Monday, January 26, 2009

I am eating chocolate chips straight outta the bag and drinking a glass of wine. Go ahead, ask me how conferences with Flash's gifted teacher went.

Dare ya.






chicken.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Now That It's Over


For all the nagging, cajoling, bribing, threatening, begging and pounding I had to do, I decided to restore my Mom of the Year status by allowing this:
Flash was overjoyed at the idea!
It was even more cathartic than he had imagined.

His best friend, a fellow test-taker today, joined in the fun.


Ahhh, smoldering SAT. That's the way we like it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What I Learned IM'ing With My Family

My dad recently joined the rest of the instant messaging world. Along with my niece. My brother and I were already old hats at such communication. My sister just discovered Facebook and with that her own internal chat. So tonight, as I tried to play a few hands of poker (no, not for money), I had an IM from my dad. So I responded. My brother, not 10 feet from my dad, then sends me a message. My sister came on Facebook (where I was trying to play poker) and started sending me messages. Then Birdy got online and well, I started losing track of things quickly. When Flash jumped into the mix, I nearly gave up entirely.

What I learned however, is the following:

1. My niece cannot spell.
2. My sister is still a pot calling other kettles black.
3. Despite their names appearing on each line they type in an IM window, Birdy still cannot spell either my brother's name or Flash's name correctly.
4. That the world better look out because my dad learned about Yahoo emoticons.
5. That Flash felt left out and jumped into the mix, whether as further avoidance of studying or just for the sheer challenge of juggling 5 IM windows, I'll never know.
6. That I can manage IM windows, blog about the experience and still win $2K in fake poker money at the same time.
7. That it is possible for a niece and nephew to drive my brother crazy from 800 miles away.
8. That while I can manage all of that, I still have to count on my fingers how many cards I have in a Hold 'Em game towards a straight.
9. Flash's status will read "SAT'ing" when he's clearly online IM'ing.
10. After all of that, my dad will go back and use the phone to call my sister. Two steps forward, one step back.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History

It is fascinating to me to watch history in the making in the presence of small children. I spent time in George's second grade classroom this afternoon watching the inauguration of Obama.

While I was in the room, one of his classmates, an African-American child, pointed at the television and said to me, "I thought our new President was brown." I confirmed that our new President was indeed "brown" and said the man on the television was our new Vice President and that he was in fact, white. I loved that comment. I loved that to this room full of kids, there was absolutely nothing significant at all about this man's color. It was just a fact, without any historical significance at all to their young lives.

When it was time for Obama to take the oath of office, I nudged this same student and said, "That is our new President, Barack Obama."

"Oh, see? He is brown!" the student exclaimed. "What is he doing?"

I explained that he was being sworn in to office. That he had his left hand on the Bible and his right hand was raised and the other person was a judge and he was swearing him in.

"The new President is going to swear? On television?!"

Of course I explained, but his precious innocence was priceless.

It matters not one bit to me whom you voted for. The history made today did not come easily, quickly or without a price. And looking at a room full of children, it was really something to wonder about what these changes will bring to their future. And what changes these children will bring to our future.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What He Wanted Twenty Years Ago

Yesterday I was IM'ing with my brother. As it turns out, he was also IM'ing with Flash who was on the couch across the room from me. G decided to simplify and invite us both into a chat conference. Sounded like a plan.

My dad, sitting next to my brother on a couch in TN wanted in on the action. My brother walked my dad through downloading Messenger and then adding Flash and I to his buddy list. My dad commented to G that this was a lot like Skype only without the picture. G turned on his webcam and said, "We can remedy that!"

By the time all was said and done we were all hooked up to cams and mics and chat and whatnot, we realized that everyone could pretty much see and hear each other except me. My computer doesn't have a webcam or a built-in mic.

My dad thought for a minute that I wasn't able to see their webcams without one of my own. I typed into the chat window, "I can see you. I can even hear you. You just can't hear me."

I watched on the webcam as my dad exclaimed, "Where was this technology twenty years ago when I could've talked and you could only have listened?!"

Save by technology. Or lack thereof.

In a Dave Ramsey House Nontheless

George was out with his parents shopping this weekend and found a game he wanted to buy for his new DS. He realized he had forgotten his wallet with his Christmas money in it at home so he asked his mom if she would lend him the money so he could buy it.

"Do you have enough at home to pay me back?" she asked.

"Yep!"

My sister agreed to buy the game for George contingent upon him repaying her later.

When they arrived home, George ran up to his room to get his money. When he returned he held out a gift card he had received from G for Christmas and asked, "Mom? Do you take Visa?"

Friday, January 16, 2009

Not Since October 16th

I had given up. A long time ago in fact. As of mid-October, I had quit the fight and given up. My two fantasy football teams were barely getting by. I didn't have TV so I couldn't even watch the games. I had no idea who was injured, who was off the roster, who was having a great week or who to bench. So I quit. You can't just leave a league, though, so I just left my roster alone and stopped checking in.

I had some offers for trades that I considered. I mean, if I wasn't playing the guys, shouldn't someone else get the points? But I decided that was unfair. If I off-loaded any good players, then wasn't that creating an unbalanced system? So I just left it alone.

I only kept up on the progress of one of the two teams because friends play on that league and they would send me the occasional email saying "good luck this week!" or "Can't believe you lost that one!" In general, I got the impression that my team was continuing to tank and that was all fine by me.

It wasn't until today, however, when I received the final email from the commissioner of the other league that I found out how I fared in the second league. When I logged in to the site, I barely remembered my log in or password. Humoring Flash, I looked up my last team transaction and found the last time I had moved any of my players around was October 16th. And that's when I saw the Commish's last posting. Congratulating ME as the Champion of 2008-2009 Fantasy Football. I double checked to make sure I had read it correctly. And then I started laughing so hard I had tears.

Me. I won. The league. Without moving, trading, rearranging or dropping any of my players for the past THREE months. I won.

It's just further proof that you really don't need any skill to win these things.

3 leagues in two years. Two Championships. I expect ESPN to be calling any day now.

Robbed

Earlier in the week I stopped by my local bank to make an appointment with the mortgage guy. I'm not ready to buy a house yet, but I wanted to ask a few questions so I'd be ready when the time came.

We set up an appointment at the branch in the town where I work for the following afternoon. The weather was predicted to be bad and there was a possibility I wouldn't even be at work the next day so the man let me know that if the weather was bad and I didn't have to work, I could meet him in the morning at my local branch instead.

We didn't end up getting the blizzard they predicted and so I met with the man at the branch after school the next day. As he shook my hand and welcomed me into his office he said, "It's a good thing you didn't end up meeting me at your branch this morning. We were robbed."

"What?!" I exclaimed. I couldn't believe I had missed out on the opportunity to witness a bank robbery.

He went on to tell me all about it. How he had been helping a client at his desk and had come around to their side of the table to show them something and so he actually didn't see anything happen at all. He only heard it when someone ran and locked the door and yelled. It was then that he realized what had just happened. And so he had calmly told the people he was working with that they would need to make themselves comfortable because the bank had apparently just been robbed and no one would be allowed to leave until the police arrived to question everyone. The teller was shook up but he said, "after some pizza she was fine and went back to work." It was her second time being held up, it would seem. The first time had been at gun point.

I interjected that if my life ever involved a gun to my head I'd probably change career paths.

In any case, while my meeting with the gentleman went well, I was saddened to think that I missed out on my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be present during a bank robbery. Who knew you got pizza afterwards?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Burdened

The text message was sweet, unexpectedly complimentary. It's not that it's unlike him, it's just not a commonplace text from him on a Sunday afternoon.

I returned the compliment and asked if all was okay.

He tried to push whatever burden he was holding under the rug and assure me he was fine. But I knew better. We may not have been together for awhile but we had loved each other all those years ago.

I called. He cried. He unloaded his burden and told me his sorrows. A battle. A decision. Choices and options he did not know how to face or choose. I had been there. All those years ago. Faced with a relationship that wasn't as God intended. Now he is faced with a problem he doesn't know how to handle within his relationship. Does he stay and love someone through it? Does he leave and risk falling apart? I understood. I knew. I had been there.

But his present choice brings up past pain. Of not being enough then and not feeling good enough now. The weight is heavier when pain is added to pain.

I reassured, as I always do with him. He is good. He is loving. He is caring and thoughtful and generous. I don't agree with his life, but that doesn't change who he is at heart.

And so we mended in some ways. We embraced over the phone wires and I let him know he had the strength through God to know what to do. To handle or to leave. To stay or to change.

He's not one to change. He's not one to move unless pushed. He's one to stay and fix if he can.

And I expect that's what he'll try to do at least as long as the other person lets him.

But I know where he's coming from. And I don't wish that on anyone. Even on the one who forced my choice all those years ago.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Week of Boyfriends

This week, I learned that my former high school boyfriend is a grandfather (in a slightly roundabout way) at 38.

I learned that my last boyfriend from PA is now married with a child.

And I learned that if you give a man enough time to show his true colors and he will do just that.

For those of you married folks who are perhaps thinking that the idea of going out to dinner, having an intruguing conversation that doesn't revolve around your kids or the grocery list sounds like a great perk to being single, let me just suggest that you think again. You might indeed get something good to eat, I'll grant you that. But you will have to deal with your date drinking at least three beers (he was already drinking when you arrived, so it's hard to know the total) and smoking two cigarettes while you eat. You will have to cope with a man dropping the "f" word amongst others making you wonder what he says when he's around people he's not trying to impress (or wonder if he is just not trying to impress you?) When you tell a funny antecdote about the bath you took earlier, he will say, and I quote "What is it with you girls and baths? Is that where you go to touch yourselves? Is it? It is, isn't it?" and delight himself thinking the look of disgust and shock on your face is some indication that he's actually stumbled upon some secret female truth.

On the bright side, it cost me less than $25 to find out this date was not a match for me and I had a delicous meal included in that bundled price, too. The continued efforts of the ex-boyfriend to try to prove in some manner that he is in fact a great catch for me have only worked against him, proving instead my point that we were not a good match from the start (and perhaps a much worse match than I even realized at that time.) I have realized why I never regretted breaking things off with my high school boyfriend and even though it was terribly frustrating at the time that my last boyfriend couldn't commit, I am glad to hear how happy he is and how blessed his life has become.

I didn't go looking for this last date, it sort of found me all on its own. As I type this, my sister is trying to figure out a way to glean critical relationship status off a man she knows and thinks is a great catch for me. I'll admit, my enthusiasm at the prospect is greatly lacking. Not because he's not a great guy (I wouldn't even begin to know) but because this process is so exhausting. Maybe all of this is God's way of reminding me how amazing my life is without anyone having to add to it. I don't know for certain. All I do know is this morning, I am quite happy to be single.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Currently

I am IM'ing with my brother.

Checking a message on Facebook from my sister.

Reading an email from a friend.

Getting a text from a friend.

Talking to my dad on the phone.

While Flash stands next to me asking if I've seen his flash drive.



I CAN'T KEEP UP!!!!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Right Answer

I had a few minutes today with little to do so I went across the hall to watch one of my favorite teachers teach her math lesson. I love these little moments. They allow me to sit and soak in the skills of veteran teachers and to hopefully glean some bits of wisdom and method I might use eventually in my own classroom.

Today, she was teaching a lesson on subtracting two digit numbers. Specifically, she was teaching them how to regroup, or "borrow" as we learned it. She put a problem on the board: (it won't let me line the numbers up correctly, but you get the idea)

` 52
- 47
_____

And was talking the class through the problem using metaphors and cues to help them visualize the problem. She had already walked them through a few problems, showing them how to borrow from the tens column if the ones number wasn't large enough to subtract from. Now she was giving the class an opportunity to show her they had absorbed her lesson by telling it back to her.

"If I have 2 gum drops. Can I give Robby 7 of them?"

"No!" came the mostly unanimous answer from her class of second graders.

"You're right. I can't take away 7 from 2. I'm going to need to borrow," she said, pointing to the problem on the board. "Now, who can tell me, where am I going to borrow from? Sam?"

Sam looked up at his teacher confidently and replied, "Definitely from someone you know!"

Monday, January 05, 2009

Facebook

Where you realize Mr. Can't Commit really can. Just not to you, apparently.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Littles


"...and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3-6
This morning this verse sang to my heart as I stood at the nursery window taking in my arms the children reluctant to leave their parents. Flash and I were put in charge of only a small handful of little ones, all under the age of 3, but it was one in particular that drove this verse home for me once again.
Clinging to her mom, she was hesitant to come to me at all. Her mom handed her over and walked away saying, "She'll be just fine in a moment or two, she always is" to which I had no doubt.
We walked into the play room and I sat down on the floor with her while Flash brought over a toy for us to play with. Eventually, she got up and walked away and played with several other toys before she settled on a book. I wasn't even paying attention when I realized she was trying to get back on my lap again.
Once in my arms, she cuddled up, put her thumb in her mouth and settled in as if she was in the most peaceful place on Earth.
We are all hesitant to leave behind the cares of this world, to forgo our own plans and desires for that of our Lord. It is scary to relinquish that control, to say, "Here I am, Lord, do as you please with my life," just as this little one was scared to let go of her own mother. But it is with that same child-like trust that we must welcome God into our lives. With a fearlessness that says "I know you will do me no harm" and a comfort that says, "I can find peace right here in your arms."
Have I come to God like this child? Have I, without question or hesitation given Him control of my life today? I know that in His care tremendous blessings will come into my life. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Oh what we might learn from the little children.

Unrecognized

I have been attending the church TB introduced us to since August. Other than a couple Sundays when we visited other churches, and a couple when I was travelling to take or fetch Flash from OH, I have been there every Sunday.

Last week, in adult Sunday School class, I was one of the first to arrive and I sat and talked with D for awhile about his new job and their relocation efforts. Another regular attender arrived, with her baby in her arms and stopped in the middle of the room. She looked at me and then looked at D and promptly said, "D? Will you mind holding the baby for minute?" D, despite being a father, had that puzzled look on his face that said, "Me? You want ME to hold your baby?" Always eager for a little baby time, I jumped in and offered to hold her.

The woman turned to me and declared, "But I don't know you."

And then she held the baby out to D, who took her and sat for the few minutes the woman was gone entertaining the baby on his lap. He looked at me once with an apologetic look, but I waved it off like it was no big deal. I know mom's can be particular about who holds their baby and all even if I was sitting in a Sunday School classroom.

A few more people had joined the class by the time the woman returned, only a few short minutes later. She thanked D for holding her and sat down across the room where she usually sits. It was then that she addressed me. "I'm J," she said.

I've known this since one of the first days I attended that church. I had been introduced to her then and had spoken with her briefly. I had even been present during a couple conversations TB had had with this woman. And, if that had not been enough, I have been in this particular class for most of the past few months. so I said, "I know" in the most polite way I could under these circumstances. And then I added, "I'm Amy" with a knowing nudge to try to suggest everyone else in the room already knows that I wasn't sure why she didn't.

To which she replied, "Give me a couple of weeks and I'll know you much better!"

I had to stifle a chuckle as I noticed D's wife looking at J with a puzzled look. It's not even that I sit in class silently pressed up against a wall unnoticeable. I participate. I ask questions. I talk wtih people around me. I wanted to somehow explain, but I just left it alone and we moved on. I wasn't going to make a fuss over it.

But this morning I did get a little follow-up chuckle when J approached the nursery window to hand over one of her small children. Imagine her surprise when she realized I was the one in charge of the nursery today!

I promise you, I didn't say a word. The look on her face said it all.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

According to Flash

Jupiter says, "Hello."

Just the Highlights

"Friday's" arrival.

The Scream Heard 'Round The World
(aka When Flash Got His Own Laptop!)

Homemade gifts by George

A niece so like me it's crazy funny (most of the time!)


Someone to cuddle with

A family of fun
(Note the live videotaping while going down the toboggan,
I won't mention whose idea that was, but it's a good one, no?)


Snow on your nose.

A tradition enjoyed for one more year.

Remembering the reason for the season
Happy Birthday, Jesus!

A new nativity set, given with special thoughtfulness and cooperation.
And a creche made from hand just for me.
Getting along.

Skating together.

Having someone to lean on.

The courage to go it alone.

Time together (not spent on the SAT)
(And did you notice he put his arm around his mother? Canya believe it?)


Cat naps.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

It May Be A New Year But Some Things Haven't Changed

I would blog, really, except that someone didn't do any studying since break started and now with four days left we have an essay, a short story, an SAT to cram for (three weeks and counting) and a few thank you notes that are important to his mother that he get out soon.

My sugar-plum dreams of ice skating and playing our new games and watching movies together have gone right out the proverbial window.

Instead, it looks like my last few vacation days will be filled with Geometry, Algebra and Desperately Trying Not to Strangle a Twelve Year Old.

Wish me luck.