Sunday, December 27, 2009

The theme is laziness

Gratitude: a good mattress, new sheets, and a husband who lets me sleep in.

Me: loving the days after Christmas. Laziness and lots of down time.

Da House: relatively clean save for the little toy explosions that occur in the MIDDLE of the kitchen floor.

The Dog: is entertaining Scarlett while Miss Ruth is in Portland.

The Girls: Belle and I sang at Blessed Sacrament last night with Amy, Ruby, and Matt. It was very, very nice. Harp accompaniment. I am so proud of my daughter for so many reasons. Sadie is coming down from Christmas. It was a lot to get her head around and she pretty much lost it on Christmas night. She had a very fun afternoon with Grandpa B and Paco playing games and being the center of attention, which is never a bad thing and then slept for 11 hours last night.

Reading/Watching/Listening: Watched "The Visitor" last night. Heading to see Avatar with my DH this afternoon. Thanks to Amy and the clan for watching our girls.

Eagerly Anticipating: Lazing about.

Projects: Just remembered I have a cross to start on and I want to start on another for Lydia Anderson. Lydia is the daughter of a colleague who is battling a re-occurence of Leukemia. She's only 8 years old for heavens sake!

Thinking on: carving out some time for centered prayer. Still praying on a miracle for healing within my family.

Work: Will need to start on that project for the 4th. Maybe a little bit everyday this week and a big push on the 2nd?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

O Come O Come Emmanuel

Gratitude: friends. A lovely 12-year old who enjoys crafting and painting.

Me: ticking off the list of gifts and projects before the big day and doing my very best to not see the task as a "task" but as a celebration of the season.

Da House: kind of messy but I'm glad I'm home to take care of cleaning it up. I much prefer a house that I have time to clean. Doesn't mean it gets done right away but it could if I chose to do so.

The Dog: is struggling with us being home all day. We really mess up his napping schedule.

The Girls: Belle sang a very lovely Readings and Carols concert on Sunday night. I was thoroughly bathed in the Spirit. I love my church. Sadie is getting a handle on this whole Santa thing. She prefers Santa at a distance, however, no going to sit on anyone's lap this year!

Reading/Watching/Listening: Watched "Taking Chance" the other night. Based on a true story about a marine officer escorting the remains of Private Chance Phelps home to his family. Very well done and nice to see the emphasis on American's who appreciate the sacrifice of our military without having to teabag to do it.

Eagerly Anticipating: Christmas! Spending the eve and the day with lovely, lovely friends.

Projects: Safely delivered the 5 crosses that colleagues ordered last week. I will definitely be taking orders a bit earlier next year. One more cross to go, but will wait until the New Year to deliver it. Found a very cool book of paper ornaments to create at JoAnn's. The paper is pre-perforated with the folding directions included. I have yet to create any, however, as Isabelle has taken this on with venom.

Thinking on: The Season. My Advent bible study on prayer has stuck and I found myself excited to pray the other night.

Work: Have a bit of a project to complete for the 4th but will hold off on that until after Christmas.

Friday, December 11, 2009

a quiet afternoon

Gratitude: Christmas lights

Me: Taking an afternoon to get some errands run. So much more efficient without a 4 year old. Yes, she is admitting to being 4 now.

Da House: Cold and cold and cold. Very tempted to spend the 10K to get a new furnace. Oh wait, I don't have 10K. Hoping the police don't come by to ding me for burning a fire during the burn ban.

The Dog: During the cold snap he gets to stay in the house, by himself if we leave for the evening. He has been good so far, hopefully he's old enough to know to not chew up the new sofa.

The Girls: Belle had a very busy week with homework and band/choir performances. She is trying very hard to stay on top of the homework load, and is mostly successful. I am very proud of her diligence. Sadie has finally admitted to being 4 but refused to take her vitamins this morning because she doesn't want to "be big and strong". "My gracious!"

Reading/Watching/Listening: Finished book 3 of the Weather Warden's series. Finished watching "The Prisoner" which did not end well. Still don't get it. 6 hours wasted!!!

Eagerly Anticipating: Tin and Dave's ornament exchange party tonight and a work event tomorrow night.

Projects: Sold 4 crosses at the Bazaar, but no mirrors. Someone said people don't like to buy mirrors when the economy is bad. Really?? Five orders for crosses after taking my wares to work. Will be working on those this weekend!

Thinking on: Advent and the waiting. I read a blog from someone who "hates Christmas". I found that sad. Bible study this week focused on how Jesus teaches us to pray. Point to ponder: Jesus asks that we bring everything to the altar. Including our angers, resentments, and frustrations. We don't have to come to the altar "clean", the altar is where we are cleansed.

Work: The kids are getting noisy. Trying to stay consistent, but we all need a vacation. Passive/aggressive children are very difficult for me to work with so I try to remember that I am the grown up and they are less than 12.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

All Fesitve, All the Time

Gratitude: my faith, Advent, half-price books.

Me: Returned from a nice work out and some Christmas shopping. Found some festive decorations for my bathroom and completed our Advent Wreath, I know, I'm late.

Da House: Very Festive! Even the Bathroom! Mostly clean, in preparation for Sadie's not-4 Birthday party tomorrow.

The Dog: Eye is all cleared up. Thank you home remedies. Needs his nails trimmed.

Reading/Watching/Listening: Reading book 3 of the Weather Warden's series. Watching "The Prisoner" which apparently is a remake of a 1960's series. This round has Jim Caviezial (sp)? and Ian McCullum in it. It is terribly confusing as well as terribly entertaining.

Eagerly Anticipating: Sadie's not-4 birthday party. She is still refusing to turn 4 regardless of my attempts to convince her about the advantages of aging. We didn't go to Gig Harbor for the party today. Darling Husband was not comfortable with leaving Belle babysitting for so long, and dear Uncle Paco was not available. I was secretly glad, because my weekend was looking a little Caldwellian.The St. Jame Advent Bazzaaaarrrr tomorrow!!!!

Projects: A couple more things to spray with Varathane but other than that, ready to go. Hope I sell a few things at the Bazzaaaarrrr.

Thinking on: My prayer life. I was raised with the tradition that family prayer was around the dinner table and at Church nothing wrong with that, just the way it was. Today, a new tradition was born. Sean, the girls, and I blessed our Advent Wreath as a family. Isabelle and I even sang a verse of O Come Emmanuel. Thanks to the Buchholz family for the Family Blessings book.

Work: The Sister Schools supply drive started yesterday. I love that we teach our students that they can save the world, but more than that, that they feel a sense of responsibility to help those less fortunate than themselves.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Two in two days!

Gratitude: A husband who will listen to me. Smart, articulate people.

Me: Back from a wonderful Advent Bible Study class at Church. Big aha moment was that Jesus prays for us too! John 17. Oh dear, one bible study and I'm quoting scripture!

Da House: Messy, due to a 12-year old that doesn't clean up after herself. She does, however, bake a fine birthday cupcake for her little sister.

The Dog: Suffering from a mild case of conjunctivitis (my diagnosis) which we are treating with my contact lens disinfecting solution. Looking a little better and not as red. Still, don't tell the vet.

Reading/Watching/Listening: Reading book 3 of the Weather Warden's series. Watching "The Prisoner" which apparently is a remake of a 1960's series. This round has Jim Caviezial (sp)? and Ian McCullum in it. It is terribly confusing as well as terribly entertaining.

Eagerly Anticipating: Sadie's FOURTH birthday tomorrow! Ensuing festivities on Sunday. Sadie has stated, in no uncertain terms, that she will NOT be turning four and will remain a three-year old until further notice. A hoity toity Christmas gathering in Gig Harbor for a client of Sean's. The St. Jame Advent Bazzaaaarrrr.

Projects: Mosaic-ing away for the Bazzaaarrrr. Grouting on three crosses done, now to find mirrors to fit the frames.

Thinking on: My prayer-life is not so seriously lacking. God, does work in those mysterious ways, even on thar Interwebz. Case in point: sister reading your blog when you forgot you friended her on Facebook back in the days when you were speaking!!

Work: Secular and Sacred Holiday music, but still can't find a good Kwannza carol.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Blatant Thievery

Gratitude: The will to exercise on a regular basis and to enjoy said exercise.

Me: Startled by an email from my sister that included no veiled (or blatant) guilt trips. Just a pleasant invitation for Christmas dinner.

Da House: Decorated for Christmas on the outside, the inside will occur gradually over the next few days in anticipation for Sadie's b'day party.

The Dog: Suffering from a mild case of conjunctivitis (my diagnosis) which we are treating with my contact lens disinfecting solution. Don't tell the vet.

Reading/Watching/Listening: Reading book 3 of the Weather Warden's series. Watching "The Prisoner" which apparently is a remake of a 1960's series. This round has Jim Caviezial (sp)? and Ian McCullum in it. It is terribly confusing as well as terribly entertaining.

Eagerly Anticipating: An Advent Bible Study series at Church tomorrow night. I have never attended a bible study, being a Catholic and all, but how hard can it be?? Also, Sadie's FOURTH birthday on Wednesday and ensuing festivities on Sunday. A hoity toity Christmas gathering in Gig Harbor for a client of Sean's. The St. Jame Advent Bazzaaaarrrr.

Projects: Mosaic-ing away for the Bazzaaarrrr.

Thinking on: My crazy family and how I so don't want to deal with them. Can't they just get sane so we can all get along??

Work: Have just begun Winter Music, trying to cover the bases and have fun. My piano got tuned today!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Mom, I told you . . .

Me: Made it through the first three days, but, boy-howdy am I tired! Teaching is a muscle and it atrophies after 9 weeks off. There is no warm-up, you are right in to a full-time gig. The kids are wonderful, I'm good at what I do and I love it. The muscle will get stronger and this time next week I won't feel like I've been slammed. I am so lucky to be teaching with a fellow teacher, Ben, who is very good at what he does and can definitely hold his own. The past few years I was working with a very smart teacher but she lacked some of the interpersonal skills that are so very important. I am so glad that the kids are having fun and getting good instruction even if I am not their primary music teacher.

The Construction: There are still 3 work orders in the queue for my classroom and as long as we don't have an earthquake, we should be okay. Seriously, I need a cabinet attached to the wall or we are going to have a smooshed kid or teacher.

Belle: Made it through 3-days of Junior High. The first day was VERY rough. Locker combination mishaps, lost schedules, bus passes and finally leaving her gym clothes on the bus. The afternoon concluded with a few tears on Mom's shoulder. I totally support crying when you have had quite enough. The next two days were much better and she proudly announced that she was not late to any of her classes. She has definitely inherited my insistence on being on time.

Sadie: Is back at it with her little friends. There is a new boy at babysitting (I won't call it daycare). His name is Ryder and he made the mistake of not hugging Sadie when she was leaving. He will learn quickly that Sadie is not to be trifled with. Sadie is getting a little "tude" and I will be addressing that soon. In front of company was not the appropriate time. I was asking her where something was and she said: "Mom, I. DON'T. KNOW". Even her sister knows not to speak to me like that.

Coming Up: My Dear Husband's birthday party.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

An Attempt

I am attempting to prepare for a new school year. It appears that the longer I teach the less enthusiastic I am about a summer ending and a new year beginning. Fortunately, I have found that once the kiddos show up and I suddenly turn into "Mrs. Berry" I realize that I love my job and the excitement of a new year reveals itself.
I really, really want to blog more often, we'll see how that goes. Copying the freeway diva and ms. leen I will categorize a bit.

Me: As mentioned above, waiting for the transformation from "mommy" to "Mrs. Berry", hopefully I will be able to change hats smoothly. As a colleague said, starting a new year is going from zero to 60 and there is not a lot to stop that from happening.

The Construction: our campus is undergoing a major remodel. There is a bulldozer moving dirt as I type and the staff has a contest going to predict how many times The Construction will set off the fire alarm this year. As a result of The Construction I have had to move from my classroom of 12 years to a portable. At this time I only have 3 boxes that still have "stuff" in them. I have no more room to put said "stuff".

Belle: My darling will be starting junior high tomorrow. I am nervous and afraid. She has been with me for every day of her educational life and now I have to let her go off on her own. What if she forgets something, or somebody is mean to her, or she needs a hug, or I need a hug? I miss her.

Sadie: Is back to her friends tomorrow. She insists that she doesn't want to go but I know she will have fun with her little buddies. I will miss her too and will be crying when I drop her off. I am so fortunate to have weeks with my girls instead of weekends.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Event Planner Extroidinaire!

I now have a 12 year-old living with me. It seems just a bit ago that she was a silly 11 year-old but she is now a tired and distracted 12 year-old. Which is all quite normal and developmentally appropriate and when ever my kids are normal and developmentally on track, I'm happy, albeit annoyed at times. The girls and I have decided that TTYO would excel and a profession which involved planning events for people. She always plans plenty of activities so that no one is sitting around "doing nothing". "Doing nothing" at birthday parties seems to be her pet peeve. I will add, too, that my daughter has excellent taste in friends. She has no patience for drama queens and artfully excludes them from the invite list while still being kind and polite to them at school. Her friends are also dutifully patient with the 3 year-old and include her when at all possible. To which her mother is eternally grateful.

On a personal note, I am preparing to "teach teachers" tomorrow, which is always stressful. Teachers tend to talk too much and you can't put them in a time out. You prayin' types, if you wouldn't mind spending a few moments on your knees, I would appreciate it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

. . . with bated breath

In this episode of Sadie's Swimming lessons . . . "The New Teacher".
Sadie's swimming instructor tries his best but is obviously a beginner so the Big Guy showed up today to give a few pointers. His "bag o' tricks" was chock full of games and strategies that got all of the kids, yes, I said ALL OF THE KIDS participating in the fun. By the end of the lesson, Sadie was floating on her back with the help of the teacher, blowing bubbles, putting her face in the water (sort of) and generally having a fabulous time! Yeah, good teachers!
There was a bit of a disaster after the lesson however, when Sadie slipped and did a pretty serious face plant and ankle scrape. Many tears! Big Guy was quick with the ice pack, so he scored even more points in my book.
I am more and more convinced that my $50.00 is being well spent, if not just for the boost in self-confidence that my little darling is getting when she tries new things.
In our next episode, "Sadie jumps off the diving board". Okay, not really.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

on the bribery of small children . . .

I signed Sadie up for her first bout of swimming lessons. When I announced the upcoming event, she didn't think it was such a good idea, insisting that she needed to wait until she was "bigger". Belle and I ramped up our manipulation and eventually Sadie came around to thinking that this was, in fact, a grand idea. Tuesday rolled around and when my little darling realized that this indeed was going to be a reality, with a real pool, real water, real little kids, and a real teacher she "Would Not" get into the pool. Eventually, I turned on the "mommy voice" and insisted that she MUST sit on the edge with her feet in the water and watch the other kids learn. Yes, I put her in the pool about 50 times in 30 minutes, but she finished the lesson with her feet in the water.
So, now, day two of swimming lessons? I resorted to bribery. I told Sadie that she would get a "treat" if she would sit on the 2nd step instead of the edge of the pool. Bribery worked again! Sadie was on the 2nd step for the whole lesson while the other kids played ring around the rosy, did back-floats and rocket ships and jumped off the edge. Progress?
Tomorrow, she will get a treat if she tries one more "new thing". At dinner tonight she agreed that the "new thing" would be jumping off the edge into the teacher's arms. We shall see what we shall see.

Monday, July 13, 2009

what was that I said . . .

I have discovered that one of the drawbacks of summer vacation is that it allows for much more naval gazing, which in some respects is not all bad but one must also deal with the ramifications of such introspection. Said introspection led me to made a huge decision regarding my relationship with my parents . Without going into the ugly, and lengthy, details I decided to draw some very clear boundaries. As my parents have never had any boundaries drawn for them, the prospects for any sort of relationship with them is probably not in the cards. The death of Tine's mother made my decision even more challenging. I am choosing to lose my parents, whereas Tine did not have any choice in the matter, and given that her relationship with her mother was so much more healthy, I believe she would not have made the same choice. That said, I could not go on living as if "mean parents are better than no parents".
Being the spiritual person that I am, I continue to hold out for a miracle, nothing is impossible with God. I will be waiting with my kind husband, beautiful children, cute dog, and my incredibly patient and loving friends.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Funeral for my Birthday

Turning 45 today which so happens to also be the funeral of the mother of my dear friend Christina. As I currently live with an eleven year-old, birthdays are of utmost importance in our household. The plans start early, gifts are chosen, wrapped, handmade cards are fastidiously created, and a careful schedule is arranged for food, cake, and presents. As you might imagine, my announcement that we would be going to a funeral on my birthday was greeted with a look of shock. It was almost a sacrilege to commemorate ones birth by attending a Funeral Mass. That, of course, is the perception of a eleven year old. But as a "not eleven year old" it feels right to celebrate my age by holding up my friends. It is a gift I am happy to give.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

sitting up straight

Yesterday a dear friend lost her mother. It was fast and unexpected and tragic and peaceful and all of the incongruous adjectives that come with death. The grief is so new. Linda was a dear, sweet woman. Incredibly devoted to her grandsons and her daughter and her son-in-law. Phillipino to the hilt, with all of the tradition that comes with such a rich culture. I am always amazed by the tradition in her family. I come from a family that seems to avoid any sense of "this is the way things are done". Except, the crazy, of course. So, I am praying and trying to do things to help and show my support. Food, shopping, singing, etc. Most likely I am trying to ease the pain, which seems incredibly impossible right now.
Linda was married to her husband for 43 years! They met when they were twelve. Imagining the grief that Art is feeling is overwhelming. I know that my dear husband is the love of my life and considering that we may be separated in death some day is so painful.

Tomorrow is the last day of a year that was very roller-coaster-ish. I found out the other day that I will have co-teacher whom I like and respect next year and I am looking forward to having a buddy again. I have been feeling a little lonely this year.

The crazy at school was more amplifed this week. Fortunately I was able to articulate my frustration with the fact that one dsyfunctional voice is getting lots of attention for very dyfunctional behavior. I would rather reinforcement would be given for the appropriate, grown-up way of dealing with life situations. Kind of like teaching kindergarten, "well now, look how nicely Johnny is sitting up straight and raising his hand when he has something to say."

Now that the year is over, I hope that my blogs are filled with amusing anecdotes about being a full-time mom with da girls.

Friday, June 5, 2009

what a difference a week makes

So, a week ago at 5:30 I was rehearsing kids, doing a sound check, sweltering in the heat of a church, 90 minutes away from the Benefit Concert. A week later, I am sitting at the computer with a glass of red, reminiscing on the concert and the week that followed.

Regarding the concert, it was quite lovely, amazing, moving, memorable, and generally filled me with pride for my children, my school, my community, and, okay, myself. My students were amazing. I learned early in my educational career that you never need to set the bar low for children. If they believe that you believe they can do it, they will. It doesn't matter what it is. Music, math, social studies, sports. It doesn't matter. If you allow them to reach their potential they will. A colleague told me, in the early stages of planning the program for this concert, that I had picked music that was too difficult. I ignored her. Thank goodness, because my students met and exceeded the goal that was set for them. I know I've said this before, but I am truly blessed to spend the majority of my day doing a job that makes my heart sing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

and so it begins . . .

There is much on my plate over the next three weeks and it is somewhat interesting to watch how I deal with the stress. I get floating headaches that require daily doses of ibuprofen, for one thing and I get a bit impatient with both children and grown ups. That would be the downside. The upside is that I increase the amount of exercise I partake in and I tend to pray more. I also have wonderful friends who pray for me, and I definitely can feel it. I don't know if you have ever had the joy of feeling prayer working, but if you pay attention, you can.

Tonight is the school board presentation of which I am the speaker and the director of my kiddos playing marimbas. I'm sure it will all go fine, but I still get all twirly before these things. I am sharing the history of our work with the Sister Schools organization and I figure that know matter how I say it, telling people that I help kids in America help kids in Africa is definitely a good thing. Plus, I hope that the school board writes really big checks for the cause.

Friday night is my favorite. The Sister Schools Benefit concert. It will be a beautiful thing, how can it not be? Kids helping kids. I am convinced that know matter the outcome, my students will always know that they did something to make the world a better place. Here's a link to the info if I haven't bugged you enough yet.

Then there is the musical, the end of year movie, and getting new computers for my staff. All stuff I love. Except for the computer thing, I would gladly give that up.

So, you praying types, keep them coming, they're working.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009


For those of you non-educator types May is one of the hardest months of the school year. Here is why:
  • First, the 6th graders are sprouting all sorts of changes to their physiology of which they are all incredibly aware and self-conscious about and add to that the incredible timing of teaching "growth and development" during this month of months. So, there they are growing in embarrassing places and listening to your teacher talk about those embarrassing places while all of your friends are in the same room listening to the talk about those embarrassing places. Then they all go out to recess and pretend that nothing is happening.
  • Then, the 5 and 6 year-olds revert back to behaviors that they started the year with and of which their teachers have worked so hard to change, but nooooo we all get to start back at ground zero!
  • Then of course, we have the teachers who are so completely done with teaching and just want it to be summer and "don't tell me what to do or when to do it or I will scream" and no one will be speaking to each other on the last day of school!!!
  • Then, of course, we all have to get musicals, and programs, and concerts stuffed into this month because goodness knows we can't do anything in June, because we are REALLY checked out by then.
But, please come to the Sister Schools Benefit Concert, it's going to be great! My kids will be singing and playing marimbas and the children from Mokono Orphanage and Boarding School in Uganda will be there to sing and dance and it will be so wonderful I will forget that it's May! Go to for ticket information!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I had a moment of Epiphany yesterday. I know, Epiphany is in the Winter and we just had Easter. Somehow I have been feeling guilty (thank you mother) for not taking the time to sit still, center, and concentrate and perhaps to journal about life-altering moments. Then after ramming myself with a mallet for about a week, I acknowledged the realities that are my life. I am not going to bore you with the details but suffice it to say, I need to find a space in my week that is just for me. I am considering taking some drumming lessons or guitar, or something. I just need some moments when I am not Mom or Mrs. Berry, solely Katherine.
Perhaps, now that the DH has completed his journey to one place, I can begin a journey to my own.
Speaking of which, my husband's journey to Baptism was beautiful. I've been struggling to put it into words. It almost felt like a wedding. Life altering. My perception of him has changed, our family has changed, my faith has changed. I have been standing with this man at Mass for nearly 20 years and realized last Sunday that we were one in our beliefs and I wept. And . . . we have the most beautiful friends . . . I am filled with so much gratitude for those who prayed and traveled with him and our family. I am greatly fulfilled by you.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

he washed their feet

48 hours until darling husband is baptized and it seems to have struck me this evening at Holy Thursday Mass. Suddenly, I was crying, watching the Archbishop reenact what Jesus did for his friends on the night before He died. The humbliness of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. Can you imagine how the disciples might have felt? This man, entering their lives, loving them unconditionally, changing their perception of who God is, performing miracles in their sight and then bending down to wash their feet. These were not the manicured feet that I dole out money for but desert-hardened, sandle-worn feet. Such an intimate moment, so personal.

I know in my heart of hearts that Sean would be welcomed into Heaven regardless, yet I was so struck tonight. His last dismissal. The next time the Eucharist is celebrated at St. James, my husband will receive. He received at Lindy's funeral, it was the only time he ever had, and he hasn't since.

I'm trying to work out why I am so emotional about this. This man has been with me at Mass for nearly 20 years and now he is embracing what I have held dear for so long. I am so happy.

Pray for him.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

be quiet

So there's the whole thing about God giving us the gifts we need when we need them. Recall the joke about the guy who kept praying for God to get him out of the hole, but never accepted the help that came his way (ie. person with long rope willing to pull him out) then, when God shows up to guy in hole wondering why God didn't help him out of the hole, he points out that he was there earlier as the person-with-the-long-rope-willing-to-pull-him-out. So where am I going with this? Here I am all excited at the humoungous tax return (sorry Amy) that we get from the feds. Bathroom remodel - paid for, new deck - paid for, removal of the overwhelming fir tree in back yard, - paid for. At least that was the plan. Then DH's car comes down with an illness which ends up costing $1000.00! So I'm depressed that my well laid plans for said fed money are somewhat dashed. Reasonable, realistic me says, "well, at least you have the money to pay for the car illness!" Cranky, whiny me says, "but, but, but I wanted that new deck and the tree cut down!!!". So mostly I've spent the last week vacillating between gratitude and whining.

Okay, then there's the weather. I really want to have warmish (60 degrees is fine) and dry instead we get "cold and wet". I know, be quiet, I'm not living in ND dealing with impending flood waters or in some flat-place facing tornadoes to Oz. Cold and wet is not life threatening, but, but, but, I want to walk my dog without a parka and prune my shrubbery without fear of frostbite! So, I've spent the last week vacillating between gratitude and whining. Where have I heard that before?

Oh, yeah, and I get next week off, my bathroom remodeled and my darling husband receiving the Sacraments of Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation.

I'll be quiet now.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Let It Be

Gratitude: realistic people, blue balloons, the Beatles.

Thinking on: This was one of those weeks when I realized that I have a great job. Really. Dealing with the narcissist for the past few weeks made things challenging, granted, but having a boss who actually takes a reasonable look at the situation and ponies up to take care of things. What a joy! Said narcissist is still not speaking to me and I am not feeling generous enough (yet) to speak to him, but one step at a time, yes? After coming off the Taiko drumming week, I chose to have a low-key sort of week singing and dancing with my kids. There is nothing like a rendition of "Let it Be" with small children.

Anticipating: next weeks Marimba Club performance. Good thing we still have two rehearsals left to work on some fine tuning, but boy howdy to they sound great. I am very proud.

TTYO: The little one and I attended TEYO's band concert last night. I think girl trumpet players are ultimately cool. We had a little blue-balloon mishap in the middle of the concert however. TTYO's balloon flew away just as the director was about to make the down beat. The whole crowd, I'm not exaggerating, all 300'ish people, groaned as the balloon floated up to the ceiling. The director stopped, turned around, trying to figure out what the problem was. At this point, TTYO did not notice the AWOL balloon, so there I was trying to distract her while a jumble of elementary band kids were looking at the ceiling, the audience was grumbling and the director was looking terribly confused. Sigh. Does this only happen to me?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

5 funny things TTYO said this week . . .

1. "Watch the ball Daddy" (said while playing catch with Dad)
2. "I am going to cry every time my mommy leaves and then I will have fun later." (said to Susan, her babysitter)
3. "Mommy, come here, there are scary dinosaurs on t.v., good Mommy's sit with their babies when the scary dinosaurs are on t.v." (slightly paraphrased for timing)
4. "Be a good Mommy and hold me" (said at church on Sunday)
5. "That's silly mommy, you already have a sister" (said during the Penitential Rite* at church last Sunday)

* I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do . . .

doomed to fall in love with his own reflection

"The term narcissism means love of oneself, and refers to the set of character traits concerned with self-admiration, self-centeredness and self-regard. The name was chosen by Sigmund Freud, from the Greek myth of Narcissus, who was doomed to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Though everyone has some narcissistic traits narcissism can also manifest in an extreme pathological form in some personality disorders such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder wherein the patient overestimates his abilities and has an excessive need for admiration and affirmation. This may be present to such a degree that it severely damages the person's ability to live a productive or happy life because the traits manifest as severe selfishness and disregard for the needs and feelings of others."

Life is challenging these days because of the above. I work with someone who is a textbook definition of the term narcissist and I tell ya, I am having a tough time working along side this person. I'm not to the point of looking for a new job, but I have really had to work hard to decide how I am going to respond when the "person's ability to live a productive or happy life because the traits manifest as severe selfishness and disregard for the needs and feelings of others" get in the way of getting my work done and my kids having rich experiences at school.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is it racist to be sick of crazy people?

Gratitude: being good at what I do, pepto bismol, short-lived flu bugs.

Thinking on: Crazy people and the crazy things they do. So here I am at school trying my darndest to create an authentic, multicultural music experience for my kiddos and I get a toxic email from a crazy coworker complaining about some minutiae that could have easily been addressed in a light-hearted way. But NOOOO, instead, said crazy person, sends an email to me, cc's my boss and gets me upset and distracted from what should be an amazing morning with two amazing master Taiko drummers. Intellectually I know that I should just let it slide off, not bug me, "consider the source" and all that, BUT it hurt my feelings and as the therapist says, "feelings, are feelings are feelings are feelings." So, is it racist to be sick of crazy people?? What's worse is I actually thought this crazy person was my friend and wouldn't treat me like this, but again, the crazy.

Back to Gratitude: my students are amazing, yes, the whole musically rhythmically amazing, but more than that carrying around the life skill of being open and accepting of new and different things. The master drummers told me today how impressed they are with the musicianship in my students but are especially impressed by how open and willing they are to embrace something new without judgement. I can only hope that something I've said, done or modeled helped to bring them to this place.

Still on gooshy on the vampire: Now I'm in to the 4th Snookie Stackhouse book and am still completely sprung on vampires. That is so sick.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bullnose Molding

Gratitude: Finding old friends on Facebook and staying in touch with new friends, PTSA, money for a remodl, and free bullnose molding.

Eagerly Anticipating: Our new bathroom remodel. We put the deposit down on our new bathtub/surround remodel today. I don't know why but I still feel like such a grown-up when I take on things like this. You'd think with a mortgage and 2 kids I would have felt like a grown-up a while ago. Taiko drumming with my kiddos next week. Thanks to the fabulous PTSA at my school, my students and I have the good fortune of spending a week with One World Taiko, a taiko drumming group based out of Seattle. Not only are my students exceptional percussionists, but they are wise to embrace musical styles from a variety of cultures. I think I might take a bit of credit for that one.

Boyfriend Update: It seems TEYO and her beau plus a BF and her beau are planning a DOUBLE DATE to the movies. I am not at all comfortable with dropping my beautiful baby at the movie theater so the DH is going with them. TEYO has implored her dad to go to a different movie than the foursome are attending, but that has not been decided. We suggested that Uncle P go as well. TEYO did not think that was such a great idea. Hmmm, I wonder why?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm all gooshy inside.

Gratitude: a week of vacation and sunny days, my garden, my wonderful husband (also on vacation), a job, funny and beautiful children.

Anticipating: a week of Taiko Drumming at work, seeing Big Tunes, the next funny thing to come out of TTYO's mouth.

Reading/Watching: I have been in vampire heaven these past two weeks. Miss Amy loaned me the Snookie Stackhouse "Dead Until Dark" book and then I read "Twilight" in two days and am half way through "New Moon". Miss Amy is mad because I am not reading through the Snookie books quickly enough so that we can gush over vampires while walking the lake, but I have to know what is going to happen to Bella and Edward!!! I don't know what it is about blood drinkers, but they make me all gooshy inside.
Watched "Burn After Reading" with the DH the other night. I know that Brad Pitt is impossibly cute, but he really can act. I love his character in this flick. Definitely two thumbs up.

Boyfriend Watch: still going strong. TEYO was telling me last night that she has a very tough time getting her beau to sign off when they are chatting because he just misses her soooooooooo much.

Potty Training: TTYO is definitely pee-trained, but is still not wanting to go #2. She tells me it is so much easier to poop standing up. Which, I guess I'll just have to take her word for.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hug Me

Mrs. Berry: My job is a bit rollercoaster-ish. One minute I'm thinking I don't get paid enough and the next I can't believe I get paid for what I do! Cases in point: special ed kid who accuses me of "enslaving him" because he has to do what I tell him and 5 year-olds who can sing along with the Beatles. Then there would be the impossible task of getting some learning done on "valentines day". A day when the "pre-pubescents" are skittering about wondering if they will get just the right valentine from just the right person and the little ones are so strung out on sugar they can barely see straight. Then of course the impending vacation! Next week off! Not paid, but who cares!

Boyfriend: the most current EYO boyfriend news is that my little darling was given a green frog holding a heart saying "hug me" . I just found out that she did indeed HUG HIM when she received this most important gift. Crap. I am taking a big breath. I did ask if he tried to feel her butt when she hugged him. The response was, "NOOOO Mom, that is so wierd." But it is my job to ask and I will keep asking. I told her that if he ever does try to feel her butt she is supposed to kick him. That statement was met with silence.

The DH: I found out, again, this week that my husband is the most wonderful DH ever. He totally has my back, especially when it comes to the insanity which is, quite frequently, my parents.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sweet Stuff

Gratitude: for sunshine. Finally. Went on a stroller walk with the girls and the dog today and it was kind of warm and mostly sunny and dry. The only drama was the dreaded cement truck. TTYO was sure that the cement truck, on the other side of the street, was going to spill cement on her and make a "big mess". Sometimes there is no talking down a three year old and the best strategy is to just keep walking, just keep walking.

Mommy worries about TEYO's new "boyfriend". He is definitely sprung and she is playing it cool. I asked her if she was tired of the sweet and sappy emails and she said, "No, not even close". He is a very sweet boy and has been a student of mine for 3 years. There is some "crazy mom" drama that he has been forced to live with, but he isn't acting out on it yet. They have been crushed on each other for more than a year now but had decided that they "weren't ready to go out yet" until last week. Granted, "going out" in 6th grade, doesn't amount to more than hanging at recess and exchanging emails (yes, I read over her shoulder), but of course my worse fear is that he is going to break her heart or something and I will have to give him an "F" on his report card. Which, you know, I will totally do.

Don't you hate it when you watch a movie and it is really, really good until the ending when the director totally hangs a left turn, which makes no sense, and then you end up hating the movie? This is what happened when the DH and I watched Christian Slater in "The Quiet Man". Only watch it if you are up for a big disappointing ending.

Monday, January 19, 2009

This time . . .

I will be at school tomorrow, with children who will be witnessing history along with all of us. The last time I witnessed history with children was on September 11. I came to school in a fog. Wanting to pray with my kids, but knowing that I couldn't. I cheated a bit and we sang "Peace Like a River". I'll never forget the 3rd grade girl who asked me "Why do they hate us?". I tried to help her understand something that was impossible to understand. Tomorrow I get to witness history with children again. This time we will be joyful and hopeful. Not frightened, sad and angry. This time we'll sing songs about Freedom and America.

Larry King was asking last night "what does this inauguration mean to you?" and I guess that it means that I am joyful and hopeful not frightened and sad.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Mommy: well we have undertaken the "potty training" adventure! As you can see in the photo on the left, TTYO is on her own agenda. When she found these new underpants in her stocking, she insisted that they were her sister's, because, though she had gone on the potty one time already, she told me, "I don't do that two times!". So, yes, she has her underpants on, but not always using that as an excuse to actually go potty. She won't wet her pants, she'll just hold it. Of course, the mommy in me worries about bladder infections. She is more comfortable going on the potty at home. At the babysitter's house, it only seems to happen on Mondays. Through a series of 3-year old conversations, I have deduced that she is worried that if she goes on the potty she won't be my baby anymore. (insert tears here). I continue to hold on to the hope that she will not be wearing diapers when she is twelve.

Mrs. Berry: I have spent day two of three in a tech training. I think that if I had a job where I sat in front of a computer all-day I would go insane. I am learning a bit, but the trainer seems to be teaching us something and then saying, "okay, play with that for a while". I can only "play" for about 2 minutes, while she seems to be giving us 20. Please give me small children!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Back at it!

Mrs. Berry: Well, I have returned from the Christmas Vacation that went on forever!It was great, but gee I sure like being a teacher. SAVE THE DATE! I have finally successfully secured a workable date and venue for the Second Annual Sister Schools Benefit Concert (SASSBC).
May 29th at Redeemer Church in Kenmore. My Marimba Club had it's first rehearsal and given the progress made in 25 minutes of actually playing, I am VERY optimistic. I have also made a connection with the Odyssey School on Bainbridge Island and it is looking like Paul's Marimba Ensemble may be playing with us. $5000.00 is our goal to complete the Resource Center at the Mokono Boarding School in Uganda. Yeah, that's a big number but we did gather $4000.00 last year considering that $5 million would probably be the goal if we wanted to complete a Resource Center in the US.

Gratitude: For a job that I love and seems reasonably secure given the current economy. For a president-elect who speaks in complete sentences and in a manner that leads me to believe that he believes I might actually have a brain.

Movies and books: I finished the great tome, The Discovery of Heaven! For a 750 page book it flowed along quite rapidly and I loved the characters. I give it 4 of 5 mommies. The DH and I watched a few movies during the Snowpocolypse. No Country for Old Men, which was a great Cohen Brothers movie, Tommy Lee Jones never seems to stray too far but he does a great job delivering a well-written script. Horton Hears a Who- I don't care what you say, Jim Carey is funny in my book and Steve Carrell (sp?) has a fan in me. This also led me to a read-aloud in my classroom. I love reading Dr. Seuss. He takes the greatest risks with rhyme and it always seems to pay off. Prince Caspian - I liked the first one better and this was pretty violent for a kids movie. Not as much magic either, but Prince Caspian was pretty dreamy. DH dvr'd a Denzel movie called De'ja Vu which took a good sci-fi twist and was very good. Denzel is sooooo nice to look at. The fam and I watched Polar Express, it was TTYO's first time watching a full-length movie and she did well, considering how intense this one can be. She kept telling us that she didn't like it, but cried at the end saying "I want to watch it again!!!".

Anticipating: Finally getting all of the Christmas decorations down and January 20th.

Prayer: I think we are heading to St. James tomorrow for a Peace Mass for Gaza. How about this? We reserve an island, let's call it War Island, and whenever some government feels like killing each other we send all of the soldiers to War Island to battle it out? Then we have no civilian casualities and everyone on the home front can have food, water, and electricity? Yes call me Pauliana, but as I heard someone say, " we can start a war in 24 hours, why can't we start peace in 24 hours?"

Friday, January 2, 2009

Cleanin' Up!

I love the holidays, I really do. But . . . I'm glad to be movin' on to a new year.

The New Year: the eve was spent at Miss Amy's, which was very fun. Mathias beat Mr. Kevin and I at pool, we had some very yummy chicken, and Miss T brought the baked goods that I so look forward to. Oh, and I cannot forget the very decadent "sweet bacon" that Auntie Oof brought along. The day of was also very pleasant. We had a number of guests rolling through the house while we served French Toast, bacon, eggs, mimosas, coffee, etc. TEYO announced in the late evening, "I have had three meals today, but none of them were lunch!".

Cleanin' Up: something about this time of year gets me to organizing and cleaning. The tree is down, closets are in need of serious revamping, I emptied out the file cabinet. Blah, blah, blah. Is it normal for one to get such a charge out of cleaning?