Thursday, February 23, 2017

Stuff Kids Say

During my 17 years as a public school speech pathologist, I've heard a lot of funny things come out of the mouths of babes.  Here are some of my favorites:

Kid:  (after trying unsuccessfully to say spaghetti) I just can't say it.  It's constipated.
Me:  I think you mean complicated.

Me:  (while reading a prompt to a student during a math state assessment) How many inches are in a foot?
Kid:  (hikes foot up on knee, looks at bottom of shoe, and starts counting) 20?

Me:  (to a kid who is working on making his "s" sound)  Ok, your next word is sit. Use it in a sentence and say the sentence three times.
Kid:  Shit on the couch.  Shit on the couch.  Shit on the couch.
Me:  Alrighty then.

Kid:  Mrs. B, the reason I can't say my "s" right is because I'm part snake and snakes stick out their tongues when they talk.
Me:  Snakes don't talk.  Try again.

Kid:  Mrs. B, ah you shoowah I'm the one with the awah pwoblem, because I think I sound good. Maybe you have the awah pwoblem and you just don't know it.
Me:  Trust me, I'm sure.

Me:  What fell off of the bird? (while showing kid a picture of a feather and a bird)
Kid:  A leaf.
Me:  Leaves fall off trees, not birds.
Kid:  Are you sure?

Kid:  Do you know why I have to wear my jacket zipped up?

Me:  Because you're chilly?
Kid:  No, so the bulls won't charge me.

I hope you found some of these as entertaining as I did!  What's something funny you've heard a kid say?  Feel free to share.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday Topics - Three Things Going on in My Life

I.  I will be attending a speech pathology conference tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.  I have to go to this conference every year so I can obtain continuing education credits that are required for me to keep my speech pathology license and credentials.  Although I sometimes enjoy the change of pace, of getting a few days away from my therapy routine and the endless amount of paperwork, for the most part I really don't like going.  As I mentioned in a confession post last February, sitting in these conference sessions reminds me too much of sitting in my torturous speech pathology classes back in undergrad and grad school.  I swear I suffer from a form of PTSD...  LOL!  

The best part of the conference is getting to see my speech path buddies. Although we work together in the same county, we rarely get to see each other due to... life.  This gives us a good opportunity to hang out and catch up over lunch, dinner, and in between sessions. 

II.  Speaking of work, I feel as if I'm barely keeping my head above water.  My caseload continues to grow.  More students means more data to keep and enter online, more report cards to complete, more IEPs to write, more kids to test, more therapy to plan, more progress to monitor...  I'm struggling to find a healthy balance between my work and personal life.  

I'm not a work-a-holic, but I believe in giving an honest day's work and then being able to go home and leave work at work.  With each passing year, that is becoming harder and harder to do because the district I work for basically expects us to be married to our jobs.  I refuse to do that, so... Here I am, treading water and barely keeping the water just below my nose and seriously wondering if I'm going to be able to survive 13 more years.

III.  Enough about work...  Ugh!  On to something more interesting.

As it turns out, this blog post is my 300th, which is very exciting and somewhat hard for me to believe.  When I started blogging a year and a half ago, I never dreamed that my blogging would go in the direction that it has.  I'm very glad that it did, for I've found a very valuable outlet for my sometimes overwhelming and never ending thoughts as well as a very supportive online community.

As of this writing, I have 44 blog entries in draft form.  Granted, they all are in various stages of completion - some are just thoughts and others are more developed - and they range in topics from weight loss to books to confessions to the experience of a midlife crisis to little sneak peaks into my life.  What I'm struggling with as of late, in terms of my blog, is reining in my thoughts long enough to actually finish a piece.  It just seems as if my mind is constantly going these days and I'm finding it hard to focus.  This has been a valuable experience, though, for I kind of have an idea of what attention deficit disorder is like.  

If you are a regular reader, thanks for hanging in with me during this weird blogging roller coaster that I'm on.  


So...  What are some things going on in your life?  Do you struggle to find a balance between your professional and personal life, too?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

If We Were Having Coffee... (Vol. 11 - Birthday Surprises)

If we were visiting this Saturday morning, we'd be sitting around my little kitchen table in my breakfast nook.  I like calling it a nook, for I think nook sounds rather quaint and much better than what it really is - a little corner of the great room that has a bay window.  'Hey, let's sit in the breakfast nook' sounds a lot better than, 'Hey, let's sit in the corner of the great room,' don't you think?

Let me see...  What could I offer you to drink this morning?  There's some instant coffee in the pantry.  I apologize for not having a coffee maker or knowing how to make coffee on my husband's french coffee press thing.  I can also offer you hot chocolate, water, and a variety of sodas.  

As we settled in, I'd open up the blinds in my bay window to let in as much natural light as possible.  Unfortunately, the view out the bay window this morning is nothing to write home about.  February in Kentucky - the trees are bare, half the grass in my yard is brown, and this morning the sky is gray.  Again. "Perpetual winter grayness is a trademark of the Louisville area," I'd say.  I read one time that Louisville only gets sunshine about 40% of the time in January and 50% of the time in February.  "The joys of living in the Ohio Valley," I'd say sarcastically.  In all honesty, I  really shouldn't complain, for yesterday was absolutely beautiful.  The temperatures got up into the 60s and there was not a cloud in the sky.  I had yesterday off, so I made sure to enjoy the unusual, but delightful weather as I was out and about running errands.  

I'd then ask how things have been with you.  Let me think, how long has it been since we've caught up?  About a month, right?  Yes, Martin Luther King Day, I remember now.  I had the day off and I was still sore from the women's self-defense course I had taken two days before.  I'd listen as you brought me up to speed about the things going on in your life.  After a bit, you'd say, "Enough about me.  How about  you?  Do you feel a year older?"

I'd smile, look at you, and let out a soft chuckle.  "I'm not sure," I profess, "for I'm not sure what this age is supposed to feel like."  There are times in which I have a hard time believing that I'm not a twenty or thirty-something anymore, because in my head, I still see myself as young.  "Time is a weird thing, isn't it?" I'd ask as we both laughed.

Taking a sip of your drink, you'd ask about my birthday.  I'd tell you how I took the day off, had a massage, had lunch with R, then came home and took a blissful afternoon nap.  Later that evening, we ate my favorite Chicago style stuffed pizza for dinner and I topped the day off with a yummy red velvet cupcake.  It was a wonderful day. 

"Did you receive any surprises?" you'd ask.  "As a matter of fact, I did.  I got two," I'd reply.  Your eyes would widen with delight and interest.  "Two?"  I'd look at you and simply smile and nod my head.  "Yeah," I quietly say.

You'd look at me and give me this c'mon, don't make me wait look.  Sensing your anticipation, I'd start by telling you about the surprise gift that R left for me Tuesday morning.  He left to take his daughter to school as usual.  After showering, I discovered a box and card setting on my side of the bed.  "Yes, my non-romantic husband came back to the house while I was in the shower and left me a birthday gift."  You'd ask what was in the box and I'd tell you a dozen chocolate covered strawberries.  "It was a very sweet gesture and so out of character for him.  Once I read the card, I actually cried."

"Then, the next day," I'd continue, "I received a gift basket at school from a very dear friend."  One of my colleagues came to my room to eat lunch and she brought with her a large box.  As I opened the door for her, I asked her if she was moving in.  She said, "No, this is for you.  It was up in the office."  At first I thought it was speech therapy supplies that I had ordered several weeks earlier, but upon opening it, I discovered a large gift basket full of fruit and other miscellaneous goodies.  In my seventeen years working there, I've only received a delivered gift once before.  I was very overwhelmed by the sweet gesture and by the fact that it was a complete surprise that I cried again.

You'd look at me with disbelief, "You cried?"

"Yes," I'd say with a resigned sigh.  Truth is, I've only been surprised on my birthday a few times  throughout my life, so when it happens, I find myself very touched and filled with emotion." 

When your birthday is on a holiday, like mine is, your birthday is often an after thought.  Valentine's Day is a big deal and people make plans with their significant others, I get it.  I learned a long time ago not to expect much in terms of hoopla on my birthday.  "But," I'd say while gazing out the window, "there was this one time, when my circle of friends really went out of their way and surprised me on my birthday.  It was probably one of the best birthdays I've ever had."  

During my senior year of college, it seemed as if everyone in my little circle of friends was dating someone.  When my birthday rolled around, all my friends had Valentine's Day plans with their significant others and I really felt as if they had forgotten that it was my 22nd birthday.  I wasn't dating anyone and I had no plans, so when another single friend of mine wanted to go bowling, bowling - of all things, I reluctantly agreed to go with her.  In truth, I was so upset because my friends had barely acknowledged my birthday, that I really didn't want to go. My friend persisted though, telling me that it would do me good to get out and that I'd feel better later, so I complied.

I remember walking into the bowling alley that cold, February evening.  I felt rather low and really just wanted to go back to my apartment and drink some beer and eat some Ben and Jerry's.  Once inside, we walked to our assigned lane, rental shoes in hand.  As we approached the lane, I noticed a group of people already assembled there and as it turned out, it was my friends.  When they saw me, they all yelled "Happy Birthday!" and started clapping and cheering as if a celebrity was in the building.  I stopped dead in my tracks because I was absolutely stunned.  Never did I  suspect that the bowling outing with my friend was actually just a ruse to get me to my own surprise party.  

I'd take a drink of my soda, lost in thought for a bit, fully savoring the memory then I'd say, "I was so incredibly touched that I actually got teary eyed.  Several of my friends were taken aback by my display of emotions."  To this day, it was the only surprise birthday party I've ever had and although many of the details have faded over time, I'll never forget the overwhelming emotions I felt that evening.  

Just like I won't forget the overwhelming emotions I felt this week or the reasons behind them.  

Thank you for stopping by and reading my latest installment of IWWHC. 

Have a wonderful Saturday and weekend!  

Linking up with:
Nerd in the Brain

Friday, February 17, 2017

10 Things That Made Me Happy This Week (Vol. 26)

I.  Last week, I had a full length conversation with one of my students who has selective mutism.  During the conversation, she used normal/appropriate volume!  It was the first time she's ever talked louder than a whisper since I started working with her a year and a half ago!

II.  This care package/birthday gift I received in the mail from my aunt and uncle.

III.  Last Friday (2/10), I tightened up my belt.  This is an old belt that I just recently started wearing again after years of not being able to because it was too small.  It was an awesome non-scale victory!

IV.  That the rain held off on Saturday until I got in my 7 mile walk AND that it was warm enough to wear shorts - in February!

V.  The sound of spring peepers over the weekend.  It is absolutely one of my most favorite sounds.

VI.  This fabulous red velvet french toast that I had during an early birthday brunch on Sunday.

VII.  Uninterrupted time with R in the car on Sunday going to and coming from Indianapolis (so that I could eat the aforementioned red velvet french toast).

VIII.  This surprise birthday gift from my non-romantic husband.  

IX.  A blissful, 60 minute, deep tissue massage on Tuesday.

X.  The numerous birthday wishes I received from friends and family via mail, email, text, Facebook, phone, and by song.  I am blessed beyond measure.

BONUS!  Having my favorite Chicago style stuffed crust pizza for dinner on my birthday.

BONUS #2!  This surprise birthday gift basket that was waiting for me at work on Wednesday.

BONUS #3!  Having today (2/17) and this coming Monday off - extra long weekend! YES!

I hope this finds you having a great Friday and an even better weekend!  As always, thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Forty-Some Life Lessons I've Learned in My Forty-Something Years...

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

It is wise to keep a roll of toilet paper or, at the very least, restaurant napkins in your car at all times.

Timing is everything - from job opportunities to business deals to relationships.

We can fall for the wrong people; we can also fall for the right people at the wrong time in our lives. 

In order to truly live life to the fullest, we must step out of our comfort zones.

The generic brand is sometimes just as good as and is sometimes better than the name brand.

However, sometimes the name brand is still the best.

Much of life is trial and error.

You cannot reason with the unreasonable, you cannot rationalize with the irrational, you cannot make the uncaring care, and you cannot make sense of the nonsensical.

Going outside with wet hair in the winter will not make you sick; germs and viruses make you sick.  It will, however, elicit unwanted comments from people telling you that you're going to get sick.

When you're sick and contagious, the best thing you can do, especially for those whom you may come in contact with, is to stay home.

Gut feelings exist for a reason. Don't ignore them. 

Every person who enters your life is a teacher, someone from whom you can learn something.

It is important to marry someone whom you enjoying hanging out with. Friendship is important in a marriage.

After you marry, be sure to continue dating your spouse.  Dress up, go out on dates.  Romance is important in a  marriage, too.

Life is busy, but you must invest in yourself so that you do not become stagnant. Take classes, learn new hobbies, exercise, and go on adventures.

It is unrealistic for you to think that everyone is going to like you. You are not going to be everyone's "cup of tea" and that's perfectly fine.

Control is an illusion.

Karma is real. 

Money can make things easier, but it doesn't necessarily solve all problems.

There is a distinct difference between acquaintances and friends.

Use sunscreen regularly and apply liberally.

Your feelings, regardless of what they are, are yours; there's no right or wrong feeling to feel. You should never apologize for feeling how you feel. 

Toxic people will do their best to poison you. It is up to you to provide a protective barrier around your mind.

People will come and go in and out of your life. The whole "reason, season, lifetime" saying is true. Not everyone who enters your life is supposed to stay long term. 

When some people leave your life, they will leave such an incredible void, a void so vast that you will physically feel their absence.  

It's okay to miss those people.

Eat the desserts and goodies that you really enjoy from time to time; skip the ones that you don't like and that are not worth the calories.

Get to know your grandparents because there will come a day, in the not so distant future, in which they will no longer be here.  Do the same with your parents.  We have a tendency to think that we have all the time in the world, but sadly, we do not.

A broken heart and alcohol is a bad combination; pairing those things with a smartphone and you have the potential for a complete and utter embarrassing moment.

Be truly appreciative of compliments you receive. 

It is of the utmost importance to take care of your teeth. 

Having friends of the opposite sex and of different generations is truly beneficial. There is much to be learned from their perspectives and experiences.

You mustn't be afraid to march to beat of your own drummer. Be authentically you and never apologize for being yourself.

Saving some money is better than saving none. Establish a savings plan early and make saving a habit.

Back up your music and photos from your phone to a secondary source. You never know when your device is going to go for a swim, take a leap, or go for a walk. 

Invest in good shoes and good bras.

There is a distinct difference between beautiful and sexy.

Airing your dirty laundry on Facebook or any social media makes you look like an idiot.

Having a phone conversation via speakerphone in public makes you look like a an asshole with an over inflated sense of self.

Agreeing to disagree is one of the most mature actions you can take.

How someone treats animals and wait staff says a lot about that person's character.

It's alright if your profession is not your life's passion.

Just because something is fashionable and comes in your size, that doesn't mean you should wear it.

Not everyone looks at life from a perspective similar to yours. Be open minded and have empathy.

Life is not easy, life is not fair, but life can be good.

Love is a gift.  When you love, love fully, love completely, and love with no regrets.

Be ever thankful for the air you breathe, for the wondrous sights your eyes gaze upon, for the people who love you, and for each day you are given in this life.

Linking up with:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Recently Read - Vol. 15 (Jan '17)

Sadly, I was absent from last month's Show Us Your Books linkup.  So, I'm super excited to return today.  

January was a pretty good month for me in terms of reading.  I read four and a half books and I gave them all, with the exception of the one book I abandoned, a rating of at least 3.

Without further ado, here are the books I read last month:

I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh
January 1-13 | Format: Audiobook | My Rating: 4.5/5

I Let You Go is a nicely written, psychological thriller/mystery that kept me guessing.  It was a little slow to start, but once the momentum picked up, it kept me engaged.  I figured out a few little details, but the main "whoa" in the middle of the book, I didn't see coming at all.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes this genre.

Chasing Darkness by Robert Crais
January 13-19 | Format: Audiobook | My Rating: 3.5/5

Robert Crais' Elvis Cole/Joe Pike detective series is one of my favorites series.  I love the intriguing plot lines and I love the characters of Elvis and Joe.  Having read the series in order (this is the 12th book in the series), I've also enjoyed the character development that I've been a firsthand witness to over the years.

I found Chasing Darkness to be very riveting in the beginning and throughout most of the book.  I never did figure out who "did it," which is always a plus, but the culprit seemed a strange choice.  I also didn't like the ending, for it seemed a bit rushed and I found the loose ends unsatisfying.  Not the best Crais book, in my opinion, but not the worst either.

Stiff by Mary Roach
January 19-29 | Format: Audiobook | My rating: 3/5

I now know more about human cadavers than I ever thought possible.  I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. This was a book that I couldn't listen to in great quantities; I had to break it up into smaller, more digestible parts. For instance, it was quite spooky to listen to the part on the history of grave robbers (who then sold the bodies to early anatomists) while walking the secluded, back side of the walking loop at my neighborhood park where bodies have been known to be found on more than one occasion.  It was also a bit unsettling to listen to the chapter dedicated to using human cadavers in automotive crash tests as I was driving my car 75mph down the highway.

Overall, Stiff was a book that elicited strong reactions in me, most easily noted by the disgusted look on my face and/or the curl of my support lip.  Apparently discussions on two headed dogs, using poop to treat a prolapsed uterus, blood baths for the treatment of eczema and leprisy, and the eating of various human body parts for medicinal purposes will do that to me.

This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
January 20 - February 6 (Abandonded) | Format: Audiobook | My rating:  DID NOT FINISH

This was another book that I couldn't listen to in large chunks.  Due to the subject matter, a school shooting, and the fact that I work in a public school, I found that this book hit a little too close to home.  But, here's the thing, when I hadn't even reached the halfway point in two weeks, I decided to just call it quits.  Yes, the subject matter was a little hard for me to deal with, but the the plot simply wasn't compelling enough for me to continue.    

Fat Chance by Nick Spalding
January 29 - February 5 | Format: Audiobook | My rating: 4/5

Fat Chance is the story of Zoe and Greg, an English couple who have let themselves go over the years.  At the suggestion of one of Zoe's friends, she and Greg become contestants in a weight loss competition sponsored by a local radio station.  (Think - The Biggest Loser: Couples, radio version.)  

Told from alternating perspectives, as if you were reading each of their weight loss diaries, Greg and Zoe regale the reader with anecdotes of their experiences during their weight loss journeys.  Some are poignant, many are hilarious, many are incredibly spot on, as anyone who has tried fad diets and/or  workout gadgets that promise unrealistic results can attest.  All in all, I found Fat Chance to be a very enjoyable and entertaining read.

So, do you have any books that you'd recommend?  If so, please share.  As always, thanks for stopping by and happy reading to you!

Linking up with Steph and Jana 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Midlife Crisis is a Cliche, Until You Have One (Part 1)

In September of last year, I wrote a piece about my missing mojo. It wasn’t until a week or so after I composed and published that post that I realized my missing mojo was part of something bigger - a midlife crisis.  

I’ll be the first to tell you, when I first suspected that I was truly having a midlife crisis, I freaked out a bit. As you are probably well aware, the experience, even the notion of a midlife crisis carries a stigma. 

For me, those two dreaded words conjured up cliche-rich images of middle aged men suddenly taking an interest in their appearance, losing weight, trading off their casual wear for designer clothing, buying fast sports cars, and trading off their similarly aging wives for much younger ones who have no wrinkles or stretch marks. Yes, I know how incredibly judgmental that was on my part, but that’s exactly what I thought of when I heard the term "midlife crisis." Seriously, I pictured the dad, played by Kevin Spacey, in the 1999 movie American Beauty.

Exhibit A - Fast Sports Car

Exhibit B - Working Out

Exhibit C - No Explanation Needed

The reason I freaked is because I couldn’t reconcile the idea that I could be going through the same thing that caused Kevin Spacey’s character and thousands of other men to exhibit such cliched behaviors once they reached midlife. I wanted in no way, shape, or form to be associated with that group, the group that are the pun of jokes and that are frowned upon with such general disdain.

I was very concerned about what people would think if they found out.  And, honestly, I feared becoming a cliche myself.

When you are in the beginnings of a midlife crisis, you have no idea what's in store for you.  You have no idea of the challenges you are going to face or of the avalanche of feelings that are going to bombard you day in and day out.  Worst of all, you have no idea of how long the experience will last.  All you know, or at least all I knew, was that I was venturing in to some crazy uncharted waters, waters that had the potential to ultimately alter the course of my life. I knew that my life, one year from that point, could look completely different, in fact, it could be completely unrecognizable. For me, that was some scary shit right there and I won't lie, I was scared to death.

Anytime I find myself in a situation where I feel vulnerable or at a disadvantage, I empower myself with knowledge as to level the playing field, so-to-speak.  I knew nothing about midlife crises, nothing beyond the cliched, stereotypical behaviors associated with them.  So, I did what I normally do and went straight to Google. After typing in “midlife crisis,” an overwhelming 2 million hits popped up on my screen.

As I started sorting through all the search returns, what I found most astonishing was the abundance of articles and sites that focused specifically on the midlife crises of men and how very few were dedicated to the midlife crises of women. I started to freak  out again, thinking, “Geez! Not only am I going to be a cliche, but I’m also going to be a freak because apparently this doesn’t happen to women very often...” 

After more of my research yielded specific information focusing on women experiencing midlife crises (hallelujah!) and some time spent in introspective contemplation, I came up with a theory: 

It’s not that women don’t have midlife crises, for we do; rather it’s that women are more quiet about the experiences we tackle during the crisis.   

Since early October, I've given a lot of consideration about writing a post (or even a series of posts) about the experience of having a midlife crisis from a woman's perspective.  Although there is part of me that is still incredibly embarrassed to admit that I'm having a midlife crisis, there is another part of me that wants to be real about it.  

Up until today, I haven't really acknowledged my MLC (what I call my midlife crisis) on here.  I have alluded to it here and briefly mentioned it here, so if you are a regular reader, you may have picked up on it before today.  Before today, the only people I've shared this with have been a handful of trusted confidantes.

I can't tell you how many times I've sat down in front of my laptop ready to write, ready to address this, ready to share my experience only to stare blankly at the screen as my fingers rhythmically tapped the keyboard without any words flowing from my fingertips, the typing equivalent of crickets chirping.

Truth is, I wasn't ready; I naively thought I was, but I wasn't.  Not even close.

But, despite my best intentions and my failed efforts in those early days, I trusted that one day I would be in a better place, a place where I would have the mental clarity and finally be able to share.  I think I'm there now. 

A fellow blogger, Erin @ TexErin-in-Sydneyland,  once said, either in a blog post or maybe in an email exchanged between she and myself, that the most rewarding moments for her as a blogger is when she is able to share something that impacts others.  Sometimes that may be sharing a great book; other times it might be a personal experience that she hopes may help others.  Erin has tackled many personal issues on her blog and she has done so with a grace and style and openness that is truly admirable.  Her courage has been my inspiration for wanting to be real about this and to share my experience.

I will be perfectly honest, I only have a vague idea of where I'm going with this.  Although I've given much thought and consideration to sharing my experience on here, determining what I specifically wish to convey and the development of the posts is still in its infancy.  I'm not sure how I'm going to roll this out or what it will look like or how frequently I will post about it.  

I just know that back in the fall, I was desperate to hear and/or read personal accounts of real women who had emerged from their own midlife crises well enough to tell the tale.  As I discovered, there aren't many women out there talking about this for whatever reason and up until today, I wasn't talking about it much either.  I'm no longer willing to be one of them.  

I hope you will join me as I share my experience in the upcoming months.  

As always, thanks for stopping by.  

Linking up with:

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