Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monkey Business

So, it's getting close to the end of the school year, and the kids are behaving in a shark frenzy sort of way. They are so ready for summer! Little do they know, that the teachers and staff are just as ready for summer to begin! I just want the nightmare to be over!!!

It is quite entertaining to just stand back and watch these pre-pubescent monkeys go at it. First, it's a battle of wits, then, the happy slap on the back, and finally, a knock-down, drag-out, mano a mano display of affection. Do ya think we could try to have a "happy to be me" attitude for just a few more weeks? I speak for myself, of course.

Just when you think you can see the light... life throws a new hitch into things. Good kids make stupid choices, bad kids make even more stupid choices, and the adults just shake their heads while they dream of happy hour at Chevy's. Also, this "raining every day" thing is adding tremendously to all of the smiles. Where is Glinda? I just want to go home and see my Auntie Em!

Thank goodness everyone is using up their field trip miles now. It makes for a really quiet atmosphere during the day for those of us left behind. I'm sure the monkeys enjoy getting out of their cages for a few hours, as well. I find it amusing that the staff has put up a counter for days left in the school year. It will be fun to sing along with the traditional "School's Out" song during the last few minutes of the last day. Our teachers like to line up as the buses are leaving and "do the wave" for the monkeys!

The whiteboard calendar for May has been completed. There are four concerts, one three-day camp, a mixer with a rockin' DJ, Bosses Day, May Birthday celebration, three visits by incoming 6th graders, Variety show rehearsals, the Choir's New York trip rehearsals, Yearbook signing party, the Band's Kansas City trip, the Variety Show, breakfast for outgoing 8th graders, dance for outgoing 8th graders, the Choir's New York Trip, Nurses Day, Teacher Appreciation Week, End of Year Evaluations (I sure hope I still have a job next year) and the annual "Sideways" Trip for the Weary, to a local vineyard or two.

I love my job!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Back on The Road Again"

Our school won the Health and Wellness Challenge with a total loss of 202 pounds. It averaged out to 10 pounds per person (someone stole four of my 10 pounds). I didn't come in last with points, but I did give the last person a run for their money!

The Health Gestapo thanked everyone involved, and invited us all to come back next year for another challenge. He did suggest that we continue with our routine of exercise and healthy eating habits. When I finish detoxing from Easter candy, an office birthday party, and secretary's day, I plan to do just that! I have two more days to indulge myself, or as some see it, self-indulge! Speaking of self-indulging, please read about an encounter I had with my girlfriends here for a little chuckle.

I must admit, I do feel very good on the days that I get my two miles walked. Eating sensibly also seems to perk up my attitude somewhat. Then I open the mail and see one of many medical services denied by the insurance company because I have yet to meet the "personal deductible." I get so mad that I just want to rip my teeth into a really large Hershey bar...or 25 Hershey Kisses...or fill my mouth with an entire can of whipped topping. You silly minds. For a lot of people, this is reality.

Growing up in the 50's and 60's I was taught to hold my feelings inside. "Never let them see you cry," I was told. Showing anger outwardly, was unacceptable. Sadness should never be displayed. I became an expert at hiding negative feelings...I just stuffed them down with food. My little act was so good that I would even hide the happy feelings. My grandmother would purposely tease or criticize me to get some sort of reaction, but I was too good at masking it. Maybe that's why I always had a stomach ache when I was around her.

The successes that I have had throughout my journey did not occur until I began to finally grow up. I was almost 40. I lived each day by being honest to myself and followed these simple rules: (1)move the butt every day for 20 minutes; (2) follow the food pyramid as close as possible; (3) if all of the ingredients in a food cannot be pronounced, don't put it in the mouth; (4) get away from self-pity by performing random acts of kindness. It also helps for me to have someone to whom I can be accountable, preferably someone with Gestapo background.

There are days when none of the above apply, and all rules fly out the window. I try to keep those days to a minimum. No matter what happens on any given day, I never lose hope. I say a little prayer, grab my guitar, and get "Back on the Road Again!"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tribute to a Brother

I recently asked Rick over at Organized Doodles to draw a picture of one of my two incredible brothers. Please go visit Rick and see his awesome talents both artistically and literary-ally!

My brothers live in California and in recent years, we have really become proficient at staying in touch with each other! I try so hard to keep up with birthday cards, notes and such, but sometimes I drop the ball and find myself doubling up (birthday plus Father's Day...birthday plus Memorial Day, etc.).

A little over a year ago, my brother Pedro was getting ready to donate a kidney to a co-worker. He was going through the last battery of hospital testing to make sure that all was well within. Wouldn't you know it, they found a tumor and he was unable to help out his friend with a kidney. He was really bummed about that. Pedro underwent radical chemo and radiation to shrink the tumor so it could be removed surgically. The operation was successful. He then continued on with chemo to make sure there was nothing left that was evil. Throughout all of this time, Pedro kept everyone in the family in stitches with his hospital jokes and his courageous fight with an attitude that would rival a hockey team that just made the Stanley Cup playoffs!

At the one year checkup, he was blessed with a clean slate as far as the tumor area was concerned, but there were a few spots on different organs that were suspicious. New game chemo to hack away at the new evil intruders. The attitude is still high as the Arch, and he takes one day at a time. It's a win-win situation as far as Pedro is concerned.

I have learned so much about what I take for granted. Pedro has taught me how to smile and face each day as if it were my first trip to the beach! Each morning I wake up and thank the big guy upstairs for my ability to breathe, to stumble out of bed, and to drag my sorry butt to my job. I am so, so very lucky!

Pedro, Ricardo and I (along with our children) are the heads of our family now. There are no grandparents or parents. Why is it that brothers and sisters can't seem to appreciate and enjoy each other until they are of the arthritic age? I hope to pass on to my children the importance and necessity of loving, fighting, caring, and giving to each other all along the way, not just "some day" when one of them is in trouble.

Go call a sibling, and tell them you love them, in spite of their jerkiness!

Friday, April 10, 2009

How Quickly Time Passes...

I was away for awhile, (literally and figuratively) but now I'm back. Doesn't that just make your day? I find that having some sort of routine makes me feel safe... like I might actually know what I am doing! When I have that "safe" feeling, it's much easier for me to take some chances. If I fall flat on my face, at least I will have a familiar corner into which to crawl!

We (the hubs and I) were invited to a wedding in Las Vegas last weekend. We made it a three day weekend so we wouldn't have to rush there and back. I'm glad we did. I'm lucky to have a relative who has a vacation home just outside of the city, so we saved a bunch on a hotel room. I said "saved a bunch on a hotel room," not that we necessarily saved any of the money that would have gone to pay for a hotel room. We walked a gazillion miles visiting various hotels, casinos and buffets (boo-FAYS). The visit being only my second time in Vegas, I stuck with the only game I know... slots. Not yet ready for prime time, am I!

On a whim, we checked out tickets for The Beatles Love. They actually had a few seats for that evening! I've wanted to see Cirque for 15 years (I have a few DVDs and LOVE their music) so I was absolutely jumpin' with excitement. The hubs is a very big Beatles fan, so he was jumpin', too. Hubs was was was good! The show was amazing, even more so than I dreamed!

The next day we attended the wedding which was in a salon at one of the newer hotels. This was a whole new experience for me, but I loved being involved with something different! (Heck, I get excited when I take a new route to work...and I only live five minutes away!) The ceremony was very intimate, to the point and absolutely lovely! The reception was held at a restaurant a few miles away. We sat at a table with other friends of the bride's parents. It was interesting to watch the effects of alcohol unfold...neither I nor the hubs were drinking. It's a whole different ballgame when you are the only sobers at the party!

The evening was topped off with dinner at In N Out Burger. I haven't eaten there in years! I savoured the entire meal as it slowly melted in my mouth and trickled ever-so gently down my throat. I enjoyed the chocolate shake for about an hour after it was devoured! You west-coast readers will know about that which I speak!

Returning to work was a great challenge for me! I couldn't figure out if it was the two hour time difference, or simply jet lag. I was not myself for a day or two. When one is in Vegas, I strongly believe that all sense of time is forgotten and one doesn't think about anything but the "now." After a day or two back in the daily grind of real life, the body lets you know what a bad girl or boy you were in Shangri-La!

I would do it all again in a heartbeat!