Friday, February 26, 2010

Truly Thankful

May I please always remember this moment in my life when I am really and truly happy. I know, I know, it's probably just the hormones. Nevertheless, it really does seem as though most things (the important ones anyway) in my life are pointed in the right direction. Life is good. Now let's hope that doesn't tempt fate or the gods too much.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vacation Aftershocks

It seems one can't go away on a wonderful vacation without paying for it in some form. I'm not talking about money here, but more like karma. Our trip to Maui was not without this type of exchange. We enjoyed sun, sand, and family togetherness, but then, when we got home, reality was waiting in the form of a leaky toilet and a crushed frog.

While we were away our cat and our house got bored without us, and they decided to amuse themselves in different and creative ways. Our cat solved this problem by chasing the small plastic frog habitat off the counter thus killing one of the frog occupants. Either the cat couldn't or wouldn't actually eat the frogs, so the one who retained his structural integrity was saved by our friend, K, who happened to come in at a lucky moment.

That was not the only bit of saving K managed to do for us. The toilet decided to start leaking a couple days before we were to return. She managed to soak up most of the water, so we did not have major damage to the rest of our floors. Poor M had to spend a whole day at home waiting for the hugely expensive (given the tiny problem) plumber to arrive, but now we are back in business.

Thanks again, K, for saving our bacon :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maui Vacation 2010

Elder Niece insisted on calling this a "holiday" because that sounds so much better than vacation. She thinks you take a vacation from stress and worry, but you go on a holiday for fun. Whatever it is, we've had a wonderful time. Maui is just as beautiful as people say, and we found plenty of ways to keep ourselves occupied.

The first thing we noticed upon arrival was the open walls in some parts of the airport. Only in a place with truly mild weather could you get away with that. We all met up at the airport having arrived in two groups. It took a moment of standing around and staring before we had it together to find our rental cars. Having visited Hawaii before, I was prepared for the dumb-struck effect. Look at all the flowers! Have you ever seen (or heard) birds like that? Oh my goodness look at the ocean!

In the days since arrival we've found all sorts of wonderful activities to keep us busy. We drove the long (and very twisty) road to Hana on one of our days. This entailed fantastic views of ocean, cliffs, and about 27 different natural environments (thanks micro-climates!). We did have some famous banana bread, and it was just as good as they say. We took 10 million pictures.

Another day was snorkeling, and this was a huge revelation for many of us. Even I, the ponderous pregnant lady, managed to get down to the beach and put my head under the water. It really is another world down there with all the coral and fish. Elder Niece was especially smitten, and I will not forget seeing her bobbing around with several of the others.

Whale watching is something we've tried before, and while out last trip off Kauai was a fun boat ride, we did not see a single whale. This trip was an entirely different story. However, I find that I've run on a bit long, so more on that later. Then we have the beaches. We've visited sandy ones and rocky ones, crowded and empty, calm ones and ones with huge crashing waves. The common thread has been an incredible time. Some of us sat, some of us went crazy in the waves, and I "think" everyone had fun. Nobody got seriously sunburned, and we did not allow ourselves to be caught by that vicious animal known as "the undertoad."

I could go on at some length. The house, the food, the sunsets, the family time was all well worth the trouble of getting there. Now we only face the challenge of accepting that our holiday is over, and we must return to the realities of regular life. Upon getting dropped off at school yesterday, both nieces were in tears. I can't hardly blame them. It's tough to go from a super vacation to the same old same old.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What the ?

Thanks Blogger for posting an incomplete and unedited entry. Whatever gave you the idea to do that? I did not even ask that you include it in the cue as scheduled. If this is some new thing we're doing, I'll have to be very careful about what I save as a draft.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February Food Challenge

This month, M and I have decided to challenge ourselves when it comes to our food buying habits. Instead of going to the market and buying our usual haul of goodies, we have resolved to buy only perishable items such as fruit, veggies, and dairy products. You might think that we were on a health kick or trying to save money, but you would be wrong. I'm sure those things will probably improve, but our main purpose in this has to do with our pantry.

I admit that I do have a pantry problem. I like to get good deals on food, and I also hate running out of things. Therefore, when I see a tiny price for an item I know we will need, I tend to buy it. This is how our pantry got to be one huge and teetering pile. M really tries to combat this problem through organization, but the simple truth is that we have too much. Sometimes, I'm ashamed to say, we have so many items that things actually go past date without my even noticing.

Last weekend we made our first trip to the grocery store while under the "no pantry foods" ban. We only bought about half as much as normal, and it was all fresh and not processed. Meals this week were fairly normal since we did have so much "in stock." Now I'm waiting to see what things will be like by the very end of the month when we've started to run out of things. Maybe that will be when we actually have to eat just the fresh stuff. As long as we don't run out of coffee, I think we'll make it through.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Joy of Not Doing

This week our school is on vacation. I know that may seem odd for those who are not from around here, but some districts in Washington have a long tradition of taking a week off in February. Some say that this is the grayest part of the year, and so we take it off to go find sun. Others say that it's an attempt to burn out any stubborn flu bugs by keeping kids at home. Whatever the reason, I'm incredibly grateful that we have it this year. By the end of day on Friday, I was seriously dragging.

This week I am going to enjoy NOT getting up early. I will go to bed when I choose, NOT set an alarm, and then get up whenver I choose. I will NOT have laid out my clothes for the next day, and I will NOT go down to eat a pre-selected breakfast. Lunch will also come whenever I like, and I will NOT force down my food in 22 minutes. I will do no hall duty. I will NOT answer 47 questions an hour. I will NOT spend any time talking about indirect object pronouns or the copper shortage during the Sung dynasty. It's going to be great.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Baby Does Kung Fu or Possibly Gymnastics

The other day I was in a serious meeting with, just by chance, a whole group of men. I was doing my best to look serious and dedicated to our topic when the baby decided to have a party. She was kicking and jumping for all she was worth, and it was all I could do to keep from grinning like an idiot. As it was, I wondered if my bouncing belly would actually be noticed. I think my concentration has seriously begun to slip.

It seems like only yesterday that I was noticing the first few butterfly-like nudges as I began to feel the baby move. Now, she's done some serious growing, and her activity level has grown as well. There are times where I am sure she is doing a tap dancing routine or possibly some floor exercises in there. One of my new favorite pastimes is sitting on the couch with my feet up, and watching my belly bounce around. You can actually tell the difference between her small kicks and jabs and a major change of position. A full body roll makes my whole middle move. It feels like, well really, there isn't a comparison. It feels like nothing else in life.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Goodbye Job

A most particular thing has happened. It should not make any difference to my situation, but for some reason, I'm finding it a bit hard to accept. It seems that, after nine years together, my school is breaking up with me. Now it is true that once the baby comes, I was planning to do the breaking up (for a time at least), but I was on the proverbial fence about coming back after one or two years of leave. Now it seems that choice has been made for me.

The administration/union circus came to our school a few days ago and presented about the staffing changes in our building and district. It seems that our over-crowded school will be down-sizing because a new school is opening to take some of the load. This means that about 1/3 of all students and teachers will be forcibly excessed to the new school. You might think that nearly a decade of seniority would be enough to save my position, but no. The “best” part was the way the presenter kept telling us that everything would be “cool and groovy” in the end. Nobody in that room was feeling cool and groovy let me tell you.

Should I choose to come back, I would be guaranteed a place somewhere in the district. That could mean any job for which I am qualified. 12th grade civics anyone? A school nearly an hour from my house perhaps? Even if I did get lucky and end up somewhere close, it would still be a process of starting over with both co-workers and curriculum. Oh well, there is nothing I can do about this for at least one and possibly two years. At the moment I can't quite imagine life without school, but I suppose that will come soon enough.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Tasty Falafel Recipe

Okay, yes I admit that I do have an addiction to The Food Network. I watch cooking shows all the time, but I rarely actually make the recipes they depict. Partially this is due to the lack of vegetarian food, but also it's just plain old laziness. The other night, however, I decided to be brave (and energetic). We happened to have some open chickpeas in the refrigerator, so I thought I might do something with those. At first I checked recipes for Moroccan stews and such, but then I found the perfect one for baked falafel.

Ellie Krieger is one of my favorite TV chefs, and her recipe for falafels did not disappoint. They are light, crispy, and delicious without all the pools of oil you usually find. Two kinds of fresh herbs keep them moist even though they bake in the oven. Not only that, but they were truly easy to make as long as you have a food processor. I'm absolutely doing this recipe again, and I think it will be especially good on summer evenings when you have piles of perfect tomatoes to use as garnish.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Great Quote #495

"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."

(Ralf Waldo Emerson)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Busy Times Round #798

Yeah, I know it's not a new bit of news, but I am not much of one for blogging this week due to much work all around. A week that just happens to be chock-a-block with meetings (more on that later) is also the one where I am trying to grade a huge pile of essays. I'm pretty sure that this is nothing unusual for the time of year. All I have to do is keep my head down and get through. It just seems so strange to think that I won't be doing this at the same time next year.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Fun With Dextrose

Another month means another round of testing for The Hummingbird and me. Our last visit to the doctor included the standard pee test, weight check, and blood pressure test, but it also included two tests that were new for us. The first was a fantastically low-tech measuring of my belly using a tailor's tape. The other was a blood glucose test, and it involved much more than just relaxing on the table.

On the day of the test, I was lucky to get a morning appointment because I could not eat in the four hours prior. My only breakfast for that day was a ten ounce bottle of liquid given to me by the doctor at our previous appointment. I'm told that I was lucky because I got lemon/lime flavor which is supposed to be one of the easiest to get down. Why was it hard to swallow? Because that little ten ounce bottle contained 50g of dextrose. That's nearly twice the sugar per ounce than a can of Coke.

At a certain point, sweet stops being a nice flavor and becomes incredibly disgusting. I will never forget sitting on the sofa, staring down that mug of fluid, and wondering how I was going to swallow it all in the five minute window allowed by the directions. It tasted like... Hmm, I can't really think of a comparison. Maybe flat 7up that has been boiled to intensify the sweet? The empty stomach didn't help, and I nearly lost it all in the parking lot of the doctor's office.

Exactly one hour after drinking the nasty stuff, I was having my blood drawn. I heard a nurse telling another patient that babies who move after getting the sugar rush are the ones who don't have problems with diabetes. That made me feel much better because The Hummingbird was doing a serious dance the whole time we were in the office. In fact, as they tried to listen to her heartbeat with the Doppler, she kept slipping away from them and hiding on the other side of my belly.

It seems that the nurse was right about sugar and busy babies. We got back our clean bill of health about one week later. No gestational diabetes for the two of us! I'm hugely relieved for all the obvious reasons, and also because it means I don't have to drink any more horrid sugar water. May all our future testing turn out as well as this one.