Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Weekend of Sickness

I keep trying to write in this thing but it doesn't happen often enough. This weekend I am sick. I started feeling sick on Friday but I went to school. I had no patience with my students. Poor things. I am feeling better right now but still weak and achy. I was supposed to hang out with Sarah today but we couldn't risk it with her low white blood cell count. Hopefully I will be better by Monday for my students' sake and so that I can hang out with Sarah.

So, as long as I can remember I have been prejudiced FOR black people instead of being prejudiced AGAINST black people. I distinctly remember writing a story in 5th grade for the TAKS test in which I named the main character, Rodney, so that they would think I was black. I also used to love to watch American Gladiators and I also rooted for the black contestants. I suspect that my deep love of black people is rooted in my wonderful experiences as a child with our black babysitter/maid, Betty. Anyway, because of my love of black people, I have a soft spot for the black kids in my class. There is one kid, "Vince", who I just really like. Obviously he's black.

I am also a big fan of playing and watching sports. "Vince" is an incredible little athlete. Several kids in my class are clearly better than the others at sports but "Vince" puts them all to shame. He is just incredible. If he does not end up on the wrong path, I could totally see him as a professional athlete one day. He is also very funny. He can do backflips so I asked him if he took gymnastics. He said that he didn't. I started calling him "Gymnastics Boy." One time he was acting up in class and I called him on it. To which he replied, "Me, Gymnastics boy?" It was super cute.

There are a lot of clues that "Vince" has a rough home life. I don't know that he's being abused but he doesn't seem to be well taken care of. Lately he has been making some strange comments about me adopting him. He sometimes refers to me as his mama and says we are about to sign the adoption papers. This is definitely strange no matter what. But it is a lot more strange given my history. I have thought for a long time that I might end up adopting a child someday. I don't exactly know under what circumstances but I know that there are many kids out there that need someone to care about them. I was also once given a prophecy that I would have two kids of my own and then have another kid that I don't give birth to. I am not sure that is what will happen. The weirdest part about this is that upon meeting "Vince", I thought that he was the type of kid I would like to adopt. He is likable and good at sports. What more could I ask for? I obviously never told him this but it makes his adoption comments even stranger. I really don't think I am supposed to adopt "Vince" right now. I am not prepared to take care of a dog right now, let alone a kid. It still is something to think about.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Working Weekend

I am still a bit of a blogging slacker. I say that I will try to update more but we'll see if that actually happens.

Sarah update- Her white blood cell count is getting low. She definitely seems to have less energy. It's hard to see her not acting like her usual self and unable to do as much as usual. I am sure it is frustrating for her. She is still able to disguise her hair loss with thick head bands but that obviously won't last long. It will be hard when she is first bald. I am sure we'll all get used to it. I wish we didn't have to.

I had a full weekend. On Friday night I went to a high school volleyball game followed by a high school football game. And no, I am not a weirdo. I went to see my Young Life kids. The volleyball team they played was all black. That is why I was confused when an adorable old couple came into the gym wearing the other's teams' shirts. It seemed odd that a little old white couple would be die-hard fans of an all-black high school volleyball team. Soon, we discovered why. The old man came up behind the coach and whispered in her ear. She turned around and very obviously mouthed the word, "Grandpa!" Apparently they were the coach's grandparents. They were just so cute and even brought her dinner in a plastic sack.

It was homecoming so there were mums aplenty. For those of you not familiar with mums, they are fake chrysanthemums that are decorated with ribbons and teddy bears, and other random things. I saw one that had a huge teddy bear on it. I think there should be a law against having something on your mum big enough to hug. Three out of the five girls on the Homecoming court had been to Young Life. I thought we had pretty good odds of having one of our girls as queen. But alas, some girl I didn't know won. Our girls looked really pretty and it was fun to see them with their dads. One girl's dad had a sweet mustache. I have come to appreciate a good 'stache.

Then on Saturday, I had stupid teacher training all day. It should be a crime to make people stay inside and learn about stupid teacher crap when the weather is nice. I realized that I have only been around for changing seasons once in the last four years. The other times I was in Maui or Bangladesh. I forgot how nice it feels. It makes me want to play outside and ride around with my windows down. I think I will even enjoy cold weather for a few days but I will soon be feeling too cold.

On Sunday, I finally went to church. I hadn't been in a few weeks. I am glad I went. I had been lazy. I am at that point where I know a few people by name but I don't know anyone well. I also don't like the worship that much. But I love the diversity and I really like the pastor. He is so intelligent. I think I will keep going. I am sure if I can just stick it out, I will feel more at home.

Then I went to the Art Festival with Sarah, Katie and my parents. It was cool to see all the art. Unfortunately most of my favorite stuff was over $1000- not really in my price range. My mom was really cool and bought me a small painting/picture with a bamboo-looking frame. It remind me of Maui and makes me happy. I can't wait to go visit in November!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Too much training

Complaining alert. Be prepared!

I found out this morning that I have an all-day new teacher HISD training to go to on Saturday. I hate trainings on Saturdays! I wanted to go to the Houston art festival that day but now I guess I will go on Sunday. At least HISD trainings are usually so big and boring that you can read a book or grade papers in the back without getting in trouble.

After finding out about Saturday's training. I was told that I must also attend another training all day on Wednesday. And then at 2:30 I was told that I have to go to some training tomorrow as well. That is far too much training!!! Three days in one week! I stayed late at school today getting everything ready for a sub. I just hope these weekday trainings are not full of cheesy stuff where we have to act like kids. I am so over that. I let you know how they all turn out.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Emotionally Athletic

This weekend Sarah and I, along with many of her loved ones, participated in the Race for the Cure. They walked a 5K, while I ran it. I was impressed that I actually ran the whole way.

All these race things have lots of free stuff, though you have to get there early to maximize it. Sarah's sister-in-law, Thama snagged a mini gelly boob with a lump. I totally missed out on that one. If you are a breast cancer survivor, you get even more free stuff. Sarah counted as a survivor even though it would be a lot more accurate to say that she is surviving.

This event was much larger than the bike ride some of us participated in about a month ago. There were tons of people there. Many were wearing the pink t-shirts that signified that they were breast cancer survivors. It was cool to see so many women who had survived but it was a bit weird since they were almost all at least 20 years older than Sarah. She is now a part of a club made up mostly of much older women. It doesn't help that Sarah doesn't even look 26. I think she could easily still pass as a high school student.

At the finish line, they have the survivors separate from the rest of us and go down a special path. They hand them free stuff and cheer for them. It was hard to watch Sarah separate herself from us and walk alone down the survivor path. It seemed very symbolic of how we all want to help her and be there for her but there are certain parts she has to walk alone. Ugh.

When I was running, I ran by myself. Actually I ran with thousands of people but I didn't know any of them. When I was running, there were several times when I almost broke down and bawled. I think these cancer benefit things will be a lot easier when Sarah is healed. They seem really hard if you have lost a loved one or have one who is still not out of the woods.I am not so sure I can do another one anytime soon.

These events have signs where you can write who you are racing for. They are a great way to honor or remember someone but seeing them is a big part of what makes the experience so emotional. I wore one in honor of Sarah and one in memory of Mrs. Pilgreen. She was the mom of my friends, Lee and Erin. I didn't have the chance to get to know her well. But I know she was a really fun woman. I also know how hard her death has been on her husband and four kids. You can't help but wonder why some people die of this and some people are fine. I wish I could just do a certain number of breast cancer benefiting athletic events and Sarah would be guaranteed to be okay. Unfortunately that is not how life works.

One woman had about eight people on her signs. She had listed a sister, three aunts, three cousins and an uncle as survivors and victims. She herself was a survivor, as well. It seemed clear that her family carries the breast cancer gene. How terrible that this disease has killed and sickened so many of her relatives! Sarah recently got tested for the breast cancer gene, herself. The doctors don't think she has it since no one else in her family has had it. They want to test her because it is so unusual for her to get it this young. They are sending her blood to Utah and she should get the results in a couple of weeks. We have been joking about how the Mormons are testing her blood. I think it's because they are so into genetics. Please pray that she does not have the gene because it will mean the chances of the cancer returning are very high. It also means her kids, esp daughters would have an extremely high chance of getting breast cancer.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I am a bad blogger

So, I have been terrible at updating this sucker lately. Life is pretty full lately. I haven't even had enough time for my stress relieving work-outs. I am running in a breast cancer 5K this Saturday and I hope I don't collapse with a charlie horse like that woman Yvonne on Golden Girls. That reference was for my friends, Erin and Jocelyn.

Breast cancer seems to be everywhere these days. It's so weird that Sarah gets this disease right before breast cancer month. We try to pretend everything is normal sometimes but it's hard when they are shoving those pink products down our throats. They even have breast cancer m&ms. I am not anti-pink products but it definitely makes it hard to pretend Sarah doesn't have cancer.

Speaking of pretending, I sometimes pretend that my little brother, Andrew is not in Iraq. Sometimes it is easier to pretend that he is off at some training in the mountains of Washington than in the line of fire in Iraq. Today I stopped by my parents' house to pick up some mail. I went into the downstairs bedroom and I saw my brother. It wasn't actually him but a life-size cardboard cut-out of him that Shella had made for a friends' wedding. It scared the crap out of me and made me feel a little sad. Life will be easier in January when he is back safe and sound. He will also be in Colorado in the winter so I can go snowboarding. Bonus!

I have been meaning to write about last weekend. Sarah and I drove to Austin to relive our glory days by going to a UT game. The trip started off a bit bumpy like most areas of my life these days. We stopped at our usual stop- a great little gas station/college paraphenaila/scrapbooking store/knick nack shack/kolache bakery called Hruskas. We noticed that Sarah's parents were there. They were also on their way to Austin. In my excitement to surprise the Stojaniks, I locked my keys in the car while it was running. This was the first and hopefully last time. It makes sense that it would happen during this period of my life. Sarah and her rents didn't make me feel dumb and even chipped in to pay for the mechanic guy to inflate my window open with a blood pressure cuff thing and unlock the door.

We got tickets to the UT game from a scalper. I hadn't been to a game since I was a student five years ago. I was almost giddy with excitement. There was burnt orange as far as the eye could. Just beautiful unless you are an Aggie, of course.

Unfortunately the game didn't go so well. Colt McCoy through an incredible four interceptions and the Longhorns generally stunk it up. At half time, it started to sprinkle. Sarah and I decided to be hardcore and stick it out. We laughed at the wusses that had to go inside the stadium for cover. Soon we weren't laughing anymore. We were completely drenched. We feared for the safety of our electronics and sought cover with the other wet, slightly stinky fans. The rain let up and we went back out to watch the Longhorns continue to stink it up. It was still fun. It started to downpour again right after the game. Sarah and I sought refuge in a dorm until we happened upon some lovely UT ponchos. Then we trekked back to our car. Not my perfect game but still fun.

The worst part about the rain was that it made Sarah's hair fall out worse. She is at the stage where she can hide it with a large headband but she is trying to hold onto as long as she can. The rain did not help that mission. It was really hard to see Sarah going through this. We knew it was inevitable but that doesn't seem to make it easier. As lovely as Raquel, her wig is, I think we all hoped deep down that she would never have to use it. No such luck!
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