Thursday, December 31, 2009

My sister's wedding




You can see the rest at www.joneckard.com, then click weddings, then "Laura and David".

Top 10 of the decade

*Let's all just pretend that I didn't stop blogging for a month.

Seems to be pretty obligatory that I write this post, and as I start writing it, I only know 2 or 3 things on the list. I'm guessing the rest will flow. I'll start off by just saying what I was up to 10 years ago. I had been away at school for 5 months, ASU, and I was home for Christmas break. I was 18, very studious, and extremely messy (sorry Allison). Instead of ranking my top 10 in order of importance, I'm doing this chronologically.

1: I figured out who Carmen is. I really needed to get out on my own and make some mistakes, and pay for those mistakes before I figured out who I am. I started doing that in college, year one, and I suppose I still am...although I have a pretty good idea these days.

2: Started a lifelong friendship with Allison, who became my roommate and best friend about 7 months into the decade. I talk about her a lot on this blog, and you can read her list here. She just got engaged, and I'm tickled for her.

3: I developed a work ethic, which has held steady, and I also learned that not only do I not have to think inside the box....there actually is no box. This discovery really enabled me to come into my own.

4: I started teaching, taught for 4 years, then quit teaching. All 3 of those things were good. Quitting, maybe the best now that I think about it. Of course 112 teachers lost their jobs in this county this year, so had I not quit, I'm not sure I would have a job anyway.

5: I got my dog. I always used to think that people who never shut up about their dogs were dumb...I mean, it's just a dog. But then I got Bertha, and she made my whole life better. Every day, she cheers me up a thousand times, and tells me what she is thinking about just as clearly as some English speakers I know. I love her, and she changed my life.

6: Got married and divorced. Again, both good. I really learned a lot about myself and human nature during those 3 years. I hurt my ex husband, and I regret that, but there are things you can't learn in school, and I learned them in that marriage. People, don't get married at 21.

7:  I moved to Hickory. I lived in several towns growing up, and I was determined to settle down. I really like it here. Clearly, I'm surrounded by people I like, and I've also learned what people to avoid.

8: I met Jon Eckard, then I married him, almost that quickly. What followed has been the best 2 1/2 years of my life so far.  I can't explain all the ways that he has changed my life, but he has. I love him very, very much, and I'm tickled that I get to keep him forever.

9: I had sort of a natural revolution, where in I simplified my life and cut out most chemically based additions to it. I still drink coca cola though, although I know it isn't good for me. Things are better since I've done that, and I have overcome most of my ailments.

10: I fixed my relationship with my dad. It took approximately 2 decades to screw up, and one to fix. It is a lot easier to be a happy person when you're on good terms with both parents.

I realize this is kind of a boring list, but I assure you the decade has been a doozy.

I feel like I am standing on wonderfully solid ground, and I'm ready to face many more decades. Unless the world ends in 2012.

Happy New Years!

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Website

I made a new personal website. I had one before, but I decided it was ugly, so I made a flash one. It is a little self obsessed, but since it is a personal website, I'm good with that. If you're bored, let me know what you think...pretend you don't know me, and it is your first impression. I think it does a swell job of summing up my personality visually, plus it points you to my trivia website, Jon's photography site, my blog, and some different social networks.

So, without further ado...click here!

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

Well, I guess lots of things have happened since the last time I talked to you guys. One of those things involved my eye exploding.



Clearly, it didn't really explode...but it was terrifying.  It has now been 10 days, and it is almost back to normal. I woke up 10 days ago and saw a little red when I was brushing my teeth. Then, I pulled my eyelid up, and nearly passed out. Now, this has never happened to me, and I was scared. I woke up Jon, and it freaked him out too. I was heading to school, so I stopped by the nurse. She said, "It may be fine, but go to the doctor as soon as you can." When I got in class, the kids were all, "Mrs. Eckard! Your eye looks so much worse today!"

Wait a minute...worse? I asked them what they  meant, and turns out, it actually went bad on Thursday, and I just didn't notice. How do you not notice that?

So, I call the eye doctor, and I talked a person, who asked me questions like "does it hurt" and made me an appointment for later in the day.  The answer, by the way, was not really...it was uncomfortable. It was dry, and it felt like it was a little swollen, but there wasn't actual pain. Except the pain I felt from looking like a total freak, and that was pain, let me tell you.

Have you guys met me? Do you know how vain I am? Do you know how much I hated being ugly ugly for over a week?

So, I go to the doctor. I went to Graystone in Hickory, because they're the best for eyes, apparently. I was in the building for less than 30 minutes. The doctor was in the room with me for less than 3 minutes. He said, "You're fine. It's like a bruise. It will go away. Nothing to be done. Go home." And then the receptionist was all "That will be $210." Seriously!!! $210 to say "Go home."

Being fine was good news, but I was kind of bitter that they didn't do anything and it was so expensive.

All my friends were so cool...acting like they hardly noticed. But I knew they were lying. I was proven right when I went to teach 3rd grade. Every single student asked about my freakish eye, and they couldn't stop staring.

Anyway...it is mostly better now. It's a little discolored, but it looks yellow or brownish, not blood red. I'm giving it 2 more days before it should be back to normal.

Moral: If you wake up with a freakishly red eye, but it doesn't hurt, save your $210 and Google "Subconjunctival Hemorrhage". On Twitter, @Bradhaas tried to save me some money, but I was too freaked out to listen. I should have. Thanks anyway, Brad.


Also, side note: What happened to spell check on blogger? I can't find it!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Monday, November 02, 2009

75Things About Me (Because my old list was, well, old)

1: I am Carmen Nichole Eckard.
2: I try to stay exceedingly positive, and most of the time, it works.
3: I'm married to Jon Eckard. He is awesome.


4: My dog is Bertha. She is almost creepily human, and I love her way too much. She is completely spoiled but if you met her, you wouldn' t blame me.

5: I can't work just one job. Way too boring. I need variety.
6: Also, I'm not good with bosses.
7: I host trivia. I do that at Beef O' Brady's in Hickory on Wednesdays at 8, and Buffalo Wild Wings in Hickory on Mondays at 6:30. More on that. Also, in that same vein, I host karaoke now and then, and I really like that too. More on that.
8: That husband of mine is an exceptionally talented photographer. Don't believe me? Look for yourself: http://www.jeckard.com/ I have the honor of working with him. I'd be hard pressed to give myself a label...manager/secretary/assistant? That might work. And, I've even been learning how to be a better photographer.
9: I also substitute teach. I used to a  drama teacher, but that didn't work out so well (see number 6 and then consider how many bosses a school system has). I liked teaching kids, but I did not like the school system, and often teachers acted ugly to the "Specials" teachers (Art, music, drama, PE). Substitute teaching is great because if a teacher is mean, I don't care. And if I do care, I never have to go back.
10: I'm super sensitive. I will cry at the  drop of a hat, and I am always aware of the vibe in a place. Those things have their ups and downs.
11: My best friend is Allison. She makes maps and keeps a swell blog. She also lives next door to me, and comes to trivia mostly every week. We've be friends for 13 years, which is the longest I've kept in touch with anyone that I'm not related to. We were college roommates, and I love her very much. Her blog: Anybody Want a Peanut. (Picture is Allison singing karaoke)

12: If you knew that Allison's blog name was a Princess Bride reference, I like you more now. I love that movie.
13: My other friend is Matt. I'll keep those 2 for life. I'm not sure what to say about Matt here, except that it is exceedingly comfortable to hang out with him. And, he is "Our" friend, which is so much better than having Carmen's friends and Jon's friends. I tried to find a picture of him smiling, but as soon as my camera comes out, his smile goes away.

14: I'm getting really excited about the concept of having a baby someday soonish.
15: I love the internet, and I love fooling around with websites...Partial list of sites I keep up:
16: Fall is my favorite season.
17: Any shade between red and orange...that's my favorite.
18: I love wood...I like to be surrounded by it, and all my desktops, gmail, igoogle and twitter all have woodgrain.
19: My family is awesome. Mom and Dad split when I was younger, and the result is I have 2 families to like. The first, my mom's side:

That's the whole extended family...from the left my smaller family starts with person #13 and goes through Jon. My step-dad is a pentecostal preacher, and my mom is back in college to be a deaf interpreter. My sister is getting married in 2 months!
My dad and his wife deal in dogs...they sell natural dog food, show their dogs, and occasionally breed them. I think it is awesome that they make money doing things they like...just like me. This is them:


20: I also completely lucked out in the in-law department. My in-laws treat me like their own daughter. I can't find a picture of us all together...but that's everyone...Don, Evelyn, and Brother-in-law Thad.


21: I am totally and completely proud of my mom for following her dreams and going back to school. Also, I just like her. I genuinely like to talk to her.
22: My dad and I used to have a really crappy relationship, but now we have a great one, so no harm, no foul.
23: It's nice to not have Daddy Issues anymore.
24: I recently quit wearing makeup. I may not look quite as cute, but a: I feel better. b: I save 12 minutes every day. c: I can wash my face anytime I want. d: My skin cleared up. e: I feel lovely.
25: I lean a little towards the liberal side. I can totally be friends with someone who leans towards the conservative, but not if they want to talk about politics all the time.
26: I like to be right, and I often am.
27: I've got crazy book smarts, but it didn't occur to me that it wouldn't matter in the "real world".
28: I really like sitting on my couch.
29: I don't like alcohol.
30: I've "screwed up" a lot in my life, but I'm so happy. So, I guess nothing was really a screw up, because it all taught me, and shaped me, and helped me be in the right place to meet the love of my life.
31: One of those "screw ups" was a marriage at the age of 21. Some people may be grown up enough at 21 to get married, but I wasn't, and he wasn't either. I don't think I've ever talked about all that on my blog, and I don't think I will now either. It lasted 3 years, and I'm only now letting go of some of the guilt. Some. I still feel pretty terrible about it all, but only when I think about it. And, I'm selfish, so I just don't think about it too much.
32: I totally think that being selfish is OK. You have to make yourself happy, because no one else can make it their life long priority.
33: OK-I'll talk about it a little bit. I couldn't escape the feeling that he needed so much and I was completely inadequate. I mean, I could try, but I couldn't help him, enough, ever. And then, I started sinking down with him. At the end of it, I felt so completely drained, like I didn't even know who I was and what I wanted. It was the worst time in my life. It was much worse for him. And Oh My God the guilt I felt that I let him down...that I couldn't hold him up and keep him going. And then the guilt with the thought "Maybe I could have held him up longer" but at what cost? Every ounce of my own happiness? I couldn't. I am, at times, emotionally crippled, and I cannot always be the strong one in the relationship. I need to be taken care of, at least sometimes.
34: That whole shenanegan led to me actually searching myself, and figuring out who I was, and what I wanted. Kind of an important step in life. So, things are better now.
35: I carry around crippling guilt in regards to several things...I'm working through that, and I'm glad, because it was going to kill the real me.
36: I have to be the real me. I'm not good at anything else. And if I'm living for other people, how do I pick who I'm living for? And how am I supposed to know what someone else expects? No thanks...I'll do it my way.
37: It took me 27 years to get to that place, and I like it.
38: I throw a GREAT party.
39: I'm an excellent cook, and I love cooking for people.
40: I'm embarassed by how much I check my email and Twitter. I'm also embarassed by how seldom I check my phone.
41: I am not modest. I don't see the point. The world would be better if everyone knew how awesome they are.
42: In all my life, I've never dated a non-creative person. There have been actors, and poets, and artists, and musicians, and finally, a photographer. I couldn't live with an accountant.
43: I'm messy. My brain is a little cluttered, and when given the chance, I keep my surroundings that way too.
44: It is intentional. I know you don't think so, but my mess is intentional, and I know where stuff is.
45: I do, however, live with a very neat person, and so I've made lots of efforts to be neater in my house, and my car. If you want to truly know me, though, just look in my purse.
46: I'm more comfortable with a microphone in my hand, talking to 100 people than I am one on one, talking to anyone outside of my very small friend circle.
47: I know so many people, and I like most of them, but I save the title "friend" for only those very closest to me.
48: I am so good at keeping my cool. Unless it's my husband, then I lose my cool about 10 times faster. At this point, he's the only person who's opionion really matters to me, so I hate it when he's mad at me, or when I've irritated him, and I lose it right away.
49: Tedious tasks, especially computer type tedious tasks, don't bother me. I just try to take it one minute at a time.
50: It is hard to stress me out.
51: It is hard to piss me off.
52: If you do, you won't like it.
53: When I have PMS, I feel like there is an alien in my soul. I know I'm being crazy, and I know it is PMS, but somehow there is nothing I can do about it.
54: I'm a little too emotionally driven.
55: A personality test reveals that I am an "Spontaneous Idealist". Or, an ENFP (extrovert, intuitive, feeling, perception).
56: Personality test generated adjectives: spontaneous, enthusiastic, idealistic, extroverted, theoretical, emotional, relaxed, friendly, optimistic, charming, helpful, independent, individualistic, creative, dynamic, lively, humorous, full of zest for life, imaginative, changeable, adaptable, loyal, sensitive, inspiring, sociable, communicative, erratic, curious, open, vulnerable. All true.
57: I'm fun.
58: My IQ is kind of ridiculous, but I don't often feel smart, so I'm confused. Also, once you get out of school, no one cares if you're smart. It's such a change, and it is so rapid, and I felt a little cheated. I got over it.
59: I've kind of ignored my bad traits. I do that. It helps me to be happy. They include: impulsivity, messiness,  stoic stubborness, the unrelenting idea that I am right, and if you disagree with me, you must be wrong, A mouth that never stops, resistance to bossiness, neglecting to follow through, and I cave way too quickly to pretty much anything I want.
60: I'm not so good at follow through. I come up with great ideas, but then I get bored halfway through and abandon it. I tend to completely follow through only with my most awesome of ideas.
61: I have never met a stranger.
62: I crave, love, need attention. I know that isn't a good thing, traditionally, but it works OK for me. The trivia and the karaoke take care of that jones.
63: Another snipit from my personality test: "This personality type is a keen and alert observer; they miss nothing which is going on around them. In extreme cases, they tend to be oversensitive and exaggeratedly alert and are inwardly always ready to jump. Life for them is an exciting drama full of emotionality. However, they quickly become bored when things repeat themselves and too much detailed work and care is required. Their creativity, their imaginativeness and their originality become most noticeable when developing new projects and ideas - they then leave the meticulous implementation of the whole to others. On the whole, Spontaneous Idealists attach great value to their inner and outward independence and do not like accepting a subordinate role. They therefore have problems with hierarchies and authorities." I just read that a second ago, and giggled because I'd already written most of those things in this here long list.
64: I'm a Virgo, so I should be really neat and anal. I'm not. I am bossy, though.

65: I will watch an episode of Family Guy even if I'm busy and I've seen the episode 4 times.

66: I also love King of the Hill, Southpark, Glee, United States of Tara, Weeds, Tosh.O and the Colbert Report.
67: I'm reeeeeeeeally good at multi-tasking. I thrive in chaos, and noise and distractions don't bother me too much.
68: Nothing personal, but I don't care if you like me anymore. That's kind of freeing, and it goes hand in hand with letting go of the guilt.
69: I keep overbooking myself and wearing myself a bit too thin. It's been an ongoing problem my whole life. I usually get it all done, and just end up a little stressed. But sometimes, I disastrously let all of the balls fall and hit me right on the head. Ouch. I'm trying to let go of that a bit.
70: I'm happy. Happy like I've never been.
71: Growing up, I had a real jerk for a step dad (I only say "Jerk" because I've made an effort to make this a totally vulgarity free zone). I spent a lot of time rolling around in the misery of that, and then I realized that I was just giving him power in my life, even though he hadn't been in my life for 15 years. So, I just stopped rolling around in the misery. And then I realized that I have somehow (brilliantly, if you ask me) forgotten him. I literally cannot conjure a single specific memory of him. I'm not sure, but I think that means I win. For his apart, he loses for sure. He has 3 daughters and a step daughter who do not like him, and basically have to be forced to speak to him. So yeah, he loses.
72: Step-dad number 2 is a keeper. He's nice, and a Penecostal preacher. I will say it is a little difficult to gain a Penecostal preacher for a step-dad at the age of 15. That was exactly when I wanted to start doing things I probably shouldn't have, and he was always there to be strict. But honestly, I know how unstructured and "follow your bliss"y I am, and I probably would have gotten into A LOT of trouble if that man hadn't been so strict with me. So, thanks Ted. Although seriously, I hope you don't read my blog.
73: It is possible that the strict Church of God upbringing and the scads and scads of guilt may be related. Maybe not...but when I was young, I was taught that thinking of something was just as bad as really doing it. And I was taught that sin is sin is sin...no matter what. So, in my little 6 year old brain, if I thought about stealing a candy bar, then it was the same as if I did, and I was pretty sure that meant I would go to Hell. Unless, I felt reeeeeally guilty about it for a while, then confessed my sin. And then, when I was 13, and had horomones raging through my body (and man did they rage...I'm still guided around by those dumb horomones), I was convinced that thinking about sex was just as bad as really doing it...and I couldn't stop thinking about it. So, imagine the guilt. 
74: I've had this horrible hair my whole life...all frizzy and curly and drab. But this year, I figured out how to work it and I love it! And by "how to work it" I mean, "Leave it alone." As long as I just let it dry without pulling it back, or touching it too much, we're in good shape. Honestly, though, I still love a ponytail.
75: I'm awesome. You should totally hang out with me. (And, I'm a completely shamelss self promoter.) I haven't always been awesome. Only here lately, since I've let a lot of hangups go. In college, I was a total wreck. So, be glad you know me now.




Friday, October 30, 2009

For visual reference: Meiko

Thoughts on Jewel and Meiko

So, last night my sister and I went to Durham to hear an acoustic Jewel concert. Upfront, I'll say that I looooved Jewel's album, Pieces of You, when I was in high school. It was the soundtrack to my life, I'd say, for a couple of years there. After that CD, though, something changed with Jewel, and probably something changed with me, and I didn't like her new stuff. This concert was billed as an acoustic, mostly old song kind of show. So, I was super stoked to hear all those old songs that I love.

I was disappointed, but it isn't Jewel's fault. It was certainly unfair of me to hold an artist to something she did 15 years ago. She has grown and changed, just as I have. Unfortunately, the things that I loved about her aren't the same. I loved her simplicity, and her honesty, and the raw emotion that came out of her effortlessly. I loved her soulfulness. I loved that she always came across as a little nervous and a little insecure. She isn't so simple today. There seemed to be a lot more flourish to everything she did. The songs didn't seem as honest now, but she is 15 years removed from the events that caused her to write them. There were a couple of moments where the emotion came through, but even when it did, I felt that it was a little forced. Soulfulness seemed to be replaced with watered down commercialism. She wasn't at all nervous or insecure...in fact, I was pretty sure that she thought she was the best singer of all time. And all that is fine. People love Jewel, and she is certainly allowed to do whatever she wants. But, it just doesn't jive with me as well now.

But, the night was not a waste. I discovered Meiko.



She did seem to have all those things I loved about Jewel back in the day. She was honest, soulful, humble, simple, and clean sounding. She was also nervous and charming and precious. I'm pretty sure I'll be a fan for life. I met her after the show, and I told her that I enjoyed her more than Jewel. She thought that was a bizarre thing for me to say...as Jewel is a big star and what not. But I didn't believe Jewel anymore, and I totally believed Meiko. I wanted to hang out with Meiko. I wanted to buy her a glass of wine, and bury her in compliments.

I didn't even want to meet Jewel. So, I guess the point here is people change...I change, Jewel changes. I'll keep listening to my old Pieces of You CD, but I'm buying Meiko's CD too. I probably won't buy anymore Jewel CDs, but she'll always remind me of who I was in high school.

So, Meiko, if you should ever read this, know that you are awesome. And that you shouldn't be quite so nervous or scared, because you're adorable and talented. I expect for you to be huge.

And Jewel, if you should ever read this, we had a great run, some real good times. I'm glad that you have been able to grow so much musically, and explore all sorts of different music. The world is better for it, but I just can't personally get into it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Eerie Commercial

AT&T commercial from the early 90's:


Dude! We can totally do these things!!




I realize that I haven't blogged in a million years. I didn't even talk about how much fun I had at the beach, or Oktoberfest or anything. Sorry about that.

Life is good. I'm happy, but busy. I'm back to subbing all the time, so life feels busier. We bought an awesome camera that will help our lives a lot. That has been terribly exciting. Soon, I'll show you pictures I took. Honestly, I didn't use the new camera, and I won't very often. I'm using Jon's awesome Canon 40D, because now he has a better 5D. But, I've never used a camera as swell as the 40D. So, I'm a happy girl.

Also, I'm sharing music I dig with you. :) More soon.

There is much love for you, my dear readers.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Carmen, what are you up to?

I get asked that a lot, and my friend Liz told me my blog has been a big boo lately, so I'm going to answer the question here. Mostly, I'm up to all the same stuff, but with a shift of focus.

I'm doing the trivia. You guys know that...its Monday at 6:30 at Buffalo Wild Wings and Thursday at 8 at Beef O' Brady's. That's going really well, and it helps to keep me busy. And let's face it: I love the attention.

I'm working with Jon. His business is taking off, and he's rising to the challenge beautifully. It turns out, in regards to his business, there is LOTS for me to do, so I do it the best I can. You can see the stuff we've worked on lately at www.joneckard.com. This is where the focus shift comes in...this is getting a lot more focus, which is translating to dollars, which is a good thing. So, yay!

I've got my hands dirty at the Art Museum still. I'm working on a project that I can't share quite yet, but it is huge, and will be smoking hot awesome. And-they're opening the newly renovated auditorium in the Salt Block building, and I can harly breathe, I'm so excited.

Speaking of so excited: People! Where the Wild Things Are is opening on October 16th. And there are previews all over the TV. That means for about a minute of every hour that I watch TV, I'm holding my breath at the beauty of that movie. It brings little tear drops every time I see the preview.

Here is where I ask for your help: If you hear some people talking about how they need a photographer, why don't you tell them about us? We need clients, so it would be a perfect situation!

Also, something that is irritating me: People complain all the time about how we're losing so many jobs in our country. I know. It sucks. But those same people shop at Wal-mart and buy mostly products made in China or Indonesia. If we want to have an economy, and have jobs for Americans, at some point we're going to have to start buying mostly American goods. We are the consumers, and we have the power. Am I wrong here?

In other news...I added my favorite music to my sidebar, so that if you're bored, you can hear some beauty.

Sorry that there are no links. I'm on an older computer right now, that won't let me switch to Compose mode, and I don't want to code a million links in HTML.

But: Art Museum-www.hickorymuseumofart.org
Trivia-www.triviawithcarmen.com
Photography-www.joneckard.com, www.jeckard.com, www.hickorybrides.com

And, one of my favorites-www.peopleofwalmart.com.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Am I a "Bleeding Liberal"?

I don't really think so. I've been accused of such here lately. I don't think that I am a bleeding liberal just because I believe that quality health care should be available to all Americans, not just fortunate Americans.

I'm not trying to be radical here. We are a blessed nation, but the gap between rich and poor is nauseating. I believe that we, as fortunate people, have the responsibility to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

The way things are is bad. It's very precarious. What if you lose your job, like thousands of others, and therefore your health insurance? So, you try to get more, but you can't afford it because you lost your job. Well, then, what if you break your leg? You're out at least  a grand for an emergency room visit. What if you get Cancer? You're screwed, you know?

I'm going to tell you a true story about one of my best friends. He was 22. Now, I honestly can't name a single 22 year old boy that has health insurance. You're kicked off your parents at 21, and most fellows aren't quite responsible enough, or well off enough, to buy insurance until at least 25. He woke up in the hospital one day. He had an aneurism, and thank God he lived, but he was saddled with HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of dollars in debt. How is a 22 year old supposed to face the rest of life, and have any shot at succeeding, with that kind of debt?

We trust our government to educate our children. People, they could be teaching them anything in there, and you wouldn't know. But you trust them, for the most part. And if you don't trust them, that's fine. You can home school, or put them in a private school. But, and this is a big but...there are controls. Education is regulated so that no child, in theory, can grow up in the US without an education. (Those controls aren't failproof, and we all know that. Determined people can get around most anything.)    If we didn't have public schools and regulations, what would our education look like? Like Ancient Rome, where only the rich could go to school?  We would have a country full of ignorant poor folk, and arrogant, rich, self important people. Why can we not trust the same government to help with this health system fiasco? It is very similar. If you don't want to be part of it...you wouldn't have to. You can keep your insurance. You're unharmed. Except that now your insurance can't drop you if you get sick. And now, there are all sorts of safeguards.

Why should anyone who lives here and contributes to society have to choose between food and important medicine? Did you know that every year, 700,000 people file bankruptcy  every year because of medical bills? In France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Canada, o people file bankrupt because of medical bills. The US has one of the worst infant mortality rates of all the industrialized nations...6.8 deaths per 1000 births. Sweden has 2.4.  So even though we pay out the nose, our care is worse. It's because it is so unregulated. The system is a big mess, and there isn't one cause, but it has to be fixed.

In a discussion, a friend told a story of how she was in a room with a big group of women and their children, and the children were filthy, and the mothers were trashy, and she was upset that she worked to pay taxes to help them. I totally understand that. I really do. It is frustrating. But, are we supposed to just let those kids fall through the cracks? Because if we don't help them, they will grow to be nothing more than an even bigger strain on the system. If there weren't insurance available to those mothers, those children would likely die at very young ages, due to lack of nutrition, immunizations and total lack of education on their mother's parts. So as annoying as it is to pay for those children, is  it better to just let those children suffer? I think, absolutely not. Absolutely not.

We all  pay taxes here. I guess at the bottom of it all is this...some people want a government that is as uninvolved as possible. I'm not that person. I think our government should exist to help us.

I voted for change. Maybe that in and of itself is enough to qualify me as a bleeding liberal.

Facebook buddies...if I could remember how to not have this blog entry forward to facebook, I would. I don't want to stir this issue anymore between you folks. But I wanted to get it all off my chest. Let's keep it clean in the comments.

One more thing. I've heard a lot of people say "Why does everyone care that someone shouted "You Lie" when people talked bad about Bush all the time?"  Let me break it down. People can say any fool thing about any fool person they like. We have that right. But when you sign on as a Congressman...an elected position that is revered and esteemed...you lose that right. Well, not even that. Congressmen can even say whatever they want for all I care. But they can't yell it out on a highly anticipated and publicized Joint Congress Session. There are rules to that sort of public life, and that was clearly against the rules. I don't care what he thinks about Obama. There is still a certain amount of respect that one must give the office of President. This is not the same as an Iraqi throwing a shoe at the President, even if that is a terrible insult in Iraqi culture. An Iraqi is not obligated to respect our President. A Congressman is.

Fin.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wow. Congressmen are so Mature and Kind.


This is ridiculous. I'm speechless about it now. See Biden in the background, just shaking his head? I'm embarrassed that this guy is from the South.

Check out the looks from these 3 the second after it happens:
The look the Prez, VP and Speaker gave Joe Wilson on Twitpic

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Obama's Speech

Why were people so upset about this? I don't get it.

**My blog posts to my Facebook account, and when this posted, people had lots to say. I thought the different viewpoints were interesting, so I'm sharing a few here: (Commenters 1,2,4 and 6 are teachers.)


XXX


I wish I knew! Most of the parents that didn't want their child to listen to our President will let their five year old watch R-rated flicks while in their care. It is completely ridiculous.
about an hour ago · Delete




xxxx
supposedly (I say that because I have never seen confirmation for or against) this is a revised speech, and people were upset over the first one......I am disappointed with the study guide that came out from the whitehouse....it was supposedly (again non-confirmed) done by teaching fellows, so it should have been of much better quality then it was.......
about an hour ago · Delete




xxxxx
It was not about the President addressing the students. Presidents in the past have done this (although George HW Bush was tarred for it by Richard Andrew "Dick" Gephardt the Democrat House Majority Leader. The issue with O'bama arose with the after speech assignments that was leaked. Some of the assignments would have the students write an essay ... Read Moreon what they could do to help the president pass his agenda. No matter what your political views, or who is the President, that would cross the line. As always though our memories only last as long as the current administration.
about an hour ago · Delete



xxxxx
well, that explains the lousy lessons that were slapped up by the whitehouse.gov website.........
about an hour ago · Delete




xxxxx
The big deal is this: This president has pushed and pushed things through that have been detrimental to the economy despite warnings, and he is trying to push ths health care thing through, not listening to the majority of Americans. He has some really marxist smelling ideas as well as friends. People have a hard time allowing their children to listen to someone they do not trust. Too bad it would be the President of the United States... Listen.
about an hour ago · Delete




Four years ago it was "Un-American" to question the President. Now the current President can't even make a speech without this hyped up controversy. Detrimental to the economy? Where is your proof? Marxist? Are you serious, or just drinking the FOX Cool-Aid? Remember wire-tapping and torture? That's what sounds un-American to me. I have 3 children ... Read Moreand was glad for them to hear the speech today. It's completely irrational to believe that Obama did anything today except give a pep talk. I also think the comments made here about helping to "pass his agenda" are exaggerated. And regardless, none of those lesson plans were mandatory. No GOOD teacher would put a political spin on anything he or she assigned regardless of personal politics.
26 minutes ago · Delete


Or, see it here, with any additional comments. You'll have to have a facebook account.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Our latest wedding

I think this one is the best we've done. Jon took all but say 6 of these, but I helped! I swear!

Click here to see the splendor!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Being Happy

One leg of this whole being happy journey I've been going on involves reconnecting with nature.

I was born in 1981, and electronics have pretty much surrounded me my whole life. When I was a kid, there were some woods behind my house, and I loved those woods. I would play in the woods for hours, all the time, and I was truly happy. When I was 11, we moved from that house, and I had no woods at my disposal until recently. Sad days. I didn't realize during this time how much I needed the beauty of the woods, and I drifted further and further from the person I am, and my place in this Universe. So, things went badly.

I am very fortunate in that my husband's family has a beautiful spot in the mountains. There is a house, with a hottub, but the best part is the 14 acres of mountain woods. That I can play in. Whenever I want. Without anyone else coming...that's the key. I could have gone to parks all this time, but I don't want strangers intruding on my play time.

We spent last weekend there. I recentered more powerfully than I ever have before. I could feel happiness rolling off of me in waves. The more I looked, really looked, at all the beauty around me, the more unavoidable the happy was. So, here I stand, centered and blissfully happy.

Jon and I went treasure hunting. It started out innocently, as we were walking and happened upon these beautiful mushrooms:



The purple one fascinated me so much because it was so so slimy. Later, I found a purple one the size of my hand, pristine and just oozing with slime. I dropped it when I tripped on a root, and it broke. It was the only sad moment of the weekend.

So then, I was fascinated by everything I found. It was ridiculous. We found these treasures next.



First, the deer skull, with one antler. The other side of the antler was on the ground next to it, chewed by some small hungry animal. Then, there is that crazy fungus guy...it's purple, and looked like no mushroom I've ever noticed before. We found several turkey feathers, and saw 7 wild turkeys each morning when we woke up. There is a tom, with 6 hens...lovely. The white mushroom was so perfectly formed I had to pick it. I also found a blue stick. I was totally confused about why the stick would be blue, hanging out in the woods, but 2 days later, I figured it out. I found a half blue stick, with tiny blue fungi growing all over it, and where there was fungi, the wood turned bright blue. And then my favorite thing:




I love this piece of wood. It was from a fallen tree. The tree was huge and old, and had supported so many tiny animals in it's life. So, the tree falls and this piece of wood breaks off. So, you would think that was the end of the road for the tree, right? But nature is awesome. Turns out that a slowly rotting piece of dead tree is the perfect host for this fungus. Which is so pretty! I don't know what it is, but it just represented how everything works together for me. I thought, while I looked at that, of one of the pieces of very old advice in a post I wrote earlier. If you haven't read that, go read it now, then come back. Specifically, this piece of wood reminded me "You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should." And people, that is such a good good thought to me.

I'd end this post with that thought, but I have more treasures to show you. After I found all the beautiful mushrooms, I decided to make a tiny mushroom garden for Jon to photograph. So I spent a completely silly amount of time. creating my garden. I think it was worth the time. Do you agree?







My drinking glasses are Smurf glasses, covered in mushrooms...I couldn't shake the thought as we were doing this that it would be the perfect place to catch a little Smurf. Hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as I enjoyed finding the treasures in them!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Last Weekend, Part 1


Jon and I played in the woods like we were little kids. It was beautiful, blissful, fabulous, etcetera. We found lots of treasures, and I got possessed to build a little mushroom forest. Then this caterpillar showed up. I have lots of pictures to share of the whole extravaganza, and I'll post them so soon. Wouldn't that picture be the best place to live if you were a tiny fairy?
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Be my fan, please!!!

Trying out this fan page thing on Facebook. I'd feel better if you were a fan. I'll make it easy:

Trivia with Carmen on Facebook


And while you're at it:

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Yogurt. God bless it.

A couple of months ago, my mother-in-law gave me an old yogurt maker she had. At that point, I'd been buying Greek yogurt at the store, and it was expensive. But it is so luxurious. Thick, creamy, and perfectly tart. It is wonderful with fruit, granola, honey...you name it. It's also good in a wrap with peanut butter and honey. You can use it as a substitute for sour cream. To do that, you just let it drain in a coffee filter for a few hours. If you hang it in cheesecloth and hang it for a few days, it makes a yogurt "cheese" that you can use in dips and even cheesecakes. You can add garlic and herbs and have salad dressing or dip. And, today I'm making my first frozen yogurt.

But I digress from my point.

I started making yogurt with this maker. It's easy, and I save a lot of money. And for breakfast, there is always fresh yogurt, with blueberries or some other fruit. It's perfect for Jon and my skittish tummies.

I'm going to tell you how to make it. And don't worry...you don't have to have a maker. Let's talk about that part first. The main goal is to find a spot where you can keep the mixture at about 110°-115° undisturbed for 6-8 hours. Options include:

1: A heating pad. You can put your mixture, covered, in a cooler with a heating pad on top of the mixture.

2: A dehydrator. I doubt you have one...I do, but it is mostly a waste of space. I'm currently trying my first batch in it. Seems simple enough...you put the container in the dehydrator on high.

3: A yogurt maker, following their directions.

4: Hot water: You'll need a thermometer. Place the cooler or pot in a place where it will be undisturbed. Place the jar with the yogurt milk in the cooler. Now fill the cooler with water that is 120°. Place a couple of fluffy towels over the cooler or pot.

OK-let's talk about our mixture.

First, take 4 cups of milk. I use whole organic milk. Heat it, boil it about a second, then stir a lot as it cools down. Homemade yogurt will be runnier than you are used to, unless you add 3/4 or so of powdered milk. Aldi's has my favorite, so far. You can skip it, but you will either have runny yogurt, or you can put it in a coffee filter for a few hours to drain and thicken it.

First variation, coming your way...if you're doing plain yogurt, skip this part. If you want sweet yogurt, add about half a cup, maybe a little less, to this hot milk. And some vanilla. Stir it every once and a while, until it hits about 120°.

Now, you're going to add culture. Yogurt is a bunch of live cultures, so you have to have starter, which is just yogurt. Once you've been making it, you just use some from the last batch, but you'll have to buy some to start. I like the Greek versions. Oikos, Chobani and Fage are good. You don't want flavored yogurt, or sweetened...and make sure it says "contains live cultures" on the package.

You're going to mix in 2 big heaping spoonfulls. It is best to take the yogurt, and a little of your milk mixture and put them in a jar and shake shake shake. Add that to your milk mixture and stir. Put it in a jar, or whatever sort of container you're going to incubate.

After that, 6-8 hours in a warm spot. To check and see if the yogurt is done, tip the jar slightly and see if the milk flows or stays put. Remember that the yogurt will thicken even more as it cools in the fridge. If you see clear whey when you tilt the jar, the yogurt is as done as it's going to get. Save some at the end, so you can make your next batch.

I forgot to mention fruit...most people add things like fruit or syrups at the end. I like to put blueberries on the bottom of the cups before I make it. I find it gives the blueberries a really delicious, hard to explain flavor. When you buy fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt at the store, they put a fruit syrup in the cup before they incubated the yogurt.

If you make any, let me know what you think. Any questions? I'll answer them the best I can.

Oh-I also forgot to mention probiotics. Anytime you take antibiotics, you need to take probiotics afterwards. The pills kill all the bacteria...good and bad. There are lots of little tiny guys in our bodies that need to be there...they help us digest, and help our bodies work in lots of ways. But, after your dose, they're all dead. You can go to the Vitamin Shoppe or GNC and get some in pill form, but yogurt is a wonderful natural way to do it. So, after a bout of antibiotics, make you a big batch of yogurt, and eat up. Your body will be happier.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Weddings and the 80's


This is our latest wedding. It was a very fun experience all around, and I think Jon and I are really getting the hang of working together. It's nice when it flows, and usually, it flows.

In other news...on Saturday night, I'll be hosting karaoke at a very awesome 80's party that you can come to. It's at Beef O' Brady's around 9:30, $5 at the door. But the best part: you HAVE TO BE IN COSTUME. Which means everyone there is singing and drinking and all dressed up, which is typically hilarious. So, get a costume, bring $5, and party like it's 1987.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Trivia Rundown

For anyone who is interested, here is my schedule, with brief summaries.

Monday Nights: 7:30 at Buffalo Wild Wings...this game is called 7 on the 7s. There are 7 rounds of 7 questions, with a bonus question at the end, and the questions are shown on the televisions. I also read them out loud. With this game, I have a little more freedom, because of the technology. Prizes are 100 free wings for 1st place and 50 wings for 2nd and 3rd. We give a bucket each round for the high scorer. It has a t-shirt or hat, BBQ sauce, some sort of glass, and some other doo dad. On the first Monday of the month, prizes are $50, $25 and $25 in cash.

Wednesday Nights: 8:00 at Beef O' Brady's...this game is Trivia with Carmen. It has 5 rounds of 11 questions, plus a final round. Rounds are themed: Music, Movies, Sports, Current Events, and one random round a night. Prizes are $15 gift certificate for 1st place, $10 for 2nd and $5 for 3rd, plus winners are pictured on the website http://www.triviawithcarmen.com.

Thursday Nights: 8:00 at Beef O' Brady's...this game is Pop Poker. Each team is given 5 playing cards. There are 4 rounds of 8 questions, and they are all pop culture related. If a team gets half the questions right, they can return a card and draw another. If they get the most right in the round, they get a wild card. After 4 rounds, the highest poker hand wins. First place gets a $15 gift certificate, and second gets $10. Afterwards, we have karaoke, and the most entertaining performance gets a $5 gift certificate.


I love it when my friends, or people who just read my blog, come to my games. I hope I'll see you there!

*All locations in Hickory, North Carolina.

Mutant Corn

I shucked this corn and found a teeny tiny baby corn in there. The baby corn was delicious, but the big one wasn't very good at all. I thought it was interesting enough to share. That is all.
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weddings and Trivia

So, Jon and I just got back from a real whirlwind of a weekend. We shot a wedding in Charlotte, and it was actually very fun, although terribly exhausting. I took the picture above, and I was impressed, so I'm sharing with you! Also, we went to Ikea!!! I'd been waiting for months. It was overwhelming, and hard to manuever, but pretty everywhere you looked. Once we get the pictures finished, I'll post a link.

Also-geez-I forgot to mention...

I'm hosting trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings! Yes, BWW, the biggest and busiest hang out spot in town. Monday nights at 7, starting tomorrow.

We are so fortunate to make all of our money doing jobs that we love, and created for ourselves. We are blessed.

Also, working this wedding with Jon was smoother than ever. We are starting to read each other better than I ever thought possible. I love my husband more and more every day. And, btw, we're getting so much closer to being able to have a tiny Eckard around. I'm so excited about that.

Matt kept Bertha while we had the wedding. Bertha LOVES Matt. He's part of her pack, because he hangs out with us all the time. She has a special whine she saves just for when he comes over and doesn't pet her fast enough. This was the first time I've ever picked her up that I didn't think she was totally desperate for me. She was pretty content with her Matt, who takes her every where and spoils her as much as we do. She's a happy dog. Thanks Matt!
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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Michael Jackson (sheesh)

OK-first, let's ignore the fact that I haven't posted in weeks. I will briefly say that I've been going through this self discovery period in my life, and it has been wonderful, and I have learned much about myself and the way I interact with the world. I will be much better for it. However, it was mostly introspective stuff, not things I care to post for the world...so, let's just be content with skipping the blog coverage in the last few weeks of my life. A lot has happened, but I want to talk about Michael Jackson.


Don't get me wrong. Thriller (album, not just song) is perfection. Really, it gives me goosebumps, every time I hear it, though out my whole life. And it came out when I was 1, so believe me when I say 'though out my whole life'. Simply put, the world was given lots of beautiful music by this man.

But...to say that Bad was his last good album would be pretty right on. And that came out in 1987. My sister, who is of legal drinking age, was born in 1987. So what has he been up to since then?

Well, In 1993, when I was 12, allegations of child molestation began to surface. Also, reports from his own camp that he bleached his skin in some silly contraption. Oh-and he married Lisa Marie Presley. That was weird, right? Then Debbie Rowe, a plain jane nurse? Just to have a couple of kids through some convoluted process that everyone was confused about, then he divorced her. And do you remember when he dangled his baby over the balcony? And kept his kids faces covered at all times? And had at least 12 surgeries so that his face looked more alien than human? And then the second round of child molestation...and the shocking verdict of "Not Guilty"? And how about his very public running out of money? Come on...the man who owns the Beatles songs, plus royalties to all of his own? Remember when he said that his only spending money came from the sale of llamas from his ranch. And geez-he spent millions on a ranch, turned it into an amusement park, and named it Neverland! And do remember on that documentary when he said that he should be able to share his bed with little boys? Jesus Juice, anyone? Did we all forget what a nut job this guy was?

In this weeks Time, there is a photo timeline, and you can actually see his face melting and warping as the years go on.

For the last 2 weeks, there has been the stupidest media storm about this man. After 2 weeks, I still can't go more than 3 channels on the TV without seeing his alien face. And even with all this going through my head...even with my dominating thoughts about him my whole life being simply that he is a nut job...I find myself stopping on those channels, and listening to "Billie Jean" one more time.

But believe me when I say I am disgusted by this. Mark Sanford is a lucky, lucky man. Perfect timing for an affair, if you know what I mean.

But, I was able to swallow it all, and accept it. I figured it wouldn't hurt anything if we are all left with a favorable impression of the man. That's so clearly what this is all about...a huge media blitz so we only remember the music, and not the crazy. And then Al Franken had to open his big, stupid mouth.

"I am here because of the disgraceful and the despicable way some elements of the media have tried to destroy the legacy and image of Michael Jackson."

"You have had other entertainers that have had issues in their life. But you [the media] did not degrade and denigrate them...Show the same respect for Michael and Michael's family that you showed Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley."

"I don't think the media understand who Michael was. I don't think they have any cultural significance."

He's upset because the media didn't kiss Michael's behind enough? Are you kidding me? Has he not been watching TV? There hasn't been this kind of media frenzy since Princess Diana died. That man is infuriating, infantile, and out of touch with reality.

Now, you're probably all "Come on, Carmen, the man made 'Thriller'." I know. I covered that early. I love that album. Now, you're all "But he had a hard life...no childhood...child abuse." I know. But happiness is an inside job. We are responsible for making our lives livable, and for grasping happiness. This man had limitless resources to help himself. And instead of seeking therapy, or finding some good way to channel his pain, he publicly went insane. Then stayed that way for years. I do not have it in myself to mourn for him. You do not take your pain, and then turn it into pain for others...for countless little boys...and assume that is alright. You do not get to do that.

And that memorial service was disgusting. Oh boy-I wish I could have won tickets! Isn't that weird, people, to "win" tickets to a funeral?

Vomit, vomit, vomit. I wish this brainwashing of the public to remember him some certain way would end. I will remember that he was a crazy, child molesting, alien faced musical genius. I hope you will join me in this memory.

On the other hand...this is probably exactly what the man would have wanted. He always wanted people to talk to him, and he didn't seem to care if it was good talk or bad talk. So, here I am, feeding right into that. I'll stop now.


On other topics...life is swell, people. I've made a conscious decision to spend at least 95% of my time being happy. It's already had a great effect on my life. At some point, I think I forgot that we could pick our thoughts, and that thoughts are what make us feel certain ways. Once I remembered, I just started picking good thoughts. I like it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

If you're not doing anything tonight...

I'm starting a new game at Beef O' Brady's tonight at 8. I hope that even with the last minute heads up from me, you'll still be able to make it.

If you can't make it, I'll share details here later.

I'm super excited, and I think this new format will be wonderful.

Beef O' Brady's, on 29th avenue, Hickory, NC. There are directions on my other website www.triviawithcarmen.com. I hope I'll see you there. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Complete text of the best advice I've ever read.

When I read the document I posted earlier, I am amazed to find it the best advice I've ever heard. It touched me very deeply, and I think it will help me to be a better person. I think it would help anyone be a better person, but it is exactly the kind of person I want to be. It's hard to read in the picture, so I typed it out:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter: for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly to counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Found in Old Saint Paul's Church, Baltimore MD, 1692

Found in Old Saint Paul's Church in 1692


This was hanging on Lori's fridge. It's a reproduction of some papers found in Old Saint Paul's Church in 1692. My favorites are: "Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection" and "You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars: you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God" and "With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy."
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Baby Bird!


I stopped by my friend Lori's house today and she had this tiny baby bird and ready to hatch egg! I totally wish I could have stayed long enough to watch the hatching.
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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Proud of my Mama and other various assundries

So, I've mentioned that my mom is in college, studying to be an sign language interpreter. She's good. She's always had a big dramatic streak, which she clearly passed to me. It makes for some durn good interpreting.

Apparently, her professors all agree. She was chosen for a scholarship that they give to the rising Junior of their choosing. So, she'll get money this year and next year for school, because she's awesome and the right people noticed! Isn't that cool?

In other news. . . I've been on pain killers for days and my head is more than a little fuzzy. I'm just going to shoot out some unconnected nonsense your way, and you can just gather up whatever you want to take away from it.

I saw my friend Michael from high school. I haven't seen him in 10 years, and it was lovely to get reacquainted. It was nice to catch up, but mostly, it reaffirmed to me that I have really just always had this exact same personally. I've grown and matured, but I'm still the same old girl. I find this comforting.

Karaoke is being moved from Saturday to Thursday. Awesome. I am officially reclaiming my weekend. Sweet. Any ideas, though, for a fun pop culture game? I think I can choose between another game or karaoke...I'm thinking about it.

I'm going to see Titanic at Hickory Community Theatre tonight. They're going to sink a ship on stage. I'm excited about that. For some reason, though, that place has lost every single bit of it's magic for me. And people, I'm all about magic. So, I'm kind of sad about that.

I've hardly been working at all here lately...I used to get calls every day for schools, but for the last 3 weeks, nothing. They make teachers say a month ahead of time what school they'll miss, and there aren't any workshops, so not much need for teachers. Yesterday I actually worked. When I signed in, I noticed I was the only sub for the day. I mean, usually, there are 5 or 6, or even 10 on somedays. I wasn't in any condition to work yesterday, but with no calls for 3 weeks, I really felt the need to go in. The day went pretty well until recess. I know these kids pretty well...taught them all last year, and they're great. This one kid fell on the playground. He split his head right open, within 5 seconds of us walking in the playground gate. So I left my class with another teacher, and this kid and I start walking. He is screaming...high pitched, short little shouts...kind of like he was in labor, but much more shrill. "Heee Heee Heee Heee", and good Lord is he bleeding. As we're walking, huge drops of blood are trailing behind us...each drop is bigger than a quarter, and we're leaving these drops every 6 inches or so. So then we were back in the school, hurrying down the hall, leaving our pretty trail, when we hit a traffic jam-3 kindergarten classes. One down both sides of the hall, and one class lined up in the middle. They're all waiting for the bathroom and the water fountain, and they see the blood. And now, tears from the kinders. But, the sweet kid with the bloody head has started calming down. Now, he's sobbing, clinging to me as we speed down the hall. Finally, we make it to the nurse's office. Not there. In my years of teaching, this is what I've learned. When you need the nurse, she won't be there. It isn't ever her fault...and that kind of goes across the board, all the schools I've worked at. It's not just this one nurse...it is all of them. They spread them too thin, and they're never there. But, the school secretary always is. FYI-the school secretary is the real boss. And I'd work for this one, Faye, any day. Very lovely lady. She took over at this point. I called the mom while she calmed the kid, someone else called custodians for our blood trail. After all the hysteria calmed down, the kid and I chatted while we waited for his parents. The blood let up some. He probably has stitches by now, but we had wonderful conversation. He wanted to know all about stitches, whether or not they hurt, if I was scared when I got mine...precious kid. And tough. He kept it together well.

I got to see my dad on Sunday. That was cool. He took fly fishing lessons in Boone, and I went up to have lunch with him. My dad and I have a lot in common and it is fun to see him.

I wish that my mom and my dad both lived in my town. My in-laws live here, and that is wonderful. I think it would be swell if by the time I had babies, the babies had 3 sets of grandparents around Hickory. But. . . that's still in the future.

I think that's enough of pain pill influenced Carmen for the day.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Ouch

Monday morning I got my wisdom teeth taken out. I am a big fat baby when it comes to my teeth. Something (maybe the pain pills) has this effect on me that basically makes unstable, and I've cried approximately 2 times an hour since I got home. Not because it hurts, even. Just because I'm kind of crazy. Poor people around me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pictures for you!

I'm still not really feeling like writing, so I'm just going to show you pictures of what I've been up to, with the most minimal of explanations. In no particular order:


My mom is currently in school, learning American Sign Language, to be an interpreter. She is awesome at it, and it doesn't hurt that she has a pretty deep dramatic streak. At her school (UNCG) they have a competition like American Idol, but with sign language. She ended up coming in second place, which was outrageous. She and my sister were actually far a away the best, and people were surprised and even quite irritated by the result. But, she was awesome. Camera wasn't doing well from far back. She and my sister performed "I Can See It Now" from Hairspray.



My dad has puppies...I've posted a few pics before, but I visited and got more.



We went to the cabin. It was the bees knees.



We're dogsitting Nikki. Nikki is insane a little bit. She watched TV intently, and runs around in circles barking and whining every time and animal comes on. One of these pics is her watching TV with Jon.



We have a wedding this weekend at The Peacock Inn. We went to scout it out, and it is a farm too! At the wedding, we won't spend much time with the animals, so I took pictures then.