Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Branson: Days 4 and 5

So we've been so busy that I wasn't able to post yesterday. That's a good thing when you are on vacation. My brain is fuzzy (and I'm going to blame the diabetes and not me getting old) here goes...

Yesterday I woke up at my usual 8:30 or so. My mom was already up and went about making breakfast. She took extra good care of me by making a special sausage patty while she was making her sausage gravy with biscuits. It was good. After breakfast, my sisters-in-law Melissa and Susan, my mom, and I went shopping around town. We went to Michael's craft store (I was disappointed), Dress Barn, TJ Max, and Target. I bought some great stuff there. I got a movie I've been looking for "What About Bob?" for $5 (score!!!) and some new holiday hats that I didn't already have. I also got some great Christmas lights that I'm going to put around my computer.

We came back to the room and relaxed for awhile and we all decided to go to a place called Lambert's Cafe, which is outside of Branson. Their claim to fame is that they throw rolls at your table. Yes, you read that correctly. They serve country style food in a rustic atmosphere. They started throwing rolls at guests many years ago because they couldn't get to the table and it stuck. I bought a shirt and a very large insulated mug that I will be using at work because the Circle K cup I bought about 10 years ago looks ugly. (I also got a magnet for my growing collection.)

After dinner, we divided up and went shopping. The guys went to the Bass Pro Shop and the girls went to the Battleship Mall. It was awesome!!!! It had a great Charming Charlies and I got some great stuff. By far, it was the best one that I've been too so far. (I've been to 4 now.) Then I found they had a Sephora, which is another of my favorites. I found some glittery powder by Tarina Taratino. Love it. Next, I stumbled on to a Bath and Body Works, where I've been told there was a glittery lotion that I had to have. They were right. It's this great lotion that has a dial, so you can control your lotion to glitter ratio. As if I'd need to scale down the glitter....right. I was real happy with my haul and we basically closed the mall down and we drove back to Branson. Very shortly after arriving, I showered and went to bed.

This morning, I woke up around the same time and Mom made egg sandwiches. I only had half of one because I'm trying to watch my carbs. I hung out around the condo for a little while and then went with David in search of a Verizon store. We found one and David got his question answered. While he was doing that, I was playing phone tag with the doctor's office trying to get my insulin prescription taken care of . Still trying to work that out. If the doctor had not given me a sample insulin pen, I'd still be without. But that's another post for another time.

We came back to the room, ate a sandwich and then walked over to the Titanic museum. It was very expensive but I'm happy to say that it was the ONLY thing on the "strip" that wasn't cheesy. We spent a long time there, reading everything and looking at all the artifacts. This was of particular interest to me since I've done a Titanic unit with my students in the past. We left early to come back to go to dinner with my family. Today is my parents' 50th wedding anniversary and we all went to a real nice restaurant called the Candlestick Inn Restaurant. It had a great view of the river and the downtown area. We had stuff that I've only read about.....for appetizers, we all shared several: escargot, calamari, a cheese and fruit plate, and wild boar sausage. We all got a starter course....(we didn't share this course) we ordered sea bass and salmon bisque, french onion soup, dinner salad, and Caesar salad. (Side note brother's Caesar salad romaine lettuce came in a stack that was wrapped with a leek and sat upright in his bowl. It was an interesting sight.) For dinner, we all had different things....I ordered chicken cordon bleu, David had some chicken tortellini dish (my parents had that too), there was an order of beef wellington or two and a vegetable dish that had artichokes and eggplant. Sadly, their dessert menu didn't have any sugar free items but that didn't stop others from ordering. David had tiramasu and Sable had some chocolate mousse cake.

Now, I'm sitting amongst family drinking some cafe con leche and updating everyone via my blog. Tomorrow, mom will make her famous breakfast casserole that we'll eat while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. We will eat and enjoy some great food and family fellowship.

Until tomorrow....


Monday, November 21, 2011

Branson: Day 3

Howdy friends!

I know....complete posting three days in a row...once you pick yourself up off the floor, feel free to continue reading.

So, the day started with me sleeping in until 8:30. For many of you, this would not seem like a big deal, except that I get up every work day morning at 5. On the weekends I manage to sleep until it was a nice surprise to have a little extra shut eye. (On a side note here...when I was a teenager, I would list eating, sleeping, and taking a bath as my hobbies. I've been told that as a child, I never had any trouble doing these things. Apparently, nothing has changed.)

I took my blood sugar reading and it was below 200 for the first time in over a week. Note that this is still high, but things are slowly improving. I'm on insulin now, so hopefully I will get the hang of all of this soon and the numbers will all pan out. My mom was up too and she made a nice breakfast of eggs, bacon, and biscuits. Very yummy.

After breakfast, my mom and I went to Walgreens around the corner. She needed a new battery for her blood glucose monitor (both of my parents are diabetic.) Once we walked around a bit, she realized that she had picked up my dad's talking meter (he went blind a year ago) instead of hers, so she left me at Walgreens to go back and get the other meter. While I was in Walgreens, I picked up some nifty light up Christmas earrings, some glittery eyeshadow, and a Branson magnet for my fridge. Score. It turns out that we had forgotten to pack the electric griddle at my mom's so we decided to go by Walmart to get another.

Branson has two Walmarts. The old one (it has no groceries) is closest to the condo so we went there. Mom got her battery and found an electric griddle for $18. I bought a butcher knife since the condo only has steak knives and it was a chore to chop onions with it last night. The cashier at Walmart gave me a strange look. I'm guessing that it was weird to just buy a big honking knife, and when I assured her I wasn't crazy or angry with anyone her expression did not change. Oh well.....

Next to Walmart was a Jubilee grocery store. My mom and I walked around picking up items for Thanksgiving. Mom usually does the cooking (and completely loves it I might add) but this year we are splitting up the work. My job is to make deviled eggs (I created the world's best recipe...everyone says so) and mashed potatoes. I found an easy and great recipe for the potatoes from an episode of Rachel Ray, so now I can contribute that as well. After the grocery store, we came back to the condo.

I took my sugar reading again, and it was lower than the morning but still pretty high. My lunch consisted of radishes, bell pepper, carrots, and celery with spinach/artichoke hummus for dip. After lunch, I took a nap. I love to nap. And napping on vacation is the best.

After my nap, I went and had a massage and facial. That was David's present to me. We are celebrating our sixteen wedding anniversary on Thursday. His sisters, Susan and Melissa, also got massages...for their birthdays. It was very lovely and now I feel much less stressed. But since I'm on vacation, I wasn't too stressed to begin with.

My brother made his famous cafe con leche and I had a cup of that after my niece Sable made a very tasty chicken enchilada casserole. I've now showered and will grade a few papers before I go to sleep. I have no idea what we are planning on doing tomorrow but since I'm on vacation, it doesn't matter. There aren't many times that I can do a whole lot of nothin.....this week, I'm hoping to become better at that.

Until tomorrow my friends....


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Branson: Day 2

Hello faithful followers! (All 2 of you!)

So, here we are in Branson, Missouri. As I mentioned yesterday, my parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this week. They wanted some time with all the family together, so my brother and his family drove from Denver, and we met in the middle. All together, there are 12 of us. We are staying at a real nice condo, and since our party is so large, some are staying at another condo a mile or two away.

Our breakdown today....

First and foremost, breakfast. (I know it sounds like all I do is talk about food, but you have to admit that food, and good food, is awesome.) Since we didn't have any groceries here, we went out to eat. I suggested Cracker Barrel. I love that place. I ate two eggs over medium, 2 pieces of turkey sausage, a biscuit, and some hashbrown casserole. My blood sugar reading this morning was high, so I'm guessing that the Subway sandwich bread last night may not have been the best idea. After breakfast, the Denver crew came in from driving all night. We met at my mom's condo and made a list for the store.

My mom and I drove across town to this super huge Walmart. Our cashier told me that when it was built (and it looks pretty new) that it was the second largest Walmart in the country. I found some healthy snacks and much money later, we came back to the condo. David, Raelynn, and I walked over to a 50's diner and I had a chef's salad. We walked back to the condo and I managed to grade a set of papers. Yes, I brought papers to grade on vacation. They just don't grade themselves, you know. While I graded papers, my brother made me a cafe con leche. It almost made it painless.

Anyway, for dinner, my mom made chili which we used in a taco salad to cut down on the carbs. There was also rice to put the chili over but I resisted. I love rice and that was difficult. After supper, my niece Sable wanted to go to a place called Cakes and Cream. It's this great dessert parlor. David and I were going to walk while everyone else drove but after checking the weather, we decided to drive. I ended up getting a sugar free strawberry sundae. It was pretty good, but it didn't look nearly as tasty as David's funnel cake.

I'm really tired, but I wanted to update everyone on the exciting happenings. I know, doesn't sound too exciting, but when you live from stressful moment to stressful moment....calm and quiet days are a welcome surprise!!!!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Branson: Day 1

Hi Everyone!

It's been so long since I've blogged that it's completely possible that most of you don't know that I EVEN have a blog. The sad truth is that since we killed our land line, I've been relegated to posting from work. I'm not able to post on my phone. I know....this makes me sad too. But, I'm currently sitting in our condo in Branson with a full week off of work, so I'm at a "real" computer with no school work to distract me.

So....this coming week is my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, my brother, his wife, their daughter, her husband, their two boys, and David's sister (they all live in Denver) are meeting us in Branson. It's sort of a halfway point. It will be nice to see everyone. David and I are celebrating our 16th anniversary

Day one was basically us in the car all day. We stopped at a McDonald's for breakfast (I had a sausage McMuffin), Taco Bell for lunch (I had a #1 combo), and had Subway for dinner (six inch black forest ham on wheat.) Now.....David is teaching Raelynn how to play Scrabble, Dad is "watching" football on TV (he's blind so he really just listens), and Mom is taking her shower. So far a successful day.

For purposes of continuity, I'm not going to go off on a major tangent (I'm sure I have many blog posts just hovering near the surface) but I will tell you this.....

I was diagnosed with diabetes this week and the doctor has put me on insulin. No bueno. I'm sure I'll be sharing all those ups and downs as I figure this all out. Just saying I have diabetes makes me feel old. All I need now is a diagnosis of gout.

Anyway, I'm back. At least temporarily. And a little of me is better than no me so be happy.....


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sniff, Sniff....Hooray!

The little things in life matter. And really, isn't most of life "little things?" For some reason, lately I've been enamored with the scent of Gain laundry detergent. I've always been a fan and have recently used the fabric softener and dryer sheets with the same scent in conjunction with the Gain detergent. It's a good thing....and a good smell. And with all things good, isn't the concept of "more" better? (I tend to lean towards yes on this one....)

So you can imagine my excitement when perusing the evil empire, Walmart, I see that Gain also has dish detergent and has teamed up with Febreeze to make air fresheners (plug-in, spray, and an oil based one that diffuses)!!!!!! So of course I purchased them all and surrounded myself with all things Gain.

Since I spend most of my time as school, I took the plug-in air freshener to school. The oil based diffuser is in my kitchen and the spray is for the bathroom. For the rest of the day, I smiled at odd moments. Those joyous moments seemed to happen each time I passed by the plug-in, so I think I ended up walking fast circles around my classroom just to inhale the Gain freshness that I love. It was a good day....and it smelled good too. I find that a day is always better when the day smells good too.

Now I'm wondering if there are other small and inexpensive changes out there that can be significant enough to impact me in such a way. I'm sure there are and I know that I'll find them someday. I hope that it's someday soon and that I'll be sniffing Gain the whole time.

PS-On a lesser side note, I apologize again for my lack of blogging. We have gotten rid of our land line and are now completely cellular. I can read my blog from my phone, I just can't do the actual blogging from it. Getting the desktop computer ready to go online involves several steps so that's why I've been away. That...and my lack of time. But that's a different post for a different time.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Got Coupons? I Wish I Did.....

Hi Friends-

I'm back! It's been a day or two and I haven't blogged. Sorry about that. Sometimes life gets in the way. My family and I are preparing to go on a vacation early next week, so I'm letting you know now that I probably won't be blogging during that time. Hopefully, I will have lots of things to blog about once I get home.

So on to tonight's blog topic: extreme couponing. Have you ever seen the show Extreme Couponing on TLC? It's one of my new favorites. It comes on Wednesday nights at 8 central time in case you want to check it out. The premise is pretty straight forward. Each show highlights two individuals and follows them through a shopping excursion. During this time, they interview the person in their home, show them clipping coupons, and them showing off their stockpiles of stuff. Let's not confuse these people with hoarders. That's a completely different show. Just as engaging but totally different. I find the idea of extreme couponing very interesting.

Who doesn't like to save money, right? As a kid, I can remember my mom clipping coupons and using them at the store. I hated going to the grocery store. My daughter....she loves it. This could be due to the fact that I'm a bigger push-over than my mom was and Raelynn gets to pick out stuff to put in the cart. That fact aside, I don't mind going to the store. I usually go once a week. My church has it's large, weekly service on Saturday nights so I try to go grocery shopping on Sunday mornings when everyone else is at church. (Side note: When I bump into people that I know at the store during these Sunday morning trips, I start to feel guilty. Like maybe they think that I don't go to church. I always try to work this into the conversation. It never occurs to me that they aren't in church either so I shouldn't worry about it.) On occasion, I use coupons when I shop, but find that I can't always coordinate using the coupon before it expires. Most coupons that I see are for things I wouldn't use anyway. Of course, this was all before I saw the show on extreme couponing.

These people are DEDICATED. Most of them go to stores that double coupons, have member bonus cards, and take advantage of all the sale prices. Most of these people don't work for a living, but spend over 40 hours a week searching for coupons, printing coupons, clipping coupons, organizing coupons, and scouting the stores for sales and whatnot. This is where my problem starts. I do have a store that double coupons up to sixty cents (no it isn't the evil Walmart that I shop at) and has member cards that give you some discounts. I think I could even look through all the sales fliers and do multiple sweeps of the store to record sales that aren't listed. My major problem is getting the coupons to begin with.

I don't subscribe to the newspaper. My mother does. I could always get her inserts but these people on the show have a TON of coupons. Multiple inserts and from different papers. On the show I saw tonight, some woman bought an insane number of yogurt cups. Like over 500. I think she may have gotten them free using her coupons in conjunction with the sale going on in the store. Where does she get all those coupons? It boggles the mind.

David says another problem we'd have if I took up this hobby is storage space. I don't have a garage or basement, so we'd probably have to build on to our house in order to store everything. According to these people, they save enough money each year that they could probably build on to their house without paying much. Somehow I don't see myself this fortunate.

It really looks like these people spend a huge amount of time planning and organizing everything. They have these huge binders with special pages inside to hold all their coupons where you can see them all. I think I remember one of those shows where they said that the lady's coupon binder weighed like 20 pounds or something. I don't know about you, but the thought of organizing all that sounds like fun. I like organizing stuff. (For those of you that know me in real life may argue with that fact, but I find that when I'm not working I enjoy cleaning and organizing stuff.) Knowing myself though, I can tell you that I'd end up going all OCD on that stuff. That's just how I roll. Go big or go home.

So....I'm preparing to leave for my trip and will have to do more research on extreme couponing when I get home. If you have any advice, tips, or inserts you'd like to share, let me know. I'm already anticipating all the fun I'm going to have clipping and organizing during this endeavor...because hey...who doesn't love buying 500 cups of yogurt, right? Doesn't that sound like fun to you?

Until tomorrow (hopefully)....Toodles!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pajama Jeans.....It's So Fun To Say!

OPENING DISCLAIMER: The post you are about to read is about the ever popular "Pajama Jeans." I don't own a pair and know of no one who owns a pair, so if you are wearing a pair while reading this, please leave me a comment letting me know your feelings on the subject!

Hi Friends-

As I promised, I am blogging today. You'd think that with summers off, I'd have more time to blog and do things I like such as eating ice cream and watching TV. Well, that's not really true. I have found time this summer to eat ice cream and watch TV. Blogging...well....I'm working on doing that more often too.

So today's topic is a strange one: Pajama Jeans. Have you seen these things advertised on TV? They have their own infomercial that plays all hours of the day and night. Do I own a pair of these magic pants? Heck no! For those of you that haven't seen this infomercial, I'm sure you can find it on You Tube. I'm guessing you have other things worth your time, so if you're not aware of these wonder pants, let me break it down for you.

These pants are supposed to be as comfortable as pajama pants while looking like high-end blue jeans. And if you listen to the infomercial and believe what they tell you, every women looks great in these pants. Really? Then how come there aren't any fat chicks in the commercials? The people they have pimping out these pants would look good wearing a burlap sack. I'm betting we'll be seeing an ad for these soon...."Burlap pajama pants! Look rustic while you sleep and since you'll be asleep it won't matter that the burlap itches!"

But really, I got a look at the box the other day at Walmart. There's this shelf next to one of the registers that has stuff you can find advertised only on TV. I get really skeptical of anything said to be only found on TV. These people must not have heard of the Internet. But it must work, because I feel confident that someone, somewhere ordered them and it was popular enough to find its way to Walmart.

Now the fine people at Walmart don't like it when you open packages, so I didn't get to pull a pair out and look at them. They did have a hole on the front of the box where they encourage you to feel how soft the material is. Feeling how soft something is isn't enough reason for me to buy it. If it's something I will be wearing, I'll need to try it on. And I'm not about to go up to the crabby lady at the fitting rooms and ask her to open the package for me so I can try them on. That just ain't happenin'. I guess I'm pretty skeptical about stuff like this that you see on TV, especially stuff that you wear. You'll never find me wearing the Kymaro Body Shaper. (It's basically the TV version of Spanx.) Again, you won't sell me something that supposed to look good on everybody until I see it on EVERY BODY type out there. Get some real women on there to show how goofy their product looks.

So why even waste my time (and yours) by blogging about something that I obviously don't like? It's because the name "Pajama Jeans" just rolls off the tongue and sounds fun to say. Try saying it a few times really quickly---- I'm sure you don't believe me, but it'll be like when someone sings an odd song and it gets stuck in your head. I'm happy to report that I was able to do just that with to some co-workers in regards to Rebecca Black's song "Friday." It's just so bad that it's good. Be aware of yourself after reading this post....I'm betting you'll find yourself saying "Pajama Jeans" "Pajama Jeans" "Pajama Jeans" and smiling. I know it makes me smile to say it. And I'd smile even bigger if I actually saw someone wearing them.....either that or the above mentioned burlap pajama pants. I think both would be a pretty funny sight....Don't you think so too?

Until tomorrow (hopefully)....Toodles!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Older Than Dirt and Born Before Rocks

Howdy friends!

As requested by my friend Martha M., I am blogging about today. Today is my birthday. I wish I could say that it's been an exciting day, but if I did, I'd be lying. It's been pretty quiet. Which for me, if there's not going to be a big throw-down party, then quiet is welcomed. Here's been my day:

I woke up around 9ish, which is late for me. I went to bed late last night. I've been reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer. (She wrote the Twilight series.) Originally I went to the library to see if I could find a copy of The Help. I couldn't find one. I did find The Host and thought I'd give it a try. Anyway, I woke up, warmed up some breakfast and then proceeded to clean out my closet. I spent some time this morning going through all my t-shirts. I refolded them and restacked them on the shelves. I categorized them into groups: 1) shirts to wear while working outside 2) Twilight shirts -yes, I have enough of those to be a separate group 3) Disney shirts and 4) other shirts to wear. After that, I reorganized my shoes. I didn't have to get rid of much- I had spent some time a few weeks ago going through those things. Today all I did was straighten and organize.

When that was done, I washed a few dishes and organized some in the kitchen. After that, I spent some time finishing The Host. I'll return that book tomorrow to the library. When the book was done, I washed the car so that tomorrow I can wax it. Somewhere in there I made lunch for myself and Raelynn.

Just a little bit ago, I went to my parents' house for supper. On your birthday, my mom will cook whatever you request (provided you're family.) She's such a good cook so it's hard to choose. I settled on meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, macaroni and cheese, and cheesecake for dessert. It was yummy and Mom sent home leftovers. My parents gave me a nice card, some bracelets, and some money for our upcoming trip to Florida. This was very appreciated. We sat around and talked some after dinner and I assisted David in jumping off one of my parents' cars that had a dead battery. Now I'm home blogging. In a bit, I'll go to my friend Wendy's house to go swimming. I'll meet our other friend, Kathy, there.

And that's it folks. Like I said, it was quiet. There have been other birthdays that were much louder, busier, or exciting. I'm trying to pace myself though....we leave for Florida in a week and I'm sure we'll have some fun there.

Final Note: Thank goodness for Facebook. I can't tell anyone how much it has meant to me to read all the birthday wishes. Facebook has been a wonderful way to keep in touch with many people from my past. Thanks for remembering my birthday. It's meant a lot.

Until tomorrow (hopefully).........Toodles!

Friday, June 3, 2011

There Is No Medical Name for the Fear of Automatic Car Washes.

Hi Faithful Readers! (all 2 of you!)

Happy summer! I've been out of school now for about a week and a half and I'm in my "decompressing" mode. Teaching takes a lot of you, and there's a reason that we get summers off. It takes that long to "reset" the buttons and prepare for the next school year.

So, given might be asking what I've been doing for the last week or so since I've not been blogging? (This is for you, Jess) Answer: A whole lot of nothing! It's amazing how quickly a day can go by with very little accomplished. I'm enjoying that immensely. But I haven't been a total vegetable.....

My family is going on a summer trip in a little over a week. We'll be heading down to Key West for a week and then meet David's sister, Susan, in Orlando and we'll do Disney World for a week. After that, all of us will head over to Cocoa Beach for a couple of days and then we'll head back home. For our family, this is major. We go places and stuff, but it always seems that we go to see family as our trip. I'm not saying this is bad, but in the fifteen years we've been married, I don't remember us taking a family trip somewhere that didn't involve a birth, death, graduation, wedding, etc. of a family member. This will be new for us and we are so excited!!!

Part of the preparation for this trip is to get the car ready. My husband is a great driver and does just about all of the driving, all of the time. And I'm totally okay with this. I'm not so fond of driving. David is real good about keeping his vehicle clean on a regular basis. Me...not as much. We decided to take the car I drive, a Saturn, because it gets better gas mileage. To make the trip better, David has had the speakers replaced and personally replaced lots of sensors and gadgets on the car. My job has been the cleaning process.

I don't mind washing, waxing, and cleaning out the car. And given that we'll be spending close to three weeks in the car, I'm motivated to clean it and clean it well. I have literally scrubbed all the of seats, carpets, and floor mats, as well as completely cleaned out every inch of the interior and then gone over it with Armor All. I've also added a a visor cover since the original one was in bad shape. I bought some plastic buffering compound and spent quite a long time getting rid of the oxidation on the headlights. I replaced all the seat covers. I will be applying Rain-X on the windows and some anti-fog stuff made by Rain-X on the inside of the windows. When it gets a little closer, I will hand wash and wax the car as well.

The one thing I DIDN'T want to do was to take the car to one of the local automatic car washes in town. I've gone many times with David. He's a frequent flyer. I enjoy going with other people to the car wash but have never been by myself. And I've never wanted to go alone either. I think it may be because while the soap is on your car, you can't see anything and I'm all nervous about accidentally pressing the brake or accelerator and crashing. David encouraged me to take the car in town to the car wash to get rid of some of the dirt on it and to take advantage of the free, untimed car vacuum. I was nervous, but I forged ahead.

So, I went. It was destined to be because I found a $2 off coupon for the car wash in my purse- (It was on the back of a grocery store receipt.) I pulled up into Mr. Bubbles and some teenager takes my money and scrubs the headlights (already expertly cleaned by moi) and gave me instructions for the car wash. Let me stop here and say that the other car washes that I've been to have you pull up and stop inside the wash and the brushes or water jets or weird hanging down strips do all the moving. A light or something goes off inside the car wash when it's over and you pull out. That's not like this one.....In this one, you pull your car onto a little one wheeled holder on a track, put your car in neutral, and then your car is pulled through the entire car wash. The whole time you aren't supposed to touch the brake, the accelerator, or the steering wheel. It took some deep breaths to get through this. It was loud, the car was moving without me in control, and I couldn't see what was going on. I'm happy to report though that I made it through and my car is nice and clean both inside and outside. (Yes, I took full advantage of the vacuums!)

So now all I have left to do is wash and wax the car. I'm waiting until it gets a little closer to our departure and hopefully, it won't be 180 degrees outside. The weather people on the news have been saying that it's hotter now than it should be for this time of the year. I don't think a cold front it happening any time soon. While we're waiting for it to cool off, let me know if you need your car washed. I've completely mastered my fears of the automatic car wash and can talk you through it if you need me to.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ummmm...God? What's With The Weather Lately?

Hi Everyone-

For those of you who don't live near me, we've experienced some pretty severe weather lately. The picture you see above was an ACTUAL storm cell cloud that came through Starkville about a week ago. This happened around noon on a school day so we spent several hours at school in tornado mode. (At most schools this is in the hallway with your head down against the wall and your butt in the air.) As far as I know, there was no damage here locally, although a tornado was spotted in town.

The past three weeks or so has seen more tornado sirens and watches and stuff then I can remember in the eight years I've been here put together. The day before yesterday, a really big storm system with some horrific tornadoes came through Mississippi and Alabama and leveled some towns. We were blessed. Our electricity was off from 4 PM until around 2 AM, which stunk. Coming from the Florida Keys, I'm used to not having electricity. It happens all the time. When I say all the time, I literally mean ALL the time. But here, we've lost power about 5 times in the whole time we've lived here (8 years.) The power went out because some bad storms knocked out some TVA power stations. I'm thankful that the men and women responsible for getting us all back online did such a good job. I'm ready to put those people up there with the heroes of the police and fire departments. It makes you appreciate the hardships that our ancestors had to endure without electricity.

I've said before that I'm happier here than I was in Key West from a severe weather standpoint. In Key West, it was hot all the time and there was no differentiation of seasons. Then, six months out of the year, you waited on pins and needles to see if the next hurricane was going to come and wipe you out. Here, there are tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, but you don't have long to worry about it and it's usually over pretty quickly. The amount of damage from either disaster seems about the same. But.....

To have so many of them over the past three weeks has not been fun. During this period, I'm betting there were at least 4 or 5 different times/days where we had tornado watches and warnings. I've had enough. And I'm one of those people who hasn't suffered any damage. All I had to endure was several hours with no power. Around 300 people have lost their lives due to this series of tornadoes two days ago. I'm not complaining, I'm just sayin' is all.....

My dad said that those who got hit and survived had better get some religion if they haven't already. I agree. I thought about this wonderful song called "Blessings" by Laura Story that basically says "What if the trials of this life, are your mercies in disguise? What if you need a thousand sleepless nights to know that God is near?" I know He's there. He's in large and in charge...all the time.

I wanted to touch base with everyone because some have asked how I've been doing and if we got hit. Also, I wanted people to know that although the news channels are showing lots of footage of tornado damage in Alabama....we here in Mississippi had our share as well. We are never represented well, and don't draw much attention. We're not big news to anyone but ourselves. Bottom line folks....I'm fine.

Please be in prayer for those that lost loved ones and everything they own. I can't imagine how any of that feels. But through it all, I know that God is there and some day, the situations we're going through now will make sense in the future.

Bless you all!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's All in the Collar Bone

Hi Loyal Readers (All 2 of you!)--

I'm back! Sorry to say that my life hasn't gotten any more interesting since you last read one of my posts, it's just that I'm staying busier. Unfortunately, I'm not being given any more time to get all of the stuff done. That's pretty typical, so what's keeping me going is the thought that summer will be here soon and I'll have more time to blog!

Also this summer, I will be taking a much needed (and desired) trip to Florida. I moved here to Mississippi 8 years ago and have only been back to the homeland twice. Both of those times were to go to Disney World. (Side note here...I ADORE Disney World.) I was born and raised in Key West, and lived there my whole life with the exception of the two years I spent at Mississippi State. I haven't been back to Key West since I moved and I'm looking forward to it. So we plan on going to Key West for a week and while we're in the neighborhood, go to Disney World. Afterwards, we will spend a couple of days at Cocoa Beach. I'm looking forward to it. It'll be great to see lots of old friends!

In preparation, I'm trying to get in better shape. Standing in the hot, Florida sun for hours while waiting in line for an 8 minute ride can take a toll on you. Losing some weight would help me deal with the Florida heat and and help me feel better about seeing people that remember me eight years younger. I can't control getting older, but I do have some control over looking and feeling better.

So far, so good. I've rejoined Weight Watchers and have lost 20 pounds. I'm a lifetime member of this particular cult. Before Raelynn, I lost 50 pounds in about 3 months and maintained that weight for awhile. Then, I got pregnant and well.....I'm still trying lose the baby weight from 10 years ago. Back then, I was a maniac. I ran 2 to 3 miles a day and was religious in writing down what I ate. A few years ago, I got back on the wagon and lost some weight because I was in my friend Jessica's wedding. She's totally gorgeous, young, and thin so I didn't want to embarrass her or myself by being the old, fat lady in the wedding. But I digress....

I've rejoined and learned the new program and I'm doing okay. I'm not able to run like I did before...I blame that on my age. My bones can't take it anymore. I do try to run, but it's not nearly as often as I'd like. And as for religious food journaling....I try to keep up with it. I find that the older I get, the more difficult it is to maintain that level of fanatical-ness. It's very tiring being that "on" all the time.

So, how do I know that I've arrived at my goal weight? Yes, I do weigh...almost everyday. This is something that I don't usually like to do. But when you are working so hard, seeing that number going down is a good motivator to keep up the work. I told someone one time that the way you know that you're skinny is that you collar bone becomes more prominent. Think about it.... when you see pictures of people that you think are "in shape" you can see their collar bone. I don't notice it as much on guys, so I'm guess I'm really talking about women here.

So then I started thinking....when was the last time I saw my collar bone? I mean, I can feel it...I know it's there. When I look in the mirror, I don't see it. It doesn't look like that area is covered in a layer of fat, but it doesn't look clear to me. Which led me to thinking.....

Have I ever been able to see my collar bone? I started looking in my old photo collar bone. Now, this could be either due to the fact that I wore very modest clothing in my younger days or the fact that I'm not genetically inclined to having an obvious collar bone. I'm hoping that it's the first, not the latter. I don't want to be anorexic or anything, I'd just like to get down to the single digits in clothing size and be able to see a clearly define collar bone.

In looking online for pictures, I found some people posting that they couldn't believe their collar bone was showing...that they didn't think they were that thin....oh please.....don't complain about being "too thin." I have a magnet on my fridge that says, "You can never be too thin, too rich, or have too many cookies."

Enough said.....

I'm off to write down what I ate for dinner tonight and to look....again....for my missing collar bone. Wish me luck!

Friday, April 1, 2011

You're Quirky Is Just Another Name for "You're Really Weird."

So...I've been away for a week or so...I apologize. Again, I blame work. I tend to spend 13 hour days at work and then come home and have about an hour to get dinner ready and help Raelynn with homework before she goes to bed. After that, I have about an hour and a half until I crash. I literally fall asleep almost every night sitting on the couch with my grading pen in my hand. This is your tax dollars at work people. But today, I'm not at school. David's aunt died and I'll be going to her funeral in just a bit. On to today's topic: quirks. Their like belly buttons and opinions....everyone has them and they're better left unshared. But not me..right? I'm an open book. I was standing in my closet picking out the clothes I'll wear to the funeral later and that's when this blog topic came to me. Here's a brief list of the quirks that I'm willing to share. There are others, but like I said.....those are better left unshared. 1) Closed Doors- At both schools I've worked at, it was required that your classroom door be closed and locked at all times for safety reasons. As a result, even when the kids aren't there and I'm working (which like I stated earlier, is ALL the time) I can't have the door open. It makes me feel vulnerable. This works to my detriment because since the door is locked, I have to get up and answer the door each time someone comes by. Some days, that's a lot. (I'm not complaining....I enjoy the company!) Another time it's not so great is when the air conditioning isn't working and I'm sweltering, I have a hard time keeping the door open to let in the cooler air. This may not seem quirky, but I'm the opposite at home. I don't like doors closed at home. (The exception here is the bathroom, of course. If you have kids then you know that the door doesn't stay shut long. Those kids will find you and not leave you alone.) Everyday, Mr. Riley, the custodian in my building, will sweep my floor and ask as he leaves, "Do you want the door shut, Mrs. Rosamond?" My daily answer: "Yes....I've got issues." 2) Barefoot- I like going barefoot. Except for when my feet will get dirty. And it doesn't matter if you try hard to keep your floor clean, after you've walked around for just a moment, your feet will start to feel dirty. So, what I do is get comfy on the couch, bed, chair ,etc....take off my shoes and then put them back on as soon as I get up. Right now, that's what I'm doing as I type this. 3) Closed-in Shoes- Maybe this one is related to #2. Coming from the Florida Keys and its constant hot weather, I wore sandals most of the time. When I moved to Mississippi I had quite the collection of Birkenstocks and Tevas. The weather here is a little cooler at times, but I have a problem wearing traditional flats. I can wear sneakers and stuff....I mean dressy shoes that you'd wear with a skirt or something. I don't like how my feet feel in closed in shoes. My solution is to wear mules. Closed in shoes in the front and open in the back. Which leads to the next quirk. 4) Wearing Mules with Dresses or Skirts- I think wearing mules with a skirt or dress looks ridiculous on me. I think it's something to do with going barefoot with these shoes. When I wear mules with slacks, I wear trouser socks. I don't do hose so that becomes a problem as to what to wear with the dress or skirt in cooler weather. My solution: Don't wear skirts or dresses in cooler weather. 5) Tomatoes- As a kid, I didn't like tomatoes raw or cooked. I would pick out stewed tomatoes from soup and stuff. I would, however, eat pasta with tomato sauce. As an adult, my taste buds have changed. I like tomatoes. But....I don't like regular tomato soup. I prefer a creamy tomato soup. I don't like tomato juice. (Don't get me wrong, I'll eat or drink either but I'm talking about my preferences here...) I do enjoy spicy tomato juice, such as Bloody Mary mix. I take the mix and add Tabasco, celery salt, and worcestershire sauce. The same goes for V8. I don't care for the regular kind, I like the spicy kind. 6) Accessories- As soon as I come home from being somewhere, I take off my watch and wedding ring and put them in a fish-shaped dish on my kitchen counter. It feels weird to wear them around. As soon as I leave the house, I put them both on. It feels weird to not have them on when I'm outside of my house. 7) Clocks- There is a clock in each room in my house including the bathroom and my closet. I need to know what time it is. It bothers me to see adults that don't wear watches, especially at work. My father-in-law doesn't wear a watch. Ever. I'm not even sure he has one. I'm guessing he uses his cell phone to tell time, but that's another thing that bugs me about people. 8) Pencils- I don't like mechanical pencils or the ones that have the leads on plastic tips that you take out and reload at the top. I like a good wooden pencil that is sharp. Really sharp. I don't like blunt pencils. And I don't like writing in pen. And when writing in pencil, I like there to be a nice eraser on top. 9) Scratchy Elbows-I don't like the feeling of having my elbows be scratchy, so I apply Neutrogena Hand Cream on them nightly. This is the best concentrated lotion in the world. It even says so on the bottle. 10) Long Sleeve Shirts- I am hot-natured. I always get hot when I wear long sleeves. As a result, I don't own very many long sleeve shirts and I won't wear a sweatshirt unless it is very cold and I'm going to be outside for a considerable amount of time. I figure that if it's cold enough outside for long sleeves and you work indoors, won't the inside be heated? And if it is, why would you need long sleeves? 11) Paperclips- I like the jumbo sized paperclips, not the small ones. I think this stems from the fact that I'm a teacher with a ton of papers and the small clips don't hold the papers. I also don't like paperclips that are coated in plastic or the ones that aren't traditionally shaped. I'm all about cute stuff, but paperclips shouldn't be swirl shaped. That's just wrong. 12) Clean Hands- I'm not one of those OCD types that washes their hands obsessively, but I don't like having dirty hands, very similar to dirty feet. My classroom in Florida had a sink in the room and it was great for this quirk. The room I'm in now doesn't have a sink. This bothers me. I know about GermX and all, but we all know that it's not the same feeling as washing your hands. 13) Safeguard Soap- My favorite soap scent is Safeguard. Kroger keeps it in their bathrooms. They also sell it in hand pump sizes. I have not found Safeguard in body wash size. I'm not even sure they make it. I think it's an antibacterial soap meant for hand washing. Until I find it, I'm enjoying how that soap smells after I wash my hands. 14) Ice- I don't know if this is considered a quirk or not, but I like to know that I have access to ice if I'm going to be somewhere for an extended amount of time. I have this ginormous insulated cup that I fill with ice every day and take to school. Drinks don't taste good just from the fridge. I like my cold drinks over ice. 15) Milk on Ice- I don't like milk on ice, nor do I like iced coffee. 16) Coffee- I don't like regular coffee. I like the expensive caramel coffee drinks that I can't spell correctly (I think it's "maccihito??") that cost $5 a pop. I also like the same coffee frozen. Just not over ice. 17) Getting My Teeth Cleaned- So going to the dentist is scarier than getting a mammogram. Up until the last year or so, I've always considered myself as one of those people with pretty good teeth. I must admit that I don't floss as much as I should, but I do believe in regular visits to the dentist. My teeth are a little sensitive as I've gotten older (who knew that you could brush your teeth TOO hard and it would wear away your gums? Really?) so when I go to the dentist I'm pretty uptight. One of the things they do when you get a cleaning is they use this sandy paste stuff to buff your teeth. What's quirky is that when the hygienist stops to refill her instrument or to use the oral vacuum cleaner to get rid of your spit, I take advantage of the down time. I crunch ithe paste between my teeth. I imagine that it's the closest thing I'll get to eating sand. Not that I want to eat sand or anything. I just like the feeling of the grit crunching between my teeth. 18) The Fan and The Blanket- When I go to sleep, I like to be cool. I'm not a person that deals with heat so well. As luck would have it, my bedroom is in the coolest part of the house. In the winter time this isn't so great. But.....I've gotten very used to sleeping with the ceiling fan on. There's something about the sound of the fan and the constant moving of air that I need to sleep. In the winter, I will put extra blankets on my bed because it will be cold so I'll be warm, and then I'll crank up the fan in case I get too hot from the blankets. Like somehow the combination of these two things will cancel each other out and I'll have the perfect sleeping temperature. 19) Lip Balm- I don't know why, but I have to put on a layer of lip balm every night before I go to bed, regardless of the temperature or the condition of my lips. I don't do this during the day. 20) Vibrate AND Ring- My phone is always set to vibrate and ring. What's weird is that if it doesn't vibrate I can't hear it and if it doesn't ring I can't feel it so I'll never know when people are calling. It doesn't help that I'm hard of hearing..... 21) Captions and Subtitles- Since I was diagnosed with Meniere's Disease several years ago and lost a significant amount of hearing in my left ear, I have to watch movies with the subtitles on. It really bugs me that some movies on DVD don't have this option and that it's not available in the movie theater. I also don't have it on my TV but I think that if I did, I'd be irritated because it seems that when I have seen it on TV, the captions and the person speaking aren't in sync. I almost can't understand what is being said on TV unless it's on. This is just the tip of the iceberg of my quirks. I figure most of these are harmless enough. I may dig deeper and share some more another time. You can bet that when I do, I won't be wearing shoes or a watch, and there will be an iced drink (not coffee or milk) in front of me with my clock right next to it. Toodles!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Everything But the Kitchen Sink.....Literally

So I'm back and sad to say that I'm focusing this post on food. I tend to think of random topics throughout the day and today as I passed Waffle House on the way to work, I thought of their delish hashbrowns. Let me 'splain more....
Growing up, I was not a fan of breakfast. I didn't (and still don't) like cereal. Wait, let me clarify that...I don't like cereal for breakfast. When I eat it in the morning, I am hungry like 30 minutes later. I do enjoy the occasional baggie of dry cereal for a snack (Cracklin Oat Bran is pretty tasty). When I was a kid, I ate breakfast and for the first 10 years or so it was cereal. At some point in my teens, my mother figured out that I'd prefer to eat "dinner" food for breakfast, which I did, and I was happy. I'd raid the fridge with whatever we had leftover from the previous evening and would resort to hot dogs if the fridge was bare.
I also wasn't a fan of traditional breakfast foods: eggs, bacon, toast, grits, sausage, waffles, pancakes, or hashbrowns. What's weird is that I still don't enjoy cereal but have totally switched sides on my opinions of traditional breakfast food. Somewhere in there I started eating scrambled eggs and bacon. From there, my breakfast choices transitioned to eggs over medium with sausage and toast to sop up the yolk. Yummy....and I'd also take hashbrowns if they were offered. (Another thing I enjoy is eggs benedict, but since it's hard to find, I'll stick with the eggs over medium.)
But plain ole hashbrowns won't cut it. Waffle House (and Huddle House) offer their hashbrowns with all sorts of bells and whistles. Given that I like hashbrowns and other "regular" foods for dinner, it only made sense for me to become a fan of the hashbrowns from Waffle House.
As a kid, we didn't have a Waffle House in Key West. We didn't go out to eat much either, so I only got to experience the Waffle House breakfast when we traveled. I can remember ordering an omlet and having them put chili on top and enjoying it. So, it only made sense to take it a step further. Let me lay it out for you.....
At Waffle House their hashbrowns can be ordered with the following toppings:
*Scattered (this means they throw them on the grill...I think this is standard)
*Smothered (covered with onions)
*Covered (cheese)
*Chunked (diced ham)
*Diced (chopped tomatoes)
*Peppered (jalapenos)
*Capped (mushrooms)
*Topped (chili)
* Country (white sausage gravy)
I have to admit that I have the above mentioned items (except for the mushrooms) put on my hashbrowns. It's a wonderful thing. This would probably be enough but I usually add two eggs over medium, sausage (I love sausage), grits, and toast to my order. And I wash it all down with a Diet Coke. The good news is that I don't feel hungry for a LONG time afterward. Thankfully, I don't get to treat myself to this heart attack on a plate very often.
Side Note: The reason I don't add mushrooms to my hashbrowns is because mushrooms are a fungus. A fungus, people. That's just wrong. I also don't eat fried mushrooms, raw mushrooms with dip.....If I order a supreme pizza with the works, I usually don't take the 'shrooms off. Don't know why..... My family argues that I like bleu cheese crumbles and dressing and that's also a form of fungus, but since it's in cheese, I don't count it. I could eat my weight in cheese. I love it. There's no such thing as "bad" cheese. When I order a sandwich and I have a choice of cheese, I just tell them to pick any of them, because I'm a fan of all cheeses and love them equally. I wouldn't want them to get jealous or get hurt feelings.
So why the focus on food, and food that's bad for me? I don't know....I just know that I had those hashbrowns on my mind all day and I wanted to encourage you to try them if you haven't yet. And as for the mushrooms....well....put them on your hashbrowns if you want, but don't say I didn't warn you about the fungus part.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Potpourri of Topics-By Request

So I've not been blogging as frequently as I should. I blame the fact that I have to work on that. It seems I go into work earlier, get out later, and make less money than I did in Florida. The good news is that I feel like I'm a better teacher. But that still doesn't give me the time I need to blog and put my thoughts out there.

A few days ago, I asked my Facebook friends if they had any blog topic requests via my status. I got several responses, and I'm going to try my best to hit all of them, albeit briefly. In just a bit, I'll need to get ready to start the insanity again tomorrow.

The Big Picture
My friend Barbara V. said I should write about "the big picture." She said I should write about forgetting the small stuff and focus on the big picture. Jeez, if only I could. I tend to run high stress or full-throttle....all the time. David says that if I learned to let stuff go, I'd be stressed about that. I think he's right. Having said that, I realize that I don't get uptight about everything. There are some things I have to just go with....when a co-worker seems "snippy" I don't always take that personally. I try to think of the baggage that person is carrying around so I can see where they are coming from. So far, I think I'm doing an okay job with that. When things get hairy at school, I try to remind myself that "This isn't my life." But the truth is, from 7:15-3:30 it IS my life. Thankfully, I have an understanding husband to vent to, so I can step back and see the big picture. This is something I continually work on....I was reminded of this as I saw a magnet that a friend gave me a couple of years ago that says, "If stress burned calories, I'd be a supermodel." That pretty much says it all.

My friend Martha M. suggested I write about the joys of Sonic. Being raised in Key West, I did not experience the bliss that is Sonic. Once I moved here, I got what it was about. The first thing I love about Sonic is the fact that you can order ANYTHING on the menu at any time of the day. So, if for instance, I feel like having a cheeseburger at 6:30 AM, I can get one. Another thing that's fabulous about Sonic is the ice. I'm a HUGE fan of ice and believe me, I've checked out everyone's ice. In Starkville, Sonic ranks in my top 3. I love the small pellet ice cubes. If you add the fact that they serve their drinks in Styrofoam cups (sorry that's not "green") and they are the only restaurant in town that serves Diet Sprite, well....that explains why I'm a fan. Also, in case you didn't know....everyday from 2-4 Sonic puts all their drinks on sale for Happy Hour. I'm all about that.

Taco Bell
My friend Brandi H. suggested I write about Taco Bell consequences. I have this to say....outside of a enlarged waistline, I have no Taco Bell consequences. I know many people that love the taste of TB but feel sick afterwards. Not me. I could eat there everyday and not get sick of it. The service at the local TB isn't the best, but that's about par for any fast food place around here. If you can stand dealing with that, you're problems. I really enjoy their Volcano menu items. And once a long time ago...they offered a Black Jack taco that had a black taco shell (I heard on the radio that they got the black ink is from our friend, the octopus) and had pepper jack cheese and special sauce, YUM-O. Of course, they don't carry it anymore. The Taco Bell in Key West, as well as the one in our neighboring town of Columbus, have gone under. How is that possible? There's no competition! I must say though....I've never seen so many Mexican restaurants. In Key West I think there was one in old town (I never went to it) and Chico's on Stock Island. I went there a couple of times, but the places here are far superior. Bottom line here....I love Taco Bell and I have no "consequences" from visiting there.

Sock Monkey
My friend Kellie A. suggested I tell about a sock monkey story. A little background here....I attended the Mississippi Writing for Thinking Summer Institute a couple of summers ago as part of my masters degree. My work with them has led me to be a part of the Rural Voices Radio selection team. Basically, past institute fellows have their students write pieces that then get recorded for radio. Several times a year, the team meets to go over and choose the pieces for recording. This past Saturday, that's where I was. There was a story written by an eighth grader that got me tickled. This student wrote about a trip to the zoo where he went to monkey cages and saw this monkey that was playing with a sock. The monkey was tossing it up and playing with it, when the monkey threw it and it landed out of the monkey's reach in between the bars of the cage. The student wrote that he was going to be nice and get the sock and toss it back into the cage since the monkey didn't seem to be able to reach it. Wrong. The monkey ended up smacking this kid right in the forehead, grabbed the sock, and continued playing with it. The student ended the piece with "And then I wondered, how did the monkey even get the sock?" It was a cute story and I got tickled when I read it. Too cute.

An Update on Dad
My friend Monica H. asked about how my dad was doing. Back in January, my father was taken to the hospital in Jackson because he suspected that he had a heart attack. My dad has had a couple of heart attacks, a stint, and quadruple by-pass surgery. It's taken a couple of months to figure it all out. He's been to see several doctors and they've run many tests on different body parts. (For those of you not aware, my dad suffered an optic stroke back around Labor Day and is now blind.) The heart doctors have given him a clean bill of health, so he's in the process or reapplying to go to Blind School in Jackson. He still is busy as ever, he just relies on my mother to be his eyes now. I'm so blessed to have them as parents.

So there you have it.....topics by request. I hope this finds everyone well and if like what you read, leave a message. I get excited thinking that people read my blog and ever more excited when people like what they read. If you don't like me and potpourri. I can't stand the stuff, but I'd never tell you that.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Rhinestone Bangle Bracelets Do Not Dress Up an Outfit...They Just Make It More Tacky.

I've never fooled myself into believing for a moment that I have anything even close to fashion sense or style. For the most part, I get dressed in what is clean and comfortable. I'd be a perfect candidate for "What Not to Wear." At my old school in Florida, dress was real casual. When you live on an island and everything is laid back, you get very comfortable in your style. Having lived there most of my life, "casual" is how I viewed everything. I guess I fit in around Key West. If someone saw me out and about, they probably thought I was on my way to work in the yard. Not so. I detest yard work. But I digress...... So I would wear skirts and such to church and shorts or capris to work. The dress code was very casual pretty much everywhere.

So fast forward to moving to Mississippi. In my mind, most people here were more conservative and not as nearly as casual as I was. To some degree, this is true. My dress code at work is more strict than I'm used to (no jeans or shorts) and the weather changes actually required that I get some closed in shoes. (When I moved here, I mostly had Teva sandals or Birkenstocks.) I've adapted, I guess, although I still go for what is clean and comfortable. I've watched enough "What Not to Wear" episodes to know this isn't what I'm supposed to be doing. I hope that I haven't gotten stuck in some decade of distasteful fashion and no one has told me. No one from "What Not to Wear" has shown up at my door, so I'm taking it as a good sign.

I started wearing glitter makeup on Fridays as a way to celebrate the end of another week I'm made it through. This didn't help me overcome my fashion woes, but more or less said I wa ready for Halloween...year round. Somewhere since I moved to Mississippi, I've added rhinestone bangle bracelets to my wardrobe. I realize, of course, that the bracelets don't really dress up the outfit that I wear, but it makes me feel better. To the point that if I go to work and I'm not wearing one, it feels weird. Like not having a watch weird. I'm not sure how I got started or where I found my first bracelet. The bracelets have made an appearance in my daily wardrobe to work, in addition to the glitter makeup which has spread from Friday to days ending in "y." I'm all about shiny and sparkly.

I've acquired many of them over the years, and I'm always keeping my eye out for them. So far, I've not bought any online and I don't do Ebay anymore. (I was a victim of stolen identity several years ago.) I've managed to acquire them in most every color and sadly....I get excited when I find new ones. Excited like I need to call someone and tell them excited. Excited like I want to make it my Facebook status....."I found some new bracelets! Yay!" I don't do those things because no one seems as excited as I am buying these bracelets. Go figure.

This week, Raelynn and I went to Columbus to go to the book store in the mall and I stopped over at Accessory Corner. They have bags, jewelry, belts.....basically they carry accessories...hence the name. Anyway, I found some bracelets with matching rings and was so happy that I wanted to call someone....anyone.....but I didn't. Have you ever gotten excited over something small like that and wanted to share it but didn't? But....I'm blogging about it so I guess I am fulfilling the need to share. Just pretend to care, please. After all, my current total of bracelets is up to 35 and I'm looking to add to this total. If I do, I promise not to post it to facebook or call you....but blogging about it....well...there's no guarantee there.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pinching, Leprechaun Traps, and Reuben Sandwiches--My Convoluted St. Paddy's Day Traditions

Top of the mornin' to ya! Today is St. Patrick's Day. I'm a fan of holidays, as anyone who knows me will attest to. At one point in my career (before the stress of state testing), I had started to develop a comprehensive curriculum based solely on holidays. Not just the big ones like Christmas and Halloween, but the other ones that most are not aware of. (Did you know that October 15 is National Grouch Day?) But since I've moved to Mississippi and the evolution of high stakes state testing, my celebrations of all things holiday related has sadly been diminished. On an interesting side note....since I've moved to Mississippi, I've not celebrated St. Patrick's Day at school. It has fallen during our spring vacation each year. It seems that when I lived in Florida, our spring break was around Easter. Oh well, to each his own......
Which brings me to today's post. My family does the normal St. Patrick's Day stuff: we wear green and eat a special St. Patrick's dinner at my mom's consisting of corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes and carrots. I'm not a huge fan of any of those items together, so Mom is making Reuben sandwiches, which I love. Interestingly, I don't like sauerkraut or corn beef, but put them on a sandwich and I'm in.
So....checking facebook this morning, I saw that a friend posted the question, "Does anyone know why we pinch people who aren't wearing green on St. Patrick's Day?" Thanks to the Internet, I have an idea. (What did we do before the Internet?) According to several sites, the pinching may have started in the 1700's in the Massachusetts colony as a reminder that people that wore green were invisible to leprechauns (who pinch by the way). That "tradition" has filtered down and turned into the current day "Get pinched if you don't wear green" tradition that is carried out by elementary aged students. As a teacher, that's one holiday tradition that you don't look forward to. I teach fourth grade, which is just old enough for them to know EXACTLY what they are doing. So I'd always be prepared by cutting out some construction paper shamrocks in advance for those that forgot to wear green.
But this makes me think of the St. Patrick's Day holidays of my youth. I can remember picking out my most green shirt in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day so I wouldn't get pinched. Then, as a middle schooler, I purposely DIDN'T wear green so I WOULD get pinched. Apparently I don't put out the "Hey, check me out vibe" because no one pinched me. Which was probably a good thing since I'm not sure what I would have done if I had gotten pinched. My experiences with boys was sadly lacking.
I also saw during my Internet search that people in Ireland think that Americans are nuts for the way they celebrate St. Patrick's Day. It seems that they don't celebrate the holiday nearly as much as we do. As best I can tell, the highlight of most adults on this holiday is an excuse to drink beer. For kids, it's fun to talk about leprechauns and lucky four leaf clovers. Back in the day, I had my students construct leprechaun traps using what we had learned about them in class. In case you weren't aware, leprechauns are related to fairies and most are pretty grumpy. They are very greedy, always looking for more gold and fiercely protecting their own pot of gold. Legend says that if you catch a leprechaun, you must keep your eye on him or he will escape. It was neat seeing students incorporate an eye into their traps. Of course, during special class when they were out of the room, I'd sprinkle gold glitter around their traps that we had set outside. They loved it. And no one pinched each other.
In observation of St. Patrick's Day today, I'll wear a green shirt and some shorts (the high today is supposed to be 74-yuck) and if I'm feeling festive...I'll don my green glitter eyeliner. I'm not sure I'll venture into town today but either way, I'll be festive.....and no one will pinch me

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tik Tok- On the Clock, But the Party Don't Stop...No.....whoa whoa whoa

That's some catchy title, right? Let me explain.....

I have to start by tooting my own horn for a moment.(indulge me please) I have skills. Dancing skills to be exact. For those of you reading this that are familiar with Key West High School (and what...that's like two of you, right?) you've heard of the Conchettes. For those of you not fortunate enough to be familiar with this organization, it's the dance team for Key West High. Back in the day, it was an elite group of girls that performed at the half time football games in a variety of dance styles: line routines, jazz, hip hop, etc..... I am proud to say that I was a member of this organization for three years. I've danced my whole life. My mom told me that I needed to learn to be more "graceful" as a kid so I took ballet, tap, and jazz dance lessons for many years. In a weak moment or two, I wanted to be a dancer, but I realistic enough not to pursue that career path. But I digress......

I say all this so you'll know that I can dance. I was never one to go "clubbing" in my single days but it wasn't because of the dancing element. I just have this thing against being approached by drunk people in the middle of dancing with my friends. There were a few times in my single days that I did go dancing and even then, I did okay. Like I said, I'm skilled.

But.....I miss dancing. There comes a point in your life when you start dancing and people stare at you, not because you look so great dancing but because you look OLD and you're dancing. For whatever reason, old people aren't supposed to dance. I think that's retarded. I say if someone's granny can get out there and cut a rug, you should let her. She'll reap the health benefits and you'll probably learn something new.

So, I'm married now. I love my husband and I love my life. Having said this, you know what I'm about to say....David doesn't dance. He and I danced at our wedding reception, and he did fine. I can't say that I've seen him dance hip hop before, but he does so many other things so well, that it doesn't matter to me much. Here's something else to ponder....I live in a college town but there doesn't seem to be any decent dance places. I'm guessing there are some places, but like I said, I'm married now and a little past the clubbing scene. But dancing.....well.....I still like to and I miss it.

Fast forward to a month or so friend Wendy's daughter, Katie, was having her 12th birthday party and she invited me. Wendy is one of my best friends and Katie was one of my students for both fourth and fifth grades, so of course I went. I knew all of the kids there and my other best friends Kathy and Kamille were there. The kids were entertaining themselves with the Wii game "So You Think You Can Dance 2." I've never played any Wii games before. I've seen the video game "Dance, Dance Revolution" at the local bowling alley but never had the nerve to play it. The kids asked if I wanted to play so of course I said yes. They played the song "Tik Tok" and I loved it! I played it several times and beat at least one of the 12 year old birthday party guests. This was great, but it made me miss

I found out that my teacher friends Stephanie, Julie, and Beth also had a Wii game system and the "So You Think You Can Dance 2" game. (Side note here....all of them are in their 20's and I delude myself that I'm as young as they are) I arranged a dance night at Julie's place one night and we had a blast dancing. Of course, I made everyone dance to "Tik Tok." I rocked it and beat them all! It was a fun night.....but I still miss dancing.....

Another thing to note....I'm cheap. I just can't bring myself to buy a Wii game system for this one game. David doesn't play video games and Raelynn has a Nintendo DS that she plays sometimes, so it would be up to me to get my money's worth. So that idea was out. I considered joining a gym so I could do some Zumba classes, but again, to me...I can't pay someone else to let me exercise. It will be wasted money. So, that leaves me at an impasse.

I tried to creatively solve this problem by buying a DVD called "Ten Minute Hip Hop Dance Mix" a couple of weeks ago. I tried it today for the first time. The introduction "Hip Hop Basics" was all I got to my defense I've already run 1.6 miles today and done some weight resistence training at home. But please know that the introduction was not bad and I was able to keep up with the hip hop moves. I told you I was good. So, for the moment, I don't miss dancing so much.

I danced to "Tik Tok" so much on the Wii game those two nights that I downloaded the song to my iPod and now I do the dance (which I memorized) in my kitchen. It's not as much fun as dancing with my friends but it'll do in a pinch. No one in my house stares at me....they already know I'm weird.

So, yes....skills.....I've got 'em. Another thing I'm skilled at is roller skating...but that's another post for another day.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sleep 'Til It Hurts

Good Morning Faithful Blog Readers!

Yes, it's me again....pick yourself up off the floor. I gotta tell's been so long since I've regularly blogged, that I had a hard time remembering my user name and password combination for That's pitiful. I did persevere through it and here I am.

So I'm currently on spring break. For all of you "haters" out there...let me explain something....there is a reason that teachers get two weeks off at Christmas, a week off at spring break, and two months off in the summer. It literally takes that long for to "reset" yourself. I've had regular jobs before and believe me, there's no comparison. I'm not saying that I'd like to dig ditches or anything, because I recognize that's a hard job, but I don't think the ditch digger brings his work home, nor does he ponder endlessly about how to be a more effective ditch digger. This is what teachers do. They work at home (many times to the neglect and detriment of their families), spend their own money for items in the classroom, go to training they pay for themselves in order to improve their craft, and think endlessly about how to do their job better. All of this on top of massive amounts of papers to grade, parents to contact, lessons to plan, and various things to cut, trace, or organize. I'm not complaining here...I'm simply laying the ground work for why spring break is so valuable and necessary.

Now don't misunderstand me....Since school got out on Friday afternoon, I've spent all day Saturday at school working (9 AM - 4 PM), and many hours on Sunday and Monday organizing and grading a mountain of papers. I say all this for you to understand that although I'm enjoying my time off, I am by no means "off" of work. I told the bank teller the other day that I work 365 days a year. That's a true statement if I ever heard one. Which brings me to the title of this post.......

When I was a kid, I remember not really wanting to go to sleep. I can remember sneaking out of bed and laying on the floor just outside of the hallway to my bedroom and if I situated myself just right, I could watch TV. Some people say that little kids fight going to sleep because they don't want to miss anything. I'm not sure if that was me or not. But I do remember being a teenager and listing my hobbies as sleeping and eating. So, somewhere between my childhood and being a teenager, I started liking to sleep.

As a grown-up, I've continued to enjoy sleeping. David likes to sleep too, but he's a different bird. He tends to stay up late and tries to sleep in the next morning. I can't do that. I remember when we first were married, we'd wake up and I'd immediately get out of bed to start my day. Lingering in the bed made no sense to me. David, on the other hand, had no problem dozing on and off and lingering in bed until late morning. Of course, this was before we had Raelynn. But looking back to that time in my life, I'd have to attribute my early rising to being raised by my parents. They were the type that felt that if you slept past 8 on a Saturday morning, you had wasted the whole day. I'm happy to say now that the urge I felt to jump out of bed and get started on my day has slowly dissipated. Now that Raelynn is old enough to get up and entertain herself (thank goodness for TV and video games!), I can "relax."

I say "relax" because it's not truly sleeping/relaxing. During the work week, I wake up at 5 AM and am walking out of the door for work at around 6:15. Doing this for a number of years has trained my body to wake up early. On Saturday and Sunday, I'll wake up around 6 on my own, go to the bathroom, check on Raelynn, and then go back to bed. There, I'll doze off and on until 8 or 9 or until David wakes up. When we were first married, David could sleep until noon. I can't do that. Now that he's "seasoned" (I don't call it old) he's up and moving around 8 or 9 on the weekends too. But I was proud of my sleeping hours Saturday, the first official day of spring break.

My usual bedtime is 10 PM during the week. For whatever reason (probably because there was nothing decent on TV), I went to bed Friday night at my regular time. I did the whole get up at 6, use the restroom, check on Raelynn thing, and then returned to bed where I slept until 10 AM. That's right people, I slept for 12 hours. What's awful about that is the fact that the more "seasoned" you get, the more sleeping in like that starts to hurt. I can't explain it, but there's something about lingering around in the bed after a certain time that makes my back and legs hurt. Maybe it's because I sleep with about 4 pillows at different heights and my back isn't aligned, or perhaps it's a sign that I'm supposed to get up....I don't know. But suffice it to say, that when I got up on Saturday, I was both pleased with my 12 hour sleep record and stiff from staying in bed so long.

But really, if I have to suffer some stiffness and soreness to sleep that long, I'll take it. After all, my hobbies are sleeping and eating. And how am I supposed to get better unless I practice? Anyway, enjoy your day today whether you are working or not. Some of us are in the process of "resetting" so we'll more effective next week. If you get tired, take a nap. I hope you sleep 'til it hurts!!!


Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm so so so sorry.........Forgive me?

Hi....It's me again. For those of you new to this blog (and those that aren't don't remember me because it's been so long since I blogged....) Welcome. This is a place where I like to unload all of my random thoughts about this and that. I like to think that I'm humorous, so if you don't agree, please lie to me.

Here's a quick recap of important facts:

* I am a teacher. I've been doing this for about 19 years. When I think about that number, it floors me. In my mind, I look and act like I'm about 27. It's hard to believe that I'm working with college students that were born when I was leaving college. Don't get me started..... I mostly enjoy my job, although as of late, it seems to have gotten so much more stressful. I think it's a combination of factors that is leading to this stress: the expectations of what I'm supposed to do (I call it "making miracles happen") is always increasing and I'm basically the stress out type. I think that it wouldn't matter what job I'd have....I still would be stressed out. I really care about what I do and that the pressure I put on myself never ends. But enough of the heavy.......

*I live in Mississippi....and yes out of choice. My parents and my husband are natives so when my parents decided to move, we moved too. I've been here 8 years. It doesn't seem that long. I don't regret moving here. That's something I thought I'd never say.

* I am a mother and a wife. My husband, David, is incredible. We've been married for 15 years. We have a daughter, Raelynn, that just turned 10. I love them both and am so thankful for them everyday.

* I'm what you'd call a "fan" of the Twilight series. I've seen the movies (all at midnight showings prior to release), read the books (and refuse to loan them), been to an official Twilight name it...I've been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. (literally and figuratively!)

That pretty much covers the on to the main event.

I'm currently enjoying the bliss of spring break. I'm not going anywhere interesting. I'm staying home. There's something to be said for home. I went to bed on Saturday night at 10 PM and got up on Sunday morning at 10 AM. And I loved it. I never get to do that. Today, I went to Columbus with Raelynn to Books-A-Million to see if we could find Disney World travel guides, which we did. We are planning a trip to Florida this summer that will include Key West, Disney World in Orlando, and Cocoa Beach. I was born and raised in Key West, and this will be the first time I've been back since we moved here. I'm hoping to see some old friends and enjoy some Cuban coffee!

Being the OCD person that I am, I am sitting on my couch surrounded by all the papers that need to be graded. That's a snowball that never stops rolling down the mountain and getting larger. I spent Saturday at school, working on things from 9 AM until around 4 PM. That time didn't even put a dent in all I have to do. I'll get around to it, I'm sure, but since I'm watching "Eclipse" for the millionth time, it'll have to wait.

I'm so sorry for that length of time that has lapsed since I last posted. I'm thinking now about what to write about and I'm coming up blank. I think that I've gotten out of the habit of blogging, so I'll have to blog more regularly until things flow again. I'm sure my distraction has nothing to do with the fact that "Eclipse" is on.

Hopefully, I'll be able to blog some more this week and have something witty to share. In the meantime, keep checking back in. And if you have a request for a blog topic, let me know. I'm currently out of ideas.