Wednesday, December 28, 2011

coming down the chimney

Over my Christmas break I was singing as I made breakfast.   I sang, "Santa Claus is coming to town..." to which my nephew replied, "No he not, he coming down the chimney!"


"It's so much fun making this garlic!" -Niece Stephanie

Thursday, December 22, 2011


By the way... I'm not Mary Tyler Moore either.
I was complimented with, "You look like Mary Tyler Moore today!"

Hmmm...?  Maybe it is the outfit.
p.s. I had to Google search her too!

Meryl Streep and Roses

Odd things happen to me.  I often leave an encounter with a stranger or not so close acquaintance asking myself, "Why'd they tell me!!?"  I have been told a mirage of different tid-bits of people's personal lives and/or their thoughts and ideas; none of whom I know, have ever seen prior, or will ever know or see again. 

A Few of Many Odd Things:

1) I once had a man stand behind me in the grocery store line (this not being so unusual).  He told me about his divorce he was going through.

2) I was once shortly followed and approached by a woman in Target who told me, "You look just like Meryl Streep!"  (I had to go back to work to see who Meryl Streep was and what she looked like)
my nose is crooked like hers

3) While walking to a tube station in London England I had a car stop in the middle of traffic (holding up about 15 cars) to ask me if he could take my picture.  He thought I was a famous soccer player.

4) As I was leaving a grocery store one day, I was approached by a young man who said, "I have a rose for you." and he promptly handed me a red rose.
I smiled and said "Thanks!"
 5) A man once offered the Quran in English to me.

6) ...

Thursday, December 15, 2011


It's the time of year where tiredness becomes a state of being.  Everything gets really busy and hectic for everyone, not only me.  Yesterday I stopped at a stop sign and couldn't figure out why the car behind me was honking... all I was doing was waiting for the stop sign to turn green.

I was tired.

my eyebrown

While working with a student today I noticed he kept blinking his eyes.  As I looked closer at his eyes I noticed he has a hair hanging off of his eye lashes into his eye.  So, I brush the hair away and he said, "Hey, THAT was my eyebrown!"

she lives with me

As said to me by a 5 year old student:

Miss Rachael.. you know (pause) My mom is my mommy and she lives with me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

that's baby talk

While singing Christmas songs in Finnish with my niece by my side, she turned to me and said, "That's baby talk!"

Letter H?

While within a classroom:

Me: (to student X)- I put a letter in your backpack for your mom.
Student: What letter?
Me: A letter to your mom.
Student: Letter H?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

boxing gloves

As I was getting ready to leave a student's home, his older 4 year old sister asked me this:
"Miss Rachael... Why are you wearing boxing gloves?"

My gloves

I'm not your mom

I missed a telephone call from my sister.  So naturally I called her back; my 6 year old niece answered the phone and this was our exchange.

Niece: Hello
Me: Hi
Niece: What are you doing?
Me: I'm returning a call to your mom.
Niece: Well, I'm not your mom!
Me: I know, I did say I was calling, "your mom"
Niece: Well I'll give the phone to my mom in one second.  Just like this, "one". Ok? Ready? One.
My Sister: (laughing) Hi... she's not my child...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

louder than an penguin

During sharing time in a preschool classroom a student shared this story:

"My friend has an imaginary cat and it snores louder than a penguin!"

while it lasted..

While observing in a preschool classroom I observed this:

Teacher: (turns lights off and then on again) "Kids, it's time to clean up."

The kids move throughout the classroom picking up and putting toys away.  A small group gathers around the sensory table.  Inside the sensory table was a large amount of play foam.  The small group of students collectively start playing with the foam, pressing large pieces of it onto their shirts and exclaiming, "Look and my sticker!"  The teacher approached the sensory table, and states, "It looks like you are playing and not cleaning."  The kids scatter and as one student is running away from the table he exclaims... "Well that was fun while it lasted!"

Monday, December 5, 2011

my breath is too yawny

While working on the proper use of the pronoun "I" in a therapy session with a student, he said, "My go to {insert place}."  I looked at him and questioned, "My go to...?"  To which he responded, "I'm not going to say it.  My breath is too yawny!"

my breath will die

Working on Wh-questions with a student:

Me: Who are your teachers?
Student: Teacher Rachael, Teacher Deb, Teacher Mary, my got a lot of them... I'm not go to say all of them!  My breath will die and my sound will be weird.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

pick Auntie Rachael off?

My sister Diana and her boys picked me up on their way to celebrate our other nephew's birthday this morning. After the celebration, while driving back to my place, her son (my nephew T.) asked his mom, "Mom, are we going to pick Auntie Rachael off?"

2 pokes and 8 vials of blood

Could you please just let me know before you stick the needle into my arm so I don't have to be picked up off the floor?

A question I've asked all too many times in my life.  The last time being Wednesday November 30, 2011, at 3:05 p.m.  To the naked eye I am a healthy young woman.  (Side note: However if I were pregnant at my age they would consider me a geriatric patient!)  What the majority of my friends and acquaintances don't know... is that I live with a chronic illness.  I won't get into all the nitty gritty of how it all came to be simply because: 1) you won't really be interested, 2) I don't want your pity, and 3) I don't want your unsolicited advice.  The last one being the reason I blog about it tonight...

All too many times when someone finds out you live with a chronic illness they have a plethora of advice to share on how you should take care of yourself, what medications you should try, what life style changes you should make or what you should do from here.  For those of you who share in this experience with me you can appreciate the following blog I came across... and yes- humor is one way I help myself stay healthy.

As quoted from the article written by Amy-Beth Maran , © 2007 on the website:

"The top ten worst suggestions commonly given to someone with a chronic illness:
1)Have you tried holistic options? (Many. I’ll bring it back up with my doctor on my next visit, thanks.)
2) Could it be your stress? (My opinion is, it is my illness. I’ll bring it up with my doctor though, thanks.)
3) Could it have to do with the altitude? (I’ll bring it up with my doctor…thanks.)
4) I read in {insert any generic magazine here} about a new medication. Have you heard about it? (I was on it when it came out 17 years ago, but I’ll bring it up with my doctor. Thank you.)
5) Have you thought about being in a trial study? (I’ll ask my doctor. Thanks?)
6) WOW. If I were you, I don’t know what I would do. I might just kill myself. (Thanks?)
7) Have they found what is causing the problem? (No. My doctor is an idiot. I’ll remind him, thanks!) Have you tried hypnosis? (I’m still sick, but when the phone rings I bark like a dog.)
9) Have you googled your illness? (….no! thanks!)
10 Have you ever thought you were getting sick because you haven’t wrapped your house in aluminum foil because, you know, the aliens have been bugging our houses for the past 30 years and in some cases, making people really sick. I read on…..gee I lost the web site. but it’s true! I heard it from Sally’s cousin’s sister-in- law. And then every time you use deodorant you would think you would be warding off these bugging rays, but it still makes it worse, so you are not being pro-active to your health by wearing that deodorant. I can’t believe you! If you wanted to get better you would stop wearing deodorant..(voice gets fainter and fainter the further you just walk away.) THANKS!!!!!!!!!!"

On an ending note... all tests from the 8 vials of blood are normal.  What I am doing for myself, under the guidance of a wonderful physician, works.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pluto is not a planet... and no I am not Uma Thurman

Things are not always what they seem; despite some evidence to say it is what it seems.

Time often provides clarity, as it did for astronomers studying the now demoted Pluto.  Having been once believe by all to be and being classified as a planet is now a 'dwarf' planet.  These are the requirements to be a planet...

As noted by the website "For an object to be a planet, it needs to meet these three requirements defined by the IAU:
  • It needs to be in orbit around the Sun – Yes, so maybe Pluto is a planet.
  • It needs to have enough gravity to pull itself into a spherical shape – Pluto…check
  • It needs to have “cleared the neighborhood” of its orbit – Uh oh. Here’s the rule breaker. According to this, Pluto is not a planet
.... There are still many objects with similar size and mass to Pluto jostling around in its orbit. And until Pluto crashes into many of them and gains mass, it will remain a dwarf planet."

She is but Pluto when it comes to relationships.  She meets others' defined requirements to have a relationship...
  • They should both be open minded, and willing to take a risk when it comes to new possible relationships.  Yes, She is often described as someone who is willing to jump and build her wings as she falls.  He, willing to take the risk of rejection.
  • They should have a mutual interest and curiosity in each other.  Check... he gravitated to her, as unbeknownst to her she possessed many similar qualities of himself.  This having been noted also by their mutual friends.  
  • They should clear each others minds of all other possibilities.  And as like with Pluto, here is the rule breaker.  She has yet to be noticed as a diamond instead of the ice chuck that Pluto is.  He on the other hand crashed into a different dwarf, promoting himself once again to 'planet'.
... So for now... she is and continues to be a dwarf, orbiting in space wondering if the cosmic signs will ever line up and crash her into another dwarf.

To 'She'-
I know it all seemed to be on the right path to a "relationship".  There was even evidence that it had great potential to be however; it wasn't as it seemed.  If it makes you feel any better, I too am a dwarf.


p.s. On a side note... To the grocer at Rainbow Foods and to my Hollywood crazed client: To you I may appear or seem to be but; no, I am not Uma Thurman. I was born eight years later, and have a smaller shoe size.


Thursday, November 3, 2011


Uniqueness and value are not readily apparent.   
Mysterious and fascinating.  
Given proper care; found are solutions to situations where logic fails.  

Today I feel like an alexandrite.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

you need brain

A student and I were sitting at the table working on story retell and correct question formats.  He noticed that I was rubbing my arms to keep myself warm and he looked at me and said, “You have a sweatshirt”?  I replied, “You can ask, ‘Do you have a sweatshirt’?”  He promptly repeated the question with the correct form and I answered, “No!  I don’t have a sweatshirt today.  I forgot it at home”.  To which he asked, “you bring a jacket”?  Again, I replied, “You can ask, ‘Did you bring a jacket with you”?  He quickly asked, “Did you bring a jacket”? To which again I replied, “No!  I forgot that at home too”.  To which his response was, “You need brain”! J

Saturday, September 3, 2011


As the wheels touch down with a thud I'm overwhelmed by sadness and loss; tears suddenly form in my eyes and are on the verge of spilling over.  The seat belt sign is switched off and I walk off the plane in exhausted zombie mode.   I move through the airport following the signs for international arrivals to U.S. customs; the entire time fighting this feeling of sadness.  As I move back through the experiences of this particular trip there is no one incident that allows me to hang this hat of loss and sadness on.  I find it frustrating that in all of my travels, never once have I arrived home to feel that I didn't belong here.  Yet, sadly this is what it feels like.

Dr. Professor Mr. Bill Olson

This scenario was unexpectedly brought to the forefront of my mind about a week ago:

It was around 1998, I was studying for my undergraduate studies in communication disorders and business. I was taking an introduction to Psychology course, to meet the requirements for liberal studies and for communication disorders.  For extra credit in this course we could volunteer to be subjects in psychology studies. Many of the studies looked at motivation, personality, job potential, etc... for the majority of the studies we did not see the results. However, Dr. Bill Olson, the professor who refused to be called Professor Olson, or Mr. Olson and insisted that he either be called "Bill" or Dr. Olson told our class this: "If you take this test, I will be willing to 'free of charge' review your personal results with you to see what your motivation, and future job possibilities will look like" and this was based on motivation and personality amongst a whole slew of other things. We also could get extra credit for partaking in the study so... I signed up.

I don't remember the majority of the test questions, I only vaguely remember a question regarding which bridge of two bridges I would take, if I knew that there would be danger at the end of one of the bridges. My answer seemed logical enough to me that of course I would take the bridge that is safest. During the review of the test with Dr. Olson he told me this: 1) You will never be successful in a career. 2) You have little motivation to be anything other than a fabulous mother and wife. I left this short encounter with "Dr. Olson" furious, thinking he had no right to say that I wanted to do nothing more than to be a mom and a wife, although I would be great at it. How can he really say that I would not have a successful career? I clearly remember the anger I felt towards him and how wrong I felt that he was.

Since this scenario was brought to the forefront of my mind, in the past week or so this is what I have concluded: He was wrong about my career success. I am successful! However he wasn't wrong about me wanting to be a mother and wife. I do want this- the one thing I have absolutely no control over. Why is it that my dream would be to have a happy safe household? Could it just be a common desire that all humans face, in the fact that most humans have a desire to love and to be loved? The one thing Dr. Olson has no control over either is if or if not I am blessed to find  that person to spend my life with.

And I would like to challenge society with this question: Is it really so wrong to have this dream?

And a word to Mr. Olson- Being safe doesn't hamper success!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

tape it to paper

I asked my niece if she had any last minute advice for me before I left on vacation.  This was her reply, "If you find something that died in nature, tape it to a piece of paper."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You have to KISS him!

While working with a 6 year old client he looked over at my hand and pointed to my ring and started this conversations:
Client: Does this ring mean you are married? 
Me: No.  It would have to be on my other finger. 
Client (pondering): Well you should get married.
Me: Who should I get married to?
Client: Your best boyfriend.
Me:  Well what if my best boyfriend doesn't want to marry me?
Client:  Well then your second best boyfriend.  You should choose one or the other.
Me: Ok, Well how do I get married?
Client (in a whisper and a big grin on his face):  You have to KISS him! 
**I am quite frequently asked by my clients if I am married or not.  I am always amused by their child's view of marriage and what it entails.  Always good humor...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fishing the Snicker pieces out of chocolate syrup ice cream soup

I am starting this blog off with a few first comments:

First off, I am not a true fan of ice cream or chocolate... it wouldn't bother me in the least if it fell off the planet earth and was never seen or heard from again.

First off, this has not been my week or day.

It all started 10 days ago... three of my sisters and two of my friends came from Michigan to visit.  Jody and Joella were staying in my bedroom, Mia was in the spare bedroom with her friend, and Jodi, Julie, and myself were spread out on the floor in the family room.  Finding places for everyone to sleep wasn't the issue, the issue was the air conditioner quit working..this was Saturday night.  Sunday the house stayed cool enough that sleeping in it was possible, and my guests had left so I didn't have to worry about them over heating either.  Snickers piece 1: I got to spend time with my sisters and good friends.

Along comes Monday.  Susan (the homeowner, lady land lord, and one of the best friends a person could have) ran into an air conditioner repair man who happened to have a client in the neighborhood who wasn't home, so to the Yucca Lane households luck, he was able to fix the air conditioner.  Snickers piece 2: The random meeting of an A/C repairman who temporarily fixed the A/C.

Along came Tuesday.  The air conditioner quit working.  Tuesday night was bearable to sleep in the house.  Also on this day I heard from a good friend whom I hadn't heard from in 5 months.  One could ask is she really that great of a friend if she hasn't called in 5 months?  Well, given the benefit of the doubt yes she is a great person- but she has her own struggles so I cannot judge her on this.  Snickers piece 3: Plans were made to meet up for dinner at the Tin Fish at Lake Calhoun.  Mind you, eating at the Tin Fish is one of the summers must do activities.

But then came Wednesday...  It was 87F and humid in the house.  (On a side note... I had washed clothes in preparation for packing for my upcoming vacation to Finland and Russia.)  Upon returning home from work I found that due to the humidity of the air all of my clothes are now damp and will need to be rewashed, but it will have to wait until the air conditioner is fixed.  It is impossible to stay the night in the house, in essence I became homeless.  Refuge was found at Sandy's place for the next three nights.  Plans to have dinner at the Tin Fish were postponed until Friday.  Snickers piece 4: Having a good friends place to spend the nights at without feeling like I'm intruding.

Thursday was hot and humid outside and inside, and due to this any amount of time spent in the house trying to prepare for vacation or to pick up clothes for the next few days left me void of energy, mush brained, feeling sick, and crabby.  So I consented that I just wouldn't return until the A/C was fixed. 

Friday was more of the same.  Unbearable heat/humidity outside.  The highlights of this day were going to lunch with my lady friends Chandra and her daughter Brylee, 

Lady friends: Chandra and Brylee
looking forward to meeting up with my good friend for dinner at the Tin Fish, and finding out that the A/C WOULD be fixed just not until Tuesday the 2nd of August.  So, three more nights of being homeless...  Nearing the time that I should have been getting ready to go meet up with my friend for dinner, I sent her a text wondering what time we should plan on meeting.  As the story goes... I got stood up.  There was no dinner and no meeting of my friend who seems to have lost her way in life.  This single event unfortunately struck such a strong sadness cord in my heart that it was difficult to see all the other positives things that happened this day.  Snicker pieces were found in the soup this day...

Saturday/Sunday I spent the day with family and friends.  Snicker piece 5: Spending unexpected time with my sister Lori, niece and nephew.  My homeless shelter is now at the Lady land lord's parents home.  Which is also home to the grandparents of my niece and nephew.

And then comes Monday, August 1st a day full of activity... The first item on my agenda was a Finnish Lesson combined with a morning swim.  I always enjoy my lessons in Finnish.  The second item on my agenda was to meet up with a client.  On my drive the client meeting was rescheduled to Tuesday.  I returned home, a major thunderstorm rolled through the area and I was able to cool off the house a little by opening all windows.  As I sat and enjoy the thunderstorm I realized that I was 1) exhausted because I haven't slept well in 6 nights, 2) I'm anxious because I have so many small things to do before I fly out on Thursday, and 3) I have one appointment for myself this afternoon.  Snickers piece 6: I look forward to my appointment with Dr. Josh. Thankfully I fell asleep in the hot humidity for one hour.  Following the nap, I took a shower only to find out that the water heater wasn't working, so I had a cold shower.  One thing I have failed to mention is that the water heater has also gone out three times in the past week.  Every time it has been the pilot light that has gone out.  Regardless, I head out to my appointment with Dr. Josh.  Snickers piece 7: Dr. Josh was able to adjust my lower back (this has been very difficult to do in the past) and I immediately feel like there has been a pressure release, and I am Thankful!    So I travel back towards the Lady land lord's parents house (where all 3 of the Yucca Lane Ladies have been staying for the past three nights) to arrive to an empty house and a locked door.  I head to the bookstore, find a few books and head back... to a still empty house.  As I am sitting in my vehicle I was reminded that due to the storm earlier today- this house has lost power so, NO there was no air conditioning here either.  And the house occupants were actually going to head toward our non-air conditioned house because we at least had power.  So I head out... I head for supper.  Someplace where I didn't have to think too hard to make a decision.  I head to Culver's...

First off (yes I realize that this is the third "First off"), I'm not a fan of Culver's or burgers from Culver's.  I order a burger, and an ice cream mixer with snickers and chocolate syrup.  I pull up to pay, they hand me my ice cream mixer and I pull forward to wait for a burger.  As I am waiting a car pulls up to me that reads on the side, "Moving healthcare forward." I started to laugh, I am fully aware of what I am about to eat, but it is an oxymoron to see this heathcare vehicle parked waiting for fast food with the slogan, "Moving healthcare forward."  I thought perhaps she should just move on without the fast food. 

I digress... I returned home to eat a burger that I don't like, and indulge in a dessert that I don't care much for.  As I am eating the ice cream I notice that it has actually melted from the heat and I am scooping into the chocolate syrup ice cream soup looking for the small piece of Snickers.  Snickers piece 8 or 9 (I lost count): the Snicker pieces in the ice cream soup.

Tomorrow is Tuesday, August 2nd... and yes I like Snickers; even though I don't care for chocolate that much.

Friday, July 15, 2011

they tried to suck my blood

A conversation with my nephew...

Me: T! you have bug bites all over.
T: (in disbelief) I know! The mosquitoes tried to tear my skin off but they couldn't. They tried to suck my blood!

dead mouse

My nephew cracked open an acorn. He exclaimed, "Look Auntie, there's a dead mouse in here."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

they came curved

While eating dinner with a 4 year old:

Me: Yum! These snap peas taste like they came straight from the garden!
Child: No.  They did NOT come straight from the garden.
Me: Oh??
Child: They came curved from the garden.

melted up

As questioned to me by a 4 year old:

Child: You know that sometimes I have a melt down?
Me: Yes...?
Child: Well, the popsicle melted up.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"he makes money"

I met a new 5 year old client today.  This was part of our conversation...

Me: What does your dad do?
Client: Silly!! You know!  He WORKS!
Me: Oh, What does your dad do for work?
Client:  You know!  He makes money.  You're so silly!

Monday, April 11, 2011

the Grinch

I asked a student, "What happens when you don't brush your teeth?"  His response, "You turn into The Grinch."

...a princess...

As said to me by a student, "Miss Rachael, I really need you to be a princess."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"still Aaliyah"

I asked my niece, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  Her response, "Still Aaliyah!"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

You eat flamingo?

While reading Polar Bear Polar Bear What do you hear? to a student, I paused at the picture of the flamingo and asked, "What color is the flamingo?" 

Another student in the class yelled out, "I know!  It's yellow."  I held up the book and pointed to the flamingo and said, "The flamingo is pink."  This student said, "Yes, but it's yellow inside."  So I further questioned, "How do you know this?"  She replied, "I eat it at home all the time.  It's yellow inside."  I clarified further, "A flamingo?  You eat flamingo at home?" She explained, "Yes I eat it at home!  Mango is my favorite fruit.  It is yellow inside."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Conversation with my 2.5 year old nephew:
Me: Auntie misses you guys when I don't get to see you so often.
Nephew: Why?
Me: Because I love you.
Nephew: Oh

'tam' this tambourine

My niece decided that she'd like me to play band with her... She asked, "Auntie will you 'tam' this tambourine?"

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm Irish

I was speaking with my student's nanny explaining to her how his therapy session went when my student a delightful 5 year old seriously said, "Hey, Ms. Rachael, I've got a secret to tell you."  So I crouch down to his level, lean my ear in and quizzically inquire, "Yes?"  To which he whispered in my ear, "I'm Irish."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

yea... cookies

My 2 year old nephew came and asked "go upstairs"? So I went and opened the gate for him. I thought I wonder what he wants there is no one up there. So I asked, "Did you need something from upstairs?" He replied, "yea, cookies!"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

San Fransisco

 Muir Woods
 Muir Woods
Sunset in Sausalito CA

 hiking in Muir Woods

they have green skin

A conversation with my niece:
Niece: Auntie, I want to go to heaven.
Me: I do too.
Niece: Did you know they have angels in heaven?
Me: I wonder what they look like?
Niece: You don't know?  They are white and they have wings. Did you know the devil has angels too?
Me: Really?
Niece: Yes, and those angels have green skin.

I work with children

While walking down the street in Palo Alto, CA a young man yelled to me, "Do your part to save the world!"  To which I responded, "I do.  I work with children."

Well, Why not?

I was approached by a 5 year old student while working in the classroom with this question, 
Student: Where is your wedding ring?
Me: Well, I don't have one. I'm not married. 
Student: Well, WHY not?? 
(Oh, the visions of 5 year old fairy tales.)

A sea star

A dinner table discussion with my niece:
Niece: Auntie, What's your favorite ocean animal?
Me: A Platypus. 
Niece: My favorite ocean animal is a sea star.

Peace Love and Military Power

 "To Peace, Love, & Military Power" overheard while eating lunch, said as a toast of sorts by a soldier to his fellow soldiers at the table behind us. (I thanked them for their service to our country before they left.)

too much junk food

While caring for my niece and nephew I rhetorically asked, "Why am I so tired?"  To which my niece responded, "You're eating too much junk food!"  
(I wasn't eating anything)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Is 11 a private number?

Last night I was discussing numbers with my 5 year old niece. She asked what my favorite number was, so I said 7 and 13 because they were odd numbers and they are prime numbers. She informed me that she doesn't like odd numbers because there are "left overs" but with even numbers there are not. So while driving today she said "Auntie is 11 a private number too?"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"...G-H-I- love you."

While working with a 3 year old I asked her to say the letters of the alphabet.  This is how it went...
" you."