. . . and Because I Don't Talk About The Cat Enough

For her newly diagnosed hyperthyroid condition, The Cat takes a half a pill, twice a day. I was trying to get by without a pill-splitter, but using a paring knife has its obvious drawbacks.

I forgot to pick one up yesterday, but then I had to make a run to the drugstore today anyway. Of course, I needed help finding where the store keeps the pill-splitters, but at least there was no decision to make, because they stock only one kind (the store's brand, natch).

Stood in a nice long line where there was only one cash register open--but doesn't it figure they opened another one right as I was paying?

I was in the middle of doing laundry at the parents', so I didn't open the bags until I got home around dinnertime.

Isn't the darn thing missing from the darn bag? I double-checked the receipt (yup, I paid for it) and the floor and rear seat of my car (no, not there). So I called the store and the girl who answered said nothing was left up at the counter, but I could just come back in with the receipt for another one.

At least it wasn't a far drive from home, but it was rush hour. When I finally got there, the same cashier who'd rung me up was still working at the counter. I had to wait my turn (again), but when I told him about the phone conversation, he said, "Yeah, I remember you--I found it at the bottom of the bag but you were already gone."

I think what happened was that he had started to put my purchases in a small bag, but then went for a larger shopping bag because I had bought something on the larger side. He forgot to transfer the pill splitter from the small bag.

The things I do for that cat.

Side note: I'm never buying a big pack of TP again.

Because You Might Not Have Seen Enough (or Any) Last Week

The Maiden Aunt is pleased to present to you The Ugly Holiday Sweater Jubilee.

Read. Laugh or cry at their ugliness.

You're welcome.


A Happy & Blessed Christmas to All!

The meringues are in the oven, nothing is wrapped, and I'm still in my P.J.'s (but not for much longer). For me, the Christmas season is just getting started.

I think the window passed on putting up the tree, but that's O.K. The time I would've put into it was put to good use getting The Cat checked out, and picking up her medicine, and consoling her on my lap.

There's Christmas Eve dinner with my dad's side of the family (hosted by the cousins who accompanied me to California), and then Mass tomorrow morning, and then dinner with my parents, Younger Sister, and my great-aunt (who was picked up by Younger Sister on the drive up here). There was supposed to be a second dinner at my parents' on Sunday with Older Brother and his family, but there's an unconfirmed rumor going around that everybody has strep. *sigh* It's starting to look like Thanksgiving minus dumping the grandkids on my parents, but I'm going to do my best to ignore the bummers and just enjoy myself. That might be a challenge, because I know my mom won't be able to help fretting over those not present. Perhaps I'll understand someday when I have kids!

In any event, I might not be back at the computer until after the weekend, so I wanted to wish all my blogfriends a wonderful Christmas. I'm going to remember you and your intentions at Mass.

To some [Christ] comes on this Christmas Day even in the remorse that follows "There is no room"; to some He comes when their hearts are saddened by a life that has been taken away, and can be gladdened only by a Life that is given; to some He comes when their hearts like conscious mangers cry out "Lord, I am not worthy"; to others He comes as their study of science reminds them that the only star worth studying is the Star that leads to the Maker of the Stars; to others He comes when their hearts are broken, that He might enter in to heal with wings wider than the world; to others He comes in joy amidst the Venite Adoremus of the angels; to others He comes because they are so young they can never remember another Christmas--but to each and everyone He comes as if He had never come before in His own sweet way, He the Child who is born, He. . . Jesus the Savior, He Emmanuel, He, Christ at Christ's Mass on Christmas--Merry Christmas!!
(Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, The Fullness of Christ, reprinted in Advent and Christmas with Fulton J. Sheen, edited & compiled by Judy Bauer)


The Cat Got Meds for Christmas

As reported previously, I wasn't expecting to get test results until next Monday at the earliest. Yesterday morning, and by "morning" I mean 3 a.m., The Cat was bothering me incessantly, so I went to school on about three hours' sleep. I also went in late because she tossed her cookies (i.e. the breakfast she at first refused to eat and kept bugging me about for another three hours) a mere 15 minutes before I was about to head out.

When I got to school, I kept trying the vet's office, but the recording said they were closed even though it was about an hour and a half into their normal office hours (as stated on the recording). They must've had their Christmas party the night before or something. I left a message and eventually got a call back. Once I explained the problem, they promised me a call back from the doctor. I was concerned that she was still getting sick, but at that point I was looking for even just something to calm her down for the night.

In between visits from kids dropping off gifts and a consult with one of the really nice moms who is helping with the reading event, the doctor (not the one who called The Cat a sweet kitty on Monday, but an equally nice doctor) said it was hard to do something without the test results, but he wanted to try to figure out if I could The Cat a little antihistamine to calm her down. He needed to look up possible contraindications with hyperthyroidism, which she probably had in his opinion, first, so once again I started waiting for a call back.

Went to the faculty Christmas party, drew the #1 spot for the pollyanna and apparently didn't pick something people wanted to steal from me, so I sat through the rest of it in an uncomfortable chair while glancing at my cell phone. Packed up my things, was the only one in the library who left late enough to get the Christmas bonus envelope (which the administration nearly forgot to give out!), and headed to the grocery store. Still waiting for the cell phone to ring.

Got home with the groceries and found a message from the vet on the home phone. Gee whiz. So I hurriedly called back, because I knew they had shortened hours for the day, and got the doctor. No go on the antihistamine--not good if she does have hyperthyroid, and just too hard to administer because she's under eight pounds again and that would make an awfully tiny dose to measure out. He said he was awfully sorry. . . and suggested maybe I should take the antihistamine (with a glass of wine!) so I at least could sleep through The Cat's restlessness.

I did.

And either that's what happened, or The Cat was just too exhausted from the day before, because I slept until about 5--and trust me, that's a big improvement. (Of course, when I opened my eyes, she was right there on the bed staring at me, so I had to get up and feed her, but still.) Then she let me sleep until about 9:30. That was goooood.

Imagine my surprise when I got a phone call at 1 p.m., and it was the vet, calling with the test results.

The upper limit on the normal range for the thyroid test was 50. The Cat's result? 85!!!

I went and picked up the medicine right away. And I brought along a bag of fancy chocolates (O.K., they were from my "Advent Angel"--mystery co-worker who doesn't know I have allergies) as a thank-you.

Yeah, it sucks that she has hyperthyroidism, but it's kind of a relief to have an explanation for what's been going on. Not to mention a hope that after about a week on the meds, she might start feeling more like herself.

So maybe she'll feel like playing with her real Christmas presents soon.



Counting the Hours

No, not until Christmas is here--vacation from school! The altered fourth graders I had today were the final straw.

The students are dismissed at noon, and as I understand it, they basically don't have classes. Instead, they have a parties in their respective homerooms. I'm not sure what's going to be going on in the library, other than drop-ins from students who are returning/renewing books (or paying fines if they know what's good for them). Also, I suspect the secretary might go into hyperdrive de-Christmas-ing the library. (You know, because it can't be done the first week of January.) Whatever makes her happy, as long as she doesn't make us crazy.

As for me, I will be trying to clear my desk (because the PTBs seem to comment an awful lot about my desk's appearance--they're educators; why can't they respect the way I think?), posting lesson plans online, and wrapping up some stuff with this reading event. Said reading event is making me count the hours even more. I got a call from one of the parents today, and she implied in not so many words that her child is stuck on a team with a bunch of losers. (I'm sorry--is it "win at any cost" or "foster the love of reading"? Is it possible that kids you think aren't great readers now could improve as they read and talk about the books?)

As an aside--does everyone else often find that when people preface something with, "With all due respect," they're about to levy an insult?

Well, in any event, God provides, because right before she started with me, I made a last minute addition to her child's team. An addition of a super-reader. With whose parents she is apparently best buds or something. She jumped all over that with gusto, and I left her to it and wished her Merry Christmas. But boy, those implications really made me sore.

If I can make it to noon, and then survive a couple hours at a staff Christmas party (pollyanna included!), then I'll be really looking forward to celebrating Christmas.

Even if I haven't learned all the music for church.


Let's Play a Game (Done! Nice Going, Peeps!)

I need to distract myself from the 200-some bucks I just spent at the vet. The Cat was her cute timid self. . . right until she got that anti-nausea vaccination--they do all the procedures in a room behind the exam room, but I certainly could hear her giving the vet a piece of her mind. He still called her a sweet kitty anyway, and was not surprised when she swiftly leapt out of his arms, barely skimmed the exam table, and landed right inside her carrier, which was on a chair. She was ready to go home and probably would've started the car if I'd given her the keys. With the Christmas holidays, we most likely will not get test results until next week, but all signs seem to point to hyperthyroid.

So let's play a game.

I have all three of my sixth grade classes this week, and I wanted to do something Christmas-related (because I can! One of the few perks of working in a Catholic school!) but still somewhat teaching research skills. We're getting into citation and plagiarism--I did explain to them that even if they use their own words (paraphrasing), if it's someone else's idea then they must give that person credit.

Paraphrasing is a bit of a new word to them, so why not show them in a fun and exaggerated way, and even relate it to the season?

Here's what I did with today's class--see how many you can get. I gave you the first one as an example. (After about ten minutes, I let them use a dictionary and/or thesaurus. . . but remember that they are sixth-graders and you probably know more songs!) All have been solved!

Christmas Carols in Other Words

1. (Example) At one’s abode for the vacation = Home for the Holidays

2. Happiness to Earth = Joy to the World--Rae

3. This is a trio of royal leaders from the Far East = We Three Kings (of Orient Are)--Rae

4. The holiday season that lasts a week and five days = The Twelve Days of Christmas--Rae

5. Array, adorn, decorate, and embellish the corridors = Deck the Halls--Dave E.

6. Tucked securely in a cow trough = Away in a Manger--Rae

7. The earliest yuletide = The First Noel--Dave E.

8. Oh tiny municipality where Jesus was born = O Little Town of Bethlehem--Rae

9. Exalted heavenly beings we have perceived by our ears on a lofty, exalted place = Angels We Have Heard on High--Nightfly

10. Tintinnabulate tocsin boulder = Jingle Bell Rock--Angela Noelle

11. That one arrived on a middle of a night translucent = It Came Upon a Midnight Clear--Nightfly

12. Dancing in the vicinity of the decorated conifer = Rocking Around the Christmas Tree--Rae

Sources: Highbeam, Yahoo!Answers (it has some answers so DON'T CHEAT!), Teach 'Em How to Fish



Is it just me, or have most people been running non-stop this past week?

I survived the only choir practice for Christmas that I could make--and no, I still don't know some of the music. I think I'll just sing softly on those parts. Or move my lips.

I also survived two meetings--one with adults, one with children--on a big thing at school that I'm more or less in charge of. (Oh, what did the curriculum director call it? My "baby"? Ugh.) But not without nightmares and kids' dropping out (or hiding to get out of it--why do parents sign kids up for things they don't want to do?) and just general confusion. The parents who are helping out are pretty great. It's just all overwhelming.

The Cat seems to be having a repeat bout of her summer sickness--which is why I have been up since before 7 a.m. today. I have to go to the laundromat after church. I also have to call the vet tomorrow because I think all this does point to hyperthyroidism and I need to haul her in for the test. Not looking forward to that.

However, I am pretty proud of myself that I remembered I still have medicine from the summer left over (and it's still good). And--because it's really hard to pill a cat--having no Pill Pockets, I improvised with a piece of soy cheese which I remembered she looooves (seriously, she goes nuts when she hears the wrappers--they're like Kraft singles) and got a pill into her.

Maybe I should've led with that success story.


The Sights & Sounds of Christmas

The radio in the library workroom has been set to the station that does "24/7 holiday music" at this time of year since the week before Thanksgiving (which in my opinion is SICK). I think what bugs me about it the most is that this is the "adult contemporary" station and they seem either to have a limited repertoire or to entertain repeated requests for the same songs all day. (Seriously, the only one that makes me happy is "Dominick the Donkey." And O.K., I think they played the "Hanukkah Song" right around the time Hanukkah started.) My desk is closest to the office door so it's not hard for me to notice there's Mariah Carey claiming all she wants for Christmas is you (whatever) or Snoopy's dealing with the Red Baron (I do not get this song for the life of me in spite of the fact that I love Snoopy) for the third time since I finished my morning coffee.

However, by some miracle, last week some sort of interference with the radio's reception cropped up, so no adult-contemporary-holiday-music for days. (Just the '70s station and I can tune most of that out.)

As a result, I finally felt like putting on Christmas music at home.

Right now, I've got in two discs from a set I apparently got in 2005 on clearance from Bath & Body Works--good music can be found in many unusual places, right? Some of the tracks are skippable, but the remote to the stereo died a while back, so I'm just pretending it's all good stuff, even if it's by a strange breathy singer I never heard of then and am surprised to see is still performing now.

After those two discs--because I have a lovely 3-disc player--comes the wonderful A Christmas Together, by John Denver & the Muppets. Freakin' awesome. A favorite of my entire family.

This afternoon while I paid bills and cleared magazines out of the living room, Miracle on 34th Street (original B&W of course, but sadly chopped up for commercials) was on the TV. I'm excited that the totally corny movie The Christmas List will be on this week--even though I have to record it because they're airing it at some ridiculous time. For some reason, the stop-motion animation stuff (other than Claymation) never really spoke to me. The Heat Miser starts singing and I'm totally turned off. I know they're widely loved, but I can't explain it so please don't think less of me!

Is there anything special you must listen to or watch at this time of year? Please share!


If You Have Little Kids, Send Them out of the Room

Yesterday was a special day at school. There is an annual community Christmas tree trimming where the kids bring in ornaments to put on a tree which will go in the main hall outside the school office. If the older kids had younger siblings, they accompanied them and helped them hang their ornament together, which is kind of cute. The student band played carols and we sang (some silly middle schoolers shouted). And of course a certain saint whose feast happened to be yesterday dropped by (I suspect it was an eighth grade teacher who wasn't sitting with his class) and all the kids went crazy.

On the way to an appointment after school, I was listening to the afternoon hosts on a New Jersey talk radio station that I can pick up in my car. The discussion was about their disagreement with a blogger who said that she did not want to tell her kids about Santa Claus because it was lying. One of the hosts was vehement that one should never stop believing in Santa, and there was a hilarious exchange between him and a 12-year-old caller who seemed to be trying to tell him it was O.K. not to believe anymore after a certain age (which of course made the host upset and convinced the kid was being mistreated by his parents!).

I don't want to get into that whole lying debate.

But it did get me thinking about the year I "found out."

Younger Sister and I had made a new friend in the neighborhood, and one summer day we were playing over at her house. I forget what we were up to, but somehow we wound up rummaging around in her parents' bedroom closet. It turned out that her mom was one of those early shoppers for Christmas, so we came across some things that our friend identified as Christmas gifts.

Then she stated, off-handedly, "Yeah, she always hides the presents in here. That's how I found out there's no Santa Claus."

Cue the sound of glass shattering in my mind. "Oh."

She sounded so mature, in her casual matter-of-fact delivery of what was really a shocking blow to the innocent childlike air surrounding me, and made me feel like not only a total dummy but also a bit babyish.

Did I mention she was in third grade and I was in fifth (albeit I'm on the young end of the grade)?

I went home with my world completely changed.

I didn't realize until today that that meant Younger Sister was in first grade--so did she maintain the illusion another year or whatever, just so she'd get presents? (I could see that; she's very pragmatic. This is the kid who finally came clean almost two decades later about how she got a concussion at age four because she didn't want Mom to get angry upon learning her baby girl fell while attempting to break into the medicine cabinet!) Heck, maybe she knew even before that incident at our friend's house. I'll have to ask her if she remembers.

At what age is it supposed to change? I admit that I feel a bit embarrassed that I was a late "disbeliever." Were my parents supposed to break it to me, and they just couldn't do it? My older brother or the kids in the schoolyard? I wonder if there's any right answer to these questions.

In any event, even nowadays as a thirtysomething, there are moments I wish I could be adamant like the radio show host and say, "You never stop believing."

This kind of cheered me up, though.


Checking in

Well, I'm alive. This week was a blur but that might have been all the cold medicine, because of course when you get together with your family, your niece and nephews are sniffling and sneezing all over you while they smother you with their adulation. So Younger Sister and I both went home from Thanksgiving with leftovers and a bit of a cold. That's right, there was a span of about three days between the end of of the Strep Throat Blues and the start of the Thanksforgivingmethisrotten Cold.

That said, the photo printer worked wonderfully and even Oldest Nephew, when he finally arrived (don't get me started but it's not his fault), jumped right into the poster-making like old times. That part was way fun.

This is the end of the marking period at school, and of course I'm still not used to grading things, so I haven't been keeping up--and now I have quizzes to grade this weekend, and I have to get in early on Monday to enter grades in the system and make my first attempt at uploading final grades. Yippee.

I'll get into this a bit more later, but it has become practically my #1 goal not to be sick again for a long time.

There's more catching up to do, of course, and there's a blogiversary right around the corner, so stick around.

I think there are good things coming up.