Thursday, September 18, 2008

A case of the blahs...

Today is shaping up to be a pretty bad day. And it's only 8:47am. Nothing particularly horrible happened, you see; just a chain of events that are getting under my skin. It doesn't help that I appear to have awoken on the wrong side of the bed. Except there's only one port of entry and departure on our bed.
Maybe it's all the sleep I'm missing from these horrible and bizarre dreams I keep having.

We're having an especially judgemental and white-glove wearing family member over for dinner tonight and I have to pick up something to cook and take my mom to the grocery store, clean the house and oh, there's about 4974 things I need to do at school. That's annoying to begin with.
Then, when I dropped Olivia off at school, I was getting weird vibes from people there. Maybe it was just me.
Naturally, I walked into a pile of crap at work and had to get straight to it instead of easing in by reading blogs all morning.

I've written a Sincerely 'Fro post but the photos are on another computer so that will post later tonight. After I'm not so ornery. I hope.

Monday, September 15, 2008

They are of what you make...

I keep having dreams that I'm having an affair. With the most random and sometimes repulsive people.

First, I had a dream that I was sneaking around with John McCain. Really? John McCain? That's the best my subconscious could come up with? Then, I had a dream that I was fooling around with the maintenance guy at my Mom's apartment complex. The man is nothing short of a troll and he really doesn't like me as a person.
How come I never get to dream about celebrity hunks like my boyfriend, George Clooney or even Bill Clinton?
Up next in my dreams: Former NY Governor Spitzer! It's that gross.

In related dream news; I'm trying to figure how to stop a reoccurring dream. For 8 years I've been dreaming about my childhood best friend. We didn't really leave off on bad terms; we just sort of stopped being friends. And while I made peace with that relationship long ago and feel nothing but positive feelings about that person now; clearly my subconscious has some unresolved issues with that relationship.
My dreams usually consist of sneaking around, doing bad things and running or hiding from people. Which would pretty much describe a day in our life circa 1997. My dreams featuring her are usually incomplete when I wake up and on more than one occasion, I've tried to force myself asleep and back into the dream just to have a conclusion but it's always futile. I guess that's consistent with the way we left things 8 years ago.
The point is, I wake up slightly distressed and sometimes sad. And after 8 years, I'm tired of it. Even though the logical resolution to this problem is to put closure to this old friendship but in waking life, I feel like I've got closure. Besides, I've never been one to follow logic. So how do I stop these annoying dreams? There must be a way.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ok - here's the thing....

My blog seems to be suffering from a slight case of schizophrenia. One minute I'm consistently writing about my life and family, the next I'm writing an organizing and craft blog and now she's turned into a hurricane blog. I like to call this being "well rounded".

Here's what I have to report: (I've got to get a job with Channel 7 News) Tropical Storm Hanna's outer bans (daymn - I'm fancy) are skimming us in South Florida. It's a little breezy with some good gusts and some scattered rain. Basically, a typical Winter day. (Oh, it's Summer?) Hanna is expected to go North and run into land somewhere along the Eastern coast. That's helpful.

Hurricane Ike? The flocker that's a Category four and churning away in the Atlantic? I can't really answer that question for you. The local news is constantly interrupting vital programming like Days Of Our Lives and People's Court for updates on the tracking of Ike. Their main message? We're in the middle of the 5 day Cone of Death but don't panic yet. Then, on their "Weather Blog", they go on and on about how the chances of an actual South Florida landfall for Ike is only 10% so don't run out and invest in Zephyrhills water or throw up your shutters yet. And when I stayed tuned in for the 11pm advisory tonight, they did a whole 10 minute segment from Home Depot about buying plywood and batteries and flashlights and water and you'd better be prepared now because Ike is a-comin' and we ought be scurred.

You can understand why I vacillate between ultimate panic and bright optimism.

I like to believe I'm a generally prepared resident of South Florida. I have a hurricane box that I pull out which contains batteries, flashlights, grill-safe cooking supplies and things of that nature. I keep a good stock of water all summer long and in the event that we're in the 5 day Cone of Death, I buy extra and usually include essentials like Starbucks Frappacino 4 packs and bacon.
In the event that we end up in the middle of the 3 day cone and Ike remains a BFH (Big Flippin' Hurricane), I'm coming to terms with the fact that I will evacuate. Not because they'll make me but because I have no desire to relive Wilma - let alone anything worse. Where am I going? I don't know - due North somewhere - like Hanna.

I'm either going to be up to my ears in water and tuna fish or feet don't fail me now to Kentucky. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rut Roh!

The good news is Hurricane Hanna is not expected to make landfall in South Florida this week. The bad news is, Tropical Storm Ike is expected to be a hurricane by Saturday and make landfall somewhere around South Florida. On Sunday. Which is Olivia's birthday and when we're scheduled to have a pool party. Last night, I sat Olivia down and discussed the possibility of having to postpone her party for one week - until the following Sunday. The news was nothing short of devastating and Earth shattering to an almost 8 year old girl. I know that she understands the meaning of postpone and certainly can compute the concept but you'd think we just told her she can't have a party, her puppy just died and I'll never let her wear knee-high socks again.
This is the peak of hurricane season and we've really been quite lucky in the past to have never had to cancel or postpone her birthday due to a hurricane or even inclement weather. Even though I've rolled the dice every year for the past 7 years and held her parties outdoors.

In addition to Hanna and Ike, Josephine is right behind although so far, it looks like it's going to stay out into the Atlantic and not threaten any US Coastlines.

Everyone in South Florida sort of gets this overwhelming feeling of exhaustion around this time of year. We're tired of our weathermen (and women), we're tired of schools closing, we're tired of standing in line at Publix for water and ice and we're really sick of "near misses" and "lucking out". That's not to say that we're not generally grateful when a storm ignores us, it's just that we always seem to be within the "Cone of Uncertainty" (or as I like to call it - the "Cone of Death") and have to prepare. Not only is it unbearably hot right now but there's always Hurricane Drama. No wonder why we're always so cranky.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What Would You Do?

Three years ago, Hurricane Wilma ripped through our County and destroyed many things in it's path - one of which was my office. Our home - which is only 8 years old and was built with very strict building code - shook with such horror that my picture frames were crooked after all was said and done. I can remember when the worst of it blew through and I called family members who were 40 minutes away and warned them of what was to come. For months, I had nightmares of the whistling of the wind and banging of my shutters. I will never forget how terrifying it was to live through those moments. Hurricane Wilma was only a Category 1 when it made landfall. Since then, I have vowed to never, ever stay put if anything greater than that ever threatened us.
This weekend, my thoughts have been consumed by Hurricane Gustav, it's Category 3 status (for now) and it's likely path to New Orleans.
I asked Danny what he would do if we were the target of Gustav or another hurricane of it's capacity - would he stay or flee? Naturally, I answered before he could - I would run, run, run so far and so fast that heads would spin. I would drive to Dallas or New York or even Vermont; all places we have family, if I had to but under no circumstances would I stay here. At first reaction, Danny said he'd go, too but then changed his mind and said he'd stay. Excuse me? He said he'd want to protect our home and things from destruction and most of all, looters. He's always so paranoid about robbers and looters. I told him he could stay if he wanted to but he'd be alone. He tried to convince me with promises of beer and my Mom but I'm pretty sure my Mom would be in the passenger seat of the truck as we drove far North.

I take this opportunity to ask: What would you do in a situation like the fine people in New Orleans? Would you be like me and run as fast as the wind or would you be more like Danny and stay to protect your property?

As Hurricane Gustav roars towards the Gulf, I join the entire Nation in positive thoughts and prayers tonight.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Well, THAT was an anti-climatic ending!

So - only three people responded to my Great Card Giveaway of 2008 so all three people get cards. Two of whom have already received cards from me. If you're new here or just usually lurk and would like a card or two, please leave a comment or send me an email and I'll gladly share. That's how many cards I have.

I did some shopping in preparation for the long weekend which I fully intend on spending by making more cards. I felt like it took a long time to make a set of 4 so I decided to actually track it to see just how long it took. Turns out it takes two hours to make a set. That's a lot of hours! (My husband is going to send me a nasty email when he calculates the hours. That time could have been spent washing dishes.)

Six more hours were spent today. Take a look:

This was an adorable polka dot scrap paper I had. I was slightly distracted while making this set but when I came back to take the photo, I was pleasantly surprised by how they came out.

It's hard to see in the photo but this paper is pearlized (because I am fancy). There was a lot of loose glitter used on this set. I'm not sure how I'll ever part with any of these cards.

(Do not pay any attention to the bottom right photo which is upside down. Ahem.) This was a fun set. All the paper came from the same book so it was super easy to coordinate accent colors. I was pleased that I had embellishments on hand that went well with the theme.

Thanks to the (mere three) wonderful participants in this year's Great Card Giveaway!

Friday, August 29, 2008

And I don't even mention the DNC & Barack Obama's Speech

I've never discussed politics here for several reasons; the first being while I watch the news and consider myself a person who votes with knowledge, I don't know a lot about politics. The second reason is it's controversial. And I'd rather have people talking about me because of my exposed 7 year old boobies than my stance on politics. Simply for the record, I will divulge that I am a Democrat and think Hilary Rodham Clinton was robbed.
When it comes to local politics, I know even less than I do on a national level; which really is a shame because we all know it starts at home. However, when it comes to education and the way it's run in my community, I'm in the "need - to - know" category. (As in: I need to know everything.)
My child goes to a privately funded and operated charter school within the Broward County School District. I chose to send my child to a charter school for so many reasons - I cannot possibly list them all but public school here, in my opinion, is less than adequate. I was raised in public school and despite my klassy disposition and brighter than the stars intelligence (what? Stop laughing - it wasn't that funny.) , it did me no good. In addition to my own experience with public education, I've watched many of my family's and friend's children struggle and fail to thrive within the public school system.

Located just South of Broward County is Miami Dade County and their school district; the 4th largest district in the country. Miami Dade County School District's (MDCSD) superintendent is Dr. Rudy Crew. Let me tell you, Dr. Crew is in a heaping load of hot shit. Recently, the state's capital handed down educational budget cuts of historic proportions - mostly due to a "Penny Tax" which promises to lower property taxes by $200 per home over the next 10 years. These budget cuts were a serious problem for MDCSD because they were already up to their ears in debt since bringing on Dr. Crew in 2004. This week, Dr. Crew was asked by the board to balance the district's budget and come up with a plan that everyone could agree on. However, during this balance project, Dr. Crew and his team figured out that the school district was not $66 million dollars in debt as previously thought but $88 million dollars in debt. His reasoning for the astounding debt? He "over-spent" - that's what he says. Here are a few highlights from his "plan" to balance the budget:
1. Eliminated 254 teachers who are part of the bilingual programs (Spanish and Creole).
2. Eliminating 88 career specialists.
3. Cut paid Christmas recess days for teachers and staff.
4. Eliminate assistant principals for community school programs.
5. Require administrators to substitute teach one day a month.
6. Eliminate 24 audio / visual clerk positions.
7. Take 22 million dollars from the district's "Rainy Day Fund".

What he did not suggest was reducing or forfeiting his $700,000 salary. He's willing to cut hundreds of jobs in addition to the hundreds of police officers, janitors, cafeteria staff and teachers who were already cut over the summer; but he's not willing to take a pay cut for himself.
How do you propose cutting teachers who are part of the bilingual program in a county where 70 percent of the student body's first language is not English? As for cutting paid Christmas recess days for teachers and staff; I would expect Dr. Crew will be included in that plan, too. But he wont.
My biggest gripe is taking $22 million dollars from the "Rainy Day Fund". This withdraw will leave only 4 million dollars in the fund. For the entire year. For the entire county. Which is the 4th largest district in the US. When Hurricane Wilma ravaged through Broward County three years ago, Broward County School District lost $2 million dollars in food from the lunch program alone. That money was replaced by their "Rainy Day Fund". There are three tropical storms in the Atlantic as I type and we're not even half way through hurricane season yet. To say that MDCSD would be extremely venerable with a mere $4 million dollars in the fund is a gross understatement. The slightest emergency, need or unexpected funding would leave the district completely, flat broke. Living - on - the - street - begging - for - money - on - the - side - of - the - highway - broke.

Even though my child is not a victim student of MDCSD, I consider myself an advocate for equitable and decent education for all children. I'm simply blown away by the enormous insubordinate and neglect this Superintendent has shown this board, the county and poor souls who attend MDCSD.

All I have to say is: God Bless Charter Schools.