talk to me about what is there and where it came from.) They sent me home and I spent the early part of the evening trying to sleep. I have spent the greater part of the evening trying to type this with one hand with occasional reliving of that awful crash and some dozing. My entire body is stiff and sore, and I am greatly worried about my husband and daughter. It was definitely not a good thing that happened, and it makes me angry that it happened at all. It was clear outside and if that young man had even looked, it wouldn't have happened at all. He was pretty worked up, and in many cases, I would have felt sorry for him--but the entire thing wouldn't have happened if he hadn't run the stop sign and if he had looked at the busy road that he was darting across. Usually at that time, there would have been a long line of traffic where we were, but we were kind of "bringing up the rear." If there had been the usual line of cars, this maybe wouldn't have happened. I cannot do the "what if" game anymore because it doesn't help me or fix this.

Anyway, we are all alive and made it through. I am about to take myself to the bathroom which will be the longest walk I can imagine today. I think seeing my pain doc will be a really good thing today!

Take care--count your blessings!
Gentle hugs,
Sylvia

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 7/13/2012 10:44PM

    i am so relieved that you are all okay and hope that you have a speedy recovery!!

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JENNKFIT 7/11/2012 8:48AM

    So sorry about the accident. So glad everyone is okay! Rest up take care of yourselves and feel better.

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JRSWHIMSY 7/10/2012 9:06PM

    So very very glad you're all okay!!! *hugs*

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WALKZWDOGZ 7/10/2012 7:57PM

    Mygosh! What a miracle you guys weren't seriously injured or worse! Sending prayers for healing & some relaxation after that ordeal!

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DETERMINEDJANET 7/10/2012 12:36PM

    Just remember to be thankful to God for bringing you all through this intact. Yes, you are very sore and didn't need more aggravation to your body, but God will use this for good. Glad you are seeing the pain doctor today. Perfect timing! I'll be praying for you!

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_LINDA 7/10/2012 10:32AM

    Wow! You were being watched over, so very thankful none of you were seriously injured!! Careless, agressive drivers make me so mad, and unfortunately, there are so many of them out there. Last month, police were cracking down on bad driving habits here -out of 1300 tickets issued, 700 were for agressive driving!! Running lights and stop signs is a major occurence here. Mom has been rear ended twice because she actually stops for red lights :-/. Its no wonder she doesn't want to drive anymore with all the nuts on the road.
I hope that pain Dr. can ease up some of your hurts although trigger point injections doesn't sound like much fun :( Good for Marissa being calm! So very sorry for the loss of Mitchell's car -I hope the other driver's insurance will be paying for it..
I hope Floyd got checked out too -you may all be suffering whiplash and that should be treated right away too because it can have lasting long term effects.
Sending healing and soothing thoughts your family's way.
{{{gentle hugs}}}
Linda

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FELINA 7/10/2012 10:30AM

    I'm so sorry about your accident. It's amazing no one was seriously hurt, especially being broadsided like that. I'm so glad you all are OK. Seeing your pain doc today is perfect timing. You all take care of yourselves and feel better soon.
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GRATEFUL-DAD 7/10/2012 10:00AM

    SO glad you and your family are alive and reasonably well after that. So scary.

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LADYJ6942 7/10/2012 9:51AM

    Oh my goodness, I'm glad to hear no one was hurt and that all are recovering. Prayers to you and yours.

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Thursday, 7/5 Summer Fun!! Let's Be Kids!! WooHoo!!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Hi all,

I have been more like a regular person on summer break recently than maybe ever in my own adult life. The past couple of weeks have been packed with pure fun. I feel almost like a kid--er-- a young adult--again and I have enjoyed myself with my own children in the process.

On Tuesday, June 26th, Miles and I joined Micah and the junior high band at Adventureland Park in DesMoines. It isn't quite as big as any of the Six Flags, but that probably helped me considerably. We rode on many rides, if they didn't do a lot of crazy jerking me around. I didn't dare to do that with my fragile skeletal system. We went on the water rides--the Raging River, the Log Ride, and the Saw Mill ride. It was a lot of fun, and Miles got soaked far more than I did. We did several rides that spun us in circles--they even had a good old "Tilt-a-Whirl" that I didn't think existed anymore. In the early afternoon, we went over to their water park. That is certainly something that pushes my buttons. I loved getting onto the tube and then floating around the "Lazy River." I could do that for days, I am sure. The wave pool was a bit rough for me, but I did fine between the bursts of waves. I enjoyed the big pool that you could wade or swim up to the bar. (No adult beverages for me because I had taken my meds to keep me walking for the many hours we were there.) We took a cooler full of healthy food, but I did enjoy a really great cheese burger (on Miles) for lunch. It had several big juicy slices of tomato on it which is another of my very favorites. I also enjoyed a big tall Icee drink that I got to serve up--all grape and blue raspberry, yummy. We left at 7:30, got to the park at 10:15 and left for home when they closed at 8PM. It was a long day--we got home at 11:30 after my sons enjoyed an hour of shopping at some truck stop.

Ihave went to my regular pool every day that we didn't find another pool to go to--like Whitewater Junction in Rock Island on Father's Day and again on July 30 and 31. it is a great outdoors pool, located in a beautiful park. I cannot really climb up to the water slides--there are 2 drop slides, a curvy slide and a tube slide. The pool has a spray park in it and about 3 different depth pools. I can do my exercises and people watch and play to my hearts content. It is fun when my kids go too--I went once with Matthew and Micah, once with Mitchell, Miles, Matthew, and Micah; and another time with Miles and Micah. My girls both work there, so they don't see it as being as much fun as I do and my husband doesn't swim or like to be in his swim trunks in public. I wish he would give it a try. Adults don't have to play like kids. I just cannot think of anything more soothing than nice cool water in the sunshine.

The 4th of July brought a lot of fun our way. We took a wonderful picnic meal to Camden Park to see our community's fireworks display. It was over 100 degrees with the heat index--and yet, it was a good time. All of my kids who weren't working were there--Mitchell and his girlfriend Laura, Miles, Micah, and Marissa along with my husband and myself. There was lots of traditional fair activities and games going on. I didn't even try a bit of a funnel cake, didn't need it with all of the fresh watermelon. I did have a couple of small glasses of wine after skipping my meds for the evening which made me a bit giggly as we played "Apples to Apples." It was silly on top of silly. The fireworks were beautiful, the music moving--and we had some of the best space in the park. (Ah, one advantage to my "handicapped" parking placard.) It was a clear, gorgeous, albeit warm, no hot, evening.

On Wednesday, we took a family picnic to Scott County Park--and spent about 6 hours minus about an hour or so for eating in their beautiful pool. It has two slides and is a large, large pool that was full of polite people who were fun to be around because the majority of them knew how to act around others. It was so much fun, visiting and playing ball with the boys while taking time out for slathering sun screen and getting a cold glass of ice water. I swam and exercised several times, but mostly I played and had fun with the guys. I was very tired when we got home around 8PM and fell asleep way too early. I think all of the fresh air and exercise gave me the best sleep I have had in months.

In between, I have been working from about 8:15 until 2:30 at the four hour park program, trying to give my own talent and abilities to children who attend under my watch. Each child gets both independent reading time daily along with guided reading or a reading game that involves either phonics or comprehension every 3 days. It is a fun program that has some flaws, but it is easier for me to navigate than some other things I do as a reading specialist. Both of my two helpers are going to college to earn their degree in elementary education, so they are enthusiastic and I enjoy passing on knowledge to them. It is fun and I leave in time to make choices for playing, gardening, or doing chores. (I love air dried laundry for one!!)

Speaking of gardening--wow, wow, woweewow!! Our veggies are going to town. We picked our first tomatoes yesterday. There are peppers, cucumbers, and green beans doing really well--and it is my guess that the carrots are also thriving, but it seems too early to check. The corn is at least 6 feet tall and it is such a joy. We have had a doe checking it out on a couple of occasions, but she hasn't filled her tummy up there--too close to humans, I think. I am looking forward to a lengthy and tasty harvest!! The flowers are also gorgeous--I have another favorite flower and need to find out its name. It is a little purple flower about 2 centimeters in diameter with a white center and they grow in clumps the size of a child's bouquet. I love them. Our hostas aren't faring so well in the heat and the lighter shades are looking a bit burned, but we have cooler weather and rain in the weekend forecast which will help that. We planted several colorful lily plants on the side of the house that is without flowers because my husband had been wanting them. Some are yellow, some are orange and others are coral. I am hoping that they make it to regenerate next summer as they should (but weren't guaranteed for...)

That;s about it--but I have been busy. I have had my fair share of doctor appointments and medical procedures. I am dealing with my body doing what it does, but it is a lot easier to live with when it isn't cold. I haven't had a lot of time for sparking, but as I remind the members on teams that I lead--our "real world lives" must take precedence over our cyber lives. My advice has to count for me as well as everyone else!!

Enjoy July--make the best of the heat and try to be a kid again. Kids know how to appreciate summer and we should learn what they teach us all!!

Gentle hugs,
Sylvia
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 7/13/2012 10:39PM

    You and I like the same kind of rides. I like the water ones too. Especially thelazy river. Can't handle the wild ones.

The pool excursions and picnics sound fun too. I am so glad to see you getting out and having fun.

It's nice to see someone's garden doing well. They are suffering here due to the drought.

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ARIANERA 7/6/2012 8:43AM

    You've definitely been keeping busy with fun activities! Hope to see you less because you've been out enjoying yourself

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MALKS_ARIA 7/6/2012 3:56AM

    wowsie! Such a good Update! glad you are moving a bit better! I am almost jealous of all you have done this summer!

Huggerz
aria

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Sunday, 6/24 A retirement and a birthday

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hi all,

It has been a week of emotional overload for me. It is hard to say how many tears have been from happiness, how many have been from pain, and how many have been pure raw emotion--but I have cried some of each type.

It started last Sunday with the week long countdown for my pastor's retirement. On Sunday, we had his last Congregational Meeting and he entitled his 42nd report "The Final Word." That report had a couple of pages of photos over his 21 years and many of them included my children at various ages and stages along with his family and other church members. That started my waterfall. I knew that we needed to talk sometime, so I emailed him about a short appointment.

Michael came to see me at school after the summer program on Monday and we chatted, reminisced, and cried a bit. He commented that we had raised our families together--his daughters are Mitchell and Megan's ages. I asked him point blank if her would be keeping in touch and he told me that it wouldn't be ethical. However, he has taken a part-time position as the interim director for a new group called QCAIR (Quad Cities Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees.) He told me that both the church and the school district are members and they need volunteers and 2 board members each. A teacher with ELL endorsement will be an asset to this group. I am waiting to find out where to sign up.

His family had a nice retirement party for friends, family, and church family on Friday evening. It was a perfect evening, the food and company was wonderful. I had a lovely time. Saturday night was a program and a more formal dinner at the church. I made reservations for my entire family. Mason didn't come and I was saddened until he shared with me that he "was not ready to see him go and couldn't come." I understand--Michael baptized him as an infant, confirmed him as an adolescent, and gave him his first paying job with the summer food program. He supported Mason as the first male member of the church who served on the alter guild as well. Mason has always been both a hard worker and a charmer. Anyway, it was a fun program, full of good memories and many of the church's accomplishments in outreach over the past 21 years.

Today, the service started out fairly routine. I videotaped part of it, so I can go back to it. I am very glad that my camera died and I missed the final part of the service when the Association Pastor "decommissioned" him, setting him free from his commitments to the church and the congregation, and offering up thanks and forgiveness both ways. Everyone capable of crying did it then, if not when his wife started crying leading praise music. (His daughter did the same when she sang Saturday night.) We had a reception after church and Marshall shared his birthday flowers with Michael and his family. We talked a bit and I answered his questions about where Mason was as truthfully as I could. After yet another hug, he told me "We'll be talking again soon."

I know I have spoken a lot about my church here in my blogs. I am very proud of our small congregation. We do a lot in our inner-city neighborhood to help people in poverty and newcomers to America. We house a weekend food pantry and we collect and distribute "diapers for Baby Jesus" to families with babies whose parents cannot provide them at that time. We have opened our doors and offered a place to worship to African immigrants who want to worship in their home languages--Swahili, Arabic, Kurundi, Dinka, African French. We also hold adult English language and American culture classes for non-English speaking parents--providing child care for pre-school aged children during their instruction. We support the neighborhood elementary school in many ways and we are a bit of foundation in an ever-changing part of town. Mission is an important part of what our church is. I forgot to mention our summer feeding program where we served over 180,000 meals to hungry children in Rock Island and Moline last summer. That was a pretty big job for a church our size.

There is a lot of worry in the community that these good works may disappear. I don't expect that--word has it that we won't take on anything new for a while. We have an interim pastor to provide pulpit service for the next couple of months and a search committee that is working hard to find someone who might find our church to be a good fit with him or her. They are hoping that we can have a new pastor in place by Labor Day. I hope that I can consider that there will be someone else in that position at all. This will take a lot of prayer and prayerful thought.

I saw my ortho on Wednesday to reevaluate my hip problems. He ordered a cortisone injection to be given by a radiologist. I got that appointment on Friday. He said that this would be a diagnostic procedure--my last injection was into the bursa and didn't work. This injection went right into the hip joint with the use of a fluoroscope. He did the injection close to my lower tummy and the idea is that if my hip improves, we know that the problem is the arthritis that is shown on the x-rays. If it doesn't give me any relief, it is most likely my back and a bone scan will be needed. I think it is already improving, but I am also nervous because I thought the last one was working after a few days. I am very frightened to have the idea that my back may be creating a new crisis for me--because I am not sure I can handle that emotionally or physically. The two surgeries I had on my lower back were both a big deal--one saving my life while antibiotics were trying to take it from me; and the other taking over 14 hours and four surgeons who moved all of my organs around while installing hardware that now frightens radiologists when they see it. I had so much wheel chair time, pain, learning to walk,and the loss of my ability to do normal life activities as a result. I am not sure that I could go into anymore of that face-on another time.

On another topic, we had Megan's 24th birthday last week and Marshall's 23rd birthday today. I was a busy younger mother some 23 years ago when Marshall was our new baby. Megan had just turned one, Mitchell was 5 and Matthew was 7. I took a half of year off from teaching to spend with Megan when she was born, but we couldn't really afford it when Marshall was born. He was a bit of a surprise--I found out that he was on the way right after I returned to work and had my annual exam. I told my doc that she was mistaken, I was still breast-feeding Megan. (Hmm, faulty birth control!) She told me that I had to stop that and got me on vitamins and the regular stuff. I was very tired for a few months, it was a tricky time in my life. Anyway, he was one of the easiest of my births and they were a cute little pair of babies.

So, we have celebrated--but Marshall had to go to work, so his cake will wait until tomorrow. I promised to share some wine with him, so I have stayed away from my meds all afternoon. My children are all good people, and they are becoming good adults. They could help me more, but on the other hand, they come though for me and their father and their siblings when it really counts. I know I can trust that important things happen and that everyone has what they need. As Michael and I discussed this morning, in a family this size, we all can see clearly that everyone has a unique way of doing things and that they also grow up learning that "fair doesn't mean equal." That's a concept that many adults cannot grasp. but when you grow up having to share time and resources with others out of necessity, you learn and understand this important life truth.

That is enough of my deeper thinking tonight. I am pretty worn out from emotional things--so I will simply be glad that I have been blessed with a family who can care for each other and myself, who understand how to give and take, and who make pretty good choices. I am also blessed to be a part of a church that shares my philosophies about other people--we are here to share and care and act. I have been entirely blessed by having a wonderful pastor and friend like Michael. We go back 21 years and have many, many stories and memories. I will miss having him in my life at the level I am used to--but I am certain that our friendship will stay intact. Friendships of any type are too valuable to lose for any reason.

That gives me my closing to this blog--I am lucky to have my friends here. Life stays hectic for me even though my work hours are kind of, sort of reduced. (I am going to work at 8 until 3 for a job that is actually from 10 until 2. I just don't know how to plan for over 110 children and implement a program in four hours a day minus time for eating breakfast and lunch. I do a lot on my own time, including planning for my two helpers.) I often consider my teaching position as an extension of ministry. As always, I give thanks for you all and will try to reach out more this coming week.

Gentle hugs,
Sylvia

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 6/25/2012 12:54PM

    I'm sure that your minister will still be a part of your life, just in another capacity. Soon you will have a new minister and I'm sure he/she will be blessed to have your wonderful family to serve.

Happy birthday to your kids!!

I hope that hip lets up soon.

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_LINDA 6/25/2012 2:03AM

    Wow! What a week. Do not understand why Micheal couldn't stay in touch -sounds like a deeper friendship than just pastor and a member of the congregation..
I truly hope that it is just your hip giving you all these problems.
You were a born Mother Sylvia, in caring for your children, those in your neighborhood and those in your school! That is such a heavy responsibility and you are doing such an amazing job in spite of your health. You can be very, very proud! They will turn out to be great adults with your influence!
Hope you have a less frantic week..
{{{gentle hugs}}}
Linda

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DETERMINEDJANET 6/25/2012 12:29AM

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