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So, Saturday was my first 5k. Not my first 5k since being sick, but my first 5k. As in Ever. And yes, it was brrrisk out. Snowing and all of 17 degrees.

I am NOT a fast runner. I mean truth be told, some power walkers might outpace my “jog,” but hey, it’s my heart and it feels so much better to me when I jog versus walking.

I told everyone that if I finished in 45 minutes I’d be happy. My goal was to finish the whole thing running (no run/walk for this girl, thank you!), not a set time.

Well, how about finishing, running the whole way, in 43 minutes 10 seconds? (Yes, all you who follow on facebook that is a difference – there was a glitch in the official times on race day, apparently this is the real time – even faster than I’d thought!) Suh-weet! And, I finished 494th out of 1,000 runners, so I made the top half! And now I have me a really cool t-shirt too.

My friends above are all from church – the 5k was for CSU’s homecoming and we’d planned on running with some of the folks from our campus ministry; however, only one of the students actually showed. Anyway, the gal on the far left is my age and the HS cross-country coach I ran with the week before the race. She and the guy next to last in the pic came back for me after they’d finished. They found me at about the 2 1/2 – 2 3/4 mile mark and ran the rest of the way with me – encouraging me and not only cheering me on, but engaging the spectators to cheer me on too! They’re totally awesome like that. And in much better shape, I might add.

Thanks be to God for His healing in my body – this never would have been possible without Him.

I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.

© 2009 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

So, last month I stumbled upon the astrology site Words for the People, and it had words that spoke to me, a down-in-the-dumps Taurean:

Your best ideas in the next two weeks or so will come from your unconscious mind. The weeks before your birthday are astrologically designed as a time for reflection on what you accomplished in the last year. The idea is not to judge and punish yourself, but to take time out to review what has transpired: what did you do well, and which areas of your life demand more attention and energy from you in order to work the way you’d like them to?

I should have heeded the advice to reflect, re-evaluate and re-energize, too, because now I REALLY feel like I need that.

This week’s ‘scope says (emphases mine):

After a period in which life seems to deal out nothing but hard knocks and tough lessons, it can be easy to fall back into an old belief system that says that life is a vale of tears and the best you can hope for is to endure with a little dignity. Allowing yourself to stay stuck in the past (recent or not so recent) would be a big mistake this week. Life is made of patterned energy and the patterns are constantly changing, and this week the energy just keeps getting better, stronger and sweeter for you. Venus moves into your sign on Wednesday, tripping off the same Grand Trine to stable Saturn and transformative Pluto that the Sun made last week. This is powerful creative, attractive energy – in fact, you can almost count on someone you meet on a short trip or in the course of your daily routine offering you a gig, job, or other money-making opportunity. Just remember the door probably won’t swing open if you don’t unlock it.

Now…I’m not an astrology fanatic or anything, but I’ve always been drawn to it, more as a self-awareness tool and the like. Also, it just makes sense that God would put patterns in the stars and combined with the earth’s rotation they would make up a natural law of sorts. At least to this Christian with a taste for mysticism it does. I mean, look at the human body!

I digress, though. Onward….

I have a million things milling around in my head, from school to career to creative endeavors. And I’m a little unsure of what to make of it. Some of the ideas frighten me….as I’m not sure I believe in myself this much, but a little whispering in my heart has been heard surrounding this project, which is finally moving forward.

Moving on……….

I have felt a little more venturesome and creative of late. Trying to reorganize and dig out of the funk so to speak. In doing so, I decided that my current generi-planning system (Franklin Covey, I love that you have a more affordable option at Target, but I hate the pages! They are BORING and do not have enough writing space for big writers like myself. Also, while I like your fully leaded products, they cost more than I really want to spend) wasn’t cutting it, so I went surfing and found the Shabby Princess.

Her site is awesome, says me – the first time digi-scrapbooking peruser. I downloaded some of her free stuff, set about playing, and voila! I have cute new dayplanning pages:
Photobucket

And, I’m onward marching again….

So…I’m left wondering what exactly I want to do for my b’day. Charlie Brown has said he’d be ok with me taking a day to myself, but I’m ambivalent about that. I REALLY want it, but I also REALLY want social recognition from my friends and family….my love language is words of affirmation and well, my love bank is a little in the red right now.

Next Friday I begin the last year of my twenties.

(BTW that is NOT a shameless plug for kindness and niceties next week, but if you are so inclined, lol. KIDD-ING….I am ok, just being a smartass)

And I am so ready for it.

This decade has been a rough one. And I have this fantasy about 30. Like 30 is when I will be a “real” adult, taken seriously, accomplish things, etc. That 30 will bring confidence with it that 20 didn’t even know existed.

But, all of that said, I also want to enjoy 29 as I start it out, to know that I’m living NOW, and am not waiting to begin living boldly and courageously until 30 reaches out and snags me.

Hell, why wait for a week?

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

Thus said LMNOB’s teacher in the Monday folder, after explaining their new reading unit on questioning and making inferences on the texts they are reading.

Recently the class read this book (which I have never read but we may just have to borrow it from the library because Amazon makes it sound so appealing. Yes, I do know it is their job to SELL the books, but still!). Also in the Monday folder was a little worksheet they had done with the book and the concept of making inferences.

The handwriting on the wall, er, worksheet was precious.

Name: LMNOB MeYer (like seriously, the y was proportionately ginormous)

Title: G.T. (then, because she seemed to have suspected that that might possibly not be descriptive enough, “Grandfather Twilight.”)

Questioning Web:
I wonder – what he will do tomorrow and what will happen to the moon pearl

(FYI – the web looks like a spider, with the “web” the circle in the center and several “legs” off to the side where she had to get answers to her question from other classmates)

M says:
he mite die.

O says:
do same thing
he’ll take down the first pearl.

B says:
take it down and put it in the treasure chest.

Then, forget little legs, the rest fills up the entire left side and bottom of the page.

I (LMNOB) say:
In the mornig he’ll eat oatmeal then read then he’ll pick up his kitten and go for a walk then he’ll go back home and get the pearl and walk agian and let go to the other moon pearl and that one will fall into the sea and G.T. will want to get it so he will swim and find a mermaid with the pearl and he will fall in Love with her and he will mary her and he will become a merman!

Below, the teacher wrote:
Wow, what an imagination! 🙂

No kidding.

Edited to Add: Wednesday at the school’s Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast, LMNOB’s teacher added to this story.

“Did you see the bottom, that she’d written over?”

“Oh, no, I completely lost that – so what was the deal?”

“Well it said, ‘which of these is the best inference?’ you know, based on clues in the story and all, right?”

Nod

“So I asked her to answer it and she goes, ‘Mine, of course!'”

We all chuckled and the teacher went on, “Which, yeah, she was right, but the ‘of course,’ just cracked me up!”

Besides being a proud mother of a future novelist, might I entertain ya’ll with a few of my observations:

1.) My girl knows the value of a healthy breakfast – Gotta keep old Grandfather Twilight regular, after all!

2.) Speaking of running, hon, let’s talk about run-on sentences, a’ight? Also, totally non-related save for the running reference, LMNOB was totally stoked that she came in as the 2nd girl when her class ran the mile last week, and 4th overall! I was too – as I was always the fat kid who couldn’t complete the mile. Additionally, she ran 2.5 miles of a 5 mile hike (those are so not my genetics btw) last weekend. She is showing a natural talent and endurance for running and we are nurturing it, baby! Hell, maybe it will inspire me to go out and run with her?

3.) It is no small potato that the BOY changes HIS LIFESTYLE for the GIRL – LMNOB has been a feminist longer than I have, always objecting to the general “he” and/or gender bias in “career” storybooks. Nevertheless, I am so glad that she is marching to her own beat on that path.

4.) Inferences are no more than educated assumptions, aided by clues, patterns, etc. While helpful, I see with LMNOB’s imagination that we may need to talk about how inferences are more appropriate for literature than say, IRL situations. I can just see her with her future husband now:

“You’ve come home late three nights in a row, quit kissing me, and I just know that you had to have found a gorgeous woodland sprite to take my place!”

Yeah………………..

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

Note…if you are here via the BlogHer headline, great – thanks for stopping by. But this post is relatively lame – better suited for my regulars. For a more entertaining post, check this one out.

I am pleased to note that despite the initial disaster, known as Realm, we have completed painting Punkinhead’s room.

I think it turned out pretty cute, for the kid not having decent bedroom furnishings (dresser is in the closet, the bed is good, but the shelves are all rather chintzy).





His response was super cute: “This is MY room??????”

Our nods.

“Heeeheheheeh!!! Yeah, woohoo!”

Oh boy, if you only knew….

Relief indeed. You’ll notice Charlie Brown’s beer on the Sterilite drawers. Yeah. We needed it.

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

Per Liz’ request, behold the almond punch recipe:

Ingredients:

3 C sugar
2 C water
1 12oz frozen orange juice
1 12 oz frozen lemonade
2 tsp pure almond extract
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

You will need:

2 1-gallon containers
(I use empty milk jugs when travelling with this punch)
1 medium saucepan
8 C measuring cup
Funnel

Directions:

In saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring just to boil. Add remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into large measuring cup. Note the measurement, and divide equally amongst the 2 1-gallon containers. Add cold water* to the gallon containers until full. Stir well, enjoy!

*Note: We’ve always enjoyed almond punch sans carbonation, but I saw some similar recipes online that utilized club soda in lieu of the cold, filler water.

Another note….on New Year’s Eve our neighbor came over and offered us a taste of his “signature drink.” Charlie Brown and I tasted, and looked at each other with shock – it had the same taste as almond punch! But with the perks of a good adult beverage 😉 Mmmmm….

The mysterious combo? Squirt with Disaronno.

A low-cal version could also be made with Fresca and Disaronno.

Yummers.

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

Ok – so the mysterious AOL reader contacted me via e-mail today.

She’s legit – not a local advocate that was building a case against me based on my ventings here, as I’d feared (and for good reason too – but can’t get into that here…not censoring, readers, just covering my butt and keeping my day job!) – but an ordinary mommyblog reader. And I’m so totally ok with it – I myself have done the same thing when I’ve found bloggers I liked, I’ve gone thru their archives and gotten to “know” them better.

Phew….I loves me some internets, but I worry sometimes that people who know me IRL will punish me for what is in cyberspace…aside from my family of origin that is. I just take it as a given that they will punish me, lol. I’m misunderstood by them a lot.

So yeah, I’m starting to get a following – which makes me think that perhaps someday the dream will be realized?

And this following isn’t just for my writing.

Remember last spring when CU-Denver interviewed me for a poster child piece in the SPA magazine? Well, they still haven’t just posted , the mag to their website – but until yesterday I hadn’t gotten a hard copy, thus, it was kind of out of sight, out of mind.

Somebody had said something to me about it in “passing” in my online class this fall – but me being me, I was just like, “Oh, yeah…cool.” When I fell behind on an assignment, I let the prof know, and he was all, “That’s ok, I know you’re not a slacker.” How could he know that? I wondered.

It wasn’t until later, when everyone flocked to me after I put a request for a partner out there re: the suicide paper – that it finally started to click…aha! LOL….I’m pretty smart, but when it comes to self-recognition sometimes I am very, extremely s.l.o.w… Again, I let it go to the back burner – I mean 15 minutes of fame and all, right?

Until last week when a woman who used to work for a local non-profit contacted me via e-mail.

Hey Heather,
I’ve been considering the MPA program at CU-Denver and saw you as one of the profiled students in their magazine. Can we meet so that I can pick your brain about the program?.

I told her, yes, of course I would love to chat with her – and when we met up, I gushed about the program. She and I are exactly the same age – something I hadn’t realized before – and very likeminded about wanting to do good, but realizing the system is very, very broken, and thus, people like us need to get smarter, more credible, and then set about eliminating barriers. That’s the goal anyway – no delusions of grandeur here – I know that it will be complicated, and that my youth and gender are working against me, rather than for me – but hey, challenge is my middle name, right?

Isolated incident, right?

No.

Yesterday I drove up to Denver to see what the folks at the Bell Policy Center had to say about the fiscal forecast for the Colorado State Budget. You see, we’ve only slightly screwed it up with 6% growth caps, TABOR, Amendment 23, and other legislative mandates that make the state budget extremely difficult to balance.

Upon arriving, I noticed a woman who looked REALLY familiar – but I couldn’t quite place her. She was talking to the SPA rep sponsoring the presentation. She wasn’t a student, but was interested in the domestic violence concentration for the MPA program, she currently worked in womens health. When she finished with him, I introduced myself, noting that I worked for the City of Loveland.

“Oh! I live in Berthoud!”

And at that, all the memory synapses in my brain fired. Rapidly.

“That’s where I know you from! You work for the Coalition right? Doing a, uh, rural women’s health initiative, right? You came to a Northern Front Range Continuum of Care meeting about a year, year and a half ago. I KNEW you looked familiar!”

She seriously dropped her jaw. “Damn, you have an EXCELLENT memory! Holy crap, I am impressed.”

Then, “Hey, wait a minute – Heather Meyer? Aren’t you in…” she pointed to a hard copy of Views. (p. 22 – and ew, yuck, gross, I hate that picture of me – thanks for asking!)

“I think so – I haven’t actually seen it yet. It was the funniest thing, you know…” as I did my thing, trying to downplay the whole deal.

The presentation was about to start. “Well, with you in my back yard, I might just call you sometime to pick your brain.”

Hmmm….should I be charging a recruiting fee?

After the presentation, I went up to some of the staff and faculty who were there. I offered my hand and said, “Heather Meyer, I’m in the MPA program,” and I got, “Hi…” then a lightbulb look, “Oh, yes, of course! How are you?”

And that was just weird – like I’m some sort of celebrity or something, lol. You know, OF COURSE! Of course you are Heather Meyer, and of course that name means something to me!

It is surreal to watch one’s status as a person change quite like this…like a book I read last semester called the Tipping Point.

I’m so textbook.

I’ll post the crappy day details tomorrow sometime. Or maybe not, depends on what I think about it after I sleep on it.

Also – it will depend on the feedback I receive from a lengthy e-mail I sent to some fellow city employees tonight.

Anyway, the boost, without further ado, comes from Ms. M, LMNOB’s teacher(proud mama emphases, mine):

A couple of things… thanks for the hook-up to your last blog about LMNOB. I like to hear that my kids are making these strong connections out of class too!

Just an FYI for you (however, I will be sharing all of this with you at your next conference in February) LMNOB read a passage for me today that was at the 4th grade level! She is doing amazing. She is a great decoder and her comprehension kept up with her. After answering the questions, and I scored it, this particular passage was right between the instructional and frustrational level for her.
She did amazing with it!

To answer your question about the backpack… after our bear hug, I asked her if she felt like she wanted/needed some “work” this morning and she said yes. I suggested taking her coat off and putting her backpack back on. She didn’t even hesitate and said “ok”.

That last part referred to a hard sensory issue morning we had this morning. Her backpack always has her weighted lap pad/rice bag in it, so it was good input.

My girlie is doing so well in the realm of reading. She just started reading Little House books, courtesy of my sister’s Christmas gift to her, and is loving them.

:me, sighing with giddy excitement:

Remember my unbloggable scholarly excitement?

Well, we are in negotiations/proposal phase now, and I’m all super-dee-duper hopped up about the increasing potential of it.

But, again, because it is not for sure yet – you should e-mail me if you are interested in hearing the juicy (uhm, academic – so whatever you make of that) details.

Tah-tah…

My LMNOB has a particularly special gift, among many others.

Her keen ability to observe and recreate has long astounded me – you tell me, am I being overly partial in feeling this way?

She drew this tonight at church, hence the heart and cross – indicative of her mood.

Ms. M has her bandana and no hair, as she is post-chemo. Notice the earrings though, including the top right hoop. Ms. M does indeed have that, and on that ear, should you be standing across from her. Then she has her staff ID necklace – and a top and skirt that actually resembles the outfit she had on today.

LMNOB drew her barrette in her hair, the butterflies and hearts on her shirt, and the holes that make her crocs. You can hardly see it, but she also drew the butterfly pendant she wears on her crocs.

And the little boy L actually does have rather large eyes, and when she drew him, I knew exactly who it was before she wrote his name (I edited the pic for name content – but she wrote all the names spelled exactly right).

The clothing is indicative of what was actually worn today at school. And, I’d wager to say they are all kids who were kind to her today at school.

She was so happy while drawing this, and it made me tear up to see her say in her own little way, Mama, it’s gonna be ok. I’m finding my place, and these people care for me. I’m gonna be just fine. Also, I’m gonna be a famous artist someday and will show the world my innermost thoughts with my work.

:sniff: She’s my precious baby, you know? I want the kindest, gentlest, most caring world for her. Especially right now, when I’m still responsible for helping shape that world for her.

As in Little Miss Genius? Perhaps….perhaps…

Since I got home early from jury duty yesterday, I thought, “Why not call that teacher from Local Neighborhood School back and try and get LMNOB’s placement testing done this afternoon?” Because I am so smart like that.

Wouldn’t you know, that worked just fine.

I brought in LMNOB’s report card, showing she’d mastered all of her letter recognition, phonics, etc, as well as her ITBS score report – so that we could skip all of that and cut straight to the chase with her reading group placement.

So we go in and LMNOB, while shy and reading in her tight-I-don’t-want-you-to-hear-me-voice, BLEW through all of the 1st grade material the teacher had. Then, LMNOB didn’t bat an eye at the 2nd grade book either!

I knew LMNOB was a good reader, but I guess once she took off with it, I took for granted the level of books which she reads – they are not chapter books, after all. I chalked it up to the whole, “The things kindergarteners are doing in school now, I don’t remember touching until at least 2nd grade” phenomenon. Nevertheless, I was beaming with pride!

The teacher was VERY impressed, and said, at 5:30pm – now long past her hours of testing, “We haven’t been able to challenge her to the point of me knowing just where she belongs, but we’ve got a great starting place for whoever ends up being her homeroom teacher. I see LMNOB doing more independent work for reading, and because she is so good with the phonics, it will be focused more on comprehension – reports and the like on topics of her interest.”

I’m so proud of her. My Little Miss Genius.

I'm a 30-something with a bend toward the spunky and unconventional. I like to accent big words and academics with slang and pop culture - makes me a little more well-rounded. My husband and I follow Christ and am training up my 3 precious kiddos to do the same. This means that I'm human and I fail - a LOT, but there is beauty in sharing that with others. Last, but not least, in case you haven't noticed, I'm prone to rambling. It may seem unrelated to you but the little "tangents" I go on are all interconnected in my mind!

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