Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
So that brings us to today's post. I felt the need to post because school is starting soon and when it does, I find I have less and less time to write. Also, my friends' blogs are updated on my page when I update, so it's much easier for me to see who has something new to say. I gotta tell ya...I never thought that reading mundane details of people's daily lives (of course I'm not talking about any of MY friends...) would be interesting, but it is. I could spend hours reading blogs. But I digress....
A while back, I remember having a conversation with my eight-year-old daughter about phones. I was trying to explain a rotary phone to her. In her lifetime, I've always had a cell phone. She doesn't question how the phone works everywhere and doesn't need a cord. I started to tell her about the kind of phones we had when I was her age...she had no idea what I was talking about. (Side note: You know it's bad when you find yourself saying, "When I was your age....." and as I reminisce I might be making myself seem older than I really am, but I'd just like to think that I have an incredible memory. How else could I know all this? It must have come from my infancy and I can still recall it!)
When I was growing up, we had one main phone in our house. The kitchen was at the front part of the house and hanging on the wall next to the side kitchen door (that led outside) was an avocado-colored rotary phone. The cord on this thing was about 14 or 15 feet. When you stretched the phone cord out it could really take you places. This was the early version of a cordless phone. You could take it many places while you were doing stuff in the kitchen. It was good for me, since I could take the phone outside and sit on the side porch and talk in private. I didn't talk on the phone much, but when I did, I felt that whatever I was saying required privacy. I was probably saying something like, "I don't know. What do you want to talk about?"
Later, we got another phone outlet in our living room. The memories of this phone are much blurrier, since I think we had various types of phones there from wall units, to desk units, to finally a cordless unit. Even after we got this phone, I still preferred to talk on the ugly green kitchen phone. The living room phone was reserved for the times I tried to listen in on my brother's phone conversations. I wasn't very successful...people could always hear when you picked up the phone!
When I was really young, I can remember talking on the phone to someone (my own age) and not knowing what to talk about, so we did the whole, "What do you think this is?" and then you bang stuff against the phone and the other person tries to guess what the item is. Another early memory was that in first grade, our teacher, Mrs. Key, had two real telephones installed in our classroom. She gave us formal lessons on how to answer the phone and take messages and the proper phone etiquette. You could actually dial the other phone and then ask the kid who answered it to get someone else in the room that you wanted to talk to. I think we also went on a field trip to the phone company and got to talk to an operator wearing a headset. The phone company was really close to our school and we walked there. Funny, I don't have many specific memories from my childhood, but I do remember that. Fun times.
This was also before call waiting and caller ID. There were a few times that my parents left me alone and I amused myself with making prank phone calls. You really can't do that these days. Most people have caller ID and if you don't, all you have to do is press *69 and you can find out the number of the person that just called you. When these things came onto the scene, it put a real hamper on prank phone calls. I mean, what else could be more fun than calling people to say, "Is your refrigerator running? If it is, you'd better go catch it!" (I heard stories about people that ordered pizza and had it delivered across the street so they could watch...I never did that...I was too chicken.) Nowadays, when someone calls you on your cell phone and you don't know who it is, you let the call roll over and then you call them back to ask why they called you. And house phones? Forget it....most people, except for me, are moving away from having a house phone since they have wireless Internet...me...I still have stupid dial-up so I'll be anchored to this land line forever.
Even earlier than call waiting and caller ID is the concept of party phone lines. Every holiday, my family would stay at my grandmother's house outside of Starkville, here in Mississippi, and being that she lived way out in the country, she shared a phone line with three other houses. I can remember lifting up the handset to eavesdrop on the girl who lived next door. She was a teenager, and spent most of her time talking on the phone. She'd get pretty irritated and would ask me to hang up. Another interesting fact about my grandmother's phone was that since she was hard of hearing, she had a volume control set up on her phone so she could hear the other person. When she talked on the phone you could literally hear both sides of the conversation from across the room. You could identify the person she was talking to. She must have thought I could read minds when she'd start to tell me about the conversation and I could repeat everything that was said. And the ringer? It was so loud, you could hear it ringing while you were way out in the fields...
And pay phones....who doesn't have a story about one of those? I could remember knowing where all the working phones were. Several times, I would leave the house (both at home and at college) to go and use a pay phone so I wouldn't have to fight for the phone. It's really hard to find a pay phone now and if you did, it probably wouldn't work. I wonder if they made a current day Superman movie, where he'd change into his outfit...hmmm....makes you wonder.
Now we're in the age of cell phones. When you meet someone that doesn't have a cell phone, you totally can't believe it. It's nice to be able to get ahold of people all the time now. We definitely communicate more. There are some definite advantages to being so accessible, but also some downfalls. Between cell phones, text messages, and Instant Messages, we don't even have to see people face to face to communicate anymore. But still, all in all, I think it's a good thing. Most people love their phone and have it on them all the time. I know some people that use their phones as an alarm clock, watch, calculator, calendar, GPS, Internet connection, camera, recording device, gaming.....the list goes on and on. The old days of dialing on a rotary phone are over.
But I tell you....If I had a phone with a cord in my current kitchen (mine is cordless), I'd take it outside with me to my porch and I'd call you so we could talk about the old days....of how we lived before cable, satellite TV, and movies on tape. And if I'd get bored, I'd pick up a rock and rub it across the mouthpiece of my phone and ask you, "What do you think this is?" Just thinking about it makes me want to call someone....and thanks to Mrs. Key, I have impeccable phone manners. If you don't believe me, give me your phone number and I'll call you to prove it.
Friday, July 24, 2009
1) My child's teacher for next year-My school district has a new way of assigning students to classes this year. Usually, parents fill out a teacher request form and then students are placed lottery-style into classes and then you find out over the summer who your kid got for the next year. This year, there was no request form. Students were also informed their class assignment on the report card on the last day of school. We were surprised at Raelynn's assignment..."Vacant." David spoke to the principal and she assured us that they had, in fact, hired for that position but it hadn't gone to the school board yet for approval. The teacher was great, experienced....a dream come true. So I felt a little easier. All summer I've not heard anything from her teacher and I started to stress. A friend advised me to read the school board minutes this week and I find that the teacher that was hired this summer to be Raelynn's teacher has resigned. Resigned before the school year has even begun. Now, if this was June, I don't think I'd be as concerned. But you see, teachers in this district go back to work a week from now. Students start three days after that. I'm trying hard not to panic. At times, finding a qualified person that's right for the job at this late date can be a challenge. So obviously, God has a plan for us and this is part of it. To worry about it or stress about it, won't change the outcome and shows little faith in God. So I'm trying my very best to remember that He is all knowing and will give us exactly what we need....not always what we want. If you see me around and I'm hyperventilating because of this issue, please remind me to keep the faith.
2) Death-Not my own, but those around me. It seems everyone is dying. A few weeks ago, we lost three major stars in one week-Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. Right after that, my high school choir teacher, Joe Wilt, died. Just a few days ago, David's Uncle Roy died and we spent a couple of days traveling around to the visitation and the funeral. This morning, my Aunt Ruby (married to my dad's now deceased brother, Lamar) died. They were married for over 50 years and her husband, my uncle, died a couple of years ago. It seems like lots of people around me are dying. It makes you wonder if you're next.....not good.
3) Returning to work- Teachers live for summer. True, we get lots of time off, but unlike other professions, I don't think everyone understands that I don't get paid for the summer. I work 185 days a year and only get paid for those days. As I've been teaching longer and longer, I've come to understand that the summer break is necessary to the well-being of the teacher. It's like playing with an Etch-A-Sketch. Doodle on it for 10 months straight, and you need a couple of months to shake it clear again. I go back to work in a week and there's still so much to do. I'm in grad school and taking classes this summer, so I don't feel like I've had a true summer vacation.
4) The amount of work left to be done in my classroom-This is something that I feel each summer but for some reason am really feeling anxious about. At the end of the school year, I take about two days to pack up everything in my room and get it up off the floor so custodians can clean and wax the floors. It literally takes me three weeks to unpack it all and reorganize it. There seems to have been lots going on around here lately and I've not done nearly what I should have to get it near completion. It hurts me to look at the clutter that accumulates in my room. I have a hard time getting everything back to where it belongs during the school year. There's just so much to do. I really depend on my time off from school to get stuff back to it's working order.
These are the major things on my mind at the moment. There are a few of things I've been thinking about but just haven't mentioned. I wouldn't want you to worry...I do enough of that for the both of us...
Monday, July 20, 2009
Today, Wendy and Kathy came to my classroom to help me work on getting my room set up. It's amazing....it takes me about 2 days to pack up everything and then 3 weeks to take it all down, sort it, and get things put back together. There were so great and we got lots done. I'll continue going into school for several hours a day until I get it all put together. This is usually pretty fun for me. I like to organize things and it's most fun when I'm not under any time constraint.
During the course of the summer, some of my shelves broke because I had piled too many things on it and when that happened, the large Rubbermaid totes fell on the floor and broke. I came in to school then and cleaned everything up and resolved to replace them when I came back to school. Today was that day. I took notes of the totes I would need, but in size and purpose. And then I went to the evil Wal-Mart and got upset.
This time of year, all of the school supplies get put out and I really enjoy looking at them everyday. I'm a recovering crayon sniffer. However, this year it just hasn't been as much fun. My local evil Wal-Mart just spent several months reconfiguring the store. That means that now when you want something, it isn't where you thought it was and you wander all over the store for your stuff. You may find the correct area that the item belongs in, but then you'll discover that the other part of that section is located somewhere else in the store. This is what happened to me today.
I was in the home improvement section of the store looking at the totes. I found some nice pieces that would have worked in my room but could not find the matching lids to save my life. I looked all over the home section and found nothing. After losing hope, I walked around the school supplies again and found that they had some other totes in this section that were in different colors (and yes they had it in purple!) and were cheaper than the other ones. I also got matching trash cans. It took a long time to find these items. And of course in the meantime, I ended up putting tons of other stuff in my cart. I swear it's a conspiracy.
Anyway....I found my totes....now tomorrow I'm off to fill them.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
I'm not sure when I started REALLY enjoying tomatoes, but it's something I really look forward each year. A couple of years ago, we started our own little garden and had lots and lots of tomatoes. I didn't realize how much work a garden was, because when I was kid at Mana's house, all the garden work I had to do was to shell peas. Since the summer of farmer Tassie, we've been in grad school each summer...hence, no tomatoes. So sad.
My father-in-law came to visit yesterday to help David build his hay barn, and he brought several tomatoes from David's Aunt Bea's house. I had one at lunch. There is a specfic way I eat them.....let me 'splain.
First, I choose the tomato that is the ripest. After washing it and removing the stem, I slice it. (I don't peel it....most of the fiber in fruits and vegetables is in the skin) Then I sprinkle each slice with salt and pepper. Then........the most important ingredient......mayonnaise. I put a healthy blob of mayo on each slice and then chow down on them. It's sorta like eating a tomato sandwich (which I enjoy) without the bread. There is more to the story, of course.....
If you know me or have followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I suffer from acid reflux....and suffer badly. A year or two ago, the doctor told me what not to eat....chocolate, spicy foods, rich foods, anything acidic, and anything with caffeine (no coffee!!!) I've tried real hard to follow those rules, but during the school year I'm pretty much comatose in the morning, so I drink a little contraband coffee to get me going. In the summer, I can sleep for as long as I want, so I don't need the coffee (and it's really too hot) so I indulge in another decadent and forbidden treat...tomatoes.
Last summer, my father-in-law brought me tomatoes but I ate lots of them (several with each meal) so I'd run out before he came back. Well.....just down the highway from my house is Greg's Produce Barn. It's basically a farmer's market and he's open several days a week. He sells many fruits and veggies, and also sells tomatoes from his own garden. I ended up visiting Greg's Produce Barn a couple times a week and enjoying the fruits of his labor. I think I O.D.'d on the tomatoes, because the acid got so bad that I eventually lost my voice and developed a persistent cough. (BTW, both of these are symptoms of acid reflux.)
So summer is here and it is prime tomato season. I'm trying to limit myself to just one tomato a day and hopefully not suffer near as much as I did last summer. So far, I'm doing well. I had one yesterday and haven't had one today....yet. I think I'm going to have it with lunch and then head off to the evil Wal-Mart for my weekly grocery shopping treat. Wish me luck....and know that I won't be buying any tomatoes at Wal-Mart....they aren't fresh from the garden and therefore aren't a temptation.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I'm not a huge fan of cooking or cleaning. I don't mind eating, and I don't mind making a mess. But there are times that when I think about my life and I look around my house, and my eyes hurt and I feel sick to my stomach (this is due to things being unorganized--not that I'm living in a dump.) During the school year, my focus is the kids and school and I really only have about 2 hours when I come home to get stuff done. Somehow, the schoolwork tends to take precedent and will snowball on me if I don't keep up with it. In the summertime, I become much more domesticated and cook and clean. I even do those things more than once a day! Which is where our story begins...
I was standing in the kitchen, pondering what to cook for supper and when to finish washing the dishes in the sink. One of the items waiting for my attention was the brand new food processor that I purchased prior to the Fourth of July. I was getting tired of borrowing my mom's and I was going to make cole slaw for our family dinner.
(Side note: I was able to operate the food processor and the cole slaw was totally yummy.)
I had washed off the food processor and set it beside the sink so that I could really clean it later. Last night ended up being the "later." I was real careful, I took paper towels (and I use Viva, the good stuff) and wiped it down. The base and the container were both done. I look down and see that the blade still needs some attention. You can probably guess what's coming next....
As I was carefully cleaning the blade, I inadvertently sliced open the pad of my thumb. Thankfully, I was already at the sink, so I quickly washed it off and applied pressure while Raelynn got me some paper towels. That didn't help and it started hurting really badly.
Several blood-soaked paper towels later.... David comes in and asks what's wrong. I'm laying on the couch, holding my thumb and have a pained look on my face. I quickly explained what happened and he told me to use some liquid bandage or superglue to close the wound. I considered this but couldn't get the bleeding to stop. Really. I used pressure and ice and it still bled really heavily for about an hour and a half. David went bike riding with my nephew and I stayed behind to get the bleeding under control.
When David returned, he did a real good job of doctoring me up. It turns out that we don't have any liquid bandage or superglue, so he took medical tape and taped my thumb up. It continued to bleed for awhile. I also took some Tylenol for the pain. After awhile, it seemed to get better.
At this point, I'm really hungry, so I bypass the food processor blade and make some spaghetti. It was yummy. After I ate, it was time to get Raelynn ready for bed and for me to take a bath. I didn't want my thumb to get wet, so I put on a surgical glove and rubber banded the wrist and took a bath. This was successful.
So.......now it is the morning after, and David has just left to go to the dentist. I'll wait for him to come home before I try to remove the tape. Knowing me, I'd cut myself with the scissors and have to start all over again.
Bottom line: Cooking and cleaning can be hazardous to your health. Be careful when you do either!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
There are a couple things that I cook well, and take full credit for creating the recipes. I've mentioned them on here before but never given out the recipes. Today, I'm sharing them with you. Enjoy them in good health. (And if you try these recipes and don't like them, please don't let me know. It would really hurt my feelings.)
**Disclaimer** In these self-created recipes, I measure ingredients like Rachael Ray. I don't use any measuring tools. I just add stuff together until it tastes right.
eggs (I use about a dozen or a dozen and a half when I make them)
1 can of deviled ham (potted meat)
pickle relish (dill or sweet-your preference)
*Boil eggs and then peel and halve them. (This is the hardest part.)
*Put yolks in bowl and use a fork to make them crumbly.
*Add a hearty serving spoonful of mayonnaise.
*Add a squirt or two of yellow mustard.
*Add a hearty serving spoonful of relish.
*Add the can of deviled ham.
*Add salt, pepper, garlic, and curry to taste.
* Mix ingredients and add to whites.
*Sprinkle paprika over the tops for some color and refrigerate.
Tassie's Original Cucumber and Onion Salad
3 or 4 large cucumbers (peeled and coarsely chopped)
1 medium sweet onion (finely chopped)
1 artificial sweetner packet
*Put peeled and chopped cucumbers and onions in a large bowl.
*Add 2 hearty serving spoonfuls of mayonnaise and sour cream.
*Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
*Add salt, pepper, garlic, and dill to taste.
*Add sweetner packet and mix well.
*Cover and refrigerate.
That's all I'm going to share today. I hope everyone has a wonderful Fourth of July. Let freedom ring!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
My background with accessories during my formative years is what I learned about jewelry while in the Keys. There, most everyone wears yellow gold everything. Those that are really with it have a name chain, ID bracelet, initial ring, and various bracelets with either the saints or with various beads like a goldstone bracelet. For earrings, most people wear gold filigree hoops. I don't really recall anyone wearing costume jewelry that matched their outfits. Perhaps this is why I struggle so much now. I've had to really cut back on the jewelry wearing here in Mississippi, since my Cuban type jewelry from home doesn't really fit here. I figured I'd try to blend in here by working on my accessorizing skills.
I keep my eyes open for necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that match each other and go with outfits that I currently have. I must not be a visionary in this area, because nothing looks cute in the store and I can never picture what I have at home already. The type of jewelry lately that I've been attracted to has had some type of crystal element. I figure it matches my personality....loud and flashy. And yet I still manage to dress myself and look like a wayward clown. I think what I need to make this easier for me is to hire a stylist. I don't know anyone that does this full time. I have lots of part time help, but mainly all they do is tell me how ridiculous I look. This is good to know but not really helpful in pointing me to something that would look nice.
What do you do to accessorize? Where do you find all your greatest stuff? Do you have any tips for me? I'm desperate here. We're moving to a new dress code at school next year and I think I'm gonna have to step it up a notch. And if you know me....you know that notch is pretty high up there and I'm down here with no ladder.