Friday, February 29, 2008

Stray Cat

We have a stray cat living in our bushes who wants to be adopted by us. How do I know it wants to be adopted? Well, it sits outside our door just meowing away for long stretches of time. Also, it has tried to get into our house a couple of times. Whenever we are outside, the cat will rub its body all over the kids' and my legs and will roll on its back so someone will pet it. I haven't let the kids pet it, seeing as how it is a stray and I have no idea where it has been, but I do feel sorry for the thing.

Part of me would really like to adopt it. It is clearly quite friendly and loves kids, but I don't think Bil would ever go for it. He is totally hung up on the fact that when pregnant, a woman should not change the cat litter without gloves. To him, that means that cats are disease-ridden and should not be allowed to live in the house with us. Lately, he has relented a bit and said we could maybe get a cat when the kids get a bit older. Maybe I should do some Internet research on cat diseases rather than the Wiggles.

Seeing the kids get excited whenever the cat appears is just delightful. They love cats and I think would be very excited to adopt this one. My kids are actually quite used to cats as my mom has one, and both the kids are very gentle with Daisy.

There is another part of me, however, that really has no interest in taking on another creature's care. Do I really want to fork over money for shots and possible surgeries (neutering, etc)? But the thing is at this very moment crying on my doorstep. I can hear it and it is heartbreaking. Why has it chosen this home? Could it be that word has spread not just through the human world, but to the animal one as well, that I am a total pushover?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

i am definitely bored!

Well, I am still sick. Sicker, in fact, than I was when I last posted. At least that is how I feel. What's more, Charlotte is definitely sicker than two days ago. This morning she sat in my lap forever, just lying there looking miserable. We are both still in our pjs and have no plans of changing today at all. Poor Danny thinks it is a holiday and was determined to stay home with us sickies. Bil finally basically carried him kicking and screaming to the car. He kept saying he didn't feel good, but when he forgot he was supposed to be sick, he would start teasing Charlotte or would run around the family room. That cinched it; he was going to school.

Anyway, I am getting really bored. I feel horrible, like I have swallowed Drano or something and I have very little energy to get much done (probably because whenever I manage to doze off at night, I do something quite inadvisable: I swallow and the searing pain understandably wakes me up). Plus, I am not about to start vacuuming (no matter how badly my house may need it) when I am so crummy-feeling. So, instead I sat and watched my first-ever "Wiggles" video with Charlotte. It was hard to stop watching: their choreography is so animated as are their facial expressions and singing. They are perfect for little kids and a bit fascinating to watch, as in I-have-to-stop-and-see-the-car-wreck sort of fascinating. It is almost refreshing seeing grown men so unself-conscious. They are not being ironic at all; they actually seem to enjoy what they are doing.
Then, because truly I am sick and bored, I went online to find out how the Wiggles started. Next I needed to know why Greg, the yellow Wiggle, left the show (yes, I am on a first-name basis with them all). I can't believe I just Googled Greg from the Wiggles.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

sick days and the gender divide

I think I am going to file a complaint with the Labor Union. I woke up yesterday with a searing sore throat, swollen lymph glands and achy body, exactly the same symptoms that my loving husband had for three weeks. During those three weeks, he missed about 4 days of work, that was how miserable he was. He spent much of that time napping in various parts of the house: living room couch, family room couch, bed, bathtub. The rest of the time, he mostly sat on the couch groaning from the discomfort, while I futilely tried to keep the kids away from him.

Now the sweetheart has apparently infected yours truly. Not only am I not getting a sick day today, but I also get the sweet privilege of attending to my two sick children, who were also apparently infected. Danny seemed really lethargic and sick this morning, so I kept him home from school, but he is now feeling better, as his energy is returned in full force. So, he is spending much of his time entertaining himself by tormenting his poor sick sister.

Ahh, the joys of motherhood. I would so love to just veg on the couch with all 6 hours of the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice (this used to be my treatment of choice when I was sick before I had kids and actually did get sick days) and a vanilla shake to cool my aching throat. Instead, I am refereeing two crabby kids and trying to muster the energy to keep them entertained without the help of an electronic device. All the while, I am envying my husband who is fully recovered and back at work where he gets an hour off for lunch and where I doubt he is ever called upon to shout at a co-worker, "Hey, quit smothering your sister in your blanket!!! Be nice!"

Well, I better go take my next dosage of decongestant and see what the kids are up to. It is ominously quiet in the family room, which never bodes well.

Monday, February 25, 2008

back to school

It looks like I will soon be pursuing my dream career: professional student. Truly, if there were a way to make being a student lucrative (or at least free) I would so be all over it! I love school, which is what makes my news so exciting, at least to me. I am going to be going back to school to get my teaching certificate. I have my Master's in Education and I taught high school for 3 years, but I never did get my certification, which in hindsight, I realize was a mistake. The thing is, when I was in grad school, I was convinced I only wanted to teach adults. Up until that point I had only ever taught adult ESL classes, and I loved it. I had no desire to teach teenagers. And you don't need a certificate typically to teach adults.
It was only later when I had such difficulty finding a full-time college teaching position, that I reconsidered. I gave teaching teenagers a chance and ended up loving it even more than teaching adults! It was so surprising, especially in light of where I taught. Austin Career Education Center is an alternative school in one of the worst neighborhoods in inner-city Chicago. I taught people who had dropped out or were kicked out of high school. That first semester was tough and the students and teachers alike were laying bets on how long I would last. But not only did I not quit, I ended up loving that job. I still miss it. (A gratifying side note: when I quit my job to move with my husband's new job, my replacement lasted one day before resigning!)
Anyway, so now I have decided that I need to bite the bullet and get my certification. I only need about 2-3 undergrad classes (including chemistry) and a couple of graduate-level education classes. The only requirement I need to fill that might be tricky is student teaching. With student teaching, you basically pay tuition to work as a teacher for a semester. This was one reason I never got my certification before: I couldn't afford to go an entire semester not making any money. I am not sure what I will do with the kids during my student teaching, but since I don't plan to take more than one or two classes a semester, I have time--I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
I am not so much doing this in order to immediately get a teaching job. To me, it is more of an insurance policy. With the whole No Child Left Behind legislation, I don't think anyone would hire me without my certification. So, if I ever really needed a job, I could be faced with some problems.
It is so exciting to me the prospect of being back in school, even if it means taking a chemistry class!

Friday, February 22, 2008

sweet slumber

I love sleep. I have always loved to sleep. When I was a teenager, I regularly slept late into the afternoons on the weekends (of course, that was always after having stayed out into the early hours of the morning, but that is besides the point). As I got older, sleeping in meant sleeping until 9 or 10, and once I had kids, it became sleeping until 7 or 8.

I think, ironically, it was sleep-deprivation that actually made me appreciate slumber even more. And there is nothing more likely to cause sleep deprivation than having kids. In my case, I was really spoiled with Danny. He has always slept like a champion. I guess any kid who lives as exuberantly and energetically as he does needs his sleep!

Char, on the other hand, has often caused me to wish for a boarding school for babies and toddlers. Bil says she is too young to send away to school, but I think he is beginning to consider the option the more he has to get up with her. She gets up in the middle of the night, on average, once or twice a week. We might go a week or 2 with no night wakings and be lulled into a false sense that she has finally outgrown her sleep problems. And that is when she strikes, and we go a full week waking up with her at 1 or 3 or 4 am (and sometimes all three, just for fun). One morning, she woke at 4 am and would not go back to sleep. In desperation, Bil put a video on and laid on the couch hoping to catch some zzzz's. Unfortunately, Charlotte had better ideas; she repeatedly poked Bil in the face and told him to watch the video with her.

Sadly, this week happens to be one in which Charlotte has been waking up. We aren't sure what to do about it, and sometimes she goes right back to sleep after we give her water, but by then the damage has been done. I have a really difficult time getting back to sleep. Also, this night waking does nothing for my sweet daughter's disposition, because more often than not, she is up for at least an hour, before she finally collapses in exhaustion (which is about 45 minutes after we have collapsed). Thank goodness she still takes a nap. Most of the time.

Today happens to be a snow day and Danny has taken advantage of it, true to the genes he has inherited from his mother (he is just as prickly and irritated in the morning as I usually am, and just as hard to rouse from sleep). He finally woke up at 9:30, which is really late for Danny, but he must have really needed the sleep--he got about 14 hours! The great thing about this is that he woke up with a great big smile on his face. Amazing, the power of sleep: how refreshed and happy it can make you if you get enough, and how murderously frustrated it can make you (me!) if you don't.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

couldn't have said it better myself!

Sunday after lunch, Bil was passing out Hershey's kisses to the kids. (I cannot believe I have already bought and consumed our first bag of Easter candy of the year. It seems way too early for that. Does anyone else out there have a really difficult time resisting Easter candy? I don't know what it is, but wrap some candy in pastel foil or form it into the shape of an egg, and all of a sudden, I cannot pass up buying it. I thought I was the only one with this strange compulsion until I visited my twin brother this weekend and discovered that he actually made a special trip to Target for Reese's peanut butter eggs. It turns out, he loves the things. He likes peanut butter cups fine, but show him a peanut butter EGG and he is smitten. Hmmmm.....I guess we share a bit more than just a couple genes.... But I digress).

Charlotte did her customary "treat dance" where she dances around excitedly right before receiving a treat, and then said, reverently, while looking at the kiss, "It's BEAUTIFUL!" And I thought to myself, "My sentiments exactly!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The P-List, Part 2

I'm back again with a few more new and favorite discoveries of mine. Thought you might be interested.

"Amazing Grace"

This movie was incredible. I rented it with very little idea of what it was about. I was incredbily moved by the story of William Wilberforce who worked tirelessly for decades to abolish slavery in Great Britain. For days, I have been thinking about this movie and the people it portrayed who gave up so much for what they believed in, and I wondered if I would do the same. It was sobering to think of how much courage it must have taken to do battle with all the slaveholders in England. Truly an ispirational movie. I will never listen to the hymn "Amazing Grace" the same again.

Lindt Lindor Chocolate Truffles

Bil decided to give me my Valentine's present early and I have been enjoying these truffles wholheartedly. They come in 5 flavors, including toffee, peanut butter, and white chocolate and are delectable. I highly recommend them if you are in the mood for some sinfully rich chocolate.

"Joni Mitchell SongBook: Rivers" by Herbie Hancock

This is another V-Day gift from Bil and it is an awesome cd. Very soulful jazz. Nora Jones and Leonard Cohen are among some of the artists featured on this cd. I have only listened to it once, but I really enjoyed it. Even Danny loved it (and he normally makes me turn off cds that he doesn't choose); at one point he was sang along to the song, making up the words as he went.

Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter from Peanut Butter and Co.

It was a great day for me when I discovered this delicious chocolate peanut butter. It is just the right combination of sweet and salty, not cloying like a Reese's peanut butter cup. I have become fairly addicted to this peanut butter and eat it almost every morning on my whole wheat waffles. It actually has 20 fewer calories than regular peanut butter, so even more reason to eat it.

"An Anthropologist on Mars" by Oliver Sacks

Rebecca lent me her copy of this book while I was in Texas and I love it. Oliver Sacks is a neurologist and in the book discusses case studies of brain disorders and what he terms "different-brained people." For example, he tells the story of a painter who now suffers from complete color blindness after an accident. Complete color blindness is pretty rare, but what I found fascinating that the painter was even unable to dream in color and was beginning to lose his memory of color. Sacks also talks about how these disorders shapes these people's lives. I can't wait to get to the chapter on Temple Grandin, a pretty famous writer with autism.

Good Reads website
Here's another great find from Rebecca. This is a great website where you can discuss books with other people, make lists of recommended books to share with friends and read what others have to say about your favorite books. It is really fun to browse.