Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of the Year Review....

I shamelessly stole this blog format from a blogger called Cynical Dad who I'm pretty sure has no clue of my existence. If you are a regular reader of my blog (thank you!), you don't have to read them again. They're not necessarily my best writing, the most profound, the most touching, or the most humorous. They're just ones I liked. My blog, my rules.

It was a toss-up between recapping my favorite blog topic for each month and posting my favorite photographs of 2009. Then I discovered that I didn't take many photos in 2009.

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but I am resolving to take more photographs in 2010. If I take many, many photographs, some of them are bound to be decent.

I also resolve to ride my bicycle more miles than the 619 I rode in 2009. I had a goal of riding 2009 miles in 2009, and I missed it by a BUNCH. I rode 1063 in 2008, 1813 in 2007, and 2006 was the year I had set a goal to ride 2000 miles that year and ended up with 1998..... Two stinkin' miles short! It was cold, rainy, and drizzly on New Year's Eve that year, and I was going to ride my bike up to the middle school and back (2 miles round trip), but Hubby pointed out the low visibility and talked me out of it. I decided having him plan my funeral on his birthday would be sort of a downer, so I accepted the fact that I ALMOST reached my goal.

I'm going to have to draft Katydid, Rozmo, and VT to help me reach my goal of 2010 miles in 2010. Come on, y'all!

Here are my favorite posts from 2009.


A very strange coincidence that fascinated me.


The dangers of creating cycling routes using computer software.


A picture of me and all my cousins on the front porch of our grandparents' house. Since this blog post was written, the mystery of whether or not my brother was flipping the bird has been solved.


A post about one of my most precious former students. She still gets in touch with me every now and then, and I still love her.


A heartwarming story about another former student. This time it wasn't really about her, but about the kindness of strangers.


An unsolved mystery letter I found in my mom's things along with pictures and other memorabilia. I wish I had the energy to solve this particular mystery.


A hilarious story about my former sister-in-law. I go back and read it every now and then when I need a good laugh.


This one about my clean desk. I repeat it here because we are halfway through the school year, and my desk has remained clean ALL YEAR.


The letter I wrote to members of the 6:30 spinning class at the "Y" letting them know how I feel about their staring in the door toward the end of our line dancing class.


Signs of the apocalypse from the casino.


A post full of joy after a wonderful bike ride with two out of three of my favorite cycling buddies. VT wasn't able to come that day.


A proud post about an award that my Sweet Girl got.

Happy New Year to everyone who reads my blog, and to every single person you love. Mwah!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tough Times.......

This has been a horrible year for a lot of people, but for the most part we've been insulated from it. We haven't known anyone directly affected in a catastrophic way, so it was easy just to tut-tut and say, "Times are tough for everyone."

I found out today, though, that my hairdresser and her husband are losing everything. Their house, her business, his business, some property they bought from his mother and really thought they could sell as a piece of commercial real estate, everything.

I know that people all over the country met their financial demise through a combination of poor decisions and bad timing, and some others simply due to greed. I guess ANY decision could be considered a poor one if the timing is bad. The same decision could have been a brilliant one in better economic times. How do you know?

I have whined and complained from time to time that I would like to move to a new house, one on a single level, one not in a subdivision that has gone mostly to rental properties, one that Hubby has not shared with other wives.

Hearing my hairdresser's story today, though, has made me grateful for what I have. Our house is paid for, and Hubby's last day of work is tomorrow. We have it so much better than a lot of people. She works in the cafeteria of one of the local schools for ZERO money, just so they can have benefits. In her words, "It's like we're going back to being eighteen again." And not in a good way. They have a daughter a year older than my own Sweet Girl, and they may have to move into her basement. She will probably have no trouble getting a job in a salon, because even in the worst of economic times, people are going to spend money getting their hair cut. But after all these years of working for herself? To start over? I can't imagine. They have no savings, no 401k, no retirement, nothing.

It has made me tremendously sad tonight. I hope 2010 is much better for them ... how can it NOT be? And for many, many other people too.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Another Jason Story.....

My BFF Jason took me to my first UGA football game (so you can at least partly blame my obsession on him) when we were juniors in high school.

After the game we went to a fraternity party. I have no idea why or how we got there, but there we were. Jason and I got separated immediately, at least as far as I remember.

I assume my mother knew we were going to the football game. I'm guessing the fraternity party was nowhere in her knowledge base.

Some time around midnight my mother became a little extremely concerned because her not-quite-sixteen-year-old daughter had not returned from a football game that had started some twelve hours prior. She wasn't much on sports, but she did know it shouldn't take more than twelve hours to play a game. Heck, this was in the time before college ball HAD overtime, so that couldn't be it.

This was also in the time before cell phones, so she had no way to get in touch with us.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

When there's a will, there's a way.

As I THINK events unfolded, she marched over to Jason's parents' house, where they told her that we were somewhere on the UGA campus and they didn't know how to get in touch with us either.

So Mother said she would be contacting the state police about her missing daughter. That certainly put a new twist on things.

I don't know how, but Jason's parents FOUND him at the frat party. And then somehow HE found ME. Because he was always chivalrous and braver than I would have been in the same situation, he walked me to the door when we got home.

When he spoke up in my defense, Mother told him to shut up. Nicely.

Then Mother said to me, "And I guess that's alcohol on your breath."

Well, she's holding all the evidence, so nothing to do but for me to agree. Nicely.

"I guess it is."

Then she asked one of those world-famous rhetorical questions, for which she was not really expecting an answer.

"And why, may I ask, were you drinking?" [Before you completely condemn me, this was when the drinking age in Georgia was 18. And Jason was almost..... Oh shut up.]

Because I was never smart enough to keep my mouth shut, because I always refused to let an opportunity for sarcasm pass no matter what the danger, because I was not quite sixteen years old, I answered,

"Would you believe because I was thirsty?"

I'm just glad this was NOT the time Mother had the butcher knife in her hand, because she was known to smack you with whatever she had handy. [She did whip spank beat discipline me with the butcher knife once, and I don't even remember why.] This time it was just her hand. She had a cobra-like open hand slap, and my head rocked back on my neck before I knew what was happening.

I don't remember if Jason beat a hasty retreat then or if he was invited to leave at that point, but the most amazing thing is that he continued to be my BFF. And his parents continued to let him hang out with me.

Mother eventually forgave Jason, and she HAD to forgive me. She just had to put it in perspective and be thankful that I wasn't the child she was having to go see on Sundays during visiting hours. Only, however, by the grace of God.....

Monday, December 28, 2009

Season's End.....

After a disappointing season, to finish with a huge upset win over Georgia Tech and a bowl win over Texas A & M takes some of the sting away. I have a few questions as the UGA football season comes to a happy end.

Who will be our quarterback next year? One of the two freshman phenoms, or Logan Gray? If he doesn't quarterback, will Logan Gray ONLY perform fair catches? I could play that position.

Who will be our defensive coordinator, and whom will he bring with him?

Will we ever, ever try another blackout game? After the Bama debacle last year, we sort of tried a half-assed effort with black pants and helmets against Florida this year. That didn't work either. Gimmicks will never substitute for good play.

At what point will they dump the Gatorade on Mark Richt? Will Mark get as pissed as he did at the end of the Georgia Tech game? (It wasn't because they soaked him. It was because, as he said, "Double zeros. You don't celebrate until the scoreboard shows double zeros.")

When will Uga VIII be named? And how much does Russ get paid for standing in for him these two months?

Will any announcers ever learn how to pronounce Washaun Ealey's name? First or last? I can understand struggling with the first name, but Ealey? It's got no "R" in it, people, it isn't pronounced like the opposite of "late".

Will Ealey switch jerseys and wear #3 next year, as he wants to?

Will A.J. Green ever duplicate this catch that he made in high school?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sexism is Alive and Well......

Subtitle: I might have expected it from a man.....

I went to the grocery store today, proudly sporting my "United States Navy Mom" sweatshirt. That way I could glare at the guy wearing the Florida Gators t-shirt, and he wouldn't be able to figure out why.

As I was checking out, the cashier asked me, "Where is your son stationed?"

Granted she was an older woman, but she was a WOMAN!!!

Come on, people, this is 2009 ... almost 2010. The Navy has been allowing women since ... oh, other than the auxiliary roles in wartime, approximately the 1970's.

I was more amused than offended, but this isn't the first time it has happened. Why, in the 21st century, would people assume that a child in the Navy is a son? Particularly in the post-9/11 era, when enlistment by BOTH genders in ALL branches soared.

Maybe I need a shirt that's more specific. I wonder if they make one that says, "United States Navy Mom of a DAUGHTER"?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

End of SOME Annoying Commercials.....

With Christmas over and done with for this year, at least I don't have to worry about hearing some of those annoying Christmas commercials. Earlier this week I heard three advertisements IN A ROW with some aggravating version of "Jingle Bells." Isn't there a law on the books somewhere against that? It's inhumane at the very least. And don't even get me started on "Garmin dot com Garmin dot com Garmin dot com."

The annoying commercials will shift this weekend to quitting smoking and fitness centers. I fully expect Valentine's candy to appear in stores this weekend. It may already be there ... the farthest I ventured today was a walk in the park with Gus. I avoid shopping the day after Christmas with the same vigor as Black Friday. I didn't even go to the grocery store today for fear that some of the truly rabid sales-seekers might have leaked over there.

Hubby retires in 5 days ... sort of. Although his company knew the exact date of his retirement for MONTHS, they didn't quite get his replacement hired in time. So he has to work for a temp agency for a couple of weeks to get the new guy fully trained. That will probably be better for both of us anyway. I'm grumpy enough when I have to go back to school after Christmas break (come on lottery numbers, come on lottery numbers), but it was going to be even worse if I had to get up and go to school and leave Hubby sleeping. Or having a leisurely cup of coffee.

I wonder what new coach at Florida I'm going to have to learn to hate now.....

Friday, December 25, 2009

GPS Fun......

Disclaimer: This post may be the result of carbohydrate/sugar/food in general overload. Proceed with caution.

I was playing around with the GPS feature on my new iPhone this afternoon, mainly because I had just spent a solid four hours playing Jewel Quest and I wanted to look like I was actually doing something useful.

I am fascinated by GPS technology. I can think of about a million times in my life when it might have come in handy, if only it had existed then.

Like the time I got lost in the town of Bogart, Georgia, when I was only going to the post office. I lived just outside Bogart. Go ahead, go look it up. I'll wait....

The time we went to Chicago after Sweet Girl's graduation from boot camp. We took the train into Chicago and ventured no further than 3 blocks from the train station in any direction. But we couldn't find it. The policeman we stopped and asked had no idea either. I thought Hubby would get arrested when he asked the cop, "How the hell do you get home in the afternoons?"

The time Katydid, brother Jack, and I were in a group of cyclists who started following the wrong set of painted marks on the road and wound up at the wrong state park for a rest stop that wasn't there. We felt a little better when we learned that the guy who painted the turn arrows on the road was also in the group following an OLD set of painted marks.

But I digress.

I think it's so cool that you click on "maps" on the iPhone, and it already knows where you are. Even the computer, which thinks it's so stinkin' smart, has to be told your starting address.

I entered Sweet Girl's address and asked for directions. The phone told me it was 395 miles and I could get there in 6 hours and 15 minutes. I can actually do it in five and a half hours.

Just for kicks, I clicked on "walking".

It said I could get there in 4 days and 4 hours.

It was kind enough to adjust the route and take me off the interstate.

It said to proceed down Highway 81, and under "navigation tips" it said, "Proceed with caution."

I'm not sure it was worthy of quite the degree of hilarity I experienced. Hubby is absolutely certain of it.

It may not be that funny tomorow.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hair....and Not the Musical.....

I have had a lifelong love/hate relationship with my hair.

I take that back. It's been ALL hate.

I should have known I was in trouble from a very early age, when old blue-haired ladies would pat me on the head and say, "Oh my, what beautiful curly hair."

It is curly.

It ain't beautiful.

I grew up in the age of Farrah Fawcett and long, flowing, STRAIGHT hair. My hair has never flowed, it will never, ever be straight, and most of my life it wasn't long, either. My mother wouldn't let me grow my hair long because it was a b-i-t-c-h to brush. Still is.

I was sort of in style in the 10th and 11th grades, when afros were all the rage for a while. Man, I can DO an afro. Just let my hair dry into its natural, kinky little ringlets, then pick it out as big as I want. I'll have to see if I can dig out those school pictures; otherwise you might not believe me.

In a previous wifetime, my ex insisted I let my hair grow out. I tried to convince him that is exactly what my hair does, it grows OUT. It just doesn't get long. As it grows, it just kinks up more and more, the corkscrews get tighter, and the whole mess gets frizzier. At its longest, when my hair was wet I could pull it down to about the middle of my back. It never got much below shoulder length when it was dry, however. If there is a positive, this was during the big-hair days of the 80's, so it didn't look all that freaky.

He was a tyrant about hair (among other things). When I finally took the bold step of cutting it short, I made sure I let him see it for the first time where there were other people around. I'm telling you, he was stupid about it (among other things). When I walked in to this little bar, he saw me in the mirror. He picked up his cigarettes and walked out without a word. He didn't speak to me for three days. On the third day, he came in late from work (or the bar, I can't remember which), and I was watching t.v. with a paper sack over my head. I had cut out little eye holes, and he started laughing. I don't think it was really the hair; it was just another form of control.

When Hubby and I married, he said it was my hair and he wasn't going to tell me how to wear it. He said since he didn't HAVE any hair, it wouldn't be right to tell anybody else what to do with hers. I kept it cut short mainly because it was easier to deal with when I'm cycling. However, when our pictures were scrolling through the screensaver one night, I caught a glimpse of us on one of our cruises.

Man, I didn't know I ever cut it THAT short. That was one ugly picture.

So last year I decided that I would let my hair grow out one more time, possibly the last time before I'm 50. About 6 months into the process it occurred to me that I should have documented it with pictures, at least weekly. Too late now.

It's in that in-between stage right now, too long to just let it dry naturally and too short to put into a decent ponytail. I just hope I can remember how to French braid it when it gets long enough for that.

Best of all, however, Hubby bought me a new motorcycle helmet for my birthday last year, a Harley-Davidson helmet. It has a ponytail cutout in the back.

Maybe by spring, I'll be sporting a ponytail to go with the helmet.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Back Before I Was Old......

Way back, in a previous wifetime....

I would stay up every night and watch the eleven o'clock news. Sometimes I graded papers AFTER that. I always got to see Monday Night Football, sometimes all the way to the end. Even if it went into overtime.

I saw all the bowl games to their completion. I read until the wee hours, then got up and went to teach ... in a real classroom ... in an inner-city school ... all day.

Once I was working under a deadline, typing some transcription for a friend, and it took me longer than I thought it would. I wound up typing until 4:00 AM. Slept for an hour, got up and did my aerobics (not sure that really happened, but it sounds good in the story), then went and taught high school English all day. Got out of school and went to a Garth Brooks concert in Atlanta.

When I was out of school, I could stay up even later, knowing I could sleep in.

Those were the days.

Not the previous wifetime, mind you.

Being able to stay up late.

Now I prepare dinner, clean up the kitchen, try to cram in some crocheting or, on nights like tonight, stare idiotically at a stupid video game, then look up and gasp -- oh my goodness, it's eight o'clock already -- and it's bedtime.

THEN I had to clean the kitchen and -- oh my goodness -- I almost forgot to write my blog entry for tonight.

I can sleep in all the way to about 6:30 tomorrow morning.

It's the curse of old age.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Winter Solstice.......

Today was the shortest day of the year, so that means more daylight starts tomorrow. That means there will be more sun, which means it will be warmer, so spring can't be far behind, and then summer break.

This is Bowl Week in college football, which means the season is grinding to a halt, which means college gymnastics season is right around the corner, which leads all the way up to spring training and baseball, and baseball is a summer sport.

At least these are things that I keep telling myself.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Someone Else's Random Thoughts......

Normally I wouldn't post something here that isn't at least partly original. I got these in an email from Katydid, and I've been pissed off ever since. These should have been MY thoughts, not someone else's.

In the interest of fairness and full disclosure, and so I don't have to feel guilty for stealing someone else's thoughts for my blog post, I will add my own comments to some of these.

  1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die. Lawanda the Warrior Princess - this is your job.
  2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong. I'm guessing this is a hypothetical situation?
  3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger. Ditto go outside and play.
  4. There is great need for a sarcasm font. And if I invent it, I will share the royalties. Yeah, right.
  5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet? Those are supposed to be folded TOO?
  6. Was learning cursive really necessary? We weren't ALLOWED to write in cursive until 3rd grade, so when I saw a girl in 2nd grade writing in cursive, I told on her. I didn't know how, and I thought it sucked that she could.
  7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood. Most of the time.
  8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died. Unless he/she is 104. Then we can pretty much figure it out for ourselves.
  9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired. Shouldn't it be considered a design flaw if we can WAKE UP tired? Whose idea was that?
  10. Bad decisions make good stories. And even better blogs.
  11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day. Mine comes earlier and earlier. Sometimes it just carries right over into the next day.
  12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection....again. Will Sweet Girl's entire Disney collection on VHS be valuable some day? Because that's the only reason I'm letting it stay in my house.
  13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to. That's why I had 42 versions of every chapter of my dissertation.
  14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this -- ever. No, it means I don't buy it.
  15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away? Hmmmm....
  16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste. Another hypothetical situation.
  17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call. Caller ID is an awesome invention.
  18. My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that? If I HAD a 4-year-old son, I would ask him two questions in return. "Where the hell do you get such stewpid questions?" and "Why the hell did you just call me 'Dad'?"
  19. I think the freezer deserves a light as well. You mean it doesn't have one?
  20. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay. And some kisses END with "K". Get your minds out of the gutter, I was thinking "yuck," like back from my college days.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's Just a Stupid Gift Card.....

It's not the gift card.


It really is "the thought that counts."

The lack of the thought counts a whole hell of a lot more.

If ever I feel my ego starting to grow, if ever I begin to feel "too big for my britches" (not the usual kind, though), if ever I begin to allow my own sense of self-importance to get out of hand, all I need to do is spend an afternoon with my mother.

Mother doesn't DO Christmas. I wrote a blog post once about the time she took the Christmas tree down WHILE WE WERE STILL EATING DINNER. Then there was the time she hung an ornament on a potted plant. She has always hated Christmas, and she tried her best to make sure it was pretty miserable for the rest of us.

She never had money to buy us what we wanted/needed, and I think that made her bitter.

At least that's what I'd like to think.

Let me be very honest here and say I don't expect gifts. Hubby and I don't even buy each other gifts. Except for our spiffy new iPhones that we got yesterday, but that was what we agreed on. I don't expect Mother to give us anything for Christmas.

What I would like, however, is to be treated the same as everyone else. If you're going to buy food gift cards for EVERYONE in the family, then please include EVERYONE. And don't mention that ... oops, (Bragger) didn't get one ... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ... and then laugh uproariously.

Then she looked at me blankly and said, "Did I send you a Christmas card?"

"No, Mom."

"Oh. I think I sent _____ and _____ two of them." Another ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

She would probably be shocked ... SHOCKED ... to learn that I cried all the way home. And that I sobbed uncontrollably in Hubby's arms when I got home.

Thank God for two sisters who make me feel loved. I am so thankful for the relationships we have.

I just don't know why I'm invisible to my mother.

It's not my fault the vasectomy didn't work.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sorry, Hubby.....

I know we usually go out for dinner on Friday night. But yesterday was the last day before Christmas break, so my co-workers and I went out after school. We went to a Mexican restaurant, and most of us had one drink. It wasn't like it was a drunken party or anything. We even made sure we were out of the county, lest any camera-wielding Facebook lurkers cost us our jobs. Normally we would laugh and say, "They can't fire us ALL," but since that very thing happened in a neighboring county, we didn't take any chances.

Remember the weather yesterday? We got about 3 inches of rain. It was miserable. So when I called and asked if I could bring you something home for dinner, I forgot to mention that your choices were limited to:

  • A drive-through so I wouldn't have to get out in the pouring rain
  • Something sort of on our side of town so I wouldn't have to fight the traffic
  • A place on the right-hand side of the road, because left turns at 5:00 on the Friday afternoon before Christmas are OF. THE. DEVIL.
  • Something I could afford with the change from the $20 bill I broke at the Mexican restaurant. Remember my penchant for NOT carrying cash? Yeah, it isn't fixed yet.
I apologize that Sonic was the best I could do.


Your wife

Friday, December 18, 2009

Jingle All the Way.......

I have a small collection of Christmas-themed sweaters and vests. I have far fewer than I used to have, however. I finally started getting rid of some of them a couple of years ago. Some of them were in pretty bad shape, and I still hated to get rid of them. Especially the peach-colored one with the curly-haired ragdoll on it. The hair looked just like mine. It also had jingle bells and a whole bunch of other decorations on it. I hereby officially apologize to anyone who was forced to see me in that sweater.

One of the benefits of being a teacher is that you can get away with wearing things that you normally wouldn't be caught dead wearing. I even went on this personal crusade to have enough Christmas-themed sweaters to wear a different one every school day in December. Seriously. It made clothing decisions so much easier, at least for that one month out of the school year.

Then of course I had to have earrings and socks that went along with the sweaters. It wasn't difficult, since those were inexpensive gifts that students tended to get for their teachers anyway. I'm not sure what happened to the days when students gave their teachers gifts. Instead of a hard time.

The closer we got to Christmas break, the more ostentatious my sweaters got. I saved the really tacky, really outrageous, really NOISY ones for the last few days before vacation.

This was also back before the days of block scheduling, when our semester didn't end before Christmas and we didn't start school shortly after the Fourth of July. We didn't have final exams to use as a classroom management tool, so the only thing we could do as teachers was schedule a really hard, really long, really important test for the day we got out for Christmas. It was the only way to survive, I promise.

One year I was fully armed with my hard-as-heck test for a classroom of advanced ninth graders. I had on my stern face and my you-aren't-on-Christmas-vacation-until-the-last-bell-rings attitude.

Oh, and I had on my Christmas sweater with the jingle bells.

And my bell necklace.

And my bell earrings.

And my socks with the bells on them.

The room was dead silent during the test. I walked around the room to make sure no one was cheating, sleeping, copying, or getting all happy about Christmas break.

The room was dead silent, that is, except for my jingle bells. Jingle bells on steroids.

On one of my circuits through the classroom, I approached the desk of a girl named Sunshine. That wasn't her birth certificate name, but it was the one she went by. And it was much easier to pronounce and spell than her birth certificate name. And it did NOT describe her personality most of the time. How do they know these things when their children are mere babies?

When I got right next to Sunshine's desk, she looked up from her test -- for which she had obviously NOT studied -- and snarled, "Why don't you GO SIT DOWN somewhere?"



Finish your test.

Have a good Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm Not Broke.....

....I just never seem to have money.

I have been a zealous saver of money since Hubby and I married. He would argue that I have also become a zealous SPENDER of money, and he might have a point.

MY point, however, is that I have savings automatically deducted as soon as I get paid. Before I ever see my check stub, money is automatically transferred from my checking account into my savings accounts. All four of them.

No, I don't know why. It would be the same amount of money if I put the savings all in one place. But because it's spread out, it FEELS like it's a lot more money.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have thousands upon thousands of dollars at my disposal. Sometimes it doesn't stay in the savings account long before I haul it back over to the checking account. Especially at Christmas. I have this vision of a little tiny person inside the bank's computer chips who watches me do electronic transfers. "Oh good God, it's HER again. Why doesn't she just make up her mind?"

I have another account into which I deposit a portion of my online teaching job pay every month. Well, most months. Well, some months. Well, I did it once or twice. That's because my online job doesn't take any taxes out, and it royally screws up our income taxes at the end of the year. So I put some aside to cushion the blow when it comes time to file taxes. We like to get a big refund to pay for our spring vacation. Now we just have to settle for paying for the vacation a little at a time in advance and having just a little bitty refund with which to buy alcoholic beverages souvenirs.

Hubby and I also pool our change. We put all the silver into a tall piggy bank that is shaped like a Pepsi bottle. When we had been married just a few years, we decided that when it was full we would use it for a vacation. I was secretly getting rolls of quarters and putting them into the bank to speed up the process. Joke was on me when I had to roll the damn things. It was, however, almost enough money to pay for an all-inclusive trip to Mexico. We put all our pennies into a plastic coffee canister. That's just enough money usually for a twelve-pack of beer. On sale.

I have a metal tin where I've been stashing some cash since we started going to the casino. I don't know why I hide it there. It's not like Hubby would take it from me (unlike my ex, I might add) or ask me to share it with him. I think I'm actually hiding it from myself. Out of sight, out of mind? If we go to the casino and I bring back more money than I took, or more money that I expected to, I put some of it into the tin. I know how much is in there, but I pretend that I don't, and I NEVER count it.

Hubby and I also put $20 each into a box in his top drawer every weekend. We never cheat, and we never fail. On the rare occasion that we have to "borrow" some from that fund, it goes back immediately, as soon as one of us goes to the bank.

I have a jar in my junk room office into which I stuff random dollar bills. It isn't that common that I HAVE random dollar bills, which is what got me into trouble at the post office earlier this week, but they always wind up in my pockets. When I start to put my jeans into the hamper, I find one or two dollars in the pockets, and I stuff them into the jar. It's a small jelly jar, and I have to start folding the dollars and cramming them in. I REALLY have no idea how much money is in the jar.

In addition to the jar, I have a brass owl bank that sits on my dresser. I don't remember who gave it to me, but that sucker is heavy. And it requires a screwdriver to take the thingie off the bottom to get into it. If I forget to put my change into the Pepsi bank downstairs, I put it into the owl bank upstairs. It got too full a couple of years ago, so I emptied it, separated and counted the money, tallied it up on a spreadsheet, printed it out, and put all the money and the print-out into a plastic bag and put it in my desk. Yes, I realize this is sounding freakier by the minute.

Putting loose change and dollar bills I get back from drive-through windows (I promise I really don't do that much, but this is twice this week that I've mentioned it) into the console in my car was Hubby's idea. I am no notorious for never having cash, probably because I have stashed it all in various and sundry locations. Once during my doctoral program, we had class at the library, I guess so we could learn how to research. I parked in one of the parking decks on campus and walked to the library, because the parking situation on the UGA campus is nothing short of ludicrous. You get one designated parking space, and it is likely to be all the way across campus from where the majority of your classes are. But I digress.

I parked in the deck because it would be dark when I got out of class, and I don't like walking around campus alone at night. Halfway through the presentation, however, I realized that I had just enough money to pay for the parking deck UP TO THAT MOMENT. If I stayed for the whole class, I wouldn't be able to get my car out of the parking deck. [They take debit cards now, not that THAT would have helped if my poltergeist debit card had acted the way it has in the past several days.]

I sneaked out of class at break time, hoping and praying I wouldn't miss something that would be necessary and vital to completing my doctoral program. When I told Hubby about it, because I don't have the good sense to keep SOME things to myself, he sort of rolled his eyes and suggested that I start keeping a few dollars in the console. It has come in handy, too. Just one of the many things he's smart about.

It kills my soul to say it, but I may have inherited this propensity for hoarding small amounts of money from my father. When our step-mother died, Katydid and I were looking for a specific picture of her that our father wanted at the funeral home. We went through every drawer and closet, and we KEPT finding little bags of money, jars of change, boxes of rolled coins. Katydid looked at me and said, "We're not going to tell the others about this, are we?"

Yeah, Katydid, YOU explain that one to Nurse Jane.

It was a moot point anyway, because our father remarried, and when he died, everything went to the Wicked Witch of the Lego House. They weren't even living together at the time, but that's another story.

Nurse Jane and Katydid, if I die before you do, be sure you look through EVERYTHING very carefully. Hubby won't care. Just don't let Mother see the condition of my junk room office. Whatever money you find is yours to keep.

You don't even have to tell the others.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm Not Supposed to Be This Tired.....

I don't have exams to give. I don't even have to enter grades into a computer. I don't have classes of 30 who are as eager to be on Christmas vacation as I am. Because our students don't have to come anymore after they are finished with their courses, we probably don't have 30 left in the whole school at this point. [On the other hand, guess which ones ARE left?] I don't have to lecture, I don't have hall duty, I don't have to write lesson plans. I don't have to have grades turned in by a deadline, and I don't have to worry about end-of-the-semester report cards. I don't have to average grades, because our online curriculum does it for us. I don't have to organize class parties or attend plays or concerts. I don't have to be in charge of a club doing a service project or a fundraiser. I don't have to decorate my room (or undecorate, as one principal always made us do before we left for Christmas break and I was terrified of her, so I complied). I don't have to work on courses for next semester. I don't have to schedule students for next semester. I don't even have to worry about what to wear for the next two days, because we have half-days and we made the executive decision to make both of those days Casual Fridays.

So how in the world can I be this tired?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do You Have an Alternate Form of Payment?......

Imagine my embarrassment at the post office today, when my debit card was declined for a $3.02 purchase. Embarrassing enough that I didn't have that much cash on my person. Who CARRIES cash anymore? Actually, I had a $20 bill in my purse, but I don't take my purse to school. For obvious reasons when one deals with teenagers all day. Sorry, but that's the sad fact of life. I carry my driver's license and credit cards in a plastic case on a lanyard that I can wear around my neck in an emergency.

I was about to run out to the car for $3.02 in loose change that I throw into the console when I go through a drive-through (not that I do that much, mind you) when the person behind the counter suggested she swipe my card as a credit card instead of debit. It worked, and it didn't ask for a PIN or a signature or anything.

[Bluebird: I hate it when people say PIN Number. The "N" STANDS for number, people. It's like saying Personal Identification Number Number.]

I was thinking this was all related to our debit card troubles of the past weekend. We stopped at the mall to get Sullen Teenager a gift card for Christmas, but Hubby was nervous about leaving a flat-screen t.v. in the car unattended. [Our favorite kind of Christmas shopping is for ourselves.] Hubby offered me his debit card to buy the gift card with, but I was afraid they wouldn't let me use it without him present. He stayed in the car to baby-sit the t.v. There was no line, and I sauntered right up to the counter and gave them my debit card. And Hubby's PIN. Crap. It gave me another chance, and the transaction was completed.

We stopped to buy groceries on the way home, and I presented my debit card as usual. Declined. Declined again. Thankful that Hubby was along, I looked at him helplessly, and he gave me his debit card to pay for groceries. Declined. Declined again.

We stopped at the ATM [ditto saying ATM MACHINE] and used both cards with success. I figured it was just a fluke at the grocery store.

Then the embarrassment at the post office. For $3.02.

After the post office, I stopped by Target. Because I'm a slow learner when it comes to some things, I presented my debit card again for $236.59 in purchases. Approved immediately.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Sorry, You're Not Our Type....

I haven't told many people this, but the first time I applied for the doctoral program in adult education, I was rejected.

I am embarrassed to say that I had no idea at the time of how graduate school worked. I assumed that if you had decent test grades (I did) and an okay GPA (if they didn't look back any further than my masters degree), you were a shoo-in. I was so stupid.

I had two friends and co-workers who were applying to the department, and I basically joined them because one of them asked if I were interested. I thought it would be neat, the three of us going to class together and working on papers and studying together. How cute! We They chose adult education because it was one of those departments that was very accommodating as far as schedules. Their faculty understood that adults who go back to school seeking advanced degrees still have obligations like family and work, and they were very flexible. Not so the English department. They wanted doctoral students to quit their jobs and be full-time students for the duration of the program. Sorry, boys, but I've grown accustomed to.... eating.... living in a house... driving.... wearing clothing.....

Anyway, I was very confident about my acceptance into the program. I've always tested well, for some reason, and I thought the interview was pretty much a formality.

I didn't realize it was like a job interview, and I had to go in there and sell myself.

It pains me to remember some of the stupid things I said in that interview.

Faculty: "What area are you interested in studying?"

Me: [Thinking: "I didn't know there was more than one."] "Oh, I don't know..... I'm not even really sure this is something I want to do."

Way to go, Your Brilliancy!!!! That's an excellent way to convince them to allow you into their program, spend time on mentoring and teaching you, serving on your committee, and guiding you through the dissertation process. You're a natural!

Needless to say, they were underwhelmed. And I was so stupid that I left the interview feeling just as confident as when I entered, sure that I had been accepted. I can still feel the warmth of the sun on my cheek as I walked down the sidewalk in my navy pantsuit and heels, headed back to where I had illegally parked my car.

I was so stupid that I was actually crushed when I got the rejection letter.

Wait. Don't I get a do-over? Can't I convince you? Give me another chance!

Katydid always says things happen for a reason, and most of the time I feel like telling her to go to Hell. Because I don't want to hear it. But damn it, she's always right.

I probably wouldn't have survived the program if I had been accepted then. Right after that my second marriage finally died a merciful death, Sweet Girl and I moved, and I changed jobs. No way could I have survived the stress of the doctoral program with all that baggage thrown in as well.

When I reapplied to the same department about six years later, you better believe I went into it with a new perspective. I did my homework and sort of knew what area I was interested in. I had typed my two friends' dissertations for them (ouch, that stung a little, but they paid me), so I knew the lingo. I knew the reputations of some of the faculty members, and I had a better picture of just what was expected. I had a whole new attitude, and having a new last name didn't hurt either.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bah Humbug......

I have raved for several years about our artificial, pre-lit Christmas tree. Sweet Girl was always opposed to artificial trees, and I resisted them myself. But when she was off gallavanting in the Persian Gulf one year at Christmas, I decided the time had come for an artificial tree. I knew she wouldn't be here to say "Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmm." We've used it for several years, and we've never had a problem with it.

Until this year.

The top third will blink, the bottom third will sort of blink, and the middle third is just dark. If these were strands of lights, I could take them off and discard the junky ones, replacing them with new.

Sadly, I can't do that with a pre-lit tree. And we cannot figure out where the problem is. The only thing we know to do now is buy a new tree. Bummer. I'm already at least two weeks later than usual putting up the tree, and now we're looking at a delay of at least two more days. I always take it down the day after Christmas, so we're venturing into that no-man's land of "why bother?"

Hmmmmm. I'm debating.

Maybe we'll just buy one on sale right AFTER Christmas and be ready for next year.

But it seems so wrong not to have a Christmas tree. And I have all these wonderful ornaments.

On the positive side, we shopped yesterday and bought the bulk of our gifts for family members.

On the negative side, I didn't get them wrapped today.

On the positive side, I made Crock Pot Candy today.

On the negative side, I didn't get it put into individual gift bags.

On the positive side, I've made a bazillion Christmas ornaments.

On the negative side, I didn't get around to putting the embellishments on them.

On the positive side, I have ironed clothes for the next three days, and we can wear jeans both Thursday and Friday. (I just made that rule up, but I'll betcha my next paycheck I can talk the boss into it.)

On the negative side, the Falcons, the Broncos, and the Cowboys all lost today.

On the positive side, only five days until Christmas vacation.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why Do You Hate Me, Brutus?..........

Dear Brutus:

Why do you hate me? I have wracked my brain, and I cannot come up with a single reason that you might harbor hatred toward me.

First of all, I KNOW your name isn't really Brutus. It's Olive, but you can't hold that against me. Sweet Girl named you. Actually she named you Olivia, until we took you to the vet for the first time. But Hubby has called you Brutus almost since the day we got you, and when Missy came along she became Little Brutus, and it's just easier to go along with him than call the two of you by four names.

I feed you regularly. And I'm talking R-E-G-U-L-A-R-L-Y. You are very vocal with your demands for food, and I give in to you rather than listen to you. If you were a child I would give you a toy and put you in front of a DVD or something, but you aren't that easily distracted. [Give me a break, folks, I'm only kidding.] You even have your own special place to eat, so that the dog doesn't get into your food.

It's not like you don't have a constant supply of dry food available. Why can't you be like your sort-of sister and be happy with dry food? She never utters a sound, she just sits patiently beside an empty food dish and waits for someone to notice. Are you happy with that? Oh no. You have to have WET cat food, served to you on a paper plate. I even buy you different types and flavors each and every week so you don't become bored with the same old thing. And don't get me started on how you've started sitting beside me while Hubby and I eat, begging for table scraps. Curse Gus for teaching you THAT little trick.

I allow you to sleep on our bed, in spite of the fact that you take up waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than your share of space. You have your very own wall heater in the hallway, and we don't even kick you out of the way when we need to pass. When you climb up behind my head when I'm in my recliner, I don't even knock you off when your ponderous weight makes my chair go back too far.

I get up to let you out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in. And out. And back in.

And this is the thanks I get for your luxurious lifestyle.

This is what I come home to after a long week at school, consisting of two days of testing, one day of evaluation by an outside committee that didn't give us glowing remarks, one day of regressive behavior by students who should be desperate to get their courses finished, not clamoring for drama, and one all-day field trip. On top of that, the weather has turned ugly, cold, and wet, and God did NOT put me in the South to be this cold. And wet. Ugly I can stand.

I realize this may be a delayed reaction to our having you declawed as an adult several years ago. But really, we had just bought new leather furniture, and if you had done this to brand-new furniture, I'm afraid you might have gone to that great litter box in the sky.

While we're on the subject of claws, exactly how long does it take you to do this much damage to a roll of toilet tissue, since all you have to work with are your TEETH? Is this to show us how bored you are while we are gone? Why don't you play with Gus? He's not all that bad. You outweigh him by at least five pounds, and I believe you could hold your own with him.

The tissue thing, though, is getting old. I could do the smart thing like Hubby does in HIS bathroom, and just put the tissue up where you can't reach it. Because Lord knows you can't haul your gargantuan rear-end up on the countertop. Unless there's food up there, of course.

I don't want to give in to a cat, though. I want to win. And I don't care how many rolls of toilet tissue I have to go through to prove that point to you.



The one who feeds you.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Crazy Dream #7.....

This is one of those dreams that when I woke up, I went through the sequence of events in my head to make sure I remembered it.

It was just bizarre.

It involved one of these:

He was there:

And some of these were there too:

There was a lot of this:

And conspicuously absent was one of these:

I went on a cruise, and I took a group of students. What was I thinking, even in a dream? Gus was also along on the cruise, which just proves that I was out of my mind.

Immediately after embarking, I locked myself out of my stateroom. That's not too far outside the realm of possibility; it sounds just like something I would do.

I went to call a steward-type person, and she asked if I were on Level 1 or Level 2. Huh? I had no clue where my room was. Again, that isn't too far outside the realm of possibility. I probably couldn't stand in the middle of the ship and point forward. I have zero sense of direction.

The exasperated steward-type person told me to follow her, and we were walking along the OUTSIDE of the ship. Then the ship came to an intersection with a road, and there were cars waiting to cross, so the ship had to go UNDERWATER. A submarine cruise ship? When it submerged, naturally I was washed off the side of the ship. I was swimming furiously, trying to catch up with the ship. The steward-type person was yelling at me from the ship, "You DID bring your clay kit to build a raft, didn't you? Build a raft! Where's your clay kit?????"

In a different chapter of the dream (perhaps BEFORE I got washed overboard?), I was going to sun myself on one of the decks. Students were all over the ship, and I had no clue where anyone was supposed to be, but I was there to relax, so I was going to rest and soak up some sun. On my way to the sundeck, I passed a group of students.

"Dr. P_____, I haven't seen you in a bathing suit before," one of them said.

"You still haven't," another one said.

It was then that I realized I was naked.

[Does anyone else have naked dreams?]

You can't make this stuff up.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Afternoon Surprises.....

After a fairly crazy week (with one more day to go -- an all-day field trip tomorrow), it was such a relief to get home this afternoon and put on my sweats.

With all due apologies to any male readers who may stumble upon this drivel, the best part of coming home in the afternoon is taking off my bra. When I retire, I may never wear a bra again. I don't care WHERE they end up, frankly.

Today when I took off my bra, something ELSE (and unexpected) fell to the floor.

Oh, THAT'S where that peanut went.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Name That Photo....

I need a caption for this photo.

That's our dog Gus, or Mr. Gus, or the Gusman, or Gus Gustofferson. His official name is Augustus McRae, named after possibly my favorite character from all time, from Lonesome Dove.

He almost never gets up on Hubby's recliner when Hubby isn't home. He almost never gets on the arm of either recliner. That's the remote control in front of him, if you can't tell.

Gus is so smart. [I know it's like children ... people everywhere claim their dogs are the smartest.]

When I gather a load of laundry [oh crap....forgot to put the clothes in the right back], Gus goes to the basement door because he knows that's where I'm going. And he thinks something exciting is going to happen down there that will involve opening the garage door. One day I'll have to take a video of what he does when we open the garage door.

He knows when I'm going to ride the Harley to school. On those days I usually have on blue jeans, and I don't dry my hair. [I keep a hair dryer and curling iron at school just for those days.] Gus goes to the basement door those days too.

Of course he knows what "walk" and "go to the park" mean, and he starts barking and dancing in circles, and somehow Libby [the outside dog] knows the difference in Gus's bark, and SHE starts barking. If we don't mention going to the park but we start putting on our sneakers, he stands there with one of his front paws raised and looks at us earnestly, head tilted to one side, like he's thinking, "Go ahead....say it....please say it."

He knows where Granny lives. Hubby's mother lives at the end of our road, and if I say "let's go see Granny," he prances off down the road and straight to Granny's front door. He now gives the dog that lives next door to Granny's house a wide berth, ever since he found out that just because a dog is tied up doesn't mean he can't kick a little Pomeranian's ass.

He knows the difference between "treat" and "cheese," and while he will occasionally turn his little nose up at a treat, he will dance around in circles for cheese. I have to be careful about asking Hubby if he wants cheese on his sandwich, or Gus goes nuts. Lord help us when he figures out what c-h-e-e-s-e spells.

It took a while for him to learn that doorbells on television don't mean someone is at OUR front door. We used to have to race to mute the television when certain commercials came on.

He knows when it's bedtime, and he knows when I get out of the recliner whether I'm just going for another cup of coffee or I'm going upstairs to take a shower.

He knows what "Daddy's home" means, and he knows if we say, "Who is it?" that someone is coming to visit.

So why can't he figure out where the squirrels go?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Peer Pressure.....

Well, I'm back on Facebook.

There's probably only one person in the world I would have reactivated my account for. Well, two....but one of them is Billy Joel, and that's a long shot an impossibility.

My friend Amanda emailed me today and asked, "Where are you? Jason is looking for you on FB."

Jason was my BFF from high school, the one who was there when I missed Homecoming my senior year, when I was in the wrong place at definitely the wrong time, and when I could have been deemed forever an irresponsible baby-sitter. We were also partners in crime when we could have sent his great-grandmother into apoplexy.

My sisters always hoped we would grow up, fall in love, and get married. But things don't always work out that way, and he was much more fun as a BFF anyway.

I could write an entire blog about some of our escapades from high school and beyond.

Like the time we went to see the FIRST Friday the 13th movie. It scared the bejeezus out of me, and afterward we went to O'Malley's, a popular bar overlooking the river. I was telling someone about the movie while Jason was inside. Unbeknownst to me, he came up behind me as I was telling the story, not knowing what I was talking about, and he put his hands around my throat. Keep in mind that his name IS Jason. I almost jumped in the freakin' river.

When my step-father died, Jason sat with the family. He WAS family.

We've lost touch over the years. I guess we are both at the age, however, where we reach out to reconnect with people from our younger years.

I can't think of anyone else from high school that would have prompted me to reactivate my FB account.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Blog Post That Wasn't.....

This is NOT a blog post about driving to Atlanta and waiting in line with a gazillion other folks to see Pioneer Woman. It's not about the fact that they expected so many people at the bookstore where she was appearing that they started handing out wristbands this morning like a Garth Brooks concert or something. It's not even about me forgetting my camera at home. It's not about me buying another one of her cookbooks and getting her to autograph it for the auction at next year's Nash Bash. It's not about getting her to autograph the two copies I ALREADY bought, one for me and one for a co-worker. It's not about having a rare girls' night out with co-workers, having dinner in Atlanta while we waited for the book signing to begin.

It just got too complicated, and there wasn't even a guarantee that we would get into the bookstore.

Sorry, Pioneer Woman. You'll just have to meet me some other time.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Traditions.....

My Christmas traditions are all out of whack, and I can't decide if it's a good thing or a bad thing.

Ever since Hubby and I married, I have put the Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. I avoid Black Friday shopping like the plague (ha ha ha ha ha -- I made a funny . . . You know, Black Plague? Black Friday? avoid it like . . . never mind), and I usually put on some Christmas music and put up the tree.

This year we were "camping" (what is the verb? RVing?) at a state park, and there was football to be watched when we got home. I had all day last Sunday, but I didn't think about the tree. Once I'm out of my routine, it's pretty much out of my brain. Yesterday I spent with Katydid and our mother, and today . . . Well again, I had all day, but I didn't do it. Hubby didn't get the tree out of the storage building for me, so I'll use that as my excuse. I could do it myself, but I married him just for chores like that one.

I don't really have any shopping to do. Hubby and I have stopped buying gifts for each other. We agree on something we would like to have, and we pool our money for it. Last year it was a trip to the casino on Christmas Day. This year we are both planning to get new cell phones. Sweet Girl isn't coming home for Christmas, and apparently I cannot possibly buy the right things for her, so she's getting gift cards. Unless she tells me otherwise. Sullen Teenager gets a mall gift card, because all she wants are clothes and more clothes. We wouldn't dare try to buy FOR her. Weesa is getting a GPS (and I hope she doesn't have the link to this blog anymore), so we have that to buy. I ordered a decorative something for my mother-in-law only because Hubby thinks buying her a box of chocolate and giving her $100 every year is okay. My siblings and I don't exchange gifts, and we stopped trying to buy anything for our mother years ago.

We have a big meal at mother-in-law's house on Christmas Day, the only day she insists on cooking and having everything at her house. Her house is tiny and there are approximately 16 of us all together. She lives right down at the end of our road, approximately 100 yards, and we are always the last ones there. And the first ones to leave.

Sometimes we go to a movie on Christmas Day. That's what Hubby and I did the year before we got married. In fact, that was the day he met my mother. We met Katydid and the Barracuda at the mall, and I introduced everyone. Hubby was trying valiantly to say the right thing, so he told the Barracuda, "I'm going to take care of your daughter."

To which the Barracuda replied, "You better."

And he married me anyway.

If we don't go to a movie, we go to the park for a much-needed walk after all that food. Then we come home and take naps and call ourselves watching football. Hubby usually has to work the day after Christmas, so that is when I take the tree down. This year he won't have to work, so maybe I'll coerce him into helping me. Depending on the weather. Odds are good that he will go play golf. And that's fine too.

Christmas is so different when you don't have "kids" anymore. Should I start wishing for grandchildren?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What Color WAS the Rose?........

My brother called me this afternoon just as the gymnastics Sneak Peek event was beginning. We normally only talk on the phone a couple of times a year, on his birthday and on mine (when he remembers). He doesn't typically call for trivial reasons, so I called him right back.

It seems his daughter, whom we lovingly (ahem) refer to as Precious Emma, brought home a note from the teacher last week.

It said, and I quote, "Emma has rose 7 levels!"

Excuse me?

At first it was funny.

It was funny that my brother was appalled enough by it that he called me.

My brother, while just as intelligent as the rest of us in the family (I don't know where we got the smart gene, but we all did), got his GED at a correctional facility. [He got the highest score ever, so he likes to claim that he was valedictorian of his class.] He has the smarts, just not necessarily the formal education.

And this is an educated professional. Who probably makes a lot more money than my brother. [Why do we always say that, as if money truly is a measure of a person's intelligence?] An educated person who should have a firm grasp on irregular verbs and their past participles.

What the hell can she possibly be teaching the rest of the first graders, those who don't come from smart families and who haven't ROSE seven levels?

[By the way, there are different levels of "smart". My brother has a daughter and a grandson in the same first grade class.]

The more I've thought about it, the angrier I've gotten. I probably shouldn't let my blood pressure get out of hand over this issue, but it has definitely ROSE.

Brother said he was tempted to correct the note and send it back to the teacher, but he didn't want it to negatively impact Precious Emma.

I have considered sending an anonymous letter to the principal. [I'm all about sending anonymous letters. I'm also considering sending one to someone at the gymnastics office, asking them NEVER to let a certain assistant coach speak into a microphone again. People all around me were wincing and putting their fingers in their ears.]

I've also considered a NOT-anonymous letter to the teacher, but not identifying whose relative I am. We don't have the same last name, but I'm sure she could figure out the connection. Unless everyone in her first grade class has also ROSE several levels.

I readily acknowledge that I'm a grammar snob, and I've been one from way back. It doesn't have anything to do with my being an English teacher; it started back in my teen years. I'm fairly tolerant of most people when it comes to the English language. I've even made mistakes myself, like last week when I sent the ingredients for wild rice-broccoli soup to Lawanda the Warrior Princess and included Cream of Chucken Soup on the list.

I'm very INtolerant, however, of educators who either A) don't know; or B) don't use correct English grammar, spelling, punctuation, and syntax.

Particularly those who are teaching my family members. No matter how precious they are.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's a NAM for Sweet Girl.....

I know we aren't supposed to brag about our children, but sometimes you just gotta.

My Sweet Girl got a NAM today. If you are familiar with the military, or you know anyone in the military, you know that all they talk in is TLA's. That's three-letter-acronyms.

Her NAM is a Navy Achievement Medal.

In her words, "It came in a box and everything."

I'm so proud of her. And for her.

She has received several awards during her Navy career, including Sailor of the Day (week? month?) when she was aboard the Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier. But this is the first NAM she has received, and I think it is the most prestigious of the awards she has received. I can't wait to see it on her dress uniform. Plus it gives her points toward that all-important promotion in the next cycle.

Way to go, Sweet Girl! You rock!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

End-of-the-Week Meme......

....because I'm way too tired to think of anything original.

1. What is the color of your toothbrush?

2. Name one person who made you smile today.

3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning?
Looking for my water mug/jug

4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago?

5. What is your favorite candy bar?
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

6. Have you ever been to a strip club?
Unfortunately, yes, as sort of a group dare

7. What is the last thing you said aloud?
"Stupid cat"

8. What is your favorite ice cream?
Moose Tracks

9. What was the last thing you had to drink?

10. Do you like your wallet?
Of course. Red leather with the Georgia "G" on it.

11. What was the last thing you ate?

12. Have you bought any new clothing items this week?
No, because I went crazy last week and bought 4 pairs of pants, 3 tops, and 4 jackets

13. The last sporting event you watched?
A college basketball game is on right now, only because Hubby has once again fallen asleep with the remote in his hand.

14. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn?
Cheddar. And caramel. And cheddar. And caramel. And cheddar. And caramel.

15. Who is the last person you sent a text message to?
Wanda (always)

16. Ever go camping?
Love it. Started in a pup tent, have graduated to a motorhome.

17. Do you take vitamins daily?

18. Do you go to church every Sunday?
Used to. Now I'm pretty much a heathen.

19. Do you have a tan?
In the summer I do. In the winter not so much.

20. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza?
Depends on the situation and my mood. Don't get to eat Chinese much because Hubby doesn't eat it.

21. Do you drink your soda with a straw?

22. What did your last text message say?
"You bet"

23. What are you doing tomorrow?
Teaching. But at least it's Casual Friday.

24. Favorite color?

25. Look to your left; what do you see?
Hubby stretched out in his recliner

26. What color is your watch?
Stopped wearing one

27. What do you think of when you hear “Australia”?
It's summer there.

28. Would you strip for money?
They would pay me NOT to.

29. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?
Drive thru

30. What is your favorite number?

31. Who’s the last person you talked to on the phone?

32. Any plans today?
Crochet until bedtime, which is rapidly approaching

33. In how many states have you lived?

34. Biggest annoyance right now?
Loud announcers in a game I couldn't care less about

35. Last song listened to?
"It's Your World Now" by the Eagles. I want it played at my funeral.

36. Can you say the alphabet backwards?
I did it once flawlessly when I was under the influence. That was back in college. I could do it now with some practice.

37. Do you have a maid service clean your house?

38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?

39. Are you jealous of anyone?
Waste of energy

40. Is anyone jealous of you?
I'm guessing not

41. Do you love anyone?
Lots of people

42. Do any of your friends have children?

43. What do you usually do during the day?
Teach, surf the web, work out on the elliptical, watch recorded gymnastics meets that I've seen a hundred times and I was there in person for, crochet.

44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now?
Only my ex

45. Do you use the word “hello” daily?

46. What color is your car?

47. What size wedding ring do you wear?
Ummm.....7.....I think.

48. Are you thinking about someone right now?

49. Have you ever been to Six Flags?
I could live there. Love all the rides except for the Ninja.

50. How did you get your worst scar?
Stuck a glass rod in my knee, trying to bend it like my brother did. I didn't know you had to heat it first.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gus the Motorhome Dog......

I haven't had a chance to write a thorough blog post about our first motorhome experience over Thanksgiving weekend. I loved it; Hubby will need some time to adjust. I think the fact that it was our first time and there was a steep learning curve had something to do with it. He hasn't put a "For Sale" sign on it yet, so I'm guessing we'll go again.

I want to dedicate this post, however, to Gus.

Before we got Gus, we used to say when we retired we would buy a motorhome and a motorhome dog and tour the country. Then Hubby got all practical and junk, and I thought the motorhome dreams were dead in the water.

We did, however, get the motorhome dog, in the form of Augustus McRae, a Pomeranian who pretty much rules the house. And the neighborhood. And the park. He is the epitome of "little man syndrome," taking on any dog of any size and number. He was terrified of a bunny rabbit at school one day, however.

I will say that Gus did pretty well on his first camping experience. First he had to get used to the idea that he couldn't ride in Dad's lap. He has always preferred to ride in the driver's lap, whether anyone else is in the car or not. This time Dad had his hands full, though, so Gus had to sit in my lap. Never mind that he had the run of an entire motorhome, with many windows to look out. He had to sit in my lap. Those cross-country trips might get tedious.

At home Gus is used to going outside and patrolling the front yard for a few minutes at a time. We don't leave him out there long, and he scratches at the door when he's ready to come in. At the park where we camped, he wasn't used to being on a leash. He thought he could roam around on his own like he does at home, so he felt a little restricted. For our next trip I will get a long tie-out lead and a stake so at least he can get further than 4' from me.

We let him off the leash when we walked through the woods, and I think I heard him say, "That's what I'm talking about." He was very good, walking just ahead of us just like he does in our own nearby park, coming back when we called him. We put the leash on him whenever we saw any other people on the path, particularly if they had dogs.

He always did "his business" outside, and he didn't feel the need to christen the motorhome in his own special doggie way. Not even when we left him inside to go mountain biking, which would have been an excellent opportunity for him to show just how pissed off he was. But dogs are very forgiving (or forgetful, I'm not sure which), and he loved us just as much when we came back.

Mostly, however, Gus did a lot of what he does at home, which is lying around sleeping. When we sat at the table playing gin, he got under the table between our feet. Or he jumped up on the "sofa" and made himself comfortable. When he thought it was time for bed, he went back to the back and got up on the bed as if to say, "I'm ready, y'all can come on to bed anytime now." He's a creature of habit.

I have to tell you that we did NOT do this to the Gusman. He got up on the sofa and rooted around until his head was underneath Hubby's cap. Apparently the light was bothering him.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Facebook 'Em, Dano.....

I resisted the Facebook craze for a long time. I was a Facebook snob, thinking those people were just narcissistic (thanks for the word, Katydid!) or full of themselves or something.

Then I kept hearing people talk about their Facebook pages and seeing things on Facebook and I felt left out, so I joined.

But I really couldn't see what the big deal was. I'd forget to check it, and when I did check it, I usually learned that some people have waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much time on their hands. Is it really important how many crops someone has on Farmville? Or how many causes someone else has and sends annoying messages to join? I don't join ANYTHING, even if I believe in it.

Some posts are written by people who I KNOW are at work at the time, and hello? Is that really what you're supposed to be doing on company time? In addition, some of those posts border on unprofessional. Would some of these people really want their bosses to read about their social lives? Written on a company computer during company hours? Hmmmm.....

Then of course there is the whole issue about the teacher in our county who was asked to resign (her story, of course) because she posted pictures of herself holding a glass of wine during a trip to Europe in the summer. Boy, that's a lot of prepositional phrases strung together.

It's not that I've ever had to worry about posting anything inappropriate on Facebook. Hell, I don't DO anything inappropriate. I just don't do much of anything that I think most people out there give a rip about. I'm already committed to my blog, and that's about all the daily requirements I can handle.

It also occurred to me that if I am really, really, really close to someone, I already know what is going on in his/her life without checking the internet. If I have to see a Facebook post to know what is up with you, we're probably not that close anyway. If I'm NOT that close to you, I'm also probably not interested in the fact that you just ran into your ex-girlfriend's mother's cousin's boyfriend's lover. Or the fact that your in-laws are coming into town. Or that you just cleaned your apartment. Or that you wish stupid people would stay out of your way.

So I have deactivated my Facebook account. I don't think anyone will miss me.

Don't even get me started on Twitter.....

Monday, November 30, 2009

Deviled Eggs......

You know how some foods just come to be associated with certain events and/or holidays, and that's the only time we eat them?

I'm not really talking about turkey and dressing, but they fall into that category. Why is it that we only eat those at Thanksgiving? And Christmas? How about cranberry sauce? It's available all year, so why don't we occasionally throw it on the table just because? And I'm talking about the canned kind here, the kind WITHOUT the berries. I don't like it if you can't see the ridges from the can around the edges. None of that real stuff for me, Pioneer Woman be damned.

Deviled eggs and potato salad are also on that list. I never used to make either one of those unless it was for a potluck dinner, family reunion, or some other large gathering. I didn't know you COULD make just a few deviled eggs. Then one night I was boiling eggs for tuna salad, and I threw a couple extra in the pot to make deviled eggs.

What a revelation. You can whip up just two or three deviled eggs in a lot less time than it takes to prepare a dozen or two. And they make an excellent side dish, particularly if you're trying to cover up the fact that you're serving tuna salad and crackers and calling it A MEAL.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

How I Spent My Thanksgiving Break....

.......By Bragger

Let me preface this by saying that I AM NOT COMPLAINING. I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to crochet all these beanies. I just couldn't say "no" after I had told a couple of kids that I would make them one. The scarf is for a girl who asked for it long before the beanie craze began, but I just forgot.

The black ones are my least favorite. It's difficult to crochet with all-black yarn, and I think it's boring. Naturally about 4 students have requested black.

I have just a few more to make (6) , and then I'm calling it quits for a while. I will take "orders" for beanies that I will make over Christmas break, but I'd like to work on some other projects for a change.

I did make a few hexagons for an afghan. It's all one color, and each hexagon goes pretty fast. I'm sewing them together as I go instead of waiting until the end to sew all 53 of them together. I cannot believe that I, the person who abhors prime numbers and craves all things symmetrical, am creating an afghan that has 53 hexagons and is of an irregular shape.

I also made some Christmas ornaments to give as gifts to co-workers (surprise, y'all!)

And yet I still managed to do laundry, keep the dirt in my kitchen from getting knee-deep, clean out the fridge, exercise almost every day, and keep up with my online grading.

If I had a choice, I would prefer NOT to go back to work tomorrow. I'd like to continue crocheting.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Am I Turning into a Prude? And Is It a Bad Thing if I Am?......

I adopted a saying from a girl I used to work with -- and whom I couldn't STAND. She would say, "I HAVE morals....they just don't always apply."

I've always tended toward the outrageous. In high school I was voted "Most Likely To ???" and never did really know what it meant. My mother thought it meant I had loose morals (she would). I think it had something to do with convincing a large portion of the senior class to skip school on my birthday, on which occasion I jumped off a bridge into the river below.

But now there's a commercial on television that I find offensive, and it kind of bothers me that I find it offensive. Have I gone over to the prudish side?

It's a Bud Light commercial, and for starters it parodies Billy Mays, the penultimate announcer who died last summer. I don't think anyone should parody dead people. Except Michael Jackson. Elvis Presley. Possibly Judy Garland.

Some of those commercials are cuter than others. The one in question, however, starts off with the announcer dude asking, "Do you struggle putting on condiments? I know I do."

I don't think that is an appropriate commercial, particularly since they play it during sporting events that children are possibly watching. Perhaps they aren't expected to understand the play on words -- but what if they do?

The same beer uses a different set of commercials, the "Too Light" versus "Too Heavy" concept. Now those are funny.

This all leaves me wondering ... Am I turning into a prude? Is it a bad thing if I am?

Or is it just a sign that I'm (finally) growing up?


Friday, November 27, 2009

A Day in Motorhome Life....

6:30. Woke up before Hubby.
6:45. Made coffee.
7:15. Went for a walk in the woods with Hubby and Gus. Saw two deer swimming across a river. That was a first.
8:30. Cooked breakfast. Scrambled eggs, pre-cooked bacon (not a fan), toast and jelly.
9:30. Washed dishes.
10:00. Crocheted while Hubby napped.
11:30. First Bloody Mary.
12:00. Snack of Ritz crackers and peanut butter.
12:30. More crocheting.
2:00. Mountain bike riding with Hubby. My bike only has 6 operable gears out of 18. Repair shop or new bike? Hmmmmmm....
2:30. Return from biking. Baby steps for Hubby... Hurts his pride that I can out-ride him. Wuss.
2:35. More crocheting.
2:45. Second Bloody Mary.
3:00. Started to go take a shower.
3:01. Sweet Girl called. She has an awesome radar.
3:30. Tried the shower thing again. This time successful.
4:00. Built campfire and roasted weenies.
4:10. Fed weenie to Gus after I dropped it in the ashes.
6:00. Dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches. I don't like hot dogs anyway.
6:30. Washed dishes. More crocheting.
7:00. Started playing gin with Hubby. I feel bad when I beat him ... Why?
8:00. Took Gus out for the umpteenth and hopefully last time.

My thumbs are tired. Good night!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful for.....

...Having both thumbs for times like this when I don't have internet service.
...Having found the "on" switch for the furnace. Motorhome life was getting kind of iffy.
...Hubby deciding to stay even after we couldn't get tv reception. We will be in football withdrawal by the time we get home.
...Family and friends who accept me just for being me.
...Having two sisters as best friends.
...A whole week off for Thanksgiving, even if two of them WERE without pay. Wait ... ALL our holidays are without pay. Never mind.
...The end of football season and the beginning of gymnastics season. Where it is possible to have a sucky season and still win the national championship. But I hope we won't have a sucky season. In gymnastics.
...Blogger pals.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Not Sappy at All.....

With the help of Hubby's daughter, this is what I came up with for his retirement presentation.
  • He has 857 golf clubs in the basement. Many of them are still in one piece.
  • He reads 3-4 library books each week. People get shot and/or stabbed in every single one of them.
  • He loves the Georgia Bulldogs - but he's never stayed for the end of a game.
  • He loves Atlanta Braves baseball - but he's never stayed for the end of a game.
  • He loves NASCAR - but he's never stayed for the end of a race.
  • He never gets rid of anything, as evidenced by the fact that both a '69 Ford pickup truck and a '71 Honda motorcycle live in his basement.
  • According to one of his friends, "He can turn out the lights and be asleep before the room gets dark."
  • He always orders the same thing at a restaurant: Filet, medium, baked potato, just butter, thousand island dressing. And he can finish an entire meal before anyone else says "pass the salt."
  • He will be able to wear a Pepsi t-shirt every day for the rest of his life without repeating any.
  • For a man who has trouble sitting still, he is a big fan of power naps.
  • He can identify the title and artist on any old, old country song, even before they sing a single word.
  • His favorite animated character is Stewie from "Family Guy."
  • He has seen Beetlejuice approximately 62 times.
  • Finally, he's a big fan of "Popeye" cartoons.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dancing with the Stars Finale......

I have very mixed emotions regarding tonight's Dancing with the Stars finale. I don't know whether I want Kelly, Mya, or Donny to win.

I've thought since early in the season that Mya WOULD win. She has the best technique and has been the most consistent throughout the competition. She got two perfect scores last night, and I had to agree with the judges that her free style dance was below par. At least below par for her. I was expecting flash, tricks, and showmanship during that dance. Of course, she's been slammed by Len the Grump earlier in the season for just those things, so I can't blame her for toning it down. It seems she can't win. Boy can I relate to her on THAT front here lately.

At the beginning of the season I was slightly appalled that Kelly Osbourne was even included in the cast of stars. I'll admit that I didn't know much about her, and what I knew wasn't good. Plus they keep cutting to camera shots of her father, which I find scary. Kelly has come a long way, though, and a win for her would score one for the chubby people. I think it has been good for her to be exposed to some classier people. Isn't that somewhat arrogant of me to say?

I think the fact that I saved Donny for last indicates that I'm secretly pulling for him, in spite of my claims to have mixed feelings. I had a crush on Donny way back before he had five kids, and I watched him and Marie on their television show. I think he represents goodness and wholesomeness, and he is the ultimate showman. He readily acknowledges when he screws up, and he obviously respects the judges' comments and feedback.

I'll be avoiding news shows and the internet tomorrow morning, because I won't get a chance to watch tonight's finale until I see the recording tomorrow. So don't tell me.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Random Thoughts on a FWOP** Day.....

I had a lovely guest post from my friend Lawanda the Warrior Princess, texted to me in frustration from the grocery store. I laughed out loud, read it to Hubby (he ignored me as usual), and said it was going to be a guest post for my blog tonight. Then I deleted it.

I have failed to win yet another of Pioneer Woman's giveaways. I figured I stood a good chance at least to win one of her cookbooks, since I ALREADY BOUGHT IT. But no. Rejected again by some nefarious random number generator. Don't you love the word "nefarious"?

I am in fourth place in Pickem, a football pool conducted by some people I don't know who are friends of a former co-worker. This is the final week, with 25 games on the line. I not only had to pick a winner for each game, I had to assign confidence points from 1-25, with 25 being the most confident. For once I went with my head and not my heart, and I chose UGA's opponent. And gave them a bunch of confidence points. It doesn't feel right, but there's $$ on the line. If we wind up beating Tech, I will happily sacrifice those points. But remember the word "confident".

I haven't heard back from the guy from whom I won a motorcycle that I wound up not wanting. He said he would sell it for us and send us the money. Hmmmm....... Hubby is already telling me to call him, but I feel awkward about it. I'm thinking about calling him and telling him we'll just come get it. And then sell it myself.

Our cellular phone company has just launched TV on the Go for mobile devices. Not streaming, mind you, but real-live tv in the palm of your hand. It only works on two devices at the present time, and it is time for us to buy new phones. Two of the twelve channels currently offered are ESPN and CNN. Hmmmmm......

We are taking our mountain bikes on our first trip in the motorhome this weekend. I don't know if I have ever ridden this particular mountain bike. We paid $40 for it at a yard sale. It's in the storage building, so it hasn't been out in the weather, but who knows if it's even in riding condition. I don't do much mountain biking. Hubby has even agreed to wear a helmet. The last time he wore a bicycle helmet, it was because he was on the back of a tandem with me as the captain. And he SAID that was why he was wearing it.

Hubby and I now have so many user names and passwords that we had to type them into a chart and put it by the computer. So now if someone breaks into the house, not only will he/she make off with all our worldly possessions, but will also be able to shop on eBay, pay with PayPal, pay the credit card to which PayPal purchases are charged, pay our insurance, check on overdue library books, download myriad golf courses to the SkyCaddie, manage Hubby's 401(k), and transfer money among the 7 bank accounts we have linked together. If he/she would please remind me which of the gazillion password combinations we are currently using for the bank website, I would be grateful.

I realized today that the Sneak Peek for the Georgia Gym Dogs is only twelve days away. I am a little embarrassed at how giddy that realization made me. The good news is that they are ranked pre-season #1. The bad news is that they are ranked pre-season #1.

I avoid Black Friday like the plague. This year we will be "camping" anyway, so it's not an issue. If we WEREN'T camping, I would put up the Christmas tree and watch football all day. I would rather pay a little more and not have to brave all those psychotic 4:00 AM shoppers. If I have just insulted you, I apologize.

I finished South of Broad, Pat Conroy's latest book, last night, and I may read it again. I loved it. Many of his books have a disturbing bent to them, but I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved, loved this one.


*FWOP - Furlough Without Pay. They actually put that on our pay stubs. As if the pain of having multiple days off without pay isn't enough, they print it on our pay stubs. Thanks, Governor Purdue.