Day 13 – Inspired by Cheesiness

Day 13 – Inspired by Cheesiness

So my plan to ward off a cold was in vain….because I did not have a cold.  I had the amazingly glamourous combo influenza A and strep throat.  Go big or go home, right?  So apple cider vinegar cocktails  may ward off a cold, but they do not stand a chance against that medley of demonic viruses.

So how to continue my something new everyday when I barely have the energy to get out of bed to take my handy-dandy Tamiflu and antibiotic?  Time for another movie.

It was hard to choose something because nothing really seemed all that entertaining when you feel as if you’ve been beaten with a cast iron skillet and then run over with a Mack truck.  But it sure beats staring at the ceiling trying to go back to sleep for the fifth time of the day.

So glancing through Amazon Prime’s stellar selection, I ran across a Ryan Reynolds tv movie from a decade or so ago:  School of Life.  The little write up the came across my television describing the movie made it sound like a teacher-changes-the-world-type story and I do love those being a teacher myself.  Plus, Ryan Reynolds.

I watched it.  It was a teacher change the world movie, but it was so melodramatic and campy.  The concept is Mr. D (Ryan Reynolds) is the teacher everyone loves.  He’s funny.  He’s approachable.  He’s creative.  He doesn’t fit the stereotype of a teacher.  And he drives veteran teacher, Mr. Warner, crazy.  Mr. Warner wants to be the teacher that changes lives and that everyone loves, but he cannot compete with Mr. D.  Mr. Warner engages in over the top behavior to try to ruin Mr. D, but in the process he makes himself ridiculous.  Eventually, Mr. Warner does discover a secret about Mr. D.  This secret leads Warner to change his perspective on Mr. D, teaching, and life.  Inspirational?  Maybe, but it’s hard to be inspired by cheesiness.



Day 12 – Blessing or Curse?

Day 12 – Blessing or Curse?

Today’s first will either be the best thing ever or the worst….a blessing or a curse.  Only time will tell.

My son thinks I’m a hyperchondriac and a germaphobe.  He believes anytime I have the slightest sniffle, I’m diffusing essential oils, gulping water, and downing vitamins.  Correct he is.  I cannot get sick.  There simply is no time for that.  And the risk of spreading it to my boys and students?  I shudder at the thought.

But  I cannot avoid it.  I’m getting a cold.  Last night I noticed the typical scratchy throat.  Today, my asthma has flared up.  By the end of the day, a sneeze here and there sprinkled with lethargy.  I cannot get sick. Desperate times calls for desperate measures.

I remembered last year my coworker, Becky, was starting to feel those same under-the-weather feelings.  I shared with her my secret weapon:  essential oils.  One in particular, Thieves, is the mix I reach for every time.  This time of year I put a drop in my coffee, in my water, and in nearly anything else I ingest.  It tastes of a mix of cinnamon and cloves so it’s rather pleasant.  And Becky shared with me her secret weapon:  apple cider vinegar with “the mother”.  I’m not sure if that should really be in quotes, but it seems strangely appropriate to use them.  We hypothesized that mixing both of these would be a sure-fire way to combat all that ails you.  It seemed to work for her best I remember.  Maybe it could work for me?  After all…..I cannot get sick.

So tonight I ingested apple cider vinegar with “the mother.”   I wasn’t sure of the right amounts, and I recall her mentioning something about mixing raw honey with it.  After some detective work online, I found a guideline of tbsps. of the vinegar with a spoonful or honey and lemon.  I didn’t have lemon but I did have essential oils.  So I poured a small glass of water and added the vinegar (after shaking it up well so “the mother” was mixed well…..okay, now I’m just saying “the mother” because of the quote marks and because I’m easily amused when I’m under the weather) with a spoonful of raw honey and one drop of thieves oil.  I mixed and mixed and mixed because the honey was clumpy.  Then I prepared to drink it.

As I raised the glass, my nose caught a whiff of the pungent smell.  This was not going to be easy.  But I cannot get sick.  I held my nose and drank as fast as I could willing the liquid to pass my tastebuds without injury.  I don’t know if it was the vinegar or the oil, but it actually started to burn a little while drinking.  That was a very strong repulsive taste…..not as bad as root beer and licorice, but repulsive nonetheless.  Now to repeat and wait it out.  I’ll do this again before bed then again several times tomorrow.  Here’s hoping it is the best home remedy ever rather than a curse to my taste buds.

There’s a Fine Line Between Transparency and TMI

There’s a Fine Line Between Transparency and TMI

Quick lesson:  there’s a fine line between transparency and too much information.

If yesterday’s post was about how the purpose of my writing is to be transparent, today is all about how to refrain from reaching TMI status.  In that spirit, I will not share today’s first.  Allow me to just say it involves being a parent and dealing with body functions/fluids and cleaning bathtubs.  Take your pick out of the poop/pee/vomit options that are obvious here.

In 16 years of being a parent, I’ve never stopped a bath midway to bleach the tub….until today.  That is all you really need to know about that.  Obviously, this is not the first I was planning for today, but sometimes a first….well…..presents itself.  If I were you reading this, I would be hysterically laughing at this point.  However, since this is my life and I am not casually observing, there is no laughter.  Just bleach.

Day 10 – I Am Insane

I had two goals when I began writing this blog… add whimsy to life and to be transparent.  Being transparent is hard because you often have to admit you are some shade of crazy….as is everyone.  Most of the time I can hide this pretty well, but when it comes to my children, it often makes an appearance.  Today is no different.

Today’s first: I signed off for and paid for my son to have a restriction-free level 3 drivers license, or as he calls them, his “after 9s” since he is now allowed to drive after 9 pm without me in the car.  As we left the DMV with his new temporary “after 9s” in hand, I kept thinking, “I’m not sure why I just paid $25 to increase my stress.”

I feel time slipping away from me.  I don’t know how he is now 16 with a driver’s license to enable him to drive to prom, get a job, and go to a late movie.  Yes, he technically had his license before, but this third step means more freedom for him and less control for me.  The license examiner sees a teenager with a deepened voice standing at least three inches taller than his mom.  I see this:

child driver

When I feel time flying by, I am acutely aware of the few years I have left to ensure he is a responsible, compassionate, successful adult ready to tackle the world.  This is when insanity prevails.  My mind is a bombardment of question and doubt ranging from the mundane to the life altering.  Can he pump gas?  Can he use an ATM?  Does he know not to put metal in a microwave?  Can he write a check?  Does he know to stand to greet a person when they walk in the room?  Does he know that a pay-day loan is like a legal loan shark?  Does he know to open the door for a date?  Does he know to dial *HP to get in touch with the highway patrol if needed?  Can he create and stick to a budget?  Does he know how to remove gum from carpet?  Can he check his own blood pressure?  Does he know how to make his own medical appointments?  Can he remember to take his Epipen and Benadryl everywhere he goes?  Does he know what a good credit score is?  Does he know your stomach will not actually explode if you eat pop rocks while drinking a soda?  All of life’s essential questions, really.


Day 9 – A Fresh Start

Day 9 – A Fresh Start

Today began a new semester.  This is one of the biggest changes from my previous life as a middle school teacher.  As a middle school teacher, the beginning of a new semester meant merely the mid mark of the school year.  I would make adjustments if needed to my teaching, but it was really just a continuation of the same.

In high school the beginning of a new semester is a fresh start with new classes, a new schedule, and new students.  I love this.  It’s like starting a brand new school year in most ways.  Today students received their spring semester schedules and we had a fresh start.  I have brand new students that I’m just getting to know.  There is some excitement, maybe a little nervousness, but a clean opportunity to redefine who they are as students and who I am as a teacher.

So this was my new thing for day 9 …. meeting new students, starting a new semester.  I work really hard to learn most of their names from day 1.  It might take me up to three days at most to learn the names and at least one fact about all 60+ students so I don’t have the brains, willpower, or energy for anything else new today.  It was a lot easier to learn names when I first began teaching 18 years ago.

Day 8 – Comfort Food

Day 8 – Comfort Food

It’s cold…. a week or so of no temps climbing above freezing, I believe.  I had to go back to work today after a two week break.  There are a number of reasons why comfort food is appropriate today so I have my day 8 assignment.

I knew one of the things I wanted to do was master chicken and dumplings from scratch. There are tons of recipes online and lots of my friends make pots of it exclaiming of its simplicity and ease.

I knew there would be the requirement to alter the recipe for the dumplings.  Rather than milk and bisquick, I would have to go dairy free to accommodate the food allergies in my home.  I pan fried chicken thighs, deglazed the pan, cooked and flavored a broth, made dumplings (which were really drop biscuits), and cooked it all together.  This wasn’t really hard but it was time consuming considering the steps.

In the end it was okay.  There were some definite changes to be made next time.  1. I need more chicken.  I used 6-7 chicken thighs, but it needs more for our tastes.  2. I would change the brand of soymilk I used.  I would only use soy as coconut and other nut milks can give a flavor.  That was also the problem with the particular brand of soymilk I used.  After more than 16 years of working with soymilk thanks to my son’s dairy allergy, I have become aware that they are not all created the same.  Some brands, although they state they are unflavored, have a vanilla hint to them.  Others do not.  As you can imagine a vanilla flavor is not what you want in your chicken and dumplings, but unfortunately, it’s what I got thanks to the particularly brand.  It wasn’t strong or I could not have eaten it, but it was mildly there.  3. I would use less liquid.  I like a thicker broth.  Nothing wrong with what we had, but I think this would improve it.

Here’s the finished product:

chicken and dumplings

Day 7 – Movie Madness

Day 7 – Movie Madness

I know it seems rather bland….food, facial scrubs, and movies.  Again, not every day can be ziplining and parachuting.  And today was one of those blander days.  On day 7 I saw a movie I had never seen: Confessions of a Shopaholic.

This movie, starring Isla Fisher, was released a number of years ago, but thanks to the magic of Roku, I could watch it for day 7.  The night before I watched another Isla Fisher movie, Definitely Maybe.  I enjoyed Isla’s quirky but heartfelt character in that movie.  Perhaps I was expecting a little more quirkiness from her in this movie, as well.  The movie wasn’t bad.  It was entertaining.  While predictable, the suspense of her creditors catching up with her helped me stay engaged in the plot.

I will say that the movie’s title left me believing the term “shopaholic” would be hyperbolic.  It was not.  It was easy to see the main character’s habit was indeed, an addiction that was ruining her life.  However, when she hits rock bottom it was ridiculously simple for her to pick up the pieces and restore relationships.  But, then again, it’s a movie — a romantic comedy — not real life.

While I don’t have any major complaints because I am so NOT a movie critic, I don’t think I’ll make a point to watch the movie again.  Day 7 done.

Day 6 – No Need to Fear

Day 6 – No Need to Fear


Disclaimer:  If you haven’t figured it out yet, I don’t update the blog daily.  I try, but sometimes life happens and things get hectic.  However, no need to fear, I am still completing the task and experiencing something new daily.  I just may need a day or two to catch up on sharing it with you.

Speaking of fear, the day 6 experiment brought me a bit of trepidation.  I had a full day planned so I had to be very intentional about my daily experiment and complete it early in the morning.  I decided on a homemade face scrub.  I’ve done face scrubs in the past.  Each one is different and brings with it the threat of unleashing hell’s fury on my face. If you have read any of my previous blog posts, you likely know my skin has been a source of contention, frustration, and confidence-shaking experiences since I was a pre-adolescent.  Things have not changed in the three decades since.

Since I have rosacea, sensitive skin, and an overall Pandora’s box on my face, trying new products and recipes come with the possibility of being something great or something horrific.  I’ve used products that have left me face soft and near flawless and others that have left my skin physically hurting just from air hitting it.  However, nothing ventured, nothing gained so I’ll try another scrub….this one a DIY.

Three ingredients….that was it.  Coconut oil, sugar, and essential oil.  I love my essential oils so this appealed to me.  I decided to use lavender oil since it has calming properties and seems to be a jack-of-all-trades type choice.  The sugar sort of scared me because of it’s abrasive texture, but I have some patches of dry, flaky skin that have popped up in the last few months so maybe the sugar will help get rid of those, I thought.

I applied the scrub in a circular motion carefully avoiding my eye region.  I did use on my lips because they can always use a good exfoliation, too.  I applied and then immediately removed as this is not a mask.  My skin was very soft.  It was, of course, still red (it’s not magic, after all) but much softer.  I would need to apply again and repeat to get all the dry patches, but I was pleased overall.  I think I noticed a difference of less red, “angry” skin that looked and felt smoother.  Here’s the before :

facial scrub 1

Here’s the after: facial scrub2

Day 5 – Can You Keep a Secret?

Day 5 – Can You Keep a Secret?

My boys are with their dad this week, and I’ve been out of work for Winter Break (one of many teaching perks) so doing laundry has been optional in my mind….as have been wearing make up, fixing my hair, going to bed at a decent hour, and anything remotely resembling adulting.  Today I needed to leave the house (boo…hiss) but my options for clean clothes were limited. Don’t judge….I can’t be alone in this.

I did have a few laundry baskets of clean clothes that have yet to be put away so I spilled them onto the bed to figure out my options.  And then I had my first for the day.

Being a boy mom, I don’t have the opportunity to swap clothes and shoes like I did (and still do) with my mom.  My oldest son is close to the same weight as I am….we won’t talk specifics here…..and about three inches taller.  He loves this height differential.  Most of the basket was of his clothes….tee shirts, sweat pants, socks, sweatshirts, etc.

It’s colder here in NC right now than in parts of Alaska.  The polar vortex arrived and liked our sweet tea and college basketball so much it decided to stay for awhile.  Those sweat pants, long sleeve shirts, and sweat shirts looked so comfy and warm.  My options were to go to my closet and put on actual work clothes (gasp….the horror) or put on these lined, elastic waistband sweat pants and such.

At this point, I need you to keep a secret.  If you cannot, immediately stop reading and forget you ever saw this.

Yes, I wore my son’s clothes.  I don’t even feel bad about it.  OMG… comfortable, so warm.  A little long maybe, but eh.  I don’t need you to keep this secret because I’m ashamed.  I’m not.  I need you to keep the secret because my son will kill me.  He will die a hundred deaths of humiliation and he will take me with him.  The idea that his middle-aged mother wore his super cool, athletic based, teenage identity clothes will mean the Earth will open up and swallow him.  If he finds out, I know you will have told him and I will hold you responsible for paying for the therapy that will no doubt ensue.  How do I know you will have told him?  While he loves the internet, he avoids anything that can possibly connect parent to child so he is not reading this.

I wish I could promise you I won’t do this again, but I cannot.  Those sweat pants were super comfy.  I guess I could buy some for myself, but I’ve already paid for these.  I will not be ashamed.

Day 4 – The Doggy Doctor

It is total coincidence that I have two days in a row dealing with dogs.  But in any event, I do.  On day 4 (I’m writing the day after because I was tired and went to bed…..sorry/not sorry) I took a family member to a doctor’s appointment.  This doctor had a regular menagerie compared to what one expects of a doctor’s office.  There were two cats and three dogs calmly roaming through the office.  The dogs were huge!  Two were great pyrenees and the other was a golden retriever. I happened to get pictures of two of them because I was afraid few people would not believe me!

The three dogs followed the heels of one of the doctors, their owner.  When she entered a room to meet with a patient, they followed.  When she would go to the nurse’s station to get papers or write scripts, they followed.  However, from time to time — I assume when she was on the phone or busy with something — they would roam in and out of patient rooms and the hallway.  They were the single most calm, gentle dogs I’ve ever seen.  Apparently, they have been trained to be therapy dogs.

I’ve seen therapy dogs before.  When E makes his visits to Maryland for his appointments, the lodging we use is specifically for pediatric patients.  Therapy dogs have been there for patients….however, I’ve never seen animals inside doctor’s offices.

As is the case with many medical offices, there was a lot of waiting here.  Having the animals (the cats seemed just as docile) definitely made a better way to pass the time than reading magazines. For children, especially, who may be nervous about seeing a doctor, I can imagine this would be the best thing ever.

Day 4 – Visiting a doctor’s office filled with therapy animals. Done.