Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Some Things I Need to Do......

I'm a big fan of "To Do" lists. I don't use one all the time, but it helps me tremendously to put things in writing. Sometimes I don't even LOOK at the list, but having written things down serves as a reminder itself. Other times having put things in writing makes me feel obligated to DO them. And publishing them here in a public forum? Well, I may as well have pushed the "nag" button and put it on autopilot.

I'm lucky enough not to have too many "must do" things right now. I have some "ought to" things and some "want to" things, and of course the "need to" things that I put off as long as possible.

Some things on my "need to do" list, above and beyond the usual housekeeping, which I also tend to put off as long as possible:

  • Get started on baby Luke's afghan. His daddy is one of our co-workers, and he is due in January. 
  • Rearrange my dresser drawers. I've got cycling things in one and t-shirts in a dozen different places, but I need some organization.
  • Organize the linen closet in my bathroom. It has taken on a life of its own.
  • Clean out our living room cabinets when Hubby isn't looking. He has a million LPs that will never be any good again, even if we DID have a record player on which to play them, because he stacked them flat on top of each other. I'd be willing to bet money they won't be flat anymore.
  • Make a new curtain for our basement/garage door. It's water-stained and just plain stained. It doesn't even have to be all that attractive, which is a good thing considering my limited sewing skills.
  • Rearrange my silverware drawer. Get rid of all the sporks I come across, because sporks are OF. THE. DEVIL.
  • Put the fringe on the ugly place mats I made last month. And hope the fringe will save them, because nothing else will.
  • Change the shower curtain and bath rug in my bathroom. I'm over the ducks. Sorry, Sweet Girl.
  • Make an attempt to organize my kitchen cabinets to the point that I'll have someplace to put all the small appliances. For someone who claims she doesn't cook, I sure have a lot of things geared toward cooking. Just in case I ever get the urge. 
At least now I won't be able to say I'm bored. I have a whole list of things to accomplish. And no, I haven't forgotten my 50 Things to Do list.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Random Tuesday Thoughts......

I spent a few minutes trying to come up with a word other than "musings" to go with the "M" in Monday. Then I realized it was Tuesday. Only five minutes ago, I thought it was Thursday and almost convinced myself I could wear jeans tomorrow. Perhaps I should try looking at a calendar.

I didn't get home until 5:30 today because I had a hair appointment. It takes a long time to get the natural blond put back in my hair. I gave myself permission to skip Zumba tonight, and I'm completely okay with that. But I'm glad I did my elliptical routine this morning.

I have two "Monk Moment" posts, but they require pictures. One is of something Hubby did, and I'll have to take the picture over his head. So I'll wait until he isn't here rather than hurt his wittle feewings. The other is something I already have a picture of, but if I write tonight about what I'm going to write about later, I actually get two different blog posts out of the same drivel.

I'm blogging on the iPad upstairs because I'd rather watch baseball than Gunsmoke. Aother reason not to do the Monk post tonight.

At this point in the season, I recognize baseball players not by their faces or their uniform numbers, but by their batting stances. That does NOT mean I'm staring at their butts. And you can't prove I am.

I had to replace color ink cartridges in both my home printer and my school printer this weekend. They were both magenta. Why? Then when I put the cartridge in the school printer, it said, "Oh yeah, I forgot to mention.... You need a cyan cartridge also."

I've already started Christmas shopping. In my mind. That's half the battle right there.

I just used an exclamation point and then erased it. I am anti-exclamation points. And smiley faces. And frowny faces.

I must be getting old. I'm ready for cooler temperatures. It's even okay that they are coming to cover the pool next week. One year we swam a few days into October, but I'm over that now.

Football season starts in 48 hours. Tailgating in 4 days. Gymnasts have begun fall practice. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.................

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's the Little Things That Drive Me Crazy.......

Because sometimes I post about the little things that make me happy, tonight I'm blogging about the little things that drive me crazy. Things that don't even concern me. Don't affect my life in any way. Shouldn't bother me. But do.

There's this guy at school, and he's just not one of my favorite people. He's the one I mentioned last year that just may have been having someone else do his work for him. Work toward a MASTERS degree in education. Oh, the irony.

I believe I've mentioned about a gazillion times here that we've moved into a new building this year. The building formerly housed a pre-kindergarten program, and before that it was an elementary school. They've done a good job renovating a building where HUBBY WENT TO SCHOOL. Yeah, it's old.

Some of the signs are still there from the previous school, most notably the handicapped parking signs, the sign designating the principal's parking spot, and the spot reserved for the Teacher of the Year.

This jerk guy gets to school earlier than some, and he insists in parking in that spot. The Teacher of the Year spot. And he's not. Teacher of the Year, that is. Isn't that nervy? Tacky? Rude?

Some might argue that he thinks since the sign is left over from a former school, it doesn't apply to us. But we do HAVE a Teacher of the Year, and she deserves her own parking space. I've noticed he doesn't park in the space labeled for the principal, so why the TOTY?

Never mind. I think I know.

He also has a potty mouth, and while I'm definitely not a prude and have been known to let a mild profanity escape my lips from time to time, I try to be professional at school and not use those words unnecessarily. I can't swear I didn't say something profanity-laced the time the pull-down screen fell on my head (on Friday the 13th, no less), but I generally think there's a time and place for those words. His regular conversation is laced with the F-word, as are his emails. I've heard tell he uses that language in front of his students, but I can't verify that. I called him on his language one time last year at the end of the year, and he said, "What? There are no kids here."

I said, "I'M HERE." It didn't appear to faze him.

I'm tempted to let the air out of his tires the next time he parks in the TOTY spot. I think only someone who has earned the distinction has the right to park there. And until he is TOTY, he should park his car somewhere else. And when he's TOTY, I hope I am RIP.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Wilson 100 Bicycle Ride......

Katydid and I rode the Wilson 100 bicycle ride again today. We've never done the 100-mile route, and I don't think it's likely that we will. We have ridden the shorter rides a number of times, and today we did the 65-mile route. This ride follows pretty much the same route every year, so it SHOULD be familiar to us. Only it isn't always. Because we didn't ride it YESTERDAY.

The past two years it has rained either at the last rest stop or just after we left the last rest stop. This year we got lucky. It was hot (and windy), but it didn't rain. The terrain was gently rolling (only it didn't feel so gentle toward the end of the day) and fairly rural. We didn't have any close encounters with vehicles. The only time we almost got knocked off the road was by a peloton of somewhere between 75-100 cyclists. I lost count at 34, by which time they weren't riding in pairs anymore, they were riding four and five across. They do this every single year, and I let it affect my blood pressure every single year. I did say to one girl, "That was pretty close." And then I lost count of the riders because I was too busy holding the tandem on the road.

I don't know who that group is, but they show up every year. The good news is they don't stop for rest stops, so once they pass you, odds are you don't have to deal with them again. I hate it when an otherwise perfectly pleasant ride is spoiled by OTHER CYCLISTS.

The last rest stop is staffed by a woman who is also in charge of one of the other rides we do (almost) every year, one that occurs in April. She has the most wonderful baked goods, not just the typical rest stop fare. And this year she had blueberry lemonade. That was some seriously good stuff. I just stood by the cooler, because I kept draining the itty bitty cups they had. I should have just filled up my water bottle.

I got low on water, mainly because the last rest stop was 20 miles (and a billion degrees) from the end of the ride. I had to go to my back-up bottle of water, which I had poured before we left this morning. It was like drinking bath water. Not refreshing in the least.

And now I'm going to stop complaining, because it was a good day and a good ride. Katydid had suggested we ride our single bikes, since she hasn't had time to train and she didn't want to hold me back. I said to her, "I'd rather haul you than wait on you," and I meant it. At least having her on the back of the tandem gave me someone to talk to. And our average speed was decent, considering we haven't ridden tandem much at all this year.

Now I'm going to put my tired, aching muscles to bed. I was worried about oversleeping this morning, so I compensated by UNDERsleeping. I woke up at 3:00, and I'm not sure I ever went back to sleep. Early to bed is just the ticket. Forgive my rambling.....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Roadside Advertisements......

I'm not sure if this is something that mainly occurs in the South, or if it's all over the country in this sucky economy. Maybe it's even in other countries - some of you folks in other parts of the world will have to let me know.

I've noticed a trend people standing on the street near some businesses holding advertisements for those businesses. Some are old, some are young. Most of them have earphones or earbuds in, jamming to some music while they work. A folding chair is often nearby, along with a cooler. If it were me doing the job, that cooler would have to have something in it besides Gatorade and Snickers bars.

You can tell some of those folks got the job of standing outside in the traffic because they were the low men on the totem pole. The expression tells it all. Some of them make the best of a bad situation, dancing and waving to the drivers. Some of them, particularly at income tax time, at least have the anonymity of hiding behind a costume. Although I'm not sure the Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam wore Nike tennis shoes. I could be wrong, though.

I wonder if anyone has done any research on the effectiveness of this particular kind of advertisement. Obviously it must work to some degree, or more and more businesses wouldn't be jumping on board with it. I've seen these folks outside pizza places ($5 FOR A TWO-TOPPING MEDIUM!!!!!), pawn shops and jewelry stores and other places that buy gold (WE BUY BOLD!!!! TOP DOLLAR!!!!!), furniture stores (GOING OUT OF BUSINESS!!!!! EVERYTHING MUST GO!!!!!), and one that I saw for the first time today (HUGE TOOL SALE!!!!!) Does that mean they were having a huge sale, or were they selling huge.... never mind.

I'm certainly not knocking the folks who do these jobs. With the way the economy is today, people are darn lucky to get a job anywhere doing anything. I'm just curious as to the effectiveness. And the cost-effectiveness.

Because clearly I don't have enough to worry about.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sounds I Hate to Hear on My Bicycle........

I rode my bike home from school again today, and I don't mean to imply that I heard all these sounds in one ride. I was going to try to rank them in order of least feared to most feared, but that's too hard. And my brain is fried. So I'll just talk about them as I think of them.

  • Barking dog - A barking dog can be a terrible sound if I can't tell whether or not there is a fence. Of course, a barking dog can also just unleash the inner demon in me. Katydid still talks about the time we were toward the end of a grueling century ride when I screamed AT A DOG. When he ran toward me barking furiously, I pointed at him and yelled, "YOU DO NOT WANT TO MESS WITH ME TODAY." The dog turned tail and ran back into his yard. And Katydid wet her pants.
  • Jingling of a dog collar - A jingling dog collar can mean one of two things. It can mean that the dog hasn't noticed me yet and when he does he's going to bite my leg. Or run in front of my bike. I would prefer that he bite my leg, because at least then there's a CHANCE it won't hurt my bike. The jingling can also mean that the dog is already charging and is past the barking phase.
  • Panting dog - Much like the jingling collar, the sound of panting can mean that a dog is already charging. It can also indicate that he has gone into stealth mode, which means he's pretty damned determined to latch onto my juicy calf. After I've worked so hard to get them in shape too. The calves, I mean, not the dogs.
  • Clicking toenails on pavement - I would call this super-stealth mode. The dog is not only refraining from barking, he's controlling his breathing so I won't hear him approach. He has somehow put a silencer on his collar so it doesn't jingle, and I only hear his claws on the pavement for 1.3 seconds before he launches himself into me and my bike.
  • Multiple combinations of any of the above - Anytime there is more than one dog, it's a crap shoot. They scheme and coordinate their movements, and I never know which one I should aim for. It doesn't matter, because I'm just as likely to run out in front of a garbage truck trying to avoid the dogs. 
  • Garbage trucks - My newest (and therefore at least for now my strongest) fear is garbage trucks. My cycling route home from my new school location takes me past the local landfill (oh joy), and as it's late in the day, trash trucks are making what is probably their last runs of the day. One of them ran me off the road yesterday, and his buddy behind him planted himself on the horn of his truck. When I indicated to him that he was number one in my book (I RARELY do that, VERY RARELY), he sat on the horn again. I almost followed him into the landfill (since we were roughly 20 feet from the driveway and I delayed him probably a whopping 10 seconds), but I decided that wasn't very smart. My NEW route home takes me away from the landfill. It's kind of like leaving New York and swinging by Chicago to get to Atlanta just to avoid going through Washington DC. Which according to the traffic horror stories I've heard might not be a bad idea.
  • Squealing tires - If I hear car tires squealing behind me, I just close my eyes and hope for the best. That is an indication that either a driver has misjudged the distance and cannot stop in time to avoid hitting me, or a car has swerved to avoid me and now faces the choice of hitting another car or taking me out.
  • A car horn - A gentle couple of beeps from a distance to let me know he's there is okay. Not necessary, but okay. I have a mirror, and I usually hear a car approaching from the rear. The ones that I really hate are the drivers who wait until they are right beside me, usually too close for comfort, and blow the horn to show their distaste for bicycles, bicycling, and bicyclists. And probably anyone who ever rode, bought, or looked at a bicycle. That makes me jerk the handlebars, which not only gives the a**hole kind driver the satisfaction of knowing he has startled me, but it also makes it more likely that I will jerk my bicycle into his path. Even if I still have both hands on the handlebars, which is unlikely if it's one of those VERY RARE OCCASIONS on which I am also letting the driver know he's number one in my book. (Notice how I keep saying "he"? Yeah, they're all men. Except for the ones I've written about before, the ones with the 'EDUCATOR' license plates.) 
  • Air hissing out of my tire - I'm superstitious, and it's bad luck even to talk about this one.
Katydid and I are doing a bike ride this Sunday, the first one on the tandem in a long time. Tomorrow I have to get the cobwebs off the tandem - literally. I hope we don't hear any of the above sounds on our ride this weekend. We are, however, fairly likely to hear a lot of "On your left."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pity Party Pending......

Warning: Pity Party Ahead

I am emotionally, mentally, physically exhausted.

Or as Frank, a darling former student of VodkaMom, one of my favorite blog-pals, would say it, "I'm disausted." (And I'm not shamelessly linking to her blog because I still hope to win the scooter; the contest is over, and I didn't win. That puts VodkaMom on the same level with Pioneer Woman, bloggers whose contests I have NOT won.)

If "disausted" is a combination of disgusted and exhausted, consider it my new favorite word.

I'm drained from the routine of taking care of my mother-in-law, and please believe me when I say I'm not complaining. We don't even have to take care of her EVERY need, since she has home health care and physical therapists coming in several times a week, and sometimes her own DAUGHTER can even manage to stop by and help. It's just tiring. And while I posted just a couple of weeks ago (or it may have been only days), we can adapt to new routines. What we can't do right now is either plan things too far in advance OR be spontaneous. We thought we might take a Thanksgiving trip in the RV again this year, but we may be looking at months of helping Hubby's mother. Wah wah. Imagine how I would be whining if I were the one who couldn't even get up to pee. I promise that I don't let her see how tired it makes me, and I don't complain. Not even to Hubby. Even when I told him I have a bike ride this Sunday, and before I could suggest that maybe he could take care of his own mother himself, he said, "No problem, we'll just go at 5:00." Great. That means getting up at 4:30.

My energy at school is being completely depleted. I think it will get better, especially once our students settle into their crappy attendance habits. (Pardon the is a regular guest at my pity parties.) We have increased our class size this year from 15 students to 20, and it makes a huge difference. I realize some of you teachers out there regularly deal with more than 30 students in a class, so please don't throw things at me. My students use a computer curriculum and move at their own pace (or a snail's pace, as they see fit), so I am constantly hopping from one computer to another.

I worried sick about my child, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. And it has nothing to do with the hurricane either. I was secretly hoping that her town would be evacuated and she would come home, then the hurricane would wipe out her entire condo complex so she could start over. That might have been her only chance to get out of this mess. She bought her condo right before the economy went to hell, and she's stuck there now. Oh, and the Navy decided they didn't need her services anymore, so she's also out of a job. She gets a housing allowance through the G.I. bill as long as she's a full-time student, but it's hard to get a full-time job to pay the REST of the bills when she has to be a full-time student. And did I mention she doesn't want to talk about it?

My mother-in-law diagnosed the CRIPPLING pain I've had in my right foot for MONTHS now. I thought it was a stress fracture or arthritis. Frogger Blogger (also known as Nurse Jane) said it could possibly be gout, although that usually affects the big toe, and this pain is in my little toe. Mother-in-law mentioned the possibility of it being a corn, and darn if she wasn't right. Why didn't I think of that? At least it's something I can treat, but it's down at the base of my toe, right between the little toe and the next one, and it's taking its sweet time getting better. Now that I've grossed you out talking about the corn between my toes, you may return to your regularly scheduled lives.

I want to burst into tears and cry for about three hours. Then I want to crawl into a hole and sleep for about three years.

I hope next time we talk I'm on the upswing. Because if I get any lower, I'm afraid I'll start liking it down here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Watching the Clock.......

I have worked for many principals in my teaching career, and it seems they all had varying opinions about teachers' working hours. To their credit, the vast majority of the ones I've worked under have taken the approach that teachers don't stop working when they walk out the door, so the 8:00-4:00 working hours have been somewhat flexible. I had one principal who allowed me to be late every single day because we lived 30 minutes away on a country dirt road, and I didn't want to leave home until Sweet Girl was on the bus. He was cool with that, since I had first period planning, and it didn't impact my direct interaction with students. He went home every. single. day. for a two-hour nap, so it's not like he had a whole lot of room to talk.

We've usually been expected to sign in and out, but even that wasn't always strictly enforced. In my first teaching job, another teacher and I started playing games with each other, signing each other out at random times of the day for made-up reasons, trying to see who could be more outrageous than the other. I wonder what she's doing now....she got a divorce and left town, taking a job teaching in Hawai'i, and naturally we couldn't be friends after THAT. I remember getting a postcard from her that said, "I'm never going to wear pantyhose again." I sighed wistfully at the thought. Yes, I realize I'm showing my age.

At another school, one of the several principals who marched through there thought it was important that teachers be on time. Or at least that they SIGN IN on time. He asked the secretary (or perhaps he did it himself, I don't know) to put a RED DOT next to anyone's name who had not signed in at 8:00. It didn't matter that perhaps someone had arrived early to school and gone directly to his or her classroom; it also didn't matter if you were there until 5:00 or 6:00 coaching a sport or directing the play or putting together the yearbook. The details are fuzzy, but supposedly something "bad" was to happen if you got three red dots. One of our assistant principals, a woman with a bad attitude to begin with, went in one morning and red-dotted HER OWN NAME all the way across the week. That did not go over well.

I've worked in more than one school where the front office would be closed when I left for the day. So the next morning I would sign OUT from the day before and IN for that day at the same time. Sometimes I even told the truth. There was talk at one school where I worked (can you tell I've been around the block a few times?) of having teachers sign in from their own computers. That made perfect sense to me, since it could be done from the classroom and didn't involve what might be a long walk to the front office. I'm not sure it ever came to fruition, and I left that school. Too.

Our county started using electronic key cards a few years ago, but it never touched our school because we were A) so small; and B) located in an ancient building that didn't even meet ADA codes. When they moved us this year, though, the building was equipped with the key card scanners, so that's how we are supposed to check in and out. I don't mind it, but I've heard that the POWER-THAT-BE spends a lot of time going over those electronic log-ins. Just as in a previous location, working an hour past the normal quitting time of 4:00 has no impact whatsoever, but you can have your pay docked if you are late to school. Or are late swiping your card. Woe be unto anyone who arrives at school at the same time as another faculty member and saunters in the front door, chatting all the while, and forgets to swipe his or her card. You aren't there. They can prove it, because you didn't swipe your card. Thanks but no thanks for holding the door for me, I've got to swipe my damn card.

Who in the world came up with the 40-hour work week anyway? I can see it for some professions, but is it really necessary for jobs like teaching? If the students are gone and I don't have lesson plans to write (I don't) or papers to grade (I don't), what's the point of my sitting around waiting for the clock to turn over to what someone has deemed "quitting time"? Every time a student sends me a text message when I'm at home, do I have the privilege of running down to the school and swiping my card in/out, because by golly I was WORKING during those minutes? You're right, that could get expensive, even if it IS only five miles to school.

I guess I shouldn't complain about the possibility of getting scolded when it hasn't happened yet. It just irks me that in a profession where we should be treated..... oh, professionally maybe?...... we actually get treated like the kids we teach.

Going to bed so I can clock in on time tomorrow,


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Know It's Only a Commercial.......

There's a commercial airing right now that makes me feel, really......uncomfortable. I realize it's supposed to be funny, but for some reason it makes me cringe.

It's for AT&T U-Verse, which allows subscribers to record up to four things at one time. The family is programming its recordings, and there is one left. The parents debate about which child to give it to, remarking that "Jennifer is so beautiful" (or something like that) and "Kyle has that thick head of hair...that should be rewarded."

The dad suggests they count to three and name the kid each of them loves best, and they both pick Jennifer. Jennifer smiles triumphantly, but not in a bratty way, and Kyle just keeps staring at the television. Then the dad says, "We should probably give it to Kyle. It's really all he's got."

And the kids never say a word. Even poor Kyle, who has just had both his parents confirm that his sister is the golden girl, the chosen child.

That commercial bothers me more than anything I've ever heard on South Park. And there have been some doozies on there. I'm trying to decide why it bothers me so much.

Is it because I think my own mother plays favorites, and I'm Kyle? (My siblings and I love each other in spite of it.)

Is it because, as a parent, I think it's plain wrong to favor one child over another? Even though I only have one child?

Could it possibly be that I'm taking this commercial way too seriously and I need to let it go?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sing It With Me.....Tradition...Tradition.....

I am all about tradition, especially in sports. I think there is often a fine line between superstition and tradition, but it doesn't matter to me. Teams do some of the same things again and again, and fans participate in some of those rituals.

At many college football games, fans (and players) hold up four fingers at the beginning of the fourth quarter. In gymnastics we hold up four fingers at the beginning of the fourth rotation (in dual meets). Why (and when?) we hold up four fingers in college basketball, which has two halves instead of four quarters.....well, I don't know.

UGA football teams have worn red jerseys and silver britches (they aren't pants, either, they're britches) for a long time. Never mind that they aren't really silver but gray (shhhhhh.......). They recently unveiled a special Nike uniform they will wear for the first game this year, and while I'm not sold on the red-on-red look, I absolutely LOVE the red and silver helmets. It doesn't matter much anyway, since the uniforms are only for one game. (Is it just me, or does that sound a tiny bit expensive?)

And none of this has much to do with what prompted this post.

I was folding clothes and watching the Braves vs. Cubs baseball game when Freddie Freeman, the Braves' rookie first baseman, came to bat. I didn't realize at the time that it was his first ever at-bat at Wrigley Field, which is fraught with tradition all by itself. Freddie jacked the first pitch over the ivy-covered wall for a home run. True to the Wrigley Field tradition, the fan who caught the home run ball threw it back onto the field.

Baseball players don't usually get to keep souvenir home run balls because the fans keep them. (Except for that extraordinary man who caught Derek Jeter's 3000th hit, a home run, and now is in deep do-do with the IRS for all the "thank you" gifts with which the Yankees rewarded him.)

By throwing the ball back onto the field, though, the fan enabled Freddie to have a memento that will likely mean a lot to him throughout what I hope will be a long career with the Braves. (I'm certain one of the Chicago outfielders retrieved the ball for him. If they didn't, I don't want to know about it.)

I've always wondered if I were lucky enough to A) go to a baseball game at Wrigley Field; B) sit behind that beautiful ivy-covered wall; C) catch a home run ball; and D) live to tell about it, would I be able to throw a home run ball back onto the field? (I mean, assuming I were there to cheer for the Cubs, which I probably wouldn't be, especially if they were playing the Braves.) Heck, I caught a FOUL ball hit by Andres Galarraga in Atlanta, and I carried that bad boy around for DAYS, showing it to anyone who would stand still long enough for me to tell the story.

Okay, I didn't really CATCH it. Hubby jumped up for it, his co-worker jumped for it, twenty people around us jumped up for it, and I was positively frozen in my seat. I still don't know how it wound up in my lap. But by golly it's mine. If it had been an actual home run ball, I don't think I could have brought myself to throw it back on the field. It wouldn't matter WHO hit it.

One more cool thing about this game and I promise I'll shut up. One of the Cubs hit a pop fly to the third base line, and Chipper Jones was going for it in foul territory. He had to lean way into the seats to catch the ball for the third out, and when he did, he simply turned his glove over and allowed a woman in the front row to pluck it out of his glove for a keepsake. I thought she was going to cry. Then I thought I was going to cry.

I sure hope Chipper didn't strain his wrist turning his glove over like that. I'm just sayin'.......

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Monk Moment #4.........

As I've noted here before, I have a few Monk tendencies toward OCD. Nothing that carries over into housekeeping, but a few peculiarities that I won't go into here.

This song has prompted my latest Monk Moment.

I downloaded this version of "Over the Rainbow" because I love the rhythm and the ukelele. I only knew of the song's existence because it was Noel Couch's balance beam music last year. Full disclosure here. It was also sung (beautifully, I might add) at my niece's wedding two weeks ago.

I have a special fondness for "Over the Rainbow." It was the first song I ever sang in public, in the talent show at "Y" camp. It earned me a spot in "The Show" at the end of camp, a showcase to which parents and other family members were invited. In "The Show" I had to dress up in a boy's baseball uniform and sing something called "It's All Right to Cry" (I think).

Of course I also like the song because it's from one of my all-time favorite movies, The Wizard of Oz, the first movie I remember seeing. The Wicked Witch of the West frightened me half to death.

Here are the lyrics to the Judy Garland version, just in case you don't remember them.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

Note the beautiful rhyme scheme. "Fly" and "I." "High" and "lullaby." "Blue" and "true." 

In the Israel Whatever-the-heck-his-Hawai'ian-name-is version, he mixes up the lyrics to the point that they don't even rhyme.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Blue birds fly
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Dreams really do come true ooh ooooh

What is up with THAT? The lyrics were FINE the way they were. I wish I had never paid attention to how he sings it, because every time it comes on my iPhone when I'm riding my bike now, it drives. me. crazy.

If that weren't bad enough, I'm pretty sure he says "above the CHIMLEY tops."

Yes, I realize you wish you had MY problems.

I'm kind of sorry I brought it up.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Twit(ter) That I Am.........

I have read with great curiosity (mostly in Sports Illustrated because that's about the only magazine I read these days) some of the things people post on Twitter. I have not given into the Twitter craze (yet) because I honestly can't figure out what the big deal is. I'm already a Facebook failure; I don't need something else that I do but don't know why.

What, pray tell, is the point of Twitter? Is it a duplication of what people put on Facebook? Do these people really have countless hours of time to spend letting other people know what they are doing? It's obvious what they're doing - They are twittering and facebooking!

Yes, I know it's called tweeting. I even refuse to learn the terminology. Or at least use it correctly.

And how does the whole "following" thing even work? Does someone have to be on the computer to get my twitteritions? Or would my followers (if I had any) get emails letting them know that ..... GASP! .... Bragger has gone to the vending machine!???? I can just see my friend Neena, in the middle of her prospectus defense next Monday (please send up a little prayer for her), telling her doctoral committee, "I'm so sorry for the interruption, but my friend Bragger just twitted that she's almost finished reading my prospectus."

It's not like I'm important enough for anyone (except for possibly my sisters, God bless them) to care about what I'm doing at any given moment of the day. I'm not Pioneer Woman, after all. Or an athlete. Or a movie star. I'm not even the most important teacher on our staff, and there are only 5 of us. So who would care?

If I were on Twitter (which I'm not), here are some of the things I would have twittered today:

@Bragger: Ugh.....Hearing the alarm go off at 6:00 on a Saturday is so not cool.

@Bragger: Of COURSE the grocery store is out of the canned chicken with the dollar off coupon.

@Bragger: I just folded a king-sized fitted sheet all by myself.

@Bragger:  I'm graduating from Mario Brothers and moving on to Zelda on the Wii.

@Bragger: I'm too retarded to play Zelda on the Wii.

@Bragger: Why do I even have to clean a shower? I get in it EVERY DAY for the sole purpose of getting clean.

@Bragger: Is it rude to wish my sister-in-law would drown in my pool?

@Bragger:  My college football addiction is getting serious. I'm watching the replay of a UGA game from 2005. I know, right? At least this time I don't have to watch commercials. (I'm pretty sure this one went over the 140-character limit. Let me check......Yep, it was 168. Another reason I'm not on Twitter.)

@Bragger: Why will NBC show ten minutes of them putting R. Bross in a wheelchair and not show a replay of how she hurt her knee?

@Bragger: Go ahead, all you hot shot gymnasts, sign with Florida. Just how many of you do you think can compete on any given night?

@Bragger: I have officially stopped saying, "Tell me again why the Braves got Dan Uggla." Two homers again tonight.

@Bragger: I hope no one saw me fall down the embankment when I was using the push mower.

@Bragger: Housework becomes almost enjoyable with Billy Joel music blasting. Today it was the Storm Front CD. I don't think there's a bad track on the whole CD. (Crap. That one's over the limit too.)

@Bragger: Hubby has done well at the casino. This time.

@Bragger: Yum. Chicken salad with Miracle Whip instead of mayo. Because Hubby is out of town at the casino.

 @Bragger: Is it really necessary for Shawn Johnson to be THAT cute?

@Bragger: I hate it when my DOG tells me it's time to go to bed.
There. Would you seriously "follow" such drivel? I mean, on purpose? I realize I just tricked you into reading it here. And for that I (almost) sincerely apologize.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Moving up on My Best Friends List........

I can't believe I didn't write about this when it happened. I may have, but I can't remember. And if I can't remember, I'm hoping against hope that you can't remember it either. If I did write about it. Which I can't remember.

A couple of weeks ago (which can be anything from yesterday to something that happened in 1979), I was riding my bike through town. I usually stick to back roads and stay away from town, but I kept changing my mind about which way I wanted to ride, and pretty soon the only way home was to go back 40 miles the way I had come or ride through town. Repeating 40 miles is almost never in my game plan.

I got trapped at an intersection by a train. Our town is so small that a passing train can paralyze the entire operation. Since I had to wait for the train, I circled through the parking lot of a convenience store a few times, and I noticed a Pepsi truck. Hubby being retired from Pepsi and all, I still tend to notice their trucks. The driver was loading some drinks onto a handtruck, and I recognized him as one of Hubby's buddies, someone I had met a few times. Having nothing else to do, I rode over to where he was standing and spoke to him. He is a very, very nice man, soft-spoken but friendly, and I've never heard him say a harsh word about anything or anyone. One of the good guys. I have no idea why he and Hubby are friends. Just kidding.

I told him my name, since I thought he might not figure out who I was without Hubby with me. He has one of those million-dollar smiles that light up the entire face.

"I didn't recognize you," he said. "You done lost a BUNCH of weight."

Bless him.

He could just as easily have said any number of other things.

"I didn't recognize you in spandex."

"I didn't recognize you in that goober helmet."

"I didn't recognize you behind those sunglasses."

"I didn't think I knew anyone stupid enough to ride a bicycle through town when traffic is backed up by a train."

But he didn't say any of those things. He commented on my weight loss. Just a casual friend of Hubby's, someone who has met me half a dozen times at most.

He's my new BFF.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


So I've decided to write a book.

Actually I decided to write a book a long time ago. I've wanted to write a book since I was about 12 years old, but I've never really put my mind to it. One problem is that my best "writing" comes from the thoughts I have after I go to bed, before I doze off. It's not good for my sleep pattern to get up and put those thoughts down on paper (computer), so I just "write" from night to night, never getting the words down in any concrete form.

Yesterday at school, while the students were working and no one needed my immediate attention, I picked up a tablet and started writing by hand. I would scribble for a while, stop when a student needed my intervention or someone came in with a question, and then I went back to writing. In longhand.

I consider myself fairly technologically savvy. I may not always keep up with the latest in technology, but I know how to use what I have. And I consider it a personal challenge to figure things out, to do things with technology that I haven't done before.

So I am puzzled as to why writing in longhand comes easier than writing on the computer. Yesterday I jotted ideas down for a few pages (it was a small tablet), and then I typed them into Word. Not only did the writing come more naturally, but it was less of a disruption when someone interrupted me. On the computer I have a hard time getting my thoughts back together; with the pen I just picked it back up and continued where I left off.

I thought I was over my propensity for writing in longhand when I wrote my dissertation. There was too much writing to do in too short a period of time for me to write it out by hand, so I learned to compose on the computer. Blogging has also improved my ability to write using the computer. But for some reason when I write what I hope will become a novel (dare I hope for a best-seller and Oscar-winning movie? a girl can dream, can't she?), I do what I think is my best writing on paper. Real paper. With a pen. Black ink. How ordinary.

I'm also feeling a little conflicted about doing my writing at school. Is that being dishonest somehow? It's not like I'm shirking my job or anything. I never tell a student, "Hold on, I'm writing here!" It beats spending the quiet moments surfing the Internet, doesn't it? Doesn't it?

A huge hurdle I have to get over is my reluctance to share my writing with anyone. I have challenged the Warrior Princess to finish HER book. I suggested we read each other's writing and perhaps even have a writers' retreat somewhere. (Damn, damn, damn not getting to buy the house on the marsh. It would have been the PERFECT writing atmosphere.)

I even thought about posting chapters of my book here as I finish them, but are there copyright issues? Am I then self-publishing? Does that mean the book would never come out in real pages with a cover and my picture on the back and everything? Would someone find my book on the Internet and steal it, forcing me to hunt him or her down and commit a felony?

I'm pretty sure I have no idea what I'm doing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to Win Friends and Influence People......

We had a student return this year to interview for our program. She was at our school two years ago, but she dropped out. She has since had a little girl, and (she says) realized the importance of finishing her education. She only needs 9 credits to graduate, which she can easily do in the course of a year in our program. Or less. I had a pretty good relationship with her when she was at our school before, so I took her on as one of my advisees. (The devil you know...)

After telling the other teachers how badly she wanted to come back to school and how her little girl made her want to complete her education, yada yada yada yada, she didn't come to school the first day. Or the second day. Or the third. Finally I found her cell number and sent her a text message, basically asking, "What's up?"

She said she way on her way to school the first day when she got a call that her cousin had been in a really bad wreck with both her daughter and my student's daughter in the car and she had been "in and out of hospitals and dealing with lawyers." I sympathized and asked how her little girl was.

"She's bruised a little from her car seat but she will scream when she gets in a car seat now."

I said I hoped she got over the trauma and told her again I was looking forward to seeing her. She said (again) that she was soooooo ready to get back to school .

That was on Thursday, and I didn't hear any more from her. On Monday I texted her again, telling her they would start deleting no-shows and she would have to re-enroll if she doesn't show up. She said her little girl had her last appointment that day and she would be there the next morning. I told her what her schedule was, that I was her advisor, and she should report to me as soon as she got there.

You can probably see where this is going. She didn't show up yesterday EITHER. She texted me around 8:00 last night asking if she still had a seat, and I told her she hadn't been withdrawn YET. She assured me she would be there and her mom was bringing her. Then she texted me again immediately and asked what if she couldn't come today because she had child support court. I guess she suddenly remembered.

I told her it wouldn't make us kick her out, but every day she didn't come was just one less day she could use to make progress toward graduation. Then she wanted to know if she would be allowed to work threw [sic] lunch when she came. Dedicated, right? Wanting to forgo lunch to get her work done?

Her mom called today and talked to our secretary.

She made up the whole story. Her cousin was indeed in a car accident, but it had nothing to do with this girl. Or her baby. The mom is trying to get the girl to come to school.

Every time I think I've heard it all, someone surprises me again. I mean, using her BABY in a lie? And an elaborate one at that? Even after all these years, I still get fooled.

Sure, I'll help you get your diploma. But I'll never, ever believe another one of your stories. I don't care HOW convincing it is.

Little twit.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our New Routine........

Please note: I am writing about how adaptable we human beings are, even set-in-my-routine folks like me. I am NOT complaining.

My husband's mother fell two weeks ago, breaking the bone in her upper left arm. She is so frail; the last time she broke something, it was her shoulder. She broke it when she reached back behind her to turn on a lamp. She has broken both hips, a wrist, a finger, a shoulder, now her arm, and I'm sure I left something out.

She has declined over the years that Hubby and I have been married. Every now and then a picture of her scrolls through my screensaver, in our backyard with our former dogs. It's hard for me to remember when she could do that. She has used a walker for several years, and I can't remember the last time she was in my house. She can't navigate the steps to the front door anymore. She has been to the pool for a couple of outings. Hubby drives her car into the backyard and brings her to the pool in a wheelchair.

She's a sweet lady, and she isn't feeble-minded in the least. She doesn't complain, and she isn't a lot of trouble. Although she DID refuse to go the hospital in the ambulance when she fell two weeks ago, all because they wouldn't take her to the hospital she wanted to go to. (It wasn't extremely convenient for Hubby to drive her there either, but he did it.)

Because she can't walk without a walker, and now her arm is broken, she is pretty much helpless. She has one of those power scooters, but she can't get on it. And it won't go into her bathroom. So her days AND nights are spent on her sofa (at least it reclines), and she has to use a portable potty chair to use the bathroom. I get up at 5:00 AM every morning, and at 6:00 AM Hubby and I (and Gus) walk down to my mother-in-law's house. Hubby helps her to a standing position, and then he runs like hell lest he be forced to see his mother use the pot. I help her use the potty chair while Hubby fixes her coffee and gets her a dunking stick for breakfast. (No, we aren't trying to kill her. That's what she ate even before she broke her arm.)

We make her as comfortable as we can, then I go home to exercise and get ready for school. My sister-in-law (the tacky one) comes in the afternoon, and sometimes she comes back in the evenings. Hubby and I walk down there at least one more time, to help her go to the bathroom before bed and close up her house for the evening.

I was sleeping blissfully last Saturday when Hubby woke me up at 6:00 AM to go help his mother. Some part of my brain had become convinced she could go the whole weekend without peeing, and I couldn't believe I had to get up at that ungodly hour on a Saturday. But I did, and I didn't whine about it, because those are the things we do for family. I would even do it for my own mother. If she lived near me. Which she doesn't. Whew.

What surprises me most about this whole ordeal is that I am such a routine-oriented person, and even with this major event in our lives, I have managed to shift my routine slightly and keep on trucking. It shouldn't be that surprising - what other choice is there? I don't consider myself very flexible, but maybe I don't give myself enough credit.

It's hard to watch someone go downhill. It's doubly painful because she isn't SICK; she's just frail. Personally I think we may be approaching the time when it's unrealistic to expect her to continue living by herself, but that's not my call to make. Hubby asked his sister (the tacky one) if she would consider moving in with their mother. His sister lives alone, and it would save her $600 a month in rent. Plus it would give his mother assistance and the peace of mind of having someone there. His sister's answer? Hubby would have to PAY her. (Did I mention she's tacky?) She wasn't exaggerating, not like saying, "Oh, you'd have to PAY me to do such-and-such." She REALLY meant he would have to pay her to stay with her own mother. For free rent.

A therapist is coming by a couple times a week to help Hubby's mother exercise her legs, but there's only so much they can do. She can't even stand up, and if you help her to a standing position, she can't bear her own weight. A home health care nurse came today, ostensibly to give mother-in-law a bath, but she said she couldn't do it if mother-in-law couldn't stand up on her own. Uh.....if she could stand and walk, we wouldn't NEED your services.

It's frustrating. It's sad. It's depressing. It's one of those times when you never know what the right decision is. Mother-in-law always said if she got to the point where she couldn't take care of herself, she would willingly go to a nursing home. But I'm pretty sure right now she would say, "I CAN take care of myself, except for this broken arm. And these weak legs."

It's frustrating. It's sad. It's depressing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dear Editor: Mondays Were Bad Enough Already......

I realize this is outside the realm of your job description, but I don't know where else to direct my complaint.

I know we live in a relatively small county, smack dab between the capital city metropolis that is Atlanta to our west, and the university town of Athens to our east. We only make the news when a teacher is "fired" for posting pictures of herself holding a glass of some alcoholic beverage in Europe on her summer vacation or when a local dude kills his wife and stuffs her body in a well.

We do appreciate, however, keeping up with the news in the larger towns. That has become a bit of a challenge of late. First the Atlanta Journal-Constitution stopped delivering. We didn't miss it so much, because the editors over there feel compelled to include pertinent stories from all over the metro area, and we live just outside the edges of that distinction. Still, we felt a little like second-class citizens, not important enough to have home delivery of what is probably the state's largest newspaper.

We preferred your paper anyway, with its hometown (did I mention I was born in Athens?) flavor and excellent coverage of all things UGA. The first thing in my daily routine is to take the dog out around 5:00 AM and fetch the newspaper from the box. I sit in my recliner with my cup of coffee and peruse the paper, which Hubby allows me to read first so he can do the puzzles.

And now the economy has touched YOUR newspaper. Apparently budgeting concerns forced your paper to stop using the paid drivers who delivered the paper, contracting instead with a company that delivers ANOTHER county's newspaper to our area. Only they don't deliver on Mondays. Not to worry, your organization's letter of explanation read, we would still receive Monday's newspaper. On Tuesday. With the Tuesday paper.


I realize I can read most of your paper's content online, and if something really major happens that I need to know about, the Atlanta television stations are likely to cover it.

But still.

I read that little box on the sports page that tells what events will be televised that night. I like to read the recap of the Braves game that I watched on Sunday. I keep up with the Bulldogs and how the pre-season is progressing. What if our (we hope we hope we hope we hope we hope) star running back does something spectacular or even ordinary on Sunday night, and I don't know about it until Tuesday?

There's just something about holding the newspaper in my hands, even if I do get them dirty from the newsprint. And now I have to start my work week off with no newspaper. It doesn't feel natural, standing on the porch waiting for Gus to come back from doing his duty, instead of walking to the paper box and retrieving the paper.

I feel like those folks in the Wild West who had to wait until the stagecoach arrived once a week to bring them their newspapers and mail. We just aren't very special out here in the country.

As if Mondays needed anything else to make them suck.


The Bragger Household

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Here I Sit Again.....

....drawing a blank about what to write about. (Wasn't it just a couple of days ago that I swore I wasn't running out of blog material yet?) I'm tired, I got a little too much sun today, it's time for bed and I still haven't made my lunch, and I'm drawing a blank.

When I'm on my bike, I can think of a million things to write about. And I tell myself, "Oh, I won't forget THAT one."

And then I forget.

It could be that any creative ideas flew right out of my head when I returned from a 54-mile bike ride, relishing the idea of jumping in the pool to cool off, and seeing my sister-in-law's car parked in my front yard, indicating SHE was in my pool. She has stopped even calling to let us know she's coming; she just shows up. Whether we are here or not. She is about the tackiest person I know.

I may have been planning to write about the irony of today's bike ride. I rode to a general location near something called Turkey Mountain, and then later as I was headed back home, I saw a turtle crossing the road. I actually had to dodge him. (I told you I wasn't fast.) I thought how ironic it was that I had already decided to call today's ride the Turkey Mountain Trot, and then I saw an actual turtle in the road. You see, in my mind, those were the same thing. They both start with tur. They're both two syllable words. They are both animals. And it was only as I started this paragraph that I realized they aren't the same at all. Perhaps the heat is getting to me? Anyone listening? Hello?

I may have considered writing about the fact that I rode my first sixteen miles or so in under an hour today, something that heretofore has only happened on the flat lands of South Georgia and Florida. (Did I really just use the word "heretofore"?) That isn't blazing speed, but it's faster than I usually ride, even in a group. And today I was all alone. When I made a turn I discovered that tailwinds may actually exist after all. I thought they were right up there with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. My overall average for the ride wasn't the 16.5 it was on the first leg, but it was 15.something, and I'll take it.

I do have an idea for a future topic, but it's something I want to develop more fully. It isn't earth-shattering, but it's about food and dieting and attitudes that rule them, and I want to make it make sense. You'll just have to wait.

Have a terrific week.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Fool and Her Money......

I am afraid I have been known to waste money from time to time. I go through spells where I'm very careful with money, obsessively (there's that word again) careful. I won't spend 99 cents to download a song. I'll only download **FREE** books to my Kindle. I wash paper plates. Just kidding on that last one.

I have been known to spend impulsively, though. I don't usually REGRET my purchases, like a few weeks ago when I went shopping with two friends from high school. Susan kept bringing me clothes to try on, and I kept liking them. When it came time to ring them up, Susan said, "Uh.......don't you want her to see how much the total is before you decide to buy it all?"

"Nah," I said.

The total wasn't that scary, and Susan has more money than Amanda and I do put together, so I don't know why she was so nervous. Maybe she thought I didn't have the money, or maybe she felt guilty for urging me to try on so many things. But that is pretty typical of the way I shop. I only go clothes shopping a couple times a year, and I buy a LOT at one time. Then I'm done for six months or so. This time it was doubly necessary - I needed the usual back-to-school clothes, but I had also lost 35 pounds. And I bought a LOT of nice things for the money I spent. Money well spent, I figure, if it means I don't have to stand in front of the closet every morning and agonize over putting an outfit together that I haven't already worn to death.

Back when I was skydiving, one of my jumpmasters said his sister was selling a rig, and he thought it would be perfect for me. I had never had my own rig, so I jumped at the chance. (Pun intended.) This was in a previous wifetime, and my ex won some money playing the lottery, so he gave it to me to buy the parachute rig. Apparently I had misunderstood, though, because when I took him the $500, I learned that the asking price was $800. He said he would hold the money until I had the other $300, and I trusted him because I knew where to find him every weekend. Back then it would take me weeks, months to raise $300. We lived pretty much (my) paycheck to (my) paycheck, and there were more important things to pay for. Then I got a divorce and subsequently stopped jumping (not necessarily connected, but maybe), and I never paid the rest for the parachute. I also never went back to get my (his) $500 back. I don't even remember the guy's name now! The jump school closed (it has since reopened, but I have no idea if it's the same folks), and I just never bothered. I wonder if it ever bothered that guy that he had my money and the parachute too. I don't mean to suggest he was dishonest; I was the one who didn't pursue it. We were pretty casual around the drop zone; there were lots of folks I knew by face but never knew their names.

Tonight I made a pretty foolish purchase, but I can comfort myself with the fact that it was substantially less than $500. My friend Amanda had these cool drink tumblers at her house, plastic, double-walled, and nearly indestructible. She said they came with lids and straws, or you could also get them with the Starbucks-type travel lids for hot beverages. I decided I had to have one for school. The one I use for my water at school sweats and leaves water rings on my desk. And papers. And calendar. And anything else that happens to be on my desk.

Amanda told me the specialty store they were sold in, the one where they sell things for the bedroom, bathroom, and beyond room. Hubby and I stopped in on our way home from dinner tonight, and sure enough, they were right inside the door. That should have been a clue.

Note to self: Going to this type of store - any type of store, really - in a college town on the weekend that students move in for fall semester is NOT a good time.

Not only did they have a vast array of these wonderful tumblers, many of them were adorned with the UGA logo.

They weren't sold as you see in the picture above. Oh no..... I had to buy the straw and the handle separately. Yes, I am an idiot. This particular one came with the lid, but you could also buy THOSE separately, just in case you wanted a different color. At least the straws came in a pack of 6, so when it turns black and nasty, I don't have to soak it in bleach to make it usable again. Or cut off the end and turn it upside down. Not that I've ever done THAT, and you can't prove I have.

By the time I bought the cup (with lid), the handle, and the package of straws, I had spent...... the equivalent of a manicure AND pedicure. Fast food for a family of six. Two cases of beer. A month of internet service. Two bottles of really good wine. A decent pair of sneakers (on sale).

I fully expected Hubby to castigate me, or at least roll his eyes, but he was uncharacteristically generous. Not generous enough to PAY for it, but in a noncritical way. He said, "I can't say anything, I've got golf clubs in the basement I spent $50 or $100 for and hit once. Or never."

Or maybe he was just relieved that when we went to the Harley place this morning, I didn't buy the new bike I was drooling over.


Friday, August 12, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.....

Sing it with me now....

"It's the most wonderful time of the year....
The Falcons are winning, the Braves are a-winning,
And I'm of good cheer......
It's the most wonderful time of the year."

Forgive my giddiness if you will. I have survived the first week of school, I rode my bike home from school and didn't die in the heat, I jumped in the pool with my cycling clothes on when I got home (that's for you, Sweet Girl!), our friend and former co-worker came by to see us at lunch (miss you, Sara! I hope you're enjoying the game from the FRONT ROW), I hear the sound of THUNDER, and baseball and football are BOTH on television tonight. I love it when the seasons overlap. Sure it's only pre-season football, but it's enough for me.

Add to all of THAT giddiness the fact that Hubby told me he is NOT playing golf tomorrow -- I know, right? -- and we are going on an outing. I'll wait until tomorrow night to tell you what the outing is/was, and that way I don't have to come up with another blog topic. Heck, I might even stretch it out for three or four nights.

There's a fine line between giddiness and delirium. I'll stop before I cross it.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Have a Crush......

Don't tell Hubby, but I have a crush.

Although I think he already knows.

I have a crush on David Feherty.

If you don't follow golf, you might not know who David Feherty is. He used to play on the PGA tour, but (according to Hubby) hurt his shoulder, so now he is a golf announcer.

Personally I think he's easy on the eye. But it's hearing him talk that really makes my teeth sweat. He's from Northern Ireland, you see, and I could listen to that lilt all day.

He has his own show now, and it's to be expected that he interviews golfers. But he also interviews other people, like Charles Barkley. Who admittedly and famously has the WORST golf swing in the history of the sport. I'm pretty sure it's the worst swing in the FUTURE of the sport. You don't have to know a thing about golf to realize that Charles Barkley's golf swing is a hot mess. You don't have to watch them all - they all look just alike.

Back to David Feherty. He has a wicked sense of humor (and a potty mouth, but he seems to say naughty things at completely acceptable times), and he comes across as being so REAL. He has spent some time on a couple of episodes of his show talking about his own personal struggles with alcoholism and how he has progressed through them. He brought Johnny Miller to tears, but David remained dry-eyed when he was talking about his own problems. I admire him for that strength.

He brings me to tears at the end of each and every episode. At the end, he touches his fingers to his lips and then touches a photo of his daughter and says, "Good night, Sweetie." Isn't that precious?

You don't have to love golf to love David Feherty. I just happen to love both. Well, I love most golf. Some golf. And one golfer.

"Good night, Sweetie."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Milestone Slipped Up on Me......

I'm usually pretty obsessive about approaching milestones, particularly those associated with my cycling goals. I know you find it amazing that I could possibly be obsessive about anything. I've had a couple of them slip up on me lately, though.

I first missed my blogoversary on July 28. Three years I've been writing this thing, and I haven't run out of material yet. You are welcome to disagree with me, but be gentle.

Today I passed a cycling goal that was at first just a number, and then I realized it was more than that. I knew that the next time I rode more than 7 miles on my bike, I would pass 2000 miles for this year. I had Hubby take me and my bike to school this morning, not exactly sure what route I would take home from my new school. I knew in the back of my mind that it would be more than 7 miles, but I didn't PLAN it that way.

When I got home and uploaded my ride from the GPS into my computer (because I always do that immediately after a ride - obsessively), I realized that's farther than I have EVER ridden in a single year.


I only have data back to 2006, when my goal for the year was 2000 miles and I reached 1997.7 miles. Really.

I'm certain, however, that prior to that year, I never rode that many miles in a year. And I have surpassed 2000 miles this year. In August.

You may wonder (or you may be yawning) why this wasn't one of my 50 Things to Do this year. I wanted to set a "stretch" goal, so I set my 2011 goal at 2500 miles. And I have almost 5 months left in which to ride the final 500 miles. I can do that with my eyes closed. Katydid prefers that I not do it with my eyes closed on the tandem, however.

Now you'll have to excuse me while I go put some ointment on my aching muscles. My ARM muscles. I think I strained something patting myself on the back.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Allow Me to Vent......

I try not to use my blog as a platform to vent, and this is pretty darn petty. Chalk it up to being the first week of school with not quite enough computers to go around and students who are (shockingly, amazingly) showing up for school.

My mother never calls me. She irritates burdens annoys aggravates phones my sisters regularly (and tells them what a "perfect" life Hubby and I have, making them feel their lives are .... well.... less than perfect, I guess), but she rarely rings my telephone. If I call her, she exchanges pleasantries for a few minutes, then she is almost always in a hurry to get off the phone.

Yet she calls my cell phone when I'm at school. I always answer, because as she approaches 80 years old, I never know when something might be wrong. I would most assuredly NOT be the first person she called, but still.

She called my cell phone today, the second day of school, and verified that I was indeed at school. "Can I talk for just a minute?" she asked.

What do you say to that? Not that my answer would have mattered. So she starts chattering (she's driving to Savannah during this conversation, by the way, which causes me no small measure of nervousness) about listening to Anna's all-state chorus CD (Katydid's granddaughter) and how she remembers when I was in all-state chorus........

And then she went through a dead zone and the call got dropped. And that's all I heard from her. All day. I assumed nothing catastrophic happened to her, since I didn't hear anything from law enforcement. And then, to be honest, I forgot about the call.

She called after I got home (thank goodness for small favors) to finish the conversation (scratch that). The rest of the conversation was to tell me how proud she was of me. For being in all-state chorus. In 1977. Just in case she forgot to tell me. And then she ended the conversation by saying, "Tell your husband that I'm proud of you."


I did manage to squeeze into the conversation that Sweet Girl had made the Dean's List at Embry Riddle. Mom sounded a little confused, or maybe surprised, that Sweet Girl was going to college.


I'll stop there for tonight. Forgive my pettiness. There's more, but I don't want to appear even smaller than I already do.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My First Apartment.......

Every now and then when I have to attend some function on campus (most likely involving football, gymnastics, or a spending spree at the campus bookstore), I pass the apartment complex where I lived for a while when I was in college.

I didn't live in a dorm or an apartment when I first started college. Our home was only about 10 miles from campus (at least where freshmen had to park....actual campus was another day's ride away.....or so it seemed), so I just commuted from home. It was cheaper that way, but I think I missed some of the college experience. I didn't meet a whole lot of new people, because there were so many of us from my high school there that we mostly just hung around together.

My mother moved to Atlanta for a while, and Katydid and I shared the house I had lived in since I was 12 years old. We split expenses, although I'm sure Katydid paid more than her fair share. I worked part-time, and I was able to pay my tuition because I drew Social Security after my step-father's death. Then Katydid got married, Mom moved home, and it was verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry tough to go back to living in "mama's house" again after being pretty much on my own.

She threatened to whip me one day (probably said she was going to "beat me half to death," her favorite phrase) because I didn't clean my room, and that was the final straw. I was 19 years old, for heaven's sake!

I went on my own and found an adorable little one-bedroom apartment not far from campus. I could ride a city transit bus to campus and avoid the trouble of looking for a parking place. I once tried to see how long I could go without moving my car. I made it two weeks, but the city buses didn't run on the weekends, at least not to the places I wanted to go.

I lived on the bottom floor of a two-story unit, in the apartment on the far right end. My apartment number was F-13, and it didn't bother me a bit. In fact, I don't remember even acknowledging the fact that I lived in number 13. It was pretty spacious, especially the one bedroom. There were two doors to the outside (a building code requirement, I think), but they were side by side. One opened into the living room, the other into the kitchen.

I didn't even tell my mother I was moving until I had signed the lease. My rent was around $200 a month, I think. I had to budget very carefully to pay all the bills and still afford my social life. I had no furniture except for what family members gave me. Mom actually came to my apartment and gave me my first television - a hand-me-down, of course, but I was proud to have it. We had never had cable before, but it was something I splurged on. We hooked the television up, and I immediately turned it to the Braves game. Mom was so proud that the t.v. worked. Then I said (because I never learned the art of keeping my mouth shut and/or being gracious), "Uh.....the Braves don't wear green."

My apartment building was on a busy street, but it backed up to a wooded area. I tried to save money by leaving the windows open at night when it wasn't too hot or cold, and the night noises sometimes made me uneasy. I wasn't normally a nervous person, but I imagined all sorts of evil folks hiding in the kudzu and jumping out to do me harm after dark.

I took a friend home very, very late one night, and when I was coming home to my apartment a car pulled in behind me. Then it turned on its blue lights. I almost peed in my pants on the spot. It was none other than Figment, in his brief stint as a police officer. He saw me driving home, and it was almost time for him to get off work. He laughed at having scared me, then he said he might drop by when his shift ended. I slept on the sofa all night with the lights on just hoping he would come by. (Don't we do STUPID stuff? Hello? Anyone out there?)

I was so proud of my little apartment. It wasn't luxurious by far, but it was all mine. I didn't have to clean it if I didn't want to (usually didn't), and I didn't have to answer to anyone else. I think every woman in the world ought to live completely alone at least once in her life. I used to teach with a girl who had moved straight from her parents' house to the one she shared with her husband, and she was terrified to stay alone. When her husband went out of town on hunting trips, she had to pay a former student to come stay at her house with her. I find that very sad.

The first winter I lived there, my electricity bill went up and up and up. I expected it to go up some during the winter, but it got out of hand. I turned the heat down and down and down, and I was freezing to death. But the electricity bill kept going up. Then I had problems with the water heater. I couldn't take even a short shower without running out of hot water. I went by the leasing office one day to pay my rent, and I casually mentioned my hot water problem. They came out and discovered something wrong with the hot water heater, which they repaired immediately. When I mentioned my electricity bill, the manager said for me to bring my bills for the last three months and she would adjust my rent. I wasn't expecting that kindness, and I almost cried right there in the office. I didn't know leasing offices could have decent, kind-hearted people working in them!

I didn't have much furniture, but I did have my piano. I should probably issue a blanket apology to any and all of my neighbors whom I might have disturbed with my playing.

There was a Burger King right across the street from my apartment. It came in handy for those Saturday mornings when a little grease was what I needed to settle my stomach from Friday night's social events.

The only thing I wish about my first apartment is that I had been into cycling back then. The ride to campus every morning would have been sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet, down a steep hill almost right to the bookstore. Coming home in the afternoon might have been a beeyotch, but I guess I'll never know.

Sometimes I miss that little apartment. I wonder if the people who live there now would mind if I drop by just to look around a little.....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Night Before My Last First Day.......

Tomorrow I begin the last year of my teaching career (yes, really!), and I thought I would set some teaching goals for the year.

I have shamelessly stolen this idea from my friend over at VodkaMom, and not JUST because I love her blog title. I have to admire anyone who has taught kindergarten as long as she has. I am also shamelessly linking to her blog because I am hoping against hope that I am the person chosen to win her giveaway for a fabulous scooter. I have convinced myself that I really need one of those.

These are the things I would most like to teach my high school students in the coming year. Forgive me if mine aren't as uplifting as VodkaMom's. Her students arrive wearing cute shoes and eager to learn. Mine arrive wearing as little as possible and already knowing everything.

  • Your definition of an "emergency" might be slightly different from the rest of the world. Making arrangements for a ride after school is NOT an acceptable reason to use your cell phone in the middle of English class.
  • Occasionally we have "professional dress" days, in the hopes of instilling in some of you the idea that your job may require that you dress in a certain way. Apparently we need to be more specific about which "professions" we are talking about. If we provide you with a school-logo blazer and it is longer than your skirt, your "profession" may need some further reflection.
  • If you bring your baby(ies) to school, we will ooh and aah over him/her/them. We will also do everything in our power to help you finish school. That does NOT mean we think it is a GOOD IDEA for you to have a baby at 17. Or 18. Or without an education, a support system, child care, or perhaps someone other than your mama to help you raise the baby(ies). 
  • Just because your curriculum is delivered primarily over the internet, that does NOT mean that's where your essays should come from. If you submit an essay using the words "emulate" or "heretofore," it's a dead giveaway that you may have procured it online.
  • Speaking of essays, double spacing means there should be a blank line between each line of text. It does NOT mean you should go back and put two spaces between each letter. I'm looking at YOU....
  • Your "crises" are no worse than anyone else's. You aren't more important than anyone else. Leave your drama at home, because frankly we are sick of it.
  • Listening to music while you do your work is fine. Spending 50 minutes searching for just the right song to inspire you to "learn" is not. 
  • There are only five teachers in our school. If you cannot remember my name, at least do not confuse me with one of the two men on our faculty.
  • School ends at 3:00. This does NOT mean you should pack up your belongings at 2:45 because you "don't have enough time to start something else." Sure you do.
  • I cannot make the room comfortable for everyone. If it's too hot or cold, please dress accordingly. 
  • This is a school of choice. If you don't like the rules/parking/classes/teachers/building, feel free to return to your home school at the semester break. With or without some credits. It's really up to you.
  • High school is really about as easy as your life is going to get. Really. So if you think this "sucks," you probably won't like anything from here on out.
  • I realize you may have had a difficult life. You may have had a tough upbringing. You may be on your own. I sympathize, really I do. But you have the choice to wallow in self-pity or rise above it. Use it as an excuse or use it as a motivator. It's really up to you.
  • Having an "anger management problem" is not a global excuse for poor behavior. In the real world, acting out without considering the consequences HAS consequences. Grow up. We don't care about how hard it is for you to manage your anger. Deal with it.
  • If you cannot be bothered to come to school on the last day of the year because you have a nail appointment, please don't be offended if we don't accept you back for the next year. We are full; we don't need dead weight.
  • Please limit your grandmothers' deaths to two per year. I realize you may have more grandmothers than that, but aren't ANY of them healthy?
  • If you mention in your interview that you want to leave your home school because there is too much "drama" and then you experience "drama" at OUR school, chances are the school is not the problem. 
  • If you decide to cheat the system by signing into the online curriculum as a different student because he is doing YOUR work in another class, you might want to consider waiting until he is actually IN THE BUILDING before you sign in for him.
  • Girls: Really, it's going to come around each and every month (we hope). Please try to be prepared at least SOME of those months. 
  • If you are a smoker, you stink. No amount of chewing gum, breath mint, or body spray will mask that. You just stink. 

All that being said, I really think it's going to be an AWESOME school year. And not just because I only have 176 days left.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I Need to Budget My Time Better........

I had a (mostly) free day today, plenty of time in which to compose a decent blog post full of pithy remarks and thoughtful musings. Unfortunately, that's not how I actually used my time. Then we went to a wedding in Atlanta this evening (how in the world can my niece be old enough to get MARRIED? Isn't she still crawling?), and it's past my bedtime and I have to chisel the make-up off my face and go to bed. So I'm afraid this blog post won't be up to even my own standards, which are admittedly fairly low.

It was a precious wedding, even having to be moved inside at the VERY last minute when a thunderstorm blew through. Want to end a drought in Georgia? Just plan an outdoor wedding. It was casual without being flippant, reverent without being stuffy. I'll have to post what I think will be my favorite picture of the bride. But it will have to wait until tomorrow.

I sincerely hope that the next time I have on heels, Hubby and I will be on a cruise ship.

I'm just sayin'.....

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fantastic Friday........

I may be trying to generate some fantastic-ness here, but I'm going to give it all I've got.

Fantastic features of this particular Friday:

  • Unpacking the remaining boxes in my classroom.
  • Having a dip in the pool when I got home from school.
  • Living close enough to school that the air conditioner doesn't have time to cool the car off.
  • Finishing the (ugly) placemats I've been working on. Except for the fringe.
  • Having that last teeny weeny bottle of wine (finally).
  • Seeing the Braves go ahead 2-1 in the top of the third inning. (Please hold, please hold, please hold).
  • Realizing we're under 30 days to kickoff for college football.
  • Knowing I don't have to hear the alarm clock go off tomorrow morning.
  • Ending the week of pre-planning with the knowledge that it's my last one.
  • Eating dinner at a local restaurant and having Randy as our waiter.
  • Finding the perfect gift bags.
  • Getting new carpet in our hallways.
  • Going out to lunch with the whole teaching team (sans the Warrior Princess - sniff, sniff).
  • Returning to the routine of getting on the elliptical every morning. Yes, really.
  • Getting a text message from Hubby that he is NOT playing golf tomorrow. Now I don't have to worry about whether or not he will get home in time to go to my niece's wedding.
  • Cashing my gigantic check for doing jury duty. I may be able to retire on it alone. Or not.
  • Turning in early.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Keep Forgetting to Drink........

And I'm not talking about water.

I've had one little tiny bottle of wine in the fridge since we went to the beach two and half weeks ago. (Seriously? It was only two and a half weeks ago? It seems like FOREVER!) I have almost completely stopped drinking beer, because a cyclist dude I know said one time that you should "never drink your calories." That has stuck with me, even when I've seen him repeatedly with a Corona in his hand. I had a few mixed drinks at the casino, but I tried to stick to "healthy" choices: bloody marys and vodka & cranberry. I know, I know, they still have empty calories, but they're (slightly) better than the sweet "girlie drinks" I prefer.

I've never been much of a wine drinker, but I do occasionally enjoy a glass of it. I tend to like the sweeter wines, like muscadine and peach.

I keep meaning to drink the little bottle in the fridge, mostly so it will stop staring at me every time I open the door. (And it seems that I open the door with alarming frequency.) Tonight I meant to drink it while I cooked dinner. We had Open House at school this morning, which is always a confusing and exhausting enterprise in itself. (My smile muscles always hurt after Open House. Do you think this could be a sign? Of anything?) This afternoon we had to finish schedules. Hubby spent all day at the hospital with his mother, who fell and broke her arm, refused to be transported by the EMT's who arrived to help her, and then refused to go to a LOCAL hospital for treatment. I decided I had earned a small drink of wine, and so had Hubby. Since he doesn't drink wine at all, I was willing to drink his by proxy. Always sacrificing for my spouse that way.

And then I forgot.

It isn't the kind of wine that goes with country fried steak and mashed potatoes. (IS there a wine that goes with country fried steak and mashed potatoes?) After dinner I spent some time on the computer and played Mario as long as I thought Hubby would tolerate it. Then we had our usual sugar-free, fat-free pudding for dessert, and again the wine didn't seem to go with that.

And then I forgot again.

Oh how the mighty have fallen. When I was in college I might forget to pay my rent, write a 10-page paper, show up on time for an exam, do my laundry, change the oil in my car, wash the dishes, or shave my legs, but I NEVER forgot to drink.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Random Thoughts on a .... What Day is This...... Wednesday.....

Open House at our school is tomorrow morning, and we aren't ready. We've NEVER been ready, but this year we really, really, REALLY aren't ready. Some of our computers aren't there. Some of our desks aren't there. We don't have student schedules done. My room is a disaster area because we were doing scheduling in there today, and our materials are scattered all over.

We have spiffy new digital clocks in our rooms this year. And I still hung my battery-powered Pepsi clock on the same wall. Old habits die hard.

It's amazing to me how a change in routine (or reestablishment of a routine) can absolutely D-R-A-I-N me. I am bone-weary tonight, to the point I almost didn't post. Gasp! I don't sleep in, so getting up early isn't the difference. It's just a matter of getting dressed, then interacting with real, live people all day. Constantly. With no breaks for Mario. I'm so tired I could cry. Many days during summer break I did a gazillion more energy-depleting activities than I did today, and I wasn't nearly this tired. The only thing keeping me from bursting into tears is the thought that this may be the last time I am ever this tired again. At least as a result of returning to school.

Pity party over. Next.

I don't know why I make some of the choices I make. I guess that would explain two ex-husbands. I found a pattern for placemats that I liked, so I decided to crochet them. The colors suggested were: turquoise, fuchsia, purple, and sunflower. The name of the pattern was "Bright Placemats." The colors I chose to use instead? Mustard. Evergreen. Paprika. Clove. Those colors ARE NOT BRIGHT. I guess they look okay together, but they clearly are not bright. They look a lot like the carpet in the house we bought in 1973. Remember Avocado Green? Harvest Gold? Yeah, I must have been having a flashback. I'll be glad when this project is finished. But I have to put a fringe on all four placemats. Yuck.

I may have Zumbaed too enthusiastically last night. My hips hurt just like they did after the infamous 5K in May.

It's rare that I give up on a book before I've finished it. I even suffered all the way to the end of Wicked. (Aside: How in the HELL did they get that wonderful musical production out of THAT BOOK?) I downloaded a **free** book into my Kindle entitled Bubba and the Dead Woman. If the fact that it was free didn't convince me, the word "Bubba" in the title should have. I labored through about 15% of the book, and then I deleted it. It had some humor in it, but the exaggeration was just too .... exaggerated. That wasn't the main reason I deleted it, though. It was fraught with comma errors and other grammatical errors. If the editor wasn't skillful enough to catch those, no telling WHAT other kind of crap he or she allowed to get through.

I was about to embark on a story about one of our dumb cats. But I couldn't make my brain make sense of it. So I'll save it for a more coherent night.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Playing the Glockenspiel........

When I was in middle school, I got the bug to play in the band when everyone else did. I (sort of) played the piano, but it wasn't practical to play that in the marching band. And being in the marching band was a big deal. They had a big parent meeting at the school, representatives from the companies that sold instruments were there, and students who had aspirations for playing in the high school band got their start.

I either chose clarinet or was assigned it, and my mother began a payment plan to purchase (lease?) the clarinet. It is only now that I can appreciate what a sacrifice that was for a single mom. I stuck with it that year, but I also continued piano lessons, and there was a point at which I had to choose one or the other. We simply could not afford both, and I chose piano. I'm not sure why, since I still couldn't tote it on the football field, but I guess I felt that I owed my allegiance to the piano.

Fast forward to high school, specifically tenth grade. Some really cool kids were in the marching band, including the boy I had a crush on for most of high school. And college. And then some. Right up to the night I went to his wedding. Anyway.... I wanted to be in the band, but my clarinet experience was now four or five years old. There was no way I could hope to play in the band.

Then I discovered the glockenspiel.

I had never considered the glockenspiel (also called the bells - I know it looks like a xylophone, but they are very different), because I didn't realize how the instrument was set up. If you turn it on its side, the keys are laid out just like those on a piano. The keys on the left in the image above would be the black keys; the ones on the right would be the white ones. Now THIS I could do.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you what initiated this interest in the glockenspiel, since I wasn't really even aware of its existence. The boy who played the ONE glockenspiel in our school's band was the son of one of our most beloved teachers, and he was killed in a car accident when I was in ninth grade. Donations were made to the school in his memory, and the money was used to purchase a brand new glockenspiel for the band. A plate dedicating the instrument to his memory was attached to the top of it, and suddenly I wanted to be the next person who played it.

I auditioned for the band, was accepted despite my failure to pay attention to the key signature in the piece of music I was asked to sight-read, and attended summer band camp, marching in the scorching Georgia sun and loving every minute of it. Well, mostly I loved the mid-week trip to Six Flags over Georgia, but I liked the rest of it too.

There were times I wished I had stuck with clarinet. The glockenspiel is no piece of cake to march with. There is a metal pole in the middle which can be released, and I had to wear a jock-strap looking contraption to hold the instrument up, and I had to use my left hand to hold it in the back. All our music had to be memorized, since the remaining hand was used to strike the keys. And on the night when they turned out the lights and the majorettes twirled fire, the glockenspiel was the only instrument that could not be played in the dark. We wound up waiting until the lights went out, then turning around backward and kneeling, using the reflection of the fire in the silver keys to show us where to strike.

I say "we" because another glockenspiel player, Mary Beth, was a ninth grader, and she played it too. She was a sweet girl, and in addition to being my partner on the glockenspiel, she also stole my boyfriend away from me. Not the one I had a crush on - we were never actually "boyfriend/girlfriend." I wrote about him before - Figment. One day in band class Mary Beth had the audacity to go to the orthodontist, so I was the only player on bells that day. We were trying out a new piece - must have been somewhere between marching season and festival. I should have had a clue when the title of the piece was something like "March of the Bells" or "Bell Song" or "yada yada yada Bells." My mind wasn't on what I was doing, and I zoned out. My eyes glazed over, and I was far, far away, oblivious of everything around me.

In the middle of the song there was absolute, dead silence, then the roar of everyone else in the band. The silence was a bell solo, and the only remaining glockenspiel player was somewhere with her head in the clouds. Damn that Mary Beth for going to the orthodontist anyway. I can still feel the embarrassment at being caught daydreaming in such a public way. But it was high school, so everything was major.

It's a wonder I have any hearing left at all. I sat next to Mary Beth, of course, and the only way I knew to play ANY musical instrument was all-out. Loud. Fierce. In addition to the two sets of bells, the trumpets were on my right, and the percussion section was right behind me.

Wait....what did you say?

No one marches with a glockenspiel anymore, and I'm intensely jealous. At some point since I graduated from high school, they moved the bells, the xylophone, the marimba, and all associated percussion/keyboard instruments down to the field with the rest of the percussion section, which suddenly became sexy. Drums aren't just to keep the beat anymore. The percussionists don't march, and they typically have their own solo pieces in any halftime show. The buttheads.

I only played the glockenspiel that one year, tenth grade. The band director had approved the formation of a drill team, and my two friends that I spent the weekend with two weeks ago were both on it. They got to wear shiny, white, patent-leather, knee-high boots and wear little dresses and do cute little routines with chairs, balloons, flashlights, and pompoms. I had to have me some of those boots.

Plus we still got to go to Six Flags and do other things with the cool kids in the band.

Every now and then I hear one of the songs we played that year as part of our halftime show (always on an oldies station, of course). I'm transported back to the summer and fall that I marched with my glockenspiel, and I can still remember some parts of the musical scores. 

I wonder if I can find a glockenspiel on eBay.......

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Grand Day.......

When I reported for Grand Jury duty today, I got some fantastic news right off the bat. Our duties would require us to be there today and tomorrow, then two days in October, and that's it.

Whew....what a relief.

I won't go into details about each and every case we heard today. Mainly because I'm not supposed to, but also because they really aren't that exciting. Suffice it to say there are some really dumb criminals out there. Uh...... alleged criminals.

We gathered in a courtroom at first, waiting for the judge to arrive and "charge" us. The bailiff said we would only be there about 15 minutes. I later heard him tell someone, "I meant 15 minutes AFTER the judge gets here." He was still wrong.

The judge started off by thanking us for our service and telling us what an important role we play in the judicial process. He explained that the concept of the grand jury came from English law about 900 years ago. I was afraid he was going to tell the whole 900-year story, and he was still talking almost an hour later.

The clerk said we had too many jurors, and I got my hopes up. Then they said they would keep the first 23 on the list, and I realized immediately my name had been called toward the beginning of the list. (They were NOT in alphabetical order.) The judge asked if serving would create a hardship for anyone, and two people raised their hands. They approached the bench to explain themselves.

I couldn't hear what the woman said, but she was excused. Then came the Harley dude. I saw his Harley parked outside, and he appeared wearing a Harley t-shirt and jeans. The bailiff had to ask him to remove his cap and sunglasses. INSIDE the courtroom. Duh. He approached the bench to tell why he should be excused, but then he spoke loudly enough for everyone in the court to hear him.

The bailiff had told us that we could only have water inside the courtroom, nothing else. He ALSO said we would be there for only about 15 minutes or so, and we could have snacks and anything else in the Grand Jury room. The Harley dude started off by telling the judge he had to have soft drinks available. He can't drink water because it dries his mouth out due to his medication.


Then he said he couldn't sit for long periods of time because he has a really bad back.

Then he said he has problems paying attention.

I couldn't hear what the judge said in response, but he was very nice to him. Nicer than I would have been. He was also excused. And I'm glad.

The judge, the clerk, the court reporter, the district attorney, and the assistant district attorney then left the room so we could elect a foreperson. When they left, the woman beside me turned to me and asked, "Are we picking the four people who can leave?"

Foreperson. Not four people. I gently explained to her what a foreperson is. Then I said a little silent prayer that I will never have to appear before a jury of my "peers" in my county.

The process was a painless but arduous one. I was tired and a little grumpy by the time I got home. I think instead of a flat $25 per diem they pay us for Grand Jury duty, they should pay us according to the sacrifice we made to be there.

For my last day of summer vacation, they should be willing to pay me enough for a down payment on the marsh house.

I'm just sayin'.....