Tuesday, August 29, 2006

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Some posts made on this blog are sponsored. They are noted to be so if you see a $ in the labels.

All the stories associated and all opinions associated with the posts are true and accurate representations of things that have gone on in my life.

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I do this because: 1) it's a challenge, 2) I get paid and we need the money. Someday I hope to take out the second part of number 2...but until then.

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Some things

Ahh, the vagaries of life. Dang it. Pup didn't get the job. But, there are others out there. I think the recruiters and 'Pup are finally coming to the realization that what 'Pup really is? Is a Problem Solver. He's a Fixer. He likes coming into a problem, finding the knot in the flow, and then finding a way to use that knot to make things go faster.

Ah well.

So.

We're in the process of changing from one ISP to another. We're getting a "bundled" package that will save us a little on phones, DSL, and change us from cable (I like cable...sob) to satellite (I hates me some satellite)

Note. I wrote the above about 24 hours ago. I now REALLY HATES me some satellite dish network. It only took us about 4 hours of watching (or trying to find something I wanted to watch) to make me MAD. And y'all, I don't get mad real often, so I tend to get mad like a hungry kid told he can eat all the icecream he wants. 'Pup said he thought I'd break the phone or the desk as I was pounding it. He also said he wasn't afraid of me, 'cause he figgered he could still out rassle me in a fight.

He'd never seen me that mad before in the 6 years we've been married. I've been that mad before, and at a principal, and the teacher friend I got mad in front of said that I turned purple.

Not a good color for a red head. At least, not in the face.

The dog took two hours before he'd come back into the house. You know, our "why leave the air conditioning and soft bed and tv?" dog. He was out back and in the doghouse. He took some coaxing to come in too.

Why was I mad? Well. We were looking for a way to keep DSL and something better than rabbit ears on the tv and oh yah, the telephone was in there too. So, we went looking. On the website of our telephone provider--think "one of a kind and air" for the name, was a way to "bundle" four services: mobile phone (uhmmm the name reminds one of a very short race run on a track), a long distance or telephone services and the "curved plate, suitable for holding soup" satellite provider. All together, they'd cost us about the same as our cable bill. We thought. Turns out all the services were pretty much "promotional pricing" and we'd soon have been paying MUCH more for A HELL of a lot less.

When we called the soup bowl satellite company to just cancel the services, the little man on the other end of the phone kept offering us MORE expensive options containing even MORE of the uncomposted dung we were seeing on our screens. NO one should have to pay for 15 shopping channels and 25 sports channels and more pay-per-view "frisky" sites than I cared to count.

Out of the "60 Favorites" package we'd signed up for there were about 15 channels we'd have cared to watch... and several of those were channels we could only watch for free for a short time before we'd have to pay for them (and I suspect it'd have been dang hard to NOT sign up for them..or stop paying for them.), and the rest were basically LOCAL channels. Which we CAN see for free with bunny ears on the televisions.

And the DSL only promised to give us the speed of the one we were using (and are going back to) for SOME of the time. Now. Why did I suspect that the "highest speed" would be available from about ohh....3:45 am and 4:00 am? The ISP provider we're going back to with all possible speed...(oh, seems the 'phone company could kick our ISP provider off in an hour, but takes a good portion of a week to take themselves off) is named Oplink. For anyone in the Houston area, they are the ones I really recommend. They never go down for more than an hour for updates and they schedule those late at night and they give 2 weeks prior notice or more when it has to happen. Y'all, they had a fire go through their building, and never went down. Seems they're the belt and suspenders types and have back ups to their back ups.

Okay, back to why I was mad. I had a discussion with the soup bowl people and they kept offering more and more expensive ways to clutter up my TV, and finally I yelled "WHAT PART OF NO ARE YOU HAVING A PROBLEM UNDERSTANDING??!!! Really, I did. Just before I slammed the reciever down in the general proximity of the telephone cradle. 'Pup was on the other extension, so he took over from that. Until he put the conversation on speaker phone. And I got madder. And pounded the desk. With my fist. Several times. Over who was going to pay to get the evil soup bowl off of our roof and it's pervidious wiring out of the house.

No, I'm not really sure there's a word "pervidious". It just seems there should be, don'cha think?

Now, we're left with no DSL or cable.

More later.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday Birthday Present

Chuckers has a favorite place to sit. He likes it even better when one of us is sitting in the bench. I really think that the first two years of his life was spent mostly indoors. Outside is not his favorite place. This dog likes comfort, airconditioning and TV. Hummm I reaaaally am beginning to believe this dog is smarter than he first appears.


This is the kind of raised beds we're trying now. We bought the picket type fencing and then added the rest of the mesh we had from the disappearing fountain project. Oh, the fountain is doing quite nicely. And I think this climbing, yellow rose is liking it too.

We had a nice time celebrating 'Pup's official membership to the "double nickel" club. He now legitimately qualifies for the senior's discount at many restaurants....

We went to one of our favorite restaurants, Macaroni Grill. We got a sampler appetizer plate and realized that if we'd gotten just it and a salad, we'd have been done. I used to shake my head at my mom and dad always sharing one entree at a restaurant. I get it now. Sigh, why is it that your parent's always seem to be right about things?

We also did some shopping, looking at some things we don't really need but think are kinda neat. We even got a couple of little things. Unfortunately I had to do the shopping with only a shopping cart to support me, so I started becoming very uncomfortable and that graduated to pain very quickly. I was literally holding on to my cane and grabbing various things at the store to help support me. 'Pup walked ahead and got the van to pick me up. We went to the restaurant after that, and I felt much better.

We didn't get to all the stores we wanted to, but that's alright. There are other days, and times.

Tho.... maybe not as many as we've had since last October....

The recruiter called again, about 10 am this morning. If she can place 'Pup in this job, (and she seems pretty sure that he's gonna get the job) he will probably be paid an hourly rate that will be just about 150 % of his previous salary. And he'll still be getting his severance pay till November. And he'll have insurance for both of us.

Nice birthday present, heh?

I went to the doc on Friday, and at first I don't think he quite understood what I was saying. Now, this was our regular doc and he's usually a pretty good listener. He'd been out sick for about a week, and was just coming back and was flustered at the staff, not being as efficient as they should be. I think, since we've been coming to him for so long, he feels comfortable about sharing these things.......but. I had to pretty much growl at him so he'd listen to everything I needed to say.

When I finally got out the last problem, which was the fact that the leg/knee was spasming and hurting and that I couldn't bend it and had to let gravity make it bend and THEN the light seemed to come on in his head. He had been listening before. It seems that I've been right when I've described my difficulty in walking feeling as if the nerves weren't giving the right messages to the right muscles.

He's given me a new med that is supposed to be better at addressing nerve damage. I have to build up to a dosage. Right now, it makes me kinda groggy, but I've slept through the night without pain for the last two nights. The only time I had a problem was when I took a nap yesterday after we'd been to the garden center to pick up some mulch and some more potting soil.

This is a good thing.

Oh, yah. This is a garden blog, isn't it? I need to show you a couple of pictures. Be right back.





Y'all be good now. God never gives burdens he thinks you can't bear with His help. Someday, I will be able to walk again. If not, then I will give in and use the mechanical help of a wheelchair or scooter.

Vvvvrrrrruuummm!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Happy Birthday to Pup!

'Pup was born on August 13th, along with Alfred Hitchcock,( a few years earlier than 'Pup).

'Pup, my hubby man, has recently lost 105 pounds. In 6 months. Today, he mowed the lawn for the first time in 10 years.

Before and we met and got married, one of his doctors had given him about 3 to 5 years to live. That was 7 years ago. He's contrary that way.

He's getting a nice birthday present. On Monday there may be at least 2 different companies offering him a position. The positions may be as a contract worker, but each of them may have permanent possibilities.

The most ironic twist to this is that one of the positions is actually with the same bank that laid him off last year. And the job would have been one that he could have done for the bank anyway. And the reason he's being considered (strongly... as in they contacted him) is because he worked for this bank. Oh, and if he gets the job there, he'll be in the position of being paid to do the job (as an employee of another company) AND will still be getting paid the rest of his severance pay from this huge bank. Sweet, huh?

The other position is with a smaller bank. It actually sounds more enticing as a job. We'll have to see who offers what and how much and for how long and with what benefits.

Y'all think good thoughts.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Things

I'm up early this morning. Not by choice but I got woken up by a very painful leg. I've got a very odd knee. Seems it doesn't like my leg being straight while I sleep. It locks up and hurts bad enough to wake me up until I convince it that bending is a good thing. This morning it started at about 4:30 am. After I'd gotten the worst of the pain taken care of, I decided to take my blood sugar reading. I've got a doctor's appointment today about this knee/leg problem and he'll be asking if I've done this. This has been happening more often than I want it to happen.

Well, to be honest? I'd really like it to never happen again. Any pain that wakes you up about 5 hours after you've taken oxycodone is not a good thing. Really.

Btw, for anyone interested, the level was 90. Which is a good thing. But waking up this early isn't my favorite thing to do, especially when I'm going to be tutoring this evening. Fortunately this is a very light week, as most parents here are getting the last minute details of starting a new school year done. Most of the area schools are starting this week or next week.

Yah, I know. That seems early for a lot of you in other states. Funny thing. The Texas gov'mnt in all it's glory actually passed a bill saying that no school was to start before Labor Day. Really. But the school districts can ask for a waiver to this. And they always seem to get the waiver. Ah... our gov'mnt at work. Ain't it a wonderous thing.

I've not posted for a while. Some of the reason is because of my vacation. No, we didn't go anywhere. We'd planned to go to San Antonio, but Doctor visits and timing just didn't work out. I was kind of relieved actually. I wanted to go, but I also wanted to stay and just have some time in the garden. The summer schedule at the tutoring center gave me four long days of work a week. By Thursday I was usually tired, then we always had some important errand or project (the fountain madness) on Friday and Saturday.

How tired I got has reinforced the fact that I really can not go back into full time teaching. That realization makes me so sorrowful. In a way, it's another "death".

I used to tell my friends that, even if I won the lottery, I'd still teach. I'd just have better supplies and really cool STUFF. And I'd hire my OWN teaching assistant. Heck, I'd have hired my whole grade level their own full time assistants so that they could all spend more time teaching and less time with paperwork. I always hated the paperwork.

It's not that I hated documenting what I'd done with individuals or groups. Lesson plans weren't any problem either. After about year 15 of your teaching career, it gets a lot easier. You have more knowledge and effective experience and it's easier to come up with new lesson ideas. You have more of a feel for what things work for you, and you start to be able to assess the kids even before you "test" them officially.

Y'all, I used to, and still do in fact, be able to "place" a child's level after a couple of times talking to them and reading one or two journal entries. For children too young to write or read, I could tell their language fluency and what things that we'd have to be working to improve just by talking to the child about an object that interested him or her. The official tests and their results rarely surprised me. They just gave me a way to officially document progress.

When I taught Pre-kindergarten, I could tell which kids were going to have a tougher time learning how to read. It didn't matter whether or not the child could speak English. And no, it didn't matter what "color" (color. what a stupid way to classify people...but that's another rant.) the child was either.

My rule of thumb was the child's fluency in speaking. I didn't really care what language their native, or home language turned out to be. As long as the child could speak that language fluently and use that language to describe things and event and feelings, that child would probably be able to learn to read. Unless the child turned out to have some learning disablility like dyslexia , some other learning disability or something dramatically stressful in the child's life preventing him or her from using that fluency in oral language and transferring that skill to written language, it basically came down to that one, important thing; language.

I am a firm believer that you will probably learn to read or write just about as well as you can speak your native language. If you can't tell a story in your native language, you will not be able to understand a story well when you try to read one. And you sure won't be able to write one either. Oral language skills are so important that I tell any parent who asks me "How can I help my child learn to read?" I tell them to talk, really talk to their child. Read to your child. Tell stories to your child about your family history or about funny things that happen in a day.

Y'all. Think about it. There is almost always SOMETHING funny, odd, or just downright peculiar when you deal with life. Especially when that life includes one or more kids. This idea has only been reaffirmed by the parent blogs I read.

I never had children of my "own". Without going into any long, painful details, let's just say that, sometimes, some people don't end up having the children they've wanted. So, some of us are lucky enough to have children that we "borrow" for a while.

I was the "cool aunt". I was a teacher. I was the neighbor lady who welcomed kids to come into the front yard and look at my flowers even when I wasn't there. I did ask them to not pick any unless I was there, and please, don't kill the caterpillars. When I was there, and the roses or something else was in profuse bloom, I would usually let them choose a flower to take home. I'd cut or pick the flower and make sure there were no thorns or any...unexpected travelers when they got to hold the flowers. I think that for some of the neighborhood kids...they learned how to look, to observe the small things and small lives around them.

It's a cool thing to watch as they learn to do this. Sometimes, there will be that one child that really becomes an explorer, a discoverer of the world around him or her. I hope everyone gets to watch that or experience that with a child. It makes you look at things and find new ways to experience things that you thought you knew about.

What can I say. I like kids. I love watching them grow. I like watching them figure out how the world works and how they fit into the world around them.

You want reality shows? BAH! I've got something better. Watch a kid explore a new place. They find the details that grown ups sometimes miss. Especially if it fits in their mouths. Which is a really good reason to watch them explore. Somethings shouldn't go into mouths. Think of it as a good time to have a conversation with the kid, even if the conversation is as basic as, " No! Eating that bug is not a good thing!". Especially for the bug.

Humm. This post has surely become something different from what I thought I was going to write about. It started out sad, because I've felt sad about losing teaching. I think I've rediscovered that I don't ever have to really lose the gift that watching a child brings. My classroom might change a little. But I'm always going to teach.

Enjoy the gift of the world around you. There are some really interesting things to discover about how the world works in small ways. There are even things that might surprise you.

Be willing to be surprised.