Monday, November 26, 2012

In Which Christmas Gets On My Last Nerve

Well, tis the stinking season!  I know I don't celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, but I'm telling you, I honestly believe that if the holiday were central to my religious beliefs there are some things about it that I would still just LOATHE. 
Item 1:  Those dadblasted Salvation Army bell ringers. 
For goodness sake, they are EVERYWHERE!!!  Now say, hypothetically, that one WAS a celebrator of the Christmas holiday, and one had to go out Christmas shopping.  One would never, I'm assuming, find all the presents in one place, so one would have to travel from store to store, and at all of said stores, would be accosted by the bell ringers.  Flailing about with their obnoxious bells, screaming their little greetings of things like the one I heard today at Walmart, which was "Merrr Christmas!"  (there was no y on the end of merry!) So what's the etiquette rule on stuff like that?  If you give to the one in front of the door at Walmart, do you have to give to the one at the door at Kmart?  And what about Target?  Since I myself do not celebrate the holiday and do not wish to give to their cause, I find myself avoiding eye contact and trying to dodge in and out of stores unnoticed.  But I imagine that even those who do celebrate the holiday and wish to give SOMETIMES still do not want to be accosted with the bells and screamed greetings ALL THE TIME.
Item 2:  The "Christmas Spirit."  Now I'm no expert, obviously, but from what I can tell, the "Christmas spirit" entails fighting over socks in department stores, or fighting over parking spaces in malls, and stealing whenever anyone isn't watching their purse carefully enough.  I personally do not care for what I have seen of the Christmas spirit.  In fact, I can never wait for the holidays to be over so that people's "spirit" can get a little calmer and go back to normal.
Item 3:  The worms that crawl into ones brain and lay eggs there which turn into larvae which thereafter turn into more worms that never, ever get out of your brain that are also known as Christmas Carols. 
Why, WHY are these particular songs so catchy???  I have never celebrated the holiday in my entire life.  How I know the words to all these songs is completely beyond me.  But I can be in a store and hear a little snippet of one, and I swear to you, it will be days, DAYS I TELL YOU, before I can get it out of my head.  In my Jr. High French class, the teacher taught the other kids one French Christmas carol.  I learned it by osmosis, just sitting there in the room, doing other work while they learned it.  In fact, to my recollection, I was one of the FIRST kids to learn all the words.  The kids who actually practiced the song and celebrated the holiday had a much harder time with it than I did.  Well, the music to that particular song is now featured, without lyrics, in a commercial for Biltmore Estate.  This class I took was um, about 25 years ago.  I never sang the durn song.  And yet, after that commercial runs, I sit around for hours with the words running through my head "Ah flambeau Jeanette Isabella....le Christ et nee, Mary appelle...Ah, ah, que le mere et belle!  Ah, ah, ah que l'enfant et beau!"  IN FRENCH!!!!  Even the stupid carol in a language I DO NOT REALLY KNOW will not get out of my head! AAAARRRRGH!!!!
Ok, well, I'm done venting now.  I'm gonna go off to bed now and try to not hear the Salvation Army bells and the Christmas Carols in my head.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

In Which I Am Out of School, So Why Do I Have To Do Homework Dadgummit?

I hate homework.  I hated homework while I was in school.  I frequently, in fact, did not DO my homework while I was in school, and instead waited until I was in the class before the class I had to turn in the homework for, and would hastily make an attempt at doing the homework without the teacher in the class I was currently in catching me.  And because I was doing homework for another class while in THAT class, I would proceed to make horrible grades for THAT class, because I hadn't been paying attention or doing my work in that class, I had been doing homework for the next class.  Because that's the kind of organized, motivated, super a-plus kind of student I was.  Now if it happened to be that I was in a class like Theater Arts, Music Appreciation, or Creative Writing, which I happened to love, THEN I would pay attention, and I would work hard.  But if the class was something pertaining to, oh, I don't know, Biology or Math of any sort, I was going to have my brain shut off while I was in there anyway, so there was really no point in me even taking up space in their desks.
I also hated projects.  And I would remember that I had one on like the night before it was due at about 9:30pm, and then go crying about it to my mother. 
My most vivid project memory was when we were supposed to do a science project.  I had a friend, Jennifer, who lived up the street from me.  She was the type of person who wrote everything out in neat handwriting, then typed it, then put the typed pages in a little fancy folder so it looked like something important, and started on things way, way, way before they were due.  She always got a's and she ended up going to Duke University.  She was my closest friend at school, which was funny, because we were so opposite in a lot of ways.  I was the type of person who scribbled out my reports on paper out of a ringed notebook that had to be ripped out and had all the messy edges and looked like a piece of trash.  And I never started anything until the very, very last minute. 
So one year, we had a science project, and it could be on almost anything, but it had to glow under a UV light because they were gonna make a cool display in the school window.  Jennifer worked for about a month on a highly detailed cross-section of a cell.  I waited till the night before, and I took a piece of plywood and spray painted it black.  Then I took some glow-in-the-dark paint I had bought in order to make paint blotches on a white pair of Keds I liked to wear, and I poured the orange glow-in-the-dark paint onto a round styrofoam ball like you use to put flowers in that I had made my mom drive me to Hungates to pick up at about 9pm.  There wasn't enough paint to cover the whole thing, so the back was all white, and I was too stupid to think to cut across the styrofoam ball to make it flat on one side to lay on the board.  I just used super-glue to glue down the white side onto the black spraypainted plywood.  And then I wrote "Mars" underneath it.  "Mars" came unglued and rolled down my driveway the next morning, and by the time I got it to school, it was caked in gravel, which I had to try to shake off before I attempted to re-glue it to the board.  Jennifer laughed like crazy at me and my pathetic project.  She laughed until our grades came back and she had made an A plus, and I had made an A minus.  Then I laughed like crazy.
Anyway, the point of all this is that I hate homework and school, and schoolwork, and projects, and I certainly didn't wanna start having to do them for my kids when THEY went to school, and yet here I sit, with a piece of paper Dalton brought to me saying "You have to fill this out by tomorrow!"  Where I have to answer the following questions: 1) What is the question being studied?  2) State the hypothesis, problem, or engineering goals.  (Ok, I just PUT a period there, because it is a statement, but on the actual sheet from the school, they finish off the previous statement with a dadgummed QUESTION MARK, yet I'M the one who didn't pay attention in school!)  3) Detailed description of methods/procedures to be used; type of data to be collected, how data will be analyzed.  4) Bibliography/References (include at least 3 sources)  Then last, it says "I agree to assist the student in completing a project for the Science Fair." and there's a space for me to sign my name. 
Well, NO, I do not agree to help the student.  I don't WANT to do a project for the science fair!  And yet, on a previous page, I was informed that it is REQUIRED, so I guess you've got me over a barrel, now don't you, school people?  Furthermore, what kind or REFERENCES am I supposed to have for a science fair project?  Dalton was gonna do one about toy cars with weights and how fast they go depending on how weighted, etc...but where are there REFERENCES to that? 
I HATE stuff like this, and it seems like there's more and more of it, where the parents have to do the work for the students.  I don't wanna do the work.  I graduated.  I have four children to look after, and I'm busy, and I don't CARE about weighted cars or what happens if you mix chemicals. 
I think I'm gonna spraypaint a ball orange and super-glue that crap on a piece of plywood.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

In Which I Have Nothing to Say

I am having a severe case of the blues, the blahs, and the all-around writer's block.  Just wanted to explain my absence and to apologize to anyone who has perhaps come to this site looking for a new post for like, the last couple weeks or so, and found na-da.  I hate it when I go to people's blogs to see what's new in their lives and there's nothing for days and days....but sometimes there's just nothing you feel like writing about, and this is one of those times! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In Which I Let My Nutty Son Have His Own Blog

So most of you probably know by now that Dalton has his own blog.  He is just in seventh heaven, runs in from school wanting to write on it, checks it periodically for comments and to see the counter that tells him how many people have read it.  I think he thinks he's famous now.  What I really, really like about it is that the typing keeps him busy and quiet for an extended period of time!!! Thanks to everyone for reading it and leaving him comments, he's thrilled beyond words.
Other news for today:  The babies are never, ever going to get over this cold.  They keep sneezing and their little noses are so red from all the boogers!  Aila couldn't even drink her milk this morning because she couldn't breathe through her nose, so she'd take a couple of sips and then run out of breath and pull her sippy cup out of her mouth and pant for a little bit and then take a few more sips.  It was pitiful!  The good thing is, they act like they don't feel horribly badly.  They still laugh and play.  But they just spend an awful lot of time wanting to lay on me and suck their fingers, and fighting over who gets my lap, and then grinning and snuggling under their covers like they're very happy to be there when I put them in bed for a nap.  I have never seen babies who love their beds quite as much as those two.
The thing they seem to enjoy the most since they've been sick is a nice hot bath.  I've been making their baths warmer and deeper since they've been sick, and they sorta flop over in the water like they're about to swim and get their whole bodies in there...I guess the warm water feels good and the steam helps their congestion.  Tonight, our goober cat who has always, always, since he was a kitten loved the water jumped in the bath with them and played in it.  The cat was walking around in there, pawing at their bath toys, drinking a little of their bathwater (ew!) and Weston was watching his every move, grinning his head off and screaming "TIDDY!"  Aila was leaning over and laying her head on the cat and making her little "Ohhh" noise she makes when she's giving a hug.  It was all adorable except for the constant stream of boogers I was having to wipe off everyone's noses with a warm washcloth!  I'm so ready for everyone to get well, and scared to death I'm going to get it myself once they're feeling better! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

In Which My Son Wants Me To Read His Journal

I am so confused by my son.  When I was a kid, I always kept a journal, and it was of utmost importance to me that my mother never read it.  This was so important to me, in fact, that I went to all kinds of trouble to ensure she never read it.  I hid it in my closet, and she found it.  I hid it in a drawer underneath a bunch of other stuff, and she found it.  She would say little things to let me know, without coming right out and saying it, that she had read it, and that she KNEW things.  Things she could not possibly have known, had she not read my journal.  More than once, she said a little something like that, just to let me know, and I grew so afraid and freaked out that she had read my private thoughts, I remember the hairs ACTUALLY standing up on the back of my neck.  I started keeping my journal locked in my locker at school, but then a friend who knew my locker combination went in there and read it.  Eventually I learned that if you really want to keep your private thoughts private, don't write them down.  Anywhere. 
I swore to myself that when I had children, I wouldn't search their rooms for their journals, and even if they had one and left it right out where I could see it, I would not read it. 
But then there's my almost 9-yr old son, Dalton.  He WANTS me to read his journal.  He ASKS me to read it.  His grandparents just sent him a journal with a lock and key on it, so that no one could get in, and he wrote in it, and then promptly brought it before our entire family and had his father, sister and I GUESS what he had written in it, and then told us when we were right or wrong.  I love that he's so open and feels that he can share anything with us.  But then again, sometimes I am absolutely flabbergasted by the things that I read, and the fact that he doesn't have the good sense to know he ought to be at least a little embarrassed.  He writes about a girl at school whom he has nicknamed "Twinklepuff," and how he thinks she likes him because she calls him "MR. Twinklepuff."  He writes about how he rode his bike outside until he "definetely had hypothermia."  He writes all kinds of crazy, funny, sometimes intensely personal things, some of which I won't even quote because even though HE's not embarrassed for everyone to know them, I AM!  I don't know, maybe he's just like me.  I blog about my most embarrassing moments, maybe he's just doing the same thing.  Come to think of it, one day Dalton will discover blogging, and if he hasn't learned to keep a little to himself, one day the whole world will be able to read about whatever rotten and horrible he did that day.  Better yet, one day he'll probably be blogging about ME, old and frail and in a nursing home, and it'll be stuff like "Today, my mom peed all over herself again..."  *Sigh.* 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

In Which I Get Attached To People I've Never Met

A couple weeks ago, it was Whitney Heichel.  I was sad when I read about her on the news and had no idea she was one of Jehovah's Witnesses.  I was hoping they would find her, but thinking it hardly seemed likely.  I was thinking how pretty she was and how adorable her husband was and how cute and happy they looked together.  Then I read on facebook that she was one of Jehovah's Witnesses.  All the sudden, it's different.  She's one of ours!  If I lived where she did, she'd be my friend and I'd work with her in service and I'd have been at her wedding and bridal shower.  It's just amazing how much it really affects (did I do it right this time?) us when we find out something has happened to one of us.  We call each-other brother and sister, and you don't realize just how true those terms are.  So you read about something like that, and then you find out it's your sister, and suddenly the stakes are so much higher, and you feel like you know her, and her mom personally, even though you really don't.  Then the bad news starts rolling in and I'm crying reading the news online, and then I'm crying reading the posts her friends and family made on facebook.  Then I'm crying looking through the photos from her funeral and seeing all the friends, in a Kingdom Hall, dealing with the loss.  I'm thinking that I'm gonna just have to quit looking at the pictures and reading about it all because it's just making me sad and I don't actually know her or her family, and there's no use being sad for someone I don't know when there are so many people to be sad for that I DO actually know. 
About that time, I start reading about the little two year old boy with the spiky hair and the adorable grin who loves Lightning McQueen and got hit in the head by a large tree limb when Sandy was coming through Georgia.  And then I find out that his family is in the same congregation with my cousin and also an old friend, and they are hurting about it because they're watching his family hurting about it.  And the little boy's parents are also Witnesses, and once again, he's not just an adorable little two year-old boy, he's one of ours.  If his family were in my congregation, his mom and I would be stuck in the mother's room together with our children.  He's not just any kid, he's family.  Now I'm checking for updates several times a day to see if he's still hanging on, and how he's doing, and worrying cuz tonight, they're gonna try to slowly take him out of his medically induced coma, and his mommy's a nervous wreck about it.  So I'm a nervous wreck about it too.  I hope it helps somehow to have the prayers and support of thousands of brothers and sisters who don't actually know you.  I wish I could DO something for his family.  But there's only one thing I can do for them, so I'll be praying for little Tripp Halstead and for his parents and his family.  Hoping that everything turns out ok for them, and that if it doesn't, they'll have the strength to endure. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

In Which I Have A Parent/Teacher Conference

Had a parent/teacher conference with Dalton's teacher yesterday.  I was a nervous wreck, as we had gotten a lot of emails from her early in the year about difficulties she was having with him. 
Got there, and she had another parent in the room with her, so I had to wait my turn in the hallway.  There was a large bulletin board on the hallway wall with tacked up books some of the kids in his class had made about geography, explaining what a mesa, plains, mountains, and valleys and stuff are.  I found Dalton's and started reading.  There were factual components, such as "a mesa is a mountain with a flat top." But there were also very Daltonesque parts throughout his little book.  "Mountains are not really pointy,  that's just the way you draw them."  "Some people think valleys are called valleys because they look like little 'vs.'"  Or how about this one "A canyon is really nothing but a ridiculously large hole in the ground."  And then there was my absolute favorite, "The plains are also called flatlands, because there is really nothing there to see.  Except in movies and on tv, often you will find cruel people in saloons."  When I read that one, I actually snorted! 
Anyway, finally got in to see the teacher, and she said that although they got off to a rocky start at the beginning of the year, she now loves having Dalton in her class, says he has vastly improved.  She said she's found that what he needs more than anything is to continue to be challenged, and she said she has found it best to have him help other students, which keeps him busy.  She also said she would not be suprised at all if he grows up to be a writer, and she is not the first of his teachers to tell me that.  Although, I don't really know what genre he would specialize in, because do you classify it as fiction or nonfiction when someone writes that in the movies, flatlands have cruel people in saloons?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

In Which I Have Two Sick Babies

Haven't written on here in quite some time.  Been pretty darn busy and my mind has been elsewhere.  Both the twins were acting very strange, just really grumpy and nothing making them happy, and wanting to sleep all the time.  Then on Tuesday afternoon, as I was telling Charles about how weird they'd been acting, we each noticed that the baby we were holding had a rather warm forehead.  They got warmer and warmer till bedtime, and just wanted to lay there, glassy-eyed, not moving, on our laps.  Finally took a temp and it was about 101.  The next morning they no longer felt warm, but they still acted grumpy and fatigued pretty much all day.  Auntie Marilyn came to the rescue and came and helped me hold and feed and bathe and all that good stuff, even stayed overnight to help me, which was wonderful.  Especially wonderful to Weston, who is completely enamored with her and her little songs she sings, and the way she does his "piggies," etc...  Aila is more reserved, as always.  But she sat very still on Marilyn's lap this morning in her litle polka-dot pajamas, stone-faced, while Marilyn poked all her dots and said "Polka-dot, polka-dot, polka-dot.." etc...  No smile, no facial movement at ALL out of Aila.  But the second Marilyn stopped, Aila grabbed her hand and put it to her pajamas as if to say "Do it again."  She may not have smiled, but she clearly liked it.  Then Weston got jealous and Marilyn had to poke the dinosaurs on HIS pajamas and say "Dinosaur, dinosaur, dinosaur..." 
The babies did finally seem to have their appetite back today, and were thrilled when I made them a big plate of cut-up, syrupless french toast.  Aila grabbed two pieces, one for each hand, so Weston grabbed the hand she wasn't eating out of and stuck it in his own mouth. 
Also new around here, Weston following the cat around yelling "Tiddy!!!"  (Kitty, in case you were wondering.)  It's pretty darn cute. 
I'm wiped out and don't have any interesting things to write about, other than watching my poor sick babies, so, oh well.  Maybe soon.  I'm gonna try to load a video I took of them Wednesday when they were feeling horrible but being very sweet to each-other.  I already put it on facebook, but I'll put it here too, because I just think it's the sweetest thing.  I've watched it about 50 times myself already!  Hope it'll load...