Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Hoarse is a Hoarse of Coarse of Coarse.....

Hubby's voice is hoarse and scratchy because he was at the casino/golf club in Mississippi all weekend. He stayed up too late for two nights in a row sitting in a smoky casino, and he played golf in a chilly wind.

My voice is hoarse and scratchy because Hubby was at the casino/golf club in Mississippi all weekend. I stayed up too late for two nights in a row watching football games and playing video games, and I rode my bike for 50 miles in a chilly wind today.

I'm going back to work tomorrow so I can get some rest.

Hubby, he's just going to stay retired.

Damn it.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I Guess Technically We Did Better......

In the last gazillion years, Florida has repeatedly thrashed our beloved Georgia Bulldogs. They have beaten us soundly and with embarrassingly lopsided scores.

The only exception was in 2007, when Katydid and I went to Jacksonville for the game (also known as the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but officials from both schools have tried to quash that moniker). Georgia handed out its own thrashing that year, and it was so so so so so so so satisfying.

We have come to expect Florida to beat us. Maybe not the TEAM, but certainly many of the fans. Every year we say, "This is the year," but we only half believe it.

This year I really believed it. Florida has sucked almost as badly as our team has this year, so I thought this was our chance.

When the game started out with our quarterback being intercepted ON THE FIRST FREAKIN' PLAY OF THE GAME, I thought, "Oh no, here we go again."

When it was 21-7 in Florida's favor at halftime, I thought, "Oh no, here we go again." I thought another blowout was coming.

But then when we tied it up, I really thought we had a chance. When it went into overtime, I thought we had an edge, because Florida's kicker is injured and the punter is having to do the place-kicking. Our kicker, on the other hand, is kick-ass. Seriously good. When we won the toss to start on offense in overtime, I thought, "We got this."

But no.

Another loss to Florida. In overtime.

Their sucky kicker wasn't sucky enough when it came down to winning the game.

It wasn't a blowout, but it still goes in the "L" column.

I've examined this situation closely to see if I can come up with the bright side, and the only thing I've found is......
I used the words "quash" and "moniker" in the same blog post.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dear Guy in the Blue Van......

I'm sorry.

When I was riding my bike home today, I heard a car behind me. I confirmed it by looking in my mirror, and I waited on the far right hand side of the road to make the left turn I needed to make.

The car passed, I heard another car (way) behind me (I thought), and at the last possible second I threw my left arm out and darted across the lane into the turning lane.

I thought you were farther back than that. I never would have turned in front of you if I had known you were that close. I heard you hit the brakes, and I'm so glad your tires didn't squeal when you did so.

I fully expected you to turn around and come confront me after I had made my turn, and I wouldn't have blamed you. I might have felt better, because it would have given me the chance to apologize live and in person.

Emphasis on live.

Please don't judge all bicyclists by my stupid action today. For the most part we pride ourselves on being as safe as possible on the roads, and we really, really don't get out there just to piss you drivers off. Sometimes our abrupt movements on the road are the result of hazards you can't even see from your car, such as rocks, glass, or grooves in the road. Sometimes, however, they are the result of not paying enough attention and making a snap decision without thinking it all the way through.

Please don't judge me too harshly either. I am not an idiot most of the time.

To punish myself for an act of idiocy, I added 4.5 miles to my route home. The adrenaline rush helped my average speed.

But I don't recommend it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Too Much Time on My Hands.....

It is entirely possible....

Not probable, merely possible....

That sometimes I have too much time on my hands.

This is about cycling (and insanity), so if you want to leave right now, I will understand. Actually I won't know the difference, so feel free. Just don't tell me because sometimes I'm sensitive.

I was thinking one day about all the times I've ridden in BRAG and all the little towns we've gone through. I started wondering how many different counties in Georgia I have ridden through as a part of BRAG. [By the way, if you click on the link above that says "BRAG," as long as you do it before the "Picture of the Week" gets changed, you will see a hilarious picture of Katydid and me at the UGA Bull Evaluation Center two weeks ago. I didn't know people bothered to evaluate bull, but apparently you can get a degree in it at UGA.]

I looked online for a clickable map of Georgia counties, but I didn't find one. To be honest, I didn't find one on the first page of Google results, and frankly I don't go any further than that. If it's not important enough to come up first in my search, it's not worth my time.

I found a pretty good map of Georgia and printed it out, then I began to color in the counties that BRAG has gone through in the years since I started riding it in 1992. The BRAG folks made it immeasurably easier for me by having a database of all the routes since BRAG began in the early 1980's (I think).

I was about halfway through this tedious invigorating task when I found that two of our counties were misspelled on the map. I wouldn't have used it if I had noticed that beforehand, but I was damned if I was going to start over. For the record, it's Wilkinson County, not Wilkerson, and it's Spalding County, not Spaulding. They probably got confused because there is also a Paulding, but really. How much research would it have taken to find out the correct spellings?

Georgia has more counties than any other state in the country, with 159. If I had been forced to guess (who in the world would have cared enough to ask that, I have no idea), I would have estimated that I had ridden my bike in approximately half the counties.

I can explain those three counties up on the northern border. In 2002, BRAG took a northerly route across the top of the state, but I was taking courses toward my doctorate that summer and only rode the first and last days of BRAG. I have no idea what made me so responsible that particular summer. They say it was one of the most beautiful routes BRAG has ever taken, and I'm sorry I missed it. Clearly they will have to repeat parts of that route if I am to color in those missing counties.

I can speculate about that tiny little county up in the northwest corner of the state. Because of its location it would almost HAVE to be the beginning point of BRAG, and I'm guessing there aren't any towns with enough facilities to accommodate all the different "needs" that BRAG riders have. Where they once slept in tents and ate food cooked over a campfire (I may have made that last part up), now they expect restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, and massage parlors in any of the towns through which we pass. (I may have made up the part about massage parlors.)

That is probably the same case as the block of counties in the southwestern portion of the state. Towns there aren't very big, and they are probably too far apart to satisfy the spoiled tastes of many of the BRAG riders. I don't know why or how they became so spoiled. Why can't they just rough it in their RV's like we do? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I'm hilarious.

What I CANNOT explain are those isolated little counties where we have ridden in every single county surrounding them, but we have somehow missed those counties altogether. Were we boycotting them intentionally, or was it just a quirk? I also wonder if the BRAG folks make an effort to visit a county if we haven't gone through there before? I guess I could ask them, since we exchanged roughly 42 email messages today alone.

It is possible that I missed a couple of counties, and this doesn't take into account the counties I've ridden in on rides other than BRAG. I may have ridden in one or two of these on weekend rides, for which I didn't have the list of counties passed through. It's probably pretty accurate, though. And according to this map, out of the 159 counties in Georgia, there are only 25 in which I have not ridden my bicycle. 

There may be some road trips in our future.

I'm going to email the BRAG folks again tomorrow and propose a route for 2012 (since the 2011 route is already tentatively laid out, and I don't think I have enough pull to undo all the work they've already done).

This route should enable me to hit all the counties in Georgia that I have missed in 19 years of riding BRAG.

And it shouldn't take us more than two months to accomplish. 


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just Another Day at the Zoo......

We had one of those wacky days at school today.

Not a long succession of multiple problems, just a squirrely day. We had a staff member out (again) and no substitute (again), so we had to absorb extra kids into each class period. No biggie, because we had room for them, but it's just....different. Throws us out of kilter. I was pretty busy all day, but not harried. That means I didn't have to scream at anyone, but I also didn't have time to shop online.

We have one girl several girls who invent drama if they think the drama meter is running low. There is one in particular who will stay out of school for days at a time and blame "that girl who keeps saying mean things to me" and threaten to kick her a**, and the next day after she comes back they are best friends and buddied up in the same bathroom stall working out their problems.

Today I heard an annoying, ongoing noise from the girls' bathroom that just went on and on. I thought at first it was just the P.E. kids from the other program changing clothes. But it continued, and finally I realized Drama Queen and her Drama Princess were both missing from my classroom.

Drama Queen was in the bathroom stall, wailing at the top of her lungs on her cell phone, and then reporting (still wailing) whatever was being said on the phone to the Drama Princess. I don't think she realized I was there, although she was looking dead at me, when she said, "I'm pregnant!"

But then she regained consciousness (or what passes as consciousness for her), realized I was there and heard every word, and she slammed the stall door.

I won't go into all the details, but I turned her over to an administrator who gets paid way more than I do to deal with cray-cray.

According to Drama Queen, she has all the symptoms of being pregnant.

Has she missed a period? No.
When is her period due? The last week in the month. [Check your calendars - I'll wait here.]
Her main symptom? A spot on her neck that someone reported was just like the one her sister and her sister-in-law both had when THEY were pregnant. [Said spot was invisible to the administrator, by the way.]



The only symptom she really has is that the hormones have made her cray-cray.

Oh wait. She was already that way.

Retire? Who me?

You bet your a**.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Randomness.......

  • It is the last week in October, and the temperatures here are in the 80's. Seriously, it's almost 8:30 PM, five days before Halloween (my least favorite "holiday" of them all), and it's 79 degrees. The air conditioner is still running.
  • Hubby texted me from the golf course today to inform me that I hung his shirt up inside out, he didn't notice it until he was on hole #6, and that must be the reason he was hitting the ball so badly. Oh, the life of a retiree.
  • Season 11 of Dancing with the Stars is halfway over. Usually at this point in the season I don't want anyone to have to be booted off, but this season I'm not feeling it. In fact, I kind of wish they could ALL go. Bristol? Jennifer Gray(ey)? Rick Fox? Kurt Warner? Brandy? (Isn't having no last name sort of.... passe? So twentieth century?) Audrina? Kyle? Seriously? If I HAD to pick a favorite, it would be Kyle. First of all, he's dancing with Lacey, who is the rebel of the ballroom and one of my favorite pro dancers. Second of all, Kyle is proof that a young, short, round, African-American can bust some moves in the ballroom.
  • I feel the same way about our candidates for governor. I wish they could both lose and someone who hasn't used negative television ads could step in.
  • I'm having a little trouble getting motivated to stay on top of my online teaching job. I still haven't graded everything from last week. I'm anticipating a lot of high grades for turning stuff in. Just a feeling I have.
  • I am about 30% of the way through my online book club's selection for September. I was about 15% into it before I realized it was nonfiction. The perils of reading a book on the Kindle - there's no back cover to read.
  • I'm glad I was the one who chose the book for October, so I won't be TWO months behind.
  • I don't mind packing my own lunch for school, but for some reason it irritates the crap out of me that I have to take my own ice.
  • People keep asking me if I'm "really" going to retire after next school year. And I keep saying, "Uh.....HELL YES!" I wonder if there will come a time when I wonder if it's the right thing to do? And if someone will slap my face and bring me back to reality if I start to doubt?
  • This week Georgia plays Florida in football. It's possibly the biggest game of the season. Every. Year. And it's the first time since 1979 that neither team is ranked in the top 25. I find that amazing.
  • We had Performance Reviews with two students today because their performance needs a lot more than reviewing. It needs complete makeovers. I get more reaction when I talk to Gus about the economy.
  • I don't get paid until Friday, and I still have money in my account. I have this (maybe irrational but probably completely justifiable) fear that I have forgotten to pay something major.
  • I know we desperately need this rain......but COME ON! I have a NEW BIKE!

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Think I Know Where they Get Their (Lack of) Manners.....

Sometimes I struggle to come up with a topic for a blog post. There are days when I actually start fretting about it early in the day. I don't want to skip a night, and I don't want to resort to "what I did today" topics (like I've been depending upon for the last three days, but only because I was so excited to have a new bike). I want to be witty and clever every night, but sometimes when I've played a gazillion games on the Nintendo had a busy day at school I just can't come up with anything new.

Sometimes, however, a blog topic comes up behind me at Subway and screams a topic into my ear.

After yesterday's flurry of domesticity, you didn't really expect me to sustain it all the way through the process of cooking a meal tonight too, did you?

After line dancing I went to Subway to fetch two footlong subs for our dinner for tonight. It really solves two meal problems: it gives us a quick and easy meal (after which I don't have to clean up) and it provides both of us with lunch for tomorrow.

A sweet looking little family came in and got in line behind me. I realize children have no concept of invading the personal space of adults, and the little bastard boy child seriously violated my personal space. Most of the time I can ignore it, but I'm talking he stepped on the back of my freakin' flip-flop! Twice! I resisted the urge to turn around and slap his little jaws growl at him glare at his father move away every so slightly. I just knew any moment the father would grab the little darling by the shoulder and instruct him on waiting BEHIND the person in front of him.

But then the father's cell phone rang.

I think the ringtone was the theme from Twilight Zone. I can't remember clearly because in the next instant all practical thoughts were B-L-A-S-T-E-D from my brain, along with both eardrums, by the father's laughter.

It was so loud, and so right next to my head, that I instinctively put my hands over my ears before I even thought about what I was doing. I was afraid I might embarrass the man.

Silly me!

The laughter continued.

I sidled away as far as I could without abandoning the sandwiches that were in the process of being dressed. The lettuce began to wilt under the power of this man's boisterous laughter. A bottle of mayonnaise committed suicide by jumping off the counter. I had to raise my voice to the person dressing my sandwiches so she could hear me. I got my hopes up when she picked up a sharp knife, thinking she was going to hand it to me. But no, she was merely slicing my sandwiches.

I am certain that nothing, NOTHING, has ever been that funny in the history of the world. The laughter went on and on, louder and louder. I have no idea what the person on the other end of that conversation could have said in that short a period of time that was that funny.

But I have a pretty good idea what kind of people those children are going to turn into.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Susie Homemaker........

I am not highly domestic by nature.

And those of you who know me are screaming in unison, "THAT IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT!"

However, I can be compelled to do a few domestic chores, particularly if it allows me to put off doing other things that I really NEED to do. I haven't been very motivated to keep up with my online grading since I decided to resign. I'm not a short-timer, and it's not an indication of my bad attitude. I think it's more a result of my feeling hurt in the first place, which is what led to my resignation.


Hubby took the day off from golf today, so we were homebodies most of the day. (I tried to think of a nice way to tell him it was really, really, really, really, really okay if he went and played, but I didn't want to insult him. Besides, I may need that wild card in my pocket sometime in the future.)

I stripped our bed and the bed in the motorhome and put fresh sheets on both beds. I did a load of laundry and then decided to iron some khaki slacks to wear tomorrow. What? What happened to ironing them at 7:15 tomorrow morning? Then I ironed a few MORE pairs of slacks, some of which I will wear in the coming week and some I will wear NEXT week. Then I remembered I need to sew a button (or three, as it turned out) on one of my favorite pairs of slacks. Then I sewed a button (or two, as it turned out) on another pair. Then I remembered a pair of Hubby's golf shorts that had been on the dresser for........ I'm not going to admit how long...... and I sewed a button on those too. (It will still be shorts weather for him for several more weeks.) I worked on my quilt, and I put away some of Hubby's tools that were still in our bedroom after the renovations were complete. (I tried to outwait him, but I gave in. Gave up. Whatever.) I cooked some chili for dinner, which will also serve as my lunch tomorrow, so that chore is done too. I swept the kitchen, I moved a lamp, I put the sewing machine away, I moved two craft containers into my closet.

I did get around to SOME of my grading, and I DID manage to post a news announcement about this week's live online session. So I'm not a complete slacker.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cycling Musings......

I rode my new bike again today, mostly because the weather was perfect. It was a tough choice, though, with so much college football on television. Since the Dawgs didn't kick off until 7:30 tonight, I really couldn't justify staying inside on such a perfect day for riding.

I won't bore you with the pedal-by-pedal account of where all I rode. I left with no particular route in mind, only pretty sure that I would end up at the golf course about the time Hubby finished playing. It worked out perfectly too; he texted me when I was about a mile from the golf course. Did he meet me at the BOTTOM of that kick-arse hill going into the parking lot? Of course not!

I am not afraid (enough) to ride alone, but sometimes I wonder if I'm taking unnecessary risks doing so. What if today is the day a car passes too close to me and clips me? What if some rednecks see me on a back road and decide that doing me harm is a form of sport? What if I lose control of my bike going down a hill at 30 mph and wind up in a ditch?

I have my cell phone, and if I get a chance I'm sure I can call SOMEONE to come get me. But what if I'm unconscious? Hubby knows when I'm on the road, but take today for example. He wouldn't have the first idea of where to start looking for me. I rarely take the same route twice, and like today I don't usually even plan ahead of time.

I don't drive myself crazy thinking these things, or I could easily convince myself that the only safe thing to do is stay in the recliner watching football all day.

It does make me wonder, though.

And it's much better than pondering on the fate of our football team, who seem to be able to stop teams on first down and second down, but give up chunks of yardage on third and ten, third and fourteen, third and nine.

Sorry, I digress.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Beginning of a New Era.......

With tremendous reservations, I took my brand-new bike to school today and had Hubby drop me off. I only tooled around the neighborhood for about a mile last night, and I wasn't sure about riding it any distance. The first ride has to come sometime, though, and I figured a Friday afternoon was as good a time as any.

About an hour after Hubby dropped me off at school, I texted him and asked if he could swing BACK by and drop off my (new) helmet. I had left it in the back floorboard, and he didn't even complain about having to bring it back to me. Other than go to the "Y" and have breakfast with the old fogies at Mickey D's, what ELSE did he have to do with his time?

I had only minor trepidation when I left school on my bike. I figured out how to change gears and became more and more comfortable with them. The only minor issue I had was with my mirror. The one I had on my yellow bike doesn't fit the drop handlebars as well, and I didn't take time to install the bar-end one yet. I hope it is in a good position, or I may have to make another attempt at a mirror that clamps on to my helmet. I tried one of those once, but I couldn't see cars behind me very well. I could see most of my ear canal, but not so much the cars.

The new bike is a sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet ride, I'm here to tell ya. I felt like Lance Freakin' Armstrong. I added the same extra loop I added on my trip home Wednesday, then I headed for the golf course. It was 18.6 miles in all, and I cruised up the hill to the golf course WITHOUT STANDING UP on the pedals. I can't wait to ride tomorrow.

It has been an unusual Friday night already. We always go out to eat on Friday night, but tonight I didn't really want to. Instead I grilled some burgers and sauteed some mushrooms and onions. Those were for me, 'cause Hubby won't touch "toadstools." Then I got out my new sewing machine to go back to work on the next stage of my quilt. I didn't actually put any thread in the machine yet, but I went so far as to take it out of the box. I also returned a call from the parent of an online student. The mom called me early in the day today, but I wasn't in a position to take her call, and her voicemail sounded angry. I didn't want to call her back from school, so I waited until I got home. Turns out she wasn't angry, she just couldn't figure out how to do her son's assignment. I got her straightened out and answered my three-times-daily text message/email/phone call/pager message from Austin, who doesn't need a teacher so much as he does a buddy. I do like him, though, and I'm going to miss him next semester.

It's not even eight o'clock yet, and I'm ready for bed. And because I'm grown, I may just go there. Right after I have my (sugar-free) chocolate milk.

Happy weekend, y'all!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The End of an Era.......or Two......

Last week I FINALLY settled on a new bicycle and ordered it before I could get confused and/or change my mind again. Last night the guy from the bike shop called to say it was here, and I told him I would pick it up on Saturday. When I got up this morning, however, I decided I couldn't wait until Saturday, and I went after school to pick it up. I took one picture of it, and it doesn't really do it justice, so I'll wait until the weekend to post it. By then the tires will be dirty, but whatever.

It's the end of an era for my yellow Giant bicycle, though. I bought it way back in 2004 as a reward to myself for completing my doctorate. I had "x" number of dollars in a savings account, and when I picked out my bike, it came to almost exactly "x" dollars. I had only one requirement, and that was that the bike was yellow. You wouldn't believe how hard that is to accomplish.

The yellow bike has served me well. I think I've put around 6000 miles on it, which isn't a lot by serious cyclist standards. I have replaced the tires once, the computer once, and I think I even cleaned it up once when Rozmo shamed me into it. It has carried me across the state of Georgia three times (before Katydid and I bought the tandem) and Iowa twice. It has never thrown me to the pavement, with the possible exception of that one time when I couldn't get my cleat unclipped at a stop sign, and I hit my head on the sidewalk. I CRACKED my helmet, and THAT my friends is why I wear one.

I feel like I'm parting ways with an old friend. But what makes me feel better is that I'm selling it to a former co-worker (whom I may NEVER forgive for leaving us this year, *ahem* *ahem* you know who you are *ahem*) who has just recently gotten into cycling. I know she will take good care of it, and I know old yellow will serve her well. I hope they put another 6000 miles on it.

The other end of an era is my online teaching job. I started thinking about how much I bitch about it and about how I really don't need the money, because after all, about all it does is screw up our taxes. When I got my teaching assignment for next semester and the course that has become MY course, the one thing I'm comfortable with and have been teaching for five semesters had been taken away, I decided the full-time hassles had started outweighing the part-time pay. They didn't take the course away from ME necessarily, but they have to fulfill their full-time and salaried part-time segments first, so I wound up with basically two courses I've never taught before. I had requested to BE one of those salaried part-time folks last spring, and they told us they would let us know by June 11th. I'm still waiting. I'm guessing I didn't get one of the positions, but I can ONLY guess, since we were never told one way or the other. I have been in our department longer than just about anybody, so I feel like I was passed over for one of the prime spots.

Anyway, I'm feeling good about my decision. I will finish out this semester, and then my free time will go back to being my free time. I don't have to log on first thing every morning and as soon as I walk in the door in the afternoon. I don't have to set a special ringtone for my online students and their parents and then cringe if I hear it. I can take a weekend for bicycling and not worry about grading assignments and posting news announcements.

I really wanted this job to continue into my retirement, because I thought I might need something to keep me busy. I really, really like the online world, and for the most part I enjoyed the job. Maybe if I weren't teaching full-time they might have considered me for one of the salaried positions, but I'm not going to wait around for another year and a half to find out. I'll FIND something to keep me busy after I retire.

Like riding my new bicycle.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Imaginary Friend.....

My friend Neena over at Hooey!Critic gave me the idea for tonight's blog topic. Her child's imaginary friend, Kevin, has much more personality than mine did. Or perhaps Kevin is just fresh in someone's memory, and mine.....not so fresh.

My imaginary friend was named Honey. Some of the stories about Honey are ones I've heard my family members tell; I don't remember her that clearly.

I do remember that Honey went everywhere with me (duh), and my mother had to set an extra plate at the table for her. That was pretty accommodating of Mom, since she already had 7 places to set as it was. Or maybe the attitude was, "What the hell, what's one more?"

I suppose everyone grows out of imaginary friends at some point. Maybe it's then that we start talking to ourselves; we just don't bother pretending that it's an imaginary friend anymore.

I couldn't just grow out of Honey, though. I couldn't do the absolutely normal thing and wake up one morning with the knowledge that I didn't need Honey anymore. Apparently I couldn't make the decision on my own, for fear of rejecting Honey and damaging her fragile self-esteem and creating the need for her to seek therapy in her adulthood.

I came inside from playing (what else would a fifteen year old have to do? Just kidding, I think I was around five) and let the screen door slam behind me. It apparently created a stir when I didn't hold the door open to allow Honey to enter.

"Where's Honey?" someone asked.

"She got run over by a car."

Apparently I wasn't a very good guardian even back then.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Signs of the Apocalypse.....

I got a friend request on that popular social networking site today.

It's not terribly unusual for me to get a friend request, but this one was from


Who the hell taught her how to do anything other than play Free Cell and Mah Jongg? Or however you spell it. On one hand I think it's cool that she has a page (I know that my brother's wife did it for her. That's my sister-in-law, but not to be confused with my sister-in-law who is Hubby's sister and grates on my every nerve.), because she is after all 78 years old and techno-not-savvy.

On the other hand I find it a little creepy because she's


And if she has discovered the world of social networking, how long can it be before she finds my blog?


Monday, October 18, 2010

Ethical Moral Professional Dilemma.....

This is about my (part-time) online teaching job, but it's not my usual bitching about a job that I could easily give up without penalty, nor is it a post questioning why I continue to deal with full-time hassles for part-time pay. And let me preface these remarks by stating for the record that I adore my department chair, the only person I can call with a question and leave her a message stating, "And you better call me back pretty soon, because I'm drinking beer."

We get semester evaluations just like the annual ones we get in my "real" job, and leading up to those semester evaluations we have monthly checklists. This is where the department chairs go in and snoop around in our courses, see if we are answering emails, check to see if we are leaving positive, thought-provoking, personalized feedback to every single assignment (how in the world are you supposed to assess definitions of literary terms? "Great job copying and pasting?" "Love the font?"), determine if we are entering zeros for missing assignments, and basically pick us to pieces because no one is perfect and their job is to point it out.

My monthly checklists are typically pretty good, with some sweet comments about how hard I work and how much she appreciates me. She personalizes her comments just as we are supposed to, saying things like, "Awesome job, [Bragger], I really like the news announcement about feedback." Sometimes I bristle if I think she has missed the mark on something, and sometimes I point it out if it's major. Like the time I got docked for not turning grades in on time, and I had two emails confirming that I had indeed done so.

My checklist for October (wait....didn't we just start October?) was right along those lines, with a couple of exceptions. She made some suggestions about things to improve upon, and then a couple of comments said things like, "I really liked the session on literary elements, Kelly."

My name isn't Kelly.

Now I have to wonder if ANY of the comments were personalized for me, or if she just inserted my name in there a few times.

I realize she has to check every single course for every single one of her teachers, and I cannot imagine the time it must take to do that every single month. In addition, she has her own courses to teach, mostly ninth and tenth graders, and that must be her own very special version of hell, dealing with that age group in an online environment. God. Help. Her.

I realize that she probably struggles to come up with individualized comments for every single aspect of this monstrous checklist, and copying and pasting is a huge time saver.

But shouldn't she read over it before she attaches and sends it? Shouldn't she at least make sure the name is the same all the way through? That way she could at least claim to have attached the wrong document.

Here's my dilemma:

Do I call her on it?
Or do I just accept this (almost meaningless) monthly checklist and go about my business as usual?

And while you're considering that one, here's another one:

This year we are required to develop an ePortfolio, and I have actually enjoyed putting mine together. Each month we have different pieces of the portfolio that are due, with some flexibility, and I have loved learning something new, particularly something technology-based.

One of the comments on my monthly checklist said that my ePortfolio was beautiful and she was impressed with my hard work.

We were required to set up our ePortfolios to allow administrators view them and make comments on them. Here's something she may not know, though.

When I open my own ePortfolio, it shows a history of who has viewed and/or commented on it.

My department chair hasn't looked at it.

How does she know it's beautiful?

How can she be impressed with my hard work?

Should I call her on that one too? Ignore it too? Find some way to bring it to her attention innocently?

Keep in mind that I adore her and don't want to embarrass her.

But I think if I were taking short cuts like that with my students, I would realize I ran the risk of being discovered.


Sunday, October 17, 2010


Bikefest is over for another year, and normally this would be the end of organized cycling events for the year. We still try to get together for informal rides when the weather is decent, but mid-October is pushing it as far as being able to count on decent weather for a weekend of riding.

This year, however, we will be traveling to North Florida for an annual event that I have heard is lots of fun. Katydid, Rozmo, and I will pile into the RV once again and enjoy a weekend of cycling and tomfoolery.

Case in point:

I don' remember how the conversation started, but Friday afternoon we were sitting around outside the RV, making fun of and heckling two high school-age boys playing tennis. (They were awful. One of them only looked sort of good because he was so much better than his friend.) Every time one of them would hit the ball over the fence, I would shout (loudly) how many that was that had gone over the fence. "Three!" "Four!" "What are you going to do when you've hit them ALL over the fence, go home?"

The things grown-ups will do to teenagers after a 50-mile bike ride.

Anyway, back to the conversation. Rozmo said she had friends who didn't believe she could stand on her head and drink a beer. We immediately added two more to the list of friends who didn't believe she could do that. Actually, she said she had won many a bet with that particular challenge.

I couldn't get past the standing on her head part. Rozmo is ten years older than I am, and I don't care who knows it. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Here is proof, however, that she can indeed stand on her head and drink a beer. I suppose other beverages would also suffice, but they just don't have the same effect. On the bet OR the outcome.

Personally, I thought she was cheating by using A) the pillow; and B) the light pole. But then I haven't stood on my head lately, so what do I know?

Just in case you're wondering, yes, Rozmo is going to kill me for that first picture. When she finds it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Some Days Are Like That Part 2.....

Katydid, Rozmo and I had already decided to ride the century today on BikeFest. For those of you who don't remember (and probably don't care in the first place), a century is 100 miles (or more) on a bicycle in a single day. I don't know whose idea it was to ride the century (again) this year, but I'd like to have a talk with her. Unless it was me, in which case I would like to sign up for some additional therapy sessions.

We were later leaving than we planned, because it's just so hard to get on that bicycle when it's cold. It's hard to dress for cycling at this time of year. It's uncomfortably cold in the morning, but you know very well that it's going to get quite warm by the afternoon. Or evening, if you happen to be out there that long. Personally, I'm too stubborn to layer very well. I figure I can suffer through a little while of being cold in the morning and not have to worry about removing layers (and where to put them) later in the day.

Where in the world was I going with this? Oh yeah....

So we were later leaving than we should have, considering we were planning to ride 100 miles. The last thing I did was put air in the tires, #1 because we needed it, and #2 because it was one more thing that would delay our actual riding.

Something went wrong with the valve stem, and we wound up with a flat tire.

We had extra tubes, but we decided to take it to the professionals instead of changing it ourselves, #1 because it was the back tire, and #2 because it was the back tire and it would have taken us roughly three and a half hours to change it.

The bike shop dude who changed the tire talks a lot more than he works. I accused him of charging by the word, and then I felt bad when he didn't charge us anything at all.

We finally left, only to discover after half a mile that we had no rear brakes. I didn't want to go back because #1 I don't like to go back EVER, and #2 we were already much later leaving than we wanted to be. I reasoned that we still had front brakes, and we don't use the brakes that often anyway. Never mind that I discovered the absence of brakes at a 4-way stop and we were extremely lucky that there weren't other cars at the intersection.

So back we went.

Willard worked on the brakes for another 15 minutes or so, talking the whole time. We finally left at 9:05 or something equally ridiculous.

Either of those incidents, the flat tire or the brake problem, would have been enough to make us change our plans for the route we were riding. We had by golly decided to ride the century, though, and none of us ever mentioned changing our plans.

Damn it.

So ride the century we did.

We didn't get into camp until 6:30 or so, but we still weren't last. CLOSE to last, but not last. The rest stops were closing (or closed) when we got to them late in the day, but the porta-potties were still there, and sometimes that's the most important thing. I was not in my happy place starting at about mile 75. I couldn't join Katydid in singing, and I couldn't even enjoy the music. After the UGA game ended (we listened to it on the radio on the bike), I didn't even have that distraction anymore. At mile 90 I knew we could make it (what other choice did we have?), but we still had to pedal those last 12 miles.

But hey, the reward for riding a century is large. We got a beautiful bandanna. It's all about the bandannas.

Good night.

Friday, October 15, 2010


This is going to be one of those posts where I have to give you a lot of convoluted back story information, or you might wonder why a woman I had never met came up to me at a rest stop and started talking to me about my dissertation.

I apologize for that in advance.

I did my doctoral research and wrote my dissertation about the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia, specifically women who have participated in it for years and how it has changed them. Of course it came from a profound knowledge that over the years, at least for me, cycling became more than something I do. It became something I am.

In preparation for this week's ride, a man had posted on the message board that he had GPS routes for this weekend that you could upload into a GPS, and I've always wanted to try that. I use my bike GPS mainly to show where I've BEEN, and it also calculates distance, average, time, altitude, and other basically useless information. I emailed him for the routes just so I could play around with them.

I noticed that his email address included "DrDawg," so I commented that I was also a "Dr. Dawg." I told him to look for me and my sister on our tandem this weekend, specifically on Saturday when we would be wearing our UGA cycling jerseys. He replied, "Hmmm....sisters, tandem, UGA jerseys.... I think I remember some singing too." He had seen us on previous BRAG events. Turns out he is a vet and graduated from UGA's vet school, where I worked right after I got out of college and got married. He graduated before I got there, though.

At a rest stop today, a lady came up to me and asked if I were [Bragger]. She was Dr. Dawg's wife (he was miles down the road). That was sweet enough, but then she went on to say that she had done an online search for me after I said I was a Dr. Dawg. I thought she was going to say it had led her to my blog, and I was all excited at the prospect of having a new reader. It's all about the readers.

What she said, though, was that it had led her to my dissertation. I groaned inwardly. But then she said that she sat down and READ. EVERY. WORD. OF. IT. I wouldn't want to read every word of my dissertation, and I wrote the damn thing. She said she had never done a long bicycle ride, but after reading my dissertation, she had convinced herself that she could do it, and she was on the 50-mile route. There was a 20-mile route today that she could very easily have chosen, but she was on the 50.

It literally brought tears to my eyes. I thought I was going to blubber right there at the rest stop. Her kind words more than make up for the times that a certain a**hole who just happens to be a Georgia Tech grad (and is the husband of a beeyotch with whom I used to be unfortunate to work) has made FUN of me for my dissertation topic. Made fun. As in laughed and told anyone standing nearby to ask me what my dissertation topic was.

Excuse me, but are you supposed to RIDICULE someone's dissertation topic if you DON'T HAVE ONE OF YOUR OWN?

This woman today made the whole dissertation process worth it. If no one ever reads it again, it has reached one person. That is all the affirmation I need.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Team Chi-Chis On the Road......

Three-fourths of Team Chi-Chis is on the road in South Georgia for a bicycle ride this weekend. Actually, the fourth member will also be here, but she has to work the ride and can't actually ride. We think she might be breaking up with us anyway.

We brought the RV, and we conveniently parked next to a source of electricity so we don't have to crank the generator. Yay! I just hope someone doesn't come along in the middle of the night, discover our (sort of?) theft, and disconnect us. With my breathing mask on and no electricity, I may suffocate.

We have grand plans for riding this weekend that may or may not include riding another century like last year. The weather is supposed to be ideal, the roads are mostly rural, the terrain is flat, and if the wind doesn't blow, it will be perfect. I hope to take some photos tomorrow when we return from our ride. Those photos may or may not include tiki lanterns and adult beverages.

For now, we had an almost-four-hour drive, and it's past my bedtime. Happy almost-weekend!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Is That All You Came Looking For?...........

A few months ago, I put one of those free "Stats Checker" thingies on my blog. It's a pretty cool tool that can tell you how many people accessed your blog. But it doesn't tell you how many of those page loads were YOUR OWN because you kept checking to see if maybe someone commented on your latest shards of brilliance. (I stole that phrase from another blogger. So sue me.)

It will, however, provide the IP address of anyone who has landed on my blog, so if I were industrious resourceful curious bored enough to do so, I guess I could feasibly find the name of everyone who has ever visited my blog.

The thing I find most interesting, however, is NOT that last Thursday my page was loaded 68 different times when the number is usually in the 20's or 30's. I like to see what search phrase has brought people to my blog. I just find it intriguing that we have the technology to do that. What meaningful purpose can it possibly serve? Other than, of course, the entertainment of very small minds like mine?

I don't check the stats finder every day. I'm not THAT sad curious obsessed mindless bored. But I check it every now and then just to see if anything has changed.

Every single time I have checked it since I put it on my blog, there have been two phrases that stand out in the keyword analysis from search engines. Both are posts that I wrote long ago. I have posted many, many things since then, yet these two keep showing up as the most frequently searched terms.

"Loud obnoxious people"


"Skinny dipping couples"

I hope those casual readers don't think those are the ONLY people I know.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sleep Deprivation......

I have been sleep deprived three out of the last four nights, all because of baseball. On Friday night I stayed up until 1:45 AM to watch the Braves-Giants game, which went into extra innings. I reasoned that I didn't have to get up Saturday morning, so I could stay up as late as I wanted.

When I went to bed, I was too excited to sleep because of the thrilling way the game ended.

Bear with me here, particularly you non-sports fans. It gets worse.

Sunday's game actually ended at a reasonable time, around 7:30 or 8:00, but I was so disappointed with the way it ended that I. Could. Not. Go. To. Sleep. I would doze off and then jerk awake with the knowledge that the Braves had lost, and then I would start grieving all over again. This went on for several hours. It was well after 11:00 PM before I went to sleep, and I had to get up at 5:00 AM yesterday to go back to school. Eleven o'clock is extreme for a girl who is used to going to bed at 8:00.

Oddly enough, I wasn't as upset when last night's game ended, although it decided the series with the Giants and ended the Braves' season. I had come to grips with the fact that our team is plagued with injuries, we have committed numerous errors over the course of the past few games, and I didn't think we could beat the Phillies in the NLCS anyway. The game was over around 10:30, still late for me, and I snapped the tv off just as soon as the last out was recorded. I couldn't stand to watch the Giants players celebrate. On our home field.

But I still couldn't sleep. I didn't grieve over the loss, trying to see the positives in Bobby Cox's last season, but I couldn't let it go. I would just about doze off and then I would find myself thinking, "If only he had....." "If only this had happened...." "If only (fill in the blank) weren't injured..."


I finally got out of bed and took two nighttime pain capsules sometime after midnight. I just had to get some sleep. I knew it was a bad idea to take those only four and a half hours before I had to get up, but I HAD TO GET SOME SLEEP. 

When I am sleep deprived and have to go to school, I don't react the way that would seem natural. I don't get irritable or grouchy. In fact, I sort of go into an exaggerated calmness, showing a lot more patience than  usual. I speak more slowly, I take time to explain things to my students. Today I found myself joking and kidding around with a girl in my class whom I. CANNOT. STAND. I know that those of you who know me find that hard to believe. I function almost as normal, but then I crash and burn. I taught all day with extra students in my room due to the absence of one of our staff members (subs are difficult to find for our school), I sat through a meeting this afternoon and actually tried to participate, I came home and insisted that Hubby and I go walk in the park, I cooked dinner, I cleaned the kitchen, and I taught my online class.

I can feel the crash and burn coming.

And I'm not taking any chances either. I have already taken my nighttime capsules and have allowed them plenty of time to kick in before I go to bed.

One effect that I have noticed of being sleep deprived, however, is that I tend to be more emotional. Emotional as in tender-hearted, not emotional as in I'm-going-to-cut-your-head-off-and-pour-salt-down-your-neck. I know those of you who know me find that hard to believe too.

First thing this morning one of our students wanted to meet with the teachers. He is one of those very hard-to-like students who has already been suspended twice for playing on the internet when he should be working. He looks a little grimy, he smells a little bad, and almost none of the adults can stand him. For some reason I have a soft spot in my heart for him. It could be that he has the same first name as Hubby. This is the very same student who pulled up next to me in his car when I was riding my bike last Friday. But I liked him before that. Anyway, he hates school, school is difficult for him, paying attention is a struggle, and he isn't motivated. He wants to quit and get his GED (he's 18 years old with only 5 units, which is what a high school freshman should have), but he can't even afford the fees to take the GED tests. He would like to go to a home-school type school in our area that allows students to complete packets of work at home and get their credits that way, but they charge around $45 per week for each class. He can't afford that either. He can't afford his ADHD medication. His dad has been to Savannah to dry out. He needs to get a job, but jobs for young people are scarce to non-existent in our area at the moment, as they are all over the country. He wanted to tell us what he was thinking, but he wasn't expecting us to fix anything for him. I admired him for wanting to talk to us. Some kids just drop out and then drop out of sight. He cried while he was talking to us, and that always makes ME cry. Even when I'm NOT sleep-deprived. He asked to be allowed to go home and think about things, and of course we couldn't say no.

Then I got an email from a girl who is in my advisement group who has also had a tough time. Her mother died when she was very young, and she's never had a good relationship with her father. She has lived with her grandmother most of her life, but now the grandmother has "kicked her out." (I am always a little skeptical of that phrase, because sometimes it means that the adult has said "If you can't follow my rules....." and the teen doesn't want to follow ANYONE'S rules.) She is living with her boyfriend in an apartment, but she doesn't have a car. Her grandmother and aunts have refused to take her back and forth to school. She is THREE STINKING CREDITS away from graduation, and she has finished most of TWO OF THOSE. All she has to do in one of them is a project, take a state-mandated end-of-course test in the other, and she has to suffer through the rest of English Literature. But she's talking about dropping out. She has passed all our state-mandated graduation tests, which is more than a lot of kids can say who get to walk across the stage but don't get a diploma. Don't even get me started on that topic. But this girl has jumped through almost all the hoops, the odds are stacked incredibly against her, and she is so close to that diploma that she can smell it. I have offered to go get her a couple of days a week if she can get a ride home, a blatant violation of our school board policy (but my principal tacitly agreed that I could do it), and she said she would let me know if that will work.

These kids are breaking my heart. More later......

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Apologies....

It takes a huge ego to think I have to apologize for not blogging properly tonight. As if the world might stop turning if I don't get around to it.

But the ballgame that I thought started in a few minutes is already in the bottom of the 3rd inning. And I can't turn on the ballgame down here because I'm recording Dancing with the Stars, and we don't have one of those new-fangled thingies that lets you record one channel while watching another. How archaic. How 20th century.

So I'll just have to say I'm sorry for giving you the shaft tonight.

Go Braves.


And if you're looking for Brooks Conrad, you'll find him in section 202 selling hot dogs.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Talking to Myself.....

Is it just me, or do other folks talk to themselves? Come on, don't let me be in this club all by myself.

I don't mean just the forehead-slapping comments like, "You are such an idiot!" when I leave (yet another) plastic bowl lid on the hot stove burner.

I mean I have entire conversations with myself in my head.

I find myself thinking in the plural, and I answer myself. I was doing that today while I rode my bike. (Again!)

Me (at an intersection): Let's see..... We could go to the right and loop around by the airport, or we could go to the left.

Other me: We could go left and loop around Than Skinner and Chicken Lyle, then come BACK this way and THEN loop around the airport.

Me: I don't really like to come back the same way I went. It looks retarded on the map when I download it from the GPS.

Other me: Who cares what it looks like? It's a nice road for cycling.

Me: Yeah, but Than Skinner and Chicken Lyle are both really hilly. And twisty.

Other me: So? Aren't we out here to get some exercise?

Me: Oh all right.


Me: Why did we just go straight at that light, avoiding Highway 81, only to ride through this dead subdivision and get right back on Highway 81?

Other me: It's only for half a mile.

Me: But it's uphill.

Other me: Stop whining.

Me: Cars go really fast on this road.

Other me: It's only for half a mile.

Me: It doesn't take much distance for a car to run over us.

Other me: [Sigh]

You know what the really scary part is? I can never tell which one is the real me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Date Night in the A.T.L.........

This won't be a long post, because I'm blogging with my thumbs on my iPhone. Hubby and I are in Atlanta, right across Peachtree Street from the Fabulous Fox Theatre. We came to see comedian Ron White, whom I've discovered I like better on television. The worst part about coming to anything in Atlanta is the drive home, so we decided to spend the night. Considerate of Hubby, since he never has to do the driving anyway. I hope to have pictures tomorrow, but I fear they might not be very good.

I can't believe I'm still awake. I was up until 1:45 this morning watching the Braves come from behind to even the NLDS against the Giants. Dawgs won today too, 41-14. Now if the Falcons can continue the trend tomorrow, it will be an awesome sports weekend. Oh yeah, and perhaps it's not asking too much for the Braves to win again?

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Perfect Day for Cycling......

If I could dial up a perfect day for cycling, I would design one just like today. It was pleasantly warm, just enough breeze to be comfortable, blue sky with not a cloud in sight.

I tried to talk myself out of riding, since I had just had my hair cut and hated to put on a helmet, but I just couldn't waste a day as perfect as this one.

It was my favorite kind of ride (if I MUST ride alone) in that I left home with sort of a general destination in mind, but not a route. Of course I can't meander forever, so eventually I asked Hubby via text what time he would finish playing golf and then I planned to be at the golf course when he finished. The timing was perfect too. I inched up the kick-arse hill that leads to the golf course, and I still averaged over 13 mph. If I had looked at the GPS and realized I had ridden 15.98 miles, I would at least have circled around the parking lot to get those other two hundredths.

Two funny things happened on my ride today. Not hold-onto-your-sides-fall-onto-the-floor-laughing funny, just sort of chuckle funny. Or maybe you won't find them funny at all. Maybe I was just drunk on the perfect October day.

Not long after I left home, I had to cross a major highway that connects I-85 to Athens, home of the University of Georgia. It's a very busy highway with a gazillion red lights on it. I was at an intersection where there isn't a whole lot of traffic, but there is a traffic light. There were no cars, and I wondered if I would be able to set off the sensor to trip the light. [Note here: It's a magnetic field, it's not the WEIGHT of a car that makes the light change. So there.] I drank some water and glanced down the highway. There was an 18-wheeler approaching, and I realized he was stopping. I had managed to trip the light just in time to make him stop. As I crossed in front of him, I raised my left hand with my palm to the sky and mouthed to the driver, "I'm sorry!" He laughed and waved me on across the road. I thought that was cool.

Later I was riding through the Little Town of Bethlehem, home to many streets with Biblical names and a post office that gets inundated with folks sending their Christmas cards to be mailed FROM there every year. And a huge church that a race horse built. Oh, and a poultry processing plant. Gotta love riding by there at certain times on a hot summer's day. Anyway, I was passing the poultry plant and heard a car behind me. The car slowed down as it got even with me, and I thought "Uh oh." Then the driver said, "Hey!" And I thought, "Oh crap." I was afraid it was going to be one of those guys who throws bottles of water at cyclists or at the very least screams obscenities at them.

It was one of my students. He recognized me because I had my bicycle at school last week. I told him to stop wasting gas, he laughed, and they went on. It made me smile because even with his car full of friends, he stopped to speak to HIS TEACHER. On a BICYCLE. And he was NICE to me.

Man, I hope the weather next weekend is exactly like it was today. It's times like this when I love living in the South.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Further Proof.....

.....that even though Hubby is close to perfect, he is, after all, still a man.

When we got our new (king-sized) bed, we didn't have king-sized pillows. We got new sheets (green ones that were supposed to be blue, but whatever), but the pillowcases sat on my dresser, waiting until we got bigger pillows. In the meantime, we just used the standard pillows off the old bed.

Last Friday night we went shopping specifically for king-sized pillows. We finally found two that we could agree on, and since we had a 30% off coupon at our favorite department store, we bought an additional set of sheets as well. They are cream-colored. That is an important detail.

Hubby went to bed before I did, because as usual I was watching baseball and surfing the web. I told him if he wanted to use the new pillows, the pillowcases were on my dresser.

When I started to bed, I discovered that he had indeed put new pillowcases on the new pillows. He went to the trouble to get the package of new sheets out of the shopping bag, open the package, pull the new pillowcases out, and put them on the new pillows.

Beautiful cream-colored pillowcases. With green (that were supposed to be blue, but whatever) sheets.

Hubby happened to be awake still, and when I just stood there, staring at the brand-new, mismatched pillows and sheets, he said, "What?"

I reached for the green (that were supposed to be blue, but whatever) pillowcases on my dresser. "I meant THESE pillowcases." I wasn't angry, just .... perplexed?

And he was genuinely puzzled. "It never occurred to me they weren't the same color," he said.

Oh, to be a man in my next life. Where it wouldn't matter if the sheets and the pillowcases matched, and an orange bike would be tolerable.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Wonder.......

.....why my part of driving the RV has to include I-285 around Atlanta AND backing into our driveway?

.....when the weather is going to be just one season or the other, instead of a combination of several? (Oh, I forget....I live in the South.) many of the students who requested clearance to work on their online curriculum over fall break actually will do any work?

.....why I froze leftover meatballs and then ATE THEM TONIGHT, when they gave me heartburn the FIRST time around?

.....when our cat is going to accept that we are not giving him canned food anymore and stop meowing for it? (He weighs more than the dog.)

.....if it will be warm enough this weekend to put my kayak in the water?

.....what the final verdict will be on our sick television? (It would be the newest one, the 52" one, that breaks.)

.....what I will do tomorrow while Hubby plays golf?

.....if the rest of the school year will go as fast as the first nine weeks have?

.....if I can do any better this weekend on my college football picks?

.....whether we will get paid for our online jobs this month, or if we will just receive some more emails telling us what to do IN ORDER TO get paid? many days in a row can I get away with not wearing a bra (after I retire)?

.....who will get booted from Dancing with the Stars next week? much of the Braves' first playoff game I will get to see tomorrow night, if first pitch is at 9:36 PM?

.....when I can talk Hubby into another RV trip?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Camping is Hard Work.......

We got the mountain bikes out today and started off through the woods. Poor Hubby, it was his first experience riding over rocks and roots, between trees, and around curves too sharp to negotiate. Plus he had the same problem with his bicycle seat that I had on my first mountain biking expedition, so many curse words ensued. [Note: He wasn't particularly sympathetic when it was MY seat that kept flying up for no apparent reason. Never mind that I don't have the body parts it kept offending on HIM.]

When we returned to the campsite, Hubby parked his bike (after calling it a few more choice words), and I took off on mine again. I wanted to make a couple more loops around the campsite, since it is paved and makes for nice riding. I have to confess, though, that I left the bicycle helmets at home. And I still rode. **Gasp**!!! I even violated the speed limit when we rode down to the little country store at the park entrance. The posted speed limit is 25 mph, and I was going 27.7.

I thought that would be the end of our physical activity for the day, and it would have been fine if it had been. But around 3:00 Hubby suggested we go for a hike on some of the same trails we had traversed this morning, and I was happy to go along. Gus was allowed to go with us this time, and he behaved perfectly. He trotted ahead of us on the trail, looking back every now and then as if to tell us he knew the way.

We head home tomorrow. I'm trying to get Hubby to work up to trips longer than just two nights. But for now I'll take what I can get.

I thought the Georgia hat on a flamingo was a nice touch.
I fell in love with this bridge. In typical fashion, Hubby commented "I pity the fool who had to tote the logs to build this bridge." Or something to that effect.
Something about the randomness of being out in the wilderness and seeing a box full of rocks.
This is an indication of how exhausted the Gusman was when we returned from our walk. He didn't even want to exert the energy necessary to jump up in the chair.

The tiki lamps and flamingos were a gift from Lawanda the Warrior Princess. Note that we have to build a fire in the daylight, because by the time it gets dark, we are asleep.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Campsite #37......

I can relate to campsite #37.

When Hubby and I checked in today, the girl in the office assigned us campsite number 37. She said if we didn't want that one, we could choose any open campsite and then call them to tell them which one we chose.

All of the campsites in this campground are gorgeous. They are paved, which means we track much less dirt and leaves and junk into the RV. We are in the (sort of) mountains of northern Alabama, and autumn has made a sudden appearance. It was a beautiful day, just like yesterday at home.

Campsite #37 was fine. It was just slightly uphill, though, and our RV doesn't have levelers. We looked across the little road and saw another site that was perfectly level. There were lots of open sites, so we moved over to campsite #49.

All through the afternoon and evening, we saw several RVs come through, searching for a suitable site. One HUGE rig made three laps around the loop we are in, evidently a lot pickier than we are. I have no idea where they finally landed.

Several pulled through campsite #37 and then left. I began to feel sorry for #37.

It reminds me of middle school and choosing teams during PE. I was campsite #37. People didn't pick me until I was the only one left.

I'm sorry we didn't stay, campsite #37. I know exactly how you feel.

Campsite #37 finally has occupants. I hope they have a wonderful time.

I hope to have pictures tomorrow. I didn't have my priorities in order today. Can you say "bloody mary"?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Awesome Day for Riding.....

When I started to type the title for this blog post, several others came up in the computer's "memory" that started with the word "awesome," so I'm thinking that's a word I use way too often. I'll work on that.

Today, however, was an AWESOME day for an AWESOME bicycle ride with AWESOME people.

It's a ride we have done before, in a part of the state known for beautiful countryside, lots of horses, and not much traffic. The day started off a little cooler than I would have liked. We went from shorts and sleeveless on Friday to tights and a long-sleeved t-shirt under our riding jerseys. Oh, and socks with our cycling Keens. I didn't care how it looked; my feet weren't cold. That shift in weather is pretty typical for our part of the world. We'll probably shoot back into the 90's sometime in the next week or two.

If I HAD to complain about ANYTHING on this ride (and you probably suspected I would), it would be the winds. They started out annoying but became brutal by the end of the ride. It's very demoralizing trying to ride a bicycle in the wind. It's ALWAYS a headwind, no matter which way you turn. I know, I know, it defies the laws of physics.

We rode 66 miles, and we weren't last. Well, Katydid and I rode 66 miles. Rozmo probably rode about 80 because she kept doubling back to see where we were. We weren't really THAT slow, but we just can't make that tandem power up the hills the way we would like.

The last two riders included one guy who had no helmet, and the rules clearly stated that helmets are required. Helmets are required on every single organized ride I've ever been on. Oh wait....I'm not being fair to this guy. He HAD a helmet. It was in a plastic trash bag safely stashed on the rack behind his seat.


This ride was a little different from a lot of rides we do because Katydid and I were still laughing at the end. Usually we start off laughing and singing, but by the time we've ridden 50 or 60 miles, we aren't in our happy place anymore, and we start snarling instead of laughing. Not at each other or Rozmo (thank goodness), but at anyone else who crosses our path. It gets awfully quiet on that tandem, unless one of us is whining about how much certain body parts hurt or the wind or one more hill. Now Rozmo, she's upbeat all the time. She probably would have had nice things to say to the two redneck guys who threw a bottle of water at Katydid and me as they passed by at about 60 mph. [Me? I gave him the international one-finger symbol of love.] Today, in spite of our aching knees, the wind in our faces, and the chill in our bones that hasn't been there for a while, we were still having fun at the end.

We sang, we laughed, we followed both the Falcons and the Braves in their respective contests (both ended with a win - yay!), and we thanked the wonderful volunteers. We had hot dogs at the end of the ride, and that may be the BEST hot dog I've ever had in my life.

[I must be more tired than I thought. I just started typing a paragraph and realized I had already said all that up at the beginning of this post.]

Bedtime now, and I don't even have to get up in the morning. But I can't hold my eyes open anymore.

Have a wonderful week!

Have I told you lately how much I appreciate your stopping by and reading my blog? No? How rude of me.

I do.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Some Days Are Like That.....

Tonight I found myself in a Hummer limousine with Hubby's ex, her sister, her niece, a baby named Paisley, and a bunch of other women I didn't know.

This while UGA was playing football on television, which the limo didn't have.

Oh, and the chauffeur was a guy I graduated with, one of the ones who [usually] still calls me "Brillo."

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Whole Week Off.....

I'm pretty sure we didn't have a "Fall Break" when I was in school. Neither did we have a whole week off for Thanksgiving, and I don't think we had an entire week for Spring Break.

But I'll take all of 'em.

Five whole days not to have to give retakes, reset homework, approve topic tests, or go over quizzes.

Five whole days not to have to hear the alarm go off at 5:00 AM. I don't mind if I wake up at 5:00 AM, as long as it isn't an alarm that does it.

Five whole days not to have to worry about packing my lunch or picking out something to wear.

Five whole days not to have to run students out of the hall and into classrooms. In our six years, this is the first group we've had that we've had that problem. We have such a young, immature bunch this year.

Hubby and I are taking the RV to a state park in Alabama for a couple of days. I'll still have to do my online teaching, but the beauty of that job is that I can do it anywhere.

Fall Break means we're one-fourth of the way through the school year. Not that I'm wishing my life away or anything....