Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Nightmares Keep Coming

I'm in class teaching and the principal comes in. I can't remember the students' names. After they leave, the principal wants to know why I don't know their names. I explain to him that I have neuropathy of the brain (I think that's called Alzheimers!!!). I tell him I don't have full feeling in my feet or my hands, and sometimes my brain forgets too. He gets mad and fires me on the spot.

To understand the ridiculousness of this, you have to know that my principal is a kind, Godly man who is not at all unreasonable or impulsive.

To understand the plausibility of this, you have to know that sometimes I can't find my keys, my phone, or my purse.

I throw my keys in the trash at fast food restaurants.

I once put my phone in the fridge.

Usually my head is set straight on my shoulders, but...

Certain mornings of the week I'm not sure I know my name.

And Tuesday night at High Point(Kids Bible study), I kept calling a little girl who was visiting by the name of the little girl who had visited on Sunday morning when I directed Hallelujah Hut (music & worship for kids). They were both tall, slender and blond. What can I say?

I know everything. I just can't remember it all at the same time.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Teacher Nightmares

I always know when time draws near for school to start again. The nightmare begins. The first one was:
I was at school looking for the classroom for the new class I'm teaching. When I got to the room, the scene was chaotic. Men who looked more like prison inmates than students were standing around the room. A man was at the podium trying to take attendance. No one paid the least attention to him, or to me.

I left. My students were coming down the hallway. They were tiny in comparison to the tough characters in the room behind me, but we couldn't find an empty classroom. Finally I sat down in the corridor and began to hold class.
Last night I had another:
I go to find my office and have to use an elevator. The elevator is erratic and goes first to the 9th floor. Finally it goes down to -3. That's where the office is. I enter and find the tiny, windowless rooms are occupied. There are nurses there who are frantically trying to pack up there things. (Nurses??? Go figure!) I leave and come back the next day.

Next morning the office is freshly painted white. There are two rooms, only one has a desk the other two have beds. I'm trying to figure out how to put a piece of plywood on the bed so I can use it as a desk. Then I discover that the school is across the street. To get there we have to go to the 9th floor, then back down to the 6th, then walk out in the cold for about 20 minutes to get there.

This phenomena of nightmares before school starts is fairly common. At one point I considered doing a research paper on teacher nightmares. Usually mine are about losing control of a classroom: students throwing desks out the window, fighting, paying no attention to me.

I guess this year my anxieties are more focused on where I will be working than how the students will behave or misbehave.
(Just some collegues unfortunate enough to get in view of my camera!)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Time for Tea
Long Grove, IL

Check out the shops

Three Broads on a Bridge???

Or, Check out that limit!!

Better Yet, Check out that art!

Photo Ops

A Day in the Life of a Drama Queen!

We all had a lovely day. My granddaughters, both Daughters-in-law and me!

P.S. If anyone knows how to properly place text with pictures in the!! The preview on my computer isn't the same as the published version. So if you're one of the three people on automatic feeds...sorry...You're getting the rough draft versions first!!! I went to HTML and tried to place by the pics....Still doesn't work!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bradley & Bismarck

Bob & PJ

Rob & M1
Rob & Christy
Bismarck with Luceilla & J
Bradley & Rachel

Bismarck with Vicki

Bradley with Little M

Monday, July 21, 2008

All because of a Spider

I went on a cleaning spree today. My granddaughter found something like the little spider at the left on my bedroom wall last night. It was very dramatic. She screamed; I came to the rescue and killed it with an equally dramatic flourish of a towel. (It was handy; what can I say?) The towel aroused a cloud of dust from the torchiere lamp in the area. So today I attacked the lamp.

Then I went searching for more torchiere lamps full of dust. Besides the pair in my bedroom, there was another in the family room also full of dust. The living room Tiffany torchiere was clean...My bi-weekly cleaning lady dusts that one and not the other three??? She likes Tiffany? I'm just sayin'.

Next I realized that the cords of the lamps in my bedroom were also covered with dust. So I attacked the dust under the bed and around the lamp cords and clock cords and ... You get the picture. Then I went checking all the corners in the house. This will only seem amazing to you if you remember that I am allergic to most household cleaners and generally get sent on errands when major cleaning is to be done. I wash dishes, clean the kitchen sometimes and clean the charcoal grill (except it's now a gas grill -- I still clean it). I guess I'm not allergic to Endus*t. I'm not sure that bodes well for my status as Cerebral Princess. I may be turning into Cinderella. Somethin' is just wrong with that!

The Green Police


Other things that go Bump in the Night

Grandma, what will happen to us when we've used up all of Earth's resources?

In spite of all the talk about it, I don't think we will.

Yes, but what if we do? Without plants, we couldn't even breathe. Would we all die?

I look at it like this: You know how your Daddy takes care of you and provides all the things you need and even many of the toys and things you want?

Well, I look at God as my Daddy and He provides the things that I need, like Earth's resources. It's not like I can be responsible and abuse things, but I believe that God will take care of us. This Earth has been here longer than these people. God is in charge of the life cycles. I think they're more resilient than we know. Now I'm not saying we should be irresponsible. Like, if you got mad and broke all of your toys, would Daddy replace them?

Nope, I'd be in big trouble.

Exactly. God doesn't want me to just destroy things for the fun of it, but He's there to take care of us. I just don't believe that Earth's resources will vanish if are reasonably responsible with our things. I believe that God is big enough to handle his creation. But you do know that the Earth will end some day...that's when we go to be with God.

Yep...(and to my amazement) And SOME people will go to the OTHER place.

True enough.

Grandma, can we buy some ice cream and some chocolate and make something really fun?

Sure. (And I'll try to remember to recycle the batteries next time! Even the AAA ones!)

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm a felon!
No! Really! Or does one become a felon only when caught? I haven't been ambushed yet by Clinton and Stacy but I think I qualify! I caught just a few seconds of "What not to Wear" Wednesday night and they found (I quote) "Plastic shoes" in the closet of one of their victims.

"Plastic shoes are only appropriate if you work in a kitchen or a garden," harped Clinton. (And I think he named one more place...or was that Stacy.)

I gasp. Devastated. Wounded to the core.

But wait!!! I am working in a kitchen AND a garden...this summer. Okay that covers my fashion conscience until fall. But what will I do when school starts?

Does a Middle School count? It should. Only God knows what kind of things we might have to step in/over at school. It's hazard duty. Surely my very favorite shoes are needed to negotiate my way down those hallowed halls of education....kind of like "Halls of Montezuma" (Semper fie!)

The things one has to endure!

"Mrs. H, why is your hair frizzy today?" (uuh...I forgot the conditioner?)

"Mrs. H, why are there white circles under your eyes?" (uuh...I over did the concealer for the dark shadows?)

"Mrs. H, why is one sock navy and the other black?" (That's easy. I got dressed in the dark! It's Dec 19th and I had a 7 AM meeting!)

"Mrs. H, you look sick today." (Thank you. I AM sick today.)

So when a 14-year old writes in my yearbook, "Mrs. H. Your shoes are legit."

I ask, "Is legit good or bad?"

"Oh, definitely good. You have cool shoes," she replies. And with one remark she makes up for all the unintentional barbs this year from 14-year olds who haven't yet grown a filter between their brain and their mouth. If they think it; they say it.

And now I discover that my "legit" shoes make me eligible to be captured by the Fashion Police! Live is so unfair! But Clinton, listen, they are not PLASTIC! I'm just sayin'.

"Crocs are made of PCCR, a closed-cell material that virtually eliminates odour. No one will clear a room with smelly feet if they are wearing a pair of Crocs. The material also discourages sweating, making Crocs even more comfortable.”
Okay. I can't find this quote on the Croc page. It came from a site complaining that they are not "Green" enough. (I have green ones. They are very green...match several of my green tops and provide a nice accent to jeans, too!)

Oye Ve! Now the Green Police will be after me too. That's okay. I have much more egregious habits for them to find. I use lots of paper...especially for students to write essays on. I throw away newspapers, can't stand the clutter. I drive my car to the corner restaurant AND leave it running for five minutes to cool it off first. I've even been known to toss a AAA battery in the garbage can...only after looking both ways. There you have it!

So now, it's a race for time. Who will catch me first? The Fashion Police ala Stacy London and Clinton Kelly? Or the Green Police? If it's the Green Police, at least I will have my felonious Crocs to keep my arches cushioned, my toes aired and maintain a sweat-free environment for my feet.

I think I'm hoping for the Fashion Cops. At least Clinton Kelly and Stacy London are much better to look at than Al Gore!

But if it is the Fashion Police? What shall I do???? May I stash my Crocs at your place so I can still have the $5,000 debit card?!! Help!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Matthew 10:29-30 (Amplified Bible)

29 Are not two little sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's leave (consent) and notice.

30 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Such a day!! Some things I hate doing so much, it leaves me blah and headach-y? Yet I know full well that God has things in hand...even the hairs of my head are numbered. In the re-grown-from-chemotherapy-curls, he has counted the hairs. But I so dislike dealing with insurance repayments, and doctors bills not yet covered, and account supervisors calling about insurance not yet making payment, that I even forget to ask God to help me deal with it. I forget to ask!! I think I'm so disgusted with my own inability to cope with some things, that I assume that HE is too!

There you have it. A confession. From a mature? child of God who knows to take everything to him, I venture out into the world fearful and relying on only my own abilities (If it involves numbers, I'm lost) to take care of things.

And what does God have in store? Surprises. Coincidences??? His plan?

First stop: my employer's insurance specialist in the human resources department. A wonderfully helpful woman if ever there was one. She confirmed: The dr's office sent me a useless (for gaining insurance payment) recap of the bills from diagnosis until today. I couldn't make heads or tails of it...neither could she. And she knows what she's doing. She says she can help but needs different documentation from the Dr....which the account lady flatly refused to funish me with last time.

But...she also observed a HIPPA violation....not that it took a rocket scientist to notice, but I hadn't. On the back of the printout of my info, was 12 pages of other patient information. oops.

I schlep on to the photocopy place and copy all 29 pages -- including the back side of the last 12 with the verboten data.

Oh, yes. At the photocopy place, I lift the glass and discover two check stubs that belong to a friend...she had forgotten them. So I delivered them to her and felt better already. Helping someone else always lifts the spirits.

Now on to the Doctor's office. I go back to the billing section and begin with the first two questions about my remaining bill. The one girl is very nice; the other is terse and monosyllabic (I love the sound of that word). "Your account is in review" is her answer to all questions. With the implication in her voice that I must either be a deadbeat or an idiot or possibly both.

Then I give them the card of the wonderful person from my employment who will help. Attitudes improve a little. And then...

"I have one additional concern," I say. And turn over the papers to show other patients' information. Their eyes get big...who sent this...etc....The younger one then thanks me profusely for bringing back the information. (It wasn't HER error. The person who sent me the documents was out to lunch). They're exchanging surreptitious looks. Then she offers to run me another copy of those papers (obviously, minus the other patients' info).

"That's Okay. I have a copy."

"You have a copy with the info on the back?"

"Yes. I do."

"Oh. Well. You can do that, of course..." They exchange glances.

There is silence in the office. The three other ladies not involved in the conversation have turned to look at us. A tableau vivant. We all sit there. I say nothing else.

"Well," (the tone is different, more concilliatory) "we sent a new billing to the insurance yesterday. (You couldn't tell me that before?) We should be hearing something soon. We'll let you know as soon as this is taken care of."

"Thank you." I say.

As I leave the silence is profound. I can imagine the babble of voices as the door shuts behind me. Or maybe the silence BEFORE the voices.

About an hour later, I receive another call from them asking for information. The lady uses a softer voice than I've ever heard from their billing department.


  • the hard-nosed woman who literally drove me to tears the last time we talked makes a major error. A legal HIPPA violation.
  • I find legal documents left behind in a suburban photocopier that belonged to a friend (who lives in a different town) and am able to deliver them back to her. (This is the suburbs of CHICAGO, people!! I'm just saying...what are the odds?)
OR, Divine Intervention? Even when I was too distraught to ask.


check this out! free stuff!

Monday, July 14, 2008

It will be August soon!!

I got started today at school to set up my office as Fresh Start Coordinator. I had a wonderfully huge classroom -- more than 25 feet wide and 40 feet long plus an office that was about 10 x 12. I was just fortunate (and there long enough) to inherit one of the old rooms with an office that was inaccessible from the outside. The entrance was only through my classroom which made it unusable for anything else. Nice.

Well my new office is 10 and 1/2 feet by 12 feet. About the size of the old one that I mostly used as a closet!! Yikes. I'm trying to fit some stuff in and still leave room to meet with kids -- there's a table that 30" by 60" with 8 chairs. Doesn't leave room for much else. Just a desk in the corner of the room...I'm trying to line the room with bookshelves to keep my books, etc. But, wow! Is this going to be different. It doesn't have an outside wall either...that means NO WINDOW!!! So, I'll have to go garage sale-ing to look for an old window frame that I can attach to the wall and paint a scene -- a fake window!!! Maybe I can put a small shelf behind it and put my Sun-light lamp there. I'll have to see.

Fortunately, a friend is taking my old room. I'll have to leave several of my filing cabinets there for storage. I might be able to squeeze ONE into this new office.

But I'm excited about the possibilities. I did finally find something in the office left by the person before last! It has the goals, at least:

For the targeted (at risk) students:
  • Increase attendance
  • Increase graduation rate
  • Improve academic performance and self-confidence

Pretty hefty broad-sweeping goals.

The teaching component is equally ambiguous:

"The program is based on teaching the following:
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Self-Discipline
  • Independence"
I think I have my work cut out for me.

In spite of the obstacles, I'm still very excited about working with students in an environment outside of the classroom.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wandering Thoughts about this and that: Bits and Pieces?

Did this article ever give me food for thought! I was raised in a religious environment that was repressive to women. Sometimes I marvel at the attitudes and acceptance of those still involved. And sometimes I marvel at my own attitudes that catch me by surprise. Why is it that we, as human being, accept injustice when it is the accepted practice of our closest associates? Why do we accept it on an emotional level when intellectually we know that it is wrong? This article was an eyeopener. I still haven't digested it all!

This article speaks of one woman's experience in modern Saudi Arabia. On some levels I can relate. But the ridiculous and unnecessary strictures that the culture places on women as narrated in this story is unbelievable.

I also read another post about women in suppressive cultures, recommending a novel, a murder mystery which is a good story in itself. In addition, the story shows these extreme measures taken to ensure that women and men are segregated. The novel is titled Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris

I haven't read the book yet, but I intend to.

Friday, July 11, 2008

This is how we spent Monday! Making Music!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hostas Gone Wild

Can you believe these hostas? They are in full sun -- which they're not supposed to like. I keep begging somebody to come and split them and take some away. (Afraid my black thumb will surface even on such obviously healthy plants as these if I do it myself). I now have promises for fall. Three people are coming to rescue me, tame my wild hostas, and start a garden of their own. These plants haven't even grown the shoots for the flowers yet. They'll be shoulder high by the time the flowers shoots start. I'll get a crick in my neck looking up at the flowers. M1 demonstrates how large they are!

The pots are healthy too, in spite of a late start.

M helped water them on Sunday.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Haiti's Child Slavery Trade!

I just finished reading this article and my heart is breaking. I was last in Haiti in Summer of 2005. After that I was ill and haven't even tried to return. I really want to go back and see what we can do, even if travel there is not recommended by the U.S. Government.

Read this story. Warning: Grab a box of Kleenex first.

The surroundings that he describes are sooo real. It's bringing back memories. I'll look for my CD of Haiti pictures and post some. To remind me and you!!

Go read here!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I passed the Spanish Language Test. The one I took on June 6 and have been actively or subconsciously worrying about for the last month. The one that they were SUPPOSED to have sent an "unofficial" email for on July 1. The email came on July 6, Sunday, when I had the family over for a cookout and then kept the girls for the night and all day Monday. The day in which for thirty-six hours I did not access my email. The mailed "Official" scores came on the 7th. Yesterday. I read it when I got back from taking the girls home. BEFORE I read the one to ease my tension...the early release email one!!! Yeah!!

But...Hallelujah...I passed. AND, surprise to me, on the written (the essay I sweated bullets over!) section, 300/300. One the oral: 300/300. On the reading comprehension, 283/300 with a total scaled score of 291!! (That's like 97% y'all!!!) I knew I had missed two or three on the reading comprehension. And that was correct. I had NO CLUE I had aced the other two sections!!!!

Can you see me dancing a jig!!! It's a good's not a pretty sight! ROTFL

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Just Feelin' Blue

For whatever reason, my old depression has returned these last two days. Maybe a let down from the frenetic activity of the last month, maybe my hormones are returning (not a good thing), maybe an after taste of dealing with a reluctant-to-pay insurance company, or maybe it just is. So I'm outside getting some fresh air and sunshine (always a good thing), reading and writing.
Bob brought home a book for me from his Christian Bookstore run this afternoon. A little Max Lucado book called YOU! God's Brand-New Idea. It looks ready-made to cheer me up. At least it got me thinking about posting something beneficial.

Topic 3, "No Two Alike," says, "Knitted together is how the psalmist described the process of God making man. Not manufactured or mass-produced, but knitted. Each thread of personality tenderly intertwined. Each string of temperament deliberately selected.

"God as creator. Pensive. Excited. Inventive.

"An artist, brush on pallet, seeking the perfect shade.

"A composer, fingers on keyboard, listening for the exact chord."

"A poet, pen poised on paper, awaiting the precise word.

"The Creator, the master weaver, threading together the soul.

"Each one different. No two alike. None identical."

Since I'm feeling blue in general, this afternoon I was driving along thinking about the weight I need to lose and recalling ills and insults that have befallen me and everyone I know. I remembered an incident at a Christian College in which they had a Chanel model (recently converted, of course) come and "teach" the girls about posture and beauty. (Yep! Truth!) She started with a lecture about proportion of body part. (Un-Huh, she did) Then moved to measuring the thighs of the unfortunate girls sitting there, and commenting on each. "You'll need to lose 6 inches on that thigh" etc. Almost none came up to the standard of beauty required by her rules.

So as I'm driving, I'm rehearsing what I would have done had I been there. I'm thinking, "I'd just walk out saying 'You must be dreaming.' For sure I wouldn't sit there!"

But then I remembered the pressure that comes sitting in a group. Suppose I am the heaviest one there. Then I'd worry that they would say after I left. (I do know what it's like to be called "Thunder Thighs") Would I have the chutzpah to walk out? Today. Yes. But this happened fifteen years ago....fifteen years ago to someone else...I only heard about it from my kids. And today I'm really angry! Now that is some bad mood.

But today I'm having trouble with the idea that I am created perfectly for what I have been assigned. Today life seems to make little sense. Today I'm remembering all my failures and failings. Today I'm sure that I'm not even close to fulfilling God's purpose in me. Today.

But scripture says, "You knit me together in my mother's womb. (Psalm 139:13 NIV) He wove all of these elements together to make me who I am.

Have I messed with the design? Today, my brain says that I have messed things up so badly that there is no reparation possible. Scripture contradicts my thoughts. I know which is right.

Jeremiah 29:27 says, "I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not evil." (PJDH translation)

So even today, I trust that God did, indeed, create me with purpose for a purpose. He has a plan for my life and my feelings need to go take a hike!!!

Or sit in the sunshine and read a book! That works too.

Can you believe that God was excited, inventive, exhilarated when he made you? And, don't forget, He can see the end from the beginning. He knew what you would become and he was elated about that! Even if your thighs won't pass the litmus test for a Chanel Model.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Ten Things I Love About America

Teresa Neumann/op-ed

(July 4, 2008)

1. The U.S. Constitution: particularly the freedom to worship as we choose. Imagine living in an age, or a country, where your religion is determined by the state. It's a freedom well worth protecting and defending.

2. The U.S. Armed Services: God bless our brave men and women in uniform. It is because of them—and the grace of God—that we dwell safely in this wonderful country of ours. They more than deserve our support and prayers.

3. Capitalism: That's right, the good ol' free enterprise economic system touted by none other than John Calvin. When one considers the alternatives, it's no contest. For all its grand ideals, communism was rife with abuse and failed miserably. As for socialism, ask the middle classes of socialist countries about their tax burden and quality of healthcare. While abuse is inherent in any economic system, and must always be checked, entrepreneurialism and free market enterprise is part and parcel of the history of a prosperous America.

4. Largesse; Our National Consciousness: Largesse means "liberality," or "generosity." Typically, it is generosity that goes beyond the norm; abundant beneficence. It manifests in global giving to the poor, and right here at home when neighbors reach out to neighbors. Largesse is at the core of how we Americans view ourselves and how we respond to national and global challenges. Our optimism and can-do attitude match the vast open skies of the West, the Great Plains of the Midwest, the sweeping seashores of the Atlantic and Pacific, and the soaring mountain chains that crisscross this breathtaking nation. We think, act, and feel as big as the 3,000-mile-wide cord that connects us. Big stores, big skyscrapers, big cars (hopefully fuel alternatives will allow us to keep them!), big ideas, big dreams. Don't ever feel guilty about employing righteous and healthy largesse in your life. After all, God is Largesse.

5. Conveniences We Take for Granted: Americans who have travelled overseas are only too aware of the joy of these conveniences. Clothes dryers, air conditioners, dishwashers, microwaves, hair straighteners, escalators, vacuum sweepers, etc., etc. Every country is known for its love of something or other. France loves its food, Italy loves its art, and we Americans love our conveniences.

6. Customer Service: True, customer service is better in some areas of the country than others, and there will always be that incompetent clerk who will drive one to utter distraction, but by-and-large customer service in America is superb. (Think Costco, Nordstrom, Wal-mart, etc.) One need only consider India, where shoppers aren't allowed to touch, or closely observe, anything in a store before buying, let alone return anything, to appreciate this point.

7. Educational Choice: Don't like the public school in your area? Send your children to a private school, and take your pick from any number of religious institutions running them. Don't have the money to send your children to a private school? Homeschool (that is if you live outside California).

8. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Granted, we have a long way to go to clean up the airwaves in this country, but at least we have something, compared to Europe where network television is shockingly amoral. Remember Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction?" Europeans were stumped at the public outcry against it. Such American puritanism they snarked. I rest my case.

9. Our Infrastructure: Rule of Law on Highways, and the Courage and Kindness of Strangers. Again, think India where pedestrians, bicyclists, dogs, mules, carts and cars all share the road in common. One Indian friend of mine noted that the worst road in America is better than India's national highway. Not only are American highways efficient and well-maintained, but they are used by drivers who, for the most part, obey the law. Try driving somewhere like Marseilles, France, where no one reads, or cares about, road signs. If that were not enough to be thankful for, far more Americans are known for their quickness to come to the aid of someone in need or in danger—on the road or elsewhere—than the few who make headlines preying on such victims. When disaster strikes in America, Americans rise to the aid of their countrymen.

10. Peanut Butter: Any kind, but Skippy is my favorite.*

*I, personally, take exception to #10. I like apple pie, biscuits and gravy and country fried steak. No where in the world can you find any of those the way they are made right here in the good ole USA. But Peanut Butter!! Peanut Butter is just not on my list of favorite foods!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

I must be on a food kick!

I just posted a biscuits and gravy recipe on "Mexibilly Cuisine". Check it out.

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