Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'm So Dizzy, My Head is Spinning.....

With my apologies to whoever sang that song in the 70's......

Katydid and I went bike shopping today, and I'm more confused than ever.

I know some things I want on my bike, but there are so many choices to make that it is completely baffling. And of the definite things I want on my bike, some people try to talk me out of those very things.

My main requirement is that it have a triple, or three chain rings. That provides an additional set of gears on the low end, mainly for climbing. Or for really slow people like me.

The very first guy we talked to said he was going to try to talk me out of a triple and into a compact. I said the last guy who sold me a bike talked me into a compact, and I was going to hunt him down and kill him.

He wisely said then, "I want you to have a triple."

What brand? The two I'm trying to decide between are Cannondale and Trek. Both have women-specific designs, which I like very much. I've had a Trek and loved it. I've had a Cannondale and loved it. The last bike I had was a Giant, only because it came in yellow and it was something the guy could get. (Not every bike store carries every brand .... evidently you have to be ALLOWED to sell certain kinds.....) More on the color issue later.

Then there is the decision between carbon fiber and an aluminum frame. Many people swear by carbon because it's lighter. I'm all about lighter in my bike, since I'm not having much luck making MYSELF lighter. Personally, I blame it on the lack of a triple. One salesman will swear by carbon, and the next will be an aluminum devotee. Sigh.

Then of course there is the matter of size. As one cute little salesman said today, very diplomatically, "Since you're not very tall......." How sweet of him. I had no idea that I would require a 47-48 cm bike. Who knew?

And there is the matter of test riding. Out of all the bikes we looked at today, I got to sit on one of them. These bikes aren't typically in stock, so you basically wind up buying something out of a catalog. Or off the internet. I could have stayed home this morning.

It may seem silly, but color is also important. It's not like buying a car, where you decide on the model and they have it in a gazillion different colors, one of them bound to strike your fancy.

Oh no.

Each model of bike comes in AT MOST two colors, some of them only one. Where do you compromise? If the model you really want comes in a butt-ugly color (like grey with teal accents), do you go with a different model to get the right color?

That sort of feels like going shopping for a BMW convertible and settling for a Toyota Camry because it comes in the right color.

The price ranges are enormous too, so that doesn't help a lot. We looked at bikes everywhere from $849 to $4200 today.

To top it all off, most of those bicycle shop folks talk way over my head about gear ratios, components, and lots of terms I can't even remember. I hate feeling stupid, so I just nod a lot. One of them asked me what my rear cassette looks like on my current bike, and I almost told him he was getting a little personal. I'm doing good just to know what a derailleur is.

I'm having dinner with my buddy Rozmo this week, and she is much more knowledgeable than I am. Perhaps she can help answer my questions, or at least tell me what questions to ask.

I remember when the most difficult decision to make about a bicycle was whether it had a basket or not.....

Friday, July 30, 2010

Gus and His Vocabulary......

Gus probably isn't that much smarter than a lot of dogs. He does have quite a vocabulary, though. Besides the obvious "treat" and "out" and "walk," he knows some others too.

One of his favorites is "swimming." He thinks he and Libby are really blood siblings, so he thinks he's a Lab also. He gets in the pool even before Libby does. And if we accidentally leave the back gate open to the pool, he will go out there all by himself and take a little dip. Even Libby doesn't get in the pool if we're not out there. I have fussed and fussed at Gus, because he knows little children aren't supposed to get in the pool alone. He just can't resist.

He also knows the word "clothes." If I say that word, he goes to the basement door. He waits at the top of the stairs to see where I'm going. If I turn left, he just stands there and waits, because it isn't really that exciting to go get laundry out of the washer or the dryer. If I turn right at the bottom of the stairs, though, he goes kind of crazy. Then he knows that I'm about to open the big overhead garage door, and he goes into a barking frenzy. If I do raise the door, he grabs hold of the rope at the bottom of it and hangs on for dear life, riding the rope upward with the door. I guess it's sort of a doggie amusement park ride.

One of his favorite phrases is "time to go to bed." He gets his nightly treat and heads up to the bedroom. Hubby usually goes to bed first, and Gus goes up with him. If I stay downstairs for any length of time, though, he comes back down and lies at my feet until I get ready to go up.

A treat is one thing, but he will dance for "cheese." If I ask Hubby if he wants cheese on his sandwich, I have to spell it, or Gus goes to the refrigerator and refuses to move.

It isn't just words, though. When I come home in the afternoon, if I change into tennis shoes and shorts, he knows we are going to the park. Or he hopes we are. He stands there at my feet, one paw up in the air, looking at me expectantly and slowing wagging his tail one way. Then the other. Wag. Wag. If I say the magic word, he starts barking to let Libby (outside) know that we are going to the park, going to the park, going to the park, going to the park, going to the park.

He also seems to know when I'm planning to ride my motorcycle to school. This morning when I came downstairs, before I could even head to the basement door, he was already standing there, anxious to get on with the opening of the big door.

If he's all that smart, why doesn't he know where the squirrels go?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Revenge is Sweet..... and Lucrative........

There's this guy Hubby knows at the golf course. Not a friend, just a young guy he's seen on the course before. Hubby says the guy is an a__hole, which makes this story even better.

I don't know if his girlfriend was snooping or if she stumbled across it accidentally (not likely, I'm guessing), but she found some child pornography on the guy's computer.

Naturally she was disgusted.

You know how some women get revenge by throwing their men's stuff out in the yard, perhaps setting it on fire to make the point really stick?

This girl went one better.

She gathered up his belongings and took them to the golf course, where she SOLD THEM to the same guys he plays golf with.

In the words of one of Hubby's buddies, "I got a really good Jeff Gordon jacket for five bucks!"

To top it off, the girl called the local pizza place where her boyfriend (I'm guessing he's an ex-boyfriend now?) and asked to speak to the manager, because that's what he had told her his job was.

Turns out she was speaking to the manager, who was NOT her boyfriend, and the boyfriend was actually a busboy.


Oh, and on top of selling all his belongings, she stopped paying his golf dues.

Man, that's cold.

Hee hee.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Burning the Candle at Both Ends.....

Burning the candle at both ends.....I haven't really liked that expression ever since I heard a guy use it to describe the effects Mexican food has on him.

You're welcome.

Up early this morning and going nonstop ever since. Unfortunately, that means I have no time tonight for words of wisdom, humor, poignancy, history, confusion, celebration, reflection, judgment, complaint, praise, or cynicism.

Hell, I don't even have time tonight for drivel.

You're welcome.

In anticipation of tomorrow night's post, however, I will titillate you with the promise of a story about a guy Hubby knows from the golf course whose ex-girlfriend exacted some satisfying revenge. **Giggle**

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy Endings.....

Before I went out of town last weekend, I realized I had lost my necklace. I'm not that big on jewelry. I wear the same rings and necklace all the time. I do change out my earrings, but I never remove my rings or necklace, even when I sleep or swim.

So by the time I realized my necklace was gone, I had no idea when I'd last been aware of it. I figured the most likely place for it to be was in the hamper, where I had accidentally pulled it off over my head with a t-shirt.

I forgot to look for it before I left town, and I became aware over the weekend of just how often I play with the pendants.

The chain itself doesn't hold that much sentimental value for me, but the two pendants do. One is a bicycle that Sweet Girl gave me for Christmas in 1994. It's missing one of its handlebars, but the wheels on it actually turn. I've worn it all these years. The other pendant was also a gift from Sweet Girl, a long rectangular pendant with my name on one side and on the other side my name in Arabic. I guess it's my might say "Death to Americans" for all I know about Arabic. But she brought it back from the Persian Gulf on her last tour there, so it is very special.

I texted Hubby from the bike ride and told him if he emptied Kirby (our automatic pool vacuum), to please look for my necklace. He did, but he didn't find it.

I looked all over the bottom of the pool, thinking the necklace should be easily visible against the dark blue background of the pool liner. No luck.

Hubby suggested I look in Kirby again, since it could have been picked up after he emptied it. It wasn't easily visible, but after I squeezed all along the debris bag (think: cake decorating bag only with a putrid smell), the handlebar of the bicycle pendant poked through.

It was tangled and slightly nasty, but everything was intact. I love happy endings.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Subtlety is Lost on Some People.....

One of the things we stress on BRAG (and similar bicycle rides) the most is the issue of safety. That can mean riding safely, wearing the proper clothing and a helmet, drinking sufficient fluids, and washing your hands.

On BRAG 1999 (I think), there was a horrible outbreak of an intestinal illness that sent many riders home. I am thankful that I didn't come down with it, but apparently enough people did that it got the attention of health officials. BRAG folks did a survey and while a cause was never definitively identified, there seemed to be a link back to folks putting their hands in bags of ice (to fill up their water bottles).

Many people were guilty of keeping their gloves on at rest stops. The gloves with which they had more than likely wiped their noses, wiped sweat off their brows, kept on while they visited the porta-potties, and then approached the food table. To put their hands in the ice bags.


I never was one to put ice in my water bottles. I figured it was pretty much a waste, since ice in Georgia in June wasn't going to stay ice very long. I fill my water bottles up at the rest stops, and if the water is tepid a few miles down the road, I'm still grateful I have it.

Ever since then, there has been a huge emphasis on hand washing at rest stops. There aren't any bags of ice out in the open, either. The tables are stamped with the words "Remove gloves and wash hands," and volunteers are instructed to enforce the policy.

There was a lady who worked rest stop #2 for several years, and she became (somewhat) affectionately known as "The Glove Nazi" or "The Rest Stop Nazi." She took her job very seriously, and she was even posted on the net doing part of her "gloves off wash your hands" routine.

I admired her to some extent for taking her job so seriously, but it began to wear on the nerves by day 7. You could hear her screaming before you even GOT to the rest stop. She hasn't been back in the last couple of years..... hmmmmm.....

Some people, though, need that kind of admonishment. I encountered a girl (woman) yesterday who would have incurred the wrath of The Glove Nazi.

She approached the table with her gloves still on, and the volunteer nicely asked her, "Have you removed your gloves and washed your hands?"

"Well, obviously I haven't removed my gloves," she responded, as she helped herself to some slices of peaches.

"We ask that riders remove their gloves to keep from spreading germs. There was a nasty illness on BRAG a few years ago."

"I've never been a rule follower," Miss Gloves On said, munching on her peaches and not the least concerned that everyone was staring at her.

Someone said, "The Glove Nazi would be yelling at you."

She said, "I don't mind getting yelled at."

I couldn't stand it. I had to speak up. "I'd rather be yelled at than come down with that horrible illness that went around on BRAG."

I swear to you, she said, "Oh, you haven't lived until you've had the swine flu."

I was aghast. I said, "Then I haven't lived, and I don't want to."

She just laughed.

She never got it. She never took her gloves off, so I'm sure she didn't wash her hands.

Gross. I hope she comes down with the dysentery from hell.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday's Ride........

I couldn't beleive it when I looked at the time when I finished today. I was going sooooooooooooo sloooooooooooooooowly that I thought I was about 2 hours later finishing today than yesterday. It was actually only 10 minutes longer. I also thought the elevation was much more kick-ass today, but the GPS says otherwise. There were a couple of killer hills today, naturally at the end. I was just creeping up them. A guy came up beside me and said, "Are you in your lowest gear? Have you ever thought about getting a triple?"

His remains are somewhere along the side of the road.

The guy who sold me my bike assured me that the compact crankset I had was just as good as a triple.

He lied.

I think I will hunt him down and hill him too.

I WILL have a triple before I attempt another ride on my single bike.

I thought I had one of those "this would only happen to Bragger" experiences today, but it turns out I didn't really.

Today's route was 51 miles. The "short" option was 47 miles. What the hell? If I could ride 47 miles, surely I could ride 51. I mean, the last few were going to be the same anyway; it's not like they just tack on the extra 4 at the end.

I opted for the 51 mainly because it crossed into Tennessee, and I could legitimately say I rode to Tennessee on my bicycle. I was watching on the GPS to cross the state line, and I was riding with this other girl. We got to a park, and when we turned in, I noticed that the arrows turned around and went back out. So we just did a u-turn without venturing into the park very far. Turns out THAT'S where the state line was. I was bummed because I didn't think I had actually ridden to Tennessee, but as you can see from the map above (you might have to scootch it down a little bit), we definitely crossed the line.

I had my iPhone playing my music for the last half of the day, and I had it on shuffle. That was the only way to keep my sanity today. It was brutal out there.

When I rode up to my car, the song that came on was Julianne Hough's "My Hallelujah Song."

I am NOT making this up.

The song starts out: "Look at me, can't believe I finally made it here. Feeling like I'm where I belong. Singing my hallelujah song."

It made me smile at a time when I was thinking I might never smile again.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Today's Ride......

It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. But I always say that after a bike ride.

I rode 50 miles in some of the prettiest country in the state, I think. It was very isolated at times, and I found myself thinking, "Man, I wish I had some music."

Duh. I have an iPhone.

There were miles and miles when I wouldn't see a car at all. Nor would I see another cyclist, which sometimes concerned me. But just when I almost reached the "oh crap I need to check the map" point, I would see a symbol on the road.

If you're so inclined to "View Details" above, note the elevation chart. No wonder my knees are aching. I don't have enough gears for climbing. Lying bastard who sold me my bike.....

It only got unbearably hot the last 10 miles, and I was finished with the whole 50 miles at 11:30.

I never write much about what we eat on these bike rides. It seems that we're eating continuously, but it's not that much at a time.

For breakfast, I had a bagel with jelly and a cup of coffee. Probably should have skipped the coffee, but it's such a habit.

At rest stop #1 (17 miles) I had half a PBJ, a cup of powdered sports drink (blue), and two chunks of watermelon (thanks Paul!).

At rest stop #2 (40 miles!!!) I had two sugar wafer cookies (I wanted two more to even out the stack, but I wasn't terribly hungry), a banana, a cup of the blue stuff, and a pack of peanuts.

Lunch back at the college was a ham sandwich, chips, a yucky cookie, and a bottle of water.
I didn't eat the apple -- too healthy.

Snack was a beer.

Dinner tonight was half a sandwich from Panera, chips, and a cup of soup. Yes, I said soup. When I was standing there in front of the counter, I thought, "These people are going to think I've lost my mind, ordering soup when it's 100 degrees outside."

When I got back to my hotel room to eat, I realized it was the sodium I was craving. That's from the combination of sweating all day, plus all the water I drank diluting my salt content. It was very good (French onion), and it didn't seem nearly so bad eating soup with the air conditioning cranked up.

I think I did all the right things today. I used sunscreen liberally, and I forced myself to drink water every 3 miles. It isn't enough to drink when I get thirsty; they say if you wait until you're thirsty, it's too late.

Tomorrow's ride is supposed to take us into Tennessee. That's one state I haven't ridden my bike in yet.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Gonna Be Hot.......

Because I live in the South and it's SUPPOSED to be hot, I generally don't complain too much about the heat. I reserve full bitching rights, however, for the winter, when it often gets below freezing and stays that way FOR DAYS. I realize that many people in this country (including my favorite cousin, who lives in Green Bay) have to deal with much harsher weather than I do, but I always return to where I live.

God didn't put me in the Deep South to be cold.

That being said, it's going to be hot this weekend. And I'm on a bicycle ride. Hence the late hour of this post. No, I haven't actually been out carousing. Neither Katydid nor Rozmo came on this ride, so I'm all alone (sniff, sniff). I worked at registration, went and bought a Schlotsky's sandwich, and came back to the room to follow the baseball game on the computer. I didn't bring the motorhome this weekend after all. It wasn't that I was nervous about being by myself and having to do everything (including setting up the satellite system, which we all KNOW I'm fully capable of doing, ahem ahem). I woke up this morning and realized that gas for the motorhome would cost almost the same thing as staying in a motel room for two nights. When I got mired in the Friday afternoon Atlanta traffic on the way up here, I was thankful I wasn't driving that monstrosity on the interstate.

I'm up in the "cool" part of the state, right at the base of the North Georgia mountains. One of my fellow riders came in to registration this afternoon and said she saw three bank clocks in town: 101 degrees, 102 degrees, 103 degrees. I told her she was obviously driving in the wrong direction.

And tomorrow and Sunday we are going to ride bicycles in this heat.

We did these routes last year, and while they will be hilly, they aren't mountainous. But they are very scenic and if I remember correctly, they don't have much traffic.

Remind me again why I do this?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Is There a Doctor in the House.........?

I found out today that my gynecologist is retiring at the end of this year. Don't worry ... I'm not going to go into any details about ob/gyn exams or appointments.

I'm not really SURPRISED that he's retiring. He is turning 70 this year, and his SON is now in practice with him. (Why did it creep me out when I had an urgent need to see a doctor one time and I had to see my regular doctor's son?)

I have been seeing this doctor (mostly - more on that in a minute) since I was 22 years old. I actually went to him once when I was about 14 or 15. My mother was a patient of his, and I was having terrible trouble with my periods. Mom took me in to talk to him, and I remember him saying to Mom, "Well you know, there is one option....."

"Absolutely not," my mother replied with her mouth set in that thin, hard line. Nice girls did not take birth control pills, even if they were for reasons other than preventing pregnancy.

I don't remember if he had any other suggestions or what advice he gave Mom and me, but I do remember that after that visit, my periods regulated themselves and were bearable. I always thought he was a true Miracle Worker because all he did was talk to me.

He's very old-fashioned, and perhaps it's time for him to retire. I haven't seen him all that much for the past several years because I have been seeing the nurse practitioner in their office. My doctor was all booked up one year when it was time for my yearly appointment, so I had to see the nurse practitioner.


It's not just because she's female and can obviously relate to my problems better than the doc. It's not just that she's overweight herself and so has never, ever criticized me for my weight. It's not just that I saw her the week my Sweet Girl broke my heart three years ago, and she offered me something to help me sleep (I declined), but that she REMEMBERS it and always asks how we are doing.

It's that while I'm in her office, I can pretend I'm the only patient she has. We talk about life, she thinks it's very cool that I ride a bicycle and a motorcycle, and we laugh. I called her yesterday with a question, left a voice mail, and do you know what?


She even said in the course of our conversation that it seemed all her favorite patients had called her this week (more on that in a minute). She might have said that to forty people, but it still felt good for her to say it to me. "I'm one of her favorites." Wow. Even at forty-nine, I still want the star on my homework paper.

She advised me (wisely) on what I had called her about, told me about my regular doc retiring this year, and then she dropped the bombshell.

She's leaving too.

I got teary-eyed, like my best friend in middle school was moving across the country.

She has an offer to teach nursing at the Medical College of Georgia, and she said she just couldn't turn it down. If my interactions with her are any indication, she will be an excellent teacher. The selfish part of me, though, wishes it didn't have to be at my expense.

In a way I guess it has its advantages. I have kept going to that group of doctors even though it is 30-40 minutes from home, mainly because of her. Now I will be able to find a doctor much closer to home, and making regular appointments won't be quite so much of a hassle. I may even be able to find a doctor who is not in one of those mega-practices that make me feel like a cow being herded through the chute.

When she was talking to me today, she said she told her husband that hearing from so many of her favorite patients this very week made her feel like maybe she was making the wrong decision. He said maybe it was just so we got a chance to say goodbye.

I like his take on it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Today I have been what my mother would describe as "SORRY". Only she can say that word with such venom, such underlying wrath, that I can never duplicate it. I wish I could record her saying it and post it here sometime. Maybe I'll make that my new project.

Hubby inexplicably decided to work today. The temp service called and asked if he would help a guy on a drink route, not the company he retired from, and he said "Sure!" because neither of us can turn down the chance for extra money. Then he called me from the route today and said they wanted him all the way through next Friday, and he said "Sure!" because he's an idiot I'll be going back to school anyway. As of this moment, he has been gone from home 12 hours. Some retirement.

I didn't really mind him working, because that gave me all day to get some things done for myself. I had excellent intentions.

You know what I did though?

I played Nintendo.

All day.

Except for the time I spent playing the Wii, but the remote needs batteries, so I had to quit. I texted Hubby and asked him to bring some home rather than go 2 miles to the store and buy some myself.


Okay, okay, I did make up the bed, because for me there is a fine line between sorriness and pure slovenliness, and I didn't want to cross it. I was afraid I would never come back.

I also folded a load of laundry, but only because I felt guilty that those clothes had been in the dryer since Monday.

Oh, and I took two books back to the library for Hubby. I didn't even put on a bra. And I wrestled with the idea of paying the .20 fine if I took them back tomorrow, but I lost that argument with myself. It wasn't the .20 -- it was knowing the look Hubby would give me if I didn't do the ONE thing he asked me to do.

I proofread a paper for Sweet Girl that she has to turn in tonight, and she emailed it to me Monday night. That's just pure sorriness, letting your child down like that. Your child who is in the Navy AND going to college. I'm guessing she will just add it to the growing list of things for which she will never forgive me.

I don't know why I'm beating myself up because I spent a day doing nothing. I guess I'm as entitled to a free day as anyone else, but it's fairly unusual for me. It's not like I'll have this choice starting next Tuesday (a mere 6 days away), when I report back to school.

I'm going to try to be more productive tomorrow. But I'm going to give myself permission not to.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dear Candidates.......

Dear Political Candidates:

I didn't vote in the primary elections today, and it's your fault. I decided early on that I would not vote for anyone who made one of those annoying automatic telephone calls to my home phone or my answering machine.

The list of people I was determined to vote AGAINST because of the annoying phone calls pretty soon included everyone.

Why aren't politicians held to the "Do Not Call" requirements?

Even more annoying than those of you who called personally were the calls that came from your daughter, your wife, your neighbor, your pastor, your railroad engineer.

Hubby and I should be able to enjoy a peaceful evening with our books, our video games, and baseball without umpteen interruptions by people who don't even know us.

Keep calling, and I will non-vote for you again.


Monday, July 19, 2010

My Handicapped Parking Beef......

Some people who use parking spaces that are reserved for the handicapped really get on my nerves. I'm not talking about the ones who just park there with no permit and no obvious handicap - those ought to be taken out and shot.

The ones who get on my nerves are the ones who HAVE a permit (or have someone who has the permit) but don't need the parking space.

My mother-in-law is legitimately handicapped. She walks (veeeeerrrrrryyyyy slllllooooowwwwwllyyy) with a walker, and she is very unsteady even then. When we take her out to eat with us, we use her permit and park in a space reserved for the handicapped. There have been times when we have been searching for a parking space when she WASN'T with us, and we joked about how nice it would be to have her placard with us. But we were JOKING, and I would never actually do that. Even at a Braves' game. When the parking for handicapped is right next to the stadium. (I wonder if Granny likes baseball?)

Some people take advantage, though. I knew a woman and her husband, for example, who had a temporary permit after he had knee surgery. Even after he was fully recuperated, they continued to use the parking permit until it BY GOD EXPIRED. I was embarrassed to go anywhere with them if one of them drove, because the four (or five or six) of us would all hop out of the car, and it was obvious that none of us was handicapped. I guess it was technically legal, but it wasn't right.

I saw a car parked in the handicapped zone the other day at the store, and the driver had left the handicapped person in the car. Now if the person who has difficulty walking wasn't actually DOING ANY WALKING, was it reasonable for them to take up one of those reserved parking spaces? Maybe I'm being picky, but I'm thinking those are reserved for the folks who need a little extra help getting to the building.

I don't know what got me thinking about this issue today. On a similar note, I saw a car the other day with one of the "Disabled Person" license plates. It was a souped-up Mustang with one of those high-rise spoilers on the back. I didn't get a good look at the driver. You don't reckon someone just stole Grandpa's license plate after he passed, do you?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Bruised Ego......

I have spent way more time than I should admit recently, playing Mario Brothers on Nintendo DS. I got to a couple of points where I just couldn't progress, so I consulted the almighty universal teacher, Y0uTube, to find out what I needed to do to defeat a particular enemy or access a certain level. Hubby says that's cheating, but I maintain that I still had to DO whatever I learned. In my analogy, it would be like one of his golfing buddies telling him which way a putt is going to break. He still has to do the putting.

I made it all the way through the last level, level 8, and defeated the TWO bad dudes in the last castle. The words "The End" came up and the credits rolled. And rolled. And rolled. And rolled. I think more people were involved in the production of this game than were in the movie Ben Hur, including all the extras. I've never seen that movie, so there's a good chance I don't know what I'm talking about.

What bothered me, though, was that the game skipped from Level 3 to Level 5, and then from Level 6 to Level 8, bypassing both Level 4 and 7. That bothered me, because while I could say I had defeated the final monster, I had not actually completed each and every level.

So I went back to Y0uTube to see how to access those two levels, and sure enough, there were two instructional videos ("walkthroughs," I've discovered they're called) showing the secrets of how to access those two levels.

They were posted by an 8-year-old.

I think his parents should be monitoring just how much time he's spending playing video games and posting walkthroughs on the internet.

Some might suggest someone should be monitoring me.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Just What DO You Drive a Truck With...........?

Since we bought the motorhome, I have run into a few people who are amazed that I can drive it.

To be honest, I was a little bit hesitant at first, but that was the result of a bad experience with a 24-foot rental truck coming home from BRAG one year.

On that occasion, I ran into the same situation. When I stopped for gas, two different people asked me -- Are you by YOURSELF?

Granted, I had just about taken out a gas pump (or two) because I wasn't used to driving anything that big, and I very nearly put non-diesel gasoline in the truck, but both those people seemed to be implying that a little lady shouldn't be driving a big old truck without .... a MAN.

Are these people suggesting, albeit probably unwittingly, that it requires a PENIS to drive a truck?

Ever since the invention of power steering, we're not talking about needing brute strength to drive a larger vehicle. All that is required is the ability to see over the steering wheel (okay, so I just BARELY meet that minimum requirement) and to use the side mirrors. I think I'm excellent at using the side mirrors, both the large ones and the smaller ones. Until it comes to backing in somewhere, but that's neither here nor there. Maybe.

Next weekend I'm taking the RV to a weekend bicycle ride ALL BY MYSELF, and I am shocked at the number of people who are shocked.

Really? What is it about me personally that makes them think I can't handle driving the RV 123 miles all by myself? Is it just because I lack a penis?

I'm by no means a raging feminist -- a sort-of feminist who rages about other things from time to time maybe -- but I resent it when people act as if women shouldn't do some things that are better left to men. Like driving an RV or a truck. Or following football.

Besides, I know some folks WITH penises who aren't so good at driving. They might not live in this house, but I know 'em.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Believe it or not, I had never, EVER listened to an audiobook until this week. It's true!

I consider myself a very visual person, and I have trouble processing information if I only HEAR it. That might partially explain my dismal undergraduate GPA.

It was Hubby's idea for us to check out an audiobook for the trip to Florida last weekend. We browsed the shelves in our local library and found a new book by an author we have both enjoyed, Robert Crais. Hubby and I don't agree on a lot when it comes to books, but this is one we could both tolerate. It had a little too much killing and general mayhem for me, and not nearly enough for Hubby.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to follow the plot, even with several days' break in the middle of the book. It was read by the author, so in my mind that gave it a little more credibility. There couldn't be any misinterpretation of what kind of tone a character might have used, or if he really MEANT to say the "f" word that many times. I find the "f" word generally offensive (though I will concede that there are occasions that absolutely scream for its use), and when it's written in a book I can sort of pretend it isn't there. In an audiobook, though, it's sort of IN YOUR FACE. That was the only part of his reading that made me feel uncomfortable.

I don't think Hubby will want to listen to another audiobook, but it's hard to tell if it was just because of this particular author. Crais tends to put a lot of detail into his books (sleeveless gray t-shirt, baby bib stained with green and orange that could be identified as peas and apricots), and it's the kind of stuff that Hubby tends to skim over when he's reading. There's no skimming over in an audiobook. Oh I guess you could fast forward, but then it's hard to tell when something important is coming up.

It's also challenging to know when the book is drawing to a close. Obviously you know if you're on disk number 7 out of 7, but I kept expecting the music to signal the end of the book, and the author would say, "forty-five" (as in the chapter number). Three or four different times I thought he was finished, and when he kept reading, I said, "Come on! What else can there BE?"

I might try another book, particularly if I have to drive a long distance alone. Even for all its unnecessary facts, I can certainly say one thing for the audiobook: It made the long drive go by MUCH faster.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

When Does it Stop Being Funny..............?

I know it's a fact of life that people tend to get confused as they get older. Memory lapses occur, stories get repeated (and repeated and repeated and repeated), details get fuzzy.

My mother has displayed some of those characteristics recently, and it worries me. It's not that I don't think she's entitled to some confusion at the age of almost-78. It's just that HER mother had Alzheimer's, and she languished in a nursing home for almost ten years.

I wasn't around Grandmother much either, so I don't know what the first signs were. Did she just forget a few things here and there? Get confused about taking her medications? Did everyone laugh at her lapses and forget about them?

Maybe I'm just paranoid BECAUSE Grandmother had Alzheimer's.

At our family reunion three weeks ago, we were discussing the fact that Nurse Jane was left to mind a bunch of young'uns, when she wasn't much older than a young'un herself, when our parents had to make an emergency trip to Connecticut due to the death of one of our cousins. Mom was saying where all the kids stayed, and I asked what about me? She looked at me, puzzled, and said, "You weren't my child."

We laughed uproariously and I made a joke about the truth finally coming out after all these years, but the look on Mom's face was genuine confusion. My sisters and I have established that what she probably MEANT to say was that I hadn't been born yet. But I had. Don't you know whether your children had been born or not at significant events in life? I mean, I relate so many of life's milestones to how old Sweet Girl was when they occurred. I know Mom had FIVE kids to keep up with, but still..... Don't you know whether one was alive or not?

And those words..... "You weren't my child." Those aren't easily confused with "You hadn't been born yet." I still can't get over the look on her face. She looked for all the world as if she were trying to figure out to whom I DID belong.

I'm not being sensitive (I don't think); I haven't been brooding for three weeks over whether or not my mother loves me or wanted me (I think the vasectomy pretty much established that) or anything like that. It's just that I wish I could see inside her mind, to see if it's deteriorating more than expected for someone her age, or if what she's experiencing is normal.

Something I get to look forward to. Yay.

I'm not worried for selfish reasons, concerned that I may have to take Mom into my house when she becomes infirm. She wouldn't come here on a dare, all because I have animals. She hates animals. She won't even come visit here. And if something happens to these animals, I know where I can get some more. Seriously, Mom bought a long-term care policy years ago in case she got to a point where she had to have full-time care. None of us is capable (or willing.....shhhhh) of taking care of her if she becomes dependent on someone else.

But when do you know? How do you know?

Grandmother went from living alone to assisted living to a personal care home to a nursing home in what seemed to be the blink of an eye.

What do you watch for? Who decides?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Best-Laid Whines.....

I knew Hubby would want to start home a day early (we always do), and I was okay with stopping halfway again at the same state park where we stayed on the way to Florida. I was wary, though, because I know him well, and I knew that when we got on the road he would start suggesting that we just go the whole way home, effectively cutting our vacation a day short (we always do). I was prepared to argue that we shouldn't tire ourselves out with a long drive, that we had groceries for tonight, that we didn't really get a chance to explore the park very much when we were there Saturday, that it would make the drive home tomorrow much more bearable, yada yada yada yada yada.

I was prepared for whenever he brought it up.

It all went to hell, though, when we stood outside our motorhome this morning, gazing into the creek, and I blurted out, "What do you think about just going all the way home today?"

It is good to be home. And now he can play in a golf tournament that he was going to have to miss tomorrow morning. Don't tell ME about ulterior motives.......

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Short Little Ride/Walk......

I remembered to put the GPS on my bike today, but we didn't ride nearly as far as yesterday. We rode over to the beach and then walked for a while on the beach. I wanted to keep going, but Hubby was interested in getting back to the air conditioning.

This would be a wonderful place to kayak, if I had mine with me. I think they rent them here, but if I had mine we could launch it right next to where we are camped. There's only so much you can haul on a motorhome, though. Maybe someday we'll get a trailer....

It's been a good vacation for relaxing, but we are all relaxed out. I think Hubby is anxious to return to the golf course, and I'm ready for a little activity myself.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Scary......

I almost deleted yesterday's whiny post when I reread it this morning. It's not like me to go off on a vacation THAT I PICKED OUT AND PLANNED and then complain about what's wrong with it. The site is a little disappointing, yes. but we are somewhere we've never been before, we are in the motorhome, and we are together. So I realize I have few grounds for complaints.

Besides, we have Bloody Mary stuff.

The Good

We have satellite television, and it's mostly because of me. Hubby had me type up the instructions from Stanley-the-bootleg-cable-guy, which I did faithfully. I printed them out and even brought them with us. And nothing was working when we tried to set up the satellite system. You would have to know Hubby to understand how unpleasant it is when he can't get something to work. Especially something he's having to do in the blazing sun when it's 90-something degrees outside. I won't bore you with the details, but the satellite system was giving us a setting that Stanley didn't mention. When I suggested we try it, Hubby snapped, "He didn't say anything about that! He didn't do that when he was at our house." It involved loosening three bolts on the satellite and rotating it. I thought (but didn't say aloud) that what we were trying wasn't working and it couldn't hurt. Finally Hubby said, with no small amount of derision, "Fine. Put it where you want it." The most satisfying sound I've heard (at least recently) was the beeping of the television to indicate it had located a satellite. He hasn't once acknowledged that it was my suggestion that finally worked, but he knows it. Better yet, I know it. Hee hee hee.

The Bad

My first photos this morning. When we left the (blessed) air-conditioned cool of the motorhome and ventured out in the steamy morning to take photos, I didn't allow time for the lens to adjust to the new temperature. So the first few pictures, including one of Gus swimming in the creek, were too foggy to save. Perhaps I'll do better tomorrow. I'm not sure what to do, though.... put the camera outside for a little while first? Suggestions would be appreciated.

I did get the picture below, of a funky tree I am fascinated with. I also posted it on another blog, a photography blog of which I am honored to be a part. Venture over there to see some fine pictures by some other women I know only through the Internet.

The Ugly

Thankfully I don't have a picture of this one. Hubby and I took a leisurely bicycle ride across the road and down to the end of the bike path to a beach. We weren't allowed to swim there, but we walked out onto the beach and stuck our toes in the water. Before that, though, we circled through a parking lot, where I promptly fell off my bicycle and skinned both knees. In a parking lot. I was barely moving. It sort of reminded me of the time I fell off a horse that wasn't moving. Hubby waited a while to test the waters as to how much teasing I would tolerate about falling off the bike. A lot, apparently.

The Scary

I wish dogs could talk sometimes. I got out of the shower tonight and reached across the bed for my clothes, coming into contact with Gus's foot. He yelped like I had stabbed him, so I felt his paw to see if I had injured him. I didn't see how, because I barely touched him. He jumped off the bed and ran to Hubby, limping and holding up his left front paw as if to say, "Mama broke my leg!" I accused him of faking and exaggerating, but I lifted his paw again to see if I could see anything. I found a thorn sticking into the front of his lower leg, and when I pulled it out you would think I had amputated his leg. He yelped and yelped and yelped, and he startled me so badly that the thorn went flying out of my hand, so one of us is destined to pick it up again. All he had to do was TELL me he had a thorn in his leg.

On the way down here yesterday, having left home a day early to break the trip up into two days, I realized Hubby would probably have the same idea about going home. I was already planning how I was going to refute his arguments and insist on the four full days. When my visions of carrying our chairs down to the beach each day were dashed by how far it is, I decided that leaving a day early won't be that bad after all. We'll stay at the same adorable state park where we stayed Saturday night, almost exactly halfway home, and we won't have a six-hour drive in one day. And I will admit it is a good idea just as soon as he acknowledges it was MY solution that gave him satellite television in the motorhome.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Only Way to Go is Up......,

I guess it's the danger of booking online.......

This campground is a disappointment, to say the least. Rather than being "on the beach," it is actually across the road from the beach. And once you cross the road the beach is still a long way away. We walked over there this afternoon, but we couldn't go onto the beach because they don't allow dogs. Bunch of communists. We're going to ride the bikes over there tomorrow.

The camping area itself is on something they call a creek, but it looks a lot like a swamp. Lots of screaming kids around. And when we got here at about noon today, they told us check-in wasn't until 3:00 and we could "wander around" for a while. Wander around in a motorhome that gets approximately 8 miles per gallon? He checked and discovered that the people in site #35 had checked out early, though, so he relented and let us go ahead and check in.

We think we know why the folks in #35 checked out early.

Pictures tomorrow. Maybe I won't be in such a negative mood.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Spontaneous Hubby.....

Who says he can't be spontaneous? And flexible?

No, I'm not talking about THAT. Get your minds out of the gutter.

We were supposed to leave in the wee hours tomorrow morning for a motorhome trip to Florida. Yesterday, however, Hubby decided we should break the 6-hour trip up into two days, so we left this afternoon after he got home from golf. The downside to that was that I had to drive, since golf=beer. No wait.....that's not a downside at all, since I hate his driving. And driving the motorhome isn't scary at all anymore.

I looked online and found us a campground about halfway to our destination. I felt so smart and smug.........until we got to the campground and found it closed down forever. Shouldn't people take their websites down when their businesses tank? I'm just sayin'......

I punched "state park" into the GPS, though, and it took us to an adorable little state park that was right on the highway we were already on. Yay! I backed the motorhome in just like a pro (a pro who was completely dependent upon the bald-headed guy waving directions at me). Now it will be just a short jaunt to the beach tomorrow morning, and we won't spend our first day completely wiped out by the long drive.

I wanted to post some pictures of the Spanish moss for tonight's blog, but Hubby fixed me a Bloody there you have it. In fact, I just had to type the word "tonight" three times. And that's just one Bloody Mary.

I'll just go ahead and prepare you..... The next few blog posts will be of the "what I did on my summer vacation by Bragger" variety.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Student News......

I got a text message from a former student yesterday afternoon, a girl who graduated from our school two years ago. She said "I've got some news for you," and I was almost afraid to respond.

When our students tell us they've got "news" for us, it can mean acceptance into a college of choice, or a new body piercing, or an upcoming court date, or a baby is on the way.

This girl immediately became one of my favorites when she came to our school. I know I'm not supposed to have favorites, but I can't help it. If you have my cell phone number, my personal email address, or my blog address, consider yourself a favorite.

One of our very first encounters was when I approached her about what she was wearing. She had on a spaghetti-strap tank top (do they even call them spaghetti straps anymore?), clearly a violation of the dress code. She was sitting at her computer, naturally, so I approached her from behind, put my hands on her shoulders, and leaned over to murmur, "You need to cover up."

She looked up at me with an angelic smile - NOT a devilish one - and said, "That's okay. I'm not cold!" I was dumbfounded for just a second, and then she burst out laughing. And she got her jacket without arguing. We were friends from that moment on.

She was smart enough to know that the one thing she needed to do most desperately in her life - after graduating from high school, of course - was to get away from her dysfunctional parents. She told me early on that she intended to join the Coast Guard upon graduation, and we set the wheels in motion by getting a recruiter out to our school. [Unlike most recruiters, it was like PULLING TEETH to get him out there. What's up with that?]

She followed through and left for basic training right after graduation. I was so proud of her. She was stationed at Panama City, Florida, and I thought that was just far enough away from her family to be safe but not so far as to be painful.

The next text message I got from her was that she was pregnant, the result of a relationship she wasn't even supposed to be having because he too was in the Coast Guard.


She brought him to meet me on one of her visits home, with her cute little pregnant belly. (I suppose it would have been hard to leave the belly behind.) She said her mother was going to move to Florida to help her take care of the baby.

Double sigh.

In one of those odd coincidences that have occurred throughout my life and I should be used to by now, I sent her a text message around her due date asking how she was doing and if the baby was still scheduled to arrive on time. I didn't know it, but she was already in labor and had texted me that she was on the way to the hospital. Our texts must have crossed in mid-air. I crocheted a blanket for the baby boy and sent it to them.

I finally got the nerve to answer her text yesterday, and her news was that she's getting married in November. I am thrilled for her, even though she is very young, and the news was much better than if she had been pregnant again. The best news of all would be that she's marrying the baby daddy, but I didn't have the heart to ask. I couldn't think of how to word it without sounding judgmental.

She's stationed in Maryland now, the wedding is going to be in Virginia, and she was texting me to let me know she wants me to be there. That was very touching. I'm going to try my best to go. She said it would either be the 13th or the 20th. Would it be crass of me to text her and request that she get married on the 20th? That's an open date for football. The 13th is the Auburn game.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Police Blotter Blogger Fodder Part 5......

It's been a while, so I thought I would post some of the recent antics of people in my county. This should make you want to go throw your arms around your entire community and exclaim, "We are NORMAL!"

  • An Obama supporter contacted authorities after a man "shot him a bird." ...... [I won't go into all the different times this has happened.] The man admitted making the gesture and explained that he did so because he feels Obama is ruining America and he knows the victim is an Obama supporter. The deputy drove to the bird flipping man's house [yes, our "newspaper" actually printed it that way] and explained that the victim was very upset over the continued middle finger gestures. After jokingly saying he would gladly stop making the gestures if the victim would put a sign in his yard admitting that Obama was ruining the country, the man agreed to stop visibly demonstrating his opinion of the current administration in such a manner.
  • A man said someone rang his doorbell and then left before he could get to the front door.
  • A woman said a man in a "wife-beater" t-shirt came to her door attempting to sell ball caps. The woman said she did not wish to purchase any and the man left. A deputy later located the man inside the neighborhood and verified his identity and reason for being there.
  • [This one would be funnier if it didn't happen to be one of the students we JUST GRADUATED from our school.] An officer stopped Tom Thumb after noticing his vehicle did not have an operative tail light. When the officer approached the vehicle, he noticed a strong odor of marijuana and asked Thumb if he had been smoking pot. "I ain't going to lie. I smoked a blunt about an hour ago," Thumb is reported to have said. [He gave permission for the officer to search the car, during which a bag of marijuana was found in the pants belonging to one of his passengers. He and the other passenger were probably extremely ticked off that the one with the marijuana was holding out on them.]
  • A woman said she was visiting with a friend when her friend's neighbor walked to the end of the driveway and wrote down her tag number. The neighbor said she is taking down all the tag numbers of the cars that visit the house because she believes the occupants of the home are selling drugs.
  • A deputy was dispatched to a business after a witness advised seeing the man "playing with himself" in the cab of a commercial vehicle. The suspect was found sitting in the driver's seat of his vehicle wearing underwear. The man claimed he was in the process of changing clothes. According to the man, he had to change his pants because he recently had a vasectomy and his pants were restrictive to the point that they were causing him discomfort.
  • A deputy was dispatched to a home after a woman noticed her dog's food dish had been taken out of her back yard. The woman described the dish as being gray in color, two inches deep and about the size of a dinner plate. The woman further advised that she paid $2 for the dish at Walmart. There are no suspects at this time.
  • A woman reported seeing a vehicle driving through the parking lot of a nearby church. The responding deputy did not see any suspicious vehicles in the area.
  • A man said he received threatening calls from an acquaintance who referred to him as a "Bosnian gypsy."
  • A woman reportedly threatened to charge her soon-to-be ex-husband with abandonment if he moved out of their home.
  • A man called authorities after a young male came to his door at just after 3 a.m. and tried to sell him a jig saw and a sander. The same male returned three hours later and tried to sell him grocery items.
  • A man called 911 because he believed his neighbor had shot his dog. Once he was able to get a better look at the dog's injuries, he realized the animal had most likely been hit by a car. The dog was taken to a veterinary hospital for treatment.
  • Three windows were broken out of a 1994 Toyota truck. The victim suspects his ex-girlfriend may be responsible and that, based on his experience, a female is most likely the culprit. [You think he's been through this before?]
  • A man called 911 after hearing shots from a neighbor's yard. The neighbor said he had fired his shotgun six times and was done for the evening.

And this one has to be my favorite this week:

  • A vehicle was reported stolen. The COMPLAINANT was later arrested when it was discovered she was wanted. The car thief was also arrested when she was stopped at a check point and did not have her license in her possession. The car thief did, however, have a large quantity of methamphetamine with her.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

That's Profiling, and Profiling is Wrong......

With my apologies to Ron White..... (whom we are going to see in October - yay!)

We had a guy come out today to show us how to hook up the bootleg satellite system Hubby bought off the internet. He bought an additional satellite receiver, a mini satellite and tripod, and a bunch of other stuff so that he can have satellite television in the motorhome. Although he reads voraciously, the thought of sitting in a motorhome ON THE BEACH for four days without television makes him crazy. Me? Not so much. It would be different if it were football season, though, so I can ... sort of ... see where he's coming from.

Anyway, since the regular satellite provider wouldn't come out and hook up a satellite dish that wasn't going to be in a fixed location (huh?), we had this dude come out and show us how to hook everything up.

He was a very nice guy, but he was ........ country.

If you're from the South, you know that means he spoke with an accent waaaaaaaaaaaay more Southern than mine. He did NOT have a wad of tobacco in his cheek, but I wouldn't have been surprised. He said he "ain't had nothing to do for two days," and then today "I done had six jobs."

He told Hubby to hand him a "war" so he could hook it up. That's country talk for "wire.

I would never make judgments about a person based on his appearance or the way he talks.

But a ringtone reveals a lot about a person, and I almost choked when his cell phone rang.

What song would you predict for this person, Stanley-the-bootleg-cable-guy?

Go ahead, I'll give you a minute to think about it.....

It was Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On."

Not at all what I would have profiled for him.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stieg Larsson Trilogy.....

I don't normally do book reviews here, because I save those for my online book club. Because I have torn through the three Stieg Larsson books, however, I thought I would mention them here for anyone who might want something to read who isn't a member of the online book group. (You're welcome to join us, though.)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was our June selection, and it's the first book I've managed to read, other than the one I chose myself. It is part political novel, part spy thriller, part journalism investigation, part love story.

That was followed by The Girl Who Played with Fire and then The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. They were a little hard to get into at first, mainly because they were translated from Swedish. I had a hard time figuring out any monetary references (finally looked up a currency exchange website so I could get a grip on how much money we were talking about), and the names threw me. I had no idea how to pronounce most of them, and I like hearing the names in my head. And there were A LOT of names. I was also frustrated because I wasn't familiar enough with the geography of Sweden (okay, I know NOTHING about the geography of Sweden) to understand the characters' movements.

Sometimes the books bogged down in a little too much detail. The intricacies of Swedish politics and law became burdensome, as did the specificity of descriptions of food, drink, and clothing. I guess the editor felt bad about cutting some things, since the author died not long after he delivered the three manuscripts. (Wouldn't that pretty much suck?)

That being said, however, I thoroughly enjoyed all three books. They became the kind of book I couldn't put down, and I was so eager to read the third one that I downloaded it to my Kindle rather than wait a day and make a trip to the library. (Yes, I have another Kindle. More on that at a later date.)

Nurse Jane, I have the first two books for you, and I will be happy to send them to you, if you haven't already got them.

They weren't an EASY read, so I'm resting my brain with a John Grisham novel. Don't tell him I said that.

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Short Career as a Swim Coach.....

When I was teaching in a traditional high school setting, a guy approached me one day about being the assistant swim team coach. I can swim, so I figured I could coach it. Never mind that I had NEVER swum competitively. But I had never turned down a challenge, so I agreed to give it a try.

Naturally we didn't have a pool at school, so we had to use the local "Y" for practices. The first time I showed up for practice, the head coach had told me the wrong "Y" to go to. That was a bad sign of how things were going to go. The correct "Y" was all the way across town, and I already lived 30 minutes from school. He didn't want to attend all the after-school practices, so he recruited me. I didn't blame him for not wanting to be there every afternoon.

We didn't actually do the coaching at the pool. Our swimmers were coached by college kids and other competitive swimmers; we just had to be there. Sometimes our swimmers weren't the most motivated in the world. They would swim to the other end of the pool and hang on the rope to gossip and socialize. When I started down the side of the pool to ream them a new one, they would swim back to the beginning. I wanted to kill them.

As for our divers, we never even saw them in action. They took what I guess were "private" lessons at the UGA pool, and they just signed up for a high school team to have an additional opportunity or two to compete. It was a weird situation.

We had a young lady sign up for swim team once who was so excited. She couldn't wait to get in the pool. However, we soon discovered that she had only learned to swim that summer. It took her an entire afternoon practice just to get across the pool once. We didn't exactly have kids beating down the doors, though, so we didn't have try-outs. Fortunately she saw pretty quickly that she was in over her head (ha ha ha ha ha - I'm hilarious) and she quit.

The head coach and I got along fine, and he tried to show me the things he had learned since he had been coaching. I learned how to set meets up, which kids to choose for which events, and just what it meant for a meet to start at 7:00 AM in South Georgia. In the winter.

We weren't really a team, though. I was more of a stand-in, someone to go to things when he couldn't. The communication wasn't there.

At one of our first competitions, the head coach asked me to take the diver(s) on Friday night before the main competition on Saturday. I had no idea what to tell our divers to do, but fortunately they figured it out for themselves. We had one really good guy, and he looked fantastic in competition. But I had no idea of the scoring, and I was unable to keep track of all the divers from the different schools. Besides, I was biased.

When they started announcing the results, they started with position number 25 or something like that. They kept announcing divers and kept announcing, and they never said our diver's name. It was getting close to the top, and he and I looked at each other like we couldn't believe we had missed his name. Finally they said his name -- in first place. He had won the competition, and I acted like we had just won the gold at the Olympics.

Fast forward to the end of the season. Again the head coach asked me to accompany our lone state qualifying diver so he wouldn't have to go both Friday night and all day Saturday. He told me what time warm-ups were, and Andrew and I agreed to meet at the school. We got to the location for the competition with plenty of time to spare. But when we walked in the building, it was eerily silent. We should have heard the sounds of warm-ups, divers splashing, shouts from coaches, fans milling around. Then we did hear a splash. Of a diver in competition.

The head coach had told me the wrong time. He had given me the time of competition, not for warm-ups. We had missed state championships. This kid was diving against the very same people he had beat at the beginning of the season, and he missed his chance for a state championship. I was furious. I called the head coach (this was before cell phones) and told him what had happened. Then I said that HE needed to call Andrew's parents and inform them.

The final straw was at the end of my second year of coaching. The season was long over, and I had been on a field trip with my students. We got back before the end of the day, and I stopped in the office to check my mail. I spotted the head swim coach in a jacket and tie as he breezed through the office. I thought that was odd for a Friday afternoon, but he was a pretty odd fellow anyway, so I didn't think a lot of it. Then a woman came in the office whom I recognized as the mother of one of our swimmers.

She asked me, "Aren't you coming to the media center?"

I was puzzled. "Ummmm..... why?"

Seems her son was signing a scholarship that day to swim in college. The head coach had called all the swimmers the night before so they would be sure to be at the ceremony, but he neglected to call me. I was humiliated, but I went to the ceremony feeling all awkward and gross in my blue jeans and t-shirt. I waited until school was almost out before I officially resigned. Damn, it was painful giving up that $300 per year that I made as an assistant coach.

I didn't mind doing the grunt work. I didn't even mind staying up until 4:00 AM one night printing lane cards for the invitational meet we hosted. I didn't even mind recruiting Katydid to give up HER Saturday to help me with that chaotic swim meet.

But I did mind being treated like a nobody.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

80-Question Meme with Fewer than 80 Answers....

  1. What curse word do you use the most? S-H-I-T.
  2. Do you own an iPod? A little bitty iPod Shuffle.
  3. What person do you talk to on the phone the most? Sweet Girl
  4. Do you still remember the first person you kissed? Yes. His name was Lucky Beach. No lie.
  5. Do you remember where you were on 9/11/01? Vividly.
  6. What was the last movie you watched? I can't remember. I am movie challenged.
  7. Has anyone ever called you lazy? Oh yes.
  8. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep? Several times in the past four nights alone.
  9. Has anyone told you a secret this week? I don't think so.
  10. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Smile.
  11. What are you looking forward to? Retirement
  12. Do you own any band t-shirts? Does Billy Joel count as a band? I have LOTS of those.
  13. What will you be doing in one hour? Sleeping, if the neighbors stop shooting fireworks before then.
  14. Is anyone in love with you? If not, I'm wasting a lot of time and energy on my Hubby....
  15. Last time you cried? I can't remember. I guess that's a good thing.
  16. Are you on a desktop computer or a laptop? Laptop.
  17. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoos? No. Two holes in each ear is all I can afford to fill with earrings. And I'm fundamentally against tattoos.
  18. Would you ever date anyone covered in tattoos? Since my dating days are over, I guess it's safe to say "Hell no."
  19. What were you doing before this? Reading a book on my Kindle. My second Kindle.
  20. When is the last time you slept on the floor? During BRAG last year when five of us piled up on one hotel room. Does it count if I slept on an air mattress?
  21. How many hours of sleep do you need to function? Eight. Ten is better.
  22. Do you eat breakfast daily? Yes.
  23. Are your days fast-paced? Not during the summer, and that's just the way I like it.
  24. What did you do last night? Ordered pizza, watched baseball, swam, read, played Nintendo DS.
  25. Do you use sarcasm? Me? Sarcasm? Nooooooooooooooo..................
  26. How old will you be turning on your next birthday? The big 5-0.
  27. Are you picky about spelling and grammar? I'm not just picky about it. I'm fanatical. As in I have been known to send emails to news reporters who make mistakes in their columns.
  28. Do you get along better with the same sex or the opposite sex? I'd have to say it depends on the person and the situation and the phase of the moon.
  29. Do you watch the news? Religiously.
  30. How did you get one of your scars? I have a scar above my left eyebrow that I got on a church mission trip. I jumped on a guy's back to ride piggy-back, and he straightened up too soon. Our heads cracked together, and his must have been harder.
  31. Who was the last person to make you mad? Ummmm..... I guess my sister-in-law.
  32. What is the last big thing you purchased? Big as in size? Or big as in money? I guess the motorhome would satisfy both of those.
  33. Who would you want to be tied to for 24 hours? No one, not even my Hubby, should have to be tied to me for 24 hours. Ewwwwwww......
  34. What is a rumor someone has spread about you? Unfortunately, most of the things people have said about me were true. So I guess they don't qualify as rumors.
  35. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator? Play a game on my iPhone, unless I happened to have my Kindle with me.
  36. T or F: All’s fair in love and war? False.
  37. Do you know how to use some words correctly, but not know the meaning? I think I have to have some general idea of their meanings in order to use them....
  38. Do you know which US states don’t use Daylight Savings Time? I thought Indiana, but then I read a comment on Evil Pixie's blog, so maybe I don't know as much as I thought I did.
  39. Do you want a bright yellow ‘06 mustang? Absolutely! Bring it on!
  40. What’s something you’ve always wanted? To publish a novel. And have a horse.
  41. Would you rather swim in the ocean or a lake? Either is fine, although typically the lake has fewer creatures I have to be afraid of.
  42. Do you wear a lot of black? Only because it is universal and supposedly slimming.
  43. Describe your hair: Short, curly to the point of being kinky, color of dead grass.
  44. Where is/are your best friend(s)? My best friends are my two sisters. One is at work, the other is (I hope) at home with her family.
  45. What time is your alarm clock set to? No alarm clock in the summer.
  46. Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture? Take a picture.
  47. Do any of your friends have children? Yes.
  48. What cd is currently in your cd player? My car CD player holds 6 CDs. A double Eagles, Carole King, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Abba, Simon and Garfunkel.
  49. Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk? Prefer chocolate, usually drink regular.
  50. When was the last time you had Starbucks? I don't remember, but you just reminded me I have a gift card in my purse.
  51. Can you whistle? Most of the time.
  52. Did you watch cartoons as a child? Yes.
  53. What was the last song you heard? "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown"
  54. What’s the weather like? High in the upper 80's, mostly sunny with a few clouds. Humidity blessedly down for a change.
  55. Have you ever been to six flags? I could happily live at Six Flags. Have been in Georgia and Texas.
  56. Do you like mustard? Yes, especially the spicy brown kind.
  57. Do you sleep on your side? Yes.
  58. Who was the last person to make you mad? You. This question was just asked in #31.
  59. Do you like anybody? What the hell kind of person could say "no" to this question?
  60. What side of the heart do you draw first? Left ventricle. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
  61. Can you dive without plugging your nose? Plugging the nose is for wimps. Don't tell Hubby i said that.
  62. What color is your razor? Pink.
  63. What is your blood-type? O Positive. Universal donor.
  64. How do you feel about carrots? I don't have any deep feelings for carrots. I guess they have their place.
  65. How many chairs at the dining room table? Four.
  66. Which is the best Spice Girl? I wouldn't know them if they waltzed in my front door.
  67. Do you know what time it is? Past my bedtime.
  68. Do you know all the words to the Fresh Prince Theme Song? Who is this Prince, what makes him fresh, and why does he need a theme song?
  69. What’s your favorite kind of gum? Cinnamon.
  70. Do you have a crush on anyone? It violates my marriage contract.
  71. Do you like to sleep? It's a necessary evil, but if I didn't need 8 hours, I could really use that time to do other things.
  72. Do you know the song Total Eclipse of the Heart? Most of it.
  73. Do you have hairy LEGS? Not on purpose.
  74. Do you have Entomophobia? Are you trying to impress someone with your vocabulary?
  75. Are you an adult? In age yes. In behavior...... not so sure.
  76. Do you have a tan? Yes, a funky one due to strange lines from my biking shorts and cycling sandals.
  77. Are you a television addict? Only when it comes to sports.
  78. Do you enjoy spending time with your mother? As a rule, no. I can tolerate it in short spurts.
  79. Are you a sugar freak? I don't consider a sugar addiction a freaky characteristic.
  80. Do you like orange juice? I prefer cranberry, but either one is good with vodka.
  81. What sign are you? Aries.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My Brain is Mush.....

Tonight is one of those nights when I can't seem to string together two coherent thoughts. Sometimes during the school year I have the excuse of what I call "brain overload," when I'm so busy that I can't corral my thoughts.

Tonight is NOT one of those nights.

I haven't done a single useful thing all day. Well, let me rephrase that. I haven't exactly been a whirling dervish of activity today. We had breakfast out, went by the golf outlet in town (I bought a 100% silk blouse for $5), and then Hubby got ready to go play golf. By the time he was out of the house and I could settle in to watch Wimbledon, I got a news flash on my cell phone that Serena had won. So much for watching.

I washed the sheets on our bed, and that is the only productive thing I can point to today. And really, how much time does that take? Five minutes to strip the bed and take the sheets down to the laundry room in the basement, two minutes to switch them from the washer to the dryer, two minutes to go back and get them, five minutes to remake the bed.

That's all I can document from my whole day.

I have read, floated in the pool, played a bajillion games of Mario, watched a baseball game, read some more, read some blogs, talked to my Sweet Girl, and eaten chips, dip, and pizza.

Maybe I'll be more productive tomorrow. I may even sound slightly more intelligent. But don't count on it. It's summer, after all.

And the freaks relatives from Hubby's side of the family are coming over tomorrow for a torture session pool party.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Another Black Eye....

The UGA athletic department has suffered another blight on its reputation with the arrest of our athletic director for DUI. He was in the company of a young woman who is NOT HIS WIFE, and her red panties were between the AD's legs.


"I was holding them for her and trying to get her home."

I'll just bet you were.

This is the guy who appeared on the giant video screen at every home game warning fans not to drink and drive. "If you drink and drive, you lose," he said.

Truer words were never spoken.

He was minutes away ... MINUTES AWAY ... from acquiring a huge bonus to his already huge salary, somewhere in the neighborhood of half a million dollars.

Is there some law of nature that says the more money you have, the stupider you get?

If you make half a million dollars in salary, not to mention endorsements and I-don't-know-what-all, can't you afford to PAY someone to drive you and your ... "friend" ... to and from Atlanta bars?

If she really is just a "friend," perhaps even your WIFE might drive her home.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

The young lady would have been fine, except that she refused the officer's instructions to stay in the car, and she said something along the lines that this whole thing would be erased because he was the athletic director at UGA. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Ain't nothing worse than a drunk woman.

I think he's been a good athletic director, but I don't see how they can avoid firing him. I hate to see someone's career come to an end because of a mistake, but COME ON! What kind of message will it send to the entire student body, let alone the student athletes, if he's allowed to keep his job?

Got stupidity?

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I often tell my students that I can't multitask, but usually it's just a nice way of saying, "Can't you see I'm already DOING something ELSE?"

The truth is that I am pretty good at multitasking, and I consider it a challenge to see just how many things I can do at one time.

I didn't say I do any of them WELL.

I often have a multitude of windows open on the computer, because I wander off to a new activity while I'm waiting for something to load. The internet just isn't fast enough for me.

I've been playing the Nintendo DS with one earphone in this week because I also want to be able to hear the Wimbledon commentary.

I read my book during baseball games, particularly during commercials.

An "expert" came to our school a few years ago to talk about "brain-based research" (give me a large personal break), and she claimed that the brain cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. I'm not sure what she considers "focus," but every scenario anyone came up with to illustrate the ability to focus on more than one thing, she refuted it. [Aside: I'm not sure, but I'm guessing she never had CHILDREN?]

I wanted to use the example from church the week before. I was playing the piano, transposing the song to a key other than the one it was written in, turning pages, and singing harmony. I didn't want to sound like a show-off, though, so I kept my opinion to myself. I'm not sure she convinced anyone in that room, though. And I don't even remember what her main point was as it related to education, so how effective a speaker could she have been?

As of today, it is against the law in Georgia to send or read text messages while driving. I will admit that I've been guilty of that ON A VERY LIMITED BASIS, but I won't do it anymore. I will say, though, that some people can do it. And some just can't.

The ones who can't are the same ones who shouldn't talk on a cell phone while driving. And it has nothing at all to do with holding the phones in their hands. Hands-free devices won't help those people, because they simply cannot do more than one thing at a time. I'm not knocking them, mind you. I just think that kind of ability is something you either have or you don't. You can't learn it. It's like being naturally graceful/clumsy, musically inclined/tone deaf, artistic/not.

I'm not even implying that I should be allowed to send text messages while driving just because I can (sort of) do it. There should not be anything in my life that I must respond to within the 8 minutes it takes me to get from school to my house. What did we do before cell phones? WE WAITED UNTIL WE GOT HOME.

Sometimes I have a football game on television, a different one on the computer, a video game on the computer, and maybe a department meeting going on. And I might be crocheting. I'm not sure how much FOCUS I'm giving to any one of those activities, but my brain is apparently taking in some of all of them.

I have to go. It's time to turn the page.