Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back in the (Saddle?) Again.....

During last school year, I got pretty good about getting on the elliptical every. single. morning. That was in addition to any cycling I might do in the afternoon, one or two nights at Zumba class, walking in the park with Hubby some afternoons, and cycling on the weekend.

I started out this year doing the same, but the routine of going to take care of Hubby's mama every morning began to get to me. I stopped getting on the elliptical every morning, even though I technically had the time to do so. I just chose to spend that time crocheting, reading, or playing on the computer. I justified it as "me" time that I deserved because I now had to make several trips down the road every day to take care of my mother-in-law.

Don't get me wrong; I didn't resent having to help her. I wasn't pouting and that's why I got out of my morning exercise routine. It was more an issue of using that time in the morning to decompress, trying to keep my sanity.

Mother-in-law has been back to taking care of herself for three weeks now, and it took me until this week to get back on the elliptical. It is SO HARD to get back into those routines once I get out of them. I tried to talk myself out of it this morning, but I finally made myself get dressed and go down to the dungeon basement to exercise.

And I feel much better throughout the day. My mood is better, and I haven't wanted to throttle nearly as many students this week since I've been getting my engine jump-started every morning.

I have to get back on the bandwagon as far as food goes too. I told myself I wouldn't use the Thanksgiving holiday as an excuse to overeat/eat the wrong things, but myself didn't listen very well.

And maybe it will be warm enough this weekend to do some cycling. I would like to shed these last 15 pounds (and the 5 friends they allowed to stay over after the holiday weekend) before the end of the school year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Calendar Comments.....

Our new superintendent sent out a survey asking for teacher, staff, parent, and student input regarding the calendar for next year. I participated in the survey even though I won't BE there next year, and I didn't put smart-ass answers typical of someone who won't be there next year. (I know, right?)

Today she shared the results with us, sent out a tentative calendar (which means nothing, since they changed it last year after many parents had already made plans), and included the comments participants could include at the end of the survey.

I know, I know, I already make fun of the people of my community way too much. (But I haven't tortured you with Police Blotter Blogger Fodder lately, now have I?) I shouldn't make fun of the citizens of my adopted county, the place where I am destined to spend the remainder of my days. Unless someone slips into our house in the middle of the night and performs a lobotomy on Hubby. Then all bets are off.

But some of these comments are hilarious. Some of them are just painful. I didn't make a single one of them up, though.

  • We appreciate you. (I could sort of understand this one if it weren't an ANONYMOUS survey. Kissing up is never a bad approach.)
  • Use common sense. (Did they understand these are EDUCATORS making these calendar decisions?)
  • The weather in November to have a week off is not condusive to having children home. To cold to play outside and to expensive to go anywhere being gas prices are raised as well as hotel and airfare prices. (I understand the logic, which is actually pretty good, but if one has CHILDREN in the school district, shouldn't one be able to spell words like "too"? I'll give them "conducive.")
  • Ask the city to widen HAYMOND MORRIS Rd. and make a side walk. (If the only chance you get to express your opinion is on a calendar survey, then by golly you should complain about the roads there. And putting the name in all caps might just make up for misspelling the name of the road. And "sidewalk" is one word.)
  • WHEN PLANNING PROM AND OTHER EVENTS.MAKE SURE THIS DOES FALL INTO MOTHERS AND OTHER HOLLIDAYS(SAME WEEKEND) (Because clearly the superintendent is in charge of things like prom. And the fact that it sometimes falls into mothers.)
  • I feel like the PDC should offer online classes for parapro's and substitutes that want to pursue a career in the teaching field.They should offer classes online each semester to earn credits to be a teacher like the online parapro classes.Especially if you have a degree. (Excellent suggestion, particularly on a survey about next year's calendar. We will have an early online course dedicated solely to the use of the apostrophe.)
  • Thanks for working to complete this difficult task! Good Luck! (A kiss-up and a cynic all rolled into one.)
  • something really needs to be done about the bus situation. (Maybe they didn't show up at all on the first day of school, and thus they need to be addressed in a calendar survey.)
  • Will there be furlough days? If so, how many and more importantly, why? (A legitimate calendar concern, but COME ON! No one likes furlough days, but isn't the "why" fairly apparent? It's only been all over the news since Herbert Hoover was President.)
  • Fall break should be on Halloween. (It's important that we consider ALL the major holidays and schedule our breaks around them, particularly the one-day ones that may occur in the middle of the week.)
  • Thank you for asking parent input! Wow! Children of mine (legal or biological) have been students at all levels in the ______ County Schools since 2001. It has been my uniform observation that children see the most success academically and relationally when they do not leave the school environment for long periods of time. Universally (and 2 of mine have IEPs) children have an easier time transitioning, with content retention, and acclimation if the school breaks are neither too long nor too close together. For the success of all our children, I hope you will structure all future school calendars to have evenly spaced breaks of moderate length. Thank you. (Wow! Please try to include each and every research/education ten-dollar word you've ever heard in your comments. This person not only signed his or her name, but included a phone number.)
  • Good Luck! I know that no matter what is decided on- you will never please the Majority! Praying for you, the Faculty and the final decision and acceptance of them. (Another cynic who believes both faculty members and the majority are important enough to have their names capitalized.)
  • In my opinion, school starts in August. In order to finish on time before Winter break, I would dismiss Fall Break in October because the children will be- (or) are getting a week of in November for Thanksgiving. This is just a thought. (And in my opinion, Christmas falls on a Sunday this year.)
  • The superintendent messed everything up Thanks So Much. (I promise you, I did NOT write this comment. I would have punctuated correctly and realized that some words do not need to be capitalized.)
  • We do not need to end 1st semester before winter break. We need to eliminate the month of August. . .too expensive. (Why hasn't someone already thought of this? Just REMOVE A MONTH FROM THE CALENDAR AND THE ECONOMY WILL BE FIXED!)
  • happy school year (Clearly this one requires a MAGIC calendar.)
  • Post the calendar early and do not amend later. This caused problems for my family since we planned vacation around fall break, but the calendar was changed resulting inu children missing 3 days of school. (From a parent for whom school is so important that the vacation plans were left intact.)
  • upcoming school events like PTO and write what school it's for (Huh?)
  • Really and truly consider what the teachers are saying. I feel we are given a "pretend" voice to say we had a say, but ultimately the board makes their own decision disregarding what we say. (Commenting about commenting?)
  • You will always have student/teacher personalities that from time to time don't match. I think some sort of student "suggestion box", cards, or a way that if there are a number students in the same class that are having problems with the way the teacher communicates and the majority of the students are continually lost, the students should, as a group be able to convey this to the school leadership (I can't believe some teachers are not communicating the calendar clearly to their students.)
  • Have a scheduled day off on Friday, before the GA/FL many teachers and staff take that day off. It could save the county money, as now subs would be needed. (Finally, a comment that actually makes SENSE! Ludicrous as it may sound, the school district where UGA is located actually does have a scheduled holiday on that Friday. They gave up trying to find substitutes for all the sudden-onset illnesses.)
  • Please consider my options :) (Oh goodie. A kiss-up with a SMILEY FACE.)
  • Friday before the Georgia-Florida football game might be a teacher workday to save the county lots of money on subs. (I like your way of thinking, doofus, but are you aware that taking a day off on a workday is a huge no-no?)
  • I really would like Christmas break to be sooner and come back to school sooner. I really prefer having more time to plan for Christmas than being off for New Year's day. (Clearly not a football fan. Or a drinker.)
  • Consider scheduling fall break to include Easter (at the beginning of the break) (I hear you, bro! That's one heck of a long fall break, and I'm all for it!)
  • you should do whats best for our students. Teachers and staff shouldn't be considered (Two words: Bite. Me.)
  • Instead of paying us twice in December, We should just paid the end like we do all year. (WHERE has this person BEEN? We've NEVER been paid twice in December. And if everyone else has received a double check, I WANT MINE!)
  • GET RID OF SUMMER VACATION! WE ARE NOT FARMERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (See above comment regarding two words. Times a hundred.)
There were three or four more comments suggesting that any Fall Break be combined with the Georgia-Florida football game. I would vote for any of those people for President.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Friday Shopping.....

I have resisted the concept of shopping on Black Friday for a number of years. The phrase I use for it most often is that I "avoid it like the plague." The day after Thanksgiving is for lying around in my yoga pants, decorating the Christmas tree, watching football, and eating leftovers. It is NOT for going out with three million of my closest friends and fighting for bargains like the world is going to end tomorrow.

My daughter, however, has other ideas. Since she made the trek home this year for Thanksgiving, I conceded and agreed to go shopping on Black Friday. I tried (without success) to talk her into going at midnight on Thanksgiving, since it would TECHNICALLY be Friday, but she wasn't buying it. No, her idea of a good time is getting up at the crack of dawn and fighting the crowds.

The things we do for our children.

Even when they're grown. And we should be over our parenting guilt.

I didn't set an alarm clock on Thanksgiving night, because I didn't think it was fair to ask Hubby to be a part of this craziness. I woke up all by myself at 4:44 AM, didn't hear Sweet Girl stirring, and wondered if I just went back to sleep if I could pretend that I overslept.

Being the good mother I am (**cough cough**), though, I got up (albeit reluctantly) and got dressed. I did NOT put on make-up, and although I DID brush my hair, I'm sure it didn't look like it. I wore the favorite blue plaid zip-up shirt I featured in a Favorite Things Friday post about a week ago, and off we went. (Note to self: Should you ever lose your mind again and participate in Black Friday shopping, there are these things called hats. They hide bedhead hair very well.)

We went to a mall about 23 miles from our house. It's the only mall Sweet Girl thinks exists. To be fair, the only other one near us is also about the same distance away, and it doesn't have nearly the stores.

There was a line outside Barnes & Noble because it didn't open until 6:00 AM. I seriously questioned the sanity of those poor folks standing around in the cold waiting for a store to open. The mall, however, was already open and doing a brisk business. We had a brief breakfast from the chicken place with cows as their mascots, and we were off.

To make a long story even longer, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. There were no pushing crowds, no incredibly long lines (except in one store that Sweet Girl loves, but she didn't find anything there she wanted anyway), and we actually got some good deals. I did find myself succumbing to the sales tactics, even saying to Sweet Girl one time, "Oh, I didn't spend $40, so I won't get the free tote bag. I'll be right back."

Folks, if there's anything I DON'T need in this world, it's another tote bag. Even a free one. But I spent enough to get it (and another one at a different store). Further proof that educated doesn't necessarily mean smart.

I was pleased with my purchases, though, and I think Sweet Girl was happy with what she got. I bought more pairs of panties in that one shopping trip than I usually buy in a year, but they'll last me for a year. I bought another pair of jeans and a belt. I don't think I've EVER had a decent leather belt in my whole life. I bought a couple of bras from that place that guys are either embarrassed to go in or make excuses to go in. I bought a page-a-day calendar for Hubby's birthday (Jan. 1st, how appropriate) that has become a tradition. I lusted after several many pairs of boots, but I resisted the temptation. I bought two new pairs of dress slacks for school, along with a crisp white blouse with a ruffle down the front. Damn, I'm glad ruffles are coming back.

Now if only afros would come back in style. With my hair, I can DO an afro.

All in all, it was a surprisingly pleasant experience. Sweet Girl started fading before I did, and she was ready to come home. It felt weird, leaving the mall at around 9:00 AM. The crowds were gone, and there wasn't even a line at Barnes & Noble when we checked out.

I may even consider going again next year. But don't tell Sweet Girl. She will hold me to it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back to the Real World....

The worst thing about having an entire week off from school (other than the fact that two of those were furlough days, which will be deducted from my paycheck, thank you very much), of course, is the return to reality after all those luxurious mornings of not having to hear an alarm clock. We aren't terribly late sleepers; I was amazed to look at the clock upon waking this morning and seeing it was 7:30. That's darn near lunch time! Still, it's nice to sleep as long as we want without a screaming alarm jolting us out of our weird dreams at 5:00 AM.

And on top of having to go back to school, the weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse this week. I know I shouldn't complain, since it IS late November and we've had temperatures in the 70's the past couple of days. I've tried to take advantage of the nice temperatures and ride my bike, since I don't know how many more days of decent riding weather we will have. I went out for a brief 14-mile ride after the UGA-Tech game yesterday (How 'Bout Them Dawgs!), and today I rode just under 25. Those may be my last rides in November, and last year we had an AWFUL December for bicycle riding.

I'm not sure exactly where I was going with this blog post. I'm not really whining about having to go back to school, since as my mother said so pointedly on Thanksgiving when I was lamenting our furlough days, I should be thankful just to have a job. And I'm trying not to spend a lot of time and energy whining about the impending cold weather, since there's not a whole lot I can do about it. Other than move to Jamaica, which Hubby for some strange reason won't consider. I'm sure they have golf there.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Crazy Dream #15......

Last night I dreamed about things school-related. I must be missing those reprobates darling students of mine. (Particularly the one who is a huge Georgia Tech fan - How 'Bout Them Dawgs!!!!)

In one part of my dream, I had a trouble-maker of a student whose name was Cheryl. (With apologies to my dear friend Cheryl from high school.) Only THIS Cheryl was about two and a half feet tall. So when I had to remove her from my classroom, I simply picked her up. She was cursing and screaming, and then she kicked at me and fell out of my arms. My students gasped and roared against me, thinking I had thrown her to the ground. If Cheryl had kept her mouth shut during standardized testing and not insisted on telling the rest of the students the answer to one of the questions, we might not have had such a confrontation in the first place.

In another part of my dream, but a continuation of the first part, we took our students on a field trip to a high school where I used to teach. One of the faculty members was showing me the pine board trey ceilings they had installed since I was there. What? I kept looking around for students who would still be there and remember me, and there were a few. I'm thinking they weren't on the honor roll, though, since I left that school in 2003. There was a man teaching chorus/drama at that school who had a huge mustache. I'm talking one of those handlebar mustaches, but it stuck out about three feet on either side of his head.

I didn't know taking pain reliever PM tablets right before bed would create such bizarre dreams. We'll see what tonight brings.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - Coffee Mug.....

I go through spells in which I drink out of the same coffee mug every single morning. The only thing that makes me change mugs is if I break one or (in this case) I get one as a gift that takes a new place in my affection. If one can have affection for inanimate objects. (Of course one can ... I happened to have married two of them. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha)

Sweet Girl gave me this coffee mug a couple of years ago. Or maybe last year. It wasn't yesterday, so I'm fuzzy on the details. Tinkerbell has been one of my favorite Disney characters since I was a very little girl. I have a distinct memory of having a Tinkerbell placemat that I insisted be put under my plate at dinner every evening. This memory comes from a house that burned down when I was about four years old, so we're talking about a VERY old memory. Noah and the Ark era.

I remember watching The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday evenings, and I waited for Tinkerbell to appear at the end. That was the only part I cared about. She was beautiful even in black and white. My father used to call me "Tink" when I was little. I don't know if it stemmed from my fascination with Tinkerbell or if it was a shortened form of "stink." With my father, either one was possible.

I have a few Tinkerbell Christmas ornaments, and I used to have some Tinkerbell earrings. I lost one of them between my bedroom and the bathroom, and I never found it. Even when we ripped up the carpet to replace it, that earring was nowhere to be found. I understand there are black holes in outer space, but in my hallway?

I'm not a huge coffee drinker. At least I'm not one to drink coffee all day long. I have two cups at home in the morning, and that's it. We have a coffee pot at school, but I rarely partake there. If I want something warm to drink during the school day, I heat up some water and have sugar-free apple cider.

As you can see, though, it's kind of cheating for me to say I "only" have two cups of coffee. This is my mug compared to a regular-sized mug, which is still much larger than a regular-sized coffee cup. When I say I "only" have two cups of coffee every morning, it's probably equivalent to half a pot.

I'm not going to apologize for drinking those two gargantuan cups of coffee, though. I've given up chocolate, sugar, most alcohol, and almost anything that tastes good. I'll switch to decaf if necessary, but for now I'm going to enjoy my (almost) one last vice.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I try to be thankful every day of the year, but today I am especially thankful for:

  • Sisters who love me "warts and all," as our mother would say.
  • A husband with whom I laugh a lot more often than I argue.
  • A daughter who loves to cook. 
  • A mother who never let me get too full of myself.
  • A brother who would kill do bodily harm for me, even if I didn't find that out until I was in my forties.
  • A clean kitchen.
  • Enough leftovers for several days of football.
  • Football.
  • A job that allows me to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.
  • A job.
  • A home where I feel safe and happy, even when I don't have enough closet space.
  • Good health.
  • Short winters and long summers.
  • Friends, both in the virtual world and the physical world.
  • A warm fire.
  • The internet.
  • Places all over the globe to experience.
  • A home to return to when the globe-trotting is finished.
  • Miracles of modern medicine, like those allowing Baby Luke to survive and thrive.
  • The colors of changing leaves.
  • Freedom.
  • Love.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Red Wednesday......

If Friday the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday, then I guess if you get dragged to the freakin' MALL the day BEFORE Thanksgiving so you can pre-shop for Black Friday, it might as well be called Red Wednesday. (Sweet Girl suggested White Wednesday, but it sounded too racist.) Red works just as well, since my checking account was in danger of being that color, thus precluding any need to go Black Friday shopping in the first place, if we didn't get the heck out of the mall.

I don't have any real need to go shopping on Black Friday, since the only person I have to buy for this year is Sweet Girl, and her gifts are already bought and almost wrapped. "Almost" meaning I have the boxes and the wrapping paper and may even be able to put my hands on some tape. This way I will save the expense of shipping them to Florida. She can take them home with her, taped up in a bigger box, and open them on Christmas Day. She won't peek either; she was never a kid to sniff out her Christmas gifts. I don't think.

We only went to the mall today (supposedly) to see the Muppets movie. It won't win an Oscar, but it was entertaining. And I didn't go to sleep. I didn't even text during the movie.

The best thing about Red Wednesday/Pre-Black Friday shopping is that since it's not technically Christmas shopping, it's okay to buy things for myself.

I bought the one vital garment missing from my UGA-themed clothing to wear to the SEC Championship game, only to arrive home and get an email that I don't have the trillion points necessary to earn the privilege of buying tickets to the game. BUT I guess I can wear the newly acquired vital garment at home while we watch the game on television, saving, in Hubby's words, "AT LEAST $500" by NOT going to the game in person.

Dang it. I really wanted to go. Every time UGA has played in that game and I've attended in person..... they've won.

If Mark Richt hears that, he may send me tickets himself.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

License Plate Decals.....

There's no way I can write this blog post without coming across as a heathen, but I'll just have to take that chance.

In fact, I tossed around several titles that were worthy of a heathen, but my brain is on strike tonight and I couldn't come up with a good one.

About thirty years ago or so, our state adopted the practice of displaying the name of a registered car owner's county of residence on the license plate. I thought it was kind of cool at the time, for some reason. I had a friend who didn't want to display her county on her tag, but then she got stopped (her husband was a copy - irony much?) and the policeman informed her that the fine for not displaying one's county decal at the bottom of the license plate was $25. That was years ago... it may be more than that now.

Then the state came up with about a gazillion different specialty tags, and SOME of those don't have a space for a county decal. Mine, for instance, says "Share the Road" at the bottom instead of my county. That's not why I bought that specialty plate; I wanted to support cycling initiatives in my state and I naively believed the extra money I pay every year would go to those initiatives. If my "Share the Road" license plate had a space for the county decal, I would still buy it. It's not that big a deal to me. I don't really get why some people don't want to display the county in which they live. Wait a minute.... never mind.... some counties in Georgia are places you definitely DON'T want to be from.

Then I started noticing that instead of the county decal on some plates, the phrase "In God We Trust" appeared. That's cool, if that's what they want their tags to say. To each his own.

In fact, there was a tremendous snafu when officials had a design contest to choose the next Georgia plates. It seems some of the designs had the optional "In God We Trust" phrase on them, and others didn't, leading some of the people voting on the designs to think they were choosing whether or not to have the phrase on the license plate.

Good. Lord.

Pun intended.

As an afterthought.

And here's where I turn into a heathen. If it was so important for drivers to display the county of residence on their license plates that law enforcement would IMPOSE A FINE for failure to do so, why isn't it that important anymore? Who decided that "In God We Trust" could take the place of a county decal?

Now I've heard there is legislation pending requiring the phrase to appear on ALL Georgia license plates. Please don't test my (limited) grasp of civics by asking in what stage this legislation might be; for all I know, some state representative mentioned it in passing and it isn't even pending at all.


What if I don't want my religious views (general statement though it may be) displayed on my car? Is my only other option not to have a vehicle registered in the State of Georgia? (And how long before they make me put it on my bike as well?)

I'm not here to talk about my religious views (or lack thereof), and I don't feel that strongly about religion one way or another to warrant an argument, a personal attack, or a condemnation of my moral character (or lack thereof). But I do acknowledge there are people out there who DO feel strongly enough about the matter that it will generate some genuine discomfort to have to wear such a public statement that the drivers may or may not agree with.

I realize it's also on our currency, but since I never have that long enough to take a good look at the phrase, for some reason that doesn't bother me at all.

It's not like we had this giant blank space on our license plates and someone decided it needed to be filled in, and hey, our national motto would do just fine, because there are too many folks in Alabama who would never understand "E pluribus unum." (I'm sorry...I couldn't help myself.) That space on our license plates HAD some information on it, information that someone at some point thought was vital enough that a driver who didn't display it would have to pay a penalty. But the name of one's county can be omitted if one chooses to proclaim to the world "In God We Trust." Whether or not that person believes it.

No one asked ME what a good phrase might be to wear on the backs of our cars. (We aren't one of the states that require license plates back and front. Who makes these rules, anyway?)

For me it would be a toss-up between "Only the Good Die Young" and "How 'Bout Them Dawgs."

Oh, and while I'm being a heathen, I also intended to make fun of the marquee (is that what it's called when it's a church?) in front of a church near our house. But I'm not going to tell you what it is until I have a picture of it, because A) it loses something in translation; and B) you might not believe that it's really there unless I document it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Eerie Timing......

I recorded this video at the last home UGA game of the year last Saturday, mainly for Katydid. I apologize for the less-than-optimal quality of the video. It's hard to film and watch at the same time, and I forgot a couple of times what I was attempting to do.

It's a UGA tradition, playing the "Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation" during the pregame activities of a home game. A lone trumpet plays the opening notes from the southwest corner of the stadium. (I think perhaps this particular soloist succumbed to nerves at the idea of playing in front of 92,746 people.) Then the videoboard shows clips from games in the distant past as well as the current season while the entire Redcoat Marching Band plays the rest of the Battle Hymn.

I recorded this because the video is narrated by the legendary voice of the Georgia Bulldogs for 42 years, Larry Munson, from 1966 until 2008 when he retired.

If you're not a Dawg fan, there isn't enough blog space in the world for me to explain the Hobnail Boot call, "Run Lindsay!" (when Munson broke his chair in his excitement), or "My God Almighty, he just ran right through two men...My God, a freshman!" There are examples all over the internet if you're curious enough to go listen. I look them up myself from time to time just to hear that gravelly voice again. I think Larry Munson was among the first radio announcers who threw the rulebook out the window when it came to remaining unbiased while calling a football game. He was Georgia Bulldog through and through, and he didn't mind letting it be known even while he was calling a game.

And yesterday that gravelly voice was silenced forever. Larry died yesterday at his home in Athens at the age of 89. The Bulldog Nation mourns his passing, but we are appreciative of what he brought to our team, our school, our city, and our state during his tenure as the voice of the Bulldogs.

If I had suspected he might not survive the week, I might have tried a little harder on my videography.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Crock Pot Candy Flop.......

A while back I wrote a blog post about crock pot candy, which I've made for several years, particularly during the holidays, and I included the recipe. The recipe was included in my bank statement back when A) that bank was in existence; B) they included recipes; and C) we got statements in the mail.

It is a fool-proof recipe. Unless a fool starts fooling with it.

I should know better than to experiment in the kitchen. I consider it a miracle of epic proportions if something turns out right when I FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS, so experimenting should be out of the question. Especially with something that turns out perfectly every time. But leave something well enough alone? Oh no... not me.

I decided this recipe, already delicious and decadent enough, needed a couple of additional ingredients. So I dumped shredded coconut into the mix (without measuring, of course, just poured it straight from the bag until it "looked right") and included an entire bag of caramels. Which I had to unwrap individually, of course. While I tried to peer around the corner to watch a football game. (I would prefer to have a television in the kitchen, but I don't have enough counter space as it is.) I thought the addition of coconut and caramel would give it an Almond Joy-ish flavor.

In the original recipe, after the candy has cooked for three hours, you stir it up and drop it by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. It hardens slightly and then you store it in an airtight container. At least, that's what you do to the three or four pieces you have left.

I was afraid the caramel would make the mixture too gooey and that it wouldn't harden. But it had almost the opposite effect. The mixture was barely stirrable (is that a word?), although it could somewhat be formed into balls. Unfortunately I also skipped the "allow to cool slightly" step, so I burned my hands experimenting with THAT and ultimately gave up.

I scooped enough "clumps" out of the mixture to fill all three of my wire racks, and then I dumped the rest into an aluminum pan, a la brownies. The clumps don't taste bad, and the caramel is definitely detectable. They just aren't very pretty, so I won't be giving this batch as gifts. I'll try to cut the ones in the pan into squares tomorrow and see how that goes. It may all go in the trash can.

I did learn something, however, and that means the time and money spent weren't completely wasted.

Any of you cooks out there have any idea as to why the addition of caramel and coconut ruined the consistency of my candy? I'm sure there's a scientific explanation, and if Pioneer Woman and I were better friends, she could tell me.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tailgating Season Comes to an End.....

Today was our last home UGA football game. There is the game next Saturday at Georgia Tech (probably won't go to that one), the SEC Championship game the following game in Atlanta (have applied for tickets to that one, but so far down on the points totem pole that it's doubtful we will get them), and then whatever bowl game UGA gets invited to play in.

It's hard to believe the home season is over, and the regular season is almost over. Didn't we just start playing? Where did the time go?

Our tailgating experience this year was a positive one. This is the first time we've had season tickets, and it's the first time we've had the RV to take to ballgames. Even for games like today's, when we didn't intend to spend the night, it was nice to have A) our own bathroom; B) a television; and C) somewhere to hang out. Even room to take a nap, if we had been so inclined.

It was only about a mile walk from our RV lot to the stadium. The only teeny tiny negative I can think of is that for the two games that ended after dark, it was a little bit spooky walking back along a poorly lit path in a ... questionable ... part of town.

Gus did beautifully as a tailgating dog. He wore his little UGA t-shirt, and he didn't bark obnoxiously. Much. He wasn't crazy about being left in the RV for the duration of a football game, but he got used to it.

I didn't expect to get sunburned on the 19th of November, but I did today. I wore a turtleneck and fleece vest along with my UGA jacket, which turned out to be totally unnecessary. It stayed under my seat the entire game.

We won today's game, but it almost felt like a loss. We were expected to win by more than four touchdowns, but the score was 19-10. I hope that means we were saving up for the two big, big games we have left, and not that our team's swagger was just all a bunch of hot air.

Enough about football for tonight. We're all pretty tuckered out.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - A Hand-Me-Up.....

This is one of my favorite pieces of clothing. (I promise all my favorite things are not going to be apparel. But some will. Obviously.)

This shirt is one of several items I call "hand-me-ups" because I inherited them from my Sweet Girl. In the case of this particular shirt, I rescued it from suffering the fate of the school's Lost and Found bin.

Sweet Girl picked this shirt out at what was then her favorite clothing store (and mine, which made it almost instantly NOT her favorite anymore) when she was in about the 7th or 8th grade. (And she graduated from high school in 2002, so that should give you an indication of how ridiculously long I hold onto things I really like.) It was one of those things she JUST HAD TO HAVE and immediately decided she hated. Unfortunately she made that decision only after leaving the shirt to die a slow, cruel death in her locker at school. For months.

She never used her locker much, so at the end of the year I had to get the assistant principal to open her locker when she couldn't remember the combination. Or couldn't be bothered, I'm not sure which it was. (I worked at the same school, so it wasn't like I was one of those freakish mothers who show up at the end of every school year to clean out their kids' lockers. Wait...)

Anyway, he opened the locker for me, and there was this shirt, languishing among the algebra worksheets and history notes. The poor shirt that she JUST HAD TO HAVE. Since it had clearly been abandoned by its previous owner, I took possession of it.

I love this shirt for so many reasons, DESPITE the fact that it isn't much to look at. It's really more of a jacket than a shirt, but it isn't confining like a jacket. I always wear it over something else, and it is one of the warmest things I have ever owned. When Hubby and I used to go pick up firewood (before we decided it was worth it to have someone just deliver it to our house), I would always wear this shirt because it was warm but also allowed freedom of movement. I also like the fact that it zips, and it has those wonderfully convenient pockets.

I'm certainly no fashionista, but it's that time of year when I gravitate toward clothes that warm my heart as well as my body.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Yes, I realize that my words in the title are not in the correct order. There's a method to my madness. Whatever.

In our new building, the interior lights are motion-activated. Not just the hallways, but in the classrooms and bathrooms too. I realize they were installed as energy-saving features, and I appreciate them for that.

Sometimes, though, I find them a little disconcerting. Several times in the last few weeks I have been the first person to arrive, at least on my hall. (I know, right?) As I proceed down the hall, first the main one and then our little short one, the lights come on as I pass the sensors. But the timing is what creeps me out. The lights always come on JUST AS I've decided they aren't GOING to come on. It's that fraction of a second that I find just a little spooky. You would think I'd get used to it, the lights coming on while I'm walking (or rolling my bicycle) down the hall. But there's that one little tiny bit of hesitation every. single. morning.

The same is true of the lights in my classroom. Some mornings when I open the door and flip the light switches, the lights come on. Some mornings they don't come on until I'm walking around my desk. I haven't figured out the difference yet. I'm standing in approximately the same place every day when I turn on the lights, so I don't know why they come on immediately some days and not others.

I will have to say that the motion-activated lights can come in handy. We have carpet in the halls this year, which we haven't had before, and we could always hear someone approaching. Particularly our principal, who wears clip-cloppy heels a lot of the time. Not that we have any reason to FEAR her approaching, we could just tell when she was coming down the hall. And not that she has any reason to sneak up on us. Now, though, after a time delay of I don't know how long, the lights in the hall go off. If we are having a meeting or eating lunch and the lights come on, we know someone this way cometh. Maybe something wicked (a student) and maybe not (the principal or counselor). At least the students can't sneak past us, at least not when the lights are off.

I also like the fact that the bathroom lights are motion-activated, too, in addition to the classrooms and hallways. If the lights are off in the bathroom, we can safely assume the girls aren't huddled up in there, using their cell phones or plotting the demise of one of their classmates. Not that we wouldn't hear them anyway, because THEIR VOICES ARE SO DAMN LOUD. And I'm pretty sure not one of them is clever enough to note the location of the motion sensors and stand still long enough to make them go off.

I've decided that instead of being creeped out by the lights coming on when I walk down the hall, I'm going to put a regal twist on it. I'm going to pretend the lights are coming on like they would for royalty. Or at least someone famous.

Give me a break, it's the last brief moment of superiority I get to experience all day long, and it's over by 8:15.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Tale of Integrity.....

Subtitle: Where Did THAT Child Come From?

This is a story from many years ago, when my Sweet Girl was a mere freshman in high school.

She was in the marching band, which made me very proud and thrilled her. She had wanted to march in the band since ... well, since she had first laid eyes on a marching band.

It was the first away game, and Hubby and I chaperoned and rode the band bus. (That was our ONLY time doing that. I was afraid Hubby was going to get US thrown off the bus due to his misbehavior. Some role model.)

Around these parts, the high school band gets third quarter off from their duties, and they are free to visit the concession stand, visit with their other friends, or smoke cigarettes under the bleachers. Oh wait... that was when I was in the band. Sorry.

One form of discipline employed by the band director and section leaders was the loss of third quarter privileges. If you committed some egregious offense (uniform violation, forgetting your music, being late, etc.), your punishment was to sit in the stands during third quarter while everyone else went and milled around. Imagine if you will a lone figure (or two) wearing a band uniform and sitting in an otherwise empty section of metal bleachers. Conspicuous much?

On this first away game, I went to chat with Sweet Girl and she had tears in her eyes.

"I forgot my music," she said.

"Well, can't you look on with someone else?" I asked naively.

"That's not it," she explained, probably thinking I was slightly slow. "I lose my third quarter privileges."

I didn't think it was THAT bad, especially since I didn't particularly want her down there under the bleachers doing God knows what ... Wait....wrong generation again. Sorry.

During third quarter of the game I went to sit with Sweet Girl and make her feel better, until I was run out of the section by another adult, the band secretary. I was unaware that third quarter criminals were also not allowed to talk during third quarter, not even to their MOTHERS. Before I left, though, one of the band officers came up to Sweet Girl with a clipboard in his hand.

"Who gave you third quarter detention?" he asked.

"I forgot my music," Sweet Girl explained.

"But who told you that you had to sit out during third quarter?" he persisted, looking at the list on his clipboard, apparently not finding her name.

"No one," Sweet Girl answered. "I just knew that's what I had to do."

He looked at her like she had lost her mind, and then he walked away shaking his head. He went and told the band secretary, who told the band director, who said, "Sounds like officer material to me."

I was (and am) awestruck by her integrity. I would like to think I raised her to be like that, but I'm afraid it was nothing more than blind luck.

Sweet Girl, you rock!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One Summer by David Baldacci.......

Baldacci's books are usually thrillers with plots usually related to politics. He's not one of those authors whose latest books I must, must, must read, but often I read one after Hubby has finished it.

This book was very different from Baldacci's usual style.

Jack Armstrong, a war veteran, is terminally ill with something that is never defined or explained in the book and is only referenced as something that Jack cannot spell or pronounce. (Read: The author made it up.) He is prepared to die but determined to last as long as Christmas. He writes one letter every day for what he assumes will be the last week of his life. On Christmas Eve his wife, who has forgotten to pick up some of Jack's medications from the pharmacy, dashes out into an ice storm and dies tragically in a car accident.

Jack's in-laws begin to make decisions as to what should be done with the three children, who are two, twelve, and almost sixteen. They determine that the only workable solution is to split the children up, sending them to live with various relatives, and put Jack in hospice.

Only Jack doesn't die. He suddenly begins to get better, breathing on his own and regaining his strength. He makes the backward trek from hospice to a sort of halfway house for the terminally ill, then sets about the task of recovering his family.

Jack's wife had a special place called "The Palace" on the coast of South Carolina as a child, and she has told Jack that she intends to take the children there the summer after Jack dies. Therefore Jack feels compelled to make the trip himself, especially after his wife's grandmother conveniently dies and leaves The Palace to Jack. He takes his children to South Carolina, and his best friend tags along.

The book had a very sweet story line and a pleasant ending, but it wasn't a satisfying read. I'm not one to predict a book's endings, and I can NEVER figure out whodunit, but I saw this one coming from the very beginning. I didn't think the characters were fully developed, particularly the teenaged daughter. She exhibited the extremes of teenage girl moodiness, but there was no middle ground. The two-year-old spoke baby talk, and the twelve-year-old forgot to talk at all.

It wasn't bad enough that I put it down in the middle, and I can honestly say it brought me to tears in a couple of places. I'm not a big fan of thrillers, but I'd rather read that genre by Baldacci than another one like this.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Some Things are Hard to Understand.....

Before today, the last time I rode my bicycle was last Wednesday. I wasn't feeling great on Monday OR Wednesday, but I figured I could be miserable ON my bike or miserable OFF it. (There was a time I would have looked for any excuse NOT to ride my bike. Maybe I really AM a cyclist.)

Anyway, on to where I was really going with this post...

I rode the same exact route today that I rode last Wednesday. It's what I've started calling my "medium" route, about 15 miles long. The "long" route is 18 miles, and the "short" one is 12 miles. I've been riding the "medium" one without the extra little three-mile loop because the sun sets so much earlier now, and the shadows start creeping in before I can get home.

Last Wednesday I averaged 14.0 mph, which is my new standard. I try not to obsess about my average, but I have to admit I'm a little disappointed if it dips below 14.

Today when I left school, it felt like I was pedaling through mud. Or wet cement. I even looked down at my tires to see if they were so low on air that it was making it more difficult to pedal. It was uncharacteristically warm this afternoon, and I felt better than I have in days.

And I averaged 14.5 mph.

I'm not sure what to make of that.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Not How a Cold is Supposed to Act......

This has been the strangest cold I've had in recent memory.

Wait... It's been the ONLY cold I've had in recent memory. So I guess I shouldn't complain too much.

Typically when I get a cold, it starts in my sinuses then settles in my chest. Sometimes (but thankfully rarely) it becomes bronchitis.

This time the tightness started in my chest, THEN progressed to coughing, THEN the sniffles and sneezing started yesterday. I felt the worst yesterday morning, and if it had been a school day, I probably wouldn't have gone. It was a FOOTBALL SATURDAY, though, so of course I went to the game.

We had already made plans to spend the night, since the game was over after dark, and some of those RV tailgaters just set their chairs and stuff up right in the middle of the driving lanes, oblivious of the fact that SOME PEOPLE might not want to make an ENTIRE WEEKEND of the event.

It was a miserable night, though. The noise of the generator, which usually doesn't bother me, almost drove me insane. I couldn't breathe because of my cold, and I almost woke Hubby up to tell him let's just go home. It must have been around 11:00. When I woke up again I was convinced it MUST be time to get up, and I stumbled to the living room part of the RV to look at my cell phone. It was 2:17.

Good. Lord.

We did manage to doze back off, thankfully, and it was just breaking daylight when we woke up the next time. I was never so glad in my life to come home. I love the RV and usually I'm just as happy sleeping in it as I am my own bed at home, but I guess because I felt rotten anyway, I wanted to be in my real bedroom.

I was unable to blog last night due to crappy internet service. I didn't even bother taking the laptop, since it hasn't worked where we tailgate, and while I could get TO my blog on my iPhone, I couldn't get to the part where it said "New Post."

I apologize that I made you wait a whole day for me to regale you with tales of mucus, sniffling, sneezing, wheezing, and whining.

You're welcome.

On a happy note, the ballgame was a thriller. Not a thriller in that it was competitive, but it was a huge win, and I'll take a lopsided victory over a heart-stopping one almost any day. The win means that if we can manage a win next week over lowly not very competitive SEC opponent Kentucky, we will go back to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game on December 3rd.

I can just hear you now. "Oh yay. More football talk. Goody."

But cheer up. It's only 47 more days until I start babbling incoherently about college gymnastics.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - UGA Sweater.....

Welcome to the first installment of Favorite Things Friday. It may be the only installment because -- who knows? -- by next Friday I may have forgotten completely that I wanted to start a new tradition.

Today's Favorite Thing is my UGA sweater.

This sweater is one of my favorite articles of clothing in the whole world. Now before you go saying, "Well of COURSE it is, it has UGA all over it...." that's not the reason it's one of my favorites. I have approximately a million different articles of clothing proclaiming my love for my alma mater, but this is one is my favorite for a number of reasons.

I've had this sweater since 2002, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. That was the first year UGA had any prayer of going to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, and early in the season I told Hubby that if UGA made it, that was ALL I wanted for Christmas, was to go to that game.

As it turned out, Hubby WON tickets to the game through work, and I guess he felt guilty that the ONLY thing I wanted for Christmas was something he didn't even have to pay for. He may have also felt a little bit sorry for me because on the Saturday morning of the game, I had to go to school. And work. On the yearbook. On a freakin' Saturday.

Hubby decided while I was working he would run to Athens and buy me the sweater I had mentioned seeing at the UGA bookstore. That was his first mistake. He took Sweet Girl with him so he could make sure of the sizing. That was his second mistake. (Because it cost him a sweatshirt for her too.)

He surprised me with the sweater when I got home from school, and I was thrilled to be able to wear it to the championship game. He still looked a little shell-shocked from the price tag, but when we won the game, he considered it worth the sacrifice to do his part.

You can see it's a little rough around the edges, but for me that's part of the charm. I don't wear it to school as a rule; only big football games. I did, however, wear it today, and I plan to wear it to tomorrow's HUGE game. (Tomorrow could determine whether or not we return to the SEC Championship game.) In the picture above, you can barely see at the bottom of the sleeve where the stitching has come apart a little bit.

In this picture, the felt of the megaphone has attracted some fuzz from other parts of the sweater.

Mom had to help me replace one of the buttons once, and you can see the thread above where this one wants to come off too. Or again. Oh who am I kidding, Mom did it all by herself while I watched a different ballgame on television.

Sure, it's a little ostentatious.

Make that a LOT ostentatious.

The "G" in the picture above is on the BACK of the sweater. I guess they ran out of room after they put all the crap on the front.

I've never seen another sweater like this one, so I try to take care of it. I only have it professionally dry cleaned, and I always wear something under it like a tank top or a turtleneck. I wore what I THOUGHT was a black turtleneck under it today, only to discover after I got to school that the turtleneck was actually navy blue. If we don't win tomorrow, it will be all my fault because I mixed navy in with the red and black. (No, I'm not superstitious. Or psycho. Or a freak.) The first thing I did upon arriving home this afternoon was to make sure I knew where my BLACK turtleneck was for tomorrow.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

10 Things I'd Rather Do Tomorrow.....

Ten things I'd rather do tomorrow than go to school:

  1. Finish the crochet project I'm working on so I can start another one.
  2. Finish reading the book that's checked out in Hubby's name and is due tomorrow.
  3. Find a way to tell Hubby the book he swore I would "really like" has yet to impress me.
  4. Figure out all the gazillion places my credit card number is stored with various online stores since my credit card company tactfully told me my information had been accessed illegally and by the way here's you a new card, have fun trying to figure out all the places you need to change the number.
  5. Take pictures of some things that will I plan to show on a new regular feature on my blog, "Favorite Things Friday." I unabashedly stole the name from someone whose blog has a jillion followers (and is NOT named Pioneer Woman), but he usually posts videos on his, so I'm not apologizing for stealing the title.
  6. Sleep.
  7. Sleep.
  8. Sleep.
  9. Watch the entire replay of the Georgia-Auburn game from 2007, the famous (infamous?) "Blackout Game," all of which Katydid and I missed because we were riding the tandem 75 miles that day.
  10. Did I mention sleep?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Between the Hedges" Takes on a Whole New Meaning.......

If you're not familiar with Georgia football, the expression "between the hedges" might mean nothing to you. The football field at UGA has meticulously trimmed hedges on either side, so the phrase has taken on a life of its own over the years. The hedges are so sacred that when they had to be removed in preparation for soccer to be played there as part of the 1996 Olympic Games, there was an entirely new protocol written. Sprigs of the treasured hedges were sent to about four different TOP SECRET locations so that when they were replaced, they would be part of the original hedges.

See, it isn't just me. The whole Bulldog Nation is full of freaks.

One of UGA's battle cries has become, "It's time to tee it up between the hedges!"

During last Saturday's rout of the New Mexico State Aggies (give us a break, you're SUPPOSED to win 63-16 on Homecoming), the phrase took on a whole new meaning, at least for one Georgia player.
Something bothered me (you knew it would) about this announcer AND the female one on ESPN I heard give a description of the same incident. They both called them "bushes." Everyone in college football knows they're "hedges." If you are A) an announcer calling a football game IN THAT STADIUM; or B) a reporter who covers college football AS YOUR PROFESSION, you should know that, at least in Georgia, those English privets are called "hedges," not "bushes."

Besides, if we followed their examples, the rallying cry would be: "It's time to tee it up between the bushes."

And that, my friends, would take on a whole new meaning.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Food as Fuel - Part 1.......

I've been thinking about food and eating a lot lately.

Oh, I guess for the last .... 50 years or so. I was probably thinking about food and eating while I was still in utero.

I've come up with some ideas about food that if I could only put into practice myself, I would look like that princess chick who just married that prince dude. But at least I'm thinking about them, which is one teensy step better than only thinking about my next meal. Or candy bar. Or snack.

Disclaimer: These thoughts may sound like I have the whole eating situation completely figured out and I will never have a weight problem again. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Correction: I DO have it all figured out, I just can't figure out how to put it into practice. 

I read something a while back, and in fact I think I remember making one of my usual snide remarks about it on this very blog. The concept is that we shouldn't eat until we are full; we should eat until we aren't hungry anymore.

When I read that (and commented on it), I remember posting something sarcastic like if I could do that, we wouldn't be HAVING this little talk.

But the truth is, that one little mantra actually works.

IF I can remember to think it sometime before the next-to-last bite on my plate.

IF I can make myself stop eating even knowing that I'm not hungry anymore.

I marveled once at my principal during lunch because she was having "leftovers" that wouldn't have filled up a tablespoon. At least that's how it appeared to me. Seriously, the amount of food she had saved from the night before to have for lunch at school the next day was such a small one that I wouldn't have bothered. I would have ... eaten it, even if I were already full.

Therein lies the part of the problem.

I've always been bad (?) to eat EVERYTHING THAT WAS THERE. No matter the quantity. If the portions were small and the food disappeared, I was satisfied. If the portions were huge and there happened to be some food left, I ate MORE OF IT.

I came up with the bright idea once that it must be my mother's fault, so I asked her if she had ever made us stay at the table until our plates were clean. I'd heard that tidbit before, so I was ready to blame her for making me eat more than I needed.

Her response? "I had to push you away from the table from the time you could sit up."


There were seven of us when I was very young, and I distinctly remember going around the table after a meal and eating whatever anyone else left. My eldest brother called me the "human garbage disposal." I didn't even know what a garbage disposal WAS, but I had a vague idea that it wasn't a good thing to be called.

Anyway, that's one thing I'm working on. It requires that I be MINDFUL of what I'm eating, how much I'm eating, and how I feel at any given moment during a meal. I'm not there yet. But I'm gaining on it.


Did I really just say "GAINING on it"?

Monday, November 7, 2011

What's Worse.....

I feel obligated to write a blog entry every night, if for no other reason than the fact that three of my dearest family members read it regularly (thank you sister and sister and daughter).

Some nights, though, like tonight, I just want to go to bed, never mind that it's only 7:30. My body thinks it's 8:30, and by the time it gets adjusted to the "new" time, it will be time to change the clocks again.

I felt fine this morning, so apparently just whining about feeling bad is enough to render me cured. That and DJan's wise suggestion of physical activity. I figured if I felt well enough to go to school, I could darn well ride my bike home. The activity itself made me feel better and even lifted my spirits somewhat after a bummer of a day at school, but now I am wiped out.

So I don't know what's worse...

...skipping a night of writing in my blog.

...or writing a poor excuse for a blog entry just to say I did.

You decide, but be gentle with my feelings. They're sensitive right now.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Too Bad Weekends Have to End with Mondays....

It's been an awesome weekend, beginning with the kindness of a stranger on Friday night, continuing with a huge Georgia Bulldog win (over a less-than-awe-inspiring opponent, but still) on Homecoming, a 25-mile bicycle ride this morning, and capped off by an Atlanta Falcons win this afternoon.

But sometime in the middle of the afternoon, in between crocheting and doing laundry and watching football, I started feeling lousy. Nothing specific, just a general **blah** feeling. I can't even really point to where it hurts, other than my foot, but I'm sure that has nothing to do with it. It's probably just the start of a cold, and I'll try not to whine about it. I haven't missed a day of school due to illness in over 7 years. I'm probably overdue.

But there's a chance I'll shake it off overnight and wake up tomorrow morning feeling no worse than I usually do on Monday mornings.

I'll cling to that hope, because it's really not a good week for me to stay out of school. Not that I'm indispensable, but there's a lot going on.

Is it too early to hope for a snow day?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Keeping Me Grounded, Just Another Service Hubby Provides.....

If I ever find myself getting a little too far ahead of myself, a little too excited, a little too giddy, Hubby has an incredible ability to bring me right back to Earth. And slap some concrete shoes on my feet.

Last week I started thinking about a bike ride I've always wanted to do, SAGBRAW.  I've wanted to do it because that's a part of the country I've never been to, and my very favorite cousin lives in Green Bay. (Shhh...Please don't tell my OTHER cousins.)

I read on the website that the route for 2012 would be announced on November 1st. I vowed that if the route went anywhere NEAR Green Bay, I was going to ride in it. I set a calendar reminder so I wouldn't forget to check the route.

The news couldn't have been better. Not only does the SAGBRAW route start about 30 miles from where my cousin lives, it's a LOOP ride, ending in the same place a week later. That means riders don't even have to worry about getting BACK across the state at the end of the ride.

I started making plans immediately, trying to decide whether I would camp outside, camp inside, or coerce Hubby into taking the RV. I emailed the CEO of BRAG to see if he might consider taking a group. (Not sure why I cared, since I have zero interest in riding in a van with 12 or 13 of my closest friends for two days.)

Unable to contain my excitement over an event that is EIGHT AND A HALF MONTHS IN THE FUTURE, I texted Hubby. Knowing he was on the golf course.

Now before you scoff at my naivete for bothering Hubby on the golf course, please try to understand that texting actually works for us. I can text him with something that might otherwise irritate/annoy/bore him, and he gets a chance to think about it before he answers. Sometimes those smart-ass answers take some careful thought and consideration.

Here is the transcript of our exchange of text messages:

Me: It isn't Iowa...... [Because I swore the last time I rode in RAGBRAI that I would never do it again, and I asked him to remind me of that if I ever mentioned the word "Iowa" again. Stupid me. Probably have to go back on that oath too.]..... I would like to do a bike ride in Wisconsin next summer. It starts only about 40 miles from Dana's house.

Hubby: Whatever

Me: I knew you'd be excited.

I love that man.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Not What I Was Going to Write About....

It seems I have a number of blog topics with some variation of that title. Sometimes I struggle to find something to write about that isn't just another version of "what I did today and why I'm grumpy." Other days, like today, I have a blog topic all thought-out and written in my mind, and all I have to do is type it. That was the case today, and I almost wrote my blog topic at school, but I have just enough morals to feel that isn't right, so I didn't. Okay, moral. One.

Then something happened that forced me to preempt tonight's topic. And it wasn't the incident in the parking lot where I get my hair cut, where I was crossing the parking lot and almost got run over by a businessman screeching through the parking lot. Going the wrong way. In reverse. (Good thing they took my blood pressure at the blood drive BEFORE this little incident, because I'm pretty sure they would have been checking their equipment for malfunctions.)

Hubby and I went to a steakhouse for dinner in a nearby town (since our town doesn't HAVE a steakhouse). I didn't really have an appetite, since I was still trembling from the incident in the parking lot. It is impossible for me to tell you how close he really came to hitting me. Close enough that he felt compelled to come back, enter the salon, and apologize. He left with his ears burning and his tail tucked between his legs. The adrenaline was flowing, folks. I could have set a personal best on my bicycle, if I'd had it with me.

I wasn't crazy about the idea of going out to eat, and I didn't want to drive that far. But Hubby said I could drive his new car, and it DID mean I wouldn't have to cook on a Friday night, so we went.

I ordered rainbow trout, something I've never had before in my life. That has absolutely nothing to do with this blog post. (For the record, I prefer salmon.) When we were finished eating, the waitress approached our table. She looked kind of sheepish.

"Someone in this restaurant," she said, "is paying for your meal."

Hubby didn't hear what she said at first, so I repeated it. He looked around, I made a joke to the waitress about it being impossible because we don't HAVE any friends (at least that aren't too cheap to pay for our dinner), and she said, "Nope, it's this table. He said table #55, and that is your table."

Hubby went to the bathroom so he could glance around the crowded restaurant, and I saw the transaction take place while he was gone. The family at a table near ours got a check even though they had just received their food, and I saw the woman cut her eyes over toward our table. I made sure I didn't make eye contact with her, but I was trying to see if I knew them. We were near a town where I used to teach, and I thought it might be possible that a former student was buying our dinner.

Then the waitress returned and murmured to me that this man has done this before. He comes in the restaurant, chooses a table, and pays for the whole meal. I wanted to tell him "thank you," but the waitress said I shouldn't, that he wanted to remain anonymous.

We were grateful for the free meal, but it gave us a strange feeling. I told Hubby that it was a wonderful thing to do, and I appreciate people's random acts of kindness as much as the next person, but I almost wish the man had paid for a meal for a family that couldn't afford it. Missing the point COMPLETELY, Hubby said people who can't afford it don't come to a steakhouse.

I don't mean that to sound like I'm ungrateful. It was a totally cool thing to happen, particularly after almost being murdered by vehicle AND finding the road home closed due to some repairs, necessitating a left turn in evening traffic onto one of the worst roads in our town.

All by itself, that little act tipped the barometer of this day from "leaning toward sucky" all the way over to "almost impossibly cool."

I understand the concept of paying it forward and random acts of kindness, and believe me when I say I fully intend to pay it forward. And not just because random acts of kindness are on my 50 Things to Do list.

I still wanted to say "thanks."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Six-Word Memoirs.....

Ever since my six-word memoir got published, I have found myself creating them in my mind all the time. I rarely write them down, but if you ever see me walking around muttering and counting on my fingers, that is PROBABLY what I'm doing. Maybe I'll compile an entire book of them and see if anyone buys THAT.



Maybe not.


Here are a few of my latest creations. I wrote these down today as a reluctant alternative to rendering several teenagers incapable of human reproduction. I apologize for the restraint.

  • Riding twenty years. Finally, a cyclist.
  • I don't "please wait" very well.
  • I may have said that before. 
  •  Made that up on the fly.
  •  Hardest part of laundry? "Remove promptly."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Unexpected Text Message.....

I received an unexpected text message this past Saturday from Jason, my BFF from high school.

I've written about him a number of times:

We have been in touch only sporadically since he coerced me into returning to the Facebook world. We text every now and then, email almost as infrequently. But the feelings I have for him are just as strong as they were when we were in high school and college. It's sort of a brother/best friend/confidante/partner in crime wrapped up in one. A perfect relationship without the sex. Which some would say makes it a perfect relationship.

Jason's text on Saturday read: "Hey D. Wanted to give you my new number in Atlanta. It's....."

I texted back: "Wait...What? You're in Atlanta?" And naturally I was 6 hours in the OTHER direction, in Florida.

Jason has lived in Texas for years. It's where he lived before he came to Georgia when we were in 9th grade. I knew he was a Texas boy at heart and would someday return there. So it came as quite a shock to learn that he was back in Georgia.

Naturally I want to see him. But I'm also a little ... what ... shy? Nervous? I haven't laid eyes on him since before Sweet Girl was born. Pardon me for the understatement, but a LOT has happened since then. I'm not so worried about how we pick up where we left off; my weekends with girlfriends from high school has shown that we do that very well. I guess I'm a little apprehensive about how to go about merging all these people together, people who are very important to me but would have absolutely nothing to do with one another if I weren't the common denominator. Does that even make sense?

And because I've sent Jason the link to my blog before and there's a slim chance he's reading this:

Jason - I loved you for who you were before you knew who you were. I hope you will love the person I've become as much as you loved who I was. I hope we can get together soon. Almost thirty years of catching up is going to take ... well, thirty years or so.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Some Pictures from the Weekend....

A few random shots from the weekend spent with my Sweet Girl and going to the Georgia-Florida football game. (Did I mention UGA won? For only the 4th time in 22 tries? First time in 4 years? Did I mention I was there for that win too? No? I must be slipping.)

The Metro Diner in Jacksonville. Katydid, Frogger Blogger and I ate there when we were in Jax, so I now consider it a tradition. It's a little hole-in-the-wall joint, but the food is excellent. The weather was nice, so we didn't mind waiting outside. We only had to wait 25 minutes, and a parking place magically opened up in their postage-stamp-sized parking lot just as we drove up. It was meant to be!

The order of these pictures is sort of random, but not on purpose. This is the scene leaving the stadium. Oddly enough, when the final seconds ticked off the scoreboard, the UGA fans didn't want to leave. The players were still on the field, the band was still playing... For some strange reason, though, the Florida side of the stadium was empty.

I would love to tell you what was going on at the very moment of this picture, but I'm just not that good.

This shot was from the ramp going up to our seats. Up. And up. And up.

These folks were waiting for the UGA football players to arrive. After the team entered the stadium, they stuck around waiting for a different celebrity to arrive...

A view of the river in the background, with some of the gazillion tailgaters. People arrive as early as a week in advance of this game. And then they wonder why they don't remember the game.

This is the vehicle carrying the OTHER celebrity. Folks stood around forever waiting for Russ to appear. Russ is the interim mascot, pressed into service when Uga VIII died. If you click on the picture, you will see the vanity plate on the SUV says "UGA VIII." The same family has raised the English bulldog mascots for UGA since the 1950's. We haven't heard yet when Uga IX will make his appearance.

Please don't tell anyone we were actually in our seats this early.

This party bus is well known at all UGA football games. It belongs to a friend of Hubby's, though he has basically turned it over to the younger generation and has a DIFFERENT RV that he stays in. There is a constant stream of people up and down that ladder all day long, and most of them don't even know to whom the bus belongs. Hubby and I went to one home game on the party bus. Hubby's buddy would tell people to be at his house at 8:07 to leave for the game, and if you got there at 8:08, he would be gone.

Bad hair day. I took a little trial-size hairspray with me, but it wouldn't work. I'm not sure it would have been up to the task anyway. You can't tell it, but my shirt, my other shirt, my earrings, my sunglasses, my socks, and my shoes all had the UGA logo on them. I wore face tattoos to one game, but then I realized there were no other 50-year-old women sporting face tattoos (only college girls, and they also wear cowboy boots with dresses), so I haven't worn them since.

The view of some bridge whose name I can never remember.

There were two Florida fans in our section, and this one felt comfortable enough in his fandom to wear that head thingie with that other thingie draped around his neck. They were nowhere to be seen as the final seconds ticked off the clock. Did I mention UGA won the game?