She lives! The electric edition

Well, I’m no better at getting back to this blog now than I have been at any time in the past year. I’m sorry.

It’s been a year of change and upheaval for me. With the job search in August/September, I had heard about a postion in a nearby town from a friend. That didn’t pan out. Then we went to Mass in another nearby town and the priest mentioned a job opening at their parish school. That lead to a 1st & 2nd interview and a “shadow day”. And while that situation progressed, I learned about an opening with my son’s school. That was the lead that finally lead to the actual job. So as of October 1st, I am the assistant cook at my son’s Catholic school. It has been a hectic, wonderful learning experience for me. I love being there and helping our head cook create the delicious, healthy meals for these children. I have learned so much and when we get back from Christmas break, I’ll be learning even more. We are a good team and have great help from a number of volunteers who come in to help serve the food, assist the kids with condiments and wipe down tables. It has been an incredible blessing to be able to do the work I enjoy with people I enjoy spending time alongside.

Ditty went as far a sections with her swim team this year. She was hoping that she wouldn’t need to go as her shoulder has been bothering her. We have been working with our chiropractor and that brought some relief. Now that swim season is over, that has brought even more relief, so I just need to encourage her to keep doing the exercises so that she doesn’t re-injure it next year. She is also preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation. It’s hard to believe that she’s old enough to do this. And trying to get her behind the wheel time finished so that she can get her driver’s license. My little girl is becoming a very poised and practical young woman. We also purchased a new step-up flute for her. She has needed one for a long time (about the last 2 years), but we didn’t just snap one up. We took our time and had her play several different flutes to see which one she liked best. I’m pleased that she decided on an Azumi. Some people might get down on me for that since the Azumis are a Japanese flute, but seriously if you haven’t heard one-don’t judge me. The American school of flutes are very light and bright sounding. The Japanese school of flutes are darker and deeper in tone. Frankly, they just sound so amazingly full and rich. These aren’t words I can use with the American school of flutes, although they are pretty. While we were flute shopping, the flute specialist who was helping us also let Ditty try out a $13,000 model. If you think there is no difference except for the price tag, you would be very wrong. That flute sounded so amazingly rich and, dare I say it, delicious that if money was not an object, I would have entertained serious thoughts about getting that one. Maybe she’ll consider becoming a concert flautist so we can get that one.

BooBoo is still taking guitar. Why, I’m not sure since he hates to practice. Apparently, he just likes playing – but not an electric guitar. He chose a new accoustic guitar, made by Fender and shaped like their Stratocaster model with the cutaway body and the inline head. I seriously wanted to ask ” So, who is this girl that you’re trying to impress?”, but I didn’t. I know you’re probably amazed, so am I. He also wants to try out for track and field this spring. He had a lot of fun at the Track & Field day that the High School boys’ track team held through community ed last spring. Hopefully, he will find his sport. I’m sure there will be something out there for him to enjoy. BooBoo will also be participating in our school musical this year, but not backstage as he usually does. This year, he has chosen to be one of the actors and will be an Apostle in our school production of Godspell Jr. It should be an interesting show. I remember singing some of the music when I was in grade school at my Catholic school. Of course, we also sang some of the music from Jesus Christ Superstar. Very 1970’s indeed! 🙂

So, you may be wondering why this is “the electric edition”. Well, early this past Saturday morning, I experienced chest pains and DH brought me in to our local hospital emergency room. While I didn’t need defibrilation, they did hook up quite a few electrodes to me to monitor my heart. And because the enzyme that gets released if there is a problem with the heart takes 4-6 hours to occur in the bloodstream, they had me admitted to a hospital room for observation. In that room, they attached even more electrodes because their heart monitor uses different ones from the monitor in the E.R. I think I seriously had about a dozen of the little stickers on my chest & abdomen. If they had needed to defribrilate, I possibly would have lit up like a Christmas tree. Electro-Woman. Hmm, glad that didn’t happen. I’m 50, I don’t look good in spandex.

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Another long update

Life has been very busy in this house. Also, I’m not of the generation who grew up with blogs and social media as an everyday part of life so updating this space seems difficult to me when I’m in the thick of life. So, I’m sorry for the long absence again. Here is all the news that’s fit to print:

April & May were busy with the usual end of the school year stuff. June brought Marching Band Madness to our usually laid back & tranquil summer plans. Ditty participated in the flute section for the first time (she could have participated last summer but I’m glad she didn’t). They had a week long sweat camp and then it was 2-3 parades per week for the rest of June. One parade got rescheduled because of rain, so that week had 4 parades, the rescheduled one on Tues, another on Thurs & Fri & Sat. So glad that’s done, none in July & just one more exhibition parade on Aug 2nd. They did earn some good marks and even received one Grand Champion recognition. I didn’t get to watch them perform at any of the parades, so I’m looking forward to watching on the 2nd. June also brought Driver’s Ed classes back to our schedule. Ditty now has her learner’s permit and needs to get 30 hours of behind the wheel in the next 6 months in order to take her test for a conditional driver’s license. Teens don’t get full driving privileges straight off anymore.

DH learned the importance of teaching your teen driver exactly what your “driving slang” means before you use it on them. Ditty’s first behind the wheel attempt with us was driving his truck over to Clearwater/Pleasant regional park. She was backing out of the driveway and he wanted her to turn more sharply onto the road so he said “crank it”. She applied the gas and we bagan to shoot across the road. I yelled “Stop!” and she applied the brakes, thankfully before we wound up in the neighbor’s ditch. DH asked her why she stepped on the gas and she replied “well, I thought that’s what you wanted me to do.” Teach them the meaning of your slang so you will live longer-just saying. Also, saying Crank It when you don’t give them a direction to turn in isn’t very helpful. Hard right or hard left would help a beginner more. Maybe this was why the eldest always wanted me in the vehicle with her. If that happens again, I really need to get some valium.

We brought BooBoo in to the doctor in June and we have finally received some answers to his issues. We now know that he has ADD, the inattentive type and he has now begun taking medication to help with his attention issues. This has also greatly improved his anxiety & depression. It really feels like we have our old Buddy Sunshine back again. He comes up the stairs with a spring in his step and no longer balks when we interrupt what he wants to do with a request to complete a chore.

July has been, well, interesting-let’s just leave it at interesting. The 4th brought the usual parade & 2 potlucks. A neighbor invited us over for fireworks and that was nice. I am getting a little tired now of picking up the debris from my yard. Apparently fireworks are for the whole month of July. Oh well, they are good neighbors the rest of the year. Speaking of neighbors, I think we finally have some new neighbors kitty corner across the street. There was a trailer there yesterday along with 2 large vehicles so one can hope that house is finally going to be someone’s home.

I finished writing the new Nature program for our Girl Scout day camp. 2nd grade learns about mammals, 3rd grade learns about bugs & butterflies, 4th grade learns about birds, 5th learns about trees (and has the coolest craft), 6th learns about reptiles & amphibians & fish, and 7th learns about wildflowers. 2nd & 3rd don’t do a nature craft, they have games instead. 4th & up do a craft that relates to what they are learning about: Bird feeders, Pine cone boxes, Toad homes & Wildflower presses. The girls seemed to enjoy their time in Nature this year, especially their nature hike/exploration day. I think it was the fact that they had permission to look & touch & observe their surroundings that captivated them. The 6th grade girls loved going out to catch frogs & toads. We learned that we have a lot of Leopard frogs in our day camp area. We also found a baby Great Plains toad. Maybe next year we’ll have to catch some insects too and see how the frogs and toads catch their meal. (This thought is due to the Cope’s Gray treefrog that was clinging to our deck door last night. I watched it crawl, looked like an Army crawl, up the side of the door and then leap at a bug that it ate.)

July also brought 2 more visitations/funerals. My last uncle on my dad’s side passed away in June, then the father of a friend’s husband passed away in early July and another friend’s husband was tragically killed in a motorcycle crash this past weekend. It has been a mournful month. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, by the mercy of God, rest in peace.

I am looking forward to enjoying our final 5 weeks of summer vacation. BooBoo wants to have the guys over for a fire and hot dogs soon. Ditty has swim team practices starting up again in August. We still need to update her flute and she wants to start learning the saxophone as well.

Time to get BooBoo started on his guitar practice. Hope your summer is going well.

Black Friday

To those who get a rush during Black Friday, a happy Black Friday to you.

As for me, I’m going to read and catch up on my email, snuggle up on the couch with yet another cup of coffee liberally laced with creamer, finish crocheting that tree skirt and eventually put on real clothes to go see a movie.

I’ll also do one other thing:  Celebrate the birth of our middle child.

Happy Birthday Ditty!

NaBloPoMo

Well, I’m not official but I’ve decided to try the NaBloPoMo thing and attempt a post every day for one month.  This month?  Yup, November.  Why?  Good question since Thanksgiving will be the hardest day to post.  DH doesn’t like sharing me with the computer.

Oh well, on to the real post for today. . .

Ditty had her second knowledge bowl meet of the season today.  The team took fourth place . . . again.  So close.

They were doing so well at the beginning of the night.  They were the first team finished with the written round.  They scored 20 points on each of their first two oral rounds.  The hosting school power ranked the teams after the second oral round.  The third and final oral round left them with another 14 points to add to their total. 

A score of 54 points in three oral rounds is pretty impressive.  Just not quite enough to get a medal.  Maybe next time.  I wonder if there is a patron saint of knowledge bowl participants I can ask to intercede for them?

Still, fourth place out of twenty-one teams certainly doesn’t mean you’re just a sack of fertilizer.

BTW:  Tomorrow, November 2nd, is Election Day so don’t forget to go out and vote.  Make your voice heard.

Now that’s scary!

Well, it’s Halloween and the ghosts and goblins abound.  Well, in our neighborhood its more pirates and princesses really.  BooBoo went trick or treating tonight dressed up in his knight’s costume from two or three years ago.  Yes, I did make it big on purpose although he can no longer fit a winter coat underneath it as he could the first year.

Ditty on the other hand opted not to go trick or treating this year.  Both DH & I tried to cajole her into one last Halloween hurrah, but she wasn’t having any of it.  Her friend had stood her up and she said that she wasn’t in the mood to go.  She did ask if she could climb up the tree in front of the living room window and shake the branches when the trick or treaters came by.  She’ll be the one to enjoy a trip up north sometime to see the haunted ore boat.  She definitely did not want to go trick or treating though.

And then this afternoon, I found out the real reason why she didn’t want to go out.  Ditty had gotten her first period.  That monthly scourge of women everywhere.  And the requisite cramps too.  So that’s why mine was early.  You did know that women who live in close quarters cycle together didn’t you?  It must be some form of protection for the menfolk who have to endure us during this time so that they don’t have to constantly worry about ticking us off.  But I digress.

Up to this point, my little girl has been . . . well . . . my little girl.  Now that this has begun, it just puts her that much closer to being grown up.  That’s what I’m not sure that I’m ready for.  The boys, the dating, the going away to college, etc.  Rats!  I wish I could have had one more year of peace of mind.  But the reality is that I’ve known this was coming.  We talked about hygiene last summer, so I knew that this “milestone” couldn’t be too far down the road.

And how appropriate to have this happen on Halloween-the scariest night of the year.  No zombie or butt-kicking alien from outer space could top the fear factor of this happening.  Here’s hoping that you’re at least somewhat prepared when it’s your turn.

Kids say the darndest things

BooBoo to Ditty (sings a popular Girl Scout camp song): ‘Your mama don’t wear no socks, a ding dong.  I was there when she took ’em off, a ding dong. She threw them at the tub, a ding dong.  All the kids refused to scrub.”

Ditty to BooBoo: “You are aware that we have the same mother, right?”

and

BooBoo to Cookie (our crafts director at camp):  “You need to say please.  I only work for “please” . . . and money.  I will work for money.”

His father didn’t see the humor in the last one, but Cookie and I laughed our socks off.

Hope your summer is going well.  The spammers continue to find me. . . but that’s why they invented edit and delete buttons.

Weight loss update

I weighed in at the gym yesterday.  I have lost 8 pounds, 7.2 of which were fat mass (or 2.3% body fat)!  I am also down three and three-eighths inches overall!

It has been hard to keep my calorie intake in the 1400-1500 calories per day range.  I must have been eating over 2000 per day before joining the gym because 1400-1500 truly feels like a diet.  But I am still trying to attain that goal and make it stick.  I know that this (1500 limit) will begin to feel more normal as time goes on.  I just have to carry on until it does.

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The house decluttering continues.  I really need to get some good sturdy bookshelves.  The books really need their own space.  I also need to let go of more junk.  I was quite ruthless in the beginning, but seem to have softened up as time wore on.  I may have to just try to declutter for an hour at a time to keep my edge sharp.

BooBoo’s chiropractic sessions are still going well.  He looks forward to being picked up at school for them.  The little stinker even stayed at school on Tuesday and we didn’t have an appointment that day.  The school had to call me to come and get him since the bus had already left.  He didn’t look too chagrinned at his mistake.

Enjoy your weekend.

Catholic Schools Week

Sorry for the lack of posting lately.  It is Catholic Schools Week here and we have been busy!  Busy finding outfits and doing hair for the various spirit day themes.  Monday was Crazy Hat Day-Ditty put loads of different pins on her hat, BooBoo decided not to wear one and just went in his school uniform that day (more on that later).  They celebrated Community Leaders as well.  Tuesday was Mix & Match with Crazy Hair Day.  Once again Ditty managed to get her own look.  I helped BooBoo spike his hair up, but old man winter foiled BooBoo’s plan by making him wear a hood that crushed his hair back down.  I wasn’t too worried though.  With all that mousse and hairspray in it, his hair probably still looked pretty crazy, even if it was flat (think severe bed head).   They also celebrated Our Students with an ice cream social and, as I found out on Wed. grr, a talent show featuring the teachers.  That one is always silly and fun, I wish I hadn’t missed it.  Wednesday was Dress Up Day (can’t have them looking weird at Mass).  They celebrated Vocations with special speakers.

Today is Sports Day.  The kids get to dress up with their favorite sports team/uniform/jersey they like/support.  I’m glad we don’t get into professional sports here.  I’m also glad that our school does not require their sports day dress to be a nationally recognized team for the kids to participate.  Ditty will wear her school basketball warm up t-shirt and BooBoo will wear his summer baseball team’s uniform.  I did tell him that he didn’t need to wear the special sliding shorts we got him last year today.  Today they celebrate Our Nation.

Friday will be Pajama Day.  Both kids have been told to change out of the pajamas they slept in and wear clean pajamas to school.  Friday is also the Rise & Read breakfast in honor of February being Reading Month (or Literacy Month, or whatever.  Yes, I do know that it is also Black History Month.)  Friday will be a celebration of Faculty, Staff  & Volunteers.  Not sure what they have planned.  And we will close out the week with a Family Fun Night hosted by our wonderful Home & School Association officers.  I think I turned in my volunteer form to help out at FFN.  Wish I remembered which time slot I chose.  Oh well, someone’s bound to remind me sooner or later.

Have a great week.

For Marci

and most importantly for her daughter, Punky.  Marci has a post over on her blog 6Hands2Hold .  She needs help paying for treatments for her daughter’s Asperger Syndrome.  If you can help, please give generously.  Thank you.

I know this is a shorter post than you’re used to, but I am nursing a cold mixed with a bout of laryngitis and staring at a computer screen is making my eyes water.  Hopefully this all passes soon.

All Saints Day

Today is the day that we celebrate all of the holy men and women of the Church.  The saints set a great example for us with their lives.  Most were martyred, many overcame obstacles to living a holy life.  Our priest, Fr. David, said in his homily today that we should be able to list three ways that we are trying to live saintly lives.  Well, one of my ways would be that I am trying to teach my children to love the Church.  One surefire way to help them understand the feast days of the Church and what they commemorate is to use food. 

Today we are having “Saint cake” for dessert with supper.  This inspiration came from reading Catholic Cuisine’s blog for the last several months and realizing that I don’t have to do everything, they are just suggestions to save me from running around trying to figure it out for myself.  My Saint cake is just a simple jell-o cake.  I made a white cake from a mix using just the egg whites to retain the whiteness in the batter.  I then made the raspberry jell-o, any red gelatin would do, using just the boiling water.  After the cake was baked, I poked holes in the top using a fork and poured the jell-o as evenly as I could over the top.  Cool the cake for two hours to set the gelatin and then frost.  I used white frosting and added yellow sugar to the top, but the original recipe uses whipped topping or whipped cream.  If I must eat cake, I prefer a good buttercream frosting to whipped topping.  Personally, I’m more of a pie gal.

The white cake represents the holy saints and the red gelatin represents martyrdom.  The white frosting is purity of soul and the yellow sugar, the shining example they are for us on earth.

I’ll add some pictures to this post after supper since the red and white of the cake should be revealed once we cut into it.

Here are the pics.

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The cake with a cut-away.

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I would have called it Blood of the Martyrs cake but after the Poltergeist Potatoes, I didn’t think Ditty would eat it.

One final bit of advice.  Pick a saint whose life you can relate to or one who is patron of a cause close to your heart and pray to them often for help in living a holy life of sainthood.

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Quotes:

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I finally understand

"Among those around you, apostolic soul, you are the stone fallen into the lake. With your word and your example, you produce a first circle, and it another, and another, and another, wider each time. Now do you understand the greatness of your mission?" St. Josemarie Escriva: The Way