Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Christmas Blues in July

I've posted before about my love of Christmas lights. For the most part, if something is shiny, glittery, or lights up-I'm all over it. For the sake of today's random ranting, we're going to limit it to just lights. Let me 'splain....
As we all know, lights are only available around Christmas time. I will admit that lately, Wal-Mart and other evil stores have started carrying some colored lights at Halloween too. Those are mostly limited to purple or orange. So I'm guessing our story started at Christmas time many years ago, in a classroom far away.
Before moving to Mississippi, I worked at a school in the Florida Keys. I was there for eleven years. In my life, I've only spent two Christmases in Key West...the rest have been here in Starkville (my family likes to travel.) In Key West, it's really hard to get into the true Christmas spirit since it's so warm year-round. There's something about Santa in Bermuda shorts and a tank top that just doesn't say Christmas to me. So....in order to help pass along the Christmas spirit to my students, I hung a strand of Christmas lights around my board. I liked it so much that I ended up hanging about 6 or 7 strands from my drop tile ceiling. Very easy to do...all you need is paperclips. I ended up liking the lights so much that I kept them up all year. In those days, I had sets that had multiple settings and it was real neat to turn out the lights and work solely by festive twinkle lights.
But alas...this part of the story has an unfortunate ending. Florida is always on the cutting edge of laws, procedures, curriculum...anything related to school. Each year the fire marshal would visit the schools and look for fire hazard violations. Two guesses who was on his list, and the first one doesn't count. Yes, that's right people, my 10 strands of lights (all plugged into a total of two outlets) came back to haunt me later. Basically, administration told me that if I didn't take down the lights, the school could receive some serious write ups that could potentially lead to not opening the school. Believe me, I thought hard about that. Christmas lights and no school, or no lights and school....that's a tough call. The fire marshal was a stickler for all things unsafe. All window areas were to be clear by a certain distance and no paper could be hanging from the ceiling or on the walls. I mean, please...have you ever seen an interesting elementary classroom that didn't have something posted in the room? Otherwise, you look like you're in a hospital or something. I was obedient and took down my lights, albeit grudgingly. It's like a little part of me died that day.
Fast forward to moving to Mississippi. We tend to be notoriously slow in some areas and most of the time I complain about this, but not in this case. Apparently, no one here was concerned about the fire safety in schools. My lighting habits have returned and even though my room looks like a bad disco, I really enjoy it. The students that have trouble focusing aren't being helped, but in my experience...they find ways to distract themselves...my theory is to give them something interesting to look at. You'd think this would be a dream come true, right? My new school and administrators not giving me any flack for my tacky lights. And it was a dream come true until today.
For you see, I've been working in my room this week. Today, I plugged in the lights (about 6 very long strands) and NONE of them worked. At the end of the school year most of the strands worked and a couple of them had half the strand blown and I was going to just take those down. I had no idea that I'd be throwing them all out. I wish I had tried a strand or two earlier, so at least I could be prepared. But alas.....it wasn't happening.
The sad part is that it currently isn't prime Christmas light season. The stores don't even have the Halloween stuff out yet, so I won't be getting any lights any time soon. That's literally breaking my heart. How will I be able to enjoy my surroundings if they aren't wrapped top to bottom with lights? I guess I'll be finding out next week. The thought depresses me. And it doesn't help that QVC has been running a "Christmas in July " show all week. I try to quickly skip over that channel so I won't think about what I'm missing.
You'd think in this day and age of technology, they'd create a strand of lights that wouldn't blow out or wouldn't blow out half the strand. We can put a man on the moon, but we can't keep the lights glowing? Something's not right with this picture. Just like something's not right in my room....it all appears strangely plain. And in the world of Tassie...plain is death.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hello? Is Your Refrigerator Running? Well, You'd Better Go Catch It!

The way I choose post topics is probably a little unusual. Sometimes, something important happens and I write about it because I consider it my duty to keep everyone updated on the current events of my life. Sometimes, I happen across an interesting picture and save it for a future post. Other times, I have the topic brewing around in my head and I search and search the Internet for an appropriate picture. Finding a post topic isn't as easy as you'd think. Many people I work with and parents of students I teach read my blog. Some post a response, some don't. As interesting as I think I am, not everyone agrees. So I try not to write specifically about work so I don't offend anyone. Also, I have to live up to the title of the blog..."Tassie and Her Random Thoughts." Not as easy as it looks.

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

My List of Current Worries

There's lot going on...do I say that a lot? I don't think there's been a time in my adult life that I could look back and say, "Gee...I've nothing to do and lots of time in which to do it!" I think I'm like my dad in that respect. I always seem to have lots going on. Most of it is unnecessary and the stress I feel is almost always self-imposed. I also tend to worry...much more than I should and again, more than necessary. I'm really trying to be positive and have faith that God knows what Hes doing. So, here are the concerns that plague me at the moment.

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

Weekend Report and an Evil Wal-Mart Conspiracy

So I've got lots to report. It's been awhile since I posted...I've been so busy! This past weekend, Kathy, Wendy, and I left our husbands and kids at home and went to Birmingham for the weekend to eat, shop, and eat some more. It was lots of fun. We stayed at the Wynfrey Hotel, which is attached to the Galleria Mall. It opens into the mall and was FABULOUS! We did a fair amount of shopping, but the main focus was on food. We ate and then we ate some more. Here is summary of the weekend in food. Breakfast: both days we ate at Panera. They have great bagels and flavored cream cheese. Lunch: Friday we ate at IHOP. Kathy's chicken fried steak didn't have any white gravy. We were impressed that she ate it anyway. Don't get me started on the weird waitress that talked to imaginary customers. On Saturday we ate lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. If you've never eaten there, you should try it. The food is great and the restaurant is beautiful. And really...any place that has over 15 flavors of cheesecake is an experience everyone should have. On Sunday we ate at Chipotle. The only way I can explain this is that it's like a Mexican Subway restaurant. The very yummy burrito you end up with is literally the size of a brick. I have dreams about their food, it's so good. Dinner: On Friday, we ate at Sumo Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse. It was really good...I had the steak. On Saturday we ate The Olive Garden. I suggest the lasagna. And how can you go wrong with unlimited salad and bread sticks? After dinner on Saturday we went to see "I Love You, Beth Cooper." Very cute, and no...I didn't eat anything at the theater...I was too stuffed.

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

A Most Unusual Museum

I don't know about you, but most of my trips to museums have not been that interesting. The visit to the museum gift shop would definitely be the highlight of the visit. It's all about the souvenirs, right? Even though I haven't been too crazy about some of my past museum visits, there are a few museums I'd like to see before I die: The Louvre, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Cocoa-Cola Museum...just to name a few. Visiting a museum seems to be "cultural" and "refined" to me. I don't really consider myself either of these. Maybe my problem is that I've not been to enough museums and really appreciated the exhibits. Or perhaps it could be the fact that I think that Dog, the Bounty Hunter is quality entertainment. I don't know...it could go either way, I guess.
But...I did get to experience a museum visit this week. It was one that I won't soon forget. You see, my 8 year old daughter created a history and art museum in her bedroom. Some background is in order here....she's an only child and I adore her. She's very creative and imaginative. She's also very smart and cute...not that I'm biased or anything. If you don't believe me, just ask my husband...he'll tell you the same thing. But I digress....Raelynn really wants a brother or sister to play with and since it doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon, she's taken to creating her own entertainment (she doesn't think that Dog is quality TV like her mother.)
So the other day, she walks into the living room and announces that she's making a museum. I tell her that's great and she gets real busy at her art table using scissors, paper, crayons, and markers. She tends to be a little dangerous with these items, so I made sure I was properly supervising her this time. She has "customized" some furniture pieces, and this could very well be due to the fact that I was watching Dog instead of her....but that's another story.
So she's done with her arts and crafts projects and invites me to her room for a museum visit. When I reach the door of her room, I see a foot stool with an empty shoe box on top. At this point, Raelynn hands me three tickets. (This is what she was making with her art supplies.) The first one was a welcome ticket. I put this one in the shoe box and entered Raelynn's Art and History Museum.
It's not one of these walk at your own pace type of museums. In addition to Raelynn being the creator of this fine establishment, she was also the curator and tour guide. On one side of her room, she had lined up dolls and doll furniture on her dresser. This was the history part of the museum. She told me stories about her dolls and their furniture and by far, my favorite was the doll that had a "bad hair day." Apparently there was nothing she could do about it, so she joined the museum to tell her story. At the end of this section of the museum, she collects the history ticket she had made. (It had several drawings of people on them.)
After the history lesson, she directs me to her bed on the other side of the room. She has laid out different pictures she's drawn (mostly of me) and several different coloring book sheets that she's colored and torn out. She tells me about each picture...who's in them and then she gives a running commentary on the quality of her own artwork. She asks which is my favorite, and of course, there's no one piece that's better than the other. I love them all. This was the last exhibit in the museum, so she collects the art ticket. (It has pictures of paintings in frames on them.)
I have to say that this was the best museum that I've ever visited. I don't think that a trip to the Louvre could ever compare to Raelynn's Art and History Museum. I had such a good time, I didn't even think to ask about visiting the gift shop.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Summer Tradition

Yesterday I partook (that spelling looks weird) of a regular summer tradition for me. I ate my first garden grown tomato of the season. It's sorta strange, really....when I was kid, we spent every summer up here in Mississippi at my grandparents' farm. Mana and Granddaddy Pete had a several large gardens and tomatoes were a staple at dinner every night. I don't remember actually enjoying them at the time. I may have eaten some, but when I was at Mana's house, I was more concerned about when she'd let me drink coffee again. Didn't everyone do something like that? Grandparents are great for corrupting you early. But I digress......

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

Sniff, Sniff

I was in the mood to post a list so here goes:

Things that smell really good:

*anything my mother is cooking

*Crayola crayons

*gardenias and roses


*new plastic shower curtains (fresh from the package)

*wood burning fireplaces (from outside)

*clothes that have been dried in the sun

*my pillow

*rubber cement

*permanent markers


*Raelynn when she gets out of the shower

*Vick's Vaporub

*Christmas trees (the real ones)


*the specific scent of my fragrance plug in at school

*my perfume (Stella)


*steak and ground beef that's being cooked

That's all I can think of right now....what smells good to you?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Cautionary Tale

So this is a cautionary tale.....It was a hard lesson learned and I'd like others to not have to learn it the same way...

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

My Secrets Revealed

I've mentioned several times that I don't cook. Please don't confuse this with "I can't cook" because they are two different things. I can read and follow recipes pretty well and if I don't understand something, I call my mom. (She is undisputedly the best cook in the world. Ask anyone that's had dinner at her place.) I say all this to mean that I CAN cook, I just choose NOT too.

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.

Tassie's Original Deviled Eggs


eggs (I use about a dozen or a dozen and a half when I make them)
yellow mustard
1 can of deviled ham (potted meat)
pickle relish (dill or sweet-your preference)
garlic powder
curry powder


*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)


sour cream

white vinegar





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 Missing Gene

I firmly believe that there are three types of people in this world: those that can successfully accessorize and look like a million bucks, those that don't give a flip about accessorizing, and those that want to, but seem to be missing that particular gene. I put myself in that last group. This isn't a good thing because I already have a problem with dressing myself with any class. Mostly, I find myself dressing for comfort and what will keep me the coolest. As I get older, I find my younger sense of style is something that becomes harder and harder to revive. (Side note...as I look at pictures of me when I was younger, there remains some doubt that what I wore could accurately be described as having a style other than "ridiculous.")

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.