Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More than half way there

When I first found out I was pregnant, I made a committment to myself to journal along the way. I wanted to remember how it felt. I wanted to write about the emotions and excitement of this phase of my life. I really wanted to take time to enjoy the process.

I didn't.

Instead of sitting down and trying to catch-up (which is how I have "journaled" my entire life), I am just going to start from where I am.

Besides, if I had been more vigilant in journaling during the pregnancy, most of the entries would have gone something like this:

"Threw up as soon as I got out of bed this morning at 5:15. Decided not to wash my hair (for the third or fourth day in a row) because then I can sit in bed just a little bit longer. Plus, the thought of sitting with a hair dryer makes me want to vomit. Taught a full day of school. Tired. Went to another football (or basketball or practice) with the cheerleaders. Wanted to vomit. Ate as much as I could keep down. Sat on the couch. Felt like crap after my dinner of a Wendy's baked potato. Maybe tomorrow will be better."

Awesome, huh?

Anyway, I am not in week 21, which means that I am more than half way through this pregnancy. Completeley unbelievable. I still wouldn't say that I feel amazing, but I am feeling much better. We haven't stopped to do any shopping or preparing for this baby yet, but that is my goal in January--nesting.

The ultrasound was three weeks ago, and we decided not to find out the sex of the baby, sorry Mom. I didn't feel the baby move until last week; at least I didn't recognize the rumblings in my stomach as baby movements until last week. Chris felt the baby kick just a few days ago. Weird.

We are really excited for this baby to come, but I still have to make it through another semester!!!

On another note, Chris and I took the dog to the park today because the temperature actually reached 50 degrees. She finally got the courage to get in the water on her own. I'm not sure she expected the drop-off, but she survived. Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dang you, Eve! And other such blasphemies.

Why do I say this? If I recall my biblical stories, because Eve ate the fruit, there is now multiplied sorrow in conception of children. That's right people, I'm pregnant. And sorrowful. And by sorrowful, I mean sick. All. The. Time.

As of today, I am 11 weeks (+ two days) pregnant. I keep hoping for the day when I wake up and feel better. The day that everyone tells me is just around the corner. I hope this corner is shorter rather than longer.

Anyhow, here's the scoop:

We had been trying for about five/six months, and to be honest, we were really surprised when it happened during August. Chris was working in the Trauma ICU, a month of very long hours. But he had a "Golden Weekend," meaning he had Saturday and Sunday off in a row, which happen to be conducive to baby-making. And for those of you that we have lied to about whether we were trying to get pregnant, I'm not really sorry. It's an odd question really. Aren't you really just asking us how much unprotected sex we have?

I found out the night before the new school year started. Oddly though, I was really annoyed with my husband when I took the pregnancy test. In fact, I didn't even tell him that's what I was doing. I just went upstairs and took it. I stared at that test for several minutes trying to decide if what I saw was really a + sign. So I took it downstairs to the medical professional to ask his opinion, at which point he commented about me getting some pee on the outside of the stick, yuck. Like he doesn't come home some days with stranger's bodily fluids on his socks!

We both stared at the test. We stared at the examples on the test instructions. We determined that I "might" be pregnant. We hugged and kissed. We took awkward pictures with the stick. We went to bed.

The next day was the first day of school for me, and to be honest, I didn't think about it a whole lot. I was very busy. But every once in a while, I would stop, remember that I was pregnant, and smile.

The first week or so felt great, aside from a little heartburn. But when Week 6 came, so did the morning/noon/night sickness. With a bang. I even came home early from work one day because it was virtually impossible for me to stand up. That was the day I called the nurse to inquire about a prescription. She, of course, asked me if I had tried any over-the-counter remedies. I hadn't, which I explained, but I also explained that I was going on family vacation that would require me being on a houseboat for five days. She phoned in a prescription. A miracle drug.

We spent Week 7 at Lake Powell with my family, which is where we decided to tell them since we were all together. We called Chris's family as soon as we returned, and then started telling friends/coworkers over the next week or two. If you are just now finding out, it's only because I pretty much spend all of my time on the couch. I apologize. I honestly haven't told anybody that I don't come across face-to-face because that is about all I can handle. I'm tired.

I am now half way through Week 9, really looking forward to the day when the food that I crave doesn't make me want to puke when I think about it. I always knew that the stomach flu was the best way to lose a few pounds, but I definitely didn't expect pregnancy to be the same way.

Also? Chris told me the only reason he decided to get me pregnant was because he wants a Father's Day gift--a grill, in fact.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm assimilating

Tonight was Open House at the school and I caught myself saying something I never, ever, ever thought I would say. It was kind of like word vomit. But I'm not sure.

Many of the teachers, students, and parents at my school are from the South (and yes, I do think it needs to be capitalized), and as such have a wide array of accents. I hear very refined drawls to very severe twangs.

I guess talking to so many different Southerners all at once got me going.

As I was discussing with a parent where the best place to seat her child would be, I said:

"I might could put him over there."

Really? I don't even now how to might-could something!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

While I was out...

Last week I decided that I needed something productive to do while I was watching TV, so I got out a puzzle that Chris and I had started, but never finished. I even went to Walmart to get a folding table for the event (was charged three times, voided twice, refunded twice, then actually purchased the next day...very complicated business).

I had been working for several days and only had two small sections to complete.

Yesterday morning I went to the gym for an hour and a half. Chris had gotten home from work about and hour before I left, so I left the dog out. She usually crawls under the bed while he is asleep.

This is what I found when I got home.

Both animals greeted me with excitement as if to say, "Look what we did! Isn't it great?"

I lost a good pair of shoes, several puzzle pieces, and the will to go on.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

College degrees get you no where!

North Carolina has been enjoying a rather warm and dry summer thus far, and what that means is that our grass is starting to die. Chris has been meaning to water the lawn for a while, but his schedule has made it difficult--you need to do it either early morning or late at night, and he has been at work for both.

I told him that I could take care of it since I am home all the time. He tried to explain to me the intricacies of the sprinklers while we were in line at lunch today, but I'll admit, I ignored him. How hard can it be to turn on a sprinkler?


I'm wet.

The lawn is still dry.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My first trip to the ER (or ED as Chris would say)

Jem, the cat, was neutered on Monday morning. I brought him home that night, put the E-collar (did you know that stands for Elizabethan?) on him, and sequestered him in the spare bedroom for the night. Other than the grogginess and semi-paralysis of his hind legs, he was fine.

Yesterday, I let him out for a little bit in the afternoon while I was reading. He sat on the bed with me, occasionally coming to get attention. He was recovering well, I thought.

I went back in to check on him at about 5:30 (after-hours), and his incision had started to bleed. It looked to me like a lot of blood, but what do I know about cat anatomy or post-surgical occurrences? I also noticed that he was completely lethargic; he just let me hold him in my arms without squirming.

We tried calling the vet, but of course, it was after hours and we were directed to call an animal emergency center. Which we did. I think Chris was really happy about this.

The tech came in to check him, and decided to take him in the back to administer some pain medications, because he was probably hurting quite a bit. We then waited for the vet to see us (about an hour later). There was cable in the room, though. I told Chris that they should do this in the people ER so that patients won't complain when they have to wait. He said they already have them in every room, and that some doctors want to get rid of them because patients get to comfortable in their "hotel suite," and start asking for food delivered to their beds, and wanting to stay longer.

But I digress.

Bottom line: the vet gave us two more doses of pain meds to give him at home, and then told us to watch the bleeding. He explained that male cats don't typically bleed from this incision, and that if we wanted, he could do a complete blood count, etc. We declined.

Not that I don't love my animals, but I am a minimalist when it comes to pet health care. I thought the $90 fee to be seen was enough. More than enough.

He's fine today; the Humane Society (who performed the surgery) said to just watch it.

Lesson learned. Pet ERs not worth it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I read too fast, again!

I finished Water for Elephants in two days...I tried to slow down, but had nothing else to do. A friend suggested that I go to the library to reduce the amount that I spend on my books, and although I appreciate the suggestion, I cannot follow it. I have a thing wherein I like to own the books that I read. There are very few books that I have read that I do not have on my shelf(some of the really awful ones from school were discarded). I really want to have a library of substantial size one day. I rarely re-read a book, but I just like to know it's there.

For those of you interested, Water for Elephants was just okay. The beginning hooked me, but I found myself just reading much of it in order to finish, not necessarily because I was dying to find out what happened next.

Whereas the book I am reading now, The Thirteenth Tale, is so intriguing. It came highly recommended to me. One of my students even chose it as her final novel for her essay. Her essay intrigued me, so I am reading it now. I love it so far. I'll let you know what I think at the end.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My own virtual book club

I have decided, now that my summer is getting started, to update my readers on my current reads. I love to read (duh! I'm an English teacher), but don't have much time to do it for leisure during the school year. Today was the official last day with students, and I started celebrating over the weekend with my first book: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Kahled Hosseini. Loved it!

Chris was at work on Saturday, and I found myself without much to do, having cleaned the house the day before, and not having any papers to grade! So I ventured out to Costco to buy some cheap books. I bought two.

I try really hard to read the books slowly so that I don't spend tons of money over the summer on my hobby, but I am really not good at that. I started the book on Saturday evening and finished it today at work (the students were taking a test; I just had to sit there). I was riveted by this novel. So much better than The Kite Runner, if you read that one.

When Chris saw what I was reading yesterday, he was a bit confused because I hadn't really loved The Kite Runner. I had completely forgotten about that until he mentioned it. I have a hard time reading a book, or watching a film for that matter, where I am angry or annoyed with the protagonist the entire time. Just say something, dang it, and you wouldn't be carrying this much anguish all the time!!!! But, that might also make a good story--if I am so annoyed with the protagonist, it probably means the author has done a good job at getting my attention.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed this book; I was completely compelled by the story. I love stories that take me to a different place; that help me to understand a culture that I would otherwise would not know. I learned so much about the Afghan people and the struggle of the Afghan women over the past forty or so years. I loved how well the author was able to get inside the mind of women.

Overall, I would whole-heartedly suggest you read this book. Most people already have though. I was just a little behind the times.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ice Cream? Now? Really?

I'm sitting here at the computer, reading other people's blogs, thinking that I have nothing to write about, watching the rain pour down, when I hear the ice cream truck drive up my street. Really? It's literally pouring outside.

And yet, there are teenage boys swimming in the pool across the street.

But they didn't buy any ice cream.

If Chris were home, he might accuse me of blaspheme for even suggesting that there is an inappropriate time for ice cream.

By the way, I did not receive a rose at the faculty meeting. I'm in limbo right now. Lots of fun.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Why am I awake at midnight working on lessons plans for a group of students that will probably not appreciate it at all?

The end.

Monday, May 4, 2009

I like roses

The recession has far reaching consequences, but the one I care about most is that fact that I probably won't have a job next year. The state keeps asking for more money back and making threats about next year's minimal budget. What this translates to is: "last hired, first fired."

My school has made it clear to me that they want to keep me on staff, but that they may not have a say in it at all. If they can hire me back, I may not know until August. But it may come down to them being forced to fill my spot with someone else from inside the district with more experience.

That being said, we received an email from our Principal today informing us of a meeting tomorrow after school. We were discussing said meeting at lunch, and I asked if the meeting was to announce that I won't have a job next year. We then proceeded to make jokes about all of the ways it could go down; for example, "front row, please step forward. Back row, this is the end of the journey for you."

But we all thought it would be great if they did it like The Bachelor.

I might not receive a rose at tomorrow's faculty meeting.

But maybe they will break up with another teacher over the summer and bring me back. Ooooo, and maybe they will let me sit in the office when they do it. Or, they can have another faculty meeting just so everyone can watch.

I didn't watch that show, but I hope you can tell that I was bitterly disgusted with the whole idea.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Big Announcement!!!

Our family is growing!

Meet the newest addition: Scout (at least I think that's what we're calling her). That also means that we will be calling the cat, Jem. If you don't know what this means, read more!!!! Sorry, the English teacher in me escaped.

We adopted Scout on Thursday night from a rescue group here in Charlotte. She was living with her siblings and mom until we brought her home, so she was a little sad for the first few days. However, she is a fantastic dog! Yes, we have had a few accidents in the house, but that's to be expected. And yes, the first night was torture as we listened to her cry. And yes, the cat peed on my bed in protest.

BUT, she is great! We took her to the park yesterday for a long walk, and she doesn't even need a leash. She will stay right near us, and she doesn't run up to people or other dogs when they come by. She doesn't bark. She doesn't chew on everything. And she isn't needy. She just is.

We'll see if this all lasts. She might just come out of her depression and become a new pup.

And I already promised at least one friend that the next time I make an announcement about an addition to the family, it will be a human addition.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring Break

My parents came into town for my Spring Break, and we had a blast. They enjoyed our Spring weather (more than a month before they will see it in Denver), and I enjoyed exploring new sights around Charlotte (and elsewhere).

I also enjoyed the generosity of my both of my parents, but especially my dad. You see, my dad doesn't like to sit around, so here's a list of things he accomplished on his vacation:

* bought a ladder (and other supplies)

* used ladder to paint my stairwell

* installed new light fixtures in stairwell, entry, and hallway

* installed nifty little things into my hoses and nozzles

* painted my hallway

* fixed a broken door knob

* fixed all of our broken blinds

* bought miscellaneous supplies that my house lacked

I'm sure there is much more, but I really appreciated all of his hard work.

My mom and I did a lot of shopping.

Chris was able to take two separate days off while they were visiting, so we spent those two days in Charleston, SC and Asheville, NC.
Rather than posting all of the pictures again, just go to my Facebook albums. Here are the links:

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In Memoriam

Yesterday was a hard day for the Johnson family. After much consideration, and almost two years of trying to solve the problem in another way, we had Richard Parker put down. We have been battling a problem with him peeing on our futon and then our couch for some time. We tried all other ways to treat the problem--we took all advice people gave us--but to no avail.

Although we loved our baby dearly, we decided it was best to say goodbye. We adopted Richard Parker only a few months after we got married, so he has been with us through it all.

All craziness and agression aside, he was a good cat.

We loved him.

We miss him.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hidden Treasures

As I was cleaning the kitchen today, I decided that I should sweep under the stove.

This is what I found:

These are all cat toys.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Recovering (read this after Venting)

It didn't work.

But he brought be cookies.

All is well.


Here I am trying to write a quiz for my students to take on Friday (being so proactive because it's only Wednesday, after all), when I hear one of the cats throwing up. I immediately go running to find the culprit and attempt to move him to a non-carpeted area. I was too late. It was the kitten. Again.

We find cat vomit all the time. All the time, I say! The kitten (still unnamed) doesn't seem to understand that he isn't a stray anymore. It's like he lives by the feast-or-famine rule and always thinks that the food will someday disappear, and that he will be back on the streets scavenging. As such, he eats a lot. A lot, I say! And as such, he vomits.

He also wakes us up every morning about 15-30 minutes before my alarm goes off. Not cool.

The other one, Richard Parker, the eldest and so-called example for the kitten, continues to pee on my furniture. Two days ago, he peed on my quilt that was on the couch. Sorry Mom and Dad; I hope it doesn't smell when you use it in two weeks. And today, I stopped at Subway for dinner on my way home from the gym because Chris had a work thing he was going to and I really didn't want to eat another frozen dinner, and when I got home (ten minutes after Chris left), Richard Parker had peed on the couch. Again.

For those of you who don't know, this has been a problem for almost a year and a half. We have tried everything, including depression medication. At what point do I say, "That's enough"? (And yes, the question mark is supposed to be on the outside of the quotation mark because the statement inside is not a question, rather it is the whole sentence).

And all of this is on top of my already overwhelmed feeling from work. I bring it home everyday. I grade papers, plan lessons, agonize about their success, and worry about my job status for next year (last hired, first fired) all the time. I can't seem to relax.

And spring break is still over two weeks away!!!


I hope you have found my venting enjoyable. I just wish I had some ice cream. Maybe if I think really hard, Chris will sense my need and stop for some on his way home.

If you can hear me honey, Ben and Jerry's Half Baked.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

For those of you who don't live in Charlotte, allow me to explain. You see, this city is not built to handle snow. As you may remember, I have already posted about the ridiculous snow day of January. As it turns out, we had another one since then.

In states that are accustomed to snow, snow days are built into the schedule, allowing the schools to miss a certain amount of days without having to make them up.

However, here in Charlotte, we have lost two teacher work-days in order to make up for lost time. I won't bore you with the details, because to be honest, I don't understand them. But essentially, I now have to go in for a workday on my first day of Spring Break.

The first three days of Spring Break were supposed to be the make-ups days, but I guess the community thought that was a bad idea, so just the teachers have to come in.

Now, this left us with a major problem yesterday as all of the news channels were calling for 4-8 inches on snow overnight. So last night at about ten, the superintendent decided to cancel school for today and will be asking the Board to approve Memorial Day as the next make-up day, making today, Monday, March 2, a holiday for all staff and students.

So, Happy Memorial Day everybody!

This year, my birthday happens to fall on Memorial Day. Does this mean I should have cake and ice cream tonight to celebrate?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The universe works in mysterious ways

For the past three weeks, I have been teaching my freshmen about personal narratives. We read some examples, and then they were to write their own.

I gave them lots of time to practice in class. It was like pulling teeth.

Throughout the entire three weeks, I had been reminding them that all of our short practice assignments were to get them ready to write their own narrative. We worked together on choosing a topic, pre-writing strategies, and writing the rough draft. I told them over a week ago that their final narrative (typed, double spaced, etc.) would be due on Monday (yesterday). I also told them that I do no accept late work--I know, I'm so mean.

However, it is just amazing to me how many printers die, or run out of ink, or paper, or whatever the nigh before a large assignment is due. I feel sort of bad for them...but not really. I tried to explain to them that the universe has a way of making things like that happen when you decide to leave it until the very last minute.

Tough luck, I guess.

All of this reminded me of a Strong Bad email from many moons ago. Please check it out for a good laugh.


Monday, January 26, 2009

I think I lied to my students today

I don't want to say too much because my district is pretty weird about teachers posting things online, but I just have to say that I think I lied to my students today.

I started teaching my British Literature course to a group of seniors. I might have told them that I love British literature (Beowulf included). That's not entirely true. But if your teacher has a passion for it, its much easier to like it yourself. Right?

Maybe I can love it by the end of the semester.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow Day!

When Chris got home from work yesterday morning, he asked me if I was excited about the snow that was coming our way. I hadn't heard anything about snow, and had actually thought that it felt rather nice outside as I went to the gym. But, sure enough, we got snow.

It has been a long time since I had a snow day (Houston isn't known for its blizzards). I love the look of snow; I love the smell of snow--yes, it has a smell; I love the sound of snow; I love it all. I'm sure then when I lived in Colorado and Utah, I got sick of snow, but I don't remember those times.

I remember getting stuck leaving the school parking lot on an early-release snow day and having to call my parents to come pick us up from the church building. I remember trying to escape a boring activity at church by trudging outside in knee-deep snow. I remember times when roommates and I played in the snow (and some injured themselves in the process). I remember walking to campus and listening to the hushed sound of snow blanketing the ground.

And most of all, I remember the feeling of watching the news to see that school was canceled for the day. In Colorado, this usually means a good 8 inches over night, but here in Charlotte, it means any accumulation.

The best thing about being a teacher is that I never have to let go of my love for snow days. Chris complained that his job doesn't stop for snow--in fact they probably get busier.

Unfortunately, I have gotten so old that I couldn't fall back asleep this morning. (Hence, the darkness of the pictures.) And, I am actually sitting here at the computer doing work--well, I will be as soon as I am done blogging.