Friday, August 20, 2010

New Year's Eve/Happy New Year

Anyone confused yet?

I'm getting ready for a new year. My calendar does not run January to December. My calendar runs from September to August. When you work in a school, the "next year" does not refer to one year, such as 2011, but rather refers to a school year, such as 2010-2011. So, when I refer to last year, it could be a few months ago.
Anyway, my new year will be starting soon. So, I'll spend the next few days fitting in some "rushed" relaxing, if that makes sense. I'll also be reflecting and hypothesizing about the new school year. I'll set resolutions, just as normal people do in January.
So, if you don't mind, I'm going to go get some noise makers and some bubbly of some kind and send this year off and start the new one out right, hopefully.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Because I always mean to post and...

Since Aola said she'd be around to check for updates... and since I haven't posted anything since April... Here goes, although there are only like 2 people that read this anyway.

Where to start? It's summer and I'm recovering from an insane school year. Along with the usual pressures of working in a school, one member of our speech therapy department quit in February. Because the school district was unable to find a replacement, this added all of her work onto myself and the other speech therapist, bringing our caseload numbers to new high levels (as if they weren't already over the state recommended number). How we managed to actually juggle everything and still come out the other side still makes me shake my head. But, we did and now I'm trying to regroup and refocus and destress before another school year starts. Fortunately, we have hired two additional speech therapists, brining our total to 4. This has the promise of being a lot less work. Let's hope that is actually how it plays out. I think in my 5 years of working, there has only been 1 year that I would consider "normal". My sanity needs an easy year.

Other than regrouping from work, my summer has been filled with family and friends. I've taken two vacations. The first one was to Philly with my parents and sister. We went to Valley Forge (George Washington's winter camp during one year in the Revolutionary War), of which, I think I enjoyed this the most. The rest of my family probably could have skipped it. I'm not sure why I love history things like this, but I do. We also went to Byer's Choice. It's a place where they make hand carved carolers for Christmas decorations. The place is set up in different Christmas scenes and is really cool to go through. My mom was able to go through it. Since she is unable to walk for long periods of time, on vacations she usually sits in the car while the rest of us go tour things. We rented a wheelchair for the trip and she was able to get out and see some sights. This made me happy...beyond words. We also went into New Jersey to see where my great grandpa on my father's side had lived and to try to find his gravesite. There was some controversy, you could say, involving my great grandfather. When my great grandmother died, he left his young son (my grandpa) to be raised by my great, great grandparents. My great grandfather moved to another state and started another life. No one really knows exactly why he left. It was neat to hear stories from my dad about his family and things that he remembers. I really do love my parents stories.

The second of my vacations was to Kentucky with my sister. Louisville, to be specific. For the past 3 years, my sister and I have taken vacations. It's a nice time to just get away. The past two years have been trips to the beach, so this year we decided to head "inland". This trip included a stop at Churchill Downs, Zachary Taylor's gravesite, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's houses in Ohio and a breif stop in Ohio Amish Country. However, the main events were the stop at The Louisville Slugger Museum, the Jim Beam distillery, and the Kitchen Aid factory store in Ohio. Yes, I bought a baseball bat. Anyone that knows me shouldn't have to question that. Yes, I tried Jim Beam bourbon. I've decided that I'll stick to beer and wine. Yes, I bought myself a Kitchen Aid mixer. I've already made a chocolate cake using it. It was a very fun vacation. We've decided that we'd definitely do Kentucky again.

Other than vacations, I've been running around getting different check-ups done for myself and my car. I've been to two Pirate baseball games so far, with hopes to go to a third. I've had a girls day with two friends that I grew up with, and we have plans to do another girls weekend with more of the group hopefully in September. I've enjoyed a bonfire and sitting on the porch with the friend that's known me the longest. We have plans for many other things this summer.

Daily activities have included helping out at my parents house. My mom fell in June and has been having a hard time recouperating. Luckily nothing was broken, but she's scared that she'll fall again. She's very sensitive and downhearted about life. I keep hoping that she'll come back around and be herself. My dad will be 80 in December. He's trying to juggle taking care of a garden and the land while dealing with tractors and equipement breaking down. He's also trying to figure out what it is to be 79 and not be able to do things he used to, both in the physical and mental sense. It's literally heartbreaking to see your parents like this. My older sister deals with this daily and has taken on the task (whether she had wanted it or not) of caring for my parents. I have no idea how she does it. But, I'm thankful that she's there. I worry about her to. I try to help out as much as I can during the school year, but I'm 4 1/2 hours away. My other two sisters live closer, but are married and apparently have lives that don't often include my parents, unless asked or invited. Not sure if this has to do with their husbands or what. But, it's discouraging to say the least.

All in all, it's been a good summer. It's not over yet, but it seems to be winding down fast. I don't feel prepared to start back to work, but I'm thankful that I do work in a job where I get this break and am able to "start over" each year.

If you've made it through my "update", props to you. This was a long one. But, just ask Sandy, this is usually what my emails are like.