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.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Two Exes.....

Why does that sound like the title of a sitcom?

One of my former students commented on a blog post the other day that she wasn't aware I had TWO husbands before Hubby (she calls him Sexy Legs, for good reason). It's no accident that she didn't know that; I kind of keep it low-key. [I only allow FORMER students to read my blog, and then only those I like and respect.]

There is a stigma to having been divorced twice. People will forgive you for one divorce -- even expect it -- but if you've been divorced twice, there is a possibility that something is wrong with YOU. If I tell a story about one of my exes, I don't distinguish between the two. If I'm telling the story, it's probably something stupid one of them did, so the stories are pretty much interchangeable.

I didn't understand that whole stigma idea before my second divorce. Prior to that I routinely made stupid and tasteless remarks about Nurse Jane's marriages, and finally she scolded me for it. I didn't understand why until I was in the same situation. (I'm sorry, Nurse Jane!)

It could be a family curse. Everyone in my family has been married three times. [Four for Katydid if you count the fact that she married the same guy twice, but she doesn't like to count him, so we won't mention it here.] My mother finally found a good man, and he died on their fourth anniversary. My brother married a very young girl the first time, because she was SUPPOSEDLY pregnant with his child. Ummm hmmmm. His second ex-wife is the sister of a man who began one of the most successful chain restaurants around these parts, and she frequently jets off to the Bahamas in her brother's plane. But brother didn't love her anymore, and she was, after all, the one who lost her engagement ring when it was on the other hand the whole time. His third wife is a gem who puts up with him and his sometimes-psycho relatives. Score: Love 1, Money 0. I won't talk about Nurse Jane and Katydid's marriages (other than the part that I already didn't mention), because they read my blog. If I run them off, I will be down to roughly two readers. Maybe three. Hubby has also been married three times. I'm telling you, it's a curse.

Here's my excuse: The first two times, I married projects.

It's an ego thing. I thought I could fix them.

Never mind that one of the mantras I heard all my life was "You can't change people." See, it's an ego thing. I thought I would be the first one.

My first marriage was to my baby daddy, right out of college. He is a completely nice guy. I don't think I've ever heard ANYONE say they didn't like him. That sentence has an error of pronoun agreement, but I'm on vacation this week so I don't care. Back to the exes. I may have heard people say they didn't UNDERSTAND him, or wonder why he NEVER SHUTS UP, but I don't think anyone ever said they didn't like him.

He claims to be 6' 10", but I think he's more like 6' 7". His mother was still adding to his height when we divorced (he was seven feet tall by then, according to her), so by the time she died, he was probably in the Guinness Book of World Records. I am 5' 2". We looked a little ridiculous together.

He was a lot of fun. He could party with the best of them, which was important when I was 21. He would go anywhere, and he was always the life of the party. But he was very childlike. It was cute when we first got married, this giant of a man who would cry at the drop of a hat (still does) and loved to watch the Smurfs on television. [Seriously, we had a HUGE fight once because I wanted to watch the U.S. Open tennis tournament on tv, and he wanted to watch the Smurfs. The only way we could settle it was to leave the house, and we went to my mother's house. Where my brother was watching the tennis tournament. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.] After Sweet Girl came along, however, it wasn't too cute anymore. I needed a partner, not another kid. I needed someone who could buy me a birthday present without first consulting with my mother, his mother, his sister, and me. After we divorced, he first hooked up with a woman who was forced to break off their relationship when her husband got out of prison FOR DEALING COCAINE, and then he set up housekeeping with a woman who told Sweet Girl at the age of nine that she could never come back to that house. He cut off all contact with Sweet Girl, caving in to that woman's wishes [we don't know for sure if they were ever married, and she's dead now], and he lost whatever slivers of respect I had remaining for him. They were slim to start with.

When we divorced, I went from one extreme to the other. In more ways than one. My second ex-husband is 5' 6" on a good day, and he says he's 5' 9". And a jerk. Even the guys he golfs with think he's an a**hole. I married him when Sweet Girl was only 3, and we built a house. I stayed years after I should have left because I thought I owed it to my girl to give her a house to live in. At that time I didn't see any possibilities for ever owning a home on my own. Then we got to a point where I just hoped every day that he....... just wouldn't come home from work or one of his occasional regular frequent daily drunken binges. Ever heard of "little man syndrome"? He's the epitome of it. He was verbally and physically abusive, and he enjoyed getting a laugh at anyone's expense. Hate is a very strong word, and it isn't enough. The only good thing I can say about him is that I have maintained the life insurance policy I took out on him.

I despaired of ever finding a decent man until I met Hubby. I'll save the details of our early relationship, but suffice it to say that I was terrified of getting married again. Sweet Girl was at a difficult age for such a traumatic change in our lives (thirteen), and her well-being was most important. I finally decided that she needed to see that the world does contain some decent men. It was a risky move, but the payoff has been huge.

So that's the story of my exes. It ain't pretty, and I'm not proud of it. I've always lived by the philosophy of having no regrets, but that second marriage stretches that idea to its very outermost limit. I certainly wouldn't take back either of my marriages. Sweet Girl came out of the first one, and if I hadn't been married to that jerk the second time, I wouldn't have met Hubby.

Now if I could go back and orchestrate things so that I would still wind up where I am now..... that's a completely different story.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What Was I Thinking?.......

I'm such a sucker. I have a hard time saying no. I've also been accused of not thinking before I agree to something.

One day before class started, I casually mentioned that crocheting is one of my hobbies. Or perhaps I was showing my co-workers something I had made. At any rate, one of my students asked me, "Could you make me a beanie?"

I said I had never made one, but it should be simple to do. He said, "Would you make me one?"

It seemed harmless, so I said I would.

Then I heard, "Will you make me one? Will you make me one? Will you make me one?" That was from other students in the class.

I couldn't very well tell any of them no when I had so readily agreed to make one for the first student. And I couldn't take back my offer to him.

So I started making a list, in the order the students asked for their beanies. While I was at it, I asked them what color they wanted. That put me in the custom-order business.

So far I have made one for Anthony (gray), two for Tiffani (off-white and multicolored), one for Shanique (purple), one for Brandon (red and black -- he's a UGA fan too), one for Mercedes #1 (neon multicolored), one for Porsha (rainbow multicolored), one for Courtney (camouflage -- I didn't even know they MADE that kind of yarn), one for Madison (navy blue), one for KeAnthony (black), and one for Barbara (purple).

I think there are still 18 more to go.

It isn't really that bad, and it doesn't take long to make a beanie. I can make one while I watch a football game. Lucky for them, there's a lot of football this weekend and next.

And I have a whole week out of school.

I'm glad there are only 75 students in our school.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dear Hubby......

If this morning is any indication of what your upcoming retirement is going to be like, we might have a problem. Or two.

I love you dearly. Please know that I do.

But I also love my mornings. I like to drink my coffee in a leisurely manner, check my email, crochet some, watch the local news and Robin Meade on HLN, and then get on the elliptical.

As I rule, I do not MIND fixing your toast and jelly. But COME ON!!!! You have every Friday off. You have all stinkin' morning to fix your own toast and jelly. It ain't rocket science. Just because I offered to refill your coffee cup when I was going to pour my own does NOT mean I wanted to drop everything and cater to your every whim. Did you notice that I didn't even eat breakfast myself? Yeah, I sacrificed my breakfast time so I could crochet. NOT so I could prepare toast and jelly for an able-bodied person who is perfectly capable of doing it himself.

I know that technically I call it "WATCHING the news." But guess what? It would be nice to HEAR it too. Without your incessant, ongoing commentary of everything someone says. Your mockery of every single person who appears on the television screen gets on my nerves. The fact that most of your comments are of a racist bent MAKES MY BLOOD PRESSURE GO UP. Come on,'s an Atlanta station.

Notice that on Fridays when I get on the elliptical, I turn on my MP3 player and put in my earbuds. That's so I don't have to listen to the commentary of the golf tournament being played in Dubai. Or worse, listen to Imus in the Morning on that RFD station you LUCKILY found on the satellite. [The only thing worse than having to listen to Imus is LOOKING at him.] I listen to my MP3 player on Fridays because that's the only day I don't allow myself to watch the same five taped gymnastics meets from last season. I wouldn't set myself up to ridicule like that when you're home. When I have my earbuds in, however, it's difficult to hear you. So if you ARE talking to me, at least approach the elliptical and wait for me to remove them. If you are NOT talking to me, don't look so annoyed that I asked. I have no way of knowing when your comments are directed at the dog. Or yourself. Or when you are just muttering.

I realize we have two showers. The one in the hall bathroom, however, has issues. That is why I shower in what we lovingly refer to as "YOUR" bathroom. Notice that it is attached to "OUR" bedroom. [Or is that only YOURS too?] I can't help it if the shower steams up the mirror and you can't see to shave. Here's an idea . . . why not wait until I LEAVE to shave? Or better yet . . . take your shaver in the OTHER bathroom, where the mirror is NOT steamed up? Or hey . . . I know this one is outrageous, but . . . TAKE A TOWEL AND WIPE THE MIRROR OFF!!!!! Any of those is preferable to your saying in that whiny voice that is only partly pretending, "I can't see in the mirror!" If you will put the task of repairing the shower on your post-retirement list, that's one less way you can aggravate me I can aggravate you.

I don't begrudge your Fridays off. I know you want to spend the day playing golf, and you usually take care of things around the house before you go to play. Guess how I spend my two days off? I go to the grocery store so YOU will have meals for the next week. I make sure YOU have clean laundry. I hope and pray for good weather so you CAN play golf and I can watch the football games that I want to watch WITHOUT flipping over the golf tournament or the World Series of Poker from two years ago or BOWLING, for God's sake. Occasionally I ride my bicycle on one of the weekend days, but that only means I have to rearrange my schedule the next week so those things STILL GET DONE. I do NOT have the option of simply not doing them.

You are going to retire in 41 days. You just have 5 more Fridays, and only 3 of those will I have to get up and go to school. Please. Do us both a favor.

Sleep in.

Your loving (really) wife,


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not What I Wanted to Blog About.....

It's sad when any dog dies. I've heard non-pet-lovers respond to someone's grief over the loss of a precious pet with, "Good Lord, it was just a dog."

There's no such thing as "Just a dog."

I can't even imagine the depths of my despair if something suddenly happened to the Gusman. He's just like a member of the family. And I wish I could think of something better than that tired old cliche to express how we feel about him.

Tonight, however, tens of thousands of us are mourning the loss of a dog most of us have never even seen in person. Seen in dog. Whatever.

Uga VII, the beloved mascot for the Georgia Bulldogs, died suddenly today of a heart attack. He was only 4 years old. Rumor has it that his death may be connected to the fact that he just got around to watching the footage of the Florida game, but that hasn't been verified.

Personally, I agree with my friend Wanda's husband, who suggested that Tim Tebow is somehow responsible. Probably aided by Michael Vick.

This Saturday we will have no mascot patrolling the sidelines for our game with Kentucky. Just a wreath on poor Uga's doghouse. Custom-built, air-conditioned dog house, I might add.

They aren't even going to name a replacement until sometime NEXT YEAR. Are you KIDDING me?

I was at the ballgame when Uga VII made his debut, and I was there when his father, Uga VI, made his. I wonder if I'll feel compelled to go to the first game next August when Uga VIII makes his first appearance. Please, for the love of all that's holy, someone PLEASE remind me what that last game was like in hundred-degree temperatures. I can see him on television.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hubby's Retirement.....

Hubby's supervisor called me on my cell phone yesterday on the way to school to talk about Hubby's upcoming retirement.

His first words were, "_____ gave me your number. I didn't know how else to get in touch with you."

Seriously? Like you've already forgotten that your son went to our school just last year? And we had meeting after meeting about him until he gave up and dropped out to get his GED? Remember, we had a conversation about him in the parking lot at the Pepsi plant? And our school actually has a telephone.

Huh. I'm so forgettable.

[I often sing "I'm forgettable...." to Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole's tune of "Unforgettable."]

Anyway, he said not to mention any of this to Hubby. But he called him to get my phone number.

[Shakes head rapidly]

I've been charged with coming up with some "stuff" for them to say about Hubby on the night of the retirement shindig. One thing that works in our favor is that they are combining it with the employee Christmas gathering, and Hubby won't be the center of attention. Much. He hates being the center of attention, except when he's been drinking (can I say that in our county?), when he LOVES being the center of attention.

I was trying to think of some things this morning, and I got all emotional just driving to school. How do you say something sweet without being sappy? I'm trying to think of a way to include some of the private jokes that are just between Hubby and me. Like Popeye cartoons. I can't explain that one, since this is a family blog site, but Hubby will know.

They know that he loves golf, gambling, motorcycles, and the Georgia Bulldogs. That he was a produce manager in the grocery business for 23 years [guess who picks out the veggies when we go grocery shopping?] before working for Pepsi for the last 16 years.

I could tell them that he will be a walking Pepsi advertisement for the rest of his life, because they have kept us well-stocked in Pepsi t-shirts. Lord knows they believe in handing out those t-shirts, as if we won't notice that pay raises aren't included. And Hubby never, ever gets rid of anything. The 1969 Ford pickup truck that lives in our basement (he bought it brand-new) and the 1971 Honda motorcycle that lives in our basement (ditto), neither of which he drives/rides, are testament that he holds onto things forever. We have approximately 856.5 golf clubs in the basement (he breaks them sometimes -- that's where the .5 comes in). We also have a kitchen faucet that he replaced because we didn't like it, but apparently one of us liked it well enough to hang onto it. It's in the basement. And I wonder why I don't have any storage space. There are approximately 6 bowling balls down there, each with its own specific purpose. Need I mention that Hubby doesn't bowl anymore?

I could tell them that Hubby has kept almost every Pepsi memento, from matchbox cars to clocks to baseballs, absolutely convinced they will be collectors' items someday. So what if they are? He would never part with them ANYWAY. If they were worth a million dollars, he would hold onto them, waiting for them to go to two million.

Maybe I'll think of some more things before the big day. They just better not ask me to speak. I am absolutely positive I can't handle that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You're Never Too Old....

.....for your big sisters to take care of you.

I don't know how women without sisters make it to adulthood. Or how they even live in the first place. Or why they would want to.

I used to think I was cursed for having two MUCH OLDER sisters (you're welcome), because it seemed I just had a plethora of mamas. Don't you just love the word "plethora"? I wasn't one of those kids whose house everyone went to on the weekends because the parents were out of town. That would be Amanda. When my mother went out of town, I had a sister's house to go to. I thought it was an anvil around my neck at the time, but that fact probably kept me out of jail on at least one occasion.

But even though they bossed me around and told me what to do and pointed out the mistakes I was making even when I was too stupid to listen ("I can TOO go to a big university and not get put on academic probation" and "Of course he's the right one for me and we're going to be married forever" [times two]), they have always been there for me when it counted.

Neither of them complained a bit when they had to wear sunshine-yellow bridesmaids dresses from THE J C PENNEY CATALOG for my wedding.

They both came to my house to keep Mama from killing me when I was suspended from school in the tenth grade.

They both allowed me to live with them at one time or another. Well, one actually moved in with ME, but that's splitting hairs.

I have the advantage of being the baby, because they continue to feel the need to take care of me. And I let them. I feel a little guilty because I don't have anyone to pay it forward to. But only a little. I feel more guilty about the fact that I just ended a sentence with a preposition.

Sometimes it's the little things that I'm most appreciative of. Damn. Did it again.

I'm sure I'm not the only person in the history of the world who has lost a casserole dish. [Stick with me here. I promise there's a connection, I just didn't have a good segue.] I recently realized I had lost one of my favorite casserole dishes. It's like this one, only bigger and more shallow.

I got these casserole dishes when I married my baby daddy (I think), although I can't remember who gave them to me. If you're the one, I apologize that I can't remember. Never mind.

I liked them because the design on the sides was new at the time and it had yellow in it. It's all about the yellow.

Not only do I not remember where I left the dish, I don't even remember WHEN. It may have been a year ago. Or more. It's not like I frequently take dishes to church suppers, at least not since I quit playing the piano and decided to become a heathen. The only places I take covered dishes are my mother-in-law's house on Christmas, and the occasional "Friday Feasts" we have at school. I know I took a cherry crisp (or crunch - whatever) to school in that dish once. I don't even remember which year. And I'm embarrassed to ask now.

At any rate, I mentioned rather off-hand in the company of both sisters a few weeks ago that I needed a replacement casserole dish. I had no idea they don't even make that style and/or size anymore. We looked in a couple of stores, and I was crushed that there wasn't something even similar.

So what does Mom bring me this past weekend?

It was sent by Nurse Jane, my eldest sister. Good Lord, now I'm writing in passive voice too. Someone please make it stop.

It is the same size as the one I carelessly left behind somewhere. And you know what? Odds are good that Nurse Jane NEEDS it. But she's just that kind of sister. She is much more likely to take a covered dish to a church supper, but she sent this to me just so I wouldn't have to cram all my cheesy chicken into the smaller one. Or make a squash casserole that's not done in the middle.

This past weekend when all the sisters were together (along with Mom), we took a walk at Katydid's house. I spotted this on the ground and picked it up:

In case you don't recognize it, it's the ring off a gallon of milk. The thing we have to tear our fingernails open on because of some Tylenol terrorists from the 80's.

I casually mentioned that I wish I had a bunch of these, because I like to crochet Christmas wreaths out of them. We looked in the craft section of several (okay, three) stores looking for plastic rings about the same size, but the rings were either metal, too big, too small, or too expensive.

Today I got these in the mail from Nurse Jane:

She's just that kind of sister. She would cheerfully have gone into a grocery store and removed the tamper-proof rings from three otherwise perfectly good gallons of milk just to send me these plastic rings. She may have. I don't want to know.

It's good to be the baby of the family. I'm very blessed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Trip from Hell.....

The worst vacation I ever had was to Jamaica. It wasn't because of the place, mind you, it was because of my traveling partner.

It was at the very tail end of my marriage to my second ex, and I knew the marriage was destined to fail. Why I agreed to go on that trip is beyond me, and why I subjected Sweet Girl to it is even more of a mystery. I don't know if I went because I had some misguided notion that it might save the relationship (fat chance) or if it was because in 9 years of marriage he had never taken us ANYWHERE, and I felt like he owed it to us (more likely).

Either way, it was a disaster.

First of all, the timing was awful. I didn't realize when we booked the trip that we would be flying out of the Atlanta airport the day after the Olympics ended. You know, the ones in Atlanta? What a nightmare. We were advised to get to the airport at least three hours in advance of our flight, which we did, only the Air Jamaica counter didn't actually open for two hours after we got there. I was kind of wishing I still smoked; at least it would have given me something to do.

I won't go into all the horrid details, mainly because I've tried to block them out. This is one of those times it would be nice to have a "delete" key in my brain. Suffice it to say that the ex did not play well with others, and a month later I would come home to find the front door of our house shot up with a shotgun, and I never spent another night in that house. The film from that trip wasn't developed for a couple of years, by which time I had married Hubby. I shoved the package of pictures away, only saving the ones of Sweet Girl and the rare one of me. I found the stack of pictures one day, and Sweet Girl had cut or torn the ex out of every single picture he appeared in. (Keep in mind that he was NOT her father.) I thought that was so funny, how much trouble she went to to tear him out of the pictures.

If only it were legal in real life.

Hubby and I have talked about going to Jamaica. I'd like to give the island another chance, since it wasn't its fault that I had a miserable time. Maybe we should take Sweet Girl, too. She didn't get much of a vacation that time around.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

He Didn't Even LOOK Familiar.....

Mentioning the old Omni in yesterday's post reminded me of yet another story from years ago.

Have any of you ever had the experience of seeing someone you know, but NOT where you usually see that person, therefore you don't recognize him/her? It's embarrassing, particularly if the person in question is well aware of who you are.

Katydid and I were at the Omni, attending a [who else?] Billy Joel concert. We got there early, so we were milling around, buying over-priced souvenirs and beer. The beer, however, was worth it at whatever the price.

[Yes I, a teacher in _______ County, Georgia, occasionally drink a beer. So fire me.]

We were standing in line at the t-shirt counter, and Katydid was drinking a beer. This guy sidled up to us, and he sort of nudged Katydid with his elbow and gave her a look that we couldn't decipher. Then he took Katydid's beer out of her hand and TOOK A SWALLOW OF IT!!!!!

We were speechless.

Then he said, "Does y'all's mama know you're out this late?"

I don't think we said anything to him. We just sort of stared, open-mouthed. He looked at us strangely for another few seconds, then he wandered off.

I looked at Katydid. "How does he even know we HAVE the same mama?"

"I. Don't. Know."

We were completed weirded out. We bought our t-shirts and milled around some more.

At some point I had an epiphany, or my brain kicked into gear, or maybe the beer kicked in.

I turned to Katydid and said, "Ohmigod. That was BRIAN."

Brian is our first cousin's son.

That makes him our first cousin once removed, NOT our second cousin as a lot of people think. You're welcome for the genealogy lesson.

Luckily, we found Brian again before the concert started. We had a good laugh, we acknowledged our embarrassment/stupidity, and for several years his mother continued to introduce him to us at the family reunion.

Isn't it strange how we connect people to certain locations/events/people, and we don't recognize them outside those environments?

Hasn't this happened to some of you before?




Is anyone out there?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More MP3 Player Randomness....

Warning *** Warning *** Warning ***

Sappy Alert -

Use caution proceeding. High pressure in the atmosphere has created conditions that have produced high emotions and gushiness. Readers are urged to proceed only with extreme caution.


Today was one of those days when I was just happy to be alive, to live where I do, to have my life. Beautiful days with temperatures in the upper 70's in November can do that to me.

Gus and I went for a walk in the park, and I didn't ever want to stop. Poor sweet little Gus - I had to give him a pain pill for his back after we got home. He has taken copious naps all afternoon. We walked for about an hour and twenty minutes, and only the siren call of football kicking off summoned me home.

Days like this make me wish I were still skydiving, seeing the world from about 14,000 feet and then drifting slowly toward it. I wish I could bottle this weather and save it for those February and March days when I grumble, "God didn't put me in the South for it to be 11 degrees."

Here are some more songs as they played randomly on my MP3 player today. This time, either due to my OCD tendencies or my writer's desire to be as accurate as possible, I typed each song into my Crackberry notepad. I had a lot of time on my hands, okay?

"Save It For Me" by The Four Seasons

"Where's the Orchestra?" by Billy Joel
  • I wrote about this song earlier in my blog history, because I think it's so cool that toward the end of that song, there is a reprise of the melody line from "Allentown," a song from the same album. Stop making fun of me.
"An American Dream" by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

"Goodnight Saigon" by Billy Joel
  • The first time I heard this song, it was live in the old Omni in Atlanta, a venue that no longer exists. I was pregnant with Sweet Girl. The song is, obviously, about Vietnam, and at the beginning there is the sound of helicopters. I thought helicopters were landing ON TOP of the Omni; the whole building shook. I loved it.
"Tell Her About It" by Billy Joel

[Even on random, the likelihood of two Billy Joel songs playing back-to-back is relatively high.]

"Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty

"Guilty of the Crime" by the Eagles (from their latest 2-CD set, which is nothing short of AWESOME)

"Thank You for Being a Friend" by Andrew Gold

"Waiting in the Weeds" by the Eagles
  • This song has nothing to do with marijuana. I think.
"You Are Not Alone" by the Eagles

"Goodbye Stranger" by Supertramp

"Money, Money, Money" from the Momma Mia soundtrack

"Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" by Billy Joel

"Spooky" by Atlanta Rhythm Section
  • When I was in college, Katydid got me free tickets to see ARS when they came to UGA for a Halloween concert. I asked Figment to go with me, one of our few real dates. I thought it was so cool that during the song "Spooky," the lyrics say, "So I proposed on Halloween." I was such a dork, because back then I was so hoping that someday . . . someday . . . someday . . . Figment would propose to me. Not.
"Get Over It" by the Eagles
  • I've often wanted to share these lyrics with my students. The song is all about the world not owing you anything. But it has the word "bitching" in it, and of course that word is taboo in our county. Oh, the students can say it all they want, but teachers might get fired for it.
"Take a Chance on Me" from the soundtrack of Momma Mia

"You're Only Human (Second Wind)" by Billy Joel
  • I love the story about this song. It's all about learning from your mistakes and forgiving yourself, and Billy Joel made an obvious error in the song. He trips over the lyrics and then laughs about it. Reportedly he intended to re-record it, but his then-wife, Christie Brinkley, said he should leave it as it was. Something along the lines of violating the integrity of the song itself if he fixed the error. Not in those words, of course, but she convinced him, and it stayed in the song.
"New Kid in Town" by the Eagles

If you are now wishing I would NOT take any more long walks in the park with my MP3 player, I apologize.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Won't You Be My Neighbor?.......

I kind of miss the days when neighbors were also good friends and relied on one another for lots of things. They borrowed tools, watched each others' kids, borrowed sugar or flour from one another, shared a garden, had block parties and community yard sales, kept an eye on neighbors' houses when they were gone out of town.

Hubby has lived in this house for 36 or 37 years -- I can't pin him down to an actual year. Those kinds of things aren't important to men, I guess. I can reel off significant dates from most years of my life. But I digress.

The neighbors across the street have lived in their house just as long. Yet we don't have a whole lot to do with them. We know them, know their dogs' names, know their children, but beyond a friendly wave now and then, we don't have too much interaction.

Hubby may have a subconscious reason for not getting close to his neighbors. The house across the street and diagonal to us has the same design as ours, and Hubby was very good friends with the guy who lived there. Not a week goes by that he doesn't have some sort of "Mikey" story. Mike was diagnosed with cancer long before I met Hubby, and he didn't live very long after his diagnosis. He and Hubby had worked together, were drinking buddies, and WERE the kinds of neighbors who helped each other. After Mike died, Hubby hasn't been very interested in getting very friendly with anyone else. The guy who bought Mike's house is nice enough, and he's handy working on cars, so he has helped Hubby put brake shoes on a car or two, in addition to other minor car repairs. Friendly isn't the same as being friends, though. His wife did call us one time to tell us our chimney was on fire, and we have chatted in the yard about our dogs. Hubby didn't even know their last name for a long time, though.

Because our neighborhood is so old, many of the houses have either turned into rental property or they've changed hands a number of times. The house to the left of ours belongs to a VERY nice man who rents it out (carefully) and tries hard to maintain the quiet that we appreciate on our little dead-end street. [The subdivision was built before cul-de-sacs became popular, so we just have a dead-end.]

There have been some characters in the rental house next door. There was the guy who asked if he could rent our pool for a family reunion. Hubby told him he would have to ask me, and either he figured out that meant "no," or he was afraid to, because he never mentioned it to me. I just couldn't picture it ... A beautiful Sunday afternoon, me sitting inside my own house while a bunch of strangers splash around in my pool. As it was, I went swimming the day of their little get-together, and I felt GUILTY in my OWN POOL because it was about a billion degrees outside and I was the only one in my pool. We put up a privacy fence right after that.

The next tenant was a single girl, and we never heard a peep out of her. She got some baby ducks one spring. They were cute, but as baby ducks will do, they grew up. And they could not resist our swimming pool. And our dogs could not resist the ducks. One day when I was out of town, the girl came and rang the doorbell. When Hubby answered the door, she asked, "Can I have my duck back?" Grizz had the dead duck in his mouth, and she wanted to bury it. I felt terrible, but she didn't blame us. She didn't even blame Grizz.

Another couple lived there only for a short time because he did work that had him moving from place to place on a regular basis. When he lived here, he was working on a water tower in one of our county's small towns. They also had a motorhome, and one day it almost caught on fire. The mail carrier threw out a cigarette that ignited the grass in the front yard. Hubby took the water hose over there and put out the fire before it could engulf the motorhome. The woman who lived there brought over a cake the next day, so grateful that Hubby had saved their "home". She had no way of knowing that he'd just been diagnosed with diabetes, so we gave the cake away to someone.

One time we couldn't determine who actually lived next door. There was a whole passel of them, and the cars changed on a daily basis. They were loud and threw parties that were sometimes still going on when Hubby got up to go to work. I only called the sheriff's office on them once, and Hubby wasn't crazy about me doing it that time. I don't know if he was more interested in being neighborly or in not having his tires slashed. That bunch of folks wound up being evicted right before Christmas. All of their belongings were out in the yard, including the Christmas tree. Still decorated. It makes you feel all icky inside to come home and see your neighbors' possessions thrown on the ground. The deputy who executed the eviction said, "As many people as there were asleep in that house when we went in, you'd have thought some of them could get up and go to work so they could pay the rent."

The next guy tried to be a closer buddy than we wanted him to. He was friendly, but I couldn't stand him. He came out one day and told another neighbor, "This is my forty-eighth beer today!" And I don't think he was exaggerating. He was obnoxious as hell even when he WASN'T drinking. One weekend Sweet Girl came home for Father's Day, and we invited Weesa and her boyfriend over for a get-together by the pool. We heard the gate open, and we looked up to see obnoxious neighbor himself coming in with the girl-of-the-week and a cooler of beer. He had just invited himself to our gathering. I came inside. Weesa and her daughter came inside. Weesa's boyfriend came inside. Hubby came in to see where we all were. Sweet Girl was the only one with the guts to go out there and say, "This is a family gathering, and you need to leave." That neighbor disappeared when his family showed up to take him off to rehab somewhere, possibly Alabama.

There was a sweet couple who lived there for the past couple of years. She was a beginning teacher, and I never did find out exactly what he did. Other than talk. They were from Buffalo, and he could talk faster and use more words to say less than anyone I have ever known. They were very quiet, and although we spoke to them whenever we were outside, they still weren't the kind of neighbors we felt like we could say to, "We're going to be out of town. How about feeding Libby and the cats while we're gone." They were able to buy a house right at the beginning of the recession, and their mortgage payment was going to be less than their rent. Couldn't blame them for that.

There are new neighbors there now, but we never see them. A woman and a young girl, and there may be a teenage Goth-looking boy, but I'm not sure. They are never home. The house is dark most evenings and all weekend long. I have no idea of the woman's name, but the young girl's name might be Carly. Or Darcy. She's about eight years old, and she came over to introduce herself to me right after they moved in. But when she asked if she could go swimming in our pool and I had to tell her "no," she hasn't ventured over here much anymore. Gus goes over and barks at her every now and then. He's not very neighborly either.

I'm not sure when this trend began, when neighbors started being distant from one another. I guess it would help matters if I would let people come swim in our pool.

Like that's gonna happen.....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

But He Isn't SUPPOSED to Talk.....

This post brought to you by the inspiration of my friend Maggie after she told about the time she saw a dead body.

I was about three or four years old when my grandfather on my father's side died. I don't remember a thing about him, except that I thought he was mean. That could be because the only memory I have of him is being on the front porch of his house, a screened-in porch, running the length of the porch and launching myself against the door. He yelled at me, and I cried, and I have always thought of him as mean. He probably died thinking I was a snot-nosed little brat who needed my butt beat, but I guess I'll never know.

I have vivid memories of being at the funeral home when he died. My father picked me up and made me look into the casket so I could see Paw-Paw. I was terrified of Paw-Paw alive, and I was pretty sure I couldn't trust him to be "not only merely dead, [he's] really most sincerely dead" (name that movie).

I wanted down, away from that dead man. But my father had other plans.

"Say goodbye to Paw-Paw," he insisted.

I had no intentions of doing any such thing.

"Say bye to Paw-Paw," my father repeated.

I distinctly remember shaking my head. And if you think a child can't remember something that happened when she was three or four years old, you have no idea how terrified I was at that moment.

"If you'll say goodbye to him, he'll say bye back to you," Daddy said.

Now I'm pretty sure I didn't know a lot at that age. I had not yet used the quadratic formula, did not know how to use litmus paper to test chemicals, didn't know that lightning causes thunder to occur, and I wasn't very good yet at balancing my checkbook. I did know, however, that dead people ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK.

My father, being my father, would not relent. He forced me to speak to Paw-Paw.

Just as I suspected, he didn't say a damn word.

And that, friends, is why I am the way I am today. Or at least it's one of the reasons.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I frequently say that I don't cook, and it's not one of my hobbies. But the truth is that I DO cook, I just don't consider myself a gourmet. I'll never be a Pioneer Woman, for example, and it would be a waste anyway, considering Hubby won't eat:

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Seafood
  • Anything green (except salad, and occasionally green beans)
  • Vegetables, unless they are fried (squash, zucchini, etc.)
He likes steak. And potatoes.

I'm betting he would challenge even the Pioneer Woman.

Although I'm sure she could cure him, because there ISN'T ONE DAMN THING SHE CAN'T DO.

If I have a specialty, I would have to say it's cornbread. I found a recipe a few years ago that I like and that worked, and I've stuck with it. I make it in an iron skillet, which I think is one of the keys.

I say it's my specialty because it's one of the things that Hubby has commented on. He even gave me the ultimate compliment once, saying to me IN FRONT OF HIS MOTHER, "You need to teach Mama how to make decent cornbread." Being the sweet lady she is, she didn't take offense and hate my guts, which is probably how I would have reacted if I had a daughter-in-law. Good thing THAT will never happen.

When I first started making this cornbread, I had the recipe memorized in short order, only I couldn't remember how many eggs. One or two. I could remember the one-half cup of flour, one-and-a-half cups of cornmeal, one-and-a-half cups of buttermilk (another secret to my cornbread), and one-fourth cup melted shortening, but I could never remember one egg or two. I had to go to the cookbook every single time.

One time I was grumbling about the fact that I couldn't remember the number of eggs in the cornbread recipe as I stomped across the living room to the bookshelf. Back then Hubby would actually ask what I was grumbling about. When I told him what I was looking for and that I had discovered upon looking up the recipe for the nine hundredth time that cornbread requires TWO eggs, he said to me, "Just like a woman's breasts."

Just like a man. But you know what? I've never, ever forgotten again the number of eggs required. Why was that little statement all it took, and the nine hundred trips to the bookshelf and looking up the recipe (because I also couldn't be expected to remember the page it was on, could I?) didn't work?

I enjoy making cornbread, because we never eat it all. The next morning I usually have a breakfast of buttermilk and cornbread. I got that from my father. And precious little else, I might add. Except for the worst whipping I ever got after church one Sunday and a scar right below my right eye. But that's blog fodder for another day.

I can't wait for breakfast.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our County Looks Like a Bunch of Idiots.....Again.....

At the risk of being asked to resign, I'm going to vent here about my lovable progressive understanding politically aware retarded school system.

A young woman who teaches in my county was asked to resign back in August for something she posted on Facebook. She has now filed a lawsuit, and the proverbial poo-poo has hit the proverbial fan.

If you want to read the whole story, here's the link. It's a pretty good read just to see all the folks who have commented (both ways) on her situation.

If you don't want to read the whole story, I'll summarize it for you.

She posted a picture of herself with a **gasp** glass of wine in her hand while she was on a trip to Europe. During the summer. Not on a school function. Not even during school time.

In a status update, she referred to an invitation to attend something called **gasp** Bitch Bingo at a metro Atlanta restaurant.

She was advised to resign, told by her principal (whom I actually like a LOT) that she could not win because of the combination of the word and the alcohol pictured. If there had been only ONE of those, she would have been fine.


I am positive there are sides of this issue of which I am blissfully unaware.

Her Facebook status was set to "private," and she had friended no students or parents. Yet some parent complained about the objectionable (?) content, hence the coercion for her to resign. She has not even been able to ascertain the identity of her accuser, and isn't that somewhere in the Constitution or the Pledge of Allegiance or the Star Spangled Banner or something?

I can see the point of those people who say that as a teacher she should have known not to post "objectionable" material on something as public as Facebook. Some even say that at 24 years of age, she should have known her rights concerning a hearing, due process, and suspension, and she should not have agreed to resign.

Come on, people! She was called out of her classroom on a Thursday morning when she has probably focused on getting 35 ninth graders to sit down and shut up long enough to discuss the pertinent themes in To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm exactly twice her age, and I'm not sure I would have known what to do in that situation. Except possibly to say, "Screw you, I'm two and a half years from retirement."

What she was doing in the picture is neither illegal nor immoral nor even reprehensible. How is it different from a student spotting her having a glass of wine with a meal in a restaurant? I THINK our county actually has a restaurant that serves wine. Probably from a screw-top bottle.

There is a new policy before our board of education right now concerning this matter (timing is everything, no?), and part of it says that teachers can be disciplined for posting information including, but not limited to, "provocative photographs, sexually explicit messages, use of alcohol, drugs or anything students are prohibited from doing."


A lot of students are prohibited from driving. Can I get in trouble if I post a picture of myself driving?

How about voting?

Wearing flip-flops when I'm not at school?

I'm guessing I could be reprimanded/suspended/terminated/asked to resign for this blog. I don't give students the address, nor do I mention that I have one, but I guess one of them or their busy-body parents could stumble across it. It wouldn't be terribly difficult for them to figure out my identity, not in our backward quaint little town.

You'll have to excuse me now. I'm going to post the word "bitch" on my Facebook status.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How Can.....

.....a man who makes fun of me for watching Dancing with the Stars watch something like My Name is Earl?

.....Pat Conroy write so masterfully?

.....the days drag by, but progress reports sneak up so quickly?

.....Hubby order a cheesecake (which he can't have) from Sullen Teenager's fund raiser and then criticize me for ordering grapefruit?

.....I use a bleach-based bathroom cleaner while wearing my Harley-Davidson yoga pants?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Couldn't That Be Considered Child Abuse?.......

Maybe it's just me, but I think people who take infants to football games are guilty of some form of child abuse.

And I think we can add baseball, basketball, hockey, gymnastics, lacrosse, volleyball, tennis, badminton, rodeo, square dancing, skeet shooting, ice skating, roller derby, and rugby to the list.

We went to watch the Falcons play today (they won - yay!), something Hubby and I had never done in our 12.5 years of marriage.

Our seats were at the top of the Georgia Dome. Seriously. There were two . . . count 'em, two . . . rows behind/above us.

When Atlanta scored and there were fireworks, we were looking DOWN on them.

The Chick-Fil-A people dropped little parachuting cows from the upper reaches of the Dome, I'm guessing with coupons for chicken sandwiches for the lucky fans who nabbed them. We didn't have a shot at one, since there would have had to be a serious UPDRAFT going on for the cows to reach us.

A couple came teetering up the steps to our section carrying a baby that must have been born in the parking lot right before they came in. I mean, it was TEENY. It was not in a carrier, nor did I see evidence of one. The dad was carrying this baby in one arm and holding onto the railing for dear life with the other hand.

Another mom came huffing up the stairs wearing one of those baby carriers in front, where the kid is facing her with his legs splayed out to each side because she wasn't a small woman. That kid is going to need hip replacement surgery before he's two years old. Or maybe he'll just be an excellent cowboy.

Come on, people.

How much enjoyment is there for an infant at a football game? How much enjoyment is there for the PARENTS of those infants?

Aren't there risks involved? They sell alcohol at those places. Drunks abound (though not as many as there are at UGA games, where alcohol is NOT sold/allowed. Hmmmmmm), and the noise is considerable.

Really, why?

If they don't have grandparents nearby, perhaps they should pay for a sitter.

If they can't afford a baby-sitter, perhaps they shouldn't have shelled out the $55 per ticket for that particular stratospheric location.

If they can't stand to be away from the baby even for three hours, perhaps they should stay home and watch the game on television. TV coverage is excellent, and you get replays.

If they don't trust anyone else to keep the baby, what about the 30,000 or so STRANGERS they've plopped yon baby down in the middle of?

I'm just sayin'......

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah Zip-a-dee-ay.....

My oh my, what a wonderful day!

This was one of those days when I absolutely love living in the South. The weather is certainly unpredictable, and we typically go straight from summer to winter..... and sometimes back again.... without warning.

But I'll take days like this.

Bright sunshine and temperatures in the 70's. It's possible that my cheeks are sunburned. In November.

Katydid, Rozmo, and I went for a bike ride. Katydid and I rode the tandem, and we just tooled around, following some routes I've ridden before. We turned at random because I wasn't worried about getting lost. We were never more than 10 miles from my house.

We couldn't get the speaker system on the tandem to work, so we missed all of the UGA game. But we were only playing a high school sort of team, so we weren't worried. We did check scores during store stops, and the Dawgs won 38-0. That was our first shut-out in three years.

We rode a total of 37 miles, and I could have ridden 37 more. Okay, maybe 10.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Worrying is Part of the Job Description.....

I like to think I'm a lot less clingy than the average mom, so it's not in my nature to worry unnecessarily.

Having a child, particularly a daughter, in the military creates its own share of worry, but it also has a tendency to insulate me from the usual parent worries. When she's out at sea and working on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, I don't have to worry about her being in a car accident or some nutcase ambushing her outside her condo. I do have to worry about the trillion or so things that could go wrong while she's launching or recovering a helicopter, though.

Sweet Girl is shore bound for at least the next year, so my level of anxiety has been greatly diminished. She is still doing some risky work with helicopters, but at least she's only in the next state instead of being on the other side of the world.

This weekend, however, she is on leave, and when her trip to Las Vegas fell through, she decided to go to Virginia to see one of her girlfriends from the Navy. I try not to dwell on negative things, but the thought was in the back of my mind all day that she was on the road alone. She has a new car, so I feel pretty confident about that. I just can't help thinking about all the idiots out there on the nation's highways, though, and I worry that something might happen to her through no fault of her own.

She's considerate enough to keep me informed, however, or she's bored out of her mind driving alone, so she calls me frequently enough to put my mind at ease. She called at 6:00 this morning from South Georgia, about 12:00 from somewhere in North Carolina, and around 2:30 to let me know she had arrived safely.

She told me this morning that she had been sick during the night, so of course I worried that she might be coming down with the flu or something. This afternoon she said she had little blood spots in her eyes, probably caused by throwing up. [Sorry for the graphic details.]

Then she sends me this picture on my cell phone:

Sorry, Sweet Girl, but I couldn't resist.

She said it doesn't hurt, and I'm sure it will go away, but that's my cub! [She doesn't really like it when I say that.]

AND she said she left her toiletries case on the kitchen counter, so she's hundreds of miles away from her home with no toothbrush/toothpaste, make-up, etc. There's a Wal-Mart nearby, so that's not a problem, but we moms like to fix these things. I'd like to drive up to Virginia and take her stuff to her. First I'd have to drive to Florida and GET it.

I worry that she won't have enough money, that the hotel isn't clean/safe/pretty/convenient/comfortable, that she won't have a good time, that she will get sick, that she didn't take the proper clothing, that she will run away and join the circus. Oh wait, she already did that. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

She will be driving back home Monday, so that's another day of worrying while she's on the road.

I guess if I weren't worried about her, I would worry that I had nothing to worry about.

Mostly I worry that she doesn't fully understand how proud I am of her.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Just Can't NOT Feel Guilty.....

That's not actually a double negative. I'm an English teacher, so I would know.

Remember my post about winning a motorcycle and how that made me feel a little guilty, especially considering Hubby just won a motorcycle last year and gave it to me?

Now I feel guilty again.

Let me explain.

The guy (finally) called me earlier this week to tell me that the motorcycle had been checked out by a police officer and was deemed "road worthy". I told him we would come pick it up sometime this week, Saturday at the latest.

It's about a 35-minute drive from where we live, in some pretty heavy traffic. But Hubby didn't want to mess up his golf day Saturday, so we went today.

The guy asked us, "Did you bring a trailer?"

We were standing beside my car. Do you SEE a freakin' trailer?

I said, "No, he was planning to ride it home."

"It doesn't have a seat on it."

Apparently road worthy doesn't mean that you can actually sit on it. The guy who originally made the seat for this restored vintage bike was murdered, and his mother wanted the seat as a memento, so they were having another one made for it. Only THIS guy is apparently busy having a kidney replaced, so it isn't quite done yet. Wonder why the bike shop dude called and said the bike was ready?

It also doesn't have any gauges. You know, speedometer, odometer, those somewhat necessary things for operating a motorized vehicle on the streets of many states?

And on top of all of that.....

It's ugly.

Butt ugly.

Like I wouldn't be caught dead on it.

Poor choice of words. Sorry. Either it isn't the bike in the original picture, or the picture was airbrushed, or maybe the light was just particularly good that day.

It's a chopper, made for looks or taking to motorcycle shows or just hiding in the basement.

He said he would sell it for us on consignment and send us the money.

Suits me. It's not like I have a whole lot invested in it, and I didn't expect to win it anyway. If he sends us the money, great. If he doesn't, we're not out much.

So why do I feel guilty that I don't want it?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Just What is IN That Filing Cabinet?.........

For the most part, the students at our small, non-traditional high school are good kids. Many of them just got behind in their credits, either due to academic struggles or attendance problems, or some infinite combination of life issues that interfered with their educational goals. Most of them just want to work at their own pace and earn the credits they need to graduate so they can move on to whatever comes next, whether it be the military, technical college, a four-year college, or the work force.

Where two or more teenagers are gathered, however, you have to be wary of drug issues. I think it says that somewhere in the Bible; I'm not sure.

Most of the time our fearful leader chooses to pretend we don't have anything remotely close to that kind of problem, mainly because it requires energy to deal with it. Most of the time if we raise any suspicions, we are met with responses such as, "We can't prove it..... He'll do himself in eventually.... We have to get the cooperation of law enforcement....." Blah blah blah.

Every now and then, however, some degree of action is taken, if only on the surface. Today was one of those days.

We heard an announcement over the PA system that students were to be kept in classrooms and not allowed to leave until further notice. This was somewhat problematic for me, since I wasn't even IN my classroom at the time. I wasn't even in my part of the building. I was helping on a science fair committee.

I made my way to my classroom as quickly as possible, but I really couldn't answer my students' questions. They're savvy enough to know what was going on, but their main question - "How long do we have to stay here?" - I couldn't answer. Of course, nine of the twelve people in my classroom immediately had to pee. As did a teacher down the hall and around the corner.

Just when I had convinced them that the best way to take their minds off the situation was to keep working, an administrator opened the door to my classroom and asked that students remove their jackets, leave them behind, and gather in the lower part of the hall. When they sweep the school with the drug dog, they don't search every classroom. They choose a room or two at random, and then they sweep the parking lot.

My students and I stood at the end of the hall, mostly joking (one of them asked on his way out of the room, "Can you hold something for me?" Ha ha). The time dragged on and on, and I began to get nervous for SOMEONE. Then they summoned me to my classroom.

The dog had alerted on someone's belongings, but no drugs were found.

It had also alerted on something else.

My filing cabinet.

The administrator started going through my filing cabinet, and I was as embarrassed as if someone had come into my house and started going through my closets. Anyone out there who has ever been a teacher knows that you don't throw ANYTHING away. I have projects in my filing cabinets from students who are probably grandparents by now. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but they are from a school at least two jobs ago.

And they found my stash.

Of chocolate. My drug of choice. All the teachers eat lunch in my room, and we keep a stash of chocolate to get us through the rest of the afternoon.

I don't think that's what the dog alerted on, though. They are supposed to be smarter than that.

To be fair, the administrator was not intimating that she suspected I had anything in the filing cabinet that I shouldn't. She was more concerned that someone had slipped something in there without my knowing it.

But we didn't find anything.

I had a double dose of chocolate after lunch.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Would You Like to Hear Our Specials?...........

Our telephone number is the same as one of our local pizza joints, only ours is 4-1-3-1 where theirs is 3-1-4-1, so we take their calls all the time. We are most likely to get pizza calls on the weekend (duh), when it's raining, and during the Super Bowl.

The three rational people in our county realize their mistake immediately and apologize. I'm okay with them. Even though some of them do it REPEATEDLY. As in WEEKLY.

It's the rest of the bastards careless citizens who annoy me.

[Can you tell I just learned how to strike through text in HTML? Hmmmm?]

Many of them just hang up as soon as I say, "Hello?" They have to know that I have caller ID, and if I don't know who they are, I at least have their phone numbers. I have been tempted, particularly when one hangs up long after my bedtime, to call them back when I get up the next morning. "Did you enjoy your pizza? Anchovies? Pepperoni? Thin crust or hand-tossed? Heartburn this morning? Did you get the free sodas that came with it? How about the garlic butter, did you like that?"

Then there are the ones who are completely OBLIVIOUS of the fact that I answered the phone with "Hello?" and not "Mazzios". Sometimes they proceed to order anyway.

Depending upon my level of bitchiness mood, one of the following conversations may or may not take place. Both of these actually have happened.

Me: Hello?

Caller: You got any pizza? [Aside: Now isn't that an asinine question to ask if you ARE calling the pizza joint?]

Me: No.

Caller: Well, when you gonna have some?

Me: Oh, probably sometime next week.

Caller: But I want some pizza tonight!

Me: Then you should probably call the pizza place.

And on a different night:

Me: Hello? [Detect a pattern here? I usually answer the phone with "Hello".]

Caller (obviously a young person): Umm, yeah, I want to order a large pepperoni pizza.

Me: Okay. Is that all?

Caller: Yeah.

Me: All right, it'll be there in about 30 minutes.

Caller: Okay. [Hangs up]

About 5 minutes later, phone rings again. Caller ID displays same number as before.

Me: Hello?

Caller (obviously previous caller's mom): Can you cancel that last order?

Me: Not a problem.

On a couple of different occasions, our answering machine message has said:

"This is 555-0101. [Not our real number, obviously.] If you want to order a pizza, you have called the wrong number. If you would like to speak to one of us, please leave a message."

One caller apparently had a sense of humor, and he called TWICE. The second time he left a message that said, "I just had to call back and hear that again. I love that message!"

Hubby used to threaten to change our number, but he stubbornly refused to do it because in his words, "I've had that phone number for 36 years. They can change theirs!"

I don't think they mind us getting their calls.

Except for those rare occasions when I take an order. And then don't deliver the pizza.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Randomness from my MP3 Player.....

Yesterday Gus and I took a walk in the park for about an hour. When it's just the two of us, I take my MP3 player, because Gus isn't much of a conversationalist. I like to walk while I listen to music, because sometimes I add in the challenge of walking to the beat of whatever song is on. Some are more challenging than others.

It can be hazardous, however. One of the first times I took my MP3 player, I rested in the comfort that Gus barks at everyone, man or beast, especially beast. I was tooling along through the woods near the back of the park, just me and my dog. A Pomeranian. Who can bark his fool head off, but isn't really much protection.

I was strolling along at a nice clip, burning calories and reveling in the glory of the day. You know how the lyrics of songs come through so much more clearly on ear buds? I was listening to a song, and toward the end of it, I thought to myself, "Wow, I've never heard those words in there before."

The words turned out to be "Excuse me." As in, "Get out of my way, you and your damn dog are blocking the whole path and I've been trailing along behind you for 15 minutes trying to get around." These words were spoken almost directly into my ear, and I jumped violently. Probably wet my pants. Gus looked up, moved aside for the man to pass, and never uttered a sound.

I have what I consider to be an eclectic collection of music on my MP3 player, and because it is set on random or shuffle or whatever they call it, you never know what you're going to get. Here are some of the songs that played during my walk yesterday:

"A Horse With No Name" by America
"James Dean" by the Eagles
"Brandy" by Looking Glass
"Run for the Roses" by Dan Fogelberg
"When You're Good to Mama" by Queen Latifah from Chicago
"Do It or Die" by Atlanta Rhythm Section
"Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" by Billy Joel
"Lay All Your Love on Me" from Mamma Mia
"Say Goodbye to Hollywood" by Billy Joel
Something by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, but I can't remember what.

It seems that just as I get back to the car, there's always something good playing that I don't want to stop in the middle.

But not good enough that I want to walk for another hour.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Love and Hate a Day Off in the Middle of the Week.....

This week we have the first of three (so far) furlough days for teachers in our state. Tuesday was originally scheduled as a teacher workday (holiday for students) because it's Election Day. We can't have school on election days because so many schools are polling places, and we can't have law-abiding, voting citizens in the building while school is in session. Oh hush up, I realize all the security reasons, blah, blah, blah. It just seems a little extreme, since we have zero..... let me count again..... no, it's zero..... actual things to vote on in our county this year.

Since the governor decided we had to be furloughed for three days before the end of the calendar year, however, it is now a holiday for teachers also. An unpaid day off. We've heard they are going to furlough us an additional three days next semester. I'm so happy to do my part to balance the state's budget. Not.

However, Monday isn't eliciting the usual sense of dread this week. Because it's also Friday. Work one day, then get a day off.

Maybe we could figure out a way to schedule one of these EVERY week. Only WITH pay. A girl can dream, can't she?