Sickness

>> Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blargh. I hate being sick. I was sick pretty much non-stop in Rochester, except for the months of July and August. I assumed that I was probably allergic to something which is what started my colds. I have a 'sickness routine': first I sneeze, or get a shock of chill somehow. Sometimes this is 'sudden change in the weather' related. Then my throat hurts, I start to get the sinus gross, then it morphs into a nasty head cold. It drains into my lungs, and around the time I start not being able to breathe at night I also start to lose my voice. That's the sequence of 'the cold'. From there it becomes bronchitis, probably 99% of the time, and maybe 50% of the time proceeds into pneumonia. In NY this happened a minimum of three times a year, but maxed out at six during the 2005-2006 school year. Yes, I was diagnosed with pneumonia three times in ten months (the other three just stopped at bronchitis).

So far, in the year and a third we've lived in SC, I've only been sick once.... until now. The morning after the parking lot flood wading my sore throat kicked in; I managed to get almost entirely better before going to visit Kaylee, who was also drippy... but then after that trip it got a lot worse, and my mom and Kaylee's mom both got really sick with the same thing too. We're also having nighttime lows in the 20s, which came on suddenly and is very odd for this time of year here. As of tomorrow, we will have been home from there for two weeks, and I'm just now reaching the 'not breathing at night/lost voice' stage. I don't know if I've been sick then better then sick, or if it all counts as one big cold... if the latter, I've now been sick for almost a month.

It's around 1:30 in the afternoon, and I'm just now finishing up my morning breakfast and internet routine. I feel bad, I was supposed to assist with the preschool Sunday School and we slept through it. I need to find a way to contact the lead teacher for when this happens. But I'm gonna be curled up here with tea and cat and a paper to write, crack out my inhaler device, drug up and moan a lot. *heh* Maybe it'll help.

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Feline Interlopers

>> Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our neighborhood has a lot of stray cats, and through the first few months of us living here, they all wanted to stop by and check out the New Blood, ie: our cats. They would saunter into the yard, and our boys would spring into a huge territorial hissy fit, knocking over lamps and things running from window to window, and it all tends to end in Spook attacking the closest cat he can find who's usually Colin. Of course, the minute I started a photo record of kitten interlopers, they stopped coming through during the day (when I could photograph them).

Earlier this afternoon Kira and Spook were on the screen porch when I heard Spook starting in on his low throated territory yowl. I go out to see a beautiful Siamese standing just short of the porch steps... and another big fat cat on the fence on the other side of the yard. I can't get out the door to run them off since Spook is sitting right there. Kira was on the chair just above Spook's head, and apparently had been silent up to that point. Then she suddenly yowled at the Siamese, Spook went 'CLOSE CAT!' and full on attacked her.

I've never been that close to a fully-armed screaming cat fight. It was pretty intense! Lanse came out (being stronger and having longer arms) and brought them in; Spook had cornered Kira under the chaise lounge, but when I inspected them later, she had more of his fur in her claws than he had hers. *heh* No harm done, apparently, just freaked me right the heck out. We sequestered them in their own rooms until they calmed down, and then I kept them inside for about an hour.

After that hour passed, I scanned the yard, didn't see any cats, so I let them out. As I walked out with them I looked out to the play set to see this:



And in they came again. Lanse went out (being tall) and chased this one off. In case you've not been keeping track, that was three neighbor cats causing a riot at our house in one afternoon. I think a little later on one of us should probably go out there and sprinkle used cat litter around the yard so as to claim the territory.

I do wish I'd gotten a picture of the Siamese. It was so pretty.

Aside from feline negotiations, I've also done a load and a half of laundry and am working on a project to print or save all the resource files from class for my teaching resources binder that I don't have yet.

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Scholastic honesty

I had part two of a paper due in Philosophies of Ed last week. Part of the assignment was, "At this stage in your journey, what questions should you ask about Child Development and learning and how could you go about answering them?" I procrastinated like crazy because in all honesty, I really don't know. I'm the type of person to recognize a need (my degree), gather as much information as possible (what I'm taught in class), head to the situation (a classroom) and test it out in action, and then ask questions with things that don't work. So I will absorb as much information on education as I can, go to the classroom and apply it, see where it doesn't work, and then gather more information based on the differences in environment and the individual children who don't fit with what I've learned.

I do the same thing with job interviews. Basic things like pay and job requirements are usually covered in the initial stuff, so I really don't ever have questions for them. I don't know enough about the job environment yet to know what else to ask.

So back to the paper; I decided that since I honestly couldn't answer the question, my overall grade was strong enough to just take a risk and say so. I wrote about how I have questions about my own education, but not really any about Child Development yet. It was four pages of lovely BS.

Here's the comment I received from my instructor on my paper:

"80/80! Why I enjoy reading your papers, Jess, is because you are not afraid to show you still have some learning to go. This paper truly says it well…that you still have work to go as far as developing a philosophy. In spite of not knowing exactly which area your career will be concentrated, you are taking the information from your classes and processing it into what you want to do in the future."

So basically, I just aced this assignment by extensively writing "I don't know".

I am so incredibly amused.

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Persistence

>> Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Early this afternoon I heard someone outside our house singing really loudly. Through the window I saw a black guy came up onto the porch and rang the bell, still singing. I asked Lanse to please get it this time since I was still in my pajamas. On the way to the bathroom, I heard him open the door, then "HEEEEEEEEEEEEY, BIG GUY!" Lanse said, "We're not interested," and shut the door while the guy was mid-sentence.

I came out and asked, "What was he selling?"

"It was the cleanser guy. He had a bottle of something pink."


Scary thought #1: He was excited, but mostly quiet and well-mannered yesterday. He was (from audio only) very loud and exuberant today. I'm becoming quite confident that I don't ever want to drink that cleanser.

Scary thought #2: He was here yesterday. I sent him away. He came back.

Scary thought #3: He was here yesterday, and thought I was alone in the house. He came back.

Maybe it's time to get a peep hole in the door.

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Mupcakes (Revisted)



The latest batch was divided into thirds.
  • The first are flat plain chocolate cookies (we ran out of mini muffin tins, so I poured the batter in the cupcake papers and just set them on a cookie sheet),
  • The second have pieces of Snickers bars in the middle. They kind of exploded slightly so that caramel came squirting out the top. Mmmmm.
  • The third have mashed up Thin Mint cookies, this time just in chunks and not ground into the almond base. I also added some extra mint (herb) to strengthen the flavor.
They are all very good, though I think I need to buy some mint extract or oil to really make the mint ones the best. The mint ones also didn't set well for some reason, but I think the heat in my oven is uneven. Lunch this afternoon cooked weird too.

Click for the Mupcake recipe.

I also decided I talk about these enough I want to have a good picture. I've never officially tried food photography before, so the Mupcakes and I did a photo shoot to see what the big deal is. There were four finalists, which went onto Flickr for some feedback. So far, the photo above is the favorite. I rather like it myself.

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Door-to-door sales

>> Monday, November 17, 2008

Just as I was drifting off into my nap someone knocked on the door. Shave-and-a-haircut, now that I think of it. It's a good thing he was amusing, since he woke me up.

He was an average-height black guy, early 20s, buzzed haircut, worn out and wrinkled (but clean) jeans. Fit the stereotype of a po' South'n black kid without a nickel, trying to make his way in the world purely through exuberance. (It's hard to know how to react to obviously seen stereotypes when living in a highly multi-cultural area.) He had a lot of energy, and a fast sales patter; though why he started with "I'm from Alabama and..." I'm not quite sure. Maybe South Carolinians are supposed to feel sorry for Alabamians.

He was selling a cleanser that he had developed himself. This 'homemade' cleanser was sort of pink. I could see it through the dollar-store spray bottle. He sprayed it on the glass on my door and buffed it with one of the oldest bathroom hand towels I've seen in a while. He showed me how it didn't streak or splotch. He explained that it had a special coating in it that worked into the glass so that fingers wouldn't leave prints. It also had a defogger, which he proved when he breathed and huffed on the glass right at my face level. Best of all, it's non-toxic!

And then he proceeded to drink it.

He was very nice and went away quietly when I explained we had no money in the house and were not in the market for cleaning supplies. But I worry about how many bottles of cleanser he may have drunk before he got his formula right...

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This made me giggle.

>> Friday, November 14, 2008

Apparently some company somewhere installed a security system that scanned employee's hands. There must have been an uproar, because they then issued a letter addressing the fact that no, they are not related in any way to the Mark of the Beast as found in the book of Revelations. Click here to read more!

The hand scanner of the Beast

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Battle Grapefruit

Having just reigned victorious in the battle against my lunch grapefruit (Blinding Squirt, natural weapon, +2 damage against diners; vs. Sharpened Spoon, +3 damage against grapefruits, bonus for Opposable Thumbs), I was again reminded that grapefruit are one of those foods for which most people hold strong opinion in one direction or the other.

So I hereby put it to my few, though highly important, readers:

Grapefruit: Yea or Nay?

Also, Pink/Red or Yellow/White?

Finally, Why?

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Hair cut

>> Thursday, November 13, 2008

I got a hair cut. Here's a couple of bad pix, before and after:



Thanks, Mom!

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Color Quizzes

The Ultimate Color Test


When you are at peace, you are: Giving and unselfish

When you are moved to act, you are: Courageous and resolute

When you are inspired, you are: Flexible and experimental

When your life is perfectly balanced, you are: Philosophical and expressive

Your life's purpose is: To find contentment




You Are a Red Crayon



Your world is colored with bright, vivid, wild colors.

You have a deep, complex personality - and you are always expressing something about yourself.

Bold and dominant, you are a natural leader. You have an energy that is intense... and sometimes overwhelming.

Your reaction to everything tends to be strong. You are the master of love-hate relationships.

Your color wheel opposite is green. Green people are way too mellow to understand what drives your energy.




Your Inner Color is Blue



Your Personality: Your natural warmth and intuition nurtures those around you. You are accepting and always follow your heart.

You in Love: Relationships are your top priority, and this includes love. You are most happy when you are serious with someone.

Your Career: You need to help others in your job to feel satisfied. You would be a great nurse, psychologist, or counselor.

What's Your Inner Color?

My reply:
The first and third quizzes feel accurate, but the second one doesn't as far as the loads of energy part goes. Thanks to Flssgrl for the links. :)

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How am I smart?

>> Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This week we're learning about Lilian G. Katz, Howard Gardner, and Daniel Goleman. They offer us the Project approach, Multiple Intelligences (different strengths and weaknesses we have that affect our learning), and Emotional Intelligences (like your IQ, this tests your Emotional levels instead of your Intelligence levels).

Here's some fun quizzes we had to take for our discussion post:

Here's my results for the first and third options, testing my multiple intelligences. I took the snowflake one (test 1) twice (click to make it big enough to read):


Book recommendation for Multiple Intelligences:
How am I smart? by Dr. Kathy Koch (pronounced 'cook'). Originally written for jr. high/high school kids, it's now marketed to parents. It's a very easy read, quite fascinating; she also includes tips and ideas for how to create an environment to implement them in learning and every day life.

Here's the results of my Emotional Intelligence (EQ - test 2). Sorry, no spiffy chart. I wish there was!:

"Your results indicate an above average score on emotional intelligence.

What Does Your Score Mean?
People with a better than average score on emotional intelligence tend to be good at interpreting, understanding, and acting upon emotions. They are usually quite good at dealing with social or emotional conflicts, expressing their feelings, and dealing with emotional situations.

It's important to remember that no matter how good your score is, there is always room to improve your emotional intelligence. Consider areas where you are not as strong and think of ways that you can learn and grow. Take stock of your strong points and find ways to continue to develop and apply these skills."

How about you?

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Where we've been

>> Tuesday, November 11, 2008



Visiting with our Kaylee-niece!*
Yay!

*And a cow.

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I'm a Winner!!

>> Tuesday, November 4, 2008

For the first time in my life, (that I know of, maybe once in Elementary school or something), I won a contest! Based on actual skill!

I'm a member of a research community group for my college. We answer questions every week, and this month they did a 'Create an ad for your college' contest. I won! They're not using the ad for advertising, but the contest was to gather ideas.

Here's the announcement, along with the ad I made. Thanks to Mel's unknown contribution, as well as that of the little kids in VBS. I don't know who you are, but thanks!


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Citizenship

Four years ago, I voted in my first Presidential election (no, I'm not that young, I just never had before). We went to the church down the end of our road around 10:30. We'd been told there'd be lines at busy times, so we figured that was safe. It was raining and windy. There was a line... from the reg desk inside the... gym?... out into the lobby. It took us maybe half an hour total from leaving the house to returning to the house. I figured that "a bad line" in that situation would maybe have been out into the parking lot or something.

So when they said this year they expected a really high turnout, we thought "Well, we'll go around 10:30ish again, and just expect a little bit more of a wait." Yes, we're in a new state with new people, and we don't really know how it will go, but we just live a mile away so we'll run out, maybe take an hour instead of half.

Today's voting checklist:

  • rain
  • wind
  • no jackets (cuz "it'd only be a bit")
  • nothing to sit on (cuz "it'd only be a bit")
  • multiple districts in one location
  • line confusion
  • nice people having conversations
  • even nicer people running off to the closest pizza place and buying pizza and crazy bread to share with everyone around them
  • FOUR HOURS. Yes. 4. Hours. We arrived at 10:15. We joined the line. We then realized that even though we live in Windsor Hill, we're in the Lincoln district, so we went to the other line. Which, while shorter, actually moved more slowly. We returned home at 2:00.
  • When we arrived home, I also discovered I'd left all the cats outside on the porch. (cuz "it'd only be a bit"). Sigh. At least they still seem to love me.
I feel bad for the guy standing just behind us in line; when he arrived at 7am there was only one line, instead of one for each district. They split the line at some point and he ended up in the wrong one; he got all the way up to the desk after waiting for three hours, at which point they would not let him vote because he was in the wrong line and made him GO BACK TO THE END of the right line. He ended up having been in that parking lot for almost SEVEN hours. He was upset, but quiet about it, and I thought it was pretty cool that he felt it was important enough to stick it out. He finally voted right after we did.

Here's the map of Cathedral, where we voted. Click on it to see it up close. The red line is where we stood and waited. The yellow line is where the lady who stood with us told us that the line went this morning before standard work starting hours ("all the way out to the main road!") She apparently had nothing else to do today, so she drove by every half hour/45 minutes since this morning waiting to see when the line went down.


So anyway, we've done our duty and put in our votes. I actually spent all day yesterday looking up information on the local offices; it was discouraging how little information was available online, and there were a LOT of local positions with just one name of the person already on the job.*

A friend of mine is spending her day volunteering as a polling help person for Team Obama; her job is to travel around to polling places and help things go smoothly (non-partisanly). She told us all that if the wait was longer than 20 minutes we should call our local O field office and they'd send someone out, but I couldn't find any phone numbers for our local O field office. Which was sad. They definitely need help at our polling place!

I'm sure four years from now I'll feel differently, but I'm suddenly feeling all patriotic and wish I'd volunteered. I hate seeing a need and not being able to help... I'm all organizational, and totally could have helped people at least feel like they weren't standing around catching pneumonia in a parking lot for nothing!

At least we can go get a free coffee at Starbucks and a free sandwich at Chik-Fil-A with our "I VOTED" stickers!

*No, I'm not telling.

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http://tryonsadopt.blogspot.com/

>> Monday, November 3, 2008

I decided since we've got enough posts on our adoption process all over the internet in various forms, I'm combining them into one website. Stop on over and read our Tryon Adoption Story. It's growing slowly as I collect stuff; won't be up to date for a bit yet.

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About This Blog

Life is about changes; transitions from one place to another, from one purpose to another, from one being to another. They say that the person you are today is a completely different person from who you were ten years ago and who you'll be ten years from now. So far, at the age of 33, I've had four major transitions in my life which redefined who I am. Two years into the results of the most recent transition I am again - still - exploring how God is shaping me. Over the next few months I hope to review my past and set goals for the future, and embrace the next adventure of rediscovering me.
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