Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Reading Star!

T with fellow kinder classmate and best buddy, A

Last Thursday I had a message from someone at school that said there would be an awards ceremony at 9AM and T would be getting an award, so it would be nice to see you there.
Sheesh. Talk about last minute! And on a Friday, when work is always slammin' busy! I left a message for my co-worker that I need to see what this ceremony was about and that I'd be about 20 minutes late (lie, lie, lie). But I had to see what T would be awarded!
Since it was Friday, the day started with the kids walking across the street, single-file, to the black top playground and saying the "pledge of allegiance". Everyone. In unison. It was just a site. I had my video camera ready and hopefully I captured how cool it was. After a few announcements and rah-rahs for certain classes doing well in fund raising, all 5 kinder classes crowded into the media room and sat around the stage area. The parents that came were pressed up against the back perimeters of the room.
There were 4 areas to be awarded.
1. Best citizenship-- being kind and respectful to others.
2. Most improved
3. Math awards
4. Reading awards
Since any of those things was a potential area (well, OK, I'd be surprised if he got the best citizen ship award--we're still working on the social skills) for T, I was hoping he would be included in the FIRST category--go I could leave and get to work without being ridiculously late.
But of course not.
Each category had about 12 kids that each were recognized and then invited up on stage to accept a special ribbon. And then a group photo was taken. Lots of applause all along the way.
Category after category and I could see T wanting to be called but having to put his hand down frequently as he wasn't called forward.
I was getting nervous and starting palpitations as time ticked by...
Finally it came, second to the last kid called up.
Hooray! T earned an award for being a great reader and knowing all of his "sight" words. Words such as "I, he, she, we, like, a, at, the, come, with look," etc. There are 32 in all. He knew them straight away and didn't need to study them. It's nice to be recognized and all the students were beaming has they got their moments in the sun.
Some kids went up accidentally, having the same first names, but the "wrong" child graciously gave the ribbon to the correct awardee and even gave her a hug and then sat down again. Wow. That's pretty special for a kindergartner.
The only bummer is that I had difficulties with my camera for a picture of the group of Star Readers (batteries had fallen out of the camera!) but at least I got it on tape! I was so proud!
And then I had to scramble out of there and make apologies to my colleagues for covering my butt, since I showed up ridiculously late, back in the clinic.
It was worth it, though.

Little catch up

My nephew J, with T and I.

My nephew J on is eighth birthday party at Iceland ice rink.

Helping with a little slip.

Playing together on the ice--J, T and me.

Last Sunday, T, my mom and I went to Iceland (no, not the country! lol) for my nephew's 8th birthday party. We had a family party last weekend but this was the one with his friends. And since I have a son who likes to ice skate, we were invited too. It was a lot of fun. First there was pizza and ice cream cake and then 3 hours of ice skating! T did so well last time (about 6 months ago, his second experience at it) that I thought he'd probably be fine without me being on the ice with him. But no. He was not having fun hanging on the wall and was too small to catch the eye of any of the 8 year old friends from his cousin. So I got on some skates and held on to him for the next hour. He was getting better slowly but still watching all the other kids or seeing if Oma was watching him to get the hang of skating at all. Then...I was slowly skating backwards (slowly, because I'm not very good at skating!) and T let go of the wall and with a steely eyed stare into my eyes he skated all the way to me! We kept doing that, concentrating on him looking only at me while he skated towards me. And that was all he needed to learn how to ice skate. We went for longer and longer treks towards me, and then he could do it all by himself. But still would get side tracked and need to see who was around or looking at him. He was constantly looking around for Oma or anyone he knew to look at him skate. Afterwards, he asked if we could go skating every day, because he really likes it. I said, we'll go again pretty soon...
We had dinner at my sister and brother-in-law's home and it was nice hanging out with the family. My nephew got a few more presents and really seemed to enjoy the books and pok-e-mon trading cards he received.
Yesterday was my first day in the hospital with my preceptor and nursing students. First I got a ID badge for the hospital and then we met before the shift started (at 2PM) to discuss expectations and assignments. There are 3 areas: maternity, nursery, and Labor and Delivery (L&D). I was pretty much hanging around maternity in support of any of the students there. My preceptor came by once in a while but mainly spent her time in nursery and L&D. I got to help the nurses with administering oral medication, IM shots, discontinuing a foley catheter and getting a post cesarean patient up the the bathroom and cleaning her up. The initial shift exams were given together with their assigned nurse. It was kinda cool. So neat to see the nervousness and excitement in their faces when they do something new. And then that great sense of accomplishment when they've done it right. It's confidence being built right before my eyes. I'm happy I get a hand in supporting these little steps in creating a really good nurse. But it was also a little boring. Not enough for me to do. And I don't know their computer system so I couldn't help with that part.
This Thursday I will attend the theory lecture from 10:30 to 2:30 and after that I will go to an Administrative meeting for the nursing department. Little by little chipping away at the 105 hours that I have to do.
I read an email from my practicum instructor asking when I will be sending her my journal entry and hours completed. What!? I didn't know I was supposed to do that. I have to re-read the paper work again on all the assignments that I have to do.
Just when I thought I had it down. Darn it.
So far the studying for the next test...coming on Oct 7...is going well. I know more than I ever did before on Nursing Research (and lots of research terminology)!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hitting is not allowed

Yesterday while at work, I got a call from the CDC. My first thought was "What?! The Centers for Disease Control are calling ME?" But then I realized (with all the kids yelling in the background) that it was the Child Development Center where T goes for after school child care. Apparently T was hitting kids and then claiming it was "an accident". The care giver told T if he did it one more time, his mom was going to be called. Hence, the phone call.
I told her I couldn't say why he was hitting since he knows that's unacceptable behavior. She put T on the phone (and I could overhear he didn't want to talk to me) but as soon as he got on the phone I could hear (and just picture it too) crocodile tears and he was crying about how he missed me. It just broke my heart. It was 4PM and I couldn't leave work for another 1 1/2 hours. I tried to calm him down and ask that he not hit anyone anymore. It was all blubbering after that and I couldn't understand him. Poor guy. Either he was really having a hard time being in the CDC that day or he was totally snowing me and using his best acting skills to manipulate my actions towards him. I'll never know for sure, but the latter is a big possibility. And even if I could get someone to pick him up early, or some how get myself there so he could leave the CDC, he'd be learning that all he has to do is be a "naughty boy", cry a bit and then get he'll get his way.
It's a learning process-- on my end, as well as his.
When I picked him up at 5:40 he was his normal self. And then he threw a marble at the counselor's head. He was told not to by the counselor, but I made him officially apologize for doing that.
AND, if I hear that he hits anyone or throws anything--no ice cream for him. That's a big deal, because he loves his ice cream desserts after dinner! We'll see how this motivates him in, hopefully, the right direction.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Grad Student, that's me!

Yesterday I spent my first day as a preceptee. I went to the college in the morning and stayed all day. It was kind of exciting and interesting being among college students on their first day of school. It was also exhausting. I know I'm feeling stressed since a few days ago I got a huge pain in the right side of my neck so that I can't turn my head to the right. This is exactly what used to happen whenever I was near final exams in my college days. I hope it lets up soon.
When I was being introduced to the faculty and students, I was described as a "graduate student". I thought that was so cool. I've been one for the past 2 years, but no one's ever described me that way yet. I used to hear others say it about themselves or someone else, and it was a level of study I admired but never saw myself getting that far. But now, it's me. I'm the grad student. I like it. I'm glad someone said that about me now, before I graduated, so that I could feel what it's like to wear that hat. And have others see me that way. Neat.
Mom picked up T from school and took him to their house until I could be there at dinner time. Thank goodness for my parents--I couldn't do this without them.
Today I just feel an overall body ache, like all my muscles are super tight. Again, probably the stress.
I made a daily calender of events so that I have all my tests, papers and study schedules written out. It's pretty tight but if I stick to the daily plan, all will be turn out well. I sure hope I pass the tests on Oct 7 and 27. If I don't, I have to wait 30 days before I can retake it.
Well, it's lunch time at work now. I think I'll go to the grocery store and get some needed items so that the house will have what I need to prepare Ts lunches and have decent dinners without too much effort.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

So overwhelmed

I meant to write a few days ago but I've been so overwhelmed with trying to get a handle on the demands of this practicum (my last course in getting my master's degree) and also keeping up with the extra time needed for T's school. Last night I did an hour of volunteer time for kindergarten by making "kindergarten journals" for the kids. They will, undoubtedly, be homework in the coming weeks. It's just practice for writing their letters and words.
I was up till 1AM last night reading all the entries in my class from other classmates. I have to put in my post by this weekend but first I have to research some theorists and their ideas to put together a well thought out, informative post. Then I have to respond to at least one other classmate's post, in a thoughtful and meaningful way. Not just a , "yes, I agree what you've said." type post. It's like writing a mini scholarly paper.
Speaking of. I have to write a large scholarly paper on a nursing theory and a power point presentation that represents what's in my paper. PLUS put together an power point show indicating how I've accomplished all the objectives and goals of the master's program for my oral composition testing. We have to pick a date for that excruciating hour. I picked December 1. Not too early and not the last.
PLUS, I have to put together a professional portfolio that I started at the beginning of this journey, 2 years ago. But of course I haven't even looked at it, let alone added to it (as suggested) for the last 2 years. Too many other things to do!
PLUS I have to volunteer my 4 hours of service learning AND write reflection papers on the experiences.
Add to that, every Monday and some Thursdays I have to be with my preceptor and at some point prepare a lecture to give to the students.
Every time I have to log on to class, I have to get up quickly and run to the bathroom. That's the effect of stress on me--right in the gut. It makes writing papers more lengthy with all the bathroom runs I have to make!
Today, I'm calling to commit myself to taking the last two CLM classes. That way, if I have a date I MUST be prepared to be tested, I'll make myself crack open the binders and study. Plus, if I fail any test (yes, it happened with CLM test #1) they won't let me retake it for 30 days. And I HAVE to get these tests done before the Oral Comps can be taken.
It's very very stressful!!!
I have a few moments in my work day to write this, but now, that time is up.
Until next time....
This weekend, I'm going to my sister's for a BBQ. It's her son's 8th birthday party. Oh, that reminds me, I gotta get to the store and get a birthday present!
Stuff, stuff and more stuff to do.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Whoo hoooo! I got a preceptor!

Man, am I happy that the woman I'd hoped would take me on has agreed. And just in the nick of time! She wrote me quickly after I emailed her and I went to her office for in interview to discuss the particulars of my class and needs. She is a Russian immigrant who has a master's degree in Electrical Engineering while in Russia and worked at a software engineer for NASA. After she came to the US and studied nursing, starting with an AS degree and continuing with school until earned her master's in nursing, specializing in midwifery. She's been teaching at the local community college for the past 3 years, while working in a busy practice with one partner at a nearby hospital. She hasn't had a vacation in a while since her colleague went to Malasia for an extended period of time, so she's now taking a break and going to Hawaii before school begins. She seems pretty easy going and understanding of what it's like to be a student. She wants to give me the experience I need and is also excited that I might teach her and the students a bit about infertility. We've divided up the time and figured I'll be spending all day Mondays with her and occasional Thursday and attend a couple of the monthly administrative meetings. That should give me my 105 hours within the next 3 months, and plenty to write about in the long scholarly papers and reflection writings I'm expected to do.

I also connected with a small agency called Families for Families to volunteer at least 4 hours of my time and learn about them and how they serve the underserved and poor/needy families within our geographic area. I could have stayed with the other agency I'd started with--The Giving Tree, but I didn't really appreciate the volunteer coordinator there. So, on to something new. This newer agency was created by a friend of mine so it will feel good to help her out with her mission to bring relief to families who need help.

Now, all I have to do is write some "objectives" that are measurable, get the contracts and agreements signed and send it all in electronically to my master's program. Oy. It's a lot of work! But it's only beginning.

This evening I attended the first REI journal club meeting. We met at a nearby Black Angus restaurant. It was really nice to hang out and discuss personal and professional issues--one doc is moving and the trials involved in that, politics and the upcoming elections, practice issues, case presentations, and of course the 2 journal articles that one of the doctors picked out. Mom came over and babysat while I was away. I felt guilty the whole time I was sitting at the restaurant with my colleagues. In fact, as I think about it, the ONLY times I don't feel guilty is when I'm at work T-F, 9-5:30 and any time I spend with T. Any more time spent away from T for any reason and I feel very uneasy. Like I'm not where I'm supposed to be. I'm burdening someone else with my child and responsibilities, and I'm missing out on spending hours with my son that I'll never be able to get back.

Am I sick? Or unbalanced, that I can't fully enjoy myself away from my child? Other parents make excuses to go to a weekend get-away without their kids. I can't. Maybe it's because I'm a single parent. I'm it. I want to do the best that I can for him. And in my mind, the best I can give him is me. At least for now at this point in his life.

I realize I can't be all things for him, at all times. But those experiences will be later. Now, he's mine and very shortly he will be needing more experiences that don't/won't involve me. I just want to soak up every bit of Ts growing up and learning new things as I can. Without being intrusive or overbearing. I'm sure I'll be able to recognize that line when it comes. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

a normal kid

I was reminded yesterday as I heard a 2 or 3 year old boy throwing a tantrum while strapped in his stroller that we, too, have had our share of tantrum throwing.
I had almost forgotten about those days...
One time, mom and I were pushing him in the stroller in a mall and he just had it in his mind to keep his feet either on the wheels (thereby obstructing them) or on the ground and having them occasionally double back underneath the moving stroller. Whatever I said or disciplinary action I told him would happen, he absolutely refused and starting fighting and screaming at the top of his lungs. I just tipped back the stroller and continued to do my business in the mall as best I could. Time was at a premium and I had to do what I came there for. This fighting/screaming went on for at least 20 minutes, maybe longer, before I just decided to park the stroller on the side of the mall walkway and just walked away (20 feet or so). He had his fit and eventually got tired out. But in the mean time strangers felt obligated to stare and want to help this poor boy who was so obviously distraught. When I told them to leave him alone, he's OK, and that I was his mother, they looked at me like I was some monster. There was pain and indecision in their faces as they weighed whether they should really leave my son alone or intervene and help this poor child. Thank goodness they let him be, because at that moment my last nerve was being fried and I might have wailed on whomever made my day worse--and their actions showing judgement against my best intentions to deffervesce the situation.
It only took a few minutes of letting him be "alone" before he decided there was no point to the tantrum. And he took a nice long nap at nap time. I loved those nap times......
The defiance isn't totally gone either. (I actually admire this quality--I think it will serve him well as an adult.) This evening we went swimming after dinner. I was going to go in the water too, but it was a tad chilly and the breeze had begun to blow. He was fine with me staying out but, of course, the real fun is having an audience. So mom, dad and I watched him do any and all tricks he could muster. When it came time to get out and go home, he had a few delaying tactics. They worked for the next 15 minutes or so, but then I'd come to the end and insisted he get out. He refused. I said, he'd be in the naughty spot if he didn't listen NOW. I started counting (if I get to three and he's not at my side, he has bought time in the naughty spot) and just about always, he's at my side by "2". But this time he was busy arguing how there was no naughty spot and it's only a pool. (At home the naughty spot is the end of the hall way.) So, I ratcheted up the ante and said, "If you don't listen to me and get out now, you are going to get a spanking." Now he's saying he doesn't like me now and he wants a new mom. Then he says, "I'm going to kill you." For a while now, when he earns time in the naughty spot, he says this to me as he sits there dutifully. I know why he says it (any attention is good attention) so I don't react. But I've heard it enough now and it's starting to bother me that I also hear him say he's going to kill his dinosaur (when playing with them) or stuffed toys, or whatever he's playing with. Enough with the killing threats and plans. So I marched over and grabbed him when he got close to the edge of the pool and gave him a swat on the behind. I got in is face and told him I will not have him talking to me that way and there will be no more threats of killing or he will not be able to go over and play with his neighborhood friends for a while. He continued to be miserable as I dressed him and put him in the car. Then magically, 2 minutes later all was forgotten. I reminded him he needed to apologize to me and he did. Sincerely. Big hug. All done.
Except whenever I get to the point where I end up spanking, I feel very guilty. Guilty for not being able to handle it and get him under control in another, less violent, way. I didn't want to do the naughty spot at the pool. It was cold and I was tired. I do the best I can with the tools I have. And I was spanked when I was little. I guess I better start reading more on discipline strategies because I've gotten all I can get from the Super Nanny show and I'm still digressing to the occasional (and it's really almost rare) spanking.

quotes and commentary

Here's some interesting things T has related to me this week:

1. Frequent quizzing on addition and subtraction. What's 100 plus 2? What's 13 plus 16? What's 20 plus 20 plus 20? And on and on. And he almost always gets it right. He uses his fingers often, but I don't get how he does so well when he goes above anything over the number of fingers he has.

2. On being asked what's your favorite (anything). "Well, lets do eeny meeny miny moe, get a body let him go, one, two, three, four, five and your are it." (LOVE his version...) First he wants to know what MY favorite is and then he'll choose to be alike or different from my choice. There's a politician brewing here.

3. On playing tag in the yard. Of course he makes up the rules as we go and the "vase" (his word for base) changes depending on what he can get to. Then from across the lawn he implored me to "Wait! Wait, wait,wait, wait, wait.", as he walked towards me to explain how this bit of the game would go. I stood there and looked at him with a moment of silence and then said with a sarcastic grin, "I heard you the first time." He looks up at me inquisitively and incredulously and asks, "You didn't hear me the second time?" LOLOLOL! So I explained that what I meant was I HEARD you the first time, no need to say it a second, third, etc time. Ai yai yai. Nothing like a new perspective on an old cliche. lol.

4. I gave my cat a shower and T watched with curiosity--and mocking him at his obvious discomfort with the whole thing. After it was done he decided he wanted to jump in with me (it's a big shower with a bench on one wall). While soaping up as he was standing on the bench he starts to slip and slide his tummy onto mine--and as usual we make a mini game out of it. Then he stops, and looks at my chest. He places his hands on his own tiny nipples and informs me that his boobies are growing (with a bit of glee, I might add). I assured him they won't grow now or in the future. They only grow for girls, not boys. He stops and thinks. Then looks me square in the eyes and says, "No, Mama. Look at Opa." LOL. I had no leg to stand on with that argument! Opa loved that story (that was a bit of sarcasm too ;) ).

A day at the art and wine festival

Today Mom came over and after shopping at the dutch pastry shop and Costco, we went to Castro street Art and Wine festival. It was huge...and HOT. The weather was at least 100 degrees. And with that many people milling around booths, beer and kabobs, it got tiring. There was all kinds of neat stuff to look at but none of it was a "must have". Sometimes I can find something interesting for a Christmas gift. But not this time. Still, it was nice to share an ice cream with my favorite son and mom...and a grape/bubblegum flavored shaved ice....and a cold soda.

The best part for all of us was the kid's area where they had rides and slides--for a price. But I can't dwell on the money spent when you see the look of utter glee spread out over T's face. I will look at those photos and be glad I let him have his fun. No matter how much money they relieved from my wallet.

Later we went to the mall near my home to hit the food court for dinner. Mom and my favorite is the burritos at Rubios--we get one and split it. And T, of course, never veers from his usual order--Sbarro's slice a pizza kids meal. And a McDonald's vanilla soft ice cream cone. Mom did very well, considering this was the first day she's been out of the house since she came down with whatever viral crud she caught from my brother after our camping trip. We had to take frequent breaks but she managed to enjoy herself.

T was thoroughly happy and told me repeatedly all evening how lucky we were to have each other.


And hugs and kisses and cuddles. I love my 5 year old. Can he please stay this way forever?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Still searching for a preceptor

Well, it's Friday and still no word on whom my preceptor for my practicum will be. I have until next Friday to get a preceptor, sign the contracts and meet to decide on how I'll get the hours logged. I sent an email to the director of nursing of the nearest community college that has a nursing program. I kept the letter short and sweet but definitely let her know I was in a hurry to find someone. I figured she might be interested in the relationship I'd be building with their department as this master's degree would qualify me to be a teacher in their program. And from what I've read, it's a huge need--more faculty members so that they can let in more students. The nursing shortage will continue unless we can graduate more nurses. So many applicants get denied into a program due to the lack of teachers. I'll check my work email tomorrow and if I don't hear anything, printed all the phone number of every faculty member in the nursing department and make individual pleas. I could also contact the 2 year college I attended but it's much farther to drive out there and as I'll be having to go there to get my 105 hours completed--lots of extra time and gas to get it done there.
Since my master's degree is in nursing with a focus on education, it makes sense to go to academics to get the preceptorship done, but as a last resort I'm going to also contact the Health education department at my work. They might be able to do the job. I just think it might be more difficult to write the papers I'm going to have to write on my experiences.
Today, the neighbors picked up T from school and took him swimming with their daughter (also in the same kindergarten class). They fed him lunch (well, I packed one for him) and they played well together in the water (even though, apparently, the water was a bit cold). Then they fed him dinner (burritos) and took him along with their daughter to the Ice Cream Social at school. I tried to get out of work as quickly as possible but still stayed over time 30 minutes. I got there a little late but the party was still in full swing. The kids were all having a ball! And the parents were milling about and mingling while keeping one eye on their kids. The weather was hot but cooling off. Perfect for the ice cream sundaes they were making. Within minutes I saw one of my patients there with her son and then another guy recognized me. He and I used to swim together in the Master's program at lunch time. (Ah...good times, they were. 10 guys in a lane and me. I loved the attention! I swam until the day I broke my water. Then life...changed...) They also had a school uniform swap and you could bring uniforms that kids out grew and pick through the piles for anything in the desired sizes. Since it's out first year, we have nothing to swap so I just looked though and found a pair of shorts that would fit T. When he outgrows what we have, I'll give it up for the smaller kids. Kind of nice to save money on the uniforms and be supportive of those in our school.
It was as close to a Norman Rockwell scene as I've ever had.
Pray I'll get a nibble SOON on finding a preceptor.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


As usual, the school experience causes great stress in trying to figure out what I need to do and all the work that will be required of me in the next 16 weeks. This class is double the length of the usual 8 week course because it's a practicum. That means I need to find a preceptor. FAST. Seems like all the other students are already situated with their preceptors, know what seminars they will be attending, taken all their CLMs (courses in a binder to be tested on--total of 3, and I've only done one!) have already applied for graduation and have their tickets to Denver to attend the ceremony!


It's just the 3rd day and I'm feeling like I am inside a pressure cooker.

Come on December. I'll be SOOO glad when this is over.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

more expenses

Jack called again and said he forgot a couple items in the estimate price.

1. The painting. Am I gonna want it repainted inside and out?
Yes. And I likely won't find time to do it myself. So shell out another $600 or so.

2. The eletrical. Yes, I'll want the electrical that will be exposed by re-doing the wall to be updated to today's standards. Actually, I'll want to add a plug here and there too.
Add on another couple hundred.

Ain't that the way it always goes??

The next home remodel project!

My house in 2003 after the remodel but before I hung the green shutters and painted the front door green.

Last Monday I called my old contractor Jack and had him take a look at what I planned to do next. I still need to replace the old drafty windows in my room and the back bedroom, plus the original bathroom and the 2 square picture windows on either side of the fireplace. I didn't do it before with the remodel in 2003 because I was trying to save money and figured I'd do it when I paid off all the expenses I had at the time. Well, now that time has come!
When I added the bathroom to the front of my bedroom I found I had much less light than I used to have (since I removed the old window in order to add the bathroom). So instead of going with just a replacement for the old window I want to remove the old window and add 2 smaller windows on each end of the wall (with plenty of wall space for a bed to go up against in between). Then remove the 4 x 4 foot window (the standard window in most of my rooms) in the back bed room and put in a 2 x 4 foot double hung window. While the wall is being destroyed to install the windows they will insulate it and update the electric system exposed. The hall bathroom and picture windows will also be replaced with double paned windows. And if I can afford it this time, I'll move the existing 5 foot French door slider into the back bedroom where the 2nd 4 x 4 foot window is and install a SIX foot French door into the dining room area. It's always kind of bugged me that the slider looks so small in that space. More light into the house will be nice too. So that's the project.
Jack called me a couple days ago and said it would cost me $6400 for the window project without moving the slider. If I want to do the slider job too, tack on another $4500. Ouch. Well, I knew it would be a pretty penny. Having all new double paned windows is high on my list of things to do, especially with the colder months coming soon. And I love that I'll be insulating the wall (which catches all the afternoon heat). Apparently, in 1948 insulation was not a consideration when building homes!
I'm going to have to dip into my vacation funds to get it done. I won't have to use those funds until next Spring time (when I have to be ready for my niece's special trip that will take place next summer). Hopefully I'll make enough back to buffer up that savings account. In a pinch, my parents said they would loan me the money so that I won't run short on any of the needs that might come up.
Oh, and my last on-line class in getting my master's degree starts today. It's just like me to pile up all kinds of things to do so I feel like I've just barely got my nose just above the water line. Why do I do this to myself, repeatedly?? I think I must operate best on a schedule that requires a little panic and adrenalin mix.....

Labor Day Weekend

It was a nice 3 day weekend. We didn't go anywhere but just hung out at home and tended to the to-do list that always accompanies a house.
Since the start of kindergarten, T and I (at his insistence) have been taking a walk or bike ride around the block to visit any or all of the 3 kids in his class. He's really connected with a little girl who also apparently got the "tall" gene and matches T in height and weight. (Makes it more even with the occasional wrestling/tickle matches that happen). She's also an only child and so I think her parents appreciate having another child over to play with their daughter. As I was enjoying a glass of wine with "A's" mother I lamented (during last week's heat wave) that my air conditioner won't stay on and keeps tripping the breaker. She volunteered her husband to have a look at it in the coming week. The next day (yes, it's almost a daily occurrence to go and visit due to T's persistence) I complained that I tried to install the new front door latch but one of the three existing holes drilled into the door didn't match up perfectly and now I have to wait to borrow a drill bit to make a new hole. Again, he piped up and volunteered to have a go at it. Of course I jumped at the offering! The next day the whole family came over and he trimmed the neighbors wayward tree (that was partially blocking my lemon tree), installed my new latch, fixed the air-conditioner's problem (needed a larger wattage breaker), and adjusted the side yard gate so that it actually latches properly again. Plus, he's willing to come demolition one of the back yard sheds to make way for my new back yard plans, whenever I want him to. My goodness! He says he's done with his own "honey-do" list (having been unemployed now for a little while) and finds it more fun to work on someone else's house. I can see that. And I totally appreciate it!!! It makes me feel a little guilty having someone do so much for me without paying him. Maybe I'll have them all over for a nice spaghetti dinner soon. That'll be good.

Yesterday, dad came over and together we made plans for my "city strip" (the strip of land between my front lawn and the street). My parents and I removed the old English ivy that was there a few weeks ago and now a few more sprinkler heads need to be installed so that grass and flowers can grow there instead. Dad is very good at making plans on paper (from his years as a draftsman) but unfortunately he had to make 3 different trips to Orchard Supply because he kept buying the wrong pipes, elbows and Tee joints. Finally by the day's end he was actively installing the new piping but was unable to finish, so tomorrow he'll finish up the job. Then it's up to me to get some excellent soil, install the 2x4 boundary markers for my flower bed around the existing Japanese Maple tree and get the sod. In no time it will be gorgeous! Dad says he kept making mistakes because he's still getting over his illness (the one my brother spread around during our camping trip) but it could also just be that his brain doesn't work too well any more. I'm thankful he didn't become too angry at all the wasted time, energy, gas and "wear and tear on the poor engine" as he kept driving back and forth.

I called mom a couple of times. She's still sick as a dog. She says she'll go to the doctor again in 2 days if she's not much better. She went late last week and was diagnosed with an ear infection and what ever viral illness she suffers from. She wants to give the antibiotics time to do their thing before making the effort to call and go in again (she hates using the phone for some reason). But she really enjoyed the peace and quiet while dad was away at my house. She was especially grateful he'd need to come back to my house to finish the sprinkler project. Poor woman. Anything to brighten her day....

Hopefully she'll make a turn around for the better soon. In the mean time she's lost quite a bit of weight and is enjoying watching the graph marks go down to new territory (she keeps a graph on the fridge and she and my dad plot their daily progress on it--makes it more fun and really helps keep the motivation going).