Diapers and Dragons

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays and All That Jazz

★˛˚˛*˛°.˛*.˛°˛.*★* Merry *★* 。*˛.
˛°_██_*.。*./ ♥ \ .˛* .˛。.˛.*.★* Christmas *★ 。*
˛. (´• ̮•)*.。*/♫.♫\*˛.* ˛_Π_____.♥Everyone♥ ˛* ˛*
.°( . • . ) ˛°./• '♫ ' •\.˛*./______/~\*. ˛*.。˛* ˛. *。
*(...'•'.. ) *˛╬╬╬╬╬˛°.|田田 |門|╬╬╬╬╬*˚ .˛ *.*

Hey, I know. I totally stole this from Facebook. That's what social networking is FOR!!!

Regardless of any theft plagiarism loan, Merry Christmas to everyone! And a Happy Birthday (however incorrectly celebrated since he was probably born in March) (heh) to Jesus. And ME! Yep. I'm an ancient and decrepit thirty-three years old today.

Now to try to overcome my nausea and go put away leftovers from the massive overindulgence of the day. Oh, and possibly dropkick some overtired, oversugared, overstimulated children into the nearest bed. Yaaaahooooo!

What? I totally need some Silent Night up in here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Grace Notes

This has been a hard week. You'd think that having two snow days to start out the week would make it Teh Awesome, and it kinda sorta did, but driving on the Worst Ever In People's Memory roads wasn't a great joy, and the last couple of weeks have tended to be full of Stress! Stress! Drama! while quite short on Sleep! Blessed Sleep! Also, imagine the fun of trying to cram five days' worth of work into three before the students flee for a two-week break. Fun Times.

So stomachs have been clenched, muscles have been knotted, and teeth have been gritted. Needless to say, tempers have also been short.

Yesterday, in fact, MTL arrived home in a horrible mood--the worst, he confessed, since we've been together. My mood wasn't sunshine and daisies either. At one point, while trying to convince the %&#()@ cabinet drawer to get back on its runner and slide back in dammit, I slid back against the opposing cabinet, lowered my head to my knees, and let the tears just flow for a little while. It's all just the buildup of everything that has been going on, especially with The Dark One, and work stress, and extended family stress, and reaching a point of Deep Core Stuff in therapy, and....yeah.

Fortunately for those around us, MTL and I are self-aware enough to clamp down on our tongues and do our damnedest to Think before we React when we're highly stressed. I won't say we didn't trip up a bit last night, but there weren't the rages or tempestuous fights or OMG EVERYONE JUST GO AWAY moments that could very well happen at times like that.

Thank God. Which I mean literally, because I believe He helped, even if it was just having our guardian angels lay a finger on our lips from time to time so they didn't open until we'd had a moment to think first. And I'm also thankful that He gave us each other, because being able to debrief with and vent to and comfort each other goes a long way toward making it all survivable.

Today...well, today is a new day. MTL didn't get much sleep again last night, but I did, so at least one of us has some renewed energy to deal with Stuff. And it's the last day of school before Winter Break. And my students are being very sweet.

You know, it tends to be elementary teachers who get the cache of holiday gifts (which reminds me--OOPS) more so than secondary, but sometimes we still get a little something here and there from kids who want to suck up love us. My kids know my weakness. Oh yes, they do. A dear former student who was very sad to discover she would  not have me for honors English 11 this year showed up a couple of days ago with an adorable frosted sugar cookie man. Today another student handed me a heavy gift bag that contains a massive box of fancy European cookies. Yet another gave me a box of six Godiva Truffle Bars and a $10 Godiva gift card. (The girl is GOOD.) And knowing my tenth graders, I'll most likely have another few gifts as the day goes on.

But you know what my favorite gift was today? The handwritten note that accompanied the Godiva. Inside, it reads:
Dear Ms. [TeacherMommy],
So I swear to god, I'm not just kissing ass when I say this, but, thanks for being the first teacher in 5 years to make me love English again.
It used to be my favorite subject and I'm not sure what happened, but I'm actually starting to enjoy it finally.
So thanks.

I really need to start scrapbooking all those kinds of notes and cards and emails and whatnot. That's the sort of thing to pull out on the rough days.

Life is messy and difficult and sometimes overwhelming, but it's the little things that matter. The notes of appreciation from students, the kisses and cuddles and You're so pretty, Mommy! from my kidlets, the teasing from my stepson that says he is comfortable and affectionate with me in his own way, the I love you! on the phone from my younger stepdaughter, walking out to a car scraped off and warming up each morning thanks to MTL, the look in his eyes when he sees me, the words of appreciation and love that he gives me for the things I do to keep this crazy family up and running, laughter around the table while we eat or play UNO...

And above all, the sense that as crazy as life can be, I am Home.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Don't Feel Too Pressured. It's Just A Test Of Your Love.

I am blocked. I have started and stopped, both mentally and typically (I don't think that word means what you think it means! says my inner Inigo Montoya, and he's sort of right--get a sense of vocabulary humor, Inigo!) a half dozen posts and then I look at them (mentally or, well, on the screen) and they fall flatter than a prematurely de-ovenated souffle.

I complained to my friend Rob, and he suggested that I write about playing DnD

(no, not Diapers and Dragons--DUNGEONS and Dragons! Though the confusion is completely logical)

(and yes, I know that my geek quotient just went through the atmosphere with some of you, while others are completely unsurprised--This is the girl who wanted an Elf Ranger outfit for Christmas, you say, and now you know exactly what character I play: her name is Tahlia--pronounced Tuh-LEE-uh--and she's the only Fey in a group of humans, and she kicks ass, of course)

except that I think most of you have already glazed over just at the thought of it and the rest of you, with maybe a couple of exceptions, would join the others if I actually launched into a description of our sessions. Which, really, tend to be pretty raucous and full of hilarious geek culture references, but also involve things like complicated dice and little pewter miniatures and stats sheets and people debating over whether or not a particular attack is likely to have much effect on the target and whether Dexterity or Strength is the base stat for...

And there you go. Come back! I'll stop!


I'm stumped and feeling a little desperate because I WANT TO BLOG and yet nothing is coming to me on its own. So here's my request: would you? could you? PLEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAASE help me out?

If you're willing to play along, comment on this post with something you'd like to know or always wondered about me or my blog or my life or whatever, or a topic upon which you'd like me to expound, and I will go with it to the best of my ability.

And if you don't comment, I'll know who loves me and who doesn't.


(Sort of.)

So....Ready? Set? GO!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

If I Had A Fireplace, This Would Be A Fireside Chat. Does An XBox 360 Count?

I'm sitting on the couch while Many Small Children run about eating toast with various toppings, which makes for interesting food art on their faces, waiting for The Blessed Elixir (otherwise known as coffee) to brew so that my mind can properly prepare for the day ahead. The MSC made it up and downstairs before I dragged myself from my warm, if solitary, bed and into the shower, so the TV shows evidence of The Padawan's adventures with Guitar Hero, and now he's moved on to computer games. When not smearing themselves with jelly, Nutella, and crumbs; DramaBoy, The Widget, and KlutzGirl are clustering around him to watch.

Ahhhh, Saturday mornings with The Dork Squad.

MTL is at work and has been for hours, as is usual for a Saturday morning, so I'm essentially on my own with the kidlets until later today. DMB is in bed still, as his biorhythms are those of the college kid he still is. He won't emerge for hours.

Today looms in a friendly way. Besides the usual loads of laundry, I also plan to take KlutzGirl on a quest to find more jeans at Sally's Boutique*, and all three younger kids are slated to get haircuts. Carnival Cuts at the mall should make that simple. I learned my lesson about trying to cut a child's hair long ago (it's a good thing DramaBoy was too young to care). I've tried to persuade The Padawan that the drapes covering his eyes should also get trimmed, but to no avail.

*a.k.a. Salvation Army. The one down here is pretty awesome, especially for kids' clothes. Yay for savings and helping the less fortunate all at once!

Later, when MTL gets home, we're having our family Christmas preparation day. The tree will go up, the decorations will--well, they'll decorate, and I fully intend to have Christmas music playing the entire time. It's two weeks until Christmas: I'm allowed. Cocoa will be made, and we have ambitious plans for a luscious dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, and stuffing.

Because who said that sort of thing can only happen on holidays themselves?

Later The Padawan has a friend coming to stay the night. This makes me and MTL so very, very happy. He's a shy boy, and we were worried about him at a new school in a new district. We knew he had been making a few friends, but this makes it all very REAL. So when he asked if he could have a friend or two sleep over, we couldn't say yes fast enough.

Ahhh, coffee. I can feel my brain waking up already.

I know I haven't been here much lately. I've written a dozen posts in my head--always when I couldn't get to a computer, of course--and then when I do have my computer I'm blank. So much has been happening lately. Part of my problem is that there is so much I can't put out here, where it's public, because I can't do that to the people involved. Part of my problem is that, unlike a couple of years ago when I first got into this blog, I have outlets elsewhere. There have been times when I've felt that pressure building up that used to lead to a blog post, and instead it gets released in conversation with MTL or DraftQueen or Amy or Heidi or one of my several other beloved friends.

So--here are the Cliff Notes on what's been going on :
  • I'm back in therapy for old, old stuff: it's going well, but it's hard work, and I'm finding it almost impossible to be around certain people until I work out things in my head. My therapist says it's wisest right now to be silent, until I know what words can and should be said--if at all--to those people.
  • I love my students this year--well, except for some of the lazier seniors, but I'm working on kicking their asses into gear. My two sophomore classes are absolutely my favorite of all time, and I've had some amazing classes before. I feel like I'm finally succeeding in blending the personal with the academic, and I love that part of my job.
  • I hate politics. I especially hate the politics that affect my job, and boy, do they affect my job right now. And that's all I even want to say, because the slightest THOUGHT of it makes my blood pressure rise.
  • Things are....not good with The Dark One. It's not just me, or even mainly me, although she has to a certain extent decided to cast me in the role of Evil Stepmother. I suppose that makes me part of the matched set of Evil Mother, Evil Father, and Evil Stepfather, among others. I can't really talk about what's going on here, to protect all involved, but let's just say that her many deep issues are now being made everyone's issues. Fun Times. You won't be hearing about her much on this blog for a very long time.
  • The Widget is going to be seeing a child therapist in order to deal with some of his emotional and attachment issues. It's a massive blog post of its own, that, and maybe I'll write it someday. He's not in crisis, but MTL and I have been concerned for some time about certain things, and The Ex agreed, and we decided that it would be better to deal with it now than later. Hopefully we'll come out of it with some better tools for helping him ourselves, and hopefully he'll also have some tools for self-expression.


Despite all that...life with MTL is so full and deep and rich with love and laughter. I find myself amazed, on a very frequent basis, that I am so incredibly blessed. And because it is, I'm finding myself less involved in my virtual life.

But I still love this blog and, of course, you. So that's why I'm sitting here on this Saturday morning in the hours before the day becomes crazy, having a bit of a chat.

I've missed you guys.

So. What's going on with you?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Checking Myself

I stood in the Self Check Out lane for far too long, growing increasingly impatient with the fumbling idiots who apparently couldn't handle a process that a monkey could figure out. Why do so many seniors choose that lane and then demand the undivided attention of the lane monitor to help them lift each item and scan it through? Don't they realize that completely negates the purpose of SELF Check Out?

I was fuming by the time I stepped up to a scanner to run through my five grocery items. As I quickly and competently sped through the process, I noticed that the woman at the scanner next to me had run into an issue. She had run through a dozen cans of Pringles under a misunderstanding about the sale price and wanted to void them out--but, as the monitor tried to explain several times with little success, could no longer void them because she had already run through her card as well.

Around this time I noticed that, having run my own debit card through, the machine was stalled in a "Please Wait..." status. I growled and jabbed the "Call for Assistance" button. Some use that would be, with Ms. Don't Know How To Understand Basic Explanations still mumbling about the Pringles over there. Why does this sort of technical snafu always happen when I'm in a hurry? And when someone else is monopolizing the monitor? The day was just getting worse and worse. It had been bad enough navigating the treacherous traffic getting there, since the roads were filled with idiot drivers who needed to lose their licenses. The store hadn't had the meat I needed for dinner in a couple of days. It had been a crazy day following a crazy weekend. My feet were killing me. Now this.

I tapped my feet, impatient, huffing just loudly enough to let the monitor know I was waiting. She glanced at me, then focused again on convincing the other shopper to let her void the entire purchase and just run everything through again.

Finally, she succeeded with Ms. What Do You Mean I Can't Do That? and came over to me. She was an older woman with short, curling grey hair. She showed no sign of impatience or exasperation, and instead greeted me with a pleasant smile and an apology for my wait. I curtly explained my problem, and she glanced at the screen.

Oh, well, have you pressed the End Order and Pay button yet, dear? You ran your card through, but it won't complete everything until you press that. She smiled at me again, no trace of sarcasm or impatience to be found in her voice or face.

My face flushed. I meekly extended my finger, pressed the button, and watched as the machine finished the process and spit out my receipt.

There you go, dear. I know, sometimes it's a little confusing! I'm sorry again you had to wait. Thank you for your patience! She patted me affectionately on my shoulders and moved toward her monitoring station.

I quietly picked up my bags and left the store, mumbling a sheepish Thank you! as I passed her.

You're welcome. Merry Christmas! she replied.

I've been bitching lately about the lack of basic human decency in the world around me, about all these ungrateful, impatient, rude people I encounter every day.

It took a trip to the grocery store to make me realize that I'm part of the problem.

Forget waiting for the New Year for a change of attitude. It's time to start now.
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