Sunday, August 31, 2008


Sweet Girl has heard all her life how much she looks like me. She hates it; I hate it FOR her. Like I guess a mother tells identical twins apart, I see many differences in our looks. She still hears it, though, as do I. Students see her picture on my desk and say, "Y'all look just alike!" (We are in the South, after all.)

We were in JFK airport when she was 9 years old, on our way to Italy. The man running the cash register at one of the stores looked at us and said, "Ah! Twins! Same face....same hair!" To which Sweet Girl was compelled to respond, "She dyes hers!"

I know we have blond curly hair in common, and we both have rather round faces and chipmunk cheeks, but I don't see that we look "just alike."

It's hard to deny that our baby pictures are almost identical, though. I SWEAR these are two different people. Baby Me on the left; Baby Sweet Girl on the right.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Note to Self...

...yeah you, the one with the raccoon-looking sunburn and lips that will more than likely break out in a million fever blisters tomorrow or Monday and a voice way too hoarse for a non-conference game, not to mention an empty pocketbook...

Football in the South in August is brutal. I understand it had been 9 years since you went to a game Between the Hedges. And Uga VII was making his first appearance today, and the last time you were at Sanford Stadium was when Uga VI made HIS debut. I get that. And I understand that watching it on television cannot compare to being there, because it just means more when you share the 90 degree heat with 92,756 of your closest friends. Even though you could have sat in the air conditioning (or better yet, the pool) and listened to Larry Munson call the game, I get that you needed to return to your college days and attend the season opener in person. I even acknowledge that part of the thrill was buying the tickets on eBay, satisfying in itself because you REFUSED to be outbid. I comprehend that you wanted to make it a girls' day at the stadium because hubby had to work and he NEVER stays past halftime anyway. I grasp the concept of leaving home at 8:00 AM for a 12:30 kickoff when the stadium is just over 30 minutes away from home.

I get all that. But I'm writing this reminder for next week, when you will have forgotten just how miserable it was sitting (standing) in the glaring sun for three and a half hours. Constantly wiping sweat with the towels they gave out at the gate, the best thing they have EVER handed out at a football game. Drinking three 20-ounce bottles of water and wishing you had more and never even feeling the slightest need to pee. Worrying that your shorts will fall down because they have become so heavy from perspiration. Dealing with the drunks and almost wishing you could BE one of the drunks. Smelling people you don't even know. Spending more on one tailgating experience than you will spend on groceries for all next week.

Excuse me, are you listening, Self? You keep cutting your eyes to the Alabama-Clemson game, and I want to make sure you are paying attention.

  • The game next week is televised.
  • It comes on at 3:30.
  • You have a pool.
  • And it's Central Michigan.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Favorite Cycling Pictures...

After 17 years of cycling, I have tried to train myself to concentrate more on the journey and less on the destination. The rides I do are not races, but it's sometimes hard for me to quell my competitive nature and relax. Not that being competitive in this case would do me any good; I'm faster than some but slower than many.

Occasionally when I'm riding along I'll see a cool scene and think, "That would be a pretty good picture." It might be a guy riding along in a Popeye t-shirt (hubby and I have an inside joke about Popeye) or it might be the mist floating over a meadow in the cool of the early morning. Or a swamp. I have a thing for swamps.

But it's hard for me to make myself stop and actually take the picture. Especially now that I ride a tandem with my sister. First of all, starting and stopping that thing isn't the easiest thing in the world to do. Sort of like stopping off at a convenience store in an 18-wheeler. Secondly, I feel somewhat GUILTY. Because I'm the captain, therefore controlling the gears, the brakes, and the steering, and if I stop.........well, she has to stop too. And she may not want to stop. On some days if I stop I'm afraid she might not get back on. If SHE were the captain, I could sit in the back and just snap pictures to my heart's content. But so far I haven't been able to talk her into that.

Therefore I am proud of myself when I do take the time to stop my bicycle, take off my gloves, take off my sunglasses, dig around in my bag for my camera, and take a picture. I try to ignore the fact that while I am stopped, many people zoom past me, and they'll be the first ones to get to the shower, the food, and possibly the beer.

This picture begged to be taken, and I stopped although we had just left a rest stop not long before. It's a prison cemetery in South Georgia, and on the crosses are only numbers, not names. Prison officials were afraid that the families of victims might desecrate the graves of the prisoners interred there, so they designated them by number only. I found that very moving.

This is one of my favorite pictures, one that also begged to be taken, but for a completely different reason. I had no choice but to stop and snap a photo of this sign in a pasture we rode by on one weekend ride. Whoever put it up obviously put a great deal of time and money into it. I laugh every time I see it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My $300 Pedicure.......

This is one of those stories that I swore I would never tell anyone. But the passage of time has dulled the edges of pain that I experienced when it happened, so after telling just my family and closest friends, I'm now willing to tell the world. Or at least the world of the six or seven people who actually read this blog.

Hubby and I went on a cruise this past spring during my Spring Break. We had cruised the Caribbean a couple of times, and we wanted something different this time. So we flew to Los Angeles for a cruise down the western side of Mexico: Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan. The weeks leading up to the cruise were busy, of course, and I checked off almost all the things I wanted to do before we left. The one thing I didn't get around to was getting a pedicure for wearing my snazzy sandals and lounging around the pool. And Mexican bars. Ole.

Hubby and I had already had the discussion about not being reluctant to splurge. We figured we had earned the right to treat ourselves to whatever we wanted, and if our final ship bill was astronomical, well, we'd just..... we'd just...... we'd just pay it.

So after we had boarded the ship and settled into our junior suite on the fantail of the ship WITH a balcony, I tripped right on up to the spa, which was directly above our cabin. I made an appointment for a pedicure on Tuesday with a darling girl from South African whose name I cannot remember. I have probably blocked it out of my memory so I can resist the temptation to track her down and throttle her.

In all fairness, I have to admit that she offered full disclosure. She told me from the beginning that she had a degree in psychology. At the time I wasn't aware that it was a warning, that she wielded that degree like a saber. Probably sabre where she comes from. Whatever.

All I wanted was the roughness smoothed away from my scaly heels, my toenails trimmed somewhat evenly, and a coat of a pretty colored nail polish. Pedicures at home cost around $22, with tip. I figured after three quarters of a school year, sending my child off to the Persian Gulf (again), and a four-hour flight, I deserved a pedicure. Even if it cost $40....gasp.

Of course, these pedicurists (do they have another name?) don't just do feet. They talk. They are a cheap form of therapy. Cheap! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. That's a good one.

I don't remember how the conversation began, or at what point I became sucked into a vortex of tangled words from which I could not emerge unscathed.

You have to picture the scene. The spa was located at the back of the ship on the 9th deck, and her spot was right next to a window that jutted out over the decks below. I was sitting on this raised up chair that felt a lot like a throne, with beautiful blue waters all around me. It felt like I was sitting on top of the world.

We talked about her job and how rewarding it was, and she talked about all the places she had been. She said she felt sad when women came into the spa and turned down some services because "It costs too much" or "My husband won't like it" or even "I'll have to ask my husband." We tsk-tsked women who were afraid to pamper themselves or turn loose of a few dollars and enjoy themselves on a cruise. She had me agreeing with her, saying it was a pity. I took the bait, the hook, the sinker, the line, the fishing pole, and the deep-sea fishing boat.

When she finished, she brought back a little card on which she had written down all the products she had used on my feet and legs. She went over each item with me, and she had written detailed instructions about how to use each one. When she was finished with that, she looked at me and said, "What do you think? Would you like to try these?" Of course! I want my feet to look this good every day! I want my feet to FEEL this good every day! How much could it be?

It could be $300. For a long-handled skin brush (that was supposed to cure everything from dry skin to constipation), a tiny bottle of oil, a slightly larger bottle of a DIFFERENT oil, a ginormous bottle of lotion, and some sea-salt/oil mixture. It was only with difficulty that I caught my breath. But I couldn't let on that it was extreme; I had just sat in her chair for an hour and half, indicating that I had earned the right to treat myself to such a luxury. Besides, she had it packaged up all nicely already.

To make matters worse, in my panic I tipped her on the total amount, not just the pedicure itself........which was a mere $65. SIXTY-FIVE FREAKIN' DOLLARS!!!! I wrote out a tip for $30 and totaled that bad boy up............$330 total. And I felt bad that I only tipped 10%. It took a long time for me to drink up $330 worth of hurt.

I went back to the same girl later in the week for a mini-facial. This time I paid for the service, turned down all the products, and retired to the bar immediately.

The picture below is NOT a $300 pedicure. I just thought you might want a visual.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

When Adult Girlfriends Break Up........

I had a very good friend, a girl with whom I taught for almost 10 years. Let's call her....... oh, say..... "Angela." That's her name. We had a lot in common. We were both beginning our careers about the same time. I had taught in a middle school for 3 years, and she had been a long-term substitute at the high school where we met. So we went through all the first-year-teacher orientation type stuff together.

We had a lot in common. We're both short. We're both sort of....round. We both had a knack of dealing with the less capable, less motivated students. She is African-American; I am white.

Angela has no children, so she sort of adopted my Sweet Girl as her play daughter. We did a lot of things together. When I was a single mom, she took Sweet Girl Christmas shopping so I would have some surprises under the tree on Christmas morning. When she got a phone call from a mysterious woman claiming to have a baby by Angela's husband, she showed up on my doorstep. As she should have. When I was broken-hearted, I could always cry on her shoulder. We celebrated each other's birthdays shamelessly, and we always met to have lunch at Christmas time and exchange gifts.

Most of all we went shopping. Angela is one of those rare friends who tells the truth about clothes I am tempted to buy. More than once she has said, "Ooooo honey, no, put that back. Do not even THINK about buying that." Sometimes I would sneak back and buy it anyway on a solo shopping trip, but I appreciated her honesty. Usually.

Angela's husband worked at night a lot of the time, and for a while I had a husband who bar-hopped at night a lot of the time, so we had a lot of time to spend together. We went to high school football games when we still taught high school. We went to a gymnastics meet once. We went to movies. We supervised students on field trips. We went out to eat a lot. It was always an adventure to go out to eat with Angela. You could almost bet your paycheck that she was going to send something back or ask for something special. If she wanted water to drink, she wanted three lemons. Not two. Not four. Three. If she ordered sweet tea, she also wanted sweetener to go in it because it was never sweet enough for her. And we met for brunch once, and she sent her eggs back because they weren't cooked right. At the Waffle House. I'm not kidding. Who sends food back at the Waffle House?

I transcribed Angela's interviews for her dissertation. I transcribed MY interviews for MY dissertation. Wait......... Never mind. When she was writing the final copy of her dissertation, I took it in the car with me TO GET MARRIED so I could proof it for her. All 500 pages. I was a guest speaker in her graduate classes. I supervised a couple of student teachers who were in her classes. I taught her brother.

The last I heard from Angela was two years ago this month. I emailed her to see if she wanted to see a particular movie that weekend. I don't even remember now what it was. I emailed her on a Monday or Tuesday, and she replied that she had a nasty cold and she would have to get back to me later in the week. I never heard from her again.

Now I know that email works two ways and my phone could just have easily called hers, but this was a one-sided relationship most of the years I knew her. She had joined a sorority of African-American women, and I thought at one point that it was an issue of race. After all these years, though? I mean, I'm no whiter now than I was when we met. Besides, we had another dear friend who is also African-American, and Angela dumped HER too, at the same time.

Now that two years have passed, I often wonder how awkward it would be if we ran into each other at the mall or a professional event. Is it terribly ugly of me to say I don't really miss her? She was awfully high maintenance now that I think about it. Several people have told me they thought she just used me all those years. I just wonder what went through her mind when she didn't answer me about that weekend. Or if I ever crossed her mind again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


There's some statistic (or "expert" out there somewhere) that says the average adult will have 7 careers in his or her lifetime. Not

I guess I'm below average. I haven't really had that many careers.

I worked as a sort-of secretary while I was in college.

When I graduated, I stayed on at the same job. For about $4.08 an hour. With a college degree. Gimme a large personal break.

Then I became a medical transcriptionist at the vet school. Not much more money, but I learned to type like a fiend. And when I got all the day's transcriptions done (they came in on a machine in our office......there were two of us, and we really didn't have to interact with the outside world at all), I could sit and read or cross stitch or talk on the phone.

Then I moved upstairs to become a senior secretary (which was actually the lowest position in the office, go figure) in large animal medicine. There were two of us for a faculty of about 22. The other girl in the office was a bee-atch, and I hope she reads this. (Forgive me, but she really was not nice. I went home with a migraine one time, and she told a freakin' FACULTY MEMBER that I had Alzheimer's.......I had forgotten I had a job. Funny, I haven't had migraines since I left that job.)

I had always said I wouldn't be a teacher because they didn't make enough money. Helllllllllllloooooooooo? I was making $5.00 an hour WITH a college degree? And I didn't get to take the summer off? I didn't even DO drugs! What could have happened to my brain?

That was when I decided to go to graduate school (another thing I said I wouldn't do) and get my teaching certificate. My daughter was 6 months old, so working and going to school wasn't easy. I went to work for my mother (sigh) as a secretary/envelope stuffer/receptionist. But she paid me full-time even when I didn't work full-time, and for that I'm grateful. I think she even paid me when I was doing my student teaching in another county. AND she took my daughter to daycare. AND she kept her on the occasional weekend. Thanks, Mom, just in case I haven't told you lately how much you helped me out when I decided to grow up and get a real job.

I've been teaching for 23 years now, and I really don't know how that's possible.

But I'm guessing there won't be any additional careers for me. Except retiree.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My LP Collection......

I don't know why I hold onto all of my old LPs. (Those really big CDs, as the children of one of my bestest friends calls them.) Most of them date to the 70s; there might be a few from the 80s. I gave away the stereo that played LPs, so I'm even further confused as to why I still have these "records." (Remember when we called them that?)

Here is a list of the albums in the table next to my recliner, arranged (of course) alphabetically.

Except for the ones at the beginning, which are soundtracks from:
  • The Main Event
  • The Rose
  • Ain't Misbehavin'
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • Rocky (before there were 12 of them)
  • American Gigolo
  • Annie
  • Porgy and Bess
  • One on One (does anybody even REMEMBER that movie?)
I'm not going to list individual LPs, just the artist(s), with the number of LPs by the same person or group in parentheses.

  • Abba (can't do that backward "B" thing on the computer)
  • Air Supply (2)
  • Alabama
  • Atlanta Rhythm Section
  • Joan Baez
  • The Beach Boys
  • Bread
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • Christopher Cross
  • David Allan Coe (oh please just shoot me now)
  • Eric Clapton (2)
  • Eric Carmen (I must have been confused about the name)
  • Captain and Tennille
  • The Charlie Daniels Band (two of the same freakin' album...what's up with THAT?)
  • Neil Diamond (2--Wanda, please tell Maxwell!)
  • Sheena Easton
  • The Eagles (4)
  • Peter Frampton
  • Foreigner
  • Dan Fogelberg
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Electric Light Orchestra (2)
  • Merle Haggard (not really sure that one's was mixed in with Kris Kristofferson, and I know I wouldn't have mixed up the alphabetical order thing...)
  • Waylon Jennings (also out of order)
  • Billy Joel (8--can that possibly be ALL?)
  • Elton John
  • Kris Kristofferson (8--God help us)
  • Gordon Lightfoot
  • Little River Band (2--oh how I had a crush on....what's his of them)
  • Barry Manilow (7)
  • Mother's Finest
  • Willie Nelson (4)
  • Olivia Newton-John
  • The Oak Ridge Boys
  • Poco (Poco? Who the hell is POCO?)
  • Gerry Rafferty
  • Helen Reddy
  • Kenny Rogers (7)
  • Linda Ronstadt (4)
  • Diana Ross (out of order)
  • Seals and Croft
  • Bob Segar
  • Paul Simon (5)
  • The Statler Brothers
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Donna Summer
  • Supertramp
  • James Taylor (2)
Three Christmas albums:
  • Bing Crosby
  • Engelbert Humperdinck
  • Perry Como
And some random things, some of which I can't even begin to explain:

  • 20 No. 1 Hits from 20 Years of Motown
  • Jacki Sorensen presents Aerobic Dance (on a RECORD PLAYER? are you KIDDING ME?)
  • The Year in Music's Greatest Hits (have no idea which year, but it's got the brothers Gibb all over it)
  • The University of Georgia Women's Glee Club performing at the American Choral Directors Southern Division Convention in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1980. I almost passed out during the concert (from bad shrimp, not bad beer. Wait...I didn't even DRINK beer back then... I felt like if I could just take my shoes off, I wouldn't pass out. The alto next to me told me she'd kill me if I took my shoes off. Being short and on the front row and all....)
  • The Georgia All-State Mixed Chorus in 1977, with my picture on the front AND back covers
I'm still trying to get over that Poco thing......

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Churchly and Unchurchly......

I went to church today, which sadly enough was unusual enough to make my daughter say "WHAT??!!!" when I told her. Her reaction made it sound like I had said I was going to join a cult or retire to Tahiti or shave my head or stop eating chocolate. But it was a special occasion, a baptism, and I'm glad I went. Even if the old-fashioned preacher did say at one point that it was a man's job to bring home the bacon, and a woman could also work outside the home if she had the time.

I used to go to church. For years I played the piano at a small, country church where I "led" a choir of 6 people. Eight on a really good Sunday. I "led" them just like you "lead" a cow into a branding chute. Not that I know a whole heck of a lot about cows. Or branding chutes. But whatever. They weren't particularly good singers, and I wasn't a particularly good leader, so I played the piano very loudly (and fast) to make up for our mutual ineptitude. I was there every Sunday and every Wednesday. That's probably why Sweet Girl doesn't go to church now. She figures she put in her required hours all those years she didn't have a choice about it. I gave up the piano-playing, choir-leading job when I was working on my doctorate because Sunday was the best day for me to write uninterrupted. (Sorry, God.)

My late father-in-law... My former father-in-law.... My late ex-father-in-law.... My ex-husband's father was as close to a saint as I have ever known. He was a kind person, gentle, calm, God-fearing. I have no idea how he came to be saddled with a son such as my ex. He accepted me and Sweet Girl into the family (and his house, for a couple of years before our house was built), and he tried to stay out of our way. In his house. He got up in the middle of the night one time to wash dishes that I'd left in the sink. (I never did that again.) And it wasn't to shame me, either. He was just that kind of person. He was as country as they come, a sort-of farmer who made a living running three chicken houses (THAT's a smell I hope I never have to live next to again) and raising a few cows on about 110 acres of land. That's a lot around here.

He went to church every Sunday. It was always a shock to see him dressed in his Sunday best, a hint of after shave wafting behind him, as he left for church. I was just so used to seeing him in his farming clothes and driving a tractor. But he was a faithful church-goer. And he was a good person. He exhibited all the characteristics we typically associate with someone who will be ushered right through the Pearly Gates, without having to remove his shoes and go through the metal detectors. Which leads me to the point of this whole post.

He was just so old-school, from a different time, and no one could shake ANY of his beliefs, not just the good ones.

He came home from church one Sunday, looking a little perturbed. Frowning. Almost scowling.

JW: Guess who came to church today.

Me: I don't know. Who?

JW: A BLACK lady!

Me: (Puzzled.) Really?

JW: Yeah. And guess who she sat next to?

Me: Ummmm...... you?

JW: Yeah. (Frowning and shaking his head.)


JW: But you know what? She didn't cause any trouble at all. I think she was just there to worship!

He was totally flummoxed (now isn't THAT a cool word? I just looked it up to make sure I was using it right) that a person of a different color could actually come to church JUST TO WORSHIP. How could such a good person be so wrong about people? What were they teaching in that church anyway?

He never drank, he didn't smoke, he went to church, he read his Bible, he gave to the needy, and he prayed before his meals, but he still had this conviction that some people were inferior to him just because of the color of their skin. He was a good person. But I hope they made him go through the metal detectors.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I got on a plane in Moline, Illinois at the Quad City Airport, headed back to Atlanta. I had just finished riding my bicycle (NOT my motorcycle) 500 miles across Iowa in July of 2006 in what is known as RAGBRAI. But this post is not about perseverance, or determination, or endurance, or even why someone would choose to ride a bicycle across Iowa with approximately 20,000 other cyclists in July. It's about perspective.

It was my second time riding RAGBRAI. I had ridden in the summer of 2004, justifying it to hubby as a "once in a lifetime" event, but then I just had to go back. Once I got out there and started riding, it was hard to remember why I had felt the compulsion to go back. I even said to hubby in a cell phone conversation from approximately the middle of nowhere, "If I ever say the words bicycle and Iowa together in the same sentence again, I hope you pop me right in the mouth."

Don't get me wrong....I loved Iowa. I had never met friendlier, more considerate people outside my home state of Georgia. And I didn't mind the cornfields and pig farms, or the lack of pine trees, and I didn't miss the red clay at all.

I didn't even mind the riding. I ride my bicycle across Georgia every year; I've ridden in BRAG for 17 consecutive years, and we typically ride an average of 60 miles per day. Never mind that some days in Iowa the route was 80 miles from one town to another, and THEN you had to follow the signs to our particular charter service, Pork Belly Ventures, which could be as many as 5 additional miles. It was usually worth the extra miles for the awesome campsite the PBV folks had acquired, but still.... On a bike ride you're only mentally prepared to do as many miles as you set out to do. You can't tack on an extra 5 here and there.

And it wasn't really the sheer number of people on the road at one time. I've always said I was too dumb to be scared on my bike. Besides, the drivers in Iowa know the best thing for them to do that week is just stay off the road, so we didn't have to worry about traffic too much.

And it certainly wasn't a lack of food. Heaven knows you can't ride more than a mile (usually less) in Iowa without seeing a vendor selling something delicious. Pork chops, fried turkey legs, pasta, homemade ice cream, and pies, not to mention all the locals who set up lemonade stands, sandwich stands, and all kinds of other delectable choices all along the route. It was impossible to go hungry. Broke, yes; hungry, no.

But still, I found myself pedaling along, feeling homesick for hubby and wondering why the hell I was there. I had a perfectly good (in fact, brand new) motorcycle at home, a swimming pool in my backyard, all the necessary ingredients for margaritas, and a comfy bed with a warm hubby to snuggle up to, as opposed to sleeping in a tent that was snuggled right up to 300 other tents. After the day's riding was through (60 miles, 70 miles, 80 miles, whatever), the real work began. I had to find my baggage and lug it to whatever square three feet of space I could find in the blazing sun. Then I had to put up my tent and go in search of a shower.

A "shower" on RAGBRAI could mean many things. It might mean using Pete's Shower Thingy in camp, which was a) convenient and b) free. Or it might mean chasing down a shuttle and trekking to the neighborhood YMCA for a luxurious warm shower for $4.00. Maybe $5.00 if you didn't bring your own towel. Or it might mean a concrete block building with two showerheads and cold water and a million spiders, maybe for $3.00. Or it might mean a fire station where they ran PVC pipe around the walls of one of the truck bays and hung up black plastic to separate the men from the women and everyone of the same gender showered together for $4.00. I'm not kidding. But anything was better than staying in those cycling clothes, and getting rid of the grime of the road was worth any amount of money.

Meals in the towns were usually provided by the local churches (for most of them it was their biggest fund raiser of the year), and man was the food delicious. But you had to a) decide where the group wanted to eat, usually according to what was being served; b) find it; c) stand in line; and d) pray they didn't run out of food before your part of the line got there.

Back in camp, I hung around under the big red and white striped tent and drank a few adult beverages (three on a REALLY wild night) and listened to the evening's entertainment before heading off to sleep on the ground in my tent. I really enjoyed the camaraderie. But I was away from home. And I missed my hubby.

So back to perspective. (You thought I forgot where I was going with this, didn't you?) Instead of riding home for 2 days in a van with the 12 other people from Georgia who were pretty tired of each other by the end of the week (namely someone who shall remain nameless but whose initials are G-L-O-R-I-A), I chose to fly back to Atlanta. It was worth every bit of the $99 ticket I had to buy. A couple from Atlanta who also rode chose the same option, and the husband of the pair booked us a limousine from the end of the ride to the airport in Moline. A real limousine. Stretch. For three of us. Cool.

I was pleasantly surprised by the airport personnel. Remember, the airport I am most used to and deal with most often is Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. In the Quad City Airport, the ticket agent commented on how good my driver's license picture was (I had recently had a new picture made for my motorcycle license), which led to a discussion about motorcycles. She wanted to see a picture of it too, along with any other random pictures I had on hand. Or camera. We chatted for quite a while. A completely new experience for me in an airport.

When I checked in via the kiosk, the question came up about upgrading to first class (or whatever they call it these days). My finger hovered over the screen. I had never flown first class before. I had just spent about $1000 -- yes, there are three zeros there -- for a week of agony. The charge to upgrade to first class was another $35. At which point I said, I think aloud, "I've GOT 35 dollars." So first class it was.

I had to wait about 4 hours to board my plane, because my friends the limo-renters had an earlier flight, and I was, well, tagging along in their limo. There I was in the airport, along with all the other jet-setters just like me (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha), a whole week removed from wearing any makeup or blow-drying my hair, wearing a skort, t-shirt, baseball cap, and fanny pack, a funky tan line from bicycle shorts and cycling sandals, and hauling two giant duffel bags with a week's worth of smelly cycling gear in them that probably would have set off a couple of radioactive alarms, had we been in an airport of any size. I was feeling so sophisticated at this point that I did the most obvious, logical thing -- I went to sleep. On the floor. With no pillow or blanket or anything. How regal.

Back to perspective.

Finally the time came to board the plane. I felt very smug every time I looked at my ticket and saw that my seat was "1A." I looked sympathetically at the other passengers when I got to board first. I sat down in my window seat and was thinking about how good it would feel to get home. I was all ready to chat with my seatmate about how I had just spent the week and share with him/her just how badly my legs ached. Oh, how my legs ached. They were muscular and tan and looked pretty decent coming out from under a skort, but oh, how they ached.

My seatmate was the last person to board the plane, along with her 11-year-old stepson. He sat across the aisle, very polite and well-mannered, not the goober I anticipated. She leaned over to him and said quietly, "Just remember, we'll be last to get off the plane in Atlanta." He nodded, and she leaned her head back against the seat with her eyes closed, a smile of contentment on her face.

Her demeanor was so calm, so peaceful, and she just gave off the aura of someone who had never complained in her life.

And she had no legs. I couldn't speak at all.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Night Fantasies.....

Get your minds out of the gutter.....not THAT kind of fantasies.

Some random places I'd like to be this weekend.

At the Oreo Cow Farm, where they gave out free beer and Oreo cookies during a bicycle ride. I had a beer; my sister had the Oreos.

St. Thomas.............

Cabo san Lucas, Mexico........



Watching a healthy Courtney Kupets compete in a gymnastics meet........

Las Vegas......

Myrtle Beach.......

St. Augustine (okay, probably not a wise choice, what with TS Fay churning around in North Florida).........

The Georgia-Florida football game...... with another win for the Dawgs......

A Billy Joel concert anywhere.......

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stupid stuff I thought when I was a kid.....

I thought the door on the ladies' bathroom door was pronounced (and meant): Whoa-Men. It made a hell of a lot more sense than a word spelled w-o-m-e-n being pronounced wimmin.

My sister got married when I was only 6. I kept hearing people talking about a honeymoon, and I didn't know what that was. (Probably a good thing.) So I thought they were actually going TO THE MOON, and I would never see them again. I became hysterical at the reception. People probably thought I was just being a brat. The chances were excellent.

Speaking of my sister's wedding, my parents had just divorced when she got married. I remember being afraid that they were going to get into a fight in the church, right there in front of the preacher and everybody. I didn't know you could actually put hostilities on hold for an occasion like that.

I thought ants were just like us, only really tiny. I thought if we could get down on their level, we would see them driving little bitty cars and sitting down to dinner at little bitty dining room tables.

I thought we really did trade cars every time the ashtrays got full, because that's what I heard my father tell someone.

To be continued.........

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Walk in the Park......

I really believe I was meant to live on or near the water. We walk in this park 3 or 4 times a week, and I am always captivated by the water. When the path goes near the water, I want to stop and look at it every time. Or like Libby (our lab), jump in the cool water for some relief from the heat and humidity.

But I can't stop too often, because this is the view I see most often. Although the path is usually wide enough for us to walk side-by-side, I don't always keep up. Or I get distracted by the water. Or I trip over a root. Or I trip over a dog.

Like most labs, the lake is NEVER too cold for Libby. I've seen her jump in and swim when there was ice crusted at the edges of the lake. Gus, our Pomeranian, thinks he's a lab too. He's too dignified to JUMP in the lake, but he prances out and goes swimming right along with Libby. And then he's not quite so cute. And he has to ride home in my lap. Yuck.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Teaching Virtually (as opposed to virtually teaching...)

I teach online part-time in addition to my full-time teaching position. It's not really even the money, although it's nice to have "extra" money to buy toys like motorcycles and kayaks, but the appeal is more the challenge of doing something different and....well....challenging.

It has its headaches, of course, just like everything else. Like "paperwork" (in the form of electronic documents) and "meetings" (which are online, but we can talk and hear each other in addition to chatting in a text box). But some days I absolutely love it. I get to meet students from all over the state, and although I never see them face-to-face, sometimes I think I get to know them better than my "bricks and mortar" school students.

Last spring, I had a student who saw that I was online and sent me a pager message (sort of like IMing), and she asked if I could help her. Naturally I anticipated a grammar question or something about a piece of literature or about how to complete an assignment. Instead she launches into this heart-wrenching problem of being overweight and other students picking on her, and her best friend was going to get in a fight with some kids in the cafeteria for picking on her..... It was pitiful in a way, and it was touching in another way. It was heart-warming to think that I had built up a relationship in an online environment, typically isolating and cold, to the point that she thought she could bring her problems to me. (By the way, I steered her toward her real-life, face-to-face counselor at school and cautioned her about getting into fights at school. Sigh.)

During the summer, I had an online meeting from my daughter's house in Jacksonville. (That's another of the tremendous benefits of teaching online. As long as there is internet access, you can do your job! I won't even go into being in the casino in Las Vegas a couple of years ago...) Anyway, in this meeting I was going over expectations and requirements, and I saw that a student was typing in the chat box. I waited to see what his question was.......... He said, "I could have sworn this was going to be a '' class." I laughed so hard. He wound up being one of my favorite students, because he had a tremendous sense of humor and didn't mind speaking his mind. I'm not one of those teachers who get offended if a student questions why an assignment is useful. If I agree that it's not particularly useful, I tell him so and tell him to get over it and do it anyway. If I think it IS particularly useful, I explain why and tell him to get over it and do it anyway. This same student later emailed me one day and apologized for turning some assignments in late because his family was moving and he was trying to access the internet in the airport. I asked where they were moving, and he said....Chile! Like he moved from South Georgia in the summer to South America in the winter all in one weekend. I guess you could call that a benefit of TAKING an online course. It was the last course he needed for graduation, and his family had to move because of his father's job. But he was able to complete the course and graduate, and I hope live happily ever after.

Tonight I had a meeting with my 4 students in Contemporary Literature. Because I was trying to multi-task (always a dangerous undertaking), and they are so conscientious, a couple of them got into the meeting before I did. They were having a ball, drawing on the "whiteboard" and chatting back and forth. I showed my PowerPoint presentation and went over the things I had planned, and we were through. They asked if I would leave the whiteboard up for a few minutes so they could draw some more. For some reason, I just thought that was so cute.

I am enjoying that course, Contemporary Literature, so much. In the past I have always taught English Literature, usually the last English course students need before graduation. I have had a high failure rate, due I think to last-ditch efforts to get students graduated and school officials placing students in online courses who can't handle the discipline and the rigor. But I digress.

This semester I got to teach Contemporary Lit, and I love it. Not only is the literature more interesting to me because some of the writers are still alive, but the course is an elective. The students who are in the course chose to take it because they WANTED to, not because it was required. Some are home-schooled; some just wanted an extra literature class. Either way, they are diligent and serious about their work, not just doing it to get a credit and move on.

This online teaching thing is going to be a GREAT way for me to make money and stay busy after retirement.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Energy Shift

Wow. I can't believe how tired I am. I didn't sleep in all summer long (except for one indulgent Thursday when I slept until 7:00 AM). I got up at 5:00 all summer; I went to bed as close to 8:30 as possible. (It's either that or sit here alone and talk to myself.)

And after two whole days of school, I'm wiped out. I can't figure it out. My job isn't that tiring. I'm not having to adjust to getting up early again. In this job I don't have to stand in front of the class the way I used to, worrying about what to do when I run out of things for them to do or they decide they really do outnumber me. I have a maximum of 15 in a class; one of my classes had 7 today (shhhhhhhhh.......).

And they were dead silent today, working at their little computer stations. I didn't have to threaten, cajole, coerce, redirect, or bribe a single student. No one bowed up at me or another student, not a single cell phone showed its face in my room, no one even went to sleep in class.

But I'm exhausted all the same. I don't have to write lesson plans, I don't have papers to grade at home, and I'm beat. I don't get it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Motorcycling and Shopping

It's a wonderful thing when I can combine a motorcycle ride with a shopping trip. Riding the motorcycle to the outlet malls is a great self-discipline tool. There's only so much I can buy, because there's only so much a bungee cord will hold on the back of a motorcycle. Of course, taking hubby to the outlet malls wasn't such a brilliant idea.

Hubby: What did you say you were shopping for?

Me: Plum colored pants, olive green pants, off-white pants, white shirt.

Hubby (watching me look at a billion different tops): Didn't you say you were looking for pants?

I managed to buy one blouse, all the while muttering to myself, "I'm coming back up here by myself.......or with another woman."

I couldn't help it if olive green slacks and plum colored slacks were not to be had. But come white? What's up with THAT?

Still, an afternoon on the bikes was worth the trip. We meandered through the countryside (I really like meandering, almost as much as I like the word). I feel so much more confident on the bike now. I don't always keep up with him, but I don't freak out if he makes a right-hand turn. If only he would use his turn signals every now and then to let me know which way we're going, if for no other reason than I would like to inform the folks behind us. Can't have it all, I guess. At least he went with me.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Is it asking too much just to be able to breathe normally? I mean really?

I can't believe I'm posting this picture. This is the CPAP machine I have to be hooked up to at night to deal with my sleep apnea. I knew I snored, but I really didn't think I had sleep apnea. But I did the sleep study (two nights of hell) anyway just so I could prove them wrong. The first night was to determine the level of my apnea. I didn't think I slept enough to give them any information, but I was wrong (most people who do the study usually think the same thing, evidently). I thought I heard every word the lab technicians uttered all night long, and they were in the other room. I felt like I was awake more than I was asleep. Anyway, the report said that I stopped breathing 43 times.......PER HOUR. My oxygen level was somewhere around 80-something%, and optimal is above 95% (I think). So the doctor recommended a CPAP machine (continuous positive air pressure), and I spent yet another night in the hospital in the sleep lab so they could determine the proper setting for my machine.

I talked to several people who had used a CPAP machine, and they all sang its praises. "Oh, you won't believe how much better you'll feel." "You'll just have so much more energy, you won't believe it." "I lost 30 pounds after I started using it." Yeah, right. One guy sent word through hubby that I would have to give it 2-3 months before I would start seeing the benefits, but it was worth it.

It's been 7 months, and I still hate it. I don't feel any increased energy (although I would like to think my energy level was already pretty high before I started using it). I haven't lost any weight. I don't snore or stop breathing, and I guess that's a good thing at least. I don't stop breathing because it's hard to do with a gale-force wind being forced through my nose. And I don't snore because if I open my mouth, a tornado issues forth due to the forced air.

When we go to bed, I wait for hubby to fall asleep before I even put it on. I don't want him to see me with it on. Talk about a romance killer....... I mean, can you imagine rolling over and looking at THAT? I think it also hurts my psyche because I associate snoring with men, and women aren't supposed to have such unglamorous problems. The indignity of it all! I'm pretty sure that some of my breathing problems are weight-related, and you would think that would inspire me to lose some weight. Not all of them, though. I inherited my father's breathing problems, and you could hear him breathing in the next county.

I had surgery when I was about 20 to correct a deviated septum, and the doc did plastic surgery at the same time. (I had a slight hump in my nose that wasn't hideous, but as long as he was gonna be in there anyway...... It was called a septorhinoplasty just in case you ever get that question on Jeopardy.) I went to this same doctor multiple times through the years for sinus infections and once an abscess behind my nose (whatever is located there). On one of my many visits to his office, he slumped his shoulders, sighed, and said, "I've done all I can for you. I don't know HOW you breathe."

The doctor who sent me for the sleep studies and recommended the CPAP told me I have a hole in my septum. (That's the membrane that runs down the middle of your nose, separating it into the two sections that I'm sure have a medical name.) He didn't say whether the hole was a result of an error in the earlier surgery or just something that happened over time anyway. That explains why I sometimes whistle when I breathe. He said it wasn't feasible to try to fix it, because the chances of success were small and he might actually end up making it worse.

I also have allergies that aren't allergies. I was tested, and there was nothing that I was allergic to. The lab technician said it was classified as a "vasomotor rhinitis." That's one of those good-news-bad-news situations. The good news is that there's nothing I have to avoid that might trigger one of these flare-ups. (I call it my head blowing up.) The bad news is there's nothing I CAN avoid. It's sort of like being allergic to myself. Over-the-counter allergy medications help some, but I still have flare-ups and fits of sneezing, and I sometimes look like I've either been drunk for three days or crying for three hours. I think my record was one morning when I sneezed 18 times while I was getting ready for work.

All of this leads me back to my original question: Is it asking too much just to be able to breathe normally? I don't mind taking the allergy medicine every day (along with blood pressure medication, potassium, an aspirin, and a vitamin), but wearing that thing at night really hurts my pride. When we took a cruise out of LA this past spring, I wouldn't even take the CPAP machine with me. It has its own suitcase, too big to go inside another suitcase. And I didn't want to take it on the plane as a carry-on, because I didn't want to have to explain to anyone what it was. So I went without it for a week and just hoped that hubby would spend enough time at the pool bar every day that my snoring wouldn't bother him. He's always said it didn't bother him anyway (isn't that a sweet lie to tell?), but it bothers ME.

In my next life I want to come back as someone who can just breathe normally without drugs, surgery, or a machine. I'll probably come back as an elephant with sleep apnea, allergies, AND vasomotor rhinitis.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Two More Years.....

I realized this morning that it was Sweet Girl's last day in this command......the only command she's ever been in. She's been in the Navy for 5 years, and she has been assigned to HS-7 the whole time. Now she's changing commands and will be stationed in Mayport, which is about a 40-minute drive for her. But at least she didn't have to sell her condo. She just reenlisted this past Tuesday, so she belongs to the Navy for at least another 2 years. She'll have 30 days of leave before reporting to her new command, and we're hoping she will find time to come home for a visit. It's been 14 months since she's been home, although I don't blame her much since she has a brand new place of her own now.

I'm just so stinkin' proud of her and all that's she's done.

Here she is at a Busch car race in Atlanta in 2006. They gave her a free pass to the race if she would wear her uniform. They would also have put her up in a hotel for the night, but since she was only about 2 hours from home, she spent the night in her old room. She's not really that crazy about NASCAR, but it was a free weekend.

Here she is with the first helicopter that had her name on it. The "birds" have the pilot's name on one side and the plane captain's on the other. This picture was my Christmas present. I had never seen her in her dress uniform before! She has since had her name painted on another helicopter, this time as AM3 instead of AMAN. She has done two Persian Gulf cruises, one for 6 months and this latest one for 7 months. She has been to Italy, Greece, Crete, England, France (she got a four-day liberty pass for being Sailor of the Day and was able to spend the night in Paris), Bahrain, and Dubai (more times than we can was the only place they ported this last cruise.)

Here she is on deck as they are passing through the Suez Canal (I think.......where else would there be land that close to the ship when they're not in port?). I'd love to know what those shrubs spell.......

This is a picture of the USS Harry S Truman returning from the Persian Gulf this past June. I had never seen the ship before, and it was an awesome sight. Members of HS-7 were manning the rails as they pulled into port. I went to Mayport to see the ship pull in, and I was DOING FINE, really I was, until they started blaring Daughtry's "Home" from the ship's speakers. That was when I pretty much lost it. On the video, you can hear me sniffling (sobbing?) in the background. The ship usually ports in Norfolk, and they immediately fly back to Jax, so I had never made the trip up to see them port before. It was certainly worth the drive to Jax.

Sweet Girl is standing aft of the island, starboard side, the middle person in that 5-person group. (She thought I wouldn't be able to figure out that aft of island, starboard side stuff.) As soon as she had cell service, she called me, and I had just arrived at the pier. I had never been there before, so I said, "I don't even know where to look for you." She said, "Mom, look toward the water." Well.........DUH!!!! Like where else was I gonna look for an aircraft carrier?

She works on the flight deck as a plane captain, launching and recovering helicopters. I didn't think much of her job until I saw (part of) the series "Carrier" on PBS. I cringe to think my baby is working on that flight deck! And this is the same girl who took dance for 10 years and still wants to get married at DisneyWorld.

I was totally blown away by the sight of this ship. And I thought a cruise ship was big!

I just wanted to let Sweet Girl (and the blogging world) know how very proud I am of her!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I know it's shameful (or perhaps extremely revealing) to have two posts in a row about food. Because it was the last day of pre-planning and the last opportunity for a while, our entire staff went out for lunch today. (Okay, our entire staff consists of 6 people, so it's a little easier to manage than you'd think.)

Since we were on the job, we couldn't exactly order the pitcher of beer that I would love to have had. So we had DESSERT(S) instead. (Well, not all of us. Sara and Lynn were good.) Fried Cheesecake (like cheesecake wasn't already fattening enough, they had to go and deep fry it?), something with caramel and peanut butter, and my personal favorite, molten chocolate cake. Yum!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Susie Homemaker I'm not.....

I don't claim to be a gourmet chef, or really even a decent cook. We get by, we eat mostly healthy stuff (hubby is diabetic), but preparing food has never been one of my favorite activities. Beer and pizza is a meal that includes all of the major food groups, if you have chocolate-covered ice cream bars for dessert. (We buy the no-sugar-added kind.) I can read a recipe and follow it fairly well, but I get frustrated if I don't have all of the ingredients on hand. And I lament the amount of time spent in the kitchen preparing most meals. Don't even get me started on the cleaning up part.

Tonight, however, I prepared chicken salad, the recipe for which I got from my cousin. She worked for a caterer at one time, and they couldn't keep this chicken salad on hand. It's very basic, and it would be just like any other chicken salad in the world, except for two "surprise" ingredients. A word of warning: I won't be listing the amounts of ingredients, because I rarely use them when I'm cooking.

When I first started making this, I would cook a whole chicken, wait for it to cool, pick the meat off the bone, cut it up carefully. Screw that crap. (Pardon my language.) Now I use two large cans of white meat chicken.

Then I add some quantity of chopped walnuts. I didn't remember to take pictures until after I had dumped the walnuts on top of the chicken. Sigh.

Next I cut green seedless grapes in halves. I don't count them or measure. I just know when it looks right. When I'm feeling really gourmet I'll cut them into quarters.

First "surprise" ingredient....flaked, sweetened coconut.

Second "surprise" ingredient.....sour cream. I used the lite kind tonight, just because that's what I had.

Mayonnaise, of course. Actually, I prefer Miracle Whip, but hubby doesn't like it because he says it's too sweet. Isn't that sort of like being too pretty or too rich?

Finished product. Sometimes I'll add celery, but we rarely have that on hand. Neither one of us is crazy about it, and I refuse to buy an entire package of celery just to use one or two stalks and have the rest of it look like cooked spaghetti in a couple of weeks.

This is one of those rare dishes that hubby will actually request from time to time. (Most of his requests involve me NOT making something again.) We eat this with crackers, or if I'm feeling really gourmet or want to impress someone, I'll serve it with store-bought croissants.

I have also heard of a variation of this recipe with almonds instead of walnuts and mandarin oranges instead of grapes. I have also made it with red seedless grapes when I didn't have the green ones in the fridge.

That's it for tonight. I'm exhausted from the "cooking" and "washing up." We ate off paper plates.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It goes against my nature to give up.........

.....but I don't have enough hours in the day to get something done that I committed to. I agreed to review a course for my (part-time?) online employer (I just can't turn down money). But we didn't get the paperwork until last Saturday, and the course review has to be finished by this Friday at noon. We have Open House at my school Thursday night, and I'm on Unit 5.........out of 18. We have to look at every single content page and correct grammar and spelling. Those of you who have read my posts know that I'm a grammar snob, so they surely came to the right person. But I also have to fill out a form documenting every change I make. Every comma I add, every apostrophe, every spelling change. And I have to check every single link and make sure it goes where it's supposed to. And I'm required to check every single quiz, assignment check, and unit test, making sure all the questions are correct in spelling and grammar and that the answer is the correct one. They said course review was supposed to take 10-15 hours, but a unit test alone takes at least an hour to check. Arrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!! I don't like admitting defeat, but I don't like stressing out either. Oh, and I'm also supposed to be checking my own course's Units 1 and 2 and......oh yeah......actually teaching the courses I'm assigned to teach. Is it wrong of me to go back on my word and say "I can't do this"? Or is it wronger for me to do a half-assed job and still collect the money they pay me?

Monday, August 11, 2008


Sports I love to watch in the Summer Games:
  • Women's Gymnastics
  • Men's Gymnastics
  • Swimming
  • Diving
  • Volleyball
Sports I didn't think I would like but do:
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Synchronized Diving
  • Decathlon
  • Pole Vaulting
Sports I don't really care to watch:
  • Cycling
  • BMX Racing
  • Weight Lifting
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics
  • Relay Races
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Basketball

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Un-Goals for the New School Year

With the start of every new school year, I usually think of all the things I will do differently this year to make my job, my life, my everything better and more efficient. But this is my 23rd (!) year of teaching, and I realize it ain't likely to happen. (I'm an English teacher, so I have a free pass to use the word "ain't" every now and then. Look it up in the English Teacher's Code.)

Here, then, are my un-goals for this school year, things that I know will not change significantly.

  1. Clean Desk - This will never happen. I won't even have the cleanest teacher's desk in my room. Students will occasionally volunteer to help my clear off my desk and make things neat and tidy, and I will allow them to do so. Then my desk will be back to its cluttered chaos within a few hours. That's just me. All the file folders, organizers, stacky things, and desk dividers will not help. Having a messy desk doesn't affect my teaching, so I have given myself permission not to stress about it.
  2. Homemade Lunches - Although I will probably take my lunch to school more than not, I am wise enough to realize that there are going to be days when I just don't feel like making a lunch. I'll be up so late one night (or two or ten) working on my "part-time" online teaching job that I don't take the time to prepare anything. Or I'll be out of town for the weekend (probably on a bicycle ride, or a motorcycle ride) and I won't get home in time (or have enough energy) to go to the grocery store. Or hubby will be out of town and I will be on kitchen strike even more than I am when he is IN town. Or they'll be serving vegetable soup and PB J at school, which I find irresistible. I won't beat myself up if I occasionally eat a school lunch or order something.
  3. Exercise - While we will continue our routine of walking in the park 3-4 times a week, and I will occasionally ride my bike on the weekends, and I will use the treadmill from time to time, I know that exercising every single day will not happen. Bad weather, lack of energy, hectic schedule, family obligations, and occasional social events will dictate that I skip a day of exercise every now and then. It will not be the deciding factor that kills my chances of being the world's next supermodel, and it won't make me a bad person.
  4. Housework - We will always have clean clothes to wear, and we will always have something (mostly) nutritious to eat, and the dishes will (usually) be washed, and the bed will be made every day, and the health inspector won't find enough evidence to condemn our house, but I will not aspire to be June Cleaver. Furniture will be dusty, dog toys will be scattered in the living room, and the kitchen table will continue to accumulate a lot of the junk that makes its way into our house every day. Hubby doesn't think having a spotless house is required to be a good person/wife (although my mother DOES, but she hates animals and won't visit our house anyway), so I won't feel like a failure if my house is sometimes a little messy.
  5. School Clothes - Although I would like to look like a fashion model, that isn't likely to happen either. There will be days when I dress for comfort and won't look as professional as I could. There will be days when I spend an extra 10 minutes emailing in the morning and don't save enough time to iron something. (And I will never iron a week's worth of clothes on the weekend, no matter how many times I say it.) I will occasionally have to resort to something that a) is clean; b) fits; c) I haven't already worn that week; and d) doesn't need to be ironed. It will not make me a less effective teacher if I am not wearing the absolute latest fashion.
  6. Dinner - We will not have a home cooked meal with a lean meat, a green vegetable, and a starch every single night. For the same reasons that I won't always have time to exercise or prepare a healthy lunch, there will be nights that we are forced to order a pizza or run out for a burger or get by with a sandwich. We definitely won't starve to death.
  7. Money - I will not suddenly become frugal and completely sensible about spending. I will occasionally splurge on something I don't need, I will sometimes waste money needlessly (whether intentionally or unintentionally), and I may hold my breath until payday rolls around again. But the bills will be paid, I will continue to contribute to ALL of our savings accounts, and we won't have to sacrifice necessities. Especially if we win the lottery (see wasting money, above).
  8. Reading - I will not limit myself to only quality literature. I will occasionally resort to reading something strictly for entertainment or relaxation, not to elicit deep thought and reflection. I may even "waste" time in such pursuits when I could be cleaning the house or ironing clothes (see #4 and #5 above).
Okay, now I feel completely ready for the new school year. And I have no idea what I'm wearing tomorrow.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Too tired to be witty.......or even coherent

I would love to be able to say something clever and/or witty tonight, but I'm just too damn tired. Who knew a puppy could cry ALL NIGHT LONG? I finally got up at 5:45 this morning to shut her up so Sweet Girl could sleep. What's up with THAT? It's her damn dog!!!!! I had planned to stay with her through tomorrow, but she hasn't really needed my help, there wasn't much of a recuperation from this minor surgery, and I just didn't think I could take another night of a crying puppy. [I have to keep looking at her pictures (the puppy, not the Sweet Girl) just to remind myself how precious she is. Otherwise I may be inclined to forget.] All those factors joined forces to convince me to come home today instead of tomorrow. I'm glad the 6-hour drive is behind me and not ahead of me. And I'm glad I have a day to get laundry done, buy groceries, and watch the Olympics before starting the school year on Monday. Where did the summer go?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Grandparents........Sort of

Meet our new granddog. Sweet Girl and I ventured out to a nearby puppy store today "just to look." Yeah right. Just like every time hubby and I have gone "just to look" at new cars, we have come home with one. This adorable little girl was one of the first puppies we saw. Her name is Daisy, and she's precious. It's such a bittersweet event, having my Sweet Girl become the parent to a pet. I'm having to bite my tongue (sometimes not very successfully) to keep from telling her everything I think she should do regarding this tiny little creature.

The best part of having a granddog is, just like grandchildren, I can drive away day after tomorrow and I don't have to clean up poop or pee, I don't have to worry about her chewing everything in my house, and I don't have to listen to her crying at night or when we leave the house. Sweet Girl will have 30 days of leave coming up after next week, so she'll have plenty of time to spend with her.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

In a time crunch here...

....'cause it's going on midnight, and if I don't get my blog posted in the next 21 minutes, I won't have posted every single day since I started. And my all-or-nothing personality just can't handle that. It's every day, baby.

And the fact that I spent all day at Epcot with my sweet girl does not excuse me from my blogging responsibilities! It was a last-minute, impulsive decision that we made this morning. Her doctor said she couldn't drive or swim post-op, but he said NOTHING about riding down to Orlando and walking around in the 95 degree heat and melting all over Epcot. I waited and waited for it, but he didn't mention it. So we figured it must be all right.

I'm all for being impulsive and flying by the seat of our pants, but this could really have been planned better. Like if we had thought about spending the night with my friends Wilson and Nurse Boop, who live a mere 10 minutes from the greatest place on earth. (We did, however, get to share a meal and a couple of pitchers of beer with them, so it wasn't a total loss.) Or maybe waited until first frost to go mingle with about a billion other human beings from many different countries.

Why is it that I'm surprised to hear young'uns speaking with a British accent? It always makes me smile. It's like I thought they talked "normal" like we do here in the South (HA HA HA HA HA) up until adulthood, and THEN they developed their British accents.

Here's one of my two favorite t-shirts from today. I'm gonna make a point to take pictures of great t-shirts everywhere I go from now on.
If you can't read it, it says "Beer makes you feel the way you should feel without beer." I think that is a profound statement. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. And it's attributed to someone who is probably very famous, but I can't make out the name at the bottom. And I'm in a time crunch. I was going to take a better picture, but I had already mortified Sweet Girl by taking a picture of the guy's shirt while we were in line for the Nemo ride, all while I was PRETENDING to take a picture of Sweet Girl herself.

My other favorite t-shirt was on a very large lady (and I can say that because I almost qualify for that description myself), and it said "I suggest you take the stairs." It was almost, almost totally ironic, except that she was going up the stairs. BETWEEN two escalators. So she gets points for having the nerve to wear the shirt in the first place, and for actually using the stairs. Couldn't take a picture of this one because I'd already used all my mortification points for today.

Gonna turn into a pumpkin in seven minutes. The last time I was up until midnight was either while I was writing my dissertation or after a Billy Joel concert or during college football bowl games. None of which followed a 12-hour day on my feet at Epcot. So I'm done.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Reality T.V.

What won't they create a reality show about? My daughter and I are watching "Greatest American Dog" on t.v. What is up with all these reality shows? (Let me remind you that I'm at my daughter's house, and the likelihood of me CHOOSING to watch this is right up there with me being America's Next Top Model.) There have been some cute moments on this show (being that I love dogs and all), but COME ON!!!! I just think the reality shows reached the saturation point a long time ago, and now we're approaching the point of being ridiculous.

Maybe this negativity is just the culmination of a very long day at the hospital. The surgery on my sweet girl's back went well, but because they gave her a spinal block, it was a long time before we could leave. She had to pass the wiggle-your-toes-walk-pee test. She's in very little pain, thank the Lord, but it will be a couple of days before she can drive. Two weeks before she can get in a pool or the ocean. DAMN!!!!

She'll probably kick me out before Sunday anyway. She has this rule that you can't wear shoes in her condo, and I keep forgetting to take mine off.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Vacation or what?????????

Here I am in sunny Florida, but not really for fun in the sun. My sweet girl is having surgery tomorrow (thankfully minor--outpatient only), and of course her mama had to come down to be with her. The trip down was uneventful. I let the GPS lead me down US 441 and US 1 instead of the interstate. I felt like it was slow going, especially through all the little towns. But my overall travel time was almost exactly the same as when I travel all interstate. Go figure. And it was much less stressful.

I have trained myself to drive calmly. No road rage here. If a car pulls out in front of me, I pretend there's a sick baby in there and the parents are rushing to the hospital. If a car drifts into my lane, I assume the driver has a close family member dying of cancer and is therefore distracted. Okay, sometimes I do slip up and question (aloud) the driver's mentality, education, heritage, lineage, potty training, and relationships with siblings. Most of the time, though, I remain calm and remind myself that those people don't know me, so their actions couldn't possibly have been directed at me personally. Please award my gold star(s).

I don't know if I'll go back home the same way, though. Although the time was about the same, the interstate just FEELS faster, and I'll be in a hurry to get home to my sweet hubby. I'm hoping my girl recuperates nicely and we can also do some shopping/movie going/swimming/playing at the beach/more shopping before I have to return to the real world of a new school year.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Shoe Shopping Spree

I don't normally consider myself a shoe person. In fact, I'm not much of a clothes person at all. I typically have one pair of black shoes, one pair of brown (hey, I'm not COMPLETELY fashion ignorant), and then I come up with as many excuses to wear sneakers to school in a week as I can manage. Because my teaching job actually requires that I sit at my computer for most of the day, I am occasionally without shoes at all. I have even been known to walk across the room barefoot if I think the question I'm answering will be a short one and the superintendent isn't in the building. And my pedicure is fairly recent. (Note to self: Add that to the things-to-do-before-school-starts-back list.)

In the past week, however, while doing my back-to-school-clothes shopping, I have purchased seven.........count 'em, seven....... new pairs of shoes. And I can't wait to wear each and every one of them.Although I didn't particularly like the heel on the above pair, I loved the style. They are for wearing with black pants that lean more to the casual side. I bought two new pairs of black pants. One is rather ordinary; the other is almost denim-like with big legs and white pinstripes. They are awesome. I'd include a picture of them, but they are at the alterations shop having approximately nine inches cut off the bottom. I'm not exaggerating this time.

The above shoes I would have to characterize as "so ugly they're cute." It's hard to see the shiny, almost patent-leather part in the middle. These look like they're straight out of the 90's...... the 1890's. And I love them. They are for wearing with dressy black pants. Those too are being hemmed. Sigh.
I don't usually do heels, either, and the heels on the above aren't as high as it looks. They are very comfortable (so far), and although it's hard to tell in this picture, they are brown, for wearing with dressier tan or brown slacks. Oddly enough NOT being altered, but I didn't think about trying them on with the shoes until after I started this blog. And I'm not getting out of this recliner.

Another black pair for wearing with jeans, casual slacks, capris, or even shorts. Since here in the South it stays warm enough to wear sandals all the way through October, these will probably get a lot of wear. Yes, I can get away with wearing shorts to school. I love my job!
Ironically, the shoes pictured above are the LEAST comfortable out of all my purchases. Go figure! Something about the heel rubbing. I've been trying to wear them around the house to break them in, and all I can manage is about 15 minutes. After that I'm walking kind of like Frankenstein, not bending my leg so the shoe doesn't have an opportunity to rub on my heel. But aren't they cute? They're actually lighter than navy blue, so they may not work with navy slacks. Jeans and shorts perhaps. And bandaids.

These brown shoes are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo comfortable. I'll wear them with casual brown slacks (as soon as I buy some), khakis (as soon as I buy some), and jeans. I had to get over the velcro fastener....makes me feel ancient. But I think these will hold up all the way through winter, if I wear socks.

And naturally, new Reeboks for casual Fridays, when we can wear jeans or denim capris. Or any other day of the week when I can manage something casual-but-not-jeans and wear my sneaks. I usually have one pair of sneakers that look nice enough to wear to school for a few months, and one pair that I don't mind wearing to the park for our daily walk. When the school pair starts looking grungy, I start walking in those and retire the others and buy new ones for school. I have tried other brands of sneakers, but Reeboks are the ones that work best for me. They are true to size, comfortable, and I don't need a long time to break them in.