Monday, December 9, 2013

Every Day Angels

I hurt EVERY WHERE right now.  Once I assume a position, I'm kind of stuck there for a good while because shifting around is quite traumatic.  Grouchy as pain makes me, I will do my level best to deal with it with a smile.  Why?  Because it could be UNBELIEVABLY worse than it is.  

Let me back up.  I spent the weekend down in Wallop's Island with my boyfriend and his family.  He and I were in the Chincoteague Christmas parade last night and it was all great fun.  I am directing the Christmas cantata at church so I needed to leave early enough to make it to church by 9:30.  I hit the road at about 7:45 with a big fat smile on my face.  It was raining and every once in a while I saw a few sleet pellets but nothing that really drew my concern.  

I was driving up the overpass toward the bypass when I passed a sign that said "caution: Bridges Freeze."  I dearly wish I had taken that seriously.  It hadn't been raining or sleeting very much for my drive and the temperature was technically above freezing so I wasn't worried... 

...until I saw the layer of ice ahead of me.  At which point it was too late.  I tapped the brakes to slow down from my 60mph and immediately went into a spin, slam into the guardrail, bouncing off and coming to a stop on the shoulder facing the same direction I had just been travelling.  It happened so quickly, there wasn't even time to be scared.  I could see the giant tear in my back bumper, the missing part of my front bumping lying fifty feet down the road, and the huge dirt divots my car had left on the grassy shoulder.  I called Mom, then Travis, then Mom again because she didn't answer the first time.  Mom told me to call 911 to report the accident.  At this point I had seen two other cars spin out and go to toward the grassy area in the center.  One was able to drive away but the guy in the red Toyota Tacoma was stuck like I was.  

I reported the accident and then called Travis back who was sending his mom to get me.  While on the phone with him, I saw another car spin out, miss my car by about 5 feet, and land against the guardrail.  She was hysterical so I helped her out of the car, urging her to get out of the vehicle and come away from the car.  I tried to comfort her as best as I could.  At this point, another gentleman had stopped and was telling us all to get away from our cars in case of another wreck.  I told her to call her parents and make sure she told them she was okay.  I think she might've been seventeen.  

When I hung up the phone with Travis, I called the woman who was in charge of the concert I was supposed to sing in that afternoon.  I was 99% sure I wasn't going to make it.  As I clicked "End" I heard the other girl scream and looked up to see a white Nissan spinning out and skidding right for me.  The details here are pretty fuzzy.  I don't know if I actually blacked out or not.  I tried to run but it was too late.  The car rammed into me.  There are a few second of blur and then I remember being on the ground in an awkward position, one shoe missing, my glasses off my face, and just in shock.  

I didn't move.  I at least had the presence of mind to not move when there was the possibility of head/neck/back injuries.  At this point, I started screaming and crying bloody murder.  I didn't even hurt any where at this point.  I was just grateful I was alive and beyond consolation.  A guy who saw what happened climbed over the guard rail and I listened as he called 911 for an ambulance.  The driver of the car got out and asked me if I was okay.  

This is when the pain started, mostly in my left leg where i took the brunt of the car hitting me.  I wiggled my toes but didn't move otherwise.  I was in an awkward position, slightly twisted and crumpled on the ground, my shoe gone and my coat hiked up.  As I lay there, my kind stranger called my mother for me to let her know I was hurt and being taken to the hospital.  Stuck in the same position, on the cold ground, I couldn't see a lot of what was going on.  At least one person came and threw a blanket over me and pulled my coat down a little bit.  

I wish I remembered the name of the guy who called 911 and my parents and stayed with me until the state trooper and the EMTs got there.  He kept me calm and managed to get me to stop screaming and crying.  An off duty EMT who had been driving by came and assessed me while I was waiting for the ambulance and helped calm me down.  They checked my pockets for my cell phone when I asked.  I was in such a befuddled state, I didn't remember I had been holding it until later when I was in the ambulance.  

Because I was over the guardrail that had earlier protecting me from having my car wind up at the bottom of a very, very steep hill, they needed back up to get me onto a backboard, over said rail, and into the ambulance.  The very nice female EMT kept talking to me as she was assessing and after the fire department arrived, they got me onto the board (still in an awkward position) and me head and neck braced with blocking since they couldn't get a collar on me due to my coat, and were hesitant to cut my coat off out there in the freezing cold weather.  I was then carried on the board, lifted over the guard rail, handed off to another group of people, most of whom I couldn't see, put on the stretcher, and placed in the ambulance.  As I was not critically injured, there was some initial stuff done on scene.  They needed to check on my left leg where I was having the most pain.  

What they don't show/tell you in the movies and on TV is that in an emergency situation, they will pretty much strip you naked to get visuals on your injuries and to care for you.  My coat and jeans were (unsurprisingly) torn anyway.  They cut one leg of my jeans open on site and cut my coat off to be able to get monitors etc on me.  At this point, I had one shoe on (I somehow lost the other) and they were kind enough to cover me with blankets.  They had waited to take the time to physically strap me to the board as they wanted to get me out of the cold first.  This was not a pleasant process as it involved thick nylon straps going across my bruised and tender legs and arms but I survived the pain.  

They had to wait for a second ambulance.  I have no idea what the details were there, to be honest, because when strapped to a board and told not to move, you are rather limited on what you are able to see.  I pretty much had a view of the ceiling of the ambulance and the face of the female EMT.  I was taken to PRMC, lights and sirens and all of that, and rolled in where the doctors and nurses took over.  I was transferred from the backboard to the stretcher where further evaluation took place.  My jeans and coat were cut the rest of the way off.  Thankfully, my shirt, cardigan, and bra were able to be removed without cutting them off, though the former two have tears in the sleeve.  I'm going to have to come up with some sort of creative way to fix them because the shirt was new and the sweater is the love of my cardigan life.  

The nurses and techs and social workers and doctors were extremely kind to me.  I was brought blanket after blanket when I could stop shivering, handed a phone to call my mom as soon as it came available, and was well cared for.  They were my angels.  

The girl I had helped out of her car and tried to calm down was apparently very worried about me, afraid I was grievously injured and concerned that it was her fault I had been hit.  The hospital couldn't release any information on my condition but they asked if it was okay for her to come back.  I said yes, and got to assure her that I was going to be fine, and that I didn't blame her (how could I?  It wasn't like I was standing next to her car when I was hit.  I was 30 feet beyond my own vehicle).  She said she would pray for me, and I told her I would pray for her.  She thanked me for herself, and on behalf of her parents for helping her.  I thought it was really nice of her and her parents to want to make sure I was okay and to thank me.  

I was eventually given pain medicine (the non-narcotic kind) via IV and sent off to X-ray to have pictures done of my ENTIRE left leg, hip to toes.  My parents arrived soon after the X-rays were taken, and worked some on gathering my things that were spread throughout the room.  My X-rays came back completely clean so I was cleared to leave with a prescription for 600mg of ibprofen, orders to rest and follow up with my doctor, and warnings that the pain was going to get worse.  Monday would be worse, and Tuesday would likely be even worse than Monday.  

After I had put on clothes (mom brought me sweatpants), we got in touch with the state trooper who gave me accident report #1 (from when I spun out and hit the rail) and got my most important stuff out of the car:  my purse, ipod, kindle, and one of the bags of clothes which, thankfully, included my boots as my TOM's were soaked and muddy (hoping they aren't a total loss).  Still waiting on accident report #2.  

My IV was removed, paperwork was signed, and I was discharged and allowed to walk out on my own power.  Travis had been making his way to the hospital and arrived just as we were leaving, so I rode with him for us to try to locate my car (and stuff) but it was apparently taken to an impound lot.  So we went home.  It was a very nerve-wracking experience to be in a car again, even not driving, especially with the snow and slush on the road.  We hit up Hardees for a quick lunch and a drink (since I was extremely thirsty.  For most of my hospital tenure, I couldn't drink anything until they were sure I wasn't going to have to be taken in for surgery).  

Upon making it home, I was waited on hand and foot (literally, when Travis fixed my socks for me) by Travis and my Mom.  I promised Travis I won't leave the house except to go to the doctor.  Trust, me this is an easy promise to keep.  I hurt every where right now.  I have whiplash, and my neck is honestly probably the most painful part of my body right now.  Nevermind the huge bruises, the scrapes, and cuts, my abdominal muscles from rib cage to pelvis hurt.  I will take every ache and pain with as much of a smile as I can muster though.  I am lucky to be alive and relatively uninjured.  

Mom asked me if I saw any angels taken care of me, and I said "Just the human variety."  I never saw any winged heavenly angels carrying me off, but I did see angels in the faces of strangers who covered me in blankets, called my mom, and stopped to care for me.  I wish I could thank them all for their help, for their kindness, for their compassion.  I may not have seen any winged heavenly creatures, but surely I saw the faces of angels yesterday.  

'Til next time, 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Cup Runneth Over

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.  Today is the day we set aside to remember what we are thankful for... a few hours before running up our credit card balances on getting a whole bunch of other stuff.  I will not be in that crowd, FYI, though my poor brother and boyfriend are stuck manning the walmart for the crazed black Friday/Gray Thursday crowds.  

This list is in no particular order.  Some things are little, something are big.  I'm thankful for all of them.  

1.  The saving grace of Jesus Christ who has set me free from sin and death
2.  My Family and my friends (who are like my family).  Also my wonderful boyfriend Travis who does things like send me flowers just to brighten my day and help me do my thanksgiving baking.  
3.  My job and my work family.  Through the craziest of days, the people that I work with are FANTASTIC and I am proud to be part of Seaford Middle School.  
4.  My mom.  It was not long ago that we didn't think she would be here now.  God has definitely shown his power and his grace in her life.  
5.  My home.  Living with my parents can be stressful at time but I am so grateful that I am able to have a wonderful home with people I love.  
6. The fourteen years we had with Fonzie.  Though it was terrible to lose him this past summer, having him for fourteen years was amazing.  He gave us ten times more than we ever gave him.  
7.  Coffee.  Yes, coffee deserves a separate mention because it is important to my life.  
8.  The food that I eat, the healthy and the not so much.  
9.  My church.  I cannot imagine life without my church family.  They have loved and supported me for my entire life.  
10.  My health.  I could stand to lose a few but overall I am healthy and happy. 
11.  My freedom.  There are many young men and women who are not with their families this thanksgiving.  Some are out in the heat of the dessert or the cold of the storm, fighting for my freedom. I am beyond thankful for them.  
12.  This beautiful earth.  From the flowers that come from the ground to the orange and golden leaves, it is beautiful.  

I have so much more that I could and should say but that would take forever.  For now, this list shall suffice as I am preparing to spend Thanksgiving surrounded by my amazing family.  

Love and Blessings always,

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Planning to be Healthy

So I have noticed a pattern in myself. I get really busy during the week and find myself with free time coming in 20 minute bursts.  I've also gotten increasingly bad at getting out of bed in a timely fashion so a lot of things need to be accomplished before I go to bed or they won't get done.  Most specifically, I have to pick out my clothes and pack my lunch before I head to bed.  

The picking out of the clothes is usually pretty non-traumatic; it takes five minutes, if that, and I hang the outfit on the hooks on the back of my bedroom door.  Boom.  Planning lunch, unfortunately, is more time consuming.  More often than not, what is easy and what is quick takes precedent over what is delicious, healthy, and satisfying.  So what am I supposed to do to solve the issue?  

The best solution I have found is to pack all five days worth of lunches over the weekend.  It is, for whatever reason, much easier to find an hour of time on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon than it is to find 10-15 minutes each night during the week.  I stash the meals in the fridge and pull them out as I go.  This way, I am eating healthy, satisfying lunches each day.  

This week's meal plan: 


Breakfast:  Smoothie made with peaches, raspberries, almond milk, and kale. 

Lunch:  Tortellini salad (made with tomatoes, broccoli, and mozzarella), carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes with homemade hummus, fiber one lemon bar, and seltzer water with lime. 


Breakfast:  peach raspberry refrigerator oatmeal (this is made by pouring oats, yogurt, milk, and fruit into a container and refrigerating it over night.  In the morning, you grab it and go.)  

Lunch:  Cucumber and broccoli creamy pasta salad, vegetables with homemade hummus, apple slices with peanut butter yogurt dip, and seltzer with lime.  


Breakfast:  cranberry orange refrigerator oatmeal

Lunch:  Tortellini salad (made with tomatoes, broccoli, and mozzarella), vegetables with homemade hummus, apples with almond butter, and seltzer with lime.  


Breakfast: Smoothie.  Not sure what kind yet; I'll mix it up tomorrow probably and freeze it. 

Lunch:  Cucumber and broccoli creamy pasta salad, wheat thins and hummus, apple-peanut butter smoothie (with almond milk and chia seeds), and seltzer with lime.  


Breakfast: Probably yogurt and apple cinnamon oatmeal.  The refrigerator oatmeal really is only good for about 2 days (according to the recipe) and I don't want to push it.  If I have time I'll make something legit.  

Lunch:  The last of the cucumber and broccoli creamy pasta salad, campbell's soup to go, fiber one lemon bar, and seltzer with lime.  

For some people, this amount of planning is probably overkill.  I think the point for me is that I need to make my food decisions when I am of sound mind and not when I'm exhausted and packing my lunch is standing between me and getting to climb into bed.  Or when I'm having a bad day and chips and chocolate seem like perfectly rational things to include in my lunch bag.  

It's kind of funny, though, because one week in the past when I had made the effort to plan out and prepare my lunches, one of my fellow teachers commented on how good my lunch looked.  It wasn't anything overly complicated--I had summer sausage with colby jack cheese, veggies with hummus, and sliced watermelon--but when I made my lunch, I prepared it carefully and made a nice presentation.  Afterall, don't you prefer to eat food that also looks nice?  While my kale smoothies look like toxic sludge, I do my best to make everything else look appealing.  It isn't hard; it's not like I'm carving roses out of tomatoes, but it makes a difference to have my food put into nice individual containers (that I wash and re-use, I might add) rather than schlepping it into plastic bags or dumping it into a single container.  

Whether you are a lunch packer or buy your lunch every day, lunch is a blessed half an hour break in the school day that deserves delicious food to fuel you through the day.  This is just how I do it.  :) 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

This post is about boobs (but actually it's about body image and other things)

This post is about my boobs.  Well, it's not only about my boobs but I wanted to give fair warning so that anyone who is potentially offended by this can run away now.  

Today, I went bra shopping.  This was not a planned activity; I was at the outlets, saw the Soma sign and decided to pop in and let a professional tell me what I needed since none of my bras fit anymore.  That's right, none of my $40+ a piece bras fit me anymore.  (Why are bras so expensive?  I feel kind of ridiculous spending so much money on something no one but me sees...  I guess that's the point though.  If a bra is doing what it's supposed to, no one notices it.)

If you're just popping by here and don't know me, I've lost about 45 pounds over the last year.  This is fantastic and I feel great and have gone from wearing a tight size 20 to a loose size 16.  There are down sides though.  One that has become very pointed in the last week is that without that extra layer of padding, I get so much colder than I used to.  Fall has hit us suddenly.  It is not freezing outside; it's been in the 50's yet when I go outside my teeth start chattering.  Lord save me when I get down to my goal weight if this trend continues; I'll need a parka in the summer.  The other downside for me has been my shrinking chest.  

Anatomically speaking, a woman's breasts are made of mammary glands and fat.  So I ought not be surprised at the shrinkage with the whole fat-loss thing.  And as much as I have complained about them in the past, one would think I would be happy with the size reduction.  I mean, they are heavy and they get in the way.  Yet I am now desperate to have them back.  

I think part of this desperation comes from the horror of seeing hundreds of dollars of bras getting thrown in the donation pile because I can't fill them up anymore.  This means I'm going to have to shell out serious $$$ for new ones that will fit.  I won't be able to replace them all at once; just like how I acquired the collection I'll have to get a few at a time.  But still.  This is upsetting.  

In addition to the horror of having to get rid of the bras is the size confusion.  I have worn the same size of bras for the last four or five years (hence the large collection) since I admitted that I needed a larger band size to avoid the horrors of back fat rolls.  I was also very brand loyal to Lane Bryant bras so I could walk into the store (or go online), pick the bras I thought were pretty in my size and check out without having to try on 50 different bras to find one that fit properly only to go home and find that once the elastic relaxed the band was too loose.  

I fully recommend allowing professionals to fit you buy bras.  However, you do need to be wary.  Case in point:  one very nice sales lady saw fit to measure me while I was wearing an ill-fitting padded bra and a heavy sweater.  And told me that I actually need a bra with bigger cups and a bigger band than what I was already wearing.  I told her there was no way, given the way my bras were fitting and she gave me a doubtful look and told me she would take a look at what I tried on.  

Undeterred by her lack of enthusiasm, I forged on through the racks and pulled bras in no less than 5 different sizes.  On my third bra, a different sales lady came in to check on me and I had her remeasure me just to double check that I wasn't crazy.  I was correct and the original measurements I was given were off by two cup sizes and two band sizes.  Lesson learned:  do not let sales ladies measure you for a bra over your outfit.  

I am not above societal pressures.  I won't claim that this is healthy or the way things ought to be but it is the truth and I don't think there is anyone who is in contact with other human beings that can claim they are free of societal pressure.  We are bombarded by messages about what we are supposed to look like.  I think the ideal is something like Barbie.  Or maybe Kim Kardashian.  But the reality is that most women don't look like that.  I certainly don't look like that.  We're supposed to have a perfect hour glass figure with a tiny waist and big boobs.  That's what femininity is, right?  So my breasts shrinking (naturally due to weight loss) makes me less of a woman.  (<--i actually="" don="" fyi="" nbsp="" p="" t="" that="" think="">

I'm kind of ashamed of myself for being dissatisfied with my chest.  I was never happy when they were larger so one would think I would be elated, right?  Well, I see two flaws in this little thought process here.  Flaw #1: This is my body, I am gorgeous, and I need to accept myself cellulite, wiggly bits, shrinking boobs and all.  I don't think I'm ugly.  I don't under any circumstances think I am flat-chested (hahahahaha... I wore a C-cup in the fifth grade). Accepting myself and my body is a daily process.  For all the messages we all receive telling us we don't measure up, it only makes sense to me that we have to remind ourselves just as much that those are lies and though we are not perfect, we are enough.  Flaw #2: If my womanhood is defined by two lumps of fat and mammary tissue positioned on my chest, I am doing a great disservice to not only myself but to other women (and most specifically the millions of women who have fought, are fighting, and will fight breast cancer).  

Only a colorblind person would not notice that things have gone pink for October.  I sang at a breast cancer fundraiser on the first.  The park in town has pink lights wrapped around the tree trunks.  October 13th was supposed to be national no-bra day to raise support for breast cancer (though unless you are making a donation for the right to go braless, I don't see how this is supporting breast cancer research.  Sorry if this offends you but it's true).  No women in my family have ever had breast cancer (no, we get the not-so-popular cancers of the lungs and rectum) so I can't say first or second hand what it is like to go through treatment that often includes disfiguring surgery.  I have heard stories, though, of women who feel like there is something wrong with them after the surgery, like the cancer took something from their soul and not just their bodies.  I think these women are beautiful and strong and that their scars are a mark of their strength (I love the slogan 'fight like a girl').  So who am I to insult these brave, strong, wonderful women by being dissatisfied with my own unmarred, cancer free breasts?  

So what was the point of this?  I've kind of just rambled on for a couple hundred words here about my chest, body image, and breast cancer.  I'll give you my main point right here:  womanhood is not defined by our appearance (after all, I have seen some VERY convincing drag queens before...).  Big boobs, little boobs, or almost non-existent boobs, all women's bodies are beautiful in their own way.  

Do yourself a favor and stop beating yourself up for not looking like you belong on a magazine cover--most of that is photoshop anyway ;)

Friday, October 18, 2013

An Open Letter to my Students

Disclaimer:  the opinions given here are mine and mine only and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my fellow teachers or any of my employers.  This letter does not reference any particular student, parent, or staff member and any resemblance is the sign of a guilty conscience coincidental.  So don't sue me/fire me/raise a fuss.  

My dear students, 

When I was your age, I never thought that I would one day be the one being the teacher's desk.  I was going to be famous.  I don't think I ever really considered what my teachers did at the end of the day, what their families were like, or how much time they spent grading papers and going to meetings on my behalf.  So I honestly don't really expect you to think too much about me. I think about you a lot, though, and if given the opportunity, there are a lot of things I would love to tell you.  So here we go. 

1. You drive me crazy.  We all have our bad days, including myself.  Some days, however, all of us have a bad day at the same time.  And some days when I'm having a bad day, you cheer me up.  So it all evens out.  
2. You are hilarious. ...usually without meaning to be.  The innocence of youth.  Some times you tell jokes that make me laugh, sometimes it's silly little stories, and sometimes it is the way you act.  It brings a smile to my face... mot of the time.  

3. I care about you more than you realize.  I want you to behave in my class and learn, certainly, but there is so much more to it than that.  I care about who you are, and who you will become.  I worry about you when you seem off.  I want you to be successful not just in school, but in life.  

4. I would protect you with my life.  I don't need to tell you that this is a scary world.  I hope to dear lord Jesus in heaven and on earth that it never comes down to it but know this: if danger starts coming down that hall, you better believe I will put myself between it and you.  

5. I love you, sometimes because of what you do and some times in spite of what you do.  As much as you drive me crazy sometimes, I love each of you in your own way.  

6.  You are the reason I come to work each day.  I didn't take this job to do paperwork, grade papers, and attend meetings.  I took the job because of you and my desire to help you and teach you.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Halloween is the scariest holiday of the year

During my craft and fabric store adventures on Friday, I also stopped by the Halloween store next to Hobby Lobby.  I am always curious to see what kind of costumes are popular and see what the hot trends are this year.  As usual, and honestly as I expected, the costumes aimed at adult women almost all featured mini skirts, low cut tops (more often than not a bustier), and fishnet stockings.  I cannot figure out why a police officer or nurse would wear fishnet stockings but that's what they sell.  As much as the need for all women's Halloween costumes to be sexy pisses me off, that was not nearly as disturbing as my trip to the children's section.  

Amongst the racks of cheaply made princess dresses and the super hero costumes with the sculpted padded abs I found costumes that were far more disturbing to my sensibilities.  In addition to the fluffy princess dresses and the stereotypical ghost and pirate costumes were duplicates of the "sexy" womens' Halloween costumes.  

Some of you may be going, "What's the big deal?" but I hope most of you are just as appalled as I am.  Now let me explain the problem.  As an adult woman, I am expected to wear something like THIS or THIS in order to be "sexy" or "desirable."  Notice the micro-mini skirts and the ultra tight fit.  One reviewer on the sheriff costume said that even though she was petite (5'2" or so) the skirt was not long enough to cover her butt.  And this is decent to wear in public?  

Now let's take a look at THIS costume.  I would guess the age of the girl in the photo to be around 9 or 10.  She is dressed as a referee but certainly like no referee I have ever seen.  Notice the close fit of the top and most noticeable for me:  the hemline.  It's not much if any long than the skirts on the sheriff or taxi costumes.  Yet this costume is somehow appropriate for a 9 year old.  

This "Night Wing" Costume probably takes the cake for me though.  Notice the spandex top that is printed to look like a bustier.  Notice the skirt so short I would hedge my bets that it doesn't cover her butt in the back.  And notice the fine print that the leggings are not included so essential you're supposed to send your preteen daughter out in her underwear.  

I've blogged before about my commitment to purity.  That commitment is deeply personal and I don't look down on people for making different decisions but do pray to sweet Lord Jesus in heaven that being sexy is not on the priority list of your average preteen.  Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I like to think that the most valuable part of who I am is my mind and heart, not my body and I think we should be teaching young girls (and boys for that matter) the same thing.  The message that these costumes show, both the adult and children's versions, is that our bodies are the most important part of who we are and that showing as much skin as possible is how one is cute or pretty or whatever.  

A lot of this is probably semi-incoherent blathering so I'll give you my main point right here:  What kind of world do we live in where "sexy" is the standard for preteens?  I find it completely unacceptable and I hope you do too.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Things I've been reading lately

So one of my little secrets is my love for Young Adult and children's fiction.  I just love it.  I don't care if the books are too easy or beneath my level; I enjoy them so I'm going to read them.  Recently, the Scholastic book fair came to our school.  Being the thoughtful and supportive teacher that I am, I took this as an opportunity to support our school by buying lots of books.  

I remember the joy of Book Fair time when I was in school.  The shiny metal shelves of the latest in kid's literary greatness, just waiting to be bought and read.  The stacks of kitten posters, the light up pens and funny erasers.  It was all paradise.  As an adult, I find myself ignoring the stacks of posters and the pretty pink books that I MUST HAVE BECAUSE THEY COME WITH A NECKLACE. This is to be expected as I am now an adult and the idea of a cheap star necklace that will turn my neck green is no longer appealing.  The books themselves are as tantalizing as ever however.  

Book and Image Found HERE
Think Hunger Games.  It is a dystopian world where citizens are broken down into five factions.  Each person chooses his or her faction and is forever separated from the other factions.  They are tested to see what group they belong in and for most it is crystal clear but for Beatrice it is not.  She is Divergent.  She chooses to abandon her family to join the Dauntless faction where she finds herself fighting to remain part of the group she has chosen.  There is some romance woven in but the story would still stand up without it.  She uncovers corruption and has to hide her true identity meanwhile fighting for what is right and learning that it is the combination of her traits that truly make her brave.  This is also becoming a movie that comes out 3/21/14 for which I am excited.  I need to get Book 2: Insurgent and devour that before Book 3 comes out in October. 

Book and Image found HERE

An unlikely friendship is formed between two teenagers passing notes back and forth in a tiny practice room they use.  They are brought together through music as both try to stand up to the pressure coming from all sides.  A friendship is formed, but their other friends and families don't understand.  When music is involved, beauty is created.  

Book and Image found HERE
The fourth and final installment in Lois Lowry's "The Giver" series.  So good.  SOOOO good.  All four books in the series can stand up on their own and be understood but the four in context creates a wonderful story.  Claire was once a member of the Society and gives birth to a son.  He is taken from her and she will go to the ends of the earth to find him.  She sacrifices nearly everything for him and in the end it is her son who must save her.  

Book and Image found HERE
A sci-fi cinderella story.  I'm actually still reading this one but I love it so far.  Cinder is a cyborg and a second class citizen.  Her adoptive step mother hates her and essentially sells her to get rid of her but all is not as it seems.  Cinder is the best mechanic in New Beijing, so good that even Prince Kai has heard of her skill and brings her a broken android with information that just might change Cinder's life.  I can hardly wait for the ending.  :) 

Book and Image found HERE

Azalea and her sisters love to dance more than just about anything else but when their mother dies on Christmas giving birth to their twelfth sister Lily, they are thrust into the world of mourning: no color, no light, no music, and especially no dancing.  Her father the king does not understand them and treats Azalea like a child.  She rebels, finding a hidden place in the castle guarded by a mysterious man called the Keeper where she and her sisters can go to dance at night.  As the year of mourning draws to a close, she may find that the keeper's price is too high.  Yet, through the love of her family and friends and Azalea's own stubbornness he will be defeated.  I don't want to give away all the plot twists so I will leave it at that.  

I love reading.  I did buy other books when I bought these and I'll probably post about them another time.  If you want to borrow these, let me know.  I'll give you the hook up.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Gotta Get Down on Friday...

...Everybody's looking forward to the weekend.  Partying?  Not so much.  Tonight, I made a very exciting trip to Walmart to hit redbox and get hagan daas.  I watched Star Trek and ate sorbet and have soaked in the tub with a glass of Niagra and my book.  Mmmmm....  I feel so good right now.  

Tomorrow, I am going to a vocal workshop in Lewes.  I haven't done much with my voice lately so this is a nice change.  I hope to ask about how to preserve my voice when I find myself talking and shouting so much in my life as a teacher.  I was so exhausted, vocally and physically, on Tuesday night and I can't keep on like that.  Maybe if the kids behaved themselves I wouldn't have to yell?  Somehow I don't think this is a good long term plan...

After I return from this workshop, Mom and I are going to go shopping at Goodwill.  With the whole I'm-losing-weight thing, I almost perpetually need new clothing.  On Sunday I realized my leggings were too big.  As in sagging in the butt too big.  Enter today when I decided to wear tights with my skirt.  They were a new pair that I bought in the spring.  When I first put them on, all was fine but as the day drew on, I kept having to yank them up as they were sagging around the knees.  Not a look I was going for.  

I am at the point where people are suddenly realizing that I have, in fact, lost a lot of weight.  I am down two sizes in pants and three in dresses (well, depending on the cut.  I still have huge hips).  I used to use my hips as shelves for carrying things.  I can still do that but not as easily.  The other day I was carrying a cardboard box on my hip and had to stop every 30 seconds to adjust because it was digging into my hip bone.  Ouch.  I haven't had that problem before.  Don't get me wrong--I still have more padding than I would like but I am now wearing smaller clothes than I wore in high school, a very good feeling.  

It was a rough week at work for a lot of different reasons I won't get into here.  Frustrating as it has been, the people that I work with are amazing and I believe that we are all committed to making a positive impact on these kids' lives.  I am so thankful for the friends that I have made in work, both last year and this year.  

Sunday is church day.  I am digging my new Sunday school class and it is also a youth luncheon Sunday, which I will be helping with because apparently 8 hours a day five days a week is not enough time with kids for me.  Middle school kids have wormed their way into my heart.  Apparently this is the age group of my heart.  Go figure.  

After church, I need to make a run down to Salisbury to pick up a birthday gift for my brother.  And also starbucks.  and possibly Old Navy.  oh, and Michaels.  I haven't been to Michael's in FOREVER.  ...This is starting to sound expensive.  Probably not the best since I was a week to wait before I get a real paycheck...  One way or another, I will figure it out.  

Hopefully I'll get to do some sewing this weekend.  I've knocked out a new garment each weekend and it would be a shame to break the streak...  I'm sure there is something in my stash waiting to become gorgeous.  :)  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Entry in which I make fun of myself

So funny story.  I worked very hard to try to remember all the French I know and post signage in the room in French.  I made verb conjugation charts and tried very hard to remember basic classroom commands.  I didn't fully trust myself to remember it all so I looked a lot of it up to double check.  Unfortunately, despite those precautions, I seem to have made some mistakes.  The teacher I will be working with pointed a few of these out.  Another one occurred to me after she left.  

On the door to my room, I have a sign that says "Chambre 107, Mademoiselle Wasson, Classe francaise."  This is one I didn't look up.  I knew "chambre" is a word for room.  It was the sign about the bathroom that made me realize me error.  See, in France, and in a lot of Europe in fact, they have split bathrooms that would have the toilet in one room and the shower and sink in another.  So I was thinking about how the toilet room is called "la toilette" or "le W.C." and how the shower room is called "la salle de bains" which literally means room of baths.  Room of baths.  Salle=room.  Crap.  But I know chambre means room.  Some kind of room anyway.  So what does chambre mean?  

La chambre can mean a few different things.  It is an antiquated term for room in general, but it usually means "chambers" as in court chambers or the like... or it means bedroom.  Or hotel room.  So welcome to bedroom 107.  I'll need to make a new sign now.  It's not *technically* incorrect but "salle de classe 107" certainly has better implications.  

In other news, two weeks down.  Apparently I rock as a facilitator.  But we all know that I'm awesome anyway.  This year's staff is awesome.  And I'm here permanently which is like the best thing ever.  Because I'm not subbing and I have my own classroom.  

Outside of school, I am sewing whenever possible.  In fact, I am getting ready to go turn a pile of waiting fabric into a new dress.  And reading.  Lots of reading.  Which is why I haven't been blogging.  Oh well.  Enjoy this post and maybe I'll post something else... at some point. :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Hello grown up job!

I have determined that I am somehow becoming old at 23.  Because the most exciting thing in my life right now is that I have a job that is SALARIED and has BENEFITS like VISION INSURANCE and a PENSION!!!  And I have to make the difficult decision as to whether or not to join the union.  What I am most excited for, honest to goodness, is to not be subbing any longer.  Yes.  I've never been *normal* so I suppose my excitement over the mundane is to be expected.  

One other wonderful, wonderful part of this job is connecting with nerds like myself.  I am at the school where I was a long term sub last year so I know a lot of the people I am working with and know the music nerds.  I kind of miss being a music teacher so I have an excuse to pose questions like "Who was the bigger jerk:  Shoenberg or Wagner?" and "Handel: Do we call him a German, English, or Italian composer?" and "Drumline: Worst thing to ever happen to marching bands, even after almost 11(!?) years?"  I still get to have conversations like that at times, but instead of teaching music... J'enseigne le fran├žais (I teach French).  

The nerdy conversations do not stop though.  Oh far from.  Because, madams et monsiers, I have met fellow Doctor Who nerds.  WHOVIANS OF THE WORLD UNITE!!!


I honestly can't remember if I have blogged about my obsession with Doctor Who but I love it.  The Doctor is my dream man.  I'm waiting for the TARDIS to be outside my window to take me off to see the universe, the big scary universe.  Yesterday, I had what was possibly the nerdiest conversation ever with another teacher in the main office.  We were discussing theories about one of the Doctor's companions and the upcoming season and all kinds of other theories about the show.  She and her husband are both Whovians, as is one of the teachers I spent a lot of time with last year.  The next casual day, I fully intend to wear one of my Who tee shirts so I can smoke out any other Whovians.  And we will rule the school.  

Okay, nerd rant done.  Peace!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The best advice

I have been given a lot of advice through the years.  Some of it I have followed and some of it I haven't.  There are nuggets of wisdom I wish I hadn't ignored and other little pieces of "sage advice" I wish I had never listened to.  That being said, I think the most important thing that has been instilled in me is that you should dedicate your time and "play" money to things that you love.  I'm not saying that you can ignore your responsibilities and financial obligations in favor of spending all your time and money on your hobbies, to be certain, but life is too short to do things you hate just because you think you're supposed to do them.  So what kind of things do I love?  

Well, I love to sing.  So music takes up a lot of my free time.  I love to create.  I have spent a lot of time and money on sewing and crafting.  I also love spending time with friends and going on adventures.  Case in point:  this weekend I went to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire with a group of friends and had an absolute BLAST.  So much fun.  I am one of THOSE people at the faire.  The ones in costume who run around with a lot of other people in costume.  When my friend Matt is there in his full knight get up, it gets even more awesome because half of the people there are convinced that with a band of costumed groupies as large as ours, we have to be part of the staff, right?  If only they knew... 

I was AWOL for most of last week because when I wasn't working, I was working on costume stuff for myself, Jackie, and Aaron so we could be the most awesomely awesome people there.  Seriously.  We rocked it.  

Look at us being all awesome and stuff!
That being said, I learned something important at the Faire:  my well made, steel boned bodice is not made for someone who is 5'2".  How do I know this?  Those steel bones that make me look oh-so-svelte in that image were stabbing me in the arm pit all flipping day and cut off the circulation to my arms at one point.  I must have worn it pulled farther down over my hips last time because Saturday I thought I was going to have blisters in my armpits.  Which is more than you wanted to know.  But I looked awesome.  So my next major-major sewing project will likely be a custom corset scaled properly for someone of my height.  And also reversible.  

Jackie and I capped off our journey to the past by staying over in a hotel in King of Prussia with the LOUDEST FLIPPING AIR CONDITIONER ON THE PLANET.  It was like a truck driving through our room every half an hour, waking us both up.  Oh well.  Breakfast, while delicious, was also populated by way too many children at the waffle maker, and consumed on a sticky table after a couple stole the table I had reserved by placing my coffee on it.  Apparently this was ineffectual.  Oh well.  

The shopping senses of most women were probably activated by the "King of Prussia" mention there.  Yes, the same place as the mall.  Yes, we went shopping.  I learned that in the year since I have been to KOP, both the H&M and the Forever21 have greatly expanded.  I also learned that my friend Aaron has killer fashion sense.  It was scary have a straight man go "yes, that would look great" and "no, you'll look really old in that.  Don't do it" and be right. EVERY. SINGLE.  TIME.  Like the dress HERE.  I tried one on very similar.  Aaron said "No.  That will make you look like a middle aged soccer mom.  Don't do it."  ...To say how I looked in that dress would be an insult to all soccer moms out there.  It was bad.  He was also right about a top I wasn't going to give the time of day.  It looked fantastic on me.  And he also told me flowers in my hair are a good look for me.  

Also involved in the weekend festivities was a trip to Godiva (YUM) and to IKEA where adventures were had.  I was exhausted upon arriving home last night.  Too much excitement in one day makes Caitlin a tired girl.  That being said, I wouldn't trade any of it, nor would I do a single thing differently (other than stay in a hotel that didn't have an extremely loud AC).  

This week marks the start of my new job which is both exciting and terrifying.  So sorry if I disappear again.  I promise, it's because I'm doing really cool stuff.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Puppy Love

A few months ago, I wrote a post about my dog.  I love that little dog like he were family because, quite honestly, he is part of our family.  Or more accurately I should say was.  Last Wednesday, we had Fonzie put to sleep.  

He was fourteen years old and has been happy and active for most of his life.  He has had terrible pooping problems though and when I took him to the vet earlier in the summer, we learned that he had a mass on his prostate that was cutting off his bowel and causing all of his pooping issues.  It seemed really dire at first, and in a lot of ways it was but he still seemed happy, though perhaps a little more stinky.  

He was all our dog, my parent's, mine, and my brother's.  We all loved him and none of us were ready to let go.  So as long as he was happy, we were happy with cleaning up after him.  But when he stopped eating and seemed to be lethargic and in physical pain, we knew.  Fonzie has always been a voracious eater, and while he has gotten pickier with age, when offer food he loves like cooked chicken or bacon or french fries, he would consume them as eagerly as ever.  Until this weekend when he stopped eating and threw up the very little he did manage to eat.  Not a good sign.  

We took him to the vet, hoping for some kind of alternative but knowing that was unlikely.  I think the vet knew as well, almost as soon as he saw Fonzie, who normally does his level best to get as far away from the vet as possible sitting docilely on a blanket atop the exam table.  After a time to say good bye to the little dog we loved so much, the vet gave him a shot and he breathed his last. 

I've been trying for more than a week to write this post, to explain what losing this dog has meant to me.  When a human dies, you write a list of their accomplishments and who they are leaving behind.  But what does a dog accomplish in his lifetime?  He didn't rescue people from burning buildings or bark at an intruder to wake us up.  He was just our family pet, and his job was to love us, which he did faithfully to his last.  

In his younger years, Fonzie was a great source of entertainment.  When he was excited, he would run around the first floor of the house, ears flapping and nails skittering, only to stop on a dime in front of you.  If you moved, he'd turn around and run the opposite direction.  This could go on for several minutes before Fonzie would either allow you to pet him or would decide he was tired of it and hop up on the couch.  

One of Fonzie's favorite toys was a good ol' tennis ball, though perhaps his game wasn't the most traditional.  He would bid you to throw the ball and then proceed to knock it under the sofa or other piece of furniture where he couldn't reach it on his own.  Then he would cry until you got it and threw it again, at which point he would repeat the whole process until either he or the human was tired of it.  

He loved to take walks... in theory.  Once you got more than about 100 yards from home, suddenly he had to rethink the whole idea.  He was also not a big fan of being in the car, unless we were going to the cottage.  Fonzie LOVED the cottage.  He would get super excited as soon as he realized we were driving into the neighborhood.  

Fonzie loved all of us.  In recent years, He has done the rounds between all of our beds at night, starting with my parents and visiting myself and my brother throughout the night.  I think he didn't want any of us to feel lonely.  When any of us were sick, Fonzie was always there playing nurse, including and especially when Mom has been sick and recovering from chemo.  

There are a thousand little ways he was loved us and we have loved him.  I would share all of them but I think that would take a novel.  I miss my little doggie and he will always be a sweet memory and a part of my life.  

Love and Peace,  

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fun Facts Fridays: Ten Celebrities I Have Crush On

And Channing Tatum is NOT on my list.  Seriously.  I am possibly the only woman on the planet who feels that way.  I swear I am straight though.  Maybe you'll agree when you see the list.  

1.  Jonathan Rhys Myers 

Yum.  Total Eye candy.  Contrary to popular belief, my love does not stem from the Tudors.  No, I found him delicious in August Rush.  I hear he is a jerk in real life though.  So I will look from afar.  

2.  Patrick Dempsey

I had a really hard time picking a photo.  They were all so yummy. So I chose the intense gaze of this Versace ad.  He seems like he would be a really nice, romantic guy in real life.  And the pictures of him with his kids are adorable.  

3.  Liam Hemsworth

Oh Liam.  Why are you with Miley when you could be with me?  You are delicious and you seemed really sweet in the Last Song.  And I also have a lot of trouble separating you from your role as Gale.  

4.  Jonathan and Drew Scott

I know this is cheating but they are identical twins.  And super good looking.  And always seem so nice on TV.  And they do real estate investing and design houses.  Can you imagine anything better?  

5.  Gerard Butler

Look at those eyes.  LOOK AT THEM!!!!  So blue.  And don't forget about those Abs in 300.  Or, for the musician in me, his voice in Phantom of the Opera.  I even like him in the Ugly Truth.  Yes.

6.  Ryan Gosling


I feel like I would hardly be a woman if I didn't like Ryan Gosling.  I mean for gosh sakes, just watch the Notebook.  He probably isn't as sweet and sensitive in real life as he comes across on the screen and in the paparazzi photographs but still.  I can at least admire from afar.  

7.  David Tennant


Yum.  David will always be my favorite doctor.  In fact, I'm waiting to hear the TARDIS on my front lawn and I am fully convinced that David will open the door and invite me to explore the universe with him.  Aside from that, David Tennant seems like a nice guy.  He likes to interact with his young fans.  Oh, and he also seems a little crazy/dorky just like me.  

8.  Benedict Cumberbatch


I think I could listen to his voice all day.  And also stare into his eyes. And run my fingers through his hair.  But mostly I think I just want to stare at him.  

9.  David Boreanaz


I can't decide which role I like him better in:  Angel or Agent Booth.  Probably Booth (from Bones in case you were wondering).  He seems like a big strong protector type.  

10.  Matthew McFayden


Oprah once made a joke that she could listen to Sean Connery read the phone book.  I could DEFINITELY listen to Matthew McFayden read the phone book.  And those eyes.  Looking over the list, I seem to have a thing for dark haired guys with pretty eyes.  He is definitely no exception.  

So this is an extremely superficial list, in case you didn't notice.  Somehow I doubt any of these men are my soul mate (the majority are married already) but I can still look from afar, right?  I hope you enjoyed the eye candy.  'Til next time.