Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Random Rants

Okay, I normally try to post "funny" random things, because really....Do you want to read about all the crummy stuff in my life? I think a safe answer would be no, because it's obvious that you're blog reading because you are trying to avoid your own troubles. However, for assorted reasons I won't get into, my posting "topic tank" is empty. So I going to settle for random complaints. If you have any interesting topics that you'd like me to complain about, please post a response!

1) The evil Wal-Mart and its cashiers....I know people gotta work, but I really hate it when the cashier doesn't interact with me and then doesn't make sure that I leave with all my bags! I usually remember to do this myself, but occasionally I'll have Raelynn with me and I'm distracted. How awful it is to come home with hot dog buns but no actual hot dogs!

2) The parking lot near Lowe's and Kroger. Ever since Kroger put up their gas station, there's no rhyme or reason about how traffic is supposed to flow. My friend Ashley has an interesting name for this mess but I shouldn't repeat it 'cause I'm sure it's offensive to some folks. I hate that parking lot.

3) My daughter's pediatrician and my bank both moved locations this week. Apparently, I'm one of the last people to know. I hate driving up to a place and then having to get out of the car and walk up to the door to decipher the little handwritten note on the door.

4) Another evil Wal-Mart rant...I had to wait for Raelynn's prescriptions for an hour and forty minutes and they still didn't have one of them. Raelynn has bronchitis and has a horrible cough. Guess which medicine we don't have???? You betcha....cough medicine. We gotta go back tomorrow because they say it'll be in then. Yeah, right.

5) Commercials on TV for medication. Really people, I don't want to have to explain what Male Erectile Dysfunction is or explain what birth control is to Raelynn. Also for the record, I hate when medicine commercials start listing all the side effects...I think that if "death" is a possible side effect, you shouldn't take the medication.

6) DVD's that don't have the "English for the Hearing Impaired" subtitles. I'm going to post about this topic at a later time. FYI-I'm hearing impaired.

7) I'm in work denial. I refuse to think about or believe that I'll have to go back to work next week. Perhaps if I don't think about it, work will go away.

8) My STUPID DIAL-UP at home. That's all I'm going to say about that.

9) Art supplies that find their way into the wrong places at my house: Play-Doh in the carpet, markers in the bedroom with no caps, scissors used to cut doll hair....one guess as to who the culprit is (and no this isn't me.)

10) There is only one place to eat in this town that carries Diet 7-Up. I can't have sugar or caffeine. And I can only go to Sonic so much. Water isn't even an option.

11) The water in this town tastes horrible.

12) Losing my ring tones on my phone. I broke my phone a couple of weeks ago and all the cool ring tones were saved to the phone. I don't have the art of the "bluetooth" transfer mastered yet, so I'm looking for people that can hook me up.

13) Paper cuts.

14) I need a sink in my classroom. Stuff is never dusted there and every time I work in the room, I feel like my hands get really dirty. My progress is hindered when I have to go to the restroom to wash my hands.

15) In general, going to public restrooms that have no soap, paper towels, or toilet paper. There is no excuse for this.

16) The evil Wal-Mart shopping bags. They are everywhere. When I'm trying to tell David where something is, I usually say, "It's in the Wal-Mart bag." Sitting at my computer right now, I can count 7 bags that are holding various things. And yes, I already checked them to see if they had the missing items from my shopping trip today--They don't.

17) Mud--all this rain has caused everything to be muddy. When you live in the country like I do, mud gets tracked in the house and gets on everything.

18) Driving in my car without my sunglasses. I have to drive to work in the sun and it's in my windshield again on the way home. There's a point when the sun is in the sky and it's right in your line of vision. I hate that.

19) Weather that can't make up its mind--come on...either be hot or cold..not both within the same week. I can't keep pulling out both wardrobes.

20) Sensitive teeth. Apparently if you brush too hard, you wear away the gums right at the tooth level. This makes for difficultly when getting your teeth cleaned.

21) Getting my teeth cleaned.

22) Raelynn getting her teeth cleaned.

24) Those small paper clips and paper clips that get rusty. I use these all the time and I hate the small ones. The rusted ones make my hands dirty and I already talked about that issue.

25) Missing the coming attractions when I go to the movies. To me, that's missing part of the movie. However, I fast forward through them when I'm viewing a DVD.

26) I just saw a commercial for the movie, "Jumanji." I hate this movie. I like Bonnie Hunt, Robin Williams, and Kirsten Dunst. I just don't like this movie.

Okay....I'm starting to feel better. I think sometimes you just have to let all the crud out. Thanks for taking the time to listen. Reading about what people are thankful for is nice (it's always friends, family, health) but I really like reading what ticks people off (as long as it isn't me.)

Okay..now it's your turn.....what's on YOUR mind?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Swear They Multiply When I'm Not Looking

So tonight I spent some time doing something that I've been putting off for a couple of years. I took the time to sort out all of the Tupperware and other plastic storage containers. I made tacos for dinner tonight and was looking for some containers to put the rest of the leftovers in, when I became frustrated because I couldn't find a lid and bowl to match. So I sat on the floor in the kitchen with all the lids and bowls spread out around me and tried to match them. I ended up bagging some of the extra bowls and trashing them. It seems that the "Glad-ware" and "Ziploc-ware" containers are the ones that I have the most of. I managed to keep some of those too and got rid of the rest.

I really long to be organized like this in all areas. I've taken many personality and learning styles tests and they have all shown me that I'm in the structured/organized category. I do agree with that to a point. I like things to be orderly and neat, I just don't always succeed at putting stuff back. My mother fussed at me a lot growing up about that same thing. However, knowing my personality like I do and my tendency to go overboard with stuff, I'm afraid that if I try to get too organized, I'll take it too far and become unpleasant to be around. You know those sort of people, right? They're too busy straightening things up to have a good time. Scientists have said that it takes 21 times or about 3 weeks to make something a habit. I'm hoping that's true and I can spend the next few weeks getting everything around me to make more sense.

And when I get depressed that my progress isn't as speedy as it should be, I'll just look at my neatly organized storage bowls and tell myself "I think I can, I think I can."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My New Profession-Couch Potato

I don't think I can even describe how much I am loving the richness of my vacation. My family was here (they've left now) and I spend quality and quantity time with them. I don't think that in the last week I've cleaned house, graded a paper, or even thought about school a little bit. When I haven't been with my family, I've been enjoying my Netflix movies. I've watched Deja Vu twice, The House of Wax (the 1953 Vincent Price version), The Wedding Date, It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Elf, Mamma Mia twice, and I currently have Victor/Victoria and We Are Marshall waiting for me. I could sit on my couch with potato chips and the remote all day. The only thing that would make this coming week better is if I could go and see Twilight again. If you're in the area and interested in seeing it, holla back!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Relishing The Decedence Of Nothingness

I am a self-diagnosed work-a-holic. I jokingly say that I'm looking for a good 12 step recovery program for that. Some people think that all teachers only work from 8-3 five days a week and get lots of time off. I would like to state here that I work 365 days a year. I only get paid for 198 days. Each vacation, you can find me hold up in the corner grading papers or planning lessons. Not so this year.

I've decided that this vacation, I'm out to perfect the fine art of doing nothing. That's right people, I'm quitting my work addiction cold turkey. So far, I'm doing well with no withdrawal symptoms.

During Christmas, my two main jobs are to eat and to be with family. My mother is the best cook in the world. Eating is something I don't have a problem doing. Family...well, that's another story. My family tree is intertwined. My brother is married to my husband's sister. A brother/sister married a brother/sister. Other families have to split their Christmas celebrations up, but in our family, we just have one big get together that lasts several days. I sometimes get anxious in large groups of people, so I have to pace myself to get through the holiday. So far, I'm doing well. No one has thrown anything at me, so we'll consider that a good thing.

Here are some of the people that I have encountered over the holiday so far...

1) My husband David--I encounter him all the time so this isn't a surprise
2) My daughter Raelynn--see explanation for number 1
3) My mother Beverly--she keeps us fed, overfed, and then nauseated from eating too much good food.
4) My dad Omis--he never sits still. He just had knee surgery, so he's been sitting more still than normal. He watches the Fox News Channel 24 hours a day.
5)My older brother Hugh--he lives in Denver and is married to my husband's sister Melissa. He hurt his back again so he's been to the doctor twice and spends time icing down his back. He thinks he has now burned his back from the ice and is on his way to frostbite.
6) My sister-in-law Melissa--she is married to Hugh (see #5) and is missing her grandson, Jayden. He's six months old and very cute. They've been married for over 22 years. She's as close to a sister as I've ever had.
7) My nephew Christian--he is Hugh and Melissa's son and is moving here to live with my parents for awhile. He's 20.
8) My father-in-law Leland--he is David's best friend. We see him at least once a week. He lives over an hour away.
9) My father-in-law's wife Mary Ellen: David's mother died right before we got married. Mary Ellen loves Christmas and gets along with Raelynn real well.
10) My sister-in-law Beth: David and Melissa's youngest sister. She lives an hour away. We've seen her at a family dinner and we met her family for bowling the other day.
11) My sister-in-law's husband Roy: I don't know if I would call him my brother-in-law yet. You'd have to meet him to understand what I mean. He works on an oil rig on the coast.
12) My niece Allison: Beth's oldest daughter. Allison's father is John. I haven't seen him yet this trip. Allison is in the ninth grade.
13) My niece Caitlyn: Beth's middle daughter. She is in the seventh grade.
14) My nephew Conner: Beth's youngest child. He is in the fifth grade. I got to be in the delivery room when he was born. That was an amazing experience.
15) Jason: Jason is my niece Allison's boyfriend. I don't know much about him. I only shook his hand when I met him.
16) Miranda: She is my nephew Christian's girlfriend that lives in Oklahoma. She came to visit and spent the night at my parents' house.
17) My sister-in-law Jo: She is the oldest child in David's family. She lives in Texas.
18) My brother-in-law Jack: He is married to Jo. My brother introduced him to Jo.
19) My nephew Richie: He's Jo and Jack's only child. He works at a rubber making plant and lives in Texas.
20) Nikki: She is Richie's wife. I've only met her twice and haven't spoken to her much so it feels funny calling her my niece.
21) Kennedi and Dylan: These are Richie and Nikki's kids. They are 5 and 4.
22)Lacey: She is a friend of Richie and Nikki's and lives with them. I didn't get a chance to speak to her.
23) My uncle Robert: He lives next door to my parents. He is my dad's older brother. He likes to come over and play cards.
24) My aunt Mary: She's married to my Uncle Robert. I can't describe her. You'd have to meet her to get the full experience.
25) My uncle Tommy: He is the brother closest in age to my dad. He dropped by for just a few minutes. He lives outside of town but I don't see him very much.
26) My aunt Dicie: She's married to my Uncle Tommy. I see her even less than Uncle Tommy.
27) Shirley: She lives next door to my parents too. She comes to all of our family functions.
28) Michelle: Some random renter of a house my parents' own. She asked to talk to my dad outside so I didn't get a chance to wish her a Merry Christmas.
29) Assorted family members: We had a catfish dinner the other night for family from David's mother's side of the family. There were assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins there. A lot of the people I've already mentioned were there too.

I'm sure there are some folks that I've forgotten. I've sat around and done a whole lot of nothing so my mind has turned to mush. I think another week of this and I may have the nasty work-a-holic addiction broken.

Let's hope so....cause breaking it is the only thing that I'm working hard at.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Peppermint: A Good Way To Mess Up Perfectly Good Food

Ahhhh....mint. Tis the season for candy canes. I like candy canes. The traditional ones. These new fangled candy canes in assorted colors and flavors just do not bode well with me. I'll take the traditional J-shaped red and white peppermint candy cane, thank you. Given this devout feeling for this holiday staple, you might be surprised to know that I only eat about one candy cane a year. I'll have my obligatory cane, and then that will be that. I don't need to have anymore to make me get into the Christmas spirit. I have a jingle bells on my shoes, people. In case you haven't noticed, I'm clothed in holiday cheer. In my book, this is the only time peppermint should make an appearance outside of gum, toothpaste, and breath mints. There's a reason why it's the most popular breath freshening flavor. It's just too nasty to eat, otherwise.

Some of you out there are cheering with me and are glad someone else said it. I've gotten lots of amens on the Frosty issue..of which if you did not know...I detest him. But that was an earlier post. Mint is used in lots of things that I just consider wrong. Like mint chocolate chip. To me, that kind of ice cream tastes like someone just couldn't decide what flavor they wanted so they randomly started putting things together. And no, I do not like York Peppermint Patties. Again, why go and ruin perfectly good chocolate by adding mint? I don't like mint in my ice tea and I've never had a mint julep, but I'm positive I wouldn't like it if I did. Another annoying place I see peppermint is in the ever popular round peppermint candies that they give you each time you go to Sonic. You know the ones...they are basically cylinder shaped candy canes. I can't stand these. If I need a breath freshener, I'll pop in a Tic Tac. It has fewer calories, doesn't leave that nasty sugary aftertaste, and takes less time to consume. Also, if you carry a pack of Tic Tacs in your purse, they won't melt and leave a mess. And they sound so cool when you shake the box. Try shaking a candy cane or a round peppermint. They make no sound at all. That's no fun.

People know that I'm right, yet they keep coming up with new and random peppermint pairings. Hershey Kisses has a version called Candy Cane Kisses. Basically, it's white chocolate with little bits of candy cane mixed in. This isn't the best candy they make by a long run. Another ridiculous pairing is with Oreo cookies. Come on, people! What's the matter with the regular Oreo cookies? Why are you messing with perfection? I just don't understand it. There is a reason that peppermint is seasonal....it's just not good enough to have around all the time.

Another mint that I'm not fond of is wintergreen. Luckily, they haven't tried to pair this with anything food related. You'll see this mostly in gum and mints. Where it belongs. A similar issue I have is these toothpastes that are flavored with things like vanilla. But that's a different post for a different time. I just had some wonderful dinner at my mom's and since I don't want to offend...I'm off to get a Tic Tac from my purse. Notice I didn't say a York Peppermint Patty or mint chocolate chip ice cream. They'd just melt and make a big ole mess. Power to the Tic Tac!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Festive-ness Drips From My Fingers

So today I took part in another Christmas tradition--I gave Raelynn "Christmas nails." I can't pinpoint the time this tradition started, but I know that it's been going strong for at least as long as Raelynn has been around.

As I have posted before, I really like Christmas...and tacky. And I really love anything that is Christmas and tacky together. On top of the annoying (to everyone else but not me) jingle bells that I have tied to my sneakers, I also decorate my nails for the holiday. Over the years, I've been in and out of "nail rehab." Before I had a child, I considered my bi-monthly appointments a part of my therapy. Now when I have to choose between getting my nails done or buying groceries, I tend to lean towards the groceries, so I guess I found the rehab that works. But I digress.

In the picture above the nail polish on the left looks exactly like my "Jingle Belle" polish by Sally Hansen. You know Sally...she's "hard as nails." I think I found this polish at a Walgreens, because Walgreens is the place where I find great stuff and then when I return to find it again, it's gone. I always keep my eyes open for this polish, but I haven't lucky enough to locate another bottle. This polish encapsulates everything I love about Christmas...it has all the Christmas colors: red, green, silver, and gold and it's GLITTER!!!! Yay for sparkle!!!

Before finding Sally Hansen's Jingle Belle polish, I would paint my finger and toenails a bright red and then cover that with either a red glitter or green glitter topcoat. On top of that, I would add a silver glitter topcoat. At this point my nails were pretty thick with many layers of lacquer. And let me just tell you, it was ugly. I lied to myself that it looked "festive." I noticed that no one else commented on it. I'm guessing since they couldn't find anything nice to say, they chose to say nothing at all.

Before I became "clean" of my nail habit, I took my Jingle Belle polish to my nail tech and asked her to incorporate it into the Christmas nails she was about to give me. She really thought that the polish was tacky and added as little of it to my nails as possible. She didn't want people asking who did her nails if they looked bad. I guess what's important here is that I liked it and I didn't buckle to the opinions of others. I'm getting better at this all the time.

So tonight Raelynn asked for her yearly Christmas nails. I got out my Jingle Belle polish and painted one of my fingernails so she could see it. She immediately told me that she didn't like it. I was afraid at this point that she was going to ask for some Christmas nail art....which I can't do. Imagine my surprise when she asked for red nail polish with a red and green glitter topcoat. She couldn't decide which one she wanted to she asked for both: one finger red, one finger green.
She also wanted this same pattern repeated on her toenails. When I was doing painting, she asked me if I liked the way they looked. And I of course told her, "They are just beautiful, sweetie!" Which I swear is totally true...and thus the tradition is carried on to the next generation.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Ceramic Christmas Tree Makes For A Great Nightlight

I must start this post with a disclaimer. I am not old enough to remember when these ceramic Christmas trees were hip. All I know is that my grandmother had one and as she got older, it became the Christmas tree under which my family placed their gifts. Mana (Mah Nah) has been gone for many years now and I have no idea what happened to her tree. I'm guessing that my Aunt Artimease (yes, that's her real name) has it since I think she's the one that made it for Mana.
I love Christmas. I have a Christmas tree in each room of my house. Even the bathrooms. I think that this addiction (see the post right before this one) has trickled down to my daughter. An old friend of the family recently had to move away from home to live with distant relatives and she gave Raelynn her ceramic Christmas tree. (I think anyone over the age of 60 has one or their parents did.) We set it up in her bedroom during the Christmas season and it was a very festive thing for her. After the holidays, she really wanted to keep it in her room. So we traded it for the night light. She has a healthy fear of the dark and this tree has scared away many of her worries.
It looks so pretty.....I wonder if there is a way to get one and attach it to my dashboard so I can enjoy it as I drive. I've tried decorating the car by putting up a tree, but found that David wasn't as up for it as I was. So whenever I feel a little nostalgic, I go sit in the dark in my daughter's room and remember simplier times at my grandmother's house. Merry Christmas Mana.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hi, My Name Is Tassie And I Have A Christmas Light Addiction

I found this picture on the Internet. Immediately I wished that this is what I had in my bathroom. For those of you that know me or have been following my blog, I love Christmas and Christmas lights. I've already said that I have a Christmas tree in every room in my house. I'm thinking that if I could deck out the rest of the bathroom, it would be an interesting experience using the facilities.
I only have one bathroom confession. I have been known to go into the bathroom, close the door, turn out the lights, and turn on whatever lights I happen to be wearing. (Mind you, I am not using the toilet, sink, or shower while in there. I'm simply taking advantage of the dark.) I've tested out the cool red lights in my sneakers, even going so far as to do a little soft shoe routine. I've enjoyed looking at my lighted Christmas necklace and earrings (thanks Carrie!)in the dark too. I have some assorted pins that light up and they have all had a turn at the bathroom which is the darkest room in my house. It sounds weird, I know. It's just another facet of my already complex nature.
Anyway, don't knock it till you try it. Have you ever seen a set of Christmas lights in the complete darkness? It truly is a sight to behold. Jeez....I'm easily entertained. I need new hobbies.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It Tastes So Good, I Want To Cry

This post is going to be a combination of several updates and some of witty observations on life. No, there is no outright Christmas theme to today's post, however the subject of my post is visiting for Christmas.

So here's the background. I've been dealing with significant hearing loss since July. I've now gotten the diagnosis: Meniere's Disease. Sounds scary, eh? Basically, it's like how glacoma in the eyes work...I have an excess of fluid built up in my inner ear, which causes pressure on my nerve endings and causes hearing loss and a continual sense of dizziness. Hence, the hearing loss and accompanying ringing associated with it. What fun. There is no known cause and no cure. However, I'm taking medication to help. Another thing I have to do is cut out caffeine and salt. Doesn't sound bad but....no caffeine means no coffee, no diet Coke, no iced tea, no chocolate. And did you know that salt is added to just about everything? So basically I'm down to eating dirt and drinking air. I guess I was looking for a weight loss program and now I have it.

Now here's the other part of this story. As you may or may not know, I have an older brother. He's over 5 years older than me and by the time I got cool enough to carry on a conversation, he was grown and moved out. My brother ended up marrying my husband's sister (brother/sister married a brother/sister) and they are here visiting for Christmas. They live in Denver. They also brought their son, my nephew Christian with them. He'll be living with my parents as he goes to school.

My brother and I share a love for coffee. In Denver, Starbucks are on every corner. Here, not so much. But I must say that Strangebrew Coffeehouse does a pretty good job. This is a habit that can be quite expensive. When I was growing up in Key West, we didn't have any Starbucks. There were coffee shops, but there was nothing but window service. You walk up to the window, the old Cuban men hanging around outside would move out of your way, and you order the most wonderful drink ever: cafe con leche. Basically, this is Cuban expresso with steamed milk. If you ever get a chance to try it, you should. It's great.

My brother figured out pretty quick that if he bought his own Expresso maker, he'd save lots of money making con leche instead of frequenting the local Starbucks for a $5 cup of coffee. So he ended up buying a $300 expresso machine and now he brings it with him when he comes to visit. When we visit him, I certainly get my fill. He'll make it every day. Needless to say, I'm totally wired out of my system. This trip is no different. As I walked up to my parents' house for dinner, I noticed that my brother's shiny red, expresso maker was sitting on the table on the porch. Will I be enjoying any coffee this holiday? The answer sadly, is no. This was a part of Christmas that I looked forward to....drinking cafe con leche, staying up late, and waking up late. Guess that won't be happening to me this year.

So--I'm hoping that Ben and Jerry create some ice cream that is cafe con lech flavored, because I think that'll be the only way I'll get to experience the taste again. Maybe if I had my brother make me a teacup sized cafe con leche with more milk than coffee, I'd be okay. If you see my bug-eyed and deaf during the Christmas break, you'll know the coffee is what did me in.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It Hasn't Gotten Old Yet

Okay, I can't help myself. I went to see Twilight. Again. For the fourth time. This is huge because I've never gone to the theater to watch the same movie four times. The movie is good, but if you analyze it in a purely cinematic mind frame, it's average. I think I like it so much because I love the books so much.
I will readily admit that I'm a total sucker for love stories. This is one love story that is so different. Not just the fact that Edward is a vampire, but because of the excitement and intensity of first love. And who doesn't remember that and how it felt, right?

It's really a good movie. I have a couple of weeks coming up with no work. Perhaps I'll reread the series. The depression of having nothing to read hasn't sunk in because I keep rereading the books. I can't say that I've ever done that before. Everytime I reread it, I notice something new. I've been told that the next book will be made into a movie and will released next November. That would be so great. Because by then, I'll have the first movie memorized and totally engrained in my head.

If you want to see the movie, give me shout out. There's nothing more satisfying than bringing someone over the dark side.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Frosty Is Not Your Friend

As much as I love all things Christmas, there are a few things I don't like. Of course the busy crowds and slow, ignorant salespeople...that's a given. I think I could even argue that the commercialism of Christmas has gotten out of hand. But there is one Christmas tradition that I absolutely detest: Frosty the Snowman.
I refuse to watch the yearly showing on television, and the song makes me feel like I'm hearing fingernails on a blackboard. Why do I feel this way? I have absolutely no idea why I hate it so much, but I do. It's really sad, but when I see the commercial for this on TV, I quickly turn it so Raelynn won't ask me if she can see it. She doesn't share my distaste for all things Frosty.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not against snow. I'm not against snowmen. I've even made a few in my day. The most recent one was about 2 years ago when it snowed just enough on the hood of my car to scrape together a small snowman. Raelynn enjoyed this experience, and in her little mind, what she experienced IS making a snowman. She honestly thinks thats how you make them: scrape the snow from the hood and pack it to make a snowman that lives on your car. It snowed in Mississippi last night and, of course, it totally skipped Starkville. We did get a little sleet, and that was quite the teaser. Raelynn was ready to wake up this morning to snow to play in and was sorely disappointed. Her exact words...."This is the worst Christmas ever. There's no snow." Of course, I reminded her that a good Christmas involves exactly two things: time with family and no school. Everything else is gravy.
But back to the Frosty hate. When I think about it, the only thing that I can figure about Frosty that may have started this aversion is the voice of Frosty on the show. I'm not sure who that actor is, but it just doesn't fit. Another thing that I dislike is the fact that it's so unbelievable. I mean, the girl that creates Frosty is wearing earmuffs but is not wearing pants. What's up with that? What parent would let their kid go out in the snow in that getup? Also, Frosty exclaims, "Happy Birthday!" each time he comes to life. I mean come on....if I was sitting in the cold waiting to come to life, I don't think I would say Happy Birthday. I think I'd be wearing out the slow kids that just figured out that the hat was what did the trick. Frosty makes the Miser brothers, Heat Miser and Snow Miser, seem so much more realistic. And they sing better. I don't know, it sounds like I've analyzed this too much. All I know is, I hate Frosty during Christmas as much as I hate clowns the rest of the year. And that's quite a bit. This is the one issue that I have that I'm not looking to resolve. Now, Christmas lights.....that's a different story.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cell Phones Will Break If You Drop Them....Trust Me, This I Know.

Today is a day of mourning. First, let me say that I'm straying from my Christmas themed posts because I had a small emergency today. Basically, I broke my cell phone. This is major for me. I've never lost it, never had a reason to get a new one. But I guess today was my lucky day...I dropped it on the ground just right and it came apart at the hinge. I felt as if I was missing part of my body--not having a phone hurt that bad.

I went after school and got a shiny new purple phone. It's purty. BUT......I had saved a lot of numbers to the phone instead of the SIM card because I had assigned them a special ring tone or had attached a picture to their entry. All those numbers are gone. And those are the ones that I call.

So....if I talk to you on the phone and/or you want to talk to me....send me your numbers. Until then, I'll just be waiting for you to call me sometime...and of course then, I won't know who you are. I'm not looking forward to that. Send your numbers!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You Can Never Have Too Many Cookies Or Too Many Christmas Lights

As I have mentioned before, I love Christmas lights. Given my affinity for Christmas trees, this should come as no surprise. I'm not sure how it started but I've found that just putting lights on my tree at Christmas just wasn't enough. This must have been a grown-up thought because as a kid we never put lights on our house or trees in the yard at Christmas. The only lights you could find would be one little strand on the Christmas tree. At some point when I was grown and making my own money, I realized that I could buy as many lights as I wanted and put them wherever I wanted. This must have been a liberating moment. I only wish I could remember it.

In college, I used blue Christmas lights as a night light. I'm not afraid of the dark or anything (not that I like it too much) but I found that the glow of the lights was very soothing. This is an important thing when you're pretending to be a grown-up and you think you have such a hard life. My stresses then were nothing compared to the ones I have now. After I graduated college, I moved into an apartment. Since I rented, I couldn't put holes in the walls to hang my lights, so I settled for stringing them around the balcony railing. The condo association had a Christmas balcony lighting contest. It would be safe to say that they didn't even stop as they went by my balcony. One puny strand wouldn't win it.

Since that time, I have used Christmas lights in my classroom. Year round. I think it started by stringing one innocent strand around the board with the intent of "drawing attention to the board." Yeah, right. I liked the look so much that I expanded my light collection and looped them from my drop tile ceiling frame. I found other things in the room that also looked good wrapped in lights. I think that I had a total of seven strands, all connected end-to-end. One easy plug turned my room from standard to tacky in just a second. I put them up at Christmas and liked them so much, I kept them up year round. It was very calming to my students during our read alouds. I'm sorry to say that my twinkle fairyland was shut down because I was breaking something they called "fire codes." I think this was a conspiracy by The Man to squelch my festiveness. I mean really....me? Burn down a building with Christmas lights? Not possible!

And then I moved to Mississippi. I'm sure we have things like "fire codes" here but so far, I've not been told to take my lights down. I currently have 5 multicolored strands looped from my classroom ceiling, one purple strand around my homework board, and multicolored lights around my front and back white boards. This is offset by white lights around the door so that I can place different plastic holiday covers on them. I have plastic light covers for just about every holiday. My room definitely looks interesting. There are parts of me that is screaming, "It just looks so tacky!" but honestly, the kids totally love it. And I do too. I'm keeping them up until The Man tells me to take them down.

I've also found that battery powered Christmas lights can be used for more than a wreath. As you may know, I often dress in costume at school. During the last week before our Christmas break, I give each day a theme. On Christmas Tree day, I dress in a green dress with little ornaments pinned to my dress. There are pockets on this dress where I store the battery pack for my lights, which are also pinned to my dress. The outfit is completed with gold garland as a boa and a headband with an angel perched on my head. I get lots of stares when I wear this to school. I wonder why. I don't keep the joy to myself though, I also let the kids in on the fun...they're welcome to dress up too.

This week, my sweet friend Carrie gave me a Christmas necklace and matching earrings that have lights. Any yes, they not only are shaped like lights, they actually light up! They are so great!!!! They will go nicely with the rest of my extensive Christmas accessories. Some may view my lights as a little "too much" but I figure hey... most people are pretty easily distracted. Why not give them something interesting to look at? After all, a walking Christmas tree that teaches math may not be enough to capture the attention of 25 fourth graders.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Trees- Old School Style

Am I the only person who remembers this kind of Christmas tree? It saddens me that finding this kind of tree is difficult. I have so many memories of this kind of tree as a child.
For those of you that don't know, this is a silver tinsel tree that is anywhere from 3 to 4 feet tall. The branches are very sparse. I think it's because no one is trying to pretend that this tree is in any way real. My family's tree was covered in lots of handmade ornaments, courtesy of my brother and myself. I remember that Hugh had made some smiley face ornaments that he shaped and painted himself. There were three of them and they were graduated in size. I remember that I had a Raggedy Ann ornament. For the "fancy" ornaments, we had some fake orange candy canes that were encrusted with clear glitter and little gingerbread looking houses. I think that the humidity of the Keys eventually killed those ornaments. It's sad. You might be wondering why this is such a big deal for me. I'm not sure why, but I don't have lots of clear memories from my childhood. I can name all my teachers in elementary school but can't tell you one detail of any project, party, or mishap that happened to me. So when I describe the ornaments we had on my Christmas tree as a child, that means that it made a major impact on me.
I think the best part of this silver tinsel tree was the color wheel that went with it. There was a real powerful light behind the wheel that slowly turned and turned and changed the tree from just silver to red, green, blue, and yellow. This one device helps you go from one tree to five different trees. Is that not cool or what?
Another Christmas memory that I have is falling asleep under the Christmas tree. Not just sleeping at night, but at odd times during the day. And no, I don't have some sleeping disorder. There's something so serene about laying on the floor with the bottom branches over your face. Looking up through your tree will relax you way better than the vice you currently use. You don't feel hung over, smell like smoke, or gain any weight. I've continued to lay under my tree even after the silver tree disappeared. You should try it.
As I've mentioned before, I have a Christmas tree in every room in the house. Yes, this now includes the bathrooms. I think this is good in case I decide to take a nap somewhere...I'll know directly where to go. Find the nearest tree, pull up a blankie, and dream of the perfect Christmas.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Tale of Two Santas

I'm not one for nostalgia. I do, however, cry at every ridiculous thing you can imagine. I cried tonight during "The Amazing Race" when all the teams got their clue from the Russian food cart. I also cry during all the loved ones episodes on "Survivor." Why do I cry, you might ask? It's because I'm sensitive, okay? I've been told that my face says exactly what I'm thinking and I'm a bad liar. If that's the case, I'm not really sure what clowns, team mascots, and Santa thinks when they see me coming. I love to dress up in costumes. I don't like it when others dress up in costumes that keep their face from being clearly seen. I'm sure that other people that also don't like clowns, team mascots, and Santa (the person in costume, not the idea) feel the way I do. The picture above is me visiting Santa when I was four. Christmas in Key West is not like any you see anywhere else. First, it's hard to get into the Christmas spirit when it's 9o degrees outside. I can't imagine how uncomfortable Santa was in long sleeves made of fake velvet. The warm weather always produces lots of Christmas cards of Santa on the beach or water surfing with the reindeer. I mean, don't you see that in your mind as you look at my picture, where my mother put me in a halter top and shorts to visit Santa? Just so ya know, my mother made that top and made a matching top for my Barbie doll.

Look at the picture closely. In the background is beautiful blue skies and palm trees. This particular Christmas, Santa decided to set up in the Sears Town Shopping Center parking lot. What I love most about this picture is that I'm more focused on the candy that he gave me instead of telling him what I wanted for Christmas. Trust me, I was shaking in my shoes. I only went because we all know that if you don't tell Santa what you want for Christmas, you won't get anything. Notice too, that I'm not sitting in Santa's lap. I really don't want to get that close to someone whose face I can't clearly see. It's something I've dealt with my whole life. Don't worry, I'm looking into finding a 12 step program to facilitate my recovery from this horrible phobia.

So you might want to know how I handle the whole Santa phobia thing with having a daughter. Very carefully is my answer. I usually take her to see Santa at the local mall and pay way too much for a picture that isn't that great. I don't have to get too close to Santa because his helper elves take the picture and my money. Elves I can handle. This year, I didn't make it to the mall in time to see Santa. Raelynn did see Santa at our local "Festival of the Trees" celebration. There was no photographer there, so we didn't capture the moment. What I loved about that visit is that the "Santa" had a real beard and is a guy that lives here locally. Raelynn and I saw him in Wal-Mart one day this summer, shopping for cereal and wearing an MSU shirt. I pointed him out to Raelynn and she had no fear at all about approaching this man and asking him if he was Santa. His response was that he was and he gave her a business card he had in his wallet that had his picture on it. She carried that thing around for at least a month. And that was in July. She will proudly tell you that Santa has a pet cat because she saw he had cat food in his cart. Raelynn's a big fan of Christmas. So when she saw Santa at the "Festival of Trees" I was actually able to stand next to Santa and talk to him. He told us a funny anecdote about one of the gingerbread houses on display. Raelynn liked the fact that he had a sense of humor. She did get really upset a few days later when she changed her mind about what she wanted for Christmas. What were we going to do????

Fast forward to yesterday at the evil Wal-Mart. Raelynn and I were looking for a new stocking for her because as my faithful readers know, lots of our Christmas stuff got ruined this year. On a side note- I couldn't find anything cute and I refuse to let Raelynn get a Hannah Montana stocking. I have a feeling that in a few years she won't like her anymore and we'll have to do the whole stocking thing again. Long story short--my mother, Grammy, is sewing one for Raelynn from the fabric that she picked out. (The fabrics didn't match but that's another post for another time.)

So there we are...looking at cheap looking stockings and out of the corner of my eye I see a person walking towards us. I turned my head and was a little surprised to see "Santa" there and approaching us. He asked Raelynn if she'd like to take a picture, and of course her response was "Yes!!!!" So I hung back a little, because this wasn't the Festival of the Trees Santa. The only good thing I can say about Wal-Mart is that they didn't charge me for the picture. I went and picked it up today. Raelynn was happy because she was able to update Santa on her change of mind regarding her present. She was happy, polite, and very interested in talking to Santa. I was just glad that we didn't have to drive to the mall to see him and buy another not so great picture. Below you'll see Raelynn's Santa picture from this year. I wondered why she didn't mention any differences in the two Santas....Notice her posture, her direct smile into the camera. In this instance, she is NOT like me. I hope to conquer my fears and be like her someday.

I'm sure you'll notice some other differences too.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Cautionary Christmas Tale

Good day my friends, both known and unknown. Sorry I haven't blogged in awhile...I have no excuses. Well, I take that back. I have many excuses but none of them are great. Both David and I are winding up our graduate classes and with one computer at home with Internet connection, (and STUPID DIAL UP I might add) -I have to share. Which is okay, because David doesn't make me share his activities like chopping wood and feeding the horses. I'm going to try to type fast because of course, it's Saturday and I have tons of things to do. The most pressing is getting to the post office before noon so I can get some stamps. But you didn't log on to read my mundane ramblings...you wanted to good stuff...the good ramblings! Let them begin!

So I said earlier that I would try to blog this Christmas season about Christmas stuff. So I'm not going to disappoint. My house has a Christmas tree in every room in our house. Mind you, they are not all big, but you definitely get the festive spirit when you walk through my house...(and keep your eyes averted from all the clutter lying around.) It should come as no surprise to you all that at one time, I also had a Christmas tree in my car. Notice I said had--as in-past tense of currently having such tree. Let me 'splain.

One time I went shopping at Walgreens looking at their Christmas stuff. I like to give the evil Wal-Mart a run for their money and you can usually find some neat stuff at Walgreens. This occasion did not leave me wanting. On the decoration aisle, I found a Christmas tree that had suction cups so you could attach it to the window of your car (on the inside of course.) It also had Christmas lights that were attached to a cigarette lighter adapter. So of course I was real proud of myself for being so festive. On the down side, I was sad that I didn't do more night driving so everyone could see my cool car Christmas tree. As it was, I had to put the tree up on the window in the back seat so I could see out both windows for stupid stuff like on-coming traffic.

So I don't remember where we were going or why we were taking the car that I usually drive, but for some reason David and I were driving (at night) down the highway and I plugged in the Christmas tree. David is a good driver. Always has been. I've even posted about all the things he drives well. So you'll understand why he got very freaked out at the sudden bright lights that appeared out of his peripheral vision. Once I explained what it was, he asked me to remove the tree and not put it up anymore in the car. He said it could cause an accident. As if. Like I couldn't see out the windows and be festive. (Actually I think he was right but I'll never tell him that.)

It was a long time ago when this happened and for whatever reason, I no longer have the car Christmas tree. I keep hoping that I'll find another one so I can continue being festive everywhere I go. I often browse the local Walgreens in hope that they'll have it again. I'm sure you can buy one over the Internet, but after I was the victim of identity theft (now there's a long post in the making) I'm a little leery of buying anything from a "company" that sounds like it's run out of someone's basement. I'll just have to settle for looking at the trees in my house to keep my spirits up.

But please...if you find one of these trees for sale....let me know. I'd like to see if I can make that tree stick to something else--something that won't cause me to wreck.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ho Ho....Huh???

We all like Christmas surprises, right? I'm all for good surprises....you know...winning the lottery, finding money, secret santa gifts....but I wasn't prepared for my UNpleasant Christmas surprise tonight!

OK...I know that snowglobes have water in them. I get it. I also know that they break from time to time. I know this because Raelynn loves snowglobes so much that she inevitably breaks them from too much lovin'. So imagine my surprise when I pulled out the Christmas decorations and found a ton of MOLD in the box!!!!!

Apparently what happened is that my Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus snowglobe broke in the decoration box sometime between Jan 1st and today. The water leaked out into the waterproof box (thereby trapping the liquid that caused the mold) and pretty much everything it touched was a nasty mess. Many Christmas items bit the dust tonight....Raelynn's stocking, all of the stocking holders that I got from Crate and Barrel that were incredibly cute, and many ornaments. Did I mention that I'm allergic to mold and mildew? Great.

So, after weeding through what was left of the Christmas decorations and cleaning out the bottom of the box of sludge and broken glass, I put up the Christmas tree and Raelynn helped me hang the ornaments. I have to say that she did a pretty good job of spacing them out so that the different colored ornaments weren't bunched up together. And to top that, she can totally carry a tune when she sings Christmas carols, which she did the entire time she hung ornaments. I know...so much to be proud for.

So if there was a lesson to this cautionary tale it would be this: If you want to store seasonal snowglobes, wrap them in bubble wrap and wrap that in newspaper. Or better yet, leave your Christmas decorations up all year so they won't get broken during the storing process.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Annoying Christmas Tradition

Whoever invented the Christmas jingle bell is my hero. There's nothing like being annoying to not just the people immediately around you, but also to everyone else in the room. Like most things about me, jingle bells as accessories are pretty tacky. The phrase "Less is more" makes no sense to me. For me, overkill is almost the right amount. There are times during the holiday season that I'm literally covered in jingle bells from head to toe.
I'm not sure how it all started, but my mom tells me that when I started walking she would put jingle bells on my shoes so she would know where I was. Isn't this the same reason we put bells on cat collars? Anyway- I think the shoes in question were those white high top numbers that people use for bronzing. Who knows... at the time, I probably was enchanted with my ability to make noise and loved them. I don't know but the habit has stayed with me.
Every year after Thanksgiving, I use festive ribbon to tie jingle bells to the laces of each of my shoes. As my daughter started walking, I did the same for her, but only at Christmas. As I walk around my house, my classroom, and out in public, I listen for my jingling bells and think that it makes me seem more festive. Apparently not everyone agrees with my view.
There were a few times in middle school and high school that I'd have the uptight teacher that would ask me to remove my bells because it was distracting. I tried real hard to keep my feet still in those classes. I was trying to spread Christmas cheer, not cause people to go postal. As I got older, I felt like my little sneaker bells just didn't announce my approach like I'd hoped. Since then, I've collected hair bows with bells, a couple of jackets with bells on them, of course the bell necklace and matching bracelets and rings (yes, I have a ring with jingle bells on them), holiday socks with bells, and my ever present and jolly sneaker bells. As a teacher, you can get away with an outfit like that. If I worked at a bank, it'd be a different story. My students quickly catch on and begin to wear their bells too. I'm one of those weird people because the bells don't bother me. Even those big and noisy sleigh bells.
There's no other time of year that I can overload your senses before I even walk up to you. My tacky Christmas sweater assaults your eyes (this will be a future post) and my insistent jingling announces my presence. I'm not sure what my garb is saying about me, but I have no doubt you'll hear the message and remember it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Is Not Year Round Folks!

Hello everyone! I hope this finds you all recovered from yesterday's traditional coma, induced from too much turkey and eating way more that you should. This is the gut busting season. Everyone has these wonderful baked goodies that are "special" AKA "I don't make this very often, so please eat this and tell me you love it so I won't beat myself up later." You're cornered. If you don't partake of the goodies and contribute your own goodies to the many festive occasions you encounter, you are regarded as a scrooge. Not the best image to have during the Christmas season.

So as you know, today officially starts the Christmas season. Being as quick and above average as I am, I started the season early. Now mind you, I don't start as early as the evil Wal-Mart. They started putting stuff out before Halloween this year. For some reason, I can't get into the Christmas spirit during the period of Halloween. I don't know....witches, ghosts, skeletons and santas, baby Jesus, Christmas trees, and snowflakes just don't go together. It's weird because I totally love the Christmas season. You'd think I'd be into all year. I've been out shopping before and come across those stores that are all Christmas, all the time. I can't go into one of those stores unless it's between November 1 and December 31. I know, bizarre. This is coming from someone who has to have working Christmas lights 365 days a year in her classroom and sees glitter as a necessary element in any decent ornament or decoration. I know, I'm this walking mass of contradictions. I think that's one of the many things that makes me so interesting.

So, I'll try to really focus my future posts during this holiday season and see if all of them can be holiday related. Being as I love Christmas, this shouldn't be too hard. After all, when you have Alvin and the Chipmunks playing in the background, it's hard to not be creative.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Lived To Tell The Story...And So Did Everyone Else At The Table!

Okay, I rock. Maybe you didn't know this about me. Maybe you already knew this about me and are wondering why I'm just now catching on. Either way, it still boils down to--I rock.

This was my first Thanksgiving dinner to cook for my family, including my in-laws. Everything worked out great and no one got sick from food poisoning. This is a good thing. One of my fears, other than rampant diarrhea and vomiting from my food, was being able to get everything done at the same time. Well, the end story here is that the food was fab-o and everyone loved it. That's a load off my mind.

'Tis the season for thanks...many of you have listed things you are thankful for and in the spirit of continuing this practice, I will add my list to the many floating around in cyberspace. There are in no particular order.

1) My husband, daughter, parents, and family...this isn't really original, but it's so true. Without them, I'd be a star with no fan club.

2) Running water and electricity--The few times I've been without one or both of these have made living very difficult. I like to wash my hands, flush the toilet, have ice in the maker, wash clothes, and take a bath. Those things are hard to do without water and some electricity. We take this for granted people! If you don't believe me, try going without either one for an extended amount of time.

3) My home-I do spend some time harping on my house and the perpetual state of improvements that it goes through. It's then that I think about all those people out there that don't have any house at all. It puts things into perspective.

4) My job-I enjoy what I do and have more fun that I should. I get weekends off, two months in the summer, 2 weeks at Christmas, one week in the spring and another in the fall.....my husband and daughter have the same days off that I do. Many unhappy people have no jobs or hate the one they have. That's no way to live.

5) My friends-I have lots of great friends and am always looking to add to my list of people that I enjoy. If you aren't my friend but want to be, let me know. If you know me in person but don't hang out with me on a regular basis, you don't know what you are missing.

6) Good books/TV shows/movies- I like to be entertained. Without these three, I'd have a hard time making it.

7) Good food-It's a great thing to be a little overweight. There are lots of people in this world that have no food at all. I don't want to list any particular food I really like because I don't want the other foods to get jealous.

8) Glitter- This is one accessory that I must have. It not only adds sparkle (literally) to me, it announces my personality before you actually get to know me.

9) Blogging-I love to blog and love to read your comments as well. My writing teacher told me that we all write for an audience, even if it's for ourselves. There's great motivation to write if you think someone is going to read it.

10) Facebook- This is a wonderful thing. I'm able to stay connected to people that I know from lots of different places. Who has time to write a real letter anymore?

Okay, so this is a partial list. I'm sure with much thought, I can come up with more. Right now I'm in the middle of a turkey coma, so I'm going to walk it off and think of you, reading my blog. Thank you for taking the time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This Won't Be Like The Norman Rockwell Painting...

Imagine the Indiana Jones theme music in your mind.....this is what I'm dealing with today. You might ask yourself why I would be hearing music in my head instead of the regular voices....I wonder that too. I think I know why.

See...Thanksgiving is pretty special. First of all, you get to eat. And not just anything but really good food. Second, my mother (the best cook in the world) is the one that cooks it. I may have mentioned before, I'm not a natural cook. I can follow directions pretty well, but I'd say that cooking doesn't come second nature to me. So you can see why I've never bothered to learn. My mother absolutely loves to cook. Really. I'm the smallest (weight wise) adult in my family if that gives you any idea of how much we like to eat and how good her food is.

But that's not the case this year.

My parents own a timeshare. They are spending this week at their timeshare in New Orleans. I'm happy that my parents are getting some time off. Not that they have jobs to be off from, but believe me they are incredibly busy for folks that are retired. So having mom that far away poses a real problem for Thanksgiving dinner. How is she gonna cook and get the food here from several hundred miles away?

Answer: She won't be cooking.

So I've decided to attempt the impossible and "cook" Thanksgiving dinner for myself, David, Raelynn, and my in-laws. My in-laws usually come to my Mom's for Thanksgiving too, because really, when I said she's the best cook, I meant it. She is highly regarded locally as an excellent cook. Since she won't be here, the responsibility this year rests on my shoulders. Did I already mention that I can't cook?

I've decided to just cook the things that I really like from Mom's Thanksgiving dinner menu that won't cause me to have a migraine and are relatively easy to make. Keep in mind that my mom's Thanksgiving meal starts in the morning at breakfast and lasts all day.

Here's my menu:

1) Breakfast casserole to be served for breakfast on Thursday. (This is delicious. It has eggs, sausage, cheese...yummm)

2) Veggies and dip to be enjoyed during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (We eat these pretty much all day while we wait for the food to cook.)

3)Turkey-I got a three pound turkey breast that says "Guaranteed Foolproof" on the package. It gives directions for cooking it in the oven and in the slow cooker. I will decide how to cook it after I call my mom on her vacation for the one thousandth time--all cooking questions.

4) Gravy of course.... homemade, not from the jar

5) My mom's famous fruit salad. This stuff is so good, you'll want to slap somebody.

6) Squash casserole-this is good...David loves it--very yummy.

7) My sister-in-law's English Pea casserole-This is the "green" element to the dinner. I haven't made it but it looks pretty easy. Famous last words.

8) My absolutely fabulous homemade mashed potatoes--with sour cream, green onions, and cheese, cheese, cheese

9) Cream corn-by far the easiest thing to make- Open the can and heat on a pot on the stove.

10) Southwest Salad- this is also my mom's recipe. I've made this a few times for parties, showers, etc and it never fails that someone wants this recipe. It's totally yum-o.

11) Rolls- hopefully I can juggle these and the other things that need baking at the same time

12) Tea-you might not have mentioned this but I don't make tea. I think I know how, but my father-in-law only drinks sweet tea, so I have to find the right balance of sweetness.

So you can see that this is a major undertaking for me. I hope that we all live through it to tell stories about it. If not, I guess this will be the radical diet plan (basically-food poisoning) that I've been looking for.

Keep an empty seat open for me at your Thanksgiving dinner table. If I can't get hold of my mom on the phone, I may need to eat at your house.

Monday, November 24, 2008

He Had Me At Hello

Today is a significant day. Thirteen years ago today, I married the man of my dreams. When I look back to the time I've spent with David, it doesn't seem like it's been that long. On the other hand, I find that I can not see my past before him clearly. It feels like he's always been with me. Since I really love him, I'd say that's a good thing.

For those of you who don't know, David and I met in December of 1986 at my grandmother's house. The year before, David's sister Melissa, and my brother Hugh had gotten married. I was not able to go to the wedding, so this was the first opportunity I had to meet him. David was 21 and had just gotten out of the army. He was very cute and I felt a connection to him immediately. I was still in high school so, we dated long distance for a few months. Those were tough times. Neither one of us knew whether we were coming or going. We broke up shortly thereafter.

For those of you that have interconnected families, you quickly learn that the other person never really goes away. Over the years, I heard about David and what he was up to from my brother and sister-in-law. I also roomed in college with his other sister, Susan. Another connection. We ran into each other at family functions and it was always awkward. The timing wasn't right.

Ten years later, I met up with David again at Christmas, but this time at my brother and sister-in-law's house. By this time, they had two kids and were the only grandchildren on either side. An easy compromise for everyone was to have one large family Christmas. David and I walked and talked for about 2 days during that time. We even had a few fights. David was teaching in Alabama and I was teaching in Florida. We began our long distance relationship again.

This time it was different. Time and maturity were on both of our sides. Three months after meeting up again at my brother's house, we became engaged. Eight months after that we were married. The rest is history.

I don't often blog much about David. Some people that work with him read my blog and I don't want to put David into a weird situation he didn't ask to be in. David also doesn't read my blog. He feels like if I were to write about something and he didn't like it, it would really hurt me. And it would. He's very good like that. Very perceptive and wise.

I know that he was sent to me by God, because I asked for him. I didn't ask for him by name, but about 3 weeks prior to our reuniting, I made a list of all the qualities I was looking for in a husband and then prayed that the Lord would send him to me. I listed all the qualities that I was looking for, even down to hair and eye color. It's hard to believe that it all happened so quickly but it did. We've had our ups and downs, but I figure that all marriages do. I can't imagine even a day without him. I feel very blessed to be his wife. I feel like I'm a better person because I know him. He's had to overcome some large obstacles in his life, but he's still standing strong. If you ever come in contact with him, it'll be an experience you'll always remember. He's that great.

Happy Anniversary honey. I love you very much. Everyday with you is better than the one before! Thank you for choosing me.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

To Do List

My Thanksgiving Break To Do List:

1) Sleep late. By that I mean, of course, 6 AM. My daughter knows when there is no school so she wakes up extra early to take advantage of all her "free" time. She's seven. When you're seven, all your time is "free." Apparently, she doesn't realize this yet.

2) Return my Netflix movie to the post office. This is the 4th DVD of the TV show, "Freaks and Geeks." It's really a good show. I take my mail to the post office because one-If I leave in my mailbox with the little flag up, it can take up to 3 more days for my mail to be received and two, I live across from some "questionable" neighbors. I wouldn't put it past them to root around in people's mailboxes.

3) Go see Twilight and eat Mexican food with some friends. I've already seen this movie once and I'm excited to see it again. My previous post is my movie review. (You didn't think this post would be without a Twilight reference, did you?)

4) Grade papers. I tend to do lots of this during breaks from school. There is just no way I can get them done at school with all the other stuff I have to do. I'll spend a couple of hours there a day until I can get some things at school in order.

5) Lesson plans. This is another thing I spend lots of time doing. The teacher across the hall from me is planned up to like February. I just can't do that. Things change from day to day and I like to leave my options open. Also, when you're that anal, things really bother you and you're unhappy all the time.

6) Call in a couple of prescriptions to the evil Wal-Mart. I keep forgetting to do this.

7) Go to my mom's and dad's house each day this week to feed their cat and dogs. All of them (the pets, not my parents) are annoying. However, it's the least I can do given how much my parents do for me.

8) Open a book or two and study for my next project for my graduate class.

9) Watch TV-lots of TV. I almost can't grade papers or write lesson plans without it on in the background. Right now, Superman, is on. Lois Lane has just found out that Clark's identity is really Superman. Christopher Reeves was really cute. Too bad he died. Margot Kidder...well, that's a different story.

10) Put up the Christmas tree. I ususally do this during Thanksgiving because it's the only time I have to do it.

11) Put up my clean clothes. I have a couple of baskets of clothes sitting in my room, waiting to be hung up. I keep waiting for them to do it themselves, but so far, no luck.

12) Clean out and organize my purse. I always feel so much better when I know what's in my purse and where to find it.

13) Cook Thanksgiving dinner. My mom is the best cook in the world and she usually does this. My contribution is deviled eggs (my recipe is the best-ask anyone who's had them) and helping Mom out in the kitchen. My parents are in New Orleans for Thanksgiving so I'm having to do it myself. Fun.

14) Finish reading Breaking Dawn, the last book in the Twilight series. I've had this book for a couple of weeks but haven't read it because I'm savoring the anticipation. I'm sure I'll be majorly depressed when I'm done reading the books.

15) Clean up my house before I put up the tree or cook Thanksgiving dinner.

16) Check Facebook, my email, and this blog several times a day to see if anyone's left me a message. Let's be honest, I don't write for me...I write for you. I already know what I think about me and what I write. The important thing is, what do you think of me and my writing?

17) Sit on my couch, lay on my bed...basically be lazy...which sort of trumps out all of the other things on my list.... It's nice to have the freedom and time to be able to be lazy.

I'm sure there are other things that I should add to this list, but I'm too tired to think of them. Maybe it's not tired---maybe I'm getting a head start to being lazy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Give It An Enthusiastic Two Thumbs Up

So my public, and when I say that I mean all "one" of you, asked if I was going to review the movie "Twilight" that I've spent so much time blogging about. At some point I was going to mention it in one of my posts, but since I crave your acceptance and approval, I will review it now so I can please my fan(s).
As you may or may not know, I had a friend who rented a theater to have a private midnight showing on Thursday of last week. I don't think I've been to a midnight movie except to see "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" years ago. Since that is an audience participation movie and "Twilight" isn't, you really can't compare the two. I'm hoping that "Twilight" gets a cult following like Rocky Horror and it becomes an audience participation movie. That would be cool.
Since I work full time, going to a midnight movie means cutting into my sleep. Getting large amounts of quality sleep is not only important to me, it's absolutely crucial. I have a hard enough time making sense when I'm well rested, so trust me when I say that you don't want to be around me when I'm really tired. To prevent a total catastrophe at work, I came home after work and tried to take a couple of naps. Why two naps instead of one? Well....there was no way I was going to miss "Survivor" and "The Office." So I tried to sleep both before and after those shows. I think I got a total of about an hour of sleep. I laid in bed and thought about sleep, but it just wasn't happening. After the movie, I got about 2 hours of sleep before I had to go to work but surprisingly, I did okay the next day. Work was fine, but I did fall asleep at the kitchen table about 7 PM. I say all these because my opinion of the movie was filtered through lack of sleep, massive amounts of anticipation, and I had a large Diet Coke during the movie. No wonder I didn't sleep when I got home.
I looked up Roger Ebert's review of the movie and he gave it two and a half stars. Obviously he hasn't seen the movie OR read the book. I must say that I really liked this movie, but I think it's because I really love the books. There is no way to include all the book elements in a movie, but these people sure did try. The movie was very closely aligned with the book. Robert Pattison, who played Edward Cullen, was really dreamy in this movie. It took awhile for me to like his messed up hair, but by the end of the movie, I didn't even notice it anymore. Kristen Stewart played Bella Swan and she did a pretty good job too. She's very pretty. (I like the fact that Edward prefers brunettes!) I don't think the movie really spent enough time developing Bella's character so viewers could invest emtionally in her. I don't know if this actually could have happened since the book has lots of references from her thoughts and dreams...things that are harder to portray in a movie. The Edward character was dark and troubled, which is why Bella is so attracted to him. There were some points that I thought were rushed but if they did every little scene like I would have wanted, then the moive would have been 6 hours long. Having said that, overall I'd say this was a good movie and I'm glad that I went to see it. I'm even happier that I'm going to see it again on Tuesday with some other friends.
I really hope they make the other books into movies. The fans of the books are very passionate and loyal. I don't know of anyone that has read the books and didn't like them. I read the book before the movie twice, in the space of about 3 weeks. I'm debating about rereading it again. I still have the fourth book to read and I'm really trying to savor the anticipation. When I'm done reading that book I will feel as if there is nothing more to read. I think that I'll have just enough time to reread the sixth Harry Potter book before the movie comes out next summer. And when that's over???? Well, at that point, I hope to have a life. In the meantime, I'll continue to babble on and on.
I'm hoping that my next post will be about something other than "Twilight" and I'm sure you are looking forward to that. Since I crave your approval, I'm sure it will happen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I've Got A Fever...A Twilight Fever...And There Is No Cure!

Okay...I'm not dead. I'm just tired and busy. Tomorrow is the premier of "Twilight" and I'm going to the midnight show with some friends (and students). I have to work the next day and I'm going to be totally dead on my feet. I sure hope it's worth it.
I don't really have lots to tell.....I have next week off and I'm looking forward to that. Did I mention that during the Thanksgiving break, a group of people from my graduate class are getting together to eat Mexican food and then....wait for it.....go see "Twilight?" I know, I know...it's like an addiction. I'm looking for a 12 step program and have had no luck as of late.
So I'm going to sign off now. I have papers to grade, children to bathe and read to, newsletters to write.....the list never ends. And if I'm going to spend the wee hours of tomorrow morning watching a movie about vampires, it HAS to be worth it.
This is Edward. He sparkles in the sun. You'll have to read the book or watch the movie to understand.

This is Mexican food. I'll be enjoying this before I watch the movie....I know you wish you were me....don't hate!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yet Another Twilight Posting

I hate that my posting has become something more sporadic than I'd like. It doesn't help that my computer at home has STUPID DIAL-UP and runs slower than molasses in January. Today is a prime example. I've tried several times to upload pictures to this posting, but my computer and the almighty Internet are not working with me this morning. On days like these, my thoughts tend to REALLY be scattered. All I can tell you is...hang in there when you read. It'll all be over soon.

A subject that has been rolling around in my head is the upcoming movie, "Twilight." (And here's a question...are movies written with quotation marks? I feel like I'm writing it wrong.) I've mentioned this book/movie several times in previous postings-and if you've spoken to me, I'm sure I've mentioned it too. There are currently 4 books in the series, and an illegally Internet leaked manuscript for a fifth book that isn't complete. I've mentioned before the depression that hits when you read a really good book series and you get to the end of the last book. You feel as if there will never be anything else to read. I felt that way for a month after I read the entire Harry Potter series. Knowing this was coming, I've read the first 3 books and the manuscript online. Why skip the 4th book? Well, Stephenie Meyer started the fifth book to tell the first book's story again, only from Edward's standpoint instead of Bella. So what I am in the middle of doing is rereading the first book. I read the manuscript in tandem with the first few chapters of the Twilight and now I'm finishing the first book up. I feel sorta like I did when I first saw "The Sixth Sense." Once you saw that movie, you wanted to go back and watch it again, so you can pick up on the little details you missed the first time. I'm also saving the 4th book until after the movie is over. I'm savoring the anticipation. Anyway, I'm enjoying the reread. The movie comes out next week and I'm going to see it on Thursday night at midnight. Yes, that's right, midnight--and yes I have to work the next day. My plan is to come home and take a nap before going to the movie. Of course Friday will be a little rough but I think I'll manage. My friend Wendy has arranged for a private showing and I'm going to join her and her family to watch it. Now if only I had a cool Twilight movie shirt to wear. On a side note, I'm a little afraid that the movie will not live up to my expectations. In the past, I've found that I've almost always preferred the book to the movie. The one exception that comes to mind is Pride and Prejudice. After watching the movie (with English subtitles no less) I understood more of the story. I'm hoping that I won't be too terribly disappointed with Twilight. At any rate, I think I'll be too tired to worry about it much. If you're looking for a good read, I suggest this book. It's targeted audience is for teens, so it's an easy read. The story line is really good too...even if you don't like vampires. I promise you, I don't like them but I really liked this book. Just don't ask to borrow my copy. I'm toting it everywhere, trying to finish it by Thursday.

A week long vacation is coming so I'm sure I'll be posting more then. Hopefully, I'll have something new to write about. I'm sure you will be too.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Swear I'm Not A Pack Rat, Really

I'm not sure if this picture goes with this post, but I thought it was cuter than actually putting a picture of a real rat here. Humor me and go with it.

I have a Saturn. It's a mid-sized car with a moderate sized trunk. It's not quite what my friend Ashley calls a "mafia trunk," but it holds more than you think. I'm not a pack rat, I just don't have enough time and hands to unload things so they stay where they are until I can't take it anymore. Here is a partial listing of the things you'd find in my trunk right now...don't worry, I already took the bodies out....

1) A new 4-foot purple tinsel Christmas tree in the box to be used in my classroom. I couldn't resist it. Later, I'll post about the silver tinsel tree from my youth.

2) An expanded folder that has truly been expanded with scrap paper to be used in my classroom that was saved by my friend, Kathy B., whose child was in my class for the last two years. Paper (or lack thereof) is a major issue to teachers. If I could just figure out how to get more.....

3) A box full of "stuff" to be used in my classroom store. Again, my friend Kathy B. cleaned out her trunk and house and donated a bunch of small toys and trinkets that my kids will love. If I could only get them out of my trunk and into my classroom.

4) Assorted rags that David put there to be used during the odd emergency. I don't think I've touched them in like 2 years. If you could see them, you wouldn't touch them either.

5) A spare tire and a jack. Now technically, this stuff can be found under the lining in the trunk, not in the trunk space but I'm listing it because to get to it, I'd have to take everything else out of my trunk.

6) Another somewhat large box of "stuff" for my classroom store from my friend Kathy B.

7) A bag of unopened pine shavings to be used for my class pet. Snickers, the guinea pig, isn't doing so well, so I may be taking this back to the evil Wal-Mart to get my money back.

8) About five 2 liter bottles of assorted sodas for the Bunco game I'll be co-hosting this Wednesday. These are always good times. It's a big thing here in Mississippi. I think just about everyone belongs to at least one Bunco group.

9) A Cappe's Kitchen cup. My house is outfitted with plastic cups from assorted eating establishments in town. This particular cup size is my favorite. Not too big, not too small...just right.

10) A Disney tote bag full of children's books about spiders and bats. This is left over from a presentation I did for one of my graduate school classes. Again, these items need to be returned to my school library. If only they had legs and could walk themselves.

11) One large maroon, blue, and white umbrella. Don't ask me how I'm supposed to get the umbrella to use it during a rainstorm...but in case I figure it out, I'm ready.

12) Some old Wal-Mart receipts. These things are as evil as the Wal-Mart bags and the institution itself. I swear these things multiply when I'm not looking.

13) Five Diet Mountain Dew sodas attached to a 6 pack ring. Before my acid reflux got bad, I'd have one of these at school to get me going. Now that I can't have them, they just sit there.

14) One sharpened pencil that must have migrated from the front section of my car where there are about 10 pencils in the cup holder. I stick these in my hairdo during work and then find them later when I'm driving home.

15) Pine straw. This stuff is everywhere. I think that if you live in Mississippi, you must have this stuff in your trunk or somehow attached to your wiper blades. Since I don't have any pine trees near my house or where I park my car (home or at work) I have no idea where this stuff came from.

It seems like a lot doesn't it? My trunk must be bigger than I think because I can also get a week's worth of groceries in the trunk while also toting home my rolling backpack and additional school bag. I think my car's trunk deserves some award...if at the very least I deem it "mafia sized."

Friday, November 7, 2008

Twilight, Trick-or-Treating, and Mental Health Days

So I told you that I wouldn't be posting for awhile. And I was right. I just finished reading Eclipse this morning before work. There is still another book in the series, but I think I want to see if I can hold off until I see the movie in a couple of weeks. I'm thinking of rereading the first book, even though I read it like 2 weeks ago so I'll be ready for the movie. I don't know.

There hasn't been too much to report this week. I did have a rough day on Thursday. Thanks to some friends and a visit to Old Venice, the day ended much better than it started. I really think that to make schools more efficient, a full time massage therapist should be on staff at each school. Someday when I'm independently wealthy, I'll go to massage therapy school, get licensed, and then volunteer my time at schools. Getting a massage is fabulous but expensive enough to not happen as often as I'd like. Guess I'll just have to settle for wearing my pj's to school on Pajama Day.

Raelynn went trick-or-treating this year for real for the first time. We did not plan this in advance, but just couldn't resist her current wide-eye wonder at it all. It seems that this year is the one where she really gets into every holiday. So we came home and gave her about 10 minutes to find a "costume" to wear using the elements she already had in her dress-up box. I think she was trying to be fairy princess, but she looked closer to a hobo with wings. We then whisked her off to the suburbs and did one section of one neighborhood. She had a blast. The weather was real cool, so I enjoyed walking around holding David's hand. Holding hands is great. When you have kids, you don't usually hold hands as much with your spouse as you do with your child. And you start calling your spouse "Mom" or "Dad." I swore I'd never be one those people.....and yet I am.

I will be out of school on Monday. I am required to go to a district training on mentoring new teachers. I spent 4 hours on lesson plans and gathering materials for the sub this afternoon. And that's not all. Snickers, our class guinea pig, is in rather bad shape. I'd hate to think he'd die over the weekend and the kids were faced with death first thing Monday morning. So, on top of the 4 hour long planning and preparation I spent today, I'll go in before work on Monday to take care of any "passings" that happen this weekend. (On a side note, I can't go to school on the weekends anymore, so I would if I could.) Why 4 hours you ask? I remember subbing and it's not easy. At all. I believe that leaving very detailed (and when I say very detailed, I mean anally detailed) lesson plans. It just works better for everyone that way. You might be wondering why I'm even mentioning that I'm going to be out, right? For me, this is huge. I never miss work. I don't know if it's this incredible work ethic I have or whether I'm just too lazy to spend 4 hours on lesson plans for one day. If I had somewhere interesting to go (a concert, a cruise, etc) I think I could talk myself into taking off. In all my years of teaching (and that's been a lot) I've never taken a mental health day. I wouldn't even know what to do on those days. If you have any ideas on what to do when playing hooky from work, please leave a comment.

So that's about it. Not much to say. I'm really enjoying the books I reading and not looking forward to the depression that will soon follow. I hope to be more present in the blogging world this week. Hint Hint: a comment now and then makes me feel loved, which in turn makes me want to post. So really, commenting is a win/win situation. I feel validated and you get more of my incredible wit. I know. It seems almost too good to be true.

See ya'll later..peace..I'm out!!!