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pigtailed katee
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March 9th, 2011

(pokes head in slowly)

pigtailed katee
Hi! (waves)

Sorry to be AWOL. My writing career is stalling in favor of my RL career....and while necessary, I am still looking forward to the end of my principal certification program, so that my part time job can be writing again.

Not to say that I am not writing...weekly reflection journals for my internship count as writing, right? And those scraps of fan-fic I dash out as time permits, just so that I can say I wrote something?


On the bright side, life is pretty good. My usual stress-mess, but I've found margarita weekends help that some. :) I just spent an hour reading and playing with the kiddies and had a blast. Was nice, after a couple of days of being confined under the influence of NyQuil to bed on night and working fourteen hours the next day at school. Poor hubby has been a single dad for a couple days. While the Younger Blossom has been having some beavhior issues at school (yellow light days are outnumbering green light days int he preK), Elder is suddenly this amazing not-so-little girl who is awesome to hang out with (mostly.) She is finally, FINALLY reading chapter books on her own. She went from the beginning of 2nd grade reading level to the end of 4th grade  in half a year, and is LIKING reading. And, praise God, Junie B. Jones, with her attitude and poor grammar, is no longer what she wants to read.

The latest library books-- which is a controversy in and of itself, as she is unhappy with the limited choices in the series that her school library owns (only 3 of 7 books! horrors!)-- she has decided are the poop are Jim Benton's Franny K. Stein books. They aren't bad, and any kids book that plays on a piece of classic literature can't be all bad. She wants to go buy the books-- and has saved up a bit of allowance so that she actually could. But while I was looking around on the Internet, I found out that you can order the book directly from the author, with autograph, for the same price as going to the book store. I think the autograph would be worth the shipping cost. The question is-- will Eldest think the wait time for the books to arrive are worth the autograph? Probably not....but its an awesome idea if you are buying a gift for a kid and have the time to wait.

And the author's site has the COOLEST Franny K. book marks.

We have also instituted a new bed-tiem book rule-- each child picks a book, and Mommy and Daddy get a pick. This is partially because Eldest absolutely refuses to look at any of the collection of Illustrated Classics I purchased back before she could walk, and this way we could maybe interest her in them. Because we found she was reading OTHER reading material (Hubby's bathroom book library), and wanted to distract her from it. There's nothing like a 7 year old announcing, after paying a lo-o-o-ng visit to the bathroom, that her new favorite book is "In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks....And Other Complaints From An Angry, Middle-Aged White Guy."

So we have begun reading a section of Padraic Calum's The Children's Homer every night. There was fierce resistance at first, but Eldest is really into it. I'm an English teacher, so I read and explain, trying to remember that she's not one of my urban high school students...but she's getting better than when I read Beowulf with my freshman. She is awesome at retelling sections and acting out voices. We have about 240 pages more to go, but we have also chosen our next Mommy/Daddy choice book-- the illustrated Classics Frankenstein. This is partially because Eldest keeps arguing with us taat we are pronouncing Franny K's name wrong. It's "Stain" not "Stine," she insists. And also...I actually did teach this version to my lowest level Freshman English class one year. I'm curious how she does with it.

December 31st, 2010

The Endless Round of Ilness

pigtailed katee
Well, this has been a rather blah holiday. Not only have the immediate family been ill-- colds, stomach virus-- but the extended family has been passing it around as well. This means that the cousin in for a week from Maryland, who I planned on hanging out with a bunch this week, got to hang out for about an hour, with a sick kid on her lap. And all those holiday goodies??? Most people weren't eating....

I did manage to use my time to clean my house up some and put away Christmas piles, but after a week of being home, things aren't so clean anymore. :( Snow storms have also brought the endless salt crumbs across my hard wood floors, despite trying to get kids to remove boots at the door.

And, as always, there is the endless pile of grading that I have largely avoided but must be completed by Monday or my life will be hell again...I just don't have that spark this year. I have hardly any desire to try and make my lessons interesting, and have abandoned a lot of things that used to be fun but difficult to do. Just don't have the energy. (On the bright side, a massive research paper for one of my principal certification classes on the insanity of No Child Left behind testing on urban and minority youth-- 22 pages, with a 2 page, single spaced bibliography-- got an A. Not a great paper, but those professional writing skills serve me well.)

The bright side of vacation has been some nice time with my Blossoms, who loved everything they got for Christmas (And this was the first year that there were toys on their list that were specifically requested and hard to find on Black Friday....Barbie Video Girl, Unicorn Pillow Pet, and Barbie Puppy Swim School among them) and have greatly enjoyed hanging out with cousins as time and health allowed. One of the things I remember most from when I was younger was family around at holidays. That's something that just doesn't happen as much these days, and I often wonder how the heck my aunts and uncles managed it so much back then. I think I'm just a wuss. I don't have the energy to hang out for hours and deal with cranky kids who don't sleep enough. Its a different dynamic than I remember as a child. I watched my niece some this week, and we were late getting home from hanging out with my side of the family, and she didn't want to stay over and save her mom the trip to pick her up at 9 PM when she was coming back at 8 AM the next day...she cried to go home. I remember crying to STAY, not leave, when I was her age.

I do hope that my kids feel as close to their cousins as I did as a child. Although maybe it was because I was an only child that I did.

Another bright side of my vacation has been spending time with Hubby. He does so much to make my life easier while I am overwhelmed with work and class and writing and kids...sometimes, we just don't get solid time to ourselves where I don't HAVE to multi task all the time. We actually spent a nice night watching Zombieland this week, and had so much fun. Zombieland is an awesome movie, one I didn't think I'd like-- i'm not a big zombie person--but it was great. I actually think I could use it to teach Fruedian literary analysis-- the hunt for a Twinkie in the apocalypse, the role of a Twinkie in the line between worlds in Ghostbusters...good lateent versus manifest content analysis there. I highly suggest watching the movie, especially if you are a Bill Murray fan.

Some of my other time was spent writing-- i actually went back, and wiht a fresh eye, decided how to rework my novella sequel to Going All In. I was having such issues with it-- and with my principalship classes and new administrative duties at work, as well as taking over most of the school yearbook and having to learn that-- that I haven't done much with it in months. But now I feel like the block is over, and that I can start trying to resurrect the writing as a business again.....if my publisher is even interested any more. And if not, there are plenty of e-publishers out there. I have at least been doing fan fic as time permits-- over 2200 readers at fanfiction.net this month alone, with over 5,000 chapters read. I just haven't managed a sustained marketing effort, and that might sink me. But again, can always find another publishers if I need to.

After all, its New Year's...and this is when new possibilities beckon and the past is evaluated.

Hope all is well with anyone still reading my irregular updates, and happy New Year!

October 18th, 2010

Halloween Decorating

lynda carter wonder woman
Spent an intermittent half of my weekend (at least a third) decorating for Halloween at the urging my two not-so-little anymore Blossoms. We hung garland everywhere on the patio, and purple bows and purple garland bats on the railing. Then we cut out and decorated a ton of little skulls-and-cross-bones, Frankenstein's monster's heads, bats, and pumpkins for the bay window. Tired me out, but the place looks decent (given my lack of housekeeping, some areas require competition between clutter and Halloween-y.) (Photos will probably follow, if I have time to up load them.)

Of course, the two urgers petered out fairly quickly, and my quick run to pick up mums for the front turned into a three stop, hour-long torture session with those two. I just don't understand how they can be SO oblivious to everything around them, to be in every person's way, to not look in the parking lot, the inability to walk in a straight line....how they never hear my directions until the third time, when I am yelling at them. SIGH.

I love my children, but they drive me crazy. I keep trying, though, and Hubby tells me that's the maternal spirit-- sheer stubbornness to keep attempting to do fun things with them despite my frustration with their rambunctiousness.

I haven't been feeling much like a good mom of late, what with being over whelmed at work, taking my own graduate classes (three to go and I'm a certified PA school principal!), trying to churn out some writing (just fan fic I won't get paid for, but at leas its something) and generally feeling crappy from the autoimmunes again. I seem to yell more than anything, have to say no to the girls so I can get work done, and ignoring housework (there are a lot of precariously perched, full laundry baskets of clean clothes to put away.) All in all, just not feeling so positive these days.

Hubby is helping a lot, but the archaeology job market is looking up, so he will hopefully be back to work soon. While I know he really wants to go back to work, and we really need him monetarily to go back to work, I cringe when I think how much stuff he does for me now that I'll have to start doing again if he's working. SIGH.

As usual, most days, I feel like I'm hanging by my fingertips from a skyscraper ledge.

One semi-bright thought, that occurred to me amidst the rest of my whining-- its been seven years since I was diagnosed with pretty aggressive Rheumatoid Arthritis. My initial rheumatologist, after trying some treatments that were worse than the disease, pretty much had me thinking that I would have to give up teaching by the ten year mark, if not working at all. Half of all those diagnosed are fully disabled by that point in the disease, at least that was the standard when I found out I had it. While I am a lot slower than I used to be, and don't have the same stamina-- teaching four subjects this year is harder than it has ever been before, and I am beginning to question the idea for next year-- I am still teaching, and the RA is largely in remission. I can get down and play with the girls still, and still pick the younger one up. On good days, I can even still touch my toes and wear heels. There may be other autoimmune issues now, but none of them are so frightening stark as that RA diagnosis.

And no matter how overwhelmed I get, I just keep repeating to myself that things could be so much worse than they are. I can handle this. This is nothing. A nap here and there would help, but I can do this. 


I did get to spend some time babysitting my littlest cousin this weekend...who is absolutely adorable and easy to get along with. It was after her bed time, and near the girls' bedtime, so they stayed home and I graded while I watched NCIS after she went to bed. Just an hour of playing, though, reminds me why we aren't having a third. Babies are lovely, especially when you can give them back!

October 11th, 2010

I did it all?

pigtailed katee
I am in the strangest of places right this second. My "MUST BE DONE" list is....done.

This NEVER happens.

Let me clarify-- this is not my general, "I should get to this stuff sometime" list. This isn't even my "I must do this this week" list. This is, simply, what had to be done today. That might seem like a tiny accomplishment, but its earth shattering enough that I am sitting here stressing over the certainty that I MUST have forgotten SOMETHING on the list. But...

My kids are bathed, in bed, and clothes are ready for tomorrow.
Laundry is sorted and begun, largely courtesy of hubby.
My car has gas.
Lunches are made, courtesy of hubby.
My work for work is finished-- all classes planned for, tests graded that can be returned tomorrow, AP planning loosely finished for several days, and extra curriculars (yearbook layout and computer work) was done hours ago.
The last chapter on a fan fic is posted. Another fanfic was begun.
I got to watch House in real time, for a change.
All my homework due for my principal class tomorrow is typed and just needs to be printed at school tomorrow.
My yearbook meeting is planned.
My student teacher/visitor schedule for tomorrow is typed up and waiting for her arrival.

i even got to sleep until 11 today, since I am not feeling well (why do teachers only get sick on long weekends and Christmas break?).

And yet-- I feel like I forgot something and that there will be this moment-- probably waking me up abruptly at 2 AM so that I can't get back to sleep-- that I forgot something important.

I am so used to running the treadmill of life that I don't know how to deal with a temporary break in it. I'm supposed to be relaxing and all I can do is sit and worry. Am I alone in this insanity, or do you understand what I mean?

This is so freaky.

September 20th, 2010

same old, same old mostly

pigtailed katee
Barely a nail's length ahead of my usual workload, but I'll take it. Managed to do a LOT this weekend for school, thanks to my wonderful Hubby-- even managed to write some. Makes me feel almost NORMAL. Well, aside from working for twelve hours on a Sunday on top of my usual 7 to 5 times 5.

And NCIS starts tomorrow night!!!!!

September 14th, 2010

Why Do I Do What I Do?

A small vocational crisis, yet again. I will skip the "I have too much to do as a teacher/administrator/class sponsor/AP teacher/yearbook advisor" rant and go straight to my morning moment. Well, it became my all day moment. I am still having trouble wrapping my mind around this. Not that it happened, the event that led to this parent note, but the note. How the hell do you sit down and write it? Don't you feel a little odd being the student handing this to a teacher? I mean....I just mean.

I got a absence note first thing this morning. Aside from the student name I've replaced, it was this, word for word:

"Please excuse So-And-So for missing school yesterday (9/13/10). Her brother was murdered on 9/12/10."

Holy FUCK.

I feel Sysiphean. Seriously. My students-- my kids-- need good teachers. I know that I am a decent teacher. I respect them. I understand the position they are in, somewhat. I grew up in the neighborhoods they live in-- went to the schools in the city-- neither of my parents attended college, my grandparents largely hadn't finished high school. I had a lot of luck in my life, and people who sent me in the right direction. Not all these kids have my luck. I want to help them. I do, honestly, feel like its a calling.

But then these days happen, and I feel like I'm kicked in the gut.

I knowingly picked a profession that would never see immediate results. I thought I could wait to tell that I was making any sort of difference. I'm beginning to lost my patience. I need to see some payback. I put so much in, I just want something back to show me it isn't wasted effort. 

Sorry to depress. Needed to vent. Hope everyone else had a MUCH better day.

August 28th, 2010

breakfast in bed....

smiling katee
...was luckily, barely, avoided.

Let me explain.

Hubby and I are both ill. Headachey, snotty, sore throat, coughing, fever, miserable. Taking antibiotics and such, but they are slow kicking in, or this bug is strong. One of the worse parts is how damn tired we are. I could literally sit down and fall asleep immediately after downing a couple cups of coffee. On most Saturdays, our two little blossoms usually let us sleep until 10 or so; they can feed themselves a breakfast apple, get a drink, turn the TV on, etc. This is handy for parents who like to sleep. This has worked well for months. Not today. Today, we slept too much. Until 1:30. Which gave the kiddies time to keep themselves busy.

They made green pudding (milk and green sprinkles for cupcakes stirred together) with lumps of butter floatingin it. They made roasted marshmallows on toothpicks, in the toaster oven (on a paper plate-- thank god I just cleaned the thing and they didn't set the house on fire.) They also made a salad with dressing. The salad bits were already cut up and in containers in the fridge, so not a big deal. But they mixed Trader Joe's jelly (which we later discovered had grown some mold in the depths of the fridge-- I think they took everything out to look at before starting on "cooking), apple cider, Capri Sun cherry juice, and "spices" (looked like Italian seasoning) to make salad dressing. There were also cheesy nachos-- snack bags of plain potato chips and Frito's with melted American cheese on them. Younger even made her own lemonade, although she forgot to add sugar. 

I love my girls. I appreciate the thought. Am I glad we work up before they brought it up stairs? Yes. Was I going to eat the food? Hell, no, even before I learned what they had put into it.

But I now know that we can no longer sleep in together, Hubby and I, even if we are sick as crap. One of us had to haul our lazy ass up and be sick downstairs on the sofa to keep the kiddies out of trouble.

August 26th, 2010

It's been months of hecticness.

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The Wire
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So-- uh, hi again everyone!

April 1st, 2010

my latest obsession....

hairblowing katee

I found the show, the fan fic.....absolutely love it.

Any suggestions for good NCIS fanfic? I prefer Gabby fics, but any with Abs....

February 19th, 2010

ah, children.....

pigtailed katee

My four year old told me that I am not allowed to talk to her friends. When I protested, she said I could say their name and "Hi!" That's it. And I thought I had until preteen years to worry about this!

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