Tag Archives: kids

Teachers Matter

I live in a state that is currently in the middle of a teacher walkout. I have been incredibly fortunate to have had some wonderful teachers in my life and I believe they can make all the difference. These are the people who shape the leadership for generations. These are the people who help teach our kids to think, to act, to understand our history, our system. They teach our kids how to work together – something a whole lot of adults could stand to learn. They make learning exciting so they want to continue to learn for the rest of their lives. Or at least, the good ones do. Yes, as in every profession, there are the occasional people who are not as involved, not as excited but truly, teachers don’t make enough for people you don’t love the profession to do it.

Many years ago, I had a particular teacher who just made everything work. At the time I was in a special program so it wasn’t really run like your standard classes. I was in fourth grade, not dealing with the best situation at home, and Mrs. VanWert was the best thing I could ever have asked for that year. We did a project on Mesopotamia that year and part of it was giving a report in front of the class – this project was all the subjects in one – history, art, English, science. Maybe not math but I could have forgotten something. I was partnered with a girl named Sandy and we kicked butt to win the special cassette single of Walk Like An Egyptian (man, now I feel old). We built a sarcophagus out of cardboard, offering jars and totem statues from clay and paint, and instead of doing a report, we wrote a script… two hapless archaeologists one of whom, me, fell into the sarcophagus and totally freaked out at the skeleton inside. I really loved that school, that class. It gave me something to look forward to, when I wasn’t tumbling headlong into my books or fighting evil wizards with my weird white staff (not really a stick but the guts out of a drapery rod that I found on the beach).

In high school (six years and 3000 miles later), I learned that not all teachers are there to be supportive or kind but they can still be motivators. I might not have worked so hard at my writing if Mr. Nick hadn’t pretty well told me I would never succeed. Of course, he didn’t think very much of me to begin with but there’s no accounting for taste, is there? It was a good lesson to learn and one that thankfully would never be repeated even though that year was the last year I cared one whit about school (not any teacher’s fault but the loss of my mom, my depression, and the beginning of a pretty steep spiral that would end a few years later with severe panic attacks and not leaving my house for a year except with my husband).

Teachers matter. Even the bad ones. We should treat them better and pay them what they’re worth. They should make enough to entice more people to the profession. They shouldn’t be paying out of pocket for classroom supplies. They should be supported and celebrated not having to walk in the cold and the rain just to be treated OK, not even adequately, just OK. One of my teacher friends seems to be feeling a bit guilty and selfish for being out on the line and not in the classroom and that’s just not right. It’s not selfish to want to be able to at least survive on your salary after all those years preparing for your career. You shouldn’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.

In a completely unrelated bit – I’m catching up on Star Wars Rebels and a thing happened and I made a sound and maybe got a little weepy and my Alfred pup got up in my face with his silly grin, trying to lick my face and stop that. Silly, adorable punk. If you’re a Star Wars fan, Rebels is worth watching. The series format gives you a lot of room for mythology, story, and character growth. Plus, Jedi wolves. Seriously, amazing Jedi wolves.


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Filed under education, kids, Life

Merry Christmas!

Merry Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Blessed Everything! I really do adore this time of year. Love it. This year has been more difficult than most for me but that doesn’t change my love for it. Besides, only the best part of it remains – all that squealy, happiness, the giddy laughter of children who discover wishes fulfilled that they didn’t even think to make yet.

I didn’t get all the things done I wanted to and that’s ok. I can try again next year. Hopefully, by then, I’ll have my immune system under control and not find myself laid up for 1/3 of my decorating time. I did get two things made. They aren’t great, certainly not worthy of pictures, but at least they’re finished and really, the shiny blue ditto pillow isn’t awful but I did have a fabric related stitchery issue and Oogie Boogie looks too happy but that’s also ok.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. I’m not going to be online today – I’m going to be having fun with my kids and my family. I’ll be missing some people who should be here also but I’m doing my best to not be maudlin. I’ll be back later in the week with all the end of year stuff, goals and things of that nature.

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Filed under Fun, kids, Life

Pressed like a grape

I went to my rheumatologist today – who I discovered that I like much better when I’m not hyper-emotional with the prednisone – and the difference is night and day. If I wasn’t worried about injuring myself again, I might even dance I’m feeling so much better.

The knee was about half as swollen as it had been but he still managed to get six full big syringes of synovial fluid out of it. The moment he said he was going to drain the knee, I was a little bit panicked. Big needle = scary. Hell, little blood draw needle = scary and ouchie too! Apparently, my rheumy is really good at draining joints. The worst part wasn’t the needle at all but the manipulation of my really stupid and crooked patella (My kneecap moves in an arc instead of properly up and down). Between the drainage and the cortisone shot (that I didn’t even feel), the difference is amazing. Absolutely worth being pressed like a grape. I almost asked if this was a thing they could teach me to do at home since it will undoubtedly happen again.

It’s my medication day so I’m still super tired and all that but I’m going to make the youngest kid’s day and meet him at the bus stop, something I haven’t been able to do all week. I can’t even tell you what a relief this is. I feel terrible scaring the kids like this and it just keeps happening. My stupid immune system just refuses to roll over and play dead. All my life, it’s done a great job, maybe too good and now it just won’t stop even though there is no reason for it to be at war with anything. I’m just so damn happy that I’ll be ambulatory for Christmas and the short one can settle out a bit about that.

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Filed under Interesting, Life, Rheumatoid Arthritis

It’s that time of year

I adore Christmas. Truly. I’m struggling a little bit with it this year, between missing my Dad and my stupid fingers, but I’m trying to get into the spirit of things.

Every year I make my kids neat things for Christmas but I’m not sure I’m going to be able to this year and it makes me sad. I mentioned it to the oldest kid and the look on his face said I must try a little harder to think of something I can manage to make that is neat and still mama-made. The last few years, I made the oldest kid Fullmetal Alchemist pillowcases, a weeping angel tree topper, a Doctor Who themed keepsake box, and a sorting hat that talks. I’m not sure what I can do that will be as neat and still doable for me. I don’t have long to figure it out though. The little one is even harder to make stuff for, honestly and I’m not sure what I can do for him either. Them and my nephew will likely be the only ones I make anything for this year though, if I can manage even that.

I had to force myself to turn the car radio to one of the non-stop carols station thinking that might help. Not so much. I’m dutifully getting the shopping done and the baking planned – all things my mixer can do. I’m mostly done with decorating – though I guess I’m waffling a bit on putting out the village but I’ll probably force myself to anyway. I’m just not getting in the spirit yet which is very unlike me. so very.

Tomorrow I have nothing to do except Christmas sorts of things so maybe tomorrow I won’t feel quite so scroogish.

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Filed under Crafting, Crafts, Life

While the fingers will let me

I’m going to type out an update – typing is so much faster and easier than speech to text. Though, if anyone has recommendations for good software that really works and isn’t ridiculous, I’d be glad to hear them!

This last month I’ve seen more doctors than I have in probably ten years. I have no answers right now but I do have direction, suspicion, and probability. There’s a probability that, come the end of this month, I’ll have an official word for the fact that my body has decided that everything needs to hurt.

I’m able to type today because a very nice doctor at the ER gave me a pain pill on top of all my stupid ibuprofen. My back still hurts some but everything is much more bearable right now. I’d work on a story or a poem but the headspace isn’t right for that, at least, not for the things I want to be writing. I’m going through a lot in my head right now also, reading up and researching and looking at all the available information. There are some very big, very scary words and, whatever you do, please if you don’t feel well, never look at the image tab! I do worry a bit about down the road, long term but the outlook could be a lot worse and a lot of people live quite normal lives with Rheumatoid arthritis. It could be so very much worse and I know that even when everything hurts and I’m frustrated that I can’t make my coffee without spilling stuff.

The kids are being great, the dogs are a bit more obnoxious, and the husband is always awesome. I couldn’t ask for better. My puppy is struggling a bit to understand why he can’t sit on my feet right now but he’s the best ever heating pad. The kids keep me in line though – I said something to someone about feeling like my body was trying to kill me and the youngest was very quick to remind me that if my body was really trying to kill me, I’d be dead. Yeah, I have no idea at all where he gets his morbid sensibility. Not even a little /s.

My appointment with the rheumatologist is at the end of the month but I’ve read up, I’ve heard my doctors, and listened to the awesome ER doc remind me twice to make sure I made it to that appointment so …

On the upside, I do have one doctor who will give me a clean bill of health – made it through the dentist with no cavities or icky stuff and I think this dentist will be a good fit for us.

Because this is the most pressing thing in my life, I’m probably going to be posting about this for a bit, at least until we get everything settled out, figured out, and on the road to better. It may be a little while but I’m still going to be working on my art and my stories – just a little slower than before maybe.

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Filed under Health


I have no problem at all with my aging – in fact, I look forward to most of it – but I struggle a great deal with my kids getting older. In a few short hours, my baby will hit the double digits. I no longer have an elementary school aged child! My older child is learning to drive and my baby is headed for middle school. So why on earth do I not have gray hair yet?!? I have a few, yes, but not enough to do anything fun with!

Time is weird and I don’t like it. Time needs to slow down before I get whiplash! It doesn’t feel like that long ago that my baby came into this world, all 10 pounds 6 of him and now he’s about to be 10. If you listened to him though, you’d think he was about to be 30. He has his whole life plotted out – I really hope he meets a girl who agrees to go along with it – two kids, a farm (in the middle of a city), and a pretty wife. Apparently, they’re all going to stay with my husband and I while he builds their house. He never fails to amuse me.

I love my kids but I am increasingly ready for school to be back in session. I know my teacher friends aren’t quite there yet but my boys do so much better with each other when they aren’t together all the time. That is the one downside of having such a big age gap.

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Filed under kids, Life, Parenting

I’m not ready

I got my oldest son’s schedule in the mail today. For his freshman year of high school. Because he’s a freshman now. In high school. Except for the fact that I’m not that old yet! It’s impossible! I’m not adult enough for this.

I don’t know if he’s going to like his schedule as one of the classes he really wanted isn’t there but it’s really becoming apparent that this is going to happen now whether I’m ready for it or not. I thought the transition to middle school was bad. He hasn’t even started yet and I’m wanting to find a way to be in denial. I can’t find one that works though and that sucks.

He hasn’t seen his schedule so maybe it’s not so real yet for him because he’s off backpacking but it too real for me. On the upside to this week, I’ve actually gotten some writing done this week. My youngest kid is very supportive of me writing, in short increments and as long as he gets to swim. Now, I’m just feeling very old and I imagine that feeling is only going to get worse in a few weeks when school actually starts.

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Filed under kids, Life, Parenting

It’s the little things

Kids and Chewie at Steel City Con

Kids and Chewie at Steel City Con

Today, the whole family went to the Steel City Con. I haven’t been to many conventions. In fact, I’ve only been to this one and this is the third time. I like this convention. It’s big enough to draw some really cool guests and small enough to not be overwhelming. I did a real write up of the convention for The Geek Girl Project that you can read here: Steel City Con – April 2015. This post is about something else.

My youngest son has autism. His symptoms, characteristics, tics, and stims aren’t super detrimental and some people wouldn’t even notice. When we took our oldest child to this convention in December, we left the youngest with relatives. He was very unhappy with us for that. We promised we would take him and now we have.

We were concerned going in how he would react to being in a space with so many people all jammed together in some pretty small places. We explained going in what he should expect – that there were a lot of people, a lot of noise, and sometimes people would bump into him and some of those people would be in costumes. We explained about the lines and that he’d sometimes have to wait. Even though he doesn’t like waiting, he was excited enough about the whole shebang that he seemed willing to do it.

We got there a few minutes before the doors opened. By the time we reached the end of the line, it was already moving so we could not have timed it better. We might have been in line but it was a moving line so it didn’t feel to him like waiting. That first hour, I went off to talk to people and get some signatures and my husband took the kids through the vendor room where everyone found a toy they wanted. By the time I met up with them, they’d gone through about a quarter of the room. When we reached the half way point, it was starting to be a little much for him so we moved to the artist alley. Either the aisles are bigger in there or people move more quickly but it doesn’t feel so crowded. My son then went on to introduce his brother and himself to pretty much everyone he came into contact with. I’ve never seen him do that before and it was adorable and all the artists were very sweet.

As good as he was being, it was starting to wear on him a bit so we took a break. I’d packed a lunch as there isn’t a lot available at the convention center and nothing at all my youngest would eat. We went out to the truck, ate lunch, figured out the game plan for what we still wanted to do and made our way back in.

I left the husband to keep the kids so I could head for the photo opp for Elvira. She was one of the people I most wanted to meet. She was one of my idols a long time ago. I wanted to be either her or Morticia Addams when I grew up. I was very excited to meet her. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, she arrived at the convention later than scheduled and her photo opp was moved to later in the day. I knew I wasn’t going to get that much time out of my kid so I will just have to hope she comes back to Steel City Con another time so I can try again.

By 1pm, the kid was done. He seemed headed for a meltdown, getting upset if anyone so much as brushed past him, getting louder, and at one point, putting his hands over his ears and yelling because I wasn’t doing what he wanted me to. We headed out before he hit an actual meltdown but now we know we can take him to an event like this. After he settled down, I know he had fun. He even says he wants to do it again. That works for me because if he wants to go, that means I get to go too! That makes this geek mama quite happy.


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Filed under Autism, Convention, Geek, kids, Life

Doctor Who

Only a few more days before the new  Doctor comes… It’s getting harder to wait. The oldest boy and I are waiting anxiously for different reasons. He’s only really known Nu Who. I grew up with the rest of them. I’m hoping we get taken back to a place where the Doctor is less flirty and less touchy feely. From what I’m reading in articles, that should be the case. My oldest boy loves Smith’s Doctor and he was quite sad when the Raggedy man regenerated. I, on the other hand, was thrilled. 

Baker’s Doctor is my favorite with Eccleston’s coming in a close second. I like my Doctor a little darker with a wild, unpredictable edge. Where Baker was childish, Eccleston was reckless. They both were fantastic. I’m hoping very much that Capaldi will be much more like them. It helps to know that Capaldi is a huge Who fan. To me it means that he’ll take care in his representation. You can’t ask for better than that.

I know I’ll likely post again on this after watching his first episode but there’s so much I want to say about the matter. Doctor Who holds a very special place in my heart, much the way that Star Trek does, and Twin Peaks and X Files, and all for the same reason. I am queen of this geekdom, as was my mother before me. She is the reason that fantasy and science fiction hold such large roles in the things that I like. When I was very little, she didn’t want me watching Doctor Who as she felt it would scare me. I would sneak into the living room and watch it from behind the couch anyway. Baker’s Doctor enthralled me and, by the time my mom realized what I was doing, it was too late. After that, I got to watch sitting next to her. Until she remarried and I wasn’t allowed to watch TV anymore anyway. 

When Eccleston’s Doctor hit the air, I was thrilled and nervous, wondering if there was any way it could be as awesome as it had been when I was tiny. I was so relieved when it was and then so heartbroken when the regeneration came so very soon – too soon. I had a hard time transitioning to Tennant’s Doctor but, in rewatching, I can admit to thoroughly enjoying his time as Doctor as well. When Smith came along, he was, to me, too young and too human. The oldest boy took interest about half way through Smith’s tenure and I think he’s hoping for a different kind of Doctor than I am. It will be interesting to see what happens. Oldest child is wearing his TARDIS socks today in honor of the show (and the fact that one of his teachers appears to be a Whovian too). The youngest boy likes everything the oldest boy likes so, he watches too.

It’s become a thing I can share with my kids the way my mom did with me (though I never made them hide behind the furniture to see it). She can’t be here to see them, to know them, but, with the Doctor, and all those other wonderful shows and movies, I can share a piece of her with them. She encouraged science fiction and fantasy in all things and I’ve done the same with my own children. In these wide and beautiful and sometimes scary worlds where anything can happen and nothing is exactly what it seems, you find wonder and amazement and hope. Those things matter. 


Filed under Fun, Geek, kids, Memories, Parenting, TV

Star Wars for the First Time

I think it would be amazing to go back in time and watch Star Wars for the first time again. The closest I will ever get is watching my kids experience it for the first time. Star Wars is one of my favorite things and, as such, it’s played more often than many many other movies. I should also note that we watch the original theatrical release (they’re on the bonus discs of the remastered box set).

Apparently, though the movies have been on in the house, my youngest child never really paid attention – more interested in searching for commercials in german on YouTube. We had a dreary day on vacation and I’d brought the set so we started watching. Only made it through A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. Today is dreary and we are watching my favorite – Return of the Jedi.

Watching my kid watch these for the first time is about the most fun I’ve had all summer. He’s told the Rancor that “Luke is not for eating,” declared the battle on the sand barges to be epic, cheered when Boba Fett falls into Sarlac, and yelled at Salacious Crumb for hurting C3PO.

He gets a little concerned when the heroes split up for any reason, always concerned that something will happen to the others (thanks Empire Strikes Back). He did better about Yoda’s death than I expected but mostly because Obi Wan’s ghost showed up. He cried when he thought the Emperor would kill Luke, cheered when Vader became Anakin again, and giggled through the yub nub song. Can’t beat that.

Outside of the core group, I think his favorite character is Ackbar, he keeps running around saying “It’s a trap!” As fun as this has been, it’s a little sad to know it will never happen again. You can only experience something for the first time once. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here, how often he asks to watch it on rainy days.

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Filed under Geek, kids, Movies, Parenting