Archive for May, 2011

Slow Songs For Hot Nights

Really hot. When the A/C goes *poof*, you KNOW it will be either during a record heat wave OR on the wrong side of a long weekend.

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Always Remember

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School’s ALMOST Out!

We have two partial weeks of school left. I need some partay clothes and dance music!

Yeah, baby. If you see a woman dancing out the door all the way to that final school bus at summer break, that would be me!

Then this would be me after a couple Margaritas after school…..

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Procrastination Caught Up With Me

I’ve been putting off a lot of household chores because the twin demands of work and livestock care have kept me hoppin’. As a result, my house would probably make a good “after” picture of a home invasion robbery and ransacking, if housebreakers were actually after the things lying about my house. Things like wool in various stages of preparation, laundry that needs either washing, ironing, folding, or putting away, exercise equipment prominently featured so that maybe I’ll fall over it and accidentally get some exercise while trying to regain my balance, stacks of papers that need filing in either a cabinet somewhere or the trash, magazines that need reading that I feel too guilty to discard unread, etc.

I have spent the entire day (so far) trying to put things to rights and have only managed to get the surface stuff done so that if somebody accidentally wandered into the house, they wouldn’t think that they’d entered the realm of a primate house featuring poo-flinging monkeys but instead would conclude that the people that lived here could use some organizational help and a large dumpster. And they would be right.

I certainly hope that your weekend isn’t filled with doing things that you were too busy to do before and now have to get done in order to actually walk through the house.

My weekend:

Your weekend:

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Food Insecurity

Three-day-old chicks from the hatcheries had been selling out as soon as they arrived at the local feed stores as soon as they were available from the hatcheries this spring. I attributed it to folks in rural areas noticing the rise in both grocery store prices AND the meteoric rise in feed prices and taking steps to ensure some food security for their family. It takes approximately 25 weeks for the chick to mature enough to start laying eggs, depending on the breed, so the earlier they purchase the chicks, the sooner they’ll get some small return on their investment of time, care, and housing.

A person that buys three or four female chicks from a feed store, puts out, say, $300 (or much more!) for a chicken house and run so that they’ll have protection from predators, a heat lamp and place inside to keep the chicks when they’re small, purchases feeders and waterers because most folks that haven’t been around poultry don’t know how to make their own and, frankly, it’s easier to just pick ’em up at the feed store, and then waits for 25 weeks for their first tiny pullet eggs (about the size of a bird egg when they begin laying) aren’t really looking for a financial return on investment. They’re deeply worried about their jobs, the future, and the country’s food supply. There’s something satisfying about being able to go out and gather eggs from your own hens at the end of the day.

I was startled last week when a nice solidly middle-class woman in a suburban subdivision with HOA (and city) restrictions told me that she wanted some nice, quiet, docile hens to hide in her (privacy fenced) back yard. We discussed the pros and cons of some of the different breeds that she had in mind. I also gave her the name of a hatchery with some online information so that she could do further research.

Food insecurity must be more widespread than I thought.

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At What Point is Going to Work a Losing Proposition?

I’ve been pondering that question for awhile now. In my case, considering the amount of money that I have to spend on gas, “professional” clothing that gets ruined pretty quickly, snacks for children, various gifts and fundraisers around the school, and school supplies, I figure I’m only bringing home @ $100/week. Next year, of course, it will be even less because the state will be taking out 5% of my gross (not net) pay to pay for a retirement that I won’t be in the school system long enough to get. Unfortunately, my (gross) income bumps us into a higher tax bracket so that $100 per week isn’t very profitable when I consider the extra taxes that we’re paying to get it. If I added in the fast food dinner costs and the toll that they’re taking on our bodies because I simply don’t have time to do everything that I need to do in the evening in the spring (like cooking!), then I’d be DEEP in the hole.

My husband points out that the job is keeping him from having to pay $800 plus per month on an insurance policy for me, so I need to consider that in my pencilled figures. A bigger consideration for me is that I’m kicked, bitten, punched, and smacked around daily in my job and, probably sooner rather than later, I’m going to receive an injury more permanent and disabling than the bite scars that now cover my arms and legs. A colleague who is five years younger than I am and works out at the gym daily carried one of the smaller students I work with back to class when the student went all batshit crazy and had to be removed from the area. Heh. She told me that after that, she was seriously considering resigning because she isn’t sure how much more of that sort of thing that she can do, and she’s supposed to be replacing me next year. I would have helped her, but at the time I was in an altercation with a larger, much stronger student that decided to run away after smacking another teacher across the face, and I had to tackle him (twice!) in a grassy median in the parking lot before he reached the street, and my muscles and bones are one big ache tonight.

Yeah, I think I’ve reached that point where going to work is a losing proposition.

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Yeah, I’m Losin’ It

After losing a cell phone, accidentally throwing away SwampMan’s supper, and losing some books/magazines last week, I was determined not to lose anything when I went to the grocery store tonight after work. I got dog food, some canned cat food, and, recalling that the cat food bag on the porch was empty, I was going to get cat food when I remembered that I had bought some and it was in the back of the van. Well, good. I’m kinda broke (okay, VERY broke) at the moment, not even able to afford to replace the damn cell phone, so not having to buy cat food was a good thing.

I came home, unloaded the food, then went to son’s house to pick squash, then out to feed. At 10 p.m., it was the cats’ turn for food, and I went back to the van to get out the big bag of cat food that I remembered purchasing and leaving in the back. No cat food. Hunh. Maybe I put it on the porch. Nope. Hunh. Maybe I put it in the garage. Nope. Hunh. Maybe I put it in the house? Nope. Hunh. Maybe in the pantry. Hunh. Maybe in SwampMan’s barn. Hunh. Maybe in one of the outbuildings. Nah.

After thinking about it, I realized that the cat food that I remembered purchasing probably was about three weeks ago, and that was likely the empty bag that was on the porch. I may have unloaded it last week with the feed. Dang. It was also a relief to know that I probably hadn’t lost something else that I couldn’t afford to replace. *sigh*

I’m still trying to figure out if my memory failure of last week was because of lack of sleep (5 hours or less per night), stopping a hormone that helped me to SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT because of two bad mammograms (it may be nothing, or maybe I have DCIS, and I have to get another mammogram in a month), or just job stress.

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Happy 4th Birthday Dylan!

I stayed up waiting for daughter to call after she got back from her birthday shopping trip last night. I had to FORCE my eyes to stay open (I really was exhausted) but, after midnight, I couldn’t do it any longer. She called this morning. She said that she DID call me right after she got back from shopping because she fell asleep at 8:30 p.m., right after she called, and didn’t go until this morning! Heh. Dang roosters and alarm woke me before 6 a.m. Damnit. Happy children woke her up a little bit later.

She told me last night that whatever I got for Dylan, it had to be unbreakable. Whenever he gets something, he has to take it apart to see how it works. Then he “fixes” it. It shows that he has an active and curious mind, but it is kinda hard on computer and electronic components. Daughter also said that he wanted cowboy boots, but he’s not allowed to wear boots to day care. Ever. He’s not a walking advertisement for turning the other cheek. Nope.

I don’t think he’s going to do well in (traditional) school because he’s too curious, too active and a great believer in self defense (you pull my hair, I punch out your lights). I’m thinking that the MeeMaw School will probably be opening soon where, in addition to learning things like letters, numbers, and reading, he’ll also be digging in the dirt, growing veggies, shearing sheep, and learning how to form concrete, weld, repair automobiles, do electrical wiring, build fences, make furniture, train horses…all the sorts of things that the SwampKids learned when they were little, but living in the city sorta precludes some of those educational opportunities.

Now if I can just figure out a way to earn enough money to pay the bills while simultaneously schooling younguns…..

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Hypervigilance Gets A Little Tiring by Friday

After a week of hypervigilance among children who will hurt themselves and each other (and staff members) at lightning speed if they are given the teensiest opportunity, when Friday afternoon rolls around and the kids are safely on the bus home, I start doing weird stuff. I went to a fund raiser at a fast food place, placed my order (a milkshake) and some food for SwampMan. Then I chatted with my friends, walked out, tossed SwampMan’s bag of food into the trash with my empty drink cup, got into my vehicle and was leaving when I realized what I had done, and had to come inside and reorder to everyone’s great amusement.

I dunno whether it is because when the danger is over, I let down waaaaaay too much, or whether it is due to lack of sleep. (Or maybe too many birthdays?) So far this week, I’ve lost my cellphone, a couple books and magazines (before I read them), and almost forgot little Dylan’s fourth birthday tomorrow. I did, when I figured out that Dylan’s birthday was Saturday, remember to call Mommy to see if she needed any assistance with birthday shopping, but she was planning on doing that tonight. Giant slap to the head for not calling sooner, but the time is just speeding by so quickly that I wasn’t aware of how far into the month we’ve come!

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Pareto Principal in the Sheep Flock

Since I spend a lot of my free time out standing in my field, I have had occasion recently to ponder the Pareto Principal aka the 80/20 rule, in which 80% of my problems will come from 20% of my sheep.

I ponder this as I look at my little weak lamb, hovering between life and death and not making a firm committment in either direction. He’s half the size of a lamb born 2 weeks later, and the little 4 lb. preemie has nearly caught up to him and is much, much more lively. He’s never grown. He’s not eating like he should. I spend most of my time with the sheep worrying over him, trying to coax him to eat, buying expensive supplements for the whole flock in the hope that something will magically make him thrive, and hovering over him at the feed trough in order to make sure that he has room and enough to eat. *sigh* I’ve already spent more time, effort, and money on him than all the other lambs which are all healthy.

I suppose I should stop all my efforts and just let him die.

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