Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gracias, Prima!

What can I say... except that I'd like to thank the Academy, and all of the "Little" people who have supported me on my way up. But please don't forget, I'm still "Dalene," a townie from the west side. (In case you're a bit....delayed...that is happy and friendly sarcasm). Oh...and don't let me forget to thank the first person who came up with this idea. I hope they sell a lot of crochet sweaters and needlepoint purses. (That is NOT sarcasm...I really think their stuff is cool)

So Charissa, you old gal...thanks for the nomination. I keep telling myself, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggonit, people LIKE ME," but your vote meant I didn't have to look in the mirror today for my affirmation.

Seriously everyone, please visit my cousin's blog. I'm not passing the award that she gave me on, because SHE has the best blog out there (and because I'm not sure how to do it). Also, let me say that Charissa is a world changer. She is changing Ava's world. Some miracles happen suddenly, others happen over a period of time....Charissa the family is proud of you.

http://urbansworld.blogspot.com/

Cheer her on. This gal is the real deal.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

"Look, Ma- Thar's a Ternadow!!!"

I feel a storm a brewin. (Ya'll hang in here.. I'm reading The Grapes of Wrath, and my inner Okie is trying to force itself out...I'm slightly obsessed with colloquialisms, red dirt country jargon, and twangy drawl-speak.)

Anyways, like I'z sayin- Hold up-- ya'll I'm gonna try to pull this har country talkin together, and start writin' like I'z gots me an educatin.

So here's the issue... I am slightly obsessed with the fact that I'm approaching 40. Okay, I have 3 birthdays left in my 30's, but just like my obsession with turning 27, I'm freaking out about being CLOSER to 40 than 30. I can't even say "mid-thirties" anymore. It's more like "late thirties."

I'm pretty sure I'm going to be experiencing at LEAST one mid-life crisis. Probably ONE in the next couple of years, and then I'll save some of the drama for about five years from now. I might even be able to plan one for 2018. So, being the EXTREME planner that I am (you know... notes in my purse, on the back of my hand, in my head, on the fridge, on my calendar, the other calendar, and in my cell phone), I thought I'd go ahead and schedule the first crisis.

I really thought that running a marathon would do it for me (and it did--for 6 months), but now I feel that storm in me brewing again. I was trying to think of how I could be in crisis with out really being in crisis.

What if I just "went with it" and made a plan instead of living in denial of the impending storm? "Look, Ma- thars a ternadow!! Let's watch it arn that thar pewrch. Let's not take sheelter. I likes rolleycoaster rydes."

Or, we could consider this a preemptive strike. It's like being a teenager, and getting a hobby so that you don't have to freak out, dye your hair black, paint your fingernails blue and write in your journal all day long while sneering at the "happy" people. I would rather not go there.

Rachel, I like all of your ideas, but the sports car is the best. I was actually going to ask all of my students for crazy suggestions in class today, but I thought that might just be a TEENY bit egocentric (ha ha). "Class, today I'd like you to all write a three paragraph essay on how Mrs. Fisher can avoid a midlife crisis." I was afraid that I would either A: Cry, B: Laugh Uncontrollably, or C: Confirm their suspicions (whatever their suspicions are...I'm pretty sure this request would confirm them).

More on this later...I've got to get off blogger now so that I can go research tummy tucks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Old Crusty Teacher

We're approaching the end of the school year.

Remember high-school? I realized today that next year will be my 20th high-school reunion. It is so interesting to be a high-school teacher, because it seems to me that things have not changed all that much in 20 years. I remember the "old crusty teachers" talking about "their day" when I was in school. It seemed so foreign and surreal to think of my dorky teachers when they were "my age." The truth is, I entirely enjoy my students and probably understand their situations more than they could ever know.

As I reflect upon this last school year, I ask myself the questions that really matter. Did I influence a life? Is someone seeking Christ with more vigor as a result of my instruction? Is someone passionately in pursuit of truth? Did I encourage the students to keep asking questions? It's the end...and believe it or not, by the Grace of God alone, I'm seeing fruit.

Each of my four classes have read 13-17 entire works each this school year. We are learning to write using modern methods as well as the classical methods in the progymnasmata. We are consistently learning grammar rules, and my students are adept in classroom discussion in preparation for college. But more than that, I see in their papers a great deal of depth, honesty, and pursuit of Truth.

I'm tired, but I'm encouraged. It's hard to be enthusiastic this late in the game, but I want to finish well. A marathon is 26.2 miles. I've heard it said that the race doesn't REALLY begin until mile 20. We are in mile 20 in school right now. It's time to finish strong. Old and Crusty nonetheless.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cinderella, the ballet


It's been an exhausting week. I'm not sure what attracts our family to the ballet, but we really enjoy it! It all starts with big Sis, and builds from there. Even Big Bub is a good sport. Notice that he learned to play poker while waiting for his part. Afterwards, there was an adorable "Princess High Tea." We're exhausted! Bartlesville is SO lucky to have a non-profit Civic Ballet to help put these type of productions together!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tim Hawkins - Cletus Take the Reel

I know a lot of you have already seen this guy, but just in case.... I'm sorry this is Hee..hi...ho ho ho funny.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Details...

When people throw around phrases such as "The Devil's in the details," I find myself instantly chagrined. If the Devil is in the details, I must be an angel. There are aspects of my life where I become detail oriented, but for the most part, my attention to detail varies. Depending upon the day, the motivation, my level of exhaustion, etc...my capability to see detail fluctuates. I REALLY DON'T see the dust on my ceiling fan. I REALLY didn't notice that crusty juice glass under my bed. I DIDN'T notice that my porch needed to be swept. I'm blaming this on my right brain. It's just so darn domineering...it wants to be creative, and I'm afraid that the Hippie on my right shoulder usually pressures the Businesswoman on my left shoulder into submission.

Lately, however, I've been overwhelmed and grateful for the details of my life:
  • I'm grateful for Tide with Febreeze
  • A "super hug and a super kiss" from my five year old sweetie.
  • An unexpected smart-alec remark from a 12 year old philosopher living down the hall that is right on target. It makes me laugh and re-evaluate.
  • Dishes. Needing to keep my sink clean means that I fed someone that I love.
  • Homemade granola
  • Sharing a hairbrush and the mirror with my growing girl...in MY bathroom (even though she has her own space)--being asked "beauty" advice.
  • Good hips (for running, not for looking at ;o/)
  • Tears of sorrow from a tender hearted sweetie...she observes and understands.
  • A husband who provides and cares for our family, yet still has time to be in charge of clean sheets on our bed.
  • Clean closets, electricity, water, spring flowers, and CHOCOLATE MILK.
  • An unexpected gift, coffee from Costa Rica- to an ex-Barista who knows its worth.
  • True Friends--who aren't afraid to be honest with me, who I can call "just because."
  • A CONSTANT and UNCHANGEABLE God...who is the axle of this wheel that keeps turning. His majesty is revealed in his word, and in the beautiful sunset that is painted accross the sky.

Come to think of it, these things aren't details at all, but the center of my life. Yet... do I take the time daily to notice all of the small blessings in my life that are attached to the BIG people and things? God, teach me to be aware of every blessing...to delight in the details.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Sign Points SOUTH

It's been a tough week for my consumer relationships. Today I had an hour to kill with only one little Fishie, Little Mr. Man. We ventured to a "favorite" indoor playground. It's important to understand that this hour we had was not precious to us, thus clarifying my willingness to slay that hour like a cow at the butcher shop.

When I had only one child, I was grateful to this Red and Yellow American icon, because it provided a source of red vegetables for Big Bub, a.k.a.-ketchup. We all can acknowledge the elephant in the room here, my nutritional ignorance, but that is for another post.

Since that time, I've become increasingly disillusioned with this drive-through high cholesterol distribution center. When we discussed going there today, Lil Mr. Man told me: "Hey Mom, did you know that a man did an 'speriment, and ate at that place ONLY for a long time, and he got REAL sick. Dat's why I don't like eatin' the french fries. I like mashed potatoes better." I'm more or less thrilled that my kids have seen the infamous documentary. All of that being said, it is no great insight to know that it is the pinnacle of nutritional stupidity to eat there more than once every couple of weeks. Most nutritional guidelines that I have read recommend fast food only ONCE PER MONTH. Uh... yes. That's WHAT I DO!!! (my fingers are crossed behind my back while Lil Mr. Man writes this for me...oops, I had to cross my fingers again...oh man, this is a vicious cycle).

So what's the news? In my eagerness to finish reading a book (which I was unable to do due to the following distractions), I allowed my Lil Mr. Man to play while I tried to understand St. Augustine's comprehension of "time." But before I could sit down, I had to wipe down my own table, stare at the crushed biscuit on the floor (about an hour after breakfast was over), and attempt to try to keep my heart palpitations in check as a multitude traversed the perils of spilled ketchup on the floor. Upon further inspection, I noticed BLACK GRIMY gunk on the walls and floors, and again...my body hypnotizes my mind into reality--this place "aint no good....MMM, HMMM...you heard me."

Along those lines (and this is a completely unrelated side point, which is why I said: "along those lines."), there was the MEANEST MOM IN THE WORLD grazing her kids there. She was this "put together blonde" who happened to be LOUD and rude to her kids. Ironically, I'm pretty sure she fancies herself as "high class." Her daughter had on a "cheer" shirt, and you could tell that the clothes the children were wearing were the nicest possible. However, I think she gave her true identity away when she put her kid in a shirt that said: "Good Looks Run In The Family." I also heard her say.... and this is not a joke... although it is certainly possible that I misunderstood (oh please let it be a misunderstanding)... She said to the 14-year-old oldest sibling regarding taking the 4 year old into the playcenter, "Take him in there to play, but if there's any of those little kids with pony-tails, you bring him RIGHT OUT." (I'm pretty sure this is known as mullett-ophobia in the DSM-IV) But I digress...

The point is, that place is unhealthy, dirty, and there are a lot of RUDE people there. If you think about it, every point on the big yellow symbol on there might as well have a triangle on the bottom facing right down to "you-know-where." I'm not saying I'm banning that artery-clogging, immunity-building, character-challenging American icon, but I'm telling you now... it's time to seriously re-evaluate.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Training Adults...

Start 'em young, I always say!! In the Fishie house, when you are 7, it means that you are old enough to do your own laundry. Big Sis showed Pretty how to get 'er done! I realize I'm abusing the kids, as is OBVIOUS by the pathetic look on the face above. She was BEGGING me to do her first load this week (she's actually turning 8 soon!). So what's the trick? Cold water and Tide. We have NEVER had any clothes ruined because a 7 year old pushed the buttons instead of a thirty-something-pushing-forty year old pushed the buttons.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, I submit for your consideration: Exhibit A. In Exhibit A, I will attempt to show the court that future mother-in-law, a.k.a Mrs. Fishie, has made an attempt to indoctrinate her son into typical domestic duties that will eventually awe, inspire, and prompt feelings of affection by his future wife. Let it be shown that future mother-in-law Fishie is attempting to train above future husband to be a DARLING to a future awesome wife. Knead that Brey-ad, BOY!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Nuthin to be Aferd uf

I happened upon something spectacular today in my classroom. When teaching grammar, students respond the best when you speak with a THICK "Okie" accent and ONLY speak using INCORRECT grammar. The satire does not go unnoticed. I can't deny that I've discovered the power of "gooberness" to grab the attention of my students. When one is perfectly serious, but just speaks with a variety of voices, the students become genuinely uncomfortable, disarmed, and frankly...nervous. It whip's em right into shape...and we can proceed with business as usual.

Y'all aint gots no reason tu be aferd of intransitive verbs, now does ya? That thar past perfect tense verb aint gunna be jumpin out and bitin' ya'll. Let's be concentratin.

Shucks, I aint never had me so much fun, y'all.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Big Store

I feel like Mayella Ewell on the witness stand: "I've got something to say!!!"

... (this is really hard for me)... (deep breath)..... I'm not even joking when I tell you that I feel my eyes watering a little when I write this.... (har har)

There's a big store on the hilltop. You know the one I'm talking about. Good ole' country store that has the good people of the US of A eatin' outa the palm uv its hand.

I remember when this store was first opened. It was like...well it was like I was 10 years old, and the CIRCUS came to town, and I had a 10 day all access pass with no curfew. The guy who made the first purchase there- a pack of gum- is somewhat of a local celebrity. When we first moved back to Bartlesville, I would get lonely, so I'd put on my lipstick, get all gussied up, and take my baby boy to the store to see who I might run into. I spent HOURS sitting at McDonalds there in the hopes of seeing an adult that might be interested in having a conversation with me. The store was my friend. We had a good relationship. I didn't ask much of it--except--JUST TO BE THERE, and it only asked me to "buy diapers, antacid tablets, and macaroni and cheese." I didn't have very much money then, so it didn't tempt me.

As the years wore on, I found myself pulled to this store by an indescribable and SICK force (you know... SICK like NOT good, not SICK like "girl, you lookin' SICK today in that new leatha jaxet"). I spent too much money there, just to get my "fix," and I would go home afterwards feeling guilty. I came to realize that I had a bad relationship with this place, and as soon as I saw my way out, I ran away.

When Aldi came to town, I saw my opportunity. I have been religiously buying all of my groceries there, and "fill in the blanks" with purchases from DOLLAR TREE and FOOD PYRAMID. It's been working out fine. My relationship with Aldi is built on TRUST, not manipulation and mind games.

Once in a while..."OH HELP ME!!!" Once in a while, I find myself pulled back to the "store on the hill." IF YOU KNOW ME AT ALL, YOU HAVE PROBABLY HEARD ME SAY... (and I'm just telling facts here, people) "I HATE THAT PLACE."

However (my eyes are getting hot again...HOT), during an "emergency" trip to this former friend of mine on Saturday, I was side-swiped with reality. I found myself saying " OH IT FEELS LIKE SPRING! LOOK...SWIMMING SUITS, FLOWERS, SUNSCREEN, PICNIC BASKETS." It's like....the season can't start without THE BIG STORE saying it can.

I'm realizing now that it's not that I HATE that place, but I LOVE IT TOO MUCH. When I go there, I feel like I'm in a bad relationship, where I'm needing SO much of what it has to offer, but I just don't have what it takes to make it happy (a.k.a. a gazillion dollars to make unlimited wanton purchases). It's like I'm the girl in junior high with a unrequited crush, so I have to say "I HATE HIM," when really, deep down...and here's the rub...I LOVE HIM.

In my mature wisdom, however, I plan on keeping my distance.

Friday, April 4, 2008

For Baby Ava and Baby John

Death Be Not Proud
by John Donne(1572-1631)
DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Kidarrific

I rather enjoy getting this look. It means "I'm your best friend." I'm also sure that it means, "No matter what you tell me over the next few years, I'm going to trust you, because I think you're so intelligent." As I gaze into her eyes, I realize at last that it especially means "No matter how embarrassing you are, I can always act like a bigger buffoon than you."

I'm sorry...but when your children paint a dollhouse (that your grandfather painstakingly made for you when you were 10 but you never painted, because you couldn't figure out how to paint it "right," so you save it for 27 years so you can let your kids paint it pink with blue hand-prints all over it), then it's just a good idea to get a picture of their wet blue hands right next to another treasured antique. Am I right, or am I right?
When the instruction is "put the silverware in here," and the execution is "I have to line up all the knives going the same direction, stack the forks meticulously, and keep the spoons together," free-spirited mommies worry that there might be a perfectionist in the house. Hmm...paralyzed perfectionism, I know another blue eyed boy with that problem.

For every day that Big Bub's room passes what I lovingly refer to as "perfection inspection," he gets one day knocked off of his grounding (for constantly forgetting his homework at the house). So what's you're vote? I hope to post a picture of a clean room in the semi-near future.


Two beautiful little girls (who put themselves to bed) in a clean room. THAT's what I call a little bit of paradise.