Health Woes, again

Saw the neurologist today. Apparently I’m having one of those rare drug interactions no one else gets. Symptoms include erratically high and low blood pressure, chest pain, numbness & tingling, dizziness, memory loss, slurred speech, muscle & joint pain, muscle spasms, and ringing in the ears. So that explains just about everything except the weird spiderwebby nerve-feelings in my knees, which might be explained by my use of all the weird new equipment my gym has recently brought in to replace the stuff I used to use. Picked up my new meds, but it’ll be 2 weeks (according to the neurologist, or more, according to the pharmacist) before I’m ready for exciting life events again. So if you’ve seen/continue to see me dropping off the radar for the next few weeks, now you know why.

Transcriptions

In this week’s Fun Things I Do In The Car While Waiting For My Kids: transcribing writing from old notebooks into the computer using Google Voice. You might think autocorrect is the height of frustration, but it pales in comparison to Google Voice’s misunderstanding of my not-quite-Southern-not-quite-MidWestern drawl.

Fun Day!

99ADE325-EB2A-4AF6-8FF9-CE5CC0EF40F2We’re a little loopy after March-a-thon, so we’re singing new verses of “What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor,” and Ree is all “Your PTA ladies are going to be soooooo confused because it isn’t even the “Day of the Irish!” WHAT?! ‘Umm, “4 Leaf Clover Day?” “Pot of Gold Day?” “Leprechaun Day?” “GREEN DAY?!” I laughed so hard that I snorted and choked and fell off my chair. “Mom. Mom. Stop laughing! What is it called?”

Update: I went Painting With a Twist (the twist is you bring your own alcohol) later with the PTA Ladies and they were very amused, but not at all confused with this conversation. We had so much fun!

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Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie

I’m reading this book called “Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie” because my dyslexic kid read it this summer for Pre-AP homework and loved it so much he’s on his 3rd re-reading and man, reading this book as a former band nerd immediately after a summer band banquet for my kid… I have all the feels. Y’all that love band should read it.

Hello again!

I have let this blog flounder for far too long and today is my first day back at it.  We have had a wacky, crazy year. I’m not even sure that I should try to summarize it, but find myself wanting to. Let’s start where I left off… oh my. Okay. That’s a rough place to start.

December 5th, 2018 my mom left the nursing home to go home for my dad’s birthday. She lasted at home until December 7th, when she had to be rushed to the emergency room. I went down on the 9th because it was clear that she was on her way out of this world. She passed away on December 12th. I spent the month in College Station or Wisconsin. We had two funerals for her, one in each of her hometowns. They were lovely, both of them attended by family and friends and filled with beautiful reminiscences of her full, mostly happy life. (Please note that this is short, not because I am being in any way flippant about it, but because I’m crying too much to say more.)

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In January we tried to be humans. We had our annual board game extravaganza on January 1st at my dad’s Tyler house so he wouldn’t have to be alone yet and could be a little distracted from all the sadness. April is with him all the time, but we come and go and try to bring a little joy to them with our visits.

February and March went by kind of in a blur. We visited College Station every couple or three weeks and spent half of spring break with my dad and sister. David and Nick were each gone a week in April and then it was birthdays and Easter all at once. We celebrated in the Tyler house, trying to avoid sadness, but failing. Easter was one of my mom’s favorite times of the year.

In May everything ramped up. The six month anniversary of my mom’s death was literally Mother’s Day. How’s that for irony for you? April and Dad ignored the day completely, while Nick, the kids, and I went to Scarborough Faire for the day (something I’ve been wanting to take the kids to for years. They were, naturally, underwhelmed because we’d waited too long).  All the end-of-year “lasts” were heightened because it was David’s last high school everything. We had a graduation party for him the day before graduation, we all attended graduation night outside at the stadium, and then the very next day he left for his band’s spring trip. And because we’re crazy, we had a family BBQ the following Monday with Nick’s family.

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June was even crazier, though. Nick and David left the first weekend, Nick for work in the Czech Republic and David for Tennessee for working a pre-teen camp. Then I left for China the same day Nick came back from his trip (and no, we didn’t even get to see each other at the airport). Greg spent weekdays at his Nana & Pa’s house while the other two boys came and went. David had college orientation for a few days in there. Nick and all the kids went to the Houston Aquarium for Father’s Day while I spent Father’s Day with my dad in Tianjin. Then kids all spent the last few days I was gone working the pre-teen camp at Camp Piney Woods while Nick was in Tennessee for work. We all were supposed to get home Wednesday, June 26th, but my flight got delayed by several hours and I ended up getting home at 4 in the morning on the 27th. Then on the 29th, Greg and David got in a van with other church kids and left for Teen Camp at Camp Pinecrest in Missouri. (I will most likely blog about my China trip in some upcoming posts.)

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Today is first day I’ve felt human and somewhat put together in a really long time. I’m getting back onto somewhat of a schedule. I’ll be spending weekday mornings at the gym and afternoons writing. Ree has this whole month free, so we’ll be starting parent-led driving lessons for him this week as well, probably in the mornings after I’m back from the gym. 🙂 Greg will be in day camps most of this month and who knows what David will be up to? I sure don’t! He was looking for a job last time I checked, but no one would hire him because he was out of town so much this summer (he has one more camp he’s working at the end of the month).

So there you have it. We are crazy and we know it. 🙂 See you tomorrow.

 

A Big Day

I love how facebook always gives me so many years worths of memories every single day. I really have used it as another journal of sorts over the years. Today it reminded me of two very important things in my life that happened on November 28th over the years:

  1. Nick proposed to me on November 28th, 1997. He hadn’t meant to, really, but he’d asked my dad for my hand in marriage and my dad got super excited and congratulated me on my engagement before Nick had a chance to pop the question. So he went out to his car, got the ring, and proposed on the spot. 🙂7021534869_a8117f26ec_n
  2. We moved to our current town on November 28th, 2002. We lived in a little rental house next to the middle school that all my kids have now gone to (one would have been there right now, but he has strep throat, so he’s home with me today). Here’s a lovely photo of David from one of the first days we lived in the house. Why is he in the dishwasher? Who knows?! Did you know that this blog goes back to before 2002? You probably can’t read all the old posts, but I can and wow are they fun. I just learned that even though we moved on November 28th, our phone line didn’t get installed until December 5th. How did I live without the internet for that long?davdish

Words, words, words

Yesterday I had no words left after a good week of writing. I decided to give myself the day off from writing and to let myself doing some story intake instead. So I watched bits and pieces of a few different things.

 

Today when writing time came, the writing came out like a deluge. I wrote about 1500 words in about 45 minutes. It was fantastic!

 

Then I spent some time perusing other writing projects I’d set aside and adding details into them and bringing their files up to date. During the digging through old files, I found a little chart I used to keep of how many words I wrote each day about 14 or so years ago. I never managed to get above 250 words at once.  I am doing so much better now! 🙂 I can usually do about 1000 words an hour these days.

 

Sometimes it is good to look back at old things. There were a few story ideas that I feel more than willing to tackle now that I didn’t feel like I knew enough about writing to do in the past.  I’m so excited that I’m back to writing and feel good about it again.

15 movies that have stayed with me…

When I first started this list (three or four days ago), I panicked and couldn’t think of any movies I’d seen, ever. Now I’m wishing I could do way more than 15!  So, here are a few lists:

Childhood

  1. Watcher in the Woods – Bette Davis, spooky house & trees, child possession & kidnapping, aliens, what’s not to love?
  2. The Dark Crystal – Jim Henson + Brian Froud = LOVE
  3. Back to the Future – Time travel, great music, Christopher Lloyd as a mad scientist…whee!!!
  4. Labyrinth – see number 2
  5. Time Bandits – weird, dark, British
  6. ET – alien comes and befriends a child (I am seeing a theme here, are you?)
  7. Wuthering Heights (with Laurence Olivier) – I was seriously too young for this, but hey, a ghost, a forbidden & lost & returned love, a child saved off the streets, an undying romance…
  8. Star Wars – seriously, if you don’t know Star Wars, I can’t be your friend anymore.
  9. The Goonies – pirates, bad guys, kids saving the world, underground paths to hidden treasure
  10. 2001: A Space Odyssey – aliens, sentient computers, need I say more?
  11. Oliver – MUSICAL! I have the easy piano book and I played the songs over and over and over
  12. It’s a Wonderful Life – I love and hate this movie every year.
  13. Amadeus – Oh my goodness: fantastic geniuses are real people, too!
  14. Spaceballs – I love me a good parody and this one is GOOD
  15. Drop Dead Fred – silliness. lots and lots.
  16. Bedknobs & Broomsticks – magic, music, and mischief

High School

  1. Untamed Heart – who doesn’t love this movie? (teenaged boys, probably)
  2. The Piano – a mail order bride who speaks only through her piano gets her piano taken away from her by her uncaring new spouse  runs off with the man who offers it back to her
  3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail – probably my most often quoted movie. I don’t even realize I’m doing it.
  4. Rocky Horror Picture Show – I first saw it when I was 14 and there’s no turning back after that.
  5. Benny & Joon – crazy girl falls in love with crazy boy? oh yes.
  6. Fried Green Tomatoes – crazy girl falls in love with other crazy girl and runs a cafe?  I never could decide if I liked the book or the movie better. Both had scenes that the other one didn’t have that I ADORED.
  7. The City of Lost Children – French, weird, dark. Loved it!
  8. A League of Their Own – I have been known to watch this more than once back-to-back. I don’t even like sports, but I love this movie.
  9. Lady Jane – I love a movie that can make me interested in real, actual history. This one was beautiful.
  10. Total Recall – Once I found out that there were BOOKS and STORIES like this, I went on a three month Philip K. Dick reading binge. It was awesome! I can’t believe they’re remaking it.
  11. The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen – Weird, Dark, British. Check!
  12. Dead Poets Society – I remember that we could get Mrs. Sanders off topic for an entire day in school if we mentioned this movie. It was that awesome and controversial. I just loved the idea of young men running around spouting poetry. I wanted to find me some of those.  Where were they? (Hiding from me!)
  13. Pretty Woman – Ah, who can forget the story of the prostitute in love? I have no idea what our parents were thinking letting us watch this movie, but we loved it so much!
  14. Four Weddings and A Funeral – I still love this movie. I can’t help it. British, silly, love, yup!
  15. When Harry Met Sally – I love movies that feature finding each other over and over again throughout the years. I don’t know why. I just do. This is my favorite of this kind.

College/Post College

  1. Sliding Doors – Alternate futures played out back and forth across timelines, possibly my favorite movie of all time
  2. The English Patient – again with two timelines being told at the same time, undying romance, war that is mostly off-screen
  3. Clerks – this one just says “college” to me
  4. Rebecca – Nick brought this to my attention and I love, love, love the creepiness and story.
  5. Pride and Prejudice, the six hour version – Colin Firth. Enough said.
  6. Bladerunner – I saw this when I was a child and loved it, but we watched it and read it and talked about it enough in college that that’s where my brain puts it when I’m thinking of movies.
  7. The Nightmare Before Christmas – Was this college? Or high school? No idea. Just a favorite. I sing the songs in my head a lot.
  8. You’ve Got Mail – our first internet/love movie. Whee! Love everything about it.
  9. The Long Kiss Goodnight – Love how she transforms from this perfect vision of wife/mother to this scary ninja spy lady. Love Samuel L. Jackson, too. I will watch it any time it is on.
  10. Men in Black – He’s wearing Edgar like a suit!! Ok, so that was really gross, but the rest of the movie: silliness, aliens! EEE!
  11. Dark City – Dark & weird. Really weird and really dark. Sometimes I have nightmares. I won’t say I love it. I just can’t stop thinking about it.
  12. French Kiss – French. French. French.
  13. A Room With a View – I want to crawl inside this movie and live there.
  14. The Talented Mr. Ripley – Creepy…and awesome…and creepy…and I just think about it and shiver.
  15. High Fidelity – I don’t know why I love it, but I do. I am not even a big fan of the music.

Post-Children

  1. Chocolat – French…chocolate…nostalgia for the past…mmm
  2. A.I. – Robots, kids, the future, the sadness of it all.
  3. Amelie – French (for real!), weirdness of the happiest kind
  4. Gosford Park – British, nostalgia for the past when people who had people that did things so they didn’t have to?, manners
  5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – British, I cried when it started, I don’t know why I was so excited
  6. Love, Actually – British, lots of stories to follow, LOVE
  7. Possession – British, what-if storyline, two stories to follow
  8. Wall-E – future, robots, LOVE
  9. Kate and Leopold – time travel! LOVE…the whole thing….
  10. The Lake House – time travel! LOVE…the house, the quietness, the waiting….it was just exquisite
  11. I, Robot – Robots, humans, what’s the difference?
  12. Sense and Sensibility – British, LOVE, manners, and Alan Rickman. Lots of Alan Rickman.
  13. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – weirdness, lots and lots of weirdness
  14. Til There Was You – LOVE, what-if storyline, awkward, awkward love stories
  15. My Best Friends Wedding – LOVE, silliness, lots of silliness.

After I got started, I couldn’t stop, obviously. I’m still thinking of movies that ought to be on each of those lists. Hmm…Netflix is calling my name….

Life goes on…

You know what? I thought I’d post more once I got out of my hectic-working-two-part-time-jobs-and-pta-president lifestyle. It turns out that I just don’t. I want to, and I mean to, but then things just go on and it doesn’t get done because it’s not on my calendar of things to do.

So what have I been doing? Here, let me show you:

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First I made a weekly schedule of all our extracurricular activities, then added in the housework and stuff I need to do at home, then I put it into Excel and made a handy-dandy worksheet for the fridge and my family binder.

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Then I made a template for our meals and snacks. Nick and I still work on the dinner menu together in a two week format for the fridge, but having this here one week at a time gives me a better way to figure out what snacks and lunches go best with the dinner plan we’ve already come up with.

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Finally, after looking at a bajillion planners online, I realized that I wasn’t going to 100% love any of them and I’d better just make my own. So here we have it. I loved the idea of a TOP 3 for my week and I loved breaking down what I needed to do not by day, but by for what/who. My text/call/email/snail mail list is awesome, too, because I can do those things whenever I have time for them.

If you zoomed in on those pictures, you saw that I have time to clean, time to work out, time to eat… some of the schedule still needs tweaking. I forgot to put important things like laundry and Bible study time in there. But I also have time set aside for “Special Projects” which is super fun. So far “special projects” has really meant “in-depth house cleaning and reorganization.”

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If you follow me on facebook, you’ve seen this one. I cleared off my grandmother’s desk and rearranged my art (adding some new pieces and repainting frames) and added back my desk tray. I even found my label maker and labels! 🙂

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Ben & Greg’s room got the next treatment. We took down the bunk beds that were causing musical bed nights (the kids take turns sleeping with the puppy and she couldn’t be on the top bunk). Ben has a light he can reach now and he can look out the window at the pink crepe myrtle trees outside while he’s reading.

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We’re reusing the ladder as a magazine rack (though it’s moved into a different place since this was taken) for Boy Magazines (Lego, Cobblestone, Kind News, Boy Scouts, etc), and Greg has room for his side table and music stand & guitars in there as well.

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During the desk cleanout, there was also a cleanout of the Giant Filing Bag of DOOM (a queen sized-comforter bag filled with old papers and file folders). I spent a solid day and a half sorting through papers, shredding, recycling, labeling folders, and filing. I have four of these bins now living in my closet on shelves.

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Change of seasons: I do this every year, even when the house wasn’t clean. I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem like school is back until I’ve put up my fall decorations. There’s more than this, of course, as we’ve got a few things in nearly every room of the house. This is just my favorite view. 🙂

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I hesitated to post this. I’ve been feeling private lately, which may be why it took me so long to blog at all. Anyway, this is my bedroom. You would not even believe how awful it had gotten in there. My room used to be the dumping ground for everything any time anyone came over. NO MORE.

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Yes, I actually TOOK OUT a bookshelf from our bedroom. I didn’t get rid of the books. I just sorted them out into two categories: 1) appropriate for boys in the near future and 2) things the boys will probably never want to read or if they do, they have to wait til the far off future. Anyways, this made the hugest difference in my room. I really cannot explain how big a difference; it has to be seen in person. Anyway, the room looks twice as big now.

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Organized liquor cabinet. Yes, this is all some sort of scotch or whisk(e)y. It is nearly all earmarked for some special occasion or other (each of the boys turning 21, anniversaries, special whisk(ey) tastings). I made Nick move it all out of the kitchen so I could put kitchen items in the cabinet there. *gasp* I KNOW, right? Anyway, it looks much better here.

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Bins for Morning Snacks (we got notes this year from all three kids teachers that lunch is much later than usual and to PLEASE send healthy morning snacks) and Outdoor Toys that Live Indoors. A weird combination, I know. This is a temporary location at best. What I’d really like is a part of the kitchen cabinet set up as Lunch Making Central and a cabinet outside in the back for Things That Are Outdoor Related, but Shouldn’t Get Wet. But I have neither of those things at the moment, so we have bins sitting here. At least all the boxes of snack food in front of this shelving unit have a home now (scroll down for the next picture).

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This used to be the liquor cabinet. Now it stores the aforementioned Sam’s Club sized-boxes of extra snack items (yes, Ramen is an after-school snack for starving middle school boys), a few Need to Be Used Soon alcoholic beverages (that I don’t actually recognize, so maybe they’re just THAT old), oddly sized boxes of baking gear, and of course, the special-from-London chocolate I don’t want the kids to get their hands on (it really does taste better than the ones you buy here.)

What’s next on my list?

  • Moving the shelves from Ben’s closet to the front hallway closet and the bins from that closet to his closet.
  • Sorting through the last two boxes left in my closet.
  • Tidying the hallway bathroom closet.
  • Rearranging storage boxes in David’s room’s closet so stuff he needs is below and stuff he doesn’t is above.
  • Getting a second dresser for the younger kids clothing.
  • Tidying up the last bits of the garage (things get dumped there now that they’re not being dumped in our room).

Those are all small projects compared to the ones I’ve already tackled, so I’m going to do those on evenings and weekends as the year moves on.

So what’s really up next? Finishing the novel I started last year. I’m nearly there, I just have about a dozen scenes to finish and some segues to throw in between things I’ve been rearranging this week. When I need beta readers, I will tell you and if you’re interested, I’ll send it your way. 🙂

And now I’m off to do laundry. Because it’s Thursday, and regardless of the wrongness of the above (now corrected) chart, that means it’s Laundry Day.