Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Today's laugh

I see kindergarten three times a week for 45 minutes. That's a lot of K. I'm used to and have frequently planned for two times a week so I'm trying to dig in a little deeper to some of my themes so I don't run out at the end of the year.

When we sing about apples, we keep a beat with Apple ornaments. We pretend we are walking through a foot of apples, we pretend we are running toward apple pie. All accompanied with fast and slow sounds.

Today in a fit of "I wonder what will happen next if I..." Before we did anything with the plastic apples we took a walk and sang quiet songs to them to get to know them.




Sunday, August 28, 2016

Living in the moment.

Right now I am watching Ida Lupino in The Hitchhiker. I am knitting some cashmere mitts. There are clothes in the washer and the dryer. Greathusbandbob is picking up a bag of ice, lunch items for tomorrow and dinner for later. The puppers has realized that in her new world leash does not equal walk although she's ready ready to go. So in this very moment, all is well.

Last week at juvie school (which I think may become another blog saga) i had some great plans involving moving, drumming, and ukulele-ing to Ozzy Osborne's Crazy Train. What I didn't know ahead of time was that their last music teacher let them run and move with abandon while listening. Not my plan. Raw teletubby was pissed and shut down.

The one I'll call Genius kid (because he is) immediately recognized the vibraslap as a sound in the song before I said a word and asked if we could play it with the recording. He also learned the intro notes on the uke.

My plan of attack is going to be 15-20 minutes of predictable routine activities followed by 15-20 minutes of something new. My theme for the last 20 minutes (playing a little to the two 5 year olds in the room) will be chickens and we will make these with different size cups as resonators.


The friction of a wet sponge creates the sound that resonates inside the plastic cup and sounds like a chicken. I'll crack myself up no matter what baggage they come in with.

Some of the clothes in the dryer belong to aunt and I will deliver them later in the day. After visiting yesterday the following became obvious. She can not walk. Her memory before repeating questions is about 40 minutes. This means she will have to live some place a little less dependently. The woman in charge of nursing where she was living before will be attending a conference call with us on Monday to help be an advocate and adviser to where to go from here. She adores aunt and I trust her knowledge and experience.

Also there is solace in that next week will not be this week. My monthly nightmare that required three changes of clothes in one day has abated. (For the record there is nothing on the market tha can protect you when you sneeze or cough in that condition.). The dog continues to improve. The schedule at school (despite how poorly it has been done) is set and should remain constant on a daily basis.

Maybe I will be able to Zumba on Monday. Knit night on Tuesday is probably out. The beat goes on.



Thursday, August 25, 2016

le sigh

This is the mama's eye view of the recovering puppy. And together on the floor we stay.


The vet gave her a sedative to keep her calmer on the way home. In addition to the knee surgery she had a large fatty mass removed from her chest. He also said the best thing to do is have her walk with the leash rather than a sling or a towel. She remains disinclined to do so at all. And then there will be the cone of shame. And this-


In other news, Aunt will likely be losing some independence as the recent trauma has done serious damage to her short term memory. I kind of saw that going before the recent illnesses.

I know that I can only do the next right thing and thinking further ahead is useless but I must say- I'm feeling mightily overwhelmed.

In good news, the pink monkey baby hat is finished and after blocking, both will be delivered.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Cat


When the dog isn't home.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Holding pattern

Aunt's delirium continues.

Greathusbandbob's back continues to spasm.

Dog's surgery in three days.

No set schedule at school yet.

Tomorrow is a good day to visit the psychiatrist and then dance it off at Zumba.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Names changed to protect the innocent

So I'm thinking I need to change the name of this blog to beckyreportsoneveryoneshealthandwellbeingtoo. I'm working on the twinsie monkeybabyhat but it's slow going.

Aunt has regained use of her hands. She believes she's been held prisoner. When I tell her what really happened she says "they said you'd say that." I don't press her for details though really she almost had me convinced. I tell her I believe what she says except I put in a little doubt when I ask her if she thinks I would let that happen. She's out of hospital and back at rehab. If she continues to make the same progress she's made in the last 24 hours, she may come back around.

Greathusbandbob is down for the count with a back spasm so there's that.

I had a nice conversation with the new principal letting her know that I was glad to be relinquishing duties and was grateful for her presence. That I would be on her side. Because sometimes people in new places just need to know that.

And what I forgot to mention about juvieschool today is that when I got done, all the interns and teachers who were observing students (there were five "just in case they gave me trouble" extra adults in the room- they clearly did not understand what I had to deal with last year!) gave me a round of applause. So that was awesome.

Tomorrow is cousin lunch and shopping outing. We are headed for the Mexican restaurant which I mention because I love it when we go to a place that serves alcohol. Especially after a week such as this. Tomorrow I'm going to have a tequila. Actually, a double. With extra tequila on the side. And when I come home I will sleep the sleep of the dead.


Reason 71,221 of why I love juvieschool


I got there early to get to know the kids. One had finished his work and was keeping himself occupied by writing me a restaurant bill. He asked me what I had for breakfast. I said grapes and coffee and then I said I had pizza last night.

I saw him writing and assumed he was putting a price on it and didn't look closely. I said there was no way I could afford that and we decided that if I did a decent enough job teaching that I could pay it off in service-Score! He let me leave without paying.

It wasn't until I returned to my regular school that I noticed he charged me $1200 for raw teletubbies. I'm guessing that teletubbies are much like puffer fish and require specialized skills to prepare.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wait, what?

Newsflash. There are things that exist that I don't know about. Who knew? Aunt's condition is fairly common in the elderly and called post-operative delirium. At least I know smart people who know the things I don't. Today she pulled out her IV's and needed a blood transfusion. It's just so bizarre.

Other newsflicker- it's not really a flash. When you work for someone compassionate but incompetent, it's easy to become an enabler for the sake of your own sanity. When you finally work for someone who does their job, isn't a whack job (like two bosses ago) and is well aware of and capable of learning what they don't know it can throw you off for a day or two. In a good way.

There was a Facebook meme about making kids feel great about the first day of school. I always start with school rules (be safe, responsible and respectful). I declared those (and the many ways of being that fit under their umbrellas) rules as the challenging ones we'll work on all year. And began to list and drum (with their suggestions) the "duh rules."

Don't crack an egg on your music teachers head. Don't bring an elephant to music class. Always wear clothes to music class. Don't eat the instruments. Don't feed your music teacher chicken feed.

The look on their faces as they got sparked out of the "oh this again" mindset was priceless.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Y Usted?

So I secretly wish I could write these daily stories as episodes of Days of Our Lives. Or better still, a telanovella. Maybe you could read with an accent in your head. Or maybe you could pretend all sentence endings alternated between question marks and exclamation points.

When last we visited the hospital...

Aunt's head was lolling back and forth in a stupor. The heavy meds have been halted but there is still unexplained stupor to diagnose. Possibly anesthesia that was slow to wear off, continued med reaction. They're doing tests. One frustrating bit is that the staff on the osteo floor doesn't have a sense of who she is when she's not sick in the way that the people on the telemetry floor did. To them, ranting old lady who can't feed herself is par for the course.

On the other hand, she was sure there were elephants behind her and when we finally left she kept pushing off the covers to join us to see the elephants. She also did not want to clean the pool at the lodge and laughed like she understood when I said greathusbandbob was not pregnant.

Goodhusbandbob told me that I sounded like I understood what she was talking about the whole time. I credit that with an amazing episode of NPR's This American Life in which they shared the story of an improv comedian talking in the now with his mother in law who was suffering from Alzheimer's. The moral of the story was meet them where they are and go where they take you.

Back at school...

My email-at least the parts about the potential grievances- was met with an email to all staff apologizing for rookie mistakes and thanking me (publicly) for heading her in the right direction. So. No more state policy is being violated but I've been informed that county policy says my scheduling assistance will no longer be needed and shouldn't have been employed in the first place. Which is sad. Because today I sat in a two hour meeting with four other people watching their brains catch up to the complications of the task- a learning curve I worked through around three years ago. It was like drowning in slow motion.

If you still have some sort of dramatic visualization going on in your head while reading, imagine (slow motion underwater if you want to go that far) an art teacher grabbing a discarded schedule out of the gym teachers hand because he kept referring to it to solve problems instead of the more recent schedule he was supposed to use.

In the category of self-care...

I feel like including this category is necessary mostly to remind myself that it's important.

Aunt's condition is such that I will be going back to hospital rather than to Zumba tomorrow night. I do have tennis shoes in the car and I may find a way to get my body active between school and hospital because.... Wait for it....not even kidding... My body says it feels like running and sweating. What the what???

My classroom is in the beginning of the year minimalist state that I love the best. I found some extra storage spaces and if I'm responsible (and pretend like I never did end of the day bus duty) I will be able to maintain a truly clutter free environment. At. School. I told the custodian and she laughed and laughed and laughed but perhaps she will rue the day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Really? More?

So once upon a time aunt had pneumonia. She went to rehab to get stronger only to be sent back that day with too much fluid. She made an amazing recovery from what really looked dangerously close to the end. The Sunday night before going back to rehab, aides took her to the restroom and weighed her afterwards (at 3:00am). She fell and fractured her femur. Surgery was yesterday afternoon. As she is wont to say- except in Yiddish- if it's not cockroaches, it's pissants. She now seems to be over-medicated and all are in agreement that tomorrow it's Tylenol not oxy.

Once upon a time the puppy blew out her knee. We took her to a specialist and we liked him. More surprisingly, she liked him (although heavy sedation may have played a role-as may also be seen by the fact that she just pooped in the living room in front of us). Next Wednesday she's getting TTA surgery

Once upon a time there was a new principal. We were looking forward. When the back to school letter arrived there were zero grammatical or spelling errors. I offered scheduling assistance given my past experience but was not unhappy when it was declined. Then the schedule arrived and in an effort to fix one recurring problem the scheduler managed to violate two state laws. Normally I would remain silent. My schedule was within the legal limits.

Except all of my friends were unhappy and I wasn't sure if the scheduler knew there were violations. Today I sent a really positive email sharing faculty concerns. Everyone else seems worried about bad first impressions (or are just smarter than I.) I have received no response. But I feel good for getting it out there doing what I can. Either it will be resented, ignored or well-received and I don't even care. As greathusbandbob is wont to say if you're going to take a stand you have to be ready to face the consequences.

The air conditioning at school is not working. You may recall that I teach in a windowless room.

I will miss Friday's knit night field trip. I will miss knit night for a second week in a row next week because of open house. I've slept for about 5 hours a night for the last two nights. I did get to Zumba on Monday. My intentions are to go again on Thursday. But really if anyone breathes suspiciously in my direction I may collapse into a weeping puddle-y hot mess. It's right on the edge.


Just trying to ride the roller coaster without throwing up.


Thursday, August 11, 2016


In the category of self-care I have engaged in Zumba or YouTube Zumba-like activities for four days in a row. The classes are Monday and Thursday for an hour plus. I make it through about 15 minutes of the more challenging YouTube version. Today's big accomplishment was that I was able to bring my foot up to the back of my leg for a stretch.

In other self-care news I will celebrate the last weekday of summer vacation getting a mammogram. The fun goes straight to the last minute.

In the care of others category, aunt has been ping-ponging between hospital and rehab. Complications and med adjustments will hopefully bring her some stability.

Cousin and I have our weekly shopping adventure planned with an added trip to the local mini department store, Peebles and the store where everything is a dollar, the Dollar Store.

Greathusbandbob was successful in his power point adventure and I explored the Garage Band app to create some background ambience for his slide show.

I'm really struggling about the puppy. The idea of four weeks of caged rehab breaks my heart and almost feels like torture. The fact that she may face the same thing with the other knee is unbearable. Our vet consult is Tuesday. More will be revealed.

For now if I have to decide between boring blogging and more frequent blogging, I'm going with quantity. Maybe every now and then I'll have more on my mind than daily life.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Show and Tell




This cute is waiting for its brown and pink partner. I love the way fair isle feels in my hands when I do it with the correct tension. This one is close and I believe will improve with blocking.


The easiest item on the summer list has been attended to. The narcissist in me wants to give away all 200 on the first day and watch piles of kids going home with my picture stuck on them. I think they are hilarious and hope they have the predicted response of bringing joy.


Text reads "Thanks for being AWESOME!"

KnitnightGina had a wonderful surprise for me last night.


I couldn't resist keeping the milk bones in the picture

Being a Klutz book, all materials are included. Last night when I opened it I wanted to forgo the making of poms and just comb all of the yarn with that adorable comb.


Note the adorable cut out carrying case to the right.

The sad part of this gift is that I know at least four friends at knitnight who would be so much better than I at creating these pups but then I would miss the joy of the process.

And finally here are this morning's back to school gifs.


This afternoon's schedule includes sitting in the air conditioned room in our house and teaching greathusbandbob to create a power point presentation in the newest version. When he asked me if I knew how to do it I said yes. Then he asked me if I would teach him. And I said yes. Except when I say I know how to do something like that I generally mean I know how to figure it out. I do not mean I can seamlessly step by step him through it. I think I may go in and give myself a little tutorial now that I think about it.

Aunt is to be discharged from hospital today having finished all antibiotics. She will rehab for a few days to regain her strength. I will go there this evening with clothes and supplies.


Saturday, August 06, 2016

Friends- a reflection

The kits for the monkey hats arrived. With properly loose tension I began fair isle knitting the adorableness. After 30 rows I noticed the pattern wasn't quite right. Consistently. I am about the farthest (furthest?) thing from a perfectionist that a person can get. If there were such a word I'm sure I'd be called a "that'll do-ist." Except I have a friend, knitnightGina who, though never judging, would never accept that in her own work. She inspires me to be better, to expect more, to allow the time necessary to fix a mistake. Friends like her make me proud of myself when, for at least that one moment, I do better than I think I can.

Then there's firstgradeteacherRobin. I don't get to see her much at school. We both keep busy doing our jobs. But I know how hard her life can be and she knows the ins and outs of mine. We have granted each other permission to text random gifs whenever we feel like it.

When I told her tacos for dinner


When she said she preferred burritos


We send them along when life is hard and when it's not hard. It's like a little poke asking '"is anybody out there?" And answering, "yea, you're cool." We cheer each other on, always offering to help, knowing that most often the best thing we can do is bear (bare? I'm second guessing myself today) witness to one another's lives.

SecretarySandy and I have gone the entire summer and spoken via text just twice. She's the at school, in the moment, "did I just say that out loud?", "I'll tell you at lunch," we crack each other up friend. A shared sensibility for the absurdity of life gives us everything we need to get through the days.

And then comes the knitnightamandaDrJustine kind of friend. We live in three vastly different worlds. We come together at knit night and share music, books, thoughts from our brains, stuffed knitted toy play dates, and all things whimsically ridiculous. This is where the laughing so hard you can't breathe happens. These meetings are sporadic given the way schedules coincide. But when the planets are aligned, a heavy weight is lifted.

Here at the end of the post is where, if I were a famous blogging philosopher finding meaning in life, I would have a profound, well-articulated observation on friendship.

I'm grateful for my friends.


Friday, August 05, 2016


With one week of summer vacation ahead of me, I've just finished the perfect book to sum up what was difficult about teaching last year.

In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People by George K. Simon.

The Amazon synopsis reads:

Dr. George Simon knows how people push your buttons. Your children--especially teens--are expert at it, as is your mate. A co-worker may quietly undermine your efforts while professing to be helpful, or your boss may prey on your weaknesses. Manipulative people have two goals: to win and to look good doing it. Often those they abuse are only vaguely aware of what is happening to them.

It continues to share what this book offers.

George K Martin was a guest on an MSNBC news show were he was asked to speak about the personality characteristics of Donald Trump and was how I found this particular book. (I'm a sucker for guest authors but they often are the best way to decide what to read!)

While this book primarily deals with adult-adult interaction, there are a few examples of parent-child interaction. However in his conclusion, Simon writes,

Inpatient psychiatric facilities in this country are bursting at the seams with young persons exhibiting significant disturbances of character. Regardless of what psychiatric diagnosis they may be given upon admission, the majority of these youngsters are brought to these facilities because of their completely undisciplined aggressive behavior. (p. 167)

My understanding of the premise is that in the past we have attributed behaviors such as these to whatever fear and insecurity neuroses these children may have had. Sympathy, compassion and understanding the underlying causes is traditionally deemed the best defense in "curing" what ails them.

It would seem that all of this "understanding" has played right into the hands of the manipulative child who will deny, rationalize, defend, and divert any anti-social behavior for the sake of winning.

This isn't one of those "kids these days" rants. I have seen all of the behaviors Simon describes in children as young as 5 years old. As a compassionate non-covertly aggressive person, accepting the fact that there are manipulative children on the planet and that it can be learned at a very young age seems unfathomable to me.

Until, that is I look at his examples of the tactics those manipulators use and recognize them as what I was fighting last year.

Characteristics of this personality type include- Self-centered thinking, possessive thinking, extreme (all-or-none) thinking, egomaniacal thinking, shameless thinking, quick and easy thinking, and guiltless thinking.(pg.38-40)

He writes of the social factors that helps to create manipulative children include permissiveness, indulgence, abuse, neglect, and lack of accountability.(p100)

Being a society opposed to those factors does not prevent them from occurring. As a teacher who sees any given child 90 minutes a week, there is a minimal amount I can do to combat these behaviors.

At least now I recognize them. I can't fix their family issues, I can't change how they relate to all of society. But I can see them in action and rather than "cutting the kid a break" because of the life s/he comes from, I can feel better about calling out such behaviors and working harder to have students be accountable for what they say and do.

I have a friend who divorced a manipulative narcissist. From the outside it was easy for me to see and explain his patterns of behavior. It took a little while for her to see them for what they were. I feel like this book has given me the tools to see some of the discipline issues I've had for what they are and has given me another way of thinking about and helping those challenging kids.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Another day in...

Paradise? Maybe not so much.

Aunt is in hospital again. (I love the way the Brits say that.). More serious than the last. Stable now but a diagnosis of septic pneumonia and in need of a bipap machine to get her breathing properly.

Awesome husband took an Oxford house resident to what he thought would be a meeting with his attorney and law enforcement only to discover law enforcement had a bench warrant for said resident who was promptly escorted to jail. As such dear husband felt discouraged and tired from all that comes as a result of doing good deeds.

Lest it all be doom and gloom I'll share the knitting in the works. A former student teacher recently gave birth to a pair of boy/girl twins. First this little monkey for each. (found here on Ravelry)


To be accompanied by these adorable hats- (found here on Ravelry- with kits available at this website)


So pleased at how well the two separate patterns and designers made matching monkeys.


Tuesday, August 02, 2016

No more basketball

Heavily post-vet visit sedation.

Our sweet pup is going to have to give up her basketball career. I'm not sure what we'll do without the extra income.

She has a torn cranial cruciate ligament. Or the people version of a torn ACL. If we let it go, she will have pain and debilitating arthritis. She will also likely blow out her left rear leg.

Surgery means 6-8 weeks of no significant movement followed by two more months of cautious weight bearing walks.

To be honest I'm not sure which would make her more miserable.

It's times like these when Facebook is your friend. Especially when you wonder why you bother remaining friends with long ago acquaintances. Seems like you can always find someone in the "hive" who has been there done that.

One teacher friend has been through it all. A former student has a vet tech degree. Knowledge is power.

Teacher friend had a sobbing breakdown seeing her bébé post surgery. And she's a farm girl more used to the harder side of pet care taking. I'm sure to be a hot mess.

That she lacks opposable thumbs guarantees there will not be a photo of me in my post-vet sedation. Though you never know-with so much sedentary time on her hands and her basketball career over, she may start a blog of her own. I better keep checking my internet history for a search of doggie stylus'!


Monday, August 01, 2016

odds and ends... oddly ending

This shall be a post most random in nature. Hang on.

Item the One-  This is one of those toilet "protect a seat" dispensers.

In an effort to be more observant in my world I couldn't help but notice the brand (?)

Formerly Krystal?  Really?  After a brief search on the internet I've found that I'm not the only one to notice.  There are instagram, twitter and tumblr posts which include a similar picture.  Maybe the half toilet seat cover company is having an identity crisis and trying to "cling" (get it?) to the past.

Item the Two- The upcoming election.  I. Just. Can't.  The democratic convention and the fallout gave me some hope.  Otherwise the best thing I can say about it is that I now know which of my Republican friends would be most likely to join a cult.  Apparently I'm not the only one thinking this- 

Item the Three- Roads not travelled.  About 20 years ago I broke up with a boyfriend.  Shortly after, one of his acquaintances (not even really a good friend) asked me out.  Being in the thirties and still avoiding any possibility of conflict- (thank goodness those days are gone) I declined.  

As the years went by and as I was still struggling to figure out who I was and what I wanted, I would see him with his wife and two kids at the grocery store doing the family thing-  not really clinging but occasionally wondering about the road not taken.  Last week while visiting the Aunt, there he was, walking and talking with his mother (a resident).  Separate and parallel lives at least for that day.

With my life currently relatively well in hand I didn't have the same sense of regret I did during those more difficult days of self-discovery.  What I did realize (that I have been wondering most recently) is a sense of where the last 30 years have gone.  Having no children, I don't have what I would consider the typical signposts of life passing by.  Fifty seems impossible.  Without wanting to be cliche I am always asking myself "where has the time gone?"  That day I at least caught a glimpse.

And Item the Four a different take on health and well being.  Alternately titled "Isn't It Ironic."

The foot injury has left my summer exercise aspirations twisting in the wind.  It's hard to get 10,000 steps when the dr. prescribes rest, ice, compression and elevation.  The thrill of Zumba has turned into "the agony of deFEET"  (bwah ha ha!)

What occurred to me while trying to walk today is that in order to take care of your body you have to have a positive body image.  I so easily fall into the "what does it matter" during the sleep-eating chocolate chip cookie episodes.  It's hard to be positive when you're 100 pounds heavier than you really should be.  So the goal for the last two weeks of summer vacation is to walk when I can and at least consider a fondness of myself when reaching for that next treat.

Item the Last- My Facebook acquaintances who live in the Atlanta area have been posting back-to-school pictures of their kids (and I thought we started early.)  I have one more Sunday free of charge. August 14th begins the cycle of the Sundays of Doom.  That being said, the one thing that made Sundays the worst (putting my clean clothes away when there was no room) has been attended to so we may be able to maintain DEFCON 3 instead of 4.  

Maybe that lower status will allow for some blogging and adventures worthy of it when the rat race resumes.