Monday, April 28, 2008

Cute things

J and I went for a hike around Burke Lake this Saturday. I didn't even know this place existed in the middle of suburbia. But there is a man-made lake in the middle of NOVA. It's about 5 miles around. Which was a beautiful hike. Very nice way to spend a warm Saturday. You can almost NOT here the passing cars, ambulance sirens, and 18-wheelers...almost.

But there were many cute things.

One of the first things we saw a group of geese. MEAN-- they are mean, but this little gosling was so cute.. So very cute.

Here they are drinking water from the lake. They didn't snap at me or chase me, but geese are known for being one of the most territorial flocks ever!! And they honk at you all the time.

J managed to capture this picture of a beautiful bird. A cardinal?

I think more hiking is in order for us, it was a beautiful day.

Caught up on some movie watching once the rain came in to. Saw a bunch of really creepy dramas:

Before the Devil Knows your dead. A pair of brothers decide to rip off their parents' jewelry store... Not really sure I liked this one, though. I don't know.

Fracture. Could Anthony Hopkins NOT be scary? He plays a husband who kills his wife.

The Prestige. Amazingly much better than anticipated (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman help....and if your a male movie goer, Scarlett Johannson is in it too). 2 magicians try to outdo each other...but it gets creepy.

Gone Baby Gone. Perhaps one of the best movies I've seen in a really long time. It's difficult to take in... but so good. Detectives investigate a missing child.

There's a few more I've seen in the last few weeks, but these are the most memorable. There's a lull in the movies I'd actually like to see. Still trying to see Juno--everyone I know has seen it.....except me.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mega Update!

Here are some fun things I've been doing since March.. Or completed. I haven't been taking tons of pictures, and I need to catch up. However, here are a few pics from the Cherry Blossoms this year, ATO's visit, and a painting. They're all kind of mixed up, sorry.

The beautiful Jefferson Memorial during the Cherry Blossom Festival. It was the first official day and there were tons and tons of tourists. The whole official festival is about 2 weeks longer during the height of the blossoms. This year, they were right on!

I don't think I've ever seen this many in bloom before. Last year I went towards the end and I missed a bunch. This year the color seemed stronger too!

Ok, here's the HUGE painting I did. It's like 4 feet tall. I spent tons of time on it, there's a detail below.

Me at the cherry blossoms. Note the the hue of my scarf. Damn, my hair is getting long. It was also kinda cold.

Opps, that one is on it's side, but you get the idea of how many blossoms were around!

It's TJ!

Close up of the lone blossom.

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial from the other end of the Tidal Basin.

It was also the kite festival. Although we made it down there late, there were still tons of people flying their kites. It was the perfect day, and I wish I had one to fly! Check out the dragon trying to land on the Washington Monument.

More kite flying. I love the arms!

OK- Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. "O" is a dancing machine. He taught us the hustle, and to bounce. Bounce with me, bounce with me....

Close up of painting. Here's where I'll explain what I did. I collaged song lyrics that my best friend chose. Then I did a loose wash over the whole thing, left the drips, tore away some of the paper so it would leave some dark spots. Then I made 2 inch squares across the whole thing in some kind of order... Then I made one inch square going in each direction as I turned the canvas. Then I painted my lettering (script, whatever you want to call it) in the bigger squares, and finally used a tiny black tipped pen to go over the entire 4 ft canvas (I don't recommend it).

I'm now working on another painting. I'm trying to create better layers. I'm in the early stages, and as you know me, sometimes I start something, hate it, and restart it, just to create layers...

Spring seems to be in full force here, although I think we're in for one final cold snap this week. I can really do without the 50's. I'm ready to be acclimated to the 70's and 80's. The sun is great, and being outside is soooooooo nice!

I will try to be better about updating my blog, but my computer at home stinks, and I rarely get a chance at school to sit and write... What does that say about me? I am too lazy to fix my dang computer at home......

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I need a new doctor

I've been to this doctor a few times. I have sleep issues. She's not a specialist or anything, but a few months ago she said I should give Ambien a try since I'm not a huge drug taker. I hate taking medication, and I try to stay away from it at all costs. However it's working ok for me.

But, I'm about to lose my mind all over again with insomina... NOW I am also taking this other medication for the last week, and guess what I just looked up on the internet.... It causes insomnia! So the Ambien isn't even working this week because the other medication I have to take keeps me up. Not only that, it causes incordnation, and dry mouth! All the things I am feeling this week.

Fortunately for me, I go back to the doctor on Saturday, and I am going to talk to her about it because I'm going to freakin' lose my mind. And I'm serious. Not only that, I found out that it is found to change something cardiovascularly-- which is why today when I went outside for a run, I just about died....

Good news though, I think it is officially spring time. Begone cold wind and low temperatures. Bring sunny skies, blue with no clouds (or some puffy ones..that's ok). Saturday my BFF are hanging out and I hope we can be outside for a little bit.

Working on a possible vacation with J over memorial day weekend. I know, those of you who are stateside, it probably sounds like a nightmare. But we're trying to see if we can leave the country and still go to the beach... We think the Bahamas might be it. -cross your fingers- That's what I'm using my tax return on.......

Ok, for the record. I have taken ambien, I feel a little drowsy, and uncoordinated. So I better go wash my face and brush my teeth before I zonk out..or rather, I have to take the other meds too... DAMN it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Here's one for the books

After years of looking after kids in various capacities, I don't remember ever feeling this upset over something that was out of control... well, except for that kid I chased down back in 1997. I worked for a day camp, this kid who was out of control, on serious medication, and aggressive didn't want to follow directions. And so I was about to take him back to my office (I was the head counselor at the time) and cool out. He decided to sprint off. SO what did I do? Go after him. I think we sprinted for a good mile, we both got winded, I managed to hold onto his tee-shirt for about 1/2 hour while he was fighting me, and a cop finally came and found us. I went home that day and lost it.... It was the most stressed I had ever been, and I only reacted based on instinct..

So here's the story about this last week that really put me into a similar-feeling situation, although this time I was an on-looker:

Here's what happened:

I heard some yelling outside my door during first period. Luckily I don't have a class, so I just stood at my door to just make sure everything was ok. The only thing I was doing, was preparing for my next class. Well, the kid got quiet all of a sudden and started walking down the hallway. Mr. M was the detention specialist who was trying to get him to calm down. But the kid wouldn't listen. The kid walks towards me, and right past me into my classroom without a word, or a glance. His eyes immediately start darting around the room, and I immediately assumed he was looking for something to use as a weapon. He walks the perimeter of my room slowly, but with deliberate steps. In the meantime, Mr. M and I are saying things like: Why don't you have a seat? Let's sit down and talk, let's just take a break (all in non-threatening tones).

All of a sudden the kid passes the front of the room and picks up the yardstick I had been using to draw this morning.... Mr. M immediately reacted and said: put it down son. And the kid raised it up as to hit one of us with it. But Mr. M grabbed him, immediately got the yardstick out of his hands, and got the kids hands behind his back.. AMAZING REALLY...

However, that was just he beginning. The kid struggled for about 1/2 an hour. 3 male adults had to restrain him on my floor while he was spitting, thrashing his head around and yelling all kinds of things. I think Mr. M. got hit by the kids head thrashings, but that was it. They tried to let him walk out of the room, but he continued to put up a fight. They finally had to drag him out of my room, back to his room. In his room he decided to yell, slam himself into the door, and they finally had to sedate him.

As soon as he was gone, I just broke down. It just came over me and I got really upset. Mostly, because I never would have expected that kind of violent outburst from the kid, but yet it was a reminder at how dangerous it can be in here. It's a reminder of how dangerous a kid can be. Which is extremely upsetting to me.

I'm so much better now, because there's nothing I could have done to change the situation, and I know that. But still, kids are kids in my eyes. It's hard to see a real aggressive struggle take place in front of you. I know that these kids are like loose cannons, but I can't help but feel empathetic to their life situations. It's almost like they're trying to survive among wild beasts. They are in survival mode.

What started his rage? Why did he thrash around? Why was he willing to hurt someone else? No particular reason why as far as I can tell. Maybe it was a bad day for him, he didn't feel like being told what to do, he didn't know how to handle his feelings, he didn't have his medication, he heard some bad news about his case... I don't know! But does it really matter in the moment? No. Obviously this kid's disobedience is at the very bottom of this hopeless and helpless pit he seems to have been put in or put himself in.


But here it is Monday again.. Time to start the week over, time to kind of shed what happened last week and not let last weeks incident slip into the new week that seems so far unblemished. Time to move forward. And I am.. Today was a pretty good day as far as school days go. Kids did work, I saw some of them smile, I helped them work. It was good. Can I see myself doing this for an extended period of time?


It really is hard. It's stressful work. As much as I do enjoy the little successes, it's frustrating to know you will never get far with any of these kids, they're not getting what they need, but it's nothing you can give them.

So, bring on Tuesday. I think I can handle it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

let the 4th quarter begin

Yeah, yesterday wasn't such a great day. I had to watch a kid get taken down in my classroom yesterday. Fortunately it was an empty classroom, because I had no class at the time. But to make a long story short it took 3 men to hold the kid down while he screamed, spit and thrashed around. He eventually had to be dragged and lifted to get to his room. It took them 1/2 hour to get him to a point where they could actually move him with out him hitting his head on something, or taking one of them out.

I got really upset after the ordeal, because no one wants to see something like that. Yes some of these kids wouldn't think twice about me or themselves, and what they did, but they're still kids. But, things like that are a wake up call for where I am working, and helping me to realize that safety truly is an issue at any moment. Any kid and anytime could react to something or decide to be aggressive or violent.

Many other things happened this week, so this was just the capstone. They ended up cutting the school day short because of other things that were happening back on the unit, and in some other classroom a student was concealing a pencil or something.

We just have some kids with some really aggressive behavior, dangerous psychological disorders, and violent kids. But the crazy thing is that they're mixed in with kids who do stupid kids things. It makes no sense to have them anywhere near each other.

Good thing it's Friday, it's a teacher work day, it's the end of the third quarter.

One more Quarter to go until summer break... Too bad that my 4th quarter is an extended one. My school year doesn't end until June 20-something! ARGH, I hope I make it.

This weekend I'm going to try to be outside, soaking in the lovely spring weather, eat some fancy food, play with Oliver (cutest 1 year and odd months old in the history of the world.) Have some fancy drinks. And relax..........

I'm really just wondering when I can go to the beach?????????humm......beach..I'll take any beach. Well, almost any beach. Not some trashy beach with anything man made washing up on the sand. (no thanks)

Friday, April 04, 2008

I couldn't resist

Buster and the Pixies, who knew?

This week kind of reminds me of a song

10,000 Maniacs - Like the Weather

the color of the sky as far as I can see is coal gray
lift my head from the pillow and then fall again
with a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather
a quiver in my lips as if I might cry
well by the force of will my lungs are filled and so I breathe
lately it seems this big bed is where I never leave
shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather
quiver in my voice as I cry
what a cold and rainy day
where on earth is the sun hid away?
I hear the sound of a noon bell chime,
I'm far behind you've put in 'bout half a day
while here I lie
with a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather
a quiver in my lip as if I might cry
what a cold and rainy day
where on earth is the sun hid away?


Yeah, where is the sun? It's been raining for like a week straight. It was almost freezing last night. It's April, and I'm ready for some bright skies. Plus Williamsburg won't be as nearly as much fun if it's like this.


This might brighten any one's day:

Thursday, April 03, 2008

So funny.

You have to watch this! I love these guys.

"I like impressionism in general. Like I could do chicken sounds sometimes, or duck noises."

Darn you Jona!

Jona's making me answer questions about life and my future.

Five Places I've Lived:

1. Alexandria, Virginia
2. Albuquerque, New Mexico
3. Pretoria, South Africa
4. Cairo, Egypt
5. Bonn, Germany

Five Things On My To-Do List Today:

1. Go to Target and pick up Travis' Amy's list of things for Oliver. They're visiting and I want them to have some things for Oliver so they don't have to waste time going shopping. I'm sure I'm going to feel weird about buying baby wipes and diapers.
2. Pay my bill for my new mattress, and unfortunately venture to the mall to return pants.
3. Pack for the weekend. We're off to Williamsburg with T, A, and O. Can't wait for a tiny break away from this area.
4. MUST GO TO BANK - deposit, transfer, and get some cash.
5. Clean the bathroom. I did everything but that yesterday, just because I hate it so much.

Five things to do at home:

1. Running (4 miles!!)
2. Paint and draw
3. Re-arrange for A, T, and O's visit
4. Hang with J tonight. Rerun of Lost?
5. I better put clean the bathroom again...

Five Jobs I've Had:

1. Day camp counselor
2. Professor's assistant
3. Secretary at the US Embassy in Germany
4. Teacher
5. Child Life Specialist at UNM Children's Hospital

Ten Years From Now:

Oye--- I don't know. Married with a kid or two. Working consistently as an artist. Traveling, saving money, having a mortgage, enjoying my family, friends, and life in general. (I have great difficulty navigating future plans, so it's very general)

Ok, there you have it!