Friday, December 30, 2005

To love what you do and feel that it matters -- how could anything else be more fun? (Katharine Graham)

This morning I got up and went to work. Most people would add that they got dressed in between, but the great thing about working in a school for exceptional people is that we get to do exceptional things -- like come to work in our pajamas!

When your morning starts out this good, the rest of the day has to be great.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

"Forget love...I'd rather fall in chocolate!" (unknown)

This week's Macroday challenge is candy. I really enjoyed "researching" the perfect model for the picture!  Posted by Picasa

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. (Norman Vincent Peale)

The theme for today's Photo Tuesday is Family. I had already posted this picture on the family blog, but I really like it. I do wish I had thought to close the blinds, though, before using the flash. Oh well, it's still a great picture of everyone.
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Monday, December 26, 2005

"Don't tell me that worry doesn't do any good. I know better. The things I worry about don't happen." (unknown)

I didn't want to turn this blog into long, chatty posts about all the dreary details in my life. My intention was to show quick snapshots, giving tantalizing glimpses and leaving the rest to your imagination. Trust me, your imagination is much better than the reality.

However, I've been asked by several family and friends for the story of Cari's trip home from New York. Rather than continuing to repeat it, the complete diary entry for the day appears below:

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Tuesday, Dec. 16th: Dear Diary, I talked with Cari and she mentioned that there might be a public transit strike in New York this weekend. I don't think that it will be a problem with her coming home on Friday.

Wednesday, Dec. 17th: Dear Diary, I had trouble starting the truck again. I just paid almost $300 two weeks ago to have the clutch safety switch replaced and I'm already having the same trouble with it! I called the shop, but they couldn't give me an appointment time ("Just bring it in, and we'll work on it when we can"). I can't take off work until Friday, so I guess I'll just have to wait until then to have it fixed.

Later, Wednesday evening: Dear Diary, It's me again. I talked with Cari. It looks like the strike in New York might happen after all. I don't know what we're going to do! Cari was supposed to take the subway and train to the airport, but if there's a strike I don't know how we'll get her there. And of course the tickets are non-refundable, non-returnable.

Thursday, Dec. 18th: Dear Diary, I don't know what I was so worried about. I just emailed Charlie and Danielle and asked if Cari could spend tonight with them. She could take the subway and train tonight, and just go down to Spring Lake to see the family. Then tomorrow morning she could take the train from there to the airport. Since she'll in New Jersey, it won't matter if New York goes on strike on Friday. It's wonderful having family to lean on!

Later, Thursday: Drats. I called Cari and told her about going down to Charlie and Danielle tonight instead of tomorrow. It won't work. She has class until late tonight, and it will be too late by the time she gets out to be able to go to Jersey. We're going to have to wait until the morning. I sent Danielle an email letting her know.

Friday, Dec. 19th: Damn. It's 6 am, and the truck won't start. I was supposed to take PJ to the bus stop, but he's missed the bus and of course we have no way to get him to school. I've already called the tow truck, and they should be here by 7:30. I was already planning on taking the truck to the shop; why couldn't it have started just the one more time?

Friday, 8 am. Dear Diary, the tow truck still isn't here. I called the company, and they said that the tow truck they sent out for me was in an accident. They've had to send their other tow truck out to rescue it, and then they'll be headed my way. It will probably be about two more hours. Terrific. On a brighter note, I spoke with Cari and she found a shuttle company that will come pick her up and take her to the airport. She had scheduled them to come get her at 3 pm, but I talked her into calling them back and having them come earlier just in case there's traffic. The transit still hasn't gone on strike, but they are still threatening to walk out later today. With the shuttle coming for her, I don't have to worry that Cari won't make it to the airport today.

Friday, 11:30 am. Dear Diary, the tow truck finally came at 11 am. Would you believe the driver had me PUSH my truck so that he could pop the clutch? He didn't want to tow me all the way to Lake Worth since they're already running so late. I waited five hours, and I still had to push my truck! At least I made it to the mechanics. Of course, since I brought it in so late, they don't know whether or not they'll get to look at it today. But since I called them on Wednesday, they know what the problem is and so they should be able to fix it quickly. While waiting for the bus home, I talked with Cari again, and she was able to change the time for the shuttle. They'll be picking her up at 2 pm, which will give her plenty of time to make her flight.

Friday, 2:15 pm. Dear Diary. I just talked with Cari. The shuttle isn't there yet. I had her call the dispatchers, and they said that the driver was stuck in traffic and will be there soon. I'm glad we changed her time. I also talked with the mechanics. They still haven't had time to run the diagnostics on my truck, and they said it would probably be tomorrow before the truck is ready. That's okay. Mom is coming down this evening, so we can take her car to pick Cari up from the airport. And I don't have to work until Sunday, so if I don't get the truck until tomorrow afternoon everything will still work out fine.

Friday, 3 pm. Oh, dear. Cari called. The shuttle never showed up. She called the dispatcher, who said that the driver had written down Cari's phone number wrong. So when he called for directions and couldn't reach her, he decided to cancel the trip to get her. And now they didn't have anyone else they could send for her. She has to be at the airport in an hour! She's going to call and see if she can get a cab. It'll cost twice as much, but it will still be cheaper than buying new airplane tickets. Right?

Friday, 3:30 pm. Cari called. She found a cab, and is on her way to the airport.

Friday, 4:30 pm. Dear diary, I'm breathing again. Cari made it to the airport, and was able to check-in for her flight. I can't wait to see her!

Friday, 5:15 pm. Dear diary, Cari called again. I don't think I want to answer the phone any more today. She said her flight's been delayed an hour. At least she's coming home today.

Friday, 6:00 pm. Dear diary, I really have to stop answering the phone. Cari called back, and her flight's been delayed again. Hopefully she'll be home today.

Friday, 11:00 pm. Dear diary, Cari's home! She came down the hallway wearing a big winter coat and mittens. We greeted her in our shorts and sandals. It's wonderful to have her back home. Since we're all tired, we decided to all go to bed and save our chatting for the morning.

Saturday, Dec. 20th: Dear diary, I spoke with the mechanics. I was right. The clutch safety switch they installed two weeks ago was defective. The good news is that they aren't going to charge me anything to fix it. The bad news is that they have to special order the switch, so it will be Monday or Tuesday before the truck is finished...

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

A smile is worth a thousand words. (American proverb)

May you have the greatest two gifts of all on these holidays: Someone to love and someone who loves you. (John Sinor)

The stockings are filled, and Santa has left his gifts under the tree. It's time for me to be off to bed. In just a few hours the children will be waking me up to come see what Santa's left under the tree.

I love Christmas morning. The children will wait impatiently for me to wake up. Finally one of them will be brave enough to come into my room (where I've been waiting impatiently for them to come get me!). We'll go out and ooh and aah over the tree and the amount of gifts. The stocking gifts are opened first, each of us taking a turn opening a gift while the others watch. With four of us, it usually takes a couple of hours just to unwrap the stockings. Then we pause for breakfast. We'll be having bacon, eggs, fried potatoes, and PJ's favorite cinnamon buns. After breakfast is eaten and cleaned up, we'll open the gifts. Then a pause to get dinner started. My sister's family and my mom should be to our house around 2 pm. We'll chat, and open more gifts, then have a traditional ham dinner. After dinner, if there's time, we'll bake some cookies. The house will be filled with laughter, love, and family.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a Good Night!
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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas. (Dale Evans Rogers)

Santa hasn't even made his appearance yet, and the gifts are already piled up under the tree. I'm so proud of my children -- they've really gotten the Christmas spirit. I've enjoyed watching them carefully choose gifts for everyone.

Becky is still very concerned with following all the family traditions. She made sure to leave out milk and cookies for Santa before going in to bed.
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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Light tomorrow with today. (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

Today's theme for the Thursday Photo Challenge is "Lights." My first thought was of Hurricane Wilma, and the week we spent without electricity. This photo shows just a few of the candles we used to light the house.

It's amazing how lighting a candle by choice is romantic. But when you light it out of necessity, it's a hardship. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Fish Fry update

Having an aquarium has been more difficult than my son and I expected. First of all, you don't just fill it with water and fish and let it go. Even though there's a filter, the water still needs to be cleaned on a weekly basis (20% of the tank's water needs to be emptied and replaced with clean, conditioned water). Plus the gravel on the bottom needs to be vacuumed once a week.

This past week we had a disaster. Apparently we had been overfeeding the fish, so the chemical balance of the water was wrong and several of the fish died. We lost both adult mollies, some of the baby mollies, and one of the tetras. We had to treat the water (now it looks so clear!) and we have since added two more neon tetras. We've added testing the water to PJ's weekly cleaning schedule.

We still have 18 molly babies. The fry are about 1/2 inch long now, and they are so cute! I have decided that after Christmas I want to get my own tank. I'm thinking maybe a 25 gallon one, with fancy guppies...
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Monday, December 19, 2005

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. (Confucius)

For Christmas, I made a quilt for Ronnie and Frank (owners of Exceptionalities) from all of the participants and staff. I'm really proud of how well it turned out, especially considering that it's only the second quilt I've ever made.

Each participant decorate a 5x5" (finished size) square of white fabric. Since our students are severely and profoundly retarded, most of the squares were done with hand-over-hand assistance. I think it turned out beautiful. Here are some closeups of the painted squares:

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Christmas is a time to SHARE

I'm tired. This morning my mom, my children, and I helped to pack and hand out over 250 bags of Share food. In the afternoon, my mom and I continued volunteering, handing out boxes of food and bags of gifts to families in need.

I don't know how many families were helped today. I do know that
Northwood Baptist Church -- the group I volunteer with -- will help between 3,000 and 5,000 families this holiday season.
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Friday, December 09, 2005

Fish Fry!

When my son got home from school this afternoon, he discovered that there were a bunch of tiny baby fish in his new aquarium. The baby mollies are adorable. We managed to find 20 (or 21?) fry and move them to a nursery tank. Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa The proud mom (black molly) and dad (silver molly).

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. (Dr. Hans Selye)

I had plans for this evening. In fact, I had an entire list of things I was going to get done. Instead, at 5:20 (right about the time I was starting my list) my darling daughter announces that she needs to be at the school for a band event by 6 pm. We had exactly enough time to change and get her there. I spent the evening at the school, trailing behind the band as they played for an open house, and then for a basketball game. I didn't get anything done that I had planned to.

On the other hand, I did get to enjoy some wonderful (although slightly off-key, off-tempo) music, enthusiastically played by some really cool kids. Way back when I was in school, I loved being in the band. But I don't remember having as much fun as these kids have. They have a different attitude, bopping and singing along as they play. It's wonderful!

The picture of the frog, by the way, was taken as we were leaving. I think he had climbed the fence to check out the band for himself. And of course I had to embarrass my daughter by stopping and taking pictures...
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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The house looks so festive! It's only the first week of December, and we already have the decorations up and the cards mailed out. The children have even finished their shopping and wrapped all of their gifts! (And yes, I'm gloating.)