Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Titan's Curse

I finished reading The Titan's Curse last weekend. I thought I was behind on the bookworm challenge, but I just checked and discovered that I'm actually right on schedule, so I may actually pull it off! Not that reading one book a month is that much of a feat, but it still feels good to be able to set even a piddly little goal and see it come to fruition. Unfortunately my whole Bookworm plan is probably going to derail from this point forward, because I'm pretty sure that I'm going to ditch the rest of the Percy Jackson series. They're great little books, and I can definitely see why middle-schoolers love them, but once you've read one or two books from the series, you may as well have read them all. It's pretty much the same story line for each book: Things are going normal for Percy when something unusual or tragic happens, resulting in Percy and his friends having to go on death-defying quests in which they must fight and conquer mythological creatures in order to retrieve something vitally important. I honestly can't even give a review of The Titan's Curse, because I'm out of things to say. Who knows, I might decide to finish the last two books just because I've already come this far (I've already started Book 4), but I am getting an itch to take a break from the series and read something else.

I did order some "replacement" books from Amazon in case I decide not to finish the Percy Jackson series, and I'm excited about both of them. The first one, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, was recommended by Steven (who happens to work for the C.S. Lewis Foundation) in my Small Group. Here is a description of the book from the back cover:

"Screwtape is an experienced devil. His nephew Wormwood is at the
beginning of his demonic career and has been assigned to secure the damnation of a young man. Their hilarious correspondence is one of C.S. Lewis's most brilliant imaginative creations."

I had to copy that description because I think it just sounds so unique and appealing. I'm ready to read something not so mainstream. My second book, Plain Paradise by Beth Wiseman, was recommended by Kristyn at her Turn of Page blog. Okay, that's not actually accurate. She ordered the book more or less by accident and wasn't 100% sure if she wanted to read it due to its religious overtones, so of course I decided "That sounds perfect for me!" Heehee. All of my books came in today, including Pride and Prejudice. P & P is the book I have been anticipating reading the most, but I've decided that I'm going to save it for summer break so I can really enjoy it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Kicking Grumpiness to the Curb

Okay, I have to admit, despite my "woe is me" post from a few days ago, I have had an amazing week! There wasn't anything really special about it, I just have felt so good (other than a little bit of residual guilt over the previously mentioned issues). I worked out for six days in a row, which is quite a feat for me since I generally come home from work feeling absolutely drained. Even when I was in kickboxing, I never did six consecutive days. But this week, I forced myself to exercise every single day. It's hard to explain, but I could feel these feelings of anxiety trying to creep up on me, and I just decided that this week it wasn't going to happen. Several times I felt the temptation to curl up and take a nap, but instead I jumped on the exercise bike and blasted my iPod. I'm not sure if this is some sort of unhealthy "avoidance" thing, but I don't care, because I feel great.

Yesterday Clint came home and I was in the office ferociously pedaling, and he was laughing because he said I looked so lonely on my little bike in the middle of the tiny room. But my legs are getting stronger again, and I'm up to 65 crunches and between 30-35 push-ups. When I was in kickboxing, I could do 100 crunches and 40 push-ups, so I still have some work to do, but I'm just so happy that I seem to have found a regime that I can stick with. Not to mention that I'm sleeping great. With the exception of last night, I have slept for at least seven blissful hours every night this week.

This morning Naomi, Neicy, and I did our quarterly Aces Breakfast. I had a rough start to my day, which I'll try to explain later on my other poor neglected blog, but after first period it immediately made a turn for the better, and I came home in a great mood. This evening Clint and I took the kids out to dinner, and then we came home and played "Sorry." We had our mp3's playing during our game, so between turns the kids and I kept jumping up and dancing all around the living room. Poor Clint was up for 24 hours yesterday and was running on about four hours of sleep today, and he's stuck putting up with all of us non-serious game players.

After the game, I took a shower, and then worked out. Yeah, I realized after the fact that I did those two activities completely backwards. Very inconvenient. During my shower, I made Clint drag our audio PA system in the bathroom so I could listen to my iPod while in the shower. Yes, I do realize that music has grown into an obsession this week....So during my shower, the music was blasting and I was singing at the top of my lungs and dancing like a mad woman. Which is funny, because I pretty much suck at dancing and I really suck at singing, but it's okay, cuz in my mind I was a total rockstar. ;-) At one point I was even the girl in the Herbal Essences commercial. I'm not proud of this.

Tomorrow Clint and I are going to a karate tournament in Huntington Beach. A few of our kickboxing friends are competing, but the main reason I personally am going is to see Matthew compete. He has been begging me to go to one of his tournaments for months now, and this time he even told Clint, "Tell Mrs. P if she loves me, she'll come see me compete." How do you say no to that? This kid still tugs at my heart like no other student I have ever had, and I'm still in awe that after three years I still can't seem to stop being his teacher.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"You talk too much...maybe that's your way of breaking up the silence that fills you up."

Very aptly stated, Aqualung. But what you probably should have said is "maybe that's your way of adding some interest into your egocentric, self-important life." I feel unsettled today, but it's pretty much my own fault. For some reason, I have this sadistic need to stir up trouble any time life starts getting pleasantly comfortable and boring. I thrive on confrontations. Which is weird, because I don't actually like confrontations, but I am drawn to them in the same way a bug will stupidly gravitate to the electric shocking thingy and ultimately wind up zapped (that metaphor would have sounded a lot better if I knew what the hell I was talking about). A week ago, a friend of mine was venting about something that was troubling her, and rather than offer her comfort, I twisted her own words against her to fulfill my own agenda. Then, a couple days later, I purposely tried to bait "a friend of a friend" on Facebook into a religious debate, just because I think the guy's a jerk, and I wanted to show him up. After that (yes, there's more), I found myself in a situation where I just couldn' t leave well enough alone, and now I don't know how to make right what I've screwed up. I am just sitting here, feeling guilty. I've already apologized to the parties I've hurt, but nothing seems to be happening, and it's just too quiet.

Other than my barrage of evil deeds, I've had a relatively pleasant week. For the first time in months, I have actually slept really well. Apparently wreaking havoc within social networking sites is good on my R.E.M. Of course Monday night I cheated and took a sleeping pill, something I try to avoid doing, but the rest of the nights I fell asleep all on my own. I have actually exercised regularly this week too, so maybe that's helping me to sleep better? Also, I can feel the workouts actually lifting my spirits; not because I love dying of exhaustion and sweating so much, but because every time I exercise, I listen to my iPod, and I just love having beautiful, awesome music blasting into my sure-to-be-deteriorating ears. In fact, I have music blasting in my ears right now, which is a little distracting, but worth it. I NEED music right now.

So I'm going to get my stuff ready for work tomorrow and hope that I get over this twisted craving for controversy and debate.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Not my Finest Moment

I am a terrible mother! Trinity and I just had the following conversation:

Trin: "Mom, Elijah has a chainsaw."
Me (absorbed by computer): "Uh huh..."
Trin: "No really, he has a chainsaw."
Me: "Okay, honey."
So then my poor neglected daughter walks out with WHAT in her hand, you ask? A chainsaw! Yes, a real life one, like in Chainsaw Massacre. Elijah then rips the chainsaw back out of her hands and states adamantly "Mommy said I could have it!"

come again?
Me: "What are you talking about Elijah?"
Elijah (giggling hysterically): "I asked you a couple of
minutes ago if I could get a chainsaw to cut down Trinity's door because she wouldn't play with me, and you said 'yes.'"

Crap, why does this sound so familiar?

Like I said above, I'm a terrible mom. And as if I wasn't already displaying my beautiful mothering capabilities before, now I'm blogging about it. Hey, I didn't say I was proud.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dreaded Double Digits

Today is Trinity's birthday. She is officially in the dreaded double digits! I can't believe that I have a ten year old. There's no denying it now--I'm old. ;-)

Last night Trinity had a slumber party with six other girls. By 11:00 last night, the screeching and laughing from her room was SO loud that my ears felt like they were in this perpetual state of buzzing. Clint was watching an MMA fight at our brother-in-law's house, so by the time he came home, I was very much craving another grown-up to talk to. Misery loves company. But in all honesty, it wasn't as bad as I'm painting it. The girls who spent the night are the same friends that Trinity has had since first grade, and they are really great kids.

Since we had such awesome decorations left over from our Family Theme Night last October, we went ahead and threw Trin an "Asian"-themed birthday party. It was really cute, and cheap, since we already had all the decorations. We ate Chinese food, and Teri made Trin the birthday cake in the picture. Clint and I put together party favors for the girls, which consisted of Chinese beaded bracelets (from Oriental Trading Company), fortune cookies, and candy, all in Chinese take-out boxes that we got from Panda Express.

By some miracle I actually slept for eight full hours last night, despite the juvenile mayhem taking place. I can't seem to sleep during calm, peaceful nights, but on the night I have seven pre-pubescent girls trapezing through my house, I'm out like a light. Go figure.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter, Earthquakes, & Eye Patches

Easter was had some normal components to it. We had invited Clint's family to our house, so yesterday we spent half of the day cleaning and preparing. At bedtime, I felt very "ready" for Easter, and generally excited to spend the day with my family.

Then last night, I kept having nightmares about my eye. In one dream, my eye was a yellowish-orange color, and I was blind. In a second dream, my eye had a huge gouge in it. When I woke up this morning, I couldn't open my left eye. It was so swollen and was pulsing with a hot, searing pain. I went into the bathroom and pried it open, and the whole eye was scarlet red. I couldn't keep it open for more than a few seconds, because the light in the room was agony, so I just clamped it shut.

I probably average about one or two eye infections a month in my left eye (I have a few tiny scratches in the cornea), but this was worse than anything I had experienced in years. I almost had Clint take me to Urgent Care, but changed my mind at the last minute, because past experience has proven that there is really nothing you can do for an eye infection other than wait it out. So I helped Clint get the kids ready for church, and they all went without me. I was miserable. I couldn't open any of my curtains in the house because the light was so painful, so the house felt so gloomy, and I was feeling bitter about not being able to go to church with my family...on Easter of all days.

I called Clint's mom, crying, because Easter was supposed to be at our house, but I couldn't even open my curtains, let alone have our annual Easter egg hunt. She reassured me that the family didn't mind eating Easter dinner in a dark cave, and soothingly told me that everything would be fine. At this point my spirits lifted a little bit, so I proceeded to get ready as best as I could with one eye out of commission.

When Clint came home from church, he brought me a black eye patch that he had picked up from Rite-Aid on his way home. I felt completely foolish putting it on, but once I tried it on, my eye felt so much more relaxed in the darkness of the patch. I still felt reservations about wearing it, because let's face it; I looked completely ridiculous. So what does Clint do? He disappears into the bedroom and emerges a few minutes later wearing renaissance pants and a buccaneer shirt (remnants from an old pirate costume), complete with a do-rag on his head. He said, "There, now you won't feel so silly." All I could think was WOW. Now THAT is love.

So when Clint's parents showed up for Easter dinner (which was actually closer to lunchtime), Clint was dressed like a pirate and I was wearing a patch. Should I be concerned that not one of them question ANY of this? The next few hours went by relatively smoothly, except for I never realized how much your depth perception is compromised when you have only one functioning eye. I was trying to put ice-cubes into glasses on the dining room table, but I kept throwing them on the dinner plates instead. The worst though was when I went to fill up one of the glasses with water. I tipped the pitcher over what I thought was the glass, and then proceeded to pour the water on to the table, right next to the glass. Clint's family was laughing so hard and pretty much made fun of me for the rest of the afternoon.

After our Easter meal (which Clint prepared and was absolutely delicious), we had our egg rolling contest, which I won for the FIRST time EVER! I was pretty excited. Apparently I have better egg rolling capabilities with only one eye. Following this, the kids did their Easter egg hunt outside. When Clint hid the eggs, he actually got a plastic ladybug-shaped egg to float on top of the pond, which I thought was such a clever hiding place, but Trin scooped that one up right away.

Later we were all gathered around Teri's birthday cake (her birthday is this week), getting ready to sing to her, when the earthquake came rolling in. Trinity felt it first. She had just opened her mouth to say "Is the ground shaking?" when we all started going up and down. The island light began swaying back and forth, and the whole thing was a little dizzying. The earthquake was a nice one: strong and rolling, but not sharp enough to cause high levels of anxiety. I was surprised by how long it was--it seemed to go on for awhile. During the earthquake, we just looked at each other in surprise. No one ever moved. I guess all that "duck and cover" training just goes out the window when you actually might need it. Once the quake ended, we lit Teri's candles and sung happy birthday. Afterwards, I wrote down everyone's guesses as to how big the earthquake was, and then Clint looked it up online to see who was closest. We were all WAY off. We all guessed in the low 5 point range. Elijah was the only one to guess an outrageous "7.4," and he wound up being the closest. The earthquake was a 7.2, but felt lighter for us because its epicenter was in Baja, California.

So, I can now officially cross "Experiencing an earthquake on Easter while wearing an eye-patch" off of my bucket list. I hope that you and yours had a wonderful Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Twitchy Butt Syndrome

Last night I was feeling really optimistic about getting a good night of sleep. I did all of the right things before bedtime: took a nice, warm bubble bath, drank a cup of chamomile tea, read a little bit of my know, all of those little relaxation techniques that doctors and such recommend to help improve the quality of your sleep. So by the time I hit my pillow at 10:00, I was thinking, "This is it! This is going to be the night that I actually get eight hours!"

But at about 10:15, my right butt cheek began twitching. I don't know how to describe it, other than to say it felt just like a blepharospasm (eyelid twitch), but on my bootie. And it went on and on and ON, all night long.

So finally, at almost 2:00 a.m., I typed up some sub plans and logged in to our sub calling system to schedule an absence. When you log in, the system requires you to state the reason for your absence. I scrolled up and down, but couldn't find "because my twitching ass has kept me up all night" anywhere on their list, so I finally just checked the box next to "illness."

Oh well.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ugliest to Prettiest

Tonight we played two games of "Sorry." I guess this is sort of our intermittent game until we start our next eternal game of Monopoly (which Elijah creamed us in, by the way). The game began with Moses flipping our Sorry box off of the table, scattering the pieces across the floor, tripping on the box, getting his foot stuck in the corner of it, and then proceeding to ski on top of the box across the kitchen. Once we got that whole mess squared away, we were trying to decide who gets the privilege of going first. Clinton suggested, "How about we go from ugliest to prettiest?" So then of course we all started chiming in, "I get to go LAST!" and "You're first Daddy!" Awww...I just love heartwarming moments with the family.

Yesterday I was in a gloomy mood, but today I am feeling 100% better. I actually managed to get about six-and-a-half hours of sleep last night, which I know technically isn't enough, but it felt utterly refreshing. This was the first day this week that I felt bright and cheery with my students. And tomorrow is already Friday, so that's a huge sigh of relief! I can't wait to sleep in on Saturday, and I'm also looking forward to Easter Sunday.

Looking for Something? Topeka It!

Today I didn't do anything incredibly creative for April Fool's, but Google--or should I say "Topeka"--sure got into it!

Official Google Blog: A different kind of company name

Haha--lovin' it!