Tuesday, September 30, 2003


Mike went ahead and accepted the blog invite to make updates to his site too, and his first post was to me and Lael. If anyone around (figuratively) here is sweet, it's him. ;-)

Lael - tell the guy in the lazy boy that I want a donut already! :-p

Monday, September 29, 2003

La Di Da

Well what do you know. It looks like I will be getting daily back-ups of my site from now on, whoo hoo! ;-) I really should be grateful for my web hosts, they work hard and give you lots of benefits for little dough.

On to the stuff everyone has been trying to get at all along, CoRo clips. These are from the web cast of the Bitter End show on September 18, 2003. Right-click and save-as please.

Gone Dyin'
Sit Down
Everything Under the Sun
The First Time
Saddest Situation

After that, the quality just got really, really bad. Or, I should say, worse than these. I tried my best to salvage them, but you can only do so much with what you start off with.

Here's hoping I don't have to redo my site (again) anytime soon. :-)

It's All in How You Play the Game

This was in an editorial column a while back in the Daily Illini, and I have been meaning to type in up because it summarized a lot of things I feel about people in general.

Richmond, Rachel, "Learning to Play the Game," Daily Illini (24 September 2002), p. 11.

I don't think The Stones could have said it better when they wrote, "You can't always get what you want." Besides the fact that song is great, it holds such reality. We can't have everything the way we want it - that would be too perfect. If I had everything I wanted, I would be a hot lady with a diploma on my way to owning a magazine with money in the bank and a great house in the mountains. But instead I look like me. I'm still stuck in school, working at a restaurant, bringing in minimal funds and living in a crappy house in Lubbock, Texas. So much for glamour. But, I wasn't dealt the ideal hand.

Allow me to explain. See, everyone is dealt a hand of certain cards, and you can play them how you like. Some people sit out of the game and some can play all night. But, no matter how awful the hand is right now, it doesn't mean you are stuck with those cards forever. You can trade them for a better set and keep playing. You'll waste away the cards dealt to you if you keep wishing you had the ace of spades instead of the two of diamonds you are holding. Just deal with it.

I think I spent the first half of my life wishing I was someone that I wasn't, as a lot of people do. I always thought, "If I was just smarter" or "If I was just better looking" or "If I was better at this," then things would go my way. Little did I know that life is not supposed to go the way we want it to. Dumb kid. But, as a dumb kid, I was learning how to play the game.

My hand in the academic department has never been great - definitely more street smarts than book smarts. I'm awful with numbers. Let's just say math was never my strong point. I should've seen it coming in fourth grade when all my friends were in the smart math class. I was there for about a week until the teacher booted me out and I had to go to the "numerically challenged" class - basically math for dummies. I'm allowed to be politically incorrect about that class because I was in it. What a blow to my 10-year-old ego.

But I realized just because I would never be able to balance my checkbook without a calculator didn't mean I wasn't good at anything else. I can whip out a paper on anything in less than an hour, so I focused on that, as well as attending tutoring for math.

I was born with a speech impediment. Yeah, not being able to say your "r's" is real cute up until about third grade, especially with a name like Rachel Richmond. I had to leave class every day to attend a speech session - as if the math thing wasn't bad enough. But after three years, I kicked the problem and could speak beautifully. It just took a lot of work.

A big pet peeve of mine is when someone doesn't particularly care about a quality they have, yet think it's OK to complain about it constantly without even attempting to fix it. No, no, no. Nobody has a right to complain unless they have tried or are currently trying to fix it. A good friend of mine was a bit overweight and would always complain about it.

Finally I told him he was not allowed to utter any words about his dislike until he got off the couch and did something about it. He started running and is now at the ideal weight for him. He traded in that two of diamonds for the ace of spades. Good for him.

Everyone has weaknesses and everyone has strong points. Honestly, everyone is good at something. I used to work at an after-school program with children and caught one of them saying, "I'm not good at anything" out of pure frustration.

I told the kid that was not true and he was good at something. The kid told me I was stupid and didn't know what I was talking about. I punished him to a corner and thought to myself, "That kid is good at telling people off." Like I said, everyone is good at something.

Basically, you can't spend your entire life wishing you had something else, or looked like someone else, or were as good as something else. If you spend your life wishing for other things, you will end up unfulfilled and miserable.

Life is a trade-off. Some cards you hold are so great you shouldn't trade them for anything and some cards could go. It's all how you play the game. Focus on your good points and you bad points won't look so bad after all. Because "if you try sometime you might find you get what you need."

Rachel Richmond is a columnist for the University Daily at Texas Tech University.

You may be able to view the original article at the University Daily here.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Argh! Crazy Cat!!

Thyme just ran out the door, again! This cat is driving me nuts! For over a week now she has decided she needs to go outside! Jack wanted to give the mailman our mail, and so he ran out the door, and Thyme slipped through as the screen door was shuttting. Then, she skitted around, went into the backyard, decided to chase some squirrels - thank goodness she didn't go into the field behind our house - and then came back to the tree where I could snag her by the scruff.

The little minx! Argh!

Chilly Weekend

Things are cooling off here for the fall. Yesterday we had some pretty big storms roll through in the evening, and it is very breezy today. I took Thursday and Friday off as rest days (although I did lift weights on Thursday), and today I am doing the 3 miles of Week 1 (Sat.). So far I got in 1.5 miles, so I need to make up the other 1.5 miles. Although, it would be nice to do all 3 miles at the same time, it's called "keeping Jack occupied long enough." ;-)

Off to run errands!

Friday, September 26, 2003

Field trips are interesting

We had early dismissal and a field trip with the after school program yesterday. They decided to take them bowling - 60-80 kids with about 6-8 adults (at first), me included. That was just crazy! We ended up going back to the school after about 45 minutes of bowling because the leaders were tired of the kids running around, doing stuff they weren't supposed to be doing, and basically being animals.

Then there was an incident on the school bus between two first grade boys and Jack. *sigh* I swear. So, we get back to the school, and they have another 15 minutes of sitting in the bleachers to listen to the director of the program talking at them, head outside, and all of a sudden it's almost 5 o'clock, so Jack and I had to hurry over to Urbana. I had a 5 o'clock appointment w/ Kim who's been cutting my hair for a while now. She relocated, and we hadn't seen her all summer, so I didn't want to cancel on her.

Then, we had to rush back to school because it was open house from 6-8pm. I finally met a few of the other parents in Jack's class. They performed a fall rap on stage. One of the 4th or 5th grade girls hammed it up on stage when it was her turn. She has actress or stand-up comedian written all over her to have that much presence at age 10.

Jack totally crashed when we got home even though he was still pretty crazed from being around his friends so late. He even crawled into bed with me at some point in the wee hours of the morning and crashed there until I woke him at 7:30am. We had to get moving or we would be late.

Work is finally over this week. I am feeling very tired from all the personal issues and such getting tossed around in here. However, Phil and I went to lunch today and got to talk - we hadn't done that in a while, and I think he's settling in more now. More confidence and such about how he does his job and just handles himself. This is a good thing. He tried to talk to me about dating on the way back - we had gotten off on a segway because of someone else we work with, Marty - and then he spilled his dating laundry, so I told him "That's why I am more selective." *lol* He's an orange, likes the variety. I'm a Taurus, I like to be picky and specific. ;-)

Ack, looks like rain. Just in time for me to walk to my car too almost. Oh well. There's an umbrella right there. Hopefully Jack had a good day ... we need to make plans for the weekend, although if it rains the whole time, I have no idea what they will be....

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I'm a little bit crazy ...

... but I've been toying with the idea of training for a marathon for a while now. I've only done 5ks, but I think I would like the challenge of it.

Mileage Buildup Schedule (Schedule I)
Week# Sun. Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Total
1 4 Rest 3 Rest 4 Rest 3 14
2 4 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 3 15
3 5 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 3 16
4 3 Rest 3 Rest 3 Rest 3 12
5 5 Rest 3 3 3 Rest 3 17
6 6 Rest 3 3 3 Rest 3 18
7 6 Rest 3 4 3 Rest 4 20
8 3 Rest 4 Rest 3 Rest 3 13
9 7 Rest 3 5 4 Rest 3 22
10 7 Rest 4 5 4 Rest 4 24
11 8 Rest 4 6 4 Rest 4 26
12 4 Rest 3 Rest 4 Rest 4 15
13 8 Rest 5 6 5 Rest 4 28
14 9 Rest 5 6 6 Rest 4 30
15 9 Rest 5 7 6 Rest 5 32
16 5 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 4 17
17 10 Rest 6 8 6 Rest 4 34
18 10 Rest 6 8 7 Rest 4 35
19 6 Rest 4 Rest 5 Rest 4 19

I may modify that if I find that I am not challenged by the shorter distance days. There is a second level schedule once I complete this one to build up to the even longer distances. I would like to run the marathon in Orlando in January, but I don't know if I can get ready in time.

So, let's see, today I ran 4 miles. That puts me on Week 1 (Thursday), so tomorrow instead of running the 4 miles, I will do my regular 1 miles to the gym, lift weights, then back again. The hardest part will be finding somewhere to run in the cold weather since they decided to tear up the track in the Armory. I don't know when it will be put back. Otherwise, I have to get up to Kenney Gym (1 mile), use that indoor track, and then get back again.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Happy Tuesday

Although ... it's not a new Buffy Tuesday. No more of those ever. :-(

This weekend was a good one. We had a rough start on Saturday morning due to an argument between Jack and dental hygiene, but eventually things smoothed out. We had to run some errands, and then go to a neighbor's birthday party. That was a good time. Lots of family and friends - he is from Somoa, so his best friend from Somoa was there too.

Jack managed to get a scratched face and a cut on his eyelid from the dog though. Then, last night he got his arm in Max's mouth and was upset over that. He is a walking tragedy this month. I am beginning to see why they invented kid-sized bubble containers. Sheesh.

Sunday was just gorgeous. We spent most of it outside - of and on taking care of the yard and playing with the neighbor's grandkids.

Oh! Thyme, the cat we've only had for 1 year now (in November) decided she wanted to be an outside kitty this week. She managed to squeeze out the screen door before it was closed all the way three times! The last time was Monday morning, and it was rainy, we were heading to the car, so I told her "Go have fun being an outside cat!" Yeah right.

And guess who was huddling in the highest point of the corner of the garage when we got home? Yep. Big scaredy cat.

Time to get some work done. Focus. Someone else I know was mentioning focus in the workplace. I need some of that too today. Argh.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

And so it begins

The first round of school-year colds is threatening. I don't appreciate it. ;-)

Work has dragged today. Mainly because I don't feel 100%. There was cheesecake at lunch though, so that made it better. :-p

Only another hour or so before I can head home. I feel like a movie tonight. Oh, it's just about the last night for Angel reruns just about. I keep forgetting to watch. Only 2 more weeks til the premiere. Whoo!

Back to work ...

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Yelling, chopping, lifting, oh my

So, it appears that a little bug is going around. I was told quite a few of the kids in class today took naps when they don't usually, and one boy got phsyically sick. Rats. I don't want Jack to get sick this soon into the school year. He had some yelling issues today too, so I don't think he is taking the change as well as I thought at first - or - they were all just a little bit grumpy/sickly today and got on eachother's nerves.

I read them the fire fighter story this morning though, and they listened really well. Apparently, someone pulled a fire alarm today too, so they got to go through the drill, see the firemen, and the policemen come. Mrs. C spent some time talking about why that is not a safe thing to do - fake a fire alarm - and I mentioned that Jack and I had been discussing "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" over the weekend too.

Tonight we spent all evening dragging sticks and branches from our yard and our neighbors yard into their front yard. They rented a chipper, so we were all using it. They had a ton of stuff! Our pile was only about the size of a small bonfire or really big campfire. They had enough to fill the back of a pickup truck - overflowing. But, now we have some nice mulch for the flowerbeds. :-)

Jack's pet caterpillar was not in his box when we got home, so I think he escaped out the window, lol. I tried to tell Jack that he let the plastic cover get too loose, but oh well. I just hope he isn't wandering around the house somewhere.

When I picked Jack up today, he decided he needed to spin around, fall down, and bang his head on one of the chairs in the cafeteria. He had an instant lump pop out of his forehead. Argh. And of course, the office still had no ice packs and no ice in the lounge freezer. Grr. They don't have a school nurse hired yet either. Now that Jack has hurt himself twice in one week, it is starting to bother me.

Work was interesting today. We had a couple of meetings this morning, and everyone seems a bit stressed. I feel like my role in the project management is rubbing people the wrong way - only sometimes, and only certain people, but I don't know if it is a workload thing or me. I've barely begun with the management, so I am going to vote for "workload" for now. :-p

I went for my jog and lifted weights at Kenney today. That was good. I hate going to lunch with everyone else because the food - while good at times - is just not good for you. They don't call it the Freshman 15 because you sleep 15 hours (through your classes). I love lifting weights, and I haven't had a chance to do that since pretty much Lake Street when we had that bench/machine in the garage. Once I get my garage redone, I will probably set up part of that with a bench.

Add that to the never ending list of things I want to do with the house.

Okay, tired now. So, I'd better head to bed before I find something else to fiddle with.

Friday, September 12, 2003

I Spy - Now in Spanish!

The kids were asking where I was this morning. "Where's Jack's mom?" :-) That makes you feel good, you know? We weren't running that late - I think we got to his room at about 7:55am, but most of the kids were already there.

I introduced a bit of Spanish to them the other day, just saying "Adios" when I left instead of "Bye." So this morning, the boys were playing with the dinosaurs, and I asked them if they wanted to hear the Spanish colors today. M was interested, so I told him 5-6 of the basic ones, and then said "I Spy ..." a few times to help him make a game out of it.

I think the class will do great - as long as Mrs. C can keep up with their energy. Ooh boy, some of those boys, lol.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

So Once Upon a Time ...

A blonde "guy" stole this winnebago, and then I had to get a lame web host and lose a month or two of updates. Argh.

But! I have not despaired entirely since I now have my shiny, new hosting, and my blog seems to be cooperating. Yay!

So let's see - where do I start. How about August.

Early August was spent one weekend in Florida, one was at home, then there was the family reunion up by Peoria, and I think that left one weekend for the SweetCorn festival here in town before Kindergarten started.

Florida was nice. We only had a quick weekend trip because I am not supposed to take vacation in August. It was Bill & Nita's 50th wedding anniversary, and they were kind enough to include Jack and I in the celebrations, so we made the trip down there. It had been since May that we'd last seen Rose, so it was great to spend even just those few days there visiting with her and the rest of her family.

Our reunion was just fine. Amazingly, it was not a scorcher, there was a nice breeze, and plenty of activity on the Illinois River to keep the kids entertained. Aimée and Craig weren't able to come this year though. Grandma also didn't make it because she was still recovering from a chest type cold from her trip up through Canada with Uncle Frank I think.

We also had a house-warming party to attend for Phil and Cristina. They bought a house in the new subdivision that was built behind our old duplex neighborhood in Urbana. She had tons of family there, and Phil's mom even came up from Florida.

Jack started school at Stratton on the 28th. We were able to meet his teacher ahead of time at Teacher's Night, and she scheduled brief meetings with parents as well the Tuesday before classes. So far things are going really well. I think she and I are similar enough in our teaching ideas that there shouldn't be any clashes, and all of the kids in Jack's class seem genuinely nice - if a little bit rambunctious now that they are settled in - but no more so than any of his classmates from Marilyn Queller.

There are only supposed to be 16 kids in his class, but even now after two full weeks of school, I have only met about 10 of them. Jack's teacher said that some just don't come or only come late in the afternoon. Very odd. The ones I have met though, I already have their names down, and they have played the "No, what's your real name?" game with me a few times, too.

Jack had his visit with the Enrichment Specialist the other day, and it looks like she and his teacher are going to be pro-active with Jack (Yay!) and give him opportunities to do homework, extra activities, and projects with the bigger kids. I haven't had a sit-down chat with Ms. C yet, but she acknowledged that he is far enough ahead of the other kids that he needs to be doing more to keep him occupied.

This is a good thing too because he came home "bored" the first few days of the rule reciting. Then, about 1-2 days a week since then he has come home grumpy, and I think it is just out of boredom. The after-school program is there in the building, and that was chaos there for a while, so we went and had a talk w/ the Family Information Center. That helped a lot. Today Jack was still in the cafeteria with all the other kids, and they had them working on "homework." He was at a table with 3 older students doing a math activity, lol. Too funny.

Let's see. Work is work. My job description is changing in duties if not on paper. I will be taking on more project management type responsibilities now. We've had a pretty successful opening this semester, and the Dining reports have gone over well. We hit a few rough patches this week interpersonally, but I am hoping that will pass over.

I am looking forward to a vacation though, and I am hoping to take one soon. I would love to have a brief break before October hits because then Jack and I will be going to play rehearsals almost every night of the week. I have to plan for the days that school is out - I have winter break to think about - and I can't believe that will put us in 2004.

Today is the 2-year anniversary of September 11th. I was reading on the news that the tribute at Ground Zero had children reading the names of the people who died. I didn't think about it a lot today, but maybe because my morning started off with a lady calling in to a radio station talking about how her daughter was born that day. And, she tries to think of all the people who were born and the people who died, but she couldn't even get past her first couple of sentences without choking up. I didn't want to go through my whole day like that. Without realizing it this morning, I wore one of my red/white/blue shirts, and I had my bracelets from Jill on too. I had a good cry listening to the kids reading names tonight, and then I had a few chuckles at an editor's article on how he reacted on that morning in his apartment only two blocks away. I'm glad nothing has happened today to mar these rememberances.

One more thing - the book of the year that our director picked out is "Warriors Don't Cry." It is an accounting of the integration of Central High in Little Rock Arkansas by one of the girls from the "Little Rock Nine." I am only half-way through it, but I would highly recommend it to anyone. It is not a textbook - it is the telling from a 15-year old's perspective of her world. I shake my head reading it in some passages that people could have actually believed what they did and treated other humans the way they did - but then consider that it still happens today, somewhere, it does. And, we've just passed it right along to other "Different" folks. Why else would a Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender high school have existed in NYC? I think for our society today, we are at a strange mix of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of the military and the segregation of the past. How hard is it to realize that this is the world we live in, and people are who they are? You can try to change systems, and governments, and rules - but you can't force people to change into what they aren't. Haven't we learned that yet with even the "simplest" of requests? Aren't women always accused of trying to "change a man," and men inform "us" that it can't be done? So, we can't change behaviors but we can change sexuality? Riighhht. Yeahhh. Makes all sorts of sense.

To quote our beloved werewolve from the Jossverse (that dwindles daily it feels like): "The kind that's not."

And with that, I must get out of here. I am sure I will think of 20 things I forgot to add the second I "ctrl-alt-delete-S."

Monday, September 08, 2003

A Brave New World

Woe is the condition of my poor little blog. I let it waste away while my hosting time expired at the other place, but now I have shiny new hosting that I *hopefully* will love. ;-)

Let's see if we can get this little train rolling without too many glitches .... Argh!! It was too much to hope for. :-(