Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Long Drive Home-Day 1

We drove all day. We left bright and early this morning from my brother's house in Denver. My brother got up early and made us some cafe con leche. Very sweet! We stopped for just a minute at McDonald's.

Then we drove. And drove. And drove. We've stopped for the night here in Blackwell, Oklahoma. We ate lunch at a McDonald's in Kansas. For dinner, we ate a diner next to the hotel we are staying in now.

Tomorrow will be a long day. Thankfully, the weather has been cooperating. It's been cold but not icy. That's a good thing.

Good night all.....I'll let you know when I get back in Stark Vegas. It'll be good to get home and sleep in my bed.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Our Last Day in Denver

Hi everyone!

Let's see....where did I leave off? I woke up early again (yes, thanks to Raelynn again) and got up. My parents and Raelynn were already up. In a few minutes, David came downstairs and joined us. My mom made fried egg, cheese, and ham sandwiches. Yummy!

My mom, sister-in-law Melissa, Raelynn and I went shopping. Before that was possible, we made a Starbucks stop. I got a caramel frappicino and Raelynn got a vanilla flavored milk. Melissa got something like a Dirty Chi without water and foam with an extra shot of something. Mom got a cold coffee drink.

After the much needed coffee run, we went to Barnes and Noble. I was looking for some things to pick up for Raelynn's birthday which will be in a few weeks. I found her several books that I know she'll love.

After the book store, we went to Hobby Lobby. I spent some money on discounted ribbon that I can't get at home. (Thanks to Walmart for getting rid of the crafts department!) I make teacher signs for their classrooms and decorative clipboards. I expanded my color palette so I should be good for awhile.

For lunch, we stopped at a place called Mimi's Cafe. Simply wonderful. I had the French onion soup and a turkey sandwich on some fancy bread with even fancier flavored mayo. It was delish.

After lunch, we came home and I've been on the computer ever since. I'm listening to clothes in the dryer, so I can fold when they are done. There are currently many butts in the kitchen. I think Melissa is making fajitas for dinner and it requires lots of support in the preparation department.

Tomorrow we leave to go home. There is supposed to be a really bad storm coming our way. I'm praying that we'll have a boring trip home.

Until then....

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day 8 In The Mile High City

Today was a busy day. We did lots of stuff. Before I get into that too much, I should talk briefly about what we did yesterday after I blogged. Well, we didn't DO much, unless you call stuffing your face something to do. Last night, my brother went out and got 5 Brothers hamburgers and fries for everyone. It was some greasy and deliciousness.

Okay, so on to today's activities. I woke up early YET AGAIN (yes, due to Raelynn) but this time I managed to go back to sleep for a couple of hours. Eventually I got up and came downstairs. My mother, Raelynn, and my brother were up. My brother made cafe con leche for everyone and then my mother cooked egg, cheese, and bacon sandwiches. Yum-O!

Our first adventure today was to visit the Whole Foods Market. Yes, we visited a grocery store. But this isn't really like a regular grocery store. This place is huge and boasts that everything there is organic and eco-friendly. As we all know, this equals pricey. I had a real good time walking around and looking at all the stuff they sell. The produce department is incredible. Just the way they display the produce is so pretty. One whole side of the store is like this incredible deli. The cheese section is larger than the entire dairy department at WalMart. They have cheeses from every country and animal you can imagine. They also have places where you can order sandwiches, sushi, pizza, pasta, etc. Basically, people come from all over to eat lunch here. I had lots of pasta. It was delicious. Pricey, but good. This place was amazing to people watch in. The true tree hugger types are the ones that shop here. The grocery carts about a third of the size of regular grocery carts, and everything is at least three times as expensive. Just to clue you in, our lunch today cost around $36. And this was a grocery store. But anyway, I told my family that I had never seen so many examples of dreadlocks, nose piercings, and comfortable shoes in one location. It was a good time.
After our trip to the Whole Foods Market, we went to the Denver Museum of Nature and History. We walked around a lot and saw lots of cool stuff. We spent some time looking at the space display and saw some space rocks. We then went to the animal displays. We really were impressed with the size of the Alaskan brown bear. This beast is close to 5 feet tall when on all fours. It was huge. After looking at the exhibitions, we went to see an IMAX movie on the ocean. It was good. After the movie, we went real quickly to the Egyptian Mummy display. Very cool. After mummies, we went to the gift shop and Raelynn bought a bag of polished rocks. Guess what color all the rocks were? That's right, pink and purple. The only down fall of this part of the day's adventure was that my Meniere's was giving me fits and I was nauseated due to the vertigo. The very large movie screen didn't help this any.

For supper, my VERY generous brother and sister-in-law treated us to dinner at Benihana. They wanted to tell us they were proud of us for completing our masters degrees. It was so nice. When we lived in Key West, this would be the place we'd go when we celebrated anniversaries. Starkville now has a Japanese steak house but its not even in the same league as Benihana. I had Rocky's Choice. Yummy.

Now I'm at home. I've given Raelynn a bath and she is watching some movie with my mom and my little nephew Jayden. Jayden is 18 months and is totally adorable. He calls it a "Moo-bee." Too cute. The rest of the family is gathered in various places around the house and talking. Me? I'm sitting her blogging and thinking of all that needs to be done tomorrow. I'm sure I'll spend the day washing clothes and packing since we'll be leaving on Wednesday. I've had a good time but I'm ready to get home and sleep in my own bed. Going back to work....that's a totally different story.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Adventures in Denver-Day 7

Today is Sunday. I woke up early again (side note here: Raelynn has woken at the crack of dawn and has woken me up in the process each day. I've been staying up late talking with family so I'm dragging. The only redeeming factor here is that I can take a nap--which I did today) and my mom made biscuits again at the request of Raelynn. My mom also heated up some leftover ham from Christmas, so those of us that were up enjoyed ham biscuits. My brother woke up earlier than he usually does and he made cafe con leche for us. This is something I miss from Key West. The only thing close to that at home is a latte from the local coffee house. Since it's on the other side of town and each cup costs like $5 I don't enjoy them often. My dear selfless brother makes coffee with his espresso machine twice a day for everyone in the house. I think if his gig as an electrical engineer doesn't pan out, he'd make a nice living as a barista. The past few days I've had coffee, I've shared it with David. This morning, I had a full cup. And by cup I mean really big cup. Several hours later, I was shaking as I coming off the caffeine high. A little nap cured that!

We went to my brother's church this morning for worship time. His church is really nice and for the most part, people here dress up for church. Now keep in mind that I'm the queen of comfort. Also, I don't own (or want to own) winter type clothes. Somehow the regular summer type clothes I wear to church would stand out around here. So, in preparation for that, I went and bought a dress in Starkville before coming here. I wore it today but it wasn't nearly as comfortable as I had hoped it would be. Part of the problem may also have been that I was wearing hose and high heels. These are two things that I really stay away from. Back in the day, I'd wear high heels because I thought it made my legs look good, and it did. (My legs and feet are probably my best physical features.) But when you get older, it just doesn't become practical. And I don't really care if anyone thinks my legs look nice now (but know that they do.) As for the hose, I find it very uncomfortable. I rarely wear them. I think I wore them at my wedding 14 years ago and since then have worn them about 3 times. Today I wore them because I didn't want to freeze. I wore the heels because I couldn't find a decent pair of winter type church shoes in Starkville. Also, I'm not fond of closed in shoes. My winter shoes that I wear to work are slides. I do have enough sense to know that slides (with a closed toe) don't look good with a dress. So, instead of buying new shoes that I hate, I thought I'd just use shoes that I hate that I already have. I saved a few bucks the way I see it.

When I got dressed this morning, I put on the hose and really quickly made a huge hole in one foot. Great. And wouldn't you know that I didn't pack the clear nail polish.. The good news here is that I got the extra large size so the hole never went anywhere. However, the down side is that the hose slowly started to congregate around my ankles. At one point, my niece was looking at my shoes and said it looked like my heels had straps. What? How did I manage to look like a retard? I thought I had planned for this.....I guess not. The church service was good and no one was pointing and laughing at me (this IS church after all) so I made it through. Know this though, I threw the hose away the moment I walked in the house and buried the shoes in my suitcase. Oh, and did I mention that I slipped and slid on the ice getting in and out of the car at church? Nice. At least I didn't fall. That would have been bad.

After church, my brother suggested we go to a restaurant called Spicy Thai. I've never had Thai food before, but surprise surprise it's basically Chinese food. I ordered something called Moon Harbor. I know, it sounds like a song, right? Basically it was ground chicken cooked with onions, peppers and you eat it with some rice on lettuce leaves like you were making a taco. It was pretty good. I like Chinese food, but given a choice, I'd chose something else.

After that, I came home and organized my stuff and Raelynn's stuff. My sister-in-law keeps a very tidy house and I'm sure that having all these people over here messing stuff up is killing her. I'm trying very hard to keep my area neat. After cleaning up, I took a short nap. Raelynn woke me again (but this time because David asked her to) and we went for a walk in the snow. It was pretty but cold. We walked to an area that in the summer has lots of prairie dogs living in it. I wonder where they are now. Do they hibernate? Do they go somewhere else? Who is enjoying watching them poke out of their holes now? At any rate, it wasn't me. Raelynn walked with us (me, David, and my sister-in-law Susan) and complained the whole way. One minute she's asking to play in the snow and the next she's complaining she wants to go back in the house. We did turn around when she said she was tired. I'm going to certainly get my money's worth out of the pink fuzzy snow boots that I bought for her.

Right now, my mother is sitting at the kitchen table reading a book. My dad, brother, and niece's husband,Tim are watching a football game. My sister-in-law Melissa is upstairs with Jayden, who I hope is taking a nap. David and Susan are sitting at the dining room table with me and playing Upwords. I haven't seen my nephew Christian in a little while so he's either not here or is hiding ( just found him....he's sleeping on the couch.) Raelynn moves from room to room and visits with everyone. My niece Sable is laying on the couch and taking a nap. She's currently 32 weeks pregnant and has been experiencing contractions at night. She's not feeling well. On a side note, Raelynn has named the new baby "Jim." She said this was a good name. Sable and Tim are leaning toward Paxton or Nathan right now. I think Raelynn is still going to call him Baby Jim.

It's a lazy evening. I think we may go out later to celebrate David and my completion of graduate school. Even if we don't you can bet that I'm going to blog about the food later. After all, isn't that what it's all about?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Day at Colorado's Premier Retail Experience

What you are looking at here people, is one mighty fine mall. Since I don't live near a mall, I take advantage of one (especially this one) when I come to visit my brother and his family. The day started early (again, thank you Raelynn). My mother made biscuits and we had them bright and early. While I ate, I watched it snow. Again. It was pretty. We've now gotten over 8 inches in the past 3 days. After a few hours, the rest of my retail therapy crew got up and we set off to the mall.
This mall is wonderful. From the front, it looks like a huge log cabin. It looks a lot like the Fort Wilderness Lodge in Disneyworld. It has all the stores that I enjoy and also is the home to The Cheesecake Factory. Yum!
It was packed. This is a true understatement. I think there were as many people in this mall today as there are in Starkville. I have some issues with crowds, but I managed to not have an anxiety attack. Once we plowed our way through the crowds, we went to the food court. I was determined to have a gyro. I can't get them in Starkville, so eating at least one while I'm here is crucial. I had to wait in a long line, but it was worth it.
After we ate, the unthinkable happens. My purse strap broke. I've blogged before about my search for the perfect purse. It's very similar to the process that you use when you are looking for a mate. This purse has served me well for over 2 years. And really, if you have to have your purse break, a mall is the right place for it to happen. My sister-in-law Susan and I traveled to a store or two and I quickly picked up a replacement purse. It's a good one.
We waded through the crowds and I visited all the stores that I love. I went to Sephora first. This is the place that I get my glitter eyeshadow and eyeliner. I bought some of both. After that, I went in search of my favorite perfume. This mall doesn't have a Perfumania, so we had to rely on the department stores. The first two stores did not carry my signature scent, Stella. The third stop to Nordstrom's paid off. Not only did I get the perfume I wanted, it was with a special holiday basket. Score! After that, I rewarded Raelynn by going to Borders and buying her a Fancy Nancy book that she didn't have. It was a Christmas book, so it was 50% off! Score! After my successes with purse shopping and acquiring my perfume, we went to the pretzel place and I had a yummy pretzel and lemonade. All in all, a good day.
For supper, we have eaten leftovers. Good food the second time around is still good food. 'Nuff said there.
I don't think I'll be doing any more retail therapy in Denver, since today worked out so well. When you have a perfect day of shopping, you should stop while you're ahead.
Tomorrow will be time for church and more family. I hope you all enjoy your day praising and worshipping our Lord.
Until then......good night!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in Denver-Day 5

We had a big Christmas around here. For the most of the day, Raelynn showed great patience and restraint for an eight year old. As I mentioned yesterday, we didn't open presents on Christmas Eve like we normally do. My niece, Sable, and her family spent Christmas Eve with her husband's family. They came over around 9:30 this morning and a little while later, David's sister, Susan showed up as well. Melissa spent many hours slaving over Christmas dinner, which was fabulous. It was well into the afternoon before we did the present thing. Raelynn didn't bug me about it and she waited patiently. She got most of everything she asked for: Nintendo DS, two DS games, a book, a movie, and a Barbie. The other members of my family gave her several "artsy" gifts....ones I'm sure she'll enjoy when we get home. (I'm currently enjoying the DS!) She also asked for a puppy but I don't see that happening anytime soon!

I blogged last night and afterwards had quite the good time. David and Susan were sitting at the dining room table playing their 80th game of Scrabble and I was surfing YouTube with my sister-in-law Melissa. My brother Hugh is a computer genius and has wireless high speed Internet. I'm enjoying it to the fullest. Thus, my more regular posting. Well, that and the fact that I don't have any school work to do and I'm in a situation where I can't drive anywhere. Either way, we all benefit, but I digress. I stumbled upon Bud Light's Real Men of Genius ads on YouTube and I swear I haven't laughed so hard in my life. If you really want a good laugh, search for this on YouTube next time you're on. I think we were a little loud and disturbed David and Susan's Scrabble game.

As I mentioned earlier, my family did the name drawing thing this year. My brother drew my name. I was SO HAPPY with my gift. He got me a large Vera Bradley bag that I'll use for toting my school stuff back and forth. I've looked at this stuff before but haven't bought any myself. A week or two ago, I got a Vera Bradley lanyard at a Bunco game where we swapped gifts. Now, I'm the proud owner of two designer pieces. My brother picked out the pattern. It's called Purple Punch. It's purty!! Thank you Hugh! So my rundown is out of order, but here's the events of today:

I went to bed late and work up early last night. I had a horrible dream. I dreamed that Raelynn had been abducted. Usually when I have a bad dream, I can roll over and tell myself that it was a bad dream and that I should dream of something else. That didn't happen last night. I came downstairs in the dark to the living room to read a book or something, and in the process, woke up my mother's dog. Choo Choo started barking and I was afraid that he'd wake up Christian that was sleeping on the couch. So, I wandered back upstairs and went back to a dreamless sleep. I probably woke David up. I think he came to bed around 3:30 AM so he was tired either way.

A little while later, I got up and of course, my mother and Raelynn were already up. My mom made her delicious breakfast casserole and we all enjoyed that.

For Christmas dinner we had a Smithville ham, brussel sprout casserole (I know it sounds horrible, but it really wasn't bad for brussel sprouts), wild rice, green beans, congealed salad (I call this old lady salad) green salad, and rolls. For dessert, my sister-in-law made my grandmother's recipe for peanut butter pie and my mom made a pecan pie for my niece's husband, Tim. All the while, my brother Hugh was smoking a turkey and it turned out great.

After dinner, David and Raelynn went out to the nearest hill to the house and went sledding. It was cold so they didn't stay long. That and the fact that David said that he broke the sled. Afterwards, they walked home. I'm almost ashamed to say that I was sitting at the table playing "Makeup Artist" on Raelynn's DS. I mean, someone has to teach her how to play, right?

So now.....I'm watching my brother, my niece and her husband, and my sister-in-law play a game called "Huggermugger." I'm not quite sure how to play it but I think that Scrabble is getting old. Maybe I'll join in someday. I enjoy watching other people play board games as opposed to playing them myself.

Tomorrow, my mother, my niece, two of my sisters-in-law, and I will go to the Park Meadows Mall to take advantage of the after Christmas sales. I'm not really concerned with acquiring next year's Christmas decorations or wrapping paper at bargain basement prices. I'm more concerned with going to several stores and getting items I need but can't get at home except for online. Either way, this mall is wonderful. While there, I will get a gyro. They have a Greek place in the food court and since I can't get a gyro in Starkville, I take advantage of eating one whenever I can.

Overall, the day has been okay. I tend to get a little overwhelmed while around my extended family. And pretty much everybody else's extended family too. So far, there have been no meltdowns or freak outs. Let's be thankful for that!

Tune in tomorrow for more mindless dribble about nothing in particular. That's the best part of vacation!!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tassie's Denver Adventure-Christmas Eve Edition

First, let me start by saying Merry Christmas! This is truly a miraculous time of year and I hope it finds you healthy, happy, and surrounded by the ones you love. I know I am.

Today is Christmas Eve. Traditionally, this is the evening where we open gifts so the tree can be emptied for Santa's visit the next morning. Not this year. My niece, Sable, is married and is spending Christmas Eve with her in-laws. We'll be doing the present thing tomorrow morning. Santa will have to shove his presents around all the other ones already there. Should be fun, as it always is. I wouldn't be completely honest if I didn't say there was a certain amount of sadness that goes with Christmas. There's all this hype prior to the season and then when it gets here, it's like a big letdown because it's over so quickly and you have to wait another year to have another one. For some reason, as tacky as I am, I don't tolerate Christmas stuff outside of the season. Go figure.

Well, if you've been following, I left yesterday's blog with the pondering of when I'd go to sleep last night. I really thought that I'd go to bed like at 8:30 but I managed to stay up until 11. Not much different than a regular night except there were no papers to grade, no lesson plans to write, and no other school related work! Yay for me!

Today's rundown:

I woke up early (Thanks Raelynn) and then came downstairs. My parents and Raelynn were already here. My mom made fried egg sandwiches for everyone and slowly people started getting up. Jayden spent the night last night. His crib is in the same room as the one that Raelynn is sleeping in. I know she didn't get to sleep until after 11, so I was quite surprised that she got up so early. I don't get this.....her body clock doesn't seem to work during the school week. I literally have to drag her out of bed. On the weekends or during vacations, she's up with the first light. I think she was lonely and tried to wake up Jayden, but was quickly instructed on the evils of waking up sleeping babies.

I spent some time hanging around the house watching Raelynn hover around and play with Jayden. I think she is really enjoying having a smaller person around that she can interact with. She's there for each moment of his day: eating, diaper changes, bathing, name it. She makes a lot of noise in the process so about mid-morning I was looking for some Motrin. I didn't end up taking it because I went to Target!

Melissa (my sister-in-law), my mom, and I went to Target for some necessities. I bought some stuff to make some appetizers with and found Raelynn some pink fur lined snow boats. I enjoyed pushing the cart around Target. The only thing I bought for myself was a bracelet. After the Target trip, we went to Chipotle to eat. This place is amazing. I really look forward to it when I visit Denver. I did manage to find one closer to home this summer when I went on a shopping trip with some friends to Birmingham. The only way I can describe it is sort of like a Subway for burritos and tacos. The burrito you end up getting looks and feels like a brick. It's delicious.

When I came home, I ate my burrito and get Raelynn all dolled up to go outside and play in the snow. She had a good time tromping around the yard. The snow came up to the top of her snow boots. She made some snowballs and played until she got cold.

At some point, I got really sleepy so I went to lay down for a nap. That's one thing that I enjoy about vacations. If you stay up late and wake up early, you can always take a nap. David, Melissa, and Susan left to go shopping while I napped. David was going to buy a GPS, but the MicroCenter didn't have one in stock. He did come home with some snow boots. I didn't buy myself any at Target. There was no way I could afford boots for both Raelynn and myself. I've been using my mom's boots that she got for $7 at Hudson's Dirt Cheap at home. I've never been to that store, but that's another post for another day.

For dinner, Melissa cooked jambalaya, salad, and garlic bread. It was good and I don't even like seafood. After dinner, David, Susan (David's sister), Christian (my nephew), Raelynn, and I went walking around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. We usually take an evening at home and drive around and look at them, but things were so crazy trying to get ready to leave that we didn't get a chance. Tonight was fun. I don't know what I liked better: the lights or watching Raelynn tromp through the snow. Everyone else walked in the street where the snow was packed down but Raelynn managed to find each snow bank and plow her way through them. The lights were pretty cool too. The only "Denver-y" thing I found was that if you have snow on top of blinking Christmas lights, it looks very cool. I'm a big fan of Christmas lights. (This is one thing that I can tolerate year round.)

After the light watching, I gave Raelynn a bath and washed her hair. She's sitting in the living room with my parents right now watching something on TV. She didn't pick it out, so I can't imagine what she'll get from whatever crime show my parents picked out. I really should have put her in bed by now, but I'm hoping that if she stays up late, she'll sleep late too. I can dream, right?

David and Susan are playing their third game of Scrabble tonight. David amazes me in Scrabble. He really has problems with spelling at times, but manages to whip everyone in Scrabble. Hugh is in the kitchen making cafe con leche (Cuban lattes) and I'm not sure where Melissa is. Christian is wandering around the house. Me.....I'm sitting here typing away on the computer and loving every minute of the high speed wireless service that my brother has. How about you? What are you doing tonight?

Until tomorrow.......

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tassie's Denver Christmas Vacation-Day 3

If you've followed this post from yesterday's post, the answer the question is: No, David didn't use his new snow chains today. I will freely admit ,though, that there were times that I thought we'd need to. We spent the night last night in Park City, Kansas. The hotel had a bed, a shower, a large screen TV, and WiFi computer service. You'd think I'd have nothing to complain about. Well, I do. The toilet did not flush. This was not a good thing. The only thing worse than my toilet at home overflowing is someone else's toilet overflowing while I'm on it. It did no good to explain. The people working the front desk didn't speak that much English. That's okay though, cuz when they go to clean up the room, they'll finally figure out what we've been talking about.

So the rundown:

We went to the free "continental" breakfast this morning at 6 AM. I'm not sure which continent this breakfast was referring to....I mean, usually there has to be food in order for it to be called "breakfast." We drove next door to McDonald's where we had dinner the previous evening. I had a Big Breakfast. That was a first for me. I'm more of a breakfast burrito person, but since Raelynn wanted a biscuit, I ordered that and shared with her. It will probably be the last time I order a Big Breakfast.

We got on the road early because we had watched the news and it looked like we'd be driving right thorough a really bad snow storm. I don't have issues with snow, I have issues with ice on the roads. We had plenty of that. Literally for 600 miles today, we drove on icy and snow packed roads. David did an excellent job and I am now recovering from the white knuckles that I sported for several hours during the worst of the storm.

We stopped in Oakley, Kansas for lunch at a truck stop. I had breakfast and I think everyone else did too. It was okay, but Huddle House at home was better.

We made several other stops, each with me holding my breath as we got on and off the freeway. Those ramps weren't as cleared as the main road. We counted at least 9 accidents on the way. All of them major. Thankfully, the Lord kept His hand on us and we made it okay.

Since arriving at Hugh and Melissa's house, I have toted all the luggage upstairs, taken a shower, eaten dinner (Melissa cooked chili), and now I'm blogging. I'm not sure how long I'll be up since the guys all tend to be card players and I don't. My niece Sable and her son Jayden are here and I think her husband Tim will show up soon. I don't know how Melissa handles the stress of having all these people in her house. She keeps her house neat and tends to her guests with a smile. I have to say that they are very giving and generous people.

So, my understanding is that all the snow they've had here in Denver over the last 24 hours will turn to ice tomorrow since the temperature will drop to the teens. I'm really wishing I had bought some boots. I always think I'll get some when it rains at home. Maybe now is the time to get them. After all, I did have to buy a new coat today at Walmart. It was in Kansas somewhere, I don't know the name of the "community." (It didn't look like a town but since it had a Walmart, I figure there must be some civilization somewhere.

Anyway, not sure what's in store tomorrow. Whatever we end up doing will be done at home. I don't think I'm ready to drive in the snow and ice just yet. If nothing exciting happens here, I may just go to bed early.

So the question to ponder for tomorrow is what time will I go to bed tonight? How many people will I bore with my texts tomorrow?

For the answers to these questions and more, you'll have to check back in tomorrow to find out.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tassie's Christmas Adventure...Day 1 and 2

Howdy folks!

Welcome to Christmas vacation! Woo Hoo!!! I'm hoping that being done with my master's courses (yay me!) will allow more time for more regular updating of my blog. Let's hope so!

So...let me get everyone up to speed on the background of my Christmas excursion this year. My husband's sister is married to my married brother/sister. It makes holidays very easy. We don't have to split up Thanksgivings or Christmases....we just have one large one together....except.....

My brother and his family live in Denver, and we live in Starkville. That's about 1,000 miles. Not an easy trip. A few years ago, we started alternating who went where for Christmas. For the last time or two, we've not gone to Denver. Stuff has gotten in the way. Mostly our classes and lack of money because of said classes. Now that we're both done, that is no longer an issue. parents, my nephew (my brother's son), David, Raelynn, and I are traveling cross country to spend time with the Denver fam.

We don't all fit in the same car due to all of the stuff that has to be moved. My nephew has been living at my parents' house for the last year and now we are moving him back to Denver. So we are caravanning. My parents and Christian went ahead of us yesterday and drove from Starkville to Fort Smith, Arkansas. We didn't go that far. We stopped in Helena, Arkansas and spent the night with David's Aunt James Helen. (Yes, that's her name....we've decided to call her "Aunt Sissy" for Raelynn. Aunt James Helen doesn't roll easily off the tongue.) We had a nice visit with her and then left her house on our way to Wichita, Kansas. My parents and Christian got here in the early afternoon. We had further to drive so we didn't get in until 6 or so. It didn't help that we spent 45 minutes driving in circles around Tulsa. Apparently, someone is having a grand time spending money on construction in Tulsa. The GPS system we borrowed from my dad (fondly dubbed "Dummy") didn't account for the detours. Neither did we. We kept trying to get on to the correct road but each ramp on to the freeway was blocked. David and his keen sense of direction got us out of Tulsa and we didn't have to stop for directions.

So, for other random stuff:

Yesterday, we ate at Aunt Sissy's house. She made homemade soup and bread. She doesn't have a TV, so David and Aunt Sissy played two games of Scrabble. I went to bed at 8:30. For breakfast, she made homemade biscuits and sausage patties. Yum.

For lunch, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel. I love this place. Whoever thought of this place was a genius. Shopping AND dinner? You gotta love it! I had a meatloaf sandwich and a salad. It was good.

For dinner, my parents, David, Raelynn, and I went to the McDonald's next to the hotel. (Christian didn't feel well so he didn't go.) Raelynn got to play in the large play area with some girls. I think this made up for the fact that the hotel's "indoor" pool is actually outdoors and we didn't get to swim. We made it back to the hotel where I watched The Biggest Loser-Where Are They Now? episode. Fun. I'm also taking advantage of the high speed wireless service at the hotel. Have I mentioned how much I hate STUPID dial up at home?

So tomorrow we're expected to drive right through a winter snow storm all the way to Denver. The high tomorrow in Denver is expected to be 23 degrees. But don't worry, it's a dry cold. That's what my brother always says in defense of living in Denver. He also says that everything is 15 minutes away in Denver. What he doesn't say is that Denver is full of crazy drivers that go very fast. Not something I enjoy.

So anyway, David is torn about the snow storm. On one hand, he bought snow chains for the truck in anticipation of a snow storm. Part of him doesn't want to drive in it, and the other part wants to try out the chains. Which part of him will prevail?

Tune in tomorrow to find out the answer and to learn more useless and random information about my Christmas Adventure.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dear Santa, Here's What I Really Want For Christmas.....

Hello world! Please know that I've missed blogging and my little life seems to have gotten more stressful that I could ever imagine. But that's no excuse. Thanks to Birdie Mae for leaving a comment and telling me to get off my duff and start writing again. (She didn't really say that but I feel that was the gist.) I don't think anyone really understands what a blogger feels like when someone leaves a post saying they read it. I like to believe that many people read my posts, but without a comment, I can't really tell. Okay, so enough of my excuses...on to the update and the topic of today's post.

First, I just found out last night that I made an A on my last course of my master's degree. This is huge for me. I've maintained a 4.0 GPA....of this, I'm very proud. I'm hoping that this will relieve some of the stress that I've been feeling, but the reality is that I'll just find something else to stress about. I'm not sure what that is right now, but I'm sure it'll be here before I know it. I just hope that I can continue to blog. Not that this is an excuse or anything, but having dial-up at home doesn't make it any easier to check email, blog, or surf the Web.

So....I've finished my master's degree. There's a few days until we get out of school for Christmas break and I'm really pretty glad about that. It's been a long year (and it's only half over.) The week I had off for Thanksgiving was much needed and so will the upcoming break. My family and I are traveling to Denver to visit my brother and David's sisters. (Side note...for those of you that don't know, David's sister is married to my brother. It makes for neat and tidy holiday gatherings. We don't have to share our time with anyone. We just all meet together.) Hugh and Melissa came last year, so now it's our turn. I don't really relish the idea of the very long drive and the possibility of getting snowed in. I don't mind cold weather, I just don't appreciate it when the weather cramps my style. I may not have anywhere to go, but at least I'd like the opportunity to go somewhere if I wanted to.

So today's topic......I have to moan and groan for a second. We're starting our third week without an ice maker. For those of you just joining us, I'm a total ice monger. When I was very small I remember having those little ice cube trays. First we had the metal ones that had a lever you pulled to break the ice and then we got the plastic ones. I hate ice trays. Sometime when I was growing up, we got an ice maker. That was the beginning of my ice monger ways. When David and I moved to Mississippi and we were furnishing our house, I had two requirements. One was to get a washer and dryer and the other was to get a refrigerator that had an ice maker and access to the ice through the door. I got what I wanted.

I've enjoyed having an ice maker at home. It's not often that you won't find me without a soda, water, or Crystal Light with ice in a cup near me. I'm not fond of hot drinks (I'll drink hot chocolate during the season occasionally and only a small teacup of coffee in the morning to perk myself up) and I really don't do room temperature drinks. I would never make it in Europe. I've been told that they don't really use ice over there. My ice mongering ways have even led me to have ice at school. When I taught in Florida, my school had an ice maker that teachers were allowed to access. I bought this HUGE Circle K cup that I filled with ice every day. I would then either fill it with water or transfer some ice to a cup and drink some diet soda.

When I moved to Mississippi, the school I currently work at doesn't have ice that's available to staff. I think that if I wanted some ice, they'd charge me by the small Styrofoam cup. So I do the same thing....add water to the ginormous cup or use the ice for a soda. I just get the ice from my house instead of at school. So fast forward to three weeks ago.

I woke up, got ready for the school day and then when fixing my breakfast, I reached into the ice maker to get some ice to go with my Crystal Light I was planning to drink while I ate breakfast. When I looked at the ice maker, I could see that the arm of it was not moving. It looked like it stopped moving before it made it all the way back to the bottom. In other words, it was broken. It took David a few days to look at it, since it seemed we had something going each night. He finally took it out and looked at it. Apparently he wasn't able to find anything obviously wrong with it. Not good. A few days later he took it all apart and did some diagnostic testing on it. He hypothesized that the motor wasn't working and then ordered one on the Internet. It took FOREVER to get here. (Like over a week!) David replaced it last night and it still doesn't work. He then pulled out the fridge to see if there was any blockage in the water pipes and cleaned off the filter. He also replaced the water filter too. Still doesn't work. We're about a week away from going to Denver so David won't be able to do anything until after Christmas break. He said that he would probably replace the whole thing. Let's hope that works.

So that leaves me in a quandary. I still require ice. For home, I've bought a couple of bags of ice and put them in the ice tray. This lasts me for a couple of days. For school, I stop at the gas station for a cup of ice each morning. It's a pretty large cup and it costs 59 cents. You can't beat that. I put the cup in the fridge at school that I keep cold enough to keep the ice frozen. So far, my plan is working out. All I can say is that if this was summer, I would have had a freak out/melt down by now.

So, if you have any pull with the big guy in red, please mention to him that I'd like a commercial grade ice maker. For my house. Really. I would ask him myself, but I have a phobia of store Santas (that's another post for another day.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hard Work Pays Off In The Future-Laziness Pays Off Now

I used to hate sitting around and doing nothing. I can remember when David and I were first married, I would get up on Saturdays at the crack of dawn and couldn't lay around in the bed. I've since gotten over that. I say all this to mean that I've enjoyed this week. I've needed it on many levels. I've relished the decadence of nothingness. I don't need a million things to do to feel accomplished. My only regret is that I went the whole week and didn't stay in my pj's all day one time. I've spent the time watching TV, going to see New Moon, hanging out with my friends and doing the occasional domestic chore. Monday is looming ahead and I'm so not ready to go back to work. Anyway, I'm going to go now....the couch is calling me and I don't want to disappoint.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! This is my favorite time of year. I love the fall weather, I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I enjoy the festive spirit that comes with them both. Another special reason I love fall is because my wedding anniversary falls in that time frame as well. Today is our fourteenth wedding anniversary. Where has the time gone? It's getting harder and harder to remember my life before David. I'm thinking that's a good thing. We're planning on going to Anthony's restaurant in West Point tonight. I've never been there but a few friends have sworn that it's the best. We'll see.
So an update of sorts is needed. Here ya go in no particular order:
1) I am out for Thanksgiving break and boy am I thankful. When I was in Florida, Thanksgiving break was only two days of that week. Since moving here to Mississippi, my Thanksgiving is now a week long. I am so thankful for this.
2) I'm in the downward slope in my last graduate class. I have one group project to present on November 30 and a final on December 7. Yahoo! I'll be so glad when this is over!
3) We (my parents included) are traveling to Denver to see the rest of our family for Christmas. I'm not a fan of not being able to get around town when I need to. Not that I would actually do any of the driving but still.....I'd like the option. I don't get excited when my brother or sister-in-law tell tales of getting snowed in. This does not bode well. I've started worrying about this now. Why wait to worry when you can do it now?
4) I really enjoyed watching New Moon. My friend Wendy, a fellow Twilight addict, got some tickets for the midnight show Thursday before it opened on Friday. I enjoyed myself greatly. I went the following night at 7 and liked it then too. I plan on going again tomorrow. This movie is great. The book is great. Have I mentioned that I liked this movie?
5) I'm sitting in my robe right now and it's 2:15 pm. I love the fact that I can do that. I was dressed earlier when David and I went to Lowe's to get stuff to replace the kitchen light fixtures, but now that I'm home, I can be lazy if I want to. I love vacations.
6) David has done some repairing during the break. He's working on the truck so we can take it to Denver and in the process, he snapped off some isolator bolts and the pieces fell into the engine. Never fear, he was able to get them out. We are now waiting for the new parts to be delivered again.
7) I am looking forward to Thanksgiving Day. My family and I have lots of traditions. I think everyone has them. Here are ours:
* Mom makes an incredible breakfast casserole and we go over in the morning to eat some.
*We watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Raelynn enjoys this.
*Dad then watches football.
*My mom and I work on dinner. She does 99% of the work. She makes the turkey, the dressing, the veggies, the pie.....all I do is make the deviled eggs (I have the world's best recipe...ask anyone that's had them) and I make dip for the raw veggies. Basically we graze on veggies and dip, cheese, and pickles until we eat in the afternoon.
*We then eat until we feel sick. Later in the evening we make wonderful turkey sandwiches. My dad and others will get together and play cards in the evening.
Well......I think that's about it. I'm sure there is more that I'm forgetting but I've got the time to post again if I remember. I'm on vacation, so I've got time.......

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's Finally Here!

Isn't this a great movie poster? I love it so much that it's the wallpaper on my computer and I now have a t-shirt with this image..(Thank you Wendy!!!)

I've been waiting for this day for a long, long time. I've been anxiously waiting for this movie since the first movie, Twilight, came out last November. I'm embarrassed to tell you how many times I saw it at the movie theater....Wendy knows that number (she was with me most of those times) and then of course, I've watched it a million more times since it came out on video. I have to say here, that if you were to judge the Twilight movie simply on its own merits away from the book, it wouldn't be my favorite movie at all. Knowing the series like I do, I can't help but love it. Even with all the mess ups that I caught the first time I saw the movie and didn't have to wait for Internet Movie Database to update. It is/was a classic.

So here's what's on my schedule......

-Go to school and teach.
-Hurry home and try to take a nap. I'll have Raelynn with me so I doubt that will happen.
-Get up and take a shower and then head over to Kathy's house.
-Enjoy some great company while watching The Office at 8.
-Watch Twilight and enjoy a small New Moon party with some great friends.
-Leave Kathy's house to wait in line forever to go to the midnight showing of New Moon with hundreds of loud, crazed teenagers. I just hope I'm not sitting in the front row.
-Come home and try to sleep for the remaining 2 hours before I have to get up for school.
-Try to make it through Friday without passing out.

Sounds like quite a list, but I'm up for it.

Did I mention that I'm going again to see New Moon on Friday night with some teacher friends? I know, I've got a problem..... I've got a fever and the only prescription is more New Moon!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler...

Howdy people!

Did you miss me? I know I certainly missed blogging.....Good news....I passed my comps and my last graduate class is almost over. Finally, I'll be able to breathe...and blog.

So I went into work today. Doesn't sound unusual, right? Today is SATURDAY!!!!! Did I mention that I don't get paid for Saturdays? Even so....I can't work Monday through Friday if my classroom is such a mess. You'd think that I'd spend some time daily to clean, but believe it or not, I don't have time. When the kids are here, I'm all about them. Their learning, their issues, their problems, their get the picture. So I'm here on a beautiful Saturday and cleaning up. As I'm doing so, I've reorganized my staplers. Yes, that's right...I said staplers, as in I have more than one. There is a reason for this.

Let me 'splain......

See, to teachers, there are several office supplies that one can't do without. Tape dispenser, glue, paperclips (I prefer the silver jumbo size but that's a different post for a different day), White Out, Sharpie markers, rubber get the picture, right? Of all of these supplies, I am the most protective of my staplers. Looking at my desk right now, I see that I have 6 staplers on or near my desk. Each has it's own purpose and it's own place. I have this lovely purple basket that I keep them lined up cute. must be wondering about my loyalty to staplers, so I thought I'd do a lineup for you so you can see just a little that goes on in my head.

I would be terribly remiss if I didn't start off by giving major homage to Milton, from the movie Office Space. Here is a guy who spends his time mumbling and basically creeping everyone out but his best line in the movie is , "Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler." It doesn't sound so great at first, but imagine a psychopath mumbling that all day. Classic. Watch this movie if you get a chance. I think the missing stapler was the straw that broke his back....I won't spoil it for you, but Milton gets back at the company for taking his beloved stapler. And the truth is....I can see his logic. Once you've had a great stapler, you can't go back.

I'll start with the stapler that I like the least. I have a Stanley Bostitch stapler in my basket that I got from some school supply catalog. It doesn't work so well. That's why this is the stapler that I let the kids use. I love my students but if something has the capacity to break, they will find a way to make that happen. Frankly, I consider this stapler disposable. I will lose no sleep if I have to throw it out.Next would be the reliable Swingline. I have two of these. They are very hearty. One of them I got from a school supply catalog and the other was given to me by one of my favorite people, Kathy S. She and her husband own Copy Cow here in town and hooked me up with some sweet school supplies last year. I use these staplers when I want to put together 3 or 4 sheets. These are also the staplers I use when putting up my bulletin boards. They open really well. They rarely jam and I don't let the kids use them.

Next on my list is the ergonomically correct Bostitch upright stapler. This one feels good in your hand when using it. I'm guessing that's why it's ergonomically correct. This one I bought from K-Mart when I lived in Key West. It's been around a few years and is still trusty. In its old age, it does stick every once in awhile but all in all, it's a good stapler. This is the one that most grown-ups reach for when using a stapler in my room-kids aren't allowed to use it.Next on my list is the Paper Pro. This thing is amazing. It will staple like 20 sheets with just one finger and with very little pressure. It's a great medium weight stapler. I find that I don't use it much anymore because I'm either stapling 2 sheets of paper together or it's 60 sheets. I bought this stapler myself at Wal-Mart several years ago and used it mostly to staple students' weekly graded papers. It didn't work so well at times because I had more than 20 sheets to staple. One other drawback to this stapler is that it doesn't work so well on 2 sheets of paper. It staples with such force that often, it will lose the top sheet because the staple hole it made is big. It basically staples through the paper. I hate when the kids sneak this one off my desk because not long after they've stapled their 2 sheets together, I'm not finding the top sheet. But I still wouldn't give it up.

This is my all time favorite stapler. This is the one that if I lost it or it was broken, I'm positive that I would shed tears over it. This is the One Touch from Staples and it cost me something like $40. I didn't want to pay that much at the time, but I've not regretted getting it. This is the Mack Daddy of all my staplers. This one is advertised as being able to staple 60 sheets with one finger and minimal pressure. I'm here to tell you that it can staple more than 60 sheets. The only time I use this stapler is when I'm putting together the weekly graded papers for my students. It's so special that I don't have it in the basket on my desk. It sits in its own place on the shelf behind my desk. This is to insure that no one randomly reaches on my desk and helps themselves. I wouldn't want to be the kid that picks this stapler up from its place. There's no telling how I would react. It's truly a thing to behold.

Well, that's about it. I think I have about 5 more staplers than the average teacher. But now that I think about it.....when have I EVER been average? Answer....never.....that's why I have 6 staplers and if one of them is missing, I'll be walking around the building saying, "Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gimme a Woot Woot and a Yeehaw!

This was me today. Except for the fur and whiskers. Today, I took my oral comps. I submitted the written portion a couple of weeks ago and today I had to go in and present my paper. Through much prayer and the grace of God, I passed my comps, both written and oral. And can I just say....I'm so glad that's over! I'm still taking a class with some tests, papers, and projects due but I'm definitely on the downward slope. Thanks for all the positive thoughts and prayers. They matter. God is good and He delivers. Now I'm hoping to get caught up on schoolwork (grading papers, etc) and have more time for blogging. See ya soon!!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Welcome Great Pumpkin!

Do y'all remember the Halloween Charlie Brown special? I can remember watching it each year with joy. This, of course, was before we had VCR/DVD's and everyone could own a copy. You saw it once a year and you made sure you watched it, because it couldn't be Halloween without it. The same went for the Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, and Easter specials. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown comes on TV on Tuesday. I'm hoping to see it with Raelynn. David's not really a fan but he endures it for us.

Lots going on this week....gotta get caught up on all my school work and start working on my presentation for my comps. In addition, I now have another paper and project due for my current class......I'm so ready for this to be over. I don't think I'm going to bite off anything major for awhile. If I do, kick me.

Going to a couple of Halloween parties this weekend. Raelynn has been invited to a friends birthday party (always with a Halloween theme) and then on Saturday, Raelynn and I are going to Wendy's house and going trick or treating in her neighborhood and then party at her house. I really like Halloween parties....I've not been to many, but the best ones have kids at them.

Think of me this week as I try to get more work done.....I'm hoping to be sitting in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin, because I know that my pumpkin patch is the most sincere.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nervous Breakdown? My Life as Usual? You decide.....

This could be me. It's only Tuesday and I've already had two meltdowns. Thankfully, neither of them were in the presence of children. My poor friends have had to deal with the nervous wreck that I am. It's just getting to be a lot for me right now. Comps are due tomorrow. Then I have to create a presentation for them. After that I have to present them. There are dryer sheets all over my house and I can't remember the last time I cleaned. Graded papers don't seem to be getting done any quicker and the daily stresses of teaching the youth of America do not seem to be getting much easier. Apparently I'm the original miracle worker and I didn't know it. Wish I got paid like I made miracles happen. I bet David Blaine and Chriss Angel get paid more than I do. Anyway, back to the grind.....someday soon my life will return...until then, I'm just a big hot mess and I appreciate you all for sticking with me.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm Just Sayin' Is All...........

I'm going to try to keep this post short. It's a beautiful fall Saturday and I'm sitting in the MSU library to study for a midterm exam I have on Monday. I also need to work on finishing up my papers for my comps which are due on Wednesday. Now that I think of it, I'll need to write some sub plans for Wednesday, since I plan on falling out right after I send my stuff in for comps. After that, I'll need to prepare a power point presentation for my oral comps......ughhhh....

When I woke up, I felt pretty good...the weather outside is beautiful......I think it's currently in the low 50's and the sun is shining. That may not be entirely true since I'm sitting amongst all the "Inactive Reference Materials" nowhere near a window on the fourth floor of Mitchell Memoria Libary. I wish I could be outside. This weather is one of my favorite things about Mississippi. In Key West, all we had was summer and I'm not really a big fan on heat.

So I went to Huddle House for breakfast (alone) since David and Raelynn went to his dad's house to help David's dad haul wood. David's dad cuts and sells firewood, and this is his busy season. Raelynn is going because I can't concentrate on my studies when she's running around. (I don't think facebook and blogging helps either...) I ate some breakfast, got some soda in a "to go" cup and headed to the library. I walk in and the smell of it hits me everytime. All libraries smell the same. I'm convinced it must be because of the books.

The first draft of my stuff for comps is done...all I have left to write is the reference pages and then go back and check my stuff to see if it all matches the APA format. Fun. Today my focus is to read and summarize 7 chapters in my textbook to prepare for this upcoming test.

Things are pretty stressful. For some reason, I feel sad. Probably from being cooped up in this library for so long. In just a short time, this will all be over and I can breathe again. Anyway, I just wanted to check it with everyone and let you know that I am still here. Please continue to pray for me.......I'm having a hard time staying focused.

It might be all the books....I don't know.....I'm just sayin' is all.........

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lord, please finish the good work you started in me

I liked this shirt. Only...I'm not "pretty sure" prayer works...I know it does. As I am working on my comprehensive finals for my graduate work and preparing for a midterm, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I want to give God the glory for the work He has done in me. I know that I cannot do this myself, that I must lean on Him for wisdom and understanding. I don't always remember that. There are many "marbles in the jar" as David would say. The daily stresses of teaching, the task of raising a responsible child, and doing a decent job in my graduate work seems like a daunting task. I know that with prayer, and God's mercy and grace, I will prevail. Please pray that I'll get through this with good scores and that I keep my wits about me. Thank you!

Monday, October 12, 2009

My New Digs

This is my new home, Mitchell Memorial Library on the lovely campus of Mississippi State University. I'm on the third floor at a table in the back hall near the restrooms if anyone wants to visit. This will be my home until after I finish my comps and studying for my midterm. It's not the worst place to be but it sure isn't home.

Please pray for my wisdom and endurance during this trying time. And when you hear me say that I want to do something that most definitely is huge and stressful, just kick me. You'll know where to find me.....sitting at this table on the third floor of the library.....buried alive under books and notes.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Buried Alive

This isn't me, although it feels like it. I'm currently hiding in the MSU library "studying" for my comps (comprehensive finals for all of my graduate work) and for the massive midterm in the class I'm currently taking. I feel under lots of pressure and stress. I know, I know, nothing new for me but still....I'd like to feel like I'm not going to stroke out every couple of minutes.

This is coupled with the daily stresses of my life. Work has gotten even more demanding, if that's even possible. I'm not given any more time or money in which to make these miracles happen....I'm just supposed to make it happen. I feel pretty strung out right now. I have a huge stack of papers that are needing grading right now.....and I don't think it's going to get done today. Geesh.

So anyway, I need to get off of here and get back to studying. I'm gonna need lots of time to find my way out of the sand.........

Pray for me.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Dear Reader, do you miss me? Check yes or no.

I've been busy. This is the story of my life. The alternative (death) doesn't sound so good, so I'm going to be thankful that I have lots of people and things in my life. I am grateful, but also can I get everything done that needs to be done?

Things currently on my to-do-list:

*grade papers
*make southwestern salad and rueben casserole for David's family reunion tomorrow
*go to David's family reunion tomorrow
*grade papers
*go to the MSU/Georgia Tech football game with Kathy, my dad, and my nephew
*try not to upset Kathy by implying in any way, shape, or form that MSU may lose the game
*grade papers
*wash clothes
*fold clothes
*put clothes away
*grade papers
*watch the three Netflix movies that have been sitting on my coffee table for two weeks
*start studying for my mid-term exam
*start working on the impending comp questions
*did I mention grading papers?

Love you guys but I gotta go and make the food for tomorrow. I'll do it while watching "Project Runway." I love this show!

Monday, September 28, 2009

An Update of Sorts

So basically, this post is just to update you....I'm dealing a little better with the stress. I'm still feeling it, mind you, I just think that I'm dealing with it better. My presentation for my college class was tonight and I'm glad that's over. I'm not sure how I did, but it's over and that's what's important. I'm just bracing myself for the stress to comps and midterm happen at the same time. Not fun. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

An Abundance of Rain- In More Ways Than One

CAUTION: This post may not be cheery. Those of you that love me will read it anyway. For those of you that are cruising the Internet looking for something to put a smile on your face, well, this probably won't. Anyway, read it if you want.....just don't say you weren't warned.
So.....It's been raining EVERY DAY here for like three weeks. On a good day, we'll get a sprinkle but for the most part we've had storms where the bottom falls out and it goes on and on and on. The ground is really saturated right now and all the rain just means that there are standing pools of water everywhere. Extra water means mosquitoes. The other day I was in the barn with David talking and was watching it rain (of course) and as I looked at the overhang of the roof, I literally saw a huge swarm of mosquitoes. They were thick all down the length of the barn. I think I got 3 or 4 bites in the short time I was there. I don't like mosquitoes. I don't mind the rain, as long as I don't lose electricity or phone and cable service. Interestingly, I think the rain makes me want to go out and do something instead of staying home. Now, don't get me wrong, I like to stay home....I don't need a storm to motivate me to do that. I'm good laying on the couch for hours at a time. But after awhile, you just get TIRED of the rain. I'm not really wanting it to return to being sunny, I'm actually ready for some cooler weather. You see, us larger ladies need it cooler so we don't get so hot doing normal stuff like breathing. I know, I sound bitter.
I hate when I get to feeling this way. I don't really want to call anyone and complain about one wants to hear me go on and on when they've got their own stuff to deal with. Mostly, I just want to eat and sit on my couch and watch TV. Not very productive, but it can be very cathartic for the soul. When I get to feeling this way, I tend to spiral downhill quickly. It's very easy to wallow in self-pity instead of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and finding the good in it all. Not that you need any thing to make you feel worse than you do, but here are some of the darker thoughts that keep me up at night lately. Any suggestions or solutions are always appreciated.
1) I'm fat. I am ready for cooler weather but not ready to go to work in my underwear. What that means is that my district has adopted a new dress code and I can only wear jeans on Friday. I have several pairs of Capri pants that have gotten me through the first couple of months of school, but when it cools off some, I won't have any pants that fit. I hate buying clothes for a stupid reason like that. If everything fit and I had nothing I liked to wear, that would be a problem I could feel good about. Basically, I see my weight issue as a mountain that I don't think I can climb. The equation for losing weight is simple.....burn more calories that you ingest. (This isn't's the gospel according to Jillian on The Biggest Loser.) It's sad that I know this and still am fat. You see....I love to eat and hate to exercise. I don't like sweating. I don't like getting hot. And food, all kinds, tastes so good. It's almost like eating has become my therapy and hobby. It's a cycle I need to break and it should have been done long ago.
2) I'm old. I'm thinking that the alternative to getting old would be that I'd already be dead. I AM thankful that hasn't happened yet. When I look at myself in the mirror, I see signs of aging that I didn't notice before. I look around in this town filled with college students and I feel like I should be walking with a cane or something. There's really nothing I can do about this issue, but it dovetails nicely into number three.
3) I don't take care of myself like I should. I don't mean anything really harmful or anything....just the superficial stuff life using lotion daily so my skin won't get all ashy and dry. Plucking my eyebrows more often than once a month....exfoliating my feet so they don't get dry and cracked, have an extensive cleansing and moisturizing routine for my face..... Whiten my teeth...go to sleep at a decent hour....stop drinking coffee and diet healthier.....weigh myself more often....write down what I eat..... I think you get the picture.
4) My job is becoming more and more stressful. For a long time, I thought that basically this was just all in my head. I tend to over think things and take everything way more personally than I should. I tend to feel guilty about everything and blame myself for things that go wrong. You know the's so much easier to beat yourself up than to beat someone else up. I'm the kind of person that tends to blame myself instead of finding blame in others. It's a very self-destructive way of thinking. But back to the job.....the details aren't really that important, but I now feel that it literally is becoming more and more stressful and demanding even without my already stressful nature. I literally feel like I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I don't see it getting any better any time soon. Things in education tend to run in cycles and this is one loop that hasn't made it all the way around yet. I just hope and pray that I'll have enough steam to keep going.
5) My daughter is growing up and isn't a baby anymore. I'm sitting here typing and she's sitting on the couch, reading out loud. I think back to the days of when she was a little baby and I just held her in my arms and imagined her future life. Those days are so fleeting....I really enjoy her at this age like I have at all her stages....but lately she seems to have grown more than she should. It feels like she's going to be leaving home for college soon. Luckily, we live in a college town so when this time comes, I'll have her close by. At least that's the plan.
6) There are many bad habits I need to break. I don't clean my house NEARLY as much as I should. I was telling a friend the other day that there are dishes piled in my sink and dryer sheets all over the house. I like neat and organized things. In the summer when I don't have work to go to, I actually enjoy doing the cleaning around here. Right now, just the thought of it makes me tired. And if you've read any of my last 50 status updates on Facebook recently, you know that I'm tired. I don't put things back where they belong and then get frustrated with myself when I can't find something. That makes no sense at all. Why can't I just put things back where I got them from? (This of course is assuming that I had it in the correct place to start with.) There are other habits not worth mentioning but they all pretty much stem from my cluttered way of doing things. I just don't think I have the energy to be uptight about cleaning....I don't have enough energy to spare.
7) Graduate school is slowly killing me. I am currently enrolled in my last course before I graduate in December. In the next week or so, I'll receive my questions to my comprehensive finals.....all the while, preparing for a midterm in a class that has SOMETHING due every single time we meet. The class isn't interesting and the professor doesn't really do a good job. I see October as being the perfect storm. Comps...midterm (all essay questions, no books or notes)...and the daily stresses of my day job are pulling me in more ways than I can express. I feel like that doll, Stretch Armstrong.
As I read back over this, it sounds real depressing. Please know that there are things in my life that I am so grateful God, my husband, my child, my parents, my friends, and the fact that I'm employed and have a roof over my head. I am loved my many. Every once in awhile, you need to see that you're doing a good job...that you're doing everything you can...and that it's going to all be okay....that people appreciate everything you do...that the work you do is important.....
This is where I am....looking for reassurance that I'm loved and that it's all going to be okay. Thanks for taking the time to read this....even though I can't see does mean a lot to me.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I is tired....and I work too hard.

So it's been awhile......It seems like this school year has been off to a busy start. I'm hoping that sometime soon I'll be able to come up for air. There seems to be much to do and little time in which to do it. As a result, I stay tired. It's a horrible feeling when you just always want to take a nap. There's just no way I can get all the sleep I need without it cutting into the million or so things that need to be done.
So what's been going on, you may ask. The answer: lots. Nothing Earth shattering, just the ordinary things that fill up my days.
*School: This takes up 90% of my time. The amount of papers I bring home to grade never seems to get any smaller. It's like a continual snowball rolling down the mountain side. Sooner or later, you'll get run over by it if you can't stay ahead of it. I'm just a hair ahead of it and can feel it closing in on me. The other things I have to do at home related to school is to call parents, plan lessons, and do research on the computer for upcoming units. While at school, the amount that I'm being asked to do increases each year. I'm not given any more time or money to do these things.....I'm just supposed to make miracles happen. We currently have 7 computer programs to manage....6 of them are to help the kids and the other is a program I have update frequently that parents can access at home. This program allows parents to see that day's lessons, view daily homework, and see their child's grades. This is in addition to the lesson plans and grades that I have to keep record of on paper. This is double work for me since I already send home students' graded work each week and students graph their results for easy averaging. My newsletter also includes the week's content that we'll be learning. While at school, I'm finding it hard to get all my teaching in. My schedule this year isn't so great. After all the moving around and pull out classes, I have my student for about 3 hours a day. During that time, I'm supposed to teach math for 75 minutes a day, reading for 60 minutes a day, 45 minutes on language and writing, and 45 minutes on science and social studies. In addition to this, I'm supposed to counsel students with problems, help students learn to get along with people they can't stand, nurse their wounds, and teach character education lessons. I'm supposed to challenge students that are bright, remediate for students that have deficiencies, and keep everyone motivated and interested. All. at. the. same. time. Not an easy job. People that tell me what an easy job teaching is, haven't walked in my shoes.
*Graduate School: I'm currently enrolled in my last college course before I get my master's degree. I'd like to say that I've learned something new, but I haven't. My main motivation is to earn more money. I won't start seeing that money until next school year. The class isn't interesting and I don't know anyone in the class. The professor doesn't seem to know what she's doing, but gives off the haughty air that she does. Every single class I have something to turn in....article summaries, a paper, a presentation, or a test. Total bummer. On top of this, the class starts at 3 and I'm not out of school until 3:30. I have to farm out my students to get there on time. There's really no time to clear my head from the stresses of the day before class starts. I just have to stick it out until December.
*Other: that's pretty much everything else that fills up my days. Running errands, washing clothes, cleaning the house, watching TV, spending time with my friends. You know....the little stuff that makes up life. There's lots of that swimming around too. Of course there's always David and Raelynn......and I'm ashamed to say that I don't spend near enough time with them doing anything of consequence. I'm still trying to figure out if that's because of what's going on in my life or if that's just who I am. David is wonderful....a great father, great husband, and all around good guy. He puts up with me, so I can't complain. And Raelynn....well, she doesn't have a choice. Thankfully, she thinks I'm great.
Even though I'm stressed, I'm not unhappy. There are things that I don't like about my job, grad school and the other details of life that bother me, but all in all, I'm pretty blessed. I'm not sure how to get everything in and make everyone happy in the meantime.
Anywho....kind of a dull and depressing post. Sorry about that. I'm hoping that soon I'll get some sleep and I'll be able to return to my usual self. I'm not sure who's currently here, but she yawns a lot and can get kinda cranky.
Have a great one.....

Saturday, September 5, 2009

No, I'm Not Dead, But I Feel Like It's Close.....

Hello blog fans (all two of you!)

Sorry it's been awhile since I posted. This is the beginning of school, so there's always a lot of things that need to be done and finding my niche in the schedule. So far, I've been busier than normal and the niche is nowhere in sight.

So, what have I been up to?

1) School work: This includes grading papers, teaching, calling parents, and doing lesson plans. This takes up 80% of my time. I spend another 10% of my time thinking about school and how I should be doing some school work. On some level, I work 365 days a year. I only get paid for 186.

2) Griping about grocery stores: Have you ever been to the store and randomly found an item that you've never tried and you try it...then only find later that you can't find that item anymore? It's like the item you're looking for was in a mirage. Our town has three grocery stores: the evil Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Piggly Wiggly. For some reason, none of the stores carry all the items that I require and those that I do sometimes disappear. Case in Piggly Wiggly I found Wickles (deliciously wicked pickles) and while shopping I found some crispy, pickled green beans. I went through that jar and when I went back to get some more, there were none to be found. Not even a place on the rack for them. I thought maybe I was at the wrong store, so I went to all of the stores and couldn't find it. When at the second store, I looked for jalapeno stuffed olives, but they had disappeared from that store. At this point, I was starting to feel like an idiot. I'm hoping this problem will heal itself, very much like the healings in the Christian Science religion. I've had this problem before with my favorite scent of Febreeze Plug Ins but it "Christian Science" healed itself and I found it again, so I believe it could happen again.

3) Spending time with my friends: Today I went to my first MSU football game. We played Jackson State University and won 45-7. It rained hard and I got very wet, but I had a good time. My friend Kathy had some extra tickets, so Wendy and I went with her. It was fun. Anytime MSU wins a football game is a good day.

4) Being tired: My last 50 Facebook status updates have included the phrase "I'm tired" in some form. I try going to sleep earlier but I never seem to get caught up.
5) Watching The Hannah Montana movie: I went to see this with Wendy, Kathy, and their kids this summer and thought it was fair. I've since bought the movie on DVD (with the pretense of giving it to Raelynn) and have actually come to like it and really enjoy the songs. Strange, I know. Watch it yourself and see if it doesn't grow on you.

6) Thinking of good blog topics: Sorry that I haven't gone through on this head has been full of thoughts as you can tell from my post. Have a great day, leave a comment, and go Dawgs!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy Friday to Me

Happy Friday all! Fridays are my favorite day of the week. Most people really like Saturdays. I'm fan of those too, but I think that on Friday evenings, you have the fresh hope of the weekend ahead of you. All during the weekend, I end up thinking of all the things I should be doing and dreading the upcoming week. Fridays are usually one of the easier days at work, mostly because I give the kids quizzes on those days, and they stay busy. This year I decided to treat myself because I'm finding that I as I get older (and this is a slow process by the way) that the fabulous treats from others is slowly dying off. So I decided to treat myself.

First treat of the day.....Krystal's Original Breakfast Scrambler. I'm not a paid actor for them, but I have to say that this is one of my favorite breakfast treats. If you haven't tried it, you should. Just don't go on Friday mornings around 6:30 AM. There's usually no line so I can drive right up and get my stuff quickly. The Original Breakfast Scramber is a wonderful cup of buttery grits, covered in scrambled eggs topped with melted cheese, and a sausage patty on top. All of my favorite things in a cup. Totally delicious.

Another treat is my lunch. (Do you notice a trend here?) My school has a potato and salad bar for the teachers each Friday. The potatoes are very good and the salad tastes better than the salads do throughout the week. I think it's because it's Friday. Everything is better on Fridays.

A usual Friday treat is my attire on Fridays. I wear all the glitter makeup....and usually don some type of hat or costume. Also, Friday is t-shirt and blue jeans at work, and I'm totally into that.

There are so many wonderful things about Fridays......what's your favorite day of the week?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Easy Breezy and Oh So Cheesy

If you've ever met an elementary school teacher, you've met an angel on Earth. I'm not sure there is any other profession that requires as much from a person and expect her/him to do many different things at the same time flawlessly. It's one thing to mess up a bunch of paperwork, but something completely different to mess up someone's kid. There are many areas of greatness that I could go on and on about in the life of an elementary teacher, but today I will focus on just one element. The dreaded bulletin board display.

Now don't get me wrong.....I like how bulletin boards brighten up the hallways at school. Most professional places lack this sort of creativity. There are two parts of bulletin boards that I don't like. The first is thinking of a decent display to do and the accompanying corny title. The other is just the sheer time it takes to put the thing up. And if you've got even the slightest bit of OCD, you can forget it...because the border won't be right and your letters won't be straight. I think that doing bulletin boards may be part of the OCD'ers intervention and recovery plan. I've been out of bulletin board rehab for quite awhile and am proud of my progress!

The aspect that most pains me is getting the idea for a bulletin board display. I have several books and of course the Internet is really good for stealing ideas too, but I find that most of my boards come from my brain after much worry and debate. I have an idea for one and then start to thinking about a decent title. This is part is my roadblock. You see, I don't think people realize that creating a bulletin board with a cheesy title is a "must have" in elementary school. More often than not, you do some title that has a play on words. What kills me about it is that most kids that young don't get it. It's wasted humor.

For example, a couple of years ago, I did a back to school bulletin board with the title, "We're a GRAPE bunch!" and took purple party plates and wrote the kids names in paint pen on them and arranged them on the board like a bunch of grapes. The kids didn't get it. They did tell me that I spelled the word "great" wrong. For that, I was grateful. At least I got them to thinking. The titles are really hard to come up with for me, so I usually "collaborate" AKA ask the teachers around me what a good title would be. The teacher across the hall from me LOVES to do bulletin boards and really gets into it when I ask her. She is very creative and has come over to help me out many times. She plans her bulletin board displays a year in advance. Obviously she's never heard of the bulletin board 12 step program.

One Christmas I was hanging students' stockings in the room on the backdrop of a butcher paper fireplace. My lovely teacher friend came right over and drew my bricks for me. She has drawn more bulletin board stuff for me than I'd like to admit. I'm not sure where the line is from "collaborator" and "creative genius" but I find it's pretty blurry. Her handwriting is really nice too....that's always a bonus when she's lettering something for me.

As you may not be aware, we've just started back to school. Outside my room I have two bulletin boards and I cover my door and use it as well. The kids did the large board at the end of last year and it looks fabulous. They made a huge sailing ship with mast and pirate flag sailing on an ocean of waves. They made the sun setting in the distance and an island of treasure just on the horizon. I added pictures of the students' faces in the boat and the title says, "We're sailing into fifth grade!" I think most kids get this since the obvious association is with a sailing ship. (Side note...I have some very artistic students. They ate this project up.) The other outside bulletin board is used to chart students' progress in Accelerated Reader. The title for that one is "A.R.e you meeting your goal?" (I stole this title from a teacher friend.) On my door I have a map of the United States that says "Mrs. Rosamond's class is going places!" and the students have little pictures of themselves attached to little cars and they're driving around the door. The border of the door is surrounded in post cards. The saving grace for me here is that a couple of my students' parents came in this summer and put it together for me. I gave them the idea and they went with it. And went they did. It turned out fabulous!

So I've already started worrying about the bulletin board displays for next month. I think that the kids doing the big one in their spare time was great....they really enjoyed it and have asked when they could do another one. (It took lots of planning and measuring to do it right! Ahhh authentic learning!) It does take some time to do so we'll have to plan it accordingly. If you have any "cheesy" ideas for a board....let me know. One can never have enough cheese in their life!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Betty and Veronica

Hello loyal fans....things have been busy in TassieWorld where school has started back up again. The first two days were pretty good....I've tried real hard to find the positive in people and situations. It's harder than being negative, but the payoff is so much better.

So today's post is about Betty and Veronica. You remember them, right? I can remember my excitement in getting each comic book. Back in those days, they were larger, like the size of a magazine. There would be the Double Digest that was smaller and had more stories in them too, but I didn't like them as much. I've read lots of comics from the whole gang in Riverdale. None of them are as interesting as Betty and Veronica. I enjoyed it so much that I played Betty and Veronica with the kids from the neighborhood. Mark was Archie, Kim was Veronica, and I was Betty. I really like Veronica more (and no, it isn't because of her money-I just think that brunettes are prettier) but we all thought that since Kim was African American, she'd make a better Veronica. So I let her have it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing the book and magazine section of the evil Wal-Mart with Raelynn, which is what we do because she loves to read more than I do. Now that I think about it, I loved to read a lot when I was her age too. I think it has to do with the fact that children didn't control the TV shows watched at my house growing up. Raelynn probably has the same problem.

Anyway, I saw a Betty and Veronica comic book and picked it up. Raelynn was very interested in it, probably because it had two fashionable and pretty girls on the front. I perused the issue and decided to buy it for her. (I made sure it was age appropriate.) She read that thing over and over and over. We looked through the issue to find out when the next issue was coming out and it was this past Monday. I went back to find it for her but it wasn't there. She was pretty sad.

But anyway, I'm glad I introduced her to the wonderful word of comics. There are many things I enjoyed as a kid that she's never experienced. I can remember the days of wax candy bottles, candy cigarettes, and orange sherbet push ups. I hope that in this crazy, fast-paced world, she and I can share some of life's simpler pleasures. Those are things we remember. That and the fact that Archie could never decide which girl he liked...all the while I was rooting for Veronica. Oh well, maybe next issue.....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"I Don't Want to Work" is more than just a song title.

Tomorrow is my first day back to work. The kids don't come back until Thursdays. We've been told that there will be no time for working in our rooms, so I'll be getting in early and staying late. So what else is new? There is a small part of me that is looking forward to seeing everyone again but I'd be lying if I said that I wouldn't miss the freedom to do what I want, when I want to do it. The up side to it is that I'll be back into my routine, which is good. Predictable events happening at a predictable time is a good thing. The kids keep things interesting and unpredictable. Teaching is never boring.
This summer has been a good one. I was a part of the Writing/Thinking Project during the month of June. We met each day from 8 to 4. It made for a long day. I met some really great people and got refocused for teaching. That was good.
Before my class and during the month of July, I spent lots of time with my friends Wendy and Kathy. Raelynn and I went swimming several days a week at Wendy's house. Wendy has three kids and they are great. Raelynn really enjoys being with them, even if they're older than she is. I also spent time with Kathy and her kids (she also has three) at Wendy's and at other venues in town. It's great that Wendy and Kathy are friends too....we had great times hanging out! I spent the night at Kathy's lake house a couple of times and all the kids slept on the porch. They had a blast...and to be honest, I did too. We also saw Harry Potter and some other movies...some with the kids and some without. On top of this, I spoke to them daily. We have a really good time together and part of why I'm dreading going back to work is because I won't see them as often. Well, that and the whole work thing.
I am looking forward to a new beginning with my students. I had them last year so I already know them. I love how at the beginning of the school year it feels like anything is possible. There are so many possibilities for growth...both mine and theirs. It usually takes a few weeks to start feeling overwhelmed.
Well.....I still have lots to do before going to work tomorrow. I need to get plenty of sleep so I'll be fresh for my first day back. If I get bored later, I'll just call Kathy or Wendy.