Saturday, January 31, 2009

And a Doctorate in Doubt

I was driving to my weekend home from my weekday home yesterday (I wish I had the kind of money that first part of the sentence implies) with a migraine. A bad one. The kind of headache that made me press my fingers really hard on my left eye to keep it closed so I could focus on the blurry white dotted lines on the road with only my right eye and hope I didn't slide over them in 70 mph rush hour traffic. Really. It was that bad.

Even though the sound was excruciating, I hit Shuffle on the iPod to keep the boys busy singing instead of asking me questions--what with the whole "concentrate on the dotted lines so we won't die" thing I had going on. So there we were, cruising down the highway, when I heard the boys singing a song that brought tears to my eyes. Note to self: when you're experiencing the mother of all migraines and your vision is blurry, adding tears to the mix is NOT a good idea.

They were belting out a Jeff Slaughter song from "Arctic Edge" Vacation Bible School a few years back, an uptempo song that goes like this:

I will be trusting God with all my heart,
No matter what, no matter where, no matter when.
I will depend on Him, I will not lean on my own understanding.
In everything I do I'm gonna have the courage to trust in God.

I don't get all holy on the old blog very often, but allow me a minute to get my preach on because my boys taught me a lesson in song yesterday. With our lives being so chaotic right now--not knowing where Dan and I will be working or where we'll be living next fall and where the boys will go to school--it was nice to remember that He knows.

And I need to leave it at that. Not that I think I can actually just "let go and let God" or anything, since I have a Master's in Anxiety and Fretting, but I should try.

Emphasis on TRY.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What I Did for Love

As a teacher, I'm required to enjoy snow days. I'm pretty sure it's in my union contract or something. But the two snow days we've had this year were especially wonderful and well-timed because Susan's new book, What I Did For Love, came out yesterday.

I was already bummed because I can't go up to Chicago this weekend for the signing at Anderson's.

Digression: How will Susan survive a signing without me there in a character costume? (Scroll down to see my Princess Party ensemble and my friend Bev the Beaver.) Well, I guess she'll muddle through somehow.

Anyway, I was sad because the book's release date was Tuesday and, what with this whole "get a full-time job" thing I have going, I knew I wouldn't be able to pull an all-nighter and finish the book on release day like I usually do. And then we had two glorious days of rain with a tiny bit of snow and ice mixed in--just enough to close schools. YAY! And to make things even better, I had a $10 gift card at B&N. Somebody's been living right!

I picked up the book yesterday afternoon and stayed up until 2 a.m. reading it. The only reason I went to sleep at all was the slight chance that schools would not be cancelled and I'd have to drag my sleepy, book-hungover self to work this morning. I woke up at 5:30, checked to see that, YES, schools were closed, then went back to the book and finished at about 8:00 a.m.

Now I'm tired but my book high is sustaining me. I just love Susan's writing, her characters, her sense of setting, just everything. Loved Georgie and Bram's story. But now I'll have to wait another two years for her next book. Sigh.

Well, in a few weeks I'll be able to listen to the audio book of WIDFL to tide me over until the next re-read of the print copy in a few months.

Write faster, Susan! Next time I'll be there in character again. Promise. ;-)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Your new name is...

I got this email from Mom the other day and thought you might enjoy playing along too. Just use your own name and follow the directions...


Teble Ann Collier Brewer

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (first 3 letters of real name plus izzle)


3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color & favorite animal)

Pink Dog

4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME : ( middle name and current street)

Ann Clarkston

5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 3 letters of your mom's maiden name)


6. YOUR SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink)

Black Margarita

7. YOUR WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (Mother's middle name and Dad's middle name)

Laetta Wayne

8. YOUR GOTH NAME: (black, and the name of one your pets )

Black Lily

What are yours?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tidy Randomness in list form

If prolific, supremely talented, and quite possibly mentally challenged writer, Joshilyn Jackson can blog in list form this week, then so can I. I need some tidy in my life too. Because, while I'm not busy putting the final touches on a future best-selling novel while my friend's cats writhe around my feet, I am still sitting here in my pajamas at four in the afternoon which by default qualifies me for a very high mental illness number of my very own.

So there. Here's the list:

1) It boggles my mind that I was on the dance team (a.k.a. the pom pon squad) in junior high and high school, but my husband, who has no dance training whatsoever, scored a perfect 30 on Wii Dancing with the Stars last night.

2) Snow, without schools being closed, is just inconvenient and cold.

3) Rotel is my favorite food and, thanks to Brian, I'm craving it today. Yes, it is TOO a food.

4) It's so dry in my house that I hear crackling every time the dog climbs off the couch. Which doesn't happen very often. She's an 80 pound furry couch potato.

5) Reading about the circus is way more interesting than reading about Jeffersonian politics. So I did--all day.

6) It's a lot harder to go back to work after four days off than it is after two.

7) If there are no more snow days, then my next weekday off of work will be February 16th--which is our eighteenth anniversary. I might be able to hold it together until then.

8) I'm thinking of organizing an expedition into my children's playroom to see if they can find evidence of carpet underneath all the toys.

9) I forgot to buy more hair color this weekend so I'm going to have a quarter inch of grayish/brownish roots showing all week. It's worth it to not go back out into the cold right now to buy a box. Especially since I'm still in my PJs.

10) I guess I'll shower and pack my stuff for the trek back to Hendersonville now. I've stalled on blogger long enough.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Random Thoughts While Hungry

I'm really hungry but I don't want to go downstairs and fix some food for lunch because I might miss one of my friends making pithy or deep or insightful comments on Facebook. Or really because someone might beat my score on Scramble if I step away from the computer for a few minutes. Yes, I realize this makes me an addict. But don't worry--I'll pry my big butt out of this chair soon because I'm really, truly, very hungry and I'm starting to have hunger hallucinations. And the dog probably needs to go out soon. Oh yeah, and I should really feed the children at some point.

So, on with the hungry randomness...

Things I can't get done, even on a four-day weekend:
  • paint the bedroom. Because it's too cold to open the windows for ventilation. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
  • Read all the books on my library holds list because, last weekend in a fit of depression and boredness, I put pretty much every book I've missed reading over the last five years on hold. And now they're all coming in at the same time.
  • get all my papers graded. Okay, I really can and should do this one. But I don't want to.
  • read both of the books I'm supposed to read for my history class at Vol State for my grant stipend. Mostly because, given the choice between reading about Jeffersonian era and Jacksonian era politics and hot, steamy romances, I'm going to choose the latter.
  • play with my kids enough. Because they're a swirling vortex of needy "play-with-me-ness" and if I spent every waking moment playing games with them it still wouldn't be enough. For them.
  • walk the dog. Um, hello? When they close schools due to COLDNESS, I'm not going outside. Except to go to dinner with my peeps.
  • spend enough time with my husband. Ever.
Here's what I will do:
  • go to dinner with my girls tonight. YAY! Happy dance!
  • (maybe) go to my writer's group meeting tomorrow (maybe)
  • take Eight to his girlfriend's birthday party tomorrow so we can call her Eight also
  • buy a gift for her before tomorrow (which requires something we rarely do at Casa de Princess: shop the pink aisles at Target)
  • play a few hundred more games of Word Twist and Scramble
  • (maybe) walk on the treadmill (big maybe)
  • post lesson plans online for next week
  • enjoy being in my own house for a few days
What are you doing this weekend?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sundays are Depressing

Imagine living out of a suitcase for six months. Welcome to my life.

Every Sunday I pack up my clothes for the week, my kids' clothes, my lesson plans, all the papers I graded over the weekend, and my dog and drive for forty-five minutes to mom's house to start the week. And don't get me wrong, mom and dad have been wonderful about the whole thing. It can't be easy having your grown daughter, her two rambunctious boys, and her giant smelly lab move in and take over the house, but they've been very accommodating. I'm very grateful that I don't have to make that long commute every morning with both kids. But it still sucks not being in my own house.

This wasn't supposed to be long-term. Like for the whole freakin' school year. The plan was to camp at mom's until our house sold--which we were certain would happen very quickly. Yeah, right. Stupid economy. Stupid recession. Stupid housing market tanking. Now that Dan's company liquidated (stupid bankruptcy) we're not even trying to sell the house. What would be the point? We can't buy a comparable house up there on just my income and we don't have any idea where we'll be living next year. It all depends on Dan's new job--whatever that's going to be.

Meanwhile, I'm filling out magnet school applications for the boys for next year in two different counties. I'm trying to pull my weight at mom's house, but continuing to rely on her WAY too much for laundry and dinner. I'm missing my husband like crazy. I miss my friends in Smyrna and I don't have any friends in Hendersonville because I'm always working. And I'm getting fatter every day because I don't exercise when I'm up there because my treadmill is in Smyrna. Not that I used it this weekend or anything, but still.

So, in summary, I'm whining. Yes I know there are people who have it much worse than I do and I'm lucky my parents are helping and I'm lucky just to have a job. I get all that. But right now I'm having a little pity party and I brought my own whine.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

One more number for you

Number of bedrooms that got painted over Christmas break: 0

Once I looked at the room, really looked at it, I totally chickened out. We have a VERY high sloped ceiling that also needs to be painted, a plant/display tray feature, wallpaper border along the top that has to be removed, and a ton of patching/sanding to do because the people who owned the house before us were terrible painters. I thought about it and thought about it and then I became completely overwhelmed by the enormity of the task and decided to deal with the 1980's mauve color a little longer and go read a book instead. Plus, with my ear pressure and the dizziness it caused, it was probably best to keep me off a ladder until later. Much later. Like maybe spring break?

Instead, we cleaned out all the dressers drawers, got rid of four garbage bags of old clothes, thoroughly cleaned our room, and rearranged the furniture for the first time in ten years. It's really weird to sleep on the "wrong" side of the room. The first night I kept waking up thinking Dan had left the closet light on, only to discover that it was the window and I was on the opposite wall. Every time I walk into the room to put something away I have to redirect my path. Other than the gouges in the carpet from years of heavy furniture sitting on it, the room looks great.

Oh, and I painted our bed. It was metal with peeling white paint and faux brass knobs that were tarnished. I bought some brown hammered metallic spray paint and went to town with it. I don't have any pictures, but trust me--it looks much better.

Tomorrow I have to go back to work. Ugh. I think I'd rather paint.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Year in Review--Math Style

Running the numbers on 2008

Number of books I read: 95

Number of books I wanted to read but didn't get to yet: infinite

Number of houses sold in my family: 0

Number of houses purchased in my family: 0

Number of garage sales held: 1

Number of teaching licenses renewed: 1

Number of teaching job interviews in Sumner County: 2

Number of teaching job offers on the same day: 2

Number of teaching jobs accepted in Sumner County to be near Dan's job: 1

Number of Linens N Things stores liquidated: all 500-something of them

Number of teaching observations completed: all 3, baby! Yeah!

Number of of times my husband has amazed me with his knowledge of calculus: 434 and counting (Get, it? Counting? Ha!)

Number of times my kids said, "I'm bored," over Christmas Break: 8,216,387

Number of tires Dan bought me for Christmas: 4

Number of math books I bought him: I'll have to ask him since he really bought them for himself.

Number of MCRW meetings attended: um, maybe five?

Number of pages written on the new novel: um, maybe five?

Number of pounds I lost last spring: 13

Number of pounds I've gained since moving in with mom: at least that many

Number of months until the end of the school year: 5 (yes, I'm counting)

Number of times I've wondered where we'll be living and working and going to school next year: infinity plus a dozen

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Humility and Doggie Allergies

Happy New Year to all my friends.

I had a little lesson in humility in the waning hours of 2008. My husband completely wiped the floor with me in Dancing with the Stars on our friends' Wii. Who knew that man could dance? Wow. White boy got moves.

When we got home from Grace and Brian's house our poor puppy was swollen up like a Macy's Day Parade float. Her eyes were nearly swollen shut and she had hives all over her body. It was SO sad! I gave her some Benadryl and Prednisone left over from the last time she had hives, so she's doing better today.

We'd given her a down comforter before we left because I felt guilty about banishing her from the couch while we were gone. I was just trying to make her comfortable, not send her into anaphylactic shock! Poor puppy. I didn't know dogs could be allergic to down...did you?

Oh, I forgot to mention that before Christmas I took Lily to the vet to get more Tri-Heart and Frontline and to get her nails clipped. While we were there the vet asked me if I'd ever noticed that Lily's knees are messed up. Long story short, the patella on both of her back legs moves around and it's not supposed to do that. It's going to cost around $800 to fix. This "free" dog of ours is pretty darn expensive. Let's hope Dan gets a job in the next few months so I can buy my puppy some new knees.

Here's to 2009--may the economy no longer suck the big one. And may I beat Dan in the mambo just once.