Weirdness and Worry: My Monday Madness

I can’t think of better words to describe my Monday to you.  Weirdness and Worry.  And lots of it.  I’m not sure how much detail to provide, but here is a tweet that covers half the day and you can decide whether you want to read the in-depth description from there.

And yes, that was only half the day.  The other half, which is bleeding into Tuesday is my mom’s been in the Emergency Room since around 7 p.m. (it is now 11:40 p.m.).  She has had recurring pain that sounds like gall stones to me, but they are waiting for blood results and a CAT scan to come back as she also has cancerous lesions on her liver they are managing with medication (after many chemo and even radiation treatments) and some history of kidney problems.  So, I’m waiting to hear what they find and making plans to have to miss work and basically upend my life for a while if she goes in the hospital for any amount of time.

But, I skipped the first part of the day…

Today was my DD’s 50th day of Kindergarten, so they had 50s day and I went to help out with their fun activities that they had planned (progressive party where kids went to each of five Kinder/1st grade rooms and did a fun project there for 30 minutes before moving to the next classroom).  My DD had a substitute (that was planned and I was asked to stay a bit longer today to help through lunch with the activities).  All started out relatively normally.  My DD dressed up:

2014-10-27 08.16.23

I came at 8:30 to help out.  The first group of students lined up to depart the room to go to the other rooms and that is when I saw the police car across the street from campus, lights flashing.  But, it looked like a traffic stop, so I didn’t think much about it.  The group of students left (my DD’s group stayed in our classroom, thankfully – God was looking out for her I think) and some others arrived from the other classes and we started the craft…and then the loud speaker buzzed and the principal’s voice came over and said we were on a “Code Red” and needed to lock all doors and remain in our rooms until further notice.  In this day of school shootings what seems like every week, this is not a pleasant feeling.  The students were fine.  I don’t even think they noticed at first.  But, the substitute was, of course, a bit anxious and needed to look for the information on what a Code Red was and what to do.  We were supposed to close the curtains, but there were no curtains on the window and the police car was right out there.  Police officer with gloves on, going through a vehicle across the street from the school.

So, time marches on and after what feels like forever (but really only about 45 minutes) my DD says she needs to go to the bathroom.  Now, she takes Lasix in the morning, which is a diuretic and about an hour to an hour and a half after she takes it, she doesn’t just have to pee, she has to pee a river.  So, I knew this wasn’t good.  She held it for a while.  Probably another 20 minutes or so, but then she just couldn’t hold it any longer and she peed all over a chair and the floor and her legs and her cute 50s dress.  The other students were listening to a story being read, so most of them didn’t take notice really.  I cleaned it up with Lysol wipes and had her clean herself up as much as possible, but she was crying and I felt horrible and there was no. where. to. go.  Luckily, the code was lifted within 5-10 minutes and I was able to run her home, get her a change of clothes and head back to school before their snack/recess ended.  The sub asked me to stay since they were going to try to finish up some of the other activities before and after lunch and there was a Sock Hop/Root Beer Float party in the multi-purpose room for the last 1/2 hour of school planned.  So, I stayed.  After lunch, my DD informed me she had had another accident.  This is  a big red flag for a UTI, which she has had six of in the last year.  She was very upset at the prospect of going home to change and missing the sock hop, so I texted my husband and had him bring her a change of clothes and we were able to get her changed and back in time for the sock hop.  I then helped make and serve 100 mini rootbeer floats to Kinder and 1st graders.  The whole day was exhausting.

But, it was not over.  I had had my husband call the pede to get an appointment and we went there an hour after school.  It took a while for DD to pee again, but sure enough there was “a lot” of blood in the urine and it was positive for bacteria.  It will be cultured, but they started her on antibiotics again (she just came off of them for the same reason a week ago).   Tonight was pretty rough on her.  Pain while urinating, blood in the urine, frequent feelings of needing to urinate an accident or two more.  I feel bad for her.  She is asleep now and has only woke up once, so I’m hoping the medicine kicks it quickly (it usually does) and she feels better tomorrow.

So, yeah – that was my Monday.  I’m still waiting to hear from my sister as to whether they are admitting my mom or what is going on.  I would not be surprised if they did admit her.  She had to have two IV bags of fluids (I ask her about her fluid intake all the time, but she always says she drinks “a lot”) and they had given her morphine for the pain earlier but it had worn off and she sounded miserable.  My sister was also exhausted.  I have to figure out plan B for my classes if I have to take off unexpectedly in the next week or so.  I need to get caught up on grading so it is done and i don’t have that hanging over my head.  It is now 12:20 a.m. on Tuesday and I teach at 8 a.m.  I still have quite a bit of grading to do and I’m not really prepped for tomorrow’s class (all things I planned on doing today after I helped out in DD’s class).  I am starting to feel that familiar overwhelm of doom…its been months since I’ve felt it.  Since my dad passed last January probably.  But, here it is again.

I’m hoping that it turns out to be something they can easily treat with my mom.  I’m also hoping that DD gets over this UTI quickly and keeps them away.  I’m also hoping that I can hold this all together for a couple of more months and Winter break is here and I can relax a bit.  But, who knows if ANY of those things will actually come to fruition.  Right now, I probably just need to sleep for a few hours.  Maybe get up at 5:00 and grade for two hours before work.  I am always more productive in the morning than at night.  And sleep…it is overrated.  And underachieved.

How was your Monday?

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thought Sundays

My first Stray Thoughts Sunday in a while.  I have so many stray thoughts, it is often difficult to corral them!  But, I shall do my best!

First off, the Monday blogs in my Sunday feed make me unnecessarily anxious.  I am behind.  I am not as behind as I was a week ago, but I am still behind.  And every Monday is another Monday I am not caught up.  So, I like Sundays to stretch out before me, limitless in opportunity, but as darkness falls and Monday blog titles start to pop up in my Bloglovin’ feed, I start to lose some of my hope and optimism and panic and dread start to set in.  It was my hope to start out this week caught up and feeling great…I don’t think there are enough hours left in the day to fulfill that goal.  Anyone else feel like this?

So, it seemed slightly prophetic that “7 Ways to Start Your Week Like A Leader” popped up in my inbox review tonight (an old post, but one I had saved to read at a later date).  I’m not sure about #1 right now.  I don’t have the person in mind and thinking of someone makes my brain hurt.  But, I am on top of #2 – I actually have a couple of letters to write and send to people’s bosses complimenting them for their recent tournament hosting and I definitely have a long list of Thanks to be handing out.  And, wow – do I ever need #3 in my life.  Part of my problem this past three or four weeks is that all I’ve been doing is putting out fires.  And unfortunately, more are being lit than I able to put out.  It is hard to prioritize when it seems like everything is needed RIGHT. NOW.  But, realistically, when I don’t focus NOTHING gets done.  So, tomorrow, grading is my focus.  I will feel 100 times better if I can get my grading done.  So, although I don’t usually go to a coffee shop to work because I like to be able to clean my house intermittently, I’m going to do it tomorrow to avoid cleaning my house intermittently.  I’m going to take myself off of social media, email, etc. and just take whatever time I have after helping out at my daughter’s school in the morning (tomorrow is the 50th day of Kindergarten and so it is 50s day) to grade, grade and grade some more.  #4 is taxes.  Definitely an issue I need to deal with, so step one tomorrow.  #5 is student instead of employer – I am going to check in with some under-performing students this week (this will be easier if I can accomplish #3!) and see what is going on with them.  #6 is a little less clear.  Not sure who it would be or why, but something may come to mind a little later.  Finally, #7 is going to be a conscious effort on my part this week – shifting to gratitude!

 A few other stray thoughts before I go…

First, I would really like for it to rain in California for a considerable amount of time.  The drought is starting to become a full-fledged disaster.  And when I read things like this infograph, it is also frustrating beyond belief.

Second, Go Giants!

Third, if you like shows like 48 Hours or 20/20 murder mysteries, do yourself a favor and listen to the Serial Podcast.  It is amazing stuff…

And, last, but certainly not least, I have found my productivity guru thanks to Sorta Crunchy – The Complete Flake’s Guide to Getting Things Done by Sonia Simone.

Oh wait – as an afterthought – this bear was my favorite animal of the week!

Have a great week to come and remember – gratitude!

10 reasons that teaching is tough (but enjoyable)


A great blog describing the challenges and gifts of my profession. I don’t think about these things much consciously, but they are always on my mind subconsciously. And although I am full time at my university, I am also considered an “adjunct”, so the “lonely” comment definitely touched me. I am also inspired to have my students move more, talk more and engage more. Glad to have the motivation and inspiration.

Originally posted on Broadside:

By Caitlin Kelly


I’m now halfway through my first semester teaching at Pratt Institute, a small private college in Brooklyn focused on art, writing and design. My two classes, writing and blogging, one with 12 freshmen and the latter with four seniors. are going well and I’m loving the experience.

Pratt's library -- with one of the many sculptures dotting the campus

Pratt’s library — with one of the many sculptures dotting the campus

But it’s a marathon.

When I stepped back into those two classrooms, I hadn’t taught in 20 years. I’d read everything I could about millennials, and arrived fearful of finding a room filled with entitlement and attention spans lasting mere seconds — a challenge with a two-hour class.

Here’s a sobering and powerful insight into how tough it is to be a student!

For any thoughtful teacher, it’s a cringe-making look from the students’ seats, and gave me a lot to think about.

From the Washington…

View original 1,109 more words

Six Word Saturday – Returning to Action

Back, because I need to write.

I have been gone a long time.  I have thought of blogging many times during those months, but I have not followed through.  I find myself overwhelmed, overworked and tired much of the time.  But, I think about it all the time because I really miss the writing.  I miss the interactions.  I miss putting my thoughts into words on a page, even if they aren’t super important or meaningful words.  I also have been thinking a lot about what is important to me.  But those thoughts are lost.  They are there, in my brain, and then they are gone.  Never to be recovered.  When I put those thoughts down on the page here on my blog, there are here.  They are here to stay.  I can come back and read them and realize where I once was.  What I once wanted.  What I’ve thought about doing to achieve those things.

So, I’m back.  I have some new ideas about what I want this place to be and what I want to be sure to share.  I also have some new ideas about what I want to be and what I want to share with the world on a daily basis.  None of it is concrete.  Everything seems to be in a state of flux.  But, I feel like being able to see that flux and read that flux and share that flux helps me to clarify things just a bit.  And, I’m beginning to realize that every little bit helps.  Every.  Little.  Bit.

So, for those of you who may be still reading, thanks.  I will try to be more regular about my posting.  I will try to be more focused in my thoughts that I share.  And I will try to share my six words and more each week with you!

Vacation Edition 2014 – Fort Bragg CA


For those of you who don’t recognize that house, it is Jessica Fletcher’s house from Murder She Wrote. I took this picture this week while exploring Mendocino.  It is now on my bucket list to actually stay overnight in the Bed and Breakfast that is now located there – The Blair House. We had a lovely week of vacation in Fort Bragg (and outwards up and down the coast each day) and the weather was beautiful.  We are now back to the 90 degree heat and home.  I have the weekend to get my life together before Bean starts Kindergarten (!) and I have next week before I start teaching again.  So, what would it mean to “have my life together”?  Excellent question.  I’m not sure of the answer, but here are some things I have as goals:

1.  Have a clean and organized house to start the school year.  

I am in “post-vacation chaos” right now.  Lots of laundry to do, putting some areas back together after the rush of last minute packing of things we almost forgot, etc.  The house isn’t a huge mess though and I think it can come together relatively easily and fast.  I just want to start the new year with clean spaces so that #2 will work better.

2.  Have routines in place for maintaining house, work and sanity.

This will quite possibly be the biggest challenge.  I am so bad at sticking to routines.  But, I know that I am in desperate need of them.  I need routines to keep the mornings less stressful, I need routines to keep my daughter sane and rested in the afternoons (she tends to want to go, go, go and if I don’t have something set, I can’t convince her to rest, eat or anything else on a schedule).  I need routines in the evening so we get to bed at a decent hour and have everything done that needs to be done instead of me trying to stay up all hours finishing whatever it was that didn’t get done during the day.  It will also help with the nights I’m teaching to keep things on track around here. 

3.  Menu planning

I have resisted this with all the fibers of my being.  I don’t know why.  I guess because I often feel unmotivated to cook whatever it is that I’ve planned so I find it less guilt-inducing to just not plan anything.  But, with our schedule, needing lunches for school for Bean and trying to save money, I feel I can no longer resist.  I just need to be totally realistic.  Easy and fast foods that don’t require a lot of prep.  Keeping it simple so both my husband and Bean will eat it and I will also be able to make it (or he can make it on the nights I’m teaching).  So, I’m hitting my Pinterest boards and the Kraft Food and Family magazine and I’m doing a plan.  

So, what’s your plan for back to school this year?  Or are you even impacted by back-to-school?  

Five Minute Friday – Fill


Today I am participating in Five Minute Friday, which is being hosted in a new location.  Kate Motaung has taken over for Lisa Jo Baker and has even created a nifty new button for the party!  If you are like me and struggle sometimes with what to write or how to write something, this is a great once-a-week party that gives you something to write about and tells you not to worry about HOW you write about it.  Takes the pressure off!  So, think about joining the party over at!  Here is mine for this Friday:

Fill.  It is a word that means so many different things to me right now.  I could say “I’ve had my fill” of some things in my life.  Certainly there is that.  But, I could also say that I am excited about how my life is being filled now.  A little more positive and optimistic.  So, I think I’ll focus on that aspect in today’s writing exercise.

My life is very much filled for the Fall semester.  I’ve already started filling in my calendar and I will be teaching two more classes this semester (an overload, which is great for filling our bank account, or perhaps emptying our debts a bit), Bean is starting to Kindergarten (!) which is sure to come with many new and exciting activities.  I am also going to start her in a gymnastics class as I think she needs to be doing some organized activity that builds muscle and confidence and gymnastics seems like a fun one.  I am also going to have my husband at home this year (!), which is certain to fill the space with a bit more adult conversation and socializing (hopefully) than before – when he was gone for three nights a week on average for his job.  I am also joining a small group at my church which will not only fill my Wednesday mornings, but hopefully will fill my heart and soul with friendship, fellowship and faith.  The woman I worked with doing crafts at Vacation Bible School this year sent me a personal invitation to join her group, but said there were others and that I should feel free to look around.  But, I think I will join hers.  She was wonderful and I felt a connection with her during VBS.  Finally, I am looking forward to new students and team members to fill my classes and make memories with this semester.  I had a pretty good semester last semester, but I’m looking forward to even more and better classes this semester and making more connections with my students to fill their heads with knowledge and hopefully fill their hearts with a love of learning.

Time’s up.  Already.  That went fast this week!  I hope you’ll consider joining us for the #fmfparty this week!

I am alive and kicking…

Well, I can’t believe it has been almost two weeks since I last posted on the blog.  I’m not sure what happened to cause me to lapse for so long.  I started a couple of posts, but didn’t finish them.  And the rest of the time, I’ve just been focused elsewhere.  But, I’m back now.  I am looking down the barrel of the first day of Kindergarten and first year of school five days a week for my daughter, a Fall semester where I will be teaching two more classes than I have for the last seven years, and a husband who is home pretty much full time.  The last may seem out of place on that list, but I’m still deciding whether its going to be a help or hindrance.  I mean, having him home more often is definitely going to be great, but having him home all. the. time. may be a bit stressful at first.  Two years ago he was on a schedule where he’s been working away from home for four days and three nights a week.  Last year he cut that back to every other week, but was still gone quite a bit.  This year, he’ll be traveling for a weekend here and there, but not during the week.  That is one reason I feel like I can teach more classes.  That and he took a pay cut to be home, so I feel like having the extra money for the extra classes will come in quite handy.  

My husband has been gone for the past seven weeks for work and let me tell you, I am really ready for him to be home.  I love my five year old, but we’re pushing mother-daughter time to a limit with me being off work and her being out of school and him being gone. Seriously.  Pushing it.  So, he arrives on Saturday and we leave for a family vacation on Monday for four days.  I’m really looking forward to that.  We’re going to Mendocino, which is one of my favorite places.  The weather will be in the 60s the whole time – a full 30 degrees plus cooler than it is here.  There are beaches, the hotel has a pool, there are fun things to do and see, and there will be other adults there (my in-laws are going as well), meaning I may even be able to get some me-time.  Maybe.  Oh, and on top of all that, Mendocino is where Murder, She Wrote was filmed.  I looked into staying at Jessica Fletcher’s house, but it really wasn’t conducive with the whole family.  But, it is on my bucket list, for sure.  

So, I’m trying to figure out how this new schedule is going to work.  How I’m going to protect myself against the burnout I usually tend to start feeling about five or six weeks into the semester. How I’m going to manage a couple of more classes and still feel like I can keep up with the house and Bean’s schooling and all the other things that pop up during a semester.  I am trying to approach this semester as one of “good busy”.  I am also going to try to weed out a lot of things that I consider to be “bad busy”.  I am going to fight my normal tendencies and try to follow a routine both daily and weekly.  I am going to try to find a balance.  Basically, I am going dream the impossible dream and try to live as much of it as I can.  

What about you?  What is your Fall starting to look like?