Thursday, August 25, 2011

Somewhat fond memories of a public education

I couldn't wait to go to school when I was young. My Mom fed me plenty of pro-school propaganda, my favorite being 'The Berenstain Bears Go To School'. I insisted she read it to me the night before I started Kindergarten. I have friends and family members who are teachers now, and I have a great deal of respect for them. It's a profession that truly is a calling! In honor of the teachers of my past, I've decided to see what I can remember to share of them.

Kindergarten - My teacher called me Christe all the time, but she made school fun and exciting. When I started school in Bridgeport we had all day classes. None of this pansy half-day stuff they do now. It was a hardcore kindergarten. When our egg-in-an-incubator never hatched into a baby chick, she took us outside to crack it open and look at the 2/3 grown bird. It was a little gross. Apparently I was a holy terror and a bully. With the exception of the one time I beat that little boy with a block, I think Mom and Dad are exaggerating the facts. I don't remember being that bad!

1st Grade - There was a rumor going around school that the cafeteria was serving rattlesnake. I totally believed it and brought my lunch every day. I don't remember much of my teachers this year, we moved at the semester break so I only had each for a few months.

2nd Grade - Mrs. Lauterdale!! I LOVED this woman's class. My bookworm tendencies were encouraged and she was always enabling us push our abilities, no matter where we were individually. Our classroom was a portable building, and at some point a kitten took up residence under our steps outside. Even though it was 'illegal', she let us keep the cat in the classroom as a pet for a month till she found it a home. I will never forget that it took me 4 spelling tests to be able to get the word 'beautiful' down correctly.

3rd Grade - Mrs. Sowell. Mean, old, smelly Mrs. Sowell. I don't know how old she really was, but she looked about 100. She took away my 'self manager badge' for passing notes in class. She taught us how to quilt and churn butter. Probably passing on lessons from her childhood.

*At some point after being one of the last school districts in the nation to desegregate, Midland Independent School District (in all of its divine wisdom) implemented the 'cluster' system. This meant that all the 4th graders from 3 neighborhood schools across town attended school in the same place, the 5th at the 2nd school and the 6th and the 3rd school. Plus their gifted and talented program was a full 2 day curriculum housed in a school of its own. This all means that I spent a little over an hour each day being bused all over town in the name of 'a diverse classroom environment'. It also meant that while my mother had three children in public school, they all attended schools in different zip codes. Not the best system.

4th Grade - Rusk Elementary - The dreaded Mrs. Patrick, who openly lamented the days when she was allowed to beat her students. She assigned homework to be turned in on the last day of school. What a B*&$#! Mrs. White, my kind and motherly homeroom teacher, ripped up all of our homework pages that day. She stuffed them in a ziploc bag and put a post-it reading 'Have fun grading your papers' on the front. What a student advocate! She was definitely my hero. I won the school spelling bee that year. (Thanks, Mrs. Lauterdale!)

5th grade - Back to the neighborhood school - Mrs. Kelly! This was the first teacher who I feel really made a definitive impact on me. I truly developed an interest for science in her class and her teaching style really promoted creative and critical thinking. I had an affinity for science after that year. I lost a classmate and friend Julianne Powell that year to a horrible crime and tragedy, Mrs. Kelly did a great job of helping us to cope with the gravity and terror of the situation in a healthy way.

6th grade - My ghetto-tastic and terrifying year at Travis Elementary with Mr. Batey. Mr. Batey was a short, slightly overweight man with advanced male pattern balding and a very heavy early-era Burt Reynolds mustache. I sat next to a girl who cheated off of my Excel math tests. One day, I intentionally wrote the answers in reverse. When she got up to turn hers in, I fixed them. Got an A and nipped that little nuisance in the bud. Cheaters never prosper, you know. Mr. Batey was an unpleasant sort of fellow, but a decent teacher.

7th grade - moved to White Oak, America! Enjoyed most of my teachers but more than that enjoyed all of my friends and quickly acclimated to spending every weekend on a bus trip giggling, eating too much sugar and probably shrieking entirely too much for whatever sponsor was unfortunate enough to chaperone us. This was the first year where I felt like I had a modicum of autonomy in my class selection. I feel like I probably enjoyed them more just knowing that I had helped 'choose' them, insomuch as you can choose a middle school curriculum.

8th grade - back to the dust bowl to begin my tenure in Greenwood. Had a difficult time making friends and hated my parents for moving me away until I met the one and only Callie Thurman. Gotta love her. The only one of my educators that stands out from that year is my athletics coach. She offered zero inspiration and was probably most of what a coach should not be, at least to someone who wasn't particularly gifted in sports. I was a hard worker, but this was the year I finally admitted to myself that coordination is definitely not my strong suit. I quit playing for the school at the end of the year.

High school - Experienced a gamut of teaching styles and personalities.

Worst: HATED with a passion the teacher who cared a little too much what their teenage students thought of them. It's one thing to be compassionate and help a teenager deal with their angst. It's quite another to jump into the juvenile drama. It's strange to watch an adult who lives on that level. I wonder if high school teaching can be a draw to people who are prone to that?

Best: Mostly enjoyed my math teachers. Math isn't something that has ever come particularly easily to me, but they were all committed to helping me grasp the concepts. If I was willing to do the work, they were willing to work with me. In retrospect, I think that taught me quite a bit about human nature and work ethic. Mostly I mean by observation. Being there early every day and explaining the same thing to me (and the other kids who didn't quite get it) 15 times until we each had our 'lightbulb' moments required dedication and a true response to their calling. I definitely didn't see that same dedication in all of my teachers and certainly respected those who offered it.

In any case, I applaud teachers for what they do and all they sacrifice. I'd love to have a job with summers off and guaranteed holidays, but I just don't have what it takes to do the job.

Kudos and a happy school year! I'll try to stay off my phone around your buildings so I don't run any of your students over.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Post-Op Update

Well it's been 2 1/2 weeks and I'm alive! Everything has been so different from what I'd expected. I first have to say that my coworkers are amazing! I was well equipped with pajamas, socks, books and supplies when I headed in. Such awesome people! I was able to fly into Dallas a few days early to enjoy quality time with Stephanie and some other friends I hadn't seen in a while, which was nice.

The surgery went well, only 6.5 hrs as opposed to the estimated 8. I stayed in the hospital overnight, until noon the following day. As much as I didn't want to be admitted, I'm really glad I was - we'll just leave it at that.

The day after surgery the doctor was impressed with my status - a combination of his skills, good care by my personal nurse (Cam), my determination and of course all the prayers from everyone at home. We stayed with Graden's grandmother for the first week following the operation. Sandra was a complete Godsend, so gracious. I took her sweet poodle Coco for a walk every day, and tried to be as active as possible.

Everyone (including myself) has been amazed at how little bruising I had. Just a little green around my mouth for a few days. Especially with my light complexion, they had warned me to expect significant bruising, under my eyes down to my neck and chest. It really is remarkable how little showed up. I did swell up, but not as badly as I could have. Everyone keeps telling me how great I look, but I still have a long way to go. Surprise, surprise...I'm a little impatient. It will take 6 mos. to a year before things are settled completely. I'll probably be in braces for another 6 mos. before things are exact, I'll know more about that by Tuesday.

I've been back and forth between Dallas and home, the most recent trip being complicated by the ridiculous ice storms in the DFW area. Luckily we were able to stay with an amazing family in Denton that helped us out immensely, thank you Noahs! We wound up having to leave Mom's new car at the airport - we'll fly back in on Monday for the splint removal (thank GOD) and drive home then. Hopefully by that point the roads will have cleared up.

So remember how I've been eating whatever I pleased in anticipation of significant weight loss? As it turns out, that's only if you ignore the doctor's instructions. He told me to drink 3 Ensure Plus every day, so I did. As it stands today, I've lost exactly 2 pounds. I'm not exactly complaining, I'd take this over malnourishment any day...but it is a little inconvenient in the whole jeans department. Soooooo I'm doing modified Jillian Michaels workouts and progressive elliptical stints to try and work up my endurance. This in anticipation of the P90X workouts I plan to start on Wednesday. *sigh*

Eating has been...interesting. I'm up to soft mechanical foods, hopefully moving to more solid things once the splint is gone and the orthodontist replaces things on Tuesday.

I go back to work on the 15th, hopefully that transition will be smooth and manageable. Thank you to everyone for the concern, flowers, prayers, diversions and humor, it's been very much appreciated!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Life Lately

Lately, things have been crazy. Life has been ruled pretty much by work, Cameron's wedding stuff and preparation for a future surgery.

As far as work goes, I've been considering creating an anonymous blog to scream to the world at large about my frustrations. I'm currently working at two very different facilities, so as you can imagine my soap boxes have been piling up. After working for a few wonderful institutions where patient care came first no matter what, it's frustrating (to put it lightly) to be back in the 'real world' of health care where things are largely budget driven. Sadly, the projections of change due to the health care legislation have contributed to the bleak outlook of things in hospital land.

Cameron's wedding. *sigh* If I wasn't sold on the idea of flying off to get married at some remote location before, I'm definitely there now! ;) It's no surprise that the thing is going to be huge. Our family is huge, so a big wedding is pretty much a given for anyone who goes the traditional route in that crowd. She's super excited and so am I, but there is sooooooo much to do! I keep creating projects and adding things to my to-do list, but I'm excited about all of them so it keeps me positive, even when things get down to a wire on deadlines!

Surgery. Some people know what's going on, some don't - I'm going to be having surgery some time between November and January. The story of how it came about is long and convoluted, so I'll just tell you what's wrong and what they're going to do to fix it!

Things wrong with Stacie's face:
1) The septum in my nose is deviated and has a bone spur, which prevents me from breathing normally (or much at all) through my nasal passages.

2) My TMJ joints show signs of arthritis and wearing down of the condyle. The left joint is partially displaced while the right is completely displaced, has a bone spur and fluid buildup.

3) My upper and lower jaws are too far back into my head, and the lower jaw is short and at a sharp angle. This restricts my air flow to 1-1.5 mm where a normal person has around 11mm. THIS is why I sleep with my mouth wide open and never on my back....cause otherwise I'd suffocate. It's also why I click in my sleep. My lower jaw keeps my tongue so far to the back of my throat that it actually obstructs my airway. Crazy, huh?

How they want to fix it:

1) Surgically straighten the septum of my nose.

2) He doesn't want to do anything about this. I was told that jaw surgery can only improve upon 2 things; range of motion and level of pain. I have a full range of motion, and while my jaw does pop I don't have any pain at he recommends leaving it alone. Because it's probably arthritis related, (helloooooo ankylosing spondylitis!) it may come back at some point in time. There's no way of knowing if/when, and I may very well live the rest of my life and never have any problems. That's just fine with me, because my health insurance doesn't cover TMJ issues anyway.

3) This is the fun part. So, remember when I had braces for those FIVE LONG YEARS of my life? Better yet - remember when I had to wear HEAD GEAR to sleep in? Yeah....we're basically going to have to surgically UN-DO that little mistake. I guess having a short jaw isn't that uncommon, but mine is significantly more severe than most. When I had braces they tried to remedy the problem by pulling my top jaw back into my head, supposedly to make the short jaw less noticeable. (thus the head gear) Now they want to surgically cut my upper jaw into pieces to move it forward and reattach it, then lengthen and change the angle of my lower jaw.

So the good news is that they can fix #1 while they've got me under and my jaws off my face for #3. The bad news gets its own paragraph.

I have to wear braces again. For 18 months. Frown-y faces. They have to move the roots of my teeth around so that things don't get jacked up when they saw my face into after they move things around my teeth will need to be repositioned. Today I went and got spacers. Braces go on in T - 7 days. Un. Pleasant. I'll whine about it for a while, but I'll get over it.

My surgeon is pretty amazing, his name is Dr. James Bates. I'll be having the surgery in Dallas some time between November and January. It should last around 6 hours, I'll be in the hospital for 1-2 nights if all goes well. Recovery is pretty intense. Afterward I'll look like I was in a head on collision and then somebody drug me out of the car and beat me in the face with a baseball bat. I wish I were exaggerating. Think nose job meets wisdom teeth meets severe allergic reaction? I'll be really weak and really swollen and really bruised for a long time. Liquid diet for a couple weeks (we're talking Ensure through a squirt bottle), then soft diet for a while after that. As long as they make some of it chocolate flavored, I should be fine. Out of work for 4-6 weeks, and total recovery will take around 6 months. That's for the bones to re-set and the residual swelling and bruising to go away.

So that's my story....pretty much all I know for now. I've had a lot floating around in my brain space and I've had some friends asking what the story was on the surgery, so here we are. I've found myself up too late again, I think I'll go get some sleep. AND I just realized that I've yet to post a blog about Tessa and how she came to me :) Soon, I promise!! G'night!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Things that make life worth living

Okay so maybe this isn't a real true substantial blog post, but I don't know what to say. Literally. As a diversion, I've decided to compile some of the little things that have made me happy lately.

-Mom's clam chowder
-Red Raider football!
-The boots Dad bought me to keep my feet warm because I'm too stupid to pack something other than flip flops
-Live music I can sing/dance like an idiot to
-My friends. Especially the ones who sing/dance like an idiot with me. And especially the ones that let me crash at their place with little more than 24 hrs notice!
-My family....immediate and extended. They're way fun.
-Rice krispy treats. (Not the pre-packaged kind.)
-Potatoes. Don't laugh. I'm totally serious. Anything potato and I'm a happy kid.
-Taking the football pot. FINALLY!
-Clean sheets
-Slowly purging my closet of clothes I'm unlikely to wear, yet hang on to for YEARS on end.
-Long socks
-The Notebook. Totally girly cliche but that movie is always good!
-Finally owning Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin. Now I need the Christmas special.
-My snooze button

Holy bejesus why is the air conditioner on when it's like a two degrees and wet outside!? My happy thought train has just skipped track and is now a massive pile of really cold wreckage. Time to adjust the thermostat and burrow.

G'night, friends.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The stars at night....

The stars at night really ARE big and bright, and they're one of the things that I love about being back in Texas.

I'm officially a resident again! I've received my last paycheck from Colorado, moved all my belingings (despite a noncompliant radiator in the Penske), unpacked (most of) those belongings, registered my vehicle, obtained a drivers licencse and plan to begin work on Tuesday.

It's been an exhausting week, but things have finally begun to fall into place. I complete my errand-running tomorrow and am looking forward to Josh's and my first regular life-in-the-same-place dinner date tomorrow night.

So far I'm still in a bit of a haze. Lots of mornings I wake up wondering if I really made all those decisions or if it's just been a strange dream. Having sister time, seeing family and being closer to Josh have all been really great things. I'm definitely excited to see how the work scenarios are going to unfold!

Friday, July 3, 2009


I'm picking up my belongings and moving them 650 miles south in eight days. I cast Josh in the role of 'muscular/automotive support' before he really knew what hit him. I still don't think he grasps the scope of his duties in this scenario, which prompted a conversation today about next weekend's schedule. When exactly will we be leaving? How is this whole packing/loading/moving thing going to happen? Where will we park a truck that large outside of my building? Will my car actually clear the tow ramp? Etc. etc. etc. He remained positive and chipper throughout the entire conversation - while I interjected a series of heavy sighs every few words. I was beginning to become seriously concerned about the strain that this scenario is capable of putting on our relationship.

Me: I don't think you understand how much stuff I have...I just see you getting really frustrated with me because of the whole thing.

Josh: I know. But I'm looking forward to it.

Me: (confused silence)

He proceeded to tell me how he's so looking forward to spending an entire day with just me and him in the van together, and how he's sure we'll probably get stressed at some point during the whole ordeal, but he bets it'll be really funny later because everything I do is 'cute'.

There are three parts of me that responded at that point. The first part coughed 'bullshit' under my breath and rolled my eyes at having landed in one of those romantic comedy relationships that I don't think exist on a real level. The second part melted into a puddle of helpless girlishness with heart-shaped cartoon eyes and reverted to my 13 year old self writing 'Stacie Haile' in curly cursive all over the pages of my Trapper Keeper. The third just gave a blank stare, thinking that he's completely out of his effing mind and only I would fine someone that crazy.

I'm not sure which one to go with at this point, but until things go south I'm all about the puddles.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How to properly flatter a stranger

I'm stressed. It's no secret. Read anything I've written/posted on any public networking forum in the past few weeks. Hell, listen to the tone of my voice and it's pretty evident. For an even better demonstration, go ahead and be the bearer of bad news and see how I react toward you (With the possible exception of Amber who has an uncanny knack of delivering it with flair, assumedly because she's so well versed in the art.)

I feel like I have no release valve up here on my own and see myself cracking at the slightest provocation. For example, I practically burst into tears this afternoon when Josh's excuse for ignoring my blatant text appeal for an 'I love you' was simply the fact that he was busy working. Under normal circumstances, such a scenario would not evoke so strong of an emotional response. Today, it absolutely did.

Not long after that I found myself walking in a ghetto industrial area of Denver (If you're familiar, Evans between Monaco and 25. Sadly that's not nearly close to the worst place I've been streetside in the past couple weeks) looking for the body shop where I could retrieve my car when a motorcyclist flew by me yelling 'OWWWW BABY!'

My first reaction was to give him the one finger salute and reply with a solid "F&#* YOU AND THE HORSE (or bike as the case may be) YOU RODE IN ON!"

Seeing as I was completely unarmed I refrained, but was seriously irked. I got the car, gave it some gas and headed home. Finally. On the brighter side of things, the cherry limeade that the accident splashed all over the interior had been completely detailed away.

Anyhow, two lights away from my destination (read: snacks couch and TV) a silver car pulled up next to me with a goofy freckled high school kid holding up a napkin with the words 'Can I have your number?' scratched in barely legible print. He rolled his window down and yelled 'how are you!?' We had a nice little exchange where I thanked him for the compliment and we went our separate ways. And just like that, my day got a whole lot better.

Now if only I knew where the office staff delivered the package containing my replacement cell phone, cause it definitely isn't in this apartment. *sigh*