Tuesday, March 31, 2009

School Bored Meeting......

No that's not a typo. We are here to present a proposal for a new online curriculum for our school next year. We are #16 on the agenda. We have been here an hour and a half and we are on #7. How in the hell did we wind up AFTER textbook adoptions? And budget? And JROTC? And character education?

Good thing I'm recording Dancing With The Stars. Tonight is double elimination. My personal opinion is that Steve Wozniak and Holly Madison have got to go. I'm just sayin'.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cousins.....


This is one of my favorite pictures, not only because of who is in it but also because of where it was taken. It might also have something to do with the fact that at that point I was the youngest of the whole clan. And still cute then. We are seated in order of age:

Left to right, bottom row: Me, Leigh, Katy, Carol (now Keni), Lynn
Middle row: Jack (my brother), Carl (used to be Kenny, brother of Keni who used to be Carol), Jody, Johnny, Katydid (my sister), Jimmy, Bobby (my other brother)
Top row: Nurse Jane (my other sister), Sharon

I would like to think it's a coincidence that it appears Jack is shooting a bird. Not that he wouldn't do such a thing, even today, but he couldn't have been more than 6 or 7 in this picture. It is NO coincidence that Jody has that goofy look on his face; everyone in his family does that for pictures.

There was another cousin, Chris, who drowned in Germany before this picture was taken. There were also 5 additional cousins born after it: Eric, Victor, Dana, Danny, and Katie. Then the great-grandchildren started, and I'm not EVEN going to try naming all of those.

It was rare that all of the cousins would be together (at least I remember it being rare), because my Aunt Patti's husband was in the Army and they moved a lot. Most of the time that I remember they lived in Connecticut, but I know when I was about 8 years old they lived in the Panama Canal Zone, because I still have a Panamanian doll they sent me for Christmas.

This was on the front porch of my grandparents' house. We used to have family gatherings there frequently. I'm sure the house was not as huge as my memory of it. I remember sliding down the banister, and I remember a tire swing in the back yard that would not go high enough for me. Right above the porch in this picture was a window, from which I once threw my favorite baby doll. My cousin Leigh SAID she would catch her. The dancing ballerina doll danced no more after that.

Aunt Myrtle lived with my grandparents. She was a nurse and a spinster (don't you love THAT word?) and I was terrified of her. We were not allowed to go into Aunt Myrtle's bedroom E-V-E-R, so I came to think that there was something sinister and spooky about the room. She was somewhat sinister and spooky herself.

The house had a living room, not the kind we have today with recliners and televisions, but a sort of formal living room where not many people went. But there was an upright piano in that living room, and I treasured it. I would sneak in there and plink away on the keys every chance I got. My Aunt Rosie painted the living room once, a sort of mint green as I remember it, and when she got to the piano, she just painted it the same color. When I was a teenager, my mother paid to have the piano refurbished and repainted, and it came to live at our house. It was my most prized possession until my 17th birthday, when Mama used her income tax refund to buy a new piano, the one that still stands in my living room today.

Katydid and I rode by the house on our bicycles several years ago, and we both cried because it had fallen into disrepair. It has since had SOME work done to it, but it will probably never be restored to the glory that it once had, at least in my mind. I convinced Hubby to ride out there on our motorcycles one day, and it's a good 50 minute ride from our house. I stop and take pictures every now and then, but for the life of me I can't find one to include in this post. Perhaps pre-digital age? The last time I was there, through one of the downstairs windows I could see a computer sitting on a desk. That's just wrong. Computers do not belong in Grandmother's house. One of these days I'm going to get shot for being a stalker or something, skulking about outside people's houses and taking pictures.

Oh, and by the way, if you think when your first cousin has a baby, that baby is your second cousin, you would be wrong. That baby would be your first cousin once removed. Said baby would be SECOND cousins to YOUR baby. I'll draw you a diagram if you want me to. No really, I don't mind.

If you don't believe me, visit here.

Goodnight, and you're welcome.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Grocery Shopping.....

Grocery shopping is a chore that I'd really rather not do. But we've become accustomed to eating, so I have to do it every week. I'm lucky in that Hubby will go with me without complaint most of the time. I try to get the shopping done on Saturday, but the weather was so yucky here yesterday that I put it off until this morning.

I don't follow all the rules of grocery shopping like I should. I do not clip coupons, nor do I usually make a list. I sort of do a mental catalog of the meal ingredients I already have on hand, factor in how many nights I can get away with something like a frozen pizza or a grilled sandwich, and I pretty much know how many meals I have to buy for in the coming week.

This morning I determined that I already had the makings for meals centered around smoked sausage, cubed pork chops, salmon patties, and possibly a frozen pizza. That left me with very little I actually had to buy, because I absolutely refuse to cook on Friday or Saturday night. And some Sundays. With the occasional Tuesday thrown in.

Why, then, did my grocery bill wind up being $107? There are TWO of us. TWO.

I know that I violated one of the main rules of grocery shopping in that I went to the store around 10:30, having had no breakfast. [By the time I got home it was time for lunch, so theoretically I saved those calories.]

I bought several items of "junk" to take to school for our post-lunch chocolate orgy that we have every day. Those items were more essential than you might think.

Then there were the $14 steaks I bought to grill for dinner tonight. And I don't even like steak. I figured we missed our Saturday night dinner date this week, so I thought Hubby might like a steak. Damn it, they come in twos. I prefer chicken and pasta or grilled salmon when we eat out.

Cat food usually runs us about $12 a trip. That's for Big Brutus, the vocal one who knows just what those canvas bags mean and starts yelling for food as soon as I walk in from the grocery store. Little Brutus is content with dry food, and she will sit patiently next to an empty dish without uttering a sound. I don't know if it's because she is patient or because she is retarded.

The construction paper and stencils for school were sort of necessary too. Students ask for those things all the time to do their projects. The last time someone asked me for construction paper, all I had was a couple of different shades of blue and one of green that had a hole cut out of the middle. [Why couldn't the goober cut it from the edge instead of rendering the entire sheet useless?]

I bought the cinnamon streusel to make and take to school tomorrow morning. Then I came home and discovered I wouldn't be going to school tomorrow because mother-in-law is having her gall bladder out, but the mix will keep. We need an occasional mid-morning treat to get us through until the post-lunch chocolate orgy. [I may detect a pattern here about my inability to lose weight despite hours and hours on the elliptical.]

I bought chocolate chips to make the most dangerous cake recipe ever, something you mix up and put in a coffee mug and make in the microwave. But I neglected to buy the powdered cocoa that it also calls for, so I'm hoping I forget that package of chocolate chips is in the cabinet. [See above.]

I bought batteries for my clock at school, because it died on Thursday night and I will look at it 1162 times tomorrow and find that it is no later than 9:35. Shudder. Oh, I forgot, I'm not going to school tomorrow. Tuesday then.

I'm not experiencing buyer's remorse or anything. I have absolutely no problem with any of the things I bought. I just find it curious that I have some internal wiring system that calculates my grocery bill as I go, and it's not happy unless I go just slightly over the $100 mark.

Spending $100 on groceries for a week, even for just the two of us, isn't really that bad.

If only it were food.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Blog Topics......

It's one of those nights when I can think of lots of topics to write about, but I cannot string the necessary thoughts together to make something make sense. But I feel obligated to post something every night, even if it isn't Pulitzer Prize worthy. Like the rest of my posts are. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Topics that are running through my head:

  • Sweet Girl's maybe wedding
  • Cousins (had the topic but couldn't get the picture loaded)
  • Relationships (other than Hubby) [Wait, that sounds wrong.....]
  • Pet Peeves
  • Frustration with things that don't work
  • Ideas we could get from Big Love
  • Baseball

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Wild Friday Night......

Hubby is gone to Mississippi for a golf/gambling weekend. I was supposed to drive out there tonight, but with his mother in the hospital, I didn't feel comfortable going out of town. Let's see here.......whose mother is this? Hmmmmm.......

Anyway, I am taking full advantage of my pseudo-bachelorette status. I'm hearkening (harking?) back to my college days and having a wild Friday night doing things I couldn't do if Hubby were here. Shhhhhh......

I had English peas and macaroni and cheese for dinner.

I watched Wheel of Fortune.

I watched Jeopardy.

I am watching Season One of Big Love.

So far I'm up until 9:30. Gasp!

He won't be back until Sunday. I can plan more wildness for tomorrow night.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hypothetically Speaking...

Purely hypothetical situation:

Let's just say I frequently contact you by email with various questions related to my online job because you happen to be my department chair.

Let's just say that I try my best to be as clear and succinct as possible, because I'm aware that you are currently teaching about a gazillion students, in addition to being department chair over a collection of teachers who have varying levels of ability to A) pay attention; and B) figure things out on their own.

Let's just say that generally I try my best to figure things out on my own, but occasionally I break down and email you for help.

Please believe me when I say this is a tremendous blow to my pride, because I really, really like to figure things out on my own. I consider it a form of winning.

Let's just say that I come upon a problem that's a little more complex than can be described in an email, and I need an answer IMMEDIATELY because the student it involves is hanging on the other end of a text message waiting for me to fix it.

Let's just say that I call your cell phone, only to get your voice mail.

Let's just say that you listen to my question and choose to email me rather than call me back, and when you email me you give me a non-answer to a question that I DIDN'T ASK????

Don't I have grounds to be just a little bit annoyed? I know your son broke his collarbone and you're busy, but I didn't exactly call to chat. I had something I needed help with, and I never would have figured that particular solution out on my own.

Have we gotten so far away from civilization that we can't even make phone calls anymore?

Just curious.
--------------------------

By the way, I ADORE my department chair. She is sweet, bubbly, smart, organized, and funny, and she is supportive of all of us without being a pushover. If we screw up, she lets us know, but she doesn't castigate us for it. Still, returning my call would have been nice. I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

High Heels are of the Devil.....

I very, very rarely wear heels anymore. Hell, I very rarely wear anything that would LOOK good with heels.

Today, though, I decided to wear a pair of heels that I've only worn once before. They were one of the 42 pairs I bought last fall right before school started. Not really, it was only 7 pairs.

Is it 7 pairs? Or 7 pair? You'd think an English teacher would know. One pair is two shoes, but it seems that if you bought 14 shoes, it would be 7 pairs.

Anyway, I have this really cute jacket that sort of requires dressy brown pants, and dressy brown pants require dressy brown heels.

I took a spare pair (that one I KNOW is singular) of brown shoes (flat ones) to school today for that moment when I couldn't take the heels anymore.

But I never put them on.

Having a spare pair of shoes is sort of like having the granny gear on my bicycle. I like knowing it's there, but it's a point of pride not to use it.

Yes, I realize that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. About the bicycle OR the shoes.

So I managed to wear the heels all day. And it wasn't really all that bad.

Except that my day has now mercifully come to an end approximately 5 hours later than it normally does, and approximately 12 hours and 8 minutes since I put those damn shoes on.

I didn't realize when I put the heels on to go to school that I would NOT, as I usually do, come straight home and kick off my shoes.

Today's schedule included a trip to the tanning bed (don't tell my nurse sister), a visit to the hospital to see my mother-in-law (she's still not doing well, but she's in good spirits, for whatever THAT'S worth in the medical world), eating out (a blessing and a nice mid-week surprise), and an unexpected trip to the store with the big red bullseye-looking logo to buy paint for my hoodlums at school so they will FINALLY finish painting the ceiling tile they're doing for a project and get back to real work.

My puppies are tired.

As is the rest of my body and soul.

Goodnight.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nashville....

I am FINALLY posting some pictures of our trip to Nashville this past weekend. I'd love to post some video, especially of the Grand Ole Opry, but I've already discovered that A) I can't edit video worth a crap; and B) it would take the rest of my natural life to post.


Above is the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. We didn't want to pay $20 for a tour, so we just went inside and spent $80 on souvenirs.

I have to admit that I didn't know how the Grand Ole Opry worked. On some level I knew it was a radio show, and I was aware that it was live. I just thought it was more of a concert. I didn't realize that BUNCHES of singers would come out and just do one or two songs and then go away. I can't possibly remember everyone we saw, but they included Little Jimmy Dickens, Jim Ed Brown, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Connie Smith (imagine THEM showing up at the same place at the same time), Kelly Pickler (I didn't know who she was because I have NEVER watched American Idol, but I think I'll buy one of her CD's now), Ralph Stanley, John Connelly (who didn't sing my favorite song of his, "I Don't Remember Loving You"), and others. I would like to go back to the Grand Ole Opry someday.
This is the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium. Now it's a museum. We didn't want to pay the $10 for the tour, but we spent $50 on souvenirs.

This is one of the ubiquitous horse and buggy units that you see in virtually every tourist town in America these days. I'm sure I'll see one in my very own town soon. Maybe that's how I will get to school. I thought it was so cute that this dog rode in the buggy, and then when they stopped, he jumped from the buggy onto the horse's back. We were going to get a horse and buggy to take us back to our hotel, but the guy wanted $30 to take us 13 blocks. And give us a 30-minute tour. We didn't have 30 minutes, and we didn't want a tour. We just wanted a ride. We walked.

According to Katydid, who used to be married to a man who owned a printing business, the biggest business in Nashville is NOT country music, but printing. Or maybe that was back in the day. At any rate, there were no printers to be found on Printers Alley. Sort of makes me wonder why they keep the sign up there.

This one was for Sweet Girl, who considers it her life's mission to visit every Hard Rock Cafe in every corner of the world. She has been to all of these exotic places: Rome, Naples, Dubai, Bahrain, Greece, Paris, and the first place she goes to in all of them is the Hard Rock Cafe.

Hubby is sort of an Ernest Tubb fan. I bought him an Ernest Tubb CD (but not in this store, go figure) because his last one disappeared.

Last, here's proof that I was actually where I said I was. Just in case you thought I Photoshopped the rest of the pictures.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Mother-in-Law.......


I guess I'm one of the luckier married women in the world. Not only do I have the world's last perfect man, but also the world's only perfect mother-in-law. I told Hubby early in our marriage that if anything ever happened to us, I was getting custody of his mother. He didn't argue.

She's a sweet lady, and she would do anything in the world for us. When we missed the Party Bus to a UGA football game one Saturday morning (when that guy says the bus leaves at 8:07, he means 8:07, not 8:10), she took us to Athens to the tailgate location.

She keeps Gus for us every time we go out of town so he won't be subjected to the horrors of boarding. (My apologies to Chico.)

She cooks a mean biscuit, and her chicken and dumplings are scrumptious. She still insists on cooking a big meal for the whole family on Christmas Day.

She lets me use her car on the rare occasion that something is wrong with mine. Maybe I shouldn't give her too much credit for that one. Her car used to be mine, and I GAVE it to her when I bought my SUV.

She is 79 years old, and she's fairly frail. She has broken every bone you can think of: both hips, a wrist, a finger, a shoulder. And that's just in the 12 years I've known her. She broke her shoulder when she reached back to turn on a lamp. That's how fragile she is. She now walks with a walker, but she still drives and she's very sweet-natured. You can't make her mad, at least not that I know of. And if Hubby doesn't make her mad with some of HIS teasing, she must be a saint.

She has bounced back from double pneumonia, and just this past summer she had to have a stent put into her heart. But she gets right back on her feet almost immediately, and she always appears to have few lasting effects.

She's in the hospital tonight, but we don't know if they will keep her. My sister-in-law is with her and is keeping us posted on developments and her status. SIL was asking for clues to a crossword puzzle when she called earlier, so it must not be too serious.

But when someone is that old, you always get that "What if....." feeling any time she gets sick. People don't live forever, and I always wonder if this one will be the time that she goes downhill fast. Is that morbid? I don't mean to be. She just recuperates so easily and gets back to normal so fast that in between her illnesses and injuries, we forget how old and fragile she is and take for granted that she'll live forever.

I'll send up an extra prayer for her tonight.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Nearly Wordless Sunday......

And yes I realize that doesn't make a lick of sense.

I am incapable of stringing together two sentences..... make that two words...... that DO make sense.

I am bleary-eyed from two consecutive nights of staying up way past my bedtime, in another time zone no less.

I am suffering from a hangover related not to alcohol but to the good times I shared with my two sisters this past weekend.

We overdosed on walking, food, laughter, silliness, and criticism of other people who were clearly less "normal" than we.

We lost our voices screaming. At a gymnastics meet, for God's sake.

Pictures to post tomorrow, but tonight it's time for bed. I'm glad to sleep in my own bed tonight, but I am sorry that weekend getaways with my sisters are few and far between. I think we're up to one now, if I counted correctly.

Goodnight.

Maybe I'll be a little more coherent tomorrow.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Not a Total Loss.........

The news isn't as good as I hoped, but I'm not disappointed. Much. We came in second at the S.E.C. gymnastics championships. Bama came in first, and well they should have. They were totally on their game all night. We started off on balance beam, and the first two girls fell. That just shook our confidence from the beginning. We came back strong on the other events, but the damage was done. Kudos to Bama. And at least we still beat Florida.

On a more positive note, we are headed for the Grand Ole Opry to see Kelly Pickler and the Charlie Daniels Band. I'm not a HUGE country music fan, but come on. It's the Grand Ole Opry. And Charlie Daniels is a legend. I just hope I can stay awake for the show.

This blogging from the Blackberry is awkward. My thumbs are exhausted.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mother of the Year Award.....NOT......

On our way to Nashville today, something in our conversation reminded me of one of the many times in Sweet Girl's life when I was definitely NOT Mother of the Year.

First of all, let me explain why I had my 3-year-old in a bar in the first place. We had only stopped there for a moment to pick up the ex. It's not like I was in there boozing it up and not paying attention as my child wandered unsupervised around this honky tonk. It was the middle of the afternoon, and there were very few customers. Everyone there knew her.... Okay, that doesn't sound good either.... Never mind.

I did have a short conversation with the ex and a couple of his cronies at the bar. While we were talking, we heard a blood-curdling scream come from the back of the bar where the pool table and pinball machines were.

Sweet Girl came running across the floor, her mouth wide open in that silent scream that I also referred to when I wrote about her nearly tearing her uvula off.

Hanging off the end of her index finger was a very small rodent.

Evidently the mouse had taken offense when Sweet Girl stuck her hand up in the ball return of the pool table.

She shook her hand, and the mouse fell off.

Everyone in that bar went silent, and I scooped her up and ran outside with her. Because I knew just as soon as she got her air back, the bar would no longer be silent. And it would be an ear-piercing, curl-your-toes kind of scream.

Oddly enough, when the bar owner (Robert) went to scoop the offending rodent up off the floor, IT WAS DEAD.

The skin was broken, but she wasn't bleeding, and at that point in my very early motherhood I would probably have taken her to the emergency room under normal circumstances.

These weren't normal circumstances.

I pictured myself explaining to the medical personnel just how a mouse happened to bite a little girl on the index finger. And where we were when it happened.

I decided just to treat it myself. I was paranoid (maybe justifably so) that some overzealous social worker might be on duty at the hospital that day and they would take my baby away from me.

It turned out all right, and there were no lasting effects.

As we started to leave, Robert said sardonically, "My lawyer will be in touch about your young'un killing my pet mouse."

I love the word "sardonically."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Customer Not-Service......

I took my SUV in to have the oil changed today, mainly because it was time for it, and partly in preparation for my road trip to Nashville this weekend with my two sisters. I won't tell you the purpose of our trip, because it might be all I can think of to blog about tomorrow night. Or Saturday night, when I hope to have wonderful news to post. Not that many of you will care.

But I digress.

I mentioned on Sunday that I had a technological close call with the code for the keypad on my SUV. I like to leave the keys in the car, and it's an aggravation -- okay, so a minor one -- that I can't do that now because the keypad won't work.

So when I went to get the oil changed today, I asked the technician to check the keypad. He said it would cost $50 to find out what was wrong with it and looked at me as if to ask if that were okay. "It doesn't work," I said. Implying that I'm curious enough to spend $50 to find out what the hell is wrong with it.

I waited in the customer lounge and played numerous games of BrickBreaker on my Blackberry, because I cannot seem to achieve the same level of mastery as my friend Wanda the Warrior Princess. Henceforward known simply as WWP. When they called my name to say my vehicle was ready and that the oil change I had a coupon for would only cost me $91, I asked about the keypad problem.

"Oh yes," the cashier replied, "he pulled your code for you. It's written right here."

"I know the code," I said, trying to smile and NOT to talk through my teeth. "It just doesn't work."

"Oh. Let me check on that."

Apparently the words "Keypad inop" written on the work order indicated to the service technician that I was too stupid to know my own code that I've been using for 4 years. So he "pulled" it for me. For which they charge $40.

Back to the customer lounge and more BrickBreaker. And college basketball, for which I have zero interest. Possibly even negative interest.

After finally going in search of the right PROBLEM, the technician came and told me that a wire is broken down in the door panel, and it will cost approximately $300 to get it fixed.

For $300 I can buy some pants with pockets to carry a key in.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I'd Like to Have THAT Job......

I was reading the blog of a witty (and busy!) lady from the United Kingdom, Lakeland Jo, who posted a warning to all bloggers today about using copyrighted material on blog entries.

Seems she got a stern warning about a copyrighted image on her blog, and the writer informed her that a second offense would result in the deletion of her blog.

The offending image was of the golden arches associated with a particular fast food joint, whose name I am now terrified to type here for fear of stepping on someone's toes.

Really? Seriously?

These folks don't have anything better to do with their time?

I would think they would welcome ANY publicity, considering A) the economy; and B) the stigma these days of admitting you eat at the golden-arches-fast-food-place.

Then I started thinking about all the images that I've used on my blog.

There's the vodka bottle. (Ironically, I believe this exact same image appears on Lakeland Jo's blog about four entries down from her warning to all bloggers. Ha ha ha ha ha)

And the Hess logo.

Not to mention the picture of Courtney Kupets, which I did NOT take myself. I have lots of pictures of gymnasts' backs and butts and upside down and flying over the uneven bars, but none of them are that good.

Or the picture from the movie Chicago, which I'm sure they would take offense at even though I did give credit as to the source.

Or the picture of Monk from the television show.

Do you think I could put in an application for that job? Imagine the cocktail party conversation:

  • Guest: What do you do?
  • Me: Oh, I read blogs.
  • Guest: No, really.
  • Me: Seriously, I read blogs and search for copyright violations. It's very rewarding.
  • Guest: I think I left some laundry in the dryer, the stuff with the label that says 'tumble dry medium, remove promptly.' I'll have to go now.

Okay, you know that's a bogus conversation because A) I don't have guests over who don't already know what I do for a living; and B) we don't have cocktail parties, we have beer and nachos during a football game.

I know copyright is a serious issue and people don't want other people (for example, malicious bloggers like you and me) using their stuff for free, but come on..... The golden arches?

Seriously?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day.....


If this shamrock isn't moving when I post this blog, I'm canceling my subscription to Animation Factory. Not really, I need it for school. But I don't understand why it will be animated on SOME things and not others. Stupid clip art. Maybe some techhie out there can explain it to me. But my eyes will glaze over and I will only pretend to understand.

I think about this story every St. Patrick's Day.

My grandmother used to live in Savannah, and we went there fairly frequently to visit her. My aunt and two of my cousins still live near Savannah. One year when I was about 15, we were visiting during St. Patrick's Day weekend, although it was only a coincidence that we were there at that time. We wouldn't have made the trip for something as silly as green beer and a green river and a parade and lots of drunk people. Those ended up just being a bonus.

My cousin and I wound up on River Street on Saturday night with about a gazillion drunk folks. We were walking down the sidewalk, when all of a sudden there was this drunken sailor LITERALLY hanging onto a lamppost.

As I got near him, he swayed out toward me and slurred, "You've got boooooooootiful eyes."

Remembering my home training, I averted my eyes and quickened my pace, wanting to get past this guy as quickly as possible. I was already embarrassed enough to be the chubby, frizzy-haired, out-of-town cousin next to my skinny, straight-haired cousin who lived there. I realize that last sentence lacks parallel structure and I don't care.

So the drunken sailor shut up.

Until I got past him.

At which point he yelled at the top of his lungs, and in a completely sober voice,





"BUT YOU'VE GOT A BIG ASS!!!!!"

I don't remember if I was wearing green or not, but I was scarred for life.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Billy and Elton Part 2.....

As promised, I TRIED TO POST video from the concert Saturday night. I didn't get any video of Billy Joel and Elton John singing together. I was way too excited at the beginning, and by the end when they sang together again, I had used up my memory card. [Note to self: Purchase a larger memory card before you go to the Dominican Republic next month.]

It's not great video, and it certainly doesn't capture the essence of being there. It probably violates all sorts of copyright laws and a couple of international peace treaties, but oh well.

I created the video from clips that I took Saturday night, and then I added fairly mundane captions and titles to the movie.

And I THOUGHT I formatted it small enough for it to upload. But it's been spinning for an hour (maybe more, I lost track of time), and it's past my bedtime.

Just trust me that I was really there.

When I first started going to see Billy Joel in concert, he was 29. And he had hair. He will be 60 this year, on May 9th.

Back in the 80's he would do back flips off the piano.

In the 90's he would stand on the piano and pretend he was going to do a back flip, then just jump off backward.

Now he doesn't even bother getting up there. I'm not sure he can.

He still puts on a heck of a show. But that twirling the microphone stand has got to go. I think he's milked that one for just about all it's worth.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Technological Close Call........

I wrote a post a few months ago about how I feel obligated to use the whole set of something. If I have a 5-piece luggage set, I feel guilty if I don't use all 5 pieces. Even if I'm just going on an overnight trip.

I feel the same way about gadgets. If I have them, I consider it my duty to use them. I have a GPS for my bicycle, so I won't just hop on the bike for a casual little ride anymore. It has to have the GPS on it to document my mileage, elevation gained/lost, and a map of the route.

My first motorcycle had a locking helmet hook on it, so I felt compelled to hang my helmet on its designated place, never mind that the cool people just hung their helmets on the sissy bar or the mirror and it was a B-I-T-C-H to lock/unlock anyway.

Some gadgets, however, I find useful in their gadgetness, not just because they are cool toys or features to have. For example, the key pad on my SUV. It was one of the features that sold me on this car. That and the fact that Hubby had a tee time and he had already told the salesman, "Wash it, we'll be back for it when I get off the golf course."

Using the key pad eliminates the need to carry my keys. Since I also abhor carrying a purse, this is very handy. I don't often have pockets, so I like the convenience of being able to lock the car but not carry a set of keys with me.

You can probably see where this is going.

It almost came back to haunt me in a bad, terrible, rotten, no-good kind of way. My apologies to the author of that childhood story, because I'm sure I just mangled its title.

Yesterday Hubby and I ran some errands, since the weather was too yucky for him to play golf. We meant to go to the tanning bed (give me a break, we're going to the Dominican Republic in a month and we don't want to get sunburned to a crisp), but we had already bought groceries when we remembered.

We took the groceries home, and Hubby said he didn't want to get out again in the yuckiness. So I went off to the tanning bed alone. That was the first good stroke of luck.

When I came out of the tanning bed, my key pad code would NOT let me in my vehicle. No reassuring click, no unlocking of the doors, no flashing of the lights, nothing. I did it a few (hundred) times just to make sure, and then I was pretty sure I had locked myself out of the key pad for a period of time. So I went to a nearby grocery store and bought something I had forgotten on my FIRST grocery buying expedition that morning, and just to kill some time.

No luck. The code just would not work.

So I called Hubby, and he came with the spare clicker and unlocked my door as he drove by. I'm sure the girl working at the tanning salon saw me walk out to my car and open the door and thought to herself, "Well the dumbass could get in all along." But I digress.

We tried the code again and again when we got home. It wouldn't even LOCK the doors. Hubby looked in the owner's manual to see if it mentioned a fuse or anything that could be wrong with it, but he came up empty.

And everything was basically okay, since I had the spare and now I know not to lock my keys in my car.

But I shudder to think what COULD have happened.

Because last night was the night that Katydid and Nurse Jane and I went to the Billy Joel/Elton John concert.

If I hadn't gone back to the tanning bed, I wouldn't have known that my keypad didn't work anymore.

Until after the concert.

In downtown Atlanta.

At midnight.

On a Saturday night.

With Hubby 60 miles away.

NOW who says tanning beds are a bad thing?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Billy and Elton........

This may be a new low. Or high? I'm blogging from the Billy Joel/Elton John concert. Waiting for it to be Elton's bedtime so Billy can come back out. Please don't send me hate mail. Elton is okay, but I came to see Billy. It'll be HIS bedtime soon too.

I haven't missed a Billy Joel concert in Atlanta since 1978. I went to one in 1984 when I was 7 months pregnant. The usher did not take kindly to my standing in my seat. Neither did my ex. Or Katydid.

I hope to post video tomorrow, if they don't confiscate my camera.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wicked the Book......

I am usually a pretty fast reader, and I read all different kinds of stuff.

But I have been plodding through Wicked since sometime in November or December. And it's killing me.

It's so different from the musical, but that's not the part that I'm having trouble with. I can accept a book being different from its screenplay or Broadway production.

I'm about a hundred pages from the end -- still -- and I have JUST reached the part where a house falls on a little girl.

And Elphaba is about to take off in her quest for those damned shoes.

I know how it ends. Well, I take that back. I know how the MUSICAL ended, and I liked it a lot. I wish I had known THAT ending back when I was three or four and the Wicked Witch of the West scared the bejeezus out of me. Between her and the flying monkeys, no wonder I had nightmares.

It's not just the differences in plot. Gregory Maguire, the author, has an extensive vocabulary, but he also uses a lot of made-up words because, after all, we are in Oz, not in Kansas anymore. So when I come across a word I don't know, I have to stop and ask myself, "Wait, is this a real word that I just don't know, or is it one of those made-up ones?"

I need to hurry up and finish this thing so I can get on to the other 9 books that have stacked up while I've been working on this toothache-of-a-book. I'm too far in to give up on it, but it's not one of those compelling things that I can't put down.

It's beginning to feel like homework.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Childhood Injuries.....

When I read the post of my friend MamaNeena's recent experience with an injury to her child, it reminded me of some of the unusual injuries Sweet Girl managed to inflict on herself as a child. You haven't truly experienced motherhood until a school official calls you (on your birthday, no less) and tells you to please come get your daughter because she has a star stuck in her ear.

Or the time I had to try to explain to relatives why Sweet Girl was scratched and scraped and banged up......in her armpit.

Or the time Sweet Girl was standing on the toilet and slipped, and somehow on her way to the ground, she managed to pinch her who-who between the seat and the rim of the toilet. I have just clinched my legs tightly together just remembering it.

But the one that took the cake was when the nearly tore off her uvula.

I'll wait here while you go look up uvula. Don't be bashful, guys.......you have one too.
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In a previous wifetime, we had just finished dinner when we heard a blood-curdling scream come from the back of the house. Sweet Girl came running with that open-mouthed, airless, silent scream when a parent thinks the child may never stop to draw a breath again.

She couldn't tell us what was wrong. I thought she had shocked herself in an electrical outlet, then I remembered that our hair is naturally that way.

Finally one of us said, "What did you hurt?"

She said, "I hurt the thing that Tweety Bird thumps on the Pussycat."

I thought she was delirious with pain.

"WHAT?"

I looked at the ex. "What in the hell is she talking about?"

Somehow his viewing of cartoons must have matched hers. "She's talking about that thing that hangs down in the back of your throat."

You know how our mothers tell us never to run with something in our mouths because we might fall and jam it down our throats, only it has never actually happened in the history of mankind?

Except to my child.

Seems she had this really cool Barbie baton that came with some retarded costume, and she had discovered that if you TOOK OFF THE RUBBER TIP and blew on the baton, it made a really cool noise. Note that this baton that she nearly swallowed was WITHOUT THE RUBBER TIP. That could have protected her uvula when she fell with the baton in her nmouth while making this really cool noise.

There's not really a lot you can do for a torn uvula.

I took her to the doctor, and they gave her antibiotics and something for psychosis (not really, I made that part up) and said that we would have to make her drink to avoid becoming dehydrated.

She told the doctor she was NOT going to drink anything, so he picked up the phone and pretended to call the hospital and have them go ahead and reserve a room for her. (She was a gullible little 5-year-old.) She finally drank a tiny sip of water, glaring at the doctor with hatred in her eyes.

She was probably the only kindergartener who knew what a uvula was.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The World According to Teenagers......

It never ceases to amaze me that some students are surprised -- astounded even -- that they are expected to WORK in an online course. I don't know what they are told by the people who sign them up for such courses, but apparently some of them do not get the proper message.

One student this semester in particular was incredulous (and dismayed) that she would be required to -- wait for it -- write essays. In a literature course.

Last night I had these exchanges with this student.

KB: How can I bring my grade up, like fast? I really need to pass.
Me: You might try working on the assignments that are due this week and stop working on things that aren't due until March 27th.
KB: I'm trying to get ahead.

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[When I mentioned the novel project coming up]

KB: Novel? I have to read a book?
Me: Yes, it's for the novel project.
KB: Can it be anything?
Me: It has to be from the list I sent you.
KB: I don't have a list.
Me: I emailed it to you. The novel work is due March 20th.
KB: March 20th?????? That's 10 days!
Me: That's why I sent you the novel list in January.

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[At the end of the session, when I "dismissed" them]

Me: Well, that's all I have for tonight.
KB: Well now I have nothing to do.
Me: What do you mean you have nothing to do?
KB: We're finished, so I don't have anything to do. MySpace time!
Me: You could work on that Life of Pi essay that's due Friday.
KB: Yeah, I guess I could do that.

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Email exchanges today:

KB: Is all of the Life of Pi stuff due this Friday?
Me: Yes, all of it except the post-test, which is next Monday.

So she submitted an assignment for Life of Pi Part 1, which she had already submitted previously and FOR WHICH SHE HAD A GRADE OF 100.

I didn't think I needed to point out that she didn't need to submit assignments that had already been graded. I stand corrected.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Conversation with the World's Last Perfect Man....

[Scene: Taking meatloaf out of oven. That I so wisely put on to cook and set a stop time on, because I unexpectedly had to take Hubby's hand-held-computer-order-machine-work-thingie to him 20 miles away while I was TRYING to watch last night's recording of Dancing with the Stars. Shhhhhhhh.........please don't tell me. MAYBE I'll get to watch the rest of it tomorrow. I was semi-frantic because in addition to having to prepare dinner AND watch DWTS, I also needed to prepare a lesson for tonight's online session. And I NEVER prepare those in advance, just in case the wild world of Contemporary Literature changes so drastically that any topic I might prepare on.......say Sunday night......should suddenly be rendered useless. Whatever. I didn't need to lose that hour of my life that I spent taking his computer to him. But I did ride the Harley down there, so it wasn't a total loss.]


Me: Son of a b***h!!!

WLPM*: Oh no, is it burned?

Me: No, I just spilled hot grease all down my front.

WLPM: Oh.

I offer here, merely for instructional purposes and not in any way to complain, several alternate endings to the above conversation.

WLPM: Oh my goodness, are you all right?

WLPM: Here, let me help you clean up the rest of the hot grease that you spilled on the floor.

WLPM: Come here, Gus, get out of Mama's way so she can clean up the grease.

WLPM: I'll set the table for you.

WLPM: What would you like to drink? [I'd be happy to hear this one, regardless of the fact that I DRINK THE SAME DAMN GLASS OF WATER EVERY NIGHT, IN THE SAME DAMN GLASS.]

WLPM: I'll wash the dishes so you can prepare your lesson.



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*WLPM - World's Last Perfect Man [just in case you didn't figure that out already]

Monday, March 9, 2009

Weight Loss by Hypnosis......

I saw an advertisement in the newspaper this past weekend for a weight loss session using hypnosis.

I've always been fascinated by hypnosis, and I have been hypnotized myself. When I was taking psychology in high school, our teacher brought in a guest speaker who said he could hypnotize anyone who was over 18 or had parental permission. I immediately produced a note written by my mother just on the OFF CHANCE that some random hypnotist wandered into our school and wanted to practice on any of us.

This guy didn't believe in the nightclub type hypnotism, unfortunately, because I think that would have been hilarious.

He first had me sit in a chair with my arms resting on the arms of the chair, and he had me relax. I was thinking it was all a bunch of bunk, because I could hear everything he was saying, and I could even hear Rex Martin snickering in the background. Or maybe it was Ronnie Wilkes. Who knows.

Then he said one of my arms would feel lighter than the other, and my finger popped up into the air of its own accord. I had absolutely no part in the decision-making; my finger just hopped up there by itself. I'm not making this up. Then my arm started floating up, and he said when I touched my head I would go under even deeper or something silly like that.

That's all I remember until the bell rang. I don't remember doing anything outstanding or foolish (no more so than usual, anyway) for the next few days. He called me on the phone in the school office a couple of days later, and I've always wondered if he used that phone call to "break" the spell.

I went to one of the weight-loss sessions many years ago, but from the beginning I didn't feel that I was hypnotized. I attributed it to being in a room with so many other people. How can you feel hypnotized if the person isn't speaking directly to you? When the folks came out of the session I was sitting on the sidewalk smoking a cigarette and waiting for Katydid to come pick me up. I think they were highly disappointed; the smoking cessation hypnotism session had occurred just before the weight loss one.

For $50, I'd be willing to give it another try. As long as the weight loss doesn't just occur because I start clucking like a chicken every time I'm in a restaurant and then run out of there too embarrassed to eat.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Why Can't......

  • Mondays go as fast as the weekends do?
  • NASCAR just show the last lap of a race?
  • Commentators for the audio feed of gymnastics meets give us something more substantial than "Wow!" or "Amazing!" or "Oooooo!"?
  • I think to buy stuff on Saturday that I can't buy on Sunday here in the Bible belt?
  • I make myself fold the last load of laundry?
  • My tile floors stay pretty more than 15 minutes after I mop them?
  • People who are sworn enemies of my family members (and crazy to boot) NOT invite me to be their friends on Facebook?
  • I sleep through a whole night?
  • My cat understand that the bag of food he chewed a hole in is the SAME STUFF that's in his bowl?
  • My dog figure out where the squirrels go?
  • My neighbor crank his motorcycle and let it run for 15 minutes sometime BEFORE 9:00 PM?
  • Spring Break just hurry up and GET HERE?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dear Redneck Dude...

Dear Redneck Dude with the bad teeth and worse hair:

Perhaps it made you FEEL manly to yell at me as I rode my bicycle (outside the white line, I might add). Maybe you impressed your buddy by telling me to get off the road.

Really you just showed your ignorance.

You see, in the state of Georgia (and many others that you've probably never heard of), a bicycle is a vehicle. We have the same rights, rules, and responsibilities as you and your buddy in the '93 Corolla. Or maybe it was a Hyundai. Whatever.

I know there are cyclists out there who are obnoxious and hog the road. According to the law, that is their right. My friends and I, however, ALWAYS ride single file when there is a car behind us. Besides that, there was NOTHING coming. You could have passed easily. Oh yeah, I forgot, you didn't need to pass at all. You screamed at us as you TURNED LEFT.

Jerk.

You should treat a bicycle just like you would a car driven by your grandmother. In my case, it might be your grandmother on sleeping pills.

If there's room to pass, do so, and use as much of the OTHER lane as you can. If there isn't room to pass, you should WAIT BEHIND THE BICYCLE until the car coming from the other direction has passed, and THEN you pass.

It isn't your road, a**hole. It's OUR road. If you don't want to see bicycles on the road, then I have a great idea for you.

Stay home.

Drink your PBR and watch NASCAR and scratch yourself and pass gas and wonder why your sister has 5 children, none of whom look alike or share the same last name.

But leave me and my friends to enjoy our bike ride in peace.

Flipping you the bird virtually,

Bragger

Friday, March 6, 2009

Parenting is Nothing But Blind Luck.....

That's an expression I've used many times over the years.

Parenting is nothing but blind luck.

That should be fair warning for those of you who gnash your teeth and lose sleep over making the right decisions regarding your children's upbringing.

It doesn't matter.

I'm convinced they will turn out the way they will turn out.

I had a good friend in high school who was a VERY good girl. As in G-O-O-D. Could do no wrong. She didn't DARE do any wrong, because her father was the superintendent of schools. In our small town, that gave her no wiggle room to screw up.

When we were seniors in high school, we often studied together for our trig class. She had to study a little harder than I did, but she also cared a little more about her grades than I did. It wasn't that I didn't care.....but I didn't have to work very hard to get grades in the high 90's.

One semester we found out only about an hour before our trig final that our teacher was going to let us use our notes on the exam. My friend, whom I'll call Shelley, looked at me with something akin to panic and said, "I left my notebook at home!"

"Get in the car," I said, "we'll go get it."

"My daddy will kill me if I skip school!"

"Your daddy is going to kill you if you fail that trig final, too."

She was convinced, and we jumped in my car to go get her notebook.

She was a good girl, but she wasn't obnoxious about it. She was a cheerleader and dated one of the football stars on our mediocre team. In the 10th grade (during math class, no less), she picked out her wedding date, which was after her graduation from college.

She missed it by a week. And they're still married.

She was a journalism major, and after graduation she and her new husband moved to a town in South Georgia, where there was one television station. She got a job there, of course. She immediately decided that instead of the 5 children she had planned on, she would have none, wanting a career in television.

Then along came child #1. (I never got the chance to say "I told you so." When I asked her about birth control, she said, "I'm gonna let him worry about that." Hmph.)

A couple of years later along came child #2, they moved to the Atlanta area, and she was out of television forever. She chose to be a stay-at-home mom, a role I admire greatly, and she still looks exactly like she did when we graduated from high school. I try not to hate her for that.

If there's anything I get satisfaction from, it's the fact that I'm the only person in our graduating class who is younger than she is. We both skipped a grade, so we were the babies of the class. Her birthday is in March; mine is in April.

I'm not being ugly when I say how perfect she and her husband are. They look perfect together, they have had perfect career moves, they are just precious.

Their eldest child (a boy), however, was not so precious, at least in his formative years.

He came from parents who didn't smoke or drink, weren't the partying kind, followed the rules, and were generally good citizens.

He was a hellion, at least for a while.

In high school he was arrested for smashing mailboxes while riding in (or driving) a stolen car. He threw a wild party while his parents were out of town, and the police may or may not have been called. But the worst was when it came time for college.

Shelley wailed to me, "The worst thing of all was that his grades weren't good enough to get into Georgia. He had to go to Auburnnnnnnnnnnn!"

Their son has since gotten his act together, has a masters degree and a new bride and a solid career, and looks just like his father.

Their daughter has had a full ride on a cheerleading scholarship and looks just like her mama.

I wasn't such a good girl. If there was a rule, I thought it was meant to be broken. Half the senior class skipped school on MY birthday to go to a local swimming spot, and I felt compelled to jump off the bridge into the river below. I was suspended in the 10th grade for leaving school without permission. When I was on hospital/homebound my senior year because I had mono, the homebound teacher said when she went to get assignments from two of my teachers, they said I didn't come to their classes anymore. (I didn't get the failing grades I deserved.) A large group of us regularly went to bars in the nearby college town. I smoked in the bathroom, regardless of the fact that we had a legal smoking area outside, because we weren't supposed to. Nonetheless, I graduated 8th in my class. It could have been higher if I had cared just a little more.

And my child was as close to perfect as you can imagine. She didn't drink until she was 21, because it was against the law. Even after she was in the Navy, she didn't drink because she WASN'T SUPPOSED TO. Now she's nearing 25, and she still doesn't drink a whole lot. She thinks smoking is disgusting, has never tried drugs, and as far as I know still hadn't had s-e-x when she left for the Navy. I'm not sure about now, but since she's talking about getting married, I can only assume..... Never mind, I can't go there. And she's at the age where I can't ask.

She's a rule-follower. Perfect for her chosen career. She has bought her own house, a new car, and a dog. At her age I had a college degree, but I also had HER, I was married to her father (shudder), and we didn't know where groceries were going to come from for the week. I wouldn't change a thing if it meant not having her, but I wasn't as smart as I thought I was. I also wasn't as grown as I thought I was.

I'll say it again: Parenting is nothing but blind luck.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My First Boyfriend....

My first boyfriend's name in the 3rd and 4th grade was Lucky Beach. I'm not making that up.

I shared him with my best friend at that time, a girl named Joy. It actually worked out pretty nicely. We took turns sitting next to him on the high bar on the playground. We didn't swing from it or do chin-ups or anything it was designed for. We just sat there. Whoever's turn it wasn't to sit up there with him had to stand on the ground and hold his jacket. Eventually we decided it was childish to share a boyfriend and made him choose one of us.

Bad move.

Joy was pretty. And skinny.

I remember going to an away basketball game with him and his..... parents? Somebody. That part is fuzzy. When we were that age, going to an "away" basketball game.....or anything else....was a big deal. I'm surprised my mother let me go, because if you went somewhere with someone's parents, it was expected that your parents would reciprocate at some point. And Mama didn't believe in hauling anybody's kids anywhere. Including her own.

She rarely let me spend the night with friends, because that meant we were expected to let them come spend the night with me at some point in the future, usually the next Friday night. She needn't have worried.....most of the time the friends didn't want to come back again. Mama didn't believe in putting on her "company" manners just because we had company.

Back to Lucky Beach. I'm sure he had a "real" name, but I've forgotten what it was. He moved away at some point, although somewhere around 7th grade a friend and I ran into him when the fair was in town. That was the first time in my life I rode something that went upside down. I guess I didn't want him to think I was a wimp. I don't know where he wound up.

I did a Google search for him a while back.

You know what you get when you do a search for Lucky Beach?

You get every resort in the free world, some of them clothing-optional.

If anyone out there runs into Lucky Beach, tell him I said hello.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Weesa........

Today was my step-daughter's birthday. And not just any birthday. The big 4-0.

You may think I'm not old enough to have a 40-year-old daughter. I'm not. I'm only 8 years older than my step-daughter. I just married a much older man.

I was 5 when Hubby graduated from high school.

We didn't date then.

Weesa is single, blond, and college educated, and she owns her own house and rides a Harley. I keep hoping she'll find someone who will make her as happy as her daddy has made me. She hasn't had much luck in the men department. Two failed marriages, and she says she's through with being married. She dated a guy for TEN YEARS, and then last summer she dumped him on his birthday. In Panama City. He needed dumping. But he took her out to lunch today for her birthday. Apparently he's a much better ex than he was a boyfriend.

Wouldn't life be a lot simpler if we didn't have to worry about relationships?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Square Root Day.....

Today was Square Root Day. I'm not making this up. I heard it on CNN Headline News, and Robin Meade simply would not lie. If you don't believe me, just do a Google search for "Square Root Day." Go ahead. I dare you. I'll wait right here.
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Square Root Day only happens 9 times every century. The last one we had was February 2, 2004, but I'm positive the damned groundhog grabbed all the attention that day. The next one will be on April 4, 2016.

And I hope with all that is holy (or unholy, as the case may be) that I am not still teaching then.

I told you I should have been a math teacher. I also celebrate Pi Day on March 14th. Or maybe it's just the pie I'm celebrating.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Springtime in the South.....


I realize it isn't actually spring yet, at least not according to the calendar.

But it's March, fercryingoutloud.

video
The good news, and I'm not really trying to be smug, is that temperatures are supposed to return to the 70's by the weekend.

Or maybe I AM trying to be smug.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Winter Wonderland.......

Okay, the snow was pretty. And I'm completely okay with being out of school tomorrow. I won't even whine about it being 23 degrees tonight, because it's supposed to be back up to 70 by Friday. I may even be able to ride the Harley to school later in the week.

But our internet is down. I'm having to blog from the Crackberry.

And that's just some kind of wrong.

I can only lose so many consecutive games of Spider Solitaire. Or Inkball. I need my Pioneer Woman fix. I need to read MamaNeena's latest escapades.I was actually grading assignments online when it went down. I tell students all the time that they need a back-up plan, because not having internet is NOT an excuse for not turning their work in. Blah blah blah.
I want my internet.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh