Monday, January 31, 2005

50 book challenge

ok, this is a challenge that i couldn't ignore -- 50 book challenge to read/record/blog 50 books read this year. since i'm starting this in january, i'll list them each month. hopefully that will remind me to keep my list up!

1 - 10 big ones -- by janet evanovich -- i've waited a long time for this book to come out in paperback, but finally gave out and let my son buy the hardback for me as my christmas gift. i just couldn't stand the suspense any longer. the book was good in the typical evanovich style using humor to convey the story.
2 - when will jesus serve the pork chops? -- george carlin -- an excellent collection of essays from carlin's brilliant mind. i especially loved his poem "a modern man" that starts the book off. carlin is an wonderful wordsmith, who uses a great variety of vocabulary to create the visions/feelings that he wants you to have. again, i am amazed by the man's mind and personality. but this book is not for everyone, as he openly criticizes the public, american society, christians, and uses profanity as he pleases.

3 - worst-case scenario survival handbook: college -- by joshua piven, et al -- this book was recommended to me by a student who just loves the sarcasm and wit contained w/i this book. i did get a few laughs out of the book, but being a sarcastic practical joker, i wasn't as impressed w/ the suggestions as he was. in fact, i'm fairly sure that i could've come up w/ most of those things and some other things on my own.
4 - the curious incident of the dog in the night-time -- by mark haddon -- i have to read this book for class on administration of special education services. the teacher assigned this book b/c it tells the story of a child w/ asperger's syndrome and the things that he deals w/ in his everyday life. it also portrays how society treats people w/ special needs. we're supposed to only read a few designated chapters each week, but i knew that i couldn't do that. the suspense of dragging out a book for a whole semester would just kill me!

amazing grace

ever have that bit of orneriness that you're involved in that you just can't live down for a long time -- if ever? well, i have too. i know you're amazed to hear that, especially those of you that don't know me well! so at some points in my life i have been involved in some orneriness and even had the idiocy to let my children see this. i guess i didn't realize that children have the memory of elephants, especially when one of them was very preturbed at my actions. our time together at church yesterday brought up one of these crazy bits of orneriness from my past.

the last few weeks have included several old time hymns in the service, many that we sang at the church i grew up in. this sunday's service included those old hymns as well, including amazing grace. i have always loved that song, both in church and out, but i was involved in a bit or orneriness with that song a few years ago that some people haven't forgotten. as soon as we started singing amazing grace in church, my daughter leaned over and said, "i still remember the time you sang that for grandpa. he could've wrung your neck for that!" after that comment, i was no longer focused on the song or on church, but i had envisioned the scenario in my mind . . . .

summer was 9 years old that spring, with the other grandchildren stairstepped down at 7, 6, 5, and 2 years old. my 2 kids were the oldest of the grandchildren and the 3 yougest ones were my brother's kids. they all played many days together at my parents' farm, making up adventures and discovering activities. no, they weren't always safe things to do, but the kids were always having fun! one day, summer came running into my mother, crying and talking real loud and excited, to tell her that two of the new little kittens were dead and in the front yard. summer was a cat lover and so was her grandma, and leaving these little kittens out in the front yard was just not going to happen. my mom turned to my dad and said, "danor, you'll need to get those kittens picked up." now, for those of you who don't know my mother, when she has a job that she wants done that she doesn't want to do even though she is perfectly capable of doing it -- we call that a "shit job". and my mom is one of the world's best at assigning "shit jobs".

my dad's latest assignment of dead kitten detail had him just about as excited as a root canal. he went to the shop to get some gloves on and some rags to pick the kittens up w/ and headed out to the front yard. he had no idea when he got this assignment that summer would be following along to make sure he did everything just right. so here was my dad, grumpily marching out to the front yard, followed by the line of children in the dead kitten parade, descending in size from medium to small to toddler. not only was dad not happy w/ this assignment, but he kept looking over at the back door. he was sure mom was watching (also to make sure he did it right) and he had some dirty looks he wanted to send flying her way. well, he was right. mom was standing in the back door watching and so was i. i wasn't to begin w/, but mom was laughing so hard i just had to see what was so funny. after a couple minutes of standing there, laughing and elbowing each other, i decided to prick my dad's ire just a little more. i stepped out on the porch, assumed the posture of someone seriously approaching a monumental task, and began singing amazing grace as loud as i could. and not only was i singing, but i had adapted the singing style of the black choir master -- sliding over and around the notes, dancing, and clapping my hands.

my father's mouth just dropped open in shock as he stared at me. i was almost always on dad's side in any situation, but the sight of the dead kitten parade was enough to make me want to have a little fun even if it was at his expense. i didn't stop w/ the first verse, either. i kept singing for the 200 yards they tromped in the parade to get down to the shed. he unceremoniously tossed the dead kittens into the burn barrel of the trash area on his way into the shed and then distracted the kids w/ pop and candy bars from his refrigerator in the shed. he was still not a happy camper for the rest of the day, even more irritated when he heard mom snicker or snort in her amusement of the afternoon's events.

i didn't enjoy the dead kitten part of this whole scenario, but the vision of all the kids participating in the clean up from the kitten incident was bordering on hysterical. so from that day's vocal performance, i have quite a bit to live down every time someone hears amazing grace. the bad thing for me . . . every time i hear amazing grace, i'm reminded of the dead kitten parade instead of the words/meaning of the song.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

when it rains, it pours

well such is life, right? it's either not enough or it's way too much -- or at least mine seems to be! i've been so artistically inspired that i'm all caught up on my art projects and wondering what to do. no worries, though, as in no time i'll be behind again! i have several projects going on now that are keeping me occupied -- purple ink postcard exchange (PIPE) where i make my own postcards to send out monthly, a monthly tip-in swap of selected colors, a 1-time tip-in of colors for a chunky book, a techniques round robin for alteredbooks, a colors round robin for altered books, and a retro round robin for altered books. plus, i've started art journaling for myself and working on creating a blog to share my life and my completed artwork. hopefully soon i'll have pics posted of some of my finished projects!

this has not been my month for computer comfort, either. the modem went out of the desktop at home, so we're all trying to use the laptop for internet/email purposes. i don't have a computer in my classroom at school, so i like to carry the laptop w/ me. the only problem is that the laptop actually belongs to my son, and he likes to keep it to use sometimes. can you imagine the nerve? the laptop has also started to act kind of funky, so i'm guessing we've just about worn it out from all the use and rough treatment as we carry it back and forth to the multiple jobs and stuff.

i'm also over-blessed w/ hits on my personal profile this month as well. yeah, you read right -- i have a profile placed on a couple different singles' sites. not that i'm really pursueing a relationship, but it gets my daugher off of my back and keeps her from trying to find mr. right for me. it got so bad last summer as she was pressuring me to date someone that she picked out that i signed up for eharmony. for those of you who haven't had to fill out their questionnaire, you'll be shocked at how long it takes to complete. i think the only thing missing on the form had to do w/ my blood type and number of previous sexual partners. anyway, i filled out the humongo form and submitted it -- fully intended to tell my daughter to take a hike now -- and found that i had no matches. at that time, eharmony had just passed the 6 million members mark, so that was rather deflating.

i went home after work and (like the smartass i am) told my family that i was obviously not compatible w/ other humans according to eharmony. well, i didn't know that they did an indepth search every 24 hours, so the next day i started getting matches like crazy. the problem w/ eharmony, though, is that there are not very people here who are members. i did meet some nice people to chat w/, but no one i was interested in having a relationship w/. but that experience did pique my interest in the internet/singles area, so i listed my profile at i also have a profile at yahoo, but it's not open to public search. the reason for the secrecy at yahoo has to do w/ the fact that chris (my ex) has his profile posted at yahoo. imagine the weird feeling i would get if my ex-husband's personal profile from a singles' site arrived in my mailbox . . . yeah, now you know how i would feel! but because i knew he was there, i intentionally chose criteria on my searches that i knew would not fit him. just didn't want to take chances!

anyway, january has been the month of over-interest from people on my personal profile. it hasn't been a bad experience, but different. at this point, there are 3 guys that are actively pursueing me and they are very different from each other. the most promising is 49 and in the process of divorce. to me, that's a yellow light, as i'm not interested in going any further until he gets out of the situation that he's in. but he seems to be a really good guy and someone that i could easily trust, i think. the next one is 47, and i don't trust him. yeah, i'm interested in him, but i don't feel that he's "safe". for some weird reason, i don't feel that it would be physically safe to meet him, and i'm not sure why. but this is one of those feelings that i'm not going to play around w/. i enjoy chatting w/ him, as he's intelligent and has a great sense of humor -- but there is just something that makes me uneasy. maybe it's because he's trying to make me think he's somebody that he's not? the other man is a handsome 27 year old from pittsburg that happens to be friends w/ my daughter. no, he doesn't have a shot in hell! it would just be too weird to date a guy that was closer to my daughter's age than mine! after all, i'm fighting the age battle enough w/o trying to and impress someone that's 12 years my junior! no thank you!!

the "dangerous" guy did provide me w/ an adventure last week, though. i was rather impressed w/ his personality, sense of humor, and intelligence and i decided to do a little more checking out on him. i knew his real name and about where he lived, so i did a yahoo people search for him. it provided his house phone and an address on him. i entered the addy into yahoo driving directions and got the directions to his house -- thinking i would just do a "drive-by" and see what kind of neighborhood he lived in or what style house he had. you know, you can tell a lot about a person by what type of house they live in or how they keep their property. i didn't tell the kids or anyone where i was going, just went on my little adventure after work. after all, it's just about 10 minutes from my job to his house. so i'm driving along, close to lost as i had never been in this area of the country before and i can't find a house w/ that address on it. after 3 passes, i realized the house w/ that address is a falling down shack that would be condemned if it were in town. the kind of house that causes all the neighbors to build fences so they didn't have to see it! my first reaction was to think that maybe yahoo made a mistake -- it's not perfect you know. but then i started really looking at the place, and too many things were matching up w/ the things that he told me on chat -- raising miniature horses, had lots of birds in the yard, lots of political signs in the yard, wooded area out back. my heart just sunk when i saw all this trash and crap. i was so disappointed b/c he wasn't who i thought he was, and he wasn't who he was implying he was, either. i was so disgusted w/ myself over this whole deal that i just went home and went to bed at about 7. just went in my room and pulled the covers over my head and berated myself for being an idiot! then i couldn't decide if i was happier to have found out at that point, rather than being more disappointed later, or later when maybe i had built my hopes up even more. i've decided that now was/is better, and that way it i'm not even harder on myself later!

i haven't decided exactly what to do about this guy yet. at first i was really irritated, but i wasn't sure if i was irritated w/ myself or w/ him -- or maybe some w/ both of us! since then, i'm trying to figure out what his game is. he's unemployed, so does that make him a gold-digger or a victim of circumstance? he's a single dad raising 2 kids, so does that make him looking for a woman to raise his children or just a dedicated father who would like a companion? he did accuse me of "not really looking for a relationship" and i agreed w/ him fully on that count. i'm not really looking for a relationship, and i'll be the first person to admit to that. that doesn't mean that i don't want a relationship or that it's not important to me -- it's just not a priority right now. i don't have the time, energy, or desire to spend time looking for something that i'm not convinced that i want. now, to keep this in perspective -- i would like to win the lottery, but i'm not buying lottery tickets. i'm not even searching for the lost ticket in southeast kansas right now. but if i found a million dollars or a winning lottery ticket laying in my path, i would definitely pick it up. see the correlation? i guess i could say, "i want it, but not enough to put out any effort (or not much effort) toward obtaining it." who knows? maybe this is the year that i'm the winner? or this year i'm the weiner?

well, the singles saga continues and we'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

new tv on new year's day 2004

happy new year to all! i thought I would send along a story to everyone about our new year's day last year (2004). i wrote this story last year after having lived through the most idiotic experience of my personal life, I think. i always keep it in mind for those days when i think things are not going my way. anyway, my family always gives people a hard time when they do something stupid. i figured if i tried to hide it, they would all know that it would bother me to be teased about it. so, i just typed up a story version of the event and sent it out to everyone in my address book. amazingly, only 2 people gave me a hard time about it. everyone needs a little excitement in life, right?

so here's the deal – i decided to buy a big screen tv (65" mitsubishi) instead of keeping the bose system, as i figured that if we get robbed again the bose would go right out the window, but the tv would be a little more difficult. in reality, i just wanted it, but the reasoning does sound good, doesn't it? anyway, we (mike and i) went and picked one out about 2 weeks before christmas. summer and i went back on december 28th to purchase it and they had to order it for us. the tv was due to be at the “big electronic store” in joplin on january 1, so i asked mickie if we could borrow her truck (you know the dodge ram that now has the camper topper on it) and she said it was fine. we went to town to get the keys, as she was having christmas dinner with galen's family. anyway, galen's daughter told us that these big tv’s are not supposed to be tipped. it would have to lay down in mickie's truck. so, we called teresa and asked if they had a pickup we could use for a couple hours and they let us take the big ford 4 door (turns out to be a good thing, as the box wouldn't have fit in her truck anyway).

raven stayed with teresa, who was going to try and run the combine, and we (me, summer, and her new bf, lucas) headed to joplin to get the tv. the tv was in and ready, so i pulled up to the front door and they loaded it for us, pushed it up against the cab, as it was too big to lay down in the pickup bed. we also got a free leather lane recliner with the purchase, so it was wedged in the back of the truck with the tv. i eased the pickup out of the lot at “big electronic store” and i'm watching the tv in the rearview mirror the whole time. we stopped at the gas station with the a&w and car wash as i had to put some gas in the guzzler before we headed home. Lucas went in and bought some drinks and snacks; summer sat in the truck like the little queen of the nile (this will be important later). as we carefully left the gas station, i watched the tv in the rearview and everything went fine. About this time, lucas said, "have you ever noticed how people look at you when you're hauling something like this? like, man, i wish i was going to their house or something." We made good time heading north on rangeline through webb city, and everything was going great.

we rounded the corner at the stop light in webb city that i've never made it through on green. after we stopped, i carefully and slowly rounded the corner and headed toward stone's corner. Well, along about the airport as we traveled about 40 mph, in the rearview mirror i saw a huge box (big enough to hold a 65" tv) sail out the back of the truck. and i mean sailing, as the tailgate was shut. The wind (and it was a gusty crosswind at this time) picked that 200+ lb. tv in that huge box up out of the back of the truck and sent it like a frisbee, sailing along the ditch and toward the airport fence. i cannot even begin to describe my feelings about this time to you! i have a $3000 purchase sliding along the ditch just about as fast as the pickup I was driving! anyway, i checked the rearview mirror and no one was coming in my lane (thank God, or they might have been dead by tv), and I backed up about 40 yards to where the tv skidded to a stop. at this point, lucas and i looked at each other and he said, "what do we do now?" and i answered, "well, i guess we put it back in the truck." i didn’t want to get a ticket for littering or spilling a load, so we needed to hurry!

so, lucas (who's about 5'7" if he's standing up for measurement and 150 pounds maybe - soaking wet) and i walked across the ditch to fetch the tv from where it landed after bouncing off the airport fence. now the tv itself was not really that heavy, but the box was extremely awkward and was now mostly falling apart from the impact. we decided that the best method would be to "walk it" (as we couldn't just lift it) down the ditch, up the ditch, then to the back of the truck, so we could tip it in. at this point, we're not worried anymore about whether it was supposed to be tipped or not. so we're manhandling this tv and box down the ditch and that went fine. but the "up the ditch" part was much steeper. i held the weight of the tv while it was slightly tipped back and lucas did the walking of both ends up the ditch. did i mention he's a sagger? well, i noticed that he took time a few times to pull his pants back up where they "should be," which is about 3 inches lower on him that where i think they should be. regardless, i didn't want to be standing at the edge of the road holding the weight of this tv and box if his pants fell down, because i just don't think i could've held it together at that point. i would've been reported as "laughter kills -- tv crushes laughing woman at edge of road". that would've been the straw the broke the camel's back on this day, i think!

about the time we have the tv and disintegrating box maneuvered to the back of the truck, a woman stopped to ask if we needed some help. lucas got in the back of the truck to pull on the one remaining plastic strap that held the box together while the other woman and i lifted the box off the ground and pushed it into the back. we just laid the box over, which meant it just hang over the edge of the bed about 12 inches or so. as lucas and i were standing there laughing and surveying our work, i pointed out to him that summer (the little queen of the nile) had not moved from her spot in the front. in fact, i don't think she even looked back to check on our progress! he said, "yeah, i noticed she wasn't helping us any." i told him to count himself lucky, because if she had gotten out to help, she would have just been ordering us around and we would both want to kill her. anyway, we got back in the truck, lucas and i were breathing heavy and sweating (with mud and grass all over us) and summer looked at both of us with that beautiful little face and said, "well, that wasn't so bad, was it?" lucas and i just lost it, especially since my sense of humor was near hysteria by this point.

we went on home, backed the truck up to the front porch, and laughed and made jokes about not dropping the tv and such while we unloaded this monster mess. every place on the box where we touched started to fall apart in our hands, so we just set the box up, tore off the box and packing, and lifted the tv on to the porch. it had wheels, so we wheeled it into the house to survey the total damage. we plugged it in and it worked fine, but the top corner has been scuffed and there is a small crack in the top of the box that holds the screen. i called “big electronic store” and told them that we just got home with our new purchase, removed the packing (what little was left, but I didn't mention that part), plugged in the tv, and noticed that the top corner was scuffed off and upon further inspection found that there was a crack in the top of the tv. the woman that helped me was so nice and the final verdict was that they would replace this tv and even bring the replacement to my house and pick this one up at no charge (just for the inconvenience). I thought, "whew, if they only knew the inconvenience it was to get that tv home!" but of course, i didn't tell her about the whole trip home with the tv!!! in my defense – she didn’t ask, either.

and the whole way home i'm wondering how in the world i'm gonna deal with this? i asked the woman if we needed to put it all back in the packing that we just tore all apart. she said, "oh heavens, no. we'd just have to take it off again when it gets here. just leave it like it is." i was really thanking God at this point, because i didn't know what i was going to do with all of the packing that had mud and grass stains all over it! and the styrofoam that was packed tightly around the TV in the box must have exploded upon impact, as there wasn’t one single piece bigger than a baseball. anyway, yesterday did certainly turn out to be an exciting new year's day! now we have to wait until the 6th for our new tv to be delivered.

well, if laughter is good medicine, i've provided your dose for today! sending lots of love and happiness your way for the new year!

jill & family

p.s. - the only thing that would've made this escapade better would've been if scott could've shared it with us! unfortunately for him, he missed the excitement because he was babysitting.

p.s.s. -- make sure and keep us in mind if you need help moving!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

welcome to my home . . .

jill's house from the road - january, 2005 Posted by Hello

the kids and i are beginning our 5th year here at our house in the country. december, 1999, found us moving from our house in town out to the old homestead of anna campbell, my father's aunt. we were so excited to get out of town, especially me, because it drives me nuts to have neighbors who make noise when i'm trying to sleep -- which is very common because i sleep at weird hours. so even though we had great neighbors when we lived in town, i'm very happy for the peace and solitude of the country that we have here.

we don't have any neighbors closer than a mile, but we have lots of wild life that comes right up in our yard -- including deer, turkey, badger mama and her 3 babies, rabbits, squirrels, a swan that stayed here about 3 months during house construction, skunks, snakes, coyotes, and even a bobcat sat in the yard while eating a rabbit. it's so refreshing to see wild life just roam wherever they feel inclined. except for the mice, of course, because they're just not quite so cute. because we're so isolated out here, both of the kids were kind of scared about being alone here at night because it is so dark and so quiet. fortunately, the house is rigged up with enough coach lights and flood lights that by flipping a few switches, we could easily be confused with an electric company in full operation. then young rambo keeps his guns out and ready, just in case he needs to save the day, so we feel well-protected.

the house construction was not necessarily a pleasant experience for me, overall. the house was supposed to be 3200 sq. ft. but ended up being 4000 sq. ft. no one is really sure how or why that happened, either. regardless, it made me run over budget significantly! anyway, the actual house plan was something that mickie saw as a "house of the week" in the paper. i loved the look of the outside, but didn't care for the floor plan because it wasn't arranged the way i wanted and the rooms were too small. so i drew out the floor plan that i wanted and then showed the carpenters the picture from the paper and said, "make the outside look like this." of course i see or know things now that i would do differently, but overall, i'm very pleased with the finished product.

the ironic thing is that i wanted a house big enough so my kids could some day come home and bring their families to visit as often as they wanted and we would have plenty of room for everyone. well, we have the room for everyone, but what i've found out since then is that my kids aren't going anywhere. not just "not going anywhere anytime soon," but just not going anywhere! in fact, at 18 and 21, both kids are still living at home (including little raven, who is 16 months) while they go to college. after college, summer intends to build a house at the other end of the field my house is in and scott intends to buy my grandmother's house, which is 6 miles away. so eventually, it'll be just the cat and me wandering around in this big house and no need for all this room!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

the start of the new year

every year, society pressures us into making life-changing decisions based on the start of a new calendar. i started a new calendar, so therefore, i should get my life more organized and set some new goals. one of the major NEW goals is to get a blog set up so my friends can read/see more about our lives.

i'm still working on some of the goals that i set last year -- the typical ones. last march i started a diet. not a new concept, but probably a different diet than most people ==> the new tattoo diet. yeah, i made the rules up myself. the ultimate goal is to get 40 pounds off (to begin with). the prize -- a new tattoo (hence the diet name!). i already have the design drawn and ready; i'm just carrying it around until i earn it. of course, i might decide to lose more than the 40, but that would be for more tempting prizes to myself! for the update -- i have 8 more pounds to go! just to keep it in the forefront of my mind, i keep the design for my new tattoo plastered on the wall next to my computer and carry a copy of it in my personal calendar.

i have set up some goals for this year and possibly next, although the sooner i can get them done the better it would be. i'm most anxious to get the diet done (at least the 40 pounds) so i can get the new tattoo prize. the overall list looks like this --

  • get the new tattoo (yea!)
  • spend as much time w/ family and friends as possible - ongoing
  • take more pictures of family, especially of raven
  • get 1/2 done w/ masters program
  • get a promotion
  • start teaching dual credit courses
  • get a boob job - or at least investigate further into this option!
  • pay off 1/2 of debts - other than house, that is!
  • cut my work schedule and maybe just work one job . . .
  • simplify my life and my household!
  • buy a new motorcycle - probably in 2006, though
definitely enough things to work on! and these are my personal goals, meaning the kids' goals are responsibilities for me on top of my own. both kids are still living at home and both are attending college, but their lives are changing quickly and drastically. summer is thinking that she and lucas will get married on spring break of 2006, which means we have a lot of planning/researching/preparing to do for that event. at this time (and her mind changes often), the plan is just to have a small wedding here in pittsburg and then have a reception later. they are also considering taking a cruise over the summer of 2006 for a honeymoon. of course, i would have to go on the cruise, too, and take care of raven. the perfect excuse!

summer started off the year by turning 21 on january 3. we had a small family party for her, but i know that she thinks something is missing. for her 16th birthday, i took her to nyc and gave her front row tickets to phantom of the opera. we stayed at the marriott at the base of the twin towers, so most of what we saw that weekend is no longer there. when i started trying to plan something special for her bday, i thought of going to cancun or cozumel. i did some research and found that the hotels there are definitely too expensive at this time of year. then i ran across a deal for lodgings in boulder, colorado, that sounded really neat. i called and made reservations for spring break, but i'm not telling summer. it's going to be her late birthday surprise. i'm thinking of mailing her clues on postcards to see if she can figure out what's up. we'll have to see on that. summer is also starting the year off car-free, as she had a wreck and totaled her 98 plymouth breeze on december 18, 2004. she has a new car picked out and is just waiting on the moolah to bring it home. summer is attending pittsburg state university and is in the honors program. this semester has her in 21 hours, i think. i can't seem to keep up, as she keeps changing her mind on things!

scott is attending labette community college and having a great college experience. he earned all A's during his first semester in college, and he is excited to start the new semester. he has enrolled in 17 hours for this semester, making him a very busy young man. his plan is to become a respiratory therapist and eventually open his own business offering these healthcare services. he will do so well in this career, too, as he has so much experience on being the patient. he has classes 3 days a week, so he also spends time on those days w/ his girlfriend, anna, who lives in the same town as the school. i tease him about doing so well in school b/c he gets to see anna more. kind of like an added incentive to success. after all, if he doesn't do well in school and continue to go there, it will make seeing anna much more difficult!

little raven was 16 months old at the start of the new year and the total center of our universe. she walks, talks, sings, rocks her babies night-night, plays, and learns -- all at an amazing speed. seems like no time when she was the little tiny girl just home from the hospital. now she's growing up and has an amazing attitude/personality. she is certainly going to give her mother a run for her money. i know it's evil of me, but i just can't wait. summer was so hard to "manage" at times and often did her own thing that i think it will be danged funny to see a little "what goes around comes around" kick her in the patootie! i really enjoy watching raven's learning process, as she's very quick to learn new things. we'll see how it continues and the fun we have . . .

ok, so that's my family somewhat . . . the kids (including raven, of course) and i all live together. it's odd now, as we're really more like 3 adults cohabiting rather than me parenting so much. but it's a good situation. now for myself -- a life update. i'm 39, single (divorced), working 2 jobs and going to school. i've gotten some new goals or changed some goals around based on the idea of turning 40 next year. now don't get the wrong idea -- age really means very little to me. i don't think of age when i'm making friends or meeting people -- i just see them for who they are. but looking at milestone birthdays reminds me that our time on the planet is limited -- so i want to get the most out of my allotment! my previous physician once told me that the majority of his patients would've taken better care of themselves if they had known they were going to live so long! kind of dark humor, but definitely funny and true! anyway, i'm making some lifestyle changes to make my life more enjoyable to me -- and that's all it is. i can't imagine any greater prison that being contained within a body that cannot keep up with the mind and/or the spirit.

as for work, i'm working at diamond high school, and i'm loving it. i had thought to get out of teaching last year and was working in the medical field when this position opened. i decided to give it another chance, and this has been a wonderful experience. the school is a new building and very nice, the administration is very caring and involved, the other staff is friendly and fun to be around, and the students are really good kids. i can't imagine what it would be like to never be involved in the education field. i also work at comfort inn & suites in pittsburg, ks, for 3 overnight shifts a week. i really enjoy this job, and i really appreciate my boss there. the job allows me to meet some very interesting people, plus i have quite a bit of time that i need to fill w/ something. so it's not uncommon for me to surf the internet, chat, watch tv, scrapbook, draw, color, write (all kinds), paint, meet up w/ friends, study, grade papers, plan lessons, read and more while i'm at work. makes it feel like the perfect job for me. plus the perks for when we travel are wonderful.

i'm enrolled at pittsburg state university, working on my educational leadership degree (so i could go into school admin). yea! another gorilla degree! i won't be done until the end of summer 2006, but that's fine. i'm not in a real big hurry to get into admin, but i thought this was as good a time as any to go to school. when i'm done w/ this degree, i can transfer my hours to oklahoma university and apply them toward my doctorate, which will probably be my next goal.

the comment about being single -- i didn't elaborate on that b/c i figured it was self-explanatory. obviously, my track record shows that i'm not compatible w/ other humans. maybe i'll work on this goal as well this year!