Monday, February 28, 2011

The Seven Deadly Sins Meme.......

I'm not a big fan of memes, but I found this one intriguing. Besides, it's much more interesting than writing about how many sun-filled activities I tried to pack into one day yesterday, or about how for the first time in two (or three?) years I was able to zip up my life jacket. Only I think they're called Personal Flotation Devices now, because everything has to have letters these days, and LJ doesn't have the same zing that a PFD does.

I stole this one from Evil Pixie, who stole it from Sunday Stealing.

Here goes.

Pride. Seven great things about yourself.
  1. I have a good sense of humor.
  2. I can write pretty well.
  3. I know my grammar and spelling.
  4. I can sing.
  5. I'm a loyal friend.
  6. I'm competitive, but mostly against myself.
  7. I can be insanely happy all by myself. (But I love other people too.)

Envy. Seven things you lack and covet.
  1. Season tickets for football
  2. Straight hair
  3. A good figure.
  4. Fifteen pounds of miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (guess this doesn't go with #3)
  5. Frequent flier miles
  6. A degree in math.

Wrath. Seven things that piss you off.
  1. Injustice
  2. Intolerance
  3. Insecurity
  4. Dependence
  5. Homeowner's insurance that just jumped from $400 to $700
  6. Not being able to sleep
  7. Learned helplessness

Sloth. Seven things you neglect to do.
  1. Housework
  2. Balancing the checkbook(s)
  3. Filing papers at school
  4. Prepare lunch the night before (but I did tonight)
  5. Routine mending of clothing (hems, buttons)
  6. The Great Shoe Purge
  7. Grocery shop (more a matter of procrastination than neglect)

Greed. Seven worldly material desires.
  1. A convertible BMW
  2. A color laser printer
  3. A bigger Harley. With a windshield. Is that two things?
  4. A triple bicycle
  5. A new house with real closets. And a garage.
  6. Twenty acres of land
  7. A jacuzzi
Gluttony. Seven guilty pleasures.
  1. Mario Brothers on the Wii
  2. Hours and hours of reading
  3. Crock pot candy
  4. Floating in the pool
  5. Really hot showers
  6. Quiet time
  7. Listening to the same song over and over in the car

Lust. Seven love secrets.
  1. Yeah........ No

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saved by a Text Message......

I know a lot of people say that text messaging has become so ubiquitous that it has become another area for possible social misbehavior. People don't know when NOT to text, and we have reached the point where we feel we MUST be available to EVERYONE at ALL TIMES.

We tell our students they can't text in school, then almost all of us frequently send text messages during the day. My only defense is that SOMETIMES those messages are going to students who can't be in school (they're sick, their babies are sick, they're on school-sponsored field trips). My other defense, and the one I use most often, isn't a defense at all. It's a cop-out. I say to them, "With rank comes privilege. When you have a college degree, you can text at school too."

All that being said, I have to say there is another side to this issue. Text messaging may just be able to save a marriage or two.

Here is a text message chain between Hubby and me today, right after I knocked over a 5-gallon container of used motor oil in our basement. It wouldn't have been so bad if I had NOTICED I knocked it over. I came back a few minutes later and thought, "WTH, what's this black lake in the basement?" Hubby was at the golf course.

Me: Uhhhhh..... I just made a huge mess in the basement. I will have moved out when you get home.

Hubby: Does it call for mopping or body repair? [This was a result of his fear that I had done something to his precious 1969 Ford truck that lives in our basement.]

Me: If you can mop oil.......

Hubby: Put cat litter on it.

Me: Okay. It's under your motorcycle and I don't dare move it.

Hubby: Sprinkle litter. I'll sweep when I get home. May need more litter. Not too thick.

Me: I'll have to get more when I get Gus. [He was being groomed.] Did I mention huge? Maybe not Lake Superior but definitely Erie.

Hubby: B ok.

Me: Sorry I'm so clumsy.

Can you imagine how that exchange might have gone if Hubby had actually been here when I kicked over the oil? Or if the little "surprise" had greeted him when he put his golf clubs in the basement when he got home? I assure you, it wouldn't have been pretty. Even if he HADN'T cursed and yelled, he would have given me that look, at which point I would have cursed and yelled, and it might have turned into an argument. And we don't argue much. Except over little things like whether or not we should knock a wall out of our house and do thousands of dollars of renovations just so our house can accommodate a USED bedroom suit that Hubby wants.

I'm still waiting for his last text, which I'm POSITIVE should have said:

That's okay. I shouldn't have left the oil sitting there in the first place.


Not your fault. I should have taken that oil to the recycling place a long time ago.


No problem. I should have taken you up on one of the bazillion times you've suggested we work together to clean out the basement.

I'll let you know when THAT message comes in.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

So Close but So Far.....

Today Rozmo and I did a bike ride down in central Georgia that we've done a few times before. I don't get to do it every year because sometimes there is a conflict with the gymnastics schedule. This year Katydid couldn't go, so it was just Rozmo and me.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous. Perfect day for riding. It was a little chilly at the beginning, but it warmed up to somewhere around 71 degrees by the time it was over. I was able to wear only a short-sleeved jersey and knickers, no jacket or arm warmers, and I was fine. I got a little sunburned on my arms and face (Sweet Girl calls it my "raccoon look" where I get sun around my sunglasses).

At the first rest stop I had averaged 16.5 mph. GET OUT OF HERE! If you read my post from last Saturday, you may remember that I was thrilled with a 14.5 average. I knew the 16.5 wouldn't hold up over the whole ride, but I was hoping for 15 mph. I even used my 11:11 wish on it.

Toward the end of the ride, though, it got windy. It's nearly impossible to combat the wind on a bike. And it's always a headwind, no matter which way you turn. I was also quite tired, because I was riding HARD trying to maintain that average speed. And watching it drop like a rock. At about 6 miles from the end, I changed the display on the bike's GPS so I couldn't see the average anymore. It was making me crazy(er).

As you can see by the graphic below, I almost succeeded. I had a 14.9 average over the whole day, which isn't 15 mph or 16.5, but it's not too shabby for this (almost) 50-year-old.

My knees are sore, along with my sitting-down-place, and I'm sure I'll sleep well tonight. Particularly with the help of some pain PM tablets.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Guest Post......

The Warrior Princess inadvertently provided tonight's material in an email today. I am only using it with her permission, though.

I am not usually impartial enough when it comes to our college gymnastics team that I can defend even their obvious flaws.

Can't point her toes? SHE CAN'T HELP IT!
A little on the hefty side? THAT'S GENETICS, NOT DESSERTS!
Trouble landing that vault without a huge step back? BUT SHE'S CUTE! AND SHE'S A WALK-ON!
Falling off the beam on a regular basis? SHE'S BEEN INJURED!

Today, however, I was presented with a quote from one of our seniors - A SENIOR!!!! - that made me put my head in my hand at first, then I wanted to claw my own eyes out.

The UGA website has a column called "Ask the Gym Dogs" that they run every other week or so, in which fans can email questions for one or more of the gymnasts or coaches.

One of this week's questions was directed at our two seniors, asking when they anticipate graduating and what their future plans are.

One of them replied that she is considering adding a second major, which would delay her graduation until May of 2012, and give her a season in which she could work with the team as a student coach.

The other one? I'm going to copy and paste here, because I don't want there to be any chance I have misconstrued her words: "I will be graduating this May!  As of right now, I will be going back home to Las Vegas and I want to go to hair school!  I'll definitely keep involved with the sport somehow too!"

Here's where the Warrior Princess comes in. I emailed her the link to the story and asked (sort of) what she thought about it.

Her reply in red, my comments follow:

I cannot believe what I just read.  First of all, "hair school?????"  Is her vocabulary no bigger than THAT?!  Exactly. If you've been to college for four years, shouldn't you know a 5-syllable word like "cosmetology"?

And secondly, YOU HAVE A FOUR-YEAR DEGREE IN SOMETHING -- ANYTHING OTHER THAN "HAIR SCHOOL" -- AND YOU WANT TO BE A COSMETOLOGIST???   Um...yeah. Her major is Child and Family Development. I'm not knocking cosmetologists, and heaven knows I could use a good one (but I'm not going to Las Vegas for a haircut every five or six weeks). But surely there's something she can do with that degree that she earned (and I helped pay for?) by twisting, tumbling, flipping, and dancing for four years.

And thirdly, why would ANYBODY let her "do" their hair -- LOOK AT HERS!!!
For this one, only a picture will suffice.

I am a true fan, and I love her dearly. She is darling, and her mom is just as real as those moms get.

But seriously? SERIOUSLY? Hair school?

I sincerely hope you've got a few more 9.9's in you this season.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Proclamation of Spring......

WHEREAS, As of February 24, 2011, we the people of Georgia have had way more than our share of snow this year; and

WHEREAS, no supreme being in his or her right mind would intend for Southern-born folks to endure the hardships brought on by cold weather; and

WHEREAS, the temperature in our town approached the 70-degree mark AGAIN today; and

WHEREAS, I wore these shoes to school today, and everybody knows you don't wear white before Easter;


WHEREAS, I also wore these pants, and ditto on the white;


WHEREAS, I also wore a top that has short sleeves (picture removed because I didn't like it);


WHEREAS, it is most appropriate that we call a stop to this foolishness that we call winter; and

WHEREAS, those of us who have an interest in riding our bicycles and/or motorcycles would like to shake the cobwebs off the aforementioned; and

WHEREAS, we are tired of being cooped up inside with germy children and grown-ups alike;

NOW, THEREFORE, I BRAGGER, OF NO PARTICULAR IMPORTANCE WHATSOEVER, do hereby proclaim that from this day forward, spring has sprung.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

#8 - Get a Massage......

Please don't laugh at me just because I'm (almost) 50 years old and have never had a massage.

Even in all my years of doing BRAG, I never got up the courage to get a massage. It's always so blasted hot that even after taking a shower, once we walk across the campus to headquarters, we're all sweaty again. The last thing I've wanted is to have someone else's hands on me.

Some things are meant to be. I was looking over my 50 Things to Do list last week, trying to pick out the easy ones. (Oh shut up, you know you would do that too.) I thought to myself, "Self, getting a massage would be just about the easiest one on there." My BFF the Warrior Princess has a friend who is a masseuse, so I thought I would just ask her.

Then I went into what used to be (and we still call it that) the Warrior Princess' office one day last week, and lo and behold, someone had taped a flyer for a massage therapist on the paper towel holder. The woman whose services were advertised is a good friend of our school secretary, and her rates sounded reasonable, at least to someone who had never had a massage before. Then I found out the massage therapist also works for our school district as her daytime job, so she was only an email away. THEN I found out that she does massages about a half mile from my house, right behind our favorite liquor store where I get my nails done.

How easy is that?

I opted for the hot stone massage, because I figured if I were going to do something new, I may as well go all out.

Please forgive me if you're a massage veteran, because I'm going to describe the whole process. It wasn't icky at all, I promise.

First of all, the woman introduced herself and asked me about my Harley t-shirt. She and her husband ride motorcycles too, so I felt comfortable with her from the beginning because we had something in common to talk about.

She put me in a room with soft lighting, candles, and soft instrumental music. She had me lie down on a table with my face in one of those little cut-out thingies (I'm sure it has a name, but I'm not sure what it is). She first placed some heated stones on my back and covered them with a cloth, then the sheet. I thought to myself, "Well if that's all a hot stone massage is....."

Oh no, it's much more than that. She used hot stones as she massaged each individual limb. She would uncover one leg, massage it with the hot stones and warm oil, cover it back up, move to the other leg, then the arms. I don't know if all massage folks are as thorough as she is, or if she was happy to have a new customer who had never had a massage before. She massaged each individual finger and every single one of the little piggies. She massaged my face with the hot stones, and she massaged my scalp. She even massaged my EARS! I felt so good and relaxed when I left there.

I almost wish I had waited until next Monday to get my massage, since I'm doing a bicycle ride this Saturday. I think a massage on BRAG this year is definitely called for.

Maybe even two.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls......

The Glass Castle is another book by Jeannette Walls, who also wrote Half-Broke Horses, a book I wrote about back in December. While the latter was about her grandmother, The Glass Castle is about the author's own growing-up years and the trials associated with being A) poor and B) a child of her particular parents. Anyone who has ever thought he or she was poor, neglected, mistreated, or unfortunate should have to read this book. It surely makes me appreciate the years I spent in a trailer park, which looks like an amusement park next to the places Walls and her family lived.

The book begins as Walls is on her way to a party in New York City. She looks out the window of the taxi and sees a typical homeless woman in the city, rooting through the trash in a dumpster. Walls slides down in the taxi to avoid having the homeless woman, her mother, recognize her and call out to her.

This book touched me in so many different ways. I admire Walls for her strength and her courage, but mostly I admire her for an uncanny ability to tell a very difficult story without bitterness. I didn't strike me until the end that her tone was never one of self-sympathy or anger at her parents. She tells it in a very straightforward and honest manner. I have just watched a couple of videos of her speaking to what appears to be a very small group, and she is a delightful speaker.

Definitely a must-read. It may even be a must-read-again.

Monday, February 21, 2011

More Weighty Issues......

Don't worry, I'm not going on about my own personal battle with weight all my life, nor am I going to recant recent tribulations (and triumphs) associated with that battle.

During our walk in the park today, though, I thought about two very different stories associated with weight and how it affects people differently.

I taught on a 9th grade team with two other girls, one of whom fought her weight constantly, as did I. We commiserated, we walked together, we weighed each other, and it seemed that was all we talked about. Our other team member was a girl who taught science, and she was a tiny thing. She was about the same height as Teri and me, 5'2", but she was rail thin. You know how some women gain weight when they get pregnant and never seem to lose it? (You can put your hands down now.) Not Kim. Even after two children, she still looked like a kid herself.

As if teaching high school and raising two children (who were very close in age) weren't enough stress on her, Kim's husband decided to enter medical school. Approximately a thousand miles away. (I don't know how much stress that caused HIM, since he wound up hooking up with a floosie he met in med school, but that's none of my business. I guess.) So then Kim was a SINGLE parent for all practical purposes, and her stress level skyrocketed.

I know that stress causes some people to stop eating, or not to eat as they should. I have no personal knowledge of this, since I have never, ever been too tired/rested, sad/happy, stressed/relaxed, cold/hot, manic/depressed, nervous/calm, angry/pleased to EAT. When I was a senior in high school and we suspected I may have mono, the doctor asked about my appetite. "Don't you worry about her appetite," my mother told him, "what's wrong with her?"

Kim's stress caused her to continue to lose weight, though, and one morning she came into Teri's classroom with tears in her eyes. She had stepped on the scale that morning (she probably avoided it as much as I did), and she weighed 88 pounds.

I'm not kidding, 88 pounds. A grown woman with two children.

Teri immediately started railing at Kim, telling her she wished she had HER problems, and she didn't want to hear it, and a lot more things that only someone as insensitive as Teri was could come up with. I finally stopped her and said, "Kim's weight problems are just as real as yours and mine, and you need to hush." I would have told her to shut her damn fat mouth (emphasis on mouth, not on fat, since I really didn't have room to throw rocks myself), but we had to teach together.

Another time I saw some eye-opening dynamics associated with weight was when I was a Weight Watchers leader. A mother and daughter came in together, and they were faithful about attending every week. The girl was home schooled, so she didn't have the problem of staying on the program while she was at school. Neither of them was extremely overweight, but I guess the mother didn't want her daughter to develop a problem in her teens that would be hard to deal with in adulthood.

The mother lost weight faster than her daughter, and pretty soon she was at her goal weight. Then she was at the bottom end of her goal weight range. And she kept losing. Then she was 5 pounds below the bottom of her goal weight range, and the Weight Watchers instructors' manual said I couldn't continue to weigh her. When she came in the next week, I told her she was below a healthy weight and I was no longer allowed to weigh her. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "But what do I do? If I eat, she eats."

I didn't know what to tell her. They didn't cover the psychology of family dynamics as it relates to weight loss in moms and their teen daughters in the 8-hour blitz course I took to become a WW leader. Pretty soon they stopped coming altogether, and I have wondered what ever became of them, particularly the daughter. She probably has daughters of her own now.

I don't know where I'm going with this topic. I think the whole food issue is a major design flaw in our make-up. Why do we have to LIKE food? Why can't we get JUST ENOUGH to survive? I mean, we don't suffer from an excess of AIR, do we? We breathe just enough to get by, maybe a little more in high-pressure situations or during heavy exercise, but breathing in extra air doesn't affect our health or our looks. I have often said that if I could quit eating the same way I quit smoking - cold turkey - then I wouldn't have a weight problem. Knowing the difference between just enough to keep living and too much is the problem. I have an "all or nothing" mentality.

Which may just explain why I opened four boxes of Girl Scout cookies today and put them on the table in the center of my room and told students to help themselves. I knew I could have just one Samoa and not do any damage with its 70 calories. It was the other 14 cookies in the box that would have done me in.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Today's Date.....

Today would have been my father's 86th birthday, if he hadn't died in 2002 from various ailments related to alcoholism. I wrote briefly about his death right after I started blogging in 2008.

Ironically, it would also have been my step-mother's birthday (the GOOD one, before he married the green witch from The Wizard of Oz), but she died in 1998. I have fonder memories of her than I do of my father. Anytime someone commented on the fact that they had the same birthday, my father would say, "Yeah, and it's funny, we've got the same anniversary too!" He was a scream like that. My step-mother had never married before, and she was 39 when she and my father married. She said she had waited for just the right one. I never could understand what she saw in him.

My parents divorced when I was very young, and the few memories I do have of my father aren't pleasant ones. Like the time he took my brother and me to Six Flags Over Georgia. I had no idea why my brother and I were left on our own so much and why our father kept going back to the car. Until he passed out, they put him on a golf cart, he came to and jumped off and ran, they caught him and strapped him down, and the day was pretty much downhill from there.

I don't remember much about my parents living together, but I have one very clear memory as they prepared to separate. I remember one morning that my father made up HIS side of the bed and left the other side unmade. That's just the kind of person he was.

When Mom remarried, my father sent her new husband (who was no prize either, as it turned out) a sympathy card. And signed it with his real name.

The summer I was eight years old, my father convinced me to come live with him and go to school in the county where he lived. He showed me his pillow and told me those were tear stains from crying over his children every night. He also promised me a pony, so I agreed to live with him. I changed my mind before school started, but I did stay the whole summer with him. During the day I had to stay with his older sister, the aunt who frightened me to death. She had no children of her own, and she was the meanest thing I had ever known. Someone told me the story when I was very young that she would have had a baby, but when it came time to be born, it was too big. They said the doctor told her husband to choose between saving the baby and saving her. I always thought they made a poor choice. Yes, I know how wrong that is, but she was MEAN! And I was only eight years old.

When I got married the first time, with the walk down the aisle and the hundred-pound bouquet and candles and everything, I felt obligated to include my real father, since my step-father (the good one) had died when I was a senior in high school. At the conclusion of the ceremony, when the pastor introduced us to the congregation as a couple, my father said just loud enough for EVERYONE to hear, "You've played hell now!" I never did know which one of us he was talking to.

When Sweet Girl graduated from high school, my father and WWW (Wicked Witch of the West) came to the ceremony. Because Sweet Girl's last name starts with a "B", she was one of the first names called. As soon as her name was read, my father and WWW squeezed past everyone else in the row and left. I guess that could be considered a good thing.

When I was about three years old, my father took me to someone's house where a mama dog had recently had puppies. He told me, "It's okay, you can pet her." She snapped at me, and he kicked that dog so hard she went spinning across the carport floor. Even at that young age, I was appalled that he had treated an animal that way. I still have the tiniest of scars under my eye where that dog bit me. Oddly enough, it wasn't the dog I resented. She was only doing what her instincts told her to do. It was the adult who behaved like a moron.

If Doris had lived, my father would never have started drinking again, and it's possible he might have lived this long as well. I miss Doris.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Some Cycling Observations (Again).......

It is apparently mating (or suicide, and no they aren't necessarily the same thing) season for skunks. We've seen a gazillion of them on the road in the past couple of weeks, and I saw/smelled a couple on my bike ride today. There's a limit to how long one can hold one's breath while riding a bicycle. I suppose there's a limit to how long one can hold one's breath period.

I left home with no particular route in mind, but with the goal of arriving at the baseball field for our high school team's first scrimmage game of the season. I didn't plan in advance, I wasn't sure how far I still had to go at any given point, and I was only 2 minutes late for the start of the game. I thought that was pretty darn good.

My favorite quote of the day (perhaps the week or even the month) came at the game. Because it was a scrimmage, they didn't show the score. The scoreboard showed only balls, strikes, and outs. I heard a woman near us ask her husband, "What's the score?" His answer: "A lot to one." It's probably obvious that we had the one. Seconds after that, Hubby texted me and asked the score. I shamelessly used the phrase, but when he picked me up, I gave full credit for the quote. Well, as much credit as I can give to a man whose name I don't know.

If a car passes dangerously close to me while I'm riding my bike, and the car bears one of Georgia's bazillion specialty plates, it has been my observation that the license plate will be one of two kinds: a disabled person or a Georgia educator.

It is possible to drink 56 ounces of water and 32 ounces of Gatorade G2 and not go to the bathroom. And it wasn't even hot today.

Just because it's February doesn't mean sunscreen is unnecessary.

LWP and I were sitting right behind homeplate at the game today when my "godson" was batting. He hit a foul ball that went straight up in the air and over the net. It was like slow motion, watching that ball come down. I was frozen in place, as were LWP and the pregnant lady sitting right next to us. The ball hit the table where the pregnant lady was sitting, and when I could finally speak again, I looked at LWP and said, "My bike!"  She was worried about being hit on the noggin by her own son, everyone else at the field was worried about the pregnant lady, and I was worried about my bike being crushed by a foul ball.

Today was the first time I can remember averaging over 14 mph on a ride of 20+ miles. I may have done it in Iowa back in 2004 when I was in better shape, but I'm not sure. I averaged 14 mph one day coming home from school, but it's harder to sustain over a longer ride. Today's ride was almost 35 miles. And it couldn't possibly have been a tailwind for the entire ride.

Friday, February 18, 2011

How I Spent a Beautiful Friday Bragger.......

I had a doctor's appointment this morning, so I took a sick day. It was originally a furlough day when I scheduled the appointment, but we had this FREAK snowstorm here (you may have heard me mention it a time or twenty), so every day off from here to eternity was canceled. AND we have a teacher "work day" on a SATURDAY in March to boot. (I'll keep you posted on just how much WORK gets done that day.)

It was a beautiful day with temperatures (expected to be) near 70, so I fully anticipated coming home and riding my bike.

I really did.

I also thought I might work on my $$!*$(#!#$ knitting.

And sweep and mop the living room. (Hubby beat me to it, though.)

Do some laundry.


Clean out a space in the basement for the new elliptical that may or may not be delivered sometime this millennium. (I still cannot accept that the word "millennium" has two l's and two n's. It's just not right.)

Work on my quilt, which has gone sadly neglected while I attempt to learn $#!&*$# knitting.

Check on school emails to see how things are going in my absence. (Mighty big ego, isn't it? To think I need to check on school just because I'm not there?)

Take a (short) run in the park.

Get a pedicure.

Take a nap.

You want to know what I REALLY did with all my free time after I got home from the doctor's office?

Are you sure you're ready for this? 'Cause I'm just shameless enough to admit it. I'm not afraid. I'm grown, and I can do what I want to with my day off.

Here's what I did with my free time.

I played Mario on the Wii.

For four hours. Give or take.

I'm grown, and I can do what I want to with my day off.


I have to add this part, because it will shock and amaze those of you who know Hubby. I dragged him to a fundraiser for the baseball team tonight. It was a "Jamboree" with a band that plays mostly 80's music. Hubby hasn't listened to anything but country since somewhere around 1967, and he really prefers Hank Williams (the first one) to anyone else. He doesn't like most new country, much less the "screaming" music anybody else plays.

I bribed him by telling him there would be a bar. And reminding him that our "godson" is on the baseball team. (This "godson" has now been contacted by every major league baseball team, except for one. Wonder who the holdout is?)

He wasn't miserable! In fact, he asked me to dance ..... TWICE!

Expect another major snowstorm to hit the South just any minute now.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Other Than Those Gazillion Things, I'm Fairly Rational......

I'm sorry, but today was "weigh day" for Team Lean, so this is going to be yet another weight-related post. Don't worry, though, this time I'm NOT whining.

Mostly I'm wondering.

Through the weeks we've been doing this Team Lean thing, I've figured out in my head how far off my scale is from the one they use at the "Y" when we weigh in. I also weigh myself first thing in the morning, without (many) clothes, and I weigh on Thursdays in the afternoon. I also wear (more) clothes, since nudity at the "Y" is generally frowned upon. Buttheads.

I was nervous driving to the weigh-in today, because my scale this morning was about where it was last Thursday. I suspected I would be at about the same weight on THEIR scale as I was last week, or perhaps even up a tad. We have to pay a dollar for each pound gained, and I didn't want the size-zero girl (whose name turns out to be Kelly, not Size-Zero Girl, after all) to tell me I had to pay money. Even if it were only a dollar, it would be a moral defeat, and I was trying to coach myself up on the drive to the "Y." I was telling myself all about how weight fluctuations are to be expected, I can't expect to lose 2 pounds each and every week, blah blah blah blah blah blah. I also told myself that the number on the scale is NOT the most important thing in the world, that my clothes are fitting better (or too big - as is the case with my FAVORITE pair of black Ralph Lauren slacks, which will soon be history because I won't be able to keep them up), and that my eating and exercise habits are part of an overall healthier lifestyle. I KNOW ALL THAT, and yet stepping on that scale is probably the most stressful part of my week.

Well, that and watching Christa Tanella miss the low bar on her mount - HER MOUNT, PEOPLE - and almost go sailing between the parallel bars.

Where was I?

Oh yeah.

I wore my work-out clothes to the weigh-in. Not that I was planning to work out (not right then anyway), but those clothes weigh less than the clothes I wore to school.


When I got out of the car, I debated whether to take some dollar bills in with me. I didn't want to create negative karma by taking them, but I also didn't want to hike slink back to the car in humiliation while Size-Zero Girl (oh yeah, it's Kelly) waited for me.

I stepped on the scale, the numbers jumped around a minute, and when they had settled, I had lost 1.2 pounds for the week. Not only that, but I entered a whole new set of numbers.

And my whole mood changed. My face brightened, I felt good, my smile got broader, and I felt like a success.

All because of 1.2 pounds. That's only .4 more than the .8 I was absolutely BITCHING about just two weeks ago. It's roughly 6.4 ounces. But the difference in how it made me feel is immeasurable.

When I came home, I insisted that Hubby and I go walk in the park. Our typical route is somewhere around 3-3.5 miles. Then after dinner I went to zumba.

All because of 1.2 pounds. Further proof that educated doesn't necessarily mean smart.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Think I Can Give You a Diagnosis......

***Warning - This post may offend any of you diagnosed with or acquainted with anyone who has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, ADD, ADHD, panic attacks, or anxiety.***

If I have to sit through ONE MORE INTERVIEW with a teenager who wants to come to our school because he or she cannot deal with the "stress" of high school or experiences "panic attacks" in the lunchroom or needs to be away from the distractions of the traditional high school because he or she has ADD or ADHD or some other combination of those letters, I may. just. go. ballistic.

But I'll call it a panic attack, so it will be okay.

Please don't get me wrong. It's not that I am trivializing any of these disorders, nor do I think they don't exist. This rant post is aimed at those who want to put a label on their own poor behavior that somehow (in their minds) excuses that behavior. The ones who really get me are the ones who say they have been diagnosed with ADD, they have medication for it, but they don't really like taking the medicine. Oh, so you CHOOSE to be this way.

And the parents?

They buy into it, because it's much easier to blame a disorder than it is to do the hard work called parenting.

I sat and listened to a parent today who said her son needed to come to our school with its smaller environment because, "I had to go pick him up at school one day because he had a panic attack."

I tried to picture that happening when I was in school. I can just imagine them calling my mother AT WORK to come get me at school because I was having a PANIC ATTACK. When she got to the school, there would definitely be a panic attack going on. I would be in a panic to see just how fast I could get my ass back in that school rather than let Mama get her hands on me.

I take issue with teenagers being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, because the symptoms of bipolar disorder are "shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior."

What a big old bag of duh. Those are the exact same symptoms of being a TEENAGER. I will again apologize in the event I am offending anyone who suffers from one of these disorders. It's teenagers and their parents' use of these labels to EXCUSE them that gets my goat.

What ever happened to "suck it up and go to school"?

My mother's favorite expression? "I'll give you something to be depressed ABOUT." (She doesn't believe in depression as an adult disorder, either.) I'm sensitive to people who suffer from depression, but I also realize that most of them find a way to be productive. Sitting in a corner and sucking their thumbs isn't an option, but a lot of the teens we deal with haven't been told that.

ADD? In my youth, Mama had a very effective way of making SURE we could devote our attention to tasks like chores and schoolwork. It was called a backhand, and she was ambidextrous when it came to employing it.

Hyperactive? By the time you get through scrubbing that floor, you won't have the energy to be hyper anymore. And if you do, I've got a long list of OTHER things you can do.

Anxiety? Try not having that house cleaned when I get home from work, and you will get to experience an entirely new level of anxiety.

I think I'll stop now before I offend every single person who stops by here. I apologize for my negative attitude. It was a long day in the School of Misfit Toys today.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another Student Story.........

I know teachers aren't supposed to have favorites (neither are mothers, but we know how THAT works), but the truth of the matter is that we do. My favorite students aren't necessarily the sweetest or most well-behaved, and oftentimes they're not even the smartest. Some only become my favorites after they are gone (or I am), and they continue to stay in touch.

Or they STOP staying in touch, and I'm looking at YOU, Amanda Sue! Where have you been?


One of my favorites is a young man who was one of the first students in our program.

Doug was one of those kids who are just too smart for school. He came to us with a few failures on his transcript, like many of our students, but his weren't due to absenteeism or lack of comprehension. Some of his F's were due to good old-fashioned stubbornness. Some of it was his; some of it was his teachers'.

For example, Doug failed U.S. History. He got the highest grade in his class - maybe EVER - on the state-mandated End-of-Course-Test. He made a 98. Clearly he learned something, or he knew it already before he ever took the class. But he didn't do a project his teacher assigned, so she entered a grade of 69 for him. A 98 on the EOCT; 69 in the class.

I think this is another clear example of teachers grading based on what students DO, not what they KNOW. Personally, in all my years of teaching, I have never awarded any student a grade that ended in a 9. Even when I first started teaching and didn't know much of anything ELSE, I knew that I was human, and if I had erred in calculations, percentages, or even the dumb assignments I gave throughout a grading period, I was going to err on the side of the student. Anything above an 88.5 became an "A." That's just the way I've always rolled. I don't condemn teachers who assign 89 when a student doesn't consistently do work worthy of an "A"; I just don't do it personally.

Correction - I may have, on occasion, awarded a student a 19 instead of a 20. Because at that point, is there really any difference at all?

Doug was - is - one of those people, much like many members of my own family that may or may not include the author of this blog, who sometimes don't know where the line is between "smart" and "smart-ass." I can see him butting heads with this particular teacher (she's rather old-fashioned), and I can see her being determined to show him who was boss. I've done that a few times myself, but I'm usually clever enough to do it in a way that gives me some sense of satisfaction yet doesn't have that kind of consequence. It's why we went to college.

Still, Doug had a hard time at our school. He was (is) slightly lazy, and he was used to taking all the short-cuts he could. He was (is) also quite the charmer, and I'm sure he talked his way out of doing many a staid old assignment. At our computer-based school, though, he wasn't able to do that. But he couldn't always motivate himself to jump through the hoops, and at the end of his first semester with us, he was in danger of being dismissed from the program.

It was one of the few times I've seen Doug serious, that meeting where he begged us (with real live tears in his eyes, or he's an even better actor than I thought) to give him another chance. We did allow him to stay, but we decided he needed to be away from as many distractions as possible. Back then we actually had planning periods (those were the days), so Doug had to do his work in the classroom of whoever had planning that period. Sometimes that meant he just wanted to chat with US, and it was hard to be harsh and tell him to do his work. I would find excuses to leave the room just so he couldn't talk to me.

One day I left to go make a phone call, and I left the radio playing. It was on a station that was new to our area at the time and played classics from the 60's and 70's. When I came back in the room, Elton John was singing, and I burst into hysterical laughter. Doug got it too, and we laughed until we nearly cried. I had just come back into the room, remember, and the song that was playing was "The Bitch is Back." I couldn't help it.

Another day I came back into the room and caught Doug on his cell phone, a definite no-no in our school. I started scolding him, and he handed me the phone saying, "Here, it's your daughter."

He wasn't on his cell phone. He was on MINE. My cell phone rang, and he answered it and struck up a conversation with Sweet Girl. That's just Doug. I couldn't even be mad.

Doug is in his final semester in college now. He's majoring in some combination of words that I can never string together correctly, but it has to do with environmental policy and some other stuff. He has a beard and twin earrings and he still has a wicked sense of humor. We keep telling him he ought to go into politics, because the boy can B.S. with the BEST of them, but he says he's not interested.

I have mixed feelings about that teacher who gave Doug the 69 in U.S. History. I am still bitter about her wielding his grade as the ultimate teacher weapon. But I'm sure glad she sent him to us.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Forgot to Post the GOOD News.....

After whining shamelessly a week and a half ago, lamenting the fact that I only lost eight tenths of a pound in a week, I can't believe I forgot to post the better results after last Thursday's weigh-in.

I lost 2 pounds in a week. Not as much as I would like, but better than eight tenths. And in realize in my BRAIN that 1-2 pounds per week is a healthy rate at which to lose weight. It's my HEART that wants to take off 5-6 every week.

One of my team members lost 1.2, and the other lost 3.

I weigh every day, but I'm definitely not a slave to the scale. I realize that weight fluctuations are bound to occur, and I don't get down in the dumps (much) if there are bumps in the road.

When I'm in a "competition" of sorts, though, I don't want to let my team members down. I arrived at the "Y" right behind one of my teammates last Thursday, and when we were in line to weigh, she handed me her WATCH to hold, for crying out loud. When I took off my heavy sweater (HEY, I had on a tank top underneath), my necklace came off with it. She offered to hold the necklace for me. I said, "No, I think I have to draw the line somewhere."

Back when I was a Weight Watchers leader (sigh), some of my members would look kind of sheepish when they removed their jewelry. I would always say to them, "Hey, a truck load of those rings would weigh SOMETHING, so by all means take them off if you want to."

When I was approaching my goal weight (I lost 50 pounds back then), naturally the weight didn't come off as quickly as it had at the beginning. And it was November, so the weather had changed. I was accustomed to going to my weekly weigh-in wearing bicycle shorts and a t-shirt. When it got cold, though, I had to wear more clothes. Imagine the look on the face of the (male) substitute leader when I approached the scale and started removing my jeans. I had on bicycle shorts underneath, but he had no way of knowing that. I wasn't about to wear those jeans on the scale.

I have no idea how those 50 pounds found their way back onto my body. And some of them brought their friends. But I'm working on it again.

I really didn't intend for this to become a "weight" post.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gonna Hop a Freight Train.....

Well, not really.

But I've always wanted to. Back in a previous wifetime, there was a side rail near our house where freight trains frequently pulled over to allow another one to pass. There were always empty boxcars with the doors open on them, and I have always wanted to jump on one just to see where I ended up. Besides jail, of course. I'm not athletic enough to jump on a moving train, so I would have to sidle up next to one that's stopped on the track and hope I'm not spotted.

I had this great idea that I would take a laptop (now it would be my iPad) and a cell phone, some money, warm clothes, a pillow and blanket, and hope against all hope that the boxcar I chose would indeed be empty. I wouldn't want to share my space with just any old hobo. On the other hand, I'd be willing to bet that hypothetical hobo would provide lots of interesting material for my writing. That is, if he didn't cut my throat and/or steal my iPad and/or cell phone and/or money and/or pillow and blanket first.

I seriously considered adding hopping a freight train to my 50 Things to Do list, but I knew then I would be obligated to attempt to follow through. And I'm too close to retirement to risk being fired for "moral turpitude."

It would be just my luck that the boxcar I chose would be headed for the scrap heap. The train would stop, I would hear someone approaching, but I'd be too afraid to call out, and before I knew it, the doors would be locked and no one would ever find me.

Maybe this isn't such a good idea after all.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Blog Post in Two Parts......

I'm going to write this post in two parts.

In the first part, which I'm writing at about 12:30 PM on Saturday afternoon, I'm going to write as if what I WISH would happen at the gymnastics meet today really DID happen.

After the meet I will post what really happened. I apologize to those of you who do not share my passion obsession with college gymnastics. We're halfway through the regular season already, so you only have to suffer through a few more months of this.


They were better. We lost.


Vault: Cat Hires led off with a powerful vault but took a step sideways on the landing. Kat  Ding returned to the vault lineup and nailed her Yurchenko full exactly the way she did at 2009 NCAAs. Mariel Box finally landed her powerful vault without taking that enormous step back, and Lindsey Cheek continued to amaze everyone with her near-perfection on vault. Our two seniors, Cassidy McComb and Hilary Mauro, each threw a Yurchenko 1 1/2 and stuck the landings. Oh wait, I just left out Noel Couch. Let's put her in in place of Cat Hires, because Noel has stuck a couple of landings in her own right.

Bars: Christa Tanella led off with her usual precision and even stepped it up a notch to keep her very vocal critics from labeling her routine as "sluggish." She threw a half-twist into her double tuck dismount (does she even HAVE that?) and drew a fist pump from head coach Jay Clark. Lindsey Cheek returned to the bars lineup after a couple of weeks competing in only three events, and she did not disappoint. Cassidy McComb did a beautiful routine and even managed to point her toes. (Okay, that's a real fantasy, since her feet are as flat as they come, and I don't think people should blame that on her, but they do.) Noel Couch earned her season high score as she not only looked less herky-jerky, she stuck the landing. Gina Nuccio returned to the bars lineup and wowed the crowds - and the judges - with her beautiful routine. Because she was so near perfect, Kat Ding followed with the season's first perfect 10.0 from any gymnast in the country.

Beam: Christa led off on beam as well, executing her routine flawlessly, including that UGLY side somi. It's hard to make that skill look pretty. Or even decent. Noel followed with one tiny bobble that she covered up with a dance move. Lindsey got her highest score of the season because she took out that butt wiggle after her full turn that looks like a wobble. Cassidy and Hilary both nailed their punch fronts and their dismounts. It's getting harder and harder to make this crap up. Some random gymnast came in for the 6th spot and did a fabulous job as well.

Floor: Noel got things started with her usual herky-jerky self, but her piked full-in brought cheers from the crowd. Lindsey fired up the student section with her B-52's-inspired routine and fixed that twisting thing she does on one of her passes. Mariel continued to stick every landing and matched her high score of the season.  Cassidy was perfect in everything, including her beautiful triple turn. Hilary finally nailed that double front she starts off with, and Gina returned to the floor lineup and amazed everyone with her amazing double Arabian.

Final result: Georgia wins by a tenth. I'm not going to jinx us even further by predicting the score.

Tune in later for the REAL story.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Trying to Generate Some Mojo......

A good blogger would have produced pictures for this blog, but THIS blogger is tired.

Tomorrow our gymnastics team has a meet against the #1 team in the nation. I remember when WE were the #1 team in the nation. We, however, were never unbeatable, as this particular team appears to be. They came out of the gate putting up scores that usually don't show up until mid-season. There were a few little squeaks about the possibility of their peaking too soon, but I don't think they HAVE a peak. They just keep going up.

And it's Florida.

Florida, of all teams.

The college we most like to hate in all things sports-related.

And you can't take anything at all away from their team. They are just stacked with talent from top to bottom ... wait, they don't HAVE a bottom. They're just stacked with talent. Period.

Last year we lost at THEIR place, but only by a tenth. That's a stuck landing. A wobble on beam. A shuffle of the feet.

This year we have been decimated by injuries and graduation. We have had an AWESOME freshman step up, and if she's on she will score huge. We also have a walk-on who has made her way into the lineup on two events, but she's been injured too.

I did everything in my power to generate as much Friday mojo as I could. I wore my Uga VI shirt (even though he is now THREE mascots ago, may they rest in peace) to school today. I wore my new leather UGA logo tennis shoes. Socks. Bracelet. Earrings. My special Gym Dog necklace that Frogger Blogger had made for me.

I'm now unashamedly begging for help from the public. If you don't have anything else to do tomorrow at 4:00 PM EST, send some warm thoughts toward Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. My hope is that our team will shine with some good scores, even if they don't win in the end. If your warm thoughts cause a Florida gymnast (or two or three) to fall off the beam or slip from the uneven parallel bars (without injury, OF COURSE), well that's all part of the game.

This would be a good time to break the 197 mark. For US, not them. They've already done it (twice).

If you don't give a rip about college gymnastics, send some warm thoughts that I don't suffer a stroke in the middle of the competition. It would dampen the enjoyment of the meet for Katydid and Frogger Blogger. They might have to shove my inert body out of the way for a better view of the floor exercise.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm Not Sure this is the Same Kid......

When we interview students for our program, it's hard to predict which ones I will gravitate toward when they actually become our students. Because of A) my cynical nature (gasp! you say) and B) the number of times I've been burned, I try not to get my hopes up too high about any of them. You're a loser until you prove me wrong. Well it's not quite THAT bad, but they know to put on a pretty face and say the right things in their interviews, and then their true colors shine bright once they enter our program. Therefore I try to reserve judgment until I've had a chance to see them in real action. Or inaction, as the case may (all too frequently) be.

I've always been drawn to the trouble kids. And the troubled kids. I'm not bragging when I say that in a lot of cases I was able to relate to them when other teachers couldn't. It's not a skill, it's not a talent. It's just something I have that I don't know HOW I have. Perhaps it's empathy for those students whose misbehavior reminds me of that of both my brothers.

When I first started teaching in an inner city school, I had some rough classes, because the newest members of the faculty always get the most difficult students AND WHY IN GOD'S NAME WON'T SOMEONE CHANGE THAT? I remember one particularly hardened group in my 3rd period class, all boys, all bored, all marginalized in some way. There weren't many in the class, because those tended to drop out fairly quickly, so at least I wasn't as outnumbered as I could have been. I tried to follow the curriculum and, because I was a new teacher, I wasn't nearly creative enough. We muddled through illustrated versions of Romeo & Juliet and other classics, and I truly thought I was doing what they hired me to do. I'm not sure I reached many of them, though.

There was a young man in that class who went by the name of "Red." I wish I could remember his real name. He wasn't redheaded, and he was trouble with a capital "T." But I liked him. And I was probably more than a little afraid of him. These kids were most likely to respond to you if you were REAL with them, and maybe that's why I got along with them. One day Red was flashing a wad of cash during class, and I scolded him. "What are you doing with that kind of money at SCHOOL?" I asked him. "It's not safe to carry that kind of cash around."

"I'm going to buy me a new pair of tennis shoes after school," Red replied.

"Well, don't bring that much money to school again. It's dangerous."

Sure enough, the next day Red sported a new pair of whatever the hot tennis shoes were at that time. AND he had a wad of cash. I jokingly (and stupidly and naively) asked, "Red, where do you GET that kind of money? Whatever you're doing, I think I want to try it too, so I can have me some money like that."

Red got dead serious, and I believe he would have turned pale if he hadn't been African-American. "No, Mrs. Bragger," he said, "I don't think you do." He looked genuinely frightened that I might do something foolish (as he was obviously doing) just to make some money. I believe he would have tried to stop me. I have been touched by that little exchange for my entire teaching career. I wonder what Red is doing now, if he's in prison, if he's still alive, or if he turned things around.

Another student in that same group was named Shawn, and I had had him the year before in middle school. Shawn had the worst stuttering problem the speech pathologist said she had ever seen in her ten years of working with students. He would open his mouth to speak, you could hear the air rushing in (or out), his mouth would move a few times, and occasionally he would manage to blurt something out, but it would be so fast that I couldn't understand him. It might be as simple as asking for a pencil, but it was an ordeal for both of us. I would apologize and ask him to repeat it. It's a wonder he ever spoke to me. But he kept trying. In middle school we all had to teach a "transition" or "special" or whatever the heck they called it back then, and I was assigned to teach an 8-week unit on speech communications. Lucky me, Shawn wound up in that class. Mercifully he was absent one day, and I spoke to the class about the fact that Shawn just wouldn't have the same set of requirements as the rest of them. Bottom line. End of story. I think they understood, or perhaps they were relieved they wouldn't have to watch Shawn suffer in front of the class, trying to make a speech about washing a dog or something.

Then Shawn wound up in my high school class, and he was probably grateful to have a familiar face. His stuttering was no better, but we got along fine. I was never one of those teachers who forced students to read aloud, and I didn't usually call on them cold in class just to prove to the rest of the students that some of them didn't know the answers. One day, though, I was going over some questions in class, and Shawn raised his hand. He volunteered to answer. I don't even remember if he had difficulty getting his answer out, but the fact that he WANTED to answer the question for me has remained in my mind one of the most triumphant moments in my career. I could easily have stopped the lesson right then and sat down and cried. I hope Shawn is doing well today.

The original purpose of this post, though, is about one of our current students. J.J. is nothing but a country boy, and during his interview he slouched in his chair and was fine with his mom answering the questions for him. We asked him about his past and why he hadn't been successful. He had failed most of the courses he had attempted, mostly because he didn't care enough to try. He would go to class and put his head down, and he only brought about 9 or 10 credits with him.

During the interview, his mother said what his main problem was. She pointed to the one male teacher in the room and said, "Taking orders from you, no problem." Then she pointed at me, "Taking orders from you, big problem."

I bristled at that, and I said, "Then we've GOT a problem, because if you look around this table, most of us are women." I think she said something to the effect that he would work on it, and I pretty much wrote him off in my mind right then. I knew he would come in with an attitude toward the women teachers, he would resist efforts to get him to do his work, and he would become a discipline problem. I didn't expect him to last long, especially considering the number of credits he still needed to earn and his past discipline issues.

Nothing could be further from the truth. He has already completed several courses, and he approached me one day about the possibility of finishing by this May (almost impossible, but admirable still). He has always been polite to me, he never talks back, he says "m'am" even though I don't expect it, and his attendance has been exemplary. Don't get me wrong, he's not the perfect student, but he has been a pleasant surprise. He has a tendency to want to play games on the computer, and he never complains when I take control of his computer and click him out of them. Or better yet, I see that he's playing some sort of skill game, and when I take control of his computer, he can't manipulate his character at all. He has to sit there helplessly and watch his guy die. Or his car crash. Or his bike tumble off a cliff. I take a wonderfully perverse pleasure in doing that. He'll spin around in his chair, grinning, but he never gets offended that I have interfered in his game. Again. But he genuinely cares about his courses, and he is working hard to get as many finished as he can. I believe he will graduate, possibly next December, but definitely no later than May of 2012. And he was for all intents and purposes a drop-out when he came to us.

I'm so glad I can still be surprised.

I don't even hold it against him that he's a Georgia Tech fan.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cooking for Two.....

Cooking for two should be a breeze. And it is, if we're eating the same thing.

Since I've been trying to eat healthy and lose (more) weight, however, it has become quite a challenge. Tonight is an example of just such a challenge.

My stove top has four burners (like I'm guessing 98% of the population, Pioneer Woman notwithstanding). In my kitchen tonight, however, I had six pans going: two different skillets for salmon patties, a small dutch oven for black beans and rice, a boiler with potatoes, a saucepan for field peas, and a small boiler for a yummy sauce (made with soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and honey) to drizzle over broccoli. I was shuffling pans like a chef at a Japanese steakhouse slices and dices veggies. That's a terrible analogy, but it's all I've got.

In addition, I used the rice cooker/vegetable steamer to cook the broccoli and the toaster oven to toast some sesame seeds (sprinkled over the sauce on the broccoli). Two skillets were required for the salmon because Hubby likes his patties fried, and I didn't want the calories. So I used a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray to cook mine. They didn't hold together quite as well, but they were still tasty.

Hubby won't eat rice, so the black beans and rice dish was just for me. I have enough left over to take for lunch tomorrow and Friday, and possibly some for dinner tomorrow night. I thought I made enough broccoli for lunch tomorrow too, but the sauce was so good that I wound up eating all the broccoli.

All this kitchen activity followed on the heels of a verrrrrrrrrrrry loooonnnnnnnnnggggggg walk in the park with Hubby and the dogs. It's early to bed tonight.

Right after I fold a load of laundry.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How Not to Get a Job.....

This will look a lot like one of those chain emails that gets spread all over the internet. It's a real, live email string that came to a high school principal today. This guy wants a job. First I'll share the body of his email message.

I wanted to know what kind of school this is and where its located?My resume is attached above and all you need to do is click on it.I'm looking for a possible transfer from _________________if the opportunity is you can see I have over 10 yrs experience in this field and 5 yrs as a certified coach.If you have any questions my number is (xxx)xxx-xxxx.

Sadly, he wants a job in education. He is a paraprofessional in special education, but he has a college degree. Or at least his resume says he does.

That part is sad enough. Here's the real kicker: it came attached to an original string of email messages between him and (presumably) his girlfriend. And the subject line: "Verizon Wireless - Payment Confirmation."
Here is the original string of email messages. I've copied them chronologically so you wouldn't have to scroll all the way to the end to get the correct sequence.

Thank you for your payment

Dear ___________,

Your scheduled electronic check payment, authorized today, has been
applied to your Verizon Wireless account ending in ____.

Here are the details of your electronic check payment:

Date: 10/29 Payment Amount: $223.84 Payment Method: Electronic check; bank account ending in ____

Please note your payment amount will be debited from your bank account on the next business day.

i am very sick sinuses are giving me problems this morning and I can't hardly take it.I might need to go to the nurse and ask for some sinus student didn't show up today,so I hope i have an easy day.hows your day going?  ***This is the job-seeking guy.***

I'm sorry you're not feeling well.  You probably need to start taking meds now so that you can catch it.  My day is going good.

i saw Coach ______ and coach (misspelled coach's name) talking about football in the hallway so i walked by just to see if he would look me in the eye,but neither one could.

Wow, they probably have a guilty conscience.  Nope no jobs.

 Coach _____said i should walk up to them and say thank you for telling me face to face.She is mad,because she said thats not professional!I don't know when,but i am going to do something about this ASAP.I can't
let them screw me over......

Yes I totally agree with you.  I told you that you should do something. All I want is for you to pray about it first. 

Baby can u email me another resume?I need to send it somewhere. 

Please try to keep up with it.  I'm going to eventually delete it from my hard drive because we were told they are going to start checking our computers.

People, he LEFT THIS ATTACHED TO THE EMAIL WITH HIS RESUME! And the Verizon Wireless subject line! And he wants to talk about people being unprofessional?

I have no words. 
His interview is next Monday.

JUST KIDDING!!!!!! (Just kidding about the interview. The rest of it is real. Very real. Painfully, sadly, tragically, pathetically real.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Prize......

You know what's wonderful about a tough Monday at school, coming home in the drizzly rain, and knowing it's nine lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng weeks until we have another day off?

Getting a package in the mail.

I wrote last week about being a winner, and today my prize arrived in the mail, along with a very sweet note from its creator.

I apologize for the poor photography. (I seem to be doing a LOT of that lately.) My big camera is at school, and I didn't have the forethought (or energy or time or inclination or even the idea) to write my blog post when it was still daylight so the natural light would be better. I'm afraid this photo doesn't do the artwork justice. This creation will serve as a constant reminder of the wonderful friendships we can build even with people we have never seen (and may never see) in person.

On the back of the piece is a .... what? .... saying? .... quotation? .... inspiration? .... that I found  poignant. And as a card-carrying member of the American Association of Professional Cynics, I don't throw words like "poignant" around lightly. Unless I'm being sarcastic. And in this case I'm not.

She signed the piece with her real, live, birth certificate name, too, but I cut that out of the picture just in case she wants to preserve her privacy. (It's a precarious tightrope we walk in the blogging world sometimes, isn't it?)

Is it wrong to use "precarious" and "tightrope" together? Is it redundant? If so, I apologize.

Thanks again to the blogger who held this giveaway. Drop by her blog and leave a kind word on my behalf. Or leave a kind word on your own behalf. I'm unselfish that way.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

#34 - Go to a UGA Women's Basketball Game.....

I'm not a HUGE basketball fan, but because it has a ball in it, I can enjoy watching a game. I loved watching my nephews play in high school, and I try to catch UGA games on television every chance I get. The nail-biter yesterday to a team they were expected to dominate wasn't good for my blood pressure (they won in overtime). Even when I was in college, though, when I'm pretty sure it was either free or at least cheap, I never went to a UGA women's game. Until today.

When I bought the tickets, I had to schedule around the men's games and gymnastics, because I didn't want to drive to campus too many times in one week. I knew Hubby wouldn't want to go watch women play, but I figured I could bribe him if necessary. I can usually persuade him with the promise of eating at the Varsity. You'd have to be from Georgia to understand the attraction. It's greasy, you have to stand at a counter and order your food, and then you have to squeeze through the multitudes to find a seat in one of the rooms (rarely the one with the television on the channel I would like to see). Because it's always, always packed.

Hubby was out of town this weekend, though, so Katydid went to the game with me. I felt bad asking her to drive an hour to go to a basketball game on one of her few days off, but we met at the Varsity, and she's just as easily bribed as Hubby.

The UGA women's team has enjoyed greater success on a more consistent basis than the men's team. I promise I'm not going to give you a play-by-play of the entire game. UGA won over 'Bama by a comfortable 27 points. They led 10-0 at one point and never looked back. Sorry.....I neglected to take my camera.

I was reading about our coach, Andy Landers, before the game (because we were there an hour and a half early, literally the third and fourth people in the entire Coliseum), and I was in awe of what he has done with that program.

He came to UGA the same year I did, 1978, when he was only 26 years old. He's the only full-time women's basketball coach UGA has EVER had. EVER.

He has NEVER had a losing season. NEVER.

It was worth going to the game just to see him in action. He's very ... intense. He would get in the faces of his players, gesturing wildly and yelling. Not screaming, just making his point(s) very ... emphatically. He was doing that one time to one of his players seated on the bench, and I looked at the scoreboard. We were leading by 20 points. "Dude," I thought, "don't have a coronary when you're leading by 20." But I guess that's why he's never had a losing season.

Today was the game to raise money for breast cancer research, so our team was wearing pink. That looked strange, with Bama in their crimson and us in pink. Yet the refs still referred to the home team as "white" when calling ball possession. I guess it's too hard to retrain yourself for one game.

I wouldn't mind going to another Lady Dawgs game, but I wouldn't want to have season tickets. One sports obsession is all I can handle at a time.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

#12 - Take a Spin Class.....

When I posted my 50 Things to Do list in my sidebar, #12 bothered me. Not because I was concerned about doing just didn't sound right. It took me until today to realize that what I meant to say was a "Spin Class," not a "Spinning Class." The latter makes me sound like I wanted to make my own wool. And while I do enjoy creativity, that might be taking things a bit too far.

Even though I've been cycling (off and on.....a whole lot of off) for almost 20 years, I had never taken a spin class. I had heard (correctly) that the classes would kick your butt even if you WERE a dedicated cyclist. I guess I avoided them because I was afraid. I'm not a terribly fast cyclist (except downhill, then I'm REALLY fast because heavier things go downhill faster), and I don't do the kinds of rides where you feel compelled to push yourself to keep up with other people. I am only interested in staying in front of Katydid (we ride a tandem ..... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha) and preferably within sight of Rozmo.

I was also unsure about the whole concept of cycling to music. I do listen to music on my bike every now and then, and it does help if I try to pedal to the beat. (Unless the song is something like Billy Joel's "Lullabye," and then it has a counter effect.) I had walked by the room where they were doing spin classes from time to time, and I also noticed that they are held in the dark. I was puzzled as to why. Today I did my first spin class, and I'm still puzzled about the lights off thing.

The spin class was indeed an excellent workout. I didn't do everything the perky little instructor said to do, but I did what I could. A couple of times when she told us to turn the tension to the right (harder), I actually turned it to the left. Maybe that's why they hold those classes in the dark? She couldn't see which way I was turning the knob.

I can understand why cyclists would use spin classes to stay in shape in the winter, but I'm not sure they are for me. For one thing, it isn't quantifiable. She started off the class by telling us to put the tension on "medium." What the heck does that mean? It was my first time, and I didn't know medium from well done. (Ha ha ha ha ha - aren't I a scream tonight?) When I'm on my real bike, I use miles per hour or average speed to gauge how well I'm doing. I can also see the top of a hill (usually), so I know how hard I need to work to get up it. She would tell us to turn the tension one full turn to the right, but what if I didn't start off in the right place to begin with? I wish the knobs had numbers on them. "Put it on 4" would make a lot more senses to me. And then I would know to put it on 2.

It didn't help matters that I chose today's class because the instructor is one from whom I've taken various classes at two different locations over an 18-year period of time. I felt comfortable telling her it was my first time and asking for some basic beginner information. Only she wasn't there, and the substitute was the same perky little thing who teaches both the line dancing class and the hip hop class, neither of which I enjoyed very much. She was also the person working the front desk when I went to sign up for the multi-sport club at the "Y" last night. (What on earth am I thinking?)

I think there are some things about spin classes that go against my cycling philosophy. For one thing, on our real bikes we pay thousands of dollars to buy enough gears so that we never have to get out of the saddle, no matter how steep the hill. I stand up occasionally to go up a hill, but I've been told that you aren't supposed to do it too much, because it's hard on the knees. But almost an entire spin class is spent standing on the pedals. Even if I did enjoy the spin class, my knees did not.

I won't say I won't do another spin class, but I don't think it's anything I want to do two or three times a week.

While I have you enthralled with my exercise class, I'll tell you about a couple more.

I went to zumba class last night, mainly because Hubby is out of town. I didn't put zumba on my 50 Things list because I had done it before, albeit a couple of years ago. It rained all day yesterday (and all night last night and part of this morning), and it has been cold. Just wet and miserable. I thought to myself that a 6:00 zumba class on a rainy Friday night in February, when a lot of folks have given up their New Year's resolutions already, might have about three people in it. I was off by about thirty-two. I couldn't believe how many people were there! And I loved the instructor. She knew which ones of us weren't regulars, and she made sure to make eye contact and give personal feedback. She could lead the class and at the same time nod, smile, give a thumbs up when we were doing a move correctly. I really enjoyed that class. I'm not sure I will go every Friday night, but I think she teaches one other night during the week as well. It's so much fun, because you feel like you're just dancing instead of working out.

After the spin class this morning, I went to a step aerobics class. It is usually taught by the same instructor as the regular spin class, and I have often wondered how on earth she teaches spin for an hour and then immediately does step aerobics for another hour. I figured if she could do it, so could I. But since she wasn't there this morning, another instructor had to fill in. She said she was going to do "double step," which sounds a lot scarier than it is. Instead of ONE step bench, each person has TWO. She had us put them in an "L" shape, and our routine carried us from one to the other and back.

It was fun at first. I got the first combination fairly quickly and was getting a good workout. We also used a weighted bar and hand weights for some upper body work, which I desperately need. The second combination of steps, however, proved too much for me. I got aggravated and frustrated, and I finally packed up everything and left. (It's hard to walk out in a snit when you have to disassemble not one but two step benches and put them away, along with all the other paraphernalia we were using. All while the class was still going on.)

I don't understand the trend in aerobics classes in the past few years. I realize they want to mix up the routines and keep them interesting and not boring, but why the necessity to make them as COMPLICATED as possible? I'm not stupid, and I have above-average coordination. I was on the drill team in high school, and I was in my one and only dance recital at the age of 34. When I go to an aerobics class, I want to .... maybe EXERCISE? .... I'm not trying out for a Broadway musical.

I didn't want to walk out, and I really tried to avoid it. I tried not to be frustrated. When she first started introducing the intricate combination of steps, I just did the basic up-and-down step on my bench, figuring I was still exercising, which was after all the whole point. She kept adding on more and more complicated things, though, and pretty soon I was standing at my step going up-and-down and up-and-down while people danced and hopped and stepped and spun and shuffled all around me. I looked like the queen of step aerobics, and my subjects were earning their keep by dancing for me. Or maybe not.

Two other people picked up their benches and equipment at about the same time I did, and I wonder if it's for the same reason. I was going to stop at the front desk and ask if maybe they have a "Step Aerobics for Idiots" class, but the person working the desk was ....... you guessed it, Miss Spin-Hip-Hop-Line-Dance Perkiness herself. Good grief, she's EVERYWHERE!

I also ran into the instructor for water aerobics at the "Y" today, and I showed her where I was broken out (don't worry, just my arms .... not my nipples). She said she had already complained about the level of chlorine in the pool last Monday. She said it had done a number on her brand-new swimsuit, and she could smell the chlorine on her skin three days later. Apparently it was an abnormally high level, and they are aware of it, so maybe I don't have to avoid the pool completely.

I apologize for the length of this exercise-related post. You may now return to your own chosen level of activity. Mine for the rest of the night will be quilting and reading.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dear Fat Gods.......

Those would be the Gods of Fat, not corpulent deities.



Aren't you taking this middle-aged metabolism thing just a wee bit too far?

For the last week I have done everything almost perfectly. I have not had one bite of chocolate, nor have I had a beer. I had ONE glass of wine on a night when I couldn't sleep. But other than that I didn't cheat. And even that's not really cheating, is it? Aren't I allowed ONE STINKIN' GLASS OF WINE?

I worked out every day....except Tuesday. But on Saturday I ran/walked in a 5K AND THEN came home and rode my bicycle 29 miles. Shouldn't that counteract the not working out on Tuesday?

I mixed up my exercise. I ran, I walked, I bicycled, I did water aerobics, I did the elliptical. Doing water aerobics caused me to break out in a horrible rash ON ALL MY TENDER PARTS (you're welcome for the visual on THAT one - does anyone out there realize how hard it is to scratch one's NIPPLES? Sorry......) because I'm allergic to chlorine and our podunk YMCA didn't think about .... oh perhaps using a salt system .... when they installed their fancy schmancy new indoor pool. Don't I get bonus points for my pain and suffering? And itching and scratching?

I ate rabbit food all last week. To give myself a treat I sometimes put chicken on it. And I used FAT-FREE DRESSING! Which I abhor! We had a baby shower after school today. You want to know my contribution? A veggie tray.


"Dessert" these days isn't the no-sugar-added low-fat ice cream sandwich that I used to enjoy. Oh no, that would be way too decadent. Now my after-dinner treat is a banana popsicle. I guess I'll have to give up those FORTY CALORIES too.

Because with all my hard work and my diligent attention to what I ate and drank, my reward when I went for my weekly weigh-in last night was:


That's a decimal. And an eight.

Eight tenths of a pound.

Twelve ounces and some change.


If that's to be the rate of my weight loss, I will reach my goal weight sometime around my ninetieth birthday. Why not just die fat at an earlier age? It's really all the same to me.

To make matters worse, did they HAVE to assign a size-zero little twit to do the weigh-ins? Yeah, did they train her to say quite chirpily, "Well it's better than nothing! You lost half a pound!"?


Her advice? Try the exercise of the week: push-ups. Instead I tried MY exercise of the week: a right hook.

Her other tip: Try not drinking sweet tea and sodas next week.

My tip? Try asking me first if I do EITHER OF THOSE THINGS TO START WITH.

Eight tenths of a pound.

Good grief.

Willing to make a deal with the devil for a higher metabolic rate,


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Monk Moment #3.........

It has been quite a while since I had a Monk Moment that was worthy of blogging about. If you have never seen the series Monk, you may not know that the lovable character is extremely OCD. To the point that he cannot hold down the job he once loved, but he is still called in on some cases because of his superior powers of observation. The other officers refer to him as the "Defective Detective."

My friend Lawanda the Warrior Princess got me started on Monk. I watched a few episodes, but then I got sidetracked and didn't pick it back up. And I don't watch it on television because naturally I HAVE TO WATCH THE EPISODES IN ORDER. LWP gave me a Monk bobblehead for my desk because she and I share a few of Monk's characteristics. I wish the ones I have would extend to housekeeping, but alas a little clutter is fine with me. When Hubby opens only ONE set of blinds on one of our double windows, however, that is NOT fine. Plates have to be stacked a certain way in the china cabinet, and the flowers have to be pointing in the right direction even in the dishwasher. The bed has to be made every day, and the decorative pillows have to be pointing in the same direction. I only use a certain kind of ink pen, I do NOT loan those out to students (or co-workers), and if I lose the cap to a pen, I throw it away. My dresser drawers are neatly arranged, and everything has its place.

I had a Monk Moment this afternoon when I stopped at Wally World for an eclectic bunch of stuff. (Diapers, doggy pee pads, dog treats, baby shampoo and wash, grapes, a yoga mat, and a veggie tray. The baby stuff and veggie tray are for a baby shower at school tomorrow.)

They restriped the parking lot at our local Wally World not too long ago, and naturally the stripe went right over the sewer cover.

The sewer checker guy, however, is apparently unconcerned about trivialities like stripes, so when he finished HIS job (whatever that is), he just slapped the sewer cover down any old way.

When I told LWP about it on the phone, she asked if I had attempted to pry the cover up and straighten it out. I answered that the thought crossed my mind, but the people who were waiting for me to cross were already perplexed that I stopped in the middle of the crosswalk IN THE RAIN (actually it was sleet) to take a picture.

If only I had Photoshop, I would fix this little problem. At least on my computer.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Another Entry for the "Is This Really Necessary?" Department......

Does anyone remember the days of yore, long ago, when newspapers were all black and white? (And read all over, I know, I know.) The "want ads" (known as the "classifieds" these days) were not only all text, they had clever abbreviations and codes that made it a challenge just to figure out what was being sold.

These days you sometimes find sections of the classifieds that are in color. For an additional fee, you can request bold type, perhaps an icon or clip art. As printing options became cheaper and more readily available, photos actually started appearing in advertisements.

I can see the advantage of using a photograph to sell a house or a car. Even a small picture generally gives a pretty good idea of what shape the car is in, and a description of a house is nothing without an accompanying picture.

Photographs began appearing with other items for sale, though. Baby crib for sale (with a picture). Well, yes that is indeed a baby crib. Grandfather clock (with a picture). Never mind that the picture gives no indication of how many scratches the clock may have. It simply verifies that the seller indeed has a grandfather clock. Or a picture of a grandfather clock.

Pictures of motorcycles are useful, as the many number and letter combinations used to distinguish different models mean absolutely nothing to me. Likewise a picture of an RV for sale - the fact that it's 30 feet in length meant nothing to me before we actually had an RV, but a photo would help me decide whether or not I wanted it.

Putting pictures of puppies in the classifieds is playing dirty. We don't want or need another dog, and Gus would NOT be an ideal big brother. But for the past week there has been an adorable black Pomeranian puppy in the classifieds of our local paper, and if he stays there much longer, I'm afraid Hubby won't be able to control himself. We already have a name picked out for him: Deets. If you are aware that Gus' name came from the character played by Robert Duvall in Lonesome Dove, you will get the Deets connection.

I have seen a couple of pictures in the classifieds here lately that make me wonder why the seller would fork over the extra money it costs to include a photo with the ad. One person is offering firewood for sale, and he includes a picture of a neat stack of firewood as proof that is indeed what he is selling. Really? You have to SHOW me what a stack of firewood looks like? Unless he's advertising that he's going to stack it just that neatly when he delivers it (in which case I'm calling him immediately), I'm thinking the photograph is unnecessary.

The one that really boggled my mind, though, was a photograph accompanying an ad for a ...... burial plot. It's sad enough to offer a burial plot for sale in the newspaper. But a photograph? Do you know what a photograph of a burial plot looks like (unless it's in the process of being used, which would be a whole different can of worms)? It looks like a picture of the ground. With possibly some flowers in the distant background. The picture was black and white, though, and about two inches square. I think it must have been an unscrupulous salesperson who talked that person into an accompanying photograph.

I know, I know, half of you think you would like to trade your problems for mine. And the rest of you think I should consider professional help.