Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oy Vey

What a day!

First off, it was great to be back with my kids. My classes seemed happy to see me, and they were very sympathetic about my grandma. It was a busy day, and I'm behind on a few things after being out for three straight days, but I felt pretty good.


At the end of fourth period today, one of my kids passed out. We (some students, a parent volunteer and I) got her on the floor before she passed out, with a sweater under her head. I called the office and campus security hurried to my room.

Before long, we realized that she just wasn't responsive enough for our comfort. Her mom was there by then, so the decision was made to call an ambulance.

I'm always impressed by EMTs and the firefighters. They are so good at what they do, and so kind to the people they are helping. They tested my student's blood sugar. Keep in mind that normal blood sugar is between 80 and 120. Her level was 21. Yikes!

She was taken from my classroom on a gurney to the local emergency room. Poor little thing. She's one of the sweetest girls in my advanced group, and I hope she's okay.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Home is a nice place to be. : )

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm Cold

I'm freezing my cookies off, here!!

Ootah is cold. Temps are in the 20s or so, and it's snowing tonight.

Grandma's funeral was lovely. My cousin Jeff said the prayer, and Aunt Carolyn said a few words. I read a poem Grandma had selected, and then led the grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the song "I Am a Child of God." Jeff, my brother Aaron, and some other family men were pallbearers.

We did most of the service inside, only going outside to bless the grave (Aaron did that). The funeral home was very nice letting us be inside, as it was cold, and the wind was bitter.

We fly home tomorrow, and I will be glad to get back to my own bed, and, of course, my Millie Joyful.

Thanks to everyone for the kind words and prayers for me and my family. This was coming for a long time, and I wasn't very close to Grandma C., but it was still difficult in its way. I am glad I got to come here to say my goodbyes, and I am grateful for the unflinching support from everyone at my school...and yes, I do actually miss my darlings right now.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Grandma Cooper

Grandma's obituary was in today's Salt Lake Tribune.

We will fly to Salt Lake City tomorrow. The funeral is set for Tuesday at noon. The forecast says there should be snow, and the high for Tuesday is 27 degrees. I have lots of scarves, gloves and hats left over from England and Washington that I'm taking with me.

Barring any snowstorms, we will leave Utah on Wednesday, and that afternoon I will drive back to Antioch, to be back at work on Thursday morning.

Friday, January 25, 2008


I am incredibly hyperactive today.

I'm not hyper in the giddy, giggly way, but rather in the harried, must-get-it-all-done way.

Grandma Cooper passed away last night--no more than two or three hours after I blogged about planning lessons around her passing.

I can't describe everything that I'm feeling right now. There's relief that Grandma is not suffering anymore, and guilt that I feel any sort of relief at her passing. There's sadness that my last remaining grandparent is gone, and sadness that I wasn't closer to her. There's confusion, because her relationship to us was always a little bit complicated. There's excitement to see my family in Utah next week--but really, we're all getting together for a funeral (more sadness). There's fear of the funeral--my first funeral with a casket, and an open one at that. There's questioning--will I want to see her? Would I rather not? I'm leaving that one up to the moment I'm there. I simply can't make that decision right now.

And then there's the stress.

Let's face it, I'm not known for being the best at handling stress, so if visions of me in tears flashed through your mind, I don't blame you. But surprisingly, I am not a wreck. I'm hyper, to be sure, but I'm not a wreck.

The thing about my job, my career, my calling, if you will, is that it really does consume so much of my life. I can't just leave the office for a few days (who can?). I have to leave lesson plans, and I have to let bunches of different people know I'll be gone. Today found me running all over campus and emailing a lot of people, typing or saying over and over again, "My grandmother passed away last night."

First the principals--they need to know that I'll be out for three days. Then the vice principal of my house, and his secretary. I let the other ladies in the office know, should anyone call for me at school. I couldn't forget the student accounts lady--we're smack dab in the middle of planning the Anaheim trip and she and I have been in a lot of contact about that. There was the lady in charge of our grading system--just in case there are any problems, she needs to know that I won't be around to fix them. And my faculty leader, who gets a little bit cranky when people miss meetings without telling him why first. I'll be missing a meeting on Tuesday, so there went another email.

And that's not all. The ladies who are putting together the Black History Concert need to know that I won't be there to work on the musical end for a few days. My colleagues who are friends need to know. It goes on and on.

Then there's all of the planning.

Grades are due on Wednesday. I have to input grades on my school computer, so what I had planned on doing this weekend instead had to be done today--five classes worth. Lesson plans for three days had to be typed up, emailed to the house secretary. Copies of worksheets had to be made and put out where the sub will find them. Drum Line had a practice. Two choir moms came in to discuss Anaheim.

Let me just interject here that these two moms are amazing. They took all of the paperwork and said, "We've got it. You have a safe trip." Then one offered to come to Show Choir both days I'll be gone to help the sub make sure the kids are on task. The other mom comes to most Divine Voices rehearsals anyway, and will be there on Tuesday to rehearse the kids.

So things should go pretty smoothly in my absence.

And my kids--my kids. They can be so difficult, so hormonal, so crazy-making. But when I told them today that my grandma had passed away, every single one of them expressed sympathy. I got a few hugs, a lot of "are you okay?" and even one very nice young man telling me, "You and your family will be in my prayers this weekend."

Maybe that's what it is I love so much about teaching. It's not just about me touching their lives, it's about them touching mine.

Anyway, I'm rambling. See? Hyperactive.

I've managed to sit myself down for a few minutes between laundry loads, packing, clearing food out of the fridge (I'm going to Mom and Dad's tomorrow, so anything that's about ready to go bad has to be thrown out), and dropping my rent check off a week early--just in case I get stuck in a snowstorm at the Salt Lake City airport. I pulled all of my prescription information out of my file, on the off chance that someone in security has questions about my mini-pharmacy.

That reminds me, I need to get my passport out of my safe box--you never know when a California driver's lisence will be insufficient at the check-in gate.

Beyond hyperactive.

Amazingly, I'm getting everything done. School is taken care of (huge weight off!). In another hour or so I'm going to force myself to relax in the tub and then to go to bed...hopefully my mind won't be racing as it was last night.

In between all of this, Grandma's passing is never far from my mind. I cried a little bit this morning, but since then, I've been too busy to feel anything.

Maybe that's the appeal of all this hyperactivity.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


My grandmother has been very ill lately. Just before Christmas, she started to decline, and this last week, she has been showing signs that her body is shutting down. As of today, she is being put on hospice care.

While it's sad, I have had time to get used to the idea, so I am actually feeling quite okay--to be honest, I hope her suffering ends soon, so she can be in peace. Let's face it, Grandma is 90 years old and she's very, very ill. No one wants to see a family member suffering like that.

Anyway, I am faced with the prospect that any day now, I could find myself on an airplane to Salt Lake City, going to her funeral.

In my job, I can't just stop and take a break--I have to make sure that everything is in place for a sub to come in and teach my classes. Being a music teacher, it's harder, because most subs don't have a musical background. So often, I leave readings and crossword puzzles for my kids, and hope they're polite.

So I am working on sub plans this afternoon, so that I have something to leave when Grandma passes on and I have to quickly leave town for her services. It seems a little bit morbid, planning for the death of my grandmother, but we do know it's coming, and I do need to have some kind of plan in place, for the sake of my kids.

I've even gone so far as letting the secretary know what's going on, so I can leave the lessons in her capable hands. I feel so responsible, so organized...

So morbid.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Best. Thing. Ever.

After Christmas, I was shopping at Target (I had a couple of gift cards to use), looking for stuff to fill my shopping cart and use $125 on. Eventually, I wandered into electronics, and had a great thought: "Hey, I'll look at prices on printers!"

To my surprise and happiness, I found a Lexmark all-in-one printer for $47.99. Needless to say, I bought it, and life has been beautiful ever since.

I've been scanning pictures and documents, using the copy feature, and loving the print quality in both color and black-and-white. It's glorious!!

Guess it doesn't take much to make me happy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Millie's Famous!!

Check it out here.

A couple of months ago, I posted a blog called Feline Fine, showcasing some of my favorite cat sites on the Internet. Well, Millie's picture, emailed to Stuff On My Cat months ago (July or August, I think), finally got posted! The site is so popular, they are months behind in getting submitted pictures up.

I had pretty much given up hope that my sweetie would be featured, but after arriving home from work today, at the culmination of a long, busy, stressful workweek (in which I had to take my anxiety meds a couple of days), there was my Millie on Stuff On My Cat. Not only that, but people are commenting on how pretty she is, and loving the name Millennium Joy. I'm still smiling.

Of course, I think she is the most wonderful and special cat in the world. Other cats are wonderful and special, too, but Millie is my cat, and we suit each other so well.

So that's my exciting news of the week. : )

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer

Or chubby dancer, if I'm really looking to be accurate.

In December, my drum kids had a fundraiser at Barnes and Noble. Every purchase made with a voucher meant we got a small percentage of the sale. I ended up spending about $100 that day, on stuff for myself and a few Christmas presents. I got the check today and we made $383. Not bad!

Anyway, this blog is about dancing, not fundraisers...but it all ties together. You see, one of the things I bought that afternoon is a small kit on belly dancing--yes, you read that right--belly dancing. It came with a book, a DVD, a set of finger cymbals, and even a little sticky thing you can stick to your belly for decoration. : )

So tonight, I finally took the book and DVD out and got to work. I only made it through the warm-up and two of the slow movements, but it's loads of fun and I'll hopefully find time 3-4 nights a week to do more. It's a great workout for the abs, let me tell you.

And it's belly dancing...with finger cymbals and everything! How fun is that?!

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly in the Plains

Here, however, it's blowing everywhere.

This video was taken from my patio a few mintues ago. It's settle down a teeny bit, but the rain continues to pour.

Needless to say, I'm staying in my apartment today!!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Elbow-Deep in Stickers

I never really outgrew my childish delight with stickers. That explains why I keep buying them and hoarding them in a big binder. Only these days, instead of the cheap, grocery-store stickers, I buy the really fancy-schmancy stickers at the scrapbook stores.

So here I am, tonight, elbow-deep in stickers, paper, pictures and glue sticks. I've been at it since about 1:00. I've watched four-and-a-half movies (Safe Passage, The Full Monty, Emma, Billy Elliott, and I'm now halfway through Beyond the Sea) while busily cropping and pasting my way through a large stack of memories of my year in Washington.

Especially fun were the pages about Kittygarten and the fabulous weekend Heather and I had in Seattle.

It's good to be creative, especially with the rain coming down outside. It's quite chilly outside, but cozy and warm in my apartment. I've got candles going, good movies, and a fun project. I made a big pot of potato-leek soup--from scratch, and pretty good if I do say so myself.

And the beauty of it all is that I have three more days of doing whatever I want before going back to work. Lovely!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Best Year Yet?

I don't know why, but I just have this feeling that 2008 is going to be a great year. Of course, I don't want to jinx myself in saying this...but I just feel so hopeful and good about things right now.

Of course, there is always room for improvement, so I'm making my annual New Year's Resolutions. They are as follows.

1. Take care of ME. One thing I learned--the hard way--in 2007 is that I have to put myself first. I can't put my job before my own well-being. And I can't let myself care what the kids or the parents think of me.

With this in mind, I am resolving to make time for myself. Time to work out, time to cook healthy meals (no more of that Mac and Cheese crap) and time to see my friends--even if it means driving to San Francisco, Napa, or Folsom. If I feel like seeing Mom and Dad and the Kindergatos, I will make time to drive up to Lincoln.

2. Enjoy California. I am finally okay with this whole "I'm a California Girl" thing. It's not the most perfect place to live, but it's what I know, and there is comfort in that. Now, I want to enjoy the state I live in. Face it, there's not many places as geographically and culturally diverse as California. Our economy is larger than most countries in the world (it's in the top ten, anyway). There is a lot to see and do, so I am resolving to take as many day trips as I can this year. Of course I'll go to the city (San Francisco) because it's so close, but I'd also like to see Tahoe, Fort Bragg (a bit farther away, so maybe that's an overnighter) and maybe even Yosemite.

3. Be more fiscally responsible. I've made a lot of improvements in this area in the last couple of years, but I still, from time to time, find myself in financial dire straights--like last summer, when I was going without paychecks for a couple of months and had to live out of my savings. I am making the goal to save more money (and, fortunately, this year I'm on my district's summer fund plan--I'll get a nice, large check at the end of June which will pay my rent and bills for the summer).

4. Find where I want to be. I am enjoying my job more this year, but I'm still not sure it's what I want to do in the long term. Therefore, this year, especially in the earlier half, will be about exploring my options for the next school year and figuring out which direction I want to move in. There are a lot of factors to consider--location, proximity to family and friends, job security and satisfaction, and financial considerations (for example, a single teacher will never be able to afford an apartment in San Francisco...and I don't want roommates).

5. Wear my diamonds...with jeans. I got a beautiful diamond journey pendant from Dad for Christmas (he really does enjoy spoiling Mom and I). I don't want to tuck it away for "special occasions" but rather enjoy it as much as possible, wearing it with jeans to work, or with a pretty outfit when going out.

Really, this is just a metaphor for a larger concept this year. As you all are aware, I will be turning 30 in August. I will officially leave those fickle years of the 20s behind and become, finally, a "real" adult.

My goal for this milestone is not to approach it with anything even resembling grace and dignity, but rather sliding in sideways, with margarita in one hand and a very load noisemaker in the other, shouting, "Wasn't that FUN?!?"

If New Year's Eve is any indication, I'm well on my way to making that resolution happen.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Resolution Number One:

Never, ever, ever drink that much again...especially at Yoshi's, where the drinks seem to be especially strong.

Last night was a great time--parts of it are fuzzy, but I do recall the Count Basie Orchestra being incredible. I'm glad I got to hear them. Yoshi's is a great place--fabulous accoustics--and they put on a great party.

I arrived home this afternoon to a worried kitty and an empty fridge. Now I've made the grocery run, taken some Ibuprofen, and showered the vodka out of my hair. I'm ready to sit and relax for a bit, and, should I find a second wind later, I might just take the Christmas stuff down and get it put away.

More resolutions, coming soon!