Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Labor Day List Of Stuff To Do

So most people are spending their Labor Day weekend visiting people or just relaxing. Not me. Did I mention that I'm a teacher? Or that I'm totally a type-A workaholic? So a long weekend for me just means I have more time to get things done. As a serious type-A person, I love lists. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I can make a list of things to do and I can check them off when I'm done. I carry a calendar with me to school to record due dates, special events, meetings, and other fun work related stuff. I totally enjoy crossing through the day when I get to work. Yes, that's right....I don't wait until the day is over to count that day. I figure that if I'm out of bed, dressed, and at work, the hard part is over. I go ahead and count that day and cross that baby off in my calendar.

So having said that, I thought I'd share my not-so-exciting Labor Day to-do list. Mind you, this is a list of things I'd like to do, but the reality of what I get done is a completely different story.

1) Stalk my friend Vicki's blog. She's currently in China for 2 weeks wrapping up a 3-year adventure in adopting a little girl named Emily.

2) Get dressed. Currently I'm in my pajamas as I'm typing this.

3) Call in my prescriptions to Wal-Mart. After all, yesterday was payday so I've got a little money in the bank.

4) Go to Wal-Mart and pick up prescriptions and walk around in a stupor and put useless things I don't need in my cart then pay too much for them. (Read earlier post about the evils of Wal-Mart.)

5) Watch my latest movie from Netflix, "The Banger Sisters."

6) Go back into town and return my latest movie from Netflix, "The Banger Sisters."

7) Grade mountains of papers.

8) Complain about the crick in my neck from the above mention mountain of graded papers.

9) Watch the Weather Channel to keep updated on the whereabouts of Hurricane Gustav and Tropical Depression Hanna.

10) Praise the Lord regularly that I don't live in the Florida Keys anymore because I'd be totally freaked out about the above mentioned hurricanes.

11) Call my mother. I like to check in with her everyday.

12) Finish writing my lesson plans. Don't get me started on this one.

13) Watch the "John and Kate Plus 8" marathon on Monday. I really like this show. Kate is a total control freak like me and I enjoy watching her lose it.

14) Have a tea party with Raelynn. Actually, this has already happened today but I'm sure that I'll have several more before the weekend is over.

15) Remind Raelynn several times to clean her room from the tea parties she will host this weekend.

16) Check Facebook. I've already done this today but will probably do it many more times today. My current status on Facebook is, "Tassie is glad she's facebook friends with you."

17) Think of more topics I can write about in my blog. Any suggestions are welcome, please leave a comment. I really enjoy checking to see if anyone has read what I wrote.

18) Check email many times to see if anyone has commented on my most recent blog post.

19) Read chapters one and two in my book Strategies That Work for my graduate class.

20) Wipe up drool from falling asleep while reading for my graduate class.

21) Encourage David as he and his dad work on the carport today. I will also be making frequent trips to town to get ice for the cooler of Gatorade they have outside.

22) Cough, wheeze, and feel miserable. I am sick and couldn't see the doctor this week. (Read earlier post on "My Excuse Note for Being Absent" where I talk about the evils of the medical community.)

23) Clean my house. My sister-in-law (my brother's wife AND my husband's sister-that's right, a brother/sister married a brother/sister), my niece Sable, and her new baby Jayden are coming to visit. My sister-in-law is a clean freak.

24) Sleep. I love to sleep and don't do it near as much as I'd like or need.

25) Read my new People magazine. This should kill about an hour. (Read earlier post "I Totally Know Good Literature" where I talk about the attraction of this magazine.)

26) Go to school and enter grades into the computer, clean my classroom, and get distracted by talking with other teachers also there to enter grades and to clean.

Okay, as I look over this list, it looks very ambitious. I don't know if I'll get it done or not, but I certainly will kill myself trying. I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful long weekend, and if you don't have any time off- I feel for you....I'm working too, just check my long to-do list.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Short Pondering About My Friday Work Wear

It's late. I'm tired. I have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. So, instead of sleeping (which I desperately need to do) I'll post. Still feeling crummy (see earlier post) but I think that it's not strep throat. I think I have a sinus infection coupled with the beginning stages of bronchitis. But enough about my ailments...I'm boring myself with it as I'm writing it.

Tomorrow is Friday. What will I wear? For those of you who don't know me personally, you've not had the pleasure of seeing me face-to-face at work and laugh at my get-up. I like to celebrate that I made it through another week and that the upcoming weekend is mine to fill with unlimited diversions. Okay, so the reality is that I'll stay home and do more schoolwork, but I like to dream! So in celebration of my Fridays (my favorite day of the week) I usually deck myself out in some type of "costume." Last week I wore my pink school shirt, pink glitter eyeshadow and eyeliner (and I don't mean the cheap Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen stuff but the type of glitter you'd use in an art project), and a pink feather and sequin princess crown. I don't know who I was trying to be, but I felt good. I usually wait until inspiration hits to decide what to wear....usually sometime between Friday morning when I wake up and when I let my students in the room at 7:15. So tomorrow is filled with much anticipation of who I'll be and the fact that I'll be doing it with tackiness and flair. I mean, wouldn't you take your teacher seriously if she was dressed as a superhero, tights, cape and all?

You see, everyone has a vice...mine just happens to be costumes and glitter. There's nothing wrong with that is there? If you think so, just ask my students.....they'll disagree with you in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Excuse Note For Being Absent

I missed blogging yesterday. Sending a shout out to Anonymous who said they missed my posts. It's nice to be appreciated and/or loved, even if you don't know who it is. So let the postings continue!

It's been a rough couple of days. As I mentioned earlier but you may not have remembered- I'm currently enrolled in graduate school. I'm only taking one class this semester because David is also enrolled in grad school and it was either we only take one class a piece or I'd have to sell a kidney. I'm sort of partial to my organs, so we're going at it slowly but surely. On those days, I leave home around 6 AM (to get ready for the day but also to get a good parking spot) and I teach the youth of America (AKA I hear my name being called a 1, 984 times in one 7 hour period) then go straight to class and get home after 8PM. I make it home just in time to put my daughter to bed before I try to tackle my work. Since I usually start to nod off around 10 PM, there's not a lot of constructive work time if you subtract showering and other grooming rituals. It makes for a long Tuesday. I know some of you out there are saying to yourselves that if I think I have it hard, I should listen to your story. Don't tell walked to school barefoot, in the snow, and uphill both ways, right? I know, I know...I don't have a bad life, but since it's the only one I have, that's all I know.

Another thorn in my side this week is that I'm sick. On Monday, I got up (yes, at 3 earlier post) and felt like I had been hit by a truck. I was dizzy, even laying down, my chest was tight, and my throat hurt. So of course, I sucked it up and went to school. I'm never out. I always go to work. At school it just got worse. Between all my talking and the acid reflux acting up because I had a Diet Mountain Dew, my throat was in even more pain and I could feel my asthma starting to kick in. Since I've had a couple of kids out already this year with strep throat, I was thinking that was what I had.

So today, I thought that I'd try to call one of my doctors to get an appointment after school. You might be asking yourself why I wouldn't just take a day off? Let me just say that if you aren't a teacher, you can't understand what being out of work entails. With most jobs, if you don't go, life goes on. You just pick up where you left off when you return. Or perhaps like most of the food service industries in town, you are just short-handed. That so isn't the case with teaching.

To be absent and not have the small worlds of 25 nine-year-olds fall apart, it takes me about 4 or 5 hours to write very detailed lesson plans to leave for the substitute. You have to write down everything you do and how you do it, because keeping the kids in their routine is crucial. (This is how we walk in line, this is how we go to the bathroom, no you can't let the kids use my teacher sharpener, don't believe them when they say I don't assign homework..... and so on) After you write the plans, you have to get them and all the copies you'll need to your room. So even sick, you have to go in to work. When I am out it seems like I'm trying to "clean up" both figuratively and literally for two weeks. You keep hearing about all the stuff the kids did that they weren't supposed remember how it was when you were in school and there was a substitute. So the mental picture of potential shenanigans makes me want to be there. I'm somewhat of a control freak. Also, I have meetings every day this week, even on Friday. I'm always positive that if I miss a meeting, they'll cover something critical and I won't know what's going on. I already have a problem with that when I am being there is important to me.

So I figured that I could call one of my doctors this morning and get an appointment after school tomorrow. No luck. I called 4 different doctors, including a clinic that I don't go to and NO ONE could see me. They wanted me to wait until next week or come in during the day. Most people have jobs where they have a phone at their disposal and a lunch hour to themselves. If they're out due to illness, you call the boss and that's that. No one fills in and you don't have to leave a detailed description of everything you do. So not the case with teaching. So after my calls it was apparent that I'm the only person that works past 3 PM. I tried to tell them that I thought I had strep throat and I may be dead by the time they could see me. Their response to me was to go to the emergency room. Now to me....the emergency room is for people with gunshot wounds, broken limbs, heart get my drift. Also, did I mention that I'm a teacher? My insurance isn't the greatest. I really don't want to go the emergency room if I absolutely don't have to. What I found interesting is that every doctor's office told me the same thing. What's with that? I mean, I know the emergency room is there for emergencies, but when you know what's wrong and you've been to that doctor so much that they've offered you frequent flyer miles, you'd think they could squeeze me in. I even asked my primary care physician if they could call in a prescription for me. No dice.

It wasn't a good day.

So now I'm at home, sitting in my pj's and needing to do more school work even though I feel yucky. The work continues to pile up...present at work or not. I just hope that if I had a real emergency and was sitting in the emergency room, that the arm I'd broken wasn't my writing arm since I'd have to sit there and write my lesson plans for the next day. Yeah....that sounds like fun.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Turning Right Equals A Big Circle

Have you ever seen the movie "Zoolander?" It's really funny...especially if you like goofy sort of movies. It's one of those movies that I wished I owned because I could watch it over and over. A couple of things strike me about this, of course is the fact that I'm "ridiculously good looking," but the other is turning left.

In the movie, Derek Zoolander is a famous runway model and can't turn left. This wasn't the plot of the movie, simply an interesting notation. I can turn left as I'm walking, running's the turning left in the car that gets me.

Let me say here that I've never gotten a ticket. There have been a few fender benders that were minor and they were all my fault because I backed into a pole or something. For the most part, I'm a safe driver, I do the speed limit, and I'm aware of other drivers. But there was this one time in high school....let me set the scene for you.

Back in the day, my ride was a 1967 Mercury Cougar. That thing was great. It was a tank on wheels. I loved that car. One day after school I was coming home from somewhere, I think it was Burger King and I turned left across several lanes of traffic. I misjudged the turn and ended up denting the car in the outside lane. That car was like a Nissan 2 door or something and the door of the driver's side was dented. My car...well, let's just say that me running into her car rubbed the dirt off my bumper. Since that time, I've been hesitant to turn left across traffic...even if there is a turn lane. In my defense, there was no turn lane on Flagler Avenue where the above "incident" happened. I guess this has stayed with me because I always imagine that I'll certainly die as I cross traffic here in town. If I hadn't had to get home, I'd still be driving around now, turning right and looking for a light to go to so I could safely turn left. This kind of driving takes forever.

So just know that if you are waiting for me in town and I'm a little's probably because instead of turning left and crossing the traffic to get to you, I'm turning right everywhere and just going in a big circle.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cheap Therapy

So today's ramblings are on the subject of "nail enhancements." It's not fair to say acrylic nails since there are many different types of nails: acrylic, gel, fiberglass, wraps, and more that I'm just not aware of. Regardless of the type, I'm a big fan of the "nail enhancement."

This all began for me when I was in Key West. Now, I've always enjoyed pampering myself and enjoying a little "Tassie Time." A good manicure, pedicure, massage, facial...these are the things that make you go "Ahhhhhhhhhhh," followed by a dreamy smile. Before I had a child, I must have had more time and money on my hands because I made regular standing appointments with my nail tech. I went every two weeks to get my nails filled in and refreshed. Every other appointment, I would also get a pedicure. I would spend quite a bit of time with my nail tech and she was so good at her job! She truly believed that since I was paying for the time, it was all about me and not her. She let me talk and talk and talk! The way I figure it, it was cheaper than therapy.

For those of you that know me, my personality is pretty loud. This also applies to my nails. I'm the sort of person that had long, blood red nails at my wedding, not the traditional French manicure. I looked forward to each appointment with Karen as a way to express myself with 10 little blank canvases. I had some pretty cool looking nails. I always had some type of glitter polish and often had nail art. I think one of my favorites was a crown that Karen painted on my nails and included little jewels for the crown. My students loved this. At Halloween time, she painted my nails to look like candy corn. I loved it. Then I had a child and nothing was the same.

When you have a child, you can't seem to justify some of the old expenditures. I had to buy diapers and baby food....but I couldn't afford those items and nail appointments every two weeks. Something had to go. I'm happy to report that Raelynn is still with us, and I broke my bi-monthly nail habit. For the first two years of Raelynn's life, I didn't set foot in a nail salon.

So 5 years later, we moved to Mississippi. In Key West, I don't remember seeing any nail salons that didn't also have the usual hair services offered. Moving to Mississippi, I was inundated with nail salons everywhere. And not the usual hair salon with a nail tech, but salons dedicated to just nails. We even have one inside of our Wal-Mart. These nail salons tend to be owned and operated by several Asian families in town. The degree of their English speaking skills varies from place to place. I've only been to one once with my friend Jessica, when she was totally bummed and needed a pick-me-up. During this visit, I missed my old nail tech Karen. She and I had a relationship, which I have already noted revolved around me. At this particular nail salon here in Starkville, the order of the day was to get clients in, provide the service, and get them out. No conversation, no relationship. I haven't been back.

A few years ago, I did have a hankering for nail enhancements again. The cost of getting a full set put on and the regular fill services were much cheaper than what I paid in FL so I tried it again. I found a hair salon in town that also had a nail tech. She was real nice, but the reason I went to her and continued to go to her is because of the product she used.

I can never remember the exact name of the product, but it was a glitter lover's dream come true. The acrylic powder had glitter in it already with an assortment of different colors to choose from. No polish was needed since the glitter was already there. I paired up two nice colors that were the disco version of a French manicure. What I liked about it was that from far away it looked like I had a nice conservative French manicure and then when you got up close...Ba-Blam!! It was great. I went to her for a few months and loved it. I didn't do a pedicure, and haven't had one in over 5 years. It cost too much and I figure more people are looking at my hands anyway. Eventually, the nails started to lift. What happens is that when your real nail grows underneath, the tip and acrylic overlay don't have anything to adhere to. I wasn't going to pay lots of good money for something that would break often and need to be repaired. So for the second time, I broke the same habit.

I'm hoping to ease back into a different kind of nail habit. Now I'm thinking that I should get a regular pedicure and have my nails done every other session. I wouldn't be getting artificial nails, since I think I've learned my lesson, but it wouldn't hurt to get my natural nails shaped and in good condition again. I'm sure I'll be looking for the perfect place....somewhere where I can talk, unload my day, have the tech hold my hand and tell me it's all going to be alright. If you know of such a place in my area, please share! There have been lots of stresses in my life recently and I think that nails are again, cheaper than therapy.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A 3 o'clock Mystery

So let me start by saying that I missed blogging yesterday. It was a long day at work and I ended up falling asleep as soon as I got home. I then decided to blog last evening, in the off chance that anyone checked or cared....I spent about an hour trying to put together a post about technology. Ironically, I couldn't master the technology with all the pic downloads, so I gave up and went to bed. So here I am again, but with a different topic. Let's hope that this one takes!

I love to sleep. This has been a relatively new "hobby" of mine. I've always been a perky morning person, and I believe I still am. I guess to get a definitive answer on this, you'd have to ask someone that sees me in the morning. When Raelynn came along, I don't think I slept for about 3 years. I was one of those mothers that went to check on their child if they sniffled and then again if they didn't make any sound at all. Like I said, I didn't get a full night's sleep in over three years. After I was able to sleep through the night, I found myself waking up early,even on the weekends. Early like 6 or 7 in the morning. I wouldn't set a clock, my body would just naturally wake up. Just so you know, David is the exact opposite. He also enjoys sleeping but he's a true night owl. He'll go to bed sometimes around 2 or 3 in the morning, and then sleep about 5 or 6 hours and then get up. If he gets too much sleep he can be difficult to deal with. Not enough sleep and he has trouble focusing on tasks and is more quiet than normal. So when I would get up at 6 AM on a Saturday, I try to keep it quiet around the house so I don't wake him. Raelynn has always gotten up early, so she and I would play and hang out till David woke up.

A new phenomenon that has made a showing in my life as of late is that I wake up every night at 3:00 AM. I'm going to stop here and say that no, it's not because I've set my alarm for that time. It seems that my body clock knows that 3 AM is here and I must be awake to observe it. The times do vary a little from about 2:45 to 3:30, but most nights it's within a 10 minute range of 3 o'clock. I'm not sure why this is. When I wake up, I automatically look at the clock and check the time. If it's around 3 I don't feel bad because I've got two more hours until I have to get up for work. If I wake up around 4:30 or so (this would be after my regular 3:00 wakeup) I'd get real bummed because that's only 30 minutes until the alarm will go off. It's hard to get back into a deep sleep in 30 minutes. Sometimes when this happens I'll just doze off a little, trying to get every last second of sleep I can manage, and other times I just go ahead and get up. On those days I'm dragging at school. A recent ailment of mine (I won't go into it for fear of sounding like some senior citizen-that I'm not-when you ask how they are and they go on and on about their afflictions) has restricted my intake of caffeine, so I'm slow-moving until I get to work. There have been times that I've gone by Strangebrew Coffee House on my way to work (which really isn't on my way, I have to go across town past work to get there) and gotten some fancy,expensive coffee that I can say but not spell that would pump some life back into me. Those are the good days. The other days I have to get by on my charm and personality. :-)

So I'm not sure why I get up at 3 AM. I've tried going to bed earlier, but that doesn't help. I asked David if I snore and I'm waking myself up but he assures me that isn't it either. It's really a mystery. Perhaps I should look at it as a way to increase my productiveness by getting a 2 hour jump start on my day. I'm not sure what I would do except to think of ways I could get more sleep. I hope all of you have a good evening tonight and if you should happen to be up at 3 AM, know that I'll be up too, but probably not having as much fun as you are.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It Was One of Those Days.....

Hi ya'll. It wasn't a really great day. For the protection of the innocent (and myself) I won't go into details. I just want everyone to know that the picture of this cat is what I felt like when I woke up today and what I looked like when I finally made it home.

So, I'm off to lick my wounds and get some work done. Hopefully things will get better, because if they don't then there is no telling how ugly things (and my hair) will get!!!

Peace out!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You Know What Time It Is? It's Time To Get A Watch!

So I already know that this post is going to offend some people, and for that I apologize. This has been on my mind lately, and I feel I need to get it off my chest.

Bottom line: I don't trust people that don't wear watches. These are the people that say, "I use my cell phone to tell time." As if.

My time telling saga starts early. I honestly think I was about 10 or 11 before I could accurately tell time on an analog clock. My mother tells me that I would sneak into the kitchen to check the time on the microwave. She realized I did this and insisted I learn to tell time. Let me just say here that for the most part, I could tell time. It was the tricky stuff like when it's between the half-hour and the next hour....that can be difficult if you aren't spatially gifted...and I'm not.

I think I started wearing a watch full-time when I entered the sixth grade. I remember thinking that I would have to know exactly what time it was so that I wouldn't be late to my classes. They allowed 4 minutes between classes and threatened us with certain death if we were late. I remember that first watch was your basic Timex on a black strap. I made it sparkly by putting a small prismatic star sticker in the center. I wore this watch for a couple of years. I then progressed to a Mickey Mouse watch. I loved it and it served me well.

So fast forward to my adult life and being in the work place. I have found that my day revolves around increments of time. A watch is necessary so that you can move the kids along whether you're doing math or getting to your special class on time. (Trust me, special class teachers don't like you to come to their class early or be late picking them up.) It's really hard for me to think about what I have to do in the classroom by subject or topic. I tend to think about my teaching in blocks of time.

Another element of timliness is that not wearing a watch leads to being late. Please note that this is not true for all non-watch wearers, but it does happen. I know some people wear a watch and are also late, but we're talking about my perceptions here and I digress. I saw a show once that talked about people being late. I remember there was this one girl and she was on the show with some of her closest friends. Basically, they said they loved this girl but that she was never on time. She would be late by an hour or more. Her friends tried to solve this problem by just telling her that their outing would start an hour earlier, but found she was still late. Here's what was an eye-opener for me: When you are late, chronically, you are basically telling the people that are waiting for you that you think you are better than them and that their time isn't as valuable as yours. Again, I know you might be saying "Not me" but believe me, if you're late a lot, that's what your friends think about you.

People that check the time on their cell phone bother me. It always looks like they're getting ready to take a call or something. If you work in a place where cell phones shouldn't be seen or heard, getting out to check the time can be dangerous. In some instances, depending on your phone, checking the time also looks like texting. I think most people are annoyed with others and their cell phones, just not their own.

My current watch is one that my husband bought for my birthday last year. In my adult life, I've been a fan of the Seiko. I saw some ads for a Citizen watch that didn't require a battery. It was powered by the sun. David bought me one and by far, it's my favorite all-time watch. I do take my watch off when I get home from work, but I have at least one clock in each room of my house. Including the bathrooms and closets. Really. I don't want to be one of those people that keeps you waiting, so I'll check my trusty watch or clock often. After all, I turn my cell phone off and it won't tell the time.

So the next time you see me and ask me the time, just know that I'm serious when I say, "You want to know what time it is? It's time for you to get a watch!"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Fridge Would Never Be Featured In Better Homes and Gardens

So I've got a few blogging topics tucked away in case I develop writer's block and each day I blog, I get a sudden inspiration for my next post. Coincidence? I think not! So of course when I received a gift today and was inspired, I knew I needed to share this quirk with you.

I believe there are three types of people in the world: those with refrigerators covered in magnets, those that have no refrigerator magnets, and those with no refrigerators, hence no need for the magnets. I'm not going to pass judgement on those who choose to have their refrigerator be a blank canvas in their kitchen. I'm sure the clean exterior of your fridge accentuates your beautiful kitchen. Me, I don't have this problem. I see the refrigerator as a way to express my thoughts (one magnet says "You can never be too rich or have too many cookies) and a place to display all the places I've traveled (and some that I haven't but look like I have thanks to dear, sweet friends.)

I think that the hobby of collecting refrigerator magnets must start when you finally live alone. The way I figure it, either your mom collects fridge magnets and you hate it and don't continue the legacy when on your own, or your mom was like mine....blank canvas in the kitchen, so I had to do the exact opposite and cover the entire surface area of my refrigerator with magnets, magnets, and more magnets! There does come a point at which your refrigerator can have too many magnets, and I think I may be getting there soon. I've currently got mine categorized on the fridge by subject...all my Disney ones are together, all my foreign magnets are together, and all the kid-friendly ones (AKA if this gets lost I won't get too upset) are within my daughter's reach. I think that if I eventually fill every nook and cranny I will have to find some other surface to attach them to...I think that the oven hood would be a good place and since it's eye level, it will be easy to admire.

I started by buying my own magnets. My mom collected rocks and postcards from her travels and none of them ever ended up where we could see them to remember the trips. I knew that whatever I chose to collect had to be fun, inexpensive (after all I am a teacher), and functional. Magnets fit that bill. I think that my own purchasing of magnets has decreased, in part, because I haven't traveled much since moving to Mississippi. But I do have some great friends and family members that travel to exotic places. Case in point, the parent of an ex-student brought me a magnet today from Norway. Norway! I was tickled pink, because really...what are the odds that I'll ever get to Norway? Slim and none I say...and slim just left town.

I'm guessing that people that are uber-OCD don't have magnets on their fridge. They probably feel it looks too busy. I thought this too, but I got over it. I saw it as an opportunity to display my OCD skills by categorizing them. I have to tell you that when you do this and you have children, they don't understand your need to organize them and will move them around to suit their own needs. Raelynn knows how to use a chair to get what she wants so I had to get over being upset when she moved my magnets. She does know they are important to me and I'm happy to report that none of them are missing.

So, if you ever go anywhere exciting and are looking for a cheap present to buy me, I'd love a magnet that I can add to my growing collection. Every time I look at it, I'll think of you!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Braces Are Beautiful-Or At Least That's What I Told Myself So I'd Stop Crying

Does anyone remember the movie "Moonraker?" This is a James Bond movie from back in the day. The character you see above was one of the villains in this movie and his name was Jaws. I'm here to tell you that when I got braces as a kid, I looked a lot like this guy. Really. Let share with you....

I hate it when your teeth are described as being "good" when they look horrible. Apparently there are people walking around with good looking "bad" teeth. Let's be's all about how great you look, right? I definitely fell into the category of good teeth that looked bad. I don't think people ever teased me about my huge overbite, but I know that I was conscious about it. All I can tell you is this....I was able to fit my fist into my mouth with my jaws CLOSED. It was that bad.

Nowadays, students get braces in third, fourth, or fifth grade. It's a pretty common occurrence. And if it's possible, they are viewed by some as an indicator of wealth, since we know they aren't cheap. I got my braces in the fifth grade. I was the only kid in the whole school that had them. Nice, right? I now became the butt of many jokes...Brace Face and Railroad Mouth were just a few of the names that I suffered. It might not have been so bad with the namecalling, except that the physical act of getting the braces was also painful.

The first thing they did was take a plaster mold of your teeth. You think you are going to gag and throw up because they are putting this metal plate in your mouth with some horrible looking cement stuff. Gross. When you go back the next time, they show you the mold and now you feel worse about how yucky your teeth look. At least in your mouth you can pretend that your teeth don't look so bad.

Just getting the braces wasn't enough torture for me. I had to have 4 permanent teeth removed before getting my braces put on. When they got done removing the teeth, I could slide a straw all the way through my mouth from one side to the other without opening my jaws. This might have been a great party trick if I had been old enough to actually go to parties. After the tooth extractions, I got the braces. Back in the day, the braces weren't the cute little metal pieces that were glued to the front of your teeth like the kids have now. My braces were full metal bands that went around the entire tooth. So in many respects, I felt like I looked a lot like Jaws from Moonraker. Not the best look for a ten-year old.

How can it possibly get worse, you might wonder. Did I mention that I also had rubberbands on the braces? I wore these little white rubberbands that connected my top jaw to my bottom jaw. I got so used to them that eventually I was able to play simple tunes on them. I also tried my hand at shooting them at people, but my aim was never that great.

It gets better.....I also had the head gear. This contraption hooks to the inside of your jaw and is strapped to your neck. I wore this while I slept. Thankfully I didn't have to wear it during the day. I might have scared some people if I did.

Also, most people that wear braces now only have to suffer for about 2 years with them. I wore mine for 5 years people. Thankfully this wasn't the pretty stage of my life (that's what I'm going through now) so I didn't have to worry about the braces ruining an otherwise perfect face.

The orthodontist we had in Key West had his main office in Miami, which is three hours away. He only came to Key West a couple times a month, so when you went for your appointment, there were always tons of people there. And since everyone there was also wearing braces and looking less than spectacular, it was a relief to not be teased. I remember that I had to wait and wait and wait for hours to finish my appointment. I vaguely remember that I enjoyed a laugh or two, as I worked the crowd with my comedic skills. Now that I think about it...they may have been laughing AT me instead of WITH me.

This unpleasant stage of my life is over and I'm glad. I now look in the mirror and have a hard time remembering what my teeth looked like before braces. Just to keep myself in check, I'll look at all the pictures of my brother and me on my parents' wall and in every one of them, I have a mouth full of metal. I think that look may have made a terrific superhero name...Tinsel Teeth. All I know, is when I look at some poor kid that can't have gum because of his braces, I can feel their pain. I've been there, done that, and got the t-shirt.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Key West Should Be Represented on Maps As a Big Red and White Bulls-Eye Target

I apologize in advance for this post. It may not be my best, since I haven't had that long to think about it. I'm going with a more timely topic: hurricanes. I had been thinking all day about a good topic and was convinced that I had one. I go online to read my email and post to my blog. Someone left a comment on one of my posts about how I must be so glad that I don't live in Key West anymore since a hurricane was getting ready to hit. To be honest, I haven't been following it. I don't subscribe to a newspaper, nor do I watch the news on a regular basis. That's a post for another day. If you knew me in person, the fact that I wasn't following this and worrying about it is HUGE. Let me take you back......

I was born and raised in Key West, Florida. For those of you who aren't gifted in geography, Key West is an island at the tip of the Florida Keys. Key West is about 100 mines from the southern tip of Florida and a mere 90 miles from Havana, Cuba. It takes about 3 hours to reach the mainland if there is no traffic. This is due to the fact that the road in and out of the Florida Keys is mostly a two lane highway over many bridges that connect the islands together. Key West doesn't have its own fresh water source, so they send water down a large pipe from the mainland. Also, most of the electricity is also shipped in as well. The power lines are always getting messed up and it's not unusual to lose electrical power several times a week (mostly in the summer) for several hours at a time. This is the reason that I started sleeping with both an electric alarm clock and a battery-powered one. I still do that now that I'm in Mississippi, even though I can count the number of times I've lost power in the last 5 years on the fingers of one hand and have fingers left over.

Key West is a small island. It's about 3 by 5 miles and it takes about 20 minutes to get anywhere on the island. This is due to the fact that there are about 30,000 people that live on this small island year round. The population surges during the winter, when people "fly south" for the winter. Overall, it was a nice place to live, but I'm glad for many reasons that I'm not there now. Right now my favorite reason to not be there is hurricane season.

As a native to Key West, I can say that I've weathered more than my share of hurricanes. None of them are fun. Even the small storms. You can't even take joy in school being closed because you have to make those days up. And living without electricity in 90+ degree weather is not fun. Key West is particularly vulnerable because of several things: 1) It's location makes it difficult for residents to evacuate. The highway out is clogged and you have to really go north in order to be out of the way of the storm since Florida is a peninsula. 2) Key West's highest point is 13 feet above sea level. Hurricanes or storms cause the island to flood. 3) The true die hard locals have developed an attitude that they, and the island itself, are immune from tragedy.

Now I know that I've already said that I've experienced many hurricanes. Keep in mind that until the late 90's, Key West had not be directly hit by a storm in more than 30 years. If you also take into account that I was a kid and didn't worry about much except where I had lost my favorite toy, hurricanes didn't seem like a big threat. Then I grew up and started to stress. I worry about everything. I worry that I'll break down on the highway, I worry that I'm going to miss a deadline at work, I worry about my health and the health of my family. So, it's no surprise that as an adult, I added hurricanes to my list of things to fret about.

The bad part of being a worrier and hurricanes is that you have such a long period of time to start worrying. These storms can be detected and followed pretty far away. Technology has now made it possible for the weather folks to accurately predict where they will go. This is a nightmare for a professional fretter like myself. Because Key West is at the southern tip of Florida, you have to evacuate several days in advance so you can get out. By then, the storm may have turned and now you've left town, packed your valuables, and spent more money than should for what turned out to be a very mini vay-cay in a trashy motel.

During the the last bit of time I spent in Key West, we were hit by Hurricane Georges. It was a level 2 hurricane. Since then, Hurricane Wilma hit Key West dead on and wiped out most of the transportation on the island because cars and mopeds weren't built to be amphibious. When Hurricane Georges was predicted to hit us, David and I were living about 25 miles north of Key West on an island named Summerland Key. We lived in a cute house on stilts on a canal. We didn't have a boat at this time, but I think that David enjoyed being close to the water and away from all the people. But I digress.

Prior to this hurricane, I had never evacuated. We just didn't. I guess to some degree we had the native mentality that nothing bad would happen. David and I didn't want to take any chances so we packed up picture albums and clothes and headed north. My parents chose to stay behind in Key West. We ended up going to Orlando, since it was one place that was in the middle of the state. Traffic wasn't bad since they opened both lanes of traffic to travel north to help alleviate traffic congestion. We left in the afternoon and made it to Orlando by late evening. We figured that it was inland enough to not get the brunt of the storm, regardless of where it hit. We checked into the first hotel we came to and tuned into the ongoing coverage of the storm on TV.

Back then, Rick Sanchez was the anchor for the local news on the Fox Channel. He should have gotten an Oscar for his dramatic reporting on the storm. I was convinced that our house and everyone that we knew would be wiped out and washed out to sea. To distract us, we decided to go to Disney World. It truly is the happiest place on Earth. It was strange walking around the park on a school day and even more strange to be bumping into my students while there. Apparently, others thought Orlando was a great place to evacuate to as well. The thing that's good and bad about Disney is that there is no information from the outside that comes in. We could have been bombed as a country and the park guests would have no idea of what had happened. After a day or two and the purchase of a new car, we went back home to assess the damage. We didn't make it very far down the Keys because a gas truck had gotten into an accident on the two lane highway and the clean up took several hours. We basically hung out at Publix and read magazines while we waited.

We found that our downstairs enclosure (small apartment downstairs) had been flooded. Thankfully, we were renting and none of our stuff was in there. The floor was covered in sand, the cabinets were swollen from being submerged in water, and everything stank. Clean up was not fun. We went without electricity for about a week. That wasn't fun either. Not my best hair day, I assure you.

Since that time we have moved to Mississippi. Yes, Mississippi did get slammed by Hurricane Katrina and whole towns were wiped off the map. I don't live near the ocean so the impact of that storm on us was more like a bad rain shower. We did lose one day of school and didn't have to make it up. :-) It is very liberating to be living in a place where I can breathe easy during hurricane season (June 1 through December 1.) I know that Mississippi has its share of bad weather, tornadoes being one of them. The beauty of the tornado is that you don't have time to worry and fret for days before it gets to you. By the time you find out that you should be worried, the storm cell has passed. There is some majestic beauty in that knowledge. It's wonderful to know that I can let go of that subject of worry. That frees me up to worry more about Bigfoot living in the woods behind my house.

My prayers are with my friends and the residents of the Florida Keys as Tropical Storm Fay threatens their shores. I see that school has been cancelled for the next two days. I hope they don't have any more hurricane days or else they will be making those up. I hope that the residents heed the evacuation orders. Even if nothing hits, it's so much better to be safe than sorry. I'm so glad that I'm not there anymore and can worry just a little bit from afar.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Totally Know Good Literature

Hey ya'll! I have to admit that I had some difficulty coming up with a topic for today's post. I like reading other people's blogs, some of them are people I know, others-not so much. I notice that many people use their blog as a means to share the mundane details of their lives. You'll notice if you read through my older posts that I've done that a little, but they aren't near as interesting to anyone else as they are to me. I figure this is because my life is pretty dull. I've come to terms with the fact that my life is boring. I look at it like this, if my life was exciting, I'd never have time to blog. So, for the meantime, I'll spend my time during my not-so-exciting day to think of topics I can share with you. The way I see it, you're coming out on top of this one.

So on to my daily dribble. I like to read. I love the smell of books and libraries. I could go to a bookstore and spend all day and my money there. I am very picky about what I read. Mostly during the school year, it's reading related to my college classes for my masters degree or professional reading I do to improve and hone my teaching skills. There are times that I read strictly for my own amusement, and receive no significant knowledge as a result. As you may be able to tell, I'm referring to People magazine.

I can pinpoint the beginning of this habit almost to the day. Let me set the scene.....when I went on maternity leave, I had a hard time becoming domesticated. During the school year I cook enough to survive and clean enough to find my stuff and have good smelling clothes. During this three month leave, I did some domestic things. I cooked, I cleaned, I kept my daughter alive. But there were times I had nothing to do. At the time of my maternity leave, David and I were living with my parents in Key West. My parents, Mom in particular, has been the holder and controller of the remote for as long as I can remember. My dad will actively watch a good football game on TV, but mostly he watches TV as he is actively doing something else like taxes or investment club earning statements. I say this so you'll know that during the time I was on leave, I didn't have the same dominion over the TV as my mom. I compensated for this by purchasing and reading People each week.

Now, I had seen the magazine many times. It's always convienently displayed at the check-out as an impulse buy. I don't know if before this time, I had ever bought one of the magazines. I would usually get a "free read" at the check-out, because if you've ever been to Wal-Mart, then you know that checking out can equal about 4 hours. But knowing I wasn't going to watch TV, the house was clean, and I was taking care of an infant that slept almost all day left me with lots of down time. For some reason, I chose People to fill those empty hours. Well, my daughter is now 7 and I think I've bought almost all the weekly issues since then. If I haven't bought it then that means that for some reason I didn't go to the store that week.

So I read it from cover to cover usually. If I know that I'm going to be in a boring situation, I'll take it along with me. There have been many trips to Lowe's with David that my handy, faithful People has come through for me. David usually reads it next and then I pass it along to my mother-in-law. Raelynn has enjoyed them as well, as she loves to wield her scissors and cut pictures out and make collages for me. So please know that I'm doing my part to reuse and not pollute our landfills with once read magazines.

I find the content of People very interesting. I know that my day won't be complete if I don't learn the latest information on what Britney Spears is doing or what celebrity had their baby this week. I like reading these articles, but interestingly (at least to me) I don't enjoy watching their TV counterparts. Everynight when "Access Hollywood" comes on, I'd much rather turn the channel and watch "The Andy Griffiths Show" I also don't frequent the online companion of People. For some reason, I detest them. Go figure. But I digress. I like to read about everyone (famous or not) in the articles. On a side note, I wonder why it has suddenly become so acceptable for celebrities to have children first, then decide to get married. Or perhaps not get married at all, just legally adopt his girlfriend's already adopted kids and hyphenate their names. This seems to be working backward if you ask me. Maybe someday I'll be featured in an issue and someone will actually ask my opinion before I offer it.

I think that some of the attraction of this magazine is because I am a person, hence the magazine is for me-People, that is. Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and their thirty billion kids are also people, so that would be why they are featured so much. Or maybe it's because they are both so good looking. I don't know, no one asked me. Being a "person" I guess I have a shot of being featured in it one day. I eagerly pick up the 100 Most Beautiful People issue each year and am always disappointed to find that again, I wasn't chosen. I never give up hope that one day I'll be included.

Upon the return from the store when I buy my weekly fix of People, I first remove all the cards inside advertising a subscription for People. I just can't bring myself to fork out that much money at one time for a magazine that I am sure I am this close to quitting next week. As I pull out these cards, I try not to do the math in my head to see how much money I could have saved if I had my own subscription instead of paying the newstand price. I can't explain this logic. If you've read my earlier post where I discussed my lucky pink shirt, then you can start to have some understanding. For the rest of you, I don't know where to begin.

There are two sections of the magazine that I don't care for. I never read the music or book reviews. They are almost always good ones. Good reviews are never any fun to read. If they reviewed an awful book or album and trashed it, I'd read that review and enjoy it. And since I'm picky about what I read (with the exception of People, of course) and my CD collection has more ABBA and Barry Manilow albums than the law allows, those reviews don't help or interest me.

Well, as usual, it's late and I'm tired. I'm sitting here at the computer, with my latest version of People in front of me that I purchased today. I think there is a part of me that wants to go to bed and read it, and another that wants to wait until tomorrow. Since I sometimes drool when I sleep and I don't want to ruin my magazine, I think I'll wait until tomorrow. So for tonight, I'll go to bed and dream of the day that my picture will be featured on the front of People's 100 Most Beautiful People edition....or else dream that Britney and I are BFFs since I know her so well from my People magazine that keeps me informed of her every move.

Friday, August 15, 2008

An Ode To My Senses, With Special Love For My Nose

Some of you have been following my random posts for awhile. If you do, then you are already aware of my auditory issues. I know you'll be patient as I try to recap the highlights for the newbies that may be joining us.

This summer I lost a significant amount of hearing in my left ear. My ENT doctor diagnosed it as being viral. Many days and enough steroids to kill an elephant later, I had some improvement, but still way below normal hearing. Now that the meds are gone, I feel my hearing has gotten worse. I miss the days of having a conversation with someone and not having to say, "Huh? What?" And it's really hard to hear if there is a ton of background noise. Try eating lunch with 400 nine and ten-year-olds and hear the person across from you. In normal circumstances that's a hard thing to do and with my condition, it's next to impossible. So it's been on my mind how much I miss having full capacity of my senses. I've harped on my ear long enough, so I wanted to share some my nasal history.

I've always had allergies. In fact, I've used this as an excuse to successfully get out of doing yardwork for many years now. The only doctor's diagnosis was that my orthodontist told me I had a deviated septum when I was 10. This meant nothing to me at the time. Fast forward to 5 years ago when I moved to Mississippi. For the first year and a half, I literally could not breathe. I was taking all sorts of sinus and allergy medicine about every 4 hours in the hopes of getting rid of my constant congestion. My ENT doctor here in Starkville (the same one that diagnosed my hearing problem) performed my FESS (Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery) surgery to rectify the situation. Basically he fixed the deviated septum and roto-rootered my nose and sinuses. Since then, I've been able to breathe clearly. Even with a cold. Even with sinus infections. (Side note-when I get colds and sinus infections, I can breathe but not taste. This doesn't seem to effect the amount or frequency of my eating.) Since the surgery, I've come to pay more attention to things around me and their smells. Here is a partial list of things that I think smell good (or at least interesting):

1) Bug Spray- most especially Off brand. I don't like bugs, so this is a great invention. I don't know why I like the smell of bug spray because I hate the outdoors.

2) Hawaiian Tropic Suntan Lotion- I think this reminds me of growing up in Key West. This is strange because we didn't frequent the beach growing up. But it smells like the beach which reminds me of Key West.

3) The Obvious- Cooking food smells great--especially if someone else is doing the cooking.

4) My Pillow and Bed-I could stay in my bed forever. Part of it is due to the smell, the rest is just sheer comfort.

5) Permanent Markers- Not the Sharpie kind, but the old-school metal marker with a tan and white stripes. Those things smell great.

6) Bookstores and Libraries- I like the smell of books. I think that I could work in a bookstore and enjoy it a lot.

7) New Plastic Shower Curtains-This one is a strange one to explain. If you've every purchased a new plastic shower curtain, then you know how the scent can knock you off your feet. I love that smell!

8) Flowers-Most especially roses and gardenias. These are my faves.

9) Gasoline and Rubber Cement- I'm sure the fumes from both of these are toxic, but I assure you that I don't spend large amounts of time sniffing rubber cement or gasoline while I'm pumping.

10)Vanilla Glade Plug-In- This is the scent I have in my classroom. The smell of vanilla is supposed to bring calmess to people. I don't think I agree with that. When I was pregnant, I went through a period when I wanted all my bath products and perfume to be vanilla scented. Maybe I was craving cake and didn't realize it at the time.

11) New Car Smell- I really like this smell, but not the fake kind they put in bottles.

12) Campfires and burning fireplaces- This is a smell that I associate with Mississippi. In Key West, it never quite cools off enough to make a fire and also because no one in Key West has a fireplace.

13) Baby Magic Lavendar Calming Milk Bath- I have trouble finding this in stores now. It was my favorite baby soap for Raelynn. I think they should make it for adults too.

14) Safeguard Soap- I wish this soap was made in liquid form. Our local Kroger carries this soap in their restrooms and it's the only place I've seen the pump soap. I've thought about trying the bar soap, but Raelynn likes to play with it so that'll be a waste.

15) Clean Laundry-This may be due to the soap (original Gain) I use, the fabric softener (blue Snuggle bottle,) or the dryer sheets I use (linen fresh Febreze.) The combination makes for very nice smelling clothes.

16) Live Christmas Trees- come on...who doesn't love Christmas?

17) Crayons and Most School Supplies-I've posted a piece that I wrote for a class this summer entitled, "Crayon Sniffer." I was very proud of this piece.

Well, I was hoping to make it to twenty but I'm very tired and falling asleep as I post. I'm going to put on my nightgown that smells of Gain, Snuggles, and Febreze and enjoy sleeping on my bed and pillow. If you get a chance, thank your nose. Because not being able to smell really stinks...

PS- For those of you requesting photos of the tarp/circus tent in my backyard as well as the mobile chicken coop.....I have STUPID DIAL UP and it takes forever to load pictures. Sorry!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm Not Really A Blonde, But I Play One On TV

Hello blog reading public- I've not felt much blog love lately, so I'm adding a graphic in the hopes that you will post a response. I don't know if I think this really has anything to do with it, but it's one of those things I'll convince myself of and do over and over. Case in point- My first job was after I graduated from high school. My parents were of the belief that having a job in high school contributed to several things:
1) less time to focus on studying, thereby getting bad grades
2) having money I earned myself would give me the right to spend it how I wanted....and there's no telling what they thought that would be
3) having a job would be mean that I was out of the house, and not within my parents' all knowing radar sense. They liked to know where I was at all times. (Now that I think of it, they still do.)

So I didn't get a job until after high school. My dad knew the manager of the local movie theater in town and set up an interview for me. I wore a bright pink button-up shirt. (I'm positive I wore some sort of bottoms too, I just can't remember what they were.) I don't remember how the interview went, but I did get the job. I worked there successfully for several years. A little while later, I picked up another job (clothing retail sales) in addition to the night job at the movie theater. This job I got all on my own. Guess what I wore? The same bright pink button-up shirt. Again, I don't remember the interview, but I successfully worked there for several years. A couple of years later, I move to MS to go to college. Needing money to pay for food and shelter, I interviewed at a local grocery store. I think you know by now what I wore. That pink shirt landed me another job. Somewhere in the back of my mind I think I believed that shirt was lucky. I'm happy to report that I did not wear that shirt when I applied and interviewed for my teaching jobs.

Now you know why I included a graphic with this post. An image will score me a comment or two.

I know I've mentioned that I'm tired. I've been very busy with all of the things that happen at the beginning of the school year. It's hard to explain those things to non-educators and those that are educators don't read blogs to experience it all again. They read blogs to escape, so I'll spare you the long and boring details. Suffice it to say that I'm going to bed late, waking up early, and working very hard in the middle.

When I'm tired I tend to lose my oral filter. I don't always think about things before I say them and end up asking some really dumb questions. Now keep in mind, that I am queen of many things. One of them is asking questions. I'm the person in meetings or classes that asks the questions that everyone has and doesn't want to ask. I'm trying really hard to break that habit. Lately, I've cut my question asking down to almost none, but friends around me whisper, "Hey Tassie, ask.......(fill in the blank with the topic of the meeting or class.) Most people around me are anxious to leave and my questions hold them back. However, I do note that these same people come to me with lots of questions after the class or meeting. Hmmmm....interesting.

Thankfully, God has graced me with a short and selective memory. I can't recall exactly the dumb things I've said this week, but I'm sure that Ashley or Carrie will remind me, especially if they read this. I'm left with a gnawing feeling that I've stuck my foot in my mouth and the shoe is too large to fit.

If you think of me this week, please send positive thoughts and prayers my way. I'm trying real hard to get rested, find my oral filter, and RELAX. Tomorrow is Friday and I can feel that glitter eyeliner and some sort of costume is in my near future. I have a bright pink button-up shirt, but since it's not the same "lucky" one I think I'll pass on wearing it tomorrow. However, I will look carefully for a shoehorn to remove my shoe from my mouth.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

An update of sorts...AKA I can't think of a good post title

I'm totally brain dead. The stress is mounting and I'm tired. Very tired. My job is like a big snowball going down a hill in a cartoon. There's no way to stop it, even if you need to get caught up on something. But I digress.....

So some updates-

1) Mom's mac and cheese last night was great. The recipe was called "Trashy Mac and Cheese." It has 3 kinds of cheese and dijon mustard. It sounds weird but it was really good. She also made cherry cheesecake and it was pretty good too. My mom is the best cook ever.

2) My "new" tv is working well. There is one weird thing though....for no reason, the channel will change in the middle of a show. No one is touching the remote. I have not figured this one out. Since the tv was free, I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

3) I still hate Wal-Mart but don't seem to be able to break the cycle of addiction. I went there today after work and still forgot some stuff I needed for school. I'm not going back. It will have to wait until I have more time and money.

4) David is still working on the carport. It has been raining really hard here and he's used untreated wood so he bought this really big tarp to cover it with. (Side note-this carport is really big......) So he put up the tarp (I totally helped) and overnight, it filled with rain. The tarp lifted the concrete blocks it was tied to. So now we have some real nice holes in the tarp. Great. On a positive note, when I come down my road, it appears there is a large, big top circus in my backyard. Any minute I'm sure clowns will come out of a small car and run around my yard.

5) I need a hearing aid. I lost a lot of my hearing this summer due to a viral infection. Now I have continual ringing (like crickets 24/7 but without the lovely atmosphere) and I keep saying, "Huh? I can't hear you. Can you repeat that please?" As much as you might think that not hearing someone would be great, it isn't. It seems most of my students speak with the tone or frequency or whatever that I'm not able to hear. This can be tricky if you don't read lips. That's a skill I'm working on. In the meantime, just know that I can't hear you.

6) It's hot and I'm sweating. I get up at the crack of dawn and do more work before I go to my job than some people do all day. All this running around makes me hot. Since I'm not allowed to wear my sloppy shirts and shorts to work, I must wear nice clothes and be hot all day.

7) I start my graduate class next week. Like I didn't have enough to worry about. It makes for a very long day when you don't get home until 8 and you've still got your own schoolwork to do. Anyone who says that teaching is easy, obviously never was a teacher. I make it look easy because I'm good at what I do, not because what I do is easy.

8) I still have STUPID DIAL UP. I haven't said this in awhile and wanted to vent my feelings in case any of you have an "in" with AT&T and can help me get high speed internet in my area. It's so slow that I'm not able to check my college email account or my work email account from home. This isn't too bad until I miss the critical email that I need to act on. Like pay for your classes or you can't take any classes.

9) I'm not watching the Olympics. It doesn't matter to me how many medals we get. I don't like any sports except gymnastics and ice skating. I realize these are both Olympic sports (and yes I know they aren't both in the same Olympics-one's in the summer and the other is in the winter) but I can't watch it because I have so much to do with my job. I can't even get a little interested because I can't watch it like I want.

10) I'm so ready for The Office to come back on tv. I need a really good laugh, and I need it soon.

Okay, enough griping......if you have a good idea for a post, please let me know. I'm needing all the help I can get these days.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Few Of My Perceptions...In Case You Were Curious

So today was an interesting day. I can tell that the pace of my life is picking up when I really have to stop and think of a topic for posting. I am looking forward to my mom's homemade, tasty mac and cheese tonight! (See earlier post for information on my codependence on this yummy, cheesy wonder.) I so need it to be the weekend. Does anyone else ever feel like the daily events of their life have a motion all their own outside of our control? Looking for the bright spot in the chaos is something I'm working on. Really, folks, it's all about how you choose to view things. Having said that, here are my perceptions on a few things.
1) I'm not crazy. They're crazy. This is what I tell myself whenever I think that I'm losing my mind. I may be the one that's nutty at the time, but if I choose to believe that it's someone else who's nutty, then I don't feel bad.
2) I'm not fat, I'm fluffy. Interpret that how you will...all I know, it sounds better than saying I'm a heifer.
3) If you don't like me, then what's wrong with you? This is a favorite saying of mine. For those of you that know me, I'm incredibly easy to get along with ( It must be due to my overwhelming need to have your approval... please add my link to your blog, so I'll know that you love me!)
4) Me on the phone to Jessica: "This is my time to be desperate. I'll call you later and you can have your turn." I never thought how true this is. We all need someone to unload to.
5) Everything takes longer and costs more than you expect. I've said this a number of times to my husband. He's an optimist. He honestly thinks that whatever he's doing will "just take a minute." I tend to be more of a realist. If you don't believe me, just time me during my next trip to Wal-mart.
6) Life is good. I love my life and all the wonderful people in it. If I dwelled on the negative stuff all the time, would you be reading this right now?
Face love me and don't even know me. That's okay....because "I'm not crazy, you're crazy!
PS If anyone knows how to accurately add a counter to their blog, can you post a response telling me how to do it?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Everyday Is A Mac And Cheese Day

So I'm starting to feel the pressure of work, life, and blogging. I'm not sure how many people read this, but I feel like I need to blog everyday in the off chance that someone reads it and chooses to respond. Of course, this pressure, like most in my life, is self-imposed. No one has said anything about me NOT blogging, and the only feedback I've had is positive. I don't know, maybe I'm hoping someday my blog will be featured on the blogger page of Bloggers of Note.
So today's post is about mac and cheese. I really analyzed what I was cooking this summer and it seemed that everyday there was some sort of pasta. I realize how bad this is for me....pasta gives quick energy and all I've needed enegry for lately is laying on the couch and vegging out. After a long day at work, that's all I feel up to doing. My family doesn't eat well during the school year, because it's all I can do to get home at a decent hour, let alone cook dinner.
Which brings me to mac and cheese. I've never made it from scratch, but any of the boxed mac and cheese numbers will do. I prefer the Kraft version. I always add shredded cheese on the top to make it that much better. I've post about cheese before, but just to remind you...I've never met a cheese that I didn't like.
My family and I eat supper at my mom's house once a week. My mom bought this fabulous mac and cheese cookbook about a year ago. It has every version of mac and cheese that you could imagine. I called her yesterday and requested something from that cookbook. There's something very warm and comforting about consuming your weight in creamy, cheesy, mac and cheese. I think it's a comfort food because we gorge ourselves and can't move after eating it. So much for the quick energy theory.
Today was a hard day. I stayed busy and the papers and things just pile up on my desk with no hope of getting put away. The snowball of my day keeps going downhill, getting larger and larger and larger. My solution tonight? That's right....mac and cheese. Somewhere in the big picture, I imagine that my helping of mac and cheese tonight will melt the snowballs that are out of control in my life. At least I hope so...I'll need quick energy to face tomorrow.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Conversations From Within The Dairy Case

So today was move-in day for the dorms on campus. I must not have had all the planets in the right alignment, because I had to go grocery shopping and there was no way around it. I thought it would be busy, and I was right. There were only 2 shopping carts available when I entered the store, and while I was shopping I noticed everyone had coat hangers and brooms in their basket. Thankfully, I needed neither of those items.

I walked to the back of the store, so I could go down each aisle and work my way to the front. I picked up some Diet Dr. Peppers and water (for which I literally had to stand on some refrigerator packs of 24 Sam's Club water and CLIMB on the shelf above it to reach the half-pint bottled water I was looking for.) Moving along I came to the dairy section of the store. I hate that they have it in the back, but I understand the reasoning. They want you to travel through the maze of merchandise on the way to the milk so that you'll put a thousand things in your cart that you don't need. I posted about the axis of evil that Wal-Mart before, so everyone knows how I feel about Wal-Mart. But I digress.

I searched the glass doors to find the milk that I needed: skim milk and buttermilk. Having located them, I opened the glass doors to grab a container of each. As I was looking through all the jugs (they put the older milk in the front, so I always get one from the back of the shelf since it's fresher) and I heard voices engaged in an intense conversation. This took me aback, because I'm used to hearing my own inner dialogue, but this didn't sound like me at all. After a second, I realized that the stock men were behind the shelves in the dairy case stocking it with fresh milk and they were venting and sharing about the evils of Wal-Mart (it was reaffirming to find that others have the same opinion of the store as I do.) They didn't know I was listening, they were so deep in their conversation. I happened to catch the snippet of conversation that I'm sure I was not meant to hear. I can totally relate to this situation, since I tend to find myself caught in this same situation. I don't take into account who is around me and the volume of my voice when in conversation.

I pondered this situation the following day. How does my outward appearance and conversations effect others around me? Do I look friendly and approachable, or mean and distant? Once, I saw a t-shirt that said, "Never frown. You never know who is going to fall in love with your smile!" I thought long and hard about this statement. Am I a happy person that smiles even when things are not peachy? Or do I scowl and act like my world is over? As far as the influence of my conversations, I don't know of anyone except my family that pick up my sayings. Just today, Raelynn told me that she "wasn't a fan of eggs." I laughed at this, since it so didn't sound like her. In the same conversation she also said "You've got it, Toyota." She doesn't even know what a Toyota is. She's heard me say it enough that it's now entered into her vocabulary. My father-in-law told me "I'm good" the other day when I asked if he needed a drink (I offered him water while he was working on the construction at our house.) He always uses proper English and steers away from slang. I didn't realize how much I used that phrase until he said that.

Saying all that, I just wanted to remind everyone that people are listening to us and watching us everywhere we go. Little eyes and ears tend to pick up our sayings and attitudes. I hope that my demeanor is one that people will feel uplifted and encouraged from after I've left them. I'm trying real hard to not complain and be grumpy. Those sort of people never understand that no one wants to be around them. It's something I have to work on everyday. And the next time I hear a conversation coming from behind the milk, I think I'll talk back because there's no telling how that conversation will be carried on to the next person they encounter.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Other Interesting Occupations

Hello my faithful readers (all three of you!) As I hope you have noted, I haven't posted for the past couple of days. This mainly due to the fact that I have returned to work. For those of you just joining us, I'm a teacher. Most people think that teachers have the summer off. And some do. Not me. I'm one of those type-A folks that is always trying to do things better than they did the year before. Let me tell you...this attitude is a quick way to burn-out. I'm not currently burned out (or is it burnt-out?) yet, but there are times that things get stressful. Side note here-most of the stress is my own doing. I do way more than I should and than what I have time for when it comes to my job. There are the few days that I ponder what else I could have done to make dollar. Here is a partial list of occupations that I have considered whenever I give up teaching:

1) Swimsuit model-okay, stop laughing. It had to be said, and I figured, why not just start out with it? It would be nice if I could say that there was ever a time in my life when I was "thin" enought be a swimsuit model. But it's good to dream, right? I think that if there was a way to get the outdoors air-conditioned, I'd seriously go on a diet and try the swimsuit thing. In the meantime, I'll just wish I looked like this picture of Claudia. Maybe if I had good Photo-Shop skills, I could add my own face to this woman's body. Do you think anyone would notice?

2) Lipstick/Nail Polish Color Namer- Once upon a time, I went to the nail salon every two weeks. I was a nail junkie. Then I had a child and had to spend money on trivial things like food and diapers. Nowadays, I've kicked the nail habit and enjoy a manicure every 6 or 7 months. Not because I don't want to go more frequently but the above mentioned child still likes to eat. At the height of my manicure-days, I always enjoyed reading the interesting names of the nail polishes. They always sound like someone named them after having too much beer and bad pizza. (Side note-I don't like bad pizza and I don't drink beer--ever.) I've worn such colors as Prune Danish (ewwww, not a good image for a lipstick), Vixen (I'd have to admit I thought that was a good lipstick name), Drumbeat Red (come on...can't we just call this red?), Mystic Moonshine (very pretty-basically purple glitter), Bogotta Blackberry, Music Hall Curtain Call (what color image does this evoke? The title gives no hint), Brisbane Bronze...the list goes on. I know my colors well, and I think I'd be good at this.

3) Samantha Brown's job on the show "Great American Hotels" on the Travel Channel. There may be a whole lot of horrible stuff that this woman goes through while making her shows, but if it does happen, it never makes it to the show. This woman basically goes to five star hotels in America (and across the world), eats in wonderful restaurants, and sees the sights and gets paid to do it. On a side note, her show is pretty witty. If you're ever bored, check this show out. I think I could handle having to spend the night in a large, luxury room that someone else pays for. I wonder if she needs a sidekick? I could be the straight-man to her comedy.

4) Cheese Maker- There is no cheese that I've met that I didn't enjoy. I like it in cubes, spread on crackers, grated, melted, you name it, I like it. I don't know any cheese makers, but I have seen an episode of "Dirty Jobs" where the host makes cheese. It doesn't look easy, and it certainly looks messy, but I'd give this try if I could. Perhaps sometime I could get some goats or cows or something and experiment.

5) Ride worker at the Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom Disney World- Disney World is my favorite place in the world. The workers there go through extensive training on how to smile and be pleasant, even if the guests are rude, hot, and cranky. Here's what I've noticed on my trips: The workers at the Haunted Mansion ride never smile. They have to look somber in order to keep the atmosphere of the ride. So you could have a really crummy day, get into a fight with your husband, or something equally painful, and you wouldn't have to pretend to be happy and smile. Two added bonuses-discounted tickets to Disney and you get to work in a ride that is always cool and dark. No hot Florida sun baking you to a crisp. I love this ride. The picture you see here is my computer wallpaper. Really.
6) Film/TV critic- If you've read my earlier posts, you'll see that my TV is super important. Since I'm already watching lots of movies and TV shoes anyway, it would make sense that I'd get paid to watch them and then rag on them. I do that now anyway-it would just be nice to get paid to do it.
7) Mystery Shopper-This sounds like fun. A company pays you to go shopping at one of their stores while you check out every detail in the place. Do the employees wear name tags, were the clerks polite, was the place neat and tidy, were the bathrooms nice....Shopping with other people's money is a long-time dream of mine. At press time, no one has offered to let me shop for myself with their money. I keep hope this will happen to me someday.
8) Queen of France-Who wouldn't like to be queen? You get to wear really nice crowns, people bow to you, and people fear you. As I type this, it seems that my current job also holds these same characteristics. AM I the queen of France and no one has told me?
9) Food Critic-I love to eat, especially when someone else cooks it and cleans up after me. I think this one job that I would do really well with.
10) American Idol-Okay, so I can't sing as well as those people on the show, but I'd still like to try. I think that it would be great to be on TV, sing your heart out, and then listen the the judges hack on you and tell you how bad you are. Nothing like an ego boost.
So, I'm tired now. I should have already gone to bed. Tomorrow is a busy day. I've got lots of school work to do because for the moment, it defines how I spend my days. I'm still waiting for Ryan Seacrest to introduce me to America on national TV. Maybe they haven't contacted me because they are intimidated over my latest swimsuit photo shoot and how great I look. Who knows?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Became A Believer

So, as some of you know, I was born and raised in Key West, Florida. I lived there my whole life except for college and for the past 6 years. Both college and the last 6 years have been in Starkville. Yes, you read that correctly. I have only lived in two places in my whole life. Some other time, I'll get into how much I really don't like change.

But back to my random thoughts. Most people think of the Keys as a laid-back place where everyone wears shorts and flip flops all year round. And you'd be right in thinking that because, for the most part, it's true. Except for me. I did wear shorts in Key West (and truth be told I wear them a lot in Mississippi too) but I have never been a fan of flip flops. There's something about having that thing between my toes. I have never liked how shoes with the thing between the toe felt. I vaguely remember my mother buying me an uncomfortable pair of sandels with the between the toe thing, and she made me wear them. I hated them. When I got old enough to buy my own shoes with my own money, I invested in great shoes. I like shoes with really good arch support and have found that Birkenstocks and Tevas really are comfortable and supportive of your feet. If you don't know about these shoes, let me just tell you , they are great but they are really expensive. Did I mention I'm a teacher? Teacher and poor are synonyms.

Some time this summer I was with David on one of his many Lowe's trips. Raelynn calls this the "man store." How right she is. Not wanting to look and hammers and plywood, Raelynn and I visited some of the other stores in this shopping center to pass the time. We wandered into a shoe store. I love shoes. Well, they had this really neat display of Yellow Box flip flops. Lots of people wear these and I always liked the look of them but they had the between the toe thing so I never even tried them. Well, with time to kill while David was at the man store, I tried some really cute polka dot ones. I was so surprised to find how comfortable they were! So I bought them. I ended up liking them so much that about a month later I bought some cute sequin ones too. Everything looks good in sequins. Sometime, I plan on buying some more of them to wear to work. They look cute and feel great. If you've been on the fence about flip flops, you should try these.
Someday, I make it back to Key West. I've already got the shorts and now that I've got some flip flops, I'll finally fit in and not look like a tourist. Peace out!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Never Ending Search For The Perfect Purse

Hello, dear and faithful readers. I had to think long and hard about a topic for today's post. As I was toting my purse around today, and feeling every heavy pound that it weighs, I was reminded of how I ended up with the purse that I currently carry.

You first need to understand this about me: I'm not one of those people who have a million purses (like my friend Jessica) and changes them out several times a week based on what I'm wearing. I'm more of the mindset that you should get a purse that goes with everything and you use it until it can be used no more. Now that I think about it, that hasn't always been true for me. Yes, I do tote a purse around until it has lost its usefulness, but as far as the going with everything....well....does my Spongebob purse and my Power Puff Girls purse count?

In my mind, the perfect purse for me exists, but I just haven't found it. It should have a shoulder strap, not one of those backpack type things. I'm afraid if I had a purse like that then someone could steal something out of it when I wasn't looking. And since the purse is on my back, I would never see it. So, it has to have a strap. It needs to be a single strap, not a double. I don't have time to fight with the straps when I'm putting it on my shoulder. The strap should be long enough to hit me somewhere close to my waist. I don't do the little,bitty purses that barely fit under your arm. To me, those purses look like someone is carrying a football during an important play-off game.

The purse itself should be made of leather. This is only because it is durable and won't crack on you. I hate it when a cute purse starts to crack on the handle. It always pinches you. Now if the purse has sequins, bangles, rhinestones, fringe, or other sparkly stuff, that's a bonus. In that case, if it's really tacky, it won't matter if the material is man-made. Things like that don't matter if you are making a fashion statement, no matter what you are trying to say.

The inside of the purse should be roomy. Multiple pockets are good, but not necessary. There should be a special place to put keys so that you can grab them quickly when you need them. The interior of the purse should be large enough for all my stuff. Sunglasses, makeup, wallet, basic toiletry items (floss, tweezers, eyedrops, allergy medicine..the list goes on and on), cell phone, tissues, hand sanitizer. There's so much I may end up needing. I pride myself in being the resident "MacGyver." If you need something, I've probably got it. Need dental floss? I got it. Need Motrin? I got it. Need a pair of scissors? mirror? lotion? I got it and so much more. I think back in the day there was a show called "Let's Make a Deal" they had a game where the host called out some random item like a hair pin and the first lady to produce it got money. I would so win a show like that.

So, I like large purses. This is obviously because I have a ton of stuff to carry. The problem with this is that the larger the purse, the more stuff I carry around. The more I carry, the heavier it gets. I've actually had to visit the chiropractor before because my spine was out of whack from carrying my heavy purse. I guess the upside to this would be that if I were to swing it at someone, I would have a good weapon.

Everytime I go to a department store, I always go by the purses to see if the fabled, perfect purse is there. I've found a few here and there that I can live with , but so far I've yet to encounter the perfect purse. In the meantime, I'll carry the moderately sized, brown leather number that I'm currently using and if you need to build something with toothpicks, cough drops, and dental floss, I'm your gal.