Nov 29, 2016

"Even the most skillful tailor couldn't hide a seam once a cloth was torn in two."  

I recently read this line from the book Two Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman.  As soon as I read the words I felt the need to read them again to really let them sink in, and eventually found a scrap of paper to write them down on to make sure that I never forget them.

I'm sure the words evoke a different mental image for each person that reads them.  For me, I pictured a yard of flowing silk, flawless with the exception of an unsightly seam that runs straight down the middle of the otherwise perfectly smooth cloth.

This quote is a metaphor for shattered relationships.
Sometimes the tear is so great that even the skilled tailor cannot return the cloth to its original beauty.



Nov 28, 2016

Gabe was pummeled at school today by a woman on a mission.
He was walking through the hall and a girl t-boned him, knocked him down, and his face hit the concrete.

I'm not sure where this girl was going in such a hurry or how she managed to stay standing while Gabe was on the ground, but that is apparently what happened.  She walked off and didn't even bother to help the kid up.

Highly durable middle school flooring vs front tooth
The victor was the flooring.
Gabe's tooth broke.

Like imagine a toothpick that you crack in half.
It didn't get knocked out, it totally broke off.
I didn't even know teeth could do that.

Gabe called dad, dad calls me, I call my mom, I call Matt, Matt calls Gabe, and it was decided that we needed to get to the dentist as soon as possible.
This would have been easier if we actually had a dentist in this area but the last known dentist was our family dentist down in Olympia.  While I don't mind driving down there for some quality dental care, we knew this was not going to be a one-stop trip to the dentist.
So Matt, the hero of the day, finds a local dentist, picks Gabe up from school, takes him to an emergency appointment and brings the sad, injured kiddo home.

I got home in time to make it to the second dental appointment of the day, this was an endodontist.  The plan was for the endodontist to do a little something and then go back to the dentist to craft a fake tooth for my poor baby.

We waited with Gabe as he got a root canal.  He asked me to stay in the room with him.  I don't advise watching that procedure.  It was disgusting.

Finally, at 5:30 we leave the office with prescriptions to fill, an appointment for the following day to repair the tooth and one very sweet 12 year old.

We got in the car and were heading home and Gabriel said "thanks".
You read that right.
He said "thank you" to us for taking him to the dentist to get his root canal.

Love that sweet boy.

Nov 8, 2016

November 7, 2013
Eli was asleep in his bedroom and wasn't awakened by the phone ringing at 6am.
It took me a while to gather my whits.
An aircraft from B. Co 5/101st was shot down in Tikrit, Iraq.

Life came screeching to a halt.

Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of one of the days that shook our family and changed us forever.  It is the day that Matt and Tom were flying together on a mission in Iraq and landed safely while Mika and I were back at my house in Tennessee starting our day off as usual.  It was the day that four of our soldiers did not land safely, their aircraft was hit by and RPG and their wives and children did not get to jump into their arms months later at a hangar on Army base in the middle of nowhere America.

Yesterday I awoke with an immediate realization that it was once again the 7th of November.  I shed a few tears when I said the Pledge of Allegiance at school, and I cried when Matt and I raised a glass of Jack Daniel's to honor the Crew of 431.

I played through the events of the day in great detail. The relief felt by my family was the polar opposite of pain and loss for the families of the fallen.

Last night I sat down at the computer and wrote a detailed account of that day.
Then I wondered if I have written this before.
I looked back a few years and found one I wrote on the 10th anniversary.  There may have been more, I didn't care to look.  The words I wrote yesterday were almost exactly what I wrote three years prior.  The details and the emotions are just a vivid today, yesterday and three years ago as they were 5 and 10 years before that.

I hope it always will be so clear.   I hope I never forget the sacrifices made by the Crew of 431, the families of the fallen, and the comrades were broken by the loss and yet loaded into an aircraft the next day and continued the mission they were called to complete.

To the Fallen.
Rest in Peace.





Nov 7, 2016

New Assignment:
Special Education Writing.

I have totally enjoyed my substitute journey so far.  I have worked at 10 different schools in the district ranging from Kindergarten to High School.  I've worked with general education, special education, English language learners and been a test proctor.  I have worked a crosswalk, a playground and a lunchroom.  I don't like those tasks, thankfully I did very little of each of them.

Typically I go on to this handy website and look at what jobs are available for subs, at what locations and then decide where I want to work.  I've only been called at 6am for a random surprise job once, everything else I knew about in advance.  I try to work different positions at different schools so that I can get a better idea what is out there in this district and maybe narrow down what I would like to do full-time when/if that comes up.

Twice now I have been offered a full-time permanent job and turned them down.  And twice I have been requested as a long term sub and passed on those as well.  I love the flexibility and the ability to be picky with the hours, jobs, and locations that I work.  

A few weeks ago I took a random sub job at a middle school as far away from my house as possible without being in a different school district.  I took the job because I didn't see anything else better on the list, and I didn't have anything pressing going on in my life.  So even though I had no desire to drive the full 12 miles from my house, passing at least 10 schools to get there, I took the position.  I always take notes about the schools and positions I work so that I don't accidentally take a job that I hated.  I noted that the school and teacher I was working with seemed nice, the job was helping in a remedial writing class, the kids were well behaved and the hours were super convenient.  Leaving 20 minutes before school gets out makes a big difference in getting out of hectic parking lots and all the way across town to take the boys to their after school activities.  

About a week after I subbed at this particular school, I got a call from the woman I subbed for.  She was planning to be out again for a few days and the teacher she works with asked her to please call me and see if I could work for her.  I was available two of the three days she needed and returned to the school this past week.  While I was there the teacher made a comment that if she had her way she'd be seeing a lot more of me.  I told her I wasn't really looking for a full time position right now (especially at the furthest school from my side of town) and that I was enjoying subbing.

This Friday I received another call from the woman I subbed for.  She asked me if I would be interested in subbing for her in a long term position.  Her husband has been battling cancer for the past year and at this point it has become clear that he will not recover.  Doctors have given him a few months to live and she would like to spend those days with him.

My heart broke for her and for the first time since I quit my last full-time job, I felt a "green light" to commit to a long term position.  I'm a little sad that I'm giving up my flexibility and freedom to do whatever I want, especially with the holidays coming up, but I also feel really great about stepping in to this position.  I've committed to the job through this calendar year and I'm open to staying there until the woman returns.

I'm going to miss the thrill of not having a clue what I am doing when I walk into new schools, classrooms, and positions each day.  I'll also miss meeting new people every day. I've met so many interesting people over the past few months, its been like speed dating for a job, except I don't really know that because I've never speed dated.  But thats what it seems like.
And finally I will miss the gratitude.  It is so weird, I went to work each day for 3 years at my last job and nobody ever said "thank you" for simply coming to work.  Don't get me wrong, I had a sweet gig at my last job and my team definitely appreciated my role, but I'm talking about people saying "thank you so much for coming today",  like just thanking me for coming to work.  That is super fun.  In a regular job nobody thanks you for just walking in the door.

So here I go, same place, same people, same job for the next few months.
Time to dive in and make some connections with these kiddos and the teacher.




Nov 6, 2016

Sometimes I feel so bad for public speakers, teachers, and pastors.  Their lesson or speech may include a few thousand words and my brain only clings to about 100.
I have no good excuses for it.  I just tend to walk away with a nugget instead of the entire chicken.  I think on occasion I get the whole thing, but usually not.  I just grab my little nuggets and go.

Today was the same.
The pastor was talking about pressing on.  Specifically he was reading from Philippians and speaking about Paul's encouragement for people to forget what is behind and press on.  I have read the verse a hundred times, and heard in quoted just as many.  Forget what is behind, press on to the goal, run the race, win the prize, get the crown.  Got it.  But today in the midst of the reading and speaking the pastor said something I had never thought about before.
I'm pretty sure every message I have heard surrounding this passage has leaned toward forgetting all the bad stuff you did, the mistakes you made, the loss and hurt that has been in your life, and looking forward to the great prize-filled future that God has for you.
But today...today there was a new little twist on this passage.
Forget about the good as well.
What?
Pastor spent a few minutes, maybe even just one, talking about how we should not stay hung up on the glory days of the past.  We shouldn't go to the memorial stone, remember the parting of the Red Sea, and say "ah those were the days.  If only God would part the Red Sea again".  We don't need the Red Sea parted again.  That work was done.  As awesome as it was to walk through dry land with the water raising up on both sides, there is something new for us.

The little nugget was tossed my way, I reached out and grabbed it and then thought about it for the rest of the sermon.  I have no idea what else was spoken.  The nugget was where I stayed.

Letting go of the good times in the past is hard for me.  When I left Tennessee I remember being so sad, I kept looking back at the good times we had there with our friends.  It took about a year for me to quit looking back long enough to realize that I had some amazing people right there in front of me in Virginia.  Our life changed dramatically in Virginia and we saw good things there, different from the good things we had experienced in Tennessee, and then the same thing happened when we moved to Germany, we never found the same "good things" of Virginia but we had a whole new serving of blessings.

At this particular time in my life I don't have what Tennessee, Virginia or Germany brought me, and here in Issaquah I don't have the good things I had in Olympia, and as retirees we don't have the good things we had as a military family.  I find myself looking back again at those "glory days', not allowing the past to be the past.  I find myself longing for those things to happen again.  For some reason I feel complelled to let my current people know "we were a military family" or "we lived in Germany".  Why? Because what I have right now is somehow lacking but what I used to do/have/be was awesome.

So my nugget today reminded me that when Paul talks about "forgetting it" he is really just saying don't hang out there.  Learn, grow, weep, celebrate, move on.  Even from the good stuff.
Those days of the past are not my glory days, there is plenty more ahead, I just need to keep my eyes there.

I'm a horrible bike rider.  Like really bad.  Where my eyes are focused when I'm riding a bike is where my bike goes.  I look to the left, I head that direction.  I look to the right, and there I am in a ditch.  When I try to look back, I just crash.  I think Paul was saying that it doesn't matter if you just rode through a magical forest or a barren desert, you have to keep on moving forward, nothing good comes from trying to relive the past.

Nov 5, 2016

Did you know it is possible to burn boiled eggs?

I boiled some eggs yesterday and set a timer for what I thought would be an appropriate time to make some delicious hard boiled eggs.
Gabe loves boiled eggs and will snack on them if they are in the fridge.
I love deviled eggs.  So I will take a perfectly healthy snack and add a bunch of fat too it, and then snack on them.

The timer went off, I plopped the eggs under cold water and then let the eggs continue to cool.
A little while later Gabe went in for a sample.
What he found was a very soft boiled egg.
The white was pretty solid but the surprise inside was not pleasant for either of our tastes.

So after a quick search of the internets, I found that it would be perfectly fine to put the eggs back in water and boil them.

This time I forgot to set a timer.

The water boiled completely down until all that was left in the pot were the eggs.
I happened to walk into the kitchen and notice little toasted boiled eggs.  The outside shell looked just like a perfectly toasted marshmallow.

I suspect at some point soon my over-heated, totally hard boiled, toasty eggs were going to explode, but by God's grace I was spared that smelly disaster and instead I just had to toss my eggs quick before burned boiled egg smell infused my house.

This....exactly this, is why my first purchase with my lotto winnings will be to have a personal chef in my house.  And this, is exactly why I'm overwhelmed with gratitude when my Super Cousin Rhonda blesses me with a freezer full of delicious meals ready-to-bake.  She even writes the cooking instructions on each menu item so I don't have to use my sad little cooking brain to guess.

I destroyed our eggs last night but I killed the boxed blueberry muffins this morning.

I swear there was a time in my life that I could bake from scratch and it would actually turn out.  What happened???


Nov 3, 2016

Find Another Calculator!

Today G and I were at the doctor's office for a routine check-up.
Other than the fact that he might have allergies, he is a happy, healthy guy.

As we were waiting for the doctor to come in for the exam, I commented that the doc specialized in diabetes care.  We talked about diabetes and how some people are skinny and diabetic and others are chubby and how some forms of diabetes are hereditary while others are brought on by our own choices.  That turned to an inquiry on healthy weight.

I opened up an ideal weight calculator I found in a quick online search and plugged in all the info to get the number that was Gabe's ideal weight.  He weighs about 30 pounds more than the weight that was returned on the calculator.  As soon as I said the number he said "find a different calculator".

It made me giggle a little.
How often do I do that?
When I don't like the answer that is put before me, I just look for a different answer that makes me happier or align with my preconceived ideas.

I searched again, found a different calculator and it returned a "healthy range" which Gabe's weight fell smack dab in the middle.  He was fine with that and we moved on.

Has that ever happened to you?
Not happy with an answer so you searched further?
Think of any topic: vaccinations, teen jobs, AP classes, diet plans (no carbs, no dairy, no fatty foods, no butter, only butter, no coffee, coffee with butter, wine no wine - you name it, its out there) and just about any other topic you could come up with there is, no doubt, varying opinions on it.

It isn't necessarily a bad thing to see multiple opinions, but you know the difference deep down in your heart when you are looking for more information to make an informed decision or you are looking for justification in something that you know probably isn't wise.

In Paul's second letter to Timothy he warns against people seeking counsel from teachers who will say what their itching ears want to hear.

Ouch.

Maybe I need to consult a few more of those BMI and Ideal Weight charts..... I may have dismissed the ones that didn't itch my ears.