Saturday, January 8, 2011

Prayer request update.

Jenny is still in the hospital, looking to be released this evening.  They did, as I suspected, a 24 hour urine to be positive that pre-eclampsia isn't an issue. 

Honestly, she has higher blood pressure and this is the case right now.

They have adjusted her meds, would like baby girl to be on the bake for one more week and they will re-evaluate from there.  Jen just wants to come home.  I don't blame her.

Keep the prayers coming, but everything sounds good for now! 


Friday, January 7, 2011

Elementary school lock down

I thought it was a drill.

It wasn't.

I was at school volunteering today.  I came around the corner, saw our principal running and yelling that it was a lock down.  I might add that Mr. B- is absolutely not typically a runner.  The PTA moms that were popping popcorn couldn't hear him or the announcement over the PA, so I grabbed them up and we went to the tutoring room.  (Turns out that it was their assigned room for lock down drills.) 

The door didn't lock.

We ran out, around a few corners and tried the PTA closet.

It didn't lock.

The librarian had just locked the door as she was looking at us through the window, so she let us in. 

We were talking about how it was the third drill, then I heard a child running down the hall screaming. 

"Are they baiting us?" I asked the librarian.

"It sounds like A-.  No, I don't think that they are considering who it is.  They did the last time, though." 

After about 10 minutes, the lock down was canceled.  I went to the hall and saw Mr. B- and Mr. D- (our janitor) watching a girl screaming as she started down the hall at me.  I just stood there and looked at Mr. B-.  "Am I supposed to stop her?"  He didn't answer so I just left her be. 

She probably would have beaten the snot out of me.

Apparently, she has some well known behavioral issues.  They have been working on a behavioral IEP for her, but the father won't sign off on it.  Considering that they just needed to lock down an entire elementary school with 530 students, staff and parent volunteers, I'm thinking that he might have no choice at this point.  An emergency call was placed to bring the district behavioral specialist in immediately.  The father did come.  (I should add that none of this was information that was given to me by the principal at all.  I was told most of it by someone familiar with the family situation.)

Everything went seamlessly and the entire school was locked down in a minute or less.  I talked to K- when we got to the car.  She said that she didn't think it was a drill because Mrs. S- was running around the room dropping shades, locking the door and shoving a piece of paper under the door.  The kids were "doing the calendar" so surprisingly, they were where they needed to be for the lock down anyhow. 

Still, I drove away and cried.  It upset me finding out that it was real, but thankful that the principal called it as he saw that it was necessary.  I'm in tears to say that this is the world that we've come to and that my child didn't find it upsetting.  It is a way of life in school systems and I find that truly sad.

This is my second post for the day.  Read on.

A prayer request:

My cousin Jenny is due to have a baby girl in a few weeks.  She has been hospitalized for high blood pressure.  I pray that she and her precious baby girl are fine.

Declining generosity

Back when my grandmother was first diagnosed with cancer, my aunt gathered information and worked on retaining services for Grandma that would make her life easier over the coming time.  In securing these services, someone needed to go to the office downtown to push papers to make the final approval happen.

That was me.

In pushing the papers that my sight impaired aunt could not do, I found that I was definitely not included in my grandmother's will.  This was not a big deal to me, as I understood my grandmother's reasoning. 

I had disowned her son. 

My biological father was never one of those "see-you-on-the-weekend" dads.  He was never someone you could pick up a phone and tell him how your day was.  He never helped with school projects, nor did he even have any involvement with us outside of 4 visits a year.  That was his choice.  I recall one of those visits specifically where he decided to take us to the bar. 

:insert my mother's giant heart attack here:

He opted to move away to Oregon with no phone call to us.  Why did he move?  He moved so that he could get away from paying child support.  Technically, he is still in arrears and if he would ever file taxes under his name, it would go to my mother. 

Of course, that will never happen. 

When he moved to Oregon, he contacted my sister, sent her cards, gifts and called.  My brother and I didn't even get a call.  In fact, he told my mother that he wanted her to pay him a lump sum and he would be out of our lives forever. 

Moving to Oregon was the final straw for my brother and me.  That Christmas, my parents asked us what we wanted for Christmas. 

We asked my dad to adopt us.  On May 10 of that year, we had a legal name change and were adopted.  I was 15 1/2 and my brother was soon-to-be 12.

My grandmother never disputed her son's lack of involvement with us.  I think that when it came down to brass tacks, though we have always had a great relationship with Grandma that didn't have gaps in anyway, she felt that disowning her son need not get a reward. 

I get that and never wanted anything from the will anyhow.  I'm never one to stand in line with my hand out.  I'm always happy to have the people here as they are breathing.  If there is a token item that I may have from an estate, great.  Tis not a requirement of me and I certainly am not chaffed if I'm not given anything. 

My aunt did not feel the same as I do. 

At that time of securing services, my aunt insisted that she was going to buy us a pop-up camper.  I had the old RAV that was suffering in some capacities anyhow.  (She had a stuck spark plug that we couldn't get out, which was causing her to misfire and DRINK gas like no tomorrow.)  I had a gentleman at an RV/camper dealership call me at work to find the tongue weight on my vehicle.  While I had no idea what tongue weight was, I told him that I would pay him if he told my aunt that my vehicle would not tow it. 

The end of the trailer purchase ended at my back step with my aunt and me both in tears.  My aunt kept crying, "But it isn't fair that there are some who get everything and one who does everything that gets nothing."

"But I don't help to get things.  I help because that is what I do.  I don't help to see how I can benefit."

I thought it ended there.  Turn several chapters later and it brings you to today.

I took my aunt out for lunch as her Christmas gift.  It was then that she decided to spring on me that she wanted to buy a trailer and to have me take her on a road trip to places that varied but included Mount Rushmore.

Now, I do plan on taking a trip out west some day.

With my husband.

And my child.


I about had a silent heart attack.  Later, she was excitedly talking to K- about how she was going to go shopping with me and I announced, "Um, I must speak to my husband first."

:insert my aunt being impressed at my attempt at being a submissive wife:

Hubs got home and I in my nervous wreckness blurted it all out.  He didn't even get his snow-covered shoes off his feet.  (The snow hadn't had time to melt in our 68 degree home.)  Poor guy, he didn't see it coming.  To quote him:

"There's no way in hell."

We had a very long discussion that rehashed all the reasons for declining before, but including the fact that we are absolutely without question a tent camping family only.  We enjoy tent camping.  We enjoy no electricity.  We love making meals together on the camp stove.  We love bathing in the forest with water heated over the fire. 

Hubs grew up camper camping.  He hated it.  He hated hauling it.  He hated the maintenance.  He hated camping in a metal box. 

Besides, we aren't convinced that the new RAV is still quite the vehicle to haul such an item and where on earth would we put it considering we have no more space. 

We had a discussion about Aunt Donna.  Hubs decided that he thinks that Aunt Donna wants to buy things to keep people visiting her.  She is so lonely. 

I took a deep breath while I still had guts and called my aunt back.  I told her that we appreciated her generosity, but we still stand by our original list for decline as well as stating that we are tent campers that that my husband hates to camp in a camper.  (He told me to blame it all on him and I did that a bit.)

I told her that we'll day trip with her.  We're going to be getting a museum pass, where we'll be able to take her to planetariums and different museums.  She wants to go to zoos.  She just wants to get out.  We're taking her out on the boat to go fishing.  Obviously, we need to buy a trailer first.

I took her toodling around Target today.  She loved it. 

As difficult as it was to decline-- again-- it was taken very well.  She just doesn't want anyone to forget her.  I won't.  I promised Grandma that I've got her covered.  It's not a promise that I ever intend to break.

Smiles in my day:
-  K- had a great visit to the doctor for her 7 year check.  She looks great, grew an inch since last I measured her just a few weeks ago (no kidding) and is good to go.  :)!
-  Hubs working through the Aunt Donna Camper Giving one more time with me. 
-  Though I'm sending them back, my curtain rods for the bedroom arrived today. Um, I don't believe that I read the measurements carefully enough.  The rods are almost an inch thick with ball ends the size of my bedroom door knobs.  Eeeee-yikes!  Hubs laughed and told me that we would need cathedral ceilings to make those puppies work.  Wow.
-  The Antiques Roadshow. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

From my grandmother's hand

A nut cookie recipe passed on to me by my aunt.  My sister also has another original written by Grandma.
I realized that since Grandma's death on December 4, I hadn't really said a whole lot about her.  On the day that Grandma died, she was 93.  She had 3 children.  Pat, her eldest, had been murdered by her husband on Christmas Eve back in the late 60's. 

Grandma had married twice.  She had been married to my grandfather, Les, until his death in 1977.  Grandpa Les was very diabetic and extremely allergic to bee stings.  Combine the two together (he got hammered by a swarm of bees) and his extreme stubbornness (um, where'd ya think I get it) and he passed away as a result.  He signed himself out of the hospital, came home and died. 

Grandma married a few years later to Charlie.  Charlie was a quiet guy, a good handful of years her senior by most recent findings, and he was missing a digit and part of another.  Grandma and Charlie snowbirded for many years, finally making their permanent home in Indian River, Florida.  They were able to see the shuttle launch from their yard and witnessed the day that it blew up.  They would visit for a bit in the summer, taking us on day outings.  They would take us to the movie.  First, they would stop by Woolworth's, give us a dollar and allow us to pick something out.  It could be a snack or a trinket.  We would go to the movie, but then Grandma stopped taking us when we started getting older and the movie selection we liked and the movie selection she hoped for differed wildly.  Then, they decided to start taking us to the local fair.  We were all cool with that, but my sister got that one tossed out when Grandma came around the corner and found her latched onto the face of one of the carnival guys.  Grandma started taking us for picnics to the park and she did that for many years. 

Grandma was a strong-faith Baptist woman who made no apologies for her faith.  She loved the Lord and everyone, I mean everyone, who knew her knew it.  K- started belting out, "Thank you, Lord!" when she was about 3 1/2 and that was all Grandma.

Grandma could be very picky.  She knew what she wanted, how she wanted it and that was the way it was to be.  In this case, if Grandma wasn't happy, ain't nobody happy.  She was very picky with food and when she had radiation to shrink the tumor on the roof of her mouth, it only made that pickiness worse.  Everyone made her different food.  My sister made her some old time pudding she wanted.  "Blah!"  She wanted gravy on mashed potatoes.  I got her the exact gravy she wanted.  "Blah!"  She wanted pudding cups.  I made a batch a week for her.  That one actually held. 

Her one true love?  A Wendy's chocolate frosty. 

Grandma loved the color red.  She would have painted the world red if she could.  Yellow was something that she could not stand. 

I looked up Grandma's birthday and found an interesting smathering of information. She had been an only child, but had siblings that all died in either pregnancy or childhood.  She ended up terribly ill when she was a child, from the same affliction that took out many of her sibs, and her mother brought her home and nursed her back to health herself.  The other siblings died in the hospital and her mother insisted that it wasn't going to happen to her. 

Onto Grandma's recipe. 

Grandma always wrote in cursive. 

She always wrote at a slant.

I can't imagine where you could locate lard, or oleo for that matter.  (My mom STILL! calls it oleo AKA to her as margarine.)

Cake yeast?  I think that those are the blocks, yes?

I find it interesting that she added later that the walnuts needed to be in shells.  I assume that you were to shell them, but perhaps they had a fresher taste if they were newly cracked from their hard housing? 

I love that Grandma wanted to bake a "crecent" at "375%."  :)

My mom told me that she made these cookies once.  She said that it took all day long.  My aunt says that they are wonderful.  My hatred of walnuts prevents me from putting myself through modernizing this recipe (although lard would probably be the best stuff for it) as I wouldn't even enjoy them. 

Selfish, I know. 

I just wanted to share a bit of my Grandma with you. 

Smiles in my day:
-  So much better today!  K- had a good morning, a great day, a wonderful evening and was in bed on time, without complaint.  She even had a little time to play with the DS before bed.
-  K- was listening to Disney music and I finally had to tell her to switch over to a bedtime (classical) CD.  Mary Poppins was keeping her awake!
-  I've been a bit remiss about working with K- on math flash cards.  They aren't her favorite, but I decided to hunt down some math fact worksheets.  I'm having her do one column of addition and one column of subtraction a night.  It works so much better.
-  Stripping the trees at work and bringing the nuts and corn home from the nature tree.  K- and Hubs took it out to our new feeding area in hopes that someone will find it soon. 
-  The end of my work week.  I dislike this time of year.  Everything is stripped and it looks like a thrift store through a hunk of our store.  We have inventory this next week, another one of my non-loves, and then we'll be on task to reset the whole store.  What inventory that remains after the Christmas crush (a great thing!) needs to be flipped and re-displayed.  I will be happy when our store looks crisp and clean once again. 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The back to school crabbies.

I love K- dearly.  She's generally a pretty happy kid.  She can be a whiner when she wants something (we're working on breaking that), but generally a pretty delightful kid.

Insert the return to school.

She loves school.  She loves learning.  The child thrives on structure.  She is a strict rule follower and delights in a job well done.  She fell off the schedule wagon during Christmas break, though. 

Oh, dear me.

She has gotten her whine on, has been overly consumed by the crabby appleskins and has regressed to the drop and flop again.  She's lost TV through Saturday and her DS yesterday.  She's also earned going to bed 15 minutes early the last few nights. 

I think that finally something clicked, because while this morning was starting out rough like the previous two, she pulled it around and it was all good.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

When she hits a growth spurt, she tends to fall apart.  She does this on the year and on the half.  Still, heaven help the nerves that I have left.  Geeze o' Pete.

If you have school-aged people in your house, how are they holding up?  (Preschool and home school do apply!) 

Smiles in my day:
-  Though my sleep wasn't so great last night, it was far better than the night before.  I suspect that I know the reason, which is just something that is going to have to wear out. 
-  Crock-pot dinner from last night.  Yum.  The Stonewall Kitchen Italian Dipping Oil was wonderful for searing the pork chops.  Delicious!
-  Fluffy, lightly falling snow. 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tales from the Trenches: To blog or monetize?

I've had a long time irritation in the world of blogging.


Some ads in the sidebar-- okay.  It's not something that I do, but people do it and that is okay.  The new thing that I've noticed over the past year is people deciding to eat up half of the screen space with ads. They go on to write in a space equal or somewhat less than the amount that they are dedicating to ads.  Rrrrr.  I guess that I want to know about people.  If I want to be plowed over by ads, I'll open up any number of magazines that are published. 

I just thinned the herd a bit this past week by tossing one of my long-time reads for becoming a magazine ad page. 

When I went to check on the status of the Monday menu blog that I used to visit (she had great little button type things you could use at the top of the page,) I realized that she was in overly ad-ish land, too.  That's why I came up with a new name for my Monday menu thing. 

So, what bugs you about blogs?  Anything new that is happening that drives you crazy?

Smiles in my day:
-  We got to sit down at the table all together and eat dinner.  Since the table has been disassembled in the basement since late August, we've been eating in the kitchen together, but not at a table.  We all missed it. 
-  Hubs is really concentrating on being mindful of what he spends.  That is great!
-  The State of Ohio had our state filing information in the mail box already.  I have it in my folder.  As soon as everything arrives, I'll tackle the taxes!
-  Mr. Jim, the crossing guard, was so surprised to see us today.  It was about 20 degrees and breezy.  (I'm sure that there was a wind chill to consider.)  Though my thighs were so frozen that they were stinging by the time I got back, it was good to get back to walking. 
-  K- so excited about turning box tops in for her class.  They are having a box tops competition and Hubs' boxes of granola bars have 6 box top certificates on them.  She gets to take 25 in tomorrow.  Since I don't really buy box top products, it's amazing that we had that many. 
-  Taking a surprise dinner to Aunt Donna.  Grant you, it was leftover broccoli cheese casserole and turkey dogs in a blanket, but for her it was wonderful.  She was so excited! 

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dishin' Dinners Day

Monday:  Turkey dogs in a blanket with sweet potato fries.
(MIL gave me the hot dog supplies, as she didn't use them for a party snack like she thought.)

Tuesday:  Crock pot braised pork chops and vegetables.
(Pork was on sale last week and I was able to get 10 thick center cut chops and a rather large roast for $10.50.  We had both sets of parents over for NYear's lunch, so that's where I used the roast.  K- and I had leftovers on Sunday for dinner.  The chops were divided into 4 freezer bags for later use.)

Wednesday:  See Tuesday.

Thursday:  Eat-the-rest-of-the-Thanksgiving-turkey pot pie and salad.
(Yes, I have one more bag of turkey from Thanksgiving left.  I usually just bought a turkey breast, but the whole turkey cost significantly less than only purchasing the breast.  I ended up with 4 frozen dinner portions.  The last will make a lovely pot pie!)

Friday:  See Thursday.

Saturday:  Crock pot turkey meatloaf and whole grain rice blend with a veggie. 
(A family favorite.)

Sunday:  See Saturday.

You'll see a pattern with me.  If I can make a meal for two days, I'll do it.  My daughter and husband don't mind in the slightest.  I don't either.  If I have leftovers after day two, I shuttle the extras out into lunch portions for myself.

Smiles in my weekend:
-  Saturday afternoon lunch.  I made a pork roast with sauerkraut, raised some rolls, mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, made an apple crisp and a lovely salad.  Everyone ate and was happy. 
-  My in-law's playing the Wii.  K- and I made them their own Miis after they left, so they won't have to play as a guest next time.
-  Finding the house again.  We spent today taking down Christmas.  It's a lot of work, but I'm so happy to have a regular house again.
-  Though it isn't painted, we brought the table and chairs back up (they've been downstairs and the table disassembled because of the kitchen repaint and whatnot).  Nice to eat at the table again.

Have a wonderful day!