Random Saturdays – Fall Time, Busy Time

Man, it has been a really long time since my last post.  I think of new blog posts daily, usually when I’m in the bathroom, driving in the car, or falling asleep.  By the time I sit down in front of a computer with internet access, I’m either working, looking for a teaching job, or working on the budget and blog posts are the furthest thing from my mind.

I do not like my job anymore.  I am not proud of the company for which I work.  I absolutely adore the people on my team, though.  There are some other friends that I’ve made at work that completely make it worth having gotten that job at all.  I appreciate my team and my boss being so supportive of me trying to switch careers and allowing me to adjust my work schedule.  There is just not a better group of people with which I could hope to work.  Even so, I feel like all of our hard work is for naught and that we’re all just biding our time until we are let go.  I feel like the only reason to stay in a situation like that is if you really believe in your work and what it contributes to the company as a whole.  I do not feel this way at all.

That’s why I decided to switch gears and get into teaching.  I see all of these ads encouraging people to become teachers.  I read article after article of how in demand good teachers are in Texas.  I have known people who are in teaching for all the wrong reasons and cannot understood how they were ever hired in the first place.  I figured that if I was going to have to deal with the difficulties that come with any job, I would also like to have the feeling, at least once a year, that I may have actually made a difference to at least one person – one child.

Becoming a teacher, especially if you are switching careers and cannot afford to work for free for a year is extremely difficult.  I’ve learned that I just have to to bide my time, and wait to jump on every tiny little crack in the door that I find.  I have never pursued a career so aggressively in my life.  I am SPAMming people with my applications.  I am updating my online applications weekly.  I am reading articles and literature, trying to find advice for teachers, for their struggles, for their successes, for teaching methods, for all things education (especially in Texas).

I did get accepting as a substitute into a local school district.  It’s actually a really top notch school district and I consider myself lucky that my first foray into teaching will be in such a great school district with wonderful support staff and eager students.  Because of my primary job, my family obligations, and my health, I will only be able to sub on Mondays and maybe the occasional Friday.  I wish I could sub more, get to know the schools, employees, teachers, and students in the district more, but I’m lucky that I get to have a full-time job and still sub.  Tonight, I signed up for my first job subbing at an elementary school!

I.  AM.  SO.  EXCITED!!!

I’m sick, feel like crud, running on fumes, and filled with cold meds, asthma meds, allergy meds, and steroids.  It’s going to be a struggle to get through this week, and I’m not completely sure how I’m going to get through Monday.  It’s important that I kick this teaching dream into gear, though.  Part of the reason I’m on all of these meds is because we have our kids this weekend and have to spend all of Saturday in Nowheresville, TX for the boys’ football games.  (I’m not going to rant about that right now.)  Why am I spending Saturday in towns that I hate watching the only sport that I hate?  Because I love my kids to the moon and back.

I almost didn’t accept the subbing gig on Monday because I thought maybe I’ll still be sick, maybe I should use that time to rest, maybe I should wait until a better time, blah, blah, blah.  Then, I slapped myself, realizing that if I want to teach, then I need to teach.  I’m lucky that my first exposure to this is as a sub because I have minimal responsibility and can follow in the express guidance of an experienced teacher.  I can get the feel of teaching, get the feel of this school district, and get the feel of this school without putting my entire career on the line.  That’s purty danged cool.  Plus,  Monday is the last day that I’ll have the steroids and antibiotics.  So, if my health doesn’t improve after I’m done with this round of meds, then I’m going to be sick awhile and will need to go back to the doctor, which will delay teaching even more.  Instead of looking for reasons to delay my dreams of teaching, I have to find ways to make it frippin’ happy.

This weekends plans:  Work.  Cook a buncha pancakes for brunch on Saturday.  Spend the rest of Saturday in Nowheresville, TX and Other Nowheresville, TX for small town elementary school football games.  Go to church.  Work on the budget.  Get family photos done.  Laundry.  Clean.   Prepare to teach.  Get healthy.

That’s not so bad, right?


Random Saturdays – Pokemon Birthday

When I told my dad that Lego wanted a Pokemon birthday party, he said, “The only problem with that is you gotta catch ’em all.”  I didn’t even know Pokemon still existed!  Amanda’s little sister loved them when she was about 6, but she’s in her 20s now.  Apparently, kids still love Pokemon, even though they’re harder to find and cost more.

Since we now own our lovely home, I we decided that a birthday party would be the perfect butt-kicker motivation to get unpacked.  We’ve been working really hard and making alot of progress, but the boxes seem to be multiplying.  Still, thanks to the beauty that is Pinterest, I got a lot of great ideas for Lego’s birthday party and I’m hoping he’ll have fun.

One thing Pinterest couldn’t help with is the whole broken home thing.  Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that Lego’s bio-mom moved as far away as legally possible.  The kids had alot of trouble adjusting to the move, the new house, the new school, making new friends, leaving their dad, etc.  They’re finally settling into things, which is great, but school functions, holidays, and birthdays are still a bit weird.  The kids have one birthday party with their bio-mom and one birthday party with us.  I asked Lego if he wanted to invite any friends from school, if he thought anyone might be willing to drive out that far for the party.  The school also has a rule that you cannot bring invitations to school unless you invite everyone in the class.  We’re fine with inviting Lego’s entire class over, but we didn’t want him to feel bad if nobody in the class wanted to come since it’s so far away.

Also, Minecraft is in football this year.  He has a game on Saturday, which would be the normal day that we’d have a birthday party.  So, we talked it over with the kiddos and they decided that we would go to Minecraft’s football game on Saturday, we’d do a family outing Saturday afternoon, we’d have Lego’s birthday party on Sunday afternoon, and Lego would invite two kids who live in his bio-mom’s neighborhood to the party.

It made me sad that it had to be so complicated, but it makes me grateful that our kids are so mature and considerate of each other that Lego didn’t want to overshadow Minecraft’s football game and Minecraft didn’t want to overshadow Lego’s birthday party.  Lego didn’t make a big deal out of who would or wouldn’t be at his birthday party either.  He was just excited to see what I’d do with the cake, decorations, and games and he’s looking forward to seeing any family and friends that do show up.  It warmed my heart and made me feel like a big ol’ Jigglypuff!

Stuff People Say – Football Diet

Minecraft — I think my butt is shrinking.

Me — Why do you say that?

Minecraft — Or maybe my legs are shrinking.

Ben — Why do you think your butt and legs are shrinking?

Minecraft — Because my pants are falling down.

Ben — Or you could be losing weight from playing football.

Minecraft — Yeah, I probably am shrinking from playing football.

Stuff People Say – Regular Kids

Minecraft — Guess what, Angela.  I didn’t get to play Minecraft much today because my computer broke

Angela — Really?

Minecraft — Yeah, I only got to play it until about 11 AM and then I couldn’t play no more.

Angela — You couldn’t play it any more after that?  What’d you do the rest of the day?

Minecraft — I just mostly played like a regular kid.

Random Saturdays – Health Stuff

Growing up, I was the picture of health.  I was a little chubby, but in a cute way that had no adverse affects on my health.  I was even tall for my age.  Once I hit adolescence, all that changed.  Every year, I went for a physical and to get renewals on my prescription meds.  Every year, a new chronic condition popped up and my list of meds grew longer and longer.  For the most part, I refused to take anything but asthma medicine and Excedrin migraine because they were the only things that I absolutely had to have in order to function on a daily basis.  Sure, the other meds might have made life a little more pleasant, but the costs and side effects weren’t worth it to me.

Over the past twenty years or so, I have gone through different phases of health, have taken more and less meds, and have had healthier and less healthy habits.  As a teenager, I would starve myself for an entire day and reward myself with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s for dinner.  As an adult, I decided to try to get a grip on my health and realized that ice cream and depression were not the best ways to do that.

So, I spent two years slowly building up a workout routine of alternating interval training with yoga/pilates.  I ate very healthily.  I watched my calories.  I started meditating.  I did my best to make sure that I got as close to eight hours of sleep a night as possible.  By all accounts, I should have been the picture of health.  I was actually only slightly healthier than I had been as a teenager and I still weighed alot more.

I was only working out 20 – 30 minutes a day because that was all my joints and muscles could take in the past before my arthritis would start bothering me.  Thinking that I had to be healthier than I was previously, I tried working out even more.  About the time I started working out for 40 minutes a day, my knee started to give out on me.  I finally had to stop working out all together to let my knee heal, and I had a hard time getting back into a workout routine afterwards due to a combination of life circumstances, repeated injuries, and laziness.  Here and there, I have been able to get back into good habits for a few months, but then I get sick, I injure myself, or something in life happens that throws me off my routine.

With Ben having three kids, the added issues of school-aged kids bringing home snot-filled noses keeps me sick, too.  I know it’s just part of life and that I will probably stay sick until the kids get to high school.  Erica is in the same boat because she has a toddler in daycare.  Two of our managers have older kids and look at Erica and me with pity/gratitude/laughter because they understand exactly what we’re going through right now.  Even though Erica and I constantly have runny snouts and itchy throats, we’re not getting sick in the same way.  Recently, though, she came to work with the same type of cold (or whatever it is) that I always have.  She happened to be going through this while I was going through one of my Wellness Weeks.  Seeing her feel like that made me sad, but we also laughed about it because we kept saying exactly the same thing at exactly the same time all day.  We were basically speaking in stereo.  So, her Sick Brain was the equivalent of my Well Brain.  Go figure!

All in all, being sick because some great kids had runny noses isn’t so bad.  I try to look at it as immunity-building exercises.  Lord knows playing iPhone games by myself never did anything to prevent a snotty snout anyway.

$8 Rambo

I kind of thought I’d get paid more for standing up to Rambo.

Random Saturdays – Playing, You’re Doing It Wrong

I get that phrases like the above are hip on the webernet, but you have no idea how much energy it took to keep me from correcting the grammar in the title of this post.  Moving on now…

Spring Break for most of the DFW metroplex just passed.  This meant that there was alot of talk at work and online about people’s plans with their kids and arrangements made at work to care for these kids.  Ben worked from home all week.  We talked about how we wished that we could’ve taken time off to take the kids somewhere and that we hoped that we’d be able to do that sometime in the next few years.

ME — I wish we could’ve taken them somewhere fun.
BEN — Yeah, me too.
*At the same time*
BEN — Somewhere like Disneyland.
ME — Somewhere like Disneyworld.
BEN — Disneyland’s cheaper.
ME — Isn’t that because Disneyland sucks more?
BEN — It’s still Disneyland.  It’s all cheaper than Universal Studios.
ME — I don’t care about any of it.  I just want to go to
BEN & ME — Harry Potter Land

He knows how I roll.

Erica told me about her step-son sleeping in past 10 am.  I told her about this big box that we kept when Ben got his replacement tool chest.  I saw it and immediately thought about the kids being able to use it to pretend it was a house or a rocket ship or something.  (Erica and I used to sit in her grandma’s closet, our backs on the floor and our legs on the walls, pretending that we were blasting off into space.)  After weeks of telling the kids about this box, they finally paid attention to me.  “Can we decorate it?” “We can cut windows into it!”  “We can make it a season box and decorate it differently each season!”  (The season idea is an off-shoot of our fake Christmas tree upstairs that we are keeping out and decorating for each season, an idea I stole from my friend, Jennifer, who is no longer allowed to talk to me after I called out her husband on some disrespectful stuff he did to her on Facebook, but that’s another story…)

Erica and I started talking about what we used to do on spring break and all the different ways we used to play.  We jokingly wished that we were still kids so that we could show all these kids how to really play.  We grew up with computers, video games, and t.v., but we mostly used all of that as a bouncing board for our imaginations.

I remember watching something about history on Muppet Babies and learning about explorers that landed in The Americas in school.  Erica and I made up a game where we explored her grandma’s den and landed on different countries/furniture to claim it for different countries.  Amanda, her little brother, and I used to make up elaborate dances to The Little Mermaid soundtrack.  Temika and I used to make up accents and words that cracked us up while we cooked and did dishes.

That’s not to say that the kids in our lives now have no imagination.  It’s just that it takes a little longer to get them going and the starting points for their imaginations is very different from our generation.  Then again, I think about how depressed I was at the age of 17, stressed about trying to find financial aid so that I could go to a school as far away from my parents as possible while trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  At 17, my grandfather lived and worked on the family farm and was dividing his time between building the cement porch for their house and chopping down cedar trees to build the cedar chest that I now have in my bedroom.  As with everything, I suppose that it’s really all about perspective.  I’m just thankful that these kids are even willing to play outside and get excited about an empty box, even if it takes a little mental prodding sometimes.

With that, I thank you for reading and wish you all a happy spring!

Random Saturdays – Begin at The End

I’ve been a bit M.I.A. lately, at least as far as this blog is concerned.  Between crazy work stuff, being sick, being depressed, the holidays, Ben, ice storms, and get-togethers with friends that I don’t see often, everything else has been on the back burner.  Having said that, I did want to get at least one real post up before the end of the year.  My one-year blogging anniversary is December 21, 2013, so, I decided to do a sort of year in review post since I’m ending the year in a completely different place in life from where I started in January.

At the beginning of this year, I had a bunch of projects that I wanted to do.  I tried to plan things out and block off my time.  The only things I really did were keep up the blog and learn how to use Inkscape.  I also managed to get into a workout routine until I moved last summer and paid more attention to my daily habits — everything from calorie counting to how often I get headaches and migraines.  It didn’t really help me get healthier, but I did lose weight.

After I started dating Ben, I gained 7 lbs.  I had just started getting back into working out after my summer move, but that stopped, too.  I started slacking on the blog.  I fell behind on email.  I haven’t been reading books or magazines much, either.  I’ve been sick twice in the past two months and think that I’m getting sick again.  In general, it seems like dating Ben did away with the little bit of progress on my goals that I had made, but that’s not really true at all.

Even with tracking my health issues, I wasn’t able to make any improvements in my health before Ben.  Now, I’m paying more attention to how all of my health issues are tied together because they directly affect my emotional and mental well-being, which directly affects Ben and his kids.  Since it’s not just me, my cat, and the t.v., I have more motivation to do something about things that I know need improvement.

When you’re alone and you get sick, it’s easy to just wallow in your self-pity and give up on trying to improve anything.  When I feel like this around Ben and see how worried he gets about me, or when I have to hide from his kids in the bedroom because I don’t want them to see me depressed and get it into their young minds that being mean to yourself is a normal way to think and act, then it suddenly seems more important that I get my crap together.  Granted, I realize that I’ll have to struggle with depression my whole life.  I realize that I can’t change myself overnight.  I realize that when I get sick, things in my body will be thrown off and cause depression on a physiological level that I will just have to learn to handle.

However, I’m trying to be mindful of all of the small things that I still have control over when I’m sick and/or depressed.  When I’m sick, I’m trying to make more of an effort to shake myself out of depression because it directly affects my loved ones.  I’ve always known this, and it’s always been motivating, but Ben and his kids are motivation on a whole different level.  I had no idea that someone like Ben could even exist.  He is a nicer, smarter, better (but not funnier) version of me.  His kids are wonderful – fun, affectionate, smart, and always concerned about how much money I spend on gas and rent.  I don’t want to teach the kids how to hate themselves and I don’t want Ben to have to deal with me hating myself if it can be prevented.  So, even though my projects were all put on the back burner for the last three months of the year, it’s all been for the best.

Furthermore (<- smart word), I’m going to Paris with Cathy for Christmas and New Year’s, a trip that I planned before I started dating Ben.  Since my plane ticket and rental cost of the apartment in Paris are non-refundable, I’m going to suffer through missing Christmas with Ben and his kids and force myself to go to Paris with one of my best friends.  (I’m only half-joking.)  I tell you what, though.  On January 1, 2013, I did not anticipate having a boyfriend with three kids or going to Paris for Christmas.  You never know where life will take you, but you just have to get out of your own way and enjoy what life brings to your table.  I’m trying to be mindful of how lucky I am for my life so that I can fully enjoy the time I spend with my friends and family this year.

I hope you stay mindful this holiday season, too, absorbing all of the joy and love shared between you, your friends, and your family.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!