Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blogger's Block......

I hate it when I think of a great topic for a blog entry while I'm driving home. If my Crackberry were working, I would whip it out and attempt to type enough into a note (at a stop sign, of course) to remind me what the awesome topic was. But since it isn't (working, that is), I have to rely on my very poor memory.

I had one of those thoughts today. I was almost home, and I thought, "Oh, I'll blog about that tonight. No need to jot it down (at this stop sign, of course), because I'm sure I will remember it."

But maybe I won't.

I have CRS disease these days.

And it was a deep topic, one of those serious ones. Perhaps it will come back to me sometime before the Super Bowl.

Today we got our first paychecks after the cuts for "furlough" days. It wasn't nearly as bad as I was afraid it was going to be, but it's bad enough. I'm already in the cutting back mode, though. I went by the cell phone store yesterday because my Crackberry has started turning itself off indiscriminately. I fully intended to walk out of there with a new phone, but the salesman said he would have them send me a new battery. For no charge, even though I'm past the warranty period. It's not like me to turn down the opportunity to buy something new. Especially something I don't need.

So on the same day, we bought a motorhome. I'm making a list of things we "need" for the motorhome. Never mind that it will probably be March before we are able to go anywhere, even for a weekend.

Today was my mother-in-law's 80th birthday. She's beginning to look frail. And old. I told her I hope she has 80 more birthdays, and she looked a little horrified at the prospect.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


....does it seem that the week before a vacation week is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo long? It's only Tuesday, for heaven's sake.

It's not like we're going out of town or anything. Well, at least not until the end of next week, when Katydid and I will travel south for Georgia BikeFest. We are officially OVER sleeping in a tent, however, and will have a television for watching football, a hot shower, and comfortable beds.

Hubby and I won't even get to try out the motorhome THAT WE'RE GOING TO PICK UP ON SATURDAY WOO HOO!!!!! because he had his last vacation of the year last week. Actually, it's his last vacation EVER. The next time he doesn't have to go to work, it will be because he has retired.

I'm just ready for a break.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I had chores when I was growing up, but I have to admit I did not have as many as Nurse Jane and Katydid. [Although rumor has it that Katydid routinely went to the bathroom after dinner and stayed there until the dishes were done.] There were a lot more folks in the house for them to pick up after.

By the time I was of an age to do chores, Katydid and Nurse Jane were both married and out of the house, and Bobby had died. That just left me and Jack (when he wasn't in trouble or hitchhiking the country or living with some other relative) and my mom, so the work load wasn't tremendous. Except for the years when we had my step-father and a couple of step-brothers in the house.

I had to wash dishes every night, which I H-A-T-E-D with a passion. Again, my life could have been much worse. According to Nurse Jane, Mom stood over her while she washed the dishes and tossed most of the pieces back into the dishwater because they were not up to her standards.

You just can't BE up to Mom's standards.

We never had a dishwasher, except me. One thing I find interesting looking back, though, is the fact that we never had to DRY the dishes. We had a drain rack next to the sink where the dishes were allowed to air dry (did you know that restaurants are required to do that? at least in our state). I find that out of character for my mother, who was so ... so ... anal? ... let's just say peculiar ... about many other things. The bed had to be made to military standards, quarter bouncing and all that. And GOD FORBID anyone would ever sit on Mom's bed. Anyone who made the mistake of doing that one time resolved never to do it again, as soon as he/she peeled him/herself off the ceiling. I didn't see the point of making up a bed, only to return to it later that same day. I'm sure we fought about it often. Now, however, I make my bed every single morning.

I especially hated washing the pots and pans. Mother believed in cooking large meals, complete with a meat and at least two vegetables, along with her delicious biscuits. The pots and pans would pile up, and I glowered at them as I started doing the dishes. Occasionally Mom would wash those first and leave the other dishes for me to do, and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

Mom also believed the kitchen floor should be swept every night after dinner. Only we called it supper. I didn't see the point in that either, but I realize that if you sweep every night, the floor stays a lot cleaner and you don't have to call in the heavy equipment for the weekend cleaning. I still don't sweep it every night, but I'm getting better. No I'm not, but I had to finish that sentence with something.

Folding clothes was another of my chores. I think we finally got a dryer when I was about twelve years old. That meant I didn't have to hang clothes out on the line anymore, but it also meant they needed to be folded SOONER. And I sucked at it, at least according to Mom's standards. Yeah, those. She could take a twelve-point star-shaped garment and make it perfectly square and flat and wrinkle-free. I have never learned how to fold a fitted sheet. I usually wind up just sort of wadding it all up and stuffing it in the folded flat sheet and cramming the whole set in the bathroom closet. I hope my mother never looks in my linen closet.

I had an epiphany one day while folding towels. I was probably in my early thirties, or at least my late twenties. I was carefully folding the towels longways into thirds, then half and half again. It suddenly occurred to me that I could fold my towels ANY WAY I WANTED TO. What freedom! I immediately came up with my own way of folding towels, and I deliberately made it most unlike Mom's method. They aren't pretty, but they're folded.

I could, if I were a person more comfortable in her skin, admit that Mom's folded towels are much neater than mine and more attractive on the shelf.

But since I'm not, I won't.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream.....

That quote has almost nothing to do with this post, except that it has the word "dream" in it.

This is one of those risky posts, because if no one else out there has ever had this experience, I'm revealing myself as a freak.

Won't be the first time.

You know how you have those odd occasions when you're sleeping, and you're dreaming about peeing, and you wet the bed because you really DO start peeing in your sleep?

Oh come on, that's not the freaky part. I know everyone has done that at one point.

The last time I remember doing it I was about 15 years old. Mom and I were visiting my grandmother's house in Savannah, and we were sleeping together on a lumpy old pull-out sofa bed. How embarrassing. Mom woke me up in the middle of the night, screaming, "Wake up! You're wetting the bed!" She wasn't too happy about it, believe me. I'm sure Grandmother wasn't exactly thrilled either.

But every now and then, especially at school, I'll sit down on the toilet to pee, and I wonder, "What if this is just a dream? What if when I start peeing I am really asleep and I wet the bed? How embarrassing will that be?"

And sometimes, depending on the day I've had, it's worth the risk for that not to have been my day at all.

I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Heart Trouble.....

I'm going to succumb to a heart attack if I have to suffer through many more close ballgames. My head knows it's just a game and life won't change as we know it if we lose.

I just can't convince my heart.

Lucky for my heart, tonight we won. Field goal with two seconds left.

Thank you, A.J. Green, for saving my heart, both on offense and special teams.

Joe Cox: We're the team in the red jerseys. I'll send my cardiologist's bill to you.

Good night.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I've Got Reasons......Lots of Reasons.....

I had my hopes up that I would have tickets to the UGA football game tomorrow night. I was all excited for a number of reasons. For one thing, the game is at night, and it has been a lifetime since I was in Sanford Stadium under the lights. Seriously. Sweet Girl's lifetime.

For another reason, it's football. Nuff said.

Finally, Hubby is out of town, so Katydid was going to accompany me to the game. Now don't get me wrong, I love Hubby. (That's the second post this week in which I've had to justify that.) But he doesn't believe in staying past halftime of a football game. Sixth or seventh inning of a baseball game. Halfway through a NASCAR race (for that one I don't mind leaving early). At a gymnastics meet, he bolts from his seat as soon as the last competitor has landed on the mat. Even if I have done the math, I want to see the awards ceremony. Katydid, on the other hand, will stay in the stands with me until the band leaves.

The two opportunities I had for tickets, however, both fizzled out. One I have to admit was longer than a long shot. Hubby was in a drawing at work for tickets, and he wasn't even there to claim them because he's on a golf trip. I was hoping they would call his work phone and tell him he had won, and I was going to intercept the call and tell them he was on the golf course (certainly no lie), but I would come get the tickets. You think I'm joking. The phone has sat there stubbornly silent all afternoon.

I'm trying to mask my disappointment by coming up with a bunch of reasons that it's probably a GOOD thing that I didn't get tickets.

  • Traffic getting to the game.
  • Traffic getting home from the game. In the dark. I don't see too well at night since my monovision lasik surgery.
  • Parking. Expensive IF we could find it.
  • Drunks. 92,785 of them. As opposed to one.
  • Television has instant replay for EVERY play.
  • Time. Take a three-hour game and add about six hours of tailgating, plus an hour of travel time (not taking into consideration the traffic), and it's a long day.
  • At Sanford Stadium, they only sell Coca-Cola products. It hurts my soul to buy anything made by Coke, but I get thirsty.
  • When you buy bottled water at Sanford Stadium, they take the cap away from you. Seriously. Last year I bought four bottles of water and had about six ounces total left in the bottles by the time I made my way back to my seat.
  • Not having a voice for two or three days after the game. In my job, my voice is my only defense.
  • It's going to rain tomorrow. Buckets. And umbrellas are not allowed in Sanford Stadium. Something about water running down off them and watering down the drinks that the drunks are not supposed to have in the stadium. Or safety. I'm not sure which one.
  • If I take my crocheting to the game with me, people will assume I'm one of the 92,785 drunks. At home I can crochet to my heart's content. Never mind that if the game isn't going well, I often have to remove several rows because the stitches are so tight.
  • I don't have to wear a bra to watch the game on television.
  • I don't have to worry about what to wear, knowing that the temperature at the beginning of the game will be different from the temperature at the end. And they'll both be wet. Oh, I already said that.
  • The snacks at my house will be a whole lot cheaper than the ones at the stadium. Not to mention closer.
  • I can keep up with the progress of the other games being played, particularly SEC teams. Have I mentioned lately that I hate Steve Spurrier? I KNOW they played last night, but I can stay mad if I want to.
  • I can mute the announcers on television if I want to. There's no shutting up the drunk(s) behind me (I think they follow me from game to game) who know everything about college football and could manage the game so much better than Mark Richt and Mike Bobo.
  • I can see Hubby when he gets home from his trip.
There. I feel better.

A little.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About English......

In an effort to create some inter-disciplinary projects and/or learning units at our school, we gave the students a survey. We asked them two questions about each subject area: "How does ______ relate to your world?" and "What is one thing you have always wanted to know about _______?" where the blanks represent each subject area.

We may never get the projects and/or units planned, because all we do now is sit around and laugh at some of the responses. I will share with you only the ones that relate to English, my subject area. These are copied exactly from the survey, with no editorial changes (shudder):

How does Language Arts relate to your world?

  • why do i suck at it?
  • it teaches me things that writters have written in the past some about how they grew up i lonve the storys
  • It teaches how to be better and grammer and how to speak with correct english.
  • language arts helps me write and when i say write i mean writing good like from the heart. i love to write my own poems and i love writing letters and notes to peolpe. i am always writing something.
  • The only thing that language arts is used for in real life is writing a letter to you boss.

What is one thing that you have always wanted to know about Language Arts?

  • Why is there so much reading.
  • Why do we read old poetry
  • Why do we have to bother..
  • why is it so long and so boring.
  • Why is it so complacted to spell?
  • how you can really creativty.
  • how did the people in the oolden days know how to write what made them statrt writting
  • why do we have to read everything and takes you a long time to read lol
  • I want to know all the backroads of grammar because I'm bad at it.
  • There is nothing I want to now about Lanugage Arts.
  • Why do we learn about british liturature and why do we read the stories from that time that we cant even read cause we cant understand them cause it sounds like another language. all we do is read them talk about them for a day then take a test?? whats the point??
  • why is it not proper to write a paper the same way you text.
  • Why is Shakespear so important
  • Why do we have to read stories?
  • Why do we have to learn all the different parts of speech. (noun, verb, conjunctions...) No ones job is going to have them checking for verbs and nouns in a sentence. (accept teachers)
  • why do we have to read stories why cant we just learn the subject.
  • Why is it called language arts instead or reading arts?
  • Why do we read stories and poems and things about the pass that does not have anything to do with language arts?
  • I have always wanted to know the most important facts about it.
  • I have always wanted to know how someone can just sit there and make up those amazing stories and use the most complecated words ever and still the story makes sense. Where does the creativity come from? Why don't i think like that?
  • why we borrow words, and never return them...eheheheee...i guess...
  • Why do we have to do romeo and juliet, that relates to nothing, but its a subject that has to be covered.

I'm thinking we have our work cut out for us.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lord, Forgive Me.......

Please don't let that man die.

I'm not talking about Hubby, although I REALLY don't want HIM to die.

Hubby is leaving tomorrow morning on one of his semi-annual golf trips. It has actually turned into several-annual golf trips, but that's okay too. This is one of two he takes with the same group of fellow golfers, one of whom just happens to be my ex, but that's a story for another day.

I have been planning this golf trip for weeks. Possibly months.

I love my Hubby, really I do. But I also love my "me" time.

Here's what I've been planning to do while he's gone:

  • Stay up past 8:00 PM. Possibly as late as 9:00 PM. Or 10:00 PM.
  • Watch football tomorrow night. Cheer out loud for Ole Miss to beat the crap out of South Carolina. Perhaps even see the entire game.
  • Crochet. And crochet. And crochet.
  • Have macaroni and cheese for dinner tomorrow night.
  • Have take-out Chinese food Friday night. (Isn't it sad that I've planned meals 48 hours from now?)
  • Go to the 7:30 line dancing class tomorrow night. I don't usually go to that one, but Monday night's class got canceled.
  • Watch more football Friday night. And see every play, without the necessity to wander off to reruns of the World Poker Tour or Family Guy just because there is a commercial on the channel where football is playing.
  • Finish watching last night's episode of Dancing with the Stars. And tonight's episode, which I will record because I can't stay awake through the whole thing. Shhhhh...... Don't tell me anything, because I haven't even seen all the women dance yet.
The brother of one of the golfers had a stroke today, and for a little while there was the possibility the whole trip might get called off. (Touching, especially considering the same would NOT happen if it were one of the wives.) But he appears to be doing okay, at least well enough for his brother to go on the trip.

Please don't judge me too harshly because I'm callously thinking of myself. My mama raised me better than that. Actually, my sister did.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Another Project Completed......

I must be an English teacher or something. I fretted and fretted (for about 2.5 seconds) about whether to entitle this post "Another Project Completed" or "Another Completed Project."

When I made an afghan a couple of months ago, Hubby intimated that he wanted it. I think he only said that because I told him I was going to put it in the auction at next year's Nash Bash, our family reunion. But my mind was made up, so I told him I would make one for him.

I had a relatively easy pattern called "Burgundy Expressions," and I had a ton of leftover burgundy yarn from another (never completed) project. I'm guessing it was meant to be.
Hubby said he would need something to keep warm with after he retires, and this is the perfect lap size. Good thing he doesn't have an enormous lap; I'd have to make another one.

To tell you the truth, I wasn't crazy about the pattern when I started it. I have a hard time making the stitch count come out right in rows. Blocks and hexagons (next project) I can handle, but the rows come up either a stitch or two short or long. Either way, the afghan begins to look retarded.

I always scan the directions for something before I commit to it, just in case there is something I don't understand or think I can't do. If I have to think too hard in order to do something, it stops being relaxing and therapeutic. If I can't crochet while I watch a football game or Dancing with the Stars, it's useless as a hobby.

This pattern was fairly painless, until I got all the way to the end. I didn't have a good picture of the finished product, so I couldn't tell what they were talking about on the border.
It's hard to tell in this (crappy) picture, but there is a row of off-white scallops BEHIND the burgundy scallops (which are actually called shells).

I often have a hard time with crochet instructions, because I want them to tell me WHY I'm doing a particular thing, and they never do. They just say things like, "sc in the next sc, skip two stitches, dc in the next sc, repeat until four stitches before the end..." If they would just say to me, "This sc is in the middle of the shell stitch, and THIS one is in between shells....." my life would be so much more orderly. It would make sense. Instead I have to figure out what they are talking about.

All in all I'm pleased with the finished afghan, though, and Hubby can't say I make things for everyone else but him, and I can get on with my NEXT afghan, which involves chunky yarn in a "fisherman" color (isn't it sort of racist to declare fishermen have to be all one color? I'm just sayin'.....), 53 hexagons, curlicues, and a border with a picot stitch.

I'm still struggling with the 53 hexagons. Prime numbers are not my friends.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Overused Word Wordiness......

Do you know anyone who uses a particular word -- or phrase -- regularly, and you can almost predict when it's coming? I know I'm guilty. I go through catch words or phrases, knowing I use them too frequently, and yet I'm unable to stop myself from uttering them.

I don't mean swear words, although I've been guilty of using those too, particularly when UGA fumbles the ball deep in their own territory and it leads to a touchdown.

I have a dear, dear friend (who is unaware of this blog's existence) who says "... and all..." to finish up random statements. As in, "We're coming up to go tailgating, and all, and we hope we get to see y'all. And all." Okay, maybe that's a little extreme. I don't know that she uses it twice in the same sentence. But a lot.

The sheriff of the town where I grew up had the strangest catch phrase I've ever heard. He dotted his conversation with the phrase, "there on it...." Like the time I went to visit my brother in jail after school one day, not knowing that brother (a most trusted trustee) had gotten into some degree of trouble, which may or may not have had something to do with the "escape" of another inmate who, according to my brother, "sumbitch swore he'd come back." The sheriff met me at the door that day, informing me that, "You can come back Sunday, there on it, when we have visiting hours. There on it." I wanted to say, "There on WHAT?" but I didn't want to get thrown into the same cell with my brother. And the sheriff was a big man.

I became aware of my own propensity for using the same words in similar situations when I was teaching in a traditional high school. Apparently I frequently ended statements to my students, particularly stern lectures, with a period. Not just the punctuation mark. The word "period." For instance, I might be warning students that projects were due. "And I won't accept any of them late. Period." I was scolding them one day, back in the day before I realized you really don't have to yell to get your point across, probably something along the lines of, "I said that you need to pay attention. And do your work." And before I could say another word, about half the class, in unison, said, "Period." There was a long pause while the other half of the class held its collective breath. And then I couldn't help it. I burst out laughing. Never let it be said that I don't know how to make fun of myself.

Sometimes the person using a catch word KNOWS he or she does it, and it becomes sort of a joke to do it anyway. My friend Wilson had been told he used the word "apparently" too much. So he started using it every chance he got. "Apparently," he said, "people think I use the word 'apparently' too much." I have picked up that habit from him, and now everything that isn't obvious is at least apparent.

When I was teaching at a high school where I was also the yearbook adviser, I picked up the word "clearly" from one of my students. He got me started using that word too, and then it became a joke. He wasn't one of my yearbook staff members, but they became aware of our game with the word "clearly," and they picked it up. When it was time to pick yearbook covers, I got all excited because one of the trendy things that year was to have a beautiful title page for the yearbook with a transparent Lucite cover that allowed it to show through. We were struggling with a theme for that year, and I begged the students to consider the Lucite cover and the theme "Clearly...." They voted ... no, shouted ... me down. Punks.

One of those same staff members, the girl who was my editor and is now a teacher herself, uses the word "nice" a lot. Usually when she means something isn't. As in, "You mean we lose three days from our pay before Christmas? Nice."

I also tend to overuse the word "absolutely." Only I went through a phase that could have gotten me in trouble at school, because for a while it became "abso-damn-lutely."

It's probably time for me to go through my closet of catch phrases and donate some of them to a charity. I need some new phrases.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Lost Art of Making Do......

One of the things I have always admired about my mother is her ability to make do. She had to make do in a number of ways, but I'm specifically talking about the ability to feed the multitudes with just 5 fishes and 2 loaves.

Forgive me, Lord.

We didn't have a lot when we were growing up. Mom was a single parent from the time I can remember, and she had to make ends meet with a meager salary and not much child support. (Six dollars per week per child. Yes, I'm serious. After I was grown, my father routinely sent me a check for $24 each month. That came to a screeching halt the minute I turned 18.)

Mom could always put a meal together, though, no matter how many people showed up. She could whip up a pan of biscuits (the best in the world, with all due respect to my mother-in-law, who runs a close second) on a moment's notice. When she was first married, she made biscuits THREE TIMES A DAY for my undeserving father. And she cooked on a wood-burning stove. I wasn't there, so I can't speak to the veracity of that statement, but she has no reason to make it up.

I've seen the time when unexpected guests would arrive, and Mom would have no trouble accumulating enough leftovers and pantry staples to throw together a delicious meal. I'm guessing that right this minute, if I showed up with all of my siblings at her retirement community, she would find a way to feed us all. And she doesn't even have a real kitchen or a stove. Sure the dining room is right down the hall, but she could manage to feed us even without it.

I'm an okay cook, although I don't particularly enjoy the art. I like EATING what I prepare, but it's a crap shoot as to how things are going to turn out.

I might be more adventurous in the culinary department if Hubby were more diverse in his food tastes. He doesn't eat any kind of pasta, no rice, no seafood. He doesn't particularly care for casseroles, and most vegetables are yucky to him.

That leaves us with: steak. And potatoes. And pinto beans. Occasionally green beans, though he swears the Army served them at every meal including breakfast, and he doesn't really care for them either. On the positive side, he's just as happy with a sandwich and some potato salad for dinner, just as long as he has something to fill his belly.

And although he's the picky one, anytime I ask him what he wants for dinner, the response is more often than not, "It don't matter. Whatever you want." Poor grammar aside, that answer drives me crazy. If it doesn't matter, then just pick something. If we don't have that, I'll tell you. On the occasions when I've made something that Hubby declares divorce-worthy (I was going to say on the "few" occasions, but it's really more than that), I have told him, "Okay, but I'm going to call this dish 'It Don't Matter.' The next time you give me that response to what you want for dinner, this is what you'll get." I never have had the nerve to follow through with it, though. Cooking is way too much trouble to make something yucky on purpose.

I shop for groceries once a week, and I generally try to plan meals for the coming week. We usually eat out on Fridays and Saturdays, so it's not like I have to cook every single day.

If unexpected guests show up at mealtime, however, I'm screwed. Or rather, they are screwed. I don't buy in quantities that would serve more than the two of us, at least not usually. I don't keep a ton of extras on hand, because unless they are canned goods, they will go bad.

So if you show up at my house for a meal, don't expect hot buttered biscuits, gravy, country fried steak, three or four vegetables, and sweet tea.

I'm more likely to call for a pizza to be delivered.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Unfortunately, I am not a movie person. It isn't that I don't LIKE movies; I've seen many movies that I liked. Some of them I liked enough to watch more than once.

That may be because I don't always remember what I saw. I remember whether or not I liked it, but the details escape me.

Hubby, on the other hand, has a wonderful memory. He remembers dialogue, scenery, characters, and most importantly, the events of the plot.

I, on the other hand, forget what I've seen almost immediately.

Yes, I realize I'm up to three hands now. Let's return to the issue at hand. (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha -- I crack myself up.)

Maybe that's why I don't watch many movies. A colossal waste of time if it's just going to leak out of my brain.

I was going to make a list here of movies I HAVEN'T seen. I checked a couple of websites for lists of all-time greatest movies. Some of them I didn't even RECOGNIZE!

But I got embarrassed at my obvious lack of culture. I'll just keep the details to myself.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Barbie Crazy.....

Like a lot of little girls, my Sweet Girl was crazy about Barbie dolls when she was little. If we had saved every Barbie (or Stacie or Ken or wannabes) she ever had, we too could have a room that looked like this.

This is at Hubby's uncle's house in South Carolina. When his aunt told me she collected Barbie dolls, I pictured some like the ones Sweet Girl has, still in their collectible boxes. Olympic
Barbie. UGA Cheerleader Barbie. Duke Cheerleader Barbie. (I have no idea where that brief fascination with Duke University came from.) Several Gone with the Wind Barbies. Which I stupidly took out of their boxes one year to put in the display case I bought to....... display them in.

No, this is an entirely different sort of collection. I guess it's a form of Empty Nest Syndrome. With her children gone, Marie needed something to put in the guest room. She has filled at least 5 bookcases with various Barbies.

I wish I had some close-up pictures. This was a couple of years ago. For all I know, they may have built an entire house by now, just for Barbies.

She buys dilapidated Barbie dolls at yard sales. Then she takes them home, cleans them up, fixes their hair, and dresses them in the clothes that she often gets at the same -- or other -- yard sales.

Some of them are grouped by color of the clothing. There's an entire section of wedding Barbies.

This puts my shot glass collection to shame.

At least they only take up a curio cabinet . . . not an entire room . . . yet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Random Thoughts.....

It has been raining for days, and it is supposed to rain for more days. And I really don't mind. I kind of like being forced to stay inside and crochet.

Tomorrow would have been my parents' anniversary. Sixty-one years. Only they got divorced about 42 years ago. I really wish I could erase some of that useless information from my brain.

My parents got married three days after my mother's sixteenth birthday. My grandparents got married ON my grandmother's sixteenth birthday.

The first time Hubby got married, I was six years old. My sister got married the very same day.

I had too much wine at a wedding reception once. I decided to spend the night somewhere it was safe rather than drive home. Only I woke up the next morning in my own house. Scary.

When Katydid got married the second time, I played the piano for her wedding. For one of the selections I played while guests were filing in, I chose "Send in the Clowns." She dared me.

At Nurse Jane's wedding, I was terrified that my parents would get in a fight right there in front of God and everybody. I was six.

There may be nothing in the world more painful than attending the wedding of the person you thought YOU were going to marry.

Hubby and I went to the wedding of one of my former co-workers a few years ago. It was a church wedding, and it lasted 12 minutes. At the end, every single person in the congregation looked at his/her watch. Then we hurried to the reception.

I've never been asked to be a bridesmaid in a wedding. I'm guessing it's a little late now.

I was in college when Lady Diana and Prince Charles got married. I got up at some ungodly hour of the morning (3:00 AM? 4:00 AM?) to watch their wedding on television.

I don't know how this topic turned to random thoughts about weddings.

It's still raining. But tomorrow is Friday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Update THIS......

I do not appreciate being bossed around and held captive by my computer. Shouldn't I be the one who decides when to install updates? And if I restarted it, don't you reckon I was in the middle of something? I wasn't even playing paintball this time. I was trying to grade some online assignments.

Now I'm stuck with "Please do not power off or unplug your machine. Installing update 6 of 8." It has been that way for about 20 minutes, and I'm terrified of defying it. So please forgive me for any gross missppellings. That comes from blogging with my thumbs on my Blackberry. There goes my post about my cycling buddy Larry. The pictures are on the computer that I'm not allowed to power off or unplug, lest some nuclear weapon be launched at an innocent country.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So Are You Really Gay? Or Just Pissed Off?.........

I'm not here to open up a controversy as to whether being gay is "right" or "wrong." In my opinion, we may as well have a debate about whether being short is right or wrong. Or having curly hair. Or having big boobs. Or being clumsy. Some of my bestest friends (and at least one family member ... that I'm aware of) are gay. Some are short. Some have curly hair. Some have big boobs (but few of the men). Some are clumsy.

Something that does bother me, however, is a woman I know professionally who has decided after a marriage and two kids that she will now be gay. Stop throwing those sticks at me, let me finish. I'm not talking about someone who resided in an uncomfortable marriage, fighting with herself over what her true urges were, and one day succumbed to her inner feelings and blurted out over oatmeal and herbal tea that she was gay and wanted a divorce.

No, she was perfectly content with her life, married to a professional man (I'm guessing here, she's never said anything about what he DOES, just what he IS), with a gifted son and a gifted daughter, putting them in all the right schools and reading all the right things, and then BAM! He walked out on her.

When I met her, the divorce had just happened.

Wait, wait, back up a minute....

When I met her for the first time, I thought she might be gay. And that is making a huge assumption for me, because as anyone who knows will tell you, my "gaydar" DOES. NOT. WORK. If a person comes out and says to me, "I'm gay," that's okay, but I don't normally make that kind of judgment. I usually don't even wonder. It's none of my business, and it doesn't matter to me.

That could be due in part to a woman who was my mentor when I first started teaching. She was an amazing teacher, and an all-around fun person. We were teaching in an inner-city (sort of) middle school (shudder, shudder, gasp), and I heard her reprimand a little twerp who had made a disparaging remark about someone being gay. She said to the student, "The only way you can say anything for certain about someone else's sexuality is if you've slept with him or her. Do you want to retract that statement?" And retract he did. I have used that statement with students many, many times.

So, back to this woman.

At some point not long after we met, she mentioned an ex-husband. And two kids. So I had to go back and erase from the hard drive in my head any notions about her being gay and relearn everything I knew about her, only this time as a straight person.

Now she has crashed my hard drive again. And with my limited megahertz and almost non-existent RAM, it's a struggle to rewire my thoughts.

I might think differently about her if she had been through SEVERAL failed marriages and decided, what the heck, she would just try women. I've even said myself that if this marriage ever failed, I might have to try living with a woman myself. [I made the mistake of saying that in a tap dance class one time, a class of mostly teenage girls. Two of them never came back after that night. I really didn't mean to scare them away.] Of course I'm exaggerating when I say it, but I certainly don't condemn someone who makes that decision for herself. If I haven't lived their lives, I can't pass judgment on them.

I just wonder if this woman is really, really, really, really gay, or if this is just the best way she could think of to hurt/mortify/piss off/embarrass/challenge someone who walked out on HER. She made a comment (and this is pure hearsay, since she didn't say it to me, but we aren't in a courtroom, and it's my own personal blog, so I'll repeat what I want to, and you don't even know if it's true in the first place) that her mother was afraid that since she (the daughter) was now living in a homosexual relationship, it might hurt her chances with men in the future. Excuse me? Isn't that sort of the point? Wouldn't that be a little bit like my mother saying she is afraid since Hubby and I are married and all, she's afraid I'll never get another date?

Her response to her mother was that she has had more "proposals" since she started being gay than she ever had before. [Do you think she really meant "propositions"? Because I just can't see the logic of asking a woman to marry you if she's just said she is in a relationship with another woman. I'm just sayin'.]

Is that her goal? To have men want her, just so she can disappoint them by telling them she's gay? Is she just making a statement? What about her children? Where do they fit in? I'm not saying that gay people shouldn't have children. I'm just going on the assumption here that she doesn't really know WHAT she is.

I know it's really none of my business.

I just think she is doing a huge disservice to my gay friends. And relative(s).

Monday, September 14, 2009

To Members of the 6:30 Spin Class......

Dear Spinners:

Do you think we haven't seen you scowling in the door during the final minutes of our line dancing class on Monday nights?

Yeah, I'm talking to you.

Your expressions fairly shout, "They call THAT exercise?" I think I've even caught a couple of you rolling your eyes at one another. You huddle outside the door, peering in the window impatiently every couple of minutes, waving your towels and your water bottles and stretching every now and then.

Tonight we get word that we have to end our class five minutes early so you can line your little trikes up. Excuse me, but are you MORE entitled to your sixty minutes than we are? We pay the same dues. We had 17 in our line dancing class tonight. How many of you spinners showed up? It was almost a moot point, because I had the opportunity to run over your skinny little instructor in the parking lot. I still owe her one for that last step aerobics class of hers that I went to. Emphasis on last.

I know for certain that we don't burn nearly the number of calories that you do.

But how about we do this:

You wear your little spandex size twos and haul your pretend bicycles to a country and western bar somewhere near Atlanta, and we'll see who comes out of there alive.

Boot scoot boogie this.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Feel So Violated.......

You know how, when someone's home is burglarized, or his or her car is broken into, the one thing you almost always hear is that they "feel violated"? I remember feeling that way when our house was broken into in a previous wifetime. The burglars shattered our sliding glass doors, and there was glass all the way to the front of the house. I had a laundry basket of clothes that needed to be folded sitting in the dining room, and I was so pissed that the criminals had seen my unfolded laundry!

I was all set up to be the victim of an internet scam today, and I feel the same way. Violated. Stupid even. I'm not going to go into the details, because I'm too embarrassed that I almost fell for it. Hubby tried to tell me it sounded like a scam, but when I showed him the "documentation," even HE said, "Do it! It sounds legitimate." I had already emailed the scammer to go ahead and put the wheels in motion, because I didn't want such a good deal to get away. Thankfully no payment information had been exchanged.

In the words of Clark Howard, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Damn these people. There's not a place in Hell hot enough for them.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hotel Shampoo.......

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel guilty for using the little bottles of shampoo that hotels provide?

If I use it, I'm afraid they think I'm too cheap to bring my own. So I usually bring my own.

If I take the little bottles just because they're there and I feel like they are included with the price of the room, I feel a little bit like it's stealing. Kind of like taking their towels.

And if I DON'T use them and leave them still sealed and lined up nicely on the counter, I feel like they think, "Stupid woman, doesn't she know the shampoo is free?"

Don't even get me started on the shower caps.

What if they start putting the shampoo and conditioner in the mini-bar?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Crazy Dream #6..........

Last night I dreamed I was in a car with Sweet Girl driving, and she didn't navigate a curve very well. We flew off the road and into a lake. The car bobbed a few moments, but I knew it was going down. I reached for my Blackberry and called 9-1-1. And I was so dang CALM! I wasn't even angry at Sweet Girl for putting us in the lake. I remember saying, "Well, that's not what I had pictured."

Before the rescue personnel got there, however, we somehow were slung up onto the bank. Someone had tied a rope to the car, but I was somehow responsible for steering it in such a manner that it whiplashed its way up onto the bank.

It's somewhat miraculous that I could manage to call 9-1-1 and navigate the car and all that, since I was also HOLDING A BABY. I couldn't even explain where the baby came from, but it was mine. It had dark hair and was precious and was only a few days old. (This was probably due to my snippy post about teenaged moms the other night.) In one scene in my dream (don't know if it was before the lake incident or after it), someone was questioning the diapers I was using. They were more of the pull-ups style than real diapers. I remember thinking in my dream, "Wow, it's been a long time. I'm going to have to learn this stuff all over again." The person I was talking to was looking at me like I was an idiot.

I'm not sure if it was because I used pull-ups on a newborn.

Or if I had a baby at the age of 48.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kotzebue, Alaska.........

Since I joined the blogging world a little over a year ago, I have found a community among people who have never met face-to-face. I would venture to guess that some of these people would even consider themselves friends with their fellow bloggers, even if they have never met.

One blog that I read regularly comes from a wonderful photographer in a tiny village called Kotzebue, Alaska. The lady who writes the blog moved to Alaska from New England -- can you make a more drastic move than that? I admire anyone who has the wherewithal to pick up and move across the country. I consider myself fairly well-traveled for a small town girl, but I live within 25 miles of the town in which I was born.

I enjoy reading her blog for the cultural references as well as the photography. Her pictures are magnificent.

This tiny village suffered a tragedy last weekend in the form of a devastating fire. She has asked her fellow bloggers to post a link to her blog if they are capable of lending financial assistance to the villagers who lost everything in the fire. I am happy to do so, and I have already written her a check.

Go here to read her post, and help if you can, but also take the time to read some of her other posts and look at her beautiful photographs.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's All About the Mamas......

I'm a little slow, but I came to a sudden realization today.

One of our students from last year came by today with her mother and her new baby, a precious, tiny girl who was born...... SATURDAY! I couldn't even WALK four days after giving birth. But that's a story for another day.

One of my co-workers pointed out that the mother/grandmother must be out of her mind, bringing a four-day old baby into a school. Schools are notorious for being rife with germs.

As the grandmother proudly toted the baby carrier down the hall beside her unmarried and only recently graduated daughter, it struck me that the mothers may be part of the reason that these teenage girls keep having babies. It gives THEM a purpose.

I've seen it time and time again, so I don't know why it only occurred to me today. Maybe I'm MORE than a little slow.

If that had been me, my mother would have HAD to be the one carrying the baby, because I would have had a hard time walking with her foot up my backside. And two broken kneecaps. I was afraid to tell my mother when I DID get pregnant. And I was married. With a job. And the pregnancy was planned. On purpose. Even that didn't mean I knew what the hell I was getting into.

I'm not saying the mothers ought to kick their pregnant daughters to the curb or anything. But when they stand by and beam proudly [and take on many of the child-rearing rearing responsibilities], what message do the teenagers get?

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned. Perhaps approaching fuddy-duddy stage.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Best Laid Plans......

I am a planner. Not an event planner, but a life planner. As in my life. Lives of others.

It's not that I'm a control freak, or that I go berserk if my plans don't work out. I just have to have them.

One of the things I loved most about Hubby when we got together (there were many.....still are) was that he is also a planner. In a previous wifetime, I would get sooooooooooooooooo irritated because the jerk I was married to wouldn't plan a thing. His philosophy was that we may get hit by a bus tomorrow, and all those plans would be down the tubes.

He did his Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. At 4:00 PM.

I'm getting off the subject, talking about someone who REFUSED to plan. He's not worth the letters on the page.

My calendar is my lifeline. I've tried to go completely electronic, but it won't work. I have to see the calendar pages in front of me, with the whole month laid out. I still set reminders for myself on my Blackberry, and I email reminders to myself if I need to. But the paper calendar is the one I cling to.

I was going nuts last week because they still hadn't released the schedule for UGA gymnastics next year, and I was afraid there might be a conflict between one of the meets and a "symposium" (hell, it's a workshop, people, just call it what it is) for my virtual job. IT'S IN JANUARY, FOR PETE'S SAKE!!!!

Okay, maybe I wasn't really going nuts, but I felt ....... incomplete. I just like to schedule.

Hubby and I have already planned next year's vacation, a golf trip to the mountains that wives are actually invited to go on, and a weekend trip to the beach that must be taken in the winter. Long story.

When the gymnastics schedule was finally released, I wrote all the meets in my calendar (in red, of course) and started looking to see which AWAY meets I might actually be able to swing. Good Lord! (Hey Sisters - road trip!)

Football games have been penned in ever since I got the calendar. [I guess after I retire I'm going to have to wean myself off the academic year version.] It bothers me, though, that the times of some games aren't determined until later. It all depends on how our season goes and how the seasons of our opponents go. [If last Saturday is any indication, we WON'T be prime time material.]

I am furiously crocheting, working on an afghan for Hubby. [Well, not at this particular moment, of course, because it's next to impossible to type and crochet at the same time.]

Why am I working so hard, holding a bundle of wool yarn in my lap when it's still 90 degrees outside? Is it because Hubby is eager for his afghan? Is it a gift for some occasion? Like the sweater I made for my mother-in-law one year, crocheting until midnight on Christmas Eve, only to NEVER SEE THE STINKIN' SWEATER AGAIN?

No, it's none of those.

It's because I have already planned the next THREE afghans I want to make.

Not to mention finishing my cathedral window quilt.

I have planned my fall break, down to what time I will leave home to drive down for BikeFest, a three-day cycling event, and I have also planned my spring break, down to what time I will leave to drive to Florida. I have already determined that I will probably spend only one Friday night in June in my own bed, and I'm trying to figure out what to do with the dog on some of those occasions.

This is not to say that I'm rigid or inflexible or incapable of being spontaneous. My plans can be changed, sometimes on a whim. It just calls for a new set of plans.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Finally Seeing Some Results.........

When I decided to get serious and drop some of this excess weight I've been carrying around, I was adamant that this NOT become another weight-loss blog. There are some wonderful ones out there, and they are very inspirational. This one, for example. I am in awe of the fact that this woman lost over 100 pounds. She hasn't posted since she reached her goal, however, and I am curious to see how she's maintaining it. Sometimes that's harder than losing it in the first place.

Initially I started another blog, and my intention was to chronicle my weight loss journey there by blogging every day about what I ate, the exercise I did that day, my attitude, obstacles, etc. That lasted all of one day. And then I "hid" the blog. It's still there, but I didn't want to become that person who thinks of NOTHING every day but food, weight, and how to have some of one without a ton of the other. Pun intended.

Sixteen years ago, I was at what was THEN my heaviest. I joined Weight Watchers, and I lost 50 pounds. I still think their goal weight was unrealistic, but by George I reached it. I became a Weight Watchers leader, and I kept the weight off for a few years. But when I was striving to reach my goal, I was obsessive. All I thought about, cared about, talked about was how many "points" I had eaten on any given day and how many fractions of a pound I might lose. When I neared my goal, the weather was changing into fall. I had grown accustomed to wearing bicycle shorts and a t-shirt to my weekly weigh-in, but then it got too cold to do that. One week I wore jeans, but I wore bicycle shorts underneath, and when it came time to weigh in, I stripped those bad boys off right there in front of God and everybody. And we were in a church, so that's not really sacrilegious.

When I first joined WW, I lost something like 12 pounds just in the first two weeks. But that was sixteen years ago. Now I'm sixteen years older, in case you are struggling with that math.

Every time in recent memory that I've decided to get serious and lose some weight, I have become discouraged immediately by the lack of results. I'll stick with it for a week or two (or three) and then throw up my hands and say "To hell with it!" because the scale simply isn't budging.

For some reason, this time has been a little different. When I went to the doctor right before school started, I saw a scary number on the scale that I hadn't seen since right before I went into labor. I got serious (again), and once again I became discouraged when I didn't see results right away.

But I stuck with it, and now, six weeks later, I am finally seeing some results. I have lost about 12 pounds since school started, and the sacrifices aren't feeling like sacrifices anymore. I have continued to exercise every day, not only with the goal of losing weight, but also for the mental therapy it provides. I'm also trying not to be obsessive about it, which is why I won't write another blog post about eating, exercising, losing weight, etc. for a good long while. I am allowing myself the freedom to miss exercise if it just doesn't happen on any given day. I will allow myself a piece of chocolate at lunch if I think it will keep me from killing a student during fourth or fifth period.

I have sworn off alcohol, and I don't miss it. Much. Contrary to popular belief, it IS possible to have fun and be happy without an occasional beer. Or margarita. I don't promise that I will never have another beer or drink, however.

Part of my problem in the past has been that all-or-nothing attitude. If I ever missed a day of exercise, or if I succumbed and had a small piece of chocolate, or if I went out to eat and splurged, I gave up because I had "blown it." I had a bad habit of doing that even when I was a WW leader and telling other people not to do that.

Hubby has been mostly supportive. I used to try to avoid eating "diet" food in front of him, and I don't know why. I realized long ago that the only thing he really cares about is that HE gets to eat. And since he was diagnosed with diabetes, he's better off eating my kind of food anyway. Last week, when I was very ill-tempered (not at him), he didn't even notice when I put his dinner in front of him and didn't eat anything myself. [It's VERY rare that I'm that ill-tempered. It usually has the opposite effect.] It's funny, though, the things that men do. We have been in the habit for a couple of years of having a sugar-free ice cream bar after dinner every night. Then we started sharing one, and we take turns going to get the ice cream and cutting it in half.

When I started on this latest effort to lose weight, I began to cut his half waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay larger than mine [yes, I realize that makes it not a half -- college calculus be damned, I do have SOME math smarts]. But when he goes to get the ice cream, he refuses to cut my half smaller. He still makes the pieces equal, even though I have asked him not to. Some WW people would consider that a form of sabotage, but I think he just can't bring himself to cut it unfairly. A thought just occurred to me -- maybe he's trying to trick me into ALWAYS being the one to go get the ice cream. Damn, I'm slow.

At any rate, the little bit of positive results that I've seen so far have been a huge boost to my psyche. They took their sweet time getting here, but maybe now that I've started losing, I can keep it up. Down. Whatever.

We now return to our regularly scheduled sarcasm-laden blog.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Shhhhh......I've Been Thinking About Going Back to School.....

Don't tell Hubby, but I have actually been considering going back to school.

Not for another advanced degree.

I want to get a degree in math.


I don't want to teach math. Hell, in three years I don't want to teach ANYTHING anymore. I won't necessarily ever use math in my life beyond what I need to balance my checkbook and to calculate the amount of yarn needed for a project.

I just want to know it.

I think part of my motivation is that I don't like to be defeated by anything, and math kicked my butt when I got to college. I was always one of the smartest math students in my high school, and it wasn't because I was competing with my classmates. I was competing against myself. I wanted to know how to do mathematical calculations and algebraic equations, and I wanted to know how to do them fast. I wanted to know what each step meant and what it caused in the next step. I wanted to win.

I didn't win when I got to college.

I exempted the first math course (I'm guessing college algebra?), and I was in the pre-med program (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha). And the honors program (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha to the nth power). So my first math course in college, which was a whopping ten days after I graduated from high school at the tender age of seventeen years two months and eight days, was pre-calculus. (I didn't do well with SEVERAL things that started with pre-.)

I had no idea what they were talking about in pre-calculus. Suddenly I didn't understand the steps, had no idea where the numbers came from, and had zero grasp on the concept of going by an instructor's office and actually asking for help. I just quietly drowned all semester and eeked out of there with a "C". I didn't make "C's"! I was a smart kid!

I'm sure I spoke with an "advisor" before I registered for the next semester. I don't know what kind of impression I made or if he/she just decided I deserved what I got. Because somewhere along the line I was registered to take calculus in the fall. Honors calculus. I would have loved a "C" in that course. I would even have been ecstatic for a "D". Instead of the big fat "F" I got.

I stubbornly clung to my pre-med major, although for some strange reason it was never again suggested that I register for an honors class. I took plain-old regular calculus the following semester, and I eeked out of there with a "D". It still didn't make sense. I have no idea how I managed to prove that I knew 60% of the material I had been presented with.

So all these years I've felt like math defeated me. And I LOVE math. I bought an Algebra II workbook at the campus bookstore last year. I like to do algebra for fun. But calculus is sitting in a bar somewhere, nursing a cosmopolitan and gloating about how it kicked my arse.

I may try to see if I can find an online program, and not one of those fly-by-night, the-best-advanced-degree-money-can-buy programs. I want a real math degree, not something I've bought. But I would like for it to be online as opposed to something I have to go to campus every week for and sit in a classroom with students young enough to be my children. And younger. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Weekend Meme.........

Because I feel obligated to blog every day AND I'm trying to avoid writing about the fact that the Georgia Bulldogs lost their very first game of the season (a situation I was afraid of all week long), I have stolen a meme from Tense Teacher. I don't know if she knows I follow her or not, but I feel guilty that she has a tough job teaching and I have one that isn't quite so demanding. Oh good heavens, I just jinxed myself big time.

What are your most common nicknames?
In high school I was "Brillo" because of my steel-wool-resembling hair, and "Wiener" because of a silly thing we did with our first and last names.

What is today’s weather?
Overcast, 82 degrees.

Where did you go on vacation this year?
Dominican Republic.

What did you do there?
Other than drinking an entire bottle of champagne single-handedly, walked on the beach and sat by the pool.

Where did you stay?
A resort that will probably be beautiful when they finish with it.

What job do you do?
I teach in a nontraditional, alternative high school with 75 students. I also teach literature online part-time.

Describe where you live.
A town right smack in the middle between Atlanta and the city where I was born that is also home to the University of Georgia. Who lost their football game today. Oops...I wasn't going to talk about that.

What do you usually do on weekends?
Bicycle, kayak, walk, crochet, swim, catch up on laundry, avoid most other forms of housework.

What food hits your ‘bliss spot’?
Hmmmm..... hard to say. Whatever I'm eating at any particular time, I guess.

What drink really does it for you?
Since I've sworn off alcohol (has nothing to do with the champagne in Punta Cana and everything to do with vowing not to drink my calories), I don't really have any particular favorite. I prefer water with lemon most of the time. If I have a soft drink, it's a Diet Dr. Pepper or a Diet Sierra Mist.

Describe the first friend that comes to your head.
I have several friends (okay, two) who read this blog, and if I describe one and not the other, it might hurt someone's feelings. Actually, the first person who came to mind is a friend who dumped me a few years ago. My sisters are the best friends I have. Truly.

What was the last restaurant you went to?
On the Border.

Where would you like to live if you had unlimited moneys and nothing stopping your dreams?

What is the likeliness of your achieving this dream home?
About the same as me winning the lottery. Actually, they're connected.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Isn't this kind of like the "what do you do on the weekend" question?

What’s your favorite genre for TV programs?
Anything with a ball in it.

What’s your favorite genre for music?
70's. And a little country, since I started line dancing.

What’s your favorite song that’s sad?
"Goodnight Saigon" by Billy Joel.

What’s your favorite soppy film?
I actually don't watch many films.

How about your favorite chick flick?
Same as above.

What are you looking forward to at the moment?
Getting our motorhome.

What are you dreading at the moment?
Cleaning up the kitchen.

How would you describe your personality?
Cheerful, upbeat, optimistic but sarcastic. Is that a personality trait?

If you had a personality eraser, what part of yours might you erase?
The part that makes me overeat. And the part that lets my blood pressure rise just because my team loses a football game. Oops.... I wasn't going to talk about that.

You are given $5000 to spend in 1 day, what do you do with it? Remember, no limitations!
Buy a new bicycle.

What is your biggest fear?
That my ex-husband will outlive me out of sheer spite, just because I still have life insurance on him. Oh, and I also fear that one of you will think that's a tacky thing to say.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hell is Not a Place.......'s a train ride.

......with two middle school students.

Thank you to my friend Maggie for jogging my memory with her post about a train trip this weekend and giving me something to blog about tonight. Sometimes coming up with a topic is the hardest part.

I taught middle school for three years. This is the period in my life that I refer to as "the-closest-to-hell-that-I-ever-want-to-come" years. One year a colleague of mine organized a trip to New York City for the fledgling middle school newspaper staff. That was back in the years when you didn't have to make an academic connection in order to take students on a field trip. You just had to make the money connection and you were good to go.

There were two students in this little group of ten whose parents would not allow them to fly. One was because he was allegedly "claustrophobic," and I don't forget the rationale of the other one. The principal said if those two couldn't go, no one could go, and the trip organizer began looking for someone who would agree to accompany those two on the train.

Because I was young and stupid and couldn't say no to anyone, much less anyone named Cay (her last name was Kelly, and I thought it was a shame to spell her first name with a "C", considering the alliteration thing they apparently had going on and all), I agreed to take those two students on the train. How bad could it be?

How bad CAN eighteen hours on a train be when you can't even go to the club car? Do you know how many times an Amtrak train stops between Georgia and the Big Apple? Twenty-three. Twenty-three times this bad boy stopped, no more than 45 minutes between any two stops. It was like trying to sleep in a hospital. Without the drugs.

It was nighttime when we got on the train, so things were relatively quiet. We settled down in our seats and I advised the students to sleep as much as they could. None of us could sleep very much, forever, for watching the couple in the front of our car.

They were young and obviously in love. And it's possible they had spent a great deal of time in the club car. They made out heavily, sometimes sitting in the same seat. They couldn't keep their hands off each other, and I thought my little sixth-grade girl and eighth-grade boy's eyes would bug out of their heads. I thought to myself, "How sweet. They must be on their honeymoon. But they really, really should tone it down."

This went on throughout the night, until sometime in the wee hours when we pulled into a station somewhere in Virginia. And SHE got off the train. There was a young man waiting for her on the platform, and they walked away arm-in-arm as the train pulled out of the station. If I could have opened that window, I seriously would have yelled, "Do you know what she's been DOING all night?" He got off the train in some other state, looking what I thought was smug and self-satisfied. Satisfied. Heh heh. I made a funny.

We had left Georgia around 9:00 PM, and we chugged into Penn Station in NYC sometime around 3:00 the next afternoon. We had been instructed to take a cab from the station to our hotel, which was easy to do even considering the fact that I had never been in a cab in my life. We didn't have those out in the country. The cab ride itself, however, was a gut-wrenching experience. It was wilder than any roller coaster I had ever been on, and the two students were scared to death.

Some other highlights of that trip included dinner at Sardi's, where we fully expected to see some famous people but were disappointed, and the students, being middle schoolers, counted their money down to the exact penny when we paid for dinner. It took longer to settle the bill than it did to be served. It was pretty close to the length of the train ride. I was embarrassed that we looked like country bumpkins off the farm for the first time.

We took a bus tour of the city and got to see the Statue of Liberty up close and personal. But the line to WALK up the steps was about four hours long, so we didn't get to do that. Our tour bus got stuck somewhere in Harlem for a while when it tried to go down a narrow street, where cars were parked on both sides.

We went to the Empire State Building, but many of the students refused to spend their money to go to the observation platform when there was a McDonald's right across the street. We bought cheap t-shirts, and even I was puzzled when they came out of the wash the first time looking like trapezoids.

You would think I would learn about volunteering to accompany students on trips out of the state. But fast forward fourteen years, when I found myself as a chaperon on Sweet Girl's high school band's trip to . . . you guessed it . . . New York City.

This time Hell was not a place . . . it was a bus ride.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Reasons to Be Happy.....I Mean Ecstatic.......

  • Football season is officially underway with South Carolina playing N.C. State.
  • 514 school days until retirement.
  • The motor home is almost a done deal. All that remains is exchanging a large check for a set of keys.
  • I am officially caught up on my virtual school grading. For tonight.
  • My "real" school had our first PLC Fun Night tonight at a pizza place . . . and it really WAS fun. Plus I didn't have to cook.
  • Tomorrow is officially "wear your favorite college colors" day. Not that it's different from any other Friday for me, but I'm prepared to be especially decked out tomorrow. Minus the face tattoos . . . those are strictly for wearing to games.
  • I never have to talk to that psycho virtual school parent again. This was the parent who ranted and raved the other night for so long, but today she went postal and became abusive. I hung up on her. My administrator officially said I don't have to take any more calls from the whacko.
  • Tomorrow is Friday, and it's a holiday weekend. And we don't have any plans to go anywhere this weekend. Wouldn't do any good if we wanted to. Hubby has to work on both Saturday (his normal day off) and Labor Day.
  • Hubby only has 161 days until he retires. Those are real days, not school days or weekdays or other such nonsense.
  • I started over on the afghan. I refuse to be defeated by a couple of skeins of yarn.
  • I have lost almost all 10 of the pounds I gained over the summer. You know, when I was exercising EVERY STINKIN' DAY. Sometimes twice a day. Still exercising every day . . . 40 pounds to go.
  • The first hint of fall is in the air.
  • My bills are paid for the month and I have money left to buy groceries. I probably should stock up . . . my "furlough days" pay cut kicks in at the end of this month.
  • 128 days until the Gym Dogs open their 2010 season with an AWESOME senior class -- Grace Taylor, Marcia Newby, Courtney McCool, Lauren Johnson, and Lauren Sessler. The SECs are being held in the same city where Sweet Girl lives . . . a dual purpose road trip for Katydid, Nurse Jane, and me!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another Milestone.......

I reached another milestone last night without even realizing. I posted my 400th blog post. And only about 363.5 of them have been drivel. I'm on a roll!

I intended to link some of my favorite posts in honor of this momentous occasion, but it's too time-consuming, and I've already been up past my bedtime two out of two nights this week. Instead I have some rather important decisions to make.

  • Whether to start over crocheting an afghan for hubby or make something I really want to. I hate the colors and I hate the pattern and I've already screwed it up one time, but I don't want it to win.
  • Whether to read Beautiful Boy or Tweak first.
  • Whether to go with VT and Rozmo on the double century bicycle ride in three weeks. Surely twenty-one days of training is enough?
  • Whether to iron something to wear tomorrow or pick something out that doesn't have to be ironed.
  • Whether to ride the motorcycle to school or the gas guzzler.
  • Whether to continue this post or

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sexy Legs and a Nice Guy Too.....

Just when I think Hubby can't surprise me anymore.......

We have a wood stove in our living room, and it does a good job of heating the downstairs in the winter. It's very cozy. Sometimes it's downright sultry.

There is this guy we have been buying firewood from for a few years. He's the uncle of Hubby's ex-brother-in-law, but don't let that confuse you.

He's old, living off Social Security, lives in a mobile home, sells firewood on the side to make ends meet.

Well, not anymore. They found him dead earlier this week, presumably from a heart attack.

He had been living with the same woman for a number of years, and I don't even know her name. They were a pitiful sight, two old people hauling pickup truck loads of firewood for what little money they could get out of it. It hurts me to think of them cutting and splitting logs for not much money.

He called Hubby earlier this summer and asked if he wanted a load of firewood. At first we hesitated, it being a hundred degrees outside and all. Then we relented because he said he might not have any firewood next winter. Hubby told him to bring him TWO loads, because we can always use it, we have plenty of space to put it, and he doesn't like the thought of running out of things like beer and firewood.

When they brought the wood, something came up in conversation about him possibly not having any firewood when winter gets here, and he looked kind of sheepish. He finally admitted that he sort of made up that little fib because he was desperate for money and was hoping Hubby would buy some.

Hubby's mother called tonight and said that the woman-whose-name-I-don't-know had called someone ELSE sort of related to her deceased live-in (we really need names for these relationships) and said she had one dollar to her name, and she would sell a load of firewood for $40. But she couldn't haul it by herself.

I just couldn't imagine what good $40 would do her if she's in dire straits. And what will she do when that $40 runs out?

We drove over to their mobile home, and Hubby gave her $200. He told her he would come get the wood later. Or not.

It's situations like those that just make you stop and wonder if your problems are really all that bad.