Saturday, June 28, 2008

Does anybody have a Sharpie?

Robyn? Tiffany, maybe? No. Probably not.

I have been looking to get a new tattoo, but I can not find a decent artist that will not charge me an arm and a leg. I mean seriously, what do they want me to do? Fill their semi with gas? I have only talked to three people, and the one that sounded good had this totally bizarre design in his head. Dude, I got the design down.

A little background…I have four tattoos that I want, but given my career and new single status I need to wait on some for a little while. Basically, I want to be the best role model I can be for these young ladies at my new job. That, and I never want to answer the “oh my heavens, what did you do to yourself” question from a fiancĂ©’s grandma because I have a huge penis inked down my spinal column. Oh geez! The SuperBad sketches suddenly come to mind.

That brings me to my quandary with the previously mentioned “artist”. I wanted something Texas related, but can not get the little nautical star thing because then Eb and I would have matching tattoos. (Since he is not talking to me right now, I do not think that is advised.) I turned to a bluebonnet. Um…I never knew how phallic that little flower looks. I do not mean to use the words “phallic” and “little” in the same sentence. Anyhoo, I AM committed to the piece. I just need to find someone that can draw it so I do not have to explain anything.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Therapy in many forms

My Aunt Meg turns to shopping (and Diet Coke) to heal all. So she and I skipped out for about an hour and headed to Target. Aunt Pat loved, loved, loved to hang out on the deck in her back yard, so when Meg and I found these hats I stopped in my tracks. I could just see Pat messing with her flowers in the back with this sun hat on. We bought the ones with the pink ribbons for a little breast cancer salute. (I don't know why we all have the same haircut. I am just glad mine has grown about an inch since I cut it!)

Jennie (my cousin, Ray's, wife), Meg, Mom, and Me

Uncle Dave even got into the spirit with his sisters-in-law and the hats. I tried to get him to wear it while we played dice (he and Pat's favorite games), but he had to "focus".

My cousin's son, Adam, is one of the cutest kids I have ever seen. Those of you that know me are very much aware of the fact that I do not say that unless I mean it. This little one just seems to sit and smile. If you look at him and make even the slightest face, he will laugh as though you just won Last Comic Standing. He definitly cheered everybody up. He really does have that big grin on his face from the moment he wakes up!

Everything I needed to know I learned from genetics

Well, I have been home from MI for a week and a half. It was incredibly sad, but amazing to see what wonderful people live up there. As a proud Texan, I often think that “northerners” are truly strange. Now, don’t get me wrong, they are a little different, but they are the most genuine, kind hearted people I have ever come in contact with. People came to this funeral from all around. Everyone was represented from tatted up Harley riders on their way to a big rally in OK City to head honchos of GM. (My uncle has worked for them for like a million years.) Kids that my aunt babysat since birth came back from college to say goodbye. It was just very touching. I can not keep writing about it because it makes me cry.

I do always love going up to MI because almost my entire family still lives there. I have one uncle (dad’s side) here and an aunt (mom’s side) in AR, but everyone else is near Detroit. Well, this trip was no different. I do hope that we can start to get together for weddings or births instead of funerals. Funerals are a tough stage for a reunion of sorts.

However, I learn a lot about myself each and every time I see my family.

1.) I am NOT a planner!! I will show up where you need me, when you need me there. I like to know roughly what is going on, but I by no means have a minute-by-minute itinerary. That job is for my sister. She LOVES doing it!
2.) The baby of the family is usually very similar to the other babies. My Aunt Jeanie, her youngest Karen, my cousin Brian? We all have very distinct personalities, but are also pretty carefree. All of us are up for anything. Even the bad stuff in life. We are also all really independent and resilient.
3.) The men in and around my family are simply good guys. My cousins, brother, uncle, and second cousins were so stoic, noble, and generous with their time. They did everything they could to address others needs, make us laugh, and dry our tears. My uncle even took me out for a drive his 1954 Oldsmobile because he knew I have been itching to do that for years. (I also think he just had to get out of the house.)
4.) My family members have GREAT stories. Granted, they lived during some pretty cool times in history, but they so enjoyed themselves as kids. And have the tales to tell.
5.) They are all crazy! Some literally, others, not so much, but we all definitely carry the gene.
6.) They love to laugh! I know that my Aunt Pat would have wanted it that way. She was always the first to bring a smile to a room.

There is plenty more, but I think this pic of my mom will just sum up her pre-children years. And oh the stories from that one!

I will post more pictures later tonight. I have some cleaning to do before So You Think You Can Dance. PRIORITIES PEOPLE, PRIORITIES!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

6 AM – Never good

Yesterday was a little up in the air. To say the least.
My phone rang at 6:40 in the morning and it was my mom. This is NEVER a good sign! She told me that Aunt Pat died about an hour earlier. My uncle and 2 cousins decided late Tuesday night that she would not want to continue being brought back just to pass later. Together they decided to file DNR papers, so when she coded again at 4:30 (5:30 my time), they let her go. Just typing those last four words make me cry! I am so mad I could spit nails. I am so sad I just want to curl up and cry. I just want to be strong and emotionless for my mom.

I told my mom I would fly up with her later that day. Neither one of us are really good fliers, so I thought together we could tackle this fear. The onslaught of phone calls started at 7:30. My sister immediately went into planner mode and started calling airlines to “get the best rate”. We were put on stand by for probably 4 different flights. She would call me just about ever 10 minutes to tell me something else. I told my mom I could not handle my sister and asked her not to call until there was a set-in-stone plan. Sometimes my mom and I communicate better with little or no middleman. I sat and waited for a call.

My brother just happened to be off yesterday and went up to hang out with mom. Just to do whatever they needed him to do. I know mom greatly appreciated this simple act!!

My uncle told my mom to come up IMMEDIATELY! Mom told me that she could handle flying alone if I could come up Thursday. I agreed and unpacked one day of clothes.

Later that night mom called and told me to fly up with my brother early Friday morning and come back with her later. I agreed and unpacked another day of clothes.

Today has been pretty quiet. I got some sleep, picked up my dry cleaning, took Cooper to the kennel. (That is another post in itself!) I made flight arrangements for myself and watched my recording of So You Think You Can Dance. I DVRed it thinking I would be at the airport. Aunt Pat LOVED reality television, so I know she is laughing about the fact that I sat watched it in order to “stay busy”.

Those are the basics. I have been trying to write this post for the past 3 hours. I have a lot to say, but can not manage to type it. Maybe some other time.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Like waiting for a birth, but the opposite

I decided not to go out with friends to watch the game tonight, and didn't really have a good reason.

I just got a call from my sister. A quick recap with no details. My aunt got sick, got a pacemaker, went home, got better. Much better. Suddenly got really bad. Went back to the hospital, doctors experiment with countless drug cocktails, aunt gets better, goes home. She was home for about 5 days. Again, gets really bad, goes back to the hospital. I get a call about 20 minutes ago from my sis that she coded, was revived, and can I fly with mom to see her. I have no other details at this point. Given her medical history, Aunt Pat could be up and playing dice with us on Thursday afternoon. I really have no idea.

I guess that was my reason.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Without a hitch

Well, it has been a long day! Long story short, it went really well. There were some tears, a few laughs, and LOTS of hugs. Despite two or three very minor glitches, everyone walked across the stage proudly. That includes my blind student and the one that typically uses a wheelchair because of a car accident three years ago. As I have mentioned before...I am a proud parent with no kids.

I have just returned from my 4th and final graduation party of the day. It has been long, but very rewarding. I am so glad to leave this job with a great memory! Congrats to all of my grads. You all deserve nothing but the best in life. Now, "go forth" and attack life.

Now I can start writing about my life beyond work. ;)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The one where Pam, Patterson, boss, and I go crazy

NOTE: To understand this post, you must realize that graduation is organized by the associate principal’s secretary.

Today is the first day of my vacation. What do you think I did? Yep, that’s right, I went to work. “Oh, but Colleen, that must be so exciting. A new job and all,” you say? Nope, not the new job. The old FREAKING job!!

In reality I can not be that mad because it was completely self-imposed. I was actually done with work on Tuesday, finished off my office Wednesday morning, and swung by my boss’ office to see if he needed any end-of-the-year help. When I walked in, his old secretary (Pam) was there – she retired this time last year. I was super excited to see her and kind of screeched out “HEY” when she shot me a look of “oh holy hell!” I knew things were not good. I asked her if she needed help and basically, nothing…I mean NOTHING was done for graduation other than the program. Diplomas were still in the box, not proof read, no honors stickers on them, no Honor Society stickers on them, envelopes did not have stickers, failures had not been pulled, the binder of speeches was not put together, SPED was coming to pick up certificates at any moment; it was bad. Like that little kid says…”he was injured; injured bad”.

To help alleviate the huge time constraint, I go and grab the senior class sponsor and we start working. Five hours later (and half an hour after the current secretary left), we break to go home; the plan was to reconvene this morning at ten. I felt like crap this morning. (Not unusual for the first week of summer. Once my body knows it can slow down it usually becomes very ill.) I get there at 10:30, Patterson gets there about 10:45, current secretary is no where to be found. I find some keys, get into the office and the secretary arrives. We get to work by 11:00. Secretary breaks for an hour plus lunch at 12:30. By this time Pam had arrived so she, Patterson, my boss, and I worked while the person that is supposed to be doing all of this is at lunch with her bo-friend. NOT KIDDING. Wish I was! Another five hours later, I have to go because I have an appointment.

I feel like pretty much everything is done, but not because of the person who is supposed to organize graduation. It was only done because Patterson and I want these kids to get the right diploma and Pam (old secretary) just loves my boss and has a very kind heart. I will let you know how it goes on Saturday. Graduation Day!!

On another note, my appointment was with my hair lady. (She doesn’t like the fancy of “stylist”, so my sis and I just call her a hair lady.) Well, I cut 6 inches off of my hair!! CRAZY! I think I really like it. I just hope I can style it the way she does. My hair is curly and it just gets worse as it gets shorter. Thanks a ton for the super cute cut, Kathe! Again, I will let you know how it goes on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

T minus 2 days

Well, I have one more day with my kids. I am a little torn about it. Today was the last day of the kids pictured below, and it was typical. I have to say that I am really glad that they were ornery. In reality, I am pretty sure it was me. I was tired, stressed, overwhelmed, and just irritable. I felt like I had a ton to do but was just spinning in circles. Because of all of that, we did not have time for the sappy goodbyes, “who are we going to visit” moments, and this is our last lunch together feelings. Honestly, since I burst into tears when I told them I was leaving, I know I could not have handled much today.

I brought my second (and last) car load of stuff home. That is not all that much stuff if you know what kind of car I drive. My grades are fairly up to date, and I probably have one more box of random crap to pack at work. All of that being said, it is still a strange feeling. I have so much angst and so many bitter feelings about where I work, but I adore the people I work for…the kids. As one of them said, this is a comfort zone at its finest. I am by no means upset to leave the environment; I just hope that I have as much fun in my new office. Not to mention, I have never really had any “real” time off. Sure, I get vacations here and there, but it is always just enough time to start relaxing and then just head back to work. I am nervous that I will go stir crazy with my 6 weeks off. More importantly, I think I am going to spend a ridiculous amount of money!! Robyn…HELP!

Anyhoo, I will keep you posted as the week progresses. C warned me that my last day will be terribly upsetting. She left last year under similar circumstances. She was equally unhappy with the situation, but also had family up north. She has been through it, warned me, so I warn you…I may be making some phone calls Wednesday night.